Doing it the hard way since 1886.

“I remember when – without being disrespectful – I first arrived here, there were some games when I was thinking less about whether we would win or not and more about who would score for us and how many we would get.

“There were some games like that in my first couple of years, but those days are 100% finished because the so-called smaller teams have improved so much.

“That QPR game was a wake-up call for us.”

Robin Van Persie – 10th April.

 

*Sigh*

I really thought writing my blog with a negative tone was a thing of the recent past, oh how naïve I was.

After the QPR game I wrote my column with a glass half empty half full analogy. While frustrated at the result (and paying £50 for the ticket!) I reflected on the positives of a strong run of form with 7 wins in 8 games. Unfortunately I can’t share the same sentiment today after Monday night’s result against Wigan.

The confidence before the game was tangible and why not, Wigan had never scored a goal at the Grove let alone got a point. However, good friend @Palerme12 and I discussed the role fans play in the complacent approach off the pitch by enjoying songs and quips about ‘Mind the Gap’ etc. If as fans were getting a bit ahead of ourselves, how can we then have a go a when things go badly?

I’m sure I don’t really need to dissect the game as we will have seen and read enough since Monday, so here is a quick summary.

After a bright 5mins and a couple of chances Arsenal got hit twice on the break in 2mins while Arteta was off the pitch injured. Both goals seemed too easy, Wigan cut through our non existent and sloppy defence to stun the home crowd. While stunned we were confident we could get back into the game, and we did in the 22nd. Rosicky, the only player who comes out with any praise, whipped in a deadly ball which Vermaelen headed home.

Arsenal created half chances but went in at half time level. Unfortunately we had little to offer in the second half, a Santos shot is the only chance I can really remember. We threw Gervinho and the Ox on but we got little change from a well organised and drilled Wigan defence. If anything Wigan created the better chances in the second half, one in particular from a simple throw on that cut our defence wide open only for the very impressive Victor Moses to rush his shot. In the end Arsenal lost and deservedly so. Many have complained about time wasting tactics etc, what would you do if you were in the bottom 5, playing at Arsenal and leading? All is fair in love and war.

 

So where did it all go wrong, were we complacent? No, not this time for me. If anything the feeling I had in the ground and when I look back on the game is a team who hit the panic button for 80mins.

Going two goals down in 7mins stunned the team but losing Arteta ruined our set up. Ramsey came on and suddenly we had three central midfielders who wanted to push forward thus leaving gaps in behind exposing the defence.

Even though we got a vital goal, Arsenal never settled down and played the game that has served them well in recent months. We were too eager to get forward and played a pass too quickly or chose the difficult ‘hollywood’ ball. Players were constantly out of position while searching for the equaliser, Vermaelen Santos and Sagna were caught up field, RVP once dropped so far deep he collected a square pass from Vermaelen on the half way line. What frustrated me was that there was no instruction from the bench or at half time to calm things down and ‘out football’ Wigan, instead Pat Rice and the Boss were showing the same panicked emotions as the team. Wigan were happy to defend against this ruffled team and won every header and second ball. A frustrated Arsenal headed down the tunnel a defeated team while the majority of the crowd remaining in the stadium applauded worthy winners Wigan off the pitch. A touch of class even in defeat.

The game, for me, changed when Arteta got injured. Not only was he off the pitch for both goals, we lost our shape as we lost the player who has completed the most passes in the opposition half in the entire league. The calming influence that makes the team tick over was gone and we played like a team who lacked composure rather than suffering from complacency.

There is no official news on Arteta yet but I’d be surprised to see him again this season. With that potentially being the case, who would you play in the middle against Chelsea?

It’s Chelsea up next and we really are determined to do things the hard way. We need Chelsea to go into our game with an eye on their away trip to Nou Camp, so really a score draw would suit us quite nicely tonight.

Unfortunately we’re looking over our shoulder again, bring on Saturday.

Come on The Arsenal! Seriously come on now!

 

@Tottz82

 

  • SpeedDemon

    Arteta has broken his ankle and is out for 3 months.
    It’s a big blow.

    Every time we play without him or Jack, we have a void in midfield that no one replaces.

    Ramsey is completely out of form too.

    It’s touch and go for the rest of the season – that’s for sure

  • ArseFan101

    You’re right.

    When Arteta came off, we panicked. Completely. I watched the highlights again yesterday and we were all over the place. We lost complete positional sense.

    We acted gung-ho after 10 minutes – you saw Martinez tell his players instructions all the time, you saw them organised and disciplined.

    Has Wenger got any in-game tactical nous at all?
    All he was doing was shouting around and waving his arms.

    What instructions did AOC have when he went on? NONE!
    Yes, we can train, yes we can have good players and coaches, but the manager needs to have more about him, he needs to give direction, not be so panicked all the time.

  • ArseManual

    I think the boss has no choice:

    Ramsey – Song – Rosicky

    I don’t think he can throw in Diaby for Chelsea and with Wilshere, Frimpong, Coquelin, Arteta all injured, there are no other options.

    Benayoun isn’t good in the middle and the Ox is just confused.

    Line up for Sat:

    Szcz
    Sag- Kos – TV5 – Gibbs
    Ramsey – Song – Rosicky
    Theo – VP – Gerv

  • aras

    i was at the game against chelski(h) last season when we beat them 3-1.the main reason for that win was that we pressed them has a team,not individuals, and that’s what we must do saturday lunchtime.i remember us forcing their defence into mistakes on the halfway line,and we scored 2 out of the 3 goals because of that.one of my biggest frustrations is our pressing game, or more to the point the lack of it.sometimes i see us play two different games.on the one hand we will look to press the ball in our opponents half, forcing them may’be to hit long balls and making mistakes with rushed passes. then on the other hand you will see us backing off into our own half, leaving the opponents with the ball.now some might say that in doing that it’s because may’be the team aint good enough to play out but,why oh why, still not press them so that we can win the ball further up the pitch, and in doing so,will get more goals???the great afc under wenger just done that.that was one of the main reasons we could win a game by half time because we would press high up,forcing mistakes,and getting the game won very early on at times.do we have the mobility,strength,desire,attitute, in getting the ball back within 3/4 passes???do we have the athletes in getting round the pitch that we once had.is our fitness levels as good as previous teams???is it because we are reliant on may’be 13/14 players,and then suffer after that because our squad don’t have the strength in depth. any thoughts guys.

  • wayne

    The game was crying out for The Ox, but Weng got his tactics hopelessly wrong again by swapping BennyHill for Eboué-With-a-Syrup, who produced nothing. With less than 20 minutes to go, The Ox came on for the hapless Djourou, and although he started to make things happen, there seemed little support from his team-mates to latch on to anything coming their way. The Odious Chavs must have lapped up tonight’s performance because, unless we raise our game significantly on Saturday, they will run straight through us.

    Finally, let’s dwell on Monday night’s lack of tactics and team management. Pat Rice was content to rest on his sun-lounger all game and Weng seemed to occasionally flap his arms around like a demented penguin and then sit down again. These antics didn’t impress me, nor did they inspire his players. If Weng gave any sort of halftime team-talk, then nobody listened. And it just happened that, sitting in the opposite dugout, we saw a bright young manager, who, with very few resources at his disposal, got his tactics spot-on. If Weng is going to carry on in this vein, perhaps it’s time to seriously consider alternatives.