Arsenal 1-1 Wolves | Spurs show complacent Gunners how it’s done

I’m trying to work out why 24 hours after a calamitous draw with Wolves, I still feel more devastated than at any other time this season. I’m even more upset than after the 8-2 debacle at Old Trafford because at least I knew that result would wake the board up. And even when we lost to Tottenham we’d played quite well and I took consolation from the fact that they didn’t look much better than us, even on their own patch.

But yesterday we blew a huge chance to climb back into the top four. A chance to stick four or five past a hapless side who hadn’t got a point away from home since August and show the rest of the league that we were back. Yet we couldn’t take advantage of the slip-ups by Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool the day before and that’s just criminal.

Yes their keeper played well, yes we should have had a penalty and yes, their goal was extremely lucky. But the game should’ve been dead and buried long before Hennessy did his best Gordon Banks impression and that it wasn’t was down to one thing. Something that has been a chink in our armour for a long time and which needs sorting immediately.


At 1-0 after only eight minutes the game was already won in the minds of the players. We continued to push forward and make chances, but the focus and determination to score the killer second wasn’t there. As each opportunity went begging you could almost hear the thoughts of the players: “Oooh, that was a good chance. Never mind, we’re winning anyway. The second goal will come along soon, we’re much better than Wolves.”

Man United don’t think like that. They score one and then they chase a second with the same intensity as if it was still 0-0. Then they do the same until they have a third, and a fourth and so on. That’s why they’re champions and is the reason they’ve won their last two matches 5-0 despite carrying even more injuries than us.

We, on the other hand, take the lead against Villa before complacency sets in and allows them an equaliser. Then we do the exact same thing against Wolves — score a goal and get the deckchairs out.

You know it’s becoming a big problem if Wenger takes to criticising his precious players about it in the media. Clearly annoyed, he said:

“At the moment what we have to learn is that when we are 1-0 up in some departments we cannot be too comfortable. We were caught in a position where we can only blame ourselves.”

Robin van Persie against Wolves

Alan Shearer breathes a little easier

That’s a very nice way of putting it Arsene. I hope in the dressing room you were more forceful than that so that the message gets through their thick skulls because this can’t keep happening.

A few hours later my mood was worsened by watching Spurs completely dominate Norwich. At a ground where we scraped a 2-1 win a few weeks ago, Spurs took the game by the throat from minute one and didn’t let go until the final whistle. After they made the breakthrough they continued to look dangerous and could’ve scored five, not giving Norwich a sniff of a comeback at the other end.

They showed how to put down and keep down an inferior side.

I hope our players were watching because — though it pains me to say it — they could learn a thing or two about professionalism from Harry’s mob at the moment. And I think that’s why I’m still in such a bad mood…

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  1. MC Jeff

    You are right, Man U wouldve hammered wolves 5-0. We need to buck our ideas up and concentrate more to kill teams off when we’re on top.

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  2. Jimbobbles

    Excellent, well thought out article. Coming from a Spurs fan, too!

    How much difference do you think Wilshere will make when he returns from injury? And will he be back to face us?

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    • Gooner Steve

      Thanks Jim.

      Wilshere will be a massive boost for us because he can play a deep, basic playmaker role like Arteta or push forward like Fabregas used to and get in the box.

      He played deeper last season, but I expect Wenger to rotate him with Ramsey and play him further forward. In his youth/reserve days he was much more of an attacking player and I expect Wenger to develop him using the Fabregas mould, where he will be in and around the box creating, dribbling and shooting.

      There is so much more to come from him and it will rejuvenate us, but luckily for you I doubt he’ll be up to speed to face Spurs. Although he’s pencilled in for sometime in February, Wenger will ease him back in slowly and it will take time to regain match fitness so he won’t be at his best.

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  3. SSG

    I’m a Spurs fan and I’m not having a go (well, maybe a little!) but I firmly believe we are better than Arsenal right now. How many Arsenal players would start for Spurs? Van Persie for sure and Vermaelen probably, but who else? Sagna maybe, but we like Walker’s game. Song is good but wouldn’t displace Sandro or Parker. Wilshire and Walcott would make the bench only. I’m not saying we will definitely finish above you, but it would be a collapse if we didn’t.

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    • Gooner Steve

      That’s tricky because we play slightly different formations, but in a 4-4-1-1 Spurs formation, my combined Arsenal-Spurs team would be:


      Sagna — Vermaelen — King — Santos

      Lennon — Parker — Wilshere — Bale

      van der Vaart

      van Persie

      I reckon Santos will be much better than Assou-Ekotto when he’s up to speed and Wilshere would edge Modric when fully fit. But I expect Spurs fans to think the complete opposite!

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      • SSG

        Yep, just a slight disagreeement! BAE is one of the best LBs in the league. Santos has shown flashes of being a good player but there is nowhere near a patch on BAE. Wilshire, while talented and will get better, would not displace Modric.

        Cheers for having a reasonable discussion. Rare for the blogging world.

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        • Gooner Steve

          Nice chatting, thanks for dropping by. :)

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  4. DannyMackay

    I’m a Spurs fan and I’m fairly sure I read a hundred blogs a month saying just this the other way around a few season ago. Arsenal don’t have the quality Spurs do across the whole pitch – but they have have enough to control a game once leading against Wolves. It is surely only the mentality that stops them doing so.

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  5. PJP

    Another Spurs fan here – must be your lucky day 😉
    Thought you were unlucky not to beat Wolves, but their keeper was having the game of his life. I think you suffered from applying too much pressure – Wolves had 10 players in their penalty box for most of the second half. The same thing has happened to Spurs against that kind of team. You have to learn how to draw them out of their shell – get them to attack you a bit – it will give you more space, and cause a bit more disorganization in their defense when you counter-attack them.
    Personally, I was pulling my hair out watching Spurs go through exactly the same shit against Norwich, until we did eventually get that first goal. Until then, I could see the game fizzling out into a 0-0 draw.
    Do you think you’ll beat Chelsea to 4th place? I would say you’re better than them at the moment, but they’ll probably get their cheque-book out next month, and that might give them a second wind.

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    • Gooner Steve

      Chelsea got their chequebook out last January and bought Torres and Luiz, so having the money is not a guarantee they’ll actually improve their team! Still, it seems they’re going to land Cahill which looks good business.

      At the moment it may look like a straight fight for 4th between Arsenal and Chelsea, but although you have a nice lead over us your fixtures are very tough around February when you play Man City (a), Liv (a), Arsenal (a), Man U (h) and Newcastle (h) in a six week period.

      If you’re still 3rd after that I’ll concede there’s no catching you, but there’s a lot of football to be played yet. :)

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  6. Jay

    I am a spurs fan but being non bias I would say Sagna is better than Walker but Santos is nowhere near as good as Ekotto….and Wilshere isnt better than Modric (yet)

    The difference between our 2 sides isnt who has the best starting 11 its the fact that Ramsay, Arteta, Mertesacker, Walcott (inconsistent isnt the word, although he does have his games where he is unplayable), Rosicky, Benayoun, Arshavin, Chamakh, Gibbs, Jenkinson and Djorou wouldnt even get into our squad… have tremendous players surrounded by average players and thats your problem.

    If you signed one of Sandro, Parker, Modric, Lennon, Ekotto, Walker, Kaboul, King, Modric, VDVaart, Bale, Adebayor or Defoe I guarantee they would start against QPR in your next game guaranteed…..and thats the difference our whole team is strong..

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  7. gman

    It’s nice to see good manners with Spurs around, but….too many fans underestimate history and misjudge even who is better in each teams first 11 and bench based on context(where to apply). As a gooner we play a different style, and are still in transition (unwelcomed btw as we should have been better prepared). Many have left out Song who although got a bit too cute against wolves will be back to his best, Kosser, and walcott beats lennon any day. With that said man for man, both sides are close, but proof of lack of injuries has helped spurs this season, and any team needs that to get a good run. If we had Wilshere, and Sagna two of our best, we would have a few more points on the board and be right in there challenging. But history tells us we get key injuries, but we always find a way to make it to 3rd or 4th in the end. I am not sure any other team outside of us and Man U can cope with injuries and still challenge. It’s a long season, and a few injuries can change the landscape quickly, and on that basis, we have an edge over everyone else except Man U…in my opion. History shows Wenger is great at coming in 2nd – 4th regardless of the talent (very frustrating, but the numbers show it)

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