The Armchair Gooner

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

Ozil, Giroud, Szczesny, Angry Fans, Boos and a Boring Draw.

Having played Streetfighter 2, Olivier shared his love for M.Bison…

Morning, folks.

Geeezzz. That wasn’t the tonic I’d hoped for.

Moving forward, drawing against Manchester United isn’t catastrophic; the world won’t implode and the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse aren’t waiting atop a hill to charge at the unsuspecting. Things will move one from here. However, I can’t help but think it was all a touch anticlimactic.

With a resounding defeat haunting us, we went into the game with an air of nerves and unrest hanging over the team and the fans. It showed in the performance. I struggle to recall another game between the two teams where neither looked eager to press forward for the win.  United came with a parked bus and the hope to sneak it on the counter. Arsenal looked more concerned with not making mistakes than taking a risk going forward.

I missed most of the live broadcast of the game because I work late nights quite often – being a chef has this impact on your social agenda and ability to watch your beloved team. Where I imagine you all sat enjoying the game at your leisure, I was trying to concentrate on my work whilst paying far more attention to Twitter and whatever medium I could get updates from. Having returned home and had a chance to view the game with the knowledge of the result beforehand, my opinion on things is this; f**k it.

It wasn’t ideal, it wasn’t anywhere remotely like what we’d hoped, but it’s  what we have. Some things about the game deserve to be mentioned; Olivier Giroud’s performance being a good example. He’s been very good in stages this season, but last night he was bloody awful. He looked sluggish and far removed from the guy that performed well as the focal point of our attack earlier in the campaign. He gets a great deal of flack from the irate few across the Internet. I defend him because I believe he contributes to the team and he’s very unselfish. His performance yesterday was poor and he looked every bit as bad as he’s been made out to be.

Mesut Ozil, who took his share of the flack on Saturday, did play well. He was central to the chances we created and looked the player most likely to produce in an interminably drab affair. He put himself about the pitch and showed glimpses of that Ozil magic we all know is there. After having played so poorly it was satisfying to see him pick it up.

My moment of the match came from our keeper. He was quick to snuff out the danger early on as a calamitous Arteta blunder put that repugnant grey tw*t through on goal, but the best incident of the game came later. His incredible reflex save in the second half to again prevent that egregious Dutch cretin was nothing short of jaw-dropping. Szczesny has been vastly improved this season and looks like a certainty to become a world-class keeper in the future. He’s been truly brilliant this season, even with the occasional moment of horror.

To summarise; a draw didn’t help us return to the top of the league, but when you consider a stabilising result was of paramount importance to us, it’s far from appalling. A loss could have had significant repercussions. I’m not one to dwell on the performance and react with hyperbolic fury, nor do I agree with the select few that chose to boo the team at the final whistle. That doesn’t help anything. Whilst we still have a fighting chance, supporting is what we should focus on. People have all the right in the world to protest how the see fit. I may not agree with some, but I don’t condemn them for how hey react. That’s up to them.

We’re still in this, even if those behind are worryingly catching up. There’s plenty of football to be played and nothing is over until it’s a mathematical impossibility. Much of last night gave cause for concern. Arsene’s refusal to introduce Podolski baffled me then and continues to baffle me now. Why not introduce a player to a stalemate you’ve refereed to as “the best finisher at the club”? I struggle with that, especially when you consider how poor Giroud was.

Then I remember I’m not a football manager and I know precisely f**k all about what goes on behind the scenes. Arsene does bewilder me at times, but he certainly knows immeasurably more than I do. I choose to trust his judgement for that reason, and that reason alone at the moment.

From here we have to move forward. Liverpool in the FA Cup is an important fixture and a perfect way to make amends for a tragic defeat. That competition may not be high on Arsene’s priorities, with Bayern heading our way next week it’s likely we won’t play our strongest team, but I hope we go for it without fear. Fear is what’s hampering us at the moment, not ability.

That’s all for today, folks. The comments await your views below. I’m sure you’ll all have thoughts and opinions on the game, so don’t be shy sharing them. I shall return with more tomorrow.

As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

Category: Match reviews
  • LeBigMac says:

    You’re right James, it did seem there was a great deal of fear in both sides. The game was almost too slow to watch. Last night Giroud couldn’t get a break. It looked like he had glue on his boots and any ball that came to him just died.However, I think Vidic was partly to blame for the performance. He used Giroud as a climbing frame and punch bag for most of the game so it is little wonder why the boy was off his game.
    Still no excuses, we were poor but as you say, at least we didn’t concede so lets push things forward…….

    February 13, 2014 at 9:09 am
  • 75% Arsenal Tweet says:

    Clearly written as always. I’m not concern about our position upfront but below us. Thanks to Chelsea and Anichebe that made sure we’re in touching distance at the top with just a single point. Now my worry is on Liverpool and Spurs that have found their feet. Liverpool is just 3 points from us and media have encouraged them to fight for the title. It now depends on us to lift ourselves up with relatively easy fixtures coming up. The league title is us to grab having gone through the recent tough fixture and still not far from top. I don’t agree about giving up on FA tie. We should rather give up on champions league due to our thin squad. Up next is Liverpool, a perfect time for a revenge

    February 13, 2014 at 9:27 am
  • T.William Scott says:

    James; Wenger looks French-man tied!!; he is also undisciplined why didn’t he have to buy a striker and rely on Giroud as main one?
    some times you may never know you don’t know until you know you don’t know.T William Scott.Uganda

    February 13, 2014 at 9:45 am
    • marios says:

      wenger lost it.. chelsea home, average performance, no subs used!! last night the same average performance 1 sub used!! Girouds attempts does not find the target in a high percentage,, Arteta is the worst holding midfielder in the premier league but still Wenger plays them like nothing happens!! he has no tactics he doesnt changes his plan even if the other team doesnt play to win the match!! At least play two forwards the last 15-20 minutes first place was at stake and after 26games is a psychological boost to be first before cup games!!

      February 13, 2014 at 12:46 pm
    • optimist habila says:

      Arsenal fans themselves, plus the press, should take some respnsibity for the team not picking maximum points against ManU. Fans lambasted the team for the disaster at Anfield. They injected fear in the boys. Imagin what fans were writing in the social media. Imagin the British media that over did their work as if the world had reached a sudden end. Ozil was useless because he made mistakes against Liverpool. Nobody remembered Wilshere Jack, Cazola had been guilty before. No body remembers the draw against Everton, or the loss to Villa on opening day.
      If fans such as Piers Morgan would learn to support their team st all times, no matter the outcome the sky would be the limit.Every body could see Wednesday that Mesut is world class. Just that no striker understands him. Giroud is no where near what it takes to bring the best put of Ozil.
      Let’s support the boys to the end.

      February 14, 2014 at 2:54 pm
  • checherio says:

    right now i believe Wenger has brought this France shit into his selection because i see no reason why Giroud should bench Podolski especially with his current form. the only person to blame against ManU is Giroud. he had enough free header he was nodding into space. God somebody should hit Wenger with a base ball stick. Hes loosing it again mehn!! i fear its all going to to end like previous years ….

    February 13, 2014 at 9:58 am
    • atid says:

      giroud shouldnt even be benching bendtner, let alone podolski!!

      I know everyone wants our best team against Liverpool on Saturday, so do I. That is why I would drop arteta, Wilshire, ozil and giroud. Currently these players are just not doing it and need to be dropped. As much as sagna has played well something is not right, he cannot find a player with a cross. I would bring jenks back. Also fabianski is leaving, so screw him, he should now be dropped from the bench.

      szczesney
      jenkinson mertesacker koscielny gibbs
      flamini chamberlain
      gnabry cazorla podolski
      bendtner

      macey sagna monreal arteta ozil rosicky giroud

      February 13, 2014 at 10:35 am
  • Moban says:

    The FA Cup is a more realistic goal this year with the squad we have than the Champions League. Hope we go for it against Liverpool and not hang back to play against BM. And we still have the PL to play for … COYGs!

    February 13, 2014 at 10:31 am
  • MGooner says:

    I still don’t understand why Wenger would want to continue playing Giroud. This guy is a joke of a striker. Not one strike from him in the game hit the target! Cazorla and even Koscielny was able to hit the target! HOW MANY MORE CHANCES DO YOU NEED, GIROUD??!!!

    Other players have stepped up eventhough they are tired. Why can’t he? Just unbelievable that he is a striker for Arsenal. Unbelievable!

    February 13, 2014 at 10:40 am
  • lawal says:

    Arsene wenger is d only problem arsenal is having! Having a srtiker dat can a goal in 5 games, its a pity,

    February 13, 2014 at 10:46 am
  • nijwm says:

    1. Giroud- first off, let me fair to him because he’s played almost every game this season, and looks very tired. it’s not his fault that wenger doesn’t want to play podolski or bendtner and give him some rest. it’s not his fault that wenger didn’t bring in a striker to share the goal-scoring burden. he’s a really hardworking, unselfish professional on the pitch and is central to arsenal’s build up play. i also respect his humility in admitting that suarez is better than him.

    however, he hasn’t scored against any of the top 4-5 teams, except tottenham. as much as i like him, his missed chances like yesterday’s really frustrate me. it makes me wonder if only we had someone who was a couple of notches higher than him in terms of pace and shooting accuracy- someone like suarez, aguero, or even that dutch skunk. high hopes i know, but arsenal could really push hard for the title if we had more firepower up front. walcott and ramsey are big misses of course. when the competition has been so tough, the team with that little bit of extra will go on to win the title.

    2. Wilshere- Again to be fair to him, he’s in and out of the treatment table and that’s why his form suffers. he has contributed with a few goals as well so far. but, yesterday was one of his worst performances. giving away the ball repeatedly in dangerous positions really angered the shit out of me. he must take more responsibility on the pitch and not get his team mates into trouble too often. he does try hard, but like ramsey this season, he must do the basics right. i’m sure he’ll come good. but we need him to be good now.

    regarding the match, i can understand arsenal’s cautious approach, i can live with it. it was important not to lose the match and statistically we’re still in the mix.

    February 13, 2014 at 10:48 am
    • nijwm says:

      oh, and i think, podolski’s arsenal career is as good as over come the summer transfer window. i love the guy, his hammer of a left foot and shooting accuracy, but wenger has given ample suggestions that he does not trust podolski, and i don’t see him becoming a bench warmer for too long.

      February 13, 2014 at 10:53 am
  • lekan says:

    This man called Wenger is demonic and fixated,for heaven sake what was he doing with a model as a striker for a team as big as Arsenal! I think this french man should go and coach french so that he wil have enough frenchmen to choose from.

    February 13, 2014 at 10:51 am
  • Nicky says:

    the waste of strikers GIROUD in the whole world, look how he beating his head on the ground LAST NIGHT IS JOKE. wenger must take blame not see what going on with his country men…………….

    February 13, 2014 at 10:52 am
  • Choco says:

    I think that life is like a box of chocolate. Boy do I feel like having chocolates. Man I love chocolates!

    February 13, 2014 at 10:56 am
  • Gooner fan says:

    Agree how many CHANCES does Giroud still need? the dude is not worth being called a striker because a striker scores calls. I would certainly get rid of Arteta as well as Monreal. why is Arsene fielding Monreal instead of Gibbs who is a far more better player? Arsene is messing the Gunners team up and BIG TIME.

    February 13, 2014 at 10:57 am
    • Gooner fan says:

      Apology – a striker score goals.

      February 13, 2014 at 10:59 am
  • Alex says:

    Although I do read your articles from time to time and must say i like it.

    The booing is more to do with :
    Ineffectiveness on the transfer window.
    Followed by playing Giroud in any circumstances as there is no trusted alternative.

    It is a cumulative of things that are adding up .Arsenal fans are not buying any excuses lightly anymore.
    Twelve games to play and sitting behind the leaders by merely a point it is not bad at all but patience is wearing and booing at the end of the match points or sends the clear message “we have seen it before”.

    Wenger definitely loosing fans and it is his own making.Repeatedly uses the same players tilll they got grounded and tired.

    Sorry Arsene it is yours and only yours problem this time around as money is not an issue.

    February 13, 2014 at 11:30 am
  • goonerz4life says:

    what i saw in yesterday game was what i expected, unfortunately Arsenal was unlucky to snatch all three points. but nevertheless the team is still brilliant. our next EPL game will prove that arsenal is a real force to contend with.

    February 13, 2014 at 12:22 pm
  • stephen ntumy says:

    I must confess Giruod is an apology of a striker. The guy is just not fit to be in the jersey of arsenal. For WENGER to prefer Giroud to podolski is very shameful.

    February 13, 2014 at 1:13 pm
  • mohamed aziz says:

    Fuck you wenger for not spending arsenl’s money to sign a striker we are fucking tired of GIROUD.he was? (In france a striker by accident) you promised to buy to cover for the I jured you are not worth the 24ml.of that contract you want to sign.with you incharge of signing arsenal will NEVER win any silver

    February 13, 2014 at 1:52 pm
  • Le Connoisseur (@loovehippy) says:

    Taking into account the fact that we were coming from a 5-1 hammering by liverpool, we got a draw against manure (man utd) last night and that was not a bad result…more so because manure have been beating us in our recent run ins with them.
    I don’t agree with critics of Giroud…the guy has played nearly all games for us this season and he must be tired. Bendtner is leagues beneath Giroud for farrks sake!! Anyone mentioning bentners name here needs to sniff around Juventus (or wherever it is he was on loan) so as to get a clearer picture.
    I really have a problem with wenger not introducing Podolski in the second half. I believe he chose not to buy a striker so as not to ‘rock the boat’ of team chemistry that we have had going this season. However he should have used Podloski yesterday. We needed that fresh pair of clinical legs at the spear of our attack.

    February 13, 2014 at 9:46 pm
  • Andrew says:

    Strongly disagree with the “Giroud is tired” theories. Fact is he does not have the qualities expected of a top-flight striker. His lack of pace, guile and skill continue to irritate fans, especially yours truly and yes, I do at least give him credit for trying, but his whole sequence of clumsy failures followed by agonized grimaces has become unbearable.

    Playing with intensity and great speed is part of the EPL scene nowadays and Giroud and Arteta specifically (god bless, I like him, but honestly we live dangerously when he’s on the field) are simply too slow to compete adequately in their respective positions. This is another reason why taking Rosicky off during the Mugsmashers game was an astonishingly bad decision – this guy is commitment, determination and speed personified. Given that AW didn’t bother to reinforce during January (which I believe is one of the main reasons for the unsavoury booing) Podolski, Ox and Gnabry should by rights feature more prominently than they do. Also, Rambo can’t come back to too soon, same goes for the Flame.

    I’m wondering what the consensus out there on Jack is – I can’t help feeling that he looks incredibly naive sometimes, playing out of place or running point blank at defenders and then collapsing in a heap. Don’t know what to think, but he’s either being played inappropriately or he needs a whole lot of development and maturity.

    February 14, 2014 at 4:07 am

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