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Rock Bottom?

December 12, 2012

After posting a few tweets last night I though it best to sleep on my thoughts for this blog. Talk to a few people about the game, maybe have my eyes opened and wonder if I did see the game, as I saw it, last night. 24 hours later and I came up with this.

Where to start. It’s the style of football Arsenal play which bothers me. I pay to watch us play good football, entertaining football. For many years under Arsene Wenger’s Management  I have watched the best of the best entertaining football I have ever seen in all my years supporting Arsenal. That includes the 60’s/70’s/80’s and early 90’s.

For the last two seasons though I don’t feel I have  been getting value for money  with good football or being entertained to any great degree (when you consider the relative cost today to previous decades). Yes! There have been isolated matches I have enjoyed, but so much of our football in the last two years seems pointless. If Arsenal  start playing good solid football again, then it stands to reason they have a better chance of winning things. One follows the other. The board and Arsene need to be clear that supporters want, at the very least, Arsenal to be challenging for trophies, even if all fails at the last hurdle.

I also understand this is football. It’s not like going to the theatre where you know what you’re going to get. With football you cannot guarantee Arsenal are going to win or be entertained. However, Arsenal’s poor form is evident in almost every game now, even when they are winning. Something has to be done about it and quickly. I read a tweet where someone mentioned that Arsenal have managed just thirteen wins in their last thirty-three games.

We all know about Arsenal charging high prices, it’s been done to death. Arsene has also mentioned many times, his job is to provide entertainment to supporters to keep them coming and give value for money. I get that. I can handle that. I can honestly say, that even without trophies I got value for money in the previous seasons 2002-2010 and was entertained.  

Not today though. The football this season is dire, last season was not much better. How can I possible put up an argument  against some sections of Arsenal supporters who are saying it maybe time for a change? Their views are looking a whole lot more solid than mine have been lately.

I think the club are looking to take us to the top, though it does not seem like it right now. It’s one thing  putting the finance in place for 2014, but in the mean time you just cannot ignore the playing side of the club by letting it slide.

I’m never happy about losing. Who is? However, I can handle it. You can’t win all the time. What I can’t handle is our players talking the talk after a defeat and saying they have to put it right and then still playing like crap in the next game. Almost every game at least six or seven players play well below par. Podolski is a very good player, but he looks like he was spun a yarn when he signed and really doesn’t look like he wants to be at Arsenal. He is so often just a passenger.

Take last night sixty-five places separated Arsenal and Bradford. A top Premiership side against Division Four outfit. Shocks happen in football, but this is 2012. Arsenal pay their players around £140m a year in wages and those players should 99.9% of the time beat the Bradford City’s of football and that’s no disrespect to Bradford.

Like I said – shocks happen and that 0.1% of shocks can s**t all over you. For Bradford last night’s game was their Cup Final, they battled to the end,  fully deserved their victory and I congratulate them. To be fair it was the first ever defeat by a lower division side in Arsene’s reign. I suppose by the laws of averages said it was going to happen sooner or later, but a fouth division outfit?

Arsene picked as strong a side as he ever put out in the League Cup. Arsenal had plenty of possession, plenty of chances, goal attempts thirty-four with only six on target. We used to play fast paced, precise passing, powerful football that destroyed teams, with big powerful players, it was Arsene’s style, what he himself enjoyed watching and brought success.

Then we morphed into tiki-taka football, played by midgets, but even that was good as at least the players played like they knew each other and where each other were on a football pitch, almost telepathic. We scored some great goals from that football. Now we can’t make more than four passes without giving the ball away.

How many times last night did we just simply pass to the opposition? Pass the ball out of play? Pass to a team-mate, not to feet, but to the side of them, behind them, making each other work harder?? It was like the team had just met each other. I reckon you could have picked the best 11 players form the 4500 brave, hardy supporters that had to stand and watch in -4 temperatures and they would have done better, or least showed more fight and spirit that team did last night.

Oxo was shocking, yet had our first shot on target in the 68th minute. Gervinho, could not even make a simple one yard pass to a team-mate at times. Then there is the crossing, which was abysmal and that’s being kind. The manager picks the team, then the team have to do the business on the pitch. The team Arsene picked last night should have beaten Bradford. The fact that they lost the blame has to be laid at the players, manager and coaching staff.

Arsenal played like a team of strangers. How many times does Vermaelen have to give fouls away to teams where their best chance of a goal is from free-kick around the area (twice against Chelsea at home). I suppose at least his goal gave us hope for 35 more minutes. Sagna, could not cross a road, let alone a cross into the area last night, but he was not alone. What was Ramsey playing at during the game? Kept giving the ball away. The BFG was again alright, but even he was prone to looking like a Giraffe on drugs at times. Gibbs did he best but was still lacking in position play at times. Coquelin did alright and battled, even doing the old soft shoe shuffle to work his way into scoring position and was unlucky hitting the post. Jack was good, but even he when slaloming through the Bradford defence – instead of shooting took one touch too many, chance gone. Cazorla did his best, and hit the bar with a screamer, but at least he tried shooting. As for Podolski and Gervinho, how can you expect to score if your forwards are either not interested or bloody useless in front of goal?

Arsenal pass the ball around the edge of the “D” from one side of the pitch to the other and back again, before simply giving away possession? When in doubt, pass the ball back, afraid of losing possession, the safe option is to go backwards and start again. In fairness, hardly any player makes themselves available to make that final pass into the area. How many times do the players shoot high and wide? That’s when we can be bothered to shoot that is. We fail to get players into the right position to be on the end of crosses if and when they come, or have players ready to advantage of a loose ball, no instinctive strikers. When one good ball was crossed in, Gervinho missed from two feet out when it would have been simpler to score. Wrighty would have scored with his eyes shut.

Anyone who reads my blogs, knows me from other forums or just knows me, will know I am not one to jump all over the team/manager or club after a defeat. However, how can I back the manager/team against the tide of support that is growing against Arsene and the club, after that performance last night?

Arsene’s after match comments.

‘You feel embarrassed when you don’t give everything but I feel the team did fight and they will be more disappointed and frustrated” ‘It’s disappointing but congratulations to Bradford. They defended well, started stronger than us and in the second half and extra time it was all us but we couldn’t convert our chances. ‘It was a typical English cup game on a difficult pitch and overall we lost on penalties but I cannot fault the efforts, we kept going until the last-minute and in the end Bradford got on top of us. ‘Of course we missed three penalties and that’s a lot to take”

Arsene “We gave everything?” We lost to a division four side Arsene. We did NOT give everything last night, well Jack did. Arsene “Bradford started stronger than us” Why was that Arsene? It’s your team you picked it. Arsene “We couldn’t convert our chances” Why? Because one the players you brought, Gervinho is awful and not premiership standard and the other Chamakh flatters to deceive. I felt that if you had swapped Bradford’s forwards for ours in injury time, we’d have scored five. Also why is Arsene continually using his player’s out of position?

Like many others Arsenal supporters I am a bit tired of the excuses Arsene is making. I understand there is an element of not slamming his players in public, but after results like last night it’s plainly silly to cover for them, in my opinion. If it’s a case of the players  letting him down, then why not slam and embarrass them as it’s no more than they deserve, save Jack. Stop protecting  players that are letting you down Arsene and in turn letting us all down.

The club are not going to sack Arsene anytime soon. I’m not sure I want him to leave just yet, though I did tweet last night in frustration that I would hope he did the right thing and resigned ASAP. No! I think he deserves one last chance to put things right in the January transfer window. Get the right players in to improve the team. Arsene there are many better players out there that would improve on the players you currently have, so no more of we only want super quality and players that are better than we already have. Then Arsene can take us to the end of the season, if no improvement is shown then parting of the ways should happen.

Arsene and the club need to admit they have a problem with the squad. They need to put up the funds to start to make things right. Get rid of the players that should be nowhere near the Arsenal first team. Arsene you made a mistake with Gervinho, it happens. Now just accept it, even if it’s only to yourself. You made that mistake get rid of the bloke as you cannot turn him into a clone of Thierry Henry. Get rid of the rest of the mistakes you made, don’t end up like the end of the George Graham era, buying players who are not good enough.

If last night was rock bottom, then the only way is up. If Arsene does not see it as rock bottom, then we could be in trouble.

Mr Kroenke. This is English Football, played in England, not America. It’s not soccer. It’s football and ingrained in our way of life. Football is huge here. What I’m saying is you won’t make money at a football club that is not trying to be successful. The fans will drift away, season ticket sales will drop. You need to invest if you want to make money.

Cheers

@harlowgooner

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Goonersaurus permalink
    December 12, 2012 23:40

    Sadly, spot on.

  2. Joe permalink
    December 13, 2012 01:43

    Content aside, the grammar in this article is shockingly bad

  3. Cannon Balls permalink
    December 13, 2012 21:43

    The manager is a shadow of his former self and that is really sad to see. However, when you put your faith in players such as gervinio, bendtner, squillachi, chamack, santos, denilson, park, almunia etc etc etc what can you expect. His judgement is gone and it’s time for a change.

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