Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.


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.


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:


Sagna Gallas Vermaelen, Traore

Eboue Fabregas Denilson Nasri

Eduardo Arshavin

I would go for 4 4 2.