You Never Know…Yes, You Do Arsene. The Title Flame Was Finally Extinguished

Arsenal 1 – 1 Liverpool

0 – 1 Crouch (42)
1 – 1 Bendtner (53)

If this was a must-win match, there was nothing to indicate that the eleven Arsenal players on the pitch thought that was the case in the opening forty-five minutes, by which time as is customary these days, they were a goal down. Arsene would not admit afterwards that the gig was up for the Premier League title but you could see from his body language that he knew it would take a fall of Devon Loch proportions from both Chelsea and United for the pot to return to North London.

Changes were made with Traore, Hoyte, Gilberto, Walcott and Bendtner all starting, everyone they replaced with the exception of van Persie sat on the bench. In the opening twenty minutes, the team played like a bunch of strangers who were meeting for the first time. They lacked the spark, the intensity, as if they accepted the title had gone with the number of changes that Arsene had made. Perhaps they believed that his higher priority was Tuesday’s return leg at Anfield?

Whatever it was, Liverpool were sharper to create chances and perhaps should have taken the lead in this spell. They did not and Arsenal got to grips with them, Fabregas shooting just wide, unable to convert a chance reminiscent of Kuyt’s goal in midweek and Bendtner criminally missing from the edge of the area. It was a clear chance and one that would have changed the outcome. Rather like the Arsenal season, his finishing was flat. Much of that has to do with the lack of cohesion; he and Walcott were isolated too easily by the Liverpool defence and midfield. Something had to change and it did when Crouch drilled home from the edge of the area. That the Liverpool striker won the ball in the air initially was not a surprise but allowing Benayoun to return a pass unchallenged from that was a lack of concentration.

Half time intervals are proving to be Arsene’s Piece de resistance at the moment. Whatever is going in the cuppa is working wonders. Toure gave Liverpool a warning of what was to come, heading wide early in the second half. The visitors defence did not learn and when Bendtner was given a free header, he atoned for his earlier miss by scoring from close range. Level and game on.

From that point, it was a typical Arsenal performance in recent months. Lots of possession but few clear opportunities to grab the points. Lots of half-chances that could have been goals had a Liverpool head or body not got in the way; Flamini forced a save from Reina but perhaps the afternoon was best summed up with the final chance falling to Hleb; a confident striker of the ball would have got a shot away earlier – indeed had this been in September, I think Hleb would have done – but his first touch took him away from goal and the chance went begging.

Some talk of a penalty being denied but to be honest, whilst it was foul play when Lukas pulled at Fabregas, in the English game spot kicks are rarely given for that sort of thing. And it seems in the Champions League too…Arsene said afterwards,

Of course it’s a massive game, who would say that the Quarter-Final of the Champions League is not?…We will play our game on Tuesday night and try to win the game, and give absolutely everything, and after, anyway, our season has not been disastrous, you know? People expected us to be between ten and twelve [in the league] at the beginning of the season so we are beyond expectation

Tuesday is indeed the make or break part of the season. ’til Tomorrow.

74 thoughts on “You Never Know…Yes, You Do Arsene. The Title Flame Was Finally Extinguished

  1. Flint McCullough says:

    Pretty acurate summary there,YW.

    We started flat, lacking real confidence, Liverpool were much more relaxed. Bentner was left too isolated & although Flamini tried to support him, I thought it was a mistake not to play Theo as an out & out striker.

    This team has got great spirit though & deserves credit for digging deep in the 2nd half.

    I was pleased to see a much improved performance from Traore, although Hoyte will be dissapointed that he did not make the most of his opportunity.

    Gilberto deserves credit for raising his game & Bentner gave some glimpses that he will be quite a player, despite his 1st half bad miss.

    This so reminds me of the early GG team.

    Keep faith, it looks like we shall fall short this season, but this team can & will compete. What it needs it wholehearted support with just a bit more patience.

  2. klon says:

    IMHO Flint no it will not compete, I am not one to ask for too many changes but this time around I fear we do need a few new faces.

    Who people want is usually a matter of personal opinion so I shall leave it at that.

  3. Kolo Gunner says:

    I don’t agree with Flint that patience is needed.Actually at the beginning of the year prior to Eduardo’s injury were looking good and had a golden opportunity to win the the title. If the squad had been strengthed with two to three players ,the team would still be fighting for the title . Instead nothing was done. SAF is no fool when it comes to this sort of situation.
    He would want to take advantage of it by overpowering the gunners after the stamina sapping battle with Pool.Take my word for it. He would want to impose his own brand of high speed soccer which could daze the gunners.
    I hope I’m wrong and the gunners can get the better of Liverpool in normal time.

  4. tuna says:

    Dear Arsene there is no doubt you are our greatest ever manager but to find out the reason for our collapse since the turn of the year you need to look in the mirror. You continually refer to the lack of depth in the squad…WELL WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT ?
    Yesterday you started with Hoyte Gilberto Eboue Bentdner none of these players are good enough.
    You have failed to replace Pires & Freddie ..we have no goals coming from wide areas.
    You refuse to play Walcott in his best position. He needs to be on the shoulder of the last defender where he can use his pace. HE NEEDS TO PLAY DOWN THE MIDDLE….
    Every team suffers injuries but they have a decent squad to cover it. We have an excellent first eleven but that is it & you Mr Wenger need to stop being so obstinate & recognise the fact by strengthening the squad. You have cost us the League title by your intransigence lets pray for a result on Tuesday.

  5. Flint McCullough says:

    There normally is some freshening up in the summer, Klon.

    I would expect 2/3 in & out. And Kolo, if Arsene could have predicted the Eduardo incident maybe, Anelka would now be an Arsenal player, who knows?

    The question that no one ever answers is who are the players that were available, in January, who would have made the difference?

    That RVP, Rosicky & indeed Diaby are so consistently unavailable is a problem that I feel will be addressed in the summer.

    We have a very strong base. The problem we have is that emerging players are often inconsistent & difficult to predict but for me, I would take another season of similar to see the likes of Theo, Bentner,Denilson, Djourou, Song etc., develop into the big players of their day.

    True super stars are few & far between.

    When your history is being used to 18 year gaps between championships, short term pain for long term gain is still very attractive to me, especially when the distress has kept us comfortably in the top 4.

  6. hammmerhead says:

    From Hammerhead to tun well thta AW knows whta needs to be done come the end of season.
    Don’t be surprised if AW opens the checkbook like in 2001 and we won the league in 2002.

  7. vivb says:

    As for strengthening the squad the transfer window closed at the end of Jan. Eduardo’s injury was 23rd Feb.

    Which position/player would have strengthened our squad. The only major transfer was Anelka but we had Eduardo fit then.

    We lost Diarra but equally Djourou (got injured) and Song returned in midfield.

    I don’t think anyone would have expected Rosicky to be out as long as he has been. And RvP return has been slow.

    Personnally I was dissappointed with Traore yesterday, but it was his debut, he didn’t show his pace and failed to track back at times.

    I hope Crouch isn’t playing on Tuesday Gallas and Toure couldn’t cope with him although European refs don’t like his style.

    Worryingly though Cesc looked tired again his passing suffered as a result.

    We also

  8. Danny_M says:

    The title is gone but we can draw so many postives from this season. There is work to be done in the summer but the core of the team has proved it can challenge for the title (and still has a very good chance of the European Cup); it’s just the edges that need smoothing out a bit!

    Eboue, Hoyte and Diaby are the kind of players who probably need to move on. This was the season they had to prove themselves but other than Diaby’s good couple of games/goals at the start of the season, they’ve not quite done it. I know he has become the target for much abuse but Eboue really has seen far more first team football than a player of his talent and confidence deserves. The fans have turned and I hope Wenger notices we’d all rather see someone like Walcott given a long run in the team. In fact, even blooding a reserve team player in that position for the final few league games would surely be more beneficial than using a low-confidence player who the fans are expressing something bordering on hatred towards!

    Fair play to Gilberto who gave his best performance for a long time yesterday but he knows as well as most that this will probably be his final season at the club. Then there’s Bendtner…what to make of a player who has scored a couple of cracking headers this season but struggled to win over fans and, apparently, team mates too? His arrogance grates on me and the fact he has only proved limited ability to go with it means I’d favour waving him goodbye if he’s going to hold up the development of the likes of Vela, Barazite and maybe Walcott in an out and out striker role.

    If Wenger can bring in a couple of players to strengthen the squad (like klon earlier, I won’t suggest names as this usually leads to people listing players with great ‘potential ability’ on Football Manager!) we’ll be in there again next season. I’d guess a more direct midfield player, a defensive utility player and, of course, the usual ‘easy to say/hard to find’ striker to finish the hideous number of chances we create!

    This is just my thoughts on the squad and where the dead wood needs clearing; it’s not intended as a whinge, “sack Wenger”, “sell the team and start again” rant! This season we’ve proved the doubters we’re still a force; let’s hope we can smooth the edges and do even better next season…

  9. veteran says:

    Excellent review Yogi, i totally agree with Flint this team has competed very well and will do so again next season.
    We have been up against two teams whose squads cost an absolute fortune and is both riddled with superstars.
    We have been unfortunate with injuries to key players and have had unusually had to deal with a team where one player has had an unbelievable season and looks to have almost won the premiership crown on his own.
    Love him or loathe him, and lets be honest we all cant stand him but you have to hold your hands up sometimes and say Ronaldo has been out of this world this season.
    Whether he performs as well next season remains to be seen, normally in these instances they dont come anywhere near as effective.
    Our team will be more experienced and stronger, and with a few new faces which im sure Arsene will sign, we will be up there again with more of a chance to last the pace.
    Our season is still not over, we have got a great chance to win the CL, i for one am very optimistic.
    Lets not get too down, we are admired right across the world for the football we play, and if we are all true Gooners we all should be proud of the team and the progress we have made

  10. Danny says:

    We have needed a big good c /back for 3/4 years and we need a top striker Torres type and maybe another creative midfielder to help Cesc out , he can’t do all on his own all season as for people even thinking about Wenger going you are mad we have been in the top 4 all the time he’s been here, mainly top 2 at our best we play the best football anywhere, 17 mins from Champions league cup

  11. Flint McCullough says:

    Well said Veteran & I pretty much agree with most of what D_M has said.

    Eboue is frustrating. He has a lot of ability but I agree he has certainly not risen much above poor, since Christmas.

    Maybe he needs to be left out for a long period to get back that hunger he had when he first joined us. He is simply not offering us enough defensively or as an attacker. Even if he is not playing well there is no excuse for not getting stuck in.

  12. tuna says:

    We need a Marewood / Limpar/ Overmars…a winger who will score 15 goals a season…we have a large number of central midfield who have been played wide . For 2 seasons now this has gone on….come on Arsene buy a decent winger.

  13. tuna says:

    Danny that player was Diarra but we sold him to Portsmouth rather than putting him out on loan.

  14. solgooner says:

    Yesterdays game proved that Wenger has no confidence in second string players like Denilson. Djouru etc and the players he did bring in showed how far they are behind the first string, Traore, Hotye, were average at best, Bentdner although he scored missed a couple of golden opportunities and he cant lead the line. Why Song wasnt brought in to replace Cesc is beyond me, Cesc was obviously exhausted and it was probably one of his worst games ever. Theo was the only bright spot he should play on the left for the last five games.

    Veteran if we had better players in second tier, we would not have an exhausted team at the end of the season, another years experience wont solve that problem, lets hope Wenger finally admits that Rosicky and RVP wont play 38 games between them in a season, and that Ebuoe has been given enough chances and Bentdner would be OK at a mid level club.

  15. Jimmy says:

    danny_M, where is this arrogance that Bendtner has displayed. I am baffled by that accusation, unless you have some evidence i haven’t seen. To me he looks a player low on confidence at the moment rather than arrogant. He also works the line well and chases balls down. I don’t see what’s been “grating” on you apart from the guy being a bit rusty.

  16. solgooner says:

    Jimmy many times hes said he should be a starter, his father whos his agent constantly has press leaks saying how hes wanted by many clubs and if he didnt get a regular first team spot he would leave. He doesnt have a footballing brain

  17. tuna says:

    Bentdner is simply not good enough. His first touch & his control are poor. its Niall Quinn all over again…ITS PACE THATS REQUIRED ..GET WALCOTT ALONG SIDE ADEBAYOR

  18. Jimmy says:

    Have you actually heard him say these things? I haven’t and until i do i’m passing no judgement.. I would never in a million years base my opinion of a player (or anyone for that matter) on paper talk.

  19. Jimmy says:

    Yeah good point tuna, it’s all about pace. Why don’t we just throw in Dwain Chambers whilst we’re at it. He’s punting around for a new job. Of course it’s not all about pace. Look at the record goal scorer in the champions league for a shining example. In fact just look at the guyu who scored against us yesterday. You need a balance. Touch and finishing are the two things most affected by a run of games also.

  20. Jimmy says:

    One final point on Bendtner. Our three greatest strikers in recent years. Henry, Anelka and Wright. All arrogant but turned out to be great. We don’t necessarily need a team of choirboys you know.

  21. useroz says:

    Perhaps something novel had to be done… in the corporate world, with the situation arsenal’s in, at least external and independent would have been/will be called in to assess issues and make recommendations. Football is a different world [well, look at its salaries] so this might not be easily done but how about getting friendly advice from some high achieveing semi-retired oldies??

    The one thing is, except perhaps midfielders, our defenders and strikers aren;t doing what others normally do… strikers don’t really shoot regulary, and defenders don’t really tackles regularly… watch some replays and you will see it.

    Would Adebayor do what Crouch did yesterday? Shoot from 30+ yard and forced an excellent save from Almunia? Or score the goal Crouch score? Course not.

    Seriously what’s wrong with doing what Walcott did in the 1st leg of CL 1/4 by dribble just a little, found a liitle space and shot outside 18 box? The ball was so fierce and though it didn’t get in, it’s a genuine chance and surely if you keep at it several more you nick one! Walcott, Bendtner and at times Cesc [and strangely Eboue, despite whatever people think of this guy] are the ones willing to do so! We got to bloody change…

  22. Ian says:

    I think the only real disappointment this season can be the knowledge that we threw away a 5 point lead against a very strong Man Utd team and turned it into a deficit of 5 points (potentially 8).

    Let us not forget (1) our starting point and (2) how far we have progressed this season.

    Arsene Wenger is not perfect and I am sure he will admit that he has made mistakes this season but his refusal to give up the title is admirable. It is the kind of strength of character that a young team like ours needs.

    I expected us to have a difficult season and was overjoyed at watching our team lead for much of the season and I was bitterly disappointed to watch us drop so many points.

    Personally, I think we are not quite ready yet.

    The only players in our squad who are the finished article are likely to be on their way out at the end of the season (Gilberto and Lehmann).

    The reason why the team frustrates at times is because they are still learning.

    For me, there are still exciting times ahead. The players are only going to get better -particularly the spine of young players we have.

    There are not many players in the world that we could buy that would make a significant improvement to our squad.

    It’s easy to criticize our fringe players or our lack of depth but unexpected injuries have played their part. The continued absence of Van Persie, Rossicky, Diaby and Denilson is quite worrying. They all have great potential as players but if we can not rely on them to play a season -how can they develop and how can they contribute?

  23. Ian says:

    Expect a few new faces to emerge next season as well. I guarantee that this time next season we will not be arguing about squad depth.

  24. hmmmm says:

    Wrighty arrogant? LOL

    I would suggest Arsene to play Diaby at left, and Hleb at right with Theo playing a bit upfront, and given freedom to run. Theo should swap with Hleb, and let him do those trademark dart-dribbling runs. Diaby should assist clichy in both attack and defense (sad as it sounds). Cesc-Flamini in the middle is the key, I hope they’re not exausted, we need them fully fit/fresh, and we need them to be at their best. Ade upfront. Toure at RB. This would give enough defensive stability when we go all out to attack. Anyway, I think it’ll be 1-1 draw, and it would go down to penalties. Even though Reina is a master, I hope Almunia gets it right and help us win…

  25. Le Bob says:

    Good review, Yogi.

    Although I didn’t get to see the game (just highlights), I think it’s fair to say we can’t be happy about yesterday. We have to turn our attention to the CL now, but frankly, although the current team is capable of pulling off some stellar performances and results, I’t seems they’re not able to cope with injuries and fatigue, and I fear even the CL is a bridge too far (especially considering how impressive ManUre have looked recently). Here’s hoping they can revert to the sort of form they showed in the first half of the season and prove me wrong. And if not, changes needs to be made this summer.


  26. Edengrave says:

    you can’t argue with facts. we played Liverpool three times, twice at home, and the result was the same. Arsenal is not a better team than Liverpool. that’s what facts says. although I find it hard to believe myself, but it’s clear that they know how to handle us. hat off to Benitez. his tactical mind is impressive. He exposed our weaknesses, and smothered our strengths. in the first half. What’s worrisome is that it seemed we had learned little from the previous game. what’s frustrating are the usual suspects. Ade, Bendtner and Eboue. what’s missing are Sagna Rosicky and Eduardo. what’s encouraging is Walcott, and The pool spot kick weakness.

    I already had to concede Manure was superior, so what’s another bitter pill?

    Only one thing to play for now.

    feeling half stuck between a fading dream and the real world.

  27. Jimmy says:

    Edengrave. Look at the league table for goodness sake. Of course we are a better team than Liverpool. We may have been disappointed with two draws against them but that’s what they were, draws. They did not beat us and don’t have a winning record against us. Yes they play a canny tactical game and nick draws here there and everywhere. However that’s why they will never win the league, because they don’t have the ambition or quality to win enough games. Cups will always be their forte, where you can go through without even winning (which they’ve done many times).

  28. solgooner says:

    Cesc is the driving force of the team and if theres is nobody who can replace him for the last 30 minutes or who can give him a couple of games rest, then we have problems and thats exactly whats happened in the last 2 seasons, Ade is another one whos completely off form. and theres no stand in for him, ofr Wenger to say RVP would be like a new player is a load of nonsense he knew his physical problems s well as Rosicky.

  29. solgooner says:

    A club with the highest ticket prices in the EPL should be able to buy players like Nani and Anderson, who though they are teenagers settled in immediately, which Denilson, did not

  30. Jimmy says:

    sol, do you realise what nonsense you are talking? We should be signing teenagers who can settle immediately? How the f**k can that be predicted? And Denilson was one of the quickest settlers in the english game i’ve seen for us. He’s unfortunately had injury problems too though.

  31. Patthegooner says:

    I really dont think we are that far off.

    Arguably if we had kept people fit, we would be posting about a good lead going into the last 5 games. I actually think Wenger gambled on squad size, and probably did not foresee so many long term injuries to the big players. In hindsight of course he should have brought more in pre-season but maybe the players he wanted were not available. and again maybe they were not in Jan

    He probably also thought that his Eboue Experiment would reap rewards as would the continued development of the promising Denilson and Diaby, unfortunately they all have failed to step up this year.

    From that I think that he will be busy in the Summer, A GK will be a definate, but I also expect to see a CB, a Striker to cover the long term absence of Eduardo and a Winger in addition to Vela. A say in addition to as you just cant count on Rosicky being a 1st team regular, it has gone beyond bad luck he is just injury prone

    As for those leaving, I dont think we need to many to go. I would like to see the back of Eboue, I just dont like the guy and I dont think he offers anything. Jens will of course retire, and Diaby’s Agent seems to want to take him to Italy which again I dont think will be a huge loss especially with the emergence of Lansbury, Randall and Gibbs. Apart from those maybe a couple of loans for Denilson and Bendtner to eithe La Liga or Premiership teams.

    Keep the faith guys, I am not one who subscribes to the Arsene Knows theory, as everyone makes mistakes but I am sure we are on the verge of something great

  32. Kelsey Skirton says:

    My midfield for Tuesday would be Cesc, Flam, Hleb and Song Billong. Drop Eboue and play Ade and Theo up front.

    I also would be in favour of buying Diarra back at in the summer, although I don’t suppose that will happen.

    I’m very much in the camp of those who say show patience with the youngsters. Their over- performance this season as a team, perversely is cruel to us supporters as we see our dreams fade. But I comfort myself with the prospect of next season when those same players will be a year older and wiser. Nonetheless, I hope Arsene wields the chequebook in the summer if any established players, right for us, become available. Our squad is definitely too thin

    I was pleased that Gilberto had a good game yesterday. What an example of a good pro who has conducted himself with great dignity even as his star fades.

  33. Danny_M says:


    You say Bendtner’s not arrogant and then go on to say it’s not a bad thing that he is!?! You want proof? Every Birmingham fan I heard comment on Bendtner last season said he looked a fine player but was extremely selfish and arrogant in his comments about other players when left out the team. He’s come back to us this season and has talked up his ability but, quite simply, hasn’t lived up to that. I think the cliché is “talking the talk, but not walking the walk.”

    Undoubtedly he has talent and has scored a couple of good goals; I just wish he was a bit more like Eduardo in that he is an unproven player and should be proving himself to us fans before telling all and sundry how great and deserving of a starting place he is…

    You say, “one final point on Bendtner. Our three greatest strikers in recent years. Henry, Anelka and Wright. All arrogant but turned out to be great.”

    I’d say, the day he starts scoring as many, and as regularly as those three, I’ll retract my comments.

  34. Patthegooner says:

    How typical

    Man Ure drop points just to tease us into thinking what might have been if we picked up all 3 yesterday

  35. Big Al says:

    They could be missing both Rio and Vidic next week. Oh well, we’re entitled to dream still. Not much more than that though…

  36. solgooner says:

    Jimmy you dont understand what I said in the case of Nani and Anderson they were teenagers who came straight into the side and excelled Im trying to point out we dont need any more signings like Nordvelt which is for the future but impact players who came into the team immediately as Torres did at Liverpool.
    Denilson did start brightly but then went backwards as did Diably and Djouru, and your idol Bentdner has certainly not set the world on fire, at best he a good sub for the last 20 minutes

  37. solgooner says:

    Kelsy agree with you on the team for Tuesday, Ebuoe is a wanker and Song is fresh and has physical ability

  38. lc says:

    Tuesday team:


    Eboue- Kolo- Gallas- Clichy.

    Gilberto (or Song).

    Fabregas. Flamini.

    Walcott. Hleb.



    We are well balanced with that formation.

    For those crying all-over the place to sell Eboue. Just open your eyes, eboue is far better footballer than hoyte you don’t mention in that list.
    RVP, Rosicky and Hoyte are actually players who are useless at the moment, not Eboue. He is not a striker to score goals. At least he tries his best to get himself in these positions, because he is tactically a very good footballer. To get him score goals, that is a job AW needs to do, because it’s easy to score a goal when your confidence is affected constantly by your own fans hate to see you on football pitch.

    On Bentner, the lad has got better ball control and passing than Ade. It’s the constant arrassment from fans like you who are damaging his confidence, just like Eboue is suffering at the moment.

    Our short coming this season in particular is a lack of strength in depth in midfield and forward. We’ve been playing over and over the same players all this season without giving them any rest.

  39. tuna says:

    er Jimmy…wright anelka henry..what did they all have great 1st touch & blistering pace…Bentdner has none of these…

  40. solgooner says:

    Ic Ebuoe doesnt have time to read blogs hes a millionaire, his defensive skills are below average, he cant shoot, and one pass out of 3 is any good, he doesnt care what any fan thinks as long as Wenger picks him

  41. go home and die says:

    It’s not over till it’s mathematically over, period.

  42. lc says:

    May be yourself, you know nothing about the game. A player who has been on the list of FIFA best defenders has become all sunden an average player. I am glad that you will never be appointed as an arsenal coach. Even Kolo has never been on that list. It’s time you’ve get some prospective when talking about Eboue, hey!!

  43. solgooner says:

    How do the FIFA do their ratings? It must be by blind men.When did you last see Ebuoe have a good game?

  44. Ian says:

    It really is not over with Man Utd scraping a draw with Boro today.

    Just 6 points in it. When we beat Man Utd we will be just 3 points behind them and when Chelsea beat them at Stamford Bridge -we will behind on goal difference.

    Never stop believing until it is impossible.

    A true fan. 🙂

  45. california gooner says:

    I have to agree with those who say squad depth– one or two players– may have been the difference between winning and coming third in the premiership. The Eduardo injury was obviously devastating, but Rosicky’s long-absence has also made us a much more anemic attacking team. He seemed to link the back and front and take the pressure of Cesc.

    It seemed pretty obvious that we needed more players, but Wenger was always going to err on the side of believing in the players he has — that is the romantic in him, I think, and it appeals to the romantic in me. However, it is pretty clear that he got it wrong. My understanding is that he actually thought very hard about buying Anelka but that there is some ‘rule’ against buying back ex-players. Too bad. I think that could have been the difference.

    I suppose we are not mathematically out of it, but nobody is expecting anything better at this point, I think. What is frustrating, of course, is not the final result but the fact that this squad was that close. Let’s hope for a big result on Tuesday! Or is it Wednesday?

  46. Ian says:

    I forgot to mention that 86 points will be enough to win the league this season.

  47. free bets says:

    im affraid that result has left the title just sitting for Man Utd to collected

  48. Patthegooner says:

    Mega Clutch at straws time

    we win our remaining five games including Man Ure next Sunday

    Chelsea and Man Ure Draw (Otherwise its Chelsea’s), and Blackburn beat Man Ure

    stranger things have happened, we need to win next Sunday though to sow the seed of doubt

  49. team spirit says:

    I am really glad some fans can actually keep the faith and see that it is not over until it is mathematically over.

    “I think the only real disappointment this season can be the knowledge that we threw away a 5 point lead against a very strong Man Utd team and turned it into a deficit of 5 points (potentially 8)…. ”
    I think that from ian’s post explains why a lot of people are lashing out in frustration and cant even grudginly admit that this team is fully caplable of winning the league but for too many draws of late.

    I am glad Man U dropped points today if only just to prove that anything can happen.

    You think they really can afford to draw the remaining 5 games and the title is still theirs? that question is directed to those who have crowned man u already.

    i have been saying for a while that chelsea could just sneak in and collect it at the death although Luckily for man u, their Goal difference is a point in itself.

    I am not writtin off our chances until it is one game to go and we are 6 points adrift cos if it we are equal on points, who says we cant score a dozen versus derby although they seem to be defending quite well of late.

    Bottom line of all this is that football is no mathematics and it is not over until it is over. Keep the faith… enough saif!

  50. BB says:

    we are not going to win the title .. maybe Chelsea, but surely not us
    our performances are so so poor

    İ dont mind not winning games
    but we really play shiit

  51. Aman says:

    Agree with u lc on Eboue. Being played out of position can expose a player to his frailties and I belive this is probably the case with him. Other personal changes in his non-footballing life might also be a factor. But I do remember this player being lauded by the paundits & general
    populace about a season and a half ago.

    Please people the error is AW’s….and it’s up to him to correct it.

  52. Aman says:

    to his frailties= to his hidden limitations

  53. AlanG says:

    Oh dear – a UTD draw. If we’d beaten pool we’d be right back in. As it is – a wafer thin shout. We have to beat UTD at OT but slim chance with our titanic fixture on TUES and their easy 2nd leg game where they can smoke havannas and still go through.

    Liverpool are starting to grate me – a cynical team of negative style in Benitezs image. I don’t think they will win a title under him but they are fearsome in cups. I don’t subscribe to a “beauty v the beast ” analogy but I would love it (copyright K Keegan) if we beat them and sickened them. In fact, Arsene should be telling his players to look how liverpool fight for everything and target and snuff out the opposition danger men – we have let Gerrard stroll around now for 2 games – anybody like to pick him up and breath down his neck like Fabregas said of Mascherano. That’s more of Arsenes arrogance – we play our own game and don’t worry about the opposition. Ok against Fulham – not against UTD & Chelsea.

    Why don’t we man mark anybody anymore – eg Gerrard or Rooney/Ronaldo. In chess parlance, if you can sacrifice a pawn to nullify the queen, you are almost assured of victory. I remember being at Arsenal v Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup 2-0 (2 wrighty crackers at the mural end!) win at Highbury in the GG era. Roy Keane was playing for Forest and showing the talent that would make him such a talented player. GG played David Hillier man to man on him – he went everywhere with him and eventually keane started losing the cool. He limited him to one clear run on goal.

    What has happened to this team defensively – why can’t we keep clean sheets? Why can’t we simply clear our lines in dangerous positions? Why can’t we stick tight to our players. I played centre back at in a local league and once kept 22 centre forwards scoreless in a row. Ok, their skill level wasn’t great but I stuck to them and my single aim was to stop them scoring. I had a trick where each time a ball was about to be played in I touched their back and kept touching it (not shirt pulling). They would then know I was tight and would panic slightly as they knew their first touch would have to be spot on. Also, if I knew I could touch them at all times, i was close enough. We have no defenders like that – proud of their art and with a “they shall not pass” attitude.

    My point – as I said before, time for this team and its Manager to come down of its high horse and learn that as well as playing great football, great sides can also win the grind matches and stand up to physical teams and keep clean sheets. The difference between us and UTD will be: greater pace and incision in Ronaldo and Rooney (bought for serious money and defensive strenght in Van de Sar / Ferdiand & Vidic.

  54. dukeGoonem says:

    i think we are back in it!!

    if we beat the mancs, we then play reading at home whilst they go away to blackburn and chelsea are away and then they play each other!!

    + ferdinand and vidic are out!! we are back in it im sure!!

    25-1 im having a paul mckenna on that!!!

    I see the light!!! up the arse!!!!

  55. crafty bison says:

    Summer should be a busy time for Arsenal. We emphatically need a top-class centre-back because Kolo Touré’s performances have been in decline for two years now and it is patently obvious he will never be world-class. A fantastically eager player he may be but he does not have the quality to be ranked higher than part of a rotation to ensure that Gallas and the new centre-back are not rendered exhausted by February. With Manchester City’s failure to capitalise on an impressive start this season I suggest we step in and capture Micah Richards; now that the hype has died down he should be ours for around £10million. With Philippe Senderos also emerging as a good solid centre-half this could spell the end for Johann Djourou who appears unable to emerge as a central midfielder. I would recommend that he is moved on if we can get £2.5million.

    With central defence dealt with we still have a problem at left-back. Although Armand Traoré put in an improved performance against Liverpool this weekend he is still too raw and inexperienced to be reliable as backup, particularly if the previously injury-prone Gael Clichy were to receive a long-term injury. Traoré should be sent out on loan to a club such as Newcastle United who have previously stated their interest in the youngster. Meanwhile I would like to see Matthew Taylor brought in as backup both for Clichy and for the left-midfield slot otherwise filled by the injury-prone Tomas Rosicky. Taylor is talented, and given the chance to play for a big club should raise his consistency levels. He is capable of scoring five goals a season which is a good return for a squad player, and should be available for £2million.

    With the defence sufficiently strengthened we must next look to central midfield. Assuming Mathieu Flamini signs his new deal, we have a strong first-choice central pairing, although it is clear we rely on Cesc Fabregas too much as he looks exhausted both physically and mentally at the moment. Alexandre Song-Billong is an option for the squad but if he cannot maintain a good level of concentration throughout matches he may not fit the bill and would have to be moved on in January. Assuming Song does raise his game, we also have Abou Diaby, Denilson and probably Fran Merida hoping for central berths. Since Merida is “absolutely amazing” in Arsene’s words, it must be the end of the line for Denilson who will thrive in Spain. We can fetch £4million for him. Diaby is enigmatic in that he has a few games of looking excellent and then a few of looking terrible. I suggest we hang onto him for another season because he deserves a chance to show us he can produce his best on a regular basis. If he wants to play in the middle he must improve his ball retention, passing accuracy and tackling.

    We have already strengthened the backup on the left flank with the addition of Matthew Taylor but the return of Carlos Vela offers another exciting option here. Meanwhile on the right wing, Alexander Hleb is not effective enough to be the only option (there is no competition for places in our current squad) and I suggest that Ricardo Quaresma be brought in from struggling Porto for around £8m. He can play on the right or the left; he will be first-choice on the right for us but can fill the left-wing spot if necessary.

    With right midfield properly covered, we can sell Emmanuel Eboué to anyone confident enough to take him. £5m will be good money for a talent this unpredictable. Theo Walcott is also free to move up front to compete with Robin Van Persie, Nicklas Bendtner and Emmanuel Adebayor for a place.

    Finally, in goal there is the option of buying a talent such as Igor Akinfeev to be first-choice ahead of Manuel Almunia. I suspect that this will not happen but in an ideal world Akinfeev would be between our sticks next season.

  56. vivb says:

    Hey at least we score from set pieces now

  57. jamie says:

    Everybody gets on the back of our squad players but United’s second string defenders let them down. They have been lucky with injuries, we haven’t. We have failed collectively, and it started at Birmingham. Gallas lost his head and any leadership he provided evaporated that day.

    Hleb, one of our most talented drives me f***ing mad. If he’s not on his game he slows our game down, probably the cause of Ade’s offsides.

  58. jamie says:

    Fabregas spoke to the Spanish press, comparing our support with Liverpool. He implied that the Emirates crowd get on their back if things don’t go right quick enough whilst Scousers carry on being supportive throughout. The content of this blog does support his theory

  59. dukeGoonem says:

    yeah i cant believe we were booed off the park against liverpool!!!

    what are we chelsea fans in disguise!!

    I cant get a season ticket for love nor money but i used to be a junior gunner and went all the time in the nineties when our favourite result was a 1-1 draw. but i never heard or took part in any of this booing bo****s.

    I dont know if a lot of the fans that go now are glory hunters and as soon as things dont go right they boo!

    all this shit about we pay £60 we deserve to win!! fu** off!!! what a load of bo****s.

  60. Big Al says:

    Let’s hope the fans heed Cesc’s words. Unfortunately our season could be over before we play at home again.

  61. Frank says:

    I agree with Ian. I aslo believe that we are in contention for having the worst fans in the Prem. We are quieter, more negative, less likely to back the side when they are having a bad time, disloyal to players and only really interested in value for money.

  62. team spirit says:

    whats up. i do not see my posts.

  63. team spirit says:

    I have posted a few messeges that have not shown. when i try to re post, i get the messege that I ma submitting a duplicate post and yet the other one is not showning

  64. Flint McCullough says:

    Slightly gloomy there Frank but it is very adjacent to the truth.

    Confidence is very often the the difference between success & failure at this level.

    Do the team get that confidence from their supporters?

    We have a good too many who cannot distinguish between competitive football & the Haarlem Globetrotters.

    Some interesting points Crafty but you are being too quick to discard some strong talents.

    I don’t think I would take Richard’s over Kolo, just yet, or Djourou long term for that matter either.

    We do need a dominant CB to play with Kolo, it is Gallas, who doesn’t have time on his side. Kolo & Gallas was working well before Christmas but Kolo has not been himself since then. He is better as the coverer to the aggressor (eg Cambell or Senderos).

  65. Old Timer says:

    I’m sorry its not all over yet. Do I believe we can still win the EPL; yes. Did I think we would have beaten Pool to win the league last time not on your Nelly but we did. Never give up on the Arsenal never because when you do they pull out a display that will rock your socks off. At 25 to 1 have a bet on them, I am. No one was more disappointed when the team to play Pool went on the pitch on Saturday, I inwardly groaned but in the second half we were very very unlucky not to grab three points. Contrary to some I thought they played well, the only upset player was young Hoyte, and even I think that perhaps he will not want to stay next year. Will we win against Manu well I think if we don’t it will be very very close. Will we beat Pool on Tuesday, once again if we dont it will be very very close. If you could have said to me at the beginning of the season we would be in this position would I take it you bet I would. We are still in the rce and we have a better than evens chance. Go you Gunners

  66. Clay says:

    I am sorry pple we can spend the whole day arguing about our finishiers but for me i think we need one new face in the defence before we look any where else we are leaking goals that can be defendend. We need a defender who is a man marker and good in the air simple as that. i have said thisd on many occassions the reason why we conceed is coz our back line back tracks all the time when faced with an attacker there by giving him space to move the ball to a more dangerous position instead of getting stuck and not giving him a chance to think. Oh by the way Eboue has to go he has no place in a title chasing team

  67. hboy says:

    Walking out that ground on Saturday I heard fans saying, “We just weren’t at the races today”. That sums it up for me. The lack of intelligence applied to football-watching scares me.

    Without Hleb on the pitch my fellow supporters, give up. It’s not about being at the races, it’s about talent. It’s about the ability to beat a man. It’s about the ability to see a pass. Against Liverpool in the Champs League, Hleb actually took stick from the fans. I just can’t believe my eyes or ears. That man is the talent which keeps this team going, and in Saturday’s match, we were devoid of talent.

    These fans complain every time Hleb loses the ball trying to beat men, or make an adventurous pass, yet they sit there numb, watching our less talented, less adventurous players, passing the ball slowly from the left to right, right to left, left to right, right to left, ball intercepted, opposition attack. They’ve then got the cheek to say we weren’t at the races – yes we were actually, we did the best we could, but we didn’t have enough talent out there. It’s not too difficult a concept.

    I’m not complaining at Arsene, I wanted Hleb rested, and Adebayor likewise, the correct decision. Unfortunately, we don’t have the depth at the moment to lose those guys.

    But what do the fans do?, they moan at any other player who is willing to take a man on – to try and achieve something. Traore started really brightly and he had the beating of his man, but the fans moaned every time he lost it, in the end, he was battered back into his own half by his own supporters. Supporters, the players deserve praise for taking men on, nothing gambled, nothing gained. So we had 45 minutes of stupifying boredom, but our supporters will be pleased, just as long as they don’t have to watch Hleb lose the ball when he fails to beat the fifth man.

    Hleb will play on Tuesday, and strangely enough folks, we’ll be at the races. I fancy us, we’ll be better than them, of-course we will, just need a change of luck, someone to take a chance, it’s taken a miracle for Liverpol to have got three draws out of us, anything more is unlikely. After taking three batterings, there supporters are going into this game with considerably less confidence than ourselves.

  68. Rev says:

    It’s a pity we can’t clone a young Martin Koewn, or Steve Bould…
    Lets see how we do tomorrow night, the one thing this Arsenal team isn’t short of is suprises. We know what we’re capable of, we just have to refer back to the Milan game for that – any team who can go to the San Siro and give some of the best players on the planet a lesson on how to win an away Champions leg tie can surely go to Anfield and get a result. I think we’re due one too!
    Can anyone else see the captains arm band on Flamini or is it just me?

  69. dan says:

    not if he doesn’t sign his bloody contract!!!!! he obviously isn’t that committed to club is he to be made captain.

  70. Rev says:

    Hboy, i agree that Hleb is talented, but he’s been having a shocker since Eduardo got injured. I think Eduardo opened alot of space up for me with his movement off the ball, and since his injury Hleb’s game has suffered a great deal… as talented as he is though, and as much as i’d like to agree with you on this, i just don’t think he’s a great player in the mould of say Ronaldo, Giggs, Pirez, Overmars etc… mainly because of his inability to score goals.
    Rosicky for me, is the better player, except we’ve yet to see what he is capable of.
    Hleb could have won us the game on Saturday in the last minute, but he chose to mis control as opposed to fashion a shot from 8 yards out… miscontrol caused by his inability or lack of confidence in front of goal.

  71. Clay says:

    Rev i dont agree with you on Hleb look at all the games when he is not playing we dont look like scoring. Yet when he is there u get the feeling that a goal will come. He is not the 1st player to miss that close to the goal, Rosicky that u mention has missed a sitter with the goalie beaten does that make him a bad player? U have seen Hleb play a lot of games there are things u expect from hima dn things u dont expect. Without Hleb in the middle our team has no options aprt from pass the ball around and hoipe for the best.

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