Too Little, Too Late.

Out fought, out classed, out paced and given a lesson in desire and determination. Losing three one to manu at home is bad enough but what makes it worse is the fact that they aren’t even that good; somehow, collectively, we managed to play so poorly that we made them look better than the average team that they really are.

I didn’t have a problem with the team selection; in fact, I was quite excited about it. The opportunity to watch Fabrégas, Rosicky, Arshavin and Nasri in the same team was something that I have had high hopes for since the pre-season, I know this is not the first time that they have played together and I also remember that their last outing did not live up to expectation but I figured that with this amount of individual talent in the same team it surely only had to be a question of time before it clicked into gear and became an unstoppable unit – the problem was that, sadly, today was not that day.

It is as if you take the finest Russian caviar, the freshest French oysters, the most mouth watering Spanish ham……you knew that I was going to get stuck when I came to the Czech Republic’s cuisine, didn’t you? Let’s give our Eastern European neighbours the benefit of the doubt and say that they have fabulous fillet steak. Individually all this foods are delicious but put them on the same plate and for some reason they just don’t work.

It all started well, Arshavin was making Evans and Brown look like two carthorses standing on their hind legs. The Russian was up for this game and was clearly giving everything he had but it was more head down and drive forward rather than create space and find a team mate better placed. Nevertheless, we looked like the team most likely to score first — this lasted for all of ten minutes until the tables turned and in next to no time we had used up eight of our nine cats lives before United inevitably got the break through…..Clichy was made to look a monkey by Nani before he lobbed a cross in that Almunia was only able to palm into his own net.

Naturally, we tried to respond but ten minutes later United broke from one of our corners and raced forward at Henry–Pires speed, sixty thousand Arsenal fans screamed in unison: watch Rooney, watch Rooney, watch Rooney but Denilson failed to hear; in fact, Denilson failed to do anything of any use — and surprise, surprise Shrek scored. Two down at half time and being without hard liquor or class A drugs the break was tough going, most people were walking around in silence with a shell shocked stare.

The second half got underway and one of my friends, returning late, said, as he sat down, it can’t get any worse; tellingly, no one turned around in agreement. I suppose we tried to rally, there seemed to be a bit more urgency about us but, whereas, our interplay was flicks and tricks their passing was crisp and purposeful. Before long, and by this time, unsurprisingly, they scored a third, I can’t even remember who it was, just a blur of black pouring forward at speed past helpless red and white shirts, this was game over and we hadn’t even had a shot on the United goal that had forced Van de Sar to make a save.

Yes, we scored and for five minutes we deluded ourselves that there might be a miracle on the cards but that bubble was burst when Almunia made one of the most pathetic clearances I have ever seen a keeper make in all the time I have been watching Arsenal, it was humiliating as was our afternoon.

I am not bothering with player ratings; it would just get too depressing, I would, however, just like to say that out of the tiny minority of players that had the right to hold their head up as they left the field, Alex Song was one of them.

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71 Responses to Too Little, Too Late.

  1. London says:

    Morning Padsters

    How about “Arsenal for Life”

    Have you ever seen one of those, what are now, rather old fashioned teddy bears that when you lean them forward they make a growling noise that shows they are unhappy…..well, every time I lean forward I growl.

  2. alfamilano says:

    Morning London, top post you caught the mood perfectly. I was thinking after the match that I didn’t envy you having to write this one up.

  3. rico says:

    Morning people

    Fine write up London, I thought Gallas showed grit too and could hold his head up..

    For me it was the tale of two strikers, Rooney a class act, a real finisher..

    Ours – well, we haven’t got one!

    Nine hours AW to change that!!

  4. alfamilano says:

    By the way it was Park who scored, running like Theo used to be able to. Who lost possession just before hand? All together, ‘Denil-son’.

    I couldn’t figure out why Clichy didn’t try to tackle Park. Perhaps Peaches could try a poll :).

    The best bit of the match was when Cesc got a free kick after Sagna appeared to foul him.

  5. London says:

    Morning Alfa and Rico

    Alfa, thaks for that….after a while they all start to look the same……a bunch of banned words.

  6. Big Raddy says:

    Fine post on a difficult morning London. I particularly liked the food analagy.

  7. Irishgunner says:

    I’m just too disappointed to be angry.

    Almunia NEEDS to be replaced – he couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery never mind his penalty box.

    At this stage if we got decent money for Clichy I’d let him go. Gibbs is becoming the better defender despite the odd mistake. Clichy has played too often to not know how to position himself.

    Vermaelen, Gallas, Song, Fabregas and Arshavin did well – the first three were excellent and the other two did the best they could. I thought Rosicky had a better game than Nasri and was amused he was replaced.

    We made Nani look like Ronaldo yesterday – that was the worst United team we have faced in many a season and we made them look like world beaters.

  8. alfamilano says:

    Irish I agree with all your thoughts except the point about Clichy. He has been suprisingly poor but he has got to be worth a few months of training and getting match fitness don’t you think?

  9. Rasputin says:

    Morning all,

    Thanks London for having the stomach to produce such an intelligent post when ranting would have been so easy.

    From what I saw, the team had no balance. Denilson was like a ball-bearing rolling around inside a machine and blocking all the other cogs. Almunia comes out flapping like Larry Grayson playing kiss chase. And to extend London’s food analogy, the combination of rich ingredients has given me a bad case of diarrhoea 😦

    Having read the extreme over-reaction on many web sites I am grateful to you all for sticking together – it is plainly obvious why we need a site of our own where we can at least replace expletives with wit at a time like this.

  10. Irishgunner says:

    Alfa – He was off before he got the injured. He’s not the same player for me that he was a few seasons back. He makes some elementary mistakes. Gibbs is more ready to clear the ball the Clichy is – he seems to have more a defenders mind.

    I love Clichy and yeah if ye can get back to what he was then excellent, if not he is sadly proving a liability.

    We have a working CB unit, they are been let down by balls not be cut out on the wings and the left is the worst. Nani’s goal was horrific from Clichy and Denilson just looking at him and Almunia not able to tip it over.

  11. alfamilano says:

    Irish, fair points. Gibbs has definitely come on. I did used to think that Clichy would completely replace Cashley but thinking about yesterday, Cashley could have been out for 2 years and still played much better than Clichy did. 😦

    Totally agree about the CBs, you could see it with Rooney’s goal. TV in particular was trying to cover for Clichy and Denilson for the whole match. And be our striker as well.

  12. alfamilano says:

    I have a question for everyone.

    If RvP was playing yesterday, fully fit and in form, would it have been any different?

  13. Irishgunner says:

    What hurts so much Alfa is that we constantly seem to be two/three players away.

    We NEED a new keeper, an Akinfeev or Lloris.

    Then a striker who just cares about putting the ball in the net not fooling around with it – some one in the mould of Flippo Inzaghi (without all the offsides) or Miroslav Klose.

    I’d actually like to see Rosicky do what Denilson is trying to do. He is a good link player – gets stuck in the tackle and can pick a pass.

  14. Irishgunner says:

    Always a hard one to answer but considering the form he was in before he got injured then yes, very much so.

    RvP was linking well, especially with Cesc and was scoring some important goals. He was turning 50/50 chances into goals.

  15. Rasputin says:

    Hi alfa – we may have lost 2:3 with RVP. It would have been more constructive to the cause to have left Denilson on the bench and flapper at home playing X-box.

  16. Irishgunner says:

    Speaking to the Arsenal official matchday programme, Bendtner explained the reason for his prolonged absence:
    “It was to my groin, and to be honest I had been playing with it since the start of the season.
    “Then it got worse since my car crash [in September]. I didn’t feel it, but it gave me a bruised bone, so it definitely had something to do with the crash.
    “It wasn’t until the doctors told me after the scan that I knew what it was. I had never suffered a muscle pull before so I didn’t know how bad it was,” continued the Arsenal striker.
    “It was kind of strange but it all came down to what happened with the car crash, it certainly wasn’t helped by it.
    “I had a setback in my recovery, so it didn’t exactly go to schedule, but the important thing is I’m back.”

    So Wenger knew this about Bendtner, he knows the chances of seeing RVP again this season are slim, he is letting Arshavin play through injury and yet he never even attempted to bring in a striker on loan at least?

  17. Rasputin says:

    Arsene was sombre in his post match interview and made no excuses – he also didn’t appear to assume any of the blame for such an abject performance?

  18. London says:

    Morning Rasp

    Your Denilson ball-bearing analogy is up there.

  19. Rasputin says:

    Morning London,

    At some point we have to be constructive. We’re not going to sign anyone before 5 pm today so the focus has to be on salvaging what we can and finding a way of making the players we have perform to their potential. Perhaps we have too many maestros and not enough workmen?

  20. Irishgunner says:

    What do ye think of my thought on playing Rosicky as a link player where Denilson does?

  21. Rasputin says:

    That has to be worth a try Irish. Your mate Tom is a good tackler, twice as strong as Denilson and contributes to the defence in the way a midfielder should. I would hope that Diaby replaces Denilson when he is available again if Arsene doesn’t follow your suggestion 😉

  22. London says:


    Months ago, I was making that very suggestion….at the time I was ridiculed for it…..ironically, I have changed my own mind to that of thinking Nasri might be better suited….but a player properly suited to the role would be even more welcome.

  23. peachesgooner says:

    Morning all

    Thanks London for the post, I agree totally about Song, he along with Gallas and Vermaelen were really trying to push the team forward in the 2nd half.

    Why doesn’t Cesc do that? I was thinking that when Cescs magic isn’t working Gallas and Vermaelen take turns in driving the game – we’ve seen it a few times now – does Cesc get bogged down because the players around him aren’t cutting it? Was he having to worry too much about Denilson?

  24. Irishgunner says:

    Diaby doesn’t play as well alongside Cesc although they haven’t really had a run of games had they?

    Now, evidently I watch Tomas closely (for his skills ya know 😉 ) and I think he is wasted in the wings, would be far better used in the middle. He would be our Alonso.

  25. Irishgunner says:

    London – I’d go for Rosicky, he has more experience and I think that could play a part, he also has a better eye for a pass than Nasri.

  26. peachesgooner says:

    I’m thinking about your suggestion Irish and London, if Rosicky plays in the middle with Song and Cesc who plays on the wing…….

  27. peachesgooner says:

    How would you set the team up Irish – morning/evening 🙂

  28. Rasputin says:

    I agree again Irish – it shows how desparate I am that I (of all people) am calling for Diaby, but there are signs that he is making a Song-like transforrmation into the player we want him to be.

    No-one responded to my maestros/workmen comment, once again yesterday we failed to do the simple things well – workmen concentrate on those and allow the maestros to perform.

  29. peachesgooner says:

    …….where would Diaby play?

  30. Irishgunner says:

    Evening/Morning Peaches

    Who would play wing?? One problem at a time 😆

    ————- Almunia —————–

    Sagna —- Gallas — Vermaelen —- Gibbs

    ————— Song ——————-

    ——— Rosicky ——- Fabregas ——–

    —-Arshavin————————— Nasri

    ————— RvP ———————–

    And that folks is why I am not a manager 🙂 but if I were and I had £30mil I might spend some of it 👿

  31. Irishgunner says:

    From the bench Peaches

  32. Rasputin says:

    That would depend on the formation peaches. We obviously have to give up on the idea of wingers. As you observed, yesterday Song appeared to be playing in front of Denilson and was up with Cesc a lot of the time. We would concede less goals if players stuck to their primary jobs!

  33. Irishgunner says:

    Oh wait I forgot Eboue 😯

  34. peachesgooner says:

    Ah but wingers could be our Plan B then 🙂

  35. Irishgunner says:

    If we came up with a working Plan A first Peaches that would be smashing 😆

  36. Rasputin says:

    We’ve got until 5pm to buy 2 wingers 🙄

    What about Ramsay Irish, he’s got to be better than Denilson at the moment. Another ‘renowned writer’ elsewhere has observed that what was telling was that the 40 year old ref sprinted past Denilson just before Rooney scored the second … At the moment Almunia and Denilson have lost the plot. It will not help them if we keep playing them and it certainly won’t help the club.

  37. Rasputin says:

    Add Clichy to that last list ….

  38. irishgunner says:

    Honestly I am shocked that Ramsey never got an opportunity – well much of one – when he was playing out of his skin for Wales.

  39. peachesgooner says:

    Sorry, jumping the gun there – of course a Plan A would help 😳

  40. London says:

    To be accurate the last time Ramsey played out of his skin for Wales was against Scotland….hhhmmmm

  41. peachesgooner says:

    How does Denilson rate above Ramsey – its impossible to understand. It can only come down to experience, but Arsene didn’t think twice about using Cesc when he was inexperienced, whats he waiting for…..

    Talented players like Ramsey, Vela, Merida and LJ must wonder what they have to do to get games ahead of Denilson……

  42. peachesgooner says:

    Thats true London and maybe the pace of a premiership tie is too much for him at the moment but you only learn to cope with the pace when you’re playing in it surely.

  43. peachesgooner says:

    Ramsey that is……………

  44. irishgunner says:

    Denilson can’t cope with the pace of a snail, remember the Stoke game and Sidibe was akin to Usain Bolt going past him?

  45. peachesgooner says:

    Exactly – how can Ramsey be judged if he isn’t played. Eastmond made a mistake in his first game of needing too much time on the ball but by his second game he was quicker. If a player has it – he has it……….

    Eastmond would have concentrated hard and given his all yesterday………Denilson was there for fun.

  46. irishgunner says:

    The problem is that Denilson knows he’ll start.

  47. Rasputin says:

    I assume Arsene persists with certain players despite numerous poor performances because there is a void in the side he hopes they will fill one day. So Song, Denilson and EE were given extended runs – Song has been the main success. My beef is that Arsene doesn’t seem to know when to give up, or as peaches said earlier, he doesn’t seem to appreciate the negative effect it has on other players denied their chance.

  48. irishgunner says:

    Or that there is also the need to fill the void in the here and now

  49. Rasputin says:

    Irish, I’ve just noticed you’ve got a new gravatar – is it Lee Dixon?

  50. Rasputin says:


  51. irishgunner says:

    I miss the Iceman Rasp 😦 but 🙂 that we ever had him

  52. peachesgooner says:

    😕 what are you talking about rasp 😕

  53. Rasputin says:

    Can’t you see Irish’s new DB gravatar peaches – you really need to update your system.

  54. irishgunner says:

    DB10 for 2010 eh?eh? 😉

  55. peachesgooner says:

    Hrumph no I can’t 😦

  56. Rasputin says:

    I know I’m dreaming, but the window hasn’t closed just yet and there are rumours of us making a last ditch bid for an ‘exciting young powerful striker’ – wake me up if I’m dreaming 🙄

  57. peachesgooner says:

    😆 dream on, still a few hours 😆

  58. peachesgooner says:

    Just shrunk your banner – did you see it before I changed it, I didn’t like the way the comments came up though so I’m still looking…..

    Anyone seen kelsey this morning?

  59. Rasputin says:

    The player we are most strongly being linked with is….

    Anderlecht’s Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku, he’s 16 and 6ft 3ins

    My problem is that even Arsene wouldn’t expect a 16 year old from another league to come straight into our side and score the goals to win us the prem or CL …. obvious I know, but it had to be said 😕

  60. London says:

    Wake me up if it actually happens

  61. peachesgooner says:

    Not a solution then……..

    A goal-keeper would be more useful – at least they’d have some confidence in whats going on behind them……

  62. Rasputin says:

    On the subject of keepers …

    Mannone played 8 games for us earlier in the season – we won 6 and drew 2 – he kept 4 clean sheets – we didn’t lose a game.

    He won MoM against Fulham and kept us in front with a string of spectacular saves.

    He did nothing wrong but got replaced by Fabianski for the pool game who was subsequently replaced by Almunia. Statistically, Mannone is the most successful keeper this season and yet he was replaced for no good reason!!!

  63. Rasputin says:

    Lukaku is a monster at only 16 – I’d take him ….

  64. Rasputin says:

    OK, so 5 has come and passed …. we haven’t signed anyone …. I shall not be leaving a comment in ITYS because I so wanted to be wrong 😦

  65. London says:

    Your doing some sterling work there Rasp in keeping this ticking at what has to be said is a very difficult time.

  66. London says:

    Rumour has it that the judge who allowed the Terry revalations to be released was a gooner. Ooo-to-be. Best I could do on a very slow day.

  67. peachesgooner says:

    Well done for trying London – have you cheered up at all.

  68. irishgunner says:

    Chelsea wherever you may be,
    Don’t trust your wife with John Terry,
    His dad sells crack,his mum steals tea
    And he cries when he misses a penalty.

    😆 *sigh* maybe we’ll beat ’em Sunday, its all set up for a shock result.

  69. Big Raddy says:

    Wenger said in the summer break two seasons ago that we were fine centrally but susceptible to balls over the top between the CB’s and the MF (sound fanmiliar?). That infers the need for a linking DM.

    He sold a CB and signed a better one, but hasn’t addressed the DM problem. Song is a fine player and has developed rapidly, he has been a shining light this season, but AW was referring to the space behind where Song plays i.e. when Song goes forward, who “sits”? This must be Denilson’s role, and at only 21, he is clearly not ready . This position requires intelligence and experience.

    I cannot believe there aren’t the players available.

    I am sure AW tried to sign players, who for a variety of reasons wouldn’t leave their clubs mid-season. If we are frustrated today imagine how AW feels.

  70. peachesgooner says:

    Morning NEW POST

    Raddy I’ll move your comment onto the new one

  71. Rasputin says:

    Morning all,

    Hi Raddy, I don’t think Arsene would have tried or even had the desire to bring in a DM.

    He could have brought back Flamini. Imagine if we’d had Palacios breaking up the manu attacks on sunday instead of Denilson bouncing off their players like a ping pong ball. We could have kept Palacios for nothing when he was on trial. Denilson was probably only ever meant to be Cesc’s undrstudy and it now appears that Ramsey is going to fill that role more effectively. Denilson should only be a second string squad player.

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