Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Complacent Arsenal think that by just turning up at the Emirates victory is guaranteed

By 1970’s Gooner

Nonchalant, arrogant and naïve. These are the words that a lot of fans are using at the moment.

This is indeed how best this Arsenal and a lot of past Arsene Wenger sides, can be characterised.

All these negative attributes arise from the youthfulness of the players and indeed of any youngsters that you may come upon in everyday life.

The Arsenal youngsters got carried away with the emphatic recent successes at traditionally very traumatic away venues in Blackburn and Bolton, the eulogies from the press and fans alike that followed these results and the fact that a youth team put six past a second tier league team midweek.

So you could see it as soon as the game against Hull started that the player’s attitude was not right. I was getting incensed at their lack of urgency, their almost lethargic pace and the wastefulness in front of goal in again trying to score the perfect goal.

This latter attitude comes from the obviously wrongly held belief that “if we miss this chance we will score the next that we our bound to create. It is Hull after all, they are going to lie down and succumb to our obvious superiority and invulnerability”.

All this attitude was artificially reinforced by the lucky own goal that admittedly Walcott helped create. Now that Arsenal was ahead all the above arrogance and naivety was unfortunately allowed to continue.

The result was that Fabregas, the maestro who usually dictates the momentum and style of play for Arsenal continued to make mistakes with his passing and allowed the slow pace to continue.

But at least this did not necessarily result in punishment so much because Fabregas is usually more involved in the attacking and creative side of Arsenal’s game.

The complacent attitude showed its ugly head in the defensive side of the midfield and in the defence.

Denilson was nowhere to be found when Geovanni picked up the ball after some inept Arsenal defending which first started from Clichy’s uncharacteristic inability to clear.

Geovanni was allowed time and space to move with the ball, pick his spot and unleash an unstoppable shot.

From then on it was quite difficult for the Arsenal players to switch into a different mode from the one they were in prior to the 62nd minute equaliser.

And once again, eight minutes later, we failed at a set piece; we have conceded three of our four goals so far from corners.

On this occasion Gallas was guilty of looking away behind him just as when the corner was being taken. Cousin was thus able to steal a march on him and rise almost unchallenged to back head the ball into the net.

There is every chance that Arsenal will route Porto. This is because the players will now get a kick up the back side and they will respond by being professional, ruthless and pursue a result to prove the doubters wrong.

Because that is what gifted but inconsistent youngsters are prone to do.

Eboue comes of age

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Six of the best. But which one was the best? Watch them on video and vote

By 1970’s Gooner

All six goals scored on Tuesday night were exquisitely crafted and taken. But which one stands out in your opinion?

This is my list in descending order. I am sure some of you will have your own opinions and probably disagree with me. So vote for your choice on the poll we have set up.

6. Bendtner’s 2nd

Ramsey’s run and back flick set up Bendtner nicely. He only had to beat Kenny from close in.

5. Vela’s 3rd

Hit them on the counter attack and Wilsehere’s pass found the on coming Vela unmarked on the left who hit it quickly and low under Kenny’s hands.

4. Bendtner’s 1st

Created the space for himself and as the defenders stood back he found the time to drive it in from outside the box low on Kenny’s left hand post.

3. Wilshere

Received the ball direct from a corner and dilled a low hard drive just inside Kenny’s left hand post who was late in spotting the danger.

2. Vela’s 1st

Received the ball behind the defence after good work from Bendtner and drove it into the opposite corner of the net after curling it low and hard round Kenny’s outstretched hand with his left foot.

1. Vela’s 2nd

The pick of the bunch. An outstanding long high ball by Kieran Gibbs, controlled by Vela with his shoulder thus allowing the ball to go behind the defender leaving him on a one on one with the goalkeeper whom he nonchalantly chipped with the outside of his left foot without breaking his stride!

Mark Randall

For those of us who follow the Arsenal day in day out and in particular watch all the reserve and youth games shown on Arsenal TV were not really surprised by their display against Sheffield United.

Amidst all the eulogies heaped on the young guns one player’s excellent performance has gone unnoticed however. And this was Mark Randall.

He was an anchor in midfield playing the defensive midfielder’s role like a veteran and making some crunching tackles against a side which contains players who are not averse to the physical battles they have to encounter in the Championship.

May be Arsene Wenger has another viable option for the central midfield position alongside Song, Diaby and Denilson after all.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Eboue comes of age

By 1970’s Gooner

Now don’t tell me that Fabregas is tired because he didn’t have a pre season! His performance at Bolton was outstanding.

There are a lot of Arsenal fans who take everything that a certain blogger, who once wrote a very average book about “the professor”, dreams up as a fact of life.

Fabregas’s below par performance in Kiev was thus explained and accepted by a lot of Arsenal fans.

But there are a lot of other players that played in the final stages of the Euro who had a shortened pre season. Like Chelsea’s Deco and Bosingua as well as Liverpool’s Alonso for instance; and they do not seem to me to be suffering from fatigue.

My reasoning for Fabregas’s below par performance in Kiev had more to do with the tactics and formation adopted which demanded that he played out of his normal position further up field. This left very little space to weave his magic.

Against Bolton at the Reebok Fabregas was reinstated in the centre of midfield where he belongs and he did indeed weave his magic.

Surprisingly Bolton left spaces open in the midfield areas in the first half by not pressing or marking very tight. This allowed Fabregas to run the show and once you do that the result is almost inevitable!

He was also very ably supported by Song. I think he will be the anchor in midfield now.

The trouble for Wenger will be what to do with Denilson who had another fine game again scoring his second goal of the season. Maybe Nasri will have to stay on the bench for a while when he gets back to fitness.

But the real revelation this season has to be Eboue. He has been putting some very fine performances and the main reason is that he is beginning to use his head.

Gone are the displays where he would run like a headless chicken into cul de sacs and then more often than not give the ball away. Now he is much more patient when on the ball, looks up to see what’s on and invariably picks the right pass.

He has the pace and defensive skills which when complimented with some nous create the ingredients for a very good wide midfielder. Let’s hope he keeps up the quality of his performances.

The victory at Bolton is a fantastic tonic for everyone’s confidence including the players themselves.

It was obtained by playing proper Arsenal type football which was complimented with resilience and stout defending when Bolton pressed very tight in the midfield areas in the second half not allowing the Arsenal players too much time on the ball.

They started bombarding the Arsenal goal with high direct balls which were however dealt with adequately. Unfortunately Arsenal’s defense did not have the same level of concentration in the first half where Kevin Davies rose above Kolo Toure to head home.

Nevertheless the pressure in the second half was soaked up and once Bolton had run out of steam Arsenal struck again.

Walcott’s pace was too much for them and his sweet diagonal pass to Adebayor allowed him to find Denilson in the far post who coolly slotted it into the net beyond the despairing Jaaskelainen.

Liverpool’s insistence in bombarding the Stoke defence with high balls was like feeding fodder to cattle.

These are the kind of balls that are usually played in the Championship, more like it was in the 70s when I used to watch Arsenal at Highbury. And Stoke’s defenders are used to dealing with this type of football.

It was a good result for Arsenal as was the draw between Chelsea and Manchester United which keeps them below us in the League table.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Arsenal players are tired and Bolton are up for it…Vela can cope

By 1970’s Gooner

I was critical of the performance at Kiev last Wednesday and some of the Arsenal Analysis readers were hostile to my thoughts.

My objection was mainly due to the choice of tactics and formation for that game which meant that two of the most influential Arsenal players (Fabregas and Van Persie) were shifted to positions on the pitch which were not most suited for them.

Fair enough we are all entitled to our opinions but I think that sentiment should not be allowed to cloud our judgment. Yes a point in the end was a good result away from home in the Champions League but it could have been a lot different.

The players will be very tired due to the travelling to the Ukraine midweek, playing a tough game and then having to take the long journey back from Kiev in the early hours of Thursday morning.

As a comparison, last season Arsenal travelled much closer to home, to Spain and lost to Sevilla. We then proceeded to drop five very valuable points in the next three Premier League games which were all away.

This time the trip to Kiev was further away but more importantly we had to chase the game in the second half right up until the last minute.

So fatigue will be one of Arsenal’s main problems against Bolton at the Reebok despite Arsene Wenger’s attempt to play it down:

"Fatigue will not be an issue. When you are a competitor you want competition so you cannot complain, when you have competition, that you are tired."

Yea I believe you Arsene…

If it were so then why has he already hinted that he will rotate so as to rest some players?

The question that arises then is which changes are likely to be made and whether these players will be able to cope against Bolton.

A player that needs a rest is Fabregas but I doubt whether Wenger will deprive the creativity that the team obviously will need to counter Bolton’s style of play.

Look at what happened when Fabregas was shifted away from the central midfield areas in Kiev. Even Wenger himself admitted that the team lacked creativity in that game.

The obvious newcomer may be Song in place of Denilson. I have since last season been singing Song’s praises and I think he will a very good defensive midfielder along side Fabregas especially in a place like the Reebok.

His style, which is to sit back and provide a cover for the defence, will allow Fabregas to assume his more creative role with more ease.

As for the other changes I would think that Eboue will replace Walcott and I would like to see Vela given his first start on the left wing.

I made a point of watching his performances on the left for Osasuna last season and he is more than capable in my opinion to play that role very well and withstand any rough tactics the opposition may deploy.

In this way Van Persie can be restored to his natural position along side or just behind Adebayor. I don’t think that Arsene will risk resting either of these two players.

The next question to address is whether Arsenal will be able to cope with Bolton’s combative and physical style which is centered on first stopping the opposition from playing, adopting a very defensive formation in 4 5 1 and being very alert on set pieces so as to sneak a goal.

Bolton will certainly not be last week’s Blackburn. Paul Ince adopted a more attacking formation for that game which suited Arsenal very well as there were open spaces between Blackburn’s midfield and the defence which Fabregas, Van Persie and Walcott exploited.

Last season’s heroic 3-2 obviously will give Arsenal’s players encouragement and belief that they can win there again. And looking at Bolton’s unconvincing performance against Fulham last week they look decidedly weak at the back.

Gary Cahill completes the final game of his suspension so Danny Shittu and Andy O’Brien will again be tasked with shoring things up at the back. I think they will be in for a very tough time against Adebayor and Van Persie.


Sagna Toure Gallas Clichy
Eboue Fabregas Song Vela
Van Persie Adebayor

If it were not for the fatigue element I would have been predicting a 0-3 away win. But I do not expect us to concede.

Bolton 0 Arsenal 1

Abject performance against Kiev can be blamed on the choice of formation and Fabregas’s position

Song’s Olympics could prove Wenger wrong

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Abject performance against Kiev can be blamed on the choice of formation and Fabregas’s position

By 1970’s Gooner

The attitude of the players for this away Champions League game in the Ukraine looked to have been set by all the comments by Arsene Wenger prior to the game.

His attitude had been to talk up this game as a “very difficult one” he even called it “a massive one”. There was talk from the Arsenal camp which considered a draw as a point gained!

In the end it was a point just gained but in my opinion it was two points thrown away. And I can only blame the choice of formation chosen which resulted in two Arsenal players having to play out of position and their effectiveness badly impaired.

Cesc Fabregas the little maestro pulling the strings from the middle of the pitch was a nonentity throughout the whole of this game.

The reason? Wenger’s choice to play a 4 3 3 formation which meant that Denilson and Song were clustering the central midfield areas with no space for Fabregas to weave his magic.

His instructions were obviously to play further up the field just above the two central midfielders in order to offer support for Adebayor who was playing the lone man role in attack.

The result was that Song who was doing his job kept passing the ball sideways or backwards and Denilson who assumed the more creative (Fabregas) role in midfield was not at all creative. I do not recollect any incisive or penetrative pass he made all game.

So without any creativity in midfield our only hope left of scoring a goal was from some good play from our front men.

Oh but wait a minute..We only had one front man and that was Adebayor because Robin Van Persie was shifted to the left wing so that the 4 3 3 formation could be accommodated.

But it was obvious that what was needed was the pairing of Van Persie and Adebayor in attack. They proved in all of Arsenal’s previous games so far that when they play close to each other they can create space and threats to opposing defences.

Van Persie also tends to drop a little bit further back from the front to receive the ball and play one twos with either Fabregas or Adebayor. But alas he could do neither tonight.

And all this because Arsene afforded too much respect to the opponents.

He deployed such a formation so as to stifle the midfield and stop them from playing rather than rely on Arsenal’s strengths and a formation that usually brings the best out of the players now at this club.


Almunia 5, Sagna 6, Clichy 6, Gallas 5 (it would have been a 4 if he hadn’t got the goal), Toure 6, Song 5, Denilson 4, Fabregas 5, Walcott 6.5, Van Persie 5, Adebayor 6.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Appiah returns to London to negotiate personal terms

By 1970’s Gooner

Having put the disappointment of a World Cup Qualifier defeat to Libya last Friday behind him, Stephen Appiah flew to London right after the game saying that a decision on his future will be made this week.

“By the end of the week I will see where I am going to play my club football” he said to the Ghanaian press.

His first competitive game after ten months out of action went as well as could be expected. He came on for the injured Essien and had a good game under the circumstances creating a couple of chances which the forwards failed to convert.

“It was not bad and I was satisfied. After being out for ten months I enjoyed every bit of it. I realise I have a lot of work to do because I struggled at times” he said.

Contrary to what has been written before in the British press Appiah is still waiting for his clearance from FIFA which would make him a free agent and able to play for another club without the need for a transfer fee.

In the meantime it is believed that favourites for his signature are West Ham despite the recent resignation of Alan Curbishley.

This is because his link with the club was not Curbishley but the Italian Director of football Gianluca Nani and the likelihood that the next coach will be Italian.

Appiah has close links with Italy as he used to, prior to Fenerbahce, play for Juventus and Brescia there.

And the link with Brescia is Gianluca Nani himself who was their sporting Director prior to joining West Ham this year! Brescia were also the club who kindly let Appiah train with them recently in order to regain fitness!

Negotiations with West Ham which reached the point of agreeing a £40.000 a week salary were far advanced.

But in the meantime more clubs are preparing to enter the race for Appiah. These are, in addition to Portsmouth and Arsenal from the Premier League, his old club Juventus and the two German clubs Bayern and Schalke.

Essien injury blow allows Arsenal target Appiah to prove his fitness

Denilson a creeping up on you……

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Essien injury blow allows Arsenal target Appiah to prove his fitness

By 1970’s Gooner

All the interested clubs, including Arsenal, would have lapped up the chance to observe from close up the fitness levels of much sought after midfielder, Stephen Appiah, last night in hot Tripoli.

As we reported on this site yesterday Appiah started this World Cup Qualifier on the bench but his chance came pretty quickly when on the 22nd minute Chelsea’s Michael Essien was stretchered off with what looked like a serious injury after being cynically hacked down.

The Chelsea player missed the start of the Premier League because of a calf injury and only recovered last week.

But the midfielder looks set for another spell on the sidelines with the injury looking serious as he wept while he was taken off.

He was replaced by Captain Stephen Appiah, who was making his first appearance in a competitive match after a nine-month injury-induced absence.

Appiah didn’t look rusty for having been out of action for so long as he was brilliant with his passes and tackle. Agogo and Muntari in particular were unable to utilise his inch-perfect passes failing to find the target.

Laryea Kingston who had a quiet game like most of his colleagues was withdrawn in the 70th minute for ex Arsenal player, Quincy Owusu-Abeyie.

Libya had the best chances but the bar and woodwork denied them repeatedly.

Goalkeeper Richard Kingson produced the game’s best save in the 72nd minute when he tipped a goal bound chip from Omar Dawood beyond the crossbar.

Kingson, a Wigan target, was on hand to make great saves again blocking point blank shots as Ghana struggled to contain their opponents.

The game looked like ending in a goalless draw until Harrison Afful (!) mistimed his clearance and Ahmed Osman took the chance to poke the ball past Richard Kingson for the opener in the 84th minute.

You can watch it on the video screen.

Appiah was discussing a 40.000 a week salary with West Ham prior to Alan Curbishley’s resignation and if Arsenal are willing to match that then his move to the Emirates could be inching nearer.

You will probably hear about it here first rather than the national press!

Appiah aims to prove his fitness for interested clubs tonight

Appiah to decide on Arsenal move after Friday?

Song’s Olympics could prove Wenger wrong

Friday, September 05, 2008

Appiah aims to prove his fitness for interested clubs tonight

By 1970’s Gooner

We have done it before and we are doing it now.

It seems that after our last posting two days ago on the likelihood of Arsene Wenger expressing an interest for free agent Stephen Appiah the national press is now publishing stories strongly linking the Ghanaian player with Arsenal.

The player himself has, as reported on this site, indicated that he will consider his options after tonight’s World Cup qualifier against Libya in Tripoli.

This game will offer him the opportunity to prove his fitness to Arsene Wenger and other interested clubs which include West Ham, Portsmouth and one of his previous clubs, Juventus.

The player has been out for almost a year after a botched knee operation in Turkey when he was on Arsenal’s Champions League opponent, Fenerbahce’s books.

Such was the incompetency of the doctors that when Appiah complained of breathing difficulties after the operation they diagnosed asthma! The real reason for his problems however were the blood clots he developed on his left leg!

He is however likely to be on the bench for tonight’s game but he is such an important player for Ghana that his mere presence has lifted the spirits of his fellow players.

Instrumental midfielder Laryea Kingston says the presence of Appiah on and off the field bodes well for the West African country.

"There is something special in this team and that's Stephen. We are all happy he is back and the difference he makes to any team will be seen in the game" Laryea said.

Richard Kingson, a Wigan target, will start in goal and John Paintsil, the Fullham player will start at right back with club seeking Harrison Afful set to play at left back. Jonathan Quartey and Eric Addo are the central defensive partnership.

Chelsea's Michael Essien and another Arsenal ex target Anthony Annan (now with Rosenborg) will be deployed as the two defensive midfielders.

Laryea Kingston and Sulley Muntari have been handed the right and left attacking slots respectively while Haminu Dramani is expected to partner Junior Agogo up front.

For those interested the game will be on satellite station ART Sport 4 but more significantly will be shown live at 9 pm at the F3K Pub in West London which is very close to West Kensington Station.

Ghanaian soccer fans have an opportunity to watch the match on television at Metro TV.

Appiah to decide on Arsenal move after Friday?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Appiah to decide on Arsenal move after Friday?

By 1970’s Gooner

Stephen Appiah looks like a typical Arsene Wenger transfer target.

He is going to cost nothing as he is now a free agent and is therefore not restricted in any way by the closure of the transfer window.

And he has been out of action for almost a year (since last October) so there is no significant competition from other “big” clubs, making Arsenal and the prospect of playing in the Champion’s league highly attractive.

The Premier League clubs to show an interest are reported to be West Ham and Portsmouth.

West Ham are in melt down at the moment having parted company with Alan Curbishley today so that much discussed move to Upton Park is now in jeopardy.

And if faced with a choice between Arsenal and Portsmouth then it’s no contest really.

The 27-year-old former Juventus star is available on a free transfer after leaving Fenerbahce last month.

He is reported to have left after a row with the club accusing them of botching a knee operation which is responsible for his long lay off.

Arsene Wenger usually checks out, through his wide network of contacts, the fitness of a player he is about to make a move for.

He has done that with another signing this transfer season, Amaury Bischoff, who has faced fitness problems for almost a year.

He made only one substitute appearance for his previous club, Werder Bremen, but is now expected to be fit in about five weeks time.

Appiah seems to have convinced Ghana’s national coach, Milovan Rajevac, of his fitness as he has been called up in the squad for the World Cup qualifier against Libya next Friday.

"Stephen Appiah is really big player. It's very important to be with rest all the players here as a leader," Rajevac told the Ghanaian media.

"As the coach I will assess him and check on the training and see how much he can play if he can play”.

Appiah, a former Fenerbahce midfielder, had trained with his former side Brescia in the Serie B in Italy to regain fitness and his Ghanaian colleague and friend, Manuel Junior Agogo, is relishing the chance to reunite with Appiah.

"I can't wait to get back and see Stephen because it has been a long time since he' s been with the boys so that's that going to be a boost for the boys. I have been speaking to him quite frequently this couple of weeks and I can't wait to see him” Agogo said.

Appiah arrived in Tripoli with Sulley Muntari and even though the team did not train on Wednesday morning, he went through two hours physical training at the team’s beach side base.

And afterwards, he told he was just happy to be back. “It feels really good because now I am training knowing very well that I could be playing”.

He also gave an indication that he will decide which club to join after Friday’s game:

“There are talks but where I will play my club football next will become clear after Friday’s game. Then I will sit down and look at my options very well,” he said.

Appiah, nicknamed the “Tornado”, has been consistently linked with Arsenal over the past four years and his availability could prompt Wenger to consider adding him to a midfield which is in need of strengthening after the summer sales of Mathieu Flamini, Gilberto Silva and Alexandre Hleb.

Appiah has been given the captain’s armband for this important World Cup qualifier and Arsene Wenger is sure to send his scout to Libya as it’s a real opportunity to assess the player’s fitness in a competitive game.

If Appiah signs for Arsenal then he could give some useful hints to Wenger and the Arsenal players on how to face Turkish side Fenerbahce who are in Arsenal’s Champion’s League group.

Stephen Appiah Fact File

Date of birth December 24, 1980 (age 27)

Place of birth: Accra, Ghana

Height: 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position: Midfielder

Current club: Free Agent
Youth clubs: Hearts of Oak

Senior clubs

1995-1997 Hearts of Oak 0- (-)

1997-2000 Udinese 36 (0)

2000-2002 Parma 29 (0)

2002-2003 → Brescia (loan) 31 (7)

2003-2005 Juventus 48 (3)

2005-2008 Fenerbahçe 64 (11)

National team
1996- Ghana 53 (13)

Arsenal are too dependent on Cesc Fabregas

Denilson a creeping up on you……