Arsenal 0-0 Chelsea | No passion and no ideas

I woke up with a sore throat and a blocked nose this morning. Feeling the onset of a cold, the sensible course of action would’ve been to watch the match on TV while drinking some Lemsip, and if I wasn’t so desperate to witness us batter Abramovich’s despicable chavs, I probably would have done so. Instead I stuffed some tissues into my coat and headed off to the Emirates, determined not to miss out on the atmosphere that a huge game with so much at stake would bring.

Unfortunately none of the Arsenal players were as enthusiastic as I was. They played with such lethargy you’d have thought it was a dead rubber between two mid-table teams. Here was I expecting the same kind of passion and commitment we showed against Man City, but apparently I was more up for the game than anyone in a red shirt.

How could that be? What a huge opportunity fate had handed us, getting to play a reserve Chelsea side in between their Barcelona ties. A side which had one eye on their next match probably couldn’t believe what an easy ride they were getting. We ambled around casually, tapping the ball around harmlessly on the halfway line as Chelsea sought to protect the clean sheet they’d come for. There was no tempo and little attacking intent from either side.

I don’t blame Chelsea. They have little chance of getting into the top four even if they’d won today, so putting all their eggs into their Champions League basket was fair enough. No Drogba, no Cole, no Mata, no Ramires, no Lampard, no Ivanovic — what a boost that should have been to our players. Which makes our lack of passion all the more frustrating.

We should’ve approached this match as if it was our Champions League final, but instead we treated it as though it was the Emirates Cup final.

With Arteta and Benayoun unavailable, Ramsey came into the midfield and it was a straight choice between Gervinho and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for the left wing role. Considering Gervinho had come off the subs bench before AOC every time in the last few games, you’d have thought he would’ve got the nod. But as if to contradict himself Wenger started AOC — which begs the question why he had been given so much less game time than the desperately out of form Ivorian recently.

Not that he had much effect on the game anyway. Despite a couple of early dribbles AOC was as anonymous as everybody else and it took us 40 minutes to wake up when a free kick was nodded onto the bar by Koscielny. Then Robin van Persie controlled a Song pass well but blasted straight at Cech from a tight angle.

The halftime whistle was greeted with muted applause and murmurings of discontent from the fans around me. Why weren’t the players up for this match? What kind of team talk had Wenger given to make them play with so little effort or tempo? I foolishly predicted we’d be up for this to show everybody the Wigan game was a blip, but not for the first time this season Arsenal seemed poorly motivated and the responsibility for that lies with the manager.

van Persie goes close against Chelsea

There is nobody to share the burden with van Persie and it's costing us

I heard a few arguments that the players were tired. Yet we’ve only had three midweek fixtures since mid-February so I don’t buy that. The only one who that could apply to is van Persie, who is looking mentally jaded more than anything and is in desperate need of a rest. But when Wenger has so little trust in his number two striker Chamakh that he doesn’t even get on the pitch when we’re chasing a goal against Wigan or Chelsea, there’s no chance he’ll be asked to deputise for our captain. Which once again asks the pertinent question of just why we have no adequate striking cover in the squad and harks back to our woefully mismanaged summer.

Usually Arsenal tear into their opponents after the break when we’ve underperformed, but the second 45 minutes was as underwhelming as the first. van Persie had a couple of decent chances but shot wide with his right before taking too long with his left and allowing Cech to smother. He’s off form, so wouldn’t it have been a great option to bring someone like Podolski off the bench. If that deal happens it’ll be a signing made a season too late, which is pretty much the norm with Arsenal over the last few years.

At the other end a misjudged Vermaelen header allowed Sturridge a clear sight of goal, but Koscielny made a superb last ditch tackle to deny him.

Wenger made his substitutions early but once again they had little effect. An unfit Santos for AOC was strange and the overweight Brazilian offered nothing. Again it seemed as if Wenger had decided beforehand that AOC would only play 75 minutes no matter what. I accept the youngster had a quiet game but it only takes one magical run to create a goal — AOC had more chance of doing that than Santos.

Diaby came on and looked as rusty as one would expect, but Rosicky was tiring so I can understand that one. Gervinho came on for the injured Walcott, who again offered nothing for most of the match. Quite why he played on after feeling his hamstring is beyond me. It’s not something you can run off, so why did the physio let him back on?

Anyway, one point from two home games is a poor return at any time of the season, but when it blows the chance of cementing third place it’s all the more inexcusable. Luckily for us Spurs are choking even more violently than we are, but we can’t rely on others to slip up for us. I could accept a 0-0 today — or even a defeat — if we’d fought as hard as we did against Man City, but the lack of passion shown was unacceptable.

It’s days like these which make me wonder whether it’s worth getting off my sick bed to cheer on our over-paid, under-motivated players. And these days are getting more and more frequent unfortunately. Like the club, the players take our support for granted — that much was evident in their blasé performance today.

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  1. GoonerGaz

    Very well put… I too cannot believe the Physio let Walcott back on the pitch, that right there gives us a great insight into our medical team!

    I also thought Ramsey was shocking today, the crowd let it be known too, the guy has zero confidence right now.

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  2. S J Little

    If a club likr Arsenal cant find better players than Walcott and Ramsey out of 40 odd overpaid palyrs
    over paid players then they surely must ask what the Manager is doing!
    Ramsey runs around in space and if the ball gets to him (not him to the ball) he either passes backwards/sideways or mispasses. Is it really that Arsenal are so poor they cant find anyone better!
    Walcott – three years of nothing special. Rosicky and Sagna spend half their time trying to find where their right winger has gone.
    It is quite obvious now that had we not got Arteta we would be nowhere near the the misnamed Champions league quilification zone.

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  3. edu

    Why is it that of late when Ramsey plays the team performance is lame? Just like before with Arshavin playing team does really suffer.
    Is it that the team mates know he does not pull his weight and know the play with a handicap as a team. Wenger like with other players keeps on playing him which might lead him to be booed just like Ebuoe and Arshavin were. Its not Ramsey’s fault, he does not pick himself.
    Our best 11 picked itself during the 7 game winning streak but Wenger had to mess up the team, then affects confidence and eventually injuries have set in.

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  4. Andy

    Is this the year of he scapegoat. Fans seem to find a way of making a certain player the scapegoat for why we lost or is the worst player. Eboue, Denilson, Theo, Arshavin, Ramsey (aka Ramilson). Lets face it we have an average team. Seriously, without RvP I shudder to think of our ‘true’ league position.
    I feel that the winning mentality and belief for trophies is gone. Our current squad of players are known for playing good football and finishing in the top 4. We develop good players and are a top 4 team. That’s it. (ManU squad is not that great, but winning trophies is in the clubs DNA). Now that the pressure is off the team, is saddens me to see them under performing and dropping points. Its only when we need a ‘kick up the arse’ do we start performing. Was it too much to ask them to play them to show some passion for the last 10 games.Is Wenger really unable to sufficiently motivate them. Moving to a new stadium promised so much but has delivered little…or nothing.

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  5. Roland C Rozario

    Arsenal must ensure top calibre players are brought in IF they want RVP to stay!

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  6. Andy

    Does anyone think RvP contract will be sorted out before the Euros. Personally if I was his agent, I would tell RvP to wait until after the Euros. Cos if he has a cracking Euro then his value will only go up. He knows he has an offer on the table from Arsenal. If he does sign before the Euros then it shows he is really committed to the club. But we’ve been here before…seems like Groundhog Day.

    Secondly Theo. I like the guy and he is integral to our team, but it bemuses/angers me that he after a significant pay hike. I look at his performances, his age and the money he is after, and it doesn’t add up.

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  7. The BearMan

    I have been saying for awhile, we learn more about out team not by the way we start, but how we finish. The term the Bear have been using is running a marathon. For the past 6 seasons Arsenal have burnt out just before the finishing line. A couple of weeks ago, we had almost a fully fit squad. But the moment we hit a wall, players start running to the injury table.

    When Arsenal mentally begin to hit the wall they start to crumble. Ideas become limited, the footballing brain and confidence is limited. Then what is left is running around the park and hoping for the best. That is why I keep on saying Arsenal never prepares for these moments. We have an entire reserves squad with youngmen aching to play for the first team and we do not know how to best use them. So we would use squad members that have been on the bench all season. Knowing fully well there is a reason why they are there in the first place.

    We simply lack athletes in this squad. Players that can deliver when the going gets tough.
    Wenger has pin pointed some decent players he wants to bring in, but by the time the window is open, he will settle for players from the Primark Division. Looks nice, but use a few times and they are ready for the bargain bucket.

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  8. David

    Van Persie has not scored in seven games except for one penalty. Come on persie

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  9. rawlo

    ramseey same calibre as denilson jus useless on the pitch he slows the play down especially when we are on the break …..sometimes i wonder if arsene sits n watches the tape after each game n realise how useless ramsey is smh …. i mus say koscenly had a excellent game …my player of the season

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  10. lee the gooner

    these so called gooners are really starting to fuck me off first it was arshavin now its ramsey always need a scapegoat ramsey had nearly 90% pass completion yesterday granted he did give away possesion a few times but he is going to be world class midfielder i hope its at arsenal if not it will be at one of our competitors and then you will realise what we have lost so get of his back you fucking idiots and get behind him when he needs the crowd support most

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  11. Shanzuman

    A tedious boring game with no real aggression or willingness to win. No sense of urgency and direction, even our prolific, as it now transpires PFA player of the year RVP was off form and missed far too many chances. We had over 62% possession with a lot of pretty passing (although not always accurate!!) but to no avail as our efforts ended unproductive. What a waste of time and energy with all this possession, we are not equipped to imaginatively create enough opportunities from which to score at least 1 or 2 goals. There were too many occassions when Rosicky run at them and penetrated their defensive wall but was not supported and either lost the ball or gave it away. We are at times not playing as a team and as a result end up paying the penalty. And so we go on and on with the same tactical unproductive, frastrated, dreary, pointless football…. As for Lee above, get a fucking life son and watch the game without your blinkers on!! Yes Arshavin was a scapegoat so is Ramsey and (at times) Theo and Diaby and quite a few more which means that we do not have a world class team and unless the Board changes their strategy we will carry on ending in the top 4 every year! I believe our team is not good enough and we need strengthening not only with new better players but also with a management team that can once again bring new ideas and stategies that will motivate our team and youngsters to better pastures.

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