Arsene Wenger’s prudence vindicated again! | Arsenal 7th in the league… 12 points behind the enemy.

by & filed under Match report.

Sad times...

Failing to score against a Bolton side who’ve only managed 2 clean sheets this year was embarrassing. Taking 8 points taken from the last 24 is worrying. 12 points behind Spurs with a 45 left to play for feels like a charcoal induced stomach pump.

We lined up with a strong side, no complaints on that front. Our back 4 consisted of 3 seasoned internationals and a Frenchman some have called the best centre back in the league. Out midfield saw the return of Arteta and up top Chambo continued in the side.

We started off in fairly explosive fashion considering out recent starts. Vermaelen was played in with a superb Sagna cross but he drove his header into the ground. Minutes later Ramsey found himself through on goal but fluffed his finish.

Chamberlain was making things happen, he was looking alert and motivated. He found Robin wide with a lovely outside of the boot pass, Robin cut sharply inside his full back, laid off Chamberlain who skewed wide. Arsenal were opening up Bolton with ease but the finishing was poor. Sagna in particular was giving us balance and a threat on the right. Oh how we’ve missed him…

Arsenal didn’t have it all their own way. N’Gog brushed off Koscielny with ease and struck a shot across goal that the keeper did well to keep out. The Frenchman found himself in hot bother shortly after when he lost his footing watching a looping ball, N’gog capitalised but couldn’t keep his half volley inside the post. Worrying how shambolic our defence looks at times. Worrying how poor Koscielny was playing for a second game in a row…

Our best chance of the game came when Chamberlain picked out Theo though the middle, Mr ‘£90k please’ had all the time in the world but somehow conspired to pull his shot wide. Yet another terrible miss to add to his portfolio.

Arteta vented his frustrations crunching a Bolton player into a lino who looked like Ed Miliband. I’d have done the same…

The attention had been off Chesney momentarily, so he decided to showboat from a back pass, nearly losing out. Someone needs to pull him to one side and give him a bollocking for unnecessary messing around like that.

Theo and his poor technique continued to let him down in the second half, particularly his touch. It’s just not happening for him. I wonder if he feels put  out by the emergence of a player who looks like he’s having the career Theo wanted?

We didn’t have such an eventful second half. The two best chances fell to Robin. His close range effort from a Sagna cross hit the post, then later on, he turned the Bolton defence inside out he floated a delightful chip to the back stick but sadly hit the bar. I was going to say Bergkamp-esque, but it could have been Bentley-esque (againt Boro’ at Highbury?).

Chamberlain went off for Thierry, I’m not sure why, Theo was the man who looked like the rookie. We also saw the introduction of Rosicky. Two players well past their best and it showed. We created hardly anything.

It was Bolton who went for the jugular bringing on two strikers. N’Gog’s finishing stopped them nicking the points at the end when Koscielny was beaten by a Petrov cross, the header didn’t match it. Mark Davie, who was excellent, beat three defenders at the death, only a superbly judged save kept him from rounding the keeper… some thought it could have been a penalty. He had another great chance when he cut inside Sagna and Song but pulled his shot wide.

The whistle blew and it was the Gooner faithful who were relieved. Sorry, sorry times…

We didn’t play terribly. I mean, it wasn’t vintage, but chances were created. Robin Van Persie hit the post and the bar, Theo somehow missed a pearler of a one on one and Aaron Ramsey was equally guilty in the first half. Who cares though? At the end of the day, did we win? No. Is there a league table of ‘if we’d scored our sitters where would we be?’ Probably. But it doesn’t matter. What football always boils down to is the end result. We dropped 2 points and we were lucky not to drop 3.

We’re a one man team. People sneered about that press comment at the start of the year, but without Robin, we’d be in a world of trouble. The only other player on the pitch willing to take a lead is our 18 year old rookie. Again, he was one of our biggest threats and he was taken off over someone who would struggle to get into the Bolton side. Theo Walcott is as technically retarded on the pitch as I am with a server. His poor control and lack of intelligence on the pitch is painful to watch, especially considering his wage expectations to sign on again. Aaron Ramsey for all his bluster is really struggling to be productive. He does a very good job of looking busy, but he’s extremely inefficient and it doesn’t look like he’s improving at the moment. As for our subs? Well, without meaning to disrespect a great, didn’t Thierry and Rosicky look their age?

I don’t blame the players though, I really don’t. It’s not their fault they’re not good enough, it’s the fault of manager who has known they’re not good enough since last February. We’re on a slippery slope now. We’ve managed 8 points out of 24 and our slump is stating to feel very much like the one that started in February last year and ended in September with us being bottom of the 26 game table. We’ve dropped points against Bolton, Swansea and Fulham which is simply not good enough. Wenger doesn’t know how to stem a bad run of form anymore, he rarely has. If things aren’t going exactly right, he doesn’t know how to rejuvenate jangly nerves.

That squad needed an injection of players this January. How they managed to pull themselves out the mess they were in after the Man U game is a minor miracle in itself. It came at a cost though. We used too few players and now they’re all mentally and physically drained. Look at the creativity yesterday. Alex Song was passing to his imaginary friend again, he was very poor considering the form he’s previously shown, the defence were hoofing it forward like Wimbledon in their prime and the rest had no clue. They needed help this January, some new enthusiasm to carry the burden, but they didn’t get it because the manager was too concerned about the recessionary impact the Euro is having on continental clubs.

Rome is burning… and the whole club is looking the other way. It’s a shame, but the up-shot is that I think January will be the last transfer window Arsene cocks up. I don’t think he’s going to make it to the summer. I don’t think the players believe in themselves and I don’t they believe in the manager. We’ll see though, I might be totally wrong… but I think this might be a profitable window too far for some. It certainly has been for the fans. Sitting in 7th position with everyone on the same points and watching other clubs over take us because the manager wants to do things on a show string budget rankles with people. The fans make all the sacrifice, while the board put up ticket prices and rake in massive bonuses off the back of our loyalty.

Most of this situation is the managers doing though. It’s partly the board for not showing more back bone, but I appreciate the legacy issue. All we can pray for is a massive stroke of luck and hope Villas-Boas and Kenny Dalglish cock things up worse than us. Sad thing is, we barely look top 4 anymore, we’re not even in the top 6 based on form…

Still, a point is a point eh?

Right, moan over, lets hear yours!

[twitter-follow screen_name=’LeGrove’ show_count=’yes’] 

P.S. We listened to your suggestions yesterday and Greg has been working through the night to rectify them. The grey is darker, the comment boxes are more contrasted, the spacing between the text is wider and the comment box has a  more traditional shape. You should all be able to see the new site now… so apologies for the nonsense yesterday, that’s teething problems for you! Thanks for bearing with us, I love you all like surrogate siblings.

P.P.S. This might be a good time to download the Le Grove podcast from iTunes, it’s packed full of information that will help you make sense of the current situation.


686 Responses to “Arsene Wenger’s prudence vindicated again! | Arsenal 7th in the league… 12 points behind the enemy.”

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  1. Gunner2301


    Forget Walcott, he’s been playing with us 5 years and Ox is already better than him what does that tell you?

  2. kwik fit

    No frogman I wasn’t refering to your statement, per say. It was the term ‘building for the future’ that we keep hearing from AKB’s that really bug’s me. Nothing against the content of your post 😉

  3. Herkules

    Ricky – Liverpool signed one of the largest sponsorship deals in history after finishing 7th.. and Liverpool continues to sign marquee players… As much as this hurts us right now as loyal fans – Arsenal is much bigger than 2011-2012.. they have the best sports facility in England – and a dedicated list of corporate box owners.. they remain a common place to entertain clients and play the game not more than 30 minutes away from the most important financial center in the world.

    We will have no problems attracting a sponsor and there are plenty of great players out there that would come and play for us (in fact many of them were willing to play for Newcastle this year).. we just haven’t been good lately at finding the right ones.

  4. Gunner2301

    Gooners or Goners?

    I didn’t go in to buy Mata you should be quoting those stats to Wenger. Also just providing bare stats like that doesn’t really tell the story does it. For starters Mata and Arteta play different positions, secondly how many minutes did each play? Were Matas appearances from the bench? Because I know Arteta hasn’t started much from the bench. All things to consider.

  5. leon

    i realy dont think anything much will change in the summer wenger board will come out with the same speech so the season ticket holders will renew after they get thier money wenger will buy a few good players and the rest will be cheap crap buys.they have good cbs but they dont have a great strike force it take tactical ginues to see all need to change the system to make more rugid more organisized they have 3 very cbs good wing backs,they have santos who dont look any defender finishers better than a striker i realy see why wenger cant change to 442 he some good wingers but he no tactics just 443 all out attack but with finders that cant score and only 1 good striker

  6. Frogman

    If we don’t finish in the top 4 and qualify for the CL is there really any hope that RVP will sign a new contract? Also we would not be able to attract any top players (I know, we are not buying them anyway) but the point is, what are the consequences for not finishing in the top 4? Will it be a disaster for AFC? How long would it be for us to re establish ourselves or will we just become a top 6 team (or worse)

  7. Thomas, it's up for grabs now..

    There were 39,000 on the Season Ticket waiting list at the beginning of last season. It’s highly unlikely a few thousand giving it up will have any effect. Plus, it is very much a personal choice as some people have waited years to get one and it must be up to them to give it up. I certainly wouldn’t tell a ST Holder what to do with his.

    They are already starting to talk with their feet. The empty seats in the stadium are evidence of that with each passing game.

    I think what could be effective would be to pick one particular game and to boycott that and make that the statement by as much ST Holders’s as possible not showing for that game and of course not making their ticket available. The thousand’s of empty seats would need no analysis!

    It would be extremely hard to organise.. Just a thought!

  8. IvoryGoonz

    1) sustainable sucking business model
    2) Wenger is the king.
    3) the board hasn’t got a clue about football. they only care about money, and what Wenger says.
    4) if you want to protest, protest with your feet and wallet:
    a) if you are season ticket holder, ideally, don’t go to the games. a fan paying a season ticket but not spending on match day is lost income too. but if you just can’t because that’s all your money, just go, and do what you want.
    In the end, you are free to do what you want, it’s your club too. rest is what you believe can change the mentality of the manager and the board, or shift either or both of them
    b) if you aren’t, then don’t go at all.
    c) if by any bad turn of luck you can’t agree with a) or b), or really want to watch your team being humiliated again and again, then go, but don’t buy match-day programmes, shirts, beers, food, nothing. (aside ze Peroni’s you can call it Ze Peroni Revolution if you want 😉 😉 ), and make yourself heard.
    d) if you haven’t picked a), b), or c), just listen to Pedro’s podcast with Alex Fynn and come back to tell us what you think.

    Welcome By The Way :)

  9. goonermart

    totally agree Thomas. A half empty stadium for just one prem game would be a very big and bold statement from the Arsenal fans. A massive vote of no confidence for wenger and the board.

  10. Dan Ahern


    I said I’d sell him! In my most recent post I said the same as you are now.

    The Ox has looked better in 136 minutes than Theo has for 136 games.

  11. DaleDaGooner

    No like chicken badge
    No like little wages
    No like little stadium
    No like share room with little monkey boy
    No like understand glory glory hotspurt song
    Now must free Luka..I am Peacock let me fly

  12. IvoryGoonz

    Frogman: I think if VP retired from international football, that would convince Wenger to give him more than a 5k/wk bumper and a long contract with future coaching role.
    at least that’s how I’d play it.

  13. IvoryGoonz

    I agree with Herkules, it’s not the appeal that’s missing. players would accept to be paid less than at City or Chelsea for us.
    just not be paid peanuts compared to your market rate…

  14. David Marbella

    It’s a sad thing this really. The team really has no personality any more. The great Arsene Wenger Economic Experiment has run aground, torpedoed by the backers of Chelsea and Man City who don’t care about balancing the books.

    In the main though I thing the situation mirrors the Brian Clough/Peter Taylor story. Clough was never great after Taylor left. Mr. Wenger, like Clough is a genius. But a genius requiring wise backup, advice and most importantly a keen eye for new players. Plus the ability to negotiate and seduce talent. Arsenal have not won a sausage since David Dein left. We have a great stadium, but it will soon turn out to be a mausoleum unless something happens.

    My fear is that we are becoming the new Aston Villa. Solution – bring back Dein and if necessary Usmanov.

    I am going back to watch my 1989 videos.

  15. kwik fit

    Ivory completely disagree there;
    1 Player’s will not come to us because we no longer win trophies

    2 Our wages are high compared to many others. The problem is we pay crap player’s way above there market value.

  16. Eduman

    How come Mr Park does not get any game time. He is technically far superior to Walcott and most others in the team. The man needs a run in the team. At the moment we are going nowhere thanks to Mr Wengers prejudice towards Walcott, Rosicky, Arshavin and unfortunately Henry.
    And we need a left footed midfield player in the mould of Alonzo of Real Madrid.
    In some parts of the pitch we are not quick or direct enough.

  17. G787

    Great new site. Congrats to Pedro& Geoff. The font is a bit fine. My only suggestion is to load all comments on one page so you can scroll down chronologically like in the old site.

    Today is official groundhog day in the US, no joke. And with that display against Bolton and those crap displays against Fulham, Swansea, ManUre and our yearly late season collapse, you know why.

  18. IvoryGoonz

    I’m pretty sure if people who want to do this actively hold lines in front of the gates early enough, having their ticket in view if you have one, (and if you want to participate even if you go to the game), long enough, call in advance couple media to get microphones and cameras, and voice your discontent, that should work out.
    just don’t be aggressive to the police force and don’t resist.
    after, well, if you still go to the game, how about a silence vote instead of booing for a change? what you guys think?

  19. IvoryGoonz

    kwik: if a new manager comes in, and sell all the players he doesn’t see fit, put them in reserve, or if Wenger stays and actually agree sells of the rest of his own dross before new transfer window (there are plenty clubs that can buy players already in june, and you have all interests agreeing deals early before summer holiday start.), then why would we not appeal to star players who would be guaranteed first team football, a decent wage? rest depending on his own work and the manager…

  20. kwik fit

    Ivory the booing directed at Wenger on Sunday was the catalyst that produced the inspirational half time team talk(by Rvp/Henry) which ultimately led to the improved second half performance. I don’t think silence would have the same effect somehow.

  21. Greg

    Also there are now 2 shiny new links.. one to jump to the comment form and one to jump to the top of the comments. Should help those on mobile out especially.


  22. IvoryGoonz

    kwik: and ref your point 2), nuance, the overall wage bill is very high, but individually, we don’t pay for example VP what he would get at Barca, Man U, Chelsea, Man City, or Anzhi.
    yes we pay Diaby what he’d never get at Man U, but we still have plenty of cash available, and we will get more and more over the years.
    if Hazard signed this summer, to take over Arshavin, you could be sure Arshavin would accept to leave for a lower wage package in another club than what he’d have accepted otherwise. you can also be sure that thanks to that, the buying club is more likely to up a million.
    you can also convince them to go then by clearly officially stating they are for sale and clearly telling them privately they are not part of the club’s future. state you will look to find new clubs for them. and de-register them, put them in reserve, you will sell them. there are no un-sell-able players

  23. yinka

    I think the fans association should take a stand and not go to a home game, the fans cough up all the money and get sh*t… If the stadiums are empty then the board and wenger will begin to see reason. We have to do this asap cos our beloved club is going to the dogs..m what do y’all think? Just a thought…

  24. kwik fit

    Ivory once again I disagree.
    Unsaleable players?
    Denilson to name but a few.
    All on wage’s way above their true market value and thereby still on the payroll. Wenger pay’s too much for unproven player’s and therefore has not enough left for the quality ones.

  25. IvoryGoonz

    kwik: all those players should/would accept lower deals if we paid difference til end of their current contract, and, if they didn’t, we can lower their transfer fee from equivalent amount to allow the buying club to pay his current wages or pay it as a lump sum added signing bonus.

  26. IvoryGoonz

    kwik: I agree with your comment at 21:59 apart the end of the last sentence… :)
    I believe there’s still a nice margin to buy players first. Wenger just won’t do it.

  27. Munitionsman

    If you want all the comments on one page then you need to go to gunnerblog. You can actually get a years worth there

  28. Santos

    I got a Blackberry Torch for a bargain price of about 25 percent discount on the last day of January sales. Wenger would be proud of that.
    If RVP goes down we are going down too. Asides him we are pretty woeful. I am just getting ready for the next season by the first week of February, to show you how I am fast losing interest.

  29. Santos

    And Theo for the central role. What a massively overrated player he is. Having seen glimpses of Chamberpot’s ability and technical superiority. I know whom should be ditched and whom to be groomed for the future because we have wasted 6 years of wages, investments and medical bills on that arrant road runner Walcott

  30. Santos

    Just love the archives . Here’s this classic wish;

    dubgooner71June 12, 2008 12:15:57
    Wenger knows what we need. Villa would be a great singing but what chance of the gunners spending 30million?

  31. zacharse

    my new living room chant watching them play yesterday

    theo to liverpool!
    ramsey to lille!
    Andrey to Russia or Villareal!

  32. craigy

    great post, im a bit l8 but fuck it ha ha, cant believe what wengers doing to this club, its fucking heartbreaking, the guy is destroying us, our best manager in our history is destroying his legacy and arsenal fc, but the scary thing is he’s allowed to do it. i cant be be fucking bothered going in to it, the same thing has been said a million times, Gooner for life!!

  33. arsenal1886-2006

    Sound familiar?

    ‘The Colorado Avalanche have been mediocre all year.
    Although they are still in the hunt for a playoff spot, they are not scaring anyone on the way.
    There have been winning streaks followed by losing streaks, players under-performing and nobody seems willing to take any accountability. There is no excuse for this based on the talent and cap space at their disposal.’

  34. piao

    My oh is disheartening to watch a great club like arsenal my beloved go to the dogs because wenger wont adapt to the EPL..he has lost his winning waysyet he is untouchable. The board gives no shit abt whether we win or lose as long as they have fat bank balances. Am actually waiting on next season this one is over it is dismal.

  35. gnarleygeorge

    It would appear that this season could be the end of a long run of CL for Arsenal, barring a miracle finish to the PL season. Does Arsene Wenger still have the desire left in him to lift The Club back up to top 4?

  36. sabeel


    go thru the comments from start, only after i raised the issue of boycotting the games,that geoff came later on to share the info that he gave up his tickets…

    look before u leap

  37. PistolPete

    Dear Wenger , you have you head so far stuck up you bum you just can’t see what is going on. Please just do the right thing and go now before it get any worse. Some of the players you still continue to play is absolutely a disgrace. Why player Arshavin in a position that ALL football fans know he can’t play there. Drop Ramsey and put Arshavin in the hole , it’s so obvious.
    Please fans vote with your feet and don’t go to the next few home games, we have to do something, or nothing will change.

  38. Bade


    Pedro, can you check with your sources who’s included in our 25 squad and who’s not?

    If I got my calculations right, one squad member have to be delisted in order to include Thierry

  39. TT

    Several of you point out the problem. Under-investment. However, buying this January would not have helped. Very few clubs can afford to stock their squads with established proven players like Man City have done. Arsenal needed to buy 5-8 years ago.

    However, they adopted a deliberate austerity strategy to try and achieve dominance financially in 2020+. Success at this stage is unimportant. I think Wenger and the board at Arsenal are smart people, and I think this is just a blip in the long term plan. Whether you agree with it or not, they are in this for the long haul and the fans are just gong to have to live with it.

  40. mark fitzmaurice

    all this is so true and so sad to watch our beloved club falling from grace,not because we cant afford to do anything but because the board and Wenger are more interested in profit than making us a great club again.once we fall from the top four it will be a lot harder to get back in to it.lets protest and protest loud,lets show Wenger and the board that we fans will not let them run our great club into also rans,just like Brian Moore said back in 89,its up for grabs there was a team with real mental strength mr wenger.