Match Preview Yesterday
‘Most importantly, I want to see 100% concentration from the start. Switching off is complacency and laziness. That can’t happen tomorrow. I don’t want to sit here on Thursday morning spamming tractor boy comments ripping me for being so assertive about this thrilling victory I believe we’ve got in the bag.’
Match Review vs Leeds
‘Yesterday’s issue was about the level of our second string not being as high as we’d like to imagine. We’ve seen that demonstrated twice in 2 weeks. It’s not a coincidence that teams that have Eboue, Denilson, Bendtner and dare I say it… Arshavin, suffer when they’re all mashed into our ‘strongest’ team of the day.’
Match Review vs Wigan
‘Once again, it’s a shoddy piece of defending from our centre back. More importantly, where the hell was Eboue in this situation, or more to the point, why would you rest your only fit left back and put a right back who ALWAYS struggles at left back in his place?’
Match Reveiw vs Braga
‘I am not going to be too critical of Wenger’s changes tonight, these are 1st team squad players who could and should have done better. I am critical of his lack of nonce in changing it when it looked like they were creeping back into the game though, and sadly it is a trait we see from him over and over again.’
Arsenal vs GROUNDHOG DAY review
Above are come snippets from previous match reports I’ve written. This is becoming a regular thing for me, writing about the same issues. In fact, it’s become a regular theme over the past 3 season. If you have the time, I would ask you to read the FC Braga match review, it’s incredible how close it is to yesterdays humiliation. Almost the same players and exactly the same outcome.
I’ve been angry at times this season, as has Geoff, but I don’t think I’ve ever been as a appalled and embarrassed as I was last night. We have nowhere to hide today, that was a Championship side that shipped 7 against a Chelsea team that is on its worst run of form in a decade. That was a side that is a few points off the drop zone in the Championship. That is a side that Henri Lansbury bossed a few weeks ago for his adopted Norwich team.
Arsene, firstly, I have to take this up with you. I’ve said it many times, you’ve created a beautiful atmosphere for people to work in. I know this because I speak to people who work for the club. As a group of players, they’re the nicest bunch in the Premiership. That’s great, but for me, it’s come at a cost.
Our boys are like domesticated animals. I was round my sisters the other day, she’s bought a new guinea pig (She’s 25, I know…). She placed it on the floor and it had so little ambition, it just sat there, no desire to escape or to make a dash for the door. That’s how I feel about our players. They’re cocooned in an environment where there are professional a** wipers on stand by to see to their every need. They’ve a manager who fattens them up with extended contracts without asking what they’ve done to deserve them and they are beyond reproach with team selection.
This type of culture kills the winning mentality vibe that you’re supposed to have as an athlete. If you’re never accountable for underperformance, if you’re rewarded for failure, why would you ever dig deep? You’re just like the guinea pig, come rain or shine, you know you’ll wake up in the morning with a clean hutch and a fresh batch of food.
From what I understand of United’s set up, there are massive factions in the dressing room, staff hate some of the players, some of the players hate the other players and there is plenty of fear and conflict that goes around the dressing room. The thing that binds them all is Ferguson’s iron fist, a winning mentality and the fear that if you’re that poor you’ll be shipped out like Eric Djemba Djemba or Massimo Taibi.
Last night was yet another example of club complacency. It’s ok for people like me to say we’re going to spank Ipswich, I’m a fan and I can get over excited. That attitude isn’t acceptable at a great club with ambitions like ours. I can’t accept that our players can be so up for Chelsea but so lifeless in a CUP SEMI FINAL against a championship club. You have no right to believe you’re too good for a trophy you’ve never won.
Arsene Wenger is masking a poor season behind an incredible run of luck. Our bad league form has been disguised by other teams bad form, our Champions League run capitulated against weaker opposition and our domestic cup runs have also been favourable.
Last night highlighted our second string weaknesses and also showed you how bad players bring down good players level of performance. It’s like playing golf with hackers, it’s destroys your own game.
My worry isn’t about winning the second leg, it’s how we’re going to cope with key injuries. The players coming in don’t have the hunger or the mindset to impress. How will we do against Barcelona if Cesc or Nasri pick up a knock? Our squad looks great on paper but time and time again it’s being shown up on the pitch.
The away fans left early last night according to my mate who was in the Ipswich end. Some also booed the players. I’m not the booing type, but I fully back the right of fans to do so. They’ve spent out their hard-earned to go there, they’ve mostly taken half days from work to make the trip and they’ve been served up that crap. They know the players won’t receive the hair dryer treatment, so why shouldn’t they make their feelings known? If you’re a web warrior who wants to critique that, I suggest you buy a ticket and make the same sacrifice and then tell me ‘Arsene forever.’
Here are some of the away boys tweets:
Chesney – Made a few great saves during the game but his distribution was notably poor. He also made a few bad decisions, one from a corner and one where he hooked the ball from outside the area into his box. 7
Gibbs – I thought he had a terrible game last night. There was very little focus, his positioning was awful and he seemed to give the ball away every second touch. 4
JD – I thought he was a stand out performer in comparison to the rest of the squad. He had no full backs and he kept us in it at times. 7
Koscielny – Again, I thought he had a very solid game. When your defence is set up with 2 centre backs and 2 passengers, it’s incredibly tiring. I thought he was composed and focused most of the game. 7
Eboue – I don’t care for him, never have, never will. He’s a 27 year old waste of space who can’t defend, can’t attack and continuously embarrasses the good name of our club. He had a shocker last night, he might as well have sat down for the game. Atrocious, he needs to go. 3
Denilson – There’s not a great player waiting to break out I’m afraid. He’s lazy, he’s sloppy and he’s incredibly arrogant to think he can turn up and play in such a lackadaisical fashion when he’s nowhere near the first team. His poor passing was apparent during the game, his jogging back to defend was also noted and he was at fault for the ball over the top that Priskin latched onto. Why was Jack taken off instead of him? Wenger’s wet dream of Song and Denilson in the same midfield is awful to watch. 3
Cesc – He had a very poor performance. I can’t work out whether he was just plain awful or whether people weren’t making the runs for his passes. He looked alien on the pitch last night but at least we know that he’s usually the best in the world. Still, there is no excuse for not looking hungry, there is no excuse for not rallying your side and there is no excuse for leading your team to a 1-0 away loss at Championship relegation fodder. 4
Wilshere – A poor game from Jack as well. His passing and positional play was very weak as he melted into the background of the biggest domestic cup game of his career so far. Very disappointing. 5
Bendtner – The service he received was very poor today but that didn’t excuse him from playing his role incorrectly. If you want to be a goal scorer and you’re his size, you need to lead the line and make your way into the box occasionally. His touch was heavy, his work rate was poor and I’m pretty sure he didn’t register an attempt on goal. Very weak. 4.5
Arsahvin – He needs to be taken out of the side and given 2 weeks to get his head together. His confidence has been shot to pieces, it sounded like his substitution was met with a chorus of boo’s and he looks like he’s fallen out of love with the game. It’s sad to see talent like that in such a bad place. Le Grove still love him regardless. 3
Theo – The only attacking spark in our Arsenal yesterday. He hussled his full back all game, his movement was good and he was unlucky not to score with two one on ones. He’s growing as a player, he just needs a run to iron out a few of the bad decisions he makes.
Arsene Wenger – The starting line up should have been good enough to destroy Ipswich, but the players were allowed to enter the pitch believing their own hype. Wenger didn’t make substitutes early enough and bringing on Carlos Vela with 8 minutes to go was nothing short of insulting to the talented Mexican. Wenger obviously believes in Song’s attacking abilities because he thought he’d bring more spark to the game than Jack Wilshere. Chamakh was also weak. 4
I want to know when the real fringe talent is going to win a run in the team? I’d like us to bin off the dead wood and give Lansbury, JET, Frimpong and Aneke/Afobe a go. I’d also take a punt on Connor Wickham, he showed more in that game last night than Bendtner has all season. He was tall, skillful and had great delivery. One for the future for sure.
Finally before I leave you… Matthew Upson is a bang average defender with a poor injury record. If Arsene signs him, he should be dismissed. That is the most horrific transfer rumour I’ve ever heard mainly because I can believe it.
Geoff is back tomorrow…
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