Feb 222009

Arsenal 0 Sunderland 0

1) We are on a thirteen match unbeaten run.

2) We have conceded just one goal in the last six games.

It all sounds so rosy, doesn’t it? Statistics never tell the whole story, and it is hard to think of a pair that put more of a positive spin on what it becoming an extremely bad situation.

Early in the season, we lost a few, but stayed around the top because we were winning the rest. Yes, we quickly lost as many as we had last season, but our downfall last year were the draws, which we’d seemed to have cut out. Now, both wins and losses are being converted to draws, and the net result is we’re slipping.

We may been unbeaten in thirteen, but we’ve drawn eight of those, and while our defence has only shipped one goal in six, we’ve only managed Van Persie’s last minute equaliser at Everton outside hammering a Championship side in the cup.

It isn’t good enough, and with twelve games remaining that top four position is looking less and less certain. We’re in a run of fixtures that we should be winning to put the pressure on Villa, and we need to get ahead of them soon because Liverpool, Chelsea and United are three of our last six opponents.

And yesterday, for all of Wenger’s dig at Sunderland’s tactics, they actually posed a threat and only shut up shop in the second half. By then, we should’ve been ahead, but a lack of urgency and some poor finishing led to our third consecutive goalless draw in the league, and what is most frustrating is how the players only seemed to show any drive in the final five minutes. Why not the other 85?

It all started well, Arshavin showing exactly why we’d paid so much for him – even half fit he was a hundred times more effective than Eboue, firing just wide with his right before manufacturing another chance on his left, which was parried. He then set up a chance for Bendtner with a delightful cross, and if he carries on in that vein, he’ll win us at least a couple of matches before the end of the season. Those extra points could pay for his transfer fee if they snuck us into fourth.

But that’s about the only positive paragraph I can come up with. We look toothless against well organised defences, we are playing with absolutely no pace, and if that continues, any of the games that look simple on paper could turn into as frustrating a match as yesterday’s.

All season I’ve been convinced that we’d get into the top four in the end. But after comparing Villa’s efforts against Chelsea (even though they lost) to ours, I’m not so sure. Rather than getting there by putting in a run of our own, I think we’re reliant on Villa’s fixture list catching up with them, causing them to collapse.

There arepositives – our back line are playing better than they have in ages, especially Gallas and Toure, but we lack drive, we lack speed, and we just don’t scare teams anymore.

There is still time to turn this around, but we’re running out of it.

  14 Responses to “A classic case of statistics warping the truth”

  1. I don’t agree that we don’t scare teams, I think its a major disadvantage of ours. Some players have played more games than they should have due to injuries,and they are playing together which if more players were fit we would not risk.

    Song, Eboue, Diaby, and Nasri.

    I think if all players were fit Denilson is the only starter. And maybe Nasri.

    And to make it worse the teams we play still refuse to have a go and make a draw a very likely outcome.

    With all our attacking options out its no wonder we cant break teams down when they just defend.

    Had villa had to play teams that we do, in this i mean teams that raise their game and play to cancel us out then they would not be where they are and we would not be under the pressure we are.

    I am worried that we will miss out, however, I do not for one minute except that anyone bar Man u and Chelsea are better than Arsenal. Had villa or Liverpool had the depth and scope of injuries of us they would not be doing as well. And if it were Utd or Chelsea they may cope better but they would not win anything. I’m sure of that.


  2. Arsenal has the most delusional fans in the EPL. With the low quality performance every week, they still say nice things about the team (see Brdgunner article). Because of undemanding fans like these, is the Board content to sit back and reap in the profits. No investment in players, just aim for 4th place. Well, this time they may have underdone it. Wake up fans. Arsenal FC should be more than this.

  3. That UEFA cup spot is going to be soooooo embaressing ffs!! The total lack of drive and ambition just brings tears to my eyes I’m afraid.

  4. One of the reasons why arsenal is where they are today, is due to the myopic views of most fans. They don’t put any form of pressure on the coach and the board, except in recent games which is good. To, this is a conspiracy of silence which has made wenger so delusional in his choice of players to buy. Wenger as a manager do not have the kind of burning desire and ambition that we find in men like Ferguson and mourinho. Until he change his attitude to higher aspirations , the club and the fans will continue to suffer.

  5. You need a goal. The need is desperate. Bring on Eboue! If I was a supporter of any other club I would laugh, but I am an Arsenal supporter who has been attending games for over 50 years and it ain’t funny. Song and Denilson as our central midfield? Who was playing for 0-0 us or them? If Arsene Wenger had been brought in as a new manager in 2005 he would have been sacked by now. Bertie Mee was terrible in his last five years and George Graham was awful in his closing years even though he kept winning cups with rubbish route one football. Mee had brought us great success and so did Graham which meant that all criticism was stifled by the ‘manager knows best’ crowd. The same thing is happening again. Surely people can see that the anguished figure getting the team selection wrong, the tactics wrong, the substitutions wrong and the transfer policy wrong is a long way removed from the calm winner who took over in 1996. For Arsene stubborness is now an end in itself.
    It’s just a little bit of history repeating.

  6. Bloody Rubbish.

    We’ve lost it. No drive. You don’t win games by retaining possession and out passing. You win by scoring. So simple. Of course it’s difficult to score in the last 10 min. That’s why there are 80 min prior.

    Both the ’98 Dble team and the ’02 dble team were in a rush to score, this team are still in bed looking for the snooze button.

    Not allowing the opposition to settle & being direct, was key to early goals.

    These lossers that Mr Wenger has selected have little urgency.

    Instead exhibit, pettulance, over inflated egos, lack of drive, team ethic, etc, etc.

    Arsenal fans are reluctant to show our displeasure in Arsene’s team as we have such great goodwill for each other. However, Arsene must take responsibility for the team/results. They are no longer a youth team.

    In Arsene we Trust.

    Mr Wenger do not abuse our trust.

  7. I’m a gooner from Nigeria, and because of the way arsenal used to play and score goals many took to the premiership and loved the team.Now very few gonners are left and even the few are taunted every week first by going miles to watch ur team, then watching dismal performances from ur team and then coming to be embarrassed by fans of other clubs.So I’ve decided just to watch and keep on loving arsenal and HOPE FOR THE BEST for this team.We all talk of potential but I don’t know when we are going to see it.I’m a pained man, I know I can’t understand like u guys in London,but this has to stop because I love this club but somehow its not paying back that Love

  8. Asugha, agreed, don’t like booing but i will not be spending much on kits and the like until things change.

  9. You can’t tell me that we haven’t got the quality can you??? No team on earth could cope with having Rosicky, Eduardo, Walcott AND Fabregas all out long term! That’s three quarters of the midfield and a very, very cool, composed and gifted finnisher missing. We can’t win everything all of the time and when everyone is fit Wenger has got a fantastic headache in who to pick for every kind of match. We are so very spoiled by what we have and what we’ve achieved! Just look at the record of those who’ve built a new stadium and re-builed their squad and you’ll see we are the pioneers. Ferguson only won the league cup after 3 years of no trophies WITH money recently and everyone was calling for his head and now look! Milan don’t have have champions league football to look forward to after winning the competition countless times, Barcelona we’re on the brink of relegation before Rijkaard took over and Liverpool are on the verge of going bust if they don’t find £250 million in interest payments alone within the next 3 months and on top of that we’ve just secured the abilities of Arshavin who is a player at the top his game and wanted by every top club in europe (he paid £30,000 for a jet to get to us, took a pay cut and paid a fee to Zenit just to get in our squad) because we ARE one of the biggest clubs in the world who play the best football in the world(other clubs gave up in signing him when they realised it would take about a month to sign him)! We’ve give youth/squad players more matches than we’d have otherwise given them due to injuries and that can only benefit us one way or another in the long term and we’re STILL in with a shout of champions league footy next term because we ARE the Arsenal. Victoria concordia crescit you fu*king none believing wan*ers…..

  10. So you want to tell the truth? Then admit that so long as Rosicky, Cesc, and Eduardo are not in the offense, the offense will be stale. Trust me, that traitor Flamini would not have changed that one iota. And while I can tell that your vision goes a blurry red when you see Eboue on the field, yesterday he created more in 15 minutes than Nasri did all game. Now I’m for Nasri, but can you ever show balance for Eboue?

    Its clear to me Wenger’s response to the great number of injuries has been to get more conservative on defense and offense. Of course, for the rabid fans to notice this and refrain from slagging off on African players is probably too much to ask…

  11. Blah blah blah… too many whiny wanky supposedly gooner blogs these days… fuck me, the internet has got some serious questions to answer dammit!

    Fuck off and return to your Accountacny exams you effin geek!

    That will be all, carry on…

  12. Blimey, you’re a cheery lot tonight.

    I make the point again – we still have time. Fingers crossed we’ve got enough to make that top four. Or, of course, that we win the Champions League.

    We aren’t terrible, and yes we’re missing players through injury. But so are others (look at Chelsea, who have Essien and Cole out all season).

  13. P.S Spike, you clearly don’t read this blog very much, because if you can criticise me for one thing, it is probably being TOO positive.

    Being a fan is not mutually exclusive from recognising the flaws in your team.

    Sub-standard players coming in for loads of injuries I can forgive. But no matter how talented or otherwise you are, there is no excuse for a lack of application, and that was the problem yesterday.

  14. The decline from the heady days of 2004 is most painful for all fans.From a position of strength Arsenal have declined so fast. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know who is responsible.
    Players like edu, pires,etc were not adequately replaced but with kids.
    AW has been asking for patience. He better know the fans’ patience cann ot be stretched anymore.If you can’t get the cl spot make sure you get it the following season even if it means spending billions not millions.

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