Arsenal’s 1-3 loss at the Emirates last night on the back of recent good form was as much of a shock to the system of North London as a Monday morning tube and bus strike.
Gooners however are used to seeing their team employ “suicidal defending” tactics and losing their “nerve and rationality”, in the boss’ words.
Arsène’s reputation as a flat-track bully, who can roll over smaller teams with death by 1500 passes but would go into battle against a tank with a cocktail umbrella, was nothing but enhanced by this shocking outing against his former side, and it has to be considered whether the Frenchman’s style of play is more suited to a less pragmatic time, a time when Glenn Hoddle and Mark Hateley were still terrorising defences rather than Marbella beachfront waitresses.
Great shorts lads.
It could have been worse though. Normally when Arsène gets it completely wrong his team hands over 4 goals or more, so there’s an improvement on that side at least…
Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal, Premier League – August 28, 2011
United: Welbeck 22, Young 28, Rooney 41, Rooney 64, Nani 67, Park Ji-Sung 70, Rooney (pen) 82, Young 90+1.
Arsenal: Walcott 45+3, Van Persie
Loads of goals in this one, Arsenal’s worst defeat since Queen Victoria was on the throne. Rooney, a player Arsenal fans hate almost as much as Park Ji-Sung, bagged his hat-trick during an absolutely atrocious second half Arsenal performance.
Manchester United 6-1 Arsenal, Premier League – February 25, 2001
Yorke 3′, 18′, 22′, Keane 26′, Solskjaer 38′, Sheringham 90’+1
Arsenal: Henry 16′
Cons: Many. 4 down after after 26 minutes. 19 minute Dwight Yorke hattrick. Back four of Luzhny, Cole (replaced by Ljungberg at half time with Sylvinho, inexplicably started at left midfield moving to left back), Grimandi and Stepanovs.
Pros: Few. Didn’t concede 8 and was a while ago now so people don’t talk about it quite so often. Didn’t get sent to stands.
Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal (HT 0-4), Premier League – February 5, 2011
Newcastle: Barton (pen) 68, Best 75, Barton (pen) 83, Tiote 87
Arsenal: Walcott 1, Djourou 3, Van Persie 10, Van Persie 26
The irony was not lots on Arsenal fans that Arsène threw a bottle during this capitulation, as Arsenal clearly lost their bottle on the pitch.
Despite a disappointing refereeing performance, it was that of the team who squandered a 4-0 lead that was more unacceptable. The loss of two points was less significant than the loss of dignity and reputation to the team and manager.
Tottenham 5-1 Arsenal, League Cup – January 22, 2008
Tottenham 5-1 Arsenal (Jan 2008, ): Tottenham Goals: Jenas 3, Bendtner 27 og, Keane 48, Lennon 60, Malbranque 90.
Arsenal Goals: Adebayor 70
Arsene tried to play this League Cup semi-final defeat off as no big deal but in fact, it was. Tottenham had not won a North London Derby since 1999, and to add insult to injury they went on to win the whole competition as well, during a period of barrenness on the red side of the capital. Oh, and Lord Bendtner scored an own goal then had a barney with another crowd favourite Sheyi Emmanuel Adebayor.
Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal – February 8, 2014
Liverpool: Skrtel 1, 10, Sterling 16 Sturridge 20, Sterling 52.
Arsenal: Mikel Arteta 69 Pen
It took just 53 seconds for Arsenal’s title hopes to be crushed. Arsenal were top of the table coming into this game, so of course, this was the perfect moment to throw it all away.
Skrtel scored from a corner and then Srktel scored from a corner and then everything went completely to shit and Sterling and Sturridge and Sterling again.
Blink and you’d miss the worse defensive performance by any team in the Premier League that season.
Still, only Arsène’s second most embarrassing incident in Liverpool.
Chelsea 6-0 Arsenal, Premier League – March 22, 2014
Chelsea: Eto’o 5′ Schürrle 7′ Hazard 17′ (pen), Oscar 42′, 66′, Salah 71′
To be fair, when this happens you just know it’s just not your day.
Oct 2008: 4-4 v Spurs
Two words. David. Bentley.
Nov 2000: Spartak Moscow 4 Arsenal 1
Spartak Moscow (1-3-4-2): Filimonov; Ananko ; Tchuisse, Parfenov, Kovtun; Baranov, Bulatov, Titov, Bezrodny; Marcao, Robson.
Arsenal (4-4-2): Manninger; Luzhny, Keown, Adams, Silvinho; Ljungberg, Parlour, Vivas, Pires; Kanu, Henry
Possibly the moment that it became clear to people who thought Arsenal would go on to dominate world football that these expectations were preemptive, to say the least.
Adams and Keown were given the run-around by Marcao, and their decline was made clear in this game.
Spartak admittedly played very well, playing 1-3-4-2 with Anakov dominant as libero and Vasily Baranov rinsing Sylvinho (again) all game, but Nelson Vivas was no replacement for Vieira and Pierluigi Collina’s shiny head was probably more noticeable in the middle of the park.
Nov 1999: Arsenal 0 Chelsea 5
Chelsea: Leboeuf 34 pen, Vialli 49,73, Vivas og 65, Poyet 80
Admittedly only a League Cup defeat with a weakened team (Nelson Vivas, David Grondin and double winner Christopher Wreh combined to contribute the sum total of nothing) but still an absolute drubbing at home. Certainly not Hot Stuff, and it would have been a quiet Wengerbus on the way home.
Love you really Arsene. Buy Kondogbia and I’ll watch tapes of all these on rerun for a week…