Arsenal News Blog

fact and opinion intertwined

Sluggish Arsenal – argh frustration

Posted by James Dall on 4, February 2007

Morning, before I ramble on yesterday’s game reminds me of a point I made a couple of days back. We are starting games far too slowly. We certainly did yesterday. There was no urgency from us. As mentioned previously we need the quickness, the will to get a free kick immediately, Jens to throw it out straight away etc. If not it is all far too easy to defend against us. We had Flamini wide right, in my opinion it was a mistake. As much as I like Flamini he offers nothing in a wide position. Flamini has a solid work rate and hustles players, he is not quick, he cannot beat players and he is no creative. All qualities which are needed for the wide position. Maybe Wenger thought he would provide Hoyte with protection from Downing, Theo would have done an equally good job and given us more. We are missing Hleb, there is no doubting that. That said the rest of players never really got going. There were flashes of nice moves but with no end product.

In the second half our tempo was slightly better, Arsene had obviously said something. However then came the body blow, we had defended well the whole game, I have no recollection of Middlesbrough even having a shot but a direct ball, which was flicked on caused problems. Hoyte in my opinion should have been on his toes to track Yakubu, he burst through and Senderos came across him making a fatal error in raising an arm when the player was through. You can see the incident here. For me it was a pen, although Yakubu went down very easily, Senderos got himself into a very awkward position. If it had happened at the other end I would have appealed. Red card for Senderos then. Yakubu buried it and Gilberto moved into the centre of defence. Middlesbrough had the momentum now, Viduka tested Jens who made a terrific save and kept us in the game. We then counter attacked, a direct ball flicked on by Adebayor, controlled by Thierry who then slotted home, we were back in it. You can see Henry’s goal here. Just before th goal Aliadiere and Theo were ready to come on, that changed after we equalised. Disappointing really. Denilson then came on for Hoyte with Flamini dropping back at right back. Unsure over the need for that, why not just take Flamini off, Hoyte was doing fine. After the goal we dominated but did not get the second. Aliardiere came on for Adebayor on the 86th minute but it was asking a lot from him to make an impact.

We did not deserve to win, we did not deserve to lose. A frustrating game. Arsene reckons we would have won with 11 men –

We were one-nil down with ten men and we still managed to come back and I feel 11 against 11 would have won this game. I cannot change anything about it – it’s difficult maybe Senderos was a bit late and maybe Yakubu went down and we have to accept it. We needed all the mental resources and strength of the team to come back. They showed again with our backs to the wall we can respond and that’s very promising for the rest of the season.

He is right we did show mental strength but why should we keep having to come back from a goal down. Why did it take a sending off to spark us into life? Why are we not starting games at 100 mph like United do. Surely if we do we are more likely to take the lead and save us working hard to get an equaliser. Also if we play how we are capable of playing the first half, teams will be shattered in the second half. So annoying. Even more annoying that Liverpool drew earlier on and if we had won this game then the next game in hand we would have moved into third. A chance wasted.

The only other story is this moan from Bobby Pires. I think he needs to re read what he said. Surely he understands why he went off and not anyone else? Fool. One final note, speaking of another fool -Gordon McQueen. For those of you that watched the game on Prem Plus, or watched the game over live stream which has the Prem Plus commentators he was the Scottish guy who was supporting Alan Parry. My god what a prat he was. He had nothing positive to say about Arsenal. When it was a pen for him it was stonewall without even seeing the replay. When Jens had his foot, not the ball in his band, outside the area he was convinced it was a free kick. EVEN after seeing the replay. Moron. He really bothered me. I am interested to see if anyone as well as me picked up on his constant nonsense.

Anyway, that is it for today. Back to the assignment for me. Enjoy your day.


22 Responses to “Sluggish Arsenal – argh frustration”

  1. Bandog said

    It was Joe Jordan and I felt the same. His dislike for all things Arsenal was plain to see.

  2. Highbury Spy said

    The co-commentator on the Prem Plus coverage was Gordon McQueen not Alan McInally. He was a total prat agreed.

  3. Thanks Highbury Spy, I knew it was one or the other. Have changed my blog now. Just to confirm, Gordon Mcqueen – prat.

  4. melvyn said

    Flamini + Senderos + Mike Riley = Arsenal dont win and probably any two of that combo same result. You say you like Flamini and then list all the reasons why he cannot be part of this type of Arsenal team – a David Hillier in a GG team maybe but he has no place whatsoever in this side and just watch the other players body language to him – FAB4 in my opinion is affected by playing with him as are the team as we go from offensive to defensive and sluggish – Boro yesterday Bolton last week etc.

    I love this Arsenal team I started going in 64 and this is by miles the best Arsenal and probably the best league football I’ve ever seen but players like Flam & Phil S simply dont fit in and they affect the way we play.

    Mini rant over.

  5. DOLOMITE said

    Absolutely spot on AN, McQueen kept on banging on about Boro’s ‘dominance’ in a game where we clearly had the bulk of possession. He is more than a prat he is one of Skys worst commentators and a cnut to boot.

  6. DOLOMITE said

    I think Flamini is at best a useful squad player, however apart from Henry’s goal he contributed very little to the team as a whole – its no good scoring when he feels like and being anonymous for 80mins, he needs to add to the collective effort. Hoyte and Clichy were magnificent yesterday at least we dont need to worry about them.

  7. Annoying isn’t it DOLOMITE. Melvyn, I say I like Flamini for the raw qualities he has. I agree with you though in that if you compare him footballing wise to the other players we have he is way off but those other players do not have the qualities Flamini has. If we had a fully fit squad I think we can all be sure that Flamini would be way down the pecking order. Senderos on the other hand may not be technically a great player but he is a good defender and up until the pen he was having a decent game. Personally I would prefer to see Djourou in the next game, and then Gallas when fit.

  8. melvyn said

    Ironically – ignoring the players duplicated – the team that beat the scum on wednesday would have beaten Boro yesterday.The midfield triangle of Gilberto,Diaby & Denison were sensational .

    Anyway we’re not gonna win the premiership this year but there is no reason why we cant do a cup treble.

    Out of interest what is your best starting 11 with the squad fully fit ?

    Great site

  9. Excellent question Melvyn, maybe I will post a blog later so people can list theirs. I think mine would be –

    Henry, van Persie
    Rosicky, Fabregas, Gilberto, Hleb
    Clcihy, Gallas, Toure, Eboue

  10. lc said

    TH14 should be kept out of the team when Arsenal play away games.
    His complete disregard to the amount of balls he is losing up front was behind Middlesbrough conter-attack that led to the penalty. He always manages to score, and this hides his poor performance. You know this from the number of titles calling him hero already!
    Strange that Arsenal look very much a well compose team without TH14 than with him. I just don’t know why Arsene Wenger can’t see this.

  11. melvyn said


    Eboue – Toure – Gallas/Djourou – Clichy


    Diaby – Fabregas – Hleb/Rosicky

    Baptista – Van Persie

    Subs Denilson – Henry – Adebayor – Hleb/Rosicky – Gallas/Djourou

    I’d even consider Galls & Djourou(he really is an Arsenal player – strength pace & skill) at Centre back and Kolo instead of Gilberto !!

    Its a bold move to drop TH14 to bench and I’m weakening on this one but his contribution is less & less and our attacks are always directed towards him making us one dimensional on occasions.I’d love to see his opta stats from last year to this – Vieria’s stats dropped enormously in his last season following his on/off move to Real and because of this AW sold him is TH14 going down the same route ?

  12. lc said

    The Arsenal that never look like losing a game and dominant in every department is as follow:




    Adebayor/Baptista- RVP/Aliadiere.

    This squad will always fight for the cause of Arsenal. We will never be dominated and look a real treat up front(no ball watching or moanning at team mates).

  13. DOLOMITE said

    I thought I was the only one who thought Henry hides behind the fact he scores goals yet does nothing else team wise, I really think he is holding back the energy and drive of some of our players like Fabregas, Rosicky and Hleb.

    If he is having a bad day, why cant he be subbed like everyone else?

  14. lc said

    DOLOMITE, you are not alone.
    On this blog, it is always a problem raising this essue about Th14; as you will get people attacking you immediately.
    People don’t try to see all the picture surrounding the game. The best way to defend is to attack. So if we keep losing balls up front, as TH14 is failing to attack any airial ball in order to unsetle opposition defenders. You can see why Chelsea score always goals, as Drogba keeps unsetling opposition defenders who are forced to make mistake.
    Yesterday Boro-Arsenal game, you could see how frustrating Henry team mates can be, as he makes no effort retaining the ball. Rosicky, Fabregas and Gilberto are working so hard winning balls back; but as soon as it reaches in Henry’s path, the ball is immediately lost. As a consequence, the defence is left to commit a kind a faults that led to Senderos sending off, plus goal. A lot of Arsenal supporters don’t seem to see this. It is OK for them Henry remains invisible 87 minutes; then he becomes our hero as soon as he scores the last three minutes regardless the outcome.

  15. adam said

    in hindsight since we lost anyway, pires was right cockhead cole should have been taken off not pires, he didnt deserve to be on the pitch and would rather had lost by more goals and still had bobby playing for us. buy him back wenger

    and henry where is the player of two years ago, does bugger all then scores and thats not good enough, same against man u, its like he doesnt care anymore, he came back from injury lookin like he wanted to play then it went, lift your game henry or barca cash will look more and more attractive, van persie is looking like being the main man soon, his energy levels are where they should be while henrys is not,cant just blame him tho its all about service and support

  16. AusGunner said

    Yeah that Henry guy is pretty shite. We should sell him to Real Madrid or something. I hate that nasty habit he has of scoring for us.

  17. AusGunner said

    Oh hey, maybe with the money we get when we sell Henry to Madrid, we could use the cash to buy this Mark Viduka guy. The kid has a promising future, he’s very agile, quick and lethal by the looks of it.

  18. adam said

    yeah i must have missed the bit where i said he was shit idiot. and i am not calling for his sale, but saying the club may sell him if he doesnt lift his game and start playing like he means it after all the accomodations arsenal have made for him and the huge salary. looks like i may have been on the mark with that prediction see this link.

  19. Most of what comes from tribal football is nonsense, the fact the source is from the express only adds more fuel to the fact that henry is leaving is utter rubbish

  20. Arsenal fc said

    Henry is a great striker.There is no question of his credentials.The real problem is he is not good when it comes to assists.

    He is a great scorer,but plays a selfish game.I don’t think arsene wenger will ever dream to sell him.But if arsenal decides to sell him his price will be low.

    van Persie is the next Henry.Henry will good when arsenal has Zidane,But unfortunately we dont’ have him.We lost only good mid fielder Vieira.

  21. adam said

    bollocks he was top scorer and top assists for 2 seasons a while back when we had pires, ljungberg etc all scoring freely from midfield.

    he is just not playing like he used 2, and maybe its because of different players in team. but before 2 years ago he was like the god of football, ruling games and all defenders were scared of him. now they dont look scared like before. his flashes of brilliance used to be not just flashes. he used to be brilliant all game.

    want the old henry back but dont know if it can happen, maybe his energy levels have dropped with age, but he may be sold just like vieira was and like overmars and pires also, all still performing at high levels, look at scholes still going strong.

    selling old players and putting it all on youth is not always the best idea, was and am still very disgusted with wenger for not giving pires a 2 years contract, fuck the 30 year old rule, rules have exceptions, he still had goals in him as evidenced by his goal tally last season

    even if he doesnt be the henry of old again he’s still great

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