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Tuesday, 14 February 2006

Something Rotten In The State Of Wenger

I have to admit that I didn’t make it to Anfield tonight. Unable to con anyone into coming with me, I couldn’t face the drive on my tod and taking the train, staying overnight and as a result missing a day’s work tomorrow, was going to end up costing me well over 200 quid.

Usually I’d be sitting here feeling a little guilty, unable to escape the totally illogical notion that my absence had something to do with our defeat. However I have to tell you that I am dead relieved, as instead, I’d be feeling a complete fool for wasting so much money to watch this particular Arsenal side.

I don’t know about anyone else, but personally I would’ve much preferred to see the Arsenal lose four or five – nil, knowing I’d seen them at least have a go at the opposition. Instead of which we were forced to endure one of the most tepid performances yet this season (and in a particularly lacklustre season).

On the radio “Do I not like that” Taylor was doing his best to “big up” Liverpool for playing “expansive football”, leaving themselves prone to being hit by the counter attack. Well forgive me if I am mistaken Graham, but I can’t recall the Arsenal producing a box-to-box, counter attack all evening. We hardly got past the halfway line for most of the match.

Personally I can easily forgive players having an off night, but what I simply cannot countenance is almost an entire Arsenal eleven who all appeared to play as if they’d rather be elsewhere. Considering how crucial this result could prove, both in terms of our chances of qualifying for the Champions League next season and perhaps more imminent, the mood in the camp going into the game next week in Madrid, the fact that so many of the Arsenal team appeared so incredibly flat from the kick-off was absolutely unforgiveable.

OK so we were missing a few players and might have fared better if the likes of Van Persie were available. What’s more, some might even suggest that we would’ve escaped with a point, if Flamini hadn’t struggled so much with his duties at full-back and might even have prevented Luis Garcia’s goal if it wasn’t for the lapse that saw him forget to track the Spaniard into the six-yard box. But in all honesty, if we’d come away with anything tonight, I would’ve felt it was floodlight robbery.

Forgetting our inadequacies going forward, think back to Saturday’s game, where for at least the first forty-five, the Bolton players grafted so hard, harrying us on the ball at every opportunity and preventing us from having a moment to conjure up any kind of expansive football. Now compare that to this evening, where as the visitors, we allowed the home side all the time they needed in possession, exerting no pressure, instead strolling around watching the opposition.

To my mind it said it all, that in a game as important as this, the first controversial moment for Graham Poll came when he got a mouthful from Ljungberg. When in the past one would’ve expected a hatful of bookings by then because of tackles flying in all over the pitch, as players demonstrated how much they wanted this match. Instead of which we witnessed an apathetic Arsenal, demonstrating so little desire, it was positively embarrassing.

They looked a side who weren’t expecting to come away with anything from the moment Poll first blew the whistle and what bothered me most was the gung-ho effort for the last few minutes after the goal had gone in, which left us all wondering what they’d been doing for the previous 89 minutes.

To be honest when I looked at the bench, it was hard to pick a sub capable of having an impact on the outcome. Yet surely it should’ve been obvious to Arsène from the lamentable first-half performance that he needed to try something at half-time to make a difference after the break. Instead of which Wenger just sat there hoping (perhaps praying) we might just hang on to a point and only when it became patently apparent that the Pires we saw on Saturday, simply hadn’t turned up at Anfield, did he send on Hleb instead (and a big difference he made!). Poor Kolo Touré and Manny Eboué must be wishing they'd made a detour via Timbuktu!

Surely Wenger cannot honestly believe his team “gave everything tonight” and if he does, then I’m afraid Le Prof is more deluded than I thought! If it wasn’t for Jens Lehmann’s goalkeeping feats it would’ve been a total walkover. Perhaps the players might be able to offer some excuse in that their minds were elsewhere? I only wish I could believe this was our forthcoming trip to the Bernabeu!

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

fuck off you whinging gooner cunt

Anonymous said...

who gives a toss!!!

Anonymous said...

This wont do !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

pool was too great.. nuff said

Only Red & White said...

Carry on playing Gilberto and we will continue to have a problem.

Eboue who made some mistakes sure but his youthfulness showed up Freddie tonight as someone who has simply had it!

Fancy a little bet on Wenger being out by the start of the new season?

All managers have their day and what Wenger tells his players now is simply ignored they have heard it all before and there is no effect. Wenger cannot see what is staring in the face since the firt two weeks of the season - Gilberto is causing massive problems for everyone. And what happens - he continues to play and screw things up.

Anonymous said...

ha ha ha - no europe and no trophies = empty new stadium = huge debts = ....well you work it out....bye bye gooners - up the spurs!

Anonymous said...

I'm a LFC fan who was there tonight, and to be honest it was the worst Gooners Anfield performance since the Bruce Rioch teams. If we have a decent striker you may have been in trouble.

Anonymous said...

Completely agree with everything you said, and hey why wasn't either Lupoli or Bendtner on the bench??? Not a forward in sight, and why Wenger bother bringing Hleb on...what a waste of money he is!! He could have done something radical by bringing on Djourou and moving Kolo up into centre midfield plus I thought yet again TH was poor yet again when he was needed to work hard and inspire the team....captains are supposed to do that aren't they??? Gilberto still plaing crap (why no Larson or Diaby in his place with at least 20 to go?), Csec overwhelmed in midfield, Freddie no pace and cannot beat anyone any more. In Adebeyor instead of having a target man to hit up front so that TH can feed off him, we have another forawrd who drops off. But at the end of the day as you say we looked like a team preparing for a defeat from the kick off... another forgetable performance and a long way to go before we resemble a team challenging for a European place (forget being in the championship raace for a long time!!!) Now Bolton are a point behind us with 2 games in hand and 3/4 others are closing in.... with 3 away games on the trot coming up instead of 4th spot we could realistically be looking a few places lower and out of Europe altogether next season. God help us if we play like this against Madrid and they are on form!!!

Anonymous said...

Gunner go the same way as Leeds !! hee hee !

Anonymous said...

Cashburden Grove? What were you thinking? Nothing wrong with the library and would've suited a medium size club like yourselves in a city with 5 other premiership teams - 50,000 at the Grove (without TH) next season when you play Wigan in a mid-table scrap? you're having a laugh!! Au revoir gooners au revoir!!

Anonymous said...

leeds? More like Aldershot....ha ha ha!

Robbo said...

I believe that you have summed it up perfectly with this paragraph:

"They looked a side who weren’t expecting to come away with anything from the moment Poll first blew the whistle and what bothered me most was the gung-ho effort for the last few minutes after the goal had gone in, which left us all wondering what they’d been doing for the previous 89 minutes."

I am a MASSIVE Gooner fan who can't believe what is happening this season. Yes the new stadium is making us tighten our purse strings...But 12 million spent on kids is NOT the solution to ensure that we are in the champions league in our first season at the emirates..... Henry is playing like a CU*T - If you want to go then go. The other senior pro's are also not helping out the youngsters...... One thing I must say though....Apart from Lehmans off the ball theatrics (which IS WRONG) he is playing superbly for us this season.

We can't be that skint Mr Wenger if we have 12 million to spend, stop being so one eyed and stubborn.... A very disappointed Arsenal fan

Anonymous said...

get rid of Silva, put him on a boat to Brasil, NOW!!!!

Anonymous said...

Watching Liverpool tonight - and seeing how Sissoko was so excellent - he'd be perfect for Arsenal eh!

Ah well! Wenger has spent close on £30 mill in the last 12 months on Hleb, Walcott, that lanky, un-coordinated Drogba lookalike, who makes Djimi Traore look elegent. Plus some namless midfielder -and you have regressed horribly as a team.

IL-Gooner said...

I thought the youngsters and Lehmann were ok. Lehmann was of course outstanding, but Cesc was brilliant aswell, spreading the passes effectively and eliminating Xabi Alonso from the game. Toure was good, and the other defenders had a decent game. Adebayor gave his all and would have scored a good goal had he not wrongly been flagged for offside... However, the senior players - they were abysmal. I don't understand the need for a defensive midfielder (Gilberto) to be named in the team when on the rare occasions when he gets the ball he gives it straight away. Every time Pires received the ball he slowed the attack down, sometimes dragging himself to the centre line just to pass the ball to a defender... Freddie did run from time to time, but he's a shadow of his old self; and Henry hasn't put an effort into this game.
I'm not much of a criticiser of Wenger, but I thought he just went to sleep during this game. I wanted to replace Gilberto after 10 minutes, but I would have understood if he was replaced at half time. Pires shouldn't have treaded onto the pitch for the 2nd half either. With Diaby and Hleb on the field for the second half, we may have had a go at Liverpool, who didn't have that good a match.
And you're right - why did we need to wait 89 minutes to start playing some football?

Bernard said...

I feel sorry for Fabregas as he's like a rock star struggling to repeat the magic of his first album and he's struggled most of the season. I am sure he'd probably come good if everyone around him was performing, but at his tender age it's unfair for us to expect him to be pulling the strings when he's got Gilberto playing like a donkey beside him

Let's face it after so many wonderful season, Wenger was long overdue a bit of grief but what I can't believe is his passive sad sap Sven like tinkering, when they require major HT surgery (of the sort of bold 3 in 3 out type). It makes you wonder if he's too close to some and daren't cause offence

Although there could be another theory, in as much that everyone at the club might be just a little distracted by rumoured off-field revelations? I'd almost be relieved if there was some excuse for such a spineless showing

Dublin Gooner said...

Lads(trespassers aside) I think you are all way off the mark. Wenger is on his third team. Ok in 99/00 and 03 we were closer to the pace but I have to say you are all very fickle bastards.
Agreed TH was shite tonite and for the first time I can consider life after him. He is starting to look like Vieira dide for his last two years. Agreed Silva has been shite all year(&more). Campbell is the other big culprit this year.
However Lehmann/Outstanding(all season) Eboauoe/excellent, Toure/as always, Sendros/v good, Flamini/out of position, Freddie/past it, Cesc/v good,Diaby will be V Good Soon,Pires/ok, Adaybeyre/Good and TH/leaving. Add in Van Persie, Walcott, Cole, Clichy, Lauren plus 1 or two more and we are very close. The vital ingrediant for me is WENGER. Genius. Remember the idiots who queued up to slag him when he admitted he wanted to go unbeaten all season. Seems far away now but it seemed even further at the end of 03.Every so called Arsenal Fan site (who want to get picked by News Now) will churn out the Dramatic Headlines for the rest of the year(gratefully assisted by every half breed mutt). All I can say is WENGER KNOWS and I guarantee by this time next year, everybody will be hoping that Arsenal might drop points.

penny said...

For us to win or get anywhere we need to get rid of 4 players Gilberto,Pires,Fedddie and Henry- they are simply holding back the team when was the last time henry run with the ball he give it away as much as Gilberto.Feddie and Pires have lost it -we keep on playing the same way against every team, Wenger just don,t know how to make suds or how to change style according to the team we are playing. also he as fail to sub players when they are not playing good.lets just put the youngsters in and I bet you we will start winning againg because they want to play.

IL-Gooner said...

I don't know, Bernard, if I'd be relieved if the lads are distracted by off-field revelations. We need them to be as professional as they can when things don't go our way.

Dublin Gooner - I also think some of the criticism is way too harsh, and sometimes it's just whinging. However, this game was very disappointing. It was an important game, and in games like this one players should try their best, especially the senior ones. I think I sweated more in front of the TV than Titi did tonight. (Although I live in usually-warm Israel, tonight was a cold winter night here... I SHOULDN'T sweat more than him).
Wenger IS a genious, and I think he shouldn't leave before he finishes his project - which is building this team to be one of the best in the world. But we must admit he isn't the best handler of matches - hence the surprise when he makes the rare (but effective) half-time substitutions. This game merited a change of personel at half-time: Diaby for the poor Gilberto and Hleb for the ineffective Pires. Maybe even the introduction of Seb for Freddie if needed.
I'm quite optimistic about Arsenal's future. We do need to get rid of 2-3 of our senior players and make way for a good signing in the summer. I don't think we'll be ready to challenge for the title next season though. I'm marking 2007/8 for our title challenge. :)

Anonymous said...

What a crap game by the gooners! Don't they practice passing in training? What the hell! Poor game.

Whatever happened to the matches when you'd be amazed at how arsenal could go from one end of the box to the other in 7-8 odd seconds and score? When was the last time you watched a game and thought: 'how the hell do they break SO quickly?'. Speed was the essence of our game. Without it, we've lost the biggest part to our game.

On Henry: I don't see him staying. Why should he? What's left to achieve at the club? Back to back titles? Sod that. Champs League? Had too many chances before and *even* if we could've done it, we didn't. TH14 has overacheived at AFC and needs to move on...

I've got this funny feeling he won't do *as* well at another club, as the style of footie at AFC suits him well. i.e. 'Aerial ball? Non!' Stronger defences (moreso a comment for the italian league) could also pose to 'be a bolton' every week. I dunno. I could be wrong, but I see him screw it up so many times with the French squad, that it just makes you wonder....

Finally: AFC can come good. But only with the new batch of youngsters. Forget the oldies (Pires, Ljungberg, Campbell, etc) they're past it!!!!

Anonymous said...

my old man said be an arsenal fan,i said bollocks,fuck of your a cunt.the old ones are the best.the futures bright,the futures lillywhite.

Anonymous said...

you bitches make me sick. you loved it when we were winning, this was always liable to happen the team performs like a formula one car and any slight drop in performance at any point in the team was always going to cause a big problem. Conversly chelsea performs more like a clunky rolls royce and i feel they will be better able to withstand dips in form or change of personnel better. but shit, we all enjoyed watching while the f1 car was roaring past all commers and only the old school gunners who enjoyed the drab graham era should complain. anyone else should just suck it up and wait for the professor (of peadophilia) to build another f1 car. So please you bitches shut the fuck up

dror said...

Coudn't agree more. Every word to the point.
However, the Arsenal haters should not rejoice yet.