Stoke 3 – 1 Arsenal, it was like a game of Pro Evo…

There is only one way to explain or try and explain the disaster that was yesterday, and that’s in the mode of Pro Evo…

So, you’re playing Pro Evo, top player level and you’ve been doing well during the season, but you’re playing every two days – the league, the Champions League, and the cup… now your players are starting to pick up injuries… The red bar under the player’s name is increasing player by player – the likes of Gallas and Vermaelen are nearly full injury max bars. Clichy is tired after his first game back, it’s time to rotate the squad. The game after the cup game is another league game and you know you’ve got to be at your best for that game.

In Pro Evo, I would do exactly what Arsene had done in yesterday’s game. The difference is that I would have won! Actually, with the row of 4 games, Villa, Man United, Liverpool and Chelsea, damn, it would have needed a few restarts on Pro to get me to focus correctly…

Okay, so what happened? Well, it was an inevitable result. And I’ll analyse the game by going through each player.

Fabianski

Coquelin – Campbell – Silvestre – Traore

Eastmond – Denilson

Walcott – Cesc – Vela

JET

Fabianski – The keeper played well overall – however, he like Almunia and Mannone, isn’t a fan of the physical crossing type of play and he did well, he went for a lot of the balls, but you also can’t consider him to be any better or any worse than Almunia in the air. Traore – a player who has a lot of potential in the attacking sense, but seriously sometimes forgets the basics of defending. For Stoke’s third goal, I was literally shouting at the TV, “Traore, get goal side!”, but I suppose, it didn’t even cross the player’s mind.

Then we have Super Sol and not so Super Silvestre. Looking at them both together yesterday, it was crazy to see how good Sol was compared to Silvestre. I have to give it to Sol, his fitness and his physical presence were second to none. Unfortunately for both of them, Coquelin at right back didn’t help. The young player has been impressive in the reserves and in defensive midfield – but at right back against a physical team and a tricky player in Etherington, he was put of his depth.

In midfield, Cesc captained the side alongside the ever improving Eastmond and Denilson. The problem with the midfield was the lack of height, strength and pace. JET was up front in his debut alongside Vela and Walcott – and I have to say this – and it is weird to say it – he impressed me more than the other two.

So where did it all go wrong – I think as my French commentator said “tres fatigue et sans experience” in talking about Traore, Silvestre and Coquelin and then Eastmond (who replaced him at right back). Very tired and lacking experience – but also lacking cover – Denilson failing to keep up with Stoke on their second and where on earth was our left back? That moved summed up the game.

So we’re out of the FA cup and we’re about to start a four game run of games with Villa, Man United, Liverpool and Chelsea and if we can keep a squad and first defence choice team fit for those games, we can pick up the points we need to maintain our position at the top of the league (of course Man U have overtaken us for now), and with those four games coming up, you can make sense of Arsene’s decision again to play the team he played.

Arsene spoke on the game:

“It was a game that was more physical than technical and physically they were stronger than us today. We had a fantastic attitude and at 1-1 we looked like we were on top in the last 20 minutes and it was important not to make a mistake. We got caught on the counter attack on the second goal and that was an important moment in the game. “

And on also commented on Sol Campbell’s first game back:

“He did for me very well. For a guy who has not played for five months he had a very good performance. Maybe in the last 20 minutes he was a bit fatigued but surprisingly fit for a guy who has not played for such a long time. He is motivated, works very hard in training and you could see that today.”

Hmm, no time to even think about the FA Cup exit as the games are coming thick and fast and we’re off to Villa Park on Wednesday for a must win game.

More tomorrow…

  • Sam

    On another note, Ivory Coast lost to Algeria. Drogba & company returning to EPL. We get Eboue, Chelsea get Drogba & Kalou!

  • arseneKnows

    John the point is that you are only seeing the small picture reality ‘possibly’ – you’re not really thinking
    about the big picture reality. To be a ‘good’ Arsenal fan, you have to buy into Arsene’s philosophy – that he want to build a formidable team which will last a decade or so together being successful – and he
    wants to do it in his creating and nurturing special talent. He believes in his team now and thinks they can win the title now! Weather or not ‘YOU’ think they can is neither here nor there – your negative opinion is best kept to yourself frankly – the question you have to ask yourself is what purpose does it serve to say that ‘WE WILL NOT WIN THE LEAGUE’ what’s the point? keep your negative views to yourself because nothing in this world was achieved with ideas like that ‘NOTHING’ you have to believe my friend even when the odds are stacked up against you – what your talking about is not reality at all because it hasn’t happened – you are expressing your ‘FEARS’ and WE DON’T NEED JOHN’S FEARS’

    ………..and if we don’t win the league we’ll deal with it then! not now!

    Arsenal fans, let’s get behind our team and BELIEVE AND SUPPORT.

    Get in

  • tom G

    get in arseneknows!

  • will

    Please clarify how wenger was disrespectful? After starting with a mix of youth and experience and battling back to level the game at 1-1. We have 4 games which could make or break our season. It would be easy to say that we lost this game because we started with an inexperienced team containing the likes of Coquelin, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and eastmond in key positions but the truth is that Stoke produced their moment of real quality when we had our best team on the park. As such, we shouldn¿t make excuses. There isn¿t a defender in the league who could have prevented Fuller from getting of Sidibe¿s inch-perfect cross, nor a goalkeeper of stopping his header. It was a tremendously precise goal which effectively decided the tie and sometimes you just have to accept that these things happen in football games. You just can¿t win them all. Our boys had recently come from behind to beat Liverpool, West Ham and Bolton and also struck late to salvage a draw with Everton, so there was no real reason for panic. if you look at the subs made by wenger it implied he wanted to go out and win the game while resting enough players to keep things fresh for the epic run of games coming up.

  • Sam

    @ Arsenknows & Wills – Well said.

    @ All Negative Supporters – Reach the pinacle of success is a very delicate task. You need all your skills and experience, and the occassional favorable roll of the dice, to become champions. A winner must be on top of very aspect of his/her game to reach the very top. Have any of you ever reached the top of your league in your chosen field? I guess not, otherwise you wouldn’t be so demanding. The easiest thing in the world is to sit back and be critical of others. You’re demanding unrealisticly without any responsibility on your part! Your only responsibility as a supporter is to SUPPORT the team, no matter the circumstances.

    This is the team we love, win, lose or draw!

  • Si

    Nice response arseneKnows!

    Keep the faith.

  • Arsefan101

    @Will

    The issue is that we shouldn’t have let the cross come in. Traore wasn’t even in the picture for the second goal!
    And Denilson was so leggy.

  • Arsefan101

    @Sam – why is it so easy for Chelsea to win all the time then!!

  • goonerman

    @arsefan101- the reason chelsea always win is becuase they have amaizng luck with injuries the fact is they dont get many at all ! do chelsea have to go the season without drogba like we do without van persie? NO do chelsea have 5 or 6 first team players out at one time? NO the fact is we have been really unlucky and to be in the title race and the champions league we should be proud! like most of the guys are saying if your not willing to believe in wenger and the team then what is the point in you supporting THE ARSENAL!

    AND hopefull even though we shoudlnt get up our hopes in the next week we could have a few players back and available like, Bendtner,song,eboue and diaby added on with the fact ramsey made an early comeback! lets just get behind the team in the next couple weeks becuase if we dont believe what is the point ayy !!

  • devday

    There is some truth to Arsefan’s question.
    On Friday, we looked at 3 teams of players that we could field – and Coquelin wasn’t in any of those teams!

    See below. The third team should now read Coquelin at RB and JET in place of Simpson.

    My point is that we have ONE whole team injured / on international duty and another one is too important to risk due to their near injuries. So we have to play a mix of players including our 3rd team.

    Team One
    Almunia
    Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Clichy
    Diaby – Song
    Rosicky – Cesc – Arshavin
    Van Persie

    Team Two
    Eboue – Djourou – Campbell – Gibbs
    Denilson – Ramsey
    Walcott – Nasri – Eduardo
    Bendtner

    Team Three
    Gilbert – Senderos – Silvestre – Traore
    Eastmond – Merida
    Watt – Wilshere – Vela
    Simpson

  • Gooner Get Ya

    I understand why everyone is upset after crashing out of the FA Cup. It is a prestige trophy for all English teams. The fact that one of the biggest winners of the FA Cup are out, purely because the manager gambled with a weaker team will always anger some fans. The only way to justify playing this weak team is to pick up some serious points in our next 4 games otherwise AW has thrown away a shot at another trophy.

    Let us hope and prey that the 1st team can show that AW was right to rest them….COME ON YOU REDS!!!

  • arseneknows

    Gooner get ya, Hi!

    Just for clarity sake – thanks for talking on behalf
    of all of us who are ‘upset’. I don’t feel that way.
    I just wanted to say that I totally agree with Arsene’s
    choice of team – I think it was exactly what he
    needed to do and I actually think it was a
    very possitive thing to do because it
    proves just how confident and aspirational
    the man is! He thinks we can win the league, and
    if he didn’t he’d have played his best possible
    team!
    In fact if we didn’t win our next games, I would
    still say that he made the correct choices!

    Don’t harvest any blame on the man – coz
    he da man!!

    Lovin’ this season

    Believe!

  • Gooner Get Ya

    @ arseneknows – I meant they are upset with AW (which you are clearly not) but don’t get me wrong I am not being critical of AW’s choice of team, I was merely stating that he will get a backlash from some fans (not me) if our 1st team don’t get decent results from the the next 4 games.

    We crashed out of everything in a matter of weeks in past seasons. I just think people are worried that the same will happen to us again.

  • arseneKnows

    Gooner Get Ya – I hear you fella!

    I am so up for these next few weeks – well well up for it – COME ON YOU RIP ROARING REDS!!

    aye!

  • yemi

    for me i think 2 pple lost us that game. (1.) traore (2.) arsene. (1)traore is not just improving as a left back, he was nowhere near for the 2nd and 3rd goal. (2) arsene cos of that triple change, after silvestre got that knock, he could no longer cover for the MIA traore, and we had used all our subtitutes. the team selectiom was very ok but we didnt need that tripple change. i knw arsene went for broke to kill off the game. it was a gamble that didnt pay off !!!

  • devday

    @Yemi – I agree with you on that – the triple change didn’t help. We should have either:

    a) taken a draw
    b) allowed the guys who had got us back to 1-1 see the game out.

  • Kuka

    I am really rooting for Cameroon, yet my heart tells me that we need Song back…..and right now. I hope Ebuoe is on his way already…..I miss his runs and cover at right back

  • Sam

    Forget about “we should have”. Arsene took a risk, and it didn’t pay off. If he had kept the original 11 and then we had lost, we’d all be here moaning… None of us are in the middle of the excitement, we are commenting with benefit of hindsight.

  • Will Scott

    CAN latest after 30 minutes…

    Egypt 0 – 1 Cameroon.

  • Will Scott

    Egypt 1 – 1 Cameroon

    5 minutes until HT.

  • Sam

    Like I had promised/predicted, Egypt are 3-1 up in extra time.
    Song is on his way back to the Emirates. We need him for ManU.

  • jeffvip

    yea.. we desperately needs Song now. btw, why did he concede 3 goals? hehe

  • Jeffo

    Song will make all the difference when he comes back, i really like Eastmond and his terrier like attributes but the big difference is that when caught in possesion he didn’t have the bulk to hold the opposition off which Song does.

    Anyhoo FA cup is the past and 9 from 12 in the next 4 games will see us looking pretty but i think we must take 3 from Chelski to be in the running for the premiership.

  • http://www.twitter.com/fabrez_ Fabrez

    Interesting debating going on! Just for the record, I fully support Arsene in what he did. 10 points from the next 12 would shut the doubters up! It had to be done in my opinion. I love how Cesc played too. That’s a winner, a leader & a captain.

    Let’s just look forward now. Focus on Wednesday. Guess Song shall b available for Saturday. Doubt Arsene would put him on the bench on Wednesday. Guess Eastmond will b DM in that game…

  • JDD

    bad to go out the cup i think the main reason was beacuse their players wanted(cesc and sol were the only ones that looked interested) it more maybe some of our players dont rate the fa cup.hopefully now we can at least get 10 points from these next 4 games.i think a striker needs to be signed aswell.but as iv always said arsene knows best so wel see what he does.

    Gooner4Life

  • http://worldofarsenal Josiah

    put it behind us. focus on the next 4 games. if we do well in them. the whole club will be buzzing.

  • yemi

    do we need a striker? wenger said he wants any signing to be quick. since none has come in up till now, i guess its a no no! the transfer window is actually dull !

  • arseneKnows

    Could these be our next two line-ups?

    Aston Villa line-up

    Almunia
    Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Clichy
    Denilson – Ramsey
    Rosicky – Cesc – Arshavin
    Bendtner

    Manu line-up (with two changes)

    Almunia
    Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Clichy
    Diaby – Song
    Rosicky – Cesc – Arshavin
    Bendtner

  • Gooner Get Ya

    Is B52 back for Wednesdays game?

  • arseneKnows

    we’ll find out for sure today I guess – but that’s the plan!

    aye!

  • Gooner Get Ya

    I am getting really pissed off with this now!!! Fulham have accepted a bid from Man U for Smalling according to sky sports. Is it just me getting annoyed with all our transfer targets getting poached by other teams….find your own players you lazy B******ds!!!

  • ny

    i would like to see Eboue in place of denilson

  • manoo

    SS news just said live that fulham released a a statement saying smailling aint a man utrd player cos fulham aint agreed 100% AND WE HAVE HAD A BID ACCEPTED BY FULHAM (apparently)