Manchester City 1-1 Arsenal: On this evidence we will fight for the title

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen the unpredictable Gervinho found himself on the edge of the Manchester City penalty area in space with just a few minutes remaining, a sudden and fantastic chance to inflict defeat on the Champions of England, their first at home since late 2010, presented itself.

True to his erratic performance, however, The Brain™ sliced wildly at the ball, sending it flying over the bar to leave Arsenal supporters all over the world holding their heads in their hands.

Yet the drama and disappointment of that late miss and the glory that would have accompanied it cannot hide the exciting conclusion that on this evidence Arsenal, our team, will be fighting for the title this season.

Before the game I suggested that with City coming off a loss to Real Madrid in Spain and generally struggling defensively, we were catching them at a good time. That theory appeared to be supported by the opening half-hour of football by our boys. Helped by the excellent retention skills of Aaron Ramsey, a surprise selection in an advanced position on the right-hand side of midfield, we kept possession well and our transitions from defence to attack were perfect.

The moment that perhaps best summed our excellent opening half-hour came when clever play from Santi Cazorla allowed Ramsey to slide through a delightful pass to put The Brain™ clear on goal. With Gäel Clichy trailing in his wake the man with the giant forehead produced a piece of miscontrol that would be hard to repeat and the ball rolled timidly into the arms of Joe Hart.

There were other chances too — the most notable of which created for Lukas Podolski by the fast-improving Carl Jenkinson’s lunge-busting burst down the right — while Sergio Agüero ensured Vito Mannone in goals was kept on his toes.

What also impressed in the first half was our boys desire to hold shape when not in possession. This has been a common theme this season and with Abou Diaby slotting next to Mikel Arteta in the centre of the park and Podolski and Ramsey displaying their positional skills, we were able to create two lines of four dedicated to clogging up the central areas of the park.

A common theme is emerging that even when opposition teams do manage to work their way through our two lines of four, the weight of numbers eventually allows the opportunity to get a foot in or pump a rushed clearance into touch. When the situation presents itself, a strong tackle or clever interception is creating superb transitions and laying the foundation for some devastating counter-attacks. It made life difficult for City, who rarely troubled us, and laid the platform for some excellent chances.

Nevertheless despite a strong opening forty minutes it was City who took the lead when Joleon Lescott headed home from a corner that was conceded by Kieran Gibbs due to a lack of communication at the back. Mannone’s role in the goal was disappointing but it is important to consider that if we are going to play a zonal marking system on set pieces, a perfectly reasonable system if deployed correctly, individuals taking responsibility to attack the ball is paramount. It is also worth noting also that if the goalkeeper comes to claim the ball and fails to get there, it is bound to surprise even the best defenders.

The second half was a different game due to two factors. One was the introduction of Rodwell for Sinclair (who had been dominated by Jenkinson) and the second was a general weariness that crept into the team. Rodwell’s introduction combined with City holding a lead meant the home side were less adventurous and our major weapons, those scintillating transitions, were unable to be used effectively.

In many ways the second half was the opposite to the first: City found more space on the break and really should have been given a penalty when Agüero’s honesty saw him denied a foul in the area. Despite a rash challenge on this occasion, Koscielny and his partner-in-crime Per Mertesacker were magnificent throughout the 90 minutes — particularly during City’s period of pressure in the second half — consistently breaking up attacks with their clever positioning and anticipation.

While City had their best period of the game, our boys seemed to labour for a good half-hour until the introductions of Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud around the 70-minute mark. Fellow supporters were surprised at Podolski and not Gervinho being replaced, but it made perfect sense to me. Podolski is a player who works exceptionally hard each and every game, but he tends to fade after an hour or so. Plus, despite his wayward finishing, Gervinho was proving a handful for City and still looked full of beans.

The changes gave our side the boost it required and we again looked the better team. Cazorla came to life again, forcing a thrilling save from Hart, and Koscielny hammered in from the resulting corner. It was a tremendous goal, a real striker’s finish fired into the roof of the net, and provoked one of the wildest Arsenal celebrations I have seen in some time, illustrating our team spirit.

In truth City should have retaken the lead moments later when Vincent Kompany’s amazing bicycle kick attempt was parried by Mannone before Agüero slid his shot wide. Gervinho then fired wide and the game ended 1-1, a tremendous result for a team that had outplayed and out-fought the champions on their own turf.

The bold conclusion that we are a team ready to fight for the title is based on how quickly Arsene Wenger has established a balance between organised, counter-attacking football based on intelligent positioning and quick transitions and our usual possession-based football that breeds confidence and gives the defence time to breath. It has varied our attacking options and perhaps more importantly, improved our defending.

A terrific day of football and one that should grow the optimism and belief of both supporters and players, even if only one rather than three points was the immediate reward.



  1. Agree with you Andy. These boys are ready for the title and they are going to get better and better as they play more games with Wilshere and Rosicky joining them.

  2. Nothing to add, except thank you Andy for mentioning the fans delirium in the away section when we scored, Id forgotten about it…what a sight it was…much like Chelsea away last season and quite different to the close-ups Sky has been fixated on bringing us of crossed armed disconsolate gooners at the end of games.
    The feel good factor is back.

  3. I missed the first half, the second was a bit dramatic for me and the result seemed thus fair to me, the key situations are well described, finally it was a bit of a fever-feeling again, finally a match with a good feeling afterwards and the feeling of fun and joy, you can’t have it always, but I missed it for a while (in addition due to the fact that I can’t watch many matches) 😉 😎 😀 🙂

  4. A good and thorough summary reflecting the optimism we are all beginning to feel.

    1. The Brain(tm) must clear his omniscient self of the some of the more distracting elements of Total Mind Control of the Universe and really learn to finish at least a few of the glorious chances that he creates for himself.

    2. We all want to be Carl Jenkinson. I mean think about it: he’s basically an Arsenal super-fan plucked from Charlton who gets to play for his team. He’s quite literally living the dream and living it well. He’s maturing into quite a player. If we win something this season, a movie must be made. We all want the best right back in football to swiftly return, but with Kid Carl playing like he us, Sagna can is under no pressure to try and hurry back.

    3. Per Mertesacker is a freak and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. How he can do what he does when he’s so slow and big is beyond me. Someone will make a tidy sum if he/she can come up with a nice design for a “BFG” t-shirt. At this point I know I’d buy one.

    4. We are one of four undefeated teams and are still without a couple of the best players in the Premiership (Sagna and Wilshere) and with one of the top forwards from France still to break his duck. With genuine competition for places, we can only get better. Even Wilshere will have to fight for his place.

    5. Welcome back Aaron Ramsey. You went through hell and you persevered. If not with Wales, you deserve much glory with your club side.

    6. We passed a test on Saturday with another exam around the corner with the league leaders home at the weekend. If we pass that one as well there can be no doubt:
    This Arsenal side is finally for for real. Thankfully we’ll all have to get used to it.

  5. Arsene’s boys looked sharp and well balanced during the 1st half of the encounter making City appear slightly flat footed. But sorry Andy/shambo, to talk about wining titles, if thats what you mean, is slightly premature. Dont Arsenal always fight for title?

  6. @ weber
    There are a lot of positives to take from this match, Games between us and city these days have always been tight,
    BUT to say
    “tremendous result for a team that had outplayed and out-fought the champions on their own turf ”
    is going a bit overboard, city played madrid At the Bernabeu do you think its easy to run down Ronaldo and these guys.
    While we went to france to play a new born baby, so we both had away games BUT the opposition was totally different.
    As you said in your post before the game they were there for the taking YET we failed and even if the point is a good point here we are accepting second best Gervinho miss in the dying minutes of the game in just not good @ this level he had time/space to pick his spot and he blazed it horribly wide, and that’s the difference between winners and runnersup.

    With the penalty on Aguero they go both ways some you get some you don’t
    if he were an Arsenal player we would have had bloggers from here to hong kong complaining about the ref, i hope when the shoe is on the other foot were as diplomatic as this.

    The team has improved from last season, for sure, mainly in defense, BUT when people don’t give us a chance we do very well its when people talk us up and the pressure rises we begin to flop, lets see where we are by round 10 then maybe i’ll start to hope, BUT for now I’ve seen too much of Arsenal to get carried away.

  7. @BrisVegas – You keep going round in circles. I made mention of a certain FA Cup final match we played against Chelsea, of course you have nothing to say about it than to rubbish it entirely. I also made mention that some other coaches would be screaming at them(or benching them) when they miss silly chances or make stupid errors. Looks to me like he is condoning the mediocrity. While I do not personally feel you are an idiot, you certainly are beginning to look like one by not looking before you leap. What is the point of my spending time to write when people like you just wake up and criticize everything said without reading again. I hope my point is noted. Thank you

  8. Kel, I think the point is, for the first time in a few years now, we look competitive, we have more options in attack, and fingers crossed look to have players to back up when someone gets injured. I won’t be putting my house on us winning the title or the champions league but I think there are promising signs, first and formemost how much better the defense is looking at long last. And the more I see Cazorla the more I think he could be the buy of the season (how I wish we had got him a year ago – RvP might have got 40!). But I won’t get carried away until we get to March or April and see how we are tracking then. Then I’ll start talking to the real estate agents!

    Gunner Boss – your enthusiasm is not doubted but any impact of your debate is lost by repetition and then not being able to accept another person’s opinion without getting pissed. Make your point once and move on cobber!

    Where’s Leftcoast these days. Has he deserted us for a Chelski blog???

  9. I agree with you Kel. We are doing very well, the team has more balance than it has never been. Except so far we are missing a true top class forward who can score 25 goals.
    I am hopeful about Giroud too.
    Our front line is made up of Theo,Ox,Gerninho,Poldoski ,Giroud, Chamakh compared to Manu’s: Rooney, RVP,Welbeck,Hernandez, Nani or Mancity’s front line.
    We are optimistic again, it is looking up for us, but the truth is , it will be a battle for us all season to finish in the top 4.

  10. @ Gunnerboss — You’ve gotta take it a little easy, like Terry said. There’s no need for such aggressive and dismissive statements while we’re all just discussing football. Remember Rule #2 of the comments policy: ‘Be tolerant’.

  11. @Andy – Have you noticed this guy NEVER passes by my comments? Why no one warns him beats me completely. I NEVER laid blame on Ramsey(I only said I would prefer if one of them played at a time) and yet he keeps on making it seem as if he cannot read properly.

  12. @Terry – How many times do you in particular have to read without understanding where I come from? Can you never reply without saying I am wrong? I know what I know. Do you learn from what I say or just dismiss it entirely? Of course you learn a lot. Why can’t you avoid my posts completely Terry? Can you do that for me Terry? I’ve really really tried to be patient with you, but u keep on banging on my head all the time. Footballing people understand a quality post when they see one. If you do not watch our matches, just say so.

  13. Gunner Boss: I think I can answer you quite succintly: I dismiss it entirely.

    End of.

    now can we have some grown up discussion please.

  14. Interesting line-up today in the League Cup. Don’t know if they’re televising it here in Canada, but I’d enjoy watching some of these junior players.
    11 Andre Santos
    12 Olivier Giroud
    14 Theo Walcott
    15 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
    18 Sebastien Squillaci
    20 Johan Djourou
    22 Francis Coquelin
    23 Andrey Arshavin
    26 Emmanuel Frimpong
    29 Marouane Chamakh
    36 Damian Martinez
    38 Martin Angha
    40 Hector Bellerin
    46 Thomas Eisfeld
    47 Serge Gnabry
    54 Ignasi Miquel
    60 James Shea
    64 Nico Yennaris

    Who the heck are Damian Martinez and Martin Angha? Interesting that Giroud has been “demoted” (I say that only half-seriously).

  15. I know city didn’t play all of the same players from sunday Yesterday
    BUT in general i think their having some problems no-matter which player in on the field and villa showed that, now i also know its a cup match things are different BUT boy, villa a team struggling so far this season??
    Which enforces my point that we should have won that game on sunday and not be content with a draw.
    This may be cities bad patch so we needed to capitalize on it because they will no-doubt get stronger.

  16. Hey!!! Does anybody have a link for today’s Carling Cup fixture?
    I cannot find a thing legit or scambitious for love OR money.

  17. Leftie

    I have a number of sources but you can never tell which ones will work. If I get lucky I will let you know

  18. @Terry – To be grown up is to watch our matches. To be grown up is to avoid dismissing what people say outright while pretending to agree. To be grown up is to learn and argue constructively. This my friend is being grown up. You have shown how ignorant you were last year, now we are doing fine…..this same person is screaming and you feel you should scream back. You’ve not learn’t. Why cant you learn, why cant you ever be constructive?

    Thanks for being a baby Terry, just keep it up

  19. Well, unsighted and deaf I see and hear we scored 6!
    I may well have to miss more games 😉

  20. Anyone manage to see the Coventry game? The side was an interesting mix of youngsters and some established players. Would love to have been able to see them. There must be able to see the goals somewhere! Hopefully Giroud’s goal will give him a confidence boost.

  21. Terry
    Can’t find a thing. Highlights on the been in half an hour. Not very exciting watching a game on a text stream

    I think Chamakh was a sub, must be tough brpeing a sub for the reserves

  22. Just watched 5 minutes of highlights si difficult to judge. Walcott got two good ones. Giroud got one but missed a pen, Ox got a cracker and what little I saw Arshavin looked hot

    All good new

  23. Thanks Andrew – great link. We looked great going forward and some lovely goals. Only Coventry I know but you can only play what’s put in front of you! Reading away in the next round.

  24. True. Theo, Arhsavin and Giroud looked sharp. Also, great to see Yennaris playing. Think he’s a strong player with a good future at the club. Plus his Instagram account is ace.

  25. A big HELLO to all fellow gooners! This is my first post as I only came across this forum recently. I’m from Sydney, Australia, been a fan for 25yrs and most of our live broadcasting of games ranges between 9:45pm-5:00am. I haven’t missed a live game in 6 years!!!

    I believe the Man City game is just a small test. They’ve had problems at the back, but they have a 6 game or so stretch playing lower teams in the coming weeks. Eventually City will improve as they have quality players and depth. We dominated the game, but we were left ruing the fact we didn’t win it. We will improve, that’s for sure and I definitely believe we’re genuine title contenders. After 15 games played then we can see how we compare with the top teams.

    Chelsea this week will be a cracker! I’ve high hopes we’ll take this fixture by it’s throat! Cazorla and Podolski have been stellar, Gibbs/Jenkinson/Gervinho are the most improved players and Arteta/Merts/Koz/TV5 lock it down with experience, smarts, 100% focus for 90mins and tenacity.

    There’s a real belief in the squad the year. You can see it among the players. I had this feeling in 2002-2003 before we were crowned Invincible. There’s so much more to come from this current squad. The home and away fans have been boisterous, encouraging and extremely supportive this season. I loved hearing our gooners at the Etihad at kick-off! COYG!!! FOYS!!!

  26. Drew,
    Thanks for the highlight link. Super,duper,groovey!
    AA23 lived up to his Michael Jordan number for a changed and ran until he sweat profusely. I can honestly say I have not seen this level of effort from him for a good while.
    I’m cautiously optimistic we might do something swell this season.
    On to Chelsea fingers crossed. Leave us whoop the chavs and grab all three at their miserable expense.

  27. Arshavin in that playmaker role looks good. He ran the show. His tricks and flicks in that game was endless. Some of them went wayward but the ones that went through were pretty delightful. MOTM for me!

    Good to see the first team fringe players looking sharp. A. Santos was a bit behind. Our team looks very deep indeed. Was quite impressed with our youngsters too! Gnabry – We will see this bloke a lot more i reckon, Yennaris and Miquel.

    Theo was sharp, Giroud broke his duck, and Ox with a delightful 25 yard bender. Can’t wait to see more!

  28. I will be the 1st to admit I would have offloaded Arshavin a while ago. When other players went through bad patches at least they seemed to be putting in an effort. When Arshavin lost the ball he just stood there feeling sorry for himself. What little I saw of him last night he looked really good. Interesting decisions for Wenger coming up.

    S.H welcome to the gang, nice positive post, welcome to the glass half full brigade

  29. I hate it so much when people all of a sudden just seem to realise we had a marvelous player they feel they knew. When we have the Captain of the Russian National team who pulled string upon string upon string at euro 2008. He was rated 14th in the world in 2009. How could he just be so bad when he still plays for Russia?
    Ignasi Miquel is excellent, I have always vouched for him in CB, not LB. Coquelin is better than Frimpong in my opinion and this is another fast developing player we seem to be unaware of. Walcott should be replacing Gervinho on the basis that he is a better scorer. The overall team interest should super seed any individual contractual whatever cos finally we still end up selling.

    When you bring up such cases, you get bored cos the feedback u get is just so demoralizing. Good, Arshavin does not have stamina, but can we be rotating the squad so he remains fresh? Can we be taking him off on the hour mark instead of letting him burn out? Why is Wenger playing him there this season, what happened to two, three seasons ago? This is why I get so angry cos I know what the player can do with the ball in that position. If we had been utilizing the strengths of our exceptional players in the tactics, we would’ve won something at least two seasons ago. This is why I really feel our manager is very conservative with tactics and player utilization. Like some of us say “He sees them in training, so he knows them better”. Does it not look confusing now? Was there a player(Nasri, Ramsey or Diaby) he was/has been expecting to excel in that area cos of age so he could sell? At the expense of our success and global rating? Can we now see we have been too kind to the opposition? Knowledge is Power……When I come in here to rant, people just dont seem to know where I come from. These are some of the things that make me wanna pull out my hair in disgust especially when we loose………

  30. Andrew – just a quick thank you for the link to the extended highlights. Made my day, as the match was not televised here. Cheers, 1Nil.

  31. Aron
    Great video gave me goosebumps. Anyone who doubts Wengers commitment should watch him in this vid

    I really dislike rap music but this one grows on yiu

  32. Regarding the highlights, is this something you would want more of?

    I always assumed that people found this stuff themselves without any dramas. Am I assuming too much? Should I be providing more of this sort of stuff for you guys to make it easier?

  33. I would bet that more than 90percent of Arsenal fans do not doubt Wengers commitment. While not excluding the influence of key players in getting us fans, i think the one most important and wooing factor is our style of play.

    If Wenger is not committed, it would be impossible to maintain this fantastic style which obviously Barca is seemingly copying and perfecting.

    If someone were to ask “Is he spot on with his tactics? and Does he utilize the personnel properly on the pitch(which is still a function of tactics)?” , then I would say this could be a 50-50 split or thereabouts.

    I personally will not care whatever he does as long as we win. But, if we play to our strengths(UCL, Milan at home), probably score 2 goals and still lose (referee, red cards, no Ox, whatever), I would say good job, better luck.

    An ordinary Juve were invincible last season, who says we cant do it again this season as we fight for the title against all odds?

  34. Getting a hold of highlights when we win especially when we score lots of goals is a real bonus. My archive will definitely welcome our winning highlights.

  35. @S.H – Welcome!

    @Andrew Webber – It’ll be a nice addition to just click on a link to re live the glory. Hahaha

  36. Thanks for the link Andy.

    Arshavin is back with confidence this year and truly deserves a chance to play alongside Cazorla and Arteta.Not sure if Arsene has any plans, as Ramsey looked good against ManCity.

    Nice to see Giroud getting his first goal with a composed finish.

    I am not sure how the Walcott situation ends up in January, but he faces a tough competition from superior Ox .

  37. never thought i’d say it but… frickin’ koscielny. poor marking for the first and an own goal for their second.

    and gonnerboss: everyone has off days, nobody gets it right all the time. to say wenger has learned nothing is ridiculous.

  38. Frankly the best team won and because of a number of things. I thought the big factors were

    1. At the vital moments there keeper performed ours didn’t

    2. chelsea were a stronger team, they win the majority of 50/50 balls

    3 they did a good job on Cazorla and with the exception of Arteta we lacked ideas

    4. By his standard Kos was poor. Hindsight is easy but Mertesaker was man of the match last week.

    5 we gave away silly free kicks

    All that said there were a few positives

    Other than the miss, Giroud looked good, Arteta was his usual self and Gibbs played well but faded

    We did create more chances than Chelsea

    Oh well that is the weekend ruined

  39. The immobile midfield has finally collapsed without creating decent chances. I say shame on anyone who decides it is the defense that is to be blamed.

    Where was the midfield? We saw Arteta come forward more in this game than in any other since this season started. Did he feel Ramsey ran too forward too often(laying misplaced passes all over the place and confusing teammates)? I would certainly share that sentiment too.

    Our in-efficient team(midfield) has finally been seen……….With Diaby and Ramsey, we WILL NEVER win anything. Just repeating what I said last season……But, these guys WILL NEVER be able to complement Cazorla and Arteta this season. This game was lost in the midfield and it would be a pity if anyone comes out to say Chelsea has a better midfield………

    Been shouting myself hoarse since

  40. Sorry jet – i do not think he has learned anything from the last game. We were immobile in the middle and look what immobility and lack of intelligence has done to us.

    Chelsea are not great, they are defense masters. But, they definitely showed us how we should be playing…..
    I talked about running into the box(striker inclusive), do we even watch our matches and analyse the mistakes? It is bizarre that this has been our worst match so far. These days Wenger seems to make Podolski a winger, does this make the slightest sense at all? Our most-accurate striker now plays on the wings, lovely. Same thing happened to Arshavin. No one will notice this because we bought Podolski to play on the wings……

    When I say we set up to lose, this is exactly what i mean. Why do we have to make it look so hard? Why does Wenger have to make it look so hard? Is he trying to let us know Diaby is better than the Ox and Ramsey better than Arshavin? Bollocks, beats me completely………

  41. The game was lost by the midfield and on the day, we fielded two clueless people from the beginning when we had better people on the bench.

    The game was lost by the midfield and on the day, we again under-utilized our players, especially Podolski(everyone seems to be happy with only work-rate these days)…..whatever happened to efficiency?

    For once, I feel we missed Mertesacker and I would we rotated the others with him a constant. Today’s starting pair have just played their first game together, fair enough, but…….they have made us miss Mertesacker

  42. We dont want to start getting down on players and the manager after one defeat.
    But heres my major issue with Arsene Wenger and Iv felt this way for a long time.
    I really dont think he puts enough emphasis on motivation.
    Hes a very confident, if slightly arrogant man and from watching the teams of recent seasons to me theres seems to be an element of ‘ we show up and play our way and that should be enough’…were playing the very same system and the very same way every week…teams dont even need to do their homework on us because all they need do is switch on Gary Neville on Sky.
    Their is no element of surprise. I told my mates in pub that they would score from the second was so predictable.
    It was a needless free to concede and was Ramseys fault to begin with. He had possession but dwelt and then when hed relieved himself of any forward passes simply offloaded to an under pressure Arteta who was 30/80 vs the onrushing chelsea man..subsequently leaving Vermaelen little choice.
    Kieren Gibbs was atrocious from the start him passing is late and zip to his play and his ‘crossing’ smacks of fear. Fear of taking responsibility and driving the ball across with intent…at one stage hewas in the box and near the byline and simply scooped the ball like a basketball layup 18 foot into the air, is his foresight that bad that he thinks someone will outjump Cech to head that in? He looked like a fella that was up allnite playing fifa 2013 to me, yet Santos is left on the bench.
    Gervinho once again showed he has no idea what he us trying to doand showed a fundemental lack of footballing brain when he managed ti be off side from a Cazorla free taken EIGHT YARDS from the endline, kos hit the postfrom it but my god how do yoube that careless in a high stakes game and a goal down?
    Walcott agaim showed why he wouldnt be missed, rotten attitude, no drive and he looked afraid of cole.
    He didnt break sweat and hes not what we need.
    The intensity just wasnt there, they didnt look up for it and thats a bad City team and bad Chelsea team that we didnt punish.
    For me they wernt ready to take to the field yesterday to win a London derby and Chelsea were.

  43. Shambo
    You are certainly right about the free kick, we seem to fall foul of that type of curled cross all too often.

    I actually thought
    Gibbs was one of our better players, but more from a defensive perspective.

    Maybe my expectations are to high, but I thought Jenks who is a star for a young lad, had plenty of opportunities to drive down the wing but always cut back inside and played square balls. Don’t know if he lacks confidence or is following instructions, but I believe he has the pace and skill to beat full backs

    I have to agree with you about Gervinho. He just isn’t an intelligent player

    Didn’t occur to me yesterday, (great manager I would make) but bringing santos on might have been a master stroke. He’s a little hit or miss, but at least he is unpredictable and lifts the crowd

  44. Spot on Shambo.
    Thank God for Gary Neville. Have we noticed Podolski’s game is getting dead? Do we think he is happy playing on the flanks while Gervinho misses chance after chance after chance?

    This is when they make up their minds to leave………………………………………….

    Why is Diaby a starting constant in the midfield? When did Ramsey do enough to merit another constant starting berth in the middle? Every day we play with these two, it is going to be 9 against 11.

    For goodness sakes, we scored 6 at home with Coquelin and the Ox in the middle. What happened to them? Ramsey confuses and bumps into his mates more often than I eat in a day. What is his role exactly? A drifter? It is clear he is allowed to roam free. But drifters should have basic positional and tactical awareness to know when to make runs and when to track back.

    We say Arteta is doing fine as the holding midfielder, for me this is not efficient enough because he can do a better job further forward(where he has played all his life)…..He is not 20 or 22. Is there no one else in the team who can play as a holding midfielder to allow us get more creativity forward? Until Coquelin is injured, there is no real reason Arteta should be playing there. How many goals have we conceded in the last 3 games? When we did not yet concede, I was the only one concerned at why Arteta should be playing so deep. Now, we lost at home to a team still unbeaten. Is there any more justification?

    Gervinho squandered a lot of goals against Citey, why not let him be on the wings so Podolski replaces him there instead?

    Cazorla was man marked against Citey, I would feel a false strategy should’ve been adopted to free him just as Barca do with Messi when it was obvious Ramires was drifting with him. The solution is to let another player do the talking while Cazorla switches position. He can come back in and do his stuff occasionally, but the other player has to have the ability to operate there. Is Ramsey the solution to such a sting? He cannot even pass the ball accurately for one, talk-less of shooting accuracy.

    Mikel is slow, but calm and efficient with his ball distribution. We never targeted, hassled or disturbed him at all, but Arteta was often into all sorts of trouble whenever he was with the ball in our half.

    I do not like to talk about the defense cos something has to happen in the midfield first and in our case, for both goals, something did happen. These are the same personnel we had last season, I actually think our defense has been our strongest asset. If we continue like this, Arteta might be labelled incompetent just like Song was labelled last season. Of course, it was never Song, it was more of how we were organised. Song is doing just fine in Barca, he has not dramatically changed.

    Diaby was very sloppy against citey, against a more efficient team we could’ve been punished(just like Athletico vs Chelsea). It was Ramseys turn yesterday and we were duly punished. Running around(leaving ur position) to try and compensate for the error will only lead to more mistakes.

    Our midfield lacked mobility, Chelsea found a way to stiffle our creativity(Cazorla) and other teams will learn to do so too soon if we dont adapt fast and change our predictability. What we need is to be full of running in the middle, creating spaces for teammates to operate and to receive the ball, not waiting(ball watching).

    Scoring is a delicate issue, we sold our talisman and surprisingly Gervinho(Walcott shoots better) is saddled with the responsibility of taking shots. This is not good enough for a so-called top team. When we set-up like this, we look mediocre. Podolski should be in front just like RVP last season and not Gervinho. This is what he did to Arshavin, Bentner 52, Reyes, Vela, Eduardo etc……it is not fair to us

  45. @ GunnerBoss — I think you need to calm down a little with your comments, as mentioned before. It’s starting to become dominated with your words on here and that’s not really fair to others who might want to comment. Please just consider that saying less might be a more for you, and sticking to one or two clear points without drawing major conclusions might get you a better response from other readers.

    To everyone else, I’ll have my review up for the game a little later today. The simple conclusion is that we looked a work in progress, Chelsea looked a little more polished than us but there’s no reason to panic. Very positive signs and a good season ahead. We don’t have a right to win every game of football, remember that.

  46. The defeat was painful. But guys Wenger never seems to know his team better.Hhe never does his home work against the opponent. We have not lost a game against Chelsea with Wwalcott and Jorou on the pitch and you are guranteed of a goal with Walcott against Chelsea. Am afraid we may never see the goal scoring instincts of Walcott if we loose him in january.Walcott is by all standards a better finisher than Gervinho.Gervinho hasnt demanded for a striking position at all. Wwhy not give walcott a chance.O@Giroud. Am surely running out of patience with this guy.Unless he gets serious my next blogs will be about him as we did for Chamakh. The guy is becoming a joke. He can,t curl his body behind the ball for maximum efficiency and accuracy .His positioning iss good but the finishing abysmal.

  47. @delano
    I think it’s to soon to get On Giroud’s back and frankly he needs the crowd behind him. I thought he showed some good touches and with a little luck he will come good.

    A number of people have come up with very valid reasons why we lost and no doubt the answer is a mixture of them all. However I cant help coming back to the goalkeeper. Mannone has done well, but ask yourself this, if Cech had been in the Arsenal goal and Mannone in Chelsea’s who would have won?

  48. @Andy – Are you sure people do not have internet problems? I would say people are just pissed off with the result………
    “manchester-city-1-1-arsenal-on-this-evidence-we-will-fight-for-the-title” – On this evidence I would say we scrap again for fourth. Inefficiency is killing us. What baffles me is no one is yet talking about Podolski(has no one noticed?), amazing what Wenger gets away with.

    @Delano – Seriously? I dont think you are doing justice here. I think Giroud should be given playing time like Chamakh was and then we can come to conclusions. Judge him after starting 10 straight games.

    For one, I think he is good enough to start every game for us….he just needs to show more hunger to score.

  49. @Andrew Webber Please put up a review as soon as you can! It will be nice to hear a different point of view. I believe we did match up with Chelsea on the day and there is not a lot to separate the two.

    And instead of banging on about what could have been if we used up different players, tactics or coach. I think Chelsea deserves credit for taking their chances when they presented themselves. That goal from Torres was top class and Petr Cech made you appreciate how important goalkeepers are.

    I still think we are contenders for the title if we keep building on our good start. I wonder if Diaby is ok? I still think he is a match winner.

  50. Waiting for Andrew’s review. I think Wenger got it all wrong. He should have played Walcott up front and given Terry a nightmare. Instead our attack was predictable and slow.

    Giroud is starting to look like Chamakh. He needs a good brace to sort his head out!

  51. @ GunnerBoss — I am sure people do not have internet problems because I have received multiple complaints about your tone and the amount of comments you leave on the blog. If you look at this post alone that you will see you have completely dominated: you have posted 18 of 68 comments. This is excessive and leaves no room for the conversation to move in directions that you might not directly affect. Please consider the way you communicate and remember that this community is based on POSITIVITY. If people do not come away from reading the blog feeling that their day is better then there is no point whatsoever to the the blog.

  52. Were things positive when RVP and later Song got sold? I supported this and rallied behind the team. We drew our first matches experimenting with Diaby and later Ramsey. These are matches we should have won, errors were noticed, the team is new and yet we rallied. We won our first game playing fantastic and everyone got on board. We went to City and drew another game we should have won, mistakes noted etc. Why were those mistakes repeated again against Chelsea?

    Is this the POSITIVITY blog? Well, positivity is looking at what is wrong and trying to solve it. This is what i do best. Retsub made 10 comments and 5 of mine were made while watching the game. Did you see that i actually commended the substitutions? If you want positivity, then tell Wenger to stop gambling with the positions. Let us fail fair and square and I bet you there will not be any reason to not be positive.
    E.g. The defensive pairings – How many people are screaming blue murder for his not fielding Mertesacker(despite being on good form)? We certainly missed him, but who saw this coming?

    Secondly Andy – That you insinuate that I make comments no one responds to is terrible and unfair. How many people have come on to say we do the same things over and over, we are very predictable or we have not learnt? If people want to comment, they will, internet or no internet. Please stop blaming me cos I comment very often on your blog. It is an Arsenal blog and I’m a very passionate fan too. I lost my cousin to Chelsea cos of the transfer of Song and RVP….not that you need to know, but this shows you how passionate and emotional people can be about stuff. Maybe this baffles you, but, if i did not care, I would not be here for about 3years now. Period

  53. I can see the passion there and i know you probably want to see the team win as well but to oppose to everything the manager/club does in terms of who plays, what tactics to use, who to buy/sell and how he manages the whole club is NEGATIVE.

    You also dismiss everyone’s comments because YOU have the solution, YOU know the answers and to insinuate that you know it all is not only arrogant and annoying but it also makes other posters like me despise you and not comment just to keep you hushed.

    Nothing personal, but you should learn to take a hint on when to stop and to accept that you dont always get to say the last word.

  54. “but to oppose to everything the manager/club does in terms of who plays, what tactics to use, who to buy/sell and how he manages the whole club is NEGATIVE.” First of all, I do not oppose everything….so this is wrong.

    “You also dismiss everyone’s comments because YOU have the solution, YOU know the answers and to insinuate that you know it all is not only arrogant and annoying but it also makes other posters like me despise you and not comment just to keep you hushed”…This is also wrong cos it is you who did this and made me snap, you dismissed completely what I said without having any sort contribution… stated you merely wanted to understand me better in the last article, but rubbishing what I say while taking up this stance is wrong-this is why i took that personal.

    “Nothing personal, but you should learn to take a hint on when to stop and to accept that you don”t always get to say the last word” – Thank you BrisVegas, I hope you have also learnt to be constructive in ur arguments too….

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