Arsenal bag 3 points… but will drab performance make players believe?

by & filed under Match report.

Today was about two things. Points and a display. Without doubt, the points were the wider vision. Without 3 to our name, we’d have been looking down the barrel of a 5th trophy failure of the season. Thankfully, we showed enough mettle over 90 minutes to close the Spurs / Chavski gap.

Performance though. That’s important. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise. We needed a performance to reassure fragile player minds Arsenal are still Arsenal. That didn’t happen. The players know that. The fans know that and the manager probably doesn’t know that.
That Villa side had conceded the most away goals, they’d scored the least and their ten game record was atrocious. An Arsenal side chasing Champions League positioning should have wiped the floor with Villa. At the very least, we should have been talking about a 2-1 that involved 42 attempts at goal whilst bemoaning a world class performance from a second string keeper.
I know… surely there’s no such thing as a bad 3 points. Winning ugly is great? Yes. Winning ugly is great, but only when the context is that you usually win handsomely. That’s not the case with Arsenal. Winning with style and panache is what we’ve lacked all year. Our team doesn’t have a playing identity. Winning ugly is the standard this year. Next week is Spurs, we needed a sound performance to go into that game on top of the world. Instead, I can’t help but think there are question marks around the whole side.
Giroud was awful and looked every inch a second rate striker. Walcott played the way the sour half of the contract debate said he would. Our keeper showed once again that he’s a long way from being top class. Captain quiet continued his terrible form. Abou Diaby went off injured. Arteta struggled with the pace of the game.
The points are important, but the flaws are more so.
Dropping Sagna was a bold move that I entirely agreed with. His shoddy effortless appearances of late deserved it. Diaby in the middle made little sense after watching Thomas have a super cameo against Bayern but outside that, we looked strong from a line up point of view.
We took the early lead from a Santi made goal. He found his way into the box, fired a shot, picked up the rebound and drilled a low placed shot past Guzan.
After that, Arsenal slipped into ‘this is an easy win’ mode. We failed to make the most of a very poor Villa side, there was very little drive to our play and in front of goal, we really struggled.
Even playing an awful side, there was a constant reminder we were always seconds away from a cock up. Monreal slipped on the left allowing Villa into the box. Only poor finishing and a smart save kept the score the same
The game was anti football. Neither team fancied it in the first half. The stadium was anti enthusiasm. Blocks of empty seats all over. So bad me and my pals took over the back row for a far superior second half view.
Arsenal came out for the second half with a bit more spark about there play. Giroud showed he was the nearly man. He’s nearly got a great first touch, he’s nearly got a taste for goal… he’s nearly a hattrick hero. He’s quite selfish at times, which is what you expect of a strikers, but when you’re trying to drill home three points, a simple cut back should suffice over a lash at goal. He took the latter option which opened himself up to a rollicking from Jack.
We somehow managed to concede from an Arsenal corner. The clearance made it up to Weimann on the half way line, he ran at our defence, with no defensive midfield cover, lashed a shot down the middle of the goal and unsurprisingly, our keeper made a total hash of and conceded again. He’s so average at the moment he deserves dropping… trouble is, Wenger doesn’t believe in competition for places, so there’s no one better than him to slip in.
The fans looked on exacerbated… how were we here again? Wenger made some positive subs bringing on Lukas, and Ramsey… sorry, did I forget to mention that Diaby went off injured… again?
We huffed and we puffed. The lack of know how was painful to watch. Villa had three players with a shirt number under 67 on display and we were making a meal out of beating them. Our attacks started to ramp up. Firstly came a Giroud free header from 6 yards that he rattled against the bar. The next came when Cazorla danced into the box and cut back to no one… why was no one following in? Theo did the same moments later with two people in the box, again, no finish. Then finally the magic man came to our rescue. Monreal bounded into the box, cut it back and Santi buried it low…
Finally… we had secured the three points and a massive, massive win heading into the next week.
So what to make of the game? Well, Arsene Wenger’s prezzer after was amusing…
“I’ve not been 30 years in this job at the top level to be destroyed by people who say I don’t know what I’m doing,”
Less talk Arsene, more demonstrating that immense experience. The only reason there are questions about what you’re doing at the top level is because you’ve consistently demonstrated over the past 5  years that at the highest level… you’re not elite. I’ll take on that point later on in the week. Yesterday was hardly the performance I’d expect a comment like that to come from… maybe if we’d beaten City 3-0 away I could stomach it. Not after successive cup defeats to Bayern and Blackburn and a tepid win against the worst Villa side I’ve ever seen.
Anyway, it’s Spurs up next week. Hopefully they’ll drop points tomorrow night against the Hammers. If they do, things are looking pretty interesting for the away game next week. If we win, it’s game on for a top four finish, if we lose, well, things still might not be over. I watched the Spuds win late on against Lyon in the week. That means they’ve got a at least two more European away games coming up as well as a disgusting April fixture pile up… not to mention the two international games Bale will have to play soon. We need to build a run together. We need to start performing and we need to cut out the tragic defensive performances, as well as the amateur attacking performances.
Yesterday wasn’t a Champions League chasing performance. It was a drab confidence sapping performance. The defence don’t trust the keeper, the keeper doesn’t trust the defence… no one knows who is doing what in midfield and no one has any confidence in the striker.
It’s a sorry state of affairs and quite incredible we’re still massively in the mix for Champions League football next  year.
Anyway, onwards and upwards… yesterday was a points celebration. Will the performance be enough to convince the side they’re good enough to pull out a massive result against Spurs next week?
Time. Will. Tell

194 Responses to “Arsenal bag 3 points… but will drab performance make players believe?”

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  1. Cesc Appeal

    Is Laudrup the man to replace Arsene, what do we rekon?

    Has the ‘Arsenal philosophy.’

    His team actually plays better football then us with a fraction of the transfer and wage budget.

    Holds his hands up when they get beaten and says ‘it simply wasn’t good enough.’

    It’s him or Kloop for me…The Dane is the most realistic.

    Though I’d feel sorry for Swansea, always seem to be starting again.

    Could see him wanting to bring a few players as well, perhaps Michu, Williams, De Guzman.

    Wouldn’t mind those three, not saying they’d be starters (Michu would at the mo as would Williams probably) but they’d be welcome additions.

    Strikes me as a savvy manager Laudrup. Knowledgeable.

  2. tom

    Coq just doesnt penetrate enough.

    Funniest bit is the protests after. Half a team with their shorts down.

  3. Cesc Appeal

    He seems like a manager who gets players playing.

    He gets Britton playing, De Guzman, K.I.S.Y…when you think how badly Arteta, Diaby and Cazorla can all play, Ramsey, Rosicky etc

    Would be interesting to see if any of these guy, in particular I’m thinking Ramsey are able to step it up a gear under him.

    Really like Ashley Williams as well, a lot of Arsenal fans might turn their noses up and say ‘not good enough’ but I like him, solid player, rough in the tackle, leader on the pitch, physically imposing.

    Him and Michu coming over would be most welcome, add to that a combative middle player and a winger and we’d look much healthier, not world beating but a lot better than we are now.

    I agree with the general consensus that we could buy Cavani, Nani, Hummels, Gotze etc int he summer but Wenger just seems to sap the life out of players, he’s like a dark cloud over the club, he’ll never win a thing again.

    There are a lot of players, Vermaelen, Ramsey, Rosicky, Podolski, Cazorla who can play a lot, lot better than they currently are…or more consistently.

  4. Cesc Appeal


    I agree.

    Great attitude, great personality, humble in defeat and victory.

    But you get the sense from him he’d can light a fire under a player.

    Perfect candidate in my eyes.

    If I was CEO I’d be looking to see how Swansea do till May now after they won the COC, if they push and get a high finish, I’d offer him the job, pay Wenger £7.5 Million and be shot.

    Give Laudrup £100 Million to play with and i bet you any money he’d build a strong side, capable of playing beautiful player but with resilience and tactical nous

  5. The Legend That Is Dennis Bergkamp

    Thanks for the defence as well… much appreciated.
    – –
    Steve Bould thanks Arsene after finally being allowed to train them…

  6. kwik fit


    He wouldn’t even need 100m

    Michu 2m
    Pablo 6m
    De guzman 4m

    There’s bound to be shit more of these types available in Europe and Laundrup has the pedigree to pick them up.
    He’s the man alright.

  7. tom

    Cesc AppealFebruary 24, 2013 19:47:18

    There are a lot of players, Vermaelen, Ramsey, Rosicky, Podolski, Cazorla who can play a lot, lot better than they currently are…or more consistently.

    Consistancy is key and hardest to instill.
    I believe this team will find with a little more time getting to know each other.

  8. The Legend That Is Dennis Bergkamp

    Wenger was not fully proven (Monaco aside) when we signed him from Grampus 8…so will the board take another semi gamble on the next one ? Not so sure as Dein was instrumental in getting Wenger and convincing the board. Who do we have now in that role ? But then again the board like to get people on the cheap so an up and coming manager it is then !

  9. Cesc Appeal


    I agree.

    I can see him getting guys like Strootman, known, but sort of on the peripheries.

    Erikssen (I know he’s well known)
    De Jong (the striker)

    And I’d welcome Rangel, De Guzman, Michu and Williams and Pablo from Swnasea.

    As you say sounds a lot, but there’s probably around £30 Million of players there from Swansea. So value for money wise it’s excellent, of them I’d make Williams, De Guzman and Michu priorities.

    It would be like Arsenal of 1997, as if getting a shot in the arm, change of direction and a push toward trophies.

    I have a feeling though he’d make one big signing, like a marker, a statement of intent. Not a £50 Million one, that’s not his style, but a £25-30 Million sort of one…almost like it’s novel to have a large cheque book for him.

    As i say, him or Kloop for me.

    But BvB is Kloop’s baby.

  10. kwik fit

    Wenger said he was at the Top level for thirty years.
    Now let me see thirty years …..that takes him back to early 80’s. Ok Arsene you arrived with us in 96 . So please explain your top level jobs between 82 and 96, or was 30 years a slight exaggeration?

  11. rusty canon

    Your Comment Here
    Is Michael Laudrup the latest footballing dictator, having delivered a trophy in his first season to a team that had waited a century? Wenger out. He has not been at the top of his game with Arsenal for the last 8 years. What 30 years is he talking of? He must have such a low self-esteem such that he can not come to terms with the fact that he actually was succesful in the first 8 years of his career at Arsenal.

  12. rusty canon

    Low self esteem. Which is why he cannot get rid of non-performing players. He is afraid that other coaches will make them shine like all the players that left.

  13. Cesc Appeal


    I like him, but for sure there are better targets out there for us to grab at CB.

    Every time I think of Wenger I just get filled with rage….he’s like a doomy, gloomy old man, sucks the life force out of his players.

    I give up with Arsenal until he’s gone. I’ll still support them but I expect absolutely nothing from them except lies and terrible performances.


    Every time I think of Wenger I just get filled with rage….he’s like a doomy, gloomy old man, sucks the life force out of his players.
    Bit like Keyser,suck’s the life force out of blogger’s on here..

    Like a dark cloud,that loom’s over you!!

  15. Alex James

    How come Pardew has got some decent French players, when we have Gervinho and Squillachi? Who the heck scouts for us in France?

  16. Doublegooner

    Laudrup is a perfect fit for us.

    Problem is, we’ll be lumbered with Wenger for years and he’ll spunk millions this summer too,

  17. Cesc Appeal


    Sadly I agree.

    All this pressure and mounting criticisms will have the exact OPPOSITE effect we all want it to.

    It’ll galvanize Wenger to his ridiculous self beliefs and that in the way, way below par players he gives extravagant wages to.

    If he were any kind of a man he’d have already told the board he’s stepping down at the end of the season having taken Arsenal as far as he feels he can and that they should start identifying replacements for him.

    That way for example the board could sound out Laudrup, ask him what his targets for the summer would be, start negotiating with them now, get Pre-Contracts in place if we’re being REALLY proactive!!

    But no doubt our OAP totally useless board will settle for more of the same, if we make fourth they’ll see has akin to winning the UCL and tell us all to shut it, what were we complaining about, we’ve got the best manager in the world, blah blah.

    Whilst the new gaffer has a lot that he’ll be looking forward to:

    State of the art training facilities.
    Brand new medical facilities.
    Huge public exposure.
    Brand new, massive stadium.
    Huge amount of cash to spend.
    Massive wage bill.
    Some excellent young talent.
    Decent youth academy.

    There’s also the huge problem of the contacts certain players are on. The fact that we really have one star in the starting eleven in Jack Wilshere…in my opinion Santi Cazorla is too inconsistent and goes missing in big games a lot.

    The fact he’d have a majority shareholder/owner who isn’t at all interested in helping out or even checking in. Probably couldn’t point to England on a globe and can’t understand why it’s such a long flight to London when it’s suppose to be in North Dakota somewhere!!!

    I like Kloop, but A) I doubt he’ll leave BvB any time soon. B) He isn’t Prem proven.

    Laudrup’s first season, playing beautiful football, taken some scalps, embarrassed us at the Emirates, won some silverware…and a cup Wenger has NEVER won.

    I bet he’d cost pennies compared to Wenger as well. £2 Million a year?? Tops.

    So you can take £5.5 Million off the wage bill straight away and use it to pay some top wages to a top talent!!

  18. Toli83

    Just bumped into a few Bradford fans on way home on the tube. Obviously bit gutted but very humble chaps.

    Interesting when I said I supported arsenal and said I think Wenger should go they all agreed. They said after the game up there that they reckon if ferguson had our squad he could win the league with it.

    One of the few times iv agreed with a northern take on things…

  19. Cesc Appeal

    Yeah, it’s just like there’s a reason US Presidents get two terms…anymore than that and you become power mad, lazy, go off the boil, lose your edge, are behind on competitiveness.

    Funny, two Presidential terms is exactly the length of time Arsene has gone without a trophy!

  20. Dannyboy

    Pedro: ‘I am not in this job 5 years for you to tell me I make mistakes’

    Nige: ‘But Arsene *cough* Pedro, there is a mistake right there’

    Pedro: ‘I did not see it…’

  21. reality check

    Why are people having a pop at pedro.

    Who the fuck are you!?

    Legrove is supposed to be a past time not your whole life


  22. Dannyboy

    RC chill out son, it was a light hearted joke, a mere follow on of a little dig Gambon had at Pedders earlier. We all love Le Grove. No need for the C-bomb.

    Interesting opinions on Laudrup, I’ve kept an eye on him for a while (no homo) and he really has impressed. I really liked his reaction to the win today, almost like ‘The trophy is nice, but I want to take this club even further’. Even when they were giving him the bumps he looked completely focused…

    Wenger would have had his cock out.

  23. Evan

    Wenger ain’t signing no one

    Players coming back from Loan would need to shifting(s) before further purchases, can you see that happening…

    He will spend all summer trying to extend Sagna’s contract, then he will consider strengthening, but won’t (internal resources/player from loan i.e. Ryo and Joel) and belief in this group of players will suffice

    Wengers reign must end

  24. Cesc Appeal


    I agree, I can’t see Wenger signing anyone, as I’ve said maybe Flavian Thauvin and then spend the rest of the Summer trying to find some unwitting suckers to take guys like Denilson, Bendtner etc

    Though to be fair the Big Dane is probably better than what we have…I agree with a lot of people that Giroud was a pointless buy, as you’re paying him £52 000 a week we might as well have played Bendtner up there.

    We sold Bartley…stupid decision, then loaned Djourou (who is crap and should have been replaced years ago) so we’re a couple of injuries away from Squillaci…or having to play a 19 year old with a handful of games under his belt!!!

    The management is ridiculous at all levels

  25. Lee Pace

    Wenger’s failings have been exposed aggressively by the media in the last month or so but you watch. He will find a way to slowly bring back his excuses not to spend big, if not at all in the summer and we wont even notice the lies filtering back through. I can’t believe some people are still expecting him to buy quality players in the summer. He wont, at best he’ll buy more kids, cheap unknowns and a few more midgets.