Sunday, 3 March 2013


It's been a good few weeks since my last blog, mainly because I didn't want to depress myself any further given our recent results. That said after yesterday's effort I just can't bite my tongue any longer. This team just isn't good enough. It doesn't matter which area of the pitch you look at, there are deficiencies galore. This can be down to the individual and most important in partnerships. We have some highly talented players in Wilshere and Cazorla but we've struggled at centre half and striking the right balance across the midfield and sadly they reared their ugly head again yesterday.

The Goals

The game summed us up perfectly. We dominated the game for thirty five minutes but we failed to capitalise. That's primarily why teams down the wrong end of the league lose games. Rarely do goals come out of the blue, then we concede goals in only a way that Arsenal can. A club famed for it's offside trap stood statuesque as Bale runs through unmarked. I didn't think it was offside at the game and had that confirmed via text but certain fans appeared to think there were two players offside. Now whether it was or wasn't offside, one thing doesn't change Bale wasn't tracked. It appeared that Arteta was assigned with knowing the whereabouts of Bale, as at one point in the first half we lost the ball on the edge of their box and Arteta did a full 360 degree turn trying to locate the Welshman. However we got ourselves in a position where Bale was between Arteta and Vermaelen and sadly there was only going to be one outcome. We got caught ball watching and Arteta,Vermaelen and Mertesacker were all undone and we fell behind. Then we commit the same offence but this time we had Monreal as chief culprit but again Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Arteta and Jenkinson all standing focusing on the ball. Then there's Szczesny, who made Lennon's task even easier. Empty net 2-0. I lost it, how naive can one side be? You cannot defend like that in the Championship and expect to get away with it. It smacks of poor players and lazy attitudes. We can't assume others will takeover the responsibility of marking and what Monreal was doing is beyond me, we just can't afford to play high risk offside traps. It appeared that Monreal was wanting to play offside for about five yards, it was obvious what was going to happen and Szczesny clearly wasn't paying that much attention either. Prior to the pass though we can focus on the lack of pressure on Scott Parker? He ran from just inside his own half and ended up threading, yes threading a ball through to Lennon. Did anyone challenge him or apply the slightest amount of pressure? No chance. Where's the tenacity to win the ball back? Who takes responsibility? The answer, nobody. When we concede there's never any accountability, ever. Vermaelen didn't know what day of the week it was when Lennon received that ball. We just turn around feeling sorry for ourselves and see how it goes.

The Selection

I think Wenger got the line up wrong as he has done on too many occasions this season. I think he went too conservative in the centre of midfield. Arteta-Ramsey-Wilshere is a combinations of players probably not playing in the strongest position. I see Ramsey as someone who can do the basics from a DM position and both Arteta and Wilshere should be competing for the lone centre midfield role. Cazorla is wasted on the left, especially against someone as pacey as Walker. My preferred selection would have been Ramsey-Wilshere-Cazorla with Podolski-Giroud-Walcott as our forward line. I'm not sure what Podolski has done wrong since Monreal joined, other than scoring twice but his lack of selection is mystifying. I don't like this chummy Monreal-Cazorla partnership, yes Podolski doesn't track back but that's why you have Wilshere and Ramsey on the cover. We were also happy enough to start Podolski ahead of Vermaelen against Bayern, who will arguably be our toughest opponent all season. After our comeback against Liverpool our front three proved the can turn a game on it's head but sadly since that game they haven't started a game together. We've actually taken apart something that was working. How does that make sense on any level? Yes, Giroud's performances haven't been good enough recently but then we get back to the lack of competition for places argument again. There are too many people that are in the comfort zone at Arsenal. This exists in the first team, on the bench, sat in the stands, sat in America, at the training ground and even at the bank. Who organises the defence? Come on, own up? It's a shambles. The standard of goalkeeping - pathetic. There is someone responsible and they are getting away with coining a living out of our football club.


Really, is there any point? Rosicky on for Jenkinson. Not a bad move, as its certainly more attacking but sadly players like Rosicky aren't good enough now. He gets a nice ride at Arsenal because he looks purposeful but when it comes to the final ball, it just isn't happening. There is always a clamour(on twitter) for Rosicky to start but it's another case of absence makes the heart grow fonder.Then with thirteen minutes remaining we through on Podolski for Arteta and he got a couple of sniffs but nothing significant. We didn't change our formation but we decided it would be a good idea to launch aimless balls to Giroud and hope to feed off the scraps but we didn't get close enough for the second ball. When a side gets away from it's biggest assets, it's often due to panic and a lack of ideas. We are certainly culpable on both counts. However, this isn't the reason why I want to mention our substitutions despite my quite obvious annoyance of the ones so far. We actually had one unused substitution today and that tells me exactly where this squad is. Our remaining attacking options were Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gervinho which by the way is over 20m (combined) worth of subs. Now what ever we think of Gervinho (Yes,I know he's rubbish), Wenger bought him to create and score but in a situation where we need something he's stood warming up. Then there's Ox, who thankfully admitted to being in a period of bad form but surely one was worth a punt? We got ourselves back into a game but never looked like we'd equalise. Waiting seventeen minutes between changes lets the game drift by and doesn't force the oppositions hand.  In a big game, when did one of our substitutions last influence a game? I can't trawl games but I know it wasn't this season and probably not last season either. Giroud at present seems to fit the mould of being someone who can influence a game when he's introduced but I fear he's the next victim of the ever demanding Emirates crowd, despite posting decent numbers for a newcomer to the Premier League.

Just Win

After we squeaked past Aston Villa my phone was awash with texts/tweets saying a win is win etc etc. Which is very true but to be brutally honest, that's all we can hope for. This team isn't capable of delivering a high level of performance on a consistent basis. It's not like we are having a blip we are just managing to get by in each and every game. It seems fine when you do win but its only a matter of time before we slip up. The feeling at full time is more of relief than actual triumph.  Our run in may look easier than others but there are still games that stick out as being problematic - Swansea (A), Fulham (A), QPR (A), Newcastle (A) and that's without mentioning United (H) and I've just ran through half of our remaining games.


This situation has been brewing for a few seasons now and it finally looks like Wenger's going to come up short. We needed to avoid defeat more than we had to win the game yesterday but as usual we end up in the worst possible scenario. This team does not react well in the face adversity but here we are again. The best guide to the future is often the past but sadly last year was probably more down to them than it was us with a few games remaining. We need to get ourselves in a position to capitalise on Chelsea v Tottenham next month (We play Norwich the day before) but I must confess I don't see this becoming a realisation. Last week Wenger said we could catch City, maybe he meant that we would also not be playing European football but his tenure at Arsenal gets put under even more strain with every passing game and it looks more and more likely that we'll be playing on Channel 5 on a regular basis next season. I just wish this season was over so that we can attempt to rebuild this side and more importantly the club.

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