Keeping the Faith

By on February 11, 2010

Arsenal Station has been forced to take a bit of time off due to some family issues and so I apologize for not being able to comment on the United and Chelsea matches. However, I’m sure my regular readers could have guessed what I would have written. Some of the more pessimistic of my readers were surely waiting to lay into me following the two defeats and I apologize for not giving you the forum to do so.

Be assured, I was just as gutted as any Arsenal supporter, but I kept my faith in the side. Now, some of you seem to interpret my belief in the side, or at least my absence of doomsday pessimism, as being unequivocal, blind support for Arsene Wenger. This is not so.

I have never failed to criticize the Boss when I felt he made a mistake. I believe the Boss made a mistake by not having sealed the deal for Chamakh, at the very least, either over the summer and certainly over the January window with RvP’s absence. I would also have criticized our tactics in the Chelsea and United matches as being highly naive. You cannot just attack with reckless abandon ALL the time.

To be beaten on counterattacks like that is just inexcusable. And I believe that the Boss needs to find a balance wherein we can continue to play our style of football without sacrificing our defensive well-being to do it. There has to be a tactical and stylistic compromise made.

However, I absolutely do not think Wenger should go. I do think that he needs to recognize that the club absolutely needs 2 key additions at striker and keeper. But for all the talk of tactics, the difference in the Chelsea match, for me, was the difference between Cech and Almunia. Cech made two key saves that, had he not, would have earned us a draw.

But, anyway… on to Liverpool. We now stand 6 points back with 12 matches to go. That is highly doable. Chelsea have shown that their occasional appearance of indomitable strength is just that… occasional. They will drop more points and so will United whose record looks better than their side. We now have the easiest run-in of any of the three sides, having just completed the 15 days from hell. To come out of those fifteen days, essentially level with where we were when we started, is not bad at all.

Now, of course we did not play very well against Liverpool but you need to win on those kinds of days and we ground the points out. Fabregas’s handball was outside of the box so Benitez’s claim for a penalty is a bit confusing but, nevertheless, the points are ours.

In his post-match interview (watch below), when asked about the Barcelona rumours, Cesc that the club is bigger than any one player and that the club, the fans, and himself deserve to be treated with more respect.

In American football news, Fox Sports has announced that they will be broadcasting the Champions League Final on the Fox Network this year, for the first time. And, since it was seeing the Champions League Finals of the early-to-mid 90s that initially got me interested in European club football, this is a great development for football in America. The match will be available to anyone with a television since the network is channel is available even without cable.


[brightcove vid=65968292001&exp=271552671&w=470&h=350]



  1. Ted Harwood

    February 11, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Crazy news about Fox showing the Champions League final. I guess it was either that or COPS.

  2. Gary

    February 11, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Good win with the Chelsea loss and Man U tie. Enough Fab/Barca talk already. Donovan broke (not purposefully) Cashley’s ankle yesterday–trying to make sure US gets out of group in the WC

  3. Paul Bessitch

    February 11, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    The above point is well presented. So do I, I would not hasitate to blame Arsene Wenger, about our recent defeats against Manchester Utd
    and Chelsea. It will be extremely difficult for us to win the title without a natural born striker. We need the helping hand of GOD to win the title. Arsene Wenger, had a great opportunity to beef up the squad with a top striker for the remaining games of the season. He declined to do so. GOD HELP ARSENAL.

  4. yeap

    February 12, 2010 at 8:12 am

    @ Paul

    we are one of the most scoring teams in the premiership. meaning, we dont really need to score more to win games! I dont care if its vermaelen or bendter who scores if we are winning 2-0. As long as its a team effort andd we are winning. I think we have seen great football from the team this year and some players have improved rapdily from last season. Any club will suffer from having most of their strikers injured incl. van persie who must be considered a top striker.

    its clear we need a new goal keeper. And someone to replace clichy if he doesnt improve very soon. We let in something like 10 goals playing against chelsea and man u. thats 33% of all goals scored against us. in 4 games, which two were at home.

    our defense and goal keeper just cant keep the class strikers from scoring, cause they are not good enough.

    For me Almunia has to go, and we need to replace Denilson with strong physical player who can take a beating and who’s 1st assignment is to stop counterattacks such as the ones where Rooney punished us with ease.

    We should get Soerensen from Stoke, a good older national keeper in his prime, play him for 3 years, and wait for manone to mature into a class A goal keeper.

    thats my two cents.

    Go on the gunners

    • ArsenalStation

      February 12, 2010 at 3:32 pm

      Though we have struggled to score a bit in the last 14 days or so, I concur with your assessment, yeap. We are the attacking equal or better of every side in the Premier League. The main difference between us and Chelsea/United is in defense and goals conceded. I believe we need a better keeper and that we need both Clichy and Sagna to return to their 2007/08 form.

  5. Comrade23

    February 12, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    It’s quite obvious that you’re right about our needs at goalkeeper and striker, and that the manager has failed to address them, his reasons being his own, I suppose. The Sorensen rumor appears to have been fabricated by the tabloids, so AW never planned to buy a keeper, and frankly I wouldn’t mind seeing Wojciek Sczezny (I’m sure that is woefully misspelled) get a chance, based on his preseason form and his current form on loan at Barnet. I think he is the ‘keeper AW wants for the future, which would make a deal for an experienced keeper to play for us while he develops sensible.

    What more can you say about Cesc? What a captain. Flawless on and off the pitch, dedicated and respectful.

    • Comrade23

      February 12, 2010 at 12:20 pm

      Oh, and I do hope everything’s okay on the home front, pal.

      • ArsenalStation

        February 12, 2010 at 3:27 pm

        It is now. Thanks, B.

        I think you’re absolutely right that the Boss never intended on buying a keeper. But, for me, the keeper was the real difference in the Chelsea match. We had a number of chances and Cech made two quality saves that would otherwise have earned us a point. Meanwhile, Almunia tips balls into his own net and instills no confidence in his CBs. I was a big supporter of Almunia when he took over from Lehman and he proved me right. But just as the team suffered in 2008-09 so did he. I expected him to get back to his 2007-08 form this year. Back then, I thought since he was in his early 30s that he would only get better, but that just hasn’t been the case and if Fabianski isn’t ready to really push a mediocre keeper for his spot then you have to think that we need a new #1.

        When you see keepers like Friedel and, especially, Given having moved recently, you have to wonder. If we even had Friedel or Howard I believe we’d be a better team defensively.

        As for Cesc, spot on.

        • Ted Harwood

          February 12, 2010 at 6:21 pm

          In my wilder moments, I want to just stick Szczesny in there. Wenger knows best, though.

          • Comrade23

            February 15, 2010 at 12:33 am

            I’ve only heard glowing things about him from the club and those who’ve worked with him Ted, and when I have seen him (limited, I admit), he’s looked confident and capable, which is more than I can say for any of the keepers on our roster right now…

          • ArsenalStation

            February 15, 2010 at 9:41 am

            I still think that Fabianski can be our long-term keeper, but he is still at least 3-4 years away from being able to be a top 3 or 4 keeper in the PL. So, it makes sense, in the meantime, to find us a proven 32-34 year old keeper to step in immediately and then make way for Fabianski when the time is right. The kid is gonna have to play to get there anyway.

            I like Szczesny alot too, but he is even farther away from being able to be a #1 than Fabianski, though he may prove to be better in the long run. Mannone can prove to be a quality backup, in the way Almunia was for Lehmann, but I don’t see him ever being Arsenal’s #1 and I think he’ll go back to Italy in the next few years.

            I would’ve been ecstatic if we had signed Friedel instead of Villa. Almost any of the American keepers put any of ours to shame. I would even take Guzan right now over Almunia.

        • Ted Harwood

          February 15, 2010 at 11:53 am

          Yeah, Iker Casillas at 19 was probably one in a million, so that comparison doesn’t really fly re: Szczesny. I guess my feeling is basically that if none of our guys stand out really far from the others ability-wise, one might as well go with a young guy and have him build confidence. Delicate balance, to be sure, because a run of bad form could also damage his confidence a lot. This also assumes that I have any sort of clue about GK ability, which I don’t, really, not working with them everyday. If AW and David Seaman say that Almunia’s the man, I can’t really argue.

  6. CB Predator

    March 5, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    amazing content! Katharina

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