Calm down, calm down!

Wow, the reaction to the Carling Cup defeat has been absolutely crazy. It’s been worse than the reaction after the Chelsea game. If anything, it should have been the other way round… what’s worse… losing at home with your full team or losing away with your reserve team? Seeing the team line ups yesterday, I didn’t really expect us to beat Man City – but understand that we use this competition as a way of nurturing the younger members of the team, so understood completely why Arsene chose the line up that he did.

The only question marks I had were the inclusion of Alex Song, who has been pivotal to our season, and also not sure why he was picked in defence. With the Cameroonian going away on African Nations duty and Arsene recently saying he needed a rest, it does strike me as very strange to see him start yesterday. Rumours are that Senderos got a knock in training earlier that day (i.e. before the squad was announced), but with Arsene not commenting on it and no signs or mention of the Swiss International, there is a flurry of activity suggesting that Arsene and Senderos have completed fallen out and that the gaffer has frozen him out of the team.

Silvestre and Song – as you may have seen – were quite poor in defence – Song looked out of position – yes, I know he plays there for Cameroon, but he wasn’t he best there and often found himself in more advanced positions – Silvestre on the other hand really struggled and it’s worrying to think that if Gallas or Vermaelen got injured we’d have to have Silvestre in there. It’s very worrying. If Arsene is going to open his cheque book, then as well as a striker, a defensive midfielder as back up for Song / Denilson and a centre back as back up for Gallas / Vermaelen.

The goals that we conceded were pretty much calamities in defence. Having said that, going forward, we weren’t exactly dynamite. With Van Persie and Niklas Bendtner out, it will be a testing time for us going forward. Eduardo’s best performances have been on the left of the front three and I’m not sure whether he is cut out to be the lone striker in the formation we play. The same goes for Carlos Vela and Theo Walcott. All three players I think could play well in a 4-4-2 with a strike partner – Eduardo and Bendtner seemed to work a couple of years back and Eduardo and Adebayor seemed to be effective before the Crozilian got injured.

Arsene has mentioned that he will be active in the January transfer window and you’d expect a striker to be brought in as a priority – of course, such a statement will spark a lot of rumour and it already has – with Dzeko being very heavily linked once more. He is the type of striker that would fit perfectly into our formation – but can we afford his price tag of £15 million?

Let’s listen to Arsene’s views post Man City:

“They looked more dangerous than us in the final third and at the end of the day their quality offensively paid off and we have to swallow a defeat despite the fact that I believe in large patches of the game we played well. We lacked a little bit of pace and power to take advantage of the good movements we created. I believe as well our young players are not used to playing with such intensity and after an hour we dropped a little bit. But it’s a good experience and it was a difficult game and we were a bit unlucky as well with the goals they scored.”

We had three players in Jack Wilshere, Fran Merida and Criag Eastmond who were the youngsters in the team and they looked like they were a little out of their depth – they are all still teenagers, I think all are 17 or 18, so they all have at least 2 years before they really should be breaking into our first team.

I wouldn’t be worried that we’ve lost the Carling Cup tie and I think the loss could be beneficial long term for the kids. Perhaps they’ve been believing their own hype and maybe they’ll knuckle down a bit more. Jack Wilshere had the worst game I’ve seen him play and inconsistency is part of the youth angle – he did overplay, thought too much and didn’t really ever have control in his mind of how he was trying to play. Don’t get me wrong, I think he will be an awesome player, but this game would have grounded him a little.

Moving on from the game, back to the league, we’ve got Stoke next (I’ll preview the game tomorrow), and we’ve got to get back to winning ways. Song’s suspension means that he will be fit, rested and available for Liverpool. I would really expect Arsene to field a much weakened team against Olympiacos next Weds, and it should be younger than the Man City game. A player I’d like to see is Bartley – a young defender whom really should be given a game, he may have the same impact as Johnny Evans if given the chance….

But first, Stoke at home and after three domestic defeats in a row, a win will restore some of the fragile confidence. Post Stoke, we have two away games – one at Liverpool and one at Burnley – both will be very tough…

Looking at this season so far, it was a good start – a rocky middle – but we do have the potential and it’s time to stand by our team – get behind the team, and give them the support they need. The team have the potential to beat Everton 6-1 away and Blackburn 6-2 at home, but the game is played on confidence. We may have turned a corner, we may have not. We can’t do anything until January, so we really have to forget the recent defeats and concentrate on the current team and helping them by cheering them on…

Live Arsenal, Breathe Arsenal…

Til tomorrow…

  • Debs

    Yeah, eveyone needs to calm down. I don’t feel we’re are or should be in a state of panic, and we shouldn’t let the media inflict one upon us.
    Looking forward to Sunday, I am gutted Theo’s injured, but then, it’s hardly surprising, given the disjointed season he’s had so far. Hope to see a reaction from our big players on Sunday, especially Arshavin, as he seems to chat to the media more than he works on the pitch. Sort it Andrey!

  • Kodjo

    @ Dev

    Arsene playing Song bekies tha fact that he does not have a lot of confidence in Sylvestre. Song was supposed to provid the steady influnce at the back. Fielding Bartley and Sylvestre would have too much of a gamble as he feared that we might get beat badly. The presence of Song provided the pschological stability or counter punch from the back. If all of the above is true then why did he bring in Sylvestre in the first place?

    One other factor that affected the defence is the injury to Djourou. I suspect Wenger had pencilled him to be the main cover for our centre backs.

    By playing Song who subsequently picked up a card has left out midfield short and devoid of height for the Stoke game. This a must win game and without Diaby to offer the extra heigth in the middle arsenal is really bereft. Arsenal will struggle against Faye, Shawcross, Fuller, Delap, Beattie and Co.

    Only way out as i see it is to try and score early goals to unsettle Stoke. Stoke game plan will be physical, unsetle arsenal, disrupt the game, defend deep, and win as many free kicks as possible.

  • Adeniyi

    I have been thinking about it.. we would really need a striker and a CB at least. Which good strikers can we get in January. realistically., I will go for Oscar Cardozo. he’s got height, a bit of pace, a proficient goal scorer based on the statictics..and a free-kick specialist.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%93scar_Cardozo
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSOmfYtmk9w

    What do you all think?

  • Jeff from Fulham

    That racist rag The Daily Telegraph has suggested that “it’s no surprise that Wenger didn’t shake hands.. he’s French and the French have other uses for their hands”. I find that quite appalling.A number of other sites have suggested that jumped-up pratt of a manager Hughes, was in Wenger’s face all night, swearing, infringing into his area and even giving him the finger. If nothing else, Wenger is an honest, educated, man of integrity – he would not have refused without reason. Another occasion was when that irritating gnat, Alan Partridge virtually jumped into his face at West Ham a few seasons ago, so Wenger quite rightly shoved him away. What a field day the press had then! I’m not surprised that we’re so hated by one and all when we have this lopsided, jingoistic hatred of anything Arsenal, French, black etc. No wonder Vieira and now Henry, is so vilified. We all admire the British bulldogs, don’t we? Well, I despise Hughes a pretender at management- he was an oaf as a player and thug as manager of that odious Blackburn team and is now out of his depth at City. It was obvious that nearing half time he could see his job on the line as our reserve team was still drawing with his clan of mercenaries- hence the verbals (see Arseblog for confirmation). Now onto more important matters. I expected nothing less from last night- if Wenger does not value the competition, how can we expect our players to? Additionally, we cannot expect our kindergarten, away from home, to compete with many seasoned internationals and a first choice City team. What is worrying, however, are our frailties throughout the club. We are imbalanced, have no stomach for a fight, have several players injured perpetually (Walcott again!) crap goalkeepers and a liking for five-a-side football on a full pitch. We have no defensive depth, no tacklers, muscle,leadership and no-one who seems to care. Why?

  • devday

    Kodjo, yes, the Djourou injury was probably unexpected. But in reality, when players get long term injuries they need to be replaced… Arsene please sign Haageland… please?

  • devday

    By the way…. it’s the World Cup draw tonight at 7pm…

    Pots for Friday’s draw: eight groups of four countries to be drawn, each group containing one country from each pot.

    Pot 1 (seeds): South Africa, Brazil, Spain, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Argentina, England

    Pot 2 (Asia, Oceania and North/Central America): Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Australia, New Zealand, United States, Mexico, Honduras

    Pot 3 (Africa and South America): Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria, Paraguay, Chile, Uruguay

    Pot 4 (Europe): France, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland, Greece, Serbia, Denmark, Slovakia

  • Arseneknows

    I think we should stop talking about buying players
    in January – it’s incredibly negative and it’s the talk
    of Chelsea fans not Arsenal fans!

  • Richard Buxce

    in the space of three weeks our promising season is on the verge of totally imploding. Last night was shameful, but not because of what happened on the pitch. At the end of the day we made nine changes and brought in the babies, and asked them to play against a full house and a full strength City who have already hit four against our so-called first team. They never really stood a chance, and in the end 3-0 flattered us, as it did on Sunday against the Chavs.

    His refusal to shake the opposing manager’s hand is frankly shameful, and again, his post match comments read: “I have nothing to say. I am free to shake hands with whom I want after the game.”

    He continued on to completely disregard the Carling Cup as a competition saying, “I do not consider that if you win the Carling Cup you will be going on a trophy parade,” said Wenger. “It is a competition for our younger players. If I don’t play them here where would I play them? We played in the quarter-final of the Champions League last season against top teams. Playing in those matches is ten times harder than playing in the Carling Cup.”

    He has finally openly admitted what we always knew. He is a very sore loser. No shame in being a bad loser, but you have to be dignified, and Arsene clearly isn’t. The less said about his tactics of late the better. Again he refused to put any real experience on the bench last night, so the youngsters were left to fend for themselves.

    So another REAL chance of silverware is gone, and we are left with the FA Cup. Anything but victory on Saturday will not go down well, with fans and media alike, and with Liverpool and Burnley away fast approaching, things may start to get very uncomfortable for Arsene.

  • Berth

    Am actually laughing at Arsenal haters. I know we messed up pretty bad against Chelsea at home, but it should be known dat manu lost to liverpool followed by a loss in Fulham in feb or match – they still won the league. So why do people think its Chelseas to loose. A coach that lost against villa and Wigan; winnable matches for us, and a coach that made three substitute in a second half of a match dat could get to extra time. Am not exactly saying we should ignore our problems but these things are worth looking at. No team is perfect or has a perfect manager maybe Fergie is a class above all, but Wenger is equally good.

  • Berth

    Continuation: Wenger is equally good but his team, may not be good enough but can still compete. If people think his lost his manners what will they say of Mourinho or Fergie that swears for fun.

    For me the real deal is not in buying playeres but making players disciplined in every position and maintain composure when threatned by physical players or teams. Wenger should also be flexible with formation, style and understanding of situations. You dont have to play song in every match or use 4 3 3 when you can play a 5 4 1.
    These things mentioned are alot easier with experienced players. currently Wenger is working in a dictionary of talent and youth better than experience. We will see how the story ends.

  • Arseneknows

    Nice stuff Berth

  • devday

    Okay, guys… it’s time… are you ready for the World Cup draw!

    PS, Berth, still waiting for your email!

  • Richiebacardi

    I have to agree with Debs and Berth here. (not that I don’t at anytime)

    We’re falling into the media hype. It seems they love to see Arsenal loose…because look at it…when man-u, chelsea and even liverpool loose, they’re having a blip or a bad patch according to the media. However when we loose the media says “Arsenal’s title hopes are over”

    I don’t know about you guys, but I saw something different against city. I saw a very very nervous team in blue until they were 2-0 up and even then some looked nervous. And that was their full team playing our kids.

    That made me smile slyly…thinking who says we don’t strike fear in other teams?? I’m sure we did…I think the guys have to just realise that and work it.

    Also good to see Mr. Seaman on Sky…