By on November 30, 2009

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That just about sums up my Sunday. Thank God my three-year old, Lucien, all decked out in his full home kit to watch Arsenal with his dad, doesn’t yet realize that football is game in which you either win or lose, or he’d have been in tears. Sunday was beyond frustrating. I told myself to wait at least 24 hours before writing on the match, but real-life beckons and so I must do it now.

Arseblog’s assessment this morning is a bit harsh but basically spot-on. However, for personal reasons, when it comes to Arsenal, I always try to remain positive. The disallowed goal was certainly a turning point, as Wenger has said. If that goal is given, we have a completely different match in which Arsenal would have regained the momentum right after the break. The weather, the injuries, Andre Marriner… everything seemed to conspire against us. Our luck with officials’ decisions and injuries in the last couple of years makes me think that we used up all our luck during the Invincible season and the unbeaten run.

The first thirty-five minutes were as satisfying as possible without grabbing the lead. Arsenal controlled the match, continually pushed Chelsea behind the ball to defend, and reduced Chelsea to playing almost entirely on the counterattack. One moment of William Gallas flat-footedness, and Drogba efficiency, deflated the entire atmosphere. The second goal, an unfortunate own goal, just a few minutes later, had an even more devastating effect.

Yet, the side came out of the interval determined to fight back and get something from the match. As the second half began, we once again pushed Chelsea onto their back-foot, doing almost enough to get the goal. When the second goal was disallowed, the weight of the entire day fell on the entire side’s shoulders and getting the possibility of getting something from the match looked more and more remote with each passing second.

I know Arseblogger says about our injuries: “That is irrelevant. We were the ones who had to cope with some of our important players being out and we couldn’t do it.” But I would say that in the entire league, the only striker who has even been close to matching, and arguably has been more valuable than, Drogba is van Persie. Just by the very nature of football, I wonder if it is realistic to lambast a side missing such a key player, and more, losing to the strongest team in the league, possibly the world, at the moment, at full-strength.

We now find ourselves 11 points back, with a game-in-hand. Assuming we win the game-in-hand, which is Bolton at home, we are 8 points back at the beginning of December. I would have thought that it is not an insurmountable lead by any means since we have in the past come back from bigger deficits far further on in the season. However, without van Persie, with Eduardo struggling to look even a shell of his former self, and Carlos Vela needing games to even be in a position to attempt to fill van Persie’s role, it does look highly unlikely.

Had Vela gotten more games last season rather than languishing on the bench besides for some stunning Carling Cup performances and a few late-season league cameos, he would have been in a far better position at the moment. Still, he looks the better option at taking van Persie’s place than Eduardo, who is struggling to regain the form he had upon his initial return from injury 11 months ago. His confidence is obviously low and that is not good for any striker.

All in all, the van Persie injury will either see Vela and/or Eduardo step up their game in the coming months or Wenger may be forced to go back in for Chamakh in January. As for the defense, I don’t see there’s much to do there. Back in September, Arsene spoke about the fact that he was considering giving Gallas a new contract at the end of the season. But I fear it may be time to let the man walk and use the money the club didn’t spend this summer to find a proper CB partner for Vermaelen next summer. Of course, our defensive issues are not wholly down to the centerbacks, but the issue has to be addressed in some way. Arsene might also consider finding a more Song-type player to alongside the Cameroonian in the midfield rather than the likes of Denilson and Diaby to increase the club’s steel.



  1. Angry Gooner

    November 30, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Arsenal need a decent keeper!!!

  2. tom

    November 30, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    send wenger back too the J LEAGUE, he belongs there and sell the midgets pronto,its going too take 3yrs for the new manager too under the mess we are in, hopefully the nucleus of the team will be based on british and irish players

  3. craig

    November 30, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    F@ck the steel fellow arsenal mates.In between the last seasons,Chelsea have always had steel with 3 top coaches and millions in the kitty and still got nothing 2 show 4 it.Unlike Arsenal,all they do difèrent is play 5 blue gorillas behind every ball.even a dwarf like Iniesta scored against that, easily.

  4. brdgunner

    November 30, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Our Height and Strength are in the Physio Room. Arsene has got big players. Song, Diaby, Bendtner, and RVP. Could have stood up to the likes of Chelsea.

    I think we are over harsh on our team sometimes. Shelsea may well be better, so what. Is your girlfriend the best looking, you job the most prestigous, your house the nicest. No. Thats why you want Arsenal to fulfil your dreams for you.

    Its life that you cant be the best all the time. However, you can keep your dignity and class. Something as Arsenal Football Club we have done throughtout our history.

  5. Braham

    November 30, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Taking away the bad own goal (Almunia’s fault for not coming to own the ball), we were beaten by Drogba. Right now, he is the best striker in the world, and you’d have a hard time convincing me otherwise. Chelsea can afford the luxury of 5 defenders sitting in the box and forcing Arsenal to play around the edges, and then counter-attacking.

    Sometimes another team (and player) have your number. But I just hope Wenger takes this as a sign that he needs a bigger center-back for just these occasions (i.e Sahko or Subotic) and he needs a bigger striker (Chamahk, Huntelaar, Balotelli) for these times when a power striker is called for, and lastly, you need a world-class goalkeeper (Hugo Lloris). Our midfield is fine, our wings are fine, our fullbacks are fine. We are three players away from dominating and turning the tide against the other big four.

  6. danish gooner

    November 30, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    We were crap………………………period……………………again !!!!

  7. ParanoidGooner

    November 30, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Get more British and Irish players..!?!?! This isn’t the 80s anymore mate – things have moved on from then!

    I’m very much of the ‘Arsene knows’ tendency, but I’ve got an awful feeling, and it goes like this… Silent Stan snaps up the last few shares he needs in time for Christmas – and perhaps grabs Lady Nina’s 15%. He’s now in the driving seat even if the others won’t budge. He boots the Prof upstairs to Director of Football (in connivance with Dein) and gets in Guus Hiddink and gives him a budget to buy in January. Cesc and others won’t go out of loyalty to AW and Stan gets Red & White Holdings a place on the board in return for investment from the Fat U C – OK, I like to scare myself occassionally with a nightmare scenario like this, but this is not beyond the realms of possibility…

  8. Alzation

    November 30, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Rather than being outmuscled or ‘Men against Boys’ as has been overused since yesterday, I just think we were taught a lesson in how to defend.

    We have struggled to keep a clean sheet all season and we came across a side that kept us form creating many chances and were able to take a majority of the chances they created

    We aren’t that far behind them technically or physically, but I think we take more pride in the creative areas than they do and less pride in the defensive areas than they do.

    Football, as in life, is about balance and we have to get ours right if we are to progress, otherwise it’s another battle for 4th spot and semi finals at best

  9. Ted Harwood

    November 30, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Honestly, I thought we looked great until Drogba scored the first. I felt that we just needed a little bit better service for Edu and Arshavin. Then Drog scored, and, well, shit, you know? But our midfielders had been playing very well up until that point.

    I still think Vermaelen was an excellent buy, but unfortunately, he has been a bit outdone on a couple of corners vs. Wolves and Sunderland. I can’t blame him too much for the own goal yesterday; Almunia certainly didn’t help, but Thomas could’ve done much better.

    I did find it interesting that the first player over to shout encouragement in his ear after it went in was Traore.

    All in all, after the first goal, they really started to take it to us, although I think our midfield continued to outplay Fat Frank, Essien, and Mikel. It did suck to see Drogba toss our guys around (and Ivanovic, on one occasion), but that’s Chelsea, and that’s why they’re the best team in the league at the moment.

    We won at the Bridge last year; we shall see, we shall see…

  10. arsenalaction

    November 30, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    About time Wenger used some of that mega profit thats sitting in the bank

    • ArsenalStation

      November 30, 2009 at 2:25 pm

      You’re right… though I think I would rather wait until the summer when there is far more choice. If you’re going to spend the money you might as well make a buy because you want a player not because he’s the only one available in a January window. For me, I wouldn’t give Gallas a new deal. We’ve never won anything with him and probably never will. Vermaelen would be even better with an intimidating partner. I think we also need a big striker as well. I think if even just van Persie is healthy for that match we could’ve won easily. We had decent penetration and controlled the game until Gallas gets caught flat-footed while Drogba sneaks in behind him.. HOW DOES THE CB, PLAYING CHELSEA, NOT KNOW WHERE DROGBA IS!?!?!? We had a number of weak attempts at Cech that could’ve been different if van Persie had been on the end of them. His injury has really screwed us. Unless Eduardo remembers who he is or Vela gets enough minutes, we’re gonna struggle a bit.

  11. goonergerry

    November 30, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Our defence lost this game and poor final ball delivery-our crosses and corners were rubbish-prevented us from salvaging something from the game.. If we had been able to keep it to 0-0 for 80 mins we would have got a goal-you cant gift 2 goals and win against such a strong defensive formation. There are some poisitives- Traore our 3rd choice LB was nott outplayed-Denilson retained possession well-we played well through the centre for long periods, and they broke up our play by giving away free kicks. We did have enough possession and set pieces to cause damage. The team does not have enough firepower without RVP and we need a top centreback or maybe 2.

  12. TonyM

    November 30, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    1st priority – at least 1 new keeper
    almunia – harshly criticized at times in the past but this season is having an absolute shocker. his reactions are so slow. he seems finished
    fabianksi – good shot stopper but too small, has alot of developing to do before being near good enough for a top 4 team.
    Mannone – put some good performances in but cost us points at key times. not good enough

  13. anibal

    November 30, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    agree with u about vela looking like a better option than eduardo! overall agree with ur post!

  14. Microraptor

    December 2, 2009 at 9:17 am

    11 Points with a game in hand is NOT insurmountable at this stage of the season, but we need to be consistent an get back to winning games. If we won the game in hand it’s 8 points, if we kept winning and Chelsea drew just 2 games, it’s 4 points, if we were to beat Chelsea at the Bridge… one point. But we have to win games and not let our heads drop — and we have to assume Chelsea will ship points at some stage, which they likely will when Drogba goes off to the ACN next year.

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