Arsenal 2 -1 Birmingham: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

At this stage of the season three points seem more important to me than anything else. For that reason, I’m quite happy with the result of this game. On the whole it seemed like a patchy performance as some good, dominant possession football was interspersed with dull moments and the ending was more nervy than I’d have liked. Despite that, the visitors rarely threatened except for a well-taken goal and that bodes well for future games.

Arsene picked the same midfield and front three that he’d selected at Stamford Bridge. We dominated the game from the start and I got the feeling a goal is just a matter of time. Squillaci scored with a header from a set-piece but was flagged off-side. It was a marginal call but credit to the assistant for getting it right.

We had some other chances; Clichy went close with his right foot after stealing possession inside the Birmingham box, some shots from distance were blocked, and Foster came out to smother an Arshavin shot. The thought developing in my mind was that the final ball didn’t have enough quality. We controlled the tempo well, even broke on the counter a couple of times, but no one was able to create a clear chance.

It seemed like a combination of factors; players not on the same wavelength, not used to their roles (Diaby), out of form (Arshavin), and a degree of hesitancy or lack of confidence.

Birmingham, to their credit, didn’t play rough at all. They also didn’t resort to the long ball that often. The Blues tried pressing us in the middle third and tried to work the wings, which was to be expected. Zigic did well as a target man and brought his team-mates into play quite well. I was a bit disappointed we didn’t attack his lay-offs better.

The Brummies got the first goal, somewhat against the run of play, in a manner that we’ve seen all too often. They had a throw in deep on our right hand touchline. It was a 3v2 situation and Fahey was able to cross without an Arsenal man within five yards of him. Zigic did well to pull away from Djourou and his header was sublime as he cushioned the ball into the far corner past a despairing dive by Fabianski.

We can’t really blame Clichy for not winning the aerial battle with the Serbian. Nor can we blame Fabianski as there wasn’t much he could have done. Could Djourou have marked his man better? Perhaps, but it’s difficult to say. I guess this is the kind of a goal where you just say “well done” to the opposition. They got half a chance and took it.

The response from Arsenal was immediate and we camped in their half for the next few minutes. The pressure told as Chamakh was tripped in the box and the Morrocan showed he’s as good as Rooney at going down. The commentators were shockingly biased but thankfully in the US we had Warren Barton at half time and he got it right.

I won’t criticise the striker even though I’m not a fan of this approach. The only real risk here is that we can be sure the media will focus on it and label him a diver, even if the facts are that he’s no worse than any top English player. This could lead to some complications in the future games. We all remember how many penalties we were denied after the witch hunt against Eduardo.

Nasri stepped up and converted with some style. I like a player who looks confident while taking the penalty kick and the Frenchman’s technique was worth appreciating.

It was clear that the visitors didn’t like the penalty decision. I’ve no sympathy for them in this case because it was a needless and somewhat dumb tackle in the box, something you risk when your game is based on numbers in the box and multiple tackles inside your own penalty area.

From the equalizer till half-time the quality of the game fell but there was some edginess about the players. Nasri and Ridgwell were involved on the right touchline at the halfway line. The Birmingham full-back swung a leg towards Nasri while on the ground, and the Frenchman responded with a knee to his backside. To be honest, we’ve seen red cards for such reactions but I thought the ref handled it well as he’d have been forced to send them both off if he decided to give a red. Nasri got a yellow for his petulance.

Then there was a moment when Roger Johnson rose high above Chamakh to win a header but clattered into the Arsenal striker with his elbow. I thought that was a naughty/nasty one and  a deliberate foul. Unsurprisingly, the imbeciles in the commentary box were still blaming the Moroccan for simulation even though he was clearly hurt.

I was happy when the ref blew for half-time as that allowed our players time to compose their thoughts and focus on the football. Straight from the restart we were in the ascendancy and it didn’t take long for the winner to arrive. Interestingly, the two supposedly defensive midfielders, Wilshere and Song, played a one-two on the edge of the Birmingham box and the youngster put Chamakh through with a deft touch. Scott Carr pulled out of the challenge and Chamakh did well to stay on his feet, take the ball away from the Centre Back, round the Keeper, and slot it into the net from a couple of yards.

I was hoping we will move on from that and close out the game. Instead, an old problem surfaced as some of our players stopped playing. Our off the ball movement reduced drastically and that made it easy for the visitors to win the ball back and put us under pressure. While they didn’t really create any clear chances, we all know such leads can be lost within seconds if we lose our concentration.

We conceded some silly free-kicks and the corner late in injury time made me really nervous. In the end we held on to the lead and credit to the Keeper, defenders and the midfield for maintaining their focus and discipline.

Individual Performances

Fabianski: Another excellent game from the Pole. I like the way he was talking to the defenders, he took charge of his area, punched well (except once), caught whatever had to be caught, and even his distribution was quite good.

Eboue: Not spectacular but effective enough. I thought he could have contributed better in attack and even in defence. His tackle late in the game was a bad one even though he got the ball and I don’t like all the talking he does with the ref and his assistant.

Squillaci: Did fairly well against someone like Zigic. Read the game well from the back and dealt with many of the balls in the box. Scored a goal, even though it was off-side, I’d like to see more of such co-ordination on set plays.

Djourou: Swept well behind the captain. Was caught out by Zigic on a couple of occasions but was solid overall.

Clichy: I think he had a very good game. The visitors targeted his side with some aerial balls but he dealt with most of the situations. Also made a decent contribution in attack. Would have been nice if he’d scored.

Song: He’s still bombing up and down the pitch but thankfully in this game Wilshere and/or Diaby did a good job of covering. I thought Song showed a great deal of energy and was almost always there to win the second ball, especially in front of our box. There were times when he was caught out and ended up chasing the ball. I’m hoping he develops a better understanding of when to hold position and when to press.

Wilshere: He was superb in this game and was my man of the match despite the stupid, reckless tackle at the end. Those who’ve been watching him since pre-season know that this was bound to happen sooner rather than later and I’m glad it came in the 92nd minute of a home game that we were leading. I loved the way he kept the game ticking. Also made the occasional forward run and should get the assist for the second goal.

Diaby: I’m not sure what to say. He had some moments of magic when he took players on and made direct runs. I also liked the way he was able to control possession and hold play up at will. On the flip side, his decision making in the final third was poor and he made Arshavin look much worse as he failed to pick the right pass on two or three occasions when the Russian had made great runs.

Nasri: Good composure for the penalty. Looked like a genuine threat in the final third. Wasn’t able to link up with Arshavin often enough. I’d have preferred if he’d swapped positions with Diaby and Arshavin on a more regular basis but it seemed the understanding wasn’t quite there.

Chamakh: Another big game from the Moroccan. Close second in the race for MotM. Worked hard, was intelligent in the box, and contributed on set-pieces defensively. I’d have preferred a little more work down the channels.

Arshavin: Missed too many of his one touch passes. Looked sluggish and tired. Still made some great runs and better, early passes would have seen him score.

Subs: Rosicky was full of energy and his touch was better than that of Arshavin. He’s staked a claim for a starting spot. I was happy to see a long range shot that was on target and forced a good save. Bendtner looked like he needs a couple of reserve games.

This Saturday has been good for us as United have once again blown a 2 goal lead, this time at home. Van der Saar dropped a clanger when under no pressure at all. And in the first half that I saw, Chelsea seemed lucky to keep a clean sheet and escape with a draw at Villa Park. Here’s hoping moneybags City have similar troubles tomorrow.

77 Responses to Arsenal 2 -1 Birmingham: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

  1. MSL says:

    Gritty performance. Djourou was good except for the goal. I thought he would mark Zigic because he is the tallest defender-6’4″?

    Chamakh’s bread and butter are these types of games. Where we get a tough opponent who defends deep and well. Nice to see how quickly he is learning.

    Song’s and Diaby’s new roles are slowly beginning to take shape. Can Song manage the work load of going forward and coming back to break up the opponents play? Seems too much to me esp that he is not very quick.

    • desigunner says:

      Yeah even I was thinking Djourou would mark Zigic. For the goal, Zigic was closer to Clichy’s position but the full-back moved away and Djourou tried to cover but he was not close enough. It’s a difficult thing to deal with but Djourou probably should have shown a little better awareness.

      Good point about the lack of pace. Song will have to counter it with more intelligent positioning and picking the moments of bursting forward better.

      If this will be Diaby’s new position then he has a lot of improvement to make. And decision making in the final third is not an easy thing to learn.

  2. Dave says:

    good analysis of the players…whilshire was outstanding, Arsharvin looked very tired, i think it would be good to rest him and give either rosicky or walcott the start mid week maybe even rest diaby and give denilson a run!
    again showed how handy cesc is!

    • desigunner says:

      I’m also hoping we will rest one or two players because Man City will be a tough game. The tricky part is that Arshavin normally does much better in European games as they tend to be more open.

      Cesc is irreplaceable. No disrespect to others but Fabregas is at a completely different level.

  3. Phil23 says:

    I thought from early in the match that it was a mistake not to start Rosicky. Songs role has changed with the second (supposedly) defensive midfielder added. For me this has made Song less vital to our team which is a good thing because when he gets injured we will not suffer like we would have last year. Our midfield three now has the option of having 3 very gifted passers of the ball in the center of the park. I would have loved to have seen Wilshere and Denilson behind Fabregas against City but i’m sure we will see it at some point this year. The reason i’m so excited about this combination is that Denilson has so much energy and gets everyone involved in the passing movements. With Wilshere sitting deep, when he pushes forwards Cesc can drop deeper to rest/direct others/play splitting through balls. This gives us the luxury of being able to play truly attacking players in the top 3 positions. Arshavin Van Persie and Walcott look to be our most potent attacking three but Vela Chamakh and Bendtner would do some damage with the amount of quality ball they would get from the midfield. I was very disheartened to see Barcelona defeat Valencia 2-1… I’m glad to see Chelsea dropping points already just like they did twice last year. The Only problem is this year we are going to beat them at home!

    • desigunner says:

      I think Wilshere, Denilson and Cesc in midfield would leave us very vulnerable on set-pieces.

      I’ve a feeling Arsene’s first choice midfield now is Song, Wilshere and Cesc. With Diaby next in line.

  4. ak47 says:

    i agree jacks red card had been coming but thats what we love about him dont we?
    i wish some others had his spirit. yes the red was deserved but to be fair i thought the elbow he got to the face before that off zigic was deliberate. and as no one stepped up jack took matters into his own hands. cos asking nicely not to kick you off the park aint working is it? i had to fist pump!!…

    COME ROUND ERE YOU 6FT 8 LANKY STREAK OF PISS, THINKING YOU CAN ELBOW A TEENAGER IN THE CHOPS!!! motd didnt show the incident either…suprise suprise.

    starting to get pissed off wit the lack of shooting when in shooting positions nonsense. sort it arsene and swap rocky for shavin. cheers.
    chamack… well well, thas what you call a pro penalty! im beginning to think its his other ‘skill’.

    i remember the first vid of kos i saw and it was of him giving away a pen to champz. lets not kid ourselves, its a part of football that will never die. and all the top players do it and do it well. rooney, ronny-pick one, lampard, etc..
    im jus happy we now have another threat opponents will be wary of. how many pens has he won so far? fairly or otherwise he a handfull.

    did anyone see the phot of a recent training sess with ramsey?
    the one where gibbs is sitting behind him?
    dam….if looks could kill!! the ability of project youth is obvious, but the mentality that seems to be doing the rounds is to me a good sign of things to come. thanks ste. appreciate it mate.

    then i got goose bumps…aaron, jack, craig, kieran, jet, benik, pedro, chucks, harvard, wellington, the romulan? plus cesc could stil be here, plus the rest of the 24 and unders.

    cant f**king wait!!!!

    • desigunner says:

      I’m not sure Wilshere responded to the elbow because he’s been kicked a lot in the last few games and has mentioned that it’s part of the game he has to deal with.

      I’d not like one of our players to lose 3 matches because he was provoked. We’ve learnt from those mistakes in the past.

      Agree with you about the “skill”. I don’t like it but living in denial won’t work. But Chamakh will have to be careful because he is not “English”

  5. james says:

    I love Chamakh and he’s won a whole lot of genuine penalties since he’s come (I haven’t counted but i think its about 5 in all competitions) but he really needs to stop the simulation, its sad that his ‘Ronaldoesque’ look includes that part and Arsene needs to tell him to just take some of the in-box contact as its hard for a big guy to go down arms flailing and not seem to be diving.

    Other than that, the lad’s had a wonderful start to the season and seems like a true quality player who’s not afraid to get stuck in with the physical side of the premiership. Lets hope he gets used to playing against the bigger boys soon (with Cesc around to make him smell like roses).

    Looking forward to Walcott (this season’s version PLEASE!!!) coming back, his direct play is so important to helping many other players come into their own (Arsh, Rosicky and even RVP/Chamakh); its going to be tough choosing who to start from Nasri, Walcott, Arshavin and Wilshere..

    • desigunner says:

      It’s a fine line for Chamakh. I think he does have the trick of getting his foot between the ball and the defender but he will have to be very careful. If the media starts a witch hunt against him it will be difficult to recover quickly.

      I hope Walcott is ready to start against City. We’ll need his speed against an uber-expensive, well organized defence.

  6. gorkhaligunner says:

    This is to Diaby where the fuck is your shooting license if u had one and scored one my MOTM..
    And i just don`t know what`s wrong with little russian, i wan`t rosicy to start instead…

    • As Desi mentioned Diaby was very very very poor in the final third. He should have made a goal for Arshavin. Arshavin’s passing was poor but he still made very good runs which Diaby simply did not want to make use of it. Had Diaby had one less touch every time he could have created atleast 2 goals yesterday. I am not complaining about Diaby, after those great turns and runs that last extra touch made all those good things for nothing.

      • Manav says:

        Gorkha bro. you must realize that we had some good shots on target but they were blocked by Birmingham defenders (notably Carr).
        Rosicky usually looks to shoot into the upper tier of the stands and when he does get it right, the keeper makes a good save to deny him. In this game he had a powerful & accurate shot on target. Ben Foster, who had good game, denied him.

    • desigunner says:

      I think it is difficult to find a good balance between shooting, picking a good pass, and holding up play. Sometimes players don’t get their decisions right.

      On the whole I think we had a few shots from outside the box but Birmingham always had 8-9 bodies in front of the goal so it led to a number of corners but not to goals.

  7. Arsenal4 says:

    Good summary, mostly spot on. The 3 points are most welcome, despite a frustrating game to watch for Arsenal standard. I wish Diaby could match his dribbling brilance with good passing & quick decision whether releasing the ball or take a shot. His approach made the game teribly slow and readable by the opponent. Jack was fabolous, he’ll take the mantle from Fab, what I don’t get is why was he stand deeper even from Song? Could have much more attacking impact if he had stay a little bit up just the Chamakh goal or the interhange with chamakh at min 5. Arshavin as lazy as ever, with a liitle bit of passion and determination, he could be our top scorer any other day. Such a waste of talent.

    • desigunner says:

      Even I want to see Wilshere in an advanced position but I think just like Wenger did with Fabregas, he wants Wilshere to first learn the basics of playing in a deeper role.

      • james says:

        Well said desi; sadly, it seems as though Cesc is eventually (maybe soon) going to depart before he fully comes into his own and will do so somewhere around his prime, I do remember when Cesc started playing deep and I’m so happy Arsene started him out there cos he developed the strength and fearlessness to his game because of that (who can actually remember Cesc being ‘bullied’).
        Just like Cesc, Wilshere’s going to learn how to tackle and control the ball with a lot of pressure around him, especially pressure from harrying DMs, and this’ll help him when/if he moves further up since he’ll usually be faster than most CBs and would still have a physicality to ride their challenges.
        Cesc = Wilshere in 3/4 years???

  8. Steve says:

    I am a fan of Abou, but not in the central role. He lacks creativity and whenever he got inside the 18 yard box, he looked like he didnt know what to do next. This coming on the back of the Manager saying mid-week that he is a striker? Other bloggers have spoken of him being brilliant if he can improve the performance in the final 3rd. For me based on yesterday, this is a mountain too high!
    Another annoying feature was the way the game slowed every time he has possession. Several times we gained the ball in the Brummies half and had real opportunity to punish them on the break. Sadly the ball almost always was with Diaby and he diddled around with it just long enough for half the population of Birmingham to fill the box! When you contrast the way Wilshere always brings momentum to the ball as the first choice they should consider him as the forward option.
    Diaby’s skills are wasted when he does all the hard work only to be dispossessed or get lost in the crowded box.

    • MSL says:

      It is not a mountain too high. Did you watch the France match last week? He took a couple of shots at goal and none went in. I was expecting more of the same. Wonder why he stops. Wenger said he is not fully relieved of pain. As his pain goes away, he will feel more free to play and shoot.

    • desigunner says:

      I’ve been talking about Diaby’s passing for over a year now. So I agree with your observations but I don’t agree that it’s a mountain too high.

      Let’s not forget Ronaldo didn’t have any end product in his first two years or so. Diaby hasn’t played in this role often enough. I feel it’s a difficult role and players can only learn by being there and making mistakes.

      That said, I’d not want to see Diaby in that role in big games this season. I don’t mind him getting chances to learn but it should be in games where we can afford the mistakes. I also feel he needs better communication with Arshavin, Chamakh, and Nasri. If he works on that in training it could help him conquer this mountain.

  9. DFO says:

    It burns my bacon when Arsenal only shoots when they’re desperate. Nasri, Arshavin and Rosicky have amazing shots outside of the box, I wish I could comment on the others but I can’t recall seeing them try their luck beyond 25 yds. Oh Denilson, yeah. Arshavin used to launch rockets from there and I haven’t seen him try once yet this season.

    I was fairly irritated by how Diaby stopped the counter attacks to wait for the rest of the team, but then I realized it was a good way to burn down the clock.

    I really liked Fabianski’s performance today, I feel that both he and Almunia have stepped up.

    • desigunner says:

      Interesting point about burning down the clock. I too got that feeling. It felt as if the team wasn’t sure whether they should go for it or just play out the time.

  10. gundu says:

    well i thought clichy did very well going forward today. loved the outside-of-the-boot pass over the head of a brum defender to arshavin in the box.

    i realised that our counter-attacks are rather hopeless. many times diaby or chamakh would get the ball, drive at the defence… and then pass sideways and all the brum defenders would be back already. and from a chance for a quick counter, we kinda slowed the game down on our own… and back to tippy tappy football.

  11. Maximilian G. says:

    In many ways frustrating game. a few sporadic impressions
    We did not take our chances against Chelsea did we today? Arsenal ‘After you sir.., no, after you..’ attitude and game around the box (and so much in it) as if for these gentlemen just shooting it on sight or attaempting to just bang a couple of goals straight in, and with the ‘right kind of anger’, seems like an absolute bad manners; this strange timidity is the result of what ? a kind of fear to look pedestrian and miss? is it nothing short of some skewed snobbery of the first degree, but I am afraid it goes deeper than that. Can one not agree with Parlours recent assesment of out our lacking play in the last third?.

    For me Diabi is the worst of that attitude,precisely because of his immense capability, such talent when breaking forward and sweeping the field ahead of him, but reaching the box he thinks he has to produce some Balon d’Or move, which only make him freeze like a mouse’s heart trapped in a deer’s . Why not dribble his way all the way in some times and see what happens, even Song tries it.., or shoot ,we know he has venomous shot when confident. Does not Arsene gives him that chance now to assume this role.

    Apropo, Rosicki’s directness is a beautiful, I wish he could regain that shot again, on form he should bench Arsh for now, Arshavin who is a great player in a listless strange dip of form

    Chamakh won it for us, his second goal was exquisite, though I could not help thinking it befell him somehow, with this aerial piruett ending having somehow the ball to feet , I was not sure he wanted it that way. great though. can he please take courage and dare to shoot on goal please?. Fact: he takes a quarter to no more than a half as many shots as he should in his position and he definitely prefers to look for the fall than to shoot. he does it well, even if he not exactly a diver, but that is not a good trend.

    JACK LIONHEART is on his way to become a great player,no doubt about that, he was again superb today, he did not miss a pass till the 70th minute it seemed like, but he has a filthy temperament on him which he needs to control better, because it will endanger his career and I don’t mean just red cards. Some fans probably like it that he can dish out some pain, but he does not really need that part of the game at all.

  12. Manav says:

    We could’ve scored a 3rd in the 62nd minute had we stuck to some basic, ‘primitive’ things in football like shooting. We broke so well on the counter-attack, were on the edge of the Birmingham box in a flash, and then……we just blew it away, thanks to some over-elaboration by our mid-fielders. I bet Chelsea or Manchester United or even Manchester City would surely have scored from such a wonderful position. We need to work on this.
    Also, quite unusually, we looked the more ‘physical’ of the two sides. I think our players committed more fouls (at HT it was 11-4).

    We’re lucky that Chelsea and United could only manage a point a piece.

  13. Manav says:

    My star performer/man of the match : Jack Wilshere, for a genuinely top class performance from the young mid-field maestro (minus that very awful, very un-Arsenal tackle on Zigic).

    Chamakh may have helped Arsenal draw level but it was so shameful of him to dive. He doesn’t seem to realize that, apart from putting his reputation in jeopardy (cheater! they’ll yell), he runs the risk of losing out on genuine appeals ’cause now the refs are always gonna view him with suspicion. Once a diver, always a diver, they say.

    Fabianski had a very good game. He was alert, timed his interceptions well, and generally, punched the ball away cleanly.

    Song was mostly good but again he could be held guilty for going forward to often and too far in the final 20-25 minutes.

    Djourou showed improvement over his last performance (mind you there was little the Swiss could do about that header from Nikola ‘Tower’ Zigic).

    • LondonGunner says:

      Chamakh may have helped Arsenal draw level but it was so shameful of him to dive.
      funny that you are mentioning help us to draw he actually won us the game regardless of his dive.
      P.S that was a penalty and should have been yellow card, but it is not la liga is the EPL.

      • Champion says:

        Totally agree Lord Gunner, was just about to say the same thing. Desi I love your analysis normally, but really disagree with you. I was at the match, there was contact and it was definately a penalty. This should not even be a serious talking point amongst Arsenal fans.

        Thanks heavens Nasri in Cesc’s absence is such a good penalty taker.

        The football wasn’t as stylish as usual, but it was a premier league winning performance. We didn’t win nice, but it was job done, 3 points that closed the gap. I am already focused on the CL game.

    • desigunner says:

      I’m not sure I’d call it a dive. I hope the article isn’t giving that impression.

      In the past I used to think this kind of “going down easily” was a dive but it’s such a common occurrence that we’d be naive to not do it. That said, we also have to make sure we can manage the impression right because people only need a reason to vilify Arsenal players. It’s a tricky balance that Chamakh needs to achieve and there is no doubt we will get some penalties and then lose out on some before he achieves that.

  14. Furovich says:

    I thought it was a poor match. Both Arsenal’s goals were extremely fortuitous and the fact they failed to kill of the game with a 3rd due to their desire to play the ball around inside the Birmingham box was just ridiculous.

    It was a very similar performance to that against WBA and Sunderland except the difference was Birmingham were so lacklustre with and without the ball they never put Arsenal under pressure. I think the look on Wenger’s face as he walked down the tunnel summed up what he thought.

    • Manav says:

      Yeah, he did remark that in the post-game conference. He didn’t sound very happy.

      I think the 2nd goal wasn’t gifted to us. Song, Wilshere & Chamakh showed what they got to set it up.

    • desigunner says:

      This seems a little harsh because we created a lot more in this game. We also had a better defensive balance.

      Many teams score goals with fortuitous elements. That’s the nature of sport. We have to take it when we get it, who is to say we would not have scored other goals if these hadn’t gone in?

      • Furovich says:

        I’m not quite sure of your point when you say “who is to say we would not have scored other goals if these hadn’t gone in?” Are you suggesting that because Arsenal were a goal up they didn’t need to show the urgency to score a third? Because sadly, that is how Arsenal looked. They lacked urgency and intensity in front of goal.

        You say we created more and that we were better balanced defensivly but I think this was only because Birmingham were so incredibly poor. The result was great for Arsenal but the performance wasn’t far off terrible. As an Arsenal fan, Im concerned as this match was the 3rd poor display in 4 matches. You cant expect a side to play well in every match but this sort of lacklustre and uninspired display is becoming a regular occurence. The obviously have a big test next week and will have to show some improvment. I’m hopping Walcott and possibly Denilson will contribute to that improvment.

      • MvSL says:


        Arsenal shoed no urgency because we had a goal lead and Brummies weren’t creating much because they were missing players too. So, there was no urgency.

        This is an imporant victory psychologically for the team like Wenger said. This is a transitional performance and our plan B if we have so many injuries again. Push Diaby up and let Song et al hold for defensive balance. It might seem like a poor display because this is only second time we have played this particular formation.

        The best of the squad is returning and I hope they get a run in againsy either Shaktar or a reserve. For Man City, we need to gun up.

      • desigunner says:

        I agree with MvSL here.

        Ideally we’d want to see a third goal scored but considering the fact that we were missing our top attacking players and three first choice defenders it was a tricky balance to achieve i.e. whether to attack and risk conceding or to defend.

        Seeing the way Fabianski wasn’t troubled I’m quite happy with the effort of the team as they played a more conservative style. Not as entertaining and a little nervy towards the end but still good value for the points.

        I’m sure we’d have scored another if we absolutely had to because we played the final half hour in second gear.

  15. Karthik says:

    “Fabianski punched well(except once)”, I think he punched a Brummy, so it was the best one ! 😀 The commentary was awful, the Sky guy’s rant when Chamakh was elbowed by Johnson was disgusting. I’m surprised you didn’t mention that Eboue could’ve closed down Fahey for the goal. As for Arshavin, I feel that Cesc, Rosicky and RvP bring the best out of him. Please AW start the Little Mozart. Top post Desi, well done! 🙂

    • Manav says:

      One of the commentators apparently had an anti-Arsenal bias.

    • desigunner says:

      😀 Initially I didn’t understand how that guy got a bloodied head but it was clear after the replay. If the Keeper can develop the reputation of having a strong punch, opposition attackers will be vary of putting their head in the line. Hopefully, we will get one or two more of such cases 😉

  16. aravindvr says:

    When ManUs flagship player Rooney was performing poor he earned a place in ManU benches…

    Here at Arsenal, Arshavin is consistently underperforming and still starting the match…While we have so many players witing for a chance to impress…
    I dont want Wenger to be like Ferguson or anyother but
    this is the one important thing Wenger need to change…

    We cant waste Vela,Rosc,Lansbury and may be JET n Bendnter(a formation change) just for the sake of an Arshavin magic which comes once in a blue moon..
    Atleast when Ramsey Walcott n vPersie returns this shud happen…

    Arshavin from bench is more effective given his pace n dribbling…rem LeagueCup against Spuds…

    Like the Fabianski/Almunia situation which finally seems resolved, Arshavin shud return to bench and with his world famous arrogance he cud survive a competition and shud fight his way back into the first team squad…

    Another thing wat we need is powerful clearances during the final minutes…Experienced players like Song,Eboue were all culpable in yest match trying to dribble past 3/4 Brum players…

    A powerful clearance to the stands in the final miutes could lift the morale of defending team and cud shake an attacking team…We need to put balls into the stands instead of trying to score again…

    At last we need more longrangers…we r the grandaddies of passing game but we badly need some shooting guys….
    and Diaby inspite of his gr8 perf yest din seem to know tht there was a goal post waiting and inorder to win we need to shoot the ball into it…

    more shooting,Arhavin from bench,more powerful clearances could move us more closer to Premiership…

    • desigunner says:

      Seems a little harsh on Arshavin. He’s done well in most games he’s played. We have to accept his style is not one that relies on energy and running all day.

      I loved two or three runs he’d made. If the player on the ball picked him it would have been a one-v-one. I think it’s important to value these kinds of runs because not all can make them.

      Overall I think Arshavin struggles a bit if both RvP and Cesc are missing.

  17. santori says:

    Good analysis as usual! Pretty much on the money.

    (A little more than)a couple of things :

    1) Yet again we are in the habit of overly complicating things. This is a tactical approach that must be stopped. We need to shoot.

    2) When we counter, our players are not quick enough to move forward. It slows it all down and Diaby (who made or saw a quite a number of the turnovers)was left with little option but to spread it wide.

    3) With relation to the above point, thought it would have been better to have put Walcott on as space began to presented itself in the Birmingham half towards the 60 minute mark. Still feel we miss someone up front who can trouble the last two defenders with pace and guile (ala Henry)

    4) Nice to see Hleb back albeit he was relatively ineffectual. All goes to show the sum of the team is greater than the individual player in question.

    5) Diaby. I don’t think he is suited for that middle slot. If he is to be played there, Wenger must give him license to shoot. Seems to me Abou is very tentative simply because it is an important position in which he occupies centrally and he does not want to take the blame for squandering chances. Therefore he is currently playing with hand brakes.

    To me, Diaby is better employed back out left (in lieu of Andrei) or even out right (which he did to some effect for France last week)

    5) Wilshire. Simply amazing the way he finds space and runs with the ball. Shame he had a rush of blood.

    6) Andrei. I think you would call that performance a Vodka hangover 9not surprising after his stint with mother Russia over the week…what were they up to after the match?)…

    Should have switched Diaby left, Nasri centrally and Walcott out right.

    7) Channels. Yes. They need to put in more runs cutting across from the wings.

    8) Chamakh. Isn’t he great at winning penalties? I would have thought it a continental malady but then there is one Wayne Rooney. Oh well. 3 points, excellent execution (‘dive’ and penalty) 😉

    9) Fabianski was positive today.

    10) Seems like United also lack a ‘winning mentality’. Come on Blackpool!

    • desigunner says:

      Excellent point about Hleb and the sum of the team being greater than the individuals.

      I think Diaby is struggling because he hasn’t been in that position often enough and it’s one of the toughest roles on the football pitch, especially in the decision making context.

      Blackpool played such a brilliant game, it’s a shame they lost their defensive focus on a couple of occasions.

  18. Augooner says:

    Got to say Wilshere was the man . Every time he got the ball it feel like something is going to happen . With Diaby he always slow the game down he need to play the ball faster .

  19. Metalhead says:

    Few things I learnt from Saturday’s games:

    1. Any team with injuries problems will struggle be it Arsenal or Chelsea.

    Chelsea without Drogba and Lampard didn’t seem to have that killer’s instinct yesterday against Villa. That’s just one game. Let’s compound that problem. Drogba, Lampard and Malouda out a few months. How would Chelsea fare? No better than what Arsenal have fared with the kind of injury problems they have had.
    I was amazed about Arsenal’s bench strength yesterday. Gibbs, Rosicky, Walcott, Denilson, Vela and Bendtner. To think that Van Persie, Fabregas, Ramsey, Koscielny and Vermaelen are not even in the squad!!!

    2. Manuel Almunia is not the only goalkeeper who commits mistakes. Edvin Van der Sar committed a horrendous blunder yesterday that cost his side 2 points.

    3. Arshavin does not always have to start a game, especially if he has played 2 Internationals games in as many weeks.

    4. Arsenal players can also come up with some atrocious tackles.

    5. I still hate Tottenham Hotspur and Twitchy!

    • desigunner says:

      🙂 completely agree with points 1 and 2. 3 is valid but it’s a difficult decision because even Rosicky had played a lot in internationals and he too has been having a problem of stamina.

      4 I think this was a one-off. The key point I think is that we didn’t go out to kick the opponents from the first minute till the last. We must not repeat these tackles, Arsene will have to be clear with his message to the players.

      5 I think hating them is giving them too much value really.

  20. Muzzi says:

    I would like to know where i can complain to FA about the commentator standards. It was on of the most biased commentating i have seen at such a high level. I had to turn my TV to mute. I was not able to bear constant biasness. We as Arsenal fan should do something about thus as it portrays negative image of our team and it is very defaming.

    • Metalhead says:

      I agree. Trevor Francis (ex-Birmingham Manager) was the culprit. Emotion got he better of him. Very unprofessional!

      • aravindvr says:

        Yup the clueless Commentators were biased.
        seemed like Brum fans cheering their team on…

        And overall EPL presentation is on the decline in Asian region(esp in India) with ESPNStar showing no respect to the viewers…

        They badly need John Dykes back..

        Liverppol player fan n now pundit- Steve Mcmanaman is another biased fool who has no idea wat he is speaking during match analysis…

        Shebby Singh,Jamie Reeves and John Dykes were the best so far in busines…wat do u guys say?

    • Manav says:

      Yes, the bias was very much ‘audible’.

    • desigunner says:

      I’m not sure we can complain to the FA for this. The Premier League might be the right body as it’s their product, or to the broadcasters (Sky).

      I liked the idea proposed on Untold Arsenal a few days ago, don’t buy the products of their sponsors and write to the sponsors telling them why you’re doing this. If enough people do it, it can make a difference.

  21. JRRGTD says:

    Does anyone have 2 tickets for Shakhtar Donetsk.

    I have my 10 year old nephew here from Australia and am keen to further his Arsenal education.

    Please email me at

  22. desigunnersuckscock says:





    • John says:

      Hmmm… racist and shouty individual. Too cowardly to provide any kind of name
      too I see.

      I blame your parents … even though your father didn’t hang about. If they were incapable of instilling basic moral values or providing for you then perhaps they might have considered contraception. My guess is you were a mistake but your mum probably had six kids with different blokes anyway and more kids means more social money for gear, ciggies and scratch cards.


    • Kill Racists says:

      @to the first commentor

      Fuck off racist..we know u r a case of waste of Sperm…
      Go ask ur daddy for why he did it?

      Yes John u r right…his father din buy enough condoms to avoid these fools from happening,,,

    • Manav says:

      IMO, you need to see a shrink urgently.

  23. LondonGunner says:

    Hi Desi
    excellent analysis, I was in the game yesterday, we were very average but we still won.
    Chamakh, Eboue Diaby and Nasri were awesome.
    Arshavin should be dropped he is now becoming useless.

  24. Incredible G says:

    Any way you can block this guy Desi? I was just about to write about how your blog has been my favourite for some time and how great it is that your comments section is getting more and more folk with differing opinions, right or wrong, actually willing to set out their case and then I get down to this trolling infant. Hey at least he’s just a spud and not one of those boring “love arsenal, hate wenger” D&Gers. Love the racism, just beautiful that we still have mental troglodytes in the 21st century.

    Furovich, that’s a very harsh analysis on both teams. You play the game you’re in. One opponent will allow you different avenues of attack and will make you look better in different areas of the park. We scored as many goals as it took to win on this occasion. They threatened to score a few times but between Fabs and 2 CBs that have played together once we dug out a victory. We’d like to see better but its enough.

    With regards to Arsh. Its become very fashionable to question his work-rate and his tendency to drop in and out of games but as a long-term fan of the boy I would like to point out that he has often had this criticism levelled at him in the past and that its a feature(good or bad) of his game. The fact is, he might look lazy sometimes but he can win games for us. He drifts out but when he drifts in he does some damage. 5 goals and a good few beautiful assists so far says Wenger will play him as regularly as possible. Over 90 minutes he is our best player out on the left, everyone else looks isolated when they play there. I think Jack might do well there too but he’s being groomed for the centre.

    • Metalhead says:

      Yeah I agree with you, Incredible G. I just put up some stats (comment) about Arshavin. I don’t know it where it vanished.
      Like you said Arshavin has scored 5 goals and he is the joint top scorer with Nasri and Chamakh. He apparently has created more goalscoring opportunities (21) than anyone else in the Premier League. More importantly he is one of the fittest guys. To get criticized even after all this is a little baffling. The reason for his poor performance was fatigue.

    • Manav says:

      Just wanted to correct you bro. –
      An opinion is an opinion, it can’t and doesn’t have to be right or wrong.

    • santori says:

      Not to mention Andrei is currently one of our few players willing to have a good crack at goal.

      Well said.

    • desigunner says:

      Sorry about that.

      There seems to be an idiot who is bitter from years of humiliation as he is a spud. I’ve some filters that keep his crap out but if I make them too strict it will hold up many other comments for moderation.

      I’ve been proud of the fact that most of the times we have a very civilized and football-focused discussion here thanks to the many excellent regular contributors and I’ll try to keep the abusive, nonsensical ones out.

  25. Tim says:

    Very pleased again with Chamakh, although I could live without the swan-diving. His workrate is prodigious, he leads the line well and his goal was sublime.

    I know I say this every week, but it’s easy to forget he has been in English football for less than two months – even Bergkamp, Henry and Pires needed a while to acclimatise to the Premier League, but Chamakh has slotted right in as if he has always been here. Superb.

    • desigunner says:

      Could it be that the flair players take time to adapt while the hard working ones just get on with their thing? But then there is Arshavin and the way he adapted in no time.

      I guess it could be down to the fact that over the years Arsene has identified how to get the right players and how to help them adjust.

  26. Incredible G says:

    Its nice to have the Spuds fan club ambassador with us today. The official DVD entitled “Harry uses his words” to be released 17:00GMT

  27. harry says:

    Nice post Desi.
    I haven’t read any comments on comparisons between young Jack and Scholes. The latter has always deemed to be clumsy, making a “fowards challenge”. How many times does he get away with “mistimed” tackles and the classic ” oh that scholsy” – insert a pair of monkeys giggling.
    The tackle was rash but Jack was tracking back to win the ball.
    I just watched the Stoke game and Huth came in studs up over the shin on Cahill but only got a yellow.
    Rooney simulates and is called clever.
    Wenger can’t win,

  28. drvics (mumbai gooner) says:

    Great to be back to some Arsenal football this weekend, though it wasnt exactly ‘vintage’ Arsenal.
    I agree to most of your analysis and ratings.
    I dont agree with the Arshavin bashing though. He is a totally different kind kind of player to Nasri and Rosicky, and I think thats the reason he is and has been preferred in that position on the left. I dont agree to the view that though he produces a few magical moments, he does do much most of the time he’s on the pitch. In fact, the chances that he creates is because of his phenomenal movement of the ball and he makes those runs all the time. He does a lot of work in the final third with his off the ball running. But he needs a midfielder who is on the same wavelength to see those runs. Invariably he plays a lot better with Cesc and RVP and his understanding with Jack has been better than that with most of our other midfielders.
    This brings me to another important point. When everyone is fit, we now virtually have 2 very good playing 11’s.Cesc & Rvp will play virtually everytime they are fit. But getting the other pieces of the puzzle sorted would be a challenge. We can already see some players having a better understanding with each other than another set of players (eg, Denilson and wilshere pairing in the midfield brings alot more fluidity and quickness compared to the power of a Song Diaby midfield). I think this chemistry would be vital not only in the team 11 selection but also subs.
    Consider a scenario where we have diaby Song and Cesc in the centre but we arent creating a breakthrough. At 70 mins bring on Jack, denilson and walcott to take advantage of the tiring legs of the opposition.
    What I mean is we could virtually do what they do in Ice Hockey, which is bring in a GROUP substitution, to completely change the opposition’s defense tactics on its head.

    • desigunner says:

      I agree with you that a lot of Arshavin’s talent is in his off the ball play, which is often missed by the camera and sadly, at times by his teammates 🙂

      Very interesting point about group substitutions. I’d never given that serious thought because we’ve rarely had many players fit for any length of time. There is no doubt our squad will be phenomenal if we can keep them all fit. Rotations, group substitutions, surprise formation changes, etc many things will be possible if we have such a diverse set of players, all match fit and raring to go.

  29. […] Arsenal 2 -1 Birmingham: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis At this stage of the season three points seem more important to me than anything else. For that reason, I’m quite […] […]

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