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Welcome Back, Arsenal!

 

arsene wenger 1463803c Welcome Back, Arsenal!

There is reason to be concerned.

If AZ Alkmaar was a foreshadowing, the Gunners did their best to not heed the warning.  Anyone who has watched this team over the past five years knew what was coming, both in the Netherlands and at Upton Park.  It’s just too predictable.  If you expect to lift the Premier League trophy at the end of the season, you simply must be able to keep a clean sheet.

In what must be Vito Mannone’s last two Premiership games as first choice goalkeeper, he has gifted the opposition a goal each–and this week, it cost his team two absolutely vital points.  With both Manchester United and Tottenham losing this week, Arsenal had a chance to pass them both in the table and be only three points off top with a game in hand and a far superior goal difference.

But the familiar Arsenal foes, namely an inability to finish teams off, poor defending/goalkeeping at set plays, and overall lack of confidence in late-game situations with slender leads, have come once again to collect.  This season, there is less margin for error, and these are problems that will keep the trophy case empty for yet another year if Arsene Wenger does not rectify them.

All credit to West Ham, and particularly Carlton Cole and Diamanti, the latter of whom singlehandedly changed the game.  Robert Green made up for an early error with an exceptional reaction save late in the game from Robin van Persie, which certainly saved a point for the Hammers.  West Ham certainly came back to earn their point.

But why does Wenger persist with a complacent team for 80 minutes?  Why are Bendtner, Eduardo, and Nasri on the bench on a day where Emmanuel Eboue was typically wasteful with the final ball and Andrey Arshavin was less than his usual brilliant self?  The nature of Arsenal’s two goals, the first of which was gifted to them, give credence to the notion that they still lack sufficient intensity on the road and, particularly, in London derbies.  Arsenal still enjoy a great position in the league table but these mistakes not only hurt them in points, but they cause further strain on an already fragile team psyche.  It is this fragility of mind that must be corrected, and soon, because while the title cannot be won in December, in the Premiership, it most certainly can be lost.

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24 Responses to Welcome Back, Arsenal!

  1. Logan says:

    While I completely agree with what you had to say, being a die hard Arsenal fan myself, your topic title is complete shit. You are just being a smart ass and are most definitely not a fan.

  2. Richard Zervakos says:

    What title would you suggest? I found a run of successive wins to be great. They scored tons of goals, and those goals glossed over their defensive inadequacies. But both the CL game and today’s game reminded me of the last five years of watching them play. Take a lead, fail to put the team away, drop two points. It is sarcasm that belies my disgust with a problem that is seemingly unfixable. Tell me a better title that reflects the article that you say you agree with and I’ll change it.

  3. GoonerEris says:

    Nothing wrong with the title; Gooners are just frustrated tonight and will take it out on anything, even the title of an article. It was a disappointing day, to be honest, as I fully expected the team to take advantage of the dropped points by their close rivals. Now, all we need is two more games (with dropped points) like this and our opponents will start feeling they can take points off us. Oh, to have back the ruthless egde in the team at the start of the season. That is what the team needs; plus, a possible shake up of the team as I feel some players are getting complacent, assured in their first team places. Arshavin, for one, needs to start more games from the bench, to come in as an impact player. He talks a lot; time he did this with his boots.

  4. Richard Zervakos says:

    I agree with all of that. Arshavin is a tricky ask for any manager, and I often cringe when I hear what he says to the press. I am as die-hard an Arsenal fan as any American could be and games like this just make me angry and frustrated. I have seen signs of them growing this year but these last two games reek of a disease that isn’t fully cured yet.

  5. Truegooner says:

    The officiating was very bad. Upson clearly handled the ball and I think Cole flopped for the penalty. Limited video replay should be used as soon as possible. We still should have beaten the Hammers, though. These missed opportunities are dispiriting. Hopefully the week off will invigorate the team. Arshavin played poorly; we need him at his best against Spuds.

    • oliver says:

      Cole may have ‘flopped’ but he still had his foot kicked and, however soft that might be, it was still a foul.

      And Parker’s second booking was a terrible decision

  6. money says:

    the game i watched:

    - Arsenal were unlucky to be inches from scoring 2-3 more goals
    - West Ham were lucky to have a great penalty shot deflected directly in front of goal and to have a PK called for them

    what are you whining about?

    - Foy seemed like he hadn’t reffed a Premier League game before

  7. SSReporters says:

    Anyone else notice how sickly Alan Parry sounded today in his commentary? Hope he feels better because he has to have a cold.

  8. Richard Zervakos says:

    I am whining. I’m whining because Arsenal should have put this game beyond doubt in the first half, and then all the other complaints would be rendered meaningless. They need to be ruthless and efficient and sometimes that means playing through setbacks and leaving the excuse-mentality behind.

  9. Dan says:

    anytime the “top four” lose is a good day for football fans.

  10. Tyson says:

    It’s a pretty big jump to make an assumption that Arsenals season is over because they had a couple of bad games.

    You win some and you lose(or in this case draw some). I doubt Wenger is really concerned because overall their consistency over the season has been pretty good.

  11. Richard Zervakos says:

    I hope you aren’t insinuating that I think their season is over? Far from it. But these are issues that need to be fixed, and Wenger should indeed be concerned that they can’t keep a clean sheet. Look at the teams they’ve played and they should not have been conceding against most of them. AZ, West Ham, Birmingham, to name a few–all should have been clean sheets. These are legitimate issues and if Wenger is not concerned about them, now is the time to move on to another profession.

    Having said that, I have the utmost respect for him and I’m certain he is indeed worrying about those issues. I have no doubt.

  12. NSBG says:

    THESE GAMES SHOULD BE FINISHED OFF!!! NO TIME FOR LOSING POINTS SO EASILY!!! WE NEED TO KILL OFF GAMES AND THATS THE END OF IT!!!! 3 POINTS AND NEXT MATCH!!! THIS IS HOW YOU WIN TITLES! ASK THE 2002 AND 2004 INVINCIBLES??

  13. nick says:

    It defies discription to me as to how Eboue gets in the team,if hes not falling down like hes been shot his final pass is always terrible,its like he plays the game with flippers on. as for Diaby, Mr Wenger must know something idont because he plays like a giraffe in ice…
    On a positve note Song has come on leaps and bounds this season and is finally becoming the player we HOPED hed be

  14. DaveMo says:

    Arsenal would not have passed Manchester United in the table with a win yesterday. A win would have taken Arsenal to 21 pts. United is on 22.

    Nit picking, but I wouldn’t call refer to a London Derby as being “on the road”. It’s “away from home” in the sense that you don’t have your home supporters in large numbers, and you don’t get to get dressed in your usual locker, but “on the road” (imo) carries a connotation of plane travel or bus travel longer than crosstown.

  15. Richard Zervakos says:

    Good correction about the table–you’re correct. I tend to factor in the game in hand. My mistake. About the “on the road” thing–you’re right, you’re nitpicking. On the road vs. away from home both mean that you’re in a hostile environment, and if they were at the Emirates I’m confident they would have scored five yesterday.

    Thanks all for the continuing comments.

  16. money says:

    if you are gonna go ahead and factor the game in hand as a win, we still are ahead of Manchester Utd with the goal differential.

  17. v says:

    I definitely agree with nick and richard here, eboue is a good rester sub (for your midfielders and right back), when you are up comfortably 3-0, 4-0, but he shouldn’t be starting for Arsenal.

    And I understand the egotistical tendencies of football players but, goddamn every time he gets near the box he tries put a shot on goal when better options are available, i wouldn’t complain if even half his shots actually were on target but most are a 5-10 meters off target, thats just idiotic.

  18. efy007 says:

    Wenger takes wayyyy too long to make subs. To see his team lose the lead the way they did and to stand by and wait to make a sub just seems inexplicable to me……. but maybe he knows something I dont. Someone commented on Diaby…. horrible passing this game, but I think his dribbling/ball handling is pretty good. Someone else here was making excuses for them…. they had a couple of close goals… WestHam didnt deserve a goal….. excuses! There is no excuse for our team to lose the lead the way they did AND

  19. efy007 says:

    OOOPS, and not be able to come back and score again. NO excuse for it, not with the talent they have, unless of course Wenger decides he would rather not sub or wait until its too late to sub.

    -Huge Arsenal fan, but very frustrated with this last game!

  20. Richard Zervakos says:

    I have always wondered that about Wenger–he almost never subs before 70 minutes. Why? Is it stubbornness with his original game plan? I agree with you–who knows, but it is confounding. Especially with such a deep bench. When all the midfielders are healthy (of course practically a statistical impossibility, but…) he’ll have three spots for Walcott, Eboue, Bendtner, Rosicky, Arshavin, Nasri, Vela, and Eduardo, and even Wilshere and Ramsey, assuming van Persie is the lone striker and Diaby/Song are the single defensive midfielder (Fabregas is a given). That leaves a ton of attacking talent on the bench. These are all players that often start (excluding Vela, Wilshere, and Ramsey, in fairness). So why not give them a good half-hour or so to make a real impact?

    One credit to Jose Mourinho is that if the game wasn’t going his way, he would pull the trigger at half time. That gives the players plenty of time to make an impact. Fortunately for Arsenal, Gianfranco Zola waited far too long to bring on Diamanti, because judging by the Gunners’ inability to cope with him, they would have lost that game had he come on earlier.

  21. nick says:

    Theres no bigger Arsenal fan than me but common some things defie comprehension. What are we gonna do if either Gallas or Vermullen go down? send for Silvestre!!!!. As already stated Eboue and Diaby are NOT and NEVER will be Arsenal players,i would rather give Ramsey and Wiltshere a run in the first team first. If i hear one more time Rosicky is only out for a game ill scream…

  22. Richard Zervakos says:

    Good point. I have to agree. Gallas and Vermaelen have gelled far better than anyone could reasonably have expected but who’s next? With the choices for true central defenders being Silvestre and Senderos with Djourou out injured for the year, you have to believe that Song will be the next in line. Scary stuff. You have to believe that this will be an issue in December, when they have seven Premier League games scheduled, including trips to Anfield and Turf Moor three days apart. At this rate you have to believe Wenger will look to strengthen in January, and hope that that isn’t too late.

  23. ali says:

    Arsenal 2-1 Barcelona

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