Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

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.


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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