Stats: Sunderland v Arsenal 4/10/08 3:00pm
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Sunderland 1 - Arsenal 1

Premier League

Stadium of Light

4/10/08 3:00pm

Attendance: 40,199

Referee: Lee Mason

1 - 1
Leadbitter 86
Fabregas 90+2
Venue: Stadium of Light
Attendance: 40,199
The Teams
van Persie
El-Hadji Diouf
Game Statistics
Goal Attempts
Yellow Cards
Red Cards
With 67.5% territorial advantage in our favour supporting strong possession stats there will still be those who will argue that our needs are for a defensive midfielder and a dominating centre back. This is a game that shows a lack of creativity in the final third. We had an awful lot of the ball but found it hard to do enough with it in a game where a distinctly unambitious home side were determined to 'park the bus'. Not that you can blame them if the strategy gets them a valuable point. For Arsenal though it's game where Walcott's pace and Song's defensive strengths were redundant. Statistically Denilson and Fabregas both contributed to this possession with Denilson with 82 passes and 88% completion rate in the 74 minutes he played being particularly impressive. Central midfield isn't a problem. Wide midfield is looking as though it might be.

The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday October 4 2008

Time: 7:11PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
How was Song redundant? Please explain it to me because he made quite a lot of tackles and stopped a lot of potential play occuring with his positional skill. Yes, Denilson is great going forward bla bla bla, we all know that, but is there a need for him congesting the midfield when we need space to work in?
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04/10/2008 19:19:00

He was redundant because we didn't need him in a game where the opposing team only played less than a third of the game in our half. Song made one tackle the same as Denilson - each succesful. Cesc made 2. The whole team made 14 tackles with 100% success. Sunderland were happy to let us have the ball feeling that we weren't set up to break them down. They were right.
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04/10/2008 19:39:00

Yes that is fair enough. But the use of Denilson stifled out attack and made it less easy to score because people were stepping on each others toes.
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04/10/2008 19:42:00

Denilson isn't stifling our attack. The use of a purely defensive player should have allowed both Cesc and Denilson enough licence to play further forward than normal. What you can say with certainty is that Song, on the evidence of this game, didn't allow Cesc to do anything more than he has done in previous games.
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04/10/2008 19:51:00

It's worrying and extremely annoying how we buss a game for the mojarity, and come away with a point or nothing. I seriously hope this season doesn't become a hiccup of two seasons ago where each game is a frustration.
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05/10/2008 00:38:00

I cannot believe how you Gooners can live with this performance at Sunderland. Effectively this is "Goodbye to the Premiership" for you. You were beaten until a 90+3 equaliser. Mr Wenger, if you were a Manchester City manager you would be about to be sacked.
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05/10/2008 05:35:00

Whenever Wenger gave a post macth interview commenting that the opposing team defended very well, you'd know we had dropped points. Effectively our chance for the title is gone because MU, Chelsea are unlikely to lose to Fulham, Hull & draw with Sunderland. We nearly lost but managed to save a point in the end but had Sunderland been good with set pieces, we could have lost. The game plan against us is very simple. Make it very compact at the final third. Try to hit with long balls & set pieces. We can't really lay blame on the players because it is the tactic that dictate their game. It couldn't be so coincident that whenever we dropped points, all the players on the pitch performed at a rating of 6 or below. We can't ask Ade & van Persie to play one-two passing when the area is so congested. We can't ask Fab to tread in through balls when there is no opening. Also we can't ask Walcott to take on fullback when he has to beat a 'pseudo winger', a defensive midfielder, then the only the fullback, get the picture? We need a plan B & we need to improve on our set pieces significantly. What would MU, Chelsea & Liv do when they face an opponent who park a bus in front of their goal? Simply they would try to win free kicks & corners because their conversion rates are much higher compared to us (even Bolton and Hull are better). It has been a problem so many years & it will always remain a problem to us - dropping points against team all other top teams are beating.
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05/10/2008 07:09:00

maybe we cant have the best of both worlds - a good and consistent conversion rate in set pieces might mean that we have to go for someone who is exceptional at headers but perhaps this someone will be mediocre on ball controlling and skills and will not fit into our fluidity when the ball is on the ground
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05/10/2008 07:51:00

I just wish AW can be more "ruthless" and "quick" at times in making subs when the going is not right. Vela should be introduced much earlier rather than we are a goal down for a possible variation in our attacking approach
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05/10/2008 07:56:00

If other teams can strike a balance, there's no reason we can't. At this level of football, you'll have to be good, if not the best in every facet to stand a chance. The main reason is our tactic is flawed to the fundamental. If teams come out to play, we will stuff them 4 to 6 goals to nothing. If they plan with the well tested game plan against us, which is to give us the possession, compact at the 3rd quater & long balls, they'll have a very good chance to steal a point. If they are good with set pieces, they'll have a good chance of winning. If you were a manager of a unfancied team, would you take risk and open up or would you be happy with minimum of a point with the possibility of springing a shock win? The bottom line is we are just too one dimensional. The issue of incompatible pairing of CD (and lack of height), the need of a ball winning CM, the deficiency in set pieces offensively and defensively & the predictability of our tactic have been exploited to the maximum by many teams and frankly my faith is running thin after 4 seasons of stubborness
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05/10/2008 09:33:00

Having only watch the hightlights on ATVO, it seems that Sunderland was happy to have a nil nil draw, then they scored. It could so easliy have been another defeat for The Arsenal. So Thanks Cesc for using your Head! I understand that RvP had scored a goal from a cross from Walcott which was ruled out. Why was it not shown on the Hightlights?!
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05/10/2008 09:40:00

This is not a bad point considering what went against us, had the RvP goal been given as it should have been we would be talking about a decent away win. Song had an excellent game by the way, positionally more than anything and I doubt stats will show that but he really was everywhere and the few times Sunderland did pour forward, he was always where he should have been, he also carried the ball forward threateningly. I thought he was our best player. But when there are ten men behind the ball, there isn't a great deal that can be done and when we did do it, the linesman disallowed it. There wasn't a great deal that could have been done about the goal, it was a real suckerpunch. Walcott was not redundant so much as he was *****, he had a mare and couldn't control the ball under no pressure, it happens.
Little Dutch
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05/10/2008 10:40:00

I'd also like to say that that was the worst refereeing performance I've seen in at least a year. Seven bookings and not one of them was deserved. Gordon was taking in excess of sixty seconds to spot up goal kicks and the referee did not even once give a cursory touch of his watch. At one point, Gallas ran behind the goal to place the ball down for him and was told off by Lee Mason. The disallowed goal was a terrible piece of officiating too, I was right on top of Walcott when he crossed it and it never even occurred to me the ball had crossed, to the point that I couldn't work out why the goal had been chalked off until I saw the ref point to the six yard box.
Little Dutch
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05/10/2008 10:43:00

LD, Song was brilliant wasn't he. I don't understand how Amos can say he was redundant. Stupid.
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05/10/2008 12:05:00

Tom14, Song was good, but a bit slow sometimes. He was definitely not redundant but that didn't warrant you to call some one stupid. Loosen up mate :)
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05/10/2008 12:23:00

Stupidity comes when you fail to understand the point. Song played well but he was redundant in the context of a game that didn't really need another defensive midfielder - or more correctly shouldn't have done if Walcott hadn't played. He allowed Cesc to play further forward but we would have been better served playing a conventional 4-4-2 with Nasri and Eboue on the flanks. As it happens Denilson got through more work than Song did so him playing alongside Cesc was the more obvious selection. Being aware of Songs qualities shouldn't make you blind to those of others.
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05/10/2008 12:29:00

In the context of the game, we didn't need Denilson AND Song, but I didn't expect Sunderland to be THAT defensive. Amos is correct that Walcott should not have played, for reasons I have articulated in mymatch report, but the net result was we were too predictable because Walcott'sinclusion forced us to be less fluid than we had been at Bolton for example, Eboue serves that midfield unit better.
Little Dutch
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05/10/2008 12:47:00

Precisely my point LD. I wouldn't have grumbled if Song had partnered Cesc instead of Denilson with Nasri and Eboue on the flanks though I do think that in the context of this game Denilson serves us better. That doesn't take anything away from Song though.
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05/10/2008 12:51:00

ATVO has been really poor so far this season in what they've decided to show. Another that stands out is the Davies horror tackle on Clichy and most of the 'events' from any match tend to be omitted.
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06/10/2008 12:02:00

Joe, I completely agree with your assessment on the lack of plan B when facing the 'parked bus' tactics. what I have noticed is that Manure and Chel$ki resort to mroe direct approaches to score the initial goal and draw the bus driver and the passengers away, and then kill them off with the 'plan A' football. Bendtner and Adebayor should have been the strike partners and width was absolutely necessary on both flanks.
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06/10/2008 13:20:00


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