Sunderland 1 – 0 Arsenal, a weekend of gloom…

Okay, so it’s taken me a while longer to get round to writing this report of the game and the main reason was that it was just such a bad result, such a bad approach and just felt wrong. When I look at the fixtures post International and knew we had Sunderland away, I knew it would be tough. Without Van Persie, I knew it would be tougher.

If we have any real ambition to win the Premier League this season, we really have to win games like this. No offence meant to Sunderland, but we’re Arsenal – we’re challenging for the title – and we need to win against clubs outside the top four, sorry, we need to beat them as well!

Overall, it was a very disappointing weekend. With United and Chelsea both winning and us succumbing to our third defeat of the season, it clearly shows that something is missing. The two games against the Manchester teams, both of which we lost, we more understandable in a way because we played very well and had a lot of unluckiness in the games. But against Sunderland, we actually looked ordinary, we looked blunt and that’s not just one or two players, it was pretty much all of them.

To top it all off, our neighbours and annoying neighbours at that, Sp*rs, went on to hit Wigan for 9 – yes 9! Ouch. That was really annoying. Like really really. The DVD is due on on Friday.

But then, just as I thought my weekend was the worst ever created, I received the following email:

Dear Dev,

We have some exciting news about the ticket that you bought for the Saturday 21 November draw. Please click http://www.national-lottery.co.uk/player/account/wallet/landing.do?link=email and enter your username and password to view the details online now.

Kind Regards
National Lottery Customer Care Team
www.national-lottery.co.uk

It was a bolt out of the blue, and I thought – wow, this could be it… unfortunately, in a way, it was just a tenner, but I think one of the first time I’d won anything – although 3 years of not winning anything on the national lottery means that I actually paid over £400 to win £10. Hmmm. Ouch.

So, it’s official. It was the worst weekend ever and all I can say is “bleh”.

The debate over Henry and all the media who har is just simply annoying. Henry is one of the most honest professional. My dear friend Bob said something very interesting and helps explain the “honesty” of Henry… When the incident happened – if you’ve seen the replay – you can obviously see it’s ball to hand rather than hand to ball. The incident happened and Henry played to the law of the game – the referee. Despite people saying the player was dishonest for doing what he did – Bob says, and I agree that actually he was more than honest.

Thierry Henry spoke to the officials and the Irish players and admitted and explained that it was a hand ball. He hadn’t seen the replays to know if it was discrete or obvious. Some players would have only admitted it after they saw the replay, but the former Arsenal player spoke about it straight away – that is honest. And what does he get in return, just loads of abuse – where is the respect? Thierry set the Premiership alight for the best part of a decade, he should be remembered for that not a decision that was not his to make.

Finally, I’ll touch on the Sunderland game. We had chances, but too many midfielders – Song, Ramsey, Cesc, Rosicky and Nasri… the last four players I just mentioned do the same thing on the pitch! And it showed, we had no variation. Sunderland played well and did well to cut off the supply and stifle our game. We really should have done better because we are simply better than that. Our season is not over yet but it’s hanging on thread at the moment. Our next league game is Chelsea, so we will surely see this time next week if we’re in or out of the title race.

Arsene was very upset at the performance and for the first time in a long time had a go at the team:

“I don’t think we missed anybody especially, no. We lost a game where we can only fault ourselves because we didn’t score, some players were not at their best and we gave a goal away on the only situation where Sunderland could score one today. It was on a set piece. I believe it’s more down to the fact that we made a big mistake on the corner because the game was there for the taking in the last 20 minutes. But of course, when you’re down, it makes it more difficult.”

He went on to berate the mental approach to the game:

“I feel that some players struggled really to prepare properly, mentally for a game like that because you know after an international break it’s how well and how quickly the team can focus again. The international break doesn’t help but it’s down to us, as a team, to focus quickly again and to show that quality. (To win the) championship (you need) to be capable, every time, to turn up as close as possible to your best in a consistent way. When you cannot do that, you can lose games like that. It is a big setback because you do not prepare yourself to drop points in a situation like that. It’s not especially worrying, it’s frustrating, because I know we have the quality but it is frustrating when you see some performances today – that is very frustrating.”

Time to forget about the game, we have another one tomorrow….

I hope we put on a performance to make amends, but to be honest, if we don’t beat Chelsea, it’s over for this season, and it will still be November. But forget the doom and gloom, at the moment, it’s not over… here’s my plan:

  1. Beat Standard Liege with a semi reserve team
  2. Beat Chelsea with a full team.
  3. Win game in hand against Bolton
  4. Win every other game until the end of January
  5. Realise that we’re 5 points clear and then don’t lose any other games this season
  6. The title.

I like that plan… til tomorrow…

  • walter

    The king of spin is back lads – So it goes – we did an experiment with an experimental line up, and it didn’t deliver. If it had, Wenger would have been the greatest genius of all time, the wonder kid, the inspiration of a generation of managers – at least until tuesday.

    It didn’t result in a victory. But it wasn’t a flop or a major set-back as some of the blogs are saying after the defear. “Massive Setback to Title Hopes”. Oh come on.

    It was just one of those things that someone did not quite come off. The ball never got to Eduardo, Rosicky and Nasri together didn’t quite look right, and because of previous evils done upon our team Denilson, Vela and Theo were not quite ready.

    If you really want to know who beat us, it was UEFA and FIFA with Van Persie crocked, Gibbs crocked, Arshavin tired. And evil Birmingham.

    But let’s look on the positive side.

    Denilson had another few days rest. Vela and Theo had a quick run out, and they can see how they reacted and perhaps have another bash on Tuesday before meeting the Evil Empire of the KGB next weekend.

    I had hoped for more – but shit happens, so we move on.

    We ended the game with a record identical to Manchester United after the same number of game…. except for two things – a better goal difference, and a better financial position. They also have internal rumblings we don’t.

  • sam

    If only things worked to our plans.

    Let’s face it: we’re still short of winning EPL. As we all know, ManU always start slow and then get stronger. Chelski are well on their way, so…

    Let’s start planning for league cup or FA cup.

    Trophy or not, Gooner till I die.

  • Fabrez

    Stop betting dev! lol Personally, I’m still very very optimistic about this season. Cesc was asked if he could see himself staying at Arsenal, and his reply was “Why not?”… Reasons for sweet optimism! He’s seeing something special from the inside…we need to keep on believing!! I do! I still think we can do something big this season. Chin-up my Gooners!!

  • wills

    After what can only be described as a really shit weekend…we have a little bit of good news!

    Kieron Gibbs is back in the squad for the CL game with Liege. Hopefully he’ll be fully fit for Chelski at the weekend.

  • Pete

    Chelsea are certainly favorites for the League (still think United will nick it), judging from what we’ve seen so far, but with only 1/3 season played, there’s still an aweful lot for them to do. I don’t buy into the optinion that they’re unbeatable. The fact that more teams outside the top 4 are causing upsets would be a concern for them because its more risk of dropping points than in previous years. They’re probably the only side that I can see causing an upset at the Emirates, but we’re certainly capable of beating them, even when they’re at full strength. We did it last year and we can do it this year.

    Winning silverware this year is still a possibility, and I said at the start of the season that the FA and Carling Cups are the most likely, but we’ve shown a lot of convincing wins in the Premier League this year, so you never know. Each game is equally important though, and I think thats what lost us the game against Sunderland. I’m hoping that it really is just a blip due to the internationals, that we’ll respond tomorrow by winning and go on another winning streak. But win lose or draw, I still love the Gunners.

    Great news about Gibbs. Am really looking forward to seeing him play in the first team again.

  • Arsefan101

    I want Robin back though :-)

  • Leeroy.N

    Hello boys and girls. Been a little while since my last post. I still havent had the heart to watch the highlights of the game against Sunderland. Building myself upto it, Maybe I will after we beat Standard LOL! So I cant put an opinion on the match as such. But I do hope we pick ourselves up from it and take it out on our next couple of opponents. Good to SEE our captain squash those rumours in that interview too! Here’s to a speedy recovery of our players on the ever-growing injury list.. we must have had our fill for the season! Come On You Gunners!!

    Win, Lose or Draw.. Gooner Til I Die!

  • Roachy

    Focus and linking play make us so dangerous. On Saturday against steve Bruces team we did not look sharp, and did not create enough. We did not have any luck either, Rosisky, Fabregas and Arshavin all had good chances and the takle on Vela WAS a penalty. The goal we conceded was created from a set peice and we were not sharp enough to clear our lines, even though pure luck favoured the set up.

    The debarcle with Henry is a farce. Clearly a normal reaction to a ball that comes at you the way it did. I have seen defenders to the same thing and sometimes they gey pinned by the ref and sometimes its missed. Are they cheats? No! Its a normal reaction when a ball bounces up like that. But the typical English media responds by hammering Henry an absolute gentleman of the game. If that was Lampard, Rooney, or Gerrard that did that in a qualifyer the English media would of played it down. This reaction by the English press is no different to the reaction we saw from the the English media when they crucified Eduardo as a cheat. Give me a Break!!

    Arsenal must focus on doing the job tomorrow against Standard at home, Then plan for the game against the Chav’s. Both are must win games….Looks like Gibbs is back in contention, although I thought Traore had a great game agaisnt Sunderland, except in the dying seconds were his sliding studs up challenge was crude.

  • wills

    Apparently Stan Kroenke has bought another 10 shares in Arsenal, pushing him ever closer to a forced take over bid.

    It seems to me that he will eventually have to put a formal bid in for the club, it’s just a question of when.

    Does anyone know how many more shares he actually has to buy before he does launch a bid?

  • Pete

    Going to take a stab at tonights starting line up:

    Almunia

    Eboue Gallas Vermaelen Gibbs

    Denilson Song

    Theo Cesc Arshavin

    Eduardo

    Hopefully if we get a few goals well see Vela, Nasri and Ramsey coming on as subs at some stage of the game.

    Good luck lads, make us proud.

  • Leeroy.N2

    I think there will be as little change from a normal XI as possible (apart from injuries). I could see Rosicky and Nasri getting a nod today. Leaving Walcott and Denilson to come off the bench for a run. We in need of a spark, an injection of influence. A lot of it has been left to Fabregas and Arshavin. Standard are a tricky team, but we have enough in our reserve rank to out play them because they play alot like we do. Song is becoming very confident, I hope he had a good game today along with whoever Le Boss decides to play. Good Luck to the magnificent Gunners!

    Win, Lose or Draw.. Gooner Til I Die!!

  • JDD

    Almunia
    Gibbs Vermalen Song Eboue
    Troaore Ramsey Nasri
    Rosicky Eduardo Vela