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Arsenal 0 Chelsea 3

Since the initial announcement of van Persie's ankle injury, it has felt as though the early season optimism has given way to a big black cloud hanging over the club like the sword of Damacles. The prevailing feeling that the world has turned against us in the last three weeks, yet again, now feels more like self fulfilling prophesy than a lingering doubt. Pre match in the Tavern, the most optimistic predictions amongst us were that
'I think we could draw.' Which said it all. The pouring rain that persisted all afternoon, resulting in several typically English drenchings inform the mood in N5 right now. I would like to write a thousand word peroration on how in the name of blue fuck Andre Marriner is employed to be a Premiership referee. I would like to pose the question as to what it is Jon Obi Mikel actually does other than wrap ankles for 90 minutes. I'd like to laugh heartily at the irony of Chelsea fans chanting 'he's gonna cry in a minute' at Gallas when they are captained by Tiny Tears himself John Terry. But ultimately, it's all empty whingeing. We were outclassed today by a side of superior ability and power and by a striker who makes mincemeat of any Red and White clad centre half put in front of him. The ignorance of those that repeatedly chided Senderos for losing pitched battles against Drogba is laid bare once more.

My biggest fear prior to the game was that, sans van Persie, Arsenal would try to be too intricate in and around the box. In that respect, today was very much like watching the Arsenal Chelsea games of the early Mourinho era. The Gunners relying on tippy tappy triangles in front of Chelsea's wall of impenetrable muscle. I find it astounding that we repeated that mistake again today having failed so regularly to cause Chelsea any kind of trouble for the last four years with this low octane approach. Wenger today resembled Captain Darling, memorably played by Stephen Fry in the Blackadder Goes Forth series. With soldiers dying in their scores in the Battle of the Somme, Darling would cheerfully remark, 'Three thousand more men down? Pah, keep sending them over the top, the Hun will never expect that.' Wenger had tried to rally his team pre match declaring, 'This is our time to show the world.' What we saw was pure rabbit in the headlights stuff as the home side did not try to raise the tempo of the game until it had already been lost. For all of our possession, can you recall a single Cech save?

Arsenal began brightly in a sense, but not in a way that Chelsea weren't entirely expecting and prepared for. Fabregas played a subtle reverse ball to Eduardo in the tenth minute, but an absolutely abject afternoon for the Crozilian was portent in that moment as John Terry knowingly showed him onto his right foot and Eduardo simply did not have the confidence to do anything other than try and cut back inside, leaving Terry time to take it off his toes. Eduardo took up threatening positions on several occasions but was constantly foiled by his refusal to use his right foot. One of the most improved aspects of van Persie's play in the last twelve months has been the realisation that being so terribly one footed makes you a very simple player to defend against. It's an epiphone Eduardo will need to have very, very quickly. For all of Arsenal's possession, there was a lack of tempo which played sweetly into the visitors' hands. In fact, Chelsea carved out the first real opportunity. Anelka showing keen wits to run onto Lampard's ball which had been intended for Drogba, Sagna made up the ground with an excellent challenge and Lampard volleyed the ricochet wide. Lampard's follow up revealed a simple fact of the afternoon in both Arsenal's offensive and defensive third. For Chelsea, the second ball and the 50:50 are a matter of life and death. For Arsenal, they are an afterthought. Every loose ball was gobbled up either by a sprawling Chelsea defender or midfielder whilst Arsenal's players did their best penguin impressions and stayed with their feet webbed.

Drogba was beginning to warm into the occasion as well, pulling Arsenal's defenders every which way, drifting out to cause the shaky Traore problems. Drogba is a very clever player and not always for the most edifying of reasons. After thirty minutes, he deliberately pole axed Vermaelen with a cynical challenge with the ball a distant spectator. (Marriner did not see it as a booking). Drogba knew what he was doing, as Vermaelen's anger at the challenge got the better of him and he lost his positional sense for a good five minutes. In those minutes, Drogba headed over from a Joe Cole cross completely unmarked with Vermaelen angrily chasing the ball and negelecting his duty in the box. Terry then set Ashley Cole free on the left, Nasri did not track back, allowing Cole time to flip the ball onto his left foot, arc in a low cross and Drogba got between Gallas and Vermaelen to clip the ball past Almunia via the angle of bar and post. The goal ahd emanated from slopiness from Traore as Lampard's long diagonal ball appeared destined for the stands, but Anelka did not give up the ghost. Traore had and the late realisation meant he was left to scramble the ball out for a Chelsea throw when he should have been in control of the ball. Arsenal's heads dropped and Chelsea saw the wavering in some watery Arsenal eyes to finish the match before half time. Once again, Cole was allowed time and space on the left hand side and again lashed in a low identikit cross, which Gallas missed and Vermaelen shinned into his own net. Almunia bizarrely decided to come for the ball with Gallas, Vermaelen and Drogba all ahead of him in the queue. He of course did not bother to shout his defenders that he was coming for it.

Half time and the game was already up. Arsene threw on Walcott for Alex Song and for twenty minutes or so of the second half, the Gunners appeared to have stumbled upon the strategy they should have started with. The Arsenal midfield began to press and harry Chelsea's midfield high up the pitch, forcing them into errors and pushing them backwards. Alas, it was too late. I'm sure that is what Wenger would have instructed his charges to have done from the beginning, but the simple truth was, Arsenal looked terrified in the first half and lacking in self belief. Fabregas forced Lampard to concede possession, Cech could only unconvincingly push Traore's cross out to Arshavin, who took too much time to shoot with Cech all at sea, Eduardo nudged the ball back to Arshavin who volleyed into the net, but Marriner had blown for a foul by Eduardo on Cech. As I said, Chelsea are a smart team, Cech's headgear is as much designed to play on the sympathies of referees as it is an implement of protection. Arsenal needed a break at this point, but they couldn't get it. Eduardo was, for the second time in a week, replaced early in the second half despite Arsenal's desperate need for a goal, which won't do much for his confidence. I don't doubt Eduardo can play the role as the figurehead of the front three, but as I said when van Persie was first injured, Sunderland away and Chelsea at home aren't ideal games to be mounting the learning curve and blending in a new attacking solution.

Chelsea were comfortable and almost scored again with their first meaningful attack of the half. Drogba's shot from the corner of the area hit Gallas and then Lampard before trickling towards the bottom corner, only for Almunia to recover his footing and thrust the ball wide. It is genuinely the first time I can remember Almunia making a save approaching commendable this season. The Gunners belief began to sap away, the only small, small pleasure of the afternoon was to see Ashley Cole hobble off injured after cynically trying to take out Arshavin and instead getting his comeuppance. Carlos Vela appeared to have been tripped in the area for a third time this week and was motioned to get up by an increasingly out of his depth referee. Eduardo's dive back in August has come at a massive price. The only Arsenal player who looked stung into action by the manner of the defeat was a snarling Fabregas who let his competitiveness get the better of him with four minutes remaining with a stupid foul from behind on Essien on the edge of the Arsenal box. Didier Drogba stepped up and bent the free kick past Arsenal's cardboard keeper, whose stock in trade this season seems to be to simply pick the ball out of the net. Drogba whipped the ball onto the side Almunia was covering and at a good height for the keeper. Yet Almunia was nowhere near the flight of the ball as it nestled in the net, as again he was wrong footed. As Drogba stepped up, the goalkeeper essentially waved the red rag for the bull by taking up a starting position on the left of his goal before then taking three giant steps to his right.

It's been a very depressing week, losing one's best striker for the season before succumbing to defeats to Sunderland and Chelsea, thus ending our slim title hopes. Chelsea were simply the more ruthless side. Bodies were laid on the line, loose balls were chased with appetite and determination and on the rare occasions 50:50's were lost, Jon Obi Mikel was on hand with a crafty shirt pull or wrap of the ankles. Chelsea are once again a winning machine and Arsenal's all style no substance play for about 60 minutes of the match was never going to trouble them. The Gunners had the tools to beat Chelsea, Drogba or not, by trusting in a high octane, hard pressing game. I believe those to have been the manager's instructions, but on an afternoon where he had implored them to shine their light on the world, his players wilted into the shadows. I've said before that defending isn't always about formations, it's a mentality. Arsenal haven't had it all season and Chelsea gave us a lesson in how that mentality manifests itself today, as well as an unwelcome seminar on being ruthless and clinical. Simply, Chelsea are a side that makes the maximum use of every pass, tackle and shot, Arsenal are still a little too scattergun to be on their level. Suddenly, Wednesday night's game feels all the more important, especially as the F.A. Cup draw hasn't exactly thrown us a gimme. Eh Arsene, what's the French for deja vu?LD.

Team: 1.ALMUNIA, 3.SAGNA, 10.GALLAS, 5.VERMAELEN, 30.TRAORE, 17.SONG (14.Walcott H/T), 15.DENILSON, 4.FABREGAS(c), 8.NASRI (7.Rosicky '66), 23.ARSHAVIN, 9.EDUARDO (12.Vela '61). Unused: 16.Ramsey, 18.Silvestre, 21.Fabianski, 27.Eboue.




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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday November 29 2009

Time: 8:47PM

Your Comments

The players let Wenger down again in a big game. I truly now hope he sees that his trust in them is misguided, what a mentally weak performance that was. unfortunately losing the biggies seems to ingrained in this squad now.
iceman10
Typical Wenger in his post-match interview. Sore loser. Like Fegie. And like Mourinho but without the humour. They can all learn a thing or two from Carletto.
Saf 91
Oh dear, a complete and utter flogging from one of the "bigger" teams in the league. Wenger is a turd and the team useless. Enjoy 4th spot while you have it cos here come Villa and City.
TeddyLyon
Sore losers? At least we didnt yell "its a f*@king disgrace" at 60 million world wide viewers!
iceman10
Since there is nothing more to say about this game that has not already been discussed previously in this forum, I move on to Wednesday's game. I cannot see how, but Arsenal simply have to beat Manchester City. They absolutely must.
Sajit
saf91, chavs criticizing Wenger and gooners for being sore losers is like Mourinho criticizing anyone for being graceless ********-s. Great report, LD -- said it all. This pretty much ends whatever belief I had left for this team and AW's project.
jaelle
iceman - revert to type why not!
merlin
and Gooners! Change yer poll please!
merlin
Spot on LD. I was frustrated at the lack of shots on goal, when there were clear opportunitties, and that makes it more frustrating. The gap in ability between the teams is not much, but the gulf in mental tougness is significant. Chelsea were solid, and never looked in danger of conceding. Eduardo, Arshavin (surprisingly) were particularly guilty of dilly dallying around the area. I thought we played some good build up play, but thats all it was. What a shambles.
prits
Honestly, I still think we can win a cup , with good amounts of luck thrown in.
Sajit
I can't see the team being any different in any other competition. We'll do okay in the CL until we meet Chelsea, Man U or Barca. I have no belief that this team will do any better this season, next seaon or the season after that. It's time for a change of policy. Arsene has to recognise that if he's serious about winning the PL or CL, the strategy and mentality currently deployed isn't working.
Gooner_Vin
So what changes do you recommend Vin? Who's out? Other than a few, say Vermaelen and Gallas, I cant see anyone who is mentally tough. So wholesale changes? Not necessarily a bad thing in the long run! Or are there specific players you don't want to see at Arsenal.
Sajit
no iceman your lot would have done a lot worse if you saw 4 penalties not given. we all know what your lot are like, bad losers as again wenger showed in his post match comments. and the author says arsenal had the tools to beat chelsea...fecking rubbish. get a bit of steel, a bit of backbone,it was men against boys like the 1-4 mauling last year
springy
Maybe we would have moaned worse who knows? Fact is your not the most gentlemanly team in Europe and shouldnt be throwing that at us when 1 of your players tried to rugby tackle a ref because he didnt give you a penalty against Barca last year. How many bans and fines did you receive from that game again?
iceman10
Without RvP, we didn't have anyone who could hold the ball up or have the confidence to shoot. Arshavin hasn't impressed me at all this season. Arshavin and Nasri were to blame for not tracking Cole for the first 2 goals. We will have to see how well Bendtner leads the attack, if he doesn't perform then Arsene will definitely look to sign a striker in January. I'm not sure Eduardo can play the lone striker role, but perhaps I'm being harsh after just 2 games.
bowiecokemirror
about time you replaced your manager he's a has been
YidEdy
Oh and i'm glad Bent didn't need his beechball this time. your hapless defence was all that was required. The good news is though, that Henry, Bergkamp, Keown, Wright, Adams and Viera are all willing to come back.
YidEdy
iceman10 - that is irrelevant. I'm not here to argue that what Drogba did was, or wasn't, right. But it was one incident, one where any player in that situation would have felt huge injustice. My point is that the likes of Fergie, Tubby Benitez, Voyeour are all bad losers, they rarely acknowledge the good play of the other team, they just whinge and moan and blame the ref. It was extremely embarrassing every time Jose did it, and I'm glad we know have a manager who's gracious in defeat and victory. But being the classless supporters you lot are, I can see why it doesn't bother you.
Saf 91
Why would we change the poll Merlin? It's there to remind us no matter how bad it gets, at least we're not Spurs fans.
gunnerkid107
Enjoy it Chelsea, cos if it was not for Russian Money you guys would of gone another 10 years without beating us. Money talks.
paul_ownz
Our defence has always been shambolic, but we've compensated recently by outscoring the opposition. Against a decent defensive unit like Chelsea there was only one real result. We simply don't cut out the crosses into our box that Gallas and Almunia make such a hash of. Our wing backs are not trained or show no inclination to tackle on the defensive. Teams know we are susceptible to crosses and set pieces and that's what saavy opponents will focus on. Wenger cannot plead ignorance here. The evidence has been staring him in the face for several seasons now. And when will he get smart about holding back players from useless internationals with bogus injuries? Chelsea, Utd and Liverpool all have it down to a fine art. Only Wenger seems surprised he always faces our main opponents with a depleted squad.
Wyn Mills
By Captain Darling i assume you mean General Melchett. Your world class forward line Brice Coffer quoted you on having looked second rate today, although to be honest Terry and Carvalho are about as good a defensive pairing as you will ever see. Looking forward so much to the return leg at Spurs, holy moly that 3-0 hurt and in many ways was what ould of happened with you today. We tried to pack the middle but conceded 2 goals in 30 secs just before half-time, today you werent so fortunate.
HuddersfieldYiddo
Chelsea fan here. I would genuinely like to applaud the author on his writing style. This piece is extremely well written, generally excellent and honest. A joy to read. Please accept the compliment. As for Arshavin and Nasri, we will take either of your hands for Joe Cole, Kalou or even Mikel, providing Matic fulfills his promise. You guys could really use Jon Obi - any of you see him flatten Viera all game in Los Angeles this summer? Methinks you could use a bit of his grit. Regarding Drogba, an excellent point on Senderos. The only way Drogba can be contained is to put two center halves on him who are willing to hack, foul, even karate kick him to the ground. If he played for your team, he would net 40 a season. Best of luck for the remainder of the season.
Drogstark
you should have hung onto adebayor another arsene mistake, hes past his best, new manager ,new ideas ,its the only way really.
Uskok
Sagna's excellent tackle against Anelka?It was a sure penalty..
samuraisuraj
Thanks Uskok for the advice. Now ***** off. I forget who, but someone mentioned here after the Standard Liege game, that you were no where to be seen. Is there nothign going on at *****e hart lane? Is that why you have come here to give us expert advice? Ask any gooner what exactly Adebayor did for Arsenal during the last 4 games he played against United and Chelsea and probably you will get the reason why he isn't at Arsenal anymore!
Sajit
Just my two cents here. Everyone here goes into depression after a loss, yet no one is ready to come up with long term or short term solutions. If things are that *****ed up, we might as well sack Wenger and half the team and start from scratch. Don't think that is the situation , yet. Probably some players need to go. Who will it be is the toughest decision - because in Denilson, Rosicky, Nasri, Song, Eduardo, Bentdner etc - Arsenal have very good players. But evidently they aren't good enough. For me, the toughest question is not whom to buy, rather whom to sell.
Sajit
sajit watch your mouth, im trying to help, get rid of that old french fool he nees to go he just hasnt got that old touch anymore ,anyway i would say the glory days are over.
Uskok
LD - well written piece mate. No gloating here.
OLASAL
these arent the games that will decide our fate. really hard to take this result, but United in the last few seasons have won the title by losing games to all the other members of the big four and being super consistent against the other sides. we need to go on another winning run again and respond just as we did after the two manchester defeats. the season isn't over by any means, sure it's a big set back but lets not dwell too much on it, win the next few league games and the table can look really different in january. but we have to win all our league games in december. the team has let down wenger once again in a big game, so the best response they can give now is go on a 6-7 match winning streak in the league & we'll be back in the frame again..
luckys_10
november has always been a *****ed month for us and i'm glad it's over. this feels the same as it felt when we lost 3-1 to blackburn at home all those years ago. i truly believe in Arsene to fix this, because there is no way he is going to give up on this season after all the hardwork that he has put into this team. too much time, effort and money has been invested this season to win the title this season so we got to move on, look for ways to improve and put a winning run together again. come mid feb if we can remain somewhat close to the top, then we have a real chance of mounting a serious challenge given the run in that we have in the league after those big games in feb..
luckys_10
i have seen enough games to suggest that Eduardo, Walcott and Vela won't win us any major title (Premier League and Champions League). Walcott is practically a sprinter, not a footballer. Vela=Eduardo, no doubt that they can score great goals, but only against small teams in Carling Cup or weak teams in PL. Wenger is in denial, keeps praising them in hope that they will improve and gain confidence. But it is ok, we are not chasing any title. The current squad should be able to get us the 3rd or 4th spot.
fcdematthew
Without RvP, we looked 2nd best all over the pitch! If only that Arshavin's goal would have stood, maybe just maybe we could have got a 2nd??!
hackneyval
Luckys i'd say they'll definitely play their part in deciding our fate if we're to challenge for the title ffs. Chelsea definitely decided our fate in the FA Cup last year as did Utd in the CL Semi final, fate decided.
shewore
dont be too pi$$ed off guys (im not gloating) you will finish top 4 probably 3rd the real problem you are going to have is next season when us city and liverpool all buy more quality players and really push hard wenger needs to see this coming or you may struggle. this is not a spurs are going to catch you post its just how in my opinion things are shaping up. if i was you guys i would hope wenger has an ace up his sleeve (wont be the first time im sad to say) or hes going to spend otherwise i would be worried if i were you, if its not us that pushes you guys city and pool will, the challenge is going to come at you from alot of teams next season
jljyid
We were shown up yesterday, Chelsea are such a mentally strong team. Yes we play pretty football, but they have the resolve needed to win the league .... we, unfortunately, don't. Oh well, there are worse things in life .... on to the next game. :(
Rocky7
iceman,didnt wenger go in to a swearing tirade on an interview when asked a simple question about walcott and the world cup??? in front of the media as well. as for the fines and bans, well the club got fined for an empty plastic water bottle was thrown... a camera was thrown at lamps yesterday, and bosingwa and drogba were banned fro CL matches... all done by a corrupt organization. chelsea fc were superb in the handling of the injustice that happened. yeah i agree ballack was wrong to do that , but come on, that was the straw that broke the camels back. i agree with everything drogba and bosingwa said.
springy
By spud standards that's a pretty reasonable post jljyid! But what makes you think that only spuds, city and 'pool will be stronger next year? Didn't all 3 spend money to be stronger this year? So far this year we have been stronger than many predicted. I see no reason at all why we wouldn't be even stronger next season. But let's complete the remaing two thirds of this season before deciding what we will and won't achieve next. There's plenty of scope for all sorts of potential outcomes to this season yet.
Amos.
Wenger likes to talk about 'mental strength' all the time but frankly I see little evidence of it on the pitch these days. Mental strength means wanting to score as many goals as possible, and conceed as few as possible, right up to the final whistle. Too often we only react when behind, and fanny around with the ball when we should be sending it goalwards. Looking at the Chelsea goals yesterday...the first 2 were little more than deflected crosses. If only we showed as much simple efficiency in front of goal. The irony is that in Eduardo we probably have one of the game's greatest exponents of in-the-box flick-ons, and yet that's not the manner Wenger likes to score his goals. Scruffy tap-ins are not his way.
Wyn Mills
One thing is for sure, with Van Persie out till the end of the month we need to dip into the transfer market in January for a frontline striker. No ifs or buts. Our Champions League place may depend on it. Bendtner, Eduardo and Vela are just not good enough.
Wyn Mills
good points amos. there maybe more teams pushing. what i was thinking though was you are easily good enough for top four (god that was hard to say lol) this season but we all know you arent going to win the title now (again not a dig) so you have to strengthen if you dont then it would put you in a perilous position as far as CL football goes for the next season and if i take my spurs hat off for just a moment i would rather see the EPL represented in the CL by a team that wants to play the right way rather than teams like liverpool and chelsea who predominantley use power to overcome there opponants. again its not a spurs are going to catch you post but even the most spurs hating arsenal fan can see we are improving alot and liverpool will surely bounce back along with city who just need to play as a team rather than individuals and that leaves 4 teams really pushing for 2 places. chelsea nad man utd have the other 2 although i really dont understand why utd are where they are they just dont look to have a good team at all. i would suggest that yourselves and us have better alround squads, we just need that one world class player they have rooney you have cesc and im hoping modders can do it for us but the jury is out on that one.
jljyid
Arsenal did lose to a more tactically astute Chelsea (on the day), but for me, it is not all doom, yet. We failed to play our quick passing, pressing game, which Chelsea is usually uncomfortable with; almost like the players froze on the big occasion. I didn't get the sense that there was much between the sides, other than the Chelsea's toughness and quiet determination which comes from being top of the league. Chelsea didn't have to do much other than to set up to be difficult to break down, while we huffed and puffed (with little to show) and expectedly, left cracks at the back for Drogba to explore. I think Edu is trying too hard to play like RvP instead of being himself-a poacher; and Wenger needs to re-jig the formation to adapt to his style, if we must persist with him, not that we have much of a choice. It is not good for his confidence that he is substituted in the second game running and when we were chasing the game(?). Time to go back to a lot more work as it is imperative that we return to winning ways fast; this bunch don't look like they can recover well from a string of bad losses. Honestly (and I didn't think I will be saying this, this season), we need to buy someone, or two- A strong striker and a defender with versatility.
Naijagunner
...and LD, you are spot on with your take on Almunia's positioning for that Drogba free kick. Good keepers don't just get beaten by free kicks, especially not when the kick is placed into the side the keeper is covering and 'at a good height' for him. The reason keepers conduct the positioning of the wall is so they can be assured when they pick a side of the goal to protect. I cannot, for the life of me, explain why Almunia shuffled to the right after having the wall protect that area, in the first place. A lack of confidence in the average height of his mates, perhaps. Poor Goal keeping, imo.
Naijagunner
Sajit asked who to sell? Walcott. Admit the mistake there and cash in while he still has the price tag of an England Winger.
MeetTheGunners
May I make a couple of comments as a Chelsea supporter at the game yesterday? It seems to me that there is a fundamental difference of opinion about what sort of club Arsenal is or should aspire to be. In my view you can either be a “big” club who challenge for everything they enter and would expect to win trophies, or you can be a “well run club” who look at financial considerations first and foremost. If you want to be the former then you are underachieving and if the latter then you are about the best possible example it’s capable of being. Reading some comments this morning bemoaning the lack of a big strong centre forward – you had one for the last two years and sold him! Arsenal are a selling club. With the exception of Van Persie and Fabergas, Wenger has sold many decent players over the years and not properly replaced them. Wenger’s first instinct is to play youngsters, build them up and then accept big money offers, replacing them from the ranks with the cycle starting again; how Everton would love to be that successful. But Everton don’t get revenue from 60,000 high paying patrons at every home game, their owners are not a succession of the worlds wealthy and their fans don’t expect to win everything (or even anything). Perhaps if you are the worlds best at being the “well run club” then it may be possible to get the success you want from being a hybrid but that doesn’t seem to be Wenger’s way. So come on – what do you want to be?
Mr Reasonable
The natural reaction to defeat is always "let's sign x and y." Unless we're still having the same problems in late December, I don't honestly see the value in buying another striker. It will take him a number of months to adapt to his new team mates, the formation (probably a different league too), by the time he has RvP will probably be back anyway. It's just as likely that Eduardo will grow into the role given time as a multi million pound signing. I've full faith in Eduardo to do it but as I said weeks ago, Sunderland away and Chelsea at home just are not the games for ANY striker to adapt to a new role. Let's say for argument's sake there's no transfer window and Arsenal had signed a new striker in time for yesterday's game, are you honestly saying we would not have lost? That he would have made an instant impact? The team will have to adjust for Eduardo and vice versa and I think that will happen in time, but I never thought Chelsea was the game it would all magically click just like that. Fact is we were beaten by a better team and one that looks like they may well go on to win the league, the hand wringing is out of proportion for me.
Little Dutch
Mr. Reasonable, you're working on the assumption that being a well run club and being a successful club are mutually exclusive concepts which I don't think they are. We sold Adebayor and have scored more goals than ever without him- fact is we do have another centre forward in his mould in Bendtner, but he was injured. van Persie has become a world class target man in the front role, the equal of Torres and Drogba for me, but he was injured too.
Little Dutch
Almunia in my eyes has always been average at best. As much of a nut as Lehman was, he pulled of great & match winning saves. When was the last time Almunia pulled of a great save? I think we suffered badly due to injuries, and not so much because of the talent missing but that we lacked physical presence. Without Diaby, Van Persie & Bendtner we had only Song who is over 6ft. We overplay around the box ending with crosses which were easily dealt with or losing the ball. We needed to try and penetrate through the middle or take some shots from ditance.
paul_ownz
Blimey jljyid! That's two intelligent spud posts in a row. You lot really are improving. I expect a spud return to normal posting levels will follow soon enough though! I think we can reflect on where we are now compared to expectations for us prior to the season kicking off and we have moved up from 4th favourites to 3rd favourites with the odds shortened. Few committed gooners ever considered ourselves favourites to win the title but hoped that we could compete. So far we are doing that and can continue to compete over the rest of the season I am sure. We aren't as good as Chelsea at the moment and would have to be to end up above them. We might be as good as ManU but would have to be better than them to end up in 2nd - we might be. Currently I reckon that we are better than the rest so maybe 3rd isn't an unreasonable expectation. Would many gooners have taken that at the beginning of the season? It isn't what we want of course but I reckon most comitted ones would. It was always going to be far easier for the spuds to improve on their position over the last couple of years than for us to improve on ours. You have improved so far but with 26 matches still to play let's not end the season too early. Will you be happy at the end of the season than you are now? Will we be more disappointed than we are now? Time will tell but I am not entirely unhappy with the way our season is going despite the disappointments.
Amos.
Last time Almunia pulled off a great save? The stop from that deflection off Lampard against Chelsea yesterday was none too frivolous.
Amos.
Yes you are right LD. I feel that 95 percent of fans have no clue on football. The amount of things i have seen written or heard on the radio or even coming out of the club is beyond belief. From new players to new manager. People near me were calling for Arshavin to be subbed due to laziness. He might of sprinted 90m for the move to be broken down and while he catches his breath people were directing their abuse towards him. I could go on, but im sure you have heard all this cr** before. Talk Sport callers are the worst though, some absolute tosh being spoken. I will avoid listening to adrian durham because it will make my blood boil.
paul_ownz
LD, this isn't just a reaction to defeat. Its a response to the fact that Van Persie will be out of action until the end of the season. Don't expect him to start banging in goals again when he gets back either. It may be too late for our CL aspirations by then in any case. Time will tell. The point is we were light on experienced frontline strikers even before RVP got crocked. While I also have faith in Eduardo I'm not quite ready to place all of our CL hopes on him, and neither should any of us. What happens if he gets injured? Bendtner? Vela? Please. These players do not compare to the Torres', Drogbas and Rooneys of this world. We are the Arsenal. If we're going to be seriously challenging for top honours we need a proven strikeforce...not one still in gestation. If Wenger is really serious about winning trophies then he has to invest in quality back-up when required, not just rely on potential. I really don't buy into the theory that the squad is so finely balanced that any new recruit risks upsetting the harmony. For me the team is already unbalanced. Its no use us whingeing about bad luck and injuries when the club have no plan to deal with what are almost inevitable events of any season and the way we play football. We are either a big club, or maybe we just like to think that we are.
Wyn Mills
i will be happy if we carry on playing like we are and finish top 6. i dont think there is a big difference in quality between us 2 anymore i see the main difference is in the belief you have that you are better and that belief can carry you along way its also the only reason utd are second that i can think of i do think you are better than them but as is the case with us when our boys play you perhaps its the same lack of belief you guys have when you come up against chelski and utd. thats 2 arsenal fans ive found now that can talk intelligently about football will wonders ever cease lol. p.s Little dutch is the other chap heres hoping for more untill derby day when i will hate you all again.
jljyid
LD, of course, I meant for us to use the next window to do something about the areas we need plugging. AA did come in the January window and clicked with the team. We do need to buy, with due respect to the efforts of the lads; this usually, has the effect of lifting the spirits and making the team dangerous again, as defenders try to understand the new fellow. In any case, we could get someone already used to the EPL (Ryan Babel, anybody?) or shell out for a well known name. This is not just for the short term but the long haul. I am concerned about getting the belief back in this team because I don't think 11 points is too much to overturn; call me whatever you like. At least, lets make a fight of it.
Naijagunner
NG, thanks. I was trying to think of a striker already in the EPL that would suit us. Babel is the man I had in the back of my mind. Like Henry being played out on the wing when he might well do a job for us as a front-line striker. He would already be used to the pace of the premier league. Isn't he also a gooner?
Wyn Mills
Was a good save, but if that had gone it Amos would we not have said it was poor keeping despite the deflection. Maybe i should rephrase what i wrote. When was the last time Almunia made a match winning save, or a save to get a point. And that 1 good save is cancelled out by another 2 poor bits of keeping for the own goal and the Drogba freekick. Not to mention the goal he conceded against AZ, and the poor form at the begining of the campaign. He is an ok keeper, not world class in my opinion.
paul_ownz
But to buy a new striker now would still be a strikeforce in gestation. Eduardo and Vela aren't in the class of Drogba and Torres, but who is, that's available in January and then doesn't mind being RvP's back up after April? Is Babel a better option as a frontman than Eduardo? I haven't seen him step up since Torres' injury. If United lost two strikers they'd be down to Owen and Macheda. If Chelsea lost two they'd have Kalou and....I don't know who else. The two times Chelsea have played us without Drogba in the last five years they've lost both times. I really don't think we need another forward unless there is evidence in the next month that Eduardo really isn't up to it. It's amazing how quickly people's opinions of players deflate, in the summer Eduardo and Vela were world class and should be starting every game, now they're rubbish. Frankly, I'm astounded anyone thought Eduardo was going to take to a new role instantly in games such as Sunderland away and Chelsea at home, I guess the level of anger is balanced by the weight of expectation, I didn't expect it. It's taken N'Gog a while at Liverpool, but since Torres' injury he's had time to get into it and is now a frequent scorer. It didn't happen overnight and it won't for Eduardo and Vela and it won't necessarily for any new signing.
Little Dutch
Oh and to elaborate on Almunia, we have had 37 shots on target against us this season and 19 have gone in. Of the remaining 18 shots, Mannone officially made eleven saves against Fulham. In this whole campaign, Almunia has officially saved seven shots.
Little Dutch
i cant understand how some of us can accept that our club is third best and aint too bothered bout that.. we are The Arsenal and settling for 2nd best cannot be our culture.. sadly, it looks as if we are.. Yes RvP is a great miss but as much as i rate him, he is not a drogba/torres who can rip apart any defense own their own.. if we hv any money to spend, i would be really lookin at torres.. imagine torres and RVP/eduardo, now thats a tasty front two.. enough settling for 2nd best i say.
McGooner
No-one is saying Eduardo is rubbish. At least I' don't think so! I think Babel is a different option at this stage, rather than a better one. A player like Babel has presence,pace and power to compliment Eduardo's guile and subtlety. He's vastly more accurate and skillful than Bendtner. As a team we need to be able to switch from one to the other rather than rely on just one. I felt sorry for Eduardo yesterday because he was simply tossed off the ball. Asking him to undertake the holding striker role was just nonsense against a defence of Chelsea's stature. That hardly makes him rubbish, but it certainly doesn't play to his strengths. If this is Wenger's plan for our attack until RVP gets back we may be in for a long and frustrating second half of the season. I'm not saying Ryan Babel is definitely the answer, but we do know Wenger is looking at bringing in another striker as a back up to RVP (who let's face it, is not the most robust of strikers). He wouldn't be looking at Chamakh otherwise. We do know Babel is disenchanted at Liverpool and rarely makes the starting line-up for Liverpool. Perhaps that's why he hasn't stepped up.He reminds me of Henry before he joined us...a rough diamond which could be polished to perfection by someone with Wenger's skills.
Wyn Mills
Even if we have money to spend, it wont be to the tune of 50m which buying Torres would command.
paul_ownz
I'm not sure I see Babel as more accurate than Bendtner given that Bendtner has easily outscored Babel for two seasons in a row. That's the thing, Eduardo's not a holding striker and he won't be, he brings different qualities and it'll take a few games for his team mates to adjust to those qualities and for him to adjust to the role- just as van Persie did early in the season. I would imagine Bendtner would have played that role yesterday if fit but he wasn't, we had to go with what we had with two strikers injured, and that came down to Eduardo or Vela, two very similar players. Any side in the league would suffer in those circumstances and I'm not sure buying a seventh striker will help much. Personally, I think if we are to dip into the market, cover for Song has to be a priority (though I expect the manager will go with Diaby for two or three games until he is injured again).
Little Dutch
LD, Eduardo is class but he would always need an Adebayor or a Bentdner next to him. Even in 2007-08 he never lead the line. If he learns the job, great - else we might need to look at options.
Sajit
We can talk all day about this player or that player, formations etc but if you go on to a pitch and don't believe your philosophy and style of play can beat another teams then you have immediately lost the game. All the tentative poking around we did yesterday, the aimless crosses into the box showed me we didn't believe we could beat Chelsea yesterday and until Wenger sorts out the mental issues within this squad we will always fail at the final hurdle. Chelsea are one of the most mentally strong teams I think ive ever seen, they aren't everyones cup of tea but whatever situation they are thrown into they adapt even if they have a rocky start (3 times they have beaten us recently when we have taken the lead). Arsene isn't helping anyone by going on about the disallowed goal, I liken it to the Celtic Penalty, irrelevant to the outcome.
iceman10
Babel only has one leg and one foot and is very easy to defend against, he hasnt improved at all since joining Liverpool and wont ever be on Arsenes radar again We should however, accept that we arent going to be scoring headers from crosses and put Arshavin up front while Van P is out, he can hold the ball, pass the ball, shoot the ball, make quick decisive actions just like van p
bootoo
Slightly wrong stats i think LD. In 8 starts Almunia has made 14 saves conceded 13 goals and lost 4 times. Still rubbish stats though. Conceding an average of 1.625 goals a game, 1 goal per 2 shots conceded.
paul_ownz
Our problem doesn’t lie in attack; it sits very firmly in defence. We have needed a top quality keeper for a while (as far as I’m concerned Seaman was our last quality ‘keeper), but generally there is no cohesion in defence, it is not working as a unit and it simply doesn’t believe it can stop teams from scoring (and therefore doesn’t). Wenger cannot ignore this area of the team any longer in favour of trying to outscore the opposition. It is a fanciful notion that falls apart against top opponents. We can still have an attacking philosophy with a solid, well organised, dogged defence, but it needs work to start right now and maybe in a couple of seasons we can think about winning something meaningful.
Sir Henry
Im kinda glad in a way Shay Given isnt French, because i think youd have signed him 3years ago and youd have probably picked up a trophy or two. Im being serious though its more than likely. Real Madrid like you play great attacking football that leaves you exposed bigtime on the counte attack. Where Casillas has been performing miracles in keeping Real Madrid in countless games, Almunia although decent just doesnt have it.
HuddersfieldYiddo
Excellent write-up as ever, LD. But the despair here is a little over the top. Make no mistake, the balance of our team has been shown to be fragile with the VP and Clichy injuries knocking us out of our stride. Up until those injuries we had a very, very good balance, that was only matched by the balance we achieved with the Hleb/Cesc/Flamini/Rosicky axis we had a few years back. But I digress - the despair is too much. This is Chelsea; and Chelsea are one of, if not the, most Brutally effective sides in Europe. They are literally our worst nightmare, and if I'm honest, I did not see us winning this match, pre-injuries, pre-season. No. This is a knock, but to declare Wenger's project a failure, when 3 weeks ago we were bearing the fruits of it, is a little pre/im/mature. This blog is better than that - come on. If losing to Chelsea, even in the most painful manner as it was, means that our footballing philosphy is a failure, then be fair and brand nearly all others a failure too. Chelsea are going to flatten a lot more teams on their way to the title this season (including yours, gloating Spurs fans). But there is still much to be hopeful of this season - the league was always realistically going to a huge challenge for us, even more so with the devastating injuries, but we can still make something of this season. Let's just hope one of our backup strikers can start to find the net, for here is where our season can really fall apart if not remedied.
ChaosTeaCup
they already beat us 3-0 at there home however they dont have the same luck at the lane and that will be an interesting game. if you look at my posts earlier CTC you will find i was far from gloating
jljyid
iceman, i agree with some of that but i have to say that you have to look at the manager. he wont be told anything. he buys too many small players, rosiscky,nasri,arshavin,walcott all fairly similar.the kids are the same,wilshire,vela,ramsey. when you last won the league look who you had. henry ,viera,pires etc. i cannot for the life of me see anything in your team and the kids that is going to make you champions. yeah the kids have talent, we all know that,but you need so much more. and untill you get the players,and they dont grow on trees then you wont be champions. time for the manager to go,its not working.
springy
Wasn't picking you out, jljyid. Gloating is a natural instinct that none of us are above when it comes to our rival's misfortunes, I'm just pointing out that losing to Chelsea is a reality to most teams, not just the teams you expect them to beat. I hate to say it, but in my opinion Drogba is up there with the best players to ever grace this league. What's really p***ing me off today is how happy the media seems to be about our loss. Not wanting to sound silly, but there is a real pleasure to be gleemed from our fragility it seems in amongst the various media outlets. Am I being P-noid? Maybe, but it doesn't feel that way.
ChaosTeaCup
"... defending isn't always about formations, it's a mentality. Arsenal haven't had it all season and Chelsea gave us a lesson in how that mentality manifests itself today, as well as an unwelcome seminar on being ruthless and clinical". Sir H, the quote from LD sums up the conclusion in my original entry in this thread. It is something to do with the mental strength that we concede goals, just when we don't need it; like you said, almost like the team 'doesn't believe it can stop teams from scoring'. My allusion to the need for a versatile defender is so we have cover for for our ailing LBs; or one who can cover Denilson at DM, when Song is away; and this could be a loanee. The only thing left is for Wenger to deal with this mentality question. Babel is rumoured to be looking at a loan deal with Bayern and for my money, no way is JT going to push him around like he did poor Edu. I have nothing against Edu (who I consider a world class goal poacher) but when faced with Chelsea's adamant defence, it was clear that we did miss some attacking grit, speed and height (all those crosses from Sagna, who has never made so many pin-point crosses in one game) to pose some threat. Babel, as a suggestion, may not be everyone's choice to provide these, but we do need a powerful striker or one with the guile to outwit strong defenders if we are going to contend for top 3 this season. I will like to be wrong, honestly.
Naijagunner
There's no despair here. Just hard brutal cold light of day analysis. It irritates me when you can't have a frank discussion about the pros AND cons of your team without someone bleating 'get a grip' or 'Arsene knows it all'. We'll..erm...no he doesn't. It may come as a shock to those who worship at the altar of Wenger but my own opinion is he is a rubbish tactician. However he more than makes up for it in his team management and football philosophy, which is why I would never join the 'Wenger Out' brigade. Wenger is the best thing to happen to The Arsenal since Herbert Chapman and most of us couldn't see an easy replacement. Who else could have us challenging year on year in the Champions League on a comparative shoestring budget? But facts are facts and when it comes down to it if we are realistic about winning the league we need to have options in attack and belief in defence. Without either we should just shut up about the silverware and concentrate on winning 3rd or 4th spot.
Wyn Mills
Apart from at Chelsea (so far this season) and ManU (though not totally convincingly as yet) who is making it work better than Wenger then, bouncy? Where else is it really working any better?
Amos.
i dont think you are CTC the media are west ham fans and scared of utd. atleast you guys get some respect
jljyid
CTC, agree with you there about the media. It is like a "we told you so", celebration. To my mind, this little experiment of Wenger's gets a lot of people uncomfortable as it means less commissions to share on player transfers, if it succeeds. If we win the PL, it will be like a David V Goliath story, clearly. The more reason why it gets painful to lose to Chelsea who, I daresay, looked very beatable, with the right compliment of staff and gameplan.
Naijagunner
I think you have been reading LeGrove to much Wyn. The only one here to mention 'Arsene knows it all' is you. The only irritation is that we can't have a frank discussion without someone trying to label those that have a counter opinion as 'worshipping at the altar of Wenger'.
Amos.
Hold on here, this criticism about this team is not just from this defeat. Some (or most) of those same sentiments have been echoed several times over the past 2 seasons. Its only reinforced by another spineless performance when it mattered a lot. This season, it looked like there were some improvements, but the same old failings rears its head again. Of course, now is not the time to be recommending changes as we're not in the right frame of mind to do so. But the analysis of the weaknesses is something we can do right now.
prits
'The same old feelings' being that once again Chelsea prove that they can contain us at our best, and punish us at our worst; ditto every other team in the league. I'm not worshipping at the altar of Wenger, but nor do allow myself to be drawn into speculating about how to better the Job our manager is doing. Of course he gets it wrong from time to time, and yes, we've been coming up short for what feels like an eternity now, but I'm just a glass-half full kind of person when it comes to football. But believe me, walking to my local chippie in Highbury last night, the disappointment in the air was palpable, and I was a part of it. I'm not ignorant to the despair, I just think there was a certain amount of innevitability to this result (I know, that's an issue of itself), that looking at this one result in isolation is cruel not only to ourselves, but to the team's performance this season so far.
ChaosTeaCup
The fact is there are some improvements this season. Describing yesterdays performance as 'spineless' isn't analysis it's just despairing criticism. Most of the analysis isn't rational (one weakness can be solved by buying Torres apparently). It's all good fun and maybe cathartic for some but let's not pretend that we aren't going to oversate the weaknesses when we lose just as readily as we might overstate the strengths when we win.
Amos.
Amos, I was talking generally, not specifically about this site. I've no problem listening to counter arguments from those convinced all is well as long as they can back up their claims and don't just tell me I'm over-reacting. But...If I've offended anyone by branding them a 'Wenger worshipper' I offer my apologies.
Wyn Mills
Never, in recent memory, has Chelsea so kept out Arsenal from troubling their Keeper. No! Not even in the Mourinho years when they were pretty strong. Those games were fiery with sparks flying from end to end. It is difficult to pick out a meaningful save made by Keeper Cech yesterday. Therein lies the crux of matter. I don't like 'spineless' either, but I feel belief was lacking and Wenger is the only one who can get the guys back on track. It will be difficult, I assure you, with Man City and Stoke city(now, we even have to worry about Stoke?) looming. These lads just don't look like getting out of this low, in a hurry. We can only wish them well; perhaps, after watching the CC 1st semi final, they will snap out of it.
Naijagunner
Never, in recent memory, has Chelsea so kept out Arsenal from troubling their Keeper. No! Not even in the Mourinho years when they were pretty strong. Those games were fiery with sparks flying from end to end. It is difficult to pick out a meaningful save made by Keeper Cech yesterday. Therein lies the crux of matter. I don't like 'spineless' either, but I feel belief was lacking and Wenger is the only one who can get the guys back on track. It will be difficult, I assure you, with Man City and Stoke city(now, we even have to worry about Stoke?) looming. These lads just don't look like getting out of this low, in a hurry. We can only wish them well, perhaps, after watching the CC 1st semi final, they will snap out of it.
Naijagunner
Anus the fact that you stated chelsea and man u where its working or appears to be is all that is needed because thats who you've got to match. You dont like the word spineless by the way you've reacted to it, but that what is was, as your a bit touchy , and thats because your lot got mullered yesterday,maybe we can say "spine of a jellyfish". Hows that for you fella?
springy
Are you saying Torres wouldn't improve our attack?
Wyn Mills
Not touchy at all bouncy - just keen to keep a sense of proportion. I'm not taking anything away from Chelsea they were the better team yesterday but not unbeatable. Had we scored first we might have got something out of it. Your defence was much better than our attack. If the gods of football had organised it so that our most effective forward RvP played and yours in Drogba didn't the result could well have been different. Changing our manager wouldn't have made that happen and the differences are that small. I think Torres, as would RvP, would improve our attack Wyn and his injury record makes him ideal for us but it isn't rational analysis to offer him as solution is it.
Amos.
had we scored first?? get real you didnt and never looked likely to, but its nice that you have admitted to us being the better team although we all knew that,its a shame that your manager refuses to admit it. what he said about drogba was laughable to say the least. my post that you pulled me up on was supposed to be constructive criticism, it was'nt a gloat.
springy
springy if you took out Ashley Cole & Drogba and gave us back Clichy & Van Persie you would of seen a different result. Last 3 times you played us without Drogba you have lost 2 and drawn. Last time we beat you RVP scored 2 at your place. We have to deal with our injuries, and Chelsea thanks to millions of pounds can deal with them better than us. I think you have spent 700m to get where you are today, unfortunatly we do not all have that luxury. If anything you should of won the league the last 2 seasons aswell and at least one CL.
paul_ownz
Why not? Teams like Barcelona are always looking for ways to improve their balance. That's what makes them champions.Again we may not be talking specifically Torres, but someone like him. Whether that player is available is another matter. With RVP absent we are lacking a clinical finisher of that type. Is it such a big leap to suggest someone like Babel on loan would improve our attacking options and restore the balance?
Wyn Mills
No we didn't score first - that was our problem. Had we done so we would have been the ones playing on the counter. But we didn't, defensively you were way too strong - and we too weak. You were the better team - just not unbeatably so. Different day and circumstances could just as easily gone our way as they did yours. That's what makes football at this level interesting. But think sensibly and simply changing our manager doesn't guarantee anything better, or even as good, and doesn't constitute constructive criticism at all.
Amos.
Amos, at the moment, Chelsea are unbeatable by us and I think that’s the point. I’m not sure that had RvP and Clichy been available the result would have been much different. This wasn’t an unlucky defeat or a bruising encounter where both sides were peppering the goals with shots. It was a resounding defeat for us – at home – by a side who have a possibility of winning something this year. Where does that leave us?
Sir Henry
Based on what Babel has done so far it is a pretty big leap to suggest he would improve our attacking options. What is there in any of his history that would suggest he is an adequate replacement for van Persie. Replacing RvP is a good idea - now let's see - errm - who's readily available and as good as he is ??.... someone like Torres....errm...just sitting on a bench somewhere...mmmm... well ...there must be at least...errm...should be someone who can slot right in...errm...mmm. As it happens I think Wenger may well pick up someone in January especially if we are still struggling to find goals but he'll see how Bendter comes back first.
Amos.
Wenger rarely does short term solutions, can't see anything too big happening here, we'll put in some good performances, maybe go on another good run. Until we come up against another top 4 team and come unstuck. If we're gonna sign Torres why not Essien as well.
shewore
Chelsea aren't unbeatable by us any more than they are unbeatable by Wigan or Villa but they are a very powerful side and difficult to beat by anyone - as Barca found out last season. Chelsea were worth their win. We weren't good enough in critical areas at key points in the game but I don't think Chelsea saw it as a walkover either. Where does it leave us? It leaves us behind Chelsea Sir Henry - as you point out - at the moment.
Amos.
Babel is nowhere near good enough, and to think Arsene could mould him into another Henry is just ridiculously optimistic. Of course Torres would improve any team but we obviously can't afford him so it's pointless suggesting that as a solution. I think Arsene knows we need another striker, why else would he have shown so much interest in Chamakh. It has to be someone who is going to add quality to the squad and is affordable to us.
bowiecokemirror
I've read so much, even from writers I respect, saying that Wenger's project is "over" without actually offering any solutions as to what we should do differently. Facts are for me, Chelsea are a better side than us anyway- and they should be with unlimited investment. But without our first choice striker and left back it was a bridge too far. I'm not pleased with how the team shrunk when Wenger publicly implored them to show everyone that it was their time. But a new signing would probably have not done anything more than Eduardo yesterday. He will get there but I said time and again in the build up to the game that a game like this was too much to expect a striker to elarn a new position and play it effectively against a defence like Chelsea's. Torres wouldn't have added anything to Arsenal's attack yesterday because, last time I checked, he was injured. I thik Amos and ChaosTeacup are spot on and it's a trend prevalent amongst all football fans. When things are going well it's always overhyped and when you get a bad result it's always doom and gloom and everything's wrong and everyone else has better players. Babel has never, ever played as a prominent striker in a front three, what evidence is there he would fare better there than Eduardo? He would still require time to learn the role- assuming he could do it at all- and I'd have more faith in Eduardo succedding there than him. If in three weeks the problems upfront persist, I imagine Chamakh may well be brought in, but with Bendtner also to come back, that is a hasty supposition right now. We were beaten and beaten well, but some need to remember we were beaten by the team that is the best in England right now. If Stoke beat us 3-0 on Saturday without us creating a significant chance, then I'd panic a bit more.
Little Dutch
Come on now, we lose to Chelsea, I would say due to Sagna playing around with Cole and we think its over? I have nothing but faith in this side, we can get it together. This team is full of great players but the downfall is that many of them are coming off of injuries - Walcott, Rosicky, Vela, Nasri, Denilson, Eduardo, even Almunia just came back and not to mention a world cup elimination sick Arshavin. The we have clichy, Gibbs, Bendtner, Diaby and the best striker in the PL out, RVP! I dont know we have done to deserve so many injuries mind you! We just take too much out of one game all the time, this team will bounce back, we are just as or even more talented that all the other teams but we need focus and a little more aggresion, Cesc needs to be more vocal maybe. We need to get ruthless and vicious, fight and claw for a win. ONE more think, no more dancing and prancing over the ball, the PL does not afford you all that time to get it right where you want it, SHOOT! RVP we miss you so much! what a player, the best at Arsenal! ARSENAL!
Paulsito
shewore in a knockout competition it can be anyone who can knock us out, and United have picked up just 3 points out of 9 against the big three and even those points they were really fortunate to get. all we need now is to put a winning run together of 6-7 games and then have a look at the table..
luckys_10
BCMirror, don't like to carry this further but Arsene had, actually shown interest in Babel, years ago while he was with Ajax, as a long term replacement for Henry and I daresay, he is not far from the great man himself, needing only the guidance of a good manager to hit it big. He is strong, takes on defenders and shoots with little prompting. True he has scored only a handful of goals (10) for L'pool, but see how many times he is used and usually as a sub. Quite honestly, if Bendtner can bring new belief into the team, great! because I still look forward to the team wiping the smile off the faces of the pundits, come May. But, it will be foolhardy to carry on as if all is okay. Bringing in another player (even on loan) does not suggest that Wenger's project is over. Far from it! I do not clamour for a "world class" striker who'll cost too much. I just think we need some steel in each department of the field (like all the top 4 teams have); the one in the striking dept. is lacking, for now, especially, without RvP. And we do need to win our next few games.
Naijagunner
Naija I'm aware of our previous interest in Babel but I don't see that much potential in him. We have no option but to give Bendtner, Vela, and Eduardo a chance anyway as we can't sign anyone until January. I'm hopeful that one of them can rise to the task. Unfortunately we can't afford to lose many more games so they don't have the luxury of time.
bowiecokemirror
This match merely confirmed my suspicions. Chelsea are a juggernaught and noone is going to stop them. It was harsh on Arsenal to be beaten in that way, especially at home. Plenty more will fall at their feet. Say what you like about Drogba but he absolutely is the best player in the world at the moment: the complete striker.
jinkin jimmy dimmock
Drogba is very big and very strong. He's not a particurlarly skillful striker, but he is ruthless. That's the difference. And he is placed in positions where his strength and no-nonsense attacking style is most effective. The most ruthless striker we have in the team at the moment is Eduardo. If he was the size of Drogba he'd be scoring every match.
Wyn Mills
This wasn't the Arsenal side brushing teams aside with ease a few weeks ago was it? You were inconceivably poor considering how we more than matched Chelsea at the Bridge! You seemed to lack the necessary ideas needed to breach the Chelsea defense. I expected more from you at the Emirates even in the absense of RvP. In any case, you still had Walcott, Arshavin, Eduardo, Rosicky, Nasri. Should have troubled the Chelsea defense a bit more. Bitterly disappointing display although that scoreline wasn't a fair reflection of the game imo.
ForeverUnited
FU, Chelsea at the Bridge was a different proposition (even for United) as they did not, literally, park their bus in front of their goal, for much of the first half. They had a gameplan at the Emirates, which was to be difficult to break down and stop Arsenal hurting them. Spot on tactics, it turned out, as they clearly, did not expect much from the game. When the second goal went in, it was always going to be difficult chasing a game against Chelsea; then, the Ref played a part in disallowing the Arshavin goal, which could have changed things, obviously. See the admonishments of the coach and Captain that they keep their feet on the ground, after the game; cos they know it is the kind of victory that can cause them to believe in their invincibility and result in a downfall. Still a long way yet to the end of the season.
Naijagunner
Im not going to keep posting on your site as contrary to popular gooner opinion Im not a complete**** but ill say one thing before I go, Wake up! your coach may have been great once but he has seen better days you need some new blood and new ideas.
Uskok
Ah yes, the Spuds approach, sack manager, hail new messaih, new messiah underwhelms, gets sacked, wash, rinse, repeat. Worked brilliantly at the Lane hasn't it?
Little Dutch
Awfully pessimistic review of the game TS. The fact is that we were in control of the game until Cole made the decisive run and cross in the 40th minute. Even after the own goal and the no-goal early in the second half we were playing football. The truth is, without RVP we are a good side playing against a great side. The reverse would be said if we had RVP and Chelsea were missing RVP. Robin's absence was of course compounded by Bendtner's absence. Nick may not have made the ultimate difference, but at least he would have provided a better target than Eddie, who will never be a link up/target man. But if you were in charge, who would you have played in Eddie's stead? Vela? Walcott? And before you bemoan our lack of fully grown target men, consider any other side with their two preferred forwards out injured. Chelsea would have Sturridge and ? starting. Utd would have Marcheda and Wellbeck starting. Barca would have a front 3 of Bojan, Pedro and Henry. Well short of Ibra and Messi, and on par with our front 3 yesterday of Arshavin, Eddie and Nasri. Our biggest failure was defensive concentration and execution in and around our box. Sagna shouldn't have let Cole cross on either occasion, and Gallas had to get something on both crosses. Aside from that, remember that we had 3 first choice players out injured and a barely fit Walcott on the bench. Remember also that a couple of weeks ago, Chelsea v Utd - both teams played 10 men behind the ball and a total of 6 shots on goal between them. We played football, lost out on two decisive plays and failed to get the goal back immediately after the restart. No need for dramatic re-appraisals of our squad's playing ability. Only a need for an assessment of the confidence instilled in our team when the backs are against the wall. Someone's gotta take responsibility for uplifting the team. It would have been Robin had he played. It's gotta be someone else for the rest of the season.
hughied
Hughied, I think you'll find I've covered and largely agreed with all of the points you have made, either in the report or on the forum. Though I do think your appraisal of the game is slightly casual, Chelsea had us at arm's length for the whole game. They knew what was coming and we gave them exactly what they wanted.
Little Dutch
There are a few things that I'd like to add. Firstly, we weren't without our first choice LB and ST, we were without our second choice as well. Gibbs+Bendtner edge Traore+Eddy. Secondly, out of all the goals conceded this season, Almunia was at fault (directly) for a maximum of one or two. The rest were just unsaveable. Thirdly, the team put in a solid performance and Chelsea's 3-0 win, although deserved, didn't reflect the events on the pitch. Anyone seen similarities to the way CFC approach football to that of Arsenal prior and during the invincible era? Very solid at the back, and with a counter-attack explosion with Pires, Cole, Henry, Ljungberg & co. With that said, I think the only criticism that can be leveled at our team is the lack of shooting around the area and Wenger's insistence to persist with the same formation even though we're missing the personnel that made this 4-3-3 formation work in the first place: Arshavin is/was depressed, Robin is out, Gallas patched up, Bendtner is out, Diaby is out (yes we were winning with him in the team), and Clichy is out, too. A more cagey approach was necessary IMO, catching this Chelsea team on the break with our pace (something that we had in abundance) might have been a cleverer approach.
G4L
Don't you arsenal fans ever just get bored of Wenger, all the stylish play and losing to stronger teams right at the crucial moment, time and time again. And the incessant moaning from him, to cover up the fact that he got it wrong? He sits on that touchline hugging himself because he knows that his youth team won't win when they face up to the strength of United and Chelsea. My god, as a Spurs fan i used to ***** myself when we had to face Viera, Petit, Overmars, Henry. Real men. Not anymore, if we loose we can just blame our own mistakes. I just think he's had his time. I think Arsenal have been incredibly patient with him,and should have acted after they lost to United in CL semi. When Chelsea have no fear of playing Arsenal and Spurs fans feel comfortable making jokes about how long Arsenal have been without winning anything, something has to be done. Give him his pension and start planning to win things again instead of hopeing that you might.
jinkin jimmy dimmock
Again, it's highly explainable that Spurs fans' instant reaction to a result is "change the manager" a line which Spurs have follwoed to a tee (look at how well it's done for them). OK, who do we replace him with? Who could do a better job with the resources available? Who would manage to convince the legion of players who credit their careers to Wenger to stay on? Spurs fans are comfortable making jokes about Arsenal's success or lack thereof only out of their own delusion. A side that has never qualified for the CL or won a significant trophy for approaching twenty years and are approaching their league title Golden Jubilee. Before you riposte with the shameful "ooh, ooh, we won the Carling Cup" check these comments from your manager today http://www.football365.com/story/0,17033,8652_5735744,00.html
Little Dutch
Spud fans, who haven't been within a sniff of a title for half a century and have never competed in the CL, feeling comfortable making jokes about Arsenal not winning a trophy in four seasons says more about the deluded mindset of the average spud. What would they give to achieve even as much as we did in the worst of those four seasons? "if we loose (sic - as in bowels?) we can just blame our own mistakes" yeah and then sack the manager. The CC is so highly regarded by the spud board that they sacked two managers for winning it!
Amos.
Of course Spurs fans want us to change our manager. Nice try.
ChaosTeaCup
Your vitriolic reaction, i'm afraid, simply confirms my point. You know what i said was true but its easier to throw out insults than listen to honest arguments. Nobody at Spurs cares who is your manager so long as you don't win anything. Under Wenger you don't, so that's ok. I was infact trying to help you. But seriously, it's ok, stay as you are. So many of your fans probably agree with everything i've said. Very few of them would have the gumption to admit.
jinkin jimmy dimmock
What a load of meaningless waffle. Wenger has won things. His worst failures exceed your greatest triumphs. He has won more titles on his own than you have in your whole 125+ years! He has even won a title at WHL - a feat not matched by any spud manager. As for nobody in spudland caring who our manager is you think obsessively of little else other than your far, far, far more successful neighbours. But taking lessons in success from spuds is never going to gain much favour here. I would be like taking lessons in driving from Stevie Wonder.
Amos.
Oh, and George Graham was sacked by your club because he had his fingers in the till. He was sacked by Tottenham Hotspur because the way he played football simply wasn't pleasing enough on the eye for the far more discerning Spurs crowd. I'm afraid.
jinkin jimmy dimmock
The Wenger “project” is not over, it just needs more work. I’ve always said that we have major problems at the back and Wenger needs to address these problems. Vermaelen is a great start but further changes are required to establish a real defensive unit that allows the creative talent to be at their best or, as is sometimes the case, to be at their worst and yet still achieve a scrappy win. This is constructive criticism to adapt a wonderful style of play into a system that will beat the likes of Chelsea and Barcelona. When we’ve accepted the fact that we have a glass jaw, and when our sensibilities can take it, the project can, and must, go on.
Sir Henry
Graham was recruited by the spuds AFTER having his fingers in our till so no moral high ground for you to claim there. You were that desperate for a bit of Arsenal know-how to earn you a tin pot trophy. Curiously, considering that Grahams football style was not to the discerning tastes of spuds, he was one of your longest serving managers in the last 20 years. You spuds do talk a load of complete and utter b*llox.
Amos.
paulownz lets have it right, £700 million was not spent on players alone to get where we are.i heard a gooner say that figure on the radio suggesting thats all gone on players, RA bought the club,ground,training ground etc as well as the players,the facts are if you get players injured then having a squad in this day an age is a must,you dont,thats not chelsea's fault.what i will agree with you on is that we should have had 2 more PL and a CL,
springy
it was a bad day every team has one every manager has one all in all arsenal will finish no doubt in the top 4
leeimp95
£736mn was the debt that Chelsea FC owed RA in May 2008 AFTER he bought the club, stadium, training ground from Bates in 2003 for £140m. Half of that debt was converted to equity recently but most of that 'soft' debt the club built up was the difference between operating costs including transfer fees, wages et c., and revenues since RA took over. The squad Chelsea has now is the one that was built up along with the debt. It may not be possible to build future squads the same way in the future. Certainly not if the intention is to break even eventually.
Amos.
just under 500m has been spent on about 60+ players and managers payouts. If you count their last wage bill in 2007/8 at 172m pound a year, agent bills, money paid to united for mikel etc, then you can see the difference between the two clubs. So while its not Chelsea fault we dont have as big a squad as them(in terms of quality), its a valid reason for why we cant compete as well when we have major players out.
paul_ownz
Jimmy, thanks ever so for your advice, but I think I trust Wenger more with how my football club is run than you. Sorry.
Little Dutch
'Your neighbours' Amos? And who are your 'neighbours' then? Crystal Palace? LOL
jinkin jimmy dimmock
A Spurs fan pointing out his club as a model for how we should run ours is a bit like me sending an e mail to Brad Pitt entitled, "Tips on how to pick up women."
Little Dutch
Right, gloves off.....Paul Merson is a *****!
jinkin jimmy dimmock
Little Dutch, you've no need to apologise, i understand old habits die hard. All the best for the season, and just let me know if you require any more sound, and authoritative, advice.
jinkin jimmy dimmock
Who are our neighbours? That's a very good question! Just who the **** are they indeed! A bunch of small time ne'er do-well losers in the cheap, shabby run-down side of town.
Amos.
I tell you what, we're pretty close to a takeover, but of you can raise a few million, perhaps you can gazump Kroenke and then we can all benefit from your sapient advice? Or maybe you can polish your Redknapp statue? You know the one, it used to have Ramos' face on it. Jol's on it before that. Santini's before that. Think it's had Pleat's face on it once or twice, Hoddle's on it a couple of times, and Gerry Francis', and Ardilles. Come to think of it, that statue's had more makeovers than Madonna.
Little Dutch
97 years of living next door to Tottenham. Tottenham? Who the ***** are Tottenham?!
Little Dutch
No need to rise to cheap insults from the absolute embarrasment of a club up the road in Middlesex. Can't wait for Redknapp to **** off for a bit more money somewhere else and take his chequebook with him, only a matter of time.
shewore
LD "Without our top striker, Chelsea were a bridge too far" oh the irony. How you constantly took the ***** - even in your Standard Liege article on how we made excuses on the defeat without our best 3 of 5*Defoe Lennon and Modric. You were a bridge too far in the NLD without those three, and even then it could have been different if you didnt nick them crazy 2 goals in a minute before half time, in a game where similar to your match vs Chelsea we were in it until that happened.
HuddersfieldYiddo
Err HY, the fun was made coz your captain boased about how your bench was superior. If it was superior, then you shouldnt have been complaining about injuries.
prits
For all the criticism of Wenger, sacking him is surely not the right thing to do. Any right minded gooner recognises that. But its frustrating to see the same failings being exposed time and again. And its not like we were ***** - the team actually put together some good moves. In fact, that makes it more frustrating, coz we can see that the gap in talent is not as huge as the scoreline suggests. I'm not sure what Wenger can do to change the mentality of this squad. Also, having seen one earlier performance where the team refused to shoot, he should have told the players to take more shots on goal. However, there were atleast 3-4 chances where Arsenal players took too much time on the ball, or played an extra pass where a shot would have been enough.
prits
Yes, Amos it is shabby and run down. Perfect for redevelopment. Next job already underway. But crucially, It's also the area where the club originated from. You should think very long and hard about that. The club's name is Tottenham Hotspur. From Tottenham. And your club's name is, er... Arsenal. All the way from.... ARSENAL TUBE STATION!!! I don't need to trade in insults, but i will happily dispense a few facts. LOL!
jinkin jimmy dimmock
Heres a fact for you it took Gareth Bale two years and four months, 25 games and 1,533 minutes of action to win a league game with your club.
iceman10
Most of the time he was injured. Here's a fact for you. You're the only club of 92 league teams that had to effectively 'invent' itself as an entity. Curiously, most clubs(if not all) have the name of the place they orginate from in their title. Apart from Arsenal. Because it never existed in North London. And it still doesn't.
jinkin jimmy dimmock
Here's a fact for you. Your team (full squad, may I add) is down by 2 goals, against a United side made up largely, of kids. Buzz off!
Naijagunner
Good response Naijagunner. Thorough, insightful, factual. And in no way a response to the essentially correct points that i've made on this daft forum.
jinkin jimmy dimmock
The "daft forum" you patronize so regularly, even with your team playing for their 2009/2010 Carling cup (your favourite trophy!) lives. ..... And btw, it is Game over, with scoreline same as I informed you above. Now, go to bed (or something).
Naijagunner
That's right jinkin' Tottenham is the shabby, run down area you originated from and after 125 years it's even more shabby and rundown - a perfect metaphor for your club. Whereas we came to the area almost a century ago and have enhanced it. Some, like you, just do the talking others, like us, do the walking.
Amos.
How embarrassing that we just came and took over this side of London without so much as a fight, Just a wave of that lilly****£ shirt.
iceman10
As a matter of fact, the history thing doesn't bother me anyway that much, it was only a stir. My intention, all along, was to provide some real clear thinking on what i see with my own eyes again and again. I've said nothing that isn't factually correct. I don't see the point in arguing aimlessly on so i will refer you back to my first post: Wenger needs to get his chequebook out and buy more strength and depth and quality, or go. Arsenal are not physically strong enough. Is that not the case? Or are you just *****ed off that i said it? Its not enough to keep making the same excuses when they crumble against more powerful teams, no matter how attractive the football is, or has been. (refer back to my description of Arsenal's nineties team who never seemed to crumble) take that objectively if you wish. Peace.
jinkin jimmy dimmock
Not p1ssed off that you said it jinkin just amused at your pompous pretentiousness as though the debate as to whether we should sign players of greater maturity and physical development didn't exist until you came along. Who, what, where and when we should bring in other players is a constant topic. It was back in the nineties as well. As it happens I think you should stop wasting silly money on no-marks like Bentley, or Bale, Pubplayerchenko, dos Santos, Alan Hutton and others for that matter. Take that objectively if you wish.
Amos.
That's not fact, it's opinion. Though fans of Top4 Tottenham can be forgiven for mistaking the two. You were the first team in London to propose their bid to host World Cup matches in a stadium that doesn't even exist. HY, no excuses, Chelsea would probably have beaten us had we had van Persie, fact is, they're a better side than we are. Just like we are a better side than you and have been since before my balls dropped. Spurs fans have a right to say they were missing three key players, but it was the complete and utter dismissal of the defeat, as if it somehow didn't count because you didn't have three players who wouldn't get in our team anyway. Modric and Lennon wouldn't make our bench, Defoe probably would at the moment. It's true we missed van Persie but I have at least offered more analysis than that rather than just dismissing the defeat out of hand because we were missing one of our best players.
Little Dutch
How long then do you then put with the present situation? Two years? Three years? Liverpool have a similar problem. Of course they're in a good place, but not in THE place they would like to be. Not cynical at all, just an honest question. Because we are forever changing our managers, its always a new start, so it's never boring at least,and you're sustained by hope. What if you have the same thing, year in year? How long before you say: Now we demand trophies!
jinkin jimmy dimmock
The demand for trophies began in 2006 and has continued every season since and will continue after we win the next one. Wenger has a contract until the end of next season. If he wants to renew it the club will do so without hesitation - for as long as he wants. Whether he'll want to or not is another matter. How long will we wait for trophies? For as long as we can continue to compete for them. But we know one thing for certain - your way is far, far, far less successful than ours.
Amos.
 

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