October 26, 2011
26/10/2011 General Comments

Well, we beat Stoke on Saturday. Maybe my earlier observations about our over-reliance on RVP hold some water after all. I think this guy has been our most consisten player (when fit) for a couple of years now. It is encouraging that he has remained injury-free for quite an extended period. His goal rate is outstanding this year. Long may it continue. My other point about the defence not being as bad as many people think may also hold some water. After going 1-0 up against Stoke, the midfield seemed to take their collective foot off the gas again, and fuelled the nervousness that is so often apparent. Until RVP struck.

Another Carling Cup win last night against Bolton, but I haven't seen any of that. Hopefully ITV will show something later.

October 23, 2011
23/10/2011 General Comments

I haven't posted on here for over a month. I've been busy at work and with music etc. So, what has been happening on the pitch? We had a decent win against Bolton. We lost to Tottenham. I wasn't too concerned about that result. We outplayed Spurs and the game was stolen from us by bad officiating again. Sagna had his leg broken by a very clumsy challenge, One Spurs goal was handball and the free kicks awarded to Spurs outside our box were laughable. We had a shaky win against Olympiakos. We beat Shrewsbury in the League Cup after an early scare. We beat Swansea with a freak goal. We beat Sunderland with 2 well taken Van Persie goals and we beat Olympique Marseilles at their place after a pretty good defensive performance all round. I though Koscielny was great and Mertesacker was pretty good as well. Jenkinson showed a lot of class with a great performance getting forward and putting in some good crosses. My only complaint about that game was the Tyldesley commentary. He must really hate Arsenal. Shades of Eduardo all over again. The ball hit Jenkinson on the arm and he couldn't stop going on about it. It was pitiful. Later on in the first half a Marseilles defender punched the ball away at a a corner and it rated 1 sentence from him. And that was about a minute later. Selective blindness. 

Just lately I have been wondering whether the Arsenal defence is as bad as everyone says it is. Sure, they concede a lot of goals, but I think it is due to the amount of pressure that they are under due to the midfield is not tracking back or putting important tackles in. Song is the only midfielder who regularly does his share of the defensive work. Lately I have noticed Rosicky doing a lot more tracking back and winning tackles. Arteta is also getting stuck in. If the Man Utd defence came under the same amount of heavy pressure that out our defence regulary has to endure, I am sure they would concede a lot more goals. One worring trend that I have noticed recently is that RVP is having to shoulder a lot of the attacking burden almost single-handedly. Walcott and Arshavin have not been contributing a lot recently. Somebody ought to have a word.  

September 20, 2011
20/09/2011 Blackburn Comment

Blackburn Rovers 4 Arsenal 3

We had most of the possession and most of the attempts on goal. Still we managed to lose this match against a team that wanted to win the game more than us, although they were aided by a referee who gave Blackburn an offside goal, a ridiculous free kick for a dive by Olsen. Had an Arsenal player done the same thing Sky would have instigated an FA inquiry that would have resulted in a 15 match ban. As it was a Blackburn player, it wasn't mentioned. I think one of the Blackburn goals came from a free-kick that should never have been awarded. At least Arsenal looked like they can score goals again, although with that many chances, we should have scored at least 6 goals. Two own goals conceded makes me think that concentration is not being maintained, and I thought we backed off and did not press enough. The midfield looked rather weak in the second half. Not sure why Song was brought off. Apart from the own-goal, he looked pretty good. 

September 17, 2011
17/09/2011 Dortmund Comment

Borussia Dortmund 1 Arsenal 1

 I wasn't confident going into this match either. First half-hour was difficult with Dortmund penetrating the Arsenal defence at will with precise through-balls. With better finishing, Dortmund could have been 3 up. After that our defending improved and RVP put us ahead with a great right-foot shot after a perfect pass from Theo. That was about it from Arsenal as an attacking force for the rest of the game. I also felt that the Arsenal midfield was not really very busy apart from Song who was probably our best player in the second half. The defence was also great and there should be no blame attached to them for the Dortmund equaliser which was simply a great strike form outside the box. I think the draw was a fair result, and hopefully this signals the start of a return to form after a shaky start to the season. 

August 29, 2011
29/08/2011 Man Utd Comment

Man Utd 8 Arsenal 2

The first time we score 2 goals at Old Trafford for 20 years and Man Utd score 8.

Man Utd looked pretty good, but defensively we were a shambles. RVP was ok apart from the penalty miss, Walcott was ok, Rosicky was ok and I thought Koscielny was ok Coquelin made his Premier League debut, but with so many absentees, this was probably not the game for him to do that. Szczesny let in 8 goals but he can't be blamed for that. I didn't like the fact that Anderson was standing in an offside position at the Man U free kicks trying to block the keeper's view. If that is not a player in an "active" role I don't know what is. The FA should be looking at this. At the very least this is unsporting behaviour, but Arsenal seem to be the only club currently being punished by the FA. Other teams are able to get away with this sort of thing.

Traore was being given the run-around at left back and didn't really help the cause. Jenkinson had lots of problems on the other side, but neither player was helped by their corresponding winger (Arshavin and Walcott). Djourou was responsible for 2 of the goals, and maybe more. He failed to clear the ball for Man Utd's first goal, preferring to concentrate on Wellbeck. He gave away a stupid free-kick for another goal, and I think failed to close down on another goal. The Arsenal defenders insisted on playing a high line which, given the circumstances, was suicidal. We really need to get a defensive coach in ASAP.

Arshavin kept giving the ball away again. I have noticed a lot of that in recent games. I think Jenkinson lacks experience but he certainly puts in a shift. He was getting forward a lot and set up our second goal.

We had 8 players out injured, but I would expect better than this given that we are hoping to challenge for a Champions League place. This was not good enough. 

August 25, 2011
25/08/2011 Udinese Comment

Udinese 1 Arsenal 2

I was not confident about this fixture before kick-off. First 10 minutes, we looked very good and created chances. After that Udinese managed to get into the game and started to look dangerous. 10 minutes before half-time Di Natale showed us how good he was with a beautifully weighted header that left Szczesney stranded off his line. Earlier they had hit the woodwork a couple of times, but we had created a few chances. Frimpong looked good again, Gervinho was good in patches, and Jenkinson was getting forward. The referee had a good half, but that was soon about to change.

Second half and Arsenal just seemed to get stronger and stronger. Gervinho took on the right back on the outside and pulled back a pass straight onto RVP's left boot. 1-1. Udinese were then awarded a dodgy penaly after the ball hit Vermaelen on the arm. Di Natale hit a fairly good pen, but Szczesney got a hand to it and pushed it over the bar. Legend. Walcott was put through by Sagna and cleverly wrong footed the keeper to beat him at his near post. 1-2. By this time the referee had completely lost the plot and booked Walcott for being fouled twice. No matter. By then Udinese needed to score 3 goals and most of the fight appeared to have deserted them. Game over.

Bring on the new signings! 

August 21, 2011
21/08/2011 Livepool Comment

Arsenal 0 Liverpool 2

I was not confident about this fixture before the game started. I was justified in my pessimism.

The referee was poor. After 45 seconds Theo was through on the right, and was shoved in the back by a Liverpool defender. No foul. From this point on I watched as decision after decision went Liverpool's way. Frimpong got booked for what appeared to be a good tackle, Walcott was fouled again. Play on and then the referee gave Walcott a talking to for dissent. 11 vs. 12 yet again.

Szczesny was great, Kos had to go off with a back injury, Jenkinson was ok, and as the game went on got forward more and more. TV5 was imperious, and Miquel had a pretty decent showing. On some other forums the Arsene Out brigade are blaming him for the first goal! The first goal should never have been allowed to stand. A Liverpool player was offside, but the referee was never going to give a critical decision in our favour. By the time the goal came, we were down to 10 men (sound familiar?) when Frimpong (who put in a good shift) was sent off for a second yellow card. Liverpool's second goal was offside as well. Ramsey had a very quiet game (apart from the OG), Nasri was good in the first half but faded slightly in the second. Our front 3 werre fairly anonymous. RVP got no service, Walcott didn't really take on any defenders, and Arshavin looked up for it, but had one of those games where very little went for him.

We face Udinese on Wednesday with a squad heavily depleted through injuries. Gibbs, Traore, Kos, JD, TR7, Jack and Diaby all injured, but I hope that we will play better than in the first leg


August 16, 2011
16/08/2011 Udinese Comment

Another poor performance. Over the 90 minutes, we really created very little. Chamakh is a shadow of the player who scored all of those goals at the beginning of last season. Gervinho looked like he has the ability but is afraid to use it, until right at the death when he played a superb ball through for Theo to force a fine save from Handanovic. Theo did not have a great game but was probably our best player. His goal was extremely well taken. We haven't really seen that side of him as an Arsenal player before, so that was refreshing. Gibbs and Djourou both got injured. No surprises there. Now Squillaci will probably be on the bench for the Liverpool game. I thought Jenkinson was ok. He must have been nervous when he came on, and playing at Left Back was probably not what he expected. Frimpong did not really have long enough to show what he could do but the 8 minutes or so that he played was probably Arsenal's best spell in the second half. I felt that the Arsenal midfield let Udinese have too much of the ball. The referee was rubbish. I think 75% of the decisions went against us tonight.

 If we play like that in the second leg, we can kiss the Champions League goodbye. 

May 22, 2011
15/05/2011 Aston Villa Comment

Arsenal 1 Aston Villa 2

Another terrible defensive performance coupled with wasted chances at the other end, although, yet again, the referee decided where the points were going. He disallowed a goal that would have stood had it been any other team but Arsenal, and rejected 2 penalty appeals which again, appear to have been rejected based on the team which would have been awarded those penalties. This is forgetting the fact that Richard Dunne should have walked before half-time.

Squillachi was responsible for 1.5 of the Villa goals and Sagna did not cover himself in glory but he had just been included in the team of the year and these awards seem to invite trouble.

Surely the manager and team knew before kick-off that we had to win this game. I am sick of hearing complaints about the number of games ands then having to watch a performance like this which may condemn us to 2 more of them. Wenger needs to start prioritising. If he is serious about playing less games in a season, maybe it would be better to sign more mediocre players. Then we wouldn't have to worry about all those troublesome Champions League fixtures and could focus on the Carling Cup.

I would also like the FA to take a serious look at the standard of refereeing in the Premier League. A lot of big decisions have gone against us this season and, believe me, they don't even themselves out. The FA need to start by allowing retrospective action to be taken after matches, regardless of whether a referee is deemed to have dealt with a matter during the course of a game. I don't want the amount of red tape and bureaucracy in the game to increase, but, in regular business, the frequency of these mistakes and their effect on the running of that business would have resulted in action being taken long ago.


May 15, 2011
08/05/2011 Stoke City Comment

Stoke City 3 Arsenal 1

When only 3 players turn up for games, they can be difficult to win. If the defence hasn't turned up for the game, outscoring the opposition can be extremely difficult. How much does this team want champions league footbal next season?

May 2, 2011
01/05/2011 Man Utd Comment

Arsenal 1 Man Utd 0

We can defend leads! I was watching the game and I thought that Man Utd did not reallly look like they would score. As it turned out I was right. Squillachi came on for DJ and I was concerned. I shouldn't have worried. Man Utd posed no threat although the referee awarded far too many free-kicks for legitimate tackles. But not to us. Vidic could have been sent off twice and still Rudolph complains about decisions going against them. Arshavin must have been on some serious medication. He completed more successful tackles yesterday than during the rest of the season. I think his attitude had a positive effect on the rest of the team. Clichy still worries me. He hangs onto the ball for too long in defensive positions and often puts himself in a position where he is taking the ball towards his own goal. This sometimes has undesirable consequences. Song's performance was pivotal. He stayed back and allowed Aaron and Jack to go forward. Man Utd. were not able to live with our midfield.

We have had an attitude problem against the smaller clubs this season (and probably last season as well). It is not enough to merely turn up at matches and assume that the opposition will allow us to pass our way through their defence. We have to be prepared to make an effort to win the game, and this effort should not begin 20 minutes before the final whistle, but at the kick-off. If we had avoided the stupid defeats at the hands of the lesser teams, we would have walked away with the Premier League title this season (even after the refereeing fiasco). We have managed to beat Man City, Chelsea, Barcelona and Man Utd. This is not the performance of a team of also-rans.

Next year we need to strengthen the team in 4 key areas.

We need a goalkeeper with experience. This goalkeeper may not be able to get into the team when Fabianski is fit again, so we don't need to go spending crazy sums of money. No more than 4 million.

We need a solid central defender. TV will be fit in a couple of weeks. He is quality. DJ has been a revelation this season. He is quality. Kos has been very good in his first season. He has made mistakes, but he has also put in some great performances. He will improve. Squillachi did not look very impressive this season. He has not settled in well, although he hasn't made a mistake for 3 weeks now. We really need another defender, but again, I don't think we need to spend silly money given that we have Bartley and Miquel knocking on the door.

We need a solid DM. Song has been good (when he stays deep), but I don't think anyone else in the squad is particularly good in that position. We may have to spend some serious money to get a decent backup.

We could do with a striker who knows how to put the ball in the net. He needs to be able to get himself into scoring positions in the box. He needs to be able to get onto the end of crosses. etc.......

 I think players who fit the bill would be available for less than 25 million. Player sales should provide some of this money. Do we still have the Adebayor/Toure money in the bank?


April 28, 2011
24/04/2011 Bolton Comment

Bolton 2 Arsenal 1

We can't defend leads. Why hasn't this been addressed?

Some people claim that we should be outscoring opponents and while this should be true when we play teams of Bolton's calibre ......we spent thirty minutes camped in their half (without having too many shots), it is not the only weapon that we should have in our armoury. We let Bolton have the lead, and then managed to fight our way back to 1-1 only to throw it all away by conceding yet another goal from a set-piece. Back in the days when the club used to win trophies, we would sprint into a 3-0 half-time lead and then shut up shop. This was a combination of the Arsenal sprint-relay team and a back five who knew what they were about. It ain't rocket science. Defenders can be coached. If that doesn't succeed, then new defenders will have to be found. If that also fails, then a new coach will have to be found. It has always been this way and will continue to be so. Don't let anybody tell you otherwise. I keep hearing people using the phrase "total football" in connection with Arsenal. Without mastering the art of defence, we only have partial football.

Quod erat demonstrandum baby (apologies to Thomas Dolby)

April 22, 2011
22/04/2011 Tottenham Comment

Tottenham 3 Arsenal 3

Slightly better than the Liverpool match in many respects. Szczesny had a very good game despite conceding 3 goals. I think he will get better and better. He made some great saves, and could not really be faulted for any of the goals. There was some suspect defending, but again the result of the game was determined by some very one-sided decisions. Again, Arsenal players made challenges which resulted in bookings. When similar challenges were made by Totts, no cards were forthcoming. Van Persie scored a beautiful goal in the second half, but the referee disallowed it for offside. He was at least a yard onside when the ball was played. Playing 11 (sometimes 10) vs. 12 week-in, week-out is taking its toll on the team. Yes, we could do with replacing some dead wood, but if the refereeing had been fair this season, we would already have sewn up the Premiership with weeks to spare.

April 17, 2011
17/04/2011 Liverpool comment

Arsenal 1 Liverpool 1

Not a bad performance, but not a good one. We dominated in terms of possession and created the better chances, but were unable to put the ball in the net. Diaby had another fairly good game although it seems to me that he tires easily and his performance drops off after about 60 minutes.

I was expecting a major defensive error, but it was disappointing that I had to wait until the 101st minute for it to happen.

11:47 of extra time after 8 minutes were added! By that token the game should have lasted 130 minutes, or even longer considering the time-wasting tactics adopted by Liverpool prior to the Arseanl goal. Do the officials make up the rules as they go along? Surely not. To round off a perfect afternoon, there was Jamie Redknapp. At half-time he was claiming a Liverpool penalty after one of their players tripped over a team mate. After the game, as justification for the Liverpool penalty, we were informed by Mr Redknapp that 90 seconds should be added on when a goal is scored. If that is the case, why wasn't 90 seconds added on after Liverpool scored? Why wasn't 12 minutes of time added during the 4-4 draw with Newcastle? It is painful listening to his excuses for his ex-clubs. Do I detect an anti-Arsenal-agenda?

April 14, 2011
14/04/2011 Blackpool Comment

Blackpool 1 Arsenal 3

   After a shaky start, we took control of the game and went in at half-time with a 2-0 lead. It should have been more, but chances were wasted. Diaby got a yellow card for kicking the ball away in an act of petulance. RVP was apparently less than happy with this. Are lessons being learned at last? After the inevitable loss of a goal early in the second half and the ensuing defensive panic, nerves were calmed and we took control again in the second half before scoring a third goal. Did Squillachi have his best performance in an Arsenal shirt? The tackle he made which led to the third goal was impressive. Clichy made yet another error running towards his own goal, and Eboue gave the ball away in dangerous areas a couple of times. When is a defensive coach going to be appointed.?

   Make no mistake. If the defense switches off like this against Suarez and Carroll on Sunday we could be chasing the game.