Arsenal made WBA look like AC Milan

A shambolic performance by the team saw us devastatingly come away empty-handed from tonight’s home-game.

The team were obviously lacklustre following the midweek fixture that went to extra time, but the performance in this match was inexcusable. Make no mistake, on a day where Chelsea dropped three points, this is a devastating result, and sets our campaign on a dangerous route; a draw to Sunderland followed by this defeat, with difficult games to come including Chelsea at the Bridge.

The game never really started for Arsenal, with sprightly moments few and far between. West Brom stamped their authority on the match earlier on and in all honesty was dictating the tempo to us. At times it was difficult to believe that we were Arsenal and they were West Brom, so significantly were they outplaying us with the sort of technical passing and movement which we are accustomed to delivering. Arshavin hit the post early on but other than that, woeful shooting and wasteful set-pieces (how often have we heard that before?), as well as impotence in our movement and penetration always meant we struggled to make any sort of mark on the game.

On the contrary, West Brom was absolutely clinical and literally ripped our defence to pieces time and time again. It was a frightening thing to watch when one considers the much sterner opposition we are soon to face.

Overall, the complacency and sluggishness of today’s performance was inexcusable. We shouldn’t have to be 2-0 down before we actually decide we want to compete in a game. As has happened against lesser opposition in times gone by, we took the failed and performed as though we were playing a meaningless exhibition match, as if everybody was here to simply watch us play, and that the opposition have no right to even contest the match. Ultimately, we were punished for it, and were poor in every regard. Defensively, particularly, we were in tatters, which is even more depressing given how optimistic fans have been recently about our defence’s ability to compete with opponents like Didier Drogba in particular.

I’m sure Wenger made every effort to focus the players for this game and remind them that the mid-week victory was now meaningless. However, a coach can only do so much, and really I think regardless of tactic and formation, we should have put this one comfortably to bed. Yes the 4-4-2 at the beginning looked out-of-sorts, but this was mostly due to absolute incompetency by our players and passing that was so wasteful it defied belief. In the end, it’s the players that take the pitch, not the manager, and they played like lazy, overpaid sacks of crap. Samir Nasri, who fought right to the end and scored two goals, is the only player that can come out of this with even a scraping of pride.

Of course, there was the perennial issue for which only Wenger is to blame: the goalkeeper. Almunia, whom many including myself had been so hopeful for, and who had appeared recently to have turned his form around, was guilty of several costly mistakes tonight. Firstly, he rashly tripped the West Brom striker in the box, but made amends by saving the penalty. He was, in my opinion, left exposed for the first goal and was not at fault, but for the second he casually let the relatively tame shot through his legs in a terrible display of basic shotstopping. For the third goal, his decision making was appalling; as a goalkeeper, if you you’re going to rush then you have to go all in. Instead, he half-assed to the edge of the area before realising he was going to get there, before being caught way out of position and barely within twenty feet of the final shot. Again we see that this player is not good enough to be a first choice Premier League goalkeeper. He is a second goalkeeper, nothing more. We as fans should not be made to put up with this but our concerns again and again fall upon deaf ears. The fact that we are still arguing this point, and that Wenger has not equipped the club with a keeper to match our ambitions, is beyond criminal.

We lost because we were lazy, had no ambition to win and no drive. Our passing was terrible, and our attacking was totally lost and without purpose. We missed Fabregas more than can be explained; we were headless chickens without him. Chamakh became invisible, so poor was the service. We have nobody to blame but ourselves yet again, for throwing away this game which should have been a certain three points.

Ultimately, it was a disgraceful performance by Arsenal. We were outplayed in every department and West Brom played like ten times the team we looked. Wenger had better work hard to turn the team around this week, and a midweek victory is essential to return any semblance of confidence and pride. Unbelievably gutted, disappointed and ashamed is about all I can say. The 3-2 score line flattered us.

Player Ratings:

Almunia – 5.5: I thought Almunia was going to have a good game after the penalty save, but he got much worse. Made one good save low to his left, deflecting the shot onto the post. Other than that, he played a large part in the second and third goals, though he really had no defence to speak of.

Sagna – 6.5: Sagna had a lively game offensively and defensively. He worked hard on attack and got himself into dangerous positions, especially when competing at set-pieces. On defence he was typically solid and worked as hard as he could, though he was really caught out on the first goal. If he had had any back up from his other defenders, that error really wouldn’t have been a problem.

Squillaci – 5.5: His poor passing created a lot of problems for us. He gave the ball away a lot and set West Brom on dangerous counter attacks. Other than that I can see little else from his day.
Koscielny – 5.5: Was severely at fault for the second goal. Stood off like a spectator and allowed the West Brom player to have a free shot at goal, which rolled through Almunia’s leg. Was out of position a lot today. Not good enough from either central defenders.

Clichy – 5.5: More use on attack than on defence. Had a few decent crosses in the game but didn’t really come alive until we were 2-0 down and he started getting a lot further forward. I didn’t see any glaring errors but I had my head in my hands a lot. Yet again found wanting in the do-or die defence, and was nowhere to be found for the second goal, when it really was his man to mark.

Diaby – 6: Was taken off early in the second half, looking nowhere near ready to play. He was off the pace and offered nothing to the team, and really just didn’t look up for this game.

Song – 5.5: Much like Diaby, just didn’t affect this game much in a positive way. He was chasing shadows with the West Brom passing. His own passing was quite woeful. Played a very large part in conceding the second goal; if you watch it again he gets beatn DISGUSTINGLY easily and then makes zero effort to track back and make amends. Similar if not worse than Denilson against Rooney last year..He didn’t stamp his authority on this match the way we desperately needed him to. It’s quite appalling that both he and Diaby got rings passed around them by a team such as West Brom.

Nasri – 8: The only redeeming performance in the whole team. Typically wasteful shooting and really didn’t dictate the play the way we needed him to; ie in the Fabregas role/Wilshere role for which he was selected tonight. I think a lot of our problems came from him not controlling the game and cycling through the passes. However, he was one of the few players, perhaps the only player who really dug in deep when we had our backs to the wall. First goal was a very good solo effort, the other a tap in the smelled of offside. Made up for 70 minutes of wasteful shooting.

Arshavin – 6: A generous 6, given that his entire role int he side is to attack well, given that he does no defending. Became invisible after the first half an hour passed. I literally barely remember him being on the pitch in the second half. Almost got a goal early on that would have probably changed the game but really he is not to blame for this loss. He was as bad as all our other attackers.

Eboue – 6: Taken off at the same time as Diaby. He too, having been recovering from an injury, looked off the pace. However, he had a few good moments, notably the superb cross that set up Arshavin at the far post, only for the Russian t prod it against the post.

Chamakh – 6: In my opinion, his worst game in an Arsenal shirt so far. This, I think, was mostly due to the torrid quality of the service to him. Not a single good lofted ball to him in the entire game. Seemed quite knackered really, and I think the pressure of being our only fit centre-forward might be stacking up. Needs a well-earned rest but I don’t think he’ll get it. Also, needs Fabregas back, or at the very least Rosicky or Jack – somebody with vision to actually get the ball to him.

Subs –

Wilshere – 6: Totally invisible when he came on. Was playing in the holding role which was strange but occasionally drifted out wide left. The damage was doen by the time he came on, and it’s quite worrying that when our backs were against the wall, we had nobody to turn to but little Jack.
Vela – N/A: Barely got on the pitch and could hardly get on the ball

By Curt

Debate this more on the forum – www.arsenalaction.com/forum/

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11 Comments

  1. Byo

    September 25, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Ratings?
    Eboue/Diaby/Song/Clichy, deserve no more than 3 each! The whole team effort was just terrible. We were still on a high after the mid week win, now this. We kept on looking in each other’s faces here wondering what was wrong w/the team. Is this the team that did evry thing right on tuesday?

    But the reality is it is just one match in a long season. We have time to make amends. Gunners should not behave like the world just ended.

  2. RedDevil

    September 25, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    What an excellent result!

    Auvoir little ones

  3. andy p

    September 25, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Wow – what a blog admin! You make it sound like we have been relegated! Your article is as shameful as the team’s performance today. Still, I guess you have every right, given this is your blog. However, because you have an arsenal emblem on your website, I hope you dont mind

    I cant justify how the team played. Something wasnt quite right today and it had a huge impact on the mindset of the team. It was as if they werent up for it and they got slaughtered by west brom, at home. Either they were tired, too smug because of tuesday, who knows.
    That doesnt give you the right to crucify them. Yes, it was a painful performance and some of us paid to watch the match and got a shock.

    The team balance was completely wrong and the movement was shambolic – players werent making themselves available for passes and some decision making was league 1 level. Was this because the players had an argument before the match, or were tired, or didnt want to be on the pitch, who knows. It was a real bad day at the office. Shit happens. Tottenham, got beaten today, chelsea got beaten today. At least thats partial good news. bad news is we will be usurped by man united tomorrow when they beat bolton.

    The fight back was heart warming and I can take away some pride from it (if only just a bit). 3 points gone in a silly fashion. Lets hope the team can pick themselves up immediately. The champions league game needs to be won.

    The team needs to get their minds sorted because they failed today. They came back with nothing today and that fact cant be changed…

  4. realist

    September 25, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    yeah was a real bad day. it seems like the arsenal team all agreed that today would be the day they would all perform terrible. almunia will get the blame, but to be fair the whole team was well below par today. why do arsenal still make the same mistakes they were overcomplicating things today again, why is it they feel the need to make every goal a beautiful goal they are always looking to thread the ball through the eye of the needle. why wont they just be more direct why pass it 5 times when one pass would have got them to the same place, and why dont they just have a crack. barcelona are not afraid to fire in the shots from all angles it unnerves defenders , makes them panic and that always leads to goals. and why do our defenders always feel the need to wander up the pitch and leave us horribly exposed at the back, its one thing when song does it but another when our CB’S do it. arsenal have always been guilty of over passing and even when we have a full team it can be ineffective especially against the likes of chelsea, i think this arsenal team is good enough except for the gk situation, but our tatics need to be changed. braga stood off us give us the time to pass it about, but most teams in the premier league will not allow it. arsenal need to get back to basics and get more direct. the invincibles and the 98/99 team starting from our defence could rip the opponents apart with 2 to 3 passes. this team seeems to think that we need to pass the ball at least 15 times before we are allowed to score. and song and the CB’S need to be told to stay back and do what they are there for and defend.

  5. Redordead

    September 25, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    the fuck should he blame Almunia? The only person he should be
    Blaming is himself, no excuses Mr Wenger you are the only one to
    to blame for this,you wanted to prove to the whole world wrong you wanted to prove that Almunia was a world class but he clearly is not but that is not Almunias fault.As for the record breaking profits greed is affecting our football club

  6. RedandDread

    September 25, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    A collective disaster. But one bad performance does not end our season. The team needs to focus and get a result on Tuesday so that we can approach Chelsea in the right frame of mind. We really do miss Cesc, but then who wouldn’t. Too many players had a bad game today. West Brom sensed that they could win this after a while. Our fault for even letting them think that. However. the vitriol from our fans that have accompanied this defeat is typical of frustrated people that need to get somehting else to take their frustrations out on.

    It would be too easy to blame certain players-the whole effort was lacking in unity, creativity, will and ultimatley result!

    I am sure the same idiots that are calling for the heads of certain players will be cheering theri name should they have a good game on Tuesday or at soem later stage. We have a very good squad of players and they should have us in the mix coem the business end of the season. If we can get a break with the injuries!

    At least we don’t fall any further behind Chelsea..;)

    Now to see if Bolton can take some pts of those MANC bastards!

    GOONER4LIFE!

  7. AM

    September 25, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    Message to Wenger:

    We all respect all you have done for our club, but I just want to warn you about buying these shit players. The only reasons we have these defenders “Squilaci” and “Konchelny” is that they were much cheaper than the quality ones.

    Why why why, do you want to save a little bit of your bosses money and not buy the like of Jagielka, Gary Cahill or Zapata? They would cost more in the short term but make us money in the long term.

    PS: £8 – £10mil on Kon? Yes £8 mil on a 24yr old who has not played any internationals, and has only 2 seasons in the french top flight. Sounds like the new Cygan.

    As for our Goalkeepers, dont get me started. GET SEAMAM IN TO EITHER SCOUT A NEW KEEPER OR TEACH THESE SHITS HOW TO KEEP. I say this because You MR Wenger know nothing about Keepers.

  8. petr

    September 26, 2010 at 1:27 am

    hopefully no more ALMUNIA the suck,,,eboue is the right back…aw please sign goog deffender….

  9. petr

    September 26, 2010 at 1:31 am

    the reason why Arsene Wenger refused 2 sign 3 mil schwarzer, stekelenberg, lloris and other keepers is because he believe in almunia…almunia is still young and can play 9 more years to drive arsenal to the hell….Fuck off Almunia…

  10. Geofrey Arumadri Angudubo

    September 26, 2010 at 6:59 am

    I am quite disappointed with Arsene’s selection decisions for WBA game. It cost the team what we deserved on such a day when we very much needed to close the gap with chealse as teams like Manc pilling pressure! Rusty Diaby did not deserve to have been included in the starting line up yesterday! He could not even make any complete pass in the entire game as well as un focussed Eboue was go to warm the bench!
    I hope the team will wake up to fight to in the next games but with Aluminia ever sleeping in his goal alway, please mr Arsene should better try Vito Manone now or else forget fighting for championship!

  11. Max

    September 27, 2010 at 12:46 am

    You know who i have a real problem with? Walcott, Fabregas, Vermaelen, & Gibbs. Everytime they showed them on the sideline they were laughing and joking around wearing their posh jackets that probably cost more than my house when they should be on the pitch. None of them are severly hurt they’re just fragile. All four of them would been in the squad if Graham was still our manager like in the good ol days, he wouldn’t put up with these lads being hurt and complaining about nagging injuries all the time.

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