Part 1: Loving Arsenal’s first XI (Szczęsny, Djourou & Koscielny)

Part 1: Loving Arsenal’s first XI (Szczęsny, Djourou & Koscielny)

It is no coincidence that our recent return to form has come at a time when we have established a settled and reliable first-choice eleven.

I thought today I’d take a look at what each member of the starting team brings, why they work together so well and perhaps most importantly, why I love watching them play so much.

Wojciech Szczesny — Got into the team on the back of a couple of good FA Cup performances and Lukasz Fabianski’s injury and has performed admirably. His Nicklas Bendtner-like confidence on and off the pitch is to be admired — his Twitter updates are hilariously self-assured! — and he has backed it up with his performances on the pitch. At a time when Fabianski looked to have improved our goalkeeping position Szczesny has taken it to another level. Obviously well-liked by his teammates and adored by supporters hoping for a solution to our goalkeeping problems, Szczesny communicates well with the defence and brings a calm at the back that has been missing since, well, as long as I can remember. From a supporters point of view that calm could be purely psychological but the fact is that I feel safer when he is there than I have in the 12 years that I have supported this club. And that’s saying something.

Szczesny: Self-assured

Johan Djourou — It has been an absolute delight to watch Djourou develop into a commanding central-defender this season. Unquestionably rusty in his opening few performances after a year out with injury, in the absence of Vermaelen Djourou has become arguably our most important central defender. Bizarrely criticised by a few friends of mine for lacking pace, Djourou is as quick as any big centre-back in the league and at 6’4 has the height and aerial ability to match it with the best strikers around, as evidenced by a superb performance against Didier Drogba in December. For years Arsenal supporters have been crying out for Arsene Wenger to bring in a big central defender who increase our physical presence in the defensive third but in my eyes, Djourou is that defender. Abou Diaby once described him as the calmest man in the Arsenal squad and Djourou’s increasingly-effective partnership with Koscielny has been a highlight of the season.

Djourou & Koscielny: an increasily-effective partnership

Laurent Koscielny — Came in for criticism earlier in the season for not being ready but has responded in style. Brought into the squad by Wenger for tenacious will to hassle opposition strikers early and an uncanny ability to win the ball in one-on-one situations, Koscielny is the ideal defender for tracking a player like Wayne Rooney. Has made some errors of judgment over the course of the season but his desire to press his man sets the tone for the rest of the team and perfectly compliments Djourou’s more relaxed style of play. Koscielny is a statistical marvel: our most accurate passer and best tackler and as a 26-year-old playing his first season in England (and just his second in top-flight European football) Koscielny strikers me as an astute, intelligent learner and exactly the type of player that you can count on to fulfill the instructions given to him. Will only get better as the season moves forward and his experience grows.

Thoughts?

(Part 2 & 3 to follow over the next days)

Have your say on Part 1 of Loving Arsenal’s First Eleven by leaving a comment.

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61 Responses to “Part 1: Loving Arsenal’s first XI (Szczęsny, Djourou & Koscielny)”

  1. voley_gun
    January 29, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    Thank you Andrew. This is what i have been expecting from you . Arsenal’s First Eleven deserves the credit for our season success and for the first silverware in the future.

  2. Ross Thomson
    January 29, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    hurry up with the rest ofthe squad looking forward 2 it

  3. LB
    January 29, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

    All three players are testimony to AW’s vision, managerial abilities, and an uncanny eye for talent. He is simply amazing. And to think last year I wondered whether he still had it! For me, Koscielny shows signs of being a trully great player. Considering that we still have TW to come back, it is only about who replaces Squillaci when we sell him in the summer of 2012. I assume it will be between Bartley and Miguel if they fulfill their potential. Arsenal really is the team of the future, and that could be after winning the league and the Carling Cup this year (hopefully). It’s great to be an Arsenal supporter.

  4. Jammathon
    January 29, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    Great article but something caught my eye – Szczesny makes you feel the safest when he’s about which you’ve never felt in twelve years? A bit of hyperbole, surely, given we’ve had Seaman and Lehmann in that time?

    Still, agree for the most part with Chezzer (although in the process, I think Fabianski’s contribution and recovery from a shocker of a start to Arsenal-life has been glossed over), and the pars about Djourou and Koscielny made me smile. 🙂

  5. K-TR7
    January 29, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    Good read.szczesny has conceded a goal every 203 minutes compared to 90 by Almunia and 83 by fabianski although the latter has played 1020 more minutes.chesney also has 100% success rate at claiming crosses (11) compared to fabianski’s 94.4% success rate.

  6. Andrew Weber
    January 29, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    @ Jammathon – Somehow, he makes me safer than those two. I only caught the end of Seaman’s reign in goals and quite frankly, he was fairly poor. As for Lehmann, he was always a spectacular goalkeeper but one that could drop bizarre clangers at any time. I did mention it was psychological, but as far as I can remember Szczesny makes me feel the safest. He’s like a warm hug.

  7. K-TR7
    January 29, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    Koscielny has really impressed me since day one.i believe he is the best man marker and tackler at the club and considering how inexperienced he was when coming to us id say he is doing very well.last year against barca Tv pushed up but failed to win the ball time and time again and as a result we were duly punished as he left acres of space.it was also the case when Tv faced rooney at home and we paid dearly as a result.i believe kos is italian-esque when it comes to defending but will he fare better against messi than Tv?…we’ll have to wait and see.

  8. MTY
    January 29, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    Definitely there are encouraging signs that this Arsenal side is destined to greatness.
    My only worry is that some of the younger/newer players (specially the ones playing in critical positions – GK & defense) are being thrown straight into action for a lot of crucial fixtures (e.g., Wojciech & Kosch).
    The errors they commit, if any, can cost the club a lot & also damage the player’s confidence. Ideally, their introduction should have been gradual.

    Good analysis Andy!!

  9. Patrick Weber
    January 29, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

    An excellent article..

  10. Charles
    January 29, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    Good read Andrew and I mean it.
    Isn’t it time people give credit to whom credit is due? Arsene Wenger is a genius. He signs ordinary players without inserting any of these conflicting signing-on-fee clauses into their contracts for his own gain like Holloway and then turns these players in world class stars. Because of him we don’t need to buy average Defenders for 20 million. Due to his visionary work, we are getting people like Wilshere for nothing and a spanking new stadium to boot!!! I can’t wait for the rest of the rest of this article.

  11. Rocky Jay
    January 29, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    Am loving the Kozzer JD partnership at the centre of defence, but i believe once Tommy V is back, he moves straight into the first 11?? maybe replacing Kozzer??

  12. Sobin the Indian Gooner
    January 29, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    Good article Andrew,hoping for more.U R right we r more stable at the back now a days this is mainly because of these 3 guys they deserve huge credit.looking for more insight in team.Good work Andrew.

  13. guy
    January 29, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    great article. my only issue that no one has picked up on so far is that kosceilny is 24 not 26

  14. alex
    January 29, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    Really well-put, finally an organised approach, great read. To my mind this will be the season where Wenger’s long-term strategy on training up the young ‘uns rather than forking out millions for footie’s divas is validated more than ever before. These three are a great example. Looking forward to parts 2 & 3…and would be awesome to hear thoughts on why the second-string ARE the second-string too.

  15. andy p
    January 29, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

    The blogs are giving me a warm fuzzy feeling again after such a long time. I think blogs generally have been very negative on arsenal and arsene wenger but I like that your article is the opposite to those ill thought out venting sessions I have come to see time and time again! Keep up the good work Mr Weber!

    Could agree more, for me Szczczcnezczcy (sorry, couldnt resist) is the epitome of self belief. I think he makes the team so much better with his assertive assured displays. Arsenal XI really needed a player like him. he has been fabulous in the reserves and on loan. He is my Joe Hart. A player that I always admired and wished we had signed, until I saw Szczesny come through the ranks and stamp himself as our number 1. I was a big fan of vitto mannone too but people keep saying he isnt an arsenal player.

    Before Djourou got injured I really rated him as an outstanding up and coming defender. He started off extremely rustily this season but I could just see his talent hidden within. he has now settled very well and I think he is now higher up in the pecking order than Squillaci.

    Squillaci I think is a very decent player, although sometimes his judgement has been really suspect in some situations, overall I think he is very decent cover. The one thing i can say about squillaci is his ability to always get to the ball when we have a corner more often than everyone else. he does miss scoring opportunities quite often but I do admire this uncanny ability.

    Koscielny is a very good defender. Say no more, he oozes class and jsut keeps getting better and better. I think his reputation at the end of the season will probably be close to TVs was at the end of last season.

    Song is irreplacable in the holding role and combined with Wilshere, Nasri, Fabregas, Van Persie and walcott I think we have a world class attacking line up. I cant begin to express how happy i am that they are all fit. We are only 5 points behind man u and the season is ours for th taking except that they always have a 12th man on the pitch (the ref). It is unbelievable how many decisions go in their favour. Sickening.

    Honourable mentions go to Bendtner/Arshavin and Chamakh. on the latter 2 players, I think their confidence has taken a major hit. The turning point for chamakh from what I can see is the match against tottenham where we lost at home and while earlier in the season chamakh would run at goal if he was in line with the last defender when a cross is made, he was instead bizarrely trying to shield the ball and bring others into play.

    Arshavin had a shocker against leeds at home and wenger kept him on when he was a dead certainty to be taken off. I am a huge fan of arshavin’s and although I have had frustration watching him, he always seems to produce magic out of nothing and that is a priceless quality. He should not be sold and I think his problems are psychological. he is dropping his head way too often these days.

    overall – fantastic Arsenal, and the legend that is Arsene Wenger at the reigns means I cant help but be excited about the rest of the season

  16. JJ Pittman
    January 29, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    Excellent analysis! Szczesny definitely best since Seaman, who is my all-time Gooner goalie. No quarrel with Andrew, I’ve been a Gooner since 1971. Jens Lehmann may have been as quick as Szczesny, and certainly as cocksure, but it sounds better from our current gk.
    Djourou has had a history of hard knocks, but, no doubt, when he’s healthy, he is rock solid.
    Have loved Koscielny’s play from the start. He is also tough enough and his judgment will get better.
    People have forgotten just how solid TV 5 was right from the start last year. He was also captain at Ajax, and it is amazing we have not missed him more. 20/20 hindsight says he should have had that operation in September. Thankfully, it appears Squillaci is ready now. We really need Song in holding midfield, not filling in as an emergency centerback, which will be Squillaci’s role.

  17. Jay
    January 29, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

    I agree there having a good season and getting better as the more matches they accumilate, but will we all be saying the same things after a bad performance, or a big game I.e barca………. Let’s hope so!

  18. Nicholas
    January 29, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

    Excellent article, a delight to read at work before going home 😀 I completely agree with the pair Djourou/Koscielny as being the backbone of our defence and with Squillaci available and Vermaellen on his way back things will only look better. I just saw that Wenger is considering to loan a centre back for the rest of the season and while I pointed earlier that he should sign a player, I’m starting to think he was right in his decision. He actually said something that makes a lot of sense: “If we buy another one, first, we have to buy him for four years and then we have to pay him for four years. We will have five centre backs” (http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/wenger-won-t-rule-out-centre-back-signing).

    What surprises me a bit is your choice for the goalkeeper, even though I understand the arguments. As a personal choice, I would go for Fabianski, since he’s had a lot of outstanding moments this season and really saved the team on many occasions. Szczesny is confident, true, and he somehow transmits that confidence to our defenders, he is also more charismatic, but to me Fabianski proved, match after match, save after save, that this season he deserves to be no.1.

  19. 1NilToTheArsenal
    January 29, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

    This a great beginning to what I’m sure will be an insightful, interesting analysis and opinion of our current starting XI from one of the best Arsenal bloggers. Just how good is this squad? HEALTHY good. And when healthy and together in the right rotational groups, this team plays superlative football. How good? Of the last 15 matches we’ve played in all competitions since the loss to Braga we have lost only 2 by the barest of margins (1-0 each to Man U and Ispwich), including 6 clean sheets, and with total goal difference of +20. And we are only improving. Now hurry up with parts 2 and 3. Can’t wait:) COYG!!!
    1NTTA

  20. shakir1989
    January 29, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

    There are many people commenting on the fact that tv and djou should be the first choice cb’s but i disagree. First of all, whe have to look at how much wenger spent on kos. somewhere around 8.5m-10m has been mooted. Why would wenger spend so much if he wasnt first choice with tv. If people read the first interview kos gave on the first issue of this seasons arsenal magazine, kos told us how he plays, how he thinks. The most interesting comment he said was what you have to do when a forward is running at you or going for goal. Kos said that the reason why he was so successful last season in France was because he could decipher the direction the attacker would take. Statistically kos has been excellent at interceptions. Coming onto this season, another important factor in football today is how much a defender contributes to get the ball rolling for teams to attack. Djourou mainly passes back to the defenders or the cm’s, kos on the other hand will intercept, get the ball and move forward quickly trying to start an attack, same thing tv did last season. Third point here is that, in the premiership cb’s have to be very aggressive, tv was wonderfull last season, kos is doing the same. Today in the premiership you need both defenders to be aggressive, as well as attacking minded. If you remember from last season, tv likes to push up into an midfield position, when teams break on us when we lose the ball we need someone to intercept, for that i think kos would be better thatn djourou.

    Thats my view anyway. Let me know what others think.

  21. lex
    January 29, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    Koscielny is 24 not 26.

  22. Shevo
    January 29, 2011 at 9:41 pm #

    I’ve only got one complaint about this article Andrew…..can’t wait for the rest.. This was spot on positive piece of writing from a true Arsenal supporter who can see the bigger picture. unlike those one eyed AW hating supporters begging to spend gazillions on Carlos kickaball von nose fuckall bout our club
    Best blog I’ve read for ages.

  23. Liyoonta arsenal
    January 29, 2011 at 11:45 pm #

    koscielny he is best defender in the world

  24. bill
    January 29, 2011 at 11:51 pm #

    @shakir I would have to say that both of Djourou and Koscielny are well suited to go forward. Djourou has a silky touch and a few times a match he dinks the ball by the on-rushing forward and from there he is able to go forward and pass. Once our side has established some good possession, Kos and Djourou are both more than capable of taking a few touches and pushing up the field. Anyways i agree with most of the people on here, and the stat about our form since losing to Braga is amazing. On to Huddersfield town!

  25. Hey Nonny Mouse
    January 30, 2011 at 1:45 am #

    Smashing little article. It feels good to take stock and appreciate what we have and what the new guys (you could say Johan Djourou is ‘new’ since he was out so long) have done.
    From the midfield up I have no problem with our team whatever. I think we’re brilliant. But the defence does still worry me. We’ve not faced a genuinely dangerous attack since Man Shitty, at the start of this month, which was a brilliant performance 3-0 so you can’t fault that. But in December we conceded against Wigan, Chelsea, manure, Fulham and even at home to Partizan Belgrade. Has the defence improved or have they just not been tested? February will tell us that.
    I also feel that our squad could easily accommodate another central defender since the knocks and niggles the guys in defensive positions pick up means one or two are always out and I see no reason why that should change. It’s like that in all teams.
    Let me just add my voice though to the chorus of applause for Arsene Wenger. The best football manager in the world – bar none.

  26. Arsenal's #9
    January 30, 2011 at 9:26 am #

    I really think Fabianski’s improvement and subsequent contributions to the team has been criminally swept under the rug. Fabianski has pulled off some absolutely massive saves and the only blot on his record this season has been, as far as i can remember in the game against Newcastle and even then his teammates if they’d shown up could have saved us the game. I think hez is a talented young man and all but it would be wrong to not give a heads up to Fabianki

  27. Matt
    January 30, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    I don’t mean to be rude, but Kos is actually 25 yrs old. (Born 25th of Sept. 1985)

  28. Emmanuel Umoren
    January 30, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    Squillachi red carded

  29. maltagooner
    January 30, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

    Watching the game against Huddersfield, with our team B at their usual hopeless best! Any team, I mean ANY team, looks good against this reserves team. Prepare yourselves for another 45 minutes of nile-biting moments.

  30. voley_gun
    January 30, 2011 at 6:00 pm #

    I am really worried on Nasri’s injury .Arshavin is looking like he is getting his form back . I watched only till Nasri got substituted in the match. So sorry if he was poor later. Can rosicky fill the void left by Nasri.

  31. Blocksof
    January 30, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

    I can see AW converting TV to a holding midfield to bring extra cover for Song, or even play along side him.

  32. JJ Pittman
    January 30, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

    Another “easy” draw against Leyton Orient, but, as Maltagooner has observed, our B team can look poor against anybody. Bad as I have thought Denilson is, he was worst ever today. One great save by Almunia and solid performances by Cesc and Song after Squillaci sent off. Not much to brag about, but we survive another day. Hope Sami’s hammy is not too bad!

  33. Emmanuel Umoren
    January 30, 2011 at 6:51 pm #

    Sami out for three whole weeks!!!!!! omg

  34. shambogunner
    January 30, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

    The second string arent as good as we have been led to believe, I mean c’mon now, first against leeds at home and now huddersfield, I dont think anyine is afradi to come and pay against Arsenall anymore and thats a worrying thing in my eyes.
    Iv nothing to say that I havent said about Squillachi or Denilson already, Squillachi should be sold NOW before hes exposed even more and any potential chance to recoup some of the millions weve spent on him evaporate, Im telling you lot you wont realise how fragile we are defensively until you see a decent centre half come in and do a mans job on their, Squillachi is a joker.
    Does anyone here think that 50 mil and denilson and squillachi would be too much to spend to capture Fernando Torres, I find it amazing that no Arsenal fan even contemplates signing a player like this when he becomes available, its like were resigned to the fact wenger wont buy marquee players….sign Torres become a SERIOUS force and keep Cesc happy, chances??? 1,000,000,000,000,000/1…..but why should this be the case, buy Torres and gives us fans a legitimate reason for raising the highest ticket prices in England AGAIN for the coming season…….could you imagine what we could do with a goal scorer in this side?
    Answer- anything.

  35. Byo
    January 30, 2011 at 10:09 pm #

    @Shambo-
    The same old buy, buy, buy rant. And you really believe Torres is what Arsenal lacks? Have you researched his history with legendary managers like Bosque(Spain manager) and co? Have you researched what his current team-mates have to say about him? Torres is a chronic malcontent(another Adebayor) who will unsettle your dressing room, just like he is doing now at Liverpool. No, I do not want his type at Arsenal.
    And why should any other professional team be afraid to play Arsenal “second string”? And who led you to believe the “second string” is as good as you may think/want/imagined?
    Did you watch the ManU, ManC or Spurs matches this weekend? The fact is Arsenal did what good sides do-won the game, in spite of not having a particularly great game. Is that not what the pundits say about ManU?
    It will do some good to get some perspective. Assembling a team is not like a video game. I believe the management team at Arsenal(who are paid to think about the team always) have probably thought far ahead of you. I will trust them any day over any expert on line.

  36. paul c
    January 30, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

    Terrific result, although it was a bit nervy at times!!! Thats Cup matches though. I also thought the Squillaci sending-off was a bit ridiculous. The guy just kicked it past Squillaci, effectively conceding possession. It was a yellow card without a doubt, but a very harsh red. There was no CLEAR goalscoring opportunity, since there was zero certainty that Hunt would regain possesion. Not too many players had great games. Good to see Diaby back, I thought he did well considering how long he has been out. He will need some more minutes. It was obvious we had very little understanding in defense. How many times have those 4 played together? Arshavin had his best game in a while. If he is starting to find his form then losing Nasri for 3 weeks may not be the disaster that many will make it out to be. Winning today was all that mattered. Same goes for Tuesday. I wont mind a 1-0 win with the referee giving a dodgy goal. This has been an unbelievably hectic period for us. Wins are all that matters. Manchester United have shown that this season. All those people expecting esoteric beauty every game are seriously deluded. We won today. That doesnt show how bad our 2nd string are, it shows how good our 2nd string are.

  37. Old Timer
    January 30, 2011 at 11:43 pm #

    Yeah, it was a mish-mosh team and a mish-mosh performance but I’m willing to forgive and forget considering we won with 10 men and now have another very good chance of getting through to the Quarter-finals thanks to the draw with Orient who are also League One I think. I thought Arshavin put in a good stint. I can’t say I was overly impressed with any of the others really til Fab came on and added genius. I couldn’t see any contact on Bendtner myself but I don’t think Squillachi should have been sent off either. Wasn’t there another defender, like Gibbs or someone, steaming in from the edge of the box? I’m sure Squillachi wasn’t the last defender and I thought that was the rule? Anyways -up the Arsenal! – and we should see a completely different line-up against the toffees.

  38. Gruggy
    January 31, 2011 at 12:59 am #

    50m for an overrated striker who has played how many games in the last two years?

    No thanks..

  39. kel
    January 31, 2011 at 1:11 am #

    Win is a win regardless of how nervy the game was WE WON
    BUT

    The more i see of Chamakh the worst he looks every time.
    The god’s are also smiling on us in this years cup competition, only championship teams to play,
    I wish every day could be like this.
    Nasri is a big blow BUT guys pls don’t make it an excuse when we play Barc

  40. JJ Pittman
    January 31, 2011 at 1:55 am #

    We started only 2 of first 11 and we got lucky! Also got exposed for the umpteenth time just how bad Denilson is. No salt at all on the defensive side, won’t stick it in against any challenge and major giveaways when competent distribution is required. Kosc excellent, Nasri out hurt. Bendtner not bad at all, even when not in the striker posiition, missed a couple, but where he should be. We’ll be lucky again and thru to the final 8 on fa cup. Now we get reasonable time off between games thru February. Miracle against Barca unlikely, but we can hope, and we will not be stretched too thin. It always comes down to injuries from here on in. Not looking forward to Careless cup against Brummie thugs and 6’7″ striker. In all 4 competitions and need to win every time we play. Need full team to do it. Hope we sign Cahill tomorrow!

  41. bill
    January 31, 2011 at 5:48 am #

    The match was nerve wracking to watch, but as usual, we had some chances to put distance between us and our opponents. I have faith in whatever side (first XI, b squad) all of these players are full internationals, bar denilson, and i bet there are 15 other teams in the EPL who would love to have Rosicky, Bendtner, Chamakh, Denilson on their squad. Those players can barely make it into our starting XI. Shambogunner seems delusional. Man City drew, Spuds lost, and this guy says that us winning our match is an example of how bad our squad is. LOL. And buying fernando torres? for 50 million? for me that just shows desperation. Even for Chelsea, they have Drogba and Anelka, two class strikers. Arsenal should just fabricate some bogus blockbuster 80mil move for Leo Messi to satisfy the buy buy buy buy type of fans. (Before we were gunna overpay for some player, we really didn’t want to win at all, but now that we have started throwing money around like a play thing, we are SERIOUS contenders!!!)
    I’m looking at you Shambogunner. onto everton…

  42. Aman
    January 31, 2011 at 9:17 am #

    Wow one says problem is in defense (shambogunner ) one says problem is in attack (GunnerBoss) and i do not know how many people say problem is in wenger’s head, who cares if it was a second string team, we still won, utd were given a scare by southampton still won, chelsea drew, city drew, spuds thrashed, what matches are you people even looking at, buy buy buy keep buying for sure you both should replace wenger and pat rice, i am gonna write to afc, that we have found a better manager than you, and your right hand man, your options in both attack and defense suck please leave your position and let these 2 take over and let the party begin…

  43. Nicholas
    January 31, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    I gotta say, I’m usually against letting players go, but Denilson really has no place in this team. Not in the first and not in our second XI. I understood Squillaci’s poor performance, since he coming after a break, he needs time to find his pace. I understand that Rosicky can’t find his form, he also played very few games. I can even undestand why Almunia did’t take two steps forward to intercept that ball when they took the corner (just look at his positioning before they kick the ball and what he does after that). What I can’t understand is, simply put, how insecure Denilson can make our team look, he can’t provide cover, he can’t pass righ, there’s a number of god-awful mistakes he continued to make this season. And for him I really find no excuse. AW showed faith in him, tried to get him in as many matches as possible and where Bendtner responded well, where Arshavin is slowly coming back, Denilson really does nothing to repay that faith.

  44. timmons
    January 31, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    I was driving home after various detours after the match and heard the venerable Alan Greene on 606 on BBC Radio 5 Live.

    A man called in and said that Arsenal would win nothing with this defence, and Green admitted he knew far less than Wenger (which is a start, although hardly enough after 10 years of gibberish) but he couldn’t understand why we hadn’t bought a defender.

    I pondered this on the rest of my journey, and finally looked in the programme for the EPL table. OK we will win nothing with this defence. So what defence should we have?

    Obviously the one that has let in the least goals since that defence will help that club win the league.

    Here’s the defence record in the EPL

    Chelsea 19
    Man City 20
    Man U 21
    Arsenal 22

    So, there we are, obviously in fourth place, and Chelsea will win everything.

    Funny that.

  45. adam
    January 31, 2011 at 10:50 am #

    Arsenal have got an impressive starting 11 and are doing well in the premier league. Arsenal Memorabilia is also doing well with signed photos from the best of the Gunners.

  46. manthan
    January 31, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    First let us get some facts straight. Arsenal is the only club in the EPL who is in for 4 trophies this season. Arsenal is still in the title race in the EPL, we play the final of the Carling Cup, we are still in the FA cup and we are still in the Champions League. I know some of those telling us our players are useless and Wenger knows nothing about football have given up on the Champions League. Well I’m not one of those. Every game has to be played. And a bad day for Barcelona can happen. And a good day from Arsenal can also happen. It will be the form on the days that will decide this game. So we still are in 4 competitions. Manchester United are not, Chelsea are not, Manchester City are not, and certainly our still nearby neighbours aren’t . No just the useless Arsenal manager and his no good players are still in it for 4. Yes, this make sense. Does it? And now let us turn our attention on today’s game against Huddersfield. Yes it was a scrappy affair. Certainly when Nasri got injured and then Squillaci got his red card. From that moment on it was a very scrappy affair. I will not deny this. But at the end of the day we won. And so our “useless” players did what they had to do: win. So instead of being happy some bemoan the performance. Well in the first half hour we were well on top. We missed the early chances and made life a bit difficult for ourselves. But as long as we were with 11 players on the field we had the game in control. We created chances, which we mostly missed. Let us compare this with the “benchmark” team, Manchester United. They were losing to Southampton until the 65th minute. And then they won in the end. Will the United supporters ask for SAF to be sacked? No they will say: we won at the end and that is what matters. Yes we have been spoiled. We want our players not only to win but to win it in style. We want to win and trash the opposition. And if our players don’t do it like that we start to moan and complain. And in fact we should be happy. As in the last season when we didn’t play at our best we just lost our games most of the times. So winning in the United way (I’m not saying United always wins like that but just look at their wins against Blackpool and Southampton) should make us feel happy. We can win games without playing our best football for a large part of the game.

    I can remember some fans moaning about the fact that we couldn’t dig out results in the last seasons when playing not at our best. Well we just have done this. So why now suddenly demand that we play the opposition off the pitch each time? It just doesn’t work that way. Footballers are human beings. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes you have a great day and sometimes you don’t. And when you have a not so great day then the only thing we can ask for is a win. And a win we got. A win in the United way is as good a win as a win in the Arsenal champagne football way. It will only get us to 3 points or will in this case only get us in the next round. If we would have won 5-0 we still only would be in the next round against Leyton Orient and we wouldn’t be automatically have a place in the final already. And I would have liked us to win in style and with a high score. But at the end of the day we are in the FA cup in the next round and that is all that matters. For a large part the moaning is Wenger’s own fault. He has given us so many games with such great football that we take it for granted that we win all our games in that way. So maybe Wenger shouldn’t have given us such a great team and such a wonderful football most of the time. He should have played the long ball football and hoof it in the air style. If that would have been the case in his reign we would have just enjoyed the win and forget the rest. So yes Wenger is to blame. But not for a bad game. Wenger is to blame for spoiling us with great football. And maybe we can blame Wenger also when he can field 8 fresh players against Everton who haven’t played today or only a small part of the game. Maybe we should remember when we start on Tuesday with players like Szczesny, Sagna, Djourou, Clichy, Cesc, Wilshere, Song, Van Persie, Walcott who have had a rest this weekend. In fact this is 9 players but as Cesc and Song have played a bit I will count them for one. Also take note that Arsenal is yet again the ONLY team that has to play their games with only one day full rest in between matches. This is the second time we have to do this (also Chelsea had this last time, not now) and I wonder how the FA and EPL can explain this. Once can be a coincidence. Twice? Well this looks a bit much. So Wenger had to take a gamble on one game. He did this today. And it worked out and would have been a comfortable win if Nasri would have stayed fit. So this Gooner is a happy gooner. Still in 4 competitions. My fellow Gooners, what do you want more?

  47. patrick
    January 31, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    The clock is ticking Wenger, when will you do your job and bring in the central defender who can make the difference. You have had ample opportunities and you have loads of cash. We all know you think winning isn’t everything but we should, and could have the PL virtually won already had you dumped the Vanity Project and sorted out our denfensive weaknesses. Every high ball causes panic. A decent manager would have sorted this problem years ago, why do you keep sticking your head in the sand. It comes to something when we are relying on Djourou who is now our most reliable central defender, if he gets injured we are in serious trouble. How can you hope to overhaul the Mancs or beat Barca with The Chuckle Brothers as the bedrock of the defence. The clock is ticking Wenger. Why am I bothering, he wopnt do anything will he, and we wont win the PL – AGAIN!

  48. delano
    January 31, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    For goodness sake i saw Diaby at his pathetic best yesterday. How could he have spent all those minutes on the pitch yet he was slow and losing all possession.@Shambo you are right about Tores. Only a lunatic can contradict you like i have seen already. Why pay the most expensive tickets in England and fail to buy a real striker like Tores. I mean Arsenal deserve the best and not mediocre s in Chamakh and B52. Imagine Persie and Tores up front with Fab and Nasri supplying the passes.Look at the unseriousness on B52’s face when he missed a sitter. He never the less redeemed himself though that ball was going out. Can any one tell me what happened to Chamakh.He seems to be out of sorts or even misplaced in the team. I remember writing on this blog that Chamakh cost us the Totenham game ever since then he has fallen out of Wengers favor. Am not surprised he was subbed. But i feel Diaby should have left that pitch earlier on. Let him train with the reserves while he gets back to fitness. Wenger likes this boy so much but i see him in Denilsons category. I wonder why fans are skinning Denilson.Apart from the back pass he made he wasn’t bad at all.Just look at Diaby so lazy as he was. I hope Arshavin steps up the tempo now that Nasri will have a 3 week rest as he prepares for the Barcelona tie in a solitary oxygen room. We need him on the pitch that day.

  49. voley_gun
    January 31, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    Sorry for defending Denilson. He will never be the one to replace Song and pushing him in that position will never help him and the team . So arsene has to find someone else to fill that position rather than Denilson and Diaby.Playing Bendtner in the centre helps the team a lot than having chamakh to do it.

    Arsene has seen many times that Rosicky Denilson and Diaby midfield is not working out. If he can find someone to replace Song position then things may change

  50. voley_gun
    January 31, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    Frimpong may be the solution in future. For time being we don’t have anyone apart from song to do the flamini role. Experimenting Diaby and Denilson will always be experiments without any rewards. They both don’t have them in it which Arsene is not ready to accept

  51. delano
    January 31, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

    Am happy some people are realizing that Ros icky and company have a gulf in class below standard compared to the first 11. Am sure Ros icky must be in his last season though i love the guy and not at the moment. Am just praying for arshavin to realise that his moment when we need him most has come in the absence of Nasri. I thought three weeks was far but am afraid we are playing Barcelona on the 16th without Nasri. Our curse has started. And whether Persie will be injury free until then is also a quagmire. The gods should help us and see Messi injured between now and then otherwise we may be in for another baptism of fire without our complete first 11.

  52. will
    January 31, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

    When TV comes back will he be immediately put back in the first XI? It would be a shame is either Kosc or Djourou got dropped after the way they’ve been playing.

  53. JJ Pittman
    January 31, 2011 at 9:03 pm #

    The “gods” have helped us plenty in our cup draws! Do not wish anyone hurt on Barca, not even on Manure(except maybe Evra) if we can keep Djourou, Kosc, Sagna, Song and Wilshire in defense and holding, we will be okay there. Clichy and Gibbs give us double coverage there. Cesc was great yesterday and if he can play the ball up to healthy RvP and Walcott, we’ll be okay. AA was much better, not Sami, but can be close to him if he hustles. His passing is better than okay, just needs to finish better. After Real Madrid lost to Osasuna yesterday, Barca have 7 point lead on them and will be concentrating on their CL match with us. If they bounce us, it’s our fault for the way we didn’t finish against Shaktar and Braga and had to get a second place draw. On our best, we still can beat them. Go you Gooners!

  54. GunnerBoss
    February 1, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    @Byo – Will you just shut-up to reason?

  55. Godfather
    February 1, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    fantastic article. Though I think Fabianski edges it a little…. Please quick with the other parts…good job

  56. abdirahman mohamad
    February 5, 2011 at 3:04 am #

    can you please upload part 2 and 3. I really cant wait.

  57. Emmanuel Umoren
    February 6, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

    Newcastle 4 Arsenal 4. Djourou injured. No defender bought by AW. Please your take on these …..

  58. Dennis Ssentongo Kabugo
    May 9, 2013 at 12:09 am #

    I do thank all who have enable Arsenal team to where it is now, for my comment i would say day Rosiscky is a good midfielder who is able to play the old Arsenal style. What i mean is that he thinks first and able to pass the ball to his team mates as expected, lastly not forgetting the defender Koscielny for his defensive tactics. Both players deserve to start in Arsenal’s first 11 against Everton and Newcastle

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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