Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Saturday, March 31, 2007

What a load of rubbish!

They played like a preseason tour game. They lacked passion, ambition and direction.

And once again AW got the team selection wrong.

How can Diaby play at the left wing is beyond us. And Hleb should have been substituted in the first half! He was shocking. Rosicky should have started the game instead.

Fabregas needs a strong defensive midfielder next to him. Arsene refuses to acknowledge it. AW's only excuse is that he is trying to give more experience to Denilson so that next year there is a readily available alternative to Fabregas. Something that has been lacking this season.

And Clichy and Eboue were obviously short of games. As a result they could not give that attacking impetus that we expected in our previous posting.

Baptista is a joke. How can AW even consider buying him in the first place is beyond us. He would have probably turned out to be his worse ever signing after Jeffers.

We hope that Mr. Wenger does not make the same selections for the next game.

Liverpool Vs Arsenal... a prediction

There are three significant considerations that have to be taken into account when trying to look into predicting today's game.

1. The return of Clichy and Ebuoe in defence and Adebyor in attack means that not only Arsenal are strengthened overall but also they will add attacking full backs as part of their armoury. Something clearly missing recently.

2. AW will have had around 10 days to prepare for this game and I mean not only having most of the players with him getting them fit (or resting them) but also tactically.

3. Liverpool have a very important Champions League game coming up in a few days. Will they play their strongest team? And if they do will the players' mind be as focused?

We think probably not.

We know that trying to predict anything is always perilous but if the above advantages materialise then we cerainly do not only see Arsenal loosing today but they can even make it three out of three wins at Anfield.

Friday, March 30, 2007

A bid for Arsenal is on the cards. Reading between the lines….

Two significant items have happened in the last 24 hours.

First, Stan Kroenke has distanced himself from a statement made by a Mr. Mainka, a spokesman for MLS Colorado Rapids (which is owned by Kroenke). In Mr Mainka's statement it was claimed that Kroenke was not interested in making a bid for Arsenal!

So one can interpret Kroenke’s refusal to acknowledge Mr. Mainka that he is indeed interested in Arsenal.

Secondly Keith Edelman, Managing Director of the club, broke the club’s silence on the matter saying that the directors were committed to the club.

This does not however imply that the club will not be sold.

It may mean that the core of the Directors will remain at the club after a new owner comes in. This may be part of the deal that may already have been agreed! And this explains Fiszman’s initial sale of 1% of the club’s shares probably preparing for his full exit from the club (it also earned him a nice premium as the price of the shares has gone up since he sold the initial 1%)!

The transfer of shares from Friar to Hillwood falls in line with this interpretation. Yes, it may have been a past loan between the two but the reason the shares have been returned at this particular juncture probably implies that the latter wishes to dispose them! To the new owner?

Is Mr Wenger aware of what is going on?

Keith Edelman’s statement of “commitment to the club” probably implies that continuity as far as the manager is concerned is part and parcel of the deal.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The times they are a changing……Arsenal to be sold.

There is a lot of movement on the Arsenal shares front as you probably already know. The following have been reported:

- Danny Fiszman sells 1% of his 25% holding for £4m to as yet an unknown buyer
- Ken Friar transfers 1m worth of shares to the chairman Hill-Wood for free
- ITV is reported to want to unload their 9,9% stake
- The share price has jumped to £6,675 from the £ 5,975 Fiszman sold his 1% a few days ago!

People involved in the financial world would interpret the above as pointing to a probable bid being expected. No one in his right mind pays 4m for a very small share in a company. The interpretation is that someone is buying shares in order to make a bid for the company. If he has already convinced Fiszman to sell 1% then probably they have agreed for the remainder of the shares to be bought later or for Fiszman to support the bid and remain on the Board.

The current structure of the shareholding is as follows:

Fiszman 24.0%
Bracewell-Smith 15.9%
Dein 14.6%
ITV 9.9 %
Hillwood 0.8 %
Friar 0.07%
Mystery buyer 1.0%
Others 33.73%

If we assume that the mystery buyer already has Fiszman’s 24% “pledged” then he only has to acquire ITV’s share to reach to more than the 30% he will need to launch a takeover bid!

Hold tight!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Anelka for Arsenal

As analysed in a recent posting “Arsenal’s Transfer Targets” one of the three players Arsene needs to recruit for next year is a goal scoring forward.

We have been watching Nicolas Anelka closely during this campaign and cannot fail but be impressed with his attitude and high quality of performances. Not to mention those two gloriously taken goals against the Arsenal at the Reebok.
What a perfect player for Arsenal he is likely to be.

Consider the following:

- he is ideal as a forward to play with Henry or without him

- he is a very skilful player who scores goals for fun but can keep the ball and bring players into the game. Look how well he is playing for those average players at Bolton.

- he has played for Arsenal before and knows the way AW wants his forwards to play

- he knows the English Premier League well and therefore does not require any adjustment time as a new raw Wenger recruit would otherwise need.

- at only 28 years old he now has a blend of relative youthfulness along with maturity and experience that is sorely missing from an experience depleted squad.

- he is not likely to cost silly money and anything under 8 m will be considered value for money.

We are sure Anelka will jump at the chance of rejoining Arsenal and finishing his career where he started it.

The only obstacle is probably AW’s reluctance to resign a player he once let go.

But what a tremendous addition to the scoring capability of Arsenal he will be.

Arsene should reconsider

Friday, March 23, 2007

Arsenal doesn’t score enough goals but should the Beast stay?

Watching Arsenal play over the last few games is proving to be extremely frustrating. The team that under Arsene Wenger transformed its image from the most boring to the sexiest team on the planet, scoring goals for fun can not buy one at the minute.

We know we have a lot of strikers injured and suspended but again that never used to be a problem in the past.

Remember back in 1998 when both Ian Wright and Denis Bergkamp were injured and Christopher Wre and Luis Boa Morte were scoring goals in the run-in helping us to the title?

Remember Anelka in 2000-2001 coming – an 18-year-old kid back then -doing the business when Bergkamp was injured?

In 03-04 goals were flying in from everywhere, Pires, Ljunberg, Henry, getting the majority but Bergkamp, Vieira, Gilberto and even Lauren chipped in.

The current squad is every bit as talented and capable as all the above championship winning teams. There is however a very significant difference, the current team is goal shy especially from midfield. Add to the list the three strikers we have unavailable and you can explain why we are currently struggling.

Should the Beast stay?

Watching the games against Villa and Everton we were wondering whether Wenger would consider taking ’the beast’ on permanently or whether he would send him back to Madrid.

As a player he has a lot of qualities that are suitable to the Premier League, he is a powerful guy who likes running with the ball directly at defenders, he can hold the ball and link up play well and he is extremely hard working. He started his carrier as a defensive midfielder so he doesn’t mind a tackle either.

The problem with Baptista is that we are not quite sure what he is. Is he a striker or a midfielder and more importantly where would he fit in this Arsenal Team?

It’s very difficult to see how he would secure a position in the Arsenal midfield, as Cesk and Gilberto are permanent fixtures in the middle and Rosicky, Hleb and Ljunberg are better wingers than him. With transfer speculation linking another winger with the Gunners this makes it almost impossible for him to get a game in midfield.

He has been getting a run of games lately with all the injuries and suspension we have, but other than a well-taken goal against Reading we haven’t seen anything exceptional, nothing that would suggest that a considerable amount of money should be spend on acquiring his services.

To his defence he is playing in a side that have lost their way a little bit and Aliadiere is not the ideal partner for him. As a result he drifts out of games a lot, gets frustrated and drops deep to get the ball where he is even more ineffective.

He and Kolo are actually the only players to offer any kind of threat from set pieces, but even then he somehow manages to waste good chances. He is also anxious in front of goal, maybe because of the luck of goals, panics a bit and usually chooses the wrong option. Despite all that, you have to say he has the intelligence to get into good positions and does not go hiding always asking for the ball. If he can find his touch then he could really prove a handful for most defenders.

A huge question mark still remains whether he can force his way in to the starting line up as a striker. Current form suggests not and we are not sure he would be willing to sit on the bench for another season.

If we had to make the choice right now we would find it an expensive gamble to take him on.

However Wenger wanted to sign him since his Sevilla days and you know as well as we do that he is not one to give up on players easily. This makes us worry that Julio maybe lining up with the Gunners next season.

The whole thing is related of course to the Reyes situation in Spain. Real on their part seem to be making noises that they will not take him on permanently which is probably a smokescreen in order to reduce the price.

We were big Reyes fans and still hope that he can overcome his London complex– probably never going to happen – because my god have we missed him this season, We have lacked pace on the wings and he would have provided a different dimension to our game. With him in the side our season would still be alive.

He had his best games when TH14 was not in the side and this would have been a perfect opportunity to showcase his talents.

A lot of transfer speculation is going on around at the minute, but just to put everyone’s mind at ease the Gaffer has just bought a player according to reports.
Well you shouldn’t be as he is a 16-year-old Norwegian Defender…

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The beautiful game and how to make it better

We do not have much time for Mr. Mawhinney’s ideas of how to make football more exciting. Awarding an extra point to the team winning the penalty shoot out at the end of a drawn game will, in our opinion, give an even bigger incentive to the team playing for a draw to go for a draw! Let’s go for a draw lads and if we manage it we might even win the shoot out and end up with two points! Thanks very much.

Surely this beats the purpose of the exercise. Can you imagine what the last 15 minutes of a match will be like? Boring as hell.

One of the main problems with football is the off-side rule. We suggest that this should become operative only beyond the height of the penalty area.

The reason for this is that defences can, and do, squeeze the game into a very narrow playing field. They can push the attacking team all the way to the half line in some cases. This restricts even the most skilful attacking teams to a very narrow space in which to unfold their attacking skills and attempt to break down the tactics of the team that is defending. Moreover, the rule as it is applied today requires the referee’s assistant to focus at two very different, and often very far apart, points at the exact time the pass is played forward. This means that it is almost impossible to implement the rule effectively and therefore we have many wrong decisions.

The remedy to this is to widen the effective playing field. This will create a situation whereby the spectators can enjoy many more goals in a game of football. To achieve this, we suggest that the off-side rule should in effect become operative only beyond the height of the penalty area (rather than where it is now – the halfway line). Perhaps extending the horizontal line of the penalty area to the edge of the throw lines should be considered so as to clearly indicate to players where the off-side rule comes into effect. The space that will open up in the middle of the field will allow and facilitate attacking creativity which will result in more goals scored and a far more exciting experience for the spectators.

For less serious offences in the penalty area award a secondary penalty.

Another idea to improve football, is to have a secondary penalty (for less serious offences in the penalty area) where the referee will position the ball further out – say at the level of the penalty area or at the top of the arc of the penalty area. This way, while maintaining the penalty kick for goal scoring offences, defenders will not be able to get away with fouls which they would be given any where else on field but are not blown in the penalty area (because the only punishment that is available – the penalty - does not fit the crime). Attacking football will be encouraged for both teams this way. It would also be fairer for teams, and in particular those teams which are not too physical and find themselves at a disadvantage to teams who abuse this weakness in the rules.

Time wasting on the corner flag. Create another arc.

It is unprofessional and a very negative tactic to take the ball to the corner flag and exploit the tight space created by the arc in order to block the opposition players out. We recommend that a way to stop this happening is to add another arc equidistant from the flag as the present arc. The rule should be that no player be allowed to keep the ball between the new arc and the corner spot for more than six seconds. The punishment will be a free kick from the arc for the opposing team. The original arc will continue to be used for corner taking.

Award an extra point for each goal scored.

Surely this will give a big incentive for teams to come out of their shell and try to score as many goals as they can.

Did that cross the line?

Surely the technology is there to let us know when the ball has crossed the line. It is already used in a number of sports such as Rugby and Ice hockey. Why oh why the FA refuse to adopt it is a mystery. Are they tied down with the old fashioned idea of “the referee is the only one that can make decisions in the football field? Then why do they award red cards after the game has ended? Or is it their inability and timid ness that stops them. Whatever it is snap out of it. The game is a multi million pound industry where everything is decided on one single event “a goal”

Monday, March 19, 2007

Arsenal’s lack of width and decent strike force did not enable them to kill the game off

“We wander however whether against a more potent team if Arsenal would have kept the opposition out”.

This was posted on the site after the Villa game. And again against Everton the defence conceded after a set play. All fairs dues the defence played quite well – up to that point. They looked competent and assured and this was aided by the fact of playing one more experienced defender at the back than at the Villa game where Hoyte and Djourou were the Left and Right backs.

AW idea of continuing with Silva in defence allowed Diaby to assume his ‘rightful’ position in midfield and he showed why he will very soon, with more games, become the first choice for that position. He is much better than Sissoko of Liverpool who does not have as good a passing and shooting ability. More selection headaches for AW when Ebuoe returns to the squad as he will surely reinstate Toure in the middle of the defence.

What Arsenal lacked during this game were width and scoring ability up front which did not enable them to kill the game off. The absence of Cliché and Ebuoe in addition to Ljumberg’s ineffectiveness on the right wing meant that there was no meaningful penetration from these dangerous positions. And up front the limitations of Aliadere and Baptista were again very evident – as predicted! We do not believe AW when he says he does not need to buy! AW needs to let these two go so that he can sign a top class finisher to compliment Henry, Adebayor, Van Persie and Bendtner. As analysed in a previous posting “ Arsenal’s transfer targets” there is not a lot wrong with the squad especially when you take into account the injured players and those out on loan returning.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Line up for the Everton game

There are not many options available still since only Toure is the only fit player coming back from the suspended lot. Still this will allow AW to bring back Silva in midfield where for the moment he belongs. So galas and Toure should start at the centre of defence.

The left back position is troublesome. Traore did not play against Villa because he was running out for the youth team at the Emirates in front of 38.341 people! I think AW should start him against Everton. The kid needs experience and he is a real talent. But AW may go for experience and play Hoyte and Djourou at the left and right back positions.

I can see Rosicky starting this time and it looks that AW will again play Ljumebrg rather than Hleb who may not yet be fully ready to start but should be on the bench.

There are not many forwards left now that Walcott will go ahead with his surgery on his shoulder (that’s probably why he did not start against the Villa).
So :
Hoyte Toure Gallas Djourou
Rosicky Fabregas Silva Ljumbgerg
Baptista Aliadere

Thursday, March 15, 2007

If you don't buy a lottery ticket ............

As wished for in the previous posting Silva did in the end play at centre half but again AW continues to select Denilson at central midfield where Diaby should have played. And Diaby is much less effective on the left wing. The man is not a winger! We all know that Diaby will be Silva’s successor so why AW persists in this selection policy is a mystery. Of course the whole of the team suffers for it.
I was also proved right about Aliadiere. He is not a natural goal scorer and the hat trick of chances he missed was ample proof of that. And as predicted he faded again in the second half. Maybe he only needs to score a few goals and get his confidence back or AW should consider playing him on the wing now that the team has a real need for such a player. I think he will prove much more effective from there due to his pace and can become established at this position saving AW from having to enter the transfer market and save a few million pounds in the process.
Due to the lack of goal scoring ability in last night’s forward line it was not obvious where a goal was going to come from. And fair dues to Baptista at least he is not afraid to shoot. And if you don’t buy a lottery ticket you don’t win the lottery! Lampard is doing it all the time so why not Baptista or Fabregas or even Hleb!
At least it was a clean sheet! Even with Senderos coming on again at the time of a set piece being taken against the defence. We wonder however whether against a more potent team if Arsenal would have kept the opposition out.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Line up for the Villa game

After the recent disappointments it is imperative that Arsenal win tonight in order to get their confidence back and maintain their challenge for a CL spot. So I expect that AW will go for more experienced players in defence and at the same time try to introduce attacking options in terms of pace and goal scoring potential in attack.

Since Toure is unavailable and Senderos still feeling his hamstring then Gilberto should start in defence along with Gallas. This will allow AW to play Diaby in midfield where his power and strength going forward can provide the impetus for creating scoring opportunities. At the same time Gilberto is expected to cope better against Carew than Djourou could. Hoyte should play at right back and Traore at left back.

The other two midfielders should be Rosicky and Ljumberrg. Rosicky because he is irreplaceable with his energy, dribbling ability and goal scoring potential. Ljumberg only because of his experience and due to Hleb’s injury.

Aliadiere should be on the bench. He tends to fade away in games and has not convinced that he can score goals. I would expect that Walcott should start along with Baptista. Walcott showed against Reading that he has potential at this position and his pace and goal scoring ability are much better than Aliadere’s.

So for tonight:

Hoyte Silva Gallas Traore
Rosicky Diaby Fabregas Ljumberg
Baptista Walcott

Monday, March 12, 2007

Arsenal's transfer targets

As feared Henry is out for the rest of the season. It showed when he came on that he was not fit enough. And this is why he aggravated whatever injuries he had (and they were not telling us about). It also showed how desperate AW was to consider playing an unfit Henry. The only good thing to come out of it is that Henry can now really concentrate on getting properly fit for next season. And now Arsenal can get its own house in order without having the pressures of FA Cup or Champion's League games. Third or fourth place is now almost a certainty with Bolton showing that they cannot last the distance.

Should AW go into the summer transfer market?

Whatever other knee jerk pundits are saying I am of the opinion that there are only a few things to sort out and only a few more players to bring in before Arsenal pose a real challenge next season. Remember that a lot of the young players have gained a lot of experience this season and they have been magnificent. Add the return of the injured players and those out on loan and you have the basis of a strong side. Lets look at each position :

Goalkeeper: The emphasis will be to keep Lehmann. Also recruit a keeper who will be challenging for the first team along with Almunia. Akinfey of CCSK is 20 years old and fits the bill. In addition Almunia has impressed this season in the cups and is in my opinion ready to be trusted.

Right Back: No need to add there! Eboue, Hoyte and Gilbert (on loan to Cardiff) are more than adequate. Djourou and Gallas can also cover here.

Left back: No need to add. Cliche will be better than Cole and Traore is following in the same footsteps. To recruit will jeopardise the kids chances. Flamini and Gallas have proved quite capable of filling in when required.

Central Defenders: Again no need to add! You have Gallas , Toure, Senderos and Djourou and Silva can cover when needed. In fact it seems that one of the reasons Silva is being played in this position is that AW probably values Diaby very highly and will want to give him his chance in that midfield position that Vieira used to hold.

Central midfielders: No need to add. Silva and Fabregas along with Diaby, Denilson and Flamini appear to be enough. But do not forget Song who is impressing me at Charlton in the recent games I have seen him. He really is on song. It appears that a run of games has given him the confidence he needed. He particularly impressed me away at Man Utd and I hope AW brings him back. Add to this lot the oncoming Muamba who is improving at Birmingham and Arsenal will have a strong midfield for years to come.

Wide midfielders: Here there is a shortfall in that Ljumberg is not able to provide the quality of service that is required. AW needs to buy a pacy winger to replace him and compliment Walcott's inexperience. Rosicky and Hleb are excellent midfielders but the squad needs more cover in these positions.

Forwards: There is Henry of course and Adebayor and Van Persie. Is this enough? Aliadiere and Baptista need to go as they have not really been up to standard but more importantly in order to release space for Betdner who should be recalled back to the squad. He is big and strong and has that directness and determined streak which could be what Arsenal are looking for to compliment their pretty knit work. However Arsenal need to recruit another goalscorer to their ranks as there is not enough cover if they are to challenge for honours next season.

So probably a goalkeeper, a pacy winger and a forward!

20m should do it?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The reasons why Arsenal only drew against PSV

There are some important reasons why Arsenal lost last night. Lets hope they are corrected. AW now has the time to do this and use the remainder of the fixtures to prepare without pressure for next season.

Players were out of position

Toure was fine at right back but to play Silva at centre back was not a good idea. It weakened the midfield because Denilson is not yet as good as Silva, not enough experience nor cunniness. Silva is also dangerous as a goalscorer. All this was sacrificed by AW for some reason we cannot yet fathom! But the really important loss was the fact that Cesc did not have someone experienced near him to provide the security and the springboard so that he could play his beautiful game. He looked more nervous than normal. AW could have played Djourou at centre back and kept Silva in midfield.

Inadequate players at key positions

Ljumberg looks like he is past it. He cannot get passed his man and he tries to get free kicks instead. This is not good enough. He should be part of a clear up in the summer.

The same goes for Baptista. He has not convinced that he is an Arsenal player. He did not provide enough of a threat last night. Adebayor did but he needs support. Hleb is so shot shy that when he thinks about shooting he is like a 16 year old trying to ask a girl out for the first time!

So if you dont have enough goalscorers and your goal success rate is about 20 shots on goal then you are in trouble.

The substitutions and their timing were again wrong

The team was on the up. They scored an unlikely goal and began to open PSV's defence up as their heads inevitably dropped after conceding. The substitutions broke that momentum up and was never recovered. Add to that the fact that the subs did not add anything new. In fact taking out a winger and adding a midfielder (Diaby for Ljumberg) reduced the team's
penetration capabilities whatever they were - better to have introduced Walcott instead. And introducing a clearly unfit Henry for Baptista proved very costly since a fit Baptista had clearly more of a chance to score. Even Aliadier could have come on. Henry is now out possibly for the rest of the season!

Comedy of Errors! Naivety from Clichy, Fabregas, Hleb, Diaby and Lehmann!

Apart from the bigger picture and issues that affect the outcomes of matches, games are also decided on small details. Small mistakes that can cost you big. And usually it is a combination of errors that result in goals. Very efficient opponents only need one mistake. And Arsenal conceded the goal having made the following errors:

1. Instead of choosing the safe option of throwing the ball down the touch line Clichy makes a throw sideways towards the middle of the pitch to an imaginary player!

2. Fabregas panics and instead of folowing the ball decides to make an overhead kick to another imaginary player!

3. The ball is finally picked up by a PSV player who is chased to the corner flag by Hleb and the ball becomes stationary on the arc of the corner flag with the PSV player the last player to touch it. Hleb proceeds to foul him!

4.The ball is not placed where the foul is commited. It is placed a few important feet inwards and to the left thus allowing the taker to send it in from a more advantageous position. The referee shoul have ordered a retake. Diaby jumps for the ball but is ineffective.

5. Lehmann comes for it and then goes back. He is left in no man's land.Again!

So there you have it. Four errors from the Arsenal players and one from the officials.

Reasons to be cheerful
There are a lot.

But this will be the subject of future issues!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

THiery Henry should not start against PSV

If Thiery is not fit he should not start tonight. Not only will it knock him out for a long time afterwards it will more importantly render him unable to contribute significantly during the game. And as I have reiterated before an unfit Henry hampers the rest of the team in that his control and speed are impeded and as most of Arsenal's attacks inevitably go through him, slows the team up. And Arsenal will need to play at a high tempo to catch the opponents off their positions.

He will be much more effective coming off the bench at the later stages if Arsenal have not been successful in breaking PSV down.

How will the match develop?

PSV are most likely to sit on their one nil lead and suck Arsenal in, packing their defence and restricting space behind their lines relying on the counter attack. Arsenal will have to be at their best to break them down. That is play a quick incisive passing game taking as many shots as they can but only when the probability of scoring is reasonable. They should not try to walk the ball in the net!

What they also have to do is vary their game by playing long balls or high balls into Adebayor so that an element of surprise is introduced into their game. There is nothing better for a defender when the opponent's play is repetitive and without variety.

Arsenal need to do two other things:

The first is not to lose concentration in defence as Kone and Farfan can be lethal.

The second is that if they get two nil up they should not sit back but push hard for a third to kill the game off since it is proven that they concede stupid goals.

The probale line up should be:

Djourou Toure Gallas Clichy
Ljungberg Silva Fabregas Hleb
Baptista Adebayor

The absence of Eboue is in my opinion a blow since his thrusting runs from defence could have created significant problems for PSV. Really the debate as to whether Henry should play or not should have been replaced by a similar one with Eboue.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Should Thiery play against PSV?

First a few observations on the Reading game.

Again AW got it wrong on the substitute changes

Mistake number 1. To take out Hleb amd put Senderos in unbalanced the team.
Mistake Number 2. It gave a sign to the opposition to come at Arsenal.
Mistake number 3. The substitution was made when Arsenal was defending a corner! Everyone knows you never make a substitution in such a situation.

And then two players, Senderos and Silva jumped together for the corner thus impeding each other. This smells of disorganisation on the bench. You should send a player on with instructions on where to play and what to do to combat the situation he will immediately face when he comes on the pitch.

Cesc is getting better and better

He is now adding the long range shot in his armoury and when he learrns to add a swerve when shooting, as Lapmard does, then he will start scoring from outside the box. Especially if he also shoots low so that he can benefit from any possible deflections. All his goals have come from inside the box so far.

Baptista needs to learn to pass through opponents rather than sideways.

He is an untypical Brazilian in that he does not possess so much skill as you would expect from a player brought up in Sao Paolo. Or he has not shown it yet! He is all muscle and bustle. But he has still to convince on his Arsenal credentials. There were a few occasions against Reading when Lumberg made those runs behind the defence that needed that incisive type of pass that Arsenal are good at but he could not see it. Will AW sign him? He has to improve a lot for this to happen. On the other hand AW was ready to sign him before Baptista opted for Real Madrid so he must have seen something in him and I hope it was not just his muscle.

Should Thiery play against PSV?

This is a crunch game for the Arsenal. They are out of the FA cup, the title race and lost the Carling Cup final. If they exit the CL then they will have nothing to show for their endevours. The good thing is that the protagonists of Cardiff are of course eligible to play. But PSV are a very cunny team in that they sit back and try to get at you on the break and even then they do not commit many players. They do not even have to score now that they are one nil up! Throw in a very capable 6ft 5 goalkeeper and you have the makings of a very frustrating night for all Arsenal supporters.

How can Arsenal progress?

Arsenal will have to combine srtength and agility in defence (a goal conceded will probably prove too much) and maintain a very high tempo from the off. The high tempo is crucial to the way AW will want his team to play because if you give the opponents time to take defensive positions then a packed defence is likely to frustrate Arsenal.

Under this scenario should TH start? To tell the truth in the games he has played recently he has been out of sorts and has, if anything, been hindering the fast pace the team try to play. This is especially true since most of Arsenal's play usually goes through him.I think if he is feeling an injury he is best coming off the bench rather than starting.

An important player for the CL game will be Ebue because of his thrusting runs down the right hand side. If he is fit and plays he may prove crucial.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Arsenal are the most fouled team!

Arsenal commit the lowest number of fouls BUT get booked the most often!!!!

fouls yellows fouls per yellow
Arsenal 240 44 5.45
Villa 362 33 10.96
Blackburn 382 61 6.26
Bolton 382 59 6.47
Charlton 318 44 7.22
Chelsea 312 43 7.25
Everton 402 48 8.37
Fulham 367 47 7.80
Liverpool 327 29 11.27
Manchester C 381 40 9.52
Man United 307 40 7.67
Middelesbro 365 49 7.44
Newcastle 346 56 6.17
Portsmouth 366 37 9.89
Reading 296 29 10.2
Sheffield Uni 329 47 7
Spurs 320 39 8.20
Watford 397 36 11.02
West Ham 382 59 6.47
Wigan 352 52 6.76