Appetite For Self-Destruction

The least culpable took responsibility and showed they understood at the final whistle yesterday


Arsenal 0 – 1 Blackburn Rovers

0 – 1 Kazim-Richards (72)

The span through air, traversing it’s course toward the net. Bodies arced upwards, as their emotions erupted. Save for one, the one that mattered and in an instant, fingertips deflected the ball as words contorted and events changed. Twenty-three minutes had been played and the first telling moment of the match happened, Diaby almost made the telling impact. But he failed to do so as did his team-mates for the next hour.

It was a performance borne of the starting line-up. No player was awful, none was outstanding and therein was the problem; everyone was just average. Actually that’s harsh, some played well and in that I would point to Rosicky and Monreal but that is definitely it.

Arsène said afterwards that the preparation for this game was the same as the previous sixteen seasons; why wouldn’t it be? Plenty of lower division teams have come to The Emirates or Highbury and been beaten by the second string. Yesterday should have followed that lead, there was nothing to indicate it would not. The starting line-up was strong, a healthy mixture of those eager to prove their worth and others returning from injury.

So why was this performance so ordinary?

The most significant indicator of this was Abou Diaby. I am not singling him out for criticism, just that his performance encapsulated what was wrong. The passing was for the most part accurate but there was too much of it and too much of it was ponderous and pedestrian. The surging runs that were needed, were noticeable by their absence.

This was highlighted even more when Wilshere and Cazorla entered the fray with Theo Walcott.

Until that point, Arsenal could not penetrate the visitors well-drilled banks for five and four. Suddenly there was an energy, a dynamism which had previously been noticeable by its absence. Of course, chasing a goal safe in the knowledge that failure meant elimination, was a key motivation. When Wenger made his changes, he wanted to make an impact but not the one he got. Barely had the players entered the pitch than Olsson exploited space behind Coquelin and rifled his shot at Szczesny whose parry fell kindly to Kazim-Richards, the returning shot bounced into the ground onto the post and into the net. It was a ‘nothing’ goal, entirely in fitting with the game.

Arsenal had their chances before that but too often a cross was met by the Blackburn defence. The original post title was Dare To Achieve. Arsenal did not do that, the ball from the flank was too often not anticipated by the forwards and more tellingly, the midfield running in to meet it. They did not do that and as a consequence, Blackburn sat back comfortably, rarely troubled. When they were, wayward finishing from Gervinho as the first half drew to it’s close or the woodwork denying Rosicky. Diaby shot at Kean but that was more of a wake-up call, a tester to see if he was paying attention as opposed to being numbed by the indolent Arsenal attack.

Chasing the game sparked life into the Arsenal performance but it was not enough. Monreal is a dependable full back in the Winterburn mould. Sadly his shooting is as well, powerful but wayward. Walcott was denied by a good save from Kean whilst as the dying embers of Arsenal’s domestic silverware chase flickered, Arteta fired into the side-netting. The flame was truly extinguished by Mike Dean’s shrill blast on the whistle moments later.

It is a huge disappointment to lose this match, not just the result but the manner of surrender. To field a good line-up and be served with such fare would be at once saddening, maddening and baffling to the manager. Where was the leader on the pitch to take the game by the scruff of the neck, to drive the game forward. In truth he was sat deep in front of the back four as he has been all season. Arteta floated, prompted and with Rosicky, tried to raise the standard but two on their own could not do it.

The FA Cup, as with the League Cup, ended in meek surrender.

Arsenal spark new controvesy over official attendance figures

’til Tomorrow.

274 thoughts on “Appetite For Self-Destruction

  1. Good night fellow gooners. I’ve an early shout in the morning so it’s off to bed. Look forward to some shut eye tonite (didn’t sleep great last nite). COYG!

  2. Just a reminder of Gazidis reaction after the Bradford defeat:

    “I think I am frankly tired of getting up here and delivering the same message,” said Gazidis. “Tuesday night was not good enough and it made us all upset and angry. I would like to apologise to all of you, especially the fans who travelled up there. It was unbelievable support as ever and you deserved better.

    “That is something we will work hard to put right,” he added. “We all work here and are desperate to deliver the success and trophies we all want. Look into the eyes of the staff here, look at the way they talk. We will get this right. I initially thought this would be a great opportunity to spread Christmas cheer. I don’t think it will be but I hope to speak to all of you.”

    I wonder how he feels now?

  3. @Georgaki-pyrovolitis honestly though i fucking paied 30 quid for a all year membership of arsenal. Money may grow on trees for you, but for me 30 pounds is alot and i would not spend 30 pounds on arsenal if i knew our season would be that bad.
    I think im entitled to get something back for those 30 pounds. Ok i am a fan, but im also a consumer. i actually PAY for this. PAY! Being an arsenal fan does not come for free. In addition to the 30 pounds i also pay alot to sky for coverage of the PL.
    Love for a club is good, but its not enough, they need to deliver more..simple as.

    But im glad you are satisfied. im glad you think this is good enough. Because then you do not feel as miserable as me and as depressed as me. I would not want anyone to feel like that.

    Again, im happy for you mate, that you feel this is ok and adequate, and that htis is all you want arsenal to be, it saves you from alot of misery…

  4. Well hopefully Ivan has committed seppuku Wavey

    The only reasonable response of an Honourable man in such a shameful and disgraceful situation

  5. There are 2 realistic possibilities for our plight. Either, the team setup is fundamentally flawed, or, our players simply are not as good as we think they are.

    I have to quantify the second point. As fans, I think most of us judge how “good” a player is by what he does with the ball. Defenders aside obviously. You would think that managers pay just as much attention to what a player does without the ball. There are no doubt our players can be effective with the ball, but maybe aw does not spend too much time worrying what they do when they don’t have it?

  6. i dont mind if we dont win, i dont mind if we are mid table team, but jeezes, board has to come clean. like that atlest my expectations would not be to win anything, but maybe to get 4th it we were lucky…
    If that was my expectations i would be very happy now tbh..
    sadly the board sold me the expectations of a possible PL trophy, a CC tropy and FA trophy. that is what i belived we were going for this year.

    Was i wrong to belive that?

  7. If he were to do it on the pitch on Tuesday clearly it might improve his reputation among Arsenal fans – admittedly his family might miss him but his place in the pantheon of men who have given their lives to the club would be intact

    Or as the saying goes fix it or fuck off

    It would certainly spice up the UEFA flaggie thing we have to put up with

  8. It would not surprise me if we won against Munich. But it would not be a sign that we are back on the right road; if anything it raises more questions about the squads motivation and focus. If they Sn only lift themselves for glamour games, we are Fucked.

  9. Some say ritual disembowelment is not the answer

    Well I say has it been tried eh ?

    Football has moved on – the club must move with it if we are not to be left behind

  10. I think Ivan the terrible should do the decent and honourable thing, especially after such spinning such a tissue of blatant lies to us poor suffering fans: Hara-kiri on the pitch, (but wait until after the “Wenger out” chant). Oh yes.

  11. that was the first time gazidis really connected with the fanbase without talking about all those principles and values we have in the bank… he went up a lot in my estimation that day i saw a different side to him but it will be interesting to hear his take on things now..

  12. Good point about working hard off the ball Andy. It`s dogged us for a long time.

    Yesterday`s goal was a case in point when Theo allowed the full back to `run off him`.

    Sometimes it`s the unnoticed graft that makes all the difference.

  13. JJ and Bill do love a bit of gossip dont they? Shameful how low some will stoop to stir the pot isn’t it? Fucking squares.

  14. Maybe that’s too much though ‘Coll. Leaving ’em wanting more…first rule of showbiz.

    You should call him up JJ, when he’s “pulled the trigger”. You can brief him on a suitable replacement. Clueless Yanks and their bloody “soccer” after all. You can get a few names from google. Won’t take five minutes. They will need a man who’s knows the way forward. I’m only yanking your proverbial chain..

    I don’t think that’s at all relevant JJ. Different days altogether, different circumstances. We were only a handful of points of the relegation zone back then. No comparison.

  15. I’ve never called for any managers head funnily enough. I’ve been disgruntled, but I guess it’s just not my thang. Whatever. When the times up…the times up. These things usually become evident.

    I’m not into hounding a man like AW out of the door though, that would seem the greatest folly of all. There are clubs would snap our hands off to have a man such as that at the helm. I try to take into account what’s going on around us, and what he has acheived and what he’s trying to achieve.

    I’ll support the guy until the very end.

  16. Terry Neill – well I knitted a banner

    Marched up and down Seven Sisters Road three times

    Parted the Grand Union Canal

    And sacrificed a goat and and Ox when he left

    I recall there was a big of grumbling

    But it was mainly down to me

    And then dug in for a period known to a few as the Hawley years

  17. Anyway enough of my twaddle.

    Here’s to Tuesday and something better on the horizon. I’ll skip YW’s post tomorrow, as he hinted it would be controversial, and I like to watch my blood pressure.

    G’night y’all.

  18. I realize this is just a few players in a team of 11, but Ramsey and Gervinho work as hard as anyone off the ball and yet they get nothing but “he’s not fit to wear the shirt”. So i dont buy this we dont work hard enough bollocks. We worked hard enough to create quite alot of chances and corners against a parked bus we just couldnt put em in the back of the net.

    Our fickle support is definitely not free of blame here no matter how many refuse to acknowledge it.. Confidence plays a huge role in football and any old Tom, Dick, or Harry could tell you that.

  19. George admittedly should have been sacked for stealing on the spot

    Very poor decision which I did not feel helped us or him

    Don – very good coach and without his back 4 George would have been fucked

    Bertie – nice man – left when he decided – same as Arsene will

    Billy Wright – no idea I was 7

    Bruce ? Sorry about Bruce – no grounds for sacking him – mind you loyalty eh ?

  20. Look how soon the customers turned on a stalwart like Bacary Sagna this season, too? Its jus gone dog eat dog and no man woman or child is safe from the wrath of the spurned Gooner innit?

  21. Sagna had no more than two or three poor matches, Loomer. But I think the reason he got it in the neck is that he’s got a promising Englishman beneath him in the ranks (quite rightly too, for the time being).

  22. Poodle

    You are not alone in feeling frustrated. You are also way off the mark if you think I am pleased with our club at the moment. I’m sorry to inform you that yours and my £30 entitles us to nothing but the Red (?) membership privileges it offers. You are entitled to nothing else from AFC. You can moan all you want on here. That’s all.

  23. By that, I mean it’s quite right that Jenkinson should wait his turn.

    I nope nobody goes overboard after that FA cup defeat. There could be some red faces come Wednesday morning. Actually, why put yourself in a position where you could embarrass yourself if Arsenal plays well (to form in fact)?

  24. im not sure about this but i think georges last season was one of the worst in our history..
    we finished 38 ? points behind the champions and that was coming.. we should have sacked him in 93 but the cups saved him.

    at the minute we are 21points behind the leaders and i suspect that lead will grow.. no matter where we finish if we are 30 points adrift it goes down as one of the worst in our history but if we get 4th no doubt it will be spun as a fucking success..

  25. who the fuck turned on sagna?
    sagnas pissed off because we flogged song and havent offered him a new contract yet..

    what the fuck have the fans got to do with that?

    this is getting stupid ive heard some corkers in my time but blaming the fans for another one of the clubs fuckups is beyond a joke.

  26. Serious rubbish there, Al.

    No one here, Loomer, has slagged Ramsey. Gervinho? Yes. Build your case properly.

  27. JJ

    No body will be taken in by the ‘spin’ of achieving 4th being a success. At this moment in time I doubt we will achieve that at all… there you have it…the eternal optimist that I was is no more….

  28. there could be some red arses come weds morning as well..
    and dont forget we have to play them at their place the week after as well so a 15-14 home win might not be enough..

    i think we’ll win becuase ive got money on it but if it wasnt for the slip in my wallet id say we were pretty much fucked..

  29. Yeah brilliant innit JJ

    Get the knives ready the rope uncoiled

    You could be in for among the best nights in your entire life

    I can sense how excited you are

    Have I ever mentioned Bill Shankly

  30. That’s extreme, CB!

    Speaking for me – the thought of potentially mugging myself before a massive game makes me feel uncomfortable.

  31. Actually, the optimist is back…we have no world class stars left that can be lured away by
    big money. Wilshere is going nowhere. We therefore can expect more stability in the next few years. This bodes well. A couple more additions in the summer and we ‘will’ be challenging. Now sleep on that 😉

  32. ” Sagna had no more than two or three poor matches, Loomer. But I think the reason he got it in the neck is that he’s got a promising Englishman beneath him …” That was bollocks, Al. He got criticism for some abject performances. I, for one, said I was wrong for it.

  33. I didn’t even know you slated him, CB.

    But I think it’s a decent theory (clearly doesn’t apply to you). The guys who have been worst abused in recent years (in the press too) have had an English player beneath them in the pecking order. It might be coincidence, but since many young English players are hyped, and the efforts of some non-English footballers often go unrecognised – I think it’s a reasonable assumption. People might do it unconsciously.

  34. Al – I don’t think there will be red faces regardless of the result on Tue. A win will be great but really will call into question the players focus for less glamorous games. A convincing win would be typical of this schitzo side.

  35. There a couple of bad performances, but after half a decade of great service (not to mention scoring the most crucial goal of last season), I thought there had to be another explanation for the ire. Fans can’t be that shabby can they?

  36. Al – that is a crazy theory mate. I don’t think many people care less about s players nationality. I don’t recall anybody “turning” on sanga anyway. People said he had played shit for a few games. It’s fair comment. No big deal really.

  37. Bac has openly acknowledged his form hadn’t been great.
    However he on the improve again, and he is a long way ahead of Jenkinson.
    I hope he gets the contract extension, but I suspect he wont.

  38. I could not give a Fuck if every one of our players, to a man, was from Mongolia. As long as they could produce better than that lazy rancid shite that was on display yesterday.

  39. That’s the point, Andy. The rest? Well, I don’t follow the media. Most fans trust their eyes. The noise comes from a few.

  40. I don’t recall any undue abuse directed at Sagna above and beyond the typical abuse given out to most Arsenal players

    Gervinho Eboue Song – I felt that was/is a little more bit more than just the usual

    Mind you they hate Ramsey – Welsh

  41. Some of those pretending to be non-critical fans were also slagging Sagna too (by downplaying his importance to the squad), I guess as a sort of pre-emptive strike in case he leaves over contract/wage disputes. Stuff like, ‘look how poor Sagna is, age might be catching up to him.. who can blame the club if they refuse to give him the contract he wants…, who needs him anyway, Jenks is ready to take over…’

    Theo got the same treatment too, until he signed the extension.

  42. It amazes me how so often we allow a team to score with their only significant attack of the game. Genuinely, it would be funny if it wasn’t arsenal it happened to.

  43. What – the lazy rancid shite comment ?

    As you say an outstanding example of your inventive expression

    Roland Friesler would shudder at such imaginative prose

  44. And I am sure you will throw your weight behind the 14 lazy rancid purveyors of shit with your usual brio come Tuesday

    How the lads can fail I can’t imagine

    Still it’s Wenger’s fault

    And the board

    And the 14 lazy rancid little shits

  45. bloody yo-yo fence sitting pseudo support. Always startling the freaking fence safely falling to one side or the other depending on win lose draw.
    the best Thing for AW and the team is to shut this noisy minority out of their minds and get on with their business. Fuck the boo boys and the moaners. We can give this bunch a massive lift every time they play at home and yet they choose to sap the confidence right out of them. Stupidest fan base in all leagues . Truly unworthy of supporting this club and organization.
    Old turdfford park is that away. Get a move on. You won’t achieve your agenda that you have hide for years and passed yourself off as a genuinely loyal supporter.
    The etihad is that away. Get a move on you two faced miserable dopes.


  46. Well, not being at the game, it’s hard* to comment, but on a dodgy stream all I saw were lethargic performances; against the Stokes and Sunderlands we played with verve and desire; that looked like a spineless, tired team out there – yet they had so much to play for, and to prove. This isn’t just about shit support, it’s about highly trained people performing very very below par. To blame the crowd is not reasonable; this is the arsenal and we DEMAND a high level of performance and commitment; the results can go either way, but the play was slow and tepid, for the most part.
    * But not that hard.

  47. Anicoll

    Interesting that you are out of step with the captain in having a pop at fans not supporting them unreservedly. According to Thomas Vermaelen,

    “I think the tempo could have been higher sometimes. I think we had too many touches on the ball, didn’t respect the game sometimes and it was difficult to get through their defence.”

    When the captain says that, it’s pretty much time for the players to stand up and be counted. Not showing the game enough respect?

  48. The AKBs are struggling to justify their ridiculous arguements. They too realise that Arsene’s time is up and he’s sinking faster than the Titanic. He’s been in charge for 4 years too long. He’s a dinosaur and we know what happened to them. Anyhow, I’m happy to read the all the AKB comments on this site but the arguments for keeping Wenger are getting weaker by the day.

  49. I totally agree PONY BOY. No one is blaming the boo boys and the moaners 100%. Still who is to say if the atmosphere was more conducive and dare I say
    Intimidating to the opponents that even the group making up the team yesterday wouldn’t have been able to grind out a result. But NO… the Basterds that booed Needed to feel better about themselves and sap the little confidence this group had right out of them.
    My point is instead of helping the situation they decided to make it worse for the team that hadn’t played football together that often. The choice is clear. Demoralizing the team as opposed to building them up. A vocal minority of no nothings are at it again year after year. Maybe they are starting to develop a taste for humble pie dished out to them every year. Be true to the club you claim to love.
    Don’t get elated at them not progressing just so you can achive you agenda.
    That what I call a two face person.

  50. That statement for Vermaelen said it all YW. At least, he is not making any excuses unlike some superfans. He basically means we underestimated our opponents. I donno what to say. How can we underestimate Bburn after what happened at Bradford a few games back!!!

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