Newcastle v Arsenal: Panto time at St James Park!!

The most important thing about last night was we got a win at St James Park and we are in the next round of the Carling Cup but last night, watching Emmanuel Eboue perform his theatrics was embarrassing to say the least. I know it’s getting near Panto Time of the year but he really needs to stop falling over as if he has been shot, learn to stay on his feet and grow up. What made it worse was not too long into the game, Nile Ranger could have easily done ‘an Eboue’ and got our goal keeper sent off, he didn’t, he stayed on his feet and thankfully Kos was there to mop up the danger.

From then on, Chesney showed us all why Arsene Wenger will probably not need to buy a goal keeper in January, if of course he can convince the young Pole to sign a new deal.

One sad sight during the game was seeing Kieran Gibbs suffer yet another injury, this time to his knee which resulted in him being substituted on 19 minutes into the game. I got my wish, Sagna came on but I had hoped it would be in place Eboue.

The only other substitutions of the night was made on 70 minutes when Cesc Fabregas replaced Carlos Vela and JET replaced Nikki.

So we lined up in our usual 4-3-3

Eboué  Djourou  Koscielny Gibbs
Denilson Rosicky Eastmond
Walcott Bendtner Vela

I was surprised to see Eastmond and Vela in the starting line-up, not because I think they are poor but just because Arsene Wenger had been giving such high praise to both Henri Lansbury and JET the day before.

Within minutes of the kick off, we really should have been a goal or two up. Vela and Bendtner both missed chances. We really were all over Newcastle in the first ten minutes, the home side couldn’t settle but we could make it count in front of goal.

Newcastle came into the game and Niel Ranger had a chance after a mad moment from Chesney but Kos cleared, then Alan Smith unleashed a thunderous strike which thankfully hit the bar, mind you I thought it was helped on is way by a wonderful save from Chesney. We were creating chances on the break but sadly some woeful finishing was still on display from our forwards.

Nikki had a couple more good chances and Eboue showed a bit of selfishness when having done all the hard work to get into the box, fired a shot into the side netting when a cross to one of the three players waiting for the ball would have had a better chance to open the scoring.

Then, just before the half-time whistle would blow, it was comedy time and we would benefit. Theo Walcott’s corner was poorly cleared by Nile Ranger, Rosicky headed the ball back in to the box, Bendtner then headed towards goal, Ryan Taylor then tried to head the ball clear but all he managed to do was hit the Newcastle keeper on the head and the ball flew into the net. Life can be so Krul!!

1-0 at half-time, we needed more goals, that must have been on the mind of every Arsenal Fan!

The second half got under away and it wasn’t long before Theo Walcott got his first of the night, with a little help from Nikki – the home fans were incensed that Nikki’s body-check on their player went unpunished just as Theo collected a perfect ball from Djourou to slot home a well taken goal. I am unsure how Nikki got away with that too!

By now Cesc had come on to replace Carlos Vela, the latter didn’t have the best of nights again. He needs a run of games but I just can’t see when he’s going to get them.

The Pole in goal then continued to show us all just why he thinks he’s so good, making a few great saves. He showed little fear diving at the feet of the Newcastle forwards as they searched for a goal and then made another fine save to keep out a Carroll free kick.

Nikki Bendtner made it three following a through ball from our captain and Cesc was the provider again for the fourth, this time releasing Theo Walcott, who again finished well to get his second of the night.

So, 4-0 to The Mighty Arsenal, a great result on what could have been a difficult night in Newcastle….

So who was your Man of the Match?

133 thoughts on “Newcastle v Arsenal: Panto time at St James Park!!

  1. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 10:19am

    Bit late today, blame the plumber!!

    Theo was my MOTM :)

  2. T-buzz

    October 28, 2010 at 10:38am

    Guten Morgen!
    Theo was my MOTM too, my fear was that he would be off the pace due to the interruption to his blistering form earlier this season so glad to see that he looks as hungry as he did against Blackpool!!
    Nikky Pinky’s goal was quite similar to the one against Citeh, well taken. He’s still frustrating to watch at times and can be so sluggish on the ball. Stil, I’m happy our strikers are scoring bar RVP and cant wait for him to get back!
    I was a bit disappointed that Lansbury didnt even get his boots dirty after all the bigging-up these past few days but I hope we see more of him this season.

  3. bops

    October 28, 2010 at 10:38am


  4. Willo

    October 28, 2010 at 10:39am

    Just as well Arsene didn’t risk JET for the last 8 minutes. Must have dreamt it.

  5. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 10:42am

    Don’t know what you mean Willo 😉

  6. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 10:44am

    Morning T-buzz

    Nikki frustrates so often and then just as i’m shouting at the television to sub him, he goes and scores. maybe i should start shouting sooner… :)

  7. T-buzz

    October 28, 2010 at 10:44am

    Oh, and Denilson with his new hair-do, didnt see that coming! Was just about to start getting used to his Afro :)

  8. T-buzz

    October 28, 2010 at 10:44am

    It doesnt work rico, I started shouting at Nikky from kick-off!! lol

  9. K-TR7

    October 28, 2010 at 10:45am

    Morning all.royal pinkiness!!!

  10. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 10:50am

    T-buzz 😆 re denilson, where did he get that idea from….

  11. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 10:51am

    Morning K-TR7…

    No-one mentions the Eboue diving, i thought he was dreadful…

  12. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 10:53am

    T-buzz, re your earlier, I was dissapointed not to see Lansbury play aswell, especially after all the wenger had said about him. Maybe he is going to feature on Saturday against the ‘Ammers..

  13. T-buzz

    October 28, 2010 at 10:57am

    rico, Ebouedinho’s diving, grinning and mazy running are all characters of the Pass Master so I wasnt surprised by any of it.
    As per Denilson, I’m guessing he went for a drink with Adebayor after the City game and stupidly listened to Ade’s advice on what to do with his Afro… :(

    Whazzap KTR7?

  14. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 11:01am

    T-buzz, it gets on my nerves though, one day it’s going to really cost us when he gets a red card…

    As for Lardy… :(

  15. K-TR7

    October 28, 2010 at 11:08am

    Kozzer is going to be a beast of a defender.he can pass,excellent in one on one sitiuations,reads the game very well and has a first touch rooney can only dream of.

  16. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 11:10am

    I though Kos was immense last night KT, no fuss, no nonsense and just goes about his game quietly…

    JD started shaky but grew in confidence as the game went on if he can stay fit i think he will be good… Trouble is, he’s another one like Vela, they both need a run in the side..

  17. K-TR7

    October 28, 2010 at 11:11am

    Szczesny has so much confidence which gave me a sense of security throughout.his punch of 40 yards in the closing moments of the game showed how commanding he is…

  18. K-TR7

    October 28, 2010 at 11:13am

    Our first goal was very funny…taylor did a clichy and krul did a flappy…

  19. K-TR7

    October 28, 2010 at 11:16am

    Ramsey is back in 10 days…it getting lonely for rvp10 in there as his mates are leaving him there…maybe we should task him with making a szczesny chant which won’t be easy but he has time on his side.

  20. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 11:23am

    Chesney grew too, after his mad dash he settled and was as good as he says he is, like you say, the strength of that puch was incredible, did it reach the half way line?? He’s very athletic too…

  21. K-TR7

    October 28, 2010 at 11:28am

    Szczesny kept on barking at his defenders which impressed me.we should now have faby and szczesny as our first and second choice.big Al and mannone will have to fight for the remaining spots.

  22. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 11:30am

    puch = punch, not a little woofa 😉

  23. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 11:31am

    I’d sell Almunia KT….

  24. TonyS

    October 28, 2010 at 11:47am

    Eboue is a senior member of the squad. His growing up period finished long ago. FYI he is completely and utterly mental and this is never going to change.

    Anyone notice who is usually the first player who people run to when they score? Man you can see the whole squad
    really love him!!

  25. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 12:01pm

    Tony, i know he’s a fun guy and all that and he is loved by the team but…. just wish he’d stop being so theatrical…..

  26. oliver

    October 28, 2010 at 12:50pm

    morning all. good win last night – had a bit of luck in some spots, particularly with ranger staying upright after rounding szczesny and theo’s first goal being allowed to stand…but we were the better team regardless, and fully deserved the win.

    i really hope that gibbs’ injury is not serious. last thing we need. and i am disappointed vela did not make the most of this rare starting opportunity.

  27. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 12:55pm

    Hi oliver, agree re Ranger, I had a horrid vision for a moment, credit to the player, many wouldn’t have stayed on their feet.

    Haven’t seen a news on Gibbs yet, Wenger said it was his knee last night and hoped its not ligament damage… Don’t we all, I was dissapointed with Vela, a player low in confidence I think…

  28. T-buzz

    October 28, 2010 at 12:56pm

    I’ll donate Almunia to charity…

  29. oliver

    October 28, 2010 at 12:57pm

    not sure what we do with vela now – i think he just needs a run of games to get his form and confidence, but i am not sure where and when he can get them. i still think it is too early to give up on him, but he is certainly running out of time to come good.

  30. T-buzz

    October 28, 2010 at 12:58pm

    Vela better wake up fast, his fellow Mexican is making waves in Manchester at the mo….

  31. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 1:05pm

    😆 T-buzz, reports were around in the summer that At Madrid wanted him, we need to squeeze a bit of money out of them…

  32. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 1:07pm

    That’s the problem oliver, both Vela and JD need a run in the side but at who’s expense, AA needs a break so maybe Vela could play against the Hammers on Saturday and in the CL game as we are through…

  33. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 1:08pm

    Tbuzz, i am hoping all the trips to play for his country does the same to him as its done for Vela…

  34. K-TR7

    October 28, 2010 at 1:08pm

    Hi oliver.vela is struggling and i think a loan deal to a PL side would be ideal at the moment.

  35. oliver

    October 28, 2010 at 1:12pm

    morning k. perhaps a loan, maybe even to a spanish side. i would like to see him make it with us, but i think he is a confidence player and i do not see how he can build his confidence without some sort of regular match action. i do not see any opportunity for him to get the playing time he needs while here.

  36. K-TR7

    October 28, 2010 at 1:15pm

    I don’t know how this has stayed off the media but how did Diego Milito not make the 23 man Ballon d’Or nominees?he scored in all the knockout rounds,scored twice in the final against Bayern,scored in the Coppa Italia final against roma and he secured the league title for inter on the final day of the season.he scored in both milan derby’s and he ended up scoring 30 goals helping inter secure the treble.eto’o is on that list but was no where near to milito even at the wc,klose may have dazzled at the wc but scored only once in the Bundesliga.Milito has been underrated and its sad that fifa overlooked the best striker in Europe last season.

  37. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 1:20pm

    Trouble is, if we are still in the CC in January I can’t see him or JET going on loan, they will want to stay up until the end…

    I think thats why the loan for JET to Neil warnocks side fell through…

    Realistically, we could still be in all three cups at the turn of the year and the way we suffer injuries, I can’t see Wenger letting anyone go on loan… other than reserve players…

  38. oliver

    October 28, 2010 at 1:23pm

    k, ballon d’or shortlist always has questionable nominees. it is at it’s worst during a world cup year – overemphasis is given to mediocre players (asamoah gyan) who do well is what i consider a mediocre tournament. milito had a great season for a not-exactly-prolific internazionale side, but because this was a world cup year, the major emphasis will be on performances for national sides. these awards are more political than merit-based, anyways…

  39. K-TR7

    October 28, 2010 at 1:32pm

    Oliver thats what angers me to no end.was it milito’s fault that maradona picked higuain instead of him?how can one month of football overrule 9 months milito had played?i have NEVER seen anyone score more decisive goals in a season as him.if i were him id feel hard even cesc got in that list ahead of milito i will never know.inter’s best players last season were:zanetti,sneijder,milito,cambiasso,lucio and samuel but FIFA picked:eto’o,cezar,maicon,sneijder.only sneijder deserved to be there.

  40. Red Arse

    October 28, 2010 at 1:33pm

    Great analytical write up Rico, :-)

    Chezzer is No.1 for me. No fear, great confidence and picked crosses out of the air with ease.

    I don’t think Chezzer did anything much wrong when he tackled Ranger. The tackle was outside the area, Chezzer simply stayed on his feet and tried to get the ball, without going over the top or doing a scissors tackle, and Kosser, brilliantly, got back around them both to block the shot.

    Good refereeing! :-)

  41. oliver

    October 28, 2010 at 1:39pm

    k, that is what i don’t get worked up over these things. they are not based on merit. i am disdainful of world cup football – i consider it vastly inferior to our league product – but because it is fifa’s big money-spinner, it always gets absurdly disproportional emphasis in individual team awards. my advice is just don’t worry about it – you’ll feel better.

  42. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 1:39pm

    i think its all a bit political too, i take little notice of the b d’or… mind you, that will change when cesc gets it :)

  43. oliver

    October 28, 2010 at 1:40pm

    morning ra. so much for the legend of cliff lee…

  44. K-TR7

    October 28, 2010 at 1:40pm

    Hi RA.Walcott has become a very composed finisher and it seems he has finally learnt to use his pace.he must have been watching ljunberg as those diagonal runs he is making are giving defenders lots of problems.

  45. T-buzz

    October 28, 2010 at 1:43pm

    aaah, Freddie with the diagonals whilst Bergkamp supplied…. oh the memories. :)

  46. K-TR7

    October 28, 2010 at 1:44pm

    Oliver i also never understood how Cannavaro won the award in 06 despite us embarassing the in the CL quarters with juve.henry was the best player on the planet that season as he led both Arsenal and France to cl and world cup finals respectively.also why don’t defenders,dms or goalies ever get these awards consistently?

  47. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 1:46pm

    Morning RA,

    I think we don’t have to worry the day Chesney takes the number 1 spot, just hope he wants to stay …

  48. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 1:49pm

    KT, Theo’s finishing has improved too, how much have we missed him….

    Tbuzz, stop it 😉

    KT, that’s why i take no notice, Henry that year was definately the best player in the world. It’s a fix

  49. oliver

    October 28, 2010 at 1:49pm

    k, there is cannavaro and then the fat ronaldo sweeping the individual awards in 02 on the basis of the japan-korea world cup. never mind that he was injured – and disgustingly fat – and played virtually no club football that year. and then zidane winning one of the awards ahead of thierry based on name only. one of these awards has national team coaches doing the voting – why national team coaches? some of them did not even know who theirry was. and the other has journalists – always the most objective parties – doing the voting. why bother yourself over a broken system?

  50. Red Arse

    October 28, 2010 at 1:50pm

    You are right KT, I was very pleased (obviously) at Theo rediscovering his goal scoring boots.

    Without being being too critical, we were superb in parts of the game, and then let our standards slip sometimes.

    Eboue only went to ground when he was pushed, however lightly, so technically not a dive. Diving is usually going to ground without being touched. I just wished he would not do it so obviously. As a result, when he was fouled, the ref did not award a free kick to us.

  51. K-TR7

    October 28, 2010 at 1:54pm

    I hate to admit it but wayne rooney deserved to be on that list.he scored 33 goals last season which meant he was only outscored by CR7,messi and luis suarez.he scored in the big matches but it seems after 4 weeks all over a sudden he is not a contender.players like cambiasso,zanetti,essien,lucio,samuel…will always be overlooked because what they do isn’t flashy.Zanetti has been the definition of consistency in his 15 seasons at inter but no recognition because he isn’t a poster boy.its really sad that only forwards get recognised.goals may win games but defenses win titles.

  52. K-TR7

    October 28, 2010 at 1:59pm

    Oliver how henry never won a Ballon d’Or title or two in his career i’ll never can he have won all those European golden boots,PFA Awards,FIFA World 11 teams but never the best?despite us not winning the CL with the invincibles henry was still the best player in Europe that season.

  53. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 2:03pm

    when was the last time a goal keeper won it KT??

  54. oliver

    October 28, 2010 at 2:03pm

    there was a two-three year stretch when th was the best player in the world. he never won because these awards are more political than merit. the winners are on either the basis of a world cup win/outstanding performance, or play for uefa/fifa “favored” sides such as barca/madrid/milan(s)/united, etc. one of the years he should have won (2003, i think), he finished third behind zidane and fat ronaldo – two players whose names meant more than actual performances.

  55. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 2:04pm

    RA, i appreciate Eboue was fouled, but he’s such a drama queen…

  56. SD-London

    October 28, 2010 at 2:09pm

    Hi All!!!

    OLIVER!! where is he today.
    I told him to celebrate on Monday for our win against MAn City but he refused and robbed himself of the delight.
    He was worried about Newcastle game and WestHam game.

    Well it is a celebration fest for me today our boys are loving the goals; 9 changes in selection and 4 goals?


  57. K-TR7

    October 28, 2010 at 2:10pm

    Rico i can’t think of a gk who has won it in recent years.Oliver no matter what people say henry has been the best striker on the planet for the last decade.he won everything both at club and international level but they denied him the ballon d’Or.we will always have memories of the legend showing the entire spurs team a clean pair of heels only to celebrate by sliding infront of them among many others.Henry is one of the greats and im glad the best chunk of his career was with us.

  58. Red Arse

    October 28, 2010 at 2:15pm

    Here, here KT. :-)

    SD, you are obviously still full of beans. I would have given Kosser the MOTM, I think he was superbo! :-)

  59. oliver

    October 28, 2010 at 2:17pm

    sd, i am here. great win last night, good performance with plenty of grit. i am enjoying both wins – clean sheets – as well. but this is a marathon, not a sprint. i can enjoy without getting giddy or two far ahead of myself. there is still lots and lots of work ahead – in all competitions.

    k, i doubt theirry is that torn up about not holding a ballon d’or or other player of the year award – not winning either of those cannot define him or detract from everything he has done over his glittering career. i cannot imagine he worries about it, and neither shall i.

  60. K-TR7

    October 28, 2010 at 2:18pm

    SD we are spectacular right now.we have scored 43 goals in 14 games which is an average of 3 goals a match.last season we only kept 4 away cleansheets but now we have 2 in succession…i’ll have that drink now…

  61. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 2:19pm

    KT, neither can I which is amazing and quite wrong…

  62. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 2:21pm

    Cheers SD, don’t mind if I do 😆

    I can see our goal tally increasing by a few more on Saturday too, shame its a 3pm and not on television..

  63. K-TR7

    October 28, 2010 at 2:21pm

    Oliver the trophies will get lost but our memories of henry will never fade.SD i’ll have another drink in honour of henry.legend…

  64. SD-London

    October 28, 2010 at 2:28pm

    Well i nominate Oliver to keep all us on check , not to get too excited while we celebrate and have the drink.

    43goals in 14 games ?
    All 3 strikers fit?
    Two goal keepers re-cloned?
    Fabregas seems to be mutating into something else?
    Gift of Wilshire?
    RVP coming soon?

    Right now i will giddy then tomorrow we will talk about West ham. :)

  65. K-TR7

    October 28, 2010 at 2:33pm

    SD we have every right to be giddy at the moment.

  66. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 2:35pm

    SD and Ramsey is soon to return too, reserves game pencilled in i read…

  67. oliver

    October 28, 2010 at 2:45pm

    by all means, be giddy if you wish. i just choose not to. that does not mean i don’t enjoy and celebrate our wins – i absolutely do – it means i keep in mind that things can change in an instant, and that this is a point where we can easily get too far ahead of ourselves, and we can wind up with nothing yet again. it is still only october. if we can keep this up through may, we should really have a reason to get excited!

  68. SD-London

    October 28, 2010 at 2:46pm

    Add Ramsey to that and i think we will survive the December Gloomy, cramped , season defining and stupid fixture.

    Drink ! :*)

  69. K-TR7

    October 28, 2010 at 2:49pm

    November has been a very bad month for us in terms of injuries so lets see if this year will be any different.

  70. Red Arse

    October 28, 2010 at 2:50pm

    I have just read that Niles Ranger is a big Arsenal fan!

    Well he qualified it by saying he WAS a fan when he was a kid. But we all know, once you are bitten by the Arsenal bug, you cannot get un=bitten! :-)

  71. K-TR7

    October 28, 2010 at 2:54pm

    Aw should win back-to-back titles before he calls it a day.he should also try to win a treble/quadruple if possible to cement his status.we all know how desperate he is to win the holy grail that is the CL.i would also love it if one of his youngsters went on to win the FIFA Ballon d’Or…it would be his crown jewel.

  72. K-TR7

    October 28, 2010 at 2:56pm

    A couple of toon fans had told me rangers is an Arsenal fan before the game.he is tired of the trophy drought and he wanted to help end it…

  73. Red Arse

    October 28, 2010 at 2:57pm

    KT, :-)

  74. SD-London

    October 28, 2010 at 3:00pm

    i think the Ballon d’Or is just FIFA’s PR

  75. Red Arse

    October 28, 2010 at 3:02pm


    Back to Eboue. Yesterday I was saying, to SD I think, that Eboue can produce some excellent, mazy dribbles, but when he gets into position he does not know what to do.

    Last night he proved my point, over and over again. He ended with weak shots, lost the ball with a lame pass or tripped over his own feet (dived :-) ), after carving thru’ the Magpies defence and midfield. He will never change I’m afraid.

  76. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 3:27pm

    I’m not going to get too carried away, well, not just yet, lets beat the Ammers and go on from there…

  77. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 3:29pm

    No arguement from me there RA, he does usually manage to get a cross into the box though, unlike some 😉

  78. SD-London

    October 28, 2010 at 3:30pm

    Well Eboue has being like that but Wenger values him almost as much as he Values Fabregas.

    Eboue played as a left back yesterday and the day he came in as a striker, he scored 2 goals.

  79. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 3:40pm

    I thought he did well at LB too SD, I don’t think he’s a bad player in all honesty, yes he gets a bit over excited in front of goal but at RB he’s not bad….

    its just what comes with it sometimes, not all the time i know, just sometimes…

  80. SD-London

    October 28, 2010 at 3:51pm

    i will keep any of our players right now.
    If you ask Wenger, he will want to keep everybody as well because you never know.

    It will be nice to have Ramsey back , maybe Diaby will get serious then.

  81. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 3:53pm

    Even Almunia SD? 😉

  82. SD-London

    October 28, 2010 at 4:06pm

    ah i forgot about him,

    he can go.

  83. K-TR7

    October 28, 2010 at 4:10pm

    cesc is the man!!!!!!!!!!!
    Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas and Real Madrid’s Ronaldo most effective midfielders in England and Spain
    October 27, 2010 | Special Report | 2 Comments |
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    Cesc Fabregas
    Cesc Fabregas
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    Cesc FabregasCristiano RonaldoRafael Van Der VaartJack WilshereJuan MataAndrey Arshavin
    Who or What Where

    The midfield playmaker is a must for all top sides in the modern game.

    The man pulling the strings and weaving the magic for his side requires cunning, craft, and creativity.

    Good movement, vision and the ability to read the game are vital. Perhaps most crucially of all, though, the playmaker doesn’t have to be a physical beast to take the game by the scruff of the neck. While energy is vital, the top playmakers run the match effectively using brains, not brawn.

    IMScouting has compiled an efficiency report showing the impact of different types of midfield playmaker in La Liga and the Premier League, with Arsenal maestro Cesc Fabregas and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo topping the list.

    The report calculates which midfielders in the English and Spanish top divisions are the most likely to score or create a goal. Weighing up the number of goals and assists contributed with the number of minutes played, Fabregas and Ronaldo are the most efficient midfielders this season in all club competitions.

    Guile and style are essential attributes for the role, but nowadays the playmaker comes in different guises. And we have picked out six players, who all have something slightly different to offer in the role.

    You can see the full report below as well as profiles of six of this season’s top midfielders so far.

    Each player highlighted possesses different strengths and skills which help to dominate the midfield.

    You can see all types of statistical reports at the IMScouting Special Report section. You can also calculate your own reports at the IMScouting report generator, which creates instant comparisons of players and teams from every league in the world to help you better analyze the game.

    The visionary playmaker: Cesc Fabregas
    Club: Arsenal
    Age: 23
    Nationality: Spanish
    Efficiency rating: Goal or assist every 56.3 minutes
    Cards: 1 yellow

    Think Cesc Fabregas and you think of one of the world’s top players. Amazingly, Fabregas has won the European Championship and the World Cup and is still only 23-years-old. There is plenty more to come from the Spanish midfield maestro.

    He is quite simply a superb passer of the ball and is one of those rare players able to dictate the pace and flow of the game. Fabregas is able to do so without being the most physically imposing of players. He has picked up a single yellow card this season and has shown that he can dominate the middle of the park without brute force. His ability to pick out a pass makes him a joy for strikers to play with and helps explain the four goals that he has already created this season.

    In the last year, Fabregas has added a real eye for goal to his repertoire. Many midfielders influence the game without necessarily getting among the goals – not Fabregas. He has followed an exceptional 19 goals last term with 4 strikes already this season.

    The free-scoring dynamo: Cristiano Ronaldo
    Club: Real Madrid
    Age: 25
    Nationality: Portuguese
    Efficiency rating: Goal or assist every 61.8 minutes
    Cards: 3 yellow

    If you are looking for a player to inject pace, dynamism and goals to the attacking third, Ronaldo is your man. His talent has never been in question, but he has progressed over the last few years from a promising, skillful winger to the complete attacking midfielder.

    Blessed with pace when he has the ball at his feet, Ronaldo is more than likely to glide past several defenders. Even if his own close control and dribbling ability cannot find a route to goal, he has developed the awareness to pick out a team-mate. Ronaldo is the type of player who possesses the flair and imagination to change things on the pitch and an incredible 11 goals and five assists this season are testament to that.

    Strong in the air, Ronaldo is a threat wherever he is. None more so than from free-kicks, which have become his trademark. His dynamic talent is symbolized by his very own unique free-kick style, combining exceptional power and bend with very little back-lift to leave goalkeepers with very little chance.

    The technical wide man: Andrey Arshavin
    Club: Arsenal
    Age: 29
    Nationality: Russian
    Efficiency rating: Goal or assist every 87.1 minutes
    Cards: None

    There are few whose technique can compare to Russian star Arshavin. When he receives the ball out wide, he is likely to make something happen. His close control and pace ensure that he is able to leave defenders trailing, opening up space from which he can usually pick out a killer pass. Arshavin already has six assists to his credit this season.

    He also has an unerring eye for goal and is keen to display his powerful shooting ability. Arshavin is strong on either foot, and his four goals so far this season show what an impact he can make.

    There are plenty of midfielders who are able to threaten the opposition once they have the ball. What Arshavin also does particularly well is to move off the ball in order to find the space in which he can be found. He is a fantastic outlet for any side and his technical ability combined with goalscoring prowess ensures that he can truly influence a game.

    The in-the-hole playmaker: Rafael Van Der Vaart
    Club: Tottenham Hotspur
    Age: 27
    Nationality: Dutch
    Efficiency rating: Goal or assist every 105.5 minutes
    Cards: 2 yellow; 1 red

    It’s proving to be nothing short of a remarkably shrewd bit of business by Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp snapping up Van Der Vaart just as the curtain was being drawn on the summer transfer window. With five goals and an assist this season, the Dutchman has been superb for Spurs so far and is a key component of their attacking play.

    Van Der Vaart is a creative hub, who revels in his role just behind the front man, from where he drifts right and left, making him nearly impossible to contain . He is a smart and technically skilled player, with a brilliant first touch, fantastic finishing ability, deadly free-kicks and great vision for the killer pass.

    Despite his Champions League red card, Van Der Vaart is a generally a cool customer, who relies on his technique, mental strength and determination to outwit his opponents. He is a real match winner.

    The deep-lying playmaker: Jack Wilshere
    Club: Arsenal
    Age: 18
    Nationality: English
    Efficiency rating: Goal or assist every 153.4 minutes
    Cards: 2 yellow, 1 red

    A real gem for Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and the player who could well make the Three Lions roar once more.

    Wilshere is a clever, creative midfielder, who usually operates behind a midfielder trio. With maturity than belies his years, the two-footed teen can dictate the play from his deep position.

    Although not an imposing presence physically, Wilshere stamps his authority on games using his superb technique, excellent vision and great footballing brain.

    With a dribble, pass or late burst into the box, Wilshere can slice open the defence – skills exemplified by his Champions League goal against Shakhtar Donetsk and his four assists this season.

    The free-flowing winger: Juan Mata
    Club: Valencia CF
    Age: 22
    Nationality: Spanish
    Efficiency rating: Goal or assist every 160 minutes
    Cards: 3 yellow

    A versatile, clever player with tremendous potential.

    Mata is a left winger by nature, but his playmaking abilities make him equally adept as a striker and in every other offensive position.

    He is capable of scoring goals and putting chances on a plate for his teammates due to his amazing speed, technique and high game-intelligence.

    Mata can run the match from his position by his pure skill, and has scored once and provided three assists so far this term.

    The young Spaniard is a real handful for defenders, with speed and dribbling abilities of very highest calibre.

    He also strikes the ball sweetly and has great composure in front of goal.

    England and Spain midfield efficiency
    Player Team Minutes played Goals Assists Average (Min)
    Cesc Fabregas Arsenal FC 451 4 4 56.38
    Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid 990 11 5 61.88
    Mesut Ozil Real Madrid 728 3 6 80.89
    Andrey Arshavin Arsenal FC 871 4 6 87.10
    Samir Nasri Arsenal FC 718 5 3 89.75
    Nani Manchester United 903 4 5 100.3
    Rafael Van Der Vaart Tottenham Hotspur 633 5 1 105.5
    Igor Gabilondo Athletic Bilbao 425 3 1 106.3
    Cani Villarreal CF 466 2 2 116.5
    Florent Malouda Chelsea FC 948 7 1 118.5
    Eliseu Malaga CF 498 1 3 124.5
    Chris Brunt West Bromwich Albion 798 1 5 133.0
    Santi Cazorla Villarreal CF 810 3 3 135.0
    Tim Cahill Everton FC 692 4 1 138.4
    Steven Gerrard Liverpool FC 872 4 2 145.3
    Simao Sabrosa Atletico Madrid 898 3 3 149.7
    Xavi FC Barcelona 611 1 3 152.8
    Borja Valero Villarreal CF 764 3 2 152.8
    Jack Wilshere Arsenal FC 767 1 4 153.4
    Craig Gardner Birmingham City 467 3 0 155.7
    Clint Dempsey Fulham FC 628 2 2 157.0
    Juan Mata Valencia CF 640 1 3 160.0
    Pedro Rios Getafe CF 481 1 2 160.3
    Jerome Thomas West Bromwich Albion 497 1 2 165.7
    Sergio Gonzalez UD Levante Valencia 515 2 1 171.7

  84. K-TR7

    October 28, 2010 at 4:11pm

    Barcelona have begun negotiations with PSV Eindhoven over a move for highly-rated midfielder Ibrahim Afellay, according to reports in the Spanish media.

    The Catalan club are understood to be targeting the 24-year-old as an alternative to Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas, who has been repeatedly linked with a return to his boyhood club.

    However, Barca have reportedly admitted defeat over the Spanish skipper because they cannot afford the Gunners’ asking price, which is in the region of £45million.

    A Barca source was quoted as saying: “The money situation in the club changes the situation and today it is impossible to accept a big expense for the reinforcements.”

    The Primera Liga club are instead understood to be in talks over a January move for Dutchman Afellay, who has made an impact at PSV and on international duty for the Netherlands this season.

    Afellay, who has been linked with numerous outfits including Manchester United and Liverpool, has confirmed his desire to depart the Eredivisie side for a bigger club.

    The 24-year-old attacking midfielder, who is out of contract at PSV in June next year, could be the subject of a bidding war amongst a host of European clubs in the January transfer window after turning down a new deal in Eindhoven.

  85. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 4:14pm

    Blimey KT, that’s a few posts in themselves about our little captain :)

    Read the bit about Afellay, good luck to him, barca are not getting cesc, that’s for sure….

  86. rico

    October 28, 2010 at 4:16pm

    i’m off for the day folks, catch you all tomorrow sometime…

    be good and stay safe…

    Bye for now

  87. K-TR7

    October 28, 2010 at 4:17pm

    good to see jack in there too…and the stains are broke…

  88. SD-London

    October 28, 2010 at 4:40pm

    OMG KT !

  89. Red Arse

    October 28, 2010 at 4:53pm

    Wow, KT, :-)

    SD, I hear you re Eboue. My irritation is that he could and should be superb, all the time. He has the physique, the pace, the dribbling skill to be among the best, but he somehow does not seem able to produce. I don’t know why.

  90. oliver

    October 28, 2010 at 4:59pm

    i am not sure if am in accordance with majority opinion here, but i like eboue. i think he is a strong character, great around the dressing room and in the squad, direct and energetic. it is the theatrics i can do without. i suggest that he has improved on that front, but still has work to do.

    eboue was far and away my favorite moment of the world cup – coming over the opponent sideline during the north korea – cote d’ivoire match, listening to the north korean coach give instructions, and nodding as though he understood every word. absolutely classic.

  91. oliver

    October 28, 2010 at 5:07pm

    ra, if you are still here, ny media is reporting that yankees and joe girardi have agreed to a new 3 year/9 mil deal. as you remember, joe was in the last year of his current deal, and there was speculation he would return home (chicago) to manage the cubs. as the playoffs began, however, most speculation was that he would stay with the yanks. he’s already won with them, so this is best for both parties in my opinion.

  92. Red Arse

    October 28, 2010 at 5:17pm


    I hadn’t heard that. Thank you for leting me know.
    I thought he might bow out, to be honest, but I am glad he is staying.

    I saw that the Rangers lost the first game of the finals. Serves them right! :-)

  93. oliver

    October 28, 2010 at 5:21pm

    no official announcement yet, but i imagine someone in the yankees organization leaked it. the world series is in progress and commissioner bud selig does not allow teams to make significant announcements during that. hence no formal announcement from the met regarding their hiring sandy alderson as the new gm – i think mets and yanks will be allowed to announce these two transactions tomorrow, as it will be an off day for the rangers and sf giants.

    right move bringing joe back – he has won there as both player and manager, it’s his team, and the players respond to him. they will need a new number two starter – and that may not be cliff lee – but i think they will otherwise be set for another run.

  94. Red Arse

    October 28, 2010 at 5:27pm

    That’s interesting Oliver, altho I am still disappointed, and am now rooting for the SF Giants.

    Actually, I really liked SF, it’s a fascinating city, although I only lived there for about 6 months. It is certainly different to any place else I have worked! Enough said! :-)

    Got to go guys, see you tomorrow, hopefully.

  95. Suhail.TV

    October 28, 2010 at 5:28pm

    Hello all… any body remembers me

  96. oliver

    October 28, 2010 at 5:29pm

    remember last night at st james, when arsene said he hoped gibbs’ knee injury did not contain ligament damage? well, it appears it does, unfortuately. they are estimating a “few weeks” out – i won’t be shocked if it is significantly longer.

    this is why i do not go over the moon after every win – sometimes bad news is lurking just around the corner.

  97. agirlagunner

    October 28, 2010 at 5:30pm

    Hola, although no one seems to be around. Fantastic results!!! Something I could get used to. :)

    I like Eboue myself. That Eboue moment at the WC still makes me smile, oliver.

    KT, Cesc is top of the pops to me, regardless. (unless he’s in YKW mode, in which case, he’s almost unbearable)

    rico, your continues to impress. Sweet.

  98. oliver

    October 28, 2010 at 5:31pm

    hi stv. ra, i have family in oakland, and spent plenty of time there. i used to take the bart into sf to walk around the city – quick and easy. i am also rooting for the sf giants, more because they are of the original new york baseball teams. plus barry bonds is no longer on the team.

  99. oliver

    October 28, 2010 at 5:33pm

    hi agag. i think there are still some of us here. i am currently digesting the sobering news on gibbs’ injury…

  100. Suhail.TV

    October 28, 2010 at 5:33pm

    Hello agag… wenger produced another TV5 Is’t it. He was immense Yday.
    How things going on you .. by thw way

  101. agirlagunner

    October 28, 2010 at 5:38pm

    Boo, STV. Howdy???

  102. Suhail.TV

    October 28, 2010 at 5:38pm

    Hello Oliver the team is making you happy at the moment I guess. Faith won!!

  103. Suhail.TV

    October 28, 2010 at 5:41pm

    Hola Agag… All good, the skool is bit tough on me these days.. hope the boss is not like that on you 😉

  104. agirlagunner

    October 28, 2010 at 5:42pm

    oliver, that is terrible news. As it is, we’re not exactly deep at LB. :( (And this from someone who luvs Clichy) And when AW says a few weeks, that means months…

    STV, I am okay. And you? Busy with school like Weeds?

  105. agirlagunner

    October 28, 2010 at 5:46pm

    I’m beginning to be really busy again… :) I shouldn’t complain. Did you see the game. Kozzer continues to impress me. :)

  106. Suhail.TV

    October 28, 2010 at 5:48pm

    Seems RVP is forgotten for the time being :(

  107. Suhail.TV

    October 28, 2010 at 5:52pm

    Wenger will never stop surprising people with his transfers strategies..
    and Agag.. I dont know how to believe what am seeing with polski

  108. K-TR7

    October 28, 2010 at 5:54pm

    Hola agag and STV.cesc is top top class and with barça going for afellay things don’t look good for them.gibbs and rvp10 are new best mates.knee ligament damage is not good at all…

  109. Suhail.TV

    October 28, 2010 at 5:59pm

    Hola KT,cesc is class specialinho started digging for barca. they are not good as they once were..

  110. agirlagunner

    October 28, 2010 at 6:02pm

    Gibbsy is the new Theo. :) Ever-injured.

    Barcelona are ruining MY plans for Affelay. I do suppose with Rambo only days from return, Affelay would be a surplusage, but I rate him, and would be sad to lose him to the stains, of all teams. Ick.

    Our new signings have so far shown value for money, stv. When everyone is back, we would be amazing… Now if only Robin would sort his bones and ligaments and tendons and whatever else out. 😉

  111. Suhail.TV

    October 28, 2010 at 6:07pm

    You mean old theo is gibbsy

  112. agirlagunner

    October 28, 2010 at 6:15pm

    There you go, stv. We’re splitting hairs, but you’re the one to get it right. :) :)

  113. Suhail.TV

    October 28, 2010 at 6:22pm

    No one seems around here.. and Agag injury problem like this is helpful for rotation.. (if only we are winning 😉 )

  114. K-TR7

    October 28, 2010 at 6:23pm

    Agag i have been impressed with cesc and we should do everything to keep him.

  115. Suhail.TV

    October 28, 2010 at 6:24pm

    and also if rvp theo gibbsy not included. they are long timers !!

  116. agirlagunner

    October 28, 2010 at 6:24pm

    And I must be off, too, STV. :( You should blog more often, you know. :)

  117. K-TR7

    October 28, 2010 at 6:25pm

    STV am around…

  118. agirlagunner

    October 28, 2010 at 6:28pm

    Cesc has been majestic for years, now, KT. Haha. Fangirl Declaration No. 374. How impressive are those stats? He’s really something else, Cesc.

    STV, can’t wait for Robin to return. We’ll be that much better with him around. :)

  119. Suhail.TV

    October 28, 2010 at 6:31pm

    Cesc is team’s spine.. a couple of silver will do I think..

    KT wher from almunia is ?? catalan?

  120. Suhail.TV

    October 28, 2010 at 6:34pm

    Good night, Agag and sweet (arsenal) dreams.. see you soon. :)

  121. Suhail.TV

    October 28, 2010 at 6:38pm

    Am off too.. Rico, catch you later.Have a good one KT..

  122. K-TR7

    October 28, 2010 at 6:38pm

    STV almunia is from pamplona.we bought him from Celta vigo.agag cesc has won me over.his influence to our team is unquestionable.AA despite being lazy is 4 th best.if he can give 90% he would be in the same league as the winker right now.

  123. gnarleygeorge9

    October 29, 2010 at 6:48am

    Evening rico (morning in blighty)

    Just doing the rounds. Great to see another win, & in particular clean sheet.

    Hope The Arsenal can get a good result against the Hammers.

    T-Buzz hows it going?

  124. rico

    October 29, 2010 at 7:59am

    dmorning gg, great win wasn’t it, disapointed with vela and eastmonds performance and eboue theatrics, but otherwise a great night…

    feel sorry for vela, he needs a run in the side or maybe a second half of the season loan, but can’t see either happening unless AA gets injured…

  125. rico

    October 29, 2010 at 8:02am

    great news about RvP and Ramsey and TV is not too far away….

    not so good of course for Gibbs :(

  126. gnarleygeorge9

    October 29, 2010 at 8:53am

    Agreed rico. I can’t understand why Big Swiss Johan gets bad ratings from else where.

  127. gnarleygeorge9

    October 29, 2010 at 8:54am

    It amazes me that after a week of 7 goals scored away, & at the same time not leaking one, that a Johan cops criticism. What more can he do?

  128. gnarleygeorge9

    October 29, 2010 at 8:57am

    I’m, how you say in England, “Pissed Awf” about Ramsay, having seen the progress made by Bale. I just hope that caveboy, from up north of your part of Blighty, didn’t ruin Rambo’s career.

  129. rico

    October 29, 2010 at 9:05am

    GG, I thought JD started a bit rusty but improved a lot as the game went on. We can’t expect him to come in and play like Sol did at his best, how long has been out of the game?

    I thought he dealt with most things well, after all we kept a clean sheet and didn’t his powerful header put Theo through for his goal….

    I wondered how well he would come back but so far, so good…

  130. rico

    October 29, 2010 at 9:08am

    Re Bale gg, he has been playing a lot, went through a bad patch then has picked up his game and is now on fire. Ramsey however couldn’t get in to start with and didn’t get the run that Bale has.

    Once he gets match fit and mentally fit (hopefully) he’ll get his turn and by that time Bale will be burned out after his young bones being over played…

  131. rico

    October 29, 2010 at 9:47am

    New Post up

  132. Lee

    April 28, 2011 at 9:39am


  133. rico

    April 28, 2011 at 9:46am

    What you doing here Lee :)

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