How To Measure Quality in Football? 10 points off top – 12 points from relegation zone

Aston Villa 2-2 Arsenal

You may have noticed from the lack of posts that the world of Arsenal FC now really just irritates me. Yet I still manage to keep myself watching every second of every game. Today’s game marked a significant point in this season.

Let’s be honest – if we were Aston Villa, we would be annoyed that we didn’t get all three points from a game that was dominated by the home side. The first half statistics say it all: Villa – 7 shots and Arsenal – 1 shot, 1 goal. How often has that happened to us in the past? The whole game was Villa’s apart from a 20 minute spell at the end of the first half and beginning of the second. The story of the game was:

Woodwork 3 times…lucky bounce…nice finish Denilson… a moment of brilliance from Diaby to offset his general pathetic performance to make it 2…back to Villa pressure…Gallas penalty…Barry 50th goal…inevitable Knight equalizer in injury time. All we had to show for the game was a determined goal keeper and a world class right back. Well done to Villa, they showed they are a real side today.

The title of this article is not to suggest we are going to get relegated, but simply to illustrate how far off we are from the top. The quality of the side has been weakened season after season; players have left and have not been replaced. People blame the centre of defence for leaking goals but fail to mention that the creativity of the side is as weak as anything else nowadays. We have never had the best defensive players in the world (under Wenger’s modern teams) but we used to defend well as a unit. A lot of that comes down to the midfield. Wenger’s philosophy has always been that the best form of defence is attack, keeping the ball means the opposition cannot score.

As much as I want the likes of Song and Denilson to succeed and do not want to put blame on them personally, it is obvious to see that they don’t do enough to be playing week in week out. The centre of midfield in my opinion is the most important part of any team (apart from Bolton) since it’s the only part of the team which defends and attacks as well as being a source for inspiration, creativity and is one of the only positions that can set the tempo of a game. Flamini is a perfect example of this last season.

Fans boo Eboue yet do not boo Wenger who plays him on the left wing. They do not boo the manager who last season had three very solid defensive midfielders in the team (Gilberto, Flamini and Diarra) and yet did not replace them when they left. I am not at all saying to boo Wenger, I was one of the first to say boo-ing Eboue was disgusting – but please stop pointing fingers at individual players when Wenger is the man in charge.

I love Wenger as much as any other Arsenal fan but he is only human. He has made mistakes yet a human still has the ability to correct his mistakes. But Wenger is as stubborn as any manager in world football, he is the president of our football club and makes all the decisions and therefore should shoulder most of the blame. The board let him do as he wishes and that has been rightly earned over an amazing Arsenal career as manager. However, every human is fallible and if Wenger again refuses to sign players in January there will have to be a point where something has to be done. Yes we drew with Liverpool, beat Manchester United and Chelsea…but losing to Hull, Stoke, City and Villa means something is not right.

People say that our results against the big four show that we do possess enough quality. However, that is not enough to measure overall quality. Consistency is quality in a league. Unfortunately, our Arsenal team is looking more and more like a poor version of the Liverpool team that won the Champions League but needed Uefa to change the rules to allow them to play the next season over Everton.

Quality in football is consistency, collective drive and a winning mentality as well as talented players throughout a squad. I will leave it up to you, the reader, to ponder as to what extent we possess any of those characteristics as a collective squad.

Merry Christmas. Santa bring me a defensive midfielder and a sane manager for Christmas.

  • Anonymous

    Same old arsenal, shit defence, shit shit midfeild. Worst team under wenger what a joke. Open your eye’s aw it’s getting boring!!!

  • Anonymous

    Same old arsenal, shit defence, shit shit midfeild. Worst team under wenger what a joke. Open your eye’s aw it’s getting boring!!!

  • Anonymous

    There is no leaderhsip in the team..even the teens want to measure shoulders ‘cos they manager thinks they are good..What the hell is nicholas doing with an arsenal shirt talk more of wearing it…Lack in dept showed again in todays game at villa..nasri out and a left full back in..Eboue in for 90mins when he was tired…song out and a seventeen yr old in sorry he turned 18 today…Please SACK AW

  • Pissed Off

    Have to agree, we have not been creative in a long time. Defense may have leaked in a goal or two but the holding on to a lead is only part of the problem. We have not been as clinical going forward and that is what is costing us, as our best form of defense was attack, back in the goold old Henry, Pires and Vieira days…

  • Anonymous

    TOTALY agree!!!

    I am more upset at the fact that the excuses roll out time and time again and AW expects us to swallow the same Bull S*it?

    Its the “same crap, different toilet” kind of performance that shows the lack of mental strength, grit and passion required to wear the red and white of Arsenal.

    These players play in a league where the bank balance rises on demand and a lifestyle is expected that most of us will never have. Yet, the comitment is never 100% but just enough to get through!

    Chelsea, Man U, Liverpool have 22 (TOP CLASS) starting players that have to perform 100% if they want to start a game. We have 22 players of which 16 or so are kids (AND NOT GOOD ENOUGH) and are almost guaranteed to start every week.

    Of course, AW would never turn his back on youth because that would put egg on his face. They are bought on the cheap so what should we expect anyway?

    I hate to say this but I really am losing the passion in Arsenal. I have never felt like this in 30 years. None of these players can be compared to the class we’ve had over the years (appart from FAB). It’s like we’re being slold down the river by a man (AW) who has put so much faith in his own methods that he will drag the ship down with mim as opposed to admitting he was wrong?

  • Anonymous

    hey ‘pissed off’ you know you can delete your mistakes, the comment box is just like word

  • Anonymous

    sorry was meant to be directed at anonymous 9.14pm

  • Anonymous

    What does the score tell you?It has and will happen every time . Arsenal cannot hold on to a lead. The proud professor insists on his brand and expects others to let him play his way and labels those who stop the gunners from playing anti soccer.
    Well he has has been trying to be too smart. He forsook his methods which had been winning trophies for buy them young policy which every gunner fans will tell you will only work in x years time. Even even there is no guarantee.
    I wonder what he will say next. win the treble.He seems like a man frustrated when the very source of his frustration is his own philosophy.As someone said the diamond guy living in Switzerland can be ruthless. Nothing is permanent in this world.

  • Anonymous

    We clearly need to sign a few players in January but people like Anon 10:31 are clearly overreacting. Are you honestly saying that Sagna can’t be compared to our previous right backs? You can’t expect the same as in Wenger’s previous years and players from this team would’ve gotten into many of the Arsenal teams before Wenger came.

    We need a winger, a central midfielder and a centre back, even if Gallas stays. I would not feel comfortable with Toure (yes he had malaria but even before that he hasn’t been good this calendar year) or Silvestre in the centre of my defence, and I don’t think Wenger does either. I would buy a centre back to play alongside Gallas and give some competition to Djourou and Gallas. We could recall Senderos as a cheap option I suppose, but he isn’t mentally strong enough.

  • Anonymous

    We clearly need to sign a few players in January but people like Anon 10:31 are clearly overreacting. Are you honestly saying that Sagna can’t be compared to our previous right backs? You can’t expect the same as in Wenger’s previous years and players from this team would’ve gotten into many of the Arsenal teams before Wenger came.

    We need a winger, a central midfielder and a centre back, even if Gallas stays. I would not feel comfortable with Toure (yes he had malaria but even before that he hasn’t been good this calendar year) or Silvestre in the centre of my defence, and I don’t think Wenger does either. I would buy a centre back to play alongside Gallas and give some competition to Djourou and Gallas. We could recall Senderos as a cheap option I suppose, but he isn’t mentally strong enough.

  • Anonymous

    Great article, spot on. So frustrating watching it all unravel – like a slow motion train crash.

    When we were winning trophies I could accept Wenger’s flaws, but now I’m growing tired of him. I can’t work out if he has gone mad or if he thinks he is playing some kind of fantastic psychological mind game, but either way it’s embarrassing.

  • Anonymous

    Rebuild.

  • Anonymous

    reactionary nonsense.

  • Anonymous

    wth is some fans thinking? We were w/o fabregas, adebayor, clichy, rosicky, eduardo, djorou, Walcott and even song went off at half time. We drew with a strong team away and yet the fans are so neg.

    imagine the whole arsenal team back with some signings in jan. chelsea and man united already said they wont be buying. Arsene tried to sign but couldnt do it in the summer. Hope the new arsenal guy manage to buy a few which arsene wants.

  • nirmal

    How many top teams would have squandered a 2 goal lead? And it was as if we almost knew villa will equalize!! and only arsenal and arsene talk of the title in every post match review. i dont read that from phil, sir alex or rafa. cant we just concentrate on one game at a time and stop talking about the title. did we not see the strength and belief of the liverpool display yeterday – that is missing and that is the difference.

  • Anonymous

    Its very simple either

    1) Wenger has lost the plot

    or

    2) Something stinks with the finances at Arsenal. And please spare me that crap about accounts being in order.

  • Anonymous

    >>We were w/o fabregas, adebayor, clichy, rosicky, eduardo, djorou

    Ade's attitude stinks – he deliberately got himself sent off against Liverpool

    Rosicky's career is finished

    We cant be sure Eduardo will ever be the same player again

  • Anonymous

    Sagna isn’t world class at all…he’s good…definately not world class though…not saying that he won’t one day become world class. As for the rest of the team, If you want to judge how good our players our, forget the team for the moment as that is something different whereby the players talents synergise as a collective unit making each player better in the group than when judged alone (or so I’m lead to believe, however on performances this season I’m starting to think otherwise), then quite simply from all the teams in the prem pick a squad of 16…see how many gooners you stick in that squad…not many if any! and ps Diaby is personification of our team at the moment, confused, talented(apparently) and incredibly inconsistent!