LanreBan’s “Arsenal Xray”

Arsenal once again came away from Old Trafford with their tails coiled firmly between their legs but with the last laugh. Yes, scoring with the last kick of the game was nothing but a kick in the teeth to United from a dying horse. The 2-1 scoreline is very flattering really. It was a one-sided match and very embarrassing to be an Arsenal fan. It was a gutless performance from Arsenal.

I am surprised and honestly embarrassed by Arsenal fans blaming the referee for our loss. Come on people, for the first time, in years, I actually think the referee did well for us at Old Trafford. We cannot blame him for our loss. This is one that falls flat at the feet of Arsene Wenger and his coaching staff.

We did not have any attempt on target during the 90 minutes of normal play and the 2-1 scoreline really flatters us. Of the team that got hammered 8-2 last year, only Aaron Ramsey remained for this fixture yet the result is probably worse. We had no injuries to use as an excuse. The players just were not up for this match.

Arsene Wenger said that the defeat last season was due to “exceptional”┬ácircumstances. This defeat was due to one circumstance: the sum of the┬ádifferences between Manchester United and Arsenal. Put simply; the┬ádifference between the two teams.

Thomas Vermaelen must be dropped. His confidence is so low right now┬áthat he can’t do anything right. The weight of the Captain’s armband is┬ámaking it worse for him and the team as a whole. In big games such as┬áthese, you need strong characters and I’m sorry to say he appears to be a┬ávery weak character at the moment. He is making the kind of errors you get┬áfrom a player who knows he is playing out of his depth. He lacks the fire,┬ádrive and anger required of a Captain or a senior player in short. He looks┬álike Pascal Cygan reincarnated.

He was responsible for undermining the team spirit early in both halves, thus encouraging United. His first mistake lead to the Robin Van Pussie goal. Then in the second half, when you thought the team would have regrouped and come out fighting, he made a similar mistake which lead Van Pussie to cross for Valencia, who missed the ball completely and fell on his ass, when the net was empty. That sort of performance from the Captain undermines the whole team and must be punished. How can the team ever pick themselves up when the Captain is making a mockery of the importance of the occasion?

Football is about psychology. When a team is psychologically weak, the┬áopponents pick up on that vibe and you are gone!. Thankfully United don’t┬áknow how to clean-up or they would have really annihilated us.

Andre Santos for me, is an embarrassment. Running for Robin Van Persie’s┬áshirt at half time? What was that all about? He was not only┬áshaming himself but also the Arsenal fans and Arsenal Football Club! Where┬áis your pride ??? If I was in that dressing room, I would have┬ápunched him in the face and made sure he can’t come out for the second┬áhalf. What sort of fight can you honestly expect from players who have that┬ásort of mentality? No pride to wear the shirt, no sense of shame! Or was he┬ádoing it to wind up the Arsenal fans? He didn’t play any worse than others on the day.

There was a moment in the second half where Arsenal were on the attack, the ball was passed to him by Cazorla and instead of delivering a cross into the box, he opted to shoot into the stands. That summed up the fight in this Arsenal team for me.

Aaron Ramsey was played out of position on the right-again. I twitted at┬áhalf time that Wilshere should come off, Ramsey play centre midfield and┬áTheo on the right. This was also because of his early yellow card and the┬áfact he is off the pace and generally prone to do a Paul Scholes kind of┬átackle in any game. Instead Arsene Wenger left him on the pitch and as we┬áall know, he got a red card. Ferguson on the other hand took off Cleverley to avoid a red card. Arsene Wenger says he left Wilshere on so┬áthat we could be more offensive! I’m sorry Arsene, but currently Wilshere is┬áfar behind Ramsey in terms of match fitness. Ramsey could have done a┬ábetter job with his energy and ball retention in there, perhaps allowing
Arteta to move further up the pitch. Again, these are all tactics that a manager must be able to try throughout the course of a game, instead of being rigid in your tactics when clearly they are not working.

This for me is the key difference between Ferguson and Wenger. Ferguson will let Rooney play as a midfielder whenever they play Arsenal because of his energy and general ability to cause us problems all over the pitch. Arsene Wenger will never set up a team to negate the threat of the other team, even though clearly this never works. Even Barcelona change their team formation to counter the strengths of the opposition and thus make themselves superior in a match.

Furthermore, the team should have been more fired up for this game than┬áwhat we saw. I mean first Van Persie insulted them and the club in the┬ámanner he left. Then there is the whole wanting to be the better team in a┬ábig game clash. I’m sorry, but I can only blame the manager here. The team┬álacked belief/fight/spirit/confidence/purpose/ideas/conviction/edge- name it┬áall- they lacked it. It’s like they went there hoping not to be┬áembarrassed┬áby┬áthe scoreline at the end of 90 minutes. That was not a team which┬ágenuinely believed it can compete with Manchester United.

The whole situation adds credibility to Van Persie and Nasri’s allegation┬áthat we lack ambition. We can insult them all we like but at the end of the┬áday, I think it is becoming clear that we just are not competitive enough to┬áwin the league.
Without being too negative, I have said in the past that we keep changing players/teams every year. I mean from the same fixture last season, only Aaron Ramsey was in the starting line up! It means we have a completely new team yet the gap is not closing. We always have the best players (technically) in the league yet we never deliver when it matters.

I have also said in the past that we have changed everything in the about the club except the coaching staff. Much as I love Arsene Wenger, I cannot shake this ever-brighter realization that his time at the top of elite coaches might be up.
Perhaps he would be better off moving into a director’s position or better┬ástill being the youth team coach because honestly, the man just never┬áseems able to get the best out his senior players, brilliant footballers they┬áalways are. And worse still the players never seem to play for him. They┬ájoin the club because of him (especially the young ones) because they are┬águaranteed first team football and a rise to stardom under Wenger.

After they outgrow him, they piss on him and buzz off. And the pain on his┬áface and his body language when we are losing so haplessly like a team of┬álittle girls playing against grown men is just too much for me to bear. I feel┬áso embarrassed for Arsene wenger. Surely a gentleman as dignified as he is┬áout to realize that he mustn’t be subjecting himself to such humiliation?


The Arsenal supporters were class on the day (except when they started calling Van Persie a rapist). Come on Arsenal fans, we are better than that. there must be a difference between an Arsenal fan and a fan of any other team in the league! Get a hold of yourselves and stop letting us all down. Remember that it takes one imbecile to paint all Arsenal fans imbeciles.

But chanting went on long after the game. If I was an Arsenal player, I┬áwould ask myself “what have I done for the fans today”? and most┬áimportantly, WHAT I’M I DOING FOR THE PRIDE OF THE SHIRT I’M┬áWEARING? Santos clearly has no pride. Running after Van Persie to collect┬áa sweat- soaked table cloth from a bitter rival and take into our dressing
room is a mockery of your team, your club, the fans and yourself! Shame on you Santos! But surely he must be shamed. I would, at the very least, tar him, feather him and send him out at half time in our next home game to apologize to the fans and the team at half time.

But looking at our current form and attacking threat, I won’t┬átorture myself hoping for 3 points.┬áI will support the Arsenal, not because I believe we can win the League,┬áChampions League or any cup/bucket or dish placed before us, but because┬áI LOVE ARSENAL.