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Arsenal
Posted by David Young on 04/04/2011

It's been a good while since an Arsenal team has been boo-ed off after a home performance. Though the chorus of dissent that greeted the final whistle of Saturday’s goalless draw against Blackburn wasn’t a unanimous outpouring of disgust, it was loud enough to let both the manager and the players know that what they had produced during the match fell well short of what is expected from a team who, up until that point, still had the title in their own hands.

Things started well enough. In the opening exchanges, the Gunners looked lively and had their visitors up against the wall. However, the longer the game went on, the slower the tempo became and the less likely any sort of break-through seemed. By the middle of the second half, the match resembled something more akin to an end-of-season stroll rather than a game which had a bearing on Arsenal chances to win the Premier League.


Arsene Wenger - In Danger of Losing the Faith of the Fans©Getty Images

The introduction of Cesc Fabregas with half and hour to go did little to jolt the team out of their malaise. They did manage to raise the pace slightly in the closing stages but it was too little too late. The simple truth was that the Gunners were playing against a team with one of the worst away records in the league and they did not create nearly enough clear-cut chances. As the match wore on, the more clueless they seemed. Worse still, too many players showed a lack of urgency and passion. Considering what was at stake, not many of them looked prepared to die for the cause.

Three draws in a row in the Premier League, including two nil-nils in the last two home encounters, have probably cost Arsenal their chance of the title. With eight games to play it is highly likely that Manchester United will drop points but, the way the Gunners are playing at the moment, the notion of them taking full advantage and winning eight straight matches is surely beyond the belief of even the most optimistic supporter.

And belief really is a big problem right now. There was a palpable feeling in the stadium on Saturday that significant numbers of the home support have lost faith in this squad of players and in Arsene Wenger himself. It is creating a very fraught atmosphere inside the ground during games. There are those who think it is the supporters’ job to get behind the team come what may and others who will start picking holes at the first mistake. What is very noticeable is the amount of slack that the majority in the middle are prepared to cut the team when things are not going right is seriously diminishing.

At half-time and after the game, you couldn’t miss the discontent on the concourses and outside the ground. Every supporter has their opinions on which players are not up to the job but, more critically, there seems be a building groundswell of opinion that it is time for a change at the top and that Arsene Wenger must go - or, at the very least, drastically change his approach.

It’s hard to imagine him being sacked - after all, second in the league is not the total disaster some would have you believe. However, the days when the manager gets a free rein from the Board and blind faith from the fans are at an end. With a price hike in tickets planned for next season at a time when money is tight for everyone (except Premier League footballers), expectation is going to need to be met and the promise of “jam tomorrow” is no longer going to be enough.

Still, there is very little point in discussing the future of the manager or any of the players until the end of the season. With eight matches to go, however forlorn Arsenal’s prospects are looking focus has to be maintained on trying to win the next game.

As average as Manchester United have been this season, they seem still seem to be able to do “just enough” – a quality that has deserted the Gunners in recent months. The current difference between the two sides is perfectly compared by United’s victory on Saturday at West Ham and Arsenal’s draw at West Brom two weeks ago. Both sides were away from home and 2-0 down with an hour gone. United blast back to win 2-4 but the Gunners can only scrape a 2-2 draw.

Wenger praised the team’s fighting spirit after the West Brom match. That praise would have been more deserved had they actually won the game and not presented their hosts with a two-goal advantage courtesy of schoolboy defending. The Gunners now have absolutely no margin for error - and even that might not be enough. However, if they had any shred of dignity and pride in their profession, they won’t give up just yet.

So, it’s all doom and gloom at the moment but everyone needs to pick themselves up before next Saturday’s trip to Blackpool. Though the title is looking beyond reach, football can be a strange game and hope shouldn’t be given up until the maths make it impossible. It really is a great shame though that “hope”, rather than expectation, is now all we have got.

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Comments

Posted by Dominic on 04/04/2011

Excellent article! I agree with you on all counts but there is one thing I believe you overlook. All things considered, it's not all doom and gloom - don't forget that Manchester still have the FA Cup and Uefa and various factors come into play - fatigue, injuries, etc. Aresenal however have a fit squad and one competition. Honestly if Arsenal don't take advantage of that then they should just sack Wenger. He's lost the plot and has embarressed the game and its fans for far too long now.

Posted by Teryima Adi on 04/04/2011

Wenger should admit he has lost the plot and buy quality players and blend with the talents of youth he has at his disposal. He used to do that and he has 3 league titles and 4 FA Cup titles to his credit. Wenger should know pride goes before destruction, and he that is down fears no fall. Come on, Wenger, bring out the cheque book and splash the cash during the summer. As of now the team is spineless and lacks leadership. Cash in on Fabregas and invest the money on a quality ceetral back and defensive midfielder in the make of Mascherano or Essien. We also need Gigi Buffoon in goal. Szczesney is one for the future. A quality striker would also not be a bad idea. Wenger should spend big but not recklessly. Enough of the nonsense because we've had it up to here. The Arsenal is not a small club.

Posted by TampaGoon on 04/04/2011

There is definitely a sense of defeat and quit on this team. It's not that they're arrogant and believe themselves superior to the bottom table teams. It's simple defeatism. I don't think this team believes they will win the Prem title even by winning all their games. I think this team feels like there is no point to trying to win the title when second place will secure Champion's league. Our psyche was crushed at Camp Nou. We haven't recovered from losing again to Barca.

Posted by slugboy on 04/04/2011

I've been boring on the subject for a couple of years. My opinions:

1) Not enough urgency. Don't know why we persist in possession football, which is not penetrating. We need penetration, people willing to take a risk, not high percentage. I'm actually getting bored watching arsenal play the ball across the back and midfield. Why are we so slow to break out on counter attacks?

2) Dead ball potency. We have improved marginally on the last few years, but still way behind other teams. Need someone who can take a freekick. Van persie has not scored from a freekick for arsenal for year (apart from a deflected effort a few weeks ago). Too many of our corners are easily defended.

3) Height. We need one or two 6ft 3" players who can head the ball. We always look vulnerable defending corners, freekicks etc.

4) Commitment. It just doesn't appear to be there from all players all the time. Some players some of the time is the most we can expect.

More to follow:

Posted by Sever on 04/04/2011

It's all so predictable is it not? We have been collapsing at this stage of the season for the last few years, and I think deep down most fans were expecting this to happen yet again.

In my opinion, where we finish at the end of the season is most important in determinig Wenger's future. Like you said, second in one of the strongest leagues in the world is hardly a failure. Arsenal haven't finished in the top 2 since 2005, correct? If they do so this season, it's at least a statistical improvement, and it may give Wenger some staying power.

If however we continue our decline and drop out of the top 2, then I really don't see much reason for Wenger staying other than by default, in case of the lack of a replacement. As for what will happen to the players in the summer, from Cesc to Denilson, I have no clue.

Posted by ArseGirl on 04/04/2011

Totally agree with slugboy. Height is an issue with this team. Any male under 5'11' is just plain wrong (on the pitch and off).


Posted by Sam on 04/04/2011

Def. a disappointing result but we cannot judge Arsene too harshly. It is easy to rubbish him as we havent won anything for a few years but we have a strong squad, are in a healthy financial position and are competitive every season. Not many teams can say that, particularly if they havent had a massive investment from a foreign owner. The new financial rules can only benifit a well run club like Arsenal too. To change managers to an irresponsible big spender would be in error.
In saying that Arsene needs to comprimise. We have clearly needed a decent keeper and at least two decent centre halves for a while now, particularly a 'defensive leader'. We also need an experienced midfielders, ala Viera, to marshal the midfield. Wenger must know this and needs to do all he can to remedy it. Buffon would be a good start, a leader at the back, experienced, and possibly free this year Arsenal would be mad not to be doing everything to convince him to move.

Posted by Luv Ars on 04/04/2011

Without Arsene Wenger, Arsenal would be playing in the Europa league every year. Consider the investments the other clubs have made. What has Arsene got at his disposal? And yet, consistently in the Champions' League; and yet, consistently fighting for the title. We have one of the best stadiums in the world - do you think Arsenal would have a stadium like The Emirates, packed every game, if it wasn't for Arsene Wenger? We should always be grateful for what he has done. Who could do a better job than him? Think about it. I know some of you think we should let the Russian in, or sell the club to some benefactor owner. This would wreak the club. Keep your faith with Arsene. Keep your faith with his boys (soon men). Victory will come.

Posted by Monty on 04/04/2011

No man is bigger than the club. As much respect as I have for Arsene Wenger, he just can't seem to figure out how to solve the problems at Arsenal. He can't solve these issues of confidence and mental weakness, and he can't put together tactics to break open opposing defenses, even against the bottom-level teams of the Premier League. Despite all this, all we hear from him and the players are the constant, blindly optimistic excuses. I'm not saying Arsenal need to buy players or sack the manager. I just think that somebody at the club, hopefully the manager, must start taking steps toward rebuilding confidence and bringing the swagger back into the players' feet through bolder tactics, accountability, and a more spirited perspective. In order to achieve this, Arsene Wenger must make some significant changes to his current style of managing. I, for one, still have not lost faith that if Wenger were to make this his goal, he still has the potential to achieve it.

Posted by Clive on 04/04/2011

Here are my two pennies - Arsenal must be one of the greatest teams in the Universe. They are put on a pedestal that I believe very few are placed. Get knocked out by Barcelona in the Champions League, get knocked out my Man Utd in the FA Cup, make the final of the League Cup and are second in the league to Man Utd (for most teams their best season ever). Yes, I am frustrated that we have not won anything in a long while but I don't hear the haters slamming Tottenham for their inadequacies, or Liverpool for their ineptitude, or Manchester City for spending money to win - yes they have more English players but are Barry, Johnson, Wright-Philips etc really that good. I watch a lot of games and barely can listen to the so-called experts slam Arsenal's 'bravery', 'mental-fortitude' etc with every breath. The only consolation I have is they must be doing this either because they were never able to play at the level Arsenal are playing at or they hold Arsenal to such lofty standards

Posted by ifeanyi udemezue on 04/04/2011

I do not believe that sacking Wenger is the solution. He has done well considering the resources at his dospisal. We cannot compete at the transfer market. Yet, the team lacks is "spine". Players with character and winning mentality including a goalkeeper, central defender, defensive midfielder and even strikers are needed. Often times, people like Diaby, Denilson, Bendtner play to enjoy themselves forgetting the expectation of fans. Wenger must address these gaps so that we do not continue to be nearly men all the time. Again, inconsistency is a major problem.

Posted by Ian on 04/04/2011

I was at this game and I didn't hear any of the lamenting by supporters that this writer mentioned. I actually think the crowd was as culpable for a lack of vocal support. There was no atmosphere at all.
Arsenal had numerous chances to score and win this game comfortably. Everyone talks about keepers and the back line by Jack missed an absolute sitter, RVP couldn't find the goal with a shot and Nasri was almost invisible. Fabregas looked disinterested as well. Despite that Bendtner and Koscielny had to headers to win it in the last 3 minutes, and didn't.
My point is that Arsenal couldn't finish, once again, but that had to do with the performance of our "stars" rather than Wenger or the defense.

Posted by Chris on 04/04/2011

1) When Fab came on we were/are a better team. Having watched nearly every game for 5 years, he is without a doubt the heart and soul of our team, and we may be able to keep him one more year if Barca cannot afford him this summer. Our counter attacks/pace of play/urgency are not as potent without him pulling the strings

2) We are god awful at defending set-pieces, do they even practice these?

3) We are very vulnerable on counters. Our RB and LBs get upfield putting a lot of pressure on our CBs. Barcelona also allows their backs to get forward but they have quality in their CBs (Pique and Puyol) to pull it off.

4) If we want to be contenders we need a great central defense (Squallachi and Kosielny are mediocre at best)

5) Sell Bendtner and Denilson immediately. Their styles do not fit Arsenal's and I have watched them struggle for far too long.

Posted by obinna paul on 04/04/2011

honestly i think wenger has lost it,for 6 years his so called squad has been maturing and are still maturing..i wonder how long it takes a player to mature(JACK WILSHERE)is playing his first season in the EPL and is such a great talent.Arsene wenger should go out there and buy good players to compliment d ones we have.Fabregas at his young age is been given so much responsibility and it is telling on him..WENGER buy quality players..enough of dis HEART ACHE..

Posted by mudus on 04/04/2011

I am shocked that these expert pundits and to some extent Wenger do not realise that Almunia is the problem. Football teams generally 'freeze' when they realize that they have a keeper who is lets in 70% when faced with one on one situations. That is what happened against Barca when the magnificient Sczeny went out injured. The team will play with the handbrake on until (1) Almunia is dropped (2) He displays improved form

Posted by Jean on 04/04/2011

ASKING ARSENAL TO WIN A TROPHY with that team is
just like asking a BULL to give you MILK

Posted by Didi on 04/04/2011

was not at the emirates, but I could completely feel the atmosphere at the emirates, wenger only has himself to blame for this, if he bought one or two more players either in the summer or in january, this whole crash in spring wont be happening, at the end of the season, he seriously needs to change his failed philosophy, what happened to the counter attacking football we played in 2004, i miss that than all this not penetrating tap tap pass football

Posted by grahammcg on 04/04/2011

Well written - as usual. However, it appears to me that tactics are the root cause. Skill levels and committment are there; what is needed (stop me if you've heard this before0 is a more astute tactician on staff. Someone with the ability to see what the opposition is doing and to adjust appropriately. We are too predictable. What is the fastest player in the league doing in his own penalty area during corners? Why are we slinging over (bad) cross after bad cross against 2 6ft.+ central defenders when our smurfs are waiting for the ball? RVP needs a larger person in the centre to help out, but on Saturday,Chamakh was brought on after it was really too late - it takes time for guys to get adjusted to the game - it dosn't usually have instant results.
We were up agianst a big desperate team who everyone knew would play physically - except perhaps our manager.

Posted by Emmanuel Chapo on 04/04/2011

The problem with Aresnal is Arsene Wenger's philosophy. Its time he accepted that his philosophy can no longer work in the current competitive game. Six years is a long time for anyone to learn whether something is working or not. He needs to strengthen the squad with mature and experienced players who have the mental resilience. If only he had strengthen the squad in the January window the story would be different now.

Posted by talib on 04/04/2011

MR WENGER SHOULD FORGET BELIEVE SINCE HIS PLAYER ARE STILL DREAM LIKE HONEYMOON . PLAY TACTICAL TO MANY PASSING BALL UNTIL FORGET TO SCORE THE GOAL AND UNTIL LAST 15 MIN THEN ONLY THE PLAYER RELISE THAT THEY NEED GOAL. THIS IS NOT GOOD TO APPLY SUCH A CONTENDER FROM 4 CUP NOW LEFT 1. THEY DID NOT HAVE THE SPIRIT OF WINNING THE CUP SO THAT A MAIN REASON I SAY FORGET BELIEVE IF YOUR PLAYER DON MOVE FORWARD TO GET GOAL NOW .... DREAM AGAIN 2011/2012

Posted by Steve on 04/04/2011

Be grateful, Gooners, for Arsene Wenger being manager of our favorite club. His wisdom and guidance will be missed LONG after he is gone. Decisions made out of haste and frustration rarely bear fruit. This club is on the verge of greatness, and with a little more experience, it will come. Nasri, Theo, Fab, JW, Rambo, Djourou, all key players under 25. Look at BarceLOANa, ManUre, Chelski, almost all of their first team players are 25 and older. AW has stacked this club with fantastic young players. As low as we Gooners feel now is nothing compared to how high we will be flying in the not too distant future.

Posted by Mwebaze denis on 04/04/2011

Surely why wait for too long. If Arsenal is a club of good reputation, the Board, Shareholders or fans of the club should force the manager to resign. If you are the manager, everything is your fault. That's the rule. We are tired of excuses. 6 years? Enough is enough. In my opinion, Wenger should go even if he wins the PL because he has nothing to show for his 15 years at the club as far as Europe is concerned.

Posted by NJ youngGun15 on 04/04/2011

A great article, but sacking Wenger? i mean who would you bring in? As all of us know Arsenal has very high standards and it would be very tough for any new manager to just come in and for him to complete everything. However, the things that he hasn't done are incredible:

1. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but from here in the States, i heard that he doesn't care too much about defensive tactics in training. What's that all about? Everyone knows that we have a defensive and GK situation, yet he does nothing. Yes both Vermaelen and Djourou are injured, but i don't remember the last time they played together. Koscielny and Squillaci just came in, but so far neither are convincing.

2. There is sometimes no leadership. Now we have leaders and i think the amount of captians that we have for their national teams shows that, but Cesc leads by example and we need someone that will lead on the pitch and in the dressing room. we should sell 2 or 3 and get Buffon 4 short term and a world-class CB

Posted by Kevan on 04/04/2011

Sure it's frustrating, but like others have said....other teams would give anything to be where Arsenal is every single year. Let me say that again....every single year. Don Revie's Leeds were often bridesmaids in the league back in the day, Runners-up to cups etc but look what happened when he left. Look at Everton today. Or Liverpool. Arsenal play great attacking football and always challenge for trophies and are 1 of 4 teams to win the Premier League in the modern era, without a sheik's or oil tycoon's billions. Seriously, who would replace Arsene Wenger if he left? Someone who would get the instant results you crave?

Posted by erico on 04/04/2011

Arsenal gotta every thing, but lack the essentials to win titles!1. the manager is becoming too rigid, it's always 4-3-3 why not try 4-4-2 and see what happens,RVP is our good striker, but why stick with him even if he's offgame 2. Do the players and the manager real want to lay hands on any title?,,,no ambition , no fighting spirit just FLAT especially towards the end of the season!! Mr. Wenger your POLICY is superb, trust in young talent. don't sell them all but buy a few spectacular experienced guyz and get the blend that we'll end this silverware drought! If mr. wenger ever reads this comment, may be he'll say " they are just fans,no experience" well but we gotta a six year pain experience because of "no silverware at the emirates except the EMIRATES CUP" what if we lose it too!!?

Posted by lockdown12 on 04/04/2011

Agree with Clive and others. It's true we need some new players on the team, but everyone needs to maintain perspective. Sacking Wenger would be very rash. His stable reign is why the club has such lofty expectations now.

Club supporters are a fickle bunch. I remember Barry Glendenning joking about how Arsenal, according to the fans, were "mired in crisis" because we were only finishing in the top four in the league every year. How do we even sleep at night??? :D

Posted by Chefti on 04/04/2011

I agree totally woith monty, no man is bigger than the club and Arsene Wenger is affored WAY too much power at Arsenal. Constant failure and embarssement which makes my stomach turn. I have actually lost faith in Wenger. Seeing him on the touchline when something goes wrong blaming the ref or everyone else except is own team is very annoying. I read that Wenger does well to get Arsenal where they are on a tight budget, but then I read Peter Hill-Wood say that there is plent of money to spend. Wenger has run out of ecxcuses, splash the cash, don't sell quality players once they hit 23 and we have invested 5 or 6 years in them.

Time for Wenger to go, I belive Frank Rikjaard would be a good fit, coached Barcelona to a Champions League title and would still promote our brand of football, only match it with trophies. We need a fresh face !

Posted by Jack on 04/04/2011

Wenger still has evry bit of faith of every real Arsenal fan. It wasn't a good result on the weekend but the team are still in second and the only team besides United who can win the league. And don't forget United still have to play Chelsea and the Arsenal boys so no need to hit panic-stations just yet - under Wenger Arsenal have gone on excellent end of season runs to see them through to the title and we can still do it again - just beleive. Maybe a more appropriate blog title could be 'Man City - Clueless' after all the money they've spent to play average football or 'Chelsea - Clueless' due to Torres' inefficiency or their woeful mid-season form. Arsenal are still a great side and still have every chance of winning the league this year.

Posted by Lo Sconosciuto on 04/04/2011

Why does a team that supposed plays "possession" like Barca seem so content to pump in the wayward crosses, especially since the only real target they regularly play (van Persie) isn't very good in the air? It seems to be more common (or maybe just more obvious) in the games where they struggle to score.

Of course, if that guy who's been out so long I've nearly forgotten his name (Verheuten? Veenschlager?) were available that would have helped in many regards.

That said, Arse Girl, go work out your daddy issues somewhere else.

Posted by setar on 04/05/2011

im a barca fan and i know we had a battle between fans and what we think of each other but thats here and there...arsenal is a my favorite epl team because of their style and by the i dont even want cesc back at barcelona thats just my opinion, but what i wanted to say with all due respect arsenal fans need to keep arsene wenger responsible for not winning anything in six years thats if the real arsenal fans want a trophy or two in next few years, my opinion is get rid of him and bring a coach that also plays attractive but also is man enough to play rough when its need it and for god sake buy players when needed stop with inexperience players in big games that suicide

Posted by blave on 04/05/2011

How anyone can have anything other than love and respect for AW and what he has done for Arsenal is beyond me.

He has built an outstanding squad that plays stylish football and consistently outperforms most of the rest of the teams in the league and done it without mortgaging the future.

If the core remains intact I see this squad not just challenging for but winning lots of trophies in the next few years.

My complaint would be had they spent where really needed (gk, center half, someone to fill in for RVP when he goes down) the trophies would already be here.

No need to break the bank. No need to take drastic measures to fix something that is not broken. Just need some additional depth/cover.

For those so willing to dismiss all AW has done I would ask what makes you so sure simply bringing in someone else is automatically going to elevate the team and not result in going the other direction?

Posted by Vernon on 04/05/2011

Its disappointment after disappointment for Arsenal Fans over the last few years. In a major establishment, the CEO would take the rap. In this instance, Wenger is the equivalent. Likewise, his coaching staff are also part of the failure. These people are paid well to manage the team and fans pay much for the games. Some accountability has to be made. We cannot continue on with such poor performances weeks after weeks. Time for the heads to roll. Football is about winning, not giving excuses after each failure.

Posted by Chris Mizen on 04/05/2011

Great article David, it resonates everywhere that it should and is deadly accurate in it's appraisal of where Arsenal are at currently. Now as mortified as I am to find myself stating this publicly but I believe Arsene should be moved 'upstairs' and a new coach introduced. There is no doubt in my mind that our playing list is fundamentally excellent and more than capable of winning trophies, what I have come to realise is that Arsene's philosophy of football is an unrealistic dream and should be reserved for 'playstations' and the like. Arsenal need a paradigm shift in it's mental approach to football, George Graham's Arsenal won ugly but win they did. Arsene's Arsenal lose beautifully and lose they do...far too frequently. I would wager my wife (sorry babe) that the likes of Mourinho with the Arsenal playing list and 50 million to spend would secure a trophy in his first year, why? Because he loves good football but loves winning even more, and that's what we deserve, better!!!

Posted by NamSing on 04/05/2011

I have been a gunner's supporter since 1989 and it really hurts me as an Asian fan to see the club failing to win any trophy since...forever.

Wenger is a fantastic manager, no doubt about it. The players are his disposal are world class, I believe, good enough to beat any team in the world.

What is really lacking is a great holding midfielder/leader in front of the back 4, like Vieira! Dont get me wrong, Cesc is a good captain, but not intimidating enough for others to be afraid of us. Teams used to be scared of Arsenal in 2004, now I see lesser teams come to the Emirates and thinking they can win it!

Posted by Leo on 04/05/2011

I do want arsenal to win something this year. But 2nd in the league is not that bad and arsenal has not really gone downhill to be honest. Its just that other teams got better. It used to be arsenal and utd then there's chelsea and city,tottenham recently. Even liverpool might have a shout at the title next season so finishing in the top 4 consistantly is ok I guess. It's not like we're looking to be relegated like liverpool at some point.

That said, even though we have nasri,ramsey and wilshere that could 'replace fab, I feel he's still our main man and we shouldn't sell him. However we do need a central defender, defensive midfielder to backup song(denilson and diaby is not good enough for me) and someone with leadership qualities when the going gets tough.Fab might be a good captain but I don't see him or anyone else rallying the troops.Think Roy keane,viera,Joey barton,Gerrad and terry.Look at chelsea with essien,drogba,cole.They're all men compared to us who looked like 'boys'

Posted by titansgunner12thman on 04/05/2011

Wenger has lost it. He refuses to shore up his defense, and will not change tactics. His players are soft, including his captain, and he is too stubborn to admit his ideal way of playing football will not work.
Yes, he may be the clubs alltime winningest manager, but you play football to win, and Wenger hasn't won in years. Couple that with the way his teams have fallen apart in the same manner the last few years, fans have a right to question him. I am questioning him, and
I am ready for a change. Wenger is going nowhere though. If he doesn't add defense and steel to this team during the summer, their will be a mu
tiny at the emirates.

Posted by Julian on 04/05/2011

I think the whole Arsenal team is losing confidence.
Just play your game, play with belief. Come on Arsenal, u owe it to all the Gunners fans.

Posted by Bergkamp Nova on 04/05/2011

Interesting reading these comments (and other forums). There is a real defeatist attitude amongst the fans. I started supporing the team in 1979. I remember the years of mid table mediocrity, when a successful season equated to a good cup run and possibly a trip to Wembley. The modern supporter has actually been spoilt by the success of the team over the last decade or so... the Wenger years, however you judge him, have been successful. He has turned this club around inside and out. Yes he may frustrate with some of his decisions in the transfer market but don't forget that his hands have been tied somewhat due to our funding commitments for our new stadium. There are 8 games left in the season, it's up to us supporters to do our bit and not let the negativity flow through to the players who are obviously low on confidence.

Posted by Tim on 04/05/2011

Nice article, with you on pretty much every issue. Also nice observation slug boy. I does seem that one of our major problems- for a while now is the ability to kill games off. I've been at the emirates several times where we've not looked bothered about how long is left of the match enough to push us forward. Mostly it's Fabregas or van persie driving us on but too often the players seem happy to just pass the ball around until a gap appears- instead of doing what barcar of doing what barca do and pass-and-'move'

Posted by Tim on 04/05/2011

I would also expand on slugboys other points about deadballs and height. I would say we need players who can 'head' the ball. When we play teams like united and Chelsea and the ball is in the air watch how the majority of our players are afraid to head it and therefore lose the ball to the opposition.
With dead balls we definitely need someone to threaten from long range., but we could also do with a few players who are willing to 'take players on' and shoot from outside the box. Sick of seeing them try and pass the ball into the goal- take some inspiration from Tiote, shoooooot!

Posted by gooners on 04/05/2011

what we need is back up for players like cesc, vermalen, van persi who is a match winnerand not second sting player who can cope up with the pace like denilson, diaby, sequllici and so on. This is a top club and club like this must have second string players who are also champions.
And wenger should be more vocal to his players and punish player who is not perfoming and not always giving them second chance like what ferguson is doing.
Why not play two strickers, to whom sanga and clichy are crossing when there is no one in the box, Ashavin, theo,nasri feb are all to short for this role, please play charmarh and persi together next time or bendner. Try something new plan B

Posted by Edwin on 04/05/2011

The problem with Arsenal is the managerial tacktics. Compare Prof.Wenger with Sir. Alex, Wenger complained of players lack of energy and sharpeness. Please give us a break sir, the all week rest and only 1 tropy chase. Man-U come 2 down to win against West-ham,both the manager and the players knew what is at stake and thus every second mattered.This is management tacktics and understanding on exactly where to make correct changes to yield results. Arsenal need to style up otherwise this is what we expect next season. The same old fashion excuses. We are tired and disappointed arsenal fans accross the globe.

Posted by Anonymous on 04/05/2011

AW is paying the price for his promises and the potential displayed by this team. He promised the title and the beginning of the season and the team showed that they can win it and we all belived that they could do. But somehow they have frozen in their track. He also placed faith on some players who have not repaid him. Cesc was brilliant last season but this season, he is too relaxed. I dont have anythin to admirer about the full backs, Clichy replaced Cole but he has not been able to emulate him. The fb crosses are not really dangerous. Defensively they are not solid. Im sure players like Shay Given, David Silva & vander Vart would have added real value to the team. You do not always have to go for bargains. He also destroyed a winning team. Man U has never been thru a rebuilding exercise since Sir Alex started winning things. Every season he brings one or 2 players to replace some old legs. If this team had some experience at GK & 1 CD and 1 midfielder, it would stand a chance

Posted by Anon on 04/05/2011

It is very interesting to read all these comments. I do note that Arsenal is not penetrating enough. The players like to pass to and fro around the penalty box, allowing the opposition to close them in. How can you break through when you have 5 or 6 players surrounding you? If you watch Man United, the players are decisive; they always broke away as fast as they could and they always tried to shoot even from a distance. I tend to agree that Arsenal players are too "soft", trying to play beautiful football but always fall short of scoring. You simply cannot play like Barca or even Brazil when you do not have very skilful strikers. Arsenal is simply playing football sideways. And Arsenal's defence is really awful. I think, barring any miracle, all Arsenal fans will have to wait for another season.

Posted by Vikesh on 04/05/2011

Imagine if Wenger listened to RVP & bought Rafa vd Vaart for 8million Pounds, what a season we would have had.....

Posted by Gunnwiththewind on 04/05/2011

If Mr. Wenger is unwilling to splash big cash on top stars then he has to raid the relegated clubs (Wigan, wolves, west ham, Birmingham, Aston villa or Blackpool). Spend big on a top goalkeeper like Buffon or grab a bargain in rob green. Then shore up your defence with Scott Dann, Roger Johnson, James Collins, or Richard dune, and get some more creativity in midfield; ashley young, Scott Parker, n'zogbia or matt Jarvis. Infact whilst he's at it why not get rid of bendtner, denilson, rosicky and almunia. They are just plain useless.

Posted by JoeUSA on 04/05/2011

I agree with your assessment. The crowd inside the Emirates seemed nervous, and that seems to have been the case over the past few years. When the team have been frustrated, the fans have not roared them to victory, but rather slipped into an anxious silence. However, I have never believed that a team of professional athletes should be affected by what happens outside the lines.

I also think the fans who want Arsene out are being rash. He may need to change his approach, but I don't think anyone else would have done a better job. In the Premier League era very few teams have contended for or won the title, so it is absurd to feel entitle to take the trophy over teams in which individual players cost more than the entire Gunners line-up. But, of course, I am extremely frustrated to see such a complacent display destroy a season's worth of work and hope.

Posted by Larry on 04/05/2011

Agree with the comments...with United (and Chelsea & Liverpool) below par this year it was our chance to seize 1st place. You can bet the other three will all be improved next season. Will Arsenal? But one small question...has anyone asked why, on corners to their keepers left we have RVP taking them with Nasri close by for a short corner? Our two top scorers and they're miles away from the goal. And in 6 yard we don't usually have anyone taller than Ronnie Corbett.

Posted by Francis on 04/05/2011

Urgency, urgency, urgency. We seem to be playing without any urgency at all. There was no creativity either. The players are not running their hearts out to chase loose balls. Personally, I think Arshavin should be dropped. His body language is pathetic and when he is playing, we are as good as 10 vs 11 until he decided to come up with a moment of brilliance. For the amount of money we paid for him, I would expect him to be a lot more consistent. No wonder the Russians are slamming him.

Posted by Keith on 04/06/2011

Last season when we ended up empty handed again, Wenger said that he knew what needed to be strengthened and the team needed to buy!! OMG, who has he bought? IMHO, if you pay peanuts, you get peanuts! Who are Koscielny and Squillaci?? We are not going to conduct any experiment again this season but to fight for trophies, so please give us a break!! When the January transfer window opened, he said that he looked around and could not find anyone better than his current crop of defenders.. Were we kidding ourselves?? He should have taken the worst case scenario that Vermaleen won't be available for the rest of the season then.

What kind of faith have these ppl repaid him? A silly mistake by Koscielny cost the Carling Cup and an own goal by Squillaci made us lose 2 points in the league, just to name a few. And I have not even mentioned about the GK we have. Wenger needs to be ruthless and get rid of players who can't make it here! Almunia, Denilson, Squillaci, Diaby..the list goes on..

Posted by Maran on 04/06/2011

David, excellent title and picture. Wenger cutting a forlorn figure in the midst of the match encapsulates the sorry state that he and the team is in. "Clueless". I do not think it is unreasonable to ask for Wenger's head; for this is not the first season of frustration; for losing it when we were come so close every season; for Arsene in neglecting the obvious needs of the team; And for simply for being clueless. No one can dispute Arsene's achievements. But we cannot be living in history. I do not compare Arsenal to average teams, and want to feel contented year after year. I want to compare to ourselves to Man U and want us to be like them, keep winning. Life has become stale at Arsenal. You can see it in the faces of the players and the manager. We need change. Whether the manager changes or his mindset and philosophy changes doesn't matter. We need to get out of this hole quickly.

Posted by D Chow on 04/06/2011

The title of this article is "Clueless". However, managers and players of lesser teams do have a clue how to tackle Arsenal be the match played home or away. I am therefore not sure whether Arsenal can stay second in the league by the end of this season.
There is a chinese saying that 'put it to death in order to bring on new life'. I would rather prefer Arsenal to continue disappoint their supporters and drop out of the Big Three this season. Only this would put pressure to club management for a drastic change in their procurement policy and tactics.

Posted by Skr on 04/07/2011

This article summarises the emotions of all Arsenal Fans. Even though during the days of George Graham when Arsernal's play was boring, we as the fans had trophies to look at. Now even though we are the most creative team in BPL, we lack the killer instinct. And with a hopeless back line which is always a suspect, I don't think Arsenal can finish the league as Champions. Maybe it's time to sack Wenger.

Posted by bhss89 on 04/07/2011

"Losing the faith of the fans" says it best. I am beginning to feel like a Cubs baseball fan here in the USA. Always "this close" to the sweet taste of success, but yet so far away . . .
GK problem must be fixed before the team can go forward and improve.

Posted by Shaibu on 07/03/2011

I an not happy on how season always end for Arsenal my blame is Wenger for all because he refuse to buy mature player that can help the team at the last stage of the competition pls help me tell to sell Fabgregas, Squalachi,Ashavin,Diaby,and replace them with Cahill,Chris Samba,Ricardo Alverez,Govinho.

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About
David Young Sam Limbert: My retirement as a football player came at the age of 14 due to being rubbish, it's fair to say I was more Kaba Diawara than Thierry Henry, so I turned my focus to writing about the game. I'm a lifelong Arsenal fan and have been lucky enough to watch the team across England and Europe. My favourite Gunner of all time is Dennis Bergkamp, and the 2004 Invincibles is the greatest side I've ever seen in English football. I try to be positive about the Arsenal as it's the hope that keeps us going! Follow me on twitter @SamsMatchReport.

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