Arsenal 2 – 2 Liverpool: Another day, another destiny…

Arsenal 2 – 2 Liverpool
Match Report | Highlights | Arsene’s reaction

It strikes me that there are three topics of discussion today.  The positives of last night’s game, the negatives, and the impending transfer deadline.  I’ve decided to hit those one at a time.

THE POSITIVES

The fight-back
Perhaps because this side are becoming so accustomed to falling behind, their heads never really dropped, even at 2-0 down.  We clawed our way back in to the game with one of those flurries of goals we seem to have been producing of late – this time it was two in two minutes.  Our goalscoring potential seems to be far greater right now, and that’s down in no small part to the improved form of…

Olivier Giroud
It’s now 5 goals in 3 games for the Frenchman.  His second half display included some of his most convincing moments in an Arsenal shirt.  His goal was the sort of header that is becoming his trademark, while his lay-off assist for Theo was absolutely gorgeous.

Theo Walcott
Even Theo’s biggest doubters must be coming round now.  His volley was a fantastic finish and gave him his 18th goal of the season.  To put that in perspective, that’s more goals than Freddie Ljungberg scored in any season of his fondly-remembered seasons with Arsenal.  It is a massive contribution.

THE NEGATIVES

The defending
Disastrous.  Woeful.  Apocalyptic.  Really, really bad.

Perhaps in years to come we’ll look back upon allowing Jordan Henderson to waltz through our back-line and score as the nadir of our defensive troubles. Jordan Henderson can barely play football, or indeed waltz, and yet we made him look like Lionel Messi.

Kieran Gibbs’ injury
Gibbs is now out for the dreaded “three weeks”.  With Arsenal players, three weeks tends to become three months very quickly indeed.

It’s a big blow because Gibbs has undoubtedly been one of our best players in recent weeks.  It’s also a blow because it means we have to turn to Andre Santos, who is badly lacking both form and fitness.  That said, I’m not comfortable with the level of abuse Santos is receiving.  He might not be very good, but it wasn’t Andre who bought the player and continues to pick him.  It was Arsene.  Which brings me nicely on to…

The substitutions
Arsene Wenger knew after he saw Will Buckley give him the runaround at Brighton that Santos was a liability.  So why bring him on?  He could easily have introduced Laurent Koscielny and shifted Thomas Vermaelen to centre-back, giving the defence a far more solid look.

My other gripe is with the fact that no other substitution was made.  Arsenal needed a win, really, and yet we had no player to whom Arsene felt we could turn to make the difference.  Which brings me nicely on to…

DEADLINE DAY

Even with the injury to Gibbs, I’m not expecting much activity at Arsenal.  It’s increasingly clear we had hoped to make a big push for David Villa, but Barcelona had no interest in selling.

If anyone does come in, it’ll be the hurried signing of a defender, most likely on loan.  However, I wouldn’t bet on it.  I’ve got plenty to say about our potential inactivity, but I’ll hold it for tomorrow.

Finally, for anyone who missed it yesterday, you can watch my take on today’s events below. Thanks for all the kind comments about the video; I’m glad you enjoyed it.

Gunnerblog is the brainchild of childbrained football writer James McNicholas. Aside from Gunnerblog, James currently contributes to Bleacher Report, The Mirror and ESPN.

93 Comments

  1. Tomas   •  

    The biggest failure of Wenger’s regime at Arsenal has been his inability and unwillingness to find suitable replacements for David Seaman – the only world class keeper Arsenal ever had under Wenger ,but signed by George Graham for what was then then record sum for a keeper in England of 1.3 mill pounds, and Tony Adams and Martin Keown both of whom were at Arsenal before Wenger took over. If you believe that defense wins titles , it would explain why Arsenal haven’t won anything in seven years. Wenger is an offense minded manager and he doesn’t have an eye for defensive talent nor tactical schemes. Allowing Ashley Cole , who was the best defender Arsenal had developed under Wenger, leave to Chelsea – direct title contender and local London rival, is proof positive of that. Pascal Cygan, Oleg Luhzny, Igor Stapanovs, Philippe Senderos ,Sebastien Squillaci and Andre Santos are just a few defenders Wenger thought were good enough to play for Arsenal when they clearly weren’t . The list of would be keepers short on talent is just as long and it appears that Szczesny might be on it as well. There was nothing more frustrating for top players in their prime like RVP or Fabregas ,than to wait for Wenger’s youth projects to come good ,when it was clear to everyone but Wenger that some of them weren’t going to come good at all. Wenger’s loyalty to his players (or stubbornness ) might be admirable at academy level, but at top professional level is a hindrance and major obstacle in atchieving success.

  2. Uncle Mike   •  

    Wenger replaced Seaman with Jens Lehmann, who was every bit as talented. He replaced Adams with Sol Campbell. He replaced Keown with Kolo Toure. He replaced Cashley with Gael Clichy – not a roughly equal talent like the preceding, but pretty good at the time.

    You want to talk about players who clearly weren’t good enough to play for Arsenal? Graham bought a few: John Jensen, Eddie McGoldrick, Ian Selley and Glenn Helder. Even with defenders, he wasn’t always right: Except for each scoring a goal that won a cup in 1993, Steve Morrow and Andy Linighan wouldn’t have started ahead of a healthy Steve Bould, or even Kolo.

    So trying to compare Wenger to Graham and having Wenger come up short simply does not work. Can you imagine if Wenger has Graham’s last 4 seasons — 4th, 10th, 4th and 12th? You’d want him sacked, hanged and shot, not necessarily in that order.

    And you can’t complain about losing RVP or Fabregas and then complain about “Wenger’s youth projects” failing to “come good” — those two did, before stabbing Wenger and all of Goonerdom in the back.

  3. Sir "Wegs" Wegwick   •  

    Nacho nacho man!
    We want to sign a nacho man!

  4. NACHO MONREAL SIGNED - OFFICIAL   •  

    NACHO MONREAL SIGNED – OFFICIAL

  5. Munitionsman   •  

    Pass the guacamole peeps, the mighty 20 million quid non panic buy santos is gone.com

  6. G4L   •  

    Is Nacho a nice player?

  7. Sir "Wegs" Wegwick   •  

    Hes nice with cheese and salsa, but not so nice when it gets cold

  8. Sir "Wegs" Wegwick   •  

    we have replaced an england regular (ashley cole) with a france back-up (Gael Clichy) who was replaced with an england back-up (kieran Gibbs) with a brazilian back-up (Santos) who is being replaced with a spain back-up (Nacho-man). why aren’t we buying the international regular player but his back-up?

    what do you say to that, mr james mcnicholas?

    dont worry chaps, leave it to the wegster to ask the hard-htting questions!

  9. James Pace   •  

    Nacho nacho he’s your man. If he can’t do it nobody can. Great player.

  10. sven   •  

    Wenger out!

  11. Furious George   •  

    Wenger out indeed. As a manager at least. Move him up to the board. He created a flowing football style, which is his greatest credit, but another likeminded manager that is willing to buy players should take over.
    Can’t believe the club missed out on relatively easy and valuable signings this window. Once again Wenger is to blame. Not only because he failed to buy but mainly because he raised the supporter’s hopes first.

  12. Munitionsman   •  

    Ba from the bench wd have been nice. But he is too similar to giroud.

    Wenger out

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