Sunday, August 24, 2008

A terrible performance, but not an unexpected one. Arsene has a week left to fix it.

This result could be seen coming from May this year, if not January.

Sell Diarra, don't give Flamini what he wants, let Gilberto go, throw in a rare injury to Cesc and a completely predictable one to Diaby and you have, da da dah! NO CENTRAL MIDFIELD!

Anyone who saw how we laboured last week with Eboue and Denilson as the CM partnership could tell they were only millimetres from disaster in that game.

And so the chickens came home to roost at the Cottage.

Denilson was epically bad, giving away the ball an astounding number of times. Eboue, in fairness, showed some attacking verve in the final parts of the game, and also stood up for himself when he was hacked down by certain Fulham players. It was good to see, and maybe there's hope for the guy yet.

Yet the Fulham combination of Bullard and Murphy had our midfield in their pockets for the majority of the game. It was embarrassing, but that's what happens when you don't replace players: you get found out.

A poor central midfield rips the heart out of the team. The defence falters because it has no engine room to pass to; the attack doesn't receive consistent supply; the wingers are left to pick at scraps. Nasir and Walcott could hardly get into the game yesterday as our midfield was so entirely over-run. Watching Nasri was particularly frustrating, because you could tell he could do so much more with decent players around him.

The horror-show continued at the back. Of our back five, only Clichy and Sagna deserve their places at the moment.

Almunia did nothing explicitly wrong, but, yet again, failed to come and claim a high ball into the area which could have prevented the goal. He allowed himself to get boxed in by Fulham players in a way that top keepers simply wouldn't countenance (it made me miss Jens, I must say). He doesn't boss his defence (Gallas wouldn't listen anyway, I suppose) and doesn't organise. He's an average player, and just because he's not doing something obviously wrong, doesn't make his place in the team acceptable.

As for our centre backs? Neither warrant a place in the side at the moment. Kolo looks like he's in a perpetual panic, and only his recovery pace prevents him from giving away more goals. The contrast with, dare I say it, Alex Song was remarkable. Alex appears to have grown into quite a player. He looks assured on the ball, and wonderfully calm under pressure. Give him a go I say.

Gallas was, again, found out, letting the Fulham player walk past him to score. Slopppy, arrogant defending. I've defended Gallas and his captaincy a lot on this blog in the past, but he's a poor leader, and, at present, a poor defender. Djourou played better than him last week, yet now I hear he's off to Rennes.

I will say simply: if Arsene sells Djourou, buys Silvestre, and keeps Senderos, he knows nothing about central defending, or has lost the plot when it comes to judging what makes a good centre-back.

On form, at the moment, since about February last year, our best two centre-backs have been Song and Djourou. Go figure.

Up front, RvP reminded me of all the negativity I felt towards him before his injuries in the 05/06 season. He seems to coast through games, occasionally smashing the ball miles wide, and displaying a crap attitude. Just because he scores flashy goals doesn't mean he's worth a place in the team. The expression, 'flatters to deceive' often comes to mind when I think of him.

As for Ade, someone needs to tell him he's not Henry. Instead of cute flicks and tricks when the ball is played to him, just be direct. What's he doing out on the wing crossing the ball into the area? He's the one who should be in the box heading it in!

Not strengthening the squad sufficiently, letting players go, and a couple of injuries have created this entirely predictable situation. We were awful yesterday, truly awful, and didn't deserve anything from the game. Our first shot on target was in the 84th minute. That says it all.

Arsene has a week to pull his finger out and sort this mess that he's created. It's not hard to fix; it merely requires the ability, and perhaps humility, to accept that some of his projects aren't good enough, and that he needs to spend cash now. Let's hope he does it. Or fourth place, at best, beckons.


Anonymous said...

i'm kinda glad we lost. it is a big wake up call.

That was the worst performance i'd seen in ages. We just about won against Westbrom last week and showed no signs off title contenders yesterday.

The reason i'm happy we lost, is that, Wenger now knows what he needs to do. He has to this week, go out and buy a DM. Fabregas has publicly stated he would like Alonso alongside him in midfield. Wenger now has to dig deep in his pocket and sign him this week. why he never done it b4 he was cup tied beats me.

With a performance like that we might as well forget playing football n play the reserve every week, they would probably play better

Anonymous said...

Ade was frustrated because he saw none of the ball. If he's not being given the ball then - like any player - he will go in search of it.

What a signing Xabi Alonso would be. If Liverpool want £16m, I say give them the money. Isn't that a fair price for a player of Alonso's calibre: a player who boasts a plethora of PL, CL and international experiences? Alonso is a double Europan Champion at the age of 26 - it would be quite a coup to sign this player.

Anonymous said...

I am very much an AKB person but I have to agree with most of what you said here. I feel that Arsene has become too wedded to his ambition to win the League with his own kids, that he is no longer making sensible decisions.

I disagree with your comments about Sagna and Clichy though. Sagna was unusally poor but Clichy was awful. He drives me nuts when he holds on to the ball so long that his opponent gets to treading on his feet and holding him back, then he struggles to make a back-pass under pressure.Why not play the simple ball before the pressure arises?

I think Song is going to become one of our top players, one of the few pluses of the day, eben though he only played for a short while.

Come on Arsene! Get that cheque book working, before it's too late.

Anonymous said...

Well said. The club and the manager has lost the plot. Maybe it is not Wengers fault as he may not be given money to spend but whatever the case, this present team will struggle to finish in the top 4. As siad there is a week to maybe sort this problem out. Mr Wenger, get your cheque book out and buy players who are not school kids. You cannot have school kids doing a mans job.

Khai said...

"As for Ade, someone needs to tell him he's not Henry. Instead of cute flicks and tricks when the ball is played to him, just be direct."

mate.. this is so fucking true !
I couldnt agree much more with this statement.. I was cursing him at that LCD TV screen of mine.. that he's not henry and need not to play the way he did that day... just because he scored some goals and best friends with him doesn't mean he can be like henry... assholes like him doesnt have no humbleness in them..

about wenger... my faith in him is slowly deprieving... yearh income and all that.. the stadium debt and stuff.. but one thing he have to make sure is the whole team... tell me..

if Arsenal's best team last season.. include flamini hleb rosicky... can't win any silverware..

what do you think about this new young players around ?!!?

every season they keep saying... " yearh .. we will try to bring trophies " and all.. win this and that...

in the end.. selling people.. who are at the stage of their prime..

i should say no more...

Pardon my english.. its been awful.

Arsenal fan.
Khai (Singapore)

HG said...

Diarra and Gilberto played quite few games together last years and they were as crap as Denilson and Eboue were yesterday.

The performance would not have been better even if those two were playing.

Last evening none of the players wanted to be on the pitch or play with each other. So I don't know how Diarra and Gilberto would have made a difference.

Yes, we lacked a holding midfielder yesterday but we also lacked creativeness and also there were other weaknesses. We had two creative players in Nasri and RVP, so you cannot say we lacked a creative player.

We were complacent - we have got into habit off starting game on first gear and are playing very continental - in fact, like spain does. And that is making our players very lazy. IMO, that is the main problem we have. Not lack of players or talent.

Anonymous said...

It all started at the back.

I have been a staunch supporter of AW over the years, but he really has to stop being a coward and admit that while Billy and Kolo might be our best 2 individual CB's, together they make our worst CB combination.

AW bottled it yesterday.

Kolo, RvP and Theo should not have been in the starting lineup.

I don't think weve got a dramatically bad squad, but the team selection yesterday was horrific.

What was Djourou doing on the bench FFS!

He came into the team, did a damn fine job, but the second Kolo can walk onto the pitch unaided, Djourou's back on the bench! WTF!?!?!

If there is ANY truth in the Djourou to Rennes rumour, Wenger can pack his bags and f-off as far as I'm concerned.

Dan said...

If we don't have any money, surely Wenger shouldn't be wasting our meagre funds by signing two injury prone players this summer (Bischoff and Silvestre) he mental?

Anonymous said...

Walcott was ineffectual and poor, Denilson a complete liability and will never make it in midfield no retention, no strength on the ball/challenges, no ability to execute a decent passage of play. Van Persie for all his posturing and posing could not get 1 out of 3 freekicks (all won by Eboue coincidentally,) on target and is not only a small time player but lacking in mental ability to use his frankly overhyped skills. Adebayor has made a rod for his own back, where he would have stood out yesterday his performance would be described as below average at best and in this current climate of woe and doom, piss poor. As far as Gallas is concerned, he is not worthy to be captain of Arsenal Football Club. As a defender you should always have a die hard,take one for the team, body on the line attitude. But what do we have? A fucking pussy who can be beaten to the ball in the box by a DEFENDER. Meanwhile our esteemed manager Arsene decides Kolo Toure should come off in the 70th odd minute and replaces him with Song, yet Song can comfortably play midfield and Kolo should have stayed on with Denilson replaced.
To all the twats criticising Eboue, in the last two games he has been the SOLE reason why we havent been totally humiliated and destroyed. Ramsey, Denilson, Diaby and Walcott CAN never play his role and havent shown anything remotely resembling drive or intelligence on the ball. So lay off. That ire should be directed towards AW, its basically his fault for not signing a proper DM or allowing players like Song/Djourou to show their mettle.

Anonymous said...

Very well said, and every word strikes a cord as far as I am concerned. This season will be a tough one unless Arsene act's immediately. In truth its probably too late to secure the necessary signings

Paul said...

The previous comment strikes at exactly what I thought. Denilson should have been off at half-time. Even if Wenger wanted to show some confidence in him, it wouldn't help having him embarrass himself for 45 more minutes and there Wenger was just stubborn which cost us on the day. Take off Denilson put Song in DM and move Eboue into the more forward role.... That's all it would have taken to salvage a point. Couldn't Arsene really have seen that or is he just becoming complacent?

jrockdc said...

I have to say, I generally support Wenger's ambition to buy young and relatively unknown players in the transfer market and turn them into stars, however, yesterday's game and Chelsea's 1-0 win show why big name signings are important. In the case of Arsenal, a big name in the lineup yesterday would have added the quality that was obviously missing and, on a more important note, would have likely changed the lack of motivation that was clearly on display by the squad. The great players improve the players around them, and that's why many big name players cost so much. In the event that they cannot lift the team, they can have a moment of individual brilliance that can win a game, like Deco did for Chelsea today, or Ronaldo did for ManU last year (he was the sole goal scorer in 8 if their premi wins last year). I'm all for Wenger's transfer strategy, but I think adding a big name or two would make it much more successful.

Anonymous said...

A few messages to Wenger:

A: Denilson will never be god enough for the first team.

B: Djouro should be in the starting 11 and has proved this with his recent solid performances. Also he doesnt layback and take all of Gallas's bulls**t

C: Song is an awesome CM (as proved in his international performances) but he is not a CB so stop being such a stubborn old fool ffs!!

Mittin said...

ITs quite obviuos this tight fisted bastard has now lost his marbles. FOR THE LOV OF GOD SIGN SOME GOOD PLAYERS.


Is wenger taking the piss and signing silvestre to slap every arsenal player in the face? This guy has lost his marbles, and its blatant fabregas is off soon.

Anonymous said...

eboue was our best player, maybe in a game or two he'll be zidane? somebody is smokin' something. eboue, walcott, denilson, gallas should not be starting. the insidious effect of gallas is beginning to tell. the way gallas yelled at djourou last week and then yesterday's performance?? how do you raise kids with such a bad parent? he hasn't learned much since last year. i don't think adams would want to work with gallas, would you?

Anonymous said...

Perfect article. Song and Djourou deserve their chances, especially 'cos Toure hasn't put in a decent performance in all of 2008 and Song has done exactly the opposite. Sometimes Wenger confuses me. Players who don't deserve a start are constantly playing (Eboue, although he was our best midfielder against Fulham) while those who merit a start (Song, Djourou) never play and Toure always gets his position back no matter what.

Gallas is a poor leader but I thought he was a good defender, seems he's trying his best to change my mind. He didn't have a single word with Denilson to calm him down.

Why is Van Persie getting a new and improved contract? Unless it's gonna run out at the end of the year, he doesn't deserve it because he hasn't played particularly well for us in a game that means something since the start of last season. Meanwhile Flamini's at Milan when he could be here and we wouldn't have our crisis or dropped points.

The team's gonna need to bounce back and thrash Twente to get their confidence back, but I'm predicting it'll probably be a 0-0.

Also, the referee was pathetic as has become a custom in our games. He gave a free kick the wrong way when Paintsil committed a red card offence against Eboue and Sagna didn't get anything for having studs digged into his foot (the classy Fulham crowd booed this) while Seol kept diving left right and centre.

Anonymous said...







Anonymous said...

I must say that Clichy hasn't impressed me at all so far this season (and pre-season). His defending has been awful and he's been skinned by the likes of Simon Davies and Deneboom (from FC Twente).

I can't understand why Wenger didn't take off Denilson and bring on Song at HT. If Toure lacked fitness, he could've been brought off at the end for Djourou.

Concerning Adebayor, he was one of our better performers and ran for the ball. Him and Eboue showed heart but Van Persie, Gallas and Theo looked disinterested. Toure was too quiet and needed to be more of a leader, 'cos no one else would.

If Song and Djourou don't start the next game, I will've lost hope in Wenger 'cos if you don't drop an out of form player, what is the point of having a squad of 20+ players? Hopefully Cesc and Song start in the middle. I think Song's one of the fighters in our team, he doesn't let the crowd get to him and always shows determination.

Anonymous said...

Vela should get game time against Twentem especially if Van Persie performs poorly again.

Anonymous said...

AW "We lacked a bit more quality in our passing... I don’t know why"

Well boss - Try Denilson, Eboue and Walcott for a start.
Then throw in Gallas/Toure. Plus,
Clichy who unfortunatly can't defend.

Maybe think about replacing Pires, Cambell, Flamini, Hleb ...

We did not have a proper pre-season as the first team played 120minutes over just two games.

Anonymous said...

Hleb = no end product but adequately replaced by Nasri

Gilberto = no legs and no loss

Flamini = Top class DM

Why oh why are we talking about siging a DM when we had one in our 1st team?

A new DM will cost a transfer fee of probably 15 million and 4 million a year wages over 4 years, totals 31m.

We could have given Flamini a 5m signing on fee and 5m a year for 4 years = 25 million.

I am NOT a Dein fan but the real problem as I see it is Wenger is so busy running the team and the set up and cannot see the wood for the trees. This is EXACTLY why we need a pro-active CEO or whatever fancy label you care to apply whose role is to oversee the bigger picture and could have pointed out the above Flamini equation.

I love Wengers total belief, it's a great quality and I'm so grateful for the poetry we see on the pitch today but this much I do know....

Theo, Denilson, Eboue, would not be anywhere near the 1st team at any one of our long can you keep selecting a player who under performs?

Also Wenger made a huge mistake sticking with Gallas as captain, not worthy to wear the arm band, proven beyond all reasonable doubt. I HATE the way he jogs back to his position from our attacking corners, Senderos (also not good enough) at least runs back into position like his life depends upon it. The great Tony Adams used to do the same.

What the fuck does it say to your teamates when the captain quite clearly doesn't care?

I go to every home game and every person who sits around me and all the fans I talk to feel the same way.

My gut feeling is that the club do have money, lower repayments agreed before the credit crunch, HUGE income, I can only summise Wenger is behind the refusal to spend.

This is a HUGE season for Mr Wenger, he has so much goodwill in reserve from Arsenal fans but it's not inehuastbale and persevering with players and policies that aren't working is a dangerous game.

Anonymous said...

Walcott continued por showing is a big worry.Is he becoming another son call British talent.......all hype but no substance.
Denilson proved that he is not ready for the fight.
Toure lacks composure, this becomes more glaring when he is half fit.
Gallas is Gallas...cannot handle the big boys but terrific on the ground.
RvP and Ade...lacking the creative spark of Fabergas.
I hope Arsene will play Vela in Walcott's place.
Eboue...was our best player...our Flamini !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Song should replace Toure.

Anonymous said...

Walcott continued por showing is a big worry.Is he becoming another son call British talent.......all hype but no substance.
Denilson proved that he is not ready for the fight.
Toure lacks composure, this becomes more glaring when he is half fit.
Gallas is Gallas...cannot handle the big boys but terrific on the ground.
RvP and Ade...lacking the creative spark of Fabergas.
I hope Arsene will play Vela in Walcott's place.
Eboue...was our best player...our Flamini !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Song should replace Toure.