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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Arsenal 1 Chelsea 2

Wembley in the sunshine is always an exciting occasion. It was my first visit back to the stadium since that fateful night that Gabriel Batistuta ended our Champions League sojourn. We started our day at a very pleasant Fullers pub in Harrow on the Hill called the Castle where sunshine, beer gardens, fine ales and heart attack inducing burgers were the order of the day. Emerging to Wembley Way an hour or so prior to kick off, we were presented with a coccophony of blue and red as we walked over to Gate A. My memories of Wembley from my childhood were the giant concrete steps leading up to the turnstiles. Not Disability Discrimination Act compliant perhaps, but the giant glass facade that has replaced it does not match up iconographically. Perhaps nostalgia displacing my better judgement there.

Arsene went for power in midfield with Abou Diaby starting the game on the left hand side and Andrey Arshavin surprisingly remaining on the bench, Diaby shifted in field after as little as three minutes with van Persie moving to the left hand side. Perhaps Arsene had miscalculated Nicolas Anelka's role in the Chelsea formation? The Gunners nearly found themselves behind after as little as four minutes, Chelsea had obviously done their homework on our rather docile defending against Wigan, Ivanovic hooked a long ball over the top of Silvestre. who had his customary panic attack with the ball above his head, Fabianski came rushing out and Drogba beat him to the ball, nodding it towards goal, but Kieran Gibbs was fortunately on hand to clear off the line. It was the first act of what was a very assured performance from Gibbs. It was a stark warning of what was to come from Drogba and Silvestre. However, Arsenal got a foothold in the game and found themselves in an early lead. Adebayor played a clever ball into the left channel for the onrushing Gibbs, he clipped an intelligent cross to the back post and Theo Walcott connected with a left foot volley which deflected past Cech via the, presumably sovereign clad knuckles of Ashley Cole.

The Gunners were in the ascendancy, moving the ball as crisply as the terrible pitch would allow. However, chances were at a premium. With van Persie marooned on the left, he was unable to cause Chelsea any damage, whilst Adebayor looked as though he would rather have been anywhere else in the world. The fact that he was substituted with the scores at 1-1 tells you everything you need to know about how badly he stunk the place out yesterday. van Persie was industrious but effectively neutered. With Arsenal dominating territorially but offering little in the way of clear cut chances, Chelsea pulled themselves level after 32 minutes. Lampard's crossfield ball found Malouda, Eboue allowed him to cut in onto his right foot all too easily and his weak shot beat Fabianski at his front post. Arsenal fans were left ask themselves the futile question of what might have been had Almunia and Sagna been fit.

It was Chelsea's turn to assume control of the game now and they nearly snatched themselves into the lead when Denilson passed to Diaby in Arsenal's penalty area, Diaby characteristically dithered and Anelka burgled the ball from his toes and saw his quickfire left foot shot cannon off the post. Chelsea's dominance wasa beginning to build, but again chances were at a premium. The surface did not really allow for any sort of fluent passing which really went some way to comprimising the match as a spectacle. Half time came at the right time for Arsenal, it had been a schizophrenic half. The break saw Arsenal emerge slightly refreshed but no more inspirational upfront as the creative juices just would not flow with Arsenal's prime architect and perhaps our only player capable of producing something from nothing still festering on the left hand side. Walcott appeared to be the Gunners best outlet with his pace terrifying the Blues backline, Terry shoulod comfortably have dealt with Denilson's overhit pass, but Walcott's wing heels caused consternation in the England skipper, Walcott raced onto the ball, crossed for Adebayor, who screwed his shot horrendously wide.

It was Walcott again causing ruptures in Chelsea's backline as he careered onto Fabregas' pass and his low cross just evaded van Persie's toes on the back post. The game appeared to be heading for extra time when Chelsea unleashed their not so secret weapon. It was a Lampard ball over the top, Silvestre again showed all the composure of a teenage boy in his first fumble with the ball above his head, Fabianski made the unwise decision to rush out, leaving Drogba to nod the ball past him and slot into an empty net. Once again we were left to ponder how injuries to Gallas and Almunia might have hurt us. The match had fallen exactly the same way as the Carling Cup Final two years previous, with the team line ups rather similar too. Arsenal had a brief flutter of hope in the 89th minute, when Cech flapped at a Walcott cross, the ball fell to Arshavin whose shot deflected wide, In the end, Chelsea had the experience to close the game out. Recent history suggests that the key to getting a positive result is to go behind. Chelsea's power usually proves problematic for us, but yesterday we made individual errors and lost too many experienced players to negate Chelsea. Other than Walcott we offered too little threat going forward and the strange formation explains this, if we were going to line up with a 4-5-1 I have to ask why Arshavin was left on the bench and van Persie asked to play on the left. Injuries to players such as Sagna and Gallas, wily competitors with the experience to play these occasions hurt us, but there is simply no time to lick our wounds. The good thing is the games are thick and fast now so there is no time to pontificate too heavily on defeat, there are still many rivers to cross.LD.




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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday April 19 2009

Time: 3:29PM

Your Comments

Very disappointing performance all round. I very much doubt we will see Barca drop their most creative players and play a midfield of Toure and Keita to 'Nulify' Chelseas strengths. Pre game I thought we would need 3 to Win as the backline were always going to conceede, I have to say I very much doubt the 2nd goal would have been stopped had we had a fully fit squad as Fabianski was always going to play and we conceeded a similar goal against Liverpool (Long hoof not dealt with, no covering defender) and I think the 2 central defenders were Gallas and Djourou. We still lack the neccesary guile and street sense to win these games, notice how every Chelsea player would fall down when breathed on when a little pressure was on them in tight situations which stops the flow of the game, they then just sit and wait for the invetable mistake and see off the game. They won the game not because they were much better but because they make less mistakes.
iceman10
Very disappointing performance all round. I very much doubt we will see Barca drop their most creative players and play a midfield of Toure and Keita to 'Nulify' Chelseas strengths. Pre game I thought we would need 3 to Win as the backline were always going to conceede, I have to say I very much doubt the 2nd goal would have been stopped had we had a fully fit squad as Fabianski was always going to play and we conceeded a similar goal against Liverpool (Long hoof not dealt with, no covering defender) and I think the 2 central defenders were Gallas and Djourou. We still lack the neccesary guile and street sense to win these games, notice how every Chelsea player would fall down when breathed on when a little pressure was on them in tight situations which stops the flow of the game, they then just sit and wait for the invetable mistake and see off the game. They won the game not because they were much better but because they make less mistakes.
iceman10
The defeat is still hurting, not least because of the manner in which we've gone out, huffing and puffing. This type of pitch definitely hurts us more than other teams but then you do have to adapt. The side just didn't look balanced and I'd rather have gone out losing 3-0 but having at least gone for it. I felt the FA Cup was really our best chance of winning a trophy because I can't see us overcoming Man Utd AND Barcelona/Chelsea to win the CL. I really can't believe he won't have played Arshavin unless something was up, it just isn't logical to leave your most in-form creative player out.
Gooner_Vin
The defeat is still hurting, not least because of the manner in which we've gone out, huffing and puffing. This type of pitch definitely hurts us more than other teams but then you do have to adapt. The side just didn't look balanced and I'd rather have gone out losing 3-0 but having at least gone for it. I felt the FA Cup was really our best chance of winning a trophy because I can't see us overcoming Man Utd AND Barcelona/Chelsea to win the CL. I really can't believe he won't have played Arshavin unless something was up, it just isn't logical to leave your most in-form creative player out.
Gooner_Vin
Seems as tho Wenger tried too hard to out-manage Hiddink by leaving off Arshavin. Walcotts crossing still needs a lot of work but it wasn't even as though anyone was giving him something to aim for.
MeetTheGunners
Seems as tho Wenger tried too hard to out-manage Hiddink by leaving off Arshavin. Walcotts crossing still needs a lot of work but it wasn't even as though anyone was giving him something to aim for.
MeetTheGunners
Walcott reminded me alot of Lennon yesterday. So busy So dangerous but just couldnt find a final ball.
HuddersfieldYiddo
Walcott reminded me alot of Lennon yesterday. So busy So dangerous but just couldnt find a final ball.
HuddersfieldYiddo
Huddersfield,you read my mind. Walcott remainds me of lennon a couple of years ago. a great pace likes to run at people but it his timing off the final ball thats the problem and not so much the final ball itself. Its obvious that he is capable of a good final ball but just either hits it too early or too late.
Yid_from_India
...um, except the final ball he scored?
SUX2BU
Huddersfield,you read my mind. Walcott remainds me of lennon a couple of years ago. a great pace likes to run at people but it his timing off the final ball thats the problem and not so much the final ball itself. Its obvious that he is capable of a good final ball but just either hits it too early or too late.
Yid_from_India
...um, except the final ball he scored?
SUX2BU
good report lads, all the best for the CL and may we meet in the final!
merlin
good report lads, all the best for the CL and may we meet in the final!
merlin
You have to understand SUX, spuddies spend too much time at Vital Arsenal to actually have time to watch the games. Merlin, we both have some work to do before getting to Rome, and as nice as it would be to avenge our loss to Barca three years ago, an all-London final would be a nice poke in the eye to Pratini. Rome not safe? Move it to Wembley.
elbondo
You have to understand SUX, spuddies spend too much time at Vital Arsenal to actually have time to watch the games. Merlin, we both have some work to do before getting to Rome, and as nice as it would be to avenge our loss to Barca three years ago, an all-London final would be a nice poke in the eye to Pratini. Rome not safe? Move it to Wembley.
elbondo
What in the world is wrong with Adebayor? The reason he was so successful last year had more to do with his hard work and determination than anything else and now he just walks around giving stupid smiles to the camera after doing exactly nothing. If he doesn't want to be at Arsenal, fine - but you'd think he'd want to perform well to attract other teams. Anyway, the game is over and there's no point in complaining but the team selection made exactly zero sense yesterday. If we were worried about being overpowered why would we leave Sylvestre in when Song could have played? Why Diaby over Arshavin? Why Adebayor over any old lump of coal?
smithdj74
What in the world is wrong with Adebayor? The reason he was so successful last year had more to do with his hard work and determination than anything else and now he just walks around giving stupid smiles to the camera after doing exactly nothing. If he doesn't want to be at Arsenal, fine - but you'd think he'd want to perform well to attract other teams. Anyway, the game is over and there's no point in complaining but the team selection made exactly zero sense yesterday. If we were worried about being overpowered why would we leave Sylvestre in when Song could have played? Why Diaby over Arshavin? Why Adebayor over any old lump of coal?
smithdj74
I accept the decision of picking Diaby ahead of AA but I just can't recall the last time we even tried to match our opponents for physical presence. Arsene has always been a preacher of playing to our strengths instead of focusing too much on the opponents'. I guess I was fooled by his press conference or something. Btw, well done to Everton today. Now that is a team that can match Chelsea for physical power - the coming midweek game as a dress rehearsal of the Cup Final.
GoonerLou
I accept the decision of picking Diaby ahead of AA but I just can't recall the last time we even tried to match our opponents for physical presence. Arsene has always been a preacher of playing to our strengths instead of focusing too much on the opponents'. I guess I was fooled by his press conference or something. Btw, well done to Everton today. Now that is a team that can match Chelsea for physical power - the coming midweek game as a dress rehearsal of the Cup Final.
GoonerLou
It's quite bizarre that the two most experienced managers in England made weird selections and sub decisions (and pen decisions in Sir Red Nose's case) and lost in the Cup this weekend. Now the press are all focusing on ManU. I hope we can take a deep breath and bounce back against Liverpool now. Hope AA gets to play.
GoonerLou
lennon is better though imo
123spurs
It's quite bizarre that the two most experienced managers in England made weird selections and sub decisions (and pen decisions in Sir Red Nose's case) and lost in the Cup this weekend. Now the press are all focusing on ManU. I hope we can take a deep breath and bounce back against Liverpool now. Hope AA gets to play.
GoonerLou
lennon is better though imo
123spurs
We were thoroughly outplayed, and there's no shame in losing to a better side, which Chelsea was. Baffling decision to drop Arshavin AND Nasri, as one of them could have helped creatively. Diaby had one of his frustrating performances, dithering on the ball on more than one crucial occassion. Theo had a good game overall, Ade is letting thte fans down even though his stats look good for the season. Fabianski is making the same mistakes that Almunia made a few seasons back. Now, we wrote that off as a young players' learning curve. We cannot afford to do that all the time.
prits
We were thoroughly outplayed, and there's no shame in losing to a better side, which Chelsea was. Baffling decision to drop Arshavin AND Nasri, as one of them could have helped creatively. Diaby had one of his frustrating performances, dithering on the ball on more than one crucial occassion. Theo had a good game overall, Ade is letting thte fans down even though his stats look good for the season. Fabianski is making the same mistakes that Almunia made a few seasons back. Now, we wrote that off as a young players' learning curve. We cannot afford to do that all the time.
prits
You lot need a bit of muscle in the team. And a goalie too.
bromley
You lot need a bit of muscle in the team. And a goalie too.
bromley
"Diaby had one of his frustrating performances, dithering on the ball on more than one crucial occassion" - When has he not had "one of" these kind of performances?
Tom14
"Diaby had one of his frustrating performances, dithering on the ball on more than one crucial occassion" - When has he not had "one of" these kind of performances?
Tom14
It should read as 'Diaby had ANOTHER one of his frustrating performances'. The lad will probably come up with something sublime in the next game, though.
prits
It should read as 'Diaby had ANOTHER one of his frustrating performances'. The lad will probably come up with something sublime in the next game, though.
prits
Frustrating game overall,we started well which seemed to confound everyone who saw the starting lineup. Then Chelsea stepped it up a notched and totally out-muscled out us and so much for Diaby giving us a physical presense. Diaby gave us NO presense whatever. God bless Wenger and his unlimited reservoir of patience for players but God help me I lost faith and confidence in Diaby a long time ago,He even managed to lose the ball in the final minute of extra time. I have never wanted Arsenal to get rid of a player so badly(well apart from Nelson Vivas). But Wenger seems to have alot of faith in him and sine IN WENGER WE TRUST,end of discussion. Fabianski,Denilson,Adebayor,RvP AND the GREAT Silvestre, all had sub par games to say the least. on a positive note Gibbs passed the Chelsea test in flying colors and the so called quintuple dream is OVER. YESSSSS!
D'arsassin
Frustrating game overall,we started well which seemed to confound everyone who saw the starting lineup. Then Chelsea stepped it up a notched and totally out-muscled out us and so much for Diaby giving us a physical presense. Diaby gave us NO presense whatever. God bless Wenger and his unlimited reservoir of patience for players but God help me I lost faith and confidence in Diaby a long time ago,He even managed to lose the ball in the final minute of extra time. I have never wanted Arsenal to get rid of a player so badly(well apart from Nelson Vivas). But Wenger seems to have alot of faith in him and sine IN WENGER WE TRUST,end of discussion. Fabianski,Denilson,Adebayor,RvP AND the GREAT Silvestre, all had sub par games to say the least. on a positive note Gibbs passed the Chelsea test in flying colors and the so called quintuple dream is OVER. YESSSSS!
D'arsassin
Correction(s): i.e 1. "Chelsea stepped it up a notch",2. "NO presense what so ever".3. Since IN WENGER WE TRUST. that should be all. Most painful is I fancy we would have been favorites over Everton in the final. Moyes is doin a great job,no.
D'arsassin
Correction(s): i.e 1. "Chelsea stepped it up a notch",2. "NO presense what so ever".3. Since IN WENGER WE TRUST. that should be all. Most painful is I fancy we would have been favorites over Everton in the final. Moyes is doin a great job,no.
D'arsassin
Yes he is doing a good job with the resources available to him, but they are really boring to watch. I have watched 4 Everton games this season. The 2 against is and the FA cup ties Vs Liverpool & Man United and i regret wasting my time.
paul_ownz
Yes he is doing a good job with the resources available to him, but they are really boring to watch. I have watched 4 Everton games this season. The 2 against is and the FA cup ties Vs Liverpool & Man United and i regret wasting my time.
paul_ownz
You have to feel for Fabianksi. His judgement was spot on against Villa Real and his confident decision making helped cover for Silvestes lack of pace. But after that first poor decision his confidence just evaporated. I would say it was a good learning experience for him, but the lessons Drogba has dished out to some of our young defenders in the past haven't always made them stronger. Ah well, at least with Everton making it to the final I have a reason to watch (even if it will be ***** on a stick)
NoFitState
You have to feel for Fabianksi. His judgement was spot on against Villa Real and his confident decision making helped cover for Silvestes lack of pace. But after that first poor decision his confidence just evaporated. I would say it was a good learning experience for him, but the lessons Drogba has dished out to some of our young defenders in the past haven't always made them stronger. Ah well, at least with Everton making it to the final I have a reason to watch (even if it will be ***** on a stick)
NoFitState
To be quite candid with you I really did not understand the reason for the teamchange. For size and to withstand the bullying tactics of Chelsea Song would have been a better choice furthermore he would have releas esc creativity and dynamism which we have noticed recently. If Sivestre is so experience why did he not foul Drogba after he had been beaten? Fabianski was a total mess and the rest of the team had no bite. It is important they regroup early.
phreddy
To be quite candid with you I really did not understand the reason for the teamchange. For size and to withstand the bullying tactics of Chelsea Song would have been a better choice furthermore he would have releas esc creativity and dynamism which we have noticed recently. If Sivestre is so experience why did he not foul Drogba after he had been beaten? Fabianski was a total mess and the rest of the team had no bite. It is important they regroup early.
phreddy
he would have released Cesc' creativity and dynamism
phreddy
he would have released Cesc' creativity and dynamism
phreddy
I'm not going to defend Arsene's overall team selection, but I'm not sure he could have asked Song to play CB against Drogba. Song hasn't had many games at CB this year - I think he has only played a couple of CC matches there. To throw him in against drogba would have been asking for trouble ... but then again I guess asking Silveste to mark Drogba was asking for trouble too :/ I actually thought Song was a guaranteed pick as DM personally - I'm a big fan of Denilson, but I think this is exactly the sort of game we needed the height and physicality of Song in midfield.
NoFitState
I'm not going to defend Arsene's overall team selection, but I'm not sure he could have asked Song to play CB against Drogba. Song hasn't had many games at CB this year - I think he has only played a couple of CC matches there. To throw him in against drogba would have been asking for trouble ... but then again I guess asking Silveste to mark Drogba was asking for trouble too :/ I actually thought Song was a guaranteed pick as DM personally - I'm a big fan of Denilson, but I think this is exactly the sort of game we needed the height and physicality of Song in midfield.
NoFitState
I really hope Arsene doesn't go with Silvestre tomorrow night. Putting Silvestre against Torres would be suicide. If Baca has recovered I would much rather have him go in at CB and we line up Eboue-Toure-Sagna-Gibbs. You might say that defence is lacking in experience. But the most experienced member of our defence on Saturday was a disaster. In the midfield I hope we go with Theo-Song-Cesc-Nasri. If Baca can't play, then have Song in at CB and Diaby/Denilson with Cesc. Upfront I'd have Arshavin behind Ade. I think it's imperative we play someone in the hole, not only to support Ade, but if you think back to "2-0 in the San Siro", Hleb played there and was immense. Though he was brilliant on the ball, his work when he didn't have it was more crucial IMO because he was always pressurising Pirlo. We stopped Pirlo, and that was vital because he builds Milan's play. Arshavin needs to play in the hole, not only because that's his best position, but also to stop Alonso from controlling the game. Keep the faith Gooners. VICTORIA CONCORDIA CRESCIT
Patresc Vieiragas
I really hope Arsene doesn't go with Silvestre tomorrow night. Putting Silvestre against Torres would be suicide. If Baca has recovered I would much rather have him go in at CB and we line up Eboue-Toure-Sagna-Gibbs. You might say that defence is lacking in experience. But the most experienced member of our defence on Saturday was a disaster. In the midfield I hope we go with Theo-Song-Cesc-Nasri. If Baca can't play, then have Song in at CB and Diaby/Denilson with Cesc. Upfront I'd have Arshavin behind Ade. I think it's imperative we play someone in the hole, not only to support Ade, but if you think back to "2-0 in the San Siro", Hleb played there and was immense. Though he was brilliant on the ball, his work when he didn't have it was more crucial IMO because he was always pressurising Pirlo. We stopped Pirlo, and that was vital because he builds Milan's play. Arshavin needs to play in the hole, not only because that's his best position, but also to stop Alonso from controlling the game. Keep the faith Gooners. VICTORIA CONCORDIA CRESCIT
Patresc Vieiragas
i am a little bit unsure but has anything happened to Eduardo. Is he out for a while there is nothing on the A.com which would suggest he cannot play, any information?
alwaysgunner
i am a little bit unsure but has anything happened to Eduardo. Is he out for a while there is nothing on the A.com which would suggest he cannot play, any information?
alwaysgunner
I'm kind of glad Wenger's criticism of the quality of the Wembley pitch didn't get blown up to a "sore loser" campaign because he just told the truth and didn't use it as an excuse. Now Sir Red Nose has rightly agreed but he went even further by saying that the weird team selection was because he didn't want to field his strongest team on that pitch in view of the big possibility of going into extra time. Can the FA do something about it? Weather conditions are indeed a reason but why do we, also in London, have such a great pitch? Don't know if Wembley is over-used with other money-raising events. But it's sheer incompetence on the FA's part.
GoonerLou
I'm kind of glad Wenger's criticism of the quality of the Wembley pitch didn't get blown up to a "sore loser" campaign because he just told the truth and didn't use it as an excuse. Now Sir Red Nose has rightly agreed but he went even further by saying that the weird team selection was because he didn't want to field his strongest team on that pitch in view of the big possibility of going into extra time. Can the FA do something about it? Weather conditions are indeed a reason but why do we, also in London, have such a great pitch? Don't know if Wembley is over-used with other money-raising events. But it's sheer incompetence on the FA's part.
GoonerLou
Is Sylvestre really better than Senderos? Yes, Big Phil made a few high profile mistakes in the past but he also had numerous games when he was immaculate alongside Kolo and I still rate him above Sylvestre who used to be a decent defender but has now lost too much pace. Strange that Arshavin and Song were both left out especially as Arshavin didn't play the CL game so would have been fresh. I can only assume that Song and Denilson were 'rotated'. In spite of his size Diaby has never given us a physical presence and is to inconsistent. Fabianski showed the worst of himself again with his desire to rush out for everything irrespective, no doubt more experience will help with this part of his game. We'll need to be a lot better on Tuesday but there is no reason why we shouldn't be.
norfolk dumpling
Is Sylvestre really better than Senderos? Yes, Big Phil made a few high profile mistakes in the past but he also had numerous games when he was immaculate alongside Kolo and I still rate him above Sylvestre who used to be a decent defender but has now lost too much pace. Strange that Arshavin and Song were both left out especially as Arshavin didn't play the CL game so would have been fresh. I can only assume that Song and Denilson were 'rotated'. In spite of his size Diaby has never given us a physical presence and is to inconsistent. Fabianski showed the worst of himself again with his desire to rush out for everything irrespective, no doubt more experience will help with this part of his game. We'll need to be a lot better on Tuesday but there is no reason why we shouldn't be.
norfolk dumpling
Wenger showed his true colours Saturday with his team selection, cares preciesly F All for any domestic trophies, we've had the easiest run of fixtures ever to get there as well. Diaby was absolutely appalling. If it aint broke, why try fixing it.
shewore
Wenger showed his true colours Saturday with his team selection, cares preciesly F All for any domestic trophies, we've had the easiest run of fixtures ever to get there as well. Diaby was absolutely appalling. If it aint broke, why try fixing it.
shewore
One thing I noticed on Saturday was that, despite it being a gloriously sunny day, only about a tenth of the pitch got any sunlight, there was also little wind blowing around inside.They have done nothing to alleviate the awful, awful transport. In fact, the redesign of Wembley Stadium station has made it harder, all in all, I'm not at all impressed with the new Wembley. Back to the game, I hope this match can go some way to preventing this massively exaggerated mtyh amongst Arsenal fans that Senderos is apparently the only defender on earth to ever get the run around from Didier Drogba. Ask Liverpool fans about Carragher's encounters with Drogba for a start.
Little Dutch
One thing I noticed on Saturday was that, despite it being a gloriously sunny day, only about a tenth of the pitch got any sunlight, there was also little wind blowing around inside.They have done nothing to alleviate the awful, awful transport. In fact, the redesign of Wembley Stadium station has made it harder, all in all, I'm not at all impressed with the new Wembley. Back to the game, I hope this match can go some way to preventing this massively exaggerated mtyh amongst Arsenal fans that Senderos is apparently the only defender on earth to ever get the run around from Didier Drogba. Ask Liverpool fans about Carragher's encounters with Drogba for a start.
Little Dutch
I am surpised at the amount of criticism directed at Wenger after the game from the fans, it seems we are all better managers. There is always a thin line between failure and success. We had a weakened back 5 with only 1 first teamer and he decided to put a bit more power in the centre by putting Diaby and Denilson to also protect the back line. Possibly we could of played Van Persie as the loan striker with Arshavin on the left. I personally think if we had gone 4-4-2 with Denilson & Fabrgeas on that cr*p surface that we would of been over run by Essien, Ballack & Lampard.
paul_ownz
I am surpised at the amount of criticism directed at Wenger after the game from the fans, it seems we are all better managers. There is always a thin line between failure and success. We had a weakened back 5 with only 1 first teamer and he decided to put a bit more power in the centre by putting Diaby and Denilson to also protect the back line. Possibly we could of played Van Persie as the loan striker with Arshavin on the left. I personally think if we had gone 4-4-2 with Denilson & Fabrgeas on that cr*p surface that we would of been over run by Essien, Ballack & Lampard.
paul_ownz
Also it is plausable that Arshavin was carrying a knock seeing as he has started every game since arriving.
paul_ownz
Also it is plausable that Arshavin was carrying a knock seeing as he has started every game since arriving.
paul_ownz
At the time i wasn't angry, i just thought he dropped a clanger, it just appears now after more reflection how farther and farther down in Wenger's estimations the FA cup has got.
shewore
At the time i wasn't angry, i just thought he dropped a clanger, it just appears now after more reflection how farther and farther down in Wenger's estimations the FA cup has got.
shewore
Diaby seriously needs to be questioned for his attitude. I could perhaps forgive players who lack that extra bit of quality and then make mistakes or gifted players who have a bad day/period. But in my opinion this guy has shown time and time again that he does not even care enough to make the extra effort. And that is far worse. It's not only his fault but it certainly would help to field players who actually show some fighting spirit.
Fabby69
Diaby seriously needs to be questioned for his attitude. I could perhaps forgive players who lack that extra bit of quality and then make mistakes or gifted players who have a bad day/period. But in my opinion this guy has shown time and time again that he does not even care enough to make the extra effort. And that is far worse. It's not only his fault but it certainly would help to field players who actually show some fighting spirit.
Fabby69
I dont know about that Shewhore. Appart from Arshavin on the bench(who could have been injured) we played the strongest team available. Back 5 was forced. Fabregas, Adebayor, Denilson, Walcott & Van Persie are all usual starters. Him choosing Diaby over the rest maybe was a mistake in hindsight. But he was the best player in Rome & Fenerbache.
paul_ownz
I dont know about that Shewhore. Appart from Arshavin on the bench(who could have been injured) we played the strongest team available. Back 5 was forced. Fabregas, Adebayor, Denilson, Walcott & Van Persie are all usual starters. Him choosing Diaby over the rest maybe was a mistake in hindsight. But he was the best player in Rome & Fenerbache.
paul_ownz
On Friday I returned from an unplanned trip to London, where a friend had gotten me a ticket to the Villareal game (his brother couldn't go). It took some scrambling to suddenly change my plans but I was desperate to go in order to welcome back Bobby, my favorite Wenger player. I got to watch the Wigan game with a bunch of gooner friends at a pub and had a fantastic time at the Grove, which I enjoyed exploring. I got to see Arsene's little French jig fairly close up. :-) It was my first live Arsenal game since May 2006. I was still buzzing on Saturday when friends and I got together at Nevada Smith's in Manhattan to see the game. To say that we were all brought back down to earth with a massive thud is a huge understatement. Several of the gooners there were English and Irish expats. The overwhelming emotion was anger at Arsene, and I'll come clean and say that that's exactly how I felt and still feel. We gooners regularly trash Myles Palmer, and for good reason, but I do think occasionally he gets things right — up to a point. Palmer claims exactly what I and a couple of my equally mystified gooner friends thought: Wenger has prioritized finishing 3rd place because he is worried about not getting thru the qualifying rounds of the CL next season. He knows we’ll be up against tougher opposition in the initial qualifying round and that there’s a very good chance we’ll be eliminated very early in the competition. That means that AW does not, in fact, have as much faith in this squad as he claims to have. You can find no greater admirer of Arsene Wenger than me and I have railed against his critics in the media, opposition fans and managers, and among gooners calling for his head. There have, however, been certain occasions where I’ve been incredibly furious with him, occasions which have taken me a very long time to forget and forgive. His treatment of Gilberto Silva, e.g., is something I still have not forgiven him for. On Saturday, his team selection and tactics in a crucial FA cup semifinal were totally inexcusable. I couldn’t even bear to look at him or listen to him in his after-game interview, I was so angry. This isn’t Monday morning quarterbacking, as they say here in the US. This isn’t a case of knowing what went wrong after the game. This is a case where I and many fellow gooners agreed on the same thing PRIOR to the game: Too many gooners became dismissive of Chelsea after our November victory over them at the Bridge. Many were arrogant in their pre-game talk of this semifinal. They sneered at Chelsea for conceding all those goals against Liverpool. But anyone with an understanding of football knew that we beat Chelsea WITHOUT Drogba and Essien, and with a manager who was proving to be a weak tactician. Chelsea WITH Drogba, Essien and Hiddink is a different animal. When Drogba is in form and the other players are at their best, they routinely outmuscle us. So what AW had to do if he genuinely wanted us to go for this trophy was to put his best player on the pitch–Arshavin–and include Song (whether in midfield or centerback, preferably in midfield) because we needed muscle against Chelsea, which Song provides. NOT Denilson! These are things that we all assumed would happen BEFORE the game. We were all shocked to see AW's team selection. We were further shocked and infuriated to see him put on Arshavin in the F—–G 75TH MINUTE!!!! THE 75TH MINUTE!!! [to be continued]
jaelle
[continued] And never once did he put on Song. Never mind Nasri. Worse, unlike Hiddink, AW NEVER changed his tactics when things weren’t working. Hiddink exposed AW for the pathetic tactician he often is. Early on in the game Hiddink saw things were not working for him so he did something to change the game. AW refused to do this. AW deliberately threw away the FA cup trophy. Even with our injury problems, he certainly had a team at his disposal that could’ve beaten Chelsea, or at least taken them to a draw, and then extra time, and possibly penalties. At least he could’ve put out a team that would’ve made it much tougher for Chelsea. The players are not to blame for our elimination on Saturday. All the focus is on Fabianski and that’s unfair. Yes, he had a horrid game, but he’s not the reason we lost. Fabianski is the same keeper who had to come on in the Villareal first leg–an away game in a major CL match–and did very well against a team that created a lot of chances. He certainly did not expect to play that game. The blame for Saturday rests entirely on Arsene Wenger. Four seasons of gooners and players having to deal with the constant reminder and insults from pundits, opposition fans, journalists that we haven’t won anything, rival fans constantly sneering at us that we’ll never win anything, that we’re in decline. We’ve taken it all. A horrible season with his weakest squad in which we destroy our home unbeaten record against a newly promoted side, comedic losses to the likes of Stoke and Fulham, ending any credible title challenge before December. Constant longerm injuries to key players. We’ve borne it all. Now FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY we’re in the semifinal of the one competition that we have a real chance of winning (and no, we’re not going to win the CL) — and this is what Wenger does. He throws it away. Think of what he’s done to the players. The players were talking about winning 2 trophies, they were riding high, brimming with confidence. At least if they came away from that game having given Chelsea a serious challenge, with Arshavin and Song on the pitch, with the tactics right, they would feel at least that they provided a serious go at the trophy. AW owes his players an apology for his decisions on Saturday. What he did was absolutely inexcusable and unforgivable.
jaelle
On Friday I returned from an unplanned trip to London, where a friend had gotten me a ticket to the Villareal game (his brother couldn't go). It took some scrambling to suddenly change my plans but I was desperate to go in order to welcome back Bobby, my favorite Wenger player. I got to watch the Wigan game with a bunch of gooner friends at a pub and had a fantastic time at the Grove, which I enjoyed exploring. I got to see Arsene's little French jig fairly close up. :-) It was my first live Arsenal game since May 2006. I was still buzzing on Saturday when friends and I got together at Nevada Smith's in Manhattan to see the game. To say that we were all brought back down to earth with a massive thud is a huge understatement. Several of the gooners there were English and Irish expats. The overwhelming emotion was anger at Arsene, and I'll come clean and say that that's exactly how I felt and still feel. We gooners regularly trash Myles Palmer, and for good reason, but I do think occasionally he gets things right — up to a point. Palmer claims exactly what I and a couple of my equally mystified gooner friends thought: Wenger has prioritized finishing 3rd place because he is worried about not getting thru the qualifying rounds of the CL next season. He knows we’ll be up against tougher opposition in the initial qualifying round and that there’s a very good chance we’ll be eliminated very early in the competition. That means that AW does not, in fact, have as much faith in this squad as he claims to have. You can find no greater admirer of Arsene Wenger than me and I have railed against his critics in the media, opposition fans and managers, and among gooners calling for his head. There have, however, been certain occasions where I’ve been incredibly furious with him, occasions which have taken me a very long time to forget and forgive. His treatment of Gilberto Silva, e.g., is something I still have not forgiven him for. On Saturday, his team selection and tactics in a crucial FA cup semifinal were totally inexcusable. I couldn’t even bear to look at him or listen to him in his after-game interview, I was so angry. This isn’t Monday morning quarterbacking, as they say here in the US. This isn’t a case of knowing what went wrong after the game. This is a case where I and many fellow gooners agreed on the same thing PRIOR to the game: Too many gooners became dismissive of Chelsea after our November victory over them at the Bridge. Many were arrogant in their pre-game talk of this semifinal. They sneered at Chelsea for conceding all those goals against Liverpool. But anyone with an understanding of football knew that we beat Chelsea WITHOUT Drogba and Essien, and with a manager who was proving to be a weak tactician. Chelsea WITH Drogba, Essien and Hiddink is a different animal. When Drogba is in form and the other players are at their best, they routinely outmuscle us. So what AW had to do if he genuinely wanted us to go for this trophy was to put his best player on the pitch–Arshavin–and include Song (whether in midfield or centerback, preferably in midfield) because we needed muscle against Chelsea, which Song provides. NOT Denilson! These are things that we all assumed would happen BEFORE the game. We were all shocked to see AW's team selection. We were further shocked and infuriated to see him put on Arshavin in the F—–G 75TH MINUTE!!!! THE 75TH MINUTE!!! [to be continued]
jaelle
[continued] And never once did he put on Song. Never mind Nasri. Worse, unlike Hiddink, AW NEVER changed his tactics when things weren’t working. Hiddink exposed AW for the pathetic tactician he often is. Early on in the game Hiddink saw things were not working for him so he did something to change the game. AW refused to do this. AW deliberately threw away the FA cup trophy. Even with our injury problems, he certainly had a team at his disposal that could’ve beaten Chelsea, or at least taken them to a draw, and then extra time, and possibly penalties. At least he could’ve put out a team that would’ve made it much tougher for Chelsea. The players are not to blame for our elimination on Saturday. All the focus is on Fabianski and that’s unfair. Yes, he had a horrid game, but he’s not the reason we lost. Fabianski is the same keeper who had to come on in the Villareal first leg–an away game in a major CL match–and did very well against a team that created a lot of chances. He certainly did not expect to play that game. The blame for Saturday rests entirely on Arsene Wenger. Four seasons of gooners and players having to deal with the constant reminder and insults from pundits, opposition fans, journalists that we haven’t won anything, rival fans constantly sneering at us that we’ll never win anything, that we’re in decline. We’ve taken it all. A horrible season with his weakest squad in which we destroy our home unbeaten record against a newly promoted side, comedic losses to the likes of Stoke and Fulham, ending any credible title challenge before December. Constant longerm injuries to key players. We’ve borne it all. Now FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY we’re in the semifinal of the one competition that we have a real chance of winning (and no, we’re not going to win the CL) — and this is what Wenger does. He throws it away. Think of what he’s done to the players. The players were talking about winning 2 trophies, they were riding high, brimming with confidence. At least if they came away from that game having given Chelsea a serious challenge, with Arshavin and Song on the pitch, with the tactics right, they would feel at least that they provided a serious go at the trophy. AW owes his players an apology for his decisions on Saturday. What he did was absolutely inexcusable and unforgivable.
jaelle
I have to say I find a lot of that unfair jaelle, Wenger was hardly resting players, he was devising a strategy of how he best thought he could beat Chelsea. Our better results against Chelsea recently have come from going quite narrow in midfield. Wenger did change his tactics, because RvP started upfront and Diaby began on the left, that changed after about five minutes. He put Walcott, Adebayor, van Persie and Fabregas out there, so we hardly lacked strong offensive players and we weren't resting the big guns either. Essien was clearly going to try and manmark Fabregas, so playing him further back and putting Diaby in further forward made sense to me. The only significant changes which really lost us the game were all at the back and all were enforced. I have to say I would have played Arshavin myself but I also don't doubt for one second that had Drogba overpowered us in the manner he did and we lost 2-1 with Diaby on the bench, questions would have been asked as to why he was left out- particularly as Arshavin has admitted that he's not quite adapted to the physical side of the English game yet. Chelsea did not outplay us by any stretch of the imagination, it was a very tight game in which both sides created little, we just made one more mistake than they did and, given the fact that 80% of our defence as well as our main covering defender were wiped out through injury, it's hardly surprising. I guess it's a measure of how far this manager and this team punches above their weight that losing an incredibly tight semi final without five of our six first choice defenders against the most expensive starting line up ever fielded in an F.A. Cup semi can create such fury amongst Arsenal fans. Chelsea are a better side than us and have been for some time, they should be too with their resources, we were always underdogs here.
Little Dutch
I have to say I find a lot of that unfair jaelle, Wenger was hardly resting players, he was devising a strategy of how he best thought he could beat Chelsea. Our better results against Chelsea recently have come from going quite narrow in midfield. Wenger did change his tactics, because RvP started upfront and Diaby began on the left, that changed after about five minutes. He put Walcott, Adebayor, van Persie and Fabregas out there, so we hardly lacked strong offensive players and we weren't resting the big guns either. Essien was clearly going to try and manmark Fabregas, so playing him further back and putting Diaby in further forward made sense to me. The only significant changes which really lost us the game were all at the back and all were enforced. I have to say I would have played Arshavin myself but I also don't doubt for one second that had Drogba overpowered us in the manner he did and we lost 2-1 with Diaby on the bench, questions would have been asked as to why he was left out- particularly as Arshavin has admitted that he's not quite adapted to the physical side of the English game yet. Chelsea did not outplay us by any stretch of the imagination, it was a very tight game in which both sides created little, we just made one more mistake than they did and, given the fact that 80% of our defence as well as our main covering defender were wiped out through injury, it's hardly surprising. I guess it's a measure of how far this manager and this team punches above their weight that losing an incredibly tight semi final without five of our six first choice defenders against the most expensive starting line up ever fielded in an F.A. Cup semi can create such fury amongst Arsenal fans. Chelsea are a better side than us and have been for some time, they should be too with their resources, we were always underdogs here.
Little Dutch
Don't lose sight of the fact that Chelsea's 2 goals came from extremely sloppy defending on our part, Eboue/Sillyvestre/Fabainski all playing a part. Although why he didn't play Song on his form is a mystery (if he cared about the FA cup).
shewore
Don't lose sight of the fact that Chelsea's 2 goals came from extremely sloppy defending on our part, Eboue/Sillyvestre/Fabainski all playing a part. Although why he didn't play Song on his form is a mystery (if he cared about the FA cup).
shewore
If we're talking about Wenger resting players because he didn't care about the game, which I think to be demonstratably untrue, it's worth considering both Adebayor and RvP played and picked up injuries which keep them out of the Liverpool game tomorrow.
Little Dutch
If we're talking about Wenger resting players because he didn't care about the game, which I think to be demonstratably untrue, it's worth considering both Adebayor and RvP played and picked up injuries which keep them out of the Liverpool game tomorrow.
Little Dutch
Must admit i was surprised that he took off Adebayor, couldn't have believed it was down to his performance
shewore
Must admit i was surprised that he took off Adebayor, couldn't have believed it was down to his performance
shewore
Jaelle as i said above Aside from Diaby starting instead of Arshavin we played our strongest team on the day. The back 5 named themselves due to injuries and we played Adebayor, Van Persie, Denilson, Fabregas & Walcott all of who are first teamers. So basically if i was to go by what you & myles said, we didnt take this game seriously because we played Diaby over Arshavin? If we were not interested in this competition and were saving ourselves for Liverpool & 3rd spot then why did we play Adebayor, Walcott, RVP & Fabregas? Adebayor & RVP are now ruled out of the game against Liverpool which makes a win at Anfield all the more unlikely. The fact this is the first game of importance since november(5 months) we have lost, its a bit harsh to be calling Wenger out.
paul_ownz
Jaelle as i said above Aside from Diaby starting instead of Arshavin we played our strongest team on the day. The back 5 named themselves due to injuries and we played Adebayor, Van Persie, Denilson, Fabregas & Walcott all of who are first teamers. So basically if i was to go by what you & myles said, we didnt take this game seriously because we played Diaby over Arshavin? If we were not interested in this competition and were saving ourselves for Liverpool & 3rd spot then why did we play Adebayor, Walcott, RVP & Fabregas? Adebayor & RVP are now ruled out of the game against Liverpool which makes a win at Anfield all the more unlikely. The fact this is the first game of importance since november(5 months) we have lost, its a bit harsh to be calling Wenger out.
paul_ownz
Shewore I think he dropped Fabregas back a bit with Diaby the attacking Midfielder. If he were to have played Song over Diaby then we would have too many players playing deep. We could of put Cesc further up, but it was evdient the other day he is not as effective from this position. Song instead of Denilson maybe, but both have been playing well and he decided to rest Denilso against Villareal so he could play against Chelsea.
paul_ownz
Shewore I think he dropped Fabregas back a bit with Diaby the attacking Midfielder. If he were to have played Song over Diaby then we would have too many players playing deep. We could of put Cesc further up, but it was evdient the other day he is not as effective from this position. Song instead of Denilson maybe, but both have been playing well and he decided to rest Denilso against Villareal so he could play against Chelsea.
paul_ownz
Oh great, just great, now Ade and RvP will miss the Liverpool game. We're fantastically screwed.
GoonerLou
Oh great, just great, now Ade and RvP will miss the Liverpool game. We're fantastically screwed.
GoonerLou
I still argue that leaving out your best player--a genuine world class player who can make things happen--in a crucial semifinal in the one competition we have the best chance of winning, AND leaving out the one midfielder (or reserve defender) with genuine muscle who has a better chance of dealing with Chelsea's muscle than Denilson amounts to "throwing the game away."
jaelle
I still argue that leaving out your best player--a genuine world class player who can make things happen--in a crucial semifinal in the one competition we have the best chance of winning, AND leaving out the one midfielder (or reserve defender) with genuine muscle who has a better chance of dealing with Chelsea's muscle than Denilson amounts to "throwing the game away."
jaelle
Well all i can do is disagree. If you are going to throw the game away then do what United did and dont play any of your stars. Denilson has been quite brilliant in games recently and to decide between him and song is 50/50. He chose one for Villareal and one for Chelsea. With the formation he chose we could of had one of RVP or Ade up front as a lone striker with Arshavin on the left maybe. Who would you leave on the bench then? He could of played Arshavin instead of Walcott even, but Walcott has been fantastic in the last couple of games too. I still think a 4-4-2 would of left us even more exposed, especially on Wembley's surface.
paul_ownz
Well all i can do is disagree. If you are going to throw the game away then do what United did and dont play any of your stars. Denilson has been quite brilliant in games recently and to decide between him and song is 50/50. He chose one for Villareal and one for Chelsea. With the formation he chose we could of had one of RVP or Ade up front as a lone striker with Arshavin on the left maybe. Who would you leave on the bench then? He could of played Arshavin instead of Walcott even, but Walcott has been fantastic in the last couple of games too. I still think a 4-4-2 would of left us even more exposed, especially on Wembley's surface.
paul_ownz
I think you could look at the team selection as a reason we did not win the game, but I wouldn't put it down as a reason we lost the game. We lost because of defensive mistakes from utility players. Had RvP begun the game on the left, I would have questioned why we didn't just put Arshavin in there, but we started with two upfront and Diaby left to add the power, which was understandable. One of the things I have found amusing in a lot of the criticism however, and this is not a point aimed at any one person, but the majority of Arsenal fans are citing the refusal to start with Alex Song as a reason we lost a Cup Semi Final to Chelsea. Such a scenario would have been unimaginable even three months ago. It shows you how fickle we fans can be and speaks to Wenger's better long term judgement.
Little Dutch
I think you could look at the team selection as a reason we did not win the game, but I wouldn't put it down as a reason we lost the game. We lost because of defensive mistakes from utility players. Had RvP begun the game on the left, I would have questioned why we didn't just put Arshavin in there, but we started with two upfront and Diaby left to add the power, which was understandable. One of the things I have found amusing in a lot of the criticism however, and this is not a point aimed at any one person, but the majority of Arsenal fans are citing the refusal to start with Alex Song as a reason we lost a Cup Semi Final to Chelsea. Such a scenario would have been unimaginable even three months ago. It shows you how fickle we fans can be and speaks to Wenger's better long term judgement.
Little Dutch
I don't have a problem with Denilson playing over Song, like paul said, one for Villarreal, one for Chelsea. I was absolutely shocked to see Diaby over Nasri and Arshavin. It made no sense whatsoever and indicated to me that Wenger was abandoning the Arsenal style of play, which really should never be done.
TPowell
I don't have a problem with Denilson playing over Song, like paul said, one for Villarreal, one for Chelsea. I was absolutely shocked to see Diaby over Nasri and Arshavin. It made no sense whatsoever and indicated to me that Wenger was abandoning the Arsenal style of play, which really should never be done.
TPowell
LD, your point about the change in perspective re Song is well taken but I have not trashed Song all season long, having been impressed with him at last year's ANC tournament. And my opinion comes from him being our most in form holding mid type player who also has what I feel to be greater physical strength than Denilson. I'm not a Denilson-basher, I rate him highly, tho I do think he still has a lot to improve on. But my greatest worry with a fullstrength Chelsea team fielding BOTH an in-form Drogba and Essien is muscle, and I just don't feel Denilson is a good choice in a defensive position when we already had a so many key defenders out. I wouldn't feel that way if Gallas/Djourou, Sagna, Almunia had also been on the pitch. Also, I concede your point about AW changing tactics, it just didn't seem to make any difference.
jaelle
LD, your point about the change in perspective re Song is well taken but I have not trashed Song all season long, having been impressed with him at last year's ANC tournament. And my opinion comes from him being our most in form holding mid type player who also has what I feel to be greater physical strength than Denilson. I'm not a Denilson-basher, I rate him highly, tho I do think he still has a lot to improve on. But my greatest worry with a fullstrength Chelsea team fielding BOTH an in-form Drogba and Essien is muscle, and I just don't feel Denilson is a good choice in a defensive position when we already had a so many key defenders out. I wouldn't feel that way if Gallas/Djourou, Sagna, Almunia had also been on the pitch. Also, I concede your point about AW changing tactics, it just didn't seem to make any difference.
jaelle
To me its just a case that the tactics & team he went for on the day just didnt work... To say "AW owes his players an apology for his decisions on Saturday. What he did was absolutely inexcusable and unforgivable." is extreme in the least and for that plum Myles to say "Unbelievable ! What a prat ! Wenger drops Arshavin, who is 27 and his best player and fresh, having not played in midweek." and go on to berate him constantly shows that he is a to**pot. All the guy does is bash our club, team, manager, fans. He is not an Arsenal fan, thats for sure.
paul_ownz
To me its just a case that the tactics & team he went for on the day just didnt work... To say "AW owes his players an apology for his decisions on Saturday. What he did was absolutely inexcusable and unforgivable." is extreme in the least and for that plum Myles to say "Unbelievable ! What a prat ! Wenger drops Arshavin, who is 27 and his best player and fresh, having not played in midweek." and go on to berate him constantly shows that he is a to**pot. All the guy does is bash our club, team, manager, fans. He is not an Arsenal fan, thats for sure.
paul_ownz
paul, I don't like Myles either, I don't believe he's a gooner, never has been. My words were borne of anger and were probably OTT but I will stick to my belief that to bench your best player who was fully rested, who could make a real impact in the one cup competition he's eligible for, in a crucial semifinal, is just a baffling, ridiculous decision. Arshavin was the key player who could make the FA cup trophy a real possibility for us, who could finally finally finally end all the snide dismissals we've endured. Sorry, I just can't agree that it was a defensible choice to bench such a world class player in the only competition he's eligible for, a player who's a genuine game-winner.
jaelle
paul, I don't like Myles either, I don't believe he's a gooner, never has been. My words were borne of anger and were probably OTT but I will stick to my belief that to bench your best player who was fully rested, who could make a real impact in the one cup competition he's eligible for, in a crucial semifinal, is just a baffling, ridiculous decision. Arshavin was the key player who could make the FA cup trophy a real possibility for us, who could finally finally finally end all the snide dismissals we've endured. Sorry, I just can't agree that it was a defensible choice to bench such a world class player in the only competition he's eligible for, a player who's a genuine game-winner.
jaelle
Ok fair enough. Im not saying i was particularly happy to see him on the bench, because i wasnt. But i do believe that he just got it wrong. If he wasnt bothered about the game then dont risk Ade, Theo, Cesc or RVP all of whom have just returned from injuries. Also seeing as Arshavin has started every game since arriving, there is a posibility he had a injury of some sort.
paul_ownz
Ok fair enough. Im not saying i was particularly happy to see him on the bench, because i wasnt. But i do believe that he just got it wrong. If he wasnt bothered about the game then dont risk Ade, Theo, Cesc or RVP all of whom have just returned from injuries. Also seeing as Arshavin has started every game since arriving, there is a posibility he had a injury of some sort.
paul_ownz
Jaelle - I like your passion and reasoned analysis and have to agree with some of the points if not the extremity of view that Arsene threw the game away. I do agree that he really wants to finish 3rd though because of that difficult qualifier next season. For some reason, I have a nagging doubt about Arsene's ability to win the really big games when up against a superior team or excellent manager. You could see Ferguson or Mourinho get their players to get a result at all cost in a big match but Arsene doesn't seem able to do that. Man Utd have beaten us in semi-finals, we lost the Champions League final to arguably a better side, we lost the Carling Cup final to a stronger side. When we beat Man Utd in the FA Cup 4 years ago, we got out of jail. OK, we have beaten Chelsea in a FA Cup final but we were stronger than them at that time. In the interest of the Champs League semi, I just felt it was so important for this team to get past Chelsea to the final and just prove to themselves they could beat a major side in a big one-off game. Even if we get past Man Utd, I can't see us having the nous nor Wenger having the tactical know-how to outmanouvre Barca or Chelsea in the final.
Gooner_Vin
Jaelle - I like your passion and reasoned analysis and have to agree with some of the points if not the extremity of view that Arsene threw the game away. I do agree that he really wants to finish 3rd though because of that difficult qualifier next season. For some reason, I have a nagging doubt about Arsene's ability to win the really big games when up against a superior team or excellent manager. You could see Ferguson or Mourinho get their players to get a result at all cost in a big match but Arsene doesn't seem able to do that. Man Utd have beaten us in semi-finals, we lost the Champions League final to arguably a better side, we lost the Carling Cup final to a stronger side. When we beat Man Utd in the FA Cup 4 years ago, we got out of jail. OK, we have beaten Chelsea in a FA Cup final but we were stronger than them at that time. In the interest of the Champs League semi, I just felt it was so important for this team to get past Chelsea to the final and just prove to themselves they could beat a major side in a big one-off game. Even if we get past Man Utd, I can't see us having the nous nor Wenger having the tactical know-how to outmanouvre Barca or Chelsea in the final.
Gooner_Vin
Well it's arguable that Arsene made a wrong decision but it's an honest mistake and I can't bring myself to say he 'throw it away'. Jaelle I was/am upset too, but just like Fabi and Silvestre, people make mistakes. If Arsene 'threw the cup away', what do you call Sir Red Nose's team selection and picking the defenders to take pens first? I'm with you on the big AA mystery, but let's look forward to the Anfield game. Funnily enough, Arsene will HAVE TO play AA this time, with Ade and RvP both out. Chill!
GoonerLou
Well it's arguable that Arsene made a wrong decision but it's an honest mistake and I can't bring myself to say he 'throw it away'. Jaelle I was/am upset too, but just like Fabi and Silvestre, people make mistakes. If Arsene 'threw the cup away', what do you call Sir Red Nose's team selection and picking the defenders to take pens first? I'm with you on the big AA mystery, but let's look forward to the Anfield game. Funnily enough, Arsene will HAVE TO play AA this time, with Ade and RvP both out. Chill!
GoonerLou
Wengers thinking may have been that the self same midfield he selected on saturday played very well against Chelsea in the carling cup final until Diaby ironically injured his foot on John Terrys forehead. 2 years down the line they should have been better and more capable of finishing the job but they werent and that may tell Wenger something about some of their development or lack of. I think his biggest mistake was where he deployed RVP although I still cannot fathom how Arshavin didnt play.
iceman10
Wengers thinking may have been that the self same midfield he selected on saturday played very well against Chelsea in the carling cup final until Diaby ironically injured his foot on John Terrys forehead. 2 years down the line they should have been better and more capable of finishing the job but they werent and that may tell Wenger something about some of their development or lack of. I think his biggest mistake was where he deployed RVP although I still cannot fathom how Arshavin didnt play.
iceman10
I don't think Arsene has any problem getting results in the big Cup games- his record says as much. What we're seeing isn't Wenger being out thought tactically but more likely outmuscled resource wise. It makes sense that we lose to teams like Chelsea, United and Barca in big cup games because they have deeper squads and more money than we do. If we were able to stockpile £30m+ players on the subs bench, you'd see Wenger outdo any manager you can name 9 times out of 10. We don't have that luxury just at the moment and, for the time being, have to accept that the Chelseas and Uniteds are superior teams to us for that very reason.
Little Dutch
I don't think Arsene has any problem getting results in the big Cup games- his record says as much. What we're seeing isn't Wenger being out thought tactically but more likely outmuscled resource wise. It makes sense that we lose to teams like Chelsea, United and Barca in big cup games because they have deeper squads and more money than we do. If we were able to stockpile £30m+ players on the subs bench, you'd see Wenger outdo any manager you can name 9 times out of 10. We don't have that luxury just at the moment and, for the time being, have to accept that the Chelseas and Uniteds are superior teams to us for that very reason.
Little Dutch
You're all such a reasonable bunch. And I'm too emotional. Vin makes some great points. LD, your emphasis on AW's lack of resources is true enuf but I often have doubts about his tactical acumen for big games--not always, because he's won big games where he got it right. But I do think it's more of a weakness on his part than other managers. And yes, Fergie threw away the FA cup but he can afford to, no one's trashing Man Utd for being "in decline" and never winning anything yadayadayada. I just felt that this time it was absolutely critical to do everything possible to fight for the FA cup. Luck gave us a good run, we managed to get to the semis, and I feel that even with all our injuries we could've gotten past Chelsea. Fine, whatever, part of all this ranting is just me venting and imposing my disappointment on you guys. I did feel better on Sunday when Everton eliminated MUtd. After all, they had to go up against 2 or 3 PL teams (incl. Liverpool) and eliminated them all. Out of all 4 semifinalists, they deserved it the most. I hope they beat Chelsea. And I really hope the FA does something about that disgraceful Wembley pitch. How can they dare to bid for a world cup with such an awful pitch? // On another matter entirely, I re-watched our first leg Villareal game and realized something: we were not as poor in the first half as everyone thought, nor were we as dominant in the 2nd half as claimed. Equally, Villareal was not as dominant in the 1st half as widely reported, nor were they as quiet in the 2nd half as we all thought. I thought it was a more even game. Great game from both teams. I also watched the first leg Barca-Bayern game and have to say that it was the most disgraceful performance by a CL referee I've seen in a long time. Coward Webb's performance was a shocker and he should never again be given a CL match to officiate.
jaelle
You're all such a reasonable bunch. And I'm too emotional. Vin makes some great points. LD, your emphasis on AW's lack of resources is true enuf but I often have doubts about his tactical acumen for big games--not always, because he's won big games where he got it right. But I do think it's more of a weakness on his part than other managers. And yes, Fergie threw away the FA cup but he can afford to, no one's trashing Man Utd for being "in decline" and never winning anything yadayadayada. I just felt that this time it was absolutely critical to do everything possible to fight for the FA cup. Luck gave us a good run, we managed to get to the semis, and I feel that even with all our injuries we could've gotten past Chelsea. Fine, whatever, part of all this ranting is just me venting and imposing my disappointment on you guys. I did feel better on Sunday when Everton eliminated MUtd. After all, they had to go up against 2 or 3 PL teams (incl. Liverpool) and eliminated them all. Out of all 4 semifinalists, they deserved it the most. I hope they beat Chelsea. And I really hope the FA does something about that disgraceful Wembley pitch. How can they dare to bid for a world cup with such an awful pitch? // On another matter entirely, I re-watched our first leg Villareal game and realized something: we were not as poor in the first half as everyone thought, nor were we as dominant in the 2nd half as claimed. Equally, Villareal was not as dominant in the 1st half as widely reported, nor were they as quiet in the 2nd half as we all thought. I thought it was a more even game. Great game from both teams. I also watched the first leg Barca-Bayern game and have to say that it was the most disgraceful performance by a CL referee I've seen in a long time. Coward Webb's performance was a shocker and he should never again be given a CL match to officiate.
jaelle
Like when he booked Messi for diving
paul_ownz
Like when he booked Messi for diving
paul_ownz
paul, Barca are repealing that booking. Imagine not having Messi at the final if Barca get past Chelsea. The booking rules for the CL should be changed. I'm really worried about Cesc's yellow card. Imagine we reach the final and he can't play.
jaelle
paul, Barca are repealing that booking. Imagine not having Messi at the final if Barca get past Chelsea. The booking rules for the CL should be changed. I'm really worried about Cesc's yellow card. Imagine we reach the final and he can't play.
jaelle
for me the big problem was a)the loss of Sagna, it cost us against chelsea last year and at wembley ths year,malouda probably wouldnt have scored,and if we had held on to half time,who knows...b)without gallas and DJ we were always in danger of long balls over the top for an in form drogba to run onto,its a fact of life and something that i had already accepted before the game started, and has nothing to do with throwing games or saving players or trying to go for third place.if we had managed to hold on to extra time,maybe our youthfulness could have given us an edge against their older players, but injuries to key players cost us again,you take the equivelent players out of any team and they will struggle, everyone is angry because Theo's goal gave us hope,which was dashed so easily by an all too familiar chelsea move
fran merida
for me the big problem was a)the loss of Sagna, it cost us against chelsea last year and at wembley ths year,malouda probably wouldnt have scored,and if we had held on to half time,who knows...b)without gallas and DJ we were always in danger of long balls over the top for an in form drogba to run onto,its a fact of life and something that i had already accepted before the game started, and has nothing to do with throwing games or saving players or trying to go for third place.if we had managed to hold on to extra time,maybe our youthfulness could have given us an edge against their older players, but injuries to key players cost us again,you take the equivelent players out of any team and they will struggle, everyone is angry because Theo's goal gave us hope,which was dashed so easily by an all too familiar chelsea move
fran merida
The question I would like answered is, at what point in a game does AW realise that we are pants and the opposition are actually having the affrontery to outplay us ??....I firmly believe most other top-class managers would have made changes much much earlier. When you have top-class players sitting on the bench and your players on the field are performing like clowns , wouldn't it be sensible to make some changes before you get beat ??.....Afterall did it take AW 75 minutes to realise it wasn't happening ? then 83 and 86 minutes ???....Arshavin had 15 mins to make an impact and Nasri 4 minutes..!!...by the end of the game all Nasri and Bendtner had done was a circuit of the pitch and watched a few Chelsea players rolling around.....what a waste !!
radarman
The question I would like answered is, at what point in a game does AW realise that we are pants and the opposition are actually having the affrontery to outplay us ??....I firmly believe most other top-class managers would have made changes much much earlier. When you have top-class players sitting on the bench and your players on the field are performing like clowns , wouldn't it be sensible to make some changes before you get beat ??.....Afterall did it take AW 75 minutes to realise it wasn't happening ? then 83 and 86 minutes ???....Arshavin had 15 mins to make an impact and Nasri 4 minutes..!!...by the end of the game all Nasri and Bendtner had done was a circuit of the pitch and watched a few Chelsea players rolling around.....what a waste !!
radarman
I can put together a reasonable argument for most of the selection choices, but the one I can’t fathom is why Arsene played RVP wide left over Arshavin. In a wide position Arshavin offers more pace to get in behind the defence and can beat his marker down the byline or cut inside – RVP just doesn’t offer the same threat from a wide position. You could see the threat Theo posed out on the right – we needed the same sort of threat down the left hand side to help pin back Chelsea. I can’t recall a recent game where RVP has played well out wide.
NoFitState
I can put together a reasonable argument for most of the selection choices, but the one I can’t fathom is why Arsene played RVP wide left over Arshavin. In a wide position Arshavin offers more pace to get in behind the defence and can beat his marker down the byline or cut inside – RVP just doesn’t offer the same threat from a wide position. You could see the threat Theo posed out on the right – we needed the same sort of threat down the left hand side to help pin back Chelsea. I can’t recall a recent game where RVP has played well out wide.
NoFitState
Look on the bright side guys, at least you got to play at wembley,theres always next year.
cockaduddle
Look on the bright side guys, at least you got to play at wembley,theres always next year.
cockaduddle
Song should definately have played, given that our defence is so lightweight right now we need his added muscle at DM. I didn't think Ade played that badly, he worked hard against Terry and Alex, but lacked support. As has been said repeatedly, the absence of Arshavin made no sense at all. I wasn't all that surprised at Diaby's inclusion - he's capable of the brilliance needed to unlock Chelsea, but it was unfortunately another of those days when he didn't get in his groove. I still prefer him to Denilson, who is tidy enough but doesn't offer anything exceptional.
krismon1
Song should definately have played, given that our defence is so lightweight right now we need his added muscle at DM. I didn't think Ade played that badly, he worked hard against Terry and Alex, but lacked support. As has been said repeatedly, the absence of Arshavin made no sense at all. I wasn't all that surprised at Diaby's inclusion - he's capable of the brilliance needed to unlock Chelsea, but it was unfortunately another of those days when he didn't get in his groove. I still prefer him to Denilson, who is tidy enough but doesn't offer anything exceptional.
krismon1
I wouldn't disagree with that NoFit State, other than to say that, from where I was sat, Diaby began the game on the left and RvP upfront, which changed minutes into the game. I don't know if Wenger miscalculated Anelka's role or whether he expected Kalou to play there, but I do agree that if we were going to play with that system, I'd have out Arshavin in instead of RvP.
Little Dutch
I wouldn't disagree with that NoFit State, other than to say that, from where I was sat, Diaby began the game on the left and RvP upfront, which changed minutes into the game. I don't know if Wenger miscalculated Anelka's role or whether he expected Kalou to play there, but I do agree that if we were going to play with that system, I'd have out Arshavin in instead of RvP.
Little Dutch
I've not had chance to comment on the game till now. I was pretty baffled with Wenger's team selection and pretty much heaped all the blame on his shoulders ... that was until I actually sat down and thought about it. Our defence was shot to pieces, one regular defender out of the whole back line, including the keeper, and we had to make some compnsations for covering them. When all's said and done we were outlplayed by a better squad and better team on the day, it hurts and it's really disapointing but I can live with that.
Rocky7
I've not had chance to comment on the game till now. I was pretty baffled with Wenger's team selection and pretty much heaped all the blame on his shoulders ... that was until I actually sat down and thought about it. Our defence was shot to pieces, one regular defender out of the whole back line, including the keeper, and we had to make some compnsations for covering them. When all's said and done we were outlplayed by a better squad and better team on the day, it hurts and it's really disapointing but I can live with that.
Rocky7
Little dutch, I have to say that Arsenal lost the game because their back 5 were out. We may have outsourced you in the past but not at the moment. We got Quaresma on loan, you payed £15 mill for Arshavin in the window. We bought Deco for £8 mill in July and are not playing him. Yeah I can see what your saying but a lot of the Chelsea players on Saturday have been there a while, maybe we seeing the fruition of that huge spending but we are an ageing side. Its not like Wenger has'nt had the money to spend, its there if he wants it, or so we are led to believe. I always thought that the reason that Wenger doesnt spend is because he prefers to go with the kids who he feels will save money. Going back to Saturday I will say that that was not the Arsenal I was expecting and van Persie and Adebayor were lack lustre.You missed Gallas and Almunia amongst others, an obvious statement I know.Although we did'nt play that well ourselves, Essien Lampard and Ballack is some powerful midfield!!
springy
Little dutch, I have to say that Arsenal lost the game because their back 5 were out. We may have outsourced you in the past but not at the moment. We got Quaresma on loan, you payed £15 mill for Arshavin in the window. We bought Deco for £8 mill in July and are not playing him. Yeah I can see what your saying but a lot of the Chelsea players on Saturday have been there a while, maybe we seeing the fruition of that huge spending but we are an ageing side. Its not like Wenger has'nt had the money to spend, its there if he wants it, or so we are led to believe. I always thought that the reason that Wenger doesnt spend is because he prefers to go with the kids who he feels will save money. Going back to Saturday I will say that that was not the Arsenal I was expecting and van Persie and Adebayor were lack lustre.You missed Gallas and Almunia amongst others, an obvious statement I know.Although we did'nt play that well ourselves, Essien Lampard and Ballack is some powerful midfield!!
springy
THE END......next match.
SUX2BU
THE END......next match.
SUX2BU
 

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