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How Long Do We Wait Before Having 'The Talk'?

Having a forced week away from Vital Arsenal left me hoping that upon my return I`ve be back to find a whole host of happy Gooners after our beloved Arsenal strung a nice run of results together after our humiliating 8-2 defeat at Old Trafford.

To be fair we threatened to do it too. A grinding result against Swansea, whilst not being exactly what we expected, 3 points won and we were away. A massive result in Dortmund, marred only slightly by a late spectacular equaliser that robbed us of what would have been an amazing win.

Unfortunately it wasn`t to last.

Conceding 4 goals away to Blackburn, in my opinion is at least as bad as, if not worse than, conceding 8 at Old Trafford. Against the Mancs we had massive injuries and key players missing against the Champions of England, at Blackburn, we weren`t far off full strength, against the bottom of the league side that offered very little in the way of an attack.

The players looked lost.

Let`s be fair, these are good players, maybe not as many world class players as we would like, but good players nonetheless. Players good enough to beat 80% of the teams in our league, at a guess. So why are we struggling so much?

A time has to come when we look at the manager.

Make no mistake, this is not an opinion I`m taking lightly, nor do I take any pleasure in my feelings unlike other sites and bloggers who seem to take some kind of "credit" for being proved right. I don`t like it, I don`t want to think it, in fact I feel dirty everytime the thought crosses my mind.

Arsene Wenger is the single greatest thing to happen to Arsenal Football Club, what he`s done and achieved will never be repeated and his legacy will last forever, however has the time come for us to try something new?

After the 8-2 loss against United, a few Arsenal players confirmed that nothing was said after the game, indeed it seems as though of late Wenger doesn`t offer any sage council during matches at all. I can`t even remember the last time I saw Wenger barking instructions from the touchlines. Of course the TV companies take great pleasure in broadcasting Wenger cutting a frustrated figure in the dugout, wanging bottles around whilst Pat Rice ducks and weaves to avoid the debris.

Since the devastating loss in the Carling Cup final, we`ve won a grand total of four out of our last 15 league games. There is only three teams with a worse record. Make no mistake, this is relegation form.

Can Wenger turn this around? I`m not so sure anymore.

Taboo subjects are often left untouched for a long time, with people feeling too uncomfortable to bring them up, but surely a time has to come when "that" talk needs to be had.

Is that time now? Can we afford to wait till the end of the season?

I don`t have any answers to my questions, just a very uneasy feeling in my stomach that no matter what we do, it`s going to feel like the wrong thing.




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The Journalist

Writer: Rocky7 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday September 20 2011

Time: 10:15AM

Your Comments

Ultimately, the manager has to take the flack. Everybody's tried to have their little voodoo dolls. But Almunia, Diaby, Squillaci, Denilson, Bendtner and Eboue have either been sold or are MIA and the results persist. All sorts of ideas are being tossed around- sack the board, get a defensive coach, get a new assistant, change the captain. Ultimately, what's apparent is that the manager can't get inside his players' heads at the moment. This has been a long old slump now. We've had results in that time that you felt should have been building blocks. But they ruin their good work by cocking the gun and sticking it squarely at their temple again. The propensity to suicide is what is truly alarming. That's a problem of mentality and one the manager hasn't been able to solve for 7 months now. I don't know what the answer is, but one man has to find it and quickly.
Little Dutch
You see I've blocked out opinion of certain blogging sites over the past couple of years, it was easy to do, but when my own feelings and the feelings of sensible football fans like youself and Professor Calculous have slowly but surely been erroded away then it really makes me worry. This most certainly isn't a knee jerk reaction, at least on my part, it's been a gradual thing. I hate that it's come to this, Wenger doesn't deserve it.
Rocky7
Wenger has shown that he is incapable of brining this team any further. His results since March, if they had been in a single season and not broken by the summer break, would be enough to get him sacked. He is massively underperforming and he cannot seem to do anything to change it. It is now at the stage where the problem has gone past Wenger and moved onto board level. They are the ones that have the difficult decision to make, not Wenger. I honeslty believe that when a manager (in football or in business) loses his people to this extent then there is sadly no going back. Its a terrible and sad end for a great manager but the longer teh board allow it to go on the greater the damage to the club and the sadder it will be for Wenger. Beyond league position, results and arguements about who we should have signed or sold the decent thing for the board to do is sack Wenger.
galwaygooner
While I agree that AW has underperformed since March this year it would be folly if the Board ask him to leave right now. Every player in the current first team has been brought to the club by AW, the training they receive is decided by him and the formation and tactics the team employs is down to him. If AW is asked to leave now, the vaccum in terms of player confidence, direction and motivation will be too great to fill and our results have a higher chance of suffering even further as there is no transfer window for a new manager to buy/ sell who he likes. At the end of the season if/ when we have failed to secure a top 4 place in the league, AW's position should be reviewed.
Deltaforce
"The training they receive is decided by him and the formation and tactics the team employs is down to him." - Some might believe that's part of the problem.
Rocky7
Yes Rocky, that may be part of the problem but I dont think the club will benefit from a new manager changing the system when we are already in a precarious position. You would agree that a new formation, new tactics and a new training regime with our current team would need time to implement - its time we dont have.
Deltaforce
The counter argument to the that DF is that new manager syndrome can sometimes work, take Roy Hodgson at WBA last term for instance, the flipside being Shearer or Dowie taking over at Hull and Newcastle. I wouldnt trust this board to appoint the right person so no doubts for me that he stays, the worst that can happen is we miss out on CL football for the 1st time in 14 years.
iceman10
There has to come a point though when enough is enough. One might scoff at the mention of relegation, but our form would leave us in a relegation battle over the last half season or so. I bet Leeds fans never believed it could happen, but it can. Bolton up next who love taking points off us, and then Spurs. this could get uglier before we start to climb the table. I'm not saying we're going to get relegated, but we can't just assume we're going to pull ourselves out of the *****.
Rocky7
Regarding changing the manager we need to ask ourselves do we think that Wenger can make things better and if not are we happy with the way we are now? If we dont think he can improve things then it is a question of if we are happy with the level of performance as is. If we are not and we dont think that Wenger can improve things then the sooner we make the change the better. I dont agree that the worst that can happen is missing out on 4th place. We can miss out on Europe all together and we then enter next summer with two big players (VanP and Theo) in a similar situation to Nasri was this summer. The change, should it be made, should be made sooner rather than later.
galwaygooner
and us Spurs fans are supposed to be fickle? There is no way Arsenal should sack Wenger. You're not going to get relegated. You'll miss Europe for a season or two. The ludicrous elements of the current financial market place have resulted in you having the guts ripped out of your midfield at the last moment, but as soon as the Financial Fair Play rules come into effect, those who attempt to buy success will discover their wallet has been stolen. What happened this summer was that you were forced into last minute panic buys and a criticism of Wenger is that he denied the inevitable and failed to act. It was obviously Fabregas was going for 2-3 years but why was no potential replacement purchased? If you look at the Manchester clubs they did their business early on in the summer, not at the last moment. And why did you release Thomas Cruise? Whilst he would never be a regular he'd give depth to your squad rather than have players played out of position. Regretably if you retain Wenger, I see you finishing in the top half again before being back in Champions League contention in 2012-13. After 15 years of comparative success, a poor start in the season, as you structure to restructive your team in the short term in no way warrants a ridiculous knee-jerk reaction.
kernowboy71
Indecision and lack of action has always come back to haunt this club during the Emirates era. It's as if the old, winning Arsenal used everything it had to get us over the line into a new stadium, then it died. I would give Wenger until Christmas, we have good players and he's not getting anywhere near the best out of them. The club cannot be paralysed by fear and opt to do nothing, they have to look at the reality of our results and performances. Wenger himself has always wanted to be judged on results, well let's do that. By Christmas if the pattern is not convincingly broken then we have to get a new manager, perhaps not a long term one but someone who can break this self destructive pattern and basically keep us in the PL. Hopefully it won't come to that and perhaps by December Wenger will remind us what a great manager he is but I just don't think he gets it. Every opportunity to change things he passes. The start of this season is a direct link to this summer of inaction which is a direct link to the form of last season. Not one opportunity was taken with even mild conviction.
Professor Calculus
LD - getting rid of Eboue or Denilson was nothing to do with arresting this long term slide, it's cheeky of you to suggest so. They were sold or loaned because they were crap, plain and simple. I don't think anyone thought that we would win the CL because they aren't playing for us anymore, but to try and use that as a stick to beat people with is completely off base. They were got rid of because they were, quite frankly wildly overpaid and completely useless, no other hidden reasons I'm sure.
LondonGooner
@kernowboy71. You do know about Forest and Leeds right? People just saying "you won't get relegated" doesn't change reality. What is this assessment based on? Not facts. The fact is we have been in relegation form for half a season. If Spurs had kept Ramos where would you be today? No one would think that could happen to Wenger's Arsenal but it has, he is trapped in a Ramos nighmare. All I'm saying is that if things don't change then Wenger has lost the players and won't be able to get them playing. We will have no choice but to get someone in, short term if necessary, to kick their asses into gear.
Professor Calculus
kernowboy71 - Do you not think that 30 odd games of complete disaster isn't the time to even consider a change in management? Maybe push Wenger upstairs and get in someone younger and hungrier with fresh ideas? This team is weaker than the sum of it's parts and most other 'top' managers (I think we'd all agree) would be getting far more out of them than Wenger is. How long is long enough? The question has to be asked, because for a club like ours, a season without CL football will be a disaster, we have enough trouble attracting players as it is and that's with CL football. Without it we will struggle to attract any sort of top level players. Look at our signings this summer, Arteta and Mertesacker only joined late because we had confirmed CL football, without it, we wouldn't of seen them in an Arsenal shirt (Arteta said as much upon joining us). One bad season it maybe, but the future ramifications could be long term disaster. How much worse could a new manager actually do, considering the complete **** up Wenger's currently making of this team?
LondonGooner
LG, I didn't suggest that. But you can't deny people have chosen to pin all of Arsenal's ills on one unpopular player or another at one time? You go to enough games to hear it all the time. Walcott trips over the ball and everyone bites their tongue and saves their venom up for when Denilson gives it away, then he takes all that pent up frustration. It's just the way football supporters, sadly, seem to operate these days. What I'm saying is that the victimisation of individuals has been exposed as folly in our case. It's clearly a collective problem and always was.
Little Dutch
LOL... that is all! ;o) Hey, sack Wenger, go for Martin O'Neill, you'd love his football, honest!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Fear
I wouldn't say it was folly, it's only folly if you're a complete idiot and do actually, as you say LD, pin all of Arsenal's ills on one unpopular player, which I think is you playing devil's advocate somewhat. So, a lot of people thought Denilson/Eboue/Almunia were pony, they weren't saying they were the SOUL reason for us not playing well, and if they were, well they're clueless...they were just *****e players that were not on the level that we should be playing at.
shewore
You sack Wenger, things would get much much worse. You didn't spend the money needed, you lost your best players. Your club is in a big transitional period. Under Wenger, with the technically gifted players you have you will not finish any worse than 7th, under Wenger. You will beat many teams comfortably under the brand of football Wenger plays. Only reason you didn't demolish Blackburn was the woeful defending which needs to be addressed.
asherthesmasher
I agree the crowd have their favourites, personally speaking I'll be just as upset or happy if a mistake or a good piece of play was actioned by Denilson OR Gibbs (for example) They all wear the same shirt. I genuinely don't think anyone could be stupid enough to believe that we would go on some winning spree without the aforementioned whipping boys, no matter how poor they maybe.
LondonGooner
""The training they receive is decided by him and the formation and tactics the team employs is down to him." - Some might believe that's part of the problem."--Wasn't an issue for the first X years of his Arsenal career when his training, tactics and formations made him the most successful manager in the club's history.

It's been a bad start to the season, and a bad run of fifteen games. There are various reasons/excuses (take your pick) for this, but ultimately, we still haven't seen the best from this squad of players yet and they need a chance to build momentum after a poor start.
damiano_tommassi
Damiano, of course it wasn't a problem then, what's your point?
shewore
damiano_tommassi - So what your saying is that Wenger hasn't moved with the times and kept up with other coaches and managers in his methods? Do you not think it is essential for any manager, let alone one earning in excess of £6 million a year to "atleast get with the times"? Also it's actually been a bad run of over 26 games almost double your stated amount.
LondonGooner
It’s all a bit bonkers right now but at least it’s exciting. I was around during the mid to late seventies when we were struggling against relegation and were poor – I mean really poor. On Saturday though I thought we played well against Blackburn, particularly the first half and based on that I can’t see us fighting relegation this year. We have the creative ability demonstrated by six goals scored in the last three league games, five of them away from home. Wenger has blamed the players for the defeat saying that we gave the game away rather than lose it and that players have to look at themselves. Absolutely they do. They seem to be in a mental stupor at the moment illustrated by Song and Kos when they watched the ball bounce off them and trickle into their own net. The body language of the two players was as if it were pre-ordained that disaster would befall them and well, there it is. But they only need to clear their heads and look at the potential in the team and stop feeling sorry for themselves. When they do we’ll start to get the same good fortune that ManUre enjoy every week. So should Wenger go? No, not yet, his job right now is to help change the mindset by employing a little more pragmatism.
Sir Henry
The buck stops with the manager simple as that. The crop of players we have is much better than our recent form indicates and thats down to tactics and training. I dont think a loss of confidence is the proplem unless it's lack of confidence in the manager that is bothering the players. More and more of the noice coming from players old and new seems to be around the training. Wengers own words we dont look at the oppesition but consentrate on our own game. A good general studies the enemy and so do all other football coaches that are at the top. Secondly our defensive training and preperation has been wanting for some time. How do you explain the inability to deal with set pieces year on year othervice. I don't want Wenger humiliated I just want him out and sooner the better. Do people really think that his position will be ateneble come may if Arsenal are not in europe? All his good work from years gone by will be over shadowed by failiure and that would be unfair but thats just how life is. It would be better for everyone IMO if he left before January and a replacement in place who could bring in players in the window to make a run at the 4 spot if we are still in position to do so. But if by some miracle he can turn it around and kick start the team then the doupts will always be there unless he has a total change in how he approches transfers, experienced players and training.
Armory
Sir Henry, do you not believe this was something he should of done last season as well (during the terrible run from Newcastle away to Fulham away at the end)? If he couldn't do it then, why should now be any different? The same players making the same mistakes is one thing, but now new players are as well and the only common link is a manager failing to do what he is extremely well rewarded to do.
LondonGooner
Wenger is a genius, but there is a fine line between genius and insanity. As a Spurs fan, I have to say I have watched in admiration the football Wenger has cultivated over the last 15 years, but he does seem to be losing the plot. His stubborness may ultimately lead to his downfall. The difference between Wenger and Fergie is Fergie has adapted better over the years, Wenger has ignored the obvious and tried to do thing his own way, which when it has not worked, he is too blinded to admit he was wrong. When Fergie has needed a striker, he has gone and bought one, same for defender, he has now got Jones and Smalling who look like the defence for the next 10 years. Wenger needed a defender with Prem experience, he could have got Cahill, Samba, Dann, Shawcross,Jagielka. Instead he got Metesaker, who not doubting his international quality,still has to find his feet in the Prem. I will be sad to see Wenger sacked, he has elevated English football to a new level. The next question is who is good enough to replace him?
vicspur
Shewore - LG - What I'm saying is that when I hear people say that 'Wenger isn't a good manager / doesn't do tactics / doesn't say enough at half-time / doesn't motivate / doesn't buy good players / tactics are wrong / training is wrong', or that the team 'needs British-ness' etc. (insert your own, too-often-repeated cliches in there), it's at odds with the truth. Which is that for the first 90% of his time at Arsenal, no-one had an issue; but after a bad run the knives come out. It's so short-term and short-sighted it makes my p1ss boil.
damiano_tommassi
I think that short termism thing may be valid after a few games but this is pretty much since March now. The point i'm making is that him being great in 98-2005 is not a point at all. I really want him to turn it around, I really do, and i'd definitely give him this season but the players really don't appear motivated anymore, just scared....
shewore
I think you overestimate people's intentions. Guy down from me for instance, only ever opens his mouth when Chamkh is on the ball. You must've heard hundreds like him, I know I have. Don't say a thing until their little hobby horse is involved. That's what I'm getting at and I think that clearly has been exposed. Largely, who in the team that played Blackburn has come in for prolonged stick from the crowd? Nobody really, yet the same stupid errors persisted.
Little Dutch
That is the way football is and always has been. Forget all this "oh football's not what it used to be". Busby, Shankly, Ferguson and Kendell came under fire and some lost their jobs after a crap run of form, why should the bossman be any different? I don't think Shewore and I were being unreasonable in saying how many bad results is one too many?
LondonGooner
damiano Clough was a brilliant manager in his prime, problebly in the top 3 in eourope in his prime. but in the end noone will argue he had lost his mojo. being good 5 otr 10 years ago does not guaranty you that you will be good to day. The point is and people can point this out to you until their p1ss boils we keep doing the same mistakes not game after game but year after year. Look at our defensive play, we constantly do the same mistakes year on year. it was only when Campell was at his best I felt confidend when we where dealing with set pices. Same for picking up the runners and ditto with positional play. thats something you train people to do and if the proplem continues with different personell then you are not training them properly.
Armory
It's a fair question LG, and I suppose everyone has a different answer. Past success doesn't qualify you for a current job, so the fact Wenger did well in the past shouldn't make him 'un-sackable', but I would encourage you to have a little more patience. From my point of view, last season wasn't all that bad - and given how this season's started, who wouldn't take that this year! - and this season we've had the guts of our first-team ripped out with the loss of CF and SN and started the first few games with some poor results. That's all. The players that good or great last year are still good players - a bad run and a bad squad are not the same thing.
damiano_tommassi
Armory, I understand the frustration at conceding goals the same way for 2/3 years, and it is very annoying that goals seem to be conceded in the same way, regularly. Statistically though, Arsenal didn't concede many goals last year. Only the three clubs above us conceded fewer. So a problem exists (especially this season so far), but is it really as big as it's made out to be? Last year the talk was that Arsenal concede far too many goals and the defence is rubbish - when they conceded 6 more league goals than United over the course of a season. So, were we 6 goals different or 'they're fantastic and Arsenal are terrible'? We all want better results, but it's not helpful to over-react.
damiano_tommassi
Is this an Arsenal site? I had to look twice at the top to see if I was on the Arsenal site. Change the manager and we will slide into relegation. this club is being knocked by all and sundry. Media are head hunting and now a site I respect is doing the same. Review re watch the Blackburn game. Was it all so terrible? FFS hes had these new players (5) of them for a matter of weeks. How many times have they played together? Some are saying his previous history doesn't count, yet you use history of last seasons games to run him down. We were on the brink of a possible win in four pieces of silver. So we missed out; did injuries play a part? Did we have the best combinations to win those games? Is it a run of Bad luck? IMHO yes, injuries have been a curse for us. Three players have suffered broken legs, all when their careers were just starting to bear fruit. Look at the players out at Manure? What is the point; destroy this manager by all means and we will pay a terrible price. Rocky i have to say this i am so disappointed in article because I had faith in you. Hey but who am I the experts on here know best.
alwaysgunner
LD - No I hear you, there's several like hat round me. Me, I just slate all of 'em! lol Seriously though it is a useful way of slapping those people down, I just cannot believe that there's fans who believe Denilson or Eboue has cost us trophies, maybe I am (as you say) overestimating peoples ignorance. Most Gooners I know right now are quite confused as to what needs to happen, then when I jump online everyone seems to have the answer, myself included. I think the wait and see scenario will play out and we'll know soon enough if Arsenal will continue to prosper under Wenger. I would just like to know when WE will know......
LondonGooner
damiano_tommassi - Is it the squad and players that people are blaming though mate? Or is it the manger they think is the weak link. I have no doubts right now that somone like Mourinho/Ferguson/Hiddink would be getting more from this group of players than Wenger is. Question is, can he turn it around or has his time passed now?
LondonGooner
ag, Rocky has dared to come out publicly with thoughts many of us AW supporters have been dealing with recently. So just STOP scolding anyone who dares to air them. Sorry but you lose all crediblity when all you can offer is just "bad luck" to explain the absolute consistency of this team's failings that have persisted for years now. I immediately dismiss anyone who offers such a pathetic "analysis". The simple fact is that these thoughts have now entered the heads of many diehard Wenger supporters - people who know how to have perspective, reasonable, rational fans. And it's fair to debate them. Just stop this kneejerk mindless worship of a manager who critical examination - that's all, just examination, questioning. Not out and out campaigning for his ouster.
jaelle
LG, it seems to me that most people/media are blaming both. The players are apparently 'not good enough', and of course 'that's the manager's fault'. Conversely, I remember in the build-up to the United game, Redknapp and Neville talking about how "Arsenal are one or two players away from winning the title".
You have no doubt that those managers would be doing better? I disagree on that one. I think the style of football is too far removed; Mourinho and Fergie get results by building teams that snarl at and kick people; Wenger's team and players want to win football games without acting like scum (obviously that doesn't always work). Mourinho's teams always play ugly, powerful football - and you can't get that out of the relatively shorter/lighter players in our squad.
It can be turned around, and as long as no-one does anything silly (basically, as long as our manager remains) it will be turned around in time. Just might take a couple of months for the confidence to return.
damiano_tommassi
Prior to the Blackburn game, I remember seeing a statistic somewhere which suggested that Blackburn were to get the 3 points it would be Arsenal's 100th away defeat in the premiership.Needless to say my heart skipped a beat.Glad we got that out of the way then:). Seriously though,for Gazidis to feel the need to parrot the security of Wenger's job to all and sundry says it all.I have long asserted that Wenger is not the most tactically astute of the football management fraternity.Additionally,for me his motivational abilities are woefully inadequate.Even when the Invinsibles were tearing teams apart,it wasn't because Wenger was at his motivational best,NOO,it was because we had the likes of PV4,TH14.SC23 and JL1,who were born winners and knew what it meant to play for AFC. For me,if you are going to disassemble a great team of born winners,you do not replace them with technically gifted whingers and bottlers and throw in a few brittle inconsistent frenchmen and inept brazilians as well as a totally incompetent fourth rate goalie and tell the whole world that they are world beaters!!!.That has been Wenger's downfall and I for one am grateful for all he has done for AFC,but come January,if we are not near enough to the top8 and delivering consistent results,I fear he would have lost the majority of fans and would have to have his P45 dispatched to him."A blow which is inevitably yours,earlier encountered extricates one from much worse eventualities".125 years of AFC has to count for something.At least he will always be eulogised at the club, along another managerial great Herbert Chapman won't he???????
GHGooner
Damiano its not the number of goals it's the manner they conceded. if we had cut out the repeating mistakes 2 or 3 years ago we would already have some silverware but it was NOT delt with and thats totally unacsepteble. how many times did we loose poinnts against teams like Stoke et al due to inability to defend against them? And Utd had to play the same Stokes and Boltons and Blackburns etc etc but where much more able to deal with it. take the points lost against teams that beat us like that and add it to our total and see what you get.
Armory
I feel Wenger isn't completely out of ideas and I will go so far as to say I believe he could lead a resurgence, taking our team back to the land of silver. BUT and it is a giant BUT, I feel he has been given too much rope with which to hang himself. It would appear no one at the club has the testicular fortitude or authority to hold him accountable for his obvious blindspots. No man can be great at everything. Wenger is a great manager. He NEEDS someone to tell him when he is wrong tactically or when he is overestimating players abilities. He NEEDS someone to go in turn his collection of good defenders into a well oiled and effective defensive unit. The players have changed, the problems have not. The issue must then be what is done on the training ground and on the white board. He has tried to play barca style football on a shoestring budget to no avail. He must now build an effective strategy and system based on what AFC can support. It can be done, the question is really only whether or not he is capable of swallowing his pride and doing it. If not he must go.
smithdj74
jaelle, I think AG offered more than 'bad luck' as reason for our relative lack of success. it is a factor though. What's the difference between a shot striking the woodwork and a shot going in (and which team hits the woodwork more than any other)? How much damage is caused (physically and mentally) when three players have their legs broken? How often is a player sent-off in a massive CL game for striking the ball after the whistle? Luck and form can make a massive difference.
damiano_tommassi
Great quote from the Guardian in response to Gazidis recent statement on Wenger not getting sacked ***Most sensible people have to agree that operating within your means is a sound policy. What few people understand, however, is why running a tight financial ship has to mean having a shambolic defence***
LondonGooner
Armory - so, if we didn't concede goals from set-pieces but conceded precisely as many from other routes, you'd be happy? Because it's unrealistic to expect a football team to concede zero goals in a season.

Smith - "He has tried to play barca style football on a shoestring budget to no avail" - an opinion that I'm sure a lot of people share. I'm not one of them. last season we were within inches of winning the carling cup, knocking out the eventual winners of the CL, had a run in the FA cup and challenged for the lead until the last few games of the season.
damiano_tommassi
Your point about United having to play the same sorts of teams and not giving up the points we have is a good one, Armory. The difference is Ferguson is a great coach and Wenger is a great manager. Slightly different skill sets. Coaches are interested in the future but focused on the here and now. Ferguson's teams have not always had stellar quality but they were consistent. Does anyone really believe the United squad of 10/11 was THAT much better than ours? I don't. They were very well drilled and while often dull they were effective. This year they have added a couple more players and seem to be playing some quite enjoyable, and still effective football. If they have injuries or a rough patch I guarantee they will revert to just the basics though. Don't concede. Kick, bite, and scratch for every point. Wenger's plan is to play the same way regardless of the talent on hand, or the opposition of the day. He honestly believes if you just keep playing that way the results will come but that simply isn't true.
smithdj74
damiano_tommassi - I don't think anyone will accuse Arsenal of being a lucky team mate!! lol
LondonGooner
As for my view on this question-I know I'm not alone in saying that this is a very difficult issue for me. The Blackburn game infuriated me more than any other humiliation or defeat we've suffered in the post-Invincibles era. It was the first time I firmly, definitely, clearly thought: "that's it, I've had enuf. It's painful to say this, but Arsene needs to go." The fact that the same old problems appear with even totally new players (experienced veterans) is telling. I honestly wonder if even if we had Vidic and Maldini in his prime our results would be the same. I've been saying for months now that far too much attention is paid to signings, that our problems go much much deeper. LD is spot-on when he says that fans keep scapegoating invidividuals--yet the same issues persist even in their absence. For me it truly looks like our problems are structural, fundamental-irrelevant of individuals. These are thoughts I don't want to have but I cannot avoid thinking about the many observations I've heard from former players, journos, etc. who know Arsene and his coaching set-up intimiately (for years, since his arrival in England). Things like the fact that he has not changed his set-up in 15 yrs. Quotes from former players that reveal our training is not very intense like it is at Man City. Cesc and other former players saying at Arsenal they spend little to no time studying the opposition. Quotes that reveal that at Arsenal young players like Traore have no guidance as to what they did well or poorly since no one tells them because Arsene's philosophy is for players to learn all by themselves. Arsene's evident disregard for young players to develop alongside elder veterans. Quotes from Arsene himself in response to the team's defensive frailties that show he hasn't spent much time training his team on those areas--last season (or maybe the season before) when he mentioned our set piece issues he amazingly said something like "that's easy to fix" - as if it wasn't something he spent much time on. His tactical weaknesses. Wasting talented players out of their position for years. And finally-a consistent inability to instill cohesion and maturity into this team. Not that we've never shown it-it just never lasts. Last season we showed fantastic performances in which collective disciplined pressing brought us success, notably against Chelsea. We also went on a very good defensive run last season-which for a time had me wondering if we'd finally turned a corner on that part of our game. But it never lasts. Inevitably the team collapses and shows incredible mental frailty, laziness, complacency, disorganization, lack of communication. Last season we had no excuses-we had a comparatively easy time of it injury-wise and our rivals were not impressive. In fact I loudly proclaimed to anyone who'd listen that for awhile there we were without doubt the best team in the PL. So I simply can no longer dismiss any arguments pointing fingers at the manager. Doesn't mean I'm calling for him to go right now because that would indeed be stupid. But-assuming the season plays out with little changing-I think next summer I'll be among those saying it's time for Arsene to go. I think he's stood still while the game has passed him by. Something about the whole team set-up and management feels stale. And it feels very much like the end of the Graham era. Mind you, that doesn't mean I think we'll automatically be so much better once he goes. It'll be a big risk to let him go-we might indeed become a mid-table team, maybe even lower, who knows. But the fact is that Arsene (if he doesn't change) is bringing us to that point anyway. Yes I understand our financial limits restrict our success. But it doesn't take billions of pounds to build a team that can defend against Blackburn.
jaelle
damiano-I can only shake my head in amazement at your response. Seriously? All you can talk about are referees and injuries? Shots hitting the woodwork??? Seriously?? That's it? That's all you've seen these last 5 yrs? I truly have no words to even begin to respond to you. Your argument beggars belief.
jaelle
Fergie doesn't really do the coaching - he has employed a succession of different coaches over the years. Wenger essentially does all the coaching. But while it is possible that a very special coach can coach the team sufficiently to outperform Chelsea and Man City who are willing and able to buy the players they want and pay them wages that Arsenal cannot match the chances are that that coach will have been snapped up by the big spending clubs anyway. Nobody should ever argue against the proposition that we should get rid of our manager at any time if we can replace him with someone better. There should never be a time when we would not want to - but getting rid of the manager is the easiest part. Whoever comes in with the same resources (but maybe not the same skillset to generate those resources in the future) will face the same problems that exist now.
Amos.
jaelle, I have plenty more that I could say, but in response to you saying: "Sorry but you lose all crediblity when all you can offer is just "bad luck" to explain the absolute consistency of this team's failings that have persisted for years now." More than 'luck was offered, and I was expanding on what 'luck' means to me. It is a valid variable in the football world.
damiano_tommassi
I don’t subscribe to the mantra that we’ve had out midfield ripped out because Nasri gave us three good months at best and Cesc spent a fair amount of last season injured. So we achieved what we did last season with the likes of Jack, Song, an underachieving Nasri and Cesc every now and again. Arteta is as good as Nasri if not better so offensively we are a not far off last season, especially with Gervinho. With potential like this I refuse to panic. We have a decent squad of players and I think we can recover the season. On this basis Wenger should stay and sort it out because when I alluded to the seventies earlier I was trying to illustrate how bad things have been in the past and how dire a relegation team is. But this is a decent Wenger team so getting rid of him at this point will not help. This current “crisis” has a simple solution the hard bit is for Wenger and the players to acknowledge it
Sir Henry
Spot on jaelle.Truly spot on
GHGooner
a little correction to your article; since the carling cup final, we have only won 3 games (blackpool, mu & swansea) out of 16. we could not point the trouble to injuries because it is part & parcel of the game and all teams have the same problem. like i mentioned before, i think we get more injuries because of our tactics require the players to cover more ground due to short passing & more sudden burst of sprint to defense when the opponent hit us with long ball counter attacks. most of our injuries were not inflicted by physical challenges but due muscle strain.
Joe_@**
Rocky, you have echoed what has been going on in my mind for weeks now. As one of Arsene Wenger's most vociferous supporters, I have gone through every excuse for this dreadful run since the CC Final, wanting to lay the blame at more convenient targets- players, bad luck, injuries, refereeing, UEFA, the stadium, Wenger's theory of "financial doping," the list goes on. But as each new depth has been plumbed, my gaze has lately turned reluctantly, unhappily on the man standing on the side lines. Has the great man lost his way? Has he been too rigidly wed to a philosophy that has tried to "stand its ground" against the onslaught of massive money investments from abroad and the surge in player power? At the moment, I can't help but have the image of King Cnut in my mind. Tough questions do need to be asked now, of the man at the centre of all this maelstrom. That being said, I look back to the highpoints such as May 2004 and reaching the 2006 CL Final in Paris, and I have come to the conclusion: I CANNOT and WILL NOT ask for Arsene Wenger to be sacked. If Le Boss no longer has the answers, then he has earned the right to take the decision himself, not for his illustrious era to end in ignominious sacking. At any rate, I think losing Wenger now will only make things worse, not better.
julieloveshenry4ever
new to the forum....long, long time reader....times are tough but I just wanted to bring up an idea for all to chew on..... what about if we hired a new coach to work with the players like Ray Wilkins? I know he was with Chel$ea but it has been obvious the effect he had on the team...maybe moreso than the manager....Wenger stays to influence the style of play, but Wilkins works "in the trenches" with the players, mentally, motivationally, etc.... just an idea....
Arsenal_Style
Arsene deserves until the end of the season... it's ridiculous to even think of sacking him at this stage. We have had big changes to our squad and we will need more time for players to gel so the fans need to show more patience. Anyway we're back..we've tamed the mighty shrews (",)
bowiecokemirror
There are reports that a defensive coach could be appointed, but the Guardian states that Wenger does not want any additions to his coaching set up. Don't really know what to believe, but a change surely cannot hurt? Its better to get in a defensive coach if it stops us conceding 4 goals against Blackburn! As for Wenger's future, I also have been disheartened at the backward steps taken by this club over the past 6 months, but I would postpone judgment on this till December. If we are nowhere near the top 4 in December, then it might be time for a change in manager. I don't think that this team will be relegated - the offensive quality is there, and the team attacked well against Blackburn. It will take time for this back 5 to gel together as a unit, but we do need to make some change.
prits
jaelle I am so very sorry how dare I express an opinion. You the knowall of football oh dare I scold everyone you bloody twit. If saying I am disappointed is scolding some dont come near me if I blow. Its because I respect someone I use the words disappoint. You you jumped up expert I have zero zero respect. If my opinions hurt your knickers untwist them. I support this team and have been doing so for over 65 years and will do so till they box me up. I support the manager because I respect his ability which is far far greater than yours. It was no so far back that there were cries on this site that we keep the boss forever. I get p@##ed off with all and sundrey asking for his head, and in my opinion(my opinion) when times seem against us we stick together. We used to have a name as lucky lucky Arsenal. If your so much in love with Rocky and my comments upset you sweetheart I am so sorry. FFS marry him. And I will until I am stopped keep expressing "my pathetic analysis" Suggest you stop sniffing your own poo as its not perfume. arssenal scold
alwaysgunner
Sack Wenger? Really? Who exactly do you think could do a better job right now? After 5 games the thought is nonsense. I thought we as Arsenal fans were better than the usual "he's got to go" screamers. It wasn't long ago that fans in Manchester were calling 5live saying "time for fergie to go."
deaduncleted
Wenger's comments after the game suggest that he does not like the idea of another defensive coach. If the defence does not improve quickly, it will continue to be down to him. Let's hope that the back 5 works together more effectively, but any game that this side plays now is losable.
prits
I think what Wenger doesn't like is spotty teenagers on the internet and clueless journalists trying to tell him (after "30 years of coaching") how to coach a football team, by suggesting he get a defensive coach.
damiano_tommassi
damiano_tommassi - and if the same mistakes and problems keep occuring then it will be proven that spotty teenagers knew better than Wenger, or atleast were willing to learn.
LondonGooner
Arsenal have plenty of defensive input at the club. Primorac, Rice, Banfield, Bould and Wenger himself were all defenders schooled in the art. Arsenal don't play in a style that defensively focussed coaches would approve of but in any case it's not very hard to be defensively more solid - just difficult to do so while also being offensively effective. It'll come when we get the balance of the team right and even then that'll depend on being able to get our first choices out often enough which isn't always entirely in the clubs hands.
Amos.
LG - no, it doesn't. Not at all. There is no-one - not spotty teenagers, 'pundits' (which is Latin for 'irresponsible, over-paid idiots'), other managers, forum contributors - who has a better understanding of the set-up at Arsenal, the players, or the issues than Arsene Wenger. No-one is better qualified than him at this moment in time. So the idea of anyone from the outside trying to tell him how to run the club, by saying 'why don't you sign a defensive coach?' is an insult to the man's experience, intelligence and position.
damiano_tommassi
Spot on Damiano. I can't believe some of the posts I have seen up here. Understandable, mostly, but still uncalled for so early in the season. My feeling is that Wenger can fix this and has to do it fast; some hard decisions will have to be taken including player roles, team formations and training regimen. Only time will tell.
Naijagunner
I caught five minutes of the discussion on radio five live last night - which was more than enough - and heard them complaining that we'd bought talented young attacking players and 'not a single young defender'. I suppose 19-year-old full-back Jenkinson doesn't count? People seem to vent before they think. Or as Arsene has said: "I can understand that people are unhappy and criticise, but you know as well as I know that people are very quick to go overboard" .
damiano_tommassi
damiano_tommassi - You have completely missed my point. You stated their are obviously problems and Wenger is the man to sort them not some spotty teenager. Well these same problems have been manifested since the Newcastle 4-4 game (not the CC as some people think) and things have still not changed over 30 games later and with new players. The one common factor is the manager, so it is clearly something he is doing or endorsing right? Therefore if he cannot fix it over 3o games would someone else be able to or an additional member of staff or special defensive coach? who knows, but they certainly wouldn't make it it **** worse than it is now. I said the other day, or defence is worse than the sum of it's parts and that is down to one person only, the manager....
LondonGooner
Naijagunner - Early in the season? So the last 20 games at the end of last season don't count either? I am not advocating sacking the manager, although god knows 99% of other clubs would, just that people seem to think it's too early or that it can be solved by Wenger. I am yet to see ANY evidence of improvement since Newcastle away last season, thats a bloody long time to watch this shower cock up every other game.
LondonGooner
Really interesting debate and comments from most. Those saying 'oh it's only 5 games' are mistaken, because this isn't just about those, it isn't just about the collapse Carling Cup onwards, it's about the consistent lack of action taken in the past 5-6 summers on the same issues. It does appear that Arsene cannot get the team to perform consistently and I have little faith anymore that he can rectify this. Hasn't he been trying for the last 5-6 seasons?
Gooner_Vin
Steve Bould has no input over the first team. The first signs of all this shocking defending (again last night btw) were when we threw away the game to Tottenham, that was completely unforgiveable and untold examples of similar things have happened since.
shewore
Amazed that people get so shocked and appalled at good Arsenal fans discussing all things Arsene in a respectful manner, did you fall off your chairs or spit coffee on your laptop monitors?
iceman10
Hey LG. So your point is that Arsenal 'have defended poorly' since Newcastle (05/02/11) and "The one common factor is the manager, so it is clearly something he is doing or endorsing right?", is that right? I see the logic in that, of course, but I don't think jumping to simple conclusions with no intimate knowledge of the issues in place helps anyone. Would a new defensive coach improve things? It's hard to say. Potentially it cause problems, maybe it could help; but getting a new defensive coach would be a slap in the face to the coaches and setup in place already, wouldn't it? A setup that has been successful over the last decade - even if it's not at the peak of its success today.
damiano_tommassi
It isn't true that Wenger hasn't been able to get the team to perform consistently over the last 5 or 6 seasons - 3rd or 4th every season is the very model of consistency! What we haven't been able to do is to better Chelsea and ManU - and now Man City consistently. What will a new manager, with the same resources but maybe not the same ability to generate his own resources, be able to do about that? I haven't the slightest idea but if we can find someone who know will definitely do better and not worse we should appoint him straight away.
Amos.
Amos - please answer these questions one by one. (i) In your mind, what are the things that have stopped us winning trophies in the last few seasons? (ii) What do you think should/could have been done to address those issues (iii) What has the manager done in each close season to try to rectify the problems in the preceding season(s)?
Gooner_Vin
Gooner_Vin, could you not apply the same questions to Spurs, Liverpool, Villa, Everton, Wolves, Newcastle, Stoke, Sunderland, Wigan, Blackburn, Fulham, Bolton... all of whom scored fewer and conceded more goals than us last year?
damiano_tommassi
damiano - I'm not asking the question to ridicule or provoke, I'm genuinely interested in Amos' take.
Gooner_Vin
Fair play.
damiano_tommassi
There are too many factors both macro (financial influence, changes in player contract laws, et c.,) and micro (injuries, Henry missing a sitter in the CL final, Szczesny cocking up in the CC, team selection, decisions, et c.,) to give one simplistic answer. But if one single explanation could be found it would be the change in the competitive environment with the impact of Abramovich and latterly Mansour (though there are those in football that would see that as a good thing) on our ability to build and maintain our squad. What could we have done about the macro factors? Nothing. What could we have done about the micro factors? Only with the benefit of hindsight we could do something about some of those but they may still have been perfectly sensible and reasonable decisions made at the time. What has the manager done in each closed season to rectify the problems he can? Precisely what he has done every season since he has been here - allowed some players to leave and brought others in. What would you have him do - taking as many factors into account as possible?
Amos.
Its not about bettering Manu or Chelsea. Its about improving the deficiencies within the own club, something that Wenger directly controls. He cannot control what ManU and the others spend. Look at our defensive record over the past 4 seasons (goals conceded ) 2011 - 43, 2010 - 41, 2009 - 37, 2008 - 31. This team has been consistently shipping in more and more goals with every passing season. And someone earlier said it was an insult to suggest a defensive coach for this Arsenal side?! I find that surprising, given the evidence, both in terms of stats and what we've been seeing with our own eyes as fans.
prits
Chelsea's money or Man City's money does not explain why this Arsenal side loses 4-3 to a Blackburn side. It does not explain how so many points were dropped against opposition late last season (when we were not playing Chelsea, ManU or Man City). I realize and understand that these are things are not controllable, but there are things within the club that you can control. And Wenger has not done well on those aspects.
prits
Both of prits points above perfectly sum up my own thoughts on the matter. The macro factors aren't that much to blame for the apparent lack of defensive organisation. Of course I'll never know, but I just don't see the defensive side of the game drummed into these players enough. Why can we go from playing a pressing game against Chelsea and winning one week, and then not doing it some weeks later? The amount of times I have seen Rooney or Messi track back and win the ball back is amazing, yet I always seem to note Walcott never really doing it. You can argue you can't teach that to players, that they have it in them, but Guardiola's Barca show that isn't true. The fact that the team has this ability to self-destruct shows me that they're not mentally strong enough when it really counts. I think it has to be the manager's approach that hasn't been working. There is simply no other explanation for the consistent implosions, even with new personnel.
Gooner_Vin
It's really ONLY about bettering ManU, Chelsea and now City. Of course to do so we have to be better than we have been but we have to do so from the position of less resources to draw on than they have now or have had in the recent past. Our defensive record over the last 4 years hasn't been great but ManU won the title having conceded 37 goals last season and we have won it ourselves having conceded 36 goals and failed to win it having conceded only 17 goals so, even accepting we have to be better defensively, there's far more to it than those numbers suggest. Chelsea's money doesn't explain our 4-3 defeat to Blackburn any more than it explains their own 3-0 home defeat to Sunderland last season. Has Wenger done well with the resources we have now, and have had in the past, and that he has been largely responsible for generating? It's a fair question which can't be answered simply but the only failure so far is to win a trophy despite being reasonably close fairly often in the last 6 seasons. As I say I'm 100% behind the appointment of someone we know can do better - but less enthusiastic about change for change's sake.
Amos.
damiano_tommassi - Ferguson has been through 4-5 different coaching (Kidd, McLaren, Quiroz, Muelenstein etc) set ups to help him move with the times. Football is evolutionary, it is always developing and having coaches whose ideas 15 years ago were great doesn't mean they will be able to "do the business" nowadays. I (actually none of us) know the underlying cause of the issues, we know Wenger is the one consistent throughout this turbulent period and it is there where the debate should start (has started) we can only speculate if it's the training, coaches, manager what ever. The buck stops with the bossman and so far he has abjectly failed to arrest a 30 games (say it to yourself again), 30 game slump. Should he go? That's not for me to decide, I just believe considering other options would be a prudent policy if this nightmare run continues.
LondonGooner
Can I also just say, thanks to all for keeping this a high quality thread with some great view points and creative arguments, cheers.
LondonGooner
Prits - great point mate. Read this I found it on the net earlier this week, can't remember where from though, but it echo's your point exactly---Most sensible people have to agree that operating within your means is a sound policy. What few people understand, however, is why running a tight financial ship has to mean having a shambolic defence---
LondonGooner
Amos I think you're sidestepping slightly what they're saying here. They're talking about concentrating on our own frailties and things we can control, i'm not putting business terminology in here cos it's crude, but you know, the "small" things that we can enhance. We can hone these skills with a bit more work rate, a bit more intelligence, and playing properly in games that "don't matter" as success...breeds success.
shewore
Always better to discuss than row, eh!
How many coaching set-ups has Wenger been through, so we can compare? Of course football evolves, you're right, and Wenger has been one of the most influential managers in helping it evolve; you'll find many sources who will tell you that he 'changed British football' by altering diets/behaviours etc., and the style of football his teams play stands out from the others. There are few managers in recent times that have influenced the premier league as much as him, are there? Maybe Mourinho with his 'buy strong players, kick people, and for the love of God don't entertain!!!' tactic and the now commonplace 4-5-1 (which even we're playing a variation of).
I suppose where my point of view differs from yours is that I don't think Wenger is failing; for me it's a very good squad having a very bad run, whereas I know a lot of other people think it's a bad squad - or at least, they like to shout about how bad they think most of the players are.
damiano_tommassi
I don't see many people complaining about the state of the squad anymore, that was fair enough last couple of years but I think it's pretty strong now. THe worrying thing is that this > "for me it's a very good squad having a very bad run" is actually going on for far too long
shewore
You know Shewore, that's why I'm finding hardest to take; if we had a poor squad and were doing badly life would at least make some sense; but we've got lots of quality players and the results aren't coming. We 'turn a corner' (Pat Rice) after getting past Udinese and beating Swansea, and then it doesn't go our way against Blackburn. I haven't seen any game this season - and I include that big thrashing - where we've been completely outplayed. We were far the better team against Blackburn (for me) and lost the game. Nobody played that badly against the red team from Manchester, but the scoreline was incredibly ugly. I'm scared to use the 'L' word on this site, so I'll say 'we haven't been very fortunate' recently.
damiano_tommassi
I don't see that I'm sidestepping anything. I've said that there's nothing we can do about the factors we can't control but that doesn't mean that they don't have, and will continue to have, a significant effect on how can deal with our own frailties. The only things we are dealing with are those that we do have an influence over and must always strive to do what we do better. Sadly for us though others are doing exactly the same and employing far greater resources to do so. The debate here is to what extent replacing the existing manager with someone else will guarantee that we'll do the things we have control over better rather than worse. The seemingly automatic assumption that anyone coming in, using the same resources, won't make things worse rather than better is one that shouldn't be sidestepped either.
Amos.
damiano_tommassi - I agree, the man was a pioneer in the Premiership and now almost every team is using his performance anlysis and diet methods, but time stands still for one one and even now there has been developments, other clubs players seem less injury prone, more determined/fitter etc and that to me is an indication that we haven't moved with the times. It's not fact, but to me, it's a educated guess.
LondonGooner
LG, the injury record is a real puzzle. I don't know if you can lay blame at anyone for that, though - isn't it just one of those things? Spurs had a decade where all their players were injured, din't they; it's just bad luck (and the fact that our style of play invites more tackles - and that we have been one the most fouled teams over the course of the last few seasons).
damiano_tommassi
We have developed a reputation of fallibility, of dramatic disintegration and concession of silly goals and the players are totally aware of it when they cross the white line. Any attack by the opposition these days causes utter panic in our defence and players do crazy, inexplicable things. A freak event when we allowed Sp*rs to come back to 4-4 a couple of seasons ago was perhaps the catalyst for this and it has spiralled out of control because we didn’t snuff out the mental legacy of it. It seems to me that we need to be “boring” Arsenal again, for a while at least, so that we focus on stopping the opposition from scoring. We need to play ugly and do everything that’s required to prevent a goal against us. We need to feel insulted if the opposition score even a single goal. But as our MO has been outright attack for such a long time our attacking potential will still be there as it’s engrained in our club’s psyche. We will still score goals because it is instinctive. This is the pragmatism that Wenger should employ.
Sir Henry
SH, I don't know if we need to go all the way back to the "boring, boring" days, just attack a bit less; maybe this is too simplistic, but it seems that we commit too many men forward, in every attack - certainly more than we would have done years ago. You might attribute that to a young team (4 years back) keen to make their mark and win games, flooding forward to try and make it happen so they don't disappoint the fans with 'just' a draw, but whatever the cause I think we move forward with too many numbers. Also think it stifles the space that can be played in.
damiano_tommassi
I agree d_t that it’s our style of play that has led to our current malaise borne out by the fact that no matter who we have in defence we still have that Keystone Kop quality. I want to over-compensate and go back to the “boring” ways because I know the current mindset of the players will look to push forward anyway so it will never be like the GG teams. I just want to rein ‘em in a bit!
Sir Henry
They do need reining in, don't they. Maybe TV can do that when he's back...
damiano_tommassi
Few 1-0s....that'd be pretty fantastic. Chucking numbers forwards isn't the reason for our conceding goals either, just watch em.
shewore
I don't think anyone is advocating getting rid of Wenger now or at least, I am not. But seeing how it goes till Dec, to figure out if he can fix these issues that we so obviously have, and making a decision there, is surely fair. If he cannot fix them by Dec, it will be almost a full season of poor runs. These issues have been around for more than 2-3 seasons. There was a reference to the 4-4 vs Spurs 2 seasons back, then the 4-4 vs Newcastle last season (only 2 examples), so its not like these are recent occurrences. I would personally prefer that Wenger fixes these issues, and I would still like him to continue as Manager of the Arsenal.
prits
Why stop at the 4-4 against the Spuds? How about the 3-3 against Leicester in '98 when we were leading at half time and gave away two goals on set pieces in added time - or conceding three 2nd half goals to Blackburn in the same year again when leading at half time? The 3-0 loss at home to 'boro in 2001 when our defence gave away two own goals to set them up for the win? The 3 we conceded in the 2nd half defeat by Southampton the same year when again leading at half time? Much the same as the home game to Newcastle when we conceded 3 2nd half goals again to lose a game we were winning at half time? Our seasons are peppered with such calamities. They are fixed when we string a few wins together - but the next car crash is always liable to happen.
Amos.
SH - what do you think is the reason we concede our goals? It's definitely a numbers game, for me; we throw too many forward, and when a move breaks down the opposition find themselves 2-on-2 with our centre-backs. Which leads to free-kicks, corners, penalties, red-cards.
damiano_tommassi
Yeah, let's not start anywhere with calamities cos we can trace them back forever i'm sure. They do seem to be happening a lot more lately though & they have more of a Tottenham 4-4 feel about them, as if, you know it's gonna happen, back then it felt a lot more like a one off and that we'd butcher whoever our next opponents were.
shewore
There were a couple of times in our 'trophy winning' period I think when we went on four game losing streaks so those times weren't without their dramas. We've had some big wins in the 'drought' too but defensively (at least in terms of goals conceded) our record in the last 4 seasons (146) isn't dramatically different from the 4 years between the double in 2002 and the FAC in 2005 (140). We haven't done as well in attack (297 compared to 324 scored) but there're seasons when we've defended as poorly in the past as now - 43 conceded in 99-00 42 in 02-03. It's an issue that's never permanently fixed but it's no good fixing the defence at the cost of attack. Our best defensive season under Wenger (17) was also our worst attacking (59) one. If you take goal difference as the measure then there're a couple of seasons in the 'drought' which matches the best in the first half of Wenger's tenure. The exception being the unbeaten season and the standout statistic then was the frequency with which we could play our first choice team - it really is quite a remarkable difference. The answer to our 'defensive' problems is in establishing and maintaining a settled team - not neccessarily about different defenders. It's been much harder to do that with factors we have little control over playing a larger part now than they did when we were winning trophies.
Amos.
If we could play our first eleven more than three times in a season, we'd almost certainly be getting much better results. Big 'if' though, eh!
damiano_tommassi
Yeah I agree, of course that'd be nice, there should however be some defensive discipline drilled into whoever's playing, i'm sorry but if you're a professional footballer you should know not to not even make an effort for the ball if it's crossed into the danger area, there are untold examples where knowing how your partner is makes f all difference, it would help with a lot if the partnerships were concrete, of course it would, but that's not gonna happen.
shewore
SW, what do you mean about 'not make an effort'? Are you talking about our forwards now, on the attack?
damiano_tommassi
That was in direct reference to Djorour other night.
shewore
last i heard was whinger is looking for his diary, but like so many other things he hasn't seen it!!! 4th from bottom oh deary me how the mighty have fallen, and so quickly too, fabs doing well in a different shirt now, not injured as much either, mmmmmmmmm makes you wonder don't it.........lmfao
jabbatheyid
I thought the kids were back at school now... Your parents are going to be in trouble, Jabba! But they're probably used to court dates, aren't they.
damiano_tommassi
its great having you on this site Amos,
alwaysgunner
We have collapsed in the past but we have recovered almost immediately. Nowadays though teams feel that, even if they go a goal down, they can still get back at us and I’m fairly convinced that most of our players feel that way too. The result is panic in the defence and silly mistakes. As I said before we didn’t snuff out the mental legacy that seems to stem from the Sp*rs game but it was probably developing prior to that. Either way the reputation of vulnerability stands and we need to change it back to the “1-0” to the Arsenal days (or even better to one like ManUre’s). D_t - Our defensive woes are pretty much as you explain. We spend a lot of time in the opposition’s final third, notching up a lot of possession and then we find ourselves scurrying back to defend our goal, and we do this in a panic. If we play a high line then the work rate needs to increase to try and recover the ground quickly and in numbers with somebody attacking the ball. Just watch the cheats from Catalonia, they do it.
Sir Henry
I like that - "the reputation of vulnerability". That reputation, and its knock-on affect on the confidence of our players, is massive. I also think it works wonders for opposition players' confidence. And last, I think it's a reputation first invented, then worsened, and now continued by the media... not sure what they've got against Arsenal, but they seem to have been squarely against them for some time now.
damiano_tommassi
I’m not convinced with our zonal marking for set pieces either. The “after you” approach leads to confusion. We need to organise and man-mark but who does the organising? It starts on the training ground and must be adhered to on the pitch by the players, so over to you Arsene.
Sir Henry
Never been a fan of zonal; it's often said that statistically it is the better option, but it just leaves defenders looking stupid. Remember when Liverpool started doing it under the fat Spanish waiter? They were on MOTD getting ridiculed every week.
damiano_tommassi
That said, it may be useful psychologically; already we've sold a lot of our defenders on, and now changed the marking system, perhaps in an effort to freshen things up and move on from the past.
damiano_tommassi
For the past 4 seasons in all games, we have conceded 3 goals or more in (18) occasions, failed to win a game when leading in (31) occasions and threw away 2 goals lead or more in (8) occasions. Including this this season so far, the statistics stood at (20), (33), (8). For the past 4 seasons, mu record was (9), (17), (2) and chelsea (14), (27), (1). In average in a season, we conceded 3 goals or more 4.5 times (mu 2.25, chelsea 3.5), failed to win a game when leading 7.75 times (mu 4.45, chelsea 6.75) and threw away 2 goals lead 2 times (mu 0.5, chelsea 0.25). Thus the implosions like those against newcastle were not outliers in our case
Joe_@**
All those stats show is that both ManU and Chelsea have done better than us over the last few seasons - but we already knew that!!!! How does it compare with the rest of the league I wonder??? What would it show?? That we were 3rd or 4th best perhaps??? Didn't we know that already as well?
Amos.
mc record for the past 4 seasons: (21), (23), (2); average 5.25, 5.75, 0.5. liv record: (11), (35), (1); average 2.75, 8.75, 0.25; everton record: (15), (27), (2); average 3.75, 6.75, 0.5. in a summary, only mc did worst than us (4.5 times) in terms of conceding 3 goals or more in average and liv did worst than us (7.75) in terms of not winning games when leading. we finished above these teams most of the time. these showed a lot on our infamous mentality of throwing away games & also in defending. in average, it would take chelsea & liv 32 seasons and mu, mc & everton 16 seasons to throw away 2 goals lead or more than we did in only 4 seasons!
Joe_@**
due to time constraint, i could not compare too many teams. i took me about 2 hours to compile the stat manually to post a comment. you could try with other teams if you wish but by comparing the 5 teams as mentioned, i hope it would be perceived as fair. just to show in numbers our lingering suspicion on some issues are valid
Joe_@**
Sorry Joe but while it's easy for me to appreciate that you've put an awful lot of effort and time into compiling your stats I can't for the live of me understand why or what what it tells us that we don't already know - even without the benefit of your stats.
Amos.
 

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