Monday, December 08, 2008

The Ebooing has been a long-time coming, and was a reflection of a wider malaise amongst fans.

The Ebooing has been a long time coming, and it was evidence of wider problems.

In other circumstances we’d be talking about how the team had managed to dig out an unconvincing win, much like the one which opened the season against west brom. We scored early, had a few chances to clinch the match, let the opposition work their way back into the contest, and in the end were largely reliant on the other team’s deficiencies in front of goal, rather than our own strengths, to see the game out.

But the incident which dominated the game, and discussions of it subsequently, was Eboue’s performance, substitution and the reaction to both.

When Nasri went down injured, in many ways Eboue was the logical choice. He was the only one on the bench with any real premiership experience, and does offer a degree of defensive solidity. Those questioning why Wilshere, Ramsey or Vela didn’t come on in this situation are probably underestimating how close the game was when Nasri went off. Ironically, Arsene probably wanted to protect his real youngsters from being over-exposed to a potentially precarious situation.

This goes somewhat against Arsene’s own statements about how much he trusts these youngsters, and also against the fact that Ramsey has looked better than Denilson, Diaby and Eboue in the appearances he’s made so far this year.

Even given the fact he’d been out for 5 weeks, and that he was being played out of position on the left, Eboue’s subsequent performance was one of awesome ineptitude. He gave the ball away repeatedly, drifted around the pitch at leisure, and offered nothing going forward. His performance was capped by a tackle on Kolo Toure and an instinctive cross-field pass to the Wigan midfield.

Now, anyone who’s watched Eboue play regularly over the last couple of years will not have been surprised by this. Eboue, at best, is a half-decent link player: he can spread the ball sideways and backwards over a fairly short/medium distance. He doesn’t score goals; he doesn’t make too many tackles; he doesn’t have a huge range of passing, let alone that of a ‘pass-master’ as Arsene once bizarrely stated; nor is he anything like Ray Parlour, neither in ability nor effort, to whom Arsene once compared him.

So, his performance, though awful, was the culmination of 3 years of overwhelmingly awful performances.

This in itself probably wouldn’t have led to booing – I don’t really remember Justin Hoyte getting booed for a catalogue of errors last season.

No, Eboue was booed for his attitude; or, at least, the attitude he emits when he’s on the field. The Eboue who dives; who rolls around feigning injury, even when we’re losing; who acts like opposing players are his best friends; who shows no tactical discipline, wandering around up the field and out of position, leaving our flanks exposed; the one who ambles around like he hasn’t got a care in the world. The one, in short, who doesn’t play with a respect for the standards Arsenal fans have for their players.

When his number came up on Saturday, a large section of the crowd showed that they’d had enough of Eboue. It was a cry against the seemingly unthreatened mediocrity in the squad at the moment, and against players who don’t seem to understand what football and Arsenal means to the thousands of fans who follow the team every week.

It was also a cry against Wenger for allowing the situation to come to this. Wenger clearly sees something in Eboue, but how many other people do? No matter how badly he plays, no matter what he does on the field, he always seems to keep his place in the squad or the team. Thankfully, we now have sagna at RB, but Eboue is still too often played to a negligible or even detrimental effect. Eboue has put so many awful performances over the years that it was a cry at Wenger to see what the majority of Arsenal fans have realised: that Eboue isn’t good enough to play for the club.

But he’s one of a handful of players, to my mind, which encapsulate the mediocrity at the club at the moment. Denilson, shoved out on the right, hasn’t impressed this season, yet one gets the impression that Arsene will persist with him come the new year, instead of buying the defensive midfielders and wide-players we’re crying out for. Diaby keeps on being given chances, despite offering little in return. Alex Song seems to be improving, but is too young and inconsistent to be regularly anchoring our midfield, at least at this stage in his career, to my mind.

Arsene has fed us a series of great players and teams over the years, but now he seems to be too stubbornly attached to a collection of players, especially midfielders, who would have got no-where near his earlier title winning sides. At the moment, Cesc is an island of quality in a sea of dross, and it seems inconceivable that we could not have added more quality to the midfield over the summer. In many ways, therefore, the booing was a rejection of Arsene’s current policy of persisting with an ostensibly untouchable collection of youths at the club, which has failed to produce a team capable of winning silverware for too long a period of time, given the club’s resources.

Moreover, Arsenal fans are shelling out some of the highest ticket prices in the world for a team which costs a pittance to construct. If Arsene’s not going to actually buy expensive players, then fine, but shouldn’t this be represented in the cost of tickets? At the moment Arsenal supporters are being treated like customers of a business by the club, who then act shocked when they don’t behave like fans.

So my reaction to the booing is equivocal. I’m not going to say the behaviour of those who booed was acceptable, because supporters should back the club whenever and wherever possible. But when fans are charged a fortune to watch an obstinate manager continue to play someone like Eboue, despite all the evidence pointing to the fact he is a poor player who embarrasses the club with his antics, don’t be surprised if things turn a little nasty. Football is an emotional game; sometimes emotions spill over.


Anonymous said...

spot on mate

Anonymous said...

Great article. This is a balanced and accurate assessment of what happened this weekend and, more broadly, this season.

This season, Wenger has treated the first team like a petri dish…experimenting with young, inexperienced, and, in some cases, poor players to play alongside our five world class players (Sanga, Clichy, Cesc, Van Persie, and Adebayor). Arsenal is considered one of the best clubs in the world, we are one of the wealthiest clubs in the world, and we have Eboue, a reserve RB at best playing left wing for us? We have a 20 year old kid who isn’t good enough at the moment (Denilson) playing right wing?! We have an inconsistent youngster (Song) partnering Cesc in midfield?! If Cesc gets injured out starting midfield would be Denilson and Song? I don’t think that partnership is good enough for a relegation zone team much less what is supposed to be one of the biggest clubs in the world.

In my view, either Wenger has taken his youth policy a bit too far by throwing players who aren't ready yet into the fray, or the club does not have money to make signings. Either way we need to buy experienced players to be consistent.

Anonymous said...

Mediocrity was 'headless chicken' Flamini and Ade'barndoor' just a little while back. The talent spotting ability of Arsenal fans suck! If anything Clichy's lack of composure and RVP's lack of mobility are more of a concern. They are key first team players who are not upto the mark.

If Eboue leaves Arsenal, rest assured he will goto a big club, and have a great career. He has got stamina, technique, and is a wonderful presence in the dressing room.

Anonymous said...

agreed, Booing Eboue wasn't personal against him. Even though he deserved it with his histrionics of cheating, poor play and diving.
We as Arsenal fans do not put up with cheating players.
The booing was somethign bigger directed at the man in charge.

Anonymous said...

i definately do nt agree with your analysis of ebue over the last 3 years this is the sae player who was adjudged to be the best right back during the champion league that we got to the finals of. the same player who so far has when we had a few half decent games has actually stood out this season. the same player who based on the amount of time he does spend in the treatment room might actually not be feighning hurt but might actually be hurt in those tackles. same player who has had to play in at least three or four different positions this season steven gerrard onky had to play out of position at one position and each time he has a stinker it is blamed on him being played out of position.i believe ebues problems started last season when people really wanted wallcott on the right wing rather than him and now it is about vela and wilshire.well with walcott on the field now i see sagna bombing down the wing like he used to last season and oh yes we are also somuch stronger defensively becos of our theos great tracking back ability and i am sure vela and wilshire will give us a lot of that as well.

Anonymous said...

i wonder why clichy does not get the same treatment considerring that he has made errors which have led to goals that actually cost us points.ebue gets to play becos he helps out the lightweight cesc and whoever the other central midfielder is even last season when we had flamini, hleb and ebue helped him out alot more than credit has been given to them but hey its always ebues fault lets blame him

Anonymous said...

"We as Arsenal fans do not put up with cheating players."above lol lol well i do not remember pires henry or viera diving in their illustrous careers or even theo or heaven forbid cesc. lol lol

Anonymous said...

Rio Ferdinand is on drugs. Fake Ronaldo was brought up on steroids. Roy Keane has a Unabomber beard... oh sorry wrong blog...

Anonymous said...

Jesus, you get some weird people here. Loved "the same player who based on the amount of time he does spend in the treatment room might actually not be feighning hurt but might actually be hurt in those tackles".

Is this the same player who has been stretchered off at least twice in the last year or so yet miraculously recovers by the next match? Or perhaps the one who was brushed by the boot of a Hull player, started to get up, thought about it and fell down again. Trainer on, Eboue off, leaving the team down to 10 men to defend a throw in on our goal line.

As for him having a great career elsewhere, tell who wants him and I'll drive him there myself.

A cheat and a waste of space. Never want to see him again but AW's already banging on about "I think he will come back and show how good a player he is". I suppose there's a first for everything . . . .

Anonymous said...

well written spot on about our feeling towards him.
i have been home and away when possible for over 30 years and eboooooeeeeeee has annoyed me more than any other player and have never dreamt of booing one of our own until now.
we need quality wide players not converted moderate fullbacks with bad attitude or sick notes.
can't believe the reaction on the tv and online about this fact was we real fans at the ground had and have had enough of making average sides look good because we don't have the width to hold the ball and take the pressure off our midfield/defence.
look at villa yesterday with Young

Anonymous said...

Well said mate. I can't stand Eboue's antics and he's contributed almost zero to the side since his good run of form at right back when we went to Paris.

I further agree that Wenger needs to take his blinders off in regards to the midfield.

Anonymous said...

Clichy gives us 100% all the time and deserves to be forgiven.eboue is a mug who has at time embarressed the club and real fans with his antics

Anonymous said...

A typically 'weasle-words' article to try and justify the shameful, cowardly, despicable behaviour of some of the most moronic fans in football.
We moved from Highbury to Emirates so loads of half wits could attend live matches in order to walk out early every single game, stopping long enough to abuse our own players.

blowest said...

Your article is absolutely spot on. A lot has been said about the booing of Eboue against Wigan. I was at the match and although I didnt boo, I was so relieved to see him taken off as he seemed determined to set up a goal for the other side.
This was not the reaction of the fans to just one bad game by him but the build up over the last couple of years of terrible performances. However the fault lies with Wenger who consistently picks Eboue and is the only one who can see any merit in him.
The fans had had enough of paying good money to see many out there on the pitch who are some of the weakest players to ever wear an Arsenal shirt. Players like Song & Denilson are still only in the 'promising' category and should no way be regulars, but reasonable bench-warmers. The intense feeling of the fans around me was frightening and it was a way of demonstrating their frustration that Arsenal & Wenger should take great notice of.
The Wenger Knows brigade are doing the club a dis-service by sticking their heads in the sand. There is sadly a lot wrong with our great club just now.
You are dead right about the price of tickets. Have you noticed that games don't sell out on the launch day anymore. They are now often relying on Red Members to fill the stadium. Any more displays like Saturday's and the basis for moving to The Emirates could all come tumbling down

Anonymous said...

i totally agree that Wenger is responsible for the squad and for team selection, and he brought eboue on and put him in the wrong/inappropriate position. I also agree that he did this out of a preference for experience over youth for this particular circumstance.

I disagree, however, that Eboue is a bad player, or a liability for this club. Eboue is an outstanding player, has been since day 1. I consider him to be in the top 5 of African players (along with adebayor, drogba, essien & aboutreika) and he is versatile and adaptable to boot. a First-Teamer EVERY TIME.

The problem is that wenger doesn't have enough players who give Eboue the confidence to focus on his game. WE NEED MORE EXPERIENCED PLAYERS. Solving this will solve everything else. If Eboue had a decent player playing inside him, (someone like flamini or gilberto, and NOT Song or Denilson, both too young and ineffective), he would be able to do his world class job.

Someone mentioned our '5 world class players'; i'd add djourou & Eboue to that list)


Anonymous said...

hehe when i say inside him i mean when he plays as Right MF lol...

that sounded funny...

Anonymous said...

I understand somewhat.

I used to hate Hoyte playing for us. I never thought he was good enough. Similarly, some fans may not rate Eboue for whatever reason. And if enough fans think he is crap it becomes an epidemic of dissent.

But what I cant understand is if so many passionate fans who care enough about the club for them to be so vocal exist, why were they silent for the first 80 minutes?

To me it strikes like a group of people who have zero faith in this team and are just there to see their predictions of failure come through. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy of doom.

That is the real problem. The solution is simple. If you have no faith in the team, just dont go to Arsenal matches. Noone is forcing you to pay the high ticket prices.

Leave the seats to people who actually want to see these young players play and cheer them onto victories.

Hell, an empty stadium woulkd have benefitted the club more then those doom mongers on Saturday!

You guys can come back when the Wenger experiment is over, and the club sinks back to actual mediocrity where a player like Eboue will be our key player. Then you will your happiness at looking at all the faults of that team to your hearts content!

Anonymous said...

my friend,

at last someone who sees the reality of whats been happening at our beloved club.

your careful words and fantastically constructed blog shouldbe viewed by all those fans who called the fans who booed not real fans and retards.

absolutely brilliant, i have nothing to add to it you have spoke the truth and not ommitted anything.

you are the voice of thousands of gooners who also felt the same way saturday and have finally had enough.

yesterday practically all the blogs were condemning the actions, yet practically the whole stadium showed their emotions,all the fans that day cant be wrong and it was the majority of fans who booed and jeered, we are not talking about 400 fans who had planned the booing a day before,

we are talking about 40000+ fans who gave a spontanious reaction to what they were subjected to seeing.

we support our team with pride, so we expect our highly paid superstar to play with pride.

you are the voive of reason my friend and i will carry on to read your blog daily as this is the first time i have done so

well done for standing up and being counted. alot of fans who see the club through rose tinted glasses will stronger object to this post, but i have one thing to say to them, the truth hurts doesnt it??

well done, fantastic.

Anonymous said...

Eboue one of the five best African players?!!?!? In the same league as Essien, Adebayor, Drogba??? You must be having a laugh. Eboue is a mediocre player at best, even in the context of African players. Here are some more African players that are better than him: Obi Mikel, Eto'o, Muntari, Sissoko, Benjani, both Toures, Keita, Kanoute, Mido, and Makoun, just to name a few. I would take all of these players ahead of Eboue if I had the chance.

Djourou may be considered world class, he's still pretty young though.

Anonymous said...

i think it is a sign of the times. football supporters are fed up paying an arm and a leg to watch football and being given nothing back by these greedy bastards but going behind the clubs backs trying to get big money moves, example hleb and company and only turning up for big matches like utd and chelsea. its happening at liverpool and utd as well. i think it is the beginning of the end of supporters supporting their club no matter wat. if we are paying these people massive wages we want them to put the work in.. and fans will start booing if they dont and i think they are right

Anonymous said...

Well if you didnt "BOO" and you Sir didnt "Boo" who the Fxxx was Booing ?
I confess It was ME I could see EBooy throwing the game away Just like we did against the spuds.
This is a great article how many more inept performances do we have to put up with.
It wasnt the mistakes that Eboue made it was the fact that he never once chased back and tried to redeem the situation he appeared to not give a toss.

I heard a talk sport presenter telling a ARSENAL fan that he Dosnt pay the teams wages as only 25% of the club revenue comes from match day attendances so why didnt they build the emirates consisting of just a pitch and spend £300 million on the team ANSWER if we didnt go the ground would be empty,

There would be NO corperate sponsership and NO WAGES.
So we are entitled to our opinions

Anonymous said...


I've watched this match twice -

Adebayor and Van Persie gave away more passes.

I agree, that there is frustration over the past few years, and agree too that Eboue isn't a good enough LM (esp considering Pires' recent history), but booing the player who played RB to ECL Final? C'mon. He deserves better. No excuses.

Anonymous said...

But dont forget there is only us fans to pay for a very expensive stadium.

Anonymous said...

Spot on, the best analysis i've read on the net so far!!
Eboue is a liability & must go NOW.

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