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Wenger facing crucial 10 days

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Phil McNulty | 21:00 UK time, Saturday, 20 August 2011

Arsene Wenger's body language could have been set to a sombre musical soundtrack as he suffered an increasingly familiar fate. It did not just rain on Arsenal's manager at Emirates Stadium, it poured.

As Wenger ruffled his hands furiously through hair soaked by a torrential downpour, then lurched forward in frustration in his seat as Liverpool concluded their first win at Arsenal in 11 years, an inescapable conclusion was reached.

Wenger now faces 10 days that may not exactly define his future, but which have the capacity to shape the mood of an entire season for an increasingly depleted Arsenal squad and their manager.

Arsenal face a hazardous Champions League qualifier second leg against Udinese in Italy on Wednesday before travelling to face champions Manchester United at Old Trafford next Sunday. And then, with great significance and a reason for Wenger to act with an urgency that has escaped him this summer, the transfer window will close.

This was always shaping up as the most testing season of Wenger's Arsenal tenure. This defeat, and the loud jeering that preceded sympathetic applause at the final whistle, did nothing to alter the impression.

Liverpool, with a £100m injection of new talent and Kenny Dalglish back in charge, have emerged as the most potent threat to a place in the Premier League's top four that Arsenal have called their own on an almost permanent basis.

And if Liverpool's 2-0 win, secured by a late own goal from Aaron Ramsey and a second in the dying seconds from Luis Suarez, is a signpost to the future then Arsenal and Wenger have the rest of August to ensure they are heading in the same direction as the men from Merseyside.

Wenger rightly quoted mitigating circumstances for the defeat. Jack Wilshere was injured, Alex Song and Gervinho suspended, Laurent Koscielny lasted only 15 minutes before a back spasm and the impressive but impulsive Emmanuel Frimpong was sent off with 20 minutes left.

And in the moment Frimpong received his second yellow card for an unwise launch at Lucas, Dalglish ruthlessly took the opportunity to demonstrate how Arsenal are seriously threatened by a shift in the balance of power in that battle for fourth place.

Wenger cut a forlorn figure on the touchline as his side crashed to a 2-0 home defeat. Photo: Getty

He sent on Suarez and Raul Meireles, instrumental in both goals, while Wenger was left to rely on his mix and match blend from a squad he has simply allowed to become too weak. They were riches beyond Wenger's reach and how it showed.

Liverpool's victory was built on efficiency rather than sparkle, but they looked like a team that had been subjected to serious investment while Arsenal's resources looked threadbare, lightweight and in need of having some hard cash lavished on them.

Yes, Arsenal were unlucky as Wenger insisted both goals had a hint of offside, but he must not use this as a shield against stark reality.

The current Arsenal squad is not of the quality required to maintain the standards Wenger's own brilliance as a manager have set and time is running out to find the remedy.

Samir Nasri, still likely to leave for Manchester City, was one of Arsenal's brighter performers while Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott were either starved of service or poor when they received any.

Wenger also had a point when he underlined the crisis mentality being inflicted on Arsenal, saying: "We are living in circumstances where every defeat is absolutely a disgrace and an earthquake."

There is no suggestion the foundations of Arsenal's empire are shifting under Wenger's feet, but there is no escaping the increasing sense of desperation and anxiety around the vast Emirates' concourses. Not an earthquake, but certainly tremors of anxiety.

The irony is that enough class lurks around Arsenal's squad to give Wenger room for manoeuvre and optimism if he finally brings in reinforcements, but he has left it horribly, mystifyingly late to do so.

Dalglish's has given Liverpool reinvigorated hopes of finishing in the top four. Photo: Getty

For Liverpool, it was a game that will have confirmed their sense that they can get back in the top four. It was not a classic performance but it had a solidity that bodes well and was in sharp contrast to many of their efforts on their travels in recent years.

This was not vintage but it had a resilience and reliability that has been missing too often in the latter days of the Rafael Benitez reign and during Roy Hodgson's brief stay.

Dalglish relished pointing out how much stronger Liverpool's squad was than last season - as indeed it should be given the money spent on it.

Stewart Downing made a sound contribution as did Jose Enrique, although Andy Carroll is still short of fitness and rarely threatened apart from one fine first half header.

The catalyst, however, is Suarez. The credits were rolling for Arsenal as soon as he appeared. Full of movement - not movement for movement's sake but going into areas defenders do not appreciate - and menace, he unsettled Arsenal's makeshift defence instantly.

As Suarez tapped in a simple second, the rejuvenated Dalglish danced with delight on to the touchline and pumped his fists towards Liverpool's fans while Wenger slumped forward in despair as Arsenal's supporters made a bolt for the exits.

It was an image that summed up the afternoon. Wenger now has a matter of days to change the mood music.


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  • Comment number 1.

    I wouldn't go overboard on Liverpool's prospects. They needed a freak own-goal to break through a severely diminished Arsenal.

    Vermaelen made Andy Carroll in particular look extremely ordinary all game.

    They may well grab 4th, but thru default rather than their own greatness.

  • Comment number 2.

    For all Liverpool's £100m spend, they looked an inferior side to Arsenal for most of the match. Arsenal suffered from the usual self destruction, must we have a man sent off every game? Plus you can guarantee a wealth of dubious decisions against the team- both goals were clearly offside, but right now the Gods are very much against Wenger. 2 best players going or gone, freak injuries hitting another 7 first team players and suspensions on another 3. Ridiculous. Having said that, when the team is more or less back intact, they're easily superior to Liverpool. I think a bigger threat to 4th comes from Spurs.

  • Comment number 3.

    The fans don't back him, Dein's not backing him. AW is a lame duck

  • Comment number 4.

    Ez84 - I completely agree, Liverpool were not impressive - steady at best. Up until Frimpong went off Arsenal looked just as likely to score as Liverpool did.
    Man United or Chelsea would likely have hammered such a severely depleted Arsenal

  • Comment number 5.

    I just don't understand what is going on. we have been linked with numerous players, Mata, Hazard, Samba, Cahill, et al, who would add strength to the Arsenal squad but none of them have appeared. has Wenger lost the plot and why not pay Nasri £120000 a week, Man U and City are paying £80000 more a week to players you wouldn't want to sign. the next ten days are going to be so telling.

  • Comment number 6.

    Whilst it might be tempting to talk about Liverpool, the focus is all on Arsenal.

    A few years back when Wenger's young team started the season very well (i think it was 2007), a lot of Arsenal fans were claiming that he is as good as Fergie. But Wenger has a weakness, he seems incapable of making that expensive, pivotal signing. I no longer think it's stubborness, he just isn't very good at spending money, maybe he is afraid of the pressure associated with spending?

    I was listening to 5live re: Fab's departure, and they suggested that Wenger will have had someone lined up for a while. I wouldn't be surprised if that is false. For the first time i believe for Arsenal to stay in the top 4 their manager must go.

  • Comment number 7.

    Signings are needed, everyone knows that, but probably not as many people think. A left back and centre back, and if Nasri goes, a replacement, if not, I think we will be ok. Frimpong looked brilliant, this could be his season, and considering Wilshere and Song were both absent, then it looks strong. Bring Miyachi and Oxlade-Chamberlain in a few games this season as well. I'm holding out for a double raid on Everton - Baines and Jagielka, although I can't quite see it.

  • Comment number 8.

    Liverpool only won because they wanted to buy their way back into the top 4 rather than earning it. It makes them no better than chelsea or city. I fail to see how that old relic from the 80's that they call their manager is responsible for their newfound sucess.

  • Comment number 9.

    I agree with the comments about been steady, but..
    Better and more ambitious team won, this showed in the matches statistics through possession and opportunities made. Liverpool without been spectacular controlled the game, which up to the sending off Arsenal were still competing. Fortune smilled on LFC, but Arsenal were not dominating the ball as per usual and in the end the heads went down.
    But I feel Wenger is one the greats and I think its a matter of watch this space. They still are not the bad team everybody is saying they are.
    Liverpool with Dalglish are always going to be contenders, they will be mopping up league points this season and so will Arsenal. Early days yet. Very exciting league.

  • Comment number 10.

    Wenger can't keep blaming everyone else for his misfortune. He's paid a lot of money to take responsibility for his team but seems to be avoiding this. Maybe the stress of managing in the premiership has finally become too much for him and he needs to move on.

  • Comment number 11.

    I think the media are getting a bit hysterical with Arsenal. They are a few signings short of winning the title and have potentially GBP80 million to do it. I know you jounalists have a job to do but let's all calm down now.

  • Comment number 12.

    Yawn. Yet ANOTHER blog about Wenger. Ok, so Liverpool beat Arsenal; hardly a crisis - Liverpool are a top side and will be there or thereabouts with Arsenal at the end of the season. If Frimpong had stayed on, it may have been a different story.

    It is their first loss of the season, so again, no crisis. They have a solid lead in the Champions League qualifier, so no crisis there either. They sold Fabregas, which we ALL knew was going to happen. Nasri hasn't gone just yet, and the other players Wenger has either let go, or looks like he'll let go, are squad players who to be honest could do with being cleared out.

    Judge him when the window closes. You can't criticism him for not spending the money when he still has time to do so.

    If Arsenal finish off Udinese this week, and get something out of their next match against Utd, they're right back in it. Crisis? Not yet, so chill out.

  • Comment number 13.

    Agree with what has been said before. Arsenal weren't exactly great but there were positives - Frimpong bar two moments of immaturity along with Vermaelen and Szczęsny being outstanding. Liverpool on the other hand were average at best, and that was with nearly a full squad, Gerrard aside. Did they have a clear-cut chance? Miquel, Jenkinson and Frimpong on their full debuts and until the last 10mins Liverpool were coped with. Easily.

  • Comment number 14.

    2. You need to take Arsene's glasses off, Liverpool were in control the whole game and always looked like winning. A few corrections, our net spend is not £100M you have to take Torres £50M off. The supposed offsides, Suarez was inches offside but it was an own goal, for the 2nd goal Suarez was in an offside position but the ball was passed to Meireles, so it's all about the new interpretation of offside.

    What's funny is that Carroll wasn't on top form today which was fortunate because if Suarez had been on from the start it would have been more than 2, if he stays fit we'll comfortably be top 4. The other positive is that this current team have barely played together and will only get better with time and Gerrard's still to come back.

    I'm loving how everyone is writing Liverpool off already, King Kenny has bought exactly the players we needed in the positions where we were weak and for the first time in years we have strength in depth which would cope with the type of injuries and suspensions that clearly Arsenal can't.

  • Comment number 15.

    Arsenal do need to buy players, at least two defenders, some midfield creativity and a serious goal scorer, but what concerned me was the serious lack of intelligence on display.
    The number of times Arsenal worked the ball out wide and played in a cross to an empty box was ludicrous, why persist with this strategy when playing with a lone striker (one not renowned for his areal ability).
    The Frimpong red card was also so obviously on the way, it was more a matter of whether he made it past half time or not.
    A good man manager (or a good leader/captain for that matter) would have spoken to him or even made a substitution in order that the team didn't suffer by having 10 men. It is frankly not acceptable to attribute it to youthful exuberance, and inexperience....Professional footballers good enough to wear the Arsenal shirt should not be making such amateur mistakes, he in all probability cost Arsenal a point today. Coming at this issue as a rugby player and coach, player discipline is a key part of training in order that mistakes aren't made in matches, this has let Arsenal down and should be addressed, not simply excused.
    Yes new players are needed, but a more intelligent approach with the ones we do have would make a big difference too.
    Would anyone agree that maybe instead of getting rid of Wenger (i'm sticking by him) what is required is a shake up in the coaching staff? I think a new defensive coach is required (they look clueless when players use any movement against them) along with someone to help with general tactical awareness (point out that crossing to an empty box is a terrible idea).
    Let's be honest if the fix was easy i'm sure it would have been implemented.

  • Comment number 16.

    Far too much anti Wenger guff. Don't forget his achievements for the club before calling for his head. The foundations of Arsenal have been laid for a generation at least. Just look at Everton if you think finance doesn't matter. There's no way Arsenal should be competing with the likes of Utd, City, Liverpool and Chelsea as their money is either borrowed or given to them by a sugar daddy playing football manager. Arsenal are one of the top 7 clubs in the world and there the one with the least debt (and that debt was mortgaged for a stadium). With Arsenal it's self generated. Granted we do need to buy a player, but who thinks £36 Carroll looked good today? No thanks. We want one who will genuinely improve the squad. For all the crowing about Jakielka etc, didn't do much today did they? Too much of the little Englander media is far to quick to jump on Wenger.

  • Comment number 17.

    Arsenal Football Club and Arsene Wenger need to act now. When the team was complete last season with all their 'stars', they wobbled to fourth. Now, Fabregas is gone, Nasri is about to join him. Arsenal will struggle for sixth this season. Penny-pinching will lead them nowhere. However, if they feel that players with the quality of Miguel and Frimpong will bring titles,I wish them the very best.

  • Comment number 18.

    Carroll was actually pretty good today actually, held the ball up well, brought other players (especially Downing) into play, and drew a lot of fouls. 35million tho? not a chance, not yet.
    That said, neither team were great, but liverpool were worthy of a win. More shots and possession than an Arsenal side, away from home.
    Also, Gerrard and Johnson were missing, Meireles and Suarez are still not fit, and Adam, Henderson, Enrique and Downing are all being mashed into the side. After 1 week together, does anyone really expect them to be playing at their best?
    Anyone who thinks Chelsea could have done better should have seen their first half at WBA today. United will run away with it this year, with city 2nd and the rest fighting it out

  • Comment number 19.

    Ez84 & The Arshavin Codex: Oh dear, sad and bitter gooners. How on earth you think Arsenal outplayed Liverpool is anyones guess. Very deluded indeed (Arsenal fans are very prone to this disorder). I suggest you both watch the game again.

  • Comment number 20.

    It's August. The silly season. Summer is still hanging on and they're still playing cricket. It's early, early days. August is the time when newly promoted teams flourish and top the table before the inevitable happens and they get relegated.

    Whoever remembers what happened in August when April rolls around?

    Come next April, it will be wee Scouse Kenny, not Wenger, who is holding his head in his hands.

  • Comment number 21.

    The pressure on Arsenal and Arsene Wenger is a self-inflicted pressure. Arsenal have the money and the need to buy some world class players.. so whats stopping them ? wenger and the board keeps coming up with contradictory statements about how the money is there to be spend and how wenger would spend £40 mill on THE RIGHT players. and yet they buy gervinho and Two 19 year olds. Wenger thinks arsenal have the best squad in the world and not even Messi would improve it.

    The Fans are still waiting for the two ‘world-class’ signings he promised two seasons ago, let alone, the ‘super quality’ player he promised us earlier this summer. Additionally, at the end of last season, he promised change, but yet the only change we see is us quickly becoming a mid-table club.
    I dont want wenger to leave arsenal but want him to change his attitude, admit his msitakes and bring in some much needed reinforcments.

  • Comment number 22.

    Wengers problem is that this is now just a continuation from last March, the bad run is not just two league games.

    I know what he HAS done for Arsenal but they cannot afford to live in the past. 4th place is not guaranteed for this side & should they lose at Old Trafford on Sunday they could be playing catch up by the end of August.

    He must spend wisely and quickly, even if it just to fill out the squad. Under 21 players dont count towards the 25 man first team so I wonder how many experienced players they actually have. There seems to be an attitude problem there at present and something will need to change quick.

    I dont think he needs to go but he does need to take repsonibility for what is happening, the policy he has such blind belief in may come to fruition under a different manager if he does not take action to address the obvious problems that his team have.

    1 goal in 3 games & not creating much, 2 red cards and Song's 3 games suspension shows a lack of discipline which is just magnifying the problems.

  • Comment number 23.

    Game was pretty balanced, Arsenal need more help in attack than they do in defense, Arshavin and Walcott were terrible and Ramsey failed to impose himself on the game. Frimpong looked really good, but overzealous, you could see the red card coming after 5 min, What was he thinking with the first card -stupid, stupid, stupid. That said, if Arsenal had anything near a full-strength squad (I am also assuming Wenger will buy some sort of playmaker to replace Fab) and they would have put Liverpool to the sword today. Although I think Pool are a lot more dangerous with Merieles and Saurez in the side.

    No panic yet. but you have to question the management at Arsenal that they find themselves in this position with such a crucial month of August. If they are knocked out of the CL by Udinese then we might see the wheels come off as the board slashes Wengers transfer budget and players no longer want to join the side.

  • Comment number 24.

    This article is piling pressure on Wenger unnecessarily, one of many doing so in the press. Liverpool did NOT look like a side that had spent one hundred million; they won the midfield battle for the first 30 mins, but after that were quite poor, and could easily have lost if Arsenal had kept 11 on the field. Even with a very depleted side, Arsenal should have beaten them, though Arshavin and Walcott were very poor, as was Ramsey. Wenger needs to get rid of Arshavin, Rosicky, Walcott, Ramsey, Bendtner, Diaby and a few others, and bring in some better players. But this will not be easy. I think that this season may well be his last. Arsenal will be out of the championship race before Christmas, and he will get tired of the drumbeat in the press, and will accept one of the prestigious jobs at a big club that are regularly offered to him (perhaps at Real Madrid).

  • Comment number 25.

    Even tho I am a United fan I wish Arsenal and Wenger all the best and hope they at least finish in the top 4 and get a cup. Got no time for Fabregas, Nasri and co. Giggs, Keown, Gerrard a dying breed. In other news I hope smug Liverpool and fatty Carroll finish 5th or below! 35 mil? Daylight robbery!

    Oh yeah.... Bring back 606!

  • Comment number 26.

    Arsenal were completely owned today.

    Yes, their young players the put in a spirited performance, which was encouraging for them.

    But Liverpool always controlled the match, which would have been impossible in previous years.

    Arsenal are a failing club at the moment.

  • Comment number 27.

    I cannot believe what is written on this site. Wenger has to go NOW! Please just leave before you destroy my club anymore. You are tactically inept and your egotistical
    attitude is sickening. Your project youth experiment has failed miserably,now Rome is burning, and you are responsible. Your legacy has crumbled, and you should leave before there is complete revolt.

  • Comment number 28.

    Couldn't agree more with you Phil...Great analysis of todays game.I think Arsenal played withe alot of spirit and effort but liverpool sure matched them on that and abit of quality in depth came to bare when Suarez and Meireles came on to win the game.I think Andy will improve and should be given more credit than what is being given him in todays game,it was a very difficult game,more like a midfield battle than a strikers talent but he sure closed defenders down well and he sure put in a good shift with his work rate.

  • Comment number 29.

    Some embarrassing comments in this article.


    Firstly, Arsenal. If they reinvest the Fabregas and Nasri money quickly in good players for key areas of their side, get their injuries back, get their suspensions back, and they're a good side again suddenly.

    Arsenal were always going to struggle today with the problems they have. They just need to pull through against Udinese and they can rebuild quickly, and still have a very positive season.

    The frenzy about them right now is crazy. Someone will write an article with perspective one day.

    I reckon they should throw £30 at Everton for Baines and Jagielka. If not a bit more if required. Sorts out two key areas in their side like that and they have the funds to get them. The one criticism of Wenger I have is that if he feels he does need players, then he should be getting them well before the season starts. He's bought Gervinho, OK, but then the rest kids who are not going to be first teamers straight away.

    As for Liverpool, the criticism and bitter comments they're receiving is baffling. A team, who are looking to recover and improve, win at Arsenal today and regardless of their problems, they still cop a load of flack!

    Rubbish. Horrible.

    They played well today and are bedding in a lot of new players.

    The comments that they've bought their way to this position like City and Chelsea are the most whopperish of the lot. They are spending the money they would have spent had they not been deprived of their money through interest payments. They spend what they make, and this summer, possibly their ambitious owners are adding a little more in. Nothing wrong with that. They're not stockpiling like City and will not spend £300m in 3 years like at Chelsea. Ridiculous, insane comparisons laced with bitterness and jealousy.

    I assume people really enjoyed it while they were in the dumps under Roy Hodgson.

  • Comment number 30.

    Dear bitter and twisted Arsenal fans, you act like your a bigger club than Liverpool and in every way you are NOT. Got what you deserved today and you will be lucky to make sixth. Arsene will not take you to another trophy, so as hard as it maybe he should go now and be remembered without the poor season that awaits.

  • Comment number 31.

    27.At 23:34 20th Aug 2011, highbury71 wrote:
    I cannot believe what is written on this site. Wenger has to go NOW! Please just leave before you destroy my club anymore. You are tactically inept and your egotistical
    attitude is sickening. Your project youth experiment has failed miserably,now Rome is burning, and you are responsible. Your legacy has crumbled, and you should leave before there is complete revolt.


    I refuse to believe this ghoul is a fan of Arsenal. I mean, they just can't be.

  • Comment number 32.

    I am, since 1979. Season ticket holder.Live in islington. wake up and smell the coffee.

  • Comment number 33.

    Why not use the platform of MOTD to highlight player's acting? "Actor of the Month", "Dive of the season"?

    It would be like drawing a target on a player's back. Players would resort to anything - sportsmanship, honour, even behaving like adults - to avoid it.

    Spineless pundits enjoy using their privileged platform to take cheap shots at refs who don't have the benefit of 17 different slo-mo replays. Without volunteer officials this game would implode, but the men who got idolised for kicking a ball around 20 years ago feel they are on a higher moral plane. They are stupid cowards who could use their position to make a real difference to the game, but they don't have the courage or the intelligence to do it.

  • Comment number 34.

    Well, Arsenal have been in crisis since the 4-4 draw in Newcastle. And things got only worse over the summer. There's no experience, no leadership, no discipline in the squad. Their only truly world-class player and captain is gone. Their third best player is on his way out as well. I can't see any available player in the transfer market that would add the quality Arsenal desperately need, yet City, United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs all have strengthened their squads significantly. It will be tough fight for 6th place for Arsenal this season.

  • Comment number 35.

    Liverpool edged an even game changed by the sending off. Yes they will be in the running with Arsenal and Spurs for 4th place which after spening 100m is surely a minimum requirement.
    Walcott, Downing, Henderson, Carroll - they are some of the reasons why English footballers are so overrated and why the England team of the future are doomed to mediocrity ala the other home nations. Did any of them contribute anything meanignful today. Same goes for Ramsey (average) and Adam(average + a little).

    On the Wenger point, he seems to have several blind spots and I have no idea why but he knows more about footbal than anyone on here. He may or may no have plans to sign players. Anyway I doubt he is going anywhere so let's see what happens in the next 6 months as opposed to next 10 days. Unless you have the attention span of a four year old.

  • Comment number 36.

    Arsenal were at their lowest today. Although, I'm interested if any Liverpool fan could be proud at a such a win. Liverpool should've won by a quite a bit I thought.

  • Comment number 37.

    At 23:41 20th Aug 2011, highbury71 wrote:

    I am, since 1979. Season ticket holder.Live in islington. wake up and smell the coffee.

    Yep bring back Don Howe eh, Nick Hornby?

  • Comment number 38.

    32.At 23:41 20th Aug 2011, highbury71 wrote:
    I am, since 1979. Season ticket holder.Live in islington. wake up and smell the coffee.


    Then you should remember the credibility that Wenger has brought your club, think about where you would be without his intervention, or rather, where you wouldn't be.

    Honestly, this man has won you 3 PL titles, count them. Playing unbelievably football making Arsenal THE most memorable PL team in the last 20 years. He's won you cups too.

    He's also got you into the top 4 every single season he's been there, and qualified you for the CL for the last 12 years.

    And, of course, he's working within massive constraints while the stadium that he helped plan, is being paid off.

    And you want him out?

    Grow up, you're 40 years old mate.

  • Comment number 39.

    George Graham would be better. I watched Arsenal at Highbury in the mid 80's under Don Howe and had more enthusiasm about that team than i do now. Go back and play Black Opps on your xbox

  • Comment number 40.

    @3 MyVoiceinYrHead wrote:
    The fans don't back him, Dein's not backing him. AW is a lame duck.
    Your right on the fact that the fans don't back him. dein's not backing him. there is a whole blog with dein's 20 minute interview. watch it. and AW is one of the greatest managers in the Premier League.

  • Comment number 41.

    35.At 23:48 20th Aug 2011, RobVilla wrote:
    Liverpool edged an even game changed by the sending off. Yes they will be in the running with Arsenal and Spurs for 4th place which after spening 100m is surely a minimum requirement.
    Walcott, Downing, Henderson, Carroll - they are some of the reasons why English footballers are so overrated and why the England team of the future are doomed to mediocrity ala the other home nations. Did any of them contribute anything meanignful today. Same goes for Ramsey (average) and Adam(average + a little).

    On the Wenger point, he seems to have several blind spots and I have no idea why but he knows more about footbal than anyone on here. He may or may no have plans to sign players. Anyway I doubt he is going anywhere so let's see what happens in the next 6 months as opposed to next 10 days. Unless you have the attention span of a four year old.


    First paragraph woeful, second sensible.

    How anyone can judge, criticise or write off Henderson is crazy.

    Downing too. He has a level, sure, but he's a very good performer. He's no Arjen Robben, but he's a VERY good PL player.

  • Comment number 42.

    If I was Wenger...
    25M Baines
    15-17M Cahill or equivalent
    25M Hazard

    If Cesc and Nasri both go for a combined 59M, then that is just 5-7M over.

  • Comment number 43.

    39.At 23:55 20th Aug 2011, highbury71 wrote:
    George Graham would be better. I watched Arsenal at Highbury in the mid 80's under Don Howe and had more enthusiasm about that team than i do now. Go back and play Black Opps on your xbox


    When it happens, the most successful manager in your history and the man who has made what people perceive modern Arsenal to be i.e. an attractive team playing football the right way, a big club etc...

    Then it will be on his terms.

    No mark fans will not be allowed to hound him out, no matter how whiney they are or how long they've been watching the team.

  • Comment number 44.

    I am not to bothered by this result it was half expected and whilst Liverpool may have been a tad fortunate there is no point in moaning that they took advantage and got the points.

    More worrying for me is yet again another player seeing red! and the complete lack of discipline being showed yet again! Also i really think AW needs to give up on fronting the cameras his body language speaks for itself! and is in fact making matters worse.Give post match interviews to someone else and quickly! he failed to give a straight answer to any question and was far to evasive.

    looking on the bright side it was very fortunate that Swansea were held otherwise Arsenal could well have been in the Bottom Three as i am sure Spurs will be overhauling man u this time around, mind you that depends on who the ref is.

    I'm not panicking over this result at all considering again half our team were unavailable again.

    up the Gunners.

  • Comment number 45.

    I am a Liverpool fan and am proud of the result today, away win to a to a team that finished fourth last year is a good result. Without our captain that has carried us so many times in the past and Kenny still felt confident enough to have Suarez start from the bench. * * * * * ha

  • Comment number 46.

    Arsenal were truly unlucky. Liverpool team with 100mil poured in struggled against an inexperienced Arsenal side. This proves just how good a manager AW is. But he does need to buy some players. especially defenders.

  • Comment number 47.

    How Henderson plays ahead of Meireles is beyond me, unless it's because Meireles has an injury problem or short of fitness this so called 'king' kenny is a horror of a manager.

  • Comment number 48.

    In response to Ez84 and RoyalGooner - you are correct there is no need to go overboard, however, the Liverpool side I watched today were a side in the early stages of development.....yes the money has been spent (and let's not forget the sorry state of the premiership in 2011 is one of money and not football - ask MUTD, Chelsea and City), but players don't just gel after 2 weeks...these things take time. Arsenal are a side who in previous seasons have been a force to be reckoned with (one of the reasons it took LFC 10 years to beat them at home) today they were very average at best - as they were when they were actually outclassed last weekend. My observation is the lack of passion and direction from a club who used to pride themselves on youth policy and strength in depth was genuinely sad to see. Of course there is no 'problem' (I mean we are not looking at relegation) but it would appear that there are tough times ahead and maybe it's a time when a new brain is needed at the helm............In response to The Arshavin Codex - you were watching a different game no? Liverpool were on top and whilst any sneaky goal could have sealed victory for either side, you could never call the visiting side 'inferior' because they clearly were not. It is actually the poorer clubs like Everton and Wigan I feel genuinely sorry for as they will never be able to buy their way to the top......Thanks Gavelaa - your words are spoken like a true football fan and not a loon intent on bashing others and making excuses for some kind of conspiracy - Arsenal were without key players today but were poor at best - Liverpool had structure and poise and a fair bit of luck - end of.

  • Comment number 49.

    Disappointing result, but plenty of positives: Vermaelen was superb (kept £35million Carroll in his pocket all game), Szczesny is continuing to impress and has made everyone forget about Arsenal's goalkeeping crisis (or just realise there wasn't one in the first place), and Frimpong was brilliant until he got sent off.

    Still early days in the season but no doubt a defeat at Old Trafford will send people even further over the non-existent edge.

  • Comment number 50.

    How anyone can judge, criticise or write off Henderson is crazy.

    Downing too. He has a level, sure, but he's a very good performer. He's no Arjen Robben, but he's a VERY good PL player.

    I didn't criticise or write hime off I just suggested they are overrated and if you think £20m valuation foe those players is good business then I am happy to agree to disagree. And if Carroll is worth more than Faberags then I am also happy to disagree, and also happy to disagree with anyone who thinks Walcott is good enough to play for a top half team - one trick pony.

    Downing looks a very good player in a struggling Premiership team (I have first hand experience). Let's see him do it in any match that matters.

  • Comment number 51.

    Wenger is a dead man walking. His time is up, and he knows it. History is repeating itself, just like what happened at Monaco. Go to Real or PSG and experiment with your kids experiment there.We'll take Mourinho in exchange. The club is bigger than Wenger and will rebuild.

  • Comment number 52.

    Both teams weren't impressive. That said, Arsenal was seriously understrength and Liverpool had everyone they chose to have... and stiil, Arsenal was the better team for most of the game. I think this game was an indictment of both teams...

    Liverpool struggled to create anything, and only scored with a weird fluky goal that wasn't a result of intricate play or speed or anything other than luck... how often do u see that happening? never... other than that, they created basically nothing... they could not open up a depleted Arsenal lineup...

    on the other hand, Arsenal didn't look like Arsenal... they also struggled to create openings, and didn't have much in a way of threatening the other team at home... partly due to injuries, and partly due to a lack of creativity in the side... doesn't look good for them in a long run unless they get some more players...

    But anyhow, the defeat/ win was not a result of abject/great performance... when u get a lucky goal while with an extra man on the field... that's very fortunate... and on the other side, very unfortunate... that's all...

    doesn't mean Liverpool were great, or Arsenal were pathetic... match was on between two not very good sides, and a lucky bounce pretty much settled it...

  • Comment number 53.

    'Honestly, this man has won you 3 PL titles, count them. Playing unbelievably football making Arsenal THE most memorable PL team in the last 20 years. He's won you cups too.'

    Seriously? ''THE most memorable PL team in the last 20 years'' United anyone??

  • Comment number 54.

    The comments about Liverpool are, without question, unfair. As usual Liverpool comfortably beat a top side and get slated for it. I can see reasons being cited like 'oh Arsenal didn't play well' - sorry son, you get what you deserve in football. Also, 'Arsenal had loads of injuries' - how about last season when we got a draw against Arsenal with quite a few kids playing against a full-strength Arsenal side.
    Its just sour grapes from fans who know they were inferior in this game. Who gives a monkeys about pretty football when you could have an easy 3 points. We outplayed you and laugh all the way to Merseyside with a satisfying victory.

  • Comment number 55.

    @54 how did you do against eleven men at home last week?

    Frimpong, jenkinson, miguel......

    Wise up

  • Comment number 56.

    Arsenal are underpressure to deliver. That is no question. Both teams looked decent enough, but both lacked cutting edge, that will cost them. A lucky first goal with the off-side and the ball hitting.

    What cost Arsenal was the sending off for two reasons: 1- Frimpong was playing well and doing a fantastic job breaking up the play. That was missed after his sending off. 2- The extra work the players had to do to compensate for the dismissal.

    As for Liverpool, Carroll looked lacklustre and nowhere near a 35m purchase. However, Vermaelen played extremely well to keep him quiet. Its too early to judge him, but 2 goals since his transfer doesnt bode well, but who knows.

    If Liverpool are going to threaten the top of the league, they have to be more clinical in dispatching in line-ups like that, because you get a feel that if Man Utd or Chelsea had played that Arsenal team today, you get a feel that it would have been a more emphatic result in favour of the away team. There are 36 games to go, so anything can happen.

  • Comment number 57.

    If this was Wenger's way of trying to convince Nasri to stay, can't say it was particularly so.

    How he is let the situation to come to this is beyond me.

    Absolutely agree that he needs to make some instructive signings quickly.

    There is quality in the squad so he only needs a little over a couple of crucial addition.

    1)CBack - Wenger is on record as saying that we have enough CBacks. yet out of 5 available, 3 are out injured (one useless - Squllaci) and one inexperienced, leaving really only one quality CBack available in TV.

    Forget Jagielka, Cahill and Samba. Wenger should look into ALEX. Chelsea are ready to let him go and Juventus was reportedly scouting him for a mere 7.5m quid!!!

    This is a player @29, who has a winning pedigree, plenty of strength at set pieces, good shooting power, bags of grit and determination.

    Wenger rightly prefers to pay a higher premium for younger players with potential. However, I would suggest given current state of squad that he should inversely put a premium on a select few players with some eniority who can bring 'super quality' to the squad.

    2)Midfield - Frimpong played well but entrusted (some might say prematurely) into the heat of a big match as DM, he was always going to be somewhat rough round the edges and his inexperienced seemed to inevitably garner us another red card.

    That's both DMs out for 2-3 crucial matches at start of campaign. If we don't reverse this quickly, it will all go quite flat.

    Again, rather than look for a pure like for like specialist to replace Fab, I would prefer Wenger bring more balance into our middle.

    Montolivo at Fiorentina is wantaway and refusing to sign his contract with one year left (sounds familiar???). @26, he is entering his prime and can play as both a deep lying playmaker (useful for releasing our new pacy wingers down the flanks quicker) or as a DM (to cover Song and Frimpong)

    Again, price should be reasonably negotiable given Fiorentina's need for fiscal injection. That is even before we factor in a possible trade in in Rosicky who may still have great utility to Fiorentina in the slower but more technical Calcio.

    3) LB - Anothe rposition where wenger said we were well covered. Gibbs is(again) out injured and so is his intended back up!

    Without impeding either young players' progression, Wenger could explore bringing in Bastos at Lyon who is 'gettable' for a mere 15m euros!(before even any hard bargaining in French!!!). @27, plenty of experience Internationally and he can b

  • Comment number 58.

    I'm getting a little tired of Liverpool being lumped in with the Chelsea/Man City money-spend philosophy. Can i point out that Suarez and Carroll were practically free once Torres and Babel went on their way? Newcastle (and fair play to them) were the biggest benefactors of last January's transfer window - Liverpool paid a large chunk of Torres cost to land a replacement, and the rest went to get Suarez. End of. Granted, the summer signings were significantly down to large investment, but considering the financial problems on the red half of Merseyside in the last few years, is it not time we got some backing?

    The other thing i would like to point out is the time that EVERYONE is giving Wenger, and rightly so. All in all, there are not that many people calling for his head, either from the club or in the media, when you compare to the usual Manager Merry-go-round that is the Premiership. Even Liverpool, noted for their faith in managers, didn't get to this stage with Benitez, let alone Hodgson, so for Wenger to be given so much freedom is unusual, but great to see. I honestly think the league should introduce a Manager Window to go with the transfer window, but as for Wenger, i hope he either spends some of the cash to help the club back to greatness, or decides to call it a day on his own before the fickle football followers suddenly do it for him.

  • Comment number 59.

    Wenger has a matter of days? Or... what?

    For Arsenal to get rid of Wenger would be suicide. He is the only manager who has consistently balanced the books and achieved success as well.

    Success does not only come in silver form - it is also about Champions League qualification and decent progress. He has consistently delivered both.

    He brings on many young players and they are only lost to clubs like Barcelona - is it his fault that the best team in the world want the player he has coached?

    If the players had any sense of loyalty they would have stayed - blame the players, not the manager. And be grateful for what you have - Arsenal were never guaranteed this degree of success in the Premier League era any more than, say, Newcastle who have been relegated and apart from that have had mediocre performances at best.

    Wenger made Arsenal into a consistent top four team and a team that consistently produced good progress in the Champions League.

    If Arsenal sack Wenger it would be the own-goal of the century - welcome to the roller-coaster ride that other clubs experience (unless they have a short spell of being the plaything of a billionaire, followed by a spell of bankruptcy and Division 2).

    Arsenal may have competed with Man Utd over the last decade or so but they do not have the following nor the sustained revenue of Man Utd - to be where they are on a relative shoestring budget is remarkable.

    Arsenal fans - be careful what you wish for. Silverware is nothing compared to building a dynasty and becoming through time served at the top table, one of the big clubs in world football.

  • Comment number 60.

    All hinges on the away game at Udinese, in order to sign the best players Arsenal must be playing Champions League football, so if they get knocked out their their pool of prospective talent dries up considerably. But what is clearly visible is that Arsenal need a good few signings, just looking at their bench today shows what terrible depth problems they have.

    As for complaints about the red cards against Arsenal, all were thoroughly deserved and Arsenal are following on from last season by having the worst disciplinary record in the league.

    Wenger needs to stop being so cheap, buy some experienced players and admit his philosophy needs serious tweaking.

  • Comment number 61.

    As much as it hurts to say it , I don't see us getting a top four finish unless Arsene buys in quickly before the window shuts . I honestly don't recognise Wenger any more . When he was in the early years of his tenure he wouldn't hesitate to bring in world class players like Henry , Wiltord , Pires and Lehman . Now he seems so resistant all the time . Players like Squillaci , Bendtner , Rosicky aren't good enough to play for Arsenal in my opinion .
    I can't recall a time I've felt this low about my team . We're looking at competing in the second tier along with Villa , Everton and Bolton this year unless he gets in some quality and experience before August closes .

  • Comment number 62.

    I cannot believe Wenger hasn't acted this late into August. The best thing Arsenal could have done was to let Fabregas and Nasri go as soon as they said they wanted out, at least that would've allowed them the necessary time to invest in some replacements and in other areas badly in need of strengthening. If there is no investment before the end of August then it could be curtains for Arsenal's top four challenge already. It may sound hyper-critical to suggest that their team is no longer capable of winning major silverware, but the Carling Cup may genuinely be the greatest hope of appeasing the Gunners fans. Right now I can't even see them winning that. Arsene Wenger should be on shaky ground, I don't think that he is in the boards eyes, but his decision to delay major spending up to this point is unforgivable and the Gunners will suffer as a result. This week could even see them fail to secure Champions League football this season, lets hope not. For my more elaborate recent thoughts on Arsenal's need to spend please visit the following and feel free to comment.

  • Comment number 63.

    Arsenal with 3 first timers and a side depleted by injuries and suspension did not look that much worse than a Liverpool side boosted by $180,000,000 worth of signings and it was only the sending off which turned the game. In fact Liverpool looked absolutely tepid for most of the game. The fact that Arsenal were still in it with Walcott and Arshavin having terrible games and Ramsay and RVP mostly inneffective just shows how bad Liverpool really were!

    Lets get this straight, Wenger and the Arsenal board will not pay stupid wages to over-inflated superstars. That is why Nasri will go to etihad and Mata will go to Chelski. That is why Arsenal have not won anything these last few years but it is also why Arsenal are in the best financial position to weather any financial downturns that may arise in troubled times.
    Do we really want to pay a ton of money for average players ( Jageilka Samba that birmingham bloke (!?) Parker Barton) when we have Lansbury Frimpong Miguel Gibbs ready to step up? Not if it means spending unneccessary money.
    I for one have enjoyed watching Arsenal, even with the frustration of no trophies, because they have made it with players bought or brought through the academy who have learned good footballing skill and watcking them grow into a team is far, far better than buying all the talent and then hoping they will work together. Citeh will buy the prem this year, but who cares ( outside a few in Manchester) because there is no worth in what they have done and I say that even if Wenger does not splash out in these 'crucial next ten days' Arsenal will still finish in the top four and end the season with balanced books.
    To me that's much more of an achievement than anything Mancini is doing, better for the game and the country as a whole. So stop this crisis-mongering and accept it -Arsenal are among the top ten clubs in Europe and they have done it the right way, nothing should changen ow.

  • Comment number 64.

    @ cliveeta Although I do admire Arsenal's financial management, I believe they have much more money available than everyone thinks they do. As for your argument tat watching a team being built is more satisfying I do agree, but is it not frustrating to see the players that Arsene and Arsenal have worked hard building only for them to go elsewhere. As at the moment Arsenal are looking more like a feeder club for Man City than anything else.

    Finishing top four is certainly an achievement but trophies is what players want if they get the opportunity, so Wenger needs to start to find a balance between bringing in youth and winning trophies as being as you put it one of the 'top ten in Europe', surely fans cannot continue to expect this drought to continue indefinitely.

  • Comment number 65.

    re no. 63. you have already paid a ton of money for a kid who has not even shown himself yet to be average. £10m for oxlade Chamberlain is a crazy buy for a team like Arsenal. His potential may be worth it but the youngster did nothing with Southampton to show he is ready to play for a team winning the premier league.
    Arsenal needs to win a big trophy this year. they should have bought players who are ready now to win the league. Why did they not buy Shay given?

  • Comment number 66.

    I don't understand these comments saying Liverpool should've hammered Arsenal. Other than the match at OT where Liverpool hammered United, do the top teams ever beat each other by more than two goals, injuries/suspensions or not? I think not.

  • Comment number 67.

    Wenger buys on the cheap players from West Africa, he is no different from companies that move their plants to Asia to pay a pittance. In the process he has introduced some of the most obnoxious players now playing in the prem.. Adebayor... need I say more, the sooner he leaves the better...

  • Comment number 68.

    Arsenal need to decide whether they want to continue with AW as manager before he turns into Basil Fawlty.

    If they do carry on with him they should hire an assistant manager to carry out specific duties. e.g. manager support and advice, team discipline, transfer negotiations.

    AW could then remain as first team coach with help from an experienced assistant. His behaviour over recent months suggests that he desperately needs help and support.

    With a couple of decent replacement players and a rejuvenated management team Arsenal could remain in the top four.

  • Comment number 69.

    Speaking as a Man Utd fan i really dont understand why people werent calling for Wenger's head a long time ago. He seems to have lost his ambition to win, and he'd rather focus his efforts on making his team perform a circus act, with this 'beautiful football.' He has a team of kids as well, nobody in that team has the winners pedigree, not a single person. He seems to have lost the plot about how to build a team as well, cos if u look at the Man Utd team, there are players like Ferdinand and Vidic rubbing shoulders with Smalling and Jones with the plan that they're gna slowly leave whilst sharing the winning mentality with the new blood. Arsene just let his old players like Reyes and henry either run away or age away and didnt think about the next generation like Sir Alex has done. Unless Arsene buys real winning quality, like a kaka they can't expect to stay in 4th when Liverpool and Totenham are buying quality players not only to qualify for champions league football, but also to win premier leagues! As well as chelsea and man utd

  • Comment number 70.

    Does McNulty actually have any experience in football or does he just get paid for giving his sensationalist and unsubstantiated opinions?

  • Comment number 71.

    As a neutral my assessment is: Carroll overpriced but will be good centre forward. Adam: looks a but over-awed. Downing: very impressive, so direct and dangerous and great delivery, good buy. Pool defence: looking solid, Enrique bargain and Kelly is quality. Meireles and Suarez need to start which I'm sure they will do next game. Arsenal will be fine wenger WILL buy before end of window and expect them and pool to fight for 4th though Chelsea could easily be dragged into this battle unless they invest. Manu and eithad city to battle for title. My beloved Cardiff to make play offs and of course swans to go down.

  • Comment number 72.

    I consider myself a loyal Gooner, have been since the early 90's and I'm fairly local. I've NEVER questioned Wenger untill we lost a 4-goal lead, then it became apparent to me that something wrong and it was not just down to bad luck but something with the manager because top teams DO NOT lose 4 goals leads NO MATTER the circumstances. This was further confirmed by the Carling Cup defeat where out best chance to win a trophy is years was blown because our players simply didn't turn up (there in body but not in spirit) and the general shocking collapse of our season right in the end. I just couldn't shake the thought in my head that this wouldn't happen to Ferguson, I kept thinking that Ferguson would have won the league with our team, maybe even a double. I'm afraid that I'm beginning to think that Wenger has lost it, not because of a lack of funds or an inability to recognise a good player, but because he just can't get out of his own way which brings me to now
    We lost Cesc (painful but I can't blame him) Nasri is on his way, Gervinho out for 3 crucial games, Ditto Song, no recognised Left Backs, lacking a solid partner for Vermaelen (Koschielny SP? a good sub), a dominant DM, another winger and a short term replacement for Cesc (while we wait for Ramsey and Wilshere to gain experience). There is still time for Wenger to make this right before the close of the transfer window. If he doesn't act, I fear it will doom us to lose our CL place to Liverpool, it is that simple. Again we HAVE THE MONEY so the time is NOW!!!

    Phew!! had to get that all of my chest, one positive though is that Szczney SP? is looking a real solid keeper.

  • Comment number 73.

    We played well today, arsenal were pretty rubbish, Wenger has lost the plot

  • Comment number 74.

    Seems like a lot of Arsenal fans weren't actually watching the game today. As one commentator mentioned, neither team was dominant overall but Liverpool bossed the possession which they rarely do against Arsenal, home or away. They didn't threaten as much as they probably should have but they did threaten a lot more than Arsenal.
    Van Persie, Ramsey and Walcott were quiet, Arshavin was utterly anonymous.
    I would agree that if it had stayed 11 v 11 it might have finished goalless but I believe Kenny always intended to bring Suarez and Meireles on at some point and I think its fair to say they would have made a big difference even against 10.

  • Comment number 75.

    *even against 11.

  • Comment number 76.

    Really, Liverpool spent GBP 100 mio, and they need a deflection and an offside to beat a depleted Arsenal, and people have the nerve to say Arsene is in trouble? A defender and a midfielder with the Fabregas and Nasri cash would be great, but not absolutely necessary, unless Liverpool win more games by deflection and Spurs hold on to Modric, then there might be some competition for a Champions League spot.

  • Comment number 77.

    What happens if the new player got injured after 15mins? Why are you guys in the media that bothered about Wenger? According to the number of blogs, articles and repeated cliches on TV, if Wenger fails to spend, you lot would suffer mishap. I don't get it, what if Arsenal finishes 8th? Who says it is the media's responsibility to make sure they win a trophy? What devine right has the club got to finish within the top 4? If they don't would that be the end of the world? Why not we take the club for what it is. If you don't like it then jump ship. Ok, he (Wenger) does not want to buy. His employers (the borad) like what he does for them..Get over it...People shouting they should sack Wenger actually don't understand the business side of things. Who do you think would sack him? Is it not the same board that has benefitted from his prudence? You are joking. If you are a fan and you want them to change their strategy, then don't spend money supporting the team. That is the language the board understands. If you must, protest against the board instead and not Wenger. Dein gave us some hint the other day it would be to our detriment if Wenger walked. Lady Bracewell Smith says the board should be sacked. Yet we keep blaming poor Wenger who i only doing his job to satisfy his pay masters.

    As for the game today.....I believe Arsenal had the quality not to lose. it was just bad luck......Just watch out when the full squad is available. The season is only over after 38 games and not 2......

  • Comment number 78.

    When Clichy left why didnt he swoop in for Jose Enrique?

    For an established premiership GK why didn't he go in for Shay Given?

    Instead of spending 12 mil on Chamberlain, why didn't he sign Cahill for 3 mil more?

    Why didn't he line up a replacement for Fabregas in 09 when Cesc stated himself that it would be a dream to play for boyhood club Barcelona again?

    Why hasn't Wenger signed a strong ball-winning midfielder like Scott Parker, which Arsenal desperately need?

    Why hasn't Wenger signed an adequate replacement for Van Persie if he's injured again?

    Why hasn't Wenger spent a penny of Dein's money in the places that were most needed this season aka LB, CB, CM?

    If Nasri is to leave who is Wenger going to sign before the transfer window shuts?

    Why has Wenger left it so ridiculously late to even think about transfers when Fergie, Daglish, McLeish, Moyes, Villas-Boas have finished adding addition to the squad and are fully prepared to the new season?

    Why doesnt Wenger put in a loan bid for Wayne Bridge when City have said that they will pay his wages?

    Why has Wenger allowed Arsenal to lose so much talent from the squad that has yet to be replaced?

    Why wont Wenger offer Nasri a higher paid contract?

    Why wont Wenger just sell Nasro and get the money for Juan Mata if he can't offer Nasri a lucrative contract?


    He's had all summer to sign a GK, CB, CM and centre forward. He has not addressed the problems and now is paying the price. Arsenal fans stop being biased and narrow-minded and just accept that its time that Wenger steps down as you wont be challenging for any silver-ware or even finish in the top-4 this season. After what happened against Birmingham City in the League Cup final last season the warning signs were there for all to see. It's time that Wenger did the right thing and either spend big money or stand down as Arsenal are turning into a joke.

  • Comment number 79.

    I am surprised to see the amount of people who spout rubbish on these forums. Firstly as a Liverpool fan at the game today I thought we looked professional. We did not play particularly well but I was impressed by the control we showed, Henderson in particular looked good at keeping the ball in midfield (a talent I wasn't sure he had). Furthermore, Carroll is starting to get a bit worrying in that he seems to be so slow on the turn and his first touch was awful.

    Secondly, and what I really wanted to mention is that the way Arsene Wenger is being treated is a disgrace. Having seen how close to the brink H+G took Liverpool, I would love for the stability that Wenger has managed to provide Arsenal, in what is a transitional time for the club. He deserves more respect and is on par with Ferguson. He may even deserve more respect than Fergie in that Arsenal won't be in dire straits financially once he leaves with a scouting network in place for future continued success. Also lets remember Ferguson has not had to contend with moving Stadium, everything was in place for Ferguson to be a success at Utd, whereas Arsene Wenger had to start from scratch and do everything on a budget.

  • Comment number 80.

    All this rubbish about 'bad-luck' Man Utd lost Ronaldo to Real Madrid......they sign Valencia

    Man Utd lose Beckham to Real Madrid...........they signed Nani

    Everton lose Lescott to Man City......they sign Heitinga

    Liverpool lose Torres to Chelsea....they sign Suarez & Carroll

    Aston Villa lose Barry, Milner, Young, Downing.......they sign Petrov, Ireland, N'Zogbia and are after Adam Johnson on loan

    Man United lose Gary Neville.........they signed Fabio & Rafael seasons in advance so they are future-ready so when Evra retires they have a replacement

    Liverpool without Steven Gerrard...........they've signed Charlie Adam & Jordan Henderson

    Arsenal lose Fabregas.....sign nobody

    Arsenal lose Clichy....sign nobody

    Arsenal set to lose Nasri......not looking to sign anybody

    WAKE UP WENGER!!!!!!

  • Comment number 81.

    arsenal will continue to struggle whilst Wenger remains true to his form of NOT playing home countries players. He's a continental man and has no respect for "british and Irish" football. Ask Wallcott how many times he's lasted 90 minutes with Wenger or how many starts compared to Wayne Rooney? Monsieur has conned everyone buying young English players simply to starve them of experience.

  • Comment number 82.

    For me a side can be measured in how strong a 2nd XI they can put out. I've worked out the following line ups (don't pay attention to who is in which team)

    Man Utd
    De Gea, Rafael, Evra, Ferdinand, Vidic, Fletcher, Carrick, Valencia, Young, Rooney, Berbatov
    Lindegaard, Smalling, Fabio, Jones, Evans, Cleverley, Giggs, Nani, Park, Hernandez, Welbeck

    Cech, Bosingwa, Cole, Terry, Alex, Essien, Ramires, Lampard, Malouda, Torres, Drogba
    Hilario, Ferreira, van Aanholt, Luiz, Ivanovic, Mikel, Benayoun, Kalou, Romeu, Anelka, Lukaku

    Szczesny, Sagna, Gibbs, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Song, Wilshere, Nasri/Frimpong, Gervinho, Walcott, Van Persie
    Almunia, Jenkinson, Traore, Djourou, Squillaci, Ramsey, Rosicky, Diaby, Arshavin, Bendtner, Chamakh

    Reina, Kelly, Enrique, Agger, Carragher, Meireles, Gerrard, Lucas, Kuyt, Suarez, Carroll
    Doni, Flanagan, Johnson, Kyrgiakos, Skrtel, Adam, Cole, Henderson, Rodriguez, Downing, Ngog

    Man City
    Hart, Richards, Kolarov, Lescott, Kompany, De Jong, Silva, Barry, Aguero, Tevez, Dzeko
    Taylor, Bridge, Clichy, Savic, K Toure, Johnson, Milner, Y Toure, Wright-Philips, Santa Cruz, Balotelli

    Gomes, Hutton, Assou-Ekotto, Dawson, King, Huddlestone, Bale, Modric, Lennon, Van der Vaart, Crouch
    Friedel, Kaboul, Corluka, Bassong, Gallas, Sandro, Palacios, Jenas, Kranjcar, Defoe, Pavlyuchenko

    Looking at those I'd say United are the strongest, the only missing link is a creative centre midfielder, which could be Cleverley. City better hope Hart stays fit.

  • Comment number 83.

    I am suprised by all of what many of you guys said. Firstly, when does a top team hammer another top team? Secondly, yes liverpool did not have clear chances before frimpong's dismissal, but they dominated the game. On the other hand, arsenal rarely threatened. Daglish was able to call on suarez and meireles to change the game, but arsenal?Lansbury?Miquel?And you still don't see the need to spend?Perhaps a fully fit arsenal team will be substantially stronger, but premier league is about playing 38 games not 1.

  • Comment number 84.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 85.

    Not sure why Clichy even gets a mention (especially in the post above). Fabregas and Nasri however.... the heartbeat of the team and the pacemaker for cover?

    Worst still, we're suffering more from injuries and suspensions than transfer problems. At time of writing we are missing both our leftbacks, 2 centrebacks, both our defensive midfielders are suspended, Rosicky and Wilshere are injured, Gervinho is suspended. We nearly could field a second team with our absentees at present, and that is more worrying.

    Transfer wise we do lack in central midfield now with the 2 departures and our quality up front is seemingly lacking with Chamakh's rapid decent, Vela's loan deal and Bendtner's willingness to find the exit. Maybe it's time to move Walcott up front finally, and put Oxlade or Lansbury out right for now?

    We're about a box to box midfielder's distance from being back to our old selves again. Personally with the money at disposal I'd be hoping to aspire to greater heights and flash the cash for Gary Cahill and an established striker too, but I wouldn't get my hopes up with less than 2 weeks to go and a profit orientated board room....

  • Comment number 86.

    A few points:
    First, @29, spot on mate. Couldn't agree more on virtually all accounts. Well said.

    Second, Can people PLEASE STOP SAYING LIVERPOOL SPENT 100M? Yes, the amount of money they have spent is over that mark, but please qualify your statements by pointing out they've also recouped over 60m of that through sales (thank you Mr. Torres)! It's not fair to say they've spent like Chelsea or City because it's not true. In fact, United have spent more since January out of pocket than have Liverpool. Where are the whiners on that, oh yeah, they're all United supporters. I forget that sometimes. But this isn't about United and the fact that I despise them because they are still a quality team who earn their awards through having a solid squad who play for the badge, which is also what separates Liverpool from Chelsea and City. I am inclined to put Arsenal's current lot (minus a few) in that same group of journeymen, but the truth is that a decent percentage of Liverpool players, especially under Kenny, play for the club, not the pay stub.

    I suppose that brings me to my third point: Spending 20m on a player is no longer paying over the odds or wasting money. If everyone is doing it, then it must be the what the market deems "normal". There are factors in every deal that make players worth different amounts. Downing = more than Ashley Young because of his contract with Villa and the promise of Champions League now vs. the near future. Does it lead to more expectation? Yes, but it shouldn't define the owners or the manager that they chose to spend that amount on a player. All transfers are a risk no matter who they are. For instance- Chamakh, who looked the business before he came and just hasn't made it happen. Point being, until you own a team, you probably shouldn't talk about how to spend your money on players.

    Last 2 pointa- Stop writing off Arsenal already. They are still class, just a little weak. And Liverpool were the better team today, but it's a slightly less than amazing result because it was against a reserve side. Doesn't matter. We won!!!

  • Comment number 87.

    Transfers, induction blues, injury lay offs and rustiness are affecting all teams. Any personnel a team loses look more of a key after they depart. Statistics do not always hugely support that preferred predisposition and these get conveniently ignored in the hind-sighted result analysis. Looking at resources in isolation, both teams still have the tools to get the job done.

    The difference seems to be that Liverpool respond to the verve and enthusiasm pulsating in the heart of their manager. This has been specifically true of Liverpool ever since Dalglish joined them. They have been neat and efficient in translating their boss's desires and wishes on to the pitch. Or put it another way, the motivation, desire and execution flow harmoniously in either direction.

    You can form two or three good sides from the extant resources of many squads, but will you be satisfied that you have distributed that capability to translate the objective on to the pitch in a satisfactory manner and measure. Its an intangible element, but its an element that ought to be integral to all teams.

  • Comment number 88.

    Utd fan in peace...... I think you have just re-written history my friend.
    When you say that SAF had everything in place at Old Trafford you forget to mention we had'nt won the title for 19yrs,lay 2nd bottom in the league and had just been thrashed at Southampton.
    Fergie arrived in November '86 and started a complete rebuild of the team in summer '87,with the result that the Cup winning team of '90,only Robson remained. In doing so,he put the club in debt but the success of the team gradually paid off. He also revamped the youth set up on his arrival,which came to fruition with the class of '92.
    Hardly "everything in place".
    In contrast, AW joined Arsenal in 96 and if my memory serves me..Seaman,Adams,Keown,Winterburn,Parlour,Bergkamp,Dixon and Wright were all at the club when Wenger appeared and won the title 18mths later. AW rebuilt the team for the success during 02-04 but has failed to do so since. Unlike Fergie.
    Whilst the Emirates has drained Arsenal of finance..United rebuilt the Stretford in 93 and have since rebuilt it again along with the other 2 sides of the stadium,the Railway stand being the one problem.
    That being said..we're only 2 games into the season and the vultures are circling your club. And I find it sad. However,AW has to improve the squad,standing still means you are left behind. Maybe he has to forego the football theory and buy a no nonsense defender. We have Vidic..Barca have Puyol.
    Good luck to your team(after next Sunday of course)

  • Comment number 89.

    McNulty, I've read many of your bloggs over a while and usually don't stoop so low to answer. But why don't you become a football manager to prove your points rather than sitting on the sidelines or on your soft sofa making derisery comments. Never really had to stand up and justify anything under extreme pressure in your life. Arsenal are ok so don't lose sleep over it. They're well established and if they have an average season, so what? You are a falsehood pretending to have concerns.

  • Comment number 90.

    Arsenal were very UNLUCKY today. Still had good chances, Robin Vanpersie missed a good chance.

    Liverpool despite spending money have a poor team, no communicating between passes and the attacking movement is not there.

    Only Suarez was bright, he should jion Arsenal and he will be a better player.
    Liverpool will not even be in the top 4. Winning the title is a JOKE!!!

    Arsenal have suspensions and injuries, when the team is fully active, We will be close to winning if not definately in the top 4.

    Arsene does not need to spend too much money, we have a good team.

    Faith in Arsene.

  • Comment number 91.

    Also no team in the league will hit Arsenal in terms of goals.

    If we have Vanpersie feeding balls through like Dennis Bergkamp and Walcott finishing like Thiery Henry, the team will explode full of goals.

    Robin can read the game, he makes players around him move into positions no other team does, just need Walcott to be clinical and deadly like Thiery Henry.

    Wiltshire, Gervinho both are deadly, very fast and always in an active attacking positions which means that Arsenal need to hold the ball upfront and put a deadly pass right through all defences. Like Dennis Bergkamp!!!

    Arsene should be the manager until Dennis or Thiery is ready.

    No other manager, please, they will ruin the club and spend every penny.
    Arsenal is a successful club financially, not drowning with DEBT like Liverpool or Manchester United.

    Best manager of the premier league?
    Arsene Wenger and Arsenal's best recruit ever. Without this man there is no alternative.

    Keep this is mind!!!!

  • Comment number 92.

    The criticism Liverpool gets is unbelievable. Chelsea draw away at Stoke, and that is considered a good result, and Torres gets praised for "working hard." Liverpool go and outplay and out-attack Arsenal at the Emirates, come away with a 2-0 victory, and we are called "lucky." I'm sorry lads, in football, you make your own luck. Was it our fault Frimpong decided to clatter into Lucas? His first yellow card also arguably blocked a potential opportunity, with Kuyt clear on a throw in. We also hit the post, surely that may be considered unlucky? Arsenal were missing Gibbs, Song, Wilshere, and (arguably) Gervinho as first teamers. We were missing Skrtel, Johnson, and Gerrard, with our main man on the bench. All first team players. It was the quality of the squad depth that showed through. Who wouldn't take Kelly in a heartbeat over Jenkinson? Even the much maligned Kuyt showed his class in comparison to the deputizing Arshavin/Walcott.

    3 points in our bogey ground cannot be scorned. Come the end of the season between LFC and AFC, the difference between this and an Arsenal win would be a 6 point swing, a huge boost which should lift the team.

  • Comment number 93.

    Yes, signings are needed, but Liverpool were average against Arsenal last night despite the fact the problems Arsenal are going through. Where was the surprising act then? Carol was outplayed by Varmaleen. If own goal and offside goals are the surprising acts then hats off to Liverpool they have shown us what they have got. I am more convinced now that new talent of Arsenal will shine and I can see Liverpool going down the table further if this they are willing to secure the fourth place playing like that.

  • Comment number 94.

    True True 92, the more I've considered the game, the more I agree.

    We outplayed them even without our best 11. People keep forgetting Meireles isn't 100% healthy yet and that's why Henderson is getting thrown in. And I don't think Kenny will play Aquilani until the end of the transfer window (unlike a certain Nasri/Wenger relationship). Overall, I think we put in a solid enough shift to get the points. Had we not scored, regardless of the circumstances, can you imagine the headlines? "Liverpool doomed until the end of time"; "Liverpool, should King Kenny get the sack?"; "Are the new Americans as dumb as the old ones?". I guess that'll be next week, or whenever we draw a 0-0 game or lose to some team like QPR on a beachball-esque freak event.

    In this silly civilization we live in, people seem to live and die in the moment. Hopefully Arsenal's board will be more intelligent than their fair-weather fans and support their manager/players.

  • Comment number 95.

    I think LFC will finish fourth, although that's not the greatest of achievements considering they've spent £100,000,000 since Kenny returned, as for arsenal the
    only way is down, not spending enough failing to keep their best players & a deluded manager who thinks he's players are a lot better than what they actually

  • Comment number 96.

    This is a very bizarre situation that Wenger and Arsenal have got themselves into. Wenger's policy has always been to unearth young talent and to sell on at a profit, but clearly he was been doing the latter without the former for the last couple of seasons or so. I simply do not see why. The academy is pretty threadbare, and his latest young signings are ones for the future. With Arsenal's squad currently so depleted for various reasons, a swift injection of players and cash is urgently needed before the transfer window closes - in just 10 days! I assume that Wenger has been hedging his bets somewhat with the long-running sagas of both Fabregas and Nasri, it is extremely evident that he simply had no contingency plan in the event that such pivotal players do leave. This is unforgivable in a manager. With funds clearly not an issue at Arsenal I simply do not understand why Wenger so steadfastly refuses to part with his cash. 'Quick fixes' are not his style but he should never have allowed the squad to end up in such dire straits in the first place. Talent is desperately needed, and fast. And for that you have to pay in today's market, even for the youngbloods. When was the last time Wenger forked out upwards of £20m for a proven quality international? Has it ever even happened?

  • Comment number 97.

    My two cents: A poor Liverpool beat a woeful Arsenal in thier own backyard. None of these two teams look like they have anything to do in the CL.

    Having said that, you look at Suarez and think, Wenger must have done that, bought him! And then you have a look at Henderson and think, Wenger is right, no need to spend money at all!

  • Comment number 98.

    At 23:37 20th Aug 2011, chrish wrote probably the funniest comment I have read on any blog. what is really funny is that he/she calls the Arsenal fans bitter and twisted! Written with such venom, I am know who is bitter and twisted!

    'Dear bitter and twisted Arsenal fans, you act like your a bigger club than Liverpool and in every way you are NOT. Got what you deserved today and you will be lucky to make sixth..Arsene will not take you to another trophy, so as hard as it maybe he should go now and be remembered without the poor season that awaits.'

    lol. lol. lol, I am still laughing!

    Coming back to the game, Arsenal were very unlucky, until the red card, the 'second string' were holding there own against a Pool side that most of there first team in action. Was the result a reflection of the game? No, i don't think so. But bearing in mind that Liverpool have a new squad, they played well but not well enough to win the game.

    Wenger is the man, he has done for the club what no other manager can on a budget. It is reminiscent of Ken Tyrell in the 70's competing with and beating the likes of Ferrari in F1 with a car built in a back garden shed. He has defined the modern game and should be commended for running the club responsibly.

    With the stock markets falling so heavily, you never know, we may end up having a players strike here when the sugar daddy's can't pay the wages anymore. Lets hope so, atleast Wenger will be vindicated!

  • Comment number 99.

    let's defeat and one draw in the season and there is a crisis?? Seriously?

    I don't think there is a crisis at all. However I do think we need additional signings. Not the 2-3 "world class" players people crave as we don't and should not do that.

    I think we need to bring in a little bit of above average, EXPERIENCED squad players who can fill in in time of need. Most Arsenal players give you about 20-25 games a season for a club that plays about 50-55 games. Diaby, Walcott, Gibbs, Van Persie, Rosicky, etc etc. So IMO this means we need a really large squad. Hence we need to carry at least 4 goalies, 6-7 defenders, 6 midfielders and 7 strikers. That is why we are suffering because we are don't have that depth and of those who are here, many are deadweight. Chamakh, Bendtner, Rosicky, Squillacci, Almunia...5 players who are pure deadweight. Factor in the 8 who are unavailable, you have 13 players essentially unavailable for us. That is why in my view we need to invest in good solid squad players to fill in (and hopefully get rid of the deadweight).

    If I was Wenger, I would get Cahill, Samba, Scott Dann. All three. With these, we can move Vermaleen to left back without any loss in value in central defense. Then I would get Jadson, who is a good free kick specialist and has skill. I would also look at some players who may have fallen out from their clubs for one reason or the other but still have good skill (like Diego of Wolfsburg). Instead of a move for Mata or someone of that caliber, I would have offered Nasri 120k per week (Fabregas money) and also a bonus of say 2 mil if stays for 5 years. It would cost more to bring someone new than make this deal with nasri anyway. Or, I would have asked for Adam Johnson and 10 mil for Nasri.

    Anyway, bottomline is I think what we need more are about 5-6 able-bodied experienced players rather than 2 world class players.

  • Comment number 100.

    UNLUCKY = Arsenal play poor!!!
    VERY LUCKY= Liverpool very well played!!

    In truth Arsenal and Liverpool both had chances, the sending off was correct and we struggled with 10 men. But Liverpool were definitely not the stuff of champions in this performance....


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