Arsenal 1 – 1 Liverpool: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

Talk about late drama. Or talk about the ref once again stealing two points from the Arsenal. Or talk about stupidity.

When things are not going your way some minor detail, which might on another day have been insignificant, inevitably ends up being a game changer. In this case it was a clever piece of cheating by Lucas, who leaned into Eboue, that conned the ref who seemed intent on playing long enough to give Liverpool a scoring chance. But all the blame doesn’t fall on the ref; Arsenal could have and should have secured this game better.

Liverpool started the game with two strikers and that gave Arsenal control over the midfield. The visitors’ best and perhaps the only option of attack was a long hoof towards Carroll. And while the big man won a number of headers and the Liverpool players won a number of second balls, they just didn’t have enough quality to test Szczesny. Once again in 90 minutes of play the Arsenal keeper didn’t have to make even one genuine save but the points have been shared.

Arsenal played this game in a strange sort of a way from an attacking point of view. In the first half the ball was played wide quite often but there just weren’t enough players in the box. As expected Liverpool were weak down their left and Walcott won a number of corners but the Gunners need better and more runs into the box when they’re going to play the crossing game.

This tactic and the fact that Fabregas, RvP, and Wilshere were having poor halves meant that even Reina was rarely tested in the first half. The best effort came in the form of a Koscielny header that hit the bar. Theo also drew a save from a swerving shot that the Liverpool keeper could only palm away for a corner.

Contrary to lazy pundit opinions, Arsenal needed more attacks down the middle in the first half and fewer ones from the wings. This change happened late in the second half, and ironically, after Arshavin and Bendtner came on to the pitch. This rendered Bendtner’s presence on the wings rather redundant just as Walcott was being forced to cross to a penalty box that didn’t have enough targets.

The attacks down the middle in the second half led to a few chances. Van Persie should have scored when he was through on goal. Reina often leaves a gap between his legs but the Dutchman didn’t seem aware of this. He tried a difficult shot to find the far corner but the Keeper was able to save.

In the sixth minute of stoppage time Cesc was fouled in the box and Van Persie converted the penalty. It should have been game over but there is always room for some stupidity by Arsenal players.

First it was RvP who took his shirt off in celebration. Completely pointless as he didn’t even have a message on his undershirt! A booking ensued and this definitely gave the ref an excuse to add half a minute to the stoppage time.

The second moment of brainless action came from Szczesny who had the ball under control and kicked it long. The guy just doesn’t have the technique for a long kick and his shot barely reached the half-way line. None of the Arsenal players were around the ball and it came back towards the penalty box in no time.

Song conceded a free-kick as the Gunners just couldn’t maintain the right shape to defend. It was right on the edge of the box so was always going to be difficult for Suarez to hit the goal.

By the time the Uruguayan struck the wall the time had already gone past 100 minutes i.e. two minutes over the added eight. The ref really had no reason to continue but he allowed play to go on. The ball was deflected away from goal and towards the corner flag. Eboue and Lucas went for it. The Liverpool man was clever enough to ignore the ball and lean into the path of the Ivorian, who was dumb enough to barge into the midfielder.

If you watch carefully Leiva was nowhere near the ball and had no intention of playing it as he wasn’t moving towards the ball. Another ref in another place could easily have called an obstruction/foul by Lucas. But Eboue should have the sense to hold his ground in a harmless position. The coming together of the players and the elbow movement by Eboue was enough to give the ref what he wanted.

I am really disappointed with the way Van Persie picked up a booking after the goal. I am also annoyed that no one could take the ball from the keeper and hold on to it just to see out the final whistle. Szczesny should also have the sense to knock it out for a throw around the half-way line if he can’t get much distance on his goal-kick. Eboue is a dumb player and the fans have made him worse by encouraging his antics so I can’t really blame him.

Oddly enough the ref who didn’t make a call on three penalty decisions in the first half seemed too eager towards the end. Djourou might easily have had a penalty for the shirt pulling by Skrtel. Spearing might have had one for the contact by the Arsenal defender. And Walcott might have had one when his shot rolled of Kuyt’s arm. All three incidents were of the kind that I have seen given, but on rare occasions. The final penalty was certainly no more clear-cut than these three so it’s really strange that the ref would want to make such a decision after adding so much time.

Is there a conspiracy against Arsenal? I don’t know. Do Arsenal suffer at the hands of the ref more than the other teams? To me it seems so. Is that the sole reason for some of the poor results? No. It’s this final question that makes these results extremely frustrating for most Gooners.

Individual Performances

Szczesny: Caught everything that came his way including crosses and lame shots on goal. Wasn’t seriously tested but showed good judgment in coming out. His kicking is woeful and needs significant improvement.

Eboue: Mixed bag. Had some good moments on the ball. Also had some daft moments, none worse than the one that led to the penalty. Typical Eboue one could say.

Djourou: Conceded a few free-kicks against Carroll early on. Was turned way to easily by Suarez. Not a good game but no major bloopers.

Koscielny: Decent game at the back in terms of winning balls in the air, reading the game, covering behind Clichy, and he almost scored from a corner.

Clichy: Did well on the left without much support. Decent contribution in attack as well.

The back five weren’t really tested as Liverpool didn’t have enough quality or numbers in attack. Suarez was good on the ball but his passing and finishing was quite poor. Carroll didn’t offer anything except winning some balls in the air. The others weren’t able to get forward in support often enough. Only in the final few minutes was the defence stretched but they held out alright except for the final moment of madness.

It is interesting to note how the Liverpool full-backs always got the support of at least one teammate. Kuyt always got back to double up on Nasri and Lucas did the same at the other end on Walcott.

Diaby: He had a good first half and a decent second half till he was substituted. Won some tackles, provided good cover in front of the defence, and kept the ball moving with simple accurate passes.

Cesc: I was really disappointed with Cesc in the first half. It was as if he was playing like and out of form Arshavin – not running at his usual level, playing too many casual one-touch passes, and not tracking back after giving the ball away. He was better in the second half and came more into his own as the game went on. Eventually won the penalty with a good one-two in the box and a lovely turn that fooled Spearing.

Wilshere: He too had a disappointing first half. Too many touches weren’t of the standard he has set. Passing wasn’t as quick or accurate as one expects from a player of his talent. Could be that he is completely out of steam having played tirelessly for the whole season.

The midfield was quite poor in the first half. Liverpool just had Lucas and Spearing in the middle. Even thought Meireles was tucking in, the Arsenal midfielders could have dominated the ball and made a more meaningful contribution. I didn’t see anyone willing to take charge of the midfield and control the pace and direction of play. Theo wasn’t able to use his speed as the ball was never passed to him when he was in space.

There was more urgency after Wilshere went off and Nasri came into the middle. Even Cesc seemed more involved and purposeful. But that left the defence a bit exposed and Liverpool were able to create some half-chances.

Walcott: Put in some good crosses and a couple of poor ones. Had one good shot on goal and might have had a penalty for another. It was a decent game from the speedster but he might have been more influential if the passing has been sharper and/or better support in the box.

RvP: He was good with his work rate, came deep, went into the channels, and in general moved well. Set-piece delivery was inconsistent. Missed one good chance, took his penalty really well. Should not have picked up a booking after the goal and should have shown better composure and focus.

Nasri: Worked hard but wasn’t able to make an impact on the game, especially in the final third. Improved a lot in the second half like Cesc.

I thought the attacking players were trying but the midfield wasn’t linking the play at the right pace. I would have preferred better runs from Nasri and Walcott but this seemed like a game where no one would have found the runners with accurate through balls.

Subs: Arshavin tried to create something on the left and did well to track back on a number of occasions, Bendtner wasn’t used well on the right, he should have been in the middle a lot more. It was good to see Song back in the side but the Cameroonian conceded the foul on the edge of the box.

Wenger: It was a good starting eleven and I can’t really criticize the substitutions. But the manager and his staff should ensure the players know how to be focussed in the final moments after scoring a goal. They should also have a plan of seeing out the game by playing the ball to the likes of Cesc, Arshavin or Nasri i.e. guys who can just keep it and run the clock down. If they talk about this and practice is often enough, one would feel that the players would instinctively do it in the heat of the moment.


64 Responses to Arsenal 1 – 1 Liverpool: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

  1. Tim says:

    I don’t think it’s fair to blame the ref. He was right to add on a bit of additional time after our penalty, and we capitulated almost immediately. Eboue is an idiot, plain and simple. Lucas was going away from goal and was always likely to invite contact – Eboue duly obliged. All he had to do was shepherd him away from goal, and the ref would have blown the final whistle. Idiotic defending.

    Injury time should have been an irrelevance. We had enough possession and chances to have won in 90 minutes. The reality is the title chase fell apart long before Kuyt’s penalty – long before yesterday’s game, in fact. I can forgive the draw at West Brom, but the draws against Sunderland and Blackburm were unforgivable.

    We have no one to blame but ourselves. I wish Arsene wasn’t so quick to point the finger at everyone else when 90% of the blame is closer to home.

    http://thearmchairsportsfan.com/2011/04/18/double-dutch-trips-arsenal-up-as-title-challenge-implodes/

  2. Manav says:

    Andre Marriner was fooled (‘conned’ is what the commentator said) by Lucas (fooled?? Really???). Lucas just stopped in his tracks awkwardly as he knew Eboue was on his trail & the Ivorian’s momentum would make him fall over on Lucas, creating the impression of a shove in the back.

  3. Manav says:

    Did anyone notice how, as the referees were leaving the pitch, Andre Marriner glanced & winked towards the club level seating where SAF was seated?? I did. It felt like someone thrust a dagger through my heart. He gave a penalty where there was none and is 90+8+1(RVP’s celebration + free-kick for LFC)=101????? I thought it was 99. Silly me.

  4. Manav says:

    Wounded every Arsenalist in the universe is but we have to rise again, for the Old Enemy’s ass needs some serious spanking.
    Storm the Lane, clean the Scum, go Home. This is BLITZKRIEG.

    IN ARSENE, WE TRUST. AT THE EMIRATES, WE DWELL. RED & WHITE, WE WEAR. AND ARSENAL IS, WHAT WE CHEER.

  5. Manav says:

    The team @ AFC & the players themselves, are still a work in progress. We have to train & practice the art of maintaining defensive possession. If we can’t hold off a Liverpool devoid of the services of Andy Carroll & Jamie Carragher for 60 odd seconds then i’m sorry to say we don’t deserve to be English champions.

  6. Tim says:

    There is no doubt now that we are the biggest chokers in history.When you thought you have seen all the possible fuck-ups but now surely we have set a new low.After being a man up and a goal up against Wigan with 10 min remaining we drew 1-1. After leading 2-0 with 10 min to go against wigan we lost 3-2.Then, we all know against Newcastle 4-4 and Spurs at home.There have been plenty of others in the last 4-5 years.
    It is not bad lack like Wenger says.He shows no class in the post-match interviews.This is not the Arsenal way.He never takes responsibility and blames his own players.Why is he shouting at Dalgish when he has to direct his angst at Eboue? Why ? We were all over the place in that last attack.There is no bad luck.When you are nervous, these sort of things happen.

  7. Tim says:

    Desi, you failed to mention that Liverpool were playing with two completely unknown defenders who are 17 and 18 years old.Also,Spearing is nothing more than a Championship player and Carragher and Kyrgiakos are slow and not very good players.They were rarely troubled.We are so one dimensional and we have lost 17 points at home.
    I still think we will finish second but Chelsea are probably the favorites now according to the bookies.We have some really tough games coming up but Chelsea have Spurs,Everton away and Man United away which are very difficult.

    • Manav says:

      Robinson stood his ground on most occassions but Spearing….he looks like he’s one of those freaks who got mutated in a radioactive experiment somewhere in New Mexico that went horribly wrong! I strongly believe Song could have out-muscled him out of the game but I guess Wenger knew better.

      • santori says:

        If anything, I thought Song struggled to keep us firm after he came on. Would have been better just to have had Diaby kept going and an extra player in the box to keep your mutant busy conceding penalties.

    • santori says:

      Why?

      Chelsea are 9 points back. I don’t think United will be that generous. We are still the only team in the best position to overhaul United.

  8. Mr Venger says:

    Good write up. Pen was v harsh Eboue was just jogging toward the path of the ball nothing more. Lucas jumped into him

    • santori says:

      But who jogs so close to someone in front of you unless you’re a stalker?

      Lucas and Eboue had a bit of a tiff before the free kick. Eboue failed to keep his emotions in check.

      RVP if you please, have a spat with the lad.

  9. Ash says:

    For me yesterday’s result solidifies my belief that Arsenal have a number of players who don’t have the psychological qualities to handle pressure situations. Experience can no longer be blamed. These guys have been playing for years. It’s down to mentality and that is in part instilled by the management. Time after time, in the important moments these players bottle it. I don’t know any other professional team that can score in injury time and still not win! Alex Song had THREE opportunities to clear the ball. The first one from Kuyt’s cross is inexcusable. My mum could have got the ball further and his attempted tackle soon after was pathetic as was his challenge. It’s only dumb luck that it was just outside the box. For me it was a clear penalty. Yes Lucas played for it but if your protecting the ball and then barge into the back of the player then your asking for trouble. Eboue isn’t dumb he’s just a dumbass! I also don’t think added time should have been an issue. Your taught to play to the whistle so as long as it’s not blown you play. I totally agree with you about Szcezny. He could have let the ball go over the bar from Kuyt’s shot to eat up some time but after keeping it in he proceeded to gift the ball back to them I’m our own half!!!!! Still, where was our defensive shape? How did Kuyt manage to get in behind our back four? After that Song single handedly showed that he can compete with Eboue for being our teams stupidest player with a series of mistakes. Overall a poor performance. Too often our players were scared to run in behind their defence. Nasri was picking the ball up from deep when he should have been confident enough to receive the ball further up the field to give us more options. We don’t need him collecting the ball from back four, that’s what diaby and wilshire are there for. I can go on but this is beginning to make me cry so will just continue my rant at home to my cat!!!!

  10. Genie says:

    Desi,

    Good analysis but you are harsh, actually very harsh on Eboue with regard to the penalty. If that had happened on the other end there would never have been a penalty. I am pretty sure of that. Eboue did not even barge on Lucas, he fell on a falling Lucas. It was very unfair and it is unfair of you to criticise Eboue for something he was not responsible for. During the second half after AA23 had come on, did you see the many times he was pushed and referee never even called; the same thing van Persie endured from Caragher and his replacement.

    Also, I did not think that the team that started was the best. I think Waddle and others that say Walcot lucks a football brain are not far from the truth. He passes at the wrong time,runs at the wrong time and uses the ball poorly. He also tends to cross a lot when he should not be crossing. Why did he had to cross so many times when you know there is Caragher and Skrtle vs van Persie on his own? If he uses his brain effectively he would do that.

    I felt Arsene should have started with AA23 fro Walcot, there is more creativity in him. Also, SN8 plays better on the right and CF4 picks him better on the right than on the left. Nasri’s best performance this year has come when he has played on the right. If you scrutinise his performances, they have actually dipped since Walcot has come back from injury, and he has rarely scored playing on the left this season.
    Another thing is, with Liverpool who were always going to defend deeply, Walcot was never going to be effective, but AA23 would have been just as he demonstrated when he was introduced.

    It has been obvious for sometime that Wilshere is tired, physically and mentally, he could do with a rest. May be Wenger did not want to start too many players coming back from injury, but he should have swapped Wilshere for Song.

  11. Claver says:

    Desi, yes there really is a conspiracy against Arsenal, the only point is what can Arsenal do about it? The Refs? They aren’t Refs, more like Result Assurance Officers.

  12. rodders says:

    We all miss the cardinal point that throughout the season our players and Wenger have been very critical of the referees. It is simply payback to Arsenal, and playing to the letter of the law, which is that the Referee controls the football match! I don’t agree with it, but the reality is that your reap what you sow!

  13. critic says:

    I guess, i don’t agree with you. Arsenal tempo was slow throughout the whole game. Yes there was lots of possession but no real intentions to score a goal.

    Nobody was getting at the end of crosses(rightly pointed out), instead likes of rvp and others were hoping a miraculous cut back from walcott every time. They were just standing, thinking the ball will come to them instead of winning it.

    Frankly, i switched off the TV in the 92nd minute. Even if they had won it wudn’t have mattered a bit coz their performance is been shit for past 1 month.

    Arsene’s masterstroke of playing bendy in wings is well……i don’t have enough words to describe such shit decisions. I mean u play him in wings when u need to defend the lead not when u want to get one.

    It’s arsene’s tactical naivety that’s causing arsenal again and again.

    Look at Mudchester utd. They are what u call a proper shit team. They literally don’t have any creative midfield. Giggs is the only one they rely on. Man On man arsenal are way better than utd.

    • critic says:

      And it was a penalty. And dalglish rightly said “PISS OFF” to wenger.

    • critic says:

      It was me who said emirates crowd moans and groans. But last evening i was the one moaning and groaning at arsenal players.

      Now i can understand why they do so. Arsenal football is unbearable sometimes. No creativity just passing for the sake of passing.

      One can easily spend his 2 hours with his loved ones or watch a movie instead of watching such pedestrian performance from arsenal.

    • Kushagra India says:

      Exactly this is one of the poorest Manure teams having sold the likes of Ronaldo and tevez without replacing them and Giggs ,that Ginger muppet Scholes, older ,everyone knows about problems at Chelsea .On the contrary we should have been peaking but losing it again in spring/summer … with majority of our players under performing when it really counts GROUND HOG DAY all over again..

      • veskovp says:

        This is the poorest Man U team in the last 15 years. It is a shame that we have not won the league by now. Man I are poor but the Red Nose(SAF) is very good tactician, he is lucky and he has the help and respect from referees and the media. On the other side Arsen is quite poor recently. And I see this in the last 3 years where we are always so close. It is very easy to see that 4-3-3 works great when you play away, because this tactics allows counter attacking football. When you play against dense defense we always struggle at home. All the teams know they will park the bus and in front whatever happens and often one strike or Arsenal error can bring them the whole 3 points as has happened several times this year. Then the easiest way to break such defenses is crossing, but as Desi said if you gonna play this game you need RvP and Bendy in the box then is totally different game. Header or flick from Bendy always can fall in RvP and goal will happen. You have to play with two pure forwards to break defenses like that . I do not understand how he expects Bendner to play winger , this is something like to expect Crouch to play winger, and I like Bendner but he never got the chance to play long enough in front with appropriate partner. RvP and Bendner would be great together on the top of the attack.

    • santori says:

      Being that we lie second, who else would you watch then beside United and Arsenal. I suggest you switch your telly off before the match starts. 😉

  14. critic says:

    And the most depressing thing is it’s the same team that we had last year. And yet we find ourselves short.

    Failure of project youth??
    Cesc’s mind is not in it.
    Nasri’s mind is not in it.(why didn’t he renewed his contract?)
    clichy’s mind is not in it.

    This is utter failure for wenger’s philosophy.

    • Kushagra India says:

      Finally some people are waking up RVP dropped deep throughout the match we wasted Walcott throughout the match and how many times we have scene Arsenal conceding in injury time..

    • santori says:

      I wouldn’t say it is an utter failure. get a grip.;)

      Afterall, we are still pushing for the title and in second. If we can say that the teams below us have improved tremendously, then we too must have made advancements to be ahead of them.

      OTOH, we are definately lacking a finishing ability (as in getting across the finish line) but I don’t think this is down to Wenger’s philosophy with youth.

      Our players have done very well and have the talent. What we need is better coaching to help them focus.

      If anything I would say we are punching above our weight currently (and Wenger is getting away with things) because he is done terribly well with nurturing talent (not all of course).

  15. British says:

    The Gunners seem unable to focus in the important moments of a crucial game. They were also unlucky and the referee decisions have not been too fair. But where is the fighting spirit and determination required to win a title battle?

  16. Phil23 says:

    Good write up Desi, Personally I think the players are very close to becoming a great side. The number one problem for me this year hasn’t been players mentality’s it has been a lack of quality competition/cover for the first team. We have still improved immensely and no doomer is going to deprive us of that. Szczesny, Djourou, Wilshere, Koscielny are all much better players than what we had the year before. Not to mention Nasri, Walcott, Song, Sagna and Clichy have all been much better players this season. We have overtaken Chelsea who have had to blow another 70m just to keep up with us, kept City at bay after another 100m+ splurge. Tottenham have improved hugely and yet once again find themselves not even competing with us on the table. Liverpool have spent near 100m to catch up and although United are going to have to lose to Chelsea and us for us to have a chance of winning the title, weirder things have happened. We honestly have the biggest bunch of losers for fans who have no faith in their team? So why support them? Anyway… Little do people realise we have signed a super star this January and we will have him next season! Ryo Miyaichi is our Hazard and thanks to Japan deciding to attend the Copa America. They will surely select Miyaichi and he will become eligible for a Visa. So next season we will have many ‘new signings’ in the squad, like Vermaelen, Ramsey and Miyaichi. Arsene could bring competition for Gibbs and Clichy in Botelho or Traore. Youth players in Bartley, Frimpong, Aneke or Jet could make the squad. Arsene will buy a few as he did last year. All this means that Arsenal will have a younger just as talented player as back up to the first team. That means that if a first team player loses his place he may never get it back. This is great for the team as a whole as it puts everyone on their toes as the younger players are hungry for game time. This year Szczesny, Djourou and Wilshere have shown that young players can still have the quality to add to a team. Don’t give up on the youth just replace the duds with quality! Next year we will be another 3 notches better and nobody else will have a squad anywhere near ours. If you don’t see the progress this year you need to open your eyes and look at the broader picture. Come on Gunners!!!

    • G4Life says:

      Right on PHil23…keep it positive…i just want what you felt about Lehman coming in to the squad yelling at the players to mark up keeping them alive thats sort of what they have been missing…you dont get that from youth….

    • Wrenny says:

      Great post.

  17. Claver says:

    The Refs are utterly refless. 20min extra time? Who plays 20min extra time. @Critic and others, PISS OFF u ManU fans.
    I’m sick and tired of you blaming Arsenal players who worked so hard.

    Piss of to some ManU websites u ?€\! Go off and pay your bills.

    I’m an Arsenal fan win or lose, trophy or no trophy! Piss off to your ManU websites.

    • critic says:

      get a grip dude,

      wenger had no right to whine in front of dalglish for that decision. Dalglish rightly said “PISS OFF”. I wud have said a lot worse things to him.

      It’s not dalglish problem that this team doesn’t delivers when most needed to. It’s arsene wenger’s problem.

      If u can’t see it then “PISSSSSSSS OFFFFFFFFF”(dalglish style).

  18. Kushagra India says:

    2min extra time was due to time wasting in 8 minutes injury time..

  19. Kushagra India says:

    Desi This team has inherent mental problems which Wenger is unable to fix at the moment simple as that look at Samir’s contribution since January and Rvp’s silly booking so early after that barca incident….all go missing when the going gets tough ….no excuses we looked the best team in early half of the season but one cup loss and the yearly chokefest begun..and please stop blaming the ref for everything….

    • santori says:

      1) We need a defensive coaching specialist to work out common kinks. Keep ball should be a no brainer for us.

      2) We need an offensive coach to offer our forwards better options when breaking down a packed defense.

      A new assistant coach to enforce better disicpline may also be good but there is an added benefit to having these coaches. Wenger could use them as a way of grooming his eventual replacement down the line.

  20. Kushagra India says:

    You can’t expect different results by doing the same things over and over again…..

  21. Kushagra India says:

    If you think everything is rosy see the no of season ticket drop outs Stan has to take control now ……

  22. Kushagra India says:

    Desi i more thing the wastage of Arshavin and Walcott has been criminal ….who is responsible for this….

  23. Kushagra India says:

    Desi
    Wenger: It was a good starting eleven and I can’t really criticize the substitutions. But the manager and his staff should ensure the players know how to be focussed in the final moments after scoring a goal. They should also have a plan of seeing out the game by playing the ball to the likes of Cesc, Arshavin or Nasri i.e. guys who can just keep it and run the clock down. If they talk about this and practice is often enough, one would feel that the players would instinctively do it in the heat of the moment.

    How many times have you written this over the years we have got the doctor of spin in our manager with excuse making power second to none

  24. Kushagra India says:

    about the Peno the foul was of the same degree as of Rvp’s
    sorry but true if u don’t look through Arsene tinted glasses.

    • santori says:

      Thought we were lucky Mariner gave us ours but then we should have had the organisation to remember that we are most vulnerable after a goal. Instead we mucked around and afforded the ref a chance to even the score.

      Penalty for them was soft but they’ve been given and crucially as Desi says, we should not be putting ourselves in the position to afford the ref that option 9particularly as Lucas was moving away from the goal)

      Again, someone should have been in there keeping the lads focused but we don’t really have a proper designated person to do the sergeant major work on pitch.

      I’m sorry, I’ve done some military work before and much as in team sports, there is no substitute to the tried and tested method of having a delegated leader enforcing focus and discipline, particularly in moments when you are most vulnerable.

  25. Kushagra India says:

    another issue why we never put pressure on the Ref like other teams do especially when refs have been so weak..

  26. Kushagra India says:

    To sum it up Winning ugly as they say and we don’t do it often even barca know how to employ some dirty tricks..

  27. Kushagra India says:

    Desi on another note no pundit says we play on the wings solely we should be able to adapt to other teams weakness and our strengths..Walcott’s strength is his pace on the wings especially against young inexperienced wing backs but we asked too much of him when no one was busting a gut to come into the box to meet the crosses . RvP has a tendency of dropping deep thats why it perplexes me why Bendy is played on the wings when we need a focal point..

    • santori says:

      Absolutely.

      We had pace out wide but there was not enough bodies in the middle to take advantage of it. Thus we adopted another (reflex) approach which is to thread through traffic.

      A big presence in the box (at the affordable expense of one mid) would have really helped us open the can.

  28. Kushagra India says:

    Desi
    Is it a surprise we have struggled scoring when we can’t mix it up I had a similar debate with you 6 months ago after the Mancity everton Game and we concluded back to the chalkboard for Arsene and his team now who will take responsibility for the predictability of the tactics…

  29. Kazi Faizur Rahman says:

    No one is talking about Psychotherapy for most of Arsenal player and even Wenger should have. The club management should think, how the pressure time our player and Wenger are handling. Wenger should stop blaming referee, it is not because refs are right or wrong, it is because, it will never produce any positive attitude of refs to Arsenal. It is not the quality of players and coach, but is about the quality thinking of the strategy and psychological strength all they should have.

  30. amit says:

    same old same old…wenger lamenting on the ref’s decision…6 games to go now…united have won it!

  31. Maroof says:

    I must write this

    Story of Arsenal’s Season 2011-12:

    “There will be no activity in the transfers, Arsene will be same as before, and no one but some “Wonder Kid” Aging from 15-17 years will be bought. Also one or two of our developed players like Nasri or Fabregas might be sold out. But Arsenal will start the season with big margin victories over some weakened teams. At the first international break, or in few “Physical battles”, we will loose two or three Starting XI players of season long injuries. No medical personal will be able to identify what is wrong with them. Then we will qualify for Next round of Champions League. We will lose some important points at home and away to some easy opponents, probably by recently promoted teams, like QPR or Cardiff. We will survive in FA Cup, if we get to play with some league 1 team, otherwise, in case of any premier league opponent, we will kicked out of starting rounds. And oh, we can win Carling cup next season, because this season’s experience at the Wembley will be utilized. Some of our main players will be in and out for some weeks due to minor setback injuries. Due to those injuries, they will loose their form (as in this season for Diaby, Fabregas and others). We can be in quarter-finals of Champion league, but not more than that. Who am I kidding, we have to get eliminated before semis. Oh and in the league, we will some how manage to make up to the top 4.”

    Now as I write this, I realized that the above story is so similar with current season, and also some of our previous seasons. We have season long injuries in past like this season, Rosiscky, Eduardo, Fabregas, Diaby, RvP, Vermaelen. Injuries happen in this game, its the reality. The woeful reality is that there is no perfect backup or even close to it. I think this story will repeat itself if we do not change. Everyone is talking that if we get rid of Wenger, we will be doomed. But change dont bring disasters all the time. It brings new vision, new thoughts, better performance and that leads toward victory. We do not need a whole lot of changes, but productive changes that helps us to win silverware. It can be change in management, tactics, style, players, staff or anything. It is upto the decision makers, who can end our worry days.

    • santori says:

      I think we might see some activity in midfield and up front transferwise.

      1) Fabregas. He may leave in which case we will have to bring in someone (not necessarily like for like as nasri and AA offer ample playmaker cover). Instead someone relatively young like a Ganso (20)but with some experience already under the belt.

      2) Regardless of Fab leaving or not, Legacy and perrenial non performers may be culled. I’m thinking Rosicky, Vela and Denilson. On the strength of recent performances, I think Diaby still offers us something different and it will still be good to have him around albeit in competition with Song, Frimpong and Ramsey.

      Let’s not forget Diaby can also play out left.

      But even if AA were not to be moved centrally to cover an outgoing Fab, I suspect we still need fresh legs out on our wings (in particular left side)

      Hazard could be a useful acquisition as he is quick and can play both wings which gives us options to move Nasri and AA around.

      3)Up top, some rumbling from the great Dane. if he packs and goes (Pink booties and all), a discounted Benzema (or the likes) may offer us some speed and directness to compliment RVP’s craft and Chamakh’s aerial power (which Wenger never seems to take full advantage of).

      So I think we might expect 2-3 tops signings. I don’t see any change in defense. Despite the naysayers, we are extremely competitive with Djourou and Koscielny (let’s not forget it’s his first season) in particular benefiting greatly from this season’s experience. TV still to return so CB is fairly well covered.

      Ditto fullbacks (even Eboue)

      We might see almunia pack off but Sczezny and Fabianski should be ample in this department and maybe and experienced hand for back up (dare I say offer Lehman another year so he can also contribute as a keeping coach)

      with regards academy, I think frimpong (based on last season’s pre-season) is most ready to step up (what he’s a strapping six footer now. A couple of talents on the horizon (Miyaichi) but not quite fully baked yet should have some presence being blooded in the cups (if they are not on loan, which is better)

      Bottomline, it’s a constantly evolving proccess.

      I think we will benefit from another season of experience at the back (with coaching changes of course) but a re-jig needs to be done up top as well to afford us optional tactics when needed.

  32. Phil23 says:

    The Arsenal blogosphere is at its lowest point. I have never seen it this low… its scary… Don’t they realise we are playing Tottenham in a couple of days? What a way to pump the players for the game. I think we will win it simply because we aren’t playing at the worst home support in England. Instead, we will have the best away support in England who will back the players proudly for 90 minutes plus. I hope those away supporters don’t get too involved in the Arsenal blogosphere because it is truly disheartening.

  33. critic says:

    Let me be clear about my intentions. I am not from D n G brigade. Neither do i want wenger out. But the man has some flaws. He can’t expect his team to play passing and scoring game forever.

    There’s no innovation at set pieces and corners. No innovation in wing play.

    All arsenal does is attack down the middle. If that fails bendtner comes as a substitute, raising our hopes for a change in plan, and end up playing in wings.

    If arsene wenger can’t acknowledge all these, then he should go.

    If he acknowledges it and don’t know how to rectify it then board should help him via appointing some extra coaching staff. If he is still unable to rectify these things then i can’t see the point in his staying.

    Arsene will be destroying his legacy if these mistakes keeps hampering arsenal chances. He has already done so and his only way back is winning something. I more than anything want it. Coz this man deserves a last flurry of titles.

    • santori says:

      Yes but getting rid of Wenger would be extremely short sighted. You may get rid of our bad habits in recent years but you may also rid us of all the benefits.

      What would be more sensible is for Wenger to remain and for his coaching staff around him to experience a revamp.

  34. Kushagra India says:

    Fabregas: You have to make a decision, Whether to win trophies or develop players.

    Question: How is it that a Manager like Wenger, who has not won anything for several years, goes unquestioned?

    Fabregas: It’s easier to understand now that I’ve been here several years. But if you are from Spain And you see Emery, Guardiola and Mourinho not winning for 3 years, It’s assumed that they will be replaced.

    Fabregas: Here it is different, The coach is a smart person and the club appreciates other things, Arsenal are always in the Champions Lge. Arsenal fight for trophies until the end, Arsenal bring through young players, have economic stabilty

    I guess for the directors this is important, but I guess there will be a time where you have to take the plunge: To win or not win.

    • santori says:

      Big picture.

      Stability, particularly as we have had to grow our income whilst balancing a stadium move to compete against the likes of bottomless pit clubs such as Chelsea and City.

      The other way to look at it is if all the other clubs behind us are said to have made massive progress (City, Chelsea, Spurs), then the fact that we are really the only team to still be a serious challenge to United even now, must mean that we are also making progress.

      The real question is how or what do we tweak to cross the finish line because the frustrating thing is not that we are poor but that we are so very close.;)

      • Mik says:

        I am not very impressed with Fabregas this season. He gives the ball away way too often with simple and sloppy passes. 3 goals and 9 assists compared to 15 goals and 12 assists last season. If he would be half the player he was last season we would have fared much better.

        Remember who made the first big schoolboy mistake which resulted in a goal from Barca?

        And now he runs around and blames everyone else. That’s low. Maybe Barcelona would sack the manager but at least Arsenal doesn’t have to take a loan in order to pay the salaries.

  35. Kushagra India says:

    More of the interview from Jamie Dalton 32 a s panish dude from twitter…

  36. Kushagra India says:

    He also took 70pc blame for UCL exit

  37. santori says:

    Problem again is how we approach the game.

    We dominated midfield and they barely threatened us. Why were we still playing 4-3-3?

    We should have loaded up another striker.

    Instead Wenger (not one of his better days) hauls off Walcott for Bendtner but then banishes the big man to the wing, neglecting his obvious strengths.

    To make matter worse, Wenger then replaces Diaby (who as you mentioned was having a good game) and put Song in his place. To me, Diaby was offering us threat going forward whilst doing his job defensivelty. why replace him?

    What we lacked was bodies in the box (First half or Second)

    We had no end product to finish off our moves.

    RVP is a hybrid between a CF and a playmaker. as such he drifts out of position far too often leaving us with not enough presence in the box.

    Yes he has been scoring frequently but when teams pack the box, he has a harder time.

    Wenger should have put either of Chamakh or Bendtner in the box and had RVP played off the forward. With the latent threat that newcastle posed us, we could have covered with one mid les (thought the defenders handled the threat well enough)

    In the end, it was really down to our lack of maturity in closing the game. We were lucky with last minute penalty but shoudl have plaeyed keep ball to see the game through.

    Again, I know Desi doesn’t think it necessary but I really think we could also benefit from one distinct and strong voice on field in these situations to enforce discipline and focus.

    If nobbody in particular is held responsible on field, then nobody will take charge.

    same issues for us I’m afriad and it isn’t down to the quality of the players.

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