A strange reaction to a decent Arsenal performance

A strange reaction to a decent Arsenal performance

I’m getting the feeling that I watched a different match than a lot of people on Saturday. I’m speaking of course of Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough

Reading some of the reviews of the game floating around the blogosphere you’d think Arsenal were a shambles at The Riverside. My view of proceedings was a little different. I thought we played well enough to beat Middlesbrough and were rather unfortunate to come away without the points.

Their goal was jammy, make no mistake, and any blame attached to either Gael Clichy, Alex Song or William Gallas is incorrect. It was just one of those goals that happens in football and we had plenty of time to recover. I thought we did so admirably, generally working hard all over the park and having clear chances to win it through Robin van Persie and late sub Nicklas Bendtner. But it wasn’t to be as Middlesbrough stood firm and held on for a draw.

On the whole I think the team as a whole should be commended for their efforts, with only Abou Diaby, van Persie and Arsene Wenger deserving of criticism. Diaby put in an awful shift, ambling around in a manner that can only be viewed as lazy and nonchalant while van Persie had one of those games where he just couldn’t get involved. At times he and Emmanuel Adebayor – who had a strong match – looked miles apart on the pitch and that is not what you need from your strikers.

As for the manager, I thought he could have done better. Choosing to play Denilson on the right is OK when we have a genuine winger on the left but with Diaby in that position our midfield was far too narrow. People will point to our injuries as a reason for Denilson’s presence in the starting side but I really think Wenger would have been better served to plump for Emmanuel Eboue.

The other gripe I had with the manager was the delay in bringing on Bendtner and the failure to throw either or both of Aaron Ramsey and Carlos Vela into the fray. If Wenger thinks the league can be won with youngsters then he should have given two of them a chance to make an impact, particularly given the performances of Diaby and van Persie.

Aside from those negatives I really think we played well enough against Middlesbrough. It was a shame that we couldn’t get the win to make up ground on our rivals who all dropped points on a strange weekend. It very much feels to me like we’ve dodged a bullet and when you consider that we lost at this ground last season and have now picked up 7 points since the 3-0 loss to Manchester City things are really not as bad as many people are making out.

Positives from the match were the overall defensive performance, Adebayor’s tireless display and a reasonably creative effort by the captain. There’s no doubt in my mind that a Sagna-Gallas-Djourou-Clichy combination is now our best back four and if that quartet can stay settled then our defensive record will steadily improve. Adebayor showed why he remains our squad’s most important striker while Fabregas played some really nice passes despite being caught in possession just a little more often than he’d like.

So to summarise this match, although it was disappointing to miss out on the chance to climb closer to the top things certainly aren’t as bad as they’re being made out to be. A win over Liverpool next weekend – a distinct possibility given the results against Manchester United and Chelsea – would see us edge even closer to a major rival and provide yet another chance for some momentum to be established.

Thoughts?

Have your say on Arsenal’s drew with Middlesbrough by leaving a comment.

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164 Responses to “A strange reaction to a decent Arsenal performance”

  1. SCOPE KNIGHT
    December 15, 2008 at 5:09 pm #

    Hi SF,
    I havent commented on this blog in a while BUT I must say I was highly impressed with our performance at the Riverside. Man of the match was Alex Song.He put in a bad performance against Porto but he was a hard worker against boro.I was delighted with the performance but Wenger has to seat Ade and Bentner. The dane had a clear chance to pass the ball and he shot it instead. Ade and Fab were furious. The guy is a problem in the team if you ask me.

  2. Cee
    December 15, 2008 at 5:29 pm #

    The Dane has a problem for not passing to Ade? I think it was just decision making. Last season at Birmingham, Ade just needed to pass the ball to Nik who was free on goal but decided to go it alone. Equally, Diaby refused to pass to Ade and also RvP for no reason other than selfishness.

    It happens all the time but its only Nik who gets stick when he does it?

  3. Neal
    December 15, 2008 at 5:32 pm #

    Most people will never accept Song’s talent. I read one blog which said Song, Denilson and Diaby are not good enough to play for Arsenal. The only fault I can find is Denilson is not really a DM, but has been learning the role. Song is playing well, and Diaby is out of position, but has performed well when playing just off the striker.

  4. KEV
    December 15, 2008 at 6:12 pm #

    oh for the days of bergkamp vierra pires petit henry unless arsene can find players of similar arsenal will not compete we don’t scare people anymore bendtner has been at the club long enough now and he’s reached his highest level and he’s not good enough plain and simple why do people keep saying song is good he gives the ball away doesn’t frighten the opposition another player who isn’t going to get any better along with denilson spend some money on alonso or we will lose fabregas

  5. Gibbs
    December 15, 2008 at 6:28 pm #

    SF
    I agree, the performance was not the worst. But the result was still a very disapointing one. A win would’ve put us 6 points off the pace and a win against Liverpool would’ve put us just 3 points behind them, but we sliped up. Anyway 5 points is not bad, if we can hang on to that 4th place until January, we’ll still be in with a chance of winning the title.

  6. LB
    December 15, 2008 at 6:29 pm #

    I’m also one of those baffled at people’s inability to see Song’s value. The guy wins everything in th air from midfield. He actually wins tackles, many tackles. He is committed and consistent and he is quicker than Gilberto was. I don’t understand Arsenal fans at all. As for Denilson, I’m convinced he cannot play in the Premiership. He’s not strong enough mentally or physically. Gets shoved off the ball by players his size.

  7. bekele
    December 15, 2008 at 6:42 pm #

    I am confused this season by the performance of Arsenal.There shuold be no debet on how we did against Middlesbrough.It is the overall performance that leave the club this season incompitantt.We need a strong winner midfield player,like Gilberto or Flaminy.

  8. KenyanGooner
    December 15, 2008 at 7:07 pm #

    Song performed really well in tackling and wining balls for the team but I was disappointed with his passing, especially those simple passes. He gave away possession easily to Boro when passing to his team mates. But I know with time he will improve and become a replacement to Flamoney.

  9. Gibbs
    December 15, 2008 at 7:10 pm #

    Veloso would be great for Arsenal, at €8m, there is a possibility we could sign him.

  10. voley_gun
    December 15, 2008 at 7:15 pm #

    Our team lacks togetherness ,bit low in confidence along with lack of intiative to provide the creativeness in the play. Last season i believe we were having same problems but toure stepped up with a brilliant run and won us a penalty .

  11. abera
    December 15, 2008 at 7:25 pm #

    Iagree with a person who wrote Song, Denilson and Diaby are not good enough to play for Arsenal. they should not be first line Arsenal plays, but as they can improve in the future,they should be in resrve team. ofcourse song can play though he is not as quick as arsenals.

  12. stav
    December 15, 2008 at 7:27 pm #

    I have to agree with the article, I thought it was a solid defensive performance wit Djourou playing CB and Song offering some protection in front. I have to admit I am undecided about Song, I have like him for a couple of seasons, but he goes through spells of crapness and shite passing in nearly every game, maybe time will help him settle. I dissagree with some of the comments about Denilson, hs got a good touch on the ball and turn away from trouble and passes it quickly for the most part; he is af

  13. Fatboy
    December 15, 2008 at 7:30 pm #

    SF: I agree that the performance wasn’t a bad one overall, but you hit the nail on the head when you said that we had enough chances to win the game. Yes. we did, and once again we didn’t win it! Until RvP can convert more than one chance in 5, we’re still relying solely on Ade up front. I agree with SCOPE KNIGHT that Bendtner’s crap, so until Eduardo returns we look really light on decent strikers. Totally agree about Song; he’s a boy with great potential. He’s still learning the DM role, but looks a much better prospect there than Denilson, who should really just be Cesc’s understudy. All our rivals dropped points at the weekend, and it was agreat opportunity missed to close the gap. More worrying for me is the form of Villa. They are proving to be dangerous and serious rivals for that 4th spot. Realistically, that’s as high as we can aim this term and if we’re pipped by them and don’t gain a CL place for next season the shit will really hit the fan.

  14. Gibbs
    December 15, 2008 at 7:33 pm #

    Song and Denilson are good enough, they will be world beaters in a few years. Diaby however is 23 and he still hasn’t improved, the clock is ticking for him. If he doesnt get his act together soon, he must be sold.

  15. stav
    December 15, 2008 at 7:35 pm #

    I have to agree with the article, I thought it was a solid defensive performance wit Djourou playing CB and Song offering some protection in front. I have to admit I am undecided about Song, I have like him for a couple of seasons, but he goes through spells of crapness and shite passing in nearly every game, maybe time will help him settle. I dissagree with some of the comments about Denilson, hs got a good touch on the ball and looks to pass the ball quickly, he is after all playing out of position at RM. I would have liked to see Vela given a run at some point to shake things up and add some pace up front and support to Ade, who put in a strong performance. As a final note, I think we should make 2 signings in Jan to freshen things up and give a boost, prob a proper DM and a CB or left sided player as competition for Nasri. Lets support when we can.

  16. victor
    December 15, 2008 at 7:35 pm #

    not passing to players in better scoring positions ala bendtner and diaby was our downfall.

  17. LuxinBrasil
    December 15, 2008 at 8:08 pm #

    i know i always stick up for Denilson but….
    I can agree that he isnt a flamini or even a great Defensive Midfielder but the guy has made the 3rd highest amount of succesfull passes and the 5th amount of succesfull tackles in the prem ..he is being played out of his normal central, play maker role….i do agree that he and fab may not be suited playing together in the middle but cannot understand why people say he isnt good enough for our team or our league! He has been an asset to the team this season and despite one or two poor games (as with the rest of the team) he has shown his worth….He is also tough and shrugs off injury quicker than most and without him theres no way we would be sitting in the top 5 of the league.

  18. Sam
    December 15, 2008 at 8:16 pm #

    Was not pleased with the performance, we do not pose the same threat to teams now as we used to. Wenger MUST spend in January and get rid of Bendtner (nowhere near good enough to make the grade at arsenal). Theres no doubt in saying injuries have harmed us this season, at present we have no natural wingers. The midfield as a whole minus fabregas needs a shake up, far too many misplaced passes, lack of work & generally not strong enough.

  19. Pete
    December 15, 2008 at 8:35 pm #

    Morning SF – good to see some positive vibes for a Monday morning!

    The only thing I would say is that I feel the Boro goal was sloppy. Watching live on TV, I could see that Clichy’s clearance was going to get charged down, but it seemed that none of our players saw the danger. Tuncay did, and his anticipation saw him first to the ball.

    Otherwise, the effort was certainly there, but Boro defending pretty stoutly.

  20. cambsgooner
    December 15, 2008 at 9:09 pm #

    the defence was very good,however we are still undone by the lack of a play breaker in midfield ie a player that can win the ball from an opposition and can play the ball to those that can play.we have too many playmakers in misfield a good defensive midfield would also shield or defence,so splash some cash in the transfer window.some how we are still in the mix for the title

  21. Filipino Dan
    December 15, 2008 at 9:31 pm #

    I was at the game on Sat and would like to share a few thoughts:

    First of all I hope a line has now been drawn under the Eboue situation. It is obvious that the home fans booing last week was not something that the away fans wanted to be a part of. [NOTE: Although some fans have suggested to me that the ‘away’ and ‘home’ fan is a completely different breed; away fans being passionate and ‘true’ whilst home fans are less patient, rich and won’t leave London to support the boys, I dont believe that this is the case, as I often attend home and away games and cant see much difference]. However, the attitute towards Eboue was really uplifting and quite funny at Boro. Chants from our fans included ‘We’re only here to see Eboue’ and a song, sang in the same tune as the old vieira one “Eboue, oh Eboue, he comes from Africa, he’s better than Kaka!”. That was the support he got on the bench, I dont know what would have happened if he got on. he would have got one hell of a cheer.

    I took my son to meet some of the players afterwards as they were coming out of the changing room and was fortunate enought to have Vela sign my top VELA 12 top. Eboue was there too and he was going to go straight onto the team bus, still looking sheepish, until we all shouted him over. He ended up spending a good 10 mins signing autographs and chatting with fans. Hopefully he is starting to forget what happened last week, as we could really use him playing well to cover for walcott right now. Denilson just isn’t a winger (not that Eboue is but he gives defensive protection which we will need against Liverpool).

    As for the game itself, I agree with SF. We just kept chipping away but never got the reward. It could have been worse though (penalty decision) and with the other ‘top four’ dropping points we have got away with another draw.

    The next game I’m going to is Villa on boxing day and that, along with Liverpool, will determine our league season I feel.

  22. munz
    December 15, 2008 at 10:06 pm #

    I think I know the problem, every time I am able to watch Arsenal play a whole game we either lose or draw despite having more than enough chances but when I miss the match Arsenal seems to shift up a gear and we get results like 2-1 over Man Utd or Chelsea :p

    In regards to the Boro game I thought Fabregas, Adebayor and Djourou played extremely well. Arsenal didn’t play that badly tho we seem to suffer from the same defensive frailties every week with the long ball straight over the top keeping every Arsenal fan with the heart in their mouth.

    The midfield was poor (excluding Fabregas with Diaby being guilty of poor vision and poor finishing, Denilson lacking the pace or craft to operate on the right wing and Song giving the ball away countless times and looking out of breath after about 30mins. I really wish Arsene would stop trying to make some of these players play in positions that they obviously don’t have the heart for and if in the case of who to play I would of preferred like others have said Ramsay and Vela should have at the very least gotten a run. In the end there was still some real patches of good play and if we could just manage a certain level of consistency results would be a lot less labored.

    Filipino Dan that’s great to hear about the Arsenal away fans, could hear the guys on the stream I was watching and hopefully the players appreciate it. Even though I don’t particularly rate Eboue as a fan I think booing is pretty pointless as all it does is bring down the player and the team so the attitude from the away guys is great and is an awesome way to rebuild Eboues confidence hopefully you guys can keep it up 🙂

  23. harry
    December 15, 2008 at 10:28 pm #

    I know is a rumour but if we could get Sissoko that would be fantastic, he would need no time to settle in as he’s already played in the Prem League and he would also bring experience, at least its something to hope before for January, until we sign a Venezuelan 15 year old left-back. On other things, does anyone think that Nasri only seems to play well when Arsenal are at home, a bit like Torres for Liverpool last year.

  24. JohnW
    December 15, 2008 at 10:30 pm #

    Yes, am also suprised about the negativity. People seem to want Arsene out (i sense the feeling), but should that happen, with all the money problems we have, I think we might struggle.
    Yes I was mad when Vela dis not replace Diaby but overall the team played very well.
    On Sunday people should not be overly optimistic. It will be a 1-1 draw ( I was right about Chelsea and ManU remember), but we are still there in the mix.

  25. Jacobs Femi
    December 15, 2008 at 11:04 pm #

    I have always said that, Diaby is not serious. Its like anytime he received ball, the first thing that comes to his mind is how to drible. He could be better if only he can minimise dribbling.

    Another thing is that, he performed worfely against Boro. Watch the match again, he run away from ball and attack. He refuse to mark opponents but was just slugishly moving up and down the filed. AW shoud implore the habit of using Vela instead of Diaby. I just pray we win Liverpool this weekend.

  26. TayGoon
    December 16, 2008 at 1:57 am #

    Vela would give us pace on the left. I was not happy at all when we had Diaby and replaced him with Bendtner instead of Vela. But I guess AW is managing expectations when it comes to Vela, Ramsay and Wilshere. Judging by my experience here, more than half the fans here will be crying “Vela is not good enough. or Wilshere should go on loan” as soon as they have 2 stinkers. Most people are busy killing Denilson, Eboue and now Diaby who was the darling of the Fehnerbahce game.

    I attended a seminar once about objective planning and problem solving. We analyzed some of problems played out in the public domain and their solutions. It is amazing how easy it is to have an incorect identification of a problem which always lead to a wrong solution. Pundits and fans all over are focusing on symptoms as the actual problems facing our club which is why they miss the the point. If what they have been saying was true, how could a vastly inferior squad beat their supposedly “superiors” on the only comparison that would hold water, a 1 to 1 matchup?. What effect did the “World class”, “experience”, “strenght in depth”, “Massive budgets”, “Committment”, “passion”
    , “transfer activity”, etc play in their defeats on the day?

    The manager IS under preassure, contrary to what most people would like to believe, since the end of last season. This is leading to him trying to balance expectations(from fans) and teams ability to prevent a full blown “fans revolt”. All the game we have lost or dropped points this season was as a result of AW trying to play it safe catering to fans “desires” to an extent and compromising our best and strongest aspects, some of which are mobility, skill and craft for the sake of defense, defense and defense.

    There is nothing wrong with the squad that can’t be fixed by AW sticking to his guns and play the team the way they should be played.

    Buying or not buying are not the reasons we have dropped points this season.

  27. TayGoon
    December 16, 2008 at 2:37 am #

    @ SF: Do you have a way of watching the Reserve game tomorrow?

  28. Fatboy
    December 16, 2008 at 3:28 am #

    @ TayGoon:
    Sorry mate, I’ve got to disagree with you about the strength of the squad. Can you seriously suggest that our squad is good enough to challenge for top honours? Our goalkeeper is average at best, we have a back 4 with potential (if it’s Sagna/Gallas/Djourou/Clichy) but there’s no quality cover, we have absolutely no DM (although Song may grow into the role, he’s a good season away from being ready), we lack penetration on the flanks (remember how much more effective Freddie and Pires were than anything we have now) and we’ve only got one goalscorer in Ade. RvP needs 5 chances before he scores and Bendtner is woeful. Even if Eduardo comes back as good as he was before, it still leaves us with no decent cover. We all owe Wenger a massive debt of gratitude for turning the club into what it is today, but he’s seriously failed to invest adequatley in the squad for 3 years running now. It’s no surprise that we haven’t won anything since 2005, and we won’t win anything anytime soon unless we get a squad which blends the promising young players with quality experienced colleagues. We need to spend £60m on 4 or 5 quality players before we’ll challenge for anything again. It’s bleak, but that’s the way it is.

  29. TayGoon
    December 16, 2008 at 5:26 am #

    @Fatboy:

    I agree with you that this team is different from the Pires/Ljumberg team. So are the styles of play for both teams. Then we relied on speed and we were faster than anyone out there. Every team in the EPL now have bumped up their speed, and that would have nullified ours. Yes we now lack pace out wide, but it is because our wide players are out injured. We look vulnerable because we defend deep in our own half. If the team is allowed to play the way it should, we do not need a DM. That will be taken care of by everyone attacking and defending as a unit, like we did last season. Flamini got the credit but it wasn’t his doing. I was looking forward for Rosicky to come back but I am disappointed that it won’t be soon. As a striker, if you are legs are tired you are bound to be less clinical upfront(RVP) since all our strikers have to drop deep to collect the ball because Song can’t push further forward. It is even making Cesc drop deeper and resort to long range passes which are mostly offsides for Adebayor. We need to forget about a “Defensive midfielder to protect the back 4” bull-crap and get in somebody that can push upfield. It is no coincidence that we score less when Song is CM. His presence there still does not stop goals from goin in. What Eduardo will give us is inteligent timing to reduce offsides(if used as such) and that will keep teams on their toes.

  30. Demetrio
    December 16, 2008 at 5:40 am #

    LOL has anyone seen the new Spuds stadium design?? Looks just like the Emirates! Those stupid fuckin spuds, they really do wanna be Arsenal!

  31. old timer
    December 16, 2008 at 7:23 am #

    Thank you Spanish. The voice of sanity speaks at last. The game against Boro was an improvement, albeit a small on, but a step in the right direction. I’m especially pleased that the back 4 seem to be coming together and managed Boro’s attacks well. Djourou again very good. You’re quite right about the goal too, no one was at fault it fell luckily for Tuncay who did well to whip it in and Aliadiere (Arsenal trained of course) did brilliantly to get his head on it.
    I should say the back 5 are pleasing because Almunia also seems to work well with these guys and I can not understand why some people are carping about him. It seems that every week he pulls off some fine save that keeps us in the match . And what’s all this ‘RVP needs 5 chances to score’ nonsene all of a sudden? He scored both Chelsea goals out of nothing. Van Persie is one of our few genuine world class players and is always a menace to the opposition even when he doesn’t score. I’m looking forward to him creating mayhem against Liverpool.
    For me it’s still the Usual Suspects holding us back (yeah put them in a police line-up: Diaby, Denilson and Song) and must be replaced by top quality and experienced signings which, apart from the obvious improvements will perk things up generally just by being new blood.
    But there were times at ‘Boro when I even saw flashes of the old Arsenal with the slick passing and dangerous moves. Why we even dominated for a few minutes here and there!

    One last thing – sorry I know I go on too long – I’m a Bendtner fan. And yes everybody – I can see he’s underperforming at the moment but he’s a big strong lad who’s not afraid to get stuck in, has a nice touch, has great awareness and ability to bring other players in, can head, shoot, pass, hold the ball up and even pull off the fancy stuff now and then. He’s young and he’s dedicated to Arsenal and wants to be a success here. I don’t give a fuck what colour boots he wears or if he wears no boots at all. I reckon he’ll come good and we should keep the faith with him.

  32. Spanish Fry
    December 16, 2008 at 7:57 am #

    @ old timer – Thanks for the kind words. Nice to hear a positive point of view and I strongly agree with most of your sentiments.

    It’s also my view that out of Diaby, Denilson and Song, Diaby is going to be the best player. At this point in time Song is playing quite well and is our best option as Cesc’s partner while Denilson… well I just don’t know what to make of him. He’s Fabregas replacement at best at this stage and a decent fill-in on the right.

  33. Radads RSA
    December 16, 2008 at 9:41 am #

    @SF, should i say, we played well in overall??!!! yes!!!may be!!!, shoud we say the players played well!!!??? Yes, may be!!!!???but not at their best.I personnaly think that our performance durin the Boro game was just slightly better than the previous ones!A bit of change and improvement here and there.Song is among those who improved his pace game defensively(And really had a big impact on our team’s defensive performance, you see now!!!),Fab and Ade played at their best as well as the whole full back but I think that we all must admit the lack of pace and combativity in our team.We could have clearely won that game, and I can even say easely, If we watch the game reply again, you guys will see how opened the Boro’s defense was.You could see a lot of space between their mdfld and the full back line.You’d hav really asked urself: If only Walcott played!!!A fast running winger could have put more presure on Boro’s defense.Our full back players and Fab tried hard to accelerate the game but the others were just downheaded and laid back waitin for the ball to be circulated SLOWLY from left to right.Thts why we have always lost the ball in the front part of the mdfld.I would really agree to say that we shud have put Eboue on the RW and switched Denilson onto the left wing.Eboue’s fast run could have really destroyed Boro, givin Ade and RVP more space to run fast and to needle.I can even tell u guys that the boro game wasnt that difficult as the stoke city and tottenham game.If u guys have noticed:The Boros team dfnse didnt even put that much pressure on our team and thats why they could always attack coz their mdfld were not really bothered with the defns side, they were alws focused on the attckin side.Its us who have failed to play our fast game and loosin our pace on the pitch as usual.its sad to say this but I cant lie if I say that Ive been really and deeply desapointed and sad about our performance agst boro.I think our PBM is 90% lack of mental strength, fire,combativity and encouragement from AW on the pitch, not just sitting while we are loosin and complain about the referees.Look at Pep guardiola, Big Phil, Benitez, Ranieri, ancelloti.All of these guys are all great coach and highly experienced xctly as AW, But they always keep on givin instructions,advices and encouragement while the players are plaing durin the match time.And I personnaly think that We are especially the team who really need that kind of Coach’s attitude coz we have a much younger team who arent mature enough and unstable, inconsistant.AW shud be constantly standing there encouraging and instructing his players when they play.

  34. RBP-The Next RVP
    December 16, 2008 at 9:54 am #

    no offence to bendtner but that oppurtunity he had in the last 10 mins, he had 2 options go top left, or square the ball to Ade, he hit it straight at the keeper (turnbull).

    he’s low on confidence, and he doesn’t look composed and comfortable enough. People give him way to much stick, i mean for goodness sakes’ hes only 20, most players haven’t even got close to their prime by then (excluding a few), and their best is yet too come. i find it unfair that Arsenal fans get on his back, i mean he’s only 20, and his manager has thrown him out with 10 minutes left and asked him to win a game.

    basically im saying: Let him mature, into the player he can be, rather than calling for him to be sold, and then we he becomes a world class player, don’t come sulking about how Wenger let him go…

  35. Demetrio
    December 16, 2008 at 10:02 am #

    The sad thing is, is we keep having to talk about “whats wrong with the team” so apparently, something is definitely wrong, if there wasn’t, we wouldn’t have to consistently talk about it among so many fans.

    The realistic chance we have to win the title is about as good as Aston Villa’s. Wenger i hope, takes the advice of our former great Arsenal Captain Pat Vieira and adds some experienced players to help lead this young team. If he adds to the squad in January, and lets players like Gallas go, we could have several new players in our squad this season, and they would have from January to the end of the season to start to gel with the current side. Which then, will help them with next season since they would already have some playing time with Arsenal and next season.. if Wenger signs the right players… we could really come out strong and make a realistic run for the title.

    But with Villa’s form being what it is now, we need to just worry about sealing up 4th place. There is a far chance in hell that we could win the title, but that would mean massive slip ups by Liverpool, Man U and Chelsea. Could i see Liverpool slip up, yes, i could even see Man U slip up. But for 3 of the best team in England ahead of us to all to slip up and drop a lot of games, that is not very realistic thinking. So i would like to see Wenger clear out players like Gallas, Almunia maybe even Diaby, replace them with true class players over the age of 24, start the process this season of them getting use to the Arsenal system and then next season, if we don’t lose anyone in the summer, we could come out and be a favorite to win the title. But we need to fix the defence, and we need to give Cesc some help in midfield. Replacing Almunia would be a big help and adding a David Villa type scoring forward would be a huge help. Ade and RVp dont have the scroing rate needed to be on a team that is in the race for the title. I would love to see Ashley Young at Arsenal. He’s a gooner at heart lets try to lure him to the Emirates.

  36. jay-jay
    December 16, 2008 at 10:29 am #

    @ Demetrio – About the 3 teams slipping up, they have all 3 drew twice on the same day but unfortunately we cannot take advantage because we also slip up.

    Ashley Young at Arsenal – what dreams are made of.

  37. Spanish Fry
    December 16, 2008 at 10:52 am #

    @ Demetrio – “The realistic chance we have to win the title is about as good as Aston Villa’s.”

    I don’t necessarily agree with that. Villa have had no injury problems at all while we have had enormous dilemmas. The fact that they’re only a point above suggests to me that our squad is a class above. I think we’re going to have a very interesting second half of the season and we’re right in the mix.

  38. Spanish Fry
    December 16, 2008 at 10:54 am #

    @ Demetrio – “Ade and RVp dont have the scroing rate needed to be on a team that is in the race for the title.”

    Also, sorry to picking on you (!) but Adebayor and RVP are the most potent striking force in the Premiership in terms of goals scored by a partnership. With Eduardo returning and Bendtner (give him time) and Vela around we have absolutely no problems with our attack in my opinion.

  39. Spanish Fry
    December 16, 2008 at 10:58 am #

    @ Demetrio – I should also add that apart from those two comments I agree with what you’re saying. A good buy in January and we’ll be right back in there.

  40. hartwick89
    December 16, 2008 at 11:40 am #

    For me the love I have for the manager and the team is intense…Definately an improvement against bottom teams…However the words probably would be more harsh had the top 4 teams won and Arsenal would be 10 points from the top. My point was these boys leave a lot on the pitch against the lower teams. My point also was I’d rather see us lose in these games if we left every last sweat, tear on the pitch. I watched Arsenal and then watched the Everton/MC game. That helped shape my opinion. It reminded me of how well we played against Chelsea and MU..Maybe it’s the way I played when I was on the pitch that I appreciate the warrior over the skilled player! Don’t get me wrong I love skill but if I could take the package it would be the player who would have much skill but also hold the warrior mentality. That is what is lacking at the moment!

  41. MoMONEY
    December 16, 2008 at 1:04 pm #

    http://www.goal.com/en/news/1712/arsenal/2008/12/15/1014077/mexes-pato-on-arsenal-radar–reports

    AMAZING news that Im not quite used to for Arsenal… I am a bit skeptical- especially about Pato but I definitely have that feeling that Wenger is going to surprise everyone and make some BIGTIME signings in January… Mexes/ Zapata, a DMF, and Pato/ Villa is incredibly optimistic but I really think people will be pleasantly surprised…

  42. Spanish Fry
    December 16, 2008 at 1:17 pm #

    @ MoMONEY – I don’t really rate Mexes that highly. Always looks a bit error-prone to me.

  43. TayGoon
    December 16, 2008 at 2:01 pm #

    @SF:

    Sorry to ask you again, probably you just missed my earlier question. Do you have ArsenalTV Online subscription in case you want to watch Eduardo’s return tomorrow?

  44. Demetrio
    December 16, 2008 at 3:22 pm #

    @ SF –

    Ade – only time you can really count on Ade is if we are playing Derby County. RVP has good games against Chelsea, other then that he doesn’t do much besides his super volley at Charlton which for some reason i think that single goal put in peoples heads that he is better then what he is.

    Dream move for me would be: If we keep Ade.. ok whatever, sell RVP and bring in Ashley Young. If we sold Ade as we should have, use the money.. get Ashley Young. Young grew up a gooner so playing for Arsenal would be more then just a pay check for him (unlike Ade who thinks he should be paid as much as Henry even tho Ade hasn’t done/won anything for the club). Plus he is just amazing, great pace and he scores better then Ade and RVP put together on their best days, so if he played in a team like Arsenal.. i mean just imagine Ashley Young given all the chances Ade throws away. People couldn’t say we don’t kill off teams cuz Young could kill them off single handily.

    I do agree with you about Mexes. I have never rated him. He would be better then what we have, but thats not saying too much since Gallas and even Toure have been RUBBISH. Mexes does a lot of stupid things, and i could see him causing problems in the dressing room at Arsenal as he has at Roma in the past.

    And as for the title, i wish wenger would come out like Benetiz did for Liverpool and take off pressure by admitting Arsenal have a chance but will need massive slip ups from the other big clubs. That was brilliant from the Liverpool manager. It takes pressure off your side to do that. Last season, after our boys knew the title race was over towards the end, they played a lot more relaxed. That is something we need right now, because they play very nervy esp in close games.

  45. butterfingers
    December 16, 2008 at 6:08 pm #

    @ taygoon I’m having huge probs with my media player do you know if there is another way to watch the game? @ spanish how about doing a petition for setenta to play arsenal tv show in oz as every other country shows it? Hoping dudu scores as he is 1 of the most exciting strikers I’ve seen since henry left in the prem.

  46. MoMONEY
    December 16, 2008 at 6:18 pm #

    Id prefer Zapata but Mexes is stong in the air which would work well with Toure/ Gallas next to him…

  47. woke
    December 16, 2008 at 6:36 pm #

    That’s what im thinking..

    Just Diaby, Persie, and Wenger that are not ok that night

    at the second half i think AW will bring vela or ramsey, at least change diaby for whatever player.. he is slow for a winger.. look at clichy that working the place for him.. at least vela will do the job (running and dribbling)

    our performance is not bad i think, just that boro is good too..

    look at bright side, all big four has a draw result 😀

  48. old timer
    December 16, 2008 at 8:22 pm #

    That story about Mexes and Pato is purest speculation -I wouldn’t give it a thought. We keep getting all these names thrown up. I go and check them out on the internet and then never hear about it again. And AW’s never mentioned any of them. Somebody’s making this stuff up.
    Interestingly though (and thanks for the link MoMoney) there was a story on the same site saying Inter Milan might be in for Bendtner. Bet that’d make all the Bendtner haters sit-up if they nicked him off us.
    Best of all though was this hilarious comment from the President of Napoli. Apparently some of his team’s star players have been attracting the attention of English Premier League clubs and in an attempt to put them off going he said: ‘the English live badly, eat badly and their women do not wash their genitalia.’

    I just also wanted to say thanks to Filipino Dan for his tale from The Riverside and well done to you for making the effort with Eboue. I’m out of the country so it’s great to hear stories from ‘Ground level’.
    Up The Gunners!!

  49. Radads RSA
    December 16, 2008 at 8:32 pm #

    This team is pretty good as it is guys, I dont see any pbm with the team in term of skills and talents and excluding to talk about our injured names bench who are gonn acome back very soon.Song and Denilson has been always my worry in the team but I can clearely see now that Song has made himself an astonishing improvement, Denilson??He is a big Pbm coz the guy has a good attacking quality and has also improved a lot his defensiv side.Putting him on the bench is quite disturbing as he’s got experiences,very consistant on his game but cant be a CDM.I think we just have to sacrifice him as his best job is to substitute Fab.Diaby is very slow but he is a very good at handling the ball and smart too!!Diaby should substitute Song if he works on his run and defense, Winger is not really his cup of tea.We ve got everything we need there guys, why bring Ashley young?? while we have simpson sitting on the bench, Villa is Ok and might be worthy to sign as he could bring New fire being a new comer and a Big name in Laliga but franckly if we talk about players pace and skills, I see RVP more efficient, and left footed players are alws dangerous.If we sign new players to bring NEW FIRE in the team then I shud say its Ok!! but In terms of talent and skills, i dont really think so.

  50. jay-jay
    December 16, 2008 at 8:40 pm #

    Both Richards and Young are gooners, both young and quality. Both in positions we lack. Hmm seems easy to me but bid for them, Also buy Mexes so we have back-up when Gallas leaves. However Demetrio said Young is better than RvP on his best day, but i wouldnt quite agree with that. Maybe cuz im a RvP fan.

  51. Radads RSA
    December 16, 2008 at 8:46 pm #

    Our pbm is not skills or talent or intelligence, our pbm is WE DONT HAVE DYNAMISM, FIRE, IN THE TEAM.50%OF THE PLAYERS ON THE PITCH DONT WANNA GO EXTRA MILE, THERE NO WILLING TO FIGHT ATT ALL.Thats why i harshfully balmed and criticised our team for game agst Boro, coz when they know that they really have to fight coz the y are facing Chelski or ManU, then you guys see that they can do it and they won the game.IT IS ALL A MATTER OF A LACK OF ENCOURAGEMENT, AND A STRONG MORAL STANDING THE PBM WE HAVE.NOBODY KNOWS THE CAUSE!!! MAY BE OUR 5 DEFEATS OR STARTED WITH THE 4-4 DRAW WITH TOTHAM, WE DONT REALLY KNOW!!SOLUTION WE DONT KNOW EITHER!!MAY BE SIGNINS NEW PLAYERS!!? DONT KNOW BUT IF YES THEN I WOULD SAY, BIG NAMES ONLY LIKE VILLA. AND NOT MORE THAN ONE UNLESS WE WOULD MAKE GOOD SALES SOMEWHERE ELSE.

  52. old timer
    December 16, 2008 at 9:30 pm #

    There’s no question that there’s problems. We can’t be fifth in the table and struggling even to maintain that without there being some problems. I thought we were all pretty much agreed that our weakness lies in midfield – the players around Cesc. And the only way to correct that is to change the current personnel. I will be genuinely shocked if The Great Man doesn’t bring in at least 2 and hopefully at least 3 new players in Jan (although he of course has made no mention of doing so). We don’t need strikers, especially if Eduardo makes it back, and it looks like we don’t especially need defenders now. Though I wouldn’t say no if someone like a second Sol Campbell was on offer. Maybe before next season.
    This should have been a great season for us. The fixture list basic handed us the top spot on a plate and the lads completely fucked it up. AW’s got to get tough now and put together a squad genuinely capable of winning the Prem.

  53. Onoja Innocent (De-Rock)
    December 16, 2008 at 9:36 pm #

    The team is facing trial period now and i expect that trials can only bring out the best in the team,hopefully by the yuletide period they will pick up. i dont expect this to last forever.

  54. Filipino Dan
    December 16, 2008 at 9:48 pm #

    Young? Pato? Do you guys realise this is an Arsenal blog? Even if we didn’t have a stadium to pay off during a financial crisis, we have a manager who doesn’t spend £15 million on a player, never mind the amount it would take to bring these guys in!

    @ oldtimer

    No problem. I understand what it’s like to be out of the country and missing games – I spent the last two seasons in Manila, so I’m doing my best to make up for it. I got to play at the Emirates when I returned as part of a supporters club tournament but certainly not been to as many games this season as I would have liked. Bloody expensive! But yeah, I’ll do my best to keep you updated…

  55. Grant
    December 16, 2008 at 10:18 pm #

    Get back to posting SF!! We want to discuss our title chances properly… 🙂

  56. old timer
    December 16, 2008 at 10:28 pm #

    Thank you Filipino Dan. And sorry about my language if your son reads this blog.

    Also you’re right of course about Arsene and his parsimony -to which I say amen. The Gunners finances are healthy despite having a massive mortgage and that once again is due in great part to The Great Man.
    He’s not going to buy Young or Barry or anybody like that as much as we might want him to.
    He is though famed for uncovering undiscovered gems so hopefully he’ll surprise us again in Jan. Also, despite the current economic hardships he should have some dosh saved up thanks to his recent transfer tradings or lack of and I personally feel he needs to blow the lot on some quality gear. If not we’re going to be writing the same stuff this time next year.

  57. Radads RSA
    December 16, 2008 at 10:44 pm #

    i think its better to look 1st at a possible line up for sunday,our tittle chance!!??? i doubt, why dont we go step by step, reagarding the availability of our players. By the way SF, please man, could you please take that small AW’s picture,desperate,hooking down his head covered by his hand, AWAY.Franckly its bad souvenir.

  58. Fatboy
    December 16, 2008 at 11:28 pm #

    @old timer:-

    Bendtner for Inter Milan? If they offered us money I’d bite their feckin hands off! You must watch a different game to me mate- if Bendtner has a good first touch and can hold the ball up, I’m Jose feckin Mourinho. You’re right he’s only 20, you might even be right that he’ll become a good player in the future (though I doubt it), but the place for him to gain experience and get better is out on loan, not in a team that is struggling to keep hold of 4th place. I don’t blame Bendtner- he doesn’t pick the team, but it concerns me that we’re relying on someone like him drag us up the table. Come back soon Eduardo.

  59. Jay
    December 17, 2008 at 12:07 am #

    Just like to wish Eduardo a decent game tonight and hope he doesnt get any little knocks that will set him back.

  60. jay-jay
    December 17, 2008 at 12:54 am #

    I think 15 mil is a good price for Pato and I think Pato would like to come to us because Arsenal are known for young players. Would rather a striker like Villa or Benzema but Pato is still good. My wishlist is Richards (Mexes ent too bad), Mancini, Villa/Benzema, De Rossi, Kameni/Hart/Neuer.

  61. TayGoon
    December 17, 2008 at 1:00 am #

    @ butterfingers;

    What Media player are you using? OS? There are some sites that you have to have Flash player for streams. I have so many different players installed on my pcs I can’t even tell whether it is a particular player or just the codecs that came with it (they all share codecs once installed) that is doing the trick. For ArsenalTV online windows Media player works perfectly.

  62. jay-jay
    December 17, 2008 at 1:13 am #

    I am hopefully gunna watch the Eduardo return tonight on Arsenal TV. Hope he gets a goal and makes the bench for LPool.

  63. Demetrio
    December 17, 2008 at 5:28 am #

    The best new is Arsenal being linked to Chiellini. That would be a help in defence, he is a much better defender then Mexes who has also been linked to Arsenal. Maybe a swap deal could be worked out where Chiellini comes to Arsenal and Gallas goes to Juve.

  64. TayGoon
    December 17, 2008 at 5:45 am #

    Eduardo still has his touch. Not particularily impressed by Ramsay though. I like the looks of everybody else. Ramsay is not bad but I expected more from him at this level

  65. MoMONEY
    December 17, 2008 at 6:21 am #

    Chiellini would be an incredible signing… Future of the Italian back 4 right there… Im still skeptical about some of these names tho…

  66. LuxinBrasil
    December 17, 2008 at 6:49 am #

    @ Taygoon

    any more updates mate…cant get the TVonline working for me….Kno the game must be almost over but itching to know whther or not the brasiliero had a good game and if he scored or not!?

  67. Gibbs
    December 17, 2008 at 7:13 am #

    2-0, Randall and Gibbs. Eddy was pretty good. Not bad for a man who was out for 10 months. He is still better than Bent.

  68. LuxinBrasil
    December 17, 2008 at 7:20 am #

    not bad…..really wanted him to score but, as you say Gibbs, after ten months out just playing well is great!

  69. Gibbs
    December 17, 2008 at 7:26 am #

    @ LuxinBrasil
    Maybe he would’ve scored if he finished the game, but unfortunately he was subtituted b/c there was a hamstring problem. I dont know how serious it is, lets just hope its not too serious.

  70. LuxinBrasil
    December 17, 2008 at 7:55 am #

    bloody typical…the story of Arsenals season so far!!!…im sure it would have been precautionary after so long out….but guessing he wont be on the bench for the lpool game….reckon its a relaxing Natal and back, head first, in Jan for him!!

  71. TayGoon
    December 17, 2008 at 8:02 am #

    @ LuxinBrasil & Gibbs;

    they say it is mostly precautionary, the man himself says he will be able to play in the first team in 2 weeks, but I guess it is up to AW. He had a good game. He shows that he is not scared and had some nice touches. I can confidently say he might be deadlier than the Eduardo of old. He didn’t get good service like the kind he would get from Cesc and RVP, partly because Ramsay had a poor showing today. He appears to still have an eye for crosses and a little bit slower, but that will improve with time. One thing I learned today is that we have an awfull lot of central midfielders who are good. I think Jay Simpson can make a very good center half. And Merida will be above Ramsay in my AM pecking order. Coquelin is GOOD. Wilshere should play in the senior more than he is.

  72. TayGoon
    December 17, 2008 at 8:07 am #

    He even put in a sliding tackle..

  73. Gibbs
    December 17, 2008 at 8:34 am #

    @ TayGoon
    Merida is the next Cesc, he can be better than Cesc if he really works hard. The whole team was good, the only disapointment was Ramsey. Eduardo put up a desent performance today. He should start on the bench against Liverpool, if he is ok. If i was Wenger, i would give him the last 5 minutes against Liverpool to see how sharp he really is.

  74. Spanish Fry
    December 17, 2008 at 9:04 am #

    Hooray for Eduardo 🙂

  75. LuxinBrasil
    December 17, 2008 at 9:14 am #

    @Gibbs
    Reckon thats a little early mate…i had hoped of seeing that too…but reading the reports Eduardo only got 45mins tonight…he also knows that he needs game time under his belt to get the sharpness back…i can see, and AW has hinted at, a couple more reserve games before hes back in the main squad…

  76. Demetrio
    December 17, 2008 at 9:25 am #

    I watched the game streaming. He had a beautiful shot that was saved. It was a great save, Eduardo would have beaten a lot of prem keepers with that shot. He also should have had a penalty 3 mins in. My prayers have been answered. i love Eduardo, cant wait to see him back in our main squad, maybe he was teach RVP and Ade how to finish properly.

  77. LuxinBrasil
    December 17, 2008 at 10:15 am #

    @Demetrio

    im with you….lets hope he slots back in and shows the rest how to score….sounds like he had a good 45 mins….at 25 hes young enough to make this recovery and plant a lasting impression on the premiership and hopefully me too!!

  78. Hartwick89
    December 17, 2008 at 10:24 am #

    Just a thought…Last year Feb. Eduardo’s injury turned our season around metally…Could the same thing occur for the New Year? This time in reverse? Just a thought….

  79. jay-jay
    December 17, 2008 at 10:42 am #

    Understandably he was not world-class but he did show his quality once or twice. He lasted 45 mins. I hope he at least makes the bench for Liverpool. Reserves won 2-0 (Randall 80, Gibbs 90) but the highlight was our croatian man back in action, when Walcott is back, we will be back :).

  80. old timer
    December 17, 2008 at 12:22 pm #

    @Hartwick89 – what a great thought! Nice one, mate. And wouldn’t that be poetic justice? I’m sure seeing him back in the team will give the other players a big boost in any case.

    However I’d be highly surprised to see him on the bench for Liverpool. He can’t possibly be ready for that yet and there’s no point in having a player on the bench who’s not fully fit. What if we had a couple of early injuries? Boxing day maybe? That’d be a nice Crissy prezzie.

  81. Gibbs
    December 17, 2008 at 4:06 pm #

    Eduardo said he will be ready in 2 weeks. I was hoping that Wenger would give him as much time as possible, that’s why i suggested giving him just 5 minutes of game time against Liverpool just to give him that extra bit of confidence. I bet the reception from the crowd would encourage him even more. But i guess its a bit too early for that, its best if we dont rush him.

  82. Demetrio
    December 17, 2008 at 6:09 pm #

    Well apparently he strained his hamstring in the game, so that is a set back, and could be expected, since he hasnt played in 10 months, hamstrings were probably a bit tight.. So he’ll recover fast from this hopefully. I hope at least by the new year he can play a full 90 mins with the first team.

  83. old timer
    December 17, 2008 at 8:19 pm #

    Rio Ferdinand says Arsenal are out of of the title race.
    Martin Jol says Aston Villa are better than Arsenal.
    Paddy Viera says Arsenal have lost their fear factor.

    I hope AW is cutting these quotes out and sticking them on the dressing room wall for motivation because If I’d be wanting to make them eat those words.

    As it happens I don’t think we could have picked ourselves a better next game than at home to Liverpool. Liverpool are vulnerable. They’ve got a massive weight of expectation on their shoulders and they don’t seem to be handling it too well. A few of their wins have been down to scrappy or last minute goals which suggests they’re not quite as good as their points tally suggests.
    They like to play football, like us, and are not really of the battling, ‘In yer face’ ilk which we seem to be having so much trouble with.
    We played well against them in all our games last season and were very unlucky not to get a win – ergo – we deserve the rub of the green this time around.
    I’m picking RVP to give them real problems and if we score first they might go to pieces.
    Obviously are form’ s not good at the moment but if they can beat ‘Pool they’ll have beaten all the Big 4 – surely they can use that to push on and at least secure a top 4 place?

  84. butterfingers
    December 18, 2008 at 12:29 am #

    @ old timer WHEN we beat luckypool ( they have that name because we should of had a pen with hleb in the cl and they had a dubious 1 in the 2nd leg) we will kick start our boys into the right frame of mind they need and with dudu back that will be the catalyst for our season and I can see this being the toughest campaingn yet but when we win all the arsne haters will piss off and notice how we are so great without any yank or russian playboys money floating around and everyone will see we are the greatest london club EVER. 3-1 to arsenal and Eboue 9 not my fav player but he always proves his heart)to score??? Anything is possible I guess.

  85. TayGoon
    December 18, 2008 at 1:00 am #

    @ Hartwick & Ol’ timer;

    I believe his return will coincide with the start of good fortune for us. Not that it hasn’t started already(despite our slips, nobody has run away with it). We just need the boys to play with a smile on their faces and we are back in business. Fans’ backing is crucial.

    The real test of a big club is yet to come for A Villa. (see Leeds) After the season is over, and assuming they put a scare on L’pool( I don’t see L’pool finish above us) How many players will they be able to retain, and how many good quality players would they be able to attract? The flirtation with a couple of good results and being close to the big boys may indeed lead them to implode. As Far as I am concerned, they got lucky last time out and we will gently show them where their place is.

    If we get past New year within 7 points of the top, we are in good shape for the championship. We are going to be stronger in the second half than we have been lately even without signings.

  86. jay-jay
    December 18, 2008 at 2:03 am #

    @ TayGoon – Real are willing to pay 25 mil for Young, and that is a crucial player for Villa but also that amount of money wont be offered to Villa again so O’Neill has some thinking to do.

  87. ThArsenalWay.com
    December 18, 2008 at 4:33 am #

    Now what is this?

    http : // www . arsenal. com /news/news-archive/arsenal-holdings-plc-board-restructuring

    “Ivan Gazidis, the incoming Chief Executive, will join the Boards of the Company and the Club with effect from 1 January 2009.

    Richard Carr has announced his resignation from the Board of the Company having served as a director for twenty seven years. Richard will, however, remain a director of the Club.

    Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith will be leaving the Boards of the Company and the Club with immediate effect.”

    [please remove the space in the link before you enter it in your browser]

  88. Demetrio
    December 18, 2008 at 5:23 am #

    @ Butterfingers

    i don’t see how you say beating Liverpool with kick start the team. We’ve beaten Man USA.. did that get our season on track.. no. We beat Chelsea AT their home ground, did that kick start our season… No.

    The fact is, this team, this season, has and shows no desire to win, unless they are playing the other big 3. Where was the motivation in the Middlesbrough game, where was it against Wigan even when they barley hung on. And against Hull and Stoke it was terrible. If Arsenal could play half as good as they did against Man USA, we would be leading the league.

    Out of the other big 3, Liverpool will be the hardest to beat. Man USA and Chelsea have this arrogance about them, so they came into the games against us thinking they could win since our form has been way off. Liverpool however, know they are not as good as Chelsea and Man USA, so they will not come into the game on their high horse thinking they can get a goal and then kill Arsenal off. They will come in with the same mindset as us, which is we cant afford to lose. I knew we would be Man U and Chelsea. I’m not so sure we can beat Liverpool, i think this may end up as a draw as both teams will know they cant drop points, and weh teams play not to lose, they usually lose or draw.

  89. old timer
    December 18, 2008 at 6:54 am #

    @ Demetrio – The thing is Liverpool can afford to lose. If they do and Cheslki win they’re still only 2 points behind. They have points to play with – which we don’t. And they’ll know this.
    Their problem is the belief coupled with the expectation. I watched their game against Hull and before Hull scored the crowd were incredible. You could tell they were really thinking ‘This is it this time. We’re finally going to win the Premiership. Then as soon as soon as Hull scored all the belief drained away and the panic set in. As a player it must be difficult to perform with that sort of tension surrounding you.
    But apart from that it’s more Liverpool’s style of play that I think will allow us in. They’re not going to crowd the penalty area and say ‘See if you can get through that.’ They have a number of highly skilled Internationals who will want to do their stuff. I’m not saying it’ll be easy – just that if we had to face a Stoke or a Sunderland right now I’m not sure our boys could handle it. They need to play to get their confidence up and their rhythm back.
    They’ll have had a nice long week to recouperate from the knocks and bruises. It’s Christmas. We’re at The Emirates. We’re walking in a Wenger Wonderland!

  90. TayGoon
    December 18, 2008 at 6:55 am #

    @ Jay-jay; Those dumb A’s at real usually don’t know the true value of players. It is just political to them. Either way, I doubt if any villa player will say no, when the big boys comes calling. In a way, their seemingly success could prove to be their undoing. They will be lucky to finish in the top 5 come May.

  91. Demetrio
    December 18, 2008 at 8:15 am #

    @ taygoon

    I disagreee with you saying that they will have a hard time finishing in the top 5. Villa is playing great football. i cant see them losing anybody in January, so if there is a year to push for the top 4 this is it for Villa. Next season, if they dont get in the top 4 i will agree with you. Villa will most likely lose Barry if they finish below 4th as he will go looking for CL football with Liverpool most likely, and their other stars might follow him out the door. Hopefully Young one day makes his way to Arsenal! But this season Villa is going to be tough.

  92. Radads RSA
    December 18, 2008 at 8:18 am #

    All will depend on our line up on sunday, Liverpool is a team which can deafeated only by defensive arrogance,they will all bounce back if we start to play with aggressivity, especially in the mdfld.And we also have to be aware that they will alws have in mind our win agst Manu and chelski onwhich they will take much consideration than our 5 defeats,so they will be well prepared but on the other hand it will also be a good point for us as it might affect them psycologically.
    sagna-toure-galls-clichy
    Eboue-song-cecs-Denilson
    RVP-Ade
    Nasri shud be priority if back, and I also hope seeing Eduardo in action on the 2nd half.I really wish to see Toure playing agst liverpool as he s got more experience than anybody on the pitch and also the livrpool players respect him a lot.

  93. Radads RSA
    December 18, 2008 at 8:22 am #

    Draw back not bounce back sorry for my mistake

  94. Radads RSA
    December 18, 2008 at 8:27 am #

    Sorry SF, you have not taken the picture away yet.I dont like watching that pics, everytime I open the blog I turn it away to comments quickly, and never tried to slide my mouse down.

  95. Gibbs
    December 18, 2008 at 8:34 am #

    @ Demetrio
    I think Villa will fade away as the season continues (like Hull), they wont last. The 4th spot will be occupied by its rightful owner (Liverpool) in may. Their downfall will be started by us on Sunday. My team would be:
    Sagna-Gallas-JD-Chlichy
    Eboue-Cesc-Song-Vela
    Ade-RVP
    I think Vela and Eboue will provide more width and Song will cover the defense, he has to stick to StevieG like glue.

  96. Spanish Fry
    December 18, 2008 at 9:03 am #

    @ Radads – I’ll have to do a new Gazette and at the moment time is just not permitting! Sorry!

  97. jay-jay
    December 18, 2008 at 9:55 am #

    @ Gibbs, that is the team I would pick aswell. Switch RvP and Vela around maybe. Hope to see Dudu in the second half. Song has a massive job, to mark Stevie G, every team finds it hard to stop Gerrard netting, i believe a 2-2 draw – Adebayor, Fabregas – Gerrard, Kuyt.

  98. Radads RSA
    December 18, 2008 at 5:34 pm #

    @SF, thanks for letting me know,its just givin bad souvenir but not a big issue!!!But please do it when you can.
    @Jay-Jay, Fab scoring is a strong possibilty as he been always having special charctr when we play liverpool, and also I m really convinced that he defntly wants to take a revenge for the last year semi final CL.I still cannot forget abt Bendtner stopping the ball goin to the net, that ws terrible!!!!I remember AW’s interview after the game saying:” ..well!!I dont really know why he stoped the ball..”,this is when I ve started to look at the Dane differently.
    I would also prefer to see Vela on the LW, but I think Toure is player not to miss if available.He is a key for us, I will put Djourou instead of Song, or I will put him instd of Gallas.But Toure MUST be there.

  99. Radads RSA
    December 18, 2008 at 6:26 pm #

    WE ARE DEFENTLY MISSING TOURE NEXT SUNDAY,Just looked at the website.But still trust Djourou and gallas in the center back,Kuyt is my biggest worry but I know I can trust Clichy as he is my Gunners favrit player.Eboue shoud play as the this is the chance to proove himslef again and to give us more pace and acceleration alomg with Sagna on the right side of the pitch.I really like that combination of Sagna and Eboue, but not really much as seeing Walcott.

  100. Demetrio
    December 18, 2008 at 7:01 pm #

    If Denilson is not hurt.. i seriously doubt Wenger will keep him out the starting squad. Even when Denilson plays like shit, Wenger will not take him out. He’s in love with Denilson or something. Even worse he wont start Vela. For him to be so good, he sure as hell doesn’t have any faith in the young guns. I really like Song, but i think its not a good situation to mark Gerrard, since Song really has no pace at all, he can tackle better then anyone on the team but couldn’t out run Wenger. I expect a midfield similar to the one against Boro tho.. maybe Diaby sits and Eboue comes in. But i don’t think Vela will get a run, not to start at least. And i doubt Dudu is on the bench, i mean he just played his first game in 10 months, having him take part in this is rushing him back WAY too fast. I am eager to see him also, but i dint want him to end up like Rosicky with a minor hamstring that turns into something serious.

  101. ramugunner
    December 18, 2008 at 11:42 pm #

    I don’t think it will be easy for us to beat Pools come Sunday. They are leading the table and have more confidence than our team. We will lack serious pace and width to nail down their tough defense. We need Ade or RVP to have a good game along with Cesc to get something. Their center midfield is full of class; Gerrard, Alonso and Mascherano. Last season, Mascherano kept Cesc totally out of game 3 times out of four. Whoever plays in the center, Denilson or Song, will struggle in the middle, that’s for sure. I think we will either draw or lose at Anfield. I will be happy to be proved wrong though.

    I read few transcripts from Wenger’s online chat with Arsenal fan’s. He thinks his team is young and full of class. He didn’t hesitate to say this team can be better than 2004 team. He also said Diaby, Song are really good midfielders. Moreover, he gave a big hint that he will not sign anyone in Janaury. PATHETIC.

    It’s hard to believe a manager of his class is saying this. Anyone who understands football can say Almunia, Song, Diaby, Eboue cannot compete in the highest level.

    @ Oldtimer;
    Rio Ferdinand says Arsenal are out of of the title race.
    Martin Jol says Aston Villa are better than Arsenal.
    Paddy Viera says Arsenal have lost their fear factor.

    Those statements might be bitter for all Arsenal fans but these are the facts. I believe we were out of title race when we lost to Astonvilla. Astonvilla are much better side than ours in current form. They have better organized defense and midfield than ours. They proved their class when they convincingly outplayed us at Emirates. But I think we will finish 4th cause Villa will slip and we have better players to comeback from injuries. Also, Viera was spot on. Cesc, Gallas, Sagna and RVP are the only proven winners in our team.

  102. TayGoon
    December 19, 2008 at 4:49 am #

    If AW goes with Song in CM, we are screwd (excuse my japanese). L’Pool plays with 3 significantly mobile CMs and whether some Denilson Haters like it or not, he is our best hope in this game. Diaby shoud make the bench AT MOST. And Eboue should get back into the mix at RM. Nasri Will start at LM and he benefits alot from Denilson’s style. I would be happy to not see Gallas in the side but Toure instead. KT has the pace and is neater than WG, and we need that to contain pools’ counterattacking style(the only trick they know) Cesc is mobile enough and if RVP( He might start on the Bench for a stupid 4-5-1 with Diaby in, to counter L’pools expected 3 CMs, but that will be a grave mistake if we start with Song in the side), works his “chocolate leg” off upfront, we can do some serious damage.

    We need Eboue and a “Song Free” side on Sunday.

  103. TayGoon
    December 19, 2008 at 4:57 am #

    People are wondering why Vella does not get a lot of playtime. One of the reason I would hessitate to start him is he still can’t protect the ball well enough and it is awfully easy to recover the ball from at the moment. He needs space and/or half a second to pull off what he wants to pull off, and against sides that likes to close us too well he can’t find room to play effectively. I would only start him if we had another player to hold and create a peach of a final pass to him. Someone like Wilshere and definetely not Diaby(too selfish). Denilson can do it but he has been asked to concentrate defensively. Bentner is another one who can do it but not worth sacrificing our 2 regular strikers for it.

  104. Demetrio
    December 19, 2008 at 5:24 am #

    @ Taygoon

    Thats not a good enough reason. Bendnter and Denilson give the ball away like Christmas presents. Ramesy and Wilshere have the same problems when they’ve played, but Wenger signed them because apparently they are good enough, so age shouldnt matter. They do no good when they sit on the bench, so play them or sign someone he will play.

    Nasri wil be back tho, so Song may be left out of the squad, and Denilson play the holding midfield.

  105. TayGoon
    December 19, 2008 at 8:33 am #

    Demetrio;

    Bendtner’s ball protection is way better than Vella. No doubts about it. And I don’t know how it got ingrained into people’s minds that Denilson gives away the ball the way you say he does, but if you look at the stats, he is among the most efficient if not the most efficient of the entire Arsenal squad in terms of not losing possesion. I guess when people have made their minds up about not liking a particular player, they choose what they see and ignore the rest. It is hard to be partial for some people sometimes and I just hope they forget their preference for a second and see the true merrits of our players.

    He has played in most games this season because he has earned it. The thing about Vella is that the manager is protecting him especially from fans who, after a few games where he starts and lost a few too many balls, fans will murder him. There is no point to risk him now when we have other players. Bendtner is cocky and arrogant(translation: tough skin) he can deal with fan’s abuse more than little Vella.

  106. Demetrio
    December 19, 2008 at 9:41 am #

    I disagree with everything you just stated. Against Fulham, Denilson was piss and a major reason we lost to Fulham. His stats are looking better because Cesc is stepping up now and taking a load of the responsibility of doing all the passing. YOU forget hat most of Denilson’s passes go side to side, and do not cause any threat. I could be the best passer at Arsenal if all i did was stood on my 16 yard box and passed it back and forth with Almunia. Stats mean nothing unless it show how many goals scored. This doesn’t mean anything any ways now with the news that Nasri has a 95 or 99% of playing, but if it came down to who I’d want on the wing between Vela and Denilson, i would choose Vela every day.

    I dunno what games you have been watching but Bendnter has no first touch what so ever. He has a brick for a foot, because every time he tried to take it down or beat his man with a first touch the ball goes 15 yards ahead of him.. thats not keeping possession well.

  107. old timer
    December 19, 2008 at 10:28 am #

    @ ramugunner You make some good points and I tend to agree with you. However what i was saying was not about whether Ferdinand, Jol and Viera were wrong or right – but that having that sort of thing said about you should provide extra motivation for our team to step up a gear and try and prove them wrong. For instance you can bet that if Wenger came out before the Liverpool game and said ‘They’re a rubbish team who will never win the League again’ they’d be well fired up when they came out on the pitch.

    As it happens it’s not true that we’re out of the title race. I personally never thought we’d win it this season when AW didn’t buy in the last transfer window – but that’s just my opinion – mathematically of course we can still win it. We’re 8 points off the leaders. If we beat Liverpool this weekend, and Chelsea win we’re 7 points off the top. If Chelsea lose or draw it’s only 5 points – with over half the season still to play.

    Are Villa better than us? Well they say the table doesn’t lie – plus they beat us – so perhaps just at the moment they are but I have faith that we’re going to improve and don’t think Villa can get any better than they already are. I’m pretty confident we’ll overtake them and show who’s the better side.
    Paddy’s comment about the ‘fear factor’ is the most hurtful because it really is true. You can sense now that teams do come at us believing we’re a soft touch. We can only turn that around by giving some teams some sound beatings. I mean spanked. I wanna see goals. A lot of them. Unfortunately I have no idea if the current team, as it is, is capable of that. And I suspect it isn’t…

    One more thing. We all want AW to strengthen the squad and are cheesed off that he didn’t already do so but please don’t refer to The Great Man as ‘pathetic’. He is a veritable God on earth and he has made Arsenal what it is today. Some respect please.
    Regarding transfers on the Arsenal website today he says: “It is feasible that we can do it and sometimes a [new] player can give some extra belief to the squad. If it appears we can make something special, then we will do it.”
    If he doesn’t ‘make something special’ then I’ll be hopping mad but I would never stoop to insult the man. He’s a million times better manager than you or I could ever be.

  108. MoMONEY
    December 19, 2008 at 10:53 am #

    The one thing I will say about Villa: If we are struggling because of lack of experience, where in the world will they get it from? None of their players have the Champions League experience ours do and they have never finished in the top 4… My point is all the “Mental handicaps” that we have, they have too…

  109. TayGoon
    December 19, 2008 at 1:02 pm #

    @ Demetrio;

    YOU forgot that I WAS NOT talking about passes or passing statistics. I was talking about BALL RETENTION. We did not lose to Fulham because of Denilson. Gallas didn’t mark Hangeland the way he should have. I have most/all games recorded and we can go minute by minute on it if you want. Don’t you think it is a little bit unfair to blame Denilson for what Gallas and the rest of the squad didn’t do?!?!?!??!?!?!?
    Go ahead and blame Denilson in every game if you want, which means if we lost, it was his fault, but if we won it was him that made us win. The point is I am not Brazilian, I am not european, I am African. I am not dating Denilson’s mom, aunt or elder sister. The same goes for all arsenal players. I have no reason to favour one particular player. I view all from what I perceive to be their merits.IT SHOULD BE KNOWN THAT I DO NOT ACCUSE DEMETRIO OF ACUSING ME OF ANYTHING.

    Demetrio, A VERY SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF CESC PASSES ARE BACK TO WHOEVER GAVE HIM THE BALL IN THE FIRST PLACE. So if we have to criticize side-way passes( which are better than giving the ball back to whoever gave it to you) we should look at “RIGHT BACK AT YOU” passes which makes close to 50% of Cesc’s passes. I like Cesc. I LOVE the CESC. I put him with Kaka and Ronaldinho as the best Tactical players I have ever seen. I would have added Ballack in the list but he plays for the wrong club. If I am sticking for Denilson, I have seen something in him. LET US NOT KILL HIM with our pessimism, because the only thing he is inferior to Cesc is the tactical awareness. He surpasses Cesc in EVERY OTHER Department. skill, ability, pace, dribling, you name it. If Cesc leaves to Barca as everyone wants to profess about. We have a better player( in 1 more season) than Cesc in the making.

  110. TayGoon
    December 19, 2008 at 1:49 pm #

    @ Ol’ timer:

    I read your response to ramuguner as I was sipping on a Manhattan. made me almost shed a tear or two ( I make them too strong for my own good).

    We lost the fear factor when our invincible run ended in 2004. Chelsea have lost it this season. L’pool don’t scare anybody and With Man U, it is how you play on the day. The good thing to take out of it is that everyone knows Man U, Chelsea and L’pool are at their best and we are not. What that tells you is, if we get to our best, there is NO match for us. And we are still in the thick of it. We are just 2 players( or 1 and a half) from the existing squad to be at our best. Eduardo at his best is better than Nasri, and that is what AW was trying to get Dudu used to LM role so he could have 4 strikers upfront. Theo, RVP, ADE and Eduardo. RVP has the skill but not the engine to play wide. Ade has the engine but not the creativity to be wide and still be effective at the same time. The one thing about Eduardo is that he is better than Ronaldo but he is about what is neccessary first. RVP is the most skilled striker in the EPL, in the Kaka, Ronaldinho, Eduardo and Brazilian Ronaldo’s class. We are lucky to have Eduardo, RVP and Vella in one club. ARSENAL fans are spoiled brats!.

  111. Ianinja
    December 19, 2008 at 2:03 pm #

    Denilson bashing again…hmmm. Take it easy guys we’re the supporters and do not have a coaching license anyway. I agree Denilson is not there yet, Anderson is much better and its a pity since Denilson was once captain for Brazil under 19s. I guess the litmus test for Denilson now is whether he can perform at the top level and its a bad time to step up because Arsenal as a whole is not performing. I always see Denilson as a backup to Cesc like how Gilberto and Edu would rotate partnering Viera but Denilson is still working on his defense tactics. Its not his fault really, not everyone can adapt fast to a new position, thus Wenger opting for Song as a dmf. Denilson seems to play European games where he’s more suitable to the pace but then again the lost to Porto made me realize otherwise. Deni, Diaby, Song are players lacking in confidence(or overconfidence) not tactics or skills. Seems as though they go in games not giving 100%. Whatever the reason Arsenal now is a mess on pitch and on the board level. Even how painful it has become as supporters we just have to support the team we have now no matter how mediocore they have regressed to. Anyway hope we get one over the scousers. Cheers!

  112. butterfingers
    December 19, 2008 at 2:23 pm #

    Our problem as well is we have a lot of skillfull players that tend to get injured easy as well. Do you think manure would be as good if ronaldo was out for 3 months every season like young theo? If they lost vidic like we have lost toure last season at the afc and injured this year? Losing rooney like we have rvp and berba like we did dudu? who could replace luckypool and chelscum with there most skillfull players and the answer would be no. But again a lot of you would argue yes but I don’t see the other big 4 playing a 2nd or even 3rd team in the cc and lower fa cup matches and getting as far as us.It’s just we are a tad unlucky at the moment and I can recall us being very lucky in our unbeaten season getting a few late draws and when the 50th game came around we bottled it against manure but as long as we win against pool I can see us going full steam as manure were also in our position last year and everyone said they had no chance. but like 1 of the posts above had said dudu coming back will give us an air of belief around us and defenders will have a sence of fragility like henry gave them. Give it time and we will be a force to be reckoned with again and who knows with the board all getting reshuffled we might have some extra funds this jan.

  113. old timer
    December 19, 2008 at 3:24 pm #

    Cheers TayGoon! – I got completely smashed on Hoegarden last night (I wasn’t paying) otherwise I’d be thinking of joining you…
    I don’t think we lost our Fear Factor in 2004 – even last season you could sense there were teams afraid of us. That’s definitely gone now. Still I’d support Arsene and Arsenal whatever happens. We have some very good players (though I wouldn’t say Eduardo up to this point has earned the accolades you bestow on him – as much as I like him he’s not really done anything yet) but we also have more make-weights in our team than M, C or L – or so it seems to me.
    By the way, @butterfingers, Arsenal did not bottle it in the 50th game – we were cheated out of the point by that scummy little Shrek-a-like’s penalty dive.

  114. TayGoon
    December 19, 2008 at 4:11 pm #

    @ Old timer;
    Can you change your name to Ol’ timer?? Sounds veeery good. Otherwise I agree with your last post.
    We started losing our fear factore in 2004. We didn’t lose it all then, but we have lost it now. It is a good thing for other teams to think we are not scary. We are the same team so whatever they think now is false thinking for them which leaves us in a realy good position to pick them off like some naive prostitutes. Eduardo is GOOD. Trust me. In time I will be vindicated. I see skill when it is on show. Eduardo has the potential to be more than Henry. He won’t be that forcefull, but will compensate that with shear skill.

  115. MoMONEY
    December 19, 2008 at 9:21 pm #

    ROMA! EXACTLY WHAT I WANTED! WHAT A GAME(s) IT WILL BE!

  116. jay-jay
    December 19, 2008 at 9:59 pm #

    Roma! They will not be easy, the knocked out Real last season and beat Chelsea 3-1 this season. However I was hoping for Panathinaikos or Roma and thats who we got. C’mon, great draw. Considering Liverpool got Madrid, United got Inter and Chelsea got Juve, I wouldnt have minded Juve, jus didnt want Barca.

  117. Filipino Dan
    December 19, 2008 at 10:36 pm #

    I think it’s a pretty good draw really – not so much for who Arsenal got but for who will be left if we get through.

    To think that three of Liverpool, ManUre, Madrid, Inter, Chelsea and Juve will be gone for the next round is real incentive.

    Let’s hammer Liverpool on Sunday and bring back the fear factor!

  118. MoMONEY
    December 20, 2008 at 3:53 am #

    Have they determined the entire bracket and who plays who in the next round? Where can you see it?

    Definitely our best option IMO… Panathanaikos scares me actually as they have a tough D and excellent aerial attack… Exactly what we dont want

  119. Demetrio
    December 20, 2008 at 5:08 am #

    I dunno why everyone is so excited, we have drawn the best team in out of all the Italian teams in the CL. Inter/Juve will be much easier to knock out then Roma. I would have liked for Arsenal to draw Sporting Lisbon or Real Madrid or Atlético Madrid. We match up better aginst a Spanish team or Sporting becuase they play free flowing football, which allows us to play our football, and if any team tries to play football with Arsenal, Arsenal wins easily.

    Roma is not gonna play free flowing football. They will do what the teams in the Prem who’ve beaten us have done. Set back and defend, and pressure the ball starting in our own half. That this season has given us problems, so unless Arsenal solve that, this will be very tough.

  120. jay-jay
    December 20, 2008 at 6:51 am #

    @ Demetrio – we found a way through AC Milan, I cant see no reason why we cannot do it again.

  121. Demetrio
    December 20, 2008 at 7:08 am #

    @jay jay

    Where in that did i say we cant?

    Im saying i dont understand why some of you would be happy we drew the toughest of all the Italian teams, when both Madrids and Sporting play a style that we are much better against.

  122. MoMONEY
    December 20, 2008 at 7:24 am #

    We finished second so both Madrids were out of the question. Same with Sporting. Our options were Roma, Panathanaikos, Barcelona, Juventus, and I may be forgetting one or two more… The point is out of those options Roma IMO is best for us. They play attacking football, arent overly fast, or dangerous in the air (Panathanaikos), and arent Barca… Its the matchup I wanted to see and I got it… Will it be easy? Absolutely not but its possible

  123. ramugunner
    December 20, 2008 at 7:52 am #

    Agree guys! It will not be easy but is possible if we re-enforce our weak squad. We need to buy one or two class player to have any chances. Roma are playing brilliantly in CL this season, beating Chelski-Moscow 3-1 and winning the group. They look more determined cause Final is in their Home turf.

    Roma has; Totti, DeRossi, Vucinic and Mexes, All worldclass players. What we have? Cesc! That’s all. I think it will be tougher than AC Milan. On thier day, Roma have ability to pass better and play beautiful game than what we play.

  124. Filipino Dan
    December 20, 2008 at 8:27 am #

    I really can’t see him spending in January. Don’t get your hopes up.

    Player acquisitions won’t help against Roma anyway – any decent players will surely be cup-tied. The best we can hope for is Theo, Eduardo and Rosicky back, with a fit squad to choose from.

    It’s a good draw, I remain optimistic.

  125. MoMONEY
    December 20, 2008 at 4:41 pm #

    There will be additions in January… Wenger said himself that it can sometimes boost the morale of the squad. And with the disappointing season I could see him doing it just to get the fans off his back. But the truth is I think he all the talk of no signings is a smokescreen… Obviously if there is no1 worth it it wont happen, wenger wont do it for the hell of it. But if there is someone there half decent, Wenger will pick them up I think…

  126. Anonymous
    December 20, 2008 at 6:20 pm #

    AW’s sending out mixed messages. On the Arsenal site today he says “I know how much money I can spend and I will try to do it in a wise way.”
    but a couple of days ago he said there’s no one he’s looking to buy. Is he just messing with our minds? If he doesn’t buy anyone what does that mean? That wth all the scouts they have and Arsene’s own brilliant knowledge of players around the world that he can’t find a midfielder available who’s better than Abou Diaby??
    Look at the facts. Chelski bought and won the league – twice. man u bought and won the league – then bought again and won the League and Champs League. Liverpool bought and won the Champs then bought again and are now top of the table.
    Arsenal haven’t bought and have won nothing and are struggling to hold down fifth place. ‘Quid pro quo’ Arsene.

  127. butterfingers
    December 20, 2008 at 9:44 pm #

    @ Anonymous blackburn spent big and won the league once spurs spent big and ended up at the bottom of the table and with all the money falling out of the clubs as roman isn’t putting any more money in these big signing fees will not be coming back to the club where arsne could sell any of our players and make a profit maybe apart from theo.
    @ spanish we could nickname you baptista fry as your missing the posts more than he did haha.

  128. Abdul S
    December 20, 2008 at 10:04 pm #

    i ddnt watch d boro match bt d comments i read tells me how bad our performance was.agreed we have injury problems but d fact remain dat wenger has refused to get a quality replacement 4 Flaminny which we let go cheaply.song, denlison and diaby r too inconsistent and how long a time are we going to wait 4 dem to improve? pls wenger shld b compel to do sumthn b4 we become an average team in the leaque and Europe.

  129. Hey nonny mouse
    December 20, 2008 at 10:07 pm #

    @butterfingers – yeah. S’true. Spending doesn’t guarantee success. But what does not spending guarantee you? It’s not as if AW never bought players before – even when we didn’t seem to need’em. I dunno…maybe he feels like that didn’t work and he wants to try some other way? But damn it’s hard watching our quality drop. If Liverpool beat us Sundy it’s the Big 3 from now on. We’ll just be milling around with the rest of them.

  130. Ice Baba
    December 21, 2008 at 12:22 am #

    Pple, my submition on this whole debate is that when u mix hot and cold water, u produce the required mix that will sooth to bath with. The truth is that we have what it takes to beat any team any time and day, but what we need to do now is to blend 3 new faces (WORLD CLASS) to the present squard and that FEAR FACTOR we all re asking will resurface.

  131. Hey nonny mouse
    December 21, 2008 at 12:26 am #

    Hear hear! Cuz right now the bath is tepid. AW needs to turn on the hot tap (or something like that…)

  132. Hey nonny mouse
    December 21, 2008 at 12:45 am #

    Then after the bath the team can all smear themselves in mango-flavoured body butter.

  133. Ice Baba
    December 21, 2008 at 7:37 am #

    @ Hey nonny mouse, u know what I am talking about. I know in winter there re loads of warming to do so lets urge AW to step up 4 us the FANS. Outside my family and biz, AFC is the 3rd that uplift my spirit week-in-week-out.

  134. Demetrio
    December 21, 2008 at 7:45 am #

    I agree with a lot of you, we definitely need to strengthen our squad. Buying does not guarantee success, but it never hurts to have world class players in your squad if Wenger would buy them. We are only 2-3 players short of really being the best team in England. If Alonso would have came, and Wenger would have bought 2 more EXPERIENCED world class players, we would be easily top of the table by a huge margin with the way Chelsea, Liverpool and Man USA have been playing.

    In saying that, i really don’t think Wenger will buy anyone. He is too stubborn to see that players like Denilson and Diaby are just not good enough at this point in their careers. So the team we have most likely will be what we have until summer. At the most, he might buy a CB since it seems Gallas is on his way out for sure. I still hope since Juve want Gallas, we should try to work some kinda swap with them to take Chiellini and send Gallas plus 5-8mil to Juve. Chiellini is by far the best defender Arsenal have been linked to, he will one day take Cannavaro’s spot int the Azzurri back line plus he’s only 24. At the earliest it will probably be summer before he joins Arsenal tho.

  135. MoMONEY
    December 21, 2008 at 8:44 am #

    Yea Chiellini would be the best option but is it realistic? Would he leave Juve? Would be an immense signing…

  136. Demetrio
    December 21, 2008 at 9:14 am #

    Yeah.. Well Reports in Italy are that Wenger is really keen on him. Chiellini’s brother has said he is not gonna leave, but his brother is in no way a speaker on his behalf, and his brother has not said he doesnt WANT to leave, he’s just said he will honor his contract which is up in a few years. If Wenger is as keen on him as repoted i dont see how Arsenal wont sign him, and i think Wenger is in keen postion, since juve (for some reason) are really hell bent on signing Gallas. The main reason it could deff happen, Serie A is a league based around money and Juve is more about money then any other team, (they need it to pay off refs). There is not a player in the Serie A that these owners would not sell if the money is right. If Wenger could send Gallas to Juve.. plus.. prob 8 mil.. Juve i think would let Chiellini leave. And Juve the club has not come out and said anything about not wanting to let him leave.

  137. butterfingers
    December 21, 2008 at 9:28 am #

    Don’t think any italians are keen on playing in the prem as they are all a bunch of diving girls. Ancelotti has also said none of his players will go to england because they have bad weather, bad food and women don’t wash their genetalia so if that was true the A league should be the best in the world then haha.
    P.S would rather have micah richards as he supported arsenal growing up.

  138. MoMONEY
    December 21, 2008 at 10:32 am #

    Chiellini is not comparable to Richards… He is the future of the always rock solid Italian back four and if you think he is in any way a diver you havent seen him play…

    Demetrio you are getting my hopes up and I pray it happens… Probably not till summer though right?

  139. Wildon
    December 21, 2008 at 1:00 pm #

    Important game today! Cannot wait! Gunners 2-1!

  140. SCOPE KNIGHT
    December 21, 2008 at 4:17 pm #

    Spanish,
    Pls we need a post.Luck is on villa’s side

  141. Demetrio
    December 21, 2008 at 5:25 pm #

    @butterfingers

    Although it was pretty funny, not many of us really think that of English women. It was said by Aurelio De Laurentiis, the president of Napoli, and was said because he doesnt want Napoli players to leave. We have good youth in Napoli that is attracting English attention, and i think he knows that he risks losing them.

    @ MoMoney

    If it is true that Wenger is interested, and not only interested but as interested as reported.. Chiellini will be a Gunner.. most likely not until summer unless the two clubs can come up with some kinda swap deal for Gallas and money to go the other way. You also have to remember that Wenger wants Giovinco, so to get Wenger away from him they may just let Chiellini go as long as Gallas goes to Juve.

  142. MoMONEY
    December 21, 2008 at 8:07 pm #

    I hope it happens… Reports today linking Arshavin, an unnamed Adebayor replacement, and possibly Carlos Tevez… Suddenly there is a lot of big names being thrown around…

  143. Radads RSA
    December 21, 2008 at 10:48 pm #

    Dont expect any deal this winter, unless we will have a player leaving as gallas or Bendtner might be.if the lads leave then AW would buy and wont be big name.We are facing an unpredicted economic turn around situation in 2009, so the best thiong to do is to keep uirself safe.The team is good as it is, we just need somebody to step up and lead the team psycologicaly.Fab is busy doing it now so lets not disturb him, its not an eassy task.He still has to earn respect from the players psycologically, step by step, to know them individually, that will take sometime, and still a lot more psycological work that he has to acquire and so on and etc…..
    He will lead the team strongly, january will come.He knows the pbm, and he is a clever boy, he also has experience, so I think he will defntly sort this out.
    Denilson IS A WORLD CLASS PLAYER, HIS ONLY PBM IS HIS DEFENSIV QUALITY WHICH HAVE BEEN VERY POOR DURING THE STARTING OF THE SEASON, But now he is improvin, and doesnt stop to do so.

  144. ZenitViaArshavin
    December 21, 2008 at 11:34 pm #

    let’s hope we sign Arshavin in janaury, a class player. although we need midfielder and defender than attacking player, i will accept him. wenger wants to sign him to replace Hleb. no matter what some arsenal fans say, hleb is really missed at arsenal. he is the one who made cesc play better and produce beautiful football last season. we have no player in our squad who can dribble past few defenders or hold ball and make a pinpoint pass. i know hleb is a bad shooter but is a wonderful footballer with good vision. arshavin would be a solid repacement. that’s what’s up..

    also, this blog sucks. the blogger seems too lazy; one post in a week. sorry dude. it’s not good enough.

    liverpool are shites whores. if we don’t win today, it will be big gap between us and them.

    good luck you fellow gooners…….

  145. Hey nonny mouse
    December 22, 2008 at 1:27 am #

    My team for the Liverpool game – Kroenke in goal. Fiszman and Hill-Wood in defence. Bracewell-Smith out on the wing. Usmanov up front. No,hang on…

  146. jay-jay
    December 22, 2008 at 2:31 am #

    1-0 to the Arsenal, My man RVP! A long way to go but we now have the upper hand

  147. MoMONEY
    December 22, 2008 at 3:06 am #

    Ribery is a name i forgot to mention as well…. these re some big names but im quite skeptical…

    Djourou with a mental lapse and Keane ties it up… We need to win this..

  148. Hey nonny mouse
    December 22, 2008 at 3:58 am #

    Funnily enough, after Ade got booked I said to myself ‘Sub him at half time because he looks like he’s in the mood to get booked again.’…

  149. MoMONEY
    December 22, 2008 at 3:59 am #

    Quick thoughts on the game:

    Van Persie Played great, always working hard and fighting and his goal showed great control + First touch

    Nasri was our best player after Cesc got hurt… All the attacks went through him. I thought wenger should have put him in the middle but he kinda had free reign

    Denilson played pretty well too- I stand by my opinion that he is best suited for cesc’s position.

    Song + Sagna looked good as well.

    I was watchgin pretty poor quality but I didnt think Ade’s first was a yellow at all. The second was debatable but it was a bit clumsy on his part.

    Without Cesc, 10 men for the second half, already missing quite a few players, a draw is a good result … Tbh if Djourour doesnt fall asleep for a second we win 1-0 but thats football…

    Good result under tough circumstances…

  150. Spanish Fry
    December 22, 2008 at 4:00 am #

    @ Hey nonny mouse – Even so, it wasn’t a booking and should not have been a red card. Horrible decision and essentially cost us the game. Very disappointing but our guys dug in and they have to be given credit for that.

    Not the result we wanted but the best possible outcome given the circumstances.

  151. Luxinbrasil
    December 22, 2008 at 4:02 am #

    gutted…..Howard Webb ruined that game…..never a sending off…some great resiliance shown by the Arsenal after the ridiculous decision!!!…Great to hear the cheer for Eboue when he made his appearance!!!.also it was great to see a proper performance from the boys….we always looked like winning and had some great moves……very worried about Fab tho!

  152. Spanish Fry
    December 22, 2008 at 4:03 am #

    Just to let everyone know – I’ll be posting tomorrow. I just bought a new MacBook (yay!) and have been having some issues with it that have prevented me posting. Things are finally going and I’ll be back to review the game tomorrow.

    Catch you then.

  153. Luxinbrasil
    December 22, 2008 at 4:04 am #

    maybe even worth a post eh SF!!!! lol

  154. ramugunner
    December 22, 2008 at 4:18 am #

    Fair result in the given circumstances; Cesc injured and Ade sent off. Adebayor’s first yellow was really harsh but second booking was fair in my opinion. Anyway, Webb is anti-Arsenal who tries to hurt Arsenal every time he is refeering.

    I am not worried about title challenge now but about Villa playing really good. Without Cesc and Ade suspended, it will be very difficult to win at Villa Park. We could be 6 points behind them before new year if we lose there.

    Denilson, Song are not good players but they give everything when they play. But, Diaby is too lazy; waste of money and space. He never knows when to release a runner; zero footballing intelligence. I am not sure how he can play Bergkamp position at Arsenal. With Wilshere or Ramsey replacing Cesc, we had a chance to win with a counter attack goal. Every time Diaby gets the ball he either loses or makes a bad decision. Diaby is utterly shite.

    Liverpool were shocking today; really poor. I can’t explain why this Arsenal team couldn’t create a clear cut chance in full 90 minutes bar RVP goal. Also, without Cesc, our midfield cannot even hold the ball for a minute.

    Nasri, Denilson, Song, Diaby:(All central midfielders)

    Hull city has better balanced and organized midfield than ours; what a shame. When Cesc got injured, I was thinking of a defeat or hard fought draw. Now I am happy with a point. Let’s pray Cesc can play against Villa.

    P.S. Webb Cunt S***er!

  155. Demetrio
    December 22, 2008 at 4:26 am #

    Everyone played well, besides Diaby. I thought Diaby was fucking shit and i see now why he doesnt get a chance.. because he wouldnt make 1st team on Wigan. The ref is a cunt, no way ADe should have been sent off. The first yellow was not even a foul, the second was a bit soft but most refs would have given it, but since he already got booked for something he shouldnt have the ref should have given him a warning and kept his card in his pocket.

    This does show our lack of depth, Diaby is by no mmeans a good enough replacement for Cesc or anyone else for that matter. I dont think we will ever win the league again until Wenger takes his hand out his pocket and starts to buy better players so we will have class players to bring on in case of injuries. If Cesc’s injury is bad, we will be in real trouble. I cant see Ade having to sit out for Villa game, the FA should over turn that first yellow because no way in hell should he have been booked.

  156. MoMONEY
    December 22, 2008 at 4:42 am #

    Villa is an immense match… They are looking real good and we need the 3 points badly. Hopefully Chelsea/ Man U drop some points… Shame the ref had to blow it- cutting the lead now would have put us right in the thick of things… We need 3 points vs Villa…

  157. old timer
    December 22, 2008 at 5:17 am #

    I don’t quite see it that way, chaps. Before Ade got sent off Liverpuddle were all over us and looked likely to get a second. Ade’s sending off galvanised us and we took the game back off them after that. Considering we had 10 men and no Cesc they did really well. So my regret – why the hell couldn’t they play like that before Ade was sent off? After we went a goal up we should have hammered them. RVP top man again.

  158. C-Bass
    December 22, 2008 at 6:32 am #

    The sending off did galvanize us but it also sent Liverpewl into a stupor. It worked both ways. IMO our lads suddenly felt that patience was no longer an option but Liverpool also exhaled sharply and said thanks we’ve got a draw in the least.

    Webb gave two fairly soft yellows to Ade and took the game out of our hands a bit. Ade means a lot to this team. Rubbish his finishing all you want but ask the folks that defend him if he’s a nightmare to mark. As clinical as RVP is he does not posses Ade’s size to strength to speed ratio.

    And I’ll end with a shout to all the lads really. Few moments aside the whole team played quite well. Cheers to Denni, RVP and Song who I thought were the best of the lot.

  159. Demetrio
    December 22, 2008 at 8:00 am #

    Actually it was the sending off. It was Cesc getting hurt. Anyone who watched the game saw a game of two halves. Arsenal really put Liverpuddle under pressure the whole first half and besides that one slip in concentration that allowed that ex spud player.. whatever her name is, to score. Cesc got hurt at the end of the 1st half. The whole second half, Liverpuddle came out on fire, dominating possession and the flow of the game. Arsenal then had a good 5-10 mins but it was mostly all Liverpuddle in the 2nd.

    The reason, simple, we had no Cesc. And even more then Cesc, we had Diaby who was absolute rubbish today. So after Ade got sent off (and i hope the FA over turn that cuz it was a stupid red card).. having Diaby in there was like we were playing 2 men down. We are seriously in desperate need for some good class players to add depth. If Cesc wouldn’t have gotten hurt or we would have had a good replacement for him we would have dominated the 2nd like the lst half and won the game easily.

    The rest of the team played a brillant game, even if Ade hadnt gotten sent off the outcome wouldnt have changed, the team is just not the same without Cesc. But i hope Wenger realizes this now and adds some world class depth esp to the midfield.

  160. old timer
    December 22, 2008 at 8:33 am #

    @Demetrio I just find that too simplistic I’m afraid. After Keane scored (and isn’t it typical that the only place he can find the net is at Arsenal!) it was even stevens with, as I seem to recall, Liverpiddle actually having the better chances and looking stronger. I definitely remember being relieved when the whistle blew for half-time as I thought – ‘Phew! We need to regroup’. Second half, as you say, no Cesc and they took advantage til Ade went (and I also think both fouls were bookable, if harsh, so there’s absolutely no way they’ll recind the red card) which is where are boys showed it is possible to play without Fab.

    Ultimately though we draw the same conclusions – re: your last sentence.

    Chin chin, my friend. It looks like none of the Big 4 can beat us.

  161. MoMONEY
    December 22, 2008 at 9:07 am #

    The good thing is that all the mental toughness we have been asking for is starting to show… The team definitely overcame a lot of adversity in this game… But in the end you are right, the conclusion is still the same, we need some signings in January…

  162. Demetrio
    December 22, 2008 at 9:13 am #

    Yeah they cant beat us but the sad thing is Hull City, Stoke, Fulham can. I hope Cesc isn’t too bad off.

    I would like to hear what you thought was bookable about the first yellow tho. Maybe you saw something i didn’t cuz i really didn’t pay too much attention to it since i didn’t think it would be a yellow or even a foul. I thought he was just trying to use his backside to put distance between ball and man. I didn’t see and high boot, no pulling of a shirt, no high elbows. I dunno, in Italy, no way is that a foul, its just protecting the ball. The second yellow, i can see being a yellow altho it is harsh as you said. But since he already had a yellow that shouldn’t have been given, i would have thought the ref would just talk to him, or warn him, not go right for his cards.. ESPECIELLY since Lucas had how many fouls 5-10!!?? He talked to him how many times before he finally booked him with like 20 mins left… that is RUBBISH how he can get so many warnings, and Ade didn’t get so much as a talking to, he just got two yellows. The ref had a horrible day! He needs to take 2 weeks vacation then retire.

  163. Ice Baba
    December 22, 2008 at 9:27 am #

    Pple, once again i want to congratulate our LADS for a wonderful team spirit. I have always been an advocate of 3 addition (world class) to this present squard. What we all saw today has really vindicated those of us clamouring for add-ups to the squard. If you ask me any day Diaby is not and will never be an Arsenal player, 4 me he should make the first team of Stoke or WBA. If we had added a classy player like Ashavin, I tell u what,we would have carried the day with a 3-1 win. But thank God that the game ended in a Draw which still puts us in the race.I hope the injury of our CAPTAIN will not keep him out 4 too long? If it does, then we should forget any title this season and prepare for the next. God bless all ye ARSENAL FANS.
    Merry Xmas from my lovely wife and 2 beautiful daughters (2 & 3 yrs) to you all.

  164. MoMONEY
    December 22, 2008 at 10:19 am #

    If Cesc is out a while I wanna see Nasri in his spot leading the attack and distributing…

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