Arsenal Cut To Pieces

Is this as bad as it can be? Let us hope so, because if we are honest, it’s dire.

How did it come to this?

This was supposed to be a thing of the past, but sometimes you get the feeling that you are in some weird Matrix thing, on a torturous loop.

It feels like death by a thousand cuts. So let’s try to analyse the cuts.

Theo has started less than 10 PL games and yet despite never being fully up to speed, he has scored 5 goals and had a similar amount of assists. That’s a goal or assist in every game. Just imagine what a fully fit Theo would have done with Ozil feeding him through balls. That’s what we lost when Theo was stretchered off on the 4th of January. We didn’t know it at the time, but they were actually carrying off our title challenge on that stretcher.

Of course you could say we should have cover for him. Well ok, name me one player in the league with his skill set that we could have as a back up? No team has a Theo, let alone a back up Theo.

Our natural replacement/cover for Theo is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but he was out for the first half of the season and it’s a little more than hopeful to expect a returning 20 year old, with a career total of 5 PL goals, to fill the void.

Up until Xmas, we got away with it because we had a little bit of Theo, but we had a lot of Aaron Ramsey. In 18 PL games he had 8 goals and 6 assists. That though only tells a fraction of the story. He was the stand out player in the country, the best midfielder by a country mile. He was giving us a balance that we have not seen in the team for years. Tackles, interceptions, incredible distances covered and an almost unbelievable pass completion %. He seemed to understand Ozil better than anyone and it appeared that no matter who he played along side, it worked. Player of the month became no more than a formality for him, collecting it 5 times on the bounce.

BANG – 26th of December he limps off with a slight thigh strain and was not seen again for over 3 months. I can’t remember us playing to that standard since.

Jack Wilshere has had an in-and-out season. It’s been a struggle for him with more downs than ups. His fitness has been suspect which has affected his game. Anyway, when we needed him the most, BANG – out he goes.

Mesut Ozil, the finest number 10 in world football – he is an assist machine – but he needs runners to assist. Since Xmas he’s had none. Anyway BANG – out he goes.

Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky (32 and 33 respectively) should be used sparingly, but due to injuries, they’re being asked to play every game and it’s showing on them. Particularly on Mikel.

Abou Diaby was due back before Xmas – hello, hello HELLO, Abou???? Nope no sign.

Flamini, he was to be cover for Mikel in the lesser games. Instead he has had to play with Arteta. Needs must, but the least said about that particular double pivot, the better.

So basically, since Xmas we have been left with an unbalanced team that’s shot at physically.

But there is worse to come.

It looks like they are mentally shot, too.

Back to the thousand cuts.

United away. Half the team struck down with some illness or other on the way to the match. Some sent home, others having to play half fit. We lost to a RVP shoulder loop in a game that the very least we deserved was a draw.

Ouch, that stung a little.

Manchester City away, we have to play with only two day’s rest following a European away game. Studies show that you have 50% less chance of beating anyone, let alone a fully rested City team on their own midden. Even then we had 2 goals incorrectly ruled off-side and a clear penalty denied. 6-3.

Ouch, quite a cut that one!

Liverpool away. Early goal conceded (off-side btw) and a goal from a corner.  Start chasing the game, holes everywhere, look foolish.

Ouch, that stung a lot.

So here we are now, stripped of confidence and knackered. Having to play with 6 first choice players missing and the rest running on empty.

Sort of explaining the present dismal run of form.

Of course along the way the manager and individual players will also have made mistakes, inflicting more little painful nicks.

People do, you know ?

Fortunately for Arsenal, the fan base has rallied around the team and will carry them to the end of the season on a wave a love and support.






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80 comments on “Arsenal Cut To Pieces

  1. Brilliant .. Hit the nail on the head ! Fully agree with you mate .. We have had pathetic luck at crucial times throughout the season .. And arsene is the best to take the team forward .


  2. Sorry Hunter: what you said was better than you realise. Saying Picasso would have been good if he did corrections is like saying Wenger doesn’t do tactics.


  3. his tactics are already implemented in his overall playing philosophy, when it works..it really works, but he needs fine parts. we had vieira and gilberto ..now we have arteta and flamini. the reason for that is the 450m stadium we play in. simple things. all this scrutinising and searching for corners in round coins is to satisfy the critic’s ego…nothing else…


  4. Just read the comments from last night. PA is like a balm in this present climate. I have stopped looking at football sites, battened down the hatches, except for this site which is thankfully a bastion of sanity. Thanks George and the crew. We’re in the shield wall together against the hordes of undead doomers.


  5. A few days ago I was privileged to be linked to a “Twitter take-over by grumpy old men”, and although happy enough to be called old (dates can’t lie) took slight exception to the grumpy, as have always prided myself on a positive outlook and a delight in new things. However, the curmudgeon in me was well and truly freed last night as I watched the seemingly inevitable demise of PSG and the triumphal crowing of the ITV commentary team. Somehow everything was all rolled into a great big ball of bitter sulkiness and it seemed to me for a moment that absolutely everything was conspiring to turn my life into utter misery as the special bully was praised to high heaven and all my sporting value were trampled underfoot.
    But in the not so bad light of day, one memory stands out, and it is this above all that to me highlights the real difference between Chelsea and Arsenal at the moment. David Luiz provided it. Now I can’t bear him, but to see him strain every sinew as the clock ticked down to run back deep into defence and prevent a certain PSG corner from being so, was a fantastic example of real desire. The result mattered to him and he took it upon himself to keep the ball, and his team’s hopes, alive in those dying moments. I would like to think that we would see more than a bit of that approach in our coming matches.


  6. Song turned up late for training and towards the end argued with other players and generally made a nuisance of himself, he will not be back.
    Hunter while I agree with 95% of what you say your constent preference for a change of keeper puzzles me. When we have been good and needed a keeper to make a save at a critical point szcz has been there. When we have been bad, well we have been bad and we could have had four keepers in goal and it wouldn’t make a difference.
    As far as most fans and media are concerned whichever artist paints it they will never see the bigger picture. The critical thing that separates us from them is the way we see the last ten years. I see it as success many see it as failure, all the reasons in between are to some extent irelevant as never the twain shall meet.


  7. Interesting comment in this morning’s Times FH from Tony Cascarino about the game at Stamford Bridge last night. Normally ‘Irish’ Tony’s comments are infantile gibberish but today he came out with the comment that CFC reminded him of George Graham’s Arsenal last night, in respect of a hard running performance, playing right to the end, taking advantage of a bit of luck to snaffle a win.

    Yeah – he’s right

    Damn him


  8. Another more general articale of the nonsensical phrases used by football pundits from the excellent Matthew Syed in the same organ caught my eye as well;

    2. “The referee has to be 100 per cent sure.”

    This is generally trotted out to criticise a penalty decision, and it is so silly that I hate to bore you with it.

    You don’t have to read Descartes to recognise that if absolute certainty was required to prove an offence, no one would be prosecuted, criminals would walk free, and crime would soar. Similarly, if a referee only ever awarded a penalty when he was absolutely certain — would bet his house on it, would happily sign a contract agreeing to be tortured for the rest of his days if slow-motion replays proved him wrong — no penalties would be awarded and defenders would have carte blanche to tug, pull and hack.

    Is that the kind of football we would like to see?


  9. Here is another one;

    1. “He’s got to hit the target from there.”
    This is a classic refrain, generally deployed by commentators when a striker has hit the ball a few inches wide of the goal. It is sometimes reformulated as “he should at least have tested the keeper”.

    This is particularly galling because it comprehensively misconstrues the basic objective of a forward. He is not there to test the keeper. He could test the keeper every single time by aiming for the middle of the goal. The problem is that his shots would invariably be saved.

    Instead, he is there to score. This often requires him to aim, in the few milliseconds available, for the corner of the goal, generally with power. He is far more likely to “miss the target” by aiming for the margins of the goal, but he is also far more likely to score. It is in this probability corridor, in this instantaneous and intuitive calibration of risk and reward, that the greatest strikers exist.

    Well I thought it was good anyway !


  10. You have missed a crucial part of the quote, Andy: it always seems to go: “for me, he’s got to hit the target.”

    Another great one is: “for me, the keeper’s got to do better with that.”


  11. I think they mean ….’the referee has to be absolutely sure that the penalty is being awarded to the right team in the right circumstances and that the decision will not damage his standing/income stream/teams chances of winning the league etc’


  12. Hunter while I agree with 95% of what you say your constent preference for a change of keeper puzzles me. When we have been good and needed a keeper to make a save at a critical point szcz has been there

    he could be better than fabianski in 5-7 years time but right now i think fabainski is betetr equipped to deal with pressure plus he shows he has matured and learned from this fuck ups while chesney is still at a stage where he needs to fuck up in order to learn. eto. shurle and oscar shouldnt have scored as easily, his exodus at swansea was high school stuff, his anticipation is suspect and i have noted that when the shots go to his sides he does the rainbow routine instead of darting to the corners. he is brave on one on ones. in set pieces that can be taken directly i have noticed him placing his wall and then sitting behind his wall……yo uplace th ewall to cover one corner and you go and cover the other corner…if you sit behind your wall you make it easy for the set-piece taker…. the taker will have to shoot directly at the side youre covering or try to curl it over the wall to your weak side. if you cant see what the taker is doing you dont know what to anticipate. and when you see the player hitting ball towards your wall-covered side you take one-two quick steps and dart, chesney makes his dive on the spot wihtout the quick one-two side stepping and of course never gets there… hence the late reactions and rainbow dives.

    agaisnt chelsea there is a player already going to block eto’s rigth side …eto cuts left and is not a left footed player….in my opinion chesney should have anticipated that shot and stop it instead of making eto a hero…same for shurle’s goal. what happened is he saw them coming at him and his legs were rooted to the ground ( gripped by fear) and couldnt read the phase of play and outfox eto who was only going to do one thing with the momentum carrying him.

    also if i were say a rival, playing against chesney id spend all my energy in ridiculing him and embarassing him because of his big mouth and sillycocky attitude…… lukas is more serious and humble.


  13. The difference between Szcz and Fabianski, and why I prefer one to the other, is to do with their comparative presence in the box.

    Wojo shouts, points, tells defenders to move here, there, and tries to organise and impose himself in the penalty box. He gives the impression of confidence, of command.

    Despite being a more experienced and older keeper, and arguably technically a better shot stopper, Fab never gives the impression of being in control and taking charge.


  14. id say that fabianski is the more complete package right now. chesney might have stronger areas but he is too young……

    control and taking charge comes with confidence of playing consecutive games


  15. This is the mentality that makes me sick to the core and sometimes rude and aggressive towards arsenal fans :

    “the Cup Winners Cup triumph derided because it is a tournament which doesn’t exist any more, it doesn’t because UEFA moved it into the Europa League or the UEFA Cup as it was then. It was about the time the UEFA Cup started its descent in the shambles it is now but it was a shameful lack of awareness from an Arsenal supporter. It’s not just that instance either, I’ve seen others deride the Fairs Cup as well. The ignorance is baffling.”

    the only thing that is baffling is believing that a uefa cup winners cup is ENOUGH CREDIT to sit on the same tables as madrid barca milan juve liverpool united ajax bayern porto etc etc. and call yourself big

    of course…even a team with 0.5% of the european history of others can be proud of its 0.5% but dont ever fucking tell me that we were ever equal or as big as those clubs.

    plus…… a singular “european triumph” as that … (lol)… resembles more of a firework than a committed approach to solidify Arsenal in the european elite.

    awareness is good…so maybe these deluded wankers could be aware that before wenger arsenal was smaller ( historically and success-wise ) even than clubs like porto and benfica…so where the fuck does this attitude come from that arsenal should be dominating clubs with a recorded history of achievements and presense in european football ???? liverpool and united are such clubs we never were. chelsea has taken a short cut. painful as it is…..

    argggghhhhhhhh ..pitsku jebi de!!!!!!


  16. I watched the Dortmund-Madrid game. Missed pelanty (di María. Özil‎ is in good company, but I won’t tell the Groaners…), Dortmund hit the post.
    Not surprising that it was a better game of football!


  17. Anicoll5, you can prefer one GK over the other, but I think you are doing a disservice to Fabianski. That may have been the old Fab at times, but watch him lately and he is a different more confident person. I would be happy with either of them and I’ll be sorry to see us lose a GK of such quality at the end of the season.


  18. Physically he is a lot more confident Pass and he knocks the position out of the way in a way he would not have done two seasons back, but still a bit quiet for me.

    Fab was very unlucky to lose his place to Szcz toward the end of last season though a freak injury – at the time he had put in several consecutive good performances and it looked like his young counterpart was booked for a long wait on the bench.

    Good keeper – I hope he finds a top club and a starting place in the Summer – still plenty of years ahead for a keeper


  19. Thank be’jasus Bayern didn’t embarrass us.

    It takes a special quality team to go to Munich and come back with a result.
    At this stage, anyone but Chelsea.


  20. Passenal is usually right.


  21. What’s up folks!?

    Looking forward to the boys putting things right this weekend.

    Some comments from Santi circling. If true, he needs to be quiet and focus on his poor play also.

    I prefer Fabianski at present. I actually think he is more commanding than Wojo. His performances have been the best I have seen from an Arsenal keeper this season.

    I would like to see more from Gnabry. A front 3 of Gnabry, Podolski and The OX for me. OG needs to get the heck over the refs calling fouls. That blow wow is never going to happen on a consistent basis for Arsenal.


  22. …refs NOT calling fouls.


  23. After all the debating of injuries, and tis and that – this is the ONLY place i’ve read about Szc – Fabianski ——

    I have to say I think Fabianski is a better goalkeeper – and I don’t think it’s a coincidence we are in the FA cup semifinal with him being the keeper in the competition. Fabianski right now is a GREAT keeper.


  24. and with our luck fabianksi goes on and produces nothing but howlers now…evil sinister obscene wrong …stop


  25. So right, PG.
    We have 11 players injured or at least doubtful. And some of them are very big players. Chelsea and Man City have three players out. Apart from two or three weeks when we were briefly at number two or three, we have been top of the injury league the whole season.


  26. Great piece on Untold Arsenal:



  27. I agree DC, ABC – anyone but chelski!


  28. Our boys look tense in the tunnel.


  29. Hope the crowd is raucous and they can relax and play their game, come on Arsenal!!!


  30. Sanogo’s first Arsenal goal today, I feel. Sea of red at Wembley!


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