We were very lucky.

April 30, 2009

This is going to be an uber-short post as I have just returned home after working for fourteen hours and am knackered.

 

One thing I have to say is, 03:45 is no time to be getting up to watch a football game on a work-night. Second, it’s infuriating when you roll out of bed at said hour to watch that fucking performance that we put on last night. I won’t go into it in any detail as it will just make me angry all over again, but Arseblogger has done a good job of summing it up, so please check his post out.

 

There were one or two good performances last night, notably from Almunia who singlehandedly kept us in the tie. Gibbs did well considering that that big lazy cunt Diaby gave him no help at all. What Arsene sees in him is beyond me. Yes, he has a lot of skill but if he isn’t prepared to work his arse off and get stuck in, then he is absolutely no addition to this squad, let alone the starting eleven. It may as well have been me out there last night for all the use Diaby was. To describe his performance as useless, lazy and abject is being kind. The same goes for Adebayor and I hope that Diaby doesn’t start the second leg, because if he does and he plays like that again it is bye bye to any chance of silverware this year.

 

I’ve voiced my disgust for Adebayor’s laziness on previous posts and so I won’t go into it again. Suffice to say, I really hope Milan come in for him in the summer. For every decent game he has had this season, he has had fifteen woeful ones. That’s Michael Owen kind of statistics, enough said.

 

Somehow we came off the field at only 1-0, so on the face of things it was a great result, considering the ‘performance’.

 

The thing that worries me is that the players not only believe Wenger’s words about them deserving to win something, but that the feel they have a divine right to silverware without the need to work for it. Well, last night should have showed them that that isn’t the case…..if the games against hull, Stoke and man City haven’t already gotten that message across.

 

Bottom line, we were woeful and that kind of performance isn’t acceptable. The whole fucking team should be dropped, if possible, for the weekend league game so that they have no fucking excuses at all for not putting a great performance in at the Emirates next Tuesday.

 

Right, that’s it. Am knackered and there’s no point in talking much more about what we are all already thinking and feeling about last night.

 

Luckily, it’s all to play for next week. Thankfully. Have a good one, we can take solace in just being one goal down.


D-day, part one.

April 29, 2009

Today is the day for our players to stand up and be counted. We need a big performance from them at Old Trafford tonight, no doubt about it.

 

At the manager’s press conference yesterday he said that both Gibbs (ankle) and Silvestre (back) will undergo checks this morning and let’s hope that they both come through them, but that Silvestre takes up his place on the bench and not just because he said this.

 

Looking at the BBC website today, it appears that ManUre are making plans for a homecoming parade should they win the Champions League and this should be printed out and stuck up on the wall of the dressing room to motivate the players, not that they should need it, to go out onto the field and stick it to those bunch of presumptuous cunts.

 

There was uncertainty surrounding the availability of Carlos Vela after it emerged that the club was requested to tell him so stay at home, away from training on Monday, but he’ll join up with the match day squad. If he does have swine flu, let’s hope we get him a job of handing out the oranges and Jaffa cakes in the ManUre dressing room at half-time.

 

The game is receiving a fair amount of media hype due to it being the only all-English tie. I hope that the game will live up to it’s billing, in terms of entertainment. One thing I know is it’s going to be a stressful ninety minutes.

 

Abou Diaby lined up alongside the manager at yesterday’s press conference looking like a black Ming the Merciless and let’s hope that, if he does play, he gets medieval with the ManUre midfield and defence.

 

Arshavin’s agent is at it already and he is quite the shit-stirring cunt. I wish he would bugger off, or that a player tells his agent to go fuck himself when he starts this kind of shit shit stirring in the media. It’s uncalled for and most unwelcome. The player just arrived three months ago, so for his agent to be starting this already is bang out of order and I hope he ends up rotting away in a faeces stained gulag cell.

 

Theo wants to be scarier than Cristiano Ronaldo. Let’s hope that, in the process, he doesn’t also don the cheatiness and cuntiness of Ronaldo.

 

Both managers are in a bullish mood about their prospects but I feel that we have a psychological edge over ManUre in this tie. Recent form shows that we are a team on a fast rise and so this should ensure that we go into this game with confidence. One thing is for sure, we can’t go there and sit back. Nor can they. Neither team is built around that style of play and I’ll be surprised if there are less than two goals in this game. I fancy it to finish 2-1. Fingers crossed it will be 2-1 to The Arsenal.

 

The BBC has plenty of match facts here and let’s hope that we get the better of our first European tie against ManUre.

 

Non-game related news and it seems that Rosicky is back in training, even though the manager does not want to try and rush him back this season. Let’s hope that he can continue his training without any more little setbacks and that he will be fully fit for the start of pre-season.

 

The tension and excitement is well and truly taking hold now and I can’t wait for the game. There’s a nervous tension gripping me and I hope that this team can reach many more big games like these so this feeling can be repeated. It’s games like this that make all of the hard times seem worthwhile.

 

Cross all appendages for a good result tonight. I’ve a feeling we’ll be talking about Cesc and Walcott tomorrow.

 

Come on you Reds!!!!


The day before D-day, part one.

April 28, 2009

Today sees the first of the semi-finals take place between Barcelona and Chelsea and I hope that Barcelona give them a good stuffing. I’d prefer to have a Barcelona v Arsenal final, should we reach the final. Given Barcelona’s defence, I’d fancy us to get a few against them and vice versa I suppose. But, it’d make for a much better final in terms of entertainment than the borefest that Chelsea would undoubtedly bring about.

 

Anyway, getting a bit ahead of myself there. First Barca have to give them a good seeing to tonight and then we have to take care of our end of the deal against ManUre. The hardest thing about living in Japan for these kind of games is that you miss 90% of the hype and hysteria in the build-up to the game. Sometimes that can be a good thing, especially in the aftermath of a game when Sky inevitably go apeshit over something Arsenal have done. But, it takes away some of the excitement in the build-up to the game all the same. Not that I am not excited, but anyone living abroad and reading this will know what I mean. No Sky Sports News spewing detritus 24/7 here.

 

The first game is a huge one and it’s important not to lose it. A score draw would be a good result, but let’s hope for a 2-1 or a 1-0 to The Arsenal. We don’t want to have to chase the game in the second leg because with ManUre’s ability to hit us on the counter and from set pieces we would be in trouble should we lose the first leg.

 

I expect Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Djourou and Gibbs to line up in defence. Well, I hope that Djourou starts in place of Silvestre as he is too much of a liability in a game of such high stakes. I think Djourou would be a more solid option alongside Kolo. In midfield I imagine that we will go with Song and Denilson playing more of a holding role, with Cesc playing in a more advanced role with Nasri and Walcott out wide. I almost wrote Arshavin there instead of Nasri. God, I wish Arshavin was available for this tie, he would make a huge difference for us. Up front I reckon the boss will go with Adebayor, what with Van Persie not being available.

 

Six months ago I would have been very worried going to Old Trafford with that pairing of defensive midfielders, but due to their recent form, I am pretty optimistic that we can make a real game of it.

 

I think we’ll play with a 4-5-1 as it seems to suit us very well, especially in Europe and also because we are missing Van Persie and Eduardo hasn’t kicked a ball in anger for a few weeks, so we probably don’t really have much of a choice anyway.

 

We will need to make sure we don’t give away any silly free-kicks around the edge of the area as Ronaldo will pose a serious threat on those. The manager should be reinforcing that idea along with ‘don’t cock around with the ball in the box’, when in doubt put it into row z. The last thing we want is to concede a needless or sloppy goal. Keep it tight, close them down and use our heads. That’s called for. Fancy football is no good if we don’t produce an end product. Cesc says as much himself in that any mistake now which leads to a goal could be huge. There’s no could about it, I suppose.

 

It’s time for the players to pull out a massive, massive performance at Old Trafford. The fans need it and the club deserves it. We don’t want to see ManUre go to another final and risk seeing them do back-to-back Premiership and Champions League doubles. Could you imagine that?

 

Toure has a positive vibe for the game and he is a player that I really like, even though he hasn’t been at his best for us this year I think he is a good player to have in the squad. I wouldn’t agree with his view that we have replaced Pires with Nasri, not yet anyway. Pires was sensational. absolute quality and playing at the top of his game. Nasri has a bit of work and development to do before he can be considered in the same vein as Pires, but the early signs are promising. Nasri looks like he could be great, but he is no Pires. How great would it be should he reach the same level as Pires?! Let’s hope that he does.

 

This is a big game for Alex Song too, can he keep his good form going on the big stage? I think he will have a good game, but he’ll need to stay focussed for the entirety of the game and make sure he closes down their players at all times when they are in or around our box, without commiting a foul. Likewise for Denilson.

 

As I write this I am getting more and more excited, it’s a shame that the game isn’t until tomorrow! It’s a huge game and to get a positive result at Old Trafford would give the whole squad such a huge boost. The fact that we are now ten points ahead of Villa in the league gives the boss the option to rest some players in league games, should there be any doubts over their fitness, so that should help us for the second leg. A negative result for Chelsea against Barca would mean that they’d probably rest some key players for their game against us, which might give us a shot at giving them a run for their money for third spot. Never say never. They can’t win the league and the hierarchy there will be thinking solely of silverware and that might give us a chance against them.

 

I think that Walcott and Fabregas will be instrumental in everything we do from an attacking perspective and I fancy Theo to terrorise their defence. He is playing really well and now looks dangerous every time that he gets on the ball. With Fabregas and Nasri we have two players very capable of giving him the killer pass to run onto and rip the ManUre defence a new one. Let’s hope that Adebayor is there to get on the end of his balls into the six yard box.

 

Some detailed facts and information about the tie can be found here.

 

Clichy should have had a scan on his back yesterday, so let’s hope that there’ll be good news on that. I hope that we can get him back before the end of the season because we need all the fit players we can get in order to be able to challenge in both the league and champions league.

 

Right not sure exactly where, if anywhere, I am going with today’s posting so I’ll leave it there. I knew I shouldn’t have gone with an iced-coffee. Iced coffee always makes it hard to focus.

 

Have a good one.


Short and Sweet.

April 27, 2009

The briefest of brief posts today.

 

Yesterday’s result was just what we needed before going to Old Trafford on Wednesday evening. We played well and were never really in any great danger of not getting the three points, although Boro did create one or two decent chances, most notably for Aliadiere. Cesc, Nasri and Arshavin linked up very well and it bodes well for our future that they are really starting to build a good understanding together.

 

Cesc took his two goals very well. The first came from a pass from Arshavin and the second from an Eboue pass. It was good to see Almunia get a full game under his belt and his presence will definitely have a calming influence on our defence.

 

The excitement is now really starting to build ahead of the Champions League semi-final and I can’t wait for it. It’s a remarkable achievement to have reached this stage of the competition given the average age of our squad, the money it cost to assemble and the number of long-term injuries we have had this season.

 

Hats off to the players and staff for getting us this far in the competition and let’s hope that lady luck will be on our side and we get to the final in Rome.

 

Okay, told you it’d be brief. I need to go and collapse on the sofa. Knackered.


Super Sunday.

April 26, 2009

Finally, game day has arrived. Today sees us take on Middlesbrough at the Emirates in a 13:30 early kick-off, 21:30 JST. This game is big for two reasons. First, we want to make fourth place rock solid and, second, because Chelsea won yesterday we must get the three points should we still harbour any hopes of catching them for third spot. I think that it will be very hard for us to get that third spot at this stage, but with us still having to play Chelsea, you just never know. So, we must win today for that dream to be possible.

 

Will be keeping it short today as time is not on my side. Typical that we have an early Sunday kick-off on a day when I have to go to Tokyo in the evening. With a bit of luck I’ll be able to get the pub to stick the game on. If so, The Black Sheep in Ikebukuro will be added to my page of football-friendly bars in Tokyo.

 

Team news is that Van Persie is definitely out. Adebayor, Almunia and Djourou may all return. Though at the time of writing I still have no confirmation of whether or not Djourou will be in the squad. The former two should make the squad, though I don’t expect Adebayor to start. The most likely starter would be Almunia and the boss has a decision to make there whether to risk him or not. The need for sharpness ahead of the ManUre game will have to be weighed up against the possibility of a recurrence of his injury by perhaps playing him slightly earlier than he should. That said, I hope he starts. That’s not because i don’t like Fabianski but because we need our number one back between the sticks to restore some order and calm to the defence.

 

I am looking forward to seeing what starting eleven the boss chooses. Will he go with Song or Silvestre alongside Toure in defence? Will he play four or five across the middle? I suspect, given our injuries and players returning from injury in attack, that he will go with Bendtner up front on his own, with Arshavin drifting in from out wide to play just off him. I think Fabregas and Walcott could drop to the bench in order to be rested for the ManUre game, thus leaving us will a likely midfield of Arshavin, Denilson, Diaby, Nasri and possibly Vela, whom we haven’t seen for a while now. Who knows, the boss may also go with Bendtner out wide and Eduardo up front. The results of the Villa and Everton games yesterday certainly take some of the pressure off us for this game, though Boro will be fighting for their lives and will make life difficult for us, without a doubt. Their recent record against us isn’t too bad, so we shouldn’t take them lightly just because they seem destined for relegation.

 

Fabregas talks about the respect he has for ManUre here and let’s hope that we walk away from Old Trafford with them being in awe of our Blitzkrieg style attacking football. It’s such a shame that Arshavin won’t be available for the game. It’s a situation which doesn’t really make any sense. Why have a transfer window in mid-season if some players you buy can’t play for you in all competitions? Fair enough, if we buy someone from Zenit and then play Zenit, then maybe he should be cup-tied. But, against any other team than the team you buy the player from, he should be eligible to play. However, with Blatter and Platini in charge of the two governing bodies, I don’t think that that rule will be changing anytime soon. Everything those two men do seems to be aimed at dumbing-down and destroying the level of competition. It’s like when you drive through a safari park and the monkeys come over and try to throw shit at, or pull shit off, your car. Those two guys are the monkeys. Monkeys are evil.

 

The boss makes a good point that due to the new taxation system in place in England combined with the collapse of Sterling against the Euro could lead to an exodus of the top level players as they seek pastures new, which are more financially agreeable. Fifty percent take is pretty steep in any profession but if you have the choice between paying fifty percent tax in England or, through some loophole abuse, twenty-five percent in Spain, it’s a bit of a no-brainer what is likely to happen. You couldn’t blame someone for wanting to pay twenty-five percent less tax. If someone came to me tomorrow and offered me the choice of paying fifty percent tax and stay where I am, or to move and pay just twenty-five percent, I know what my decision would be. Let’s hope it’s just people like Ronaldo that up-sticks and leave. I believe that our own players are paid well enough, especially considering their age and achievements in terms of silverware, to protect us from this but at the same time you just never know. The Chavs could be hit hardest of all as they are a team populated by mercenaries and cunts.

 

I like this line from the Guardian about the ManUre and Arsenal rivalry of old, ‘It was cocks of the north against southern not-so-softies, more often than not with trophies being tossed between the two of them.’ Cocks they are, no doubt about it. Especially exhibit A below, on whom Vieira had this to say:

 

“Personally, I can’t stand the sight of Van Nistelrooy. Everything about him annoys me. He’s always ­complaining, whingeing. The man is a cheat and a coward. Everyone thinks he’s a nice guy but in fact he’s a son of a bitch.”

 

Arsenal-001

 

I thought I’d better put the picture in along with the quote just so people wouldn’t confuse old Horse Head with Cashley, though you could just substitute their names in Vieira’s quote and it’d still be true.

 

I miss the days of Vieira and Keane going toe-to-toe. Those ties had real passion and fight. Let’s hope Fabregas can get something going with Ronaldo in midweek, as long as it doesn’t result in a suspension for Cesc. I want to be able to really hate ManUre again, I miss that loathing. I mean, I still hate them but it’s always better when you are real rivals and challenging each other for silverware.

 

Theo Walcott has hailed Diaby as being one of the most skilful players at the club. Perhaps he should have added ‘and laziest’ to that statement, too. There’s no doubting that Diaby has skill, if he can just merge that skill with an equally high work-rate then he will develop into some player. As it stands, he is someone who often frustrates and flatters to deceive. Injuries have undoubtedly played a big part in this, so let’s hope he can stay injury-free and develop into the kind of player that the boss clearly feels, and the fans hope, he can become.

 

Fingers crossed for no fresh or recurring injuries today.

 

Right, that’s about enough for today. Roll on today’s game and another three points for the Gunners, all things going to plan. Thought it was going to be a short one today, but it’s the usual 1,200 or so words. I hope to get a post up tomorrow and Tuesday, but my work schedule may not allow it. I’ll try my best though.


FA-king C*nts.

April 25, 2009

Well, the FA have gone and done it again. What a bunch of utter cunts. How they can charge Fabregas for an alleged spitting incident is beyond me. It is basically Fabregas’s word against Hull’s. So, how they can justify charging him for that, who knows but it smacks of xenophobia, to be honest. Wenger himself says that the charge is more or less a joke and typical of the usual bullshit that goes on at Soho Square.

 

“If he had been wearing a black tie, he would not have been charged. Such a big thing has been made of the story that [the FA] go further. I know how it works at the FA. I know them for long enough. I show you the tape, you watch the tape, you will be surprised he is charged. The FA should show it to you. Nothing in Cesc’s behaviour troubles me. He will not be banned. On what I have seen, he will not be punished.”

 

If a tape exists that can prove Cesc’s innocence then the club themselves should release this tape to the media and shame Hull and their cunting ballbag of a manager from creating such ludicrous lies. Cunts the lot of them and, more than ever, I hope that Hull get relegated and, when they do get relegated I hope that they go the way of Southampton, Charlton or Luton.

 

The manager went on to say:

“I thought Cesc was dressed in a proper way. There is a famous expression: ‘Do not judge people by the way they dress,’ so why should we suddenly do it? Never. Why should someone 21 years old not be able to dress in a relaxed way?”

 

That’s another annoying thing about this whole situation. What fucking right does Phil Brown have to question the way that anyone dresses, let alone the captain of another premier league club. What does that have to do with anything? If he is not involved in the match-day squad, why should he dress in any special way? He is at the game as a fan and to support his team mates, so he should be free to dress however he pleases. But, that’s a mindset that is commonplace in the UK and Ireland wherein you can’t get into most pubs unless you look respectable. We all know that this is a load of c*ck as wearing nice clothes doesn’t necessarily mean that you are of good character and vice versa. To suggest that Cesc was out of order to be wearing casual clothes is ridiculous.

 

Another thing that annoys me is the suggestion that a player shouldn’t be allowed onto the field if they weren’t involved in the game. Well, that’s a load of cock too. How many times have we seen players that weren’t involved in a game come onto the field at the end of a game? After cup penalty shoot-outs, finals. If I remember right, Roy Keane came onto the field after the 1999 Champions League final even though he was banned for the game. Are we to assume this is ok just because he was wearing a suit? Or is it because he comes from Ireland and so isn’t really considered to be a foreigner?

 

Peter Hill-Wood summed the whole situation up by saying:

“We have a video of the tunnel which we gave to the FA. I didn’t see it myself, but Arsene has and so has (chief executive) Ivan Gazidis and they both said that the whole thing was innocuous. I think the whole thing is ridiculous.”

 

I’ve no idea if this posting will make any coherent sense because the whole situation makes my blood boil and it is a struggle to not just sit here and post a string of expletives. The whole situation is infuriating. If Cesc ends up getting a ban then Arsenal should bring legal action against both the FA and Hull City as this miscarriage of justice leaves a stain on the clubs reputation and shouldn’t be tolerated.

 

Hull are home to Liverpool today and let’s hope they get the mother and father of all beatings, one so bad that it’ll lead the commentator to scream “Oh, the humanity!’ Did I mention that I fucking hate Hull? Cunts.

 

On to football matters, thank God, and Fabianski is philosophical about the imminent return of Almunia to the first team.

“Of course I want to play, but I also have to accept that Manu has had a fantastic season. I clearly understand that if he’s fit, he’s in the goal. He is the first choice and I don’t want to argue with that.”

 

It’s good to see that he knows his place in the squad and hopefully it will spur him on to work that little bit harder to improve and force his was into the manager’s plans.

 

Adebayor, Djourou and Almunia could all return to the match-day squad. However, i would expect both Djourou and Adebayor to not be risked unless absolutely necessary and so will probably be on the bench. It will be interesting to see whether or not the boss will opt to put Almunia straight back into the starting line-up. I want to see him back in the team, but I also worry that he might pick up a knock ahead of the all-important game against ManUre, though that fear is balanced somewhat by his need to get some match sharpness back after not playing much lately. So, the boss has a big decision to make on that one.

 

I think our back four will be Sagna, Toure, Silvestre and Gibbs, though the boss may be tempted to put Song in at centre back and rest one of Toure or Silvestre. If he does so, let’s hope that it’s Silvestre that he replaces. It’s still strange for me to be championing Song and it’s a measure of the leaps and bounds he has made over the past three months and is a credit to him.

 

In midfield, we may very well line-up with Arshavin, Denilson, Diaby and Nasri, with the boss choosing to rest Cesc and Walcott and only calling them from the bench should we be in need. I’d like to see Bendtner and Eduardo get the nod up-front. I think that a 4-4-2 is the way to go against Boro, especially as the game is at the Emirates.

 

If the boss chooses to give Djourou a start, which is unlikely, then he would probably replace Silvestre and thus freeing Song to take up his place in central midfield alongside Denilson. Which may in turn mean that he opts for a 4-5-1, relegating Eduardo to the bench. I wonder will Vela have a role to play tomorrow.

 

Finally, on a totally un-football-related note, but something important to all drinkers, it is now official, bacon sandwiches are good.

 

Anyway, I think that’s about enough for today. Take it easy.


Not much going on.

April 24, 2009

It’s a relatively quiet day so far. there isn’t a whole lot going on, due mostly to the fact that we don’t play until Sunday. I hate weekends when we don’t play until Sunday. It means that Saturday seems a bit empty and also that we have to suffer watching that tool Adrian Chiles on Match of the Day 2 in order to see highlights of the game.

Early team news is that Adebayor, Djourou and Almunia may be involved in the squad for the game against Boro, though I would be surprised if they started. Given our propensity for having players struck down by injury and recurrences of those injuries, I think it would be best if all three are on the bench and only called upon if needed. We should give them a little extra time in order to be ready for ManUre.

Van Persie remains on the treatment table for his chocolate groin and will miss both the Boro game and the first leg against ManUre next week. I wonder will we ever get a full season out of him? His talent is undeniable, I just wish he would stay fit for more than two months without picking up some kind of injury. Gael Clichy will be having a scan over the coming days and that will determine when he can be considered for a return to first-team duty. Let’s hope that we have him back for the second leg against ManUre, not because Gibbs has been doing a bad job but because we need to get cover and options in defence.

I saw on one site that Rosicky is out for the season, but haven’t yet been able to verify it elsewhere, so I won’t post the link to it just in case it’s a load of rubbish. However, it wouldn’t be any surprise should it be true given that it’s Rosicky that we’re talking about. It’s a real worry and you have to think that he may not kick a ball for us again. The comments coming from the manager are a bit vague and make it hard to gauge where Rosicky is at, in terms of fitness. I really hope that he will be fit and able to start the new season for us come August.

The game is at the Emirates but it won’t be easy as Boro are fighting for their lives and are likely to make life difficult for us. There is a danger that our players will have their eyes on the Champions League semi-final against ManUre but I fully expect us to get the three points, but the game shouldn’t be taken lightly. Some stats on the fixture can be found here.

Got an email from my brother yesterday to say that he managed to get four tickets for the ManUre Champions League game at the Emirates. Jammy bastard. It’s times like these that I don’t like living in Japan. I’d love to be able to get to the game. But, them’s the breaks.

This post is going to be short because I am nursing a wicked hangover. That’s the price I have to pay for stopping off for ‘one beer’ in my local on the way home from work last night. No dinner, beer, cute girls and random drunken Japanese folk makes for a dangerous combination. Well, now I think about it, it’s not all that bad really.

**UPDATE: The FA have charged Fabregas for the alleged spitting incident. What a bunch of cunts.

Take it easy. It’s 4pm, I’m off to get this carpet-like substance off my teeth.


Fatigue factor affected my blogging.

April 23, 2009

So, I suppose the first thing to talk about today is the manager’s comments regarding the supposed tiredness of our defence. To be honest, i don’t see how these players can be tired. Gibbs hasn’t played in many full games. Silvestre was out for quite a while through injury. Toure wasn’t a regular before Christmas. Fabianski is a keeper and so shouldn’t suffer from fatigue given that he is basically our cup keeper anyway. That just leaves Sagna as the only player in our current back four that could lay claim to tiredness, especially as he had been ill recently. However, the manager could always have played Eboue in his position at Anfield in order to give him a bit more time to recover physically. So, I just do not accept that our defence could possibly be suffering from fatigue and for the manager to suggest so is annoying as it seems like a way of finding an excuse for what could only be described as shambolic defending at Anfield. He needs to seriously review our defensive personnel in the summer and buy suitable reinforcements. Surely he must be regretting letting Senderos go out on loan to Milan. If he is good enough for Milan to want him, then surely he is decent enough to be defensive cover for us.

 

Likewise, Cesc was far from impressed with our attempts at defending.

“We have seen the best things we can do, but there are a lot of things we can improve on. We played in front of great players and great fans and the team has to be proud of what we achieved, but still we go home with the feeling we should have done more. We gave the goals away too easily and after all we did to create four opportunities to score four goals – it is difficult to take. Defensively, we need to improve a lot if we want to be in the Champions League final. But there are still a lot of things we need to work on and put right. If defensively you are not well positioned, you will concede goals.”

 

All very true and it’s good that the captain is saying it, because it seems that none of the coaching staff seem too keen to point out our defensive frailties to the boss. You would hope that deep down he knows that we have serious problems in that area and that it’s all just a smokescreen for the media, but it’s becoming frustrating to always hear the same kind of weak excuses trotted out instead of just owning up and saying we were poor. Not poor because we were tired, poor because we have issues that badly need addressing. Until that happens we will have to go the Real Madrid route and just try to out-score our opponents.

 

Maybe, as I only started this blog on March 21st, I too will soon be struck down by fatigue and the quality of my posts will deteriorate appropriately? If Arsene’s theory is correct, then I must apologise in advance for that happening, though some of you may say that it already has. That must be why I haven’t been able to get a post up every single day.

 

Arseblogger makes a good point about how it’s not just our defence that needs to improve on it’s defending. There have been some midfielders that have neglected to do their defensive duties this season and it has cost points from conceding late goals.

 

Gunnerblog has evidence of yet another shocking display of Benitez’s contempt here. Quality.

 

Elsewhere, our youth team are through to the FA Youth Cup final after seeing off the holders, Man City, 6-2 on aggregate. So, at least the club has a chance of winning some silverware this season! Let’s hope their senior brethren can do likewise in the Champions League, though for that to happen some serious defensive coaching needs to take place. Why don’t they try and bring in Tony Adams? What happened with Keown’s role? Maybe the boss didn’t like having so many negative things pointed out to him. Who knows?

 

Anyway, that’s all for the staff to sort out. We must now start looking ahead to the Middlesbrough game at the weekend and the boss has already stated that he will have to rotate, so it will be interesting to hear the team news as it slowly starts to trickle out over the next few days. I imagine that Eboue will start at right back and Gibbs at left. Silvestre and Toure in the middle. After that, who knows. Will Almunia return? Arshavin must be a cert to start, possibly out wide or playing just off Bendtner. I’m not sure if Van Persie and Adebayor will be a) fit or b) risked should they be fit, considering the importance of the next week’s Champions League game. Anyway, the Sunday line-up is best left for the coming days.

 

Right, that’s about all I have for now. More tomorrow.


All in all, a good result.

April 22, 2009

Hello from a sunny, 26C Yokohama. Last night’s game was entertaining, if nothing else. There were some great finishes and Arshavin’s four goals will inevitably lead people to re-questioning why he didn’t start against Chelsea at the weekend. However, had he started that game you could also argue that he wouldn’t have had the legs to get on the end of Walcott’s pass for his fourth goal. So, it’s swings and roundabouts, I think.

Before the game at Anfield I think that all Gooners would have been more than happy to walk away with a score draw. The most disappointing is the manner in which Liverpool’s late equaliser came about. It’s enormously frustrating to see our team being outnumbered in our own box in the 93rd minute. Where was the desire and work-ethic of the team to hold onto the lead? It’s bad enough that it happened last night, but it’s not a one off and it has happened to us before and it’s something that the manager really has to address with the players. Where were the midfielders? Didn’t anyone want to get a famous 4-3 at Anfield?

The person i feel most sorry for is Arshavin. It must be gutting to score 4 goals at Anfield and still was away with just a solitary point. It’s disappointing for the fans too, but a draw is a good result in the grand scheme of things (if you can forget that we were leading 4-3 in the 2nd minute of injury time.)

The is no point in analysing the defending in any detail, because it was non-existent. It would be an insult to players like Adams, Bould, Dixon and Winterburn to call what occurred on that pitch last night defending. This was a game for the striker and the neutral observer. Arshavin took his goals brilliantly and it’s great to have a player that isn’t afraid to put his foot through the ball and hit screamers instead of skittering a tame shot into the arms of the keeper. Just imagine what he will be like next season when he has adjusted to the league, the team and has a full pre-season with us under his belt… I can’t wait to see it.

Fabianski had an impressive first half, given how much his confidence must have been crushed at the weekend and he deserves credit for that. In the second half he wasn’t as good, but there isn’t much you can do really when your defence has decided not to defend for the evening. That said he shouldn’t really have found himself standing behind his own goal-line.

The boss, I’m sure, will be happy to see that we have found our goal-scoring boots again, as am I. But, given that we have to play ManUre three times and also Chelsea once over the run-in, he will need to do some serious work on the training ground (which we all know won’t happen, that’s not how he rolls, apparently) to sort out the current mess. also, we will need to hope that we can get Djourou back alongside Toure because I don’t think that the Toure/Silvestre partnership really works. Anyway, that’s for another day.

Fabianski has had this to say about the last two games:

"After the weekend, I was really feeling down, I know that it was mostly because of me that we did not qualify for the FA Cup final. When you are honest and look with honest eyes on that, you can say it. Every day I had been waking up with the game still in my mind, so it was not easy. When the season is finished, maybe I will clear it out from my mind. It was a big, big chance to win something this season in the FA Cup. I did not help my team like I should have, and I am sorry for that. I want to thank all of my team-mates and the staff, because they were really helping me. I really appreciate that and the atmosphere in the club, which is so fantastic. I was quite happy with my performance against Liverpool, but it is a strange feeling with [letting in] four goals, I could have been much happier had we won."

I’m sure it is a hard cross to bear, knowing that your mistakes cost your team its best chance of silverware this season. But, I suppose we all have to move on and try and forget about it. He didn’t walk out onto the pitch intending to make those mistakes and we’ll just have to accept it as a part of his learning and development process. Perhaps he wouldn’t have made those mistakes if he had thought that the defence in front of him was solid, who knows…

Arshavin says it like it is. I love his shoot-from-the-hip forthright talking and the only regret I have about signing Arshavin is that we didn’t do it a few years ago. He is exactly what we have needed for a few seasons now, even though when we signed him we all thought that the money should have been spent on defensively-minded players. Maybe that’s true, but I think that Arshavin will earn us more points than a defensive player would have. So, I think that the gamble by Wenger has paid off. In the summer, our defensive needs can be addressed. I particularly like his Paul Robinson comment. Legend.

Right, that’s your lot for today. It’s disappointing not to get the win, it leaves you feeling kind of empty inside but, on the other hand,  there aren’t many teams that concede four goals at Anfield and still walk away with something from the game. So we should take comfort in that.


Panic on the streets of London.

April 21, 2009

Now that we’ve had a bit of time to digest Saturday’s game, I think it’s time that the toys went back into the pram. There was a fair bit of ‘burn down the Emirates and hang the manager’ hysteria following the result, which was a bit over-the-top. Yes, it was a bad result. Yes, we played extremely poorly, without any real desire or commitment. But, neither of these can be solely blamed on the quality of the pitch or the team selection. The players that went out onto the pitch didn’t do the business, except for Walcott and Gibbs. End of story. Let’s hope that they have their game face on tonight because we will need a much more committed performance at Anfield against a strong Liverpool side.

 

A draw tonight would be a good result, considering the number of injuries we have, the disappointment of Saturday’s non-performance and also the fact that Villa could only draw at the weekend against West Ham. For the confidence of the team, I think it is important to get a positive result.

 

Team news ahead of the game sees Liverpool being without their captain, Gerrard. I expect us to start with Song in central midfield alongside Denilson and Cesc. I really hope Diaby doesn’t start. Out wide, the boss will have to choose between Nasri, Arshavin and Walcott. I have a feeling that he might go with the former two, to give Walcott a bit of a breather and bring him on as a sub. I can’t see the manager not starting Arshavin and if he starts out wide he will probably drift in centrally quite a lot to play just off Bendtner.

 

Van Persie (surprise, surprise) and Adebayor are set to miss out through injury, so I expect Bendtner to start up front on his own, although I am not sure he is yet up to the task of being the lone target man. I reckon Eduardo will be on the bench, given that he hasn’t played much football. Arshavin should be well rested for this one so I expect a good performance from him.In defence, there is the possibility of Sagna returning in place of Eboue. Otherwise we will line up with exactly the same in defence as we did at the weekend.

 

It’s a big game for the club, no doubt about that. We don’t want to lose two games on the bounce, not with a champions league semi-final just around the corner. There was tabloid talk that Arsene might like to lose the game against Liverpool in order to keep the pressure on ManUre ahead of the Champions League game, but I think we all know that that’s just a load of tabloid tat. That tactic would almost undoubtedly blow up in our own faces and is ridiculous to suggest. What we need right now is confidence, not a bit of extra pressure on ManUre. We should go there and kill ourselves to get a positive result. It’s what the fans want to see, not another performance filled with mediocrity. If we can get our confidence back, that will bode well for next week’s Champions League game much better than losing in order to keep pressure on ManUre. We need ManUre to be worrying about us, not Liverpool…

 

Looking ahead to the weekend and it seems that good news may be on the way in the form of a returning Almunia in goal. Let’s hope that will be the case. Fabianski has the potential to be a decent keeper, but he still has a lot of developing to do.

 

It’s just a short post today because things are hectic at work and I will be busy in the evening. So, here’s hoping to a good performance tonight. If we perform well, we should get a positive result. Though we’ll need to cross our collective Arsenal-supporting appendages to make it happen.

 

Come on you Reds.

 

**NOTE: This post was made before new team news was available, so apologies if any of it is a bit wide of the mark.