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AFC 3 Chelsea 1 – We owed you, a lot more than just this…..

Wigan on Wednesday night; now that our fortnight break has ended, the games come fast and furious and we need to make sure we do not squander what we have achieved tonight.

After Cesc’s frank admission of our mental weakness following the capitulation at Old Trafford, I began to wonder if we would ever shake the mental shackles off and beat either of the top two. All credit to our Captain for putting it out for everyone – including our manager and players – to face head on.

We started quickly, with Chelsea keeper Cech just beating Robin to a Song ball. It quickly became apparent that this was not the Chelsea side we saw several weeks earlier. Even with Lampard back in the side, they looked nervous, tentative, and surprisingly negative. Drogba, who usually has us for lunch, fired wide from one move, then disappeared for the remainder of the first half. We dominated the half, we were more direct, shot on goal when the opportunities presented themselves, kept our shape and worked hard off the ball.

Many of us have been waiting to see this aspect for most of the season, and it worked very, very well this evening. We got little change from Clattenburg, who overlooked a series of Chelsea fouls, gave Robin nothing when Malouda tripped him inside the box and booked Cesc for nothing worse than he had already received a couple of times over. This time we ignored the ref, and made our own luck, steadily increasing pressure as the half wore on. I thought perhaps a goal will come this time, and finally, just a minute or so before the interval, with Song firing home from inside the area. It was our first goal against Chelsea since Bedntner’s “too little, too late” effort in the 2008 season 1-4 reverse here at the Ems. We went into the interval a goal up, and I went into it hoping – without truly believing – that we could hold on to the lead.

Not only did we hold on to it, we went for the throat at the start of the second half, and scored twice in rapid succession. First, six minutes in, Theo – who absolutely roasted Cole this evening – went clean through, drew Cech out, and squared for Cesc, who smashed it into an empty net. Two minutes later, Theo stole the ball from a dithering Malouda, exchanged passes with Cesc, and drilled a low shot into the far corner. 3-0 up and Chelsea had yet to register a shot on goal. They did get a lifeline six minutes later, as Drogba lofted a free kick into the box, where Ivanovic rose highest to head past Fabianski. I thought Fabianski was poorly positioned – coming too far out – for the goal – but he did not seem to let it affect his subsequent performance.

From this point, Chelsea finally woke up as an attacking force and starting winning the ball and pushing forward. They had the momentum for a ten-or-so-minute spell, but we held firm. I though the key to this was all our players seemed to understand where they needed to be positioned in certain situations, and our intensity and work rate. When Chelsea had the ball, we did not always try to win it back in their half, we often drew them into ours, and worked tremendously hard to win the ball, deny them time and space, and shut down all approach lanes and alleys.

As Chelsea’s mini-revival lost steam, we dominated possession again, and spent much more time in their half. With 15 minutes to go, Arsene started making the substitutions: Diaby (his first appearance for a few months) for Theo, followed a few minutes later by Chamakh for Robin (who got a very useful 75 minutes under his belt, and caused Chelsea plenty of problems, even if he didn’t score), and Rosicky taking both place and armband from Cesc just prior to 90 minutes. Shortly after Diaby came on, he wasted a very good chance – I think it was Malouda that gave the ball away near Chelsea’s box, it broke to Diaby, who got free, but dwelt on it too long, with Lampard blocking his eventual shot with an outstretched leg. As it was the big fella’s first action in quite a while, it is no thing to stress over.

At this point, we made virtually all the chances – Nasri got free inside the area, but hesitated and then took the wrong option, Cech getting a hand to his chip, when power would have gotten our fourth goal. All the while, we continue to work responsibly and effectively in defense. After his free kick, Drogba got nothing out of us. He was flagged offside a couple of times, went down on his can looking for a whistle a couple of others, basically did squat, and looked indifferent at best.

No longer can he claim to be unbeaten against us – easy come, easy go, eh Didier?

There was one instance where he lined up a free kick, and the ESPN commentary team (Steve McManaman was one of them) drooled over it, talking about how he puts extra work into these kicks and this one was made for him – Drogba, predictably, hit a poor kick that comfortably cleared our crossbar. As the minutes ticked down, it was evident that Chelsea were getting nothing from this trip – we had opportunities to score a few more, and give the scoreline a realistic look – but we had to be content with three. Right at the end, Rosicky got clear down the side and smashed a shot off the post. Apparently he had already been (wrongly) flagged offside – but it would have been a nice goal.

The final whistle went a few seconds after Cech took the goal kick and that was that.

I admit to a measure of frustration. As the title says, “We owe you (Chelsea) a lot more than just this (3-1)…” and I wanted us to pile it on. Chelsea were unbelievably poor tonight, are clearly a wounded team, and I wanted us to rack the score up, not just beat them, but embarrass them. We were certainly far superior than a two goal margin suggests, but I shall worry about that another day. I risk losing sight of the fact that this is a watershed victory for us – not only did we beat Chelsea, we beat them thoroughly.

There no longer need to be any questions if this Arsenal side can beat one of the big two – we now have done that, and done it convincingly. Yet, the question still remains as to whether we can do this consistently. Only time will answer that…

Special mention to a couple of our players: Alexandre Dimitri Song Billong stood tall in every sense of the word this evening. Not only did he often get forward to good effect, he picked his moments very sensibly and was always there to break up an attack, defend a free kick, or do whatever was necessary. He personified the work tirelessly and win at all costs mentality we collectively showed today.

Theo got a rare start and tormented Chelsea. I thought he was very direct, and kept it simple. Instead of bombing forward and looking to cross, he ran right at Chelsea’s number 3, held the ball up when necessary, and played it on the ground more than normal.

Cesc looked fit and sharp, and created enough chances for us to have won by a larger margin. The whole team did very, very well.

Now that this proverbial duck has been broken, we need to sort that consistency issue out.

Finally, a hearty well done to Arsene and our players. I have recently been critical of Arsene for a number of things – today he and the players got everything right. Any criticism I may have had after viewing the match – namely our reluctance to pull the trigger and score more goals tonight – is nitpicking of the highest order. Credit where credit is due – if what we saw tonight is his vision of what this team should evolve in to, then when we do put it all together, we will truly be something to behold.

Tonight, Arsene’s plan and execution worked extremely well. If he were to tell critics like myself, “It always looks easy from where you sit!” My only response would be to stare at my shoes and mumble, “Yes, yes it does…”

Lest I overlook the entire team in my plaudits for Arsene, they stood up to be counted as a group, never lost focus, and for once, looked like they believed they could beat Chelsea far earlier than I actually believed it. In short, they looked like a team playing free of the shackles of self-doubt…

However…Should we drop points at JJB on Wednesday, we will immediately undo the momentum we have gained. We are back to second in the table – ahead of Man City on goal difference – and we are once again being hyped as legitimate title contenders. Ignore that – we, of all sides, know that a team is only as good as its last game.

Consistency is the next challenge. Confidence should not be an issue from here, so let’s continue to play as we did tonight – particularly with the same effort, application, and defensive responsibility and then we can win anything we compete for. Not two or three years down the road. Right here. Right now…

Written by Oliver

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203 Responses to AFC 3 Chelsea 1 – We owed you, a lot more than just this…..

  1. rico says:

    morning all, nice write up oliver, thank you :)

  2. K-TR7 says:

    Morning all.Djourou left the Ems with drogba’s balls in his back pocket.its not like he needs them anyway…

  3. rico says:

    ‘Your getting sacked in the morning’ The Arsenal fans sang, they were absolutely awesome last night, i hope they stay that way in all our homes games….

  4. rico says:

    morning KT, JD was tops as was Kos but for the sloppy defending for their goal…

  5. rico says:

    Theo through the middle, what did i tell you all :lol:

    He left with Cole and Terry nuts in his pocket….

  6. K-TR7 says:

    F*ck spuds.they couldn’t beat the chavs with the best player in Europe Gareth Bale.f*ck sky/espn for calling us babies.its our day in the sun and im going to make the most of it.

  7. W.A.T.H says:

    I’m sure Cnutly would of enjoyed Theo having his nuts in his pocket please refrain from comments like that Rico ;-)

  8. K-TR7 says:

    Rico it looks like Aw read my post last week.nasri/rvp10/theo is our best forward line.i’ll write a couple more in hope that Aw is taking a peek…

  9. rico says:

    Ah, you are alive and kicking WATH, long time and all that :)

    Trust you re the nuts :)

  10. K-TR7 says:

    WATH it couldn’t have happened to a nicer bloke…

  11. rico says:

    Haha KT and all my comments about Theo through the middle ;)

    To be honest, I thought RvP was off last night but thats just me being picky… Wish Diaby had taken his goal, could have really spurred him on confidence wise

  12. K-TR7 says:

    We have beat the chavs.lets smash the mancs and put 3 past barca…probably not but if we perform like that we’ll be smashing small teams within the first 20 minutes invincibles style.

  13. rico says:

    Its been a long time since we can say – wenger got it right, last night he did and credit to the man….

  14. K-TR7 says:

    Rvp may have been rusty but you can’t doubt his talent.his hold up play in tight spaces is excellent and his link up play was very good.rvp is warming up and he is very aggressive for a striker considering his fragile body.trust me rico in the 2nd half of the season he’ll be one of our best players.

  15. rico says:

    Wow, steady KT ;)

    good to see cesc getting towards looking interested again, maybe henry had a word in his ear….

  16. W.A.T.H says:

    Morning Rico ;-) & KT

  17. rico says:

    i don’t doubt that for one minute KT, no-one can question his talent, i’m not banking on him being fit for the last few months of the season….

  18. rico says:

    Good Morning WATH :)

  19. Erick says:

    Morning people didn’t watch the game so am gutted Cable TV problem but am happy mate 3 past the Chavs eat that Drogba

  20. bops says:

    There is only on SONNGGGG !!!

  21. W.A.T.H says:

    Must admit gonna refrain from being two jolly until after the next two away games which will be tricky and if we turn up with a crap attitude the hard work from last night will count for nothing, we need to carry on with the attitude and committment from last night all the way til end of May and then maybe we in with a chance, we also still need a commanding centre half cos any kind of punt into our box still generally causes havoc…!

  22. rico says:

    Morning Erick, sorry you missed it, we were awesome, every single player gave their all for once…

  23. rico says:

    hi bops, there certainly is..

  24. Stef says:

    gr8 post Oliver enjoyed reading it.

    I have to mention Cesc was not at his best but he made a lot of magic moments he’ll be better in the second half of the season some of the passes were off.
    RVP still need time I must admit I would of not rushed him in the first team as Wenger did, his shots were way off, he even manage to miss a ball something he rarely does.

    Theo and Song awesome today hope AW plays Theo more often that kid is world class.

    All in all after the 3-0 I expected a bashing like 5-0 or 6-0.
    Klatenburg was giving away fouls for Chelsea he was clearly wearing blue outfit underneath. He gave away two fouls b4 the goal and managed to miss foul on an Arsenal player on any other day that would of made difference but yesterday we were just to good for them.

  25. K-TR7 says:

    Rico i said that theo looks like a world beater when both rvp and cesc are on the pitch.rvp as a false nine dragged terry/ivanovic out of position.theo was able to make diagonal runs into the vacated space and cesc hit the through balls to him.theo’s movement and energy caused the rent boys lots of problems and you could see Ancelotti never expected him to start.Aw outfoxed him by axing AA…

  26. rico says:

    Too true WATH, if Wigan are up for it more than us on wednesday then….

    cesc is now on 5 yellows, does he now miss wednesdays game…

    What naffs me off is why we can’t put in all the effort we did last night more often, i can accept the odd under par performance but not a continual poor show like we have been doing.. The Chavs aren’t suddenly a bad side, we made them look bad last night and the difference was we actually took our chances, but we should have had 6….

  27. Erick says:

    Wath come on Smile mate its the Chavs we smashed Rico Theo will be great playing thru’ the middle you we right KT Habari gani?

  28. rico says:

    morning stef, agree re song and what was so good last night about him that although he got forward, he chose his moments and the right ones, then he was back throwing his body/head at anything in the penalty area. he made essien look second class…

  29. K-TR7 says:

    That was as close to our best team in what feels like ages.when rvp and cesc start together we have won 80% of the games.in the last 32 games cesc has scored we have not lost…

  30. Will says:

    Where is my congratulations? I did a lot for the team last night.

  31. rico says:

    KT, i honestly believe theo can one day be world class regardless…. but only when he is played in the right position but i see where you are coming from about players drifting off to create space…

  32. Stef says:

    Hi rico, mu dad reckons before the goal there was a clear penalty on Cesc, but I doubt the judge would’ve blown the whistle, good thing Song went forward and scored the goal.

  33. Steve Palmer says:

    SINGING IN THE RAIN, YES I’M SINGING IN THE RAIN, WHAT A FABULOUS FEELING WERE PLAYING AGAIN, LET THE STORMY NIGHT PASS AS WE SHOW THEM OUR CLASS, YES I’M SINGING YES SINGING NOW WERE IN THE FRAME.

    Morning all, good post Oli you must have been up all night.
    I was so happy to see the little Russian dropped i know he has class at times but he needs the time to get his fitness back, blinding night and about time.With a display like that our hope for a new signing has gone out of the window, but with JD and Diaby back feels like new signings early and with Vermin a matter of weeks appearing again and Ramsey returning from exile i suppose we can’t moan but at the moment just ecstatic, now for Wigan!

  34. rico says:

    Erick ;)

    hi will, you certainly did, had i written the post the heading was going to be:

    Forget your lucky underwear, this win was down to Will’
    :)

  35. rico says:

    Hi Stef, i think he was going to blow for the pen but song had scored so he played the advantage….

  36. K-TR7 says:

    I have also noted defenders are wary of nasri nowadays as they are hesitant to dive into challenges knowing they’ll probably be left for dead.he has this x factor about him that henry/CR7 had.long may it continue.

  37. Stef says:

    Hi Will, I must admit u made a gr8 sacrifice for the team just I wished u didn’t turn the TV on yesterday 3-0 was looking a lot better :P

  38. K-TR7 says:

    Niko mwema Erick.Mzee Wenger kweli amefanya kazi njema kwani tuliwafanya vikongwe wa chelsea kuwa ovyo.kwa kweli ukiona vyaelea jua vimeundwa…

  39. rico says:

    morning steve, you happy then :)

  40. K-TR7 says:

    Rico what impressed me most about theo is that despite his first touch letting him down a couple of times he still went at it.he is also very decisive in front of goal which is a very important attribute for a forward.

  41. rico says:

    KT, he certainly had his shooting boots on but even though his first touch was off a couple of times he didnt let it get to him, he would have done before. he was clever too, he kept on at cole until the yellow card had to be produced then cole had to be very careful… cole was made to look rubbish after that…

    I also thought both he and cesc made crucial decisions for the two goals, it would have been so easy for both of them to be selfish on each occasion…

  42. Steve Palmer says:

    Rico, very almost went up with her, but had to watch it again

  43. K-TR7 says:

    Rico rvp’s hold up play is really superb.that second goal he kept 2/3 players busy including Terry and thats why cesc had so much space to score.once boy wonder scores a goal in open play he’ll explode.

  44. K-TR7 says:

    We played exactly the same way at the Bridge but this time we actually scored.we played the same against the tiny totts in the first half but couldn’t keep it up in the second.Barça press like that in all their games with a much smaller squad.we have set the benchmark for 2011 so no slacking around anymore!now the mental block has been lifted lets do our best to win some trophies.

  45. rico says:

    Steve, went up with who :)

    KT, thats just it, last night we took our chances, at their place we didn’t…

  46. rico says:

    I’m not getting ahead of myself over last nights result, as oliver says if we now go and lose to wigan, all that we did last night will be undone.

    Lets get three points at wigan thenthe next game and then the next….

  47. Erick says:

    We got to continue working hard

  48. Erick says:

    Rico brave of Aw to bench AA 2

  49. rico says:

    Cesc out of the wigan fixture, just as i feared he is suspended, but no longer is that such a big issue….

  50. rico says:

    Erick, brave, bold and proved to be spot on…

    not to be a doom and gloom but he hasn’t signed his contract extension, he could very well be heading back to russia in a few days time…..

  51. Will says:

    Just watched the replay.

    Chelsea were:

    Out fought
    Out thought
    out run
    Out played

    The ref allowed them their usual snide tackles after the ball had gone but that didn’t bother us. Today is a good day but now onto Ooop North. We need another display like that, the boys now know what they are capable of.

  52. K-TR7 says:

    Rico i doubt he would’ve started anyway…

  53. rico says:

    makes me laugh how the repoters say maloudas error gifted our third, what utter rubbish, it was great closing down by theo, won the ball, fed cesc who played a perfect ball back for TW to score…

    its all about how poor the chavs were, well they were poor because we made them look poor….

  54. Erick says:

    Cesc can rest his hammy

  55. rico says:

    Spot On Will, well said!

  56. rico says:

    he wasn’t even on the bench though was he KT??

    strange one…

  57. rico says:

    Sorry KT, just realised you meant cesc, not AA

  58. Will says:

    Exactly, “Chelsea mistakes” rubbish, we pressured them and hassled them and we found out they don’t have the skill or nerve to play football and should stick to hoofball.

    Love Theo’s Fifa quote. It was a simple X.

  59. rico says:

    All we need today is a Newcastle, Birmingham and Villa win….

  60. rico says:

    Will, just listening to that again, really funny and great to see them both relaxed for once…

  61. Will says:

    We need to win the next 5 games now.

  62. rico says:

    29 Wed PL A Wigan 15:00

    January

    01 Sat PL A Birmingham 17:30
    05 Wed PL H Man City 19:45
    08 Sat FA Cup H Leeds 12:45
    12 Wed CC A Ipswich 19:45
    15 Sat PL A West Ham 17:30
    22 Sat PL H Wigan 15:00
    25 Tue CC H Ipswich 19:45
    29 Sat FA Cup 4th Round

    The only real toughie could be City but we are at home…

  63. rico says:

    Freddie looks set to join Celtic then…..

  64. Erick says:

    We have to up the tempo we should be top of the league Come on Arsenal

  65. t-buzz says:

    Hi all. Been ill with the flu all thru xmas but boy did the game lift my spirit!!
    Watching our boya beat the Chelsea Pensioners was amazing to watch and yeah, Theo will be having Arsely Hole’s nuts for breakfast this morning while DJ and Kozzer mopped the floor with Drogbas pony tail!!

  66. Will says:

    Man City is the tough one but all of them are very winnable for this squad.

  67. rico says:

    Hi T-buzz, sorry to hear your Christmas has been full of the flu :(

  68. K-TR7 says:

    Wilshere has played at old trafford,bridge,shit hart lane and Anfield holding his own in all those games.he’s got a bright future ahead of him.

  69. Erick says:

    We got to make our home games count

  70. rico says:

    Erick, had we won our home games, we’d be clear at the top now :(

    Will, we beat them away now we must do the same at The Emirstes…

  71. K-TR7 says:

    A simple ‘x’ it is.im a big fan of FIFA video games and i understood exactly what he meant.

  72. Erick says:

    KT Diaby is back does that meam wilshere will make way? Selection headache

  73. rico says:

    He has put a few to shame in thoses games too KT, if all of our players had his commitment we wouldn’t be second….

  74. Erick says:

    Rico a draw or loss for the Mancs would aid us well for tomorrows game

  75. Will says:

    Wilshere is an amazing talent but let’s not heap to much pressure.

    Remember, with great expectation comes great disappointment.

  76. rico says:

    Erick, i hope not, diaby will no doubt play tomorrow as cesc is out….

  77. Rennie says:

    YYYIIIIIIPPPPPPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

  78. rico says:

    B’ham are no easy touch at their own ground – i really hope they get something today…

  79. rico says:

    Morning Rennie :)

  80. Will says:

    Me too Rico, even a draw would be nice.

  81. rico says:

    Sakho rumours have started again…..

  82. Will says:

    So I see but this is the time to buy.

  83. Rennie says:

    How awesome was it to start with AA, Chamak & Bendy on the bench & still put 3 past the blue scum!! Certainly throws a totally diff perspective on things especially when U’re used to being surrounded by hordes of doom mongers

    It really looks like the 6Mill earning Arsene knows something that the rest of us don’t. If only the players in whom he puts all his faith stand up & be counted like last night

  84. Will says:

    I am excited to see some of the kids coming through. They are saying that skill wise, JET is better than Wilshere.

  85. rico says:

    Will, yes, a CH is a must….

  86. Rennie says:

    Morning Rico & all the Housers, how awesome is it to be Gooner! :)

    Thoroughly enjoyed it even though I could only catch the highlights delayed

  87. rico says:

    Rennie, thats what drives us all crazy, how can the players play to such a high standard last night yet against ‘lesser’ opposition they are dreaful…

    I’m not sure they lack confidence, i think they are maybe over confident in some games and believe that just turning up will do. Whatever happened before yesterdays kick off, long may it happen for the rest of the season….

  88. Will says:

    That is all I could watch Rennie.

  89. rico says:

    Rennie, if wenger starts winning silverware again, he may just about deserves half of what he earns ;)

  90. Will says:

    I think winning this game will be like winning silverware. It will give belief that they are as good as Wenger thinks.

  91. JonJon says:

    hows does everyone feel today ;)

    its nice to have the bragging rights for once chelsea got schooled last night..this game could be the catalyst same again v wigan please..and whoever else gets in our way

  92. JonJon says:

    we did it last night..

    jd was sol
    song was vieira
    nasri was pires
    theo was freddie
    rvp was iceman
    cesc was cesc ;)

    has ancelloti been fired yet

  93. K-TR7 says:

    We had 277 passes in the opposition half compared to chavs 126.they thought they would contain pressure and hit us on the break but the difference this time was they couldn’t handle the pressure and we were clinical.

  94. Will says:

    Also, JD was a monster last night and I would love to see him and TV together.

  95. JonJon says:

    the key last night was two things
    workrate..we went after cheslea all the time..two of our goals came from closing them down quickly and hustling them into errors and then breaking..guardiola always says if you win the ball in their half you have less distance to goal..always close down all areas of the pitch and get that ball back THEN turn the style on..EARN the right to play wengerball dont just turn up and think its going to happen

    theo…kept coming inside..sometimes would see him on the left wing..thats how he needs to play…forget about the touchline thats sagnas role just cut inside his pace has the defence all over the place hes less predictable

  96. rico says:

    Hi jj, pretty bloomin good, thats how i feel :)

  97. JonJon says:

    ktr

    agree…in the first half especially you could see what chelsea were trying to do we all knew how they would play..like you say though we werent being contained we were looking dangerous chelsea were struggling and once song scored chelsea were beat

    i think we had 7 shots on target and scored 3
    other than the goal i dont think fab had much to do..

    clinical all over the pitch

  98. rico says:

    We don’t want him sacked yet, a new manager will come in and boost them, leave him there for another dozen games :)

  99. JonJon says:

    wheres our mate will?? ;)

  100. Will says:

    So JJ, what I was saying yesterday then.

  101. rico says:

    i may have to put the word ‘wengerball’ in the spam :)

  102. JonJon says:

    TURN IT OFF WILL!!!!!!!!!! lmao

    agree mate JD and TV

  103. K-TR7 says:

    Hi jj.I can’t stress enough how vital the rvp/cesc axis was last night.wilkins said chavs just clog the middle and allow us to put in crossed from wide areas knowing that ivanovic/terry would win all duels.if chamakh had started we would’ve been tempted to do this and it wouldn’t have worked.rvp as evidenced by the 2nd goal is excellent in tight spaces.his hold up play and sublime skills in the middle troubled the chavs defence.coupled with his movement which drew the chav cbs out of position we were able to play through the middle.cesc was very sharp to pick up pockets of space that rvp created while theo was able to make diagonal runs because of this and cesc was able to find him.this meant the chavs were rattled as we imposed our game on them and if diaby/nasri had done better we would have battered them even more.

  104. K-TR7 says:

    I have just found an interesting stat:JD has started 3 games against chavs we have won 2 and drawn 1…

  105. Will says:

    I said that Theo is better used out wide and coming in, using his pace to leave the fullbacks. And, I have said we need to play like the old side used to, how many times did you see Paddy win the ball in midfield and the first pass was forward?

    That is the football we should be playing, we could beat everyone.

    Everyone is creaming about Tottenham but it is just the old Arsenal of Bergkamp, Overmars and Anelka.

  106. JonJon says:

    mate i agree again..chelsea were always going to allow us the wings but having robin up top we were able to play thru the middle..his control was awesome and chelsea found it hard to ‘contain’ when the ball was sticking to robins foot and we had cesc theo and nasri as the runners..with song asn jack getting forward we flooded them and songs goal was ‘walking it into the net’

    perfect

  107. JonJon says:

    i wish robins finishing would improve tho ktr he could have had a couple last night..easily..

  108. Will says:

    This is what I was saying yesterday. RvP needs to drop off and he needs to have runners, especially Theo with his pace. Once he cuts inside the defender, there is no catching him.

  109. Red Arse says:

    Afternoon Rico, Guys. :-)

    Excellent write up as per usual Oliver, and no mention of the Giants! :-)

    Rico, I told you Theo was excellent and especially good when playing more centrally, if only you had listened!!!! :-)

  110. K-TR7 says:

    JJ we agree on most things.the double pivot of song/jack is a really great idea.it has shades of khedira/shweinsteiger for Germany.in the first half the chavs were marking us out but due to our double pivot song could make runs in the box unnoticed and with jack playing the one-two we overloaded them and they couldn’t contain that.in defence song/jack would form a shield.djourou would mark drogba tight,kozzer would win the header/pick up the scraps and give the ball to one of song/jack and we would attack at pace.if we get the balance of the double pivot right we’ll have an almost perfect system.

  111. JonJon says:

    hey RA

  112. JonJon says:

    best thing is…

    utd and city still have to come THOF

    titles on guys

  113. Red Arse says:

    Hi JJ,

    Just been back having a read of today’s earlier comments. Yours are spot on, as usual! :-)

  114. oliver says:

    morning all…thanks for the taking the comments, rico. as great as this was, it’s just one step in the journey – a very significant step, to be certain – but we have to keep focused, starting at wigan tomorrow night.

  115. K-TR7 says:

    Hi RA.Theo played exactly the way villa plays for barça and rvp did the ‘messi role’ in that he constantly drew chav cbs out of position feeding the ball to our midfield runners.rvp’s finishing will come jj.he needs one from open play and then watch him fly injuries permitting.

  116. rico says:

    Hi RA, mme….. ;)

    Morning oliver, great write up, thanks and its my pleasure…

    Nipping off for a hour, catch up in a bit

  117. K-TR7 says:

    Hi oliver.i hope that step 1 which involved getting rid of the mental block is well and truly past us.

  118. Red Arse says:

    Do you know what i particularly loved about last night’s game?

    It was the fact we went back to pressing the opposition!

    Recently, especially against Manu we backed off, (yes you, in particular, Mr Clichy) but not last night.

    Normally, Theo and AA simply loose the ball and stand around on one leg, like flamingos in a swamp. Against the Chavs, Theo was all action and even pinched the ball of Malouda for the second goal. Whilst the boss solved the AA lack of fitness by dropping him. Seemples! :-)

  119. oliver says:

    morning ra…tom coughlin on the brink…after last season, we are headed towards a similar collapse, and i do not think the maras will limit their actions to simply firing the defensive coordinator. as i type this, i am listening to tuck talking to francesa, and even he has no idea what happened at lambeau on sunday. tuck just said, for at least the fourth time “i really don’t have any answers”…troubling times indeed.

  120. agirlagunner says:

    Boo! oliver, you summed up everything perfectly. And Maligayang Pasko. Hope yours was a good one. :)

    rico, that performance by Theo was quite something. :) I really thought I was dreaming. :D

    KT, I did say that we would score at least two goals and concede one or none at all. I am used to being right, but it’s a lovely feeling each time. Haha.

    Hello, all. :)

  121. Red Arse says:

    Rico,

    Just kidding about Theo.

    You have always backed him and particularly wanted him to play more centrally. I was not so sure, as you know, and doubted he could play like he did yesterday.

    Well done you for sticking with your viewpoint! :-)

  122. JonJon says:

    i think with chamkah being the signing of the season we can rest rvp more and keep him fresh..hopefully he’ll stay fit now..share the workload

    we could do with birmingham doing utd tonight..give us something to gor for tomorrow v wigan..top of the table for new year and look set for the CC

    its looking like the momentum is shifting in our favour..

    weve beaten city weve beaten chelsea and liverpool city and utd still have to come to us..

    the omens look good..if we still top of the table or thereabouts and we lift the CC, with the trophy and big game hoodoo broken we could go all the way..

  123. JonJon says:

    did anyone no that bolton are only two points behind chelsea ;)

  124. K-TR7 says:

    Chavs could end up 6th by wednesday evening!

  125. oliver says:

    morning k…the mental block is just what i was referring to. this team of players – mostly grown together, with a gallas, sol, or other vastly experienced players – finally beat one of the big two and beat them convincingly. key was the lack of fear and willingness to work for the full 94 minutes, with and without the ball. the fortnight layoff may have had something to do with it, as we looked pretty fresh and sharp, but i think the biggest factor is that we did not seem to take the pitch scared of conceding a goal…if only we brought this mindset to old trafford earlier in the month – we would have beaten united pretty easily…

  126. oliver says:

    morning agag…our was great and wishes that yours was similar…

  127. K-TR7 says:

    Hi agag.your new LCD Tv’s first game was excellent.cole looked like clichy last night and vice versa.last week i wrote a post about theo and what he brings to the side and that nasri/rvp/theo is the way to go due to variety in movements.theo’s diagonal runs are usually in between pressure lines and you could see how hesitant was eager to deal with him as he was basically running into no man’s land.once his first touch improves he’ll become much better in tight spaces as he can leave anyone for dead.

  128. Erick says:

    Oliver , Agag and JJ Howdy :-)

  129. oliver says:

    morning erick…basking in the glow of a fine result and performance. and hoping we can start doing this on a consistent basis….

  130. Erick says:

    RA too what a time to be a gooner

  131. Erick says:

    Oliver am hoping it opens up our season and we can realy go for it

  132. agirlagunner says:

    KT, :lol: Last night, Theo surprised me with his composure for the second and third goals. Even though Sami failed to score, you could see how the Chavs were so wary of him. I like him more each game. He has an unpredictability to him, and he’s high on confidence at the moment, it can only be good for us. There is one thing we should thank Domenech for I guess. ;)

    And I await with eager anticipation RvP’s return to his sublime self. :) His final ball failed him on a couple of telling moments, but he gets in such threatening positions, so he can build from there.

    There were so many attacking options last night, we were spoiled for choices. That AA and MC and fine, Diaby ;) were on the bench last night made the chavs’ substitutions that much more laughable.

  133. agirlagunner says:

    Jambo, Weeds. :) Howdy? I hope you had a lovely Christmas. It’s a fine day to be a Gunner, isn’t it?

    oliver, did you have Noche Buena? :)

  134. oliver says:

    everything was fine…

  135. Erick says:

    Agag I did hope all is well missed you my Computer crashed so am weighing me options

  136. K-TR7 says:

    Martinez’s side tackle the Gunners at the DW Stadium on Wednesday knowing they are huge underdogs to derail Arsene Wenger’s men, whose comprehensive victory over Chelsea bore all the hallmarks of potential title winners.

    “It didn’t surprise me at all,” said Martinez. “We know what Arsenal are capable of and last night they looked really impressive.”

    He added: “The way they moved the ball, the pressure they put on and the quality in the last third; that was Arsenal at their best.

    “They are magnificent to watch and if they can carry on at that level, you could see a very special side for many years to come.”

    The one plus for Wigan on Wednesday will be the absence of Cesc Fabregas through suspension, although even that is small comfort for Martinez given the options Wenger has at his disposal.

    “It won’t make a difference,” stressed the Wigan chief.

    “I expected a few changes anyway and look at the quality they didn’t use yesterday. Chamakh, Diaby, Rosicky. They have so many options.

    “Mentally they will be very well prepared for it and they are just hitting form.

    “There is never a good time to play a top-four team but you feel Arsenal are starting to peak.”

  137. K-TR7 says:

    Håvard Nordtveit has arrived at Borussia Mönchengladbach’s training ground to complete a medical. The Norwegian centre back has spent the last few days in Germany thrashing out a contract, and is now expected to seal the deal tomorrow.

    Arsenal accepted an offer from Mönchengladbach two weeks ago, as Young Guns exclusively revealed. Håvard has since been in behind closed doors talks with the Bundesliga outfit. However, he drove into a snow covered Borussia Park this morning, where he is currently undertaking a medical and sorting out the final details of his move.

    Borussia manager Michael Frontzeck was there to greet Nordtveit, and gave a brief comment to the German press to update them on the situation.

    “While it is not yet definitive that he’s signed, we’re nearly there. I hope that tomorrow everything is resolved”.

    Arsenal are expected to receive a nominal fee, as the 20-year-old is out of contract in the summer. Mönchengladbach are now waiting on final signatures from the player and officials in London, with the expectation that Nordtveit will fly out to Spain to be with his new team mates later in the week.

  138. rico says:

    Boo…

    Afternoon all….

    England are 4 wickets away from winning The Ashes :)

  139. rico says:

    Well, 3 really as one of the Aussies is injured….

  140. rico says:

    KT, i remember that one from YG’s, at least we get what we paid for from his sale…

  141. K-TR7 says:

    I guess there is no pleasing some gooners:
    I felt it was more a case of top class opposition lowering their standards rather than Arsenal significantly raising theirs and providing evidence of a new dawn.

  142. K-TR7 says:

    Theo Walcott has called on Arsenal to make their victory over Barclays Premier League title rivals Chelsea count – by taking another three points from relegation battlers Wigan.

    The Gunners finally ended their hoodoo against the Blues with a 3-1 win at the Emirates Stadium which boosted their championship challenge and left Carlo Ancelotti’s out-of-form side down in fourth place.

    There has been, though, little time for Arsenal to revel in a first win over Chelsea in six attempts as they head up to the north-west for the clash at the DW Stadium, where they will be without captain Cesc Fabregas after he collected a fifth booking.

    “We can’t dwell on this result. We could be disappointed if we win against Chelsea and then lose at Wigan,” said Walcott, who helped create Arsenal’s second goal just after the break and then netted a quick-fire third to put the hosts in command.

    “All the fans, you could sense the atmosphere, the fans were right up for it, just like the players were and we just didn’t let Chelsea play.

    “We were ready and wanted to do it for our fans because in recent years we let them down in these big matches and we just need to build on that now.”

  143. rico says:

    Theo mentioned the fans in his i/v after the game too KT, he is one of a few who always applaud the fans after every game…

  144. K-TR7 says:

    chesney is a legend.he said this on twitter after the game:
    53Szczesny53 Get in there! Great win and very important 3 points. I must admit their left side of defence was really weak though… lol
    about 10 hours ago
    —-

    Chezzer taking the piss on cashley. Hahaha

  145. rico says:

    Top man Chesney :)

  146. K-TR7 says:

    If Clichy put in a performance like Cashley he would be slaughtered

  147. rico says:

    KT, he does, often and he takes a slating for it….

    But last night he was so much better, few dodgy moments but so so much better than of late

  148. K-TR7 says:

    MANU has played 10 home games and only 7 away. We are on 9-9. Advantage US!!!

  149. rico says:

    Also, some credit has to go to the player cashley was marking, he kept him on the back foot and the chavs lost one of their biggest avenues of success….

  150. agirlagunner says:

    Erick, ’tis the season… If you haven’t bought yourself a gift yet… a new laptop may just be the thing. :)

    Chesney poking fun at Cashley. Hahaha. Thankfully, Clichy had an overall great game (a few dodgy moments though). :)

  151. rico says:

    I saw that earlier KT, doesn’t really mean too much though, not yet anyway….

  152. K-TR7 says:

    AA if he plays tomorrow will have to deliver a masterclass to displace theo on current form.

  153. K-TR7 says:

    “Van der Vaart: Dutch love Spurs”

    His excellent form has helped Spurs reach the knockout stages of the Champions League and mount a Premier League title challenge and Van der Vaart claims fans back in Holland love watching Tottenham’s attacking style.

    “I think everyone likes Tottenham, the way we play,” Van der Vaart said. “It is a little bit like the Dutch style and I really like that. In Holland, for example, everyone loves to watch Tottenham.”

  154. K-TR7 says:

    JD made a world class interception at 3-1 (I think) which if he hadn’t, drogba wouldve been 1 on 1 with fabianski which would’ve changed the game..so for me he is the second motm..after eboue of course…

  155. agirlagunner says:

    rico, we said the same thing about Clichy. :) Now, for consistency. I think we have a very good platform now whence we progress to grander things. :)

  156. agirlagunner says:

    VdV, is laying it on thick. A bit embarrassing, really. I personally don’t know anyone whose team of choice are the spuddies.

  157. K-TR7 says:

    Djourou was impressive yesterday, he was the first person Drogba ran to congratulate at the end of the game

  158. rico says:

    hi agag, it was good to see him improve, hopefully like all of them, last nights display will give them confidence for a while…

    any way, great minds think alike :)

  159. rico says:

    VdV – a big club will soon come and get him ;)

    Song made a few last ditch interceptions too… apart from that silly goal, the defensive unit was very good

  160. agirlagunner says:

    I agree, rico. And, rico. We both kept saying over the summer that VdV would have been a terrific buy. Easy on the eye, too. :D It still rankles that the tiny Totts nicked him very last minute-ly.

    Djourou was solid and effective and was not cowed by Drogba. Great job.

    And we have TV and Rambo still to make a return. Hopefully, everyone keeps fit. I know it’s early days yet, but I can’t wait for our next CL match. :)

  161. K-TR7 says:

    say all you want about him but song has become vital to our side.his chip pass to rvp was class.

  162. agirlagunner says:

    That must have been the pass of the match, KT. I could hardly believe it was Song.

  163. rico says:

    We did indeed agag but some tried to convince us that we already have players better than him – i’d like to know where they are hiding ;)

    And for so cheap too…

    KT, you won’t hear a bad word about Song from me, constructive yes but not just a pop at him just because he is Song, he was awesome last night, just awesome and made Essien look sub-standard…

  164. rico says:

    MMe, would that be the one that RvP totally missed ;)

  165. agirlagunner says:

    I have a fair idea who those persons are, rico. :D How wrong they were.

    Songinho is worrying when he forays forward too much. I like him better when he stays put as DM. That said, he does have four goals. And it’s not often that Essien is shown up.

  166. K-TR7 says:

    From a barca fan:
    The win was comprehensive. I have always believed that Arsenal are a better team than Chelsea and even in the matches that Chelsea won Arsenal had more chances but the difference yesterday was that half of the chances were converted. It could have been 7 or 8. Anybody blaming Fabianski for anything does not know football. He dealt with every thing thrown at him calmly including the crosses. The goal was not his fault, Arsenal tried to play offside and they paid for it. You can’t play offside from a freekick in that position. They understood that and never tried doing that again. Djourou was immense because when Koscielny was caught out of position Djourou was always there. I wonder why Wenger played Squillachi ahead of him. I saw Chelsea’s bench and they didn’t even have an established striker on the bench and when I looked at Arsenal’s bench I conclude that if Arsenal loses the match they should blame themselves. Arsenal will have no reason again for not winning a trophy. I don’t want to hear that Chelsea are on a bad run. They are paying the price of buying established players and developing none. Arsenal and United are reaping the rewards of giving youth a chance. I believe that like Barcelona Arsenal will dominate the premier league if they just win a trophy even if it is the carling cup.

  167. rico says:

    What i liked yesterday about Song was he didn’t just bomb forward at every opportunity, he chose his moments but he was also there to defend with his life, something he did a few times…

    Yes, i thought you would know who i meant agag, he was here this morning :)

  168. rico says:

    barca fan getting twitchy KT?

  169. K-TR7 says:

    From a manc fan:
    I must be honest, I had this down as a Chelsea win; such have they dominated Arsenal since 2008. Yet with Chelsea now 7 games without a win these are worrying times for both the fans and Ancelotti. As a United fan I was watching the match lastnight hoping for a draw and prior to the match thought an Arsenal win would be better than a Chelsea win. Having reflected on this I’m not so sure.

    Having seen Arsenal crumble at the dying embers of the premier league season time after time it is hard to feel as threatened by them as Chelsea, who between us (United) and Chelsea have now won it 6 occasions on the trot. However, I believe there could be 2 key factors that could effectively aid Arsenal’s title challenege significantly.

    A – Of the 4 remaining teams in the league cup Arsenal are by far the strongest and heavy favourites to win it, ending their trophy barron run of 5 years with this trophy in March could be a strong catalyst for them to push on in the latter stages of the season.

    B – In the Champions League last 16 you have Barcelona, and without meaning to sound disrespectful in the slightest, you’re simply not going to win that. It’s one thing beating a Chelsea side that haven’t won in 7 and then beating Barcelona. In comparison to Chelsea and United’s european fixtures, one would expect both to qualify for the quater finals, which adds to fixture congestion, and given there record of appearing in the CL semi finals prior to last season, it is likely that one of them will atleast make that stage.

    So yes, Arsenal are a serious threat to the title this season, and shouldn’t be written off just because they have lacked the mental capacity and squad strength to finish the job off at the latter stages of the season in previous years.

  170. rico says:

    A twitchy Manc fan KT….

    How does he know we wont beat barca….

  171. agirlagunner says:

    A lot of twitchy folk, it seems. :) Just because the Catalans rubbished us last season doesn’t mean they’ll do so again. They are not invincible.

  172. rico says:

    No agag, they are not, if they picked up injuries to messi and villa, what do they have left ;)

  173. JonJon says:

    manutd should take a look at their fixtures in feb/march..

    the only tough place we have to go in the second half of the season is shite hart lane..weve played all our rivals..weve been to anfeild ot bridge and eastlands they all have to come emirates

    Saturday, 12 February 2011
    Barclays Premier League
    Man Utd v Man City, 12:45

    ——————————————————————————–

    Wednesday, 23 February 2011
    Uefa Champions League
    Marseille v Man Utd, R1, L1, 19:45

    ——————————————————————————–

    Saturday, 26 February 2011
    Barclays Premier League
    Wigan v Man Utd, 15:00

    ——————————————————————————–

    Tuesday, 1 March 2011
    Barclays Premier League
    Chelsea v Man Utd, 19:45

    ——————————————————————————–

    Saturday, 5 March 2011
    Barclays Premier League
    Liverpool v Man Utd, 15:00

    ——————————————————————————–

    Tuesday, 15 March 2011
    Uefa Champions League
    Man Utd v Marseille, R1, L2, 19:45

    ——————————————————————————–
    if we win the CC i think we will have the momentum and manu will stumble at this part of the season we just need to stay with them then take them here..

  174. Rennie says:

    Rico, I don’t think you can simplify Song’s role that easily… He did time his ‘bombing forward runs’ excellently yesterday which he was indeed struggling with b4.

    But another very important factor here is that the rest of the team can’t afford to lose possession carelessly when he is in a forward position as that would leave us exposed for a quick counter. So in a way the whole team contributed to making him look Vieraesque

  175. agirlagunner says:

    Exactly. When we played them, we were without our best players. And we almost nicked a win at home. :)

  176. JonJon says:

    i wouldnt worry too much about barca thats a long way yet lets concentrate on the league

    we might beat barca we might not the chances are we wont but il worry about the CL when the time comes

    besides if we are top of the league and in the Cc final when the barca game comes we might be a different animal to what we where last year when we played them

  177. JonJon says:

    songs performance yesterday was world class..im glad wenger stuck with him hes easily the best at what he does in the league..essien who??

    songs the man

  178. K-TR7 says:

    JJ I was thinking the same the same.he is playing the ‘khedira role’ perfectly.if our ‘Dm’ can produce such a pass that rvp completely missed,what about our real attackers?

  179. rico says:

    Rennie, i think we are both right t a degree, but throughout the game there were times when he held back, two weeks ago he possibly wouldn’t but maybe knowing jd was behind him helped … :)

    but yes, the whole team did their job well, very well…

  180. rico says:

    jj, i dont think there was ever doubt that he would stick with him, its just some fans don’t rate him, thankfully i have never been one of them…

    he so reminds me of gilberto, a tad slow sometimes, a pass astray here and there, a few clumbsy tackles when needed but over all, mr steady eddie….

  181. K-TR7 says:

    City winning 4 nil thanks to a balotelli hattrick with 2 penalties.spuds winning 2 nil thanks to Bale and lennon…

  182. JonJon says:

    i was saying yesterday ktr that songs very much like vieira was..hes the link man between the defence and the attack hes not as good as vieira cos vieira was exceptional at getting box to box..songs not quite there yet but hes better than gilberto was and hes still only 22-23 hahahahahaha

    songs going to be awarded with a personal achievement soon whether its african player or english player of the year

    i still think we need to find him a partner though..i like jack playing there but i think jacks more suited to a less disciplined attacking role..his tenacity is a good foil for song but i think the balance would be better if song played with another song ;) or a khedira/annan/inler

    share the work load and allow song to play his game without being labelled as the only ‘DM’

  183. JonJon says:

    hes better than berti rico..much better..

  184. rico says:

    ha ha jj, we disagree again ;) but then i really rated giberto, under rated by many :)

  185. JonJon says:

    ktr have u seen or heard anything from that kid coming out of france..moussa sissoko..

  186. JonJon says:

    ;)

    weak link in the invincible rico ;) edu was better

  187. JonJon says:

    dont get me wrong he was a good player i never had a problem with him playing he was good at what he did id defo have a 27 year old berti as songs wing man but at the time i think we had better midfielders

    the vieira/edu one was much more potent it was a shame we lost edu when we did

  188. rico says:

    two different kind of players though jj ;)

    Didn’t Arry make an offer for sissiko in the summer?

  189. JonJon says:

    my only hope is that theo realises now that his games about going for goal..he needs to stop running towards the corner flag and just come inside or round the back..exactley like last night..

    he did the same v blackpool and the same when he played for england v croatia..

    the blueprints are there he knows what he needs to do..he needs to think freddie..

    never saw freddie charging towards corner flag trying to beat men getting crosses in..freddie wanted goals he would come inside and make the late run

    theos pace would make him more productive than freddie was he just needs to keep making those runs..

    not only will it improve his performances but it would provide the space for the rest to work cos cesc and nasri will have more room to play once theo has dragged the fb and the cbs from there positions

  190. JonJon says:

    think that was sissoko from juventus rico

    used to play for liverpool

    not sure ktr knows his euro tho he’ll clear it up

  191. rico says:

    City top the table now then……

  192. rico says:

    I thought it was the really young french kid jj?

  193. JonJon says:

    yup

    spurs on the trail as well

    need utd to lose tonight but todays results wont matter if we keep winning as well

    its in our hands we only have to catch utd really we got games in hand on the other two

    no slackness against wigan..go after them like we did chelsea..respect the oppenent no matter who home or away close em down early win the ball impose our game without letting them impose theres and if we keep winning the ball back they wont be able to impose anything..

  194. JonJon says:

    could be rico

    arry can spot a player tho in fairness so it wouldnt suprise me if he enquired for him..

  195. rico says:

    hope that wenger realises what a player he has, last night he played him in the right place and didn’t restrict him, it paid off – if if can against the chavs it can against any other side… pains me to say but cole is the best left back in football and he was roasted… neither of their ch’s could cope with what he gave the strike force… cesc seemed pretty happy too ;)

  196. rico says:

    agree jj, lets not worry about others, take each game as it comes and respect the oppo, dont turn up think the game is a forgone conclusion, that’s what we have been doing…

    like you pointed out earlier, those at the top have trickier fixtures than us (on paper) get a great run together and it’s going to be close…..

  197. K-TR7 says:

    Moussa sissoko is hot property right now.the toulouse midfielder has been compared to vieira due to his long legs but i think he is more like a taller lassana diarra.spuds wanted him so do many other clubs.mohamed sissoko plays for juventus and its fair to say he is not hot property anymore.he isn’t even a juve regular as Aquilani/melo play ahead of him in their 4-4-2 formation which luigi del neri implemented once he joined juve from sampdoria after ciro ferrara was sacked.i’d be surprised if any top club were interested in him to be honest.

  198. rico says:

    i’m not going mad then KT, arry did make a bid :)

  199. rico says:

    I have just read that Benzema is signing in jan, £24M

    What land do some live in….. ;)

  200. K-TR7 says:

    Rico we are overloaded in terms of attacking players.

  201. rico says:

    KT, don’t shoot the messenger ;)

  202. rico says:

    guys/gals, got to sign off now – have a good evening and catch up tomorrow

  203. rico says:

    Morning folks

    New Post up

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