Replay Adds Pressure On Wenger To Act. Or Not, As The Case May Be.

SC

Swansea City 2 – 2 Arsenal

1 – 0 Michu (58)
1 – 1 Podolski (81)
1 – 2 Gibbs (83)
2 – 2 Graham (88)

Three goals in the last ten minutes mean these two sides must replay at The Emirates in ten days time for the right to a seaside trip in the fourth round. Arsenal appeared to have snatched a late win but slack defending allowed Danny Graham the opportunity to salvage a draw, a chance that he did not waste. It summed up what had been a thud and blunder match, an insipid first half sprang to life following the interval.

It created an imaginary fixture list congestion with Arsenal facing a game every three games, the sort of fixture list that the players face before Christmas when the Champions League, League Cup and internationals all take place. For the media it offered the opportunity to offer the thought to the manager that this might require activity in the transfer market. It brought a flippant response from Arsène that the squad can cope if Abou Diaby comes back and he finds one or two players in the transfer market. He needs to dust off the cheque book quickly that being the case because relying on the French international’s fitness is pure folly and this fixture congestion starts next weekend. Still, it allowed some intense speculation over David Villa this morning which is better than nothing.

The frenetic finish to the tie seemed a world away during a first half which saw lots of passing that went nowhere from both sides. Swansea might have taken the lead with Szczesny making a fine save from Graham who outmuscled Mertesacker rather too easily, the German also failed to pressure Bartley intently enough as the former Arsenal player hit the woodwork although it is debatable whether Szczesny had that covered. Post-match, Arsène observed that sending players on loan is a double-edged sword with the expectation of playing matches creating an impatience. In that case, Wenger could not win; Bartley wanted to play so left. Had he stayed, no doubt his injury record would have been a stick to beat the manager with; more deadwood.

Arsenal created their own chances but more often than not these were snuffed out or finished with a tame shot; Michel Vorm was not extended in making any of the saves. Ramsey had perhaps the best opportunity but having weaved through the Swansea defence he took one turn too many, leaving himself no room to put in a telling shot at the end of his hard work.

The second half proved more lively with Olivier Giroud, almost making amends for an earlier miss, saw an outstanding volley saved by Vorm whilst Ramsey clipped his own heels under pressure from the defence, Wenger believing it was a clear penalty but not many others did. More lively but the awaited breakthrough came at the other end, Michu picked up on a loose ball and flicked it over Mertesacker’s head, scoring under pressure with a guided shot past Szczesny. Giroud wasted a glorious opening with a header following outstanding work by Ramsey, the Welshman’s last telling contribution.

His replacement, Lukas Podolski, did not make such a quick contribution to the afternoon as Michu; he took eight minutes to score. Swansea didn’t clear a corner properly, Koscielny returned the ball into Podolski’s path with the German unerringly into the corner of the net. Two minutes later and the tie had been turned on its head. Gibbs played a one-two with Giroud, the Frenchman’s return ball weighted perfectly over a static defence with Gibbs volleying superbly past Vorm. It seemed that Arsenal had snatched victory but that was short-lived.

As the final whistle beckoned, Arsenal went to sleep from a corner with Graham having time and space on the edge of the six yard area, lofting the ball past Szczesny. Koscielny saw a late header saved by Vorm, the rebound skied over the bar whilst Tiendalli saw a gaping space at Szczesny’s near post and went for glory, finding only the side-netting.

It was hardly surprising that Arsène was not unhappy at the replay, noting that it is better to have another match than exit the competition. Yet having secured the lead that late in the game, it is hugely disappointing that the team were not able to close out the game. That is a common criticism of the squad – more common that the mantra of “seven years without a trophy“. No matter what combination of the defence, only claiming eight clean sheets from thirty games this season is disappointing and underlines a problem that has never been fully resolved over a number of seasons.

What this week brings, who knows. It is disturbing to some extent that any activity was dependant on shifting players out of the squad. I understand why the manager might place more importance on retaining Theo Walcott but that is not mutually exclusive to strengthening the squad. There is a pressing need for both issues to be resolved but the club cannot be held over a barrel whilst Walcott decides his future; the deadline at the end of the month means Arsenal must force the issue and procastination met with the signing of a central striker with a greater sense of loyalty.

’til Tomorrow.

380 thoughts on “Replay Adds Pressure On Wenger To Act. Or Not, As The Case May Be.

  1. Yogi's Warrior says:

    To elaborate on that, the goalkeepers were in the action of kicking the ball, e.g. released it from their hands as part of the kicking motion.

    Anyhoo, the second part. Been wrestling with this and haven’t come across it. Ever!

  2. irishgray says:

    YW – Dangerous play? How is it any more dangerous than when defenders block strikers from shooting? I understand the rule as it is written, about not interfering with GK’s when they are restarting play, I just think it goes a bit too far. I disagree, that if and when the GK releases the ball and it is in the air, he is still in possession. Was it not Arshavin who poked the ball off the palm of the galkeepers hand several years ago with his head and the goal stood? How can that goal be allowed to stand and not either of these two? Particularly RVP’s where there was no contact whatsoever. I think RVP showed a rare bit of skill to snatch the ball out of the air like that and score on the half-volley, pity the rules cannot accommodate that.

  3. irishgray says:

    YW – I am tempted to think this may have been just an Irish thing. It was pretty much the norm playing in Dublin when I was a kid, that if the GK bounced the ball, everyone (including defenders), had to exit the box. It may even have been imported from Gaelic football and was only used in the younger leagues. I will have to check it out.

  4. irishgray says:

    I believe the ball had to be kicked out if you bounced it too. Remember, this was when the backpass was still allowed to be picked up, so pressuring the keeper into bouncing the ball ensured he would have to kick it down field rather than be able to waste time playing 1-2’s with his defense. No throwout’s either if he bounced it.

  5. Henristic says:

    Shotta,
    I remember how some ACLF ladies were wanting to have his babies after that statement.

    I find it hard to believe it was all part of an act. That would be some real Keyser Soze shit.

    It’s probably more like he changed his mind about us. It’s not an uncommon thing around these parts. Just look at Ateeb 🙂

  6. Yogi's Warrior says:

    Irish

    The ball is deemed to be under the goalkeeper’s control. Crucially, both were drop kicks as opposed to place kicks which is where this rule comes into effect.

    Using the head – the one I’m thinking of was Gary Crosby of Nottingham Forest in the late 80s / early 90s is deemed fine so long as the goalkeeper doesn’t have both hands on the ball. The danger interpretation comes from the fact that if a goalkeeper in the kicking motion follows through, they might connect with the studs of the striker’s boot.

  7. pedantic george aka Blackburngeorge says:

    Henristic ,you were wrong I said it Irish said it and even Jonny had to admit it.!!
    Man up .Admit you were wrong .Again!!!!

  8. Paul N says:

    IG, what is up with the team of the year?

  9. Paul N says:

    Check out of these two titles

    “David Villa Is Not the Answer for Arsenal”

    “David Villa is Exactly What Arsenal Need”

    lol!

  10. shotta says:

    7amkickoff has a nice take on the split personality at Arsenal FC.

  11. waz says:

    QUESTION;

    “If we find one or two players then the squad can cope”

    Is this a benign comment with perhaps poor choice of words/grasp of english or does it tell a different story. I would hope that we are not ‘coping’ but about winning. Coping is what you do when you don’t have a choice unless of course the ambition is to spend minimum to achieve our minimum goals I.e 4th.

    Discuss

  12. Jonny says:

    I admit precisely nothing PG – other than that, as usual, you’re splitting hairs.

    I think you missed your true calling in life.

  13. Bwood Gooner says:

    Irish,

    I think them type of goals should be disallowed purely because of how irritating it is when a player delays a goal kick.

  14. irishgray says:

    Jonny – “I admit precisely nothing PG

  15. Ateeb says:

    What’s wrong with this guy? If Untied matched their £300k offer, than they would be paying him so.

    ‘Hey Robin, we were just bluffing at the yearly Arsenal auction, we wouldn’t be paying you £300k, but £220k instead’.

    It’s great that George uses false and extreme examples to create this doom scenario that everyone of our better players are destined to leave, because City are going to offer £300k to everyone! That’s George’s most horrifying nightmares! Probably picks up the daily newspaper with trembling hands all through the summers, fearful which of our next greedy bastard is going to jump from this great Titanic on a sustainable voyage!

  16. Ateeb says:

    General Shotta, who spends all day moaning about moaners-online-is going to question the ambition of the world’s second best player at the moment, because he didn’t hold tight on the sinking ship. One may ask than, if all our best players were lacking in ambition. It doesn’t appear so. Cesc, Robin, Nasri and Clichy, are fighting for trophies and have been successful ever since they left. Says a lot to our current players. Better salaries and greener pastures. Always,a risk of ending up as Hleb. But that too, a risk worth taking than stick around with this manager and squad. We need a complete overhaul!

    I am sorry Duke, I think you underestimated Robin when you claimed he was the the third best player in the world. Given his form in the last year, he’s ahead of other strikers, by a country mile. Better than Ronaldo! He’s much more stylish as well.

  17. Jonny says:

    Did you get kidnapped half way through your point there, IG? :0)

  18. Harry Flowers says:

    Waz….”poor” choice of words. Just hazarding a guess. We don’t have to scrutinize every syllable he utters, looking for the double-talk. I do worry already though, that we leave any potential business to the last minute as per usual. Would be nice to get it done and dusted asap, give the player(s) a chance to bed in, and it could give us a real positive boost ahead of a possible season defining run of games. Alas I can see it going to the wire again..

    I didn’t know you’d been promoted Shotta. General is it now. Sir, yes sir.

  19. irishgray says:

    So word on the interwebby is that we are taking Eduardo Vargas on loan from Napoli until the end of the season, with an option to sign him fulltime if he proves himself. A 23 year old rookie, who has failed to score in Serie A so far this season, sounds like a winner to me!

    Oh and Denilson wants to make his move to Brazil permanent, when the season long loan runs its course this summer. OK in my book 🙂

  20. irishgray says:

    Jonny – Did you break the interweb again? Even your own attempt at a smiley face failed miserably 🙂

    As I was saying. To quote Jonny “

  21. irishgray says:

    OK now that is twice that has happened!! Jonny what the hell have you done now!?

  22. Jonny says:

    Are you having some kind of break down young man?

    🙂 😀

  23. irishgray says:

    OooooooooohKaaaaaaaayy! Now this is really getting annoying. I give up, but dammit to hell it was funny!!!!! 🙁

  24. Jonny says:

    The mere mention of my name seems to make you speechless. Ach well you’ll not be the first.

  25. pedantic george aka Blackburngeorge says:

    irishgray
    January 7, 2013 at 6:16 pm
    Henristic – The reason we use the phrase “the main reason” is to highlight a particular reason as the most important, one that outweighed all others. So in fairness to George he is right in that sense at least,

    Jonny
    January 7, 2013 at 6:40 pm
    You’re just being pedantic George! Just for a change!

    You can have two main reasons for doing something – admittedly by the letter of the law one is technically more ‘main’ than the other.

    Ok but to me that amounts to something

  26. irishgray says:

    If I put anything in quotations, it tends to disappear. A very neat party trick I admit but freakishly annoying when I am simply trying to make fun of you mate 🙂

  27. Jonny says:

    Most of my former teachers for a start.

    Well it’s had me laughing a lot. Never seen an Irish man so stuck for words.

  28. Jonny says:

    Yes – George it amounts to the fact that you are desperate to be proven right. 🙂

    Irish – it’s fine, I assumed you were taking the piss – I’ll pretend it was funny too, just for the sake of it. 😉

  29. irishgray says:

    Speechless is it? At the very mention of your name no less! it is a wonderful ability you have, this dissembling of the truth. I would not claim rolling around on the floor, laughing hysterically at the mention of your name as speechless, more uncontrollable mirth I would say.

    I would have used quotation marks but then my witticisms would have been stolen by the dreaded Ether Beast. His appetite is ravenous and never sated, hence his name……I’ll get me coat!

  30. irishgray says:

    Jonny – George just wants to be loved, that’s all. But not by Bob’s tranny, just a general feeling of warmth and acceptance would make George happy. I think Henristic gets some sort of sick, twisted pleasure out of constantly rejecting the little Meerkat.

  31. consolsbob says:

    No mystery, Jonny. I suspect that drink may have been taken.

  32. consolsbob says:

    Ah, he’s recovered enough to type!

  33. pedantic george aka Blackburngeorge says:

    Irish ,if people just threw me a grub from time to time.

  34. pedantic george aka Blackburngeorge says:

    And I am right btw Jonny .I am,I am,I tell you,I am

  35. Paul N says:

    “But not by Bob’s tranny…”

    ha

  36. irishgray says:

    Jonny – I swear I could sense the Old Codger lurking in the shadows! Just speaketh his name and he doth appear *shudders*

    George – Do meerkats eat grubs? Not sure what they eat to be honest.

    Paul – It does not make for a pretty mental image at all does it?

  37. irishgray says:

    Bob – Quite the opposite in fact! Quite the pioneer today, I am afraid to say. Maybe sobriety is just not my thing?

  38. pedantic george aka Blackburngeorge says:

    Irish ,Here is a natural history lesson ,It shows what Meerkats eat

  39. Jonny says:

    Nice lurking there Bob. And yes I suspect there is no need to call Poirot on this one.

    It wasn’t me! It was the quotation marks. Hic!

    George – I know you are petal. Here have a grub –

  40. Yogi's Warrior says:

    Quotation Marks make things disappear? Nah, or do they. Let’s ask an expert. I did, he said, ” “. That puts that to bed then.

  41. irishgray says:

    Yogi – “Go fuck yourself” 🙂

  42. irishgray says:

    Well, it worked that time, so why did it not work the other times then? Poirot indeed!!

  43. irishgray says:

    “Nice lurking there Bob. And yes I suspect there is no need to call Poirot on this one.”

  44. irishgray says:

    OK, weird!! But I suspect Jonny is at the root of all this nonsense. Like any person who breaks the same thing over and over again, they tend to learn how to fix what it is they break. In this case the interweb. A heads up would be nice next time Jonny!

  45. irishgray says:

    Yogi – Nice try with the surprised, innocent face there mate but truth be told, you’re a rabble rouser and you know it, so don’t even try and feign innocence. It really will be an interesting beer one of these days – Yogi, Jonny, the Old Codger himself, me 🙂

    God help whatever den of iniquity we decide to grace with our presence!

  46. Yogi's Warrior says:

    Irish

    I think I know what it is. If you open the quotation marks and then insert words, followed by closing the quotation marks, a quotation appears. For example, “Jonny broke the Interweb” works. If you leave out the words, ” ” is what you are left with.

  47. Yogi's Warrior says:

    You got any plans to be in Texas after Easter?

  48. irishgray says:

    Yogi – When exactly is Easter?

  49. irishgray says:

    Is it true that Man City have not scored a goal at the Emirates since April 2007? Just read that on footytube but do not know if it is correct.

  50. Limestonegunner says:

    I do recall that the last couple of years they haven’t scored on us at home–0-0 last year and the year before didn’t we win 3-0 (they went down to ten men and we destroyed them)?

    We always seem to play City tough. I hope we can keep up this record, but I’d prefer better than 0-0! Seriously, though, if we can get 5 from the next 9 league points v. City, Chelsea, and ‘Pool, that would be pretty good as we’d stay unbeaten, especially with the FA replay thrown in. 8 from 12 (victory vs. West Ham) would be even better.

    I think that is a realistic mark.

  51. Limestonegunner says:

    I like the suggestion from AW that there might be one or two coming in. That would be really heartening. I think you are right, Irish, that he doesn’t usually say that sort of thing. Sooner the better though, if we are to benefit from the new players during the fixture congestion this month–what is it, 4 matches in 10 days?

  52. irishgray says:

    Yogi – No I will be back in NYC by then. I have a contract starting in the last week of March and another at the beginning of April. We are trying to time our roadtrip so we can be in Chicago for St. Paddy’s Day, and back in NYC by the 20th of March.

  53. irishgray says:

    LSG – Personally speaking, I think with Rosicky back and possibly Diaby for the W Ham and Liverpool games, I do not see why we can not win all 4 games. Swansea at the Emirates should be a win too, as unlike last time we played them there we have a fair bit of confidence now, especially going forward. I hope we do sign some new players, with experience. Especially a DM, as I think Arteta looks exhausted. Cazorla needs to be rested too. We also sorely lack someone with real pace (other than Theo) up front.

    Fixture list-

    Premier League
    Arsenal v Man City Sun 13 Jan 16:00
    FA Cup – Third Round
    Arsenal v Swansea Wed 16 Jan 19:30
    Premier League
    Chelsea v Arsenal Sun 20 Jan 13:30
    Premier League
    Arsenal v West Ham Wed 23 Jan 19:45
    FA Cup 4th Round (If we beat Swansea)
    Brighton v Arsenal Sat 26 Jan 12:30
    Premier League
    Arsenal v Liverpool Wed 30 Jan 19:45
    Premier League
    Arsenal v Stoke Sat 2 Feb 15:00

    So it is not 4 games in 10 days but rather 7 games in 20 days. All the more reason to sign some new players who are somewhat proven.

  54. irishgray says:

    Jonny – One Snoop deserves another mate (not quite sure what I mean by that TBH)

  55. Bwood Gooner says:

    That fixture list gives me a boner

  56. Mel says:

    Nothing beats getting stoned with someone who’s never smoked before,even if your snoop.

  57. Jonny says:

    Funnily enough, Ian Neale is my brother’s name.

    I love his shirt.

  58. SV says:

    How an Arsenal fan can show any understanding for the actions so the Dutch individual going to ManU is beyond me. Having spent most of his Arsenal career injured, the guy suddenly realised that he approaches 30, came to his senses, started ignoring the national team and playing out of his skin for a transfer.

    His luck was that nobody at Arsenal had the guts to remind him of his multiple assurances to Arsenal fans.

    But I’m not even sure who is worse in the saga: the Dutch traitor or the manager who sold his captain to his former rival.

    I know, at some point I’ll become reasonable and will ignore the topic. The sooner the better.

  59. Mel says:

    I think it’s time to draw a line under the Dutch skunk issue, he didn’t want to play for us anymore , so fuck him, move on, it’s boring.

  60. Paul N says:

    Mel is right but SV, RVP team wanted to go to United, it is not the managers fault.

  61. Bill says:

    Anicoll @ 1:42.

    Sorry couldn’t get back to you sooner but just read your post regarding paying RVP somewhere close to a market wage around 200k/week.

    “In fact if I was another players on say 60-70k a week I’d say more power to your elbow Robin

    After which my agent would be round to see Arsene to ask why that Dutch c*** is earning more than three and a half times my client’s wage and demanding, by no means parity, but at least a wage that reflects my lad’s crucial importance to the side – ooooh say £110-120k ish

    If not then obviously we will have to look at my options elsewhere

    And when the club very sensibly cave in to our demands and pay me a tidy £90-£100 a week then I could live with that – job done

    Sadly the player who was on £40k a week last week can’t – in fact as his agent says to Wenger “barely a living wage””

    That’s not the way it works with other top clubs in Europe or the UK. Arsenal has has one of the top 10 wage bills in Europe for years and all of those other teams are able to pay a few players top wages without causing unmanagable wage inflation in the whole squad. According to that article ManU average player wage is 64K/week and ours is 61K/week. The can pay both RVP and Rooney wages well above 200K/week and keep a payroll close to ours. The idea that paying 1-2 players top wages will destroy the wage structure for the entire squad has no basis in fact. The flat wage may have been helpful at one time but there is no reasonable defense or logic for it now. The only reason we do it is because that’s what’s arsene wants.

  62. Phil says:

    Paul,
    when Wenger tells us he is responsible for both transfers and wages, both individual and collectively, then he takes the kudos when he gets it right, but also must take the blame when he gets it wrong.
    Selling RVP to Manure was an appalling mistake, sanctioned by Wenger.

  63. ZimPaul says:

    An awful lot of very good and not very good players have left Arsenal over Wenger’s period, willingly or not. Few have succeeded elsewhere, hence the “Arsenal curse”. Even fewer have succeeded over any length. On the whole Wenger gets it more right than wrong, even a cursory analysis confirms this. Wenger did not want Cesc or Robin to leave and was clear about this. They decided to leave; once they left I have no loyalty to them as an Arsenal fan, unless they rendered exceptional service. The distinction is ample, we did not “lose” and are not losing “our best players”. The rest of the tripe cooked up is just that.

    Why are you all so worried that van Persie is doing well, for half a season so far, at United. Is it because he owes his career in many respects to Wenger and Arsenal? Or do you you secretly admire United?
    Check Giroo’s stats after half a season and get really excited.

  64. Bill says:

    Zimpaul:

    Giroo’s stats so far are have been rather pedestrian. He has not even been a regular starter and I think he has only scored 6 goals in 20 games. Not sure how how that would get anyone excited.

  65. Paul N says:

    Phil, RVP wanted to go to Unitec and Wenger facilitated the move. He did not make a mistake, he granted the man his wishes, as he did Cesc to Barca.

    You take him being a decent man as him making mistakes. You have it terribly wrong. Enough stupid games of holding onto players who want to leave and not letting them go where they want.

  66. Bill says:

    Paul:

    Arsene helps players leave because he is a decent man. He cares about their happiness so much that he is willing to help them leave no matter how it affects the clubs results, the remaining players and the fans. I know you love to stay positive but that ones a stretch even for you. You can’t really believe that, can you? really ?

  67. Henristic says:

    Paul,
    So you think Arsene was stupid for trying to hold on to Cesc and Vierra for as long as he did?

  68. Diego says:

    Don’t think Arsene gets all emotional and all that with players. He is a cool and calculating man, otherwise he would not be a great manager, all top managers are like that. He sold PV when he realized that EPL is becoming too fast for him. He sold Pires, Lauren etc when he thought they were nearing their careers end. Lauren was kinda bitter about that, he said that in an interview. I think his current so called lovey-dovey approach is just borne out of circumstances.

  69. Phil says:

    Paul,
    Wenger’s primary role is to the club, and not to an individual’s desire to join a specific club.
    The question is not whether Wenger is decent or not, but would the gap between Manure and ourselves would be 18 points right now, if he hadn’t sanctioned the move. Has he significantly strengthened a ‘competitor’?

  70. Paul N says:

    Bill, that is very simple. If a player wants to go to a certain club the man is going to try to make it happen. That is why Cesc said that he had him to thank for being at Barca. I think that is the right thing to do because a grown man should be able to do what he wants to do, even if we don’t like it.

    Henristic, no, I don’t think Wenger was stupid and I am not dealing with trying to convince players to stay (I am sure that he tried the same with The turncoat)but when a player is adamanat you have to let them go. Cesc and PV were different stories from RVP all the same since he had one more season and he put a statement dissing the team.

    Phil, come on man. If a player says that want to go to a club that is it. It is up to the team to move on without the player. It seems you missed the memo that Fergie said they had been working on the deal and RVP saying that is where he wanted to go? did you. Yes, it is not best to sell to United but that is where the man decided to go.

    RVP had one more year on his contract and he was holding the handle and Arsenal the blade. Ah so it go.

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