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Arsenal Drogged, Title Aspirations Smashed


The word “drog” should be in the dictionary(no not the urban one). “Drog” – verb- Completely dominating one’s opponent in the style of an Ivorian footballing machine.

It was an all too familiar story at Stamford Bridge. Dider Drogba, 12 goals in 12 games against Arsenal. The man simply does not play his age. At 31, he’s still running with the pace of a 26 year old. There is no doubt that the Gunners are sick to the sight of him.

Prior to the game, Sir Alex encouraged Arsenal to batter Chelsea. Wishful thinking on the old fox’s part? Chelsea are now back on top, 2 points clear, and Arsenal’s titles hopes hang by a thread. But what exactly went wrong for the Gunners?

The 5 Could Nots

1) Arsenal Could Not Defend

Same old story. Set pieces are still Arsenal’s Achilles Heel. Disgraced former England captain John Terry lost his marker and rose to head the ball towards the far post, where Didier Drogba lost his marker to stab the ball home. 2 players, 2 markers lost.

For the second goal, Vermalen inexplicably left Drogba alone on the right. Perhaps he didn’t see Clichy speeding back to assist Gallas in the centre. Who knows? He could have stuck with Drogba and forced him to go wide, possibly preventing the concession of the second goal. Instead, he joined Clichy and Gallas in the centre and when the ball reached Drogba, there was only going to be one outcome.

They say a good keeper is worth at least 15 points in a season. Almunia, for me, is worth only 2. His defence does not seem to feel confident about him keeping goal. He has not earned the respect of his team mates, and that is where the problem lies. Arsenal need a goalkeeper who isn’t afraid to bark at his players and be the alpha male in defence. Peter Schmeichel did it. Peter Shilton did it. Edwin Van Der Sar is still doing it. And they have all won trophies with their respective clubs.

2) Cech Could Not Be Beaten

Too good. Cech was simply too good to be beaten. It was a brave Peter Cech, one that seemed to have been missing for the past few games. Last night, he claimed corners, dove at player’s feet, and demonstrated remarkable reactions to deny Arsenal again and again, notably Arshavin’s volley, the 1 v 1 with Nasri and Fabregas’ freekick. Almunia could take a page or two out of Cech’s book.

3) Wenger Could Not Read Carlo’s Tactics

The Italian job comes to mind. Carlo Ancelotti knew exactly what to do against Wenger’s Boys. He knew all too well that Arsenal’s big problem was not with passing, but with finishing off moves. Chelsea sat back and allowed Arsenal to play their passing game, and the moment Arsenal felt settled and comfortable enough, someone would nip in to steal the ball, and with lightning speed, a counterattack would be launched ie. Second goal. Mr Wenger, however, stuck to his guns. To be fair, Arsenal’s response after going 1 – 0 down was surprising, and quite pleasing. They looked hell bent on causing trouble for Chelsea. Arshavin, especially, looked in the mood for destruction. Sadly, it was not their day.

4) Walcott Could Not Play

Anonymous. That is the word to describe Theo Walcott last night. At times, I had to remind myself that he was playing. He could not pass, he could not run, he could not beat Ashley Cole. To be fair, he has been in and out of the side too much, and has not had sufficient play time to establish any sort of consistency. It was essentially 10 against 11 until Bendtner was introduced, who I maintain, should have started the game. I’m not the Dane’s biggest fan, but against a team of muscles, you need a big guy up front.

5) The Boys Could Not Beat The Men

Alan Curbishley, guest pundit on the night, made this excellent point. Chelsea have a team of men. Terry, Lampard, Malouda, Drogba, Ballack, Carvalho, Anelka, these are men who will grab the game by the scruff of the neck and make something out of nothing. Arsenal don’t have any players of that calibre. Cesc? Too soft. Arshavin? Too small. Nasri? Too small. Song? Too small. Walcott? Don’t joke. Echoing Patrice Evra’s comments last year, it was truly another case of Boys vs Men. Except the metaphor is more aptly used in this instance than that one.

Other notables:

Sagna cannot cross

Much of Arsenal’s game revolves around quick full backs making runs up the pitch and sending crosses in. Sagna’s crosses were so terrible, they actually made me wonder if Eboue would’ve done a better job.

Arsenal do not shoot

Pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass… ball’s lost. Arsenal fans should be familiar with that story. Too many passes, not enough shots. Arsenal need to take some risks. A low, angled drive could result in a pinball effect, and ultimately land in the back of the net. God forbid Arsene should encourage that sort of scoring method.

Drogba cannot be stopped

No explanations required here. Didier Drogba simply cannot stop scoring. It doesn’t seem like any defense in the league can handle him at the moment. And it’s not for the lack of trying either.

The truth is, Arsenal never looked like title contenders. Even if they did make a strong point at the beginning of the season, one must remember that there is a formula to creating champions. And Arsenal haven’t got it. A strong centre forward is still missing. A world class goalkeeper, a tall centreback and a defensive midfielder the likes of Patrick Viera. These are all elements that have been missing in Arsenal’s game for too long. Arsene can stick to his “beautiful football” philosophy, but last night, Chelsea’s passing left me breathless. It was quick, it was accurate, it was hard, and it was as pleasant to watch as anything Arsenal’s ever produced. With the transfer window shut, Wenger must attempt to manufacture a winning formula using his existing players.

The statistics tell another story, though. Looking at the numbers, Arsenal look like winners, like the better team. A wise man once said to me, “If you need statistics to tell you what’s good or bad, you’re probably not very bright.” Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea had a game plan that involved allowing Arsenal to play their way, and they worked it to perfection. As for Arsenal, it looks like yet another season’s title hopes down the drain.

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  1. ish

    February 10, 2010 at 4:55 am

    arsenal played their game, chelsea realized they would and used a game plan that could react best to it. same thing happened in the chelsea home game, same thing happened with manU and arsenal and its a common problem.

    against weaker teams arsenal can break them down, but against the stronger teams that stay compact and are physically able to keep the gunners out of the game its harder.
    Mikel’s job was to stifle fabregas and break up play, he did an excellent job, song did a good number on lampard as well but the quick interchange from attack to defense during a counter means song cant react fast enough.

    van persie is so very important to arsenal because he offers an attacking outlet, he isnt the best header of the ball and his post play is nothing special but he offers a directness missing from some arsenal players(arsharvin has it but he isnt used to playing up front like that, fabregas has it too but struggled with the shit around him).

    now barcelona i think are over-rated, yes they are very good but alot of it comes from playing a style based on speed and a high line. also being lucky enough to have messi and ronaldinho two of the best players in the world during their prime at barcelona has helped, they regularly open up a defense and players like toure and keita offer a stronger midfield when called upon. Also as they have alves, a good attacking fullback that doesnt have his shortcoming exposed except against good teams.

  2. Hunt

    February 9, 2010 at 4:16 am

    So many people are overreacting about Arsenal’s ineptitude in the last two matches. Of course, they need a center forward, we all know this. But does everybody really believe that Chelsea and United will both just steamroll their way the rest of the campaign? Everybody hypes up the “big 4” matches, but there are still 13 matches left for Chelsea, Manchester United, and Arsenal. As for the Arsenal/Chelsea game, the tactics really weren’t bad. The first goal occured because Song stepped towards the ball and left his man (Drogba) free. For the second goal, Song and Diaby both were ahead of the ball, which is unacceptable. Mikel simply played the ball into the gaping midfield and Lampard charged away. Wednesday is the big decider for Arsenal because a loss would see Liverpool’s top 3 aspirations boom. Man the Premier League is fun.

  3. robert

    February 8, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    Guess that FA Cup trophy ain’t looking as “lowly” as it did when Wenger handed Stoke a free pass with a schwag XI. ‘Course… they’d still have to play Chelsea again to get it.

  4. Linda Kirkland

    February 8, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Oh, and congrats to Arsenal! I haven’t seen Premiership Football on television here in the states for a few months now…

  5. Linda Kirkland

    February 8, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Ha, I like that term “drog”! Next time I dominate by boyfriend at Nintendo… I’m going to tell him he just got “drogged”!! LOL 🙂

  6. mike

    February 8, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Chamakh has a decent goals record for Bordeaux, but cmon, this is Arsenal and the EPL were talking about here. Sure he might be a decent player, but just like Nasri, Rosicky, Hleb, decent/solid players aren’t winning us any titles. Look at the best teams in the world and the strikers they have… drogba, anelka, rooney, c ronaldo, messi, henry, ibra, eto, grafite, dzenko, higuin, raul. Sure RvP is world class, when he is fit. We need somone who defenders cringe playing against. Bendter, Arshavin, Chamakh aren’t gonna do that.

  7. Rod

    February 8, 2010 at 10:14 am

    One definition of insanity is—doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different outcome each time. Most of the criticisms above are valid. A team of big,strong, and talented footballers will overcome a small, delicate, talented bunch, most of the time. We’ve heard Wenger for years now and as we’ve lost our larger, talented players our fortunes have dwindled.

    • Macfan

      February 8, 2010 at 10:37 am

      As someone remarked in another forum compare Arsenal and Chelsea in two of the most important areas on the field.

      Peter Cech vs Manuel Almunia

      Didier Drogba vs Andre Arshavin as striker (I don’t blame Arshavin because he is trying to help the team and is playing where the manager is asking him, but he is not a stirker in any circumstance. The guy is playing out of position only because of the manager’s decisions that led to that point.

      But compare those two prime positions of Goalkeeper and predatory Striker yesterday and it says it all. Chelsea didn’t even need to come out and play, they sat back and allowed Arsenal to pass and pass and pass and pass, with no end product to speak of when all was said and done.

  8. Efrain

    February 8, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Wenger needs to go.

  9. Macfan

    February 8, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Realistically we are battling for 3rd place now and it is what it is, Wenger stated this stretch of games were crucial to any aspirations of winning the tittle and the results showed Arsenal still have a lot of work to do.

    Something tells me if we had Robin van Persie we would have fared much better in these two matchups.

    Teams have no fear of Arsenal in the air in the box, because we have no height

    Arshavin is – 1.72 m (5 ft 7 inches) that is diminutive to be playing striker in the Prem and we know he isn’t a true striker

    van Persie is 1.88 m (6 ft 2 inches) and Chamakh is 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in), the same height as Robin and both are technically gifted on the ball.

    When van Persie got hurt I didn’t realize how much it would affect us in this race, the sale of Adebayor has really hurt in having that other reliable striker, sorry but Bendtner doesn’t count as reliable.

    I keep my figures crossed we get Chamakh and a holding midfielder in the summer. Chamakh sounds all but coming to Arsenal since he wants to play here and Wenger was unwilling to pay Bordeaux the price they originally wanted for him, but has interest in him still.

    For now our goal is 3rd and automatic Champions League qualifying with 13 games to go in the season, as well as taking down Porto in the Champions League.

  10. Gedo

    February 8, 2010 at 9:05 am

    Did I miss something or was William Gallas playing striker/forward in injury time? Or should I say he wasn’t tracking back. He was no where to be found when Chelsea came forward a couple of times in injury time. Obviously, he was gassed/pissed/throwing a tantrum. Maybe no one noticed (even the announcers) b/c Chelsea didn’t get the third goal. Have to say, I’d be happy with a draw vs. Liverpool.

  11. jm

    February 8, 2010 at 8:37 am

    I agree with most points in this analysis, though I thought Clichy more at fault than Vermalaen on the second goal. I haven’t exactly been clamoring to watch replays of it though, so I might be mistaken.

    The game was similar to the United game in many respects, though a better Arsenal performance. We had more chances on goal, and performed well in the midfield. As has been rightly noted, our problems were at the two ends of the field. The lack of a striker in our side has exacerbated the passing-problem. I’ve often thought that this criticism was a bit overblown, but no longer. Arsenal is able to pass the ball through most defenses, but it simply didn’t work against the three quality defenses we’ve played over the past week and a half. The lack of a striker has been evident.

    I do disagree, however, about (5). In fact, I think it’s straightforward “BS.” (I use the acronym to avoid being crass, because I think it has a lot of negative implications I do not want to use. Rather, I want to use it in Harry Frankfurt’s sense, a claim which does not matter if it is true or false). I don’t know what you mean when you say Fabregas is too “soft.” There are many things I might say about Fabregas, but “soft” is not one of them. I don’t think Song is too small either.

    But that’s all beside the point. The real problem is that (5) cannot be falsified. If you want to make the more limited claim that Arsenal were outmuscled, such as losing headers, being pushed off the ball, etc., then that’s one thing. I actually thought that was considerably less of a problem than it has been in previous matchups with Chelsea. But to say that it was “men against boys” is not falsifiable. Or if it is falsifiable, it is only falsified when Arsenal wins – and if so, then it is not analysis at all.

    I think (5) is a part of a general type of analysis which simply replaces results with metaphors, typically metaphors which communicate the morals of the game (English grit anyone?), whether intended or not. While the rest of the analysis is more or less right, I think this final point is totally unnecessary and even less helpful in our understanding of the difference between Arsenal and these two top sides at this moment in time.

    • Alvin Phoon

      February 8, 2010 at 7:00 pm

      I disagree jm. 5 is an important point for one simple reason. Arsenal need to grow up. Arsene needs to grow up. Besides the obvious size difference, there is an underlying issue that nobody is addressing.

      I’m very certain that the squad are not as naive as we think they are. I’m sure they know that the type of football they’re playing coupled with Arsene’s lack of spending will never result in them winning the title. But they do it anyway. They don’t have a man in the squad to step up and say to the manager “look this is bad.” They don’t have someone in the locker room who would make some noise about the situation. Like what Roy Keane used to do at United. They need a man like that.

      Fabregas is too brittle and not vocal enough. How many times did he get clattered during the match? And he’s not a vocal captain, and while that may not be the worst thing, a team always like to hear their captain barking, whether at them or for them. So the word soft can be applied, twice.

      Song is small compared to the man who used to do that job for Arsenal, Patty Viera. He is feisty, i’ll give him that. Almost in a Nigel De Jong sort of way, but he just does not have that presence. However, I’m ready to admit that he is one of the best performing players this season. Arsenal really missed him during the time he was away at the ANC.

      • jm

        February 8, 2010 at 9:17 pm

        I actually think your response furthers my point. (5) is stretched so widely as to include “standing up to the manager about signing players”? Does it include anything which will make the team better?

        If you replace (5) with “Arsene should have bought a striker,” well, then I agree! Arsenal play a very aggressive brand of football, and it requires that we score goals. This is a real problem with RvP out, Bendtner not totally fit, and Eduardo and Vela out of sorts. Now, our defense hasn’t been playing as good as our individual talent lately (Clichy is all out of sorts), but this side was always setup to score one, two or three more than the opposition. Top flight defenses have exposed that lack of bite.

        So that interpretation of (5) I would agree with. I disagree, however, about it being down to Fabregas being “too soft.” I hardly want my captain undermining the manager in public, just to put pressure on! Fabregas has been a leader in his refusal to play games with Barca each offseason, and even if hs destined to join their side, he seems to do a good job keeping it away from the Arsenal. I’d much rather that, then him saying publicly “look Arsene, sign someone or I’m off.” I’m not sure it is right to put any responsibility for Arsene not signing a striker on Fabregas for being the captain.

        As far as getting clattered, sure, Fabregas is not the biggest player on the pitch. I didn’t think he got forced off the ball a particularly large amount (he had that tussle with Drogba, but I can’t think of many else off the top of my head), and either way, it was irrelevant to Arsenal’s defeat. Possession was the one part of the game were we excelled, and it was the one part of the game we had an edge in. Surely it is not on Fabregas to muscle through and score goals. That’s the problem with having Arshavin as the striker.

        Similarly with Song. I’ll grant he’s not huge, but he’s been a crucial performer. His size was totally irrelevant to the defeat (same point holds, he excelled in the one area that Arsenal excelled at).

        Thus, if you meant (5) to cover both, then I maintain that it is too vague. If you meant (5) to cover the claim that Arsenal need a striker, then I agree. If you meant it to cover the lack of muscle in the midfield players, then I think it was irrelevant to the outcome of the match. I would agree only in the limited domain of striker – Arshavin lacks the size and muscle (despite being really strong for his size!) to hold the front line. It’s the vagueness amongst many claims, some relevant and others not that led me to my “BS” charge, though again, I do wish to communicate I meant no offense (I don’t want to imply that you were being lazy in your analysis, for example).

        • Alvin Phoon

          February 9, 2010 at 12:15 am

          None taken jm. Though by listing that example, you actually already did make certain implications. l do, however, agree with you on Arshavin being ridiculously strong for his size. Ridiculously.

          I think it’s not fair to look at possession in this situation because that was clearly Ancelotti’s game plan. To gift Arsenal possession. Arsenal had 58% of possession not because they out-muscled Chelsea. They had 58% of possession because Ancelotti’s tactics allowed it.

          It’s not just about signing players that a captain has to speak up about. The entire team’s performance, the manager’s performance, the events on the pitch, training sessions, comments from colleagues. A captain’s responsibility stretches way beyond talking to the ref. Fabregas doesn’t seem to do enough of it. Though I have praised him in the past for being more of a leader on the pitch with his football, I do want him to be more vocal.

          It will make the team better for sure because then all of a sudden, the team has someone to represent them, someone who will converse with the manager, who will bring up suggestions, someone who will possibly tell the manager what he’s doing wrong. It will unsettle the manager, but if it is a unanimous opinion among the team, then they should be able to work out a solution together. And thats where the bond between a team and it’s manager begins to form and strengthen.

          I also don’t think a new striker is all we need. We need a goalkeeper(cos we don’t have one right now, we have a clown with goalkeeping gloves on), a right back who can cross(no need for a left back cos i really think gibbs would be a good starter once he recovers), and a taller centre back, among others.

  12. ivan

    February 8, 2010 at 6:26 am

    this boyz lack a holding midfielder simply put they play an ofensive fomation wth no one 2 do the dirty job at the middle

    • Macfan

      February 8, 2010 at 8:10 am

      I’m tired of complaining about Wenger’s lack of acquisition in the areas that badly need it, so here I go with what I hope he does in the summer.

      new Goalkeeper (even willing to have Fabianski or Mannone in goal over Almunia)

      new holding Midfielder – Gohkan Inler (Wenger may simply refuse to pay for him and he is connected with moving to Napoli now)

      new stiker – Marouane Chamakh – finally Wenger may sign a striker, Chamakh is on a free transfer at the end of the season and says he would like to come to Arsenal, Wenger as well was on French TV and said “”In life you should achieve your dreams, above all you should try for them,” a smiling Wenger told Canal+. “We do like him a lot, but the day we sign him – we will let you know.”

      Read what you may into that folks.

      I still don’t think Clichy is fully healthy he is a much better player than what we have seen the past 2 games, he cannot be fully healthy at all and playing that way.

      I sincerely hope next season we can open the campaign with a lineup of

      Fabianski / Mannone
      Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy
      Inler, Cesc, Song, Arshavin
      Van Persie, Chamakh

      No reason Wenger can’t sign another midfielder to slot into the holding role, since Chamkh’s acquisition would be a free transfer after all.

  13. Ibrahim Musa

    February 8, 2010 at 2:34 am

    I watched the Chelsea vs Arsenal on Tely here in Nigeria, and my impression is the same as you stated in your comments on the couldnts of Arsene’s boys.

  14. Cameron

    February 8, 2010 at 2:15 am

    Ah this is what I joy seeing Cech dominate like he can, When he is confident in goal it is amazing how he runs the box and controls it with power.

  15. jojo star

    February 8, 2010 at 2:06 am

    i am an arsenal fan but tired of this same story, everyone knows what they lack but wenger is too sure of himself to go and get it. they risk losing star playes like cesc and arshivan who will lose interest and go to barcelona for trophies. i think it is best wenger retires and new coach comes in chops the team get rid of walcott while he is still worth something, sagna merida and other young fring players and get some muscle in important plafces – they have too many offensive players already get some defense.

  16. Matt

    February 8, 2010 at 1:25 am

    Gedo, The comment about Sagna’s crossing ability is still pertinent. It’s also true about Clichy. Both of them are, and have always been, very poor crossers. I actually think Gibbs was doing better than Clichy when he came in to the side. Clichy’s defense this season has been poor and though he’s fast as blazes when he is fit, we get very little return from his runs. Most of his crosses are goal kicks or are easy pickings for the GK.

  17. Italia is so boring

    February 8, 2010 at 12:33 am

    Boring italian style..chelsea got the result allright but what a bore to watch them…suck all life out by putting 10 people behind the ball and then kill in the counter attack… Simply put boring…no style of your own….just poaching!!! I rather enjoy a thoughtfull buildup and not see the end result…then cheat my way thru fake fouls to get the result! And enough with boys vs men crap….artists vs thugs more like it!

    • Sound like a sore loser much?

      February 8, 2010 at 9:18 am

      Geez, you sound like such a pathetic sore loser. Your team lost fair and square. If anyone’s a thug or boy, it’s you!

  18. Gedo

    February 8, 2010 at 12:32 am

    Decent article but I see this a little differently:
    1. Sagna can’t cross…..who can when you have a 5″7″ striker in the box?….vs. four defenders? The same result would have happened if Eboue was crossing.
    2. Drogba can’t be stopped….against us no, but don’t forget he hasn’t scored against Manure and has only one goal against Liverpool. So he can be stopped/contained, we just can’t do it. Tactics anyone?
    3. We were outplayed Tyson, plain and simple….they scored two goals and sat back the rest of the game…their fullbacks never came forward once they were up 2-0. We had to chase the game which resulted in our possession advantage and the mirage that we outplayed them.

    A more physical presence upfront and through the midfield would allow us to match-up better against Manure and Chelsea and allow us to score in different ways and be better on the set pieces. I agree we need to shoot more….give it a go. A deeper team would help as RVP has not made it through a full season without being injured.

    It will be interesting to see if Wenger alters his “youth” policy next season. Still hoping for the best for the Gooners.

    • nikesb

      February 8, 2010 at 12:05 pm

      that’s 4 goals for drogba vs liverpool in the last 3 seasons…..don’t forget drogba does more than just score goals….the man can cross/pass/defend

    • thegoon

      February 8, 2010 at 5:51 pm

      i beg to differ-
      How idiotic do you have to be as a player and manager to not see that this guy has never in 3 entire seasons ever crossed a ball??? iam sick of it, sick of this idiot failing to realise he is an idiot, he never even bothered to sit with his manager and see that he does the same thing over and over again and still can t see that it has only worked ONLY once thanks to a good RVP and poor spuds defense. Fergie would never ever ever allow a player make those sort of errors, thats why anderson, macheda, wellbeck, fabio etc are all on bench, they have not yet learned but oh no we just let theo, our defense , strikers do the same IDIOTIC things and never address issues and think we can just walk over man u and chelsea, iam tired of having a manager with no desire to win nor use common sense. why does everything have to go thru loops with Arsene?? is it not obvious he makes the team look terrible by not bringin in the necessary players. man Cesc looks average and Arshavin , is only being what Drogba, lampard etc do. you cant depend on him to turn up great every game. its normal but we forget that when it was not TH14s day, it was Wiltord or Lungberg or pires or vierra or berkamp that came thtu for us. you need a proven list of players shud the other big guns fail to produce. why can we see if cesc , archavin, song, TV5 got injured we have no team? Pride comes before the fall and thats exactly what is happening ,we need to wait fot AW to fall badly and to trash his policy. Not even Barca would survive EPL on free flowing football,..which epl team have they ever beat comforably???hmmmmm? they were fortunate to go past chelsea to the finals. Eboue make run ins unlike sagna, he creates balls. Traore despite being a made to look like a fool, crosses the ball better than clichy, Gibbs makes creative passes. Why would u play theo thru to second half when he is not doing squat??? why put you strongest,tallest striker on bench till the last minutes, why would you put you experience , rosick on the bench till last minutes when playing an experience team? i cant stand them anyomore- and its AWs fault because they are still developing and they are carrying a weight they ought not to be carrying, We all know we were only ging to win the season due to man u and chealsea, liverpools loss of points and not because we had we it takes to compete at top level. its that clear so why are we complaining. and someone please tell me, how does a team that was scoring goals the likes of 6-5 outside the 18 yard-box at the begining of the season begin to revert to using a scoring system that has never worked for 3 seasons..pass pas pass pass pass pass pass…. Mannnn! dont these guys ever sit down to watch themselves to actually look at what was giving them the goals earlier?? 9-10 whenever we scored 4- 5 goals none of them where from our typical pass pass pass pass pass tap in goal. NONE. idiots am out

  19. brn442

    February 8, 2010 at 12:27 am

    I will say it again and again. Football is an awfully simple game.

    Ladies and Gents, once again you see the difference when one team has TWO ruthless, WORLD CLASS strikers on the pitch at the same time whilst the other uses an over-hyped winger and an out of position attacking midfielder and hopes for the best. And, yet again, one pass too many.

    Chelsea’s second goal was a classic, Anelka’s run opened up and destroyed the Gunners’ defence more than Drogba’s did. Once again Cliché goes missing at left back with yet another carbon copy counter attack, Almunia, although not at fault for the goals today, is becoming more of a liability for the reasons stated above and I’m almost certain Wenger in his vain quest for Football’s “El Dorado” will do nothing about it in the summer.

  20. Tyson

    February 8, 2010 at 12:11 am

    Arsenal play their game and they play it well. They’ve only been truly outplayed this season once but they often get beat because while their passing is fantastic and hard to shut down their attack isn’t the sharpest instrument in the box.

    Put a good striker in front of that great(and it really is great) passing play and your talking business.

    I don’t think there is a lot wrong with Arsenal apart from the lack of attacking options. In terms of ball retention and the way they pass the ball like I said the only time they were outplayer this entire season is when United beat them 3-1.

    Otherwise even when Arsenal have lost they have been in the game but faltered when it came to scoring goals.

    • jleau

      February 8, 2010 at 2:21 am

      I’m not sure how one can make this comment. Arsenal’s faults are many but their strengths mask them most of the time. However, against the better teams they are easily spotted.

      They were totally outplayed today. Chelsea let them have possession as soon as they got that first goal. They were waiting for the counter and were clinical when given an opening.

      Arsenal simply can’t consitently defend. They are particularly vulnerable on sets and counters. Trying to pick someone to blame is almost futile. On the second goal why didn’t anyone step towards Lampard and at least slow the counter down? Stop the ball, it’s a simple thing taught in many sports at a youth level. Clichey makes more mistakes than than most but Song, Gallas, Traore, Vermaelen, and Denilson have all looked bad on counters this season.

      I’m a huge fan, but Arsenal don’t even seem to have a plan right now. I can live with youth (and calling these guys boys is glossing over the issues) but that doesn’t seem to be well thought out. At the moment Wenger seems to be of the belief that strikers are not necessary, adequate defensive depth is provided by two geriatric has beens, being tall is a sin, and goal keepers are just after thoughts.

      At the moment, the only thing that Arsenal does particularly well is pass. There’s more to this game that just passing.

      • Tyson

        February 9, 2010 at 12:23 am

        I can name you two other teams who have the passing game at the heart of their play; Manchester United and Barcelona.

        The only thing Arsenal are missing is a focal point of attack with Chelsea you know how they are going to play if you look at the possession Arsenal had 58% but they had no focal point to their attack.

        If youre a boxer and your fighting a man who has no chance of hurting you but you have a good chance of hurting him you don’t shy away.

        This is why teams like Barcelona give other teams problems. They are a passing team but they have very versatile and skilled strikers so you are always in danger. With that sense of danger you spend more time defending than attacking and therefore you don’t score very often against them.

        If Arsenal had somebody the likes of Rooney or Drogba the goals would flow. With a good counter attacking strategy as well your opponents wouldn’t be so careless trying to get a goal.

        End of the day different styles of football make the match and while Chelsea are a fantastic team they are far from unbeatable by good competition and Arsenal still is some of the best competition in football.

        • jleau

          February 9, 2010 at 1:17 am

          Tyson, I wish Arsenal’s problems were as simple getting a good striker. I wouldn’t disagree that one is needed but that’s just a start.

          Barcelona defend much better than Arsenal. They press much more effectively further up the field and they do not give up the devastating counters that Arsenal struggle so much with.

          They have the best right back in the world which means they get an occaisional good cross. I can’t remember the last time either Sagna or Clichey hit a dangerous cross. Although there is nobody to attachk it so it probably wouldn’t matter.

          Almunia is a total waste of space. I have defended him consistently over the last couple of years but he is shot. The defense does not trust him and it’s really hurting.

          One thing that I do feel good about is the Diaby/Song pairing is starting to work well. Both players are physical and hold the ball well.

          • Tyson

            February 9, 2010 at 1:23 am

            jleau while I do agree Arsenal have a few more problems I really don’t feel things are as bad as people are making it out.

            I’m not an Arsenal fan I support Manchester United and you only have to go back a few months to see what this blog was saying about our chances. I even got laughed at when I suggest Rooney would be the highest goal scorer in the PL before the season started.

            I do think there are more problems at the Emirates but I think a striker would go a long way to alleviating things.

            I personally thought Wenger would bring in a striker in January and then watch the market in the summer to boost the squad.

  21. larry

    February 7, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    No need to comment…….

    Wenger ,we are fed up………!!!!!

  22. Matt

    February 7, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    Agree with most. I just want to point out that Patrick Viera was never a defensive midfielder. I’m not sure how that rumor got started. He was an attacking midfielder. Emmanuel Petit was a defensive midfielder.

    • Alvin Phoon

      February 8, 2010 at 12:37 am

      I think it’s testament to Viera’s defensive capabilities that even though technically he’s supposed to be an attacking midfielder, he is widely consider one of the best defensive holding midfielders of all time.

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