Arsenal vs Fulham: Match Preview

It's been a crazy week for me and a crazy week in the world of Arsenal if Diaby's injury is to be believed. The midfield maestro is back and available for tomorrow's game. I don't understand how, and I don't think Arsene does either!

“Diaby is available, he recovered surprisingly well,” revealed Wenger at his pre-match press conference. “It seems I took him off at the right moment [against Roma].

It’s weird that Arsene has self praised himself in the above statement, it seems ironic considering that potentially he was at fault for not taking off Eduardo quickly enough.

Tomorrow’s game is a must must must must win game. We have to win. We must win. There is no possible chance of us not winning. And with that in mind, it’s useful to have two players back in contention (Diaby from injury and Arshavin from illegibility). So the question arises, who will the gaffer play. I’m not a fan of Bendtner, but I’m so sure he’ll start, I’ll eat my hat if he doesn’t. I’d love Vela to get more game time. I think there is a lot more to come from him and we’ve seen good stuff with the young Mexican. However, I don’t think he will start. I think it will be Nasri and Arshavin on the wings with Denilson and Song in the middle and Bendtner and Van Persie up front. Personally, I’d start Vela and Van Persie up front and Nasri, Diaby, Denilson and Arshavin in the middle, but hey – I’m not the manager!

Almunia

Sagna – Toure – Gallas – Clichy

Nasri – Denilson – Song – Arshavin

Van Persie – Bendtner

With a bench of: Fabianksi, Djourou, Song, Gibbs, Vela, Ramsey and Diaby

Some good news from the press conference is that we’ll see the return of three injured players with Theo Walcott back in contention very soon!

“It looks like Eduardo, Walcott and Adebayor will be coming in the next two weeks. It’s a real bonus, the first one will be Walcott.”

If you take Van Persie’s goals and contribution out of the equation we’ve barely managed to score a goal in the league since the turn of the year. We’ve had 5 0-0 draws and scraped past Roma with a penalty. Up front, our midfield and strikers need to turn up the heat a little. We need to start scoring very scon. Yes, the injured players will help, but we’re better than the 0-0′s and lack of goals. Almunia spoke out on this subject too:

“The fans deserve more. Before, we probably used to create a few more chances and also we would finish those chances quicker. Now we are spending a bit more time to get a final shot. The players realise the fans deserve more from us and maybe some of the players are feeling more pressure at the moment at home because we are not winning games. The only good thing that we can see from these kind of games when we are dropping points is we are still getting clean sheets. The team in general, defensively, are doing very well. Now need to find that nice balance where we are tight at the back but get the goals. It is what a team like Manchester United has been so successful with this season. They have always been getting the clean sheet and then just managing to get the goal. They have the confidence to get that minimum one goal. We have to get that confidence back.”

So come on team, let’s get loads of goals against Fulham and restore the confidence.

It’s getting uber serious now…]]>

  • Steve

    < ![CDATA[In the last game Wenger played Arshavin on the right and Nasri on the left (keeping up his partnership with Clichy).

    Also I think Diaby played so well in the week that if he is fit he will play. Denilson and Song are both defensive and we need to score more goals!

    I reckon it will look like:

    . Almunia

    . Sagna - Toure - Gallas - Clichy

    .Arshavin - Denilson - Diaby - Nasri

    . Van Persie - Bendtner

    Hopefully with another week of training under his belt Arshavin will last the full 90. He looked so threatening against Sunderland, I feel (very irrationally) almost certain he will score this weekend.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Is Denilson ever going to get a rest ?!

    I would consider something like this in addition to the lineups mentioned above :

    ------------------------Almunia------------------------
    Sagna---------Toure--------Gallas--------Clichy
    --------------Denilson----------Song---------------
    ----Arshavin-----------Diaby-------------Nasri----
    ----------------------VanPersie-----------------------

    I'm also wondering whether Sagna, Gallas and VanPersie will get rests. I don't know who'll cover for Sagna in that case, but for Gallas we could have Djourou. The issue is, we can't give both a rest at the same time because we don't have enough cover ! (Having Silvestre almost qualifies as no cover, and absolutely does at the moment, because he's injured anyway).
    Vela or Bendtner could replace VanPersie, but like Dev has mentioned, he's pretty much the only goalscorer we've had since January. So, benching him would be a risk, since we're not really scoring the sitters we should be scoring.
    It'll definitely be interesting to see how close we get to predicting the correct lineup. And I'm looking forward to some Arshavin magic. But I can't stress enough, that the other players NEED TO SHOW UP TOO !]]>

  • zohaib

    On the other hand if Denilson does manage to get a rest, I can see Diaby and Song starting in midfield, if we’re playing a 4 – 4 – 2, with Bendtner up front with Van-the-man.

  • Pissed off

    We are so similar to Ac milan in a reverse way. Hope you guys catch the drift.

  • ny

    < ![CDATA[i expect this lineup

    ————————Almunia————————
    Sagna———Toure——–Gallas——–Clichy
    ————–-Diaby———-Song—————
    —-Eboue———–Nasri————Arshavin—-
    ———————-VanPersie———————–

    denilson to be rested]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Roy Hodgson says he's going to play with 2 strikers. Woohoo !

    Hopefully that's enough reason for us to get a goal. But he also said he wouldn't be hesitant to change it if he needs to. So we need to take advantage and get the early goal !]]>

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[Vela starting, Bendtner on the bench! Get in!
    It seems as if Wenger reads this blog, Dev! :P
    But you've got to eat your hat now! ;)]]>

  • Gooner Get Ya

    our defence is looking dodgy!!!

  • Gooner Get Ya

    < ![CDATA[Fulham have out played us for the first 25 mins. We have only had 1 chance compared to their 5.

    OMG Nasri had the ball in the Fulham box and has taken far too long to engineer a shot.]]>

  • Gooner Get Ya

    Arrrrgggh Arshavin played in RVP with a beautiful pass but saved well by Swartzer

  • Gooner Get Ya

    Why oh why cant we just shoot…Vela trying to walk it in. 35mins played so far we cant find the killer strike.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    Half time 0-0 and Fulham have had the better of the 1st 45 mins with 8 attempts at goal.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    much of the same the start of the 2nd half. we are trying to walk in the ball again

  • Gooner Get Ya

    OMG RVP just hit the post from a Sagna cross

  • Gooner Get Ya

    72nd min and Diaby has just had a header saved from Swarters thigh.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    82nd min and no much going on apart from Arshavin hitting the side netting. looking like another 0-0

  • AJ

    I actuallly am glad I couldn’t go even though I had tickets.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    94th Min and the chorus of boo’s starts ringing around the Grove as the gunners once again fail to score. 0-0 FT score

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[Not really disappointed, its just the prophecy of Mourinho and some gunners faithful (Zohaib) been fufilled. The only bad thing about this being alive observing this mess.

    Belief me if we manage to survive this season , we should thank our stars.]]>

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[Oh dear! Not the best result. Not a loss, but not a win either. This is becoming a bit like Groundhog Day, whenever we play in the Prem it seems to be tha same no matter who we play.

    The next game against West Brom couldn't come soon enough. For a start, WBA aren't winning any games, and could play into our hands. But also its an away game, and that just might be what the lads need right now.

    Everton are only 2 points behind us now, although they are away to Blackburn mid-week and have injuries too, so maybe that will take its toll.

    Disapointed that we drew another winable game, but its not surprising to be honest. But I still love the Gunners!]]>

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[F**k this current Arsenal team; F**k the day most of them were brought to premier league. Chelsea and Man U looks like they will dominate the league for a very long time; I bet you guys its already happened seems to be that way.

    The DMF position kept the team in chaos through the whole match; It didn't get us going in attack properly.]]>

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[I don't think its that bad mate, but things certainly haven't been good this season. I'm amazed that we're still in 5th when you consider all the set backs we've had. And in all honesty, its been a fairly rubbish season in the Prem for pretty much all the teams, compared to other seasons at least. Even United and Chelsea aren't doing as well as in the past, and I feel next season, with Arshavin, Cesc, Rosicky, Theo, Nasri, Eduardo et al that we will definately be a force to be reckoned with.

    None of the other top four teams have had to deal with the kind of injuries we've had. We've had at least 4 of our first teamers out for 3 months or more, 2 of them being out for nearly a year. I never expected us to win the league with Denilson, Song and Eboue having long spells in the first team, so to have come this far and still not be further down the league table is a pretty good achievement for the lads. but I share your frustration, we still should have won more games, and we would have had we had all our players fit.

    I still reckon we can progress quite far in the Champions League and FA Cup this year, if our main players get back in time. They'll be fresh and this'll be like the start of the season for them. So lets not write off our teams chances at this stage. We've only just started the final third of the season.]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[Pissed Off, do you think we'll get relegated or something? I don't understand what you mean by survive?

    Also, I'm not sure why you're upset about us playing a defensive midfielder? 4 months ago you wanted Wenger sacked because you said we didn't have one. Make your bloody mind up.]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    Also – to anyone else, this time last year we were top of the league and we finished fourth. So there’s still time to get a surge of results.

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[Exactly! Well said mate.

    It only takes 2 or 3 games for things to turn around in football. Look at Liverpool today, they lost 2-0 to Middlesborough. Players like Denilson, Song and Eboue have had a lot said about them, but I'd take them over Ngog, Babal, or Lucas any day.

    Even last week, United could have dropped points to Blackburn, but the difference is they've at least 3 players who they paid £30M each for in Berba, Rooney, and Rio, not to mention all the other players they've paid on average £15m each for, and yet should do much better.

    How would United/Chelsea do if Rooney/Drogba had Eduardo's injury, at the same time that Ronaldo/Lampard had Rosicky and Cesc's injurie? They'd suffer.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[We were playing a 4 - 5 - 1 for most of the match and we were still getting run ragged by a 4 - 4 - 2 with Murphy and Etuhu in the center of Fulham's midfield. 2 guys beating the crap out of 3 guys. What a joke. For the amount of talent everybody keeps raving about in the Arsenal team, we're consistently being belittled by lesser men with lesser quality.
    It's just mind-boggling.

    Diaby and Denilson today were absolutely pathetic. So were Nasri, Vela and VanPersie, in the final third. Arshavin nearly died after the first half, he looked completely out of stamina. I was hoping super-sub Bendtner would finally break the deadlock but no luck there either.

    Fulham were clearly the better side throughout, with some minor exceptions when we did manage to get a shot on goal after creating a move. But Fulham played amazing football. Sometimes their passing was so good it reminded me of the best Arsenal side and their passing.

    We absolutely stink. Can someone please teach the jackasses in our club how to shoot ?!

    I get all excited before an Arsenal match, and every time I finish watching it, my mood has gone from excitement to anger. I think I'm going to have to stop watching Arsenal. They just piss me off.]]>

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[Third Kieran not fourth. I feel offended that is while I sound this way. What we have is just hope, a forlorn one. But to be honest I don't see that happening, what I see is Everton overtaking us in league position,it might sound stupid but it looks that way, at least now.

    I don't mean to upset anyone by my comment, I don't like the way we get predictable in a match, Wenger is a bit predictable, he needs to reinvent a little bit like he did last season and learn to sustain like the invincible.

    Pete, you are talking about next season,; when it comes and it doesn't look good you will keep expecting
    good times, realise that we have only one champion, just one. As for next season, the top 4 will automatically be top 5, as if it hasn't started already.]]>

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[Zohaib, good to have someone observant like you. The guys were pathetic and my Arshavin struggled with
    fitness; and then Ebuoe came with all his flashes of been brilliant and less productive as always.

    Arshavin played Persie twice, that was the real deal, nothing else.]]>

  • AJ

    All I’m annoyed about is our lack of goals right now and the fact that we Bendtner still plays for us =P. Also the fact that the “next season” phrase is starting to piss me off a bit, how about now….please?

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[The point I was making is, what do you expect when so many of our first team players out of action? A team made up of Vela, Diaby, Bentner, Denilson, and an unfit yet gifted Arshavin isn't going to break down a team with a good defence record like Fulham. The West Londoners have hardly conceded any goals when playing away. RVP is single-handedly shouldering the attack, but its too much to ask of just one player.

    Same happened this time last year with Adebayor. He was having an amazing season, couldn't stop scoring, then a few key players, who he relies on, get injured (Eduardo and RVP), the goals dried up, and surprise surprise, we dropped points. These things happen!

    Any other team that has those kind of set-backs would go through the same thing, its just we've been the ones who've had the most severe injuries to key players in the last year or so. United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Villa wouldn't be up there if they had our injuries, and in fact, one could argue that they should have more points at this stage of the season than they currently do, which goes to show that they too haven't played to their best ability either.

    Its natural to feel disappointed, but that doesn't change the result. All there is is the next game. Peple always criticise Arsenal for not having a never-say-die mentality, yet with a 3rd of the season still yet to be played people are writing them off already, and that isn't right.]]>

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[AJ, agree with you mate. I still think we could get far in the FA Cup and Champions League this season if we can field all our best players.

    Just out of interest - would people prefer we progress and, maybe even win in the Champions League, even if it cost us a top 4 finish? Personally, I'd take the trophies over 4th spot any day.]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[Well Pete if we win we qualify automatically so if we were to win the CL then 4th wouldn't matter. However, it's a big ask!

    I'm sick of Arsenal fans moaning about the team, when four weeks ago they were moaning about losing. Not many people on this board are like that but there are plenty of other forums where it's rife. It's disgusting. Arsenal need to build some confidence as players come back and they won't do that with 7 attackers on the pitch and consequently losing.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Ironically enough, we did break their brilliant defence on several occasions. All VanPersie had to do was put the ball in the back of the net. It's not too much to ask for when the goals are being put on a plate for you. He just missed 3 sitters. All in one game.

    It wasn't his day, maybe. The problem we have is that we don't really have another quality striker fit (I should say we don't have Eduardo fit, since I don't think Adebayor, Bendtner, Vela and Walcott should be considered top quality strikers. We only have two and they are VanPersie and Eduardo).

    And it all comes back to the injuries every time. It's a bit ridiculous really. Unbelievable stuff. The way our players get injured left right and center. Twigs.]]>

  • zohaib

    People here seem to be forgetting that Fulham weren’t playing with a siege mentality as most other teams, we fail to score against, are playing. And if that wasn’t enough of an advantage for us, we had a very strong team playing, from what we had available. Even Diaby and Denilson, before kickoff, looked strong in the center after they did well against Roma in midweek. With Nasri and Arshavin out wide, and Vela starting alongside VanPersie, I actually expected a thrashing, 5 – 0. So imagine what I felt towards the second half, at about the 70th minute, when the boredom kicked in and it looked all set to be yet another 0 – 0 draw at home. Disgusting stuff. Absolutely pathetic. Some of our players have one good day in a week and they think their job’s done. Immature, naive morons. They’re either not serious enough or they’re not given a kick up their arse when they need to (think Adebayor being given all those starts he didn’t deserve, not so long ago, when he was terribly out of form).

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[I think it's allowed to be frustrated at this point in time, I am myself, but I think we should wait until the end of the season to judge the team. When we were winning games, it was all good, when we lost, it was all bad, and now that we're losing, it's all horrible. When we get back to winning ways, not IF, it'd still be with the same squad we've got. The season's not over yet, and our fortunes could change in an instant. But then, we've got to stop the 'slide' quickly one way or the other, but I think we can, with the squad we've got.
    The pressure's definitely mounting, and I think someone's due a hiding, even though I feel that way every game! We're not scoring goals because of lack of confidence, but you get confidence from scoring goals, which makes it a very tricky position to be in. But I feel as if once we do manage to find the back of the net in open play, the goals will come thick and fast- touchwood! I definitely haven't lost all hope or faith in this team, but it's understandable if some of you have. But I'll give it to the end of the season. We play again on Tuesday (which I'm sure wouldn't come too soon for the boys!), and hopefully the players will do something magical to win you lot over once again :)]]>

  • Pissed off

    Deb, it has never been good at any point this season. When we won we won with a near heart attack to the fans. We all knew at the beginning mess like this could happen, but we were all depending on Wenger knows all belief, it hasn’t work for us now has It?

  • Debs

    True pissed off, but at least we won some games when we looked down and out, and but I doubt we knew at the beginning that it would be this way though, but I still think we can get out of it, seeing as the team’s getting reinforcement soon, not the other way round.

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[common deb, were you thinking you could win the league with Denilson, Cesc and Song in midfield. It doesn't work that way.

    Maybe Wenger has forgotten that the last time manner fell from heaven was ages ago. It doesn't work that way any more, Premier league is very hard now he needs to re invent himself to have a shot, the earlier he realises that the better for the team next season.]]>

  • Debs

    No, not winning the league- I wasn’t talking about winning the league, I was talking about fighting for 4th, or 5th, even. Doubt anyone would have foreseen we’d be where we are at the moment.

  • AJ

    < ![CDATA[I would love to win the CL and loose fourth, as for RVP missing sitters, I think he is the one player at the moment who should have a little protection from all this thats getting thrown about, he did after all score or assist all our goals in january and earn the penalty and score it in the roma game.

    And Wenger definetly needs to adapt, he has this philosophy of this team playing together for years, he hasn't realised without a trophy they will just move on, we just need a bit of expierence, that backbone for him to build the rest of the team around, I mean we already have great players in Cesc, Toure and RvP, just need one or too more, and someone like Yaya Toure or Miguel Veloso in the middle of the back, who sit back and let Cesc play further up the field like he did last year would be great, but I must admit, Song has played well in the big games this year. As for up front, ditch Bendtner and find us a good, quick goal scorer who knows how to hit the target.]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[Pissed off, if we haven't played well all season, what would you say beating FC Twente 6-0 on aggregate was (bearing in mind they've only just got knocked out of the UEFA cup at the same stage as Spurs and Villa). What about beating Newcastle 3-0 at home? Blackburn, 4-0 away? Porto 4-0 at home? Fernebache 5-2 away? Everton 3-1 at home. West Ham 2-0 away. Man U 2-1 home. Liverpool 1-1. Villa 2-2 away. Hull 3-1 away. Cardiff 4-0.

    Those all look like pretty good results from where I'm sitting.]]>

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[Don't forget beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Kieran :P

    If there's one thing thats obvious to all of us, it's that we all feel similarly about Arsenals results, they deserve better. February has been an aweful month for us, but look at it this way, had we lost all those games and not drawn, we'd be behind Everton already!

    I've a feeling the goal drought will end at West Brom :) What the lads need is a good away game right now to get a bit of their confidence back.]]>

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[Kieran I think pissed off meant that we haven't like had a proper spell this season where the results were good. We've had great performances and results this season, no doubt, but we always seem to interject all our good performances with surprise losses or draws which end up deflecting away from the good results... But I guess we shouldn't fail to remember the good times and stop dwelling solely on the disappointments.
    We're on a good-ish run at the moment, and like Pete, I too think the goal drought will end at West Brom. And they've got dodgy defence, don't they?]]>

  • Debs

    *where the results were all good.

  • john

    < ![CDATA[Every team will get some great results each season. If we are now reliant on the good ones and overlook the dross that has been the majority of the season we really have fallen short off what we should be expecting. If we do break the goal drought against WBA so what, the performances for the majority have been very poor. Dont blame Bentner, he is no worse than Ade or RVP. They have all scored goals at certain times but none off them would get in to Chelsk, MU or a scouse team.
    The performance yesterday was poor, it has been for the majority of the season, we will do nothing in the CL and can only hope we field a strong team in th FA cup and avoid the BIG FOUR because it is no longer the Gooners.]]>

  • john

    I should say at the moment it is not the Gooners.

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[John I can understand your grudge with Ade buy not certainly V.P. Who ever is criticizing R. V. P shouldn't dare.

    He has been our best player by miles this season, and you should also understand that he is a supporting striker and not a main striker. If fans continue being critical about the guy, he might leave and that will be really bad for us. its okay to criticize other players but not V.P, not for me.]]>

  • Debs

    Interesting. Villa draw with Stoke at home after leading 2-nil with only a few minutes to go!

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[Ok, we're 6 points behind Villa, who are away to Man City on Wednesday evening, who tend to be good at home.

    Man, if there ever was a time for the Gunners to start a full-on winning spree, it's this Tuesday.

    Actually, looking at Villas prem fixtures, theres still a few toughies for them to get through before they can claim Champions League status (Liverpool, Man United, Man City and Fulham away, Everton and West Ham at home). Our fixtures aren't exactly a walk in the park, but hopefully the return of our injured players will coincide with us going on a winning run. It's very possible that we could win more games then Villa between now and May.

    Let's keep the faith!!! :D]]>

  • JAT

    < ![CDATA[miracle at villa park

    this will be the last let-off we have this season. no more mistakes - it's now or never]]>

  • Pissed off

    JAT, trust wenger and his ways and certainly trust his team.( they will always diappoint).

  • Debs

    common pissed off. wait and see what happens on tuesday first!

  • AJ

    Have you heard, Wenger seems to have said (don’t know whether it is the media twisting his words) that fans loss of faith isn’t his problem, if has has said that I’m pretty disgusted with him, yeah the club are ment to win matches and trophies, yeah for the players and for himself and the board, but the main people they are won for are the fans who pay their hardearned cash to watch the games whether its on tv or at the stadium or who buy replica shirts and if he really has said that he needs to reconsider his position himself as we put up with enough bullshit this last season in particular, and to be honest, we could of won the Carling Cup back when we played Chelsea if he had a put out a stronger team and I agree that would of been unfair on the youngsters who made it there, but looking back, a cup’s a cup and we haven’t got anything to show for four seasons pretty much. However, I am pissed off as you can tell, but I’ll hold on till next season and see what we do then before I completely go off on one.

  • Debs

    don’t think he would have said that AJ, cos I do remember him over the weekend saying that he perfectly understands the fans’ frustrations, and really it’s a pretty stupid thing to say at this point in time, and I doubt that it’s something he’d ever say anyways! But where did you hear this report anyways? I haven’t heard it anywhere… But always remember that if stuff is not on the Arsenal website or if you don’t hear it directly, it’s probably dodgy media spin!

  • zohaib

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we won, being an away game. And I wouldn’t be surprised if we lost, given our pathetic form in the league. I guess I’ve pretty much had it with the team. At least until Cesc, Rosicky, Eduardo and Walcott get back.

  • hotsol

    < ![CDATA[I’m still in the belief that Aston Villa are beginning to hit a rough patch but it doesn’t mean a thing unless Arsenal take advantage of the situation.

    In my opinion Aston Villa are feeling the pressure of being in fourth place. Its a situation they are not used to being in. Arsenal, on the other hand, have experience of competing for the Champions League places.

    You could argue that Arsenal are cracking up too. Whilst we have been on a long unbeaten run recent draws with Sunderland and Fulham have not been good enough. We were handed a reprieve by Villa dropping points; means that we are very lucky indeed. I’d say that now we are in last chance saloon. We are running out of games and desperately need to start turning these draws into wins. If we don’t then it could be Europa Cup football for us next season.

    In the past I’ve suggested that Aston Villa have been very lucky this season. I still believe that is the case but maybe I haven’t given them the credit they deserve.

    Their position in the league table doesn’t lie and it can’t all be down to just luck. They deserve their lofty place in the league.

    Its going to be a very tight race for the Champions League place and it will go the wire. I still believe we will pip Aston villa to fourth spot. Just.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Wenger was not concerned by the supporters' negative reaction at the final whistle against Fulham and he is confident his players will prove their critics wrong.

    "I don't know (whether the fans are losing faith]. That is not my worry," said Wenger.

    "What is important is that I do what I believe is right and we keep going, that we show great attitude and do our job as well as we can, then let everybody judge and have an opinion.
    Worry
    "I believe it's not the biggest problem, not the biggest worry. The biggest worry is that we don't win games that we should win.

    "We have been through difficult times, but it's an opportunity to show that you are strong enough to come through it."

    Arsenal are six points behind Aston Villa in the race for a place in the top four and Wenger concedes it is vital they reach the lucrative Champions League.

    Vital
    "You know how much I want to achieve in the Champions League. Reaching the tournament is not important, it's vital," added Wenger.

    "I want to be in the Champions League because it's the best I can be. If I'm not then I'm not happy - it's as simple as that.

    "You don't play football to be average. I don't manage in the game to be average, and the players want to play at the top."]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[He basically doesn't care what the fans feel. He's said it.

    Let's have a reaction to that folks ...]]>

  • AJ

    I already gave you my reaction, but I will reiterate it, thats bloody appalling that he said that he doesn’t care what the fans feel, without us the club is nothing, who do they play for? Us. Who’s waited patiently for quite a few seasons now? Us. Who’s never really booed until now? Us and we don’t deserve to be told he doesn’t care what we think just because he is realising we are sick of waiting for his philosophy to work.

  • Yemi

    < ![CDATA[I dont even knwo what to sya again !!!! We were complaining of negative soccer as reason for not scoring B$, now fulham did not go the negative way. Yet we failed to score.
    So what is the problem ?
    I thinK the midfield (boh attacking and defensive) are the current scape goats in this horror movie unfolding before our very eyes.
    No beefing up of defense line (flamini) no boost of attack (cesc). and the whole cookie crumbles!!! I know we will end in the top for but i ope we start taking advantage of villa's bad patch.
    Nothing is over, couple of weeks ago, barca was 12 points ahead of real, today only five. 2 losses and a draw successively letting 8 goals in 3 matches. betis 2, espanyol 2 and athletico 4 in a space of 3 weeks. madrip on the other hand have been winning.
    So i ask ....
    Who is supplying the killer passes for the attack ? not diaby, not denislson, not song, a bit from nasri and Arshavin. Who runs down the flanks since theo has been out ? not eboue, no more sagna, not much from clichy. We certainly look more defensive these days because of a porous midfield.
    My only hope is guys are coming back from injury.
    I just need 2 or 3 players back in that line - up
    Theo, cesc and Edu. I should be OK .]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Excuses excuses

    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/tv-online-wenger-fulham-took-us-by-suprise]]>

  • Gooner Get Ya

    < ![CDATA[Good points Yemi. The fact of the matter is and has always been our squad depth. Our 2nd choice players are nowhere near the same quality as the 1st choice. As shown by the amount of draws we have suffered this season our 2nd choice are about mid-table quality.

    I think the most annoying thing is that we were just trying and pass the ball in rather than have a crack at goal.]]>

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[I really dont see how Wenger's saying he doesn't care about the fans. What he actually says is very different, pointing out that the important thing is how the squad does from not until the end of the season, not what people think, as only the players and manager can turn things around. Thats how I read it anyhow.

    Look, every Arsenal fan is dissapointed with the results so far, myself included, but let's not allow that frustration to cloud our judgement and get the better of us. Consider all the drama and set-backs we've had this year. To not be any lower than 5th place with the players we've been using regularly (Denilson, Song, Eboue etc) is a bloody miricle, imo. Had we lost the games we recently drew, we'd already be in 6th. The fact is 4th spot is still within reaching distance, and we're about to have a load of our best players returning. We're not going to win the league now, so what difference does it make if we come 2nd or 4th as long as we qualify? Also, those players that we love to criticise have kept us in the Champions League and the FA Cup so far.

    Yes, we've messed up more than we should, but its not been as bad as it could have been. Villa could very well come away with nothing this season. All they have is the 4th spot to chase, and they're already beginning to lag. Don't forget how good we can be. We'd be sitting at the top of the league if our rivals had 5 key players missing for months on end. There's still plenty of games to be played yet, so let's just wait and see what happens. Even if it all goes up in smoke and we dont qualify, at least we can say we've given the team the benefit of the doubt.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[This 'blind faith' bullshit has got to stop. Please !

    We're the laughing stock of every other club. We've got to stop letting ourselves be fooled. It's still not too late to use the brain.]]>

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[Actually mate, I'm considering the facts that I know about, which are 5 of our best players are returning, the team currently in 4th spot have difficult fixtures, we're still, for now at least, in Europe and the FA Cup, and we're about to play the worst team in the Prem.

    Btw, not ont of my Chelsea, Liverpool or Man U supporting friends have laughed at me about my team. In fact, they've been the ones to point out to me how unlucky we've been in terms of injuries, so I don't know where that laughingstock idea comes from. Even if people do laugh, so what, we're still above 15 other teams.

    The idea that we've thrown everything away with more than a dozen games yet to be played seems pretty blind to me.]]>

  • zohaib

    So does assuming everybody that’ll come back from injuries will suddenly start scoring goals and winning games. All speculation. No fact in it whatsoever.

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[We lost to Fulham WITH Cesc, Walcott and Adebayor. We lost to Stoke WITH Cesc, Walcott and Adebayor and we drew to Sunderland WITH Cesc, Walcott and Adebayor.

    I'm not too convinced we'd have been much better off even if they hadn't been injured.]]>

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[Had it been this forum or a similar forum has been in existence for the past four years, am sure guys wont be saying what they still say today. Pete its very understandable what you say about the team, but you should also realize what we have been the years preceeding these past few unproductive years.

    We are Arsenal, the invincible, nothing seemed to make us shake, but since the invincible we have been limited to feather weights, we cant even muster a challenge, nothing to show, just a shadow of ourselves.

    The identity has been lost that is why most people talk about time. 5 years is alot to me and the way it goes I dont see why Manu wont dorminate the league for at least 2 - 3 more years. What kind of miracle do we have to pull to topple them, or chelsea or liverpool or even Man city. The situation is precarious even more precarious than most of us envisage. Its no longer a crisis, its a chronic disease that will take years to heal not one transfer period can solve this mess.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[If you think Aston Villa have tough fixtures, then surely the fixtures we've played recently are much less tougher. Why the hell haven't we been winning them and trying to catch up on every opportunity, like we should have. We've been wasting every single opportunity thrown at us. It's immensely shameful. I couldn't imagine another big club ever being so brittle under pressure. We just can't deal with it.
    And that's why this exaggerated youth policy has failed so miserably in the past 4 years (and counting). There was never a balance. And it was worsened by constant injuries to the experienced lot.]]>

  • zohaib

    I’m sure the boys will give us yet another chance to sulk and curse, after tomorrow night’s performance against the club at the end of the table. It’ll be interesting to see what some of us blind ‘optimists’ have to say.

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[Dein made a statement about who will be let off after this season to allow the team grow naturally. Am sure he made this statement because its a necessity that needs been addressed.

    We have Gallas, Diaby, Denilson, Song, Bedtner, Adebayor, Ebuoe, Ramsey, Senderous, Djouriou and Silvestre( cant still belief he plays in my team).

    Amongst these players, a good number of them are blocking the progress of the team - that is were our problem lies. Some of the players are bad bloods no matter how good you think they are, most of them flatter to deceive why most are simply not good.

    Bedtner, Gallas,Silvestre, Ebuoe, If possibly Ade and btween Song and Denilson (more than half of what we call a team), one has to go. Infact to be honest the team is so pathetic, too pathetic to know were to start from. Am afraid we really need solution fast, that is if we are to win a real trophy. Keep most of these players and you will always settle for a second, third or fourth position but not definetly Premiership.]]>

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[I've not got much time to write much at the moment, except that I agree with Pete! We did pretty impressively at the start of last season, even though we'd been written off before the season even started, then it all went pear-shaped after Eduardo's injury. This season's obviously not been as good as last season, but I'm sure every team's allowed one dodgy season! Even if what counts as dodgy is fighting for 5th position. We're a team in transition, which is what is easy to forget. And as I keep saying, please wait until the end of the season to proper make any judgements. If our fortunes do change and we end up spinning really good results, wins that is, and end up not even fighting for 4th, but for 3rd, do you guys then start praising Wenger and the team or what? It's not too late for us to make a turnaround, and I'm still positive we can do that with Arsene and with the squad we've got.

    And as far as 'blind optimism' is concerned, I'd rather have that at the moment in time when we can still do something, than end up eating my words if it turns out right in the end. We don't know what will happen in the coming weeks, and I'd like to look forward to it positively than the other way round.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Every time I tried doing that, the team ripped my optimism to shreds. I'm not having more of that thankyou. Enough is enough. I don't enjoy getting angry. Specially over the joke of a team we have been this season. Last season we finished 4 points off the leaders. This season we'll be finishing 3 times as many, who knows maybe even more, points off.
    I'm pretty sure some of us here were making bold statements at the start of this season that we'll be in the running for the title, and obviously now are choosing to ignore that stand, and pretend that it was a champions league battle since day 1, as opposed to a title challenge. We have gone from title challengers to eufacup challengers. And the worst part is, some 'enlightened' fans seem to think it was expected and 'not as bad' as it could've been. Some think we're still okay. I'm absolutely stunned at that kind of a strange attitude swing and that kind of ignorance. No hint of disappointment or anger or frustration. Abnormal. No urgency in making the necessary changes. Typical Arsenal and Arsene Wenger-like. Too stubborn to admit their mistakes/flaws. They'll try to force themselves and others into believing their right when clearly they aren't.

    I don't really care about eating up my words. I'd be glad if I have to. But I'm not the one who'll have to hide and save face. I'm pretty sure Wenger will though. Just as he has been since a very long time. He never could speak to the fans. Never treated them like fans anyway. Now he's said he doesn't care what we think. I don't think he can put it much clearer than that. To those of us that choose to be blind, goodluck and may God have mercy on you.

    I don't need more of this torture.]]>

  • zohaib

    they’re*

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[Listen mate, you're entitled to your opinion. But others are entitled to theirs too, without being labeled at blind optimists. Just because theirs may differ from yours doesn't mean doesn't make either right or wrong. An opinion is just that, an opinion. You look at the same facts I look at and see the glass half empty (and I dont say that disrespectfully, so don't take it that way), I on the other hand still think we're at a stage where we can reach top 4. If I wanted to be a glory hunter I'd start supporting United. But win or loose, Champions League or no Champions League, I love Arsenal through and through, good times and bad. I celebrate our wins and feel gutted at our losses. Thats life, not just football. Whats the point in me getting worked up about it.

    And as for the Fulham game at the start of the season, that was just a bad game through and through. Those same player went on to beat United and Chelsea, who have strong players, so I dont see how people can call us featherweight. Its about how you perform on the day that counts.

    People go on about it being 5 years since we've won silverware, but anyone who knows football will tell you, we we're unlucky not to win Champions League in 06 and unlucky not to win last years Prem Title. It wasn't down to lack of quality or rubbish players. When those comments come from the mouths of my Chelsea and Man U supporting friends, then it certainly means something, and I dont think people realise how respected we actually are. Russia's best player only wanted to come to play for us, for goodness sake. If that doesn't say anything about our pedegree then I dont know what does.

    When fully fit, we boast some of the best attacking options in any team. I certainly wouln't want the likes of Malouda, Kalou, Babal, Ngog, Elzhar, or Kuyt in my quad over Arshavin, Nasri, Eduardo, Cesc, RVP, Rosicky and Theo.

    In the end it's just football, nothing more, nothing less. It's all good debating with you, and I enjoy it, but its not about being trying to prove someone wrong. It's bout respecting someone elses opinion.

    Cheers :D]]>

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[Btw, Wenger didn't say he didn't care about what the fans think, he said he cant let himself worry about it. He does have a football squad to manage afterall.

    C'mon Arsenal!!!!!!!!! :D :D :D]]>

  • AJ

    < ![CDATA[To be honest, I'm not too happy with the unlucky and the almost, c'mon 5 years of it isn't good enough, we should of won something in that time and now that Danny Murphy from Fulham is calling us a "pussy cat" team, he has a point, yeah we make chances and we do string together some nice pieces of play, but we lack the cutting edge, we have sold the likes of Henry, Pires, Viera, Ljunberg and other expierenced players who knew where the goal was, yet unlike United, we haven't replaced expierenced player sufficiently, yes Rosicky and Hleb were brought in, but thats it. As for our lack in depth it's true and we have lost games with our "1st choice" players, but surely Wenger should of built a better team, surely we should have more strength in depth and yes when fully fit we are a formidable side, but our team is never fit, there's always someone injured and to be honest.

    As for Arshavin, Pete, yeah, he wanted to come and play for us, but in the summer he professed his love for Barca, I will give him a fair shout and give him the same chance as I do all new players to show what they can do, but I think we we're just a more viable option for him to get out of Russia quicker.

    But we're not at the same heights we were in the past, we don't have that many world beaters, in my opinion, only RvP and Cesc are our two real world class players, the others are good and Arshavin may too develop into a world class player once he has settled, but before we had a team full of match winners and people who could produce that moment of inspiration, who does that now? On a regular basis? We don't have the old war horses like Viera who did the hard graft of cutting out balls in the middle of the park and who put in the crunching tackles, yes Song is looking like one who could well be amazing and he does play well in the big games, but Denilson? Diaby? Nah, they are good going forwards but need to learn alot more about the defensive duties that have been performed so admirably in the past by the likes of Viera and Flamini, I haven't given up faith that we will return to our winning ways, I'm just upset that Wenger has let our team get like this just to follow his philosophy, it's not good enough and he and the team should be apologising to the fans for such poor performances, because with the amount of chances they create and don't put that ball in the back of the net, it makes it a poor performance to be so wasteful, take one look at Eboue in the roma game, clean through and so bloody indicisive that he missed a golden oppurtinity and how many others have missed sitters like that in other games where we would of won had they been earning their wages doing what their ment to be doing and scoring goals. Wenger needs a wake up call and that will be the only positive from this season if we finish out of the top four and come home emtpy handed, I also fear that if we win something, he won't really strengthen the squad in the summer.]]>

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[AJ, absolutely agree, fair play to you there mate. Wenger hasn't always replaced the Viera's and Henry's as well as he could have. Just think, Ronaldo and Torres could have ended up at Arsenal at one stage, and missing out on players like those two is a huge loss. Also letting the likes of Diarra and Flammini go hasn't helped out team balance, thats for sure. But he's still a class manager, signs good players and has done more good for the club and the English game than bad.

    You've made good points. Nice one bruv! Cheers! :)]]>

  • AJ

    Thanks, I’m only speaking my mind and some days I go off on one, usually I just like to chip in with little comments, but thought I’d give my two cents on this particular debate. And yeah Diarra is a huge loss I think, but that is the one of the few if not the only player leaving that I won’t blame Wenger for.