Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Monday, October 20, 2008

We are missing Hleb and Flamini badly and Clichy is not human

By Eros

I see you guys weren’t very happy with the article posted here a few days ago detailing the failings of the team and some ideas on how to improve the squad so as to give us a better chance for some much needed silverware this year.

Well I’ll give my two cents about both the Everton game and the previous post and please feel free to suitably shoot me down too if you wish….

Firstly what 70’s said is clearly not Rocket science. He said get a big defender to deal with the high ball and also buy someone that can replace Flamini effectively.

He also said Hleb was a good player and that we don’t know how Edy is going to be when he gets back, which are both true.

For all the frustration that sometimes accompanied him, Hleb was one of our outstanding players and a major reason that we got close to Utd and Chelsea last year.

He always set up chances or created space for the rest of the team to play their stuff. Testament to how good he was is that Cesc to this day is raving about him.

He was the only player in the team that could slow the tempo down and draw defenders out of position which was extremely useful against defensive teams.

Last year for the first time since 2004 we didn’t drop many points against mid to lower tier teams. If we had beaten Liverpool at the Emirates as we should have then we would have been within a win of the title!

I know we dropped points home and away to Birmingham and also had a bad run after the tackle on Eduardo but if we had won a game against the big four at home we would have been right there…

Flamini has not been replaced and that I also feel was a mistake especially watching Xavi Alonso having a blinding season with Liverpool.

I can’t help but think whether those few extra million pounds they wanted were not worth it considering the improvement it would have made to our title chances.

But as always Wenger was prudent and said no since he was cup tied in the Champions League. Benitez got lucky as who knows how they would have done with Barry instead of Alonso.

The defence thing I’m not so sure about, currently we have probably the quickest back four in the league if not the world. That is mightily important to Arsene as both his fullbacks spend more time high up the pitch attacking than they do defending.

Without the pace of Gallas and Toure we would be completely exposed to the counter attack as we saw a number of times with Senderos last year.

With that in mind pick your poison; is it set pieces and long balls or getting caught on the counter?

If there is a tall fast no nonsense defender that is quick with an astute positional sense that can also play a bit please feel free to point him out, personally I don’t know of one.

Against Everton we started very sluggishly as we are used to doing after the international break. We went one behind and Everton had a few chances to go 2 up but thankfully they didn’t. After the half hour mark we gained control of the game and never really looked back.

From where I am sitting at the Emirates I can see a few worrying things however.

We still can’t defend a corner to save our lives, miss too many chances and have a bad habit of conceding a goal with the first shot on target. Almunia is suspect coming for the ball and Clichy had to bail him out again today clearing the ball off the line.

We need Sagna back before the Manchester Utd game as both Rooney and Ronaldo seem to be getting into their stride.

Denilson got caught ball watching a couple of times especially in the first half allowing Yakubu to break through the midfield and run at our defence.

He improved in the second after instructions, I suspect, for him to sit back and allow Fabregas to orchestrate play more.

Song is not a right back we all know that, he only started because Wenger didn’t want to start with Theo after the long trip to Belarus with England.

Van Persie is not sharp enough yet, he wasted a bundle of good chances that he’d normally take or at least put on target. It could have proved costly but thankfully it wasn’t.

After scoring four for Togo midweek Adebayor had an average game.

He is always a willing runner, however sometimes he leaves me baffled with the constant obsession of running away from goal to the left when there is a big hole in the middle of the opposition defence but I suppose he will improve that with time.

Nasri was not involved in the game in the first half but he scored a crucial goal to get us back in the game. That gave him confidence and he raised his game after that.

Clichy was magnificent as usual and my man of the match.

He was everywhere, intercepted every ball he could and run down the flank as often as possible.

Somebody should check whether he is human.

I have a suspicion that he has two hearts and 4 lungs.

I have no other way of explaining how he does so much running every single game.

Fabregas was back to his best after a couple of ok performances, displaying his full array of passing and dictating play as only he can.

Walcott had a huge impact coming on in the second half and took his goal very well. Let’s hope we’ll see a few more from him in the next few weeks.

Eboue was solid without being exceptional but he did give balance to the team when he went back to right back.

I still think he is one of our more consistent players this year, and if he manages to get through more games without any histrionics I think he will get more support from the fans.

It was good to see Diaby back and hopefully he can stay fit for a few games so we can see what he can do next to the little Spaniard.

Finally I left Song and Silvestre to the end. I though they had a solid second half where admittedly there were not really tested.

Silvestre did some Utd defending booting the ball clear at every opportunity and Song looked infinitely more comfortable playing at centre half. Silvestre looked a bit rusty but that was to be expected as this was his first game back.

Overall we played some good staff in the second half moving the ball about with pace and accuracy and I don’t think a lot of teams can live with us when we do that.

We haven’t played well yet this year. We have only seen glimpses of how good we can be and if we can get to the turn of the year and still be in touch we’ll have a shot.

I think compared to last year we’ll get stronger after Xmas – injury permitting – and hopefully we will have two brand new players – Rosicky and Eduardo - to help us with a tough run in.

I have to say though that we are competing against a Chelsea side that are looking pretty good right now even with a host of injuries.

They have a huge squad with class replacements in many positions. I think however that their new found sense of adventure will get them in to trouble sooner or later and will give the other three a chance.

Three Arsenal weaknesses need correction


alxluc said...

70's was moaning we has now world class cover in almost ever postion. Helb and flamini had one good season. So who knows if they would improve this year or not. Diaby is and nasri will be better than both of them nasri is already proving yet clichy does help magnify how good anybody is on left.
otherwise gd article

Ole Gunner said...

We have played well this season. Quite well at times. The first half performance at Bolton was one of the best Arsenal performances of the last 4 years.

Arsene played Song at right back. Get over it and grow up. It did not work out but Arsene also played Lauren, an attacking midfielder at right back before he became a pretty well-established right back.

A big centre half. Just hysteria if you ask me. Carvalho is same height as Toure/Gallas, and Terry is 1 inch taller.

We weren't exactly dominated in the air last season, so we don't have to be.

I just need Arsenal fans to realise that most of the improvement we can make have to come from within the team because we do have the quality.

Anonymous said...

Dont agree with the Hleb and Flam assesments. We have replaced Hleb with Theo. Theo has more goalthreat, more direct dribbling, is just as effective at dragging teams all over the place as Hleb was. Hleb never scored (would not have scored that goal against Everton, no way, ever), and didnt set up many goals. We dont miss him, he was luxury personified.

As for Flam, Denilson isnt as good as Flam, but Flam wasnt good enough anyway. Cesc and Flam isnt a Prem winning partnership. Just as Cesc and Denilson isnt. Its an area of weakness we are all aware of. But Flam wasnt the best solution. He was good for 1 season, but not great.

I would like to see Ramsey and Diaby play as a central midfield partnership. There's energy, bite and skill in those 2. The onus shouldnt be on Cesc to play every game.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who thinks Xabi Alonso would have had any sort of positive effect on our team is a moron.

Anonymous said...

I agree Flamini is our biggest loss, as he organised the defence and was a potential captian this year or next. From where I was sitting on Saturday I saw glimpses if Petite in Cliche. Since we will lose either Gibbs or Traore I suggest bringing one of them in to left back with Chiche having a trial at DMF. He reads the game well, has a good positional sense, has the pace, power, intelligence, and clean quick tackle to boot, and its not easy to get a clear header on the ball with him about. He is certainly worth a try, but not until the defence is Sagna, Kolo and Gallas are back as one new defender is enough at any one time. He will have the pace to catch a midfielder breaking through the middle so often this season, Saturday included.

G4L_Harry said...

That sounds a totally daft idea, so daft it might actually be the answer!! Clichy in the flamini role, with either gibbs or traore at LB.

He certainly has the engine, probably one of the fittest players in the PL.

Of the main article i think you make some logical and straight forward points, see my article on, for some similar comments.

GoonerDan said...

How can people say Flamini wasnt that good?!?! He gave Cesc the freedom to express himself and he covered every blade of grass on the pitch week in week out.. And when he wasnt playing and replaced by Gilberto or any other incumbent then we soon saw what Flamini gave. What Cesc needs is someone to do the mop up work and let him do what he does best, which is link the midfield to the attack, intricate passing and some goals with it.
I for 1 dont miss Hleb, a good a player as he was, he was also so infuriating, with his failure to shoot even being a few yards away from goal!! One thing i noticed on sat from Silvestre is that he challenged 95% of the high balls that Gallas n Toure wudnt of done, Yeah he started rusty but he has been there and won the lot at Manure and can only help out a very young team... And Clichy isnt human i think he is superman!!!

Joe_@** said...

ole gunner, Terry (6'2 from espn profile) is about 2 inces taller than Toure (6'0). Carvalho is 6'0 too but Gallas is only 5'11. They may not differ much but given that both Toure and Gallas are not very good in the air and the average height of our team are shorter than many other teams (also all of our midfielders can't head well), our aerial weakness is compounded.

Ole Gunner said...


Here's Terry's profile from the Chelski website. I apologise for linking to it.,,10268~5593,00.html

Here is Gallas'wiki page:

He's 5ft 11 1/2.

To put it the Continental way Terry is 1.86m, and Gallas 1.82. Not a huge difference by any means.

The average age of Chelsea's centre back pairing: 6ft 1/2.

Average age of Arsenal centre back pairing: 5ft 11 3/4.

Less than an inch of difference.

Height is not the problem folks.

Joe_@** said...

Also, I do not agree with the proposition on Hleb and Flamini. Hleb only flattered to deceive. He has a lot of touch on the ball but usually produced nothing. If you look at the stats, you'll find that Hleb contributed an average of less than 5 assists, and less 4goals per season of average of 30 games. Nasri has already scored 3 out of 7 games. According to stats, Flamini covered the most ground per match compared to the rest of the EPL. He was probably one of the best DM in Europe last season. He was him who gave Fab the creativity freedom.

Joe_@** said...

Essentially I agree that there is not much difference in height of our CM with that of chelski's but overall, we can't deny that the overall team lack in physical presence and we are not good in the air. We bemoan in this aspect because Toure and Gallas are incompatible. Both are too similiar and like to attack the ball. Perhaps someone like Campbell to partner anyone of them would make our defence more solid. I am betting on Djourou or maybe Silvestre

Spike said...

That &0's fella chatted a load of b*llocks the other day, so you felt compelled to carry on diggin the same old hole?

Hleb is not the reason we lost to Hull or Fulham. A complete lack of hunger and a bad attitude did for us. Whyn that is, you'll have to ask the players.

Why they felt the need to act like a bunch of prima donnas when they havent won anything for 4 years is beyond me.

But it is a sad state of affairs when we have people tryting to re-write history. Hleb was a terrible signing when you take the entire time he was here and not just the last 6 months. His lack of end product and genral faffing about were a joke and thank fuck we have got rid and signed a player that is already proving to be a far better team player for us and who can actually shoot AND score; Nasri of course.

Flamini, or should I say, a terrier in midfield is definitely missing so far, but hopefully Diaby can come in, stay fit and do a job.

But, for gawd;s sake, give the history revisionism a rest fella.

Ole Gunner said...


Silvestre is also 6ft. Same as Toure.

I don't agree with the incompatibility argument either. I think they're not in form. Period.

We weren't bad in the air last year so we shouldn't be this year. The only objective reason I see why we could be is that the league is taller in general. Look at the 3 promoted teams and they're very tall teams.

I think it's down to performances. Team performances.

If Gallas and Kolo play near their best we'll have a solid defence. Also our full backs are outstanding but they need to allow fewer crosses. Clichy especially.

Anonymous said...

On Adebayor: "he leaves me baffled with the constant obsession of running away from goal to the left when there is a big hole in the middle of the opposition defence but I suppose he will improve that with time."

I don't think he can improve that in his game because movement isn't something that you can really learn as a 24 year old. He needs to learn that he's not Henry or Pires. He doesn't need to drift to the wings, he can head the ball well so he should be in the box attacking the ball (which he doesn't do often enough), not making sideways passes from the edge of the penalty area.

As for Flamini not being good last season, that's just complete delusion. Any Arsenal fan can see he was one of our best players last season (he probably would've won player of the season had he stayed, I certainly would've voted for him, or possibly Sagna or Clichy).

Joe_@** said...


I understand Silvestre is of the same height as Toure but I think he positions himself better in anticipation of aerial challenge. Also, our problems in defending long ball and setpiece were not new. On minimizing opposition's crosses, I believe it is not a duty shouldered solely by fullbacks. We need an ever present DM like Flamini to employ those basic triangular close down tactic where a full back check the run of the opponent vertically, the DM horizontally and the CM stays on guard in case one of them slips up

Ole Gunner said...

You know who we're missing? It's not Flamini. It's Emmanuel Petit. And oh, how we missy good old Tony Adams. Can't we have Stevie Bould back?

I don't know that there is ANY evidence that Silvestre is better in any department than Toure. I rate Silvestre as our last centre half. He's always been crap in my opinion.

But he played for the mancs so for the likes of you, that makes him automatically good.

Anonymous said...

They left, didnt they?
This arguement is like flogging a dead horse, they gone!!!

Better is a living dog, than a dead lion. Them not being here does not help us but who we have do even if they are not a fierce (in your eyes)!

Anyway, the players who are here are better!

Anonymous said...

To: Anonymous (October 20, 2008 7:58 PM)

"...but Flam wasnt good enough anyway. Cesc and Flam isnt a Prem winning partnership. Just as Cesc and Denilson isnt. Its an area of weakness we are all aware of. But Flam wasnt the best solution. He was good for 1 season, but not great.

I would like to see Ramsey and Diaby play as a central midfield partnership. There's energy, bite and skill in those 2. The onus shouldnt be on Cesc to play every game.

You need your head checked mate!
That Flamini was not good enough? Waow, that is shocking.

Austin Sports Performance Trainer said...

Really poor assessment of what Hleb brought to our team, which was not all that much. We do miss Flamini though.

armchairman said...

What Flamini provided last season was imperative to our title challenge -- no two ways about that.

But if I had to pick between Hleb of last season and Nasri and a vastly improved Walcott, I'd probably pick the latter option.

That being said, Hleb's departure has set us back some, if only because he used to link up wonderfully with Fabregas. Cesc has spoken out about it because their chemistry was excellent.

Nasri will develop a similar understanding, but it will take time, certainly more than a handful of starts together.

On the other hand, Denilson and Cesc are incompatible, period. Cesc needs an athlete as a foil, a boisterous presence alongside him. Arsene won't sign anyone noteworthy because we have too many up and coming--and I stress the 'coming' aspect--central midfielders. No one is close to being the finished article, and if I were Fabregas I'd be pretty darn frustrated too.

Diaby is probably Wenger's ideal partner for Cesc, but if he gets crocked long-term again, AW will have to start reconsidering his options.

Anonymous said...

i think your wroong about the hleb part beaause we have walcott and i think diaby and song would make good replacments for flamini and dont forget we have played all of our games until now without diaby rosicky and edouardo so i think we are a verry good team

Joe_@** said...


I said I am placing my bet to give Djourou a chance. Next is Silvestre and that is to partner either Gallas or Toure because it is proven that their partnership is suspectably fragile. I am saying so because I do not believe we will be recruiting anyone in this area in short term. What is wrong for giving other a chance to make this area more competitive when our automatic choices are not really performing? Also I just advocate for someone who is as tenacious as Flamini to complement Fab. I did not say we would be doomed without him. It is just a suggestion than we need someone a bit more defensive to cover for the back four. On Silvestre, he has won more titles than any of our current back four. It is unfair to accuse me of supporting him because he used to play for manc. I support him because he is an Arsenal player now & because he keeps Toure & Gallas at their toes.

Anonymous said...

you're the only blogger i've encountered who says we miss hleb. ever heard of a bloke called samir nasri ? in case u havent noticed, he scored few goals already this season, more than that dribbbly McNoscore ever did in a few seasons.

Anonymous said...

this debate is all extremely tiresome. but theres something I have to say one thing thats been bothering me on arsenal blogs since the summer.

Hleb was not useless, he wasnt shit, he may not have been on the end of many goals/assists but he was an integral part of the team that did so well until march with his link up play etc.

so many effing 'experts' who dont like to join a debate, just put forth an aggressive regurgitated spew of nonsense,which, should someone have a differing viewpoint, launch scathing immature attacks upon them for being deluded and stupid. and its both the wenger lovers and the detractors. i love arsenal with all my heart, but unfortunately the club seems to have attracted the biggest bunch of numpties for a fanbase. ffs, just support your team, debate fine, comment fine, but stop this proverbial shit slinging contest and get behind the effin team. no wonder they're lacklustre of late, no ones bloody supporting them

Anonymous said...

I dont think we are missing Hleb. He held our attacks up so many times with his dallying and just did not score enough goals for a forward. I believe Nasri is already showing signs of being a much more positive force, something along the lines of Pires.
Where we are struggling is that we just have not got a good ready replacement for Flamini - Denilson is not the answer. If Flam was still in the team then I think we would be right up there with Chelsea.
Wenger needs to spend some of the millions we fans are pouring into the Arsenal bank balance. He should address this problem in January but don't hold your breath. If we go trophyless again this season for the sake of one or two experienced signings then the current rumblings will get a lot louder

Anonymous said...

We miss Hleb badly. He gave our team a ball retaining structure and himself and Fabregas had a great understanding, so not only did we lose Hleb the player in the summer, we also lost a bit of Fabregas.

Spike is just a thick retard who wouldn't know a good playmaker if it hit him square on his fat face.

Anonymous said...

All you peeps saying we miss hleb badly i dont get why..we miss Flamini!

In his first 4 matches Nasri has equalled the tally of goals hleb scored over 2 seasons!


Anonymous said...

Diaby was better in his first season than Flamini. Nasri adds more goals than Hleb. Walcott has now proved Bentley that is better to stay under Wenger. It's not about one seasons performance.. but consistentcy. There are soo many new faces in the first team now and i beleive they would jell soon. I feel fabregas is too sluggish this time and leave too much for Denilson to done. u can see it in the young guns who are more adventurous

Anonymous said...

Dude, seriously, enough with jerking off to Cliche. Every game you do it. He's not THAT good. A very good left back, but it's not like he scores any goals. He sets up a few goals and he is very good; but not a new Roberto Carlos or anything. Once he has an end product then let the wanking commence.

Anonymous said...

Yeah I agree Clichy is not that good yet but he is the best in the prem. He hasn't got an end product like Evra but has got more defending wise than the guy.
Hleb and Flamini were great. Hleb added balance, creativity though his end product lacked due to his decision making. Flamini did everything. Tackle, point, shout, position I could go on. Both could have easily carried on that and we would be proper title contenders.

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