Blackburn 2 – 1 Arsenal… It’s starting to hurt…

For those of you, like me, who eagerly anticipated the game yesterday and got yourself in front of a television screen whereby you could spent the latter half of your Bank Holiday Monday glued to your favourite team try their best to seal third place, you’ll most likely then be as bitterly disappointed as I was. And maybe slightly worried that a certain St. Totteringham’s day won’t happen (well, until the last day of the season, where it doesn’t really count)… and of course, a slight worry that we may be picked by Sp*rs for 3rd. Highly unlikely considering we play Fulham at home on the weekend before their UEFA cup final and Sp*rs have two away games in quick succession first against Man City and then Burnley…

For us, it was a third defeat in as many games – in fact, we’ve only got 1 point in the last 12 – which means it’s been an end of season collapse and it is a painful one considering that we were still in the title race with five games to go. But for me, what hurts the most is the lack of passion from the team. In the last few games, without our leaders (I’d consider the leaders to be Vermaelen, Gallas, Cesc and Song), we’re a shadow of our former selves.

It’s painful because we have obvious weakness that we don’t see getting fixed and it’s painful because apart from Sol Campbell and maybe RvP, no one yesterday stood up and said, “hey, let’s fight for the shirt”… If you remember the game against Sheffield United in 2006, we were beaten the same way with the same excuses. Yes, other teams get physical, but don’t deny that we don’t. We’ve seen Diaby, Denilson, Song and Campbell get quite physical and with Vieira and Petit back in the day, we used to out physique the opposition.

I write what I write with a whole load of players missing – arguably the spine of the team. But it highlights the fact that the reserves have not much spirit and enthusiam if as soon as a few players are injured we go onto lose to Sp*rs, Wigan and then Blackburn…

Just to top it all off, we had another dismal performance from Fabianski – and I just don’t know what Arsene sees in him. He is pretty hopeless. We’re all just glad when he catches the ball. Surely that is what is expected of him… Fabianski’s form this year has seen him play 9 games – his stats being… Won 2, Lost 6 and Drawn 1 – he’s conceded 16 goals in those 9 games and has only had one clean sheet. And that’s good enough from a keeper. Despite what Arsene says, he wasn’t fouled for the second goal. He was just hopeless.

Positives to be taken from yesterday’s game – well, Van Persie is looking sharp, but that doesn’t help us as much as it helps Holland… and that’s about it.

Negatives are quite a lot… despite our massive squad size, most of the stand in’s don’t have the bit between their tail at the moment and it’s a sign of the quality of the fringe players when they can’t beat the likes of Wigan and Blackburn… Traore was woeful again at left back. Silvestre must leave, he is terrible – why don’t we blood a youngster instead of insisting on playing someone who is such a liability? Eboue was thrown in at centre midfield and looked out of sorts – Arsene, why didn’t you just play Eastmond? Walcott looks like he is devoid of any real craft and ideas in the final third and Vela and Eduardo look like they have both regressed a few years.

One youngster whom I would have liked to have seen instead of Silvestre this season is Havard Nordtveit, currently on loan at Nurnberg… who interesting enough isn’t sure of his Arsenal future right now…

“I will return to Arsenal and take part in pre-season there. More? I don’t know. I will finish the season in Germany and then comes my first real holiday for two years. I’ll make sure I’m well prepared when the season starts for Arsenal. There’s a lot of young players who get a chance at Arsenal, including in the League Cup. But if they want to loan me out to a Championship side or a club in the lower half of the Premiership, it would be great.”

I must apologise for the heaps of negativity, but we need to get rid of a few players, get in some big characters, and clean up the squad a little. We have a good nucleus, but we need to fix what is broken, we need to fix what was broken in 2006. We have £50m sitting in an account accruing interest, but it’s time to ensure we put it to good use and become a force once again…

Starting perhaps with Buffon, one of the world’s best, who interestingly said this:

“If I had to leave, I think England would be my destination. My desire to leave Juve is equal to that of Juve’s will to have me leave. At this time there is nothing [to discuss] but there are two weeks to go [before the end of the season] and anything can happen. “Juve always has the priority and we will see if we will decide for our paths to continue together.”

Is the old man tired of the Italian league finally and ready to kick off a career down at the Emirates? Arsene, what are your thoughts?

  • Nick

    I’m mostly just sad. A little pissed still, but mostly sad. It hurts when you love something and it seems there is no love in return. I’ll bet if it were at all possible Fabregas and Vermaelen would play against Fulham to show what true leaders are. I don’t feel like there is any belief or any urgency in the squad right now. The way you prove that a game like Wigan was a mistake is to bounce back and win and we didn’t.

    Arsene, what did you say at half-time and after the game? I want to know what the excuse is other than “we were unlucky”! Luck can give you maybe 1-2 games a year but not this many losses. Do you still want to blame the mistakes Fabianski made on the ref not calling a foul or is that all for the press?

    We are in urgent need of more than 2-3 players I’ll tell you that!

  • goonerman

    finally dev i think even you realise 3rd spot is not so secure! its the fact that even though the guys think the season over it should not mean we give up our fight becuase it looks like the the team are ready for their holidays and the world cup! personally i would love someone like buffon at the club he is a seriously scary man and would be a real leader in the team! also owen coyle is very eager to keep jack wilshire so maybe letting them have him for half a season next year could help with a deal for someone like gary cahill! i know people say we need a lot more than 3 players but we really dont we just need the right 3 players! i hope cuty get a draw from tottenham tomorrow!!

  • Yemi

    @ goonerman:
    or 4

  • Nick

    Sam Allardyce’s comments about the game:
    “If you expose the opposition’s weaknesses enough then in the end those weaknesses will be exposed,” Allardyce said. “The amount of balls we put into the box on the keeper, who has obviously been a weak link for them, paid off.”

    “We beat Arsenal fair and square.” Allardyce continued. “The referee gave some that were fouls, he gave some that weren’t fouls and he didn’t give some that might have been fouls. You can’t give everything as a foul on the goalkeeper and he certainly gave his fair share.

    “I’m not overly concerned about what Arsene says – he’s said it before about my tactics. But we know these tactics work against Arsenal and they’ve worked again.”

    Allardyce added: “We play the game as managers, we look at each other and you see if you can find any weaknesses in the opposition manager as well as the team. Criticising me is great because I’d sooner him criticise me when I’ve beaten them rather than him praising me when they’ve beaten us.”

    So even he can see Fabianski is the weakest link. Also, seems to think Arsene is predictable.

  • JAT

    you never know, things might start to pick up tomorrow – St Totteringham’s Day is on the cards!

  • zohaib

    Buffon or David James ? since Portsmouth’s going down, he might be available. they wouldnt mind selling him. the question is is he good enough ?

    We need to get rid of Silvestre and Senderos and find a proper replacement, whether it is Djourou or somebody from our reserves or somebody that we need to buy. If Campbell and Gallas also both leave, we definitely need to buy maybe 2 replacements, one experienced and one in-the-making. And if either of them leaves then we need to buy a replacement.

    We need a decent backup for Song when he’s injured. I dont think Denilson can do Song’s job. Denilson plays well mostly when he’s got Song next to him. Diaby isnt much good either. I dont think Eastmond is at the level yet either. I thought Coquelin from the reserves used to play defensive midfield … i wonder if we could use him. Randall i wasn’t impressed with so i’m not really counting on him ….. wonder if he’s improved.

    We’ve got a lot of attacking options and we may have our second tall striker for plan B in Chamakh. but what we lack is a decent number of quality wingers. I only recognize Eboue and Nasri as real wingers in our squad. Walcott can only pass people off the ball and requires somebody to pass the ball to him ; by himself, if he’s trying to pass people with the ball at his feet … he’ll mostly just fall over or give it away. its pointless playing him at right-midfield anyway. if you want to play him, play him at left-midfield so that its easier for him to cut in and take a shot or pass. who knows, it may even teach him how to control the ball better. i have no doubt that it would be easier for him to play LM than RM. but the problem is that only Eboue and Nasri have the ability to pass people with the ball at their feet. Rosicky does have this quality too but he’s more of a central attacking midfielder. i’d definitely not play him at RM either. i think we’ve got a bit of a problem in that we dont have a proper RM. Eboue’s pretty hopeless in the final third, so while he does pass people he’ll screw up when in the box. i was thinking maybe we could try playing Vela or Wilshere at RW in a 4 – 3 – 3. it’d be easier for them to cut in as they’re both left footed. Maybe VanPersie could play there too. But my first choice RM would have to be Nasri and second choice Eboue.

    what we really need is somebody like Ronaldo, Nani, Ashley Young, S.Wright Philips, Aaron Lennon etc etc etc. somebody who is good on the ball and can pass people on the wing.

    wenger seems to suggest that we may finally have the money we need to buy the players we want ! lets see how far thats true.
    there may be a number of players available for next season. Real Madrid may be selling a few – Higuain interests me. maybe M Diarra for DM. maybe one of the english cb’s that are being talked about – G Cahill, M Richards, P Jones. maybe SW Phillips for the wing.
    lets see who else we get linked with but i really hope we get some reinforcements this summer because i firmly believe that if we fail to get 3 proper CB’s, 1 proper DM and 1 proper winger – WE WILL NOT WIN ANYTHING NEXT YEAR.

    the other thing we need to address is the fact we give the opposition enough time to settle into position before attacking them ; we seem to want to attack 11 players defending rather than drawing them out and creating space b/w the defence and midfield to exploit. its because we dont pass it well enough or quick enough or long enough. we refuse to play anything put short triangles and short passing. the problem is, its very easy to defend against and means you only have to have the 3 closest players to close down our players. what would be better is if we would incorporate long passes into our game and if we would stand further apart so that more space would be created b/w players to exploit.

  • Sam

    I’m just so sick of this, have been in a rotten mood for the past couple of weeks. The only ray of hope is that perhaps AW will finally fix the problems. He can’t go on defending his GKs any more (though I read somewhere that he has!).

  • zohaib

    Benzema from Real wouldnt be bad but he seems to suggest he wants to stay at Real. plus if we’ve got the money then David Villa or Aguerro wouldnt be bad either :P

  • zohaib

    just read Juventus are having a massive clear out too. anyone fancy Camoranesi ? i guess he could play on the wing … ?

  • devday

    @ Nick:
    Very true re first post – what on earth does Arsene say at half time? I think he must have not said much, as the second half was awful…

    After Sp*rs, Wigan and Blackburn, I’ll be looking for one hell of a reaction against Fulham…

  • devday

    @ goonerman:
    I think it really depends – it’s more than likely than Sp*rs won’t get three points tomorrow – and if they do and they do finish in the CL positions, then even though it pains me to say this, they would have deserved to get there – but I really do think Man City will beat Sp*rs senseless!!!

  • devday

    @ zohaib:
    The main issues with the players from Juventus, Real Madrid and Barcelona is that they would be on high wages – Juve are all 30+ in age too. Real Madrid have people like Benzema who are on stupid wages at young ages for not doing too much.

    A player I would have is Higuan… he is so good, but I don’t think they’ll let him go!

  • Berth

    wenger ball where are u. I remember how we played the 2007 season Ade, Flamini and Hleb were in our team. It was such a beauty; Flamini chippiing in with good goals, which unfortunately Song doubts he can do; Despite we loosing the league because of the loads of draw and not the 3 matches we lost. I wont forget how luvly Hleb was, he was just unbelievable to the point I thought he could be a new Zidane; if Wenger had worked on his shooting.

    Its so sad, but am afraid it might get worse especially looking at the possibility of loosing 2 players, probably Clichy and Arshavin and if we do its back to square 1. I do resent Wengers attitude, but to be fair loosing the guy at this time where we have City and Tottenh – only one knows where their money comes from could be a disaster.

    My plea is Wenger should just do the basic things, like buying the right guys. Satisfying the fans desire sometimes can compensate for lack of trophies. I still trust the gaffer and am confident with the right players not even Barca can match Wengers style and philosphy. Just buy Wenger so we can all be happy, possibly ease pressure on the less talented players and above all eliminate fear and injuries – yes injuries.

  • goonerman

    @Devday:
    they would partly deserve it but it would also partly have been given to them by our pathetic end to the season, to think that one single point against wigan could of had 3rd spot secured but we throw away that game! if we have to play a champions league play off game and spurs dont when we have been cruising in 3rd place for so long and they have been fighting for just 4th then the players would surely have to be ashamed of themselves. In a way this bad, bad end to the season is showing wenger the squad does need additions and that there are plenty of weeknesses, like you say dev i do hope city get at least a draw tomorrow and i will be watching with nerves becuase i just want that 3rd place secured lol!!

  • devday

    @ goonerman:
    Tell me about it… we could have finished them off ages ago, but with 1 point out of the last 12, we go into the last game of the season worrying about 4th, when 4 games ago we could have won the title!

  • Yemi

    @ Nick:

    He is really the weak link, All our keepers seem not to take charge of their 6yrd box. Imagine lehman in that position, Somebody’s gonna get hurt !!!!

  • Demzzz_W9

    Do you no what hurt the most. that they never suprised me. i felt blackburn would beat us in the air as most team do.. just so much things we have to look at.. we cant control the centre of the field.. if we have song and cesc always gonna b top class.. who else can fit in there and play a better role then diaby and denilson because they both seem to me lacking esperience even thought its been 4 years since they have been here.. i remember someone telling me diaby would be the new viera.. skills yes.. tech yes.. but he doesent stand out for me.. now lets get to the offensive.. ok we all no cesc van persie nasri and sometimes ashavin.. kl.. but what about walcott, eboue, bedtnar eduardo roskicy vela the list can go on are they not good enough to take us forward if not im looking for replacements. walcott shows brilliance then dies down then the overs just dont have an end product but i have faith in bednater i think he has improved but we sure do need some better fire power.. then you have the defense.. we sure need a new goal keeper.. most games have been lost from mistakes.. i can count two hands the amount of mistakes has cost us games.. ive always remembered in my time being a arsenal supporter.. david seaman.. only mistake he made was in the uefa.. i no u all remember that.. leaman.. only mistake was that he was a fire cracker.. but think of almuinia.. only time i no he done good was against barcleona.. his best game ever but over wise i dont see him being that great.. out defense.. now.. we cant say shit about vermalean.. the own goal against chelsea thats all but dt was unlucky.. gallas has been a rock.. sagna has been a rok but sometimesw forgets about the offside rule.. clichy is gettiung back to his ways but without our strong back four.. what kinda back up do we have.. i like dejorouh.. sorry im bad with names.. and campbell has been a good second string.. but i dont see nothing else standing out.. we aint got a good 2nd string team.. ok we have the best youth in the hole of the world.. but can they really step up i dont se it! i dont see anyone stepping up that aint whilshere ramsey sanu and maybe vela on his day! if arsene dont buy or change something yes the 433 is dangerous but without a solid back four and CDM its worthless! remember the invincbles had th best offense and thats the best defense and campbell was in his prime and toure and ashley cole and lauren or eboue.. which was great and viera. and gilberto.. which the balance was even greater. sorry to go on i just wanna c the balance back again.. we dont have it.. i just dont see us being great again without it!