Saturday, February 16, 2008

The St Valentine's Day Massacre.

Ok, so it isn't actually St Valentine's day, but it's near enough to make a vaguely amusing headline.

What a dismal performance; what an affront to 9,000 Gooners who travelled up North.

Arsene appears to like thin squads, and these have their virtues. They build team coherency and self-belief among players. Yet for, at least, the third year in a row, we've been too thin at a crucial point in the season.

A case in point: Gilberto. Gilberto is gone; his head and body are no longer in the right state to play against top-level teams. Yet, we not only let a top-class replacement leave - Diarra - which was perhaps forgiveable given his desire to leave, we also don't sign a replacement. This leaves one less player of quality in the squad, and a player, in Gilberto, who was dominated by Darren Fletcher. Yes, Darren Fletcher.

We're also left, beneath Sagna and Clichy, with two full backs who aren't up to it. Hoyte and Traore were completely outplayed by Nani and Ji-Sung Park today. Whilst Traore might improve, Hoyte probably won't, and these issues need to be resolved. The defence as a whole was abysmal; just as in the Spuds game there was no coherency and, apart from Gallas, no fight. Jens actually did well to keep the score down to four.

But what was most dispiriting today was the complete lack of fight and resolve we showed. The players seemed to be almost subconsciously saving themselves for the AC match, which is unacceptable. In football, you should win the game in front of you, not the next one in your head. If you're picked, you give it your all. United showed that desire today, and also showed that some of their second string is considerably better than ours. While I think we should beat them to the title, questions could be asked as to why Fergie seems to be able to construct larger squads than Arsene, and keeps them together.

We can say it was only the FA Cup, but it wasn't just the FA Cup the last couple of times we won it. The FA Cup has fallen way behind the league and Europe, largely due to the money involved, but it's a cup that a lot of fans care about. With Liverpool going out, a win today could have opened up the way to the final. Frankly, it's a missed opportunity.

Just to complete this tale of woe, a word on Eboue. Should he play for Arsenal again? He seemed to be improving before Christmas, and then he decides to challenge for the ball with his leg at a horizontal angle, 5 feet off the floor. What an idiot. And problematically, he doesn't appear to be learning from his mistakes. His was absent in the first half today as much as in the second. Perhaps Theo should get a run, for his confidence at least. He could surely do no worse.

So, and whatever way you look at it, it's another hammering in a game by one of our biggest rivals. We can say this games don't matter, but by putting in some abject performances, we're making them matter, perhaps ironically.

Here's hoping things improve by Wednesday.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree, we didn't seem to WANT to win it

Gerry Gooner said...

Mark my words- Eboue will play for arsenal again. But he is a disgrace and has been for quite a while.
Gilberto is finshed both physically and menatlly. Wenger calls him a pro but he patently is not. He couldn't have cared less today. Our second string is over-rated no doubt. We have being doing it for years- talking them up- Lupoli etc. To compare us to Man Utd is unfair. Fergusons 'second string' such as Nani (12 miilion) and anderson (17 million) cost significantly more than our first teamers. H ekeeps them together cos they win stuff and pay high wages.
I saw this coming this evening and if we win the league then maybe it won't matter to alot of gooners. However 9000 fans went to the trouble of going to this game.
Our menatality and mental toughness as wenger likes to describe it are a myth. Yes a team challenging on four fronts can bow out of domestci cups but i couldn't imagine any other big four team putting in two performances as bad as we've seen from Arsenal against spurs and man utd. We will lose momentum and have lost a psychological edge against utd cos of this. No excuses Mr. Wenger. Time to be as brutal as ferguson with some of these players.

Anonymous said...

No excuses this was simply not good enough of a team of professionals.

Anonymous said...

You realise there was a shooting in Chicago on the 14th that was also dubbed "St Valentine's DAy Massacre"?

Anonymous said...

hey 8.44 thats why the headlins is invoked.
wise up

Anonymous said...

I felt most sorry for the fans who went and stayed til the end. The ones who leave I have no sympathy for. However, Im not disappointed at all. Apart from the double years, we won the FA Cup in 2003 and 2005 but they were scant consolations for the inability to defend our title. If we were in Liverpool's position, the FA Cup becomes valuable; not when we are chasing the title and Champions League. We got to the final in 2005 when we got knocked out in the 4th- we got knocked out in the 5th last year but played 2 replays. Games take their toll and I'd rather the players save themselves for Milan then bust a gut and lose 2-1.

Slightly off topic, but did anyone notice the state of the pitch of the self professed 'greatest club in the world'? It was awful.

Anonymous said...

they shud of left like other who went to white hart lane an got hammered.....lol

Anonymous said...

why will traore improve and hoyte wont, makes no sense. he has just been robbed of every self belief and he feels unloved, dude needs to move on. Traore has shown signs of decline this season but he young only time will tell.

Anonymous said...

fans leaving agin....bad habbit, yer team is fallin a part with all yer hope it will fail....wenger out

Anonymous said...

Eboue is a cheat and should be flogged off in the summer. He's not really a very good player. His finishing is woeful, he rivals Jonny Wilkinson for kicking the ball OVER the bar. As for Gilberto he's been a good servant but he's past his sell by date. What a gutless performance by all except Lehmann

Anonymous said...

Three things I hope happen 1 day after this humiliating defeat:

1) No more injuries

2) New training regime

3) No psychological blow

Anonymous said...

There was an absolute feeling of inevitability about the loss even before kick off. Having hoyte and Traroe in with gilberto might not have been so bad if the rest of the squad werent so obviously crocked( did anyone see how out of sorts Toure was for IC against Egypt, obviously injured) but there was zero fight in them and they just rolled over. I dont really blame the squad and well I cant be critical of Wenger but everybody knows the squad is thin including Wenger, so why does this happen? Is it becuase he is afraid of upsetting the development, balance and comraderie of the squad, would one extra player really mess that up so bad. If Diarra had stayed would it have made a difference - he surely would be above gilberto now. Wenger must have his reasons for being so seemingly stubborn, I just want to know what they are because that was a tough defeat to take and I feel sorry for the 9000 of us that went to OT.

Still if that was all that manU could put past us that day then I think they will have quite a shock when the real arsenal show up.

James said...

Another cheap shot at Eboue. what has this man done that makes him such a hate figure for Arsenal bloggers and certain Arsenal supporters? Why is he hated so much? Is it just about football or is there something more to it? Its pretty stupid if you ask me. Very childish and silly

1979gooner said...

Eboue is an idiot, but he has been rather unlucky with a few decisions of late, but if he was a little cleverer he would have cut out his antics completely.

It's a big gamble, as if we go down to Milan, then the gamble has gone very very wrong indeed.