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07 April 2010


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Fair article.
I think most Arsenal fans realise our defensive frailties, it's a shame that we haven't addressed it yet. I also think we need to improve our overall work ethic...

But were not to far off hopefully a few tweeks and we can seriously challenge.

Paul W13

Brilliant article mate. Still not convinced that taking Drogba off was the right call in last year's CL semi-final (I think they thought he was injured, but his protestations as he came off the pitch suggested otherwise), but tactically Hiddink had Barca down to a tee. Let's not try and pretend that last night's Barca team was better than the one Chelsea played either: far from it. The team that Chelsea outwitted over 2 legs were far superior to the one Arsenal played last night.


They were missing half their best team and had Silvestre who i'm reliably informed is their 5th choice CB.

I actually didn't think Barca looked like threatening their goal other than when Messi touched the ball. They pass it around the defence and midfield alot but only Messi penetrated.

East Stand Upper 61

As an Arsenal fan, I enjoyed a rival supporter's refreshingly objective, insightful perspective on the team and its approach.

Paul W13

"I actually didn't think Barca looked like threatening their goal other than when Messi touched the ball. They pass it around the defence and midfield alot but only Messi penetrated."

Eto'o sold, Ibrahimovic injured, Iniesta injured, Henry for the knacker's yard. That's rather a lot of talent MIA.

Matthew Zarb-Cousin

Cesc, Arshavin, Gallas, Van Persie.

How would Chelsea have fared without Terry, Lampard, Drogba and Anelka?


Eto'o sold?? Henry knackers?

How is that in any way applicable?

That's like saying Arsenal were without Bergkamp and Pires.


Thanks for the comments everyoone.

Matthew - you make a fair point. I guess though that in this post I'm not so much arguing about whether Arsenal or Chelsea should have been capable of winning - just that Arsenal's tactics and approach didn't, and don't, do you any favours. In addition, the game (and the resulting chatter) should tell us something about what tweaks Arsenal need to make to take the next step.

Even if the Chelsea players you mention were injured, I still reckon that Barcelona team would never score 4 against us, precisely because we wouldn't be tempted to make the same mistakes. It's all 'what ifs' though...

It's an entirely separate point to the post, but Chelsea are well used to injury crisis, like Arsenal. We've been missing Bosingwa all season, Essien for most of it, Ashley Cole's been out for months, Ivanovic has been out for a month now, Carvalho had recurring problems and Joe Cole's barely been fit for the last couple of years.

Despite missing three of our first choice back four and Essien at the weekend, we still beat Man Utd at Old Trafford at the weekend...


Dan - I might be mistaken, but Paul could be comparing the team Arsenal faced with the team Chelsea faced last year.

Barcelona were missing a lot of players (either injured or left the team) against Arsenal when compared to their game against us. They still 'threatened' enough to score 4.

At Stamford Bridge last season, that superior side managed just 1 shot on target. Sadly for us, it went in.


at least wenger is trying to build a team up from early age to play together for a long time to reach and hopefully play like barca when they mature into experience players which they are doing quite well,and not rely on millions frm rich owners. wengers way is the right way.chelsea cant buy the champs league and wont do it next year either chavs and manks have got old players who will soon need replacing ARSENAL FOREVER.


All this endlss media wenger praise doesn't do arsenal any favours IMHO - - it ignores several areas in which he is clearly deficient:
- building a team - cosntructing a team isn't only the players you have its also about assembling a squad over a few years of buying and selling that can compete despite injuris - WEnger had to go and buy Campbell in the january sales because he didn't have enough c/halfs - check theirs against either man u or chelsea. all managers buy and sell and build their squad up slowly so they have as much cover and competition for places as they can - its SOP in div 2 teams

- tactically he has always been nieve - they've never had a plan B - evry year they loose vital games because of it - last night defensively they were tactically inept.

- physically and mentally a bit soft - here again this is something that a manager can work on and develop in gym and through tailored fitness regimes - also winning things helps - but Wenger doesn't seem to want to do that.

If i was arsenal fan which I'm not i'd be very frustrated with AW - to be honest i don't think that the teams improved to any substantial degree over the last few years.

Anway its his problem and as a partisan chelsea fan long may he reign. Because frankly and brutually i don't think they are goign to get any better under him


as Arsenal fan I cannot dispute any of these points raised here. In addition I have no idea how Arsene Wenger developed a phobia of buying fit players in their mid to late 20s? It's a luxury to have both Silvestre and Campbell, 1 old head is fine but two crocked old payers are ridiculous !

Brett Thomas

Good, mature discussion apart from the Easter holidays 12.28 comment. Shouldn't you be revising for your English exam? It's quite interesting to see the 'well, they were the best team in the world' reaction in the media. Compare that to last year when we deserved to beat Barcelona with a stronger team than they played Arsenal with last night (e.g. Iniesta and Eto'o both played). Another point about this young Arsenal side is that the epithet didn't apply last night when the average age was 26. Their youngest player - Billy Whizz - is now 21 and still going nowhere very fast.


It's funny the way Arsenal fans defend Arsene Wenger and his "great plan" of developping young players into the best team ever seen on earth... I am guessing it is every coaches dream as a kid, and it's nice to see one actually trying. The fact is, Arsenal has been at the summit of England football, with the likes of Bergkamp, Henry, Pires, Vieira, etc... how do you jump from a winning formula like that to your childish dreams? I call it complacency of an old man who believes he's achieved more than enough (with the invicibles) and does not need to prove himself anymore. So he is free to try whatever he feels like, a real rock star, parading naked in his hotel room, windows wide open is the picture I have in mind...yes Arsene is a great coach, and yes the idea of developping the greatest team ever with just young talents is a wonderful idea... But all this takes time, and young talents are being born every day. By the time arsene's babies are ready to storm the world, everyone would have offered them five times what they will be offered by stingy arsenal, and then what? Start from scratch again for Wenger? Get real, this is football, and as soon as Van Persie, arshavin, fabregas and Gallas can run again and score, they will be called by bigger spending clubs like real, chelsea, manu, barcelona or inter...You need to buy the best to be competitive, and arsenal will look like a shopping center for young talents soon. It's time to face reality. Money rules and big players like messi, are worth the money you pay for them, for moments like yesterday's game where they can score four goals for you in a champions league quarter final...wake up wenger.

Deirdre St John

Great article, shows intelligent perspective. Don't think Jose will approach the next round with such blind stupidity. Sure, Messi is undoubtedly the best player in the world right now but close them down in midfield, cut off his supply and you might just see a different game altogether.
Chelsea till I die!


frederic, I agree,we kept Messi fairly quiet last year. How much longer do Wenger's kids want? We've heard for ages now that he wants to build a super team with kids and yet, talented as they are they are miles away from a great team and I'm afraid looking like "Morning Glory" players.

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