I thought the game would be tough yesterday. It always is when we go to play Stoke. I didn’t realise we’d be up for a humiliation.
The team was without Koscielny and Debuchy. We played Chambers and Bellerin. Ok, so make a note of that. We were missing two defenders. Up top, we rested WELBZ and played Giroud, Chambo and Sanchez. Midfield we went with Flamini, Cazorla and Ramsey.
Things started really positively. After 23 seconds we were a goal down. A ball whipped into the box, a slip from Bellerin, a toe poke from Peter Crouch. A goal down. What a shambles. They didn’t even have to work for it. Gibbs should be totally ashamed, firstly he bombs on to the half way line leaving space behind him, then when he makes up the ground to cover the cross, he doesn’t stick out a leg.
WHO FORGETS TO THROW A LEG OUT?
As for Chmabers missing the ball and Bellerin not putting proper boots on and Martinez dropping before the shot was struck (the wrong way). Well, it’s typical Arsene defending.
We then had a good chance to get back into the game. Bellerin put on his rocket boots, raced for a ball going out of play, slid and crossed it in at the back post, Giroud had all the space yet some how managed to put it wide. He’s looked great of late, but that was a sharp reminder why we need better at Arsenal.
The second goal we conceded was more terrible defending from Gibbs. He has Walters shielded out wide, the only thing that could happen was a cross, yet again, Gibbs didn’t even make an attempt to block it, the ball slipped into the box ready for the impressive Bojan to slip past the keeper. An absolute shit show going off in defence… and we’re only 2 players missing. TWO PLAYERS!
The final nail in the shame coffin came from a corner. The commentator stated Stoke hadn’t scored from a set piece in 24 years. Ball finds it’s way to the back post, FOUR Arsenal players challenge for the same ball, Stoke win it, Walters roofs the loose ball.
Second half Wenger made a change. He brought on WELBZ for Bellerin. Sanchez went on a mazy run and hit the post. Then the drama happened. Bojan ripped our defence a new one and smashed home. The ref gave it. Then ungave it after what felt like a minute. We went down the other end Flamini won a penalty. My stream went down. Santi Cazorla smashed home the penalty.
Then we had a glimmer of hope, Rambo watched a corner to the edge of the area and rasped it home on the volley. A peach of a goal!
I gently quipped that I’d only believe in a come back if we were playing Arsenal. Too true. The third goal didn’t come. Chambers picked up a red card though, for a second bookable. People complain that he gets booked unfairly, in every single game. He’s just not at the races at the moment. Fair play, he’s really young.
He took a red, but Charlie Adam didn’t for this choke hold. And if you haven’t seen it, it’s actually a hold with the ball in play.
I mean, last time I checked, football was a contact sport, not an intimately aggressive one. What an embarrassment that picture is. The ref really needs to have a word with himself over that. MOTD didn’t feel they should show it.
So we finished the game, beaten by Stoke again, 7 years of never learning. Typical Arsene performance, eh?
Nearly all our issues yesterday stem from having a manager who is totally blind to his squad problems. We had two defenders missing. Just two. It all went to shite. Teams should be able to rotate out two defenders and still have consistency against poor teams. Kieran Gibbs is just not cutting it. He seems to get so much leeway with Arsenal fans. He was shocking yesterday. Another thing to note, Mertesacker ain’t cutting it anymore. If he doesn’t have a Laurent next to him, he’s so, so poor. He’s 30, pace has never been his thing, so why didn’t the club make moves to succeed him this summer? We seriously went into the season with two centre backs.
Chambers is another one. He has talent, but he’s too young to be getting this much game time. It’s a joke. This summer should have seen a big, big name signing. A Hummels. A huge name that could work with our three senior players and another centre back that could be our youth on the side.
Centre midfield has also been a joke. Flamini is so, so average. He’s been average since Spurs last season. How did Wenger look at his options there and say, ‘you know what, I think we can contend the league with Arteta and Flamini pinning the midfield’… he was total garbage yesterday. Ramsey looks like he did two years ago, he’s so off the pace he doesn’t even show for the ball. Cazorla is dead on his feet because he plays all the games.
Up front, well, at least we have two pretty average strikers at the moment. So they can rotate.
I have heard that we’re going hard for a centre back and a defensive mifielder in January. Centre back, for obvious reasons and defensive midfielder because Arteta will likely not be kept on past the summer.
We don’t play with any sort of energy because the manager keeps playing the same sides. Sanchez has played, what, 6 games in the last 3 weeks? How is that practical? Wenger is sitting there very he has lots of energy despite knowing he’s in the redzone. Cazorla is nearly 30 and he’s played more games and we’re seeing that on the pitch. Per looks shot. Flamini is the same. Our approach to fitness is so embarrassingly shoddy you can actually see it as a layman!
Who is having a word here?
Wenger never learns. There’s a quote pinging around on my Twitter from Arshavin that sums up Arsene.
— Henrik Hindby (@HenrikHindby) December 6, 2014
That, is exactly what goes on at Arsenal. That’s why we never learn. That’s why you have Colbert there when we’ve recruited a Shad. That’s why you have a Rowley there when he offers nothing to the club. Arsene hears the suggestions, then ignore them. Forget that it’s from Andrey. That doesn’t matter, fact is, he tells it as it is. The facts are there though, we haven’t ever really been able to suss out Stoke. They know how to get around us regardless of personnel because the manager is so predictable. It’s just so disappointing.
He brought on WELBZ, which was nice. He did that at half time. But was that enough? Was that a statement that matched how absolutely atrocious we were? Lukas came on after 70minutes, then he brought Joel Campbell on in the 92nd minute. What is the point that late on? It’s embarrassing. He has no clue how to change a game from the bench. He should have made an impact. He should have yanked two or three players at half time and made a massive statement. Because we were so fucking terrible. Someone jokes that the players were in for a serious silent hairdryer treatment at halftime. So true.
We have a manager who doesn’t really believe in this process. It’s a shame, because really, Stoke was a perfect game to give some of the fringe players some game time. Joel Campbell could have started, we could have given Rosicky a game and Lukas could have had a role. Instead, the manager would prefer to put dead players out and see what happens. The offshoot is a bad result, unhappy players who are on the pitch and unhappy players who are frozen out off the pitch. I have no idea what he’s thinking, but what he’s doing is counter productive. We’ll have an unhappy squad that’s tired heading into the Christmas period. Really, really irritating.
Sole objective this season is making the top 4. Which we’ll do. Then Wenger will get another crack at it next year. We’re not a sporting project any more. We’re the vanity project of an old man who has no drive to do the right things. It’s Wenger against the world. It’s not about Arsenal, it’s about his ego. It’s a shame he won’t move over to let the next generation in. It’s a shame Ivan won’t step in and shake things up. It’s a shame we’re stuck in elite purgatory.
More of the same… because Wenger ain’t leaving of his own accord. Our leaders aren’t pushing him despite deserving it. Our club, remains on hold until 2017. So sit back, buckle up and try not to fall asleep along the way.