Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Monday, March 30, 2009

Nasri picks his woman and from the photos and video who can blame him?

By Aries

Samir Nasri has been playing some fantastic football lately and the reason may be the fact that he is back with his long standing girlfriend Tennis star Tatiana Golovina.

The couple separated for some time after Nasri met Ayme Davison while on holiday in Cuba. But the problem was that the Doncaster College student in fashion was then dating Rugby player Phil McCawn who was pretty cheesed off about it.

In the meantime Tatiana started seeing long time fiend French Basketball player Joakim Noah.

In the end it all turned out well for Samir and Tatiana because they are an item again and living together in London.

And apart from looking fantastic herself Tatiana has also been looking after her love by cooking some delicious French dishes for him.

May be this explains the delicious football that Samir has been serving up.

Tatiana Golovin is best known for winning the 2004 French Open mixed doubles event with her countryman Richard Gasquet and also for reaching the singles quarterfinal at the 2006 US Open.

She was born in Moscow, but she moved to Paris with her parents and earned French citizenship.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Van Persie gets a goal and an injury which does not look serious (video)

By 1970's Gooner

There has been concern about Robin Van Persie’s fitness after he was substituted on the 65th minute during Holland’s game against Scotland.

Van Persie scored a headed goal from a corner when he made a run into the six yard box without anybody picking him up.

He was also ready to head Holland’s first goal but his team mate Huntelaar got there just before him. So terrible was the defending from the Scots that Holland’s coach Bert van Marwijk said:

"3-0 is a good result in an international match. Scotland created only one chance, so we did a good job. However, our start wasn't good enough and Scotland defended good in the beginning”

Van Persie’s injury does not look that worrying as it was a clash on the head as he went up to meet a deep cross. He was able to walk off unaided afterwards as you will see from the video above.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Adebayor makes stunning comeback with a goal and a penalty miss (video)

By 1970’s Gooner

Arsene Wenger said before this international game between Togo and Cameroon that he would not object to Togo’s captain, Emmanuel Adebayor, playing.

And how grateful the Togo national team must be as the Arsenal striker, returning after a six week absence from action due to a hamstring injury, scored as early as the 11th minute.

He took advantage of a slip by Reading defender Andrew Bikey and slid the ball past Cameroon’s goalkeeper Kameni.

The African Footballer of the Year went on to complete the 90 minutes in Accra but blotted his copybook by missing a second-half penalty given away by Newcastle’s Geremi.

The match was played in neighbouring Ghana because Togo are banned from using their home stadium after rioting two years ago.

Arsenal’s Song did not start the game.

Togo: Obilalé Kodjovi - Daré Nibombe, Richmond Forson, Gaffar Mamah, Amewou Komlan - Alaixys Romao, Ayité Floyd, Moustapha Salifou, Cheriff Touré - Dossevi Thomas - Sheyi Emmanuel Adebayor

Cameroon: Idriss Carlos Kameni - Bahanag Rigobert Song, Geremi Njitap Sorel, Benoit Assou Ekotto, André Bikey - Jean II Makoun, Stéphane Mbia, Mbam Mbam Modeste, Somen A Tchoyi - Samuel Eto'o Fils, Achille Webo

Do we need Adebayor?

By Sandy

The rumour mills have started early this year and yet AGAIN Adebayor is linked with a big money move away from the club with the most likely destination AGAIN being AC Milan.

The question is, if we get a large offer for the Togo International should we do our best to fend off the interested team or should we take the money and run?

I am not the biggest fan of Adebayor. When he is good he is awesome but when he is bad he is terrible and often misses the easiest of chances.

He had a very good season last year scoring a lot of goals and this season he has been hampered by injury but I still believe we could do with someone of better quality up front.

Adebayor is strong and wins headers something we can only really say about one other of our strikers, Bendtner but he is definitely not the solution as he is even more inconsistent than Adebayor.

Our other attackers are all small and skilful which is fantastic but we also need to complement them with a battering ram up front.

A player that provides strength, aerial power and gets stuck in.

The fact is that we would maybe miss not having Adebayor or someone like him to call upon.

There are not many players in world football in the mould of Adebayor at the moment.

Chelsea’s Drogba is a similar type player but more accomplished and this could largely be down to the age difference between the players.

But the real question is if we could take the money for Adebayor and get someone better to play the same type of role could we find him?

If we get a bid say of £35 million, which is the figure being mentioned in the press, I don’t think we can turn down an offer like that but who do we replace him with? I am struggling to come up with a name.

Two players I would love to see at Arsenal are David Villa and Aguero. Aguero is unlikely to be possible for anything less than the money we will receive for Adebayor whereas Villa is reluctant to leave Spain.

But even if we did get one of these players there is no doubt they are more skilful and better players than Adebayor but they won’t win the aerial battles for us.

There is then the likes of Santa Cruz who could play the role for us but that would almost certainly start a bidding war which would result in us probably being priced out of the market.

So there appears only to be one solution, sell Adebayor for £35 million, Wenger plucks another player from obscurity for £2 million who is in fact better than Adebayor and we spend the rest of the money, hopefully, on solidifying the centre of defence and maybe a defensive midfielder.

That way everyone wins and we hopefully win the league.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Rosicky awaiting reserve team outing

By 1970’s Gooner

As first reported on this site some time ago Tomas Rosicky’s latest setback was absolutely not related to his usual problem of hamstring trouble.

Sky and other media have been reporting that Tomas’s hamstring flared up as soon as the training regime was stepped up. This was all of course media speculation.

Arsenal Analysis revealed that it was Tomas’s groin and not his hamstring that had flared up keeping him out of training. This was the verdict of Czech Republic national team coach Peter Rada who met Tomas recently in London.

“Tomas has discontinued training but it is not because of hamstring injuries. He has a small problem with the groin, which would require only a few days of rest. Then he will return to full training” he said.

Indeed, Tomas is now itching to get back into action but it will all depend on what Arsene Wenger says.

“Arsène Wenger will determine when I play a match for the reserves. In England, the reserves of professional clubs have their own competition, which attracts a lot of spectators who create a pretty good atmosphere” he said on his personal web site.

And he finished on a very optimistic note:

“The groin is no longer an obstacle for my come-back, I feel great”.

We said it before even if there are a lot “doubting Thomases” out there among you:

All Gooners should not be surprised to see Tomas back in action very soon. And what a fantastic addition to Arsene Wenger’s armoury this will be.

Rosicky’s injury not considered serious

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Eduardo on why he never came off the bench against Newcastle

By Aries

All Arsenal fans were glad to see that Eduardo had once again overcome his niggling injuries, the latest a groin problem sustained during his brief appearance during the Champions league encounter against Roma.

He was in fact included in the squad to travel for the away game at Newcastle and even made it on the bench but he never got the nod to make his come back.

He has since gone away for international duty with his adopted country, Croatia, but has declared himself fit and ready to play.

“Everything is OK with the foot. I feel great and I am ready” he said to Croatian journalists.

“The reason I did not come on to play (against Newcastle) was tactical. Arsene Wenger decided he did not need me” he explained.

It appears that Wenger did not want to risk starting with Eduardo and with the way the game progressed in the second half there was no need to introduce another striker as Arsenal were not chasing the game.

Eduardo is however in Bilic’s plans to start both of Croatia’s qualifying games. The first one is against Andorra followed by the more difficult Ukraine.

“We now need to prepare for Andorra. It will not be an easy game. I am glad to be back among my team-mates. I hope that I will play” Eduardo said.

All us gooners wish that he comes out unscathed in the end.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Arshavin on why Martins missed the penalty and Wenger’s prediction Newcastle will tire

By Aries

Andrey Arshavin has been speaking about his second game on the road for Arsenal which was also victorious (the first was West Brom).

He conceded that Newcastle came out of the blocks running which was something that Arsene Wenger warned them about.

“The first 25-30 minutes they gave us a hard time. Arsene Wenger warned us that this will happen by showing us the video of their last game where from the first minute they went into battle (mode).

Arshavin and his team mates were however told by Wenger that this onslaught will eventually peter out as Newcastle will get tired. And indeed this is what happened.

“The coach stressed that we must endure their onslaught at the beginning and then the time will come when they get tired. It will then be easier to play. And that has actually happened in this game” Arshavin said.

Newcastle’s positive approach right from the off almost paid dividends but the penalty kick by Martins was saved by Almunia.

“The penalty was a good opportunity to open their account. But I thought Martins was scared of our goalie, who saved the penalty”

This added to our confidence and in the second half when they tired our class and skill showed through” he said.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Favourable Champions League draw provides Arsenal with a route to the Final

By 1970's Gooner

The teams to avoid in the draw were obviously the English contingent and Barcelona.

The English teams know each other so it is a little bit more difficult to outmaneuver them tactically and otherwise.

Also any games between them would have been that much hyped up and tense affairs that Arsenal’s relatively young squad would have had more difficulty to cope with. Remember Liverpool last season?

Barcelona have been playing the best football in Europe and Liverpool and Chelsea have hit peak form. Avoiding these three teams until the final is important and Arsenal are very lucky they did.

It is important because like the rest of the teams left in the competition it is only Arsenal that have a lot of room for improvement.

Liverpool with a fit Torres and Gerrard on form have now begun playing to their full potential. They will have to sustain it however as the run in to the business end of the season will undoubtedly take its toll.

The same applies for Chelsea. They have now, with the excellent Hiddink on the helm and the dangerous and enthusiastic Drogba and Essien back on form hit their best. They, like Liverpool, will also need to sustain it.

But only one of them will progress. And they will probably have to face Barcelona if they are to get to the final.

Barcelona like Manchester United are beginning to show signs of tiredness. Will these two be able to remain fresh in the coming weeks and months?

Arsenal on the other hand have only now begun to get back into their stride as the injured players begin to come back.

We have seen how rejuvenated the players were now that Arshavin and Walcott have added a spark and real width that was really needed. And there is Fabregas and Adebayor to come back still.

Villareal are a good team but “beatable” and if Manchester United get past Porto they will have to face an Arsenal side who will have by then a full complement of players to choose from. And we have beaten them once this season, comprehensively. We can do it again.

We will also play both the first legs away.

Champions League quarter-final draw:

Villarreal v Arsenal
Manchester United v Porto
Liverpool v Chelsea
Barcelona v Bayern Munich
The first legs will be played on April 7/8 with the second legs on April 14/15.

Semi final draw:

Manchester United/Porto v Villarreal/Arsenal
Barcelona/Bayern Munich v Liverpool/Chelsea
The first legs will be played on April 28/29 with the second legs on May 5/6.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Is Song the answer to Arsenal's search for a defensive midfielder?

By Sandy

The creative talent that we have in midfield is undeniable and on our day we can out play any team in the world. But there is something that we have been badly missing this season and this is a strong imposing figure that solidifies the midfield.

Flamini played this role to a large extent last year as he swept things up in midfield and put in the crunching tackles when they had to be made. But sadly there is no one in the team at the moment that fills this role.

The likes of Denilson and Diaby have tried to play in that position but it’s not really the role they are suited for.

Denilson is far too lightweight whose tackling is simply not up to scratch while Diaby is fantastic going forward but nowhere near composed and assured enough in possession.

Someone who could potentially fill the role is Alex Song. He has really improved all aspects of his game over recent months. This includes tackling, heading and passing (forward not sideways).

His display against Hull the other night was his best in an Arsenal shirt. If he can continue with this rate of progress he could be in with a shout of holding down that position.

But is he really the solution or do we need to spend big money on a new defensive midfielder?

A player of Senna’s ability, strength and more importantly experience would be ideal as he would allow the more creative players to express themselves while he shores up the defence.

Senna has experience of playing at the top level and was one of the unsung heroes when Spain won Euro 2008. The solidity that Senna and Alonso gave in the centre of midfield was what let the more creative attacking players create and score goals.

Alonso was linked with Arsenal in the summer and would have been a fantastic player for us, as he plays the defensive midfield role very well at Liverpool just now.

Either of these players would not only be a fantastic addition to the team but would also be the perfect teacher for Song, who with a bit of work could make the defensive midfield role his own one day.

With the signing of Arshavin we really have added a new dimension to the team. He is not scared to run at players and 9 times out of 10 has the ability to beat them.

But one of the most important aspects he brings is his willingness to shoot from anywhere. Too often we try to pass through teams and Arshavin helps with this problem.

When all the players are fit and available for selection Wenger will have a real headache trying to fit everyone into midfield:

Cesc, Nasri, Diaby, Eboue, Walcott, Rosicky (hopefully), Song and Denilson all looking for a starting position in the team.

It sounds like a good headache to have until the time comes!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Arshavin explains why it took so long to score and what Wenger said at half time

By 1970's Gooner

Andrey Arshavin seems to do a lot of his talking through his personal web site. As he explained he was delighted for having provided another assist for Arsenal’s important first goal scored by Robin Van Persie.

“It was a difficult position. To score from there, I needed to hit the top left corner, an easier option was the pass, which resulted in a goal” he said showing how mature a player he is.

Indeed one of the reasons why Wenger brought him to the Emirates was his age, 27, and the experience that goes with it.

His explanation for taking so long to score was that Arsenal in the first half were playing in a slow tempo which allowed Hull to get players behind the ball.

“Our attacks were quite slow, which allowed Hull to close the spaces, in some cases they displayed real heroics. They were wasting time as well.

I'm glad that the referee started booking them for time-wasting in the beginning of the second half although he could have started in the first”.

But what surprised Andrey was the use of only one match ball during the game. This added to the time it took to restart the game either from a throw in or a corner as the players had to wait for the ball to be retrieved.

“They (Hull) benefitted from using only one (match) ball and that was pretty surprising for me. Every time the ball goes out, you have to wait for it.

The attacker loses momentum because of that, letting defenders get back and close the free spaces, it slows the game down. It gives an advantage to teams who play a slower game. I'm used to having balls scattered all around the pitch”.

Indeed we think that Andrey has a point. For Champions League games FIFA allows a number of match balls to be used during a game. We have seen even at the Emirates in European ties how quickly a ball boy throws the ball back to the player ready to bring it back into play.

The Premier League however chooses to be behind the times, as always. Its rules allow for only one match ball which often results in delays and gives an unfair advantage to teams wishing to adopt delaying tactics. Like most teams visiting the Emirates…

But in the end class showed through. Wenger made the substitutions and the players carried out his half time instructions which were to play at a higher tempo.

“He told us that while we were doing the right things, we needed to speed up a bit to get the result. He asked us to stay positive about the game till the final whistle” Arshavin said.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Rosicky’s injury not considered serious

By 1970’s Gooner

The latest set back suffered by Tomas Rosicky has been widely reported in the British press as a return of his hamstring injury. But nothing can be further from the truth.

Sky and other media have been reporting that Tomas’s hamstring flared up as soon as the training regime was stepped up. This was after Arsene Wenger himself announced the latest set back. But interestingly he did not reveal what the problem was:

"Tomas has had a little set-back of one week so he will be out for two weeks again," manager Arsene Wenger told Arsenal's official website.

Arsenal Analysis can reveal that it is Tomas’s groin and not his hamstring that has troubled him. This has been the verdict of Czech Republic national team coach Peter Rada. He met Tomas recently in London.

"Tomas has discontinued training for a few days but what is important is that this is not because of hamstring injuries.

His knee is absolutely fine, it’s holding up one hundred percent.

Tomas has a small problem with the groin, which would require only a few days of rest. Then he will return to full training” he said.

Rada has been visiting London Colney to assess Tomas’s fitness and also held talks with Arsene Wenger. His comments have been published on the official Czech FA web site. He went on to say:

"Tomas’s knee can now withstand the full load. Training is not a problem and he can do with the ball absolutely everything. He is even surprised himself that the knee has no problems”

It seems that, like Eduardo, being out of action for so long brings out a lot of small niggling injuries.

But this is indeed good news for Tomas who looks like making his return to reserve team action by the middle of next month.

Let’s hope he does not get any more injuries.

Arshavin rules himself out of the Hull game

By 1970’s Gooner

Andrey has been speaking to the Russian press after the victory against Blackburn and has gone as far as ruling himself out of the FA Cup game against Hull tomorrow evening.

Speaking to “Soviet Express” he said that the cut although not deep was quite painful and that it needed four stitches at half time (Arsene Wenger later said that the stitches inserted were eight- maybe they were added to after the game?).

"It happened early in the first half but in the heat of the game I didn't feel the pain. I can't even step on my foot now. It's like a knife cut, not very deep but quite painful," Arshavin said.

“I hope to recover in four or five days. But I will almost certainly miss the Hull game”

He then revealed that Ooijer’s boot went in so strongly that the impact broke his boot and went through to gash his skin.

Andrey expects that he will return to fitness in time to feature against Newcastle at St James Park.

“I will do everything possible to return for the Saturday game against Newcastle".

“I am tired of training alone – I have enough of it when my team is getting ready for the Champions League games"

Let's hope he trains alone more often, but not due to injury!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Arshavin’s excellent performance down to his wife and Arsenal’s doctor

By Aries

Andrey Arshavin was very complimentary of the Arsenal doctor who had inserted four stitches into a foot injury at half time. That’s why he came out late for the start of the second half.

But it didn’t stop him from putting in a wonderful performance scoring Arsenal’s second goal and having a significant influence in the first and the third.

Apparently the doctor asked him if he wanted to be substituted at half time but he would have none of it.

“I had my right foot stitched up. Ooijer ripped my boot and my skin underneath in the 10th minute. The doctor had to help me out during the break.

“I run towards him after the second goal. I thanked him for a great job”.

Speaking on his web site he considered Arsenal’s first goal as the most important one as it helped open up Blackburn and allowed Arsenal to play their football.

“having conceded a quick goal, our opponents had to change their game and play more open football, they had to go forward.

Their attacks were quite simple: they went for long balls to their strong attacking players.

Following that, Blackburn started playing more open football. And we were exploiting that, organising quick counter-attacks, through which we managed to get the result and enjoy our game”.

But Andrey had also pinpointed another reason for his great performance against Blackburn.

His wife Yulia and her sister Xenia were in the Emirates to watch him for the first time since his move to Arsenal.

“I was very happy that they were in the stadium. It was their first visit and I'm glad that it brought me luck”.

Maybe Yulia and Arshavin’s family should attend every Arsenal game!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Arsenal purr again. Player analysis and ratings Vs Blackburn

By 1970’s Gooner

This is a performance that had us all purring again. Chances galore, misses galore but also goals scored galore.

The score would have been at least seven or eight nil if it wasn’t for Bendtner’s profligacy in front of goal.

Arsene Wenger got the balance of the team right with two choices that gave the team penetration and height.

The penetration came from the deployment of two fast and dangerous wingers in Arshavin and Walcott.

They provided width but more importantly mobility in the forward positions. The Blackburn defenders did not know how to deal with their movement and when you have players like that in the side chances will be created.

An added bonus that arises when pacy wide men are in the team is the lightning fast counter attacks, a facet of Arsenal’s game that has not been seen for a very long time.

And it was always on against Blackburn, with Walcott (who got his clattering alright) and Arshavin duly obliging. Scoring a quick goal always helps of course.

The second choice was the inclusion of Djourou in the starting line up alongside Toure.

Wenger obviously wanted to counter what everyone expected from a Sam Allardyce team. Long, high balls and throw ins at every opportunity.

Djourou, Toure and Song (who always provided aerial support at dead ball situations) were on the whole equal to this tactic.

I can’t wait for Fabregas, Rosicky and Adebayor to get back. What a bench we are likely to have!


Steady, confident and secure. I never worry that he will make any mistakes and on the few occasions he was called upon to make the saves, mostly from free kicks that Denilson gave away, he was not troubled at all. 8


I was disappointed with his performance today. He looked tired to me and made some mistakes in his passing and crosses. He was also caught asleep when Petersen got through for Blackburn’s only chance of a goal. 6


He had a much better game today when compared to his below par performances lately. He was full of running, defended well and took the right positions in the defence. 7


He has been in form lately and today he was faultless. Great in the air and always there to cut out any balls aimed for Roberts. He is starting to look like the Toure of old. 8


He obviously needed to get some match fitness because he looked rusty against West Brom. He was very good today.

He won every high ball that came his way and he has the added ability to head the balls to a distance thus relieving the defence and gaining important ground. 7


He is beginning to become more consistent in his performances, the sign of a player maturing. He carried out his duties almost to perfection, looking every bit of an authoritative defensive midfielder.

He broke up attacks, defended in front of the back four, won the ball and passed it accurately to the forwards whenever that was on. 8


A much improved performance today from the little Brazilian. He was everywhere doing everything. Winning the ball, creating the time for him to look up and pass it accurately.

I and a lot of you berated him after the Roma performance but today we have to hold our hands up and say that he was immense. He tired by the end which resulted in making a few mistakes but overall I enjoyed his performance.8


The more games he plays the more he is showing us what a fantastic player he is.

He is not yet at his peak fitness but even so he is going to become a massive player for Arsenal football club.

He was there for the first goal forcing the mistake by the Blackburn defender, Oojer, to turn it into his own net.

But for his second his skill in turning Simpson inside out and then scoring from the tightest of angles was awsome.

He also chose to ignore Bendtner’s calls for the ball which if he had the chances were that Bendtner would have missed it! 8


Samir was active and mobile in the first half but tired in the second, the effects of the Roma game catching up on him. He played in the hole behind Bendtner and connected the midfield with the attack very well. 6


He provided the width on the right hand side creating a lot of problems for Warnock. His low ball into the Blackburn area created Arsenal’s first goal and was generally a thorn in Blackburn’s side.

I consider his return to fitness as very important to Arsenal as he provides the width and the pace that we so lacked this season. 7


I will not be that critical of Bendtner. Yes he did miss chance after chance and in other circumstances against a more dangerous team his misses would have been very costly.

But he has been showing great improvement in his game recently. He is very enthusiastic, full of running, his touch on the ball very good and most importantly he gets in those dangerous positions to score the goals.

Let’s be honest about it. The only thing he got wrong today was the putting away of the chances. If he can get that right then you have a very good player. 6.5


He was berated by a lot of us but he stuck to it and he is getting his rewards lately. He wasn’t on for long but he had an impact scoring Arsenal’s third and fourth goal. 8

Come on the Spurs!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The formation didn’t work, Denilson didn’t perform but Almunia didn’t move. Ratings

By 1970’s Gooner

This was a nervy away Champions League performance. The team lacked composure and leadership. Giving away an early goal didn’t of course help.

For a start the formation which worked so brilliantly at the Emirates failed to work this time. There were two reasons for this.

Firstly Nasri kept himself mostly on the wing rather than come inside and dictate play like he did in the first leg.

Secondly that little maestro, Pizzaro, who only came on as a late substitute at the Emirates started this game and went on to dominate midfield, closing down those spaces that were so easily available in the first leg.

Van Persie was isolated up front with occasional support by the mostly ineffective Eboue and Bendtner. So no real penetration in attack and no real support from midfield resulted in a disjointed disappointing performance.

The most ineffective player was Denilson who had one of his worse games in an Arsenal shirt. He couldn’t tackle, kept giving the ball away and posed no real obstacle to Totti and co when they went forward from the midfield areas.

The defence however stood firm with Gallas and Toure continuing on their good form of late. This will stand us in good stead when our injured players return and the team starts performing as they should.

Almunia was also outstanding with two very good saves in the first half which kept us in the game. His most important save of course was the penalty for which he elected to stand still in the middle of the goal and the Roma player obliged by passing the ball to him!

The most important positive to come out of this game is the greatly enhanced team spirit.

Almunia 8.5
Sagna 7
Clichy 6
Gallas 8
Toure 8
Denilson 5
Diaby 6
Nasri 6
Bendtner 5.5
Eboue 6
Van Persie 6

Eduardo:" No problem lasts forever"

By Simon Pretswell

Arsenal forward Eduardo has admitted he has forgotten about his horror injury which left him sidelined for over a year and is just happy to be back playing football again.

The Brazilian-born hitman insists he is playing without fear of suffering a repeat injury. He is also convinced Arsenal will enjoy a strong finish to the 2008/09 season.

The Croatian striker capped his return from injury with a stunning goal against Burnley on Sunday, volleying into the top corner with an unstoppable left footed strike.

This adds to the two goals he scored on his comeback match against Cardiff last month.

Arsene Wenger hailed Eduardo's strike as the best goal he had witnessed this season, but Eduardo was uncertain if it was his best ever.

“I don’t know if it’s the best goal I have scored in my career, but it’s certainly one of my favourites because it shows that I am definitely back after a long absence,” he told Croatian newspaper Sports Novosti.

“I’m overjoyed and I just have to thank my coach, my team-mates and my family, plus everyone else whose support I relied on.

“I’m convinced that I’m on the right path, going into challenges without fear and training and playing normally.

“My leg break was almost 13 months ago – no problem lasts forever.”

Eduardo's return to the Gunners first team has come at a time when everything is starting to come together for the club, who have suffered a difficult season.

England winger Theo Walcott also returned from a three month absence against Burnley while Emmanuel Adebayor, Tomas Rosicky and Cesc Fabregas are all close to making their first team returns.

The Croatian believes things are set up nicely for a strong end to the season.

“I’m sure Arsenal are on the up now. We can turn things around this season.

“We’re playing brilliantly, so the results will follow.”

One thing is for sure, Eduardo’s return to action and the goal threat he brings with him has given a lift to everyone at the club and supporters alike.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Arshavin critical of himself

By 1970’s Gooner

Andrey Arshavin has been speaking after Arsenal’s victory in the FA Cup over Burnley and has praised Arsenal’s dominance over the opponent as well as being critical of his own performance.

He considered the fact that Arsenal scored relatively early in the game (in the 24th minute) forced the opponent to play a bit more open than they would have liked.

“From the first minutes of the match we tried to dominate the game which we did. We scored the first goal early thus forcing the opponent to become more open”.

Speaking on his personal site he was particularly happy for providing the assist for Vela’s goal.

“Carlos coolly pushed the ball beyond the defender, ran away and scored.

From the side it seemed that everything was very easy.

In fact it was a piece of great individual skill and that's what I told him” he said.

However when he was asked to comment on his own performance he was not happy with it:

“No, I think that today I did not have a good game” he said.

Andrey was indeed a bit below his other performances as of late even though he should have been fitter for this game. His corners were poor and he tended to drift in and out of the game.

Yet he showed that he can track back and defend when needed and his passing was incisive and accurate.

It’s obvious of course that there’s a lot more to come from him especially when he gets more accustomed to his team mates and regains top fitness.

And that’s what he will be doing when the rest of the team go away on Tuesday to Rome.

“The team flies away on Tuesday but I'm not flying to Italy. I will prepare for the next game at home and I will work with a coach for physical training” he said.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Eboue and Song shine for a change. Player analysis and ratings Vs Burnley

By 1970’s Gooner

There’s a lot to be pleased about this 3 0 win against a Burnley side that their credit refused to play negative football.

The first to be pleased about is that we rediscovered our goal scoring again carrying on where we left after the win at West Brom.

We have now scored six goals in two games albeit against lower quality opposition, but who is complaining? In football, confidence and psychology are an integral part of a winning side as much as skill, football brains and strength.

The second is that the goals were put away by players who needed to score so as to get their confidence back again.

None more so than the returning Eduardo who put it away in Brazilian style with the outside of his boot on the volley! Vela too scored an exquisite chip over the advancing Jensen.

And the last of the goals came from a thunderous shot by Eboue after receiving Song’s backheel which put him through in the penalty area.

But the most important to be pleased about is the return of two of the four players that have been long term absentees: Eduardo and Walcott.

This signals that the squad is beginning to get together again and reaching full strength just when the final run in to the most important business part of the season is getting close.

With a fully fit Arshavin who showed again that he is an experienced forward full of trickery and nous as well as a fit Fabregas, Walcott, Eduardo and Rosicky this team could suddenly look formidable.


Did not have much to do but he looked inept on a couple of crosses missing the ball completely. One such cross created havoc in the area and Burnley nearly scored. Other than this he looked assured and confident and I believe he will get a lot better the more games he plays. 5.5


Can only fault him for his crosses really and for nothing else. A no nonsense reliable defender who rarely makes mistakes. 7


Started very tentatively and Burnley had some joy down his side of the pitch early in the game. However he got better and better as the game progressed and during the last 20 minutes when the game was won he showed enough confidence to go forward and use his undoubted dribbling skills. 7


I am very impressed with his defending lately. He has put everything behind him and his defending has benefited no end. Still below the levels he achieved at Chelsea but if he carries on like this he may still get there. 8


Well at least he did not make all those silly mistakes and fouls we witnessed at West Brom. He needs games to get his match fitness back to scratch and this was one. 6


He also needs games to get his physical fitness back and Wenger gave him the full 90 minutes. I was disappointed with his overall performance though as you would have expected him to play a lot better in this game. Nevertheless his touch and football nous was all there for everyone to see. 5


What an improved performance this was from the much maligned Eboue and what a wonderfully taken goal. I can only recollect one wrong decision he made with his passing which was a very big improvement from him.

He had drive, tenacity and the will to always go forward with the ball. It’s his runs that make Arsenal play at a faster pace that I like. As I have said before we have lost that urgency to attack opponents with pace something which has been distinctly lacking this season. 9


A much, much improved performance from Song also who had us all wondering why he doesn’t produce this sort of performance every week.

He tackled well, kept his position a little further back than Diaby but he also looked to pass the ball forward which was a major change from his recent performances from passing it sideways all the time.

A wonderful such forward pass was the exquisitely chipped ball for Eduardo to score his goal. 8


Abu’s presence in the middle of the pitch did I think provide a far better balance than when Denilson and Song play there together.

This is because he not only adds strength, tenacity and aerial power there but because he is more forward minded than any of the other two. He has to start every game with either of Denilson or Song next to him. 7.5


He is the real fox in the box that we have been looking for all these years.

He is the man that will score all kinds of goals.

From half chances, when the team is not playing that well and of course with Brazilian aplomb like the one today. 8


He is also a finisher and the goal he scored showed us how he can use his pace and skill to get past his defender and chip the ball over the advancing goalkeeper.

He has to improve his ball control however and stop looking for fouls when defenders get near him. I am sure he will as I rate him highly. 7

Theo looked a lot stronger with more muscle on him than before his injury. He looked to me more of a well developed man than the youngster he was.

Man of the Match: It’s between Song and Eboue but I would go for Eboue.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Arshavin finally undergoes his initiation ceremony in front of the Arsenal players

By 1970’s Gooner

As you may recall “Arsenal Analysis” first printed the story about Arshavin having to undergo an initiation ceremony in front of his new team mates.

“The club has a tradition where every rookie after dinner before a game should stand on a chair and do something. You can sing a song, read poetry” he said.

As we revealed he did not have to go through it last week as the club’s new doctor had to do it prior to the Sunderland game.

He was referring to Arsenal’s newly appointed doctor Gary O’Driscoll. He replaced Ian Beasley who has taken up a role within the England national setup.

But Arshavin couldn’t get out of it when the Fulham game came round.

As he admitted he stood on a chair and started giving a sort of a speech.

The Arsenal players wouldn’t have any of it though and they demanded that he sing. When they were informed by Andrey that what they were hearing was him actually singing they started to run away.

“They all, however, demanded from me to sing, but when I said: that is me singing - they just fled” he said to the Russian media.

Let’s hope that all the Arsenal players are singing from the same tune sheet when it comes to actually performing on the football field.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Player Analysis and ratings Vs West Brom

By 1970's Gooner

Even a local pub team would have given West Brom a game tonight. Their defending was abysmal and their attacking as tame as pussy cat. If it wasn’t for Scot Carson’s excellent goalkeeping Arsenal would have got near to double figures.

Yet even if Arsenal enjoyed a lot of possession the defenders conjured enough mistakes to have allowed West Brom to get back into the game.

Djourou had a bad game. He was probably unfit not having played for a long time and he looked it. His aerial challenges more often than not ended up pushing the attacker rather than winning the ball thus giving away free kicks in dangerous positions.

Their goal came from just such a free kick. Eboue inexplicably stepped aside while in the wall to let the low ball slip through into Almunia’s unsighted corner.

West Brom’s very strange insistence in not putting a high ball into the area from the free kicks but opting to pass the ball sideways meant that they failed to capitalise on an Arsenal weakness that could have provided more dividends.

Djourou also fell asleep again in the second half letting Fortune slip away from him on to a through ball. It was only the excellent Almunia’s fingertip save that reprieved him.

Bendtner used his power and self confidence well tonight taking advantage of slack defending to score two well taken goals. The first with his left foot when he went passed his defender rather easily from the right hand side and shooting low past Carson in the 5th minute.

His second and Arsenal’s third came from the only decent long ball that Toure managed to supply Bendtner with all night. Keite went asleep, Bendtner controlled brilliantly with his knee and shot powerfully and diagonally through Carson.

Arshavin turned provider for Arsenal’s important second goal. Clichy won a free kick on the left hand side of the pitch and Arsenal did not do what West Brom did with most of their free kicks.

Arshavin who took the free kick placed an in swinger into the penalty area and Toure was completely unmarked to head the ball into the net.

Wenger did not help matters with his substitutions.

Putting Ramsey in on the 66th minute and then Merida in the last 10 minutes almost backfired when Ramsey hit a weak back pass which took a deflection off Sagna and put Fortune in clear on goal. It needed a quick reaction from Almunia to block the danger injuring himself in the process.

This was a very important win for Arsenal putting pressure on Villa to get a win at Manchester City tomorrow.


He didn’t have much to do but when he was called upon he was excellent.8


Returned to form for this game. Kept his position well, was never caught out and also did well in the air. 7


The same cannot be said of Clichy. He is still below his best, not marking tight enough and his crosses left a lot to be desired. I hope he returns to form soon. 5


Scored a rare goal and performed very well, both on the ground and in the air, throughout the game. Real leadership shown. 8


Continued his average performances as of late. His marking was not tight enough and his passing failed him again. 4


Getting better and better. Swept very well in midfield and made many more forward passes tonight always finding his man. 7


Influential in the first half faded out in the second. Assumed the playmaker's role and combined well with Arshavin. 6


Resumed his enthusiastic performances as of late but he lacks decision making. Still provided that quickness and thrust that is needed to drive the team forward especially coming out of defence. 6


Looked more threatening tonight combining well with Bendtner and Nasri. He was set up on several occasions by the unselfish Bendtner and could have had his first goal if it wasn’t for Scot Carson. Still looked unfit especially in the second half. 7


Had one of his better games scoring two goals, hitting the post and Carson denying him his hat trick on several occasions. 8.5


He came on for the injured Toure with Song reverting to centre back. Immediately slotted in and dictated play with ease and forward thrust. He is really looking the business in midfield. 8

Man of the Match: Scott Carson! Yes he was really the man of the match but from Arsenal’s point of view it has to be Bendtner.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Arshavin reveals what Wenger said in the Arsenal dressing room after the Fulham game

By Aries

Andrey has been speaking on his site about the disappointing draw after the Fulham game. He was disappointed about dropping points again but believes that goals will come.

Although Fulham played defensively he thought that they were given space when they were counter attacking:

“I think in the last match we gave the opponent a little more space to counter. Therefore, in certain moments of the game opponents were able to have more ball possession” he said.

He believes that goals will come eventually but considers that it may be praying on the Arsenal players heads.

“It seems that we are trying to play, trying to score, but it is not happening. On the other hand, we are confident that soon goals and victories will come”.

We all know how calm and collected Arsene Wenger is with his players especially in the dressing room. But what Arshavin revealed will surprise you.

Although Wenger was very frustrated after the game he said nothing at all in the dressing room afterwards!

“He said nothing in the dressing room but we all understand what was in his mind without any words spoken by Arsene Wenger. If we do not win the next few games, the Champions League will be far away from us” Arshavin said.

Maybe Arsene will probably want to analyse the game before he speaks to the players on specific issues but more importantly he may want to get them ready, physically and mentally for the West Brom game on Tuesday.

A win there and everything changes even his after game talk!

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde infiltrate Arsenal’s mind

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde infiltrate Arsenal’s mind

By 1970’s Gooner

I half expected this sorry performance against Fulham, for the same pattern was repeated after the win in the Cup against Cardiff.

In that game we saw an Arsenal from the old where the opponent was put under pressure right from the off; where the attacking attitude of the team was reflected in everything they did. Most of all the tempo that was set was quite a fast and full of pace.

Then we saw that abject performance against Sunderland.

We returned again, as we have done repeatedly in the League games, to the slow paced, lethargic attitude that made me almost fall asleep. Gone were the intense pressing, the desire to hurt the opponent and get that win come what may.

Roma follows and the Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde transformation returned again.

The players were full of running, setting a high tempo and going straight for the throat again and again and again. We scored one goal but it could have been three or four.

So that’s why I half expected another boring performance against Fulham.

There is no question about it. The players raise their game only for the Cup competitions. They might not do it consciously but, as the psychologists say, it is the subconscious that is very hard to control.

It reminds me of the later Graham years where the team were not good enough to challenge for the league and concentrated mostly on the Cup competitions. Again on those occasions an amazing transformation took place.

In 1993 it resulted in Arsenal wining both the domestic Cups at the expense of Trevor Francis’s Sheffield Wednesday.

In the FA Cup final Ian Wright notched Arsenal ahead in the first half and Chris Waddle levelled for Wednesday with the aid of a deflection in the second.

Andy Linighan Arsenal’s big centre back became the hero of the hour, rising to meet Paul Merson's corner and powering a header past a helpless Woods in the Wednesday Net.

The Cup was on its way back to Highbury for the first time in 14 Years.

If we continue like this the FA Cup could be back to the Emirates (not Highbury).

We last won it in 2005 after that terrible performance against Manchester United where Arsenal played the most negative football I have ever seen from a Wenger team. It was an Arsenal win I despised.

One of the explanations for this on off performances these days is the significant absence of match winners in the Arsenal squad. It these players that can win you those games when you are not playing well. That can turn nil nil draws into one nils. All successful teams have them.

No other team not even Manchester United could cope if at least four of their first team players were out for most of their season.

Compare Fabregas, Rosicky, Eduardo and Walcott to Liverpool’s Torres, Gerrard, Kuyt and Alonso and it is obvious that Liverpool would struggle (they have struggled with Gerrard and Torres out).

Compare Arsenal’s absentees with Chelsea’s Lampard, Joe Cole, Drogba and Anelka and it is obvious they would struggle too (they have struggled with Cole and Drogba out).

Hell even Manchester United may struggle if Rooney, Berbatov, Ronaldo and Ferdinand went absent.

United may have some viable alternatives which is a testament to their strong overall squad but they still would have struggled if all of these players went missing at the same time.

And Arsenal’s squad is very thin indeed as we all know.

All it needed during these last four barren games was a fit Eduardo and Fabregas and the ball would have been nestling in the net turning these boring draws into straight wins.

We would then be probably challenging for the top places rather than slugging it out against mediocre teams like Aston Villa and Everton.

And I would also not be writing this post.