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My thoughts on a quiet yet intense week 27 April, 2011

Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.

I’ve struggled to know what to write the last couple of days. We are currently in one of those customary periods of silence from the club following a disappointing result so there isn’t a great deal to talk about or any news to discuss. It’s probably for the best though that Arsenal.com goes into hibernation for the week, you don’t want to anger fans further with silly articles – and there are a lot of angry fans out there. It is strange though that in the build up to a match that was the biggest game of our season just a couple of weeks ago there is this deathly silence.

So basically I haven’t really planned what I’m going to write today, I just thought that I’d sit down infront of the keyboard and type whatever comes out. It’s partly due to the lack of news but it’s also a good exercise for me to release some feelings I have. I could start previewing the Man United game but frankly the match isn’t wetting my appetite much at the moment.

What has been the main point of discussion doing the rounds on the Arsenal blogs is pretty much the state of our football club. Many are upset with how our title hopes have so dramatically and depressingly fallen and with that there always comes anger. It’s been a few days since we lost to Bolton now and I’ve calmed down quite a bit. I’ve accepted the position we’re in and that’s that as far as I’m concerned personally.

However some extremists have taken our recent failures as the final straw and there’s even a protest being organised for the final home match of the season, against Aston Villa. The group, ‘Where has our Arsenal gone?’ or the black scarf brigade, as some are calling them have published  this press release detailing their grounds for protest and will march before the Villa game to make their voices heard. However as The View from N5 points out, all their arguments for protest are quite ridiculous really. There’s stuff in there about the club not making enough commercial revenue, a mention of the kits we wear, a call for Peter Hill-Wood to get the sack, something about moving the away fans to the upper tier and some other bits that you can read for yourself if you haven’t already. They do talk about the rumoured rise in season ticket prices which is something that all fans are going to be upset about and I see their point there but it hasn’t even been officially announced yet.

I can’t say that the points they outline are enough reason for a protest march. We’ve seen plenty of football protests in recent years but we’re not in as bad a position as any of those clubs. For that reason I find it somewhat embarrassing that a group of fans are choosing to do this, it’s good that we care about the club and we will fight to resolve problems but I just don’t think this one is right. The papers are going to pick up on this and the opinions of a few fans will be taken as the opinion of all of us and I can see a big falling out ahead. Also how silly is it going to look with people holding signs saying, “We’re fed up with the lack of revenue the club makes through commerical deals! But we don’t want to pay for it by buying new kits every season!”

I guess we’ll see how that all turns out in a few weeks. To be honest I was a bit surprised when I read that statement the other day that there was no mention of Stan Kroenke or any takeover issues. Now that would be something that I could understand protesting against, not that I’m saying I would be joining in that march but I can understand how Gooners might not agree with it. I’m also surprised that there was no real mention of on the pitch matters which to me is what is most important. They do say that we need to buy two world class players to propell us to the next level but most people know that it’s not just as simple as that. You can’t just go to Madrid and ask for Kaka just because we want him. I also loved this line:

We want to see Mr Wenger repeat his early successful years with the club.

Haha! Well obviously.

It’s on the pitch matters that interest me most, obviously I care about the business of the club, how we are run and all these types of things but I’m just a football fan at heart and I get my kicks out of going to watch Arsenal play, not worrying about our financial revenue. Our fall from a title winning position has been quite dramatic and quite depressing. I have tried to remain optimistic for as long as possible but I’ll admit now that the challenge is over.

It’s all down to this run of draws that we’ve been on. It absolutely ridiculous. I can’t make my mind up what it is down to, the performance hasn’t been up to scratch recently and although sometimes you saw the players look like they really wanted it the overall attitude has not been right for this title fight. Everyone has got their theory about why that is, be it lack of experience, lack of quality, being paid too much, not enough competition for places, formation, personel or whatever else you think it’s down to. Personally  think it is a mixture of all of these things plus a total lack of mental strength.

You can tell that this is something that Wenger thinks is very important just from the amount of times he mentions mental strength, attitude and desire but somehow he’s not inspiring it into his players. This drop in form at the business end of the season is becoming too familiar now and once again it has been our downfall in our hunt for our first trophy since 2005. I think we have massive issues with confidence and I believe we were just a few minutes away from solving that problem this season. It’s a kind of catch-22 but we need the confidence gained from winning silverware to be able to win silverware. We almost achieved that this season in the Carling Cup and I’m convinced that if we hadn’t of made that disastrous error in the last minute of the final we’d have gone on to win it in extra time and things would be a lot, lot different right now.

There’s no point in keeping on thinking back to that now, I guess all we can do is hope to put it right next season and I hope Wenger takes the Carling Cup are seriously as we did this season. If we could’ve won that it might’ve propelled us on to greater things in 2011. However now I’m just hoping that 2012 can be our year of triumph whether we need to win the League Cup on the way or not. I’m already thinking to next season, but this one ain’t over yet. We still need results to keep us in the automatic qualification spots, dropping to 3rd or even 4th will be further damaging to our already in-tatters confidence so we need to get behind the team and support them right up until the final whistle on 22nd May at Craven Cottage.

A few so called supporters this season have lost touch with the definition of their description; we’re there to support the lads and do everything we can to help them win. It’s pretty simple. After 22nd May that is the time for questioning, that is when we can look to change personnel, add experience, add quality and sort out issues with the team. Up until that point though I hope you’ll join me in supporting the team to the end. I am not 100% happy with how things are going for us at the moment but the summer is the time to question who should remain at the club and who shouldn’t.

Well that’s more than enough babbling on for this afternoon. Thanks for reading Arsenal fans.


1. Rick - 27 April, 2011

The Bolton game is a fine example of where Arsenal are failing right now. Everyone has been drawn to the fact that we lost another 2 goals from set pieces. Yes, it’s a problem but everyone is overlooking the real problem. We are not scoring goals. Sunday is a game we’d have won 4-2 in the past. Why have the goals dried up? We can’t break anyone down any more and who is to blame. The 11 he started on Sunday were the 11 who beat Chelsea. It’s probably a combination of things involving the midfield 3 of Cesc, Song and Wilshere. Is Cesc at his best? Has Song lost his way a little?, has Jack played too many games? I don’t know but they’re not supporting the front 3 as they should.

2. Philbet - 27 April, 2011

Rick has made a perfect point, it is our inability to score from corners and set pieces that have made the difference,If we only concede from corners and cannot score from them we are already at a big disadvantage, sides know that these plays are the ones we are most vulnrable and try to take advantage of this, surely our opponants are equally vulnrable,yet we hardly ever score from a set pieces.
Thats without our deadball free kick situation RvP is a top class player but with his record of even hitting the target,never mind scoring he should never be allowed near a freekick again, the only people in danger from him are the poor fans sitting in row Z. He has not scored from a free kick since 2007,someone should tell him to either practise more and get better or let someone else have a try.

3. Sibaya - 27 April, 2011

Arsenal bottling up is quite customary these days. Nothing surprising there

4. Smartie1947 - 27 April, 2011

Our major problem is our total inability to avoid losing goals from set pieces, be they free-kicks or corners. Our defensive cover at such events are 2 centre-backs and RVP guarding the front post, a role he is quite adept at and frequently is able to clesr the underhit cross. Neither of the centre-backs are physical enough for the hurly-burly of today’s penalty areas. When TV returns that will be a bonus albeit a very small one. Teams such as Chelsea,Man Utd, Blackburn and Everton can put at least 4 or 5 specialist headers of the ball into our box and we have insufficient numbers to cope. When it cames to Stoke, Newcastle or Man City the numbers increase even more and it is simply a case of when rather than if we concede. We have far too many players in the 5ft6-5ft10 category who will never be able to cope defensively with a team who are able to attack the ball with their heads.Sagna,Clichy, Diaby and Song never make a clearing header when under any pressure from an opponent. As for Nasri,Fabregas,Walcott, Wilshere and Rosicky, they just clutter the box up and fulfil no useful defensive function.I would be far happier if these players sat on the halfway line at corners as it might force our opponents to keep some defenders back to cover them. An old-fashioned “blooter” of a clearance can be better occasionally than our habit of trying to play attacking football in our own box.
Our most effective side under Wenger was the old 4 large defenders plus Petit and Vieira helping out.
I would gladly sacrifice a fraction of flair for a modicum of defensive nous.

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