What The Hell Is Going On?

It’s not a good week for Arsenal fans.

As you would have heard by now, Italian defender Fabio Cannavaro pipped Thierry Henry to the European Player of the Year Award, and even stranger Buffon was ahead of him in second place!

It’s sad that Henry hasn’t really been recognised as the best player over the last few seasons, being behind Ronaldinho in the World Player awards – which Titi should have won easily 3 seasons ago.

With a bit of luck Thierry could have won both the World Cup and Champions League this year and surely would have won the Ballon d’Or in the process.

Henry is a truly unique player – who has a phenomenal scoring rate and an equally impressive assist record. No-one can touch him in those departments and with his skill and tricks he is a very special player.

But we all know that.

And to the game against Bolton on Saturday.

Arsenal AGAIN conceded the first goal – the 11th time this season. If you do that you can’t win the league or have success in Europe.

But why the hell is this happening?

You just expect Arsenal to go a goal down in the first 25 minutes and after that if Arsenal aren’t in top gear they won’t get anything from the game.

If Gallas was playing would it have made any difference?

Probably not.

We effectively have two wingers in the full back positions and while Clichy and Eboue are fantastic going forward, they just don’t seem to be experienced enough to defend well.

For Anelka’s first goal, Eboue let him get onto his right foot!

Surely you should try and force the player wide onto his weaker foot? I’m sure Anelka can’t slam the ball into the net from 30 yards on his left foot. And the worst thing was that forcing Anelka wide would have really reduced his options because he was up on his own – the best we probably would have got is a throw or a corner.

Constantly conceding the first goal is a big problem and I hate to say it but is it because we don’t have a leader at the back like Sol Campbell?

Sol might have been a bit mad but he could organise a defence, as could Keown and Adams before him. But who takes the responsibility now?

When Lauren returns from his long term injury that should hopefully help stop giving away stupid goals but that might be a couple of months away.

If you compare the defence of Dixon, Winterburn, Adams & Bould to Eboue, Clichy, Toure & Gallas it shows no matter how much power, skill and pace you have it can never substitute experience and defensive ability.


8 thoughts on “What The Hell Is Going On?

  1. We have athletes, not defenders playing at the back. There is nothing like pace to get you out of trouble-Kolo, Eboue and Clichy have all mediocre positional sense, but are bitingly quick and can rectify errors. As a defender, half of you’re work is done in your head, thats why centre backs and full backs can play well into their 30s. Unless there is drastic improvement, I cant see Eboue or Clichy and maybe even Kolo playing into their 30s.

  2. I have to disagree, Steve. You must not forget that both Clichy and Eboue are still very young. Eboue has performed miracles sice being thrust into the squad last season remember Madrid?? He is still young and things like reading the game and exceptional postional savvy come later in a defenders career, come on when Dixon first came to Arsenal he was always getting caught out. As for Clichy, he has just come back from a very long injury and would have been nursed back in slowly if we had any decent cover in that position. There is no doubt that both of these players have quality but when a team is not defending well as a unit then these players get exposed. We need to give them time they will come good I am sure of it. As for Kolo, are you serious?? It was him that carried Campbell all last season and got Sol out of many cock ups. It is all very well to say that Bould, Adams, Dixon and Winterburn were much better, we all know that that four and Keown were very special but recently our defence has not had a settled back four like they did . By my reckoning we have had 7 players playing in various positions along the back row this season (Gallas counted as 2 for left and center back) and until we get a settled back four for at least 10 games we will not begin to see the rewards. Anyway lets not get on the backs of these young players lets give them all the support they need to flourish as Gunners.

  3. Henry is a unique player, and we all know that. Similarly, we all know that European player of the year award is based completely on worldcup performance, otherwise even Ronaldhino deserves to win better than the Italian defender. That’s fine for us Arsenal fans since the reward itself does not change a thing we look at our captain, he is always special in our eyes.
    BTW, a girl gooner from China really appreciate your blog^^nice work!

  4. Well I must admit that watching the results pour in this season from far away (I’ve been stuck in Africa for three months now) it makes for despressing reading – topped only by the continued misery being suffered by Tottenham (well, every cloud etc etc).

    But look at the stats for the Bolton game. All the reports suggest that we were shat upon for most if not all of the match, yet both sides had 5 shots on goal, we had 7 shots off target to Boton’s 2 and we had 53% of the possession. So even here statistacally we were on top – even against our bogey team – therefore once again it comes down to finishing.

    We have a technically superior side, full of youth and huge potential. But the trouble is not lack of experience, its not a shakky defence with too many wingers and not enough full backs. Its Theirry Henry – for as amazing and prodigious as the man clearly is, he is so good that not even Wenger has managed to find someone capable of playing with him, or indeed anyone who will come even close to scoring as many goals. Once we sort that problem, the likes of Eboue and Clichy will not even matter. Good hunting Arsene.

  5. I thought that this weekend would be the start of breaking the Bolton jinx and with a bit more luck it would have been. But because we can’t seem to defend we were playing catch up from the start, as usual!

    I think Arsenal are so geared towards attacking that if they haven’t scored in the first 20 minutes they take stupid risks and push too many guys forward to get that first goal. How many goals this season have been conceded on the break? Far too many.

    Bolton were on the ropes for a lot of the game but Anelka scored that sucker punch to make it 3-1 and effectively finish the game. But we can keep saying we should have, or could have – the fact of the matter is we can’t consistantly win matches and you need that to have even a chance of winning the league!

    Looks like the battle for 3rd place with Liverpool and bloody Pompy and Bolton!!

  6. I have to agree with Drew10 here, there are many, many people getting caught up in the media hype about Arsenal at the minute.
    Let’s look at some facts, the defence is an AW defence, not a GG defence, the players are young and need to grow, (apart from Gallas, who since he’s been there has only played centre back with Kolo a couple of times due to injury and LB needs, therefore the chance of getting that special understanding hasn’t really begun to happen.) the ages are: Eboue 23yrs, Kolo 25yrs, Senderos 21yrs, Djourou 19yrs, Clichy 21yrs. Now we all now how much potential there is there, and if we could have a run of 10-15 games with a settled back 4 all playing injury free, the confidence and undertsanding will be there, and they will learn all the time, every season they will get better and better, just look at how much more improved Kolo has become over the past few years! Let me ask you honestly, would you rather have and old creaking bolted defence like Portsmouth, or our young but prone to mistkes one?
    Sol was a leader when he was here, but your thinking back to when he was at his best, aged 28-30yrs and injury free!, the last year or two he was with us he was a liability.
    We do need a true leader, but I don’t think that will happen for a few years yet as Arsene is very loyal to his players and he will not remove it from TH14 or GB19 just to please people, even if it seems slightly stubborn.
    Have faith with the team and manager, I don’t think some of you realise just how lucky we are to have the stadium, the manager, the players, and the type of football we play, we can’t compete with Chelsea, so we have to be patient, there will be bad results on the way, but we have to do it our way, the proper way!


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