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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Arsenal B team should now be allowed to play in the Championship. Report and players ratings

By 1970’s Gooner

This Arsenal B team was so dominant against Sheffield United it was embarrassing.

I felt sorry, in a way, for the hapless players and supporters of this historic team. Sorry for the way they were made to look so ordinary, so pedestrian and so technically lacking.

Each and every one of those Arsenal players were of course hand picked and eventually brought to the club by Wenger himself. But only after being watched countless of times in games and in training sessions, their character scrutinised, but above all tested for their technical skills.

So it was not a surprise that each and every one of these players comprising the Arsenal B team were so brilliant and beautiful to watch. Just like the A team in fact.

Both teams are playing the same type of football which is also running throughout the Arsenal Football Club. So that when a player is ready to come into the A team he is already versed in the Arsenal way of the beautiful game.

It is now time for the football league and the authorities behind football to consider allowing football clubs like Arsenal to field their B teams in the championship. They would probably run out champions.

It would also allow for these excellent young players to get valuable experience in a competitive league without having to go out on loan and continue their tutelage at the club where they belong and in the way their club wants to bring them up.

Fabiansky

The captain for the night (but the real captain of course was Gilberto). He looked uneasy on some high balls into the box electing to punch them out rather than catch them. Corrected this in the second half and looked very assured throughout. Made a very good save early in the game when the team was trying to settle. He looks a very good goalkeeper. 8

Diarra

I was impressed with Diarra. Even though he was playing out of position he was combative, strong and full of energy. He was comfortable in this position and also ventured forward. Needs to improve his crossing but a very useful all round player. 8

Song

Also playing out of position and had a shaky start but got better as the game wore on. He still looked a little bit vulnerable and ponderous as he always does. I rate him highly as central midfielder but not as a defender. 7

Hoyte

Was very assured as a central defender and looked the part. Again was very reliable and performed his duties very well even if playing out of position. This might after all be the position for him. 8

Gibbs

Another one playing out of position (the only one in defense playing in his position was the goalkeeper). Even so he looked assured and very skillful but was reluctant to venture forward. Maybe with more exposure he will get more confident and be more attacking. 7

Diaby

Was not at his usual best. He gave the ball away on some occasions and lacked concentration throughout the game. Did not have the impact that you would have expected from someone with such strength and skill. Maybe playing out of position has something to do with it. 5

Gilberto

What a professional and what a performance. Having been left out of the first team and now stripped of the captaincy even for this Carling Cup he gave an impressive performance slotting in front of the defence, protecting the young and inexperienced back four. Made a goal saving clearance off the line. 9

Denilson

What a player. Run the game from the central midfield position. Always asking for the ball, evading the tackles and distributing like a veteran. Is he Fabregas in disguise? Got a deserved goal from a deflected shot from outside the box. 9

Walcott

Carried on from where he left against Liverpool. So full of speed and penetration. I would have liked Wenger to have played him in the center forward position. Hit the post from a tight angle after rounding the keeper. 8

Bendtner

I was impressed. He dropped back a bit off Eduardo and used his body strength to receive and shield the ball before distributing it again. His passing was accurate and thoughtful. His assist to Eduardo for the first goal was a well directed pass to feet from a distance of 20 yards. 8

Eduardo

Scored two goals that were excellently taken. The first from a rasping shot outside the area in the top right hand corner. The second after racing onto a through ball from Gibbs with only the keeper to beat. He confirmed to me that he is a real fox in the fox. You only have to set him up and he will not disappoint. 9

Manchester United’s weaknesses can be Arsenal’s gains


By 1970’s Gooner

You can imagine Wenger in the Arsenal “boot room”, or in his living room more like it, with the video of last Saturday's game between Manchester United and Middlesbrough just finishing.

This will have confirmed to him a few weaknesses in Manchester United’s defensive performance.

The goal conceded was from a header scored by one of the shortest men on the pitch, ex gunner Jeremy Aliadiere.

Uncannily it was a similar goal scored last season by another ex gunner, Thierry Henry, in that victory over United at the Emirates.

Both goals exposed two vulnerable areas in next Saturday’s opponents.

They both came from balls sent into the box from the wide areas of the pitch with the crosser of the ball getting the better of the defender.

Eboue was the provider last season and the Turk Tuncay Sanli last Saturday.

The left and right backs for United, Wes Brown and O’ Shea appear to be vulnerable to pressure especially if it comes from technically gifted opponents.

This is not surprising, as their natural position on the field due to their height and built and the one they have been trained to do since their academy years, is that of a central defender.

And Arsenal have indeed technically gifted wide men that can expose these two makeshift full backs.

Now who Wenger would choose to play wide on Saturday is another matter; but he does have a lot of options: Hleb, Rosicky, Eboue, Walcott to name but a few….

The fact that Manchester United’s wide midfielders,Ronaldo and probably Nani (or Giggs), are much better in their attacking duties rather than their defensive obligations means that Ferguson is limited as to what he can do to provide adequate protection to the full backs.

And if he does so by detailing other midfielders to look out for these situations then other areas of the field will inevitably open up.

Wenger would also have noted that the scorers (Aliadiere and Henry) who are not known for their heading ability managed to get their goal by positioning themselves between the two central defenders, Ferdinand and Vidic.

This is strange, as both the Manchester United players are known for their strength in the air. And in Adebayor, Arsenal have the right man to exploit this if and when the opportunity arises.

He will however need support when Arsenal are on the attack so that the United defenders have more players to worry about and get dragged out of position.

But perhaps what is perceived to be one of Manchester United’s major strengths, that of an attacking mentality and a system of play to match it, may end up being a weakness.

In Tevez and Roonie they have two very good footballers who can not really be instructed to play destructively.

Add to these two Ronaldo and Nani (or Giggs) and you have a very attacking set up but with lots of space being liberated in the middle of the field.

This area is unlikely to be as congested as when “lesser” teams have visited the Emirates (or as congested as it was at Anfield). And this will make for an exciting, open and entertaining game.

Decongested spaces usually suit the more creative and passing team. As indeed was the case last season when Arsenal finished top of the mini league comprising the top four teams in the Premiership.

Which included doing the double over Manchester United.


A disappointing performance at Anfield still has everyone drooling. Plus players ratings

Arsenal’s movement, Liverpool’s long balls and Adebayor’s hunger

Manchester United’s weaknesses can be Arsenal’s gains


By 1970’s Gooner

You can imagine Wenger in the Arsenal “boot room”, or in his living room more like it, with the video of last Saturday's game between Manchester United and Middlesbrough just finishing.

This will have confirmed to him a few weaknesses in Manchester United’s defensive performance.

The goal conceded was from a header scored by one of the shortest men on the pitch, ex gunner Jeremy Aliadiere.

Uncannily it was a similar goal scored last season by another ex gunner, Thierry Henry, in that victory over United at the Emirates.

Both goals exposed two vulnerable areas in next Saturday’s opponents.

They both came from balls sent into the box from the wide areas of the pitch with the crosser of the ball getting the better of the defender.

Eboue was the provider last season and the Turk Tuncay Sanli last Saturday.

The left and right backs for United, Wes Brown and O’ Shea appear to be vulnerable to pressure especially if it comes from technically gifted opponents.

This is not surprising, as their natural position on the field due to their height and built and the one they have been trained to do since their academy years, is that of a central defender.

And Arsenal have indeed technically gifted wide men that can expose these two makeshift full backs.

Now who Wenger would choose to play wide on Saturday is another matter; but he does have a lot of options: Hleb, Rosicky, Eboue, Walcott to name but a few….

The fact that Manchester United’s wide midfielders,Ronaldo and probably Nani (or Giggs), are much better in their attacking duties rather than their defensive obligations means that Ferguson is limited as to what he can do to provide adequate protection to the full backs.

And if he does so by detailing other midfielders to look out for these situations then other areas of the field will inevitably open up.

Wenger would also have noted that the scorers (Aliadiere and Henry) who are not known for their heading ability managed to get their goal by positioning themselves between the two central defenders, Ferdinand and Vidic.

This is strange, as both the Manchester United players are known for their strength in the air. And in Adebayor, Arsenal have the right man to exploit this if and when the opportunity arises.

He will however need support when Arsenal are on the attack so that the United defenders have more players to worry about and get dragged out of position.

But perhaps what is perceived to be one of Manchester United’s major strengths, that of an attacking mentality and a system of play to match it, may end up being a weakness.

In Tevez and Roonie they have two very good footballers who can not really be instructed to play destructively.

Add to these two Ronaldo and Nani (or Giggs) and you have a very attacking set up but with lots of space being liberated in the middle of the field.

This area is unlikely to be as congested as when “lesser” teams have visited the Emirates (or as congested as it was at Anfield). And this will make for an exciting, open and entertaining game.

Decongested spaces usually suit the more creative and passing team. As indeed was the case last season when Arsenal finished top of the mini league comprising the top four teams in the Premiership.

Which included doing the double over Manchester United.


A disappointing performance at Anfield still has everyone drooling. Plus players ratings

Arsenal’s movement, Liverpool’s long balls and Adebayor’s hunger

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A disappointing performance at Anfield still has everyone drooling. Plus players ratings


By 1970’s Gooner

It was a disappointing game from Arsenal’s point of view and a disappointing result. Don’t get me wrong. To get an away point at Anfield and to have so much of the play must be considered a good performance and a great result.

And this performance would have convinced those doubting Thomases that this team can grind out results at “hostile” places such as Anfield.

Yet it was a disappointing game because Arsenal were not at their fluent best. They allowed Liverpool’s quick tempo and in your face tactics to crowd them out on many occasions.

Passes were uncharacteristically given away and the below par performance from three of the Arsenal players, Adebayor, Eboue and Rosicky meant that Arsenal’s movement off the ball and persistence could only in the end result in a draw.

It was also a disappointing game because defensive disorganization returned again giving away a goal from a badly managed wall in front of Gerrard’s free kick.

Yet it could have been an away win if on two separate occasions Fabregas and Bendtner had kept their heads in front of a gaping goal with Reina nowhere.


Almunia

Could not be faulted for the goal. There is nothing that a goalkeeper can do when the wall disintegrates in front of him like that. Especially when the ball is hit with such pace. Also made two good saves; one from Gerrard from outside the box and another from Voronin from inside the box. Lehman is a goner. 8

Sagna

Had an average game. Did not do anything wrong but on the other hand he was not that offensively minded. Wenger should have substituted Sagna instead of Clichy (unless he was injured) who was after all more adventurous going forward. 5

Toure

Played well albeit against an ineffective and lone man attack lined up by Benitez. Did well in the air against Crouch when he came on. Ventured forward by the closing stages of the game and added to the threat posed by the rest of the attacking players. 7

Gallas

Made one very important sliding tackle to save an almost certain goal from Gerrard when he burst into the penalty area with Almunia already committed and exposed. However Gallas did not look that comfortable on the ball with a few of his passes going astray. Maybe he needs more games still. 6

Clichy

Like Sagna had an average game. Good at the back defensively but not as effective as per usual when going forward. 6

Fabregas

Man of the match; but not at his top best. He was closely marked and with a very congested midfield found it hard to dictate the game as much as we have been used to so far this season.

He was at fault for conceding the free kick to Alonso on the edge of the area which led to the goal.


He was however the central focus for nearly all the Arsenal moves and he did score the equaliser with an audacious pass into the net which surprised and thus wrong footed Reina. 8 (he usually gets a 9 from me)

Flamini

The usual high powered and full of running performance which is typical of him. Kept his position well and provided once again the cover for Fabregas to play his game. 7

Rosicky

Was not much into the game and found it difficult to make the penetrative runs and passes he is usually known for. Liverpool’s congestion of the midfield helping to put him off his game. Correctly substituted. 4

Hleb

Shone throughout the game. His close control and deft touch was just what the doctor ordered for such a tight and congested middle of the pitch.


His close control between three Liverpool players and his vision to spot Fabregas’ s run for the goal was sublime. 8

Eboue

Had a disappointing game although his performance was better than midweek against Slavia. He was too casual and frivolous in his play loosing possession too often and unnecessarily. He should be dropped for the next game. 3

Adebayor

Was not at the races. Looked out of touch without making his presence felt either in the air or on the ground. His runs were not timed well and often caught offside. Did not contribute at all in the come back. Needs to improve if he is to keep his place in the team. 3

Manchester United will provide the opportunity to put things right.


Arsenal’s movement, Liverpool’s long balls and Adebayor’s hunger

Arsenal’s movement, Liverpool’s long balls and Adebayor’s hunger

By 1970’s Gooner

There are a lot of press columns (and blog postings) written about this intriguing encounter at Anfield where the League’s two remaining unbeaten teams lock horns.

There are also a lot of comparisons being drawn between the two sets of players and the respective styles of football.

There is one attribute however that Arsenal have got in abundance which Liverpool seem to lack. And that is movement off the ball.

There has been wonderment and bewilderment as to how and why Cesc Fabregas can get so much time on the ball and dictate the flow of the game so masterly.

This has been the norm in nearly all the Arsenal games so far; even if the opposing manager had detailed one of his more forceful (hatchet) men to man mark the boy wonder.




And the reason for this of course, beyond the boy’s obvious technique and skills, is that there is so much movement around him from the rest of the Arsenal players.

So much that when he looks up to see where he will next pass the ball he has so many options it almost becomes impossible to stop him.

It is this continuous movement around the pitch that Arsenal do so well, drawing players out of position, exploiting the gaps thus created and eventually tiring the opponents so much that a goal is almost always scored in the last 15 minutes of games.

And above all this is what is very likely to tip the balance in deciding the winner at Anfield today.

To do that of course Arsenal have to be able to defend well especially the inevitable long balls that are likely to be employed by Benitez; especially if Crouch is selected. This is what served Liverpool well the last time they met Arsenal at home winning 4-1.

Arsenal were no that bothered with this tactic during their game against Bolton last time out even if Kevin Davies got at the end of most thumps up the field!

Granted, Anelka was not there to pick up the pieces but the Arsenal defence with Gallas back is now much better at dealing with these kind of tactics. Wenger might however select Diaby in the starting 11 so as to add some height in the team especially at set pieces.

It’s as well to defend well but who can score the goals at the other end? The encouraging aspect for Arsenal this season is of course that the sources for goals have come from the midfielders as well as the forwards.

One forward not in the goals recently is Adebayor.



He has failed to score in the last five games he played. In fact he has not scored since his hat trick against Derby.

There is nothing that spurs a player’s hunger on than competition for places. And with all the praise going to Walcott recently he will want to make a mark today.

He can after all ran the 100 meters faster than him: 11.41 seconds against Theo’s 11.48 !


Arsenal can storm to victory by exploiting Liverpool’s weaknesses

Wenger's dilemma:Who should partner Adebayor against Liverpool?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Arsenal can storm to victory by exploiting Liverpool’s weaknesses

By Eros, Arsenal Analysis resident season ticket holder at the Emirates (North Upper Stand Row Q)

There is this culture brewing in the British media that Arsenal players go down very easily and that Cesc has a nasty streak that he needs to curb.

A specific sky sports commentator even accused Hleb of making a meal of a challenge from behind, since the foul committed “has not put him out of commission for a couple of months” God help us!

However, all football experts seem to blatantly ignore Steve “diving master” Gerard, going to ground at Goodison Park as soon as he saw the white line, well before any tackle was made. He then had the audacity to ask for a red card!

Why am I having a rant about inept refereeing?

I am only mentioning the above as I feel that a similar scenario could occur on Sunday.

Liverpool are likely to add a physical element to their game, fly into every challenge and try and take Arsenal out of their tempo.

Benitez is a good tactician and he knows Arsenal is less effective when Cesc is not controlling the tempo of the game.

The easiest way to get to Cesk is to make him get involved, as Lampard does very well every single time, as well as some Bolton and Blackburn players.

They try and cloud his judgement, make him loose concentration and make rushed decisions.

Other than that I expect Liverpool to stick to the plan they implemented last season with great success humiliating Arsenal 4-1 at Anfield.

Expect a number of long diagonal balls from midfield aimed at the Arsenal fullbacks to Crouch and Kuyt with Torres trying to get at the end of them.

An additional threat Arsenal need to be worried about is Torres’s speed and trickery. Something Liverpool did not have last year and we have not yet faced this season.

Torres likes to drift on the left and make runs in the ‘Henry channel’ with Mascherano and Gerrard feeding balls in to him. Give him space and he can be deadly.

I think with Van Persie out Wenger will be tempted by a 4-5-1 formation with Hleb and Rosicky on the wings and possibly Gilberto, Flamini and Cesc completing the midfield. The only alternative I consider viable is Diaby instead of Gilberto.

Gilberto is fresh as he only played international football over the last few weeks. I also think his experience will be invaluable over the next few games.

He is going to slot into midfield and protect the back four.

His job will be to deny Gerard space to operate and cover the Arsenal full backs when they bomb forward.

He is also going to pick Torres up whenever he falls back in midfield.

Flamini’s task will be to press the ball when coming out of the defence and deny Mascherano the space and time to dictate the tempo of the game.

Offensively Arsenal will try and exploit Liverpool’s weaknesses.

One way is to use Adebayor to pull Carragher out of position. Once they manage that Fabregas, Hleb and Rosicky will have a significant advantage over Hyppia who is the weak link in the Liverpool defence.

They should have significant success with runs from the midfield. Last year Rosicky and Hleb created chaos in the Liverpool backline by cutting inside and using the full backs for width. And if Walcott starts then Hyppia’s problems will be even more exacerbated!

Wenger will look to isolate Finnan, especially if Pennant starts the game – he is not the best defender although improved at tracking back - and have Clichy and Rosicky 2 against 1 on the left hand side.

In this way Carragher will be forced out of position again with space created for the midfielders to run into.

Liverpool are the home side and they will try and force the issue early on and this will suit Arsenal to the ground.

Quick counter attacking football will therefore give Arsenal a great chance to take the lead, make life a lot easier for themselves and silence the crowd.

Liverpool’s best chance is from set pieces not because they cannot score any other way but because Arsenal are sloppy defending them.

We need to be very careful and make sure we limit the times they can deliver the ball from free kicks to an absolute minimum.

This is the first big test for this young team; Arsenal can win only if they stick to what they do best. And that is to play the beautiful game.

Prediction: Arsenal stake a claim to the title with emphatic display.
Away win 0-2



Wenger's dilemma:Who should partner Adebayor against Liverpool?

Wenger’s selection dilemmas coming up for the Liverpool and Manchester United games

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wenger's dilemma:Who should partner Adebayor against Liverpool?

By 1970’s Gooner

Does a football coach select his starting eleven according to who’s on form?

Or according to the system that is the most appropriate for the particular game coming up?

It’s usually a combination of both of course.

And if Robin Van Persie was available tonight we would not have been pondering the question posed in the title or trying to decide the formation.

It would have been 4 4 2 and the team would have almost picked itself. But now we have the new kid on the block.

Theo was spectacular against Slavia Prague and has given Wenger a real selection dilemma. Probably one he invited on himself!

Does he stick with Theo thus continuing with the 4 4 2 formation that he anyway favours or does he decide that 4 3 3 or even 4 4 1 1 would be more appropriate in which case Walcott may not be preferred?

Keeping Walcott on the bench has its merits and would be my choice.

The 4 3 3 system is very flexible as it can of course be deployed as an attacking formation using three forwards.

But at the same time you have three midfielders (Fabregas, Flamini and Gilberto/Diaby) who can, between them, protect the defence when the forwards lose the ball.

It can also be transformed during the game into a more defensive 4 5 1 formation especially if you want to keep the score or contain the game; by the two wingers tacking in to the middle of the pitch.

Additionally by keeping Walcott on the bench Wenger will have the option of utilising the high tempo impact that Theo can provide as a substitute if the team need a goal; just like it proved against Sunderland and Bolton.

If Theo is already on the pitch who can Wenger bring on that can change the game as dramatically as we have witnessed recently?

On the other hand starting with Walcott has its merits.

For a start he is on a high and there is nothing more that adds to the potency of a forward than scoring in the previous game.


But as important is his blistering pace. It could prove to be a very big and telling advantage considering that the Liverpool central defenders, Carragher and especially Hyppia, are not particularly blessed with this attribute.

Placing those balls behind Liverpool’s defence for Walcott to run on would be Fabregas’ brief and one, I am sure, he will excel at fulfilling.

And with the team on such a high after trouncing Slavia 7-0 it may prove too difficult for Wenger to make too many changes.

One he is more likely to make is Rosicky, who likes scoring at Anfield, for Eboue.

Will the other one involve Walcott?

That’s Wenger’s dilemma.

Ed: What do you think? Leave your comment below and cast your vote on the poll we have set up: “Who should partner Adebayor against Liverpool?”

Wenger enters the world of advertising but with a touch of class

We are all Goonerish now!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

We are all Goonerish now!

By Wrighty7

A few days ago when England lost to Russia I was fed up of the national team raising our hopes only to be let down time and time again.

I decided that I will no longer be English and set up a new Nationality ...."Goonerish"!

And judging by the 7-0 thumping we gave Slavia Prague, there will be a lot more fans from all over the world adopting this new football nationality.

The poll we ran on this site on this very subject proved very popular. So popular that the high number of votes cast has prompted us to stop the poll prematurely and let you know of the results.

Fellow Gooners, it looks like a landslide for the Goonerish nation with 94% of you preferring the Goonerish nationality. We can’t argue with that!


Obviously there were votes from all nationalities, but when it comes down to it, we're all Goonerish really!

Are you English or Goonerish? Poll Results:

English 6%
Goonerish 94%

Total votes cast: 797

It was a good bit of fun and I thank everyone for their votes and comments.

Here are some of them:

Joe said...
Got to be Goonerish, international football is just a waste of space and despite being English I couldn't care less if England win or lose. If Arsenal lose, however, it's game over for the week.


Abby said...
Well, I put down Goonerish, but admittedly I'm American.


Sue said...
Goonerish all the way!


From Denmark
I’m Danish, but I would say the same about our national team. A weekend like the last one without prem footy just is no real weekend!

gooner geezer said...
GOONERISH all the way. i'm Zimbabwean by birth and my country won the Africa Cup of Nations final… !


By Anonymous
Arsenal every single time, every single match, every single player.


Ed: Thanks for your support, comments and votes!

We are all Goonerish now!

By Wrighty7

A few days ago when England lost to Russia I was fed up of the national team raising our hopes only to be let down time and time again.

I decided that I will no longer be English and set up a new Nationality ...."Goonerish"!

And judging by the 7-0 thumping we gave Slavia Prague, there will be a lot more fans from all over the world adopting this new football nationality.

The poll we ran on this site on this very subject proved very popular. So popular that the high number of votes cast has prompted us to stop the poll prematurely and let you know of the results.

Fellow Gooners, it looks like a landslide for the Goonerish nation with 94% of you preferring the Goonerish nationality. We can’t argue with that!


Obviously there were votes from all nationalities, but when it comes down to it, we're all Goonerish really!

Are you English or Goonerish? Poll Results:

English 6%
Goonerish 94%

Total votes cast: 797

It was a good bit of fun and I thank everyone for their votes and comments.

Here are some of them:

Joe said...
Got to be Goonerish, international football is just a waste of space and despite being English I couldn't care less if England win or lose. If Arsenal lose, however, it's game over for the week.


Abby said...
Well, I put down Goonerish, but admittedly I'm American.


Sue said...
Goonerish all the way!


From Denmark
I’m Danish, but I would say the same about our national team. A weekend like the last one without prem footy just is no real weekend!

gooner geezer said...
GOONERISH all the way. i'm Zimbabwean by birth and my country won the Africa Cup of Nations final… !


By Anonymous
Arsenal every single time, every single match, every single player.


Ed: Thanks for your support, comments and votes!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Gilberto and 4 3 3 for Slavia Prague

By 1970’s Gooner

Arsene Wenger has hinted that Walcott may get a start tonight against Slavia Prague. Although there is no doubt that Theo has been playing well recently I doubt whether Wenger will go for this selection.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Eduardo should be “dropped”. His performance last Saturday was disappointing to say the least.

He has not yet adapted to the pace, tight marking from behind and in your face type of English football. He could not hold the ball up front with the result that he couldn't connect with Adebayor nor bring other players into the game.

Eboue should also be dropped. He was neither decisive nor penetrative enough. Rosicky who is now fit should take his place. So far so good.

But does Wenger go for 4 4 2 again and play Adebayor and Walcott up front?

Interesting; and a combination we would all like to see at some stage. This is likely to come sooner than later.

Walcott himself revealed in one of his very recent interviews on Arsenal TV On Line that his training regime involves him playing up front through the middle.

The other option is to play a 4 4 1 1 formation with Hleb behind Adebayor. Eboue or Walcott could be the other wide midfielder.

But in my opinion Wenger should select, for obvious reasons, the formation and the players he wants to go with in the next two crucial Premier League games coming up: Liverpool away and Manchester United home.

And you wouldn’t choose to start with Walcott for these games would you? I would also not start with the underperforming Eboue for these two games either.

Which leaves as the only viable selection option for the Champions League game the 4 3 3 formation and the recall of Gilberto in the line up.

Adebayor could then be flanked by Hleb and Rosicky. Fabregas and Flamini pushing forward in support as and when the occasion demands.

This formation would be ideal for the games coming up as we need to be compact in the middle of the field and additionally have the option of bringing impact players, Walcott and Eboue, off the bench if needed.

Prediction: Arsenal Vs Slavia Prague 3-0

West Ham Don’t Need a Director of Football but a New Manager

By The Coach (who is really a crypto West Ham fan!)

I have never been an admirer of Sven Ericsson. But I have to admit he learned his lesson well after managing England for so many years.

It is almost impossible to make a winning team that is based primarily on home grown footballers.

You need to add the flair and skill that is very rare in England.

Not because English boys are not capable of becoming Ronaldihnos or Messis but rather because of the way they are brought up.

They learn the hard physical game and they play square and direct football.

But they are criticised when they try to explore and develop their potential. It's the old "we are British and we do things our own way" thing.

So, Sven came in at Man City 2-3 weeks before the start of the season and managed to secure the services of great international players.

Such as Elano, Bianchi and many others which he added to the good local core of players such as a Micah Richards.

The thing is that Sven managed to do in two weeks what Curbishley failed to do in six months.


Alan couldn't keep or motivate some of our best players like Tevez, Benayoun, Reo-Cocker and yes, even Harewood, who has potential to develop into a much better striker than the ones he kept e.g. Carlton Cole.

In my book, this is a manager's failure of gigantic proportions. So, we don't really need a Director of Football to help Curbishley. We need a new Manager. And I hate to admit it; yes, perhaps one more like Sven.

As an after thought….

West Ham's match against Sunderland at Upton Park on Sunday supported what I always suspected; that Solano is in fact the best buy for Curbishley this year (ironically he came in on a free transfer).

He brings vision and fluidity in the middle of the field and he understands how to play football in a dynamic way. He is real class and the player West Ham badly need in the middle of the field.

As a West Ham sympathiser, I hope Curbs will realise this sooner than he realised that Tevez was the key man last year.


England will probably never be a world football power again

Wenger enters the world of advertising but with a touch of class

Monday, October 22, 2007

Wenger enters the world of advertising but with a touch of class

By 1970’s Gooner

It was only a matter of time I suppose. Arsene Wenger is a world renowned figure, a perfectionist who excels at his chosen profession producing an output that is considered top top quality.

In the business world these are the attributes that chief Executive Officers are made of.

But if you want to advertise and promote your company then associating your company’s products with Mr Wenger is the next best thing.

Castrol of the lubricant’s brand fame is one of the major sponsors of UEFA's Euro 2008 championships.

They plan to use Wenger as their headline ambassador across a range of marketing activities including customer relations, TV, other media, PR, advertising and promotion.

However true to his class Arsene will be combining this activity along with assuming another major role.

That of developing a data base of a new performance index based on player speed, efficiency and performance in matches played in the euro 2008 championships.

Other notable Castrol ambassadors for this exercise will be Emilio Butragueno, Ottmar Hitzfeld and famous ex referee Pierluigi Colina.

I had a look at the format of this data base and it looks quite interesting. It is the type of player performance data that every manager would like to have at his fingertips. If you are interested check out the Castrol site.

Wenger of course is well known for relying heavily on such information not only in deciding when its time to let a player go to pastures green but also whether to go for a player in the transfer market:

“I’m addicted to these kind of statistics. You can assess strengths and weaknesses – how many passes a player makes, how many sprints, how many interceptions, assists etc.

I’m conscious that if I am wrong when bringing in a player, no matter how good my work is afterwards, I will stay wrong”

Well he has not been that wrong in his eleven years at Arsenal F.C has he?



Out of the walkway and onto the motorway. Can Eduardo propel Arsenal to the title starting today against Bolton?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Wenger’s selection dilemmas coming up for the Liverpool and Manchester United games

By 1970’s Gooner

It is slightly unfortunate that Arsenal are now entering the most important series of games in their calendar without their main striker in Robin Van Persie.

It is a period where this young team will have to show its credentials against the big boys of Liverpool and Manchester United. The latter following an away game in the Champions League to Slavia Prague.

It’s not your first team players that win you trophies but your squad. But just who can adequately replace Van Persie for these games has now assumed major importance following Eduardo’s very disappointing display against Bolton.

He has not yet adapted to the pace, tight marking from behind and in your face type of English football.

He could not hold the ball up front with the result that he couldn't connect with Adebayor nor bring other players into the game. He reminds me of similar performances put in by Adebayor in his first season in this League.

Eduardo was similarly ineffective on the last occasion he was given a start which was against Blackburn away.

All this poses serious selection dilemmas for Wenger who has other options of course.

His first is to play Hleb just behind Adebayor in 4 5 1 formation with Rosicky and Eboue/Walcott as the wide midfield men.

He reverted to this when he made the inspired match winning changes against Bolton. It was also the formation that served him well at the beginning of the season. It served Hleb as well.

The second option is to bring Bendtner on to partner Adebayor in a 4 4 2 formation.

I watched Bendtner perform very well for Denmark in the Euro qualifiers and his direct physical style is at the moment more effective than Eduardo’s ball to feet approach.

The more unexpected but interesting option is to reinstall Gilberto into a three man midfield, in a 4 3 3 formation along Fabregas and Flamini.

Adebayor could then be flanked by Hleb and Rosicky. Fabregas and Flamini pushing forward in support as and when the occasion demands.

Judging by Wenger’s actions in team selection so far he is likely to give Eduardo every chance to prove himself.

He will probably select him for the Champions League game in Prague and give him the chance to show what he can do and hope he can get a goal which will prop up his confidence level.

But these types of games cannot be compared to the pressure of facing the Liverpools and Man Utds of this world.

Arsene Wenger has some serious thinking to do.



Out of the walkway and onto the motorway. Can Eduardo propel Arsenal to the title starting today against Bolton?

Are you English or Goonerish?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Out of the walkway and onto the motorway. Can Eduardo propel Arsenal to the title starting today against Bolton?

By 1970’s Gooner

It has been said many times before. It’s not your first team players that win you trophies but your squad. And today, against Bolton Wanderers, Arsenal has to begin relying even more on the quality of the squad players.

This process had really started since the beginning of the season with the injury to Gallas giving Senderos the chance to show what he can do. He could have been better of course but he did get us through this period of need.

Now he is injured, Gallas is thankfully back at the right time having played a full 90 minutes for France last Wednesday.

The trickiest injury however that Wenger will have to cope with is Van Persie’s. He is out for up to six weeks and unfortunately this period is likely to prove crucial in deciding whether these young Gunners will challenge forcefully for the title.

The games Robin is likely to miss cover very difficult fixtures against major contenders for the title. After Bolton at home the boys travel to Anfield and then a home game against Manchester United. He is also likely to miss games against Reading and Wigan.

So in step Eduardo Da Silva. He has been doing it for his adopted country Croatia consistently, scoring goals for fan as you can see on the video window.



But he has needed time to adjust to the Premiership. This is Eduardo’s chance to do so. He is likely to get a good run of games now and this will give him the exposure that all football players need. Especially if he gets a goal against Bolton.

As Wenger has said. “When you come from the Croatian championship to the English Premier League, it's like you go on the motorway from a walkway."

Let’s hope that against Bolton the latter rules the day as this game is more important than just getting the three points. It’s a game that is going to shape Arsenal’s chances of winning the title.

No easy peasy

There are a lot of fans that consider today’s game as easy peasy since Bolton are manager less and a shadow of themselves since Big Sam departed for (theoretically) greener pastures.

I have my doubts. I watched Bolton’s defeat to Chelsea and they were unlucky to lose playing very well especially with Ken Davies returning up front for them. He is likely to feature today and he gives them that aerial threat that is so important to their game.

If they pitch Davies against Clichy or Sagna and pump long balls to him then I can see them troubling the Arsenal defence especially if Anelka is there to pick up the pieces.

So don’t expect an easy ride today especially with Eduardo in the starting line up who will need time to get used to his colleagues on the football pitch rather than the training ground.

Team selection

The only difficult decision for Wenger is whether to start with Rosicky or replace him with either Eboue or Walcott. Rosicky sat out the Czech Republic’s last game due to muscular problems.

I would go for Eboue due to his more experience of the physical games and the fact that Walcott is, for now, more effective coming off the bench.

Almunia
Sagna (with locks on) Toure Gallas Clichy
Hleb Fabregas Flamini Eboue
Adebayor Eduardo

Prediction: Home win 2-0

Are you English or Goonerish?

Hi Fellow Gooners! Wrighty7 here

Are you like me and fed up of England raising your hopes only to be let down time and time again?



Well from now on, I'm no longer English and I would like to set up a new Nationality ...."Goonerish"!

As you know, Arsenal have exciting times ahead. The future of the club is bright and we should celebrate this new era by throwing the shackles of being English away and create a new nation called "Goonerish".




So cast your vote as to whether you are "Goonerish" or "English"

You might feel both of course but which do you feel stronger?

Ed: Tell us what you think on the issue by leaving your comments. We will publish the more intresting (and publishable ones) in a future article on this site.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Sagna: get your hair on for the Bolton game please!

By 1970’s Gooner

"Samson is something of a Herculean figure, using massive strength to combat his enemies and to perform heroic feats unachievable by ordinary men.

Like wrestling a lion, slaying an entire army with nothing more than a donkey's jawbone and tearing down an entire building".

This extract from Wikipedia was pointed out to me in one of my recent posts dealing with Sagna’s sudden absence of his long hair locks during the Sunderland game.

Since he first arrived at Arsenal, Bakary Sagna has carried with him his trademark colourful hair locks. His performances have also been excellent from the off. Probably not as heroic as Samson’s but pretty damn good.

His introduction into the team seemed to have been made almost effortlessly and he looked right from the beginning as a typical Wenger player.

Here he is newly arrived at the Emirates proudly holding his new Arsenal shirt.



It was to be expected however that sooner or later he will have an average game. And this was proved right when the young defender did not have one of his better games for Arsenal against Sunderland.

But another theory that might gain ground is the absence of his famous hair locks. They have been present in all his previous starts for Arsenal bar the Sunderland game.

This picture shows him out of position in the middle of Arsenal’s defence at the time of conceding the equaliser when he should have been marking Miller who put in the cross.



And here he is without his long hair avoiding a tackle in the same game. I am sure you will agree the absence of his Goldie locks does not become him!

When we touched upon the issue on a previous article on this site the comments were nearly all for Bakary to reinstall his hair.

On D Gooner said...

Please please Sagna get those locks back on. The hair style does become you and oppositions fear you more for the start you've made in that hair.

don said...

Sagna's hair should be restored. It brings good luck and we may need it if we are to go unbeaten this season!

As another commenter to the site, Boris Godunov, pondered “Could a comparison to Samson be made to Sagna? Was his power compromised by some mysterious Delilah?”

He thought not and drew a comparison to Cesc Fabregas and how ridiculous he looked when he first played for Arsenal with that long redneck style haircut.


The truth of the matter is that Sagna’s performance after the Sunderland game improved no end when he played last Wednesday for the France National team.

They thrashed the Faroes 6-0! And he did have his full compliment of hair reinstalled for that game!

Here he is in full flow. Literally.



So Bakary: Get your hair on please!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

England will probably never be a world football power again

By The Coach and 1970’s Gooner

Why is it that England has not excelled in the international arena since the 1966 World Cup which was held on home soil?

After this famous victory, the fortunes of England have followed mostly a downward direction.

For the next forty years the maximum the national team has achieved is to reach the semi finals of a major competition only three times:

the 1968 European Nations Cup (as it was called then), the World Cup in 1990 and six years after that, in 1996, in the European Championships, which were held in England.

Since then and in between the England national team has failed to progress beyond the quarter finals of any international tournament.

Why is this so?

The simple answer is of course that there have not been enough world class football players in England.

In our opinion the reason for this lies on the emphasis placed by society on several character related attributes, which in the end help to stifle any skills that a young player may possess.

These attributes, admirable as they are, concentrate more on the traditional English values of commitment, work ethos, effort and physical and mental strength.

All very important and very necessary elements in what makes a world class player.

But alas not sufficient.

By overemphasizing their importance, the most significant attribute that a footballer needs to succeed is ignored, or rather obstructed in its development: football skills.

All these character related attributes inevitably manifest themselves in all aspects of the English game.

In the way the players themselves play the game.

In the way English coaches encourage their players to conduct themselves on the pitch and in their choice of strategies and tactics for the games.

And in the way the referees interpret the laws.

This is the conclusion of a four part series where we looked at each of the above in turn.

Part I was titled “Footballers lack flair and those that have it sacrifice it to conform”

The opinion expressed in this article was that the very large number of foreign players in the Premier League is a result of the obvious lack of technically gifted and skillful English players NOT the cause of it.

A football manager is only concerned in signing the best players for his football club. And it’s obvious that their vote goes abroad.

And when occasionally gifted English players surface they are stifled by the proliferation of mediocrity around them and the imposed need to curtail their natural flair so that they conform to the conservative tactics of the coaches.

Part II was titled: English coaches encourage the physical approach and adopt defensive tactics

The main point of this article is that there are still defensive tactics applied by the coaches, with conservatism ruling the formations chosen and a physical approach encouraged.

There are a lot of managers that instruct their defenders not to dilly dally at the back but “launch it high”

This mentality is unfortunately adopted at an early age.

Unfortunately this is the norm prevalent throughout boys’ football in England.

But it is at the tender age of 4 to 10 that football skills are imparted.

Part III was titled:Referees help destroy the game

Referees still apply the rules in a manner that encourages the use of physical play. This physical play usually takes the form of hard, vicious and dangerously sliding tackles.

Yet referees are loath to punish them as they are all considered part of the game!

But as explained in our introduction this is the mentality that pervades throughout the football world in this country.

It is embedded in the psyche of the nation. You would not expect the referees to be any different.

They are however the most important of them all because their interpretation and enforcement of the rules sends THE most important signals to the participants whereby everyone adjusts their behaviour accordingly.

Conclusion

Taking all the above into account it is no wonder therefore that the national team suffers when it comes against the top quality international teams.

Usually at the Quarter Final level (if the qualifying rounds are managed successfully) .

And of course the same applies to the top English players. There is no doubt that they are good. But they are made to look even better when they are playing for their club teams who mostly consist of foreign players.

They are in fact shielded by the high quality level of football that their club team is playing.

But when they have to co- exist with the rest of the England squad and line up against their club colleagues and other more skillful players in an international game they have no such “shield”

The truth is that England are really an average team who is made to look a little bit better when a few world class players emerge now and then.

The national team usually gets by through by the application of the classic traditional attributes we touched upon in our introduction to this series of articles.

Those of grit and determination which however can only go that far when facing high quality opposition.

It has been said many times. Teach them the skills at the grass roots level when they are young and impressionable.

Encourage the youth team coaches in the Academies and in the school playing fields to radically alter their coaching programs allotting the major part of training to creating and enhancing skills.

The physical approach to the game is already there; all they have to do is marry it to the creative and skillful elements of the game. And then you will have created the perfect footballer.

Highly skilled but strong and physical.

When this is achieved, England will relive the glory days of 1966.


“Footballers lack flair and those that have it sacrifice it to conform”

English coaches encourage the physical approach and adopt defensive tactics

Referees help destroy the game

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

First was Hleb, then Fabregas followed by Adebayor now its Van Persie…..

By 1970’s Gooner

After the “pass the ball round” that the kids of Arsenal used to play virtually all of last season now we have a new game being played on the lush green of the Emirates: “anything you can do I can do better”

Everyone predicted that, in the absence of Henry who was for a number of years the most significant source of goals, this young team would find it pretty hard to find alternative ways and personnel to score.

How wrong could they be? It’s now becoming a race between the players as to who will take up the mantle of supplying that rarest commodity in football.

During the preseason and the first few games in the League it was Hleb who started getting on the score sheet.

His new position of playing just behind the front striker gave him the platform to gain the necessary confidence in front of goal. Something he struggled with all last season. He was top scorer at one point.

When he was moved back to his “natural” position up stepped Fabregas who suddenly found his scoring boots.

The lad couldn’t stop scoring mostly with thunderbolts from outside the area.

He now has four in the league and three in the Champions League.

Not to be outdone Adebayor and Van Persie got in on the act with the first netting three before his hat trick against Derby.

Then Van Persie started finding the net again after an initial burst. He has now scored four in his last three games.

This shows that this team has the winners within its midst who can score the goals from different parts of the football pitch.

If it’s not the front two then the midfielders will step in and who knows, we will soon see some of the defenders getting in on the act too.

Kolo Toure is due one and Senderos may feel confident enough to keep adding to his tally!

If this team manages to defeat the last remaining remnant of last season’s long list of weaknesses, concentration, then the sky is the limit.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Gallas is fit again


By 1970’s Gooner

There are good news for Arsenal coming out of the France camp prior to their next Wednesday’s crucial game against Lithuania at Beaujoire.

Domenech is set to make some changes from the team that started in their 6-0 thrashing of the Faroe Islands last Saturday and there are mixed fortunes for the Arsenal players.

Sagna is expected to be rested with Diarra taking his place; but the good news for Arsenal is that Gallas is considered fit enough to claim a place in the team at the expense of Manchester United’s Patrice Evra on the left side of the defence.

He has been out of action since August 19th when Arsenal played a 1-1 draw against Blackburn at Ewood Park.

His recovery period at that time was put at six to eight weeks with a return expected by the beginning of October.

Gallas has been participating in the training sessions and the “in house” games being played at Clairefontaine since a week ago and has been raring to go.

Domenech knows that experience will be vital in France’s next two games which they have to win to have any chance of qualifying for the finals in Austria and Switzerland.

Let’s hope that Gallas and the other Arsenal players come out of next Wednesday’s game unscathed.

According to L’Equipe Florent Malouda is expected to be reinstated in the starting 11 after he was rested due to a knee problem. He will take Rothen’s place.



Eduardo can do for Arsenal what Van Nistelroy did for Manchester United. Goal against Israel on video

Arsenal interested in promising young Greek defender

Who Would Wenger Take From Manchester United’s Team? The Final Word

Sagna “We are young and gifted” But keep your hair on please!

First was Hleb, then Fabregas followed by Adebayor now its Van Persie…..

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Eduardo can do for Arsenal what Van Nistelroy did for Manchester United. Goal against Israel on video

By 1970’s Gooner

He never stops this guy. He is a goal machine. He has now scored nine goals for Croatia in this qualifying campaign.

Croatia are now top of their group with 26 points from 10 matches and they will qualify on Wednesday if second-placed England win or draw at third-placed Russia.

His goal is typical of a fox in the box type of player.

Just like Van Nistelroy, I do not think he scores any goals from outside the box.

Van Nisterloy scored only one goal for Manchester United from outside the area and that was against West Ham United.

Certainly all of Eduardo’s goals for Croatia and for Arsenal so far have been from inside the box.

This latest goal is similar to the one he scored for Arsenal against Sparta Prague at the Emirates where he met Denilson’s low cross with his outstretched foot from inside the box.

What is impressive is the way he peels off his defender into space in anticipation of the cross that is to come.

This is the movement of an intelligent player and I can see why Wenger paid £8m to buy him from Dinamo Zagreb over the summer.

You can watch it at the top of the screen by clicking on the video window.

Dror Kashtan, the Israel coach, praised Eduardo as a "great forward" "We made one mistake and that was enough for Eduardo"

If Eduardo can get a run in the Arsenal side and create understanding with the main shakers and movers in this exciting young team (Fabregas, Hleb and Rosicky to name but a few) then he will add the kind of goals that have been missing in the past.

And such variety in goal scoring capabilities will stand Arsenal in good stead in their pursuit of the title.


Arsenal interested in promising young Greek defender

Who Would Wenger Take From Manchester United’s Team? The Final Word

Sagna “We are young and gifted” But keep your hair on please!

First was Hleb, then Fabregas followed by Adebayor now its Van Persie…..

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Fabregas is going nowhere but to an improved contract

By 1970’s Gooner

Fabregas’ agent is reported to have said that "If we received an offer from Barcelona, clearly we would listen to it. It is the club which taught Cesc everything and it would be a compliment if that happened."

Agents are no fools and they know that what they say will be picked up, span round by the press and sensationalized.

Do not believe the rubbish that the newspapers or Fabregas’ agent are spouting out about welcoming a possible interest from Barcelona. There must be other reasons that Cesc’s agent has chosen to speak out.

This is because it is obvious that there are no real reasons that would make Cesc want away from the Emirates.

Usually a player answers the sirens (or on many occasions his agent creates them for him) from aspiring new employers when he is unhappy about any of the following:

- he is not getting a game or enough games; the reason Edu left Arsenal and the reason why Lehman will go

- he wants more cash (and related recognition that comes with it); the Cashley Cole syndrome

- his family (usually wife/partner) or himself is unhappy and wants a move to another town or country

- the Thiery Henry/Patrick Vieira syndrome; he is the star of the team and considers that with the present personnel the team will not win anything

Now which of the above would fit Fabregas’ case if any?

He is the star in a team that is sitting on top of the League, unbeaten and playing what everyone in the world admits beautiful football.

These are the most exciting times to be an Arsenal player.

He signed an eight-year contract extension last season after all.

And insisted only last month he had no regrets about shunning a potential move to the Bernabeu to remain with the Gunners.

What is sure is that the latest news are being instigated by his agent and not himself.

Which leaves us with only one explanation. More money.


Bakary Sagna set to start for France but not Gallas

Arsenal interested in promising young Greek defender

Who Would Wenger Take From Manchester United’s Team? The Final Word

Sagna “We are young and gifted” But keep your hair on please!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Bakary Sagna set to start for France but not Gallas

By 1970’s Gooner

Bakary Sagna looks set to start for France tomorrow against the Faroe Islands in Thorshavn.

This follows some excellent performances for Arsenal after his recent move from Auxerre in the summer.

Another new Arsenal signing Lassana Diarra has been filling in for this position for France.

He had a good game against Scotland but Domenech seems set to replace him having been impressed by Sagna’s eloquent performances for Arsenal.

Only victories will do for France in their remaining games in their group now if they are to maximize their chances for qualification to the finals of Euro 2008.

And Sagna’s attacking capabilities from the right may prove useful in France’s pursuit of goals.

Acording to L’equipe Gallas has been participating in the training sessions and the “in house” games being played at Clairefontaine.

It is not expected however that he is fit enough to be able to start. He has after all not played a competitive game since his injury at Ewood Park on 19th August.

Henry and surprisingly Karim Benzema are expected to be the front two pairing with Anelka on the bench.

Arsenal interested in promising young Greek defender

By 1970’s Gooner

Greek sports newspapers have been reporting, for some time now, increased interest from Arsenal in one of the hottest young Greek players to have emerged in the last decade.

He is 19 year old central defender Socratis Papastathopoulos who plays for AEK Athens.

Socratis impressed during the 2007 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship in Austria with his strong and mature displays which helped the National side reach the finals.

He was captain of the Greek side but missed out on the final against Spain due to a suspension.

He can play in central defence but also as a defensive midfielder. Although only 19 he has European experience under his belt with three Champions League appearances last season already.

He is the one in yellow.

Although there have recently been some reports in the English press linking Arsenal with 20m rated defender Veloso who plays for Sporting Lisbon this latest news fits in more with Wenger’s strategy when it comes to transfers.

Papastathopoulos is relatively unknown, playing in a League that not so many managers follow and above all the transfer price at the moment is put at a mere £3 to £5m.

There is also previous history between Wenger and Greece. Don’t forget that Wenger bought a young Tavlarides from Iraclis Thessalonika a few years back. He is now an established defender in the French League with Saint-√Čtienne.

Interestingly Arsenal and AEK Athens have been cooperating since last year on issues of football management and training methods especially after the visit to London Colney by the Greek team’s Spanish manager and the club’s president.

In addition Arsenal have this year formally established an Arsenal Academy network consisting of 25 selected academies spanning the whole of Greece.

So it is not a surprise that, as reported by the Greek press, an Arsenal scout, Thomas Cost, has already been dispatched to the Greek capital to watch Papastathopoulos from close quarters, even during training!

This should also not surprise. Robin Van Persie has recently revealed that the dossier prepared by the Arsenal scouts prior to his transfer to Arsenal contained information obtained during Feyenoord’s training:

“I couldn’t believe what I read. They had written down every detail. Like how many times I went forward or if I came back to defend or if I shot at goal.

“This didn’t just cover normal games or friendly matches but also what I had done during training sessions.”

Socratis Papastathopoulos: Fact File

Date of Birth: 9.6.1988
Age: 19
Height: 1.83
Weight: 82 Kg
Position: Central Defence
Nationality: Greece
Team: AEK Athens



Who Would Wenger Take From Manchester United’s Team? The Final Word

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Who Would Wenger Take From Manchester United’s Team? The Final Word

The story so far: A Man Utd site,”Absolutely United” published its thoughts on which Arsenal players would make it in the current Man Utd team. Not surprisingly very few Arsenal players were selected.

Not to be outdone "Arsenal Analysis" replied with its own combined 11. Not surprisingly very few Man Utd players made the list.

Back came the two sites with even more analysis and opinion on the matter. In between, a lot of heated opinions were exchanged between the two sets of supporters on comments left on both sites.

Following our latest reply to Absolutely United’s I Spy he regrouped and came out shooting from the hip.

This is we hope a final reply!


By Eros, Arsenal Analysis resident season ticket holder at the Emirates (North Upper Stand Row Q)

I spy,

Glad to see I gave you some food for thought which, as you admitted, required some of your time in getting back to me.

You insist on questioning my mental health which is I suppose your way of showing some kind of respect. So as you would say ‘respect’

Football is a game of opinions and everyone’s opinions are correct to himself, so as I am sure you know by now we will never find enough common ground to come to a final decision.

That’s why after today we should agree to disagree on some of the pending matters.

Wes Brown for the combined 11. Are you serious?

I can not understand how you can keep a straight face arguing that Wes Brown is worthy of a spot in this team.

You admit that he is not a natural wing back. I will also add that his contribution going forward is almost non existent.

He is also not quick enough and in my opinion can be exposed against high quality wingers.

You also say that you like Sagna as a player and you are impressed by how quickly he adapted to the English game but you seem stuck on the fact he has only played a handful of games (something I pointed out originally anyway).

Granted Sagna did not have the best of games against Sunderland but his overall performances until now have been excellent.

It is obvious that Wes Brown should not have a place in the combined Arsenal/Man Utd squad. Sagna and Eboue should be left alone to fight it out for a place in the starting line up.

Transfer flops: Fergie leads the way!

You seem to like mentioning Francis Jeffers and what a big success he was in North London and I Iet you get away with until know, but no more.

Yes Jeffers was an 8m pound flop but I wonder how much Veron, Cleberson, Djemba-Djemba and Taibi all cost.

Surely one argument that you cannot win is the transfer market success Arsene Wenger enjoyed over the years. Your net outlay on transfers this year is close to 50m whereas ours is a positive –yes positive- 8m!

Clichy is more skilful than Evra

As for the position on the opposite side of the pitch you say that Clichy has nothing that Evra has not. I’m afraid you are wrong again! Apart from a superior level of skill and technique, Clichy has time on his side.

He is only 22 and has a long career in front of him. I am not saying that Evra is old – 27? – but if we are to use your argument that right now they are virtually of equal quality then surely Clichy should get the nod because of his unlimited potential.

Ferdinand is not better than Toure

I still do not consider Ferdinand to be better than Toure, for the reasons that I pointed out in my previous post. Basically what you are trying to say is that Ferdinand looks good next to a world class player like Vidic and I agree with you.

You rightly point out that Campbell had the same effect on Rio because he used to do all the dirty work for him.

As for the goal conceded by Arsenal against Sunderland I don’t think that Toure did anything wrong, it was the full backs that in my opinion were found napping for both goals.

As Sagna was walking back to his position Toure was forced to go out the right to cover which left Jones at the back stick against Clichy, not a real contest now is it?

It’s criminal to compare Rio and Toure in terms of concentration and an insult to use the media card on me for any mistake that is picked up from TV pundits. I do have opinions of my own and as I am sure you can read I am not shy about expressing them!

Robin Van Persie’s special quality

I know we agreed to disagree about RVP and Rooney, however I want to point out a quality that makes RVP special. His form is negatively correlated to the form of the rest of the team.

When everyone else is flying Van Persie usually has a quiet game almost as if he is saving energy for more important periods of the season.

If you look at the recent results you will see Van Persie does not usually score when the team wins comfortably, however when the team needs a goal you can bet that more often than not RVP is going to come up with the goods, like he did twice this week.

Van Persie is going to score the important goals, the goals that will lift the whole of the team when they are struggling. I’m not sure Rooney has that killer instinct in him.

Glad to see you dropped the Scholes vs Cesc debate so I will take that as a victory for us Gooners! It was not a real contest anyway.

Finally you point out that some of your squad players were involved in Saturday’s game and from what I read Anderson and Pique especially never put a foot wrong.

All I would say is Wigan at home is not the most testing of games to judge your ability on.

Try and throw them in at the deep like Wenger was forced to 3 years ago when a 16 year old Cesc and a 19 year old Flamini held Lampard, Makelele and Essien to a goalless draw at the Bridge.

Can’t wait until November the 3rd when I am sure we will cross swords again.

Wonder who will have the bragging rights then?



United Versus Arsenal: The Battle Intensifies

An open letter to Manchester United fans

Who Would Wenger Take From Manchester United’s Team?

An Open Letter To Arsenal Fans

Who Would Fergie Take From Arsenal’s First Team?

Who Would Wenger Take From Manchester United’s Team? The Final Word

The story so far: A Man Utd site,”Absolutely United” published its thoughts on which Arsenal players would make it in the current Man Utd team. Not surprisingly very few Arsenal players were selected.

Not to be outdone "Arsenal Analysis" replied with its own combined 11. Not surprisingly very few Man Utd players made the list.

Back came the two sites with even more analysis and opinion on the matter. In between, a lot of heated opinions were exchanged between the two sets of supporters on comments left on both sites.

Following our latest reply to Absolutely United’s I Spy he regrouped and came out shooting from the hip.

This is we hope a final reply!


By Eros, Arsenal Analysis resident season ticket holder at the Emirates (North Upper Stand Row Q)

I spy,

Glad to see I gave you some food for thought which, as you admitted, required some of your time in getting back to me.

You insist on questioning my mental health which is I suppose your way of showing some kind of respect. So as you would say ‘respect’

Football is a game of opinions and everyone’s opinions are correct to himself, so as I am sure you know by now we will never find enough common ground to come to a final decision.

That’s why after today we should agree to disagree on some of the pending matters.

Wes Brown for the combined 11. Are you serious?

I can not understand how you can keep a straight face arguing that Wes Brown is worthy of a spot in this team.

You admit that he is not a natural wing back. I will also add that his contribution going forward is almost non existent.

He is also not quick enough and in my opinion can be exposed against high quality wingers.

You also say that you like Sagna as a player and you are impressed by how quickly he adapted to the English game but you seem stuck on the fact he has only played a handful of games (something I pointed out originally anyway).

Granted Sagna did not have the best of games against Sunderland but his overall performances until now have been excellent.

It is obvious that Wes Brown should not have a place in the combined Arsenal/Man Utd squad. Sagna and Eboue should be left alone to fight it out for a place in the starting line up.

Transfer flops: Fergie leads the way!

You seem to like mentioning Francis Jeffers and what a big success he was in North London and I Iet you get away with until know, but no more.

Yes Jeffers was an 8m pound flop but I wonder how much Veron, Cleberson, Djemba-Djemba and Taibi all cost.

Surely one argument that you cannot win is the transfer market success Arsene Wenger enjoyed over the years. Your net outlay on transfers this year is close to 50m whereas ours is a positive –yes positive- 8m!

Clichy is more skilful than Evra

As for the position on the opposite side of the pitch you say that Clichy has nothing that Evra has not. I’m afraid you are wrong again! Apart from a superior level of skill and technique, Clichy has time on his side.

He is only 22 and has a long career in front of him. I am not saying that Evra is old – 27? – but if we are to use your argument that right now they are virtually of equal quality then surely Clichy should get the nod because of his unlimited potential.

Ferdinand is not better than Toure

I still do not consider Ferdinand to be better than Toure, for the reasons that I pointed out in my previous post. Basically what you are trying to say is that Ferdinand looks good next to a world class player like Vidic and I agree with you.

You rightly point out that Campbell had the same effect on Rio because he used to do all the dirty work for him.

As for the goal conceded by Arsenal against Sunderland I don’t think that Toure did anything wrong, it was the full backs that in my opinion were found napping for both goals.

As Sagna was walking back to his position Toure was forced to go out the right to cover which left Jones at the back stick against Clichy, not a real contest now is it?

It’s criminal to compare Rio and Toure in terms of concentration and an insult to use the media card on me for any mistake that is picked up from TV pundits. I do have opinions of my own and as I am sure you can read I am not shy about expressing them!

Robin Van Persie’s special quality

I know we agreed to disagree about RVP and Rooney, however I want to point out a quality that makes RVP special. His form is negatively correlated to the form of the rest of the team.

When everyone else is flying Van Persie usually has a quiet game almost as if he is saving energy for more important periods of the season.

If you look at the recent results you will see Van Persie does not usually score when the team wins comfortably, however when the team needs a goal you can bet that more often than not RVP is going to come up with the goods, like he did twice this week.

Van Persie is going to score the important goals, the goals that will lift the whole of the team when they are struggling. I’m not sure Rooney has that killer instinct in him.

Glad to see you dropped the Scholes vs Cesc debate so I will take that as a victory for us Gooners! It was not a real contest anyway.

Finally you point out that some of your squad players were involved in Saturday’s game and from what I read Anderson and Pique especially never put a foot wrong.

All I would say is Wigan at home is not the most testing of games to judge your ability on.

Try and throw them in at the deep like Wenger was forced to 3 years ago when a 16 year old Cesc and a 19 year old Flamini held Lampard, Makelele and Essien to a goalless draw at the Bridge.

Can’t wait until November the 3rd when I am sure we will cross swords again.

Wonder who will have the bragging rights then?



United Versus Arsenal: The Battle Intensifies

An open letter to Manchester United fans

Who Would Wenger Take From Manchester United’s Team?

An Open Letter To Arsenal Fans

Who Would Fergie Take From Arsenal’s First Team?