Saturday, June 15, 2024

Wenger: We’ve shown character

Arsene Wenger says his side deserved a point from the North London derby but admits Sp*rs had Arsenal on the ropes in the second half before Kieran Gibbs’ 77th-minute equaliser.

The Gunners struggled from the outset to assert their usual fluid passing game on Mauricio Pochettino’s cohesive unit as their midweek defeat in Munich appeared to catch up with them.

Down at the break to Harry Kane’s effort it looked almost certain the visitors would double their lead in the second half before substitute Gibbs rescued a point and set-up a captivating finale that could have seen Arsenal steal all three points.

Speaking after the game Wenger revealed that lynchpin Santi Cazorla was unwell and that the team suffered as a consequence:

“It was a very intense game with complete commitment from both sides. We suffered in the first half because Cazorla was at 30 per cent of his potential, he was dizzy. I was sitting there thinking do I take him off or not? You never know, maybe it will get better. At half-time I took him off, and in the second half we had a bit better balance.

“The team have shown great mental resources, we refused to give up. Tottenham had a good moment at 1-0 in the second half, where they had one or two good chances in the game. In the end, it is a fair point for both sides.

“I think mentally we weren’t at the races [at the start]. We did try, you could not say we did not have the right commitment, I was not disappointed.

“I just saw that Cazorla, who is usually the guide in our game, didn’t get the ball. And Tottenham is a good side when you play with one player less and you have to make the game…and so in the offensive build-up Ozil was a bit isolated in the first half with not many options. Usually they combine well together.”

Arsenal’s failure to beat Sp*rs meant they missed the chance to open a gap at the top of the table following Manchester City’s earlier draw at Aston Villa. Heading into the Interlull the Gunners sit second on goal difference.

“I think we have shown character today because we were a bit on the ropes and we responded,” added Wenger. Every time we have a disappointment I feel we respond well in the game after.

“When you look at the results again today you see Villa-City 0-0. Liverpool lost. We played 1-1. It just shows you that the championship will be extremely difficult for everybody. The mental qualities can have a big influence in the future and I think we need these qualities.”

Missing a whole host of attacking options due to injury Wenger opted to replace Joel Campbell with Kieran Gibbs; the left-back fielded as an unorthodox winger. It was a change that paid almost immediate dividends as the England international bundled home Mesut Ozil’s teasing cross.

“He played there when he was a kid,” said Wenger of the position he asked Gibbs to play.

“Always when he comes on, he balances our team. I had very limited offensive options on the bench. It gave me as well an opportunity to put Alexis on the other side where he could give me a different option. Overall it worked, but he gets in good positions and shows he is an intelligent player.”

The boss also reserved praise for Petr Cech who kept the Gunners in the game at 1-0 down with a couple of smart saves.

“I don’t know [how many points he’s worth]. I have not done the mathematics yet. But he has shown again how important he is and that maybe goalkeeper is maybe the most underrated position in football because there is a moment where he can keep you in it. If you go 2-0 down its bye-bye.”

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We were missing 3 starters + Cazorla, a point is not too bad. Now hopefully the boys will get a much needed rest then we can continue gunning after the lull.


The question still remains why, knowing what we did about the fitness records of certain players like Wilshere, Walcott etc. we went into the season without replacing or adding.

We may still recover and put a run together but this week of back to back crunch games was exactly the sort of thing we should at least attempt to plan for in the summer.

Running Coqmentary

What do we think of Tottenham?


Not a great deal. Not a great deal at all.

I don't comment here often

They’re not bad. Honestly the worst thing about them is that they’re harder to hate than they’ve ever been. Vertonghen annoys me slightly and I will never tire of seeing Flamini boot Danny Rose up into the air, but there isn’t a player in this team who’s as hateful as Younes Kaboul, whose name is practically a swear word.

Sorry. SHIT.

Austin Gooner

Lamela looks like a penis and is probably a bit of a dick. It’s partly the hair, I think, and partly that ridiculously unnecessary wrong-footed strike from last season (was it?) that bother me about him.


Did Lamela have two black eyes today or was he wearing makeup? It looked like makeup. With that girly face and haircut, he’d better hope he never has to spend any time in jail. He’ll never be able to sit down again.

sixteen swans over ainola

Vertonghen is a slimy supertwat who should annoy everyone more than just ‘slightly’.

Moreover, he’s the personification of the club he plays for: over-the-odds, second rate, and living in a past that’s so very, very long ago.


WHEN do we think of Tottenham? Rarely, and only around derby time.


shite nonetheless.


The tmining of this international break couldn’t have come at a better time for us injury wise.

Alexis could also do with a break but that’s unlikely to happen.


I have never looked forward to an interlul as much as this one. Er, in fact I’ve never looked forward to an interlul before till now…


Now if only the other International managers would let our players rest, it would be a great thing. The players are running on fumes.

Pass debuchy from the left hand side

Would have liked a win against the spuds… But tbh in the scheme of things, this is a good point. When we went one down it felt like the sort of game we’ve often lost in the last few years. This side does feel steelier than in previous seasons.


Some of our players desperately need a rest. The current scheduling with internationals thrown in is ridiculous. Look at Coq and Mertesacker, two players who get a two week rest every couple of months, they are rarely injured (touch wood). Yes, we have some very injury prone players but I think if our players didn’t have to go off to useless internationals our injury situation would at least be more manageable.


Add monreal to that list as well


Which is really puzzling since he’s pretty clearly spain’s best LB. That other guy isn’t a LB, he’s a wannabe winger.


From an arsenal point of view I’m very happy he isn’t in the Spain squad


Oh I’m with you there. But I do wonder what on earth Del Bosque is thinking.


Our 30% at the races team, wasnt beaten by a spurs team at “its best”.
We still have to go to White Hart lane – hopefully we smash them there with our full team.
If we take 4 points off them not bad – 1 point up, 3 to go.

Goone's Farm

Is this a subtle dig from the manager or am I seeing things? “And Tottenham is a good side when you play with one player less”.

good ol' 1 nil to Woolwich

I feel better now we have to bounce back from a draw than from a defeat. Bounce backability…

monkey knees

Being at the game today, right next to those horrible, mouth breathing spuds fans, I’ve never enjoyed an equaliser that much…


It’s not a good result because we could’ve capitalised on City’s draw but putting things into context, it’s an acceptable result.


1)City could only manage a tepid draw against the bottom team Villa. 2)Liverpool despite spending ridiculous sums for Benteke, Firmino etc and playing rock and roll at Anfield came away with a loss against Palace. After celebrating the last win against a rubbish team (Chelski) like it was the second coming, reality check. Welcome to England Klopp. 3) Where Chelsea bus? The media will characterise our draw as a loss even if we are still level on points at the top despite having to play a host of second strings – Debuchy, Campbell, Arteta, Gibbs and Flamini. Naturally it will… Read more »

John C

It’s not a great indictment of Wengers confidence in Arteta and Flamini if he’ll play Cazorla at 30% ahead of either of those two is it?

Pass debuchy from the left hand side

Well he did Arteta on later, and we looked a lot better during that spell. I think it’s probably more than Arteta is fresh back from injury and might not be ready to start a game. Was probably hoping Santi could shake it off.

John C

Yes, but the manager wasn’t prepared to start either ahead of a clearly off colour Cazorla, which to me implies that they’re there to provide cover and not competition.

We need better depth of quality and actually competition for places not just similar but inferior back up, this is where we fall short and not just exacerbates our injury problems but are also a source of it as it leads to a lack of rotation.


That is because the players are not interchangeable. They bring very different qualities to the pitch. Very much like Walcott and Giroud whom people love to compare. I have yet to fathom why that is …

John C

No they don’t, Arteta’s basically a not as good version of Cazorla and Flamini a not as good version of Coquelin. They might offer less but not different.


That’s a very silly comment, ball retention of art eta is 2nd to none in his position They are not similar at all and they don’t even play the same position as cazorla.

John C

You’re right, Arteta’s position is on the bench whilst Cazorla’s is on the pitch. I’m interested to know what you think Cazorla’s strengths are if it’s not passing?


commentators saying Spurs on the right track…what track is that? Same track they have been for years in our shadow, close but a pale imitation.

love the look on Lamella’s face when our equaliser went in.They were stunned.

They gave it all played beyond their best and we were poor (without many regular players) but they still came up short.


“close but pale imitation” – Only close in terms of geography, not class.


Credit to Wenger having seen our bench before the game started nobody would have thought we could change the game with those players but fair to play Wenger he used the subs brilliantly and at the right time. Thought debuchy looked as solid as he has all season he just needed time to get up to speed, really impressed by Coq on the ball and how he dealt with their furious midfield pressing his technical skill is highly underrated

bims lay

Yeah, agree, coq’s technical skill is underated…he did a trademark cazorla two footed drible that left two spuds pressing midfielders for dead and they had to foul him to break up play. ….i naturally assumed it was cazorla at his old tricks again but was absolutely gob smacked when the camera zoomed in and it was coquelin?…..the two spuds idiots looked equally shocked!….that trickery from a “non ball playing DM” remember?


Just like the game in mid-week, this match showed the purblind insanity of Wenger in failing to strengthen our outfield options in the last window.

But he never learns. It was painful to watch in that first half and anyone more adroit than the Spuds would have polished us off. It’ll be interesting to see if the ‘Sainted Genius’ does anything in January ?


If it all revolves around strengthening outfield options, how is it we’re 9 points better off than last season after 12 matches? How did Arsenal go unbeaten for a whole campaign after only bringing in Jens Lehmann into the starting XI? Football is a team sport. Much depends on the understanding between players, which needs time to build and can be disrupted by too many new cogs. Bringing new players in is ONE way of strengthening, which seems to be the only option some people see these days. And usually new players need some time to settle in (while they… Read more »


Utter claptrap. We’re the only team in Europe in the last window not to sign a single outfield player. We’re neck deep in injuries for the seventh or eighth season in a row – what does that tell anyone, with half a brain and no more than a basic understanding of the concept of a team sport ? – and we have £75 million available to spend on players and wages. Less than half that outlay, would have got Morgan Schneiderlin who was an a no brainer, as far as being what we needed and fitting in was concerned. But… Read more »

Lightening Pace

Relax man, it’s all purring along nicely, have patience this season has the potential to be more rewarding than in recent years, get behind the club and enjoy supporting instead of getting your knickers in a twist over something that’s out of your hands.

Unyoke The Ox

So, who would you rather be supporting in terms of a London club? Right now, there are 18 clubs that would rather be in our position that their own. We drew with a Spurs team that are in good form, when we were having an off day and had 9 players out through injury. I think we should have strengthened at defensive midfield, but we are pretty much covered everywhere else. 4 international full backs, 2 strikers (Welbeck as 3rd choice when he returns) an abundance of midfield talent and 2 quality keepers. We spent around £100m last year, so… Read more »


What it tells me is we’re joint top of the table. That’s all I really care about at the moment.


“It just shows you that the championship will be extremely difficult for everybody.”

Chelsea will tell us how difficult the npower Championship is next season.

bims lay

Amen to that sir!……and if we are really lucky, maybe spuds will join them there?

Martin Finley

If Wenger insist there is nothing wrong with our training setup then he still need to adress why we every season are among the top 4 in Europe’s injury league. I dont believe in luck, bad or otherwise. You make your own luck. If our training methods are A Okey then you need to look at the players themselves. Something has to be done about our injury situation which just repeats itself every single season now. Our failure to adress the issue causes it to come back and bite us in the ass again next season. And it is pretty… Read more »


Our injury situation is plain and simple. Its a mixture of us having some injury prone players and Wenger always preferring to stick with the same team. He only rotates when his preferred first team players are either injured or in the red zone. That’s not good to be honest. Today he was forced to play Gibbs, Flamini and Arteta. Why not use Flamini from the start. There will be games where he can rotate and rest some of our more important players. Its always better to take a gamble on one or two games, then losing them for 3… Read more »


You are some how right. For me I suspect its something that as to do with our training methods though wenger with his stubbornness can admit it, coz most of these players become injury when they join Arsenal eg Welbeck.


Kyle Walker has an incredibly punchable face


Looks like everyone has forgotten that Jenkinson is still our player…


Spurs are shit


If they are – it’d be interesting to know what the first 75 minutes of yesterday makes us.


One way to make statistics and data work in your favor every time is to select a ridiculously small sample that meets your personal agenda.


Slightly off topic. I understand that due to obvious reasons Arsenal fans who stay in London or even in the UK hate Spu*ds the most. Due to the history. Due to the banter they have locally. But as an Indian Arsenal fan I hate united or Chelsea far more than Tottenham. Mostly because the tiny tots have always been meek and harmless. A slight irritation. Nothing more than that. I know people who pretend to hate Spu*s without understanding the reasons behind it. And that just gets my goat. Or my chicken, I don’t know. Anyways, we have bigger fish… Read more »


Same here. I’m from the USA and I hate Chelsea FAR more than I hate Tottenham. Probably because I don’t get to experience the local rivalry, but Chelsea just seem so much less likeable.


Well said, and well put. The main reason why I have a problem with the Hotsperm is their minority of vicious and vile fans, not least having once been ambushed by a particularly nasty bunch of them on the tube. This fixture can be pretty unpleasant – glorious when we win, but it’s no more than we should do anyway, while they have nothing to lose. Ridiculous that anyone should be criticized for pointing out that we have bigger fish to fry and that as clubs, i.e. team and manager, United (even post-Fergie with all the perverse entertainment that van… Read more »

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