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.

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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.


Frustratingly Disappointing.

April 19, 2009

Yesterday’s game was so disappointing from an Arsenal perspective. We just weren’t at the races at all. Too many players didn’t perform in a game when we needed a big performance from our key players. Unfortunately, Adebayor played like he did before Christmas, Fabianski clearly didn’t have the composure required for the occasion, Fabregas had a very quiet game. the only two players to come out of the game with any real credit are Walcott and Gibbs. I thought that Gibbs was probably our best player.

 

It’s immensely frustrating to look forward to a game so much only to see the team collectively fail to impress. Although never really dominating in the game, we managed to go ahead through a Walcott goal which deflected into the net off the hand of Cashley. The cross for the goal came from the impressive Gibbs, who showed little sign of his groin injury.

 

I suppose the most surprising thing was seeing Arshavin start from the bench, given that he had had a full week of rest due to not being eligible for the Champions League game against Villarreal. I had expected Van Persie to start from the bench in order to save him a bit for the Tuesday game against Liverpool. Diaby also came into the starting line-up in place of Song and, on paper, that should have given us more height and attacking potential from midfield. However, Diaby had a particularly poor day at the office and he was too hesitant too often on the ball and it is a side of him that he must work on if he is to become a good player for the club.

 

A problem that we had before Christmas seemed to return again yesterday, too many players didn’t work hard enough. Is that a symptom of the money that is now in the game? I mean, if you can’t raise your game for an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley then there is something seriously wrong. These are supposed to be the occasions that footballers live for. It’s also a chance to give something back to the fans too. Is it too much to ask for the team to put in a decent 90min of hard work?

 

I know it’s easy to sit here and write about all the negative things instead of focussing on the positive things. But, the fact is, there  really weren’t many positives to take from the game except the performances of Gibbs and Walcott. None of the other players did anything to cover themselves in glory. Fabianski’s decision making was truly atrocious and he was blessed to not have cost us a goal early in the first half when a rush of blood to the head saw him come rushing out and it took a Gibbs goal-line clearance to prevent the ball from going in off the post. That incident was a sign of things to come from the Pole and he never really recovered from it. His positioning wasn’t great for Chelsea’s equaliser and then for the winner he had another rush of blood to the head when he came steaming out for a ball that he never really had a chance of winning. Let’s hope that he can regain his composure and a modicum of confidence ahead of the game against Liverpool. We can’t afford for him to have any more moments of madness like that between now and the end of the season or else we can say goodbye to any hopes of silverware. The sooner we get Almunia back the better. It should also be pointed out that Eboue was poor for Chelsea’s equaliser and he didn’t get tight enough to Malouda.

 

It’s easy to blame one man and he was particularly poor for both goals as well as some other close calls but, the whole team were poor and should shoulder some of the responsibility for not protecting him more by snuffing out Chelsea’s attacking threat. In hindsight, I am sure the manager is regretting not starting Song instead of Diaby.

 

Before the game Walcott talked about teams fearing us, but after that performance teams will be relishing playing us should we play like that again. The goalkeeping coaches need to help Fabianski work on his decision making. You can argue that he is still young, but we can’t afford to have him making mistakes that cost us the chance of silverware or points in the league. Perhaps he needs a season out on loan somewhere to get a full season of competitive football under his belt and help him improve his decision making and composure.

 

The boss was understandably angry about the quality of the pitch, which was a joke. It’s incredible to think that the stadium reportedly cost the guts of £750m yet they have a pitch of such comical quality. It was cutting up from the first minute and undoubtedly affected us more than Chelsea due to our style of play. However, we have played on worse and should have adapted to the conditions. As bad as the pitch was today, it will be worse for today’s semi-final and could work in Everton’s favour.

 

The boss had this to say afterwards:

“The disappointment of the day was that we gave away two cheap goals and the second, with ten minutes to go, cost us. I also thought the two teams looked jaded physically. We have the biggest target now in front of us – the Champions League. And of course as well, the Premier League, to come as close as possible [to the top] and, minimum, to stay fourth. We have big targets in front of us.”

 

There shouldn’t have been any real reason for Arsenal to look jaded. Adebayor, Silvestre, Walcott, Fabregas, Gibbs and Diaby have not played in a lot of our games this season and should have been fresh. Toure also was out of the squad for a while, Eboue has spent some time on the bench. The only player on the pitch for us yesterday that could have a claim for being tired was Denilson. Nobody else can have that excuse. The adrenalin of the occasion should have given the players extra energy, not less.

 

He also had this to say about our keeper:

“We’ll have to lift his confidence. I don’t like singling out individuals, but he’ll be feeling guilty and we have to make sure he responds quickly, like the rest of the team. I still believe that Fabianski is a great goalkeeper, but he perhaps did not have his best performance today.”

 

Sometimes you don’t have a choice but to single somebody out. I am not so sure about his assertion that Fabianski is a great keeper, he certainly hasn’t shown it yet. He has shown some decent moments, but not greatness. Time will tell on that one. Whether or not he gets that time at Arsenal is another thing.

 

Van Persie was substituted due to a slight groin problem and is a doubt for the Liverpool game. Given his injury history, you would expect him to be out for the Liverpool game and possibly returning for next weekend’s game against Middlesborough, or the first leg against ManUre.

 

Okay, that’s about all I have to say on a very disappointing weekend. It’s just hard to accept such an inept and spineless performance after being on such a good run. But, that’s football, I suppose.

 

More tomorrow (or Tuesday, not sure when yet. Depends what time I finish work.)


Semi-Final Day.

April 18, 2009

It’s been a while since we’ve had a FA Cup semi-final day and it feels good to be back here again. The game today is a massive one for both clubs but due to the fact that we haven’t won anything for a few years you would have to say that it is slightly bigger for us than it is for Chelsea. The Arsenal fans are dying to see the club bring home some silverware again and I think that we are due another addition to our trophy cabinet. I know that this is just the semi-final, but it’s good to dream.

 

The line-up for today will be very interesting as we are absolutely decimated in defence and so I would expect us to line up with the same defence that started against Villarreal, should Gibbs pass a late fitness test. Otherwise, I think that Silvestre will move out to left back to cover for Gibbs and Song move back into central defence.

 

Should Song be drafted in at centre-half, I would expect Diaby to get the nod in order to add some muscle and height to our starting eleven. I would expect Walcott, Nasri, Arshavin and Fabregas to complete the midfield line-up with Adebayor playing alone up front. Given Van Persie’s tendency to pick up little injuries, I think that the boss will start him from the bench with one eye being on Tuesday’s game against Liverpool.

 

The boss could also go with Denilson in place of Nasri and play a trio of Fabregas, Diaby and Denilson in the middle with Walcott and Arshavin playing wide. I’d be surprised to see him go with two up front given that our defence will need a bit of extra protection.

 

The boss has talked about his concerns over the quality of the pitch, but you kind of get the feeling that he was doing that to take the focus off our injuries, or chances of progressing to the final. You would have to imagine that the pitch will be in top condition, hopefully with the grass cut at an ideal height for our passing game. One thing is for certain, it’s better to play the semi-final today rather than tomorrow. Whatever about the condition of the pitch today, it’ll be worse on Sunday.

 

The boss has also spoken of his ‘dark side’ and below is some photographic evidence of his use of the force.

the force

Let’s hope he uses his dark side to inflict great pain on those bunch of Chavs at Wembley today.

 

Goose Hiddink talks about how Chelsea should model themselves on Arsenal, but this is an impossibility given the number of total ballbags they have on their books, including both players and staff alike.

 

Hopefully Arséne will get the chance to do his celebratory goal jig again later today. I wonder has he been taking lessons from Eboue on the training ground? Maybe Cech will oblige us by making a few errors as he has been wont to do of late.

 

One last non-Arsenal related thing, I fucking HATE these two men. What a fucking pair of cunts. It’s obviously a coordinated attack on Benitez and I hope that his gesture WAS an act of contempt towards Allardyce, because he is a cunt. Contempt, hate, rage, anger are just a few of the feelings I get when I see or hear the fat-headed cunt. It’s a pathetic attempt at mind-games and the coordinating of the attack, virtually made simultaneously by both cunts just makes it all the more evident that they are in cahoots. Wankers.

 

A quick look ahead to Tuesday and reports in The Guardian are indicating that Gerrard will miss the game, which can only be a good thing for us, if true. However, local club DJs should be on the lookout if the Liverpool captain is at a loose end that evening…

 

Site-related news: I’ve now added a page that lists some football-friendly bars in the Tokyo and Yokohama area. If you know of any others, please post them in a comment and I will add them to that page. Also, I am thinking of putting up a page with links to some sites that have links to live streams, so please feel free to post any details you may have about any such site in a comment and I will put them up on that page over the coming days. Finally, you may notice a NewsNow tab appearing but you can ignore this page as it just contains links to previous posts here. I am experimenting in order to try and get my blog picked up by NewsNow. I have applied twice to them to be included in the feed, but have had no joy as of yet.

 

The late kick-off is a bit of a pain in the arse today as it means that I must watch the game at home in the late/early hours, but that’s life I suppose. Can’t wait for kick-off.

 

Come on you Reds!!!!!!


We all pissed on a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine.

April 17, 2009

Apologies for not making many posts this week, I’ve been burning the proverbial candle at both ends and also in the middle too, just for good measure. Rest assured that it hasn’t all been work related and that a fair amount of alcohol was consumed on numerous occasions since Sunday evening. I was all set to write a match review last night, I was literally sitting in front of the laptop doing my research (yes, I do do a bit of research for each post) when I got a call from a girl in Tokyo and so ended any thoughts of a post and off I set for beer in Yokohama. So, I think you can agree that the match report was abandoned for a worthy cause.

Wednesday’s game was great from an Arsenal perspective and we played very well going forward. Given that were were down to our last four recognised first-team defenders our game-plan had to be to go at them and go at them we did. Walcott was an extremely effective outlet and is really beginning to produce the kind of performances that we have long hoped he would. If he can stay injury-free and continue to develop at the same rate then he will be a truly phenomenal player for us over the coming years.

His finish for our opening goal was simply fantastic, as was the flick from Fabregas that put him through. It was a finish that could only come from a player that is oozing with confidence, as opposed to the shit that oozes out of Lassana Diarra. Likewise, Adebayor finished his goal with confidence and it is a chance that he would probably have missed if it had fallen to him in the first half of the season. He is on a bit of a roll at the minute and it is a joy to watch this team when they play with the flair and confidence that they are currently exuding.

Our third goal came from a soft enough penalty, it has to be said. But, the tie was over as a contest at that stage anyway and so whether we got the penalty or not wouldn’t have effected the outcome of the game. We really did piss all over them. We gave the Yellow Submarine a golden shower, Arsenal style.

To think that just three months ago all but the most ardent of Arsenal fans were fearing for not just a fourth-placed league finish but for the future potential of this squad, to now being in the semi-finals of both the FA Cup and Champions League AND being eight points clear of fifth-placed Aston Villa is quite a remarkable turn-around for a team so young. Truth be told, it would be quite a remarkable turn-around for a team of any age and credit must be given to the boss and the players for keeping their belief when all around were losing it.

I myself was one of those that questioned the potential of this squad and feared for what may happen to the club should we fail to secure at least a fourth-placed finish in the league. That was back in the dark pre-Christmas days, when the squad was doing it’s level best to kick me in the stones on an almost weekly basis. Not that fourth place is secure by any stretch of the imagination just yet but, back in early December, if we’d been offered the chance to be in this position in mid-April every single Arsenal fan would have ripped your arm off to accept it. It’s a great achievement. Though, although the elation of Wednesday might’s result is still coursing through my veins, it would be best not to get too carried away just yet as there is still a hell of a lot to do to secure fourth spot in the league and to try and bring home some silverware.

I think that the freshness of Arshavin, Fabregas, Walcott and Adebayor will be a huge bonus to us in the run-in to the end of the season. That little bit of an edge could be the deciding factor and let’s hope that freshness of said players will prove the decisive factor against Chelsea at Wembley tomorrow. It’s going to be a huge occasion and I can’t wait for it. I’ll be online well in advance of kick-off to make sure that i get my stream up and running so that i don’t miss a thing (that’s not a cheesy Aerosmith reference, bloody hate them.)

Our captain has had this to say on our achievements to date:

“Every day I dream of lifting a trophy in the Arsenal shirt. For me, it’s the best thing that could ever happen. But we still have so much hard work to do before we can realise those dreams. We are through to two semi-finals and three months ago we were praying to be in a position like this. What we have achieved is good but it is not enough. Semi-finals are one thing but we want to be in the finals. We have some huge games coming up and now it is all about winning. Every time we don’t win a trophy it is a major disappointment. But we’re not even thinking about that.”

He isn’t the only one dreaming watching him lift a trophy for The Arsenal. Let’s hope that it’s this season.

Van Persie seems like a happy camper and i imaging that his contract will be sorted by the end of June:

“I could not wish for more than these games — it is unbelievable, I have always had a belief in this team and now we can call ourselves one of the best four teams in Europe and that is about right. Now we want to move on and win things. The facts are that Arsenal want to extend my contract and I’m positive about that as well. We’ve had a good few meetings and everyone is very positive. Arsenal really want to extend it and I want to extend it as well.”

Personally i hope that we tie him down to a new long-term deal, even though he can sometimes frustrate you (what player doesn’t do that?), he is a player of ‘top, top quality’, to use the boss’s own words.

Ahead of tomorrow, early team news seems to indicate that Gibbs may be out after picking up a slight groin strain against Villarreal. I really hope that he is passed fit for tomorrow because we need every hand on deck in defence right now. It’s as if we have been cursed this season. The sheer number of injuries we have picked up is frustrating to say the least and if we can have a successful end to the campaign it will make the success all the more sweet.

Tomorrow’s team line-up will be interesting to see. Will the boss be tempted to rest Van Persie considering that he was a doubt for the Villarreal game in a bid to protect his chocolate groin? I expect Arshavin to come back into the line-up, possibly playing just off Adebayor. I also expect Sagna to return at right back and for Eboue to revert to the bench where he has been doing a good job as our new super-sub of late. I’d like to see Song partner Cesc in the middle of the field as his recent improvement really warrants a start in tomorrow’s game. Never thought I’d be typing that, but there you go.

***UPDATE: Sagna has now been ruled out of tomorrow’s game.

The excitement is building and I am buzzing. Roll on tomorrow.


Tonight’s the night.

April 15, 2009

Tonight’s game will tell us a lot about this squad and what they are capable of. Will they rise to the challenge and book their place in the semi-final? Or will they succumb to the pressure and have this game as the catalyst to the falling-apart of the tail-end of our campaign. Let’s hope it’s the former as a positive result tonight would set us up nicely for the game against Chelsea at the weekend, a team that has conceded seven goals in their last two games.

 

Apologies for no posts over the last few days, suffice to say that things were exceptionally hectic and there just weren’t enough hours in the day to get anything written.

 

Looking forward to tonight’s game, we are again without Gallas, Clichy, Almunia and Djourou joined that list following his injury in the game against Wigan at the weekend. We are stretched to breaking point in defence and can’t afford another injury in that area. Arseblogger talked about possibly playing Eboue at right back and switching Sagna to the left instead of playing Gibbs there for such an important game. I have to say that I don’t think that’s such a bad idea at all as Gibbs didn’t really set the world on fire at the weekend and Eboue has a fair amount of Champions League experience and so would be more mentally ready for the task at hand. Though according to the Mirror Gibbs is set to play in defence, so let’s hope that he rises to the occasion.

 

On a positive note, both Diaby and Eduardo are both set to return to the squad. It seems that we are getting all of our attack-minded players back at the same rate as we are losing defensive players. Looks like that’s something else Arsene will have to try and sort out in the summer, we have been caught a bit short of decent defensive cover. Now, I know that you can’t really legislate for losing Almunia, Gallas, Djourou and Clichy all at the one time but, having said that, letting Senderos go to Milan and not adequately replacing him was always going to leave us a bit short in the centre of defence should any injuries or suspensions strike during the season. Granted, this is a bit of a ‘perfect storm’ of a defensive crisis.

 

From an attacking point of view, there are few teams in Europe that can touch us when all players are fit. The summer should be a time for defensive signings, including a holding midfielder (but not Inler if the ridiculous price his agent has been spouting are to be believed.)

 

I can’t wait for tonight’s game and it could really be a game which helps this squad move to the next level. There are plenty of negative things you could say about the squad, but the fact is that they are knocking on the door of a Champions League semi-final, have an FA Cup semi-final coming up and are sitting in a nice position in the league (compared to 4wks ago), while all the time being ravaged by injuries. So, you really have to give credit where it’s due to this group of young players. They have probably over-achieved, in terms of their collective experience, this season.

 

It’s easy to forget just how young and inexperienced this team is. It’s easy to say they are rubbish and we won’t win anything with them, but the fact that they are young means that they will continue to improve and grow. It bodes well for our future if we can keep the important players at the club.

 

Just a mention of Diarra and how he didn’t learn anything from Wenger. Well, I can exclusively reveal that the reason for that is because dolphins don’t have ears. Dolphin-headed cunt.

 

I don’t really want to say too much about the game tonight. we all know how important it is and right about now our bowels are beginning to move a bit faster. Anyone reading this will already have checked out the myriad of stories on NewsNow. What matters tonight is the result. That’s all.

 

I fancy Theo to have another ‘Liverpool moment’ tonight.

 

Come on you Reds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!