Arsenal: The wrong sort of fight | Familiar crunch-time choke in flow

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Since Boxing day, this is how it looks…

LWWDDL

It’s not impressive. We’ve taken a hammering from a poor Southampton, we’ve conceded a lead late at Liverpool, drawn against a Stoke we haven’t beaten away since 2010 and we’ve just dropped 3 points against a really bad Chelsea team that we haven’t beaten competitively for 46 years.

You can dig into the results and blame luck, you can take aim at our unfortunate injuries and you can scoff at the fixtures being relatively tough.

Or you can just call a spade a spade and say that we’re showing all the familiar traits of seasons past.

We’re choking. We’re not choking badly. As I said last week, it’s micro disappointments. But in the grand scheme of the league and hitting it hard in 2016, we’re blowing it, one week at a time. What’s worrying is that Spurs are still looking very good and more importantly, Manchester City have the know-how to crank into the winning gear.

It’s very tough to be too mad at the actual game yesterday. Per Mertesacker made a very poor mistake when Costa beat his slide tackle and made the most of the limited contact. Chelsea are a bit of a bogey team in that sense, Per has one yellow card in 59 games apparently, so timing is usually his thing. Not yesterday.

Wenger made quite a bold decision with his sub. He took off Giroud, opting for the pace of Theo to beat Chelsea. Clearly the age and declining speed of the Chavs defence was a key part of our preparation… however, it has to be said, the decision was quite baffling when you think about how awful Theo has been since returning from injury.

Shortly after, possibly still in shock about the early red, Monreal casually closed down Ivanovic like he was shooing away pigeons in Trafalgar square, the hideous right back whipped in a superb cross that Costa beat Koscielny to to give his team the lead.

That guy. Always. Chelsea love having a striker that torments us.

A goal down with ten men is never a good look. It does have to be said that the boys put in a valiant effort. Wenger brought on Sanchez very early on in the second half (15mins before his standard) and the team showed a lot of urgency from the off.

Trouble was that we lacked quality in the final delivery. Theo Walcott was kind of gazumped by the Chelsea defence. In games against seasoned players, he just doesn’t have the quality. His final ball was weak, I thought his runs were telegraphed and I think he failed to show up when we needed him.

Flamini and Ramsey just aren’t meant for each other. Ramsey, we know, loves to go wandering… Flamini, sadly, without merit, likes to do the same. This point driven home by the 3-4 very good positions he got himself into in the opposition box.

Who is there telling him it’s not really appropriate that he’s the furthest man forward? Well, I guess from his perspective, there was NO ONE in the box for most of the game. No outlet for anything really.

The boys hammered away. But never really anything concrete. Monreal had a decent chance but couldn’t take it on his right so he shanked it wide. Sanchez broke into the box on the same side but his final ball was pony. There was also a spilled cross from Courtois that ended in a ball mouth melee that yielded nada.

A commendable effort… but kind of another glorious failure.

Things to think about:

Subs: We’re not very good at subs, are we? Easy with hindsight to say that taking Giroud off was a bad idea, but I think the reality is foresight would tell you that Theo is not going to take a 10 man team to glory. His form has been dismal, he can’t hold a ball up and he couldn’t make up his mind where he wanted to play in that forward line. We threw on Sanchez, he was out of sorts… and then we just defaulted to Chamberlain despite him showing nothing in his last 57 games.

Ozil: Was kind of looking to him to give a bit more dominance to the game. Thought he really floated into the background, like he often does on big occasions. Really not his best performance.

Title Race: Leicester are clear in the league again. Quite incredible really. They’re title contenders without a doubt. My concern is Spurs. Their ability to keep their players fit and the quiet way they’ve gone about their business this year has been incredibly impressive and at the same time, really depressing.

I don’t think I’d come back to the UK ever if they won the league. Surely it can’t happen?

‘Meh’: I don’t really know what to make of the whole thing really. We’re still in the mix, but we’re bottling games on the regular at the moment. No one is really calling the team out because we’re still close, but as we’ve said before… this is a film I’ve seen the ending to… like, multiple times before.

The team lacked know how. They fought, but they fought without edge. Sometimes you need bar room brawlers, we don’t have that capability in our side. We’re too sweet in games like that and though the fight was admirable, it was Arsenal fight. Not title winning fight.

I think the return of Sanchez is imperative to our run in, a real animal. Keeping him fit is of huge importance. We also need Ozil to show up in every single game. I also think some of the other players in the side need to pull up their socks and start showing a but of Championship winning mettle. Theo and Chamberlain in particular.

… and Coquelin. Oh how we miss that boy in the middle of the park just doing one job, really well, with no fuss.

I wonder if when we look back on this season, whether we’ll lament a lack of talent… or an imbalance of personalities? Too many Theo’s… not enough Sanchez brawlers?

The wheel nuts on our season are starting to loosen, the pressure is starting to build… it’s up to Arsene to fire his team up, because a few more results like that, we’ll lose the needed momentum at completely the wrong time.

Burnley in the cup next up, massive rotation is in order. Gets some freshness into those legs and get some focus in those minds.

Upcoming Fixtures:

Could be a really fucking horrible few weeks.

  • Southampton (H)
  • Bournemouth (A) (Benik Afobe hattrick)
  • Leicester (H)
  • Barcelona (H)
  • United (A)
  • Swansea (H)
  • Spurs (A)

YIKES.

814 Responses to “Arsenal: The wrong sort of fight | Familiar crunch-time choke in flow”

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  1. qna

    Ryan. Spurs are NOT better than us. We will get a point when we visit you. Arsenal has a long way to go to win the league but not as far as your lot. I dont even consider you guys as a threat. Saint Totteringham’s day will come. Just a little later this season. But it will be all the sweeter this season as it might actually have slight meaning.

  2. underrated Coq

    To be fair CA, Spurs fans aren’t alone in that. Chelsea fans , well..strictly speaking online experiences it must be said, are even more obsessed and bitter about Arsenal. Which is sort of weird considering they’ve comfortably been bettering Arsenal for most of the last decade. Guess the inferiority is rooted-in pretty deep.

  3. Bob

    that could be damaging for them but Toby is the better of the 2 anyway i think, not seen much of that wimmer for them would be nice if he’s the same calibre of fazio lol!

  4. Bamford10

    Underrated

    It isn’t a sense of inferiority that infuriates other non-Spurs fans, it’s the absurdity of some Arsenal supporters. The rest of the world regard Arsenal as a bit of a joke — soft, overrated chokers, in the very least — and yet some Arsenal fans talk about Arsenal as though they’re one of the best teams in the world.

    This is, I think, what infuriates certain others. Christ, it infuriates me at times!

  5. Bob

    Any fan believes there team is one of the best in the world to them,otherwise why would they support them? I don’t really think that’s the reason why other fans hate Arsenal & there fans more, if anything teams respect Arsenal as everyone wants to beat them & ups there game, & people in footballing circles hold Arsenal in very high regard

  6. Bamford10

    Bob’s attitude is an old, irrational, outdated outlook in which Spurs are always inferior, no matter their manager, players or owner.

    One sees it here and elsewhere often.

    Complete nonsense.

    Nothing guarantees that Arsenal will always be better than Spurs, and nothing guarantees that Spurs will always be feckless. Things change.

    The Los Angeles Clippers used were a perennial joke for decades, and the LA Lakers their regal superiors; now the situation has been turned on its head. The Clippers are the class of LA, the Lakers a joke.

    Things change. If Arsenal want to stay on top, they need to make the right decisions, starting with getting rid of Arsene Wenger.

  7. qna

    Ryan: Its gotten to the point where I want Wenger to die so he leaves I hate him so much.

    Lol. I have been certain Arsenal would bot win the league this year since September 2. Not even swayed when we held our recent bi-annual Champions of January trophy. And our much celebrated best team in Europe for 2015.

    But even then our position is as good as its been for the last 12 years. Arsenal have not improved for the past 2 seasons. But all our major rivals have dropped magnificantly. That is all you are noticing with your team. Spurs and Leicester are taking advantage of the drops of United, City, Chelsea and Liverpool and the stagnation of Arsenal. Its that simple.

    The fact remains that although we are not going to win the league we are actually still in the running in a major way. And as we have seen in extremely rare occassions such as home to Bayern, we actually have it within us to get the points required to win this league. I want wenger out for my own reasons, but this is as good as it has been.

    Its a bit much to wish anyone dead. Except maybe Stan Kroenke 😉

  8. Bob

    Bamford when your at the Emirates & your section of the crowd are standing up, arms in the air & you hear the songs start AND ITS ARSENAL, ARSENAL FC ……etc etc do you rise & sing along with the same passion as the people sitting around you? All fans do for there respective clubs so why should true Arsenal fans be any different?

  9. Samesong

    The more we think Spurs will Choke the lest likely it will happen still waiting for Leicester to not finish in top 4

  10. qna

    Ryan:We are better than u despute having less money.

    Nope. Not better. Just got close. Temporarily. Cant wait for st totteringhams day.

  11. Frank Mc

    1997…22
    1998…34
    1999…31
    2000…20
    2001…21
    2002…37
    2003…28
    2004…45
    2005…31
    2006…2
    2007…8
    2009…21
    2010…5
    2011…6
    2012…1
    2013…1
    2014…10
    2015…11
    spuds points behind Arsenal#justsaying

  12. qna

    Cant wait for St Totteringhams day. And then the summer sales of Kane, Alli and Llorris. Then back in their box. Always the small things that give you the most joy.

  13. Cesc Appeal

    Underrated

    Spurs as a club have been defined by Arsenal for the last two decades, whenever you hear them talk about their league position its always ‘we’re X amount of points behind Arsenal.’

    It is pathetic in a sense, makes you feel a little sorry for them.

    We can’t really imagine what its like for them though, outclassed in every single sense for decades by your ‘rivals,’ rivals in the geographic sense only.

  14. Bamford10

    Bob

    One can love one’s club and sing its songs without adopting silly, irrational attitudes, e.g., Spurs are eternal losers, Arsenal are eternal winners, Arsenal are one of the world’s great teams, all of Arsenal’s players are class, etc.

    One should love one’s club but be rational and objective at the same time.

  15. qna

    Cesc. We define them. If we were a nobody club like Spurs nobody would give a shot about them. They are by definition “Arsenal’s north london rival”.

  16. Bamford10

    While Levy took a lot of shit here last season for his signing of a good many 10-20m players, I think this approach is proving to be intelligent. If you’re a club of more limited means, you’re probably better off investing in a greater number of younger or overlooked players, developing them individually and collectively — rather than signing expensive superstars.

    This needs to be part of what we do, IMO, as well.

  17. Cesc Appeal

    QNA

    Agreed.

    Whilst Wenger never gives us a chance, we do exist to try and win the league, Spurs annual objective is to finish above Arsenal.

    If we ever got like that, something would be seriously wrong.

  18. Bob

    The thing is bamford I am very rational if you would of read my posts in sure you would agree, don’t go jumping to conclusions and assuming I’m out of touch or old school, I’ve never once said Arsenal are eternal winners, we do need a lot of changes & we are having a indifferent season with poor results and we do require fresh management, but with rivalries & spuds in particular they will always forever be in our shadow, ask any Manc fan what they think of Liverpool, or any Celtic fan what they think of Rangers, or any Madrid fan what they think of barca you will get they same affect, I don’t appreciate you pigeon holing me, I don’t care what you think yes we need new players & manager but I will be ARSENAL UNTIL I DIE

  19. Emiratesstroller

    Ryan

    There are enough idiots posting here without your ‘pearls of wisdom’. I suggest that you return to any Spurs site that will have you.

    Let’s judge Spurs at end of season. Spurs fans have a habit of bragging prematurely how much better they are so often and yet in the lifetime of the EPL they have not managed to finish above us.

    Spurs are in reality a second tier club who have won the top division of English
    Football just twice in over 100 years. That is not exactly an impressive record.

  20. Bamford10

    By the way, by ” one of the world’s great teams, ” I meant the current 22, not the club. Of course Arsenal are one of the world’s great clubs; they are not one of the world’s great 22’s or 11’s, however.

  21. qna

    Emirares:Let’s judge Spurs at end of season. Spurs fans have a habit of bragging prematurely

    Is it something in the water in north london emirates? You sound like a more of a bottled water type, but I wonder about your neighbours 😉

  22. qna

    Ryan: I was just trolling I’m an Arsenal fan

    Dont believe you mate. That would be like a homophobe taking one up the arse for a joke.

  23. Steveyg87

    Apparently Coq and rosicky to feature against Burnley, while we all know what Coq brings to the fold, im really excited to see how rosicky comes along.. Possibly the most under rated footballer I’ve ever laid eyes on. Once he gets back to some sort of fitness, he should be in contention as a 1st teamer for the run in. Having said that, Ramsey was one of our better players against Chelsea.

  24. qna

    SteveyG. Rosicky is 35 and coming off, what 2 years?, of injury. He was never underrated. One of the greatest players to play the game in my book, but also highly rated by all. Loved the guy. But his time has past. Like bringing back Henry from NY. The thought os better than the reality.

  25. Steveyg87

    “I’m frustrated with Wenger if he would just spend 70m on Vaardy and Mahrez the league would be ours now.”

    Fucking hell, 70 quid? You play fifa don’t you?

  26. Bob

    Dybala or morata & mahrez in my opinion vardy is 29 he’d be a short term answer for now, but we really should be looking to replace giroud & possibly Walcott, it’s tough to make it as a quality consistent striker in the prem & vardys form is great as of now but will it be the same in 2 seasons when he’s 31-32?

  27. Bob

    I’d replace wenger, but it would be a very tough pill to swallow seeing mou as the Arsenal manager, he just doesn’t sit right with me, but at least we wouldn’t have the same excuses in the post match interviews!

  28. Ughelligunner

    i think spurs form is down to lesser pressure. The form leceister is showing now is preventing the spuds from getting due attention.
    They usually choke when the pressure is on and teams, journalist and managers start taking them seriously, they start the choking, A little bit like arsenal and every other smaller teams.

    As for leceister, presently they are only playing for the Premier league, they are out of all football tourney. Less pressure and rest for their players too.

  29. Cesc Appeal

    I can honestly say, I’d rather listen to someone like Willow all day long than have a Spurs blog open in my browser scanning the comments.

    The sad thing is, the 2-3 that came on here were doing just that. That, is truly pathetic.

  30. Ughelligunner

    Naija, that was what i was saying here two days ago, the love in for spuds, Liverpool and chelsea players is just too much.
    Legrove fans metal strength is really low for the support our players need to push over the line.

    Every season, you got Liverpool, totenham, stoke fans believing they would override us even at our best and you then see our own fans deriding the positive supporters as AKB.

  31. Ughelligunner

    When Liverpool where almost close to the title 2 years ago, you could feel the trophy won in the hearts of the kos fans all over the world, gunners on legrove were even urging them on, just to tell us how good Bredan Rodgers was better than wenger..

    For a team not to have won the title or Finnish in the top 4 in a decade but keep on dreaming, but the other team just lost all hope just because the summer window is poor.

    The state of mental strength in the fans is mush more than that of the players.
    Even Gambon who was quietly hoping for a faithful year in which he would haven upper hand over his northern friends was the first to have his mental strength tested.

    Bamford is the most wavy and fickle supporting football fan i have ever come across.