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Wigan Athletic 3 Arsenal 2

There seems to have been an ongoing trend this season for my friend`s birthdays coinciding with long distance Arsenal away fixtures. So as I did for Everton, Sunderland (!), Stoke and will do for Blackburn, I travelled to the game fresh from a night drinking in Clapham, with little sleep to speak of. Setting off at 4.30am for a night bus full of aggressive drunks, who took umbrage at some Argentinean lads jumping up and down and singing presumably patriotic songs for their South American home land, to get to Finsbury Park, itself not the most picturesque part of London to be frequenting alone in the witching hour. I really wish some players had a clue or gave a shit what people go through to watch them. Our coach set off at 6.45am and most expected a victory given Wigan`s inability to beat Portsmouth`s reserves on Wednesday evening. With Chelsea`s loss the previous day, a chink of dim light was again visible on the horizon.

After the manager`s rather curt comments about Almunia in the build up to the game, it was no surprise to see a diplomatic injury befall him, whilst Eduardo`s unexplained lack of involvement already suggests the manager has an eye on the summer. Sol Campbell`s installation as skipper was, in my opinion, a message he was delivering to his players and probably all the confirmation we need that Sol will indeed be offered a one year contract in the next few weeks. But the shake ups did not seem to bear any fruit; Arsenal simply didn`t get their game going in the opening stages. The lack of excitement on the pitch was reflected in the stands as the game had a distinct end of season feel to it, despite both teams having it all to play for. Wigan had the better of the first half, but lacklustre finishing let them down. Marcelo Moreno set up N`Zogbia on the edge of the area, but the Frenchman scuffed a shot wide. Arsenal`s first genuine attempt at goal came when Campbell headed Walcott`s corner wide just before the half hour mark. This truly was dire fare from two teams who looked as though they would rather be anywhere else. The supporters began to feel much the same.

Arsenal briefly jerked into some kind of life as Walcott actually had this daft idea that, actually, it might be quite a good idea to get upfield and try to support Bendtner, who looked as though he might as well have been carrying a clipboard and a charity badge such was the eagerness of his team mates to give him a wide berth. Bendtner dropped back to play a neat ball into Walcott, who raced through on goal and attempted a cut back when the shot seemed on. The chance was cleared. But Arsenal did rather limp into a not entirely merited lead on 41 minutes, Bendtner again dropped off the front line, played an excellent through ball into the area, Walcott evaded the close attentions of Titus Bramble, Theo managed to sort of bumble his way through and toe poke the ball into the net. It was a fitting goal in many ways for a cumbersome game, rather fumbled into the net almost by accident. The Gunners were briefly invigorated by their goal, Bendtner was at the heart of their next move in first half injury time, he burgled Titus Bramble of possession and sent a cute back heel into the path of Walcott, who roared past Gohouri before sending a cross shot just over the bar. But at half time in a dull contest, Arsenal had a lead that they hadn`t been forced to work too hard for.

The beginning of the second half saw Arsenal emerge with a bit more impetus, seconds into the second period; it was Bendtner again who found space on the edge of the area, demanding the ball off the onrushing Diaby, Bendtner played a one two with the Frenchman, putting him through on goal, but his whole performance was exemplified in the lazy, casual way he tried to lift the ball over the keeper when a finish with any sort of conviction would have reaped dividends. But from the resulting corner, Nasri`s delivery was met with a firm header by Mikel Silvestre, who steered the ball past Kirkland with a powerful contact. He had scored at exactly the same end in the corresponding fixture last season. In fact, Walcott had scored Arsenal`s opening goal at this stadium last year. The Gunners felt the job was done as the 4,000 of us huddled in the North Stand were left to contemplate how many we`d add to the score line against a beleaguered and demoralised Wigan. Arsenal hadn`t worked overly hard to get into a 2 goal lead and therein lay the problem. The likes of Diaby, Rosicky, Nasri and Sagna had been coasting for most of the game anyway; Walcott and Bendtner joined the ranks of apathy. The signs were there when Rodallega briefly evaded Campbell put tickled a tame shot wide. Wigan have only registered 30 league goals this season and their finishing was showing it. When Victor Moses sprinted past a lacklustre Sagna, only to see the ball trickle out of play, the away side`s arrogance went into over drive.

Convinced the game was won, Wenger bafflingly did not bring van Persie on, despite the fact that he surely needed minutes ahead of the City game next week? Fran Merida, at the club in body only, was brought on instead, which when one considers he even had Vela available, suggests the manager believed the game was won. It wasn`t, and disaster struck. Diaby, guilty of his second half arsed performance in a week, lost the ball tamely on the half way line, his attempt to track his runner Ben Watson was, frankly speaking, a fucking disgrace, as Moses motored to the by line and cut back to fellow Palace trainee Ben Watson, free of Diaby`s pathetic "attentions" to steer the ball past Fabianski. All of a sudden Wigan were infused with belief, where Arsenal would have to struggle to shake off their entropy. N`Zogbia`s corner was then headed towards the bottom corner by Watson, but Nasri hacked clear from the line. It was his only contribution of note. But having been thoroughly disrespected by Arsenal`s sense of smug entitlement, Wigan were about to deliver the fatal upper cut. N`Zogbia delivered another set piece into the area. From there, I`ve little idea what happened. For all the world I thought Fabianski had caught it, the next thing I knew the linesman was flagging furiously and the home crowd were celebrating. I turned to see Fabianski again thump the floor in frustration. I haven`t seen any highlights as yet, so I can`t tell you a lot about the goal other than the fact that Fabianski looked a nervous wreck all afternoon and you have to doubt that he has gotten over previous errors. He played in a reserve game against West Ham a few weeks back and was watched by Wenger personally. The idea to drop Almunia and give Fab another try must have been in Wenger`s mind for some time. Fabianski dropped two crosses in that reserve game, which obviously informed the manager`s decision to persist with Almunia a little longer.

Wenger panicked into bringing van Persie straight into the fray, but the hearts and minds, only 50% visible for the whole game at best, had completely gone. N`Zogbia cut in from the right, nobody tracked him, he made a beeline to the edge of the area, nobody tried to challenge him. He hit a left foot strike towards goal. The keeper didn`t try to save it. It flew in and the gut punch of humiliation kicked in. 2-0 up against a side who have scored 30 goals all season when you have a chance of the title, and you end up losing 3-2. No other side in the top half would have done that, no other side in the Premiership has the same form for becoming easily complacent and tossing away unassailable leads like we do. I actually wasn`t willing the players to come back to 3-3 too hard, a part of me felt they deserved their piece of ridicule and humiliation and celebrating an equaliser to bring it back to 3-3 at that stage, would have felt embarrassing and undignified. The final whistle saw the North Stand empty instantaneously, Bendtner turned and didn`t know whether to applaud the away support or apologise. He did neither, turning towards to look aghast. Eboue sat huddled in the centre circle for a few minutes, William Gallas style. Interesting that nobody has admonished him in the vicious way Gallas was. The rest of the players headed straight down the tunnel, too embarrassed to show their faces. It was the only sensible thing they had done all afternoon.

In the end, the lack of professionalism and respect shown to their opponents was just not acceptable. The official website still shows no hint of an apology from the players or the manager. In the real world, a lack of professionalism that stark would have led to instant dismissal. This is the only time in my whole life I have ever felt that a full refund is in order for those of us that travelled. A 1.30pm kick off on a Sunday for a televised game after a North London derby defeat. It was my friend`s birthday party the evening before and I had to bail out early, a friend who has been very good to me over the years, I left her birthday celebration early to go and watch this bunch of overpaid chimps lumber around like dogs sniffing shit- leaving home at 4.30am. That it seems the players have happily picked up their wages and not yet made any sort of statement of remorse is unacceptable. I accept football has a lot of variables and crazy shit can happen, you can play badly or sometimes the cards just don`t come out your way. But that capitulation was a result of nothing less than arrogance and dereliction of duty. The team have done well this season to claw back some support from the more negative factions of our fan base. Their ability to scrape unlikely last minute winners, the reaction to Ramsey`s injury, the turn around in the respective form of previously maligned players such as Eboue, Bendtner and Diaby. Much of this will be destroyed and unless some consolatory gesture is made by the club and the players in the week ahead, dissenting voices will grow, howls of derision will swell and knives will grow ever sharper. Ultimately, in ten minutes they will have destroyed the respect they have spent months gaining. Frankly, no matter how hysterical the whines, I absolutely refuse to defend them this week. When they emerge from the tunnel against City on Saturday, I will stay seated until they give me reason to get from my feet. The manager talked about finishing the season strongly so as not to invite negative vibes, well they`re going to get a bucolic tidal wave this week. I gave them more than enough this weekend, I gave them my time, my money and my voice and frankly, by keeping hold of their wage packets, they`re throwing that all back in my face. Well now they owe us. They owe us big time. I hope they realise how pathetic they looked yesterday and I hope they are as ashamed of themselves as I am of them today. But I doubt it.LD.

21.FABIANSKI, 3.SAGNA, 31.CAMPBELL©, 18.SILVESTRE, 22.CLICHY, 37.EASTMOND (11.v.Persie `88), 2.DIABY, 8,NASRI, 14.WALCOTT (27.Eboue `81), 7.ROSICKY (32.Merida `81), 52.BENDTNER. Unused: 12.Vela, 24.Mannone, 30.Traore, 43.Henderson.

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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday April 19 2010

Time: 6:20PM

Your Comments

"dereliction of duty" is about the best way I've heard this performance descirbe.
From our perspective it was a fantastic result but I see where you are coming from Tim...
A bit harsh there i'd say! Still glad you enjoyed your day up norf. Now please for the love of god beat City next weekend, the first time ever i can remember wanting you to win a game. Come on you Gooners
The players and the club dont seem to have the faintest clue about the pshyclogical impact of yesterday's game on the fans especially our most excellent away support. It must have been absolutely gutting and horrible to have witnessed yesterday in person. Seeing it on TV was bad enough. Maybe the silver line of the manner of the defeat is that the long rope many squad players had at our club will be considerably shorter or absent altogether now. Lets rebuild and challenge for the title again - this time successfuly.
There's no way that the club or the players could or should offer a formal apology. The words won't serve any real purpose anyway though I guess some players will be expressing their regrets at different times between now and the next game. There is only ever one way that the team and the club can offer worthwhile consolation and that is to go out and win their next game. It's deeds that count.
I was there with you in the North Stand. Pathetic was the word that came to mind. What's the point in believing in a team that doesn't believe in itself?
Now you know what we've had to put up with for years.
Tony Rocky Horror
Agreed with Amos. The best apology they can give is to beat the ***** out of City.
...and why we're so bitter.....
Tony Rocky Horror
You forgot to mention the now terrifying possibility that we could in fact finish 5th.
A quite stunning admission by the captain of the cavalry.
Yeah, well.......whatever, just get your rear- ends out there and hump city and i'll admit i call myself Natalie at the weekend.
Tony Rocky Horror
Agreed Amos, actions speak louder than words..
Chipo, one can expect Song to return as a centre back for the next game if all goes well. Lets not get very pessimistic. We need one win out of 3 to secure our place.
Deeds count indeed, which is why the players offering up their appearance bonuses/ day's/ week's wages to charity would be a good start. There are few other jobs in the world that would pay for such a lack of professionalism. If the geezer bagging my shopping at sainsbury's burped in my face, I wouldn't expect him to pick up his wage slip that week.
Little Dutch
Glenns Return
No takers here Glenn go and sell your bondage gear some where else.
Oh hi pandapopsfor10p found a picture yet of your idol in his boyhood Spurs shirt. I did.
Tony Rocky Horror
Well done Wembley Horror show.
But this has happened before, hasn't it? Its not been so bad, and this is a new low. This team simply refuses to learn, and that is the biggest weakness. How is this team going to show the mental strength to ever win a trophy? At the 1st sign of pressure, this team chokes, the tag of underdogs seems to suit this team just fine.
Wembley Horror show? If ever there were a time when pots, kettles and the colour black came to mind it's now pick'nmixfor10p....If ever there were a time.
Tony Rocky Horror
Indeed Prits, when will they ever show the mental strength to win a trophy. I really don't believe they will, it's happened too often, how can it possibly change? A distinct shift in mentality is required at AFC for things to ever change but I have no faith it can happen. After seeing the world's best club team play you off the park and their workrate, how can you put up that kind of performance? They say teams reflect their managers, although I still back AW, I'm not quite sure what this says about him.
Arsenal were spoiled rotten when Wenger came: trophies, cups, championships etc, but reality bites eventually. Most clubs win nothing or very little for economic and structural reasons throughout most of their entire histories. Some clubs win more than others, and many have had a golden era, but even Arsenal have had decades of almost nothing at all. Wenger has given Arsenal a lot more than just silverware: he's given them the foundation for the next hundred years of Arsenal. Maybe you'll just have to wait and accept the odd defeat like eveyone else. And, of course, some good natured ribbing from Spurs.
Tony Rocky Horror
You spend far too much time on this website Tony. I get that you like the banter, the wind ups, the revenge and all of that. But surely you have better things to do than spend all your time on your rivals forums. Sometimes being too smug leads to tears, will you still be around here gloating if your team fails to finish in the top 4?
Yeah, i do spend a lot of time on Vital because i'm recovering from a serious illness. And, yeah, sometimes the banter does go over the top, and i'm not that happy about that, but there you go. If we fail to get fourth...cest la vie, it won't be the worst thing that's happened in the last 12 months. But i'll come back on here if we fail, because i have a golden rule: don't dish it out if you can't take it_and i can take it.
Tony Rocky Horror
If you've been a spud for any length of time TRH you've no option but to learn to take it. Of course we have had longer barren spells in the past - not quite as long as your lot though - but then we are also the only club to have won something in each of 9 successive decades. Providing we win something in the next 10 seasons that record will continue.
Pure indignation from LD which I share even if I didnt make the journey north. I don't know about refunding their wages though. There's been too many knowing interviews and gestures this season - you know the ones: "We know we have to focus", "We can do this", "We have to keep our heads"... all the typical claptrap our players spout when they are wheeled out to the media on a regular basis... giving their wages back will be just another knowing extension of that... They need a kick in the balls... it can either be in private with the manager or god forbid they get a more public Eboue-style booing. Looking past the anger, I can't get away from the fact that this is Wengers creation and the buck stops with him first. The only positive I can see right now is that the club will be shocked into some sort of response, and being an optimist I think it will only make things better.
So you've given up on Andy-T already? I am quite certain that the result this weekend won't change any of the clubs plans one iota. Nor should it. They would be quite stupid if it did. There isn't any need for wholesale changes but players will come in as others go this summer as they do every summer. What is important is to keep the core of the team together and add to it. Financially the club are better placed this season than they have been for sometime. That won't mean we can expect a lottery winners spending spree but if they have identified one key player who can really make a difference then they'll go for him with greater confidence than in recent seasons but equally importantly they'll spend big to keep those players we have to keep - if thats what it takes.
Don't know what happened to my username - I'll have to be schizophrenic till its fixed! I'm not one for Championship-manager style changes Amos but your point is an interesting one... I dont think that one game alone changes anything either but it focusses the mind a bit and in this case will further confirm what we knew all along - that the changes we need may be fairly small but they will make a big big difference to the character and dynamics of the team - at least that's what we hope. Also, when people say "someone who can make a difference" I think they mean skill-wise but in our team we are lacking more character than skill. One or two additions who have some authority will definitely help galvanise the others. It might even help 'class' players like Rosicky who seems a shadow of himself, pick himself up again.
Andy-bayor are you done now... you've been repeating yourself for what feels like years! Now get out of here and leave this to me... cheers :)
LD...Ive been out of the country for 5 years so this must have changed but...What the hell kind of sainsburys do YOU go to where they bag your shopping???
Diaby needs to be banished to the bench for a while. If he's truly got the right stuff, he'll get the hint, and realise his place is something he needs to earn.
krismon1 Let's give thanks for Tottenham, delusion's eternal bitch.
Little Dutch
go read suspiciosminds comment on that VS article
We are like Chalk & Cheese. Spurs win a few games and the skies the limit, we lose a few and its all doom and gloom.
LD - like yourself I was up at an ungodly hour to travel to Wigan (from Belfast by ferry via Scotland) and feel similarly 'cheated' by the players and manager. I posted earlier in the season that a culture of mediocrity was endemic in the playing side of the club and AW has to accept the blame entirely for this. He deserves another season to put things right and with all the noises about having significant financial clout this summer, it's going to be a decisive 12 months ahead for everyone connected with Arsenal.
NI Gooner
Hopefully you chokers can find one more performance on saturday. I pray Mancini plays Adebayor, otherwise the library will be in full hush mode and play right into Citeh's hands.
Glenns Return
That'll be the library that is a state of the art 60,000 seater. That's the same library that holds CL games every year. Jog on fella and keep dreaming.
Cockney Rich
******** bull***** players.. still very gutted. btw, can the spuds yids please leave us to our misery?
shady gunna
The spuds will all have crawled back under their stones in a couple of weeks. They have the same problem as my wife's car.....they can't get into 4th.
Cockney Rich
Hell, married to you the poor lady doesn't even need 2nd gear Richie boy.
Glenns Return
Cockney Rich
If any Arsenal fans need cheering up after a horrible week head over to Vital Spurs and check on there lastest article with the title IT IS OUT DESTINY TO WIN THE LEAGUE NEXT SEASON. Only Spurs fans could predict they will win the league next season when they haven't even tied up there goals for this season. It really has made my day.
Spurs get into 2nd gear each time they savour lasagna. It really helps their passing game.
I'm looking forward to you savouring humble pie Deltaforce!
Glenns Return
Says the guy who clearly supports an overachieving club.
OMG, thanks to LD for providing that link to VS (which I never go to) - it gave me a badly needed laugh today!!! I can't believe the spud mentality, that they'd actually publish something so ludicrous like that on a public forum. They deserve all the abuse they get for that idiocy. Absof---kinglutely hilarious! Now here's something that sent a chill down my spine, Kevin Witcher's latest piece: . Quote: "The huge worry is that he has changed the culture of the club into something I used to associate with Spurs. Pretty football, but with the solidity of a sponge. They will, ultimately, always let you down." I know that site has it many critics (rightly) but that comparison with spurs has a ring of truth to it. Becoming like spurs scares the c-r-a-p out of me.
Over recent years as Arsenal fans we have been subjected to two footballing extremes, the first being the dour defensive “one-nil to the Arsenal” team under George Graham and the second being our expansive Wenger style total football of 2010. The question is: which has been the most successful style for the club? Well I think it’s been the bit in between, when Wenger, having inherited a club whose MO at the time was defending (and defending like their lives depended on it), added (to Bergkamp) Pires, Henry, Viera, Petit et al. This flair could go out and perform knowing that they had a solid defence behind them and that, on bad days, they knew that they could at least keep a clean sheet. It seems Wenger didn’t have to do very much in the defensive department when he arrived at the club and just concentrated on his forte, which is attack. As time moved on, the personnel changed, the defensive onus was diluted to the extent that the prospect of an Arsenal team that could prevent the opposition from scoring was poor. With Wenger still concentrating on attack, we always look likely to concede no matter how many goals we have scored and you can see teams continually come at us because they have the belief that they can get back into the game. So the problem lies more with Wenger than the players. We have excellent defenders and, provided we can hang on to them (not Silvestre), we need not add to those during the summer. We need to replace Almunia and develop a defensive unit that is on par with the Graham years. A little re-emphasis is all that is needed.
Sir Henry
Its the ultimate sign of us going through tough times Jaelle, that you are mentioning Palmer and Witcher as credible analysts! In my view we wont end up like Spurs simply because even after making massive mistakes, we have ended up 3rd or 4th in the league in the last 5 years. And this was half a decade when we could have theoretically exited the top 4 with a new stadium induced severe cash crunch. Look at the fundamentals - we attract a good calibre of player to the club, our training and coaching system to develop those players is great and our football is 90% of the time tough to play against. What we are missing is the winning mentality and killer instinct. Its a huge thing we are missing definitely but nothing that cant be corrected with some fresh faces to strengthen our spine and a carrot & stick approach.
Spoken like a man trying desperately to convince himself. Banter aside, I hope Arsenal Football Club are not as rattled as their supporters for the weekend.
Glenns Return
I think we at VS and VA should be proud to be actively engaging in the most bitter, protracted war between clubs on the network. On the issue of Gooners' fears of ending up like Spurs, we've got a good team, a passionate, large support, an excellent manager, a sound financial base, exciting times ahead, and loads to be positive about. Believe me, there are many clubs that would give their right arms to be in Spurs' position!!! If you're not Manchester United or City, or Chelsea, i think most would agree that that's not a bad position to be in.
Tony Rocky Horror
To what to do we owe the pleasure of your company Glenn. Nice of you to return.
VS say that because they've beaten 2 BIG teams at home, it's now their ' destiny ' to win the PL next year ! My son scored 4 goals for his under 12 team on sunday morning. I think it's his destiny to score a hat-trick for England in a World Cup Final.
Cockney Rich
TRH lets face it, you would trade your lot with ours anytime of the day or night. In fact if you had what we had you would call yourself a knight of the templar.
Long vacation Delta.
Glenns Return
Its good that you know what you need Glenn. If you see men in white coats when on vacation its just a huge coincidence.
You Gooners have got to drop this disrepsectful, condescending attitude you've been cultivating towards Spurs. Look at the evidence: it's six years since you clinched the title at WHL, and in that time we've finished 5th twice, and we're back pushing the envelope again this season. Even last year, when we had an appauling start we nearly finished in the European places. We've changed managers constantly, but so do all clubs, we're no different. Like i said, you've been spoiled rotten with Wenger. The way that you describe Spurs is disgusting and vile, and you've gotten away with it until now, but it's not 1998 any longer.
Tony Rocky Horror
TRH, you see the apparent disrespect towards your club mostly in retaliation. Its when you and some of your spurs mates come on to our site gloating that the mocking starts. Its called cause and effect.
Delta, i wouldn't trade what you have, for what we have, because we're at the start of an exciting journey_did you hear the passion of the fans on Saturday? Face it, you've been there, you've done it, and it's all gone very turgid. We've got all the excitement ahead of us, close to the pitch, in our very own ground, whilst you sit in your atmosphereless bowl, watching the season drain away again through series of all too intricate passes.
Tony Rocky Horror
Tony Rocky Horror
Also Delta, we don't need to be envious of what you've got because we've always been proud of who we are: unlike your mob, who've constantly sought to change the mask on the face, because at heart you've never been satified with 'who' you are.
Tony Rocky Horror
Tony Rocky Horror
You should consider psychology as an alternate career choice TRH, that was some deep stuff. You just need to go through VS and VA articles and comments to know the approach of both our clubs. The tone and tenor of VS fluctuates wildly - big up Spurs as champions of England one moment to a relegation fight with 2 points in 10 games another moment. We are way more measured than you are and because of experience take a longer viewpoint. That said I dont disrespect Spurs at all. You are an ambitious club who play decent football with a good history. Its just the upstart mentality with regard to Arsenal that grates. Every time Spurs do well it becomes a ritual to scream in our face to say - "Yes I am here and I'm doing great!" A big club doesn't need to gloat.
Don't slip off your pedestal Delta. Just make sure you grab a point saturday.
Glenns Return
"A big club doesn't need to gloat. " -- exactly. How many Utd fans bother to come over to VA and gloat? TRH really doesn't get it: it's his constant presence here, his constant badgering and scolding and desperate pleading for some respect from us that exposes his inferior loser mentality. TRH, your attempt to convince us of your psychological sense of security is laughable -- if you were REALLY all that secure, you wouldn't be here constantly and desperately pleading for our respect. Like Chelsea and Utd, you simply wouldn't give a damn. Why does our opinion of you matter so much?
It's clear, TRH and the other desperate spuddies who constantly come over here are totally obsessed with us -- our opinion of them, our failures, our reactions to our failures, our discussions about our club and its future. They're far more interested in us than they are about their own club. // Also, delta - I concede your point about me taking Palmer and Witcher's analyses seriously. It is indeed a low point for my mental state. // And Sir Henry, your post is a summation of my exact thoughts, very good post.
Yeah, you're such a big club, but you've never even won the European Cup? Please....
Tony Rocky Horror
We're not interested in Arsenal Jaelle, we're just revelling in your abject humiliation.
Tony Rocky Horror
"Yeah, you're such a big club, but you've never even won the European Cup? Please...." -- So Chelsea aren't a big club because they've never won the European Cup? Your pathetic idiocy continues. TRH, you are DESPERATELY OBSESSIVELY interested in Arsenal. You follow our games incessantly, more than your own. You follow all punditry about us. You hang onto our every reaction, our ongoing position in the league, the CL and all competitions generally. You are totally completely fixated on Arsenal. Admit it. The truth makes you stronger.
Is that the same pedestal you fall off from every year Glenn? But hey, you always have next year when you will be crowned champions of England from what I hear.
So if your wife was beaten and left naked in the street, would you mind me revelling in her abject humiliation? A bit extreme maybe..
Nothing less than a win against Citeh is acceptable!
"Nothing less than a win against Citeh is acceptable!" - a perfectly reasonable and accurate post from Uskok (really unfortunate ID there). We are in total agreement.
"We're not interested in Arsenal Jaelle, we're just revelling in your abject humiliation." If this is humiliation, 3rd spot in Premiership, I wonder what getting a grand total of 2 points from 10 odd games is called...
Check this out from the Huffington Post, re Abramovich's yacht:
Didnt realise you guys have a sp*d infection as bad as ours.They're everywhere these days.
TRH has a dig at us for never winning the C/L but for the life of me, I cannot remember the last time his team even participated in the C/L. Hopefully it wont be next season. Citeh should give em some lasagne when they go to Eastlands...
Seeing the Inter-Barca game. Haven't seen Barca defend this badly in a long time. They are playing the offside trap quite awfully. Getting beaten every time. Messi is being double teamed and Xavi has not got the ball enough to influence the game. Inter looks to be on the way to the final.
It will be a totally different game at the Nou Camp and I think the away goal will pay dividends for Barca and I still see them making it to the final if it stays 2-1. But yeah Barca's defending has been awful. If Inter get a 3rd then Barca could be in serious trouble though Why the **** could they have not defended this badly against us?!!!
Oh its 3-1. I think Barca are ****ed now..
Inter were professional last night. They would have killed our babies. Zanetti for me was impressive at 36. The whole inter team was impressive, experienced to deal with early setback and not panic, harrying barca out of possession, playing for the team and sustaining barca's pressure in final 10 minutes. Diaby and Co would do well to see what kind of players they want to be. Tactically Mourinho is a step ahead of Wenger, coaching the team for 90 minutes, very proactive in his substitutions and team layout. He was not celebrating after the 3rd goal because he knew the game was not over. In contrast AW only does subs when players are tired after 70 minutes or so.
Also towards the end of the game, after pass after pass, Xavi became exasperated because he could not find any solutions. Inter were that good. I think the team is certainly a reflection of the coach and Arsenal players are way too pampered and protected by Wenger, have done nothing in the game and behave like divas. Mourinho would not tolerate the attitude of some arsenal players in his team.
I believe that Wenger has it in him to be tactically astute. Remember the run to CL final a few years back based and the 2-1 home win in the PL last season? We played or more tactically in those two instances. However, he's chosen to believe in his team's ability to out-football any team rather than cater for the opposition and ultimately that's cost us as we all know. Top marks to Inter, they showed how to play Chelsea and Barca.
GV, Wenger's blind faith and his players arrogance has cost us. We went in the game without a plan to deal with Messi. He duly dispatched us with 4 goals. When a player is that good, you make sure your team deals with him.
True GF but all managers have their strength and weaknesses. AW looks to impose his teams will on the opposing team which doesn't seem to work with our current quality of players. It worked when we had the quality of the team of 2002 - 2004. I guess AW is smart enough to learn from this experience. Mourinho cant seem to deal with any creative/temperamental type of player - Hleb refused to work with him, Arjen Robben couldn't wait to flee from Chelsea and now Balotelli cant wait to get a summer transfer from Inter. Mourinho makes all the players play in a regimented military style - maybe thats your cup of tea. Others may prefer a more free flowing style.
Deltaforce re Mourinho, Sneijder seems pretty creative to me, if i recall he got the best out of Joe Cole as well. Also "I guess AW is smart enough to learn from this experience" what on earth are you basing that on?
Good posts, Gael, agree with everything you wrote. Esp. re AW's reactive v. proactive tactics. Ever since Inter's elimination of Chelsea I've had a strong feeling Inter would get past Barca, reach the final and win the whole thing. That's because I think Mourinho has obviously prioritized the CL this season in a way he didn't last year - it may explain Inter's stuttering league form. I think Mourinho really wants to leave Italy so he's determined to do what he was hired to do: win the CL, and then he'll leave. (My estimation of the Italian football press and punditry went up several notches once I saw that--unlike the English press--they were never taken in by Mourinho's posturings; it's sickening watching how much the English press fawn all over him, he plays them like he's got them wrapped around his fingers, it's no wonder he wants to return to the PL). Yes, I wouldn't want Arsenal to play like Mourinho's teams do but I wouldn't mind if it we adapted some of the discipline and cohesion he instills - not to mention his proactive ability to change games he's losing.
shewore, agreed re Sneijder. Also, Eto'o, Maicon (HUGE fan of his!), Milito are great attacking players who Mourinho does allow to improvise at times. Balotelli is a total basketcase -- he won't do well in any team, it's not just Mourinho. He's got serious personality issues, makes Ben Arfa look like nice guy Zola. I do agree, tho, that Mourinho's limited in managing good creative players, like Robben and JCole. I don't think JCole has ever been used to his full potential, under Mourinho or any other coach at Chelsea. Can't imagine what Mourinho would do with Kaka, Cesc, Messi, Xavi - he'd choke the life out of them.
shewore, I am basing it on Arsene Wenger's overall managerial record which is a tad superior to all the armchair managers I know of.
Overrall mangerial record of playing the sameway no matter what? I can't think of anything in recent years in which he's been proactive tactically in playing the opposition. Just wondered what you were really basing it on.
I'd say he was against United in the 05 Cup Final, but he got criticised pretty roundly for that. Certainly in the run up to the 06 CL Final. Wenger is a different manager to Mourinho. Wenger concentrates on the strengths of his players, he knows that working for hours and hours on weaknesses a) rarely actually gets you anywhere and b) drives the joy out of playing for his players which has a detrimental effect on the way we want to play. Mourinho concentrates solely on the opposition and how to stifle them, which works well but this is why he is a short term manager because his more creative players get bored and want to leave. This is why there is always a high turnover of players in a short Mourinho reign. Both styles have their plus points, both have their pitfalls. Of course everyone would like some kind of hybrid of the two but in reality that sort of manager just doesn't come along. Everyone wants a team that is devastating in attack and scores over 100 goals a season, but watertight and stingy in defence and rarely breached. In reality, one team in a lifetime at the very most achieves that happy medium. It's a bit like saying I want a tutor who has a Booker Prize for Literature, the Nobel Prize for Physics, is capable of inventing a computer programme that is 100% resistant to all viruses bar none and is conversant in Fibionnachi's Golden Ratio theorum. Would be nice, but it doesn't happen.
Little Dutch
Mourinho also wants money: huge amounts of dosh to bankroll his success. He would never be prepared to work with the limitations at Arsenal. He's also an egotisitical individual, who needs to be the star of the show. He's not interested in building anything lasting or of any long term value. It's all about him, all the way down the line. Arsenal should support Wenger by really dusting off the cheque book in the summer. A little bit of debt won't kill the club. He might want to consider relaxing his attitude a little in relation to some of his views aswell which have become a little entrenched in regards to certain aspects of the game. Having seen him going nuts on the touch line, can i also recommend an occasional sauna and massage, soft music therapy and less late nights watching Senegalese right backs playing for Lens.
Tony Rocky Horror
Oh and whoever it was that made the catty remark about not building statues of nearly men: you've got some cheek!! Wenger certainly isn't a nearly man. He's a club builder of extraordinary proportions. He'll take his place in the panthoeon besides the likes of Shankly, Ferguson, Clough: the true greats. Arsenal will build a statue of him at your stadium. Half the people who contribute to this forum are probably only Arsenal fans because of him.
Tony Rocky Horror
LD - he got cricitised for that from some quarters cos we didn't have a shot on goal all match, we were shocking! But got away with it and enjoyed lifting the trophy, his hand was forced as well with Henry being injured. The CL run & subtle change in formation is genuinely the only time i can think of, that was built on a remarkable defence though and a GK who was at the time the best in the world - didn't we have Bould as defence coach then? Or was it Keown?
Pesonally i think Wenger is weak when it comes to tactics against certain teams. It is ok to play a certain way against most teams and then change it to stifle or neutralise opposition. For example, against Chelsea Drogba always ends up rap*** us yet we go in to the games against them making the same mistakes over and over. They always love to play us because they are happy to soak up pressure and watch us pass from side to side with no penetration and then let Drogba demolish us. Inter all gave him a hard time, smashing in to him and making life difficult and he didnt want to know. Once we were a few goals down vermaelen started to go in hard on him and he lost his effectivness. This is because Vermaelen decided to to it himself. I know its not Wengers philosophy but after 4 years of drgoba ruining us surely it would make sense to rough him up a bit.
Also when i say roughing up, i dont mean it in the way Allardyce & Pullis do in an assault kind of way
How other way did Vermaelen go in on Drogba then?! The way Samuel played him was an absolute masterclass, tough when necesarry, but also spiteful & "clever" as our foreign counterparts would call it.
TRH - you're an Arsenal fan aren't you.
Sir Henry
I dont reallt understand what you mean... If you mean how did Vermaelen go in on Drogba, i dont think any of his tackles were wreckless, over the top, with the intention of injuring..
No, Sir Henry i'm a Spurs fan!!!
Tony Rocky Horror
"Having seen him going nuts on the touch line, can i also recommend an occasional sauna and massage, soft music therapy and less late nights watching Senegalese right backs playing for Lens." -- LOL, have to admit, that had me LOLLing quite loudly over here in Brooklyn, TRH! Agree with everything that's been said about Mourinho - short-term thinker, hangs around for 2-3 yrs only, doesn't really build anything, thinks only about the opposition. Guardiola seems to be a compromise between AW and Mourinho - he's both pragmatic and romantic. It's his team that defends maniacally thru close possession and fighting for the ball incessantly. It just takes an enormous amount of concentration, teamwork and energy.

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