What has happened to Arsenal?

by Kobina Monney

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Well that was embarrassing.

A lot of Arsenal fans will be understandably angry at a team that appears to be doing their best Jekyll and Hyde impersonation.

I don’t think Wenger could have expected such an anaemic performance from his players. In a European tie you expect it to be a close and even if the team is significantly better it’s not always reflected in the scoreline. Arsenal surrendered meekly on the kind of occasion that’s supposed to show them at their best. After several wake-up calls this was by far the loudest – even bigger that the 8-2 thrashing at United. These players are either not good enough or they don’t have enough confidence in themselves.

And that was really the most disappointing aspect: they didn’t impose themselves at the San Siro. Walcott was terrifyingly bad, his lack of nous and skill exposed when he doesn’t have any space to run into beyond the full-back. Rosicky – after a promising start – faded and his shooting became worse as the night went on. (He wasn’t particularly close with his first shot.) Alex Song lacked the tenacity (as did the rest of the team) and the verve of his better displays; standoffish in the extreme and giving away some of those needless fouls he specialises in. Ramsey I thought had been taken off at half-time only to realise he was still on the pitch at the sixty-fifth minute mark. Sagna and Vermaelen were both dour, the former seemed to be sleep-walking when it came to his defensive duties and the latter was off-colour. I don’t think I’ve seen such an ineffective performance from an Arsenal team in Europe since Manchester United beat them in the semi-finals in 2009.

At worst it looked like they couldn’t be bothered. At best it looked as if they didn’t know how to retrieve the situation (or minimise it). AC Milan are a good side but Arsenal made them look so much better by allowing them the freedom to play and offering far too much respect. Abbiatti is a keeper capable of producing some howlers; their defence – while good – are also capable of making mistakes. You wouldn’t have thought so with Arsenal slowing the ball down and not playing at the quick, intense pace that can draw the opposition into making errors.

I’m certain fans will ask for Wenger’s head, the board’s or the need for more leaders on the pitch in the next few days but as a collective the buck stops with the players. They are all capable of playing better. They’re all capable of taking on more responsibility. Arsenal used to have an arrogance about them; now they just have a naivety to them.

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  • ogban

    Nothing happened to Arsenal. Truth is: this team is just not good enough. Yes, sometimes they flatter to deceive, but this team is nothing close to a dream Arsenal team. And when they begin to give contract extensions to players like Johan Djorou, then you realise that the nightmare is not about to be over!

  • Legolas still trust in Wenger

    give us a break all point it @ Wenger . for goodness sake he is having bad time yes but the damn board is to blame not Wenger . ask ourselves why when the board changed : Dein . arsenal went down ? wenger still wenger .but the board are not with the damn silent b***h kroenke and the St…d Gazidis who lack negotiating with players.

  • Kobina Monney

    But how did it get to this point? Arsenal signed lots of poor players when they had their Invincible team (Cygan, Jeffers!) but i’ve never seen them as listless as that. Then again, I don’t watch them that often. The amazing thing is Wenger has shifted out some of dodgy/injury prone players at the club (Gallas/Clichy/Toure) and just replaced them with carbon copies.

  • Kobina Monney

    Didn’t blame Wenger, I actually laid the blame at the players. Should have performed a helluva lot better than that.

  • Judith Le’Strange

    As far as I’m concerned the Board are more interested in lining their pockets than allowing Wenger to spend money, however Wenger has the money but will not spend more than a certain amount on a player even though he knows it will enhance the team. We should never had brought in the likes of Almunia, Squillaci, Denilson and Bendtner to name but a few, now we can’t get rid for love nor money. We need strong players to support the few decent ones we have otherwise I can see us saying goodbye to RvP, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sagna and possibly Vermaelan and who would blame them. We’ve won nothing for the past 7 years and I can’t see us winning anything in the forseeable future unless Wenger decides to spend or he’s ousted and a fresh manager brought in who will actually demand money for players and go and get them. But I also think the board need to freshened up I say bring Usmanov on board and I think we will definitely see a few changes for the better.

  • Legolas still trust in Wenger

    Guys first let me tel how mad i am bcz i am dying to see arsenal back to top but i know we have players who are not good : Djourou, Gibbs, Walcott , Park, Chamakh, Rosicky (getting old). if this summer we do not buy world class players then it will be obvious that arsenal want to become like ajax. besides our players are predictable especially walcott he is very very bad

  • Legolas still trust in Wenger

    sorry forgot squillaci , almunia , denilson and bendtner .

  • Flintstone

    There was FEAR in their body language. There was this high line approach,which gave rise to Milan’s easy goals,without a counter plan to quickly backtracking or the right energetic players to lead the attack. The passing was sluggish and imprecise for Milan to intercept easily. And players were so timid to be forced off the ball too often because they had too many touches,which actually had been the habit lately, and perfectly primed for mugging. All these point to a clueless game plan or lack of briefing. Wenger needs technical help,which he resists like death,and Bergkamp,who was so precise before the game, would be a good solution only if Wenger intends to go forward. But signs are that he WOULD NOT.

  • Legolas still trust in Wenger

    Judith let me tel u : i read that Uzmanov had a policy to invest in players in order to get profit which is David Dein idea. but now with Kroenke & Gazidis we can reach nothing guys .

  • Legolas still trust in Wenger
  • Wolfgang

    I disagree with Kobina. Wenger picks the team and is responsible for the tactics.From a tactical point of view,he has lost it.It’s the same style again and again.Recall the cl sf against MU.The red faced said he knew how the gunners played and tru to his word with all the possession the gunners suddenly ound themselves two goals down. It has been like that in the big games.
    Unless there is a dramatic improvemen.the gunners will be knocked out of the FA cup o and fail to clinch the 4th spot. Then what?
    More kids blah blah. By then MC/MU/Spurs/Chelsea could have made a monopoly of the cl spots.Getting back aint going to be easy. Just look at Liverpoo.
    I am afraid the same fate may befall the gunners.The signs aint good though you can’t rule anything out in the fw.

  • Theopants Superstar

    Not Wenger’s fault? So who bought these players? Who coaches them? Who set’s out the formations and tactics? Who decided to play certain players out of their best positions? Who allows these players to get away with continually making the same mistakes safe in the knowledge that they won’t get pulled up about it or dropped? Who has stuck with certain players when it was patently obvious to most of the fans that they just weren’t good enough for the club? Who continues to give these under-performing players new contracts? Who refuses to spend the money at his disposal to strengthen the team/squad whilst allowing those players that are performing to get so frustrated they eventually leave and get snapped up by our rivals? Who is it that blames everyone and everything but himself, his policies and his players for the continued embarrassments being inflicted on this great club? No, don’t blame Wenger. He’s got nothing to do with it at all!!

  • Kobina Monney

    I’d agree to a point about Wenger’s team selection but i don’t think that on this occasion that Milan tactically outplayed Arsenal, they just wanted to win the game. I’d be suprised if Wenger needed to motivate them for a Champions League knockout match at the San Siro. The players should have been pumped up from the moment the draw was announced.

    I don’t expect them to lose against Sunderlan and i don’t expect them to fall out of contention with regards to the 4th spot. Chelsea have been inconsistent as have Liverpool.

  • Kobina Monney

    Well that would be Wenger and his backroom staff, singling out Wenger for a collective failure on their part would be slightly unfair. For example Ferguson had Queiroz to keep his teams tactically organised and he’s less of a on-the-pitch coach and more of a man manager. Pat Rice should be doing the something similar but I have no idea what he does apart from wear those glasses.

    I think he’s tried to show some faith in the players (and that hasn’t turned out great). What I’m saying is that with this specific performance the players should have taken a lot more responsibility. They’ve hidden behind Wenger’s excuses long enough.

  • Legolas still trust in Wenger

    Arsenal FC is in crisis . honestly these are our problems:
    1- Defensive coaching is poor.( get adams or keown)
    2-Poor training on attacking and defending set-pieces
    3-Medical staff cannot keep players injury free.
    4-Board : 1- Don’t care about fans
    2- New owner(s) just want to make money
    5. Big stars were never replaced
    6- Players lack a winning mentality
    7-There is no organizer in the team
    8- full back can’t cross
    9-Don’t shoot from outside the box often enough
    10-Some players are lazy

  • skins

    The problem is simple. The board are determined to win the financial league.

  • Legolas still trust in Wenger

    11- Get Dennis bergkamp can help boosting players with creativity.
    12- Thierry henry next year to coaching staff to help attackers

  • skins

    What Arsenal MUST NOT DO is offer Walcott silly amounts of money when his contract is up. It seems to me Arsenal waste their money on giving quality contracts to average players and then can’t sell them.

  • adam

    why not just sell the board to some russian team,the board do fuck all for arsenal.bring bergkamp/henry/adams/etc back to help in the background..

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Mystical Mike

    He tactics were the same ad they always are, stupid predictable 433, with most like for like leightweight midfield ever to wear the arsenal shirt, and who is to blame for this? Wenger of course. He had the chance in the summer to replace both cesc and nasri but he is to blinkered to think players want to leave to win trophies. This team, sorry squad, is the worst we’ve had.

    We need a mass clear out but it won’t happen, we are stuck in ground hog day with no answer.

    Time for change. It’s getting boring having the same debate year after year.

    Wenger is past his sell by date, get used to wenger lovers!

  • Legolas still trust in Wenger

    wenger did not want to get rid of Nasri . and he wanted to replace him but the damn board didnt accept

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