The Armchair Gooner

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

Walcott, Giroud, Podolski, Mannone, Vermaelen, and more legitimate reason for concern.

Arsenal 3-3 Fulham: Hugs for Schwarzer, head-in-hands for Arteta

Afternoon folks.

First of all; apologies for the late post.

I’ll begin with what I consider to be the one postive note of yesterday’s match – Olivier Giroud. Our big Frenchman is gradually looking like a real threat to opposition defences, and with the right service, he’s going to score goals. He was excellent yesterday, and one of the few who showed anything like genuine desire and commitment. There looks to be a decent partnership blossoming between him and Theo.

The rest of them? Well, it’s pointless to be too critical, as I’d only be re-treading a path that’s long since been worn. What started off looking like it would be a routine and comfortable victory at 2-0 quickly descended into another farce of epic proportions. Even with the scoreline in our favour, you could see there was very little belief in the team that it would stay that way. Worst of all, there was lethargy in place of the professionalism to close the game down. We shouldn’t be salvaging draws at home against opposition we’re expected to comfortably dispatch, especially when we have a comfortable lead.

We could have won it in the dying moments had Mikel Arteta tucked away his spot-kick, but it was an extremely bad decision to award a penalty in the first place, and a win wouldn’t have helped to paper over any of the cracks. There are evident problems at Arsenal, and there doesn’t appear any solutions on the horizon.

It’s easy to blame Arsene Wenger. I agree totally that the accountability for performances rests solely on his shoulders. However, some of the players aren’t helping him – a lot of them are capable of far better. Lukas Podolski has lost some of the verve and energy that filled his early performances, and he’s started to whinge about playing on the left – something I find odd as he regularly plays that role for Germany. Since receiving the captaincy, Thomas Vermaelen’s level of performance has dropped drastically.

Whilst I couldn’t blame Wenger for the failings of established players from whom we expect better, his perseverance with certain squad members is baffling. Vito Mannone shouldn’t be anywhere near our first team. The injuries to Fabianski and Szczsney were impossible to predict, but we needed a keeper in the summer, and he didn’t get one. That’s a mistake he has committed time and time again, and we seem to pay for it every season when then injuries do kick in – you need only look to last January’s full-back debacle for evidence.

I’m not one of the people calling for the manager’s head, but I’m not an apologist who believes he can do no wrong. Selling our captain to Manchester United was a colossal blunder, and Robin’s departure has exposed just how much we lack a talisman in the current Arsenal team. Was it Wenger’s decision to sell him? He must of had a say in the matter. Gazidis claimed he was sold for “footballing reasons” – I’d love to hear exactly what those were, because I can’t think of any.

Results like yesterday have plagued us for years now. Players like Robin and Cesc have left for greener pastures for years now. Each season begins with false hope and quickly drops into anger and despair. Each season we look weaker than the last. Arsene Wenger is a man I worship, a man I hold as one of the club’s greatest – if not the greatest. However, I’m starting to think his best years may be behind him, and the club needs a fresh approach and some fresh ideas. Even the greatest have to stop sometime, and I prefer ours not to leave a tainted legacy behind him.

That’s all for today, folks.

The comments await your thoughts and reaction to the game. Let me know a few.

Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

Category: Match reviews

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  • jk says:

    Wenger has lost his passion you only have to look at the players to see that, where is the fight and belief?? He is ultimately accountable for naive tactics, selling our best players and some very suspect buys in recent seasons park, chamack, squillaci, santos and gervinho! I feel the board are to blame for wengers loss of belief they have starved him of the funds to keep his best players and the funds to compete. Selling our great club to a yank with no affiliation or connection to the club then employing a devious chief executive like gazidis who squeezes the life out of every fan finacially was a major mistake. The club has been getting less competitive for the last 7 years to the point we are in serious danger of slipping out of the champions league. Who knows that may be what we need?? Although a heavy home defeat to spurs might see a fan backlash that kroenke and gazidis deserve.

    November 11, 2012 at 6:58 pm
    • Pius G. says:

      It baffles me greatly every time I hear very badly informed people from among the Arsenal faithfuls throw the blame at Wenger for all the key players that have left Arsenal. Why is it so difficult for this set of people to recollect that in all of the situations that we have had to sell our key players, these players themselves have always insisted that they wanted to leave bcos somebody somewhere offered them higher wages – wages which we cannot afford to match in the peculiar circumstance of Arsenal having invested so much in infrastructural developments leaving us with huge financial obligations to our creditors.

      Is it so difficult to remember that it took almost three years for Wenger to stall king Henry’s desire to leave Arsenal to Barca? Who has forgotten so quickly how Fabregas strangle-held Wenger until his wishes to leave were met. Was the story different with the thirties-approaching RVP who hoodwinked us by giving Wenger conditions (for his stay) which Wenger actually bowed to with the signing of the Three Musketeers – Podolski, Carzola and Giroud? What the whole world knew was that RVP was only out to get the one last big pay day that every footballer approaching same age works hard to get before old age begins to knock on the doors of their career. Need I mention the hostage situation which Wenger found himself in with regards to Cashley’s, Cashri’s and, of course, Adebayor’s situations. Is it so difficult to understand that it is better to keep an unhappy player (who has made up his mind to leave no matter what) against his will? Do people realize what bad influence that is in the dressing room or during trainings? Is it so difficult to understand that it is always better and, in fact, in the best interest of the club to sale such a player for a price rather than keep him unhappy in the squad (often not taking the risk to use him because of his waned commitment) and then be forced to let him go for free a year or two later?

      I can’t understand how Wenger can be held culpable under such circumstances by Arsenal fans who do not have the slightest inkling what goes on behind those closed doors when passionate appeals are being made to these egocentric, egotistic, self-centered players to have some patience and show some loyalty.

      November 11, 2012 at 11:50 pm
  • Angry Gooner says:

    Its a pity… May God help us, can someone please tell wenger that his time is up and gone?

    November 11, 2012 at 7:42 pm
  • Saanil says:

    Here are some things which all Arsenal fans should read, so that they are able to watch the entire season without getting a heart attack. Let us not discuss the Fulham match because we all know it was a fair result (Although in my opinion Fulham played better football). Few things which I want all Arsenal fans to understand and accept:

    1. We are not going to win the Premier League (Although that is clear since the last few games but I see many people still hoping).

    2. We will crash out of the Champions League ‚?? either in Group stages or in Round of 16 (It actually does not matter).
    3. We are not going to win any other league cup.

    Our only aim for this season should be: Getting 3rd place in PL ‚?? If Arsenal achieves it I think it will be more than what they deserve (especially after seeing the way they have been playing in the past few months).

    It is important that Wenger now plans for the season with only this aim (i.e. finishing 3rd in Premier League) in mind. Here is what I think some of the major problems are:

    1. Too much passing going around. Note that much of this passing is aimless. Sometimes defenders (Per/Kos/Thomas) also pass in order to clear the ball in situations when all you are required to do is kick the ball out of the stadium. Most of the passes are on ground ‚?? Arsenal never try to play long ball or lofted pass. Passing along the ground might work against some teams but if someone parks the bus ‚?? which teams usually do against Arsenal ‚?? nothing happens. What I want to see ‚?? more passes through the air and less on the ground.

    2. Players seem to be too slow in their movements. This is also related to Arsenal‚??s obsession to pass the ball on the ground. Biggest culprit today was Ramsey and Arteta (it was an off day for him actually). Ramsey was simply horrible. When he got the ball ‚?? he could not think where to pass the ball ‚?? he kept the ball with him for too long and it was nicked by some Fulham player.

    3. Not making optimum use of left flank. Our left side is seriously screwed. Santos has been banned for not performing. Vermalaen is not able to come forward. Podolski is isolated. We are virtually useless whenever the ball is on the left side of the pitch.

    4. Players not making intelligent runs. So Arsenal wants to score their goals via passing ‚?? Well for that YOU NEED TO MAKE SMART RUNS! We somehow manage to get the ball to the opposition penalty box and then just do not know what do to ‚?? we aimlessly pass around until someone losses possession and off everybody runs to handle the counter attack.

    I am not angry because Arsenal has so many problems ‚?? I am angry because Wenger is doing NOTHING to solve these problems. Each and every match Wenger is playing with the same strategy and hoping to win – Wenger is waiting for our team to click. The Arsenal players do not seem to play with any kind of urgency. I was simply disgusted by the casual passing attitude of Ramsey and Coquelin today.

    I am just hoping Walcott stays with us this January. Also I would like to see Arshavin start in place of Podolski. The only issue with that is Arshavin is also bad in tracking back in case of a counter attack/helping out Santos. I want to Santos to start on the left and I want Arshavin to play too. Obviously playing these two could work while attacking but while defending we need to add one more person to help here. Why cannot we have a mid-field player help Arshavin protect the left flank? I am still trying out to figure the formation/strategy. The reason I want to play Santos is because he is good when he is attacking but when he loses out the ball he does not have the pace to track back. Also if you observe Santos while defending ‚?? he always lunges forward with his foot towards the opponent which has only 2 outcomes ‚?? Either Santos is successful to disrupt the opponent and get the ball OR the opponent gets past him easily (Santos cannot even get back!). Someone needs to tell Santos to stop sticking his leg forward and instead stick with the opponent.

    November 11, 2012 at 8:12 pm
    • James 'Raul' Stokes says:

      That’s certainly a comprehensive response.

      I agree with a fair bit, but not the long ball idea – we’ll never be a team suited to that…

      November 11, 2012 at 8:59 pm
  • Yousuf says:

    What is our defense strategy ? Is there any ? Did Wenger and players know that Berbatov is dangerous man in Fulham team ? If they knew, then why wasnt he marked. He completely changed that game and was involved in 2 goals.

    What i dont like is FC Arsenal going in to games with out a clear vision as to how opposition team plays. who are dangerous and should be marked ? Our players have no idea. Every team that plays FC Arsenal seems to have figured us out. They know how Arsenal plays but do we know anything about other team ? I was happy at the start of this seaon, the way Arsenal defended. But its all gone now.

    There is no believe, no fighting spirit among our players. I am very worried and hope Wenger puts an end to this. In Wenger, I trust (now and ever)…….

    November 11, 2012 at 9:00 pm
  • dboy says:

    These players are ranked among the top ten in the world in their respective positions. I am sure there are a good number of players on this list we can sign to strengthen our team.

    Goalkeepers
    Tim Howard ‚?? Everton
    Gianluigi Buffon ‚?? Juventus
    Maarten Stekelenburg ‚?? Ajax
    Manuel Neuer ‚?? Bayern Munich
    Julio Cesar ‚?? Inter Milan

    Defensive Midfielders
    Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany & Bayern Munich)
    Daniele De Rossi (Italy & Roma)
    Nigel de Jong (Holland & AC Milan)
    Esteban Cambiasso, Inter Milan/Argentina
    Javi Martinez, Athletic Bilbao/Spain
    Yann M‚??Vila, Rennes/France

    Right back
    Christian Maggio ‚?? Napoli
    Rafinha ‚?? Bayern Munich

    Left back
    Domenico Criscito ‚?? Zenit Saint Petersburg
    Yuto Nagatomo ‚?? Internazionale
    Filipe ‚?? Atl√©tico Madrid
    Federico Balzaretti ‚?? Palermo

    Right wing
    Mauricio Isla, Juventus/Chile
    Jakub Blaszczykowski, Borussia Dortmund/Poland
    Christian Maggio, Napoli/Italy
    Jesus Navas, Sevilla/Spain

    Left wing
    Gaston Ramirez, Bologna/Uruguay
    Arda Turan, Atletico Madrid/Turkey

    November 11, 2012 at 9:12 pm
    • Admir says:

      You should update your list because:

      -Cesar is in QPR, he was playing against Arsenal only two weeks ago,
      -Stekelenburg is not in Ajax, he joined Roma before season 2011-12,
      -Javi Martinez signed for Bayern Muenchen in summer transfer window,
      -Balzaretti is Stekelenburg’s team-mate,
      -Gaston Ramirez signed for Southampton because “they offered him a lot of money”.

      Besides that, it is unlikely that Isla and De Jong – who signed for Juventus and Milan respectively in August – would change their clubs so quickly. De Rossi is too expensive even for Manchester City while Schweinsteiger won’t be sold by Bayern since they don’t sell their best players easily like we do.

      November 11, 2012 at 9:24 pm
    • jk says:

      Mate alot of those players have moved cesar at qpr ramirez at southampton etc! We are never in the market for top talent unless for instance cazorla who was available at a bargain price and we even sold song to cover the cost of that. This squad has needed strengthining for 7 years and all we have done is sold and replaced never strengthened and even our replacements have been of a lesser standard than what we have sold. Sad times because i can only see this season getting worse wenger dosnt seem to have the ability to swallow his pride and make the changes tactically and personally! The only way this club can challenge again is spending 100 million on 4 world class players…….Yes im dreaming!!

      November 11, 2012 at 9:25 pm
  • Philbet says:

    yAWN YAWN YAWN, MORE FICKLE KNOW IT ALL FANS WITH THE BRAINS AND intellect of a gnat, if we dont win its sack the tea lady, boot boy and assistant groundsman,its some of the fair weather fans who want the sack,if you cant accept losing then Eff off and find a club that wins every week.

    November 11, 2012 at 11:11 pm
  • Ettienne says:

    Dude i have to disagree with you on Gervinho. he scored our goals for us when he moved into the centre when no one else was scoring. He created more scoring opportunities then Giroud when he was in that position.
    He was good last season and he was good at the beginning of this season until he was moved out of the central position.
    Correct me if i am wrong but he is the 2nd highest goal scorer for Arsenal this season and he has been on the treatment table for a few weeks now. How can you throw him in the shit list?
    I fail to see some peoples logic

    November 11, 2012 at 11:16 pm
    • jk says:

      gervinho was bought as a winger not a forward and as a winger he consistently has no final ball and often our moves break down when he is in possesion in the final third. Even if you claim he is better as a central forward he would still be a very average forward simple as that! I dont get your logic to be fair but we can agree to disagree! Would he get anywhere near united,city,chelsea or even spurs starting line up no he wouldnt. Considering what we paid for him i would expect alot better!

      November 12, 2012 at 1:16 am
      • AT says:

        I’d gladly have gervinho play ahead of podolski on the left. at very least he challenges fullbacks and stretches the defense in general. podolski’s influence on the flanks is very lacking (save the liverpool match). I’d even venture to say “Would he get anywhere near united,city,chelsea or even spurs starting line up no he wouldnt. Considering what we paid for him i would expect alot better!” that said said podolski is a good finisher (per steve bould). I think he’s physically strong enough. I certainly wouldn’t mind if we tried him up front sometimes. I think he’d be better there than gervinho and would coincide with gervinho making the left wing better.

        November 12, 2012 at 1:49 am
        • jk says:

          To be fair when did i ever say podolski was a good winger? wenger hasnt bought a proper winger since pires

          November 12, 2012 at 8:30 am
      • pchomo says:

        @jk, you are one of those who don’t just like Gervinho for many reasons (whether rightly or wrongly, this is left to individual perception). But like you pointed out, we can agree to disagree. The only problem I have is that I’ve looked back to try to remember how many of our previous strikers hit it off as suddenly (within a couple of months) as Gervinho has when they were drafted for the first time in the top striker role. Not even King Henry, if my memory serves me right and definitely not RVP whom everyone is now hyping.

        But like I always say, the boss virtually sleeps with the boys and knows them better than all of us and indeed he understands his job better that us, pretenders. But guys, don’t get me wrong. We all have the right to be sentimental. That is why football is what it is. Much more so without illegal funds finding its way into it. But to part answer your last question, I’ve seen all of those three big clubs you mentioned also under-perform when faced with lesser challenges. Gervinho has just started. Barring further injuries, I assure you that in a season or two these same clubs will be falling over each other for his signature. That’s why Wenger is so good. He sees in young players what other coaches don’t see and after polishing them, these coaches then pounce with outrageous offers (with cash from God-knows-where) knowing that our finances vis-a-vis our other financial obligations.

        November 12, 2012 at 12:12 pm
    • pchomo says:

      @Ettienne, RVP spent many more months on the treatment table than Gervinho has and that took nothing from him (RVP) in the end. In fact, Gervinho has proved more prolific in this new role (although on trial) than RVP was when he too was first drafted into that role. It is just sad that we, fans, are often very impatient and too hasty in our judgment. The good thing though is that Mr. Wenger understands our sentiments and is always doing the best he can, within the limits of the resources available to him and the club, to address all issues.

      November 12, 2012 at 11:48 am
  • sube says:

    Arsenal at the moment look like a mid-table club and they are playing like a mid-table club. I think this will be the season when we finish out of the top four unless some miracle happens.I am already looking for the next season. This season is already over for me. I have stopped watching Arsenal matches after the Shalke defeat.The talk of getting in new strikers does not go down too well with me.I think to genuinely challenge, we must have a solid defense.At the moment, we cannot defend at all. One is always sure that Arsenal will concede and that gives other teams confidence.We must keep clean sheets,we must defend.

    November 12, 2012 at 4:13 am
  • MQ says:

    Excellant review dude! Except Vito rip its the 10 defenders of the team collective very poor killed on set-pieces again?

    November 12, 2012 at 8:07 am
  • Bello Nice says:

    Actually something has to be done and very,very fast because the team now is moving from trophy drought to losing momentum of possibly relegation in the near future. Enough is enough both the management and the coaching crew need to bring an end to this so call investment & destroying the dignity of the club. People use to say Arsenal is one of the few teams in Europe that play a beautiful football, but if you watch our match against d German team you will believe that the tradition of good football is gone so how can we continue like this? If we dear play like this against the Spurs, we will be disgrace.

    November 12, 2012 at 12:59 pm

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