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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Arshavin: “I wish I was like Fabregas”


By Aries

Andrey Arshavin has been speaking about his impressions of the Villa game and as always provided useful insights.

He revealed that the only anxiety felt by the Arsenal players prior to the game was not in anticipation of the battle ahead but in trying to find tickets for their friends and relatives!

“We felt no nervous tension. We were absolutely calm, everybody here has already got used that any Premiership game is always difficult.

The excitement before the game was due to the Christmas; many players’ relatives came and wanted to see the match. There has always been a problem to get tickets to "Emirates", but these days, especially....” he said on his personal web site.

As for the contest itself he felt that Villa’s game was based on set pieces:

“We assumed that the game would be difficult, well, I guess it turned out to be an interesting spectacle. We had our moments; our rival’s game was based on set pieces”

And he went on to comment on Fabregas’s contribution.

“Cesc changed the course of the game... You know, I wish I could play like him. - go out for twenty or thirty minutes, score some goals and go away .

No kidding, he was great. I hope that his old injury relapse won’t last long and he’ll start playing soon”

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Player Analysis and Ratings Vs Villa

By 1970’s Gooner

It was a game Arsenal needed to win so as to finally take advantage of Chelsea’s indifferent form as of late. And the boys looked hungry and determined to get all three points.

It wasn’t until Wenger made two significant substitutions that Arsenal began to pass the ball quicker and in more penetrative positions.

Fabregas who replaced Denilson added trickery and more incisive passing. He added the goals of course…

But the other substitution was also important in my mind. For a start Walcott replaced Eduardo who was again disappointingly ineffective.

Walcott also added width which stretched the pitch as he drew on to him Villa’s left back. This left more room for Fabregas and Diaby to roam.

Almunia

Didn’t have much to do and on the occasion he had to he managed to palm the ball away from Agbolanhor as he was close to turning it in five mnutes from the end. 7

Sagna

Kept Downing quiet and also went forward combining well with Nasri. He looks fresher than a few games ago when he looked in need of rest. 7

Traore

I was very relieved when the news came out that he was fit enough to return to the left back position. Silvestre is a real liability as a left back (and as a central defender too).

I would much prefer Sagna to play left back and Eboue brought in at right back if the need arises again.

Traore looks the part now. He is strong, fast and tenacious and what a marvelous cross field ball he made to Walcott which resulted in Arsenal’s second goal.

Wenger will really have a big problem when Clichy and Gibbs return. 7

Gallas

He looks rejuvenated with Vermaelen partnering him rather than Toure. He is stronger and much more determined in the challenges this season. He nearly scored today but Friedle saved from close range. 7

Vermaelen

He wasn’t going to let Agbolnahor or any of the Villa forwards get the better of him. You could sense that all game personified by the chase against Agbolanhor from which he came out a winner. 8

Song

Another strong performance from Arsenal’s anchor. Dominated midfield with his strength, close control and tenacity. His passing however was not up to his usual standards giving the ball away too often. 6.5

Diaby

He has managed to dispel that part of his game that got us all so frustrated last season. That which saw him hold onto the ball too long, draw too many defenders on him and then lose it.

Now he is far more sensible. He wins the ball and then if he doesn’t see the space to exploit he passes short to a team mate. Simple football means great performances and this is what we got today from this awesome football player.

He also scored a wonderful third to cap a fantastic performance. 9

Denilson

He is another that got us all debating last season as to his footballing abilities. But at 21 he has improved so much this season chipping in with vital goals (eg vs Hull) and becoming much more efficient in his ball retrieving and passing. 6

Fabregas

Enough said. He was magnificent today for 28 minutes scoring two great goals. He is a much more direct and efficient player this season. He knows when to pass, when to shoot and which positions to take… 10

Eduardo

Another disappointing performance from Eduardo. He gets into very dangerous positions but fails to convert. He did it against Hull when he turned into the box beating his man with only the goalie to beat. He repeated almost the same move today with the same outcome.

I believe that he is still afraid of picking another injury which makes him rush his shots or be reluctant to go for 50 50 balls. Unless he shakes this fear off he will never be the same player again.

I think he should be dropped for the next game and Walcott (or even Eboue) brought in on the flank. 4

Arshavin

Had a better second half. He was meeting the ball far more effectively in the second half something which he was failing to do in the first.

Villa compressed the space around him so he had litle room to manouvre.

He also suffered due to Fabregas’s absence in the first half as Cesc is able to play him in far more easily than Song, Denilson or Diaby. 5

Nasri

He was more of a peripheral player today which is strange as with the absence of Fabregas from midfield he should have been doing more of the playmaking. 6

Walcott

Provided much needed width when he came on and he looked fresh and more with it today than in his previous outings. Of course he can do that much better when he comes off the bench with the opponents tired.

Once he recovers his fitness he will have a very important role to play this season. Provided the assist for Fabregas to score the second with a very precise pass into his path. 8


Man of the Match: Cesc Fabregas

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Wenger’s switch of half time talk wasn’t the only one that inspired Arsenal’s win at Anfield

By 1970’s Gooner

It was a game of two halves really. In the first Arsenal played well under par with Liverpool playing more forcefully and closing the space in midfield very well, not allowing room for Fabregas and Co to weave their magic. They created chances, scoring just before the interval.

In the second half Arsenal played more as a team, managing to put passes together in the more advanced positions and getting more forward on Sagna’s side. The own goal did wonders for the confidence as much as it dented Liverpool’s.

But besides the half time dressing room hysterics by Wenger what actually worked equally well on the pitch was the switch of positions in the second half between Nasri and Walcott.

This switch created more space on the right as Nasri tended to come inside more rather than hug the touch line. I think this should not be overlooked.

It was Nasri who drifted inwards and crossed low to a position where the ball should be put: Between the goalkeeper and the central defenders. I do not think that Walcott would have done that. Not the way he was playing tonight.

What also worked in this move was Walcott’s presence in the middle of the box forcing the mistake by Johnson for the own goal. He drifted in the middle from the left as Arshavin himself drifted back into midfield to collect the ball and pass it to Fabregas.

Wenger’s inspired switch also did the trick again for Arsenal’s winner.

It was Walcott’s presence in the middle of the box challenging for Fabregas’s cross which put the defender under pressure thus allowing the ball to travel to the little Russian demon.

Arshavin had momentarily stayed leftish as Walcott found himself in the centre forward position anticipating Fabregas’s cross who had found space on the right hand side of the pitch, again.

Something which would not have occurred had Walcott not made the switch with Nasri in the first place.

And the rest is history as they say…


Friday, December 11, 2009

Finally Wenger stumbles on Arshavin’s versatility which is not good news for Liverpool


By 1970’s Gooner

So we had to drop vital points before Wenger finally played Arshavin through the middle. And what a revelation he was against Stoke.

Of course had it not been due to an injury to Eduardo we would probably be out of the title race by now because I do not see how Wenger would have picked Arshavin in the first place. He would have insisted on sticking with Eduardo I am sure.

Still that’s history as they say. Arshavin it is then even if the little Russian demon would prefer otherwise. This is what Wenger said after the Stoke game:

"I don't think he was a big fanatic to play centre forward.

"But I'm convinced he can play there because he has good body power, good movement and technique.

"I have to try it again to see if it works, at home and away from home, and to find a balance because I have many technical players around the team.

"We'll see, although at the moment we don't have much choice."

And indeed, for the game against Liverpool choices are at a premium as Rosicky and Eboue are out of the reckoning. At least Walcott got a run out in Athens (he looked rusty) and Diaby is back too.

But I don’t think Wenger will risk Diaby so soon after being out for the last two weeks. He is likely to be on the bench at Anfield with Denilson continuing in midfield alongside Song and Fabregas deployed in the more advanced role.

And Arshavin is likely to be flanked by the improving Nasri and the fit again Walcott.


Ideally you would not want to rush a player back so soon after an injury but the 90 minutes behind him and the absence of a viable alternative on the wing are likely to force Wenger’s hand as far as Walcott is concerned.

Vela was not up to standard against Olympiakos missing two very good opportunities in front of goal and generally opting to dive when he got into cul de sacs rather than play proper football.

He does not seem to have improved a great deal since he came to Arsenal from Osasuna in Spain.

Of course Wenger may opt for the more conservative approach and keep Walcott on the bench. He would then have a choice of playing Ramsey or Denilson on the wing instead. But I don’t think so.


Almunia

Sagna Gallas Vermaelen Traore

Denilson Fabregas Song

Walcott Arshavin Nasri


Subs: Fabianski, Silvestre, Senderos, Ramsey, Diaby, Vela, Merida


Thursday, December 03, 2009

How Arsenal could play without Song, van Persie and Walcott and still beat Stoke

By 1970’s Gooner

If Arsenal are to have a good chance of beating Stoke (yes Stoke at the Emirates) then two team selections will prove vital.

The first one has to do with whom to play in the front man position.

Will Wenger continue to be stubborn and insist that Eduardo is the front man to make up for van Persie’s loss?

He made the choice to play Eduardo against Sunderland and the boy was awful.

Wenger insisted to play him again against Chelsea when it was so obvious that if he couldn’t cut it against Sunderland’s central defenders he certainly wasn’t going to cut it against Terry and Calvalho.

Again Eduardo was awful.

Wenger has two options. The first one is to select the only other available player that can play in that position and that is Arshavin. In my opinion he would hold the ball under pressure much better than Eduardo has done up to now.

The unfortunate thing is that Walcott will not be available as he could have taken up Arshavin’s position on one of the wings.

In this case then Eduardo or even Eboue could be moved to one of the wide midfield positions. The other would probably be filled by Nasri who was rested in midweek and has shown improving form since coming back from his injury.

If Wenger sticks to his guns and goes for 4 3 3 then I hope that he keeps Ramsey on the bench as he didn’t have a good game against Manchester City and brings Eboue in the middle.

Almunia

Sagna Gallas Vermaelen, Traore

Eboue Fabregas Denilson

Nasri Arshavin Eduardo

Wenger’s other option would be to change formation and play 4 4 2 by giving Eduardo support in the front by playing Arshavin next to him.

This is to my mind a more viable option when taking into account the type of players left standing in the Arsenal squad.

This switch would also solve Wenger’s other major selection problem for Saturday.

Song’s forced absence could prove as big a problem as van Persie’s and by playing 4 4 2 instead of 4 3 3 does away with the need to play two more defensive midfielders.

In this case Denilson and Fabregas will be the two central midfielders with Fabregas assuming his old familiar role of the deep lying midfield playmaker.

In a 4 4 2 formation my team selection would therefore be as follows:

Almunia

Sagna Gallas Vermaelen, Traore

Eboue Fabregas Denilson Nasri

Eduardo Arshavin


I would go for 4 4 2.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Arsenal are the invincibles

By 1970’s Gooner

Arsenal are the invincibles alright. They were almost invincible tonight, so much they were outplayed and outfought that they were indeed not very visible.

Yes it hurts me to say it but it’s the same old story again isn’t it? A lot of possession but not enough penetration. And then the sucker punch or punches if you like.

What went wrong tonight? To me it was obvious and we touched on it after the Sunderland game. Not enough penetration from the wings but more importantly a non existent front player!

Wenger insisted with Eduardo up front when it was so obvious that the man cannot play there with his back to goal. He is more a box player who will take up good positions and take advantage of the ball after it gets into the box, NOT BEFORE.

You might say that with van Persie and Bendtner out Wenger did not have many choices. Yet he did but he chose to ignore them! He should have realised that Eduardo was not up to it.

He should have therefore started with Arshavin in the middle. He would have been a far more difficult proposition for Terry and Co with his twisting and turning and more direct approach. He would have at least kept the ball when under pressure from the defenders and found his own players when passing the ball!

Yet with Eduardo in there it was just like against Sunderland. Not good enough control of the ball and fluffing those rare chances that came his way.

And in Arshavin’s place on the wing Walcott could have started. He would have kept Ashley Cole far more quiet than Nasri did. Samir kept coming inside all night allowing Ashley Cole the space to come forward. And guess who provided the two assists for the first half goals.

Another disappointing performance tonight came from Almunia. He was clearly out of position for their second and third goals and you simply cannot gift two goals to Chelsea.

With say van Persie up front, Diaby in midfield and Clichy on the left Arsenal could be quite close to Chelsea and Manchester United but not when all three are missing.

So much for Arsenal’s strength in depth.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Could van Persie start against Chelsea after all?


By Aries

Arsene Wenger doesn’t think that van Persie has a cat in hell’s chance to play against Chelsea next Sunday but the player himself was so insistent about getting permission to fly to Serbia that Wenger had to let him go.

“I let him go on his insistence. However, I doubt that the treatment will provide the publicised results. I'm not a big fan of such treatments as applied by Marijana Kovacevic, but I'm not a doctor” Wenger said to Serbian media.

Mariana Kovacevic has a big reputation for treating injured players with the placenta fluid shortening the recovery period quite substantially.

Contrary to what Wenger believes the evidence is quite staggering and they are to be found closer at home.

There are a few Liverpool players who were supposed to be out of action for lengthy spells but found themselves playing after a few days treatment in Belgrade.

The latest is Glen Johnson. The others are Aurelio, Benayoun and Riera who were out with heavy injuries but made remarkable recoveries. This is confirmed by Rafa Benitez himself.

“Benajun and Riera had serious injuries, but when they returned from Serbia, even the X-rays taken showed no trace of these problems. Perhaps we will in the future send all players that have similar injuries to Belgrade” said Benitez.

Serbian national team captain and van Persie’s former Feyenoord team-mate Danko Lazovic has admitted that he was the one who sent the Dutchman to Belgrade.

”Percy heard from someone about Marianne and called me asking about my experiences with the treatment. I told him how I was cured, after which he decided to come to Belgrade - said Lazovic for the Serbian Paper "Sports Journal" and added:

Having seen Kovacevic and had placenta fluid rubbed into the affected area Lazovic made a shock comeback in only one week.

“If I knew how it works, maybe I leave my job and begin to practice it myself. I only know that I was out only for three days even though the prediction was for six weeks of absence from the field”

Could van Persie start against Chelsea after all?


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Arsenal really played with 8 men in an unbalanced formation

By 1970’s Gooner

It was difficult enough to start with Eduardo as the front man in a 4 3 3 formation but the wide players, Rosicky and Nasri were also not up to it today.

Add to that the fact that Fabregas was played in the deeper midfield role and Ramsey the more forward and you have a team that was in my mind unbalanced.

Let’s start with Eduardo.

He was hopeless in the front man role. He couldn’t keep possession and as a result our midfielders were always under more pressure than usual to win the ball.

His passing also failed him today which was probably a result of very tight defending from the opponents. He simply isn’t a front man to my mind and maybe Wenger will think again as to whom to play there against Chelsea.

The wide men.

Both Nasri and Rosicky were not penetrative on the wings preferring to come inside all the time. As a result Arsenal had no width and therefore offered no attacking threat.

There was also no attacking threat from the midfield areas as Fabregas was deployed deeper than usual. So where were the goals going to come from?

When Wenger decided to make the changes things improved but we were 1-0 down by then and when you are chasing the game it becomes very difficult doesn’t it?

If Arshavin was too tired to start then I think Walcott should have as he was obviously fresh enough as was evident when he came on. The result may have been different then.

Tiredness

Yes I think that with so many players involved in the World Cup qualifying games the team looked tired. Sagna, Gallas, Ramsey even Fabregas looked fatigued.

The only player to have played well in my mind was Traore who rose to the occasion and put in a performance of high standard, defending well and looking very dangerous when attacking. I think we can rely on him in the future.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wenger’s four options for replacing Gibbs

By 1970’s Gooner

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse it has. First it was Bendtner out with a groin problem then van Persie with his ankle and now it’s Gibbs that’s got injured while on international duty.

Add to these Denilson, Clichy, Diaby, Vela, Wilshere,Djourou, Fabiansky and Walcott and you can make another very useful first 11!

Gibbs was brought off midway through the first half while playing for the U21s against Lithuania and it’s beginning to look difficult for Saturday’s game against Sunderland.

So what are Wenger’s options then?

1. Silvestre


He has been deployed there a lot of times during his tenure at Manchester United and also a few times for Arsenal. Although he has experience he is getting rather slow with age and I think this may prove a risky choice to take.

2. Senderos


He too has been in the sidelines raring to go but although much younger than Silvestre lacks the necessary pace and previous experience in this position to be able to perform.

He has been deployed as a right back for 15 minutes or so in an FA Cup tie at Blackburn a few years ago but was found extremely wanting.

Unlikely choice (hopefully)

3. Traore

He is a natural left sided player who was earmarked to develop as a left back and was actually deployed there in a few games while out on loan for Portsmouth last season.

He was however played as a left winger by Portsmouth for most of his appearances and he did impress me whenever I watched him play.

Wenger may decide to take a chance on the youngster who has Premiership experience after all but his relative inexperience may put him off.

4. Eboue

This is my likeliest choice. Although not a natural left footer he is now a seasoned Premiership player who is a defender after all even though he has, since last season, been played as a wide midfielder.

Arsene Wenger has been using him more as a right back recently giving Sagna much needed breathers and this will be the choice with the least risk attached to it.

Remember what happened to poor Gibbs when he was preferred to Eboue for the two Champions League semi final games against Manchester United last season? We don’t want that happening to Traore.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Wenger’s three options for replacing van Persie

By 1970’s Gooner

After Bendtner’s groin injury was announced I was beginning to worry as to what would have happened had van Persie suffered an injury himself! He is prone to do that I was thinking….

In his absence I would not have hesitated to blow young Bendtner’s trumpet. He has improved in leaps and bounds this season and would have been ideal to take over from van Persie and show what he can do.

Alas we are now ‘scraping the barrel’ to find a suitable replacement. And there are three available players within the current squad that could try and fill in until one of these two players returns.

1. Arshavin

He is I think capable of assuming the front player role. Arsenal has not really been playing with a target man this season in the same sense as when dozy Adebayor was around.

Van Persie was rather a skillful player who linked well with his fellow attackers and midfielders in a side that has continuous movement with players interchanging positions.

In this way the little Russian demon is quite capable of being very effective in this role. He did play for the last10 minutes in this position against Standard Liege in the away Champions League game and did not look out of place troubling the defenders with his trickery and pace.

2. Eduardo

Arsene Wenger may however opt to play with Eduardo up front.

He is back to fitness after a few minor injuries this season and was selected ahead of Bendtner to lead the line in the defeat of Liverpool in the League Cup.

He didn’t impress me that much during that game as he is more of a fox in the box rather than a front man.

Wenger, however, may feel that he needs Arshavin’s pace on the wing rather than in the middle and he could therefore decide to try Eduardo.

3. Walcott

I consider this option as the least likely.

Theo is only just now returning back from injury and he has not really played in this position for Arsenal since his arrival from Southampton a few years ago.

I saw him play there for the U21s a few months ago and he did not impress.

Walcott’s return to fitness however will be a boost for Arsenal as with the absence of Bendnter and the deployment of either Arshavin or Eduardo in the middle we will need all the pacy wingers we can get.

Nasri and Rosicky are not really blessed with pace and Vela who is will need time to get back to match fitness.


Sunday, November 08, 2009

Arshavin reveals Gallas’s eccentricity on the team bus


By Aries

Andrei Arshavin has played down Arsenal’s resounding victory over Wolves stating on his site that class showed in the end:

“I believe that today we can not say that Arsenal had a remarkable game. It’s just that the class of players in our team is much higher.

“We took advantage of those moments that we created on the counterattack. These attacks ended up as goals. In the second half we calmly brought the game to a victorious close”

He also revealed that the Arsenal players are always having a laugh when on the move but not at Gallas’s expense as he tends to sit alone on the team bus!

“William, our number ten- no one is allowed to sit next to him” he said

We wonder why.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Eduardo’s message to the world revealed


By Aries

Eduardo lifted his shirt after scoring Arsenal’s second goal to reveal a message written in portuguese: Paz na villa kennedy- RJ meaning "Peace in the Villa Kennedy-RJ'

This is a reference to a community in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil where Eduardo was born.

The slum has been the subject of fighting between rival criminal factions. Schools, kindergartens, health centres and shops all closed down on account of local upheaval. People also fled their homes.

The neighborhood began as a low cost housing project, funded mostly by the Kennedy administration's Alliance for Progress program of the 1960s and was originally to be named the Villa Progresso, but later changed to Villa Kennedy to honor the slain president.

Arsenal should worry about Song

By 1970’s Gooner

Watching during those opening 25 minutes you wouldn’t have thought that Arsenal’s supremacy would eventually have been so easy.

Wolves were pressing the midfield areas of the pitch with gusto and determination not allowing the Arsenal players room to turn.

And if it wasn’t for good defending and Berra’s inability to head towards Arsenal’s goal, when presented with a free header, Wolves would have gone ahead.

It would have been quite a different game after that.

What was wrong during that opening half hour was Wenger’s decision to rest Song and play Ramsey instead.

The little Welsh wizard is a very good player and will grow into a great player but he surely cannot be expected to replace someone as good as Song.

Especially if along side him was Diaby who is of course improving but alas proved not good enough to give young Ramsey the support he needed.

So and don’t get me wrong, I was “pleased” when Diaby had to come off (with a calf strain). As soon as Song came on he bossed that area as only he can. Wolves could not bully us anymore and then Arsenal’s beautiful football took over.

Culminating in that sublime Fabregas goal, Arsenal’s third, after himself moving the ball from defence onto Sagna on the right who then crossed for van Persie in the area who, in one touch, laid it back onto the oncoming Fabregas who promptly dispatched it into the net. FANTASTIC

The worrying thing about today’s performance is that it has shown how vulnerable this Arsenal side can be when Song goes away to the Africa Cup of Nations.

Whoever Wenger picks to replace Song will need to step up the plate if Arsenal are to have a realistic chance to win something this season.

Where team selection proved its worth tonight was in picking Eduardo as one of the wide players in Arsenal’s 4 3 3 formation, although as Tony Adams has revealed, Wenger considers it as a 4 1 4 1 formation.

Whatever it really is it has revolutionised Arsenal’s performances this season and helps to explain why we are scoring so many goals.

Fabregas is of course playing in the more forward positions now. This means that he moves forward to give support to van Persie and therefore can find himself in the more dangerous areas of the pitch and influence matters from there. His “maturity” and clinical finishing inevitably mean that he is among the goals.

But further than this the two wide men are also further up the field feeling more secure with the three midfield men shoring the areas behind them.

That is why Arsenal are pressing much more up the field keeping the opponents pinned in their half especially when their defenders have the ball.

This system depends crucially on the effectiveness of the three midfield men especially the two more destructive midfielders. If they are on top of their game and keep control of the midfield stopping the opposition from playing their football then it can work.

It only worked today when Song came on.


Sunday, November 01, 2009

Spurs back to the drawing board. Player analysis and ratings

By 1970’s Gooner

Granted Spurs were missing pace up front with the absence of Lennon and Defoe but I still think that we would have still run out easy winners in the end.

They were facing two major problems.

One was their inability to gain control of the midfield areas with Huddlestone, Palacios and Jenas unable to counter Song, Diaby and Fabregas.

The other was that the middle of their defence could not cope with Arsenal’s movement. King in particular lacked pace which allowed van Persie to run rings around him.


Almunia

I called for Almunia to be brought back after Mannone started making mistakes and although Manuel did not have a lot to do he was there when it mattered, prodding Bentley’s free kick over the bar. 7

Sagna

His crossing was not up to standard in recent games and in previous assessments of the player it was suggested that he does some extra training. He obviously has as his crosses were quite good against Spurs with two of Arsenal’s three goals being direct assists. 8

Clichy

Is returning back to form in recent games with his defensive performance being more evident than his attacking. When he improves this side of his game he will be back to his best. 6

Gallas

Solid performance but the defence was not that troubled during the game. 7

Vermaelen

Another solid performance dealing with Crouch well enough. The real test for Vermaelen will be when he comes up against Drogba. If he manages to mark him out of the game then he will be hailed as an Arsenal great…He did not deserve the yellow card as he actually got the ball without fouling the player.7

Song

I had no doubts a few years ago when I saw him play against Manchester United for Charlton when he was on loan there that he will be an Arsenal great… 8

Diaby

He has reined his natural impulses in a lot lately and when he does that he is so much more effective. That’s what we want him to do really, support Song in the defensive duties, win the ball and give it to someone who can go forward.

There were one or two occasions when with 3-0 up he began trying out his pirouettes and holding onto the ball too much often loosing it. As long as he does that when we are 3-0 up then maybe we will forgive him. 6

Fabregas

Back to his best again scoring a fantastic “opportunistic” goal right from the restart! Opportunistic in the sense that any other player will probably not have gone on that run, passed three players, right after his team have scored.

Most teams tend to relax too much after they scored and that is when they are most vulnerable… But no the little maestro did the opposite. 8

Arshavin

Looks tired to me. A lot of his passes did not find their man and tended to run up blind alleys on some occasions. The good thing about him is that even when he is not at his best he can still be very dangerous as he showed with two shots that took deflections, otherwise they were destined for the back of the net. 6

Eduardo

Much better than Bendtner really. Can hold the ball up, use it intelligently and is more dangerous in front of goal. Why doesn’t Wenger start with him on the wing rather than Bendtner or even Eboue? 7

Van Persie

He is becoming lethal in front of goal after an average start to the season. He is an intelligent player with and without the ball and is now becoming more confident in front of goal. 8

When Rosicky, Nasri and Walcott return Robin and Arsenal will become even more potent up front and if we can keep clean sheets at the back then we have a real opportunity to WIN THE TITLE this season.



Man of the Match: Robin van Persie


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bring Almunia back. Player analysis and ratings Vs West Ham

By 1970’s Gooner

It’s simply not good enough. To have blown away a lead once and then to go and do it again a few days later, in the same manner is beyond belief. Don’t tell me that we need to go three up to feel safe because this is what it looks like it at the moment.

It was really pathetic, going 2-0 up in the first half and not being able to close the game out. The players thought that the game was over after the first 45 minutes. They started playing in second and third gear, not really interested enough to put the game beyond reach.

So the young squad still has a lot to learn, apparently.

Mannone

I still think that he will be a great goalkeeper for Arsenal but he was clearly at fault for their first goal. He should have pushed the ball out for a corner not bring it back into play again.

This goal started their revival and it is almost impossible to move up a gear when you’ve been in a lethargic state for a big part of the second half.

If Almunia was fit he should have been brought back into the team. 5

Sagna

Was a lot better this game. Went forward enough and his crosses were much improved resulting in Arsenal’s first goal. 7

Gallas

Looks invigorated this season and got another goal today. 7

Vermaelen

The centre back that Arsenal needed. Intelligent, physical, a good passer of the ball as well as having an eye for goal. 7

Clichy

Had an average game defensively but was not as good going forward. The quality of his crosses left a lot to be desired. 6

Song

Was having another strong game with his ability to shield the defence and make the simple passes to his forwards or Fabregas. However he tends to foul unnecessarily sometimes and it was fairly stupid of him to do so in the box giving away the penalty. 6

Fabregas

Was playing in second gear from the beginning of the game. Drifted in out of the game and generally was not the usual Cesc we all know. 5

Diaby

Has cut out the fancy stuff in recent games and this has resulted in much better performances. 6

Arshavin

Looked disinterested and like Fabregas was not in the centre of things as we have come to expect from the little Russian demon. 5

Van Persie

One of the few that played well tonight. Scored the first goal and generally led the line well. Nearly scored the winner with a header that was saved by Green in the latter stages of the game. He was however no helped a lot by the below par performances of Fabregas and Arshavin. 7

Eboue

He is a much improved player this season but I feel his inability to make the right decisions at important moments will always hamper his effectiveness. Now if Rosicky was fit or even if Eduardo was in the team we would have probably won the game. 6



Friday, October 23, 2009

Lansbury scores two for Watford (video)

By Aries

Henri Lansbury scored two goals to help Watford to their 4 -1 thrashing of Sheffield Wednesday at Vicarage Road tonight.

He scored his first and Watford’s second on the 26th minute and rapped up the game with Warford’s fourth of the night.

You can watch all the goals on the video screen above.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Arshavin prefers early kick offs


By Aries

Andrey Arshavin was very pleased to score the 98th goal of his career. Speaking on his web site he gave credit to Fabregas for distracting the Birmingham defence.

“Our keeper got the ball to Cesc, he ran with the ball, passed it to me and I cut inside. Then Fabregas went on to overlap and distracted the defender to allow me some space to hit the ball” he said.

He admitted that may be the reason he was left out of the line up was the fatigue of having been involved in the World Cup qualifying games for Russia. He did feel tired he said.

“It is hard to come back from the international break? Of course, I felt tired. But that's not an excuse it is a fact”

At least there are comfy seats in the dug out recently installed at the Emirates.

“I felt all right. The club installed new, comfy benches for the substitutes...” he said.

Andrey also prefers the early kick offs in England unlike in Russia and the reason has something to do with his stomach.

“In England it's the opposite, the earlier the better. If the game starts at 4 or 5 pm I get hungry” he said!

Let’s hope his hunger for goals carries on unabated….


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Another route today?

By 1970's Gooner

The result of today’s game at the Emirates against Birmingham really depends on what Arsenal do rather than on how the opponents approach the game. This is generally the case when one of the teams in a game is superior and also playing at home.

Birmingham on the other hand has an added incentive today in that it is the first game under new (richer) ownership. This is bound to “encourage” the players to up their performance with the January transfer window soon approaching.

McLeish is likely to approach the game with the same tactics adopted against Manchester United at Old Trafford earlier in the season loosing in the end by one goal to nil.

They played in a defensive formation but came out more in the last 15 minutes to try and salvage a draw which they nearly did.

I was impressed with their performance on that day and that is why I think that today’s game will be won by Arsenal only if mistakes are kept to a minimum at the back and ruthlessness employed in front of goal.

If Arsenal scores an early goal then I would expect another rout of a low rank team at the Emirates. If however we allow them to get ahead first then I do not see Birmingham being as generous as Blackburn at the back.

The positive aspect about Arsenal this season, however, is the democratic approach to goal scoring. There are goals from everywhere in the team, reminiscent once again of the “total football” approach that Arsene Wenger’s style brings about.

With players like Arshavin, van Persie, Rosicky, Fabregas, Gallas and of course Vermaelen around the goal threat is very real and this bodes well when playing against lower quality opposition.

This allows a certain amount of optimism that this season we will not drop so many points against the likes of Birmingham.

If we get our defensive effectiveness right against the better teams of the League then we have a real chance for the title.


Predicted line up:

Mannone

Sagna Galas Vermaelen Gibbs

Diaby Song

Fabregas

Arshavin van Persie Rosicky


Prediction: Arsenal 3 Birmingham 0




Monday, October 05, 2009

Arsenal’s squad as good as Barcelona’s?


By Hamzi Mohd

Arsenal’s style of play has often been compared to Barcelona’s. Both teams play open attacking football relying on the high technique and skill of their players, the quick pass and continuous movement.

Another comparison this year is that both teams seem to play a 4 3 3 type of formation and it is interesting therefore to compare the them, player for player.

Below are suggested line ups of the two teams. Others may disagree with me as to the Arsenal line up (Walcott and Rosicky for example may get into the first 11 in other people’s assessment).

I only set out these 11 below in order to facilitate my point. The actual line up is, in some ways, immaterial as I believe that Arsenal has more strength in depth than Barcelona.

Barcelona:

Valdes
Alves Puyol Pique Maxwell
Xavi Toure Iniesta
Messi Ibrahimovic Henry

Subs: Marquez, Keita, Pedro, Pinto, Chygrynskiy, Bojan, Abidal, Busquets, Milito, Suarez

Arsenal:

Almunia
Sagna Gallas Vermaelen Clichy
Fabregas Song Nasri
Eduardo v Persie Arshavin

Subs: Fabianski (Mannone), Eboue, Djourou, Senderos, Gibbs, Diaby, Denilson, Walcott, Bendtner, Vela, Rosicky

A comparison of the first 11 line ups on a player to player basis shows that Arsenal actually could match Barcelona.

It is true that the Barcelona squad has proven world class players who can make a difference whenever needed.

Messi is one of the best in the world, Henry we all know what he can do and Ibrahimovic is a very good striker.

Iniesta and Xavi are both classy playmakers and both their fullbacks are very good going forward.

But we have Arshavin who in my opinion can match Messi’s brilliance.



Van Persie himself is at least as good as Ibrahimovic. Fabregas and Nasri (or Rosicky) can certainly match Iniesta and Xavi.

Song too is almost as good as Toure and will soon be even better. Clichy and Sagna are better than Alves and Maxwell.

When the squad issue is addressed, I believe that Arsenal has more depth than Barcelona’s.

Barcelona doesn’t have that many options if a few key players are out injured or suspended.

They only have Pedro, Suarez and Bojan in the attacking positions. Iniesta can play wide but he is really best in the middle alongside Xavi.

Arsenal however has the luxury of Walcott, Bendtner, Vela, Eduardo, Rosicky, Nasri and Eboue who can all play wide. Although Barcelona has better cover in defence ours is not that bad either.

So by this logic, no wonder Wenger is so optimistic about this current group of Arsenal players.

I just hope they could deliver this season and we, as Arsenal fans, should believe in them and give the team our full support.




Sunday, October 04, 2009

Arshavin praises Fabregas’s performance against Blackburn


By Aries

Andrey Arshavin heaved praise on skipper Cesc Fabregas after his wonderful performance today against Blackburn Rovers. He did after all have a hand in five of the six goals scored.

Speaking on his personal site he hailed Fabregas’s performance:

“Fabregas today performed miracles. Today, it all worked” he said

But it wasn’t all plain sailing as Arshavin admitted:

“I think we started badly today, lacked concentration, missed a goal, but thank God that Thomas Vermalaen went ahead and scored.

Then it swung against again 1-2, but we quickly equalised. And after that it all took shape easily and freely, comfortably” he said.

Andrey is now looking towards Russia’s game against Germany which will go a long way in determining their participation in the World Cup. And his team mates wished him well:

“All the guys after the game wished me luck and good fortune. Now I have good fighting mood before the match with Germany. I'm waiting for this game” Arshavin said.

Player analysis and ratings vs Blackburn


By 1970’s Gooner

This game epitomized Arsenal’s performances over the 13 years of Wenger’s hegemony. Pretty football, loads of goals but open to the sucker punch with defensive failings ever present to threaten Arsenal’s progress to a much needed title.

If we can tighten up a little bit more defensively then we have a genuine chance of challenging for honours this season.

Mannone

I fault him for Blackburn’s first goal. Vermaelen was beaten to the ball by Nzonzi and he is to be blamed too but Vito was way out of position giving himself little room for maneuver having to lean backwards with the ball eventually dropping into the net.

Still he made some very good saves especially from Dunn’s long distance shot which looked bound for goal. Wenger has a decision to make when Almunia returns to fitness. 6

Clichy

Back to his best after a shaky start to the season. Was as good defensively as in his attacking duties. 7

Sagna

Looked a little bit laboured today misplacing passes early on and failing to get his crosses over the first defender. Maybe this is why Wenger has been resting him lately by playing Eboue there. Sagna improved in the second half however. 6

Gallas

Looks much more fit, committed and sharper this season. His partnership with Vermaelen is gelling well and he looks better playing along side a left footed and experienced centre half. 7

Vermaelen

Yes he did miss that header that led to Blackburn’s goal but centre halves sometimes do don’t they? He made up for it by the spectacular goal he scored from outside the area.

He takes his goals with the ease of a goal scoring forward rather than a defender who has gone up front for a corner looking for the odd chance to score. He actually goes up front looking to score. 8

Song

He never fails to impress me. Strong and decisive with the distribution to match it. Hardly put a foot wrong all game and nearly got on the scoring sheet by the end. 7

Diaby

Must have got a real rollicking after his disappointing performance at Fulham as he improved his game against Olympiakos in the Champions League and carried it on today against Blackburn.

When he plays it simple then he is very effective as he can win and hold the ball by using his strong frame and skill.

But when he tries to be creative and carry on with the ball then he invariably goes up cul de sacs frustrating everyone and letting his team mates and the supporters down.

I think he will be playing his best games against the bigger teams because that is when he will be too afraid to make mistakes. 6

Fabregas

The little maestro is back to his best.

He was involved in five of the six goals for Arsenal today.

He made the assists for four and scored the important fourth which effectively killed the game.

For at 3 -2 up I felt that they had a chance to equalise through a dead ball situation or a defensive lapse. 9

Rosicky

I consider his involvement in the first team again as very crucial because we now have two genuine play makers where they can interchange positions in the middle of the park and take it in turn to dictate the game. Rosicky also adds much needed experience in the team as well as his football nous. 7

Arshavin

Slowly coming back to full match fitness but even at this level he can be dangerous with his clever runs and goal threat. This he showed with the intelligent run to the left of the defenders receiving the perfect ball from Cesc to score across Armstrong on the turn for 3-2. 6

van Persie

He is getting used to his new role of front man this season with every game he plays. His goal today was as good as the one he got against Fulham last week. Again a perfect ball by Fabregas, the one touch control and wham bang thank you mum!

The more support he gets from the wide men in this new 4 3 3 formation the more goals he will get. 7

Walcott

Looked sharp for the 22 minutes he played today and scored his goal like a veteran. His pace and trickery will be a great addition to the team when he gets fully fit. 7

Bendtner

Scored his goal with a spectacular shot from outside the area showing that Arsene may well be right when he says that Arsenal have strength in depth. 7

Consider that apart from Bendtner and Walcott we still have Eduardo, Nasri, Vela, Almunia, Djourou and Denilson to come back.


Man of the Match: Fabregas


Thursday, October 01, 2009

Arshavin reveals his pact with Eboue


By 1970’s Gooner

Andrey Arshavin’s form is surely returning back to his best after his much improved performance against Olypmiakos of Greece last Wednesday in the Champions League.

He recently risked aggravating a groin injury by opting to play for Russia against Wenger’s wishes. This proved ill conceived as he did his groin in and had to sit out Arsenal’s next few games.

He returned against Fulham where he looked out of touch but he was much improved against Olympiakos which bodes well for the Blackburn game coming up.

I expect that he will inflict the same kind of damage on big fat Sam’s team as he did last season where he scored his first goal for Arsenal.

Andrey acknowledged his return to some kind of fitness on his personal site:

“Today I felt good. Am I fully recovered? I think the next game will answer this question” he said.

I think it will.

Andrey scored Arsenal’s second against Olympiakos with an audacious back flip after receiving a marvelous through ball from the much improved Fabregas (another Arsenal player to improve his game, along with Diaby, after the Fulham performance).


He also revealed that his goal celebration after scoring was discussed with Eboue in the dressing room. That’s why Eboue was there first to offer congratulations lifting him on his back!

“We have already discussed this with Eboue in the locker room. I think tomorrow we will see it in a British newspaper”

Andrey also said that the players believed in getting the victory and continued to fight till the end with luck finally smiling upon them.

“We believed in victory and continued to fight until the end. We were lucky”.

We should all feel very lucky that Arsene finally got the cheque book out and bought a class player.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Arsenal’s three worst players against Fulham need to shape up and soon

By 1970’s Gooner

I was as delighted as much as I was frustrated last Saturday in that uncharacteristic one nil to the Arsenal win against a very spirited Fulham side.

I was delighted that we won the game which kept us within distance of the top, especially as Chelsea dropped points. I was also pleased that the win was obtained when not playing at our best.

It’s quite funny really in that a lot of the media usually criticise Arsene Wenger’s teams for not being able to rough it, play badly and win ugly. This is exactly what Arsenal did yet this is labeled a lucky win!

Stop reading the tabloids I say and stick to blogs….

Yet I cannot but ponder on the reasons for Arsenal’s lackluster performance. This is because I feel that if we carry on playing like this we are bound to come unstuck sooner than later.

Winning ugly gets you out of jail once or maybe twice but then you simply have to revert back to your brilliant best.

A lot of the pressure that Arsenal faced against Fulham originated from within itself rather than created by Fulham’s play.

Uncharacteristic mistakes were made in the passing of the ball and the giving away of possession and free kicks in dangerous areas; way too often.

In the offensive area of the pitch Arsenal did not create much and there was not enough fluidity and slick passing as we have become accustomed.

For all the above I blame three players in particular and I hope that they get back to form pretty soon starting tomorrow in the Champions League.

3. Fabregas

Yes he did after all provide the brilliant assist for van Persie’e goal and put a few excellent passes for the forwards to score. But you must agree that the little maestro is below par when you compare him to his brilliant best.

He has been misplacing passes and lacking that dynamism and dexterity that he has shown in previous years for quite a few games now. Something is bothering him and I hope it is not Barcelona.

Nevertheless if he doesn’t tick Arsenal’s clock stops ticking. And his below par performance affected the rest of the team.

2. Arshavin

He has been out for a month after taking that silly decision to play for Russia when he was clearly injured. This showed against Fulham. He was below pace, did not get much involved and generally did not contribute enough for the cause.

Add to this the lack of penetration on the other wing from the average Bendtner and you can see that poor van Persie did not get much of a service.

We need a fit Arshavin in the side and I hope that he can get back to full fitness quite soon.

1. Diaby

What an idiot. Who does he think he is? Maradona in his hey day? This boy has to be taught to play the simple game. Win the ball and then pass it. Full stop. At this stage of his development he should concentrate to get this right.

All he did last Saturday was to give possession to the other side. He did this by passing them the ball, trying one dribble too many or and this was more dangerous, giving away silly fouls in dangerous areas outside our box.

Abu Diaby you have the potential to become an Arsenal great but you have to learn to play simple football for the team. Not for yourself.

Fabregas and Arshavin will improve I am sure. But Wenger needs to reconsider whether to keep persisting with Diaby.



Monday, September 21, 2009

Photo of Lehmann at beer festival gets him dropped


By Aries

Stuttgart's head coach Markus Babbel was very annoyed with Jens Lehmann after his team’s 2-0 defeat by Cologne over the weekend.

He decided to come out of his area, rush way out to tackle an opponent and of course was left with egg on his face when the ball ended in the back of an unguarded net!

Reminds you of his mad rushes when he used to play for Arsenal doesn’t it?

And when Babbel found out that after the game Lehmann went to the Oktoberfest beer festival without permission he had enough.

The player has now been dropped for the cup game against fourth division side VfB Luebeck.

Lehmann said it had been a charity visit.

“The visit to the festival was part of a charity event which was planned a long time ago. It was not agreed with the club. Naturally, I accept measures taken by the sporting management” Lehmann said.

Jens had attended the festival with his wife Connie.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Four reasons why Arsenal lost to Manchester City (plus player ratings)

By 1970’s Gooner

1. Heavy legs?

What a pathetic performance by the Arsenal players in the first half. They could not find each other even with short passes, their free kicks and crosses rarely got past the first defender and their heavy legs never allowed them to play in a quick tempo. Cesc Fabregas was particularly guilty.

May be they were affected by the international week that a lot of them were involved in but Manchester City had players on international duty too.

In the second half after probably a good spanking by Wenger in the dressing room but more importantly with the introduction of Rosicky the whole team were rejuvenated.

Fabregas became more efficient and went more forward to give support to van Persie, Rosicky gave added impetus to the attacks and suddenly balls were finding their intended targets.

2. No width

Wenger elected to start with Bendtner and Diaby on the flanks in a 4 3 3 formation. Diaby was abysmal, holding onto the ball when he should have been passing it and when he got round to passing it he could not find his players.

More significantly he often strayed infield thus starving the team of the width on the left hand side that he should have been providing.

Bendtner was also ineffective for most of the time on the other wing. This meant that van Persie got no meaningful crosses or penetrative passes to exploit.

3. Clichy and Diaby go awol

In the first half Diaby helped Clichy deal with the threat of Wright Philips. But in the second both were guilty of leaving that left hand side almost unguarded. Both the vital second and third goals that killed the game off came from that side.

For the second Clichy was dispossessed up the field, Diaby was nowhere to be found and Song had to rush back to cover, unsuccesfuly.

For their third Clichy was tricked by Philips who raced clear to plant the ball on Adebayor’s head.


4. Almunia lets the team down

He was slow in coming out for the high ball against Portsmouth when they scored their goal but it didn’t matter. It mattered today. He was slow to react to Richards’s header and by the time he got to it the ball had hit the post and his back.

Goals change games and this goal gave them belief and had us chasing the game committing players up front in a second half.

Still we got Rosicky back and he looks back to his old best. This is a real bonus as he can add quality and creativeness to the team.

Almunia 5
Clichy 4
Sagna 5
Vermaelen 6
Gallas 6
Song 6
Denilson 5
Fabregas 6
Diaby 4
Bendtner 5
Van Persie 6

Rosicky 7
Eduardo 5
Eboue 5

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fabregas on the score sheet again…(video)

By 1970’s Gooner

European champions Spain secured their place at next year's World Cup finals with an easy 3-0 win over Estonia thanks to goals from Cesc Fabregas, Santi Cazorla and Juan Manuel Mata.

Bosnia-Herzegovina was held by Turkey earlier in the evening so Spain knew a victory over Estonia would be enough to guarantee themselves top spot in Group Five.

Spain took this opportunity as they continued their 100% record in qualifying with an eighth win in eight games.

Cesc got the first goal after receiving a through ball into the area and his shot low across the goal ended in the back of the net.

He seems to have found renewed confidence in front of goal this season. This seems to be a result of increasing maturity both in terms of football but also in his physique.

He is also benefiting from the more advanced role he has assumed for Arsenal in the new 4 3 3 formation that has been adopted by Arsene Wenger this season.



Monday, August 31, 2009

Arshavin ready to fly back to London


By Aries

Andrey Arshavin has, on his return to Russia to join up with the national team, revealed that his injury is a groin strain but more importantly that he has been injured for some time prior to the Manchester United match.

"I had problems with the groin before and in this match I reached out for the ball and the pain became very sharp."

His intention is to have a scan to determine the seriousness of the injury and if so fly right back to London.

"Of course if the scanning shows that there no or minimal chances to participate in the matches of the national team then I won’t go to St. Petersburg, I will rather return to London."

Unfortunately I cannot calm people down saying that everything is all right with me," said Arshavin.

"It is a fact that I have an injury but there is a question how long will it take to cure it”

Groin strains normally take up about two weeks to clear up. That is if they are not that serious. But unforunately Andrey has been playing with the injury so it may in fact take longer to heal.

Arsenal’s next match is in twelve days time away against Manchester City followed up four days later by the Champions League game against Standard Liege in Belgium.


Information on groin strains

What is a groin strain?

A strain is a stretch or tear of a muscle or tendon. People commonly call such an injury a "pulled" muscle. The muscles in your groin help bring your legs together.

There are two muscles that may commonly get injured in a groin strain: the adductor magnus (the large muscle running down the inner side of the thigh) and the sartorius (a thinner muscle that starts on the outside of your hip, crosses your thigh and attaches near the inside of the knee).

How is it treated?

Treatment may include:

• Applying ice to the strained muscle for 20 to 30 minutes every 3 to 4 hours for 2 or 3 days or until the pain goes away.

• Taking an anti-inflammatory medication prescribed by your healthcare provider.

• Wearing a supportive bandage called a thigh wrap or taping your thigh or groin.

• Doing the rehabilitation exercises you are given.

While you are recovering from your injury, you will need to change your sport or activity to one that does not make your condition worse. For example, you may need to swim instead of run.

How long will the effects last?

The length of recovery depends on many factors such as your age, health, and if you have had a previous groin injury. Recovery time also depends on the severity of the injury.

A mild groin strain may recover within a few weeks, whereas a severe injury may take 6 weeks or longer to recover. You need to stop doing the activities that cause pain until the groin has healed. If you continue doing activities that cause pain, your symptoms will return and it will take longer to recover.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Arshavin reveals why he was brought off at Old Trafford


By Aries

Andrey Artshavin revealed that he started the game at Old Trafford injured and that was the reason why he was substituted by Arsene Wenger.

When asked on his personal web site whether the reason he was brought off was due to possible damage inflicted by Fletcher’s tackle in the penalty that was not awarded in the first half, he said:

“I began the game injured anyway. This injury has worried me for a long time, but I had to play”

This may account for his below par performances as of late but if he can get goals like that when he is injured then there are far more exciting times to come form the little demon.

However, what is worrying is that Arsene Wenger is having to field players who are injured, so desperate the situation has reached with the absence of fit wide players. And there are many ofcourse, Nasri, Rosicky and Walcott.

What was perplexing to us here at Arsenal Analysis is, having decided to take a risk with Arshavin, why did Wenger decide to start with the ineffective Eboue leaving Bendtner on the bench?


Monday, August 24, 2009

The Arsenal goals against Pompey as you've never seen them before...

We are always ready to try something original here at Arsenal Analysis and Kazeem has come up with these very articulate sketchings depicting Arsenal's goals against Portsmouth.

By Kazeem Atanda










Sunday, August 23, 2009

Arshavin reveals what Wenger told the players at half time against Pompey

By Aries

Andrey Arshavin has been talking on his personal web site about the Portsmouth game.

He revealed that indeed the Arsenal players relaxed too much after the quick two goals that were scored in the first twenty two minutes.

“We started the meeting well. I think that our two quick goals went a long way in deciding the game. Arsenal’s possession advantage allowed us to enjoy the game ... Perhaps, after the second goal, we relaxed a bit”

Indeed they relaxed so much that even Arsene Wenger felt the need to warn them about being complacent. This he told them in the dressing room at half time.

“Arsene in the locker room told us about this. He reminded us that in the Premier League you can not afford to be relaxed. Because if you prematurely stop to fully concentrate on the game, this will immediately be followed by retaliation by the opponents”

The message obviously registered with the players as they came out in the second half and promptly scored two more goals.

“During the second half, we again scored two goals, thus delivering fun to the fans” Arshavin said.

It seems that complacencey, which has been a constant factor of all Wenger teams in the past, is rearing its ugly head again. This seems to happen against weaker opponents with the Arsenal players easing up as soon as a goal is scored.

Let’s hope that Wenger’s message is taken on board by the players…


Monday, August 17, 2009

Eduardo reveals why he didn’t start at Goodison and tips Arsenal as title contenders


By Aries

Eduardo was very pleased with his performance at Goodison and of his first Premiership goal of the season. Speaking to the Croatian media he said he feels great and healthy and that to him that is most important:

“I feel great, I'm healthy and that is most important. Let’s hope I remain so and there will follow more games and goals” he said.

For his goal he described how he anticipated that Arshavin’s shot might come back to him:

“The forwards must always be in motion, always be in the thick of the action until the end. You never know what will happen, where the ball might go so you must constantly be ready to react”

He also revealed what Wenger said to him when he told him that he will be on the bench:

“Wenger told me before the game that he did not want to take the risk. Understandably, last Wednesday I played in Minsk (for Croatia against Belarus) and it’s been a year and a half since I played two games in a row in four days”

But he enjoyed himself he said: “Because I was on the bench I enjoyed myself, the boys played fantastic and we showed that we are capable of great things”

When asked if he thought that Arsenal were championship contenders he did not disagree:

“Yes! I am convinced that we will fight for the title, the new champion will again come from the quartet of Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and us”

He did not think the loss of Toure and Adebayor has upset the team which is enjoying tremendous spirit:

“It seems to me that we have grown up as a team, so the loss of Toure and Adebayor did not upset us. We can feel the togetherness and the team spirit in the dressing room and this will be necessary if we are to win the title”

We showed it at Goodison Park where not just anyone can score against Everton, in Liverpool, half-dozen goals!

So say all of us…..


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Song is the new Vieira?

By 1970’s Gooner

Enough will be said about the demolition of Everton and the amazing six goals scored. All the players played a blinder today inclusive of Vermaelen who had a dream debut for Arsenal.

Bendtner and Denilson were exceptional to my mind but I just feel the need to highlight the world class performance that Alexandre Song put in today.

He was everywhere, tackling in front of the defence and protecting his back four, breaking up Everton’s attacks as soon as they started to develop and he distributed the ball forward with accuracy.

He was immense.

He is not Vieira in his physique but he was Vieira in his effectiveness and style of play today.

This is why Wenger decided not to buy another defensive midfielder.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Eduardo is the fox in the box again. Video of his goal for Croatia


By Aries

Eduardo is getting closer and closer back to his thrilling best. This time he scored Croatia’s second against Belarus in a World Cup qualification game on 72 minutes.

Like a true fox in the box he scored from close range from a pinpoint cross by skipper Darijo Srna. You can see the goal on the video above.

Croatia were in front after 22 minutes thanks to Bayern Munich's Olic. A drive from Tottenham’s Luka Modric was parried behind by the Belarus goalkeeper for a corner, from which Olic then headed home.

The same player got Croatia’s third on 81 minutes after Belarus got a goal back.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Why Arsenal will continue to be amongst the top teams for years to come

By Kazeem Atanda

It has almost become a tradition for teams outside the top four to spend big in order to break the monopoly of the elite clubs. But anytime a club does, the pundits' verdict is that "Arsenal will drop out of the top zone" due to Arsene Wenger's stingy behaviour in the transfer market.

In 2005 when Everton broke into the top four, it was Liverpool and not Arsenal that eventually dropped out. And it is a fact that no team has broken the monopoly since then.

Tottenham, Everton and Aston Villa all continue to spend big on new players than Arsenal every season but woefully end up finishing below the Gunners (and not even making the top four).

This summer, Manchester City's new owner has spent close to £100 m on new players that included Arsenal duo Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure.

Many observers have questioned Arsene Wenger's decision in selling these players to the Citizens believing that the Arsenal gaffer has sold fourth position to premiership rival, Manchester City.

Theses pundits have forgotten that this is not the first time that Arsenal will be selling their top stars, yet managed to finish in the top four despite parading a young and inexperienced team.

In the 2004/2005 season, without Wiltord and Kanu, Arsenal won the FA cup and finished 3rd in the league.

Losing Vieira and Edu in 2005/2006 season was one player too many, yet Arsenal reached the final of the Champions League and finished 4th in the premiership.

Pires, Reyes, Bergkamp, Campbell and Ashley Cole, all left in 2006/2007 season but it didn't stop Arsene Wenger's young guns reaching the Carling Cup final and retaining 4th position in the league.

In 2007/2008 season, the news that every Arsenal fan had been dreading for a year, talismanic captain Thierry Henry left for Barcelona while Ljumberg also left for West Ham. Yet Arsenal lost the premiership title with only a few games to go and ended in 3rd position.

Without Hleb, Flamini and Gilberto last season Arsenal were semi finalists in both the FA cup and Champions League and finished 4th in the premiership.

This summer, with only one addition, two players already gone and probably more has brought out the Cassandra’s of this world.

The only person whose absence will mar the club is Arsene Wenger, himself. He knows the club inside out and being an economist, he is a man with the air of an accountant, the dress sense of a senior civil servant and a modern business man.

Wenger's technique, character, appetite and masterpiece of the round leather game is second to none. In almost 13 years at Arsenal, he has transformed the club, created a string of superlative teams, built a glittering stadium and helped to transform the stagnant conservatism of English football.

Though Arsene knows to his bones that the game is all about glory he will never spend big to achieve it.

There are two reasons why Wenger is building his team this way. One is that he loves developing youngsters. And the second is that he hates spending money. It is not in his nature.

For those that believe Arsene Wenger's young guns will not propel Arsenal to the top four this season should wait a little.

The Gunners will be challenging for titles on all four fronts.

"Arsene knows" is a phrase that will resurface with a vengeance once more.


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Eduardo: “Wenger talks to me. I feel like a new player”


By Aries

It was only last week or so when all the press had Eduardo injured again and missing for the next two months. But as we first reported on this site they were of course proved wrong with Eduardo making headline appearances.

He has taken part in four friendlies so far during which he returned to old ways by hitting the net three times. This is what he said to the Croatian sports site “sportal.hr" at the end of the Emirates Cup tournament:

“I feel great, much better compared to the previous Sunday when I played without having any games beforehand”

He also revealed that he has a lot of encouragement from Arsene Wenger but chose not to give any details:

“After this week I feel like a new player and I have a lot more confidence. I am delighted that once again I am scoring. They are all satisfied at the club and I often talk to Arsene Wenger, but this will remain personal”

Eduardo is targeting his first competitive appearance for the season for his national team, Croatia, against Alexander Hleb’s Belarus but first he wants to play in Arsenal’s friendly against Valencia next Saturday.

“Immediately after (Valencia) I will head to Zagreb and join my team-mates. If everything goes according to plan I will be ready to travel to Minsk. I am looking forward to this match which will be my first for Croatia after four and a half months”

Look after yourself Eduardo....


Sunday, August 02, 2009

Wenger’s Vieira decision is a cop out


By 1970’s Gooner

This is incredible. Arsene Wenger sells Patrick Vieira at least a year after his sell by date had expired but now four years later he wants to bring him back!

What absolute rubbish!

Patrick Vieira was on his last legs in his last two seasons at Highbury but at least when Arsene got round to eventually selling him we got a good price for him.

He returned to face Arsenal in the Champions League with Juventus later and was a nonentity in that game. He then went to Inter Milan where in his last season there has not really been a regular player.

I happened to watch him in a Champions League group game last year in Europe and I felt sad for him. He was off the pace and all he restricted himself in doing was to receive the ball (not win it) and pass it sideways to a colleague.

He has after all reached the 33rd year of his life. His box to box forays and staying power is now a thing of the past.

Remember Arsene has a policy of not offering contracts to players who are or will be over their 30th birthday!

Robert Pires had another good year left in him at Arsenal but no, he had to go and as a result Arsenal was starved of his experienced services and suffered for it. Henry and Vieira himself were also off loaded for mainly the same reasons.

But now Arsene Wenger does not rule out the possibility of Vieira coming back:

"It is a possibility. We do not rule it out and we do not say we won't do it. There is a football decision and also a psychological decision over a player of that stature who could come in”

I think it is quite evident that what Arsenal need above all this season are strong and experienced defensive midfielders which will, together with Song, Diaby and Denilson provide a small pool of players that will complement Fabregas’s ingenuity and forward moves.

But what Arsenal certainly does not need is a worn out warrior from days past who will embarrass both himself and Wenger with his ineffective and perepatic performances.

The fact that Wenger is actually thinking of bringing Vieira back is indicative of either a severe lack of cash at the Arsenal Football Club or the clear intention that no more players of note will be brought in.

A cop out.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rosicky: “I’m fit and will play in the Emirates Cup”


By Aries

Forget what the tabloids and other newspapers will have you believe.

They picked on what came out of Arsenal with regard to Tomas Rosicky’s “minor problem”, married it with his absence from all the friendlies after Barnet and came out with their usual negative headlines about him suffering a relapse…

The player on his official website has announced that not only is he fit but that Arsene Wenger has already told him (and Gael Clichy) that they will play in the Emirates Cup!

"I thought that I would spend more time on the pitch (against Barnet) and then the two matches that followed I had to watch from the stands"

“I was also ready for Wednesday's match in Hanover, but the coach decided that I, as well as GaĆ«l Clichy will get a chance to play at the weekend in the Emirates Cup tournament” he said.

He also indicated that the reason for his absence may have been connected with the heavy training schedule in Austria which may have affected him more than others due to his 18 month absence.

"There is a difference when one has an eighteen-month break from football, even if he is healthy. We had intensive training, a few games then more exercises. I hurt all over. For four days I could not really run. We were so tired that we did not have the mood for any fun”

But I am fit, which is the most important thing now."


Monday, July 27, 2009

Video highlights and player ratings: Arsenal Vs Haladas

By 1970’s Gooner

Mannone: Did not have many things of note to do. Fluffed his clearance after a bad back pass from Ramsey when he should have kicked the ball out of his area with his left rather than the right foot. But he came out forcefully to clear a through ball. 6

Szczesny: One bad clearance when he should have stayed in his area but two very good saves, one from a free kick and the other from close range. 7

Eboue: one of the worst players in the first half. Hardly played a ball to an Arsenal player. If we can really get 8m for him then grab it and run I say. 4

Sagna: Quiet game but without mistakes. 6

Traore: Fantastic going forward, lousy in defending. Reminds me of Clichy and Ashley Cole in their earlier days where they were excellent going forward but their defensive positioning was lousy. They all had to use their pace to salvage the situation.

Cole and Clichy have turned out excellent defenders and so will Traore but how will Wenger satisfy all three current Arsenal left backs? 7

Silvestre: I am worried about his pace. This did not show today due to the opposition. 6

Toure: Still needs games to get into shape. Some clearances were shaky. 6

Djourou: Has to watch his positioning. 6

Gallas: Solid with a few very good tackles. The decision against him for the penalty was way too harsh. 7

Vermaelen: I liked his positional sense and the cultured left foot he has. He defended and also distributed well. 7

Denilson: Started every friendly game so far. I hope it is not a sign of things to come..Was, along with Ramsey, overran during the first 15 minutes when the opponents dominated. Perked up later. 6

Ramsey: One of his worst games so far. Hardly able to keep the ball or pass it to a team mate. 5

Song: Solid and getting better with his distribution. 7

Senderos: Again started in defensive midfield. Did well but I fear against Premier League opposition he will be giving too many fouls away as his lack of pace will be letting him down. This is not his position of course. 6

Wilshere: Lost on the left wing in the first half but when moved into the play makers position came into the for. This is his natural position and it is up to Wenger to decide whether to trust him there so early on in his career (like Fabregas) or bide his time. He missed two chances to score by trying to be too clever. 5

Bendtner: Increasingly looks the part. Scored two well taken goals and generally his overall play was very professional. This may be a very significant season for him and for Arsenal. I am expecting that he will rise up to fill Adebayor’s gap as I think that Wenger will not buy… 9

Eduardo: Scored two well taken goals. He is a clinical finisher and if he stays fit then he will score goals for us this season. 8

Arshavin: Was not up to his usual high standard today. Couldn’t hold the ball well nor pass it accurately. 5

Van Persie: had an average game but scored a superb penalty. 6


Man of the Match: Nicklas Bendtner



Friday, July 24, 2009

Vela shows he can take the pressure


By 1970’s Gooner

It wasn’t so long ago that Carlos Vela was thinking that the injury he sustained three weeks ago while on duty for Mexico would probably not only rule him out of Mexico’s next few games in the Gold Cup, now taking place in the USA, but also out of Arsenal’s early Premier League games in August.

But, as with many things in football, situations can change so quickly and so dramatically.

Due to the scare about his injured foot he had to sit out on the bench for most of the semi final against Costa Rica. But he came on late in the second half on the 81st minute.

Little did he know that the game would go to penalties and that he would be called upon to take the penalty that would give Mexico the ticket for the final.

He took it with consummate ease defying his young age sending the goalkeeper the wrong way, placing the ball calmly into the net. You can watch it on the video screen above (around the 8.24 mark).

He is Mexico’s hero for now. He may even repeat the feat in the final.

You never know football is a funny game….

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Eduardo: “It cannot be true. I am not injured”


By Aries

Eduardo has expressed dismay with regard to the news, apparently given by Arsene Wenger after the Columbia- Arsenal game, on his fitness.

Wenger was quoted as saying that Eduardo will take another two months to return to action and the media of course made a big meal out of it and started writing stories that Eduardo had suffered a relapse.

Wenger said: “… in the next two months we’ll have Eduardo back as well, so we have offensive options, but you do not want to lose important players before the season starts.”

Well, according to Eduardo himself this cannot be further from the truth! Speaking today to Croatian paper “Jutarhji” he said:

“I do not know anything about the statement made by my coach. It can not be true. I am completely ready physically”

He went on to say that he has already been told in which games he will play in Austria and even for how long in each game.

“I was told that I will play between 20 and 30 minutes on the 27th July when we play against Szombatelya. Two days later against Hannover 96 I will play a half” he said.

So if we are to believe Eduardo then we can only assume that Wenger was referring to the time that will take for Eduardo to get back to proper fitness after being out for such a long time.

“I feel great, next week I will play for Arsenal, and I believe that everything will be OK” Eduardo concluded.