Arsenal 0 – 0 Sunderland, should we be worried?

“Worry is for those with little faith.”

Are you worried?

We currently lie in 5th place after another lacklustre performance against Sunderland, another 0-0 draw and another home game where we were unable to win and unable to score. Aston Villa lost earlier in the day to Chelsea, where it was evident that neither team offered much more than we could. Neither team will challenge for the title and neither team should stand in our way if we could win our up and coming home games.

But the cards were not in our favour, and on the day that we could have really climbed up the table, we failed to take advantage and with 12 games left this season, we still have to recover 6 points. We face United, Liverpool and Chelsea before the end of the season, and as a result, the games against Everton, West Ham and Sunderland, two at home, were “must win” games. We failed to win any of the three games and those six points will be even harder to recover now.

Andrei Arshavin featured in the starting XI and he lasted 60 minutes. The first half was all about the Russian – very much smaller than I thought he was – in a very small Russian team, he didn’t look that small – but in a slightly taller Arsenal side, he looked very, very small. But he’s quality was there for all to see – he had a few shots, and most on target, he looked quick and he looked direct.

Apart from the impressive debut, we basically created a little more than Sunderland but our finishing was woeful. Van Persie, somehow managed to miss the target after rounding the keeper, and Carlos Vela – who’s finishing had been amazing in the Carling Cup – missed two “sitters” from about 8 yards. The worst part of this performance was the lack of urgency to score and in the last ten minutes, seeing William Gallas act as an auxiliary centre forward and the misfiring Bendtner bounce around reminded me of the John Terry / Mourinho, “I don’t know what to do” games.

On the game and Arshavin’s debut, Arsene said:

“We had the chances but we could not get the goal that would have made us happy. We don’t concede goals but we want take advantage of the chances that we create – we need to play with a little bit more freedom. Andrey Arshavin showed some good signs but he is also showed that he is not completely fit.” 

“He has shown in glimpses that he has talent and that he will be a player. He has also shown that he is not ready physically yet. You could see that if he was on the ball more often he will effect the game. in the final third you feel that something can happen. He nearly scored two goals; one right-footed shot and one with his left well saved by the keeper.”

So, the major is where do we go from here? We have Roma this Tuesday and then Fulham on Saturday – it’s going to be a very interesting week. Make or break, no doubt.

I’ll leave you with that today, no time to ponder, two days until Roma….


Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Toure, Clichy (Gibbs 85), Nasri, Denilson, Song Billong (Eboue 78), Arshavin (Vela 63), Bendtner, Van Persie.
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Ramsey, Djourou, Merida.

Booked: Nasri, Clichy.

Sunderland: Fulop, Ben-Haim, Ferdinand, Collins, McCartney, Malbranque, Whitehead, Tainio (Leadbitter 76), Reid (Murphy 78), Richardson, Jones (Edwards 88).
Subs Not Used: Gordon, Davenport, Healy, McShane.

Booked: Richardson, McCartney.

Att: 60,104

Ref: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire).]]>

  • AJ

    < ![CDATA[I'm getting pretty worried, and the fact that our new chief exective Ivan Gazidis has said fifth is unacceptable, does sound out some encouragement but there's also a niggling little voice in my head saying the club are saying its ok to loose aslong as we are in the top four.
    We need to get turning things round and from the way Arshavin played I think he will be the catalyst, direct, not afraid to take shots and on numerous occassions beat his man.]]>

  • Yemi

    < ![CDATA[I think arsenal needs to find a way to break down tems that play negative football. Once these teams have noted that we dont know how to get past negative minded teams, they just put 10 men in the box.
    Sunderland has been a team i was scared of this season because ot the way they have been playing very attack minded football. Jones and cisse,with elhaj and others. suddenly i could see only james in arsenal half most of the game (i watched only the second half). It is very disgusting. but i don't blame them, do you expect them to come out and play so you can score many goals ?
    What we need now is a way to break down this teams because there are surely more to come. negativity has been our bane this season.]]>


    Actually Arsenal had several opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net. The problem on Saturday wasn’t breaking Sunderland down, it was not taking on of the 12 shots on target. Sure, more opportunities would have been great, but we didn’t look like we’d stick it in the net in a month of Saturday’s.

  • Fabrez

    That game was pretty much down to poor finishing. They parked the bus, yes, but that’s the difference between us an Man U…they stick their chances in & we don’t.

  • Ibrahim

    < ![CDATA[Well we should definitely and seriously be worried,cuz if we continue playing like dat n not taking our chances then expect the emirates stadium to host UROPA CUP next season n also expect an exodus of out star players.
    I remember back then when clubs come to play arsenal, all they do is damage control, but now imagine all we do is become mathematicians on hopers that a looses and b draws so that we can try n catch up.
    Serious surgery is needed before Arsenal becomes an Ajax.]]>

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[So is it a cause for worry then? The fact the we can't find the back of the net when the pressure's on to do so, when we really need the 3 points?
    I'm not worried as of yet, but a few more goalless games and I think I might be. But I think we'll turn the tide soon, fingers crossed.]]>

  • Marriich

    < ![CDATA[There used to be a time when Arsenal beat the opposition in the tunnel before the game. Sometimes it can appear that those days are no more.

    Unfortunately for Gooners, and Arsenal, we are seen as the soft touch of the so-called top four and the fear we used to generate through the Premiership seems to be at an all time low.

    Sides play Arsenal and believe that they can beat us. Or at least get something from the game. It used to be so different.

    We have become predictable and teams know that putting ten men behind the ball causes us real problems. We are finding it hard to break down sides when we used to have the answer.

    When teams "park the bus" in front of goal it shows an element of fear but more than anything it shows that teams have worked us out. Causing frustration for the players and especially us Gooners.

    I think that our lethargic starts to games doesn't help. We seem very slow in our build up play and allow teams to get behind the ball. Which as we all know, causes us problems.

    We need to somehow get that fear back. As much as it pains me to say the current personnel in the Arsenal squad probably doesn't help.

    Without trying to sound as though I'm making scapegoats the likes of Song, Denilson (although he has improved this season) and even Bendtner probably do not strike fear into the opposing side.

    Wenger can't add to the squad until the summer now but the return of Eduardo, Fabregas, Rosicky, Walcott and the signing of Arshavin will add a lot more to this Arsenal side.

    We need to get behind the team until the end of the season and turn the Emirates into a cauldron. Perhaps if the players aren't scaring the other team then maybe we Gooners can have a go?

    I believe we will finish in the top four but we need to get the fear back into us. Let other clubs dread playing us not fancy it.]]>


    < ![CDATA[i agree with marriich on this one, we used to hammer teams 4, 5-0 now those days are gone...watching MOTD and seeing Fabregas, eduardo, rosicky and adebayor sitting next to each other laughing and joking gives me the hope that wen they r fit and back in the squad we should have a bit more about us

    what annoys me is that there was no gallvanising of the troops and as usual we didnt take our chances...i remember a few seasons back we had a stat of scoring in EVERY game, even if we lost, now we've had more 0-0 draws than i care to remember

    considering we've played villa twice we just have to hope they drop points, let us sneak into the top 4 and then from next season really start pushing...]]>


    < ![CDATA[

    i agree with marriich on this one, we used to hammer teams 4, 5-0 now those days are gone…Yes. It’s been exactly 7 days since we stuck 4 goals past a team. It seems like so long ago. Wait that’s only a week!

    We also scored 3 goals twice in January.

    what annoys me is that there was no gallvanising of the troops

    I’m interested in how eactly you would do this? I mean, unless you’re suggesting Wenger should run on the pitch and slap Denilson in the face every time he gives the ball away, what do you want him to do? Surely the only thing he can do is give a good team talk at half time – and I’m guessing like the rest of us, you have no idea what he actually said to the team after the first 45.

    The trouble is, he had nearly three strikers on if you count Vela who was pushed right up – and despite what other people on here would have you believe, Sunderland didn’t just sit and defend, they looked bloody dangerous on the counter attack.

    So would you have Wenger take off a midfielder or defender for a striker (of which he had none on the bench) and possibly lose the game 1-0?

    You’d of rightfully called him an idiot if he did that. So let’s give the man a break.

    Let’s not think of games as *MUST WIN* and instead think of them as *MUST NOT LOSE*.]]>


    < ![CDATA[Oh, and the team we stuck 4 past may only have been a championship side, but they held as to 0-0 at their gaff and very nearly beat us so they were no pushovers.

    The thing is, when we were losing everyone was banging on about the defence. We seem to have nailed that down now and are playing far better in defence and defensive midfield than we have for months.

    But instead of seeing that as a positive, everybody has moved onto us not scoring much.

    Only 5 teams have scored more goals than us - Villa have scored two more and Man City are 10th.

    It would be nice for once if I read the comments on all the different fan-sites and people were 100% behind the team, rather than picking holes and finding fault.]]>

  • Richiebacardi

    < ![CDATA[Guys I don't know about you but all this talk of people leaving if we don't get trophies has got me a bit concerned.

    We were a trophy winning team before they came in and now they are playing we haven't won trophies (I'm not having a go at the players for this though).

    Maybe these guys should sit back and think about that and then maybe think..."hey maybe I can get Arsenal back on it's trophy winning ways instead of just runing away...."]]>

  • Yemi

    This is not about putting blames, but things that should be done in times like this other teams are trying breaking hard to beat defences, but we are yet to find the answer. we should not be talking of how to beat these teams but how much they can be beatenKieran, Arsene can take out a defender for an attacker if he needs a goal., aston villa did the same when they needed a goal dearly agaist chelsea. they took off davies(central defender) and brought on Carew. just to boost the attack. even thoug they did not score, it surely boosted the attack.m


    < ![CDATA[Ah right, so Yemi, if Wenger does that and we concede and lose, you'd be happy?

    Being a goal down, then I agree, Villa needed to change things. But Arsenal weren't a goal down were they? So it's a totally different situation.]]>


    Dev, in relation to Arsenal-Review’s spamming of their blog in the comments – do you think it would be sensible to remove those comments? It just ruins the blog. Fine if someone quotes parts of their own article or ask’s for thoughts, but mindlessly ctrl-c/ctrl-v’ing their splurge in the comments ruins it for everyone else!!

  • devday

    Definitely Kieran…!

  • Yemi

    < ![CDATA[I think we all want the same thing (win-win-win) and when we don't get it, we tend to point fingers. everyone apart from arsene is a professional coach on arsenal matters when the team is not performing to expectation.
    I just feel that arsenal should not be struggling to beat some teams.
    Barca came from 2 down to pick a point against betis, and went down 2-1 to espanyol.
    No team is unbeatable so i beleive if we win the matches we should, there is a possibility that those abobe us may lose points as we have been losing points]]>


    < ![CDATA[I'm with you there - but whilst it's frustrating not to win, it's always worth remembering we could have lost. Even Man U are not infallible - Ronaldo should have been sent off and Blackburn should have had a penalty!

    I agree with you, sometimes I'd like to see Arsene sacrifice a defensive player for an attacker - but it can and sometimes backfire and he has a responsibility to to throw one point away on a gamble to win three. 1 is better than nothing!]]>

  • Sam

    < ![CDATA[My biggest fear has come true: Mediocracy has become an acceptable standard at Arsenal.

    Hello EUFA Cup next year! And good bye to RVP, Cesc & Ade when that happens!]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[The main complaint I have about yesterday is that everybody seemed to have resigned from their responsibility in playing a part in scoring a goal and putting it all on Arshavin instead. So what if it was his debut. He shouldn't have been the only one trying to make things happen. Everybody else looked completely disinterested. There was such a shocking lack of urgency about our play, that I was feeling angry. And when the odd chance fell to someone, they made a disgusting mess of it.
    And I have to agree with Kieran on one point. It wasn't as if Sunderland were defending with 10 men throughout. They were attacking us occasionally and looked dangerous on the counter.
    I think our lack of goals scored goes hand in hand with our lack of goals conceded. I just read an article on SkySports where Sagna 'reveals' the defensive approach Arsenal have changed to, this season, as compared to last season. He basically says that certain people left the club and because we are a young side, and because we started to concede too many goals, they decided to change to a more defensive approach. Sagna says that now his first priority is to defend rather than to make those attacking runs we've come to depend on from our fullbacks. For too long they've been an integral part of our attack, and I think now teams have figured us out pretty well, and part of the reason why we always face a swarm of 10 defenders every time we attack is because we take too much time to wait for the fullback to make the attacking run, to pass to him.
    So the fullbacks being defensive can be a good thing. It's certainly helped us keep quite a few clean sheets. I'd rather have my midfield and attack working towards scoring rather than relying on two defenders to help. It also gets very predictable seeing it happen in most of our attacks.
    This obviously means our midfield will have to do more work from now on. I suppose it makes sense to give more responsibility to the midfield now that they've had a decent few months to work together. I'm not hoping for a drastic change though because Denilson + Song is too weak to compete against most other teams in the league, let alone challenge for titles. But finally I think we're going to see an Arsenal side that plays with penetrative, more direct wingers in Arshavin and Nasri, and Walcott, Vela and Rosicky (and Eboue even though he's pretty useless, he is direct).
    We have drawn 3 games nil-nil at the Emirates but certain things about the team do make me feel a sense of reserved optimism. At the start of the season people were talking about Arsenal being title-contenders. Towards the end of the first half of the season we started to fall from title-contenders to champions league-place contenders. So I've already been through the 'worry, disdain, frustration, anger, given-up' phase. Now it has started to look like there's a relatively stronger foundation to the squad as compared to the first half of the season. It's something we can build on. Hopefully the goals will also start to come. And some of the injured troops coming back will surely help. The squad is pretty thin at the moment, so it does make a bit of sense that we haven't been on our game as we would have liked.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Sam I completely agree with you brother !
    That is certainly the most disappointing thing that I've seen from some of the fans on this forum. They try to defend and justify 3 consecutive goalless draws and other forms of mediocrity. They say Bendtner and Eboue are crap, but they won't lay any blame on Wenger for being mediocre to sign them and persist with them. Playing with average players with little quality like Denilson and Song is what we have witnessed for most of the season. And to those that will now attack me saying that Cesc got injured, I'd like to tell them, we've had injuries consistently for the past 3 seasons, so the first thing Wenger should've done was make sure he had able replacements for the important players in the squad. He simply didn't. At the start of the season we had Rosicky and Eduardo out injured for an uncertain period of time. Flamini, Gilberto, Diarra, and Hleb had left Arsenal, and the only signings Wenger made were Nasri, Ramsey and Bischoff. Two of them had had injuries in the previous seasons, and it was unsure if they were going to return to play as well. All three were inexperienced, one was merely a teenager. Wenger never strengthened the DM slot. He chose to play with Denilson, Song and Diaby next to Cesc. And none of them except for Cesc had any real experience and time to develop their quality. He didn't strengthen the striker slot. He chose to play with 3 strikers in Adebayor, VanPersie and Bendtner. Eduardo was injured. (It would be Vela's first season and he'd play on the wing anyways, and Walcott would play on the wing as well thanks to Eboue and Hleb had left and wasn't replaced, so 3 strikers and not 5). 1 of those 3 was very injury prone (VanPersie). Another was not really Arsenal material and had very little experience, being only just promoted from the Carling Cup (Bendtner). And the third having been surrounded by talk of an exit to a 'bigger' club (Adebayor - AC Milan/Barcelona). He didn't strengthen the winger slot. We were playing with Vela, Nasri, Walcott and Eboue. That's a very inexperienced line-up if you're talking about winning some silverware. You're really insulting the quality of the opposition as well, saying we could win something with that lot. And there were numerous problems at CB. So the only place that we've looked strong compared to other quality teams, is at RB and LB. Our fullbacks are some of the best in the Europe. But even that could've gone horribly wrong had one of them been injured. We clearly don't have any quality and strength in backup, as the injuries have helped magnify. And we didn't have it at the start of the season, when people mistakenly were talking about Arsenal winning something this season.
    Arshavin, and Cesc, Eduardo and Rosicky coming back should feel like 4 new signings, and they'll certainly have a positive impact, but the damage done by the team playing in their absence until now, is too great to repair.
    Now the danger is that if the make-shift team doesn't start to perform better than their usual average performances, we'll be looking at Europa Cup next season, and possibly some of the stars wanting away in the summer.]]>

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[It's not so much as if we're happy to be battling for 5th place with the likes of Villa and Everton, or enduring 3 nil nil games in a row, but the point still remains that we're supporters or fans or whatever you want to call it, meaning we're meant to support the team whatever. Whenever did blaming ppl all the time help matters? We can moan as much as we like, but it's our job to support the team no matter what. Wenger may have made a few mistakes, but who doesn't? Not saying criticism of unnecessary, but I think we should leave the player/manager bashing to the critics, because when us as fans begin to do that, something's wrong. Not saying we should take dodgy performances as the norm, but it's not like we're in the position to change it, cos we're not.
    I'm not always 100% happy with our performances all the time, but all I can do is offer my unconditional support to the team and manager, no matter what, and maybe have the odd moan or two. And when they do get it right, it'd seem as if it never ever went wrong in the first place.]]>


    I know if I came home and demanded the wife left every time she cooked a mediocre dinner I’d be a lonely man!

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[So support the team. Nobody's stopping you. The people who attend the games should be told that. They create such a boring atmosphere. As if the naive, inefficient football wasn't boring enough already.

    If we want to correct our mistakes, 'blaming' people is necessary. First of all 'blaming' is not the same as humiliating. Some people mix the two up. And I wish I knew why. How does one correct a mistake ? By first realizing it's there. How do you realize its there ? Criticism, my dear Watson !

    You say that fans shouldn't criticize the players or the managers, because that's just wrong. Allow me to be baffled. All this time I thought fans were human beings as well and they had feelings as well. Who is anyone to say that the fans are not allowed to criticize ? Why should people who are known as critics be the only ones allowed to criticize ? Everyone has a right to their opinion and if criticism is part of their opinion, then people will just have to accept it. After all the whole point of criticism is that the critic points out where the faults lie. And to do that, he's giving it a lot of his time and energy. That shows that he cares. Specially when he's giving you solutions. The last thing a person should do is shun a critic. Hell, they should be respected. It's sad that people have a very low opinion of critics, because all critics are not evil, as most of the people here seem to believe. A broader view would help.

    Fans aren't robots who are meant to support without feeling cheated. And I'm sure if we cared enough we'd find a way to change it, even though we seem to assume that we're not in a position to change it. If we support the club, we should take it upon us to fix whatever problems we see. Have you forgotten the Liverpool supporters who were wanting to buy the club to save it from being bought by the American owners who would screw them up. That's what true supporters are like.

    And I'd like to point out that a true supporter of a club is slightly different from a temporary supporter of a particular team that has a particular bunch of players playing for a few years. So if we're Arsenal supporters then we should support the club, not just the manager or just the players. Most of us seem to be Arsene Wenger fans, not Arsenal fans. What's sad is that we seem to care more about Arsene Wenger than Arsenal. If we truely cared about Arsenal, we'd be trying to help it get back to winning silverware and competing with ManUtd and Chelsea. And building on the Champions League appearance to finally win it. Not worrying about life after Wenger, pretending no other manager could ever win us titles. We're so poor that we have all the room in the world for improvement. In the last few years, Ferguson, Mourinho, Rijkaard, and Ancelotti have been some of the most consistently successful managers. Not Wenger. And I'm sure every neutral would tell you that at this moment in time, Wenger is not one of the best managers in the world. Those 4 are.]]>

  • Debs

    I did say ‘player/manager bashing’, not criticism, by fans is what’s wrong, Zohaib. Big difference.

  • Fabrez

    Managers are judged mainly by the trophies they win. In the last 4 years, Ferguson etc have been more successful than AW. I don’t think AW’s downfall as a manager has to do with his ability to manage players per say. But with the youth policy & the frailties in midefiled (this yr), AW has handicapped himself as a manager. I know he talks of the future & finances & that…but with those things in mind, the success of the team was always going to be risked and now we are seeing the results of that. He has tried to achieve a balance but we are lacking that extra quality in the squad. If AW managed the teams those 4 managed, he’d b the best but he has made a choice and trophies have dried up. Still i support the Club all the way, although I won’t agree with every decision made.

  • zohaib

    It’s hardly bashing. I’m not calling for him to be relieved of his duties, or for him to resign. Just pointing out the time-line of this season, as well as the sudden change of attitude of some fans here, when they went from being supporters of Arsenal the title-contenders, to Arsenal-fighting-to-save-face-from-humiliation-of-not-finishing-in-the-champions-league-spots.

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Bashing is done without rhyme or reason. Without purpose. And I'm not someone who bashes anyway. Because I'm an Arsenal supporter. I can't imagine any supporter being a basher. No basher would be a supporter.
    Like I said before, I'm only trying to point out where I think we went wrong, and find out where other supporters feel we might have been wrong, to try and find a solution to our problems and to get the club back to winning ways. I'm sounding harsh because I'm trying to show the frustration Arsenal has given me with its current 'philosophy'. Certainly not bashing. Bashing would be calling Wenger a fool and other names. Calling his philosophy a failed philosophy, where I don't think it is. I think its a philosophy which isn't helping us, but there's a chance it might in the future, depending on the stability of the club in the boardroom as well as certain players staying, and supporters not getting sick of the same mediocrity every year. We've had 4 years now, thankyou.]]>

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[I take your point Zohaib. And besides, my 'player/manager bashing' comment wasn't directed at you in particular anyways.
    But I guess whereas you're fed up with Wenger's philosophy, I still believe it can work.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[I do believe it can work. Only if we can manage to put our first choice starting eleven out on the pitch in 90% of the matches over a season.

    Something also needs to be done of the bias that the referees have towards ManUtd. And something needs to be done of the referees that implement different standards for a foul against Arsenal and that of a foul against another team !]]>

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[If only! lol

    I don't really get the referee situation though. How hard is it to be impartial, really? I know refereeing is a hard job to do, but maintaining the same standard for every team, irrespective of who's ground the match is being played on surely isn't too much to ask for?]]>

  • AJ

    Regardless of the refs being biased, we had enough chances to win the game and we failed, I don’t have much faith in our strikers at the moment.

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[We definitely could've won with our strikers finishing off one of the 4 or so clear chances we had. But VanPersie had an amazing January. We can forgive him for having an off day. That's the point of having another striker on the pitch, so that if one isn't firing, the other can help, but Bendtner being Bendtner, there's no surprise that didn't happen. He's better as an impact-sub.

    I think what's not being done is, the urgency during the first half. In the second half it gets much harder for us to break teams down because they've already decided to put 10 men behind the ball, to defend. What we need to do is, attack and finish off with much more urgency and efficiency in the first half. But we're also quite rubbish at protecting a lead. We had a habit of giving away a lead. There are just so many problems with the side. It's so annoying.]]>

  • Fabrez

    Annoying is an understatement! But yeah RvP has been on the ball for so long, 1 off day was going to happen at some point. Bendtner should be an impact sub and that’s it! Remeber his game against Man U? We won but he did not show the kind of quality that should represent Arsenal. Problem with him is that his sub performances (& Ade’s injury) are enuff 4 him to start and when he does finally start, he’s rubbish! It’s ever so frustrating. But credit to AW…even with this youth policy & a weakened midfield, IF….big flippin IF….we had most of our players fit we would be title challengers possibly… *sigh*

  • Debs

    too many IFs and BUTs in our season so far, huh?

  • Fabrez

    Way too many!

  • Fabrez


  • Sam

    < ![CDATA[Arsenal can play crap & I will still support them. I will support Arsenal with all my heart in Uefa Cup... I will never think of myself as a fan, but always a supporter.

    I have the greatest respect for AW, because he knows the economics of football as well as the sporting side. We don't have a sugar-daddy like Chelski, so the only way is to watch our budget, and that's one of the reasons I love this team. Arsenal stands tall on its own feet.

    Having said that, I expect far better standard of football from the team. and feel their current form/atitude is just below par.]]>

  • debs

    right. can someone pls explain to me the difference between a fan and a supporter? is it just a technical difference, cos I tend to use both interchangeably without thinking, or is there a practiical difference?


    I see no difference.

  • zohaib

    I think people who find a difference, think of a fan as someone who doesn’t necessarily spend money to buy a ticket or some kind of merchandise that generates money for the club. As opposed to a supporter who does.


    Yeah I guess I am a football fan, but an Arsenal supporter.

  • Debs

    Hmm.. makes sense. And yeah, football fan, Arsenal supporter…