Dortmund’s Late Strike Is Typical Of This Arsenal Generation

By on September 14, 2011

Given the recent run of results for Arsene Wenger’s men, a 1-1 draw in their first Champions League match away to German champions Borussia Dortmund is unfortunately one of the more creditable performances this season. And while the Gunners showed fight, team spirit, and resolve in abundance up until Ivan Perisic’s 88th minute wonder strike earned the Bundesliga side a point at their home ground, their failure to close the deal showcases why this Arsenal side cannot consider themselves a genuine Premier League and European contender.

The prolonged departure sagas of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri demoralized the squad, and even a last day spending spree from Arsene Wenger still sees Arsenal with a more threadbare and youthful, inexperienced side than ever under Wenger, one unable to challenge for top honors like in the past.

While undoubtedly of great potential, the simple reality is that the likes of Emmanuel Frimpong, Johan Djorou, Carl Jenkinson,  Kieran Gibbs, and recently departed players like Denilson and Nicklas Bendtner wouldn’t feature nearly as much at Old Trafford, the San Siro, or the Bernabeu as they have at the Emirates.

Ferguson and Villas-Boas have the likes of Berbatov and Anelka, or Carrick and Malouda, to call on, not Marouane Chamakh and Francis Coquelin. Even more worrying is the fact that the side so outplayed by Dortmund, who tallied 23 shots and 57% of possession, is perhaps the strongest one possible for the club in the near future given that Thomas Vermaelen and Jack Wilshere remain injured.

Yossi Benayoun and Mikel Arteta add crucial experience and skill in the midfield, and Per Mertesacker should help to shore up a defence that has been criminal at times in recent years. Brazilian fullback Andre Santos will also provide competition for relatively untested Kieran Gibbs at left back. Wojciech Szczesny has solidified his place as the number one goalkeeper and will surely hold his position between the sticks for a long time, with the Polish stopper showing confidence far beyond his 21 years.

But it seems the hallmark of champions is the ability to grind out results despite a lacklustre performance a la Inter’s heroic defeat of Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals in 2010, or Manchester United’s unlikely comeback win over West Brom in Gary Neville’s last match, subpar performances that still yielded the needed result.

Arsenal finally looked a side capable of doing the business even on an off day, with Robin Van Persie’s strike a potential stepping stone to confidence and belief after a rough start to the campaign, with questions surrounding the team’s ability to finish in the top four and the manager’s grasp of the plot. But the disappointment of yet another late equalizer to throw away all three points has become a hallmark of the side in recent years, and it seems to suggest that Golden Generation Wenger has promised so long is simply not up to it, if not haunted, by the pressure of delivering trophies.

Blow after blow to the collective psyche- the Carling Cup heartbreak, the Barcelona eliminations, the 4-4 draw with Newcastle, and the most recent thrashing at the hands of Sir Alex’s squad are the main highlights of a horror reel that seems to have put the attitude beyond repair.

When it begins to go bad against Arsenal, it seems anything that can go wrong, will, and the players panic. The new additions will do their part to settle the side, and the youth injection may unearth future leaders in the way Wilshere and Szczesny have been able to contribute significantly immediately. But Wenger’s reluctance to address key issues in the past few seasons has weakened the squad to the point that the title returning to North London seems an outlandish dream, and the Champions League group stages even looked suspect at one point.

Progress from the group stages is surely possible, and only four matches into the season it is impossible to say that Arsenal will not have the quality to qualify for the Champions League for another consecutive year. But what once seemed an string of unlucky coincidences has transformed into a clear pattern of failures when it matters most, with no end in sight.

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25 Comments

  1. Paul

    September 14, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    One of the worst articles I’ve ever read.. congratulations

    • aus

      September 14, 2011 at 4:32 pm

      Totally agree with you!! this article is soooooooo wrong!

    • freddie

      September 14, 2011 at 6:06 pm

      Well said!

    • weinger

      September 15, 2011 at 3:42 am

      yep. what’s with all the pessimism? their goal was a total fluke!

  2. Art

    September 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    I disagree with the general idea of this article. The Gunners showed a lot of heart and grit yesterday to almost force a win to a good team in a harsh environment. The only thing that lost them those 3 points was that wonder strike you mentioned. We lost our midfield composure in the second half, but when there are that many new faces on a team it takes time to gel. The only thing ive had a problem with to start this season is that it took so long to get replacements in, besides that i think the team is stronger then most give it credit for.

  3. gooner87

    September 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    good goal get over it

    • apollo

      September 14, 2011 at 3:40 pm

      The team was crap. They can’t hold the ball for even 10 seconds, so don’t defend such below par performance. You all tend to suger-coat everything that Wenger does, and that is the reason why it comes to a shock to many of you when Arsenal start flopping. I remember last season when Arsenal played Stoke at the emirates, they only won barely, but most Wengerites were praising the team for grinding out a result. That was the point when the team started their decline.Some of you are always giving excuses to the team and Arsene to under-perform, and this is the reason why Arsenal will not win any major trophy again under Wenger

      • nate

        September 14, 2011 at 4:07 pm

        Arsenal weren’t flopping. Dortmund were pressing hard and kicking legs every time Arteta or RVP showed quick feet in midfield. At 43% of possession it is hard to argue Arsenal couldn’t keep the ball. Not Arsenals usual dominant possession, but playing German champions away from home will sway those #’s. Did you hear how loud the whistling was when Arsenal got the ball and tried to pass it around? don’t be such a gloomy donkey

        • apollo

          September 14, 2011 at 4:35 pm

          The team was crap. They can’t hold the ball for even 10 seconds, so don’t defend such below par performance. You all tend to suger-coat everything that Wenger does, and that is the reason why it comes to a shock to many of you when Arsenal start flopping. I remember last season when Arsenal played Stoke at the emirates, they only won barely, but most Wengerites were praising the team for grinding out a result. That was the point when the team started their decline.Some of you are always giving excuses to the team and Arsene to under-perform, and this is the reason why Arsenal will not win any major trophy again under Wenger
          That is rubbish, they played the same way against a promoted team in their own home grounds. This is the worst team ever, under Arsene Wenger.

  4. Alex

    September 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Cheers i wanna kill myself now.

  5. Focusb23

    September 14, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Am sure you are not mentally ok.IDIOT

    • apollo

      September 14, 2011 at 3:49 pm

      Why is he an idiot? Don’t you see such a crap being sold to you? Watch City, ManU, Barcelona, Real Madrid play and see what a quality team is. Wenger has become an ordinary coach with no ambition. Guardiola, Alex Ferguson and Mourinho have all said this

  6. IKd

    September 14, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    agree with all the comments written .uYoumy friend are one of those doom claimers who never see the positive out of anything . Yesterday we played like a team with passion and a earning to play the game .We defended with our heart and im proud of them . They have not got that chemistry so it will take time but u should just support another team in my opinion.

  7. Eriss

    September 14, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Negative reports. Arsenal won’t fail just because you wnat them to. Get more positive.

  8. 40 years a fan

    September 14, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Can Man U fans please stop posting articles on a website for Gooners

  9. Tobes

    September 14, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    To be fair it was a freak goal from Dortmund. It’s not like it was an embarrassing own goal, or penalty from a stupid desperate tackle in the dieing seconds.

    Our attack is pretty poor though. It’s like we dont know what to do after we get the ball to the box.

  10. Mick

    September 14, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    My god it was a brilliant goal that noone could defend. God im sick of the doom and gloomers honestly the most draining part about being an Arsenal fan is having to hear such negativity almost constantly. Why do Arsenal fans feel so god damn entitled. The team is heading in the right direction and as soon as the new players gel the team will be back on its feet. Cant wait to see Wilshere back on the pitch and I’m very much excited to see the youngsters in the Carling cup next week.

    • apollo

      September 14, 2011 at 4:43 pm

      They have been heading to the right direction for almost a decade now. I remember everyone telling us that Arsenal is gonna dominate England and Europe 3 years ago. We are here now and Arsenal is going backwards. Your team get pummeled 8-2 and you have the guts to say your team is heading towards the right direction. Don’t be deluded by all the false prophecy Arsene has been preaching.

  11. Mattuso

    September 14, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    You’re right, I am going to stop supporting Arsenal and support Man City instead

  12. Adam-mk

    September 14, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Worst article ever. I never comment on these things, but it was so awful I had to. Please, for the love of god, never write a journalistic piece again!

  13. nicky

    September 14, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    So Arsenal are experiencing a “clear pattern of failures”, are they?
    If our achievements under Arsene Wenger are to be classed as failures, I dread to think what the author considers to be successes.
    Never out of the top four in the EPL.
    In the CL year after year.
    Playing the most attractive football in the country before the second largest crowds.
    One of the most newsworthy Clubs in the World.
    Where have we Gooners gone wrong? LOL.

  14. GLOOMY

    September 14, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    No critique of your article, as everyone is entitled to their opinions. However, If you didn’t watch the game, you lose all credability, in your critique.
    There was nothing “typical” about Arsenal’s performance last night. Its been years since they have looked that good defensively, no shame in letting a wonder goal in. In their 18 other attempts on the night, not once did Dortmund seem likely to score. Dormund seemed more like the Arsenal of old, dominating, without threatening the oponents goal.

  15. AMcCarten

    September 14, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    First off let me state that I am an Arsenal supporter and I was just as shattered as all of you when they did equalize. I, too, am extremely proud of the team, as I mentioned they showed a lot of fight and it was a positive performance all told. But in the past few years we have come to expect this. As an Arsenal fan, you almost knew that they would somehow equalize and we wouldn’t be able to hold out. Thats what I’m saying. I’ve believed in Arsenal being able to win the title and the Champions League up until this year. I hope I’m wrong

  16. demongooner

    September 14, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    article is just typical rubbish .
    how can you blame arsenal for the german goal? it was a fantastic strike, it happens, we played well to a very good side who seemed to have 3 or 4 players on every one of our players, and but for gervinho falling down we should gone 2.0 up. in the end it was a great result especially when you see writers like the one on this blog was waiting for us to lose

  17. Uk

    September 14, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Well i didn’t watch the match, but the highlights i saw suggested that they were all over us &that we were only able to escaape with the draw due to sczesny &their poor finishing

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