Arsenal Can’t Win The Title Playing Like They Did Against Everton

Mertesacker was interviewed by the BBC after the game and asked if, under the circumstances, that felt like a win. He considered the question carefully and avoided answering it. To me, and I guess Per, it didn’t feel like a win, it felt like a draw, and you don’t finish at the top of the table come May by drawing games against teams who are really not that good.

Yes I know: early days, only two matches in to the League season, everything to play for, don’t overreact, etc etc. But in all honesty despite being unbeaten it’s not a promising start. Squeaking past relegation favourites Palace and having to come from two behind against Everton. The problem is not the players Arsenal have, it’s what they do. They just don’t perform to their ability level as a team. Arsenal have some World class players. They have players who went to the World Cup and showed they can perform on the biggest stage. Everton seem to be largely staffed with players who didn’t get selected for the international sides or who were found wanting in Brazil (Baines). When you compare individuals, Arsenal are a team of galacticos compared to Everton. And yet for the first 45 minutes Arsenal could barely register an attempt on goal. It was the usual ponderous style, slow build up, allow the defence to get into position and then try and pass our way into the six yard box before attempting a shot.

That just isn’t going to work against top teams. Everton got two ahead before the much-maligned Giroud came on and livened things up. Man City or Chelsea would probably have been three or four ahead, the same as last year. This situation has been going on for so long it seems neverending: Arsenal are good enough to usually beat the average teams and the no-hopers, but not good enough to usually beat the best in the League. Sometimes Arsenal will slip up against no-hopers, as every team does occasionally – lots of football matches are won by luck. And sometimes Arsenal will beat one of the best teams, but not often enough to win the title. So we’re between the best and the rest.

Sometimes one of ‘the best’ slips up, as Chelsea did a couple of years ago and Man Utd did last season – so we finish ahead of them, because if there is one thing Arsène is an absolute master of, it’s consistency and not having such a dire season that he gives up and walks or gets the boot. He always does enough (or gets the players to do enough) – and I’m not saying this is a bad thing; umpteen years of CL football is a major achievement, despite the ridicule about the Fourth Place Trophy. The problem is that the group of teams that are as well or better financed than Arsenal now has enough members that even if one slips up the others won’t.

So playing like this Arsenal are not going to win the League. The frustrating thing is that I believe the players, when fit and on form, are good enough to win the League, even without any further additions. I want further additions, because that will improve the chances, but it’s not imperative. It’s not even as important as just playing differently – moving the ball faster, not being bullied off it, not waiting for officials to help out (they usually won’t). I repeat: Arsenal have players that are talented enough, but especially in the first half against Everton they were outclassed as a team. Everton regularly outperform their individual class by being a team that is greater than the sum of it’s parts; Arsenal rarely do.

Yes, the second half was better, and on another day maybe Giroud would have had two or three before Ramsey got the first. As usual there are fine margins in sport and most football matches can go either way on the day. But what was the excuse for that first 45 minutes?

Twitter: @AngryOfN5


31 thoughts on “Arsenal Can’t Win The Title Playing Like They Did Against Everton

  1. Fair enough but is it really Wengers fault that the players moving the ball too slow and not vertical enough? This was problem vs Besiktas too especially with Wilshere.

    Also we must be honest and recgonse that at this point with barely any rest, World Cup players are tired or unprepared not an advantage.

    Did you see Chelsea scrape by Leicester?

    • Funnily enough it is Wenger’s fault. The German Lowe, looked at this with the German squad, and made them cut down the time between passes significantly. This is what the training ground is all about. Also, why is it that players who usually spring to life in the final third, before transfering to Arsenal, seem to loose confidence about being direct when playing for Wenger in that area. It must be because they are uncertain of their role. They just won’t go behind the defence, yet we know that both Alexis and Campbell have the quality to do so. I’m starting to think that the coments Gervinho made about Wenger are true.

      • Thinks its more complicated than that. The final third is actually the only place where Wenger DOES encourage direct action. But he also makes the point that when you are playing with good players you do need to have better judgement about when taking on people is the better percentage move than a pass – which is statistically correct.

        Wenger actually specifically got Gervinho because of his ability to dribble, but Gervinho showed actrocious decision making. He would dribble one or two then waste it. That’s the step up he needed to make. Let’s put it this way, when he left here Real Madrid did not come running for him. In contract Nasri before him, struggled but then cracked the code and suddenly he was a hot commodity. But why dont you claim then that Wenger made Nasri less direct. He didnt – he improved him.

        Go look at Rosicky who is as direct as the come – but he also knows how to make a clean, effective pass-and-move. The same is true of Ozil, who can take people on, as well as Fabregas.

        So all Wenger is asking these guys is to make better judgements on dribble vs pass. If you are facing a packed defense the thing is to dribble one to break down and cause problems, then make a dribble or pass judgement. Go look at Oxlade who is becoming devastating with his ability to make exactly that judgement in a split second…..

    • You are right. We have taken to playing overly ‘horizontal football’ not vertical football. We often pass when we should shoot too. I don’t think it has anything to do with ‘patient football’, it’s to do with lack of meaning,desire and intensity in our passing and football. Is it Wenger’s fault? Where else does the buck stop?

  2. We came within 7 points of the title last season and two games in we’re already 4 points better than we were last year. We lost our first home game against Villa another relegation favourite and were torn a new arse by Everton…We’re playing better football with far more depth to the squad the poor passing will improve as the team gets used to playing together again, be patient.

  3. your a tool. what match were you watching. Bossed it. Got caught on the break with a defence who only met each other this week. Wise up or go and support spurs. Its people like you who are the problem at Arsenal.

  4. Right… In a way, I am fine with a draw but not like this! The first half is awful, and the guys don’t know what ti do when they play badly…

    Also both goals start by set pieces…. Not again….

    Yes, things are against Arsenal so if they sit back and look for a draw, I am ok with that. Instead, they exhausted themselves ans get players injured. Really bad . Performce, tactic and strategy. Only good thing except the point is that Cazorla and Giroud showing their form.

  5. Wenger is not helping arsenal at all atlist when those boys are not playing what is respected out of then whit is the coach surpose to do he wenger was surpose to have be on his feet and talk to his boys instead you will se him complaining to himself or complaining to the match comisioner wenger of is not the wenger I use to know of then I think the best thing for him is to live arsenal because he is no longer capable of holding the team again and we some one veteran than him. tnk u

  6. I tink de best tin is 4 arsen wenger to resign since he scared to talk to his boy wen dey not doin de rite tin on de pich jst to dull in front of de post wot a pity 2 my ARSENAL is a shame dat my arsenal is not de 1 I use to knw of den

  7. If the second Everton goal had been correctly ruled offside then suddenly this becomes a 2-1 away win against a top 5 side. Get a grip, and get some perspective for crying out loud. 36 games to go yet, everyone will drop points. And Everton are a much better side than you give them credit for.

  8. Arsenal have to think of their strategy and approach to every match. Against Everton , arsenal did know what to do when they entered Everton penalty area in the first half. Arsenal need to know that you can’t always dribble your way into the opponent’s goal. It also not necessary to do so to score. Create space for yourself to shoot and score. To do so you must be fast and have ball control and good ball distribution.Arsenal use to do this in the past , but for sometime now we simply can not do so again. Perhaps , Arsene Wenger need to bench players like Willshire ,because anytime he gets the ball he either slows the team down or start moving diagonally , indeed aimlessly ! He can’t create space or dribble to pass the ball to a better placed player.He would run himself into culdesac or a group of opposing players that he would lose the ball to.Oxlain Chamberlain does a better job, why not field him.? The full-backs in an attempt to link up with the forward , they leave wide gaps that our opponents always exploit through long ball over the head of the midfielders . Let the coaching team cure arsenal of these weaknesses.

  9. Agreed! We were not playing as a team, and football is a team sport. Wilshire was again very poor, he is just living on his past performances, and, strutting around because of that. Need a big kick up the backside.
    Ozil was wasted on the left.
    Campbell touch not up to mark.
    Sanchez needs support, can’t go it alone especially with Ramsey and Wilshire too far behind.
    So many things needed to be corrected, but still very happy with end result.
    We really need a defensive midfielder and striker to challenge for trophies.

  10. Are you trying to dress up Everton as “not that good” to get a point across? Everton’s team is actually very, very effective.

    Also, let’s just make broad brush judgements after two games. Chelsea are certs for the title given the way they beat Burnley and Leicester. Fearsome.

    • Yes they are effective – that’s my point. As individuals they are not in the same class as most of the Arsenal team, hence ‘not that good’, but as a team they are more effective than their individual talent suggests.
      Chelsea are certs for the title unless Man City win it, I’d say.

  11. Where is the speed and intensity that we associate with Arsenal. Arteta is now slow and sideways, playing less than meaningful football. Flamini manages chest high tackles and not a lot else. Jack seems lost. Giroud and Sanogo seem more West Brom players than Arsenal. Monreal seems as ordinary as can be. Added to that someone wrote, “at the beginning of the transfer window we needed a CB, a DM and a striker, at the end of the transfer window we need a CB, a DM and a striker”. It’s true.
    Watching sky the other day I notice we have signed for players and lost 8 players, and we are getting injuries again. Most people, ordinary people, learn from experience. We call it wisdom. Wenger has not learned from experience….he is stuck in repeating his strange belief in having an extremely thin squad (literally too). I just do not get it. Weird, weird, weird.

  12. Our players are good enough, our manager isn’t. Yes, we could do with a few additions, but it’s the manager’s “tactics” that are costing us.

  13. This is the last blog I will accept from you. The second Eveton goal was off side. Further more the Eveton move that started that off sode goal began with a foul there should have been a free kick to Arsenal.

    This blog is no different to all the meida false reports on the game. No word about the PMGOL 4 who made many mistakes (affecting both sides) but according get 95% of decisions if that is so then in this match there was corruption.

    The team not only played the opposition of Eveton but also the PMGOL officials at the game.

    The team did have its lull moments so what! In every game every team (including the team you actually support. Its evidently not Arsenal.) has its ‘lull’ moments.
    You and most of the media state that Arsenal’s attack was inapt yet the figures show the opposite.

    Take a look at this link to the BBC’s report opf the match. You could have written it. You will see there is no mention of what really happened in the game.

    • Oh yes, I’ve been found out – all the media are biased, the officials are corrupt and both are paying me to write blogs.

      What do the first half figures show? That the Everton keeper made a string of brilliant saves, or that he could have sat on his goal line and played dominoes for most of it?

  14. I have been an Arsenal fan since 97 but this squad still lacks 3 things.
    1-a player that can control the pace of the game, our players are playing with low tempo.why shd they wait for all opposition players to get back and then they start playing their stupid 1 meter passes trying to unlock the bus. Plus Ramsey shd know when to attack and when to remain in the midfield

    2- why dont we have a DM and a striker

    3-where is the Robert pires we used on the left flank.we need such players that can score rebounds. And this is not the time for experiments, loan out Wilshere we need trophies not experiments

  15. Totally agree. Our build up play is ponderous far too often, giving teams a chance to get back, get organised and defend. We need more speed and dynamism. This has been our problem for year’s!!!

  16. I have been an arsenal supporter in nigeria from 98, I have to say wenger has lost his touch, wenger HAS never been a gr8 tactician, he sets up his team to play in a certain philosophy and with the quality of his players, physical and mental strength, it worked out well, he was a fantastic coach with new ideas, innovative that changed the premier league… unfortunately he hasn’t progressed with modern football, a change in his philosophy to more technically gifted but less physical and mental attitude, plus the money pumped in by the Arab and russian billionaires has changed the landscape. Something else I noticed is that arsene doesn’t seem to know how to handle an already made star, he does well in making a player but doesn’t do well in handling an already made player (Reyes,Arshavin,Ozil)..he doesn’t know how to motivate the players anymore, he over pampers players which works good sometimes (Ramsey), but not os others, in my honest opinion, Arsenal needs1) CD with merts leadership qualities but more mobile, 2)Dm with a combination of arteta and flamini’s qualities, and 3) CF like Giroud but faster and more clinical.. we didn’t need Ozil last season, higuain is what we needed, and if he had the guts, we wld av gotten a Dm instead of flamini, and a left winger… we also didn’t need Sanchez, a balloteli will do us more good than sanchez, sanchez if ok, but if it’s just him with no CF brought in…….

  17. Oh Colario get back to Untold where you and your crazy buddies can discuss corruption,the PGMOL and how poor old Arsene has been robbed of achieving 10 League titles and 3 CL by unseen outside forces with some bizarre grudge against him and his team. Let the proper analysis of what is going on at this club particularly on the field, to those who have their eyes wide open and don’t stick their fingers in their ears screaming “not listening ,not listening waaaaah!” One of these years Arsene will run out of luck and fail to get his beloved Top 4 spot. You cannot go into matches in 2014 having made no analysis of the opposition and having no plan to deal with them.Just playing our (supposedly) pretty football is not enough;we are not Barcelona circa 2008/2011 FFS. The signing of Alexis baffles me. Who plays when Walcott is fit? It will be square pegs in round holes yet again trying to fit everyone in ,because we HAVE to play bloody Ozil and Wilshere for some reason and it will be the same with Sanchez .Did you see his face yesterday sat on that bench ? Wow talk about mardy ,something tells me that he is not finding life at Arsenal quite what he expected .Signing Sanchez has done nothing to address the age old problem of a big f***** midfielder who sits in front of the back 4 breaking up play and passing the ball on ,the striker issue (basically we don’t have a decent one at the club),a dominant CH or a proper LB who doesn’t pull his hamstring running down the line. Sanchez will be ruined just like Ozil, Arshavin and Reyes before him. This season will be just like the past 8 seasons with a desperate will we/won’t we get top four groundhog feel but no trophy to brighten up the end of the season. I don’t tweet myself Phil but I read your (and others )timeline everyday and some of the delusion on there is frightening. That FA cup might end up being the poisoned chalice in the trophy cabinet that sees our continued decline rather than our rebirth.

  18. ’tis true. Arsenal can’t win the title playing as they did against Everton. Or is it? It seems to be true that Chelsea can’t win the title playing as they did against Norwich and Liverpool can’t win the title playing as they did against Crystal Palace. On the other hand City can win the title playing as they did against Sunderland at home – and did so! Can be difficult this analysis lark but it seems you can indeed – ‘finish at the top of the table come May by drawing games against teams who are really not that good.’

  19. @LBJ. I don’t know if you heard radio 5 ‘ s six o six broadcast on Saturday. You can still hear it on the BBC radio player. We heard this: ‘There’s been another goal at Everton.’ We then got a report of a great break away goal by Everton. The report finished we heard this from the two presenters. “That goal was off side.” TV shows that it was clearly off side. Also a free kick should have been given to Arsenal at the start of the move.

    The correct result was Everton 1 Arsenal 2.

    According to you Arsenal played badly. OK so you are right. Arsenal played badly but still good enough to score two goals away at a ‘top team’. That after having had a long away trip to Turkey midweek and Everton having an unintruppted week to to prepare and be fit for the game.

    You can say like the media rants, that Wilshire is injury prone and ignore the fact that every game we see him being rotationally fouled and the PMGOL doing nothing about it except to yellow card Wilshire when he loses his patience and make his own reply to the constant fouling he recieves.

    You can be an Arsenal supporter if you want to, and non stop whinge complain criticise any given aspect of the club you want. this doesn’t mean you are right and it doesn’t mean we have to follow you.

    All the media talk was how we lost to Everton last year no one including you mentioned the fact that we thrashed them 4-1.

    As for Untold Arsenal it doesn’t mouth off what the short sighted blurbs of the media but takes a look at the positives.

    Arsene is constantly being attacked by the media. When he arrived at Arsenal the red nose scot then of manure said: What does a French man from Japan know about English football? As if he red nose was ignorant and didn’t know the who is who of football in Europe!

    From the moment Arsene arrived he has been sneered at and treated with contempt by the media and their believers, yet he has led the way and turned Arsenal from a below average European club to one of the biggest in Europe.

    And yet. According to you and your sheep “He dosn’t know what he is doing!” “Bleat! Bleat! Bleat!

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