0-0 again: So is this really the crisis at Arsenal?

By David Swaden

https://i0.wp.com/l1.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/be7XJuA7ESoAfwGw3WgJ3g--/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00NzM7cT04NTt3PTYzMA--/http://media.zenfs.com/en_ZA/News/Footbal365.co.za/Olivier-Giroud-Stoke-City-Arsenal-Premier-Lea_2817789.jpg?resize=299%2C232Well I don’t know about you but I was pretty impressed with what I saw from Arsenal on Sunday. Yes, the lack of an end product, as we all know, is a big issue. With our opposition’s focus in both games so far being to snuff out our goal threat, it needed something or someone (Dutch?) pretty special to break them down.

Fact is we just don’t have the understanding or experience up front yet to deliver that X-Factor. I could go on, but the point is pretty self-evident, and the only solution seems to be patience as our new-look forward line builds its understanding. Even a new face would need time to settle.

As their shirt provider’s motto goes, Liverpool will come, not to play, but to win next week and so a clean sheet may be far more difficult to come by. They left last year’s Champions truly rattled so let’s hope our gelling process is proceeding in earnest. But really I wanted to focus on the other self-evident point from yesterday. Arsenal were simply terrific defensively.

The back line rarely looked troubled, even with a third choice goalkeeper behind them. In the past, the slightest unfamiliarity or alteration like this would have been enough to send our fragile four into a state of chaos, not so this time. A word in particular for the performance of the much maligned Carl Jenkinson

Indeed, it was difficult to find a player in the Arsenal side who did not seem up for a physical battle. The moment when Lukas Podolski literally bulldozed through the Stoke ranks will linger long in the memory. That seemed to really stump Stoke and, for once, it was the opposition who lacked an effective Plan B. If we can use this performance as a benchmark going forward, future trips to the Britannia shouldn’t be anything like as ominous as before.

Not that their fans will make it any more welcoming. The ferocity with which Stoke supporters appear to hate all things Arsenal and Wenger is really quite something. I understand that our styles differ, but did that necessitate the endless tirade of abuse for crimes so heinous as Cazorla’s possession of class a feet, something that Stoke could only respond to with persistent fouling? Or maybe it was the unforgivable sin of having one’s leg snapped in two on the hallowed turf, as Aaron Ramsey is rightly booed for?

Perhaps, when your traditional arch rivals are Port Vale, it gets a little lonely up in Staffordshire. Bless ‘em. On, then, to an early look at the week ahead, before the merry-go-round picks up in earnest. A defensive midfielder is a priority, as well as a defender of some ilk. But I’m in the camp that believes that the most gaping hole remains up top.

That is not, I should add, because I am disheartened by Giroud or Podolski, far from it. Nor is it that the new striker could be an instant solution, it’s never that simple. It’s more that Chamakh, Bendtner and Park simply won’t do. None of the “three stooges” have been in either squad so far and all seem destined for an imminent exit. That leaves us with one potential top-4 standard striker and a support striker. To quote Roy Walker, “it’s good but it’s not the one”.

My ideal next few days would be to sign a defensive midfielder who was also capable of defensive position, and use the rest of our considerable arsenal (small a) to purchase another front man. Will it be that easy? Is it ever?

Watch this space.

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16 thoughts on “0-0 again: So is this really the crisis at Arsenal?

  1. No, this is not our end, but as far as winning the league is concerned i’d say not this season. The best we can hope for is a cup win, I prefer the f.a cup. You don’t just buy a few players and except them to intergrate well enough to win the league that same season. We’ll have to wait.

    Against sunderland the draw now will come to bite us in the arse coz I don’t think liverpool will be a push over like many think. A draw is perhaps on the cards or even no point at all. After that a win against soton, then shiteh the chavs i’m optimistic though.

    1. Would also really like jenkinson to be tested some more, the past two games have all been a walk in the park for him. I think litterpool will be a real test to finally see his abilities as a defender. I want someone to make me forget sagna for a while but for now i’m not so sure I can.

  2. Nice point about Stoke’s lack of a Plan B. the media strangely quiet about that. With bigger pitches teams like Stoke will be far less able to make their tactics work as the gap between midfield and attack grows.
    Good. The sooner manage like Pulis are shown up for the Luddites they are and sent to a football Reeducation Camp the better.

  3. I can’t stand that twatty pulis and that rugby club! I liked the way we played we just lacked that cutting edge up front. Thing is three of our four attackers were all new and have hardly played with each other, time is needed and other players used to the way we play need to step up I.e Walcott and gerv, but I’m sure the goals will come. It’s only my opinion but how about Dempsey for a backup striker to giroud and poldi? Premier league experience and better option than chamakh and park? Cabaye would be good buy but doubt that will happen, things will be interesting up until Friday and I’m lookin forward to it. One major positive from these games is our defensive discipline, last year we would have crumbled under the aerial bombardment, bould is doing a good job hopefully we can find that right balance to defend well and score goals. COYG

  4. Great post and this is exactly what I have been saying I like the way you mention Podolski and his direct running I can’t remember an Arsenal striker running at defenders like that since the days of Henry and I defo feel Daiby needs a huge shout out I know his passing wasn’t brilliant but when you consider he has hardly played any games for two seasons and has suffered injury after injury he done a great job take the game to Stoke and defended very very well reminded me a bit of a certain Vieira I know I am getting ahead of myself right now but with a few more games he will defo be a great great player you can just see he has bags of potential.

    Looking ahead to the Liverpool game our defence will be put under a totally different test to what Stoke and Sunderland have done but I think we will be ok as long as we keep our shape and focus but going forward the guys up front will have a lot more space and time unlike they have had against Stoke and Sunderland and the fact we haven’t scored will help us because the opposition won’t be as worried facing them thinking that they will be lacking confindence etc but I no we will defo open the goal scoring account at Anfield and I am going all out for a 2-0 win.

    We defo need a holding midfielder and a forward my 1st choice would be Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey but if we don’t get Dembele I will be happy with Cabaye but when you think that the squad we had out yesterday was strong and we still have wilshire rosiky kos frimpong sagna ato come back from injury and if you add to that Wenger is saying he will sign more players before Friday then you can add 2 maybe 3 more qaulity players to that list and we defo have a squad that can push for the title lets not listen to the crap the so called experts are telling us UP THE GUNNERS

  5. So just the same old optimistic guff that we get every season these days ?
    A brace of 0-0 draws one at home against Sunderland and away to Stoke against two sides playing for a point that both got. And you say that these were good results?
    Next up we have a tricky trip to Anfield to play up for it Liverpool on Sunday – the scousers will not be playing for a draw and Rodgers knows Wenger’s game plan – then again so does everyone else. It’s going to be a long old season with no inform RVP to score 30 goals and produce 14 assists this time around.

  6. Ok heres my take on it
    You cannot expect Podolski or Santi the two best players on the pitch to score when they are of the pitch at 70 minutes Wenger substituted our 2 best players can someone tell me why please? You cant Wenger makes constant mistakes he does not adjust during the game i think he has it in his mind that at 70 mins im going to change this player and no matter what is going on in the game
    Either he doesent see it or he goes ahead and makes bad substitutions anyway.
    It was clear to me that the changes needed Were oxlade chamberlin for gervinho who was pretty inefective on sunday and Walcott or ramsey for Diaby who was tiring as the Sunderland game in the second half.
    Ok also how many corners did we take?and let me ask you this what are stoke good
    at? Set pieces perhaps …… So why did we constantly try and bang the ball into the 6 yard box and get a head on it.
    Maybe we should have mixed it up and took a short corner once in a while drawing 2 players out of the penalty area then crossed it sorry but i think Wenger is responsible for this type of repeated failure he is a great manager but make bad decisions during game time he is to caught up in the game to see what changes tacticly need to be made.
    Perhaps we need someone actually watching the game and telling Wenger what is going on on the pitch from up in the stand Then Wenger could at least use or not use that knowledge to make correct game time decisions or at least getting them right 80 percent of the time which would be refreshing to me. But whatever you do you do not take of youre 2 best players on the field when you are drawing 0 0 and needing a goal with 20 mins to go.
    Ps im not a Wenger hater but think he still has a long way to go to learn half of what ferguson knows about subs and game tactics and changing them during the game.
    Untill then i will be surprised if Wenger doesent cost us 15 points each and every year an example how long did he stick with Almunia in goal rest my case. I am not asking for him to be sacked just accounted for so he can improve his game time managment which to me is terrible and needs to change for this team to be succesfull.
    Please excuse spelling and grammer from i phone.

  7. No crisis. This season also we got some profit from transfer market.
    Buy=10+13+16 = 39. Sell = 24+15+4 = 43.

  8. Rockett you don’t knw what your talking about mate wenger may have taken them off because they may have picked up a knock or two Podolski got hacked down a few times and so did cazorla changes can’t always be tactical sometimes they have to be inforced is it worth keeping a player on for one game that your not even losing just in the hope that they will do something that changes the balance of the game in your favour when they are carrying a knock and lose them for the next 10 games i think that one is a bit clear cut and seeing how a lot of teams hack or players down it may just be that a lot of the games made a inforced and not tactical because wenger doesn’t have the luxary to make tactical changes but I do agree that there are times when I am yelling at the tele saying bring so and so on for so and so but we don’t knw all the ins and outs of it they may be a reason why that hasn’t happened and its not always as simple as we all seem to think it is and there are many times when Wenger has changed a game for the good by bringing a player on 1 occasion Henry FA cup against Leeds another Arshavin for Song yes thats an attacker for a holding Midfielder against Barca on the grestest at the emirates when we won 2-1 and tell me who scored our winning goal that night i rest my case and these are occasions off the top of my head im sure there are many more and just as equal there are probably just as many when he got it wrong but to say fergie is this great tactian is utter rubbish just like at the weekend all of fergies changes made a huge difference in their game Wenger comes in for unfair critisim all the time and its time we all start to get behind him and the team we are too busy believing the crap we read in the papers from the so called experts that really carry an expertise of talking shite so lets get behind the team and the manager

    1. First I am 100 percent behind the Arsenal have been always will be no matter who is playing or managing us.
      I dont read the tabloids but call it how i see it people are free to make there judgment call on this you can agree or disagree with me about Wengers game time managment but the facts still remains it is not his strong point there was a period of about 2 years straight when Wenger made his substitutions at 70 mins exactly not before or after no matter the game the one time he deviated from that i couldnt believe it.
      If as you summize maybee Podolski and carzola picked up knocks it is strange to me they both occured at the 70 th minute admittedly we dont know the reason he made the changes but upon reflection I agree changes had to be made the players he bought on were the correct ones but the ones he took of were incorrect. as i said before i dont think he sees the game well from the sideline he gets to wound up and emotionally involved this sometimes clouds his judgment.
      And that is still my opinion untill he proves to me otherwise you quote 2 cases the Henry come back and the barca win great fantastic moments i am not a hater of Wenger i think he just needs to be accountable if he makes a mistake. And he makes a lot from the sidelines. I cant remember hearing a commentator say Arsenal have changed their shape and are now playing a differant formation and that has changed the game. switching walcott and gervinho sides doesent count in my book im talking about suring up the midfield during a game making a defensive change when one of our backs is getting beaten all the time etc etc.
      Anyway just so its clear id rather have Wenger with his faults at the moment than anyone else, however things change in life past success is no guaranty of future success an example if you work as a chef or are in the restaurant world a common saying is you are only as good as your last meal served. and this goes for football as well.
      Our sunday roast against the rugby team that is stoke shows hope but the head chef got the menu slightly wrong.
      And that cost us a chance of winning and getting 3 points on sunday.

      1. Wenger has made his substitutions on 70minutes like clockwork for years – last season he annoyed RVP in the game against United at home when he pulled Chamberlain off – just as we were getting on top in the game – the home supporters even booed Wenger ‘s ludicrous action. Ferguson and the United muppets were laughing though .
        If we are to get a result at Anfield Wenger will have to come up with something other than his usual predictable tactics and subs – and even try thinking on his feet for a change sacre bleu! Instead of just relying on the training ground pre-planned tactics to bring home the bacon – if these are not working then he should try something else instead of frustratingly waving his arms about and pulling faces or sitting there abusing his water bottle and the poor old 4th official.
        Of course he can’t do anything about our players missing chances so they will need to sharpen up in that department we don’t have weeks to wait on this possibly happening .

        1. You are correct geff and before we know it we will be to far behind to catch the likes of chelse city and utd leave the best players on the pitch and dont play favourites it gets you nowhere.

      2. I agree with the point about the Man U game last season and I know most of our changes take place at 70mins but when you look at so do they in nearly every game regardless of who the manager is because thats when players start show fatigue and the impact of a fresh player has teh biggest impact as our players and the opposition tire but with a point to the Man U game last season 100% I feel now as I felt then that it was the wrong thing to take Chambo off but if your the new man to come and your own fans boo you and your captain shows you no support how would you feel at the end of the day the players are human as well and I think he must of felt what the hell is going on here and many times when I go to the emirates our own fans boo players Walcott against spurs 1st half last season is one that sticks in my mind and how is this going to help us?

        You talk about Fergie being this great tactian and don’t get me wrong he is a great manager but do their fans boo their players as we do yet we use the excuse to boo our players because we haven’t won anything for 7 yrs and if your not good enough to play for Arsenal then you shouldn’t play for us but if we haven’t won anything for 7yrs then should we support the team that much more show the players and manager that we are fully behind them regardless of what changes are made and when players are sub and who for and after the game if over and at the right time express our veiws like we are doing now. do you not think this is better than to boo our own players and manager like has been happening for a while now I don’t see other big clubs doing this.

        Also you menetioned about changing shape well Arshavin on for Song is defo changing shape, Henry a striker on for a Midfielder Arshavin is changing shapee and another example is when we played Chelsea away last season we brought on Verms and can’t remember who we took off but I remember when went to a five man defence again changing shape so we have done it but you just have to look a little deeper in to each game to get a true picture of things.

  9. How does a player become a football legend? Who will be the first
    player from the Emirates Stadium era to become a true Arsenal legend?
    Who, of our current crop of players, is closest to having a statue of
    themselves placed outside the stadium? Let’s see if we can find out
    who it will be.

    Besides Robin Van Persie, who wouldn’t want a timeless statue of
    themselves outside the Emirates? Had Robin Van Persie strung together
    one or two more seasons like he did in 2011-2012 and picked up some
    silverware, any silverware, then he would have certainly earned the
    right to be called a legend. Alas, that ship has sailed.

    I think it’s safe to say that we haven’t had a true Arsenal legend
    since Thierry Henry left. Cesc Fabregas had the potential to become a
    legend. He was an excellent player but his best years are ahead of
    him. Simply put, he didn’t finish the race for us. In fact, he ran
    right off the track and went home.

    I have been looking at the stats of former Arsenal legends throughout
    our long and storied history. I wanted to know if there was a common
    theme amongst them and, if so, could I use that knowledge to predict
    who would become the next legend of AFC.

    In order to become an Arsenal legend, you must play the majority of
    your football career at the club. Loads of great players have come
    and gone but to make it to Arsenal legend status you have to put the
    time in (and not on the bench). If you look at all the players who
    have had 500 appearances or more, they are all unquestionable legends.
    In order from most to least we have David O’Leary (722), Tony Adams
    (669), George Armstrong (621), Lee Dixon (619), Nigel Winterburn
    (584), David Seaman (564) and Pat Rice (528). Simply put, the longer
    you stay at the club, the closer you are to the supporter’s hearts.

    Currently, the top four players in terms of appearances are Theo
    Walcott (223), Bacary Sagna (205), Abou Diaby (166) and Tomas Rosicky
    (166). When we talk about turnover being an issue, we can see it very
    clearly in the above stats as our next tenured starter is Aaron Ramsey
    (106). We simply don’t have any old veterans at the club anymore.

    There are signs that this may be changing. Thomas Vermaelen and
    Laurent Koscielny have just signed new contracts with no fuss.
    Vermaelen stated in May of this year that ‘I will stay at Arsenal
    forever’. Similarly, Jack Wilshere and Emmanuel Frimpong have been
    very vocal about their allegiance to the club.

    Based on current appearances and those who I think will make their
    career at Arsenal, my top four in this category are Theo Walcott (if
    he re-signs), Bacary Sagna, Jack Wilshere and Thomas Vermaelen.

    The next step in becoming an Arsenal legend is winning. You just
    can’t be a legend if you haven’t delivered the goods. From the data
    I’ve gathered you can make it in this category one of two ways. You
    can either win lots of trophies like Cliff Bastin who racked up 5
    First Division Titles and 2 FA Cups or you could take the Charlie
    George route. George sealed the first ever double for the Gunners in
    1971 by scoring against Liverpool at the death in the FA Cup final.
    His celebration of that goal alone is worth him being a legend.

    In this day and age, I don’t think one trophy is enough to satisfy
    supporters. Football is also a team sport so, if we are to make a
    sustained run, it’s going to take the whole team. So, for this
    category, I’m going to throw everyone into the pot and hope for the

    The next glaring fact that stood out for me was that a high percentage
    of Arsenal legends also served, at some point, as team captain. This
    puts Thomas Vermaelen at the top of this list. I’ll add one more for
    prediction’s sake and that’s Jack Wilshere. Arsene Wenger stated just
    this week that he’s looking to build the team around a core of British
    players. For me, this puts Jack front and center as the player most
    likely to take the armband after Vermaelen’s playing days are through.

    We are also entering a new age in terms of communication. I feel
    like, with social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter, players
    are now able to reach their fans in ways former legends could not.
    The most active players on twitter are Bacary Sagna, Jack Wilshere,
    Emmanuel Frimpong and Andre Santos.

    Last but not least, it still doesn’t hurt to be English (this is the
    English Premier League after all). Jack Wilshere, Alex
    Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs get an edge over
    everyone else in this category.

    So what has my research shown? Based on my category ranking, Thomas
    Vermaelen and Theo Walcott (again, if he re-signs) tie for second
    topping four of the five categories. The only player to check all
    five boxes, and my pick for the next Arsenal legend, is Jack Wilshere.
    But please, don’t let me be the sole voice in this discussion. I
    want to know who your all-time favorite legend is and who you think,
    15 years from now, will have a statue of themselves outside Emirates

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