Arsenal take third | Robin comments concerning | Kieran Gibbs… you little beauty!

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2011-12 season... see you later.

There it is people. One of the most painful season I can remember in a long time. Over. Finished. See you later. Consigned to forgettable history.

There are positives though. We finished in third place. That has been our goal since February. We also over turned Spurs. Which again, was a massive achievement considering how far ahead of us they were and how well they were playing. Sure it took a huge collapse from them. So what though? It took an equally huge collapse from United for Manchester City to win the league. Do any of their support base care? Of course not…

Anyway… onto the game. I’m not going to go into too much detail because I can’t be bothered today. What’s the point. The season is done. We can all see what needs to be done… if the coach and Steve Bould can’t… well, it’d just be like every other summer for the past few years.

The main changes to the line up were Andre Santos and Coquelin coming into the line up. Sitting the game out were Kieran Gibbs and Aaron Ramsey. Those changes both made sense. Gibbs has been in pretty poor form and Ramsey hasn’t been in good form all season.

The game got off to an absolute flyer, much in the same way it did against Norwich the week prior. Yossi chased an over hit Robin through ball, Fulop came rushing out of the area to clear it, last minute he changed his mind about levelling the ball, let it roll into the area, mistimed his pick up, Yossi nipped in and passed into an empty net! A superb start!

Well, like last week, it didn’t last very long to lose the advantage. WBA went on the attack straight away down the other end and forced a good near post save from Fortune. Coquelin lost posession about 3 times in the space of 5 minutes and the whole defence looked nervy. Then it came, a ball straight through the middle, our defence was all over the place, Long was offside by about a yard… Chezzer came out for him, then dropped back into no mans land… Long slipped home. Hapless defending regardless of whether Long was on or offside.

It didn’t take long to find ourselves a goal down. This time from a speculative long ball that was pretty poor. Dorrans managed to win the header, pick up the second ball and bang it past Chesney. Shocking positioning from everyone. Pitiful that we’d conceded our 49th goal of the season against a team who have been hopless in front of goal this year.

The team were incredibly nervous, but worse than that, in the main, mostly uinterested. This was Pat Rice’s last game in charge and they players had no urgency about them. The passing was off, no one was making runs and WBA were giving us problems. Luckily for us, they were just as shaky at the back. Our chance came when Alex Song broke up play in the final third, Santos was on hand to pick up the ball, make an advance run and smash home past the weak wrist of Fulop. A great finish, but it’s not hard to see why our defence is such a shambles when our left back is standing in an attacking midfielders position.

Gervinho was typcially hopeless all of the first half. He’s world class at getting into great positions, he’s even better at fluffing his end product. Much like Glen Helder was back in the day.

The second half supposedly saw a positive change. Rosicky went off for Theo Walcott. The game certainly needed an injection of something. Shame he gave us nothing.

Santos had a rasping shot that went narrowly over. Down the other end, Jenkinson continued to show that he’s not cut out for top flight football at Arsenal when he was turned inside out by the very average Fortune. My heart was in my mouth everytime someone went near Jenkinson… he’s a penalty waiting to happen.

Our moment came though. It came from one of the worst pieces of keeping I’ve seen in a long time. A poor cross was whipped into the box from a Robin corner. The keeper rushed out to punch it clear, he was nudged by Greening, slipped and punched it backwards, Koscielny was on hand to clip the ball into the net. What a relief… could we keep a second half clean sheet though?

We could, but my god, we didn’t make it easy. Robin Van Persie ended up clearing a header off the line. Moments later, Andrews was given the freedom of the edge of our area and rifled a shot at our goal that was well turned away by our keeper. There was another ridiculous moment when the ball headed down the left and the only player covering was Yossi. Another example of the total disregard our team have for defending.

The decisive piece of defending in the game came when the ball slipped into our area, West Brom were in on goal and Gibbs flew in with a supreme sliding tackle to block the shot! Absolutely amazing last ditch defending.

I think the irony of the second half of the WBA game was that we’re the greatest team in posession when we’re chasing a game. If we’re defending a lead, we can’t hold onto the ball for love nor Champions League football. If you’re winning and you need the points. Slow it down. Chezzer comes out and claims a cross, then throws it to the other keeper. Instead of playing posession football in the final third, we’re whipping aimless crosses into the box. It really is awful to watch.

Still, we held on. We finished above Spurs by a point and we took that automatic space for the Champions League. Considering how shocking our start, middle and end was… I’ll take that.

Conclusion

There were some nice moments yesterday. it was good to say  goodbye to Pat Rice on a contextual high. He’s been a great servant to the club and he deserved to go out like he did yesterday. There was a moment in the game when Arsene hugged into him when we’d missed a chance. Whatever people think about his performance as an assistant over the last few season, the guy bleeds red and white and he’s done many great things for us.

Overall though, yesterday was exactly how we wanted the season to end. We took third place in stuttery fashion. We haven’t convinced at all over the last 6 games and we’re only where we are because the teams below us were equally bad. Does that matter? No. But it matters that we couldn’t take further advantage of their poor form as stretch out a substantial lead over Spurs, Newcastle and Chelsea.

It’s perfect. Wenger has to have seen that the squad is about 6 players away from competing for the big trophy next year. He has to see that some of our players are no where near Arsenal standard at the moment and he has to act. He has 2 more seasons at the club in my opinion (on his terms). I don’t think he’ll stay longer than his contract. He’ll want to go out on a high. We are not an injured players return and 2 signings away from making up a disgraceful 19 points.

What was worse this  year is our defensive record. 49 goals conceded is so far beyond a joke it makes me want to cry.

31 -37 - 41 - 43 - 49

Those numbers aren’t this weeks lottery winners. That’s our defensive record over the last 5 years. Each summer Wenger has promised to address how we defend, each of the following seasons we’ve found ourselves worse off. This year has to be the last time our system and team discipline is ignored. We need to learn how to defend as a unit. We need to have defenders who love keeping clean sheets and we need far more communication at the back. Steve Bould has a mighty job on his hand, but he needs to be strong. No one wins the league conceding such a huge amount of goals.

In the player department yesterday, it was amazing that our best player was once again Yossi Benayoun. We need players like him around our squad. We need players who give a crap every game. He was inventive, he chased down every ball and he was a threat all game. We need workers like him who are gifted technically. Our best player this year outside Robin was Arteta. Again, not world class, but an incredibly hard worker with a technical gift. I think Podolski fits that mould as well. Some serious consideration needs to be given to the whole of our squad.

We can’t go into next year with the excuse of not being able to move players on. We need to force them out if they won’t go. Players who are young won’t want to rot in our reserves next year. What would be the point. If you’re not playing, you’re killing your chance of getting the best possible contract when you hit your mid-twenties.

Anyway, his comments after the game about 3rd making buying and keeping players easier was positive. Robin’s comments didn’t look too great… but we’ll see. If he goes, he goes. It’ll be upsetting, but watching Giroud over the past few games gives me hope that there are other strikers out there who can do a job. Look at Falcao and Cavani… and all the others ripping it up in Europe.

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

Anyway, that’s it for today… we can go into the summer with bragging rights over Spurs in tact. Let’s pray for a good summer!

P.S. I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has read the site, followed our Twitter account and got involved in the comments. It’s been a rocky old season, but you guys have made it so much more bearable than it would have been. It’s a pleasure writing for you and humbling that you still come here to read what we churn out everyday.

We salute you!

800 Responses to “Arsenal take third | Robin comments concerning | Kieran Gibbs… you little beauty!”

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  1. SUGA3

    Dale,

    yes we have finished above the Sp*ds and this is just about the only enjoyable thing about this cunt of a season!

    if Sp*ds are shit and yet they are just one point behind us whereas we are 19 points off the second placed team, what does it make us?

    are we closer to the top, or are we closer to being shit?

    we have not ‘done a Fulop’ against anybody, Szczesny has been playing with a shoulder injury with painkilling injections for the past few weeks, this is just down to idiot Wenger not being ruthless and not kicking Almunia and Fabianski to the fuck out of my club and getting a competent GK for such occasions!

    ‘we’d be comfy’ were we?

  2. DaleDaGooner

    incesc…agreed, it is…it isn’t even about FFP, but there has to be a rules to this, you just don’t go out and buy up any player available and good, hoarding the best players and ruining them and the economy….there has to be a salary cap in Europe!

  3. DaleDaGooner

    SUGA3…I repeat..Their best season and chance to do one on us….our WORST season after losing Nasrat ad Fibreglass….we didn’t have the quality and yes Wenger fucked up….but 1 stats is fact WE BETTERED THEIR BEST AT OUR WORST!

  4. SUGA3

    had to play Djourou? here’s an idea sunshine, how about we should have bought a RB, not Jenkinson, who is completely shite?

    hell, give me Eboue ahead of him any day of the week!

    and oh, once again, I can see that comprehensive reading is not your forte, did I say that we did not finish above Sp*ds, or anything other than City win being a last-ditch affair after Barton figured he would hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons?

  5. SDE

    SalParadiseNYC

    I agree about Berbatov..
    What about Kalou?Would you have him also…

    You could say they would be risk free signings.Zero cost on the transfer fee side..Bring much needed experience, winning mentality,& trophies to the table..

    But the defense also needs some serious organisation..& some signings..

    A new GK-Al Habsi,or Sorensen £3-5million
    LB-Alaba,or Taiwo £7-£10million
    RB-Lahm(impossible I know) £20 million
    DM-M’Vila /Muntari £17 million
    AM-Kagawa(man utd bound) £30 million
    2 Strikers(Kalou,Berbatov) Free Transfers
    ——————
    £77-£82 million
    ——————-
    7 signings(with 2 free signings thrown in)

    From player sales..I’m sure we could generate about £50 million…A conservative figure..

    Net spend £27-£32 million..

    & shore up the defense in pre-season..Doing drills,drills,drills…
    Not much to ask for really…

    But sadly wenger will complicate matters..

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

    Incesc… :-D I wish!

    Unless he’s a complete thicko and thinks Arsenal play in Manchester!

    I like the first comment on the story on Sky.. Does this guy think this is a game of Cluedo! :-)

    Ah.. well, next target please.

  7. Josip Skoblar

    Incesc
    Agreed. Hazard to City would be ridiculous. How could they possibly lose their title?

  8. SUGA3

    fucking hell, Kalou?

    Jesus Christ, he’s shit, we already have one dumb fuck IC player on our books, why would we buy another one, especially with another vuvuzela cup the next season?

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

    Hazard, Silva, Yaya T; bossing the middle.. Aguero & one of these up front (Tevez, Balotelli, Dzeko……..R V P ! )

    These guys are going to bust the PL goal scoring record next year,

    Following the old magic formula that Liverpool pioneered when they were kings of England..

    Just won the title? No bother… go out and buy 1-2 more players and keep strengthening.. Rinse and repeat!

  10. SDE

    SUGA3

    Well he’s better than the current alternatives occupying the bench…Chamakh & Park…

    And they are free…Kalou& Berbatov..

    To be fair,left to me..they would not be my targets..
    But how can we start to think big,when that pillock of a manager,prefers to shop in Lidl’s,whilst our rivals shop in Harrods..

    Can you honestly see this man spending b/w £20-£25 million for a half decent striker?
    That will not happen under wenger’s watch..

    Ask me..I would love a Di Maria,Higuain…
    Would wenger push the boat?You know the answer to the question?

  11. incesc

    its gonna be an interesting summer seeing what citeh do.

    do the loan out adebayor again and again till his contract runs out.

    they couldnt sell tevez either so does he play a few more games then fuck off to argentina for a few months around christmas when it gets cold again?

    santa cruz is still on the books isnt he, is bellamy as well? Wayne bridge.

    can this guy really throw away millions on wages to players that dont play season after season?

    i guess so but it isnt half depressing

  12. SalparadiseNYC

    SDE
    Negative on Kalou, keep Yossi as “utility” man.

    Any way you skin it money needs to be spent on 5-6 quality players, selling off the deadwood.
    WE know the spots that need addressing after the slog we’ve just been through, think San Siro.
    More than anything we need a VIERA type and it pains me to type his name watching him run the pitch in champions baby blue.
    Wenger why is he not recruiting players for his beloved Arsenal?

  13. SDE

    DaleDeGoonner

    incesc…agreed, it is…it isn’t even about FFP, but there has to be a rules to this, you just don’t go out and buy up any player available and good, hoarding the best players and ruining them and the economy….there has to be a salary cap in Europe!

    Reply
    I suppose not having a salary cap in place last season,prevented us from winning the CC2011 against a relegated team(birmingham),that was filled with on-loan players & whose wage bill was a fraction of ours!!

  14. SUGA3

    yeah, let’s assist Chavs and Manure with their respective clearouts and lump ourselves with:

    - a lazy cunt with shit attitude on the wrong side of 30 and an ex-Sp*d to boot

    - another Gervinho with splinters in his arse, unable to hit the cow’s bottom with a banjo and in the ACN year

    if either of them comes, I am writing off the next season outright…

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

    Depressing Incesc? Just a bit!

    Mourinho said when he was at Chelsea his goal was to have two world class players in every position.. He never achieved that.. However these guys look like they will come damn close.

    The wage bill is going to be huge.. They have to shift some out.. I’d snap up Dzeko in a heartbeat.

    They are also growing their commercial revenue quite quickly too.. so that club is growing overall at a rapid pace. Imagine just how many new fans they picked up worldwide after yesterdays showdown. :-(

  16. Radio Raheem

    Striker Robin van Persie will open talks to determine his Arsenal future at a meeting with Gunners boss Arsene Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis on Wednesday.
    Discussions are scheduled to take place at Wenger’s house at 10:30 BST.
    ——————————
    Haha this is all a bit bizarre.

  17. SDE

    SalParadiseNYC

    I like Yossi,but since he’s on-loan..can’t see a permanent deal being trashed with chelski..

    Have yet to see an on-loan deal with wenger turn into a permanent deal..

    He will stall on the price& try to get him for free…
    I think Roman,will tell wenger to go forth & multiply..

    The last on-loan deal I recall was the Reyes-Baptiste deal..
    Reyes going to R.Madrid-on loan & Baptiste@ Arsenal.
    I thought Baptiste did a decent job..But price was a sticking point…

  18. DaleDaGooner

    SUGA3, don’t be pathetic! Sagna was injured relace Jenkinson with your favorite right back (and put an asterix to signify injured) who do ya have left? Honestly, the way you lot try to go over the top to prove a useless point….FULOP is a bench player called in to fill in for Foster, one of their best players….we played what was in front of us, and Spuds played what was in front of them, as well as Chavs in 6th place and Newcastle….are we shit, maybe, but seeing as Newcastle, Spuds and us spend around the same and shop in the same “stores” give or take a few wage differences, I guess all 3 are shit to have let the 2 Manchester clbs lead that much….BUT WHAT IS CHELSKI’s excuse based on your facts?

  19. SUGA3

    Dale,

    Jenkinson should not be anywhere near the fucking bench at Arsenal let alone be considered to be a valid option to replace Sagna, I love his attitude but he is not good enough, plain and simple!

    pathetic? the only pathetic person in this picture is Wenger for cocking it all up in such a spectacular fashion, he better gets his shit together or our luck will run out next season…

    let me remind you that there is just one reason for us being where we are and it’s RvP, who is on his way out of here, as he will not fall for Wenger’s lies again, like he did when he signed the extension previously…

    what’s Chelsea’s excuse? how about Terry and Lampard usurping AVB for starters?

  20. SUGA3

    …and them basically getting on a bit?

    oh, they are in the CL final and if that cup game with BVB is anything to go by, I would not put winning the damn thing past them!

  21. SDE

    incesc

    Are you related to Graham Norton?

    I’m sure you are,’cos you share one thing in common..

    You are both BENT!!

    & whilst you are@ it..Why don’t you go&play russian roulette with yourself..

  22. SDE

    Incesc

    No I’m not related to Adebayor…
    but you on the other hand are related to Graham Norton..

    & Alan Carr…

    It seems being “BENT” runs in your family..!

  23. goonerboy

    Hazard was only a target in Wengers dreams-if he could have him for free. He is the first of this close season’s disappointments.
    Lets face it we were lucky to get third- we could easily have got 5th-given how erratically we played after Arteta was injured. Liverpool and Chelsea finished in a false position and there is not a great deal between us and the chasing pack. On a bad day we will lose to any of them.
    Only the Wenger bum licking AKB are fooled. These idiots are rattling on about debt again to try and cover with a smokescreen Wengers inability in the transfer market-both in buying and selling players. If Wenger is so good why do we have 11 players in the squad we cannot play and can’t give away because they are not good enough?

  24. Bade

    So while I was snoring hard and called the noisy neighbor, I see Hazard slipped

    So Mancs/$ity were 19 above us in the league, and already trying to bolster their squads with top players, Kagawa and Hazard on line already, while we’re counting on the new signing Diaby, with a staggering 177 minutes played last season

    hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  25. BacaryisGod

    Let’s assume Man City are prepared to offer RVP a 4 year contract at 250k per week. This sets the value of the contract at 13 million per year or 52 million.

    Arsenal can come back with a 10 million signing bonus and 4 years at 130k per week for a total of 37 million.

    First, we would be asking him to walk away from 15 million and then of course Man City could give him a 10 million signing bonus of their own (or 20 or 30 million, why do they care and please don’t say FFP)

    Realistically we can force RVP’s hand by keeping him for his final year. If he’s at 90k per week now, it might cost him only a couple of million next year before his bumper pay raise, but the real risk for him would be 1) a major injury and 2) a loss of form which could turn those 230k per week wages to a lot less and possibly nothing at all.

    In all honesty, if he was 24 I would advocate we sell and pocket a hefty transfer fee. In this case, we might just be better off holding his feet to the fire and bluff our way to him signing that 4 year deal. Considering Arsene used to not want to give more than a 1 year extension anyway to players over 30, this path makes the most sense.

    Finally, for Arsene and Arsenal’s credibility we simply cannot allow RVP to go to Man City this summer. We already said we wouldn’t with Nasri and we did. We will look incredibly weak-willed if we change our position once more.

  26. luke

    for all you who are weeping that we didnt sign hazard, think about this:

    Lille fc 2010-2011

    Hazard: league apps – 38, goals – 7, assists – 10
    Gervinho – league apps – 35, goals, 15, assists 10

  27. follow the money

    Hazard is not what we need. We need Vieira Bergkamp and Adams/Keown type players. Look at what Yossi and Arteta did this year. No more kids like Hazard and fantasy garbage like Diaby FFS

  28. luke

    couldnt agree more FTM. We need proper hard working leaders because as we saw in our 1-0 against city, that is what wins football matches, not flair, although Neymar would be pretty welcome… hah

  29. dennisdamenace

    Good morning.

    The only reason i’m happy is that we finished above those feckless wankers from up the road. But, ECL footie really? For what purpose? Not to buy better or attract better players that’s for sure! It seems it’s just to continue to reward a failing manager and his failing players!!

  30. The Poldi Prince

    Well, there are some promising noises coming out of the arsenal camp regarding RVP.

    5 million signing bonus and 130k per week for 3 years. That is a pretty reasonable contract for someone turning 30. And with his past medical history.

    We want him to hold the club at ransom in another way though. He must demand 2 more high class signings and 3 more quality squad players as a minimum.

    Mvila and giroud. Baines, ba, and a quality reserve RB. Maybe throw in hoilett for free ( plus 5 mill compensation). Clearly our current wingers are sub-standard.

    Imagine we could magically swap Walcott and gerv for mata. They are worth what we could have had mata for. Shit, the simple addition of mata this year would have given us a chance to win all trophies. I will never forget that major fuckup.

    They would be my demands. We COULD win something with that squad. If everything went right.

  31. dennisdamenace

    So, 49 League goals shipped, a record 8-2 defeat to ManUre, 19 points behind the eventual winners of the EPL, 10 League defeats, out of the FA Cup at the 5th round, out of the ECL in the first knock out round, and this is Wenger’s best season………£8m a year for that……..beggars fucking belief.