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Monday, 29 August 2011

Desperate times call for drastic measures - and these times are very desperate

Remember his defence?

There is little point in picking over the coals of what happened yesterday. It is, perhaps, enough to say that it was shameful for an Arsenal team to concede eight goals in a game. I do not have it in me to be upset with the players. It is simply not their fault. Carl Jenkinson had a rough day yesterday, but I certainly liked his willingness to tell Walcott to "f***-off" after Walcott had failed (again) to track Patrice Evra, before having a go at the young full-back. Leadership was again missing yesterday, especially from a Captain who became Mr Timid while standing over a pressure penalty. In the back-four there was no communication in the absence of Vermaelen (it's no coincidence that Jenkinson was out of position a lot yesterday with Djourou and Koscielny silent alongside him - Vermaelen had talked the lad through the previous two matches where he had not looked out of place at all). 
Leaving aside all the general abuse etc there was one thing in yesterday's game that typified Wenger, and his complete lack of tactical awareness. At 3-1 we were holding United reasonably well and creating one or two things - 3-1 would have done me as a result after going 3-0 down. So what does he do? He takes off his defensive midfield player (Coquelin - who certainly didn't let anyone down) and brings on a poor lad of just turned 18 to make his debut (Alex Chamberlain must be wondering what he's done to deserve such a thing) and we let in 3 goals in the next 5 minutes. From then on it was just a training exercise for United, and not a very difficult one. You would think that someone on the bench (Pat Rice, I'm talking about you) would have been pleading with Wenger not to make such a substitution. Has Pat Rice no sense of pride in himself? Or is he just a complete yes man? 
For Arsenal FC to concede 8 goals is such a shameful thing that the Manager should have been sacked immediately. It's beyond unacceptable. Quite how Arsene Wenger can not have resigned after such a humiliation is beyond my comprehension. He can blame injuries, suspensions, fatigue (after 5 games?) all he wants to, but the FACT remains that Arsenal's team yesterday was put on the pitch through his actions. He has summarily destroyed everything he built.

A question I often hear when Wenger's head is called for is "who would replace him?" Let's forget the fact that it's a stupid question as there are plenty of people out there who can replace him, but I want to frame it against our current position. If Wenger was to resign, or be sacked now (or at any time until Christmas), it would mean a Manager coming in and having to work with what has been left for him. In my view there is only one man suitable to come in and be appointed for the rest of the season and that is George Graham. Time is a great healer (and, in time, we will only really remember the good things about Arsene Wenger's reign) and George's misdemeanours (including being manager at Tottenham) are now long ago. We need a Manager who can organise our defence, and instill proper discipline in the players (there is little more galling to an Arsenal traditionalist than the slovenly state of our players as they arrive for a game in tracksuits and over-sized earphones - what has happened to the class of the Arsenal blazer?)
Roy Hodgson has proved at Fulham and West Brom that even poor defenders can do very well as a unit as long as they are coached and drilled properly. There is nobody better at that than George Graham, whose methods save Leeds from relegation and won Tottenham their only trophy in a near twenty year spell. So what if the attacking instincts of certain players are curbed a bit, as long as we stop letting in stupid goals. The likes of Arshavin would get a serious rocket up their arses, or find themselves playing at Barnet on a wet Monday night (just ask Charlie Nicholas how George deals with lazy star names). These are methods we should all be welcoming of in the current situation.
These are desperately dark times to be an Arsenal supporter. It's time to bring in some Arsenal men. The fans who went to Old Trafford and sang their hearts out throughout the game understand what I'm talking about as they know what it means to be Arsenal (I'll ignore those two stupid cows with the Arsene Wenger banner) - I couldn't quite understand Martin Tyler's commentary when he said how quiet the Arsenal fans were at about the twenty minute mark as they were all you could hear, certainly you didn't hear the 70,000 muppets until they were six goals up. 
Yesterday was a dark day for Arsenal Football Club. We can only hope it never gets darker. However, until Arsene Wenger is replaced I fear things might get significantly worse. I daresay I'll get some twat abusing me for calling for Wenger to go, just as I did the other day. If there are still Wenger loyalists out there, I'd like to hear what their case is for the defence now.


  1. No defence for him. He must go. Not a resignation. It must be a sacking. GAZIDIS must also go as he has failed in his remit

  2. Im not sure it´s the right answer replacing Wenger (humble opinion). I think the players were just crushed before the game thinking it wasn´t possible. For some reason they thought and reacted differently at Udinese getting the result.
    With 8 players out it could have been a different story. What I would say in support of your thoughts is that with the current best starting XI, we probably still would have lost.
    I dont think signings will be everything, it will help. I think we will win a trophy if said signings are made (3-5 players). I can´t see more than 2 happening though at best.
    I think for most, this is Wengers last dance - 1 season left. Even for his greatest supporters, of which I am one of.

  3. Just a follow up rant - what really annoys me is players we are supposedly tracking being bought by other clubs, and not for silly inflated prices.
    Blaise Matuidi bought for 7.5m Euros + incentives. Mata 23m euros. Parker to S%#rs for 6m+. WTF?!

  4. Thanks for a balanced answer. However, I still don't see a defence of Wenger there. If the players were frightened of United then that is also down to Wenger and his failure to motivate them, and his complete lack of tactical awareness. We have often come up against teams who shouldn't live with us, yet they have been told HOW to defend.
    The same goes for Arsenal in the past. The team at Old Trafford yesterday was as lacking in areas as that which played Parma in 1994 with no midfield to speak of. They still won without conceding a goal.

  5. maybe the lack of transfer activity today is an indication there will be wholesale changes at Manager and Board level. If they´re not on the phone to other clubs then they must be speaking to each other...about something.
    I know I didn´t offer any direct defense of Wenger. I´m on the fence, truth be told. A couple of seasons ago after a bad start and limited transfer activity I also thought he should go. Sure enough, we challenged for honours and had a fairly good season.

  6. come on, we need some perpective on this defeat ...

    1) when was the last time a team scored 3 unsavable goals from free kicks and outside the box ?

    2) when was the last time when a team already has half of its first 11 injured and 2 experienced defenders were injured 1-2 days before a match against a strong team and has its bench filled with youths who havent played a senior game ?

    3) forget about the 2 gals after jenkinson was sent off ... its inconsequential after that

    4) and 2-3 goals were directly caused by unforced errors by traore, who wouldn't have played if sagna was fit. and did anyone noticed how Man U chose to attack him everytime they had the ball ? it's inevitable, but understandable from Man U point of view. you identify the weak link and punish him.

    But i'm very sure were vermaleen and sagna fit and played, we would have more than a chance. Man U didnt play well against tottenham and arsenal. they were lucky to play both teams that has weaknesses in their defence. for anyone who blamed wenger for not tweaking his tactics ? what are you talking about ? there is nobody on the bench for him to work with ? there's only one tactic, and that is to keep attacking and explot man u weakness at the back as well, which we did on many occasions. we were just badly let down by the defense. and at 3-1 down, what choice do we have but to keep attacking ? and hope that offense is the best form of defense ? shots on goal were almost even, and 3 of their goals were not saveable and very freaking bad luck for us. and 3 unforced mistakes by traore and 2 goals after the sent off ? come on, don't make a mountain out of a molehill ... so what do you expect arsenal to do ? buy 10 new defenders ? if you are on a bad run of luck, everything fails. just let this bad streak fizzle off and pick up the pieces after that

  7. Roy Mah
    A mountain out of a mole-hill? Two wins since February. This is not about yesterday, this is about a series of events, from the day in 2005 when Patrick Vieira was sold, culminating in what happened yesterday.
    Your defence of Wenger is flawed on so many levels. Any defence can defend well if coached properly - that is the job of the Manager.
    Traore was only playing becuase Sagna was ill? Yes, but don't you think it's kind of unacceptable to be relying on your first-choice right-back to cover for your first-choice (and not good enough, anyway) left-back? Again it comes back to Wenger and his failure to strengthen the squad properly.
    Take your head out of the sand and look at what is happening.

  8. Spot on...I've been reminiscing of those Graham days when our opponents were lucky to get more than a goal against us... These new fans don't understand anything;I get the feeling they simply saw Arsenal before Wenger as boring (Merson, Parlour, Wrighty - boring??). I esp. see this attitude from our international fans. And it's this word that keeps coming up in my head when I think about Arsenal's problems: 'International'. Wenger has built this Arsenal side with no regard for what an ENGLISH premiership side needs to survive in the league. He will not listen to reason, instead I can only conclude that he's probably waiting for UEFA to enforce 'Beautiful football fair play' around the same time FFP comes into effect; that way, all the other teams will have no other choice but to adopt Wenger's ideology. Wenger's Arsenal is a team that is meant for a league in a different country.

    I can go on and on; I just don't understand why people talk about his track record on the pitch, when his best days were with defenders he inherited from Graham. Everything thing great that Wenger has done since those days has been financial. I pray for Arsenal FC and all us fans....

  9. The trouble is that financial fair play will not change anything. Regardless of loopholes that will be abused, there is no way UEFA will take steps to expel the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Man City and Man Utd as it would render their compeition meaningless. This would inevitably lead to the break up of UEFA as the national FA's would have to back their Clubs to stop any breakaway European Super League. It simply won't happen, so if that is Wenger's ploy (and you may well be correct on that) it is complete pie in the sky.

  10. I honestly do not see Wenger going this season. I am quite sure he will be here for at least until the end of the season no matter what happens. You know as well as I do the board will not fire Wenger for now and personally I believe as Wenger is such a great manager he deserves this season to make it right. If not then fire him.

    So I see no point of slating the team and Wenger over and over again. Yes they fucked up. But now the only thing we can do is support the team because telling the team and Wenger they are shit does not help.

    We should be showing the kind of support the Arsenal fans at Old Trafford were, even after conceding eight goals. No one man is bigger than the club and things will change. Patience as they say is a virtue...

  11. do you all really think that any other manager could have done a better job if he were in the same position ? to undergo a change of stadium, competing against clubs with unlimited finances and paying wanton amount of money for players who he would have signed himself ? come on, 6 years without a trophy is a crisis ? who else did better than wenger in the last 15 years ? chelsea and man u ? and i think actually, pound for pound, only man u ... the verdict is still out on wenger. and did we not defeat udinese midweek ? you really think man u could have beaten udinese 8-2 or won ? if nobody saw how vulnerable man u defense was the least 3 games, they are fooling themselves. 3 games and we are panicking ? lets be more mature and have some perspective on the entire situation. and stop all the insults against wenger. if you think you can do a better job, apply to arsenal fc for the manager position and post your insults after winning 5 titles in 10 years. otherwise, stop making absolute statements that everyone knows you can't follow up with. its always easy to criticize especially when you are never going to be in a position to qualify your them. for better or worse, the people in arsenal (who happen to be smarter than 95% of the bloggers out here) believe in him and that's good enough for me

  12. Fuck my tall hat. I assume that neither Roy mah or slavko inhabit our shores. I'm sure there must be some local club side they can go to watch rather than scour the net and tv for tit bits of The Arsenal. I suggest a very small portion, if any, of whatever currency they are paid in has ever found its way to the club. When they are spending in excess of £3000 following the club every year then I will value their opinion

  13. if you don't like the direction the club is going, simply don't go and watch. simple as that. you choose to spend the money watching the team for a performance, not an investment contingent of specific performance standards. what i can't stand is people making comments like they know better than the manager in charge. and 99% of the time, they don't know what they are talking about

  14. I would like to have a proper discussion with roy mah but, as the individual is incapable of the most basic grammar, I think I'll pass.
    Oh, yes, and he talks complete bullshit. Does he honestly believe there is nobody out there capable of replacing Arsene Wenger? Believe it or not football, and Arsenal, existed before 1996. It will continue to exist long after Wenger has finally been shown the door - which will happen before Christmas.