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We have made progress

Nasri was right last week when he insisted we had made progress as a team and were playing with greater maturity over the season. He was right also to claim that but for an injury blight that even by recent standards was pretty dire maybe that progress would have manifested itself in more definite way than the third place we ultimately achieved.

There are those who will claim that our injuries aren`t just bad luck and that somehow there is some malfunction in our physio or medical teams that plays a primary role in exacerbating if not creating the situation. As the most significant injuries have been impact injuries to key players at key times it`s a pretty hopeless argument to justify. We`ve been unlucky and no matter how many times we were to seek to change our medical team it wouldn`t change that simple fact.

Wenger said earlier in the season that the title would be won with around 86 points. That was still just about achievable even after a run of 6 straight PL wins was cruelly ended by a late fluke goal at Birmingham. The footballing gods hadn`t finished with us even then as the next game, a spirited draw with Barcelona, was to deprive us of the massively influential Fabregas while both Song and Denilson were also destined to play little part in the rest of the season. With only Diaby left, of a quartet that augmented with Ramsey had made up our midfield three, playing a full part then it isn`t a complete surprise that the challenge of winning all 6 remaining PL games proved beyond us. The seven points out of 18 collected left us 11 points short of losing the title to Chelsea on goal difference.

The disappointment of losing somewhat tamely to Wigan and Blackburn in quick succession soured many supporters` previously positive sentiments towards a season in which it was generally accepted that we were defying the gods, as well as the odds, to stay in contention as long as we were. In consequence the attitude towards the team, amid accusations of a lack of endeavour, then took a slightly girly tone amounting to something along the lines of "You wouldn`t treat me this way if you really cared!" Once the chance of reaching the 86 point total had gone in what was a good performance in defeat to Spurs then the team visibly flagged under the weight of a depleted midfield compounded by the absence of both first choice centre backs, plus the previously unimaginable lack of participation of Almunia, despite the welcome return of van Persie. It shouldn`t happen and what we had left in the squad should have earned us more points but victory against Wigan, City and Blackburn would still only have earned us third place. By then we were destined only to be the 3rd best team in the PL whatever happened.

It is taken for granted now that we deserve a CL place as a right and little account is taken of the quality needed in the team to achieve that, let alone the quality of the management to do so as consistently as we have done, but in a way that is acknowledgement itself of just how much progress we have made. There are decisions to make to strengthen our ability to continue to challenge with increasing effect but the progress we have made as a club has ensured that we won`t lack the resources, relative to our peers, to make those decisions and sustain our aspirations. Despite all those resources and all the quality we do have and can acquire we`ll need for fortune not to desert us quite as brazenly as it has done this season if we are to triumph.

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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday May 10 2010

Time: 12:47PM

Your Comments

I hope the players don't use the old "luck" chestnut when they scrutinise the season. Luck is a losing game, an argument only ever used to point to "bad luck" rather than good luck. Some may claim that the amount of last minute goals we have scored is a measure of "good luck." I don't agree, anymore than I agree with the very shaky argument of "bad luck." Luck and God are two non existent entities that humans are conditioned to blame when ***** goes pear shaped. Losers whine about luck, champions shape their own destiny, when they concede obscure goals, they go up the other end and score one themselves. It's no better an argument than the sides in the lower reaches of the table that say, "The big clubs get all the decisions."
Little Dutch
I would also repeat my oft made point about injuries. Diaby, Fabregas (x2), Rosicky, Gallas, van Persie, Walcott, Denilson, Song, Clichy, Arshavin, Gibbs and Bendtner all injured and obtained recurrences of their injuries having completed less than 90 minutes of their comebacks. Djourou and van Persie were both misdiagnosed and mistreated for a total of three weeks before their injuries were correctly diagnosed. You simply cannot ignore the persistent failure in diagnostics, it's not even a ground for contention, it's there in black and white. If it's not the treatment that's been persistently poor, it's certainly the diagnoses.
Little Dutch
As a final point, you might be correct to mock the reactions of fans to the poor defeats to Blackburn and Wigan, but what does that say about the players themselves? If the fans' reaction to it is incorrect, that's one thing, but what about the players? Could one not say that they were very "girly" to stop bothering with games the second they thought the title had gone? "I can't win anymore so I'm not playing."
Little Dutch
You sneaked umpteen points in the last minute and had loads of favourable deflections this season early doors i seem to remember. Sure youre easily the 3rd best team but in terms of luck you had more than your fair share, it could be argued you struggled to make 3rd, thank Bendtner for all those last minute winners. I do think though if RvP had stayed fit then you would have been closer to the top 2 but i wouldnt say you made any progress on last year where you were very close to an EXCELLENT Man Utd team. Apart from selling some deadwood to City that is.
A nice piece of writing Amos but I take offence to the ' girly tone ' comment regarding the losses at Wigan & Blackburn. The only thing ' girly ' at the Wigan game was the manner in which the players capitulated, as was the case at Ewood. In a poor quality PL this year I will settle for 3rd, but I can't see how we have progressed as a team. We still can't close games out, still go to pieces with long throws and corners, and are still cursing the fact that ' Lady Luck ' is a stranger to The Grove.
Cockney Rich
When you score goals isn't anything to do with luck. Scoring a goal in the last minute is no more a matter of chance than scoring in the first minute. It's worth pointing out that I haven't argued that good luck would have won us the title merely that it might have got us closer to it. Nor have I argued that bad luck prevented us from claiming anything other than the 3rd place we achieved anyway. It isn't possible to make a reference to the role that fortune plays in footballing triumphs without it sounding like sour grapes or churlishness but we all know it exists. There needn't be any reluctance to point that out. The only issue is whether it evens itself out over the course of one season or not. Most of the time it doesn't but it will over the longer run which is why our consistent run of 13 consecutive CL qualifications isn't reliant on luck The progress we have made as a club in this season is evident enough if you look at what we have achieved in the face of the the difficulties we have encountered. Nasri is right - it's only the bad luck that prevents some from seeing it.
The breathtaking consistency of our injury blight cannot be down to Lady Luck as a fair proportion of our long term injuries are a result of an over-zealous physical approach to playing Arsenal by the rank and file of the Premiership. RvP and Gibbs were also bad challenges but not in the EPL. I think there are probably many smaller injuries caused in this way as well. What can we do about them? Arsenal are generally better than most (a point proven by our but continual participation in the CL) but unfortunately always up to concede a “shock” goal and we’ve been like this for two or three years now. When Chelsea or ManU go one nil up, the opposition lose heart at the prospect of trying to win. They just lie down and die. Against us they know that we are likely to concede and so continue to battle hard even when two down. That must take its toll on the players both mentally and physically. So it seems to me that once we rid ourselves of this sense of vulnerability, the physicality from the opposition will decrease, our injuries will decrease and we can then go on to win some silverware.
Sir Henry
We are in a league of our own .. literally. Not good enough to win the title, not bad enough to let any other team finish above us. That said injuries and complacency have cost us. Roll on next season.
Sorry, Amos, but this article just beggars belief. I don't want to engage in a fight here but I'll just come out and say it: for me, your article is utterly delusional, you don't back it up your very weak argument with any actual facts. You fail to explain in any detail, you fail to provide any stats that DEMONSTRATE this so-called "progress." You in fact provide nothing at all to back up your claim that we've made any progress. In fact, if you actually look at all the relevant stats since we last won a trophy, YOU WILL SEE NO PROGRESS AT ALL. What exactly is this "progress" you speak of? This is particularly ridiculous and ludicrous nonsense: "took a slightly girly tone amounting to something along the lines of "You wouldn`t treat me this way if you really cared!" Well then I guess every club support base on the entire planet in the entire history of the sport is "girly" when their players show no fight, no spirit, no determination whatsoever - when in fact they just collapse against inferior teams, indulging in self-indulgent self-pity because they lost to a better team and feel they have nothing more to fight for. There is absolutely NO excuse for our form since Barca -- zero. For you to say there's something wrong with the supporters for reacting to the way the players responded to that defeat really is astonishing. Every single support base at every single football club on the planet would've reacted the way we did. Until Barca, we all thought this team had finally finally learned how to fight. What destroyed that positive attitude among the supporters and around the club was precisely the way the team responded after being knocked out of the CL -- the team went right back to their yearly collapse that happens every single season now, destroying any belief that they'd finally progressed in their attitude and mentality. And as for injuries - oh please! Enough with the pathetic injury excuses. There is NO excuse for the team that AW put out on the pitch against Spurs, Wigan, Bburn to have played like they did -- NONE! Injuries are totally irrelevant. The players he put out on the pitch were more than capable of beating those teams. Every single fkg season the same damned excuses come out - luck and injuries, luck and injuries, luck and injuries - no no no, it's not the players fault, it's just the supporter being rotten in their support. Enuf already with this bilge. LD is completely right in his comments re our injuries - a STEADY, CONSISTENT PATTERN indicates more than just luck. Luck is a pathetic excuse that only losers talk about. I honestly didn't want to come out fighting like this but I found this article is utterly infuriating and delusional. Someone please publish one on this site that talks about reality.
Jaelle, when AW leaves, I want you to take over.
Cockney Rich
I am sure you'll find plenty of articles and blogs that already publish articles explaining why we are a gutless, spiritless side with a poor attitude and a weak mentality lacking fighting spirit - maybe someone will take up your challenge to publish one here jaelle but don't believe that's the only reality. There are those that will insist despite the acknowledged expertise and investment in training facilities and sports science we have somehow managed to recruit the worst physiotherapy and medical teams in the PL - but don't believe that reality either. You might take time to seek out the more considered explanation by Colin Lewin on the club site. That may not be reality either but it is a lot less hysterical. I think we might have preferred to have put out a team against Spurs that would have included a fully fit RvP and Cesc from the start but I don't think we performed badly in that game anyway. Against Blackburn I think it is a tad unrealistic to claim that the side we put out against them should automatically have come away with more when Chelsea and ManU with stronger sides only managed a point in the weeks prior to it. Sure we should have beaten Wigan on their ground just as Chelsea should have done but my point is that even a win in both places wouldn't have changed the outcome to our season anyway. Through all the hysteria you might just look at the times we have been able to field a consistent team selection of most of our key players this season and determine that our most significant shortcoming has been a factor that we really had too little control over.
By the way I avoided attempting any statistical justification of progress simply because I believe the real progress is masked by the problems we have had this season. You could broaden it by considering the progress off the pitch we have made this season which should impact on our progress in the future but leaving that to one side if you do crave some statistical statement of progress (not that I fully support it mind - remember they don't tell the whole story) you'll find one here:
I won't go over it all again, Amos. I will say, however, that when I see fkg TOTTENHAM--one of the greatest team of pathetic bottlers and losers in the modern era--respond to an exhausting, physically and mentally devastating defeat in the FA cup against a relegation side by beating the top 2 teams in the league (incl. the eventual champions) plus the 5th best team all in quick succession after watching our pathetic, gutless players respond like they did against far more inferior teams after being beaten by the best team on the planet, I fail to see any progress in this team's mentality whatsoever.
And one more thing, Amos - yes, I'm sure I can read lots of negative post-mortems on other blogs. But I doubt any of them will provide a sober analysis with stats and figures making both negative and positive claims for this season. And it IS possible to say positive things about this season for us, I don't deny that. What I'd like is a more sober, realistic, objective view of our season in comparison so the last 3 or 4 seasons. The other negative summaries will, I'm sure, be just as cursory and superficial as this one. CR, LOL! If there's ever an opening at Arsenal for a bitchy yet maternal figure who'll make them great dinners, support them in adjusting to London, but yell at them and punish them for being spoiled, lazy little prima donnas, I'll apply immediately.
Have people forgotten just how utterly DIRE we were last season? Anyone remember that banner on at the start of the season?
Progress HAS been made. We challenged until April. The next logical step would be to challenge the entire season and hopefully, win the damn thing. Also, injuries are never an excuse, but to go into the final sprint without 5 or 6 nailed on first team players is more cruel than bad luck.
There will be a motivational and a resource factor in Spurs success in those games just as there was in our games against inferior competition (just as there was in the 11 game unbeaten run after defeat to Chelsea ended in a depleted squad facing Barca in the 2nd leg). I don't think you are ready to acknowledge yet just what an impact the loss of so many first choice players at the same time has had to the tail end of the season. Transpose that to any of the teams around us and consider whether the impact would've been any less on them. As it happens the tame end to the season didn't affect our ultimate position - that chance went in the Spurs game and despite the significant loss of Cesc in a key game and Vermaelen off after 20 minutes I don't think anyone would seriously accuse the team of bottling it in that one.
luck is 100% an intangible comodity, but definitely has an influence on the football pitch, no matter what anyone says...the equivalent of, say golf, where they call it the "run of the green"... I dont think that any other side in the premiership had the injury problems that we have had...the wigan game, whilst an extremely disappointing result for many reasons, has to be put in context. When you consider the centre back pairing of silvestre and campbell (4th and 5th CBs), essentially short a first choice midfield and 2 of our front 3, the first 80 minutes is phenomenal. the last 10 minutes, forgettable. development is a hard thing to gauge. In terms of squad, I think that our first 11 and first choice bench is as good as any other team in the premiership. But, that is of course my opinion. We have space for improvement, without a doubt, but improvement has been made on last season in particular. I am personally looking forward to next season...its going to be a cracker
"Transpose that to any of the teams around us and consider whether the impact would've been any less on them." I simply don't buy this argument at all. I can absolutely GUARANTEE you--guarantee you!--that if Manchester Utd had their first choice 7-8 players out and they needed to secure 2nd or 3rd spot at the end of the season, they wouldn't have left it to the final game. None of their remaining squad players would've gone out on that pitch playing like a bunch of lazy, indifferent wimps feeling sorry for themselves. You can write that in stone. That's the difference. I'm not talking about talent and skill--I'm talking about MENTALITY and ATTITUDE. Which is completely irrelevant to how many injuries we have. No, I don't take into account the affect our injuries had in our post-Barca malaise at all because it's completely irrelevant. That's because I don't dismiss the quality of the players we had left--Nasri, Diaby, Rosicky, Theo, etc. These are quality players who were capable of getting results and securing at least 3rd place before our final game. As for comparisons with last season - yes and no. Yes, we were absolutely dire last season. We came very close to losing our top 4 spot. Yet we lost fewer games than this season and went further in the CL and FA cups. We also conceded fewer goals last season.
BTW, I just watched AW's post-Fulham press conference and his comments re the 25-player rule really struck me. It's very concerning, I think this rule could really hurt me.
"I think this rule could really hurt me." -- US, of course I meant, US!! LOL!
A season undone by injury. Still, you finished in 3rd. There's solace to be taken from that.
As I said earlier jaelle if you need a statistical comparison then there's one here: Sure we conceded more goals but our goal difference was better. Chelsea didn't draw PL opposition in the first 3 rounds of the FAC we couldn't avoid anything else and only away. Perhaps if fortune existed we'd consider ourselves unfortunate. This issue of mentality, fighting spirit and attitude is so often and easily trotted out because there is no objective argument or defence against it. I don't see how you can guarantee that the loss of 7-8 first teamers wouldn't impact on ManU's performances but no-one can guarantee it would either. That's the convenience of such a vacuous argument. You can look at the stats and see the number of passes and tackles made, territorial and possession stats and there aren't any significant differences in games we've won (tried harder in) with even poorer stats. It's a subjective judgement based only on emotional assessment but it is possible to look through that and take a more considered look at what has happened. If you do that with this season taken over all 55 games and not just possibly one or two of them then I don't see how you can reach the conclusion you do.
I was listening to Alan Davies' insane IT'S UP FOR GRABS NOW podcast, which caused me to type "hurt me" instead of "hurt us." Those guys are hilarious.
Amos, thx for that very interesting link. I would also like to see a comparison that includes all seasons since our last trophy for a better perspective. Last season was a huge step backward from the previous excellent season (where we still didn't win anything). Which shows inconsistency, not progress. As for the issue of mentality and, you can't measure that kind of thing with numbers. I guess you think it's not an issue at all, that it's just something many of us just invent out of whole cloth. I just don't understand how anyone can defend the way our players played at Wigan and Blackburn at such a crucial time, with an automatic CL spot in danger. Surely you saw AW's reaction and his unusual criticisms of his players. The argument you pose - that supporters are wrong to think the players were lazy or lacked commitment or mental strength is wrong -- was the same argument Ade defenders trotted out last season. Yet any objective viewer who watched the City-Spurs game thought "those gooners were right" when they saw his utterly lethargic, indifferent performance in that game. Finally, there also has been no substantive improvement whatsoever in our defense, we are still making the same stupid schoolboy errors, season after season. That to me is the most glaring area of non-improvement.
Wenger has now come out and pretty much accepted that his 'project' hasn't worked. He's promised to put it right by spending some cash on some experienced campaigners, in order to get the right blend. Things have a habit of fcking up if they become too complex, or if one's principles of the heart begin to rule what the common sense of the head tells you. To be succesful in any venture one should KISS-Keep It Simple Stupid. Of course you can choose to believe it's just a matter of luck if you wish, but most would not concur.
Tony Rocky Horror
I sometimes wonder whether the Arsenal lads hit long diagonals and early crosses when the old man's back is turned.
Tony Rocky Horror
Amos, no doubt progress was made but in the end all that was undone and now we are back to where we were at the end of last season.
Where has Wenger said his project hasn't worked? I would have thought that the fact he has consistently achieved CL qualification and maintained a challenge for major trophies while commissioning and funding the new stadium is confirmation that it has.
Er.....trophies? Look i can see your point, but unfortunately alot of Arse fans don't seem to see it like that, do they?(well, not if your forums are anything to go by.) They want trophies, pretty much end of. Or failing that, they'd really rather their team didn't fold time after time at (slightely strangely) the same moment, season after season. which is actually very, very resonable. Having said all that, i don't wish to be accused of taking tablets for 'another man's headache'!
Tony Rocky Horror
AW's project has been (he has said this himself numerous times, incl. quite explicitly in a long Independent interview 2 seasons ago) was to build a new team with young players who'd grown up and been developed at the club in order to build loyalty to the club and team unity. This was the project he decided on during the transitional period which forced upon us difficult financial times, in which he would not have a lot of money to use on the transfer market. The ultimate aim of this project was (as AW has said many, many times) TO KEEP THE TEAM TOGETHER and win trophies. In that sense, yes the project has failed. He has not kept the team of young players together, he's had to dip into the transfer market, he's lost faith with some players, some have agitated for a move. His vision of a young team growing up together with a sense of belonging and loyalty to the club, winning trophies together, has not panned out.
Has he failed to keep the youngsters together? If you look at the list of departees it's mainly the conscripts - transferred players that haven't stuck around; Adebayor, Hleb, Flamini, Diarra, Reyes, Henry, Campbell, Pires. It was never envisaged that we would never dip into the transfer market and there has never been a season when Wenger hasn't done so. But in the sense that throughout the 'project' we have maintained a challenge for trophies and CL qualification marks it out as a success. The project would always reach maturity, would run its course, as it has done about now. There will still be a strong contingent of developed players as new rules now require that but a more normal transfer policy was always going to return once the project had concluded.
Amos very nice piece. I agree with everything except the injuries. I don't think that it is a fluke that Chelsea manage to keep many players on the wrong side of 30 fit for the majority of the season. I don't why we have all these injuries but I don't think is down to just bad luck. But we have made a lot of progress this season, and I refuse to take fans seriously when they cry about our season when they predicted us to fall out of the top four at the start season. And THR, Wenger is "the old man" now is he? Redknapp is two years older than Wenger, but Wenger doesn't use Ginger Just For Men.
I'd keep your headaches tablets for yourself TRH. You've needed them after many a false dawn in the past and you may well need them in the future if the Burnley performance is anything to go by. The problem isn't just that gooners want trophies they expect them. Expectations might be a bit lower if we hadn't won a title for 50 years but our triumphs are still very recent. Tantalisingly we continue to challenge for the major trophies and it is the fact that they have been so close even in the supposed drought that frustrates gooners supporters. Other teams can celebrate with much more mundane accomplishments.
jaelle, in my opinion, there is no White and Black as far as AW's post 2004 project is concerned. Isn't the reality more Grey? While no one would say the project has panned out to perfection - Hleb and Flamini defected, Pires and Gilberto could have been retained for a season or two, the rest of the team couldn't grab the trophies when presented with a chance to get them.

On the other hand, AW's project was of a scale not attempted before in the EPL. EVER. From the viewpoint of a complex project which had more of a chance to go wrong than right, there is evidence that 5 successive top 4 finishes and decent CL runs would mean that the project was atleast partially successful. Lets not forget that in the last 5 years, we have had a surplus from transfer dealings. All in all, the current squad seem to have reached their zenith when all factors are taken into account and some investment is now required to push on to the next level.
I agree with Amos here, to qualify for the CL every season under difficult financial circumstances is an amazing achievement. Sure AW would have liked to win a few trophies and he probably could have won one of the domestic cups if he sacrificed CL qualification. That would have been very detrimental to the club in the long term however as we need the CL money to keep us going. The games against Wigan and Blackburn at the end of the season were disappointing but were mostly down to our injuries and lack of strength in depth rather than the attitude of the players. Even Man Utd when they were hit with injuries lost comprehensively to Fulham earlier in the season. If you look at the money AW has spent over the last 5 seasons and what we have achieved, he has to be pretty satisfied with our progress. Unlike Benitez he doesn't like to use the lack of finances as an excuse for poor results because he and the board have a mutual understanding of our long term goals. The following link gives us a good indicator of how tight our finances have been Hopefully we will have the cash to strengthen in key areas and win something next season.
delta, I appreciate that consistently qualifying for the CL is a massive achievement with the resources AW has at hand. Nor should we take it for granted. I don't look at Liverpool and think "that could never happen to us." I look at Liverpool and think "that could very well be us" - not the financial meltdown, but failing to stay in the top 4 CL spots due to squad weaknesses. Even with Pool's financial problems, they could still have finished in the top 4 had it not been for the failings of Rafa's squad. And dropping out of the top 4 is now becoming ever more possible what with City, Spurs, Villa et al. making more and more serious challenges every season. But I also recognize that this new, young squad AW's been trying to build since we last won a trophy has made no substantial progress in the most critical areas--the same damned weaknesses never get addressed. Same end-of-season story about luck and injuries, same April collapse. Every season, delta, every damned season. It never changes. And for anyone to seriously claim that Wigan and BBurn were just due to injuries and that there was nothing at all wrong about our players' mentality at those games is just manifestly, blatantly ludicrous and delusional. And flat out wrong. And ARSENE'S own comments back that up.
Who says that the players were fully motivated in the Wigan and Blackburn games jaelle? Why would you expect them to be as motivated as they might be in a game that has something riding on it? But even if the motivation wasn't there to the same degree it doesn't make them lazy, mentally weak or lacking fight. It doesn't even make the lack of motivation the primary reason for the defeat. The injuries were extensive in critical areas and key to the ability of the team to sustain the lead they had in the game. It isn't at all ludicrous and delusional to point out the factors that helped determine the outcome of the game. Motivation may well be one of them but the easy glib claim that the players just couldn't be arsed to win it is the more absurd claim in a season in which they have shown their determination time and time again when it mattered. What was Chelsea's excuse for losing at Wigan? Or Chelsea and ManU's reason for dropping points at Blackburn? Couldn't they be bothered either? The lack of understanding this team and club has to endure from its own followers is monumentally depressing at times.
The performance this season has largely met and perhaps, slightly exceeded expectations set at the start of the season. We all knew a top 4 finish was likely, but didnt expect the title challenge to last this long. Several players have improved this season, and our new look formation has suited the team. Those are the positives. However, there are negatives that cannot be ignored. This squad has NOT performed to its potential. Some games have been lost / drawn by the 11 out on the field (injuries being no excuse) that ought to have been won. Some of the points that jaelle makes is right on the money - in terms of attitude, this squad (including our 1st team) needs some serious improvement. Another striking feature is Wenger admitting that Sol's presence has been beneficial, something he could have corrected 2-3 years back, by retaining players like Gilberto, Pires etc for an extra season or 2.
The lack of understanding might be depressing, but adequate patience and understanding has been shown by fans over the past 3-4 seasons. Tangible signs of improvement is all that one wants. Perhaps, as fans, we are required to understand the lack of 'ability' to hold on to leads? A one-off game where a team comes back to win is understandable, but its become a reasonably regular occurrence over the last 2 season for it to become depressing indeed.
Good attempt at a bit of propaganda Amos.
I like Prits analysis of the season and how it has panned out. Lets not forget how many times we were seemingly dead and buried and out of the title race but then we would keep coming back into the race. Granted the Chav's and ManUsa's indifferent form at times assisted but it shows some resillience on our part which was pleasing as it was something that I think has been lacking in previous seasons. I think the turning point was the tie against Barcelona as it exposed our weaknesses and with the injuries that followed, it showed how wafer thin our squad is without our first teamers and how some of the squad are clearly not up to the task. I think the main positive that comes out of this season will help us a great deal next season in that I think AW has recognised that the squad needs strengthening, something that has been obvious to us for some time but something now that AW appears to have hopefully accepted. Of course no definite signings are confirmed as yet (Chamakh looks like it is pretty much a done deal), but I do think that it will force AW's hand in the transfer market.
Well, why didn't he have enough resources in place to cope with the injuries then? That's the responsiblity of the manager and board. Why didn't he have an overview of the weak areas of his squad and get a back-up plan in place?You need at least two quality players for each position. Jasus, it's not like you're Portsmouth or anything. Given your position and resources, you should have been challenging for the title right up until the last week.
Tony Rocky Horror
TRH, thanks for your kind thoughts. The way you oscillate between a visceral hatred of our team to a benign patronage of it is quite fascinating.
I could've saved myself some effort and just posted a link to this if I'd waited:
You can put a positive or a negative spin on any story/situation. Maybe in some aspects we have seen an improvement, but on paper alone we have conceded more, lost more games and eliminated earlier from 2 competitions. We have lost twice to Chelsea, Man United, Man City and once to Spurs. In fact we have won only one 1 game in 9 against the teams finishing in the top 5. Some of the other stats dont necessarily point to an improvement. Finishing a place higher is likely when Liverpool fall of the radar, Being fewer points of the top is also likely when Man united have by their standards gone backwards, mainly from selling Tevez & ronaldo without replacing them with players of equal quality. I believe if the team had shown a better attirude to the last few games then we could have ended the season on a high with more positivity for next year. Some of the limp performances from Diaby, Rosicky, Eduardo, Vela and a few others at the end was frustrating to say the least. Yes injuries have crippled us, but that is a reason for the fringe players to rise to the challenge and show they are pushing for a regular place rather than coast through games thinking about their summer holidays.
I think describing loyal, hard working Arsenal fans who shell out fortunes to follow their club as "girly" is an insult and you owe many people an apology for a crass, ignorant, ill thoguht out comment Amos.
Well, why didn't he have enough resources in place to cope with the injuries then? That's the responsiblity of the manager and board. Why didn't he have an overview of the weak areas of his squad and get a back-up plan in place?You need at least two quality players for each position. Jasus, it's not like you're Portsmouth or anything. Given your position and resources, you should have been challenging for the title right up until the last week. Tony Rocky Horror - We DID have two quality players for each position but at the tip of the iceberg a club shouldn't have to legislate for 7 fractures in one season, when the average is 3 per club. That is something you cannot aco**** for. Doesn't take a genius to work that out....or does it?
It was an attitude that I described as girly, a sardonic poke at a particular stance not the fans themselves. In any case its supposed to be healthy to be in touch with your feminine side. There's nothing to retract and nothing to apologise for as far as I'm concerned. You do find some surprisingly delicate little flowers on football forums don't you? :)
Personally, I'm as far from delicate as possible (see repeated posts), but for someone who always say's attack the point not the person you seem to have a lot of trouble following your own advice Amos and come across as high and mighty often.
I'm not sure that you were entirely focussed on the point LG but I dealt with yours in the first sentence of my post. The last sentence was again just a sardonic observation.
I think its because you often come accross as though you were actually part of the Arsenal management. I enjoy the fact you show a different oppinion or come from another point of view, and although you will disagree you act as a firewall to arsenal and that they are untouchable and above any critiscm. No matter how bad Arsenal are or how bad a management decision/tactic is you seem to have a positive swing on it. You will dig up some reason, fact, article to paint arsenal in a good light no matter what. Sometimes this can ne frustrating because on the whole i agree with a lot of what you say
Above was directed at Amos.
A link to ACLF? Won't even go there. It's like posting a link to le-grove. Just as useless. ACLF is the other extreme of Le-grove, not worth the time and effort to click on either. It's impossible to engage in any kind of reasonable debate on either of those blogs.
One point I failed to make yesterday after reading Amos' blog: what he and those who agree with him are basically saying is that without Cesc, Gallas, Vermaelen and RVP - this squad can't handle it. This team just isn't up to winning important games and winning trophies. A squad containing Nasri, Diaby, Almunia/Fabianski, Eboue, Sagna, Clichy, Rosicky, Theo, Eduardo, Vela, Denilson, Bendtner, Song is not capable of winning trophies.
Jaelle, exactly - some individuals have taken their performance up a notch, the team as a whole has gone down. Amos's blinkered views are just a given as far as i'm concerned and it's easy to poke fun at some people who've has LG said shelled out untold emotional & pound note value into following the team this season from the comfort of your own armchair. And "delicate little flower" - another side swipe from the mighty defender of the realm's superior self.
jaelle, I beg to differ. Though as you have rightly pointed out - LG and ACLF are diametrically opposite spectrums of the Arsenal debate there is a distinct lack of quality in the posts of LG. The author of ACLF is a balanced and good analyst. It is the bloggers on ACLF who comment on the articles who are overly positive in all circumstances. The authors of LG are sloppy in their analysis and 80% of the bloggers there seem to be off their rockers!
delta, I'll concede your point, Yogi is ok, certainly a better read than either of the 2 bloggers on Le-grove (both of whom seem to be BNP-type bigots of the highest order). The nonsense that goes on in ACLF is mostly in the comments section. Tho I do think Yogi can be a bit blinkered at times as well, and I find his articles mostly lightweight fluff, and dismissive of real concerns supporters have.
I also wanted to point out that, contrary to Amos' belief that there's nothing at all wrong with our medical set-up, the club certainly believes otherwise as it has been confirmed that there will be a thorough investigation of that set-up with regards to injuries and that steps will be taken to fix whatever problems exist.
I think all this arsenal team needs now is to be bolstered by experienced, even-headed professionals. The facts are, no team can have as many young players as you do and expect consistent performances over four competitions for the whole season. Young players will always have the odd off game. You look at Chelsea, United and Liverpool teams that have finished above you in the last few years and you'll see clubs that either dont have any young players at all or are using them less and less often. As a United fan I'm genuinely worried that some of the talented youngsters in our club will never see the light of day in a united shirt because we simply cannot afford to compete with chelsea whilst suffering the inevitable mistakes young players make. Consistency is the key to the league and young players simply dont have it (luckily the 25 man squad should change this and even the playing field a little). Also, young players will always take defeat badly. Whether its being too down on themselves, blaming each other or refusing to accept any responsibility and blaming everyone else - young players just cannot handle losing properly as that comes with age. Having older players around the camp helps turn these young boys into men by teaching them how to accept responsibility for their own failings and how to pick themselves up and keep fighting. There are also a lot of what I like to call "old boy" tricks that your club is missing out on. Experienced old pros always have sneaky little techniques for wasting time, influencing a ref or putting the opposition off. These marginal actions can be the difference between winning and losing a lot of the time. The old boys will always keep the younger ones in line and generally stop them acting like over paid primadonnas both on and off the pitch.

I know its silly season in the press but the constant rumours surrounding Gallas, Campbell, Silvestre, Almunia and Arshavin moving on would be worrying to me. Whilst you obviously want to improve in some areas getting rid of that much experience in one season would surely only make the problems worse. I think if wenger raises the average age of your squad you will definately win silverware next season.
Also, doesnt it annoy you that you dont take the carling cup seriously? When United hadnt won anything for 3 years, we won the carling cup and fergie and the young players (rooney, ronaldo etc) credited that first taste of silverware with giving them the hunger and desire to win more - which lead to three back to back league titles. Its not a prestigious trophy and is no consolation for not winning the other three trophies - but surely any trophy is better than none? I'd be absolutely shocked if wenger doesnt take it more seriously next season.
Good post tuscan. Your argument about young players does seem to hold true for us. In your case as well, a talented young player like Rafael shows the same attributes as some of our young players. Talent and pace coupled with hotheadedness, petulance and a lack of tactical ability.
The problem I have with that ACLF piece that its goes to the other extreme, and its an automatic assumption that the fans who criticise Wenger, the club and its players want 'galactico' signings, and a complete overhaul of Wenger's policies. Thats simply bull*****. There is a middle ground, a balanced analysis that comprises recognition of the improvements that this squad has made, but also the several criticisms that are justifiably made about this squad and Wenger.
Exactly, ACLF is worth dismissing outright most of the time. Read the first 2 paragraphs this morning, why do you have to be staunch one camp and not the other? Why can't you have views that are nowhere near either the "wenger our" brigrade or the Arsenal Thought Police?
The purpose of the opening two paragraphs in the ACLF 'Time of the season' piece is to set out the two extremes not to argue for one or the other. It then goes on to present a more balanced view, though still a personal one, of where we sit as a club in the order of things somewhere between those points.
The fact Arsenal and Arsene can do no wrong in your eye's means any debate involving a slightly negative spin get's instantly dismissed in a very patronising way by you. Same old same old really Amos. I have a far more balanced view, both positive and negative on all things Arsenal and am very blunt in providing those opinions. ACLF and LeGrove, two websites any blanaced Arsenal fan wouldn't insult there web browser by visiting, the equivolent of the Guardian and The Sun.
Many people have the belief that theirs is the only really objective view of any position. It's always different when you look from someone elses perspective. I can see that others think my views are dismissive of those that aren't prepared to go beyond the surface of a debate and try not just to understand that something is wrong but why it went wrong. But that's fine with me I wouldn't spend anytime here if I was only interested in those that agree with me. I wouldn't dismiss either ACLF or LeGrove. I don't read them slavishly but somethings catch my eye which I can agree with or disagree with on both sites. How would you knopw how balanced your views are if you aren't even prepared to read those that you think you might disagree with?
Out of interest Amos, name me 3 negative things about arsenal which is of the managers/club doing or fault. Something which they have done maybe, handled bady, policies, decisions which you think have been poor.
This season
You mean three decisons that I don't agree with this season I guess? Sounds like a silly game to me but ok I'll play it. 1) I think we should have shut up shop against Stoke in the FAC and gone for a replay at the Emirates instead of going for broke, allowing them to catch us on the break while trying to win it there and then (not sure that was a negative though as the next draws would have been City away - and the Chelsea away if we'd got through that) 2) Wengers team selection has been odd at times as in Walcott starting too many games for one example - he hasn't contributed enough to be anything other than an impact player for me (but he has performed much better in games at the back end of the season so maybe that wasn't a negative either) 3) IF fabianski was used at the end of the season instead of Almunia for anything other than genuine injury reasons then that was a negative decision. One for luck 4) We didn't win a trophy, which is the managers job, so that's a negative - but really just more of a disappointment for those who tried unsuccessfully to do so. It isn't so much about whether you can find flaws or negatives though. We can all do that - we can all find them in hindsight but there is an issue of understanding why those flaws existed, why the mistakes were made and whether the decisions made which led to them were reasonable ones to make before they became apparent. It most cases they are. It doesn't surprise me that the club and its managers and players make mistakes I expect them to - it would surprise me if they didn't.
Amos, I prefer to speak with people who have both critical AND positive things to say about Arsenal. Le Grove isn't called Le Groan for no reason, it's like trying to find a positive article on the online gooner, impossible. The exact opposite is true of ACLF everything is happy clappy and you wonder how many uppers they have had before sitting at their laptops in the morning, I prefer a bit of both and personally that is how I see my views. I don't think Arsenal need a "knight on a trusty steed" to come to their rescue everytime someone says something that isn't in line with their "coporate disney" image the club are so eager (or Orwellian) to transmit. I think this website has quite a balanced view apart from the odd suicidal gooner or the insanely positive like yourself. Give me middle of the road anyday.
...unless you were one of thos estewards thelping to take down the "hostile" banner the other day? ;o)
You'll get run over standing in the middle of the road LG - but don't worry it only looks middle of the road from where your standing. Others will place you somewhere else depending entirely on where they think they're standing.
Still it's always good to have positive and negative things to say. Wouldn't you agree Amos?
Why would you want to make a point just because its positive or just because its negative? It would be far better just to make a good point and let others decide what box their mindset wants to put it into.
A point and opinion are not the same, the conclusion isn't often pre determined it just happens to emerge that way be it positive or negative. "It would be far better just to make a good point and let others decide what box their mindset wants to put it into" You know what Amos, you are so right and how I saw your previous posts was how I commented on them. Cheers.
Exactly LG. Standing where you are you couldn't comment any other way.
Blood out of a stone
You mean you didn't approve of my answers to your question paul? Not positive enough? Too negative maybe? Or were they too positive - not negative enough perhaps? :)
To be honest i didnt really think it through. I knew what i wanted to get out of you, but didnt take enough time to articulate it, though it must be said that even what you gave was not that negative by your own admission. By negative im thinking more along the lines of, it was poor not to bring in another striker when RVP was ruled out for much of the year and Bendtner out for 2 months with not enough confidence in Eduardo. Especially having sold Adebayor. You could argue that we dont do short term solutions or that he knew Chamakh was coming in the summer, but ultimatly how you can you go in to an important part of the season with so few options up front and hope to challenge seems suicidal.
Maybe its not so much that you are too positive but that you refuse to be critical. Even reading the main article above, rather than saying Almunia's blunder at birmingham cost us the win you chose to say fluke goal. Yes their was more than an element of fortune in the way the ball ended up in the net, but Almunia was still at fault.
Why should it matter whether what I said was negative or positive? I don't set out to be one thing or the other - the point is either reasonable or it isn't. As for whether we should have got another striker in that discussion has taken place many times before and there are arguments from many sides making both a critical and justifiable case. I could have pointed out in the article that Arshavins miss in the B'ham game cost us the win. Would I have been positive or negative in doing so - or was I refusing to be critical by not pointing it out at all? Some people have a compelling need to put a label on everything and as a consequence lose sight of the real point of the debate/discussion.
What justifiable case was their for not brininging a striker in when RVP is out until april, Bendtner for 2 months having sold Adebayor and ovbiously not trusting Eduardo enough. You could say that a player might need a settling in period etc, but surely a gamble was worth taking at the expense of playing players out of position and hoping for the best. The content you choose to put in your article is up to you, but once you have decided to mention that goal you decided to go with fluke rather than almunia cock up. Its a choice to feel hard done by, or not getting the rub of the green rather than be critical of the keeper. Dont get me wrong by any means, i am certainly dont look at the glass as half empty. I am much more positive than most around me and i am forever defending my team, justifying certain things and setting people right. Too many people i know talk absolute rubbish and have no understanding of the game. But i am not afraid to say when i think the club is wrong. I admit i am not the best when it comes to writing my points down, i am much better talking than writing and somtimes when i re read what i have written it has not come out at all how i wanted i to. Overall i like your approach, it is well thought out, you have a good vocabulary but still too protective of the club. Maybe a bit like a politician, never quite getting the answer you want and making things seem better than they are.
There's not much point going over the whole striker debate again paul suffice to say that having got into the position they were in and knowing Bendtner was back before the January window closed almost anyone we brought in would have sat on the bench most of the time. Whether you agree with the decision or not it can be understood. I didn't describe the Almunia cock-up as a cock-up because I didn't see it as one. I saw it as a fluke goal. I suppose I could have pandered to those who insist on seeing everything Almunia does as a mistake but that's all I would have been doing - just pandering to them. In any case the articles have comments sections which allows you and others to tell me, or any other writer, where I'm wrong. I'm not over protective of the club. They don't need my protection. The club is one of the best in the world. It challenges for trophies every year has one of the best club stadiums and facilities, a top team with great players and is in rude financial health. It stands to reason that they must be getting more right than wrong so consequently there is more reason to, and likelyhood of agreeing with what they are doing than to disagree.
There you go Amos, going right to the extreme, not all people see everything Almunia does as a mistake, it's a limited set of ignorant people that think that, not most.
Did I say all people see Almunia that way - or even most people? Yours was the extreme conclusion. It's just completely pointless sniping from you shewore.
You were insinuating Ownz does to be fair.
Which i dont by the way, although has mase far too many errors for a top club and has been at fault a number of times this season

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