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Arsenal’s Defensive Frailties Don’t Hold in loss to Blackburn

These guys are so new that they should be shaking hands with each other first.

Own goals are by nature accidental, unless it’s Serie A. Most of them are deflections, the goal scorer guilty of being the last object to make contact with the ball. In Arsenal’s loss to Blackburn, there were the two own goals, the first by Alex Song and the second by Laurent Koscielny. This says less about defensive frailty than about bad luck joining disastrous form simply for the sadistic pleasure of it.

Arsenal has had a history of giving up one-goal leads. Time and again, the defense can’t hold out because they have not been good enough either physically or mentally. But losing a one-goal lead early in the second half to Blackburn—the first of three unanswered goals—doesn’t follow suit. If it did, then the fact that two of the four starting defenders have played only one Premier League match between them and have never played together before at any point in their careers. Laurent Koscielny has one season behind him. The own goals are a misfortune of transition not pathology, which still doesn’t excuse the performance.


Arséne Wenger Seeing What He Hadn’t Seen Before

 Arséne Wenger’s double take at the score and the reality.


Week Two: Some Post-match Feuilleton

Arséne Wenger’s new project is to win the league with the reserve team; Kenny Dalglish needs to rethink his lineup; Manchester City proves the old addage that success can’t buy happiness, but then again who needs happiness; Manchester United’s experienced inexperienced youth; that Harry Redknapp sagging deadpan expression of being underwhelmed when overwhelmed sums up Tottenham nicely.

Benched Mario Balotelli unconsoled by the other unhappy benched City players.

Arsenal 0—Liverpool 2

Depletion and woe weren’t deemed adequate punishment for Arsenal, so the Furies decided to toss in an injury crises and bad luck just to be safe. The home opener at the Emirates was witness to an Arsenal squad comprised of reserves and tyros with almost no Premier League experience. Liverpool should have won this game handily, but encountered a spirited Arsenal side reduced to 10 men after an impressive Emmanuel Frimpong was sent off for youthful zeal, which proved Liverpool is far from formidable.

Andy Carroll played about seventy minutes. It wasn’t his fault that Liverpool’s strategy devolved into kicking the ball toward his head to see what would happen. It didn’t take long to see that nothing came of this, yet Liverpool continued for another sixty minutes. Liverpool finally took control of the game when Luis Suarez and Raul Mierieles came on late and scored an offside goal. It’s a good sign that Miereles has established himself in the league, because Jordan Henderson clearly isn’t ready despite Kenny Dalglish’s insistence to start him.

Arsenal are suffering from a degree of misfortune that exceeds the fair amount they have brought upon themselves, while the emerging belief of restoration around Anfield should be kept in the shorts until results prove decisively alluring. The match is a good example that a win, no matter how unimpressive, can boost  a club’s confidence, and that a loss, truly mitigated by handicap and misfortune, still can be a blow to the psyche.

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Cesc Fabregas Still Tweeting in Three Languages

Cesc Fabregas has only been at Barcelona for a week, but he’s continued to tweet in English and follow Arsenal as the club’s biggest fan. Throughout his protracted transfer, his remained unwaiveringly professional. It’s remarkable given his position bewteen the two clubs: first, he could have easily criticized Arsenal’s failings, and second, never uttered a negative word against Barcelona, whose behavior throughout the transfer was far from exemplary.

Further, while most players have a kind word for their former club following the official signing with their new club, this official statement is often the last to be uttered and life is completely immersed into the present and future. This is another example of the necessity of the footballers’ compartmentalization of consciousness and memory. Whether it’s a poor result or a transfer, the past is sliced off as if it no longer exists. Fabregas is unique in that he has clearly immersed himself into Barcelona, while continuing to identify with Arsenal. It is equally interesting that no one is criticizing him for it, or telling him to stop.


Transfer Window Update: Arsenal

Arsenal’s summer transfer activity is wholly contingent on the the drawn-out fates of Cesc Fàbregas and Samir Nasri. “Very active” may mean something different for Arsène Wenger than it does for supporters. 

Even the wheeler-dealers have trouble completing transfers by FAX, an obstacle not needed at Arsenal.

The greatest surprise of Arsenal’s summer transfer season is not that the club was committed to being “very active” while doing little so far to suggest this, but that many supporters believed that Arséne Wenger would follow through this time.

This appeared to be a safe assumption and comfortable investment of faith. Both Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gadzidis were forced to be upfront immediately after the season concluded, in order to reassure the growing disquiet on all fronts.

The collapse of last season appeared to confirm for Wenger the irrefutable reality that in seasons past was malleable; inexperience, patient development, and the arguments—based on credible evidence—for being “so close” have lost their influence over plain facts and searing imagery. Wenger was losing his ability to control the debate.

These reasons, among others, justifiably accounted for the repetition of the same mistakes—the loss of focus, the horrifying collapses, the predictable concessions of goals off set pieces, and the listless slow starts to matches against inferior opponents. Repeating these errors is now compulsion,  where once they were part of the deliberate process of education, development, experience, and measurement of incremental achievements. Wenger continued to see these problems as part of the pedagogical process, where others see symptoms of a debilitating condition.

Consider the Gunninghawk’s recent comments:

I don’t have a major in business or economics, or pretend to know the ins and outs of how Arsenal FC functions, but I do think that Arsenal’s real problems only started after David Dein was ousted.

Or those of the Onlinegooner:

This business model will collapse sooner rather than later. It doesn’t take a highly paid management consultant to figure this out.*

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The Test of Forgetting What is Seared on the Brain: Arsenal 1—Aston Villa 2

No mercy killing (now at most one week away) can erase a season that has become an unforgettable disaster.

Darren Bent scores twice to beat Arsenal who did everything they could to register assists on his goals.


The Test Of Bottomlessness: Stoke 3—Arsenal 1

Ex-Arsenal youth and journeyman Jermaine Pennant, the man who forgot he owned a Porsche, comes back to haunt his former team.

Jermaine Pennant celebrates his goal against Arsenal amid the painful screams of some unidentified creature bottom right.

A rendering of Arséne Wenger’s rage at himself.