Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Where is the hunger in this Arsenal team?

By Akbar Ghaffar

From the moment the match finished I just could not stop but have this thought circling around in my head continuously:

Where is the hunger? Where is the hunger?Where is the hunger?

I read all Wenger's pre-match statements "my team is ready", "it is our year" and so on but I did not see the hunger to win the match at any point.

What has been lacking in the Arsenal squad for years is not experience, not players leaving, but HUNGER to win.

If you are playing in a semi-final you cannot just go out there and be rattled, lost all over the pitch and run around like a headless chicken.

But that is what I saw.

And it is not the first time mind you. But come to think of it, if Arshavin was not on the pitch at Anfield, Liverpool would have also slaughtered us. It is just those fabulous 4 shots that kept us in the game, otherwise WE WERE PATHETIC.

Liverpool took us on a roller coaster ride right from the first minute (like United did). The stamina, the hunger to run and win the ball, the desire of every player to come back and then go forward again (even Torres) and to collectively defend was amazing.

It is such desire that wins balls, puts the opposition under pressure out of which corners, throw ins and their rhythm is broken. What a team needs to be is ruthless in everything and have undefined energy to keep the opposition on their toes.

Sadly I have not seen that in Arsenal for a long time.

What Arsenal needs the most is players who can create this energy with an attitude that says: "this is where we stand, we will die on the pitch if we have to".

It is evident how the physical attributes were missing last night. And by that I mean to at least really get into a player and stop his pass, cross or shot. Or jump and try to block a cross. Song did it last night but that's just about it. No one else!

Have you ever seen any Arsenal player really jumping and trying to at least cut a cross in midfield as such? I have yet to see that. Many of the crosses thrown into our box are because our left/right backs don’t really get into a player to block his cross, they wait, wait and just wait…..

I think Arsenal has to be ruthless and have passionate, in fact very passionate players, with a lot of energy because this really affects the psyche of the opposition and puts them under pressure leading to errors.

I have to admit that being positive is always better but what I am describing above is what makes the difference between a winning team and a mere runner up (remember the Liverpool - Milan CL final 3 - 3?).

Apart from that we need a tall holding midfielder and at least one tall defender to partner Toure who can get some headed goals for us and of course cut out the aerial threat.

What Wenger has also not yet realised is that having a good dead ball specialist in the team can take us from a semi to a final, yes it counts a lot.

Ronaldinho, Juninho and Ronaldo have scored or assisted a lot of crucial goals from their free kicks and we have none of that. United have won ten 1 - 0 matches and some are thanks to a free kick or a resulting header.

I think its about time Wenger changes his tune and injects some enthusiasm and hunger in his players to be ruthless and really scare the hell out of the opposition.

That is what champions do and I really hope that this prayer comes to life before the 2nd leg…..

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wenger will play it safe at Old Trafford

By 1970’s Gooner

Ever since Gallas and Clichy got injured and out of the picture Arsene Wenger has adopted a more defensive formation so that more protection would be given the defence.

This is because he wanted to protect against Silvestre’s lack of pace and Gibbs’s inexperience. This need was even more accentuated when account had to be also taken of Fabiansky's inexperience and Eboue’s positional unawareness.

So he came up with the formation that provided two defensively minded midfielders but because he wanted to maintain Fabregas’s creativity he pushed him up in the hole behind Adebayor.

Even if the goalkeeping and right back positions are now manned by their usual occupants there is still the need to provide protection for Silvestre and Gibbs or Djourou if he has to fill in.

So whoever plays in defence Wenger will need to adopt the 4 2 3 1 formation with Fabregas pushed more forward behind Adebayor to release one more space for an extra defensive midfielder.

However Wenger will need to account for the real possibility of Fabregas being closely marked by Manchester United’s defensive midfielder and therefore starving the team of the creativity that it will need to get that important away goal.

Enter Nasri, whose role will, under the 4 2 3 1 system, assume pivotal importance.

Although he will start on the left wing he will probably be instructed to come infield and assume playmaking duties, linking up with Fabreags, Adebayor and Walcott.

If he is caught up field then one of the two defensive midfielders will need to offer the protection to Gibbs.

In this system Arsenal’s width will mostly be provided by Walcott, which is what has been happening lately and I think most of Arsenal’s penetration and dangerous moves will originate form this side of the field.

This formation and players offer a good balance between defence and attack given Arsenal’s current available choice of defenders.

All the players will have to play at their best tonight to get a result but particularly Gibbs (or whoever palys at left back) against Ronaldo, Silvestre (or Djourou) against Berbatov or Rooney and Adebayor against Vidic or Ferdinand.

Adebayor in particular needs to up his game tonight as it will be crucial for Fabregas, Nasri and Walcott to have an effective outlet for their forward moves, otherwise the ball will just be coming back all the time putting more and more pressure on the midfielders and the defenders.


Sagna.. Toure… Silvestre… Gibbs




Sunday, April 26, 2009

Arshavin likes the way Arsenal turn defence into attack

By Aries

Andrey Arshavin has been talking after the victory against Middlesbrough and has been very complementary about the way Arsenal play lately and of the fans.

“This Sunday, we played good football.

I liked that we quickly move from defense to attack, which led to the goal in the first half.

We went to the break deservedly ahead.

The second half continued in the same spirit. Once again a good combination of play gave the opportunity for Cesc to score. I am happy for him” he said.

He also revealed that the reason he was able to break the opponent’s attacks and set up Arsenal on the counter break was under the instructions of Arsene Wenger: “Arsene requires us to help at the back” he continued.

The players took their foot off the gas after the second goal went in as they were thinking ahead to the Champions League game.

“I think that if we were not relaxed in the second half Middlesbrough would have lost by a much larger account. Probably because the guys were thinking of the difficult game with Manchester United" he said.

The fans were particularly warm to him after his four goals at Anfield.

“Of course, after four goals in the last match, they sought to emphasize their support for me. On the other hand, from the first day I feel like they belong to me. I am obliged to play even better to try not to let them down”.

Player analysis and ratings Vs Middlesbrough

By 1970’s Gooner


It feels nice to type out Emmanuel Almunia’s name when giving the ratings for an Arsenal performance. He was called to the rescue twice and he was equal to it.

The first from a long range shot from Downing which he saved at the second attempt and the second from old boy Aliadiere who found himself with only the goalkeeper to beat.

I am not sure if Fabiansky would have saved Aliadiere’s effort from such a close range and the whole game would have taken a different turn at 1-1. 8


Good going forward but positionally naïve when defending. He was often caught out with the attacker finding himself with loads of space on Arsenal’s right.

The first such occasion was with Marlon King when his cross thankfully found no one but the second nearly resulted in a goal by Aliadere (as described above). Provided an excellent assist for Fabregas to score the second goal. 6


Growing in stature with every game and was cool and collected throughout today’s encounter. Defended well and came forward a la Clichy mode.

I am not sure however how he will cope, if he plays, with a Manchester United team that will put pressure on him like Liverpool did the other night nor how he will cope with the quick movement of the United players.

Still if he gets the support from the left sided midfielder he may grow in stature again. 7


Has been consistently good as of late, marshalling the defence both on the ground and in the air. 7


Coped well with King who is a big and strong player but who is not blessed with pace which always helps with slow and ageing defenders.

How Silvestre will cope against United’s movement will go a long way towards deciding the goals against count for Arsenal. 6


On the other hand Wenger may have thought for opting for Djourou at Old Trafford but not after this display. He came on for the second half and did nothing to help his cause.

He was off the pace, gave the ball away, dangerously at times and provided the cue for Boro to take the initiative and look for that equalizer for a short while.

Still Johan is the type of player that needs a game or so to get into his stride as he proved after a very average performance against West Brom away which was then followed with a good run into the side. 5.5


I hope he does not start against Manchester United. He had a much better game today but it was against an opposition that was not that physical or adventurous enough to put him under sustained pressure. Even so his passing still failed him at times and did nothing but pass the ball sideways all game. 6


If he can score two goals and play in second gear like he did today then I will take that.

He was at the heart of Arsenal’s creative play and dictated play like we have grown used to see him do.

He was also at the centre of Arsenal’s exquisite first goal receiving Bendtner’s flick on and immediately releasing the little Russian demon down the left wing into space. He then followed the play up receiving Arshavin’s pass and unleashing an unstoppable shot.

Took his second goal very well rounding another young keeper who, like Fabiansky against Chelsea, made the mistake of mistiming his run out of the area. 8.5


For a player so young he often amazes me by his maturity. He hardly makes a wrong pass, his decision making is very mature and is also good at tracking back. He did all these today although he faded a little bit in the second half. 7


Well, he couldn’t repeat that scoring performance against Liverpool could he? He did not get on the score sheet but was much more involved in play than at Anfield.

He was part of all Arsenal’s attacks and posed a real threat all day long. His part in the first goal was excellent.

Pitty he can’t play in the Champions League as he provides that spark, pace and devilry that the team lacks when he is absent. 8


If only he could get his final ball right he will be the perfect winger.

He uses his pace and new found body strength to get past defenders with ease but today he often chose to go for goal instead of passing across the area. And when he did cross, the ball usually hit the first defender.

I am sure he will get this right as it comes with more experience and he is an intelligent lad after all. 6.5


Was more purposeful today, getting up for headers and directing them to a team mate as best as he could. His play on the ground was also good, an example of which was the first time pass to Fabregas which eventually led to the first goal. 7


If he is going to look as disinterested at Old Trafford as he did today and frankly as he has looked in his last games for Arsenal then I would seriously urge Wenger to consider dropping him on the bench.

Really, he contributed nothing when he came on in the latter stages of the game when the Boro players were on the ropes. 4

Friday, April 24, 2009

Photos prove Arshavin’s success on the field coincides with happiness in new London home

By Aries

Andrey Arhavin has up to very recently been living a lone existence in a London hotel without his wife and two children.

His wife Yulia, son Artem and newly born daughter Jana only visited him on a few occasions and then they reverted back to St Petersberg.

This has now stopped because they have managed to find a London home that they liked. It is right between North London and the club’s training ground at London Colney.

And it seems that the new found domestic bliss has helped Andrey on the pitch no end if judging by the explosive four goal extravaganza at Anfield on Tuesday night is anything to go by.

These are recently released pictures of the Arshavin’s newly rented house.

And it seems that young Artem is relishing having his father to play with…

He is of course an Arsenal fan..

The couple's daughter has just completed her first birthday (on 4th April) and will be joining them in London by September.

Sometimes you need to HOOF!

By Danny Watson

Arsenal fans often feel sorry for supporters of teams that do nothing but hoof the ball up the park hoping that they can get a knock on and pick up any pieces that might emerge.

These supporters don’t know what it feels like to follow a team that actually knows how to play beautiful football. But even so the Arsenal players sometimes need to abandon their principles and learn how to hoof the ball out of dangerous areas.

I watched the game on Tuesday night screaming at the TV for us to hoof the ball up the park as we simply couldn’t clear our lines.

There is no one that loves the way Arsenal play more than I do but repeatedly passing out of defence 5 or 10 yards at a time when we have been repeatedly punished before for our slackness is plain crazy.

OK we didn’t have Adebayor up front but we had Bendtner whose best attribute is his heading ability.

Sometimes you need to just get the ball out of the area, regroup and put yourself in a better position. Our inability to just hoof it away led to us conceding 4 goals we really shouldn’t have conceded.

The only way we are going to win the league next year is if we can solidify our defence and the only way we can do that is to sign some good old fashioned centre backs that are not afraid to put their foot through the ball and get it away.

There is a simple formula for Arsenal to win the league next year which needs to respect the principle of “balance” and this is:

1 sturdy goalkeeper + 8 skilful players + 2 hardy centre backs = Premiership title.

When Arsenal were at their best a few seasons ago and winning trophies we had Adams, Keown, Bould and Campbell, all good old fashioned canter backs.

Alas we don’t have any at the club now so this must be our top priority in the summer.

Gallas and Toure are good on the ball but not commanding enough in the air and do get the ball away when it is clear that they just have to do that.

Don’t even get me started on Silvestre who has been a huge disappointment.

It is easy for me to say that this is what we need but harder for me to suggest possible players for the position. However two names linked with a move to the Emirates are Upson and Haangeland.

Haangeland has been on fantastic form for Fulham and has exactly the attributes we need; he also wouldn’t be too expensive. Upson is a player with bags of experience playing in the premiership so we could do worse than to resign him.

Whether we sign new central defenders or not our defence must learn to clear their lines otherwise we will just have to hope that Arshavin can score 5 next time.

By Danny Watson, a professional sports writer who blogs about football news.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Arshavin describes how he scored his goals and reveals which he considers the best

By Aries

As soon as the game against Liverpool finished we set up a poll on this site for readers to vote as to which of Arshavin’s four goals they considered the best. So far the poll is revealing that the second goal is way ahead of the others.

Well, Andrey Arshavin by pure coincidence has revealed which he considers as his best and it may surprise a few.

He has been speaking about the epic encounter against Liverpool and his fantastic four goals.

He said that prior to the game Arsene Wenger told them to consider their defeat to Chelsea in the semi final of the FA Cup as history and that they needed to concentrate on their remaining games.

“We were not in the best mood, having been knocked out of the FA Cup. Arsene told us that the game was history and that we now must concentrate on our remaining Premier League and Champions' League games.

We are playing a few teams who are fighting for the Champions' League spots and those games might allow us to get higher in the table”.

As for the game itself he considered that Liverpool had the initiative in the opening stages and aided by their home support created a lot of chances but his first goal came against the run of play.

“Liverpool were pressing throughout the half but ended up a goal down. All I had to do is put my foot in the right place and direct the ball goal wards”.

Of all the goals he considers the first one as his best: “The first one (was the best), it got everything going” he said implying that it came after an exchange of passes.

As for his second goal he revealed that he initially thought about passing instead of shooting!

“The defender did not expect me to burst from behind him. Carragher had not anticipated this as well - he tried to get into position to start the (Liverpool's)attack and as a result Cesc and myself were left against a single defender.

I was planning to pass the ball to Fabregas initially, but having noticed that the defender was closing the space down, I decided to hit the ball, I managed to strike it quite well, the ball flew past the post and the score became 2-2”.

The third was a gift for him inside the area: “All I had to do was hit the target” he said.

For his fourth he did not even look at the goalkeeper.

“I saw Theo pick up the ball and realised that I needed to dart forward. I'm happy he passed the ball to me. I didn't even look at the goalkeeper, I was just thinking about hitting the target.

Unfortunately even four goals proved to be not enough for us, it was a blow to concede so late in the game”

Andrey however did not manage to take home the two prizes that a player usually wins when he scores four goals!

The bottle of champagne which he won as man of the match was taken to Arsenal’s training ground (probably for his team mates to share it with him) and he was told he will have to wait for the match ball to be delivered the next day!

Player analysis and ratings Vs Liverpool

By 1970’s Gooner


Kept Asrsenal in the game with a string of fine saves and looked to be redeeming himself as a result. He was however at fault for Liverpool’s second goal as he was way behind the goal line to stop their second goal. He could also have parried Torres’s shot to the side but instead his outstretched hand wasn’t strong enough to do that. 5.5


Brought back sound defending on the right hand side. Was not adventurous enough going forward. 6


Had a difficult game. Couldn’t keep up with the pressure Liverpool were putting on his side of the pitch. 5


Was found wanting on Liverpool’s two of the goals and generally, as against Drogba, did not have the pace again to deal with Torres and co. 4


Was culpable for Liverpool’s last minute equaliser as he along with Silvestre panicked and run into each other. Up to then had a decent game. 6


He was immense again. He did his job very well, managing to block the opponents and actually make telling and forward passes. He is growing into a permanent feature in this team. 8


Once again a below par performance. He did not deserve to start tonight as his showing against Chelsea was simply not good enough. Not good enough tonight either. 4


Provided the assist for Arshavin’s first goal by showing maturity beyond his age when he looked up to spot the little Russian demon. He was not forward minded enough for me tonight (as also against Chelsea). 6.5


Was back to form tonight. He was purposeful and provided a lot of nous on his side of the pitch. He cleverly dispossessed the Liverpool defender to create the first goal by first waiting and then nudging the ball to Fabregas who run into the position behind Liverpool’s defence to receive it. 7


Was isolated tonight like Adebayor was against Chelsea. But also like Adebayor he did not hold the ball at all well up front nor did he bring any of his team mates into the game. Was largely ineffective. 4


I call him the little Russian demon and that is what indeed he was tonight. He unleashed all that energy he had to save from last Saturday onto poor Liverpool. What a performance, what a feast of goal scoring and what a lesson as to how to take chances he gave tonight. Absolutely immense. I can only give him a perfect 10!

There is no reason to put up a poll for the man of the match tonight is there?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

If only Arshavin played against Chelsea too. Go back to 4 4 2 Arsene

By 1970’s Gooner

First things first. The 4 3 3 formation does not suit Arsenal at the moment. The reason is that Fabregas, either under instructions or because he is more used to playing from deep, does not really play in the more attacking position in the hole thus leaving the front man isolated.

The 4 3 3 formation also means that another two defensive midfielders need to be deployed rather than one and at the moment Arsenal possess only one who can cut it (Song).

So when we play 4 3 3 it invariably turns into more of a defensive formation rather than an attacking one as in the Liverpool (Gerrard and Torres) mould say.

But there were two major differences tonight when compared to the 4 3 3 formation adopted against Chelsea.

The first one was Song who at least gave Arsenal some solidity in the middle of the park which however was not matched by Denilson (once again).

The second was the selection of Arshavin who was so inexplicably left out of the Chelsea game.

I and I am sure a lot of Gooners, would have preferred Arshavin to be scoring those goals against Chelsea and not against Liverpool in a League game that was far less important than us actually winning something this season.

Arsenal actually posed more of a real threat when with the entrance of Walcott and the exit of Denilson reverted to the familiar and far more productive 4 4 2.

Fabregas dropped back to his familiar position alongside the immense Song and Nasri played behind Bendtner with Arshavin on the left (and Walcott on the right).

Up to then Liverpool had been the better team, running the game, playing with a tempo that Arsenal’s midfield and especially the defence could not cope with. As a result the weaker parts of Arsenal were exposed.

None more so than Gibbs who had a hard time dealing with Benayoun and Kuyt when they switched.

Silvestre was also found wanting as Torres turned him with ease to score Liverpool’s third goal.

Fabiansky who did his best to keep Arsenal in the game with some fine saves was badly positioned (he was way behind the goal line) to stop their second goal.

And both Toure and Silvestre panicked in the last minute of injury time and did not clear the ball when it came in the area only for it come back for Benayoun to just stroke it into the net.

I hope, I sincerely hope, that Arsene goes back to the more brave and offensive 4 4 2for the games against Manchester United.

This is the system that suits the players Arsenal have at the moment and this is the system that will actually take the game to Manchester United.

This is far more preferable rather than play a more defensive formation (like Arsene adopted against Chelsea and Liverpool for most of the game) and hope that they make the mistakes that Liverpool made tonight by handing Arshavin three of his four goals (which of course he took very well indeed).

Monday, April 20, 2009

The reasons behind Saturday’s team selection

By 1970’s Gooner

A lot of commentators have been postulating that Wenger rested players against Chelsea so that they would be fresh to face not Liverpool but Manchester United in the now all important Champions League semi final games.

The reason is that Arsenal are already seven points ahead of their closest rivals, Aston Villa, for the fourth spot in the League anyway (with a game in hand).

But the only players rested against Chelsea among those fit and available were Song and Nasri while Arshavin is not eligible to play against Manchester United in the Champions League anyway.

The fact that Nasri was not in the first eleven may have something to do with his form rather than needing a rest. Nasri has been off form recently and already had a rest due to his absence from the first team due to illness.

No, to my mind, it appears that Wenger made a decision to try and win the FA Cup semi final by matching up to Chelsea’s formation (and resting Song in the process).

It all back fired.

The overriding error is that he showed Chelsea too much respect. In other words he tried to stop them from playing rather than encouraging his own team to play their own game.

But when a team tries to match up the opponent’s formation it has to have players in the key positions that are at least equally good as the opponents.

And Arsenal’s central midfield in Fabregas, Denilson and Diaby certainly wasn’t a match for Essien, Ballack and Lampard. Offensively on the left Van Persie was not up it and Adebayor was too isolated up front.

The 4 3 3 formation meant that Fabregas or Diaby should have been playing further up front in order to support Adebayor (we are still not sure who was supposed to play behind Adebayor- maybe no one?).

This did not happen and Adebayor was left isolated and thus rendered ineffective.

Van Persie’s deployment as a left winger was a disaster.

Some say that he was played there to help young Gibbs out but the downside was that Van Persie did not offer anything going forward and Gibbs had a fine game anyway, both defensively and attacking wise.

But the perplexing decision here is the omission of Arshavin who is cup tied anyway for the Champions League.

He would have not only offered defensive cover for Gibbs (Arshavin has shown defensive responsibility in his games for Arsenal so far) but would also have been more offensively minded than Van Persie was from that position.

The ironic thing is that if Wenger really wanted to rest players for the Man U games then he would have started with Arshavin instead and gave Van Persie a break (by the way Van Persie is now carrying a groin injury).

So trying to match up with Chelsea by using inferior players on the day was Arsenal’s undoing.

Now, if in the 4 3 3 formation Song was deployed in central midfield instead of say Diaby (or Denilson) and Arshavin on the left instead of Van Persie I believe things could have been a lot different.

Fabregas for a start could have been more offensively minded as Song would have been far stronger in midfield than either Denilson or Diaby thus providing the platform for Fabregas to go forward.

I am assuming of course that Fabregas would have been given the go ahead to roam forward….

Adebayor would have got the needed support up front and Arshavin would have created 1000% more than Van Persie managed.

In other words Arsenal would have been far more offensively minded.

But is this what Wenger wanted?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fan demands public apology from Arsene Wenger

This is one of the many rants that were posted on the site right after the defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup semi final. The main point the commenter is making is that Arsene Wenger gave Chelsea too much respect.

By Anonymous

If we had lost with our two best players on the pitch then we would have no complaints. To lose with the Ash and Naz on the bench is hard to take.

I do not blame the goalkeeper. The blame lies with the all knowing Mr Wenger who gave the chavs too much respect.

He failed the team today with his selection. He undid all the good work of the past months with his cowardly team selection.

The chavs were there for the taking and we bottled it because of Mr Wenger and his cowardly team selection. I hope he rediscovers his balls in the coming weeks or we shall have to chop them off because he is not using them when picking his team.

He has ruined everyone's weekend and we demand a public apology from Mr Wenger for leaving two of our best players sitting on the bench and for filling our hearts with hope only to break them with his cowardly team choice for such an important game.

I don't want Mr Wenger out. I want him to stay true to his beliefs and send out Arsenal teams to play our attacking football and to not worry about the opposition.

Come on Mr Wenger, grow some fu*king balls for fu*ks sake!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Player analysis and ratings Vs Chelsea

By 1970's Gooner


Nervous and shaky. Made three errors out of which two goals were scored! He has to get his act together if we are going to win anything this season. 3


The shining light of the day. Did not put a foot wrong. Very good defensively and equally good going forward. Supplied the cross for Walcott’s goal. 9


Has been surprisingly good in his last two games as a right back. Defended well and thrust forward with intend. 7


Had Drogba in his pocket for nearly all the game. It was in fact Silvestre who was found wanting when Drogba out paced him for his match winning goal. Toure though had a very good game continuing on his good form as of late. 8


He brings experience in defence especially with the young Gibbs in the back four. He lacks pace though and Drogba took advantage of that. 5


Had one of his worse games for Arsenal. Kept giving the ball away, often failing to block Chelsea’s midfield. When he lost the ball he invariably gave dangerous free kicks away. A mystery why he was picked by Wenger because he has been out of form recently and Song had been excellent in that position. 2


Had a good first half but faded away in the second. Crowded Fabreags out in the midfield areas and was not really offering any support to Adebayor who was left isolated. 4


Was not creative enough today. He did not make any penetrative passes nor did he dictate play as he usually does. Maybe Diaby had something to do with it. 5

Van Persie

Can’t really blame him as he was played out of position but he never got past his man once! Often came inside but was largely ineffective. 4


Along with Gibbs, Walcott was the bright spark of a miserable afternoon. Often had the better of Cole and scored Arsenal’s goal because he was at the right position to score it even if it went in off two Chelsea defenders. He has to improve his crosses though as they often got way beyond our attackers. 7


Can’t blame him for his ineffective performance for once. He was isolated up front and never got the supply he deserved. 6

Arsenal’s Man of the Match: Kieren Gibbs

Wenger picked the wrong team

By 1970's Gooner

I have to call them as I see them. And what I saw during this pulsating FA Cup semi final was a team put out by Wenger which was starved of its midfield tenacity and its forward minded players.

The first and foremost glaring team selection by Wenger was to keep Song out of the team and play Denilson in his place.

The result was a weak Denilson often failing to block Chelsea’s midfield but above all passing the ball to them and putting our defence under unnecessary pressure.

When he lost the ball he invariably gave dangerous free kicks away. If Song had played I am sure the game would have had a different outcome.

And if Song had an injury then Diaby and Fabregas should have been the pairing in midfield with Diaby instructed to keep back.

The second of what I call “self induced weakness” was to drop Arshavin on the bench and play Van Persie as a left winger.

Not only did Arsenal lose Arshavin’s thrust and penetration the player chosen to replace him was playing out of position and thus the poor man rendered largely ineffective.

The third which arose as a result of playing Van Persie out of position was playing Diaby as the man behind Adebayor. Or was it Fabregas who was supposed to play there.

You see what I mean? Diaby was more often than not in the Fabregas territory crowding the little maestro out thus depriving Arsenal of its creativity.

Or was it Fabregas that was crowding Diaby out? Take your pick because it was not clear who was supporting Adebayor at all. This also meant that Adebayor was starved of any support.

Fair enough you cannot legislate for two goal keeping errors and if Fabiansky had not come out to try and block Drogba then you never know we might have got away with a 90 minute draw and then it would have been anybody’s game.

I also feel that if we had played with a full strength team we would have out played Chelsea to the ground. This leaves me feeling very optimistic for the remaining games and for next season.

But only if Wenger stops messing about with the formation and the selection of players.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Toure Vs Drogba and where should Fabregas play against Chelsea?

By 1970’s Gooner

There are two major reasons behind Chelsea’s revival since Scholari was moved on.

The first is the arrival of Hiddink who has managed to breathe a new found enthusiasm among the players. The second is the reinstatement of Drogba as the main attacking man (rather than the more delicate Anelka) in a familiar 4 3 3 formation.

This formation needs a strong and dynamic man up front who will receive the ball, hold off defenders and lay it off to a team mate or even turn and go for goal himself.

Drogba’s resurgence is, to my mind, a very important reason behind Chelsea’s success recently.

It was Drogba that scored the first goal against Liverpool and it was Drogba that run into the area and laid on the assist for Lampard to score Chelsea’s third goal.

And in previous Arsenal Chelsea encounters it was Drogba that created the most damage (usually against the hapless Senderos).

When this player is on song then the whole of Chelsea functions well.

Mark this man out of the game and you have made headways towards subduing the opponents and thus improving the chances of victory.

Kolo Toure’s new found form in recent games has come at the right time. I would think that Wenger will instruct him rather than the slower Silvestre to mark Drogba.

And Kolo will need to use not only his pace but his strength and tenacity to thwart a player that will use his power to create openings for his team mates.

Chelsea’s formation for the game will probably be their familiar 4 3 3. But Arsenal’s is not that easily predictable. This is because Wenger has used both 4 4 2 (as in the second game against Villareal and against Wigan) and 4 4 1 1 in the first game against Villareal.

The decision will be based on where Fabregas will be deployed. Will he be in the hole behind Adebayor or back in his usual position in the central midfield areas.

The real question underlying this decision is whether Wenger wants to approach the game cautiously or not.

If caution is the order of the day then he may prefer to deploy Song and Denilson (or for me Diaby) in a more withdrawn protective role in front of the defence and play Fabregas in the hole behind Adebayor.

Apart for it’s defensive qualities this formation will also be more appropriate for a midfielder to pick Lampard’s runs into the penalty area.

This formation will probably keep Van Persie out and provide Wenger with a viable option from the bench if he needs to change the formation or add another forward in the mix late in the game.

It will also give Van Persie a rest as according to Wenger he would not want the player to play every three days especially with the Champion’s League Semi Finals coming up.

The downside to this formation is the possibility of Fabregas being man marked and thus starving Arsenal of the creativity that the little maestro can provide.

And don’t forget that Essien, who did a very good job on Gerrard at Anfield, will be patrolling the areas that Fabregas will be operating in.

If Wenger will be bold and go for the more adventurous option then he will play Fabregas and Song in central midfield.

Adebayor will be up front and Van Persie (or even Eduardo) just behind him.

Arshavin and Walcott (or Nasri) will be the wide men.

I personally like Fabregas where he belongs.

In the central midfield area where he can weave his magic and be able to create.

And Chelsea have been leaking goals recently so let’s attack them and play not only to our strengths but also to their weaknesses.

My formation will therefore be:


Eboue Toure Silvestre Gibbs (if fit)

Walcott Song Fabregas Arshavin

Van Persie


The other selection headache for Wenger will be in defence.

Sagna has already been ruled out. If Gibbs does not make it then Silvestre could be moved to the left and Song brought back to partner Toure.

I would prefer Diaby rather than Denilson, who has been of form recently, to be brought in to play along side Fabregas in central midfield.


Eboue Toure Song Silvestre

Walcott Diaby Fabregas Arshavin

Van Persie


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wenger’s attacking formation pays dividends. Player analysis and ratings Vs Villareal

By 1970’s Gooner

Arsene Wenger adopted an attacking formation by playing two forwards, in Adebayor and Van Persie and reistating Fabregas back into midfield.

Song was the only defensively minded midfielder as Walcott, Nasri and Fabregas were more forward oriented. Add to this the thrusts forward from Eboue and in the second half from Gibbs and you have a side that came out to win the game rather than play for a draw.

To ask the players to change the way they play would have been a very dangerous course to take.

Well where I do I begin? There were so many champions out there for Arsenal tonight but I would like to pick out just three.

The first and man of the match for me is Song. He had an immense game. The best of his career so far. He was breaking up Villareal’s attacks, winning the ball tenaciously and making forward and accurate passes.

He showed that he can be a leader and can now stake a serious claim for making that defensive midfielder’s role his own. 9

The second is Eboue. He probably did not have enough time to prepare for playing at right back for this game. He was disciplined, strong and went forward with purpose. A pleasant surprise for me. 8

And last Gibbs. I was worried after last Saturday’s game at Wigan. He didn’t have a good game and I wrote then that maybe Silvestre should play there against Villareal.

Gibbs proved all us doubters wrong. He is developing into another left back Wenger clone like Cole, Clichy and Traore. 8

Theo Walcott had a few doubters from commenters on this blog recently. I tell you this boy is the real deal. He has added strength and tenacity to his pace but has also improved his crosses no end. Most of all his finishing is getting lethal.

The coolness he showed when through against the keeper by chipping the ball over him was frightening.

No wonder Wenger fancies him as a centre forward because he has the two most important characteristics to succeed there; pace and finishing.

Capedevila, Villareal’s left back had a torrid time trying to keep up with him. Walcott had him in his pocket all game. 8.5

Fabiansky also played a lot better than he did against Wigan. He probably needed to get that first game in the first 11 out of the way. He was very decisive tonight, came out to sweep when needed and his positioning was spot on. 8

Toure continued to perform at the high levels he achieved during the unbeaten season. He was equally good in the air and on the ground.8

Silvestre offered experience which was very useful for young Gibbs but he did make a few mistakes which resulted in him fouling his player and giving free kicks in dangerous areas.

Hopefully he will get better as he gets more games under his belt. Let’s not forget that he has been out of first team action for a few months. 7

Fabregas himself is getting fitter and fitter with each game. He was much more mobile today, moving forward with the ball, tracking back too and of course dictating play in his usual manner. He was deployed in his usual central midfield role for tonight.

His assist for Walcott’s goal was an amazing back heel when his sight of the on running Walcott would have been impaired as he had his back to Villareal’s goal. He just let Eboue’s pass run under his legs and then helping it on beyond the defender for Walcott to run onto inside the area. 7

Nasri had a quiet game again. He kept himself to the left all night and his contribution were a few good crosses into the area which Adebayor failed to take advantage of.

He also on some occasions was slow or forgetful to track back and help Gibbs out as Villareal targeted their attacks on that side of the pitch. 6

Van Persie played that role of the man behind Adebayor in tonight’s 4 4 1 formation very well.

He dropped back into the midfield to crowd that area when Arsenal lost the ball but was also able to receive the ball and lay it off to a team mate. Provided a wonderful assist for Adebayor to score the important second goal and took the penalty very well. 8

Adebayor would have beaten Nasri as my less effective Arsenal player had he not scored the goal for he did nothing of any serious note all night.

He hardly got any headers when the ball was sent high to him, was lazy or too tired to get back into onside positions (which resulted in a number of annoying off sides being flagged) and proceeded to miss at least two golden chances to score.

He did however take his goal very well. I hope that he will improve as he gets more games under his belt. 6.5

Lets have our best player back for Villareal Mr Wenger

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lets have our best player back for Villareal Mr Wenger

By 1970's Gooner

There are those who maintain that in football management you have to choose the formation the team will play in to fit the players you have available.

Others say that you have to choose the formation you prefer and then choose the right players to man it.

In Arsenal’s case and especially for the Champions League Quarter Final game against Villareal at the Emirates, Wenger has to decide which it will be.

One of his options is to play the same system he deployed at Wigan (in the first half) and also in the first leg of the Champions League at Vilareal.

He slotted Fabregas in the hole behind the front man and kept the two central midfielders, Denilson and Song, restrained to their more defensive/ protective duties.

This is a slightly more defensive formation as there is always the protection given by the two defensive midfielders.

The problem with this system however is that if the opponents successfully man mark your “Fabregas” out of the game then you have a real problem.

Not only is the side starved of attacking options (there is one less “active” forward) it is more importantly starved of its creativity.

This is very true of Arsenal because the central midfielders, who are defensively minded and trained, certainly lack the art of creativity so they cannot fill in the role that the man in the hole has been forced to vacate.

Chelsea nullified Liverpool’s most influential player at Anfield and Torres and co were starved of their skipper’s dynamism, tenacity and creativity.

Essien followed Gerrard everywhere he went and Chelsea ended up 3-1 winners. The return leg looks like it will be a formality (I hope it is not).

Wigan similarly deployed Scharner to close down Fabregas in the league encounter last Saturday and the little maestro couldn’t get his usual game going.

He had less space to play in, his passing was restricted and therefore couldn’t stamp his authority nor dictate play as he normally does.

The result was that Bendtner was isolated up front and Arsenal’s attacking penetration impaired. The same happened in the away Villareal game with Adebayor for most of that game.

Fabregas could be much more effective playing a deeper lying role.

This is because if he is indeed man marked or closed down he can have two options to by pass this obstacle which are not that easily available when he is in the more forward position.

The first is that he can take advantage of the movement of his team mates around him and exchange passes with them taking opponents out of the game.

This is because there is usually much more space available to move about in the middle areas of the pitch than further upfront. The space simply is so much less in front of him if deployed in the more forward position.

The second equally important option is that if he is indeed closed down he can play the long ball to (one of the two) forwards thus by passing the close marking and also providing variety in Arsenal’s play.

This often catches opposing defenders out of position as they are not really conditioned to expecting the long ball from an Arsenal side that usually passes the ball on the floor. Adebayor scored at Villareal from just such a pass.

By playing Fabregas in the deeper lying midfield role Arsene can then have the option of deploying Robin Van Persie as the man in the hole (or indeed in a straight 4 4 2 formation).

In this way the whole system becomes more creative and attacking in nature as there are now two forwards up front (say Adebayor and Van Persie) as well as a creative midfielder in Fabregas.

The latter can also, due to his versatility, revert to being more defensively minded if Wenger wants to protect a winning scoreline, say…..

Let’s have Fabregas where he belongs Mr Wenger.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Arshavin reveals which Arsenal player is fastest at Bluetooth racing!

By Aries

Arshavin has been speaking on his personal web site about the victory at Wigan. He considers that the forced exit of Mido and the deployment of Arsenal’s big guns, Adebayor and Van Persie, were important in deciding the outcome of the game.

“Mido caused a lot of problems for us.

They supplied him with long balls and their assault ended with a goal from a corner. It was well deserved.

We could've been 3-0 before the break.

We had some serious problems but after Mido was substituted we leveled the score immediately”.

Andrey again showed how prepared the Arsenal players are prior to games with regard to the tactics the opponents are likely adopt.

“Wigan did not allow us to play from the start, closing us down on every inch of the pitch, sometimes playing quicker than us. I thought that they were quite strong physically.

However our manager and ourselves knew that they will inevitably tire and that we will be able to capitalise then”

“With the scores level, Arsene brought in our leaders: Adebayor and Van Persie. After getting to 2-1 we started finding free space, which is great for a team like ours. We are a better team, we have more technical ability and we took our chances” he said.

The in flight entertainment for the team’s flight back to London included a competition between the Arsenal players.

Andrey revealed that he enjoyed watching his team mates compete with each other to find out who is the fastest using their bluetooth mobile phones!

And guess who is the fastest.

“We took a (plane) flight. I was watching the guys play races on Bluetooth. Walcott beat Cesc, Bendtner, Nasri and others”

But is this allowed on planes?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Goals, goals goals. Player Analysis and Ratings Vs Wigan

By 1970’s Gooner

Again it was a game of two halves as it was against Villareal. In the first half it was mistake after mistake. Passes going astray, players stretching to recover as a spirited Wigan sensing this rallied with a strong first half performance.

It was always going to be difficult for Arsenal’s defence as three new players, all youngsters, had to start the game. Djourou in place of Gallas, Gibbs for Clichy and Fabiansky for Almunia.

Wigan exploited Gibbs’s side of the pitch, with Valencia getting the better of the young full back. Nearly all of Wigan’s attacks came from that side.

Fabiansky, who looked unsure all game, looked out of sorts from a corner and it was 1-0 to Wigan.

The referee’s decision not to show a red card to Gibbs was strictly speaking correct as there was Silvestre following up. But the ref could have easily shown a red as Silvestre was a few yards away.

Still this decision helped Arsenal who went in at half time only one nil down. And it was the reprieved Gibbs who cleared off the line when Fabiansky again made the wrong decision and came out for a high ball. Mido beat him to it and the ball was rolling into the goal before Gibbs hooked it out.

In the second half the whole team took the game to Wigan. Song in particular was superb, putting the tackles in, tracking back and distributing well.

Denilson on the other hand couldn’t raise his game and was eventually substituted.

The equaliser came on the 61st minute after an assist from the little Russian demon, Arshavin, who even if on the floor stretched a foot out and passed the ball to the unmarked Walcott who unleashed an unstoppable diagonal shot into the net.

Now it was game on and the substitutions of Denilson and Walcott with Adebayor and Van Persie added more slickness and direct play for Arsenal.

Walcott had a decent game and he did not deserve to be subbed but it seems that Wenger wanted to keep him fresh for Wednesday. Wigan could not keep up with a rampant Arsenal from then on and the goals flowed in like water running off a cliff.

Silvestre scored his second goal for Arsenal (71) when Fabregas rolled the ball into the area slotting it in with his left foot from close range.

Then on the 90th minute Arshavin capitalised on a mistake by Koumas who passed to him rather than to Melchiot. Andrey took his shot from the edge of the area without even looking up or needing a second touch of the ball.

And the fourth came in injury time when the Man of the Match, Alexandre Song, went on a run though Wigan’s midfield and into the area past the static defenders and scoring with ease.

I am worried about Wednesday’s game though. I am worried about Fabiansky but most of all I am worried about Gibbs.

They both looked nervous and made mistakes which could well have been very costly. Villareal is obviously a class above Wigan. They will punish these kind of mistakes.

I would, if Djourou is out (and his injury looked bad) seriously consider bringing Song back into defense and play Silvestre at left back.


Nervous and made wrong decisions. Not a good sign but let’s hope he improves having got this game out of the way. 4


Solid game but not adventurous enough going forward. 6


Nervous and unsure which resulted in mistakes. 4


At least he looked assured (most of the time). 6


Did ok until he was substituted. 6


Needed time to get acclimatised and looked out of sorts until he got it together. Scored the vital second goal. 7


Another wonderful box to box performance. He is definetly turning out as predicted on this site a year and a half ago when we alerted the Arsenal fans to his potential…Scored a fantastic goal in injury time showing how much energy he has. 9


A disappointing performance. Couldn’t get his passing going nor his positioning. 5


Still needs games to get his fitness back. He did not dictate the game as we have been used to from the little maestro. Still you can’t keep him down as he made another assist for Arsenal’s vital second goal. 6


Had a quite game but came to life when the big guns came on for Arsenal as he could then get the passes he was looking for. Scored the third goal. 7


Looks the real deal this season. He has filled up in the right places which means he can not be pushed off the ball easily and his runs are lightning quick. Scored a spectacular equaliser. 8


Had another of those quite games where not much goes for him. 5

Adebayor (8) and Van Pesrie (6)

Both galvanised Arsenal when they came on especially Adebayor

Fabianski, Sagna, Toure, Djourou (Silvestre 35), Gibbs, Walcott (Adebayor 68), Denilson (Van Persie 63), Song , Arshavin, Fabregas, Bendtner. Subs not used: Szczesny, Nasri, Vela, Eboue. Booked: Gibbs, Van Persie, Song Billong. Goals: Walcott 61, Silvestre 71, Song Billong 90, Arshavin 90.

Adebayor vital for Arsenal’s trophy hunt

By Danny Watson

After a month out through injury, his spectacular overhead kick in El Madrigal on Tuesday night has underlined the importance of Emmanuel Adebayor to the Arsenal cause.

Missing since pulling up with a hamstring strain in the Gunners 0-0 with Tottenham at White Hart Lane, the Togo forward has now returned in time to play a crucial role as Arsenal battle on three fronts.

After being restored to the side for Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Manchester City, Adebayor quickly repaid his manager’s faith by netting both goals – which were created by the returning Cesc Fabregas.

It will also come as no surprise that the Spanish playmaker was the supplier for Adebayor’s wonder strike against Villareal which has given Arsenal the advantage going into next week’s second leg.

While most observers (rightly) bemoan the loss of Eduardo as a turning point in Arsenal’s disappointing season last year, the role of Adebayor is often overlooked.

In fact it may turn out to be the turning point for a successful campaign this season.

In the early part of the season, he was scoring for fun and was arguably one of (if not the) most influential players in the Gunners squad.

His goals were largely responsible for Arsenal’s ascent to the top of the Premiership and it was only when those goals dried up that Arsenal started to falter.

A major criticism of the Arsenal squad is that for all their impressive play, they lack a directness which often makes them fairly predictable to play against.

In terms of getting the ball forward quickly, Chelsea have the strength of Drogba, Liverpool the pace of Torres and even at Manchester United, despite winning both the Premiership and Champions League last season, the purchase of Berbatov attempted to give them the target man that they had been missing.

We have seen some fantastic strikers in Arsenal shirts over the years, from Ian Wright to Dennis Bergkamp to Thierry Henry.

It would be, at the moment, quite a stretch to include Adebayor among those greats, but his importance to the current Arsenal squad cannot be underestimated.

That Eduardo, Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott and Andrei Arshavin are fantastic players of that there is no doubt. But the power and presence of an on-form Adebayor gives Arsenal a different dimension which has often been found lacking on days when the flair players are below par.

By his own admission, Adebayor has failed to recapture last season’s form. However, fresh from his injury lay-off, the Togo forward has certainly made a huge impact since returning to the team.

With Arsenal’s key stars, including Fabregas, Eduardo and Walcott all returning fresh from injury, the prospect of this being Arsenal’s most successful season in years is certainly very real.

Adebayor may well be the catalyst for such success.

This article was written for Arsenal Analysis by Danny Watson, a professional sports journalist who blogs about football news.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Yulia Arshavin’s latest views of the Arsenal fans, the Emirates and English food

By Aries

Yulia Arshavin has been talking to the Russian press about her first impressions of life in England.

She has denied flat that she ever gave any interviews in the past concerning her dislike of London and English food.

In fact she mentioned that she has dined at English restaurants in London and has enjoyed her meals.

“To get started, I actually did not speak anything bad about London.

Moreover I liked the city especially after the Russian-speaking tour guide took us round” she said.

“As for the food, anyone accustomed to Russian cuisine would find it difficult to just accept someone else's food. I was brought up on fairy cakes or mother's soups but we went to a couple restaurants in London and I had a pleasant view”.

What Yulia also liked was the Emirates which she considers better than Wembley and most important of all loves the Arsenal fans.

“The "Emirates" is just a fantastic arena. I remember at the "Wembley", two years ago, I thought - what a beautiful stadium, but now we know: the "Arsenal stadium is even better”.

“The atmosphere at the stadium is totally different than in Russia! There are people of all ages, full of women in beautiful dresses. The first impression is very good”.

“The organization of the match, as well as the extremely positive attitude of English fans to the guests from Russia, I completely fell in love with” she said.

“When Andrew takes the ball the whole stadium is already buzzing. There is a simultaneous cry and you feel a total emotional wave”

She also liked the facilities laid out for all the wives.

”I really liked how everything works for the footballers' wives and children.

There are special premises, which include soft sofas to watch the match and where one can wait for their husband after the game. There is a bar with tea, coffee, juices, soft drinks, as well as a buffet with snacks".

“When the players come they personally greet all those present, the situation is very pleasant. When you leave the box you get straight to the parking lot, where your car is”.

Yulia’s main aim now is to learn the English language.

“I want to learn it as quickly as possible. In London I have a teacher, who hardly speaks any Russian. This is very good as I will have to fully immerse myself in the new language” she said.

Arsenal’s average age was 22 1/2. Player ratings and analysis Vs Villareal

Arshavin receives top Russian award

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Arsenal’s average age was 22 1/2. Player ratings and analysis Vs Villareal

By 1970’s Gooner

It was very obvious what was wrong with Arsenal in the first half of this Champion’s League Quarter Final against the yellow submarines.

The 4 2 3 1 formation adopted against Manchester City was not good enough to counter a skilled and determined Villareal side. The reason it worked against Manchester City was because they are an awful team especially away from home.

Tonight against Villareal, Fabregas was not playing in his familiar role in the heart of the midfield which meant that he was lost in no man’s land between Adebayor and the two Arsenal midfielders, Denilson and Song.

The result was a double negative (as is often in football). First we lost the creativeness that the team thrives on and secondly Adebayor was starved of any support up front.

Add to this tactical weakness the fact that Song and Denilson were defending too deep in front of the back four and you have a huge gap in the middle areas of the pitch which Villareal exploited to the full.

Their goal was scored because Denilson positioned himself too deep to be able to thwart Senna from taking his shot without any harassment.

In the second half one of these weaknesses was corrected. Denilson and Song began to compete for the ball in the more forward areas of the pitch thus pushing Arsenal much forward than before.

They also became much more competitive and combative which resulted in Villareal being confronted with resistance in their own half. This allowed Fabregas to receive the ball in more dangerous positions and thus take the game to Villareal.

Both Adebayor and Fabregas need at least two more games to find fitness as they both looked short. Nevertheless two brilliant acts from each resulted in the goal.

Fabregas’s long range pass uncharacteristically found Adebayor on side and inside the area. He stopped the ball with his chest and jumping backwards completed an overhead kick which stunned the Villareal goalkeeper into inaction.

A quite brilliant goal.

Arsenal ended the game with an average age of the players on the field of about 22 1/2.

It showed in the second half as Villareal couldn’t cope with the high tempo and fast attacking game that Arsenal adopted. It is this type of approach that will be needed from now on if we are to progress further in this competition.


Couldn’t do much about that Senna goal. Otherwise his covering outside the area was quite good though he got injured in the act. 7


I was impressed with Lucas. He came out to collect the high balls with ease and made a brilliant follow up save in his near post early when he came on. I feel safe with him in the goals if Almunia cannot play on Saturday against Wigan. 8


It was from a corner when both he and Kolo allowed the ball to bounce in front of Almunia with Clichy clearing off the line. Otherwise strong and authoritative. 7


Was quite solid, strong and took up the leadership role well when Gallas had to go off. Also went forward with the ball and provided a real threat when he did so. 8


Slotted with ease next to Kolo. Did not have a lot to do as Arsenal pressed forward for three quarters of the second half but in the last ten minutes defended well. 7


Back to near his best. Good at defending and purposeful going forward. 8


Very good at his defensive duties but needs to spend more time on the training ground practicing his crosses. 7


Sat too deep in the first half and was unable to stop the opponents from using the space in front of him. Improved his competitiveness in the second and won many tackles. 7


He is getting better and better with each game. Was able to win the ball, control it and pass it even when under pressure. 8


Was the only shining light of the first half.

His pace posed real problems and Arsenal’s only penetration came from him. Pitty Adebayor was alone up front and Fabregas was too far away to exploit his balls into the area.

I was surprised that Wenger took him off to replace him with Eboue who was anonymous. Walcott was our only chance of getting a second goal late in the game but may be Wenger wanted to shore up the draw. 8


Was disappointing. He posed no real threat nor was he able to come infield and help Fabregas run the game. 6


Looked tired but he still produced an amazing assist for Adebayor’s goal. It is now three assists for Arsenal’s last three goals form the little maestro. 8


Looked lethargic again until he scored that goal which seemed to breathe into him new found enthusiasm. He needs more games to find fitness but nevertheless it is three goals in his last two games for Arsenal. God knows what he can achieve when he finds fitness! 8

Man of the Match: Adebayor, give him the ball and he will score….

Friday, April 03, 2009

Eduardo sets return date

By 1970’s Gooner

It seems that Arsenal will be treating Eduardo like Robin Van Persie: Keeping wrapped up in cotton wool, almost.

Arsene Wenger has already stated that Van Persie cannot play two games in a week due to the fact that he is injury prone.

Well, the same policy will now have to be adopted for poor Eduardo who due to a year long absence from competitive football gets these niggling injuries after every game he plays.

The latest is another groin injury picked up on international duty for his adopted country, Croatia, against Andorra in which he scored.

Eduardo only felt the groin a day later on Thursday and has put the reason down to the state of the pitch:

“It probably is a renewal of the same injury as last time. I think just before the end of the game. In any case it’s not a big deal. It is possible that it is due to the quite bad state of pitch” Eduardo said on the official website of the Croatian Football Association.

He now expects to be ready to face Wigan in eight days time missing out in the meantime the games against Manchester City and the Champions League encounter against Villareal.

“I started with the program of rehabilitation. Club doctors anticipate for me to start normal practice by next Wednesday or Thursday.

This means that I will miss the next meeting on Saturday against Manchester City as well as the Champions League on Tuesday against Villareal.

If it goes as expected then I will need another eight days for the away game against Wigan".

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Arshavin receives top Russian award

By Aries

Andrey Arshavin rushed away from the national team’s camp just after last Saturday’s victorious game against Azerbaijan (2-0) and it wasn’t to see friends and relatives.

He attended the award ceremony for the best football player, not only in Russia but in the countries of the CIS as well as the Baltic states.

He was awarded this distinction by the Russian newspaper “Sport-Express” and was given the award by the Russian Minister of Sport Vitaly Mutko.

“Yes, the Minister was one of the first to congratulate me. I am pleased to receive this prize. I believe that the award was made objectively, because the vote was attended by representatives of all the former Soviet republics” Arshavin said.

Andrey, who was accompanied by his wife Yulia, signed a lot of autographs and football shirts for the fans inside and outside the venue for the ceremony.

But he was nursing a sore foot as he was apparently deliberately kicked where he had eight stitches inserted at half time during Arsenal’s home game against Blackburn.

“During the game I was hit directly on the injured spot (on my foot) and there was a painful shock. I feel much better” he said to the Russian media.

Hiddink still played Arshavin in Wednesday’s game against Lichtenstein (2-0) and Andrey came through that unscathed.

Eduardo and another medical phenomenon score for Croatia (video)

By 1970’s Gooner

Two medical phenomena, Arsenal’s Eduardo and FC Nantes’s Ivan Klasnić, scored Croatia’s two goals away to Andorra which put Croatia in second spot behind England in their World Cup Qualifying Group.

Both players are considered medical phenomena because they both suffered long term injuries which threatened to prematurely end their football careers.

Eduardo’s injury is of course well known among Arsenal fans but Klasnić’s not so. He had been out of action for almost two years after undergoing two kidney transplants!

The first was from his mother which his body rejected and the second and successful one from his father.

He became the first player ever to participate at a major tournament after a kidney transplant when he played at Euro 2008 and scored against both Poland in the group stage and against Turkey in the quarter-finals.

Against Andorra Klasnic scored Croatia’s first in the fifteenth minute when he received Ivan Rakitić's pass and struck it into the opposite corner of the net.

Five minutes later Klasnić turned provider as his centre into the area was dispatched by Eduardo with the outside of his foot.

You can watch both goals on the video screen on the top of the page.

Eduardo should be fit enough to start against Manchester City on Saturday. But will Arsene Wenger risk him so soon? I doubt it myself especially now that Adebayor is back to fitness.