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Football: Arsenal Aim To Banish Inconsistency

Posted on: December 13, 2008

MIDDLESBROUGH: Arsenal’s season appears to be stuck on a perpetual loop as the north Londoners combine beating England’s finest with alarming lows which inevitably follow such euphoric highs.

The latest rise and fall of the rollercoaster saw Arsene Wenger’s side, on the back of a three-match winning streak, succumb to an unforgivably meek defeat at Porto in Wednesday’s final Champions League group tie.

The Portuguese champions hardly had to break sweat in recording inflicting Arsenal’s seventh defeat of the season in all competitions – the same number they suffered during the whole of last term.

There were mitigating circumstances: Arsenal were missing a clutch of first team regulars, either resting tired limbs back in London or injured, and the tie had lost much of its relevance thanks to both sides having qualified in the previous round of matches.

But, even so, there was none of the verve or swagger routinely associated with Wenger’s tyros and the penalty they must pay for their sloppiness is a potential second round tie against one of Europe’s heavy artillery in next week’s draw.

Perhaps just as worryingly, promising momentum has been checked at a stroke.

“It is difficult if you judge the team on Wednesday night, because you cannot expect to perform like that and win anything,” Mikael Silvestre, the defender, said.

“But the season is long, the squad is big and there are going to be different games. There are going to be points for us to catch – on the road to Middlesbrough [on Saturday] first of all.

“It is going to be tough, but we have got time to grow up. We are still in the race. We proved against Manchester United and Chelsea that the quality is there, so we just have to get the consistency.”

Some of the players who missed the trip to Portugal, including Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor, will return for Saturday’s trip to Teeside, a game Arsenal cannot afford to lose if they still harbour genuine hopes of claiming the Premier League title, but there is a sense of foreboding which now routinely attaches itself to this sort of away trip for Arsenal.

Five of those seven losses this season have come away from the Emirates stadium, where Arsenal remain relatively solid, and it was Boro who effectively cracked the Gunners’ self-belief last season.

Arsenal were unbeaten when they travelled to the Riverside stadium in December 2007, but were beaten far more convincingly than the 2-1 scoreline suggested.

Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate hopes the memory of that day will fuel his side this weekend as they seek to put more daylight between themselves and the foot of the table.

“As a player you get grounds where you can sometimes feel you don’t always perform and maybe some of their players have that with our ground,” he said.

“They’re a young squad and you do get those bits of inconsistency. The standards there are incredibly high. They’ve been to the Champions League final in recent years and done the double.

“The one thing’s that’s staggering is to hear people questioning Arsene Wenger. Him and Sir Alex Ferguson are the two you really look up to as a young manager.

“Aston Villa want to break into the top four, but Arsenal are capable of beating anybody, and they’re up there in the top four. We’re taking on one fo the giants of English football and we’ll give everything we’ve got.”

– AFP/yb

Channel News Asia

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Football: Arsenal Aim To Banish Inconsistency

Posted on: December 13, 2008

MIDDLESBROUGH: Arsenal’s season appears to be stuck on a perpetual loop as the north Londoners combine beating England’s finest with alarming lows which inevitably follow such euphoric highs.

The latest rise and fall of the rollercoaster saw Arsene Wenger’s side, on the back of a three-match winning streak, succumb to an unforgivably meek defeat at Porto in Wednesday’s final Champions League group tie.

The Portuguese champions hardly had to break sweat in recording inflicting Arsenal’s seventh defeat of the season in all competitions – the same number they suffered during the whole of last term.

There were mitigating circumstances: Arsenal were missing a clutch of first team regulars, either resting tired limbs back in London or injured, and the tie had lost much of its relevance thanks to both sides having qualified in the previous round of matches.

But, even so, there was none of the verve or swagger routinely associated with Wenger’s tyros and the penalty they must pay for their sloppiness is a potential second round tie against one of Europe’s heavy artillery in next week’s draw.

Perhaps just as worryingly, promising momentum has been checked at a stroke.

“It is difficult if you judge the team on Wednesday night, because you cannot expect to perform like that and win anything,” Mikael Silvestre, the defender, said.

“But the season is long, the squad is big and there are going to be different games. There are going to be points for us to catch – on the road to Middlesbrough [on Saturday] first of all.

“It is going to be tough, but we have got time to grow up. We are still in the race. We proved against Manchester United and Chelsea that the quality is there, so we just have to get the consistency.”

Some of the players who missed the trip to Portugal, including Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor, will return for Saturday’s trip to Teeside, a game Arsenal cannot afford to lose if they still harbour genuine hopes of claiming the Premier League title, but there is a sense of foreboding which now routinely attaches itself to this sort of away trip for Arsenal.

Five of those seven losses this season have come away from the Emirates stadium, where Arsenal remain relatively solid, and it was Boro who effectively cracked the Gunners’ self-belief last season.

Arsenal were unbeaten when they travelled to the Riverside stadium in December 2007, but were beaten far more convincingly than the 2-1 scoreline suggested.

Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate hopes the memory of that day will fuel his side this weekend as they seek to put more daylight between themselves and the foot of the table.

“As a player you get grounds where you can sometimes feel you don’t always perform and maybe some of their players have that with our ground,” he said.

“They’re a young squad and you do get those bits of inconsistency. The standards there are incredibly high. They’ve been to the Champions League final in recent years and done the double.

“The one thing’s that’s staggering is to hear people questioning Arsene Wenger. Him and Sir Alex Ferguson are the two you really look up to as a young manager.

“Aston Villa want to break into the top four, but Arsenal are capable of beating anybody, and they’re up there in the top four. We’re taking on one fo the giants of English football and we’ll give everything we’ve got.”

– AFP/yb

Channel News Asia

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Football: Arsenal Aim To Banish Inconsistency

Posted on: December 13, 2008

MIDDLESBROUGH: Arsenal’s season appears to be stuck on a perpetual loop as the north Londoners combine beating England’s finest with alarming lows which inevitably follow such euphoric highs.

The latest rise and fall of the rollercoaster saw Arsene Wenger’s side, on the back of a three-match winning streak, succumb to an unforgivably meek defeat at Porto in Wednesday’s final Champions League group tie.

The Portuguese champions hardly had to break sweat in recording inflicting Arsenal’s seventh defeat of the season in all competitions – the same number they suffered during the whole of last term.

There were mitigating circumstances: Arsenal were missing a clutch of first team regulars, either resting tired limbs back in London or injured, and the tie had lost much of its relevance thanks to both sides having qualified in the previous round of matches.

But, even so, there was none of the verve or swagger routinely associated with Wenger’s tyros and the penalty they must pay for their sloppiness is a potential second round tie against one of Europe’s heavy artillery in next week’s draw.

Perhaps just as worryingly, promising momentum has been checked at a stroke.

“It is difficult if you judge the team on Wednesday night, because you cannot expect to perform like that and win anything,” Mikael Silvestre, the defender, said.

“But the season is long, the squad is big and there are going to be different games. There are going to be points for us to catch – on the road to Middlesbrough [on Saturday] first of all.

“It is going to be tough, but we have got time to grow up. We are still in the race. We proved against Manchester United and Chelsea that the quality is there, so we just have to get the consistency.”

Some of the players who missed the trip to Portugal, including Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor, will return for Saturday’s trip to Teeside, a game Arsenal cannot afford to lose if they still harbour genuine hopes of claiming the Premier League title, but there is a sense of foreboding which now routinely attaches itself to this sort of away trip for Arsenal.

Five of those seven losses this season have come away from the Emirates stadium, where Arsenal remain relatively solid, and it was Boro who effectively cracked the Gunners’ self-belief last season.

Arsenal were unbeaten when they travelled to the Riverside stadium in December 2007, but were beaten far more convincingly than the 2-1 scoreline suggested.

Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate hopes the memory of that day will fuel his side this weekend as they seek to put more daylight between themselves and the foot of the table.

“As a player you get grounds where you can sometimes feel you don’t always perform and maybe some of their players have that with our ground,” he said.

“They’re a young squad and you do get those bits of inconsistency. The standards there are incredibly high. They’ve been to the Champions League final in recent years and done the double.

“The one thing’s that’s staggering is to hear people questioning Arsene Wenger. Him and Sir Alex Ferguson are the two you really look up to as a young manager.

“Aston Villa want to break into the top four, but Arsenal are capable of beating anybody, and they’re up there in the top four. We’re taking on one fo the giants of English football and we’ll give everything we’ve got.”

– AFP/yb

Channel News Asia

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