Another Arsenal draw but Villa let us off the hook

Manuel "The Frog" Almunia kept another clean sheet

Let’s start with the bad news.

Arsenal’s 0-0 draw with Fulham was the fourth in a row for our boys, another missed opportunity for three points and another excruciatingly frustrating performance. Gone was the pace, movement and desire that was so evident in the game against Roma, replaced by a bizarre lack of urgency and inability to consistently pass a football. In short, it was a shocking effort by our team.

I don’t want to dwell on the Fulham game for too long because it was just so frustrating. Once again we had chances to score – Robin van Persie had multiple efforts and hit the post, Abou Diaby had a close-range header saved by Mark Schwarzer – and once again we didn’t taken them. Fulham had chances too, and really could have won, but once again managed to hold out at the back.

Arsene Wenger’s decision to maintain the 4-5-1 that worked so well against Roma was the right one; it’s just that the majority of our players didn’t show up. Diaby was lazy and sluggish, Samir Nasri was poor, Gael Clichy was jittery, Denilson was horrible in possession and van Persie wasted good chances. Although Manuel Almunia and William Gallas were strong at the back and Andrey Arshavin and Carlos Vela inventive in attack, Kolo Toure was shaky and Bacary Sagna was wasteful going forward. Four out of eleven good performances is not going to win games.

In truth, the biggest problem was not our technical performance but an inexcusable lack of effort by the players. This was a side that on paper – with Arshavin’s introduction in place of Bendtner – should have been better than the one that beat Roma. Our lack of pressure when not in possession was embarassing and our sluggishness when in possession was painful to watch. We should have been chomping at the bit to win this game and I just can’t understand why we weren’t.

Anyway, that’s the bad news – now onto the (very) good news.

Aston Villa’s luck seems to have run out. Indeed, the Villans absolutely let us off the hook last night, blowing a 2-0 lead at home to Stoke in spectacular style. Had Villa hung on they would be 8 points clear of Arsenal and given that Agbonlahor missed from three yards out at 2-0 they really should have. As it is they didn’t, and if we beat West Brom on Tuesday then the gap will be just three with Villa facing a very tricky away game at Manchester City. Quite unbelievable really.

Add their failure with Tottenham’s shocking penalty-taking performance against Manchester United and it’s somehow turned out to be a reasonably decent weekend. Football is and always will be a funny game.

Have your say on Arsenal’s stalemate with Fulham by leaving a comment.



  1. Thumbs up to stoke!
    Now we have to do our part and win matches.I think the boys play better away(for whatever reason) than at home.So here`s to a win tomorrow(i`ll gladly take a 1 niller!)

  2. @SF.
    Cannot agree with you more. Guess the confidence in the team is gone. I watched the last 10 minutes of the game and AW has a big challenge in his hands.
    It made me long for the days of PV,DB,TH14,RP, etc The famous invisibles days. How long shall this pain last. Lets hope next season shall be a better one.
    For how long shall we depend on Villa slip ups?

  3. @ arsenaldamu – A win and some goals against West Brom could release the shackles. We just need a goal to lift confidence and start winning again.

  4. Nice one SF. Stoke and Bentley put us Gooners in a good mood yesterday. Ill be honest, i was hoping the Spuds would win, im tired of ManU winning every trophy they come across. Anyway, we have to win our next 5 games if we are going to move to 4th place. I expect Villa to drop at least 9 points in the next 5 games, we must capitalise on that. Theo is back in training today, thats great news. Hope all injured players can somehow return before the Roma game.

  5. Be positive man, the game i was better than the other draws in a way that we had numerous wasted chances the short intricate passes in the midfield were a joy 2 watch i have really missed that in a long time,yes diaby lost some possesion but he did well winning the ball back and linke well with the forwards and denilson. I think denilson played alright my only wish was to vela pushe behind VP and nasri on the flunk early on in the game to see how we fare like that, i think team selection wise Arsene was sound only it wasn’t our day don’t worry we are going to see it soon.

  6. @ Ezra – I’ve been positive a lot this season but the Fulham game was even worse than the Sunderland one. I don’t care much if the skill’s not there, all I want is effort from the players. They had it against Roma and didn’t against Fulham and that is very, very disappointing.

  7. We will win all our remaining games. Lets be positive at all times. I must admit every Arsenal fan was so dissapointed but with Theo Walcot back to full training today and with a must win game tomorrow we are back into contention. Believe it or not Arsenal will finish in the top 4. Do you remember when the Spuds were at one time 4th spot contenders and we manged to beat them on the final day.


  8. Rarely heard you sound so down SF! It’s usually you bouying us up. I totally agree about another desperately poor performance on Saturday. We just don’t seem able to score a goal at the moment. I’ve written on this blog many times (and been slagged off for it), that RvP needs 3 or 4 chances before it converts one. He’s never been any different, it’s no surprise he failed to find the net on Saturday. He makes superb runs, his first touch is usually excellent, but he is just not clinical enough. again, I thought Arshavin looked great. He must wonder what the bloody hello he’s let himself in for, judging by the performance of his teammates in the 2 games he’s played. Yes’ villa blew the chance to open a bigger gap between us, but they won’t keep making these mistakes. Games are running out now. It’s a poor show that we’re desperately hoping that they’re going to continue being as crap as us to give us some hope of catching them.
    Great to see that rat-faced chav Bentley miss his penalty yesterday. One little ray of sunshine in an otherwise disappointing weekend.

  9. to be honest, i think luck is not very much on our side. We didn’t fare that badly against Fulham.
    We always go as close as hitting the post, that means we are attacking and if we rally behind the lads, they can win their confidence back and we will get going.
    much as i’m frustrated by the lack of goals in our leageu matches, i’m also tired of fan blogs that does nothing to lift the spirit of the players but sometimes pass very unfair coments about this team. A true fan is seen during difficult times, come on gooners, our injured players are coming back, we can prove our critics wrong

  10. @ benattakora – I think the maybe the players need to be lifting us as much as us lifting them. It’s very difficult to be positive when you see players of proven ability consistently playing below their best. They are paid astronomical amounts of money, and are supported by a full house of 60,000 people every home game. Yet we see performances like the Fulham and Sunderland games, where they simply aren’t giving everything for the club and the fans. Look at the difference in workrate between our sorry bunch and Man U. Whatever you say about them, their players work themselves into the ground every game. I watched the Carling Cup Final yesterday, and all 22 players toiled in a way that simply wasn’t evident at the Emirates on Saturday. There can be no excuse for lack of effort.

  11. The point I was making is, what do you expect when so many of our first team players out of action? A team made up of Vela, Diaby, Bentner, Denilson, and an unfit yet gifted Arshavin isn’t going to break down a team with a good defence record like Fulham. The West Londoners have hardly conceded any goals when playing away. RVP is single-handedly shouldering the attack, but its too much to ask of just one player.

    Same happened this time last year with Adebayor. He was having an amazing season, couldn’t stop scoring, then a few key players, who he relies on, get injured (Eduardo and RVP), the goals dried up, and surprise surprise, we dropped points. These things happen!

    Any other team that has those kind of set-backs would go through the same thing, its just we’ve been the ones who’ve had the most severe injuries to key players in the last year or so. United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Villa wouldn’t be up there if they had our injuries, and in fact, one could argue that they should have more points at this stage of the season than they currently do, which goes to show that they too haven’t played to their best ability either.

    Its natural to feel disappointed, but that doesn’t change the result. All there is is the next game. Peple always criticise Arsenal for not having a never-say-die mentality, yet with a 3rd of the season still yet to be played people are writing them off already, and that isn’t right.

  12. I’m actually pretty tired of the whole “bad luck” excuse … people make their own luck. If the Arsenal players on the pitch on Saturday had half the hustle and desire that the Fulham players did, we may have made some “luck”. If we don’t pressurize other teams, how can we expect to win. When you pressure teams, they make mistakes. Then you capitalize. It happens to us every game. As other bloggers have mentioned, the last 10 minutes of this game was inexcusable. I’ve never actually seen any other professional football team play with such disregard for both the fans and the game itself. It was embarrassing. I’ve only been following Arsenal for 4 years now, so I’ve never seen us actally win anything. That’s not why I support Arsenal. I would love to see the boys win something, but I would much rather see them play with heart every single game. I don’t see that happening. It is frustrating and dissapointing. I hope Arsene can change this poor attitude, for the fans’ sake. We deserve more.

  13. SF, the desire was there, at least I could see it. But what was shocking was the fact that we failed to win with the many chances we got. You say Fulham might have won, but I did not seem them work Almunia as Arsenal worked their keeper.
    So clearly the better side was Arsenal although some people don’t want to see it.
    I’m still hopeful that we will finish third, not fourth!

  14. JohnW, did you see the first and last 10 minutes of this game? Fulham could have easily scored twice in the opening 10 if they were anywhere near clinical. We gave up for the last 10 minutes. I do actually agree with you about our desire … but only while attacking. Our midfield needs a kick up the arse when it comes to defending and putting pressure on the opposition. You know, the hard part! And I like your optimism, but come one, third?!

  15. Disappointing? YES. Frustrating?? H*** YEAH!! Really come far from the days of the Gunners who everyone awaited to drop points to the current ones who await ANYONE to drop some. But on the upside, the Fulham game is the lowest we can get. Theo, Cesc and Ade shud come back, n come back quick!!

  16. I’ll repeat again that all I care about is that the players put in effort. Skill errors are one thing but a lack of desire and genuine effort is another. It was there against Roma and wasn’t there against Fulham and it’s inexcusable, frankly.

  17. At least we don’t have all these wankers saying arsne should go on this blog as I’ve said before and I’ll say it again this has got to be one of the most thoughtfull and intelligent blogs around as we all have our say and it’s great to see the difference’s of us gooners from fatboy, gibbs, settakeys and the rest of the regulars without the need for senseless slagging off. All credit to you sf for spending the time and doing a awesome job as all my mates in oz are bloody manure fans.
    Anyhows we will finish 4th as it’s always harder for the team in front to stay in front, just look at our title challenge last year. villa are just as likely to slip with a young squad also.
    Arsne wouldn’t get sacked because..
    1. he makes money with signings
    2. half our squad will leave
    3. loyal gooners still rate him
    4.there is no-one better without a job at the moment (adams would be good if it did happen)
    5.he is god……… the eyes of the board.

  18. @ butterfingers – Cheers mate. I definitely agree that the majority of fans who come on this blog are intelligent and level-headed and don’t panic the way some other supporters do. Arsene should not be sacked, it would be so ridiculous.

  19. @ butterfingers – I have to disagree with you,(did you say?)Adams!!C`mon man,if/when ever Wenger leaves pls not Adams, we can do alot better.We tend to confuse a good player with a good coach!Me thinks they are two very different things.He was a good player,might make a good coach but he has to learn his trade properly first(don`t think he has yet).

  20. Lets sack Wenger and get Mourinho! What a CAPITAL idea! Perhaps Scolari?! Grant! Better yet, how about Sir Alex Ferguson?

    I’m sorry, Wenger is forever in my books.

  21. No matter how much ihave been an ardent supporter of Arsenal,this game has left me with nothing other than boredom.Since i started watching arsenal,this game was my worst and its my prayer that it will never happen again.

  22. @ kin nah adams would cost too much they would proberly promote pat rice and give him a grand more per year haha.

  23. Wenger should not leave,he leads by example,neva critisizes the team no matter what,eventually the goals will come so be positive gooners.

  24. Iam totally disappointed with the team’s performance. The issue of concern is not the boys, it’s the strategy employed by the manager; to keep only good inexperienced players who have failed to use initiative when the going gets touch. Look at Man U, when the team failed to score the veteran Ryan Giggs made an individaul effort and they got 3 points, last weekend the likes of Terry worked maturely and got 3 points for their club.

    Its time Wenger woke up and mixed the team’s talents, it is not just about making profits but the funs also need trophies. We need strikers is the reason we are always making goaless draws.

  25. Hey Spanish

    You were great on the podcast and I hope things are well with your family.

    I guess I am maybe one of the few who thought the players were trying against Fulham. I know the spirit that was there for roma wasn’t there but I didn’t think it was the worst I have ever seen them play this season. I don’t think RVP was wastefull I think he;s been carrying this team for quite some time and I don’t think he’s meant to be the lead striker type.

    I can’t believe I’m going to say this but I was actually happy when Arsene brought on Bendtner. I thought maybe’d he’d pull out rare goal but no such luck. Keep heart my friends the seasons not over yet.

  26. thanks guys for cheering me up a bit, just to know that there are others out there going through the same stuff helps.

  27. Saturday I woke up in a very good mood, Arsenal were going to turn the tables with a win against Fulham, England would win the rugby and take a commanding lead in the cricket. As it happens another 0-0 draw, we lose the rugby and WI score over 700. Well we only have till tomorrow evening when surely we can over come WBA the bottom team. Please let us do this, especially after villa let a 2 goal lead go in 3 minutes, now that gives a bit of deja-vu doesn’t it.


  29. Official Online Poll:

    Which injured player’s comeback are you most looking forward to?

    Cesc Fabregas 62%
    Tomas Rosicky 18%
    Theo Walcott 16%
    Emmanuel Adebayor 4%

  30. When talking about Wenger not delivering- remember at th ebegginning of the year when our D was horrible? He fixed it. And the chances are still there. This whole thing is a over reaction knee-jerk type of thing where too much emphasis is being put on the result. Sure its the most important but we are inches away- not miles…

  31. Can someone please tell me how the club are suposed to get better, when it’s quite obvious that the players can’t communicate. The dressing room are “all french”, and our new players (being Arshavin) does not understand his teammates. Why isn’t there a rule that says that the main spoken language in the dressing room and on the training ground, and by all means out on the emirates grass should be english? We’re getting to frenchy!

  32. Shit tom when you go into the dressing room at the next home game can you get me a signed shirt please!!!!!!!

  33. Tom.

    You’re making a large assumption here. Nationality does not indicate language. Thierry Henry has perfect english!

  34. Oh! Over reactions! Knee-jerk reactions!

    For those so called optimistic people around here. Firstly, Moaning and speaking truth is very different. I ain’t moaning here.

    Also, optimism and crass stupidity are totally different things. Comments made by those optimistic’s here are so obtuse with no facts to support their points.

    It’s better to speak realities. Facts is what matters! A team is a reflection of it’s manager. If a manager can’t motivate his players OR can’t execute his philosophy in a right way, he ought to be criticized.

    I don’t want to hear that making crass stupid comments is being intelligent. Makes me laugh.

    Arsene always says he should be judged at the end of the season. We should judge him coming May. If we qualify for Europa and we have 0 trophies, then what? If Arsene continues to play around his young-gross-superstars, then we can be a mid-table team fairly soon. Dangers for Arsenal FC:

    Astonvilla: Ambitious manager and chairman. Possibly Champions league revenue
    City: They will spend mega-bucks
    United: Untouchable untill SAF remains
    Chelski: Guddink will rescue them this season. Heard that Guus is plotting for Rijkaard arrival next season
    Pools: Haven’t won a pot in the league but are in better position than Arsenal

    Everton are also very close.

    If we miss Champions league spot this season, club will lose 50 millions alone from Television revenue. Many other losses. We will lose some of our good players. No good players will sign for Arsenal; not to play Europa.

    Saying all that, I still love my club that I have been supporting my whole life. If I don’t agree with a manager that doesn’t mean I don’t love my club. I do also appreciate what Wenger did for Arsenal. Not for last few years. To challenge for a league title once in 4 years is not what I expect from Arsenal manager. Blah Blah….

    Anyway; tonight’s game is a must win. Have been saying this all season. WestBrom is coming along our way probably in a very good time. It’s better to face Westbrom than Fulham or Boro for me. No matter how we play to win and get those 3 points, I will be happy. Like Spanish said, Arsenal fans want to see good efforts from the players when wearing Arsenal shirt. That’s right.
    Simpson looked promising in few games playing for Arsenal. Chance to see our own lad.

    Oh! SF! Good job mate with ArseBlog. Fair comments. I would have ranted Arsene and some of our players if I were in your place. You were professional.

    Come on you Gunners!

  35. The fact is we are missing half our team, a win tomorrow will put us 3 points from 4th, we have a good chance of advancing in the champions league and the FA cup. Those are facts. My point is if RVP makes a few of the ones that hit the woodwork is this conversation still happening? I really dont think it is- and those inches are not in Wenger’s control.

    That is my point and I am sorry you took it as an attack on your point of view- thats just the way I see it- based on facts.

  36. @ ramugunner – As far as I’m aware Jay Simpson will not be eligible to play against as. I’m not 100% on that but I read it on the Guardian website. Anyone able to shed any more light?

  37. Latest Alan Hansen column.

    “When Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea have got everybody fit and their best XI out on the pitch there is not a lot between the four teams.”

    And you know, he is correct. Our best 11 is as good, if not better, than most of our rivals.

  38. Spanish fry; You’re probably right. I didn’t even think about Simpson’s Eligibility.

    So, It is RVP’s fault that Wenger’s so called attacking team hasn’t scored a Pot. Zero goal in last four league matches. RVP is Arsenal’s best performer this season who is carrying the whole team single-handedly for last 3 months. Now, I find out why Arsenal can’t score, can’t tackle, can’t cross, can’t win a ball back against Fulham. They don’t show any effort and gut. It’s all RVP’s fault. God Mercy…..

    Winning mentality of a team always depends upon manager’s ability to motivate his players. Simple, Wenger hasn’t been able to so for last few seasons. This has been the difference between a winner manager like Ferguson, Mourinho and Mr. Wenger.

    The main problem with our club at the moment is that Arsene is under no pressure to win trophies or suceed. He is allowed to experiment his Science-lab theories with his “exciting kids” forever. He feels that no matter how badly he performs in his job, he is considered God by the Board and his apologist fans with Obtuse Stupidity. Still he makes mega-bucks. And they term it as “Optimism”. What optimism?

    About Wenger Fixing the Defence:

    “Defensive strength is the foundation for success and we want to keep the focus on that strength,” Wenger told Arsenal TV Online.

    Why then did Wenger blasted Sunderland, Westham etc. for keeping a clean sheet at the Emirates? Calling them playing negative football. And why is it that when Mourinho won back to back league titles with a solid defense, Wenger called him negative? Isn’t this laughable. If Arsenal keep clean sheet it is “Defensive strength” but if other teams does then “Negativity”.


    Wenger’s words for those frustuated fans like myself:

    Once ‘we show our spirit and quality and belief’; ‘allayed to our extra 1-2%’ and once ‘we get all our injured players back’ and once ‘every team that comes to the Emirates stops trying to defend competently’, we will suceed one day. We will challenge with world’s United’s and Barca’s.

    Wow…. What a relief!

    Come back soon Cesc!

  39. I wasn’t blaming RVP- Im just saying the players (not just him) are in the position to score. The manager creates a formation and buys players and trains them. Does anyone think RVP is incapable of scoring? God I Hope not. My point is the chances are there- from a management standpoint Wenger is doing his job- I am blaming luck more then anything for this.

    And I disagree that Wenger does not face criticism- the English media blast Arsenal as often as they can. The point that the organization has faith in him should prove that he is doing his job… Unless of course the entire organization is stupid but I somehow doubt that…

    PS The Fulham game is the first time people have questioned the determination of the team. I didnt see it but before then everyone was working extremely hard… Maybe that game warrants some worry but I would say that we should wait for the next game and hope it was an aberration…

  40. From the official site. Jay Simpson will not be playing.

    “Marc-Antoine Fortune who came from Nancy on loan looks very useful in his first few games. Also Luke Moore who has been an enigmatic kind of signing has only scored once in a year. But he came on against Everton on Saturday and was outstanding really. He might well start against Arsenal in the absence of Jay Simpson* because there’s nobody else fit for that role.

  41. That about some matches now, a whole Arsenal team, a team that plays the best football in planet earth canot even pick the needed points to climb up the table, it is very disappointing, it so much baffles me that we are struggling with minnows like Aston Villa to maintain our top position.

    The reason i have bluntly refused to engage in any discussion or argumnent concernming our recent forms and failures to score goals is because i dont want it to look like i’m trying to teach Arsene Enger his job.

    But with that, i cant see any reason why he should buy Nasri and Arshavin as midfielders, then he’ll be playing them off position wich is one of the root cause to our goal draught.

    Wenger is one of the problem we have in that team. we the Gunners fans here in Nigeria are so much disappointed by our recent form. Arsene know or has the solution to our problem, let him do the correct thing at the right time.

  42. About the language issue, Arshavin himself says that he learned the wrong language before he came to Arsenal. He learned english, and when he says that he doesnt understand his teammates means that they are not speaking english. Ok, maybe they are not speaking all french, but it’s quite obvious that most of them doesnt speak english. That’s scary, moving to an english club, and the players do not speak english. I guess that in most situations they will speak english (I’m not saying that they can’t speak english, they just dont). If you’re new in a club, and everybody around you is divided into small groups cracking jokes and small talk in theire own native language you will feel a little alienated?

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