Hard work the key in the biggest game of Arsenal’s season

Hard work the key in the biggest game of Arsenal’s season

Adebayor and Co need to work their socks off tonightIt’s Manchester United in the Champions League tonight and if you’re not excited by now you should probably check if your heart’s still beating.

Games against United have always been special since Arsene Wenger took over as manager and with a Champions League final place at stake tonight’s game at Old Trafford certainly falls in the category. A score-draw would give us a strong chance of finishing the job at home while a win would have us with one big, Arsenal-shaped foot in the final.

Team news going into the game is very interesting with Mikael Silvestre and Kieran Gibbs both doubts to take part. The good news is that Johan Djourou has been cleared to play while Bacary Sagna will surely return to the side after being rested against Middlesbrough. Meanwhile Emmanuel Adebayor, Alex Song and Abou Diaby, who were also rested at the weekend, should join Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Theo Walcott to complete an excellent front six.

I have to say that the manager’s comments regarding Gibbs give me the feeling that he’s preparing to leave the youngster out of the side. He’s mentioned no specific details about Gibbs’ “slight problem” and that suggests to me that he’s going to play Sagna on the left and stick with Emmanuel Eboue on the right. Personally I think it would be the right decision because although Gibbs has done well in Gael Clichy’s absence, there’s a huge risk in putting the responsibility on such a young player to mark Cristiano Ronaldo in a game of this magnitude.

Regardless of who starts tonight, the most important thing is the players put in 100%. With our position in the league safe and a week’s rest between this and the home leg (the weekend clash with Portsmouth simply doesn’t matter) there should be absolutely nothing left on the table at the end of this match. We have a team good enough to score and a defence and midfield good enough to contain United – even at Old Trafford – but only if our players give it absolutely everything they’ve got.

Liverpool and Porto have shown that a high-intensity pressing game is the best way to upset United and that means our midfield five needs to be working extremely hard when we don’t have the ball. When we do have it our passes need to crisp and our touches sharp and look to catch out United through the pace of guys like Adebayor and Walcott. I sincerely believe we have the personnel to get a result away from home but a lot of that will be down to putting in the effort and taking our chances that come our way.

History shows us that United don’t do particularly well when they play at home and it would great to see that trend continue tonight. I read somewhere recently that they’ve only ever come through two knockout ties when they play the home leg first and even in those two they failed to win both home games (1-1 against Juventus in 1999 and 2-2 against Porto in the last round of this competition). I’m not 100% on that statistic but the feeling is that United look a little lost when forced to set the tone of the tie in front of their home crowd and I hope that continues again tonight.

To be completely honest I haven’t looked forward to an Arsenal game as much as this one since the Champions League final in 2006. I absolutely hate Manchester United and the thought of knocking them out to make the final for only the second time in our history is as exhilarating as it is scary. Let’s just hope we can get off to the start we need to come out on top at the end of both legs.

As I final though I just want to say that I think Adebayor is set for an absolutely massive game tonight. I listened to an interview with him on the ESPN website yesterday and he seems really up for it. In my opinion he’s our most likely source of a goal and if the hard-working version of the Togolese man turns up for tonight’s game then I think we could see something special.

Enjoy this one wherever in the world you might be watching and COME ON THE ARSENAL!!!

Have your say on the first leg against United by leaving a comment.

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59 Responses to “Hard work the key in the biggest game of Arsenal’s season”

  1. Dally
    April 29, 2009 at 6:47 pm #

    Sorry already posted this but I always get on the end so here it is again.
    I watched the game last night and thought Chelski defended well but were truly outplayed by a very good Barcelona team. If it wasn’t for Cech then Barce would be through by now. I thought Chelski’s tactics were very good, well they defended well anyway but Ballack should have beens sent of imo, Essien was crowded out and when he did run at them he didn’t have the speed, Lampard was his usual non existent self. I think that even though Chelski managed a 0-0 the game is for Barcelona to take, 1 goal will mean Chelski require 2. They say that the home team has the advantage in the second leg but I am not so sure that is the case now.
    Now new stuff. As SF has so rightly said tonights/tomorrows game is the biggest one since 2006, hopefully followed by an even bigger one in May, lets hope the 5th isn’t a big game! We need to give 100% from the start, no point saying 110% it isn’t possible just hit them from the start. Don’t know whether to watch it at the club or at home, if I am at home and we score I will be shouted at for waking up my wife, whereas at the club I can drink beer and shout all I want. No contest realy.

  2. rilesh
    April 29, 2009 at 7:15 pm #

    Splinters are very painful. Ask Alexander Hleb’s arse. He sits on the bench so often at Barcelona his arse gets splinters all the time. The six minute cameo he had last night gave his backside a welcome break from the ninety minute splintering it usually receives. And what a six minute cameo it was. He almost scored. To be honest I don’t know whether I wanted Hleb to score or not. On one hand it would have helped knock Chelsea out but on the other it would have meant seeing Hleb score! Who do I hate most?! Seeing Hleb in a Barca shirt used to upset me. I rated him but not his money and ice-cream grabbing ways. Now of course we have Arshavin, Hleb with bollocks, so who needs Hleb anyway? I’m just gutted that Arshavin won’t feature tonight. I feel that he gives a fear factor to Arsenal that we have lacked slightly this season. The boys will cope though. I really fancy us against Manchester United just like I fancy Chelsea to knock out Barcelona with a Fat Frank Lampard deflected shot after fours minutes and then defend for the rest of the game.

    It’s gonna be a Champions League London derby people!

  3. Neilo
    April 29, 2009 at 7:19 pm #

    Experiencing a mix of confidence and nerves. If we are 100% concentrated from the outset and do not concede early, then we should be ok and we WILL get a spell or two when we have the upper hand and it is about taking chances we we get them. Need BIG performances across the board.

  4. TheSKAGooner
    April 29, 2009 at 7:24 pm #

    Good stuff, SF.

    I really think we need A LOT of possession tonight against United. If we can keep the ball, have our passing sharp & effective, as you mentioned, I think the United defense opens up and we’ll have our opportunities.

    We do need to SHOOT THE BALL though and not get caught up with too much passing in/around the box. We have a tendency to do that sometimes. But from midfield on, the outlets need to be there and Ade, Theo and Nasri need to be ready for a break at all times. We can’t play over the top of United, but they are vulnerable through the middle and Cesc needs to look to exploit that at every opportunity.

    And lastly, EVERYONE needs to play defense! Everyone has to be back and do their share to keep Uniteds big guns harassed on the ball. No easy runs wide for them, and close them down as soon as the ball does get out wide. United will look to cross at every chance, so we need to take that away as much as possible.

    Up Gunners!!

  5. AustGunner
    April 29, 2009 at 7:25 pm #

    I’ve been nervous and jittery all day, i look forward to waking up at 4:30 am to watch it!

    The game might very well be won and lost in team selections, and i hope we get it right; ie not overly defensive.

  6. Spanish Fry
    April 29, 2009 at 7:27 pm #

    I will have no problem getting up for tonight/tomorrow’s game. Absolutely none. I’ll have more trouble getting to sleep.

    COME ON ARSENAL!

  7. Wachara
    April 29, 2009 at 7:32 pm #

    Arsenal would you plz Rest Man

  8. patrick mwabila
    April 29, 2009 at 7:32 pm #

    With our excellent football brand, we expect to go past Utd tonight as utd do not have anything to offer as shown in the recent ties.So a 2-1 score line will do for the Gunners .Goodlucky boys.Patrick.

  9. AustGunner
    April 29, 2009 at 7:44 pm #

    I think the players will be even more fired up than us, and there won’t be the same complacency from the midfield in defence. Can’t wait!!

  10. Fatboy
    April 29, 2009 at 7:55 pm #

    I’d be happy if Gibbs didn’t play. He’s a great prospect, but this is a massive pressure game and I think Sagna at left back and Eboue on the right is the best choice. The first 20 mins will be vital tonight. If we can keep hold of the ball and stop them pressing us, it’ll help quieten the crowd and give us a platform. Concede early and I think we’ll struggle. We showed against Liverpool that we can chase a game, but I’d much prefer us to frustrate united, especially in the first half. If we can achieve this, players like Ronaldo and Rooney will start to become frustrated and be less effective. If we can nick a goal and go back with a draw or a single goal deficit I think we’ll be OK.

  11. nigelp
    April 29, 2009 at 8:12 pm #

    Should be a great game and i hope we dont get overhauled like we do in some games.

  12. yourworld
    April 29, 2009 at 8:51 pm #

    We have the midfield and attacking power to surprise Man.Utd. It will require 100% concentration from the squad and especially in covering the back four which is where Song will have to be immense. All in all i’m quietly confident. Talk more with me on my blog welcome2urworld.ning.com

  13. mugian200
    April 29, 2009 at 8:57 pm #

    hope we win this one…

  14. Dan
    April 29, 2009 at 9:26 pm #

    oh! am i jittery?, its a massive game. a draw for me is like a win.nevertheless,we have a good team able to win if only they give as much as they are given. Ronaldo has a tendency to get frustratated when a game progresses without his scoring, likewise to Rooney who will obviously resort to tantrums. LETS GO GOONERS, WE CAN WIN THIS ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. tina ochola
    April 29, 2009 at 9:37 pm #

    Hey gunners,u all seem so tensed and nervous dont be.A win is must.I urge u all not 2 panic.Man u can be beaten by any team in the world,ur all witnesses.Fulham 2-nil,Liverpool 4-1,if Spurs can manage 2 goals against them how much more can Arsenal do???better and more efficient.Don’t worry guys,we will meet again 2moro a time like this smiling as we type our comments.I donno who will score but goals will def shake the back of the net 2 scare van de saar.Keep the faith gunners,we have what it takes.

  16. Filipino Dan
    April 29, 2009 at 9:41 pm #

    Brilliant SF.

    I’m nervous but I am confident we can get at least a draw. This is such a massive game. I hope you all enjoy it and we are posting celebratory messages here tomorrow.

    Come on Walcott! Rip Evra to shreds!!!

  17. Ianinja
    April 29, 2009 at 9:42 pm #

    Go Guns! The player I feel we miss most is Gallas. Hopefully Toure will not get panicky at viatal momments, Almunia is back so he should calm down our jittery centre halves.

    Please Arsene don’t play cesc and deni in the middle, thats giving ManU the ace of spades, please it be cesc/song song/nasri or cesc/nasri.

    Looking forward to the telecast, if I could wake up…heh by the way anyone play left4dead here. a bit of topic, good day guys!

  18. JohnW
    April 29, 2009 at 9:58 pm #

    SF, I think Adebayor will not score today, the person to do it will be Diaby and Theo. Ade will be really marked out of it, the other two can be stealth some times. But i don’t think any Gooner would really mind who scores for us so long as we win or make a score draw.
    I tend to agree with Fatboy about the firts 20 minutes being massive, but whether they scpre first or not, so long as we are clever about our football tonight, we can always equalise and go on to win.
    Finally I have this strange feeling that whoever gets the advantage tonight, however slight, will go on to win the tie

  19. Rusty
    April 29, 2009 at 10:11 pm #

    WOW WHAT A FEELING THIS IS!!! its been three years since i’ve felt like this!!! COME ON YOU GUNNNNEEERRRRS!!!!!

    think ima catch a nap now, to make he time pass quicker!!

  20. jay-jay
    April 29, 2009 at 10:17 pm #

    After the 0-0 between Barca and Chelsea, I was speaking to my friend ( a liverpool fan ) he said there is no way Barca are getting through and Arsenal have absolutely no chance of getting past United. His reasons were that arsenal cant defend and United have players like Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez. This annoyed me a bit. Personally im thinking Barcelona will beat Chelsea and I am very undecided with Arsenal – United. I think we can get the job done but United normally get the results they want via dodgy pens or red cards, offsides for the opposition etc. So if everything remains fair we have a good chance if UEFA decide to love United like they usually do then I cant see this going anyway but Uniteds.

  21. Gibbs
    April 29, 2009 at 10:49 pm #

    Oh the arrogance of the Manyoo fans is unbelievable. I want to beat them so badly, nothing could make me happier. 2-0 the Arsenal.
    COYG!!!

  22. JohnW
    April 29, 2009 at 11:28 pm #

    The key to going through is not to allow ourselves be slaughtered. If say we lose 2-1, we can easily go to the Groove and score 3-1 and qualify.
    Today we must defend, next week, we can unleash Edouardo and RVP on ManUre and we could easily win Rome.

  23. Giddie
    April 29, 2009 at 11:51 pm #

    we will work hard for sure and come out the victors but we have to bware of the tight marking the opponents usually employ otherwise a 2-1 victory will b the result for the man useless fans who wear Arsenal Is Great kits!!!!!

  24. SOBIN,INDIA
    April 29, 2009 at 11:57 pm #

    COME ON GUNNERS
    “CHAK DE GUNNERS”

  25. Filipino Dan
    April 30, 2009 at 1:24 am #

    Our defence is not up to scratch. So I say we concentrate at what we are good at; relentlessly attack them, keeping them pegged back and hopefully rewarding us with at least one away goal.

    Even a loss would not be a disaster, depending on how many away goals we can get.

    So I say attack! 4-5-1 but let Fab, Diaby and Walcott push forward. This is a huge chance at glory and for a team that attack as well as us, the away leg could be the key.

    I really hope we throw caution to the wind. Cannot wait!!

  26. shambogunner
    April 30, 2009 at 2:29 am #

    have been impressed wit gibb’s mentality and work ethic and really tink hes 1 for the future but tink a game of this magnitude wud b a bit much for him so agree sagna shud start lb wit basil faulty on the right…
    if song can keep his recent form going and get our key men on the ball id b confident of avoiding defeat…
    COME ON U GUNNERS

  27. MoMONEY
    April 30, 2009 at 4:02 am #

    GOOD GOD

    Silvestre and Gibbs are starting. I was confident but now Im worried. Especially with Tevez starting instead of Berba. Please GOD let us get a result… We will surely miss RVP/ Clicy/ Djourou but its still possible. Im calling for an Eduardo wonder goal late

  28. jay-jay
    April 30, 2009 at 5:07 am #

    Why does Silvestre start? He is crap. 1-0 to United – John O’Shea, im a very worried Gooner

  29. Darragh
    April 30, 2009 at 5:32 am #

    Started badly, but at least some possession. Not able to break down the United back four though! Some of the defending has been ordinary. We miss Clichy on the left.

  30. MoMONEY
    April 30, 2009 at 5:36 am #

    Tevez is an incredible player. How they may let him walk is beyond me… We are starting to get back into it but we need to be wary in the back… Where are the Almunia haters at? Praying for a goal. 1-2 or even 2-1 is all good coming home, getting Clichy + RVP back. Still cant understand why Djourou isnt playing…

  31. astroangel
    April 30, 2009 at 5:37 am #

    Pathetic first half!!!!!

  32. astroangel
    April 30, 2009 at 5:37 am #

    I wondered where’s Nasri??

  33. radadsRSA
    April 30, 2009 at 5:51 am #

    id rather see deni instead of nasri at this job, Nasri is better be on the wing or fabs place.I trust God so Im not worried.

  34. Darragh
    April 30, 2009 at 6:05 am #

    Adebayor ain’t doing enough!

  35. Darragh
    April 30, 2009 at 6:06 am #

    …bring on Eduardo!

  36. enemyairships
    April 30, 2009 at 6:38 am #

    Woeful.

  37. Mexican Gunner
    April 30, 2009 at 6:42 am #

    Im tired of seeing Bendtner receiving so many chances. He SUCKS.

    Great game for Gibbs, Almunia, Kolo, Song and maybe Diaby.

    Anyway Arsenal with Van Persie the next game will win.

  38. MoMONEY
    April 30, 2009 at 6:44 am #

    Diaby got caught on the ball way too many times

  39. Seantb
    April 30, 2009 at 7:02 am #

    So much for hard work hey? The lack of urgency was worse than the last 20 at Boro.

  40. Medeski
    April 30, 2009 at 7:13 am #

    As nervous as Silvestre makes me, he was far from the main problem for Arsenal today. Yes his deflection led to the goal, but he did okay. Not great, but okay. Diaby, on the other hand, was horrendous. He never knew where he was going when he received the ball and took three too many touches every time he had the ball. I hate to say it, but Fabs didn’t have a very good game either. The problem was we had no build-up or movement in the middle of the field.
    @ RadadsRSA – I tend to like Nasri in that role. He tracks incredibly well and actually has something to contribute when moving forward. Denilson doesn’t track well or have much to offer in the offensive department.

    I can’t believe Arsene replaced Walcott instead of Diaby. His pace was at least making ManUre double cover him most of the time. Bringing on Bendtner or Eduardo for Diaby would have been soo much nicer. I think Arsene should have switched to a 4-4-2 with Fabs and Song in the middle, Nasri and Walcott on the wings and 2 of Eduardo, Bendy, and Ade up top.

    With all that said though, 1-0 is far from terrible. 3-0 or 4-1 next week. I get a free beer from 3 different people if the Gunners can win by three. Van Persie hat trick???? I think we can, I think we can, I think we can.

    COME ON GUNNERS!!! YOU CAN DO IT!!!

  41. Spanish Fry
    April 30, 2009 at 7:31 am #

    A very interesting game. We weren’t a disaster, I think Manchester United were very good and it forced us to play quite defensively. I was disappointed with the efforts of Adebayor and our wingers to get forward when they had a chance, but aside from the opening 20 minutes I thought we defended quite effectively and passed the ball around nicely when we had it. Just lacked penetration in the final third and we’ll probably need a second striker at the Emirates to change things around.

    A strange game, but Manchester United are certainly favourites.

  42. Luxinbrasil
    April 30, 2009 at 8:10 am #

    I agree SF

    Special mention to gibbs though…he didnt look out of place at all…just wish he had a bit more confidence when he surges forward. Ade was off the pace as was Walcott….but Utd did play well in the first half it took us a while to get into the game..Diaby gave the ball away too much.

    1-nil isnt that bad…they may be favourites but i dreamt we beat them 2-0 at the Emirates last night…id give anything for that!

  43. Ronaldo7
    April 30, 2009 at 8:15 am #

    Great game from united. Team worked hard and looked a class above arsenal. We have better quality and depth and it showed.

    Arsenal are very lucky it was only 1-0 so thats the only thing that worries me. I think we will get a away goal so arsenal will need to score 3.

    Silvest had quite a decent game IMO. Diaby was woeful. Fabregas average. Same old arsenal when they had the ball…
    about 10 passes within 5m and goign nowhwere fast.
    If i was them id use Walcott alot more out wide.

    I sense a very exiting game next week..Im still nervous though lol

  44. Gibbs
    April 30, 2009 at 8:49 am #

    Arsene Wenger is killing us. The guy has been clueless lately. Why does he keep playing our players out of position? He insists on playing Cesc in “the hole”, where on earth did he get that idda from? Cesc doesnt have the speed or the strength to play in that position, he is a pass master, his best position is in CM. And Diaby on the left. What the hell was that all about?

    Our best finisher (Eduardo) was kept on the bench for 80min even though we needed a goal. Wenger must get his head straight, he’s losing it.

    Anyway, looking on the bright side. 1-0 away from home against team like Manyoo isnt that bad. If Wenger picks the right team i do believe we can go through.
    COYG!

  45. Gibbs
    April 30, 2009 at 8:56 am #

    “idda”? what i meant to say was “idea”.

    btw, fair play to Almunia, Toure Song and Gibbs(who did a pretty good job on Rony), they were great.

  46. Gibbs
    April 30, 2009 at 9:10 am #

    Its 1am here and i still cant fall asleep. Ive been tossing and turning for over 2 hours thinking about the game. It sux b/c i have to be up at 6am. I hate football 🙁

  47. Anonymous
    April 30, 2009 at 10:23 am #

    gibbs and almunia were awesome as ronaldo had to swap sides halfway through the 2nd half. Cant wait for the 2nd game as we will prob rest players v pompey this wkend and why tweety played is beyond me but we really could do with gallas back but shit always happens to us.
    ADE NEEDS TO BE SOLD!!!!!!!!
    He looked lazy and apart from 1 shot that flew over the bar did bugger all and still managed to get an offside would love to see dudu play more with vela though.

  48. MoMONEY
    April 30, 2009 at 11:15 am #

    I want 4-4-2 with RVP and DUDU up front next leg… Ade has been huge for us this year but we need 3 goals (in case they get one) and he wastes too many IMO…

  49. Ronaldo7
    April 30, 2009 at 11:16 am #

    How ade was offside when arsenal hit a long ball/clearance is beyond me…thats just p#ss poor.

  50. Ianinja
    April 30, 2009 at 11:48 am #

    Hi all, I thought ManU played well so credit where due. Don’t despair its only the first leg.

    Arsene is guilty of some weird selection but he has always done that in the history of Arsenal, even Sir Alex does that sometimes. The only thing that bothers me now is Arsenal players didn’t turn up in games that really matter the most.

    Anyway even if we change to a 4-4-2 would it matter? Seems ManU were more fired up for it.

    Ade is embarassing at the way he gets offside but I’ve learned to live with it, to me Ade is an enigma just like some of our players like Diaby, Deni, even Walcott. But thats all just my 2 cents worth, I leave it to Arsene and hope we turn up at home.

  51. MoMONEY
    April 30, 2009 at 11:52 am #

    United played us off the park tonight- no doubt about it. Wish we had snuck an away goal but its not over yet. We need to come out firing on all cylinders and gunning for the win. Heres my early lineup- I dont think Diaby will be dropped along with Ade because they are needed for defending set pieces…

    Almunia

    Sagna- Toure- Djourou- Clichy

    Walcott- Song- Fabregas- Nasri

    Eduardo- RVP

  52. C-Bass
    April 30, 2009 at 12:51 pm #

    For me it was our midfield that didn’t show up. Carrick, Fletcher and Anderson outplayed Cesc, Song, Nasri and Diaby. That’s hard to take because I don’t think any of the first three are any better than the latter four. Just means United was playing better as a team.

    Sure Ade had a sub-par game but IMHO there was little service or support. I’m certainly not blaming him for anything.

    Gibbs looked solid and thank god Blondie isn’t half as bad as all the crap he gets.

  53. Joshua Asante
    April 30, 2009 at 2:36 pm #

    I’m back
    The 1 nil is ok !!!
    Coming Tuesday will be a different story.Arsenal will win hands down

  54. 2pac ** Arsenal
    April 30, 2009 at 2:47 pm #

    Arsene Knows.

    I think the biggest disgrace tonight, was the man on £5 million a season, paid to deliver.
    His name is Arsene Wenger.

    The evidence? Simple.

    1. Wenger never learns.

    His complete lack of tactical acumen is now beyond a joke. Check this rubbish out.

    When we drew 4-4- at Anfield, what was the defensive line-up?

    Gibbs, Sagna, Silvestre, Toure.
    And it was generally accepted that it was some of the most farcical, pathetic ‘defending’ ever seen at Premiership level.

    So what has Arsene Wenger done tonight?

    Why, selected the same exact back-line he did at Anfield.

    Arsene Knows.

    The first 45 minutes were an absolute shambles, the half-time ripping Arsenal got from the Sly Sports punditry was choice comedy. Hoddle, Souness couldn’t believe it.

    Champions League semi-final, Arsenal’s biggest game since 2006. Last shot at a trophy.

    Remember what happened in that 4-4 at Anfield?

    Let me refresh your memories. A simple long-ball in the box caused havoc, and three El Fool players were left totally unmarked. Inside the penalty area. Benayoun skips in and scores. Remember what happened before then at Villa park? Arsenal 2-1 up, injury-time. Long cross goes into the box, and three Villa players are left unmarked. Inside the penalty area. So what happened tonight then?

    A cross goes into the box.

    Rebounded off a corner.

    Arsenal have plenty of time to clear their lines. What happens?

    I counted O’Shea, Ronaldo (World Player of the Year no less), Vidic and Anderson all totally free. In a Champions League semi. At that level, school-yard defending. People are attempting to see Arsenal win trophies defending like Rushden and Diamonds. Hilarious.

    And why did this happen Again?

    My favourite theme: because there is No discipline at Arsenal FC.
    Because after that Anfield disaster, instead of ripping into the team, Wenger came out in the media and lauded them for their ‘great spirit’. Forgetting that is was the player he probably didn’t even sign that saved his bacon.

    No wonder.

    2. Lack of tactical acumen.

    Before this match, there were a few obvious things that were noted. These were:

    Abou Diaby must not participate after Wembley.

    Well guess what? Arsene’s favourite played the full 90! And what did we get in return? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. He won one tackle in 90 minutes. He was all over the place. He got caught in possession, dwelling on the ball four times. He attempted to dribble out of ridiculous areas and United almost scored from it.

    This is because Wenger never signed a left midfielder.

    Silvestre must not play because he is a cunt: great signing there Arsene. It was almost as if Silvestre still played for United! Great assist to O’Shea there, love the way he lazily deflected it into his path. He might as well have worn a United kit. That is one of the biggest disgraces, a United reject cunt, that Fergie ‘sold’ us, contributing to our demise. I won’t even mention that comical part in the first half, when Anderson ran straight past him and, like Drogba at Wembley, didn’t even bother to chase him! Just watched him go and could not be arsed.

    We have a ‘youth policy’: so where was Djourou? Would Wilshere have been a much worse choice than Diaby? Really? How about Ramsey?

    Everyone saw that Vidic is slow on the turn. Rio was playing with a back problem and went off later. Everyone also saw how the Spuds delivered two quality crosses in 45 minutes against them, had a striker attacking them both, and scored twice.

    So how many quality crosses did we seek to deliver? Sagna tried in the second half towards in the end, and Gibbs put in a decent one. That aside? Nothing. How many times did Cesc or someone else float a ball in behind for someone to run into space? None. All fancy passing with no intent whatsoever and zero penetration. It was exactly like watching the Arsenal of the past four years really`; all vision, zero end product. No one took a shot, no one took the initiative.

    3. The Bayor.

    The next time some dickhead tells you the Bayor is ‘world class’ then simply hand him a videotape of his ‘performance’ tonight. It was a joke. Vidic and Rio will never have an easier match. He was a complete disgrace to Arsenal strikers of the past – all on the £80k a week Arsene fought so hard to give him. The miracle is that he lasted beyond the first half. Luckily for him though, he has a manager who fosters no discipline – so you can play like that for 80 minutes, and not get subbed off until it is too late to do anything about it.

    The bloke had one shot in the whole game – after sixty minutes.

    The part that best summed him up for me was when we got a three on three break. Nasri was busting a gut to get there, flanked by Theo and Song of all people. The Bayor? A world-class or even top ten Prem striker, makes a run in behind the defence and slots it home. It was a wonderful opportunity. The Bayor?

    He literally just stood static on the left wing. Fucking unbelievable. But it makes me laugh, because people kept talking about ‘oh with increased competition he will have to fight hard for his place’.

    No he won’t. He will never have to fight for his place, don’t be so deluded.
    He will walk into the team every week, regardless. If Silvestre can start a Champs League semi, no problems for the Bayor.

    Vidic and Rio never had an easier night in their lives. Shoved off the ball so easily despite being six foot three.

    4. Motivation

    Here is a small comparison for you.

    Two teams out there.

    Over the past four years, one has won two Premier league titles, a World championship, a Carling Cup and are the reigning European champions. They have won everything going.

    The other, has own diddly squat. Nothing. Nada. Some of them have never even played a minute’s international football.

    So which team has more to prove? Which team wanted it more?

    United wanted it more. First to every 50-50, running their socks off. In the 92nd minute, I saw the traditionally abject Berbatov tracking back to just outside his penalty area, and winning the ball. Compare to the Bayor please.

    United ran their socks off and oozed adrenalin the whole way through. Arsenal took 35 minutes to realize they were in the biggest match of their careers.

    In other words – Gibbs, Nasri, Sagna, Toure and Almunia aside (who was superb) – they absolutely bottled it. It comes back to a point I made a long time ago, as people were mastubating over an unbeaten run that will see Arsenal finish fourth: it’s one thing playing champagne football land delivering when there is no pressure on you to deliver.

    It is quite another, delivering under pressure.

    So far, since that ‘unbeaten run’, we have seen Arsenal in two major high-pressure matches. And they have collapsed and folded in both. Just as in the Chelski FA Cup match, the team never took the game to the opposition. Wenger spent so much time attempting to figure out how to quell United that he ended up quelling Arsenal. Were it not for Almunia, then we could have been looking at a rugby score there.

    So there we have it.

    Too many cunts unfit to wear the shirt. And a manager unable to motivate or inspire his players for the biggest match in the club’s history since 2006.

    1-0 is the worst result we could have hoped for (barring a bigger scoreline). Remember, United have score four times in three visits to the Emirates. Wenger has Djourou available and prefers to trust Silvestre. Must be our famous ‘youth policy’.

    There are 90 minutes left to somehow beat United by two clear goals, and avoid conceding. I have to keep believeing but if people expect sunshine and roses after that shite, well tough.

    That was shocking.

    Like I have said before. I think Wenger will get us fourth place in the league, and Arsenal will play champagne football after exiting the title running pre-Christmas.

    But if you want to win anything as an Arsenal supporter? I say with Wenger in charge, you are asking for a miracle.

  55. MoMONEY
    April 30, 2009 at 3:13 pm #

    Yes the midfield was dominated. I dont think Diaby has much of a future unless he gets his head in the game and fast. United came into the game ready to win- we were waiting to see what it was like- we better be the aggressors next match

  56. Ianinja
    April 30, 2009 at 4:04 pm #

    @2pac, you seemed very frustrated but I don’t blame you we all are dissapointed. You have valid points even about Arsene. I’m not part of the Arsene Knows brigade but lets calm down a bit and reliase that even we get another manager, there will always be a break in period. Yes Arsene do overprotect his players but all managers do, maybe Arsene is more softer than the other managers in the league when he corrects them.

    To me the tie is not lost, if the players have pride of wearing arsenal colours they will give double or even triple effort at the return leg. Its more of a matter of how much the players want it, and its up to them to show us supporters what the club and us mean to them by turning this deficit around. Its tricky but can be done, just need the right mentality.

    Not all the players were woeful but to me football is a team effort, when you get punished, you endure it together and when u win you win as a team, so its no use for me to single out specific player on the performance.

    I feel bad for those Arsenal supporters in UK who made the trip north, imagine walking out of old trafford with 70,000 ManU supporters, oh the anguish.

    Anyway lets hope for the best. Go Guns!

  57. staslohness
    April 30, 2009 at 5:43 pm #

    @ 2Pac

    Totally agree! it’s our luck that we hasn’t lost to pool and manures 4-0.

    When I started to support Arsenal in 2002 it was top-club! Now it’s like Ajax – we’re raising talents for another clubs (like Barca). Hleb and Henry left for Barca to win tropheys! After that I felt miserable… I thought Arsenal was the team to win the Tropheys with. The right word is WAS.

    Now I’m not sure in the team. I feel myself like f.e. Fulham fan – can beat anyone, can lose to anyone.

    Arsenal was a great BIG CLUB for me to support, because my local club – Spartak Moscow began to struggle after winning 9 Russian championship titles. And I wanted some real, beautiful football and WINs!!

    What’s now? I support 2 clubs which was really GREAT clubs in past and are something strange now.
    I was thinking about to stop watching football at all, because I’m fed up with the play of my favourite clubs. And it’s boring to watch games without teams I support except World Cup and European Championship games. F.e. Barcelona – Real or Liverpool – MU will make me bored, because I don’t support any of that clubs.

    Of course, you will say that I have to be patient and that I have to support the club in all situations. I will! BUT! I want something to be done by my team, not DOING NOTHING!

    F.e. Chelski. They lost CL final in Moscow I’ve visited last year – what they’ve done? Fired Grant. They hasn’t win CL yet, but they ARE TRYING! Arsene is not trying. He want to win, but he want the win to come itself, with no changes in team..

    It was something like sleeping period in Spartak since 2001.. Now the situation is getting better after firing well-payed Laudrup, who didn’t want to do anything with the team and with Valerij Karpin to become a head-coach.

    Arsenal need changes. For sure.
    Or we’ll be in sleeping period for 3-4 years minimum…

  58. Spanish Fry
    April 30, 2009 at 6:06 pm #

    Let’s talk about this stuff after the next game, hey? There’s no point really discussing this now – we could turn things around. I’m not being naive either, it’s a fact.

  59. censored
    May 3, 2009 at 11:36 pm #

    Keep up the faith arsenal supporters! Everything that has a beginning has an end, so im sure this trophy drought will have an end too! Juz put ur hands together and pray very very hard arsenal have lady luck on their side for tuesday and even in Rome.!!

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