Sunday 24 August 2008

Bullard beats Arsenal

Arsenal lost 1-0 away to Fulham on Saturday afternoon's late kick-off. Arsenal were pretty dire. AW said after the game:
"When you want to play at the top you must start the game with the right attitude and personality. Thats what we didn't do and thats a good lesson. It was the kind of game where you could not afford a mistake at the back or at a set piece. I believe they wanted it a bit more than us in the first half..."

I find it quite amazing that the team is so low on desire and motivation already in the season. I said last week after the WBA game that Arsenal were collectively poor. Most people disagreed and preferred to praise WBA (who lost at home to Everton yesterday). Well this was the same level of Arsenal performance, just made away from home at a vocal Craven Cottage, against a side who man-for-man were far more committed to the job of winning the game of football. Fulham deserved it.

There are a number of ways of looking at the reason for failure yesterday. The absence of an experienced central midfielder is obviously a factor, but I don't think it should be overplayed. Sticking Alonso or Barry into the mix yesterday, I think we would still have lost. The reason is that apart from Cesc and Rosicky, this was virtually our strongest side yesterday. If the eleven players that started the game had been up for it, then they would have won. We had far more quality on paper, but Fulham out-passed us, were accurate and patient in possession, far more hungry for the ball, far quicker to close down and tackle. We lacked passion and commitment. And I find that very disappointing.

The lack of a central midfielder was compounded by Denilson having a shocker. But I would be hesitant to lay all the blame at his door. We made Bobby Zamora look a class act yesterday, just as we did to Ishmail Miller last week. I thought Gallas had a poor game again - he was basically just happy just to let Zamora win the ball in the air. He set a poor example and he was his lazy and uncommitted defending that allowed Fulham to score from a set piece.

Theo Walcott was poor. Nasri won the plaudits last week against WBA, perhaps a little generously I thought, he was ok against Fulham. But both these wide players offered very little defensive cover and frankly were hardly impressive going forwards. Fulham closed them down well and that was it. Its not rocket science  to say that they are no comparison to Pires and Llungberg in 2004. However, fact is they were also no comparison to Hleb and Eboue in 2007.

Up top, Adebayor and RVP had moments when they could have scored. We could even have robbed some points if they had taken their chances. However, apart from these scant moments, they simply were not involved in the game.

A bad result and a very bad performance. These problems run much deeper than needing a centre midfielder.


Obsinho said...

Today is a bad day. I agree with everything posted on Le Grove.

For this I blame Wenger and the shit-arse team he has cobbled together to play lazy, un-professional football.

Not good enough. One signing will not do it. I'd love to be wrong,but Wenger has been found out. He has gambled for the last 3 years and it has backfired.

Anonymous said...

Bullard is God

1979gooner said...

The blame should go to the players and the captain, I agree 100% with Ted's comments.

The eleven players we sent out were easily good enough to have dispatched a rather average Fulham side.

It wasn't so much about the personnel, it was about the lethargic tempo, it was about the lack of motivation and commitment shown by many of the players on the pitch.

So few players stood up to be counted yesterday.

Almunia can't be faulted, no chance for the goal and nothing else to do.

Toure did ok for me, as did Sagna and Clichy.

Gallas was weak throughout, not strong enough, not tight enough. He's the weak link at the back for me, he's just not a commanding centre back.

Denilson had a poor game, Eboue tried his best but is not good enough.

Nasri is playing his second ever Premiserhip game while Theo is still a kid.

RVP and Ade didn't do enough, either offensively or for the team, Ade doesn't do the chasing back and harrying that he used to, he seems to think he's above that now.

There's definitely a lack of quality in certain areas of the squad, but one gets the feeling that this is a systemic malaise as Ted says, it runs much deeper.

Even given these weaknesses, those players should have put in a lot more than they did yesterday, it was simply not good enough, they need to be read the riot act.

Anonymous said...

Denilson, Eboue, Walcott - I don't want to see their names on any starting sheets. They are taking the place of better players that we can easily afford to bring in. Mentally these players including Gallas are just dragging us down. I'd rather us bring in mercenaries that show heart than these poodles that just roll over.