Simply Not Good Enough

It was the wake-up call; it was exposure; call it what you want but Arsene called it correctly

What we did today was just not good enough

There can be no excuses for the performance, it was simply lacklustre, one of those turned in when you underestimate your opponents. Critics will point out that it is about lack of strength in depth, lack of ability to win when the chips are down. It is none of that. It is about a lack of mental fortitude; not one of the players could bring themselves above the mediocrity of their peers, to exalt them to a higher performance. When that happens, you lose or scrape a point. In the wider scheme of things, a point can be delusional; people think that they can play badly and get away with it, the wake-up call missed. A point though is infinitely more preferable to nothing at all.

We can point to the woodwork denying Adebayor and say, “Oooh, we were unlucky” but it is not true. Fulham deserved the win. We did not. There can be no excuses about internationals; as Arsene said post-match, these are part and parcel of the modern game. The players must be able to perform every three days at this stage of the season. Yes, Pantsil should have got a straight red but that would probably not have affected the outcome.

The goal was poorly conceded. Gallas allowed Hangeland to get goalside and then compounded the error by turning his back on the player. A novice should not commit such folly; an experienced international ought to hang his head in shame. It was not the only mistake. Almunia allowed Seol to block his path, more assertiveness was needed. The path the ball took into the area should have been judged by Clichy, attacking it as he had a good view of the cross. Yes, stay on the post if it is going further out in the area but landing at foot height on the edge of the six-yard box? No, leave the post and attack the ball.

Returning from injury, Kolo Toure looked off the pace a little but recovered early on to make a telling challenge on Zamora in the area. Minutes before there had been a rare attacking bright spot as Sagna and Walcott combined on the right, a cross delivered for van Persie to half-volley wide. It summed up his afternoon; the crowd were in more danger of working for the ball than Schwarzer. Who knows, may be his fued with Pierre van Hooijdonk is sapping him mentally. Whatever the case, Robin don’t get physical with him for you will only injure yourself in the process. Probably.

There is not much more to be said on the performance. It has to be the ‘kick up the backside‘ otherwise nothing is learnt from it. On Friday Arsene said,

We have a short squad, yes, and we cannot afford 10 injuries like other teams with big numbers. But I think we have the right number of players who can compete at the top level when everyone is fit

Right now, fitness is the issue but would more availbility have made the difference? Maybe. Maybe not. Cesc has made it clear that Xabi Alonso would be a good choice,

I’d love it!. What can I say. He is my friend and apart from that he is a great professional, a great passer of the ball, he works hard defensively, he’s scoring goals now, he’s experienced and he’s only 26. For me he would be perfect

Of the options mentioned, I said a while ago, Alonso is more preferable than Barry. Nothing has changed there and perhaps Arsene needs to take a chance on the more expensive option. Signing an experienced midfielder is the key for the moment and whilst Martin O’Neill has turned twenty-eight shades of red in the head over Arsene’s comments about Gareth Barry, it is an area that needs invigorating.

Eboue was OK yesterday and maybe with time he will develop into a central midfielder. Denilson is in the same boat developmentally. The question for Arsene to decide on an answer is whether those events can happen over the course of the season. To be honest, I expect the Brazilian to make way in midweek with Eboue, Song or Djourou partnering Cesc. It is less than ideal considering the Spaniard’s fitness (or lack of it) but Arsene has history in this sort of situation, bringing back players sooner than necessary to spark the team.

Back on the trail, Cesc was positive about his future at the club,

Arsenal is Arsenal and this club has something special that no others have. I don’t even want to think about leaving

Fine words indeed, as were those in terms of the captaincy,

I would love it. I respect all decisions. I am a player that accepts nearly everything. I am happy with everything, my No 4, playing for Arsenal in centre midfield and giving 100 per cent every, every game. But if the boss thinks in one or two years I am ready to be captain, I will take the armband

You want more?

I know that I’m privileged to be where I am and I don’t want to lose it

You’ve got to love the little fella.

One thing to remember though on a depressingly wet Sunday. One game, a season does not make. One poor performance, a career does not become defined by. It was collectively poor yesterday, not individually so. No-one escapes censure for it, no-one gets more than anyone else. Here’s to improvement in the coming days.

’til Tomorrow.

227 thoughts on “Simply Not Good Enough

  1. Gunner4Ever says:

    Sol, I agree with your post at 7:10 pm.

    But why the two faced comments? One post you make him sound like the greatest, the next you make him sound like the worst ever to manage a club?

    What point are you trying to make by Wenger Spin? Which manager doesn’t Spin? Which politician doesn’t Spin? Which Corporate Executive doesn’t Spin? You’re Spinning and blowing hot & cold your self.

    Deluded because I questioned you, but it’s ok for you to question Wenger unchallenged?

    We all know he has his downfalls like any human being, we all know that we need a DM and I just said it was his mistake making Gallas a captain. But saying he spins means he is a liar, and that’s called a personal attack on his integrity.

  2. scottpuffin says:

    I can’t understand why Gallas being captain is a downfall for the club!? Who else is going to captain the club right now? Toure is just as bad as Gallas, whereas Clichy and Fabregas are too young.

    I can’t believe how fickle we are to jump on Gallas when all goes bad – he was the player who scored what could be our most important goal of the season against FC Twente! We’ve conceded 1 goal in 3 games so far this season, and scored 3. It’s not all bad people!

    The league is never won after two games, so let’s not worry folks.

  3. solgooner says:

    G4E i KNOW managers spin, but building up hopes about signings is agravating beyond belief. thats the problem some of things said have built up hopes beyond belief. If he doesnt bring another real player before Twente game is he a liar? or is Silvestre the player he meant? If so Im really pissed because he said he only knew about Silvestre last wek and that was well after the statement about Twente.

    I said you were deluded because I wrote on le grove I dont comment on any other blog except this one

  4. solgooner says:


  5. Gunner4Ever says:

    Sol, that I agree. I don’t think you should say I will sign someone and then don’t unless you have a good reason why you didn’t.

    I still think he will sign someone, he just plays games on the Media but maybe is not realizing that we listen to those comments as well and take them at face value.

  6. Silver Gunner says:

    Muppet you hit the nail on the head.

    I think AW and the board need to be more honest with fans as to what is actually going on because this Wenger Spin is worse than Bush spin…..

    We would much rather be told that we are not financially able to compete than told we are competitive when we are obviously not.

  7. Mia says:

    Muppet, I meant Confidentgooner, capital C, at 5.44, who I thought might be you taking the piss.

    Scottpuffin, I’m afraid Gallas is going to be the new Senderos. Someone has to be it apparently, and now Eboue is looking quite good in defensive midfield, Gallas is the obvious candidate. How will he cope with it? Probably badly as he’s an emotional soul.

  8. Silver Gunner says:

    AW has too much control, before it was beneficial but now it is detrimental as i believe his judgment is being clouded by potential as oppose to EPL ready talent.

    I want to be wrong because AW hasn’t let us down but for us to be playing Eboue in CM on only the 2nd game of the season without the usual bad luck with injuries is well completely dodgy. I know what most of you arer going to say that eboue was acually the better of the CM pairing, and this could have been his master plan but i very much doubt it.

  9. Silver Gunner says:

    Mia i agree with your assesment of gallas he will take the bront of some abuse if he doesn’t roll his socks up and start producing like we know he can.

  10. gazzap says:

    Mia, well spotted about my senderos opinion – its true I am critical of him, one of the few arsenal players that I regularly criticise and I was pleased to hear today’s news on him.
    On a personal basis I like Big Phil, he has a great attitude and is a natural leader. But as a footballer he leaves a lot to be desired.
    Arsenal play a high line and his pace cannot recover mistakes like other defenders can. perhaps other players make just as many mistakes but they end up getting away with them where he does not. Also I think he needs a run of games to show good form. now thats fine if you are first choice but not when you are 3rd choice and will be coming in and out of the team all the time. he was never going to get a long run in the side.
    If he ends up coming back to us, which is well possible, then I hope he comes back a better player but I fear he will not, as 5 years for us has not improved him at all.

    In the summer, I wanted Sendy, Lehmann, Gilberto, Hoyte and possibly Eboue sold. 4 out of 5 aint bad and in reality given that we have lost so many players, I actually hope we keep Eboue now – who was our best midfielder on saturday (not saying a lot).

  11. Silver Gunner says:

    gazzap lol about eboue.

    well i think eboue lacks exactly what theo lacks in midfield and that is awareness of teammates/correct pass to play.

    Not sure either will ever gain this but theo still has time on his side plus i believe by playing him up front his game will become intrinsically instinctive and could act as a perfect foil for Ade whilst RVP experiences this lean spell for us.

  12. NYmarcus says:

    It says quite a lot that Eboue was our most threatening player on Saturday.

    I also would like to point out to all those who’ve criticized AW for preferring Eboue to Walcott on the right that these recent games proves AW’s lack of confience in Walcott was entirely correct. Walcott was so easily shut down, it was comical.

    And while everyone slates Gallas and Eboue, it’s the untouchable RVP who deserves at least an equal amount of criticism. What the hell has happened to him? He performs for his national team but can’t perform for us lately.

    I think it’s crazy to send Senderos on loan — we can’t afford to lose him, despite all his flaws. Same with Djourou. And putting Silvestre on the left scares me as I started to remember late last week some of his errors as a leftback at MU.

    Muppet, excellent post.

  13. gazzap says:

    NY marcus we have Song and Djourou who are better than sendy. why have a 6th choice defender at the club getting precidely zero games?

    RVP has been poor since he came back from his latest niggle and should have been subbed at half time. his free kicks said it all. Bendtner has been superb in preseason and I think looked good when he came on on saturday. Nik B needs to be used while he is some kind of form, especially when those around him are lacking.

    as for walcott, he’s either on fire or he’s poor. thats down to inexperience. he cannot ‘method’ play. I mean when he’s not on form he cannot revert back to doing the simple things well. he does not have the football brain in place right now and little experience to draw on. his game is based on roasting defenders and if he cant do that, then he cant do anything. when he hits form people will once again eulogise about him – but the problem will NOT have been solved – just hidden for a while until the same problems come back again and again.

  14. Silver Gunner says:

    NYmarcus i agree with you about walcott he isn’t a right mid player because for what ever reason he can’t seem to hack the position on the right.

    It is time to try him upfront as with his pace and finishing he will score goals.

    I really felt sorry for him on sat when he was subbed as denilson & RVP were playing equally as bad and either or both should have been replaced.

  15. Silver Gunner says:

    gazzap these theo problems are i believe because he is being played out of postion.

    The kid reminds me a lot of Owen before all the muscular injuries destroyed his raw pace. Now RVP appears to be in poor form him him a shot up fron for 2-3 games and maybe just maybe we will see the player he is meant to be.

  16. NYmarcus says:

    I had a strong sense of foreboding when I saw that AW had brought back the Gallas-Kolo defensive pair, dropping Djourou. I have lost all confidence in that defensive pair, despite their good run in the first half of last season. They haven’t recaptured their effectiveness since the 2nd half.

    gazzap, I hear what you’re saying — and certainly it’s great for Sendy if he’s given regular first team experience at a place like Milan — Italy’s a league where they take defensive training very seriously after all. I’m just thinking of the loss to our squad depth.

  17. AlanG says:

    Agree Muppet / Solgooner

    Wenger and the Club should stop treating us like unintelligent fools

    STOP THE SPIN – “I need a CB, I don’t need a CB, I will certainly buy by the second leg, I could spend 30m if I wanted to, I could have had Ronaldo / Berbatov / Tevez, we are not short in midfield…

    Manage fans expectations – We are told the Emirates will generate 15-20m annually for player investment then we are told a season later that we are selling club…have consistent message /vision that we can buy into or not

  18. AlanG says:

    Ny Marcus

    The Gallas / Toure partnership is dysfunctional. Wenger does not seem to rate Djourou (or perhaps think he is ready) – I bet you he’d have played Senderos against West Brom if he had been fit. The adavantage they bring – mobility, athleticism and pace is fast diminishing – toure looks a shadow of his former self while Gallas has also lost some pace and power, in my view

    Djourou had done nothing wrong v West brom. We should have played him. It would given Kolo an easing in period and sent him a message – you need to show your best form. You are no longer undroppable when fit.

  19. AlanG says:

    Overall, I am glad that senderos is gone. I really liked him and saw a new Tony Adams possibly in him but he’s had 3-4 seasons and 60+ games and no forward progress so I hope the Milan move will help him get back to his best.

    Ii think he also suffers under the wEnger defensive system of the high line – he doesn’t have the recovery pace needed, as other have noted

    Senderos, Lehman, Gilberto, Hoyte gone. All decsions that needed to be made for different reasons. However, the biggest one remains – Eboue. He for me, is now the symbol of Arsenes folly – he has to be ruthlessly culled.

    I know Wenger keeps him because we have a dearth of aggressive hard working players but please – bring these type of players in, don’t try
    to paper over the cracks using Eboue

  20. Silver Gunner says:

    AlanG i agree that Toure looks a shadow of his former self looks like he has added a couple of pounds around the waist line over the summer, but only a couple and on reflection doesn’t appear to be ready. Did the bout of malaria really mess him up that much or is it something else?

  21. Mia says:

    We’ve flogged this to death, but I’ll say it once more. If you tot up our players-in and players-out, starting at last summer’s window, we seem to be in credit by at least 20 million. Add to that, perhaps, a sell-on fee for Muamba, plus the extraordinary prospect of 9 million for Senderos, and – bingo! – there’s your much-talked-about 30 million. We’d have it even if Wenger wasn’t given an annual allowance for transfers, regardless of sales, which I imagine he is. The only way we’d not have it is if we were actually having to sell players to finance the stadium debt, and no one has ever suggested that this is the case.

    So we could buy the two midfielders we need and have some change over. Muppet and others have talked about the fans’ expectation of trophies. Forget trophies. As far as I’m concerned, third and a decent run in Europe would be more than enough. It’s the very real possibility of dropping out of the top four and the consequent financial disaster that’s giving me sleepless nights. Truly I think it could happen if we don’t strengthen the midfield.

    No, you can’t have two players for every position, but you should have one extra first-choice player for each general area: i.e. three first-choice strikers (fine); four first-choice attacking midfielders (not fine, we’ve got only two); three first-choice central defenders (OK); and some cover at full back and in defensive midfield (where we are definitely dangerously thin). That extra first-choice player isn’t going to spend the season on the bench. There is always a key player out injured. In bad times there’ll be more than one. Nasri and Cesc both out injured together…mmm

  22. Cyril says:

    How much time will you guys need to realize that our much admired midfield Flamini-Fabregas-Hleb is gone and THAT’s our problem. Why do you think they were wanted by Milan and Barcelona? Because they were our best players !

    You cannot promote internally to find talents such as Hleb and Flamini, you need to buy them, which is EXACTLY what Wenger DID which is EXACTLY what Milan/Barca DID…but now Wenger is too proud to accept this and his internally promoted side Eboue/Denilson/Walcott is completely incompetent and the laughing stock of the EPL

    Prepare to suffer for at least 1 season, and if there is some justice I hope all this suffering will let a surprise talent such as Wilshere or Ramsey come good because the Denilson/Eboue/Walcott clowns are our undoing

  23. Cyril says:

    We need 2 Midfielders : 1 Attacking, 1 Defensive

    Do you know Chelsea got Deco for 8Million ?

    You know what Wenger bought for 8Million=Ramsey+Coquelin+Bishoff+Silvestre

    Deco is a serious backup for Fabregas, at 8Million
    I think Wenger is an idiot

  24. Cyril says:

    Sell RvP to Juventus/Barcelona

    RvP cannot play in the hole – we need a hleb type midfielder that can pass, dribble and defend high up the pitch forever

    With the money we can get a good midfielder or maybe a straight swap.

    Sell Denilson: he is too slow and has no urgency like many brazilians he is more suited to italian football

    Sell Walcott: he is not a midfielder, and as a striker he cannot play in the hole either because he cannot defend like hleb (up the pitch or anywhere)

  25. Cyril says:

    … Let’s not forget Arsene Humor…

    If we’re not going to buy, why Wenger is wasting his educational experiments on Eboue ? Better spend it on Walcott/RvP:
    What about teaching Walcott/RvP
    how to defend and play midfield this season?
    I say: Walcott as defensive midfielder and RvP as right Winger (our own CRonaldo7!)

    At least we’d have some fun with experiments, because the Denilson/Eboue experiment is not even funny, it just sucks.

  26. William says:

    Although I agree that we were collectively poor, there were a few players that stood out more than others.

    Gallas was ridiculous. I’ve never liked the guy, still don’t and he shouldn’t be in the first XI, never mind captain. John Terry would have had his head in between the ball and Hangeland’s boot if need be. Gallas out. Toure and Song in the middle will do me.

    Eboue and Denilson were diabolical in the middle. Denilson lost possesion near every time he touched the ball.

    I love Arsene, I really do but if he doesn’t get at least an Alonso or similar, we’ll be scrapping for the smaller cups.

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