Why Wenger should play Djourou and Vela against Sunderland

To get straight to the point, the reasons why Johan Djourou and Carlos Vela should start against Sunderland are:

  1. Kenwyn Jones will be playing.
  2. Emmanuel Eboue is our only other option on the wing.

Well, the second is not strictly true, but if the manager’s pre-match comments are anything to go by then it seems unlikely that Andrey Arshavin will start. That leaves Vela or Eboue and for me it’s a no-brainer. Do you pick the player who ran Cardiff ragged on the left on Monday or the man who let everyone down against Tottenham and has struggled for form all season? It’s not a hard choice.

The decision to play Djourou should be even more clear-cut for Wenger. The pairing of William Gallas and Kolo Toure is simply too short to deal with the power of Kenwyn Jones needs to be dealt with. In my eyes Djourou is the man for the job.

The rest of the team picks itself. Eduardo’s unfortunate – but minor – injury means that Nicklas Bendtner will partner Robin van Persie up front, although that was likely to be the case regardless of the Crozilian’s availability. Gael Clichy should return in place of Kieran Gibbs while the midfield is likely to consist of Alex Song, Denilson, Samir Nasri and (hopefully) Vela.

Sunderland are in decent form and have some nice attackers in their side, so the result is far from a formality despite our home advantage. The major talking point of the day will undoubtedly be the debut of Arshavin and Wenger has confirmed that he will definitely play a part. To expect him to have a tangible impact in his first game would be a little unfair, but I’m extremely excited to see what sort of performance he puts in if he gets on the pitch.

Like every game coming up in the next two months, Saturday’s game is must-win. Confidence will be high after the 4-0 drubbing of Cardiff and if the likes of van Persie, Bendtner and Nasri can continue their good form then our boys are likely to come away with a win. 

Come on Arsenal and good luck Andrey!

Have your say on Arsenal v Sunderland, Djourou, Vela or Arshavin by leaving a comment.

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72 Responses to “Why Wenger should play Djourou and Vela against Sunderland”

  1. Gibbs
    February 20, 2009 at 6:41 pm #

    Agreed SF, we really dont need Eboue right now. Lets hope Arshavin and Vela play. Sunderland will probably just sit back and defend for the entire game, so i dont see the need for defensive players like Song in midfield, we need a midfield that will unlock their defense. This is how our attack should line up.

    Arshavin-Deni-Nasri-Vela
    Bendy-RvP

  2. MoMONEY
    February 20, 2009 at 6:44 pm #

    100% agree. Vela may be needed against Roma so he needs some time vs Sunderland

  3. Shard
    February 20, 2009 at 7:12 pm #

    I do like the look of vela but I wonder what the bench will look like for this game.. is diaby fit?

  4. Shard
    February 20, 2009 at 7:15 pm #

    And who would u pick to partner djourou? Gallas has been playing well of late but i hate to see kolo dropped.

  5. MoMONEY
    February 20, 2009 at 7:17 pm #

    Gallas has been immense- no way I would drop him. Shame to see Kolo dropped but it may have to be done. Not sure which pairing is best against Roma. Mexes is dangerous in the air but Totti/ Viucinic are more ground players…

  6. Panda Bear
    February 20, 2009 at 7:34 pm #

    I’m not sure Djourou will start, both Kolo and Gallas have been in great form, and as much as it would tactically be necessary to but Johan in, I’m not sure it’ll happen. But let’s hope for the 3 points. Fry am I still sweet to come over for the match?

  7. Ben
    February 20, 2009 at 7:44 pm #

    @SF. I won’t commend you on this acticle, you are so sentimental on the part of eboue, you are still furious on the incident that happened at tortemham and you don’t want him to play against sun or any other match for the team you are so bias. Have you forgoting? when we first played tortemham, Almunia killed the game with his poor performance throughout the game. You never criticise him till date, remember eboue was the best player on the pitch befor he sent off. Pls give eboue chance to correct his mistake, the Prof knows how to select his team. Now you have a good thought on djourou pairing any of the two (gallas&toure), have a nice day.

  8. NorthBankLegend
    February 20, 2009 at 7:56 pm #

    With the height and heading ability of Kenwyn Jones, Djourou height and strength would be invaluable. Based on recent games it will Toure who will make way for Djourou. I think Wenger will do this especially as we play Roma on Tuesday.

  9. stynet
    February 20, 2009 at 8:37 pm #

    Eboue is not as bad as bloggers make him out to be and Vela has not been consistent either.

    He could play both, Vela left, Eboue right and Nasri plus Denilson in midfield.

    Easy to say play Djourou but who would you drop. Think Djourou is good but experience can easily make up for lack of height. And everyone says we lack experinece, right?

  10. Davi
    February 20, 2009 at 9:25 pm #

    Eboue should be given the chance to correct himself in time
    THe way he played before his dismissal against tottenham was excellent
    Its basically what Ive always seen in him
    He can be almost unstoppable, physically hes just superb and technically hes excellent too – his problem is hes his own worst enemy
    that said i think vela should retain his place
    what does it say if a guy can play so well and then never be given a chance
    Im also reminded of what happend to flamini
    he never really got a look in for a couple of years, played well in the champions league, only to be removed for ashley bloody cole in the final
    and he never forgot that IMO
    dont want that to happen to vela, he can be as good as rvp IMO easily – give him the chance as hes earnt it more

  11. Medeski
    February 20, 2009 at 9:36 pm #

    With Gallas’ return to form, there is now a genuine question on who should start. I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but how about all three? Denilson hasn’t necessarily played bad, he just isn’t the piece we need in the middle. Not quite enough pace and he doesn’t seem to get himself into dangerous (to the opponents) positions.
    I really enjoyed watching Gibbs play and if Clichy starts getting caught out of position like he has been prone to do lately I would like to see that switch made. I still think Clichy gets (and deserves) the start. I just think he should have a bit of a short leash. See if pulling him one game doesn’t increase his focus for the next.
    Song has been getting better but he is still a serious liability. Against Cardiff he was mostly invisible. He didn’t start many attacks. He was caught on the wrong side of the attacker at least a couple times. If he gives the Sunderland middle the opportunity to properly feed Jones et al up top then there will not be a clean sheet.
    Vela was brilliant. Yes it was a Cardiff team who did not play with the same intensity as the first match but his pace and ability allowed Nasri to play out left. Nasri was all over the pitch and was constantly seen playing off Vela over on the left. It was a thing of beauty to see those two destroy everything Cardiff hold sacred. I would very much like to see those creating for/with Eduardo for the rest of the season. I hope this is just a small setback for Edu and he comes back strong again for the 2nd Roma game if not sooner.
    The addition of Arshavin gives AW a few new options to use. With our current shortage of midfielders, it is nice that he can play out right or as an AM. He and Nasri can interchange throughout the match. Whenever Nasri slides over to, with Vela, make right backs across the league look foolish then AA can slide out right. The constant running -which has been missing, most notably in Ade and Denilson- really helped to open things up. I think Cardiff helped with some poor play, but I truly believe our Gunners would have unlocked most defensive units that day.
    Say what you will about Almunia but he is our keeper and there is not going to be a new one before the end of the season. So there’s no need to continually harass him. Until he let’s in a horrendous goal or two. Then everyone can start calling for Fabianski.
    As for the forwards, there is really no choice at the moment but to start Bendy and RVP. There are worse pairings to be stuck with when you have 37 combined goals (07/08) in the training room with Ade and Edu.
    Here is how I would make the line-up if anyone was stupid (or insanely brilliant?) enough to give me that power:

    ———Almunia———

    Sagna–JD–Gallas–Clichy
    ——–Toure————
    Nasri—————-Vela
    ———–Arshavin——

    ——Bendy——–RVP—

    It is very promising that even with the likes of Cesc, Rosicky, Walcott, Edu and Ade out inujured Arsenal has such a dangerous group in the 5 forward most players. Plus, Toure will find the back of the net once or twice if he were to ever step into the DM role. He has a decent shot and does well as the trailer when Arsenal jump into a counter-attack. That’s from a defensive role too. Think about how many more chances he’d have starting one position further up the field. I think I’ve rambled enough for now. Back to doing research for a paper i need to finish.

    p.s. – I had been posting as John. I decided that may be a bad idea as there are a few of us about.

  12. Soham
    February 20, 2009 at 10:35 pm #

    my team would be:

    Almunia

    Sagna Gallas JD Clichy

    Toure

    Nasri Arshavin Vela

    Van Persie

    Bendtner

    Nasri and vela can push upfield alongside bendtner. Van persie can play in the hole where as clichy and sagna can complete the mid field with arshavin and toure could back to be in defense with gallas and JD.

  13. Fatboy
    February 20, 2009 at 10:46 pm #

    @ Medeski- With the resources at our disposal, I think I agree with most of your team, although Arshavin won’t play from the start, Denilson will. Hopefully we’ll see Arshavin for at least half an hour. I think you’re being a bit harsh on Song. He’s still learning his trade, and he’s been happy to platy in a variety of positions. I agree he shouldn’t be the first choice DM, just an understudy, but it’s not his fault the manager hasn’t adequately filled the position after letting Flamini go. I agree that we should be looking at Toure to fill the gap. Apart from the height issue, I jusy don’t think Gallas-Toure as the centre back pairing has really worked. Toure knows how CB’s need protecting, he’s quick, he can tackle and his distribution is good so he’s got all the qualities a DM needs. The reason he was quoted as wanting to leave for Man City was that he wasn’t playing, so if he steps into the DM shoes he may get more games. RvP and Bendtner up front leaves me a bit worried. Bendtner has done better playing out wide than through the middle, where his lack of first touch is more of a problem. Still, there are no other options I guess. We need to beat Sunderland and I think we will. I just hope we do it convincingly.

  14. Kin
    February 20, 2009 at 11:42 pm #

    @Medeski;i must say you made some very good points and i do like the lineup,but if i remember correctly Arsene said Kolo doesn’t have the “engine”to play DM!Which i personally think is a pity!I doubt Arshavin will start the match,but hopefully the boys starting will do a good job(read 2,3 goals to the good),so he can come in say after 60-65mins.

  15. tigary
    February 21, 2009 at 12:22 am #

    vela and djoure will really cool for jst becoz we need a gud win

  16. rilub
    February 21, 2009 at 1:10 am #

    Last season Adebayor had a fantastic season. He scored plenty of goals and even when he wasn’t scoring he at least put in a good shift of grafting for Arsenal’s cause.

    Players like John Terry and Rio Ferdinand said he was the hardest striker to play against in the Premiership; that is some compliment if you ask me.

    This season he seems a shadow of himself. He isn’t scoring as much but the worst thing for me is that he isn’t grafting and making defenders miserable like we know he can.

    He believes he has made it. He has in a financial sense of course but that shouldn’t be enough. He should want to improve and become one of the worlds best strikers. He has the potential to do it but does he have the hunger?

    He is out for three weeks. This time out could really benefit himself and Arsenal. He needs to get his head straight and rediscover the Ade of old.

    It’s obvious his head was turned in the summer. He began to believe the hype surrounding him. Maybe it was a mistake to offer him such a well-rewarded contract after just one good season.

    What I do know is its time he earned his money. I hope he reflects on his season so far during the period he is out and realises he hasn’t been good enough. This time could do him the world of good

  17. tina
    February 21, 2009 at 1:37 am #

    that game is a must win!!!Djorou does it very well for me.i hope Dudu and Van P. will start,Bendtner can come in later and close the game with a superb header after we will have scored more than 2 goals!go gooners!!

  18. TayGoon
    February 21, 2009 at 2:02 am #

    Anyone preffering Toure as a first choice DM/CM is playing too much football on Video games. HE is not and will not be. The irony of it is even Eboue can do a better job there than Toure at this point. I rate Toure highly and I would play him ahead of Gallas.

    Song is not our first choice DM as it is, so lay off him a bit. And while we are at it, why don’t we sell Denilson! What a brilliant Idea!.

    Nasri is a good player, with current absentees, I would start him in the middle behind RVP. Vela is a better LM than Nasri. Has been all along as I have constantly alluded to here. If we play Arshavin, I would play him on the right and get Nasri in the middle with Denilson. Vela on the left, but if we play Gallas and Djourou, we NEED Song as our “instant CH”/DM when Gallas plays “I am a striker” crap, espescially when Vela, Nasri and Arshavin are in the MF. If Vela is dropped to the bench and we have Nasri and Arshavin plays WM, any CM and CB combination will do, We might see Denilson or Bendtner at RW with with Arshavin Behind RVP. The team sorts of picks itself with minor variations, but I am a bit unsure about Nasri’s part on the game. Used right he is devastating. His arsenal of qualities is getting worryngly cancelled out by others around him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up being a bit-part player.

    Anyways! let’s send Denilson on loan and buy someone else and we will be ok (sarcasm)

  19. Filipino Dan
    February 21, 2009 at 2:41 am #

    As always, I’m in favour of a Vela start. Even if the lad isn’t setting the world alight we have Arshavin waiting for his debut on the bench.

    Wenger rarely starts Vela though, so I am not getting my hopes up. Wenger usually plays Eboue to give some defensive balance and cover for Sagna when he, in turn, goes forward. But at home against Sunderland is surely not right for this tactic.

    Anyway, let’s hope we see attacking, flairy wingers on the field on Sat to mark the start of our comeback this season.

  20. Radads RSA
    February 21, 2009 at 3:28 am #

    @Taygoon, must remember that Toure’s 1st job as a Gunner was CDM, and then pulled back to CB.
    Medeski’s Line up for me is the best, but unfortunately its not gonna happen as AW will never play Toure on that position, I dunno why??
    Arshavin wont defently start tomorrow coz AW needs the Arshavin-free team to get together 1st (confidence, and game harmony)before Arsha comes in.The 1st startin we are going to see tomorrw would be the startin11 that we will see on tuesday.
    My startin line-up guess4tomorrow:
    SAGNA-GALLAS/TOURE-DJOUROU-CLICHY
    ———-SONG————
    NASRI—–DENI———VELA
    ———BENDY-RVP
    Vela will come off for Arshavin.
    The best line-up closer to AW’s mind that I really wish is: Benching Song, pull Deni deeper, and get Nasri as an AM central and have Arshavin or Eboue on the RW.Preferably Arsha but AW just said that he doesnt know yet if Arsha would play or not, besides, he will always play the tuesday’s team first, which means Eboue might have a chance.Our mdfld then might look like this:
    ———–Deni———
    Eboue/Arshavin-Nasri-Vela
    @SF,Mate!, Im sorry but I might fall on the side of BEN and DAVI this time, I really agree on what their opinion about the “POOR” Eboue.And I also think that Eboue now will try to give his best after his Totnham disapointing behaviour, so he might give us a surprise tomorrow, besides he had a wonderfull 30mn durin that game!!He might repeat it again with No defect.
    Anyway, lets see whats gonna happen as Dudu is now out of action which is defntly a nightmare Bad news for me and we end up now with a very difficult picking decision.

  21. Radads RSA
    February 21, 2009 at 3:34 am #

    I will punch AW’s head, if he wont play Vela tomorrow, I dont wanna see Diaby anywhere 1km from the bench, and I would like to see Song being Benched.But all of us must remember that AW’mind is weird sometimes that you will never know what hes gonna do.

  22. TayGoon
    February 21, 2009 at 3:52 am #

    @ Radads RSA; I know Toure was a CM when he arrived, but we have to agree that he has since developed to be a different kind of player. I am not saying that he can not play the position, just that we have others who can do a better job there than Toure. Djourou is a CM but I don’t read calls for him to play CM.

    On Eboue, the guy is good, he just need to get his head straight.

  23. Gibbs
    February 21, 2009 at 5:15 am #

    @ Radads

    I really dont see need for a DM in a game like this. We will be up against a 10 man defense again and we need creativity in the team, Song and Kolo bring no creativity what so ever to the team. This is why i think Arshavin will start. Id like to see Arshavin on the right, Deni and Nasri in the middle and Vela on the left. These players are key to unlocking defenses and they are the best option for teams like Sunderland.

  24. jay-jay
    February 21, 2009 at 8:01 am #

    Sunderland will sit back and defend, a reason why a lot of teams hav gotten points from us this season. Arsha needs to start alongside Deni with Vela and Nasri on wings, a very attacking midfield, a mid that can tear open their defence. I assume Bendtner and RvP up top, but Eboue could start allowing either Vela or Arsha to go up top. JD, Gallas or Toure. JD should start, give him some experience and must needed height, and then i would say Toure, his pace wil be vital with Jones and Cisse playing it on the ground occasionally. Gallas should then start UCL game with Roma, whoever doesnt start v Sunderland should start v Roma.

  25. Radads RSA
    February 21, 2009 at 8:03 am #

    @Taygoon, I dont agree mate, Toure could be our best CDM if he is allowed to take the challenge.Song would take a while to level Toure on that job, as for Deni, he far much better on his attacking quality considering that fact that he is a CDM but to hold on defense, he wont be better than Toure.And as I said, CDM’s primary job is to defend but shud be able to attack when needed, while Deni has got a stronger attackin quality than defence.Fortunately, he has made a huge improvemnt on his defence quality lately.So this is also what I wanted to tell GiBBS: This is why we need Toure, cos he is much stronger & more experienced on defence than any of those lads.I really like ur line up but as i said, AW will make our saturday’s 1st line-up, as the same as next tuesday’s line-up.Ur line up is defntly gud for Satuday but a bit too fragile for Roma, so this where we wud need Toure to step in as a CDM.@TAYGOON, we really need Toure as a CDM agst Roma but ther is a liitle chance for this happen.

  26. Radads RSA
    February 21, 2009 at 8:15 am #

    I realy want to see Nasri play in the middle, Vela on the LW, Arsha on the RW.Im very disapointed abt Dudu’s injury.If Arsha wont play startin11 tmrw, then we re gonna see the usual leader-free mdfld Arsenal team again.I hated the The Arsenal team with only 2 goal attempts for 1st half and only 1 of it has been on target but again , the ball has been shot very slowly to the goalie.I dont really wanna see that agn tomorw.

  27. Spanish Fry
    February 21, 2009 at 8:34 am #

    Just to clarify, I’d like to see Gallas partner Djourou on Saturday. Also, the decision to play Vela over Eboue is not because I’m biased against the Ivorian, it’s because I think he’s had enough chances and he should not automatically be put back in after the Tottenham debacle. I think Vela deserves a chance after his performance against Cardiff.

  28. Gibbs
    February 21, 2009 at 12:18 pm #

    @ Radads

    I get your point about the Roma game, we need someone to take on DeRossi and Aquilani. Maybe Kolo is the best man for the job, but i think Wenger will go for a 5 man midfield with Diaby, Song and Deni in CM, Nasri on the left and Eboue on the right. Id prefer Vela over Eboue on the wing against Roma but we all know thats not gonna happen.

    Anyway, the point i was trying to get across is that we need to field a team that will tear defenses apart on saturday, Kolo and Song are not the best players for that job.

  29. Radads RSA
    February 21, 2009 at 5:16 pm #

    Ya defntly, as I said abt ur line up: IT is DEfntly perfect for saturday agst Sunderland, but a bit shaky if we play Roma.So the team that AW will put up today is gonna have to be a team which can beat Sunderland and Roma at the same time.Thats why he said that Arshavin wont come in for startin11 cos he wants these guys to learn to get along betwn themeselves on the pitch first b4 facing Roma.

  30. Radads RSA
    February 21, 2009 at 5:27 pm #

    I think the reason for this is: Being very inconsistent, and weaken by injury blow (Once again) this year, our team needs a big boost to play Roma this tuesday.
    The 4-0 agst cardiff was already a huge thing, but most importantly, this game against Sunderland (if won)would be a very big boost for the squad, in terms of confidence, agst Roma on Tuesday.So thats why AW is gonna make his today’s startin11 the same as Tuesday’s coz if we win today ( and especially with 2 or more goals) then the same team would have much more confidence agst Roma.And it has to be the same, If I were on AW’shoes.

  31. ramugunner-"Arshavin Show"
    February 21, 2009 at 6:32 pm #

    Can’t wait to see Arshavin for the first time in Arsenal colors. Playing. May be scoring. Hope he scores today. It would be a crazy moment for me & every gooners.

    Best team available for today’s game is:

    Faulty
    Sagna Gallas DJ Gibbs
    Arshavin Denilson Nasri Vela
    Bentdner RVP

    1. Clichy is having a shocking season. His performance has been below par including many terrible mistakes. Gibbs deserves his chance at least for few games ahead of misfiring Clichy. Wenger should tell Clichy that his place is not for granted.
    2. DJ brings stability in defense being good in air. Gallas is far superior defender than Toure. So Gallas/DJ is a better combination. Esp. against a team strong in air.
    3. Nasri loves to play centrally in attacking midfield position as a playmaker. That’s his natural position.
    4. Vela must play ahead of Eboue. If not Wenger is crazy. Yesterday I had to listen from Wenger that Eboue is a young, talented player. Shocking comments. Is Eboue young? At 25. If Vela don’t start, It would be another proof that Arsenal don’t really have a “Youth policy”.
    5. Since we are at home and we need a big winning boost ahead of big Champions league game against Roma, my team is attacking minded. Let it be like that. With Song and Eboue in lineup, we always have more chance of dropping points anyway.

    Come on Arsenal!

  32. ramugunner-"Arshavin Show"
    February 21, 2009 at 10:16 pm #

    Astonvilla vs Chelski: What outcome do you guys want from this game? What will be favourable result for Arsenal?

    I want Villa to lose this one. If we win today, which we will, then we will be five points behind Chelski and four behind Villa. With our key players to comeback from injury and Arshavin effect will make us stronger for remaining games. Hell! we still have 13 more matches to play.

    Being optimistic guys.

  33. ramugunner-"Arshavin Show"
    February 21, 2009 at 10:36 pm #

    EMMANUEL ADEBAYOR has had an amazing F-word bust-up with an Arsenal fan at an airport.

    The Gunners striker had to be calmed down by security after a verbal attack by a Brit in Lagos.

    Adebayor was returning from Nigeria last week when the man started hurling abuse at him.

    Witnesses said the fan, in his 30s and claiming to be a London paramedic, accused the star of not pulling his weight.

    Rilwan Adedapo, who saw the incident, told SunSport: “The guy started getting personal about how he should try harder.

    “Ade tried to laugh it off. But the man started hurling abuse at him and used the F-word.

    “He screamed ‘You get paid £80,000 a week to put the ball in the back of the net and you’re still f***ing rubbish. I pay good money for a season ticket to pay your wages.’

    “Emmanuel completely lost it and had a right go back. He said ‘I get £110,000 a week if you must know’. It just made the guy even more angry.

    “If it wasn’t for security dragging him away, it could have got a lot worse.”

    ‘Bayor *unt. A player whose only motivation is money. Wenger was a fool to pay dross like him that much after a lucky 30 goal season. Most over rated striker in the world according to poll results in Goal.com. And that’s fact.

  34. Gibbs
    February 21, 2009 at 11:21 pm #

    @ ramugunner

    Lol, saw that on Arseblog. Its a funny story and im 100% sure that its made up, it doesnt sound real at all. I think Ade has a point to prove and will be back with the vengance. He can be a classy player, he proved it last season, i dont think a player can “luckyly” score 30 goals in a season.

    Im hopin for a draw in the Chelsea, Villa game. We’ll be 3 points behind Chelsea and 5 behind Villa.

  35. ramugunner
    February 22, 2009 at 12:17 am #

    Lol Gibbs; Scoring 30 goals in one season playing in front of best midfield in Europe in terms of creating chances(Cesc, Hleb duo) is not an extra-ordinary thing. Bayor’s 30 goal feat was nothing special. Any decent striker in Europe would have scored that amount of goals playing with Cesc and Hleb as a lone striker.

    If you have fresh memory from 99-2000 season, Kevin Phillips from Sunderland scored 35 goals in all competitions playing with far inferior midfield than Arsenal midfield. He won Premiership golden boot and European golden boot. Great achievement compared to Bayor’s last seaosn. Phillips was a decent striker at his best. After that wonder seaosn, he was totally lost. I see the same thing happening with ‘Bayor. Actually, I don’t rank ‘Bayor above Kevin Phillips as a striker. ‘Bayor is a decent striker at his best. I can’t deny he is huge with good height; good attributes for a premier league striker. But, his technical skills and footballing intelligence is Zero. Oh! remember, he is the king of OFFSIDES. His Egoism and Money-matters attitude is second to none. Since I have seen ‘Bayor from his days at Metz, I know his ability and attitude. Very shocking player. Can’t believe he is highest paid striker at Arsenal at 80k per week.

  36. Luxinbrasil
    February 22, 2009 at 12:23 am #

    hes only bloody playing
    Arshavin starts!!!!!!!!

  37. jay-jay
    February 22, 2009 at 12:30 am #

    Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Toure, Clichy, Nasri, Denilson, Song Billong, Arshavin, Bendtner, Van Persie.
    Subs: Fabianski, Vela, Ramsey, Djourou, Eboue, Gibbs, Merida.

    Neither Vela or Djourou start which is a tad annoying however will we have Arshavins creative mind from the start, i believe he wil come off for Vela

  38. ramugunner
    February 22, 2009 at 12:45 am #

    Wow! Arshavin starts. Eboue is dropped. Only bad player in the pitch is Billong Bong Song. I hope he is not high.

  39. Gibbs
    February 22, 2009 at 12:53 am #

    Why the hell is Vela on the bench? Well at least we are finally going to see what Arshavin is made of

  40. Gibbs
    February 22, 2009 at 1:37 am #

    Wow, Arshavin is very good. I see a goal or 2 in him

  41. Gibbs
    February 22, 2009 at 2:01 am #

    0-0 at HT. Like i said, we dont need song in this game, our CM is so counter productive. I really hope wenger brings in vela early in the second half.

  42. jay-jay
    February 22, 2009 at 2:07 am #

    Bring on Vela for Song, Vela on LW, Nasri in Cm with Deni, then its complete attack in midfield.

  43. Mexican Gunner
    February 22, 2009 at 3:01 am #

    This was so frustating!

    Song sucked
    Denilson almost the same
    Bentner invisible
    …and Vela disapointed everybody wasting his good chances. He´s so talented but if he can start to taking the few chances that he have he will never get a place in the first team.

  44. ramugunner
    February 22, 2009 at 3:07 am #

    Really frustuating. Bye bye Champions league for next season.

    We couldn’t score a goal against a Sunderland team who were there to take a hammering. This is the same side that conceded 4 goals against Bolton, 3 against Everton and 2 against Blackburn at their home and Arsenal couldn’t score one at Emirates. It’s a real shame. Wenger’s team selection and player’s laziness/carelessness lost the game for us. After knowing Astonvilla losing the game, it was a must win game for us. Very crucial game. Arsenal team with players like RVP, Nasri and Arshavin in the pitch can’t score. I am so ‘ucking gutted.

  45. Radads RSA
    February 22, 2009 at 3:07 am #

    What in the world happened??? I cant just beleive this.DENI AND SONG CANT BE TOGETHER IN THE MDFLD, BOTH CANT ATTACK, DENI IS KEEPING HIMSLEF SO DEEP.WE DONT HAVE ANYBODY IN THE MIDDLE PARK TO ASSIST AS ATTACKIN MDFLIDR LIKE FAB.THATS WHY WE ALWAYS GO TO THE WING TO ATTACK.
    SCREW THIS!!!! PLEEAAAASE GOD!!!!
    ARSHAVIN SHUD HAVE NEVER BEEN SENT OFF, HE SHUD HAVE BEEN PUT IN THE MIDDLE, TAKE SONG OFF AND PUT VELA IN ON THE RW. Mr AW, ARSHAVIN SHUD HAVE BEEN PLACED IN THE MIDDLE AS A PLAY MAKER AND PUT VELA IN FOR SONG ON THE WING………………………………………………………………………………………….

  46. Gibbs
    February 22, 2009 at 3:08 am #

    Sigh, we dont deserve to be in the CL next season. Sad, but true.

  47. Radads RSA
    February 22, 2009 at 3:09 am #

    IM ALSO PISSED OFF MATE, THATS IT FOR US, BYYYEEEEE

  48. ramugunner
    February 22, 2009 at 3:15 am #

    Mexican Gunner; You are being so critical about Bentdner. Did you really watched the game? Bentdner was one of the attacking players who tried to win the game. He played one-two pass with Arshavin and RVP very well. Could have scored from a difficult cross in the first half. Why is everyone expecting so much from Bentdner anyway? RVP, Vela and Gallas were the culprits for not taking their good chances.
    But, our main problem was our central midfield. No vision and No urgency in the play in a crucial match against a Championship side. If Denilson/Song play like today against Roma, we will get hammerred at home by Roma. Mark my words. Off to work.

  49. ramugunner
    February 22, 2009 at 3:22 am #

    Wenger’s tactics, team selection and substitution are so appaling this season that my puppy Angel would have done a better job. Arsene has to prove his worth at the club. How can a manager making 5 million a year(more than Ferguson and Ancelotti) make horrible decisions every single game. Why can’t he motivate his player to win a game against teams like Hull, Stoke and Sunderland. He ain’t paid that maoney to ‘uck off every single game against Championship sides. We need answers.

  50. C-Bass
    February 22, 2009 at 3:41 am #

    The Europa League says hi. And if Wenger and the squad doesn’t do something so will sixth place.

  51. KURUPT
    February 22, 2009 at 4:45 am #

    Your kiddin so this is WENGERS fault get a life U CLOWNS.U SERIOUSLY DONT KNOW SHIT BOUT SOCCER/FOOTBALL he picks players he has that he thinks that can do the job ITS NOT HIS FAULT if theses so called “PROFRESSIONALS” cant put in or lift up to represent the club. Always the managers fault RIGHT.FOR FUCK SAKE SUPPORT THE CLUB THROUGH THICK AND THIN FULL STOP!!!!!!

  52. MoMONEY
    February 22, 2009 at 5:57 am #

    Not good for our confidence going into Roma…

  53. ramugunner
    February 22, 2009 at 6:54 am #

    It’s not Wenger’s fault when he thinks Denilson/Song can do Flamini job. It’s not his fault when he prefers Eboue ahead of Vela/Wilshere every single week. It’s not his fault when Lehmann has never been replaced at Arsenal. So you think that’s my fault. Moron’s.

    It doesn’t make sense to argue with people in this blog anymore. Our results never lie or the league table never lies.

  54. MoMONEY
    February 22, 2009 at 7:00 am #

    Everyone here is way overreacting… Dont get me wrong- this hurts our chances greatly- but all we are struggling to do is score goals now. We are also missing our leading scorer last year, our best playmaker and captain, Rosicky who is really influential and has lots of experience, our best finisher Eduardo, England’s best player according to Capello… We have a good team and the results right now are not devastating. Pretty soon they will be though.

  55. jay-jay
    February 22, 2009 at 7:37 am #

    Once again we dropped points. But I am going to be critical of our opposition. Teams come to the Emirates with 1 game plane. And its always PARK THE BUS. That isnt playing football. When the pundits congratulate Sunderland for drawing 0-0, they need to be throttled. Yes, we are the culprits to, we should have scored, but Sunderland parked the bus, hoping for a break. Like Stoke, Bolton, Fulham and many others. It seems to be working, but it is not football and I get really annoyed about it.

  56. MoMONEY
    February 22, 2009 at 8:15 am #

    Its a culture thing IMO. I really think this is the criticism of the EPL- Just like SPain and Italy are criticized for diving and faking injuries… I honestly think this is worse though… You are right about the media portraying it favorably but this is the root of the culture where the result is all that matters and not the means. Wenger has a more French/ Spanish philosophy and it is not very compatible with England… Of course when he wins nobody can say a word…

  57. Mexican Gunner
    February 22, 2009 at 11:02 am #

    @ ramgunner

    I dont want to talk about him anymore I already said what I have to say about him.

    Anyway 3 goals in the Premier playing 1000 mins in 20 games its ok for many of the people here.

    Btw I think today some others were worst than him, Song, Denilson and Vela.

  58. Medeski
    February 22, 2009 at 5:08 pm #

    I’ve made it clear I don’t think Song deserves to play loads of minutes, much less start. Arsene has given him the start 14 times this year and in those starts Arsenal has 7 draws and 2 defeats. Arsenal’s goal difference when he is on the pitch at all is a meager +2.

    And on a similar note. How is Denilson deserving of 24 starts this season? What is being seen in his play that I just can’t see?

  59. arsenaldamu
    February 22, 2009 at 5:21 pm #

    Arsenal 0-0 FC… Indeed, this was so so frustrating it was clear on the pitch that there was virtually no leadership on the Arsenal squad. In such cases you need a player who would drive the team and the fans too. Viera style, lift up your hands to the crowd and urging everybody on!! Yes we can do it.!!..that is the mark of a great team. No one took responsibility. This excuse of claiming that teams PARK THE BUS is hogwash..to be a great team you need to win under all situations. I such situtations you need a dribbler with pace who cuts through the defence (Cristiano,Messi, Robben, Robihno,Giggs,etc) where they can get a free kick in a promising spot or better still a penalty. I cannot remember if Arsenal got a free kick in a dangerous spot the whole game. Again Arsenal corners are so predictable..did u see Scholes smashing from 30 yards from a corner kick against FH. Its a routine MANU deploy when Scholes is playing. There is need for creativity in the team. This is probably the worst Arsenal side I have watched in a long long time.
    At this rate good bye top four,and you bet the likes of RVP,Cesc, may reconsider staying. As much as we blame Wenger and the team, Hill was quoted as saying that a fith finish is still ok. The fish rots from teh head first…( a Teaser is Arsenal a business club or a football club.?.Trophy cabinet empty for 4 years on!!)

  60. jay-jay
    February 22, 2009 at 10:28 pm #

    @ arsenaldamu – The ‘excuse’ as you say of parking the bus isnt an answer to why we lost, its a very annoying ‘football tactic’ which IMO isnt playing football. Why go to a stadium to have all 11 players in the box defending for 90 mins and hope to get a break! If we started to win more of these games then teams would use it less allowing us to start playing our football again! Thats why we are good against the big teams, because they need 3 points as much as us so they need to attack and as they do, we split them apart with our passing, but parking the bus, isnt playing football! It should be banned.

  61. Fatboy
    February 23, 2009 at 1:35 am #

    Very interesting reading you guy’s comments. Yesterday was totally depressing in so many ways. First and foremost, the team’s performance was pathetic, there’s no other way to describe it. We were again faced with a team that came solely to defend, keep at least 10 men behind the ball and go away with a point. Their plan worked perfectly. Not because they defended heroically, not because they closed us down well, or worked themselves into the ground, or even because they rode their luck. It worked because we completely lacked the imagination, the ability, the urgency or the will to break them down. When faced with a team that parks the bus, you need to have players whose constant movement draws defenders out of position and creates space for others. We haven’t got them. You need other intelligent players who, when they see space open up are quick-witted enough to exploit that space. We don’t have them. You need midfielders who have the vision to spot a runner or a space and plant an accurate ball in there. We only have one in the entire club and he’s out til April. Our midfield yesterday was dire in every way. No creativity, no bite in the tackle, no movement. Song lost the ball virtually every time he got it. If he played a pass, it went astray. Denilson is becoming the Ray Wilkins of his era. He only runs and passes sideways. The number of times he won the ball (which he did well yesterday), then turned sideways or backwards was unbelievable. Nasri covered a lot of ground, but again there was absolutely no end product. I’ve been calling for Vela to get a game, but to be honest he was very average when he got his half hour yesterday. He barely managed to beat a man, his crosses were generally over-hit (bar one that comes to mind), and that panicky swipe with 3 minutes to go, when he had acres of space and loads of time on the edge of the 6-yard box was pitiful. Up front, Bendtner only runs up and down the pitch- there’s no latyeral movement across the park at all. This makes him very easy to defend against. Van Persie was his usual self. Worked hard, but shoots predictably early with no finesse. He needs too many chances before tucks one away. We never seriously looked like scoring yesterday. You just got a sense from very early on that it had 0-0 written all over it. To be fair, the defence looked OK, but then Sunderland offered absolutely nothing in going forward. Arshavin was the only decent thing in the game. He covered loads of ground, tackled, passed accurately, had several fierce shots on target, and was unlucky not to score after 2 minutes. The Emirates was completely dead yesterday- no atmosphere at all. After 10 minutes, we all knew it was going to be another of those games when the opposition stay deep and invite us to break them down, and you know we don’t have the guile to do it. It was bum-clenchingly awful for the whole 90 minutes. We won’t finish in the top 4 this season, and we don’t deserve to. I know we’ve still got a lot of our best players out injured, but we’re the 6th richest club in the world, and our squad should be strong enough to cope with crap like Sunderland at home. It isn’t and that’s nothing short of criminal.

  62. Gibbs
    February 23, 2009 at 4:10 am #

    Im a very sad chap today. I cant help but feel like we lost the game. This was a simple situation made difficult by our coaching staff. We knew that Sunderland are a defensive team, we knew we would be up against a 10 man defense but we still played a player like Song (who has nothing, nada, naught, zilch to offer going forward). Im 100% sure that if Vela, not Song, started the match on the left with Arshavin on the right and Deni with Nasri in CM, we would easily win that game.

  63. Gibbs
    February 23, 2009 at 4:21 am #

    Btw, i think Arshavin was really good and unlike the rest of our players, he isnt afraid to take long range shots at goal. I just cant wait to see him with Cesc.

  64. Medeski
    February 23, 2009 at 8:06 am #

    @Gibbs – I agree. Arshavin with Cesc will be great to see. I only hope Arsenal haven’t lost all ability to reach 4th by the time that option is available. Even if they play superbly together, finishing in 5th will see the departure of more talent which is something that the club cannot afford right now.

    Even with all the poor play and painful results I remain hopeful. I can see the possibilities. Arsenal just needs to hold its head above water until the ship can right itself. Cesc, Arshavin, Walcott, Nasri, Vela (who hopefully will stop missing so horrendously), RVP and Rosicky (if he ever plays again). I see so much to hope for but it all seems like it will never come all the way together sometimes. We must continue to support our squad and hope for the clouds to lift. There is plenty of talent at the club. Unfortunately, most of the pieces have never played together more than a couple times due to extended stays in the training room, aka Chez Rosicky.

    Speaking of hope, I’m hoping the boys step it up on Tuesday like they have for the “big” matches this season. Getting past this round of the CL will do wonders for pulling the team together…I hope.

  65. butterfingers
    February 23, 2009 at 10:20 am #

    Theres nothing that can be said about the performance against sunderland that hasn’t been said already this season and we should just right this season off as none of the other big 4 has had such bad injuries in this season as we have. Roma is 1 of the most important games of the season as there is no 2nd chance unlike the group stages so we will see the usual line up with eboue and such back in the starting 11. I have been crictical of denilson but against sunderland he did work hard but it can’t be easy playing with another cm you don’t trust as song gave the ball away all the time and didn’t run a lot off it either even gallas and toure was up at the end more than song. Bendtner put in a good performance even though he had a quiet 1st half but worked his socks off up until the final whistle in the 2nd. Vela was unlucky and I felt for the lad as every one will judge him on that performance but him and wilshere played soooo well in pre season that I’m wondering why they haven’t been in the team more. also to all those people saying the trophy cabinet is empty we do have 2 emirates cup and the ajax cup along with the ladies haul from last season (you could play them against roma and the italians would still roll around the foor more and worry about there also haha)

  66. ramugunner
    February 23, 2009 at 10:40 am #

    Fair points Guys, Gibbs & Medeski.

    Here’s what I see. Arsenal problem lies both on-pitch and off-pitch. This season many gooners like myself who has been supporting the club and Arsene in up’s and down’s for a long long time believes that Wenger is the main culprit for his negligence and arrogance. In my time as an Arsenal fan, this team is the most incometent team we have.

    Many gooners including myself thought the summer of 2008 is the most crucial time for Arsenal. We realesed teo best performers in Flamini and Hleb. Also Gilberto and Lehmann who were the most experienced players we had and more importantly “Winners”. Within six months of timeframe, we lost Flamini, Diarra and Gilberto: Three best CM’s in the club. Without repacing them. Oh! We signed Bischoff-crockhead. In short, We entered 08-09 season with only one genuine central midfielder is Cesc. We were said that we have adequate internal solution in Denilson, Song and Diaby. Any gooners with an ounce of footballing knowledge could see the consequence of not replacing Flamini/Gilberto. Now we have Song/Denilson starting every single game. Denilson can pass sideways or backwards only while Song can pass only to the opposition. Denilson & Song combination has nothing that is expected of Central midfielders. Wenger has failed his experiment again. Consequence: We are almost 20 points behind United. I will not be surprised if it extends to 30 by end of season.

    And;

    Wenger told us that this bunch of kids are the best kids under his reign who are ready to dominate. Is this the domination? To lose against Fulham, Hull and Stoke. To get outplayed by Astonvilla, Everton and Sunderland teams. To be thrashed by Manchester City team who lost 4-0 to Forest? I don’t think this is domination.

    Many people used to think without Wenger we will lose CL spot and our so-called beautiful game. If somebody thinks Arsenal never existed before Wenger, you are wrong.

    As for beautiful football, we have scored 1 goal in 450 minutes in league. Westbrom has more goals in them than us. Bolton scored more goals in one game than Arsenal in five games. And this is our attacking, beautiful game? Hell no.

    Bottomline, Enough is enough. No more excuses for a manager with highest paycheck in the game. Either he has to do something good before we get worse or he has to resign after this season.

  67. arsenaldamu
    February 23, 2009 at 4:56 pm #

    @jayjay in a footbal match all teams have one agenda in mind points, and that is what Sunderland got. Because they exploited our weakness to good effect. Banning such tactics as you suggest is a defeatist attitude, how come teams like ManU crush such teams, playing in the same way? The solution lies within us, we just not up to the task at this point in time. Sadly that is the reality.
    @butterfingers 2 emirates cup and ajax cup? which ones are these? these friendly cups? we need Trophies man real trophies. stop consoling your self…

  68. MoMONEY
    February 23, 2009 at 5:49 pm #

    I disagree a little bit. Arsenal is more then winning and getting points. If it was I would go root for United… I really think its in the British mentality that the result is all that matters- this ensures teams like Sunderland get praise and keeps it going…

    And plus people are overreacting a little. We were inches away from a few goals… The chances are there- the difference is in mentality and confidence… And this is all without so many missing players. Dont you think all of them are worth 6 points? Id say they are worth closer to 20…

    Roma is a huge match. If we win it can give the players that swagger they need to go back to dominating on the scoresheet… We have shown up for some big games this year but the 2 that stood out to me as essential- Villa the second time, and Tottenham- we drew. Roma may be missing Juan and Vucinic which gives us a great chance. We will have space and opportunities, lets see what we can do with them. (Im predicting another RVP show…)

  69. SCOPE KNIGHT
    February 23, 2009 at 8:13 pm #

    I envy Manu u and barcelona fans. Arsenal fans are a bunch of losers as far as i am concerned.if u ask me wenger might just need to go.the only thing we win every season is beating manure.
    what a shame

  70. arsenaldamu
    February 23, 2009 at 8:31 pm #

    @scope knight hehehehe that one on Arsenal fans being losers, well we have to hold our heads high. We going through a rough patch at the moment, we only need to ask ourselves ,for how long will this last. Its truly is agonizing, may be the team lacks ambition to win. As for Wenger well… well may be he has done enough and that the only way he can take the team now is south? Apart from tactics may be he is not a great motivator..(like THE SPECIAL ONE)..? its only results on the on the pitch that can vindicate him either way

  71. ogungbuyi moses oludele
    February 26, 2009 at 10:17 pm #

    arsenal best are yet to see.

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