Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland: slow start but patience required

So, first game of the season and Arsenal draw 0-0 with Sunderland. This means we’re in crisis, wasted money on two strikers who are useless, will never win a game again etc.

Anyone drawing radical conclusions like that from one game – the first game of the season at that – is quite frankly a moron. If the first game of the season dictated everything, we’d see Swansea and Fulham in the Champions League next season, Liam Ridgewell would end up in the team of the season, and Tottenham would finish somewhere in the bottom half. Although…

Compulsory Tottenham insults aside, the performance yesterday isn’t anything to be fretting about just yet, considering the circumstances. We had no Sagna, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain or Rosicky, so it wasn’t a full-strength Arsenal on paper. You also have Alex Song departing, so we had neither he nor his potential replacement available. The transfer window hasn’t even ended yet – we look set to get Nuri Sahin on loan, and, unless he’s Song’s replacement, a defensive midfielder. Maybe even another signing. Who knows.

Beyond players that weren’t available and that might be in the near future, let’s look at the players who did play. Considering Santi Cazorla played for Spain in Puerto Rico three days before the match, and had pretty much no pre-season, he had a very promising start to his Arsenal career, buzzing all over the pitch, eager to receive the ball, quick to release it again. He was billed as the typical Spanish midfielder and he certainly lived up to that reputation.

Lukas Podolski, by all accounts, struggled a little. While he did play as a lone striker last season in the Bundesliga, that was for a side who didn’t look to dominate possession and instead often scored from counter-attacks, meaning Podolski had quite a bit of space to exploit when Cologne attacked. That wasn’t often the case on Saturday, and he didn’t get a lot of joy.

Replacing Podolski in the second half was the third and final signing we’ve made so far, French striker Olivier Giroud. Our new number 12 is the one who provided the sensationalists and reactionaries with the moment our entire season fell apart, missing a chance when put clean through by Cazorla. “Van Persie would have scored that!” is the general reaction, and maybe he would have. So what? Giroud probably would have scored that open goal that Van Persie missed against Manchester United. I would have. My missus Sandra would have scored that.

Judging a striker on one miss is ridiculous. It was his weaker foot, his first real chance as an Arsenal player, and he hasn’t had a proper pre-season. Giroud deserves the benefit of the doubt before being written off – one miss means absolutely nothing until we see more from him. If that miss happened in the middle of the season, and Giroud had scored a lot of goals, would people be saying we miss Van Persie? No. Comparisons like that just can’t be made from one tiny incident.

Taking the positives, it was a great bit of movement from Giroud and superb vision from Cazorla to poke it through for him. If we see more of that, there’s no doubt we’ll see goals. It just wasn’t to be that time.

Through-out the game we seemed like a team who are still gelling – sorry for the cliché but it stands up on this occasion – with important members still requiring time to work on their sharpness before fully firing. It’s not surprising that we seemed like that, because it’s exactly what we are at this moment in time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, in the same way this team won’t start firing instantly. It’ll take a bit of patience and it’s foolish to write them off after one game.

Gervinho was lively, and was one of the main dangermen from what I saw (I was on a plane during the game, surrounded by the worst people in the world) and it seems like he’s going to be less of an enigma and more of a consistent thorn in teams’ sides. His directness will help us, as he’ll look to take players on with his superb close-control. He just needs to improve his decision making, which was by all accounts a feature of his play at Lille. He does like that cut-back from the byline, and it’s had some success at Arsenal.

At the end of the day, it was one game. We’ve drawn games before, we’ll draw games in the future. It’s not the end of the world. Our team is nowhere near hitting its stride, so until we have more to draw conclusions from, let’s be patient and wait and see what the team, and indeed Arsene Wenger, has in store for us.


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13 responses to “Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland: slow start but patience required”

  1. Anonymous says :

    U’re right buddy, lets be patient.

  2. Anonymous says :

    Wenger needs to buy a right footed striker,both strikers wenger bought are left footed.wenger and d board needs to buy demsey to replace van persie.demsey is used to d epl pace.d stingy so called board needs to buy demsey,bilge or mvilla or capoue as cover 4 song.demsey in d squad is better than ramsey in d squad.wenger and d board needs to show arsenal fans dat they are ambitous dis season by replacing van persie position wit demsey used to the epl pace.wenger needs to change formation.

    • Sam Drew says :

      Important to remember Van Persie was left footed… Podolski and Giroud may not be as strong as Van Persie on their right feet, but they can work on that. It’s not like they can’t physically use them. Also, replacing Van Persie with Dempsey would be the worst move in history. Hyperbolic but appropriate.

  3. Kunle says :

    It is nice to be patient bt wenger and d board should try to buy nt manage by using inexperience kids to play d epl.Glazer and ferguos are ambitous to win back d epl and trophies by adding quality to d squad making there fans happy and hopeful 4 trophies dis season.

  4. mike says :

    wenger is a stupid coach by selling song and rvp

    • gory emmanuel says :

      Wenger. Isnt a stupid coach pls dat is a VERY fowl language. So if u were in his shoes u wouldnt let players dat want to move on go? Gunners 4eva

  5. Chevre Chaud says :


  6. omisipe dele says :

    Good piece, not one of these unwanted spirit-killing stories of arsenal insidious cancer, keep it up lad

  7. Big Al, Koh Samui, Thailand says :

    Sam says: “You also have Alex Song departing, so we had neither he nor his potential replacement available.”

    Big Al says: True… unless his replacement is Coquelin. Doubtful though- relatively inexperienced. Frimpong more so.

    Sam says: “…we look set to get Nuri Sahin on loan, and, unless he’s Song’s replacement, a defensive midfielder.”

    Big Al says: once again, unless his replacement is Coquelin.
    As regards the Sahin loan deal, I wouldn’t count any chickens. When was the last time Wenger took on a loan player, excluding Benayoun, who incidentally was taken on loan only due only to an injury crisis at the club? Name one loan player, Sam, just one… help me out, ’cause I can’t.
    Wenger should buy him or forget him. Other than Wilshere, we no longer have a crisis to contend with, especially with the return of Diaby. Also, due to the signing of Cazorla, I don’t see a loan deal happening. Wenger’s loans players OUT, he doesn’t loan IN.
    I do, however, see an replacement coming in for Song. Wenger hasn’t gone from hot-to-cold regarding M’Vila. I expect him to come to the Emirates.

    Good post as always, keep up the good work.

    • Sam Drew says :

      I feel like the days of replacing first teamers with youngsters are pretty much over. Arsene seems like his old self – ruthless. Important to remember that Arsene chose to sell Song; I doubt he would replace him with Coquelin. Like you say, he’s inexperienced and for me, not close to being ready yet.

      I see your point, but Sahin is a fantastic player. It’s an opportunity that’s too good to miss, especially if we manage to forge a chance at a permanent deal. I feel like we do have a crisis, regardless of availability – in terms of that, we have no Rosicky or Wilshere, and in Ramsey & Diaby we have two players that we just don’t know will be able to perform to their potential.

      I was positive on M’Vila yesterday, and feel he’d be a great fit, but I’ve become more doubtful with AW’s latest quotes on getting a midfielder and a defender. Sahin is coming, by all accounts, so it looks as if he’ll replace Song. A tactical shift perhaps, as we have no specialised defensive midfielder, other than the fringe players you mentioned earlier.

      Thanks! And keep up the commenting. Always enjoy your debate.

      • Big Al, Koh Samui, Thailand says :

        We’re singing from the same hymn sheet… it’s just the LOAN deal that bugs me somewhat. The only reason I can think of is that Wenger can’t stump up the money for BOTH Sahin AND M’Vila (for example), but CAN if he does the loan deal initially, followed by the permanent cash deal later.

        Gotta go! Everton v ManU JUST kicked off!

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