Sunderland 1-1 Arsenal: Same old Arsenal? I don’t think so.

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The shock of a last-minute setback has an unwelcome habit of skewing the conclusions that can be drawn from a game of football. Indeed, today’s post could probably come with two very different match reports: one written before the goalmouth scramble that allowed Darren Bent to hammer home Sunderland’s equaliser and one written afterwards.

The first report would point to Laurent Koscielny and Sebastien Squillaci’s heroic defensive effort and the superb ball-retention abilities of Marouane Chamakh, Samir Nasri and Tomas Rosicky as the key components of a fine backs-to-the-wall victory. It would speak of the team’s excellent adjustment to going down to ten men, of Manuel Almunia’s flawless display in goals and a coming-of-age performance by Jack Wilshere, who recovered from a poor first half to navigate the team to victory in the second.

In contrast, the second would speak of the “same old Arsenal”, defensively soft and throwing away points that the other big sides just wouldn’t. It would speak of Tomas Rosicky’s inability to kill the game off from the penalty spot when Wayne Rooney or Frank Lampard would have, of a team struggling to find creativity without Cesc Fabregas on the pitch and above all, a disorganised and calamitous defensive effort in the final seconds that gifted Sunderland their equalising goal.

Sometimes it is harder to accept that things happen in football that we don’t want to happen, that no-one in particular is to blame and that’s just the way the game is. The ref doesn’t always have to be biased, the defence doesn’t always have to be terrible and the players don’t have to mentally weak to concede a goal. Sometimes the other team just scores. You only have to look at Cesc Fabregas’ opener to see my point.

Song walks after a harsh red card

There was plenty that went on long before Sunderland’s devastating equaliser. Cesc opened the scoring before going off injured, Alex Song was harshly sent off early in the second half for two yellow cards and Rosicky clipped the bar with a penalty that would surely have secured the desired result. As a spectacle it was superb entertainment and leaving aside the emotion that came with throwing away two precious points in the title race the truth is that there was so much to be happy about from this game.

Personally I don’t think we can draw too many conclusions from this result and indeed the manner in which it was achieved.

This defensive unit is just too different to bleat “same old Arsenal” after the first concession of a late equaliser and the mentality of players like Koscielny and Squillaci will take some time to be revealed. Indeed, our defensive performance as a unit was as good as I’ve seen from this team in the last three seasons. Just because a clean sheet was not secured does not take away one bit from the impressive efforts from Koscielny, Squillaci and Almunia. They were superb and I believe we have much to be optimistic about on the defensive front for the remainder of the season.

Likewise it can’t be concluded from this game that we struggle create anything without Cesc on the pitch. While this was undoubtedly true against Sunderland, it was more because replacing the captain impacted on the flow and organisation of the team. By the time Rosicky, Wilshere, Nasri and Co had adapted Song was sent for an early bath, Denilson replaced Andrey Arshavin and the reorganisation process began again.

Chamakh showed again what he brings to this team, chasing and harrassing defenders all afternoon. Whenever the ball came to his feet from midfield it stuck like glue: a vitally important attribute to have when you are a man down and want to give the midfielders time to get forward. Although he hardly had a sniff at goal himself his tireless and unselfish performance put him up there with Koscielny and Squillaci as our most valuable player.

On the less positive side of things, question marks will be asked of Gael Clichy’s defending in the second half. The Frenchman gave the ball away two or three times trying to play his way out of the back when a quick kick into touch would have been the better option, while his role in Sunderland’s equaliser – playing the strikers onside before hacking a clearance into Koscielny – wasn’t the stuff of a world-class defender.

So 1-1 it ended, probably a fair result at the end of the day even if the manner of Sunderland’s goal was a little hard to stomach. But that’s football.


Have your say on Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Sunderland by leaving a comment.


58 thoughts on “Sunderland 1-1 Arsenal: Same old Arsenal? I don’t think so.

  1. I agree 100% with this post. But it will be hard to silence the haters, as is always the case after a less desirable result. The result surely pissed me off, but it’s not the end of the world. And I’m glad I wasn’t the only person to notice Rosický’s penalty hitting the bar, comparisons with John Carew’s effort at Newcastle on the coverage was super harsh considering Carew hit is about as bad as me in Veldhoven. But, you must play on.

  2. I agree – our performance had steel and resilience. It can happen in football- look at Utd last weekend vs. Everton. You won’t hear ‘same old united’. Still the result was hard to stomach with the goal coming at 90+5′, and a penalty miss.

    I just hope it doesn’t effect the team psychologically, because i do think we have moved on since last season. Squillaci and kosciely, and indeed Almunia were excellent yesterday.

  3. @ Patrick – Yeah, all this “Rosicky’s penalty was the worst ever, why did he take it?” stuff is really strange. The guy hit the bar, for goodness sakes, it’s not like he Beckham v Turkey’d it. A few inches lower and we’d be proclaiming the extreme confidence of it all and suggesting he take all the kicks for the rest of the season.

  4. We looked comfortable throughout the match – Sunderland never looked like equalising. And when they did it was a fluke with the last kick of the match, giving us no time to score again. The fact that I feel we could have scored again when down to ten men, against a side that is very hard to beat at home, and without Cesc and several other key players, givens me cause for optimisim.

  5. I think they were just unlucky. The ball falling for Bent as it did from the feet of Koscielny was very fortunate for Sunderland. But it was panic in the end and should not have happened. Also, I have always believed that the best people to take the penalty are the strikers. Chamakh should have been the man to take the spot-kick.

  6. Good post as usual mate, I agree the defence was great today, Squillaci and Koscielny were playing as if they were Arsenal veterans, and Almunia was solid. I was a little disappointed with the attack side of things though. Chamakh was superb, but we were a little un-Arsenal-like for some periods where we didn’t have much possession in midfield. Dominating possession is something that is usually our bread and butter. If we’d had the desired possession, cutting edge in front of goal, and a little help from a terrible referee (who gave Song the softest red card I’ve ever seen), things might have been different.

    A draw is a fair result though, and there are a lot of positives to be taken from it.

  7. Clichy is the weak link in our defence. He must be dropped imo. Gibbs must be given a chance, or Vermaelen should play there.

    At the end of the day, an away point against Sunderland is not a bad result. They have a good home record. Whats done is done, lets focus on winning the next game.

  8. You are absolutely right Weber.We have look more at the positives than the negatives.I think The whole back five except clichy were outstanding.In midfield Song is becoming a bit poor in his tackles and wilshere was very good in second half as is denilson.In attack Chamakh was good but I would like to see him score a away goal

  9. At last a real Arsenal site ,telling the truth without anti Arsene bile all over it. Unlike the berks from those other sites ,I have supported my great club for ober 61 years now and I am more than happy with the team and this new squad. Yes it would be much better if Arsene could pick from our real squad for at least the first 2/3 months but he never seems to have that choice due to freak injuries etc.

    This new defence is the best Ive seen since the magic 6 which AW inherited and won trophies with. Yes it has taken far to long for him to admit that he got it wrong with Gallas,Sylvestre, Cygan, Stepanoves etc……but now he has it right and some. Can you believe that some pundits on BBC & SKY are still jumping on the ‘soft underbelly’ crap that they feed on? Apart from Clichy , who in my mind is now the only weak link, this back 5/6 is going to be great…remember that they have only played 2/3 games together.

    If I have any concerns, and what supporter doesn’t? It is that we still have a couple of flaws when playing away…ie; Arsharvin & Clichy seem to become very average performers and really should be dropped for a while. Gibbs or Koscielny should be played left back in big away games,. Nasry / Rosicky should replace Arsharvin until he shows us he can commit in every match. I would always play Eboue too because he gives all teams problems and gives 100%.

    Had our old defence were there yesterday we would have lost! Absolutely no doubts. When we get Vermy & Theo back…just watch these lads go!

    We will win this thye title this year…..!

  10. I think defense did a superb job to hold off Sunderland until the last moment. But we should have won by at least 4 goals if the chances were taken by our forward line. In particular, Arshavin’s dreadful misses in the first half and Risicky’s penalty miss. Why was’nt Carlos Vela included in the team after his great goals against Braga?

  11. Despite the disappointment of conceding Sunderlands late equaliser, the long drive home was not so difficult as it might have been due to the general performance of the team on the day. The collective effort from The Gunners could hardly be faulted, harshly down to ten men, missed penalty and all. I have to agree with other comments posted about the centre backs and in particular our much maligned no.1. Almunia was solid, and deserved the response that came from the travelling Gooners in his support.
    It is fortunate that many of his critics are armchair fans, the real life fans give credit where it is due.
    Feeling absolutely gutted after only drawing an away game in the distant north east at the end of a champions league week, underlines the expectations of the Club as a whole. If that type of solid display is to become the norm, then this season promises to be a good one.

  12. good write up webs. i think youre right to see something more in this performance than just the “same old arsenal”.
    i think you boys defended exceptionally well considering the circumstances, and in fact i think the whole team lifted when song was dismissed. nasri and rosicky began to click and arsenal were looking dangerous.

    i despise phil dowd.. hes a horrible referee who loves to make himself the centre of attention.

  13. Great Blog as ever. Always nice to read the facts with a positive Arsenal slant. Great performance by the gunners and 1 point more than we got there last year. The defence is looking solid – for the first time in 3 or 4 years and all the new signings including Wilshere look to be fantastic value.

  14. I was hugely impressed with our central defenders(arguably our men of the match) though the result was heartbreaking, and what is it with Gael, he’s been on the decline and really needs to improve. Finally i think Wenger handed Song that red card on a platter, he was been overworked, Wilshere is turning out to be a wonderful lad but against ‘physical/bigger’ sides in the absence of Diaby, i think i would have gone for denilson

  15. Sunday supliment was at it’s retarded best. One reporter claiming that yesterdays result proves Arsenal have a ‘soft underbelly’ and the central defenders went missing against Sunderland so clearly aren’t good enough.

    This kind of analysis makes me boil with rage. These people are paid money to spout absolute nonsense and clearly have an agender.

    When the dust settles, people will see that Arsenal are 4 points better off this season than they were when they played both, Blackburn and Sunderland away last season when we got nothing.

    The defenders look good and they aren’t even both 1st choice. I just hope we can get something from the Man City and Chelsea games coming up because failure at these games will really give people something to moan about. I think we can do it, provided we don’t get many more injuries!

  16. Great to hear some positive comments on the blog today. I absolutely love posting something and getting the vibe that people are feeling the same way. Makes it all worthwhile.

  17. Load of garbage. Arsenal lost because Clichy cocked up again, like he always does. He’s an accident waiting to happen in every single match, and so is Almunia. These days people say Almunia is “outstanding” for catching a fucking corner. No doubt you will come out with exactly the same excuses the next time Arsenal drop points for the same reasons. You’ll back Wenger no matter what, because you’ve invested so much faith in him you are now scared to ever admit you were wrong. You’re no longer Arsenal supporters, you’re Wenger supporters.

  18. @ James – I said Almunia’s performance was “flawless” not outstanding, which it was. I also mentioned Clichy’s performance in the negatives.

    I encourage you to go back and read other AFCB articles before making the judgment that I “back Wenger no matter what” and am “no longer [an] Arsenal supporter”.

    You must really enjoy watching football?

  19. feel gutted still today after yesterdays result.2 important pts threw away.i knew it was going to happen,when you are a mad footie fan and especially an arsenal one you always have that instinctive six sense feeling about these type of things.only good thing is we are in good shape still in table and are display was good in that we showed steel and charactar although are much talked about creative side was only to be seen in very small doses.a.arshavins form is corcerning me though as he has incredible ability but very clear to me and countless others im sure,is that he aint doing it week in week out.he needs to step it up big time for us as does clichy who seems to make very costly errors for us.let me also make point that j.wilshire is heading for certain dismissals if he continues to get booked early for stupid petty fouls.i can only hope that arsene makes this point clear to him on the training ground.all in all though we aint doing to bad so lets sort wba out and the world is a nice place again.thankyou.

  20. In comparison to last seasons fixtures that we have already played this season and assuming (generously) that we would have beaten Blackpool at the Emirates last season we have two more points this term after 5 games played. As we can only concentrate on our team I would imagine that this type or improvement trend is very welcome and could well see us improve our position but I am still a bit concerned about our consistency overall. Hopefully we have had our bedding in period and can see over the coming a few games just how our season will pan out. Whilst still wanting the three points away at Sunderland I think 1 is better than last year so no real need to be too down hearted today.

  21. Good post! This dropped points was very different from the past seasons. The late leveler was unexpected as we looked in control of the game. Koscielny was outstanding and looks better by the game. We will win something this season… Oh 2 b a Gooner

  22. Yesterday I felt that we had the game won, not only that because our defence played really well but I that goal that sunderland scored should of never took place, even if it was a corner I guess it was over the extra time that was given and so. Yet I did think that our defence was great and so was chamakh not only they’re outstanding performance but arsene could of put vela on, but I dont question him in what a job he did yesterday because he knows what he is doing, afterall the red card on song was kind of harsh yes I do agree it was a yellow for obstruction but yet again what the hell was the 1st yellow for…. all I can say well done ref you did a great job getting in the centre of attentions. I think that F.A should have a word with him because not only I saw like around 3/4 dirty fouls on wilshere and ref didn’t give no cards whatsoever. So do I think ref was kind of gay in that aspect yes I do think he was.

  23. This is by far the best post-match analysis I’ve seen today. Spot on from the beginning to the end.
    I totally agree with you. Lots of positives to take out of the game. Squillaci and Koscielny were absolutely outstanding yesterday, Almunia looked calm and assured. Terrific defending, and I’m pretty sure we would have lost this game last season.
    Gutted by the way it ended, but as you say, that’s football, and we should have killed the game off before.
    The only thing I can blame Wenger for is not rotating the team. I think Denilson should have started instead of Wilshere (probably tired after three games in a week), and maybe Eboue instead of Arshavin (therefore playing Nasri on the left).
    And Kieran Gibbs definitely deserves to start a few games, just to show Clichy he needs to sort out his defending and get back to his best level.

  24. I was so nervous and frightening in the stomach in stoppage time that I nearly feel guilty for the equaliser, but they could have killed it before, Chamack too wasted a great chance one to one with the keeper, so they drew at a team, not Clichy, Rosicky, Song, Chamack . . . every player makes a mistake one time, it mustn’t be too many, and this time it was one too much, it wasn’t really injustice though it smelt like it ……….. 😎

  25. Also, don’t get too worried by Chelsea’s start. As Patrick Weber pointed out, they have the easiest fixture list I’ve ever seen.
    Let’s wait and see what they do against us, ManU, Liverpool, Man City rather than West Brom and Wigan.

  26. Koscielny was outstanding, i love that boy. So we drew, big deal! this things happen in football,
    i enjoyed the game b’se those boys showed heart and effort, & thats all i can ask for,
    Sometimes in life luck is not on your side, no matter what you do. Ask man-u after last weekend.
    Now for those of you, who cant support arsenal during good and bad days, please, take your pick, Chelsea, Man- u, Liverpool, Real Madrid, I hate finicky and fickle p’ple.
    Always complaining, put on an apron, go help your mother or wife bake a pie.
    Being a fan is about love, love means experiencing the JOY and PAIN the team brings to your
    soul but still finding a way to love your team anyway.
    I salute the team! tough luck boys lets do better next time, its that crazy thing called LOVE.
    My blood bleeds the red of Arsenal. Thanks to the blogger as well, Jah bless you all REAL
    arsenal fans, you know who you are.

  27. @ James — This statement pretty much sums up the mentality of the anti-Arsenal Arsenal fans like you: “Arsenal lost because Clichy cocked up again, like he always does.”

    The rules of football were obviously not explained to you: The score of 1-1 is a draw not a loss.

  28. Great post I agree with it all, what we also have to concede is that Sunderland played very well without resorting to simple roughhouse tactics. They haven’t lost a game in sometime at home now so credit to them.
    Back to the post, your point about Clichy is most telling and I reluctantly agree with you. I’ve always been a fan on Clichy, feel that he does his best and can be excellent going forward, however he makes 2-3 defensive howlers in every game and his crossing is appalling. It pains me to say it but he just not in the same class as his predecessor, Ashley Cole. His clearance into Laurent yesterday may look like an unfortunate mistake except he does this time and time again and it is when reach the closing moments of a game defending a lead that his is found out time and time again. Opposition teams seems to attack our left hand side knowing he is the weak link.

  29. @James

    You know what I think Arsene Wenger and the board exist simply to torment you and make your life a misery. It’s a ongoing conspiracy to NEVER win another trophy and therefore make you laughing stock amongst your friends. Your not paranoid my friend you and right, they are out to get you 😉

  30. Duno what to say…was very angry with the result. The defense was marvelous to watch. Goalkeeper cannot be blamed, Clichy definitely needs to learn some more, Wilshere was immense, Nasri and Rosicky all did their best, so too did Chamakh. Was Wenger already up and pointing to his wrist watch before the match ended like Mourinho would do or was he just expecting the ref. to know it was time? This is another topic altogether.

    Finally, I could say SONG kinda caused the semi-disaster yesterday even though we could argue we had scoring chances as well.
    What on earth was he doing in the other half as a DM. All we had to do was protect the lead and be comfortable going forward. If we had gallas in this team yesterday, we would have lost by a wide mile. Its just so annoying after such a superb all-round defensive performance and this is not the stuff of champions, we really need to be grinding out results from these kinda games.
    Very bad tactics letting SONG keep on bombing forward like that….he did it in the other game and scored, but he was clearly not cautioned.

  31. Wow! This was hard to swallow! While I do not want to get on the gravy train I must admit that there were some familiar feelings of prior seasons. I have to agree with the posts. Clichy and Arshavin seems really sub par for a team that is coming into its own.

    We HAVE HAVE to finish off our games! If we keep on gambling with 1 goal leads with the Sunderland type of teams we will pay. Swallow the draw, learn the lesson and don’t let it happen again!

  32. How the hell did my name change to GunnerBosse? My mistake.
    @James – What is ur take on the stats or performance or anything at all? Why dont u give us reasons? U blame the goalie? U blame clichy?
    Have u ever made a mistake in ur life?

    For me, its like ur a coward or maybe someone forced u to say something

  33. In my honest opinion, perspective is the single hardest aspect of reason to maintain as a sports fan, particularly during sports with long seasons. The fact of the matter is, two points are meaningful, but young players learning from their mistakes early in a season to play smarter and stronger in the second half of a long campaign is much more valuable. It’s like the old “teach a man to fish” maxim. If your team gets some good luck, you win a game. If you learn to make your own luck, you win some silverware. Bad breaks with a young team is not necessarily a bad thing in the long run.

  34. Frustrating but it’s a good result. Hopefully we get a better result for the next match. And please AW, play Gibbs ahead of Clichy. Clichy made a lot of errors in the last games.

  35. This result hurt so bad, but for me if we had got all 3 points it would have been more of a situation of thinking how did we get 3 points when we didnt deserve too? Apart from late on in the game we were second best the whole time. I loved all our new boys in this match so i couldnt be happier with them, flawless performance. The only thing is it takes a team that gets points when they shouldnt to win the prem league. You could almost start to say that we deserved the points because of how badly we played yet still managed to hang on through good and desperate defending until so close to the end :'(

    Excuse me now as discussing this brought back how much pain i felt when it went in 🙁

  36. Great analysis as usual.
    Not bad to get a draw away to Sunderland. Perhaps AW should have rotated the team a little bit. Vela for Arshavin & Denilson for Wilshere could have done the trick in our favor.
    Anyway, there’s a long way to go. If we don’t get a lot of injuries like last season, then we can win something this season!!
    What’s the news on Cesc?

  37. Good post as usual. Fair, positive and realistic. Fours PL games in and no losses is something to be quietly proud of. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but the evidence so far makes me optimistic. As far as @James is concerned, don’t be drawn into his negativity … He’s been at it ALL day across pretty much all the blogs.

    Keep the faith all! AFC.


  38. Ive read some of the posts and they make sense.

    Others?…. Did anyone see the first half? Arsenal did not have a shot on target and were comprehensively outplayed the 0-1 score-line a travesty. (for anyone blaming an Arsenal slip up for the equaliser…what the hell was ferdinand’s for the opener?)

    The penalty?…..there was no need for the challenge, you were never getting anywhere and we could have defended against you all day. Granted he missed…..but hey, we missed several chances in the first that should have put the game to bed but for the lack of clinical striking

    The sending off?…..come on, persistent fouling, no other option. I was a little shocked at the amount of petty fouls Arsenal use to break up play, and Im surprised one of your players didnt pick up a second yellow in the first half.

    Down to 10 men you were a much harder team to play against, counter attacking well. The game was much more even then.

    The added time? seemed about right, 15 seconds more?…..big deal.

    In all, I am disappointed we didnt take the 3 points (but for the fluke of a goal we would have) and had we not got a point, it would just have been one of those days…IT HAPPENS!

    And sorry fellas, I cant see you doing anything this season on that performance. Sunderland are under-rated, but Arsenal even with Cesc were under the cosh, why no mention of that?
    Wiltshire? I thought Henderson was the better player, and if anyone uses the players out excuse, we had Gordon the keeper out, Mensah, Meyler and Cattermole out too.

    Wenger may be a good manager, but his moaning is becoming tedious now……and from some of the posts, perhaps it is rubbing off. Dont turn into Cockney Mancs.
    Good Luck for the rest of the season

  39. About the clichy controversy… While he did make make than one glaring mistake, he does help with our attack, probably more so than any other fullback in out squad except maybe sagna. I do agree that he should be rested or left out of the starting 11 for a while to think things through and get some of his form back.
    I too was gutted after saturday. We rose to the challenge well after song got sent off, dominating the game with 10 men. However, the first half was horrible. Since when did we give teams twice as much possession as us, at the emirates or anywhere else. Hopefully this was simply pre match nerves or a one time thing.
    Lastly, I am extremely impressed with the koscielny, squillaci, and almunia. One of the strongest defences I’ve seen for a while. Keep working hard.
    I’m eagerly anticipating another big four matchup. Can our defense withstand the attacking power of Chelsea or man u? Can we put more than one past either? Exciting season coming!

  40. I honestly don’t think the Song sending off was harsh. I can’t stand it when players foul constantly, kill attacks before they can develop, and get off with just a booking. Song was daft with the amount of fouls he committed. I would have done the same as the referee.

    Class post @Goonerism.

  41. I didn’t watch the game, but from this even-handed analysis, I feel like I get a great sense of what happened. Last year we lost this fixture. This year we ‘almost won’, despite having ten men for a lengthy period. That is an improvement.

    You know what, I’m kinda glad Song is getting yellow carded fairly often nowadays.

    Sounds crazy, but here me out! I always equate it with him doing his job right – breaking up play. Sucks though that he got a red, but you know, these things happen!

    Is it just me or do most of the top teams have defensive midfielders who are responsible for the majority of the fouls? I always get the feeling it was. Look at when Viera was doing the job for us – he was consistently fouling. Thats what made us a bit tougher.

    I see Wilshere got carded too….good on him !! 😀

  42. I was gutted when the equaliser came – but there was a kind of inevitibility about it – the penalty miss and the prolonged added time – but I was spewing at the time. Then when I was feeling more reasonable, I remembered the Liverpool game. Two tricky away games with the same result – we were lucky at Anfield and a bit unlucky Saturday at Sunderland. I think we should also give credit to Sunderland who played better than us for long periods. How often to teams dominate possession like that against us? And our goal was a fluke.

    I do agree that Clichy was the weak link and would like to see Gibbs given a run. Koscielny was my man of the match right up until that last moment. Until that goal the defending by he and Squllaci was great.

  43. That last second goal was really tough to take! But I agree with your comments, esp. about Koscielny, Squillaci and Alminia. Rosicky missing the penalty was a shock! But that’s is football – you win some and you loose some but losing at the last minute, the bad refereeing and I am sure extra time was added that not on the clock, made it all possible! I have to give it to Sunderland, they played a very good game, never gave up and derserved to win. I say that because we have done the same in the past – gone and scored in the final few minutes. I just hope we win the rest of the games – if only for my ulcer! 🙂

  44. I also agree with a lot of what is said in both the post and the comments. I don’t think Clichy had that bad a game myself, but for me Song needs to settle down some. Not too much, but why put yourself in that kind of position?

    I thought the defense had a spectacular game as well… they soaked up a hell of a lot of pressure. I think the day is over when any team can go into Sunderland and expect a win. Just seems to me that Steve Bruce has turned Sunderland into a team you don’t really enjoy playing against.

    For me it’ll be very interesting to see how ManU and Chelsea do at the Stadium of Light.

    Party On!

  45. I think it was one of those games where you realise that amongst the madness it emotionally got the better of us. It’s only natural to feel that way when our team has been off to a flying start and we have played pretty football..
    I was upset, but the opportunity has outshone the result. Watching our defence come together and our new signings shine has been awesome. The energy and body language is so reassuring.
    The game we witnessed was one of those games in football that told a story.. Sometimes there are no winners.. But no losers either.. The boys stepped up and it will only get better.
    Great post Andy

  46. I was shattered when Sunderland equalised yet at the same time I was so proud of the boys. We showed defensive resilience the likes of which I have not seen since Adams, Keown, Winterburn, Platt and Co. The late equaliser was just plain unlucky. I will admit that Clichy did play a role in this moment of misfortune but that being said…these things happen. We have conceded 4 goals this season as opposed to United’s 6. United conceded twice at the death to draw to Everton and let Liverpool back in it at Old Trafford. Only a late header from Berbitov allowed for United to claim 3 pointsn against liverpool. The United defence made more errors against Liverpool than we have all season, yet through all of this you hear no one saying ‘same old united’. It fills me with lots of hope to see the back four (as stated above, ‘not first choice’) along with Almunia put in such a strong and well marshalled effort. If this is a sign of things to come for the rest of the season I see us taking top honours. Sunderland is a hard, organised physical side that are a real threat when at home and with ten men you would expect to go behind. We didn’t, we held on, even if it was a draw. Now for Tottenham tomorrow, COME ON GUNNERS!

  47. Yes, I agree with you! I think this team is different from last year. I’m so Happy about Almunia and our defenders. They did an amazing job and made me feel like we could finally rest in the back…It was a freaky game! First that goal for Cesc, the strangest thing ever! and then he comes out! I think we did a great job adapting after losing Song. The game was great, but some mistakes were costly! Rosicky missing the penalty and Clichy giving a chance to Sunderland to score! but on the other side I have seen great things that will be a base to create a better Arsenal team for the next few weeks. First Chamack played so well, Nasri seams to have return in a good form and Rosicky did beautiful passes. I just hope that next time they will be stronger mentally for an away game as such.They were too nervous! we will have to face Mu and Chelsea down the line, and we can’t afford to let the nerves get the best of us.

  48. I am as Gunnerphilic as the next guy, but had we taken three points from the Sunderland match, it would have been a very unfair result.

    The most important weekend news so far as Arsenal are concerned is that Given is free to leave Man City in January. Someone other than M. Wenger ought to handle to financial side of the deal because he is likely to offer thrupence ha’penny, or whatever prices he is used to seeing in the Goodwill stores where he goes looking for old goalies that someone threw out. Even if it takes ten million or more (which it probably will not), Arsenal MUST make a move for Given, while thanking their lucky stars, and Joe Hart, that he is available. There are two good reasons why Arsenal cannot mount a serious challenge for the title: Chelsea (on current form) and Almunia/Fabianski. It would be very nice to remove one of those reasons. IMHO Wenger has long been derelict in his duties with respect to the goalkeeping position, which has been vacant since the season before Looney Lehmann’s overdue exit. DO IT!! Sign him up NOW for a January move.

  49. Listen, the phrase ‘same old ….’ applies to a team that has a history of making the same errors as on previous occasions, so yes this is applicable to us as we couldnt see the game out and win ugly 1-0 away, its a fact and its something im sure every fan would be delighted to see us do. Of course no-one is saying same old Utd when they cock up as the ‘old Utd’ your talking about didnt cock up,your contradicting yourself,get with the programme and concentrate on Arsenal and whats happening in front your eyes.
    Its become clear to me now why fans are split on Almunia. I personally dont think hes ever been good enough to be number 1 and has shown in dozens of games that he isnt good enough, however I will never chastise him when he hasnt done anything wrong and so far this season hes been ok but how can people say that he was superb??? This is what winds up people, I dont give him abuse when he doesnt blunder so why do so many of you feel the need to heap praise on him for being adequate….he caught a ball that went straight at him in the second half…..that was it, its not like they laid siege to our goal. Can you not see your approach with him, and Diaby and Denilson and co, is wrong and only serves to make lads who dont like them resent them even more? When they play superb it will be evident to all, but dont patronise us by saying lads play superb when they just do the job they get paid thousands a week to do. I know these guys will come good, but till then dont be fooling yourselves by saying they were this or that…..Diabys still inconsistant and wasteful and Denis still not mobile or strong enough for CM…they are in a list of our players whos concentration and determination is not yet what it should be to get to the level the manager wants.
    There is improvemant there and a good season ahead, but lets keep it real and not be ‘positive’ for the sake of not hurting anyones feelings or getting a large following to pat you on the back, its too easy to do that…..anyone can be safe and row in with the crowd it takes bravery to say how you feel.
    Theres absolutely nothing wrong with not being positive all the time, life isnt always positive, and its not healthy to bottle up an emotion for the sake of being positive, thats called repression……Sunday didnt really shows us anything new other than we have a real genuine talent and player in Chamakh, thats it Im afraid, Darren Bent was poor, as was the mediocre Welbeck, and that Sunderland midfield is average and drew at a poor wigan side last time out. If anything we created less than last year up there.
    I dont think we are good enough to stop Chelsea this year but Im happy at the way Nasri, Diaby and Walcott are shaping up and I know that we will have some big days this season.
    Heres to beating the spuds tommorow night!!! C’mon Arsenal!!!!!!
    P.S where are the dudes that laughed at me when I said Scotty Parker and Tim Cahill should have been targeted by us….just look at the performances of those two in recent weeks, especially Parker at stoke…..what players they would be in our team….pity

  50. Shambo
    I agree that Parker would have been a good buy but don’t agree with Cahill. Can’t see how he would slot into the side – don’t think he has the pace and technique to fit in to our system. And I’m an aussie and love him to bits!

    On Almunia – he seems to be more focused and has a better understanding with the centre backs than last year. Koscielny seems a pretty calm customer and perhaps thats what we needed after Gallas who was too temperamental. I could be wrong but so far we do look more solid in defence. The test will be in two weeks at the Bridge. If we get Drogba-ed again I think I’ll weep!

  51. Wenger should have brought in Vela, just to calm the game, give our strike a push and waste time. He should know all these syles and not for me to tell him.

    Charmak still lack some confidence to enter. He should feel at home and play good football that he is used to playing. At times, just enter and at time pass. That is Messi style. You can never predict when he will enter.

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