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I Know It's Over

It looks as though the duo of fickle mistresses fortune and form have deserted us at the wrong time and winning the league is going to take an almighty effort now, an effort I do not think we have the energy to surmount. We can only take the positive that United are far from sauntering away with it and probably have a few indifferent results in them yet. Arsenal tend to save their best for the big stage and perhapsa positive is that in upcoming games against United and Chelsea, the opposition won't sit deep as Middlesbrough did yesterday to make it difficult for us.

Eduardo was presented with a February player of the month award on the pich pre match and he was applauded heartily. The Gunners should have been in the lead after four minutes. van Persie found space on the edge of the box, Boateng robbed him but only poked the ball towards Adebayor who duly finished fromclose range only to see the linesman's flag deny him. It really comes to something when a linesman in a top flight fixture does not know one of the fundamentals of the offside rule. A quite poor decision and one that cannot be put down to only having a split second to make the decision, it was simply down to incompetence. Arsenal appeared unpreturbed and continued to attack Boro, Eboue curled a right wing cross onto the Middlesbrough cross bar. It was Eboue again, cutting a menacing figure on the right who manouvered outside Pogatetz only to see his shot parried by Schwarzer. (Eboue's stock in trade appears to be to begin games as our most threatening player only to fade anonymously out of them?) Arsenal were getting closer, a Fabregas through ball put Adebayor in, but he just couldn't keep the ball under his spell in front of goal.

Whilst Arsenal's disallowed goal was a laughable misappropriation of the rules, the offside controversy surrounding Boro's opener seemed to be down to the fact that nobody seems to know what the rule is in this scenario. Schwarzer punted a long ball downfield with Aliadiere well offside, but Tuncay was not and raced on to the ball on the left wing, his low cross evaded the poorly positioned Gallas and Aliadiere's cool finish put the visitors into a shock lead. From there on in, is was always going to be tough, with Boro packing their defence. Eboue had a penalty appeal waved away, I haven't seen the incident back but my inclination was that it was not a foul. Besides which, due to past antics, Eboue could probably be decapitated in the penalty area and get nothing. Perhaps a Steven Gerrard mask is in order? The feeling at half time was that fate was conspiring against us, I didn't fancy us to win the game. Early in the second period, an understandably rusty van Persie dropped off again to find space, and unleashed a low shotfrom 25 yards which flew just wide. His ability to find pockets of space just off of the frontman has been missed greatly.

Boro continued to demonstrate staunch resolution, with ten men behind the ball at all times. On 73 Arsenal created a breakthrough, Hleb threaded a delightful through ball to Fabregas inside the area, but Schwarzer was out quickly to smother his effort. It was a carbon copy of Cesc's miss against Wigan last week. Wenger made a tactical change, with space at a premium, Walcott and Bendtner came on. With Eboue and Walcott's crossing prowess frm the right, and Bendtner and Adebayor's aerial menace, the envelope marked Plan B had been opened. The Gunners continued to batter Boro, Toure's chipped cross found Fabregas, but his header grazed the outside of the post. With four minutes remaining, Arsenal had their breakthrough. Fabregas' corner was headed goalwards by Toure, a mixture of Flamini's nuisance and Andrew Taylor's blocking of his keeper saw the ball squirm in. Toure wheeled away to celebrate with his team mates frantically urging him back over the half way line. A minute later, Boro were reduced to ten men when Mido's high boot caught Clichy. I think Halsey reacted to the blood seeping from Gael's headwhen making his decision, there was no malicious intent from Mido. But the letter of the law decrees that dangerous play is a red card.

As was indicative of our fortune, Arsenal were reduced to ten men when Eboue pulled a hamstring when manfully retrieving the ball from Downing. It was all hands to the pump, a brilliant Robert Huth block denied Bendtner, and when the ball fell to Walcott in the area, he was crowded out by a sea of bodies. Halseysought attention again with two costly calls in injury time. Huth headed a Clichy cross out for a corner, Halsey over ruled his better placed linesman to give a goal kick. The linesman refused to accept the call, and three times pointed steadfastly towards the corner. Three times Halsey denied him, sort of like Judas and Jesus, three times you'll deny me and all that. Arsenal pumped another long ball into the box which was headed out by a Boro defender and Halsey blew the final whistle with three and a half of the four allotted minutes for injury time played. Ferguson is not stupid, and despite making himself sound like a bed wetting scenile with his appraisal of Arsenal's 'usual seven minutes injury time' a fortnight ago, it has an effect on people with very tiny and simple brains like Mark Halsey's. So we are left to rue ythe decaying remnants of our season, an away game at Chelsea with the Lotto Chavs hot on our trail will have an incalculable effect on our fortunes. Lose,and we'll in all likelihood tumble away and watch Chelsea and United battle it out. Victory could be the rocket fueltopropel ourselves over the finishing line. Then again, that's what I thought the Milan result would do.LD.

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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday March 16 2008

Time: 1:55PM

Your Comments

Whats happened to us ? we were killing games like this off in the first half up to a couple of months ago. I just cant understand it, surely we should have enough to get us across the line ?
I can sense your frustration Tim. So cruel that we've come this and we're beginning to lose it. But I'm still convinced there are a few more twists and turns. 8 games left, we need three points. We just seem to lack energy right now. When on earth will Rosicky, Diaby, Denilson return?!? It's now that their presence is required the most. And hleb is really playing poorly right now. We need him to fire as well. As good as he is, he never ever takes a shot on goal and he always passes on the responsibility even though he's in a better position.
Key players like Hleb, Cesc and Ade have just got too much n their legs and can't make the difference they'd like. I can't let the Eboue slating (sponsored by arseblogger) stand though, he can be a ***** at times but I thought he had a decent game yesterday. He is the new scapegoat now that people don't get on Hleb's back, Eboue did more than anyone to win this game yesterday, but every time we get a bad result apparently it's all his fault which is a bizarre attitude. A guy who sits a few seats away from me never opens his mouth unless it's to slate him. Anyways, I think a run of gameslike the run we have might be an advantage in a strange way, we obviously haven't coped with being favourites, we're back to being underdogs again and we often produce in big games when everyone writes us off. United haven't coped with being top yet this year, they've thrown it away every time they've lead.The pressure is back on them and they are not playing well.
Little Dutch
whats happened to you gilvy4 is that your luck is runnung out, and with playing cesspool 3 times in a week and a trip to old trafford plus a trip to the bridge, its gonna be tough. the spuds v chelsea game is a key match, if we win then the momentum is with us. but the last team to beat chelsea in a prem match was arsenal so history might repeat itself. carefree!!!
The things about Eboue i like is the way he links up with Sagna both forward and back and his crosses. Hleb never crosses the ball and Eboue's directness is refreshing. But his constant diving and "weaselness" is just an embarrassment to watch.
The point I was trying to make is that i can understand why people slate him so much. However, I do agree he was probably the best yesterday and credit goes to him for that.
Being the underdogs once again now will make a victory at the end of the season even more enjoyable. In the beginning of the year, we were written off, and we performed well. In Milan, we were written off, and gave the best performance I have seen in a while. Now, we are being written off yet again. Only difference is, the players look too tired to prove anyone wrong.
Gutted gutted gutted. But that's football my friends, rough with the smooth!!!!!!!
I fully understand why Eboue gets on people's tits, he gets on mine.(I could have hit him at Old Trafford). I just think he's a psoter boy for people's frustration and gets more flack at times when he doesn't deserve it.
Little Dutch
eboue was pretty good yesterday, and it looked a foul on the replay. what didn't look like a foul was adebayor's challenge that led to the boro goal.
Good report in general. No mention of the fact that you equalised from a corner which should have been a free kick, though.
Harry J
Since we can't pick on Senderos anymore, we have Eboue as our scapegoat. A couple more matches for him like the one yesterday and we'll probably stop and start picking on someone else.
If us fans are feeling so despondent,you can only imagine what the players must be feeling. If we don't win anything, I'll think we'll look back at the season as again one where we are slightly - but decisively - more focused on playing beautifully than getting the result. We had the balance right earlier in the season because of the lessons from last season, but the more this season has gone on, the more wasteful we have become. It's not just the Clichy chance and the poor decision or injury here and there, This side is not as ruthless as our last great one of Bergkamp, Henry, Vieira and Pires, who would put teams to the sword. Maybe this will change as they mature, maybe not,
ha ha maybe liverpool might overtake you too. ha ha how funny was ito see clichy overreact and need a stretcher for a little scrape.
"Overreact" ?!?!?! FFS, mate a little scrape in no way causes blood to gush out.
rooneyisgod, shame you never found your way to Vital Arsenal in those 20 weeks we were on top. Yet in the space of two days, you managed to make your way on here three times. And as for Clichy's 'little scrape', I'd like to see your reaction if someone stuck their studs on the side of your head.
My understanding is that Clichy had stitches. For a United supporter to come on and talk about over reactions shows a staltifying lack of self awareness and humility. Fergie's rant last week? Oh yeah........
Little Dutch
I think every team has this patch once in every season. In our title winning 05/06 season, we started dropping points at this stage by drawing games, then came back with a bang and slaughtered United at The Bridge. I concede the fact that if Chelsea weren't to win the League, I'd rather have Arse win it rather than United. Can't see that scumbag Ronaldo with the trophy.
i will just put my boots on....
fran merida
united at the bridge??? what?? have i missed something?
fran merida
Err, no! Though if you didn't watch Chelsea take the ***** outta United at the Bridge in the 05/06 season, you've really missed SOMETHING mate!
raaid is rite.. they did beat united 3-0 back then.. back to arsenal, one thing for sure is that the title is not yet at united.. which means we hv 8 games left to do something abt that.. wat wenger should do is to re-infuse confidence which is, to be honest at its lowest despite us getting into cl qf with a good chance of makin it all the way to the final.. and not to mention our prem destiny is within our hands, all we can do is play our hearts out and win the remaining matches.. i'm sure if we can win our match against united, chelsea and liverpool, they'll play with doubt which once again plays into our hand.. this is wat i will be thinking if i was fabregas, adebayor or any of the arsenal players
i know it was me who mentioned that our ride came to an end yesterday.. but that was in the heat of the moment, but after 24 hours, wat i see is 8 games remaining agaisnt our rivals which has brighten me up.. if we finish 2nd, i'll be disappointed but nothing more.. i'll be as proud with our players as i would be if we won the title.. they hv produced a gallant effort and the dominance is not far away
Agreed McGooner, before this season began I don't think any of us expected to be tied on points with Man Utd at this stage of the season. About 3/4 of them are under 25, and giving teams like Man Utd and Chelsea a real struggle for a whole season is an achievement on its own. Still, if we manage to win the title, I won't complain :)
sorry i completley misread what you had written.....i had obviously missed something,i think i became dyslexic for a moment
fran merida
"its not over till its over!" Rocky Balboa, " what is that from 80's ? " ..... Rocky " err no, i think the 70's " i am going with this, saying, and let that be our fighting motto ! " its not over till its over ! "
oh well, could be worse, you could be 1-0 up at city and then take off your best players and show the tactical class of a manager and lose 2-1 !!!! somethign that made me smile !!!
I second the rallying calls here - it ain't over till the fat bloke sings, and since Jol is out of England, that leaves us waiting for Lumplard, Robbo and Huddle20stones to show us their vocal capabilities! We have all to play for in the remaining couple of months! Would any of us be complaining at the start of the season if they gave us parity with CSKA London and Manure 8 games before the end? No. Saying we have blown something we never had in any form is a bit too much. Optimism fellas! You're lucky you don't have to deal with the anti-Adebayor and spend-money-on-stars brigade that showed up at our SC after the 4 draws. it's been a struggle to screw their heads back on. Keep the faith I say.
I think our best player was Flamini, who was the one driving and urging everyone else, though Eboue did in fact play well. Hleb and Cesc had a poor game with rarely connecting passes and a look of being jaded - especially Hleb. This caused Kolo to surge upfield himself a few times too. Apart from the appalling refereeing, I couldn't help noticing that our players seemed - bizarrely - to be slipping all the time but Boro weren't! We always turn up for the big games so I just hope our boys give the Chavs a good spanking next week... lets see how it looks then!
Put it this way, this time last year our season was over and consisted of a series of dead rubber games. THAT was horrible.
Little Dutch
Adebeyor looked tired, he needs some rest if he wants to score again.
Nick should play ahead of Ade at the moment. Ade appears reluctant to put in the shifts we used to love him for when he was ***** and thinks he can waltz about all game because of the goals he has scored this season. Bench him for a game and let him come on as an impact player as on top of all that he looks knackered aswell. Whatever the situation do not partner them, dear god its terrible.
There seems a physchology to building momentum in winning football games. Early in the season we were pulling winners out of the hat which encouraged the team to believe that they could go on to win every game. Since the Brum game when we turned a certain victory into 2 points dropped at a crucial point in the season that physchologically momentum hasn't been with us. I think Gallas realised how crucial those points were which is why his reaction at the end of the game was so extreme. To have had more than an outside chance of taking the title we needed to go into the Chelsea game still with a healthy lead over ManU. That has gone now and curiously maybe that is what will get us playing a little more freely. The last few games we have been playing with a hesitancy - passes made just that little bit slower - our movement a little bit more predictable. It is going to be very hard to win from this position but maybe that will suit us more. All things are still possible - even if they are no longer probable.
Meh the fire is still burning. I wouldn't even say the odds are stacked against us severly. Whether we win the league is still in our hands although we will more than likely have to rely on Manu dropping points, if we were to win each of our games scoring a good amount of goals we don't have to rely on other teams doing us favours.
Nice to see some Gooners are keeping their faith in the team. A win at SB and I can genuinely see us winning the title. We really have to do our part now and get behind the team and stay optimistic.
I'd hate to be in Wenger's shoes right now. In one mind I'd be thinking that I don't want to throw in the towel in the Prem as there is a chance that with a few good results we could be right back in it, but on the other hand, although there's no guarantee, we'd probably have a better chance of progressing if we keep all our lads fresh for the Champs League. In essence, we are only a couple of good results away from winning that competition for the first time(in fact 1 win in the final and 4 draws (providing we get the right combination of away goals) would be enough). I don't think that we have got a good draw in the C/L against Liverpool, but should we progress, the fact that Chelsea are right back in the Premiership race could serve as a slight distraction for them (assuming the obvious happens and they dispatch of Fener). The only thing that makes me feel slightly more confident about the Liverpool tie is that it is truly win or bust for them (depending on your angle, you could probably say the same for us should we lose to Chelsea on Sunday, I'm a believer of the fat lady though so you won't see me throwing in the towel) so that might cause them some nervousness. Personally I'd love to see us challenge on both fronts until the last drop falls, but this clump of fixtures coming up are surely going to take their toll. I'd love to say something about the officiating this weekend, but I'm still tamping about it. I bet some of the Spurs lads who would have sympathised with Halsey and chums yesterday will be spitting fire with the rest of us after today's match. Sucks doesn't it chaps? Love reading your articles LD. Excellent reading.
the only reason i am on here now is cause of you lot coming on to man utd football just before the fa cup and look what happened to you. and every team has a patch like it. i dont recall man utd going 4 league games without a win last season raaid
We don't have enough strength in depth to win the league. We have only two players (Hleb & Rosicky) who have any sort of performance on the wings & Rosicky is forever going to be injury prone, which appears to be well known by the medical teams that look after him. In most areas you can get away with the back-up players we have but really we need more players who can actually perform on the wing, a replacement for Cesc when he is tired or injured & at least one other proven striker are essential if we are ever to really challenge for the league until the end of the season again. Before this season actually started our hopes were pinned on RVP & he had never scored 20 goals in a season. As its worked out Adebayor has been the main man but as good as he can be he seems to allow praise to go to his head & in turn he starts behaving like Henry of the past couple of years. I'm still not actually that fussed by winning the league (thats not to say it wouldn't be nice) but I personally would still prefer to win the CL. I think with Vela coming & probably a couple of other additions in the summer we will be better prepared to challenge for the league title next season.
Ashburton Gooner
why do housewives love arsenal, ..............because they spend so long on top, and always come 2nd, haha your cr-ap maybe next year isnt that your line!
I agree with you Ashburton Gooner, I think Ade is starting to act more like Henry. It's clear something ain't quite right - maybe it's that thing that Wenger always said about you not always getting consistency with a young team. Easy with hindsight, but I think Eduardo would have been exactly what we needed in this run-in: somebody that can convert the one or two chances you get in really tight games.
Evening girls, wheels coming off now eh? Starting to crumble eh? well it wouldn´t be the first time. Always next season I guess.
Blue is the colour
I think Ade's just got too many miles on the clock at the moment, which is understadable. 5-1, mate if I were youI'd be more worried about the fact that Wigan Athletic moved a bit closer to you today. BITC(h), you've been saying that since October. It wasn't amusing or true then, and in the million times you've repeated it since, it still hasn't got truer or funnier.
Little Dutch
I haven't finished reading this article. Will join in the discussion later. But just saw on MotD that the Premiership players ran a total of 882 miles yesterday, raising lots of money for Sports Relief. And guess which player covered the most ground at 8.5 miles?
Lou the Gunneress
Haha no - though I admit he had a much better game in a while, except Milan. It's a usual suspect when it comes to running nonstop and covering the entire ground.
Lou the Gunneress
Oh, just learnt that Jaaskelainen'll be out for the season because of a back problem. We're going to the Reebook after SB..
Lou the Gunneress
Damn! Why now Jaaskelainen? They have United this week.
guess which two teams have two tough mid week games followed by two even harder home games against big rivals,who have had a weeks rest? its not over yet, c'mon i want even more snide comments from the lotto chavs and armchair mancs, keep writing us off,i feel more comfortable when we are no hopers,without the pressure,and nothing to play for.from the very begining we have had no chance,so who gonna feel more gutted for failing? wont be me,coz my team had nothing to lose in the first place.
fran merida
Yep it's Mathieu - 8.5 miles! Oh yeah, so it's probably ManU's 3rd keeper versus Bolton's 2nd keeper.. But Ben Foster himself said, “Edwin’s probably going to be fit for the Bolton or Liverpool game and I’ve no qualms about him going straight back in." Er..
Lou the Gunneress
Its not yet over, though it looks more unlikely now. Trying to put a positive spin on it, it all boils down to our performances against the rest of the top 4. If the lads can raise their performance for each of those games, we still have a chance. But some of our key players (Cesc, Hleb, Ade) look a bit jaded. I was hoping that the week's break before the Boro game would help, but that hasnt and thats the main concern for me.
we need Rosicky back now and very quickly. having two big players like him and Eduardo out for so long is the problem, as both can play on the wing. like i said on saturday, the stage is perfectly set for us to end Chelsea's long unbeaten run. but before that i'm really praying for Bolton, Spurs and Pool to do us some favours..
Little Dutch, Arsenal have never been favourites this season, so it's not true that much has changed now. It's only that now Man Utd are clear favourites and Chelsea are also in front with the bookers.
The reason the Chavs and the Surrey Mancs are flocking over here is because they wrote us off so comprehensively pre season and they feel a bit silly.
Little Dutch
LD do you see us winning this sunday and ending their long unbeaten run?
also will you persist with Eboue on the right or give Walcott a run instead? i personally would like to see Van Persie play on the left and Bendtner and Ade starting upfront with Hleb on the right. we gotta go all out for the win..
we are going to finish above you lot..whether its as champions or 2nd... i do not care but we are going to beat you...forza chelsea!!!
"The words you speak today should be soft and tender. . . for tomorrow you may have to eat them."
like i ive said b4 the pressure will get to u.....adebayor is back to his best and it seems you are rsorting to long ball football.....lucky liverpool had a bad mid season or id say you guys would come 4th......if chelsea beat spuds and your lot the title will b down to 2
we're always going to struggle until they introduce cameras to replace the dogey ref's (FA's) decisions. i'm sick to death of controversial goals being responsible for our misfortunes. this weekend alone..... manure goal - rooney offside... adebayor - not offside... aliadiere - offside and scoring from a free kick that should have been given to us. same old, same old. the FA believe that manure are the biggest club in britain and are prepared to turn a blind eye to anything as long as it means they win.
I feel decisions have gone against us to KB but dont want to use it as an excuse even though its hard not to. Hansen on saturday said the difference between us and United is that we conceed more goals. In out last 5 games we have conceeded 4 goals. If you take away the offside goal, the non existant penalty and a non existant freekick it would be 1 and we be 4 points better off. They say that the rub of the green evens itself out over the course of the season. Hopefully we can get a dodgey penalty against Chelsea and and offside goal against United then....
Agreed, decisions have gone against us. However, against Birmingham we should have scored a third easily to avoid an equaliser, and against Boro we had so many chances that we should have put away. Yes, decisions have not gone our way but we should have still won both, because we should know by now that we can't count on the refs to do anything right.
Does anybody know how much time added on is actually allocated per substitution. I've actually heard that it's supposed to be 30 secs per sub, but that may be wrong. If that is the case then there were 5 subs used if I remeber correctly on Saturday, coupled with the fact that Clichy must have been down for at least 2-3 minutes, then time wasting stoppages. Surely there should have been enough time added on for us to take that final corner. We probably wouldn't have scored but still, I think that the ref was totally out of order not allowing it. It was pretty contreversial for him to do that!
Unfortunatly the ref was cr*p all day. What is more unfortunate is that i know the son of Mark halsey as he plays football on a sunday with me. Luckily for me he was away this week as i was ready to unleash critiscm. Not that its his sons fault mind you, but i would of liked an explanation on the dissalowed goal
Come on guys, it is time to rally round the team. I must say that I have been extremely impressed with everyone except for Adebayor in recent games. He has been extremely poor and does not work continuously again. I was hoping he would be rested for RVP and Bendtner. I also feel fabregas should hv been used as a sub for the Boro game whilst Hleb should hv played in the centre or right. In anycase we can do it and I think the boys would surprise us all once again.
Tbh I'm still gutted about that decision because he was right in front of Boateng/RvP when Boateng passed the ball back, from which Ade finished. So Paul_ownz, if you do manage to hear what Halsey has to say about that goal, it'd be very interesting.
Lou the Gunneress
Adebayor goal should have stood, how was that ruled off side I have no idea, but the corner from which Toure scored wasn't a corner, it should've been a foul for Middlesbrough, so it evened out. And Aliadiere, while he was offside, wasn't active, and Tuncay wasn't offside, so if we go by the new offside rules the goal should stand.
And LD, its Peter who denied Jesus. Judas betrayed Him.
Warri Gooner
u arsenal pathetic that u use dodgy ref decisions to make excuses......every team gets the same......chelsea were getting ripped off left right and center a few months ago.....dont forget your first goal against brum was a foul on their keeper
JohnDoe - Aliadierre scored, how does that make him "inactive"? There were only 2 passes in that move so there isn;t enough to be classed as phase 1 or 2 or what the feck ever the FA call it. So yes he was active, unless goal scorers are copnsidered nto interfering with play.............!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh look everyone, the little boy Dax is back, you haven't finished packing your crayons away yet bell end, run along now eh!
true it shouldnt have been a goal bt then you goal shouldnt ahve counted it was a fair result
MrDax that the sound of Goons starting to crumble as usual? I believe it is so. LOOOOL
Blue is the colour
LondonGooner, He was inactive when the long ball was punted downfield. He didn't go for the ball, Tuncay did, and when Tuncay crossed the ball to Aliadiere, he wasn't in an offside position.
Ashburton Gooner, your team has the strength and depth, but the squad is too thin. Also, gallas is your weakest link.
How can a team but not the squad have depth.

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