Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Arsenal are in a win win situation

By 1970’s Gooner

Every one has been writing us off against Barcelona. Ever since the draw has been made no one, apart from the fanatical core of Arsenal supporters, has been giving us a chance of going through.

Yet if you compare the two teams since their last meeting you can only see the greater improvement in Arsenal. Starting from the back:

• Manuel Almunia: I think that Szczesny is a better goalkeeper than Almunia. Granted Almunia was not really at fault for their goals in the second leg but the young boy is capable of turning in a performance if required.

• Bacary Sagna: no change here when compared to last year.

• Thomas Vermaelen: A fit Vermaelen would have been a great plus for Arsenal. We are a bit minus here when compared to Koscienly.

• Mikael Silvestre: Need I say no more? Djourou, our player of the season for me so far. A definite plus here.

• Gael Clichy: He is an improved player this season after an indifferent last season.

• Denilson: He proved inadequate last year. Jack is of course a far more effective midfielder

• Abou Diaby: He is out of this tie but Song who did not play in the return leg is a box to box dynamo who can look after Messi and Co much better than Diaby or Denilson did last time.

• Samir Nasri: If he is fit and plays then we will have a very potent forward line but otherwise Arshavin, who didn’t start in the second leg, is finding his form again.

• Tomas Rosicky: Was inept last season and I am glad he will not start this time. Cesc who didn’t feature last time will run the midfield. A big plus here…

• Theo Walcott: Theo has improved no end this season where he has managed to add nous to his unbelievable pace.

• Nicklas Bendtner: He was our front man last time out and scored but with Robin van Persie in the team we look a different proposition….

The big changes this time are Song, Fabregas, Wilshere, Djourou and van Persie. They replace Denilson, Diaby, Silvestre, Bendtner and Rosicky. Don't tell me that these are not massive changes.

So overall we are a team which is more experienced, balanced and brimming with quality.

If Arsenal go through, then the big psychological impact on the players could propel them to Premier League success. The impact will be phenomenal.

But if we fail to qualify we still gain really because expectations have not been that high anyway and we will be able to concentrate on the league.

Unlike Man Utd who will, if they go through, have to play those midweek matches which take a toll on the players.

I keep telling you, Arsenal are in a win win situation….


Anonymous said...

Sagna is suspended derrrrr

Anonymous said...

Sagna is suspended, Diaby ie eligible to play. Is he injured???

gazzap said...

agreed. I have been saying the same thing. wenger wanted barca when the fans wanted to avoid them. he knew we either win and create history, and massive boost, or we lose, no one would expect otherwise, and we can look at the title. If we do go through, I think our chances of winning the title halve. it effects things that much IMO.

Anonymous said...

Isn’t it fantastic when the heart wins out? Victoria concordia crescit.
I guess my overall takeaway point would be that tonight was a vision of what we can be. Maybe we’re not there yet, and it won’t always be this good, of course. But all the problems Arsenal have had faded away last night, and for one perfect evening, everything fell into place, and Arsenal FC were the club we want it to be and what it is at our very best. Great atmosphere at the ground? Usually not, but it was tonight (see video below). Shaky goalkeeper? We’ve had that in the past, but Wojo is excellent and getting better, and had a good night. Blowing a late lead? It’s our bugaboo, but yesterday we’re the ones who came from behind and took the match. Mental weakness? Nope — we were absolutely fearless. I think we saw a glimpse of all of Wenger’s promises coming to fruition. Wenger steered us through a very tough financial period when we moved into the Emirates, and while we haven’t won any trophies there yet, we haven’t dropped out of the top 4, and have gone from one of England’s bigger sides to one of the biggest sides in all of Europe. You’ve heard me say it before, and I will say it again — Wenger has never gotten, and probably will never get, enough credit for what he’s done the last 6 years. That some fans actually have called for his job boggles my mind.

Anonymous said...

I finally got home at around 12.30am, asleep by about 1am, and for some daft reason (probably called adrenalin) awake at 6am. It was of course a momentous occasion, and one that will stay with me I suspect for the rest of my life. The greatest game I have been at? Yes, probably. Beating Everton 4-0 to win the league with Tony Adams scoring directly in front of us for the last goal – that was great (and as with last night, an extraordinary atmosphere) but yes, giving the quality of the game and the atmosphere, this was probably it.

Walter’s article, which I read this morning, captured the mood, and no one needs the match reporting since everyone saw it. But I threw in the number of shots on target in the headline, just in case that hadn’t actually been made clear. We won on that count too.

Which is quite something considering the slickness of Barca in the first part of the game.

The atmosphere was the greatest ever at the ground, that is certainly true. I have been truly fortunate in having been at the very first league game at the Ems, and at many since then, and indeed I was at the Barca game a year ago, but this was not just a bit more special, this was on a different planet. Putting a flag on every seat was a nice touch, and during the regular build up it was noticeable that while the whole place was rocking there was one corner of the ground that seemed strangely subdued – from where I sit it looked as if the Barca fans hadn’t a clue how to respond. They did have one little bouncing session part way through the game, but for the most part they didn’t take us on.

But even before we got into the ground we knew this was going to be different. Touts outside the ground were offering tickets at £450 each (I genuinely heard “that will be £900 for the two mate”, and prior to leaving I was offered £450 for one of my two tickets. But Stuart already had it – and after the game he couldn’t stop thanking me enough for it. I wanted to tell him that actually it wasn’t me that was out there on the pitch, but then I thought, well, I don’t get that much praise in my life, so I’ll go with it).

Back to the prelims. Walking from the tube to the ground it was just, well, different, different, different. More chanting and shouting even that when we play the Tinies. More energy. More buzz. I was so totally wound up I couldn’t even go and get my regular fish and chips.

What I remember more than anything about the game a year ago was the way after 10 minutes I was just sitting there with my mouth hanging open wondering how we could be pulled apart so easily. There was an element of that in the first half, but, there was also an element that suggested that we might just find out how to do it.

It made it so clear to me that in most games we profit by the opposition giving the ball away to us, and we charge on. But Barca don’t. They play like Arsenal at our best – but for longer spells. That’s all the difference is.

And then after half time we saw it. The most audacious tactical change ever in the history of football. Nothing less than the total re-writing of the laws of physics. Robin VP kicks the ball. There is no room for the ball to go between the keeper and the post. The ball shrinks. The post moves out an inch. The ball goes through, and returns to its normal size. Amazing! Unprecedented. The head of the Royal Society is, I am told, on the spot at this very moment, investigating. This could lead to a whole new realm of science, opening the door to transportation into the quantum world.

As for Arshavin, what a brilliant ploy. Make him play poorly for a month. Let him get his form back. Then drop him, and then bring him on as a sub to score the winner. How do you work such things out?

Anonymous said...

No one around me was happy with Theo coming off, and there were those behind me saying “Nasri’s in trouble – injury’s back – Wenger shouldn’t have risked him.” I just hope they reflect for a moment – that change of tactic with worked a treat. Theo was played out, they dismissed Bendtner as a typical “bring on the big man” ploy, and they had no idea how to play Arshavin.

After the game the crowd stayed. I don’t know if on TV you got to see any of it, but Arshavin rushed off the pitch and straight down the tunnel, while others hung around. Robin came over to the Red Action end and cheered us all, while Sczcscszjssny gave his gloves to a lucky kid. (If you watch TV you probably didn’t see the event a game or two ago where Eboue took off all his clothes down to his pants and gave them to people in the crowd, but that’s another story.)

They loved us, we loved them.

It was good, it was special, it was an honour to be part of it.

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