Devastated, But Proud: Spurs & Season Critique

What a devastating defeat that was.

It was so devastating because:

1. We had terrible luck during the game.

Spurs open the scoring with their first shot, which is by all accounts a freak goal. Danny Rose, making his Premier League debut, scored a fantastic volley from 30 yards out. Credit where credit is due, it was a brilliant strike but 99 times out of 100 that same shot would have flow right into Row Z.

And this was after 20 minutes of Arsenal completely dominating possession.We then shot ourselves in the foot by conceding a second straight after the break, but after, we still didn’t have the rub of the green. In the final 15 minutes, Robin Van Persie had a free-kick saved, an acrobatic shot saved and Sol Campbell had a header saved onto the crossbar.

Even at 2-0 down we had actually had enough chances to win the game but it was never going to be our day.

2. Tottenham had no ambition

Amazingly, a team aspiring to break into the Top Four defended so deep and in huge numbers we couldn’t get through. Credit to Tottenham, they defended well but they were so negative it was ridiculous. They were camped outside their 18 yard box for the vast majority of the game and had no intention of taking the game to us.

The freak opening goal was perfect for them and they defended in numbers.

3. Robin Van Persie returned

Why did Van Persie have to return now?

He played the final 20 minutes of the game and once he came on we looked completely different. We looked dangerous, clinical and like a completely different team. He almost scored twice, and setup the ball for Walcott from which Bendtner scored. And what made the performance even more impressive was that he looked so sharp despite the fact he’s been out of action for 5 months.

That just shows the world-class quality we’ve been missing. And watching him play so well was depressing. Why couldn’t he just have returned a couple of weeks earlier? Why did the footballing Gods have to injure him back in November? It was torture watching him back and knowing that ultimately his return can’t actually help determine our season.

If he didn’t get injured on International duty we’d be 5/6 points clear at the top of the league right now. And the thought of that almost brings me to tears.

4. In the end, the injuries cost us

The fact was that we had half a team missing. William Gallas, Thomas Vermaelen, Alexander Song, Cesc Fabregas, Andrei Arshavin and Robin Van Persie were out, albeit two of them managing 20 minute cameos. With all (or even half) of those players fully fit we would be a completely different outfit. Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and most of the other Premier League teams haven’t suffered as badly as we have this season.

But whether that’s down to poor management or bad luck is up for debate.

5. We had the majority of possession

We played well for most of the first half, but when we did actually get near the Tottenham penalty area we didn’t shoot. There were several times we had opportunities to pull the trigger but never did. Our build up play was good but we lacked that killer instinct – and that only arrived once Van Persie came on.

At times during the game, I was in awe of the quality of football being played but the frustrating thing was we didn’t make it count. Up until the 80th minute, Sol Campbell was our most dangerous attacking threat. I think that says it all.

But despite all that…

We can be proud of this team. Regular readers of this blog will probably think I am overly negative at times but it’s hard to be right now, even after a shattering defeat to the hands of Spurs. Every player (except Diaby) gave it 110% and put in a performance they can be proud of. And before the game against Tottenham, despite the massive injury list, the remaining squad have somehow kept us in the title race. That, without players like Gallas, Fabregas, Song, Van Persie and Arshavin is nothing short of a miracle.

And if you look at the positives, surely more luck in the injury department and our season would have been different. You just think about the number of points players of that calibre could have added to our total this season and surely it’s encouraging. How would Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool cope without Rooney, Drogba and Torres for 5 months? It would be hard to imagine that they would be in a better position than we are now.

But the summer is now a massive time in terms of our future. Does Arsene add strength and experience to our ranks or does he do what he’s always done and lose three players and bring in two. We seem to be rebuilding all the time – over the last few seasons we’ve lost Flamini, Hleb, Adebayor and Toure. Yes, you can argue that it was better to get rid but these were first team players, and if Arsene doesn’t want to use them in first team then surely they would make good squad players. Beyond are first choice starting eleven, we don’t really have the players who could fill in if one of the those players (i.e. Fabregas, Van Persie, Gallas, etc.) for any real length of time. We can maybe replace them for a game or two but not for several months. If football didn’t have injuries then we’d be competing for the major honours time and time again but unfortunately this sport isn’t like that.

18 thoughts on “Devastated, But Proud: Spurs & Season Critique

  1. Well Thanks for your article it made ma day, Diaby is the weakest link in my book. Against Barca nobody noticed the first incident, He got the ball and when Barca player took it from him so easily the game changed for good. We chased that game for 90 minutes after that, Second one was seen by everyone Walcott was in good position but he passed to Nick who was flagged offside and guess what they scored 4 goals after that. It unfortunate we Don’t have any players to replace him but in big games I would bench and put Eastwood more solid despite the age.

    The Aluminia has been good but his positions after punching the ball was typical, You punch the ball and run back to your goal line just in case, But the ball just flew past him like bullet, but still freak goal. Then sometimes he comes out to early or stay behind when he should come. We need A goalie full stop even if he cost 15 million who cares. A good goalkeeper save you when things are bad and stability when all else fail.

    A Good Goalie, Two defenders, Defensive midfielder, another striker to compliment and possible bring back Hleb cause nobody seem to be able to hold ball after adebayor left.

    We have done more than expected and premiership is gone to Chelsea. Cheers

  2. typical gooner article. “Tottenham had no ambition”, “Amazingly, a team aspiring to break into the Top Four defended so deep and in huge numbers we couldn’t get through.”, “They were camped outside their 18 yard box for the vast majority of the game and had no intention of taking the game to us.” Have you ever heard about anything called “TACTIC”??? idiot!. And also it could have been 3-0 before RVP came in, so don’t say arsenal dominated the game. They DIDN’T. I gotta admit that RVP make arsenal look more dangerous.

  3. As a neutral I have to say that your article is the most biased piece of rubbish I have read so far. Arsenal ran around in circles all day and were totally out thought by a team that could have been four up by the time Van Persie was introduced. Get over it

  4. Finally a Gooner that can look at the positive side of what has been acheived this season…
    For all the setbacks and bad luck we have had this season we still managed to fight for the title till the end and draw with arguably the best team in the world at home…
    I for one will be looking forward to next season and hope we get a defender so we dont have to play that waste of oxygen Sylvestre ever again…

  5. Im a neutral to.

    Arsenal dominated big parts of the game. This was a freak goal by Rose. Total luck ! He will never score again like this :)

    Arsenal had 20 shots and Tottenham 11. Arsenal had the ball most of the time and controled the game. For me this was just meant to be. 11. years of waiting was just to much for the football God´s to suffer on spurs.

    Sometimes its not about being better. Its about passion and grit.

    More of Sol Campel´s spirit in Arsenal and they would have won !

  6. All said and done, this season reveals the team’s weaknesses. The defence has been a problem for 5 years, starting with the goalie. Over-reliance on youth while the team lacks experienced players. Even Sol at 35 yrs old played better than some of wenger’s youths “with potential”, (whatever that means). There is a abundance of “belief” (not that its bad) but there is no plan B when things go wrong or doesnt work anymore. By this time, every team knows exactly how arsenal will play, so they just drill themselves to defend and contain arsenal’s players, who will mostly pass and pass and keep on passing the ball around. The midfielders without Cesc is lost. Players like denilson and diaby are like yo-yos, one game ok, the next they seem horrible. Arsene Knows? Not always true.

  7. close game, both teams working hard, i thought arsenal last 10 mins were superb but credit to spurs after sun , showed fight roared on by home crwd, really helped them down the strech,season is still on

  8. From a neutrals perspective I was truly entertained. Spurs did what smart teams do against arsenal, particularly those that aren’t Barca, who just did what arsenal do, only better. In short, Spurs pressed them all over the field but maintained a compact formation in the middle of the park. They gave Arsenal space on the flanks and Arsenal didn’t disappoint; their crosses were as expected,poor (exception being Theos’ cross that lead to the goal)and when they attempted to get behind the Spurs defense with intricate passing the end result was repeated time and time again. Simply put, they ran out of ideas around the box.
    Now I really do like arsenal for their intricate passing and ability to maintain possession, BUT, this game is about which team scores more then the other. Injuries aside, because Spurs certainly had their share along with the influential Pallacios (sp) sidelined as well due to suspension, Spurs appeared to want it more.
    Welcome BACK Van Persie, clearly you have been missed which leads to the question, “Is Arsenals’ squad deep enough with experienced talent”. I think we all know the answer and that is NO.
    At some point, Wenger will hopefully accept that titles are not won with young gunners. The past 6 years is proof that this assertion has some merit.
    Injuries are to be expected and all top teams battling on several fronts (EPL,Champions league etc) experience this. United were without Rio, Vidic, Van derSar, Brown, Evans, O’Shea, Anderson and of course Hargreaves for long periods throughout this grueling campaign. Chelsea where without Essien for more then half of the season and had to do without the services of Drogba, both Coles’,Boswigna (sp) and Cavalho (sp) for long spells. But Chelsea have a deep and experienced squad and thats’ why they will win the EPL. It’s shouldn’t be a secret any longer that both United and Chelsea understand the need to have a deep and experienced squad. The fact that between them they have won the last 6 EPLs’ (assuming Chelsea win it this season) only underlines this.
    At some the Rallying Cry from Arsenal has to be “The future is now”

  9. Probably with Man utd losing at Man city this weekend…n with arsenal wining at wigan…..hmm..lets c…dat would make chelsea 74 (spuds r world beaters now ), Arsenal 74, Man utd 73…so were back in the title race..with both chelsea n man utd with liverpool to play??….optimisic…mathematically it can happen!!

    RVP back…Sol was awesome…v gotta belief…were the underdogs now..

  10. Probably with Man utd losing at Man city this weekend…n with arsenal wining at wigan…..hmm..lets c…dat would make chelsea 77 (spuds r world beaters now ), Arsenal 74, Man utd 73…so were back in the title race..with both chelsea n man utd with liverpool to play??….optimisic…mathematically it can happen!!

    RVP back…Sol was awesome…v gotta belief…were the underdogs now..

  11. I’m a bigtime goober and I didn’t see the game cuz I live in japan but I must say that this article embarrasses me. It’s so childish and Ill informed.

  12. Yet again a poor defensive and clueless midfield performance from Arsenal. On this showing we are a mid table side- scraping wins against Wolves at home and unable to even get a draw at Spurs. We have found our true level and it is not good enough. We will be lucky to hang on to third place.

  13. I’m very very upset. The team was horrible. I expected more from a team that was well rested for the game. They looked very average and more tired that the guys who played 120mins 3 days b4. Thank God VP is back but it’s a little too late. We really neeed more impact players. Walcott and rosicky, diaby, B52 make poor decisions at times. AND NO ONE IS WILL TO SHOOT THE DAMN BALL…. Wenger needs to sit down with Pat Rice and discuss how we can turn this into a championship winning team.

    Sol should stay, silvestre out. that should be the first move

  14. No mention of Almunia’s howler or the hideous defending for Spurs second goal. Instead you put it down to bad luck. With supporters like you no wonder Arsenal never get anywhere anymore. No ambition, refusal to see what’s staring you blind in the face, in short – pathetic blog that is too cowardly to admit our failings. Completely useless.

  15. Calm down James.

    Did you actually expect someone to smash that ball on the volley directly into the net once Almunia punched it? I’m not a fan of Almunia but come on, use your common sense! That goal was ridiculously unlikely.

    In short, a bitter fan who doesn’t support the team or go to the games.

    Completely useless.

  16. Almunia was definately at fault for the goal on 2 counts, a puncg when he should have caught, then too slow to get up to the following shot whaich went past him at head height – shocking keeping – needs to be replaced asap

    But heres something to make you smile – http://tinyurl.com/y6exuj9

    Without doubt THE goal of the season
    It’s impossible to put into words the significance of this win.
    Luka unplayable in the middle of the park and Jermain unstoppable leading the line;
    Really? Well I suppose you have to sell it don’t ya! Classy

  17. I can’t believe AW can’t even know how to use the player to over run the tired TH player, all the stupid player did just driping the ball and lost the ball, all you need to pass behind the TH defend lines, but we didn’t even can control the mid-field.
    What a stupid and useless coach!
    Can’t beat any team who want to be survive.

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