Sunday, November 05, 2006

Farce and mountains of frustration at Upton Park: where do Arsenal go from here?

Four moments of farce, at least:

1) After a lovely one-two Hleb is played into the box. Spector doesn't foul him, he scythes down Alex, crashing into his ankles, whilst getting the tiniest flick of the ball. Stone-wall penalty. And Spector, already on a yellow, should have been off. But no. No penalty, 11 vs 11, play continues.

2) Kolo scores. He smashes a rasping effort from about forty yards, which slams off the post and in. Everyone in the pub starts celebrating. Except the players aren't. The ball has hit off the back of the post holding the net up, having gone wide by a fraction.

3) Flamini is brought on to shore up the midfield. Again.

4) Marlon Harewood scores and Arsene virtually has a fight with Pardew. I was seething when they scored because I could see it coming: Harewood had already had one clear-cut opportunity stopped by a great save from Jens, and Clichy's marking at the back post is still, often, a little shabby. Its too early to tell why Arsene did what he did, and whilst in many ways I'd love to see him lay out Pardew it's not on. Pardew probably had been goading Arsene at times during the game, and Arsene was no doubt seething from the penalty decision, but its no excuse. Arsene had to be physically restrained, and also started pushing the fourth official about. I was, to be frank, a little shocked.

And we all know the real reason Arsene almost punched Pardew: a rubbish performance. Flabby, overindulgent, and, frankly, not good enough. We all know, and most other Premiership watchers do as well, that we play, on our day, the best football in the league, perhaps in Europe. And its here the free-form jazz analogy that I used before is applicable. At our best -Reading, Old Trafford etc. - we're like John Coltrane, effortlessly ripping through scales of beautiful free-flowing music. At our worst, we're Jazz Club from The Fast Show: bloated, over-complex and perhaps even pretentious.

We need to start scoring scrappy goals; we need an out and out goal scorer that Thierry can link up with up-front. What we don't need is more passing. The passing is fine, the passing is great, but we need to vary the play, mix it up a bit. I'm not defending the morons who shout 'shoot', but with the possession we're having, and the opportunities we either create or should be creating, something isn't clicking in the final third and it needs to be sorted out.

Because we wern't playing an 'eleven-man' defence team today: West Ham came out and played us, and it was an open, exciting game. Yet when our counter attacks started, we were ponderous. Fabregas often took too long on the ball; Rosicky couldn't seem to find a killer ball; Hleb - who is being unfairly substituted too often at the moment - was better, but too often tried to play a 'thread the needle' ball through four defenders, instead of a simple lay-off. Henry was maddening. He seems to be in a bit of a malaise at the moment, perhaps stemming from his role as a leader of the forward line, which he is not taking to on a regular basis. I would have to say, however, that I thought Van Persie played well; his increased passing and distribution was noticeable, and he seemed one of the few midfielders/forwards really fighting for the win. I would hope that the coin thrower is discovered, as well.

The only real positive was a generally good performance from the back-line, and the return of Eboue. Eboue immediately made an impact when he was moved back to right-back, overlapping and causing danger on the right. Hoyte has been good there, but doesn't have the ball skills to be a threat going forward. Kolo was awesome, while Jens, Gallas and Clichy all had good games. My main concern about Clichy is his sometimes sloppy marking at the back post from crosses - something that could cost us more goals.

The most depressing thing about today is the knowledge that Che£sea would have won that match. We don't have their ruthlessness and its costing us games. And if we can't win away matches in London, how our are we going to win matches up North?

Anyway, there goes my relaxed Sunday afternoon.


Anonymous said...

What bothers me most is that Thierry Henry is anonymous in so many games these days. The way we play now just doesn't seem to fit with him. He did virtually nothing today but give the ball away.

We know he is so important to us. He has been the EPL top scorer for so many years now. We just have to find a way to get him back into goal scoring again; we cannot manage without his goals. He says that he now cares more about creating goals but nobody seems to want to score them any more.

Anonymous said...

Im a West Ham fan, and its nice to see someone take the loss gracefully. Can any Arsenal supporter say TRUTHFULLY that Wenger's behaviour was not embarassing?

Anonymous said...

I watched the game in faraway Malaysia. I think Arsenal and Arsene in particular are too obseesed with playing beautiful football but not every team is so naive as to allow you time and space to play your bewitching soccer.
Arsenal need to win and win quickly and ugly if it must be done. Arsene is a great manager. There is no doubt about that.However a great man may not be able to see thru his flaws.
I think after the win at OT Arsenal have found it tough going. Yes we have beaten teams like CA,Sheffield, Reading and Watford.These are teams whhich would hardly send shudders to the elite.I know Chelsea bt Reading after a hard fight.
You seldom or hardly see Arsenal score headers.So one less problem for opposing defenders.
The next four matches will define Arsenal's season. Failure to get a reasonable number of pts will hopefully not encourage supporters to stay awayThe name of the game is winning and not pllying beautiful soccer and having record numbers of shots at goal but not wiining matches.
Yes I do Henry wish would play less fanciful football and less of those flicks.Defenders have wised up to him.

This it the unpalatable truth. Even Mourino knows it.

Goonerboy said...

I want to see exactly what Pardew did to incite Wenger, but I was disappointed by Arsene's reaction.

Anonymous said...

What a load of tosh, I'm living in Sweden and saw the game there, Wenger was right to be infuriated a blatant penalty denied, a blatant foul for a breakaway goal, it was plain to see an Arsenal player on his way up suddenly loses his lega to a West Ham player in a worst postion getting up from the floor, where is the ref, the linesman and their moron of a manager starts celebrating in his face, a cheat of a goal, the next step is for Arsene to start thinking of leaving the premiership when his contract runs out, for how long must he accept such crap-

Goonerboy said...

Yeah, but what I admire about Arsene is his ability to rise above these things, and not sink to the levels of Mourinho. He did that today, no matter what the provocation.

legrandesaucisse said...

I think it was the straw that borke the camels back for AW to be honest. From what I could see Pardew celebrated the goal in his usual fashion which can be annoying to opponents but understandable considering West Ham's season so far.

AW was peeved about the impotence of our importance - yes we played midweek but it was at home and other Champs league teams played and won. The Hleb penalty that wasn't was ridiculous

Anonymous said...

Can someone let me know what happens to match officials who make blunders in a game eg failure to give a penalty,
disallowing a goal which is on side,etc..
I suppose all thes officials have a report card highlighting their strengths and weaknesses.
In today's game can Arsenal seek redress by not wanting the same referee in future matches?
These officials can decide a game.Their decisions . must be spot on

legrandesaucisse said...

Spector should have gone too so West ham got away on 2 counts. The treatment of VP probabyl riled him too. I can see your point though Goonerboy - Wenger never reacts that badly. He is a poor loser but show me a good loser and I will show you a non championship winning manager. Was something untoward said? Pardew was very apologetic afterwards.

Anonymous said...

An under-parr Arse, beaten by a 2 bob team!!!!!!!!!!!

Goonerboy said...

I think Pardew must have done something or he wouldn't have apologised afterwards.

Jackanakanory said...

Have a look at the replays boys, Spector got the ball...Of course only Jamie Redknapp has the balls on sky to admit it.

Just take the defeat like a man Wegner. Suprised he saw the pen claim, never sees anything else.

I am ashamed of the idiot who threw a coin at Van Persie though, annoying as he is thats not the way to do things. I apologise as a Hammer for that.

Pardew didn't have anything to apologise for, is it not allowed to celebrate a 89th min goal vs your london rivals..he offered his hand after the game, Wenger refused, he's the bad guy here not Pardew...

legrandesaucisse said...

Jamie Redknapp has balls? Are you sure?

simonhammer said...

Spot on Jackanakanory. Lets not forget that Bowyer was taken out by Gallas (who got none of the ball) but Wenger and the Arsenal fans conveniently 'deed not see eet'. We have taken 7 points out of a possible 9 off you since our return to the Premiership....I thought you would've been used to it by now!

Goonerboy said...

The Gallas challenge was in no way a penalty. Arsene did not have to see it.

Anonymous said...

Mourinho celebrates & gestures in an arrogant, inciteful way in midweek & even the president of UEFA slates him publicly for it. Pardew shows the same disrespect to an opposing manager & SKY & the BBC are very quick to excuse the actions. What is the difference between Pardew & Mourinho exactly? Oh yes, that's right, he's English so it's all ok.

In fact, what's the difference between Pardew doing this & a player goading opposition fans? Yes, that's right, the player will get booked for inciting the fans because if everyone was allowed to goad the opposition we'd have riots every weekend. There's no excuse for Wenger shoving Pardew but if Pardew is in Wenger's face, in the away technical area, after goading him during the game too, then that needs to be looked at very closely & acted on because that's the exactly the action the FA have legislate against with regards to the players.

simonhammer said...

Yeah...cos Gallas cleanly played the ball without getting anywhere near Bowyer.


Anonymous said...

Pardew apologized so something was said or done. Arsenal were again out muscled and as a gooner 4 ever it is starting to piss me off. To be honest, we need to start hacking players down ourselves. We were a much better side when we had the aggression of Veira and Razor. Other teams dont seem to mind doing it to us so lets give it back. We are not a bad team, I feel we just want to play the perfect pass and when TH14 is in his disinterested state of mind then there is no one to pick up the batton.
Come on Arsenal, we are better than West Ham and Man City. Lets get stuck in. Play Theo and Ali.
Mr Wenger, if Pardew did annoy you, let it go. Pardew says things to get under your skin. He is in the same category as Fat Sam. Dont pull out the handbags. The best thing is for us to give them a hiding at the grove and then lets see his reaction.

Anonymous said...

And with the Scum from the Lane leading Chavski 2-1 the afteroon can hardly get any worse. The truth is that RvP and Thierry can't really play together...two games without a goal and Liverpool next Sunday....

Anonymous said...

Chill, goonerboy, it's gonna come together soon

Anonymous said...

we didnt deserve to win.
dont know about you here is a couple of notes:
A. hoyte has forgotten his role of
running on the wing for hleb.
why not bring eboue on from the start.
B. Wenger, Rosicky, Henry is destroying RvP's game. he is the best Arsenal striker inform at the moment.
he is not a bloody winger!!!
nor he should be playing on the left,he is a center forward with an option to drift to the Right
Henry should not force RVP to the left wing he should be the one running down the left side and cut inside.
and finally rosicky he is no way a central attacking midfielder or so called a second striker in Bergy's role, he is too weak and short for that role. he should learn Bobby's role
of a left midfielder cutting inside and not pushing RVP to the left. and wenger with his 4-5-1 tactics WTF???? Arsenal are a pure 442 team.
but i do concede RVP must improve his passing game overall and the understanding with henry
C.henry in wonderland.
i dont know tired ? maybe...
the first thing i think he should is to stop talking and making friends with every opponent player including bench warmers. he is an Arsenal Captian he should fight for
our team our players and be there.
he isnt focused , losing easy balls, slipping, maybe its the new shoes...(just sayin')
he must take things more on his own.he should stop waiting for balls from Rosicky/Cesc he should take the balls from them and start the running things around.
wake up man!
D. Cesc should take control back of arsenal. he is the main man not rosicky and should tell rosicky to go to god damn flank. he is the boss of arsenal midfield.
E. last but not least... what happend to the double pass???
arsenal have used this routin only once , the result was hleb running inside the hammers's box. arsenal werent flouid they looked like they ran out of ideas.. double passes, quick passes,short passing,
high tempo football.
what's with all that crosses from the wings????? we should keep the ball at our feet much more affective than wasting them ...

these notes are only from this game

Anonymous said...

We do have a midfielder on our books who can in theory mix it up a la Paddy.... It's Abou Diaby... but unfortunately at the end of last season a Sunderland player tried to detatch Diaby's foot at the ankle.... and he's still recovering. But when he is better, hopefully it'll give us aption of a "spikier" midfield if that's what we need...

gazzap said...

we are desparate for some physical players who can mix it up. Diaby is so important. I dont care who gets dropped but diaby HAS to be in the team when fit. Big powerful players are lacking in this current team. ignore the penalty, and flamini coming on late and the wenger spat, why were we so ineffective over the 90 minutes? we are not good enough, simple as that. we do have the players in the squad but they are not in the same team.
The whole Hleb, fab and Rosicky midfield needs to only be played once we are 1-0 up. til then in the prem we need far more steel and fight. after we get a lead they can thrash a team and make it look beautful and easy. until then we need tio scrap with the worst of them.
needless to say, we wont win the league this season. 10 points behind man u and just look how they win even when they play poorly. I cant take any joy from the result at WHL.
Henry is not being used in the right way. its like he is playing for France. he needs to work with a couple of key players. he cant work with RVP. I think rosicky and Adebayor are the key to getting the best from Henry.

Anonymous said...

well u forgot to say west ham outfought arsenal all over the pitch
and Arsene wenger is a poor sport!!
anyway its good for english football that the french were outfought

Anonymous said...

Two games without a goal...let's hope the kids can do it at Everton in midweek...and how about Stokes scoring his second hat-trick on loan in Scotland.Bendtner starring for Brum and Lupoli a cult figure at Derby....

Anonymous said...

hleb misses eboue's penetration down the right..quite why the former came off when the latter ultimately came on is beyond me..most crucially however is the absence of a player we haven't yet seen but who be will crucial.. baptista..rosicky and fab are too similar to play together centrally, however the beast's fave position is the one rosicky is currently occupying and he will provide the power and scoring option we need..when he comes back rosicky has to play on the left and form the relationship with clichy that pires had with cole..with hleb and eboue down the right and rosicky and clichy on the left with the beast powering through the centre we'll be unstoppable again

richy said...

yer the gooners boss never sees anything when the opposition should get a decision. Face it arsenal fans you are all poor losers outfought on the day by a better team not a bunch of spoilt individuals who too easily fall over...haha its getting a good habit taking 3 points of the gooners....

clockend colin said...

why cant arsenal play like west ham with courage and fight.
they fall over expect to get decisions and even little matty ethrington can outmuscle flamini
sheringham came on and we knew west ham were looking to win the game we were just poor on the day and keep missin chances

Anonymous said...

Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya?Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya?
Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya?
Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya?Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya?
Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya?
Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya?Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya?
Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya?
Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya?Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya?
Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya?
Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya?Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya?
Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya? Hooarya?

Anonymous said...

Wenger should have knocked out that fool pardew.I hope west ham are relegated this season.A lucky win today and you think they are the best team in the world.I hope these fools are relegated.

Anonymous said...

We all know west ham are a crap team,pardew is a crap manager and their fans are a bunch of racist thugs.After three weeks they will be back where they belong,the relegation zone.Watch this space.

Anonymous said...

Errrr...... West Ham fans are racist thugs? You should be ashamed of yourself at making such a sweeping generalisastion. I have been to about 150 WHU games and hand on heart I have NEVER heard a racist chant, One or two comments to be sure, but then out of 30,000 odd fans you obviously get some idiots (like the fan who threw the coin at RVP for instance)

You can call us a crap team if you want (even though we have taken 7 out of 9 points from you!) but don't call us racist thugs. Think before you post!

Anonymous said...

West ham fans are not racist thugs.

They are just massively stupid.

First they start off booing Lehman for no apparent reason right from the kickoff.

Then their players start clobbering ours and the fans start booing the players who get clobbered.

Van persie was booed for Spectre stamping on him.

Hleb was booed again for being hacked in the box.

Nice decent behaviour doesnt get rewarded. Maybe Arsenal need players like Essien and Drogba who tackle dirty and dive.

That is what this side is lacking. Vieira would have worked this referee nicely and ensured that penalty was given.

We are just too NICE a side now, and the other teams are taking advantage.

Anonymous said...

Get Aliadere, Bendtler and Lupoli back. We need some real strikers who can put the ball in the net. With the amount of chances we are creating, we are becoming a joke not taking any of them. Henry is becoming really casual in his play I notice too. We need some new blood.

The Muso said...

I've probably come into this too late for anyone to notice, but for me there are a couple of key issues that are worth focusing on (arsenal's performance, not wenger's antics which I missed after I changed the channel in disgust):

Henry/RvP/Rosicky/Hleb/lack of goals: For me TH is not really the issue here. Yes he's been playing like a plonker in the last couple of games, but he has patches like this every season. He's got 5 goals in 8 this season and was so unfit in the first 2 games, I think you can barely count them. My point is that he's still on track to finish at least in the mid 20s this season. The thing about TH is that we've never been able to rely on him to score away from home (except at The Valley) and instead needed the likes of Freddie or Pires to nick one early and lay the platform. This is what isn't happening at the moment.

The problem is that none of Cesc, Gilbs, Hleb or Rosicky are goalscorers. We don't have a midfielder who can nick one! I firmly believe Rosicky will become a player who can contribute 10 a season, the problem is it won't be this season and even then he won't score Freddie goals. Alex Hleb is the best player in the team at the moment (unless I'm watching another game). He's the only one who looks like a game breaker, but because he too is not a goalscorer he needs help, someone to finish his moves for him. What we really lack is someone else who can make the runs for our attacking midfield three. As much as I rate RvP, he is too static and self-reliant (not a criticism) to fill this role. Adebayor has shown glimpses of this ability, but his finishing is often woeful and though I think we'll see him starting now that he's fit, he's got a lot of work to do. We do have the perfect player at the club, unfortunately he's not ready yet and is out on loan at Derby. Arturo my boy, we need you.

Anonymous said...

Despite the (quite infuriating) fact that West Ham seem to raise their game when they play US, I still have rather a soft spot for the Hammer organisation.

Perhaps this stems from the merry Di Canio days, or maybe it is just the fact that West Ham have never bought themselves out of trouble. (until the Mascherano/Tevez travesty of course).

But West Ham has always been a pleasent and decent club to watch with dedicated fans who share support the team despite some considerable hardships. (Imagine losing Rio, Lampard, Carrick, Defoe, Kanoute, Cole. etc. and still keep the faith in your team).

The game this sunday apart (the ill fated nature of which clearly stems from the unrest in the West Ham back room) I will wish the Hammers fans the best of luck, and I hope that you avoid the tragedy that would be, should you be taken over by some Iranian business mogul). Keep your money, and stay away from our game. This is our culture and our lives, not your toys for when you get bored and want think that it might look good on your portfolio.

Let's stamp out the money and greed from the game and clean up everyone's acts (not just Wenger and Pardew's. After all, the only thing they are guilty off is being human and reacting accordingly. They are not the real sinners who should be in the headlines. Kia Joorabchian (or whatever his name is) and Roman should be under scrutiny.

However, that is only my opinion and I could be wrong.

To all a great week.

Gus J.

Anonymous said...

Arsenal's football, while fantastic when being played at its best, is extremely frustrating when all of our wonderful creativity is not complimented with goals. I think I'm with the larger group of fans that would be willing to see us lose a little of our attractive play if more goals were scored and we won more games. There is a silver lining to these frustrating outcomes we have been getting lately. I believe that losses like the ones at West Ham and even moreso Man. City will only help to encourage our young rising superstars to get the one thing that they seemingly lack at the moment - a ruthless attitude towards killing off subpar opponents. I believe in this young Arsenal team. It is capable of achieving more than all the previous winning teams we have had. The hard lessons they are learning will fuel their ambitions and force them to become winners or else they will not make it at the club. I know it is not Mr. Wengers style but a blowdryer treatment may just jumpstart our scoring. The diplomatic method is not making us any tougher or better at taking our chances. Our ratio of goals vs chances must dramatically improve if we are to realize our full potential. I believe it will get better. We have too many smart players to think that they will be content with the current ratio. When that happens some helpless opponent will be on the wrong end of an absolute avalanche of goals from These Young Gunners.


Anonymous said...

I was there yesterday and it was clear to me, penalty or no penalty, that we didn't deserve anything from that game. We need to face facts - we were outmuscled in midfield again and we can't hide behind the normal excuses about the other team not trying to play football because west ham did make a game of it, we just didn't respond. We created two, maybe three chances at most and Henry was, again, largely anonymous. When you go away from home in the premiership you need more muscle in midfield as it's vital to stamp your authority on this area early on. this is what Vieira was of course so good at. It's less important in europe as teams allow you more space to play in midfield as the game is more technical and less about pressing the guy on the ball. It's no coincidence we won at OT as their midfield is currently not up to it but god help us when we play chelsea.

Playing hleb and rosicky in the same midfield doesn't work except in europe or at home. You have to have someone like diaby (when fit again) or the beast (when he's back) to play there at places like bolton, boro, west ham. If you're playing a 5-man midfield, still the best option, then you'll have room for cesc, VP, and one of either hleb or rosicky and/or freddie. we'll have more options at any rate. There's no cause for panic but we have to LEARN from this.

Coin throwing apart, I was impressed with west ham yesterday, if they keep playing like that they won't struggle this year.

Anonymous said...

West Ham will be relegated next year :) Come on you spurs

grammarboy said...

I'm starting to think Arsenal 3 is a red herring - a place marker to keep us happy while our real kids grow up. I mean it's a good team, but what about Arsenal 4?
Traore, Djourou, Senderos, Eboue.
Walcott, Muamba, Fabregas, Merida.
Bendter, Lupoli/Stokes

BronxArse said...

It's strange to suggest such an "English" solution for a non-English team, but...Arsenal have to play a 4-4-2. Instead of all these guys out on loan as a line-leading striker, they should pin their hopes on "The Beast" Baptista.

The strange thing is that this has LONG been Arsenal's problem (remember the laughable "solution"--the "fox in the box" Jeffers?)

Interestingly, Henry has the same problem that Rooney had for England in the world cup: he likes to play deep, which means it doesn't work so well to play up front all alone. As with Rooney, Henry would benefit with ANY line-leading striker to let him sit deep, collect the ball, and run at the defense. (Hey, as with England, is Defoe...? No, kidding!)

RvP won't work, because he ALSO likes to play deep. So, it's Baptista. It's the beast! (Wait, last I heard it was just some little hamstring thing, I didn't miss something more serious, did I?) I know this could rub some people the wrong way, but he reminds me a little bit of ... Drogba. Just a monstrous guy to lead the line and smash in goals.

Like I said, they need ANYBODY who is a real line-leading striker. Wenger should just hold his nose and buy somebody like Andy Johnson. I know Arsene wouldn't like a bald, diving, *Englishman*, but (hypothetically speaking) if Johnson had been leading the line all season, I think Arsenal would be right up at the top of the table with Man U and Chelsea.

I don't think Baptista or Johnson are over-elaborating types. Right now Arsenal are all butterfly and no bee, all foreplay and no f***.

Deise Gooner said...

i agree bronxarse, The Beast is the powerful direst player we need. We have a team of creators who like to play intricate football and can over elaborate some times. The Beast looks a very direct player that can barge his way to some goals. He can play central and let Henry do his magic from deep and cutting in from out wide. Thats the Henry that wins games, not the lone central player he is at the moment.

gazzap said...

see how real madrid have turned it around from being too easy to outfight to being the best in spain again with only bringing in a big strong midfield pairing? they already had most of the players good enough to win La Liga there, they just needed to be nitted together in the right way. thats all that Arsenal need now.