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Sam Tankard on After the disaster

"It's been the same old season for Arsenal, throwing away silly points at important moments in the season. Mers is right, out hopes of landing the title are over (again) and at the same ... " View all comments

After the disaster

Gunners hopes have died, says Paul, but can Spurs get fourth?

Paul Merson - Paul Merson Posted 19th April 2011 view comments

How do Arsenal recover from their meltdown against Liverpool? I don't think they do.

If they had won that game they would have put Manchester United under real pressure, but once again they shot themselves in the foot and as far as I'm concerned, their title hopes are over.

They only have themselves to blame as well because the way they played after they scored was an absolute shambles; as soon as Robin van Persie converted their penalty, everything was wrong.

Redknapp & Wenger: will they share the spoils?

Redknapp & Wenger: will they share the spoils?

Dirk Kuyt's attempt to score from the kick-off was going miles over the bar, so why did Wojciech Szczęsny catch it? He should have let the ball sail harmlessly behind, took his time retrieving it, put the ball down and frittered time away.

And to make matters worse, he then boots it up the pitch, when he would have been better of waiting 10 or 20 seconds and rolling it out to the full-back to begin a period of keep ball.

Wenger blamed everybody on Sunday but his team - and all of his complaints were unfounded. How he doesn't think Liverpool deserved a penalty is beyond me and as for moaning about the length of stoppage time, that was ridiculous.

Paul Merson
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And then of course, you have Emmanuel Eboue's ridiculous challenge on Lucas that won Liverpool their penalty. It was absolutely brainless and it frustrates me so much.

They just haven't got a talker. When Jens Lehmann played against Blackpool, the players said he was like their on-field manager, barking instructions and organising everything.

They need someone like that who plays regularly, but they've got nobody - and as long as Arsene Wenger fails to address that, they won't win anything of any note.

Wenger blamed everybody on Sunday but his team - and all of his complaints were unfounded. How he doesn't think Liverpool deserved a penalty is beyond me and as for moaning about the length of stoppage time, that was ridiculous.

The eight initial minutes was only a minimum and with Arsenal getting a penalty, scoring it and then celebrating, the referee had to add more time on. Nobody cost Arsenal that game but themselves.

Perfect

I really don't know how you are going to get Arsenal up for this game; it's a perfect time for Totttenham to play them. Spurs have had a week off, while Arsenal have just had an absolute disaster at Liverpool. The home side have a great chance.

Tottenham, of course, still have ideas of finishing in the top four. They have a hard run-in - they still have to go to Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool - but that could work in their favour as it's all in their own hands.

If they keep on winning their games, they will finish fourth. It's different if you're playing the bottom six in the league. You can win all your games and still not get in because those around you have also won.

Arsenal will have to be wary of Gareth Bale - but I still don't think it was the right call to name him PFA Player of the Year. For me, it should be an end-of-the-season thing; that's when you really see who makes a difference.

And over the course of the whole campaign, I just feel someone like Scott Parker should have won it. He has carried West Ham all year long; they can't win without him and if he wasn't at the club they would have been already relegated. That's what Player of the Year is about.

If Tottenham are to regularly challenge for the top four - or even the title - I think they need a new 'keeper. Heurelho Gomes seems like a lovely bloke, but he makes big rickets in big games - as we saw against Real Madrid last week. He doesn't make them when they are 3-0 down, he makes them at 0-0.

He's a great shot stopper but then every 'keeper in the Premier League is. The thing that sets you apart is your ability to make world-class saves when you've had nothing to do for 80 minutes. That's what Edwin van der Sar and Petr Cech have in their locker, and what Gomes doesn't.

Still, I don't see him being on the losing side against Arsenal.

PAUL'S PREDICTION
DRAW - Both teams have to win so it should be a really good game to watch. I think Tottenham have a real chance after what happened to Arsenal on Sunday, but I'll say it will end 2-2.

MERSON'S MAGIC MAN
RAFAEL VAN DER VAART - Arsenal have to stop him from playing, because if they don't they will have a real problem. There's got to be a lot of managers sitting down thinking 'Why didn't I sign him?', especially for £8million. That's a steal in this day and age.

Comments (34)

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Tom Brennan (Manchester United fan) says...

Good column Paul. Ur dead right on the Player of the Year award too. I dont think theres been any stand out class acts round the top of the table to deserve the award. Id like to have seen it go to a Scott Parker, Charles N'Zogbia maybe even Charlie Adam. Someone whos had a special season with his club and pulled them out of a hole. Spurs win tonight too! 19th title here we come!!

Posted 13:05 20th April 2011

Christopher Jackson (Arsenal) (Arsenal fan) says...

Couldn't agree more, the Arsenal players on twitter are saying there really up for this but only will passionate Arsenal players know what it feels like to beat Spurs and I feel only RVP, Fabregas and Wilshere are up for it. Spurs on the otherhand, all the players will be up for it and will motivated by a rocking White Hart Lane. 2-1 Spurs

Posted 13:02 20th April 2011

Alan Kay (Fulham fan) says...

cant see anything other than an arsenal win tonight 2-1 and chelsea to win , utd have everton next who will be tough to overcome so i believe it aint over yet but games are now running out.

Posted 12:59 20th April 2011

Hassan (arsenal fan) Majeed (Arsenal fan) says...

I agree with merse that our title hopes are over. But i think its funny how spurs actually think their in with a shout to twin this match. Granted you beat us at emirates but that was more down to our stupidity, not your class! And remember you lot are trying to do something which we do with consummate ease every season i.e qualify for the champions league. We have internationals all over the pitch and i know that even on a bad day our midfield easily outstrips yours. Gareth Bale, VDV and Modric are three class players,m but where's the rest??

Posted 12:37 20th April 2011

Tim (gooner) Lin (Arsenal) (Arsenal fan) says...

When is Merse going to get behind his old team? If Spurs were in our position everyone would be saying Harry is a genius. Harry and Spurs will finish WORSE then they did last season and won't be in the Champions League, as usual. We are only 7 points behind with a game in hand for cryiong out loud.

Posted 12:36 20th April 2011

Chris H (Arsenal fan) says...

I can never quite understand the level of vitriole cast at Arsenal and Wenger. Beggining of the season eveyone, espeically Merson, was saying we are going to finish outside the top4. Now we are looking to coming second it will still be cast as a 'disaster'. Seems that we can't be 'succesful' without being champions, ridiculous. How come Liverpool don't get this, despite spending more money and going 2 decades without a title? In Wenger we trust, the man is a genius.

Posted 11:15 20th April 2011

Nick Watkins (Arsenal fan) says...

I agree with Merse that the team lack leadership and a winning mentality. This season has been so up and down for all the top clubs, all dropping points left right and centre. If one of the top 5 or 6 clubs had managed to take all these opportunities the league would be over by now. Anyone who is calling for Wenger to go though, I would say be careful what you wish for. I agree the team needs some investment now and if we managed to bring in a couple of top signings it would lift the young squad not hinder their progress but AW has taken Arsenal through a very difficult financial period for the club, the club would not be in the financial position it is now if it wasn't for AW's careful management and all that time the team have been competetive without winning trophies which I agree has to be looked at now. During this period AW has also had to compete against massive spending from elsewhere. Now is the time for Arsenal to spend some money, the debt is easily managable and the club are making a profit. I would like to see AW clear some of the squad out (Diaby, Bendtner, Rosicky, Squillaci, Almunia, Denilson) and replace them with 3 or 4 experienced players who can make the team stronger and help put the winning mentality into this young squad.

Posted 11:07 20th April 2011

Chris I (Chelsea fan) says...

Arsenal are going to struggle big time in this game.. I can see the spurs fans up for this and them overturning arsenal 2-1 like last season.. Wenger blames every1 apart from himself about time you looked in the mirror arsene. Your team lack winning mentality and a proven goalscorer to get you 30 goals a season..

Posted 10:43 20th April 2011

Andrew Wafunika (Arsenal fan) says...

I read Paul's comments about Manu beating the toons,he made it clear that manu was gonna win that one but see the results,today he says he cant see how Arsenal is going to over come sunday's hitch wait and you will see Sir!!!!!

Posted 10:25 20th April 2011

Godfrey Isolio (Arsenal fan) says...

AW is a great coach-only if he loosens the purse strings and invests in a new squad capable of winning. But to all the spurs fans who think because they beat us this season, they can do the double over us, think twice. Remember, in 2004, WE WON IT AT WHITE HART LANE. We love nicking it there so dont be surprised after all, we have always shaved you bald without water!

Posted 10:10 20th April 2011

Owen P (Chelsea fan) says...

I'm not sure about VDV being the one to watch. Maybe at the start of the season, but his form has waned recently. Surely it should be Bale - i would like to have seen how much sleep Sagna had last night!

Posted 09:47 20th April 2011

John Shelton (Arsenal fan) says...

Every game is the same formation and same subs. Its too predictable. Too much passing around the box and nobody willing to shoot. Denilson, Arshavin, Diaby, Bentner, Almunia, squillachi, and vela all need to go this summer. Yesterday i read on sky how Alex ferguson will get rid of any player as soon as he see's them treading water. Thats the difference between winning and losing. Wenger needs that ruthlessness otherwise next season i seriously doubt us even getting top 4. If Wenger refuses to be ruthless maybe Mr Kreonke should be.

Posted 09:37 20th April 2011

Rubina Nahar (Arsenal fan) says...

@Mario Christodoulou are you serious??? Walcott to go?Come he is one of your best players. I agree on the others but Walcott to get rid off is just plain stupid- and Your an Arsenal fan!

Posted 09:29 20th April 2011

Majid Baraty (Arsenal fan) says...

I'm from Afghanistan and love Arsenal and the only thing that will make me happy is arsenal wining the title this season our life in our country is so hard and there is nothing to make us happy Please do it for us Start from tonight and win all your matches Good luck Gunners

Posted 09:24 20th April 2011

David Fulton (Arsenal fan) says...

AW is our greatest manager of ALL TIME fact ! He needs us the players need us. We knew after the 4-4 against Newcastle that our title hopes were slim, no team deserves to win the title drawing a game where we were 4-0 up. There are problems in the team, key area`s defence and keeper. But with all the dropped points we have had this season, we are still in with a chance ! Man U will drop more points before the end of the season FACT . Whatever we think AW should do, he will do all that he can for Arsenal FACT !. Lets not turn into moaners, and fully support AW and the team. We can get a result at Spurs for sure, go out with all guns blazing and really give it 110%. If we dont get a result at Spurs then season is over full stop. We need to bring in players for next season, we need to spend big on a keeper for sure, at least 2 defenders and another forward i think, but we need a clear out of some players who are simply not doing the business, and bring in some talented fresh blood . Up the gooners for tonight !!

Posted 08:47 20th April 2011

Sam Tankard (Arsenal fan) says...

It's been the same old season for Arsenal, throwing away silly points at important moments in the season. Mers is right, out hopes of landing the title are over (again) and at the same point as last season. As a squad and quality of the team, we can easily challenge for the league and win it, what worries me is the mentality of the team. It's like they half believe they can win the league, but there is this cloud hanging above the players heads, and they bottle it at important moments I.e Carling Cup. They need that arrogance like the Barcelona's of this world, or like the previous Invicible team. Mentality needs to change, otherwise we will not win a thing!

Posted 06:41 20th April 2011

Hotspur102 Wilson (Tottenham Hotspur fan) says...

Despite the Liverpool result you can never underestimate Arsenal, with United only drawing they may see that as a glimmer of hope that their season isn't over yet. Spurs have been great this season in the CL but need to cross the line in 4th. If they play like we all know they can they could take the Gunners to the cleaners. COYS 2-1 to us.

Posted 04:42 20th April 2011

P Skiddy (Tottenham Hotspur fan) says...

Ha ha ha...it is quite amusing listening to all this. The problem with Arsenal, is that they havent got the bottle. I think Spurs will be all over them on Wednesday night. Gareth Bale will absolutely murder them! Prediction 3-1 to the mighty Spurs....COYS!!!

Posted 21:58 19th April 2011

Daniel Arzouan (Arsenal fan) says...

You may be right blaming Arsenal for not making enough chances against Livepool but you cant say Arsenal's questionaning of the referee is unjust: Clear penalty on Djourou in the opening 5 minutes. How can you say Lucas' dive is a penalty? Its the softest of challenges by Eboue and even in the La Liga you wouldnt have got that as a foul in the middle of the park in open play. And above all, its ridiculous that there were 8 minutes of added time, and maybe you can add a minute for the goal celebration and the time over the free kick (whice was also given a minute after the end of time given). So you can blame Arsenal but those were truley abysmal refereing by Andre Marriner.

Posted 19:15 19th April 2011

Chris M (Arsenal fan) says...

A massive clear out at Arsenal is long overdue, also a change in formation is desprately needed! using Nasri as our main creative force and playing walcott as centre forward with van persie just behind, teams are terrified of Walcotts pace and he is wasted on the wing, Fabregas is probably heading to spain at the end of the season so use the funds we get for him and buy Garry Cahill, Guorcuff from lyon and Benzema.

Posted 19:14 19th April 2011

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