Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 Arsenal: Deserved but not damaging

I suppose it’s easier to say this in hindsight but I don’t think Arsene Wenger was overly concerned with winning last night.

His selection of starting team was far from the strongest – with players like Alex Song, Denilson and Andrey Arshavin given a rest – and I believe he saw this as an opportunity to test some of his younger players.

Craig Eastmond and Johan Djourou were two surprise starters (although in another way, entirely expected) while Emmanuel Eboue played at right-back, Tomas Rosicky in the Cesc Fabregas role and Samir Nasri switched from the right to the left wing to accommodate Theo Walcott.

The result was understandably disjointed and that, combined with the unique difficulty of playing Eastern European team – and a good one at that – away from home made for a difficult night for our boys. In truth, it is nothing that Wenger would not have expected and it gave him a good opportunity to see how our virtual second-string team would cope.

The final answer to that question was ‘not very well’.

We made a bright start through an awesome Walcott goal after 10 minutes but then played poorly. Shakhtar got hold of the ball and dictated the game (as I believed they might in yesterday’s preview) and worked their way back into the game.

Eduardo showed his class again

Their equaliser came through ex-Barcelona defender Dimitro Chygrinskiy, whose header powered in off the unfortunate Eastmond. At first it looked a bad error from Eastmond, who endured a difficult night at the heart of midfield, but replays showed that Chygrinskiy’s touch made it impossible for the Englishman to avoid.

The second goal was far more avoidable and came through a mistake from Gael Clichy. Attempting to shield the ball out of touch, the Frenchman let Dario Srna nip in to steal the ball and he crossed for — guess who? — Eduardo to slide home a trademark finish.

It is not the first time Clichy has made this sort of mistake and you have to wonder whether his ‘play good football at all costs’ mentality is hurting us at the back. Good defenders know when to play football and when to sacrifice good football to clear the danger, yet Clichy continues to make basic errors in his decision-making. It is a worry and as I said earlier in the season, if Kieran Gibbs can get fit for a decent stretch of time, the left-back position will be up for grabs.

From 1-0 up we were 2-1 down at the break and facing a big challange to get back into the game.

While the second half was not dominated by Arsenal the improvement in our performance was encouraging. Wilshere missing a golden chance just after half-time and Sebastien Squillaci having a very decent effort saved by Andriy Pyatov. Shakhtar kept Lukasz Fabianski busy at the other end with a couple of decent efforts yet we always looked more likely to score as Carlos Vela, Marouane Chamakh and Jay-Emmanuel Thomas entered the contest.

In the end the Ukrainian champions held on to record an impressive victory. The win sees them draw level on points with us and with Braga also moving up to six points, there is still a possibility that we could miss the second stage.

In truth that outcome is extremely unlikely: our head-to-head record is favourable against both teams and regardless of the poor result recorded here, we should still top the group.

It’s easy to get frustrated whenever Arsenal loses a game of football — who in their right mind enjoys losing? — but I don’t think there is too much to be worried about with this result. In giving his fringe players an opportunity to play in a difficult atmosphere against a strong team Wenger would surely have known that losing this game was a distinct possibility and despite his post-match comments, will not be too displeased with the performance.

One final mention: Eduardo. The class and professionalism of that man is without question. I hope he enjoyed his moment.


Have your say on Arsenal’s 2-1 loss to Shakhtar Donetsk by leaving a comment.



  1. I love Gael Clichy. I think he can be an amazing left-back.

    A couple of years ago I even thought he was going to surpass Ashley Cole and become the best left-back in the world.

    In fact, I even believed Clichy could have become the best left-back I’ve ever seen in my whole entire stinking existence.

    So what has happened?

    For some reason in the last couple of years he has appeared to go backwards and not pushed on with that potential he has shown in the past.

    He seems to have a major error in him at least once a game. Sometimes we are punished when he cocks up, tonight being an example, and at other times we get away with it.

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with his ability. But I think there is a slight problem mentally perhaps. I’m not saying he is mental like William Gallas or Britney Spears but he must suffer from some kind of mental block at times.

    Clichy seems to get a rush of blood to the head and he loses concentration at crucial times. Either that or he is worried to kick the ball out of play in case he busts a spectators nose or something.

    I’m not trying to kick a man when he is down but his mistake was just basic. And that is embarrasing for someone who plays football for a living.

    If this was just a one-off I’d keep my mouth shut but he has done it so many times in the recent past.

    Cutting out these mistakes can put Gael back up there with the best of them. Ability-wise there isn’t a left-back in the world miles ahead of him. He isn’t far off the likes of Ashley Cole in that respect but his errors will always hold him back.

    Arsene Wenger needs to do something. It isn’t just down to Gael Clichy. Get someone in to help and advise him. And the rest of the defence too. Because if not these mistakes will continue to haunt us.

    Step forward Martin Keown on a full-time basis and not just part-time.

  2. We’ve taken ‘the long way home’ once again and now the initial plan of resting our players for the next 2 games will be shelved as we must try to win both and stay top of the group.

    I think Arsene made some major tactical blunders and should be blamed for the defeat. Some of them are: putting Rosicky and not Nasri in the advance midfield role. And when the midfield became too crowded for Eastmond and Wilshere, he should have swapped the two and bring the Frenchman into the middle to give it some stability. Of course Nasri holds onto ball better than Rosicky.And seeing how quickly we were being closed down, a Nasri would have helped.

    Secondly, seeing you had the trio of Kos, Squillaci available with Djourou, I’ll have taken Eastmond off, brought Kos in and sent Djourou forward a little to partner Wilshere and give him some added strength and presence;he’s played there before, right? Also, seeing Eboue was struggling with Willian’s pace and trickery, Wenger should have sent in Sagna and pushed Eboue to the left(with instructions to sit back) for the woeful Clichy who was having a torrid time handling the experienced and nippy Srna. Then I would have preferred to start Chamakh, do the damage and send Bendy on to finish the job.

    We lost from the bench. Blaming the players for immaturity and complacency shows Wenger either hasn’t learnt anything from past errors in big games or is simply too tactically naive for top level football. When they were becoming complacent and not playing to your instructions, who was supposed to stay by the touchline, gesturing to them, reminding the team/individual players of what to do? If Mourinho was doing it while his stars played away at Milan, what stops Wenger from doing same?

    He keeps forgetting that this team are not the Invincibles who didnt need extra touchline coaching; these ones are young and can be very naive; to leave them to make all the errors and fail and them blame them just doesn’t cut it for me; Wenger blew it and he should admit that much and CHANGE his touchline habit of focusing on the fourth officials/other coaches/players and pay closer attention to his own players for just 90 minutes for a change!

  3. First things first (ah, I learned this expression here) classy pic from Edu, your pics are becoming better and better here, o.k. that’s aside , good to read a more reasonable analysis of yesterday than this hype of criticism after a defeat of Arsenal, it was a poker game, you lost, that’s all, you risked a bit of more pressure as a consequence and now have to live with it, Wenger has the confidence that he can affort it, so one should have this confidence too, but the players should be aware of their responsibility to pay back, to be honest, they are punished for mistakes a bit too often, a bit too easily, and yes I agree with a comment I’ve read: they prefer to do it the difficult way 😎 (in contrast to Theo’s goal yesterday, that was the easy way) 😉

  4. Well i was a bit dissapointed with the result but even more dissapointed that we saw Bentner back with his poor control and poor passing. On the other hand you saw Eduardo a foot shorter than Bentner but putting in more challenges in the air than Bentner.Why on earth did wenger get rid of Eddy when the better solution would have been to get Bentner out .To be honest I’ve never seen a poorer pretender than Bentner.Well Done Eddy for showing what a mistake Wenger made in letting you go instead of Shin and Knee man Bentner.

  5. Gutted about the result & performance yesterday, i didn’t think we were gonna get a positive result with the team we had out. Why was Eastmond thrown into a game as important as that? Eboue had me looking for a Cat to kick in the Shepherds Bush area last night, he’s had a good run at Arsenal but surely this has got to be his last season with us. Clichy has history of making mistakes like that, but he’s under no pressure because Gibbs is injured again. The centre of our defence was exposed again & again because we didn’t have an experienced DM playing, in my opinion Frimpong has a better future at Arsenal than Eastmond, even though he needs to work on his passing at least he can tackle & put the opposition under pressure. Words fail me with Bendtner, what does he offer? The 1st goal they scored was tragic, Wilshere get fouled the Ref gives us the advantage to play on & Bendtner gifts the ball to the opposition with his poor touch & control. The hapless Eboue gets turned inside out & then cynically fouls as usual, the freekick is headed into his own goal by our novice DM Eastmond. I watched Bendtner time after time fail to hold the ball up, you could hear the frustration in Alan Smudger Smith’s voice as he gifted the opposition the ball. As a striker he’s not very good in the air, has poor control, no pace & his workrate is pathetic, but apart from that i agree with that him, that he’s the best striker in the world. Does Theo have any awareness, can you buy it or get coached to adapt it into your game? He must be the most frustrating player to play alongside, a real head down merchant who will rely on his pace for the rest of his career. Rant over!! Oh, the positives, Jack Wilshere, thats it.

  6. Wow, those comments are longer than the blog.. i’ll keep mine short 🙂

    I didnt think we played that bad actually, considering the list of first teamers absent from the lineup for whatever reason. Ultimately we were let down by two errors – Clichy’s was an obvious one, and the first goal was from a really poor turnover of possesion while Wilshere was down injured. Eastmond was blameless for the deflection, although maybe he could have made a call to one of the centrebacks that he had been left marking their big man.

  7. Granted Clichy did make a mistake, but you failed to mention how Eboue got burned time and time again.

  8. Mr. Weber do you honestly think Clichy is that bad or is it because he is French and maybe you would prefer and English player to fill his position- namely the immature Kieran Gibbs. Is Clichy not playing the Arsenal type of football which involves hanging on to the ball no matter what, even towards the face of the opponent’s goal. Did Gibbs not cost us the Champions league?. I have always loved Arsenal for it’s diversity but it’s people like you that what to kill that culture. Go you Gunner Clichy.

  9. @ Steven “When they were becoming complacent and not playing to your instructions, who was supposed to stay by the touchline, gesturing to them, reminding the team/individual players of what to do?”
    Thanks mate for putting it in such a clear way. This is what I have been saying for ages. For all the good things that AW is doing for Arsenal, he lets down himself & the team by not constantly engaging with his team during the 90 minutes.
    Is he technically naive? Well, there have been a number of games in the past which force you to ask that question…

  10. A slightly negative point but when it comes to goal scorers I can’t quite understand why we let Eduardo leave but kept Vella. Eduardo is a natural born finisher, Vella is another in the midfield-cum-striker mould and we already have a surfeit of those, Sadly, because I admire Vella’s skills and his work ethic, I just don’t think he’s going to make it as a long term Arsenal player.

  11. Hi lads, i only caught the second half of the game as i went to watch an F.A youth cup game at Canvey Island in Essex. Brentford 5 Concord Rangers 0, fantastic match by the way. I thought your boys looked a little light weight in the middle. It seemed very easy for Shak Don to RUN through your MF. TW looked quite sharp but needs to practice shooting a little more as he shatched one or two of his half chances. JET should have been on much earlier. Good luck to the ENGLAND undr 16’s tonight on Sky, look out for JACK JEB (fabs) BRANDEN ORMAN (cole) AND AUSTIN LIPPMAN (Henry), all arsenal undr 15 boys and ones for the future.
    Up de ammers.

  12. @ Blackbox – I cannot believe you have written such a comment. I have absolutely no qualms about what nationality it is that plays the position – just that we have the best player for the job. Clichy made a mistake, there is no denying it, and he has made similar mistakes throughout this season and previously. I like him as a player but these mistakes are costing us. In contrast from the games that he has played, Gibbs looks ready for a first choice role in the team.

    You say it is people like me that kill the culture: what an absolutely ridiculous statement. To have a go at someone who writes a blog virtually every day of the year, with as much thought and as little bias as possible, with the intention of promoting a positive atmosphere around the Arsenal community is laughable.

    If anyone is killing the culture it is you, slagging off someone for one article when they decide to question the negative impact that a certain player may be having on the defence.

    Grow up.

  13. i didn’t found the game as i expected because the shaktars were well performed to control the ball at the midfield and they disabeled the attacking players not get appropriate balls from the mid as cesc done when he is there.

  14. @Andrew Weber

    Don’t take that guy any notice mate, just another one that’s quick to judge. He prob have not been reading this blog to realize the partisanship you practice.

    I agree Clichy has been making mistakes, really costly ones almost simmilar to Almunia and Fabianski.

    Hey blackbox, wise up son or you can jog on whichever rocks your boat.

  15. This Clichy of a guy is funny, I cant count how many times his mistake has cost arsenal a victory. His lack of concentration for just 2 or 3 seconds against b’harm 3 or 4 season ago did not only cost arsenal victory but the title as well, 2 seasons ago, it was against spurs. He need to be talked to

  16. @andy,
    No point in entertaining idiotic comments my man, everyday readers of the blog know what you are about, obviously this guy hasnt a clue….. ‘gibbs cost us the champions league’……COME OUT OF THE FOG
    How you keepin mate? Can we have scott parker?
    On last nights game. I have no problem with being beat by a good footballing side like Shaktar…but I was very dissapointed with the performance of the back four, Iv stated my reservations about Djourou while I dont rate Squillachi at all and neither look capable individually or as CB partners. Eboue was poor from the off, his worst game in a long time but hes entitled to have a bad one to be fair…..Clichy is the second most infuriating player for me behind Arsha in our squad, 7/10 he makes the wrong decision……yes it was shocking for the goal last night but he never recovered and even with 6 mins left when leaving the rb in his wake and the shaktar cb coming to meet him he somehow decided the early cross was the correct choice with rosicky, vela and chamakh all roaring up in support….he has composure when he should be whalloping the ball away and he panics when we need composure…..I would say Gibbs is certainly the more intelligent in footballing terms even at this early stage and will take the position when fit.
    Well done Fabiamski again last night…..capable performance although I still want schezny in goal.
    When is RvP back

  17. In big European fixtures like yesterdays game, i think Eboue is simply not up for the job at right-back.

    If he shows a similar performance in 3 weeks time against Tottenham, would anybody bet on him even bothering a very in-form Gareth Bale.

    Arsenal <3

  18. Clichy was a hero for us v the hammers in unarguably a more important game in the context of our overall season. I didn’t see this game as they didn;t show it on ESPN or SBS down under. As soon as you saw the list of players not making the trip you sensed that Wenger had not given the match abig priority which could come back and bite him. but let’s be honest,, a full strength team will deal with the other two teams comfortably and we probably only need one result from the two games.

    I agree with the comment about Eduardo over Vela. I haven’t seen Vela do anything to justify his place. I would keep Bendtner though – he has already scored a couple of cracking goals coming back after injury. For all his faults he still has that knack of banging them in when we need them.

  19. Wilshere could have tied the game and that would have been good enough. Such a glorious chance! Should have scored… On his let favoured foot as well.

  20. It was important to rest players and i hope it will pay dividends against teams like Newcastle over the weekend. The silly loss was painful to take but i believe with V.persie playing in one of the remaining two games we should be able to lead the group.We have to admit we were thumped by a decent side and remember it took arsenal good spells of time before we could break them down at the emirates. There was no way youngsters like Eastmond were going to work miracles in such an atmosphere. The only blame i cast is on Wengers tactics.By his team leading on an away tie he can never tell them to sit back and catch the opponent on the counter attack. Thats the reason we have Walcott on the team. Wenger is sometimes the fans and clubs problem. He always over assumes with no caution at all.Arsenal doesn’t need to play well in order to win a game. For the times he has been cautious by playing 4,5,1 we have won games @. Man City, in 2006 Arsenal _Bar ca , Madrid _Arsenal Henry’s goal. Wengers tactics defeat arsenals cause. I hope resting players doesn’t back fire tomorrow like we struggled to defeat West ham at home.

  21. I cannot believe that Holland have called-up Robin van Persie for their friendly with Turkey on November 17.

    What surprises me even more is that van Persie will actually join up with the Dutch.

    Surely Arsenal should be Robin’s priority?

    It seems he has spent more time off the pitch than on it in recent years so doesn’t he owe it to Arsenal to get fit, actually play for us, earn his wages, and not swan off to play in a meaningless friendly?

    Of course I can understand that being called-up for your country is a major honour and privilege but look at Michael Essien. The Ghanaian has stopped playing for his nation in the short-term to focus on playing for Chelsea.

    Maybe Robin van Persie should do the same thing and focus his career on Arsenal, the club who nurse him though the injuries, the club who pay his wages, and the club who stay loyal to him despite him never being available.

    I’m not having a pop at van Persie here, I just think his priorities are wrong. He owes it to Arsenal, Arsene Wenger and us, the fans, to begin playing regular football.

    Robin, for me, loves Arsenal and clearly loves playing for his country but he needs weigh things up. I’m sure a break from international football would help him in the long-run despite it being painful turning down Holland in the short-term.

    Essien has done it, so can van Persie.

  22. Shambo, Nice to hear from you mate. I dont have as much time to burn as last season due to major cut backs at work…still at least i av a job. If Arsene can find £15m-£20m in a brown paper bag you can BEAM UP SCOTTY, but i DONT THINK HE HAS THE POWER. spot on with your analysis on Djourou, there is something missing from the boy, he seems to ave very little presence and weight (Tony Adams) for a SH, perhaps it will come with age or games under his belt. Shaktar seemed to work your boys out and stuck to a plan. Gooooooood luck for the rest of the season. After all my build up of the England u16 game the bloody thing was rained off in Paddy land. Watch out for the rescheduling.
    No positive updates on the ammers, hopefully we can hang onto the bottom of the table and purchase one or two additions after Santa,s presents.

  23. Andrew, great blog as ever but there are sure some anti-arsenal types who read and comment. keep up the good work.

  24. Said this before the match, but will say it again. This was a result we could have given up easily, should have kept several first string home. We have 4 to 10 goal tie breaker on all of them and have to beat all the best to get to final. Shaktar are very strong at home and showed why. Still love Clichy, but agree that Gibbs could be better. Kudos to Eduardo, maybe should have been kept ahead of Vela, but these are all kids, and very good at that. As little as a draw at Arsenalistas puts us in knockouts. Theo great speed on wing and don’t give Bale too much credit; pace of serie a is much slower than perm, though as at least one eighth Taffy, I like Bale’s performance v Inter. We are still strong in all competitions despite our horrendous injury status. It always looks easy when it goes in the net, but it’s not. Andy, don’t worry about criticism, you took it on, take them on(me included)

  25. I am late to this thread, but anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that Weber does not favor one nationality over another. The opposite is true. The focus is on the game, and there’s great posts on an almost daily basis. As for the match, there’s no great shame in losing to Shakhtar away on an Eduardo goal with younger players getting a run-out.

  26. This vanpercy thing is really is really stress. But what i don’t understand vanpercy is out for 5 months last season strolls off and plays every game in the world cup for only 6 weeks Why did he get the same amount of break time from arsenal as the players who played more games than him after the world cup? he should have come back to arsenal sooner because of the time he was out.
    Now he’s just back and will play for holland. I know he must go if called but he can make the difference here just have a quite word with vanmarwick to give him some off time with arsenal.
    But you now what I ‘v never rated vanpercy as a top player he is a good player but not world class part of that is because he is never fit How wenger has put up with this man for so long i don’t know.
    By the way good luck guys tomorrow give Newcastle 5…………….

  27. We’ve lost to Newcastle…… even after putting much priorities to this match. I guess losing Nasri made us a lot weaker than I would’ve imagined. Again FABs was not at his best, I don’t know how bad Jack’s injury was, but i guess he should’ve stayed on….since we were now playing 4-2-4

  28. Arsenal lost 1-0 to Newcastle. Of course, a shocking loss. I can foresee a carbon-copy of last season happening. A combination of foolish goalkeeping and stupid defending costing us the trophies. With a defense as shaky as this, we can’t think of winning. I am sorry Mr.Wenger, but you are hurting the fans !! I am deeply hurt and depressed. Football is a game and you have to play it to win it ! If teams like Newcastle can come to the so-called EMIRATES stadium and walk away with victories like this, there is no use playing the beautiful game. It is AS SIMPLE AS THAT. I am getting the feeling that Arsenal fans should praise the team when we win, and support the team in defeat and not to worry too much about it. If we think about winning trophies, WE ARE DREAMING. I became a fan of Arsenal after your invincible season,[2003-04 if I am right] I don’t know everything about the club. But what I know is most certainly, we will be finishing in 3rd or 4th again, bowing out of the champions league by virtue of these so-called defenders and blaming it on injuries and the ‘SO-CALLED YOUNG PLAYERS’.

    In spite of all this, I will continue to be a fan of our club and continue to dream about something happening 🙁

    Dream on…

  29. If Arsene Wenger makes a single excuse today I will be exceptionally disappointed. That was truly pathetic. We are a far better team than Newcastle, to lose at home to them is a joke. West Brom are a good side, there is almost an element of ‘fair enough, they’re a good team’ about them. Newcastle are’t a good team. This defeat is a reflection of just how bad we have been and if Wenger moans about something and doesn’t blame the players, he’ll be making a terrible mistake. After a performance that bad, you have to blame the players, otherwise they won’t learn the lessons of what was a truly shocking display. I can accept us having an off day against a genuinely decent side who play well, like West Brom, or Chelsea. Newcastle though, are a genuinely poor team. Nolan, Caroll, Ranger…these players aren’t any good! How can we possibly lose to a team containing such rubbish? Wenger has serious questions to answer.

  30. Very, very disappointing. Any other newly promoted teams want to school us at our home ground!?

  31. I’m expecting to read alot of bile spewed by the most fickle supporters in the Premier League.

    In a week when:
    Arsenal’s reserves lost 0-2 to Villa’s youngsters.
    Arsenalcontrived to be outplayed by some European unknowns
    and Arsenal’s first teamers have lost at home to Newcastle

    perhaps we can get down from our ivory towers and realise that Arsenal, as a whole, are a good club, run very well etc. BUT they are NOT a TOP side.

    Expectations need to be lowered around here and the general patronising, condescending tone projected towards other clubs should be toned down a little. Each time I check this site out after a match there seems to be so much egg on the faces of its authors that it becomes a rather cringe-inducing, painful read.

  32. Well, the obvious target is the defense, but I thought that Arsenal’s defense played well. Remember that Newcastle crushed Sunderland last week and have been known to put points on the board. Newcastle have scored only two less goals than Arsenal. This means that they have scored more goals than Spurs, City, and Liverpool. So, while Newcastle may not be the cream of the crop, they know how to score, and our defense did very well today to shut them down (except for the header which was just a really good play). For me, Arsenal lost this match three matches ago. Arsenal were averaging 3 goals per game, but have only scored two goals in the last three matches (including Shaktar). The strategy going forward has to change. Fabregas DID NOT have a good match today. That’s one clear take away. Wilshere was the stud of the midfield today, no questions. Second, we need better play on the wings. This will not be anti- Theo rant. I rate Theo very highly, but he is clearly an out and out striker. He’s never really been a true winger for me. I’m not saying that Walcott will become Henry, but Henry struggled on the wings before Wenger converted him to an out and out striker. Some people can do it, some can’t. Henry couldn’t really do it, and Theo really can’t. Theo has the pace, but not really the ball control skills that I think Wingers need. We need someone on the wing with both pace AND the ball control skills. We have players with one or the other, but not both. When the midfield struggles like today, we need better play on the wings. There is a reason why the team ame to life in the second half when Arshavin came on. Obviously, he can play on the wings, but has both ball control and pace. We need this on both sides. This is what we need in the transfer window. OR, Wenger could just have Theo spend hours and hours on ball control. I’m fine with either one. What ever anyone thinks, it’s clear is that the squad’s problem has been going forward, not defense. Giving up three goals in three matches should NOT be a problem for a team that averages 3 goals/game.

    I am actually happy with the squad’s defense (please Gibbs return soon and stay healthy, and just got Cahill and the squad will be fantastic defensively!), and I’m happy with Fabianski in goal.

  33. so sick of this from arsenal. another chance lost to close the gap. newcastle is an ok team, but if arsenal can not pull out wins against decent teams they are not proving to be any better. what is frustrating is that they are a better team, but don’t prove it enough.

  34. good comments above by dimi & LAGunner.
    In my opinion, it was wrong to take Nasri off. I would have switched him to the right & brought on Arshavin on the left for Chamakh and push Walcott in to the striker’s role. Walcott will never prosper as a winger. His crosses (decision & timing) aren’t good at all.
    He already showed this season several times that he can do the job upfront.

  35. Jesus Christ. I’ve already said a full strength Newcastle would be a different beast to the team we beat comfortably in the Carling Cup, but then in my heart of hearts I knew we’d also be ringing the changes and reverting to a full strength team. Before yesterday I was slightly nervous, having watched Newcastle bully and outplay Chelsea, Everton, Villa and West Ham – but I had hope that however far they stepped up, we’d reach one step higher.

    It wasn’t to be.

    We conceded a shitty goal, from a shitty mistake, to a massive (but awesome, it has to be said) shit. Carroll played well all game, I’m not surprised he won man of the match. His hold up play was excellent and largely seemed to unsettle Koscielny.

    I don’t want to dwell too much on the game except to say I didn’t think we were all that bad. We certainly weren’t great and we didn’t create much at all, but on a different day Fabianski would have stayed on his line and Nasri’s shot would have gone in the net and we’d all be saying how good it was to see Arsenal grind out a win.

    A couple of players had off games, Chamakh (whom I rate v. highly) and Fabregas (obviously not fit) were most notable, but equally Song needs to learn that he’s not the new Steven Gerrard (seriously now, Wilshere is far more creative and skilled and yet Song was further forward than him for most of the match).

    As for Wilshere, he was our best player and we took him off. Both Song and Fabregas were poor in comparison, and somehow…. I just don’t get it.

    Still, I said yesterday during the game and I’ll repeat it here, I’d rather score a late goal in another game that converts a draw into a win (+2pts) than equalise to gain a draw (+1pt).

    Manchester United are unbeaten, and yet they are only 3 points ahead of us (and we’ve lost 3). It just goes to show what a feckless result is, a draw. 1pt is only 1pt more than a loss. The real money is in the win. Or something.

    So Fabianski made another mistake, but it wasn’t the mistake itself that upset me, it was the nature of it. Fabianski hesitated, and wasn’t 100% committed and that’s what led to the error. Can you imagine Lehmen do that? He’s have punched Carroll’s cock head of his cock shoulders. It’s fine missing the ball, in my book, mistakes happen, but shit me look like you want to win it.

    I thats where Sscgxgxgfehfejfje would excel. He doesn’t appear to take prisoners. Like ironically we saw in the first few minutes against Newcastle when he came rampaging off his line trying to kill the Newcastle forward, Lone Ranger. That was still a mistake (he could well have been sent off) but he looked 100% committed to fucking the player up.

    Anyway – as those of you who follow me on Twitter (@kieran_delaney) will have noticed this tweet, retweeted by the delightful @Orbinho. If you don’t already, follow him. He’s like OptaJoe but more Arsenal orientated.

    Liverpool (who have had an awful season & are in crisis) will go level on points with world-beaters Spurs, if they win today. (via @Orbinho)

    And he was right, they would have done. And they did. It just goes to show what a load of bollocks we get spouted at us by the media. Liverpool went through a shit patch but (unfortunately) they’ll bounce back. Hopefully no higher than 8th. And Spurs are no world beaters.

    Equally, Chelsea, a team who will walk away with the league, who are untouchable, showed they are quite frail when their luck doesn’t hold. Torres second goal was fantasticly well struck, but the defending was awful, they invited him in the box and John Terry pointed Torres in the direction of the goal before stepping aside for the shot.

    Lovely to see mind, in the papers, that Chelsea missed key personnel. Fuck off did they! Drogba (for 45)/Anelka/Malouda, first choice defence, #1 goalkeeper. They even had Ramires and Mikel in the middle, two players most of you will know I rate very highly indeed. This team was beaten by 11 players that included such luminaries as Konchesky, Lucas and Kelly. For fucks sake, we should peddle that excuse – Tommy V out, RVP coming back from injury, Fabregas injured, and a painted helium balloon in goal.

    And Manchester United? Still despicable wankers.

  36. Bad taste in the mouth again. When will Wenger purchase or promote a slightly different type of player or style for these kind of matches. I said the team looked lightweight in the champ league. This team is built for going forward in style with the ball, not defending without it. It plays well when the energy is high because all of the players are high energy and skillful. But at times it must lay on the ropes and take some punches (rope-a-dope style) like a boxer. Unfortunately thats where it’s problem are……the team can’t because it’s not built to. There is not enough musscle to take the body punches so it gets knocked down and winded for a count of 3. No amount of experience will enable the team to survive on the ropes.
    What the fuck am i on.
    Any way de irons managed to chuck away 2 points……whats new.
    Grant you i will keep supporting the boys.
    Up de ammers.

  37. That was a joke display from a team who put on these lethargic, predictable displays half a dozen times every season since the invincible side, no guts,no pride no determination except from wilshere and song, and watching wenger and rice with the now all too familiar ‘deer in headlights’ expressions just makes your blood boil… know when newcastle come to ours they can only hurt you in one department so any manager worth his salt should tell the players ‘no needless concession of frees or corners’ and ‘mark their big men tightly, in their shorts if needs be for setplays’…..but no!!!!! Wenger thinks that the way we play should prevail every time and that another team shouldnt have the cheek to execute a gameplan of their own..not just that but he never changes our style to out match the opposition and our team ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH to dictate their style in every game like barcelona…….Fabianskis a clown. had he stayed on his line their was no danger, but where was the GOALSIDE ‘defender’ blocking the run or getting himself between carroll and the ball??? it was hardly a beckham whipped delivery, it was a harmless almost aimless punt into an area they KNEW arsenal are weak in…pathethic and if it wasnt too common at this stage i wouldnt be as angry but only wenger cant see it…..all these ‘lesser’ managers and players can see it but our great manager cant so what does this mean??????
    Look at liverpool yesterday at home after been on the floor a month ago, look how the manager got them to raise their game for chelsea and the APPLICATION of the liverpool players….hats off they got stuck in and deserved their win, the margin could have been more.
    Whats with this fascination with 4-5-1??????????????? half the world is doing it now and the other half are set up to counter-act it….wheres the variety, the plan b????
    We used to be trend setters and different from our rivals, now it seems to me we are plucking ideas from both united and chelsea in a desperate attempt to catch up whilst scrounging and skimping along the way……..summer signings of Chamakh, Koscielny and Squillachi…..are you f£$king serious dude???

  38. I said it ……Chamakh does not have speed. We wasted Walcott on the wings, he would’ve done better in the middle.
    Good points Shambo

  39. It isnt surprising that this team sometimes lacks belief. That comes with experience. I grew up in Canada during the late-70′s, early 80′s and watched the great Edmonton Oilers team of that time develop. It was amazing to watch. They had a slew of future all-time greats in the team, all teenagers. Wayne Gretzky (the greatest ever), Mark Messier (in the top 5 of greatest ever), Paul Coffey (one of the greatest defenders ever), Jari Kurri (one of the greatest pure goalscorers ever), Grant Fuhr (the best pressure ‘keeper of his era), Glenn Anderson, Kevin Lowe (both hall of famers). It was a remarkable team. It took that team, one of the greatest ever, years to learn how to win. The first year they all came through they didnt even make the playoffs. The next year they made the playoffs, upset the defending champion, but lost rudely in the next round, the next year they had the best regular season record but lost in the 1st round of the playoffs. The next year they made the Final. It was 1984 before they finally won, when Gretzky, the greatest ever player, won his first Stanley Cup. They won 4 out of the next 5 years until Gretzky was traded because the Oilers owner needed cash.

    That team had some of the greatest hockey players that have ever walked the earth and it still took them 5 years to win. They needed to grow up.

    Cesc is 23. Jack is 18. Samir is 22. Theo is 21. Song is 23. Denilson 22. Ramsey 19. Kos, Djourou and TV are all 25 or under. This team is still growing. They will have growing pains along the way. But to expect a team of youngsters to challenge an experienced and battle-hardened Chelsea side is expecting a lot.

  40. Some may say it’s too early, but at this rate (3 lost out of 11) we can kiss goodbye to the Prem title & we should rather focus on the domestic cups. If possible try to go as far as we can in the CL.
    The team is still growing. It’s evident from the glaring mistakes our players commit week in week out. A couple of decent signings could have done the trick (a goalie & a holding player) but that is sadly not in Wenger’s plan.
    At least beat Wolves & let’s get over the Toon loss. C’mon u Gunners!!!!!

  41. Chamakh was the one who failed to/ didnt bother his arse tracking the run of Carroll, Carroll who is one of the best header’s of the ball in the PL…who were Squillachi and Koscielni marking???? The prolific Ameobi???? Poor preparation, its either that or more arrogance on the part of the manager at not havin the finer details nailed down……you just dont get the impression that everyone knows their job. Is this stuff worked on at training….if so who attacks the ball like a Carroll in these sessions because I dont know one arsenal player who puts themselves in harms way for the cause, yeah they get injured but there normally freak accidents or ridiculous incidents such as the Nasri injury which forcedhim off for treatment in a nothing tackle where he over-ran the ball first half.
    @Gunnerboss & ice,
    Why has no-one mentioned the allegations of Wenger having an affair on here?????this will have a serious effect on the team and club, a man who preaches about honesty and integrity and who has widely been labelled a hypocrite outside our club and, in some quarters, a liar within our club by fans………it can only spell more trouble and theres no way his mind can be on the job at hand, hes under serious pressure now.
    We are the first top 4 team in PL history to lose to two promoted teams at home and I never thought Id see the day when Id come on an Arsenal blog and see fellow fans calling West Brom a very good team- their not, their a capable side who happen to have alot of the same type player as us, take jara for instance, but they had more determination and a gameplan that day and APPLIED themselves more,, I cant emphasise that enough, the difference in the way this Arsenal team applies itself…its not up to standard, I used to blame individuals like Nasri, Eboue, Bendtner, Diaby and Denilson but these players have improved and shown character this season so the blame has to fall squarely with Wenger for not having these guys in the right frame of mind for these games… can forgive the West Brom game, but if your a manager you have strong words with them before the west ham game, it didnt happen and we got lucky- did we learn????? did Wenger send out a focused, determined and inspired side ready to put down a pshycological marker to Chelsea before a game away to liverpool at Anfield in which it would be possible for them to slip up????? NOOOOOOOOOOOO we got the same performances as west brom and west ham, weve gone form a team who couldnt beat the top teams to a team who cant beat the top teams & the ‘mediocre’ ones…………I never thought Id say this but Wenger has lost the plot, he has no idea in what direction he wants to go but the way he has been going and thats scary, you have to be able to identify a problem and solve, and hes just hoping for a miracle while sticking stubbornly to his course.
    NO SILVERWARE AGAIN THIS SEASON. I said it after the transfer window shut and theres nothing surer, this team dont have the bottle or intelligence to win a league, nor the consistency to win a cup…mix that with a manager who doesnt know his best 11 or best formation and doesnt know a goalkeeper from a sac of potatoes and doesnt want a player unless he has french pedigree and its amazing really that we are ctill considered a top team.
    Where are all the people who said the performances at spurs and wigan and blackburn were freak occurances last season, eh?
    So sick of it now, is anyone going to stand up and say this isnt good enough and take responsibility????? No, because there is no opposition manager, rash tackling midfielder, poor official or overspending billionaire to blame now, no excuses Wenger, hed rather say nothing at all than take responsibility and quickly walk down the tunnel after the game…………..I defy someone to name an Arsenal player the other day who broke a sweat or put in a tackle bar Wilshere or Song….its woeful that this guy cant get the best out of these players, none of them fear him because theres no competition for places.
    Absolutely sick of this mediocre merry-go-round

  42. @treson,
    Absolutely spot on, Fabregas will grow up and go on and win medals, but not with Arsenal….these guys think their bigger and better than what they are, their footballers, and if a Barcelona or Real Madrid come knocking do you really think Nasri, Song or Arshavin wouldnt favour a move to a serious outfit???
    C’mon, we are only grooming these guys for someone else, its a kop out on wengers part and a ruse, by the time these guys get to mid twentys theyl be sold and youl be talking about Wilshere, Eastmond and Gibbs the same way your talking about these now…thats what he does, theres always other players to label with potential while shielding the truth that youv let Flamini go on a free and that youv done it again with Merida, you keep a striker like Bendnter but sell a striker like Eduardo………Chelsea and Utd want success now, thats how they set themselves up and thats why they acheive…..these guys have been given excuses so much about their youth and inexperience that its now as easy just to not acheive, you dont give a player a excuse, you demand a standard, your playing for Arsenal. THEY DONT KNOW WGAT IT TAKES OR HOW TO WIN THE PL……theres noone there to show them thanks to Wenger……maybe Almunia can show them what it takes to be successful…..the only medals he has are from his pilgrimage to Lourdes.
    Seriously, how many existing medals in this Current Arsenal team?

  43. Personally i think the problem lies with the team structure,and ultimately with the coach,for years he´s tried to bring in players,mostly attacking players, and play them where he thinks they are most effective,and not where they are used to playing in their former clubs. Its been going on for years now,and while its brought dividends in the past,its presently hurting us now, Converting TH 14 from a winger to a striker was obviously a master stroke,converting kolo toure from right midfielder to a defender had its ups and down,cause while he was there,we were known for not being able to head out set pieces,while kolo was ok in his job, he was not a defender from the start,but adapted to it fairly well,but in the case of hleb rosicky,nasri walcot,its not working,our attack is too one dimensional,and thats from the middle,why? Cause the mentioned players,were used to operating from the middle,and not from the wings,hleb was an attacking middfielder,we made him into a winger,same with TR 7 and samir nasri, wallcot was a striker in his former club and wenger sent him to the wings when he came here, IMO, you can´t get the best out of a player by deploying him where he is not used to,the glory days of overmars,pires wiltord causing havoc on other teams happened cause these guys were naturally, wingers, and,we could attack from left right middle,you name it,we had it. And until we find a solution for this,it will be easy for other teams to figure out just where we going to be focused in attack,even arshavin,in his old club played behind the striker,now he´s got to operate from,yeah you guessed it,from the wings. Its not always gonna work this way,how many good crosses are coming in from our wingers? Instead its the right and left backs thats been whipping the ball in, So its predictable that after struggling to score against west ham,other team watched and learned,so a change is needd,chamakh in the air is one of the hardest player to defend,so i want to see someone other than clichy and sanga sending in a cross for this guy to attack.

  44. I totally understand feeling bad losing to Newcastle, but I don’t understand the reasons people think we lost. We didn’t lose to Shaktar and Newcastle because we were so defensively poor, or as poor as we were last year. The squad didn’t lose because the holding midfielders didn’t play particularly well. The team lost because the attacking players didn’t play well, INCLUDING Fabregas. To say that Fabregas and Nasri will go on to win trophies elsewhere presumes that these guys are so great and everyone else is the problem. Fabregas was part of the problem IF NOT the main problem with the squad’s performance against Newcastle. We also need to realize that we are in a tough league this year. The team that wins the trophy this season will have about 3-5 loses and 2-5 draws. The great Chelsea already has TWO loses. United has none, but they have five draws which amounts to about two loses already. United just BARELY beat Wolves. It’s just tough this year, and tough for everyone. Let’s at least wait until after the holiday before we throw in the towel!

    On another note, anyone know why Ramsey didn’t feature tonight for the Reserves? I thought that he was supposed to be in the lineup.

  45. @shambogunner – as you know I respect your posts and you do have some interesting things to say from time to time but you’re throwing the rattle out of the pram again. And why do we only hear these rants when Arsenal lose? Where was the pro-Arsenal rant when we beat man shitty 3-0 in their backyard? It’s simply not true to say that the team was ‘lethargic’ and had ‘no guts’ etc. I watched the match. I have eyes. This defeat was nothing like the West Brom one so don’t start inventing things just because you have an axe to grind. It wasn’t even a bad display from us. Just a frustrating one because once again we failed to ‘grind out a win’ when we damn well should have done and we know damn well that our rivals – would have done. – witness the horrible manc wanks injury time winner against Wolves – No. We should never have lost at home to this Newcastle team but it wasn’t through lack of trying and we were a trifle unlucky. The main problem is we almost never keep a clean sheet so if we don’t score we lose. I’ve no idea what the stats are but we must concede many many more goals than the other rivals. Anyway all this is well known along with our famous hesitancy to JUST SHOOT sometimes. So – as we haven’t changed in those departments we won’t win the Prem this season but we have improved and should be able to nick a cup. It’s a start.
    As for your comments about Arsene Wenger’s personal life – shame on you. Or to put it in French – ‘Honi soit qui mal y pense’.

  46. @nonny,
    I never said anything negative about Wengers personal life, I simply alluded to the fact that whats going on cant be good for him, the club or the team, its a huge distraction and could be very damaging for all involved, so I wont be hanging my head in shame over what I said, its the truth.
    I also enjoy your comments, one of the first I look for, but it WAS lethargic and lacked passion and is symtomatic of the performances weve seen the last few years, like at wigan, like at spurs and like at blackburn last season, against hull and the likes the year before at HOME, nothings changed for all Wengers promising and smokescreens. If your an Arsenal player on Sunday youv seen Utd stumble to a win at home on Saturday, youv seen Spurs, Liverpool and City drop points so far and youv lost points tamely at sunderland away, home to wba and just scrambled overt he line against west ham, undeservedly,… know chelsea could drop points at anfield and you have a chance to put pressure on them before they go out and close the gap to 2 points. So you explain to me how any professional footballer with title aspirations, even title aspirations aside actually, could go out and put in a pathetic display like the one we seen, you cant say it wasnt coming, instead of putting the two previous home performances to bed they went out and produced more of the same and ion any line of work thats poor.
    If we deserved more from the game then where were the guilt edged chances??the great save3s from krul that denied us???
    And just touching on your point about us losing when we cant keep clean sheets, its a fair point but we still didnt look capable of scoring over 4 hours of play on sunday so the best we could have got was a draw, like I said before when Newcastle come to town you know they are limited in where they can hurt you and that goal was a bad joke….a free FLOATED in from the middle of the field, a defensively lazy Chamakh and a benny hill goalkeeper…joke.
    I will always cheer on the boys and give praise when its due, Im just not as quick to hand it out as some…..this squad of players are not good enough to win anything, and I tried to come to terms with it ages agon but everytime I do that man Wenger tells me different and I take it i like a fool… tell those season ticket holders paying fortunes of their hard earned cash that this is good enough.

  47. Boy i don’t know to start the goal keeper issue is a joke BUT we all knew in the summer we needed a replacement NONE came.
    On the game i must say i ‘v seen some bad performances int past from this group but this was the worst of the lot. I mean new castle are a average team at best how the hell a team with title aspirations loose this match even the westbrom game Yes they played well but these players are not as good as ours SO the issue here must be tactics AND thats where Arsenal loose most of our games.
    I remember clearly that cesc said at the world cup that wenger does not study the opponent in modern football that is a big mistake. For years i wondered why arsenal keep loosing the MANU, Chle, and all the big guns the answer is simple bad or no idea about the opposition. Wenger says and I quote ” We concentrate on our strengths” BUT you must study the opposition as much because they are studying you for sure.
    The great Jose Mourinho said a manager does not have to prepare his tean for games against the big club because the player pomp themselves up for these kind of games its the games against the small clubs that manager must be able to motivate his men.
    So we loose to CHEL, MANU they are big and you accept that but to WESTBROM and,NEWCASTLE at home, give me a break and some of you guys come here making excuses get real.
    I think and this is my opinion wenger is beginning to loose that dressing room, WHY? the answer is simple the players don’t buy into what he is doing so long we have not won anything how could they keep this up. He says every year we improve but the point don’ t show that look at the number of goals we’ ve let in it is a joke i know this defense is new but give me a break evey game silly goals get by us.
    And we have the balls to appeal the red card on sunday its red we can talk all we want about last man bad defending he got too tight that’s what we should be concerned about.
    Arsenal have benefited from teams being down to 10 men on may occasion this season. Did wenger complain no he did not teach the blasted defenders to defend or buy proven quality.
    AS i said at the start of the season January is best to give a complete analysis of this team but so far that might be too long to wait.
    AND i dont blame the players the keeper can continue to make mistakes as much as he want the team can refuse to shoot in the box the wing backs can continually play bad crosses we can let in goals for fun arshavin can continue to be lazy song can continue to behave like an attacking midfielder whose to blame you all know who.
    BUT as he says judge me at the end of the season I wonder does he mean the end of his contract as well?

  48. haha this post reminds me of funny thing my lad got involved in, he walked on to soaked napkin, shout “craaaaaaa*” and fell… + tray flew to shirt of by stander, this happened at our engagement haha…

    Anyways story short, you have written quite good article, makes me smile.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.