Wenger explains lack of substitutions


Arsene Wenger has revealed he chose not to make any changes during the 0-0 draw with Chelsea because he didn’t want to disrupt the defensive side of his team’s performance.

The visitors never really troubled us in the second half and, after seeing his team lose at home to Dortmund in the Champions League trying to win a game they could easily have drawn, it seems the Arsenal boss learned the lesson of that.

Asked why he didn’t make any subs, he said, “Because I had plenty of offensive players on the pitch and we were in the need to attack.

“I had Walcott, I had Ramsey, I had Ozil, I had Giroud, I had Rosicky, and because we didn’t play for nine days none of them looked really jaded.

“That’s why … I felt we had the balance defensively and we had four or five offensive players on the pitch, let’s continue to do that. And we had the chances, of course. When you don’t score you don’t score.”

The boss was also keen to look at the positives after a run of results which has seen us take 2 points from the last 9.

“Look, it doesn’t help. But let’s be serious. If after the first game against Aston Villa I would have told you that at Christmas we would be top of the league, you would have said you are absolutely mad, so let’s not go completely overboard as well.

“We are where we are, we have gone through the last three games, which were a bit more difficult.

“We still have played Everton, we have played Man City and we have played Chelsea. It’s tight as you say. But it’s down to consistency.

“We go through a patch that is a bit more difficult, I agree with you, but part of a successful season is how well you deal with that.

“I must say the spirit of the players is unbelievably focused, we have a great desire. We go through a period where it’s a bit more difficult but with that spirit we’ll come out of that.”

In the disappointment it’s easy to forget we have more points than anyone apart from Liverpool.

Get back to winning ways against West Ham, and over the rest of the Christmas period, and things will start looking up again.


  1. We still had some problems with the balance of the team today, giving possession away in dangerous areas as well.
    If Chelsea’s attackers were any good at counter attacks this night could have gotten even more frustrating!

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    • AW although making no substitutions did feel that the introduction of a substitute referee in cases of total
      incompetence would be a good idea

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  2. A. Wenger obviously thinks very much the same way as the rest of the arsenal faithful, regarding dean and mourinho.

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  3. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • Well apart from Rosicky no one was really coming between the lines to make something happen. I wouldn’t blame Arteta for a lack of options. Yes we were a bit toothless, but Chelsea defended well.

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    • You overlook the part that a player can only play the passes that are available to him. A midfielder is restricted if there’s no free players ahead of him, whether that’s down to lack of movement or the opposition crowding the midfield. And the latter is what Chelsea did tonight. To suggest it’s a flaw of Arteta’s to keep the ball is kinda daft.

      As for Chelsea ‘hitting’ us on the break, that didn’t really happen either.

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      • Disagree with you there Arseblog. Whilst I agree that Arteta is proficient at keeping the ball a) he moves it too slowly, although that could be a criticism of most of the team tonight
        b) the best ‘pivotes’ do Arteta’s job whilst also playing the longer switch balls, and orchestrating attacks forward.

        The Willian and Lampard chances both came on the break, which was what I was referring to.

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        • You’re missing the point. Arteta had to go sideways several times because on those occasions THERE WAS NO-ONE IN FRONT OF HIM OPEN TO RECEIVE A PASS. That’s what Chelski did so well – they defended with ten men and shut down all our options. And let’s not be totally selective in our analysis of Arteta – he did make quite few good runs forward with the ball when he had no passing outlet.

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        • I think any line-up would have had trouble breaking through chelski’s ten man defence. I know Theo’s pace and runs off of Giroud were hopefully going to offer an outlet, but I wonder if some of our disjointedness in possession was due to Theo occupying different areas of space than maybe a Ramsey or someone else starting on the right would, and fewer passes being available to Arteta as a result. Its games like this I wish Theo was a bit more confident dribbling at a defender on the wing, seems like that’s where Chelsea actually afforded us a bit of space.

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        • It’s still ridiculous to suggest that Flamini could have provided something in terms of passing and moving the team forward that Arteta could not. With Wilshere banned, and defensively suspect (to be kind), what was the better option?

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      • @Arsepedant, so you’re actually saying that Chelshit defended with ten men and even though we had twice as much possession of the ball, they created twice as many chances?! This shows our ineffectiveness, if not anything else. And another thing, he might have had few options in midfield to pass to, but the fact that Arteta makes too many sideways passes is not news. The rain is not an excuse, Cunt Dean is not an excuse. They outsmarted us, as they have done in so many games. So the players are tired? -Boo hoo, we all are. Except we’re not being paid 80k a week to run.

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    • “All he did was pass it sideways”

      Isn’t that what Real Madrid used to say about Makelele. They let him go and watched him thrive and win boatloads with Chelsea while they struggled to replace him.

      In any case not sure this criticism is fair but whatever, everyone is entitled to their opinion I suppose. Much as you’re entitled to believe Mourinho outsmarted Wenger on the night. From my vantage point Mike Dean had as much if not more to do with the outcome. But hey, just my opinion.

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    • Arteta the problem? REALLY? Was easily one of our best players, distributing forwards and helping out on defense as well. Flamini’s good too, but people are foolish to discount Arteta.

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  4. Well he was vindicated to some degree because it was us who finished the stronger, but in truth I think Wenger was content enough with a point from that match. He even said the famous don’t lose if you can’t win line in the interview.

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  5. As much as I think Cazorla would have been more fluent on the ball, naturally having the ability to run with it rather than crossing the ball on a wet surface that both teams were struggling with, Wenger has proved me wrong about a million times over the years so he’s probably right.

    What do I know!

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  6. Very disappointed with how we failed to deal with Chelsea’s cunty tackling . with no protection from the referee, our midfield seemed to want to turn and pass side ways or backwards most of the time . maybe 1 or 2 subs would have helped . that said, I feel much better knowing we dididnt lose. Contradictory ,I know

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    • Seriously, the ref was no more cuntish towards us than he was to them.

      He is just a shit ref that doesn’t have a clue.

      Tonight was purely on Wengers inability to break down a team that come with a plan

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      • We did get into chelski but the penalty wasn/t given. Ramsey had a poor match and to be honest I would of pulled him off n put in Flamini. Flamini would have broken up the forays chelsea made. Ramsey hasn’t looked happy for the last 3 games. The guy is tired and needs to be rested.

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  7. We didn’t have substututions because Mourinho being the prick that he is was blocking Arsenes view. Roaming around the touchline like he owns the place. dick.

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  8. I actually could not believe how many wayward passes Arteta gave today. Usually his passing is so on the money, but he just could not get it right tonight. Poor performance i thought by us tonight & by chelsea.

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  9. I’ll rest everyone at some certain time..May be Bentiner or someone have to start.

    I like coregious Arsene we have all known..Someone have to lern a lesson from the boss,you know???

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  10. Can understand boss’s point. Anyways, I have a feeling that Falcao is coming at Stamford Bridge next month/ summer. I do not think we can get a CF/ST in January (at our preferred price range and) who can run the ground running. So, it’s right time for Luka and Theo to show their mettle. as gooners, WE SHOULD NOT KEEP AWAY THE NEGATIVE VIBES and REMAIN UPBEAT. If there is one thing that will decide if we win league or not, it’s SELF BELIEF. New signings or not, attitude will make a difference for Arsenal. COYG

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  11. Blogs do you agree?:
    If you look at the game without blinders on, Chelsea clogged the middle, sat back and played for a point from the first kickoff. Tactically, we had the right plan with many attempts to use Theo down the right wing to get behind the defense and cut it back inside to score. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t help our plans with many balls skidding out of play or the wind catching them and going who knows where. Fair result but we played to win and yes giroud probably should’ve netted but it happens and everyone knows we’ll at least look for a striker in January.

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  12. This was a game we’d have lost in previous years… All the lads got properly stuck in and we deserved at least a point… a bit more composure / luck with Giroud chances, Walcott was a penalty (made the most of it yea, but Chelsea player didn’t get ball and hoofed him in the leg)… Well done boys – great start to season

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  13. What were Ramsey’s stats? His passing and work rate appears to have really dropped off. At one point he was completing the most tackles but I doubt he’s anywhere near in the last few games.

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  14. Wenger didn’t make any substitutions because he was happy with a point too. And it’s not really a bad result. We have to get back to beating the bad teams and we’ll be ok.

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  15. Perspective:

    1. Giroud had scored more goals than Chelsea’s 4 strikers combined.

    2. Arsenal are joint top having played all the top teams once.

    3. It was Ramsey’s delightful pass which set up the chance of the game.

    4. Maybe Arsene isn’t so tactically naive seeing as arsenal were so dangerous by the end Moron took of Hazard and brought on David Luiz.

    5. We’re above City and Chelsea, with squads costing nearly a billion quid combined.

    And finally. Look at Tottenham…. Enough said…

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  16. That shows tha believe Wenger has with everyone in tha squad, u give each a chance, let him prove his magic, maybe next time let’s give Bendtner a chance too,All tha best Gunners,,,

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  17. Arseblog,

    I know hindsight is a lazy game but, with its benefit, do you now believe that Suarez would have brought more to the table than Ozil?

    I would be confident that once Ozil gets a season under his belt he can go from having a good (certainly not poor as some have argued) season to having one which is world class.

    Football, however, is predominantly a game of the here and now and this is more so with a club likes ours who didn’t have any more years to spare to be spent as ones “looking to the future”.

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  18. PS – Happy Christmas to all. The best gifts are the ones that don’t need unwrapping. Like being a gooner in your heart. Happy days.

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  19. We need another cf to give us another option upfront. We cannot win the league with 1 type of cf. It becomes predictable. holding up thr ball doesnt get u goals.

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  20. Why couldn’t Wenger tactically position himself so he could take full advantage of moroninho by slapping the moron off his moron shaped face. Seriously though, who cries fronting the opposition players of crying when you yourself have just spent the entire game cheerleading from the sidelines like some drama queen on cheap ass crack. The day the special one finds himself in a special hospital stuck in a straight jacket after finding himself the victim of one of John Terrys Sex games will be the day I believe karma ain’t full of shit. Night’ night.

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  21. I was thinking that perhaps Wenger didn’t make any substitutions because:

    1. As he rightly pointed out, nobody looked particularly jaded.
    2. New players would have had to adjust to the difficult conditions (slippery pitch and crazy wind), which meant that they would be less effective than the players who were already on.

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  22. Not so bad a game considering the hype of it all. I sincerely blame the uncharacteristic play of the ‘Play-makers’, Ozil, Ramsey, Hazard, Lampard. They were not ambitious enough to give us a game of both sides of the coin. You say Chelsea parked the bus yes i agree but its your duty as an opposition team to draw them out by playing good football else i will say Arsenal too played unprofessional. Both team certainly need a goal getter but Giroud and Torres are not to blame for they lack services and looked like they were unconcerned about the game. Now Arsenal BIG games are kinda over, so let’s see how it goes till the big weeks starts again in the 2nd half of the season. For chelsea now is the time to sharpen up and show their mental strength and face football like its played… Best attacking and entertaining team so far this season..EVERTON

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  23. I’m in Barbados so probably the mood is better than that shitestorm back home. A point will do, could’ve easily been the standard against Chelsea – defend counter score, nul points – but it wasn’t. Fuck it, more Mount Gay. Mmmmmm.

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  24. We would have wished for 7 points from the last 3 games, (or at the minimum 5!) We got 2. You have to win your home games, against any and all opposition. If you don’t do that you don’t win the league. Just ask Liverpool 2008/2009.

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  25. As Arseblog rightly said (and despite not getting 7 points from the last three games) we’ve still got more points than anyone apart from Liverpool…

    If Liverpool lose Suarez through injury (or through biting someone), which lets face it, is likely, we really are best placed to win the league.

    I also think we shouldn’t underestimate the impact of shocking refereeing decisions, or the timetable we’ve just had.

    Give or take a couple of lapses in individual performances the lads have done us really really proud.

    Still believe we’re going to win the league.

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  26. Don’t know if its right though but i don’t trust Giroud to lead the line for us (if we call ourselves a contender)to Victory Comes May 2014. We cannot just win the league with that kind of attacker whose job is to hold up laughs anytime he spoof a sitter.He’s shy to shoot, can’t dribble past an opponent, can’t even get a goal outta nothing. We need a true center forward since our games are based on slick passing and fluency in overall playmaking. Don’t wish for Suarez or even Diego costa… Just get me Pato, Rossi or even Berbatov.

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  27. Said this on the other thread but: Yes we could’ve won and Dean is clearly against us. BUT who thought we’d be HERE in August?

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  28. I remember earlier in the season some analysts saying arsenal might win the league witout even having to defeat its main contenders as long as we dont lose to all of them and last night i think the boss took that point at heart….. if he.tried too hard to win the game we cld have.lost it like the dortmund game if it was meant to be a draw it was meant to be a draw nothing more nothing less….by end of december we should be topspot again!!!

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  29. Personally I think podolski wld hav done a better job with the 2 left foot goal scoring opportunities given to Giroud. Again the lack if pace Giroud is exposed again today…whether goin for a cross or trying to dribble pass players. I was surprise & happy to see Wenger makin the Giroud-Bendtner change in the last game…he went to score a onside but disallowed goal. Wenger shld change it around in games when havin Giroud up front may not be working. You got Podolski, you got Bendtner & even Theo…change it around. At the moment with just Giroud upfront is not clickin well enough to win us big & tight games

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  30. Fresh legs would have helped lift the tempo of our game.carzola would havr made a difference in the game..really cant understand why santi has been on thr bench for thr past two games..and the way we dealt with their counter attacks was embarrassing. Lucky they were poor with thier finishing.but still it was great to see rosicky back at his best and even madly cheering on the team.cmon arsene,dont fall bk again

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  31. Giroud’s predictable and uni-dimensional. Walcott does better as a sub. Ozil looks overwhelmed by the physical nature of the English football (I genuinely hope he adapts asap). Ramsey’s form is dropping. But I think if we win the next two games and climb to the top of the league the team will get the form back. With Chambo, Gnabry coming back we will have more options to use on the wings, which I think has been our weaker area in the last few games. Fixture list in January is a but kind and if we add a CF, even better.

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  32. This is the problem I have been alluding to over the last 3 games.

    We played with permutations in our head.

    That’s not to say I want the team to perform with naivety but I do feel we should be throwing the kitchen sink at them and trying to nick a win in the final 20 minutes at home rather than protect a draw.

    Again I thought selection was off par slightly.

    Thought we would have benefited more from both Podolski and Walcott on stretching play on both wings where Ozil tends to cut in and negate our left flank. Thereby they knew we would have to be contained mainly on the right.

    Also preferred Ozil behind Giroud giving him an option to overload out on RW if need be or drive into the box better.

    Ramsey I feel has been off slightly over last 2 games. Thereby made more sense to put Rosicky alongside Arteta.

    Substitutions were sorely needed. I get what Wenger is saying about the defensive side because CHelsea transition very quickly and at times we were outnumbered at the back.

    but Giroud was poor with finishing or for that matter stealing an extra inch off of the defenders.

    thereby Podolski would have assisted in adding threat up front and in drawing attention to RW afforded more space for Walcott to come into the game (where the LW was extremely congested)

    This is a self created imbalance where we elect only to hold a wide option on one flank which makes it easier for the opponent to adjust defensively. We know Mourinho is a master of containment if you make it easy for him.

    I’ve been saying this for a while and this is in no means to disparage Wenger’s tactical acumen but he is slow to make changes and react to the situation on the pitch.

    He can get away with it because he has in general bought well in the market and is a genius at that. he can get away with it against the smaller teams where the quality of our players paper over the tactical cracks. But against the better teams where the margins are slim, he gets caught out because of his tactical hesitance.

    We have an opportunity to grab the top spot again next weekend with City to play Liverpool. A draw would open the door for us but we must beat a team on the road.

    Whilst not a top team and something we should expect to roll over given form before the recent test (which we have failed), I would say this game will be more difficult than we think if we do not go in with the correct application. We must regain a bit of the fearlessness and shake of this current stupor.

    Disappointing patch and the sooner we get over it the better. But some questions yet to be answered.

    Centrally I think we still need that top quality striker. As hard working as Giroud is, he isn’t it. Just watch the Thierry Henry documentary and am reminded how lethal and quick we were on the break because of him, and how tactically sophisticated he was for us. We need a bit of that sharp edge at the tip again and the sooner we get it in January, the better for our prospects in finishing top. if not, we may get swallowed up by the competition.

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  33. I have said it here repeatedly, that the model olivier giroud will lead us nowhere near the title.look at the glorious chances he squadered that a hungrier nicklas BENDTNER would have burried with ease,he’s not just the striker we need,our mildfilders’s efforts are not complimented by this sloggish sexy player. I know I’ll get tens of turns down for this, but I whole heartedly love this amazing team.I bleed RED here in africa.

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  34. When tottenscum said they were ‘joint top’ they got ridiculed by many (rightfully so). We are in 2nd, with Liverpool ahead on goal difference. Goal difference is how most games are settled…

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  35. Giroud is a striker who cannot create something out of nothing. I love giroud for what he brings to the table. But look at our rivals –

    Mancity – Aguero, Negredo
    LFC – Suarez, Sturridge
    CFC – Torres, Eto, Ba
    Manutd – RVP, Rooney
    Arsenal – Giroud, Bendtner

    Desperately need a striker. A january signing or may be podolski can start playing there. But without adding a striker we will most likely fall behind come jan end.

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  36. Look! Whatever is been said here are all valid opinions. But I cant help but praise the boys for their achievements so far ds season agiainst all expectation. Joint 1st on xmas day??? Who’d have bet on that!.. In the next 7 games we shall make up for lost points… Beat Westham, and liv’pool drops points against shity at the etihad, and we are back on top!.. Somthing special in the offing this season! Keep the faith!

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