I take no heart from a spanking like that… not good enough. Ratings + Review

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Sagna – Silvestre – Vermaelen – Clichy
Nasri – Denilson – Diaby
Walcott – Bendtner – Rosicky

What did you think when you saw that line-up?

‘Oh no… not Silvestre’, was officially the line of every Gooner I know!

That said, the team was about as good as we could put out.

Our form was sketchy, but maybe, just maybe, we could put in a special performance.

At that point all I could do was crack open a beer and hope for a freak of History…

Early on in the game, Vermaelen missed a near post header allowing Xavi to back heel just wide. We then allowed Messi to get a rasping shot off, which Almunia was equal to.

Clichy bungled a clearance, Denilson didn’t get to Messi and the Argie fired just over. A warning you sensed.

Barca were using their ‘defending in packs tactic’ to great effect. We remained compact, sitting back and absorbing the pressure.

Diaby made what looked like a silly foul, won the ball, played Theo in who bombed down the line, slipped Nik in who has his first shot saved, but the rebound fell nicely for him to poke home! What a start!

Could we hold on to the lead?

Messi went up the other end two minutes later, collected a poor clearance from Silvestre and with a thunderous shot, he killed our lead, sailing the ball into the top corner.

Arsenal were struggling with the blatant Barca diving and a ref who’d clearly never watched La Liga…

The trouble playing Barca is you know that one mistake and they’ll kill you… our passing wasn’t sharp enough in the first half. If we were to win the tie… it’d have to improve.

Messi demonstrated his finishing skills when he picked up Pedro’s pass in the box when we failed to clear, looked up and chipped it past Almunia.

It wasn’t over though… Messi was played in by a Keita header… the only player left to chase was Denilson, Messi ran, chipped it over Almunia… game over? Well… it felt like it. We were watching a Messi masterclass. Without meaning to sound crude, shouldn’t someone have taken Messi out early on instead of allowing him to play like that?

The second half started, Barca fizzed a low cross into the box on account of no height in the box (Take note Arsene) but Almunia judged well.

Rosicky continued to look incredibly inadequate.

Theo had resorted to blind alley running. Souness made a good point… all Theo can do in a game is get into a race… if you decide to defend rather than sprint it out, he has nothing.

Bendtner took a poor touch from a great Diaby ball, allowing Milito to tackle him. At this level, half a second makes all the difference. Nik needs to improve there.

Barca were more hungry than us, things went flat and Wenger seemed to take an age to bring on a sub.

He eventually did… bringing off Silvestre and putting Eboue on. I felt we needed a bolder move though… sadly, there weren’t too many options from the bench. No Vela, deemed bad enough to leave at home.

Diaby duffed a ball to the back post finding an unmarked Rosicky who fired it miles over the bar. So weak, it made me want to cry.

Wenger looked clueless on the touchline, deciding that he didn’t need to make any further changes.

We nearly got done by the quick free kick again… Denilson had his back turned to the ball, Pedro got played in and just chipped wide.

Nik B hit the post up the other end, regardless, he was offside.

Rosicky was eventually subbed off for the paceless Eduardo… that’s the best we could muster. Geoff was right, we should have had a Watt, Wilshere or a Sanchez on the bench. What use is Eduardo against Barca? His finishing has gone and he lost the little pace he had at St Andrews. When will we own up to that?

Barca are a cheating bunch of scum bags, but they defend as a unit, take responsibility and fight for every ball. More than could be said of Arsenal last night…

Barcelona killed off the night when Messi walked through our defence, beat Eboue, beat Vermaelen and Clichy, shot then slotted the rebound through Almunia’s legs.

The way the game played out was embarrassing. The desire was typical of a Sunday league team who’ve been out on the p*ss the night before a game and rolled on half cut.

I accept that we lost to the best team in the world, for me, the best club team I’ve ever seen in living memory (My living memory doesn’t stretch that far, but Souness backed my claim). I can accept that Messi is the greatest player on the planet. However, I can’t accept that we give the best player on the planet the freedom of the Nou Camp pitch. I can’t accept that to combat the pace of Barca and the wizardry of Messi, we have players like Silvestre and Denilson lining up who make him look far better than he is. I can’t accept that the stand in captain of our team isn’t a very good keeper not to mention how meek and mild mannered he is.

Wenger said the goals were cheap, like they were some sort of anomaly! Jeez Arsene, cheap goals have been our staple diet all year long! If we didn’t concede cheap goals, we’d be storming the league and we’d have put up a better fight last night.

We were missing some important players but lets not down play the importance of Iniesta, Ibramhomvic, Pique and Puyol to the Spaniards. See Gallas, Vermaelen, RvP and Cesc for us…

How much would our full team have done to prevent yesterday evenings issues? We’ve stuttered in all the big games this year… tonight was no different. We’re only in the league by proxy of how poor Chelsea and United have been by usual standards. If we want to improve, we need to buy… and buy well. We can’t afford to let players cut their teeth for 5 years…

If we want to improve we can’t go into the season where our best back up defender can only play one game a week. We can’t then have our 4th back up as our best defensive midfielder. We can’t have our 5th as a player who wasn’t good enough for Man United. We can’t prioritise trophies we’re not equipped to win. Even if we had beat Barca, could we have out strategised Mourinho? Were we going to beat United? Not on past form…

Arsenal need to be more tactically aware at this level. If plan A doesn’t work it’s plan A, then some more plan A… then some more plan A. When you’ve got the best players in the world, you can play like that. When you’ve got players like Denilson in your team, you can’t. It’s a shame that Wenger trusts all these kids pre-season when he’s justifying his lack of spending… but when it comes to the crunch, he doesn’t play them.

Barca weren’t just better than us on the ball, they were better off the ball as well. There is no reason why we can’t defend in packs, there is no reason why we can’t have players with that hunger and desire. Wenger has built this season on ‘over achievement’. No wonder his players don’t fight like animals… to do that, you need a winning mentality, proper competition and the right mix of players.

We lacked that tonight… and I’m gutted.

Wenger says he’ll assess whether his team can win trophies at the end of the season, then decide if he’ll stay. On that performance, he’ll be packing his bags… very disappointing.

6-3 wasn’t being toppled by a great team… it was a humiliation of our own making.

Player Ratings:

Almunia: Made some top saves but his distribution was woeful. He sprayed the ball like he’d been asked to hit Barca players. Not Arsenal quality for me. Too meek, too average. At least he seemed gutted after the game… shame he seemed gutted during the game though, could have done with a Captain out there. 6

Sagna: Didn’t put a foot wrong for me. He needed to start at right back because Barca have good winger and Eboue isn’t a good right back (As demoed on the final goal). 7.5

Clichy: Superb tonight… seemed like one of the few who had fight in him. His pace and defending were evident. Should have been the captain with drive like that. 8

Vermaelen: A good performance, let down by playing next to Silvestre. Imagine being asked to run a 400m relay against the Jamaicans with three quadriplegics… that’s probably how Tommy V felt tonight. Players like him need to play with great players. Simple really. 7

Silvestre: When I heard his name announced, I felt like I did when I realised I was accidentally filling up my car with BP Ultimate (£1.26 per litre) yesterday… gutted. He gave away the first goal with a poor clearance, the rest of his game was a joke. His signing was made purely because he was cheap… you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. Silvestre summed up that little turn of phrase this evening. 3

Denilson: Not good enough for me. Would Messi have got away from Flamini? Not so easily, that’s for sure. Denilson is to speed what Rick Waller is to pole vaulting. If you’ve got a holding midfielder with no pace in a team like Arsenal, you’re opening yourself up for problems. He makes great interceptions and passes nicely but at the highest level, he doesn’t cut it because what he lacks in pace, he doesn’t make up in fight. 5

Nasri: Not a good game from a player who has little experience in the middle of the park. He held onto the ball for too long and unsettled our quick passing game. He gave the ball away far too cheaply and he didn’t impose himself as Cesc would have. Given time, he could develop a nice style in the middle. 4

Diaby: He did well in the first half starting the move for the first goal with a great tackle. For me though, he was clumsy, his passing was poor and he didn’t produce. Very disappointing, but he did show good strength on a number of occassions, a shame he couldn’t find a man. I still have high hopes, but he’s got to arrive in the big games and improve on that decision making. 6

Theo: Did very well to set up the first goal, even though you’d put that more down to Nik dealing with his poor pass than a great assist. After that, it all went down hill. Trouble is, no one gives you goals for running 100m in 10.3 seconds. All you get for that is a monster contract. Not good enough for me… I don’t care how old he is. I’ve always thought Carlos Vela had far more to offer. Why doesn’t he get the chances? He does it on the international scene and has far more trickery and intelligence than Theo. Seems odd that we’d leave him at home. 6

Rosicky: Has the ink dried on that contract? Can we get one of those eraser pens on it? He was diabolical tonight and should be ashamed of himself. When you’re looking for a bit of experience / quality, the last thing you expect is a player of his caliber to turn in a performance as poor as that. He barely strung a pass together, his finishing was terrible and he looked out of place. He’s not Freddy and he’s no Bobby… a player whose never fulfilled his potential in a red and white shirt. 2

Bendtner: Did superbly with the first goal but after that, he put in a typical 21 year old back up striker performance. His touch needs to be more intelligent and he needs to develop more instinct for first time finishing. Still, he does work hard for the team and he acts well as a target man. However, at this level, you need more than that. 6.5

1,381 Responses to “I take no heart from a spanking like that… not good enough. Ratings + Review”

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  1. gnarleygeorge9

    Footnote: I’m not happy with AW either, but I will still keep believing until its officially over. Then I will probably join the grumpy wagon post season. But come on, the ride hasn’t ended yet. If you’ve already jumped off, you may miss out on the best part 😈

  2. David


    Where have you been!? Come on more often id love to have a debate without calling someone a C8nt! 😀

    Yeah if we get Rodwell. I think its over and done for Denilson.

    Rodwell will play in midfield with Song and Fabregas…when Diaby will be inevitably injured.

  3. David

    I think we get Van Bommel on a 2 year deal…and play him in the center and get Rodwell to understudy Van Bommel.

    It seems that Coquelin is being transformed into a right back. Sadly.

  4. ethangunner

    AA23 Says:
    April 8, 2010 at 02:53

    what do you reckon for wednesday?
    dunno AA haven’t studied the spuds for a while .
    i do know the team is on a downer so it can go either way ….

    plus with the key players missing obvious on paper we are not clear favorites ..

  5. Sabeel Indian Gunner

    Morning all

    i didnt watch the manu game yesterday,

    Pleasant suprise Manu are also out of CL

    so No english clubs in Semis of CL..amazing…we can rest easy now..and concentrate on winning the league…

    C`mon Arsenal..

  6. dennisdamenace

    A sad state of affairs though, to only have enjoyment out of someone else’s misfortune rather than of your own success!!

  7. gnarleygeorge9

    Well DDM

    You will get the double whammy next Wednesday. Arsenal success, & Spuds misfortune 😛

  8. Micky Did It 89

    Just thinking out loud, in a whisper, but would defeat at Spurs mean half empty stadium for remaining home games (I think so), and would that send out a signal to a new owner?
    Sorry, morning all.

  9. chozzer

    I don’t really understand how anyone can be either confident of victory or sure of defeat in any football match. Surely that’s the beauty of it. Live theatre with no script.

    Yes, we’ve only lost once in the league in the last decade to the spuds, but that doesn’t mean anything next Wednesday.

    I, for one, will go to both of the remaining home games regardless of the result at shite hart lane. Isn’t that what being a supporter is all about?

  10. dennisdamenace

    gnarley you old fecker, i wish i could be as confident as you old chum, but this mob has let me down time and time again when it really mattered, and that was with a full strength team!!

  11. James

    Silvestre was not at fault for any of the goals. Vermaelen cost us the third goal going in for the header at 100mph, when he should’ve had his calm head on and stopped the flow of Barca and played it safe.

    Silvestre was in no way at fault for any of the goals. I realise it’s fashionable to rate down players we don’t particularly rate, but to give Vermaelen a bigger score than him just shows that you’ve got your blinkers on.

  12. CHIPPY

    Cannot for one moment see Arsenal splashing out on what Everton would want for Rodwell they would want in Excess of 20mill as the boys got a great future and there is no way we would pay that unfortunatley, He will end up at Old Trafford 🙁 Would take Fellaini as well tho !!!

  13. steve

    diaby who a had a good game but watch the second goal he is tracking messi in front of him who passes out wide & theo trotts into the pen area diaby just’s watches him any midfielder worth his salt has to track him diaby can;t defend

  14. gnarleygeorge9


    After the CL exit 2 things can happen @ Spudville. The boyz can show real backbone & win, or wimp out. Some how I don’t think Big Sol will allow any wimping out, so a win is on the cards 🙂

  15. OC

    So Silvestre made Tommy V head the ball to a Barca player for the 2nd goal and then fall over himself for the 4th? Sorry, I hadn’t realised.

    And if Silvestre is to blame for an awful performance from Tommy V, then surely it was Diaby and Nasri’s inability to track back that made Denilson look as though he was unable to mark 3 Barca players all at the same time. Another pathetic post from a pathetic Arsenal blog.

  16. Four Six

    Wenger selects 10 midfielders.

    So too Barca. It was Messi playing in midfield who set up his own goal.

    We scored. Great. I would have dropped both Walcott and Bendtner into the midfield. With Walcott in the middle. They would stick to Busquets and Xavi. When Arsenal get the ball then Walcott can fly and Bendtner can chime in. At the end we looked like Bolton playing Arsenal. When the score was 0-1 we would have had a packed midfield stifling them as they did to us.

    Oh, we thought let’s play fair. You can have the ball for a while then we can have the ball for a while. No. It was not like that. Barca said you simply cannot have our ball. Why do Barca run like a pack of dogs to get the ball? Why don’t we? Surely the you chase as much as possible to get the ball so the other team has no time on the ball which gives your team more time on the ball. Quite simple. They hunted us down ruthlessly we we just in training mode except for Clichy. So it is not so much the way they play with the ball but the way in which they take the ball off their opposition. Manure play like this as well. Like Diaby Arsenal are too intoxicated with their own brilliance to bother running.

    So rather than playing lobs into Nik we put the ball into space for Theo then as I said Bendtner can chime in. This would have created havoc. Proof. At 0-1 had Diaby, does he smoke pot, played Walcott then it would possibly have been 0-2. But no, he has another toke, and plays the ball behind Bendtner. Yes. Spoilt on Pires, Bergkamp, PV4 and TH14.But I will take Vela, Wilkshire, Ramsey, Watt, Sunu over Rosicky, Eduardo, Denilson.