Saturday, December 30, 2006

An embarrassing, disgraceful defeat to end the year.

Unlike the Premiership, Goonerboy decided to have a bit of a Christmas break - hence the lack of posts of late. But after a performance like that, comments are mandatory.

What an abject performance. Spineless, bloated, over-elaborate rubbish. I'm not sure if our players realised it, but trying to play one-touch football on a first world war-esque quagmire doesn't work. Especially when you have players of the touch of Baptista and Aliadiere playing.

Yes we had injuries. But so did Sheffield. And moreover we had the entirety of the summer to create a squad which could compete when these injuries occurred, and Arsene/the Board didn't get enough quantity of quality in. When you're down to the last ten minutes of a game you're scrapping desperately to win in wet southern Yorkshire, you don't want an 19 year old debutant to come on; although at least Denilson actually bothered to put a shot in on goal and at least try to test the outfield player that Sheff had been forced to put between the sticks.

What were our players thinking when Kenny went off injured? It would seem not, 'lets not get some quick shots in on goal to try and catch out a player who isn't a goalkeeper'. They seemed more along the lines of, lets try and play one-touch along the penalty box-line, let the Sheff players get back in depth, and then lose the ball. I'm not one of those people who normally scream 'Shooooot' every time we over-elaborate our play, but the match was crying out for some incisiveness today that we seemed incapable of producing.

There were more than a few culprits for our malaise, and names should be named.

Tomas Rosicky was over-elaborater in chief. After a stunning early goal in the season, all my fears about him being played out of position, and needing time to acclimatise to the Premiership have come to pass. He's good enough, but he's not a left winger, and he needs to simplify things sometimes. Why can' Arsene buy players and play them were they want to be played? Is it so much to be asked?

Jeremie Aliadiere is not good enough to play for us, nor will he become so. His first touch was dire, and he didn't really look a threat. Van Persie can do everything Aliadiere does with considerably more skill and aplomb. To have Bendtner out on loan when we're crying out for a half decent striker is madness.

Julio Baptista seemed to think you get five minutes before a challenge in the Premiership. He grew considerably during the match today, but what was he doing stuck out on the left wing? Again, he's a central player, played out of position, acclimatising to the premiership. He should be running directly at people, down the middle. And speeding up his thought to action process considerably.

Justin Hoyte is not good enough. His positioning is poor, he doesn't get forward, he gives the ball away cheaply. I know Eboue and Lauren are injured, but Eboue isn't good enough either, and loaning out Kerry Gilbert seems almost capricious in the circumstances. We need a new right back.

Gael Clichy was better but we need another left back. Knowing Arsene, it'll be Gareth Bale, but we need someone now as well as for the future.

The rest didn't cover themselves in glory but wern't awful. Kolo is beginning to worry me at centre back; he sometimes really does look like a midfielder playing in defence, relying on his recovery speed too much. RvP's petulance was annoying but I'd be frustrated to play to in a team like the one Arsene put out today. Flamini was anonymous which was unacceptable given the opposition.

The cold, hard fact-of-the-matter is that we couldn't beat a stand in keeper playing for a bottom four side today. That is not good enough and something must change more profoundly than just waiting for injured players to come back. Our squad, once the bones are picked away, is too light-weight, too many youngsters of unproven ability. Sure we've scrapped wins against Watford and Wigan away recently, but we're in fifth, 17 points off the top and I foresee a desperate struggle for a Champions League place yet again materialising. I expected a little more than that this year.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

All too true, except I think you let Flamini's dire performance off too lightly, and Clichy was comical at times.

I predicted that we wouldn't have a shot in the last half hour once Kenny was forced off, and I was more or less right. 4th is going to be a struggle.

El Cid said...

That was the worst Arsenal performance I have ever seen under Wenger.
We need some bottle and bite in the middle, some English graft and will to win.
But in truth every aspect of our game was shit. Words fail me.
Don't laugh, but Joey Barton, Kevin Nolan.. someone like that would be a welcome addition to our squad.
As for Aliadiere.. don't get me started

littlefire said...

harsh but true.

Stian said...

Clichy is an excellent left back, but we do need cover for him yes! But to say we need to replace half our squad based on todays performance is just silly! Yes Hoyte isn't good enough, but he is, after all, our third choice at right back. And it's not really realistic to think that we could lure any better fullbacks to the club as third choice players at a position. Eboue tends to be sloppe defensively, but that will improve. And Lauren is a world class fullback. So, i don't think right back is our main position of concern right now!

But you have a point, Wenger has a nasty habit of playing some players out of position. Baptista is certainly not a wide man, I do believe he can become an excellent player for us. IF Wenger plays him in a more central role that is.

Aliadiere had a good effort in the first half, but he seems a bit lightweight. Today he didn't really get any service either. And v.Persie didn't to anything at all, except that shot at 84' where the 'keeper' punched it over for a corner.

All in all, a dissapointig display, but nothing more that I have come to expect against these physical sides on the road.

Kiwigooner said...

Your comments are very accurate - especially why we hang onto Aliadiere and leave Bendtner, Stokes and Lupoli out on loan. Even that dickhead Ferguson has the brains to bring Rossi back to Manure. AW is of course a genuis, but there are times when he sticks far too hard to his principles. He should swallow his pride and pull at least one of our 'on loan' strikers back - and ditch Aliadiere for once and for all.
The ONLY thing that I liked about today was that Denilson has finally moved ahead of Song in the pecking order, and in his brief 10 minutes, even on that bog of a pitch, he showed a couple of nice touches.
The comments above about getting a new right back are correct - Hoyte is 3rd choice and always will be I fear. We do miss Gallas don't we.

radgoon said...

Agree with El Cid. Joey Barton is just what we need on nights like this. Not the likes of Flamini and Song.

Anonymous said...

u lot r so out ov order on wenger .. avv u forgotten what his done for us? he brought cesc fabregas and robin van persie to the club for next to nothing and they are bound to be along with the greatest players in the world. Also toure and eboue, toure being in my opinion the best defender in the premiership, and eboue one ov the best right backs, even though he hasent been at his best lately. and i suppose you have just all forgot about our terrific performance against manchester united who are top of the prem, reading, blackburn, tottenham and liverpool. and flamini, okay he isent a steven gerrard but his very capable ov filling in for either cesc or gilbrto. just wait for the likes of henry, gallas and eboue get back, thierry and robin are a dream partnership with a very good replacment in ade, fab and gilberto in midfield is proberly one ov the best in the world. toure and gallas which is also sure to be the bestin the world etc. Just stop being harsh on wenger, we would propberly be in the relegation zone if it wasent for him.

fbaptist said...

Does anyone know if we can survive a season or two without Champions' League Football? What with the humongous stadium loan and player salaries and all I'm just a little concerned that we could go the way of Leeds United. I've at last come to the conclusion that as a fan for over 27 years now I've got to decide whether or not to accept what is now very obvious or to just ditch this frustrating team and move on. Unfortunately, old habits die hard and so my decision is to continue to support this team but I will have to be content with watching very entertaining football most of the time but not win another trophy. At least I can be entertained while I watch the team hoping that once in a while we'll fluke a trophy like the Carling Cup or the F.A. Cup. Afterall, when I first supported the team in 1979, I guess I would have been very happy with this arrangement but then I allowed myself to be spoiled by the great 1997-98 team and actually thought this team could go on and be a juggernaut just like Man Utd had done. Mark Twain has said that to do the same thing over and over again and to expect different results is the definition of insanity, I guess I support an insane team. Why don't we have a plan B? Everybody and their mum knows how to beat us but we do nothing different. But before I get too worked up, I must remember my decision to support the team no matter what and so I regretfully accept that I have made the mistake of expecting way too much. And so I have no complaints and I'll enjoy the free-flowing champagne football of my team while reminiscing from time to time of that great bygone era when we actually went through a season undefeated. Alas, those days are gone and as the team in so one-dimensional these days, I'll not make the mistake of raising my hopes again of any trophies and as long as we get the requisite 42 points to ensure survival each season I'll be a happy camper.

Anonymous said...

oooohh wat a load of crap. indeed beaten by a stronger team in every department. Even their stand in keeper was better than the stroppy sulker.
WE ARE CRAP AND GONNA DROP DOWN THE LEAGUES LIKE DEAD WEIGHTS

xol said...

We have been let down by the board who said that going to the new stadium would be a financial success and give us more spending power.NOW THEY SAY THERE IS NO MONEY,although our debt has been rearanged over 25 years at 15 miilion a year,we sold 9,000 club seats and boxes for 30 million yearly, 37,000 season tickets bring in 40 million, and 23,000 general tickets 25 milion, plus champions league, tv rights and merchandising how can we not have money. We need one player of steel like Viera was, Gallas and Lauren will make a big difference, but we have gone backwards this year we cannot compoete when we go up north or we play an agresive team.Wenger is blind, Aladiere and Song are useless, Hoyte is good for championship football, Ebuoe is good going forward but lousy in defence,Toure and Cesc are both tired and need a rest.Lehman is eratic. but Ade, RVP. have improved and Gilberto is rock solid, our total squad is too weak.Davbid Dein nneds to explain whts going on, we must always be in top four and compete in europe

gabriel teo said...

flamini is weak, has no skills, control, pace whatever.. the worst ever player to ever play for arsenal. wenger should have bought cris ronaldo when he was at sporting whatever the price. and loaning reyes out was a poor decision.
the team should look like this-----------

lehmann
eboue/lauren- toure- gallas- clichy
ronaldo- fabregas- gilberto- reyes
van persie/adebayor- henry

subs: hleb, rosicky, walcott, denilson, ljungberg, djourou, diaby

transfers: aa world class keeper, someone in the vieira mould, a world class leftback and left winger. and bring back brendtner, stokes, laursson

gabriel teo said...

flamini is weak, has no skills, control, pace whatever.. the worst ever player to ever play for arsenal. wenger should have bought cris ronaldo when he was at sporting whatever the price. and loaning reyes out was a poor decision.
the team should look like this-----------

lehmann
eboue/lauren- toure- gallas- clichy
ronaldo- fabregas- gilberto- reyes
van persie/adebayor- henry

subs: hleb, rosicky, walcott, denilson, ljungberg, djourou, diaby

transfers: aa world class keeper, someone in the vieira mould, a world class leftback and left winger. and bring back brendtner, stokes, laursson

Anonymous said...

i watched the SU game live from Melbourne Oz at 4-15am, and sick to stomach... work in tier 1 corporate and it's vitally clear if a business (aka football team) does not innovate and adapt to the market they compete it's going down quickly.

There is no point being the best in corporate governance, compliance, etc while your sales and revenue are shocking... and dear Arsenal is just that, shocking.

With the ambition of a new stadium etc, one would have expected better tactical measures in retaining position, if not attacking the title immediately. We are losing it if the like of SU could so easily had a go and surprisingly and actually made it.

Corporate brings in consultants to do review and re-org and inevitably heads roll... and that;s exactly what we need, to show intent if not anything else. Many have aired their opinions and mine is rather simple,

Short term [to go], say, jan 07:
- Aliadiere; Song

Medium term; end of season:
- Hoyte; Flamini; Ljungberg
- Baptista (if we can get Reyes back) unless he comes good by then

New additions:
- goalie
- stocky striker good in air (if bendtner is good enough, that's fine too)
- left winger
- full back /left


i agree [with arsene] that bringing new players in would impact growth of young ones however only if the young ones are definitely promising or we are wasting time. Competitions won't stop and wait, and while arsene experiments, fans pay to watch, i subscribe to cable tv just for arsenal games frankly, and a payback is always implicitly expected, sooner or later. Glory or not, that;s not to say that one should not fix issues that are so balantly obvious. Am sure lots of fans are professionals with great observations and analytical skills so it's isn't arsene who could make sense of the situtation albeit with a lot more industry (football) knowledge and experience.

Bottonline, the Board surely must expects more?? unless of course we live in a different planet. Many say football is business (very true) and if so the Board should act in a timely manner or else the ROI for the new stadium etc would go down the drain soon.

XOL said...

Reyes does not want to play in England so in the summer the only option is to sell him to another spanish club if real dont want him and if Baptista doesnt improve if hes given the chance.he said in the spanish press that english game is much more physical and a yellow card in uk would be red card in spain.so maybe yesterday was a good lesson for him.Senderos played well yesterday and his main problem is lack of game time, he has the height and was one of the only arsenal players to win a header

Anonymous said...

Squad too weak? You cannot base yesterday's performance as proof of the fact that the squad isn't strong enough when in crucial areas we were without the players who would immediately replace those that were injured...do you clowns want Wenger to go and buy a world class third choice team to compensate for freakish cases like yesterday when we're without twelve players..Hoyte isn't direct backup for right back, Aliadierre isn't our second choice striker-he wasn't even on the bench earlier in the season when everyone was fit, we were without three of our four wide players and Flamini is probably third in line as cover for Cesc when everyone's fit..Against such a backdrop I find your comments about Denilson laughable and think the fact that we can actually field a team full of internationals and a bench of five players illustrates the strength we have in depth...Chelsea are falling apart without one player inspite of the millions spent, while I can only wonder how United would cope under the circumstances we've been facing this season

Anonymous said...

" u lot r so out ov order on wenger .. avv u forgotten what his done for us? he brought cesc fabregas and robin van persie to the club for next to nothing and they are bound to be along with the greatest players in the world. Also toure and eboue, toure being in my opinion the best defender in the premiership, and eboue one ov the best right backs, even though he hasent been at his best lately. and i suppose you have just all forgot about our terrific performance against manchester united who are top of the prem, reading, blackburn, tottenham and liverpool. and flamini, okay he isent a steven gerrard but his very capable ov filling in for either cesc or gilbrto. just wait for the likes of henry, gallas and eboue get back, thierry and robin are a dream partnership with a very good replacment in ade, fab and gilberto in midfield is proberly one ov the best in the world. toure and gallas which is also sure to be the bestin the world etc. Just stop being harsh on wenger, we would propberly be in the relegation zone if it wasent for him. "

tottaly agree with u mate

Crystal-Viking said...

Wenger: "Our squad izz strong enough"...
What the f***??? Strong enough?? We couldn't even cope with a depleted Sheffield second string team. It was an embarrassing, disgraceful and humiliating display by Arsenal.
We've been reduced to a mediocre team with over elaborate, over payed pussies who can't cope physically.
Even worse guys. No new signings this year. The PL nightmare has just begun. SOMEONE... PLEASE WAKE ME UP!!
I though I never would say this but here goes...Wenger...RESIGN NOW!!

xol said...

Ebuoe has gone off quite a lot , we need Lauren fit and back as well as Gallas, and theres no reason why Ade cant partner Henry. Im worried about Liverpool game it would be great to force a draw but they are every strong at home, lets hope ast least we beatCharlton

gazzap said...

sheffield may be a bottom 4 club but they played more like a top 4 club the other.night. that game was equally as tough as man u and chelsea away. Warnock said it was his best game with sheff utd since he took over. so you have to consider that we were unfortunate to come against a physical team at their absolute peak where we had 9 injured first teamers.
you can say they had injuries as well, though warnock replaces work horses with work horses so the change is basically seamless. wenger has to replace skillful players that need to work in a system and play passing football. the players they brought in were also fresh ie no game for 10 days. Our 'reserves' had in the main played a couple of days before since we have been carrying most of the injuries for over a week.

The Muso said...

BOTTOM LINE: WENGER IS AIMING FOR 9 POINTS FROM 12.

There's really nothing else to it, instead of tweaking his team and resting players in each game of the festive period, he chose to pick his top team three times and then send a rabble up to Sheffield, crossing his fingers for a bit of luck. He realised that tinkering like Benitez does may actually have cost more than three points.

Did any one of you expect a win when you saw the team sheet?

Dong Zhou said...

A little pessimistic by some fans, we are 5th and we did well over Christmas period. We have stopped being outmuscled, ok so we have had a few poor games but had we taken our chances in many others, we would be pushing for a title.

Yes we were poor against the Blades, a solid team but we just have a few niggles to work out. Toure has been off this season but he is a world class defender in ability, we will see that again. Hoyte is a decent right back and good cover, Eboue is young and so is most of our squad, there is hope.

As for players out of position, AW didn't do too bad with that left winger he changed too a striker did he? Or that midfielder he turned into a world class CB? Or Luaren from wing to full back.

Hairy Bottle said...

Goonerboy blows hot n cold....yr acticle on the flag stuff is very well written but this blog on the defeat really sink to a low...you are better than this Goonerboy...To those who thinks Wenger should go, should buy new players, should play your formation / players, should do this do that please apply for the job...i bet you won't last a game and i'll specially make a blog site just for you...dumb

Goonerboy said...

I think I blow between optimism and pessimism. And the performance against Sheffield just filled me with despair.

I don't want Arsene to go.