Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Player analysis and ratings Vs Villa

By 1970’s Gooner

Another nail biting game for us poor Arsenal supporters. It felt that Villa where going to do to us what Spurs managed last week. And Villa were a far worse team than Spurs. They were awful in the first half and it was our own profligacy and sluggishness in front of goal that kept the score at 2- 0.

If it wasn’t for an outstanding Arshavin we would have gone in at 0-0. But he took his goal very well and then Nasri managed to score a difficult goal after missing an open goal a few minutes before.

Our defending was again poor and we allowed them to score two goals and get back in the game. If it were Manchester United going into a two goal lead the game would have finished 7-1….


Did not have much to do and what he did he did well. Could not be faulted for their goals. He was unsighted for the first one and the referee had a shocker of a decision judging Carew as not interfering. Absolute rubbish. 7


Had a good game and also provided forward thrust. He is a very consistent and effective defender. 7


Played very well and kept Ashley Young mostly quiet unlike in their last encounter when Young had the better of him. Clichy was however returning from a long absence at that time and lots of people forget that. 7


He needs more time to get used to the tempo and long ball tactics of the Premier League. He is not the commanding centre half that we need. He may develop into one but he is not at the moment. 6


At least he has more experience and does not take too many chances as he often decides to whack the ball up field if needed. However both of the Villa goals especially the second one were from players who should never have been allowed to aim for goal. The first came from a weak header out of defence and the second one the scorer was a few yards from goal without anyone near him. 6


As solid as ever. He is reliable and consistent in his performances. The first name on the team sheet. 8


Had a much much better game today than at Braga. What a player he is turning out to be. At such a young age to be able to play with so much maturity and skill is amazing. It’s like watching Fabregas when he started playing for the first team. And what a vital goal he scored. 8


What a mature and significant player he is turning out to be for Arsenal Football Club. He can be a play maker a scorer as well as track back and defend. Scored with a marvelous shot on the volley. 8


My man of the match. He was back to his best today, weaving his magic and holding the ball up very well bringing players into the game. Scored the first with a typical run and shot that is his trade mark. I hope that he kicks on from here and has another great season. 9


Had a good game getting involved in a lot of good moves and providing that wonderful Fabregas like through ball to Chamakh for the third goal. He is a more direct midfielder who turns with the ball and dribbles past players which is what we need from midfield. 7


Wenger will have a decision to make when RVP is fit and ready to play. Chamakh had a very good game holding the ball well under pressure, scoring the vital third goal and setting up the fourth. An excellent all round performance. 9

Djourou is the missing link

By 1970’s Gooner

I cannot understand why Wenger insists on dropping Djourou for the Premier League games and insisting on starting with Koscienly.

Djourou has been outstanding in all the games he has started using his height and new found confidence to become a very effective central defender.

He has developed a new found steeliness and his heading ability is up there with the best of the League’s defenders.

He is therefore the ideal centre half for Arsenal as most teams tend to pump those high balls into the area more than half expecting to reap the dividends.

And they normally do as Tottenham have found out when scoring their third and winning goal and Villa too today when our central defenders couldn’t head the balls clear for both of their goals…

It was really frightening today as Villa scored their first goal almost at the same time as Spurs did last week. You could feel the nerviness that begun to surround the Arsenal players.

Song and Wilshere started defending deeper, Arshavin and Rosicky started to look tired and the home crowd spurred the home team on.

It seems to me that the only way to keep two goal leads is to score a third and a fourth. These players simply cannot defend leads by playing conservatively, negatively even. They only know one way and that is to attack.

And that is why we need our defenders to be at their top, to win everything in the air and on the ground because the protection they will get will not be enough.

And that is why Djourou is vital for this team….

Friday, November 26, 2010

The three options for replacing Fabregas against Villa

By 1970’s Gooner

It seems certain that Arsenal have to make do without Fabregas for at least two weeks although to my mind, taking into account Fabregas’s dodgy hamstring on the other leg, we will probably have to do without him for longer.

So Arsene Wenger has to come up with a more lasting solution to this problem rather than conjure something for just the Villa game. There are three options available:

1. Promote Jack Wilshere

Arsene Wenger has insistently be playing Jack Wilshere along side Fabregas in almost all games that Jack was fit. This looks like he is fast tracking him in order to prepare him to eventually take over that role.

So Wenger could take the courageous decision and promote Jack to a more central role behind Chamack where he could utilise his magic left foot and try and pull the strings.

I wouldn’t put it past Wenger in taking such a bold move. He sometimes does tend to prioritise the development of a player ahead of a particular game’s needs…

I don’t disagree that Jack has what it takes to develop into a major player for Arsenal Football Club. But to play in this vital position away at Villa Park may prove too early for him.

I hope that Wenger shies away from this option.

2. Rosicky takes central role

Wenger may not want to disturb Asrenal’s established line up too much so he could opt to give Rosicky a more central playmaker’s role. He has been getting back to fitness after that long lay off and his maturity and dexterity could provide the answer.

Nasri could also share the play maker’s role by coming infield, as he does tend to do anyway, switching positions with Rosicky now and then.

But I think most of us would go for the next option.

3. Nasri comes to the fore

The more viable option is to bring the in form Samir Nasri into the middle and play Walcott and Arshavin on the wings.

This is the more obvious and sustainable solution as Nasri is a natural play maker and would relish the opportunity to pull the strings from midfield.

This is what he tends to do anyway as he never stays on the wing too much.

We all saw how he weaved his magic from this position in the France team when they so outplayed a very pedestrian England side in the friendly at Wembley. It was like watching Arsenal play…


Sagna Djourou Squillaci Clichy

Song Denilson


Arshavin Chamack Walcott

P.S I hope that Djourou stays in the team as he has been our best defender so far

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Denilson and the referee condemn Arsenal to another defeat

By 1970’s Gooner

What a difference Chamack made when he came on. We started to hold the ball more in the attacking areas and thus brought the midfielders in the more threatening positions.

We even won a penalty. Stone clear but the referee and his aides (!) at the back of the goal got it wrong! If we had gone ahead, then it was game over and everyone would have been saying what an “efficient performance by Arsenal”…

Added to the referee’s ineptitude was Denilson’s total inability to offer any defensive cover for Djourou and Squillaci when they went forward in Braga’s area to try and take advantage of a dead ball situation. On both occasions in the second half we let in two goals!

Denilson who was left behind as cover was nowhere when the goal scorer raced through him for a clear run on goal. And for the second goal he decided to foul the player as the ball was coming out of Braga’s area instead of staying with him and delaying him.

Is it really necessary for both Djourou and Squillaci to go forward?

I thought Bendtner was awful tonight. He never got going, was always coming infield to receive the ball but at the same time crowding Fabregas out. Most important of all he never held the ball well.

He should shut up and try and get fit before he starts mouthing off. Arsene Wenger should not have started with him. Chamack should have been there at the start, done the business and then given a rest in the latter part of the game.

With Fabregas out of the Villa game I hope that Wenger gives Nasri the role of playmaker behind Chamack. I am sure he will make Fabregas’s absence go unnoticed and prove that if Cesc does leave in the summer we have a ready replacement.

Villa watch out…

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Player analysis and ratings Vs Everton

By 1970’s Gooner

Fabianski: Almost excellent once again. Made a string of fantastic saves late in the game when Everton piled forward. He is a fantastic shot stopper but again looked vulnerable when that high ball came across his goal which Saha headed on the post. Still I feel more safe with him now than with Almunia. 9

Sagna: Faultless and reliable. This I think describes his performances so far and what a strike for the goal. He deserved it. 8

Clichy: Needs to concentrate for 90 + minutes as one aberration can cost us as it did in the Ukraine. He nearly messed up again today but overall had a very good game. 6

Squillaci: His only real mistake was when he let Saha run passed him clear on goal. Thankfully Clichy was near enough the scene to create a doubt in the referee’s mind about being the last player. Other than that he is a no nonsense experienced defender and that’s what we have been lacking. 6

Djourou: The run of games he is getting is proving very beneficial for him as his fitness and awareness have improved in great leaps. He was awesome today, winning almost all the headers and most on the ground. 8

Song: Another great box to box performance from Arsenal’s most efficient performer not only today but in every single game this season so far. He was providing that needed cover in defence as well as winning the ball in midfield and setting off attacks. 8

Wilshere: I think he will be a great player but today he tried to be too clever in front of our box when a good thump of the ball would have done. His passing was also not at his best. But I have a feeling that Wenger is fast tracking him in case Fabregas is not with us next season….5

Denilson: Came on for Wilshere and I thought had a very good game winning the ball well in midfield and even setting up the second goal. 7

Nasri: He is a very “mature” and important player for Arsenal this season. Plays with his head, can dribble passed people, set up play and score goals. Today he was effective in his role, keeping himself on the wing for most of the time thus stretching the Everton defence. 7

Arshavin: Looked fresh with a lot of energy today but this was more in the first rather than the second half. He is not the player of last year who ran passed players as though they were not there. Today his first touch was not that good and he was not that willing to come back and provide adequate cover for Arsenal’s full back. 6

Fabregas: An improved performance by the skipper and took his goal very well and this is good news for Arsenal as we do need a Fabregas who can score goals as well as set them up. His passing was again not up to his usual top standards but I feel he is beginning to get back to his best. 8

Chamack: He lost the aerial battle with Distin I am afraid. He did not win many headers today which was unfortunate as Arsenal tended to take that option of sending high balls to him from the defence. Also missed a clear chance to make it 3-0 when he missed from a few yards with an open goal. 6

Man of the Match: Fabianski

One of Wenger’s substitutions made the difference against Everton

By 1970’s Gooner

I can’t understand why Arsene Wenger insists on starting with Wilshere in the middle of the midfield for Arsenal.

Sure the kid is playing beyond his years and will surely, if his head is not turned by all this media attention, become another Arsenal legend. But he is not yet that physically strong or wily enough to contribute effectively in this very significant area of the pitch.

Even when Fabregas was at the same stage of development as Wilshere is now he didn’t get to play in the middle. Wenger used to deploy him on the right wing, if you remember. He did the same with Diaby for a few seasons before he could trust him in the middle.

It also seems to me that Wilshere tries to be a play maker as well as attending to his defensive duties which somehow tends to crowd Fabregas out when he drops a little bit back to receive the ball.

When Wenger made the substitution at half time with Denilson coming on I felt a lot more confident that we will come away with the win. Denilson is now very fit and on form. He showed today and whenever he came on in recent games that he is maturing into an effective midfield defensive player.

He is very energetic, positions himself at the right places, wins the ball and lays off the simple pass to a free player. This is how we scored the second and decisive goal, when he passed the ball to Fabregas on the edge of the area who guided it to Chamack who then returned it for Fabregas to strike it in.

A great performance by Arsenal winning two consecutive games on the road and coupled by a very satisfying home defeat by Chelsea means we are only two points off the top.

Let’s beat the hell out of the spuds next week….

Friday, November 12, 2010

Arsenal’s defence has not got any better. Something else changed

By 1970’s Gooner

I watched Arsenal’s display at Molineux which was another hard fought win but with a clean sheet. It is the third so far this season in 12 games, which is not too bad considering that we gooners have come to expect that we usually need to score more than one goal to be sure of the three points.

Arsene Wenger bought two new centre halves this year and along with Djourou returning to fitness has created enough cover to cater for any injuries, such as Vermaelen’s.

But I ask you, are these new additions any better than when Kolo Toure or Gallas were playing?

I think that they are adequate and will improve as they get to grips with the Premier League but they are not significantly better than what we had in recent seasons.

But what has changed so far however is the goalkeeping situation.

The goalkeeper is the make or break of a good defensive unit in my opinion.

No outfield defender can totally subdue the opposing forwards totally, 100% of the time. There will come a time when the opponents will create two or three goal scoring chances and that is when you need your goalkeeper to come to the rescue.

To save the one on one when their forward has raced though clean on goal.

To make that spectacular save when the shot has got goal written all over it.

To keep you in the game and give the team a chance to go forward and get that winning goal.

And this is what I have seen happening with Fabianski.

He did it against Wolves when they were in the ascendancy during the second half pushing to score the equaliser. He made at least three wonderful saves especially the one in the last minute when he dived to his left and stopped that shot form outside the area.

He did it in another significant win for Arsenal (and another clean sheet) against Manchester City at Eastlands. His save in the first minute from Silva and then again on a one to one situation later on, kept us in the game and the rest is history as they say.

He made the mistake against Newcastle of course and I hope he does not repeat it. He seems to have learnt form it as a similar situation arose against Wolves but on this occasion he fisted it away.

It is of course early to go overboard about Fabianski but I hope he carries on his good performances as he will prove vital in this coming busy November and Xmas period.