The Armchair Gooner

An Arsenal blog bringing you news, opinion and humour on a daily basis. Well, I'll try at the very least…

And Sanogo Puts It Into Orbit…. Arsenal Fall To Poor Defeat.

“Yaya, what have I told you about leaning back before you strike the ball?!”

Afternoon folks.

Apologies for the lateness of post again today. You may lay the blame at the door of my future wife this time. Truthfully, I’m glad of the extra time to write today’s entry. There’s a bewildering ocean of opinion out there and without a little time to think for yourself it would be easy to sink to the bottom.

Losing at Stoke is bad enough. Accusations of “roughing us up” and howls of derision aimed toward the dubious penalty award might be justified in some respects, but the bottom line is Arsenal didn’t play well, didn’t create chances and, on the whole, looked lethargic and disinterested. As much as I can understand the need to find an explanation that enables the blame to be put elsewhere, it is absolutely wrong. We can hold responsible no one other than the players that took to the field. 

Writing posts like this one, I’m immediately hit with the reminder I’m not a professional football manager. I wasn’t even that good at Championship Manager during it’s peak of popularity – I used to get annoyed with my players too quickly and sell, only keeping a few out of some bizarre and unexplained loyalty I felt towards them.

I want to discuss the tactics deployed during the Stoke game, yet can’t shake that voice in the back of my head that’s saying, “James, are you sure you know what you’re talking about?

From the self-confessed managerially inept perspective of yours truly, I though the team wasn’t set up correctly. Podolski wandered in from the left all too frequently and we lacked on either flank as an outlet. We had Ozil, Rosicky and Cazorla, 3 gifted ‘playmakers’ with nothing to aim their passes at. For all his histrionics and posturing up front, Giroud did not have one of his better days. Incidentally, why does someone as tall and strong as Olivier allow himself to be bullied out of the game?

Only when Oxlade-Chamberlian came onto the pitch did we look threatening. His pace and drive created good situations and the only real chance of the game for Arsenal, a chance fluffed by Yaya Sanogo. As that shot soared over the bar and his teammates slumped to their knees, I felt sorry for Yaya. Yes – he should hit the target, unquestionably, but this  is a kid of 20 years with 2 starts under his belt. It does make you ponder why he was our option from the bench when chasing a game.

Losing at the Britannia Stadium makes a title challenge tough. Chelsea are 4 points ahead, Liverpool have momentum on their side and Manchester City have games in hand. An argument can be made for nothing being over until it is a mathematical certainty, but at this stage, honesty says it may be beyond us now. That isn’t to be defeatist and write Arsenal off because of a setback. Not at all. The realist in me sees the upcoming fixtures and knows it will be a big ask to retain the top spot.

We hang by a worn thread in the Champions League, but the FA Cup remains a very good possibility. Victory against Everton on Saturday puts us in the semi-finals and at that stage anything can happen. What’s important now is that we regroup, put another setback to the back of our minds and focus. The summer would be an ideal time to take stock and pull the knives out, if you see fit, but until then there is a lot to play for.

That’s all for today, folks. The comments await your thoughts below. There’s a lot to talk about; the penalty, the performance, the future, the players on show. Send a few of your opinions my way.

Tomorrow I shall return with more. Until then, and as always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

Category: Match reviews
  • Mark Sillery says:

    “We can hold responsible no one other than the players that took to the field.” I heartily agree though some don’t see it as simply as that. Maybe tactically AW made mistakes but we were absolutely woeful yesterday. Playmakers we have aplenty but are they doing enough? Not in my view. Giroud too, as much as you love or hate him, his finishing is just not up to scratch. We have the makings of a great team but more than a few have gone missing in recent weeks. Sure we’ve lost Walcott and Ramsey but doesn’t that mean the rest of the team need to step up? When they take to the field, the starting XI have to be the best they can be, show a bit of fight and spirit and prove they want to win and achieve what we all do…winning. Getting bullied and harangued by Stoke is one thing. Not creating any chances is another matter entirely. Rant over…good afternoon. :-)

    March 2, 2014 at 3:31 pm
    • optimist says:

      I agree with Mark. However, I believe AW, or Arsenal, never wanted to win the EPL this season. The chance came begging and even the blind could see and cry out to AW to buy a more lethal and experienced striker but all fell to deaf ears. The club can only reap what they sowed. Sad to see this slip by.

      March 3, 2014 at 10:01 pm
  • malaysian gunner says:

    The way Arsenal are playing,the opposition doesn’t have to worry.The gunners won’t shoot unless 98% sure of a goal.
    Just watched MC score two goal in the lcf. I doubt Wenger can make the gunners score let alone shoot for these goals. That is the difference between a top side and a side playing football to the gallery.

    March 2, 2014 at 4:21 pm
  • nijjy says:

    since the loss of walcott, it’s been bleeding obvious that arsenal lacks width. this doesn’t help arsenal stretch the opposition who can soak up all the pressure through the middle. when goals like rosicky’s against sunderland go in, it’s great but when the opposition defends stoutly like stoke did, arsenal struggle to break them down. of course, giroud is the main component of this style of play, his hold up play and flicks bringing the midfield into attack. however, when giroud has a stinker like yesterday, the game plan goes kaput.

    the title chance realistically is over and it’s deja vu time again. i don’t know which is worse- regretting over failure when after giving everything to make something a success or regretting over failure when you realize that you could’ve done something to decrease the chances of failure. i might sound bleak, but come may and we might end up questions of what ifs.

    what’s really frustrating is that wenger refused to correct the deficiencies in the january transfer window when he knew that this season provided us the best chance to win the title. i mean buying an injured player and throwing in an inexperienced sanogo to save a game tells us everything about arsenal’s squad.

    in spite of all the talk about rosicky’s industry, thrust, pace and organization to the team play, he’s too inconsistent for my liking. i’m afraid his sporadic great performances mask the majority of his poor games. i’m not sure if his goals and assists record is any good. of course, injuries have blighted his career and his age is not going to help him for much longer either, but at 33 and counting he’s always going to have those ‘off’ games. don’t get me wrong, i love the chap and he probably deserved to start after his performance against sunderland, but i was disappointed to see chamberlain’s absence from the starting 11. why didn’t he start, i don’t know? would arsenal have won the game had he started, dunno, maybe.

    wilshere- i don’t think he’s 100% fit, and i fear for him regarding his fitness levels. i think wenger has managed his playing time pretty well this season. if not for ramsey’s injury he might have had less playing time. i don’t like saying this at all, but the way he’s been, he might have to live with constant niggling injuries and fitness concerns throughout his career. hopefully i’m proved wrong and he plays the majority of games this season and beyond.

    podolski- i think he’ll be off in the summer. sad but true.

    March 2, 2014 at 4:45 pm
  • Dinos Constantinou says:

    The problem with arsenal players is that they lack strength. Tha players show no interest for the game. Podofki is lost at the left. It seems that he has forgotten what football is all about. Cazorla is out form and selfish. At the end of the first half the team should have scored if he passed the ball to podofki. Instead he lost the chance. Arsenal are lacking strength. AW should start the game with chamberlain and Sanogo. AW should start the game with two strikers Sanogo and Giroud.aW will be happy if he finishes in the 4th position. At the moment their game is appalling. How can the same players play excellent football for 30 minutes with Bayern and after that the players are lost in the field as with Stoke. Dinos

    March 2, 2014 at 5:28 pm
  • ytwokay says:

    Arsenal’s problem is Giroud…say no more about him…when a team has an oppertunity to score early in a game, then it takes a bit of pressure off yourself…Arsenal is not doing that and the two left feet balarina is to be blamed.

    March 2, 2014 at 5:29 pm
    • James 'Raul' Stokes says:

      @ytwokay: You can’t realistically assign blame to one player for the defeat.

      March 2, 2014 at 5:41 pm
  • Breezy says:

    “Arsenal didn’t play well, didn’t create chances and, on the whole, looked lethargic and disinterested”

    It is absolutely staggering that a team in the title mix can turn up to any game in the last third of the season and play like we did. The lack of squad depth and the deficiencies that were ignored through the summer and January are coming back to haunt us in a big way.

    March 2, 2014 at 6:41 pm
  • mohamed aziz says:

    We need fresh ideas new vision wenger doesn’t have answers no plan b .is bendter Injured? Selfish Cazorla didn’t help.january window ignored is haunting the team.wenger gets commission when not spending is obvious he should answer

    March 2, 2014 at 7:43 pm
  • mohamed aziz says:

    Like morinyo said he is a looser.specialised looser

    March 2, 2014 at 7:46 pm
  • Bobby says:

    They should look up to the stands where the hard working punter (mugs) are throwing thier money away, watching sh*t like that!!?

    Worryingly we face all around us this month which could see us either top of the league or 5th……

    March 2, 2014 at 7:46 pm
  • Rob says:

    Putting a shot over the bar from 12 yards out when it is set up on a plate for you must be the most common missed ‘sitter’ in football, anyone who has played the game has done it.. Just pisses me off when it happens in a game like the one yesterday.. We were fucking awful yesterday in every respect, Yaya’s miss was just the cherry in the cake..

    March 3, 2014 at 1:51 am
  • nijjy says:

    just an afterthought- god forbid, but if chelsea win the title, we’d have to look at that hideous, self-absorbed, arrogant smirk on mourinho’s face that would say- “i told you so”. that would pain my backside more than arsenal losing out.

    March 3, 2014 at 7:13 am
  • Oche Emmanuel says:

    He can be a professor but put him in a class that include mourinho,Pellegrini,Brendan Rogers .Wenger will come last can,t figure out how Wengers thinks.

    March 3, 2014 at 1:08 pm

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