Arsenal win, but shaky performance can’t be ignored

by & filed under Match report.

Arsenal made hard work of easy opposition displaying all the usual inadequacies we’ve grown accustomed to watching this season.

The line up indicated we were in for troubling times, we changed up our two full backs, the midfield contained Rosicky and Diaby and up top Chamblerlain was given a runout.

After watching Brighton have the better of the opening moments, forcing a particularly clever save from Szceney, we took the lead. After a quick clearance from our keeper, Giroud found himself on the edge of the box, he crafted some space and rifled his shot into the top corner. A classy finish from the big man.

It didn’t take long for Brighton to get back into the game. Santos gave them free reign down the left putting in a very amateur performance. Brighton had a goal disallowed for offside, Szceney, regardless of the outcome made a hash of the cross. Shortly after, he did the same again, when a corner was fired into his 6 yard area, he didn’t go for it which allowed two players to get in front of him and score. Weak keeping from him… as a keeper, you own anything that comes into the 6 yard area. Weak team defending. Who tracked the runners?

The second half saw a little more action, Podolski hit the bar from a freekick. Giroud followed up after with his second goal, he took down a looping ball from Diaby and smashed it back across goal. Again, a top class finish from a man who is finding his feet.

Arsenal weren’t finished with the bad defending, Santos and Diaby let the Brighton wideman have plenty of space to pick out a cross into our box, the keeper didn’t come and we found ourselves level pegging again. The quality of our set up at the back is so poor… this was a Championship side showing us up with relative ease.

People always try and gloss over bad play by pointing to the eventual result, for me, the reason we’re in no mans land in the league is because Wenger had spent 8 years ignoring defensive mistakes. Here’s an idea Arsene, give Bould the defence like you did during the first month of the season. Here’s another idea… why don’t the players speak up and demand more training at the back?

We did manage to snatch the result in the end, Theo Walcott came to the rescue when he turned in a corner at the death. I’m sure I read that his stats sit at 17 goals with 10 assists. The 25 goal season is well and truly on for that man.

I’ve also got a lot of time for Giroud. He’s rough round the edges but he works hard and things are starting to drop for him. Both of his finishes were top class and he’s certainly the first plan b striker we’ve had for a few years. He’s starting to match his aerial dominance with a bit of style on the deck. His movement has always been good, what’s making it work is the team are starting to gel with him.

Onwards and upwards… Liverpool on Wednesday, a must win.

213 Responses to “Arsenal win, but shaky performance can’t be ignored”

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  1. JK

    Thank you so much for not publishing my previous post, which was obviously far too controversial – NOT!
    This afternoon’s results just prove that I was right.
    It’s the FA Cup, stupid!

  2. marcus


    Huddersfield/Leicester v Wigan
    MK Dons v Barnsley
    Oldham v Everton
    Luton v Millwall
    Arsenal v Blackburn Rovers
    Manchester City v Leeds
    Manchester United v Reading
    Middlesbrough v Brentford/Chelsea

  3. Jeff

    Does this mean then that we should be able to overcome Liverpool on Wednesday given their wounded state or will it fire them up to put one over us? I think the most important aspect of what we should concentrate on is defence. I don’t think much of this “zonal” marking policy though. We’re probably not executing it correctly. Does it really involve everyone being riveted within the 6 yard box in the hope that that’s where the ball goes so we can header it away?

  4. Lordbergkamp

    Jeff, nope – zonal is supposed to be a dynamic way of not getting caught out by stunts and “pull always”.

    You are supposed to occupy an area of the penalty box, and cover those in your zone, then leave them when they leave it, covering the next man coming in.

    We don’t do it like that… We stand there looking confused as people run past us and lash it in the net…

  5. Arsene's Nurse

    Jeff January 27, 2013 18:17:38

    Does this mean then that we should be able to overcome Liverpool on Wednesday given their wounded state or will it fire them up to put one over us? I think the most important aspect of what we should concentrate on is defence. I don’t think much of this “zonal” marking policy though. We’re probably not executing it correctly. Does it really involve everyone being riveted within the 6 yard box in the hope that that’s where the ball goes so we can header it away?
    I was going to post the exact same thing earlier, but I was being nagged to make a start on tonight’s spaghetti bolognese. I suspect that Brenden will be fucking livid right now so he’ll get them all fired up. Liverpool should be a win, but our defensive mistakes are so frequent that they are more likely to score a couple of goals.

    We have been screaming for someone to sort out the defending at set pieces for many seasons now, but it never seems to get addressed. It drives me mad because it’s such a simple thing to do.

  6. Charlesdegaulle

    OK now I´m on.I´ve been lurking with this blog for years and years,first saw Arsenal in about 1976,been all over europe with the club.What I like with this site its always the same,anti wenger anti arsenal.I´ve a sick sense of humor so I come back day after day for my daily laugh.Concerning wenger I change my mind also
    every rising moon,he should stay,he should go.To tell the truth he did´nt see the oil money coming into the PL.If these muthers had stayed out it would still be a straight fight between us and the mancs.However another reason I hung around here was some of the excellent Youtube links to obsolete of the track music that was normally posted on here late at night or early morning.
    Pity its dried up,t´was a pleasant suprise sometimes.Thats all.

  7. Arsene's Nurse

    Lordbergkamp January 27, 2013 18:59:32

    Jeff, nope – zonal is supposed to be a dynamic way of not getting caught out by stunts and “pull always”.

    You are supposed to occupy an area of the penalty box, and cover those in your zone, then leave them when they leave it, covering the next man coming in.

    We don’t do it like that… We stand there looking confused as people run past us and lash it in the net…
    My brain just had a massive flash and I think I’ve just figured it out……..

    There’s been a typo on the defensive instruction sheet, so instead of “zonal marking”, it says “zonal parking” – the players are just following the instruction.

  8. Stan Donkey

    LordB… an excellent (and upsetting) description of our defensive set up.

    Jeff… you only have to cast your mind back to GG’s Arsenal & Wenger’s early years for better demonstrations of how to defend zonally.

    Is Per collecting the parking fines too?

  9. bazza

    Most things in life are not black and white.

    Certainly Wenger has many faults, but he also has strengths. It’s crazy to blame everything on him. It wasn’t Wenger that sold out to Kroenke, It’s not Wenger that created the mad inflation in transfer fees and wages. Furthermore it was Wenger together with Danny Fiszman that had the vision to move stadium. The reason why we are in a strong financial position is largely down to Wenger.

    I won’t dwell on Wenger’s weaknesses, we are all painfully aware of them, but it’s foolish to blame him for absolutely everything. To endlessly come out with personal attacks is frankly pathetic. Contributors that continually spew out “Wenger Out” slogans are truly boring and posting these types of messages is mindless, ineffectual and meaningless.

    I completely understand if certain people feel strongly against Wenger and if they want to opt out of attending games or buying merchandise it’s up to them. But getting on the backs of young players like Ramsey or Walcott or Gibbs is not the Arsenal way, nor is hurling personal abuse at the manager.

    I hope that the more moderate contributors come back to this site so we can get back to talking about football again.

  10. LeMassiveCoq


    Most people can’t be bothered to list the half a dozen reasons why Arsene Wenger is not the man to take this club forward any more. So the Wenger Out ‘slogan’ as you put it, is just a way to show which side of the fence you sit on without repeating yourself endlessly.

    I agree with you, on the point that there is a lot of vitriol towards, young players like Ramsay. Gibbs? Now he is not getting crocked every other game, I think most grovers acknowledge that he is fast turning into one of the best left backs in the prem. Theo gets criticism because by now he should be performing at a top level week in week out, but doesnt. He still goes missing occasionally.

    Wenger out 😉

  11. Stan Donkey


    Why do you single out Kroenke? Nothing has changed since he took over. There is no evidence to suggest he has prevented Wenger spending the clubs money.

    And should Wenger be congratulated for player and property sales that leave us in a strong financial position?

    I agree with you about personal attacks and supporting the team (in the stadium) but Wenger is not performing in terms of making us a competitive team, which should be his only consideration.

  12. mystic

    Stan Donkey
    Arsenal last won silverware, less that 2 seasons later Kroenke bought his first shares in Arsenal in April 2007. People seem to assume that it was only when he took control that his influence started – he already had a start with DD on the board

    David Dein would have been getting SS interested well before he actually managed to get his first shares and lo and behold DD is also Wenger’s best footballing mate. It is reasonable to conclude that SS (initially through DD) has had an ever increasing influence on Arsenal since shortly after the last piece of silverware.

    Only a fool would intimate that Kroenke is the sole reason for this mess, without doubt the insane manager (at times with the influence of DD) has been a willing accomplice, which is why to move forward Arsenal need rid of all the twats from Wenger upwards, getting rid of just AW will not solve the dire situation.

  13. Paddy got up

    Well done those boys who had the Wenger out banner yesterday. But please, please tell me that our end wasn’t singing his name?
    If that was the case then I must be seeing things wrongly or having a breakdown. Surely everyone can see he’s finished and just here for the money.. £7.5m don’t forget.
    If the majority of Arsenal fans really want Wenger to carry on then I would be amazed, but if they were chanting his name at an away game, then I’m fucked because I would of found that too much to bare.

  14. mack

    “It didn’t take long for Brighton to get back into the game. Santos gave them free reign down the left putting in a very amateur performance”.
    Amature? I played amature football back in the day. I was much better than Santos. Please don’t insult me next time if we’re going to continue being buddies.

  15. mystic

    “With the number of games we play, you cannot only play the same 11 in every single game. We play against Liverpool on Wednesday, Stoke on Saturday and then the players go away for international games. You have to rotate knowing that if it doesn’t work, you will be accused of having made the wrong decision.”

    Fucking hell can’t Wenger see what everyone else can, WE HAVEN’T GOT A SQUAD TO ROTATE.

  16. Stan Donkey


    Most Chairman complain that their team managers want to spend too much!

    I don’t want the board / non-football types interfering with the management of the team, but i do expect the team manager to utilise all of the resources available to him.

    Kroenke is an investor, all he care about is the appreciation of his asset. I think that has already grown by £400m and will no doubt continue to grow with ever increasing media income.

    Gazidis runs the business to a self sustaining model with commercial revenue increases the only real measure by which we can assess him on. We may want him to remove Wenger from his post, but that decision aside, i don’t know what else he has done wrong.

    Wenger runs the club. The buck stops with him.

  17. mystic

    Stan Donkey
    ‘The buck stops with him.’

    Unfortunately I think Wenger has been allowed too control, but in the end he is also being / has been influence by all consuming American dollars (or as you say bucks).

  18. Jeff


    Thanks for answering that about zonal marking. I didn’t think we were carrying it out correctly because we are so vulnerable with corners and set pieces.

    As Arsene’s Nurse says it is not that difficult to do if everyone is drilled and knows what they are supposed to do. If we could just reduce the number of goals we let in even by 25% it would make such a difference to our standing. But of course it’s too late now because our season is pretty much over and once again fourth seems to be the best we can do.

    So far as the FA cup is concerned, we are bound to come across either Man City or Man U eventually and we will probably bottle it (as we normally do in the big games that actually matter) but you never know. If I dare to hope of any trophy this season, it would have to be for the FA cup.

    That just leaves the Champions League and although sometimes we pull a surprise (as we did against Barcelona when Arshavin slotted that famous goal at the Emirates and we won 2:1), it is only a slim chance that we should be lucky enough to overcome Bayern Munich who are currently top in their league with a goal difference of 41 goals after 19 games.

  19. Marko

    If the only rumour knocking about is diame then if it’s alright with everyone if I don’t get excited and be like pffffttt

  20. Toli83

    My mate was near the lads with the banner who said they got in a couple of scraps. One on roughly 70 minutes when they started singing Wenger out, and also at the train station when some akb’s set upon them.

    I hope it doesn’t deter them…

  21. Stan Donkey


    Without doubt Wenger has too much control. I just don’t think Kroenke cares to get involved in any way. Arsenal manages itself as an investment.

    Gazidis cannot make Wenger spend money so unless Wenger changes his philosophy I cannot see a resolution.

  22. mystic

    Stan in some ways I agree, but ultimately Wenger position is determined by others. He has been allowed too much power, in the past it was foolishly given to him, latterly it has foolishly been allowed to stay with him.

    To move forward they all need to go – the fool and his paymasters.

  23. Stan Donkey


    I doubt we’d question his power if he was still winning. It’s just unfortunate that he stubbornly perseveres with his bizarre approach!

    Stan is majority owner and as long as he isn’t taking dividends I like the fact that he is silent!

    Ivan seems perfectly capable of running the club and has been busily becoming more influential within the game.

    I think the only improvement would be the introduction of more Arsenal men, like McLintock, to the board and director of football roles. People who can actually make informed decisions with regard to the team coach in their employ.

  24. goonerboy

    Interesting article in the FT.
    This is an article, moderately written as ever- which supports many of the arguments put forward on this blog over several years.
    It is not only Wenger haters who think he has got a lot of things badly wrong.

    Whilst I don’t support personal abuse of Wenger (or anyone else)-I find it amazing that Arsenal fans can overlook the evidence of the last 8 years-and place their faith in a manager whose poor judgement, has been so clearly demonstrated.
    So I ask Bazza exactly what do you think Wenger is going to bring Arsenal FC in the next say 3 years- ?

  25. Leedsgunner

    “Are there loopholes in the way FFP works? Quite possibly. FFP is not part of our strategy.” Gazidas

    Did he not say the opposite in the Annual Meeting this year? Was their whole rationale about being able to spend with the best and the biggest 2014 based on the suitability of FFP being fully operational? Is this another lie being told to us by the club?

  26. Cesc Appeal


    He was banging on that new commercials and FFP in 2014 was INTEGRAL to our rise to prominence.

    Like his master Gazidis is a compulsive liar as well.

    Short of draining as much money out of the fans as possible the club has NO strategy.

    No one at Arsenal knows how to run a Football Team.

  27. BacaryisGod

    In the last 7 years of completed Cup competitions we have reached the following:

    F.A Cup: 1 Semi-Final, 1 Quarter-Final
    League Cup: 2 Finals, 2 Semi-Finals, 3 Quarter-Finals
    Champions League: 1 Final, 1 Semi-Final, 2 Quarter-Finals

    This is not a record to be particularly proud or but nor is it one to be ashamed of. Some balance is needed…

  28. The Poldi Prince

    Loving Gibbs. Once he improves his concentration and positioning, he will be our dani alves. Gibbs could play any of the left positions. Arguably our second best dribbler and can get past anyone in the pl.

    I for one like Theo’s progression. He is young still. All you need to do osce accept he will never be world class but will be a very good fwd. The stats speak for themselves and contrary to popular belief, he is one to regularly perform against some big teams. Great recent games vs chavs and spuds. Probably turns up more than most in our big games. Nevertheless, he does frustrate. Positive is at least he wants to be the man. Very important in our shot-shy team.

  29. goonerboy

    One of the reasons why Arsene Wenger finds buying players so difficult is that he is trying to dictate the terms of the market- his valuations of players are consistently too low- both salary and transfer fee. It is being far too generous to Wenger to claim that is a great economist and responsible bargain hunter- not when the salaries of the current squad are subject to close examination-if this is the only money that the club has, his lack of action in moving on failing players like Almunia, Arshavin and Squillacci, and his granting of pay rises to players who consistently are not deemed good enough by him to get into the side ( e.g.Djourou, Vela) constitutes financial negligence.

    Why had Wenger not bid for Zaha- a player he previously stated he admired with huge potential? Because the transfer fee was too high for Wenger at 17m- about 5m too high.

    It doesn’t matter how much money the club could spend- Wenger will not spend more than 12-13 m on anyone.

    Wenger buys to a price in his mind – and the price is low-which massively restricts who can be brought in- with the result that the risk of the player not delivering in a league of higher value players is fairly high.

    Wenger doesn’t just consistently undervalue players the club could buy- but also valuations of players we have sold-players like Vieira, Henry, Cole, Nasri, Fabregas, Toure, and Van Persie. We did not get market value for any of these players.
    This is not just further evidence of just how out of touch Arsene Wenger is, but also how blinkered and out of touch many of those who offer unconditional support to him are.
    Wenger the great supporter of moving to a higher capacity stadium- getting a much higher income by screwing the fans- to make the club ” more competitive”- yet the plan founders of the fact that Wenger wastes the surplus himself – on inflated salaries of mediocre players and refuses to spend the surplus on quality- in reality making the club less competitive.

  30. ikon

    Walcott signing was a good thing. No matter how many defficiencies we make out of his game, one thing you cant take away from him is his ability to be lethal in counter attacks and his finishing… will be very crucial when we play in Europe against teams who normally are much more open in their play than the pl teams.

  31. follow the money

    absolutely Goonerboy. If Wenger had his priorities in order (if he truly cared about winning) he would spend every penny of the surplus on some real quality players so we could have a better chance of winning something. But he is more concerned with proving something than he is winning titles. He also doesn’t like veteran players after PV4 because they prove that a team can manage itself if you have veteran leadership. If Wenger was to get the veteran quality we needed to win something at this point it would prove that the Invincibles basically managed themselves, and that Wenger isn’t the brilliant football mind some make him out to be.

  32. Alekey

    Dear Arsene Wenger, in the spirit of January sales, kindly buy another sleeping bag as your current sleeping bag cum jacket’s zip is embarrassing you in public. You may apply for a sleeping bag loan at HSBC. While at it, you may also get another pair of shoes, I dont appreciate being kicked by worn, grinning shoes. Yours, Plastic Water Bottle.

  33. Cesc Appeal

    Wenger looks at buys in an over the top careful way.

    £5 Million for Falvian Thauvin


    £30 Million for a Cavani type player.

    Thauvin might turn out to be the next Bale, or Ronaldo, or just another Walcott – he might be another Gervinho though, or Carlos Vela. But at 35 Million Wenger could take the risk and still get stubborn and defensive in press calls if Thauvin doesn’t work out.

    ‘You say that but we have teams spending six times this on players that don’t work out….’

    Whereas if he spends a heap of money on a player or two and CAN’T get them to play a la Torress at Chelsea he looks stupid, and a bad manager. He will also have to explain to the board and Kroenke why he spent £60 Million for nothing, why he’s not winning anything and why the team is in poor form.

    Self preservation is king with Arsene.

    As long a she keeps coming from the underdog position, buying guys like Gervinho, Giroud, Koscielny and youngsters he has an excuse for getting beaten by anyone – even humiliated.

    The second he goes out into the window and buys a Fellaini, Jovetic and Hummels for example he will be expected to compete at the highest level and any failure will be looked at with a magnifying glass.

    He has it easy, £145 000 a week, doesn’t have to win anything, ONLY has to get his team to 4th each year, has no big personalities who’ll challenge him anywhere in the club.

    As Jose said Wenger has the dream job. He will NEVER be sacked, look at the results he’s had over the last 18 months, some of the most scandalous and downright embarrassing the club has EVER seen….he’s still here.

    Question shouldn’t be why isn’t he spending.

    It should be…why would he?

  34. Guns of brixton

    Metro : ‘AW admits lack of fire power and steps up david villa bid’ after hes blinding performance with messi this weekend? barca will be reluctant