The Armchair Gooner

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

Gervinho, Ramsey, Mertesacker, Cazorla, Szczsney, and a maddeningly unhelpful 0-0 draw.

Aston Villa 0-0 Arsenal: None of the players cared for Koscielny’s nonchalant attitude toward competitive matches.

Afternoon folks.

There are moments supporting Arsenal when all you can really do is omit a disgruntled sigh, and put terrible performances down to experience. Yesterday, whilst we may have not endured swallowing the bitter pill of defeat, we witnessed a thoroughly awful showing from our beloved Gooners, and it’s brought floods of the same interminable questions with it.

You know the kind of stuff I mean; queries such as, “Where has our Arsenal gone?” or “Is it time Wenger left?”. I’m not of the correct frame of mind to start answering any of them – no, sir – as I think it’s essentially a futile debate. The reasons why Arsenal performed so badly aren’t immediately obvious, and to accrue knowledge we’d all need sufficient exposure to the inner workings of the club, and behind the scenes on the training ground. The vast majority of us have none.

At the end of the day, we’ll just have to accept we were shit, and move on to the next game.

It’s hard to assign anyone the dubious honour of being considered less shit than the rest, but Per Mertesacker stood out for me with another good shift at the back. We may have rarely threatened Villa, but we did at least appear strong and secure in defence – wether or not that has anything to do with Vermaelen’s absence is open to debate. Szczsney’s return has helped matters, too – a special mention should go to the save he made to turn a shot on to the bar. Brilliant.

Aaron Ramsey had a steady, but hardly spectacular game, and it was good to see him avoid his usual dose of blame – according to some embittered, clueless souls, he’s responsible for pretty much everything bad; defeats, draws, poor performances, the Ebola virus, plagues, famine, the Kennedy assassination…

Elsewhere, praise isn’t so forthcoming. Gervinho was shocking – he put in one of those performances he’s more known for; scampering about like a stabbed rat, with the first touch of an inebriated cow. He was terrible, and whilst I do think he’s got he’s got his good points, performances like yesterday make me question his selection.

The boss’ choice to rotate was sensible (maybe Cazorla needed a rest, too). We have a squad, and a lot of games to play in a short period of time. We’d be foolish if we didn’t use it. Many felt the omission of Wilshere and Walcott made us toothless in attack, but the players selected had more than enough ability to dispatch Villa. They simply didn’t perform.

Where I think errors were made was the substitutions. At no point did Arsene take a chance, or introduce a positive change. Coquelin for Giroud was bafflingly unadventurous, and smacked of settling for what we had – something we absolutely shouldn’t be doing against a side languishing at the foot of the table.

I don’t much buy into certain fanatics and their over-the-top bleating about sackings and revolutions, but I challenge anyone to defend Arsene’s substitutions yesterday. The man is not beyond reproach, regardless of how much he has done for the club.

To summerise; I’m going to take yesterday as a momentary blemish. We’ve a big game on Wednesday at Goodison, and a win there can make Villa Park a distant memory. Arsenal need to show us better. Let’s hope they do.

Thanks for reading today, you beautiful bastards. The comments await your thoughts and cheery platitudes. Make use of them – they’re the life blood of any blog, and mine’s no different.

I shall return tomorrow.

Category: Match reviews

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  • James says:

    Don’t worry according to the ‘supporters’ of our team, if Ramsey’s on the field and we don’t win, it’s his fault. If we do win, it had absolutely nothing to do with him being there.

    We must have the most kneejerk fanbase of any sports team anywhere in the world. Wenger was eligible for sainthood according to most people after the NLD win against the sp*ds, this week he’s past it and he’s got to go…

    November 25, 2012 at 5:11 pm
  • levonson says:

    decent showing by ramsey indeed…..i imagine all arsenal fans are encouraged by this at least and can now start getting behind the boy…lets have a quick look on twitter……oh.

    November 25, 2012 at 5:16 pm
  • WC says:

    Hmm I’m sure you’re putting the words into people’s mouths. I rarely if ever see anyone say not winning is Ramsey’s fault. However, what I do see and which I agree with, is that he’s just not that good. His shots hardly hit the target, he’s wasteful in passing, slows down the game and he really isn’t on any level where he can dictate a game. He’s just not Arsenal material anymore. Sure before his injury he was coming good but it’s been over a year and he can’t hold onto that excuse any longer. You have to feel a bit sorry for him having his leg broken while he was performing well but that’s life – he’s not the first person to be cut down while on route to success. Every person in their lifetime has probably experienced a huge set back when on the rise. So sorry if I’m not as sympathetic as others towards his plight.

    Really it wasn’t just Aaron yesterday but the entire midfield was terrible, none of the mid three stepped up and leaving Wilshere on the bench when we needed something was madness. Maybe we’d still have a 0-0 draw but the bodies there for the 90 minutes weren’t doing anything anyways.

    Also how can you earn a five figure a week salary to cross the ball and be absolutely terrible at it? For a team that’s so focused on passing we couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with any crosses yesterday

    November 25, 2012 at 5:35 pm
  • TheGoonerzz says:

    There have been many opinions based around the results over the last few seasons for Arsenal under the management of Arsene Wenger.

    I have supported Arsenal for as long as I can remember… Terry Neil, Don Howe, George Graham & Bruce Rioch and apart from the ‘1-0 to the Arsenal’ era of GG there is no doubt that Wenger has brought a style, flow and way of football bettered only by Barcelona. But you have to know when you have gone as far as you can go with a project without change.

    One can argue that since David Dein’s departure and our seemingly lack of negotiating know how when dealing with the big named players and strict wage structure has contributed this.

    Am I alone in thinking we need a change. A manager that can continue the good work Wenger has done but also has a ‘plan B’ in their Arsenal!

    I say end of the season move Arsene upstairs and make a serious attempt to recruit Pep Guardiola, The likes of Wiltshire, Walcott (should he stay), Ramsey & OX etc can only benefit from the next level of management.

    I want to rem Wenger as one of the great Arsenal managers… not someone that stayed 1 season too long!!

    November 25, 2012 at 5:59 pm
  • Danny says:

    You almost exonerated everybody, yet the overall performance was very bad. So who is to blame? I just have few questions and will be happy to get some answers.

    Is Arsenal the only team that is competing on all fronts?

    Secondly, is the timing of this rotation really right? after just winning one match against 10 man Spurs in the league and at a time our fans are begining to have a renewed believe.

    With all due respect to Wenger, I think he needs a bit of humility and recognition that nobody knows it all.

    November 25, 2012 at 7:00 pm
  • TP2 says:

    The problem is that Ramsey is so average; he just isn’t good enough to play for Arsenal. He’s generally the worst performer in any given game (although Arteta had a bad game yesterday too).

    November 25, 2012 at 7:34 pm
  • KC says:

    Ok, look Gervinho’s criticism is over the top because he only played about 30 minutes. Singly him out for a limited abject display over several 90-minute abject displays is stupid. His was a very poor 30 minute performance among several other very poor 90 minute performances. It begs the question, why pick on Gervinho…???

    Second, if Ramsey has gotten to the point where that performance yesterday justifies “not picking on him” than that shows how badly his form has crashed. It’s gotten to the point where we praise him for at least being benign and anonymous. How said this players apparent demise is. What concerns me is that he may also be internalizing this attitude about his performances. His confidence, after so many poor performances, may be such that he approaches matches trying to perform like he did yesterday…just be quiet and invisible so as not to make a huge mistake.

    Yes, he was better than he’s been in recent weeks, but therein lies the essence of his downfall. If yesterday’s performance represents an improvement for young Ramsey things have really fallen into despair for him. With Aneke and Eisfeld moving toward professional maturity, Ramsey really needs to sort himself out quickly or move somewhere else where he can regain his motivation and form.

    November 25, 2012 at 7:51 pm
  • a francis says:

    I guess I’m clueless, but I look at the numbers. When Aaron Ramsey plays more than half the game in the Premier League this year (7 games thus far) Arsenal have averaged 1.14 points per game. During those games Arsenal have dropped 13 points. However, when Ramsey plays less than half the game (6 games thus far), Arsenal average 2 points per game and have only dropped 6 pts. Arsenal have not lost when Ramsey plays less than half the game, but they have lost 3 times when he played more than half the game.

    The same pattern held strongly last year too. Arsenal perform much better and accumulate many more points when Ramsey spends most of his time on the bench.

    He’s not good enough and Arsenal perform better without him. The facts are the facts.

    November 25, 2012 at 9:32 pm
    • James 'Raul' Stokes says:

      Vermaelen and Arteta played those games. Do you think they’re not good enough, and Arsenal play better without them?

      I concur Ramsey’s form hasn’t been the best, but to single out one player as the reason for any failings is just plain wrong.

      November 26, 2012 at 12:14 am
  • A true gooner says:

    Arsenal fans are the most inconsistent fans I know.. A week ago we were chanting how we won 5-3 against our arch rivals… This week we got a draw and we are asking for Arsene Wenger’s head.. We can’t win every match and he is a coach and human like us.. Everyone makes a mistake. You guys just find it hard to be honest because you keep wishing for us to put up bids with the like of the Maniacs and Chelsea when you know we can’t compete with them.. We can only use what we have and you guys have been chanting Cazorla but now Wenger doesn’t know what is was doing because we didn’t win a game.. I still remember when Giroud couldn’t find the back of the net it was Wenger has lost the plot.. He substitute Giroud yesterday and the chant is you don’t know what you are doing.. All these other coaches that spend 100 of millions on players what is there to justify the money spent? Example Man City they only got the EPL and a FA Cup or Carling Cup if I am right but does that justify the amount sent? Maybe its not Arsene Wenger that is meant to leave.. Maybe is we fans that need to go support the club that will buy players you want.. I am not happy we haven’t won any trophy but I would rather point my blame at the board instead of the manager.. He has been putting us in the champions league for a consecutive 16 years.. Can even Alex Ferguson do that with the resources Arsene Wenger have? I am sure that will bring on a big NO.. Just ask yourself how many managers can put a team in the champions league position the way Arsene Wenger has with the players.. You keep shouting dead woods but this same dead woods are best players from where we bought them but they just didn’t cut it in the premier league and that is not our coach fault.. Please wake up fans and get behind the team instead of hailing when we win and criticizing when we drop points.. Get real

    November 25, 2012 at 10:23 pm
    • James 'Raul' Stokes says:

      That’s a ballsy statement.

      I adore Arsene Wenger. The man has revolutionised Arsenal. However, the facts remain; we’ve won nothing since 2005, and our team is weakened by loss season after season. I agree it’s an accomplishment to reach Champions League football with such regularity, but I do not consider it a ‘trophy’ or the height we can aspire to. I want Arsenal to compete – to legitimately challenge for the league title. We haven’t done that in years.

      You mention Alex Ferguson – would he accept 4th as a trophy? Not in a million years.

      Oh, and I’m pretty sure the score was 5-2 against our arch rivals…

      November 26, 2012 at 12:22 am
  • uyimedonatus says:

    Do people really watch football technically? Ramsey was the only positive player we had in the midfield against villa, he defended well in the midfield and made positive moves in the attack, if for only that game, he did well. Our major problem is sitting too deep in the defence and allowing the opposition to come at us, Arsenal didn’t use to play that way, we control the midfield even if we would lose. Carzola is fantastic with the ball but off the ball, I have questions maybe that is why his previous coach preffered him in the wings. Arteta, intelligent but not tough and not having the work rate our defensive midfielders use to have-they sealed the midfield in their days.
    Now carefully look at our possessions this season and compare it to our heroic or even the last two seasons, we may not win but we possess.
    To crown it all, where has our tip-tap gone? Our midfielders don’t romance the ball for long-now they do, you find a midfielder holding the ball for up to 45 seconds at times without any meaningful positive move, God bless Fabregas, Wilshere and Rosicky, anytime you see Fabregas holding the ball for more than 20s expect a 1 on 1 chance at goal for arsenal. Too many issues to start debating, I really think we need midfielders that are more hard working and more tough.
    Oh God, we barely create 4 -6 chances per match-this boils down to winning the ball back immediately after losing possesion. THOSE DAYS, WE CREATE CHANCES AT GOAL EVEN IF WE HAD TO LOSE.

    November 27, 2012 at 1:32 am

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