Self Destruction Begins… WBA 2 – 2 Arsenal…

I will try my best to make this post as positive as I can simply because there is no point in being negative…

Despite the draw, the title is not over, we can still win the league but the questions are how we will fix the new issues which are prevalent in our side. As you know, we drew 2-2 with WBA at the Hawthorns and it wasn’t an impressive game at all. The line up was:

Almunia

Sagna – Squillaci – Koscielny – Clichy

Wilshere – Denilson

Nasri – Ramsey – Arshavin

Van Persie

With a bench of Lehmann, Eboue, Gibbs, Miquel, Rosicky, Bendtner and Chamakh

The game started badly for us, Denilson especially seemed to be very much off the boil… the spine of the defence at the moment is Almunia, Squillaci, Koscielny with Denilson just in front – but it should be Szcznesy, Vermaelen, Djourou with Song just in front… We’re going to have to play with the first axis for the rest of the season, and it looks like they haven’t had much game time yet – but perhaps they will get better – perhaps playing Miquel now will help?

The two goals that we conceded were down to defensive mistakes – the first down to our centre backs not being in the right positions and not tracking their players and the second goal we conceded was down to Almunia soley being rubbish and coming out for a ball that he shouldn’t have.

Credit to the team for coming back into it – Arsene is correct, they did show desire but they could have done a bit more to get into the game a bit earlier… I always knew we weren’t ready to win this game and perhaps the International break will do us good to regroup and come back and fight for the rest of the season!

Arsene spoke about the spirit of the squad and the effect of the game to the rest of the season…

I am proud of the spirit we have shown. It shows we are ready for a fight. We made things difficult for ourselves with the second goal and we faced opponents who were very well organised. It was a little bit attack against defence, like you do in training. We were nearly punished because they had a chance in the second half before they scored the second goal. The pitch was very difficult for us, it looked difficult to get passing to the top speed. It was more down to character and resilience, which we have shown plenty of. Mathematically, we [have] lost two points but psychologically we have won a point because when you are 2-0 down with 20 minutes to go, you are not to unhappy to come back.

We’ve got a home game next on Saturday 2nd April – it will give the team some time off to regroup, it will also mean, that we should have Cesc, Walcott and Song back after the International break, which could rejuvenate our current squad.

  • Goonerman

    Normally I and everyone else hate the international breaks but this time it’s actually such a blessing. Like you say we could well have song, Theo and cesc back which is a huge boost! I have tried to stick up for almunia in the past because he comes across as a top bloke but everytime he plays he costs us points! It’s weird to even say but it’s time for Jens to step in!! the defence would be whipped into shape just from being shit scared of the man lol!!

  • Bonathan

    To be fair, it’s a wonder we’re even in the position we are in when ou look at our defensive options. Certainly when you compare them to the options of united, chelsea and man city. there’s just no comparison to united and chelsea. people will question our style and whether we need to change it, but for me it’s quite the opposite……….

    what i mean is, i think it’s because of our style of play that we are able to keep up despite lacking quality in key areas. It is fustrating though because you just wonder what we could achieve with a bit more quality defensively and a bit more discipline defensively.

    as i’m typing this david luiz has just headed home. what a player he is!! absolute gem. That’s what you call money well spent. he’ll be around for years. I must say that the chelsea line up looks the most impressive still as far as i am concerned. i think united and ourselves are lucky that they went through that awful patch which ou can’t help but think must have had a lot to do with ray wilkins departure. I think they’ll be breathing down our necks now though and wouldn’t be surprised to see them win the champions league.

    you need 4 top qulity CB’s really, we have vermaelen who looked top quality last term but still only has one season under his belt. Djourou, who is starting to look the part now. koscielny, who has time to improve and he’s started to look better lately. But let’s face it, he’s still pretty basic by premier league standards. and then there’s squillaci, our saviour. The signing for me, that we had to make sure was gonna be the part. the signing that was worth the extra money to make sure we had a real top drawer centre half with a bit of experience. please, what did we really expect for a measily 3 million?? no other clubs were even interested. What does that tell you? i don’t even think he could get a game at his previous club. unbelievable signing when you look back now.

    Well, you get what you pay for. Yes, some prices are ridiculously inflated, but generally still, you get what you pay for. certainly when it comes to players over the age of 25.

    there’s a saying i use quite often especially when it comes to buying tools for DIY or buying things for the house. “You buy shite, you buy twice”. in other words, we bought shite and now we need to buy again to sort it out. Not only has it cost us more money in the end, but probably a bit of silver wear as well.

    next season is gonna be harder. i must admit, i was getting carried away a few weeks ago thinking if we could win a trophy, we’d go on to dominate with our young players. but lets have a reality check here. chelsea are looking pretty awesome again. they have now freshened up the team with some absolutely top drawer younger players, and will probably add another 1 or 2 in the summer. united are always gonna be up there, and man city will only get better. liverpool are turning the corner again and well, spurs are still looking good although i like to think they’l drop off! but seriously, its gonna be hard to even stay in the top 4 these next couple of seasons, nevermind domination. we need that quality to make sure.

  • Berth

    Perhaps Wenger needs to involve the team more in team bonding programs. Chelsea are 4 points behind; it will be a shame not to finish 2nd or 1st at this stage.

  • ashok

    We got squilaci,Chelsea got David Luiz, why didn’t we buy him Arsene always states if somebody would improve our squad and they are at a good price we will get them well we paid £10.5m for koscielny and david luiz is £21m and is only 22 he is class. don’t get me wrong i rate kosceilny. it just shows that we are definitely losing ground on the teams around us be the end of next season we will be out of the top four. IF we don’t improve radically this average squad. we will be lucky to finish in the top four this year just watch how bad it gets over the next couple of weeks now the bottle has well and truely gone spurs do the double over us get beaten by man utd no point even playing that game may aswell let them have the three points. were embarrassing. I am pleased with the way the club is run in the sense we are profitable but that has to come second to success, i love the way we try to bring players through but if there not good enough they gotta go you can’t keep giving them chances, i think we lack alot of balance we need some body who really wants to win at all costs like a roy keane type, song is a good player but he is to nice and dopey he really needs fight.

    It is a shame that all our players are injury prone i wonder if its the turf at the emirates is it on concrete or something we have half our first team squad injured with misterious injuries all season for the last three. but that said you can’t hang on to these players why rosicky was given a contract extension after his injury is beyond belief. and we never you used to play football like this when pires,henry,viera,bergkamp and all those where here why the sudden obsession with this kind of possession football i don’t like it, i like to watch really fast flowing football not this one paced try and brake the other team down with 17 pass move. ok its good when it comes off but how many goals have we scored through putting 10 passes together not many it doesn’t work as a tactic. you need to have a solid defence so teams bring alot of players forward at the moment teams attack us with a striker and 2 midfielders and get joy out of it. we need teams to attack us with all there midfield and there forwards but to be able to with stand that you need a solid defence. so you can get the ball EARLY to your attacking players this has been lost we rarely score brake goals any more. i think we are not far away but it is frustrating to think we would have won this league if we bought david luiz fact………..

    I’ve been a fan since 1967/8. Went to 1st game @ Highbury – 3-0 v Utd. They wore yellow & the holy trinity of Best, Law & Charlton. I’ve stood on the North Bank when it cost 70p. Been there with the likes of Big Jim and Denton (RIP) when Spurs, WHUFC et al tried to take the NB. I’ve watched and supported players like Rimmer (cheered him on when he messed up to give WBA a 1-2 victory) Hawley, Price & Powling. (Heard of them?) I also was there when Willie Young made his debut, gave away a pen and we lost 1-4 to Ipswich. I was at Highbury and was the 1st AFC fan to shake hands with Brian Talbot when he signed from Ipswich in 78/9. I’ve seen Brady, Stapleton, O’Leary make their debuts. I’ve seen the likes of SuperMac make his debut in ’74 -lost 0-1 at home to promoted Bristol City and was there when Rix made his debut against Ipswich (won 3-1, 3-0 up in first 10 mins O’Leary 2 headers and Rix 1.) Sunderland debut (1-1 Vs Coventry) lashing with rain (Al scores 2-1 given offside) I’ve stood on the North Bank on a Friday night for a 0-0, snow falling, when 13-18 thou’ turned up Vs Norwich. Only chance was Radford 88th minute header hit the crossbar. I’ve also taken the reserves away when Charlie Nic was here – injured, our reserves inc Rocky (RIP) Sunderland, Chapman and Allision -lost 2-1. Was there when Valencia beat us UEFA Final in 80, was there at Anfield 89, OT 98 & 02 & WHL in 04. Was there when we won the title 1st time under GG – Limpar from the half way line & I was there for fifth reply against Sheff Wed – we won 1-0 & went on the win FA Cup (’79) I was 1 of 55,000 who saw us beat Man City in League Cup – ‘dubious’ pen conceded by Dave Watson/SuperMac scored by Liam in 85th

  • ashok

    so it looks like there’s a protest march at finsbury park station before the liverpool home game????the protest is about wenger not buying top-class players(fair enough)and in theory it’s not about wanting wenger out,it’s more about him not buying 2/3 top class players.i understand that,infact i’m going to liverpool home so i think i’ll pop over and take a look.i think it’s fans saying to wenger now,buy or may’be move up stairs and let’s get a new manager in.there is no doubt the pressure will get to wenger and the arsenal board and the meeting that they’ll have at the end of the season will make or break wenger as manager.personally i hope he swallows this stubborn pride of his cause the truth is we are just 2/3 experienced player’s short from winning trophies again.will be very interesting to see how many turn up.i’ll certainly take a look,even have a chat with a few just to get their point of view which is fair enough.c’mon you reds.

  • yemi

    Why didn’t Wenger buy Gary Cahill instead of squilacci ?
    I hope he will do something this summer cos i am already looking forward to the summer…
    We still have some tough games ahead.. With the added pressure of chelsea breathing down our necks.

    As someone has rightly said, it would really be a shame if we don’t finish 2nd or 1st..

    People do’t usually support whole sale changes, but that is the situation we find ourselves because we have not done what we should do over the years. There are some players that needs to be sold and is better they go now or else we will be 2 or 3 players short of winning silverware again next season. Since they are fringe players who don’t play regularly, i think their exit won’t disturb the balance of the team at all.

    Sell sell sell and buy buy buy (buy right !!)

    In the midfield we NEED to SELL :
    Diaby
    Denilson
    Rosisky

    They have tried their best, but its time to MOVE ON

    We are one player short in CB,
    Sell Squilacci
    Bring in miguel and a Cahill or better defender.

    I think one thing lacking in our dear team is competition. All things being equal, you know the first team (good) but members of the first team should also know that they have someone ready to take their place if the slip up. I think some players also have a mind set of being 2nd or 3rd fiddle therefore not even trying to up their game a bit. Thay is the simple reason why jack will be ahead of denilson. No fight

    in Attack, i’d sell B52 and bring in a street footballer type striker, ready to stick it in and ruffle some feathers We are too academic upfront with B52, Chamack and RVP.

    All in all

    SELL (For staters)
    =========
    Diaby
    Denilson
    Rosisky
    Squillaci
    B52
    Alumina

    Then replace them with
    miguel
    another CB (Cahill my choice)
    Scezney, Fabianski, Jens,Manone,
    One good winger
    One bullsih, sreet footballer type (ala tevez, drogba, fuller type )

  • Berth

    Yemi my thought on a street wise striker goes to Gabby Agbolaghor; I don’t know why; what do you reckon.

  • Davidinlondon

    faith lost after i saw the wba game and then the fixture list.

    frankly when almunia is in goal you can expect something to go wrong with his decision making. lehmann’s form is in doubtful. squilaci reminds me of stepanovs. denilson is a round peg in a square hole, same for diaby BUT WHO ELSE DO WE HAVE? fabregas and song aren’t back, rosicky isn’t fit, ramsey is coming back, wilshere himself can’t do everything.

    without our 1st choice XI 4-3-3 becomes terribly ineffective. without song and fabregas we shouldn’t rely on the 4-3-3 passing game which our current central trios simply can’t play. against wba wenger quickly changed to 4-4-2 after the break, credit to him, but the new problems are:

    1) we do not have a right winger when nasri is moved centrally, which is where he plays better. rosicky can put in great crosses but would naturally shift infield and no longer has the pace; eboue has a lot of pace but he drifts infield and doesn’t cross well; bendtner offers no pace, tries too hard to beat people, doesn’t hold the ball well and doesn’t cover for the fullback well enough.

    2) playing 4-4-2 we have no steel in central midfield. we were overrun against wba and almost lost a goal from a left-wing cross, if you still remember. denilson and diaby have some strength but little else, and neither are disciplined enough.

    and then i saw the fixture list. assuming that big teams drop points against each other, we have the likes of blackburn, bolton and stokes, none inspiring confidence when we look at our central defence.

    enough moaning. is there anyone who can ease my worries?

  • Thierry Bergkamp-Wright

    @Yemi

    What makes you believe young Miquel is suddenly the savior of our Central Defense. He has no experience of any competitive league. I believe he will play a MAJOR part in the future (2 seasons from now). But with only 2 senior games against an opposition 2 leagues below us, is not enough to suddenly promote him. He needs a season-long loan experience at a club used to battling for survival, to toughen him up a bit. Plus a few more cup games for confidence.

    Kyle Bartley, on the other hand, is in a much better position next season, to get into our 1st team. He spent some time as a 1st-choice starter for Sheffield. In addition to that, for the last 3 months has been playing in the Scotting Premier League for Rangers (also as a 1st choice-starter). With Rangers he has picked up Europa experience too. All of these, I believe will stand him in good stead for us, next season in Central Defense as well as Right Back.

  • Kodjo

    There something not right with the combination of Squillaci and Kos. They both play badly together…for some reason. Even though i blame Almunia for the costly error i belive the underlying problem is that he doesnt trust his central defenders and crazily tried to take matters into his own hands.

    To be fair to Squillaci he started the season well and his form has dipped terribly as teams have identified him as the weak link in defense. Was completely at fault for the 1st goal as he failed to pick his man and Kos covering for him needlessly gave away a corner. The marking was poor as Ramsey completely lost the flight of the ball with non of the central defenders anywhere near the middle of the box. Almunia in the mean was busy shoving players in front of him when the cross came in.

    School boy defending…making Wenger look stupid by the day.

    Having said that, i dont think Wenger would have bought Squillaci if he had known that he was that prone of erros and flat footed. To be fair to him he has won us 3 points against Stoke.

    We just have soldier on and play with the player at our disposal…which means hold your breath and hope for a miracle.

  • flint

    Message to all Gooners! Hold your fire about our manager and team until may. In two weeks we’ll have Theo, Song and Cesc back in the team. Manu will slip up and this season isn’t over yet! Champions don’t lie down and give up. Wear that cannon proudly on your chest and get behind the team until the end of the season. Never wright off Arsenal

  • yemi

    @ Thierry Bergkamp-Wright:
    *What makes you believe young Miquel is suddenly the savior of our Central Defense.

    I never implied that he is our savior !!! If you read thru properly, I started by saying i am already looking beyond now and into the summer.
    Meaning that if wenger bought cahill (or any other CB with premiership experience) as i suggested,
    We would have

    1. TV
    2. Djourou
    3. Cahill (or any other CB with premiership experience)
    4. KOS
    and finally
    5. Miguel
    Hardly a savior being 5th !!

    I also feel that this will give us the option of maybe even experimenting KOS at RB or DM if there is a crisis in any of those positions

  • edison

    Koscielny has only had two seasons, at best, in anything close to top flight football. so, all though he has played well i dont think wenger will start experimenting different defensive positions with him.

    The reason wenger perhaps didnt sign Cahill, or perhaps why certain defenders showed no interest in coming to Arsenal last summer is exactly what Yemi has just stated.

    Cahill would never sign for us, if it meant he was a 3rd choice centreback. He is perfectly happy playing regular first team football at bolton. Players think they arent guaranteed first team football at arsenal. Djourou is in great form, but you cant really place a new experienced signing behind him.

  • Berth

    Edison your reasoning about Cahill is so premature; you sound like someone desperate to belief anything

  • edison

    theres nothing premature about it, competition is high.

    surely you agree there is no point signing another centre back unless he is going to make a positive impact on the starting 11 ?

    wenger wouldnt sign a renowned defender if he was only going to be third choice. We do not need any more squillacis.

  • yemi

    @ edison:

    I don’t quite understand ur point !!! How won’t he have positive impact ? With the speed and volume involved if you are in all competitions ? Do you think djourou/Kos would have played the volume of games they played if we had a defender like cahill ?

    Have you looked at the defence line-up of our rivals this term ? man u, chelsea, city and spur. Let me give you a quick run down and compare with arsenal

    CHELSEA
    RB – Bosingwa-ferreira and ivanovic (optional)
    LB – Cole-zhirkov
    CB – terry – alex – luiz – ivanovic (optional) – bruma

    SPURS
    RB – Alan Hutton – Vedran Corluka
    LB -Benoit Assou-Ekotto – Gareth Bale -
    CB – William Gallas -Sebastien Bassong -Michael Dawson – Ledley King -Jonathan Woodgate – Younes Kaboul

    CITY
    RB Boateng – Richards
    LB Kolarov – Zabaleta
    CB Kompany – Lescott – Toure -Boyata -

    MAN U
    RB – Rafael – oshea
    LB Evra – FABIO –
    CB FERDINAND – BROWN – SMALLING – VIDIC – evans

    ARSENAL
    RB Sagna – ebuoue ?
    LB Clichy – Gibbs
    CB TV – Djourou – KOS – Squilacci – Miguel

  • Bonathan

    I must admit. I’m looking forward to kyle bartley coming back into contention next season. i think he could provide better cover for the cb positions as well as a more defensive option than eboue for RB when sagna is unavailable. He and frimpong can also battle it out to be song’s back up as well.

    i think its likely that miguel will go for a seasons loan next year which will be a good idea. If only we’d signed a keeper we could have had either fab or schzney out on loan this year.

  • Thierry Bergkamp-Wright

    @Yemi
    I see your point. Seeing as you’ve explained further, i’ll have to say that i agree with you.

    I believe that next season needs to consider the possibility of maintaining a squad with 5 central defenders. This season has proved that you can never have too much cover, particularly in key positions. Hopefully 2 of the central defenders will be able to play in other positions, so as to enhance their playing chances all through the season.

  • Thierry Bergkamp-Wright

    @Bonathan
    I expect next season, to have in goal: Fabianski, Szczesny and Mannone. As much as i like Almunia, i don’t think he will remain an Arsenal player for long.