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Sack Arshavin And Other Lessons From Arsenal v Liverpool

by Owen Blackhurst
20 August 2011 19 Comments

It was a fairly turgid affair save for the opening stanzas and after the introduction of Suarez and Meireles, but surely Arsenal should hand the Russian his P45 and Liverpool need to rethink the midfield pecking order…

It was a fairly turgid affair save for the opening stanzas and after the introduction of Suarez and Meireles, but surely Arsenal should hand the Russian his P45 and Liverpool need to rethink the midfield pecking order…

Arshavin should be sacked

I’m not a professional footballer but I am someone who truly loves my job. If I rocked up on Sabotage Times (or indeed any of the other clients I work for) and essentially disappeared for the day I’d rightly expect my marching orders. In the article I wrote this morning I angered some Arsenal fans but they were never the target. I would be fuming if I was a Gooner, Arshavin’s performance was an absolute disgrace. No appetite, no craft, no nothing. Hideous. If I was Wenger I’d make him train with the kids for a week and flog him, if you can’t get yourself up for the first home game of the season against a team trying to wrest away your place in the top four then you have no right to call yourself a footballer.

Raul Meireles is twice the player of Jordan Henderson

Look, I know it is only two games into his career at Anfield, but aside from his lack of drive and pace, it appears Hendo can’t pass wind let alone a football. Sluggish, off the pace with no guile or tricks, someone was sufficiently moved by his lack of talent to call him momentum kryptonite on Twitter. I’m overweight, smoke and drink too much and am crippled in one knee, yet I can still pick a pass. The Raul Meireles situation is weird. The best midfielder alongside Lucas in the second half of last year, he appears to have slipped behind Henderson and Adam in the pecking order. Although wasteful I think Adam will be alright for Liverpool but Meireles is a footballer who refuses to be confined by preconceived ideas about his position. He is perfect to play with Suarez because he runs on and his movement encourages triangles and intricate passing.

While Redknapp’s knacker twisting suits do make me wince, at least he makes an effort. Neville looked like an insurance salesman from Bury

Gary Neville needs a makeover

At half-time I tweeted ‘Gary Neville looks like a turd sat next to Redknapp. United club tie, you’re a millionaire Gary, get a tailor and a shave.’ While Redknapp’s knacker twisting suits do make me wince, at least he makes an effort. Neville looked like an insurance salesman from Bury. If he’s too tight to get his own suits then Sky should get him a stylist and a tailor.

Suarez is the difference

I said this last week and I’ll probably say it every week. Suffering from a lack of invention and being easily repelled by the excellent Vermaelen, Liverpool looked to be heading for a draw. Suarez makes defenders cack their pants, he’s nigh on impossible to pick up, allows the play to vary wildly and brings the best out of the other players around him. Liverpool look a very decent side with him in the team but without him are a touch too direct. Downing was probably Liverpool’s best player over the course of the game but I doubt they’d have scored without him.

Nasri needs to take a long hard look at himself

‘Nasri is a d***head, he could have this team built around him,’ I tweeted after his run and shot in the first-half. Although he was blunted by Liverpool’s endless harrying in midfield, it’s not too difficult to imagine an Arsenal side, strengthened by the fifty odd million knocking about, with Nasri as the fulcrum. I can understand him wanting to leave in a way but he has a chance to be a genuine legend. I’m not privy to what goes on behind closed doors at Arsenal but if Wenger is going to spend he should show Nasri the targets and sell him a vision. If he hasn’t got either he should probably consider knocking it on the head.

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Johnny L 3:38 pm, 20-Aug-2011

Suarez plays on that line between onside and offside and seems to get away with it. Neither side looked good, and I know shite, I'm a Leeds fan. Liverpool's midfield will look way better when Gerrard returns. Only two games in and they've thrown a game away against Sunderland and gained a fortuitous 3 points at Arsenal who look, sadly, like they are fast loosing the plot. I hate Man United, I hate Chelsea, I've grown to dislike Liverpool also, Man City don't do anything for me either way, I've always had a soft spot for Wenger's Arsenal, let's hope he can turn things around otherwise the Premier League doesn't have much to offer those of us on the outside looking in.

Varkko 3:41 pm, 20-Aug-2011

I agree about Meireles. Hendo has plenty of time to work his way into the side, id use Meireles much more, particularly if Lucas is on the pitch to cover him.

Colonel Mustard 3:43 pm, 20-Aug-2011

one la Diaby

Paul 3:55 pm, 20-Aug-2011

I think your talking out of your arse pal. You clearly don't understand football half as well as you think you do.

col 3:58 pm, 20-Aug-2011

I always thought Wenger was a very arrogant man and had lost the plot three or four years ago.Maybe this season we can have a fresh change in the top four.I also am not convinced about Liverpools quality and would like to see the success buyers Chelsea and City fail because its about football not money so it comes down to Man United and can they do it again,Tottenham getting the final bits of the jigsaw sorted or a team outside of last years top six.

Simon 4:03 pm, 20-Aug-2011

Henderson will get better over the longer term (surely he can't remain that bad all season) but the likes of Meireles, Kelly and Maxi should have been used far more over the past two games - if Kenny had done this we'd have six points on the board. Wenger can be clueless at times, Frimpong did well in spells but was a sending off waiting to happen from his first badly timed early tackle. Lets see if Wenger has the bottle to spend the £60m cash thats coming in properly on 2 or 3 class players + some bite.

alves 4:06 pm, 20-Aug-2011

i don't know the kind of person that posted this article because the person as said rubbish,why are you blaming arshavin,i expect you to blame wenger because he thing that if he use feeders team player he will win'but we arsenal fan suppose to know that the next thing to do is to tell arsenal board that if they did not sack wenger we supporters we not come to watch arsenal matchs any more,because he said we will buy quality players that already we have quality players already are walcout,frimpony,jekinson,gibbs,ramsey,and so on,those players supposed to be in arsenal feeders teams

Terry 4:08 pm, 20-Aug-2011

Henderson did okay. Dirk Kuyt on the other hand is an abortion of a footballer.

docbrody 4:21 pm, 20-Aug-2011

Well I thought Arsenal's reserve team held up pretty well against Liverpool. ;-) It doesn't look like Arsenal are going to buy anyone else this summer. I can understand Wenger when he says there just isn't anyone great out there - no one who will improve on current players. But I think he is mistaken. Arsenal would be better off signing 2 or 3 good defenders rather than one super star. Same goes for midfield. They need depth. They need to be able to rotate, rest and replace players (in the event of injury). Besides they already have a few great players (Verm, Sagna, Van Persie, nasri if he stays, maybe Wilshire). Sports history shows that teams with a few great players and squad of average to good players outperform teams filled with great players (don't believ me? Read the book Scorecasting and then come back and tell me I'm an idiot). Regardless, even if we all agreed that Arsenal needs to sign a major superstar - the reality is that we cant afford them and they just aren't available. So signing good, not great, not nessisarily even starters, is the best plan B Arsenal has right now.

allan michaud 4:31 pm, 20-Aug-2011

I have been an avid supporter of Arsene since he came to the club, backing him against all doubters, yet even I have to question him after the way he has totally failed to see what was happening around him and the appalling psychological effect his delays would have. I feel for the players because most of them played their hearts out, we are just not good enough in several areas. One purchase of a good CB on July 1st would have sent the right message to everyone including Nasir that we meant business. We all knew Cesc would go but failing to by the obviously needed CB and a DM like Scot Parker (Loan?) to bring some fight into the team would have made all the difference. Instead we pfaff about all summer buy a couple more wingers and do nothing about the glaring problems. I am not calling for him to go but for me Arsene has until 30 Aug to prove his doubters wrong. Vermalen should be club captain.

matt 4:46 pm, 20-Aug-2011

Henderson did okay, are you having a laugh? at the moment he does not deserve a starting place. he has not earned it. it bewilders me that he walks straight into the side above proven performers like meireles, kuyte, spearing. He may have potential, but on the last 2 performances he is not ready yet.

Simon 4:58 pm, 20-Aug-2011

Wenger says there isn't anyone great out there ? I think Suarez, Aguero and Mata will disprove that myth. Perhaps the reason why AW did so well in his formative years was because he knew the french league so well ? As french football declined, so has Arsene's impact in the transfer market. He needs to look beyond Ligue 1 and the English Championhip for a change and show some mettle. Yes his brief flirtation with Spain and Reyes went wrong, but he's got to get back in the game.

Pure 7:47 pm, 20-Aug-2011

Why did Van Persie miss Arshavins assist? Theo was worse and Ramsey who scored a great own goal lol.

rush_gooner 8:04 pm, 20-Aug-2011

well ithink arsenal played well. with such a weak squad they showed some real character.guess if vermaelen would have been fit last season we could actually have been lauding AW... frimpong was decent(minus those hapless tackles) nasri sharp, walcott absent,arshavin dreadful.. forsee another defeat against man u but after that gunners will fight back..

Lee 8:30 pm, 20-Aug-2011

Arsenal are finished. They are now onlly just a top six team. They don't have the financial muscle to keep up. In their defence, they are only experiencing what the other 17 teams in the PL are experiencing, a need to be financially realistic and balance the books. Nobody apart from the 3 mega buck teams are buying. Get used to your new status.

BigRed1 11:16 pm, 20-Aug-2011

I think some of the more "direct" replies to this page need to get a grip. I've been following LFC since 1962... Yes, I'm that old... but even I know you don't win any thing in the first two weeks, you don't write off other teams and you certainly don't blow your own horn. Arsenal seem to be in a bit of a mess at the moment but the two things that killed them today were injuries and suspensions. Fripong was a red waiting to happen and it was no surprise when he went. Nasri looked good as did their goalie, Vermaelen was a stand out. What Liverpool did extremely well was to cut out the threats of Ramsey, Walcott and Van Persie for nearly all of the match; Arshavin didn't really turn up. With Suarez defenders have to play against a nightmare. What do you do to stop him and where? He played from central mid field right across the front line. OK, some will argue that he got away with some tight decisions but they are missing the point. It's his movement and speed of thought that create these situations in the first place. I think if Arsene spends over the next couple of weeks the Arse will pick up, but he will need to swallow some pride to do that. As for my beloved Reds just keep improving, manage the squad and any injuries properly... Who knows, it might turn into a good season for Liverpool. But there's a hell of a long way to go.

Yazid 7:08 am, 21-Aug-2011

You, mister, are definitely a Liverpool fan.

Kieron 11:15 am, 21-Aug-2011

Sports psychologists could do a thesis on the demise of Arshavin and still not figure out what happened. For a star player to become so utterly bereft of confidence, ideas and technique so quickly normally requires a horrific injury of some kind. He's acting like Wenger keeps him in a box under his bed, fed on only toilet water and paranoid delusions.

The Cush 5:31 pm, 22-Aug-2011

col - "the success buyers Chelsea and City fail because its about football not money so it comes down to Man United and can they do it again". I forgot about Man Utd's glorious home grown players such as Rooney, Carrick, Berbatov and Ferdinand and also how this summer they invested just a small 5 figure sum in their youth academy and didn't spend any money on any players. I'm not saying Chelsea and City haven't spent what they've spent but the bottom line is money is always needed to get there and STAY there. Arsenal tried it a different way and, while admirable, it has shown to be a failure when it comes to trophies. Agree with BigRed1 some perspective is needed but there is reason to be concerned for the Arsenal team with the injuries with Udinese on Wednesday...

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