47 Comments

A Short Blog Of Despondency and Hope

Well, that was a disappointment wasn’t it? I don’t know about you but I didn’t sleep well last night. Ridiculous really how much of an emotional impact a reversal on a football pitch can inflict isn’t it?

If an uninvolved bystander such as myself is so crestfallen after the match (and contrary to what others might think I am deeply deeply fed up) one can readily apprehend the depths of despair to which the players must have sunk. That’s before we even consider the unenviable task facing the manager. Imagine the gut wrenching anguish Arsène must be feeling this morning and he, unlike us, cannot express it, cannot wallow  but instead must ignore his own pain and try to motivate his players, to instil the necessary belief without which they cannot hope to overturn the two goal deficit when they travel to Monaco on St Patrick’s day.

Many people underrated Monaco yesterday, at least I must assume so judging by the wildly optimistic scoreline predictions we saw being bandied about. The simple truth is that if you wanted to demonstrate the consummate away performance in a European tie you would be hard pressed to beat the men from the Principality and the way they went about their business last night. Before you shoot me down for that remark let me say that I am well aware that they rode their luck last night, not once but twice. The first time was when they got away with as blatant a handball as you will ever see go unpunished inside a penalty area and the second of course was when, entirely against the run of play, they fluked a goal with the aid of a horrible deflection. The point is, however, that many great victories come with a lucky break. How many double centuries have you witnessed where the batsman was dropped while still in single figures? The Spanish Armada, Waterloo the outcomes of both battles hinged largely upon the vagaries of the weather. What matters is how you use that good fortune, how you turn it to your advantage.

Last night Monaco turned it to their advantage in a ruthlessly efficient manner which you can only admire. Set up to defend and hit on the break it was vital for the visitors not to concede early on and the platform that the lucky goal gave them came at the perfect time. Up until that decisive moment Arsenal’s tactics had been perfect, closing down, cutting off their supply before they had a chance to mount a counter attack and keeping them pressed back. The penalty apart we came close on a couple of occasions but sadly it was not to be. Once they had the lead they simply needed to defend well and wait for us to come at them knowing that as the game went on we would have to attack in ever increasing numbers. When this inevitably happened they  knew gaps would appear in our rearguard which their fast direct counter attacking style could easily exploit. And that of course is just what they did. Superb defending at the team level with every man in his position stifling the quick inventive approach for which we are rightly famed but also at the individual level with so many well timed tackles and interceptions that I lost count of them.

Sometimes you simply have to doff your cap to the opposition and say well played. They got their lucky break, they made absolutely the best of it and now our squad has somehow to rise from the ashes of this setback and show its mettle. It is of course simple for me to sit here in rainy Somerset and say these things. So much harder for the people actually involved at the club. There are however some important facts to remember. We’ve overturned such deficits before. We’ve gone away in Europe where nobody gave us a prayer and got the result. We’ve overcome disappointment in cup ties to raise our game in the league plenty of times. Above all we have to face Everton on Sunday and every new game is an opportunity to wipe clean the stain of previous setbacks and get ourselves back into winning ways.

Wallow if you want to, that’s fine, without the despair there is no joy, it’s the emotional cycle through which all sports fans must go, but never lose hope and never lose faith in these players. They were handed a lesson yesterday, without question, but today is a new day and they must dust themselves off and get on with the job.

That’s enough omphaloskepsis for one morning – I’m already looking forward to Sunday.

About steww

Arsenal, books, photography, bass guitar, dog walking, mountain biking, being on the radio, writing, talking too much, failing, making mistakes, buggering on regardless.

47 comments on “A Short Blog Of Despondency and Hope

  1. Well said that man, and agree with every word of it.

    It really felt quite early on that it just was not going to be our night and the more the crowd expressed its frustration the more anxious the play appeared to become. I’m not blaming the crowd but one always wonders what effect a more vocally supportive 12th man would have on nights such as these.

    No doubt we can pick over the bones but for me the third goal was the real sickener, having hauled ourselves back into it. I’m guessing it was that phase of the play Arsene was most referring to when he talked of suicidal defending?

    This is a squad that has potential greatness about it and shocks like last night CAN be turned to our long-term advantage as few will want to re-run that experience.

    Let’s hope it does.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. That’s sheered me up a bit, but I cant agree we were playing well at any point. It was a poor display no matter how much we want to find some positives.

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  3. Quite right Steww

    A disappointing night but one night in a long journey.

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  4. George
    There were several lovely moves and a lot of nice moments last night – I recall commenting on some as I watched the game. If Olivier hadn’t had a rare off night he could have scored a hatful and those chances all came from good play.
    Maybe wait until the match is on Arsenal Player and the emotion has evaporated a little and watch it again. You will see a lot of good stuff from us and a lot of very good defending from them.
    It’s important not to let a disappointing scoreline cloud our judgement nor blind us to the things we did well. OK maybe that’s just important to me. Forgive the mistakes, applaud your opponents achievements and relish the positives in our performance. It’s my creed.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Key to Arsenal’s success in recent seasons has been the CM pairing of Arteta and Ramsey. The presence of one or the other when fit has usually told on the pitch.
    Many were a little bit nervous with both out of such a big game. One of them (not with restrictive niggles as Ramsey has had in one or two games this year or Arteta during his brief return but reasonably fit) alongside Coquelin would’ve given the team more composure on the night. But most I spoke to immediately after the game felt the emotion that the missed chances as in the Utd home game was important, if you’re “realistic” enough to expect no “luck” from the refs.
    For me football like all sport is an emotional game, and I am happy to trust the emotions of most people I spoke to after the game.

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  6. “Patience will be the key.” said the cool chap from ooop norf sat next to me following what was a good start, I agree with Steww above, and yes, they did defend brilliantly at times, with great skill…

    Arse.

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  7. Nice one Stew,still genuinely gutted about last night,not sure what to say really,except this team as much as I love em do my head in…roll on Sunday.

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  8. score first and score quickly and its possible. we nearly did it to bayern. poor coqlin had it difficult but i can accept that. what i cant accept is world cup winners being afraid of the ball………………

    my problem with the fans is that we have many fans but not many supporters..only the away crowd can be called supporters and even there you will find a few arseholes..so sorry eduardo and im also middle class…and no you dont have to be from the ghetto to support, or from islington…i for example moved countries and never ever ever has it crossed my mind to boo my own players when they wear the shirt, its not how ive been educated.

    either the demographic profile of the fan/supporter has changed or the arsenal fan/supporter never had a clue cause his club was never big to enjoy big big triumphs..triumphs that mould the psychology and spirit of the fan. or that we are classless and ungrateful.

    yes our players failed last night….but they are our players …you cant be ‘nanananan girouuuud’ one night and boo him the next day just cause he is off key….

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  9. I really doubt that many of the players had a sleepless night after the game, I believe that most of these over paid pro footballers (not just Arsenal’s over paid footballers, but footballers in general), don’t ever blame themselves for defeats, and don’t ever lose any sleep over a bad performance. If they did would they not actually make changes to what they do on the pitch and not let the same stupid things happen over and over. How many times, this season alone, have we given away the sort of goals we did last night, how many times have we seen a real lack of tempo to our play, how many times have we seen the “after you” passing of the buck(ball) cos no one willing to take the responsibility to risk a shot, or to make a run into where it hurts, – oh how we missed Ramsey, no matter how good or bad he is playing, he never hides, he never abdicates responsibility to try and make the difference. last night over and over we had Cazorla, Ozil, Welbeck, Alexis and Giroud all getting in others way, all making runs to the same little 20 square yard area of the pitch,

    the big worry is that last nights starting team had only one player under 20 years of age (Bellerin) and the next youngest was Coquelin at 23 years old, but we made mistakes that would drive you crazy to see youth team players make, mistakes that seasoned pros just should not be making, and the mistakes were both in defense and in attack. For me there was on many occasions players going through the motions, like I said, players running into already crowed areas, for is them making a token effort, hiding in a crowd (don’t blame me I ran x yards, I ran back after the man I lost the ball to) kind of thing. We had Per and Koscielny diving in needlessly in their half or near the half way line (oh look I tried to win the ball, don’t blame me that I missed it and they scored) costing us two of the three goals. I also believe that its unacceptable that Per did not take one for the team on the first goal, for me there is no good reason for him to not take the full force of that shot, for him to half turn into the shot is just not on and for the want of a better word its cowardly.

    As far as I’m concerned the players are very much to blame for this defeat and where I would blame Wenger is I think he got the selection/tactics wrong. You can’t have Bellerin and gibbs providing the width if you have someone as slow as Per at the back, you should not have both Welbeck and giroud in the same team, especially when Welbeck is going so narrow all the time, you should not have both Cazorla and Ozil in the central roles, no problem having both in the team if Cazorla is played wide. Ozil needs runners for him to shine, far too often our attackers only wanted to run away from goal or across the pitch, Ozil in the team, give him Walcott to feed. As stated already, we and Ozil missed Ramsey’s runs in behind.

    On giroud’s misses last night, I would say that he was slightly unlucky that two of the good chances fell to him on his right foot, I’m sure he’d have stuck one of them away if they had been on his left, but as we have seen in the past, when he is missing chances he is inclined to let it get to him, but I would say that at least he was getting in the right positions, something Welbeck was not as good at.

    I do think we can turn this tie around, I see no reason if we score first in the second leg that we can not do it, but I do think we need to win all our games between now and then so as to go in to the game with belief, I really do worry that if we don’t win on Sunday confidence could drain from the team.

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  10. cannon for me there is only one acceptable time for a fan to boo one of our own players, and that is if he is not putting in effort, other than that there is no excuse for getting on the back of your own player, I do think many Arsenal fans much prefer to have a go at our players than they ever do at an opposing player.

    as for the match goer having changed since we moved to the Emirates, sorry I really don’t agree(although I’ve not been to the Emirates yet), I say its not changed cos the one big thing that always disappointed me about the games I attended at Highbury was how poor the support was from our fans, and how they seemed to always have one or two of our players they got on the back of. at every match at Highbury I was at, when the team was being announced a section of our crowd moaned or groaned about at least one of our players and I always found that something had to happen on the pitch for the crowd to get behind the team, be that a bit of great play or a perceived injustice or nasty foul on one of ours. Otherwise it really was Highbury the library

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  11. great counter argument george.

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  12. Positively Arsenal @Blackburngeorge · 17m 17 minutes ago
    .If Jockeys did what our team did last nigh, The Jockey Club would suspend them

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  13. I agree with George. When there are so many Arsenal blogs full of drivel like that Eduardo why come and spread it here as well?

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  14. For the second time please don’t repeat bullshit memes about the arsenal here.
    You’ve contradicted yourself, perhaps you too don’t care about what you are saying or how you look? Either the players weren’t trying, the football at all levels at this club is not to your personal preferences (not our problem), or the tactics and selections were wrong.

    Make your bleedin’ mind up.

    If you want to mindlessly groan: you can go elsewhere in order to loose your mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. eduardo..they couldnt get together to sing a song for their team but they got together to boo?

    and you expect a team to blossom in this environment.

    yes we were shit…and i agree per has been terrible this season but i refuse to give up and call them all a bunch of bastards even though id take great delight to be in the training session today and chase them with sticks bricks

    going back to the fans…dude…they come, they sit and expect 3-0, 4-0 goalfest in the first 15 minutes…they do not come to watch their football team, they do not come to support their football team…they come as a social event and with bags of entitlement and an rotten behaviour…..father getting up with his son to boo? at arsenal? ….disgrace…

    and to me thast the biggest disgrace than losing a bloody football match, no matter how painful…results can change…..but people rarely change…..

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  16. lose even

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  17. and if as per your experience highbury was the same then you validate my words that the big clubs have big fans….

    look at us … lol…booing our own players in the house wenger built for us…and a bunch of idiots with a keyboard releasing venom.

    poor little tim was two three rows below my seats and was speechless and sad…but never negative towards his team… i praise that,even if i disagree with his blogs most of times

    but some gunners are unfit for this club. as fans we learned nothing from the vieira-henry -pires era. nothing.

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  18. fins ..

    mike andy and tom are sitting at the bar ..drinking…philosophising

    mike goes first ‘the fastest thing in the world is the speed of thought’

    ‘im gonna have to disagree there mike’ says andy, ‘electricity and speed of light’

    tom is taking his time…absorbing everything….rubs his chin . ‘dotn know what youre talking about guys but last night i had to run for a shit so fast i had not time to think or turn on the lights

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  19. I’m not having it that the players or staff don’t care or hurt. Its an absolutely pathetic argument .

    Liked by 2 people

  20. I don’t know much about racing but is it right that when a jockey loses a race the Jockey Club suspends them ?

    Seems a bit harsh.

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  21. And what happens to the horse ?

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Away from horse racing though I did enjoy walking up the road last night behind a ‘fan’ on his phone, presumably with TalkSport at the other end, with his “Do you know we pay the highest ticket prices in the PL?!?”

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  23. It was a revelation to me I can tell you.

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  24. was it not van de meyde and inter that beat as at home 1-3 and we beat them 1-5 there?

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  25. cannon for me there is only one acceptable time for a fan to boo one of our own players, and that is if he is not putting in effort

    WRONG.

    you never boo your player when he wears the shirt.

    if he has upset you that much you can wait for him when he comes out the ground to drive his ferrari back to his 2 million mansion and pelt him with tomatoes if you want… but not when we play, not when he is on the pitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. and sorry to say this eddy…we are no real madrid to wave hankerchiefs…we did not have di stefano and puskas winning 5 in a row or whatever….our fans highlight of arsenal history is knicking it at anfield….every gunner i meet thats what he talks about…greece won the fkn euro2004 ffs..lol ….and the arsenal fans think a title win in the rival’s ground carries more importance ?..hehe..we are small minded eduardo..

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Van de Meyde and a great display from the young Inter striker Obefami Martens I recall Hunter at Highbury – we were 3-0 at HT I think

    I wonder what became of him ?

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  28. martens he played a bit in europe i think ..van de meyde was the one who got lost quickly i think

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  29. Jesus H Christ, Eduardo, do you think before you type? I don’t know about everyone else, but you sure know how to push my buttons. I agree with George, I’m not having that the players are overpaid mercenaries that don’t give a flying fuck. Many sleepless nights were had last night, of that I’m certain. Probably even by those who couldn’t play, but wished they’d been able to help their brothers in arms and their beloved manager. And while I appreciate and agree with your observation about Aaron, weeks ago you infuriated me by giving him a low “rating” after a solid performance that wasn’t flashy enough for you. (By the way, stop with the ratings, please. If I want those, I’ll check with the Daily Mail). Sometimes you have some good points to make, but like Fins, if you’re going to spout the same old tired memes, I wish you’d take that somewhere else. LeGroan is open for business today, I’m sure. Christ.

    Sorry, Stew. My anger almost made me forget to tell you how much I appreciate your write up in the face of keen disappointment this morning. “Forgive mistakes…” That’s always high on my list of things to remember to do. Looking for positives is next. And there were some, as there always are. A re-watch, although painful, will show that. Whether I’m up to it, is another question. Reasonable folk here will begin to point them out, thanks for getting the ball rolling on that. Up the Arsenal.

    Liked by 3 people

  30. And by the way you lucky, lucky people if you think we are whimpering behind a rock here we are not.

    853 words of top quality commentary on last night events, originally loaded onto lorries for distribution at 10.00, will be with you at 2.00.

    Modesty forbids me naming the author of this cornucopia of critical rapture, this impending bliss of sweet description.

    I can hardly wait.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. we will do them there but zardim is defensive minded..he was also olympaicos coach and they gave us a bit of trouble if i remember a few years ago…..

    the thing is though..we do a lot better with our backs on wall…the mission is clear and they can focus .

    its when you ask them to take initiative on their own that they tend to produce nights like yesterdays….hah..them little pricks..

    but ok the truth will shine for all…it was my fault…. the office has two tickets to take clients out…i have my own… i gave my own to someone because i had to go watch game with a work client ….never ever mix business with pleasure and never ever ever ever ever swap my ticket for anyone. ….i sincerely apologise to all

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  32. Monaco, just like Bayern and Barcelona in seasons before, looked in much better physical shape than Arsenal. The domestic festive fixture congestion is providing more and more a hindrance and doesn’t help the English teams prepare for this stage of the competition.

    Preparation is vital and all the major Europe League’s plan for this stage of the season with more intelligence. Is it a coincidence that both PSG & Barcelona dominated the other English clubs, Chelsea & Man City in their recent games.

    By not allowing a mid-season winter break the English clubs will remain hindered in this regard. Also why do other European leagues allow their Champions League representatives to play on the Friday night before the following mid-week CL match? It’s all down to Preparation.

    But it’s not an exact science, a mid-season break will not automatically allow you to win the Champions League, its all about giving yourselves the best opportunity to progress and the way I see it, at this moment in time, the English clubs are swimming against the tide in Europe’s top competition.

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  33. I have a suggestion to improve the atmosphere in the stadium.

    Each time we lose a game hundreds of season ticket holders should not stick their seats on the Ticket Exchange as has happened from “sold out” for the Everton game to “where would you like a seat ?” overnight.

    I wonder if Red Action would be interested ?

    Liked by 1 person

  34. but tasos…..the epl is more important than the champions leageu and euroep….more important than the world cup even ..hehe

    how dare you suggest to interrupt our traditions…. blasphemy ….

    welcome !!!

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  35. A lot of good points made here today (especially George at 11.01 – 100% with you on you that, mate).
    Yesterday is now history and the important thing is how the players react. I too can’t believe that they are not hurting – preposterous suggestion. But that needs to be translated into action on the pitch, starting on Sunday and culminating in Monaco on St Patrick’s Day. It will be bloody difficult but not impossible. I was thinking as a lay in bed last night that a back line of Gabriel, Mert and Kos might be a ploy we could use, especially now that Ox is back to take one of the wide positions.
    Whatever, not my decision, but maybe Aaron will also be back. I can feel the clouds beginning to lift already and there are a few patches of blue sky visible.
    I thought Gary Neville was good again yesterday, apart from his repetition of it being “a poor Monaco side”. Not what I saw. We may not have been up to scratch but our opponents were by no means poor.
    Bring ’em on.

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  36. Here’s a perspective you all might be interested in. Some of those positives Stew was referring to in here.

    http://footbalternative.com/2015/02/26/you-can-learn-everything-you-need-to-know-about-football-from-one-match/

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  37. george I feel you have misunderstood the point I am making, I’m not saying that all the players or staff don’t give a shit,I’m not even saying that a lot of them don’t care, I’m saying it won’t bother some when we lose, they will feel it was another players fault for the loss, or that it was just one of those days and they will sleep soundly, its how it is, its how it has always been as far as I can tell, some will give their all, some will not, it will annoy some, it will not annoy others,

    I would say that not one of the players cares as much as Wenger does, not even close, if anyone had a sleepless night after the game it was him, it will have hurt him more than any of the players. , players don’t have the same passion or desire as most on here would, the players don’t love the club like how you or I do. for some its just their job,
    Its why Sagna was happy to go from first choice at Arsenal to a spectator at Man City, its not something we should really be very upset about, sadly its part of the whole mega rich players scene that football has become, super star wages without having to be a super star, fame and fortune, even if there are no medals

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  38. Eduardo, I didn’t misunderstand you at all. What I got was exactly what you just restated. And I call bullshit. With a capital “B”. If you feel that way about all our players, I’m not sure why you hang out here. And if you only feel that way about some of them, be man enough to call them by name. So we can refute you properly.

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  39. Absolute nonsense, Eddy. What’s next…we need 11 English starting because they’re the only ones who care about Arsenal? A world famous player like Ozil will have been ashamed of himself after last night I don’t care how many millions he has. Giroud definitely feels like an imbecile of that there is no doubt in my mind. Especially after that carefully placed piece of propaganda from Giroud and company just a day before the match. I hated that pathetic article then and still hate it now. Telling us how the staff wants him to be more like Costa and have more of a killer’s instinct. Don’t make me puke, son. Of course he went and did the opposite. SMH

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  40. hey come on people …dont be so harsh to eduardo…the players played a bit shit last night after all…

    honest question ….silva or ozil? hehe

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  41. cannon13, I’m about to decide eduardo is your alter ego…all lower case and all. (banned smiley)

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  42. whats that eduardo ? you badmouthing bacary ?

    bacary sagna?

    i take it back….. you can all bully eduardo now …

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  43. heh alabama ..i have no alter ego just one massive one..

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  44. i want to find tickets for monaco for the epic comeback!! the players together with the supporters that love them. singing them on to battle and triumph.

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  45. what you on about cannon, how have I bad mouthed sagna, I stated he went was happy to go from first choice at Arsenal to a bit part at city, is that not what has happened

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