May 042010

Blackburn 2 (Dunn 44, Samba 68) Arsenal 1 (Van Persie 13)

If I were in Arsene Wenger’s shoes this morning, I’d have called the players in, sat them down in front of a big screen, and played them Sam Allardyce’s post-match interview. And once it was finished, I’d have played it again. And again. And again.

Looking at his smug face, gloating at the success of his predictable tactics, should drive the message home to those who failed to put in the required effort yesterday – if you play one of his sides, you have to be up for a battle. Cruise around the pitch, duck out of the physical contests, and you will be beaten. Stand up to the challenge, and your superior ability should shine through.

And for goodness sake, give your goalkeeper a little protection. If three opponents are crowding him, get in amongst them and disrupt them right back. It isn’t rocket science, people.

But apparently, to some of these players, it is. Traore, given an opportunity to prove his worth at left back, shirked every opportunity to drive forward. Vela missed a sitter early on then vanished. Diaby had another of his lazy days.

You can’t afford that against Blackburn. In fact, you can’t afford that against many teams – go away from home in the Premiership and you will face a challenge – it doesn’t matter who you’re playing, they won’t make it easy. If they work harder than we do, any technical advantage is cancelled out.

Of course there are extenuating circumstances – we lost Song, Rosicky, Clichy, Bendtner and Denilson on top of our existing absentees. But while a drop in quality is understandable, a decline in effort is baffling – the thing with injuries is it gives the squad a chance to shine. They not only failed to take it, they didn’t seem that bothered.

We have one game left this season, and third place is still not secure. A draw against Fulham is all we need, and while that might seem a foregone conclusion, so would some of the other games we’ve chucked away in recent times. We fought so hard to be in the title race this season, and the stark contrast in fortunes as soon as that drive slipped away shows just how little we can afford to let up. A small drop in work rate and the points dry up.

Fabianski has taken the flak this morning, and he was indeed at fault for the second goal – he was bustled but he and the rest of the defence need to be stronger than that. But I’m more annoyed with certain other members of the team – the Pole worked hard and made some fine saves under pressure. Some of the rest ambled around as if the game didn’t matter.

It did matter, to the fans who will be here long after they’ve departed. It will always matter against Sam Allardyce, and if they never want to see his smug face again, they’d better buck their ideas up.

  14 Responses to “Fragility of the players is plain to see”

  1. Agree mate, nice post… the only thing i could maybe add is that a few days after the wigan result fabregas was quoted as saying “some of our players seem to have forgotten what it means to wear the arsenal shirt, they seem to have given up but this is the not the arsenal way…” when it comes to a 24 year old having to come out with that kind of statement it really doesnt say much for the staff and the players at arsenal… we have maybe 3 world class players and maybe 4 or 5 with a winning mentality, the rest because of inexperience or age, havent got that do or die at all costs mentality because at arsenal we seem to sending out vibe that finishing in the champions league places is our biggest aim of the season, and if we get to a semi or two then great but if not then it doesnt matter… when you’re manager is telling fans we should be grateful for this season, then it doesnt exactly instill desire and confidence in the players… cant help but think, a new man at the helm is needed to revitalise the players, and get rid of the ones who are never going to make it and strengthen where the whole world knows we need it… anyway rant over, roll on the world cup, wanna forget this season asap

  2. Totteringham’s day in the last game? What´s that all about? At best that is…

  3. I totally agree that some of the players are looking o pass the time on the pitch. It made me so frustrating to see that in a Arsenal shirt! Worse of all, the defence just cant make it and I think only Sol Campbell and Bacary are working real hard. There is no spirit in the team and no urgency to go forward at all! We are basically too soft!

  4. Don’t be surprised Spurs finish third. then what ? They have a difficult match against MC but I believe they ar very motivated.It’s like a guy who hasn’t had sex for along time.So I think they will go all out.

  5. How do you know Arsene does not sits his players down and analyse and criticise every aspect of their game. He is the first manager to do this and will continue doing it. HE DOES NOT, LIKE OTHER ENGLISH MANAGER HANGS AND QUARTERS HIS TEAM IN PUBLIC. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT.
    All you bloggers are only assumming and hoping that he sits them out in the rain and slaughters them. ENGLISH MANAGEMENT STYLE. DEMEAN YOUR PLAYERS IN PUBLIC AND MAKE ALL THE TABLOIDS HAPPY. GREAT MORNING NEWS.

    • Charlie, if you really think he does give the team the hairdryer treatment in private do you really think the team would come out that lethargic for these games? It’s pathetic and unnacceptable, I think that’s where SAF pips Wenger, in getting his team from Rooney to reserve players to bleed out for their club shirt

    • Charlie, if AW does it (even behind closed doors) we’ll all know about it;Fabregas said the half time team talk at Liverpool was the SECOND TIME in his time at Arsenal when he saw Wenger expressed real rage at their performance and told them they aren’t worthy to put on the Arsenal shirt, the SECOND TIME in 7 years! That’s about 100 and more games lost with no comment (good or bad) from AW! That’s over 3 seasons of consistent poor performances by majority of the first team players with no rebuke from the coach! No wonder the likes of Diaby, Denilson, Bendtner, Eboue, etc, have consistently played so poorly;AW doesn’t SEE it! That’s why the supposed ‘next Zidane’ can come out and say the fans should give the team credit for their ‘achievement’!

      That’s not just poor coaching and player management, it borders on irresponsibility! There are times to call a player and tutor him personally on his performances and areas to improve due to his age and experience or lack of it, but there are times when you need to yell at the players for negligence and laziness in front of the entire team; there are times to do it behind closed doors and there are times to do it publicly, naming specific players in front of everyone else during the team talk in the dressing room…whoever cannot stand it is not only NOT A PROFESSIONAL but simply a BABY who will never make it at the TOP FLIGHT! PRESSURE, not pampering, brings out the best in you!

      And we expect to beat teams like Man Utd, Chelsea and Barcelona where the work ethic for ALL players is high and defending is an individual as well as a collective responsibility? Stop the rude joke, its no longer funny!

  6. Look back on the starting line up in the recent games, the players who did not worked hard to play are Fabianski, Silvestre, Diaby and Nasri. Simple. Fabianski, good on shot stopping but rubbish on confidence. Silvestre – No comment. Diaby has begin to his old days back. I don’t know why Nasri got the less critics by fans so far. Because of Porto goal? Apart from that, i don’t see any magical performance by him, like Fabregas produce.

  7. time, you are very right. i thought i was the only one noticing what a crap player nasri has become. the man simply lacks the ideas a midfielder has to orchestrate play; he’s also as lazy as diaby. what a waste…that i said i wouldnt put him on my list of players that should be offladed if wenger changes his mind and starts to listen, just to give him another chance. those to go are; almunia, fabianski, sylvestre, walcott, diaby, denilson, thank god asharvin says he’s living; he had become disillusioned, playing in a below-par team alongside players who havent’got a clue how soccer should be played!

    • Nasri and Diaby have to carry the rest of the team lately as no Cesc
      or Song ,Arshavin ,Rosicky ,Denilson to play with ,Walcott is useless
      and it,s been a long hard season with Nasri carrying more than his share of the attack ,sorry to spoil your nonsense?

  8. Lets stop hiding behind fences. Am one of Wengers greatest supporters but I think he has taken us as far as he has the capacity to do. He is technically one of the worlds best coaches but definitely the worst tactically.Wenger has intentionally hidden behind the excuse of young players and playing the game right that he forgets that winning is the primary essence.The truth is success,in football, is measured by trophies and not bank balances and near misses. In this respect Wenger has failed woefully in the last 5 years and if left on the seat would fail in the next five.
    Wenger needs to go upstairs otherwise serious players would come to arsenal. The Blackburn game is a symptom of a greater disease.

  9. What does Bacary Sagna actually do to merit his selection in the team as he can,t get past his opposite winger ,can,t get into the box or shoot on goal ,can,t defend ,receives the sideways pass from Gallas then passes it back to him or plays it back to Almunia who has to boot the ball away ,losing possession please someone tell me what he actually does for 90 minutes as i,m perplexed ?

  10. Frankly if i was a player under AW i’d find it hard 2be motivated too, what’s his technical input into the team? I never see us change tactics if our pass-it-into-the-net isn’t working.

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