Clean sheet… accentuate the positives

Arsenal 0-0 Fenerbahce

Bought the DVD yet? No, me neither.

When you’re down on your luck, down on numbers, down on confidence and when the opposition is downright negative, you get performances like this.

Arsenal huffed and puffed all night but nothing went right. Passes weren’t finding teammates, over-elaboration crept in and chances – which were few and far between – went begging.

In short, Arsenal looked last night like a team whose confidence has been sieving away alarmingly from the moment Gael Clichy inexplicably tripped over and offered the Spuds their unlikely shot at redemption.

There were some muffled, muted boos at the end but they were of frustration, short-lived and followed by a general appreciation of the effort put in. The mental and physical sharpness just wasn’t there. Wenger said:

“I felt that we created the chances in the first half and we had three or four clear-cut chances but couldn’t score. In the second half I felt we dropped a bit physically and from then on we were less dangerous. I felt we had more possession but because we didn’t score and Fenerbahce never really came out, and were happy to defend well in the final third and we were not sharp enough to put our strikers into good positions. That made a 0-0.”

When the team sheet filtered through onto my phone, I thought Almunia might have been dropped as some kind of Wenger statement, but it transpires he’s got a dicky tummy. In his place, Fabianski looked as safe as a keeper who has almost nothing to do can ever look. Fenerbahce were very unambitious.

Our back line of Toure-Djourou-Silvestre-Clichy looked pretty solid, but was rarely tested. Top of the class for me was Gael Clichy again – who is at this rate walking almost unchallenged towards our player of the season award. I know he’s made one costly error this season but for the most part he has been superb.

In the middle we had Nasri-Fabregas-Denilson-Ramsey, and the latter gave glimpses of what he’s about; calm and with an eye for a simple pass. Otherwise, it was an unspectacular midfield performance – with Fabregas in particular off-colour. Unfortunately, he’s a player we can’t afford to drop at the moment, which loosely sums up the state of our midfield.

Up front, van Persie had some fair chances but it didn’t quite happen for him. Bendtner was average and will need to pick his game up about threefold before Saturday.

Ah yes, Saturday. How does all this bode for our biggest game of the season? Not well on face value: Arsenal looked a bit toothless last night and are worryingly off-colour.

We’ll look better with Walcott and Sagna, but our offensive options are severely limited and our confidence short, so Utd will strongly fancy their chances.


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