The Awful Truth(s) from the Norwich disaster

| October 22, 2012 | 16 Comments

Last season we suffered a lot of blows in the first couple of months. We lost our captain to Barcelona, Nasri and Clichy to Manchester City and Wilshere to injury. Our reinforcements before the transfer deadline were Jenkinson, a young player that seemed like someone who should learn football from the basics, and Gervinho, a bloke that got sent off in his very first match against Newcastle and Joey Barton, while in the same match because of the stamping on the aforementioned Barton, Song was handed a three-match suspension.

We lost the home match against Liverpool because Frimpong was sent off and Liverpool took their lead thanks to an own goal scored after Suarez was offside. Then we lost Sagna and Vermaelen, our best defenders, just a day before visit to Old Trafford. I wrote on a certain forum board, when I realized what kind of line-up we will bring on the field, that it is going to be even worse for us than it was when we lost 6-1 with likes of Stepanovs, Luzhny and Grimandi in our team. However, I was optimistic after the thrashing at Old Trafford and I still think it was blessing in a very ugly disguise – it was better that we lost 8-2 than if we lost 1-0.

Why? Because if we lost only 1-0 at Old Trafford, I’m 100 percent positive Wenger would think our squad would be good enough to challenge for the Top Four and we would never have signed Arteta, Mertesacker, Santos, Park and Benayoun. We would have envied Liverpool on their league position at the end of the season.

Before the Norwich match, I wrote that Arsenal must become Les Convincings again and make statements with convincing victories against opponents like Norwich. Wenger said that “in October the moment of truth starts for the team”. If we try to judge it from yesterday’s performance, the truth will turn out to be uglier than Wayne Rooney. We moved slower than a child of a turtle and a snail and we used our ball possession as bad as Ashley Cole used his twitter-account. I was harsh on one player in yesterday’s outburst on the forum – Arteta is another player that didn’t deserve a fine for his attitude (the other one is, of course, Jenkinson).

Every nightmare we had became a reality yesterday. First of all, our fears regarding injuries became true – we lost Oxlade-Chamberlain because of an injury. His schedule was disturbed by the postponed match against Poland and that was probably the reason why Gervinho (he probably gave the worst performance in an Arsenal shirt, just like many players did – Ramsey, Cazorla, Giroud, Podolski) started as a right winger. I don’t know how long we will be without Chambo since “hip injury” sound very, very ugly but he will surely be missed. Second of all, given that we are already missing Walcott due to injury and Gervinho played his previous two matches in the Premiership like spirits of Kaba Diawara and Ali Dia went into him simultaneously, Wenger will have problems to find Mr Proper for the right-wing-position. Thirdly, we underestimated our opponents which means we lack maturity. Fourth, we found out that this team can’t afford to underestimate any opponent which means we lack the winning mentality and quality to prevail even in those occasions. Fifth, our opponents, one of the worst teams in the league, didn’t give a spectacular performance and they still deserved to win with an even bigger margin. Sixth, Andre Santos was to blame for the conceded goal as well as Mannone or Mertesacker – he made Grant Holt onside – and it is obvious he can’t replace Gibbs properly. Seventh, Vermaelen did a John Terry and gave Grant Holt a clear opportunity to score but there is an even bigger problem regarding Belgian – he didn’t motivate his troops yesterday to put their heart on the field and that could mean Arteta should be promoted from vice-captain to captain. Eight, our goalkeeper is not good enough and we lost again because he didn’t do his job properly. Ninth, Giroud was awful, he couldn’t hit the ball mind the net, and I honestly believe even Chamakh would have given a better performance yesterday. If I were Wenger, I would have Fergusoned him with a boot. Tenth, we didn’t have enough aggression in the midfield and that is something we’ve been missing ever since we lost Flamini on the Bosman rule. Eleventh, we are now fifth London club on the table, below the Chavs, Spuds, West Ham and Fulham.

The worst truth of all is that it would take a few more thrashings from our opponents before Wenger and Gazidis decide to splash some cash on an experienced goalkeeper, strong defensive midfielder and an attacker that can score at least 25 goals.

Speaking of which, we are facing one of those attackers on Wednesday but I will write more about Schalke and Huntelaar on Tuesday.

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  • OMGArsenal

    Josif you whiny, gloomy-doomer posting on this crap blog are so ready to write off the entire season based on 1 bad performance and a so-called ¨mediocre¨ start to our season and yet call themselves Arsenal supporters? How can you call yourself a fan…a true fan accepts defeat, even a listless one like Saturday’s with aplomb and calmness. There are still 28 games left……we will get better and more cohesive…our inconsistencies will get ironed out eventually.

    1) Our season and the potential to win a title or trophy are far from over,
    2) EVERY team has games like this,including the leaders and their cohorts,
    3) No team should be underestimated, they can all cause upsets as we saw last season,
    4) AFC are not divinely protected from losing, nor are they divinely destined to win every game, they didn’t deserve to win yesterday, they DID deserve EVERY win this season!

    If you can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen you plastic fanboy…..or pick up the Arsenal standard and keep supporting your Club through thick and thin….to do otherwise is worthy of a loser!

    • Steven M

      Saying someone is a plastic supporter for picking apart what he thinks are obvious flaws are words of a loser.

      So you think every supporter should just shut up and “support” the team? Has it ever struck your mind that raising the questions and demanding the answers and action can be an equally good way of supporting your team?

      Like, demanding that we replace RVP with another world-class striker? Is that so much to ask for? And will you brand those who ask, an idiot?

  • Wombledin

    Spot the Wengerphile fan happy with only being in contention for 4th place every reason, happy to be a perennial loser for 7 years and counting…

  • William

    If Arsenal get beaten by Mu by a score of 5-0,it will show Wenger has lost the plot as far as tactics are concerned.IMHO,if such a scenario happens,Arsenal will never win another epl title under him.I am afraid he is living in his own cocoon world. He expects others to play to his way ie attack all the way.He has shown to be against anti soccer even though with these tactics Chelsea won the cl.
    Managers have to evolve in the same way tactcis have evolved. Now the name of the game is winning.Of course winning playing attacking soccer is the best option. Sometimes you have to play by by other means to win .
    In this respect,Wenger has failed miserably.I tell you what. Red faced will expect him to come out with all guns blazing and with the barn door wide open,expect VP and the ugly Brit bull dog to run havoc unless Wenger floods the mid field which is uncharacteric of his style.
    Like I said.Beware of another massacre if Wenger aint careful and go kamikaze on the attack.

    • jrgoonar

      Absolutely effin spot on! Every word truth. Ugly, bald, Shrek/pitbull licking mustard off a nettle looking fat baby man and van pussy will already have their plan all thought out to stroll down the gap made by scoles and whatever band of antifootball savages they unleash on us. Everyone knows how Arsenal win, take our plan A away, bruise a few ankles and we’re screwed. We need someone like dein back for the transfers and mourinho for the football. I know he plays boring football but after 7 years I would prefer boring with silverwear than thrilling with nothing. bah, either way, COYG. who’s going reading away? see you all there, I’ll be the moody looking blond one with a nicotine inhaler.

  • Aussie Jack

    Wenger says his team were “not sharp enough” at Norwich and he is most likely correct. Have to say though, it runs in the family. Wenger and company were not `sharp enough` in the transfer market. We lost out on Vertonghen (Spurs)who would have settled our defense and provided cover for full back. We missed out on Mata (Chelsea) mid field and of course Hazard (Chelsea). We`ve got a management of ditherer`s who let there finances control their thinking totally and put the balance sheet before the product (football).
    If we can afford to build a stadium like Emirates we can afford to buy the players to give it the quality and repect it demands. It`s the old story, if you can afford a Rolls Royce you must be affulent enough to run it.

  • Tom

    Supporting your club and offering critical assessment when things go badly are not mutually exclusive. As a matter of fact it is your duty as a supporter to voice your opinion , otherwise you’re just a mindless follower. Fact is , all is not well at Arsenal, it hasn’t been for a long time. The highest ticket prices in the land, the highest paid manager in the league who hasn’t won a trophy in 7 seasons. Wenger taunts Arsenal’s business model as one to be followed by other clubs. As a fan you claim to be , perhaps you should object to that . It’s a little bit like saying you should buy inferior quality milk at a higher price from your local grocer just because you live in the neighborhood, and if you don’t then you’re a rotten person who doesn’t care about the neighborhood . And did I mention the grocer is making a bundle more than other grocers. Look no one is saying you should stop supporting your club because they haven’t won a title in a while but what I am saying it’s hard to except how diluted Arsenal have become. Not having a shot on goal against Barca is one thing , having two shots on goal agains lowly Norwich is quite another. So pick up your standard and shout at loud ‘ Arsen knows best’

  • Trophyless supporter

    Sad & disgraceful. Lack matuality & ideas when things doesn’t work out. Too many bollywood players in the team who love taking the ball running around coconut trees (E.g. Ramsey). Arsenal passing game and possession have become the archilles ankle to its down fall if they don’t know how to be flexible with their play. AW keeps saying we will play our own way and game, but what if opponents are stopping you from playing your own game? Can you change your way out? Obviously the game with Norwich has proven he can’t.

  • Ogejohns

    Ramsey, is not suppose to be playing for arsenal . The most balls played backward would always be from him. Gervinho is been pointed at, but with ramsey, plays one man down.

  • avneesh prashar

    weren’t u all the same guys calling us title contenders after the manc draw and the west ham win??? Fickle is the word that springs to mind….

  • John

    Santos, Ramsy, Giroud not good enough. Almost all d players put up below average show. International break is another problem of my dear team over time. Wenga should do something. Ox and walcot out. Problem! We still need good striker. Get me and make cool cash at

  • Arsenal1Again

    I stopped reading when I reached ” a young player that seemed like someone who should learn football from the basics “.

    BTW we didn’t lose Nasri or Fabregas, they insisted on a move. So did Clichy. A player kept against his will is the worst management possible.

    The entire article starts of by showing complete ignorance. I Don’t have the stomach for more of that bile.
    Obviously not written by an Arsenal Fan.

  • William

    The thing with the gunners is their slow build up after the opposition had a corner cleared or attack repulsed.With acres of space they chooose to pass laterally with short passes. This slows the attack thereby giving defenders time to regroup.
    You watch how other teams counter attack. Two to four passes and the ball is in the net.Perhaps Wenger wants to show his players can dribble and pass their way through a massed defence.If this true,he is missing the big picture. For entertainment if it results in a gunner goal,it’s great. More often than not due to the laborious buildup,the gunners fail to score and soon results in a goal for the opposition. It has been happening the last ten years and will happen until Wenger learns to park the bus and frustrates the opposition in the same way Arsenal are stifled.

    • chris from Cambridge

      It will continue until Arsene retires.

  • ken

    It realy is time for a change of manager how many times to we hear wenger we lacked sharpness etc It is season after season why does he stcik by the likes of Rosicky Diaby (always Injured) and Ramsey,Mamone,flappy Gervinio,Giroud,are just not top quality.
    We sell top quality players and replace with avarage

  • Josif

    A1A, are you saying that Jenkinson looked at the start of 2011-12 as good as he does right now?

    1) I do give a credit to Wenger for recognizing talent in Jenkinson that nobody else watching Arsenal matches did which is probably the reason why everyone – including me – eat humble pie regarding Jenkinson’s abilities.

    2) What difference does it make if Nasri, Fabregas and Clichy asked for a transfer? At the end, result was losing them without finding proper replacements immediately after we knew they are going to leave and that Wilshere will be unavailable for some time (at that moment, “some time” meant “one month” and turned out to be 14 months). We were on the ropes against Udinese in Champions’ League qualifications in both matches but Sczszesny earned us victory, especially in first match. Nevertheless, the point is there is a negative trend ever since Vieira left – we lose our best players, usually captains, while they are still in their peak (granted, they mostly underperformed in clubs they left Arsenal for but they left when they still had at least 3-4 seasons of good football at Arsenal).

    3) Being an Arsenal fan doesn’t mean closing your eyes at the obvious.