Who is to blame for this shocking performance?

By Bilal Zaidi

Today is a depressing day…a 1-0 loss to Man City is simply not acceptable for a club looking to challenge for the title. I know it is only early days…and yes I accept that one loss isn’t the end of the world…there are still 36 games for us to play to win the league…but who can really expect it after only the first few performances we have seen.

We played our first leg away to Zagreb well but to be perfectly honest we shouldn’t expect anything less. Am I being harsh? Not really…if only the team and manager had this harsh attitude we might actually try to shoot instead of pass the ball every time an opportunity occurs to shoot! No excuses…none of that “it’s a young team” stuff…none of that “we have to settle in our new stadium” talk either…todays match was a disgrace and even though against Villa we were tremendously unlucky after hitting the bar etc, it is still fair to say one point from the first two league matches against two teams who aren’t in the top 6 of the league…JUST ISNT GOOD ENOUGH.

Our second leg to Zagreb again wasn’t brilliant by any means…we struggled to create clear cut opportunities and the ones we did we didn’t put away. The whole world knows how to defend against Arsenal…sit back…pack the midfield….over crowd us…and let us continuously pass from side to side trying to score wonder goals.

Im a HUGE fan of both Hleb and Rosicky…but with both of them continuously drifting into the middle and looking to always pass inside…Hoyte being right footed and doing the same…is just meaning we are passing it from left to right all day. The other night Walcott came on and gave us real width…even though it looked like he came on at first to stay up front…today he did the same…coming onto the left and at least trying to get to the byline. We badly missed Reyes on the left who gives us a left foot and direct runs…Cashley again would have provided us with similar attributes but lets simply erase his memory away from our brains….

Rosicky played very nicely in the first leg away to Zagreb and his zippy passes and inside runs looked to suit us perfectly…BUT today we saw that we don’t have another route…no ball over the top, a direct lash across goal or even a conventional cross for a header. Arsene has never played like that and up until last season his revolutionary method of play was still successful in breaking the opposition down with slick passing, cute through balls executed at a rapid pace from athletess…add Thierry up at the top and that is a winning formula…UNTILL somebody realises that they can just sit back and let us pass…passs….passss some more and snatch a winner from a free kick, corner or on the break.

Perhaps I am being overly harsh…but im not being stupidly harsh…to say our team isn’t good enough would be…they just need to open their eyes and realise that teams have a game plan that they will stick to and a lot of the time it works. After our heroic run in the champions league last year, I hope people don’t forget that we just scraped into qualifying for the very same competition with 11 league losses in 38 games…THAT’S EVERY THREE AND A HALF GAMES we lost…today it was our attackers who really let us down…that means midfielders and strikers…so far its two games played…one draw and one loss (in the league)…I hope that we can recover from this early set back and really take it to the other teams who we are better than…teams that could never play the sort of football we play or achieve what we have the potential to achieve, without meaning any disrespect to those other teams…Arsene you are an absolute legend in the world of football, there isn’t a character like you…BUT PLEASE can you realize what the whole world has realised last season, if you lose so many players over the course of 3 or 4 seasons, and you replace them with youth team players, they wont perform to the same standard over a 38 game league…over a cup competition like the champions league perhaps…but its time we get to the top again where we belong…

What did you think of today’s display?

  • aua

    I think the game went well for us in terms of the build up play, but it was just the final product i.e. the goals, that was missing. henry didn’t look quite sharp but hleb, van persie and fabregas did well. rosicky had a great chance however when he was near the 6 yard box where he had a great chance to score but was less selfish than i wanted and passed to the other players. i jus wanted him to SHOOT, only the keeper stood in his way and a low shot could of put us ahead had he been a little more greedy.

  • Anonymous

    pls we missed reyes?
    when did he play for us?
    you mean we missed pires.

    someone who has the composure to put the ball in the back of the net. look at last years prem score tables. henry and pires saved our bacon.

    adebayor and rvp are not premiership quality. i wonder what you would be saying if they were playing for wigan or bolton.

  • Anonymous

    Hello, I’m a City fan and read your post with interest.

    On another day, you would have scored 8.
    FABREGAS was awesome, almost untouchable; you have GOT to keep hold of him.
    HLEB had a good game also I thought
    As a football fan, not just a Blue, it is a delight to watch FABREGAS and how he has matured over the last 12 months
    Our “star”, as he likes to be known as, Joey Barton, just stood and watched, like he does against most good players. He only thinks he is good because his chums Robbie & Stevie tell him so.
    How he thinks he will ever get into a team like yours is beyond comprehension.
    He is a poor man’s Gerrard.
    But I digress…Arsenal’s movement and passing was top drawer.
    You need to put it down to it being “just one of those days”
    Hard to take I know.
    Just do us a favour and take it out on Manyoo. (god I hate it when people call them that)
    Wish we could play that well and lose!!!
    You will still be up there, but I personally think the title will be beyond you.
    All the best for the season

    A loyal ‘non-bitter’ Blue

  • ArsenalReview.com

    Thankyou for your comment…yes I would agree our movement was quite good and my article written this morning was written after this one:

    http://www.arsenalreview.com/2006/08/arsenal-have-to-be-more-ruthlessplus.html

    Thanks and hope to hear your comment again in the near future.

  • Anonymous

    The build-up play, as Mr Blue says above, continues to be awesome. But I agree totally with the comment that we miss Pires – a goalscoring midfielder who varies his angles of attack. Van Persie is awesome, but by now defenders aren’t stupid – he can only do things with his LEFT foot – so they force him right, and he fizzles out every time. Besides, Thierry goes left all the time, so Van P can only go right – and as he is such a one-footed player he becomes less effective. Walcott must start the next game – give him the first 60 minutes, not the last 20 – he will make a difference. Unfortunately Hoyte is simply not good enough – we miss Clichy, but as he’s so injury-prone its even more important than ever that we buy Gallas.
    As it stands this team isn’t quite good enough. Sell Cole, Reyes, Hoyte, buy Gallas, and look for a right-footed striker (no, not Adebayor – he’s destined for a Kanu-like bench career I fear). from Kiwi Gooner

  • Mike

    as a City fan, i’d say you’re being very harsh – i didn’t see the villa game so can’t comment about that, but yesterday just seemed to be ‘one of those days’ for you…hitting the bar, hitting the post, chances going wide, our keeper stopping them with his legs… ok, so you’ve understandably got different standards to us, but from where i was sitting you’ve not got too much to moan about.

  • Anonymous

    we failed to score yes but our performance were far from being shocking. we dominate the game and there was some good fotball played. but the team will find its rythm and become sharper in front of the goal. it is only a matter of time. matches like that happens once a while but that does not equate to a crisis. we need to improve yes but we are not a bad as the two result suggest

  • Ambrose

    It’s frustrating but we were desperately unlucky. Playing the same game again with the same players in the same way against the same team we would win by 4 or 5 goals. We played absolutely brilliantly with the possible exception of two players and were denied two penalty claims that would have been given if we were the home side.

    Whatever qualities Hoyte has as a footballer they are totally wasted at LB and Eboue has pace and technique but lacks a football brain (or is it just enough top level experience?).

    Apart from quality cover in CM our real and urgent problem is left back. Clichy won’t be back for another 6 weeks or so. Neither Flamini or Cygan offer enough going forward to solve the problem. I find it daft that Cole is fit and willing to play in the premiership and we continue to pay his wages but won’t play him. It might make sense not to have played him in CL games but why not in the premiership? I am convinced if he had played against Villa and City we would have won both games.

    YaYa and Reo-Coker wouldn’t have made any difference yesterday it was just ‘one of those games’ I am afraid. Buying players just for the sake of having someone different to blame if it doesn’t work is not the answer. Spurs spent big this eason but what good did it do them yesterday?

  • Anonymous

    i like man city if we are to lose i rather lose to them.

  • Anonymous

    “At 9:41 AM, Anonymous said…
    i like man city if we are to lose i rather lose to them.”

    Re the above…you only like us coz you normally stuff us!!!

  • ArsenalReview.com

    Thankyou for your comments…just to confirm to anyone who hasnt had a chance to read what I wrote this morning after this article you can read it here:

    http://www.arsenalreview.com/2006/08/arsenal-have-to-be-more-ruthlessplus.html

    Thankyou and good day.

  • tunadog

    nothing wrong with the performance other than the reluctance to shoot..thought Cesc & Gilberto were superb..difficult to criticise T.H after all he has achieved but hes still off the pace & R.V.P is not a natural goal scorer.Hleb drives me crazy obvious ability but gives the ball away 2 or 3 times every game in some awful positions & why on earth will he never shoot.Im afraid Hoyte is simply not good enough to play for Arsenal.A decent performance but an incredibly frustrating result.

  • Anonymous

    I think we need to keep hold of reyes as he provides us much needed width and i thin we need to play either 4-5-1 or 4-3-3. IF we were to play 4-3-3 we could play Lauren as a holding midfielder with Gilberto and this would allow Cesc to be the play maker.

  • Anonymous

    i think that the problem that we’ve got is that almost all teams know that we would like to walk the ball into the net, but honestly does anyone play to let us do that. the issue here is that in as much as we want to play beautiful football we have got to take chances when ever they arise. i am afraid to say if we continue to play like that we are not going to play in champions league soon.

  • arsenal4life

    i don’t really think u can blame just one player, the team was poor, but, although we have started badly, maybe we are having a slow start and will come good as the season goes on, rather than start really well and burn out as the season goes on!

  • Anonymous

    I cant beleive anyone who would turn around and say we miss reyes! lol.please please dont make me laugh.Im not just saying this because he is leaving but he is absolutley rubbish,i wld be over the moon 2 get 8mil for him right now.Wenger get your finger out,get rid of the players NOW! that dont want 2 play for the team,get in some experience in defence and midfield.Also theres no way adebayor is a good enuff player for us.wenger says he thinks we have a gd enuff team to win the premiership,ill give anyone a million-1 right now.

  • massi21

    another pour perfomance as nearly the whole of last season in the league. Henry is too effing lazy and is not suitable to be our captain, where is the will to win matches? he walks around the pitch all game it�s awful to watch. Why in gods name do we not shoot at goal? get ready for a season in the range of middlesb,city and bolton.

  • Anonymous

    I think the lads played well (as always) but it isn’t always enough to play well, the team needs some depth in quality. We need to buy some players, players like Javier Mascherano (midfield option), Abidal (left back, Hoyte is not just it for me), keep Reyes and finally start shooting at goal for God’s sake. Roskicy can shoot, so can Van P and Reyes; Arsene let them shoot at goal so when the opposition thinks we are going to pass the ball we’ll surprise them

  • Anonymous

    How about giving us a bit of credit !
    Yes we rode our luck, but we also battled away like hell. Plain fact is you didn’t put away your chances and we took ours.

    Rgds.. A City Season Ticket Holder, and yes I was at the game

  • ArsenalReview.com

    Yes sorry I wasnt taking anything away from Man City’s performance…they definately played hard and played together as a team…but we were extremely unlucky as well as not clinical enough…enough of that now ay…

  • Anonymous

    Looks like Arsenal’s best player came on just after our penalty. He was a little under-dressed though and was marched off by stewards and the police. 😉

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, but an earlier anonymous poster stated “we dominate the game” which infuriates me, mainly because the sky half time analysis team said the same(although one of them is mr G Graham……..)!

    The stats simply don’t back that up, first or second half and the blues actually had more shots on target in a dogged display………

    Credit where it’s due!

    I do think if Arsenal get back to basics, roll up their collective sleeves and score a few scrappy goals, they’ll enjoy them just as much as any “wonder” goal……..

    Another unbitter blue

  • aua

    anonymous 9:04AM : are u an idiot, how is rvp not premiership quality, it just shows ur knowledge of football (or lack of knowledge of football should i say). he is still young but all he needs is a little more consistency. he can star in one of the world’s best teams in THE worlds best comepetition (netherlands-world cup) and yet he isnt prem quality, ARE YOU STUPID. im predicting him to be one of the stars of our season and our future.