Edgy Wenger sees Wilshere-less Arsenal edge further away from top-four

It was always going to be difficult to win three games in seven days; and as expected, Arsenal struggled against lowly positioned Aston Villa today.

Five initial conclusions:

Arsenal are still too fragile for squad-rotation.

Arsene rotated three players for the Villa game: Wilshere, Vermaelen and Sagna, and guess what; the team lost its shape again and looked once more like it was put together for the first time. Gibbs did ok, Jenkinson was rusty and had no meaningful report with the Ox, and Rambo could once again not match the quality of his football with his incredible work rate. The Ox, who played his second game in a row, is also not making us forget Theo at the moment, which is starting to worry me a bit.

We might believe Arsene should rotate more, but today we saw why he is so reluctant to make unforced changes to his first eleven. His core, first-eleven team is improving quickly, but as soon as he makes more than the odd change, Arsenal drop their performance significantly.

Giroud’s service to the team is not being reciprocated.

Giroud is more and more developing into the team’s attacking pivot: he is everywhere and reads the game well. He is also getting better at shielding, and holding on to the ball. His lay-offs are also rapidly improving. Unfortunately, the quality of his service is not being reciprocated, and as a team we let him down today. Was there one decent cross in the entire game? I cannot remember any myself. Both ‘wingers’: The Ox and Pod, seldom or never made it to the by-line, and especially the latter had a number of poor first touches. Unfortunately, Gervinho, who came on as a substitute, did not do any better than either of the wingers.

Our midfield struggled badly without Wilshere.

In our 4-3-3 the midfield three are obviously very important, but Arteta, Rambo and Cazorla did not gel at all tonight. Cazorla worked his socks off and was pure class throughout the game; despite some lose ball at the end – clearly caused by fatigue.

At times, I wondered whether Arteta was actually on the pitch; he sat deep and got seldom involved in any of our attacking moves. We really missed Wilshere today, who understands so much better than Ramsey what is required of the lynchpin role. Wilshere is much better capable of holding on to the ball and moving forward with it with real intent.

Jack also has got a quickly improving understanding with Santi, as they seem to be able to think and act on the same wave-length. Sadly, Rambo does not offer this to the team, and it looks more and more now that he is not going to make it at Arsenal – something I say with a heavy heart.

At last, a clean sheet in the PL!

Well there was one silver lining today: our defence did well and kept a clean sheet in the PL – only our second clean sheet since our away win at Liverpool on the 2nd September. As said earlier, the FB’s did ok defensively but offered little in the final third (especially Jenkinson). I thought the core-triangle of Szczesny-BFG-Koz did really well tonight. Our CB’s read the game brilliantly, and timed their interventions really well. They were also keen to help out in attack, as they realised that something extra was needed. Tonight’s game was once again proof to me that Mert and Koz are our best CB-pair at the moment.

Arsene was edgy throughout the game.

Arsene tried hard to get the team going from the side-lines, as he seemed to sense from early on that his team would struggle to find the quality to beat a struggling opponent. He even used the F-word at one stage, which tells us how disappointed he was in some of his players today. I like it when Arsene gets emotionally involved though. Unfortunately, he was not able to change the game with his substitutions or his side-line coaching tonight, and I expect him to be very disappointed in his team tonight.

Total Arsenal.

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43 Responses to Edgy Wenger sees Wilshere-less Arsenal edge further away from top-four

  1. Henrychan says:

    I feel very tired to even give some comment.. Hehe..
    Lastnight was a very poor game.. The worst maybe.. Even worse than we lost by MU or Chelsea before..

    Wenger shouldn’t swap Willshere with Ramsey..
    Ramsey just isn’t suite as an AM.. So please don’t push him to be..
    And if he just ain’t good either as DM.. Than I think we must let him go.. Bring another solid AM or DM..

    In three day forward we must face Everton away.. a harder team than AV.. Just wish Wenger find a better team.. If not nothing more than draw that could be done..

  2. Red Arse says:

    Morning Guys, 🙂

    A deeply disappointing game from the start as you pin pointed, TA.

    This dreadful playing style is becoming endemic and not just the occasional one off.
    Remember when other fans used to say Arsenal were their favourite second team because of their wonderful play?

    Those days seem a long time ago.

    Too many people are quick to point the finger at Ramsey, and although he is part of it, like the others, the main culprit in midfield is Arteta.

    On more than one occasion when we actually had a number of men up attacking, the ball went to Arteta and he immediately hit it back 20 yards to Mert, who with the Villa team rushing out passed it back to the keeper who then hoofed it up field to the advancing Villa playersand we lost possession and any impetus we had..

    I do not care if it is because time is catching up with him and his legs are going, or because he is tired and needs rotation, or any other reason. He has not been doing the job for some time.

    AW needs to recruit a ‘proper’ DM and soon!!

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Henry,

    To me, it really did not come as a surprise, so I am less disappointed than you at the moment. If we can beat Everton on Wednesday, we will have won 3 and drawn 1 of the last four games: for me that is a good return at this stage of the team’s development.

    Yesterday was indeed a bad performance but we have to move on.

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning RA 🙂

    Agreed with your observations about Arteta, although for me he was not the main culprit. The wings did not work yesterday and both Arteta and Ramsey were not able to support Cazorla properly. Let’s hope we can turn it round again against Everton.

  5. VCC says:

    Morning all……the morning after another lack lustre performance from the good guys. Theo was clearly missed. I hope he is back for the Everton game. In life you sometimes don’t realise what you have until it’s not there……sign da ting Theo.

    Ramsey showed again why he is just a mid table player. Is this what Wenger wants?

    Chamberlain was also poor, why o why does he keep turning inside and contesting the middle when he goes on runs, he collects the ball and immediately looks to turn inside when there is acres of room to go down the outside and take the full back on and possibly cross for Giroud, who has turned himself round from his early outings.

    There was at least one positive from the game……a clean sheet, and we did not lose.

    Now onto the harder away game against Everton on Wednesday. I’m fairly confident we can at least get a draw, which would be nice and set us up for the rest of 2012 .

  6. VCC says:

    *congesting = contesting. 🙂

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning VCC 🙂

    It is a game best to forget.

  8. VCC says:

    Morning Total…..yes it was not a win and a dour performance, but we kept a clean sheet and drew. Onwards and upwards as Terry would say. That reminds me…….TERRY get back on here, we miss you.

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    Winning an away game after a mid-week CL encounter is often hard. Valencia got clattered by Malaga and Real Madrid were beaten by Real Betis yesterday, in their away games. Villa played well defensively and we were too tired and disjointed to hurt them. A point and a clean sheet is not bad indeed, but the performance was still a worry. Our wings were non-functioning and our midfield was totally disjointed. Ah well, on to the next game! 🙂

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    Terry, hope you’re keeping well and making progress in getting back on good terms with Mrs Terry. We’re thinking about you amigo! 🙂

  11. VCC says:

    1 UMF League update….

    RA………….6 points

    VCC……….6 points

    Rocky……..5 points ( 2 games pending today)

    Total……….4 points ( 1 game pending today)

    Henry……..4 points ( 1 game pending today)

    Terry………4 points ( 1 game pending today)

    GLiC……….3 points

    Oz………….3 points ( 1 game pending today)

    Herb……….2 points

    Herb will be holding the wooden spoon for the coming week.

    Yellow jersey tba

    J Cloth needed to wipe the bottom of Rocky’s shoes.

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    It would have be some yellow jersey if it had to fit around both VCC and RA! 😛

  13. henrychan says:

    Morning TA..
    Maybe I just too excited to see our victory.. hehe.. moreover to know that Everton drew.. it just the right time to win, narrow the gap to only 8point from the top and be at 5th..

    And come on.. it just Aston Vila.. and they lost some of their first team and we only lost Walcott but got Gibbs and Gervinho back.. Lastnight we were the lucky one to still get a point.. That’s why I call it the worst game ever..

    But the good thing from yesterday was we became clear about how vital is Arteta.. We win or lost just depend how good or bad he played.. Not Podolski not Cozorla or Wilshere or Walcott or Giroud.. not single one of them.. hehe.. LOL.. haha.. We are indeed in a big trouble.. just like last season.. we never win a single game without Arteta.. What a nonsense for a team like Arsenal.. but that is the fact..

    And maybe Wenger do realise it.. so he keep playing him no matter how bad he need some rest.. But as I say it again and again.. for me Ramsey just not an AM.. period.. don’t play him in that position ever again.. and if he just not fit in other role also.. then keep him stay on bench.. better.. unless all our AM are injured..
    And I hope after lastnight.. Wenger realised it also.. and Eisfeld somehow will be trust to take the position..

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Henry 🙂

    I don’t agree about Arteta’s importance to the team. He just sat deeper than usual this time; allowing Carzorla and Ramsey to play closer together and make things happen. For me, Ramsey adds plenty of hard work and running but little extra quality. I thought the wings were rubbish and Cazorla and Giroud ended up isolated: Ramsey, Podolski and Ox did not offer this team anywhere near enough to get all three points, and for me, that’s it in a nutshell. Disappointing, but an away draw is not the end of the world. We will be ready for Everton: a rested JW10 combined with the Sagna-Theo train, will show us all who were really missing on Saturday. Rotation? Feck it!

  15. henrychan says:

    I need to add some comment..
    I don’t really say that Ramsey is bad..
    He just not good in AM position.. and I wish Wenger put him as a DM.. to subs Arteta..
    I don’t know.. I just feel that Ramsey will be good in that position.. He can do a long pass and block also..

    Lastnight for me almost all were avarage.. except our back defenders including GK.. And If only Koscielny didn’t missed his shooted.. we are in the 5th already.. hehe..

  16. VCC says:

    Henrychan…..as you say, its a shame Koscielney missed that gilt edged chance. Im sure it would be a different storey on the blogs today.

    I agree with your analysis of Ramsey. He is a bench player, nothing more for me.

    We need to buy a left back in January, as Gibbs is so fragile, and a DM to keep Total happy. hehehehehehe oopps its catching.

  17. VCC says:

    * storey = story……….whats the matter with me today

  18. henrychan says:

    I very agreed with you about Pod and Ox.. You knew I will choose Arshavin and Gervinho for LW and Walcott and also Gervinho again for RW..
    For me Pod is second striker and Ox is AM.. hehe.. none of them are winger..

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed Henry re wing positions. If we have to play Pod and Giroud together we need a proper winger on the right: Theo or Gerv if must be. Ox just did not stretch the game for us and had a tendency to play in the middle. I guess he wanted to benefit from the space Giroud was leaving behind him, if and when he went towards the centre of midfield to pick up a ball, but it often left the midfielders with very few passing options (as Pod tends to do the same). As soon as Gerv came on, he stayed at the sideline to stretch the game and create space. Unfortunately, he never got into the game as he was, understandable, still rusty.

    Re Ramsey – the position he played in yesterday is the lynchpin role, and that should be his best role in the team. He really is not good at defending at all and would, in my view, be a liability (big risk) in Arteta’s position. Like VCC says: a good bench player.

    It was very important to beat the Spuds on Saturday. I was very important to win against Montpellier to secure the next round of the CL. And it would have been brilliant if Arsenal could have made it three out of three in one week, but it was not to be. We should be feeling relatively good, but I cannot also help it to feel quite badly deflated. 😦

  20. VCC says:

    Come on Total. We did not LOSE. undefeated run in tact. Clean sheet as well. Dismal display but bodes well for Wednesday.

  21. richie says:

    @RA I’m not with you at all regarding Arteta, whenever he received the ball deep he’d look up for the obvious forward pass, but Rambo didn’t show out and Santi often as not had 2 shadows so in frustration he’d end up back passing. I’m not a Rambo hater but the fact is he isn’t technical enough to play in a 3 man mid. He throws out all the benefits of having 2 superb fast ball movers. Jack slots straight in but Rambo can’t. The problem is playing a 3 man mid against a 4 or 5 man can only work when all 3 in mid can move the ball quickly. Holding on to the ball “a la Jack” isn’t a problem because he dribbles forward, holding on like Rambo does just gives the opposition all the time they need to get set. Yesterday Arteta couldn’t pick out our forwards with any degree of accuracy because of the amount of water around, so shorter passes were needed. The problem was we often had a passenger in midfield meaning 4 or 5 against 2. Like I said RA I’m not a Rambo hater but he can’t be played in a 3 man mid in the way Jack can, it’s just horses for courses

  22. richie59er says:

    Yep! that sounds about right especially considering the dire conditions.

  23. VCC says:

    Rocky could leap frog into the lead with 2 correct predictions this afternoon.

    He must have trod in some s— before he posted those. 🙂

  24. richie59er says:

    @RA I can’t agree with you at all regarding Arteta, whenever he received the ball deep he’d look up for the obvious forward pass, but Rambo didn’t show out and Santi often as not had 2 shadows so in frustration he’d end up back passing. I’m not a Rambo hater but the fact is he isn’t technical enough to play in a 3 man mid. He throws out all the benefits of having 2 superb fast ball movers. Jack slots straight in but Rambo can’t. The problem is playing a 3 man mid against a 4 or 5 man can only work when all 3 in mid can move the ball quickly. Holding on to the ball “a la Jack” isn’t a problem because he dribbles forward, holding on like Rambo does just gives the opposition all the time they need to get set. Yesterday Arteta couldn’t pick out our forwards with any degree of accuracy because of the amount of water around, so shorter passes were needed. The problem was we often had a passenger in midfield meaning 4 or 5 against 2. Like I said RA I’m not a Rambo hater but he can’t be played in a 3 man mid in the way Jack can, it’s just horses for courses.

  25. richie59er says:

    I’m gonna watch it again (he says with a heavy sigh) but on first showing I thought AOC made all the many mistakes of a younger Theo. I thought the Pod looked tired and did little to advance the cause, Jenkinson and Gibbs freshly returned weren’t up to speed which meant they didn’t play with their usual effectiveness, so OG was starved of supply from the wings and that meant AV’s mid and defence only had to marshal Santi’s forward passes to OG, all of which severely limited us Especially in trying conditions.

  26. glic says:

    Afternoon Knob Polishers 🙂

    Cant comment on the post as I haven`t seen the game, but I know you have a good eye for the game Total, so I believe you !. 🙂

    I will try and watch the highlights a bit later if I can be bovered, but there`s only one thing worse than watching a goaless draw and that`s watching us lose and I dont watch them !. hahaha

    All my hard work of yesterday, digging around the inspection chamber before the sceptic tank and sealing around an inlet entrance was all to no avail, as the sceptic tank filled up with water again ( the water table is so high as the ground is saturated, I need some rainless days for water in ground to drain away !.
    Today I have been out there digging again and found two problems, 1 ) I found another inspection chamber, ( two foot in front the one I had been digging around ) which the previous owner ( John Wayne ) had for some unknown reason covered up !. On inspection, I found the chamber is leaking at the outlet and has been one of the problems of filling my sceptic tank up, but I cant fix it untill the water levels go down !, but at least I know where the first problem is !.
    2) I have an inspection chamber after the sceptic tank which is for the soakaway. The problem here is that as previously mentioned, the water table is too high, nearly as high as the soakaway, so water is very slow in escaping. By close inspection, I found that another inlet ( not connected to anything ) to the chamber was letting the water from the surrounding ground pour in, filling the Sceptic tank up from behind !. The previously mentioned Mr Wayne had not put a cap on this redundant inlet hole !, just a piece of black bin liner across it and back filled, CLUNGE !. I have inserted an expanding pipe blocker in as a temp`stop and this has stopped water coming in from behind filling the sceptic tank up !.
    I have also put a soakaway hose in the Sceptic Tank to drain away water onto my lower land to stop the sceptic tank filling up. !
    So it`s no toilet flushing at the moment, it`s a no go area !. So it`s a case of wiping my arse with leaves ( leafs ) at the moment !. Which is probably why they chucked me out of Tesco`s grocery aisle !.
    The plus point ?, is that I have saved myself a lot of expense, by not calling in some rip off drain company !. Academically, I`m average, Technically…..sharp !. hahaha

    Sorry, not much about football there, but probably as entertaining as our 0-0 draw. ! hahaha

    I`m now going to relax and watch some TV as I`m cream crackered !.

  27. VCC says:

    Have a nice Radox bath GLiC. Get ready for manana. More back breaking activities.

    Yesterdays game = you didnt miss much.

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    Love the detail Gooner lost in Crap 🙂

  29. VCC says:

    Rocky 4
    Red Arse 4
    Total 3
    OZ 3
    Henry 3
    VCC 2
    Terry 2
    GLiC 1
    Herb 1

    Red Arse 6
    Rocky 6
    VCC 6
    Total 5
    Henry 5
    TMHT 4
    OZ 4
    GLiC 3
    Herb 2

  30. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks for the update VCC – nobody running away with it yet! 🙂

  31. VCC says:

    Hi Total….Correct, no ones running away with it. Rocky had an excellent week. He must have trod in some s—. lol.

    Yellow jersey being worn by three members…..RA, Rocky and VCC…Herb has the wooden spoon. GLiC needs to pull his socks up or he will be left behind.

  32. VCC says:

    Don’t forget chaps, from now on in the 1 UMF League, please enter teams only from the premiership. This makes it an even playing field for Henrychan. Good luck

  33. glic says:


    Sorry, but I think you`ll find I`m top !. You need to go back and look at a reply to your comment @ 11/23/2012 17:10

  34. VCC says:

    GLiC… How do I find that?

  35. VCC says:

    GLiC….can’t find it…what’s the headline.

  36. VCC says:

    GLiC…..you silly arse…….I’ve just wasted twenty minutes of my life looking for that…….lmao.. 🙂

  37. richie59er says:

    TA This bloody wordpress is driving me mad!!! The 14:57 didn’t show up so after 5mins I attempted to re-send “No” said word press blocked because it’s duplicated. I waited a further 5 mins and changed the first line and re-sent it and the post arrived, almost as soon as it did the origenal turned up before the re-send, where did it go for 10mins?

  38. TotalArsenal says:

    Haha Richie,

    It think if you log on with a different email address or even avatar wordpress will indicate you as new and therefore I need to approve it. I was not near a PC when you sent your first comment, but I approved it later.

    I have been enjoying your comments over the last few days. I know today’s comments were mainly aimed at RA but he often takes it easy on a Sunday. I am sure he will get back to you soon. 🙂

  39. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahaha VCC – he really had you there!! 😆

  40. VCC says:

    He sure did Total. I thought he was being serious. How gullible am I?


    Good Evening Bergkampesqueres

    Thanks for your support. If there is ever anything i can do for any of you guys, Terry is your man.

    Things are looking up for me now. I have managed to get back in the House, though ime living in the Loft. Its ok, i have a 1980s electric heater a transistor radio and a Piegeon as a loft mate. I have decided to call him Fred. Hes very nice, making lovely cooing noises in the night and he scares off the Bats for me. Though i have to make sure i eat well. The other night i was absoloutly starving and whilst listining to adigio for strings (theme tune to platoon) on the transistor, i had this vision of roasting Fred over my electric heater. the only thing that stopped me was that ime shit scared to get to close to him. our relationship is based on a four meters distance.

    Thanks for the report TA. were we realy that bad?. Its the first game thats been on TV that i have missed for years so i cant realy comment.

    I guess we have to keep things in perspective. Our tIme will come, ime convinced of it, but its obviously not now. Deep down i am sad and disapointed about our plight. i realy believe we our better than what we are showing and hope things will start clicking soon

    What ever happens this season, lets keep faith in the club. its bigger than all of us, including the manager and Board.

    Right off to have some piegon pie………errr i mean a ready made from Asder. hahahaha

    “The Ghosts of the Thirties are Stiring”

  42. TotalArsenal says:

    Hey Terry 🙂

    Great to hear from you again, and that progress has been made. Although, living in the loft sounds still a bit sad. 😦

    It sounds like you have plenty of time to think about some creative romantic initiatives that will win back Mrs Terry. Without claiming to be an expert in this area, I feel a right dose of healthy humility; willingness to better your ways (if appropriate); and some unexpected romantic initiatives, can win her back again. Good luck buddy! 🙂

  43. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post – NEW POST! 🙂

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