The Armchair Gooner

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

Giroud hatred, Striker in January, Vermealen, Ozil and a snore of a no-score draw.

“BLOODY HELL!! LOOK! THEY’RE ALL STILL SAT ON THE BENCH!”

Morning, delicious creatures.

Yesterday was a frustrating day. I don’t know what the weather severity was like in your corner of the globe (that doesn’t make sense) , but here in glorious Bristol it was awful. Most of my day was taken up with Christmas shopping in a perpetually sodden state and sitting at home in the warm certain the noise outside my house was a f**king 747 flying 20 feet above the roof.

I had hoped for The Arsenal to provide some salvation and boost my spirits heading into the period of forced festivity and faux jocundity. Alas, they did not. Much like the rest of the day, it was frustrating. Having spent a few hours or so having a think about the game, I’m still left with an overwhelming sense of disappointment. A solitary point isn’t likely to be the catalyst for the apocalypse,  but the performance wasn’t at all good. Some people like to lay blame at the door of Mike Dean’s officiating or Mourinho’s negative we’re-happy-with-a-draw tactics, but before we get to those areas we have to look at ourselves first.

Firstly, for the majority of play our passing was terrible. Yes – I’d be the first to agree that the weather conditions didn’t allow for flowing football and its beautiful intricacies, but conditions are the same for both parties. Chelsea’s distribution for the most part was better. Having not had the burden of a busy schedule, it’s certainly not unfair to expect a little better.

At the back we looked solid. Mertesacker was commanding and as thoughtful and calm under pressure as we’ve come to expect. Given his lack of starts, Thomas Vermaelen didn’t put a foot wrong. In fact, all of the back 5 and Mikel Arteta put in a good shift and only looked troubled very briefly when Tubby Fat Frank threw one of his trotters at the ball and struck the underside of the bar. It was offensively I thought we looked poor. Rosicky did his best to quicken play and make things happen, but Ramsey looked off his game and Ozil couldn’t get into the match – a fact that has lead to all manner of ridiculous statements emerging. I guess when you come with a large price tag, you’re a walking target for bitter morons who’d have you at their Club in a heartbeat.

Which brings me to Olivier Giroud. Again, he’s getting the majority of Internet bile for missing a good chance to win the game. Granted, he should probably have at least hit the target, but it baffles me how quickly one error can make some people forget all the good work that has preceded it. Giroud’s biggest trouble, as far as I’m concerned, is he doesn’t have any competition, or someone to take a little of the burden from his shoulders. Wether we sign a striker in January remains to be seen. We’re strongly linked to Diego Costa of Atletico Madrid, but I suspect that story is nothing more than journalists adding 2 with 2 and reaching 37.

We need another valid option. Can Podolski do a job now he’s returned from injury? Perhaps. I wouldn’t be at all shocked to see Lukas start at West Ham on Boxing Day. What is important is that we support Giroud as best we can. He’s proven himself a valuable member of the squad and a threat to opponents. I love the guy; he’s unselfish and a real team player. He works his socks off for Arsenal.

The main talking points from such a drab and uneventful game were a couple of decisions and Mike Dean’s, frankly, shit-awful attempt to referee the game. Dean made one enormous blunder amidst what appeared hundreds of lesser mistakes by not giving a clear penalty for a foul on Walcott when it happened right under his nose. How he couldn’t see something so jarringly obvious is astonishing. However, I do agree with his failure to dismiss Obi Mikel for his challenge with Arteta. Both players went in equally and at the same time, Arteta just happened to get there a fractions sooner and catch the force of Obi Mikel. It could have quite easily occurred the opposing way round.

Speaking after the game, Arsene had these words to say about the result and the decisions that didn’t go our way :

“It is a solid point but two points dropped at home because at home you want to win your games.

“But it can happen that in this kind of game you drop the points. We were a bit edgy with our last result (a 6-3 loss at Manchester City) I think played a little part in our head, but the team did fight very hard and I think on points we should have won it, especially in the second half.”

And on Mike Dean’s unwavering shambles of a performance:

“100% penalty. In my mind there is no doubt” Why it wasn’t given - “That’s a question you should ask the referee – I cannot give it.”

Mourinho’s tactics were also maligned. We all know ‘The Special One’ is a miserable, tedious old sod when the big matches come along, so parking the bus came as no surprise. A point at a title rival away from home is a pretty good result – certainly better for Chelsea than us. Can you fairly cast aspersions on how he set his team up? Not really. However others set up the teams we play should be of little concern. Yes, he may have spoiled the game as a spectacle, but it’s up to us to break down the teams we play. When you consider Arsenal hardly registered a meaningful shot on target the whole of the 90 minutes, I’d say any blame or reason for the outcome should be aimed at our own first.

That’s not to say there is too much reason for dismay. At this point, the race for the title is wide open, and it’s safe to assume there are plenty of twists and turns to follow in the coming months. As things stand, we are very much in the race. At this point, that is all we can ask for. We could be sitting on top over Christmas had we turned in a better performance of got a little more luck, but it just didn’t happen. There’s little time to dwell or be bitter. Move on, and focus on the next one.

That’s all for today, folks. The comments await your thoughts below. Let me know how you felt about the result, the performance and the big decisions.

As always: thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

Category: Match reviews
  • mohamed aziz says:

    I think wenger was not watching the same game he should have subbed giroud on the 75th minute even bendtner could heve buried those chances.we need a striker to remain up there or we can forget it

    December 24, 2013 at 9:19 am
  • Francis Angrey says:

    I keep wondering whether Giroud has no right foot.

    December 24, 2013 at 9:24 am
  • silentstan says:

    3 poor performances on the trot against big teams, ozil fading, ramsey giving ball away in all 3. the team needs a boost in the window.we are definitely fading and i do not see wins at west ham or newcastle

    December 24, 2013 at 9:24 am
    • Malvin says:

      Good on you. If you can win a game don’t lose it. Actually l see us beating all those teams at a Heart beat

      December 24, 2013 at 10:33 am
  • Biodun says:

    Giroud is probably tired and needs some rest. Bendtner should be given a chance to start at West Ham on boxing day with Flamini replacing Arteta. Ramsey should talk to himself about sustaining his good run this season. Ozil too needs to up his game and justify his rating. I expect a win at West Ham and Newcastle. Up Gooners!

    December 24, 2013 at 9:36 am
  • Goona says:

    Giroud is supposed to be a striker but alas he has missed vital chances in the last few games which others would have put away and these have cost us…..Yes he does work hard for the team but a striker is a striker and that’s to score goals. In the last match v Man Cty like tonight I was praying yes praying for Bendtner to come on yes you’ll think I must have been desperate but I really felt he’d have been better….

    Thanks to those Giroud misses I believe we’ve blown it,,,,,,A lot of you will disagree with my comments but before you do just remember A top striker should come up with the goods in those vital moments. so please Mr Wenger
    get that cheque book out this window or we won’t win the title…No way!!!

    December 24, 2013 at 9:38 am
    • chanda says:

      thats very true Goona,wenger has to do something this coming transfer window.having a top man like giroud,we wont win the title.

      December 24, 2013 at 11:57 am
  • lance says:

    i am sorry but i cant share the sympathy towards giroud. he is not 1st team quality at arsenal. he is just the most frustrating to watch at present. we need a proper no 9 in january so we can see the vision of ozil , the defence splitting passes from ramsey the magic of cazorla put into good use. any above than average striker would be scoring for fun in our team

    December 24, 2013 at 9:39 am
    • James 'Raul' Stokes says:

      @lance:

      “Any above average striker would be scoring for fun in our team”

      That might be true, but I sympathise with Giroud because he contributes to the team, scores goals, sets up goals and brings others into play. He might not be as ostentatious as others, that is true.

      December 24, 2013 at 10:12 am
  • Xeecoo says:

    What a damn result last night hope mike dean will never see good again in his poorlish life and wenger should start putting medical glass from yesterday’s threat,because he never seen anything @ thd pitch

    December 24, 2013 at 9:44 am
  • Farooq says:

    As much as I love Giroud for his hard work and commitment, I think its time to stop blindly praising him, it’s just not good for him or the fans. That being said I’m a hundred percent believer in supporting the players that currently don the red and white kit. I’ve tried really hard to support Giroud but even now I realize that we need a striker who is a better technical player, and is pacy. The fact of the matter is that Arsenal have always had top class strikers at their disposal. Ian Wright, Dennis Bergkamp, Nicolas Anelka, Kanu, Henry, Van Persie. I would honestly have those strikers in the team instead of Giroud but at the moment he’s our only option. I think even Wenger knew this was an issue other wise we wouldn’t have seen bids for Luis Suarez or interest in Higuain over the summer. David Villa even went as far to say that he would have been an Arsenal player had it not been for Barcelona stopping the move last January. I like Giroud as a player against the bottom half teams because he gives something different in the sense that he holds the ball up really well while bringing others into play and is a beast in the air, but against more technical teams he just doesn’t seem like hes on the same wavelength as players like Ozil and Cazorla. I can tell by the looks on their faces when they’re playing with him and he often passes the ball behind or makes a run into the wrong channel. Bergkamp (I know is different class) wasn’t the paciest of players but he probably had the quickest mind which more than made up for the lack of pace and that is the problem I see with Giroud. Even in today’s game, on the counter, he just couldn’t take the ball in his stride or anticipate the flight and kept running forward while the ball was behind him. Sometimes he slows the game down a bit too much only to misplace a pass.

    I love players who work hard for the team, but realistically thinking the aforementioned players would have buried the chances Giroud got today. I thought he would have ironed out the one on one misses from last season but as the season goes on, they keep creeping in to his game. I am in no way saying that Giroud should leave Arsenal, but I think we would be stronger if we had a high caliber striker up front who could replace or even play alongside Olivier.

    December 24, 2013 at 9:45 am
    • James 'Raul' Stokes says:

      @Farooq:

      Some valid and interesting points there. I love Olivier, but he certainly needs both help from another striker, and the added incentive extra competition will bring.

      December 24, 2013 at 10:05 am
  • Juwon Job says:

    WE WILL PROVE OUR WORTH DIS YULITIDE,BEWARE OF THE GUNNERS

    December 24, 2013 at 9:53 am
    • James 'Raul' Stokes says:

      @Juwon Job:

      A point so upbeat and optimistic it required capitalisation :)

      December 24, 2013 at 10:08 am
  • razak says:

    Wenger has to get a striker in january

    December 24, 2013 at 9:55 am
    • James 'Raul' Stokes says:

      @razak:

      Given Giroud’s form has dipped, i’d say it’s a little more likely we will got after someone now. I was dubious beforehand.

      December 24, 2013 at 10:07 am
    • @joejatta says:

      The truth of the matter is we need a striker and nothing else…..congrats to the entire team.

      December 24, 2013 at 12:52 pm
  • Barbes B. Dawodu says:

    when Giroud score for arsenal we are grateful to him but when he has a bad day then fans become very ungrateful. Giroud has a good game yesterday from my standpoint but Chelsea defense was as tight as a snicker string. well his miss was very painful but in all I will gave him credit for his work rate on the front line.

    December 24, 2013 at 10:16 am
  • Chris says:

    Giroux is a good striker, but not World Class striker. If we are to compete with the likes of Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man United for that matter, there is a dire need to sign a World Class finisher. If you look at results from the past week, when pundits were saying that Arsenal will falter when tested against the big boys, and that is what has happened. The ManU are in their worst form, and yet we lost to them, we could not even win at our own backyard against Everton and now this disrespectful score line against Man City.
    The chances we create in our mid-field, and the possession of the ball we have, and the END PRODUCT is zero. It adds up to the frustration and then we start panicking. And then other team gets a single chance they score and we are never back in the game and from that frustration.

    Arsenal NEED a WORLD CLASS FINISHER in the mould of Suarez, Cavani, Falcao, Messi. And yet alone Oliver Giroux can finish the Arsenal season, is living in fool’s paradise. Now is the best chance that Arsenal can finish this trophy less eight year at the Emirates, provided with the start we have. BUT Mr. Wenger and the Board HAVE to SPEND on a WORLD CLASS FINISHER.

    December 24, 2013 at 10:17 am
  • Ethan says:

    Giroud has been a massive disappointment. Anyone who does not acknowledge this is deliberately ignoring the truth, Giroud is not Arsenal Quality, He is barely Premier League quality. It’s pathetic. Fans who think Giroud is good because he “works hard,” must not be real fans because real fans remember Henry and Berkamp; they remember Wright and Van Persie. These were world class strikers, how can you consider Giroud, a player who can’t dribble, can’t create a chance, can barely pass the ball, can barely hold up the ball for his size and is only good for the lucky flick, Arsenal quality? Insanely frustrating.

    December 24, 2013 at 10:23 am
    • James 'Raul' Stokes says:

      @Ethan:

      That is utterly, utterly incorrect in just about every way possible.

      December 24, 2013 at 10:24 am
    • geoffrey wakaba says:

      It amazes me how you can talk so much fickle stuff about one of our own and go on to label people who choose to stand behind OUR OWN as ‘not real fans’. You Sir/Madam(I strongly believe its the latter) need to stare into a mirror!

      December 24, 2013 at 3:52 pm
    • fazjac says:

      @Ethan
      now you know what ignorance sounds like. what you have said is very untruthful and just really pisses me off. you must not watch the games because Giroud works really hard for one end to the other. he is great with defensive headers and he is very good at holdup play and passing the ball to others. he has a sizable assist record. maybe you need glasses! or there are other teams you can follow.

      December 29, 2013 at 6:51 am
  • Suf X says:

    I agree, we need a striker. Giroud has put in a shift, he has done as best as he can but is limited. He doesn’t have the pace to beat a defender. His touch is beautiful, many times it sets him free from the last defender but he just doesn’t have the pace to maintain that gap. When we had Bergkamp, who granted was genius, we still had someone with legs leading the line. Furthermore, Ramsey is hopeless defensively. Changing defence to attack under pressure is not his forte. Gives the ball away a lot. N last point, although Ozil has class, he is lazy. He often slows down play before speeding it up n this is not the arsenal way. He needs to build some strength. After Ivanovic gave him a push he had a little more fight in him. I saw him running hard to cover play and tackle. Is it too much for our team to give 100% like Flamini??!! I think not. They play with out hearts every week and we stick by them regardless!

    December 24, 2013 at 10:31 am
    • Ethan says:

      I completely argee with you mate. They toil with our money and hearts, all we ask is they give 100% That being said, I must add something to your Ozil being lazy. He is rather lazy, but he is still worth keeping your trust in. He slows down pace of the attack not because he lacks the vision or talent, it’s because we don’t have a capable striker. I watched Ozil at madrid and he would storm up the pitch and pick a quick pass forward for a chance on goal. Giroud does not have the pace or capability to carry on an attack which started deep and needs him to progress it, therefore Ozil is forced to always turn back and look for midfielders.. We need a striker in January, if this doesn’t happen, the title is lost.

      December 24, 2013 at 11:15 am
  • kingsley says:

    Giroud is a lazy striker (not qualifield of being a top nine) with the backing of passes from ozil,ramsey,walcott,rosicky . He still missed the day..wonder why wenger didnt make any changes..reling on giroud is a probability at times bendtner should start first then poldoski should aswell..that girou of a guy is too sluggish..dont like his lastnite after all the celebrations we had its vanity

    December 24, 2013 at 10:46 am
  • Rob says:

    We are a great team. We have a few players who don’t always turn up it is true. Ozil is in his first season and will hopefully be more consistent next season. Theo is frustrating – great one week, ineffective the next but name a winger (other than a top ten world player) who isn’t. Ramsay has been world class but still has the occasional lapse. We def need another out and out top quality striker, not because giroud is poor but because we need to be able to change our style and he needs to be pushed. Other than that what’s to moan about? We’re still top and have a stronger looking squad going into jan than we have for a very long time. Have faith gooners and let’s see what happens in the next few weeks. Merry Xmas!

    December 24, 2013 at 11:14 am
  • alfie gooner'smad says:

    why did we not use any of the subs to try to change things and win the game? It would have been interesting to see what impact Podliski could have made

    December 24, 2013 at 1:30 pm
  • Timi says:

    Giroud is not top quality at all. We need a player who does not have to rely on midfielders to cross or pass the ball. As far as I am concerned Giroud is useless. Freaking useless. Even Bendtner would have played better. If I was wenger he would be a 3rd choice from Podolski as first, Bendtner as second and Giroud as third option

    December 24, 2013 at 3:03 pm
  • nijwm says:

    a lot of people here commented on giroud, and i agree on the whole. yes, he’s hard-working, hold up play is good, and brings others into play. but is that really what’s required in a title-winning team? i don’t think so.

    at the end of the day, goals are what wins football matches. we all know what the dutch skunk was capable of- the first time volley against everton to snatch three points a couple of seasons back is an example. while a single miss like yesterday doesn’t justify evaluating the overall qualities of giroud as a striker, i have to say he’s not the most clinical finisher. at times, he seems to rush his shots without much composure or accuracy.

    to be fair to giroud, he’s been playing almost every game, and he might be fatigued. he badly needs support and some rest. i think if wenger wants to push for the title, a striker in january is a must, despite his argument that january isn’t the best time to buy players.

    as for ozil, at some point he’d have to come good in the big games. the problem is that too many players have gone missing in those games so far. arsenal would have to stamp their authority in such games.

    rosicky brings a lot of energy to the team, and tries hard. but for me, he’s a very good squad player and should not start games generally.

    December 24, 2013 at 3:05 pm
  • Beano says:

    I think what needs to happen to this team is only one slight change, Wengers tactical thinking. He’s stuck in the mindset that opposing teams cant handle our brand of football, even though we saw it haltered last night by a stern, organised and hard working (see also, ‘Hacking Cuntbags) Chelsea team. When we had the ball, there midfield three just camped only 5 or 6 yards in front of their defence, forcing ozil and ramsey deeper to collect the ball and forcing our play out wide and infront of them. I cant help but think (Lord, forgive thine blasphemy) we could have faired better with this approach at the etihad, we went toe-to-toe with one of the most rampant attacking machines in world , and lost. Our team needs more pace, we looked lathargic and slow last night, and not being able to rotate formations to suit our opposition is going to cost us! As well as Giroud has been playing, he has been overburdened. He works so hard on being the focal point of our forward passing, that he may lack the concentration when he finally gets it into good position, i think hed fare way better in a partnership wit podolski or theo, in a 4-1-3-2 rather than 4-2-3-1

    December 24, 2013 at 3:08 pm
  • Kollydeyi says:

    If i were to be ozil,i will also switch off my game. It is disgusting after a great effort,picking giroud upfront to finish the job,but at the end, wasted away. Ronaldo had told us how wonderfl ozil is. So if we want his best,we surely need to sign-up a potent striker in january.

    December 24, 2013 at 4:28 pm
  • Ysabally says:

    Or my God strikers such Suarrez plays every game and he is a key play in his national team and he is in Liverpool and Giroud is not, in France he is always in the bench, all of us know that so what and he was rested for 10 days so what does he need to perform. It is not about amount games played to proof one’s skills and now Giroud like any other top four strikers, he is less impressive and skills wise some ugly thing. He is define second strike and not meant for top 4 teams.
    Let see if he has to continue for Arsenal until end of season, I bet Arsenal will not win a single troop.

    PPP

    December 25, 2013 at 5:15 am
  • clockendjim says:

    We should not think of Giroud as our main striker. What we need is a goal poacher alongside him to capitalise on all his hard work and knock-downs. Which is why when we were struggling to make an impact against Chelsea, I could not understand why Wenger did not bring on Podolski to play with Giroud. I think Podolski would have buried the only golden chance we created.
    It is coming down to Wenger’s lack of tactical nous; he just doesn’t seem to see what’s happening out there on the pitch. Also I think he can be blamed as much as Mourinho for not wanting to lose the match instead going all out to win it. Just imaging if Lukas had scored that goal and we had ended up winning 1-0. We would be top of the league again and everyone would be saying all is well at the Emirates

    December 25, 2013 at 9:37 am
  • Area scatter says:

    To all you supporters of Giroud. Giroud was not bought for the purpose of fighting at the midfield area, but rather to poach the round leather into the net. If he can’t do that then he’s useless! We play 5 midfielders in every game so why should Giroud abandon his position up front to support 5 men? In the game against Chelsea he was practically a midfielder operating from the flanks, getting the ball into the area-for who to finish? He’s probably the worst Arsenal no 9 in so many years! Granted, he’s not so bad but, he certainly needs another better striker to learn from. We need a Mitroglou or a Lewandowski, or Diego Costa. We need a very aggressive striker!!!

    December 25, 2013 at 5:31 pm
  • Mulindwa. Peter says:

    I don’t know whether our beloved doesn’t see the facts at hand given his experience, for instance amongst the 10 best strikers where is our Giroud.
    Yes he’s a good team players but if our objective this season is to win the premiership and other important silverware, we need a player who is exceptional with a self belief which our Giroud does not posses. Mr. Wenger Arsernal diehards have respect and love for you but at times you need to share sympathies with them. Otherwise whatever you have done for the club will erode if you can’t have the proactive ness your fellow managers have tried to exhibit to win back fans hearts and support.

    December 26, 2013 at 8:00 am
  • xigunner says:

    Pffft… Chelsea game? Not a big deal.

    Lay off Giroud’s back.

    He needs a rest. You guys are waaaaaaaaaaay too harsh on him.

    December 26, 2013 at 10:11 am
    • fazjac says:

      xigunner, I would like to put a star in your crown for supporting Giroud. Putting someone down does not help them. Remember what some of you did to Ramsey when he was trying to find his way back.

      December 29, 2013 at 7:03 am
  • Mreal says:

    guys…we talked about player how about the inability of Wenger to change things…although podo was on bench he could have tested him last 15 minutes of for that matter bendtner or shuffle with walcott in center…Wenger lacks tactival ability as seen in last 8 years..and if we dont win it this year he is at fault…yes you can stick to same style but if doesnt work change the tactics.. we have pace in our team such podo and walcott…rosicky plays at fast pace too…but the passing game is killing us…sometime i get bored myself same ol style…thats why it easy to knock us…

    December 26, 2013 at 10:38 am
  • Andrew says:

    I don’t normally post, but Giroud’s hand-in-the-air incredulity at missing scoring chances is now his caricature and is wearing me thin. Yes – you missed! Gasp! Why is he always so seemingly shattered when it keeps happening with monotonous regularity? I’m sorry, no aspersions on him as a person (this for all the experts that see something in him that lesser football mortals such as I do not), but as a striker he has almost no redeeming qualities. He’s so painfully slow and clumsy! If he’s valued for his clever little passes then play him in the damn midfield. There may be no more potently embarrassing sight than his much-lauded holding up of the ball, while he clumsily leans and stumbles into the opposition defence with his back to the goal. It’s all prettiness and delight from the rest of the team until the ball gets up front with Giroud and then…well, nothing, nothing happens. The ball gets played into the opposite direction, the box is by then swarming with defenders and it’s impossible to get a shot in. Oh, you football ingrate I hear you cry – he’s a cog in the team, an effective link-up player, ad nauseam. We have to stop this narrative simply because we are afraid of criticizing a Gooner that is clearly trying. Giroud does not have the skills or firepower to lift the team or provide the clinical finish in the final phase that you need. I want the Gooners to lift the title this year. Enough with this fellow.

    December 26, 2013 at 11:16 pm
  • Rodrick says:

    Jose did not sit for 90 minutes, which means he knew trouble was around the corner. man of the game DEAN (SHAME ON HIM)

    December 27, 2013 at 8:48 am

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