When Is A Win A Bad Thing?


I just wanted to offer my thoughts, which are forming as I write, on the performance in Belgium on Wednesday evening, especially after reading yesterday’s piece on Le Grove. First, let me say that the first forty-five minutes may have been the worst I have seen played by an Arsenal side in all my ten years of supporting the club. We looked no better than an average Championship side, at best.

However, the thing I have been nulling around in my head since the match ended is what should we take from this performance. Of course, there should be some real concern at the way the match started and the fact that the two quick goals obviously shook them. Our passing and movement just was not there. In fact, that’s an understatement. And, perhaps, it justifiable to say that, no matter what the result, a performance like that should be raising a number of red flags.

Of course, the alternative is to say that, even though we never really put any form together, we were still able to scrape three goals, legitimacy notwithstanding, and maximum points. I have to say that after all this team has been through, in what seems like a very long first month of the season, I find the comeback very positive. I am usually inclined to see things optimistically, however.

I just feel that the same people complaining about how bad the performance was are the same people who criticize the club for not being able to “grind out” results. When we play well they say, “But they have to learn how to win when they’re not playing well.” And then when we don’t play well and get the points they say, “But they didn’t play well.” It can’t be both ways.

There were plenty of times in the first half when we could’ve just completely collapsed, especially following the Adebayor affair and subsequent media circus, and gone down 3 or even 4-nil. However, that didn’t happen and we were able to come away with three points on a night when the side was struggling to string 2 passes together in front of an intense crowd. As pointed out by Third Gen, our “bad win” seems not so bad when in taken in context of Chelsea and United’s labouring wins the night before.

So while I can understand Le Grove being upset at the performance, I really think that we need to take the positives from the match, if not only because we need them. We have a fairly straightforward string of matches coming up in the league and this match has washed the bitter taste left by the Adebayor incident out of the club’s mouth. That is perhaps the most important effect of the match.

Phillipe Senderos

In an interview with ArsenalTV following his appearance for the Reserve side on Monday vs. Stoke City, Senderos said that at some point he and the club thought the best thing was to split, but then he says they both reconsidered. He also, curiously, then said that, “It was always my goal to stay with the club and I am very happy to be here.” Is that believable at all? I feel bad because Senderos had captained the side before and now he finds himself begging for Reserve matches just to keep fit.

But a part of me doesn’t feel bad because of some of the quotes he made following his loan switch. Arsene may not have signed Vermaelen had Senderos stayed last season rather than go out on loan to Milan and really taken his chance, so Phillipe has no one to blame but himself for his current predicament. I would like nothing more than to see him train hard, turn in good performances when he gets on the pitch, and reestablish himself as an integral part of the Arsenal first team. Anything that makes it more unlikely that we will Silvestre has to be a good thing, right?

NOTE: I just wanted to say that while for many years I have enjoyed the writing of Martin Samuel, I thought his piece the other day was just utterly ridiculous. And so I would like to spotlight  The Online Gooner’s fantastic response to Martin Samuel‘s piece in the Daily Mail following the City match.

Also, if you want to show your support for the highly dedicated American Arsenal supporters insulted by Emmanuel Adebayor last week, take a look at the New York City Arsenal Supporters’ Club‘s T-shirts.

New York City-Arsenal Supporters' Club