The Armchair Gooner

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

Santos, Vermaelen, Ramsey, van Persie, Wilshere, Cazorla, and real reason for concern.

Man United 2-1 Arsenal; “Yeah, you’re right guys. I’m a bit of a sh*t”

Morning folks.

Not the best of moods around the Arsenal community, is there? Understandably so.

Defeat is something I find easier to take if I know Arsenal have given everything. It still hurts, it still upsets me, but there isn’t any shame in losing to a better team on the day if you’ve given your all.

Yesterday we didn’t do that. The 11 players on the pitch faced one of our oldest rivals with our ex-capatin – who we knew would bloody score – in their ranks. The ingredients for motivation and desire couldn’t be any more apparent. Yet those 11 players didn’t perform, and they showed little or no sign of urgency or the will to take control.

That worries me no end. There is a malaise at Arsenal for all the world to see – something is fundamentally wrong at the club, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to dismiss that as momentary blip. Our last 3 league games have been woeful and our cup victory, for all it’s remarkable comebacks, still involved a defence reasonably high in the pecking order shipping 5 goals at Reading.

There are a lot of folks out there who continue to back our manager without fail, and refuse to put anything but positivity in their remarks. I admire those people, I really do – I admire their unwavering allegiance to the club and manager. However, I feel they are absolutely wrong.

Something has to change at Arsenal. For every brief period of hope we are given, there is an inevitable slide back to the reality of our team simply being not good enough to compete. Yesterday, we gave United little to worry about. I can’t recall the last time we played them and gave them a proper game.

Is Arsene Wenger to blame for selling our best players every summer? Perhaps. Is he to blame for the manner of the teams performances? Unquestionably. Can you blame him for a terrible selction yesterday? Yes, he is absolutely accountable.

Why was Andre Santos in the team? It was excruciatingly evident that he was a weak link and would be targeted, and United did that at every opportunity. He may be a character, he may make us smile, but so was Eboue, and I’ve had enough of players like that in the team. How can he swap shirts with van Persie at half-time? I don’t care how chummy they might have been, for those 90 minutes, Robin was an enemy to every Arsenal player out there, and should have been treated that way.

Only Cazorla and Wilshere looked remotely like they wanted to get a result, the rest appeared to tread on eggshells and adopt the mentality of, “let’s not let in 8 this time”. Vermaelen, as brilliant as he is, has looked a shadow of his former self in recent weeks, and he was all over the place when he should be the one balling instructions and setting an example.

In attack we looked weak, toothless and bereft of any ideas. Podolski and Giroud barely featured at all, and when the game was crying out for an injection of pace, Wenger decided he would play Aaron Ramsey on the right of the attacking three – a selection that baffles me. I don’t like to get on Ramsey’s back. He regularly and unfairly is singled out by a lot of fans. He gets moronic abuse for little or no reason and his confidence is low. Why play him there when Theo is a much greater threat? It’s not Aaron’s position, and it’s unfair to expect him to offer what that area of the field requires.

To summersie; I’m angry. I can take United were the better team, and they deserved to win by a greater margin. What I cannot accept is the lack of fight. It took until injury-time to register a shot on goal. ¬†At one point, Arsenal’s fantastic away support gave a 15-minute-long rendition of, “We love you Arsenal, we do”. Even over the commentary on 5Live, and during a busy kitchen service, hearing that made my hair stand on end. It inspired me. How can that not effect the players?

I look at the club I love at present, and I despair. The same tiresome problems are there. I don’t pretend to know what needs to be done, but I do know this; without significant change, without action, there will be no relenting of those problems.

That’s all for today. The comments eagerly await your views and thoughts. Let’s be having a few of them. Thanks for reading today, you beautiful people. I shall return tomorrow.

Category: Match reviews

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  • josh says:

    I too listened to the game on thr radio on my way home from Wales and the commentary was exhausting whenever Utd had the ball which sounded like the whole 90 mins it sounded like an inevitable goal would come. It comes acroos as though Mr Wenger himself is scared of Utd and is too thinking of not shipping another rugby score. When it comes to the BIG games he doesn’t seem to have a plan and this is not a good situation to be in when you supposed to be a big 4 club. Great blog a usual let’s hope some changes come from this last months games

    November 4, 2012 at 1:03 pm
  • osundairo ayodele ayplux says:

    i support wenger resignation!

    November 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm
  • mav361 says:

    James in the 3 or so months i have been following your blog this is without question the most accurate article you have written on exactly how i feel if i had your talent for writing i couldn’t have said it any better myself

    I have so pissed off with the direction we seem to be heading i really cant put it in to words the despair i felt at half time it was like watching a fucking sunday morning pub team after 4 days on the piss

    Like you i can except us getting beat by a better team i have no problem with that but yesterday was a fucking shambles

    No desire

    No leadership

    No intent

    No direction …………………

    Ahhh Fuck it can’t even be bothered to write anymore i am that fucking pissed off with it

    November 4, 2012 at 1:57 pm
  • Michael says:

    I worry about this over the top analysis, bottom line is this, Wenger put out a team that should’ve played better and can play better, Man Utd were the better side on the day. If Wenger had dropped Santos and played TV5 on the left and he made that mistake the hacks like you would’ve said “Wenger should’ve played Santos” or if Walcott who when he came on made just a minimal impact, had a start and was out of pace then everyone would’ve said he should’ve played Ramsey who does run like a demon and track back and didn’t play a hard 120 minutes on Tuesday, or how about we just get a fortune teller to pick the team.
    Hindsight is an amazing tool for writers like you, as there is no way in knowing what the alternative outomes would’ve been.
    At the end of the day, we needed Wilshere on the pitch pushing forward instead of a lazy touch and the subsequent red card, we needed TV5 not to have made a mistake within 3 minutes and we needed our bigger players Cazorla, Podolski, Arteta to have made a better impact in midfiled, they didn’t.
    You can blame the manager all you want, but at the end of the day those players are a lot better than that performance and their errors and we should put the blame on that rather than a manager who quite frankly has worked miracles with a tight board and all the best players in Europe being filtered through City, Utd, Chelsea before considering playing for us!

    November 4, 2012 at 2:12 pm
    • Pius G. says:

      @Michael, I couldn’t agree with you more.

      Your gloss, “Hindsight is an amazing tool for writers like you…..” is really instructive.

      You hit the nail right on the head.

      November 4, 2012 at 4:39 pm
    • Swazigunner says:

      I don’t know how long you guys are going to keep defending the manager. He buys the players,decides on the tactics and selects the team for the day. When the team as a whole look sub-standard, can you blame the players or the man who is supposed to get them moving?? We are talking about 7 years of nothing. It may be time we said bye to AW. Any employee in any job is judged on current performance, i don’t know why we keep rating a man on past achievements. Blaming the guys who should never be in the Arsenal starting line-up in the first place is not the answer….What we saw yesterday was shocking. And the post match comments of the man just didn’t highlight the fact that we were POOR all round. It is the manager’s job to ensure players show up on the day. And if they don’t they should be sidelined. SAF has never been afraid to bench the best players. what a joke!

      November 4, 2012 at 4:54 pm
    • James 'Raul' Stokes says:

      @Michael:

      I agree with you; Wenger has worked miracles. He‚??s also accountable for a lot of mistakes and poor management.

      You‚??ve every right to disagree with what I write, and I thank you for doing so intelligently and without resorting to puerile insults, well‚?¶ aside from the ‚??hacks like you‚?Ě remark ‚?? you nearly spoilt the whole thing with that. I feel I should respond by calling you a gushy sycophant, or something similar. However, I shan‚??t

      One thing I will say; you might want to compare the second paragraph of your comment with the third. It‚??s spectacularly hypocritical.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:41 pm
      • D.Ward says:

        Haha spot on Raul

        November 5, 2012 at 8:34 am
  • Ben says:

    Ramsey arguably has struggled in his standard position. He takes too long to make decisions and misses opportunities. He keeps the ball, but it just adds to our pointless possession we do nothing with around 40 yards from goal. He is also not that fast. Absolutely baffling the decision to play him out wide. I just dont understand the thinking.

    November 4, 2012 at 3:35 pm
    • costas says:

      to Michael:why do you think those players did not play better?
      here is a tip:they will play every week earn their large paycheck and
      be satisfied with a possible top 4 finish.
      The ambition of the manager and club direction is making an impact
      on players mental ability to fight and want it more.
      It has been like this for a while and will continue as long as no changes at the top happen.
      Arsenal need a younger ambitious manager with the ability to recruit and
      motivate players and need the board to get on the same plan

      November 4, 2012 at 5:36 pm
  • Pius G. says:

    What’s with you guys? This is a stupid post. Santos played a lot better than most of our players on the pitch, especially the Verminator. Santos played a fairly decent game. But as is always the case with some of our so-called Arsenal supporters who are always quick to pass sentimental judgements as part of their scape-goatism, Santos is already a hated guy, much as the quiet but improving Aaron Ramsey has always been since his comeback from a terrible leg break.

    You guys are unbelievable.

    November 4, 2012 at 4:29 pm
  • MQ says:

    We’re Giroud and Podolski playing?

    November 4, 2012 at 4:54 pm
  • i says:

    Fuck Wenger!

    November 4, 2012 at 5:32 pm
  • Vinod.P.K says:

    You are absolutelu right. Every ball up front to Aron Ramsey is an invitation for counter attack. And our play has become so predictable. Don’t blame Vermealan. He along with Kos is our best pair. They along with Arteta, Jack,Santi,AOX,Giroud has the desire to win. What we need is a manager who can understand people like Djourou are not good enough to play in any EPL team!
    Some body like Martin ‘O’Niel…who can think fast and formulate different tactics!

    November 4, 2012 at 5:54 pm
  • danny says:

    watchin santos take rvp’s jersey at half time, for me, just symbolised just how far off the top teams we are.. something needs to give

    November 4, 2012 at 7:24 pm
  • Charlie says:

    Michael I assure you that you will never hear me say the words “he should’ve played Santos” or “he should’ve played Ramsey”. The sooner those two are gone the better. It seems that no matter how badly either of them play the manager will still pick them and that is leading me to seriously doubt Arsene. Why is it that selection is not based on form ? Santos has been utterly awful lately and it boggles my mind that Arsene continues to pick him. Good article.

    November 5, 2012 at 5:30 am
    • pchomo says:

      @Charlie, who would you have suggested to play in the positions that Ramsey and Santos – but particularly Santos – played in? Don’t even mention Vermaelen as that would mean finding another suitable option (outside of our injury list) to play CB against RVP, Rooney and the rest of the deep United squad.

      November 5, 2012 at 10:03 am
  • MS says:

    Neither I want to criticize manager nor player or the referee…. i will support this club for all it is and what becomes of it …. yeh i know the result would have been lot worse …and i do accept the players were not at their best ,but i believe in them…..and i wont be questioning their commitment to this club….but sandos u r excluded……

    November 5, 2012 at 5:54 am
  • Weslee says:

    I have often observed that we leave our analysis at home when we lose. This club has had to deal with about a month’s worth of international friendlies and I believe that this is what is hurting us at this moment. I have observed that we are flying before the international friendlies and then are fighting to perform after the friendlies. This has not been the only year when this has happened. Arsenal seems to be the only English club where the team’s players get injured during these international games. Van Persie and Rosicky comes to mind. Now that the friendlies are out of the way and the players have the time to work with each other, i will guarantee you that you will see the improvements. By Christmas, I believe that we will be in the top three where we will remain until the end of the season. I do not believe that we will win the league. This is Man City’s to lose. But as you all can see, money does not guarantee performance. Those top players with the humongus egos at City and United, don’t give their all when playing as a group. Using Balotelli as an example of someone with a great footballing brain, we can often see him being worse than Theo on one of Theo’s bad days. So money cannot guarantee success. It guarantees that some of the time, some of the players will play fantastic and some of the time they will play mediocre. When they play mediocre the others will play better. The exception to this has been Barcelona. They are very consistent with their performances. This brings me to Wenger. I am an ardent supporter but i am also critical of some of his tactical moves but against United, I do not believe that he could be faulted. This let down was all down to the players. We expected them to do what the group that played Reading did. FIGHT BACK !!!! No one took control of the game like Cesc used to do. All of the players were playing, “here you take it ” with each other, and United just waited for the opportunity to take it from them. United deserved to win and we just wanted it to be a close score and not 8-2 like last year.

    November 5, 2012 at 4:09 pm
    • James 'Raul' Stokes says:

      I’m sorry, but using internationals as an excuse is laughable. We aren’t the only club affected by them.

      November 5, 2012 at 9:50 pm
    • pchomo says:

      @Weslee, I agree totally with your analysis. But @James ‘Raul’ Stokes doesn’t appear to get your drift. The point is not that Arsenal is the only team whose players are engaged in or affected by internationals. The point is that Arsenal players on international duty appear to be more prone to injuries than their colleagues in other clubs. This appears like some sort of a curse. It happens every year. That’s the point @Weslee is putting across. And I agree that when our injury issues mitigate (between December and January), our performances will surely improve.

      This ‘curse’ may be viewed as part of our problem in depth. However, the issue of squad depth (purchase of players) and finance are interwoven and bear direct relationship. But that is another topic on its own, perhaps for another day.

      November 6, 2012 at 11:43 am
      • James 'Raul' Stokes says:

        I think you hit the nail on the head when you stated this bizarre and imaginary ‘curse’ of yours really shows our lack of depth.

        November 6, 2012 at 2:32 pm

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