I dont usually write a blog so close to the end of a game. I usually wait for all the weekend/week games to help give a more objective view, but I can’t let the debacle of the Newcastle game go without some fresh thoughts.
It was the Arsenal Jekyll and Hyde we saw in spectacular fashion. Championship winning 45 minutes in the 1st half, and I don’t know how to describe the performance in the 2nd half. This is not the first time we’ve only showed up for part of a game, but even at 4-0 we all thought job done.
To lose a 4 goal lead (first time in EPL history) is unforgivable. I have blogged my views on our fate this season but even I was left dumbfounded by our capitulation. With Djourou going off injured, what a surprise AW reluctance to buy re-enforcements is going to cost us.
Why did this happen at St. James’s Park? A few factors:
1. We can’t defend – we can’t even see out a game leading by 4 goals! How can AW not have bought a CB in the window – criminal.
2. No leader – I love Cesc but he isn’t the leader we need in this team. Someone else needs to step up/AW has to buy someone in. We need someone who could have grabbed the players by the scruff of the necks and haul them over the finish line to ensure we win. This is the 4th time recently we have let good/big leads slip – Spurs 4-4, Wigan 2-3, Spurs 2-3 and now Newcastle 4-4 – we need a big leader. Chelsea and Man Utd would never let a sizable lead slip.
3. Diaby – just because he looks like Vieira I think we all give him a chance. Well, sorry Abou, this latest incident could mean the end of your brief, stuttering Arsenal career. But can you blame him? He was certainly a silly boy, but if you watch the tackle,given previous history with his glass legs, I don’t blame him for reacting: http://arsenalist.com/video/?id=xgwj72
In this day and age you simply can’t react. Barton’s tackle was a leg breaker.And if Diaby was to be sent off – then how did Nolan stay on the pitch when he got Chesney in a head lock when our GK wouldn’t give the ball back? It was OK though, Dowd adminstered punishment – he booked Chesney!
4. Last but not least, and although I have a lot to say on this point, it is only 1 ingredient of a bad Arsenal mixture at Newcastle, Phil Dowd – supposed professional referee.
Twice in 2 weeks I can honestly say we have had the worst 2 ref performances I have seen in this country.
It wasn’t looking good when this Barton ‘tackle’ in the 1st half went completly un-punished: http://arsenalist.com/video/?id=xgwiyk
He went straight through AA, but it was OK because he got the ball.
Next was that Barton tackle on Diaby that went un-punished, but for me, the final insult was the 2nd penalty decision for Newcastle (the 1st was dubious as well) – http://arsenalist.com/video/?id=xgwjhq – how on earth is this a penalty?
Again, I am not laying complete blame for this debacle on Dowd’s shoulders but he certainly didn’t help our cause!!!
Finally, I want to raise something that I heard on the Radio 5 Live’s commentary of the game in the first half that left me appalled. Danny Mills, co-commentator, said that he thought Newcastle defender Coloccini should not have allowed Theo to get past him for the 1st goal – he should have tugged his shirt or pull him down and run the risk of a red card. How can such a view be allowed to be aired publically – Mills said that Coloccini should have cheated in order to stop Theo. No wonder English football is in a state if anyone else agrees with this.
Our only bright spot so far is that United lost meaning we actually gained a point on them and keeps our Invicibles immortal for a while longer. I hope they remain immortal forever!
Back in 2002 a good Spurs supporting friend of mine was so excited to be going to Cardiff to see Spurs v Blackburn in the Carling Cup final.
Arsenal were well on course to the double that year so during that particular Wenger golden era I just could not compute how Spurs fans could get so excited over the Worthless Cup (which they lost in the end).
Roll on 9 years and there I am on a trip to Prague,sitting in a restaurant glued to my iPhone’s Yahoo Messenger staring at it for updates from my dad (@papalolly) on proceedings from The Emirates of us v Ipswich. I was beside myself especially at half time.
Of course all came good and we ‘strolled’ into the Carling Cup final where we face Birmingham.
The result was met with joyous rapture and led to renditions of ‘She wore…’ in the city centre of Prague.
But I couldn’t get my friend from 2002 out of my mind. His rationale for why he and all Spurs fans at that time were so excited rings a little too close to home for me:
He explained to me that Spurs couldn’t win the league,not in Europe (so couldn’t win the CL),weren’t in the top 4 and the FA Cup usually went to the big 4. Therefore,winning the League Cup was their ‘title’.
So here I am feeling jubilation that we are at Wembley in the worthless cup final.
It is a stark realisation of what we can only realistically win in football’s pecking order of things.If Wenger doesn’t buy (I’ll write another blog come the end of the transfer window) the league will be beyond us,we probably won’t overcome Barca in the CL,and we like to make it hard for ourselves in the FA Cup.
I feel a little like a Spurs fan.
I was sitting in my car listening to Talksport asking Ray Parlour,Rob Sheppard and Kevin Kilbane whether with City and and Spurs dropping points,is it now a two horse race?
All,including me,are sceptical. They all think City still have a big say and with Spurs staring defeat in the face,getting a point at the death may galvanise them. We all know Harry was in Madrid to watch Forlan and they agreed if he came,they also will have a big say. Great story about Harry being pick pocketed whilst there.
(a good joke, what do Alex Ferguson and Harry Redknapp have in common? They have both lost money over Forlan)
Man Utd. finally showed a bit of flair this season by dispatching Birmingham very easily so it was important that we did the same with Wigan.I think at times it was fair to say that we were majestic and the scoreline flattered our visitors.Their GK just had a great day.
I have said since Henry left we have one world class player,Cesc Fabegras. I have always known RVP to be as well but he could only show the world and us in fits and starts.He simply gets too many injuries.IF, and it is a big IF,he stays stays fit we could take Utd all the way.I wouldn’t put money on it though.
Robin’s hatrick,like our performance was excellent and we picked up vs Wigan,where we left of vs Leeds in the FA Cup Replay.
We were,as expected, much more up for it at Elland Road than at the Emirates.All we ask is that we give it 100% every game and the performances at home vs Leeds and at Portman Road were simply very poor.
Apart from their wonder goal and a bit of pressure, Leeds didn’t do much. Nasri was superb,more in the first half than second. His goal was excellent. Lasagne continues to prove to me that he is potentially the best RB in the EPL, so it was great to see him score.
For me,the 2nd half went with a blur until to virtual ‘invisible’ Bendtner produced a world class cross for RVP to head home. Here is a great video of that goal from someone there (thanks @theRSD) http://youtu.be/7paEL4_yJEM
Back to Wigan at home and I think RVPs second was the pick of the bunch, taking Cesc’s through ball first time with a volley that flew past Al Habsi.
Cesc also showed that he seems back to his best as he had a say in almost everything. I am sure we will be saying goodbye to him this Summer so it is more than encouraging to see that maybe between Nasri and Wilshire that they may be able to pick up his mantle.
Oooompf!!! sorry, RVPs ball from his penalty has just landed!!
But enough of the distant future but onto the present. A big week of domestic cup action beckons with the hopeful dispatch of Ipswich. It won’t be easy. Then the romantic FA Cup tie with Huddersfield, with the history of Herbert Chapman and all that. That comment doesn’t do that man justice,but I could write a separate blog on him all by itself.
Looking forward to by ties,you gotta love the cups (when we are in them!!)
C’mon you Gunners
Sunday, 02 January 11, 11:03 PM · Comments (0)
By James Reuben (@jamesreuben)
A great win in Birmingham by the boys. Not that the Blues were any good, because they weren’t, but because we finally get a win at what has been seen as a relative ‘bogey’ ground, since the horrific Eduardo incident and Alumunia’s bird watching last season.
We didn’t quite play with the tempo we did vs Chelsea, but certainly more than on show at Wigan.RVP tried to go from hero to villain, getting involved and getting on the scoresheet, a terrible miss and a blatant handball. Cesc was always around and between him and Nana we were always going to get more. For me,I thought Jack played really well and I love what he brings to this team – persistence, determination, grit and ability. With Song playing the role of a proper DM I think we have found an excellent balance. If our new player Song Van Nasregashire performs coupled with on song AA23 and Theo, things look good for us.
So, the Transfer Window is now open and a load of rubbish starts to emanate from every possible angle around us.
I am pretty sure Wenger won’t buy anyone and because of this my stance on what will happen this season won’t change. We won’t win anything because we are frustratingly just a couple of players short of a winning squad. I think everyone knows this, except Arsene.
If we did go window shopping, who should we buy? I am not sure of who is available but I want us to bring in some real experience in key areas – all the way up and down our spine. If you look at our ‘spine’ as it stands – Almunia (don’t get me started), TV5 (where are you?), Cesc (injury prone and Barca bound) and RVP (not match sharp and once he is, will get injured) – I can’t get too excited.
All previous title winning teams had solid spines and we need to beef ours up pronto. Some good examples:
Seaman – Adams – Vieira – Anelka
Seaman – Campbell – Vieira – Henry
Cech – Terry – Lampard – Drogba
Schmeichel – Bruce – Keane – Cole
I hear Beckham could join the Spuds on loan. I would love him at Arsenal – not really because of what he would bring on the pitch but what he could bring off it – global commerciality, global recognition, and experience and guidance to our youthful squad. I am sure Wenger will cite his wages and the un-willingness to dislodge someone within the squad. For 2 months, just bite those bullets and bring him in – with shirt sales alone, his 2 months wages will be more than covered in one week and his experience to the squad would be invaluable. He could teach our wingers/FBs how to cross, teach the CBs how to defend against them, teach RVP, Cesc and NaNa how to take world class free-kicks and show Flappy and Chesney how to save’em! But Wenger won’t bring him in and the Board won’t realise the trick they will miss in make Arsenal some good dough and help our brand across the world.
Around the Premier League – I enjoyed seeing Chelsea squander more points – blimey how the mighty fall. I like Ancellotti but his days must be numbered with the ruthless Roman lurking about. I will be extremely miffed if Man Utd go all season unbeaten. They are very average but have that ability and luck to win or draw games where they shouldn’t (like at WBA). Spurs keep winning which is becoming annoying, hope that doesn’t last!
City to come to Emirates next – the amount of games over the holiday period is obscene because we don’t have a chance to basque in any glory (like v Chelsea) but it does help us get over any rubbish performances (like v Wigan). City are good on the road, but all I ask is that we show the same tempo and desire like we did v Chelsea. If we do, we have an excellent chance of taking all 3 points. If we don’t, we will probably be punished.
C’mon you Gunners!!!
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad