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Chelsea 2 Arsenal 0

Chelsea away is always something of a pleasant day for our lot. Given that we know a number of Chelsea season ticket holders (Chelsea fans whose sovereign clad knuckles don`t drag on the floor, this rare creature does exist), so some three and a half hours prior to kick off, we were already in the Sporting Page for a few jars and a pleasant pub lunch. Is it perhaps a sad indictment of the game today that most of the conversation centred on football`s fiscal irresponsibility genuflecting that of the banking system three years ago? We made our way to the ground some half an hour before kick off and, as with last week, the pre match apprehension just wasn`t there. I had pretty much prepared myself for a defeat seven days before the match and felt strangely comfortable with the prospect. Lamentably, my seat turned out to be right next to the Chelsea fans. Not a good place to be on this occasion.

The expected vitriol for John Terry barely surfaced, only at flashpoints. Chelsea as a club are excellent at creating unnecessary animosity, the stadium announcer pithily remarking before the game, "Of course, there is only one side that can go top of the Premiership should they win today." More and more I`m minded of Wenger`s sage remark about giving success to stupid people. In the interests of democracy, the visiting support had their say by aiming a chorus of, "John Terry, shagged your wife" at said buffoon with microphone. But the pre match camaraderie faded into sighs of disappointment after just eight minutes as Arsenal followed an incredibly familiar script for their meetings with United and Chelsea. A bright, positive attacking start before then making costly defensive errors and conceding to our opponent`s first shot on target. Florent Malouda hung a Chelsea corner high into the air, Abou Diaby stopped concentrating and lost his man (a mistake for which Denilson would have been crucified for this morning), John Terry climbed to meet the header, Gael Clichy had drifted away from his back post to the front post to mark thin air, Alex Song had totally lost Didier Drogba (a mistake for which Denilson would have been crucified for this morning) who was left with a tap in at the back post. Three enormous individual errors stuffed tightly into the small pocket of one corner. Having yet again found themselves a goal down to Chelsea`s first attack, it was important the Gunners did not repeat the oft made error against United and Chelsea of trying to rescue the game seventy minutes before its conclusion. But Arsenal is not a team that learns very quickly.

Arsenal did look to re-establish themselves and nearly secured a gorgeous equaliser when Cesc Fabregas found two rare commodities in Chelsea`s half; space and time. He floated in an inch perfect pass which flew gracefully over the heads of Carvalho and Ivanovic and straight onto the boot of Andrey Arshavin, whose first time volley was beaten out instinctively by the feet of Petr Cech. But the away side would again commit the cardinal sin of over committing to attack; we were not yet half an hour into the game. As we did against Manchester City at Eastlands, just as we did against Manchester United last week, we were guilty of over committing far, far too early in the match and as a consequence the contest was over far, far too early. Lampard broke away with Arsenal`s three forwards as well as Song and Diaby committed high up the pitch, he shifted the ball to Drogba on Chelsea`s right and Arsenal looked absolutely awash with fear and anxiety, pure reputation and past record against us gripping the limbs of Clichy and Vermaelen as Drogba tore forward unchallenged, cut inside the trembling Arsenal defence and lashed a shot past Almunia. It was all too familiar, the script already written. Start the game in a positive attacking vein, check. Concede to first opposition shot on goal. Check. Over commit in the embryonic stages of the game and find yourself two goals down. Check. There`s an old saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. Chelsea might have had a third before half time when Ashley Cole roared into space on the left hand side and closed in on goal, but Theo Walcott showed good aptitude to get back and put Cole off of his stride. But at half time it was a predictable picture. Chelsea knew exactly how we were going to play and we played right into their hands. Chelsea were unconcerned with possession stats and were quite happy to concede that little statistic to us. They knew that the only stat that matters is the score line. Arsenal are obsessed with playing good football, Chelsea are obsessed with winning football matches. It`s not hard to see which tactic wins out in these situations.

In fairness, Arsenal demonstrated a lot of spirit and a lot of fight in the second half and I was proud of their response. Ultimately though, Chelsea have the absolute measure of us. The reason Walcott started for instance was because of his willingness to get in behind defences and to try and stretch Chelsea with some width. However, the tactic came up short. Walcott is operating at low confidence and it`s quite clear that his team mates don`t trust him with the ball at the moment, so he cut an isolated figure until he came inside- at which point Chelsea`s deep midfield dealt with him without breaking a sweat. Most of Arsenal`s attempts on goal were restricted to efforts from range as Chelsea merely strung nine bodies across the edge of their box, leaving us with little answer. Diaby had a long range effort which flew just wide but Arsenal should really have made the game interesting again when Fabregas found Nasri in some space between Ivanovic and Carvalho. But Nasri delayed his shot and attempted to take a final touch, leaving Ashley Cole to make an excellent last ditch tackle. At this moment in time, it gets harder and harder to believe that Clichy will progress into the player Cole is- as despicable an individual as he is, he is quite some left back. Thereafter there appeared to be a little aggravation in the Lower Tier, culminating in a flare being lit amongst the Arsenal fans. As I saw positioned near the back of the Upper Tier I do not have the minutiae of details, but I was aware of the smoke wafting upwards and it contributed to stirring the very vocal away support again to spur their team on, who had by now taken a permanent residence in Chelsea`s half. Vermaelen seemed to have worked out that the best way to stop Drogba is to go in on him hard, for a brute of a player, he doesn`t much like the rough stuff and Vermaelen adopted a more physical approach in dealing with him. I won`t tell you it`s 100% the answer to stopping Drogba, insofar as one can actually stop Drogba. But it`s certainly got more chance of enervating him than standing back and cowering as Arsenal did in the first half.

Arsenal brought on Bendtner to add a physical dimension to our attack and he had an instant impact, collecting the ball from Arshavin, dancing around two Chelsea players before being tripped by Carvalho. Fabregas hit a low free kick which whizzed through a throng of bodies only for Petr Cech to beat it out. Gallas` presence in front of Cech might just have diverted the ball past the prone keeper had he begun to follow the free kick in a millisecond earlier. I suspect had we got the game back to 2-1 you would have seen an interesting finale, but Chelsea were looking comfortable with our attacks. Despite the commendable application shown, Arsenal began to tail off in the last five minutes and might even have found themselves a very harsh 3 goals in deficit. As Didier Drogba lined up a free kick on the edge of the area, from the other end of the pitch I could see just how much of his goal Almunia was showing to Drogba and he practically invited the goal. Drogba thumped the ball against the bar and Almunia did not twitch a nerve. Fabregas headed Nasri`s cross narrowly wide in injury time, but it would only have been a consolation at that point. The final whistle brought about a familiar feeling, the feeling that against a bigger side Arsenal were all tickle and no slap. Though we pinned Chelsea back for large sections of the game, you get the feeling Chelsea were happy to be pinned back and cede on the corner stats, the possession stats, the attempts from outside the box stats. Chelsea knew exactly how we were going to play and the pattern of this game has been obvious for some time. At times, it was like watching a six foot man simply place his palm on a midget`s forehead as the midget swings wildly, desperately trying to land a dig to the torso but never able to get near. In Drogba, Chelsea have a player we simply don`t know how to deal with. We started the game 25 minutes too late, which we can get away with at home to Bolton and we can salvage a point at home to Everton doing it too, but starting a game 25 minutes too late at Stamford Bridge will only ever eventuate in one outcome. I`m certain Arsenal are well aware of the faults they displayed and have displayed time and again against the top 2, but we appear not to have the armoury to do anything about it. The last two games have confirmed what I suspected before a ball was kicked in either, Arsenal are the 3rd best team in England right now. Unfortunately, you`ll be reading much more damning indictments in the next couple of days, but basically, the reality is, we find it very difficult to beat the two richest clubs in the world.LD.

1.ALMUNIA, 3.SAGNA (27.Eboue `74), 10.GALLAS, 5.VERMAELEN, 22.CLIHY, 17.SONG, 2.DIABY (7.Rosicky `74), 4.FABREGAS©, .14.WALCOTT (52.Bendtner `64), 8.NASRI, 23.ARSHAVIN. Unused: 15.Denilson, 16.Ramsey, 21.Fabianski, 31.Campbell.




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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday February 8 2010

Time: 11:49AM

Your Comments

So disappointing. I'm beginning to even doubt our ability to beat the Scousers. Why Walcott (arguably the most out-of-form player in the prem against the best left back in the prem) was thought to be a better option than putting NikB through the middle and sticking Arsh out wide, I will never know.
Chipo
I heard yesterday that Wenger gets a £2m bonus each year for Champions League qualification. Is this true (or at least known to others) or is it just a wind-up? Certainly explains his treatment of the 2 cup competitions if true.
Mr Reasonable
The way bloggers have seized on this "throwing 2 cups" issue is bollox. Wenger wants to win, he's just too stubborn to change his policies and admit that his big experiment has failed. I believe that he geniunely thought that he would win in the FA Cup and League Cup with those teams. Unfortunately I suspect it's more a case of disillusionment than a £2m champs league bonus.
Chipo
I remember when we played them last season, we scored two goals against the run of play and nicked it 2-1. The scorer of those 2 goals? Ahhhh yes. VAN PERSIE. Strikers change games. We only have one in our squad at the moment and Wenger isn’t feckin playing him!!
Chipo
I've no idea of the details of Wenger's bonuses, I doubt anyone really does. But I don't think a bonus of that size were that to be true is at all shocking considering the amount of money getting into the CL makes the club. I mean, if you delivered a project for your company that made it millions of pounds would you not expect a sizeable bonus? That he "threw" the game against Stoke with his team selection is utter fallacy. Fabregas played the whole 90 minutes, the only players that didn't play were those carrying injuries (Arshavin was carrying an injury too, but still came on as a sub). We were undone at Stoke by pushing forward too hard- which is exactly how we lost yesterday. So am I to take it we "threw" yesterday's match too? The problem is people make their minds up before the game even starts. "If we lose, I'll blame Almunia and Denilson and criticise the manager for selecting un under-8 side in the Cup and ignore any other details." That's what I'm seeing today, which is amazing, because every Gonner I spoke to before the game expected defeat, so I'm at a loss to understand the wrist slitting that is going on now. This is the bottom line, Chelsea are a better side than us. They've had and continue to enjoy unlimited resurces artificially pumped into the club building a side better than ours, ergo, they would be in massive, massive trouble if they weren't better than us.
Little Dutch
Great report again Tim. The conclusion is the right one. In order to beat the richest clubs consistently we have to become as rich or preferably richer than they are. Fortunately that isn't so improbable. Sadly though the £100K prize money for the CC and the £1.8m for the FAC won't help realise that.
Amos.
Toothless, toothless and toothless. Why do I persist in watching our games against the 'big' clubs and I mean this in terms of stature and physical dimensions here. I trust in Arsene, i do, but how in all seriousness can he play three absolute midgets up front against Chelsea? It was absolutely ludicrous and was bound to fail - it's akin to asking a couple of gnats to outbox a few rhinos; sure they fly around some and make some nice patterns but ultimately die chasing bright lights. Bendtner came on and was garbage - foul in the box or no his work with his back to goal was dire and he lack of touch is alarming. Fabregas seems to be affected by the lack of a goal from open play in three games as his composure deserted him when through on goal. And Arshavin - what to do with the mecurial Russian. Simples is the answer, a short rest stop would do nicely. If ever there was a rallying call for a new striker to have been bought then this is it - one more loss - against rubbish Liverpool - in midweek and i think serious questions will be lodged at our next AGM.
herobeard
last season, United picked up zero points vs pool, 1 point vs Arsenal & 4 points vs Chelsea. the best team doesent always win this league. 2003 we should have won it easily when we were the best team in the league by quite some distance but we didn't. it's really disappointing to lose 4 games against these two top sides, but there's still some way to go before the destiny of the title is decided. Chelsea still have to goto Anfield, Old Trafford, Goodison and a few other tricky places as well. United have more tough games than us coming up as well. we just need to get these games out of our system and put a winning run together again. win the next 5 league games and with 8 games to go, the table will look different again. we maybe rank outsiders but it's definetly not over yet..
luckys_10
talking about still winning the league may sound foolish right now, but then if we dun think we can win it, then whats the point of competing anyway. all i want to see is for the team to really show their mettle, get their heads down and win the next 5 games in the league & then we'll see where we stand..
luckys_10
Sorry L10 but the best side Does win the league. Everyone has to play eachother twice. Everyone has their injuries and you have to play the hand you've dealt. I don't think you can critisize Bendtner for his performance considering the state of the game at the time and how much football he's played recently. I would definately start with him regularly as the point man up front. Give him a chance. I'm getting increasingly annoyed about how little Clichy and Sagna contribute defensively without delivering anything going forward. Clichy's positional play can be shocking at times and I think Eboue deserves his place above Sagna at the moment.
navydave
Lets just hope we beat the scousers and dont get dragged in to fighting for 3rd/4th spot.
paul_ownz
A little early to be on the sauce luckys_10.
hodfoundgodwithapass
Good report LD. The loss was completely expected and as such not too depressing. The sad thing is the fact that it was expected. What happened to the good old days when Chelsea were a mere inconvenience?

@HeroBeard, I disagree regarding Bendtner - he came on and we immediately looked better IMO. Strange thing was that we were crossing to our midget front line in the first half, then when Bendtner come on - a proper striker - we proceded to not cross it! Bizarre.
Gunnerman
say what yu want. all i know is if we win the next 5 league games and put a run together, we'll be a lot more closer to the top two than we are right now. and with easier games to play in the last few weeks than the top two, anything can happen. after liverpool on wednesday, the only tricky games are stoke n brum away, rest all we should win quite easily..
luckys_10
Good write-up, as usual. Finances are important but I think you can legitimately criticise Arsene for his decision not to buy/loan a replacement forward (at least) and tactics. And whilst 4-3-3 is great in that it releases Cesc, I personally don't think it's the best formation for us, particularly against the better sides because we just look far too open and it looks really easy to play through us and get at our back 4. And you're spot on about our obsession with 'playing the game we love' versus United and Chelsea's out and out desire to win at all costs. It's also becoming sad to see Arsene every season flailing his hands about in frustration when things are going for us, the cameras purposely pointing at him. And finally, his post-match point comment about "we are a very young side, they are 29, we are 23" etc, are painful to hear because it either sounds like he wants sympathy or that it's an excuse. Sorry, long rant over!
Gooner_Vin
Why does everyone get so exercised about what Wenger says? The average age differences aren't a plea for sympathy or an excuse. Just a simple statement of fact. What's painful about it?
Amos.
Told you you'd win nothing. You're not good enough and badly organised. Wenger is a fool
adlington2
My maths may be wrong here, but i make our average age nearer 24.5. Amos - it was an excuse, otherwise why bring it up? He's talking about it because it's relevant to the outcome of the game, otherwise it doesn't deserve draw of breath, may as well speak about the sun coming up in the morning, as that's a statement of fact. Arsenal, and in particular Arsene's PR this season has been appalling, already we've got Clichy (who's been p1ss poor this season) telling us that they need to battle etc etc blah blah blah. The problem with all of these impact statements is that when they’re repeated ad nauseam they become rhetoric….and boring.
shewore
What's painful about it Amos is that Wenger is commentating as though this age difference is something beyond his control, when the exact opposite is true, it's entirely because of him that the squad is rammed with inexperience. Whether it is or isn't a plea for sympathy or an excuse is irrelevant, it's a major reason for why we lost and the buck stops with Arsene there.
nikolaijns
Personally I could quite easily go the rest of the season without hearing a single Arsenal player open his mouth. In all honesty they haven't earned the feckin right to speak publically. You're sportsmen and in the sports field noone is interested in hearing the views of losers. Shut up, keep your heads down and use the hurt to drive you forward, do not use the media as psychotherapy. We don't wanna hear your empty, hollow promises. It only serves to make you look more stupid than you've already been made to look on the pitch.
nikolaijns
It really depends what spin you want to put on the comment- if any at all. Frankly, I didn't pay it much attention, but I think it was a tacit admission that his players could do the "dirtier" things better a la Mikel and Ballack, take the booking if it stops a goal, hit the floor if you feel contact etc. The way you can look at it is that Chelsea will need to rebuild their team again very soon, in two years we will be 25 and they will be 31. They are a side at their physical and mental peak and we are not, but the thing is about being at your peak is that the decline soon follows. In about 2004-05, the Arsenal team was at their physical and mental peak with an average age of 28, 29.
Little Dutch
Niko, I wouldn't disagree with that comment. Personally, I'm not really interested in the platitudes and the player interviews either. So it's quite simple, I don't read them.
Little Dutch
Burnley and Hull can contain Chelsea, we can't. That's right, relegation fodder can contain the hard men of Chelsea when they're at full strength, with Drogba and a good manager--we can't. Those teams (like Mourinho and Ferguson) modify their styles and approach when needed against tough teams. Wenger doesn't. I didn't expect a win yesterday so I wasn't surprised. Hoped for a draw. What yesterday proved once and for all is that AW is not building a winning team. The clue is in what he said about our home game v. Utd and in the aftermath of yesterday's game. After the Utd game, he said "we were not at our best" - we did not perform at our top level. After yesterday's game he said the defeat was difficult to swallow because his players "gave absolutely everything" and "we were the better team" -- exactly. Which means at our best we cannot beat a full strenth Chelsea team with Drogba playing, simple as. We simply are not as good as they are. We were the better team at OT and still lost. We don't have the cutting edge to beat Chelsea and Utd at their best--AW is not building a team that has that edge. Sure, Chelsea have more money--but it's not only about money. With the same budget, AW could've had a balanced team with more experienced veterans and small/technical players combined with tall/physically imposing players. But he didn't choose to have that. Once again, Chelsea easily contained us with their physicality, gamesmanship and clinical finishing. Unless something changes dramatically and quickly, I will just learn to accept that we will be 3rd or 4th in the league for years to come, enjoy the football on offer, and just learn to live with this nearly-men status until we're back up again. It will be years of course and--unles AW makes serious changes in personnel and (more importantly) training--it may not happen until AW is gone. We simply have no answer to the tactical acumen and physicality of Utd and Chelsea. At least I could celebrate the Saints' win over the Colts last night. Now THAT was a magnificent display of an offensive underdog believing in themselves, changing their strategy and tactics mid-game and taking it to the tougher, defensive, hard men of the gridiron--and winning it all!
jaelle
Niko - hear hear!
Chipo
No me neither LD, only go to Arsenal.com to check fixture dates, but it'd difficult to escape them when quotes are repeated ad nauseum by posters and bloggers. I totally agree with your point prior about when we will hit physical and mental peak, but the fact that the invincibles were so quickly and ruthlessly dismantled still rankles greatly, it should have been done over a far longer timespan and the introduction of youth a lot more cautiously and staggered than it has been.
nikolaijns
Good match report Tim. I'm sure that AW realises that we have no sharpness or variation up front. The problem is by the time this issue is addressed in the summer, 3rd place and a CL campaign is all that we'll have left to fight for. Why we persist in crossing the ball into the box without Bendtner on the field is beyond me. We also played the ball too much from side to side when we came into the final third. Cech was quite excellent as well. His saves from Arshavin and Cesc were game changing. Had even one of those chances gone in, anything could have had happenned in the last 15 mins. Once our side gets a goal their confidence rockets up quite remarkably. Onwards and upwards.
Deltaforce
The tone of your report captures the mood perfectly LD! I disagree though with the insinuation you make that we can’t beat the Top 2 because of their cheque books. In my eyes we are not so far away from beating them and the problem was not so much that the Top 2 bought their capability but that we had it in our power (still) to beat them (even with our lesser resources but failed to do so). The fault for that has to be shouldered almost exclusively by Wenger. Why – because he is not very strong on tactics; because he has built a sometimes tame team whose characters are quite similar; finally, because he has not made a move in the last 2 transfer windows to add a player or two to complement and beef up his squad. He could have brought someone in without spending gazillions, but he chose not to. The irony with blaming Arsene, is that the only reason we are even competing at the top against the cash-doped clubs is also Wenger! And that’s the thing – so much effort and dedication to create a team greater than the sum of its parts… but just maddeningly short of greatness.
Andy-bayor
jaelle, I'm fairly sure that this season was the last that AW had devoted to his pain stakingly built project. All I know from my years of following every action of the man is that he is absolutely ruthless at times when he feels that a player has reached their end at Arsenal. Am quite certain that a skilful and physical centre forward and a defender will be purchased in the summer. Am worried about this season for sure but not so much the next.
Deltaforce
someone tell mr.wenger.......its professional football, not circus pleasing the eyes is good, but less significant than points.......
jyocool
It's a very valid point about players talking too much... when I heard the Clichy statements on Arsenal.com today it made my blood boil. How can they come out and talk at all after such a stuttering performance. I can only put this down to the fact they 'need' to do all this PR stuff but surely the best way Clichy can help himself is shut up and go train hard? If they need to do PR, it shoudl be one player, once a week, and 2 minutes... let the manager do the rest.
Andy-bayor
The finance issue is being overplayed here. ManU have the likes of Fletcher, Park, Brown, Evans, the two Brazilian twins and others, who are all decent players but, we at Arsenal, wouldn’t be too excited to sign any of them. The fact is they form part of a strong, effective unit, well organised and hard working designed to get results. The teamwork allows their top players to go about and do their job in the knowledge that their efforts will not go to waste by defensive errors. I believe we have some real quality at Arsenal and we have the work ethic but I don’t think that we have the on-field organisation to carry out the tactics thrashed out on the training ground by Wenger (I’m assuming that Wenger has identified and addressed the problem). The players’ inability to learn from their mistakes is breathtaking and we have had the same problem for a while now - but it is fixable and without the need to spend too much money.
Sir Henry
I also wish gooners would stop making any analogies to Utd not winning against any of the other top 4 teams last season. There is NO analogy to be made. Utd won the league by winning both legs of all the other teams. They did not lose 6 league games like we have. They were not 9 pts adrift of the leaders less than halfway thru the season. There is NO comparison to be made.
jaelle
Somewhere down the line, your club changed its name from Arsenal FC to Arsene FC and your doom started from that day.. You guys got no choice.. Just watch some good football and always wish it will be next year.. I miss the good old derbies between us..
danish chelsea
Good observation Sir Henry.
Deltaforce
danish chelsea by the "good old derbies" you mean the ones after 2003 when Roman bought your club? You do have a long memory.
Deltaforce
Atleast I still feel its my club.. We want to win.. Roman wants to win.. No problems... Arsenal is not your club anymore.. It belongs to Wenger.. It looks like a profit making circus.. You are just creating footballers for others to buy.. If you think there is no truth in what I say, or you dont feel the same.. I apologise..
danish chelsea
A Chelsea fan lecturing us on who his football club belongs to? Are you sure?
Little Dutch
It's not your club. It's Roman's. It stands or falls entirely on what he wishes for it at any particular point in time. It can all change on a whim. When Wenger goes the club is still self sustaining and can recruit managers to do the job that needs to be done.
Amos.
danish chelsea, by usng your argument your club does'nt belong to you it belongs to your owner. Its his whim about buying players or changing a manager which will be finally implemented. Ancelloti only has a limited say in affairs. While long serving managers like Ferguson and Wenger have more clout and influence in the day today matters than your average manager they dont own any shares in their club and are only powerful employees at the end of the day. Every club goes through phases of reorganisation and rebuilding. Ours has taken longer that we thought but I for one can see the promise of better years ahead.
Deltaforce
Well.. See you next year.. In Arsene we trust too ;D
danish chelsea
We`ve been on decline for three seasons now. lol. Arsene doesn`t think we`re at our peak. He thinks we`re too old. We have top young players ready to replace our older ones. Plus we`re allowed to buy anyone we want. Plus plus we have special techniques a la AC Milan to make our older players last more.
k.chelski
k.chelski, I dont think your young players will replace your older ones in two years time. For that to happen, they would have to bedded into your team NOW. Its not as if Kakuta, Matic, Mancienne or Borini will start flying immediately after being dropped from their nest. The answer as always from your perspective is Roman's chequebook. He is a remarkably generous owner and its likely that another 150 million pound 'investment' will secure your otherwise bleak future.
Deltaforce
The older players weren't working so well for Ancelotti in Italy in recent seasons. Whether RA wants to or not (and we all know he does) the Uefa Finnacial fair play rules will ensure he won't be able to spend between 40 and 70% more on wages than ManU have done. I reckon our ability to compete won't decrease over the coming years.
Amos.
Deltaforce: As long as Roman wants to win, its alright for us.. If he starts to just look for profit by giving 2-3 million pounds bonus for Ancelotti for just reaching Champions League then we will start to worry.. But we also will have problems in a year or two.. It seems ManUre will continue domination for some more years..Aaargh...
danish chelsea
danish chelsea, the rumour that you heard from Mr Reasonable about the CL qualification bonus is just that - a rumour. Repeating what he said does'nt make it true. Anyway, as much as it hurts to say it, well played to Chelsea yesterday.
Deltaforce
danish chelsea, if Abramovic starts to worry about profit then your club will go out of business.
Little Dutch
I dont believe all the cra* i read, but i do question whether Wenger has any tactical nouse sometimes. Most teams set up accordingly depending on the teams they face yet we make the same mistakes time and time again against Chelsea & Man United without learning from it. We set up exactly the same every game, attacking leaving us wide open for counter attacks, no one being smart enough to bring someone down when need be or bend the rules slightly like the others etc etc. Yes we play beautiful flowing football which will work 80 percent of the time, but it is the same old story of lacking a plan B. By having all of our attacking options be small, agile & crafty we are always going to be dominated physically. If we played in Spain i have no doubt we would win the league or at least compete till the end every year but the physical demands are too much for what we have at the moment. Granted that with a fully fit team Including bendtner & RVP we would cope better, but that requires us to be lucky with injuries and that we are not.
paul_ownz
Wouldn't matter if Mr Reasonable's rumour is true or not though it's higjhly unlikely that anyone he knows will know the intricacies of Wenger's contract. The fact is that just qualifying for the CL earns 50% more than the prize money for winning the FAC outright. Successfully get through the group stage and you are looking at a minimum of 6 times the FAC prize money with much greater TV revenues on top. If our ability to compete on the pitch is tied to our ability to compete financially then Wenger, or any other similarly placed manager, would be remarkably foolish not to prioritise appropriately.
Amos.
Not only is the average age thing a poor excuse, seeing as he's been in charge for over a decade and is directly responsible for this, not only does it beg the question why so few players want to stay or are got rid of when they're found to be inadequate, it's also a flat lie. The average of the starting line up was 25 years 9 months. Without the keeper it was 25 years 0 months. After the subs it was 25 years 6 months. With a mix of ages, the average could be said to be the prime age, excatly what you'd want. The extra age has also been said to indicate the failure of Chelsea to renew their squad, with Deco's replacement by Mikel the only thing that kept Chelsea's average age below 30. Wenger had more of a case to blame the crowd not giving the ball back (which was another risible excuse).
Squiddy
Jaelle has hit the nail on the head. Wenger has produced an exceptionally good but one dimensional side. There is no plan B or C....because firstly they have been tactically brainwashed into playing the attractive interpassing game and nothing else, and secondly because he has cloned all his player selections, either acquired or through the ranks, to fit that pattern! Thus the loikes of Chelsea, or Inter will just outpower you....the likes of Man U. will outsmart you......and the loikes of Barcelona will moutplay you at byour own game with no problem. QED.
mutters
Hello Squiddy, nice to meet you here....fancy a drink?!
mutters
mutters, adding some variety and experience to our squad is not very difficult given our stature and resources. Our team would look very different and imposing with just 2-3 key additions. If building this team from scratch had affected our manager's judgement regarding some of our players and tactics earlier, the experiences of the last two games would have probably made him rethink his game plan.
Deltaforce
French pig headedness I suspect....allied to someone that has come to believe every word of his own hype! The media have placed him on a high pedestal supported by his footballing ethos; plainly the man is either too worried or too vain to modify this ethos for fear of destabilising his pedestal!
mutters
mutters, for all his stubborn nature, AW has broken his transfer record twice in the last two years. First for Nasri and then for Arshavin. I am not saying that he will break his transfer record again but that buying two top notch players for 20 million is not beyond him at all this summer. Your club will probably get only one top notch player for 20 million because selling clubs know which clubs can be fleeced and which can not be.
Deltaforce
delta, I sincerely hope you are right that AW has learned enuf to make some modifications in his vision for this team.
jaelle
Song has been over committing himself in attack since he came back from the ACON. Hope he just sits in front of the back 4 against Pool and is not unneccesarily aggressive.
Deltaforce
jaelle, I hope so too. Distinctly remember AW saying at the start of the season that this year was the final chance for this team to prove that his faith in them has not been misplaced. That said, wholesale changes in the team can definitely be ruled out. A replacement for Adebayor and Gallas in the summer coupled with the formulation of a more direct playing style is what one is hoping for now.
Deltaforce
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/eng_prem/8503280.stm - reading this analysis by Lee Dixon of our 'defending' is interesting yet bewildering that at our level and with pretensions of being winners that we can't do the basics right. Not even Barcelona can get away with that.
Gooner_Vin
Forgot about the replacement required for Almunia. Do think we will bid for a goalkeeper who is mentally stronger and better at claiming high balls and ball distribution.
Deltaforce
Must also be said Deltaforce that Wenger says alot of things to make it sound like their will be changes only for him to keep faith in his squad. Last year he said he was going to take a good look at his squad and make some changes & possibly bring in 2 players who would certainly be experienced. (cant find exact quotes). Then he came back and said after a good look he had enough in his squad, they were more experience, mature etc etc. Then he said he would almsot def be dipping in to the market as RVP was out for the whole season and Bendtner was injured but as the transfer window went on and on it was apparent it was not going to happen as Bendtner was not as bad as first expected etc. My point is Wenger often raises my expectations of new players in areas we all think need strengthening only for them to be dashed.
paul_ownz
sack da peedo
glendalough yid
Typical Yid. 3 words, 2 of them misspelt
paul_ownz
Yes Paul, very true and cant dispute your points at all. Just think that even AW will have some cracking point. Every man has one. Plus true to AW's nature, some good (read bargain) deals will be available in the summer. Chamakh who he bid 6-7 million last year is available on a free. Sorensen who he admires has suddenly become second choice goal keeper at Stoke. One could ofcourse be wrong and our only signing could be a teenager dubbed the 'next Thierry Henry'.
Deltaforce
I still think Wenger intended and tried to buy during the window but just couldn't get the right kind of players, as very few clubs will give away a good player in the winter. It is presumptious to carry on as if the man doesn't desire the accolades which go with winning trophies. As fans, we lose bragging rights, get taunted by opposing fans and go through some short period of anguish. How then will the players be feeling, when they are the ones who actually, got beaten? It is like a kid failing at some exam/quiz; not even the parents can feel the pain as much as that kid. My point is that the lads do need some support at this time, especially as we go into the game on Wednesday. Chelsea and Man U were simply better than us, on the day(s); a fact I attribute more to a mental problem than individual or team ability. Yet, anything is still possible with the table. Not very many teams will put up the defensive masterclass Chelsea did against Arsenal and succeed. I do not suggest we cannot vent (God knows I have done my fair share); I am just saying its time to look forward to other possibilities and get behind the boys. Expect some changes in personnel too; Wenger will have to be ruthless to get a reaction from the players.
Naijagunner
Naija, the issue I have is the continual EASE that smart, tough opponents have in figuring us out. I'm not even focusing on the whole issue of keepers, strikers, yadayadayada. The fundamental fact is that it really doesn't take a lot of thought to figure out how to exploit our weaknesses, we are predictable and toothless.
jaelle
In the past year or so Wenger has tried to sign a striker (Chamakh) a defensive midfielder (Melo) a defender (Smalling), and if rumours are true a goalkeeper (Green). This shows that Wenger knows that we need to strengthen but @ Deltaforce, Sorensen? He could come in and do a good job provided Almunia, Fabianski, Mannone, and Sczezny were all injured.
gronedrone
Have to agree with chipo. I cant see how, in the next 3 or 4 years anything is going to change either. Sure Song, Denilson, Gibbs etc will all be better more mature players. But by then Cesc will be Barca bound anyway and we're back at square one with people saying "well we'l improve without him as a side we wont rely on him"
BigPat
Exactly jaelle, the naivety on display out there (once again) was terrible. At least this game, the players fought and fought, and there is no shame in losing to a better side, which Chelsea clearly was. There will be questions asked of Wenger, and rightly so, but it has been proven over the past 2-3 seasons that the mental attitude of this squad is not good enough. I wonder how wenger will fix that.
prits
I think it was pointed out earlier in the season that the team as a unit took no pride what so ever in keeping clean sheets and in these big games the lack of pride in defending is what has killed us (how different would the table look with 0-0 in the last 2 games?). We know exactly how Chelsea play against us they just sit and sit wait for the inevitable mistake and score, then sit, sit and wait for the inevitable mistake and score.....I really thought we might call their bluff and just park the bus, a point was sufficient. A lot of what the manager has done during this trophy less period ive understood however the last couple of years he has made baffling decisions that just dont add up with the philosophy's and style of management he has displayed in the past. Just as players have dips in form I think the manager is having a dip, lets hope the saying that form is temporary but class in permanent is true in Arsenes case.
iceman10
prits, I agree the players showed far more commitment and attitude than they did on Sunday, which was heartening to see. And I didn't come away from the game as upset as I was on Sunday precisely because of that. It was the way we lost on Sunday that upset me more than the result.
jaelle
@Jaelle, that was the saddest thing for me. The concept that we gave everything and still got ploughed through. Not entirely unexpected, but disheartening all the same. Bring on the scouse, we've gotta beat them surely? Although their run of clean sheets isn't the brightest of omens.
Gunnerman
I was not characterising Wenger as being unable to spend in the transfer market, when I referred to his pig headedness. I was referring to his ethos. Yes he did spend lavishly on Nasri and Arshavin.......and bought precisely the same sort of diminutive, clever young ball player that fits the profile of all his others from Fabregas to Rosicky. He has a one track football mind....or so he or his hype, would have us believe!
mutters
Interestingly, as devastating as Drogba can be, neither of his goals would have happened without our inept defending as a team. That suggests that if we just do the basic defensive tactics that every professional should understand, we can stop them. Likewise with ManU last week, it is our naive nature that is costing us rather than anyone else's brilliance.
krismon1
"a mistake for which Denilson would have been crucified for this morning"... Yes, Song and Diaby messed up there. But they are still in credit for their performances this season, particularly Song. Denilson has not done quite enough to overlook his mistakes. Likewise Clichy - a major liability right now, and getting by on reputation alone.
krismon1
Well written Ld lucky_10 agree with you and Amos. We shall see at the end. There are moretwists and turns yet to come. Knocking of the boss is just crap.
alwaysgunner
well one good thing about the upcoming game is liverpool are ***** at defending too, so we have a chance there
lukychmz
Actually, 'Pool has kept a clean sheet in six of their last seven PL matches, with only one goal going in the wrong way!
ptv-
I suspected at the United match that Song was more culpable defensively than Denilson was, what I saw on Saturday reinforced that view. I think that before this back injury, I always felt Denilson could play without Song but not vice versa. Song's come on since then, but two very good teams have shown him that he still has a bit to learn. Denilson will never be in credit with Arsenal supporters because he doesn't have to run around like a lunatic to do his job, he keeps his position. Supporters don't tend to notice that as much as they do someone haring around like a blue arsed fly.
Little Dutch
Both Denilson and Clichy are coming back from injuries to the back, and you can clearly see the impact on their pace. Clichy is one of the quickest out there, so for him to be outpaced in the last 2-3 games is strange, but understandable. However, even before his injury, his judgment and positioning werent perfect and that is being compounded now. As for Denilson, he did not get credit during the 1st half of the season, coz his improvement wasnt drastic, like Song. He was always steady/solid, and has shown that steady improvement this season. Calls for Denilson to be sold (that I've heard on a few sites, maybe not this one) are knee jerk.
prits
However, criticism of Wenger is perfectly valid. I dont see anyone calling for him to be sacked on this site, but the manager will be judged on the results and performances which have been disappointing over the last 2 games. There is an inabliity to learn from mistakes - both for Wenger and the squad.
prits
@LD, criticism of denilson isn't from a lack of work rate, although that could also be levied at him, it is also a propensity to being caught in posession and not running back when we're caught on the break.

You've got to admit, his performance vs utd was dire. This doesn't by any stretch excuse the rest of the team, but when it comes to fans discontent, there's no smoke without fire. Since the ACN song has also been poor. I think they both need a kick up the arse.
Gunnerman
I've said before I think Denilson hasn't played well for the last month (though conversely he's found his shooting boots in that time). I don't honestly recall too many occasions where he was caught in possession in his Arsenal career. There was once I can remember that led to Everton's first goal, but he surely mitigated that by making a cracking interception which assisted his equaliser. Denilson was poor against United but Song was worse, but Song is more popular now (how times change) so he will get ignored and Denilson will take the scorn. Arshavin has been very below par for over a month but I've barely seen a single Arsenal fan criticise him because he also is one of the golden children who can do no wrong. Easier just to blame Almunia.
Little Dutch
In my section(block 6) Arshavin seems to be on the end of a lot of criticism for appearing lazy. Infact everyone except Cesc & the centre backs seem open to it this season. Does anyone else think Sagna has also been a bit poor recently and that Eboue looked really good when he came on?
paul_ownz
I recall endless complaints about the value of Gilberto for most of the time he was with us. It just wasn't possible for most to get their head around the fact that his game was as much about what he did without the ball as it was with it. Denilson is pretty good with both and should get better. His form in the latter part of this season hasn't been good as last season or even the early part of this when the middle 3 seemed to know their roles a little better. Injuries may play a part in disrupting what we had but Song losing sight of what is job should be is also part of it. Wenger could be seen throwing his jacket in frustration that he couldn't get Diaby to hold his position when we were 3-0 up against spuds. He needs to get Song to appreciate that holding should be his first priority too.
Amos.
why you lot dont just sack almunia and play mannone ill never know......
hangovrebo
I think your both right on Song, although possibly just frustrated at the ball going from side to side with no penetration and thinking he can do a better job. He seemed to have more attempts at goal against Man United than any other player. Why we dont teach our wingbacks/wingers to Cross the ball low and hard accross the 6 yard box and get men in the box to vary attacks i dont know.
paul_ownz
Also, arshavin being played out of position could be attributed to a lack of form, although i think he too has been criticised. Denilson and song cannot use this excuse.
Gunnerman
Our crossing is the worst in the League - both Sagna and Clichy are ***** poor at it (it was only 17% accurate a month or so ago, it has to be even worse now). Corners dont even clear the 1st man, and I see little point in winning a corner. Now these are simple things that players ought to do, with just more practice. If these are not improved, then Wenger needs to take the flak coz he's in charge of training ground exercises.
prits
I don't think any teams crossing stats are particularly high and ours don't differ that greatly from many others. Long high balls are pretty speculative from open play whether from the flanks or from the back. Nobody should get too over focussed on those stats as crossing can be pretty blunt instrument most of the time anyway. No reason why we shouldn't do better though. Could say the same with corners. I think statistically the chances of scoring directly from a corner are something less than 5%. Though we need to be alive to every opportunity getting someone though on goal with no one to stop him is a good route and statistically you're more likely to score from a penalty or direct free kick. At least it worked for Henry.
Amos.
Ownz - yep, Eboue's looked better in my opinion, he's slowly starting to get some credit back with me after i vowed never to forgive him for getting sent off at WHL. And Arshavin's far from untouchable, most definitely.
shewore
There is little point in criticising individuals when the team itself is struggling to be a cohesive unit. You could have the best eleven players in the world out there but if they’re not playing as a team then forget it. There is a bigger picture to address with Arsenal and that is to have a game plan, tailored to the opposition that you are playing, where every player understands their position and carries out their instructions. Unfortunately, this would contradict the fluidity of Wenger’s brand of “total football” that we all love, but as the Dutch found out in the early seventies, it doesn’t always work.
Sir Henry
Meaningless Cack -- this article.
Just go and check the all-time head to head stats for the BPL and you'll know. I have immense respect for The Arsenal but at this rate I'll lose it pretty quick.
Tambling
This article? It's a write up on the game....
shewore
Tambling, wtf are you crabbing about? What the hell is "meaningless" about a summary of the game, what the hell do the "head to head stats" for the PL have to do with the point of the article? // LD: Denilson will never be in credit with Arsenal supporters because he doesn't have to run around like a lunatic to do his job, he keeps his position." Agreed. I've been wondering if Denilson's recent form (esp. at the Utd game) isn't at least partly due to him still not being fully recovered from his back/rib injury, he may not feel altogether physically/psychologically comfortable to exert more energy than he has recently. // Amos: "I don't think any teams crossing stats are particularly high and ours don't differ that greatly from many others." -- Not asking you to take my word for it because I can't provide a link but I recently read an article (I believe it was the Guardian) with detailed stats that included effectiveness in crossing and we were way at the bottom, we're incredibly poor at it. // While I've been very critical of Le Boss this week I'm in complete solidarity with him in his self defense argument at his latest press conference in which he chastizes the press for fixating on 1 or 2 negative comments out of several positive ones about his opponent. The press do this all the time. This week he's been trashed for his comments re Chelsea, comments that have been twisted out of all proportion.
jaelle
Crossing may well be a problem with you.....but who the hell do you cross to? Your team at the front will be out towered by most premiership defences. Sir Henry has repeated my earlier point....you have no plan B. The brazil side that first came up against Dutch total football, was mesmerised by it. How did the South Americans respond? Simple...they bulked up their players...turned them into combative athletes....and had them outmuscling the Dutch eventually.
mutters
I recall a similar article jaelle and we were bottom but I think Man City were something like 0.2% better and the best was only something like 22% successful. 2 or 3 games and we could be 'mid table' again but we are always going to figure differently in such stats from someone like Villa for example with a couple of wingers throwing the ball into Carew/Heskey or even the Spuds looking to find Crouch's noggin. It's something we can improve sure but really not a statistic we need get over fussed about.
Amos.
I cant vouch for every other team, but crosses & corners in general seem to be very ineffective with us(and not just because of our lack of height). Neither Clichy or Sagna whip a good ball in very often & from corners we often dont seem to beat the front man. RVP was the only one who looked dangerous on a regular basis
paul_ownz
Crossing the ball leaves it open to chance, we like to control the game, so we hold possesion and try to cut open defenses and score that way, crossing the ball or long balls are all about the bounce - our defense and midfield arent strong enough to be defending for 50% of the game, so instead we hold posession for 60 or 70% of the game - its no accident
bootoo
Yes bootoo you're right - it does leave it open to chance, a 96% probability the opposition will be gifted a goal kick! We've known for a good while our first choice full backs are simply muff at crosses, but this STILL doesn't seem to have been worked on?, what exactly occurs in training? apart from widespread injury infliction obviously. Does as recent reports from ex players suggest Arsene just 'let them get on with it' cos whatever that 'it' is, it sure as feck aint what we need 'it' to be.
nikolaijns
One of the things I like best about Vital Arsenal is how the editors take the highroad most of the time by penning mature and insightful articles about our club as opposed to the efforts of some other vital sites who depend on wind up articles for hits. The insecure chavs have launched yet another irrational attack on our team and manager on their sorry site which is forever replete with sensationalist headlines punctuated with 20 exclamation marks. Am watching Wilshere who has started for Bolton against Citeh today. Some good touches from him already.
Deltaforce
I'm confused, delta, I thought we're so inferior to them that what we and our manager say are beneath their notice. Didn't know manly men from all-conquering champions were so sensitive and touchy because of an incredibly mild comment from our manager. I thought they were more manly and tougher than us! What an inferiority complex, I guess they secretly crave his approval. Poor chavs, Arsene Wenger has hurt their wittle feelings--he actually had the audacity to tell the truth about their crap, efficient football as well as the truth about our defensive frailties. Having listened to AW's entire press conference (instead of relying on sensationalist headlines with selective quotes intended to generate exactly the kind of reactions the mindless kneejerk morons on VitalChelsea respond with), his comments are perfectly reasonable and hardly anything to get so hysterical about.
jaelle
Precisely put Jaelle.
Deltaforce
@Jaelle, re: the ease that smart, tough opponents have in figuring us out. Funny, but if "big, smart" teams have to defend all night and hope to catch us on the break, to stand a chance of defeating us, wouldn't that be credit to the team for the respect such opponents have for us or the awe in which we are held? I feel that all we have to do, as most fans on this site have sugested, is to fix our defending and just avoid conceding first. Once we are a goal down, the demand this has on the mental strength of the players becomes the problem as most lose their discipline (Song, Clichy, Sagna) in pursuit of an equaliser; then the 2nd, maybe 3rd goal goes in and it's game over. I have no doubt we would have won both games, the longer they remained 0-0. So, the team psychologist (if it isn't Wenger) has work to do in this respect.
Naijagunner
Delta, saw that game and thought Wilshire looked pretty mature, playing with Bolton; had some good moments too and got a strong hand shake from Coyle as he came off. Pity, City won 2-0. Paddy held his own, defensively, for City as well.
Naijagunner
Naija, you make good pts re the respect we are held in given the way such teams as Chelsea approach their games with us. I don't disagree with your post at all, I just feel that the same damned defensive errors keep cropping up every season against the big teams and they're not being addressed. And their very simple, basic issues.
jaelle
Naijagunner, I dont think its a case of hope when it comes to catching Arsenal on the break, more like when. I also dont think Chelsea were in awe at all. They respect Arsenal but know how to beat them. Carlo's tactics were spot on, no?
Zbam
Tactics? Lets say Song had remained with Drog for the first goal; would he have scored? Had Clichy remained in position to intercept the pass to Drog, for the 2nd, don't see how he would have scored, either. Like I said, had the game gone on longer at 0-0, different story! Not making excuses, but since you ask, I'll be honest and tell you defensive errors, rather than some tactics won it for Chelsea, at least, on review of both goals. Now, Man U; SAF had his game plan spot on. Not Carlo, who looked bemused, for my money and could only rely on masterful defending by his team, for the victory.
Naijagunner
oh dear, so tell me what about 0-3 at the emirates then, naijagunner, only just over 2 months ago?tactics spot on there!!and wenger still had the audacity to put us down, wenger is now a joke, a pantomime dame..widow t*****ey. chelsea have won the last 4 games against arsenal fairly comfortably. All this IF IF IF. if eve had balls she'd be adam. if Ivanovic had'nt have been out of position Arshavin would'nt have got his shot away, IF drogba hit his free kick a couple of inches lower it would have been 3-0. We could go on and on.Tactics were ok,slightly over done the waiting bit but ok. defensively we were overwhelmingly better, we didnt concede, attack wise again we were better and scored 2. If your players ar'nt up to defending,well it aint our fault!! our recent record against you aint luck.
springy
springy, in the Sunday game you won fair and square and no one is disputing that. That said, the only offensive player to trouble us was Drogba. No other player from your side came anywhere close to troubling us. Besides, your back 4 and Cech had to be on top of their game to deny us. For most of the second half you were chasing shadows. I concede that we are only the third best team in the PL currently but with a fit Van Persie and some training and investments in the summer, we could easily be the best team in the league.
Deltaforce
Chelsea knew how we were going to play and it had little to do with respecting us or holding us in esteem. Chelsea don't think like that, they think, "What's the best way we can win the game? Right, we'll do that then." They weren't arsed about possession stats, corners etc, etc. They knew what was coming which is why they dealt with it so easily. Springy, if you had the intelligence to read the quotes and not the ehadlines, you'd see AW wasn't putting you down at all.
Little Dutch
The most derogatory term that Wenger used was that Chelsea were 'efficient' - Ancelotti's defence was that Chelsea played with efficiency. What's to complain about everyone agrees!
Amos.
Funny isn't it? Chelsea are universally lauded by the press for being an effcieint winning machine, yet when Arsene says the same it's somehow a stinging criticism. Chelsea had three shots on target and won 2-0, I would say that's pretty efficient. Even in his tirade Ballack basically used synonyms for what Wenger had already said. "We derived the win because we were very effective and that was our strategy." Wow, sock it to him Ballsack.
Little Dutch
I think it was the we didnt get a demonstration of football bit which *****ed evereyone at chelsea off.....thats the typical arsene refrain ballack was talking about
hangovrebo
Wenger is perfectly justified in getting worked up over being misquoted, coz thats exactly what happened. It happened after our home game with Chelsea when he praised Drogba, but somehow that was also perceived as a put down. Even MON got very worked up about Wenger's partly valid comments about Villa's style. Wenger is handling this right, he's been around long enough to do that.
prits
Well, we didn't, did we? We got tactically schooled, but not in pure footballing terms. Nobody is saying that's illegitimate or somehow makes it a less worthy win, I thought it was a statement of fact really. Just like it was a statement of fact that Villa play a lot of long balls. If Chelsea and Villa are so tetchy about an accurate description of how they play, it says more about their prejudices than Wenger's.
Little Dutch
Abramovich sacked Mourinho for being 'efficient' because he couldn't give a 'demonstration of football' in effect. Wenger isn't the person any Chelsea manager should worry about.
Amos.
I think we did get a demonstration of football actually, just not the type that Wenger is aware of. Defence and how to contain a team. Since when is Wengers word gospel when it comes to football? Are we all supposed to play football the way his team does? Its nice to watch and when it works its great but when it comes down to passing the ball sideways in front of goal and only restricting a team to 2 shots on target because the opposing team is tactically sound then I cant really say that the play from Arsenal was a demonstration of football. Wenger just needs to stop sniping at other teams when he loses. Its obvious he's a sore loser (nothing wrong with that) but his 'compliments' are two faced. We know it, you know it and now the media know it. As for Mourinho being sacked for being efficient, thats just silly. This is the same efficiency that won Chelsea back to back titles, yes?
Zbam
So Zbam, if Wenger's words aren't gospel, why are you getting so worked up about it? There were a lot of other good things he said about Chelsea which are not getting enough attention. Wenger IS a sore loser, no one here will dispute that (and frankly i dont have a problem with that), but he wasnt being sore in his assessment of Chelsea.
prits
I'm not getting worked up prits, I just find that Wengers compliments are two faced. He did say some good things, no problem there, but then he goes on about this 'demonstration of football' like its written in stone that every team should play like Arsenal. Teams play to THEIR strengths, not his. I just wish he'd focus more on assessing his own team before he compliments others. Obviously I'm not an Arsenal fan and not being British means I dont have to hate them either but Wenger is doing his best to make it so. As I've said, we all know what he really means, as do the Arsenal fans and the media.
Zbam
Err he did not 'go on' about the demonstration of football - it was precisely 3 words out of the many many words that he said about Chelsea.
prits
Zbam, you are simply wrong. I watch all of AW's press conferences on the official site and anyone who actually WATCHES and LISTENS to everything he said, his comments were perfectly fair, reasonable, mild. He didn't "go on" about a demonstration of football, he mentioned it once in passing, very quickly, and right before going on to compliment Chelsea's defense and efficiency. But the media chooses to fixate on ONE very very small part of his comments and blow it up into something far more than it was and you fall right into their sensationalistic crap. The media do this all the time. Here are AW's words: "You have to congratulate Chelsea. We didn't get a demonstration of football but they were efficient and, at the end of the day, that is what has made the difference. I believe the first goal contributed highly to our defeat and that is where we were guilty today. They defended very well and on one or two occasions I believe we were a little bit unlucky with one or two decisions from the referee. We had mountains of possession and couldn't transform it into goals. I am not unhappy with their challenges. The referee is on the pitch to make the rules respected and that is his job. What I mean is today we had 70 per cent of possession of the ball so we were not running after the ball for 90 minutes. We were not in a position where we were dominated. We were always in an attacking position and then you have to risk everything going forward and of course they are good on counter attacks. But you have to give them credit, they defended very well, they are very experienced at the back. They make the foul at the right time when they are caught on the counter-attack. The little push with the shirt, it is not enough to get a yellow card. They have a lot of tricks of a very experienced team and they do that very well. Drogba has respected his record today, unfortunately for us. Today I give credit to Chelsea for their defending. They had always the guy who came back in the box. They didn't make silly mistakes. They have fantastic defenders and I believe many times they were out of position and managed to get back, especially one situation with Nasri in the second half and another with Bendtner." That's not the totality of what he said but it's far more than the sensationalistic, selective snippets the media deliberately chose to report out of everything else he said just to get a knee-jerk, uninformed hostile reaction from simpleminded people like you. The media STOKE up all this anger, bitterness, hate, resentment by doing this kind of thing all the time, and not just with Wenger.
jaelle
Ok maybe 'go on' wasn't the correct words to use but you both know what I mean. Saying there was no football, pushes on shirts etc. Wenger uses the term efficient like its a disease. He gives a compliment on one hand and snatches it back in the other. Maybe he needs lesson on compliments? That said, I dont despise Arsenal and hope you wallop Cesspool tonight, its just Wenger thats getting under my skin!
Zbam
And perhaps that explains why these comments annoy you so much. It was a compliment on your efficient football, if you choose to perceive that as a disease, then it says more about your prejudices against the man, rather than understanding what he really meant.
prits
prits, HE annoys me. It was no compliment, he meant it in a derogatory fashion. I, personally, dont see efficient as a disease, Wenger does. I freely admit to not liking him but thats lately, this season even. You'd swear he revolutionised football the way he goes on. Like he came down from the mountains with two stone tablets saying 'thou shalt play football like Arsenal', 'thou shalt not distribute long balls' etc.
Zbam
Zbam, it seems to me you're the one that thinks the term "efficient" to be a disease. I'll explain it one more time, Chelsea had 3 shots on target and won 2-0. Is that not efficient? I'm going with yes. So was Wenger wrong to say Chelsea were efficient? No. Chelsea were more clinical then we were, there's no insult there whatsoever.
Little Dutch
LD, I know what efficient means. No need to repeat it. I have also already explained that I dont see it as a disease so I dont know why you seem to think I do. For all Arsenals efforts they had 2 shots on target, is that a demonstration of football?
Zbam
Zbam, the problem I have is that there's so much offense taken, there's an overdrawn interpretation of his intent (as evidenced by your last sentence) and it all just sounds like the English media, pundits, fans of other clubs exaggerate the man's intent and attitude because they have some kind of inferiority complex, like they're upset he doesn't fall all over himself praising them, approving of them. I constantly hear other managers dismissing our performance against them and praising their team's efforts when we beat them, not giving us enuf credit. Yet they're never trashed for it. Hughes did this all the time. As a gooner I hear other managers (like your beloved Mourinho) and players (like your pinhead Ballack) trash AW and our team all the time. Sometimes it annoys me, sometimes I just shrug it away because it really doesn't affect me at all. O'Neill insulted and twisted AW's words recently, my reaction was just to shrug it off and think "oh grow the hell up and stop being so sensitive" and that's it. What I find ridiculous is that we and AW are constantly trashed as wimps and yet Wenger says something in passing and it's the subject of all this scolding, bile, fury from pundits and rival fans--like he's hurt their wittle feelings, such manly men that they are. Honestly, do AW's words actually merit all this hysteria, all this anger and defensiveness? The best response to AW's post-match comments I've heard yet came from Pulis after our defeat at Stoke. AW said they were physical and dangerous and he just laughed and said (paraphrasing) "that's ok, that's all right with me!"
jaelle
jaelle, apart from the Ballack bashing, that was a decent post with an open, honest response. I applaud you. I get your point but its not so much offence taken from this one comment but a collection of such comments. Little apples grow as they say. There have been plenty of times I've shrugged it off and yes other managers do it but we just played each other so its obviously in the spotlight. I do honestly believe when Wenger say 'efficient' he means it in a derogatory manner but I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on that one. Plus, now that you mention it the whole "What I find ridiculous is that we and AW are constantly trashed as wimps and yet Wenger says something in passing and it's the subject of all this scolding, bile, fury from pundits and rival fans--like he's hurt their wittle feelings, such manly men that they are" - I've never noticed that before so kudos for pointing it out! Irony eh, lol. Anyways, nuff said. Good luck tonight, smash those pigs :)
Zbam
Zbam, always good to debate with a reasonable Chelsea supporter--and I retract my "simpleminded" insult.
jaelle
Oh, and re Ballack: I've always thought he was a pinhead, long before he joined you. I know too many fans in Germany who called him worse. :-)
jaelle
 

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