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Arsenal 0 - Sunderland 0

Premier League

Emirates Stadium

21/2/2009 15:00

Attendance: 60,104

Referee: Alan Wiley

Arsenal
0 - 0
Sunderland
 
 
Venue: Emirates Stadium
 
Attendance: 60,104
The Teams
Almunia
 
 
 
Fulop
 
 
Sagna
 
 
 
McCartney
 
 
Toure
 
 
 
Ben-Haim
 
 
Gallas
 
 
 
Ferdinand
 
 
Clichy
 
 
85
 
Collins
 
 
Arshavin
 
 
63
 
Tainio
 
 
76
Denilson
 
 
 
Malbranque
 
 
Song
 
 
78
 
Whitehead
 
 
Nasri
 
 
 
Reid
 
 
78
van Persie
 
 
 
Richardson
 
 
Bendtner
 
 
 
Jones
 
 
88
Substitutes
Fabianski
 
 
 
Gordon
 
 
Djourou
 
 
 
Davenport
 
 
Gibbs
 
 
85
 
McShane
 
 
Eboue
 
 
78
 
Edwards
 
 
88
Merida
 
 
 
Leadbitter
 
 
76
Ramsey
 
 
 
Murphy
 
 
78
Vela
 
 
63
 
Healy
 
 
Game Statistics
16
Goal Attempts
3
7
On Target
2
8
Corners
3
1
Offside
1
7
Fouls
12
2
Yellow Cards
2
0
Red Cards
0
60.6
%
39.4
Comments...
When the defenders have more combined attempts on goal than the midfielders or the forwards then I guess that tells it's own tale of frustration. In fact of our back four only Gallas spent less time in midfield than in the defensive third. Chances were created but not taken bringing the 3rd goalless draw in succession - a feat apparently not achieved since 1998. Arshavin had a promising hour and while his passing frequency and completion rates were below those of the other midfielders he was the only midfielder (save for 2 by Vela in the last half hour) to have any shots on goal. But then it was only nominally a midfield role as both he and Vela spent virtually 70% of their playing time in the attacking third. We are more solid defensively than in the early part of the season but while at one time you would have always backed us to score, that for the time being, is a quality that seems to have deserted us.




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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday February 21 2009

Time: 10:52PM

Your Comments

Lets have a look at another statistic. It will be the lowest we have finished since Wenger has been here, the 1st time we have not gone in to the chaampions league ....etc
paul_ownz
I still think you'll finish 4th guys, ahead of Villa.
Thaibluefan
Could be worse you could have Tim Sherwood and Les Ferdinand in your coaching staff.
HuddersfieldYiddo
The time has come to accept that this is what we are now,the 5th or 6th best side in England. There really is no more room for us tokid ourselves or for the manager or the board to kid any of us. This is what we are and what we will be for the forseeable future. How ironic, on the day the club announce frozen ticket prices as if it's a massive favour.
Little Dutch
with 12 games to go i think we need 28 points at the very least which means 8 or 9 wins. I cant see Villa or Chelsea not picking up at least 21 points. Time will tell, but id imagine we need a hell of a run to pull it off, which i dont think we are capable of, especially when we cant beat teams like west ham and sunderland at home.
paul_ownz
This is just mypoint Paul, people have been going on about Villa dropping points as if we're somehow not going to drop any. It's just quite clear that Villa are a much better side than us and as such, we will drop more points than they do. We're not waiting to explode or about to go on a big run. The fact is, our players, every one of them, are clearly trying their hardest. This is just all that we are capable of. Period.
Little Dutch
I think now is the time to look at the future. Playing with Ramsey, Wilshere and giving Vela more starts can only have a positive impact. Today is all gloom and I believe we will be playing the new UEFA League competition, come next September. Let's go for it then. We we'll be without some of our stars who will find their way out of the club. We should offload the players that are not CL material: Silvestre, Diaby, Bendtner, Eboue, Adebayor, Rosicky, Song and Denilson. Gallas, Arshavin and Van Persie will move themselves away from the club. I can't even imagine what will happen to Cesc, but I can't see him staying for more than next season. So the Wenger system comes full circle and we'll have to develop young players to replace these that will go. Maybe the money saved on the players leaving will allow us to buy some others that are not just brilliant in the training field but found wanting on the real pitch.
PTGunner
I think you are spot on LD. PT, that is a far too pessimistic a view. I think the reason we are now more solid at the back is because we now play much deeper and players seem reluctant to get forward. How many times was the ball played into the opponents penalty area and either no Arsenal player was there to receive it or only one or two - and then not in the right place to connect? The team are also playing at far too low a tempo, the build up is slow, tentative and lacking in confidence which gives the opposition time to get everyone back to defend. We are also giving the ball away far too often with poor passing which is another sign of a lack of confidence. If you look at the best and most successful team in the pl (Man U - ouch that hurts) they attack in numbers and at pace, they also defend in numbers. They also have the biggest and best squad of players by far but that fact alone doesn't excuse our apparent lack of ambition and timid play. I also wonder about the preparation, why is it that for the 'big' games we seem to be able to produce but for games against clubs lower in the league - games we should be winning - we seem unable to get ourselves up for it? Players such as Bendtner and Vela are just not ready yet and nor are Ramsey, Wilshere and Gibbs. Song is not mobile enough for anything other than a simple holding role and Denilson's tackling and lack of pace let him down at the moment although in time experience may over come these deficits. On a brighter note Kolo seems to be continuing his return to form and has settled in next to Gallas and Almunia looks pretty solid in goal. Nasri will be OK and Arshavin is class as is RVP but he needs support from midfield and the other strike partners.
norfolk dumpling
Bye bye 4th place.
prits
ND, I know that was a very pessimistic view and I agree with you on most of what you've written. I also think that Denilson hasn't found out what his purpose is. He is not a holding midfielder, and whenever the ball comes to him, our attack slows down. Most of the time his passes are backards. That only shows what fragile a player he is. He is not responding well to the pressure of carrying the ball from defence to the strikers. Maybe that is not his fault, but AW needs to take a look into it. He already admitted to it by ststing that we don't play "vertically" enough. That come down to Denilson who I don't think made a pass forward in any of the games we drew.
PTGunner
Its up to the manager to find solutions to the problems we are having scoring goals. The central midfield pairing of Song and Denilson creates very little especially against a 10 man defence, All season Denilson has be trained into the role of our new 'defensive' midfielder so playing Song a defensive midfielder next to him makes little or no sense at home. Also I thought it was a mistake to play Arshavin from the start, Vela played very well against Cardiff, his confidence would have been high and he got dropped not good man management. Also to bring on Arshavin with 30 minutes to go would have given the whole stadium a massive lift, Sunderland would have been tiring and Wenger fo such an intelligent guy missed a psychological trick, instead he put Eboue on giving the exact opposite effect. We will finish 5th which is the level of this team without Fabregas, talk of players leaving does not bother me 1 bit. At the end of the day everyone has to take responsibility for our poor form so if they are walking around thinking their s*@t dont stink and its not their fault were 5th they can p*ss off to Real, Barca or whoever wants them.
iceman10
Unbeaten run, heh? We are in good form blah blah.. The team is strong etc... Everything Arsene says these days is pointless. Check the stats: Arsenal 8 draws in a 13 matches unbeaten sequence. That tells its own story. This unbeaten run is pointless.. United? 16 wins in 17 matches, 1 loss... You know where we are...
Gael-Force
we need Eduardo
andycroat28
one player is not the answer imho. The policy of grooming kids has sustained us for a few years but this is it. It is running out. Maybe David Dein was right all along.. although I don't know why he got in bed with Usmanov when Kroenke looked a safer bet.
Gael-Force
How quickly the mood changes! I agree with much of that analysis iceman. Playing Song and Denilson does seem a little negative at home but with Cesc and Diaby out there isn't much alternative. I have always thought this 'need for a DM' thing was overdone. We could have played Eboue there I guess but with the current febrile atmosphere towards him that might have been too big a risk for Wenger to take.
Amos.
Song does not put enough tackles in and is slow in closing the ball down. How many times was he sidestepped out of the action by a couple of simple passes? Denilson is a good all-rounder but neither a true DM nor a true playmaker. Letting Gilberto and Diarra go was a mistake. They would walk into this midfield.
Gael-Force
the strikers aren't scoring because they are not getting the service from midfield and they are not Thierry Henry who could make chances of his own when running at a defender. Yesterday we kept trying to cross balls into the area to no effect because our strikers don't like heading the ball and neither did Henry to be fair.
Gael-Force
Both Song and Denilson did their jobs pretty well yesterday - Denilson in particular but with our defenders able to spend the majority of their time in midfield we didn't really need Song there as well - or Gilberto for that matter - at least not the Gilberto of today.
Amos.
I know all is not lost and to be gung-ho would be silly but for the remaining home games without Cesc we really do need to change things up, whether that means playing Nasri centrally and Vela and Arshavin wide or playing Bendtner wide and Arshavin in the hole I dont know? But song and Denilson centre mid at home means a certain 5th place IMO.
iceman10
Jesus. After reading these comments, think I'll just go and jump off a bridge now. How can you just settle for mediocrity like that? I'm glad the CL is back this week, it might just get some heads out of asses and that includes both players and fans alike. Stop giving up or we won't make it. Negativity has clearly been transmitted from the stands to the pitch. Start acting like a 12th man, FGS. It's only Feb, 2nd, 3rd and 4th are NOT decided yet. Chelski were rubbish in that second half yesterday.
julieloveshenry4ever
Its obvious to me from watching them week in week out that its the lack of creativness and speed in passing from the centre midfield. Yes Denilson & Song both do a good job at the things they do, but the ball moves too slowly and mainly from side to side. Denilson always has stats of 85% percent pass completion which is good but he is rarely capable of any penetrarting passes. And song slows down our whole game considerably. We need to play NAsri in the middle with Denilson or Song until Fabs is back.
paul_ownz
look guys, we created enough yesterday to win the game. we have been far worse in games vs Bolton and Wigan and still somehow managed to win them 1-0. had Van Persie scored that, it would be a very different game. and if we would have got another late goal, yu would all be hailing it as a good result. the problem is we've just been really unlucky lately, especially yesterday. had that chance fallen to Vela a few days ago, he would have buried it. had that chance fallen to Van Persie later in the game, he would have surely scored it. Villa have United, Liverpool & City away, Stoke, Tottenham & Everton at home in their next six games. if they are still ahead of us after those six games, then i'll be really really worried and accept that maybe we won't finish in the top 4, but there is clearly a long long way to go still. we win vs Fulham & West Brom and that table will look a lot different. and then we have most of our players coming back, if we can have Fabregas and Rosicky back for the last 6-8 league games, and Walcott, Eduardo & Adebayor coming back even earlier, we can easily go on a good run and even finish third. all you people saying we are simply the 5th or 6th best side in the country is *********. Even United won't be i nthe top four if they have the kind of injuries we've had this season, and still somehow we're not too far away from the cl spots, so do all this sulking & all negative talk at the end of the season if we dun make it in the top four..
luckys_10
That has to be right luckys_10. It's better to have the post mortem after the patient is dead.
Amos.
anyway lets put this on the backburner now, and look ahead to Roma, we need to be behind the team entirely on tuesday night and help them to somehow pull off a positive result. it's a must win game, so lets hope the lads repeat that run they had in 2006, but they cannot do it without our support, so please leave all the negativity at home and get behind the team, all yu guys going to the game..
luckys_10
I thought Chelsea were impressive yesterday in terms of spirit, determination and quality of play. And, unlike us, they got the result. United, Chelsea and Liverpool all contend with what we do at home, i.e. teams playing almost completely defensively and manage to get results. This is a clearly a tranisition season for us with new players needing to get used to each other. As everyone knows, the massive miscalculation that Wenger has made is not to buy a couple of experienced players (or not let go of them) to tie us over this time. Nasri should have been played through the middle with Arshavin and Eboue/Vela on the other wing. Believe me, we're missing Hleb far more than Flamini.
Gooner_Vin
It's all very well being positive but this team is being given chance after chance to get something going and they singularly fail every single time. You simply cannot ignore what's in front of your eyes. Playing Song and Debilson was not necessary, but the substitution to put Eboue on for Song was abysmal. Merida is a very raw young player,but really, who is more likely to open up a packed defence? I'm not having a pop at Eboue here, it's not his game and it's not fair for themanager to put him on as a creative midfield player. It was a move that smacked of desperation and marked the sort of caution that reveals that the manager doesn't believe in his team as much as he says he does. Remember when we used to be in this situation? Wiltord on, Kanu on, four strikers. Now? A right back comes on and is told to create a match winning moment from central midfield.
Little Dutch
Yesterday's game revealed the poverty of quality. I was very interested to see how we would respond to a good result and the good vibes of the Cardiff match. Could they use it to kick on? Could they seize the initiative with Villa losing? Could they get some confidence into their game and start behaving like a quality football team again and sweep to 4th? The answer was a clear and no resounding no in every department. I almost think I'd feel better if I thought they weren't trying, but they are. The fact is, 3 straight 0-0 draws and no goals scored that weren't forged in their entirety by van Persie shows that the quality just isn't there, and there's no use in the manager or the fans trying to kid themselves any different.
Little Dutch
Mostly agree with luckys here. I think given that we have 4 world class, established international players missing, along with Theo, a lot of you are being very negative about the state of the squad in general. The paucity of game breakers on the bench yesterday is a direct result of those injuries and there is no doubt in my mind that if you took away 5 of Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool or Vlla's most creative players then they'd have a struggle on their hands. Call me an idiot or an eternal optimist or whatever, but i still think 4th spot is on, yesterday was an awful result in the context of the game, but at the end of the day it is one point gained on Villa, and having watched them a fair few times recently I really can see them dropping more points as the season goes on. At this stage in the season to call 6 points insurmountable seems a tad hasty to me, especially given our own position at this stage last year.
Monkeyjerky
I still don't understand why Nasri and Denilson do not start in the middle? Surely Vela has done enough now to start games.
Tom14
It's amazing to think the change at our club from last season. I remember when we beat Sparta Prague 7-0 at home and it was like watching Barcelona play, What on earth has gone wrong!
Gooner_Vin
I can see the attraction of putting Merida on but let's be realistic Wenger was in a no win situation with that choice. Had he done so and the result been the same he would have been criticised for putting on an untried, inexperienced youngster. We can all have different ideas about different permuations of players but they are no more guaranteed to succeed than the choices that were made. We need to be 7 points better than Villa or 8 points better than Chelsea gain over the next 12 games. It can be done but realisitically, on present form, that has to be a tough ask. But whatever our fate this season it isn't the end of this club or this team. A disappointing season is only a disappointing season. There is always the prospect of a better one to come.
Amos.
Mybe he was in a no win situation, though I don't think that to be the case, there is always a great deal of clamour for the likes of Vela and Ramsey to come on. The fact is, in the supposed no win situation, the manager went with the wet, safe, conservative decision. The funny thing is, the prospect of the inevitable exodus that will come with failing to qualify doesn't trouble me greatly, because I wouldn't miss about 80%of this squad if it upped and left. The problem is, we will lose Fabregas in the summer and the CL could ellude us for many years. The club have all but admitted more than 1 year without CL football would be a disaster financially (see Gazidis' cagey comments last month). Make no mistake, a bad season this year could end up costing us an awful lot- in more ways than one.
Little Dutch
The clamour for Vela and Ramsey is only on the basis that they haven't played often enough to yet be failures in the eyes of supporters. I think the forecasts of doom if we don't qualify for the CL are a bit early yet though it will be costly. Whether we lose players or not is a possible but not inevitable consequence - especially as they are mostly young enough to take a season out of the competition. It hasn't forced Kaka out of Milan. Nor does being out of the CL prevent us from signing other players as Ribery and Flamini amongst others will testify.
Amos.
You're probably correct there, but then the manager wasn't really in a no win position in terms of being criticised. Milan and Bayern were in very different fiscal situations to us, Byaern have effectively now bought Allianz such is their strength and that has maximised their commercial revenues massively. Meanwhile, we are struggling to flog some flats in North London. But surely you can see the double standards of saying that having a squad of hungry, young players is the way to go but then not playing them. Does that not reveal the manager sees the flaws in his squad? The fact that we only signed one player in the transfer window when, in truth, three were probably needed, shows to me we don't have the money to make those kind of reinforcements. Taking away CL revenue next year can only exacerbate that. Having the likes of Diaby and Rosicky etc off the wage billmight help us, but nobody will pay big for them and as a result, the quality of replacement will probably not be very high. The manager has been and is exceptional in the transfer market with limited funds, but he seems to have given upon himself in that area.
Little Dutch
Players who have joined clubs with no chance at the CL in the past two years (off the top of my head) -- Ribery, Klose, Toni, Ze Roberto, Ronaldinho, Robinho, Beckham, De Jong, Pato, Oddo, Flamini, and every player that T*ttenham has tricked into joining them. Bayern and Milan were able to keep the players they wanted to while adding to their squad. Even guys like Nedved, Del Piero, Trezuguet and Buffon stayed with Juventus when they were relegated. Of course, you could argue that these teams showed an ambition in the summer when they failed to qualify which allowed them to improve their squad even when not playing in the CL.
TPowell
The clubs you mention TPowell all have more money than us. Also, Arsenal has pretty much given up on the transfer market in any meaningful way. Whethet that's philosophy or finance or not I'm not sure. I suspect a bit of both.
Little Dutch
I have no wish to be unduly negative but I can't keep ignoring the evidence of my own eyes and I think the manager not the players has to take the responsibility even allowing for and acknowledging the wonderful things he has done for and with this club over the years. I do wonder about the preparation when we come off the back of a good win - even if it was 'only' Cardiff - and then play with what seems to me such fear and negativity. Individually I think the players are doing their best but I wonder also about the selections sometimes; it is inevitable that a midfield paring of Denilson and Song isn't going to create very much and I agree that it might have been more effective to bring Arshavin on rather than start with him. I don't understand the reluctance to play Nasri in the centre together with Denilson or possibly Song. The manager probably thinks that Vela is too young and too inexperienced to start - even out wide but if this is the case why is he in the first team squad? The same question could be asked about Ramsey, Wilshere and Gibbs, if they're not good enough to start, at home, against Sunderland they are not good enough for the first team squad. The reason we find ourselves in this situation is the managers cavalier attitude towards experienced, but dissatisfied players when he lets them go too easily' I wonder how hard he tried to keep Campbell, Flamini, Hleb, Diara et al. Letting players such as them go without signing experienced and proven replacements meant that too many youngsters were forced to step into the team before they were ready and this has been bad for the team and probably for those players development as well. It is quite one thing to blood a youngster or two in a confident, experienced team which is playing well and quite another to expect them to take full responsibility and straight away without a significant body of experience around them. I realise that we have suffered from injuries but the wheels were coming off at the end of last season before we lost Cesc, Theo, Diaby etc ( Diaby is not a role model of experience and consistency anyway). This post is now far too long so I'll finish by just saying that the team needs to develop better movement off the ball and play closer to one another so that the passing game we used to play so well can be learned again, the team also needs to play at a higher tempo and attack and defend in numbers. We are not a bad side, we are a good side but not, at the moment a top four side. We are still in the FA Cup and the Champions League either of which we may well win. Hurrah!!!!!!!
norfolk dumpling
The team we have now is a consequence of restricted finances over 5 years or more - not of a failure to spend last summer or this January. Last season was the first decent nett profit for some considerable time. The reliance on youth was a means to an end during the period that we were having to finance the stadium. The teams of seasons to come will be a combination of past investment in youth and a greater ability to invest current revenues in acquisitions. The teams TPowell mentioned don't have more money than us and future revenues for the club still look good. Don't base expectations on future team building policy on what we did while building the stadium - the times and phase of the clubs development is now different. Being out of the CL doesn't help us but it isn't fatal either.
Amos.
I understand LD, and I am fearful of the summer transfer window, I'm just offering up some evidence that players don't necessarily run off to other teams if there is no CL football for them. Further evidence is actually Villa, who were able to hold onto Gabby, Young, and Barry even though they are not as big as Bayern and Milan (no offence intended as they have put together a talented squad)
TPowell
Amos, I understand what you are saying and it is good that the club is trying to run in a financially sustainable way but relying on developing youngsters is very risky indeed simply because it is so difficult to pick out those youngsters with talent who will go on to be tip top players from those who will either fade away or only ever be average journeyman players. I wonder what the true costs of developing these young players through the academy really are? Also what you say doesn't entirely tie in with what the club has consistently said in recent years ie - there is money available if the manager wants to buy. The manager almost always said that he didn't need to buy because the players he had were good enough, or perhaps the manager was wary of getting his fingers burnt again as with Reyes?
norfolk dumpling
The reliance on youngsters was a direct result of restricted finances while building the stadium. Let's be clear about that. The sponsorship money from the Emirates and Nike went directly into stadium finance and not team building. The fact that we have still kept competing - albeit less effectively than we would have wished is remarkable but other than the policy of spending money we didn't yet have - which is the Bates policy that ultimately virtually bankrupted Chelsea - we had no viable alternative if we were to attract the level of talent we need. Imagine trying to buy a Cesc now for example. While money may well have been available as the club said Wenger is clever enough to know that that would only be at the expense of his ability to buy in the future. Only now are we generating money - but so far only 1 years contribution after almost 8 years of very little - the team can and will now develop along more conventional lines.
Amos.
Do you really like looking at these stats after every game? Isn't it too painful of a reminder?
ForeverUnited
I agee with many comments but not that we are the 5th or 6th best team in the PL. I believe with most of our players healthy we are the most talented, we will also finish in the top 4.We lack creativity but not just from the Midfield, our strikers apart from RVP dont take players on and beat them, not that they cant but seem to lack the confidence to (I also think Eduardo has the confidence and ability to do it). I do agree that our play lack pace, we dont run at defences but pass around all day, when a door is locked sometimes you have to use a battering ram to get through, we need to impose our will on teams and that to me will be done by taking it to the defence with speed and power, everything may not come off but It will cause the defence to have to adjust and holes will open up, in my opinion atleast. I would also like to see Nasri be more greedy and aggressive with the ball, he is a great player but is being me too passive. Just my opinion.
Paulsito
 

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