Big Game, Big Expectations – Big Disappointment…

I don’t know why I bother with Manchester United v Arsenal matches. Afterwards I end up feeling utterly shite.

Alex Ferguson has used the exact same game-plan for the last 5 seasons now and it works. While the “experts” at Sky were “stunned” that Berbatov wasn’t playing, I, like a lot of Arsenal fans I suspect, wasn’t at all surprised.

It’s the same old story, and Arsene Wenger either hasn’t realised it or doesn’t have the tactical knowledge how to deal with it.

It’s always Rooney up top, and two quick players either side to hit us on the break. These days it’s Nani and Park, and several years ago it was Ronaldo and Park.

If we know what United are going to do, then shouldn’t Arsene?

The sad thing was that Manchester United were there for the taking. Don’t get me wrong, they deserved to win tonight, but a big part of that was because we didn’t perform. We had glimpses here and there but there was no belief at all. I haven’t seen a team that was top of the league play with such a lack of confidence.

Is it the stadium? It is the team? Or was it the game-plan?

Whatever it was, Arsenal ran out of ideas, and lacked any kind of urgency.

Throughout the game and even at the end I had the belief that we could nick a goal so it was a shame that the players didn’t. Words to describe the performance are lethargic, tired and uninspired. And from a side that should be full of confidence it is frustrating and depressing.

This Manchester United side is the weakest for a long time. Yet we gifted them the victory and they didn’t find it very hard. I’d like to see what kind of spin Arsene puts on this performance.

The goal when it came was fortunate, or genius, depending on how you look at it. Apart from that, and the ridiculous penalty decision, United never really put Chesney Hawkes under any kind of pressure. Unfortunately, Van Der Sar have virtually nothing to do as well.

United sat deep and soaked up all the pressure with consummate ease. We never got in behind and while we had good spells of possession it was tame and it was almost playing at The Emirates.

Clichy was badly exposed time and time again and did well to cope with Nani on his own. As I’ve already mentioned, the penalty decision was farcical and for the linesman to gesture that he moved his arm towards the ball was completely ridiculous! Replays clearly showed that Clichy was on the floor and Nani poked the ball onto his arm. Clichy’s face wasn’t even looking where the ball was at the time.

As the second half went on you just hoped that someone in an Arsenal shirt could create that special moment but it never came.

People compare Arsenal to Barcelona but everything they do is incisive and dangerous. They ripped apart Real Madrid a couple of weeks ago and we are light-years away from that. We need to be far more clinical against the top teams and so far against Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and now Manchester United we haven’t been.

Maybe we can do what Manchester United did a couple of seasons ago and win the title against the other teams in the league, and almost write off the games against the Top Four. They managed to hammer everyone else in the league and lift the title, so I guess that’s our biggest chance.

Player Ratings:

Wojciech Szczesny: 7/10
Bacary Sagna: 7/10
Laurent Koscielny: 6/10
Sebastien Squillaci: 6/10
Gael Clichy: 7/10
Alex Song: 7/10
Jack Wilshire: 6/10
Tomas Rosicky: 6/10
Andrei Arshavin: 5/10
Samir Nasri: 6/10
Marouane Chamakh: 8/10


Cesc Fabregas: 5/10
Robin Van Persie: 5/10
Theo Walcott: 6/10

Manager Ratings:

Arsene Wenger: 5/10


25 thoughts on “Big Game, Big Expectations – Big Disappointment…

  1. agree on e point tt ppl compare arsenal with barca but watever barca did was incisive and dangerous. tink arsene nids to send e team to barca training camp to learn wats fast flowing AND INCISIVE football

  2. Listen mate as much as I will get slagged off for this Arsenal need to change management. We look bored and completely out of ideas. We need fresh blood to lead this team, new ideas and new energy. I love AW but there is a time to pass it on.

  3. We are all blind, like nazi germans hearing hitler in april 1945, wenger out, not a reaction, but a result of years of ultimate bullshit

  4. It was a completely gutless performance. Every 50:50 Man Utd looked like winning and every second ball they made theirs. We could have played that game until January and wouldn’t have scored.

  5. I think Howard webb was the 12th player for manchester united, we received 3 or 4 yellow cards??? yet man unted players got away with murder eg fletcher and rio…the penalty was hursh and u look at all decisions that went againt us…i mean no player can be so confident knowing that ref is going to book you for simple challenge..for me that was difference today!

  6. Wenger is finished as a competitive manager at the very top. How much more evidence does anyone need? Every single time in the big games it’s the same – contain Arsenal and hit them on the break. It’s just too easy for the likes of Fergie. He knows exactly what Wenger will do and sure enough, Wenger does it.

  7. same old f**king arsenal! This team really pisses me off! I don’t know why I bother watching them nowadays cos all they do is f**king depress me. We don’t half talk a good game and then turn up with an absolute f**king disgraceful performance like that! This man utd team is a one of the worst in a long time and we still can’t beat that shite. why are we so hesitant against them??????? No belief, no hunger and definately no balls! Win the league………………….. Not a chance

  8. Same crap, can’t belive how badly organised the team was tonight. What happened to the song of last year, he has to much license to go forward and not get back where he belongs. Putting Nasri out wide was an incredibly stupid move by wenger leaving jack and rosicky failing to create anything in the middle. Arshavin looks bored and un-intersted, a shadow of the player that played in the same fixture last year. We need a shake up. Wenger needs to make changes, or bring in a decent number 2 coach to help him deal with his onset of parkinsons. We may win the Micky mouse cup, but the cost will be greater than a few empty seats. We will 100% lose Fab in the summer and who can blame him, he’s surrounded by sub standard players. And no sign of things changing. Calling for wengers head is stupid, but we need to be planning for his departure. Pat rice needs to be replaced by someone with hunger to shake things up and make wenger see what he’s doing to out beloved club. That man should be the iceman. It’s time for his return to football, it’s time for him to come home and make this team great again as a coach, just as he did as a player.

  9. You are right about how MU have used the same tactics . I’m afraid Wenger has reached his zenith. Try as he may,I doubt he can lift the gunners to the next higher plane.
    It’s the sos ie same old story. The gunners freeze when they reached the box.They still try to thread their way through. It may work against teams teams like Fulham/BR/other smaller teams. The red faced is too samrt for this.
    In spite of Wenger’s bullishness,I think the only trophy the gunners can win is the micky mouse cup.. Defeat against Chelsea would be time for Wenger to ponder his future and his players.

  10. I would just like to say that this arsenal side is the same as what they have been for a good few years. this team has no desire , motivation, bottle , courage or fighting spirit. and no experience or knowledge of how to win. the best player on the pitch today was our goalkeeper. yet arsenal fans have been calling for arsen to play him all year. better late than never. but it shows the fans know something as well. today i said that if Arsene has the balls to come out and say we did ok today and well i would never watch another game again from this club. He came out and said that he could take something out of this performance tonight. we tried and had a few chances. look the game should have been over by half time. it should have been an onslaught. then he decided to blame the pitch. In life to be able to move on and do well u have to take responsibility for doing things wrong or in this case arsene has to take responsibility for setting his team up like this and not investing correctly and not working on defence enought. He always blames everyone else bar himself. u sometimes have to say it was my fault. this team needs investment. not much but i wopuld say five players. and 5 players of high quality. they need at least 1 world class center back. two full back off top quality and with experience in each position iv mentioned. we need a big dominating midfielder and a top quality winger who can cross balls. theo can’t cross a ball for shit. he is a finisher. arshavin cant play good unless he plays in his national shirt. i would say if he doesnt spend money this arsenla team will go slowly downhill. u cant play every season wit a young team. a bit of experience would go a long way with this team.
    like arsene went out and bought squillaci and koscielny for about 15 or 16 million in the summer. why didnt he pay 15 million for the likes of subotic or kjaer.

    arsenal need to buy

    subotic , cahill , cattermole or de rossi , maybe try get mascherano, some player like that. hazard , affelay, mamadou diarra from madrid. good experienced player.

  11. Chamakh – 8!!!!!!
    hell motherfukkin noooooo.
    HE is so average it is unbelievable, he may aswell have been a midfielder. Just layed the ball off, worked reasonably hard, never won anything in the air and gave us no threat at all. Forgive me if i am wrong but he is a striker, HE IS THE WORST FINISHER I HAVE EVER SEEN (STRIKERS WISE) IN AN ARSENAL SHIRT. tell me im exaggerating, nah didnt think so. Why people think he has been a revalation i dont know. Yes he has scored great headers and the finest array of tap-ins, but against teams with CB’s who are good in the air he is non-existent. We have one of those, Bendtner, what we needed was someone who was quick, great finisher but could also link the play as well. Your telling me thats hard to find: Aguero, Benzema, SUAREZ. And none of that crap that we can’t buy them, they are all easily attainable. Thought of them in literally seconds. I have been to every single arsenal home game and there is always doubts in my mind about him, as soon as he enters the box its like he has a mental block with the ball at his feet. People say theo has no brain but for an arsenal player, Chamakhs brain inside the box is that of an ass. Suppose its stingy wenger for you really. RANT OVER.

  12. My view on this yearly failure to deliver…

    We got it all wrong tactically, can’t really blame the guys who tried. Fergie won by far… and i think, since the 2004 season we haven’t won a game vs manu and chelsea.

    Nasri get stuck by the Walcott effect. The right wing was totally ignored in 1st half, given Nasri no chance to create anything. He often had 2/3 players in front of him when he got the ball.

    In the second half when he moved more around the field, you could hope he made something happened, and was given some occasions to.

    TR7 is ok as a squad player, he will fill the voids in the middle and give depth to the squad. But in a game like this you’d rather have your more hungry/in form players have the chance to make smg happen…

    So give Nasri the keys of the game in the middle and maybe a young Theo a surprise start on the right. Evra would have been on his toes all night. (or would have eaten Theo alive, we’ll never know).

    This game was also a good way to figure out what’s wrong with Clichy. Against one of the best winger of the league, he rarely got support from his winger/mid/centrals. It was blattant how far was any of our players when he got to handle the portguese. This would never happen on the right side : nasri and theo trackback.Arshavin should really watch the game from the bench for some time.

    I’m not gutted, we didn’t know how to win this game, but I have some concern for our manager’s strategy.

  13. This was Wenger’s chance to mix things up a little and be adventurous. Demento knows exactly what Arsenal are going to do so why play right into his hands? Put a couple of surprises into the lineup and make Fergie’s job harder! Make no mistake about it, Fergie knew exactly what was coming, and the result? An easy win against one of the title challengers and an easy 3 points. United couldn’t of had an easier way to top the league.

    Theo should have started, for the surprise element if nothing else. Give the lad 45 minutes to see what he can do! He might play crap (so you can just take him off at half-time) or he might scare the shit out of United. If you don’t take the risks then you’re not going to reap the rewards.

    Why setup exactly how United expect and lose the game in a whimper?

    Tactically aware managers like Mourinho would have given today’s game more thought.

  14. Arsenal looked completely beaten and they lacked ideas. But i really feel Wenger has to look at the tactics- its too predictable. He isn’t playing players in their natural position. First of all Nasri without Fab is the heart of the team so he should be in the middle pulling the strings instead of Rosicky who hasn’t done anything positive for us in 2years. The fact he’s acting captain says it all for our lack of leadership. Arshavin for Russia and previously Zenit plays best in the hole behind the front man, weaving in and out looking for space. He’s probably one of the best players in the world at that- yet Arsene has him on the left wing cutting in which leaves a massive gap down the left exposing the defensively challenged Clichy when Arsh loses possesion. Narsi was marked out the game on the other wing. Chamakh for some reason instead of being an outlet kept tryin to collect the ball in midfield and being taken out leaving us with noone upfront. Either play your players in their best position or dont play them atall. Walcott needed to start.
    But our main problem has always been a lack of defensive discipline and tactical awareness. Kos and Squillacci are dreadful together and none of them have a foggiest idea where they need to be positionally. And as decent a player as Song is, i don’t see him as a holding midfielder because he keeps pushing up. Our defending was farsical at times, and i really feel Wenger needs to take responsibility for this- we’re too easily beaten by good teams who know how to play against us.

  15. “the pitch was no good?” *@&%*^#!!!!!!!!!!!!! Were we the only team playing on it? Utd players must have een given super powers to help cope. Why do I still bother this rubbish? I need help.

  16. the manager ones again saw positives from this performance. i have since stopped watching arsenal becos they are very dissapointing. the coach lacks ideas against the top teams and as such should go. he is no more as good as he said he was. a look at the trophy cabinet speaks for itself. where in the world will a team of that stature afford to go five years without a trophy. the mgt, arsene wenger and the entire board are just jokers. if they are not preemptive and sack this coach we might no more have any arsenal fans

  17. Just read the lead article and the comments…a few specific and general comments to add………

    * agree the general theme…we were poor and caused by ‘tired management’.
    * Walcott and RVP should have started.
    * Chamakh just not good enough…too slow…an up front goal scorer required…give Bendtner a last chance.
    * as usual, too much midfield passing, nothing incisive.
    * Nasri on wing…crazy.
    * Arshavin…been ineffective, casual and often poor this season…maybe support striker could be best spot for him.
    * Where are our alternative tactics, and for free-kicks and corners, both for (usually a waste of time) and against (often serious dangers).
    * Song…gone backwards this season…(get long hair back or something!)
    * Vermaelen…a big loss…Djourou should be in now.
    * Walcott…Wenger has failed him…Theo has weaknesses which a good coach would have sorted…primarily it is his habit of moving inside rather than moving wide to offer an option to Sagna. As for crosses…often, where are the other forwards?
    * Fab is more effective in midfield; he is not the goal scoring support forward we need…VP AA or Theo would be the scorer we need up front in support of the CF.
    * Roll on the return of Ramsey (hopefully no adverse affect for the injury).
    * Gibbs…would be a fine left sided midfield/winger…well worth a run instead of AA…Clichy would get more support than from AA.
    * Clichy…has now become suspect…too many serious errors.
    * Denilson, Diaby (and possibly Song now), are maybe ok…but not good enough for AFC objectives…just like Koscielny, Squillaci, Almunia, Fabianski, Ebouie.
    * Hopefully the GK situation will now be resolved.


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