Review + ratings: How much further will the once mighty Arsenal fall?

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Arsenal have now been knocked out of the FA and Capital One Cups when fielding relatively strong starting line-ups.  What does this say about our first team squad?  There were no positives that came out of this game and there are no excuses that we were only able to generate two to three decent scoring opportunities against a Championship side.  Our creativity and tactics are incredibly stale and we have no answer to teams who efficiently “park the bus” in front of goal.  After today’s performance, I can only envision the doom that awaits us on Tuesday vs. Bayern Munich.

Arsene decided to field a veteran starting line-up in what appeared to be Arsenal’s best opportunity at lifting silverware this year.  However, in typical Arsenal fashion, we started off the match very sloppy with a few misplaced passes and searching long balls to absolutely no one.  Eventually, an Arteta interception led to some good link up play between Rosicky and Ox that eventually settled us down.  From there, we started establishing our presence as the better team and knocked the ball around quite well.  The majority of our attacks came from the right side with Ox and Coquelin threatening with good runs and link up play, but much like our overall game, the delivery in the final third left much to be desired.

For the first half hour of the game, Blackburn exerted high pressure on our back four, which made it extremely difficult for us to move the ball into their half.  As a result, we had very few scoring chances during this period, and our best ones came from corners, which were, however, executed horribly time and again.  Our best opportunity to take the lead in the first half was created on a quick through ball by little Mozart, but was ultimately ruined by an awful shot wide of goal by Gervinho.  The only other decent attempt  on goal in the first half, came from a Diaby header off a corner that required a brilliant save from Kean to keep the game level.

At the end of the first half, Arsenal had 70% possession and 12 corners, yet had absolutely nothing to show for it as the game remained 0-0.

For some reason, Arsene decided to swap Gervinho and Ox on the wings in the second half and our offensive play seemed to suffer as a result.  Gervinho had been much more effective down the left in the first half, and Ox had linked up well with Rosicky and Coquelin down the right.  As usual, we lacked creativity and penetration in the final third and our whole team was too stationary in the build-up.  Our defence remained as untested as it did in the first half, and Blackburn continuously turned over the ball on misplaced passes.

However, the opposition did play with more attacking intent after the restart.  The closest we came to scoring in this half came from a Rosicky strike that beat Kean, but unfortunately struck the crossbar.

With the game seemingly at a stand still, Arsene opted for a triple substitution to bring on our best three attacking players in Jack, Theo and Santi in the 70th minute, to hopefully freshen our approach and have the same positive effect as they did vs. Brighton.

However, within two minutes of the triple substitution, Blackburn was able to capitalize on some questionable defending by Coquelin, and Kazim-Richards scored on a miskick.

The Blackburn goal finally inspired some urgency in Arsenal’s attacking play, but it was to no avail as Blackburn successfully defended their lead by parking the bus and clogging the box with 10 men (as they had all game).  There’s no excuse for the horrible performance on our home turf and we never deserved to win that game, especially with such few scoring chances against a team like Blackburn.

Our tactics have been stale for quite some time, and our players constantly beat a dead horse with a stick by sending in crosses into the box clogged with opposition players, and standing and contemplating how to break down a “park the bus” defense.

Player Ratings:

Szczesny (7.0) – Szczes was not at fault for the goal today and made the initial save.  However, with two shots on goal, typically I would hope that we would not concede.  Not much else can be said.

Monreal (7.0) – He got involved a fair bit offensively and made some nice runs forward and found himself on the end of some nice, leading passes.  However, his crossing and balls played in the final third need to be better.  Good aggressive play when without possession of the ball, Nacho was one of the few bright spots in today’s performance.

Vermaelen (5.5) – Part of me still thinks that he could have tried to jump and clear Kazim-Richards’ fluke goal.  It almost seemed as though he just stood on the goal line and watched the ball go in off the post (granted the shot bounced quite high).  Still, I’m not sure what kind of coverage our back four were playing when the goal went in and Vermaelen was not marking anyone.

Koscielny (6.0) – On the Blackburn goal, he ran over to try and compensate for Coquelin’s awful coverage and unfortunately Vermaelen did not run across the pitch to cover for Kos.  Aside from that, he made a nice surging run in the first half to keep the play alive and was aggressive in pressuring Blackburn for turnovers.

Coquelin (6.0) – His awful defensive coverage on the Blackburn goal spoiled an otherwise good performance.  His crossing was also very poor, but aside from that Coquelin was aggressive in his challenges and won the ball back cleanly on numerous occasions.  He ran forward to join the attack and was composed when carrying the ball up the pitch.

Arteta (5.5) – He had a few nice interceptions that prevented Blackburn from setting up in our zone, but was largely invisible today.  He was nowhere to be seen in coverage on the Blackburn goal and misplaced some passes late in the game, which is very unusual for the Spaniard.  He also should have done much better with his shot on goal that hit the side netting in extra time.  I’ve come to expect a lot more from Arteta and he never really seemed to settle into the game and lead the play from the back.

Diaby (5.0) – Lots of misplaced passes today and several turnovers from holding the ball for too long at the edge of the opponent’s box at a crucial point in the game.  He’s supposed to be a great box-to-box presence that can run with the ball up and down the pitch but not once did we see that ability today.  Diaby did have a quality header on goal that was turned away by a great diving save, along with stripping the ball off a Blackburn player on one counter attack and a good link-up play with Rosicky in the first half.

Rosicky (7.5) – Little Mozart was our best starter on the pitch today and every time he touched the ball, he tried to make something happen.  Too often, Arsenal fall victim to sideways and backwards passing, but Rosicky made sure that we pushed forward as often as possible.  Rosicky was unlucky to not have anything to show for his hard work, as Gervinho wasted his perfect break away pass and his own shot struck the crossbar.

Gervinho (5.0) – His brutal shot wide of goal after Rosicky played a perfect ball to him in stride highlighted Gervinho’s afternoon.  Gervinho often found himself overwhelmed in the opponent’s box and never took on defenders effectively.  His passing was also a little off and most of our attacking play from the left side came from Nacho in the first half.  Gerv did make a couple nice plays in the first half by dribbling the ball past defenders into empty space, but never really threatened the opposition.  His form dipped even further after AW’s decision to play him on the right in the second half.

Giroud (6.0) – Our big CF was also invisible today and was not making his typical good movements to get into scoring opportunities.  The center of the pitch was so clogged that we tried to focus our attack down the wings, but we really could have used a more mobile striker to make some runs behind their defense.  Giroud also did not really find himself on the end of any headers, though he did work hard to try and get involved in the game chasing down balls out wide on the pitch.

Oxlade-Chamberlain (6.5) – Ox made several nice runs with the ball today and drove our team forward down the right flank, but his corners and crossing left much to be desired.  His general play in the final third was wanting and he took some questionable shots on goal that were well wide of the mark.  Just like Gervinho, when he switched to the left side in the second half, he became invisible and ineffective.

Wilshere, Walcott and Cazorla (Incomplete) – Jack and Theo each found a way to get through the stubborn Blackburn defensive shell, yet both were unsuccessful in scoring or creating a goal.  If Theo’s header had gone anywhere but right at the keeper, he likely would have scored and Nacho should have taken Jack’s over the top pass first time in the air.  In the end, all three had a minimal effect on the game and we were unable to solve Blackburn’s “park the bus” defense.  If all three were afforded more time, they may have been able to get Arsenal on the board, but it’s tough to make a significant impact down 1-0 with only twenty minutes of playing time.

Whether you want to blame today’s performance on players who were rusty and did not have a sufficient run of games to find form or on a bad bounce that led to Blackburn’s goal, one thing is clear: there is no excuse to only be creating so few quality scoring opportunities against a lower division team.  Losses in cup matches are always possible, but to lose in the manner we did today was a disgrace.  Any momentum we may have had from the previous two league games has now vanished and squad morale will be low going into our David vs. Goliath match this coming Tuesday.

Another season goes by and likely another year without silverware.  How much further will the once mighty Arsenal fall?

Written by: Highbury Harmony

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86 Responses to Review + ratings: How much further will the once mighty Arsenal fall?

  1. mario says:

    Ox worst ever player

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Excellent stuff, HH. Fully agreed with your player ratings and match review. :)

    This was my worst Arsenal live match ever.

    Can it get any lower?

    Szczesny: Polish International
    Vermaelen: Belgium International
    Koscielny: French International
    Nacho: Spanish International
    Diaby: French International
    Rosicky: Czech International
    Giroud: French International
    Gervinho: Ivory Coast International

    Eight Internationals, at home, against the current nr.8 of the Championship. Add to that the highly PL-experienced Arteta and the two very promising talents of Ox and Coquelin, and this team should have wiped the floor with Blackburn today.

    What the hell is going on with Arsenal?

    The team looked utterly disjointed, clueless and joyless.
    Once again there were three mini-departments, who all just focused on their own job in hand: defence, midfield and attack.

    No cohesion, no pressure, no ideas, no running, no urgency, no desire, no focus, no hunger, no responsibility, no leadership, no pride and no quality.

    On the way back, my mate and I had to listen to that moron Savage on Five Live, whose only ‘insight’ was that Arsenal should have started with their strongest team, and not have left Theo, Jack and Santi out. Absolute nonsense: the above line-up should not need any help whatsoever, and today they should have won with relative ease.

    But for that, real motivation and hunger are needed, and above all professionalism. Today’s team seemed to play with chips on their shoulders, as if collectively saying: we should be playing on Tuesday and not the others.

    At the ground, there were howls of derision towards Ox, and especially, Gervinho. The two players who at least tried to make something happen. They were wasteful and their delivery was often poor, and especially the Ox lacked the confidence to take on the Blackburn defenders, but at least they had a go.

    Giroud was poor throughout the game. He was far too often too static, and seems unable to hold onto the ball when played to him with his back towards the opposition’s defence. His lay-offs are clumsy and often too high, and today he missed strength, timing and precision in the box. I am sorry to say he looked a tired, average striker against Blackburn.

    Diaby and Arteta lacked aggression and drive: I had expected so much more of them. They both put in a routine performance and for me they were the main reason we created so few clear cut opportunities.

    I was also a bit unimpressed by Rosicky, especially in the first half. However, the Czech produced a few good through-balls and had a fine shot on goal, but he seldom or never motored our team for a sustained period today.

    A very disappointing game and Wenger must be scratching his head what he is going to do next with a number of players who should have won us the game today. :(

  3. Pat says:

    chesney was at fault top keepers don’t parry the ball straight out
    Ox has gone backwards this season,is he believing is own hype
    Rosicky best player on the park yet god takes him off
    Verm is just not dominant enough where and when it matters
    stop dreaming this squad is not strong enough and while the board or wenger who knows who are not buying quality and instead paying moderate players top money so we cant even unload them when we find out at our cost that they are crap we will never return to the glory days under this stewardship

  4. William says:

    That the tactics are stale is correct.Wenger only knows one style : attack.As said before.all other teams need to do is let the gunners have 99.9% ninety nine percent possession. Then they will pass and pass and pass.Once the ball is mispassed/intercepted,a swift counter and the ball is in the gunners’ net. We have seen it countless times and the most notable was Hull winning 2-1 some seasons ago.
    In a way I am glad the gunners lost otherwise I can’t stomach the loss in the sf/f against the big teams especially the red faced who seems to be Arsena’s bogey team.As for the cl,forget it. I expect BM to play negative and draw.Of course never say never in soccer. When Inter beat the gunners 3-0,nobody expect Henry and company to win 5-1. But then Arsenal had wc players in their prime. Where are the wc player 2013.
    Wenger has said the gunners need to be clinical before but ath e rate they going,it will be anothe potless season. If Arsenal are out of the cl,Wenger has to go. He has used up all the time to make good and failed.

  5. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA,

    Cheers for the kind words :)

    I couldn’t agree with you more. If the team we fielded today cannot beat a Championship side, and the one we fielded against Bradford City couldn’t beat them, what does it say about our squad?

    There’s just something missing from this group. As you say, we have no semblance of playing a team game and our whole system was compartmentalized today. Perhaps we should tell the squad that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts! I’ve been preaching this for a while, but Arsenal need to take a page out of La Liga’s book and play like the majority of teams there. It’s free flowing football at its best and the players are constantly running into empty spaces for link-ups and lay-offs. The movement alone confuses the hell out of opposing defences and it brings defenders out of position as they start chasing the ball or their man.

    It’s really puzzling that AW has faith in any of his players, considering we started quite a few regular first team players today…I’ve also been saying for quite some time that I don’t trust that this squad had the “quality” to win silverware of any sort! I think tactically AW is just too stale and the Arsenal style needs to be reinvented. For most of this season, the players have just been too stationary and watching the play develop, opposed to being proactive and making things happen. We should have figured out how to dissect teams that PTB by now, as we’ve seen it deployed against us time and time again. It’s no longer enough to just play our brand of football and hope we persevere.

  6. Errin Butterfield says:

    Ox is too greedy wants to be the star needs to play for the team. Gervinho is just useless and too wastefull should be ashamed of himself. Giroud needs to stop waiting for defenders to make a mistake on crosses and force a mistake from them. That is where Arsenal lost the game today.Arsene is too soft and passive with his team always trying to protect them not to affect their confidence but enough is enough and he has too call them out when necessary,like today.Yes Blackburn scored through the same mistakes that this weak defence dont learn from and keep making them over and over.Whether Blackburn scored or not their goal was not suppused to be the winner. The front three where the problem Ox should have been taken of at half time.Like in many games Arsenal fall apart and are too wastefull in the final third as they enter the box area

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    All agreed HH.

    It was just so one-dimensional today, so clueless and inspirationless. It is as if we start the game still being asleep and never come out of it…

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    All good points Errin :)

    Although you are harsh about Gervinho. A player should only be ashamed of himself if he does not give his all for the team. At least he is making the runs and trying to create stuff. He is very frustrating at times though. :(

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi William, never say never indeed.

    We all need a hell of a performance by our boys on Tuesday; and Wenger needs to make sure they know it!

  10. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA,

    Go figure when our only real vocal leader was not on the pitch for 70 mins. This was what I was eluding to when I said we needed another Vieira type who inspired others around him and could rally the troops vocally. Others wanted his respect and they were willing to die for him (metaphorically of course); in this current Arsenal team, if I were a player, the only other player I would die for is Jack.

    Simply put, we lack passion, determination and spine.

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    HH,

    I would say we lacked passion, determinatio and spine today. In our best team, we have a lot more of it, but I agree we need at least one more, extrovert and vociferous driver!

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    Night HH and others. Catch you all tomorrow. 8-)

  13. Highbury Harmony says:

    Good night TA, looking forward to blogging with you tomorrow!

  14. Highbury Harmony says:

    Pat, how can you fault Szczesny for that goal? He stopped the first shot that was taken hard at him from point blank range…

  15. Highbury Harmony says:

    Mario, how is Ox the worst ever player? Did you see Santos when he played for us? You have to keep in mind this was Ox’s first start since vs. Brighton, you can’t really expect him to instantly gain form off of spot starts.

  16. WENGER OUT says:

    Yes Wenger has strengths. Especially when he had players like Dixon Winterburn Keown Adams, Pires, Bergkamp, Viera and Henry. So his strengths belong to the great players and teams he was fortunate to have. His weaknesses? How many times do we play against teams that park the bus? How many times do players put in a sterile performance? Over and over again. His tactical substitutions are abysmal. Here is his great failure. The team had no drive, leadership and balance. The substitutions were easy today. Take Giroud off. He did not touch the ball. replace him with Walcott. Walcott wants to play there and his movement and pace would have upset the defensive structure of BR. Take off Diaby. He is on drugs again. And replace him with Jack. Rosciky had the form to play some one twos with Jack and Theo. That should have been done in the 50th minute if Arsenal had not started and remained in fifth gear. Towards the end you may have put Santi on. After all Jack and Santi play a very similar game. While Gervinho is hopeless and missed his chance he still created some havoc on the left and the same goes for AOC. They were no where as ineffectual as Giroud and Diaby. Why wasn’t Giroud that got the through ball from Rosicky instead of Gervinho? By the way where is Vela and Miyachi? How about Gnabry or Eisfeld. At least something different! Was Diaby playing a holding role with Arteta against a team that parked the bus. Where are the one-two-threes on the edge of the box with players running into the box to drag and move defenders away? At least Roscicky, AOC, Theo, Jack, are much better than the rest in playing and unlocking deep lying defences. Wengers strengths are those of a CEO. His weaknesses were there to see today and in fact have been there to see for the last 8 years. Yes play your style of football but what we have seen latelyis far from the fantasy football that was his brand. Yes I understand a system should trump any tactical initiatives. So the problem is that these players cannot play fantasy football. That might be the reason Arsenal have been listless, spineless, cowardly, sterile for the last few years. No really great players to spark this team into life and given them strategic vision. Except for as we have seen recently Santi and Jack. Forget about any spark or leadership from the back. Walcott just prances around, He is no leader. Arteta might be but he is hanging on playing a defensive midfield position. Gervinho looks like he has been bitten by a Tsetse fly. So to owith Diaby. Rosciky is fragile and no leader. Podolski new and temperemental. So let’s put all the load on a 21 year old. Great management Wenger! The defence as a force? They are an accident waiting to happen. See the League Cup Final against Birmingham and most of the recent matches against Manure and of course that pitiful 4-4 against Newcastle. While my substtitions seem like a tactical answer it was those three, Jack, Santi and Theo that can at least play from fantasy stuff. All things come to an end. Player and coaches come and go. Thank god it is only a matter of time before Wenger leaves. Can we beat Bayern? Yes if all play at their fantasy level. And when they do it is delightful. The problem is as we have seen on many occassions over the last few years they really cannot sustain it at all.

  17. alexgunners says:

    HH,

    Great post and you are right, no excuses for this kind of performance from a team like The Arsenal. I still think that your ratings were a bit high in comparison to what i saw, but i guess it could be as well that i am extremely pissed off with not only this performance but also others throughout this season. We are not improving on a seasonal basis instead we are covering the cracks as each season goes by. Would we have really bought Nacho if Gibbs was not injured. No F$#@ing way.

    I am going to repost my comments from yesterday because i would like to see other people’s point of view as well.

    Well Here it goes:

    One dimensional plan. Surprise, surprise, substitution only in the 70th minute as per usual.
    So bloody discouraging. Diaby awful, for the first 75 minutes, all possession but no substance to the play.
    Gervinho, the best player in the AFC. Give me a break!!!
    Please watch the last minute when we have one last opportunity to push forward. Diaby, Standing around, Arteta and Coq also standing around both not pushing forward. No Excuse for this.
    2 Cup exits to lower division teams. WTF???? when was the last time this happened.
    It is so frustrating watching us play at home and thinking that we just have to turn up and win. No wonder the home fans were Booing the team. Why do we only chose to play when we fall behind and only then do we show a sense of urgency?????
    What do you guys think??

  18. They wouldnt get away with it if they were under Ferguson! But how many of them would even get on Fergies bench?

  19. Milo says:

    Before the last match, I actually thought we have a better chance against Bayern than against Blackburn and I still think that is true!!! Have you seen some of the comments coming from the Bayern camp??? They all think they’ve already won it, a lot of them. I wouldn’t be surprised if we do to them what Blackburn did to us, only we actually go for the win and surprise A LOT of people. I think we can play even better than what we did against Barcelona two seasons ago, given the opposition. It’s just frustrating that it takes a loss of this magnitude to coax a performance like that out of these players!!!

    I bet my Dad 100 dollars (Canadian) that we will beat Bayern at home, and I’m sticking to that. I won’t actually pay all of it…probably 40, if we lose, but the point is, I’m confident that we can beat them. Schweinsteiger is having a pants year, we have Jack and Santi and Walcott (sometimes), Robben is saying that we “shouldn’t be a problem…I like this match up!!! The only players I would be concerned about are Muller, Kroos and Ribery. Kroos can be nullified to some extent by Jack though.

    I’ll say it again, I’ll admit my mistake if I am proven to be incorrect, but I like this match-up!!!

  20. Limpar's Wand says:

    Come on, I know we’re all frustrated and we just love pissing on arsenal, but really I feel it was just one of those days. We spend the whole game camped in their half, create a few good opportunities, rosicky’s shot a mm from going in, and the one time they get anywhere near our goal it bounces out to a dude who completely mishits it and it goes in off the post!

    Now, I get it. We didn’t create that many clear cut chances. But Blackburn defended well, and we still should have won. We had 26 attempts to their 3 (2 of which came on the goal)!

    Football can be like this sometimes. Sucks but there’s no need to go overboard on criticism.

  21. Highbury Harmony says:

    Limpar,

    You raise some very good points about not being overly harsh, but this wasn’t just a one off day. We’ve seen this happen way too many times to Arsenal and quite frankly, it doesn’t matter who is on the pitch if we can’t even create decent scoring opportunities against a Championship side. Our possession has meant nothing for a long time because we don’t have the cutting edge to put it to good use. Teams in La Liga knock the ball around too, but they actually penetrate opposing defenses and create scoring opportunities through a variety of different means; we seem to just try the same thing over and over again to no avail.

    There was no passion, no determination and no urgency to our game today and for many games this year (and years past). It’s not something new, just a reality that we’re too inconsistent and that’s finally catching up to us and becoming more obvious to supporters. Why are we so underprepared when we face teams that PTB against us? Why can’t we go on a decent run of games with wins while playing consistent football for 90 mins? How much longer until we admit that sweeping changes are necessary before we can move forward?

    26 attempts on goal and only 3 were GOOD scoring chances in my view…

  22. DADA says:

    Congratulation ARSENAL’s fan worldwide. I think this defeat is a blessing as in my opinion we do not have squad that will fight on the remaining three fronts. For many years past we have been dumping out of competitions like FA and CL, for us to concentrate on fourth place position. I am not surprise as this year wlll not be an exception.

  23. Ain't Got A Kalou says:

    High Harmony,

    Thanks for another great match report. This is how I saw the game too and no positives for me either. Ratings may have been a bit generous but likely in line with your past reports and rating scale.

    Depressing loss, wouldn’t be surprised if we got blown out by Bayern or if we bounced back and shocked everyone and beat them! Kind of weird, but can’t explain it haha.

    Team still needs a lot of work, not sure why our squad players under perform so much, especially against weak competition. Lack of squad depth? Or lack of getting good run of games to gain consistency? Or we play up or down to our opponents? Too many question marks surround this team.

  24. Howi says:

    Has anyone noticed that our defence kind of looks confused whenever TV5 plays…

  25. Gerry says:

    My god your are a fickle lot? Prior to this game, you especially, HH, thought we were at last moving in a positive direction. Yet within seconds of the final whistle you were having doubts about our last two performances?

    I don’t think there are many on here who commented on TA’s blog, myself included, that felt that there would not be changes in the team? Nor, from those that put forward a possible set of players, did the team put out differ greatly from what was suggested? I was not alone in saying that this game was not that straightforward that we could not assume a win and freely talk about Bayern match. So, if we are honest, would we have done much different to what what AW did?

    Second criticism – Quality of the squad? Prior to the game we were happy to have a good enough team to put out, and a really strong bench. These same players that were being lauded as ‘world class’ a week ago. Well I am sorry, they don’t drop off that perch after one game, in my book at least.

    So let’s look at what could have been done different – with the benefit of hindsight – and hope they can put it right on Tuesday? Which if they do, the praise will be heaped back on them for such a wonderful achievement ..grrrr.

    This is my take MY take on it:

    First problem, which I highlighted, was the Kos/TV5 pairing. Big mistake in having three changes in the back four, from a side that had done so well last time. Only one was a forced change, at RB. I was okay with Coquelin over Yennaris if he was fully fit, and he was.

    The midfield was almost as I said, Arteta and Rosicky, only it was Diaby over Ramsey. Diaby is getting some stick, as does Arteta, for slowing the forward play down. There may well be some grounds for that, well at least when they are playing together. One at least needs to have a ‘safe’ passing game, the other needs to drive the game forwards, hence my selection, Ramsey. We all agreed that Jack would have played, had there not been another game 3 days later, and rotation here could help next time? Had he have played, naturally we think he would have made a difference, yes?

    The forward trio was as expected .. if Giroud was the starter. I had Ox on the left and Gerv on the right, because, as I remember from people saying that he has played his best games there, including his last game? AW, quite rightly, in hindsight, put him on the right for his tracking back assisting Coquelin. You make a point that Coquelin had done well until what led up to the goal, and whether Ox would have changed things is now purely academic, because he was on the other wing, and Gerv was, or was not, doing his stuff on the right? I’ve not watched a replay, and the dodgy feed I saw the match on had barely caught up with play from the subs coming on, and were slow in seeing the goal go in, so I am not sure about that. What I did notice that Szcz had to get down very quickly to block the first shot, which went straight to an unmarked player in the middle of the of the area? I cannot believe that the Mert/Sagna pairing would have not got it covered to even allow the scuffed shot, which bounced high towards the post? But I am drifting off the ‘forward line’ here.

    For many of you, but I don’t share that view, Podolski is the alternative to Giroud down the middle, including AW it seems? Because, if you look at the bench, there was no other choice, except perhaps Walcott? In my ‘fantasy’ selections I had hoped that Akpom might have been the alternative, although, when I saw the real sub list I noticed I omitted a GK sub, so Yennaris (not playing, but Le coq was my sub) would have been my choice to make room for him. That said, my choice earlier in the week, when I was trying to get minds concentrated on this match , not transfers – apologies to Marcus, btw – and not Bayern, I would have started with Pod and Akpom.

    The really big criticism that just has to be addressed, is if you play a big man upfront, the crosses have to be better. The Ox put a super whipped in ball early on that was just a couple of feet too high. He was never able to repeat or improve on that.
    Corners were abysmal. At least late on the high dippers started to be used, but we had had over a dozen(at a guess?) by then. Most never got passed the first defender???? Take that out of Giroud’s game and you lose his main asset. Like the previous match, when the box gets that crowded, intricate footwork from a big man is not going to come off?
    Gervinho? His defence is that it was his first game back(from the AFCON)? His biggest problem was when he could get into the box straightaway, he ran out of ideas and just stood there until he had 3 defenders around him, and he would lose possession grrr! H could have been the hero, but wasn’t?
    The Ox has got the same thing that Ramsey had earlier, he is trying too hard to impress, rather than play his natural game? He will be very good once he gets over this. He just meeds one game, like Ramsey had, to settle him. Once he knows that his good game will get him in the team, his confidence to do the right thing at the right time will come through … Alas, it wasn’t today?

    I must say the triple substitution was not clever either. Not because the goal followed immediately after, but because the game was just opening up. Walcott for Gerv and Wilshere for Diaby could have given the extra space that Rosicky was just beginning to find? Either could have been done much earlier too? It was a lot to expect that the fresh midfield could get into the game so late on? But hey, it might have worked, but they scored, and it changed the whole of their game plan back to how they started?

    In Podolski’s words, ‘Sh*t happens’.

  26. mike kanvi says:

    BREAKING NEWS-inmate break out at Abidjan psychiatric hospital.
    description -male,black, big forehead at times covered wit wig,last seen at d emirates.
    if seen pls handle wit care or call 0101

  27. evonne says:

    Gerry – well put, I share your school of thought.
    HH – sorry, but it was nowhere as bad as you described. Ok, my Saturday was completely ruined by yesterday’s result, but during the match-induced sleepless night I had time to reflect on what has happened yesterday and came to a conclusion that it felt so awful because of the obsession to get a trophy. At any other time we would probably say that we have a bigger fish to fry next week, but because the ‘7 years of no trophy’ is quickly becoming ‘8 years of no trophy’ and that’s why losing a realistic chance for a trophy was so painful.

    We were not awful yesterday, we had 70% of possession and some excellent chances that we didn’t convert. It happens in football. If you want a hobby that produces positive results every time I suggest you take up something less dynamic, like movies or books. Joking aside, of course we are hurt, but let’s get a grip and remember that we still have many great moments this season and all the doom and gloom is helping noone.

  28. Gerry says:

    Thanks evonne, I am not sure this view will be universally popular? But at least it is an alternative one?

  29. Manamongst says:

    Here is the problem from what I see:

    Barcelona…yes and I hate to make the comparison in any way, they have figured out several things: If teams are going to constantly put huge numbers of players and pseudo-defenders behind the ball then it is best to stop doing certain things.

    1) Stop exercising the same traditional corners; it’s not a surprise to see us getting so little out of corners. And it appeared OBVIOUS that Blackburn were actually happier to give corners than they would deep pinned throw-ins. Why is this?
    a) kills time
    b) organizes personnel in a concentrated defensive area.
    c) organizes personnel for a possible counter-attack.
    d) Arsenal organized more people in a position to retain the ball after a failed cross than they do.

    2) People laugh at professional teams that take a “Money Ball” approach to the game, but it is obvious that Barcelona experienced the same issues we have with defensive posturing squads in La Liga and have implemented several rules for inflicting maximum pressure, and breaking teams down cardio-wise.
    a) Simple rules like ratio counting: We DON’T cross balls into the box with only one offensive attacker waiting.
    b) We DON’T cross balls in that are higher than the goal frame.
    c) We DON’T commit headers on the pitch when we should bring them down for control.
    d) We ONLY lift balls over defense when they are committed to an active off-side trap.
    e) We DON’T play players that are not committed to developing play through triangles and movement after an before the pass.

    3) I’m tired of hearing people bash Gervinho, he was one of few that actually made his own chances. There is a reason why he is more successful with Ivory Coast than with Arsenal: Whether he is in the process of actually skinning a player, or buying time on the ball against two defenders; THIS IS A WONDERFUL THING…why would you stand around and watch him? Flood the lanes with runs to the goal, I promise you, he’s actually watching. Enough is enough; Edin Hazard was NOT crazy when he said he was the BEST player he’s ever played with.

    4) How anyone could say that Coquelin was at fault for that goal is beyond me; the weak-sauce shot and how Szczesny handled it was ridiculous. Give Coquelin 3 matches at RB and guarantee Barca and several other teams will be trying to nick him off us. I don’t think that Ox worked well with any triangle he was associated with, and destroyed the symmetry on numerous occasions trying to do too much.

    5) We shouldn’t be fooling ourselves into thinking that playing a traditional English football game against the likes of bottom-feeder teams is going to get us anywhere results and goals-wise. The plan should be: Short corners, misdirection on direct free kicks, moving the ball quicker from side to side and getting behind defenders constantly out wide. Stop being concerned with getting certain ineffective time-was

    6) One final observation, positioning Giroud a bit more effective would be smart. I would not have him as the lead receiver in the introductory pass into a triangled attack. Out in wider areas yes maybe but in the center of the pitch, only shows why Benzema is ahead of him on the depth chart. His one touch completion rate was absolutely horrible. Every single pass to him with a defender posted behind him was awful. he felt the need to turn it into a one touch, when retaining it and possibly drawing more defenders to him or drawing a free kick was the cool-headed thing to do.

    We seriously need our own “Moneyball” evaluation of several standard practices on the pitch that aren’t really helping our effectiveness against teams that use negative tactics. 70% possession against a team that plays the way they (and several other team) played is not nearly the possession and shared game plan enough to break that first goal.

    We forget there are no points for playing pretty. And the goal against these brands of teams should be: GET THAT FIRST GOAL…then 99% of those teams style of play will come back into line. The longer it takes you to do this the more confidence you give them. This is true in ANY sport.

  30. evonne says:

    Gerry :) I has never been my ambition to share common views, alternative sounds good!

    I was surprised that Wenger didn’t start with the strongest squad, didn’t wait for 2-3 goals and then make substitutions. After all like it or not, the FA was our best chance of getting the trophy this season and shutting a few critics up for a while; only 3 more games and we could end the dry spell. But it has not happened, end of. Yes, we will be ridiculed further by some morons and scumbags, but it is up to us to raise above it and enjoy the ride, because OUR time will come, defo.

    I am still hurting, but put the razor blades back in the cupboard. Still happy to be a Gunner

  31. glic says:

    Morning Snatchalanches and e va va vonne :lol:

    It`s ok Total, I put on the previous post…New Post !….you just cant get the staff nowadays !.

    I`m with Gerry and e va va vonne on this.
    On a personnel note maybe I`ve been brain washed by Arsene, but I just dont have the affection like I used to have for the FA Cup or League Cup, I`m afraid it is all about CL nowadays, these cups come after PL, CL and CL qualification. Bigger fish to fry, starting with the thigh slapping gaylord bishop munchens, the cocky bastards are going to get stuffed, the arse will shit on them . I`m confident we will do the business, although not confident enough not to hide behind my sofa !. hahaha

  32. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi ‘WENGER OUT’

    That is fine and well-balanced comment. I don’t agree with all of it, but you are making a lot of sense.

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi AlexG,

    Sorry to have missed your comment yesterday.

    All good points. What gets me is that as soon as we don’t play our strongest first-11 our shape and style of football get totally lost, and we become one-dimensional and predictable. You are so right to focus on Diaby’s role and style of play: he was the big missing link yesterday.

  34. glic says:

    WENGER OUT

    I was sad to see him go, but Vela is no longer with us as he was sold to Real Sociedad. However there could be a twist !.

    http://metro.co.uk/2013/02/16/carlos-vela-not-ruling-out-arsenal-return-as-gunners-scouts-look-on-3480483/

  35. TotalArsenal says:

    Haha Milo: ‘I bet my Dad 100 dollars (Canadian) that we will beat Bayern at home, and I’m sticking to that. I won’t actually pay all of it…probably 40, if we lose’

    Love the positive spirit and I also believe we will beat Die Lederhosen on Tuesday! :)

  36. Red Arse says:

    Excellent, gut wrenching Post oh mighty Clog!! :D

    I agree with most of what you said, and I am happy not to have had to make the return home after such a result. I have done it in my time, and the feeling is much worse than sitting in comfort in front of the television throwing peanuts at the screen.

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Redders :)

    The post was written by our NA match reporting beast HH :P

  38. Red Arse says:

    TA,

    I cannot be around today, but I Posted a comment elsewhere today, and as a lazy devil I am re-posting it below. Hope you do not mind! :-)

    These Cup games are full of “if onlys” and this was no different.
    If only – Rosickys shot had hit the bar and spun in.
    If only – Chezzer had caught the ball from Pederson’s shot, or had only pushed it around the post, etc.

    There was no lack of effort from the team. The players wanted to win. The manager wanted them to win. The crowd wanted us to win.

    All good stuff. So what went wrong?

    First — there was the usual inexplicable coaching failings.
    The slow passing – the lack of movement when players do not have the ball – the reluctance to shoot etc, which we have discussed many times.

    Second — during the game, the players showed an infuriating lassitude and fatalistic acceptance when they conceded the fluke goal. No fist pumping – no shouting encouragement – no outrage at the unfairness of lady luck – no grabbing the ball and racing back to kick off – no urgency – no nothing.

    Finally – the team also fell foul of a modern phenomenon, which is that all teams, especially the crap teams, like Blackburn, and Stoke and the like, have learned to defend.
    These teams have recognized that they cannot win by taking on Arsenal, and the other top teams, by playing open attacking football, so they have adopted the ‘tortoise’ strategy by hiding in their shells, and slowly, sneakily relying on gratuitous good fortune to get a draw or sneak a win, and hoping that Arsenal do not have the talent or wit to overcome their defensive tactic.

    There are fans who have had enough of the current inconsistencies of the team, and want to blame the manager for everything, but the above, show that like the bowstrings of a beautiful violin, or the many facets that go to make a great football team, mean that failure in any of the strands of the bowstrings or malfunctions in any of the different facets of the football team can only lead to a disappointing performance and that is not necessarily in the hands of the violinist or manager.

    Now I am cognisant that someone will tell me I am talking nonsense, again, but the above outlines my honest opinion, and is an effort to make sense of events like yesterday that are frankly incomprehensible to a mere fan, like me.

  39. Red Arse says:

    Sorry, TA, my mistake, but it is a compliment to HH that I mistook his prose for one of your specials!! :D

  40. glic says:

    Hi Redders :)

    Did the peanuts bounce off the screen and hit you in the eyes ?. Double H wrote the post !. Poor old Rip van Totalshatteredwoodenpecker couldn`t even be bothered to write ……New Post !.

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    Limpar’s Wand :)

    Fine comment, and to a certain extent you are right of course. But there were some real systemic issues and there was not enough hunger in our team, and at this stage of the seasosn that is not acceptable. :(

  42. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Redders :)

    I am reading through the comments whilst doing family things, and hope to get your fine one in a bit! Enjoy your Sunday! :)

    Haha Glic, you are really not forgiving me for not writing ‘New Post’ last night, are you?! :oops:

  43. evonne says:

    Manamongst – very, very good read. Are your opinion and experiences based on being a supporter or a professional?

  44. evonne says:

    Hi Mr Glic, RA and TA

  45. Red Arse says:

    (Just closing my computer down, and up pops the lovely Evonne!!)

    Hi Evonne, :-)

    Watch out for Mr Glic, he is usually up to mischief about now!! :-)

    See everyone tomorrow.

  46. glic says:

    Hi Totes, did I mention you failed to write New Post on the tail end of the previous post !. hahaha

    e va va vonne, you dont have to call me Mr !. It makes me feel like I`ve been naughty and your about to reprimand me and discilpline me with some sort of object !. hahaha

  47. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Evonne,

    Nice to see you here and good to read your comments. I will get back to you soon! :)

  48. glic says:

    See you ” Dreckly ” Redders !. :)

  49. glic says:

    In answer to Double H`s question………6th……..I cant ever see us falling below 6th !. That said, I should imagine there are 86 other league clubs that would give their right hand to be ” guarenteed ” that position or better every year !.

  50. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Gerry, thanks for a fine morning comment. :)

    Shit happens but manure is produced. There were fundamental problems on show yesterday, all of which I have pointed out in comments above. Yes, their goal was fortuitous, but but but… :(

  51. TotalArsenal says:

    Out for a while, catch you all later. :)

  52. JM says:

    I believed the mentality of the squad going into knock-out competitions was not either not present or immature.

    Every chance counts and the player really has to test the opponent’s GK at every goal opportunity; i.e. get the shot on target, be ready for rebounds/spilled saves and then put the ball into the net.

    The player(s) wasted their/his chances time and again, I am sorry – time does not turn back and there will not be a second game to make amends in a knock-out competition format – that is even the case of a two leg tie in cup competitions, always aim for a good start & not give excuses that the team can “always – 100%” comeback in the 2nd leg, and losing the 1st leg is ok. That is NOT “always” the case – it is never 100%.

    It is “win the match or die like the rest”. Treat any knock-out game not only as a final but the very last professional game that the player himself will play.

  53. Highbury Harmony says:

    Evonne and Gerry,

    I completely disagree with both of you. While you are certainly correct losing yesterday was not the end of the world, this has been a built up frustration for me just waiting to surface. It has been SO evident that there is a fundamental issue with this team. As RA and TA both point out, this has consistently been an issue with our team this season and in past years.

    How much longer will it take us to figure out how to beat teams that park the bus? Why are we always so stationary in our build up play? Why do we not have any creativity in attack? Why are we playing Giroud when crossing and corners are not working? He had 0 use to us yesterday as Blackburn clogged the box with 10 men and we had much fewer on most crosses.

    These problems are not just from yesterday’s match, but have been with our squad for quite some time. They are never sufficiently addressed and we see a vicious cycle of inconsistency and it comes across as a lack of determination and passion. It’s embarrassing that people continue to not hold them responsible for those performances.

    My issue lies with the team we fielded yesterday and its inability to produce any real offence against inferior competition. It’s happened way more than that one occasion, so stop pretending like yesterday was a “one off”. Don’t get me wrong though Gerry, I’m still relatively positive about our regular first-team and still think our squad is moving in the right direction; it’s just obvious that we have some holes to fill within tactics and squad depth (that’s what I meant by squad quality).

  54. Manamongst says:

    Hi Evonne,

    I’ve been a supporter since the age of 16, I am a 39 y/o American living in Spain. So I see a ton of la liga…the technical superiority of a large majority of players puts more pressure on players to actually stick to micro game plans. Whereas we feel we dont have to pay attention to them. I hear the term”one-dimensional” bandied around here. But if we push them deep into their third keep possesion, take more shots an d not hoof in silly crosses, then we would have faired better.

  55. Highbury Harmony says:

    Manamonst,
    :) nice to see another La Liga lover on this blog! I’ve been a long-time admirer of the La Liga style of play and am a big fan of Atlhetic Bilbao (basically what Arsenal now is to EPL). There’s so much more fluidity in their attack and the interchanging of players is just phenomenal.

    My issue with Arsenal’s tactics is that we’re neither here nor there. What I mean by that is that we’re neither a true fluid, attacking team like those in La Liga and we’re definitely not a defensive team that thrives on the counter attack. It’s near impossible to great at both and teams like Barcelona concede their fair share of goals. The difference is that they focus their attention on attacking football and relentless pressure when they lose possession. Of course, they have world-class players but the philosophy is one that needs adopting; they always create opportunities by running into space and are constantly moving. You’ll rarely find them standing still at the edge of the box just passing the ball around and watching one another. If they realize that they can’t pass their way through, they immediately change their strategy, opposed to trying to force it through. Also, they don’t just keep possession for the sake of it, which is what we seem to do most games, and in particular yesterday we exhibited compartmental possession which is by far the worst.

  56. Highbury Harmony says:

    Manamongst, excellent observations from earlier too by the way!

  57. Highbury Harmony says:

    However, I disagree with #4. Coquelin was nowhere in coverage and completely blew his assignment. There is no excuse for Koscielny and Vermaelen needing to cover 3 attackers in front of goal from Coquelin’s side of the pitch.

  58. evonne says:

    HH – thank you for taking time to reply. I am not pretending that everything is tickety boo and that there are no issues, no sir. I am painfully aware of our shortcomings and hurt as much as you do when we lose to Bradford or Blackburn; credit given where credit’s do – they played well and certainly better than we expected them to play, but we have quality players that should be able to derail the bus parked outside the goal. But we can’t, not sure why Manyoo can and we cannot, but that is the biggest problem I perceive. One goal in the opening half and we would have them running, but that seems to be impossible to achieve, all too often as you rightly said earlier.

    Manamongst – what is an American doing in Spain :) Is Florida not good enough? Joking, wishing I emigrated to a warmer climate instead of stone cold sober North London

  59. evonne says:

    Brentford not Bradford, sorry

  60. Mike says:

    THe results speak for themselves. Arsenal have NO world class players (not that it should take that to beat a 8th place championship team) they are no better then mid table quality at best and at worse well again the results speak for themselves. IT is sad a team that once had players that today would still be ranked in a list of top 20 in the world (depending on your preferences) now does not have a single player that would rank in the top 50.

    Podolski maybe is close thanks more for his German international performances then his League play. I mean the guy has been to what 3 Euros and 2 World cup finals for his national team and scored important goals in each competition. And we are not talking about some small nation with a weak National team with a small player pool of talent no this is Germany that were runners up in 2002, 3rd in 2006 and 2010 and also Euro runners up and 3rd as well. I you think that record is easy to do then what does that say about England’s national team?

    I think at Arsenal his lack of more success at teh club level has less to do with him then the players on the pitch around him. He has setup fellow Gunners several times this season only for them to blow it. He should be league leader in assists this season if not for the poor finishing or poor runs of his team mates. I can NOT fault him in any match he has played in and yet he is the most subbed player when started in the squad makes no sense.

    Yet it is Jack Wilshere that always seems to get all the accolades by the English press and England fans as Arsenal’s best player. Sorry start scoring more goals or getting more direct assists and then I will join the Wilshere fan club but so far he is all potential and little end product for me. I can’t fault his work ethic but for me the jury is still out if he is really the next Lampard or Steven Gerrard I am not saying he is not a quality player but I am still not sold that he is a future Arsenal or England legend just yet.

  61. Highbury Harmony says:

    Evonne :),

    Thank you for taking the time to reply and expressing your continued optimism.

    Glad we agree on most. It’s just frustrating that we haven’t been able to solve that strategy for a while! I think tactically, we could use a refresher and try a different approach in training. There’s just a lot of complacency and stationary players, and this is something that stems from being under prepared. We should be drilled on how to break down teams that PTB because teams too often deploy that tactic successfully against us. Occasionally we can crack the defensive shell and score a goal, but we’re only well drilled in a wide open game. As soon as the formations shift, our players seem to get confused and try to force the same old plays through.

    Also, I didn’t agree with the coaching decision to attack down the wings and cross into the middle given the starting line-up yesterday. Ox and Gervinho have never been excellent crossers and Giroud was rendered more or less useless because of that. Ox and Gervinho have a lot of pace and are excellent at creating space for others. With them being deployed on the wings, we’d be better served starting a more mobile striker who can quickly run into space, take feeds and one time shots. Podolski would have been perfect in yesterday’s set up and probably would have gelled better with the wingers (thus hopefully avoiding all those wasted crosses).

    You were right with Bradford!

  62. Highbury Harmony says:

    Mike,

    Several experts believe that Santi is a top 50 player in the world, while Jack is considered top 75 (if not for his injury, he’d be top 50 too). You seem to rate Jack’s game from a fantasy perspective, but he’s not a natural goal scorer yet and his passing has been excellent and others often cannot finish his hard work. You can tell from watching the games that he’s our most influential player and his effect on the game goes beyond the final pass that leads to the goal or scoring himself.

    In fact, I’d go as far to say that England currently does not have a player like Jack. Gerrard and Lampard are not nearly the same types of players and cannot effectively drive a team forward like Jack can. He also has far superior technical ability than those two, but they are much more refined in their crossing and long ball ability, along with their finishing. Keep in mind, Jack is only 21 years old!

  63. TotalArsenal says:

    Evening guys and girls :)

    Some very wise, passionate and analytical comments today by Redders, Evonne, Manamongst (welcome to BK :) ), Mike and of course the post writer, HH.

    All your comments helps us to see things in perspective a bit.

    However, 24 after the game, I still feel strong disappointment about our ‘performance’.

    You see, I was there and did not only watch the game, but also sensed it. And I can tell you, that I sensed from the first minute we would struggle. This team missed a lot on Saturday. Yes, it attacked and played football, but there was no real intent during large parts of the game. The team was going through the motions a lot, and lacked a driver and a leader.

    Our style of football against the Bus Parkers was no where near enough executed with the required levels of energy, pressing, fast passing and running of the ball. That is unacceptable at this stage of the season.

    The tempo was too low and the hunger was missing; so was the focus and willingness to fight. I can forgive a lot and accept we are not entitled to success, but that performance was nowhere near good enough, and that hurts and saddens more than anything.

    The above photograph of Wilshere’s disappointment says it all to me. Sometimes we just cannot pooh-pooh an underperformance like that away. Sometimes we have to feel and accept the pain.

  64. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, I’m anxiously awaiting the Bayern match because I think it will produce an amazing spectacle with tons of attacking football, none of this Park the Bus crap. Let’s see if our offensive guns can keep up with the big boys and maybe even surprise Tuesday!

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ll likely be massively disappointed if we lose but I will never fault the squad if they put in a full 90 minute effort. That was what was missing yesterday and where my disappointment stems from. Change the strategy, change the players, just show some god damn heart out there!

  65. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi HH,

    I have little doubt that the team will give their all on Tuesday and we will see a fantastic match. You see, I am back to Mr. Positive again hahaha :P

  66. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, it’s nice to know you are also realistic when there’s a disappointing and heartless performance from our squad. That’s what bothers me the most is when people cannot see the shortcomings and think we are perfect as is!

  67. Manamongst says:

    @Evonne, I married a Spanish woman while we lived in the States…FL is ok but way to hot for me! We lived in NC so Spain was a degimite leg up for us…especially Mallorca. HH, thanks for the kind words as well. I agree, Coq was off the pace for a RB. But name a more versatile player outside of david luiz…twice as dynamic on the ball than jenks and sagna, without all of the useless crosses. We should only be considering players the can take on and beat defenders at this point. Arteta has been a bit slow switching the ball…overcautious and unathletic.

  68. Highbury Harmony says:

    Manamongst, I wasn’t criticizing Coquelin as a RB just his coverage for the goal mate!

  69. Highbury Harmony says:

    I agree Arteta generally makes up for it in his positional play and astute passing, but he was off the mark yesterday. He might become further exposed against a more skilled team like Bayern, but as was noted earlier, Schweinsteiger isn’t having the greatest year so maybe Arteta’s deficiencies as a DM won’t come to light as much.

  70. glic says:

    Sorry, how rude of me, thank you for a heart felt match report Double H. Personally, I will be more upset with less than 3 points against Villa next weekend, than yesterday`s result. I think everyone thought it was going to be a walk over, as Blackburn are usually our whipping boys at home !..
    I love it that every man and his dogging session has said we will be beaten by the Bisexual Munchers. Obviously, if we do get beat, no one will moan and just accept it as we are fantastic under dogs even being at home. I hope the bookies are listening to all the doggers and give us odds of at least 100/1, so I can put a ton on it !

  71. Highbury Harmony says:

    Glic, RA, alex and Kalou thanks for the kind words gentlemen :). Glad you could all stop by to comment and blog with us today!

  72. Highbury Harmony says:

    Glic, by big money do you mean a penny? Just think, you could win a WHOLE dollar with those odds!

  73. glic says:

    No HH, I`m after a fist f**k full of Dollars, so the Good, the Bad and the Ugly Muvver F**ker ( Me, Stretch and Vic`s ) can have a good day out against Reading !.

  74. Highbury Harmony says:

    Glic, with that amount of cash you’re planning on winning, you could buy Vickers a new, shinny zimmer! Put some bling on it and chrome on the rims too hahaha!

  75. Herb'sArmy says:

    Thanks for the match report, HH, sadly familiar territory.
    Nothing hurts more than to have to castigate and criticise the club, but you have to look at the whole picture to see what is behind the spine-less, soul-less product.
    We get it, moving from Highbury to The Emirates came at a huge cost and reduced our ability to spend, but we were given promises and assurances concerning our ability to challenge at the top level. And Roman was already in town when we moved, which wasn’t raised as a concern during those celebrations in 2006. To use Chelsea and Manchester City as excuses for repeated failure is a red-herring to deflect from how cowardly and toothless our strategy has been. We’ve spent money every year since moving stadium, but it has been spent papering over cracks rather than with any real intent to compete.
    Our whole club’s philosophy is fixated on CL qualification, whilst running at a profit, and supporters are by-products, hostages to the whims of billionaires who couldn’t care less what Arsenal produce on the field as long as they’re making money. Nothing amplified this more than our willingness to sell RvP to Manchester United, and essentially gift-wrapping the PL title for them. It is a treacherous act to further strengthen a club that just last season humiliated us 8-2 at OT, and finished 19pts ahead. They are about to go seven titles ahead of us, and the hierarchy controlling Arsenal are happy to help rather than launch any real intent of their own. Would any other club’s supporters accept those conditions?
    Arsene Wenger deserves some sympathy for being the middle-man caught between delivering financial profit for his pay-masters and satisfying the ambition of the club’s loyal supporters. Unfortunately time has shown he cannot do both, but his first line of loyalty will always be to those who remunerate him Our self-imposed self-sustainability is crippling us and cutting us further adrift, and unless it is considerably revised and modified, we’ll be so far behind the leading pack, the effects of FFP will be nullified.

  76. glic says:

    Hi Herb :)

    The way I see it is, FFP is in motion as we speak, it would be silly in my opinion to not carry on as we have been doing and start spending money like there was no tomorrow. The current rules wouldn`t allow it anyway, unless the money was already in the bank and we are not spending more than we are earning. We have been playing ball upto now and might as well see how it pans out, to see whether FFP works or not, imo it will.
    A few more years of self-sustainability and playing by the rules is not going to hurt us in the long run. If we are not challenging in a couple of years time ( that doesn`t necessary mean winning a trophy but to be in the mix ) then I will join you and say it was all a waste of time and we can turn this site into the BK Assassination Bureau !. Somehow, I have this image of you stroking a white cat !…………..” Do you expect to spend some money Mr Herb ? “……….” No Mr Wenger………I expect you to die ! ” . mwahahahaha

    Good nite !.

  77. Milo says:

    I do think something funny is going on in the board room as well as in the dugout…but I still think we can beat Bayern on Tuesday!!! Then it would depend on who we draw for the round after this one, if we can take Bayern out.

    I know we probably had to move stadiums, if we wanted to remain in the top echelon of clubs in Europe, but we aren’t seriously competing on that front anymore anyways. Why ruin a romantic, nostalgic, truly beautiful, piece of British history, that being Highbury, and move to a soulless, empty place, with no history attached to it. It’s not even as asthetically pleasing as Highbury was!!! I was always against the stadium move, not based on financial gain and monetary factors, but based on the fact that many clubs in North America have changed venues, and they haven’t been the same club since. They haven’t been able to compete financially, or on the playing field, or both. Why??? I don’t know, but I do believe in ghosts, and spirituality, and in my opinion, the Emirates has no spirituality, aura or presence, what-so-ever!!!

  78. TotalArsenal says:

    GLIC: New Post! :)

  79. TotalArsenal says:

    Today we welcome a new post writer to Bergkampesque: the Germany based, Nik. He has written a fine analysis of Bayern’s strengths and weaknesses and how Arsenal should go about beating them on Tuesday! :)

  80. henrychan says:

    Hi guys..
    Always sad to be in this position.. Losing in a must win game.. And by dominating 70% and still lost.. I must say that We was unlucky..

    Blackcat defenders was very solid.. I impressed with Orr.. We must sign him to make our defence stronger..

    We just don’t have a good method to handle a defensive games.. I think the problem was wenger bring in the three musketeer at the same time.. and make unbalanced in the first minutes and blackcat just got a lucky moment.. Wenger should played Podolski.. he is one’s kind of player who can break the wall..

    Are We still good enough for Muenchen game..?? Yes.. why not..?? We played a good football.. but LUCK is another thing that happened in football..
    And who said We lost to a second class team..?? Just like when We lost to Bradford city..?? Are you serious..?? They go to the Final man.. and Swansea must let them beat a 4-0 to Liverpool just to prepare for the game.. Eventhough it is still a week to go..
    And I don’t think any team will find an easy game again blackburn for the next round..

    And for us in UCL again Muenchen..
    I hope with The spirit of ‘wounded animal’ that will bring a lot of energy.. all the players do their best to the game.. give a total performance.. and make us proud as a gunners..

    Go Gunners..

  81. Highbury Harmony says:

    Henry, you’re right that we were unlucky, but we played anything but “good” football yesterday. We were stationary, watching and trying to force something to happen.

    It’s not that we loss to a weaker team, but that we basically created 3 decent opportunities, which is inexcusable for a top flight club. Losing in the manner we did is rather embarrassing, if we created dozens of chances but were robbed each time by Kean, I’d probably have seen this game in a different manner. We were also at home on a three game win streak, and the loss of momentum makes that loss even tougher to stomach.

  82. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Henry :)

    Let’s hope you are right re the spirit of the wounded animal.

  83. Highbury Harmony says:

    Cheers Herb, thank you for the compliment on the article and it’s nice to have you back blogging! I missed the opinion that went against the grain as the lot of posters here are sometimes too optimistic and gullible.

    I agree with you to an extent (along with Milo). I was really not impressed with the move to the Emirates and the stadium is just lacking in my opinion. It’s modern, soul less and cold, but we’ve only finished financing the stadium now. So only from here on forward, should we judge the on-field Arsenal product (in relation to the Stadium move). There are no more excuses in terms of financial commitments and the club will be under immense scrutiny from fans, media and everyone else alike.

    If we continue to linger in mediocrity next year, then it is absolutely time for sweeping changes and the board, manager, owner would be fired or let go in an ideal world. 8 years without silverware is daunting and we must be proactive in the summer transfer window to address the team deficiencies that have not been addressed for quite some time. I’ll stay slightly optimistic for now but if we continue to only bring in above average players, I’ll definitely voice my displeasure with the direction of the club. We need world-class talents and we need them immediately!

  84. Manamongst says:

    No worries HH, I definitely see you side of things as well…the coverage was lacking (his coverage in preventing any credible build-ups on his side was over-looked by many…Gervinho would have been a better…less schizophrenic wing pairing imho). I certainly hope things pan-out as you suggest against Bayern. Though I fear set-pieces as I don’t think Munich will see a great deal of the ball. What I don’t want to see is us posturing like an Italian side only seeking counters and staying well pinned-back in our own third. We seem…or shall I say Arsene seems to direct us in that fashion for certain CL matches. I also trust you’re right about Arteta, it always seems like a grand trade-off with him on the pitch. One where we lose athleticism, I haven’t really seen the leadership…he seems more than willing to come back and demand the ball, but it many times seems at the cost of a swift transition of a counter-attack opportunity. I have a sneaking suspicion about him; he is a slightly over-concerned OPTA-passer…meaning he’s been more concerned about pass completion % than pressuring a defensive line. Let’s just say I’m torn. We basically need Jack to change the tires on the Porsche and corner the course and put world-class pressure on them and lead by example.

  85. Highbury Harmony says:

    Manamongst,

    I actually think possession will be pretty close, with both sides getting a decent amount. What we cannot do is just sit back and pass the ball around without creating any offense because Bayern only need a small percentage of possession to create scoring opportunities.

    Arteta will have his hands full with Schweinsteiger/Kroos and he’s not the ideal DM to play against Bayern, but will start out of necessity. I cannot see AW going without his veteran DM and vice-captain; Ramsey and Wilshere as the only DM will be asking for too much from them.

  86. Highbury Harmony says:

    Also, as a DM his responsibility is to keep possession and distribute to the creative outlets who will make things happen; not to be in situations where he is making those nice, through balls and creative final passes!

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