Arsenal 3 – 3 Fulham: Where has our Arsenal gone?

I’m sorry, but I can’t endure this week in and week out. It’s horrible, it’s not on, and as an Arsenal fan, it’s torture. How can we have a team as bad as this, where we simply cannot do anything. This season is by far the worst season for Arsenal and Arsene. Despite the random victories… the general consensus is that we can’t really play that well.

In this league, you get what you deserve and we deserved only a point from this game.

Arsene decided to re-instate Coquelin to the starting XI and continue with Vermealen and Podolski on the left. The starting line up was:

Mannone

Sagna – Mertersacker – Koscielny – Vermaelen (c)

Arteta – Coquelin

Walcott – Cazorla – Podolski

Giroud

Ramsey and Santos aren’t in favour with the fans and the manager left them both on the bench. It looked like the best team we could field, which says something quite big  about the quality or lack of quality that we have at the Arsenal. We were very fortunate to go 2-0 up with goals from Giroud and Podolski. Walcott being instrumental in the game. An assist from the Englishman and another one for Arteta.

But from 2-0 up, we found ourselves 2-2 at half time. Some shocking defending and some shocking goalkeeping allowed Berbatov and Kacaniklicto show their class, with Ruiz pulling the string. Their first came from a corner when Berba knocked it in – unmarked 10 yards out – and the equaliser through Kacaniklic when Berba threw the ball back in the middle.

Some silly defending saw Arteta in trouble in the box and all he could do was foul his man, conceding a penalty, which saw Fulham go 3-2 up.

The man of the moment, Olivier Giroud soon equalised through some excellent work which saw him through on goal. He hit the post and the ball went out to Theo who spun it onto the head of Giroud who equalised with a thumping header.

And at 3-3, you expected us to press on – that we did… but we couldn’t find the break-through. On the 94th minute, we were fortunately awarded a penalty. Did we deserve it? No. Could we score it? Let’s see. My faith of our team made me send the following tweet before the penalty was taken.

Is that a penalty to Arsenal on the 94th minute? No way. Does anyone on the pitch have the bottle to take it? Nope. Doubt it.

And Arteta duly stepped up and fluffed it. 3-3 it ended.

Arsene spoke about the game afterwards and looked at the positives:

It was frustrating because we had the opportunities to win the game. We were caught in a bit too comfortable a position because we did the most difficult thing – we scored two goals to go 2-0 up, we were at home and yet at half-time we found ourselves at 2-2. At that moment we lacked urgency defensively. In the second half we gave absolutely everything and I have to give credit to the players, in the last three games what they have done physically is amazing. Even at 3-2 down we didn’t give up and continued to go forward and we had the chances to win the game.

My thoughts?

Well, personally, I don’t think we’re good enough at the moment. We’re not quite hitting the heights as we should. Conceding three goals at home is not good – it’s simple. We’re missing Alex Song. Arteta is suffering. The rest of the team are struggling.

I’d prefer to see one or two players come in and add to the team. We’re not going to do much with the current team, it doesn’t quite have the cutting edge that we need. We’ve got a lot of quality, don’t get me wrong, but the team is missing the special something or someone to drive the team forward and protect the back four.

Is Jack Wilshere the savior? Only time will tell.

Til tomorrow.

  • steven

    what a shambles we are.at this moment in time it seems to me that wenger has lost the dressing room.the players have to be held accountable as well because their are not performing for the shirt.there seems to be a lack of structure in our attacking and defensive play and wenger cannot keep on making excuses for it.i ask myself a lot of questions as to why wenger cannot sort this out.is he past it???can he honestly get a squad to challenge anymore??as he lost the xfactor in knowing what we need to compete???why is he so inept at tactics and team selection???don’t get me wrong i’ll always be a fan of the man who made modern afc,but it’s getting tedious hearing his excuse now.why doesn’t he change our team formation.why does he continue to to hammer our defensive play without knowing how to sort it out.i heard stuart robson say that wenger does not like confrontation with players.is he to nice.does he want to please everyone by not putting the team first.why does he continue to ignore our keeper situation when its plain to see that mannone,fabianski are not good enough.mannone once again left a soft goal in and a top class keeper saves that.why can’t we raid swansea for michel vorm and get in someone who can challenge szczesny for the no1 shirt.is he that blind and blinckered that one can’t see it isn’t good enough for afc standards. if we get 4th spot and a league cup it will be a good season,but we all know it aint good enough.we want to challenge for the prem lge and champs lge.at this moment we are miles of and it’s getting worse not better each season.if wenger don’t spend any of the 70m burning away in the afc bank account then i can’t support him anymore.that hurts me to say that because the man will always be my hero for what he’s done in terms of loyalty and the history he’s created at the club.we are in crisis thats for sure.

  • Arsefan101

    Wenger is blinded by the potential of this team.
    We need better players – simple as.

  • Chizzle

    This club is in crisis.
    We need help. Thierry come back and sort it out!!!

  • CON-MAN

    CO

  • worldofarsenal

    I agree that there is a tactical and quality deficiency at the moment.
    It’s quite worrying. Players will help, but we need to figure out who / where / how.

  • CON-MAN

    Apologies for the mis-post below, was a bit of a r-tard moment.

    Re the post, fully agree with you Dev, no idea how this has gone so wrong. Looking back, last year was really the beginning of the end. You look at this team and we are just so sloppy, no killer instinct, we seem to have lost our juice.

    I’ve never been one to boo the players or start the ‘Sack AW’ chants, but to be honest I am getting more than sick of it. The last few years I’ve been indifferent to us selling all our best players, but now its actually hit me and I’ve had enough. Is AW failing to inspire the players? Because if he is then maybe this is it. Make no mistake we have good players but there seems to be something missing. At 2-0 I thought we’d walk all over Fulham, but there were sloppy passes (I can’t remember who lost the ball for Fulhams 2nd goal), players not clearing the lines, just a bunch of elementary ‘Eboue’ type mistakes (Arteta penalty).

    Onto the bigger problems, Henry Winter did a really good piece last week in the Telegraph, the whole culture of our club seems to have gone backwards. Arshavin top earner on 80k, yet doesn’t start a game? All this haggling over Theo (who will probably leave) when he’s given us a good spart. Why does AW refuse to play him up front? Why do we leave it until players are in the last year of a contract before we do anything about it?

    I know this review was about the Fulham game but all these issues are coming up again and again and it just seems as if nothing is being done about it. Now I am actually starting to become legitimately annoyed at AW and I am beginning to feel as if I dont even want to watch Arsenal play. This year will be a massive slog

  • Steven

    hello Dev. I’ve read your comments for some time now, but this is the fiorst time i’m writing.

    After many years, I think Arsenal have to realise that an era has ended. Wenger was the best man fior the job, but I now have to question his leadership. I think the players have stopped respecting him and are using the training as prepration for the ‘big time’. We cannot keep players because they have no intention of staying. Walcott is stalling, so the obvious choice is to get him out in January for cash. Thats a good financial tactic; but it won’t help our team.

  • ramlie

    so where is the damn youth system??? we feed them with skills and sell them???

  • sevin

    The imminent departure of Theo is yet another example of how crass Ivan
    is. In my view Walcott is the last of our ‘fantasy’ players: watching
    yesterday’s game, only HE made the heart race whenever he got the ball.
    Yes, Jack may become one, and yes, perhaps even Ox may become one – but
    right now Theo is our only gamechanger, the only player we have who can
    do exceptional things beyond the reach of most pro footballers. We once
    had an abundance of ‘fantasy’ players: several have been sold off these
    past fifteen months. And soon, it seems, the last of them will go – and
    prerhaps, for nothing. Ivan? He is NOT a football person, nor a fan. Did
    HIS heart race last season when Robin scored yet another stunning goal?
    You must be kidding!

  • worldofarsenal

    Thanks all for your replies & comments. I will reply at lunchtime today!

  • sean

    More wingers? Give me a break! We have Ligue 1 top scorer, one of Germany’s top
    striker and our problem is up front? One of Belgium’s top defenders and two of
    France’s back line and we think that is the problem? Carzola and Wilshere in
    midfield is the envy of many teams. It is the lousy tactics that is he problem,
    or should I say: Wenger! – Brilliant Orange, Auckland, New Zealand, 12/11/2012
    7:31 As I’ve said before, once the players are on the pitch they have to take a
    lot of responsibility. Top class players should be able to adapt to the
    situation. The defence was at fault for the 1st 2 goals, NOT tactics. Arteta’s
    penatly was SAVED, NOT tactics! You dying wish appears to be to get rid of Wengy
    and then all will be rosy. WAKE UP! Take of those blinkers and see what’s
    happening. Constant sniping and cursing at Wengy makes you look a myopic,
    obsessed fool.

  • limet

    Disagree… Problems with the club are as follows:-
    1) Wenger is under no pressure as a manager- He earns the highest salary
    in the PL yet has not won anything for 7 going on 8 years. Where else
    would such failure be rewarded so highly. the reason for this lack of
    pressure is that he makes the board millions, year on year through
    player sales. It is not in their interests to tell Wenger, a professor
    of economics that his strategies/tactics/team selection and transfer
    policy need to change.
    2)Mediocrity is rewarded far too highly. Average players being paid
    ridiculous sums of money a week which prevents us from paying the likes
    of RVP what he deserves. We sold our one world class player to our main
    rivals. Lunacy.
    3)We continue to operate the club in the environment of 10 years ago,
    pre Sheikh and Russian Billionaire involvement. We believe that as we
    are the Arsenal our “model” deserves to win trophies. Sorry, it does
    not.

    We need.

    1) Kroenke, Peter Hill Wood and Gazidis (or sideline him into corporate
    sponsership) out. Usmanov to take over and David Dein back in. I know,
    we don’t like the Russian Oligarchs “sort” but if you can’t beat them,
    join them.
    2)Having actioned point 1, Wenger either needs to fundamentally change
    his policies or be fired. Then get Guardiola in. (I still think that
    having cut his teeth at Ajax DB10 could be a long term shout as well
    with Bouldy-look what they did to City.
    3) Remove the mediocrity-Chamakh, Squid, Santos, Arshavin (albeit Wenger
    ruined him) et al. Reinvest the money saved on their wages into
    marquee signings.
    4)Make the Emirates a fortress-teach defence and the value of a nil
    goals against.

    Until and unless the above happens whilst I will continue to support
    Arsenal as a club I cannot and will not be supporting the current regime
    because this is dragging down our once proud and successful club into
    obscurity and irrelevance.

  • limet

    The truth is next Saturday’s game means very little – apart from playing
    for a bit of pride. It will not be a turning point or catalyst if we
    win. And if we lose we will hear the usual “we must show a good response
    in the next game”. Of course this lot (especially the manager) have no
    pride, no fight and no shame. That was evident after the 8-2 last
    season. Wenger should have walked then. I truly find it unbelievable
    that the Club are talking about giving him a new contract. He must be
    the only manager in the country that has zero pressure on him to perform
    season after season. He then extends this cosy little arrangement to
    the players, who equally get new contracts and pay rises for failure.
    Contrast Wenger’s reaction to Arteta missing the penalty yesterday with
    that of Alex Ferguson when Rooney missed his recently. It went something
    like this; Wenger: “you can’t blame Arteta. Who has not missed a
    penalty?”. Whereas Ferguson said, “Rooney misses too many penalties. I
    have spoken to him. He won’t miss another!”. One is a winner the other
    is a loser. It does not take a genius to work out which is which. The
    fact that so many fans are prepared to put up with this and continue to
    support Wenger (more than the Club in many instances) is extraordinary
    and depressing.

  • mike

    Spot on.

    Win on saturday and it will be ‘There’s Only One Arsene Wenger’ and we’ll back to it being the game that changed our season like last year
    (and where did that get us 12 months later – still a small, unambitious
    selling club)

    Lose and we’ve slipped even further down the slope
    that this owner and management team seem hellbent on taking us to the
    bottom of. Makes me laugh when I see people saying that defeat here will
    be the catalyst for change – when you’ve been rodded 8-2, become the
    first PL team to throw away a 4 goal lead, chucked away a 4-2 lead in
    injury time against the Spuds, suffered the most abject defeats to the
    likes of Blackburn, Norwich, Wigan, QPR, Stoke, Bolton etc year after
    year……people still hold out hope that the next defeat will see
    Wenger off.

    If he makes Kroenke another 10m in January selling
    Walcott and promoting Gnabry, he’ll have achieved the board’s ambition
    and as long as we’re within a handful of points off 4th he won’t have
    the slightest bit of pressure on his shoulders. Why? Because there’s
    always an excuse that the Board buy into (and the majority of fans do
    too). Yesterday apparently we showed ‘a good fighting spirit’ and ‘what
    the players have done in the last week physically is amazing’

    There’s
    an international friendly to blame this week and I would say even if we
    get humped next week, which in all probability we will (I say 1-3),
    then beat Montpellier and Gazidis and Kroenke will be jerking themselves
    off that another £x million from CL Group qualification has been
    achieved.

    Keep filling the stadium, keep finishing 4th and
    individual humiliating defeats that matter a lot to us supporters will
    continue to be glossed off by the club’s management.

    FFS – if the
    guy didn’t have the humility to walk away when we lost 8-2 then the
    shameless tosser won’t give a flying if we suffer a 3 goal defeat to the
    Spuds

  • worldofarsenal

    I have say you have some very valid points there.

    AW has had the luxury of no-pressure after a great start to his tenure at the club. The game has changed now.

    Even though there are some constraints due to the stadium build, these constraints do not cover up the following facts:

    – Arsene has bought the players he has at his disposal

    – Arsene has failed to teach them tactically what they should be doing

    – Arsene has failed to recruit the correct personnel – sale of Alex Song point of matter

    – Arsene constantly plays players out of position (Ramsey RM, Arteta DM)

    – Arsene has failed to motivate his players for games – you can see this in the lack of performance.

    The question is – if Arsene is culpable, then what next?
    It would be harsh to sack him – but ultimately, in any job, you can’t do too much. You can’t be in control of the team, train the team, think tactics, manage budgets, sort out tactics, sort out contract renewals etc.

    Arsene is trying to do too much and it’s really starting to gnaw at the team.

    With these players at the club, the Cazorla’s, Podolskis, Artetas etc – we should be doing much better.

    DB10 is definitely a candidate!

  • worldofarsenal

    The project youth was only really there to get us through the stadium overhaul.
    We’re done with it now I suppose.

  • worldofarsenal

    Hi Steven and thank you for the comment.

    I think we’re finally nearing that dangerous place. Yes, Arsene has given us so much over the years, but I think he’s lost the “on-field” ability. He can’t seem to motivate or tactically train the current group of players, and this is the frustrating part. Keep Arsene at the club, let him carry on doing everything he is doing, but get in a coach who can motivate the players and push them forward.

  • worldofarsenal

    Where is the focus from the team? It’s missing.
    Where is the desire from each and every team member to get better, work harder and launch attacks? It’s missing.
    Where is the tactical awareness about how to position ourselves when other teams attack? It’s missing.

    The question is why are our players so lacking in these core abilities.
    Arsene has done great historically – and the current team of players has ability, no doubt, but they need to be better generally and this is the worry – that they can’t raise their game. The worry is that there is no second gear.

    Let’s see what happens in the next couple of games. I really hope the Ox and Jack can come back and inspire this team.

  • CON-MAN

    I mean theres a fine line between criticising players/people in public – sometimes its called for, other times it isn’t. I would however like to see AW chew out his players a bit more because there does not seem to be any accountability

  • seamus

    Great post. The truth is next Saturday’s game means very little – apart
    from playing for a bit of pride. It will not be a turning point or
    catalyst if we win. And if we lose we will hear the usual “we must show a
    good response in the next game”. Of course this lot (especially the
    manager) have no pride, no fight and no shame. That was evident after
    the 8-2 last season. Wenger should have walked then. I truly find it
    unbelievable that the Club are talking about giving him a new contract.
    He must be the only manager in the country that has zero pressure on him
    to perform season after season. He then extends this cosy little
    arrangement to the players, who equally get new contracts and pay rises
    for failure. Contrast Wenger’s reaction to Arteta missing the penalty
    yesterday with that of Alex Ferguson when Rooney missed his recently. It
    went something like this; Wenger: “you can’t blame Arteta. Who has not
    missed a penalty?”. Whereas Ferguson said, “Rooney misses too many
    penalties. I have spoken to him. He won’t miss another!”. One is a
    winner the other is a loser. It does not take a genius to work out which
    is which. The fact that so many fans are prepared to put up with this
    and continue to support Wenger (more than the Club in many instances) is
    extraordinary and depressing.

  • seamus

    The reality is that last season there wasn’t much separating us and the
    Spuds as proven by the fact that we were a West Brom goal away from them
    finishing above us on the final day. They beat us at their place, we
    beat them at ours

    We all know that RvP was the difference between
    the two sides – they had Adebayor with his usual irritating
    inconsistency and an alienated Defoe, we had the best striker in the PL
    with a bunch of no-marks backing him up. The bloke who scored a goal out
    of nothing when we were 1-2 at home to them just before half time last
    season and was the difference for us in so many games. Who is going to
    score a goal like that for us this time? Possibly Cazorla, that’s it.
    Certainly not any of our strikers – back to goal, roll the player and
    score a perfect curled finish from outside the box – Giroud, Walcott,
    Chamakh? I think not.

    They’ve kept their two strikers, we’ve sold
    ours and replaced him with another no-mark. They will almost
    undoubtedly strengthen their squad in January and we will not (we’ll
    weaken ours by selling the only remaining quick forward we have)

    This
    will finally be the season they overtake us in the PL. Depressing but
    how I see it. They finished 4th last season and weren’t satisfied
    because in their minds they should have been 3rd at worst. Liverpool
    fired their manager on the back of two cup finals because the League
    performances weren’t good enough. We, on the other hand, celebrated like
    a non-League team reaching the 1st round of the FA Cup on the back of
    3rd place and an abject showing in the cups. We’ll reward the bloke
    responsible with a new contract. At least Liverpool and Spurs have done
    something about what they perceive to be under-achievement – none of us
    know whether it will work, only time will tell – but better to try and
    fail than to die wondering eh?

  • JAT

    A lot of brutal but honest opinions on here. I remain a part of Team Keep Wenger because I don’t believe he is responsible for all the disappointment and I don’t believe there is a better manager out there available to replace him, whether that be because they are already under contract at a big club or because they would turn Arsenal down having not been offered big money to spend during transfer windows. The club has repeatedly stated that its hands are tied until 2014, by which time FFP will be in place and the commercial deals renewed. If all goes to plan (and their lack of a plan B I find highly disturbing I must say) then we will be very rich indeed, with lots of money to spend. Able to bring in the players that City and Chelsea are because we can match the transfer fee and wages. That situation is not going to change. We’re stuck with this misery until 2014. With that in mind, I cannot see how sacking Wenger would help because he gets us into the UCL every year somehow. If plan A doesn’t work then there will be mutiny at the club, that is for certain.

  • worldofarsenal

    But this team needs motivation, desire, passion and the ability to defend!!

  • cheesytraveller

    JAT i can see your point but surely by the time we get to 2014 we will be a middle league club and STILL struggling with the likes of fulham and norwich!!

    when will the club wake up and realise that!!

    I spend all the summer working abroad and i had to sit in a room full of manc supporters and endure the whooping they dished out to us last year and the reality of it is every game we play every supporter must now be nervous of which team is going to walk out the tunnel!! we are never the same team twice!!

    All the hype about Bouldy coming in and teaching our defence how to defend gave us false hope……. there is clearly a issue there somewhere!!

    I have defended wenger on EVERY occasion to which ever fan wants to have a pop at him but its getting to the point where even i cant!!

    Something needs to change and soon!!

  • steven

    Up until fairly recently I couldn’t wait to read any Autobiography Arsene Wenger would write. However, given all the bollocks he’s spouted over the last couple of years, when he does eventually release his memoirs I have serious doubts if I’ll even bother to get a copy. Given some of the ludicrous things he’s come out and said, God only knows what bull-shite he’d fill it with.

  • yemi

    I think the problem we have now is the midfield. I think things will improve with jack in the midfield. There is so much pressure or santi to create from the midfield and when he is marked out, nobody does the job.
    I think Ramsey is no longer the same player we used to compare with cesc(i have no idea how that happened). Podolski is too busy assisting the defense (when santos or vermaleen play left back) to offer much in terms of attack.
    Gibbs offers much in attack and we are missing that.
    We played well @ the start of the season because gervs was making those runs into the area giving the defences one more problem to worry about.
    our problem? central midfield and left back.

  • limet

    Has there ever been a more depressed mood around the EMIRATES
    even with the SPUDS game up if there has been its befor my time and I
    have been watching arsenal since 1978 and this season must rank as one
    of the worst. What good is it showing a £45m profit when u have fans
    hating the chairman, board and turning on the manager and the players.
    Don’t be fooled Wenger has as much say in the policy so dont make
    Gazidis the scapegoat as he was brought in to execute orders he is only
    the pawn in all of this. I frankly cant see us winning on saturday and
    actuall i dont care because the clubs ambitions and those of the fans
    are not alligned what is more important is to see Arsenal fans stand up
    for the rights we pay these people we have made this happen yet we are
    all being treated with contempt. It is time to drive change by making
    our disgruntled voices heard at the EMIRATES. I have never been so angry
    with how this club is being managed