Holes In the Fabric Of The Arsenalsphere Must Be Plugged

I have read very few articles over the last week or so but some things have stood out. I didn’t know how to feel about these things. Part of me was amused, another part was annoyed, and there were moments when I was positively repulsed by what I read.

Let’s consider the draw against Liverpool.

I get the frustration at dropping the points at the last minute. Well not the last minute but the bonus minutes added on. I also get the exasperation at the vaguely repetitive nature of dropping crucial points. I also get the point that most fans don’t realize this is only a vaguely repetitive aspect because they don’t really pay attention to facts but respond emotionally.

Some guy says United would never have dropped points the way Arsenal did against Liverpool. But the facts say that Arsenal have dropped 13 points from winning positions whereas United have dropped 14. So even with all the winning mentality, with leaders like Vidic and VdS, and all the other obscure arguments in their favour, Manchester United have lost more points from winning positions. Whether it’s in the recent past or distant doesn’t really matter. In fact, it is only in the recent past that United have actually lost three games. In the early part of the season they were going unbeaten! Such issues have to be seen over the course of the season and in that aspect Arsenal are not too bad when compared to United who supposedly would never drop such points. More importantly, who can honestly claim that signing one or two players will change anything?

And in these 13 points that Arsenal have dropped from winning positions we aren’t even talking about the ones that have been stolen by the ref. We aren’t even getting into the discussion that it wasn’t a penalty against Eboue because Lucas clearly moved into his path and away from the ball.

We can also see the attempts by some fans to belittle the performance against Liverpool by saying they had some teenagers in their side. These fans failed to mention that a very similar Liverpool side had spanked Man City 3-0. So much for spending money on proven players! City had spent money on a proven English defender like Lescott. Can anyone guarantee that Cahill won’t turn out to be another Lescott?

I can say a lot more on this game but will move on to the North London Derby.

For years, many fans have been predicting that the Tiny Totts will overtake Arsenal. Last season I read many opinions claiming Spuds had better strikers than the Gunners. In the last game they had the Player of the Year and supposedly world class talents like Modric and Van der Vaart. They had full-backs who can cross the ball, a tall striker who can win it in the air, an English centre-half, and a fighter like Gallas. Plus they were playing at home.

So why isn’t anyone saying that the Tiny Totts dropped two points at home and it’s a disaster for them? Why isn’t it seen as one point won by Arsenal?

Wenger and his team are having a meltdown whereas the Tiny Totts are flying high after a 5-0 demolition by Madrid and a dogfight for fourth place?

If United and Chelsea are having an off season, and Arsenal are throwing away chances to run away with the league, Why aren’t Man City or Spuds leading the pack? They have spent plenty of money on proven players, leaders, English grit and determination, clinical strikers, wingers, defensive midfielders, and so on. The real beauty is that those who want Arsenal to be like Man City (while claiming they don’t want Arsenal to be like City) or Spuds will find ways of criticizing these teams as well!

A couple of months ago when some key players were missing, the popular argument was that Arsenal’s A-team is top-class but the real problem is with some of the fringe players. Well, the team that played against Spuds was the A-team. And the mistakes that were made were made by extremely reliable players. As I have said before, it happens. It’s happened to United often enough that they have dropped 14 points from winning positions. And it will happen to Arsenal no matter who plays or who is bought. That is the nature of the sport.

The issues can only be solved by actually identifying exactly what goes wrong, not by blaming players. The naivety of that thought process is mindboggling. Imagine if the same approach were used in the corporate world. If a company wasn’t the best at what it was doing it should sack half its employees and hire new ones at big pay. Wonder how many fans who want a clear-out at Arsenal would keep their jobs in such a scenario?

I don’t have a problem with criticism. I have a problem with mindless, unbalanced criticism that fails to acknowledge the facts; or worse, takes issues out of context and twists the facts. Of course, when so many fans are frustrated it doesn’t take time for a rant to take the shape of a popular opinion or for that popular opinion to masquerade as the hard truth.

It turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Fans’ dissatisfaction is picked up by the media. The hacks twist all kinds of stories out of that. It also affects the players who end up questioning themselves and their mates. This could easily lead to another mistake at a crucial moment in a game leading to a vicious cycle. Some people might not get it but it is connected. Just as a positive, vibrant atmosphere is a genuine twelfth man; such negativity can be a massive handicap.

The only purpose this achieves is that it breaks the fabric of the club. All the key elements within the club move apart. The players, manager, administrators, and fans – all start moving away from each other. For now, someone like Wenger will have a strong enough gravitational force to keep the club United but everything will unravel the moment he fails in holding things together.

I don’t know how the next year or two in the Arsenalsphere is going to pan out, but 50 years from now Arsenal will be a case study for many students of the beautiful game and business. All the responsibility is not on the fans but they can still make a real impact on whether it’ll be a case study of astonishing and inspiring success, or a shambolic and disgraceful collapse.

54 Responses to Holes In the Fabric Of The Arsenalsphere Must Be Plugged

  1. Claver says:


    I have become more circumspect about the EPL and Arsenal in particular.

    It is obvious that Arsenal, who beat Barcelona, are a world-class team. What is less obvious is that Arsenal ARE the best team in the EPL.

    Wenger has assembled a powerful squad indeed. However, it is no longer enough to assmble a powerful squad in order to win the thing, Arsenal need a powerful management team.

    It is obvious that external influences can affect team performances, the ability to deal with these external influences is what is hurting Arsenal.

    At Arsenal, the management pretend that the newspaper articles do not affect the teAM (Ferguson won’t speak to the Beeb), which is something disastrous and backward.

    Some money must be set aside to fight these off-pitch battles so that they do not get near the team. What’s the point investing so much into the team and then allowing ‘the little things’ to eat away at our club? It’s called Brand Management I think.

    Really, Ivan Gazidis(sp) needs some teeth and a large bite. Something Dein used to do.

    • Black Hand Ninja says:

      I think that Wenger needs to freshen up his back-room team personally, especially some new fitness coaches and some tactical/defensive coaches a la Martin Keown in 05/06. I think that would be a great help to our team and our academy.

      • Sub_Rosa says:

        Lee Dixon was asked on twitter about the defensive coaching situation and he commented that Arsenal DON’T actually have a specific defensive coaching role. He was subsequently asked whether Keown would like to be that coach and he answered yes. Lets hope this gets sorted in the summer eh.

  2. Black Hand Ninja says:

    Fantastic post. This echoes my thoughts entirely. Arsenal fans are doing themselves an injustice by feeding the Anti-Wenger coverage from the media at the moment.
    Remember that the best team in the world went 6 years without winning a trophy also. Yes they made signings, but they relied a lot on their academy and still do.
    I have faith in the team and I should hope that the majority of the fans do too. We will eventually succeed soon.

    • xx says:

      This is nonsense! The team has not won a trophy in six years under one coach. something needs to change. Wenger’s experiment is a failure and he should leave and try it elsewhere. Wenger was a great coach for Arsenal, but he is no longer the right coach for the club. We need a shake-up at the top. Wenger and his backroom staff should leave. His team does not deserve and will not win the Premier league. In fact: Arsenal will not win another trophy with this man at the the Helm. I am tired of the excuses and heartache. Bring in Rjikaard to right the ship. Failure is not an option.

      • Ameen says:

        Did he had any other option rather than working on this experiment ? Well had him listened to people like you then we would be running clear into debts and still not be sure whether we could have had success (God Know what our position might have been). You cant say his experiment is a failure,it will bring huge success very soon. People like you need to realize the way this man has taken this club in such a difficult period. the way this man has built this team you can say nothing but to praise him. Abramovich is been spending money and changing managers from last 7 years, Has him got what he wants ? Can you guarantee Rijkaard will bring Success ?
        i never like to read the comment section cuz people like you make me sick.

  3. Greencard usa says:

    I posted this at the tail end of your last article but think it be more relevant here:

    I have been wondering about the fragility that sets in at the final moments and especially when arsenal are pressured as a result of errors by individual players; somehow this seems to lead to a wider uncertainty and tension. Much has been said about leadership and communication on the field among players. But, I wonder how much of this tension builds up and flows from the stadium onto the field. Unfortunately, I have never had the privilege of watching Arsenal from within the stadium, but if tv panning are anything to go by, it seems that the fans contribute much to the growing tension and mental fragility of the players. I do understand it is difficult to hide our own apprehensions but is there anything positive that we can do to help our team on the field, at precise moments? When we see things falling away and danger rises ominously can we do something other than bite our nails or hold our collective breath? Can we do something collectively that can settle and raise our players? Does Arsenal have a chant or song for example for just these moments to raise individual players or the whole team? If we don’t here is a modest attempt; perhaps someone can put a tune to it and pass it on to the supporters club?

    Rise up Arsenal (or players name)
    Stay and Play
    We’re behind you
    All the way!

  4. Tim says:

    Even Arseblog who is always positive has his glass half empty right now.

  5. Tommo says:

    The fans worries didn’t start from nowhere. Apart from that I kinda agree with you. Still not happy at them mind

  6. msl says:

    a) Utd dropping points- Yes Utd are dropping points and have had horrible lapses and yet managed to be on top not because they played well but because Arsenal did’t catch up after a billion chances. So your prohecy is only self fulfilling. Everybody expected Arsenal to catch up. We didn’t.Fact.

    b) Signing may change something or not. But not trying at all to sign a new player is more criminal. I can forgive for trying but carrying on with some of the players seems to be a choice that is not going to pay well.

    c) About the referees stealing- Honestly, as professionals you are expected to see the game out till the whistle. I think one is right to expect a team to see the game out. I know AW does and maybe he hopes they will learn. The Newcastle match should have been an example. So, yeah referee did allow play on but RvP running around in his vest led to added time. Then free kick and boom penalty. IF we already know that ref is against us then why don’t we suck it up and see the game out. yes, I am angry Lucas stole but Eboue was clumsy and his age is not avg 23 he is 27. Kos conceded a few clumsy ones and still the problem persists. I cannot think its healthy to blame the ref and claim they stole we should do all we can do on both defensive and offensive ends.

    d) Just because Lescott failed doesnt mean all defenders will. Lescott actually came with the Tv5 phenomenon, he was considered quality because he scored a few good headers.Hence the hype. If you all actually trust Wenger so much in the market why don’t you believe that he can make a good purchase? I know he can.I don’t understand this at all!

    e) Everyone knows Spurs have a leaky defense. Why is it not a disaster for Spurs? because we are a better side. You tend to see it as persecution of Arsenal while I see it as better expectations from our side. Seriously, was it much of a loss for a team challenging for the title or team struggling to get CL spot? Also, Spurs have earned 20 point from losing positions. Commendable.

    f) Man City are a big big club and this is the first time they have found some stability. I would wait another season before judging them. Again why I respect SAF so much. He can make a team play like one. It hurts so much that we are giving him his greatest achievement on a platter. Why aren’t Spurs leading the pack because of a thousand reasons least of which is lack of depth in certain key positions and a leaky defense.

    g) The issues can only be solved by actually identifying exactly what goes wrong, not by blaming players.- Shenanigans. most people have criticized individual errors and I have cribbed about our defense being leaky due to lack of a proper system etc. I said it earlier and will say it again, if the coaching staff cannot come up with a good defensive plan at least sign a player who has the experience to guide the line. This is the only argument for buying a quality (not squillaci) and experienced defender(not squillaci). Look at the other top three sides, Vidic/Ferdinand, Kompany and terry do a good job of talking and shouting. Even Carragher for that matter. TV may do it next season but it will be a couple of seasons before he learns the art.

    h) I don’t think we should be comparing what Utd does or doesn’t( Wenger’s words btw).Utd can drop a 100 points from winning positions for all I care. Point is why did we drop 13 points? I remember 6 of those (Newcastle and Spurs) both coming from the same problem.

    • desigunner says:

      a) So why haven’t City or Spuds or Chelsea taken advantage of United’s slip ups? When the top five teams are all struggling isn’t it more likely that the league is actually much tougher rather than all top teams having horrible seasons? Teams are slipping up because it’s not as easy as it used to be. Others are not catching up or overtaking because of the same reason. It is extremely arrogant and stupid to assume that Arsenal have a divine right to win when all others are struggling.

      b) It is never about not trying to sign. That’s a shameful statement to make. Last season Arsenal signed Koscienly and Squillaci, and promoted Wilshere. Can anyone honestly say Wilshere has not done better than Yaya Toure? Or that Koscielny is not improving with each passing game? Djourou too has been like a new signing after missing whole of last season. The point is that finding the right balance is difficult but it is not about a refusal to sign or lack of willingness to spend. Those are fabricated arguments that have no foundation in facts. Wenger has signed big players – TV, Arshavin, Nasri are all top class players. Koscielny will be a big defender as well, he’s already caught Laurent Blanc’s eye.

      c) As an extension of point A, the refereeing decisions make it that much harder for Arsenal than the other teams. It’s easy to say the players should do this or do that (Even I keep saying that) but one has to acknowledge it’s not easy to do it game after game. In some games the players can do it (Everton, Stoke, etc) in others they might struggle (Newcastle, Liverpool, etc.)

      d) The point is not whether Wenger can make a good purchase or not. The point is to respect players like Koscielny and Djourou and not get lost in the assumption that signing someone like Cahill will solve everything. You might not think that but there are many who do.

      e) Except Gooners, how many in the public domain acknowledge that Arsenal are far better than Spuds? That point is about the perception in the general media. Even many Gooners fall for those perceptions – hence the annual predictions of Spuds overtaking Arsenal on many supposedly Gooner blogs.

      f) Man City have been spending for over three years. Only now they are getting stability? So if Arsenal have a clearout will the fans wait for three years to regain stability? The Tiny Totts actually have a much larger squad than Arsenal or Chelsea so it is really difficult to believe this argument of lack of depth. If 300M spending hasn’t brought them depth, what will?

      g) didn’t we have Gallas and Campbell last year? Why didn’t they “guide the line”? Again it’s easy to blame Gallas or Campbell but it’s a pointless exercise that will continue no matter who comes in because buying any player is never going to solve the defensive issues.

      h) Why we dropped points is a good starting point. Perhaps you would like to actually look at the details of each case.

      • Rohit says:

        erm…desi u missed chamakh in point 2…. its a shame he is being dropped consistently

      • msl says:

        a) “It is extremely arrogant and stupid to assume that Arsenal have a divine right to win when all others are struggling. ”
        Whoa Whoa. I am not talking about divine right at all. If you say we are a better team than Spurs,City etc then yes you will be expected to do better. Its not stupid or arrogant. It is expected from a team that is this good. One can go on and on about different reasons and divine rights but again as your god AW said are we getting the best out of the team we have. I think NOT.
        a- Utd- Ageing,old squad
        b- Chelsea- thin old squad
        c- City- Just getting started. Wait and watch.
        d- Spurs/Arsenal- Too many injuries. I can understand this as is our case.
        e- L’pool- Rollercoaster.
        So no I don’t think the league is any tougher or difficult.

        b,g)This is where we disagree the most. Gallas-volatile and Campbell- gone over the hill. I don’ think Cahill is better than anyone we have. Roger Johnson from b’ham City is a very good option.I am not saying he will definitely solve but it would be a good bet. Saying nobody will solve anything is just not a valid argument.

        c)We don’t need build a new squad but twp/three good signings and bit more ruthlessness with current squad. You can bring in Frimpong to push Denilson et al but also keep wondering how long the rest of the team like Cesc will put up with this. He might have expected Denilson etc to come up to the mark by now. It has not happened.

        f) About Spuds depth, I said in a few key positions. Their defenders are too injury prone eg King,Woodgate also Palacios and they have a huge problem with that.I also said their They had a bad DM spot so they signed Sandro. Also, Spurs’ strikers weere flat the entire season. Who would have thought eh?

        At the end of it all, it boils down to two things for me- leaky,shaky and unorganized defense and injuries. I cannot judge a squad based on this many injuries. But there are a few problem which could have been taken care of better.

      • msl says:

        I just wanted to ask: If you cannot win the league with so many chances in a difficult when do you expect a better chance? Let me know. Saying its difficult and extremely and arrogant and stupid to expect to win is ludicrous. Fine, accept that you won’t win is easy way out. So much for being a fan eh? Defending Arsenal’s short comings to death is not the only right way to be a fan neither criticizing them to death. But calling expectations to win something arrogant and stupid most sureluy is!

      • Greencard usa says:

        Take it easy chaps! ‘arrogance’, ‘stupid’, accusations and counter accusations – this is not helpful.
        We always expect our team to win each game they play; and yes we expect our team to win each competition we enter as well. In fact every team in the top four expects the same. But we also know that football is unpredictable and our players and others are human and not machines that can be primed for optimal performance over a duration. This is what makes football and sports in general exciting. But for all that, we still expect to strengthen clear weak points in our team so we can prepare for the best possible overall performance. Hence I can see MLS’s point of view in part. I also agree with Desi that our expectations and frustrations often arise from unreasonable bases and explode into a cloud of negativity that is not helpful.
        The refs, injuries, off-days, schedules, and the unpredictable dynamics of the day can have a huge impact on the results of a game. They give us both excitement and pain. So,if we can keep in mind the complexity of the league and individual games we can avoid turning on each other. More importantly, we can be supportive of our club.

      • SoCal_Gun says:

        Man City aren’t doing so well b/c you can’t change the whole team and manager and expect results in 1 yr (even though they’ll probably win the FA Cup and they beat MANU to do it)

        Chelsea are old, we all know this

        and the Tiny Totts are just that. They’re tiny. They don’t expect to win things every yr. For them, qualifying for the UCL is awesome for them

        But who do you compare Arsenal to? The great teams like Man U and Barca or the wanna-be teams like the Totts, City (for now at least), or Chelsea (until they re-load their team)?

        I also realize that Arsenal and Wenger make attempts to sign players, and that often times things cannot be worked out. The problem though is that they only go after young kids with potential or they put in tiny insulting bids for proven stars. Each approach exclusively is doomed to fail.

        I think that biggest problem is the constant excuses. It was ALWAYS the poor pitch, shitty refs, injuries, fixture congestion, poor support from the fans, “bad luck”, or some other BS half ass excuse as to why we couldn’t get a result. At some point the manager has to tell his players “you guys weren’t good enough and you deserved to lose to ____ (insert shitty team here)”\

        Those excuses are valid sometimes, but my High School Soccer coach wouldn’t take that for an answer. Why is Wenger????

      • ken says:

        In reply to Desigunner,
        I can understand only one thing, it is that you are going to defend AW any cost.
        That does not interest me. We should not use our valuable time to compare the spud or any other lower teams (MAN CITY) with Arsenal. Firstly because we pay the highest price in the EPL. Secondly we have to compare ARsenal with the best, not lower teams. Thirdly do not attempt to compare Wenger with Ferguson,the latter is much more cunning, tactically oriented, ruthless and above all he is a winner (who instills a winning mentality in players not a whining one). Wenger lacks this mentality or rather he is more business oriented. So the question is : Will arsenal compromise between profits against trophies or vice versa. When players underperform he surely always calculate how much it will cost him to replace the latter and as always he chooses not to.
        Like any business man Wenger is a damn lier. He sells dreams and lies. Take a little time to read all his evolutive statements. He keeps on telling he is going to win the title so as to be able to fill the Emirates. Once there is no hope he will continue to lure fans by saying that we are are going to fight like hell to show our quality.
        You cannot defend Wenger at least on one point: He is a LIAR. He promises the moon with an experimental and incomplete team and yet he lies by saying this a a great team , the best in the EPL, the best he has ever trained etc. This is the one thing that fans cannot digest and why many fans want him to get the hell out of Arsenal AND THAT IS SURELY THE ONLY WAY TO WIN A TROPHY.

      • santori says:

        Why should you get all worked up by Wenger’s “lies”?

        It’s all white noise as far as I’m concern.

        You should be able to look beyond the facade and see the positives and negativesin balance.

        Fact is, with our spineless, young and poorquality defense team, we have pushed for the title right through to the end of the season when most have predicted we would be overhauled by City and Spurs for fourth at start of the season.

        If we can say that they have made big strides this season, then so have we in keeping ahead of them.

        If buying experience is an instant cure for our ills, well, then it sure hasn’t helped with City what makes us think it is the solution for us.

        Do not forget that we are also accruing experience every sesson.

        On the negative side, some things have to change. We evidently lack focus/confidence and are not able to take advantage of United’s slip ups. We are also unable to stay solid at crucial junctions in the game.

        I do not think that it is a question of the talent we have. In fact I think the team is punching above it’s weight.

        I think instead that Wenger’s tactics and lack of variation hurts us particularly as the game has changed in England. We are too predictable.

        The solution is not as easy as buying players (of course we will have to buy one or two and let non performing players go but that’s not be alla nd end all). It goes deeper and involves Wenger having a reassessment of his approach.

        he also needs help to focus or key issues in defense and attack and that’s where a revamp in the coaching staff could help.

      • Kushagra India says:

        You say that you didn’t expect us to win against
        Birmingham against Spuds or Manure and then u say we have improved BOLLOCKS….how many english teams are in UCL semifinal or were last year ,or in the the Europa league for that matter ,where are Manure’s creative midfielders or Chelsea’s much adored squad depth and still you profess we shouldn’t expect Arsenal to win so we should limit our expectations to Emirates cup when Wenger says this is the best squad he has ever assembled .Chelsea are in their worst run in the last decade and still second .

      • Kushagra India says:

        And which buffoon predicted we will be behind spurs or mancity excuses people come up it with smacks of losers mentality disgusting really hiding every failure behind the statement we are atleast ahead of Spuds just like politicians say in India we are atleast ahead of Pakistan…..all these comments from a supporter of the third most valuable club of the world…

  7. Mark says:

    Thank you. This is an excellent post. With the proliferation of idiots writing Arsenal blogs these days, this really needed to be said. A related thing that really irritates me is all of the former Arsenal players that will give interviews saying whatever the media is looking for. Just in the last week, we’ve had Perry Groves, Lee Dixon, Paul Merson, and Ian Wright all spouting crap about the club that just adds to the pressure. Are these players so hard up that they’ll say whatever the Daily Mail needs just for a little cash?

    • SoCal_Gun says:

      What’s wrong with pressure?

      the team’s inability to deal with pressure is pretty much the whole problem

      Sure Chelsea and Madrid will “do what ever it take to win” even if it means hiring The Special One with his anti-football. I’m advocating that, but this a professional sports team.

      Ask every player and coach and executive at the club what the goal is at the start of each year. Will they say “finish 3rd” or will they say “to win it all”?

      As a professional sports franchise the goal is always to win, as a business if the goal isn’t being reached something has to be done….

      I’m not saying shake up the whole club, but I am saying that pressure shouldn’t be a bad thing

      if you mean to tell me that this yrs capitulation of the Premiere League Crown was due to “pressure” then none of them deserve to be on the team

      At this stage of the game you NEED to welcome the pressure and have a “bring it on” mentality

      this is exactly the problem with Arsenal. I seriously think that 1 or 2 people need to be added, 1 or 2 need to be dropped, and all of them need to hear a speech about winning from Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant or Derek Jeter or Peyton Manning or A PROVEN WINNER who has elevated his entire team to a championship level DESPITE all the huge pressure

      • desigunner says:

        Pressure can be positive as well as negative.

        For instance, fans booing the players is also pressure. You think a player can say “bring it on”? It’s negative pressure.

        The pressure you are talking about is positive one. But at the moment Arsenal fans and ex-players are adding unnecessary negative pressure. Just tell me how does it help? Is there even a single positive to come from these opinions and reactions at this stage of the season?

      • Greencard usa says:

        Your are perfectly correct Desi – the negative pressure! Every arsenal player recognizes positive pressure and there is no need to flog this horse. It is the negative one that erodes.

      • SoCal_Gun says:

        Eboue was booed off the field not too long ago, And the penalty vs Liverpool was the first bonehead move he’s made since I think. In fact, I’ve been pretty Happy with his performances this yr. He just needs to work on the final ball and decision making a bit. I think he heard the boos and go to work

        I’m sure every pro athlete is pretty full of themselves , and seeing how Nobody currently on the side has won anything…..Maybe they need to come back to earth a bit

        It relates to Wenger only praising the team too though. There is always an excuse, other than “we weren’t good enough.” If Wenger wont tell them, maybe somebody has to

        Check out the soccernet.com article

        And if you’re going to tell me That boos and other forms of fan criticism causes them to play worse, then they definitely shouldn’t be pro athletes

      • santori says:

        I like eboue as a cheerleader and he has some positives to his game but I think we should be looking toward his eventual succession if not this summer maybe the next.

  8. SoCal_Gun says:

    ManU may have dropped more points from winning positions, and Chelsea may be having a worse season, and the Man City defense isn’t really that good; BUT……

    The nature in the way which Arsenal blow matches and capitulate points over to the opposition is the big deal.

    Also, it seems like nobody there cares. Fab made some controversial (but true) comments. I’ll be upset if he leaves, but not suprised

    Desi, I love your insight, I love the team, I love Wenger. But look at this quote from ESPNsoccernet:

    “From his determination to blame anyone but Emmanuel Eboue for Liverpool’s 102nd-minute penalty, to insisting in the wake of another capitulation against Spurs that “this team has a remarkable attitude”, despite all evidence to the contrary, Wenger is engaged in a full-on information war with his detractors in the media and beyond.”

    What do you say to that????? He is ignoring the truth. Is he delusional? Does he not want to cause a stir by mouthing off?

    It seems like the players aren’t under any pressure because Wenger deflects it all

    They gotta step up, man up, grow a pair, stop making stupid excuses and get the job done

    I don’t need to count up all the points lost at home, to shitty teams, or to a bone head mistake. It’s the difference between winning the Championship or “winning” 2nd place. I also hate how people say that we (spoiled arsenal fans) should be happy with 2nd place too. If all we’re going to do is try to finish in the top 4 and advance out of the Champions League Group Stages and be happy with that what’t the point? What happened to the “2nd is the 1st loser” mentality??

    I mean, in each game vs. our HATED RIVALS we gave up, surrendered a lead, and threw away points. Is anybody on the team losing any sleep? Doubtful……

    • desigunner says:

      Wenger has always been like that. He doesn’t blame his players in public. I can understand why media might not like it but why should the Arsenal fans lose the plot over this?

      You think he has achieved what he has by making excuses? Or by not recognizing what needs to be done?

      Wenger also said it’s a vicious cycle. Not sure if you noticed that or understood it. Once a team drops some points, and when there is such a furore over it, it stays in their minds. The next time their decisions are affected by that. It leads to more mistakes. Fighting against that needs tremendous mental abilities. Throw in injuries and refereeing decisions and it gets even tougher. On top of that you want the manager to have a go at the players as well? Have you noticed he is the sole voice that is trying to be positive about Arsenal?

      I don’t know if you have ever handled any kind of pressure in your life but if you think the players are not under pressure because the manager is deflecting it away then you’re miles away from the reality.

      • santori says:

        The other side of it is I think wenger is (rightly) concerned about the mental state of the team.

        I think he feels the team lacks belief and the last thing it needs is to be told that it can’t cut the mustard by the gaffer.

        Save the recriminations for end of season.

        We are hanging onto the title hopes by a slim thread as is, but we are still in it (you never know)

        Why add doom and gloom, especially since the often negative atmosphere at the emirates has an inverse affect on the team.

        We need our 12thman. If the fans are insufficient, then Wenger will try to function as such however nutty professor he comes across in the media bless him.:D

      • Jim says:

        Wenger never criticises his players in public. Not only that, he always defends his players from media (and fans’) attacks. It’s a good thing to do from a manager and it should be appreciated by the fans.

        However, it’s completely wrong for Wenger to tolerate players who made inexcusable mistakes that cost us matches.

        A case in point: Diaby’s stupid red card that cost us 2 points at St James Park. At other clubs, Diaby would be fined and punished. Not so at Arsenal. Diaby went straight back to the first team only to earn another senseless card at Blackpool.

        The team is not under pressure. No wonder they’re so easy to surrender when things get tough.

  9. SoCal_Gun says:

    Sorry…..not to beat a dead horse, but here’s more from the ESPNsoccernet article that I had to share:

    “With Arsenal beating only Leyton Orient and Blackpool since the Carling Cup final defeat to Birmingham, and all but ending their hopes in four trophies in the process, Wenger’s refrain rings more hollow than ever. After the Tottenham draw his team were hailed as “remarkably consistent”. Laughable, of course, unless Wenger was referring to their unerring success in accumulating draws at present, but another example of how he seeks to shape the popular perception of his side.

    He is hardly alone in this – any manager with any inkling of how to do their job properly engages in similar pursuits – but unfortunately for the Arsenal manager, propaganda cannot entirely mask reality, and this week sensitive information slipped out from within his own camp in the form of Cesc Fabregas’ interview with Don Balon.

    It is worth revisiting some salient points from that interview. “Either go out and win or develop players … for me it’s more a lack of a winning mentality, also of maturity in key moments. We have plenty of quality but lack this bit of confidence … the problem is that the team needs to win something … nobody in the team has won anything. We are missing that ability to say: ‘Now I know what it is to win and I know what it takes to win’.”

    All salient points, eloquently expressed, that go firmly against the party line. Speaking after the Spurs draw, Wenger expressed his disappointment with the way the interview was presented, particularly as he said the club had been given copy approval. Failing to control the message meant an inconvenient truth slipped out: his own captain had conceded that Arsenal lack a winning mentality.”

    • desigunner says:

      Read the comments of Fabregas again. Do you still think the players don’t feel pressure? Do you still think the manager should start criticizing his players in public? Can it serve any purpose at all?

      I have talked about the mental issues. This was probably one of the first blogs to mention that Arsenal should hire a sports psychologist. I also agree about the leadership issue. But these issues are extremely complex. They cannot be solved by bringing one or two players in. It’s all the more reason for the fans to throw their weight behind the team rather than become a burden on the players.

    • santori says:

      You’re actually quoting Tom Adams of espnsoccernet?

      What a laugh.

      That bloke predicted we will be kicked out of the top 4. He barely has a decent word to say of Arsenal and in fact, his agenda is to slate us in every ‘subtle’ way possible.


      There are other solutions than the facile mantra of buying ‘experience’

      If that is so convenient a fix, then why is City where it is. Shouldn’t that have given City and immediate shot at the title?

      What Adams and others are too lazy/blinkered to realize is that Arsenal’s quality has ensured that they have been title contenders this year to the very end. What we do need is tactical/coaching revamps. Chelsea have plenty of experience winning titles recently but it hasn’t helped them any more than it has us.

  10. SoCal_Gun says:

    last thing, I promise…..

    “Then again, the evidence was there for all to see. In recent seasons, the following scorelines are enough to bring any Gunners supporter out in a sweat: Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham, Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal, Arsenal 2-3 Tottenham, Tottenham 3-3 Arsenal, Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool, Wigan 3-2 Arsenal. All capitulations of varying degrees that you cannot imagine a club like Manchester United suffering with anything like that kind of regularity. The message is clear: Arsenal can’t close out a game, let alone a title race.”

    From a fellow Indian, I’d love to hear your take DesiGunner

    • desigunner says:

      I think the drama involved in these games overshadows the reality. Because the 14 points lost by United and 13 by Arsenal show that both teams have struggled to close out the games.

      Addition of games from previous seasons seems like a cheap trick by the author.

      I am not denying issues with Arsenal’s defence. I have spent thousands of words covering those in a lot of detail. What I don’t like are these generalizations that don’t stand up to scrutiny against facts. If one cannot imagine United suffering anything like the kind of issues Arsenal have suffered, how come they have dropped 14 points from winning positions? Since Arsenal have conceded late in games there is more drama and more chatter. United have conceded earlier and there has been lesser drama. But the net result is the same.

      If someone wants to discuss problems with the defence I can respect that. If someone wants to claim United would never do that and go on with Koscielny is cheap and useless, Squillaci is no good, Djourou is injury prone, and so on then it just becomes a pointless rant.

      Not sure how many people can see the difference.

      • santori says:

        All the same, the problem with us is we have squandered solid leads.

        I think one issue which I know Desi doesn’t agree with is leadership on the pitch.

        I still think it would be useful to have a strong voice dictating discipline particularly in crucial junctions of the game (eg after we’ve scored, during set pieces, after the half, if we’re behind)

        I’m not saying this person will be the be all and end all to our problems but I think it will help to enforce some focus and mental fortitude.

        My pick is Vermaelen. I think he sits i a position where he can organise a little and it seems he isn’t afraid to take the game by the scruff.

        Fabregas is too placid for me and when he drops his performance, there is no leadership.

        The other player that seems to have some fire in his belly is RVP. His forward position though doesn’t help quite as much.

        After that Nasri and Jack look good picks for the future as they are still relatively immature but they do exhibit hunger.

        Fabregas is talented (and still gives us an added dimension) but he has been below par in recent games. When he stops playiing well, he seems to stop acting as Captain and we seem to be devoid of idead as we become reliant on him for a solution.

      • SoCal_Gun says:

        I’m not calling out the defense, or saying that they are all bad players

        Like you’ve shown many times, the way they play often leads to 1 or 2 defensive players being hung out to dry

        I’m all for seeing the silver lining and being positive…..but after a point enough is enough. Be an adult and don’t deny the facts. They blew 3 leads to their hated rivals and all but killed their slim title hopes….and Wenger hails the spirit and resolve of team. I couldn’t think of a worse way to describe the performance. I’m not saying I know the answers, I’m just calling it how I see it

        ManU have dropped more points from winning positions than Arsenal this season (by 1 pt), but what about over the last 3 yrs?

        I thought that this was going to be “the year” earlier on. They had gotten good results (vs Chelsea), admitted when they played like crap, came together to win games even when the ref was biased, responded well from disappointing results……it all looked good. The team was confident and finally seemed sure of themselves.

        Since the Carling Cup debacle (and I still think Kos and Schez should be starters) and the Camp Nou disaster (BS biased refs) the team has beaten only Leyton Orient and Blackpool (2 teams which probably won’t be in the Premiere League next yr)

        If they had won the Carling Cup and gotten some decent luck in Spain EVERYTHING could be different. Rather than respond to the adversity, they crumbled.

        but, as long as Cesc says…..

        …..there’s always next year……

  11. D-Gooner says:

    Good read Desi:

    True at times the team receives unfair criticism from the median and the fans, and while I agree with most of your arguments, there are also some facts you left out. No one wishes to get carried away with the “Sack Wenger” bandwagon or any of the nonsense the media runs, however, time and time again he fails to address major issues in the team. That frustrates the supporters and and even players. As a result players like Fabregas has come with an outburst and Van Persie last week saying the team needs to cut out “criminal mistakes.”

    Also most fans don’t get carried away with the media because of the facts the media provide but because the team fails to back Wenger’s confidence in them. How many times this year have we heard of mental strength and yet we can not finish off games? Who other than few players fight till the last minute? Wasn’t Arshavin walking in the field when we play Tinny Tots?

    I’m in no way saying that this team needs a major surgery or Wenger should go, but it certainly needs some tweaks in some areas. Most importantly his back-room staff. Adieu.

    • santori says:

      Yes Wenger needs help. Fergusson had help with Carlos Quieroz.

      Wenger is brilliant at seeing the woods. I’m not saying he is a poor tactician 9far from it) but he has difficulty seeing the trees, as the game has changed in England.

      If he persist with a one track approach (without giving us the ability to switch within a game), then we have become predictable.

      There are lots of benefits which we can derive from some of our rivals in Barca, United, ahem even Mourinho in the way they approach play and we can impliment some of their tactics without necessary detriment to our overall attacking ethos IMO.

  12. Dino says:

    I must say to that fellow indian when he named few games that arsenal drowned this season and the preview once and said that Manchester united would never let it happen ; he clearly don’t see any premier league game . Remember Man united losing 4 – 1 in old traford against Liverpool , chelsea losing 3 – 0 at home to sunderland and many more but some ppl don’t remember that … Building a team is not easy takes years to build on that goes same for internationals not all the time a same contrary wins a world cup you have to be lucky and have few world class players who performs consistently who can win you things like Milan , Jubentus , Madrid , Ajax , B Munich ; Man United Chealseas and Barcelona ..

    • santori says:

      Not to mention experience comes with time (am I stating the obvious enough?):D

      The team is still fairly young. We can go out and buy experience but we must also realise that come next season, the players will hopefully be one year the wiser.

      This I believe in as who last season would have thought Song, Jack and Nasri would have stepped up with the way they did this season.

      If going by that, I believe we will see a further matuarity in the players next season.

      A couple of additions in the summer would be handy but they would not (should not) be for issues of experience. Rather they should be based on whay we need team composition/dynamics-wise to add different dimensions/options to our game.

      All the talk about the defense, i think that could be resolved with proper coaching.

      The areas to reinforce I believe (dependant on movement from Fab and Bendtner) would be wide left (A HAzard who can play both wings and add additional speed to Theo’s) and up top (A direct pacy striker like Benzema. RVP is a hybrid CF/playmaker and rifts out of position too often, CHamakh is good aerially but Wenger needs to play him to his strengths)

      • Kushagra India says:

        One year wiser till when, when the likes of nasri Cesc leave….every year one year wiser what makes u believe after the buffoonery of this season that they are 1 year wiser than last year..

    • SoCal_Gun says:

      I didn’t say that……the ESPN reporter did

      And what you guys say is allllll good

      every year is a learning experience, and every year they all get better. I agree

      the thing is, it all hinges on ALL of the key guys hanging around. Cesc is clearly frustrated by all the losing and constantly hearing about it while he watches his friends win everything. I think Theo, Nasri, and probably RVP are in it for at least 3-4 more years…..but idk about Cesc

      if he leaves, all these years of building the perfect team are for naught.

      He simply cannot be replaced on this team

      something needs to be done to show HIM that the team are serious about being a top club on the world stage

  13. Amana says:

    This season has been a mixed grill. We ve had our share of laughs and frowns. The difference between us and manU/Chels is that they are 1st and 2nd. Its just sad..its only arsenal in the top 4, that will drop a 4,2 goal lead in the frequency we do. Infact playing against arsenal, all you need tell your players is ‘its not over till its over’ and you will not be surprised with the end result. Yes..signing a rugged striker and an aggressive midfielder wil make a difference.. Every team is a reflection of the manager and thats why a team coached by mourinho plays a lost return leg as a vendetta. There must be a change and that change must start with AW..tactice and attitude.. The sad truth about the season is..we have no body to blame for our failure!

  14. Kushagra India says:

    To sum it up plenty off fuss for nothing especially when one acknowledges the writer is intent on defending Arsene no matter what comes, keep on finding different reasons that we shouldn’t expect Arsenal to win or we are arrogant or stupid and Almunia Bendtner and co are Scmeichel and Henry in disguise becuase every GK makes a clanger and every striker misses chances …….Fergie has now dismissed Arsenal’s title hopes saying we have better footballers but no experience or winning mentality…nope but u know we better everything is Rosy and Better because we aren’t spuds thats way Champions go Gr8 Work Desi…

    • Steve says:

      Are you really that stupid?

      • Kushagra India says:

        You seem to have the scale isn’t it fact of the matter is a player like Cheatcharito(Hernadez) would play on the wings in the Arsenal set up….that really sums up

  15. JP says:

    After all this going back and forth, Man U are now 9 points ahead after beating Everton.

  16. Dgeoel says:

    Man u has definitely benefited from referring decisions while Arsenal have not. Look at the penalties awarded against Arsenal in the NewCastle and Liverpool games and those not awarded against Man U in the Everton game and you’ll see why Man U is top. Plus the Wenger haters also happen to be referees!

    • SoCal_Gun says:

      that’s true without a doubt

      it’s because of Ferguson’s reputation though. The refs are scared of him, and he’s Sir Alex the knight

      it’s BS….but ManU probably get more lucky/50-50 calls than any other team in any other sport in the world

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s