Arsenal goalkeeper trouble + a mix necessary to beat Liverpool

First things first  I just want to say thanks to everyone for a brilliant day on the comments yesterday. Not everyone agreed with yesterday’s post, understandably, but the manner in which readers put their arguments across was extremely thoughtful and enjoyable. More of the same please lads!

Right then, onto football stuff. I’ve had a couple of beers this afternoon so I’m feeling ballsy and in the right headspace to some critical statements regarding matters as they stand. Here goes:

1. I still think we were robbed by the officials on Saturday and it would have been very hard to avoid that 2-2 even if we had not been complacent. Not that I’m admitting we were complacent, mind you.

2. If we win our league game in hand we’ll be just two points behind pace-setters Chelsea with the competition’s best goal difference and if you’d offered that to me at the start of the season, I’d have bitten your hand off.

3. Every other big team is struggling this season. Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool all have their weaknesses and even considering ours it is extremely encouraging and needs to be capitalised on.

4. Arsene Wenger might be better served to play a mix of youth and experience against Liverpool for tomorrow night’s Carling Cup game against Liverpool. Thankfully Samir Nasri and Tomas Rosicky are in the mix along with Philippe Senderos and Mikael Silvestre, but I think we could do with Nicklas Bendtner or Eduardo providing a relatively experienced option up front. The boys from Anfield will be fired up after topping Manchester United and if we want to win this game we’ll have to put out a better side than the one that sneaked through the last round.

5. The manager’s choice of a goalkeeper is going to be telling. If it’s Lukasz Fabianski then Manuel Almunia will be back against Spurs. If it’s Almunia then Vito Mannone or even Fabianski might get the nod in the North London Derby. Personally I’d like to see Almunia play both games, but obviously that’s not likely to happen.

6. I love Thomas Vermaelen: “We should have had three points today and I’m too disappointed to see the positive.”

Right, I’ve got a podcast to record. Take it easy.

Have your say on all things Arsenal by leaving a comment.



  1. We should have made our superiority count more and score more goals.

    Once more we conceded goals, and we concede too many anyway.

    We’re still in a very good position, but we cannot afford to throw points away like we’ve done recently. And we have to stop letting in goals right, left and centre.

  2. I also love how he finds only gathering one point unacceptable. He’s giving Arshavin a fight for being my current favorite Arsenal player.

    We gotta stop wearing those Spurs colors.

    Now let’s take it to Liverpool, lads!

  3. I don’t see why it has to be one or the other (and I know that’s not the point you are making) but whilst I agree we weren’t complacent we were most certainly not robbed.

    Soft free kicks will occur as long as the game is played. It should have been harmless thus our mistake was deservedly punished. After that we made a naive challenge in the box. Soft? Yes. Worst pen you’ll see? Not even close.

    We got what we deserved because our errors were at least as bad as the referees. But I agree, it is not the end of the world and we’re in an excellent position to challenge. Love your other points, bring on Saturday.

  4. My money’s on Arsenal and Chelsea to slug it out for the league towards the end of the season. The Manure Scouser game was played at a terrific pace and quality but Man U rely too much on their old fogies and Liverpool have only 2 quality players their game revolves around. If Chelsea don’t do it this year, a lot of their players will be well past their peak and that will put pressure on them. Arsenal are a much better balanced unit and have a lot of attacking options. There’s some tinkering to do in key positions like centre of midfield and goal but I’m sure they’ll come good. Vermaelen could take out Premier League player of the year if he can keep it up! I agree with everything you said Andy except for Almunia playing both games. I’d bring him back in the Carling Cup only.

  5. @Steve-O I agree with you. I think we won’t be far away at the end of the season and depending on results against our bogey teams such as Bolton etc we should be pushing Chelsea hard. I think next season we are likely to be the team to beat? For some strange reason Andy loves Almunia???? Personally I think he is rank rotten and i still have nightmares about his Champs league semi-final against manure utd, I shudder to think what would happen if he has a game like that against the spuds on Saturday!

  6. I think Arsenal will struggle to win anything until they get a top class reliable goalkeeper. All the present 3 are erratic and prone to match costing mistakes. I suppose Almunia is the best but he is still not consistent enough for a team of Arsenal’s stature. I think Arsene has a blind spot when it comes to goalkeepers. We haven’t had a decent one simce Seamon.

  7. Don’t worry about the Website… that’s just to show how I make my money… Lets talk goalies… they all make mistakes, some more glaring than others, like the WH one costing us 2 points. The problem is that blunders of the magnitude of the one made against WH does not inspire our defence with confidence…This will show in the next two games… spurs is going to be a hard nut to crack. Almunia is adequate but certainly not great. Having said that it must be remembered that a goalkeeper shines when he is behind a great defence… here we are also not too well endowed, apart from Gallas whom I think is outstanding. We need some more Vermaelens to replace the Eboues and Diabes of this world. Any suggestions?

  8. Ian its not only a goal keeper also a reasonable defensive midfielder. Last season we had denilson played consistently but was un appreciated now he is out we are conceding regulary, our back isn’t bad but its overly exposed meaning that Song Cesc andd Diaby are not doing a good job protecting the back, but as usual fans have found someone to hate thats Diaby! The thing is We have three positions that needs addressing first is the midfield combination of the three, the right wing with Eboue and then the goal keeper. Those are the positions costing us!

  9. I must disagree with some of the reasons as to why we didn´t get all 3 points on saturday,IMO, it was more a matter of team selection than anything, more than half the team playing on sunday were playing in their 3rd game in 8 days,sure we scored 2 goals,thats to be expected,but as the game wore on you could see tiredness creeping,and that affected our game,as creativity and finishing “went tha back door”, also injuries are also making team rotation a big headache for le boss,imagine wallcot and nasri in the game for eboue and diaby,how lethal that could have been.I am not blaming vito,he´s still undefeated as arsenal no 1,all of you clamouring for a change of the guards,well all i can say is,almunia ain´t that good either,experience is all he´s got,but all the same bring him in,cause i know, with time, most of you will be calling for his hide,and wanting back the undefeated vito,mark my words!

  10. We should have gone 2nd in the table and given Wenger a great birthday gift,but not to worry great news is the return of Nasri and Rosicky,we should be able to beat liverpool fair and square.

  11. We shouldn’t be concerned if other teams are weak, we need to know why are we making silly mistakes, Wenger isn’t scrutinized enough. No trainer of an elite team will get away throwing 2 points away to a relegation candidate without explaining the reasons why.

    Also, why are we only concerned about being 2 points behind Chelsea, we need to ratchet more pressure on the team to go above everyone else. In times like this, the team needs to know the fans aren’t happy without a win and that they shouldn’t do it again.

  12. Andy,

    You can’t blame the referee for giving the penalty, it was a stupid stupid challenge by Song. Carlton Cole was facing away from goal, he was surrounded by three Arsenal players, he was going nowhere so why did Song give him the chance to fall over. The team resembled headless chickens during the final twenty minutes, they panicked!

    It’s no good Arshavin and Clichy saying, as they have done in today’s press, that they realise what went wrong against both AZ Alkmaar and West Ham they should have recognised what was happening during the second half in Holland and put it right!

    Perhaps Wenger needs to give up the nice, kindly uncle part and start kicking some a***s. It really is time that the team and management started to deliver.

  13. I think for now we have almunia as the best amg the goalkeepers for now so we need him 4 both games if and ooly if we want to go ahead cos both teams have sharp attackers and i can’t afford to see any keeper blinder any more

  14. At 2-0 up with 20 to go away from home, we do not have the mentality to take off an attacking player and bring on a Darren fletcher type. Cesc did not have a great game . Song was over-run and the rest of the 3-3 formation did nothing. Our bench had only attacking options. The philosophy seem to be 2-0 up all ok. Wait until 2-2 and bring on another striker to rescue the points. Squad is unbalanced. Crazy.

  15. Hans, I agree that goalkeeper hesitation and errors have caused a lack of confidence in the back 4 at crucial times. This caused the loss at Old Trafford when we had the game in our grasp. One of the goalkeepers has to grasp the position and make it his own in the next month. This will allow the back 4 to establish some confidence in the keeper before the business end of the season.
    As for the other problem position of defensive central midfielder, we may have to wait until Djourju or Denilson are available or go shopping in January. It’s too important a spot to let Diaby have any longer.

  16. We should atleast play 6 experienced players against liverpool .I think almunia should be played in both wednesday’s and saturday’s game .I think we will do ittttttttttt.

  17. Johno i agree with you on Song part. ANDY please advise: looking at teams that have played against us they have had numerous clear cut chances at our goal ever since Denilson’s injury so where do you think is the problem as to why we give our opponents alot of chances!

  18. hello all,
    no no no no no to almunia bein re-instated unless mannone gets injured,fair enough for the carling cup but thats it….its like i said a mth ago when every1 doubted vito; id rather see a young,learning keeper like vito makin mistakes and gaining the experience to eliminate them from his game than the concrete footed and slow reacting almunia who never seems to learn from his blunders…..iv just got sick of watching almunia conceding goals whilst still on his feet,and if hes not doin that its some LATE dramatic attempt at showin he tried once the balls travelled past him,the best 2 examples of this are the man city opener this season and the everton equaliser at their place last year,i wont even go ionto detail bout his performance in the CL final….when some of you watch a game i tink you confuse it with fifa or pro evo or somethin!!!!i actually thought that mannone did fairly wel to get to that free kick in the first place,somethin i doubt almunia wuda done,fair enough it was a poorly placed parry but that happens,van der sar was lucky to not get punished by kuyt on sunday…so thats 2 blunders hes made now because,unlike you andy mate, i cannot condemn him for the blackburn looping header which was just unlucky as it wasnt a genuine attempt on goal by the attacker and it was unreachable….
    iv one more point and dats to the clowns still givin our own players stick,namely mannone,eboue,diaby,clichy and now ARSHAVIN…your unbelievable and would maybe be more suited to supportin manure or chelski,here were football supporters and every1 knows form can dip and injuries and fatigue plays a big part,its up to the manager to recognise this in training aswel as in a match environment and make the necessary changes,ie; ramsey/nasri/bendtner/eduardo on sunday…the easy thing to do is to come down on diaby and eboue all the time,try gettin behind them all and youl be the better for it,i know this seems rich after wot iv said bout manuel almunia but that was facts…..ur all just lookin for scapegoats

  19. Resulting from the latest seething in the blogs after the unfortunate draw against West Ham, I am requesting a chance to express some views on Arsenal which I have for awhile.

    My view is that we did not fail against West Ham but rather that we have progressed as a club for the last 4 seasons despite not winning trophies. My view is we are not on the wrong track this season, we actually are doing well.

    The draw on Sunday was really bitter but I still retain vivid memories of 3 games which happened during the ‘98 and ‘02 seasons.

    – The magic game with three goals from Dennis Bergkamp… but we ended up drawing that game
    – The game we lost at home against Blackburn (1-3)
    – The last minute equaliser from, again, Leicester City in the ‘02 season

    What I want to emphasize is that even in successful seasons, there were still many bitter and heartbreaking moments. We actually won the league title(s) after the turn of the year – it’s really up to how we do in the last 18-20 games or so that will define our season.

    Right now it’s the players’ job to do their best to keep up (stay at worst 5 points from the top) or even win all their games to lead the league going into the year 2010.

    Of course many moaners said that we are competing with more teams now (back then it was us and Man U). But look at how all the teams, and I mean all of them, have dropped many points already this season. And I can argue for myself that we are the only team who dropped points undeservedly.

    As to my second idea, all I will say now is that what other manager has…

    1) managed a team under such a tight budget to reach CL final and semifinal

    2) produced another crop of young and great players

    3) managed an injury prone team to lead the league for 8 months before that evil moment against that evil team

    4) sold greedy, want-away, and unneeded players for a large chuck of profit

    5) given us the most beautiful footballing team in the history.

    (The answer is no one apart from the Lord Wenger, of course).

    It’s funny too when you compare the SUCCESSFUL Arsenal teams to this current squad of how they do in Europe. This current team is actually doing a lot BETTER than the class of ‘98, ‘02, and ‘04. So unsuccessful and incompetent? I’d say hell no.

    We just have to pray that we will get a break this season (bad calls, injuries, lucky goals…..), – the sort of break we have not had for a long long long time.

    Moaners say that we can’t look at the past. But a great manager is defined by ALL his actions, both the past and the present.

  20. rundhel | October 27, 2009, 10:09 pm I really agree with your comments… I remember a home draw early on in the Unbeaten Season – 2-2 with a Bolton side managed by the Fat Slug.

    Everyone was criticising after that, with all the usual “Manchester U would have finished the game off by half time staff”.

    You can’t win every game and I think this piece really puts that into perspective.

    plus i think too many Arsenal fans give some teams too much credit. To say that our rivals would not drop points like this is such a big compliment to give to teams who are not at all in better shape than us.

    You can say all you want about how and the manner in which we dropped the points. The fact is that dropping points mean, as it said, losing points. It doesn’t matter how, if it’s not 3 points then it’s not. And when you look at it like that, man u dropped the same amount of points as us by playing poorly and chelski lost to the likes of wigan and villa by, too, playing badly.

    But luck and bad bad calls play big big big big part in the games we didn’t WIN this season so far.

    And faith is a two-way street guys. Arsenal is the best club in the world and no matter how many headaches and near-fainted moments it gives me, I am proud to be a loyal supporter and believer of this great club.

    Majority of people have claimed how ruthless Chelsea are against the traditional middle to weak teams. But no one has been able to explain how Wigan trashed them or how Aston Villa withstood the so called Chelsea barrage and edged past them. ManU lost to Burnley and indeed, nearly lost to Sunderland at Old Trapshite. How does anyone explain that?

    In this league as it is now, anyone can beat anyone. That makes the league interesting, not dominance. If your team can beat other teams playing football; in that lies your pride. There is no pride in winning against minnows who cannot string 3 passes together successfully. So, when other teams manage a draw against your team, kudos to them for trying and not just laying down to die. That Should galvanise your team to work harder and not be complacent. You, the so called supporter, moaning and criticising would not help. If care is not taken, you will end up demoralising, and completely eroding the confidence of, your team. How can that help your team? Immagine if you take the dagger out everytime your child or your wife makes a mistake? You will end up loosing them; that’s a fact.

    If ManU and Chelsea were treated the same way as the referees treat Arsenal (hashly, with biaz & extreme prjudice), I wonder how they would cope?

  21. Ohh yee Gooners of little faith. a slip-up doesn’t translate to complacency, in as much as i do agree, we made a mistake by dropping two crucial points, who doesn’t? we were bound to draw a game sooner or later. Having said that,anyone who in the past or present that continues to think or say that Song ain’t 1st Class, then you ain’t no Gooner. Our Gooner lads are up to the task of chasing for premiership honours this season, and the least we can do is cheer them on. “KEEP THE SPIRIT,GUNNERS 4 LIFE”

  22. rundhel and barry,wel said i agree with you both altho id be worried with the validating of droppin points if were still playin wel as opposed to chels and utd ‘deserving to lose’ because our games will come where we will hav ‘deserved’ to lose and its then we will rue the dropped points in these games where we wer the dominant force and shoulda hav collected 3pts,i think this is the point being made when people say manure and chelski avoid these scenarios….wot im sayin is if we wer losin games after bad performances then you just hav to hold your hands up,but knowin that there will be losses in this manner during the year places serious question marks over our ability to challenge,i mean theres no way to go through 38 PL games deserving to win them all

  23. @Ezra I agree the midfield going forward is awsome but defensively not so good. It was my belief that thats what Diaby was brought in for, an all round midfield role. I would have likened it to a Viera role but Diaby hasn’t earned that sort of praise yet. I think Diaby has potential but not a lot of confidence at the moment. I agree Andy that Song is playing well but the rest of our midfield need to take their defensive responsibilities a bit more seriously?

  24. If Arsenal are looking to acquire a new keeper, probably the best value for money player would be Schalke 04’s Manuel Neuer. He would cost in the range of €15-18m, Schalke are in debt and may have a firesale starting in January.

    Why Neuer? He is a very good keeper, has no technical deficiencies like our current goalkeepers, has experience in continental competition, and was the best goal keeper in the recent U-21 Championships, and is now fighting Enke and Adler for the senior gloves.

    We need to buy a proper keeper, and German keepers are very good, no messing around anymore, time to act like a big club with ambition.

  25. I feel there are two ways to defend if you are ahead. You either hold on to the ball and don’t give it away to limit the opposition chances or defend in numbers and crowd out their creative players. There were two of them for WH, Cole and the Italian sub. I had a feeling Cole will be fouled at some point as he dribbled every time and got away with it. No one could make a good tackle on him the whole game. Clichy was guilty of running around him without any substantive challenge.

    Diaby and Eboue are players for happy times. They are great when we dominate teams, but as soon as we are under pressure, Eboue starts his theatrics and Diaby couldn’t tackle anything without fouling. Mind you, that free kick which led to the first goal, as Andy mentioned before, was no way a foul. That kid bear hugged Diaby and wouldn’t let go until he got the call. That was a gift from the ref. If they didn’t score from this gift, we wouldn’t even talk about it. I like Eboue’s enthusiasm and energy, but no end product in the final third. The way he picks up the ball and runs at the defense, he could have led the EPL in assist if he can deliver better balls into the box. Diaby starts the game well and goes completely missing the last quarter of the game. Subbing him around the hour mark will do him a huge favor.

    The goalie issue will be raging until the end of the season until one of them come in and take charge of the 6 yard box. I haven’t seen that yet so the jury is till out.

  26. I agree that Lloris is a great option, given that France qualify. He will be their #1. Has looked solid in all match higlights i have seen from Lyon. As far as the midfield goes, I would play Song, deep w/ Cesc and Samir together, flanked by Arshavin and one of Theo or Tomas. Rvp has looked quite capable of sprearheading the attck. He is smart and can deliver timed passes to the overlaping players. Arshavin seems most dangerous when cutting in from the left corner of the box, and Rosicky would give much better service than Eboue or Sagna. Just a thought from a quiet observer, who does not normally post.

  27. most underated and suitable keepers out there at the mo would be;
    carlos kameni/espanyol
    diego lopez/villareal
    but u will never get the value and quality we missed out on last january when arsene let shay given be convinced to join city when the player wanted to come and play for us,biggest booboo ever by le boss

  28. I am still agreeing with andy on this one and think we should re instate almunia he is the most experienced and on his game the best keeper, the don and flappyanski are talented but still raw.

    onto west ham, think about tis last season i think we would have lost that game. alright we should have won it but this is football guys sh@t happens, win the game in hand and we are second. we top the cl group and are still scoring goals, things arent that bad, strike that, things are pretty good.

    hoping for a good game against the ‘mugmashers’ as the arseblogger calls them.

    keep up the good work Andy. stay positive. in arsene we trust.

  29. Who r those that talk about ASHAVIN? How many games did he play within the week? Why must the same set of players be starting? Why does WENGER keep players on the bench? Why cant players be coming on at half-time if need be? Why does WENGER never see anything good in the bench? WENGER killed the last game as he normally does with his late substitutions.

  30. well enough with the negatives.

    what about the liverpool game? I for one am excited to see our B team perform.
    Fabianski with a point to prove, can we finally see what AW has been raving about?

    Senderos, has he changed for the better since the run-up to the Finals vs Barca? What has he gained from Milan, the bastion in the art of defending.

    Coquelin, i read some stories bout him and frankly he’s exciting. Is Gibbs good enough for the first team and give Clichy a run for his money?

    How will the other attacking trident of Vela, Bendtner and Dudu will perform.

    I do hope Rafa field a good team though i read he’s resting alot of players. i would like to see how the B team stand up against formidable opponents.

  31. Arsenal deserve to win their march against chelsea because of our last game will losed, but befor wining our plays have to macke very and any chance let them try to play shot and song should be trying shot for post becaus i can see that the only way Essen can compete with him is because he can not shot ball so let him take note

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