Arsenal: Lucky Or Unlucky?

I’ve had some time to think about our first 3 games of the season which have been against Aston Villa, Manchester City and Middlesbrough.

In the first match of the season, Villa absorbed all of our pressure and snatched a goal from a header. We attacked, attacked and attacked some more and luckily Gilberto riffled a brilliant shot into the roof of the net – getting us a point.

Against Manchester City, we played exactly the same way and the opposition did as well – men behind the ball and Arsenal couldn’t convert a huge amount of possession into goals.

Then yesterday, we go a goal down again and we only equalise from the penalty spot.

Hell, even the Dinamo Zagreb game was a struggle!

So are Arsenal lucky or unlucky?

There are two ways of looking at Arsenal’s form and specifically the first month of The Premiership campaign.

The first one is the ‘unlucky’ viewpoint shared by Arsene Wenger. He maintains that Arsenal have suffered because of injuries, lack of match sharpness and also tiredness from the recent International break and the World Cup in Germany.

I suppose there is some evidence to support this. We’ve had the lion’s share of possession in all 3 games and created a few chances, which on another day could be a totally different result.

But the other viewpoint – and perhaps the most worrying – is that Arsenal have so far been lucky.

Against Aston Villa, we never really looked like scoring and lacked the killer instinct. We had a lot of possession but didn’t do enough to put the Villa defence under pressure – some could say that we were lucky that the usually indecisive Gilberto Silva decided to smash the ball into the Villa net. I dread to think we could have lost that game.

And the same happened yesterday – if Eboue didn’t win the penalty for Thierry Henry to convert then Boro could have beaten us! And they ended the game with 10 men!

The problem Arsenal have is that they play the same way which may be pretty for the neutral spectator, but it no longer brings the team and the supporters the results.

Yesterday I identified the lack of killer instinct from wide positions without the presence of Pires and Bergkamp, and unfortunately teams know that.

The opposition know that Arsenal don’t have Bergkamp or Pires (and even Vieira for that matter) to change defense into attack in a split second with a penetrating pass up the field. Nowadays it seems that we cannot get the ball up the pitch quick enough and the passing is over-elaborate – making it so easy for teams to get behind the ball.

With teams playing so deep Arsenal either play in front of the opposition or get it wide – but we don’t have Pires to deliver the final killer pass for someone to convert.

I think if teams had 10 men from the start we would still find it difficult to break them down.

The only way to make teams come out is to have a threat via shots from distance. If Frank Lampard or Steven Gerrard have the ball 20 or 30 yards from goal and they have a bit of space they will shoot, forcing the defenders to close them down. But defenders won’t close the Arsenal players down because we don’t shoot! So they just sit back and absorb the pressure and let Arsenal play around with the ball.

If Arsenal could score from headers, crosses, corners and set-pieces we wouldn’t need a Plan B – but we don’t!

The big question is what are Arsenal going to do about it?

People will say that Arsenal don’t have Vieira, Pires or Bergkamp anymore so why talk about them?

Well it’s because we play the same way!

We are not the same team as we were 2/3 seasons ago but saying that the squad is still full of talent, class and experience.

Arsenal have to play differently to get the best out of the current personel – for example how does Van Basten get the best out of Robin Van Persie while for Arsenal he seems withdrawn and restricted?

The same could be said about Reyes contrasting form for Spain and Arsenal – let’s hope the impressive Rosicky doesn’t suffer at Arsenal.

Hopefully the worst start to the season in over 25 years and being 4th from bottom of the league will give Arsene Wenger something to think about and might just be the thing we need to shake things up in the Arsenal side.

But then again maybe I’m worrying about nothing and maybe Arsenal will beat Hamburg and Manchester United this week. Saying that though it’s not really the results that have been worrying, it’s the performances and if we take this form into the next 7 days it is going to be a very long season indeed…


10 thoughts on “Arsenal: Lucky Or Unlucky?

  1. I suppose you could look on the bright side, we still havent been beaten at the emirates. You also have to give people time to settle in, no-one can expect instant success from rosicky or baptista & whilst gallas is used to premiership life it will still take him time to adjust to his new team-mates & the way arsenal play.

    If arsenal can do the pretty much unthinkable at present by beating man utd next weekend then it could really inspire the team forward as the win over real madrid done last season. I think people like myself need to be realistic & admit we stand no chance of challenging for the title this season but that doesnt mean we cannot have a good season.

    I would like to see rvp played wide left & walcott brought in to play wide right with gilberto, baptista & cesc or rosicky played central with henry upfront. From the interview wenger gave yesterday its looks like walcott is ready for action now & he cannot hold him back for much longer.

    Looking at our central midfield & the squad we have it looks very exciting so I go along with henry that things will not continue as they are if we continue playing well. We now have gilberto, cesc, baptista, flamini, denilson (unknown admittedly but wenger must really rate him having chased him for 2 years) & merida (pure class as fans will soon find out).

  2. Little from column a little from column b, we’re not lucky, but you can’t use the excuse that we were unlucky all the time. We need to quicken up our play, one and two touch football played at pace will beat a 100 man defence. Too much dithering.

  3. does anyone think that cesc slows down the game a bit? I am not sure. I know he is class but sometimes the total control football is a bit slow. but I am sure that Hleb does slow it down. Rosicky looks total class and I think Baptista is direct. no-one can question Henry, and I want to see more of Walcott.

  4. Constructive comment there ‘arseandhandball’.

    Another excuse for our slow start to the season is the pitch, which as I understand is now the largest in the entire league – but we still play the same way.

    But to me this isn’t really a valid excuse – we’ve played well and won at some of the biggest stadiums and therefore pitches in the game. We’ve won at Old Trafford, The Bernabeu, The San Siro, St Jame’s Park and god knows how many away games! So using the size of the pitch as an excuse isn’t valid.

    But of course, when we play away teams are forced to come out at us whereas at The Emirates, away teams are more than happy to defend in numbers.

    And we all thought the extra space at Ashburton Grove would help us!

  5. It occurred to me that the problem isn’t so much the shooting from distance – God knows we had enough of those (straight at Schwarzer). But its the actual penetration in getting to the edge of the box. Whilst it is clear that Ljungberg and Hleb should not play together as it offers no pace, the real issue is in the centre where GS and Cesc pass to each other and rarely beat a man. The team looked a different proposition from the moment Rosicky started committing players – yes we had the extra man but he was able to go beyond their midfield and make their defenders think about coming or staying. That doubt will always bring space. Where that leaves us I’m not sure – for defensive stability maybe move Rosicky to the middle and play 5 across with RVP at left wing – not dissimilar to his role for Holland. But when we need to attack I think we have to consider leaving one of either GS or Cesc out. Thoughts?

  6. Asley Cole is stupid to try to compare himself with Henry is just stupid. I think he is selfish and you know what I don’t regret one bit that he is gone. He said that Arsenal did not take him do dinner and try hard enough to persuade him to stay. HE KILLED HIMSELF THERE. When you meet with a rival manager, liar Jose, he expect David Dein or Arsene to think of him in the same light as Henry. Where is Asley brain?

    Cole you are not a tenth of Henry and you were earning similar amount of money for a long time, Henry signed a long deal. Henry helped Arsenal alot more than what Asley did and most importantly he kept saying he loved the club over and over and over again that we have that stamped at the back of our head. Asley has gone to Chelsea but to wish him good luck will be a waste because whatever you do to others will come back to you. I wouldn’t be suprised if Asley doesn’t play in the Emirate stadium because he will be murdered with booooooooing, he will regret very thing he has done in his career after meeting Chelsea. To attack Henry is foolish and you know what people like that throw things away. His marriage not being funny isn’t going to last, I can bet my money on it.

    I think right now, the most single player I hate the most right now is Asley. He deserves classless Chelsea. I don’t think Henry knows Asley very well because of the way he has reacted after leaving. I can’t wait for Arsenal v Chelsea, not because of the result but because of the way Asley will feel after the unique booing

    For stupid talk on Asley see,,2002390000-2006420070.00.html


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