Dark clouds are gathering above Ashburton Grove

Today’s performance against Fulham has confirmed what many of us have feared: Arsenal’s decline in form and performances are of a structural nature, rather than a periodic blip.

Every recent game has seen shoots of improvement: Wilshere’s return has given us more dominance of the midfield; Theo’s return on the wing has helped with us scoring more goals; and Giroud is slowly coming good.

However, as today’s game showed once again, Arsenal continue to struggle with their own identity; we are shapeless, plan-less, and organisation-less. The 4-3-3 formation is not working for us at all.

We keep playing the same midfielders who are exhausted and simply unable to dominate our midfield anymore. Arsenal are often outnumbered in midfield by opponents and I have seldom or never seen us so bad at both passing the ball round with real verve and intent, and hunting down opponents from the moment we lose the ball. We look knackered, clueless and lost at sea.

Our defence is all over the place: we got beaten from a set-piece, a counter-attack, and from a simple penetration of our penalty box (by giving away a penalty). There is no cohesion or systemic play between our defenders at the moment; no shape, no organisation and no believe.

We are all over the place and nobody is taking command. TV should do it but cannot do it, Mertesacker can do it but is not the captain. Mannone is trying hard but is visibly not part of the defence and is left to his own devices far too much.

I am sure somebody has figured it out by now, but when was the last time Arsenal gave away a 2-0 lead to go behind to 2-3? Unbelievable! We are 11 games into the season and there are no excuses anymore: let’s get back to basics again and defend a clean sheet at all cost.

Arsenal scored five goals in five days and there is hope that we are finally getting back to a semblance of a strike force. However, as a unit the strikers are all over the place and offer very little support to our beleaguered midfield, with the exception of Giroud. OG should still improve further on his ability to hold on to the ball and shield it better, but at least he is now getting better in this area. But Podolski and Theo have both been rubbish at making themselves available and holding on to the ball. As a trio: Giroud, Theo and Podolski need to gel a lot more, but this should hopefully improve over time.

Just like around this time last year, we are operating with three autonomous mini-teams – defence, midfield and attack – who are not linking up enough with their counterparts in order to help each other. Arsenal are definitely less than the sum of its parts at the moment, and by the looks of it this is not going to change any time soon.

There are very dark clouds gathering above Ashburton Grove and Arsene has his work cut out to make a swift and lasting improvement.

Patience and time are running out, and Arsene and Steve better put their sleeves up to take us once more to the land of Wengerbal.

Total Arsenal.

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48 Responses to Dark clouds are gathering above Ashburton Grove

  1. Last time we gave away 2-0 lead and went 2-3 behind against the Spuds in November 2010.

  2. henrychan says:

    Only can say.. It not over yet.. still 27 games to come..
    Hope we learn some lesson last night..
    Good thing is Giroud now know how to score.. And we know what he is good at.. his head.. killer-head..

    And I hope the lesson we learn will mean buying some solid defenders..
    one LB and one CB is a must..
    A subs for Arteta and winger if Walcott leave (but keep him is something Wenger must do to keep fan’s trust)..
    Sold Squilacci, Djorou, Santos, Betdner, Chamakh, Fabianski, Park and other deadwood..
    At least we can still get 20 million from that 6-7 players.. and save a lot from wages free..

    Play Eisfeld and Arshavin more..
    Go Gunners..

  3. VCC says:

    Henry….what you say about selling those players……….the drum has been banging for at least two years now and Mr.Stubborn will not listen. He even gives Rosicky a renewed contract after one good season in his last year. Guess what happens after the dotted line has been written on? ………yes you’ve got it……sick again.

    The same thing with Diaby…

    The same thing with Gibbs

    Who will be next? Because you can bet you
    r house on another one filtering through. My guess would be Podolski. He buys him then asks him to compensate and help his full back out.

    He is the only manager I can think of that puts up with it.

  4. Red Arse says:

    Morning TA, great Post!

    I wish what you have written was wrong, but i agree with every word.

    Sulking does no good, but I am sulking today and I am beginning to believe that perhaps we are approaching the end of an era?

  5. Red Arse says:

    Hi VCC, 🙂

    It’s hard to see us play like that, and TA has summed it up brilliantly.

    The hardcore fans will bounce back today and see the bright side of things with the usual, “Theo looked more interested”, “Cazzor and Jack will make the midfield tick”, but frankly it is just whistling in the breeze.

  6. VCC says:

    Red Arse. ..I’m on that train with you. I’m afraid enough is enough. The problems lay at the top.

    As you know I have said many times in the past that Wenger has been God in my house and I have loved what he has done for us, but every good thing comes to and end (just look at GLiC).

    We need freshness, and a new Manager that the players want to play for. Wenger has lost this IMO.

  7. Red Arse says:

    VCC,

    Has Glic come to an end? Was it overuse of the mirror? Was Terry involved?

    We need to know! 🙂

  8. glic says:

    Morning Ladeez

    Fine post Total. To get out of this mess we need a full fit squad, now let me see, when was the last time we had a injury free squad ?…….1930……help me out Herb !.
    I have covered over the mirror, as that devilishly handsome bastard seducer is trying to brainwash me, it`s him who makes me optimistic about Arsenal, so I`m going to see if I can think for myself. Bollocks, what do I do next ?……mirror….mirror!
    Good to see my boy OG gradually getting amongst the goals, he will soon be VCC`s favourite player ! hahaha
    I thought last year was Arsene`s worst start ever, but apparantly this is !, so this season will be a bigger miracle than last season if he manages to get us CL qualification.

    That Oz pre-match, wow !, move over the Prince of Denmark, the Wizard of Oz has arrived !.

    I now have 16 days off. I have much digging and prep work to do for young glic`c Love Shack, so I wont be around much as BK and AA take up so much time, that I have only about 1% left on my Sky plus box and need to start watching some of my favourite programmes !. I dont know what you are going to do without me as the eye candy ?…..What do you reckon ?……..how about VCC…….do you think that UMF knows of anyone handsome to take my position ?. hahaha

    Be happy gooners. 🙂

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning fellow mentally bruised and battered Gooners! 🙂

    Always good to see your positivity Henry, and you are right about Giroud: three goals in two games is a huge improvement.

    VCC/Henry – I think we are stuck with most of those players because their wages and the contracts that they are still on. It is a waste and shame, but not much can be done about it.

    GLiC, we all know we will not see or hear from you again, once ‘your son’s’ love shag is completed. So I am with VCC, you are effectively coming to an end! 😛

    RA – there is still a good chance Arsenal bounce back again, but yesterday’s game was one too many in terms of looking clueless and shapeless, and not being able to control a game. 2-0 up at home and still giving that away before the end of the first half is urine poor! 😦

  10. Red Arse says:

    Hi TA,

    I think we have all become bedazzled because we are passionate Gooners wanting the best for the club, which blinds us to the reality of the very average players we currently have.

    We make excuses for players who just do not cut the mustard.

    I do not believe it is possible to have a ‘big clearout’ because as you may have said, evolution is better than revolution, and in addition we have been made all too aware that it is not easy to get rid of over paid unwanted players.

    What is essential now is ONLY to recruit players of the top quality, and to eschew ‘budget’ players with the hope they will turn out to be gems!

    This may be a long term project fraught with problems but if the difficulties can be overcome the rewards will be high.

    What difficulties?
    — The afore-mentioned selling of unwanted players to unconvinced buyers.
    — The reluctance of other clubs to sell their star players to us.
    — The contingent and perennial problem of competing with the ‘moneyed’ elite.
    — The funding of the project by cost cutting and hugely increased revenue increases.
    — The age of the manager (AW) in carrying forward such a long term project.

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    Salient points Redders. It is a very good comment around which to build a post. 🙂

    I am still really happy with our squad, although, like anybody else, I would not mind a couple of additional quality players. I really think the biggest problem we have at the moment is Arsene’s apparent inability to both make us play a coherent and effective system of football and to make the players believe in it.

  12. VCC says:

    Hi All…….Wenger has lost his mojo…….To me he looks a forlorn figure, sometimes like a little boy lost at times.

    His magic, drive and vibrancy has gone.

  13. VCC says:

    Im starting to almost feel sorry for him and thats not healthy if you want to be at the pinnacle of your profession. Its sad to watch.

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    It looks like that at that the moment VCC. The continuous transitions we are going through are taking its toll, it seems.

    Wenger has now no chance to work with his players on a new system of football before the Spuds game, so it must be very frustrating for him at the moment.

  15. henrychan says:

    VCC.. I agree with you.. almost every time we screaming about the deadwood.. but nothing is really happened.. But maybe this time Wenger must consider it seriously.. cause I think he will not sacrefies what he already create..

    Yes.. sometimes I also can’t believe.. as one of the richest club in the world.. we just can’t compete with others even Spurs.. to bring the players we want to Emirates..
    And I wonder is the statistic is true..??

    Last night our midfielders are very low performed.. Coq, Arteta and even Cozorla play out of the form.. Ramsey also..
    I really missed Wilshere and Diaby..

    And for Arteta.. I hate to saw his bad perfomed lastnight.. very un-arteta..
    I remembered last season he did his job verywell.. and we even can’t win a single game when he is out of injured..
    I just wondering what will we feel if Arteta score the pinalty lastnight..??

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    Off now, to let the North-Norfolk coastal wind blow away the red and white melancholy.

    Laters 🙂

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    Arteta was just knackered Henry – totally overused at the moment. 😦

  18. glic says:

    I think, the so called “deadwood” will not be gone until their contracts have run out, ala Almunia. We all know that no one willl buy them as their wages are too much and you cant blame a mercenary staying put on high wages rather than go and fight for a lesser team on lesser wages.
    The new sponsorships will probably coincide with these overpaid contracts running out, so we will be better off two fold.
    Lets hope the new sponsors can see the future potential of our club and pay top dollar even if we dont qualify for the CL and as a club like Sunderland have procured a £20m deal, it shouldn`t be a problem ( he says ) !.
    Being our worst start under Wenger, can it get any worse ?, I think a defeat against the scum would answer that !. Could turn out to be one of the most important games for years, as a defeat could prove a miracle too far for Arsene. The supporters only need a feather touch to turn against him at the moment. How dare he have the insolent audacity to have a bad season after all he has achieved. Lets face it, what has he ever done ?, he`s as bad as them Romans !.

  19. VCC says:

    Hi GLiC……You make a point about the mercenaries being over paid. It is Wenger himself who gives these players their contracts!!!!!!

    Who else would sign players of the calibre he has brought in lately and paid them such a handsome salary that they don’t even have to clean their boots, because they dont wear them for a start to get dirty.

    Park
    Squillaci
    Fabianski
    Chamakh

    Then there are fringe ones

    Gervinho
    Ramsey
    Djourou
    Santos

    Then there are the sick notes

    Gibbs
    Rosicky
    Diaby

    All these factors put a real strain on the other squad..

    How would you feel if you were in the boots of Walcott….knocking his pound out every week and even being an England regular? You ask for recognition and all you get from the manager is sign or leave?

    The running of the club is Wenger’s baby, no one else.

  20. oz gunner says:

    Great post TA. It really is a shame that so many of those words ring true at the moment. What is left when Arsene’s most loyal supporters are nearly at the end of their tether?!

    I need a Terry style war cry to get me believing again after yesterday’s game.
    GLIC is right, this weekends game could be the turn around we need…or worse yet more boots in to an already downed Arsenal.

    Is anyone else worried that GLIC is actually building a house of mirrors and he may never get out?
    I worry this is going to be GLIC (see 0.45)

  21. oz gunner says:

    What a star! He’s my one last hope of loyalty remaining in football.

    Wilshere has just returned from over a year out with a serious leg injury and is already pulling the strings in the Arsenal midfield, but the England international knows he has a long way to go to match some other Gunners legends.

    “To have my family 20 minutes from the training ground and an hour from the stadium is perfect for me. Cesc wanted to go home. Home for me is Arsenal.

    “Cesc wanted to go back to his family and friends. My family and friends are 20 minutes away. It’s perfect.

    “ I’ve played 39 games in the Premier League, which is nothing when you look at players like Tony Adams and how many appearances they made. That’s something I want to do.

    “Our ambition every year is to challenge for the Premier League title. If we didn’t think we could do that, we would be under-achieving.”

    “I’d also like to thank my best mate Oz who really kept me going through that long injury spell.”

  22. VCC says:

    Oz….you missed the second part of his speech.

    “My heartfelt thanks go out to those guys Terry and VCC. They have kept me sane and on the straight and narrow. What wonderfully intelligent and witty chaps. Not like that GLiC fella. He is a strange one, and soooooo hideous looking”

    “I also would like to thank Red Arse for keeping me up to scratch with the Oxford Dictionary”

  23. VCC says:

    That quagmire guy IS GLiC. …after 16 days in his love shack watching porn on his mega screen tv.

  24. glic says:

    VCC
    Who the f**ks Rosicky and Diaby ?…when did we buy them ?….are they any good ? . hahaha
    Oz, No need to worry that i`m going to be like Quagmire, as VCC said, it already is me !. Terry is even worse, both his arms are like Hercules !. He may be in Bounds Green and you`re down under, but with his telescope, Uranus is not too far away !. hahaha

  25. glic says:

    hahaha Thank you, VCC, I`m honoured. Maybe Total should have a special section titled ” Bergkampesque Regulars Movies ” !. hahaha

  26. VCC says:

    GLiC…..I have already suggested that to Total. Together with a few other ideas.

  27. glic says:

    VCC
    I`m saving my movies for “win only” match report`s, so I might not be doing one for a while ! hahaha
    Thank you Spud muvver f**kers for putting a smile back on my face !. 🙂

  28. VCC says:

    Good luck with the love shack GLiC.

    Speak to you later in the week.

  29. Red Arse says:

    Glic/VCC, Still grinning after your exchanges! 🙂

  30. VCC says:

    Hi Red Arse. How are you today? Im waiting for Totals seal of approval regarding the clips. Don’t want to do any more as he might not like too many.

    Im still depressed after that display yesterday.

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    Afternoon fellow Gooners 🙂

    Starting to feel a bit better now after a fine walk in the woods and a dose of fresh air. 🙂

    Love the videos VCC and I am happy to set up a separate page for them.

    As a general point, I don’t mind bad language at all, but it is important that videos do not contain sexist, racist, homophobic or other discriminatory references, as I want to make sure that anybody feels welcome on BK. By the way, none of your videos today were in any way or form discriminatory; it is just a general point for future videos.

    Saw second half of the Spuds game and they basically handed the Mancs all three points by inviting pressure and refusing to attack them with any purpose. But I am not complaining! 😛

  32. TotalArsenal says:

    'You've been lifting weights' hilarious! :lol:

    Great reference by Jack to you Ozzer! :)

  33. VCC says:

    Cheers Total……sometimes you need a little bad language to emphasise a point, otherwise it dosnt have the same effect.

    The other points you mention, well it’s not my style. But if I affend anyone it’s unintentional and please feel free to edit/delete any such comments.

  34. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi GLiC, fully agreed on the language in videos: the bad language parts are the funniest. 🙂

  35. glic says:

    Total, you cupid stunt !. I think you meant that old cucking funt VCC !.

    PS
    Just trying to emphasise a point ! . hahahaha

  36. glic says:

    What has it come to, when I actually want City and Chavs to win games just to stop Van Clunge winning a trophy and also help us in our fight for a top four trophy and knowing it helps them have a great chance of winning the league !. That makes me a sad bastard.
    We all look forward with hope at the start of a new season, but to have it ripped from you after about 6 games is painfull. Just like last season, I`m skipping this season already and looking forward to, seasons in a few years time when everything will be supposedly better !.
    Even though I like the idea of us being self sufficient with the wonders of FFP, I cant help but wonder what would have happened had Usmanov bought all the shares a few years ago .
    I actually blame David Dein for our boardroom fiasco,( correct me if i`m wrong ) wasn`t it him who brought on both Kroenke and Usmanov ?. Why both ?. Why not just one ? and in that case , why not just Usmanov, the richer one and one more likely to get in a ” who`s got the biggest c**k ” war with Abramobitch !.
    Roll on two years time and if I dont see a vast improvement in a level playing field, then not just Herb and VCC, but I shall being asking questions and I shall be asking them to, not Arsene , not Gazidas and not even Kroenke, but you……………………Stretch…….yes you, you are the one who has given me optimism and hope for the future, so you better be right !

    PS
    I have reserved the words ,” you bastard ” behind Stretches name for two years time, which may or may not come into force !. hahahaha

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    HI Glic, it is difficult to argue against some of your sentiments. Football sucks sometimes and I can see why you feel our season is not going to work out. For me, it is still too early to write the entire season off though. But I am with you that I do not want van Judas to win anything this year.

  38. Nigel Tufnel says:

    TA, its worse than u say, because theos future is more than uncertain, gervihno going to african cup too. Our spaniards are tired, they need rest, and rosickys injury really hurts, as well as diaby. And still no second striker.

  39. VCC says:

    Where’s Terry?……is he hibernating?

  40. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Good Evening Bergkampesqures

    Forget yesterday game. We are just going through another transition thats all.

    This is all a consequence of the Grove move. We are now at a new phase of our development, were we are trying to build a squad with more experienced players allied with our special young talents.

    This takes time and can be painful, but it is just the next step on the journey and our inevitable rise to the top.

    Couple of years time we will keep our players, sign players of quality, and fight for the title.

    F**k Kronke, Gazidis, Alan Suger (why him? hahaha), Arsenal is a force of nature and nothing will stop our rise to the top. We will acheive greatness despite of people not because of them.

    Keep the faith??…Always, it never dies.

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed with all of that Nigel. I am writing a post as we speak about some of the issues that you raise. So I won’t say too much now. Good to see you back here btw. 🙂

  42. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Terry 🙂

    Good to see your positive spirit gaining in strength again. I don’t care that much about the next few years right now – just want us to start improving and play enjoyable football, starting next weekend.

  43. TotalArsenal says:

    NEW post – new POST! 🙂

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