Arrivederci abject Arsenal

AC Milan 4-0 Arsenal

I have not been blogging recently and I must say, I’ve not really missed it. It would not be fair to solely blame the gradual declining form of Arsenal for the gradual declining form of this blog but the seemingly perpetual cycle of poor defeat followed by gentle recovery followed by poor defeat does not help. Arseblog churning one out every day at the moment beggars belief – I’d need the help of medical science to do that. Either way, every time I have sat down to put finger to keyboard I’ve run out of steam before the boiler has even been stoked. Which I suppose segues me rather well onto Arsenal.

Make no bones, this was a bafflingly bad display in a season that has been marked by them. From pretty much the off Milan had the look of a streetfighter picking a fight with an urchin. We didn’t play as a team, our passing was poor, our defending was rank, our energy was low – nothing was right. It was so easy – far too easy – for an admittedly hungry and impressive Milan. We were awful.

Wenger did not mince his words post-match, calling it Arsenal’s “worst night in Europe” and a “shocking performance”. He’s been much freer in public with his criticism of the players this season, presumably to motivate them, but it doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of difference. Besides, he knows that the buck stops with him and the sad fact is that on last night’s display, this looked to be exactly what it was – a distinctly average Arsenal side.

In the Standard yesterday there was a piece comparing the 2008 team, who won 2-0 in the San Siro, and this one. It rated all the players and came out with a tally in favour of the side of four years ago. Some of the ratings are arguable but the essence is not. This team is not as good as that one was. The decline might be gradual, but it’s there for all to see.

The amazing thing is that that 2008 team had Almunia, Eboue, Senderos and Hleb in it: four players who declined badly and who many people were happy to see go. But that night, they played as a team, with purpose and power, and they had Fabregas pulling the strings. Last night we didn’t play as a team and who was pulling the strings?

Overall then a sad end to Henry’s second spell at Arsenal, and barring some kind of miracle, a sad end to the Champions League.

It makes Saturday’s FA Cup match at Sunderland just about as massive as they get. Rotation? Forget it.

Anyway, that’s me done. Erm, enjoy your day?


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Linda Prochaska

    If I was blogging on the Arsenal, I would have the same feeling.  But, as a long time reader, I’d just like to offer you the encouragement to keep blogging, I’ve always enjoyed your stuff.

  2. East Lower

    Thanks Linda – appreciate that. Been doing the blog for almost nine years and I must say, it feels like an endless cycle of similar problems. Definitely lost the will a bit.

  3. Jeff

    I thought last year’s second leg against Barcelona and the recent match against Swansea were worse. 

  4. East Lower

    Both were bad, agreed. I never bought the argument that we competed on level terms with Barca, despite Bendtner’s late chance.

    I just thought we were nothing last night. Powder-puff. Nowhere near the European elite that we like to rub noses with.

  5. Adam Elder

    What Linda said. As a fellow longtime reader I always look forward to this blog, win or lose (or draw). I have no doubt it’s difficult at times, but you add a lot to the whole experience of supporting Arsenal (especially for those of us from further afield).

  6. Anonymous

    Sorry Jeff but that comment is bonkers. Barca are magnificent & after an hour we were 1-1 til RvP’s sending-off. (agree with East Lower that we maybe didn’t deserve to be level but we worked hard & limited them reasonably well)  An average Milan side could quite easily have beaten us by 8. There is simply no comparison at all.
    We were nothing short of disgraceful last night : an awful team selection, awful tactics, poor individual performances.

    Arsene is a broken man who knows he can’t do the job any more but is too proud to stop. Unbelievably sad to see.

  7. Jeff

    Part of my problem is that I place too much emphasis on the aesthetics of the game – not to the point that I don’t care about results – but from where I sit, I’m really counting on a good performance.  I’m known to have a moan after a victory if it didn’t have enough tasty build-up play.  The matches I cited are a couple where I was as shocked as Arsene Wenger, Lee Dixon, and Manu Petit were with last night’s match – when Arsenal couldn’t get a touch on the ball.  I’m not saying I’m right, but those are the matches that cause me the most frustration and humiliation.

  8. Anonymous

    Totally agree. The result is not everything. But there is not one facet of the game where we did well the other night. In fact, we didn’t even do anything averagely !!
    I’m curious to know what you think we did ok in ???

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