Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland | Clueless and casual — nothing changes

Despite the sale of van Persie and the impending departure of Song I was quite optimistic about our chances for the new season. We’ve signed some real quality in Cazorla, Podolski and Giroud after years of buying cheap youngsters and our squad now has depth, so when the inevitable injuries pile up we will still be able to field a good side.

But even though the manager has changed his policy in the transfer market, he hasn’t changed his policy of sending out poorly motivated prima-donnas who expect to stroll about for 90 minutes and be handed three points simply because they are technically superior to their opponents.

How many times will we under-estimate teams like Sunderland? Everybody in the ground knew how they would approach the game and that we’d need to play at a high tempo to tire them out and try to find space behind their massed defence. Yet we ambled around the pitch passing it sideways and backwards while Sunderland sat back and soaked up what little pressure we could be bothered to muster.

I could not believe how slowly we started today. I even wondered if the players thought this was the first game of the Emirates Cup instead of the first game of the season. I seriously think I could’ve motivated the players better than Wenger. It was the perfect platform to show van Persie that we’re better than he thinks, that he was wrong to leave, but instead we proved his point because unforutnately this side won’t win anything until a serious shift in mental attitude occurs.

Idiotic bloggers who keep referring to the Dutchman as van P€r$i€ need to open their eyes. Last season he was a winner playing in a team of losers, now he is a winner playing in a team of winners. I hope he has a poor season, but I hold no grudge.

The only bright spark was the performance of Santi Cazorla. What a classy player! If we’d signed the likes of him a couple of years ago van Persie and Fabregas might’ve stayed, but that’s another story. He was bright and inventive, always wanting the ball and using it intelligently. The fans were rubbing their hands in glee at finally having a creative playmaker to replace Fabregas, while the board were rubbing their hands in glee at the thought of getting £30m for him next summer.

Diaby of Arsenal

Diaby reflects the mood of 60,000 frustrated fans

Cazorla was at the heart of the few impressive moves Arsenal could be arsed to put together. The best one was with 10 minutes to go when he teed up Giroud with a clever flick and the French forward (after an equally impressive piece of movement) found himself with a free shot from 12 yards. Alas, he demonstrated the same lack of composure everybody bar van Persie showed last season and blazed his effort wide.

By then he’d come on for Podolski, who had a quiet afternoon. The German received little service as we lethargically went through the motions and there’ll be lots more to come from him once he settles in. I hope Wenger keeps him in the van Persie role and doesn’t play him out wide because he looked poor on the flanks for Germany in the Euros.

The only other player to catch the eye was Gervinho. He beat his man time and time again, but often chose the wrong option afterwards. If he had an end product the guy would be a world-beater — let’s hope that’s to come.

People will undoubtedly say we didn’t score because van Persie wasn’t playing, but aside from Giroud’s miss it wasn’t bad finishing that let us down today, it was not being able to make enough chances. The crossing was poor and we ran out of ideas around the box. I’d have liked to see Giroud and Podolski up front together for the last 20 minutes but that would mean our manager having to think on his feet and we all know the stubborn Frenchman rarely changes formation. Plan B? What Plan B?

I haven’t bothered to listen to Wenger’s post-match comments — to be honest I’ve heard it all before. He’s a genius at working the transfer market, but his inability to motivate a squad he pampers too much is seriously hindering our progress.

So a new season, a new striker, a new captain, a new playmaker. But the same mental frailties mean it will all count for nothing. On this uninspiring showing there’ll be no silverware this season, we’ll face our annual battle for fourth place and then we’ll sell some more stars next summer. Ker-ching!

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  1. tomstoned

    great day for Our Gunners….15 millions in the bank and one overjoyed

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  2. Savage

    Ridiculous match report – were you expecting all the signings to click into one for the first game of the season?

    I was pretty happy with the game, but obviously a little disappointed with the result – great debut for Cazorla and Gervinho proved that he’s going to be a big player for us this season. Good performances all-round, with Theo probably proving that 100k a week wouldn’t fit him. Glad to see other bloggers mentioning that Giroud’s chance was on his wrong foot – it’s a valid note.

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    • Gooner Steve

      No I wasn’t expecting everybody to click, but I was expecting more tempo and energy to our play. Did you actually watch the game? We were insipid and uninspiring. Three out of our last five premier league games at Emirates have finished 0-0. Is that because the new signings haven’t gelled too?

      We weren’t up for it mentally as is often the case when we play ‘weaker’ teams. It was a key flaw last season and I see no change on the evidence of this match. That is Wenger’s responsibility and unfortunately he has been found wanting yet again.

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  3. indian gooner

    This is pure BS.I hope hordes of season tickets are unsold, else the bastards in the board will continue to support this idiot wenger who thinks everything is fine with this club( it should be coz we are making a profit selling our best players,…tactics?who cares?)we have dross that is yet to be shifted and players who cant be arsed to try and win and a clueless manager who thinks finishing 3rd is a trophy. unless we buy true quality, cut the losses and sell the dross of chamakh,squillaci,park,bendtner,denilson etc, and buy good quality backup well will nothing and more quality players will want to leave than stay.

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  4. Arthur Smith

    Ridiculous report. First game of the season, new players trying to fit in,no one properly match fit, what did you expect? There are always unexpected results at the start of the season, but I think we can have some hope this year. Provided the Song money is spent wisely we will have a decent season. Give them a chance!

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  5. yozza66

    don’t bank on the money being spent!…

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  6. Gunthemdown

    Gooner, i understand the frustration in your article. But, I look in a different way…we didn’t score today agreed but, we did not concede any goal which is a good sign, good possession, good chance creations and less clinical finishing. But, the season has just started and we have lots of games on hand and we will embrace victories with style. Believe me we are bit different this season, with a new captain, new players, new coach it is a new aroma around.

    On RVP story, did Arsene wenger sold VP out of interest, hell no!!! Player himself wanted to leave not because he could not win trophies cos, he needed more money!!! That said, please don’t argue he left for trophies. We all know what that guy told in 2011 about winning trophies with Arsenal. AW was simply back stabbed by his trusted players like VP and Song, players who he trusted a lot. See Gerrard this guy stuck with the club though LFC has not won anything in recent years. This kind of loyality in modern football is greyed out.

    It is premature to say we will not win stuffs blah blah blah…Be patient and support the team rather complaining. Enough of complaints!!!

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    • Gooner Steve

      I’m frustrated because I’ve seen this all before. Different players, same old failings. Like I said at the beginning of my article I too was encouraged about this season and looking forward to it, but this performance was similar to so many last season.

      You have your opinion about RVP and I have mine. Of course the money is a factor but I genuinely think he’d still be an Arsenal player if he was playing with Fabregas and Nasri instead of Ramsey and Diaby.

      I will of course continue to support the side, but I have a right to complain if I feel I’m being short changed as a fan. If I see effort I will always applaud, but we were way too lethargic today.

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  7. goonerDNA

    So no credit to Sunderland then who defended very well, if it hadn’t been for Catermole, Cazorla would of ripped them apart.

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    • Gooner Steve

      Let’s see how Sunderland get on at Old Trafford and the Etihad playing like that. Something tells me the Manchesters will manage to score a few goals. Even Wenger has admitted: “Our passing was not quick enough today”. Sunderland did well, but we made it easier than it should have been for them.

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    This is one of the best comments I have the pleasure to read and one with which I applaud and wish to share with others :-
    Not too long ago, we had players like Adebayor, Fabergas, Toure, Clinchy, Gallas, Nasri, Benther and van Persie and maybe Song if he leaves. They have competed for Carling Cup, FA Cup, Premier League titles and Champions League titles only to come away empty handed. They say Arsenal is not ambitious so they leave for other clubs. Have they found such success? no, except for Nasri but not because after spending one billion dollars in transfer fees and wages, it’s because ManU Collapsed towards the end and QRP imploded in stoppage time against man City on the last game of the season. Also, they unceremoniously bowed out of the champions league. Spending one billion dollars in transfer fees and wages BARELY got them a league title

    To those players that have left, Well I say you were all with Arsenal and didn’t win any title while playing together so I say good riddance to you all. How can anyone justifiably say Arsenal is not ambitious? 16 straight years of champions league appearances? Top 4 finishes in the premier league? Let’s be sensible here. it was not too long ago that when Arsenal played against Barcelona in round 16, they won the first leg thanks to Arshivan’s goal but lost the second when van Persie, will eyes on him to shine, failed miserably by getting red carded because he couldn’t control his temper. van Persie I say to you that Arsenal is ambitious, they gave you a chance to shine against Barcelona in the Champions league and you got yourself kicked out the game, costing our beloved Arsenal a victory. I say, give the new guns Podolski, Giroud and Carzola who have never played champions league football a chance to shine where those players mentioned earlier failed.

    Back to the board, remember people, in the late 90s and early 2000s, the premier league was basically a two horse race between Arsenal and ManU until a Russian Billionaire came along and turn the wage scale in its ear. A spendthrift billionaire who didn’t earn his billions any sound business practice. Few years after that, a billionaire Sheik from the Middles East upped the ante with spending more outlandish than the Russian. He too didn’t earn his billions so how can one expect him, like the Russian, to run a football using time tested, sound business practice, don’t spend more than what you take in. Nasri left because Arsenal simply because Arsenal refused to pay a player who had only a good half season with the club more than 150,000, two and three times more than van Persie, Walcott or any other arsenal player. That is how much Manchester is paying him thanks to billionaires with again no business background. Remember, Arsenal brought in Giroud, Podolski and Carzola for nearly equal to what Chelsea and Manchester City and PSG pay for ONE player!!! Every year the board, with sound business practice, has fielded a team with the capacity to win, it’s up to the players to win with trophies with desire, blood, guts and sacrifices. I believe the new signings, along with Arteta, Walcott, Gervinho and a healthy Wilshire and Diarby will achieve what their predecessors couldn’t.

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  9. Gunthemdown

    @ Gooner Steve

    Lethargic? seriously, hope you would have watched the entire match. Irrespective of the condition (hot day) and after all the international duties these guys showed lots of commitment in the field. Our back four defended very well Gibbs, Verma, Big M and Jenkinson were brilliant today. Arteta, Diaby, Santi (the wowsome guy today)knitted decent passes, while Theo, Gervinho did a decent running in the wings. I remember gervinho running all the way back to Elmohamady and tackling him brilliantly, what an work rate by these lads.

    To me, poldi and Giroud should have done better in wrapping up the goals, adding further, as the black cats sat back and defended deeply we all knew that we need to create more spaces and cut through in to their defense which did not happen today – creativity was not there (except few brilliance from Santi)…As said earlier, we will improve in time and will be dominant force!!!

    Let us see how we play against the Tony pulis team…I am positive and hoping for a first away win this season :)

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    • Gooner Steve

      I hope you’re right and we beat Stoke, but don’t be too quick to heap praise on a defence that wasn’t really tested today. Judgement should be reserved until we see how they cope with Stoke’s aerial assault.

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  10. Gunthemdown

    @ Gooner Steve

    Fine then, let us wait till next Sunday evening.

    Hope Steve Bould has some shrewd defensive tactics to handle their set pieces, long balls and throws. Kos and Ox will be back, we might see Sahin (mostly) or Biglia or Mvila in CDM role.

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  11. Cal

    Totally agree. It’s like ground hog day. PHW had lacked the ambition in the seventies and early eighties. Had a good cup run but not good enough to beat the big sides. We changed when Dein came on board and have returned to the same form since he’s left.. I thought we were a big club. Wenger knows that his economist skills keep him in the job. It’s too early to see how our season will go, but I’m glad that we have some hard games coming up.

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  12. meaner

    Cazorla must be wondering why there are players like walcott and ramilson around him.

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  13. Steve.

    Very disappointing,there,didn’t seem to be any urgency in Arsenals game, if this
    is how thre going to play,no silverware this season.

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  14. Shanzuman

    I agree entirely with the writer and if only readers of this blog read and understood what he has said would not write with such biased BS comments. It does not matter whether it is the beginning, the middle or the end of the season or what the weather is, these players are paid £100-200,000 PER WEEK so they should play with more passion and commitment. I am not that bothered why RVP has gone to better pastures but had he been playing today those chances would have resulted positive and another day saved by our ex captain/hero of last season. If you all think that we are going to win this league with the likes of Diaby, Ramsey, Jenkinson, Gervinho, Arshavin etc than you are living in cloud cuckoo land! We need intelligent, experienced and motivating football players that can take on the might of MU, MC and Chelsea but alas unless we are willing to pay the heavy money than we we are always going to be the 3rd/4th position team! That is bring them in young groom them and than sell at a profit. It is a pity that Wenger is now only remembered for his transfer talents and bringing in the millions rather than his ability to win silverware.

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