Dec 032009

Man City 3 (Tevez 50, Wright-Phillips 69, Weiss 89) Arsenal 0

(Carling Cup quarter final)

And then there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

The internet has gone stir crazy today, with calls for Wenger’s head, claims that we’ll never win another trophy with him as a manager, that last night finally put his youth project to bed.

Come again? A top six Premiership side fields a team costing approximately £200m against a set of kids and the odd out of favour reserve. And we lampoon the losing manager? If City had lost, then such a outcry would be understandable – it would have been an embarrassing defeat. But when you saw our lineup, anything other than the result we suffered last night would have been a fantastic achievement.

The same media that sing Wenger’s praises when we put six past Sheff Utd or reach the final at the expense of Spurs turn around and criticise his methods when the youngsters suffer an inevitable defeat (after knocking Liverpool out, too). The same press that laud Wilshere despite only being aware of him through this very competition.

It is ridiculous reporting. The truth of the matter is that we looked shaky at the back, but dangerous going forward, against a side assembled for the cost of a small island. In the second half, the class told in the final third, with Tevez and Wright-Phillips scoring terrific goals, capped off by a third from Weiss.

Ironically, despite the slating of the youth policy, it was the experienced players at fault for all three goals. Rosicky gave the ball away for the first, Song and Silvestre failing to stop Tevez finding space, and Silvestre again failed to challenge Wright-Phillips for the second. Song also won’t want to see how easily he was beaten for the third.

The young players actually did okay. I thought Fabianski was decisive in goal, Vela looked much improved up front, although he still goes to ground too easily for my liking. Ramsey and Wilshere had some lovely moments but were eventually overrun by City’s experienced midfield, while Traore did his best to handle Wright-Phillips without much help.

To be honest, I think the Chelsea game is having a serious knock on effect with the fans. Without it, last night would have been looked at as a bit of fun for the kids, and the defeat dismissed as unimportant. But with knives out, it seems many are using such an expected scoreline as further ammunition.

And don’t get me started on the handshake. Yes, Wenger could have taken the moral high ground, but Hughes spent the entire match abusing and aggravating him, trying to get under his skin. Even the Sky cameras picked it up.

Hughes could barely disguise giggles when having a go at Wenger after the game. But he won’t have the last laugh – I’d be amazed if he was still City manager next season.

To put things in perspective – the Carling Cup is wonderful entertainment for us, a chance to see some of the stars of the future pit their abilities against senior players. Sometimes they triumph in glorious fashion, and sometimes they are exposed. Last night they were exposed. And Wenger knows it – this is what he had to say after the game:

“I believe we came here with that team with a belief that we could win. They [City] won, they were better tonight and congratulations to them.”

Don’t expect those quotes to be found on many newspaper sites today. After all, they might make Wenger look gracious…

Until tomorrow.

  26 Responses to “Man City 3-0 Arsenal: Predictable – yes. Disaster – absolutely not”

  1. Totally agree – no disaster, no disgrace. As for Hughes, I’m almost spent on that one, having spent most of the day on Phil McNulty’s Wenger-bashing blog on

    In terms of class, The Great Rift Valley’s got nothing on the difference between AW and MH!


  2. It is a shame that Wenger is back to being the media’s number one target. It was Benitez for a while, but I guess they got bored.

    I think the Chelsea defeat has swung our entire season in some eyes, despite the fact that they’re beating everyone.

    I didn’t actually think City were that good last night, and certainly no threat to the top four.

  3. Your young players look a very decent bunch and the game, apart from the persistent fouling of Wrighty, mainly by the largely inept Silvestre and Traore, was played in a good spirit (Bedlamy apart, of course).
    Personally I don’t give a hoot whether Arsene shakes hands with our Yosser, there’s history there and they clearly dislike each other.
    Let’s look at the positives – you have something to build on for the future and we have another crack at the Creatures from the Black Lagoon.

  4. Fair assessment, bluevalentine – thanks.

    Traore struggled with SWP, I think he stuck a bit too tight to him and allowed himself to be turned. But he also had little support.

    I actually thought Bellamy was in a surprisingly good mood last night. He was laughing even at 0-0. What are you lot feeding him?

  5. I find this slightly odd. As far as i can make out the majority of football fans and pundits appreciate the Arse kids – particularly, like you say, among lesser opposition. Now, as a City fan i can understand why the competition means more to us than yourselves, but i still think Mister Wenger needs to start delivering on his mighty bold promises. That competition could have been a small step in that direction. Secondly, i think the major puzzlement for most is why he picks the bench he does. A semi final is a semi final. If you go a goal or two down then why not have a couple of players on the bench who could change a game. They could come on and you progress giving the kids a nice extra game of football.

    For me the ‘risk’ of getting key players injured is a bit of a joke. Fair enough, rest them or give others a chance, but you can get injured playing any game at any time, even in training for that matter.

    Final thing. As you are so keen to quote Sky camera’s – they clearly show Hughes in Wengers ‘space’. Mister respectful then tells MH to eff off. That comment is clear as day. MH then responds by calling his an effing wanker. Now, in my opinion it is childish on both their parts. Seems bizarre to start crying about it though doesn’t it? In all honesty, if it had been the other way around i would be a bit embarrassed. I think most Arse fans are and just roll out these paltry excuses.

    I thought we were good on the day (and despite the comments about your weakened team, we managed to dispatch your first choice earlier this season too!). However, seeing your manager (who i have massive respect for by the way – i could watch Arsenal play football all day long, although i doubt those type of comments make it any easier for supporters?) storm off in a huff like a child taking his ball home was just brilliant.

  6. Andy – I’m not saying City didn’t deserve to win. You did, and yes, you beat our first team earlier in the season too so you certainly have something about you.

    As far as delivering on promises, Wenger has always used this competition for the kids, and always will. The first time we wondered whether he’d strengthen for a special match was in the final against Chelsea. He gave the kids a chance and they very nearly triumphed.

    As an Arsenal fan, it is one of my highlights to see the youngsters pitting themselves against decent opposition – it is a great indicator of how they’ll react to the big occasion, and invaluable to their development. So I have no problem with the approach. As for the bench, we’ve had strong benches in the past, but right now we’re lightweight whoever you look at.

    As for Wenger and Hughes, there is clearly no love lost. There is history, and no, I’m not claiming it was 100% from Hughes, but when you clearly can’t stand someone, and you feel they’ve disrespected you, why would you shake their hand? If Wenger acted like a child towards an opposing manager and then didn’t get a handshake, I wouldn’t be complaining. It seems such a false gesture in these situations.

    But whatever the aggravation and team, there is no doubt you were better than us on the night, and I hope you turn United over in the semi (preferably without Adebayor getting a goal though. Toure can score the winner!).


  7. im getting a bit frustrated here. Rumours say that Walcott is out again???
    What is up with his body? And will we ever have a first 11 thats fit? It seems like arsenal need to have 22 first team players ready to be able to handle all the injuries…. Which is kinda bleh!

  8. Excellent! Finally someone who gets it. So sick of fans jumping off the boat everytime something doesn’t go the Gunners way. I thought the kids played fantastic against what was pretty much a City side at 95% — and you are absolutely correct that it was the older guys who made the costly mistakes last night!

  9. What goes around comes around.
    Time for Arsenal to falter.
    THEY gave up the League Cup in
    order to pursue Champion’s and
    Premier League? With Walcott
    & Van Pussy oops… crocked…
    let’s see how they’ll rise to
    their very own expectation.
    Being confident is no sin,
    being over-confident usually
    ends up in catastrophe.

  10. Bring Benni MacCarthy to the team, the gay got what it takes to score goals for Arsenal. Back in Ajax Amsterdam, Celta Vigo, F.C.Porto,

  11. Benni MacCarthy plz! I might appear stupid but under your guidance He can…

  12. Yes! Winger, if you dont feel like, dont…

  13. I trust in you… we are raising money by selling players

  14. We are still in the league race… lets keep our head held high

  15. 6 QUICK SHOTS\

    1.If there is a worst defender on earth, than sylvester, i’ll like to know.

    2.eboue has lost absolutely all his defensive qualities.

    3. rosicky is also losing it.

    4. Merida should start in place of arshavin against stoke

    5. Eduardo better start showing what he’s got – now we need him the most – and not when the whole, squad’s fit.

    6.As for Arsene wenger.i
    ve got just three names for hi- NALDO, NIGEL REO COKER, LUIS FABIANO.

  16. Great post m8! many bloggers failed to understand that Hughes abused Wenger by his foolish actions, AW was upset by that habit,shaking hands with him would be ‘hypocricy’

  17. WENGER was right not to shake hands… why shake hands with some1 who was provoking you just a few minutes ago?!!!

  18. Who wrote this article?. its absolutley spot on, only a true gooner like that would back his team up all the way, and thats what we need right now, not moaners. Good point about the media bashing, anyway peole should know reporters and media pundits who write articles in any newspaper is never unbiased they always have alterior agendas. Gooner for life.

  19. @BOOZY r u serious?? start merida over arshavin?! how about NO! lets face it, merida sucked balls HARD on wednesday. apart from him all the other youngsters played well.

    btw why are people worrying about arshavins form? everyone has a few bad games and its understandable that he is crushed about russia not qualifying for the WC. if we give him a few more games to get back to his best instead of benching him then we will benefit in the long run

  20. b, yes, Walcott’s injured again. Very frustrating, and I’m hoping these niggles don’t dog his career.

    Kenzo, we didn’t give up the League Cup. We just stayed true to our principles with regard to the kids. The same media that are bashing us would have revelled if we’d won.

    Habofanoe – please not McCarthy. He is a troublemaker beyond Adebayor’s standards, and not worth the trouble.

    Boozy, agree with you on Silvestre and Eduardo, the latter now needs to step up but probably needs a run of games. But Merida instead of Arshavin? I thought Merida struggled a little the other night, and might not be ready for the Prem just yet. Especially in December. And I still have faith in Rosicky.

  21. Anon, Ipyana and Dennis10, thanks for the support. The whole ‘shaking hands’ nonsense has gotten out of control. He could’ve taken the moral high ground, but he disdain for Hughes is so evident that he simply didn’t want to. No biggie.

    lee, you’re right – everyone goes through a bad patch, and Arshavin’s confidence and morale is low right now. But he is still a game changer, and there’s no point in resting him against Stoke when the first team get another rest against Olympiakos in midweek.

  22. Incidentally, thanks for all the comments on this one. It’s great for me as a writer to get feedback and thoughts from anyone who reads this stuff.

    So keep coming back, and keep commenting, whether you agree with my points or not.


  23. That’s the problem, it was a predictable result. How can one warrant putting out a team that is likely get beaten so comprehensively. Surely there is something amiss with that, especially if one is in number of 5k Arsenal fans present. Wenger has become arrogant, blinkered and disrespectful – to Arsenal fans and is on an self obsessed mission to prove all his critics wrong, namely, you can win things with kids, tiny and weak in possession. Wenger created a model with invincibles that many others have replicated since. He now feels he has be contrarian and move away form that successful model. One can see in his moods how frustrated he is that this new model is not working – loss of RVP has just compounded our problems – let’s see where he goes form here. Not down another tunnel I hope

  24. Thank you, Pete, for one of the few balanced analyses of the match I’ve seen. I really can’t think who else we could’ve played. Our two real game changing players – Cesc and Arshavin – are both out of form and in desperate need of a rest; Nasri is still coming back from a bad injury and shouldn’t be doing two games a week yet; Bill and Vermaelen have played virtually every game this season and haven’t exactly shone recently, while Eduardo has barely merited his first team place anyway. Had any of those played and picked up an injury (which seems likey considering our run at the moment) there would have been outrage. As it was Song came away with a suspension.
    On the Eduardo front, I’m really not quite sure what’s going on. He seems to have had his shooting boots on for Croatia but hasn’t looked at the races recently for us. Could he be suffering from the same World Cup elimination blues as Arshavin or does he just struggle with the formation? That instinctive nature that was evident at the beginning of the season seems to have deserted him just when we need it the most.

  25. RG, your point is answered well by KSRF:

    I see a real gleam of light in the fact that we have players being rested for two midweeks running (including the Olympiakos game next week).

    Some players are battling niggles and need the rest, some are jaded from tense World Cup qualifiers (Gallas, Sagna, Arshavin), some just need a break because their form has dipped and they need to recharge.

    It seems odd to me that some criticise Wenger for fielding a young side and then bemoan injuries. One helps the other, in two ways – the first team plays less games, and the youngsters are more ready to step in.

    As for Eduardo, he is really lacking in confidence right now, but one good game could turn that around.

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