Match Report: Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland

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Same old story. Lots of possession, not much end product. Welcome to the new season!

In the aftermath of our wanderings around Asia and Africa, and the comings and goings of players, the game had a disjointed, preseason feel to it. We controlled possession and tried to play a pressure game high up the pitch, but our attacks lacked fluidity. All our new signings played – Cazorla and Podolski started, with Giroud replacing the latter midway through the second half.

Sunderland were unambitious, but looked capable of hurting us with quick, wide counter-attacks when we lost possession high up the field. One such early chance resulted in Szczesny making a great save from McClean. That was the best chance of the match until Giroud missed a sitter late on. Colback had a decent shot from distance for them after Diaby lost possession around our box, but the rest was all us.

Cazorla thumped one in from long range that Mignolet saved well. He also had a few half-chances which he sent wide, and released Walcott to combine with Podoslki in a manner very reminscent of last season’s RvP/Walcott combinations – near post cross to a near post run. Gervinho threated repeatedly, and Giroud came on to find space and send a volley wide, and then miss an easy chance late on from Cazorla’s cute through ball.

Defensively we were focused and composed, and apart from a few lapses in the first-half, gave nothing away.

In the middle, Diaby was a man without a country – not performing any sort of role that either Arteta or Cazorla were familiar with. In truth, more than RvP’s finishing (he still needed others to create chances for him), we missed Song’s composure and ability to create time and space in midfield without interrupting the flow of the game. Diaby and Ramsey did too many twists and turns before eventual making quite unsinspired, often awry passes.

It didn’t help that the game was played in scorching heat – players were cramping up as early as the 70th minute, and a number of them seemed to be completely shattered by the end of it. There wasn’t much to take from this game, and although we are in a better than at the start of last season, this is still very much a team in transition.

Individual performances:

Szczesny (7/10)
Made a key early save from a one-on-one with James McClean, and was otherwise alert and commanding. A bit too impetuous coming off his line last season (notably at Euro 2012), he caused a moment of panic in the first half when he ended up near the corner flag for a ball that Vermaelen already had covered. Didn’t have much to do, but stopped us from going 1-0 down 4 minutes into the first game of the season.

Jenkinson (7/10)
Started last season because of injuries, and looked like a raw talent with a lot of pace and power, and a lot to learn. Seems to be older and wiser now. Started this season because of injuries once again, but now has more tactical nous owing to last year’s experiences. Has a long way to to, but what’s encouraging is that he involves himself in the right parts of the game at the right time – joined the attack well on several occasions, and was always covering his flank when the other team was in possession. On the ball, he kept things very simple, and made really quick decisions. Still doing the patented “40 yard backpass” quite often. Ireland’s latest great white hope, James McClean, was awfully quiet against our Leroy.

Mertesacker (8/10)
Classy and composed. The battle for places at centreback will be interesting this season. He dawdled early on to let McClean in for the one-on-one, but was otherwise excellent. Made great interceptions, and showed his terrific touch and composure when distributing. A few passes went astray, but like Vermaelen, he likes to move it move it fast, early and accurately. Has barely played any football this calendar year, and did really well despite having spent most of his preseason practising silly dance routines with Lukas Podolski in Nigeria.

Vermaelen (7/10)
Captain. Unfussy and professional. Got off to a good start with a clean sheet and a solid performance. Didn’t overcommit as he’s prone to, and was at the right places at the right times.

Gibbs (8/10)
Excellent today. The run of games last season, and a proper pre-season this time around might prove crucial to his development. Solid and composed, he offered great energy down the left, and dealt with the varied pacy threats of Sessegnon, Frazier Campbell and Ahmed El Mohammedy quite well. He’s an intelligent footballer, and this is most visible in how he times his attacking movements and involvements.

Arteta (6/10)
Looked rusty, and looked like he missed Song. Was the anchor at the base of midfield, but with Diaby roaming around, and Cazorla still getting used to things, he missed a partner in crime. So often last season Song and Arteta would take turns toying with opposition midfields – seemingly with endless time on the ball, they kept possession brilliantly between them, and dictated the tempo. Today we saw Arteta having to move the ball a lot quicker than usual, and seeing a lot less of it than he’d like. Will be interesting to see the new partnerships that develop, hopefully with Wilshere/Sahin/AN Other.

Diaby (5/10)
I can’t shake the feeling that Diaby is the footballing equivalent of a basketball player. A lanky black dude (well, how else would you put it?) – he steals, dribbles and shoots, with a few run-of-the-mill passes here and there, and a penchant for doing all sorts of body spins, and something akin to a pump fake using his feet.

His comebacks always show the same type of arrested development. The skill, running and dribbling aren’t the problem – it’s his sloppiness on the ball, poor passing and lack of alertness that return with every “Diaby is like a new signing” moment. He did okay, and had a couple of decent shots, but his passing got progressively worse. Too often he holds on to the ball for too long without properly protecting it, and it unfortunately tends to be in our own half. Had one of those moments around our left-back position today, resulting in a clear shooting chance for Jack Colback. Still very oblivious as to where opponents are, and is 26 going on 16 as far as awareness and decision making go.

Cazorla (8/10)
Shiny and happy. The bright spark for us today who promised much, and only narrowly failed to deliver. He’s tricky, quick, amazingly two-footed, but is also all about end product – made telling passes when he could, and took his chances well, and without hesitation. Wasn’t awed or daunted, and although he did get muscled off the ball a few times, he generally dealt well with decent Premiership midfield opposition, despite being man marked by Lee Cattermole throughout. Pleasingly, he harried and won possession back on a number of occasions, and didn’t stop running all game.

He had a little bit of an “I don’t know what I’m doing in the middle of this mess” face on at times, but he’ll settle soon. A Spanish journo recently said that Cazorla doesn’t speak a word of English, and that it might as well be Chinese to him. But given the way he combined so effortlessly with those around him, we’ll have to bring out the old “he speaks the language of football” cliché. He’s an ideal Wenger player, that’s all that can be said.

Walcott (6/10)
Van Persie and Song are gone, but Walcott remains (for now). The beneficiary of so much goodwilll throughout his career despite such prolonged periods of frustration and mediocrity, Theo seemed to have a lost a little of his aura today. I wonder if Arsène’s statements about his contract negotiations were designed to let him know how vulnerable he is.

The problem with Theo is that he became a star before really becoming a footballer. He’s dealt well with stardom, but hasn’t managed to progress as well on the pitch. Unfortunately we’re now at a crossroads where he wants to earn what his celebrity is worth, and the club wants to pay him what his football is worth.

He was fairly anonymous today, but his pace allows him to have “moments”, and that’s really been his Arsenal career so far. Lost the ball several times, made poor passes to teammates, but managed a shot and a header (both were off target), and wriggled free to set Podolski up for a difficult chance. Had a few decent dribbles just before and after the half, but none of them amounted to much. Defensively, he seemed to be unwilling to commit himself for most of the match.

Has started to throw a lot of  little tantrums on the pitch, holding his arms out and ticking off teammates who misplace passes or don’t combine properly with him. Usually it’s his own fault, and tellingly, these teammates are usually the younger players (Jenkinson, for example). Watch this space for how his contract situation unfolds. Our new signings are all on reasonable wages – Cazorla, Podolski, Arteta, Giroud are all around or under the £90,000 per-week mark. Does Walcott seriously expect to be able to justify himself earning more than Santi Cazorla?

Podolski (6/10)
Overall he came off looking like a poor man’s Van Persie. Which is OK really given the price he came for, and the talent and experience he has. He’ll give us options going forward (in every sense of the word). He was terrier-like today –  chasing down and running after everything, and unsettled the defenders quite a bit. He used his stocky physique well, holding up the ball with his back to goal to find space and passes – very much like Robin used to, but not as elegantly. Annoyingly, he spent a bit too much time gesticulating to teammates, and didn’t run into available spaces or drag defenders around when he had the chance, but he needs time.

Gervinho (7/10)
An enigma for much of last season, he was a lot more confident today, but still very frustrating. The ability is there for all to see, but he takes too many touches almost every time he has the ball. He wanted to be involved today, and was constantly running at defenders on either flank, and worked 3 or 4 shooting chances that were all blocked. He will be a big asset to us if he keeps this up, and an even bigger asset if he can start getting his shots off quicker. Was painfully too-right-footed on the left though.

Giroud (6/10)
Replaced Podolski. As expected, he dazzled Sunderland’s poor neanderthals into brief homoerotic confusion to find space for a few chances, but couldn’t put them away. Should have sealed the game when he very cleverly bent his run to meet Cazorla’s equally clever through ball, but put it wide. He tried hard once he came on, and wasn’t afraid to tell teammates how and when he wanted the ball (Jenkinson picked up on this very quickly, and hit him with 2 or 3 crosses). He’s clearly not the quickest, but has good movement and skill, and despite it being his first game, he held his own against the likes of O’Shea and Cuellar. There was an odd moment during the broadcast when a substitution was taking place, and the cameras caught a beaming O’Shea asking Giroud something. Whatever it was I hope he said no.

Ramsey (5/10)
Replaced Diaby. Was pretty much like last season’s Ramsey. Hasn’t had any time to train with the team, and wasn’t involved in preseason because of Team GB (where Stuart Pearce’s revolutionary training methods can’t have helped), so we’ll give him some time before proclaiming that he’s the shittest footballer ever and that we’ll drive him to the airport ourselves, etcetera etcetera. Too, too, too, too many touches at times where he needed to be decisive and pass or shoot quickly – wasted the runs that players were making for him, and allowed the opposition to get into position when we had them on the back foot. Tried, as always, to make things happen.

Arshavin (6/10)
Replaced Walcott. Was immediately more involved than Theo had been all game. Looked fitter and sharper than at the start of previous seasons, and embarked on a few nice runs and sprayed the ball around nicely. Perhaps there’s now a more serious mood in the camp, and he’s a bit more focused. It can only have helped to see the work rate and application of fellow-midget Cazorla, who was playing in Andrei’s supposed preferred position. There’s no point in speculating on future, but I think if Walcott is sold, he might see out his conrtact to provide some continuity in attack.

Others:

Chris Foy
He is a preening fool, and really should have handed out 1 if not 2 yellow cards to Sunderland players – to Cattermole for a deliberate handball, and one to Cuellar for blocking off Gervinho. Clearly wanted to have a nice, uncontroversial start to the season, although the game was played in a good spirit, and he didn’t have much to do. Kept track of Sunderland’s timewasting very well though – a new FA directive perhaps?

Martin O’Squeal
Not at his simian best. Didn’t really do anything dastardly to us apart from signing Louis Saha the day before and then subbing him on so we all had to see his annoying Manc/Spud face.

Lee Cattermole
It’s very, very rare these days to see a player doing a 1v1 man marking job on an oppsition player for a whole game, and there’s not many tactical circumstances in which it can even happen, but it did against Cazorla today. Considering that he’s a psychotic bastard who is usually wildly over the top with his tackling, I have to give him some credit for not trying to hurt little Santi today. Our mew Spaniard is not an easy opponent to pin down – but at 5’6″ and playing his first Premiership game, he would have been an easy target. I remember watching Cattermole as a youngster emerging at Boro, playing a box-to-box role, and showing a decent range of passing. It’s a shame that a succession of managers have noticed that he likes to tackle, and have worked him into yet another cliché of the English game when he could have maybe been a bit more.

(I’ve written one other match report. It was Stoke 1-1 Arsenal from last April. Chris Foy was the referee. I feel like I’m in some terribly drab cycle of writing about us underperforming to clinch draws against shitkicking teams beginning with S that play in red-and-white stripes)

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102 Comments on "Match Report: Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland"

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gubby

Couldn’t you just say “A lanky basketball dude” instead of “A lanky black dude”?

gunner16

someone tell that bastard Walcott to sign a new contract or just get rid of him. Sell him to Liverpool for all I care. Maybe they can lose 3-1 to West Brom then instead of 3-0

gunner16

I hate to say it. But i miss Robin Van turncoat

paddymac

‘bastard Walcott’ – a bit harsh. He seems like a nice lad with a good attitude, but once again I fear that it’s football agents looking after their own interests and not giving a shit about the players future.

I dont think he’s going to sign. I don’t really care – he’s been inconsistent and never really matured into the player we hoped for. Plus he has the Ox breathing down his neck who is potentially a much better player. He may well end up at someone like Liverpool, none of the bigger clubs are going to want him.

If he’s being offered a decent contract here, Walcott should bite their hand off. But as with the RvP situation, agents seem to dictate everything and we just have to get used to that.

prhyu

Really, if that’s really the case with Walcott, we really should get rid of him. That’s not something you do. You don’t every blame your teammates, not even if it’s John Terry.
If he really thinks he should get 100k a week, when he’s continually been frustrating us, by all means sell him to the Italians, who apparently want him, and bring in someone else. I don’t care if it’s Adam Johnson or Afellay.

Munya

Its important to remember that we started last season against north east opposition with gervinho, van persie and walcott in the team and we got precisely the same result, it was a solid performance without being spectacular,

I’m sure once we get in a couple mor eplayers with the dirty dein money and come into the competitive swing of things our flow and rhythm will ebb throught the team and podolski and giroud will come good with the right service from gervinho, sahin and cazorla.

SJ

Im a black guy and no offence taken – tone and spirit of sentence is tongue in cheek

gubby

The author asked how else he could put it. It’s not even about being offended, it’s just tiring to see black used as a descriptive adjective with nothing to do with the point being made. You never see a white player described as “that white” player. e.g. stoke players tackle more like “white rugby players” than footballers.

Dean '67

Well it brought up a race argument didn’t it?
So there has to be something sinister there!.

gooner

And talk of racism, here is something racist for you. And it’s from deep inside me.

We had some good chance but we didn’t beat the BLACK CATS.

Goonerhaea

Oh please… On here we are all the same race… Gunners.

Gunnerzed

Why? Because describing someone’s skin colour is racist???

Eric Irish gunner

Were does it stop even Ferdinand is an racist now

gubby

No, it is because when I see Diaby I see a footballer, I see a lanky footballer, I might even say I see a footballer who is tall and moves like a basketball player. Whereas some people when they see Diably one of the first things they see is he is black. Now it is true he is black, but that in no way reflects his abilities as a footballer and need not be brought up. The same way most people when they see Mertesacker, see a footballer, a lanky footballer, you might say one that looks like a basketball player, but never it is metioned that he is white.

The point is that black players are mentioned as “black” as a point of difference where as white players are not mentioned as white. You get it? I know this is a subtlety difficult for many non-black people to understand and even for some black people living in black majority countries such as in Africa to understand , but I am sure that the majority if not all black people living in a non-black majority understand.

Listen, my first post was not to start a “race arguement” as another poster has stated. The original autor asked (if somewhat rhetorically) how he “could put it”, therefore signalling that he too may have felt that maybe he should not write that. I simply offered an alternative. I am even pretty sure the original author was not being racist or malicious. However judging by the numbers of thumbsdown thrown about here I’m not sure I could say that about all the readers.

Glory Hunter

Couldnt have said it any better Gubby!
But lets move on, still Don’t know how that new white striker missed that glorious chance in the 2nd half? 😉

gunner16

i’m going to say it. Our strikers were poor. We created enough. Podolski’s movement was god awful Maybe I’ve been spoiled watching Van Turncoat but his movements really were the difference. Especially with the Cazorla shot in the fifth minute. Hasn’t he heard of making a dummy run? RVP used to do that all the time. Podolski just passes and stays put. Pass and make yourself available again. dumbass. I think Pod should play down the left.

Giroud looked a better overall player than Podolski I think. Gervinho is almost always left on his own down the left. poor chap. He can’t do it by himself every time. Sigh, we really need a top quality center forward. Let’s hope Giroud steps up.

Clock End Mike

Might be worth trying Podolski on the left, Gervinho on the right and Theo down the middle, at least when we’re playing away and the opposition are less likely to park the bus for 95 minutes.

But the attack hasn’t had time yet to form any real partnerships or understandings, like the one they had last season when Theo said he knew where RvP would be without even looking (and probably he did some of the time). Theo and Bac was another such pair who seemed to combine well, and we missed the latter’s incisive crosses after he was injured, though Jenks looks like a good replacement in the making.

Give it time. Le Prof will no doubt be letting Podolski and Giroud know what’s expected of them in an Arsenal shirt as he sees more of their play on the competitive field. Let’s hope that Podolski isn’t still just passing and staying put by the time the season’s a few games in — like the goal he scored again Cologne?

Playing against teams who flood the defence and remain well-organised in the process, like so many try to do against us at the Emirates, may be a strange experience for the new signings. Watching MoTD last night, I was struck by the fact that none of the other 12 teams on show played the way Sunderland did yesterday. It’s something we need to learn better to cope with, rather than just moaning about it.

chimasacker

I know how many games it took RVP to get use to the CF position. He was frustrating when he initially started playing under the 4-2-1-2-1 position. He admitted this in an interview. I also remember what Adebayor looked like before he hit 30 goals in a season. So quit slaying our players and get use to the fact that the cunt is gone.

Gunner16

was a real quality cunt though. It’s only natural that you should miss a cunt like that.

badaab

Give it time, we will gel. Could have been worse today, as foy was their best player. Disappointing that giroud missed the sitter. For me, though, diaby was the low point. He couldn’t decide what position he was playing: cm, am, or dm. Loads of wasteful possession from him. Due to him flailing, I blame arteta’s sub par performance on figuring this out.
Arshavin and Gervinho looked good today, which is encouraging.
For next week, theo on the bench unless he’s signed a new deal.
Also, I’m a little I.to the bourbon

Clock End Mike

Hey, cut the guy some slack (Diaby, I mean). It’s a novel experience for him to play 70 minutes, he’s still finding his way round the football pitch.

paddymac

I agree – give Diaby a chance. after everything that’s happened to him it’s a big responsibility for him to start the first game of the season. Who would’ve put money on that happening? Great to see him back and lets hope he can get a run of games under his belt, he could potentially be an important player this season.

Ceejay Nigerian gunner
Ceejay Nigerian gunner

Blood of GOD.. I can’t believe we didn’t win this match..1st of all.. Our passing game was so slow. Poldoski didn’t impress me 2day. As 4 grioud, is like he will need time to settle. Something was missing in our midfield. Arsene wenger should safe us from this mess and buy a top striker n defensive midfielder.. Top clubs don’t sell their best players, what’s wenger excuse for selling song? That song requested for barce transfer…who is he fooling? Someone that still have 3years on his contract…wenger is just toying with the fans….the worst part is that he won’t buy a replacement..rather he will request for loan, well I see this draw against sunderland as a blessing because the game reaaly pointed out where we need to strengthen…I hope he buys a striker a definsive midfield n a central defensive….-i love arsenal football club..for better and for worst till death do us part

Tenacious Defence

Chill out, dude! It’s early days with new combinations in stifling heat.

Ditto for your repeat post, haha.

Ceejay Nigerian gunner
Ceejay Nigerian gunner

Blood of GOD.. I can’t believe we didn’t win this match..1st of all.. Our passing game was so slow. Poldoski didn’t impress me 2day. As 4 grioud, is like he will need time to settle. Something was missing in our midfield. Arsene wenger should save us from this mess and buy a top striker n defensive midfielder.. Top clubs don’t sell their best players, what’s wenger excuse for selling song? That song requested for barce transfer…who is he fooling? Someone that still have 3years on his contract…wenger is just toying with the fans….the worst part is that he won’t buy a replacement..rather he will request for loan, well I see this draw against sunderland as a blessing because the game reaaly pointed out where we need to strengthen…I hope he buys a striker a definsive midfield n a central defensive….-i love arsenal football club..for better and for worst till death do us part

Newxieland

On the bright side Carzola really sparkled in midfield.

Apart from a few shaky moments in the first half our defence was barely tested. I still think our big German is a bit too slow and can be undone by pacey strikers.

Overall not a bad way to start the season when the opposition camps their entire team in their own half.

Could have been a lot worse – could have been Liverpool.

prhyu

Lol. My friend who’s a Kop said he didn’t bother to watch because Liverpool was so awful.

waitressinthesky

Hahaha, Liverpool and Spurs losing salvaged my mood yesterday.

Neutral

Good report. Team looks like they just met each other, oh wait….

Tenacious Defence

I don’t like this report much, sorry Sul. Bring back Arseblog. And I thought Diaby was actually okay for the most part.

Andrew Maher

I like you Sul, you did a good job. You should be temping for a little while.

Andrew

waitressinthesky

I thought Arteta looked competent out there… just wasn’t given much to do. He was, however, running back to defend quite frequently.

Tenacious Defence

Sul, I appreciate your effort (comprehensive) and on reflection the report is good, it’s more the comments and rating of Diaby I think are harsh. Also happy to see him come through the game uninjured (touch wood).
“Call me Mr Picky”, but thought some of your ratings for our defenders were very high considering several badly misplaced passes (baffling how top pro footballers can pass so badly at times, and they were under little or no pressure).
Anyway, no biggie.

Bixby

The new boys need some time. Give ’em a break.

Too bad we can’t play Giroud from the start tho, he looks dangerous & just need to find the rhythm, imo. I blame the stupid & pointless international friendly for that matter.

Sagna the Magna

Theo Effing Walcott makes me scream at my television. Sell the bottler.

Glory Hunter

Don’t fret mate, we probably will!
But I can think of at least 4 players I would rather get rid off1st!!

NaijaGunnerForLyf

still early days and the season looks like its gunner be one hell of an odyssey but still We Are The Arsenal!!!

GunnAV

The game was okay. Should have secured a win given our possession and a couple of decent chances (yes Olivier, talking bout you).
Just want all this bloody transfer business to settle itself already. Now that Song’s departure is a done deal, lets just hope that Theo’s future gets sorted as soon as possible and our other possible players of interest are brought in quick. The team looked pretty scrappy enough as it is. The void in the CDM position is worrying. Diaby looked really out of place there.
On the bright side, at least one of our new signings really came out to play. Cazorla was the only ray of hope in that midfield. As soon as he lost Cattermole, he pretty much always delivered something into the box. Great to see players justify their price tags. Gervinho, i thought, was pretty good as well. Podolski looked completely lost.
Decent start to the campaign. Us fans could have really done with a win considering RvP’s departure, but what the hell, there’s always the next game (fingers crossed)…

Kenyangoon

Podolski is class. You don’t score all those goals in bundesliga by being an “dummy who can’t make dummy runs”
lets have this discussion in January…

Gunner16

January? Oh god 🙁 you’re saying even by January he wouldn’t have convinced us? Fuck our lives eh?

waitressinthesky

I agree. He and Cazorla kept running into each other — they’ll play together more and get their positions sorted out and it’ll be much better/more dangerous.

nishanth

Arshavin looked really sharp after he came on.Clearly has lost some weight. How awesome would it be if that little fat russian found some which he showed at the begging of his Arsenal days

Arsenerant

Ramsey suckks! Just f bring the ball home. Selfish shit

Bryan Shawcross

If Wenger is to be believed that Podoloski was bought to complement RVP and not replace him,he might have well played down the left as part of a front three,Podoloski all on his own,down the middle doesn’t offer too much of a threat from what little i have seen of him during his time at Munich,i’d love to see us revert to the old 4-4-2.

Lobster007

Look, your comment about Diaby is bang out of line, you should apologize and it should be removed.

Eurazian

Yes, the allegation that Diaby is black is offensive and untrue.

Lobster007

What about John terry? Was he just being descriptive?

Eurazian

World of difference between how Diaby was described here and what Terry allegedly said. Also consider the spirit behind the words. Saying that Diaby is black does not imply anything negative about black people.

There are lots of worthwhile things in the world to get offended about. Don’t waste time on this one.

Gooner_IL

It didn’t help that the game was played in scorching heat – players were cramping up as early as the 70th minute, and a number of them seemed to be completely shattered by the end of it…………………..ahem I think they had the same weather in West London as we did in North. That quote was a bit of an arsene if I had ever heard one.

Eric Irish gunner

Carzola looked the part but can’t slate of anyone because I think they need a few games to gel and get to no each other better

phasow

Silly dance routine?! Come on!!!!

Wale

What’s up with sul. Not the best read I have to say. Seems resigned to a certain race when passing judgements. Silly dance routines?……i mean chambo and walcott were doing the kungfu thing in china….nothing silly there, just promoting the arse.

Deano

i really dont understand the peserverance wenger shows with ramsey. Yes he did show promise before the leg break but now, its quite obvious after a full season afterwards, that he is simply not up to the grade to be an arsenal midfielder.
And i say that with no malice or ill wiil towards the lad, he may end up a decent mid to low table team premiership player but not a top 4 side regular.
Secondly, i really hope that wenger isnt gonna do a ‘profit making’ transfer window yet again ie i hope we have at least 2 more new signings coming in. like it or not Song and RVP created and scored a ridiculous percentage of our goals last season so we are really gonna have to feplace like for like and not depend on the “i have ready made replacements” line wenger keeps trawling.

waitressinthesky

Can’t say I’m convinced on Ramsey, yet. He’s still sort of the same player.

AP

That’s probably what you guys said with Henry and Song too.

William A

Im really surprised you scored Arteta with only a 6. I believe I would have given a 7. Although you are correct that he missed that ‘partner in crime’ he kept possession very well and completed 96% of his passes at around a total of 116 attempts. Which was the highest of anyone on the pitch.

We now have no natural DM. I believe if we landed M’Vila (very likely according to the guys on Twitter), we would fill that void of Song and have a natural DM by trade sitting in front of our centre backs. I think creatively, he would also work well.

Frustrating to get a draw, were we lacked linking up in the final third, but with a relatively new line up, I guess that’s to be expected.

I have to say I was really impressed with Per Mertesacker. He looked solid for us and intercepted some crucial attacks from the Black Cats.

To the next game….

waitressinthesky

I totally agree. As usual, Arteta was a passing machine. And, as usual, he was overlooked because he does what he’s asked to do, and doesn’t complain about not being able to go further up the pitch (though we all know he’s capable of crazy long-range shots).

Crispy

Good write up. Podolski would be more effective on left of the front three and Giroud starting in my opinion. Walcott is the next one out the door if a significant bid comes in and I’m not sure I agree with the Song love in…… I don’t think we missed his lazy tracking, mistimed tackles and crap hair at all. A player of such limited ability who flatters to deceive is easy to replace……….. Over to you Arsene……

Clock End Mike

What we missed with no Alex Song yesterday is that the rest of the team (newbies apart) are used to playing with him. Without him, no one seemed quite to know what their job was: Cazorla tried to do a bit of everything (even a bit of defending), Arteta couldn’t go forward because most of the time there was no one to cover the back four when he did, and Diaby didn’t seem to have any clear instructions on what his role was at all.

Yes, Song makes the occasional brilliant through pass. And he can tackle. He also gives the ball away about as often as any mf in the league, and gives away as many free kicks, too.

I think we can do better without Song, as long as we find someone who is resolute is shielding the back four when that’s his task (Frimpong and Coquelin can both do that, but they’re young, so this is probably where we need an experienced replacement) and someone who makes the incisive passes (it used to be Cesc, sometimes last season Arteta, and this season we have Cazorla and Wilshere).

I’m very optimistic about our future with no song.

northerngoon

This write up seems blatantly subjective, in some parts at least, either that or misinformed. I’ll wait on the next one and hope it’s different.

Fatcunt

Happy with gervinho’s progress, I reckon he could be tremendous for us this season. Though his only problem is releasing of first balls, if he did that more often then I think goals would be flying for us. Also noted that he has decided to shoot a lil more often which could only be a plus. Next game.

Anti-arse

you gooners! last week you were world beaters with Giroud and Podolski! Turns out they can’t hit a barn door with a banjo!
And what’s the crack with Gervinho’s forehead? does he work for Tefal’s African Division?

Fatcunt

Fucking totts scum!, a wardy with obviously no life . Go play with your healing stones and tarrots as you wait for your next beating.

Eric Irish gunner

Fuck off knob

Bakarr

You should ask you mum whats wrong with your intelligence

rad

Agree with the review mostly, but not with giving Arteta 6/10. For me, he was MotM, even better than Cazorla, really comfortable at the holding role, had lots of posession and did not give it away at all, dominated the centre basically. But in general we did not create enough, and those few chances we had we did not take. New strikers look like they still need time, and unfortunately I doubt either of them will score 30 a season. Gervinho seems to have improved, Walcott had an off day, Diaby nor Ramsey are good enough to play in Arsenal midfield (get well Jack, and soon!), but defensively we looked solid and will get better when Koscielny comes back (maybe we have to drop our captain, haha). So in total there are more things to feel optimistic about than blue, and with one or two signings, we could have a really good season. COYG!

waitressinthesky

Arteta and Cazorla are going to make our midfield the best in the league. All they need is one more player to cement it. (Not certain that’ll be Diaby. Obviously we need to sign a real defensive midfielder.)

Arteta’s passing is incredible (I saw all the crazy stats yesterday about how be basically came close to passing as much as Sunderland’s entire team), and he plays wherever we need him. Also, great job running back to defend.

Lapidarij

Those players can reach 4th this season.
But for that they will need lots of luck and M’Vila, and luck and even one more new player and luck and please dont sell Walcott too, and luck. He was somehow alone without Rvp and Song yesterday. We have lost a good part of the teams spine, again.
Podloski looks like a distorted copy of van Persie. Cazorla had nobody to play an “arsenal” game with. Gervinho had again one move too many.
Diaby needs games. Ramsey needs loan. We badly need Rosicky and Wilshere, and Sagna and Ox. Despite the injuries again we went into the season unprepared. Thats crazy.

Gunnerzed

I have never seen so much negativity towards blogs post on here before, it’s spilling in from other t’internet forums. It’s his personal views on the game, it’s not official! It’s an indication though of how many Arsenal fans are feeling, a little beaten n bruised and generally a little lost. Where are we going? What’s the plan? Does Arsene even know. I always stick up for Wenger and personaly believe that we will find out exactly what he has done for a club when he steps down but not before. I hope we do bring in a few more and that Walcott sorts his head out soon, but it’s not all bad! The reaction by a few to blogs comment abt Diaby are ridiculous, racist??? Jeeesus! Move on!!!

Far Kin Ell

. Ireland’s latest great white hope, James McClean, was awfully quiet against our Leroy

Lol, a world of Warcraft term on arseblog?!

Expected a win but a draw is not a terrible result all things considered.

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Pete in Sweden

we just need some time to get all the new bits. You know how they say some players need a YEAR to “settle in the EPL” and considering we have 3 new players (one of which we ask to be the playmaker and creative hub) I think we should give them more than one game before passing judgement …. On a positive note i thought we looked composed in defence overall which is hugely important. Keep the faith

Hucks

This season’s going to be fun!

I can’t wait for some monkey like Mark Hughes to throw his toys out of the pram and start kicking off at Arsene then shut the fuck up as Steve Bould stands between them. “I think you’d better sit down, sunshine.”

waitressinthesky

Hahaha, he looks sinister sitting next to Arsene. Way different than Pat Rice with his funny haircut and transitions lenses. (I loved Pat Rice, but his look always made me laugh.)

Hurley

I disagree with your ratings, OP, I was at the game and I thought Arteta was great, Diaby did ok, Vermaelen looked better than Mertesacker and Walcott was rubbish. Still, cheers for the post.

SG_Gunner

First game and the knives are out! I am sure some of the “fans” we’re just waiting for this moment to slag off and reaffirm their own negativity. If we had won, it would be “oh it is just Sunderland”. Some people will only be satisfied after we spend $30-40mil on a single player. Guess what, if there are great strikers floating around then how come Fergie wanted RVP?

I thought the support in the stadium was great for us. Even Arshavin was cheered when he came on! I think Poldy would need some time to sync his runs with others. Pity Giroud didn’t score because that would have shut up most of the background noise. I don’t know why we keep clamouring

EIE

WENGER OUT!

Bee

it could be worse, we could still have gallas as captain …. like the spuds did today! and lost!

gooner

All this racism talk makes me sick. I am African, and no need to tell me i am black here. I always find it childish when people complain about the use of the word black.

Racism is all in the head! If you use the word black to describe someone’s colour that’s never racism. If you use it to discriminate against a person’s colour then it is.
If i went to buy food and they couldn’t sell it to some black guy (me) and sold it to some white guy or vice versa, i would go mad because that’s racism.
On the other hand if some one called me black? Fuck yeah i am black and i have white friends. We don’t see any problem with colour. THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO DO ARE THE ONES WHO THINK ONE RACE IS SUPERIOR TO ANOTHER! I don’t think i am disadvantaged in any way due to my skin colour, well apart from the fact some chics here prefer white guys (for the cash that is, or in some cases thinking they have more cash).

When Mo Farah won gold in the 10 000 m race my friends and i were like wow! Some white guy just won silver! It couldn’t have been the same if we said some American. But here was a white guy winning silver and there was no gold or silver for a kenyan or ethiopian in the 10k race. That’s just a description people! It’s not racism. But i respect everyone’s views on what offends them. Good day to you guys, black or white.

On to football, well, not the best start i could have hoped for but i am glad The Arsenal are back week in week out. Santi, what a player, if only he had come last year. Good to see pool up to their old tricks and as for the LWC ha ha ha ha ha, mind the gap already!

Bee

very disappointing that we couldn’t squeeze the 3 points out of it, feels like 2 dropped after our domination of the game.
but thats the way it goes, i guess
we’ll just have to try and make up that 2 points later in the season

…. keep replaying that giroud miss in my head ….

SG_Gunner

First game and the knives are out! I am sure some of the “fans” we’re just waiting for this moment to slag off and reaffirm their own negativity. If we had won, it would be “oh it is just Sunderland”. Some people will only be satisfied after we spend $30-40mil on a single player. Guess what, if there are great strikers floating around then how come Fergie wanted RVP?

I thought the support in the stadium was great for us. Even Arshavin was cheered when he came on! I think Poldy would need some time to sync his runs with others. Pity Giroud didn’t score because that would have shut up most of the background noise. I don’t know why we keep clamouring for “world class” strikers. Is Demba Ba considered a “world class” striker by us? Isn’t he too cheap to be in that category? But he keeps scoring! So let’s get behind our two new guys and give them all our support.

I feel Theo is also out this season. His salary demands are obviously way out of league for the club. He feels Liverpool will give him a starring role with a big salary and I think he is kind of banking on that. He may still be a success but his one dimensional play makes him a liability in certain games. I just wish Wenger had given him a run as a striker in cup games last year to see his potential as a main striker. In my previous post I had written that Song is on his way out (after his statement expressing admiration for Barca). Theo is pretty much thinking along the same lines.

Finally, a balloon to float for my fellow gunners. Is it time to forgive and get back Adebayor? I know it is sacrilege for us fans considering the past but given that how our so called “players for life” ditch us at first sign of interest from Barca etc. We might as well sign players without any “emotional attachments”. Most of the old team from his time is anyway gone. I know I will provoke fury and I still remember his antics but we fans were equally nasty to him. I feel he will add that edge to our attack. Your thoughts?

Lapidarij

Szcz
Sagna-Kos-Verm-Gibbs
Arteta-Wilshere-Cazorla-Rosicky
Ox
Walcott
(Giroud-somebody young)

But when and how much we will be able to play those guys together?
For a year or two?
Then it will came to us again, like a baaad deja-vu: Cazorla’s DNA (going back to spain), Wilsher’s new captain status (sold to United), Ox’s “barca style” (sold to Barcelona) or THE MIRACLE will happen and they will stay together for 4 years..

John

Lanky black guy? In one fell swoop the author degrades the tone of the article. And not even the decency update the post after comments.

On a positive note, Arsenal played well, I think. Created chances, just weren’t clinical. It’s early days still so the team has time to grow. Happy we kept a clean sheet and Santi looks brilliant.

Defensive midfielder required, I reckon.

Bakarr

Well I alway thought Arsblog favours the American to the Russian anyway.

Hudson Hornet

Heh, I disagree.

All Usmanov supporters here …

TomC

Good report. Thanks. Measure of a match report is whether the reader who couldn’t watch the match can get a proper feel for what happened. I did so hats off to you Sul. Especially liked the player report – call me old fashioned but I like individual player 🙂

SG_Gunner

I think we need to reassess the role of DM in current times. Lot of us feel that M’Villa nag be the answer. I am not so sure. The DM is not just about protecting the back four anymore. He is needed for starting attacks and making killer passes as well and even score if possible. That’s why Yaya Toure is so valued.

I think Arsene maybe going for versatile midfielders who can all defend and attack equally well. So Arteta, Wilshere, Sahin will all be doing defending and attacking. If one goes forward, other will drop back. Just like Song/Arteta were doing last season. I am actually quite excited about the new season.

Tdjay

Wenger OUT!. Tony pubis in!.
We need men! Who can be cunts infront of goal…..no discussions just put the fucking ball into the fucking net. Go over any defender that’s in the way and just score.

Hudson Hornet

Poor man’s van persie is about right.

DarylC

Good review. I really dont understand the constant negativity from us fans towards Ramsey and Walcott. Walcotts still younger than Cleverley even.

Elma

Oh fuck off…..walcott still young?. Are you.on drugs?. How long will he continue to be young..?…..i need to get my popcorns and wait.
Young?…my arse!

Ali

I don’t think Walcott should be in our starting 11. Would have preferred the front 3 of Podolski- Giroud – Gervinho (or The Ox when he is fit). Also, I don’t think Diaby did that bad, he was rusty at first but settled in nicely after that. Seemed to me that he did more than Arteta especially offensively.

jellison

Half the team is new/hasn’t played for long time, patience obviously required.

aaberg

First match jitters. I think the goals will come when they get used to playing together. I like having options up front. Agree will walcot. I would have liked to see polo moved wide for him when giroud came on aand probably sooner in the half. Or the opposite and bring walcot on late in the match to see if his speed would beat a tired defense/counter attack.
Happy about the clean sheet but doesn’t mean much when the opposition didn’t attack. It’ll be interesting to see them against a better offense.
All-in-all happy just because Arsenal are back.
(And we are above “them”)
COYG

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