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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Everton vs. Arsenal

Goodison Park

Sunday, 6th April, 2014


On Sky

Everton v Arsenal Match Preview

With Arsenal's title aspirations all but extinguished, this weekend will see the Gunners nervously looking over their shoulder at 5th placed Everton. The Toffees are only 4 points behind Arsene Wenger's men with a game in hand (at home to Crystal Palace) and they have a superior goal difference to boot. If Roberto Martinez's team prosper, it dramatically puts 4th place into their hands.

Arsenal are boosted by the return to Aaron Ramsey, though it's unlikely he'll be able to start. Arsene Wenger might reflect that the onus is on Everton to win the game more than it is Arsenal, a good start is key.

Martinez has a naturally attacking style anyway but if Everton chase the game hard, Arsenal might be able to catch them on the counter attack with players such as Rosicky and Chamberlain looking to break through the lines.

In the F.A. Cup match four weeks ago, Arsenal found joy when they managed to get past Everton's high press and found space in the final third.

The momentum is certainly with Everton however, having won their last 5 games, whilst Arsenal have won just 3 of their last 10 in the Premier League.

Vital Quotes:

Arsene Wenger admits his side are under pressure at Goodison, but insists his side have a psychological edge in the battle for Champions League qualification.

'The pressure is bigger because we have been the league leader this season,` said Wenger.

For us, it`s an opportunity to go up forward and as well an opportunity to make a distance with Everton of course.

'We want to be in there, but it`s down to our results in our last six games to make sure that happens.

'What plays a part is the memory that you have done it before, so we know we can do it.`

'Since we built the stadium, [securing Champions League football] has always been the obsession,` explained Wenger. 'I got that reproached enough.

'It was an obsession because of the financial compulsory situation. I`ve always been guided by - no matter what happens - get in the Champions League.

'But for me it`s not financial - it was before. What it is now is to play against the best: Pride and prestige.`

Roberto Martinez is looking to his side to continue their rich vein of form and put themselves into pole position for 4th place this weekend.

'We've earned the right to fight for 4th. That's a good season so far. There are 21 points to fight for. It's down to how many we can get.

'When you're playing Arsenal, you need to be perfect. And there's nothing better to help that than playing at home.

'Ross (Barkley) has had two very good days since [the Fulham fixture]. We're going to assess him today and I hope he can join the group today and tomorrow,' said Martinez on Friday.

'At the moment, we are very much positive Ross will be available for the squad.

'With Phil (Jagielka), we need to be very, very careful. It's an injury where we need to be sure that we don't get a recurrence.

'He's still doing his individual programme and the medical department are not ready to allow him to re-join the group.

'We need to play it safe with Phil and I don't think he's going to be available this weekend.'

Everton Team News:

Midfielder Ross Barkley faces a late fitness test having strained his calf last weekend against Fulham. Phil Jagielka (hamstring) will not be risked.

Steven Pienaar (knee) is training but likewise won't be risked. Arouna Kone (knee), Darron Gibson (knee) and Bryan Oviedo (leg) are all out.

Everton (from): Robles, Hibbert, Baines, McGeady, Deulofeu, Mirallas, Naismith, Distin, McCarthy, Lukaku, Barry, Barkley, Osman, Coleman, Howard, Stones, Traore, Alcaraz.

Player to watch: Garteh Barry

Lukaku may be the iron fist but Barry is Everton's velvet glove. He piqued Arsenal's interest in the summer, having failed to acquire main targets Bender and Gustavo, Wenger looked for a short term solution and contacted Barry until his compass fell on Mathieu Flamini.

Barry passes the ball efficiently and effectively, launching attacks from deep as well as guarding his back four (not least his marauding full backs Baines and Coleman).

Arsenal Team News:

Aaron Ramsey returns to the Arsenal squad after a three month layoff with a thigh injury. Nacho Monreal's return from a foot injury is timely as Kieran Gibbs is struggling with an ankle problem.

Serge Gnabry (knee) joins Laurent Koscielny (calf), Jack Wilshere (foot), Mesut Özil (hamstring), Theo Walcott (knee) and Abou Diaby (knee) on the sidelines.

Arsenal (from): Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Rosicky, Arteta, Podolski, Giroud, Chamberlain, Ramsey, Monreal, S.Cazorla, Flamini, Fabianski, Sanogo, Jenkinson, Gibbs, Bellerin.

Player to watch: Alex Oxlade Chamberlain

Everton like to press very high up the pitch and Chamberlain likes to carry the ball past players from deep. He will be key in breaking the lines of Everton's pressure.

If he can isolate himself against Gareth Barry, good player though Barry is, there's only one winner in that race. Chamberlain can also look to push Baines back and limit his influence.

Match Facts & Stats

The last 5 meetings between these teams have seen fewer than 3 goals, and the last 3 have finished as draws.

Arsenal have lost 7 of their last 10 against top-half teams.

Everton have only scored more than once in one of the last 22 Barclays Premier League games against Arsenal.

Everton`s record home (1-6 Aug 2009) and record away and overall (0-7 May 2005) Premier League defeats have come at the hands of Arsenal.

Lukas Podolski has the best chance conversion of any player with 10+ goals in the Premier League over the last two seasons, scoring with 33% of his attempts.

No team has ever had 60 or more points after 31 games of a Premier League season and failed to finish in the top four. Everton and Arsenal have both exceeded this tally.

Arsenal are the only team in the Premier League not to have an opposition player sent off against them this season.

Ref Watch:

Martin Atkinson is the match official.

Match Prediction:

I'm reasonably confident about this game. I was edging towards an Arsenal victory but will go for a draw, which will suit Arsenal more than it will Everton. 1-1. Cazorla and Lukaku with the goals.

Next Fixtures:

Arsenal play Wigan in the F.A. Cup semi final at Wembley next Saturday at 5.07pm. Everton are away at Sunderland next Saturday at 3.07pm.

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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday April 5 2014

Time: 8:49PM

Your Comments

I think we can see a positive result ourselves like you say Tim a win is more vital for Everton and if we can get our early defensive game in tact we may see a late winner. Don't think the Ox will be our key man however; more leaning towards Cazorla or Podolski who can definitely get goals. (Not that Ox can't but the two are more efficient i'd say!)

Also what's with the weird 17:07 k.o during the FA cup? 7 minutes past!?

Human intuition, perhaps honed by 1000s of years of negotiating the treacherous paths in the African Savannah, and perhaps by genetic design (or God?) can be a powerful thing. I have just started compiling LD's (and other reviewers')predictions and the 'masses' reactions on the forums. The quest is to identify any correlations to the actual outcomes, the game results. "I am reasonably confident about this game..." precisely captures the operational definition of intuition I have in mind. With some games the foreboding sense of doom cannot be missed (against Man City for example), and with some the certainty of positive 'spirit' cannot be missed. Anyhow, I share LD's intuition on this one; I am not particularly dreading it.
Good line up and the best we can put out. Of course, the studio pundits are looking only at Arsenal's weaknesses, being Monreal. Well, we wait and see how this turns out.
I am not sure how playing against Everton became a game to fear, but Flamini and Arteta would be very crucial today. Good luck, boys.
Vermaelen! What was he thinking, not clearing that ball for their goal?
This is very suspect defending by our lads. If we intend to be taken serious as a top club, we have to show some mettle in the 2nd half or we can as well, forget it all. The Wenger out brigade would appear to have a point. For God's sake, we have very good players who can do better than this!!
A drubbing again, this time by a team below us. I got a funny feeling that we wont get lucky this time in our annual fourth place scamble
Well, LOLOL ;-)
HGH Magic
I must say...Arsenal have lost knowledge of how to win matches. I can't believe what my eyes are witnessing - this defence is not premier league quality.
BFG, best defender in the league lol
HGH Magic
BFG, best defender in the league lol
HGH Magic
Here goes, LOLOL Sanogo in for Giroud. LMFAOoo
HGH Magic
With Giroud leading the attack, I don't reckon us scoring 5 goals over the remaining matches. On another note, I know he had an injury but Carzola has been off this season. Everton have got injuries as well but they look hungrier. That alone is winning them this game. This is terrible
Let's get our faces outta our arses. We need a brand new front line to win anything. Giroud, Poldi, Sanogo are not it. Massive clearance come summer.
I mean with Sanogo finishing off that point exactly.
Everton currently getting their Chelsea impression spot on, destroying L'Arse 3-0, and counting. 3 more? lol
HGH Magic
This must be very painful for those travelling fans. We have been made to look very ordinary today.
Clearly, we have a problem with the big occasions.
Guyfox, this doesn't even look like a problem with the quality we have. It is increasingly looking more to do with motivation and coaching.
Well, they wanted to do it, promised revenge and have got it. Great day for the Everton fans and club. FairPlay to them, if they get 4th because they have worked hard for it.
Lol the Wenger out brigade must not forget the root of all your problwms is owners of your club who are parasites and bringing down while cashing in on all of you. I hate defending Wenger but he is only part of the problem, your owners just plain don't care how crappy you are as long as they make profit.
Pavel Permiachkin
We had it coming. Our play has been all round lethargic and its tiresome watching. Its been the same way - City, Liverpool, Chelsea. We started those games in the dressing room. Never made it to the pitch in time. I blame Wenger for not strengthening in January. With no strike force and injuries to key players, this table topping team in January could never go the distance. I shudder at our remaining games.
Dear Pavel, the owners haven't said "Go out there and put up a dismal performance". Every football club is out to do business first, trophies come next. Don't forget most of these clubs have shareholders who require ROI. Not every one has gone cash to throw away like City and Chelsea. Arsenal is a for-profit business and the owners are out to make just that.
i cant see any difference between giroud and bendtner anymore
Looking forward to NYarse's corporate speak monologue ;) ona serious note, can Arsene please just win us the cup and leave in the summer? Imagine the amount of energy and excitement about the place when we finally face the prospect of something different!
Guess this match proved that Wenger had lost it ... the team and the dressing room. FA Cup Final is his last hurrah. Ferguson went out with the title. Arsene Wenger will go out with the FA Cup. We are not playing with confidence nor exhibits that fighting grits that got us 4th spot for the last 5 seasons. We seem to give up the ghost after 0-1. Something ails this team .. starting with Arsene Wenger.
I have Not posted in a while since I lost interest in arsenal managed by wenger. But I'm posting now to call out people like amos, damiano, and co who have been posting rubbish regularly with some sort of self imposed importance. This team has been playing rubbish, and have been lucky with results earlier. Wenger has lost it and needs to go. He has done his job and we need someone with new ideas and who can get more out of the talented side who are punching well below their weight.
Dear guy, the owners are ok with selling best players not re investing that profit. They are ok with not buying world class players or keeping them after you youselves developed them. When Wenger comes back with this result your owners won't be up in arms about it the consesus will be "we made profit right!? Sweet! Keep doing what you are doing Wenger you are the best, and don't spend we need that money!". And I realize it is a business but look at other clubs who are in it for the business compared to yours, there is money first and trophies second and then there is Arsenal... LOL.
Pavel Permiachkin
Not to mention other teams aspire to be at the top and make profit by pleasing fans and giving them something to cheer for, Arsenal just plain don't care about you guys. Any other team who is in it for the money understands they need to be hungry for trophies and be winners to reach a broad variety of fans that will in turn support the club more, yet with Arsenal they duped all of you into being proud of how much profit your club makes as opposed to how well they play.
Pavel Permiachkin
WEll, PAvel we got a 400-mil stadium almost paid up ... and you got a Sugar Daddy converted 1-illion and counting into "shares". Guess how long will Sugar Daddy of his 10-year-oldtoy and want a new model .. spending a 2nd 1-billion again? And that is your Sugar Daddy, 1st no profit, 2nd no trophy this season LOL.
The strange thing is that the games against city, liverpool, chelsea, everton, were not even contests. As they say; once is a mistake, twice a coincidence, but thrice a pattern. Now its fourth time with everton handing us a thrashing. Wenger makes no tactical imputs durring games just predictable personnel changes at 60+ mins. Martinez playing lukaku against monreal could have been countered by asking flamini to man-mark lukaku and asking rosicky to tuck in at the centre.
Another cluster***** performance I really don't know how we can play so badly away from home, the first half of the season was almost perfect it is slowly turning full circle. Hope Everton slip up against the Manchester teams.
That's ok no trophy this season, we still got plenty in the last decade. What exactly is your other point? I am not understanding. You think it's bad to have Roman as an owner lol? The guy is a fan and you will see in the up coming seasons how Chelsea developed itself to be self sustained. Btw at this point even Spurs are more respectable than the money hungry BSing Arsenal staff/owners.
Pavel Permiachkin
And who are the other teams compared to us? City? Chelsea? Not many clubs can match their spending power so let's not get started. And for those 2 clubs, making a loss has never ruffled their feathers. U speak about buying top players, Pavel and I ask, what top players? The likes purchased by Spurs? a whooping 107 mil pounds. Come on give us a break. The owners are in it for the money and I won't blame them. Yeah, true trophies and profits go hand in hand. The owners pay the club's wages, let the players and coach do what they are paid for.
Pavel, I thought we have exhausted that "won't spend money" trash after Wenger paid the 2nd highest transfer fee by any English club for Mesut Ozil. It isn't about spending; the team aren't paying attention to the Manager anymore!
If you call throwing away 107 million on players worth a third of the price, respectable...then i really don't know what respectable is.
Well I give up. You guys can keep being proud of your profit, which comes out of your pocket and not in. But glad you agree trophies and profit go hand in hand. Just don't act like it is so black and white with Arsenal in money first triphies second, you know damn well you guys can drop to 7th place for the next 5 seasons in a row and as long as your team keeps making profit off you guys nothing will be done and they won't give a damn. But the way we have bought/sold recently you will see if you guys can keep going on about sugar daddys.
Pavel Permiachkin
Maybe, we should have encouraged Bendtner along, as we started doing when he was the only alternative to Giroud. As soon as Sanogo was fit, Wenger just ignored the man and he started his usual attention seeking antics. Shame, really, considering we once had the best away record. I don't think we will win all of our remaining games to be honest and feel 4th is really under threat now. What a remarkable turn of events.
Please, please everyone a favour and don't sign that contract. Just bow out this summer and we will all applaud. Go to the MLS or something. Come on, even United is playing better. 22 goals shipped in against the top 5 and only scored 8. That is downright appalling.
Amos, I'm still waiting for your predictable crap posts about how we are overeacting and how wenger is the best thing since jesus christ, or how this result was a flash in the pan or how the referee cost us the game or how everton have spent more money than us !
Oh I do know. You guys are thinking in hindsight In that Spurs royally *****ed up starting with having AVB as manager, but the intwntions they had is nothing that your club knows about. Buying 1 Ozil in the past decade does not refute anything I said.
Pavel Permiachkin
So you guys think it is Wenger at fault? This here is actually an honest question not trying to have a fight but do your owners actually give Wenger enough financial backing? I just ask because if you guys do have money to spend but it is actually Wenger being cheap nothing do to with your owners then you have a point. I waa just always under the assumption if Wenger manages anything semi decent with the ***** financial backing he gets, the owners are happy with the profit he brought in.
Pavel Permiachkin
Correction Pavel, for the owners its about the profit as with any other reasonable business out there. You put the blame on the owners for not spending. Can't recall a recent summer gone by without the club buying at least a player. I am proud that my club has got healthy finances, that we are living within our means and not living a dream. We have survived the money league since 2005 without a Sugar Daddy and we intend to do so till eternity. The trophies will come soon enough but not playing this way.
Let's not get fooled. No one has a clear idea of how much a club has got to spend any transfer window. Whatever we read in the media is all speculative, all to cause a stir. Everton is a club where the owner is not willing to spend on transfers. A few good players on loan and they are doing quite well. Arsenal is dong badly because the players and coach have lost the plot.
Watching the West Ham Pool game. Still early days but the underdogs are showing no respect here. That's how to play a football game.
I think Suarez deliberately plays the ball to defenders' hands for the penalty calls he's been getting from such play. How many times have we seen that happen with him?
Hahaha, Shewore, you didn't like my monologue. Point taken but it shows human limitations and the harzards of predictions. On the defeat, painful and numb.
I said it at the start of the season even after we signed ozil, that we would not win the matter how good your midfield is you cannot win the league title with a player like giroud leading the attack. Howeve i am still cofident we would finish 4th and win the fa cup. COYG!
Yomi Fagba
In retrospect, maybe we should have gone for Higuain. I mean he was ready to make the move. Giroud isn't Arsenal quality when we compare him to the likes of Henry, Bergkamp, Wiltord, Kanu, Reyes, Eduardo...we can go on. If rumours about The Mrs. asking the family to head back to France are true, I would say Good Riddance!
@Naija, he may have done that but a front man with that quality is what wins you games. I will be utterly gutted if we don't get a striker or 2 next summer.
Really impressed with the Hammers. Really good showing. They've have made this game difficult for Pool and do deserve a point...a win if I can stretch it.
Exactly! Wenger signed a 40 million pound player we didnt need, instead of a 25 million striker we desperately needed
Yomi Fagba
And played the 40 million pound player to the ground too and got him injured. Wenger's man management has to be called into question. We have got the longest injury list this season and its been consistent over the past seasons.
Lucky Liverpool. Questionable Penalty. Anthony Taylor again. Sometimes this premier league is a joke.
i guess every bpl manager who worth his salt knows how to beat us. we almost never change our template. it's just the matter of having the players who are good enough to carry out the game plan. our dismal record against teams in the top 5 or 6 is probably getting worse each season
We did go for higuain but instead of closing the deal we decided that signing Ozil was better for our requirments based on the simple fact that he was too good to ve turned down
Wenger always come out with the line 'judge me in May'. Every season we end up fighting for fourth and he gets proven wrong but of course there's always next May isn't there. I've always defended him in the past and understood he was working with limited resources. However in the last 2 transfer windows he had significant funds to spend and the only money he really spent was on Ozil. If he can't identify any players to improve this team (a team that barely scrapes fourth) then we need to get a manager in that can. Enough is enough,I have no patience left for AW anymore.
....that used to be "teams in the top 4" just a few weeks ago.
The time for Wenger to go has long since past and this post Xmas collapse really is a shockingly clear sign that no only has he lost his touch but he has also lost the dressing room. If Wenger had any dignity then he'd announce now, today, that's he will not be signing any extension. Thank you for the good years and the new stadium but your acceptance of second best and your complete lack of winning mentality is dragging the club back to the levels at which you found it! Wenger out and out now.
Galway Gooner
Wenger in and in now. #WengerIn #COYG
HGH Magic
Hgh haven't heard form you in a bit, not since last wed, did something happen on Wednesday night that distracted you perhaps??. You also never told us how old you are, come on man, tell me your age and settle a bet for me.
Galway Gooner
^^failed childish rescue mission, laughable at best lol
HGH Magic
I just couldn't understand the confidence of some going into this match that we'd turn over Everton. All the signs pointed to a result like this. Martinez knows his onions. Wenger is increasingly looking like one. The moment Walcott and Kos were crocked we were going to struggle. Both attack and defence knobbled at a critical point of the season was really too much for a team lacking in real depth in quality.
Wyn Mills
And will people just open their eyes and realise Arteta is no longer up to the job? He is a good 2 yards slower than he was last season. No amount of intelligent positioning is going to compensate for that.
Wyn Mills
Embarrassing again. All the goood work we did from August to feb has been undone in the last 6 weeks. One cra9 performance after another. No heart, no fight, no ideas, too predictable, too complacement and a manager who seems to not know what he is doing. Predictable sub on the 65th minute in every game no matter what. No instructions from the sideline, no shouting, no nothing. I think the best scenario would be for us to win the cup and him to step down on a bit of a high. He has done a great job but it is time for a change. We might even go through a season of transition but something needs freshening up. New ideas, new methods, new tactics and so on. Everything is so stale. You could argue whether we have had any progress from last season at all. Thankfully most have signed new contracts.
Also, why is podolski continuing to play? Contributes a goal or assist here and there but offers very little over a 90 min period.
And let's for the life of god drop Giroud too. The guy is running on nothing and completely of form. If you are going to go in to a season with Sanogo as your 2nd choice then you need to play him when your main striker is not playing well, surely....
All great points, Paul. There was one word that was going through my mind when I was watching us play earlier and that was: average. On further reflection, we're not even that. The level of performance was so shockingly below the required standard in every requested category that it points to something fundamental with the team and manager. As we know, it's been like this a while. We need a new top manager and at least 3 new top class additions. I don't think that just adding 3 players to what we have with the same manager is going to change things that much, simply because he can't be trusted to get the buying decisions right and right quick enough. I'd love to see Martinez or Pochettino given a chance, I don't think they'd do any worse.
ARSEne is doing a great job and serves you gooners right, that's why he's among the best paid coaches in the world; problem is he took the wrong Specialist course... hehe, yeah, you guessed it, that coaching diploma in Failure! But no qualms, he'll soon come good. Keep Wenger by all means, pls. Ok, ffs keep him! He built ARSEnal a stadium, keeps winning '4th-place trophy' and balances the books for the accountants, and the Kroenkes and the Usmanovs! Roman Abramovich ain't got no clue whatsoever lol... ;) #WengerIn and in now lol
HGH Magic
Other managers set up their teams to exploit their current oppositions weakness while wenger basically just selects his team based on the last game. You can bet that if arsenal wins a game wenger would pretty much use the same line-up in the next game no matter how blantantly obvious it is that some teams dont play the same way. Just because we got a draw against city last week does not mean everton play the same way,and i wondered what the ox was doing on the bench knowing he is the closest thing we have to walcott. Wengers footballing ideas could basically fit in a tea cup. Thanks for all the amazing memories but your time is pretty much up.
Yomi Fagba
That was pathetic. If the Wigan manager can't figure out how to beat us next weekend he should be sacked because it's obvious to anybody how to beat Arsenal under Wenger. Press, exploit the huge gaps Wenger's 'tactics' leave, and if all else fails, get some corner kicks. It would be hard to sack a manager after 17 years but it has to be done. We will not win another game this year under Wenger - if you saw the game on TV today, he was lost, totally disengaged. Give the team to Bould as an interim manager (secretly, not officially), but let Wenger do the pressers so he can leave with the respect he deserves. He's done as a top flight manager. He has one plan, Martinez has three that he can change on the fly, and Rodgers has five he can change on the fly. The players love Wenger because he gives then raises they don't deserve. Think about this - in January we are at or near top of the league. We have one striker who is crap, one Wenger won't play, and an unproven kid who's been injured all season. Walcott is out for the year so we have no pace. Some might say there were no strikers available in January but that is a lie - there were many strikers available that are better than Giroud. Like pretty much all of them. But forget January, there were at least 4 world class strikers available in the summer, but Arssene thought Giroud was good enough? Think about that for a moment - the man who makes all the decisions thought Giroud and Sanogo were good enough to win the league? That is obviously the thinking of a man who doesn't have a ******** clue.
Arsenal do spend money but it is wasted by signing rubbish players. So no excuses.
#WengerIn and In now lol
HGH Magic
"But I'm posting now to call out people like amos, damiano, and co who have been posting rubbish regularly with some sort of self imposed importance." - morning nna. Seeing as you've asked so nicely, and without any attempt to belittle or insult the opinions of others (ahem), I've got a reply for you... We lost a game of football. Does that mean that players that we loved a fortnight ago are suddenly awful? no. Does it change the fact that Arsenal are my club? No. Does it mean I want us to sack our greatest ever manager - albeit one who hasn't won anything in 8/9 years? No. Do we now think, given the comments here about Wenger being past it, incapable, senile, useless; the squad being awful, Arteta suddenly geriatric and so on, that we now have no chance of winning the FA cup this year? From the descriptions above, it sounds like we have no chance at all. If we do win it, will you all be slumped in a chair at the final whistle saying 'yeah, well, he's won something now, but we're still rubbish'?

It's a defeat, and it hurts, but we'll get over. No need to slash wrists, or Wenger's tyres.
"But I'm posting now to call out people like amos, damiano, and co who have been posting rubbish regularly with some sort of self imposed importance." - morning nna. Seeing as you've asked so nicely, and without any attempt to belittle or insult the opinions of others (ahem), I've got a reply for you... We lost a game of football. Does that mean that players that we loved a fortnight ago are suddenly awful? no. Does it change the fact that Arsenal are my club? No. Does it mean I want us to sack our greatest ever manager - albeit one who hasn't won anything in 8/9 years? No. Do we now think, given the comments here about Wenger being past it, incapable, senile, useless; the squad being awful, Arteta suddenly geriatric and so on, that we now have no chance of winning the FA cup this year? From the descriptions above, it sounds like we have no chance at all. If we do win it, will you all be slumped in a chair at the final whistle saying 'yeah, well, he's won something now, but we're still rubbish'?

It's a defeat, and it hurts, but we'll get over. No need to slash wrists, or Wenger's tyres.
Damiano - what will it take for you to accept that Wenger's time at the club should be up? How many embarrassing defeats? How many seasons of underachieving in Europe or struggling to finish 4th? How many years of no tactical plans? How many times do we have to sit by and watch our club do nothing to address the painfully obvious holes in our squad while early 200m of cash reserves sits in the bank? How many times do we have to watch our key players getting run into the ground until they suffer an injury at a key time of the season?

How bad is bad enough?

Galway Gooner
We've just had our arse handed to us by a team that were better in every single aspect of their play. They had better motivated players, were hungrier, had better energy levels, better fitness, better tactics and were managed by a younger, hungrier and more determined manager.

We took 1 point off Everton this season, 1 point off United, 1 off City, 1 off Chelsea. We've been embarrassed at City, Chelsea, United, Liverpool and now Everton. Beating Spurs home and away is the only thing that's making this season bearable.

Wenger should go either straight away (if he doesn't think he can drag the team to 4th and win the FA Cup) or at the end of the season. As a football manager he's long since past his best and for the good of the club he should go.

Galway Gooner
Galway Gooner - hard to say. I'm not there yet though. Have we under-achieved in Europe - having never won the European cup before and having to get past people like Barca, Real, Bayern, PSG and so on? "no tactical plans", "watch our club do nothing to address the painfully obvious holes in our squad", "key players getting run into the ground" - very easy to be negative after a defeat. When we lost to Chelsea it was because Mourinho 'is a tactical genius' - who then lost to Villa and Palace in his next two games, didn't he? Maybe the lines between winning and losing are finer than many people think.
Damiano - we are no further on as a football club (as opposed to as a business) then we were when we were at Highbury. Our team is worse, our attitude is worse and, most worrying, we are getting worse each season.

We've taken 11 points from the last 33, think about that for a moment. Norwich have taken 10 over the same period and have just fired their manager.

We are miles away from being serious challengers in Europe, simply miles away.

Galway Gooner
ha who said we lost 6-0 to Chelsea cos of Mourinho's genius? No one i've spoken to or seen on these pages . . .
Galway - 'we are no further on as a football club/our team/attitude are worse/we're getting worse' is a matter of opinion, and one I don't share. "We've taken 11 points from the last 33, think about that for a moment." - thought about it; don't like it; don't see sacking the manager - the guy a lot of these players came to the club to play for - as the answer. "We are miles away from being serious challengers in Europe, simply miles away." - again, your opinion, which you're entitled to and I can hear. I don't have to agree with it though. I think we're a striker and a few players off the treatment table away.

If it helps bridge that gap between your stance and mine, here's something we can probably agree on - if there was one issue with Arsenal which I do dislike and don't understand why it isn't fixed, it's that we all flood forward; it frustrates me when we spend 10 minutes playing in the opponents' half, pulling them about, and then the second we lose the ball we realise we've got no-one spare at the back and we get caught 2-on-2 or even outnumbered at times on the counter. Someone needs to hang back! This has been a problem for me for about 4 years, and it mystifies me.
That team has played with zero ambition over the past few weeks and we have applauded them. You will never see these kind of performances under Mou or Pellegrini. Gone are the days we lost to United and made a game outta it. An exciting defeat. We pressed, we created chances, we got on the wrong side of ref decisions, but we made it a game. These days we just surrender and the manager would say we showed mentality. Yeah, I think they are all going crazy. Always supported him but I really think its time to say goodbye. No wonder he's stalling on the new contract. It will be difficult but it will be new. These players have gotten too comfortable. They can put in below par performances and still get picked next game. Wenger has lost the plot i'm afraid. Leave now Le Prof before you destroy all you have built.
Damiano - these players may have come to the club to play for Wenger but it's pretty obvious that they weren't playing for him yesterday. Did you see our bench laughing as Everton scored the 3rd goal - does that strike you as players who are playing for the manager???

I also don't believe that you can look at the football team (again the business model's performance is a very different matter) and say that we are as good now as when we were at Highbury. This is not based on opinion, mine or anyone else's, but is based on fact.

We won league titles and FA Cups at Highbury, what have we won since the move???

Jens, Eboue, Cole, Toure, Cambell, Helb/VanP, Cesc, Gilberto, Pires/Freddie, Reyes/Dennis, Henry.

This is the team that played the last game at Highbury. Look at that team and then look at the team that played on Saturday and tell me how we've progressed.......

Galway Gooner
The triumphalism from the 'I told you so' brigade hasn't been so enthusiastic since... well... the Chelsea defeat I guess.....and before that the Liverpool defeat....which probably followed the opening day defeat to Villa. I said this would be a tough game but really one we couldn't afford to lose without putting ourselves under a lot of pressure. We know many of the fans can't handle the pressure but let's hope the team can.
Yeah well the team haven't really handled any pressure situation so far this season now have they Amos??

And for the record I wouldn't class a cup game against a mid-table Championship side as a "pressure situation" but I honestly wouldn't be all that surprised to see us bottle that too.

And you can cut the triumphalism talk, I get no joy fro watching my team lose. But there has to come a point where the AKB gang hols up their hands and admit that maybe they got it wrong. After 9 years of doing nothing other than standing still I think that time is long past.

Galway Gooner
Would you count cup games against teams in the PL then GG? Away to spuds maybe? Away to Bayern perhaps? We haven't handled all pressure situations well but it's an exaggeration to say we haven't handled any at all this season. Particularly the pressure following the hysteria from the opening game. Talk of triumphalism seems appropriate whenever someone attempts to lump all opinion that doesn't accord with theirs as AKBs. As for getting things wrong that rather depends on what your expectations for the season were.
We lost the tie against Bayern Amos. Drawing the second leg when you need at least 2 goal win is failure. We never looked like doing anything against them over there.

As I've said the fact that Spurs are in a worse position than us (did I hear that Tim's been sacked) doesn't make our position any better, just theirs worse.

Just to put into context we are on target to become the holders of the ever worst collapse of any team that was top at Christmas. Impressive huh?

My target for the season was an improvement in the attitude of the club. An improvement in results in the big games, making it past the last 16 in Europe, giving the PL a real go and maybe win a trophy. So far we're batting 0 for 4. And I'm seriously worried about Wigan at the weekend.

Thankfully more and more fans are beginning to see how out of touch Wenger has become as a manager, hopefully he can go on a high with the FA Cup but either way I think that there is little doubt now that he should go.

Galway Gooner
People saying this is just another defeat. Seriously?? If you mean just another whalloping then yes. I agree with you. Question is how do we avoid it again? wigan must be licking their lips in anticipation of meeting our lot.
Wyn Mills
Wasn't the worst collapse Keegan's Newcastle losing to ManU? We were only 3 points clear of fourth on boxing day. It's been a tighter race this season. 'pool were 7 points clear of ManU at xmas 2008-2009. In any event this is only the worst collapse since the last one or until the next one so the claim is an exaggeration. The Bayern result was a good response to pressure if not ultimately enough to see us through but your claim that there hasn't been any response is still an exaggeration. There's bound to be some noise around Wenger's future. There has been after every disappointing set back since the opening day.
nna, good see that after you losing interest in Arsenal a disappointing defeat is enough to help you regain your interest. As for claims that Wenger is the messiah you'll rarely read such claims from those of us here broadly supportive of the club and it's manager. The idea that Wenger should be a messiah is the preserve of those most critical of him now. The rest accept that he's a human with all the faults and failings of mere mortals. The rest of your claims of excuses are also similar distortions of more rational points. But hey, you feel empowered to post now - and you're not alone!
Amos - Bayern dismissed us. They pushed us aside just like the second rate team that they believe us to be. Yes we drew over there but so what, the tie was already over. We knew it and they knew it and they played at walking pace for most of the game. Don't kid yourself into thinking that other than the first 15 minute of the tie were we ever in the game. Same as last year, never looked like doing anything until injury time in the second leg..

Looked back 12 years and only 3 clubs were leading the table on 26-Dec and failed to win the league. Liverpool, 2008/09 with a one point lead into 4 points off top, United 2003/04 with a 1 point lead into a massive 14 points off top, and ourselves in 2002/03 a 5 point lead into a 5 point gap and this season with a 1 point lead into currently a 10 point gap which could grow to 12 if City win their games in hand.

So it looks pretty bad. And that's because it is. Its not exaggeration it's fact. Keep up our current run and we'll top the United collapse of 2003/04 by some distance. You chose to ignore it than go ahead but don't claim that it's just an opinion or exaggeration when it's clearly not.

Thankfully more and more fans are beginning to judge Wenger on what he is doing and what he can do rather than what he has done.

Galway Gooner
I think Bayern would have wanted to win GG but perhaps they lacked a winning mentality eh? I don't see that anything in your figures proves that this is the worst collapse of any club leading at xmas. Quite the opposite. The fact that 'pool had a 1 point lead of the team that eventually finished 3rd doesn't alter the fact that they had a 7 point lead over the team that won the title. Your own example of Manu's 'collapse' 03-04 also disproves your own claim. Most times the leaders had a far healthier lead than we had at xams in what has been a very tight season. As such your claim is a clear exaggeration and at best opinion - but certainly not fact.
Come on Amos, please be honest with yourself once in a while. It seems the people berate the club, the stronger you feel the need to defend it. I do understand that a lot of what people say can be over the top but it is a build up of frustration over obvious short comings. We have 11 points in 33, is that a blip? We have crumbled in most of our pressure games if you are fair. Answer me this. In the league, how many games in 2014 have we played good attacking football or looked particularly convincing from an attacking point of view? Take away Sunderland who we played a week before their final and i am honestly struggling. We have looked efficient and defensively solid at times, but that is about it.
the more*
Amos - Look at the total points swing - Liverpool 5, United 15, Ourselves 10 and currently 11. I'm judging to how clear a team was a Christmas to how far behind they finished. You don't think we've collapsed then fine, happily go back to sticking your head in the sand.

Bayern may have wanted to win, of course they did but they didn't need to, we were the ones who needed to win. And don't try the smart arse winning mentality approach over Bayern, they are currently the best team in Europe and one of the best clubs of all time. They have the winning mentality, have it by the bucket load.

Galway Gooner
I think you owe yourself a bit of honesty paul. Precisely where have I defended the club here? If you look at what I've taken issue with then nothing supports that suggestion. We haven't been as fluent this season as we have previously in an attacking sense but I agree we have shown signs of being tighter defensively. I think there's a lack of balance between those points and we're getting caught between the two stools this season. While our midfield can look good on occasions our midfield forward combinations have been weak without all the resources so sometimes when our midfield looks defensively sounder it looks weak in an attacking sense - and vice versa. By your own logic GG Bayern didn't have a winning mentality against us at their place otherwise they would have won the game. Similarly, again by your own logic we were only 3 points ahead of 4th place on boxing day this season. Hence you clinging to your exaggerated claim of a collapse relative to those other 'collapses' is just you sticking your head in the sand.
If you think about it, this season is not better than the last. In this one we started well and last one we ended well. In the league we have lost as many games, conceded more goals, scored less per game*, worst goal difference by far*, performed worse in the big away games and similar in big home games. Again finished 2nd in the CL groups and out to Bayern losing first leg. Out in the QF of the league cup. Still littered with injuries. The FA cup run is the one positive it seems.
Bayern's aim was to win the tie and progress into the next round. They did this. Cut with the BS please.

We were 1 point clear at the top at Christmas down to currently 10 points behind, pull every distraction technique that you want but that fact doesn't change.

Amos, I no longer know if you are being genuine or simply being a parody of yourself. You seem to just want to disagree with everyone as a means to showing how intelligent you are. I know I don't speak for everyone here but I think you come across as a total arrogant and condescending arse.

Galway Gooner
So you basically agree we have not been playing good attacking football for the majority of this year. Without going too much in to who we can bring in, do you think it is the right time for Wenger to step down. If he wins the FA cup and gets 4th it will be a good time to leave on a high, no?
Whether this season is better or worse than last season has yet to be determined paul. Both are still possible - as is no change I suppose. I think in many ways we've competed better this season than last but I didn't expect us win the title or the CL this season and there's still a bit to do before we can really challenge. The winning of a domestic trophy might put a bit of a gloss on any season but I don't really see those as a sign of any real sporting achievement.
I've already given my opinion on whether Wenger should stay or go on the 'Wenger Out' article paul. I agree that we haven't been as fluent in an attacking sense often enough but there have been good attacking passages of play too - so we're capable of it but it relies on keeping some key resources consistently available. The need for you to resort to ad hominem arguments and just downright abuse as frequently as you do GG means you come across as someone insecure and uncomfortable in any genuine debate - so you just become hostile and antagonistic.
there is never any debate with you Amos, you are always right or more importantly everyone else is always wrong.

I see you are down as a writer on the site, any chance you would actually put an article up? Or would that mean you'd end taking apart your own work in the comments?

Galway Gooner
I may be insecure and hostile or maybe you're arrogant and condescending. As a great man once said; one of us cannot be wrong.
Galway Gooner
There's a debate to be had GG if you're open to it. You don't seem to be to me judging by the swiftness with which you resort to abuse to reinforce your points. I've written some articles from time to time and may well do so in the future. They're there if you want to find them. I wouldn't put too much store in that great man if I were you - it is more than possible for us both to be wrong.
"The winning of a domestic trophy might put a bit of a gloss on any season but I don't really see those as a sign of any real sporting achievement. Amos." So if winning a domestic trophy is not a sporting achievement, what is? This comment is absurd, a trophy is the only quantifiable measure of success.
Wigan were pretty successful at winning a domestic trophy last season but less so at the meeting the standards required to stay in the top league. It's a greater achievement, and thereby a real sign of sporting ability, to finish in the top four than it is to win a domestic trophy.
Although yesterday was desperately disappointing we should wait until the end of the season before delivering judgement, although yesterday would indicate that we are unlikely to either finish in the top four or win the F A cup. Even with the financial resources that we do have we are not going to challenge City and Chelsea, but the question is really could we have managed those resources available better than we have done. To enter the season with the available strikers that we did have was poor. We spent 42m on a player that was not a priority given the plethora of midfield players that we did have, and failed utterly to purchase any sort of striker,and ended up relying on an injury prone free transfer youngster who has not scored a goal for the club yet, and does not even look capable of doing so, and a striker with no pace who plays with his back to goal as Ray Kennedy did in 1970 (very successfully then!). The available squad was then so thin that rotation was not an option , so we get soft tissue injuries that take three months to heal. at the present time it looks like a sad end to a great reign , but we have to stick with it for the rest of the season. Even if fourth place and the FA Cup is achieved I think Arsene will go of his own accord that is why the contract has not been signed, and I think that what he has done he has earned our patience for another five weeks. I would love him to go out on a high for all that he has done, although yesterday and the preceding three months would indicate that it is unlikely.
Amos, you my friend are exhibiting one of the symptoms suggestive of manic psychosis we refer to as grandoise disorder. For the record, I agree with G.G that you indeed come across as arrogant and condescending. If in doubt put it to a vote on the site by means of an 'amos poll'
"nna, good see that after you losing interest in Arsenal a disappointing defeat is enough to help you regain your interest." no amos, I lost interest in posting on the site not arsenal due to the fact that I got weary of arguing about black and white divides that you insist was grey. There's a saying that you shouldn't argue with a fool lest people won't be able to tell the difference!
...and you nna are exhibiting the signs of someone who resorts to petty insults in place of reasoned argument. You're not alone in that here either. Ironic that you're trying to repaint your rather black and white insistence that you had lost interest in Arsenal under Wenger to a shade of grey in attempting to now claim you had merely lost interest in posting. Still it's good that you feel empowered to post. Now you just have to make a point based on reason rather than the preservation of your ego. You'll find you won't need the abuse at all once you master that.

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