Sunderland 0-0 Arsenal: consistently inconsistent Gunners put in another woeful performance

Well, what more can I say? I feel a strong, almost overwhelming desire to just copy and paste huge chunks of text from my Palace review. Not only because GroundHog day is now associated more with Arsenal than the movie, the day itself or even groundhogs, but because I’m tired of dissecting this tidal wave of corrosive goo.

You know, I’ve always admired Andrew Mangan’s effort. The guy writes every day. Me, I can take a break. I can write 2-3 times a week. Not that I’m comparing my abilities to that of Andrew’s, I’m simply marvelling at his mental resolve. He has to write, analyse, find quotes and stuff. And he’s still sane.

Truth be told, our last three games have been suspiciously reminiscent of one another. The same lack of desire, the same lethargic passing patterns, all the familiar faces with all the familiar performances. The same 70-minute substitutions regardless of what’s happening on the pitch.

I can’t quite put my finger on the why, but yesterday these substitutions really boiled my piss. I realise Wenger always does things his way, that this is both maddening and admirable, however yesterday I wanted to strangle him for it.

Partly, the Frenchman is very much the victim of the “familiarity breeds contempt” concept. But his stubborn insistence yesterday made me despair, perhaps truly so for the first time this season. Not only the timing of the subs.

The hell did he even start?!

Why did he play Giroud in the first place? The Frenchman wasn’t bad against West Brom, however yesterday he looked absolutely disinterested and uninvolved. Not least because he was expertly marked out of the game by Kaboul and Kone. The other Kone. The one you’ve probably never heard about before yesterday, as did I. Kaboul and “expertly” in the same sentence. Jesus wept. Our 1st choice striker for the greater part of the last 4 seasons was contained by a Tottenham reject.

Not that Walcott was any better. The fact he not only continues to make the bench, but indeed gets regular game time is a riddle I’ll never solve. And the way he chickened out of that tackle yesterday, you know the one I’m talking about… I have no words. In Theo we have a player who earns more than Sanchez, yet is being kept out of the side by Iwobi. For good reason too.

Oh, Iwobi. I like the lad. I really do. However yesterday just wasn’t his day. It happened so that most of our golden opportunities fell to him, and the Nigerian made a complete bollix of it. He’s hardly more culpable than anyone on the pitch that we found ourselves in a such a situation, but I think it’s still reasonable to expect him to do better. Or to have done better from those positions.

I have no warm words for Ramsey either. A player who, like Giroud, was given a chance to build on a good midweek performance, and who, like Giroud, bottled it. I suspected his pivot with Elneny could turn out to be too lightweight defensively and so it proved. Ramsey mostly staying in position didn’t help in the slightest, as he was continuously brushed aside by Khazri. Jesus Christ. Outplayed by some fat bloke who didn’t complete a single pass in 45 minutes of football not so long ago. In short our midfield was like a Chinese takeaway yesterday. Lee Cattermole and Wahbi Khazri ran riot right down the, and it’s not so much Elneny’s fault.

Too full of himself

I wanted to say this for a long time, and finally I can no longer hold it in: Ramsey’s 13/14 season did more harm than good. He became too big for his head and Arsene decided one good season guarantees Ramsey a starting place. They are both forgetting the reason Ramsey had such a cracking season was his selfless work for the team. There is no sign of him willing to work for the team now. He’s become a glory-chaser, selfish and intolerable on the pitch. Someone called him “diva” yesterday and the description looks so accurate I’ll roll with it. He didn’t do anything inherently wrong yesterday, but his overall attitude merits a drop to the bench, in my view. That, and the fact a guy named Wahbi Khazri outplayed him. Jesus Christ.

The only bright spot yesterday was Cech’s performance. No, actually there was another: Jack’s return, however few minutes he played. Back to Cech and the guy saved us a point. A point. A team fighting for CL places was bailed out of a loss to a relegation-headed side by their goalkeeper. I won’t say “Jesus Christ” simply because I’ve seemingly said it in every paragraph above.

I don’t what to expect anymore. I just want this season to end, but at the same time I still maintain I want Arsenal to finish in the top 4. Simply because Europa League is a dead-rubber competition and I want no part of it. However with football like this… I’m not sure we’ll make top 4 and, what is even more horrifying, I’m no longer sure we deserve it.

Until later

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8 Responses to Sunderland 0-0 Arsenal: consistently inconsistent Gunners put in another woeful performance

  1. Panther April 25, 2016 at 1:42 pm #

    I agree with everything apart from you saying Cech saved Arsenal a point. Mannone made some very significant saves to, so don’t let your emotions get in the way of reflecting accurately, what happened on the pitch.

    • Alex April 25, 2016 at 3:40 pm #

      He did indeed. Although as Sunderland had the last word in this shooting context and that Cech made more saves than Mannone leaves its imprint

  2. Ahmed Zidane April 25, 2016 at 2:14 pm #

    “Olivier probably could have done better on a couple of
    occasions, but his hold-up skills, his presence on set-
    pieces at both ends and his overall clever play in and
    around the box make his inclusion completely justified
    for me. Olivier’s overall contribution deserved to be
    awarded with a goal and that he was denied one late on
    by Foster’s face made me a bit sad.”

    this was what you had to say after the westbrom match, then after Sunderland’s match you ask why the hell did giroud have to start!!!!!

    Why the double standards, because it’s natural for him to start if he performed well (according to your post btw) in the previous match….

    • Alex April 25, 2016 at 7:23 pm #

      I haven’t said he should start vs Sunderland though. Don’t put words in my mouth. I only said he did better than given credit for by most of our fans. In fact, I fully expected Welbeck to start at Stadium of Light and was baffled when he didn’t. Giroud did a good job for a stand-in, but certainly not enough to displace Welbeck

  3. Victor Thompson April 25, 2016 at 2:45 pm #

    I would like to thank you for this article Alex, it saved me the trouble. Honestly, I wrote a comment on Arsenal Circular to an article written by Canon Crested and I would invite you to read it. Its not very long but it confirms all of the issues you have put into this article. Frankly I understand how you feel about writing anything which you have not already said and I just could not be arsed.

    I have tried to analyse the feeling and the nearest I can come to is when an injured animal such as a deer instinctively knows that nothing it does will prevent the inevitable outcome of it`s injuries, it just lies down and accepts it. That is what I feel like when I read over my articles and also those articles and comments of other Gooners such as your self, I have the distinct feeling that apart from a way to give off steam, it is a futile exercise.

    I am surprised that Graham Perry on Arsenal Circular today even admits that the result yesterday left him deeply disappointed. One of the things I admire about Graham is that his support of Wenger is not what you would call blind loyalty. Graham always explains his reasons in a logical manner and even though I disagree with him, I enjoy corresponding with him. If even someone as steadfast as he is, is now registering his disappointment it is a measure of the damage being done to this club by the ongoing and never-ending trail of blunders, mistakes and bad judgments made by Wenger and compounded by our absentee guvner.

    At what point will the resistance of the fans begin to matter ( if ever )? There is no evidence so far that any meaningful measures are contemplated by the chief shareholder or the board to improve the situation before next season. That also takes into consideration that we may not even make the top 4. Realistically, given our points tally since February, there is every prospect that Man Utd. will overhaul us for 4th place. Spurs have disappeared over the horizon for third. Utd. are on a run whereas we face Man City at a time when they have recovered their proper form whilst we are still sinking downwards.

    Oh how I wish for something cheerful and inspiring to write about Arsenal.

    • Alex April 25, 2016 at 3:51 pm #

      I wish I had more cheerful things to write about too. The (kind of) comforting thought is that Wenger will most likely leave after next season. The heat will get too much by then. I remember he almost said he wouldn’t have stayed had we lost that cup final to Hull and he linked that to fans’ disenchantment. If it’s the only thing that can make him stop and think whether he should stay, then he won’t be here in a little over a year.

      Read your comment on canon crested and I have to say I agree. Shame Wenger changed the formula with Welbeck and Coquelin. One game I can get (for rotation purposes), but it’s beyond me why he didn’t revert to these two at the Stadium of Light.

      All in all, a rather depressive turn of events

  4. Simon Lancaster April 25, 2016 at 3:13 pm #

    The “British core” has failed and Wenger cannot admit it since he is the architect. I don’t want to disappoint my British friends but Wilshere will follow Walcott; they are simply not good enough at this level. Rosicky is fit again and does not get a place on the bench; that speaks volumes about Wenger’s dementia.

    • Alex April 25, 2016 at 7:27 pm #

      The British core has largely failed to live up to the expectations, but I think Welbeck did alright, Chambers I rate highly and hope he’ll be given a chance, while on Wilshere I have to disagree. If he overcomes his injuries (a big “if”, I know), he can be grand for us. I would only write Walcott, Oxlade and possibly Gibbs in the “failed” section with an important clause that Ox is still young and might come good

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