Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Dimitrov’s transfer to Arsenal hit a snag

By Aries

There has been pure rubbish written in the last few days about Bulgarian Nicolay Dimitrov’s “impending” transfer to Arsenal (for 700k).

As you may recall “Arsenal Analysis” first reported on Dimitrov’s trial period at London Colney, the ensuing communication between Arsene Wenger and the Levski hierarchy and the scouting that took place by Arsenal’s Bobby Bennet.

So you would expect that we will be one of the first ones to get a sniff of any impending transfer that might involve Dimitrov.

What has actually happened is that the Independent in an article last week mentioned in passing, if you like, that Arsenal’s interest in Dimitrov may be renewed.

This has resulted in various blogs and the Epping Forest Guardian of all newspapers taking it as fact that the deal has gone through!

Well we have news for you.

Firstly the Bulgarian site that one Arsenal blog (we will not mention their name here) quotes as their hot source, “The Sofia Echo” has no such news on Dimitrov.

Secondly our sources have informed us that a reason for the inactivity around Dimitrov’s transfer to Arsenal is that a work permit is required by the UK authorities for any player originating from Bulgaria (and Romania).

This is even if Bulgaria is a fully fledged member of the European Union as there is a restriction on the movement of labour which will last until the beginning of 2009.

This was also the reason that the transfer (for £700k) of another Bulgarian, CSKA Sofia’s Valentin Iliev, to Norwich failed last January.

So if there is to be any activity on this front it will have to be with the new year unless Arsenal ask and get special dispensation for Dimitrov.

But this is unlikely as he has not played in three quarters of Bulgaria’s international games.

Dimitrov for his part has said that he has read of the English press stories about him and Arsenal but all he is doing now is concentrating on helping his club, Levski, get into the UEFA positions in Bulgarian League.

"I read what they have issued in England for me and Arsenal. I try not to think of these things but only of Levski” he said to Bulgarian Sports paper “Gong”.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Eduardo on course for earlier than expected return

By Aries

Eduardo has been in Rio de Janeiro attending Ronaldo’s Clinic R9 every day.

As we have reported first on this site his doctors who Arsenal entrusted for his recovery programme headed by the Brazilian National Team doctor,Jose Luis Runco, have come out and put his expected return on the training field in four months.

This has encouraged Eduardo who said to Brazilian that he wants to shorten his time of recovery even further.

“I prefer to look forward and I am dedicated to my physiotherapy programme. If necessary, I will spend 24 hours on the treatment table. If God gives me the right to hope, I will fight for it – completely”.

He also revealed that Martin Taylor has not yet apologised to him!

When asked about the punishment of a three game ban that Taylor received he said that it was disproportionate to the damage done to him.

He compared his situation to Dutch player Niels Kokmeijer who broke his leg after Moroccan Rachid Bouaouzan (now with Wigan) tackled him. He was sent to prison for six months by a Dutch court.

He thought that Rachid Bouaouzan’s punishment was too excessive.

“I think Rachid Bouaouzan should have been removed from football for the same time that the victim remained in recovery. As the player can not go back to work, the aggressor deserved to be excluded from football”.

Eduardo's return is now expected in September of this year.

This will probably encourage Arsene Wenger to utilise any transfer funds he has in strengthening other areas such as in central defence and in midfield especially if Flamini leaves.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Arsenal’s title hopes are still alive. Player analysis and ratings Vs Derby

By 1970’s Gooner

Call me the eternal optimist if you like but as I have been saying throughout the last week we would still have a chance if only Chelsea would beat Manchester United.

Now they did and the fact we have reduced the gap by thrashing Derby means that the scenario that would give the title to Arsenal is not that implausible….

The ridicule I have received is welcomed especially if Manchester United and Chelsea slip up in the next two games.

All we need is for Manchester United to loose one and draw the other of their two remaining games and Chelsea not to win any (as we have a superior goal difference over Chelsea)

Manchester United play against West Ham (home) and Wigan (away) and Chelsea against Newcastle (away) and Bolton (home).

Oh and Arsenal have to win both their games against Everton (home) and Sunderland (away).

Manchester United 36, +53, 81
Chelsea 36, +37, 81
Arsenal 36, +41, 77

Highly unlikely you might say but it’s not over until Vic Akers sings; and as in life, the most unpredictable things can happen when you least expect them…..

Tonight’s game can be characterised by the word “undisciplined”. When Arsenal went 1-0 up and then again 2-1 up they lost their discipline and started prancing about as the game became too easy for them.

They were lucky they were playing against a Derby side that was undisciplined and lacking in defencive capabilities. Darren Moore looking like a pub player than a Premiership come championship centre half.

Any other team would have punished Arsenal’s stepping off the gas like a lot of other lesser capable but more disciplined teams have done in the past causing Arsenal crucial points.

Nevertheless you can’t complain much when your team score six goals at a canter.


He showed us both his strengths and weaknesses. He is a very good shot stopper as are a lot of goalkeepers who hail from Leagues that play the ball more on the ground rather than send crosses in at every opportunity.

But he is weak on the high balls as he always opted to punch out rather than catch the ball in the air. He was also partly at fault for the equaliser as he stayed on his line when the corner was placed in the heart of the defence. 6


He made a few mistakes tonight that unfortunately resulted in the two goals that Derby scored. The first he failed to jump in order to head the ball away from the corner, may be waiting for Fabiansky to come out.

For Derby’s second goal he took the ball out of the defence too much and then proceeded to make a hush of a pass that was intercepted. He was then course out of position in the center of our defence which Earnshaw took advantage and raced on alone to beat Fabiansky. 5


He was professional enough and kept to his position and role quite well up until the final ten minutes when it was obvious that the game was won. He tried to go forward to get a goal but couldn’t manage it. 7


He has been along with Fabregas Arsenal’s best player this season. If it wasn’t for a few lapses of concentration he would have had a perfect season. No one got passed him tonight and went forward all the time. 9


Solid and looked less tired tonight. Had a couple of shots that went very near to getting him another goal for this season. 8


The little maestro was back to his best. He was controlling midfield spraying the passes left right and centre. Not even that idiot hatchet man calling himself a footballer (Savage) could get near him. 9


He started very tentatively and looked out of the pace and game. But after 20 minutes or so he started contributing constructively and from then on he bossed the midfield along with Fabregas. He was also quite good at stealing the ball and setting counter attacks up. 8


He was less frivolous tonight and actually got his crosses in early and to the right areas. One of his better games for Arsenal. 8


He was always a danger on the flanks as the Derby defenders couln’t keep up with his pace. When he began to look up rather than just hair down the line he became much more dangerous. This was very evident in the second half as Derby tired and he found more space.

He scored a wonderful goal which was a carbon copy of a goal he scored for the under 21s against Bulgaria (I think). He cut into the area from the left and curled a shot around Carroll into the net. 8


Combined very well with Van Persie for the first goal after they played the one two. He took his goal coolly into the opposite corner.

From then on he had an average game until the second half when in an withdrawn role (Van Persie had gone off with a thigh strain) he showed that he has the vision and the pass to set up his fellow players.

Adebayor was guilty of not scoring more goals as Bendtner set him up on his own in the area but he failed to beat the goalkeeper. 8

Van Persie

Played only one half but he of course oozed quality. He missed a sitter though when he did all the hard work to get a clear shot on goal which he put wide.

But he made up for it by scoring soon after controlling Toure’s delightful high ball which he brought under control with his chest inside the area and slotting passed the hapless Carroll. 8


Came on the second 45 minutes but managed to get his second hat trick of the season (the first was against the same opponents at the Emirates).

His first was a tap in after good work from Walcott who cut in from the right after a delightful through pass from Denilson.

The second came after wonderful interplay in the middle of the park and wing play from Clichy who cut in from the left and laid a through ball across the area for the oncoming Adebayor to slide in.

And his third after a sumptious through ball through the middle from Fabregas which left him with only Carroll to beat; which he did by dancing passed him and rolling the ball into the net. 9

Man of the Match: Adebayor

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Eduardo’s doctors now put his comeback much earlier than expected

By 1970's Gooner

As is known Eduardo has received permission by the Arsenal medical team to continue his recuperation from his horrific injury in the more familiar surroundings of Rio De Janeiro in Brazil.

As we first reported on this site, Eduardo has indeed arrived in Rio De Janeiro and begun his treatment at Clinic R9 along with its owner, Ronaldo.

Eduardo’s medical team which comprises of Dr. Runco along with physiotherapist Odir de Souza had already drawn up a schedule of what he needed to do for his recovery.

Now they have had a chance to assess the player from close hand they are much more optimistic with regard to his recovery period.

They expect that he can be back training in four months, as early as August.

If you remember the initial estimation was for a nine month period out of action with his return initially expected in November.

“Eduardo is very happy” said Narley da Silva his cousin and representative.

“He visits Clinic R9 every morning and that includes Sundays. The doctors will decide whether he will take Sundays off or not”.

This is great news for all of us Arsenal fans and indeed Mr Hill Wood and his stingy Board who will probably thank the Almighty they won’t have to dig into their pockets to fund the recruitment of another forward.

The Jack Wilshere Show on video

By Aries

We have recently written on this site about the exciting young prospect called Jack Wilshere.

This was right after 1970’s Gooner got all excited having watched the 16 year old outclass West Ham’s (much older) reserves.

He had a hand in both goals scored. The first by cutting inside and sliding a ball on the floor right through the West ham defence for Rui Fonte to run onto and toe poke into the net via the near post.

But it was Wilshere’s goal that impressed everyone. He again picked the ball form the right hand side came infield and as the defenders backed off shot a delightful curler of a shot.

It evaded the goalkeeper’s desperately outstretched hand to glide in off the post and into the net!

No wonder Arsene Wenger had a very satisfying smile when he scored.

A lot of our readers (especially those living abroad) were asking to see this boy in action.

We have now managed to find the video of these two goals. You can watch them by clicking on the video bar which is on the right hand page.

The Jack Wilshere show. Reserves outplay West Ham as a new star is born

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Stingy Arsenal let Flamini go

By 1970’s Gooner

We wrote on this site a few days ago that the Flamini auction is due to begin.

Well, this is gathering pace as there are three clubs keenly interested in paying Flamini more than the 50.000 pounds a week stingy Peter Hill Wood and his Board have offered him.

"We have made what we think is a pretty generous offer and we are waiting to hear whether he will accept or not," Hill-Wood said.

"I don't know the answer, all I know is we think we have pushed the boat out."

Pushed the boat out?

Come on Mr Hill Wood how much are you paying Fabregas? How much are you paying Gallas?

Flamini has been fantastic for Arsenal this season. His defensive play, energy and box to box covering have been excellent.

He has been just as important to Arsene Wenger’s style of football with his covering role as Fabregas who was the more creative of the two.

Surely the guy deserves recognition for what he has contributed and for what he will offer to Arsenal during next season’s crucial campaign; for Arsenal have to win something big next season if we are to keep players like Fabregas at the club.

Additionally, if he decides to go Arsenal will receive no fee as he has unbelievably been allowed to run out his contract. This means that Arsenal will probably need to buy to replace him.

The available options of Diaby, Song and Denilson although exciting are inexperienced to be able to fill in. So why not offer him more money which he surely deserves anyway!

And it seems that other clubs are offering him the recognition and the money he deserves.

Juventus have been tracking Flamini for some time now, and are believed to have offered him a deal worth around £10,000 a week more than Mr Hill Wood is offering.

The Italian club's director Jean-Claude Blanc confirmed that a deal for the player is almost complete and has dismissed speculation which has suggested that their arch rivals Milan could be set to hijack the move at the last minute.

"We have the advantage " he said. "As a child Flamini was a supporter of Juve.

"We also have a sporting project in place and we will be in the Champions League. Milan will not."

Now Jürgen Klinsmann who will take over at Bayern Munich next season is reported to be very interested in entering the race for Flamini’s signature.

French Sports newspaper L’ Equipe is reporting that he has discussed the matter of Flamini’s availability with Bayern’s general manager Uli Hoeness.

They have decided to enter the race for his signature with a determined bid.

So what are Arsenal doing? Are they going to just sit back and let the player walk away?

“Flamini auction opens the door for youngster”

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Jack Wilshere show. Reserves outplay West Ham as a new star is born

By 1970’s Gooner

West Ham apparently are lying second in the Reserves League but on this showing they are a team of plonkers.

Arsenal who outplayed them and outclassed them were a team full of quality throughout all positions (with about half of the players being foreign) whereas West Ham were full of hard working but mostly average (English) footballers.

But it was one English player playing for Arsenal who caught the eye. Stuart Storey commenting on the game likened him to Alexander Hleb and one can see why. He is left footed, full of trickery, the ball stuck to his feet like glue and he had that knack of gliding past his marker in an effortless way.

Yet he reminded me more of an Arsenal legend from the 1970’s, Irishman Liam Brady, the present Youth Development director. Liam was a favourite player of mine and of a lot of other Gooners of that generation.

He too was able to make the ball stick to his left boot and glided past players with ease. He was a quality player among a lot of average plonkers that were in abundance in the First Division at that time. No wonder he felt he had to ply his trade abroad (he moved to Italy’s Juventus and won two Scudettos with them).

Jack Wilshere is only 16 and most probably the youngest player on the pitch against West Ham but he certainly outshone the rest of the players. He started on the right hand side of midfield and it was from there he created the first goal.

He cut inside, passed his man and slid a ball on the floor right through the West ham defence for Rui Fonte to run onto and toe poke into the net via the near post.

But it was Wilshere’s goal that impressed everyone. He again picked the ball form the right hand side came infield and as the defenders backed off shot a delightful curler of a shot.

It almost bend near 180 degrees to evade the goalkeeper’s desperately outstretched hand to glide in off the post and into the net! No wonder Arsene Wenger had a very satisfying smile when he scored.

What was equally pleasing was that later on as Diaby was taken off with what may have been a hip problem Wilshere was moved into that central midfield role. He was just as good there too.

Despite his young age and small built he was able to actually dictate play shielding the ball well and spraying accurate passes around him and to the forwards.

He is really another exciting prospect in Liam Brady’s Academy conveyor belt.

Two other Arsenal youngsters keep impressing me every time I watch the reserves. Nacer Barazite, who is 17, plays with a lot of confidence and ease on the ball. He is very effective in that compatriot’s of his (Bergkamp) role just behind the front striker.

He is able to create space and time for himself spraying the passes that put other players in advantageous positions. He was very effective in that role.

The other youngster is another 17 year old Norwegian Havard Nordtveit. He is the one that Wenger went all the way to Norway to convince his club owner and his father to allow him to be transferred to Arsenal.

I can see why. He is a very confident and strong defender who plays with his brain.

His positioning is sound which is vital for a defender and his distribution is excellent with his long diagonal passes to either wing more often than not resulting with the Arsenal player being free of his marker and through into the opponents area.

There’s a lot of quality in the reserves coming through.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Flamini auction opens the door for youngster

By 1970’s Gooner

It appears that Flamini will not be with Arsenal next season. This looked a real possibility when the player refused to get down to serious business and negotiate a new contract.

He has rejected a new deal from Arsenal that would double his salary from 25,000 to 50,000 pounds a week!

This delay has been going on for more than 12 months and he has obviously let his contract run out so that with no transfer fee for his new employer's his services will be in tremendous demand.

Arsene Wenger has told the player that he will not be held to ransom over a new contract and has given him 11 days to sign up or find a new club.

It seems that the same thing will happen with Flamini as with Edu who refused to sign a new contract and then left on a free to go to Spain’s Valencia.

I myself realized that Flamini was really on his way out when he looked so eager to be substituted at Anfield.

As soon as he looked at his ankle he immediately gestured to be substituted. He didn’t want to wait for Gary Lewin’s diagnosis; he wanted to come out. This told me that he was saving himself for his up coming move to “greener” pastures.

So it appears that the auction will soon begin.

Bayern’s sports director Hoeness has already indicated that they are interested: “there are some very good players that are available on a free” he said recently.

Juventus have been linked with Flamini for a few months and the latest reports from Italy claim that Alessio Secco, their sports director, is flying to London to present Flamini with an official contract offer.

This says to me that the offer is most probably at its final stages after negotiations have already been finalized by Flamini’s agent and Secco.

But Milan are also in the bidding process. They are reported to have been greatly impressed by Flamini’s wonderful display at the San Siro during Arsenal’s win there in the Champion‘s League.

The Milan hierarchy realized that he is the perfect replacement for Gattuso who himself is showing signs of ageing (in football terms).

While Flamini can now sit back and mull over which club he wants to ply his football next season Arsene has to make plans for his potential replacement.

Gilberto will most probably go in the summer too so this will open the door for the younger midfielders in the squad to shine.

Diaby, Denilson and Song are to my mind very good players and could excel at that position.

Diaby in particular should be given a chance to show what he can do at his natural place in midfield.

Just like Fabregas when he was younger, Wenger has been using him in the first team, albeit out of position.

This shows that he has the belief in him and we will, I think, see him start many more games there.

Song too as I have repeatedly written about in the past has the potential to become a very good midfielder aside from his present position at the centre of the defence. Denilson however needs more time.

But all these players have not played that much in this position. And if some injury strikes then we will be desperately short again. So experience needs to be drafted in so as to bolster the squad and give options.

First choice would be to keep Flamini of course and I hope that Wenger manages to convince him to stay.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Charlie Nicholas is talking crap. Player analysis and ratings Vs Reading

By 1970’s Gooner

The pressure was off a little bit and the players could play with more (mental) freedom and when this happens the beautiful football gets even more beautiful.

Arsenal dominated throughout the game played with panache and scored two goals at a canter. The first crafted by Toure and beautifully controlled and scored by Adebayor.

The move to get clear and his finish was again reminiscent of Henry.

The second followed after a lot of pressure at the Reading goal. The ball was rolled by the excellent Fabregas to the on coming Gilberto outside the area who slipped whilst taking his shot. A lucky deflection carried it beyond Hahnemann.

Yet this was reminiscent of a lot of games this and last season where we play well, dominate, score the goal we deserve and then proceed to miss chance after chance.

Sometimes this has led to the other team getting back into the game through a set piece or a defensive mistake. Remember this season Birmingham at home and away, Sunderland at home where we surrendered a two goal lead and Middlesbrough at home.

Mustn’t complain though. This was a welcomed win after so many games without.

Gunning for second place must now be vigorously pursued so as to avoid the CL early summer qualifiers in July. This is especially important as some of our players will be tired after Euro 2008 in June.


He had another very good game. For a player who has not played for a long time to be thrust in again in the first team like he was at Old Trafford and today against Reading he performed at a very high level of alertness.

If it wasn’t for his unsettling of the dressing room I would be arguing for him to stay! 8


Looked below his best and tired at the early stages but his assist for Arsenal’s first goal gave him a lift and he improved after that.

I think his form has suffered due to injury and tiredness picked up at the Africa Nations Cup. Playing out of position recently did not help him either. 6


The most consistent performer this season playing wonderful football both in defence and in his attacking forays. 8


The defence was not really under that much pressure so there is not much to say here. He had a solid game doing what he had to do well. 6


I like Song. He has a lot of confidence and marks real tight not allowing his player much room to turn. His distribution is a lot better than Senderos as well and does not lack at all compared to the other defenders either.

Is he a defender or a midfielder? My position is that he is a much better player as a midfielder.

He was very effective for Charlton in the Premiership during his loan period there.

But he was also outstanding for Cameroon in the ANC.

I think he will be a very good player for Arsenal for years to come. 8


Back to his best. Dictating play, spraying the passes left right and center, getting into the box for goal attempts. He was everywhere. 9


He is returning to form but I doubt whether this would be good enough to keep him at the Emirates. He protected the defence well and also got forward getting the goal his performance deserved. 7


Full of trickery again but with substance in his play. He even had a shot at goal!

He should however sometimes cross that ball first time when he gets behind his man. He tends to hold the ball and come back in again giving time for the defenders to get back to their positions. 8


He should start more games now. His pace is electrifying and he is learning to hold his head when he gets passed his man looking for the cut back or the cross.

I hope that next season we change our style a little bit to speed our game up when we are attacking because Walcott will be ideal for that. 8

Van Persie

He has needed four or five matches to find his feet as we have been saying so on this site.

Sadly it is a bit late now but you can see how much more effective the team is with his quality in the side.

He also gives a very effective option for taking free kicks and corners.

This is because with him out of the side there was only Fabregas. 8


I respect Charlie Nicholas both for his history with Arsenal and for his football views. But what he has been saying today on Sky’s Soccer Saturday about Adebayor was crap.

He was slating him for not being good enough to play for Arsenal and that he should be sold in the summer!

I mean the guy has scored 21 goals this season, some of them brilliant goals like the one today.

What has affected his performances lately has obviously been fatigue.

He has had to lead the line on his own this season due to the unfortunate injuries to Van Persie and Eduardo and Wenger’s desire to play 4 5 1 as a result.

He looked much more effective and rejuvenated today and I think he will be an even better player next season. 8

Man of the Match: Cesc Fabregas

Cesc : “I want my own TV show!” Watch it on video

By Aries

Cesc has teamed up with Nike to host his own TV show set to be broadcast on May 19.

It will be a one hour live show which will be performed in front of a studio audience.

The show’s preview video, which you can watch on the video bar on the right hand side of this page, shows Cesc in fine acting mood.

He is pretending to be a spoilt footballer discarding all the extravagant add ons that his agent offers him, wrecking his office to bits and finally demanding something….well watch it on the video.

Cesc has been developing into a world star this season with his face and name becoming world known enhancing his image no end.

This has been in tandem with the quality performances he has been putting for Arsenal culminating in that super goal he scored at the San Siro.

He has been a level headed lad…up to now. Let’s hope it all doesn’t go to his head.

For ticket information to the live event go to

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Encouraging news from Eduardo who doubles up with Ronaldo

By Aries

As reported on this site, Eduardo has received permission by the Arsenal medical team to continue his recuperation from his horrific injury in the more familiar surroundings of Rio De Janeiro in Brazil.

He had already visited the Brazil national team’s doctor, Jose Luiz Runco and physiotherapist, Odir de Souza at the Park Lane Hilton in London where the Brazil national team assembled ahead of their recent friendly game against Sweden at the Emirates.

Eduardo has indeed arrived in Rio De Janeiro today Wednesday and is expected to be treated at Clinic R9 which is in fact owned by Ronaldo.

Both will undergo physiotherapy treatment at the clinic, Ronaldo for his troublesome knee and Eduardo for his foot problems.

According to Narley da Silva, cousin and representative of Eduardo, he was very excited when he learned that he will be doing his treatment alongside such a “phenomenon” as Ronaldo.

"Let's see Ronaldo every day!" he said.

Next Tuesday, Eduardo will have a consultation with Doctor Jose Luiz Runco and physiotherapist Odir de Souza. They will determine a more detailed treatment schedule.

According to Narley, Arsenal have not stipulated any deadline for the return of Eduardo to England.

“He is here until the day that Runco releases him to go back and allowed to touch the ball”.

Eduardo’s leg is no longer in plaster and the doctors are satisfied with the recovery so far. In fact his cousin believes that coming to Brazil has already done Eduardo good as he has already managed to move his broken foot.

“When he took away the plaster, on the 31 of March, he was only managing to move the big toe of his foot. Today (Wednesday), he has already moved the foot a bit” she said.

Eduardo has traveled to Brazil with his wife Andreja and daughter Lorena.

Look beyond the Anfield trees

Arsene’s wish list?

By 1970’s Gooner

And so this is Summer.

Well it feels like summer as it is the end of our season and therefore sparks off, maybe somewhat prematurely, the beginning of the discussions for the summer sale activity to follow.

So where are Arsenal’s squad weaknesses that need to be strengthened?

We need to bring in more experience both as first team choices and to act as back up when injuries and suspensions kick in especially at the latter part of the season.

This is where I think we were short this season. Not bad refereeing decisions or bad luck or even Eduardo’s injury impact.

They all had their part to play (though I don't believe in luck) but lack of quality in squad depth was our undoing in the end.

A lot of the players have hardly had a breather with Wenger resisting to rotate, as the alternatives were on the injury table and their deputies were exciting but unproven youngsters.

If this is corrected with a few additions in the summer transfer window who will add experience and nous I really believe that next season we will be champions.


My first choice would be to keep Lehmann alongside Almunia and Fabiansky.

This does not look like it will happen as the first two hate each other and Lehmann is almost certain to leave.

We need to recruit another goalkeeper who will add (Premiership) experience and would be fighting for a first team place with Almunia.

Kirkland fits the bill quite well.

He has put in some terrific performances for Wigan this season culminating with that awesome display at Stamford Bridge.

Wenger has shown interest in the past.

Others in the picture could be Lyon’s Coupet and PSV’s Brazilian giant, Gomez, with whom we have been connected recently.

But Jussi Jaaskelainen of doomed Bolton (I hope they end up and rot in the fourth Division or whatever they call them these days)would also be ideal and most probably available.

Also Hennessy of Wolves, although young, could also be in the picture (my contacts from the West Midlands tell me that he has been watched by Arsenal). I like him a lot and I think he will be a great goalkeeper.


We need to bolster the options for the defence especially in the central areas and for left back. For right back we have the excellent Sagna and I think it’s about time Eboue was kept in reserve as a right back.

It goes without saying that what is needed is an experienced centre back who will be on an equal standing in the pecking order with the other central defenders.

I feel that, however much I like Senderos as a person, he unfortunately has not improved to the standard that is needed to be effective in this League.

I think Scharner (of Wigan) will be ideal as a central defender but also in midfield as that is also a position he performs well in (he is also an Arsenal supporter).

Thuram (as a central defender) may be an option as he is experienced enough.

But if Wenger goes for youth again then there are others like the 21year old Argentinian Ezequiel Garay who plays for Racing Santander in Spain. He is also notable for his ability in scoring from dead ball situations.

For left back we need adequate cover for Clichy, the premiership’s best in this position.

Admittedly Traore has improved this season and had a very decent game against Liverpool at the Emirates for his Premier league debut. But he will not be able to cope consistently if say Clichy became unavailable for a long period.

Wenger may however decide not to recruit here as he has the option of playing some other defender at left back especially if he has already brought in a decent central defender.

This would give him the option of playing someone like Gallas or another defender there.

Central midfielders

If Flamini leaves (and it may look as though it may happen) as well as Gilberto then we desperately need to have more experience brought in.

Diaby, Denilson (if he is with us next season) and Song are to my mind very good players and could excel at that position.

But they have not played that much there. So experience is needed again so as to fill in until these two players are introduced gradually and have time to mature.

That is why I think Scharner with his versatility (or a similar type of player) will be good for Arsenal.

Xabi of Barcelona would fit in well with the Arsenal style.

So would Yaya Toure who should be snapped up if he becomes available (although Wenger had him on trial some time ago and rejected him).

The 24 year old versatile player, Ghilas who plays in Portugal has also attracted Wenger's interest. He can play anywhere from midfield to forward.

First priority however would be to keep Flamini of course and if this happens then we would do well to trust Diaby, Denilson and Song to be the deputies and the rotation alternatives.

I say rotation because this is an area that Wenger should do well to emulate what Ferguson has achieved in keeping his important players fresh.

And we need to give Cesc and Flamini substantial rests this year unlike this season when Wenger worked them to the ground and they run out of steam in the end.

There are two reasons for this. One is to allow other partnerships in this crucial area of the pitch to develop so as to be able to use them if and when first choice players get injured or suspended.

The other is of course to allow the deputies to mature through first team action.

Wide midfielders

Now this is an area that we have witnessed substantial gaps in the squad.

It was not so apparent until Rosicky, Van Persie and Eduardo got injured which deprived Wenger three of his experienced forwards who could play wide.

Not that Rosicky is a genuine winger of course; he is not but he has technique and dexterity and Arsene likes his full backs to become wide men anyway with the wingers coming infield (like Rosicky and Hleb do).

Now assuming that Rosicky has the operation that is mooted he needs and recovers well for next season then with Walcott, Vela and eventually Eduardo coming back Wenger may feel that he has enough on this front.

Yet I feel that the only genuine wingers amongst that list are two youngsters, Walcott and Vela, who are indeed very exciting but relatively inexperienced nevertheless.

Ribery would be great (even if he is expensive), as is Ben Arfa of Lyon.

But I also particularly like Samir Nasri of Marseille who would also fit Wenger’s recruiting policy as he is young (20), French, blessed with terrific skills and dribbling ability and relatively cheaper than the other two!

Others not so well known that have been considered by Wenger are Mputu of Congo’s TP Mazembe (who is recommended by Arsene’s close friend Roland Scheubel, the same scout who discovered Kolo Toure) and Nicolay Dimitrov of Levski Sofia.


What this season has proved is that the four centre forwards that Arsenal started the season with (RVP, Adebayor, Eduardo and Bendtner) have not been enough.

Injuries decimated the two of the more experienced forwards.

This left us having to rely on the willing Bendtner, who probably needs another season and Adebayor, whose tiredness I would like to think was the main contributor to him giving away the most offsides in the Premiership.

But there is another reason why we need to recruit. RVP is so injury prone and will probably be tired (and hopefully injury free) from the oncoming Euro 2008.

In addition Eduardo will still be recovering as he is not expected back until at least September.

So we need to buy there. I would love Eto'o to come he would really give everyone a lift and he may be available if Barcelona start rebuilding.

Benzema, who is one of Arsene’s favourite forwards, has the directness and strength up front that has been obviously lacking in our squad. I think he will be a great addition to the strikers union at Arsenal.

David Villa of Valencia would be a quality addition to the forward line and his small build (1.75 m) may appeal to Wenger as he may be used in the wide midfield positions too.

But there is Adriano who has shaped up recently since his return to his native Brazil scoring goals again. Wenger was interested in him before and if there is anyone that can get the best out of him it will be Arsene.


We do not need radical surgery. But we do need surgery (mostly prosthetical) to bolster a thin squad with more experienced and battle hardened players.

We need additions in central defence, wide midfield and in attack if no one of note leaves. Otherwise another goalkeeper and midfielder if Lehmann and Flamini do a runner!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Mputu’s club deny transfer deal done

By Aries

As you may recall we first reported on this site Arsene’s interest for Congo’s goal sensation Tresor Mputu.

He was at Arsenal last November for a trial period and also played in a friendly there in December after his club TP Mazembe were invited to London Colney by Wenger.

We also reported that Wenger had one of his most trusted scouts watching Mputu as recently as last month during his club’s Champions League game against FC 105 of Gabon which ended in a draw 1-1.

But he was not alone in watching Mputu. There were also representatives from three other European clubs there:

Seville from Spain, Standard Liege of Belgium, who have a long standing interest in the player a lot before Arsene Wenger got involved and also Olympiakos Piraeus of Greece.

It seems that Wenger’s indecision is allowing other clubs to sniff around and try and get their foot in the door.

So much so that one club has already, according to TP Mazembe’s President Moïse Katumbi Chapwe, let it be known that the deal was already as good as done.

This drew his wrath as he denied such a deal existed: “such information is completely unfounded” he said on the club’s official site.

“It is true that this European club has sent its delegates in Lubumbashi but in no case has the issue of Mputu’s transfer been discussed.

"Instead of announcing that talks were about forming a partnership with TP Mazembe, they have seen fit to lie to their public that they have negotiated and secured the transfer of Treasury Mputu.

This a good lie” he said.

Well, we can reveal that this European "little club" appears to be Belgium’s Standard Liege.

They have indeed announced on their official club site that they are in negotiations with TP Mazembe and that the Congo Club’s President was not averse to striking a deal for taking Mputu on loan for a year.

Standard Liege's sports director, Dominique D'Onofrio, has had a long time interest in the player and was in Lubumbashi towards the end of March of this year to watch Mputu. This is what he said on Standard Liege's site:

"The case is progressing very well," I will have a meeting with the club’s president soon who is not hostile to hire their international player for a year”.

You can see therefore why this statement drew such strong words from TP Mazembe’s president.

It seems that Mputu and his club have set their hearts on Arsenal as a first choice, especially as relations between the two clubs have grown stronger since TP Mazembe’s stay in London at the invitation of Arsenal.

Wenger's interest waned when the player had to limp off during the friendly at London Colney.

But the report prepared by his close friend, Ronald Scheubel, after watching TP Mazemebe’s game last month was favourable, so don’t be surprised if Wenger’s interest is renewed during the up coming transfer window.

We will get it right next year. Player analysis and ratings Vs Man Utd

Wenger still interested in Tresor Mputu

Sunday, April 13, 2008

We will get it right next year. Player analysis and ratings Vs Man Utd

By 1970’s Gooner

Well, we discovered another weakness in the last few games. We can’t keep leads.

We play well enough, dominate throughout large parts of games (we had 75% of the possession during the earlier parts of the first half), play football from another planet, score the all “crucial” first goal but we can’t keep the lead.

For Christ’s sake why oh why don’t the players concentrate when the other team are kicking off after we have scored?

You would have thought that after having done exactly the same thing at Anfield only a few days ago we would have learned our lesson. But no.

The only explanation I can think of is that fatigue has something to do it; as when you are tired we all know that decision making falters and when you’ve just scored you tend to relax and drop your guard.

And to close the circle on this thought process I can only point out the lack of sufficient depth in the squad.

A lot of the players have hardly had a breather with Wenger resisting to rotate, as the alternatives were on the injury table and their deputies were exciting but unproven youngsters.

If this is corrected with a few additions in the summer transfer window who will add experience and nous (especially when the other team are kicking off) I really believe that next season we will be champions.


For a goalkeeper who has hardly played this season he really impressed me with his agility and significant saves. He had no chance with the free kick (the wall should have jumped) but he made two saves from Rooney which looked certain goals. 8


The best Arsenal player on the field. Strong and tenacious in his defending and always going forward at every opportunity. It is amazing that such a young player can put in such quality performances. I think he is the best left back in the Premiership and way ahead of Evra who was good today but not as good as Clichy. 9


Looked tired to me and also short of confidence. He was not penetrative enough going forward. Has not been at his best since the Africa Nations Cup. 5


Should have kept things calm after we scored, quitened everyone down. He didn’t and then proceeded to miss clearing the ball from a scuffed shot by Park and stuck his arm up to stop it. 5


I was worried when Song lined up as a central defender and he did have a couple of hairy moments especially when he missed his touch on a stray ball which led Rooney in one on one against Lehmann (which he saved with his legs). But overall Song had a sound game I thought. Does this men Senderos is going? 6


Had for his standards a quiet game. He was more concerned with defending especially in the first half. This may have had something to do with Hleb playing in a more central role who was doing more of the playmaking.

Cesc looked very tired in the end which is indicative of the fatigue that this team has been feeling by the end of this season. 6


He had a very good game. Almost back to his best, defending in front of the back four winning most of the tackles and setting up attacks.

He did falter however when he panicked and just kicked Ronaldo just outside the area in the most dangerous position. You would have thought he would have had more composure. 7


Had one of his best performances, running the show with most of the best moves that Arsenal put together coming from him. I hope we keep him for next season as he is vital to the type of football that Wenger’s style demands. 8


He was much more composed in this game passing the ball to his teammates for a change, attacking his defender and also tracking back well when Man Utd tried to counter attack.

This is probably the reason Wenger does not start with Walcott yet. Faded off in the second half and was replaced by Walcott. 6

Van Persie

Added attacking quality to this squad which has been missing since he and Eduardo went off injured. Created the goal with some ingenious football on the left wing crossing for Adebayor to handle the ball into the net. 7


We created at least four very good chances which he failed to take. Not the mark of a quality goalscorer (Eduardo would have put the ball in the net). His touch was a little bit better this game but overall he didn’t perform to standard today. 5

Man of the Match : Gael Clichy


United , Arsenal

2 ,Goals, 1
0 ,1st Half Goals, 0
7 ,Shots on Target, 7
8 ,Shots off Target,7
2 ,Blocked Shots, 6
6 ,Corners, 5
12 ,Fouls, 10
2 ,Offsides, 2
2 ,Yellow Cards, 6
0 ,Red Cards, 0
78.3 ,Passing Success, 81.9
35 ,Tackles, 40
65.7 ,Tackles Success, 65
53 ,Possession, 47
45.8 ,Territorial Advantage, 54.2

Friday, April 11, 2008

If Gilberto plays Song plays too

By 1970’s Gooner

“It is a big blow but Gilberto has a lot of quality and experience," Wenger told "He can come in and help the team recover and focus."

If you are a regular visitor to this site you will know my views on Gilberto’s expected (low) efficiency output that will probably materialize at Old Trafford. If not then you can read my last posting “There are four ways to replace Flamini

So let’s take it for granted then that Arsene Wenger does start with Gilberto.

I believe this creates the real danger of unbalancing the side especially if Wenger does not select another defensive minded midfielder and opts for the more creative players.

This is because Gilberto simply does not possess Flamini’s energy levels nor his tenacity and power. He used to but not anymore.

He will probably sit in front of the defence and try and play the protective role. However Manchester United are likely to deploy a three man midfield choosing any three from Anderson, Hargreaves, Carrick and Scholes in a 4 3 3 formation.

So Wenger has to make a decision whether to go like for like otherwise if he plays a 4 4 2 formation there is the real danger of getting outnumbered in midfield.

Especially when one of the two midfilders will be Gilberto.

And if the third midfielder in Arsenal’s 4 3 3 formation is going to be Hleb then this may result in unbalancing the side as he is a naturally a forward minded player.

In other words the side will contain too many creative players and not enough grafters. There will be RVP, Adebayor and say Walcott up front and Hleb and Fabregas alongside Gilberto in midfield.

So to my mind in order to cover for Gilberto’s deficiencies but also so that we play it a bit tight, at least in the first half, it may be prudent to include Song in the starting line up.

He will bolster the midfield with added defensive cover and help contain Manure’s forwards.

In order to accommodate this additional defensive midfielder either Walcott or Hleb may be kept on the bench and RVP start on the left with Adebayor in the middle.

It could be that Walcott could play the role of supersub again.

This may not be such a bad idea: contain and stifle them for a large part of the game and then unleash that human thunderbolt called Theodore.

My starting 11 assuming that Gilberto will feature will therefore be:


Eboue Toure Gallas Clichy


Fabregas Song

Hleb Adebayor RVP

Subs: Fabiansky, Senderos, Walcott, Bendtner, Hoyte

I have a feeling we may surprise a few people....

There are four ways to replace Flamini

Rafa’s tactics and Samuel’s “Times” writings, what utter rubbish

Look beyond the Anfield trees

Thursday, April 10, 2008

There are four ways to replace Flamini

By 1970’s Gooner

Mathieu Flamini has been ruled out for three weeks after picking up an ankle injury against Liverpool on Tuesday.

He has been fantastic for us this season putting some awesome performances. Trying to replace him will be very difficult indeed but there are four options available:

1. Gilberto

To my great surprise I read that Arsene Wenger intends to bring Gilberto in the starting eleven!

"It is a big blow but Gilberto has a lot of quality and experience," Wenger told "Gilberto can come in and help the team recover and focus."

Well, I really hope that Wenger does not do as he says. I really do. Gilberto, although 31, is showing what you would call in football terms, early signs of Alzheimer’s.

I know I am being cruel as he has been absolutely fabulous for Arsenal up until last season.

But sadly he looks past it. He is slow, can’t tackle effectively anymore which more often than not results in giving a foul away. He also tends to slow the game up as he invariably makes passes sideways or backwards.

Can you honestly see Gilberto chasing and keeping up with Rooney, Tevez or even Ronaldo (if he ventures infield, which he will) with any degree of success?

Just how Wenger thinks that we will beat Manchester United at Old Trafford with Gilberto in the team is beyond me. Yes the team needs more experienced hands but not near football geriatrics.

Arsene has three other more attractive and viable options.

2. Toure in midfield

This is an interesting option in that although Toure has not played in this position before he has the strength and tenacity to be effective enough.

He will also be defending really as he would be playing a kind of protective role in front of the defence.

However this would mean that Senderos will have to partner Gallas in the centre of the defence which would be risky.

For a start his confidence level will probably be very low and also his lack of pace would be heavily exposed due to the way Manchester United play.

They don’t employ a front man as such and they have some very pacy forwards who are very mobile and drag defenders all over the place.

3. Give Song a start?

I have confidence in Song.

He has shown during the Africa Cup of Nations, which I watched avidly, that he has the ability and temperament to perform on the day.

I also watched him play a Premiership match two seasons ago when he was on loan to Charlton against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

I can tell you he bossed the midfield then with a very impressive performance.

4. Play Diaby where he belongs

The fourth option that would also appeal is to finally allow Diaby to start in central midfield where he surely belongs.

He has been improving lately and cut out the frivolous and selfish play which characterized his earlier outings this season on the left wing.

He performed quite well against AC Milan at the San Siro in that historic win.

And of course against Liverpool at Anfield where he scored the opening goal. So he can handle the big occasions.

The Diaby option can bring another benefit.

And that is it will free up a spot on the wing for Theo Walcott to start which he surely deserves.

I hope Eboue is brought back to right back and Toure restored in central defence. At least I hope Arsene Wenger has realized the errors in defence from Senderos and drops him for Toure.

My team for Old Trafford will be:


Eboue Toure Gallas Clichy

Walcott Fabregas Song Hleb

RVP Adebayor

I have a feeling we may surprise a few people...

Ed: Diaby is suspended for OT

Rafa’s tactics and Samuel’s “Times” writings, what utter rubbish

By Eros

We must have all been horrible people in a previous life. There is no other way to explain the sequence of events in the last few weeks!

The Gods have well and truly abandoned the newly build footballing Mecca and for some reason decided to go out of their way to punish every little mistake anyone wearing the Arsenal shirt makes!

I can’t bring myself to congratulate Liverpool even though I should as they scored 5 times against our 3 and at the end of the day football is not about aesthetics but about the end product.

We started the game fantastically well and in the words of the Liverpool captain we “passed Liverpool off the park”, scored an early goal and dominated the game.

We should have scored a couple more but as usually the final ball and poor finishing let us down.

I was extremely disappointed with the first goal but not only at Senderos who lost Hyypia.

Due to miscommunication between Gallas and Almunia Liverpool was gifted a throw-in. From which they ended up winning a corner and scoring their first goal.

Fantastic header by Hyypia but I am sure if he tried that again the ball would end up hopelessly over the bar.

Although Liverpool were non existent before the goal they grew in confidence and started to get back into the game. They looked the more dangerous of the two going into half time.

We lost Flamini after a bad tackle by Mascherano – how on earth did he not get him self booked last night? I counted at least 7 free kicks he gave away in the first 25 minutes.

In the second half Wenger did something really strange, he retreated. He pushed his wingers narrow and tried to catch Liverpool on the break.

This worked to an extend as the game became more cautious. Liverpool were not creating much, up until the long punt forward, which found Crouch, who found Torres, who scored a fantastic goal.

An exceptional player who has improved Liverpool no end; if only we got him instead of Reyes!!!!

I am not criticising the long ball by the way. It’s been well documented this year that we can’t handle it and they did well to exploit it.

The game opened up again after this goal, Alex Hleb created a glorious opening for Ade who had all the time and space in the world but rushed his shot and missed hopelessly wide.

We looked jaded and starting to run out of ideas when Wenger got Theo and RVP in the game, the latter looking seriously unfit with heavy strapping on both thighs.

The subs proved pivotal when Walcott picked the ball up on the edge of our box run through the entire Pool team and squared the ball Ade who simply could not miss!

Anfield was stunned; their silence was deafening. The only thing we had to do is not concede in the next 2 minutes, then they would panic and we’d go through!

That is exactly what we did not do! Conceded within less than 120 seconds, hopeful punt up the field found Babel, Toure breathed, Babel collapsed, the Kop asked for a pen and the referee was only too glad to oblige.

Game over! There was no coming back from that.

It was a really soft pen (you can watch it on the video above)and what makes it worse is the irony of the whole situation. Some of my friends were e mailing me all day saying they hoped that the game didn’t go to a shoot out as we wouldn’t be allowed to take any spot kicks!!!

I have in the past been over critical of Eboue and his diving histrionics. I promise my self on record I will never do that again!

As of today diving is no longer condemnable but just part of the game! Enough people do it against us, by being too honest we are only cheating ourselves.

Benitez the tactical genius!

People were again this morning saying that Benitez was a Champions League master which is utter rubbish. He made several mistakes last night!

Firstly he gave Arsenal a man advantage in the middle in the first half by playing Crouch.

Result? Liverpool were hardly in the game!

He got his tactics wrong! He just got lucky when Flamini got injured and also when Senderos gave Hyypia a free header to get them back into the game.

Secondly in the second half when they were in control of the game and winning 2-1 he pulled Crouch off the pitch and put Babel on!

An unnecessary substitution given that they had Arsenal under control. The idea was to strengthen the midfield by pushing Gerrard in the middle.

The result was to make his team disjointed , leave Torres isolated at the top and release the Arsenal fullbacks. T

This almost cost him the game as there was no outlet for them to hold the ball.

Mascherano and Alonso reverted to what they did at the Emirates; any clearance is a good clearance, constantly giving Arsenal the ball. This eventually led to the goal!

Babel did win the penalty but that was not by design.

Martin Samuel of the "Times"

An utterly ridiculous article by the man who loves to have a dig at Arsenal, but half the stuff he says make no sense.

Read the following and try and understand!

"When the noise had subsided, the victors and vanquished departed, when Anfield was at last silent, empty and still, the question remained: why?

What was it that possessed a defender as experienced as Kolo Touré to take fright, to be so terrified at the prospect of lasting just six minutes at this remarkable arena that he should give away the penalty that cost his team the game and the dream of a first Champions League crown?

And the answer will come back: it was Liverpool. It was this club, this particular team, and what they have come to represent in Europe. Touré was disturbed by the legend of a Liverpool who will not lie down, who return from the dead like The Shape in John Carpenter’s Halloween films.

Remember that scene in the pitch-black bedroom when the monster rises again, his white mask all that is visible in the darkness? On nights such as this, Liverpool are like that: unstoppable, remorseless, their power inexplicable".

We certainly did not fold last night; if anything they did! When they had to hold on they went missing, all of them; and they let us back in the game!

Our luck has to change at some point and lets hope it does on Sunday!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Look beyond the Anfield trees

Ed: This is a comment left by a regular visitor to the site. See what you think about it.

By Angelo

Seriously, everyone needs to stop with this penalty rubbish. Yes, I know, it seems we get a questionable decision against us nearly every game. We had two in two against Liverpool.

Yes, it seems that at least 3 key players occupy the treatment room at any given time but how is this different to any other season?

To be perfectly honest the only reason we make such a big deal out of it is because we are never comfortable enough or clinical enough to allow room for any errors from the refs or indeed from our own making.

What worries me about this team is that it seems to battle in every game as if it were a Champions League or FA Cup final.

Honestly, when was the last comfortable win we had in which we've finished the match in the first half? Derby? Sunderland? (Oh no that was 3-2 wasn't it?)

Come on people, don't be losers. This is what you're all acting like to be perfectly honest. Those of you who accept the defeat are pathetic and those of you who blame refereeing decisions are just plain ignorant.

Bad decisions occur in every match but if you have sufficient quality you can overcome these obstacles; just like when you have a large and talented enough squad you can brush over injuries (like our main rivals).

Arsene Wenger is really pushing it. Yes the team is improving organically but what he fails to realise is that other teams around us, with the help of funds and influx of quality players, are also improving.

Liverpool, Man Utd and Chelsea all finished above us last season and this season they brought in Torres, Tevez and Anelka respectively, to name but a few.

And I would say that Chelsea and Man Utd already had a stronger base to start of with in the first place.

This is getting ridiculous. Wenger chooses to tie his feet before a race then claim he still did well considering that he hopped till the finishing line; but it doesn't hide the fact that he is left in the dust by his opponents.

He is also stubborn in his beliefs. This is not necessarily a bad thing but it is slightly self indulgent in the modern game to convert players from central play-makers into narrow wingers and wingers into width orientated strikers.

Wenger is a great manager and must distance himself from sentimentality which usually clouds his judgment. After doing this he needs to re-assess the strengths and weakness of his team and decide who the best players are to solve these problems.

Benzema, Eto'o, Villa and Ribery all come to mind but I don't make the decisions. But I swear to God, if he even bids for Ben Arfa I will hunt him down and shove his tie down his throat.

Walcott needs to play some of the remaining games as a striker. That piece of individual quality earned him the right to prove himself in his favoured position.

We need to jump up a couple of levels this summer if we are to even begin to accomplish what Wenger claims this group of players promise.

But what do I know? I mean Wenger knows.... Right?

Thank you to 1970's Gooner for publishing this article and to you all for taking the time to read my post. I look forward to your opinions. Enjoy the remainder of the season.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

When will Wenger Learn?

By 1970’s Gooner

When will Wenger learn that making players play out of position will inevitably result in mistakes being made?

Just like Toure’s inability to deal with Babel giving that crucial penalty away.

When will Wenger learn that Senderos is an accident to happen?

In fact he had two accidents; one to let Hyppia have a free header and the other being so far away from the danger called Torres. And by deciding to playing Senderos Wenger had to move Toure to right back (see previous paragraph).

When will Wenger learn that Gilberto is not up to it now?

And that Song is a far better sub for Flamini?

When will Wenger learn that Eboue is not a winger ?

And that he is prone to pass the ball to the opposition and make the wrong decisions? Just like when all he had to do was to just cut the ball back to the unmarked Adebayor.

When will Wenger learn that width is very important?

Especially against teams that compress the space. It wasn't until Walcott came on and set up that goal for Adebayor that we had penetration from the wing (unlike Eboue before- see previous paragraph).

When will Wenger learn that Walcott is dynamite that can win you games as early as the first half?

Walcott could have exploded this game away from Liverpool if he had started.

Van Persie’s fitness tactically handy for Wenger

By 1970’s Gooner

Benitez tactics: Stifle them again

Rafa Benitez is a wily and rather conservative coach and this is how he approaches knock out competitions.

Now he has that vital away goal he is not likely to play open, expansive football.

He never did in the past irrespective of how many goals his team was ahead anyway.

He plays a tight game with Torres leading the line flanked by two wide men who usually come into the middle to create a packed midfield.

They tend to defend deep in a conservative 4 2 3 1 formation with Alonso holding back and Mascherano rarely getting past the half way line.

In doing this they like to suck the opponents in and play counter attacking football utilizing Torres’s pace and goal scoring ability.

This is usually done through the middle as the initial staring 11 do not always contain natural wingers.

As predicted in the Champions League game against Arsenal at the Emirates last week, Benitez used Kuyt and Babel (along with Gerrard in the middle of the three) who are not natural wingers.

More recently at Inter Milan in the Champions League he played the same players again.

But now he has also seen with his own eyes a weakness in the Arsenal defence that Drogba and Chelsea exposed in their recent meeting at Stamford Bridge.

Toure and Gallas could not cope with the direct high balls into the heart of the defence.

This was repeated last Saturday at the Emirates where Crouch was particularly effective creating a lot of problems and scoring a goal as well.

Benitez will probably decide to bring him on as a late substitute which will be a far more potent threat than Voronin was last Saturday.

Wenger’s tactics: Time to change?

We’ve said it before. If Liverpool are likely to congest the middle of the pitch then Arsenal will only get joy if they can stretch the playa and add width.

This is so as to draw out Liverpool’s midfielders and open the spaces for the little maestro and co to weave their magic.

So it is particularly handy that Robin Van Persie has been declared fit enough to travel for the game.

If he is that fit then tactics may dictate that it’s best to start him rather than keep him on the bench.

Wenger could consider switching formation to 4 4 1 1 or even the formation chosen for the Chelsea game which was 4 2 1 3.

In this way he can accommodate Robin Van Persie’s pace on the left, play Hleb behind Adebayor (where he is most effective) and choose one from Diaby and Walcott for the right wing position.

Walcott should not only get the nod for his recent good performances but more importantly, in terms of tactics, it’s best to deploy his pace and ability to get passed his defender.

In this way he will be creating that much needed width that we are all craving for.

Eboue is best deployed at right back thus keeping the more experienced and faster central defenders, Toure and Gallas, together to counter Torres’s pace.

One change that has been mooted is to bring Gilberto in to counter the threat of Gerrard. He could sit in that space between the defence and the midfield and try and stifle him out.

This would mean however that one other midfielder will need to be sacrificed and I wouldn’t want to leave out anyone from Flamini, Walcott and Helb.

Especially in a game where we have to score to have any chance to progress.

The starting 11 could be :

Eboue Toure Gallas Clichy
Flamini Fabregas
Walcott Adebayor RVP

Subs: Lehmann, Senderos, Gilberto, Hoyte, Bendtner, Diaby

Arsenal’s main problem seems to be fatigue. The lack of a strong enough squad coupled with injuries to key players seems to be catching up on the youngsters.

Hopefully they will surmount enough reserves, physical as well as mental, to pull off another historic win.

Maybe Arsene Wenger and Pat Rice should show the players the video of that win at Anfield by the class of 1989.

You can watch it on the video bar on the right hand side of this page.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Top Spanish and Italian clubs confirm participation in this year’s Emirates Cup

By Aries

It has been confirmed today that the three teams other than Arsenal taking part in this year’s Emirates Cup will be top opposition from Spain, Italy and Germany.

They will be Real Madrid, Juventus and Hamburg and the second Emirates Cup is scheduled to take place on August 2nd and 3rd.

It is expected, but not yet confirmed, that Arsenal will play against Real Madrid and Juventus.

Arsenal won the inaugural tournament last July competing against Paris-SG, Valencia and Inter Milan.

The tournament played a significant part in the team’s preparation for the grueling Premiership and Champions league competitions that followed.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Leave Arsenal and get richer!

By Aries

We all know that Arsene Wenger is the master at spotting young talent, developing the player into a star, getting his best years out of him and then selling him on for a large fee and huge profit to boot.

It is indeed very rare that the player will go on to be a better or greater star than before. But it seems he can get richer!

In a list of the 50 highest earning French sportsmen, published by the sports paper L’Equipe, two ex Arsenal players make it in the top 10.

Thierry Henry tops the list with earnings of 17.4 million euros (14m pounds) in 2007.

He succeeds Zinedine Zidane, who retired from competitive sport after the 2006 World Cup and has overtaken his close friend Basketball star Tony Parker of San Antonio Spurs in the USA who earned 9.6m euros (7.5m pounds).

One reason for this surprising difference is the new sources of revenue for the former Gunner.

He now receives his income in two different ways. While he earns a salary from its principal employer, Barcelona, he receives an extra income from six commercial deals he has signed up.

In moving to the Catalan city, Henry has almost doubled his salary in contrast to his buddy Tony Parker, who has signed a contract in 2005 for six years with the San Antonio Spurs for a “static” 66 million dollars (33m pounds).

Another ex Arsenal great Patrick Vieira comes in third place with an annual income of 8m euros (6.3m pounds) and Nicolas Anelka in sixth with 5.8 m euros (4.5 pounds).

Forty-three of the 50 people listed are football players and 37 play outside France.

One of them is Arsenal’s William Gallas who is at fifth spot with an annual income of 5.9m Euros (4.6m pounds). If he wants to increase that, like Henry and Vieira did, then he may begin to think about leaving Arsenal!

The list contains only two women -- tennis player Amelie Mauresmo and swimmer Laure Manaudou, joint 29th on 2.8 m euros.

Top 10 French earners (in euros)

1. Thierry Henry 17.4 M
2. Tony Parker 9.6 M (Basketball)
3. Patrick Vieira 8M
4. Djibril Cisse 7M
5. William Gallas 5.9 M
6. Nicolas Anelka 5.8 million
7. Lilian Thuram 5.7 M
8. Willy Sagnol 5.6 M
9. Claude Makelele 5.5 M
10. Sebastien Loeb 5.3 M (Motor Rally)

Globally, the largest income received in 2007 is by Tiger Woods (81.7m euros) ahead of boxer Oscar de la Hoya (40.1m euros).

You are only as good as your bench. Player analysis and ratings Vs Liverpool

Vela’s Osasuna to agree deal with Arsenal

By Aries

Arsenal have been closely following Carlos Vela’s performances with Osasuna this season and the reports prepared by Ricardo Law, Arsenal’s man in Spain for these kinds of issues, have always been favourable.

Law himself has set up the meeting a few days ago in London between Osasuna’s President Patxi Izco and sports Director Juanjo Lorenzo. They had lunch with Arsenal’s representatives and met with Arsene Wenger.

During the meetings Lorenzo and Izco had the chance to explain Osasuna’s vision and organization and expressed a desire to strengthen further the ties between the two clubs.

This collaboration had started in 2007 when Arsenal decided to continue “parking” Carlos Vela with Osasuna in the first division of the Spanish League. He had spent the previous season with Salamanca in the second division.

It seems that Wenger wants Spain to be the parking place for Spanish (and Portuguese) speaking players from Latin America in the same way that Beveren in Belgium is used for French speaking players from the African continent.

In this way the players can get dual nationality or work permits that can allow Arsenal to by pass the more stringent English regulations.

And we all know of the differences between Arsenal and Real Sociedad who have not been using Fran Merida enough in their league games.

Now Osasuna appear to be a welcome addition to Arsenal’s link clubs in Spain along with Celta Vigo, probably replacing Real Sociedad.

Carlos Vela has greatly impressed the Osasuna coaching staff putting in some fine performances this season.

They have been mainly on the left wing in usually a 4 3 3 come 4 51 formation as Osasuna like to keep it tight due to the threat of relegation that has been hanging over them this season.

They asked Arsene Wenger to consider extending Carlos’s loan deal with them for the coming season but Arsene would have none of it of course.

He values Carlos greatly and has high hopes for him. You don’t get Wenger saying the following for any sort of player:

"He's top class. I like his intelligence and his pace. He scores goals but he can also create them. "He's a special talent and I believe 100 per cent that he will make it at the highest level."

So you can guess what Arsene’s answer was. The player himself has already said to Spanish Newspaper “Marca”that he will be happy to come back to Arsenal:

“After two years I would like to go to the club which trusted in me. Arsenal is a great team and it would be a dream to play for them"

I think we need genuine left sided players at Arsenal don't you?

You are only as good as your bench. Player analysis and ratings Vs Liverpool

Saturday, April 05, 2008

You are only as good as your bench. Player analysis and ratings Vs Liverpool

By 1970’s Gooner

Arsene Wenger decided to make the changes in order to rest his key players for the Champions League game on Tuesday.

It’s a move that our closest rivals have been making throughout the season and that is one strong reason why Arsenal are stumbling over the finishing line and Manchester United and Chelsea are sprinting over it.

Granted, Arsenal’s squad although high on quality, technique and athleticism is severely lacking in experience and this was a major factor in inhibiting Wenger from bringing in fresh faces throughout this marathon race.

This became more evident when we got our fair share of injuries to key players which forced Wenger to bring in players. Result? We couldn’t replace them with half as good alternatives.

One prime example was Eduardo’s absence; the player coming in? Nicklas Bendtner, good and exciting youngster but not yet ready to step in and make you feel that we will cope. Of course if RVP was available it could have been different.

Rosicky’s absence has not really been filled in adequately. Wenger brought in Eboue who has been abysmal and sometimes Walcott who is exciting but of course inexperienced.

There was a period of three games when both Fabregas and Flamini were out with injuries. Who did we bring in? Two youngsters, Denilson and Diarra and one fading star, Gilberto. We dropped four points, drawing one game (Newcastle) and losing the other one (Middlesbrough).

Need I go on?

So today’s game gave me the feeling that it was a Carling Cup or FA Cup game for Arsenal. I mean fielding Hoyte and Traore in defence, Gilberto and Walcott in midfield and Bendtner in attack meant that Wenger had given up the Premier League and was concentrating on Europe.

On top of that he unbalanced the side by moving Flamini to the left side of midfield which meant that again for the second game running we lacked width. Eboue kept giving the ball away, Flamini couldn’t make any headway on the left and the two young full backs started very nervously.

On top of all that Bendtner was isolated up front with no support coming from midfield as Gilberto was anchoring in front of the defence and Flamini was out wide.

It wasn’t until he started coming in field that this was corrected and chances started to be created culminating in that awful miss by Bendtner when clean through. He did get his goal in the end.

Still all this means that these exciting youthful squad has put in one of a hell of effort this season against all the odds and everyone’s expectations that we would crumple to pieces especially after Henry departed for pastures new.

I feel that the experience gained this season will prove to be the last piece of the building block that Arsene Wenger is putting together for these youngsters education towards the glorious years that undoubtedly will now follow.

But let’s not forget the Champions League. This is not a marathon like the Premier League and if we can get our injured players back (RVP, Sagna and maybe Rosicky) we will have a pretty good chance of upsetting the odds.

Starting with a win against Liverpool at Anfield next Tuesday.


A fantastic save from Crouch in the first few minutes. Assured throughout. 8


Nervous and not match fit. Gave the ball away too often and did not venture forward much. When he did his cross (I think there was only one) was awful. 5


Started nervously but improved greatly as the game wore on. Put in a very good performance both in defence and in attack which was very pleasing. 7


Along with Toure had trouble handling Crouch in the air but who wouldn’t? the mistake was that Crouch’s knock downs were not dealt with adequately. 6


Same as for Gallas. 6


Looked tired to me and maybe Wenger should have subbed him in the closing stages to save him for Tuesday. Even so he was again very influential swinging a beautiful free kick for Bendtner to score. 7


He also tired in the end but he was very energetic till then and was quite influential when he ventured infield. 8


Abysmal again. 4


He is getting better and better and I hope he starts next Tuesday (in place of Eboue if need be). His pace and ability to get passed his man is a tremendous asset to Arsenal now that we need width desperately. 7


Had a good game, much better than his anemic showings as of late. He anchored well and did not put any passes astray like he has been doing recently. 7


Was too isolated in the first half and he should have taken that chance in the first half. But he improved in the second half when support came on and he did start to combine well with those around him. He has the vision to do that which will help him in the future.

Scored a very good headed goal; a kind of goal that we seem to be scoring this season unlike when Henry was around. 7

Team Statistics

Arsenal Liverpool

3 Shots on Target 2

4 Shots off Target 9

3 Blocked Shots 3

5 Corners 3

10 Fouls 10

0 Offsides 1

1 Yellow Cards 2

0 Red Cards 0

85.5 Passing Success 76.4

26 Tackles 36

84.6 Tackles Success 75

56.3 Possession 43.7

47.8 Territorial Advantage 52.2