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A Rant From The Heart

Normally I would allow myself to cool down after the game before commenting on the performance.

I have just arrived back from a pub full of celebrating fans of other clubs having seen Arsenal humiliated by a side that surely cannot cling on to its Premiership status this season. As you can imagine I am not in the best of moods.

Questions have been filling my head since I first took my seat in front of the big screen. Thank goodness (how restrained can I be?) we had visitors today which prevented me from making the trip. What a shame they left for their own journey north enabling me to take in the full horror of our display.

Before we had kicked off I could not believe we had left Fabregas on the bench when we had no Hleb, the only other vaguely creative resource being Rosicky who was forced to fill the hole on the right side of midfield. I know he needs to rest sometime, but in fairness before the start I was convinced this was not the day to do it. Bert as usual tried to extend himself to be the main man in the centre, but Flamini and Baptista is not a force made in heaven.

There was obviously a second effect to Fab's absence. Aliadiere had to play up front. This guy deserves the opportunity to prove himself somewhere, but we already knew it should not be at Arsenal. I wish him well when he is surely shipped out for any sort of fee in January, but I do not want to see us experiment with him in an Arsenal shirt again.

The game plan has been seen many times before. It's cold, we are in the north against a side that will battle and compete for everything, and it's a late kick-off. We knew what the result would be, didn't we?

Now consider that a side of honest, but limited, journeymen found itself without a goalkeeper for the last quarter of the game against a side bidding to get within eight points of Chelsea. How on earth did we lose?

In fairness we lost because two of our most consistent performers chose one moment to share a rare dip from their high standards. Kolo and Jens will cop the flak for the abject performance by their team-mates.

How many touches do Baptista and Van Persie need in front of goal when clear opportunities present themselves? How can a player of the obvious quality of Clichy trap a ball further than he can kick it?

I'm so pleased this year is over and the transfer window is about to open. Some of the deadwood can be cleared out, and hopefully a couple of fresh faces can be added to liven up the mix. Wengerball mark three will be a success, I'm sure, but this temporary derailment needs to be halted now.

Arsenal's new year resolution must be 'never again will we be outfought and embarrassed by a side who have just one quality, sheer hard work. Never again will we suffer a Bolton, a Manchester City, a Sheffield United, a West Bromwich Albion, just because we were out-muscled'.

Many thanks to Dave (aka Goonerholic) for that. I thoroughly agree with what he has to say.

Don't forget to catch Goonerholic's daily ramblings Goonerholic




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The Journalist

Writer: Nick Simmonett  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday December 30 2006

Time: 8:42PM

Your Comments

I think dave is spot on with what he says there. He said to me that it may have been typed while he was a little too angry with the team but I disagree. Spot on.
simmy8_2000
Ha dthe match on r5 on my way back from a game. Inconsistency was never a thing for the Arsenal, appears more common this season, especially away from home.
SeasideEssexXile
The most disturbing thing for me was the lack of quality. I cant remember a decent passing move, Generally we string at least 4-5 together a game but not today. I suggested today would be a true test of our squad depth and unfortunatley some of the 2nd string did not perform. Hoyte is hanging on to his Arsenal shirt by the skin of his teeth now Lauren is back, Flamini really must start to impose himself on games more, u can see Aliadiere has potential and to be fair to the boy he puts in 100% but he needs a move to freshen himself up. I still would not buy in the window as I feel the squad is there for us to crack on, we just need to pull together as a club (management, players and fans) and get ourselves right mentally for these types of games! Never again must we perform to a level as bad as what we all just witnessed.
iceman10
Iceman10, we can't be delusional anymore mate, that side is not good enough. We don't have enough depth as a team such that injuries to key players leave us looking like a team of amateurs not title hopefuls. We were outplayed in every way by Sheffield and that their goalkeeper for the last 20 minutes was an outfield player just added insult to injury. There was no passion whatsoever, no hunger, no belief. Not a single player in yellow bar Fabregas looked as if he wanted it. We need serious investment. A striker is absolutely essential and we need to tighten up the defence. That game was absolutely shambolic! That team out there was not the Arsenal I know.
Keplaz
I accept what you are saying Keplaz, but I disagree. We have strength in depth, but what we cannot afford is to rest our key playmaker when so many others are legitimately missing. Leaving out Fabregas today meant that Rosicky and Baptista had to play unfamiliar roles. Aliadiere had to play up front because the man who should have been there was trying to be a winger. I'm usually a staunch defender of 'Arsene knows', but at Fulham, and again today, he cocked up with his selections. This must never happen again.
northwilts
im *****ed off but i just cant get myself to lambast the team after i was praising them so heavily last week againt blackburn, any team would struggle to play with that many injuries and in a swamp of mud, but still, absoloutley shocking performence nonetheless, tomas really dissapointed me today and baptista, meh
hazzagooner
Baptista and Aliadiere were given a rare opportunity to prove themselves with what stuff they're made of. Unfortunately, they didn't do much or anything unique to convince AW. It's disheartening to lose this game in that manner!
SWPACIFIC
OMG, I can't believe he played aliadiere again. After that portsmouth performance i was sure he wasn't goin to play again. And did u see how much better arsenal played, possesion wise, when hoyte came off. I really hope i don't see him play again either. We have Lauren back, i don't care if he doesn't have match practice, he can't be any worse than hoyte. Why does Wenger always play crap players against crap teams, doesn't he know we need to win those games as well??
thenry009
Stay in your little Premiership bubble Gunners!!! Today you were out fought and out played by the mighty Blades!!! We deserved it plain and simple. Keep your overpayed spoilt little brats like Van Persie, heart won through today! A little payback for 1999!!!!!!!!!!!
Blade1889
to add to this multitude of constructive criticism, I will concur that Wenger's selection and formation was poor, Van Persie and Hoyte horrible, the only ones trying were Gilberto, Cesc and somewhat Clichy, the rest were just... well most of you said it. Again RvP and Justin Hoyte to me were the worst 2, however, their performances were just as bad in the games against Blackburn and Watford (bar the RvP's winner), still in those 2 games Arsenal won and no one really cared. This time it was too obvious. I would not blame Baptista just yet, he played completely out of position although he could have first-timed the two opportunities that were there for the taking. Aliadiere, what can I say... in first 15 mins, when the ball was actually passed to him looked really hungry and dangerous, later on it just became worse and worse. Kolo and Lehmann were made to look less than average by Nade (?!). Rosicky had a very very poor game his first touch and passing was as bad as Flamini's - overall we deserved nothing. Most of the 50/50s were won by the opponent, most of the aerials as well and we looked clueless when going forward. As someone said, our 2nd string is definitely not good enough or too young (since our 1st team's average is 23), or both - and we may need our 1st teamers back SOON or some fresh blood.
G4L
Blade, I was going to say that you lot deserved it - but now I am not. Now I will say that you have a pitch worse than most of the Conference sides and because of arrogant p**cks like yourself, I hope your 'mighty' squad plays the likes of Plymouth and Colchester next season. It's a shame because your team did deserves praise for the spirit and the desire - but does not deserve idiots like you.
G4L
Sheffield United 1-0 Cheats!!!!! Get in! What right have u got to say that we 'surely cannot cling on to our Premiership status' when we just beat u 1-0? And u didn't even go to the game!!!!!
Superblade
Oooh have I hit a nerve G4! Too right we deserved it. Have to admit I was waiting for an onslaught from u in 2nd half but it never came. Plus it rained for 24 hours solid before the game so what the hell could we do about the pitch!!! At least we have a proper stadium instead of a heartless bowl with no atmosphere.
Blade1889
And another thing, Van Persie got a little pinch from Morgan and went rolling around like a baby! Surely u can't be impressed or proud of having a player like that?
Blade1889
You didn't exactley outplay us did you? You did what most other prem teams do and got dirty.
simmy8_2000
Wouldn't call it getting dirty. We just wanted it more, a hell of a lot more! What would you call Van Persie's swing at Jag's and Fabregas's lunge at Quinn??
Blade1889
And while I'm on a rant; what have u got against Plymouth and Colchester? Both great teams who know what it's like to go through hard times! Unlike some.
Blade1889
calm down blade, its only one win, weve already battered you 3-0 at the " heartless bowl with no atmosphere", you silly man. You deserved to beat us today thogh, not through quality but through determination and we just were not up for it today which is quite similar to other occasions this season, well done but seriously mate calm down. we should of known we were coming up againt a very physical and at times straight up dirty team and we just could cope, hardly made any decent inroads into there box and had 1 shot on target all the while there defender was in goal which i find shocking, o well on the whole a day to forget, bring on the addicks and alan poodew!!!!
hazzagooner
Arsenal just get me angry!!! Think it's something to do with a certain incident in 1999! I'm not saying we played brilliant football today, just great to see heart and determination win over money and flair for once! Plus u took 70 mins to score against us at your place, hardly 'battering' us.
Blade1889
I have nothing against those sides. They are in the Champ'ship and you're currently a few points away from joining them. Instead of enjoying your rare excursion out of the relegation zone this season and some deserved praise from the Gooners here, all this while we're criticizing our own players (I was especially disappointed with RvP) for their lackluster performance, you come here and make a fool of yourself, lose any sort of respect because of your sheer inability to channel your emotions. Enjoy it, I feel it will be a long time waiting for another win over Arsenal.
G4L
1999, can't get over it obviously, heh? I understand that the frustrations of watching a 'determined' but flairless team for so many years have taken a toll on you - that's perhaps why you are so excited. Unfortunately as hazza said, today Arsenal were not up for it and you won. That's it. If you think we didn't batter you at Ashburton than it's obvious you missed that game.
G4L
Would hardly call 'a side that surely cannot cling on to its Premiership status' praise, but there you go. We may well wait a long time for another win over u G4, so you can hardly blame me for enjoying it while it lasts can u?
Blade1889
I went to the game G4, like I've been to every game this season. The question is did you travel to Bramall Lane?
Blade1889
I must say chaps, that was a beastly encounter. Swampy pitch, grimy, grizzled grapplers mauling Islington's Fine Gentlemen Athletes. Had to admire the restraint and dignified air of Wenger watching Neil Warnock get wildly animated as the clock wound down. The nerve of Warnock, inciting the crowd to rise and cheer on their club, then leaping about like he'd won his first match ever at the final whistle. Can't believe Wenger shook hands at game end with this, this enthusiast. I thought Wenger was very brave fielding the side he chose. After all, he's touted the quality of his depth players to the media for weeks now. Baptista was busy and bright and just a little unlucky to have to make such a crucial appearance on such tricky muck. No wonder he fell down so often. Aladiere had some terrific ideas out there and ran tirelessly, especially in retrieving the ball after shooting wide. That's character for you. You also have to credit Hoyte, still a little tender to be placing among the thugs of Sheffield. At least he didn't make that one big fatal mistake that Eboue did. No, all in all, not a bad performance, encouraging really. No need to buy anyone in January from what I can see.
greatwhitenorf
I feel that you 'missed' the point as I did not allude that you 'missed' the game but 'missed' the battering. And unfortunately I did not go to Bramall Lane, but similarly to you, I have not missed a single minute of Arsenal's season.
G4L
I didn't even feel bad to see us loose. We were awful, disfunctional as a whole and I don't know what Wenger was getting at when he changed the shape of the midfield so drastically. Alliadiere probably got 6-10 touches of the ball in the entire match. Will anyone please tell me what Hoyte does which keeps him in the team??
arsenalrulz4ever
when will arsene learn, if your going to rest players don't put them on the bench, start with your strongest XI and then take them off after 60 mins if job is done. and btw alliadere won't be a gunner for much longer, he was shocking again last night. what annoys me more, is that their keeper goes off, a outfield player has to go in and we don't have a shot for 10 mins ? infact how many shots did he has to save ? 2 ? 3 ? most teams would of made them pay for not having a sub goalie, but we seemed to be happy doing what we were. the problem for us was the pitch, heavy rain didn't help, our boys like to play on a nice perfect grassy surface and don't know what it is to get stuck in or how to adjust the play when the weather changes it.
PUREGOLD
no need to over react so much, like wenger said, you do get such games two three times a year. we had three good chances at the start, RVP, Gilberto and Baptista, and even if just one would have been taken then, it would have been a different story. lets just forget this game now and look foward to the new year, and do our bit to make the team feel completely at home at the grove, wenger should forget the fa cup and the carling cup and concentrate on the league and europe, a top 4 finish is a must and this team can really go all the way in Europe..
luckys_10
Blade, I'm glad that for once Sheffied United can go home happy, I can more than guarantee that the feeling of euphoria won't last very long. How can you be so happy your team beat an Arsenal so heavily depleted? If we had even two more of our usual first string out there we would have destroyed you. I won't take anything away from your team, they played very well but don't start getting excited because you beat the Arsenal B team. If you really want to compare the Blades and the Gunners, play us at full strengh, on a half decent pitch and with no injury crisis. Your team deserved the win, but don't get carried away mate. And as for no atosphere at Ashburton Grove, I'd prefer that than playing at a ground no decent school kid would have a kick about on.
Keplaz
i cant believe your still going on about 1999,everytime we won a free kick your fans were singing same old arsenal always cheating,but if we wanted to cheat why did we ask the fa to play the game again,surely cheats would have taken the result to the next round,and i dont remember arsenal punching any of your players,the only cheats were your groundsmen,that pitch was a joke,we wasnt goin to win the league this year,and this is a learning curve,its a shame we wont get to play you next year.
fran merida
Overmars was a disgrace in 1999 and now you've replace him with Van Persie. Keep on ranting about a poor pitch Gooners, it was the same everywhere else on Saturday, it doesn't change the result!!!
Blade1889
Blade1889, nothing will change the result but the fact that you revel in a 1-0 defeat against a very weakened Arsenal speaks volumes about what your team can hope to achieve. Remember the 30th of December 2006 for the rest of your life, whilst you are languishing in the Championship next season at least you can reflect back on the better times. I for one wasn't going to say anything about how rubbish Blades are, we have an excuse, genuinely, we are missing half of our squad. What about you? You are always rubbish, injuries or not and the only wins you can muster are aided by either luck or a dodgy pitch. I freely admit Arsenal were outplayed but that says nothing whatsover about the gulf in ability between the two sides. When you get relegated, remember 30/12/06, it will be one of the few happy memories you will have, that mate is a promise.
Keplaz
You seem to be forgetting that our squad was even more decimated than yours!
Blade1889
What I don't get is that no-one has mentioned that you could have had target practice on a centre back in goal for half an hour and no-one seemed to even consider a 20 yard shot. What the hell was Arsene telling them? It's not as if you have a shortage of talented offensive footballers!!!
Westl
 

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