A chance to get the (foot)ball rolling again

It hasn’t been a great week, has it?

Leeds at home in the FA Cup and Ipswich away in the Carling Cup were two fixtures that we all expected to win and after the relief of grabbing a replay against Leeds, the shock of losing to Ipswich was pretty severe.

Perhaps what has irked people so much is that — putting the results to one side — we are not playing good football at the moment. I expected us to kick on from the morale-boosting win over Chelsea and in some ways we did: giving Manchester City the runaround and destroying Birmingham at St Andrew’s, but that momentum has well and truly been stalled over the past week.

Wenger and his boys needs to get the momentum going again

While I do not support all of the criticism that has been voiced — snipes aimed at Nicklas Bendtner, a player that has had limited opportunities this season and has just had his first child at the age of 22, have been particularly unfair — it is easy to understand where the venom is coming from.

When you fail to beat teams you expect to beat it is frustrating. When you fail to beat the same teams because you as a collective group are not working hard enough it goes up a level. It becomes infuriating.

But let’s not cloud the frustration of the past week with the facts. Two performances of the level we expect from this team will see us past Leeds at Elland Road and into the Carling Cup Final. Nothing should be taken for granted — both sides will give us trouble in the return matches — but all things considered we really should progress through to the next round of both cup competitions.

And with football being football we have the chance to get the (foot?)ball rolling in the league once again at West Ham tomorrow.

How will this team respond? We’re likely to see the return of Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie to the starting line-up so the answer should be positive. At the end of the day we want to win the Carling Cup and the FA Cup but both of those competitions pale in significance to the Premier League.

The right result at Upton Park would put us just one point behind Manchester United and put some serious pressure on the current league leaders for their game against Tottenham the following day. Spurs have a dreadful record against United but if there is ever a time for this to end, it is now.

But before then our team has to do their job. As a group we need to work harder than we did against Leeds and Ipswich and get things moving in the right direction again.


Have your say on Arsenal’s trip to West Ham by leaving a comment.



  1. Lost a week, (thought it was Wigan tomorrow)! The way we’ve been(not) playing, anyone will be tough. Hammers did knock ManUre out of Careless cup, didn’t they? Goals, that’s what we need. Game is on ESPN, so can watch it here in pr. Would like to see AA start and told to go hard until he flags; that would be better than bringing him on later. Would also like to see both Song and Wilshere together. Goals for the gooners!

  2. @ JJ – It’s been three games since we scored from open play. A couple of early goals would go down a treat tomorrow.

    Looking forward to the game.

  3. I only have one major wish for this game: to start with the same 11 we used against Man City. That was quallity footbal, if we can repeat that performance and win tomorrow, I’m willing to let go of the last 2 games and start being optimistical again. I actually want that, I hate it when this team makes me feel doom and gloom, because the talent is there, the potential is there, the desire to win also. Go gunners and pretty please, with sugar on top, don’t ruin my weekend!

  4. @Andrew: still have that maintenance issue. Have to back to 29 Dec., then to afcb blog, then pick which one. Used to each separately on day you posted. Hope tis can be fixed, or is it the way it will be?
    We were in Brisbane in 1998 and hope everything can be brought back. A beautiful city. All the best to you and yours.

  5. Why you keep on mentioning about the effect of getting a child on B52’s performance is baffling!
    When was the last time a big footie star (well, he claims to be one) lost his form due to a new addition to his family??
    All of us gooners want our players to succeed but the fact is it won’t work for some of them. It’s quite evident (from the years they spent at Arsenal) that the likes of B52 & Denilson will never fulfill their potential. Sorry to say it but that is the hard truth.

  6. AW,
    I agree with you on B52. In fact there’s really not a single player in the current Arsenal side that I can truly say I dislike. Even Denilson, who has admittedly been woeful this season. Look, here’s the thing: all elite athletes absolutely have to get their swagger on. B52 wants to be great and to be great that fortitude, that confidence has to be part of the package. I’m not comparing him to these names AT ALL, but Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Wayne Gretkzy, Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and the incomparable Muhammed Ali especially so, didn’t achieve great things because they though of themselves as so-so. B52 believes in his quality and I do too. If he gets the time on the pitch in the proper formation that he requires I am confident he’ll sort it out and become a great striker. I’d rather it happen sooner than later, and while wearing our kit instead of one of our rivals. FOr what’s worth, I played competitively for many years and saw several of my team-mates go professional and believe me, they ALL had their swagger on. He’s a good kid and I believe in him.

  7. I’m baffled at the inclusion of Bendtner’s kid to the recent posts; I hardly see how a guy who earns twenty to forty thousand pounds a week can blame bad form on a kid. If having a child is that much of an issue, hire a better Nanny Nicklas. Or better yet, use protection next time. Heavens forbid your second child should impact our 2012 title chase.

    Nicklas is out of form due to lack of game time. A decision which I feel is well justified by Wenger. Nicklas does not fit into our starting eleven team, and at best would squeeze onto the bench. Chamakh is twice the player Nicklas is, so why waste points playing a sub-standard striker?

    By all means this isn’t a dig at the lad, I would love nothing more than see the guy score fifty goals in 2012; be it for Arsenal or another club. I greatly appreciate Nicklas’ confidence and belief, the problem is that he struggles to act upon it when his club needs it most. In all reality, if we want/need a confident young striker, Arsenal can take their pick of any league in Europe for the same characteristic. Whether or not another 22 year old, multi-international striker measures up to Nicklas’ proven ability and potential is the real question though.

  8. Regarding matters that are more important than football :

    Graham Arnold had put things brilliantly into perspective following the Mariners/Roar game on Wednesday.

    Something along the lines of : ‘football isn’t what’s important now, it’s only a game’.

    To all those Non-Australians wanting to help out, please donate what you can at the below link :


    One of Australia’s capital cities is underwater several of our regional centres are as well, affecting tens of thousands of people. Which has, and will in turn affect the nation as a whole. Please, everyone and anyone who can spare a pound, euro, dollar or any type of currency, donate using the link above.

  9. @Gruggy: Just made a donation – thanks for the link. Also looking to donate for the Brazil flooding situation. Tried the internet but could not find a reliable link. 1NTTA

  10. What frustrates me is the lack of a backup plan when our passing triangles get shut down so easily by teams that park the bus. We need to switch to a counterattacking style to get in more open spaces, but apparently Wenger either does not have enough defence for that, or is bored with the same old football that won us all those trophies before ’05. And with Bendtner, he can finish well sometimes, but for the love of god, they taught me in middle school how to stop an incoming pass when you’re marked! Put your foot on the ball to stop it, for god’s sake, instead of having it bounce back to the opposition. Fundamentals guys. This team has a ways to go, and I don’t think, with Ipswich stating their plans to park the bus even more at the Emirates, that we will end this trophy drought, despite Cesc claiming that we will give them a “lesson” in the second leg. And to Ipswich! Absolutely ridiculous.

  11. Hi all,
    Back from a dreadful week at work. My Boss is like Neil Warnock on steroids with a plague of boils only the female version. I swear she uses 2pt type on her spreadsheets to save on ink. Hideous absolutely hideous.
    So I’m really looking forward to Saturday’s tilt with the Hamsters win lose or draw. Though I really would fancy all 3.
    Dear Drew, I do Hope things dry up a bit in your hemisphere and maybe cheer up in ours
    Tell then stiff upper ones my tribe.

  12. I had a tear in my eye seeing ‘Titi’ in an Arsenal track suit again (free vid on Arsenal.com)

    Meanwhile – it’s mid-Jan. Where’s that frickin’ defensive signing, Arsene? Why does it have to take so fricken’ long? Go out and get us a monster and be quick about it, there’s a good manager.

  13. Presumably the team for Wham will be: Scesny – Eboue,Koscielny,Djouorou,Gibbs – Wilshire,Song,Fabreags – Walcott,Van Persie,Nasri.
    I’m happy with this. In the reverse fixture Rob Green played a blinder and kept us out till Songs late winner. Lightening doesn’t usually strike twice so I’m expecting us to score in the first half this time round and go on for a win – they must surely be stung by the deserved criticism of the Ipswich game, no?

  14. With regard to Bendtner; He has clearly demonstrated throughout his time at Arsenal that he does not have the skill, application and basic football intelligence to succeed in his chosen profession. He has never lived up to the promise he showed as a youngster and to offer the excuse of an addition to his family for the dreadful performance against Ipswich is ludicrous.

  15. @Rod: game is on fox deportes and fsc here in puerto Rico, but not espn. Chelski are on espn deportes early, but that’s no help. Always prefer to root for a team rather than against.
    In regards to B52, when he returned from injury, his shooting was sharp, as if he’d spent a lot of time practicing that part of his game before coming back. Because of our system, he does spend too much time wide, where he is next to useless. Question: is he using the newborn for an excuse, or are others citing it? If former, there is no excuse, but if the latter, there should be no complaint on our part. Chamakh is also being underused when stationed outside. Despite his relative lack of speed, RvP is okay out there because he has the experience and vision to come in and out fluidly and make an impact. Nasri can go anywhere and be wonderful. Wolcott needs better shooting skills, but is always there with his pace. Unfortunately, none of these guys show the kind of salt we used to get from players of the Henry, Ljunberg era, or the Bergkamp era.
    I love Wilshere and Song and the back line has been generally good lately, but we do need more men to play those positions if we want to continue to play in the 4 competitions we are still in. However, we may have to win by 2 against Ipswich since we don’t have an away goal. Leeds do have an away goal, but I believe it is fresh start against them, and they still will park the bus.
    Best shot still is premiership. Not being from North London, I have always hated Manure more than any other club, even the NY Yankees and Dallas Cokeboys, so I will have no problem rooting for Spuds tomorrow. Always thought worrying about them was beneath us.
    Goals are what we need!

  16. Guys lets not be harsh on B52. This guy never got the right goals to put in the net. This guy didnt miss any sitters in that game. He is by all standards more of a striker than Chamak.In any case what has Chamak done ever since he scored the 10 goals. They are all pathetic at best. Blame the coach for not giving B52 enough playing time. B52 has scored two goals so far and V.persie two goals so what the hell.Why doesnt the coach play more pacey strikers like Carlos vela.The kid is by all standards better than the two clowns. Dont blame B52 at all. Blame AA and Chamak who have run out of form totally in the second half of the season.

  17. @Gruggy. Lots O’links for fixtures today@ http://www.nkora.net. Don’t miss the game mate.
    We need all the psycho-mojo wavelength amplitude we can muster.I know everybody wants quick goals and so do I but I can’t see it we collectively have got to will our way out of this.
    PS B52 has had enough games it’s goals he’s lacking not bluster.Although I guess that’s some one else’s fault. Never-the-less he is our striker so come on Nick get on the stick and off the schneid. No worries about Chamakh I think he’s used to the winter break in france and is just tired.
    either that or he’s got a newborn at home. heh,heh.

  18. Well, that was a great game and we are back to our winning ways. Our first 11 – 2 was wonderful today. Djourou was a bit nervy against Cole today though. I don’t know what he did to get under his skin, but I was a bit worried. I’m sure he needs a breather too if we have someone who can replace him for a game or so.

    Andy, I hope things improve soon in your country. We are really rooting for you buddy.

  19. Nice to see RVP back to himself thought he did very well today and Theo is a must start for us. He does some dumb things but his speed scares everyone we have and will play… including Barca.

  20. Nice performance by the team today. I was particularly happy with the RVP, Wilshere, and Song. Song and Wilshere have had some valuable performances this year. I was also happy to see a clean sheet. If the competition for the title will be as close as everyone thinks it will be then goal difference may become important.

    Was also glad to see Djourou hold up well. He bent a little, but didn’t break. Cole is underrated as a front man, as he has speed, power, and is good technically. So, it was a really good test for Djourou and he passed.

    @C-Bass-Agree about Theo. He does some crazy things sometimes, but when he gets it right he is almost unplayable.

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