Were Arsenal just nobbled by nerves?

I think we can all agree that this was a bad day all round for the Arsenal players. A lot of fans are angry and are blaming Arsene Wenger for his team selection and tactics but he cannot have expected the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla to be so ineffective and for Petr Cech to have made two such glaring errors to cost us all the points was almost unheard of.

The question is then, why did the Gunners have such a bad day both individually and collectively and I have a theory. Nerves. It was understandable for all of us fans and the players and manager to be feeling confident and starting to believe that this could be our year for the Premier League trophy, but with that comes expectations and we seemed to wilt under the weight of them.

Did you see our captain for the day Per Mertesacker in the tunnel before the game? He was wringing his hands and twitching and I have never seen him look so nervous. And he is usually a leader on the pitch so that was not good. The nerves were really showing as our passes went astray, either too long or underhit so many times it was just not Arsenal. And as the game got away from us, it became even harder for the players to play their natural game.

THe attackers were snatching at things and trying too hard to force the game and the defenders never looked calm. So instead of Cech’s authority spreading to his team mates it went the other way and he picked up the Arsenal nerves. I just hope that we have now got this out of our system and can start to play as normal.

Do you agree that Arsenal were nobbled by opening day nerves today?

Tags Cech Mertesacker


  1. We just have to bounce back ASAP. It was a bad day in the office but we should have few games like this if we want to challenge for the title….Emirates is not a fortress yet. Crystal Place next…..wont be an easy away game. We need to bounce back ASAP.

    1. Hopefully it’ll be like when we lost to Villa a couple years ago. We quickly turned that around and went on to lead the league for months.

      I’m really annoyed at our team today. I do think we need signings, but we shouldn’t need to sign a Benzema or anyone like that to beat West Ham at home. Our team as it stands should be able to do that. The team that was selected today should have been able to do that. Even signing Messi would be meaningless if the rest of the team performs to those standards.

      Nonetheless I’m not worried. The thing that really stood out in our performance today was a lack of understanding between our players, very disorganised, poor communication and misplaced passes – that’s something that will improve as the season goes on. Disappointed, but it’s not the end of the world. There are 111 points still to fight for.

    2. No game is easy, no game is hard; you f**king put in 99% ur best efforts, and 1% of luck.

      I’m I want from Arsene is to go out boldly and get himself a very good striker and DM, pair Koscielny with another of his kind. I won’t worry much if we lose, cuz we won’t lose stupidly, with the right tactic and the right kind of players.

      1. Arsene has clearly tried to get Benzema. He’ll always deny it but it’s obvious. We can’t just get him from Real Madrid, so what more can he do? It doesn’t look like he’s given up on it.

        Very disappointed that it doesn’t seem like Wenger is interested in a DM. Coquelin was rubbish today. Made 0 tackles apparently. I can only remember him making 1 interception, and he seemed to think he was Paul Scholes spraying the ball all over the pitch, except half the time his passes went into the stands. I’m not saying Coquelin isn’t good enough, but he had a bad game today and that’s example that he wIll have bad form at times and we need suitable backup.

      2. I agree with that….but Arsene is just bundle of nerves on his own…shivering on the bench is now when we are trailing is now his trademark…pathetic!!

  2. After a long think about this game I have come to the conclusion similar to Graeme Souness.
    Put this game behind us and don’t for one minute think this performance is going to be a reflection of our season ahead.
    I do however still question Wenger’s decision making during a game

    1. @RWRW
      Our ability to bounce back and soldier, on will be the deciding factor which would prove if we are true contenders or not.

      1. Aww…The naivety is so cute at times yet ultimately cruel.
        Can we bounce back? Yes, for 4th place we can bounce back and soldier.
        But if you are sitting and waiting to see if we are true contenders or not…my friend, right now, as our squad stands, we are NOT.

        1. @k-ool
          Being optimistic and being naive are two separate and distinct frames of mind. One day you’ll grasp that.
          But then again, seems as if you’re comfortable in your pessimistic existence…

          1. @NY you fool me once – shame on you, you fool me twice -shame on me.

            how many more times are we going to be fooled?

            tactics – wrong
            player selection – wrong
            transfers – as always insufficient
            motivation – what?

            sure we can decide to be optimists – but it is bordering on naiveté at this point.

    2. @RwRW, exactly my point; we put this game behind us, like so many of its kind in the past and forget about all 3 points. You know, chances are we could come third or fourth at the end of the season.

      Yeah, Arsene’s sense of judgement is impeccable, I for one have always been a fan of his reasoning: we can win titles with guys like Theo, Giroud and Welbeck as our strikers, while we leave Coquelin as our only DM (gOod but not so sound DM); it’s also ok to just flood the team with midfielders all round and never take off an underperforming player, as that could hurt his feelings.

      RIP, my dearly beloved sarcasm.

  3. Yes.
    Hope it turns around though.
    Turn the page and focus. Only way to go.
    Oh and maybe get the signing done….human psiquis can be also affected by that

        1. @Andrew AFC
          Evening Andrew.
          A bit disappointed with the squads performance. But support for /of them doesn’t waiver, nonetheless…

  4. Nerves or not the simple fact of the matter is that to be champions you have to overcome things like that and that is perhaps the quintessential difference between ourselves and Chelsea, Chelsea went down to 10 men and still went for it.

    What reason do we have to be nervous, we played at home vs West Ham a team we should have the quality to beat. There is zero reason for us to have succumbed to nerves. Above all talking the talk is one thing but walking the walk is something else entirely and we face a more difficult game vs Palace at a raucous Selhurst Park.

    Now is thetime to either sink or swim, nerves at home vs West Ham on te first day of the season is a terrible excuse.

  5. nonsense….poor selection.lack of motivation..players played out of position..poor tactics by Wenger.no striker.
    now we at the bottom of the table.

    1. @kenyanfan
      Pure BS.
      This was the same bunch of players who took it to the EPL champions and their parked bus, and won. The only difference being, today they didn’t show up. Plain and simple.
      Save it…

      1. Wenger didn’t start with the same team or tactics as the Chelsea game last week.
        Why?… that is the question he should be anwsering,
        Apart from our young right back who was missing through injury… There’s no excuses for not starting with the same team.

        1. 1 player other than Bellerin (injured) was changed. Otherwise exactly the same team. Why change it? Because he presumed (correctly) that West Ham would play deeper than Chelsea and Giroud would not be bullied by their defence getting in and around him constantly. Tactically West Ham are a completely different team to Chelsea. Against Chelsea we played a high press, high line with fast counters…West Ham like to kick the ball over our heads. Do you know what West Ham like? The opposition high up the pitch. That’s why our tactics changed.

          Before you question why tactics changed, ask whether or not the tactics play into the strength of the opposition. It’s like playing a high line against Arsenal – it’s frigging suicide with pass masters and speed merchants waiting to break into the space you’ve left in behind you. No tactic is right for every game.

      2. @NY Dude come on, first of all Chelsea didnt park the bus that day, second we didnt start with the same team, third and even more importantly, we should have started with a wider, two winger set up of theo and ox and tried to stretch their d, instead of Cazorla always cutting in from the left.
        Also, Coq cant pass, he is great to block the midfield as a second DM when we want to park the bus but, to play him at home against opposition that is already sitting back, is a lack of imagination.
        Lack of transfers: Vidal or Schneiderlin instead of Coq would have added another dimension to our game.

  6. Some of us kept shouting since 2months ago, Sign, Sign, Sign players… U can’t win EPL with Giroud as your main Striker, No U can’t!!!!!!

  7. Nerves? ?
    Did I miss something?…. Again!
    I thought this was a simple Premier league Home game against a simple team ? and not a champions league final
    against Barcelona lol

    If the players were really that nervous then there must be something going on behind the scenes, that we don’t know about!

    Seriously! What was there to be nervous about?
    They just won all their pre-season games,
    thats 3 mickey mouse trophies and they beat Chelsea for the first time in years last week. ..
    So what was there to be nervous about ffs! ?

  8. Before anyone uses the excuse the season started early, please don’t we are talking about professional footballers supposedly.

  9. @admin
    what kind of sorting criteria do you use here because every time i post my comments as second or third person in an article, just to log in the next time and find my comments at the bottom. are you biased or what happens?

    1. @kenyanfan
      That is because people reply to the first or second post and that in turn pushes yours down. I hope this helps.

  10. Nerves? No, I think that is too kind.

    Over confidence? No, I think that would be too presumptuous that we thought we could walk this game – we didn’t play overly committed throughout any of it. We didn’t look lacklustre or languid on the pitch to me.

    Less fit? Definitely not. Ox on his own was making up 5 yards on players over a 10 yard sprint. We weren’t at a different level of preparedness.

    Why did we lose? We conceded the first goal. Let’s be honest – prior to that chance we had kept West Ham under our thumb. We were knocking, probing, finding gaps and not capitalising on chances. No problem – you wear the opposition down. But we let in a goal. A goal caused by a poor defensive line, poor marking by Kos and Monreal and then a HUGE keeping blunder.

    To analyse that first goal I think we had agreed if it came into the area beyond a certain point it was Cech’s ball. Believe it or not, they have that kind of thing mapped out. As the ball came in it was clearly going deep enough to be in Cech’s territory and he should have cleared it out, so I believe our players were reluctant to sprint into his area and become bodies in the way. Cech completely misjudges and goes, completely illogically, on the wrong side of the attacker for NO reason and they score. Had he stood in goal he’d have probably saved the header. Instead he made the worst possible decision and handed them the goal. Poor defending by lining up with Coq playing on their entire attack but MOSTLY poor goalkeeping. This is the situation we bought Cech to avoid. Devestating.

    What makes this worse is in the second half West Ham had no reason to push on. Instead they used a counter attack by playing on our slower defence. They hit the ball long into channels for Sakho to chase and constantly found joy in being able to just pin us back, set their attack and have little probes. Their probes didn’t even get close – they were just keeping us from attacking them. And then they get a potshot. Granted it was from some hash defending BUT it wasn’t really a problem. Good distance out – easy to see – plenty of time to set himself. The player WINDS the shot up, doesn’t snatch it, and Cech jumps the wrong way at the wrong time. It was terrible goalkeeping again as he misjudged the moment the shot would leave the boot and as soon as he did so he was not ready to dive upon the shot. I don’t know how he mucked this up – it’s bread and butter for a keeper – but he did. 2-0 and 2 goals directly down to Cech from non-dangerous situations.

    This leaves us with a mountain to climb because we already have a team who aren’t worried about coming out in waves. They’re gonna sit as deep with as many midfielders between us and the goal as possible. No great tactic, just be a tight defense and don’t break quick – just get the ball into space for the fast guy to challenge. And they did it well. We continued to be as lethal in front of goal as a wet fish and of course we lose.

    The reason we lost isn’t due to some psychological reasoning. Cech had an ABSOLUTE stinker and conceded a season’s worth of howlers in a single match. It reminds me of when Bartez gave us a game once against Man Utd. If a keeper gives the opposition goals, you can’t do much about it. That was a worse performance then Szczes at Southampton last year. For that most of you would have had his head. Keepers giving 2 goals from 2 shots that were both NOT real goal scoring opportunities you have to hold your hands up and say “we lost it right there”.

    Those of you saying right now “but we should have scored” I agree. We should. We were awful up front – Giroud had a nightmare in the box, Ozil was poor, Cazorla was poor, Ramsey was poor. Our final ball was consistently awful and our shooting was diabolical. On a different day though we don’t concede that first goal, the pressure is off, there is maybe 1 less defender between a player and the goal and we finish a chance. It’s one of those things.

    How do we react from here? The BEST option is to see if we can get new quality. The same as before. A LW would be great. A CF would be great. BUT we can’t suddenly act like we are terrible. You cannot account for players having days like today. It all stemmed from Cech. That first half we were by far the better team and created plenty. That howler is what killed us, not anything else.

    1. I agree with you, the only thing is Cazorla – he always plays well in the middle and plays rubbish on the wing, not sure why. The game reminded me of our pre Man City games last year. On the offensive front we lacked speed, and when we had the opportunity to break, both Giroud and Ozil seemed to slow down the game, giving them the opportunity to get back into position. Giroud didn’t look sharp from the beginning, when he inexplicably dribbled the ball out of play. TBH we played well for the first thirty minutes, and then as the game dragged on, our passing became inaccurate, and we allowed them to muscle us off the ball. I was encouraged when Ozil protected the ball from a WHU player, and kept him off the ball, as I hadn’t seen that sort of play from him before, but sadly that didn’t last.

  11. Perfectly fine, just know insanity when I see or here it being repeated time and time again. I wouldn’t get my hopes up on defeating Palace away either from what I saw last season and they too have strengthened. In my honest opinion of all the games this month, this was the 1 must win. So much for that now but unto the next 1…

  12. A multi million pound team putting on an exhibition like a pub team full of ale. Embarrassing!
    Chec`s signing will lead Arsenal to the Title!…. Really ?
    It`s going to be Ozil`s season!…. Really?
    We don`t need to buy a striker!….. Really?
    When (IMO) Mertesacker is MOTM….. God help us!
    And I got out of a nice warm bed to watch that crap

    1. I hear you dude. I’m in Syd and woke up to watch the game…….I tell you, it was hard to fall asleep after that performance.

  13. In our last 5 home games, we’ve failed to even score a goal in 4 of them. I’m ashamed of that. It’s embarassing.

    Since the loss to Villa very start of the 2013-14 season, the Emirates was a fortress. We went unbeaten in the league at home for a calendar year, until that Man United game last season which we should’ve won.

    Since our great 8-game winning run came to an end with Chelsea’s bus at the Emirates last year, our results have been 0-0 vs Chelsea, 0-1 vs Swansea, 0-0 vs Sunderland, 4-1 vs West Brom, and now 0-2. What’s happened? It’s shocking.

  14. Cech had a bad game. It happens (like Courtois yesterday)
    However, there won’t be an Arsenal player who takes this loss as badly and as personal as Cech.
    Cech is known to be obsessed with clean sheets. He will no doubt have a word with the defenders, look at his performance with a fine tooth comb. Remember Cech is a Veteran of PL for over a decade and CL, PL, FA Cup champion.

    I still consider Cech WC.

    Wenger must sign a TOP striker and Top DM

    Today Giroud had a couple of really good chances but did not convert. In the long run these missed opportunities will hurt us. Even the best players miss good opportunities but we need a CF who will convert on more of them than Giroud

    I’m a fan of Benzema, even though I prefer Lewandowski. Lewandowski is like Ruud Van Nistleroy but holds the ball better. Lewandowski is a ruthless, lethal poacher of the ball. Realistically, I don’t think we can get him

    Benzema is all around excellent. Great dribbler, poacher, great in the air, great passing, power, ball control and awesome finishing.

    He is not the best striker by any means but he is a top notch striker capable of 25-30 goals per season

    As for DM, Coquelin can not play every game. He could get injured. He could play sub par occasionally. If Coquelin doesn’t get someone to push him, he could relax and performance could decrease.

    In my opinion we need another DM who is as good or perhaps even better. We missed the boat on some CM like Kondogbia, Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger, Khedira, Vidal. However, there is not a shortage of decent DM ie. Carvalho, Krychowiak, Busquets, Bender, Gustavo

    1. Cech? U think I really have a problem with cech today? Not that he was perfect or anything, but sometimes how well or badly u perform depends on the guys around u.

      1. Did I mention your name? I didn’t say you had a problem with him.
        Quite a few shots were taken at Cech today, so I was just defending him

    2. Cech was awful today. I agree it doesn’t change who he is as a player though. When we bought him I was apprehensive as I’ve seen this side of his game creeping in and I was concerned. I think this was a rarity though and NOT the norm at all. Cech is quality, I can’t see this repeating week in week out with him.

  15. Asking the wrong questions me thinks.

    Can’t always be the ayers fault, the referee, the weather, the grass…

  16. On perhaps the only positive note from today – Sanchez looks good. He doesn’t look very fit at all, but he still looked our best player when he came on and was able to get a couple half-chances for himself. He has a week to get fitter now before our next game.

    In his post match interview, Reece Oxford (the 16 year old who made our midfield look like school children today) was asked if he had any scary moments in the game. He replied ‘when they brought Alexis Sanchez on’. I like that we finally have a player that other team that other teams fear.

    1. Sad that it took Alexis to be scared, would’ve hope he would’ve been scared in the beginning

  17. Both yes and no.

    Yes: Because Arsenal has been called up as title contenders who should get a comfortable win against West Ham. Problem is; West Ham is a good team capable of defending and neutralizing threats

    No: Because West Ham is bad enough to not have Wenger pay attention to their team when making his tactic, he plays his own game and the match plays itself. West Ham is good enough to be able to succeed with a plan neutralizing Arsenal and counting on counter attacks/luck, which is what happened today.

    A mix of both, I guess. Players just didnt seem to be there today.

  18. Arsenal fans 2013: arsenal need a top quality cdm and st
    arsenal fans 2014: arsenal need a top quality cdm and st
    arsenal fans 2015: arsenal need a top quality cdm and st
    arsenal fans 2016: arsenal need a top quality cdm and st
    wenger i will buy 10 cam until i buy top cdm and st. i like goals to be shared by 10 players but i dont want striker to block the cohesion of the team by getting 30 goals by himeslf. i also dont want cdm becoz i love cam.

  19. arsenal fans: coquelin is the best cdm in the world
    arsenal fans: giroud is better than messi
    arsenal fans: mertesaker is better than terry

  20. Nobbled by nerves!!!
    That is Wenger version of events for sure…!!
    This is what happens when you have proven limited tactical acuteness and you are clearly not doing your job and hoping the talents on the pitch will save the day…!

    Getting tired of this “touch and go” predictable attitude from a manager who clearly does not have the “tools” nor the capabilities to win the league (CL is just a different horizon for us, no need to even talk about it).

    If I was thinking about it maliciously and as a neutral, I might assume that Cech did it on purpose… Because it was just pure amateurish goal keeping… This is from a guy supposed to gain us 10 to 12 points… Motherf*cker just handed 3 points to West Ham!!!

    Anyway, for the fans thinking that something different is coming, you are delusional and nourishing high hopes… At Arsenal we like our routine and the day to day “same thing”.

    Another manager may be, but Wenger will never, ever, win the EPL again… That is just a fact!

    As a matter of fact, he could win the CL before he leaves (hopefully soon) with an abundance of luck and favourable circumstances.

    But if you cannot destroy West Ham at home, what’s the point really?

    Anyway it is the first game, but back to reality for all those who thought we were going to win the league or were contender… Same old Arsenal (and Wenger) not bringing the players we need and gambling on guys like Welbeck (sh*t player), Wilshere (eternal hope, but will never be top) and more of the same Wenger craps!

  21. When Alexis was introduced then I believed Arsenal was a One-Man team.

    I say be bold, shrewd and focus… Cut your losses and Sell Ozil (you can turn me down all you want) afterall Manure sold Di Maria without fuss. I can’t imagine a 16yr old out muscling him and his likes. Buy Wayama, make Santi your Number 10. Cazorla is confused, he doesn’t even know his wing anymore, he just run around in the field kicking football.(Evident of when Debuchy was sub) he wasn’t seen till 86mins.

    Oh Mert… I hate to believe you’re a German.

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