Relegation Style Arsenal Escape With A Draw!

I don’t remember the last time I was so frustrated by an Arsenal performance. It was as bad as any relegation threatened side plays, perhaps worse. I don’t claim to have a memory that covers every game in the Wenger era but this will certainly be amongst the worst his team have played.

As you must have gathered by now I’m not in a good mood and this post is part rant, part discussion, and part release of the steam in my head from a boiling brain.

Before I get to Arsenal, I’ll say Dowd had a shocking game. The sending off was the work of a man wanting to prove some point rather than a ref taking a well thought through decision. This was evident from the countless fouls Sunderland got away with and the fact that Bramble and a couple of other Sunderland players were not booked for fouls that were much worse. Having said all that, the ref did get the penalty decision right and I would not blame him for the result. His performance wasn’t a surprise and we should have done better.

Sunderland for their part worked really hard and put us under pressure. All credit to them for their endeavour. Hard work isn’t enough to win a game and for all their dominance of the ball the hosts barely created anything of note. It wasn’t a surprise either as the typical ‘English’ approach – “put the ball in the box and hope for the best” – doesn’t always work. It did in the fifteen seconds that were added after the four added minutes but I don’t think Sunderland deserved anything from this game. That doesn’t mean Arsenal deserved three points. This was one of the games where neither team deserved anything and perhaps one could say the draw was as fair as a result could be in such a case.

That brings me to back Arsenal. The goal we scored was as freakish as I truly hope this display will be in the context of our season. The goal we conceded was typical last minute madness; the defence had no support from the midfield and the main goal scorer in the opposition side was unmarked in our six yard box.

We had a chance to seal the win but Rosicky blasted his penalty over the top. I have no clue why he took the penalty in the first place! The Czech star hasn’t played regularly, his shooting has been completely off radar, and he never looked confident. I’m sure we would have won the game if we had scored the second. So leaving aside the appalling refereeing and pathetic football, Rosicky will get bulk of the blame for the two points dropped.

To be fair to the players we did play better in the second half but it was not good enough. The basic problem in this game was twofold; we hardly won any second balls from all the aerial play that went on, and we lost far too many physical battles giving the ball away on countless occasions. As a result we never got our game flowing and Sunderland found it far too easy to work the channels and get their crosses in.

Despite that the hosts barely created anything of note and a great deal of credit goes to Koscielny and Squillaci, who both played really well. If we had Vermaelen and Gallas in this game we might have conceded three or four goals. Nothing against Vermaelen but he can’t win as many headers and doesn’t close people down as well as Koscielny did.

Rosicky and Nasri deserve some credit for the composure they showed in the second half. It’s a shame that Wilshere and Song were quite poor in the first half and Cesc was off-colour even before getting injured. If all our midfielders had shown the kind of composure that Nasri and Rosicky did then this would have been a much easier game. It wasn’t surprising that we looked the better team every time we managed to get the ball on the ground.

This is also a game where a couple of good shots from distance or a decent set-piece could have made the difference. It continues to worry me that we just don’t have any real quality on set-plays when RvP is injured. That’s a complicated topic so I won’t discuss it right now.

Now that some of the steam is gone from my head, I’d like to mention that there were a few positives from this game. The performance of the defenders and the keeper was very good despite being under pressure for most of the game.  If we had held on it would have been a massive result. The fact that we did not means that the positive vibes created by the start will be diminished and the Misery Brigade will find some voice.

I don’t think we should read too much into this game. Hopefully, this will be a one-off. The second half gave us enough signs that we can do much better.

Individual Performances

Almunia: Caught what had to be caught, punched well, came off his line when needed, very solid.

Sagna: Worked hard in defence and went forward when he got the chance. Couldn’t have done much more in such a game.

Squillaci: Contested well for the headers, did a good job of closing down the attackers.

Koscielny: Probably won more headers than any Arsenal defender has won in the last few years. Never gave anyone a clear sight of goal. MotM in my opinion.

Clichy: Did fairly well defending on the wing without much support. Was decent in the second half but he’s lost his attacking threat. Not sure if such a wild clearance at the end was a good choice but he didn’t have many options. I’ll have to see the goal again before deciding on this.

Song: It was a stupid performance from Song. I’ve no idea why he has developed this sudden urge for going forward. His sending off was harsh but he did commit some needless fouls. His reactions to the ref were quite dumb as well considering he isn’t English and plays for Arsenal!

Wilshere: Really struggled in the first half. Gave the ball away regularly, hardly got into space to receive a pass. Often hoofed the ball even when he wasn’t under pressure quite like a Bolton midfielder would do. Did much better in the second half. As I’d mentioned previously, he’ll struggle a bit when teams don’t give our players time and space on the ball. It’s to be expected, others should have done better and he should have been allowed to go further forward.

Cesc: Was missing even when he was on the pitch. Scored one of the craziest goals ever, showed the value of pressing high up the pitch.

Nasri: Worked hard on the wing. Did well later on in the game when we tried to keep the ball. Did really well to win the penalty and should have taken it himself.

Chamakh: Worked his socks off, can’t really fault him. Could have done better when he was through on goal but it happens to everyone.

Arshavin: Rubbish. Hardly any contribution in attack or defence. Didn’t look sharp or motivated. Should have been subbed latest by half-time.

Subs: Rosicky did well in terms of keeping the ball but missed a golden chance. Should have played deeper from the time he came on to help out Wilshere in the same way that Cesc did against Bolton. Denilson made some good tackles but almost gave a goal away on one occasion. Almost scored late on.

80 Responses to Relegation Style Arsenal Escape With A Draw!

  1. Gunner Young says:

    I share your opinions completely except I think you’re a bit harsh on Cesc. He had a hamstring injury.

    Kos, I think he must have won every ball with his head, and was really aggressive driving forward. Squillaci, testamount to his calmness that he hasn’t been mentioned at all in the last 3 matches.

  2. Zak The Goon says:

    I thought that Squillaci and Koscielny were brilliant they won so many balls in the air and snuffed out bent for 94+ mins, i also thought that dowd was by far the worst ref we’ve faced so far this season ( i think fat Sam’s words got to him) gave sunderland nearly every 50-50.

    We should of had a penalty for handball, bramble should have got booked for a lot worse foul then song committed.We played much better with 10 men and should have killed the game off before rosicky missed the penalty, shame we couldn’t hold out but sunderland deserved their point.

    People need to remember were not going to win every game.I will end by saying that this team has improved defensively both new cb’s have so far been brilliant on the deck and in the air also i lost count how many times Koscielny intercepted during the game he’s reading of the game so far has been very impressive indeed.

    Keep the faith Gooners

    • Furovich says:

      Well said. The defence has improved no doubt about it and Arsenal isn’t going to win every game so the teams and the fans just have to look forward to the next one and go out and win it.

  3. shooter says:

    Come on Desi, you’re ranting for nothing. I liked the game. Finally Arsenal can take some pressure and resist.
    Finally, we have a solid defence (except for Clichy, tbh). Finally we have a striker that can win aerial balls and is able to hold the ball.
    For the rest, it was an away game AFTER a CL game on a very very difficult stadium (you don’t win easily at Sunderland), 10 man Arsenal for half the game, with an idiotic ref. Last year, we’d have probably lost. Arshavin was his usual self – erratic, undisciplined, lazy (no surprise about it), Wilshere showed he’s only 18 and he has a lot to learn until being “the next Fabregas”, Clichy is the same old “defensively aware defender” that we know.
    Good result. I’m really confident.

    • Manav says:

      Right said Shooter- we could’ve lost such a game had it been last season. Fatso Phil Dowd wasn’t having a great day. That ‘sinking boat jumper’ (Newcastle, Wigan) Bramble was looking to bust up Jack’s leg & got away with it! But it was 1 of our own (read the skinny Czech) who did us in. Had that penalty been scored we would have returned back to London happy to be on top.

  4. DKD says:

    Well, it is true that we resisted Sunderlands barrage for over 90 mins, but its also true that we did not play that well in terms of ttacking…atleast in the 1st half.No problem Desi, keep the faith



  5. gul says:

    i think koscielny is a beast

    • Chief Gooner says:

      huge fan since first time i saw him play for us.he made a few mistakes but his ability in the air,distribution and tackling has been top drawer.
      well done arsene on another great signing.
      i was hugely disappointed with result but over it. we were up against 12 men today. that refereeing performance was abysmal

  6. Kelvin says:

    Wonder why song was so keen on moving forward. Is everyone trying to be the next cesc?
    Wenger really needs to learn to pick his squad as the game dictates. Arsh23 is probably the laziest player in the pl, he shld play at emirates or in big games, he tends to lack motivation against ‘small’ physical teams like sun’land. Wilshere was nt meant 2 start. Am rily surprised he made it the full 90(ok 94 n 15secs) without a red.
    All in all, improvement frm last season but not yet invincible material or mentality

    • Furovich says:

      yea what is going on with Song getting forward? I just wonder if it’s a decision from Wenger or it’s Song’s idea because this isn’t the first time he has done it this season. I know he scored a good goal last week but he isnt that effective in or around the box. Especially considering that when Song goes forward, Wilshere has to hold midfiled.

  7. venky says:

    over all good result because not many teams could have withstood the spirit and onslaught of Black cats on this particular day and that too with 10 men , but considering the circumstances it feels like a defeat. We didnt deserve to go 1-0 up but we did with a bit of a good fortune,blame the refree, blame Rosciky, blame Arshavin, still nothing is going to change, 1-1 is history,lets just move on and look forward to the next game. Why the refree didnt blow the whistle after 4 minutes no one has any idea nor we will get an explanation.When some one cleared the ball with his head from the penalty area I started to celebrate, the game should have been won at that point itself. Just ruined my day

    • desigunner says:

      Same here, I was celebrating and then it was heartbreak.

      • Manav says:

        In football you shouldn’t start celebrating until the man with the whistle blows it.
        Anyway, 1-1 at a venue as hostile as the Stadium of Light, missing your captain & minus Alex ‘Rock’ Song isn’t a bad result, not in my opinion. This surely isn’t the end of the world. If we manage to clean the scum from the other side of the road then that should help in uplifting our spirits.

  8. Vermaelen says:

    tbh, I had a bad feeling when I saw the team sheet, it is the same as the mid-week game. I was expecting at least one change. Vela on for Arshavin, considering how when he did when he came on and the bad form Arshavin is in right now. Next Denilson/Rosicky for Wilshere – 3 games in a row for a 18-year-old? I think that’s too much, I thought we were suppose to ease him in, not throw him into the deep water straight away.

    I am of course very disappointed, most of all I want to see more rotation within the team. I would also like to point out the defence was exellent, especially Almunia, didn’t make many mistakes if any. (Can’t comment on the two centre-halves as I was watching a stream and often confuse the two) But they were fantastic as well.

    Finally, we’re still undefeated, and of course still an invincible team. Very interested to see how we pick up from this now, hopefully the reserves will give us some more positives to talk about on Tuesday night!

    • desigunner says:

      I talked about rotation all of last season but there are two problems. One, Wenger doesn’t see some players in some roles, for instance Rosicky in the midfield along with Cesc and Song. Second, There are too many midfielders out injured and others like Denilson haven’t had a full game or a pre-season for a long time.

  9. gubis says:

    I think Theo would have worked wonders in this match. If he was here we would have started with Arsh on the bench i think and someone els on his side…

  10. naija+soccer says:

    I have always enjoyed reading your blog. As a matter of fact i enjoy your blog the most in all arsenal blogs because of the way you breakdown and cite your points. I also respect the fact that you dont let your emotions control what you write, until today. The topic of your post says it all. You shouldnt let your emotions affect your writing. This was a really good game. Tirst, we are not going to win every game. i repeat, WE ARE NOT GOING TO WIN EVERYGAME. But to draw a game playing 10 men at the stadium of light that havent lost a game in months, i ll take it. I read the Red London blog before i read yours and he said something that caught my attention. He said even the invicibles didnt win all their games.Did your hear that ? Not even the invicibles won all their games.

    Its true our attack wasnt its usual self but even then, when we had the ball, especially in the second half, we were calm, penetrating and we had chances to finish the game off. This is clearly gonna be the one off game we are going to have this season so please lets calm down. We are the arsenal and we have the best offence in the league. Our problem was the defense but it looks like that problem is fixed. Our defense has been so good that all of a sudden not even the mighty Vermaelen is guaranteed as a starter. GREAT ATTACK+ GREAT DEFENSE what do you get ?

    • desigunner says:

      Thanks. I appreciate your comments and respect your opinion that is contrary to mine.

      I’m not upset because we didn’t win. That can happen and I’ve seen enough football to accept it. This game was a shocking display of football by Arsenal, especially the first half. I’ll cover that in the tactical analysis. So even now my response is mostly based on footballing reasons and only a little bit on emotion. I’m just another man so I hope you don’t expect me to lose all emotion while writing. And as you can see I’ve given all credit to the defenders.

  11. Long Island Gunner says:

    Let’s get a few things out of the way – Dowd should have been left in the Pub watching the arsenal women play and invited to get a better understanding of how to disguise a “home job”. The field was slanted in one direction – the penalty notwithstanding – all afternoon. A corner kick that is cleared AFTER the time has gone is whistle time. Home Job, nuff said.

    Nonetheless – one high level point. Champions ALWAYS find a way to take the whistle out of the refs mouth. Song’s header, Arshavin’s wild miss from 10 yards, Chamakh 1 v1 with the keeper and of course the Czech international’s chance to seal the points from the spot – absolutely shameful. The ability to finish clinically and kill a game off seems to elude one “great player” after the next in the Arsenal shirt. I really don’t know what’s going on in the training ground but there seems to be not a jot of a care about the consequences of missing League Table changing goal chances.

    Tend to agree that the center backs and Sagna had good matches and Chamakh and Song were respectable. It ends there really.

    Continuing the “not a care” in the world. What game were you watching Nasri play? Every game this season he plays too slow, he over-complicates matters with the ball at his feet and if he is actually on the pitch when we’re defending, I’m not sure I can find him because if you can name one ball he won outright in the challenge, I owe you a beer. Watching us get 35% possession in the first half was just the symptom of a team with Nasri and Arshavin offering about 50% of the responsibilities they should be taking Cesc getting slow into the game and Wilshere having a to-be-expected (18 year old) occasional nightmare in this one. If we weren’t so injury prone I would have considered pulling all 3 of them off the pitch at the half hour mark (first half) as that was a complete lack of professional commitment to the match in the opinion of many of us watching (in total embarrassment) at the first half display. Arsene has to stop worrying about denting fragile ego’s and put some size 10’s up a few prima donna arses. If this was Barcelona would we have seen 5% possession? – absolutely dreadful, embarrassing, unprofessional. Someone tell me we may see the team we know we can be next week.

    • Ash says:

      I agree with some of what you are saying but a couple of points I need to make about your post. Firstly, we are regularly one of the league’s top scorers so obviously we must be doing something right in the chance taking department. I agree that we miss chances and today we missed good chances but which team doesn’t? Nasri is not a winger by nature and so his game will be slower paced but given that our possession was so poor I feel this was a good thing as to quicken the pace would not have helped matters. I think he had a good game and in the 2nd half both he and Rosicky were both doing a good job of tryig to keep position whilst also being a threat. Also you mention Barcelona in a positve light near the end….didn’t they just lose at home to Hercules?!Also I think the ref had an average game but his performance had nothing to do with the result. Song was stupid to commit a blatant foul knowing he was on a yellow card.But hey, we are both arsenal fans and we both have opinions so I guess the main thing is that we don’t let this result adversely affect our form.

    • MSL says:

      Agree with the second paragraph of your post. If we deserved a point today, I can confidently say, it was due to our defending. I have never actually thought I would say that about Arsenal ever.

    • desigunner says:

      Nasri was probably the best player in this game. I’m not sure what challenges you expect a right sided attacking player to win. Can you elaborate?

      Nasri won one penalty, could and probably should have won another, one player in the Arsenal shirt who held on to the ball really well under pressure and was instrumental in us looking solid when down to 19. I don’t know what your problem with him is but unless you cite clear examples I can’t say much.

  12. naija+soccer says:

    @ long island gunner

    overreact much ?

  13. Long Island Gunner says:

    If you mean that my comments are interpreted as an indictment of the team (not just a big portion of the game) – your point is taken and it would be / is over-reacting. To that Mea Culpa if it was interpreted that way.

    Over-react to the display I just re-watched on the video? Putting my manager’s hat on – I would be comfortable defending the position I’ve taken.

  14. Alex says:

    Alright Desi…
    I fell SO SHIT about this result, I’m worried that I’ve gone a bit mental over the Arsenal. Is it normal for a result like that to COMPLETELY ruin you’re day? Feel like we just lost the league (I know that’s ridiculous, just how I feel)

    • metalhead says:

      @Alex. You’re right, that is exactly how I feel. Gutted! Ruined my whole weekend, let alone the day!.

    • desigunner says:

      These are the downs of following a football team that largely gives us ups 🙂 I find them painful for a few days but they set a good reference point for the good days.

  15. Ash says:

    Hey DG, I think that perhaps your judgement about this game and in particular our performance stems from frustartion rather than objective analysis. I agree with a lot of what you said but your underlyig assessment of our performance is slightly harsh, although I can certainly see where you are coming from in places. I think we looked solid defensively, and you are right about us conceding if Gallas was there as the boys we had out there tonight really attacked the ball when it was in the air and were composed in dealing with attacks along the ground too. I think the main root of our problem is that we allowed too many balls to be crossed from dangerous positions and that is due to Arshavin not tracking back and supporting but also because Clichy was given a torrid time by their winger. But when all is said and done we went to a difficult place without TV5, Diaby, Walcott and Van Persie and played a large part of the game with 10 men and still came within a whisker of winning and if we scored the penalty we probably would have done! People used to say Arsenal can’t play average / badly and take points. Well I think we have taken 5 points out of 9 away from home this year against tough opposition without really playing well. Hopefully soon we will be firing on all cylinders! Gunner for life!

  16. Tactician says:

    I was screaming for Sammy to take the PK

  17. Dutchgunner says:

    @ alex

    welcome to being an arsenal fan! and yes its very normal for arsenal results to affect your day, I mean on wednesday I was flying high after 6-0, and now today I’m slamming back cold grolsche lol

  18. Phil23 says:

    I haven’t read the comments yet here or anywhere else but I hope to hell people aren’t going to make it worse than it already is by getting over the top. I think Song is going forward more because there is more freedom as long as one of the 3 midfielders is back at all times, sometimes 2. That doesn’t mean I agree with it as I would rather have an attacking player on the ball when we are going forward. The performance of Phil Dowd make me fucking sick to the stomach especially when he didn’t blow the whistle my stomach just dropped and I almost expected something stupid to happen. I feel like we can handle a refs bias to some point and then it just goes one call too far and we lose points because of it. I must say playing Wilshere again was an average at best decision. Hes played tons of games in a row and what about more experienced players who we suffered through for years on the pitch and just asw they start bearing fruit Wenger moves on!?!? Denilson should have started the game and I’m not saying that on hindsight because it was always going to be a difficult game for Cesc and thats just needless pressure from the start. Anyway theres my rant and i’ll be back behind my team tomorrow but today I’m not going to look at a single thing football after i’ve written this comment. Stay Strong Desi, I know how easy it can be to write a frustrated blog (yours wasn’t too bad) but then you start to attract the wrong crowd, those anti arsenal BASTARDS who feed of negativity. Anyway…

    • Phil23 says:

      Oops sorry about the language if you want to delete that comment feel free. I was quite disappointed I must say… Upon some reflection I think that we have a great defense and that has also made Almunia shine just like Desi said he would. I must admit I think Gibbs should get some more games in left back as Clichy is obviously not peaking where as Gibbs is playing the best form of his life. Sagna has proven himself again this year. We don’t have anything to fear against Chelsea other than our midfield is missing Cesc Song Diaby and Ramsey. Lets hope a few players recover in time for the Chelsea game. If that happens we will be highly competitive and could be even on points with them in two weeks. Hope of an unbeaten season remains.

    • desigunner says:

      Interesting point about one decision too many, let’s consider United.

      Everton on the attack – ref blows the whistle. Against us he let’s play continue.

      Duff kicks it onto his own leg – Penalty; Nasri cross hits outstretched arm no penalty.

      O’shea pulls down Torres when he is the last man – No red card; Song – sent off on technicalities even when the ref doesn’t book Bramble for a cynical and somewhat dangerous foul.

      We’re just five games into the season!

      • Jonathan says:

        Doesnt it always seem to happen to us? Perhaps I could be overreacting but its almost like anything that needs to happen, DOES happen to us.

  19. Furovich says:

    Desi, I’m sure your opinions will atleast change a little after a good sleep but I still agree with what you’ve said.

    I really don’t think Nasri should play on the wing. I’m a big fan of his but I just don’t think his style, (technically brilliant but lacking in agressive directness )is ideal for the wing. Like you said, he did really well to help ease the pressure in the second half and alot of that good work came when he moved more central where he looks so much more comfortable.

    As for the goal, Clichy played all the Sunderland attackers onside. Had he of kept the line, it would of been an offside and that would of been the end of it. He made a couple of other little mistakes but he did really well at times in the second half to help ease the tension through bringing the ball out of the back really well.

    What on earth Song is doing getting forward I don’t know. Especially considering when he does, Wilshere has to hold so to me it doesn’t make alot of sense. I wonder if it is a Song or Wenger decision because it’s happened more than once.

    It’s a fair point that people have made wondering why there wasn’t any changes to the strating line up following Braga. I could guess in saying that Arsene may have thought that the players were in form against Braga and they still should of been relatively fresh so it shouldn’t have been a problem. With that said, I would of liked to of seen Vela in Nasri’s position and Nasri or Denilson in Wilshere’s position.

    I loved the work of Koscielny and Chamakh, thought they were inspirational. Almunia was heroic at times also. Arshavin remains to be a bit of an enigma and I would like to see someone else given an oppurtunity in his position.

    • Sonu says:

      I couldn’t agree more on the point you made about Nasri. I felt my heart wrench when I saw him starting on the right wing. Even Eboue would have been a better choice and Nasri could play in Wilshere’s role. He really came alive after switching positions in the second half.

    • desigunner says:

      I don’t think we have any direct players apart from Walcott. Vela hasn’t played enough, and certainly not on the right. Eboue is a hit and miss kind of a player. And somehow Arsene doesn’t want to play Nasri and Cesc together in the middle, something I’ve been pining for since last season.

      Eboue on the right and Nasri in the middle might have made this game very different from the start.

  20. Omar says:

    As I watch the game I see our boys looks like tired. Fatigue is the main reason why we don’t play as usual. Afterall most of the players had played 3 gamed in a row, right? Arsene got to do some homework on the rotation departement.

    Btw, now that we lost Diaby and Song, could you tell me who will cover their position on our clash w/ Spurs next Wed?

  21. SomeRandomGunner says:

    My blame list for the game,
    1. Song — he failed to break up the game could not win the ball cleanly for whole of the match and lost all headers. And got a deserved red on normal standard , leave alone the ref’s sunderland standard. Song alone with out Denilson or Diaby looks disastrous. He simply did not make himself available to neither Wilshere or to the defense , i dont know what is with his forward runs. I was happy that we got 2 defenders who wanted to defend and now our DM leaves defensive home.
    2. Rosicky missed penalty. Otherwise he did good.
    3. Wenger i feel it is stupid to make Wilshere a starter so soon and in so many games. He does not even look better than Ramsey was last year. Ramsey was given one off games to start.

    • Sonu says:

      I agree. Wilshere is getting far too many starts this season even when he is not even close to Arsenal standards. It’s almost as if Wenger wants him to step up to take Cesc’s boots ASAP.
      Wenger should’ve started Denilson if he was fit for a start and later brought him on IMO.

    • desigunner says:

      Agree with your point but I think Wenger doesn’t have many options. He clearly doesn’t like playing Nasri and Cesc together in midfield – something I find strange; and Denilson hasn’t had a pre-season or a full game so probably doesn’t have enough energy to start games, perhaps to complete them would be a better way of putting it.

  22. Sonu says:

    Doesn’t Arshavin remind you of how Robinho used to play for City away from home?.Finally Mark hughes decided enough and dropped him to the bench for every away game that city played that season. I guess the same needs to be done with Arshavin without taking into account he is the biggest signing Arsenal have made ever.

    • desigunner says:

      Interesting thought. I didn’t follow City enough but I can see the point.

      I think Arshavin’s form is intricately linked with Cesc. When Fab does well so does the Russian. perhaps, he hasn’t adapted well with the others

  23. Sonu says:

    if anyone told me before this game that Fabregas would be off injured in the 1st half,Song would be sent off in the 2nd half and that Arsenal in general played really badly but would still come away with a point,i’m pretty sure i would have taken it with a smile .I am sure there would have been much less rants if we had won the game but this draw would’ve felt like a defeat and it will be really hard for the new boys in our team :Koscielny,Squillaci , Chamakh to see us throw away 3 points. These guys were setting the example while it was our more experienced players who let the team down on the day.

  24. deb says:

    are you for real?? i mean what is wrong with you?? relegation style?? that was sunderland who have just lost 1 match at home in the league whole of 2010..that was the best of arsenal that i have seen in a long time..but for the joke of a referee, we had 3 points in the back..any god damn soul would be happy with that they were immense!! and the first thing you do is quote some thing that would annoy anyone out of here…even with 10 men we were the better team and had composure..i et it you want to see only passing football with style and flair one that has won us nothing all this while..this is a team of men who can fight..that was a battle up north ystrday!!


    • desigunner says:

      Watch the game again. This is a discussion about football and not about 3 points. Ironically, we were the better team only after going down to ten men!

  25. MSL says:

    I am wondering why you haven’t mentioned the tactical mishap that was this game. Almost all of this is as seen in perfect 20/20 hindsight vision lenses of course.
    a) Wilshere shouldn’t have started. Wenger needs to ease off about his England spot.
    b) Nasri on the wing? We have seen that one not work so well. He was absent the entire first half.
    c) Apparently, Song is now a CM and Wilshere was the deepest midfielder for a while. When Wilshere went missing, Clichy was exposed.
    d) I am going to have to rewatch the match for this one but how many times did Chamakh win the aerial battle? I think its either zip or maybe one.
    e) We gave Sunderland too much room to breathe. Song needed to head back and in 20/20 hindsight Denilson should have started if Nasri was playing that wide.
    f) Not tactical but don’t let a player who is not himself yet take a heavyweight penalty.
    g) Drill it into Arshavin’s head that he has defensive responsibilities. Clichy is good but he is no Evra or Cole. He needs support.

  26. aravindvr says:

    hmm…It seems u were too harsh on this one..
    Compare this with our performance during last few seasons.
    This one definetely is a big step in forward direction.

    1.Almunia was gud as in previous games
    2.our CBs look like they can do the job
    3.KOS was awesome in his positioning ,closing down and heading
    4.Wilshere was not too bad for a 19 yr midfielder playing without his DM support in Song in 2nd half.
    5.We held on almost an entire half without conceding with 10 plyrs, which wud not happened last season.
    6.Ref Dwod was partial and had no clue wat he was doing.We got atleast 1 point with Ref on their side.
    7.After Braga game, this result may put an end to complacency and get us geared up for Chelski game.We can regain confidence against WestBrom.
    8.We for the most part defended as a ‘team’.
    All these were ocvious improvements from last year.

    1.Clichy is gonna lose his position.I am not complaining for the last minute goalmouth scramble, but overall it seeemed he was the weakest link in our defense.
    Without midfield support,It seems hes struggling.
    either Arshavin(who offers no support) shud be dropped or Gibbs should be given a chance.
    2.Arshavin’s work rate is poor as usual.But he shud improve much more in finishing.Hes there to create ‘That Magical Moments’ alone and he shud do it more consistently.

    • desigunner says:

      Didn’t we hold on for a draw at Tottenham a couple of seasons ago with 10 men while keeping a clean sheet? Didn’t we hold on for a win against West Ham at home last season with 10 men? I agree that the defenders did well but that doesn’t mean this was much better than last year. Overall this game was a really poor performance, especially the first half.

  27. SomeRandomGunner says:

    I am not really sure why lots of people are blaming Nasri. In the first half our midfield was disastrous and could not get hold of the game even one bit, then how do you expect wide player or your striker to have a good game. He played very well in the second, his slow style and 180-360 deg turns helped us kill off time. He was really good at it and earned a penalty. If you see the game with a calmer head it was not such a bad game.

    Here is my Desi style summary.

    Almunia: Was excellent , saved all those when he had to. Swept up when needed especially when Denilson made that awful back pass. Was confident and organized defense. Overall nothing more to ask from.

    Koscielny: Won every header . Always cleaned up the mess left by midfield. Also covered Clichy well. Looks solid as good as any CB in the league. We have got a gem.
    Squillaci: Silently did what he had to. Played perfect foil for Koscielny’s proactive defending. Actually the pair played as if they are one player. So synchronized and covering each other well. Dare i say this is our best CB pairing, Vermaelen affects the balance.
    Sagna: Solid as ever , could not get forward as Song was always in advanced positions. Did well in defense when asked for.
    Clichy: Same old, stayed back a lot. Panicked inside the box and with few mishaps as usual. I would not blame him for the goal though.
    Song : Easily the worst player in both the teams combined. Stupid fouls , could not win any ball in the middle of the park failed to control the tempo as a DM. Played too many forward passes /through balls when we were struggling to keep possession. Should have played more sensibly as Wilshere is totally inexperienced.
    Wilshere: Should not have started the game, was brushed aside of the ball too many times. Made all sort of wrong decisions and with that atrocious back heel near the box. Songs staying too far away did not help him too much either.
    Cesc: Anonymous till he was in the pitch , should have dropped deeper and took control over the midfield . As a captain atleast should have asked Song to shut up and stay back.
    Nasri: Very anonymous in the first half, second half grew into the game. With entire midfield malfunctioning he could not have done much. Should have taken the penalty. Played very well to kill time off.
    Chamakh: Worked his socks off. Did well in defense. There was no offense in the first half. Should have finished off that chance in first half.
    Arshavin: Nothing to tell about him. I am not sure why he should be in the team. Lost balls every time he got the ball and missed few chances Vela could have finished those off i guess. Fingers crossed on when Wenger will finally have the guts to drop him. We were much better team after he left the field and Arsenal were with 10 men.
    Rosicky: Failed to show he is an experienced player and to take control of midfield in the first half. Had a very good second half , keeping the possession well and also creating few chances.
    Denilson: Calmed down things in the mid once he came on, excellent cameo as good as his Barca game. Made that awful back pass which would have been easily a goal but for Almunia other wise he was refreshing should be automatically ahead of Wilshere. He has a very calm head and won lots of balls in the middle.
    Wenger: I feel Wilshere is being given too much importance may be he is trying to please the English press. Wilshere does not deserve to start so many games. Otherwise good subs.

  28. Michael McCarthy says:

    No it was not a good game, please don’t delude yourselves. If Desi was overeating he would of said: “Wenger should be sacked, Wilshere is the worst England player we have had since Francis Jeffers and we must buy 11 new players just to come 4th”. The praise must only be used carefully as should criticism. Gold defending though.

    • desigunner says:

      Thanks and well said. It’s very important to not go hyper either in praise or in criticism unless absolutely deserved, which is very rare.

  29. critic says:

    there were 3 clear chances of goals…arshavin , chamakh and the penalty…rosicky taking the penalty shows there is no leader in arsenal team except fabregase…..god knows what will happen when he leaves….

    gooners get busy with ur life or this draw like loss will hurt even more…..

    • desigunner says:

      Good point about lack of leadership. It was painfully evident. Even better point about getting busy with life! Well said.

  30. bt62gooner says:

    What a load of bollocks terrible performance,song was a red card waiting to happen all day.Jack whats with all the silly drag backs in silly places.A bad day at the office,slow lethorgic play until down to ten men and Rosicky came on.Arshavin how lazy can can you continue to be!Thought cbs played well, but second ball retention and anticipation was so poor by most in front.We came away with a point be thankful,put it behind us and move on to the next game.P.S.Iam i the only one who finds it strange that a presenter can stand next to the ref before a balls kicked and go on about Wengers moans about protection and tackles? RED ARMY!!!COME ON THE KIDS ON TUESDAY!!!!

  31. jp says:

    Without – Song Cesc Diaby Ramsey Djourou Van Persie Bendtner – Injuries still relegate us to an ordinary team. If we do not get a hold on that, we will wallow in mediocrity.

  32. Manav says:

    Sunderland overwhelmed us just the way they did last November but I gotta say that they were well assisted in this job by a lackluster performance from our mid-fielders. Their were patches in the 2nd half where we looked good but in the end that didn’t prove to be enough.

    The defense did a good job overall. Clearing Sunderland’s long balls isn’t easy work and holding off the ever-present threat of Bent is no walk in the park.
    I was particularly impressed with Squillaci & Koscielny. Squillaci showed why experience and grit are irreplaceable. Some of his tackles were so well timed and great to watch. He snatched possession on multiple occasions. Koscielny towered over the Black Cats’ frontline and be it strikers or target men, they’re always gonna find it very hard to win headers against him.

    Chamakh wasn’t bad by any means but the creativity that we are so used to from the mid-field was missing. Wilshere will have his bad days and I understand that (He’s 18, right?). Cesc was off-color but more than anyone else, I was let down by Song. He could’ve behaved more responsibly (for the sake Arsenal’s fortunes of course). His tackling also wasn’t all that clean.

    Now let’s just hope we kill Spurs!


    • Manav says:

      Arshavin……….in offense, he misses a sitter when Chamakh provided a well timed late cross,…..and then in defense, instead of going for the ball or closing Henderson down, he starts jogging alongside him, carefully maintaining a gap of a about a couple of yards between himself and Henderson.

  33. Zulu Gooner says:

    Too bleedin negative my friend. the only section worth reading was the last Para. get a life and take your medications against negativity

  34. CestLaVie says:

    Good analysis.

    Arsha has no place in the side anymore. Wenger better drop his sorry arse asap.

  35. drvics (mumbai gooner) says:

    Hey Desi,
    Can understand the basis for your rant. We played the best footy that a team can play, though against a mediocre team and with all supporters on cloud 9, three days later we come up with that.
    My advice to you as a long time admirer, you should sleep on it and I’m sure this morning you dont feel the same about the match.
    Yes we were poor going forward, yes we missed a few chances, yes the ref was a cunt, but I still think its not that bad a result.
    A few points that I think we should and I hope, we will work on:

    • desigunner says:

      I’m actually not frustrated by the result but by the football, or lack of it. Sorry if that didn’t come out from the article. Will try to do better with the tactical analysis.

  36. drvics (mumbai gooner) says:

    Hey Desi,
    Can understand the basis for your rant. We played the best footy that a team can play, though against a mediocre team (Braga) and with all supporters on cloud 9, three days later we come up with that.
    My advice to you as a long time admirer, you should sleep on it and I’m sure this morning you dont feel the same about the match.
    Yes we were poor going forward, yes we missed a few chances, yes the ref was a cunt, but I still think its not that bad a result.
    A few points that I think we should and I hope, we will work on:
    1. Set pieces: The penalty incident should prompt, a rethink in the penalty taking strategy. I am quite sure that having the armband greatly influenced Rosicky’s decision and not having our top 3 penalty takers (Rvp, Fab and AA23) made it even more difficult. I have always believed that form rather than seniority should be the criteria to take a set piece and Rosicky, though in a decent touch, hasnt been in great scoring form.
    That aside, even the free kicks for me should be rethought. I know Nasri (though he did score a couple from free kicks in the pre season)is our choice after Rvp and Cesc, but I dont think that should always be the case.
    The position of the free kick should determine the taker unless Rvp is on the pitch. I feel certain areas are more suitable for Denilson’s curlers than Nasri’s dippers.
    2. Le boss should be more proactive with the substitutions (I have rarely if ever seen a tactical early substitution by Wenger). He usually waits till 55-60 min mark to make changes. Yesterday Song just seemed to have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. He was making repeated rash decisions. I remember thinking, after he got the first yellow, that Wenger would probably get him off again at the 60 min mark if he survived. Unfortunately he didnt. It was obvious that he wasnt having a good game and a half time substitution could have changed the result. ofcourse, if Song had just kept it together for a few more minutes, I am sure he would have been subbed.
    3. After defense is the best I have seen in years. Kos won ever aerial duel and Squillaci blocked every attempt for a long shot. I have not seen a better display from the back 5 in last 5-6 yrs. I ,actually was not worried that much after we went down to 10 men(another first for the last few yrs) cause it didnt seem likely they would score.
    4. We need to figure out combinations in our midfield that work for certain kind of opposition especially when fab isnt available. I know injuries limit this, but certain combos seem to work better than others. Rosicky seems to play well with Denilson and Nasri, but they provide no width so add AA23 to the Combo and everything seems to go through the middle, virtually eliminating Chamakh’s aerial threat. Eboue or Vela could provide better support.

    • desigunner says:

      Set-pieces and tactical changes have been our weakness for a long time. I got tired of talking about it after saying these things whole of last season. I blame the coaching staff Wenger has for the set-pieces and Arsene for his tactical decisions. I think Wenger makes his decisions over a long period of time and only after he has enough data to make an objective decision. Sometimes he should act on instinct but then it could disrupt his method that’s worked so well. Difficult situation.

  37. Ameen says:

    Well i was gutted by what happend in the end…
    But one thing kept me calm that we have got some real defenders now 🙂

  38. Ameen says:

    Specially koscielny was great.
    A great great performance by the lad..

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