Embarrassed, angry, sad – Arsenal lose to Bradford

It’s difficult to blog after a poor result. Most writers prefer picking apart a performance where we can praise some players and perhaps mention that a few could’ve done a bit better. But when a team loses, and does so in the manner that we just witnessed, there isn’t anything enjoyable about discussing it. Unless you’re one of those Arsenal fans that goes straight to Twitter to whine.

I’m not one of those people – I don’t want to whine. But it’s pretty hard to watch an Arsenal game when the players don’t even look like they want to be there.

It was predictable that Arsenal would go behind in this game. Even after naming a very strong side, Arsenal still started slowly. There were plenty of passes between our defenders, but not much penetration into Bradford’s half. Wells, who caused problems with his pace and quick feet throughout the match, brought a foul out of Vermaelen after nutmegging him. The resulting free kick wasn’t cleared and Thompson’s finish was fantastic. Our captain has gradually regained form since a poor start to the season, but I was totally unimpressed tonight. Mertesacker looked composed, as one would expect (especially against the calibre of opposition!). But Vermaelen was run ragged; he made silly fouls all game and his only saving grace was managing to ghost in at the far post to score the equaliser.

Bradford stood firm at the back and continued to cause us problems. They would hoof the ball up the field and often manage to hold it up. They targeted Vermaelen and Gibbs rather than Mertesacker and Sagna, knowing that the former pair are weaker in the air. And the tactic worked. The tireless Hanson won plenty of aerial battles (or at least prevented the Arsenal player from getting good contact), and the ball fell to a Bradford player far too often for our liking.

The bright moments in the first half generally came from Coquelin and Wilshere. The former smashed an effort against the post and Wilshere kept picking holes in Bradford’s defence. One move ended up with Jack playing Gibbs in down the left, and his cross fell to Gervinho. Our centre forward managed to miss this chance. I don’t think I need to comment on it.

I don’t understand why Gervinho was a centre forward while Podolski was on the pitch, out on the wing. Podolski’s movement off the ball is minimal, but he can hold up play and his finishing is brilliant. Gervinho has pace and can get past defenders, but his touch is poor, and his finishing is worse. So why not swap their positions? To be honest, against a team like Bradford, these players should shine wherever they are played. Despite what some think, we have world class players and they shouldn’t have been made to look so ordinary.

The second half started in the same vain, with Bradford looking dangerous, but Arsenal began to create chances as the half wore on. Cazorla became more influential and the introduction of Rosicky and Oxlade-Chamberlain had quite an impact (although I wish Wenger had done it earlier). The anonymous Podolski was taken off, and I didn’t notice. I also didn’t notice the introduction of Chamakh, who was woeful. If he had put in half the effort of his opposite number, Hanson, we’d have been raving about him. But his body language looks all wrong – he looks bored and he doesn’t seem to care about Arsenal winning at all.

Once we equalised, it looked like Arsenal was the only team that could win it. The momentum was with Wenger’s side and Bradford looked tired. But they held us to reach a penalty shoot-out. Although there is some skill in taking penalties, I think it comes down to confidence and experience. Both of which Bradford had in abundance, and Arsenal didn’t. Bradford have won three penalty shoot-outs this season, and Arsenal’s last one was against Roma in 2009. The only player which featured that night and tonight was Sagna, who didn’t take a penalty. As for confidence, Bradford were full of it, after holding a Premier League club for 120 minutes. So there was little doubt that Bradford would win once we reached that point in the game. We can moan about Wenger’s choice of penalty takers – e.g. Mr. “Completely-bereft-of-confidence” Chamakh took one, but our starting centre forward, Gervinho, didn’t – but Arsenal shouldn’t need penalties to beat Bradford. We should have won this game, even just by one goal, because we have the better players. The problem was that we didn’t have the confidence or desire to win the game.

We can’t blame this defeat on the board, or on Wenger. His team selection had its faults, as did his substitutions (Coquelin was great, why take him off?). But the players were the problem. We lost to Chelsea and Man Utd because they are better teams, and that is due to the manager. It’s his squad and his tactics. But losing to a League 2 side, with the quality we had on the pitch, isn’t Wenger’s fault. You can’t excuse the players when they performed with such little determination and confidence in their own ability. If every player had been up for it (as Wilshere was), then we’d have won comfortably. Unfortunately for us, they weren’t. And that’s another trophy that we won’t win.


Author/Editor at Straight Talking Gooners

16 thoughts on “Embarrassed, angry, sad – Arsenal lose to Bradford

  1. JOEL

    It is part of the Manager’s job to motivate his team;to set down tactics that should help his players outmanoevre the opposition-especially where the opposition are levels below the standard within which Arsenal supposedly ply their trade.

  2. Jonas

    Ofcourse this is Wenger fault´s. Look at the buys he has made in the last few years. Chamack,Gerviniho,, Park and this season Giroud. while selling our best players vieira, Henry,Fabregas and Van Persie. That is so smart. No wonder they call him the Professor. Most of us clowns would try to keep the best players and try to add some others good players to that list. Gerviniho could not score a goal with Stevie Wonder in goal. He has nothing to offer and Clumsey i am mean Ramsey is in the same caliber. When we are in a good position to do something he will pop up and ruin things. The he runs all over the court like a chicken with his head cut of. Why are the players to blame. Wenger says they are good enough and puts them out there. I have never seen such badly motivated Arsenal team in my life as this years teams. Clueless, Characterless,hopless,worthless bunch of loosers with a Professor who is better at math then soccer. We reached the end of the line when it comes to patience tonight.

  3. moyeen

    mertesaker,ramsey,chamakh,gervinho,are no way near players to play for arsenal.it looks like gervinho is his messi.i dont know but i think him arsene and the board lost the plot.i blame the supporters for their support.we should stop watching arsenal play.i honestly dont expect us to win, even today.whats the point expecting the unexpected.this season i hardly watch us play.

  4. Tomas Wojtyga

    No club of Arsenal stature ever feels excitement about going to a league two club to play for a semis spot in the league cup , so you can’t blame the first team players for not wanting to be there. Having said that, you expect Arsenal superior quality to come through and save the day. Problem is, Arsenal have declined so much in recent years that there are no easy games anywhere anymore. If a league two club can successfully stifle Arsenal’s creative forward progress for three quarters of the game, then how can you say Wenger is innocent in all of this. Gervinho’s was the only clear cut chance of the game, other than Vermailen’s goal of course, which says it all. How he missed his tap in only he knows. He could’ve taken a touch and walk the ball across the goal line. I’m all for players expressing themselves with extravagant hair styles but if a player fixes his hair after each run he makes,which Gervinho does , and said player is not playing up to his potential ,which Gervinho isn’t, then perhaps it’s something Wenger should take a stand on.

    1. WC

      When you haven’t won anything for almost a decade you can’t pick and choose which trophies you want to compete for. You’re being paid more money a week than 90% of the population makes in a year, you better damn well get excited to play anything that’s put in front of you.

  5. Duc

    As a Yorkshire Arsenal fan I wasn’t surprised by tonight. I had £5 in my BET365 account and I thought .. 1-0 to Bradford but … cash is tight and so I decided to pass. It would have been a little cheer at least to cop a few quid after wasting my valuable broadband quota for that performance. Ho hum .. Wenger will no doubt be off to some former French colony for more cheap shite like Gervinho ..oh wait he cost a fortune … perhaps a little Yorkshire grit is needed in north London? Off to bed .. too much Tullamore Dew.

  6. WC

    We have world class players? Really? Unless we expanded the meaning of world class to mean kind of above average sometimes then no we don’t have anymore world class players. We sold our last one to Manchester and at the rate we’re going we won;t have any more because who wants to come to a club that has trouble even staying in the top 6 in their league? Who would want to come to get beaten by a team that’s more than an entire league below them? Who would want to come to a team that isn’t going to win anything? World class players want to win, we don’t apparently.

  7. The Cabbie

    AW was not embarrassed by this defeat ,how dare he say that,he bloody well should be.Chamakh cost more than the whole of Bradford City and would not get in their side. Either change the direction and style of play Mr Wenger or move upstairs.

    1. Anonymous

      wenger has lost it full stop. no player was imposed on wenger. its time to move on. how do u keep using the same formation in every game only a man person will do that. Bradford. Its terrible and worse off our first team against a division 2 side. Haba its sickening

  8. sube

    I had actually predicted that we would lose. So, it was not a really big surprise to me. Why? Because Arsenal are, at the moment, are not capable of beating any football club. You just have to look at their last 10 games to see how poor they are at the moment. They should thank their lucky stars that they are just 2 points behind top 4!

  9. Samson Okpe

    The players don’t want 2 play 4 wenger anymore,and wenger can nolonger motivates the players 2 play nd win.The way 4ward,sack wenger,bring in Usmanov nd employ Guardiola as coach.Meanwhile,hold on 2 the good nd experienced players.

  10. Turbs

    My gut feeling is that if we stopped playing zonal marking when defending set pieces, we’d concede less. 0-1 on the night would have seen us all happy this morning and getting excited about another semi-final. It’s a simple change and begging to be implemented as far as I can see.

    Could it really be that simple?

  11. Terry

    Unbelievable…. This is a team of professional footballers. There job is to be “up” for all matches. They are paid well to do so. I agree with WC. If you can’t do your job, you sit. There are many eager lads ready to give it their all, for every minute, to play and gain experience at this level. Mr. Wenger has sold his champions to other clubs. I love the fact that we have a player of the highest quality playing for my team of choice. Regardless….Wenger is paid to inspire, to motivate, to demand, to raise hell when things get misdirected. These players are not little children, they are not untouchable by verbal demand. These players do not need stroking, they need direction…. we play this way, we play hard, if you can’t, its the bench. Period!!!! What the hell… its better than feeding them a line of crap. Arsenal is much bigger than Wenger or the upper crust board of directors…. Arsenal is its fans and its pride. Above all… get behind the team, the players, each other, and get loud. Every team has its moments of lackluster… I am sure the team will find its way back up the ladder, at least I hope they do.


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