Arsenal v Liverpool III: Incredible ecstacy followed by immense disappointment

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The history books will say that on the 8th of April, 2008 Liverpool beat Arsenal 4-2 at Anfield to win a two-legged Champions League quarter-final affair 5-3 on aggregate. However, the scoreline does not reflect just how close Arsenal were to going through themselves on an unbelievably exciting night of football.

The key moments came during the 84th and 85th minute of the game. With the game poised at 2-1 to Liverpool, Arsene Wenger’s side were just seven minutes away from progressing on away goals when Emmanuel Adebayor tapped home to make it 2-2 after an absolutely amazing run by second-half substitute Theo Walcott. But just as it looked like Arsenal were heading for the semi-finals their hopes were dashed just thirty seconds later when Liverpool substitute Ryan Babel worked his way into the area and was awarded the softest of penalties after being adjudged to have been pulled down by Kolo Toure.

The final score at Anfield did not represent how close Arsenal were to progressing

Steven Gerrard converted from the spot to turn the incredible ecstacy of Adebayor’s goal into immense disappointment. As Wenger’s side pushed in vain for a third goal it was inevitable that Liverpool would have chances on the break and the icing on the cake was added when Babel broke free to race pass an exhausted Cesc Fabregas and slot home to make it 4-2. Unbelievable, unfair, and utterly, utterly heartbreaking.

It is difficult to put into the words the feelings that went through my body during the minute following Adebayor’s goal and the Liverpool penalty award. I’m not exaggerating when I say that when Arsenal scored I was in tears of joy. My emotions were going mental, I was jumping around like a flipping idiot and pumping my fists like some sort of crazed boxer. Then came the confusion when Babel hit the deck.

The challenge looked so innocuous on first viewing that when the referee ran over to dish out a yellow card I thought he had given it to the Liverpool winger for diving. When I then saw that it had been given to Toure and a penalty had been awarded I literally felt sick. The boys had battled so hard and Walcott had produced such a moment of brilliance that for it to be taken away by a poor, poor decision by the referee seemed so unfair.

When Gerrard smashed home the penalty I knew it was over. In my mind there was just no way that Arsenal were going to come back again and when the fourth Liverpool goal went in I just collapsed on my bed, consigned to defeat, cursing to myself and wondering how it had all gone so wrong. 

The man adjudged to have fouled Babel, Kolo Toure, had this to say about the penalty decision:

“The referee gave the foul against me, but I just moved away from him [Babel] and I think Cesc [Fabregas] caught his hand maybe, which was outside the area anyway – but that is the game and the referee has given the penalty. What can you do?”

As he says, what can you do? While I don’t want to blame the referee for Arsenal’s exit from the competition this one is really hard to ignore. It absolutely was not a penalty and when you consider the spot kick that was not given when Alexandr Hleb was pulled down in the first leg I think every Arsenal fan has every right to feel hard done by.

While the manager was also critical of the referee at the end of the match he too refused to put the blame for Arsenal’s exit completely on the officials. Quite rightly, Arsene Wenger pointed to the defensive mistakes that Arsenal made on the first two Liverpool goals as well as a lack of concentration for the penalty award. However, the manager was also quick to complement the mental strength of his side and their overall performance over the two legs.

“It was down to big mistakes defensively. We conceded the first goal on a corner, the second goal I feel we gave Torres too much room. But this team has plenty of talent and potential, they are mentally strong. We just lack maturity in some situations.”

I do think that while I can understand a lot of people are going to be upset about this defeat – heck, I’m still furious about it – a lot of positives can be taken out of this game as well as the season as a whole. I am now resigned to the fact that Arsenal will not be winning any trophies this season but I want to make it clear that I am still delighted with the progress that this side has made since last season. They have gone absolutely all the way in pursuit of the league and a step further in the Champions League and were just a few minutes away from a semi-final appearance in the competition, something I didn’t feel was possible at the start of the season.

While it is now clear that this Arsenal squad is just a little bit too small to cope with challenging for both the Premiership and Champions League, supporters should not lose sight of just how far the team has progressed. The temptation is there to suggest that Wenger sign a bunch of new players for next season but in my opinion I feel the team is around 90% of what it needs to be and just a couple of additions to strengthen the squad are what is required to add that final 10%.

I think that despite the result as supporters we should feel incredibly proud of the effort and performance that the Arsenal players gave last night and indeed the efforts they have put in over the entire season. Luck may not have been with this side very much lately but the endeavour and effort has never wavered and that should not be forgotten.

What do you think?

Have your say on Arsenal v Liverpool III by leaving a comment.


90 thoughts on “Arsenal v Liverpool III: Incredible ecstacy followed by immense disappointment

  1. LFC Dubai – That’s what emotions will do to you. Thanks for the heads up – have since corrected.

    Cheers Paul. I enjoyed your comment yesterday. It’s nice to hear a Liverpool fan say something positive about our side.

  2. Good to finally read a positive article about the team as apposed to all the complaining about certain players. In football u sometimes need abit of luck and on crucial momemts Arsenal always seem to draw the short straw. I’m frustrated, I can imagine how the players are feeling. Theo is a shining star & I know his going to go on to be a legend.

  3. I think Kleenex should sponsor Wenger… I feel so, so sorry for him… But it was an excellent game and he should forget blamming and worry about somehow beating Manure.
    Arsenal demonstrated their frail AND weak mental attributes. Sure Wenger buys technically gifted players, but do they have the mental strength? Keep blamming the age of the team Wenger and I’m sure Kleenex will come calling soon…
    Manure must be a real concern… Whereas Rafa must be rubbing his hands of the prospect of Chealsea who also have a serious tendency to buckle under the weight of playing in Europe…

  4. I think this team has amazing potential.

    I dont like Eboue and think next season should be his final test, if he doesnt improove a lot then we need to get rid of him.

    Sagna and Clichy to me are the best in the league for their positions.

    We need Denilson and Diaby to step up and give Fabregas a breather, he has looked tired recently.

    Walcott showed what he is all about with that assist, apparently Vela is the same sort of player but mainly on the left, both are really young, imagine those 2 when they are 23 or so, constantly beating people and penetrating both wings…. scary!

    Barazite and Merida are another two pieces of the jigzag that seem to have amazing potential and they could be playing a part next season.

    I think Senderos might have to go, he has always failed to control Drogba and has issues with quick defenders, maybe Senderos should play against teams that use the long ball and have slow strikers?

    Signings wise maybe another striker and defensive midfielder might do the job… if this was Football Manager I’d get a striker and a defensive midfielder who is comfortable playing at Center Back as well.

  5. Absolutely spot on. My feelings mirrored yours exactly. I was still completely dazed and confused some three hours after the match had concluded. There is no where on earth that penalty would have been given EXCEPT Anfield. It wouldn’t even have been awarded at Old Trafford. Incredible.

  6. In all honesty, when I saw the challenge on Babel for the first time in normal speed I originally thought 50/50 – I could see how it could be given but also how it could not have been given. In slow motion it doesn’t look like a penalty at all, but that’s football. To say it would only be given at Anfield is pretty ridiculous.
    Extremely entertaining match of football though.

  7. Spanish fry…would you believe thats how I was and probably still crying? But guess the good side is that right after Kuffor cried like that, they came back to win the CL. Theres no denying a great side, as quality will always shine through!.All fingers crossed…but ‘still crying’!

  8. Credit to the Gunners for giving it a right go. It was one of the best Europeans matches I have seen in a long time. A real din-dong battle. End to end stuff.

    Your first 30 minutes was a lesson in pass and move football. I was in awe. However, it the result that counts and Liverpool got the result much to my relief.

    Wenger must shoulder the blame for the defeat. It’s easy to blame the ref for your shortcoming but goals win games. Eboue is being slated left, right and centre but Wenger is the man who made the mistake of playing him ahead of Walcott on the right. Eboue coud have played at right back and Walcott should have started. Senderos really has no business in a Gunner’s shirt and should have been on the bench. He is everything an Arsenal player isn’t.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Until next season. Let’s do it again. There’s nothing to be ashamed of, keep ya heads up!

    If there is some justice in the world, I really do hope you turn the Scum over at the Old Toilet. Good luck!

  9. Iam not surprised Arsenal have fallen to a dodgy penalty. Even seasoned soccer analysts/commentatots were surprised it was given. This to me is refs don’t want Arsenal to win.So just imagine Arsenal having to fight twelve players one of whom has the power to give apenalty/yeelow card etc.
    Tona certain extent AW must shoulder a major proportion of the blame for the last six weeks.
    A new season brings new hope and that the lesson of this lesson season are digested and approriate action taken.i believe Arsenal are only two to three players short of a trophy winning side.

  10. Hi guys..

    I feel terribly bad for u guys..The way u guys played this season deserved much better.Well, thats Football.One thing is for sure, u guys need to beef up the defence a bit.A couple of good defenders coming in can do wonders for ur squad.

    I badly wanted to see Chelsea vs Arsenal in the semis..But Now we have to face Liverpool..

    All is not lost though.If u guys can beat man utd this week, you are back in the running for the EPL.Beating Utd can cut the gap to just 3 with 4 games left after that.Anything is possible.

    Cmon guys..cheer up n look ahead

  11. A well written piece Spanish Fry. I would have been absolutely gutted to have lost how you did! The penalty does look soft. I think if Cesc hadn’t pulled his hand back (outside the box) it wouldn’t have positioned Babel in the way that the slightest of touches could knock him over. Watch it again and see if you agree?
    I’m not so bothered about meeting Chelsea, they do owe us one, but no one can make it as hard as Arsenal did in this tie! I think you need those sorts of tests if you are going to win it. It was quite strange that you were, as Gerrard said, passing us off the pitch, then you just turned off and we got back into it. I think it started before our first goal as well. I think Flamini going off helped us immensely though. He was looking good.

    I sincerely hope you can pull your season back around and win the league!

  12. Very well written, summed up exactly how i felt during the game, and exactly how I feel about our excellent progress this season and my optimism for next season. A few additions to augment the size of our squad, some better luck with injuries, and next season we will be challenging all the way. Stay strong you gooners!

  13. Absolutely gutted.I can’t believe what I witnessed last night.7 minutes from glory and it was snatched from us in the cruelest way.

    We’ve been unlucky over the 2 legs no doubt, but for me the warning signs were there from the 1st leg. Our right side was the weak link we didn’t cope with gerrard coasting past eboue and torre the first time out and we were undone yesterday on the same side.

    It’s now plainly obvious that senderos is not up to it.He was at fault for 2 of the 4 goals and that cost us.

    The irony of it all is the player (babel)who was reportedly an Arsenal fan and could have joined us in the summer knocked us out of the CL!!!

    I totally agree with SF, we’ve had a very good season and the team is 90% of the way to becoming a real force in world football.The team and AW would have learnt a lot this season so hopefully with 2-3 additions in the summer and the years experience would hold us in better stead next time round.

    But hey, I’m really proud of this team they gave everything last night but lady luck and bad defending conspired against us.


  14. Well thought out and considered piece of blogging. Summed up my thoughts (and feelings) on the tie and the season in general very well.

    The bitter disappointment is still very fresh but I agree there are a lot of positives to take from it also.

  15. very well written…..just cant believe how unfair it has been to arsenal all the the first leg,alexander hleb foul was denied a clear penalty and such a soft penalty awarded to liverpool in the return leg.really unfair,heartbreaking lets stay strong and look ahead to the BPL.COME ON YOU GUNNERS.

  16. A few home truths the squad has not been stong enough to mount an assault on the premiership and CL fronts since day one of the season.And the blame for that must fall at the door of Arsene Wenger.We are a massive football club that spends money like we are a small club not the 5th richest in Europe.His refusal to buy proven top quality players and rely on youth has backfired.At the crucial part of the season the team has run out of gas because the squad is not strong enough in depth.Cesc and Ade have been crying out for a rest but the back up players have not been good enough

    Any team that has to play a centre half at right back,Senderos a player who always fails in the big games,Eboue a player who should not be anywhere near a top club, is it any wonder we will end up trophyless again this season

    One of the main problems is Arsene is now bigger than the club.He has no pressure at all on him.If we dont win a trophy for another 5 years his job is safe.If he refuses to spend big in summer which we must do his job is safe

    The whole point in moving to the Emirates was to increase our income to compete with Man Utd and Chelski.We are told we have £70m to spend.So why isnt it being spent?We need a squad strong enough and experienced enough to last the course next season not fail at the final hurdle.

  17. I aint going to be surprised when UEFA annonunced that the ref who gave a penalty to liverpool says he did not want Arsenal to win.SeriouslY FIFA and UEFA must have consistent refereeing decisions. Cock ups have happened in the wc and yet the same referees are deployed.These guys think they are above the law and UEFA shd make an example of some of these refs starting with the ref who did not give the penalty at ES.
    UEFA shd take the lead in stamping out glaring mistakes in refereeing and punished the culprit otherwise more cock ups could happen in the sf and final

  18. Could somebody make a youtube compilation of all the penalty’s not given to Hleb this year. While they are at it, they could make another one of Torres’ diving and Mascherano’s constant bitching…

    if you look at my comments yesterday “great match, but I am gutted…” you will see that I am not negative and don’t bitch. but today has been a bad day, so I guess my darker-side wants to focus on the injustice of it all.

  19. Definitely one of the better pieces written today. Last night was just a further reflection of the fact you get the luck when the team is playing well. Since our form has dropped off after hleb was taken out by Carew, we have been beset by injuries and refereeing decisions. Even playing porrly with a thin and injury ravaged squad, Arsenal would still be top and through to CL SF with better officiating.

    Obviously Hleb vs Babel in the CL.
    in the league – last min pen vs brum, no penalty vs liverpol, middlesborough goal offside, chelsea’s equaliser offside. Already that’s 7 points difference.

  20. Gooner Don, you’re right AW should have improved the squad considering we’re the 5th richest club in the world.

    Hopefully lessons have been learnt and we’ll be stronger for it next season.

    Chin up guys we’re not far off being a truely great team.

  21. I honestly cannot believe it still. I will blame the refs, I know Wenger has not splashed the cash for quality players and that is a big mistake but 7 mins away from goin thru, u cnt put tht dwn 2 a small sqaud cuz they almost done the job, the reason for our once 2 fimilar bad season is due to the small sqaud but due 2 last nites loss, its cuz the refs. Since the brum game, we have been let dwn agen + agen by stupid and poor ref decision yet, chelsea, lpool n manu get all the decisions they appeal for! it angers me, it feels like evry1 vs, arsenal.

  22. My thoughts are ….ARSENAL WILL BOUNCE BACK !!!. Let us have some belief in that young squad and remember we made history at the san siro against Ac Milan…who else did that??

  23. spanish fry summed it up quite well.. i was gutted, it felt worse than when they robbed us of the fa cup in 2001.. the season after that we won the lot and it gave us great drive to put things right. i can only hope this result does the same. i’ve got to admit that im starting to question wengers team selection, eboue and senderos are simply not good enough. arsenal were unbeaten in about 20 matches this season until we played seville away in the CL.. that was senderos’s return from injury!!! his presence around gallas is a nervy one to say the least. stats don’t lie and whenever senderos plays in a high profile game we concede. i love the team, the club, the manager. but someone needs to show wenger video tapes of our games against chelsea the last 3 years, senderos is not good enough. as for the rest of the team i thought they all played like heroes. fabregas is a lion, who deserves more for his performaces this year. come on arsenal, lets play for pride now..

  24. Good to hear some positivity around the place today following the shambles at Anfield. It’s nice to know that a lot of people still value what Arsenal have achieved this season.

    On a related note, I saw this letter sent in by an Arsenal supporter to Football365 regarding the game and thought it was worth posting:

    “Drunk? Possibly. Disappointed? Definitely. Proud? Abso-f**kin-lutely! To the arsenal team of 07-08, I salute you! On the night that’s probably realistically ended our season (though feel free to prove me wrong against ManU on sunday boys!) may I be amongst the first to thank our boys for a wonderful season. Thrills, spills, highs and lows, it had it all, which is a lot more than can be said for a lot of teams, and I enjoyed pretty much every minute of it. For a team written off as being, at best, fifth-place contenders at the start of the season, we have done fantastically well.

    Thrilling victories at the San Siro and the Reebok, points snatched at Anfield and several times at the Emirates, Arsenal have provided more than their fair share of high points for their fans this year. Fair enough, there have been disappointments too- Eduardo’s leg-break, Rosicky’s disappearance, Eboue’s every start, Birminghams’s last minute equalizer etc, but I don’t think any fan could seriously say that the highs have outshone the lows.

    And as for tonight… well, congrats to the better team over two legs, and I sincerely wish you the best against Chelsea in the semis, and much moreso, that you stuff ManU in the final. Yes, there should have been two penalties, and not one, and yes, we should know how to defend a lead rather than throw it away instantly, but I think and hope that the lessons learned tonight will serve us well in future seasons. My only disappointment is that the fantastic Theo Walcott run will be remembered as a sidenote in yet another heartbreaking defeat rather than what it potentially may be- the start of a fantastic footballing career.”

    Slainte boys, Garret, Cardiff and Galway

    Right on I reckon – except maybe for the bit about Liverpool being better over two legs :P.

  25. I am still trying to come to terms with what happened yesterday. I had the worst day at work because I just couldn’t get the disappointment out of my head.

    We need three new players who are experienced, strong and able to solidify the right side. Cesc needs someone who can shoulder some of the matches, successfully.

    We’ve got the cash, we’ve seen our weaknesses, we know teams play dirty against us so we need to bulk things out. Everyone talks about Liverpool’s rotation disaster, but they don’t have the injury problems Arsenal do.

    I’m sad. I genuinely feel sad about this loss and all I can do now is offer my continued loyalty, keep watching and enjoy Arsenal’s beautiful football.

  26. I thought Arsenal played extremely well for the first 30 minutes. The next 40 minutes were really well balanced, exciting and amazing football. Both teams pushed each other to the limits. The technical play was fantastic on both sides during that time and then suddenly Arsenal ground to a halt. They may as well left the pitch at the 86th minute.

    I still believe Almunia is not the right choice, especially for CL matches and Lehmann’s experience would have been invaluable. I really believe that once partnered with the right players, Walcott will be unstoppable. Eboue needs to stop playing football before he destroys someone. He actually scares me. That’s for next year, though. I will not yet concede the Premiership. These guys are great and they’ve got a lot going for them. Maybe there’s a miracle in it.

    As for being productive yesterday? Not a chance and I work with Spurs supporters. Fortunately I’m their boss, so they were slightly restrained.

  27. Haha, good to hear.

    I don’t know if I agree with you about Almunia – I don’t think he was to blame for anything and he’s looked more confident and calm in big matches as the season has gone on. I’m quite convinced that he is now the best keeper we have and would be happy to have him as Number One next season as well.

    Hard not to agree about Eboue – I just don’t understand what has happened to him over the past two seasons. He’s a mental case.

    Hope today is better.

  28. last season, when u won at Old Trafford, its becos of Eboue who run amok and tormented our left side players. Now, u guys scolding him for a bad season he had. Bendtner is another guy who for me prove to be a saviour for u guys in a few occasion (in his first season in EPL?-not sure). Had he not score very lately in few games, u will be further down the table. Come on guys. dont expect each player to have good game all the time. They are just human who has ups and down.. same goes to all of u..

    in any organization, the blame should goes to Manager-the man in power, who for me responsible in switching Eboue from rightback to right winger just becos he hesitate in buying good winger. Arsenal is one of few team in EPL without a proven winger, since Pires, Ljunberg, Bentley left the team… perhaps, u should blame AW for Eboue underperforming

    Wednesday, 23 April 2008
    Barcelona v Man Utd, SF, L1, 19:45
    Liverpool v Chelsea, SF, L1, 19:45

    Wednesday, 30 April 2008
    Chelsea v Liverpool, SF, L2, 19:45
    Man Utd v Barcelona, SF, L2, 19:45

  29. I have to agree with Jay and amiaq_ferguson(on eboue and Bendtner). If we only had got half the decisions right since Birmingham, we would be sitting pretty on top of the epl and cruising to the semi in CL. It’s hard not to think that there is an officiating crusade against us at the moment and I hope we have seen the last of it for this surely will go down as a season robbed by refs. I just hope they give us a fair chance to resurect our championship bid, otherwise they are going to taint this season championship.

    I like both Eboue and Bendtner as players and I think both have given fans high enough expectations to forget that this is their first season in their respective roles. I do believe however that in the absence of Sagna, Eboue should have started at RB. The only problem with Bendtner is that him and Adebayor thinks too much alike and end up running into each other too much. He will exel if partnered with Eduardo or Van Persie and maybe Theo. I think we have seen the coming of age of Theo in the last match. With Vela on the left, Theo on the right, RVP, Ade, Eduardo and Bendtner, we have 6 strikers for next season, which is more than Man U (4). I personally don’t see a place for an additional striker and I would go bananas if any one of the ones we have is sold. This will free our 3 midfielders( Hleb and Rosicky and Diaby to fight for central Midfield. With Denilson, Randal, Song and Co. waiting, our midfield is already too congested. I would love to see Gallas go though, for all the blame people are placing on Senderos, gallas has let in more goals than Senderos this season. As the captain, last defender, and more experienced player in the team, turning his back towards the ball at chelsea where other defenders from other teams would literary throw they bodies to block the ball was one of the low points. Since he always gives a lengthy speech before each game, it is hard for Traore, Hoyte & CO to take him too seriously when they see that. As for Eboue becoming less effective, maybe the fans should have been more supportive than overly critical of him all the time. Like any other player, he needs support from the fans to lift him up. He is a wide player so he gets an earfull most of the time and everyone has to admit, it is demoralising. And this even when he puts in a decent performance. I still think we are capable of wining the epl. We need to beat Man U, Chelsea and Man U to draw and an additional draw or loss by any of them will hand us the title provided we win all our remaining games. Not a daunting prospect.

  30. I was so sure we will go through but unfortunately it was not to be courtesy of some concentration lapses at the back.Personally i do not blame the refs or certain players.Its all part of the game.Football matches are won by capitalizing on your opponents weaknesses/mistakes without which all matches would be ending in scoreless draws.
    In my considered opinion, all these are excuses.All the players who were dying to come to us in the summer ended up elsewhere and have made a great difference to their sides(ribery, babel etc).And the two ManU signings (NANI+ANDERSON) that we thought were overpriced have been such a revelation.Indeed money can buy success at times and that is why Chelsea will remain indomitable for quite sometime.Other teams are coming up as well also because of this money factor and unless we shape up in this area we will be shipped out of the top 4 in the EPL.
    To me the buck stops with the manager for another trophyless season.I am not looking forward to the sunday match Old T. at all because of our current form.
    I totally agree with Nic that the lack of pressure on the manager from the Arsenal Board for silverware is in a way responsible for the complacency we are now seeing.I think we threw away the FA cup and the League cup too cheaply in a bid to concentrate on the CL and EPL but see where we are now.Lets not focus on the symptoms without dealing with the root cause.The pressure at the other big clubs is such that the managers have no option but to produce consistent results and silverware.No excuses.

  31. At last some practical analysis rather than an emotional rant.. Tighten up the defense and we can be on our way..

  32. I’m not at all critical of the results Eboue has had nor the way he has helped Arsenal. It’s the way he plays football that worries me.

    I view him as a physically dangerous player and I quite frankly think he will seriously harm someone sometime in the next few years if he is not either more tightly controlled or sent away from the pitch. His frequent two footed tackles, sticking his leg out during aerials and willingness to foul people is not good football nor good sportsmanship.

    I love Arsenal passionately and I could much more happily turn a blind eye because he is Arsenal, but that would not be right.

  33. I just hope wenger gets rid of Eboue and Sendoros for the next season.
    He needs to spend big this summer. On the whole the boys have played some wonderful and exciting football.
    Hats off to them..

  34. Fellow Arsenal Fans,
    I believe this is a great team. The reactions from everyone is spot on but remember then high points in our season and thank Great Arsenal for that.
    The only thing i will miss is sitting on my couch with my arsenal gear, arsenal flag and kit and singing Great Arsenal even when we are loosing.
    I for one have being so negative in the past weeks but when i saw that walcotts run I knew that the best is yet to come. The truth is that the footballing world hate arsenal as evidenced in the refs decisions but i do not want to go into all that because i know we will prevail.
    Gutted? I am so gutted i havent put on my tv since we lost. I am sooo sad i dont listen to sports analysis. I have fallen ill and i am better again but this constant sadness lies within me.
    We are gladiators my fellow fans we will prevail.I want to use this opportunity to thank the floowing people
    1. Spanish Fly
    2. Arsene Wenger
    3. The whole Arsenal squad especially my fav. cesc and flamini
    4. All the fans that religiously visit arsenalfcblog
    5. My neigbours in Nigeria who religiously didnt miss a match this season
    6. Spanish Fly again

    See u guys in August

  35. I appreciate that often luck plays a large part in the game of football, but feel that Arsenal (and I have been a lifelong supporter) really do need a bunch of more experienced players to complement the crop of young talent that Wenger has nurtured. We cannot continue to fall at the last hurdle due to the teams lack of mental strenght.We have the cash. Buy the players.

  36. Hey..
    I was gutted, havent been on recently SF, but you continue to be at your best. Keep it up!
    On looking at the penalty, the only way to debate it is if that was a penalty, then we should have had one for the tackle on Hleb. Adam mahommed, I completely agree. Look at Barca – They have struggled a bit this season, but if they hadn’t brought in experienced players, would Bojan be as good as he is? Maybe, but having tips from a person in their prime and who has possibly been in a similar situation cant hurt can it? plus, it adds to the team spirit. The fact is, whether we like it or not, is that we need a bigger squad, and 95% of those players we bring in need a few seasons under their belt, and is going reallt strong, and doesnt need a 4-5 seasons to settle in.

  37. We all knew Theo would do well soon. He scored 2 in the CL, 2 in the EPL and 1 in the Carling which is 4 more goals than he scored last season. Got picked to go to the World Cup plays for ENgland U21 and scores a lot. Picked for England Sr. team vs. France. His run tipped it off for me. He has always been my 2nd fav player behind Cesc and nxt season will be his shining season. Get ready arsenal beacuse what we have wanted and waited for will be happening soon and the Man u game will be a preview, go Theo! I just had to say this bout Walcott because I think his run has been overshadowed by the result, but to run from your own half, take on 6 LIVERPOOL playas at ANFIELD and assist is pretty special, if only he scored it.

  38. gunners rulezzz & cesc04, I believe your wish to see Senderos gone is misplaced. He has in the past made mistakes but this year his level of play has improved tremendiously and in this game he did not make the mistakes that cost us the first two goals: 1) he was playing with a yellow he smartly earned off of Crouch so any means of keeping an opponent close was not an option for Senderos, 2) Senderos was in the right place during Hypia’s goal that deflected in off the left post –unfortunately, Fabergas was assigned the left-post which ordinarily I believe would have been Clichy’s assignment, 3)Torres was coming from the right going to the left in which case Senderos in the right spot –where was Gallas or Toure?

  39. Good blog, nice analysis of the game as a whole and summed up the way I still feel today, gutted! But you have to move on and look forward to what is to come, something which makes me very hopeful. If we had won that game I imagine that Gooners would look back on Walcott’s run as most England fans do at Michael’s Owen goal against Argentina, the launchpad for a star. As it was we lost our concentration and gave away a sloppy penalty but you can’t really call it that. Arsene got it right when he said it was a gift.

    But as I said we have got to look forward and I’m holding out hope that we can play like we did for the first twenty minutes on Wednesday against ManYoo this Sunay. Found a nice little blog about getting over our European hangover and thats exactly what we need to do to retain any hope of winning the league. Come on The Arsenal!

  40. lets not forget that arsene has not been able to match the wages that other teams are willing to pay players because of the move to the new stadium. also the amount of young talented players that arsene has uncovered is staggering, i have full trust that arsenal under mr wengers guidance is on the cusp of great things. this season far from being disapointing is just evidence for future achievements. what annoys me is these critics who talk about arsenal being too immature, lacking depth and experience are the same ones spewing superlatives when the team is on fire. give the kids a break, and the manager. just imagine life without arsene wenger. yeah a know scary

  41. Well just catching up and I agree with a lot iof what’s been said. I don’t thougfh blame the refs these things happen … I also don’t agree that we are 90% there I think it’s more 70%. I have called for Senderos, Bendtner, Hoyte, Ebou, Gilberto to go and I hope they do but I will also add to that list Ade because it has been his awful first touch over the last few months …watch that Liverpool game again .. a joke for a top class forward. We need a striker who can actually control the ball when it’s passed to him. Whenever it came to him the other night he was the start of a Liverpool attack as his first touch gave it to them. This has been happening too frequently and he has to go.

  42. Whine whine whine thats all gunners supporters and manager do nowadays. Fact was there were two penalties one at each leg. One was awarded and one was not but thats life. Live with it.

  43. Tiga, if you actually bothered to read the article and comments you’d realise that most of what is being said is not a whine. It seems you were just trying to stir trouble.

    I’d like to see what constitutes whining in this article…

  44. Yes,but the misstake of AW was to NOT add those 10% to the squad in jan.It was so obvious that we needed that.

  45. Mark..dude u got it absolutely right man…
    i would also add ade to that list..his first touch is too bad…he missed too many goals bcoz of that..

  46. Tiga – if your team was in the same position arsenal were in, you would be really annoyed aswell so saying “live with it” is not as easy as you say. What team do you support?

  47. Yes Tiga, we will live with it whatever this team does or doesn’t do ‘we’ll live with it’ because everyone on this blog loves and cares passionately about our club.

  48. DC Gunner Swiss Phil was not in the right place for Hypia”s goal,Hypia had a FREE header.Dont dare blame Cesc on the line.

    The truth is Senderos makes too many mistakes in the big games.We need to sell and buy a commanding centre half who can concentrate and not be bullied

  49. The way Arsenal plays, it is very difficult for a player to just slot in and be an instant success unless he is Bakary Sagna. You all know how difficult even for our own players who have been around for years to gel with the team after a prolonged absence. Even Sagna had a pre-season to acclimate. Blaming AW for not signing in January is in my opinion closing our eyes to that fact. Whoever he could have brought in January probably would not have featured to any effect this season, and top quality players don’t get sold in January. Torres has done well because Liverpool have mostly players who would be warming the bench at all other top 4 clubs, and he is well above his teammates. I would like to see the same squad with Vela back next season and we can beat everyone. Lets ask ourselves one question, How would Eduardo, Van Persie, Bendtner, Eduardo and Adebayor in their current forms fare in other non-physical leagues? We probably would be crying “AW need to get Van Persie, Eduardo, Bendtner etc”.

  50. Its a fact Arsenal need to buy, the squad is not as big as Chelsea’s or Man U’s. Its great Wenger buy’s for the future of Arsenal but he also needs to worry about the present and bring in some world class players to play now. Its funny to me because alot of you were the ones in January saying Arsenal didnt need to buy and NOW you complain about the team not being deep enough.

  51. Chelsea is a different case, they wanted to buy every top player in the world because they could. Man U has only 3 players more than Arsenal, 4 midfielders more to be exact. If we didn’t have as many injuries as we have had, people wouldn’t have noticed the difference that much if Man U had simmilar injuries like us, and that has been a telling difference. I will partly attribute this to the fact that teams plays us HARDER than they play any other team in the Premiership and it has been that way for years, which makes our players’ risk to injuries significantly higher. And the fact that we don’t kill teams off early, they tend to have a belief and continue to fight harder longer, which is our fault. Either way I do think the decision not to buy in January is not a mistake and I still believe this squad is more than adequate to see us through to trophies next season. We should remember that our reserve team is good enough to play in the prem and they will not be fighting relegation if they do. All these player are maturing and they need room otherwise it will be 4 – 5 years down the drain. I hope to see Randal, Barazite, Merida, Nordvelt and Co. in the fold next season and all of a sudden we have what amounts to embarrassment of riches. We are probably going to lose 2 or 3 experienced players next season, but the experience our young players have accumulated as of now should be enough. I personally do not look forward to a Big signing.

  52. I’ve just read on another blog that Wenger is reported as saying that he wants to keep this squad together and just buy one other player ….is this a joke??? I hope so.

  53. Demetrio – i said we needed to buy players in January and got told I was wrong. Now I am being agreed with. Make your minds you lot.

  54. I’ve been saying since the summer Arsenal needs to buy. I agreed with you in January and said Wenger needed to go after Richards, go back and look. And Taygoon theres a difference between only haveing a few less players then Man U.. Man U has world class players coming off the bench.. We have 11 world class players that start.. then not many others to rely on. People like Senderos, Djourou, Traore.. these guys are not good enough, maybe one day Traore and Djourou, will be but like i aid.. Its great Wenger thinks about the future of Arsenal but he also needs to worry about the present and bring in experienced players not only 17 year olds that wont play in the 1st team for another 3 years. And yes they have experience our young players, but do your REALLY think 2 or three years of experience can stand up against a guy like Ronaldo.. or Rooney whos been playing much longer? These guys are in their prime. Altho we can still win the league this year if we beat Man U tomorrow, the boys are just tired, a deeper squad with better players to sub in would do this team great.

  55. Lehmann
    Adebayor-Van Persie
    Man Utd 1-Arsenal 2

  56. I dnt know where to begin, what to blame. Man Utd 2- 1 Arsenal, no trophies, no motivation, no win, NO GOOD NEWS.

  57. hi Guys..

    Just dropped in to say u should be proud of the team for their performance today..Though u lost the game, u dominated united at old trafford and u deserved to win the game

    Hats Off To the Gunners..I really hope Arsene strengthens ur squad in the summer n u win the EPL next season..just for the magnificient effort this season

    Congrats onnce again guys..Be Proud of ur boys..I am a Chelsea fan n i m proud of Arsenal today..

    P.S:- i hate ur captain Gallas though


  58. The only person you can blame is Wenger. The boys played their hearts out this season and we just dont have the world class players to compete with Man U. Our starting 11 is as good as anyones, but factor in tiredness and injuries and we just dont have the depth to take off a world class player and bring one on to replace him. If Wenger stickes to his stubborn ways we will have many more years that the boys get tired at the end and lose the title. It was a great preformance put in today and like Trueblueind said we should all be proud of our boys for what they did this season.

  59. yh we are proud, dont get me wrong, great football, 1st half vs. Aston villa, 1st half vs. Sunderland and great victories : 1-0 vs. Chelsea and 7-0 vs. Slavia Prague but too things get me and most of us down everyday. 1) Bragging rights, friends and peers always have the bragging rights over us and even today 8 people laughed bout the man united result and 1 even laughed bout the liverpool result. 2) Trophies, we have won nothing since 2005 FA Cup unless u count Emirates Cup which i do not. We need strength in our squad. When 1) and 2) come back, thats when we become a force once more.

  60. Demetrio: you are forgetting that Ronaldo took several seasons to become the Ronaldo we see now.

  61. is this goin to make u sleepless?? we are already thinking of strengthening the squad in the summer.. a new RB and another striker will do us great.

    TrueBlueInd, I understand why u hate GALLAS.. it’s the same reason why we hate Richard Dunne and Micah Richard who play very well against us.. and suddenly becoming amateurs when playing against Chelski!!!

    Alex Ferguson Talk
    “I don’t need to spend, but I will,” he said. “I think there is an area where we are short and we can stock up on that a bit.

    “It is not easy getting the best players here. But we have to because when you have a lot of quality in your squad you have to be absolutely correct on who you bring in.

    “A player has a chance to come to a club like United and he would say ‘that’s my challenge to be in the team.’

    “That’s what good payers do. I don’t think I will bring in as many as last season and if we buy players it will probably be young ones.

  62. If you dont spend money you dont win trophies.Thats the name of the game.Arsene went into the season with a squad that lacked experience and come the big games relying on players who are not good enough.Can you imagine Senderos getting into the Man Utd team.Berbatov or Benzama will end up at OT in the summer will we buy some 16 year old

  63. you gave it your all but at thte end of the day it was men against boys(literally) fresh against tired, and a large versatile squad against a thin straight squad. you need to strengthen in the summer. adebayors goal was a handball so it was kind of justice done when we got the penalty. if you strengthen your squad, then you can win trophies.

    p.s adebayor in 23 and you should looking for a replacement very, very soon. lets just say i nkow some people who know his age.

  64. TayGoon thats exactly my point and is why we need a few more experienced players. Fab, Flamini, even Eduardo when he gets back will be great players but its gonna take them time to reach their prime.. One new experienced player (which Wenger said thats all he’ll sign) will not bring the title to us. i think Gooner Don is exactly right, while Man U add clas players to their team, Wenger will buy some unknown 16 year old who wont play for another 4 years in the first team. Football isnt the same as it use to be when it comes to transfers and Wenger hasnt adjusted.

  65. I am 36 years old and been an arsenal fan all my life. Why? A consistent team, no worrying about form and performance like the Man Uniteds of the 80s (who at one time I think were relegated), no league drought of Liverpools of the present (17 years without a trophy – what team is that) and no noveau riche of the Chelseas (who backs a team without a true legacy in football?). The facts show that an Arsenal fan could put the proverbial “pot on the fire” and expect silverware each year (correction – every 3 years max). And ooh those managers man.
    Yes I know I do not go back to the Sam Hollises, Joe Shaws and Tom Whittakers but I remember Terry Neil (no bias because I have drunk at his pub) Don Howe and of course my all time favourite – George Graham. I can still see him holding aloft the Cup Winners Cup in the ’93 season. Of course to the gunner fan UEFA dealt a dagger by cutting that tournament out. In addition, with George my heart was broken because i saw dynasty in the making — actually sniffed it. The only thing Arsenal has never had in my lifetime was European dominance. Well with George the happenings ….hmmmm. The rest is history. But with all the rancour during his tenure and caretaker managers after him, I was still confident a sturdy and dependable team was there.
    Then…. along comes the Frenchman and everybody is excited. Cup doubles, whipping Fergie’s you know what, the quarrels and mind games, undefeated season etc. But in that time i still observed a widening chasm. The side was thinning out. The Oleary’s, Dixons, Seamans, Winterburns, Keowns these standard bearers were being replaced by neophytes. I raised by point with friends- fellow gunners actually. “Come on guy” was the typical response “Wenger is genius”. Even after being bullied and persecuted, gut feeling said something is wrong. a thinner side and a manager who wins but not the big games. That Uefa Cup runners up of 1999/2000 still pricks at me, then losing to chelsea in, i think 2002 in the champions league, hmmmmm. So by the time the Champions League final had come in ’05 I would not bet my dead grandmothers toothpick on my team. I saw a gap in player abilities and also coaching prowess. But hey man my pals were the same and also my manager. All in one accord now, “remember man we have Cesc Fabregas!” Talented kid but hey who is going to track Ronaldihno Decu etc. With respect to my manager he was up against Rijkaard – a dude with a winning resume as a player and coach. hmmmmmmmmmmmmm. And it was also clear that Wenger played one brand of football (one you can easily coach against) and in Europe you change the tempo (sometimes your traditional style) and for God sake as a coach be practical man. Draw matches away dude (1-1 if possible) and …………WIN AT HOME, HAVE A DEEP SQUAD and WIN AGAINST ‘BIG COACHES’
    When the generation of the “invincibles’ left (why they called them that I do not know). No disrespect to being unbeaten in the premier league, that is excellent but that crucial match in Europe (the modern barometer of a top club’s performance) we were beaten. To say the least Vieira was not my guy (a bit too slow coming forward), but when he left I wondered who would replace him – I am still wondering.

    We are full blown youth in bloom now and all midfield playmakers. What happened to holding and baby sitting midfielders? Ooooh yes we play a beautiful brand of foot ball – with a lot of holes in the middle. And as I have always predicted; the day the gunners meet a top coach/team at a crucial phase in a tournament, they will lose. Last year, Morhino, Carling Cup Final – lost. This year Carling semi-final – lost to Ramos. FA Cup quarters at Old Trafford – lost. Champions league at Anfield lost. Yes I take nothing away from the young side. I saw a beautiful match at the san siro this year. But one match does not a season make. And the Shakespearean tragedy of it all? This has been going on at least since the turn of the millennium. Young player over-investment, no regard for the transfer market (especially the January transfer window), four potential trophies in January, nothing in may. Then we hear the stories about luck and injuries and the art of the possible next year. The cycle ends only to begin anew.
    The memories at Highbury were good for the most part. The Emirates brings a sniff. Tears maybe or boyhood dreams of a Graham dynasty that never was …. or never will be….

  66. Kevin,
    This is the best post i have read.Kindly send it to an arsenal newspaper or any thing of that sort.

  67. thanks scopeKnight. i have been reading the blogs and comments and i just put that out there to let fellow gunner fans know that we are a team with a rich history and we need to get back to basics.

    keep safe man

  68. well written post kevin.
    The way I see things at my club:-I think in any organization the moment you start having indispensable elements at any level then know that trouble is knocking at the door.Where there are no performance measures against which individuals can be appraised and where objectives are not “SMART” (specific,measurable,achievable,realistic? and time bound)then complacency sets in.Why would you need to work and burn the mid-night oil if you have an employer where your pay cheque and employment is guaranteed for life?These are the issues we are facing.The buck stops with the boss for another trophyless season.I said it last week that i was not looking forward to the match at old trafford and sure enough the result confirmed it.Good football-yes we play but what is good football minus goals and results.When all is said and done many years down the line no one will ever remember that we outplayed liverpool,chelsea,man u etc but lost the matches.Excuses.Excuses.If its no the refs, its the injuries, if its not the injuries its the condition of the pitch and so on and so forth.Does it mean these other teams are not exposed to this also?As for refs,I believe that if you consider the whole season and not pick on specific incidents you’ll realize that the good and bad decisions eventually cancel out.

  69. yeah Mimi Wemu: as gunners we need to look at results now and nothing personal against the boss but we need to hold him more accountable

  70. Great posts Kevin and Mimi.Yes the manager has made mistakes and should be held accountable, too many excuses now it’s bordering on the ridiculous.

  71. Kevin,
    Correct me if i am wrong but i would love usmanov to take over Arsenal and put more pressure on Arsene becos he seems not to be under any pressure what so ever.Season after season he hides behind the fact that he did not buy.Wenger has made big mistakes this season.Why allow Diarra go.Why allow FAB have a constant shirt in the heart of mid-field without competition.Tired of Arsenal.’
    I have boy cotted all their matches so I can have a steady heartbeat. Very annoying.

  72. Scope Knight: the diarra move was wrong man but diarra also was anxious for playing time because his place in the french national team was up for grabs but hey he is playing for the FA Cup with Pompey now.

    usamov would be a good move as well. i believe in this game you show up as a manager you job cannot be “for life” spurs went for ramos because they wanted the cherry on top *(god as much as i hate the spurs you have to admire them for the coup in pulling off the carling this year) and i think we should as well. but hold on to your jersey man do not give up hope frustrated as we are we are gunners and we will return

  73. Diarra should never have been allowed to leave, AW made a big mistake in letting him go.

    Diarra should have been 3rd choice central midfield, AW could have rested either Flams or Cesc against lesser opposition.I think potentially Diarra is a better player than Flams so I’m baffled as to why he was allowed to leave.

  74. of all the purchases he made this year nick this was the one i thought was a good bargain. diarra is young and has national caps. he is also a defensive midfielder which we desperately need and he is not yet fully grown and his potential was incredible. i thought that in two to three years we would start seeing another roy keane or viera. but i guess next season we will have to look again. and i have always wondered about flams but le Boss seems to know best

  75. David Villa has said he wants to come to Arsenal.. Basically sending a message to the club of “come get me”.. i dont care how much it would cost, Wenger needs to sign him. I said a while back that Arsenal would do fine without Wenger in charge and all you flipped out crying about how great Wenger was, a lack of buying this summer, esp guys like Villa who want to play for Arsenal, to me only strengthens my belief that the game has passed Wenger. Since Chelsea started pissing away money, the other teams have followed, Arsenal cant and shouldnt follow that trend, but at lest should pick up guys that clearly are class players and want to play for Arsenal, we had Malouda, Ribery got away, Ryan bable, all players that Arsenal could have and should have picked up. David Villa will also probably be added to that list if Wenger sticks to his ways. Wenger needs to stop being so damn stubborn and realize the last past 3 years.. his way hasnt worked. All thats has been happening is we lose class players and dont get any to replace them. When Man U and Chelsea are bringing in world class players, and we’re bringing in 17 year olds that wont play for another 3 years, its kinda obvious why our boys havent won anything, we cant expect our squad to last a full season with out getting tired becasue we have no real world class players on the bench to rotate.

  76. Alot of things need to change.I can hardly remember the last time a tactical substitution was made that changed our game tremendously.Mourinho was the master in this.I remember him making just one change in one of those Chelsea games in the 19th minute and everything about how they were playing changed!The guy knew his players inside out and their strengths/weaknesses and form at any time in the season.There were no untouchables.Being on form was critical to earn a regular starting place.That’s the kind of competition that makes players give their best in every game.
    But for us, our substitutions are so predictable and text book like.Its been almost the same in the entire season:rest eboue and bring in theo in the 60th minute,wait for 15-20 minutes and bring in bendtner and hope that the boys go into overdrive to get a last minute equalizer.Why is it that we always throw away our leads against big teams within 5 minutes?And when you have a striker who scores one goal in every 5 clear cut chances then you know you have a problem.I believe competition for places will improve this current team.

  77. david villa wants to come i know. but le boss may not want a 26 year old remember guys “we build stars we do not buy them”. that kind of arrogance has gotten us to this situation. i agree with demetrio so many guys wanted to come over the past few years. i remember babel yes and malouda and even huntelaar i think. Le Boss said no. and as mimi wenu says we are now so predictable.

    Fergie is going to buy, so is Grant. He is interested in Kaka and Messi. i do not think he will get Kaka but Messi is possible. of course Sven and Oneil will be buying. Ramos has basically an open cheque (i think he will get Villa). Liverpool i think has every damn think they want.

    the point i am struggling to make? i think that 4th spot for the Champions League is in jeapordy and we will be the ones in trouble to hold on. i have said this here and elsewhere if we continue to be stingy and thin out this team (makng it a west ham training ground)we will be mid table in two year. i tell you guys two years.

  78. “Usmanov must take over”, “Wenger must go”, “Spurs are great for winning Carling cup” What a load of crap I’m reading on this blog. Pull yourselves together you bunch of pessimists. I’m a proud gooner and all the stuff you are coming up with really angers me. Did Wenger ask Taylor to break Eduardo’s leg? did he tell the referee to award a shit decision for a penalty against Birmingham? did he tell the referee to award another shitty penalty decision against Liverpool? did he tell Gallas to weep after the Birmingham game like a girl? the answer is NO. We were so close this season, we outplayed Liverpool M.utd and Chelsea lost 3 times entire season. Remember we were supposed to finish 5th behind the scum. I speak to neutrals and they have a lots of positives to say about Arsenal than you lot. This team is good its just a matter of sorting out the defence,keeping the good players at the club, add some experienced players and get rid off few dead wood. BE PROUD. We’ll come guns blazing next season.

  79. Where in the world is Spanish Fry?
    This is nonsense. Another post is required. I keep checking the site everyday just in case there is a new one. But there never is…

  80. This season is failure of Arsenal. Many games we should win, but can’t do it. I’m very bored to watch many games that we don’t win, but we can play very good. This math is game that I’m very sad. We are winning by away gold when Emmanuel Adebayor tapped home to make it 2-2 after Emmanuel Adebayor. I’m very grad suddenly we have to shock why referee in Uefa Champions League is no standard. Moreover it is we because we aren’t constant. Something that happen can tell about my team should be change, for example, we should buy new player for rotation because playing along time that player maybe tired. In addition we have to buy forward player who can shoot gold very well for team.

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