Arsenal: We Fall, Then We Rise


Good morning Positives.

The task I have this morning in front of me I have all but forgotten how to get to grips with. How to process a defeat? The requirement has been so rare in 2016 it took me a little while to get to grips with.

I look at why we lost, and as a foundation let me be clear that, on the night, the better team won. Anyone who believes otherwise I admire your one-eyed enthusiasm but there was no luck to the result, no dodgy incident that robbed us. Nor, over 90 minutes was it some sort of abominable display riddled with Arsenal errors or individual player’s incompetence. We were well beaten. Good luck to the Saints, plucky little devils, in their next step on the Wembley road against Klopp. I see this morning the media are wetting themselves over a Manyoo v Liverpool League Cup final – fingers crossed they will be disappointed.

The technical conversation concerning the defeat last night I would refer any reader to the manager and his various post match comments: “lack of urgency….”, “disappointing start”, (Saints) sharper and fitter” “cheap goals”, “mountain to climb”, “could play two hours without scoring a goal.”

Arsene did not feel the players chosen were insufficiently experienced to take on Southampton, who themselves had a few fringe players in the starting line up, at home. He acknowledged that we were better in the second half. Would eight or nine changes to the starting line up have made a difference rather then the full 10? I doubt it. I  cannot add much to the manager’s succinct commentary. Disappointment is mutual.

Perhaps I would disagree on the “cheap goals” jibe as the visitors had two chances in the first half, both shots, and scored twice. That suggests a bit more quality than “cheap goals”. Cheap goals, or wonderfully crafted Wengerball gems, you have to hit the target. The contrast between Southampton’s conversion of those two first half chances, and our own profligate waste of the few chances we did manage to carve out in the second half was what killed us

With regard to individual performances I thought Alex Iwobi had a good night. He was the one genuinely creative player in our midfield and he battled away to try and spring the Saints defensive lock. With no Ozil, Sanchez or Santi to work with, what the young Nigerian did achieve was creditable. Fatigue and injury left us with Perez, a central striker back after five weeks injured and with barely any game time all season. He performed as one might expect and brushed away some of the rust that must have built up. I thought Kieran Gibbs, Emi Martinez, Rob Holding and Granit all did well. I attach no criticism to Le Coq. As Elneny was “sick”, and lasted only 10 minutes, that he began the game was obviously an error on someone’s part. Presumably it is difficult to know how you will feel on the pitch unless you try.

Of the other players the more experienced will be disappointed not to have contributed more, the youngsters that they did not show their best on what, for some, may be the last time they will play at the Ems. With loan deals beckoning in January, from which some may never return, it will have been a poignant night

So onward to the “London Stadium” on Saturday early evening. A new venue, and the next page in our season. We shall see if the midweek break has been genuinely beneficial for Ozil and Sanchez. The ‘Appy ‘Ammers had their own night of grief last night. We can step forward smartly, and together.

Enjoy your Thursday.

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59 comments on “Arsenal: We Fall, Then We Rise

  1. Oh dear what can the matter be? 11 young men locked in the lavatory

    And most of ‘em should have bloody stayed there. This really was a case of 10 changes too many and with too little on the bench to get ourselves out the hole we dug for ourselves.
    The start was OKish but possession going from one side of the centre circle to the other often strikes me that nobody is up front in space or running the angles. This definitely seemed to be the case as apart from a couple of pieces of lovely footwork, anything resembling an attack was quickly stifled. Virgil van Dijk whose name suggests an American paperback hero is fast becoming one of the most gifted central defenders in the PL and at this moment would rival Kos as the best in the league. Well supported by the rest of his defence, he made our attack look positively powder puff.
    It’s almost laughable to say that their opening goal was against the run of play, it was but it was a goal of quality all the same. A fine cross field pass found Bertrand in acres of space and his cross was pinpoint. The resultant shot was blocked but the ball rebounded to Clasie who gave Martinez no chance.
    Worse was to follow when a defensive error allowed another goal that again gave our keeper no chnce. 2-0 down and a very unhappy fan base.
    Elneny went off before half time to be replaced by Granit. Apparently Mo was sick and had been pre kick off. One has to ask “Why was he playing then?”
    At least Granit’s appearance, not too long after being followed by the Ox and Ainsley, improved the way we played thereafter and we actually came close (if 6 feet wide or over counts as close) to scoring. At least we looked as though we were trying.
    Definitely not an experiment to be repeated…but all we can do now is win all the other silver ware available. Keep the faith

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Well this match report leaves me in a quandary. I neither saw nor heard the game last night (netball training taxi duty), and followed it from time to time on the BBC Sports site and (foolishly) on Twitter, two platforms that seemed to suggest that we were a lot, lot worse than this balanced masterpiece suggests.
    It seems to me job pretty well done from the management team over this seasons League Cup run: experience given to younger players, game time to squad players, confidence to new comers. And many lessons learnt as the keen eye of Bould and Wenger ranged over the efforts of all and sundry. And also, of course, affordable and available Emirates seats for those not normally lucky enough to go.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Well played that man.
    We got beaten fair and square. But I won’t be getting upset that a team of rusty second string players with a smattering of youngsters couldn’t do the job. To be honest, I expected it.
    I’m over it already

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Great post, really enjoyed reading it.

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    Liked by 2 people

  5. the premier league is a very tough league already, its almost imposible to combine it with two cup competions played midweek. i doubt if there is any club that can successfully do that anymore. so i’m happy were are out of the efl rather than the ucl. my only prayer now is for liverpool to beat southampton so that we dont outstanding game by the time we play them in the league.
    the truth is that if we win the efl and fail to win the league, the fans will as well moan.


  6. As a Watford fan and aspiring blogger Mr Fox I salute you. Keep the faith.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thank you! I would appreciate any comments or tips on my first blog, am yet to get any followers as well!


  8. The mature response is to accept the team did not perform to their potential on the night and the opposition played better and took their chances. The nature of competition is that sometimes you are a winner and sometimes you are the loser (especially if you don’t play well). But no doubt if I took a wander around the Arsenal blogs and twitter feeds I will see a lot of babies throwing their toys out of their prams and looking for someone to blame for last night. I can live without that, so I won’t bother, I’ll just hunker down and hope for a better performance and result at the weekend.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Yep. Onwards. A night to leave me ruing how good some teams have become at defending in numbers, with pressing at the right times.

    It gave the unwelcome impression that their way is near enough the way, a method of playing so effective, when executed well, that you need to have a style of playing expressly designed to cope with and counteract it. I don’t even know what that would be, other than cutting way back on playing out from the back, using long balls, running and tackling ferociously, and not committing many numbers forward.

    Thankfully, that impression, on a tough night, is not quite right. It’s more complicated than that. Football’s a game of contingency, especially when you concede first against a team so sharp and well-organised, playing in that style. Plus, our way has served us well so far.

    A black eye, however, for me and my conviction that three true central midfielders would ensure that even if the attack couldn’t get going the defence would be excellently protected (20 mins in I was missing Ozil immensely). I guess the lesson is that those players have to be as sharp of mind and body as their opponents, and make the right decisions at the key moments.

    Anyway, a good performance at the weekend and this game will be firmly in the past.

    If the club compile dvd’s to help teach the first team and younger teams about the challenges of the high press, etc, last night will provide some choice material.

    Their second goal is a good watch in terms of how well they trapped Jenkinson and how poorly the three cm’s dealt with the situation afterwards. That thing Theo is always doing now of looking over his shoulder…yeah, it’s a good idea. A video nasty but a useful one.


  10. My biggest disappointment last night was in Rambo. Not that he was bad, but I was rather hoping he would excel.Now its not his fault that I put my expectations on him. I just felt he didn’t know what his role was, or where he was supposed to play.
    But, and this may sound like the excuse it is, Aaron gives the ball to players that are going to be immediate under pressure, and he fires it at them. The top players (like himself) can deal with these balls, some of the lesser players can’t., and it gives the impression that it was a bad ball. Which it actually is if the player receiving it can’t cope.



    “It was not good enough and we paid for that.”
    Arsène Wenger cut a frustrated figure after his team lost for the first time in 20 matches in Wednesday’s EFL Cup quarter-final defeat to Southampton.
    The boss spoke to Arsenal Player afterwards, and here’s what he said.

    on the game…
    It’s not only a disappointing night because we are out, but it’s a disappointing night because the performance was disappointing. I question our urgency level, our focus from the start on. It was not good enough and we paid for that. Overall, I think that is the most disappointing. It can happen that you go out of the competition, but our first 45 minutes were just not good enough and not at the level of required concentration. In the second half we responded well, but overall for me, that’s the most disappointing.

    on what he said at half-time…
    That what we did there was not Arsenal. It’s not the way you can stay in the competition and that we want a different response. I think it was there, but overall it’s a disappointing night and I must say, Southampton deserved to qualify and well done to them. They were ready from the start on and we were not.

    on whether it was a learning experience…
    It is a learning experience but it’s still disappointing. People will say I made many, many changes. But look at the names of the players who were on the pitch tonight. We had plenty of Premier League games on the pitch.

    on whether the squad was strong enough squad to win the competition…
    Yes, I felt we had a squad that could win it. We had the luck to play at home. It’s disappointing to have a crowd like we have, you can give them some satisfaction in this competition as well and the way we started the game, I think it’s disappointing.

    on losing the 19-game unbeaten run…
    I don’t think I can moan about the momentum in the Premier League, that is important for us. I knew that in the League Cup that could happen, but it’s disappointing to lose the game more than the run we have. The run we want to keep in the Premier League, but I am very disappointed tonight because there are questions on important things. You know, when you turn up in the first 45 minutes we played.

    on Elneny…
    It’s sickness only, it’s not an injury.

    Copyright 2016 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20161130/wenger-that-was-not-the-real-arsenal#FCGVHV5fVTXixiRe.99


  12. While it is fair to say the best team won on the night it is difficult not to admit the glaring errors that led to the early goals givng is a mounting to climb and letting the saints dictate the style log game they wanted to play.
    Jenks proved he is still a good player but was asleep for the first goal and not strong enough for the second.
    I actually was disappointed by the saints who I expected to be really good but created little off their own backs relying on pressuring our back line or counter attacks.
    I did think we improved in the second half and definitely had chances but I think this was one of those first goal wins games


  13. going to be a whole lot of whinging when next Tuesday we see virtually the same 11 as last night take on Basel in the CL game.


  14. anicol they were cheap goals as the came from defensive mistakes, major ones, not only in coughing up the ball, but the lack of “urgency” to get it back or close down attackers. Yes, I doubt anyone would be so churlish as to dismiss both finishes as being anything but of the highest caliber, but that does not lessen what concerns us as Arsenal supporters, namely the part Arsenal players played in allowing the setting up of the strikes.
    Wenger, like most of us, does not seem to be overly upset at actually losing – how can you when AFC were clearly second best last night – but just like the Boss, we can be disappointed by the display, the lack of urgency, that very few players – Martinez, Gabriel, Holding and Gibbs, maybe Iwobi – did enough to not tarnish their claims for a first team game says it all, the fact that not one player done enough to be able to say to the boss, “I deserve a starting place v WHU”, or even pose the boss a selection headache of the good kind, no any selection headache AW will have for the WHU game will be of the slightly concerned kind. Who plays right back, who will the midfield two be.

    Like George, the player I was most disappointed by was Ramsey, I had hoped he would be one of those guys who put in a performance that demanded he be picked v WHU. I also thought Coquelin was way off his usual standards. Having lost his place last weekend, I expected he would be busting a gut to force his way back in, but his usual energy levels and aggression where not on show last night.
    We started the game last night with almost two minutes of possession without a southampton player getting near the ball, but also telling was that we did not get near their penalty area, it was what AW would call, possession without penetration and it really set the tone for our first half performance.
    We were much better in the second half, yes southampton still had the better chances, but then with a 2-0 lead they could play the counterattacking game so always likely to have a few good chances as we pushed extra men forward.
    Lucas looked like a man just back from six weeks out injured, the ball did not stick, we needed a Giroud, or a Welbeck, or an Akpom or even the unfortunate Sanogo. Someone who could ruffle a few defenders feathers. We had one “kid” playing last night, Reine-adelaide, and once again he showed fancy footwork and bits of skill, but left you wondering when we will see him put a real marker down.

    We lost, we deserved to lose, its over and done with, so we move on, lets hope we don’t see that sort of performance from the first choice players v WHU.


  15. “Up to a point Lord Copper”

    The problem is Eddy we managed to open up Saints at least twice, both of those chances could also be put down to “defensive errors”. The difference was Aaron scooped his finish to Forster for the first and the Ox put his effort into row 14.

    Sometimes you get away with errors, sometimes not.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. The stage was set for Rambo to put in the same performance last night as he had for Wales in the Euros. It did not work out. It took him until half time to get on the same wavelength as those around him and vice versa.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. My impression of Jeff last night is of a player badly in need of regular competitive football. He does not seem to have developed in 15-16 months since we first saw him in the Summer tour. My comment on the January loan had very much him as it’s focus.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. anicol yes of course sometimes it works for you, but I did not see any lack of “urgency” by the southampton players, like I did with AFC on their two goals, the second goal especially was awful from purely an effort point of view, we can maybe excuse Elneny somewhat with him being sick, but Reine-Adelaide, Jenkinson, Coquelin and Ramsey all failed to show any urgency to get back and defend, there seemed to be a lot of “it will be alright on the night” sort of effort, “ah someone else will put in the tackle, run the hard yards, I will just wait for the handy ball”

    Last night on far too many occasions n the first half when a pass went astray, we seen a player either complain about the poor pass, or just stand there feeling sad for themselves, the same when we lost a tackle, in neither instance did it seem that actually trying to win back the ball was the first thought of our player. I can forgive any player having a poor game, but I am less forgiving for what looks like a poor attitude. Arsenal’s game is all about the tempo of our play, the urgency to do things at speed, both defending and attacking,

    at the moment, no matter who is in the team, we are having trouble getting going in the first half of games, Wenger has said he does not know the reason why, as the prep is the same for all games

    anyway we move on, we have a big game on Saturday, a game that is a lot more important than last nights.


  19. yes anicol, Jeff really looks like he needs a run of games in mens football, but with the news today that Dan Crowley has been sent packing back to us, and with many of our loan players not holding down regular spots, it needs to be the right loan. I stated yesterday that I’ve watched JeffU18, U19, U21, U23 and first team, and I’ve yet to see him dominate in a game for a large chunk of a game, he does wonderful things, and has these moments where it has you saying, “this boy has got it all”, but somehow at the end of the game, you are left feeling a bit disappointed by him, despite the good bits. If you like, he strolls through too much of the game, and you see like last night, when he should be busting a gut to help stop a goal, he is just jogging back making a token effort.


  20. Official site…Santi to have surgery….at least 3 months….great, we never go a season without absolute humdingers on the injury front



    Santi Cazorla is travelling to Sweden early next week to undergo surgery to his right ankle.
    The club’s medical team and specialists have decided that surgery is required to the plantaris tendon in the Spain international’s right foot.

    The problem has not progressed during a rehabilitation programme following the injury during the home match with Ludogorets on October 19.
    We expect Santi’s full recovery to take approximately three months.
    Everyone at the club will be working hard with Santi to make sure he’s back on the pitch as soon as possible.

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20161201/santi-cazorla-to-undergo-surgery#E2XKH2XdAlxkF4PT.99


  22. Here is one we took earlier;


  23. Jeez, that’s a blow for us and Cazorla.

    Can’t spin it into a positive, but it does mean increased opportunities for the remaining players. Simply: we have to find a three that works as well as Santi, Coquelin, Ozil. If not, we’ll need a bit extra from other departments.

    It could also make it marginally easier to predict Wilshere’s role next year, as all our other midfield candidates should now play a lot of football in various combinations.


  24. I can see where the problem has arisen though, with them trying to treat the plantaris tendon in his right foot – hopefully the Swedish doctor will be on it

    Liked by 1 person

  25. reports that Danny Welbeck is back in training, and should be available for first team selection at Christmas


  26. just in case you want to correct anyone who is saying jack should now be recalled from his loan, the rules don’t allow it, only goalies can be recalled from long term loans.


  27. an interview with abou diaby, he talks about dealing with injuries and how two tackles changed his career


    Liked by 1 person

  28. edu
    the rule doesnt allow us to recall jack but the rule allows clubs to cut short the loan of dan crowley six months earlier. same with jenko last season right?

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Interesting STORM of OUTRAGE on Twitter about Cesc Fabregas. apparently someone has made the suggestion that with Cesc out of favour with Conte and Santi injured the door might be open for a return to Arsenal come 1/1/17.

    I do not intend to engage in the blizzard of babble on transfers as I could not give a fuck until things happen and signatures are appended to documents.

    What caught my attention is the noisy outpouring of hatred from AFC fans towards the player, despite the fact he played for us for so many years, contributed so much over some fairly difficult years and the move to the new stadium, and was probably our best player for several seasons.

    No, that means nothing. He is SCUM having signed for CFC, and/or FCB. The good is erased by the apparent unforgivable ‘wrong’ done.

    No wonder so many of them are so perpetually miserable.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. To be a ‘proper fan’ do I have to sign up to this precept of hating ex-players on principle, or is it optional ?

    Liked by 1 person

  31. A5, I think he is scum because of the way he left ARSENAL. All the Barca business and going on strike and all.
    I normally look at it the other way once a player has gone I have no obligation to support him, especially when so many of our ex- players are so churlish about the club and fans support them over the players that are still wearing the famous red and white.


  32. I know what you mean. It just seems a bit self defeating to dismiss all the good things that a player has done as without value while an Arsenal player because of what they go on to do later. Was he always Scum ?

    Players come and go all the time. If Cesc had been a fundamentally loyal character presumably he would have stayed in Barcelona as a teenager rather than joining us in the first place.


  33. Andrew – for me it’s not that players leave but how they leave.

    It was a grim couple of years with CF, RvP, Nasri and even Clichy all leaving us with a certain bitter taste of disappointment in our mouths. The difference between CF and RvP, compared to Nasri and Clichy was two-fold. The exits of the latter were ‘clean’ breaks whereas Fabregas had infamously just signed a long-term contract and was having an entire squad built around him while RvP, (incredible though it now seems) attempted to engage the fans via his notorious website which popped up following his one injury-free season with us. And many people felt the form RvP was in at that point put us in with a great shout for the League title that following year – instead we got online shenanigans and, for the fans, a harrowing move to Manure.

    For my part I could not believe RvP would leave us or that Red Nose would pay so much for one or two good seasons. I’d watched Fabregas all they way up from the reserves from when he arrived aged 16, wondering if he’d make it. At that time i was seeing more of the reserves than the first team. He had every right to make his moves but there was always a sense of aggravated poor form associated with both him and van Persie. I also think few of us felt little good would come for either player in leaving Wenger’s bosom but no doubt there are arguments to the contrary.

    A return for either, however, would feel like a nod to the past rather than to the future and I struggle to see it happening.

    Just as, in the first place, I struggled to see them leaving …

    Liked by 3 people

  34. if a player doesnt give a fuck about us why should we. fabregas is a snake. him and rvp are one and the same. maybe you have forgotten his role in getting gabriel sent off, which to me is same as rvp celebrating his goal in front of arsenal fans.
    he left us as a potential best midfielder inthe world, why do we have to take him back when he’s finished?

    Liked by 3 people

  35. I am not expressing myself very well here. I can understand being aggrieved, as indeed I was when a player who we had supported through season after season of injury came good then almost immediately decamped to the Mancs.

    There may be issues as to how he went about it but it was not, in my view, a proper way to behave. A poor man, irrespective of his wage.

    The point I am getting at is that in his case, and in Cesc’s case the manner of their departure does not detract from acknowledging the good things they did for the club. Especially in Cesc’s case he put in some great seasons. I am not going to erase the bloke and deny that he was an important part of AFC from 05 onwards.


  36. I must be the only one who has a similar view about Henry bailing out of Arsenal for Barcelona then, or is our hatred more selective?

    Liked by 2 people

  37. It’s Jack Wilshere who we should aim some ire at, he selfishness in wanting to regain is England place due to the corrupt or retarded choices of recent England managers have put our club at a massive disadvantage now that Santi is nobbled, Jack would be the natural replacement.

    Poor Carl Jenkinson may not be Cafu, but he at least will do his honest best in his position when called upon, and sit down and shut up about it when not asked, same as Gibbs.


  38. Liam Brady called it about Fabregas – says’ his legs have gone.

    Liked by 2 people


    Arsène Wenger has revealed the latest team news ahead of our trip to the London Stadium to take on West Ham United. This is what he had to say:
    He gave updates on Mohamed Elneny, Mathieu Debuchy, Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck, and this is what he had to say:

    on the team news…
    We have Mo Elneny who came out of our last game with sickness – I will test him today [Friday].

    on Mathieu Debuchy…
    It’s a severe hamstring injury. Six weeks, I think. It’s frustrating for me, but even more for him because he fights very hard. He is a guy who has an exceptional attitude and is very serious. Overall, I think that he is absolutely disappointed, but he is as well a fighter and he will fight to come back.

    on Olivier Giroud…
    I thought that Giroud might be available for Saturday, but he might not be available for tomorrow. Certainly for Tuesday [in Basel], he will be available.

    on having Danny Welbeck back in training…
    It’s great, but he is at least four weeks away from playing a game.

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20161202/team-news-elneny-debuchy-and-giroud#h2mvFMAYtfJuujxJ.99


  40. layksite the loan rules are that we can not recall an outfield player who is on a season long loan, but a club can cut short the loan deal if they get our approval, Jenkinson had his loan cut short due to injury, it was a season ending injury so there is no problem with sending him back to his parent club so their medics take charge of the injury. As for Crowley, he might actually be on a youth loan deal, which has different rules than a senior loan deal. Youth loan deals even allow for the player to play for his parent clubs youth teams if they wish, and his loan clubs first team.
    Last season we took Gnabry back from WBA but due to no financial deal being struck, he could not play for our first team, WBA did not want to pay any penalty for sending him back, and wanted to break the loan deal and only pay for the time he was with them, both sides dug in, and so WBA ended up paying for the full season, but AFC could not play the lad in first team games, only reserve and youth.


  41. if we hope to beat chelski in the race for title, we shouldnt be signing their reject.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Chuba Akpom ‏@cakpom Dec 1
    Nice to be back running on the AlterG treadmill , been a while but feeling good and closer to my return 👊🏾🙏🏾 #AFC



    Arsenal held their final first-team training session today prior to tomorrow’s Premier League game away to West Ham United, with Gedion Zelalem one of four U23 players in attendance.

    Zelalem was overlooked for the EFL Cup defeat to Southampton in midweek, but his inclusion here suggests that he is still rated highly by Arsene Wenger.

    In addition, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Krystian Bielik and Chris Willock also trained with the senior squad.

    With regards to senior players, Mohamed Elneny trained after recovering from illness, but Olivier Giroud, Hector Bellerin, Mathieu Debuchy, Danny Welbeck, Yaya Sanogo, Per Mertesacker, Chuba Akpom and Santi Cazorla are all out.

    Posted in Uncategorized on December 2, 2016 by Jeorge Bird.


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