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Blackburn Rovers 2 Arsenal 1

The last away game of the season is always a rather circumspect occasion. For one reason and another, there are a large cluster of associates I only see and travel with at away games, with the season drawing to a close and one last trip to negotiate, a kind of sense of perverse sense of forlorn celebration and reflection were in order. Taking to the country's motorways every other week and cramming into planes, trains and automobiles for as much as twelve hours at a time gives you a chance to get to know people beyond their football allegiances (Pete`s encyclopaedic knowledge of absolutely bloody everything, Terry`s unabashed Michael Jackson fixation, Derrick`s knowledge of European terrain given the fact that he has missed a grand total of 7 Arsenal and Eire games since the mid 80s, Luigi`s apathy towards permanent employment) all of us complete and utter misfits in our own idiosyncratic ways. And who else would actually bother going to see an Arsenal team who have long since discarded their professional pride to watch them play Blackburn on a rainy Bank Holiday Monday but a band of complete and utter misfits?

So we travelled for one last hurrah in the North West. Fittingly given the opposing manager and the contemptible scheduling of the game, the road that links Bolton and takes you into Blackburn is the A666. Highway to hell indeed. Having arrived a good two hours before kick off, we journeyed to the Fernhurst Arms pub to watch the Ladies Cup Final, the pub was 100% chock a block with Arsenal fans who seemingly had us little sense as we did in travelling to the game. We could only watch until the 80th minute but were undoubtedly sad to hear the Girls missed out on yet another F.A. Cup in heartbreaking circumstances. I`m certain they`ll rectify it when they inevitably get to next year`s final. Once in the ground it became apparent that Song, Bendtner and Clichy had been left at home. It didn`t actually occur to me until about an hour after the final whistle that Rosicky had not featured either, which about sums up his contribution in 2010. Immediately I didn`t like what I perceived to be a laissez-faire attitude to the match from the manager, but consoled myself with the thought that this was probably a good platform for the likes of Vela, Traore and Walcott to prove their worth for next season. How d`ya reckon that went?

Arsenal began the game in a lively enough fashion, much like a child temporarily amused by bubble wrap before growing bored with it ten minutes later. In the 3rd minute, Eboue playing in a central midfield position picked up the ball in space and hit an angled pass to Walcott on the right, his pace saw him retrieve the lost cause and clip the ball back to Vela who inexplicably put the ball wide from 4 yards with the net winking. I deduce that he lacked conviction in the shot because it was on his right foot, this is how horribly limited Vela is on his right, he can`t even approach an open goal on it with anything other than pant filling dread. But Arsenal did move into a deserved lead in the 13th minute. Samir Nasri swung in a left wing corner which led Bacary Sagna to morph into some kind of Steve Bould in a parallel universe (how much better would that comb-over have looked on Bouldy?) to flick the ball onto the back post for Robin van Persie to head home his first goal since registering his second against Spurs in October. Robin, let me count the ways in which we have missed thee. Van Persie threatened with a dipping left foot free kick which Blobinson beat out with his flabby sausage fingers- which were presumably still coated in barbecue sauce. That was really that as far as Arsenal were concerned, they really couldn`t be arsed to muster anything else.

In yawning quite so visibly, Arsenal invited Blackburn to pressurise them with an aerial bombardment. Fabianski was forced into a fine save when he tipped over Pedersen`s free kick. But Rovers drew level from the resulting corner. Pedersen whipped it in from the right, Samba miscued his header as Fabianski appeared to be impeded, Keith Andrews fired the ball back across goal and Roberts touched the ball onto the back post where the wandering Samir Nasri had left David Dunn to chest the ball in from a yard. I believe Fabianski was fouled in the build up, but I know that Blackburn applied four unchallenged touches to that corner prior to the ball dribbling into the net and that we conceded laughably similar goals at Stamford Bridge and the Britannia Stadium to Danny Pugh. Questions abound with the goalkeeper, but you have to ask where were his protection racket? It was telling after both goals how sheepishly the Arsenal players trotted away from their under fire keeper to let him face the music alone.

Van Persie briefly flickered with a couple of snap shots in the second half but he was offered the sort of service you`d expect in a Travel Inn. Walcott ran willingly but lacked quality, Vela, I believe briefly got lost in the fourth dimension somewhere (you`ve all seen the movie Tron, right?), Armand Traore treated the attacking half of the pitch like some kind of outdoor landmine museum and Samir Nasri`s passing was more conservative than David Cameron. Abou Diaby treated us to his now legendary koala chewing eucalyptus impression as the game largely by passed him, whilst Eboue`s positive start where he had found pockets of space and driven at the Rovers back line had evaporated like a fart in the wind. I actually laboured temporarily under the misapprehension that the appalling Wigan capitulation might have hurt this team`s professional pride but clearly not. Pedersen roared through the Arsenal defence to force a one handed stop from Fabianski, Campbell might have fouled Pedersen for the rebound. In truth, I haven`t seen any highlights and the incident was right at the far reach of the pitch, situated as I was in The Darwen End Upper Tier. The Pole once again was last man standing as Hoilett easily rounded Traore but Fabianski thrust out an arm to produce an excellent save. Van Persie was then denied a clear penalty when he turned Salgado in the area only to be taken out by the Rovers defender. But having been so venomously criticised last week for a borderline penalty call at Villa Park, Martin Atkinson was not in the mood to surrender himself to the scrutiny of the hate filled media once more.

Ultimately, Blackburn eventually bullied their way into the lead. Pedersen swung another corner into the six yard area into a throng of bodies crowding the keeper, Fabianski did not deal at all well with the pressure and neither did his defenders as the Pole misjudged the flight of the ball leaving Chris Samba to head home from all of a yard. Fabianski is a young man at the nadir of his confidence and it`s difficult to conclude anything other than the fact that we are witnessing the unravelling of a once promising Arsenal career. Arsenal`s response to the goal was....was.....was.....? Well, there was no response and it`s clear that the fringe players on display weren`t interested in playing for their futures or their pride. In the last month, Arsenal have catastrophically destroyed the respect they spent the previous nine months earning. The feeling of negativity is well and truly permeating the club again, the manager spoke about what an impediment that atmosphere was to his team last season yet they seem to have no qualms in creating it again.

The road sign marked improvement that the manager has been pointing to in the absence of more glittering awards is becoming an increasingly foggy smirch on the horizon. The manager remarked after the game that the team had lost their competitive edge because they were no longer in the title race. That is utterly refutable for a number of reasons. Firstly, it`s clear that Arsenal lost their nerve the second they were actively involved in the title race. The manager himself said that the team would still have been in it with a win at Wigan. Whenever our title chances have been a whisper in the dark, the team have performed. The instant that whisper in the dark gathered momentum and threatened to become a bellow from the rooftops, the team caved in on itself again in an all too familiar geyser of shredded nerve. There`s a real feeling of groundhog day about the club at the moment, the same false starts, the same brief flickers of promise followed by the inevitable capitulation and promises of improvement never quite fulfilled. Something needs to be freshened up and no, I am not talking about changing the manager, but Arsene Wenger has tacitly admitted twice in the last two weeks that he couldn`t motivate his players. Perhaps his most damning indictment was when he closed his post match interview with, "Next week we play at home, not away." Another implied confession that he can`t get his troops up for the more difficult games at the moment. Thanks Arsene, how about asking the players to dip into their pockets and refund those of us that did get up (at unsociable hours I might add) for these far flung away games?

It`s telling that he has pointed so resolutely to the spirit Sol Campbell shows as an example to his younger charges who seem to think they can pick and choose their matches without fear of reprisal. In the end, yes we did have a lot of squad players playing and yes the season is winding down, but this defeat was not about our choices in the transfer market, the players we had injured, Blackburn`s tactics or even which goalkeeper we had playing. This was down to attitude and believe me when I say nobody in the Darwen End was satisfied with it. There are a lot of players who seriously need to ask themselves what they want from their Arsenal careers and the manager will have to ask them the same questions. You learn a lot about people in adversity and the revelations of the last month are not good. The team and the manager must be fools if they think this won`t have ramifications for the beginning of next season either. When we lost the title in 2003, we went out and smashed Southampton 6-1 and Sunderland 4-0, setting down our intentions early. After losing the title in 2005, we came out and gave Everton a 7 goal shoeing. This team`s response? They might yet suffer the ignominy of slipping into 4th place below Spurs. In many ways, it will serve them right if they do and they will face an absolute tidal wave of negativity if they do. Make no mistake Arsene and Arsenal, if the team produce another performance like this next Sunday, don`t bother coming out for the "lap of appreciation" because thousands and thousands of empty seats will stare back at you. Repeat this sort of half arsed performance and mine will be one of them.LD.

21.FABIANSKI, 3.SAGNA, 31.CAMPBELL, 18.SILVESTRE, 30.TRAORE, 2.DIABY, 27.EBOUE (9.Eduardo `78), 8.NASRI, 14.WALCOTT, 12.VELA (23.Arshavin `67), 11.v.PERSIE(c). Unused: 20.Djourou, 24.Mannone, 28.Gibbs, 43.Henderson.

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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday May 4 2010

Time: 8:36PM

Your Comments

I believe this was the only game all year that wasn't televised in my area and it sounds like that is a good thing. I honestly believe that most of the Arsenal players have the required skill and physical attributes to win trophies but there is something missing. Whether it is conviction, confidence, or just plain wrong chemistry, I don't know, but something is obviously wrong. I honestly never thought we'd win anything when the transfer window closed last summer so I'm not devastated and surprised by our lack of trophies but I am really disappointed at the sense of deja vu I feel. Early season arrogance and points lost? check. Injuries mount and require 3rd and 4th choice players in new positions? check. Mid season charge to get spirits up? check. No winter transfer activity? check. Crucial players running out of gas and breaking with a month and a half left in the season? check. Wenger complaining about injuries and others' tactics while pointing at progress? check. I don't need any big name big money signings but I do want some real men signed. That doesn't mean crushing physical monsters, but MEN. Players who appreciate what they get to do for a living and are willing to use every ounce of their God given talent every time they are on the field. Players who are more concerned about showing they deserve to be called world class than where the nearest microphone or blog is.
Sorry, I forgot paragraph breaks disappear when I hit submit.
Boycott the last game. The only response we can give this bunch.
It looked like they just didnt care, they aint gonna win anything so they aint gonna try. Whats needed is players who want to play for arsenal, would give blood, sweat, tears for arsenal. Players who would fight for the team. Even look at when some of them score they dont even celebrate. Theres no passion, I miss the players like wright,vieira's and adams, pires Im just disgusted at the moment, wont even be watching on the last day
I don't expect the "I'd die for my club" attitude from players. They are professional athletes paid to do a job. Some of them do become genuine fans of the club like Henry(yeah I know he is a PR hound but I do believe he's a fan) but most of them are just there to do a job. I'm ok with that, I just want them to play with some personal pride and a general recognition that the supporters DO live, eat, and breathe the club. Personal pride combined with genuine effort will allow me to forget a lot of deficiencies. ( see Eboue and Campbell this year)
Spot on LD. This squad (including the 1st team out injured) like being the underdogs, but crumble at the 1st hint of pressure near the top. That is the biggest challenge that Wenger has to overcome. Is that going to be solved by bringing in an extra 2 players? I dont think so, unless they have the mentality of a Sol Campbell, who has shown that some of the fringe players are a ******** disgrace.
I want some players in this season that have enough mental stability and intelligence to realize their careers have an expiration date and it is up to them how they are remembered. I truly don't care if bringing in someone sets walcott or nasri back a bit in regards to playing time so long as they can learn how to keep that fire in their belly going from someone who has already learned the lesson. Let's sign some men who can show the boys what they've been missing and while we're at it let's add someone to the coaching staff that understands and loves Wengerball but also understand the tactics of effective defense.
Wenger's inability to motivate his players, and his very obvious lack of tactical flexibility, is something that we're all to some extent aware of. It perhaps points to why he has always failed to clear the final hurdle in his career. A succession of 2nd or third placings at Monaco and Grampus Eight, suggests someone who is pretty much obsessed with football theory rather than strategy. After almost 15 years coming up against teams like Bolton and Blackburn he still hasn't devised a plan for countering the style of play. He's stuck.
Wyn Mills
I second that smithdj. This team is crying out for some defensive organisation, not just for the back 5, but for the mid field to offer protection for the defence. We need someone like Tony Adams, Bould, Dixon, Winterburn etc to help out, and I'm sure all they are waiting for is one call from Arsene Wenger.
I expected alot more yesterday, a bit of pride and passion, but I was clearly asking for too much. I had forgotten that another shockingly insipid display was on the cards, as they players were still basking in the glory and reprieve of having 1 shot against Man City.
Cockney Rich
BTW, as much as I hate Fergie and Mourinho, there is NO WAY that they would tolerate a performance like that. Not only is it so soon after the Wigan debacle, it follows similar performances at Sunderland, Burnley, Birmingham, Spuds, Chelsea, Villa and Hull. Still, according to AW " we have progressed " and are " mentally stronger ". In the words of my 15 year old daughter " Whatever ".
Cockney Rich
"After almost 15 years coming up against teams like Bolton and Blackburn he still hasn't devised a plan for countering the style of play." Haven't we beaten Bolton quite a few times in a row now? And didn't we beat scored 10 in the previous two games against Blackburn and Fat Sam? I'd say he has devised a plan for counter the style of play. Yesterday, and the week before was down to the players, not the manager.
There have been many times in the past when our end of season games with little riding on them have ended even more tamely than this one. Wenger didn't put out a team that could be confident of a result. If he wasn't able to then perhaps we shouldn't be too disappointed but if he thought that experimenting in a game that probably in itself wasn't significant (even if psychologically for supporters and maybe some players it was) was an opportunity to take advanatge of then that was a mistake (but only from the perspective of morale and belief). Even so the team was good enough to be able to win the game at a place where ManU and Chelsea had dropped points in recent weeks had it possessed just a little more defensive awareness. Lack of spirit or attitude? I don't think so. Lack of belief (and quality in some back up players) and an all too familiar lack of defensive awareness amongst our midfielders is our undoing.
Amos' is the least non-negative post Ive read in the last 24 hrs. Kudos to that!
We need strong characters in our team, particularly in midfield. When Fabregas is out, our midfielders, for all their talents do not have the will to seize a game by the throat. Song is great but again, he seems a quiet personality, not a leader. At the back, Capmbell, Vermaelen and Gallas all seem to have the right mentality; I'm not so sure about the fullbacks. I think this is where the imbalance of experience might be hurting us; the young up-and-comers do not have enough older players to impart the right attitude. Imagine if Diaby ("the new Vieira") had been able to learn from the real Vieira.
Sajit, you mean "least negative" post right? "least non negative" would mean that Amos's post was negative! On the back of this terrible last month for the club when the players have shown a lack of fight, wish AW's ruthlessness comes to the fore. The squad needs trimming, possible demotion of some players who waltz their way through tough away games and a whole new approach to collective defending.
Btw I wonder how differently Theo Walcott would be judged if he had more clinical finishers to pass to. Sure, he's nowhere near the finished article, but if the likes of Vela, Eduardo and Bendtner could finish simple chances, Walcott's assist numbers would swell. He's hardly the greatest crosser of the ball, yet he's served up plenty on a platter this season that haven't been capitalised on.
Oh crap, ur right DF! :D
An 'April' to 'repeal', for me. I think Wenger is playing his cards close so as to guide the team to the finish line, then he will show his ruthless side. The players (save Sol, Eboue and RvP) were disappointing (have been for a while yet) on the night and surely, must feel like crap. No boycotts, please; this is a time to encourage the lads to the last game and then see what gives in the summer.
Apart from the Arshavin chance, I can't remember us creating anything after they scored. When we scored I didn't celebrate because I knew that they would equalise soon. But when they scored I knew that the best we could hope for was a draw. I don't think we will lose against Fulham but I don't see us creating enough chances for the game to be won by the 90th minute. And it seems that Wenger doesn't motivate players because he is afraid that it might damage their confidence and affect their game. I'm starting to forget all the progress we have made this season.
Assuming that we are able to get a point on Sunday (not exactly a given) then this recent run may not be a bad thing in that it must reinforce for AW that there is a need for defensive reinforcements which can only be obtained in the transfer market. Offensively with Chamak arriving we are probably there. Fingers crossed for a draw tonight!
Perhaps AW's policy of playing playmakers as wingers needs to be re-evaluated by him too. The English game rewards directness, a fair degree of ball control and pace. While our wingers seem to have a lot of ball control and decent pace, we are far from direct. In fact as LD has rightly pointed out - our wingers are more conservative than David Cameron. If Walcott had better ball control he'd be perfect as he's direct and has pace. Nasri and Rosicky have some serious work to do to stamp their undeniable talent on the game by being more direct and risk taking.
Looks like a lot of cocks will crow tonight. Now we better draw with Fulham!
oh dear, our neighbours are in CL. :-/
If we lose to Fulham...
Is this motivation enough for the bunch of overpaid ********s?
Once you've settled into the kind of complacent groove Arsenal have, it's hard to shake out of it. But this is a good lesson for them that you have to keep your humility while it's mathematically possible for those behind you to overtake. It's a good lesson but not one this arrogant lot will learn any time soon.
Little Dutch
The official site has gone all desperate with three articles on transfers. I think our top transfer target this summer should be Chelsea's medical staff, who have kept players well over their 30's in top condition for pretty much a full season.
Well have you poofs and your ass protecting manager.
Worst perfrmance of the season from Arsenal, and there have been some bad ones as of late. If Sylvestre get's another contract, i'm conviced Wenger's is on crack.
Haha 123, we have been hearing that for a decade now :P , is that your attempt to WUM ? Looks like you're embarrassing yourself here!
Fortunately for our pathetic bunch of wasters Fulham have the Wafer cup final on Wednesday and are so concerned about it that they asked for permission to move the game forward ... which was of course denied. None of their players are going to want to miss out on the greatest night in their clubs history for a meaningless game, so we'll probably be fine. Still, I can't wait for this season to be over ..... they battled for so long and made me so proud ..... now I'm sick of the sight of them, well, some of them.
I will take my seat on sunday comforted by the fact that it will be the LAST time I see some of them in an Arsenal shirt. Please God.
Cockney Rich
They cannot even shoot anything this season not even a fly. & they call themselves Gunners. pah
Blunt G
I said after the spuds game they were rubbish nothing has conviced me to change my mind. I also said I felt the the spuds could finish above. I did also say I felt mancity would overtake us and we would not play CL next year. I love my team with a passion, I'm no football expert but even a clown like I can see we have a great big hole in defense and Lord above what a load of rubbish we have served up. LD your reporting has been first class as always, and I could not agree with you more. I hope we beat Fulham, but in a way I hope we lose so that a lesson can be learn t.
Who do you think needs to go Rocky?
Silvestre, Almunia, Diaby, Eduardo, Vela
Undecided on Walcott too. Only so long we can talk about potential, though i realise injuries have hampered him.
Id hate to see Eduardo leave Paul, rather see Rosicky leave. Eduardo needs at least half a season more. And Diaby - he had made some real progress this season - till everything went back to square one this last one month.
Btw, Id add Traore to your list
I would feel bad, but he has been back a year and a half and seems to have lost everything
My " Thank You but Goodbye " list is Almunia, Fabianski, Silvestre, Rosicky, Diaby and unfortunately, Eduardo. I would cash in on Sagna if anyone were to offer 10m. Alot of players I know, but every single one of them is replaceable, and none would be a great miss.
Cockney Rich
Cockney Rich, Sagna has not had his best season in Arsenal shirt but selling him would be a big mistake there are few right-backs as solid as Sagna available in the world and if Wenger did sell I would seriously begin to doubt Wenger's motives. Also 10 million for Sagna is a joke, Sagna is a world class right back. We all know how hard Gazidis has worked to keep players and I doubt we will see the exodus people are calling for. I agree with most people on your list apart from Diaby but I am bit torn on Rosicky, I just look at the goal he scored against Bolton. He is the only one who can score that kind of goal for us, but I feel cashing in on him now wouldn't be the worst idea. And also Traore may go onto to become a great player but he has no business playing LB, his defending is terrible and his strongest skill has always been attacking from LB and even that seems to have completely gone.
Sagna is nowhere near the best RB in the world! He's good.
But since some of the other players look even more crap, we need to get rid of them first.
As much as I would like a near-complete overhaul in the squad, too much of chopping and changing never helped anyone. The best we can hope for is to get rid of the absolute passengers and some of the other players learn - from the other leaders in the team. I feel that more than talent (which obviously should be there) the players coming into the team need to be leaders and fighters. Hopefully players like Diaby can learn from such players. Right now we have far too leaders in this team. Which is why Im seriously hoping we get hold of Sakho.
** the absolute passengers and ** pray that ** some of the other players learn **
My ' Goodbye ' list above looks brutal but I feel is necessary. Our goalkeeping situation is well documented and a change is essential. I want AW to call ' time ' on Diaby after yet another season of ' potential ' passes by unrecognised. The games he has played ( when eventually fit ) have largely been error strewn, nervous and unremarkable. Let Diaby go and ' blossom ' elsewhere, if that's at all possible for him to do. We just simply cannot afford to wait for him any longer. I like Rosicky and Eduardo, but again, it is time to part. Tomas looks every bit a player who has had one serious injury too many, and probably won't make 15 games a season in fully working order. As for Eddy, it is a crying shame that he has suffered with injuries the way that he has. It will be just as good for him to leave as it is for us. With Vela signing a long tern contract and the arrival of Chamakh, it appears that AW has already made his mind up about Eddy. It would be a nice and fitting touch for Eddy to get the last half hour on sunday, sporting the Captain armband.
Cockney Rich
Well Eduardo signed a long term deal last Autumn so by your reckoning that'd mean he was staying as well
Believe it or not shewore, circumstances at football clubs change. Individuals lose focus or confidence, or just want to move on. I think Eddys contract was a reward and intended to give him a confidence boost. I don't think it has worked for him, he looks troubled and his performances are largely subdued. It's a shame cos I absolutely worship him.
Cockney Rich
Its funny because up to about a month ago the majority would of agreed that we have made a big improvement on last year. But when you look at it on paper, we have the same points as last year, lost 3 more league games, conceded more goals, knocked out of both FA cup & CL earlier having made the semis last year. You could argue also that once we felt we were out of the league we lost focus, but still....
Think it was a miracle Paul that we were still in with a shout at the title. It's not been a great PL this year, it was there to be won if you were prepared to roll your sleeves up and fight. For me, there has been a distinct lack of quality in the PL this season. A fact highlighted with Spuds finishing in top 4. Frightening.
Cockney Rich
Arsene's press conference has been cancelled because he has a soar throat and 'can not speak'. I hope he gets well soon, but is that a good sign? Has he been doing some shouting?
Think he has been shouting down the phone to Juve. " Non, non, non ". A French version of Amy Winehouse but far more attractive.
Cockney Rich
Ownz - that's pretty much the same argument i made on the forum mate, there's no way as a team we've gone forward in my mind, only a couple of individuals have got better and dragged us a long. CR - aware of that fella, i'd put Vela in the same boat though, they can both do one for all I care. Wenger's PR at times has been effin appalling this season, Vela the most natural finisher at the club eh?!
Good shout about Vela shewore. I think he can score goals, but I just don't know what goes through his head. He looks half asleeo when he starts or comes on, and looks totally uninterested and unconcerned when being subbed. Needs a kick in the cobblers during the summer and we'll see what he can offer us next season. I am not expecting alot though.
Cockney Rich
To be fair, Vela's finishing was pretty emphatic before all the scrutiny got turned up after returning from a long spell in nowhere, but, as is so typical of our side, he hasn't shown the same skill in a pressured enviroment.
Asene Wenger: "We have made significant progress this season" I keep hearing from everybody how we have improved at times this season, so I wanted to check back and compare to the previous season as that is the ONLY way of comparing and seeing if we have improved. [B]CL[/B] 08/09 - Semis 09/10 - Quarters [B]League[/B] 08/09 - 6 defeats 09/10 - 9 defeats (with a game to go) Goals against 08/09 - 37 09/10 - 41 (with one game to go) [B]FA Cup[/B] 08/09 - Semis 09/10 - Round 4 [B]League Cup[/B] 08/09 - Quarters 09/10 - QuartersSo would anyone care to explain to me where the prgress has been made, because in almost every stat and competition (the only true measure of progress) we have gone backwards and backwards in a big way, in a lower quality league IMHO.
Sorry about the formatting, I hope it is legible?
Thanks for the facts and figures LG, I wish they made better reading. The numbers speak for themselves, and unfortunately, they tell the truth. Shewore made a valid point in a post above - certain individuals have progressed, but the team hasn't. IMHO the PL and FA Cup were there to be won this season but we bottled out in both.
Cockney Rich
It's a tricky one really. I personally feel that we've have improved our overall play, but the weaknesses we had last season are still with us, and, arguably, bigger. We've found a formation that really looks great with our 1st choice line-up, but is very difficult to pull off in this league with a less experienced squad - and that's what we've been restricted to because of another problem that's stayed with us - injuries. We've finally filled that DM position with a quality player, and our CBs are better than last season, too, but once more, their use has been restricted due to injury, and our team's defending as a whole and working off the ball is just as bad as it was last season. We were scoring hatfuls with RvP, but couldn't deal without him. In other words, I think our side has improved substantiably in terms of the ability of its individuals, but very little (although still a small amount in my opinion), in terms of its reliability as a squad.
Amos, do your job, amos amos do your job
LondonGooner, you could put it like this. Last year , most of the points were lost in the first half of the season and we were out of the race by October November. This year, we were supposedly out of the race twice but still came back. Most of the defeats have come in the last one month after the players switched off. I can in no way defend their attitude but you could probably say that after the Sp*rs loss, we were more or less truly out of the title race. Also , lets look at the teams we went out to in the cup competitons. We had an easy ride in last years CL till we faced Man Utd. I could argue on similar lines on the FA Cup.
To cut a long story short - some steps were definitely made this season but all that now seems to have been totally wasted
lol I found myself sining along there shewore!!
Sajid - "Most of the defeats have come in the last one month after the players switched off" That's not true fella, we have lost 3 league games recently which would still put us level with last season so there is no improvement still. Fact is in every column except goal scored and the league cup we have achieved less this season. FACT mate!
I think that we probably looked better than we really were due to Chelsea, Liverpool & Man United looking at lot worst than last season. I still think the main reason we have not achieved more is down to the freakishly large amount of injuries we have had to our first team players, highlighting the lack of quality we have in the rest of the squad. When RVP was injured i predicted we could not win the league without him. He is on par for me with Rooney, Drogba & Torres in class & importance to the team. 9 goals & 8 assists in 17 starts before he was injured and just overall play. It is no suprise that we were averaging over 3 goals a game with him in the team scoring 4+ goals on 6 occasions and them suddenly dry up when he was crocked. Hopefully we will spend money on suitable additions while weeding out those who are surplus to requirment. I dont care how ruthless Wenger has to be as long as he does what is best for the team.
Agree with LG, overall no progress has been made. Many of the same old problems have gone unaddressed. We have seen progress in a couple of individual players, and that's it. We've lost only 2 fewer games than Liverpool, ffs! And they've been absolutely dire. One player I've totally given up on, despite his wonderful talent, is Diaby. He'll be 25 soon. Just when we begin to see him show some improvement, he slides right back to his old habits. And his lethargy at such a crucial time in the season is inexcusable. It's what I've said about him so many times: the issue is what's between his ears, which does not inspire hope for any real permanent improvement. Talent and skill are useless if it's not married to the kind of fight, intelligence and determination that Cesc, RVP and Sol have. It would kill me to see Eduardo go but I could understand why it happened. Cruel fate. (I think we should just rest our #9 shirt, there's a curse on it). I think AW has given up on Vela, can't see him staying in England. I still hold out hopes for Bendtner, Denilson (tho I've wavered in that this season), Theo (barely) and Eboue. I think for the health of Fabianski's career, he should leave England.
Sorry i meant 9 goals & 8 assists from 17 starts this season. 8 & 8 from 15 starts before injury
"I think that we probably looked better than we really were due to Chelsea, Liverpool & Man United looking at lot worst than last season. I still think the main reason we have not achieved more is down to the freakishly large amount of injuries we have had to our first team players, highlighting the lack of quality we have in the rest of the squad." -- just wanted to say "ditto" to a perfectly on-target summary of our season.
Another world class performance by Walcott lol

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