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The worst of both Worlds….

On the heels of our magnificent midweek Champions League first leg win over Barcelona, we headed into FA Cup weekend with a tricky away tie against League One mid-table side Leyton Orient. This was considered tricky primarily because, as we have already seen on more than one occasion this season, we tend to struggle against lower league opposition. Another complicating factor was our heavy run of fixtures: Champions League first leg tie versus Barcelona, this FA Cup tie, midweek league fixture versus Stoke City, Carling Cup Final the following Sunday versus Birmingham City. That is four fixtures in four different competitions packed into a twelve day period. In light of this punishing schedule, squad rotation at some point was inevitable, and this is the only logical fixture in which to do it. So much of the pre-match anticipation was regarding how many players Arsene would rest for this fixture…

Let me state up from that I do not believe in rotating more than half the squad for any one match – unless injuries/suspensions leave no other options – at this point in the season. My personal preference is to see us give our best in every single competition and try and win every one – something that is difficult to do with mass changes to the side.

If I were in charge – not that I ever will be – I would approach a match such as this by looking to make no more than four changes to the starting lineup: say goalkeeper, one defender, one midfielder, and one forward. Then, as things evolve, I would look to use my three substitutes to get additional first eleven players some rest, and give some match minutes to other second eleven players. While this approach is usually dependent upon how the match unfolds, it gives opportunity for rotation, while maintaining continuity of performance and effort. When a full ten positions are rotated – such as today – should we really be surprised that what we saw this afternoon was a poor, poor imitation of our real side?

Regardless of my feelings on this issue, the call was Arsene’s and he duly made ten changes to the side. One of the players restored to the side is a first eleven regular (Sagna) who was suspended for the midweek tie, but otherwise only Song remained from the eleven that lined up against Barcelona.

In came Almunia, Gibbs, Squillaci, Miguel (making his initial first team appearance), Sagna, Denilson, Song, Rosicky, Arshavin, Chamakh, and Bendtner. We had a strong bench available with Szczesny, Clichy, Koscielny, Eboue, Cesc, Samir and Jack.

My confidence dropped when I saw who was going to start. In particular, I was concerned that Song and Denilson together would leave the midfield devoid of creativity, particularly considering Rosicky’s dire form. I was also concerned with the decision to start Miguel alongside Squillaci. I understand we have to start the former somewhere, and if we were going to do it any time soon, this was the fixture to do so. But I would much rather he started alongside a better defender than Squillaci, either JD or Koscielny, whomever could cope with the extra fixture better.

I can probably save myself the keystrokes and save you the time it takes to read a couple of paragraphs by saying that we did not cover ourselves in glory. Almunia sent pulses through the roof after only a minute or so, fumbling Dawson’s low shot – fortunately no red shirt was on hand to capitalize. We dominated possession, as expected, but the midfield provided little creativity or service, with Song and Denilson both sloppy and careless with the ball. Of the two, I thought Denilson was actually the better player this afternoon, with Song a huge, huge disappointment. It appeared to me that both he and Bendtner exuded an “I am above this” air about themselves and their work. Arshavin put in a good 90 minutes of effort, even if he was not so effective.

I thought Chamakh brought the right attitude, but the wrong quality. He headed tamely at Orient keeper Jones early, and then shot wide of an open goal from a low Gibbs cross late in the first half. The longer the match went on, the more peripheral he seemed to become. When Robin, Arshavin and Bendtner went through similar spells, Arsene stuck with them and they were able to sort things out. The difference for me, however, is they were able to get going playing with and getting service from the likes of Cesc, Samir and Jack. Chamakh and the other forwards had to feed off scraps from our unbalanced, out-of-form midfield. Bendtner produced a couple of lazy, wayward shots and Arshavin tested Jones with a first-time shot, but we produced little as we went into the break scoreless.

Eight minutes in to the second half, and we finally made the breakthrough, as Bendtner produced a good cross for Rosicky to head (!) the ball into the net, his first goal for us since God-knows-when…I had hoped that would cue a deluge of shots and a couple more goals so we could relax and play out the remainder of the game. But it didn’t. By falling behind, Orient needed to take some risks if they wanted to get anything from this, and they did. 15 minutes after our goal, Rosicky should have killed this match off. A good move involving Bendtner and Arshavin in the buildup saw our Czech midfielder force Jones into a very good save. The ball rebounded back to Rosicky, but he could only send it right at the keeper. With about eight minutes left, Orient worked a good move down the right, and Revell smashed a shot off Squillaci’s face. Orient players absurdly appealed for a penalty, despite the ball clearly striking our defender’s face, not hand. Nevertheless, Squil probably did not know much about that one.

With three minutes remaining, we let another chance to put this away slip, as Arshavin struck the far post with a shot across the face of goal. A minute later we paid the price, as Gibbs and Miguel stood of substitute Tehoue, allowing him through to shoot under Almunia and equalize, helped by some shoddy goalkeeping from the man who still wears the number 1 on his jersey. When our second team has previously struggled and conceded goals, Arsene usually responded by bringing on Cesc and one other first eleven player to try and retrieve the situation, he did no such thing today and Orient survived the final minutes of regulation and four minutes of injury time to earn a replay at the Emirates on March 2nd. That will be excellent for them, as they stand to rake in a bumper payday, but is probably the last thing we need right now.

So an already congested fixture list got even more congested. Hindsight is always twenty-twenty, as they say. But I will also say that I was concerned when I saw the starting eleven Arsene named; I thought there were too many changes and not enough balance. Ninety plus minutes later, I think it is reasonable to ask just what Arsene accomplished with these changes. Yes, nine of our first choice eleven got a Sunday of rest. But will some of them still be able to rest on Wednesday, March 2nd? If we fall behind early to, say, a deflected goal or Almunia howler (easily foreseeable), how many of our first eleven will need to come on to turn it around? If Arsene finally agrees that Song and Denilson together in midfield simply do not work, then surely either Cesc or Jack will start? Can we afford to have Miguel and Squillaci in the same defence? Or Chamakh and Bendtner as two of our front three? For many of our starters, I think we may have just traded a Sunday off for a Wednesday at work.

We did get many of our second/third choice players rare starts and ninety minutes of action. Considering the performance, how many of these players do you think feel good about performance and effort? I wonder what Chamakh’s confidence is like now after his ineffective – often irrelevant – ninety minutes? Al – regardless of how any of us feel about him – is our second choice goalkeeper. If Szczesny should get injured, he will start for us – on today’s evidence, would you trust him in the big matches we have on the horizon? I wonder how he feels about where he is after these just completed 90 minutes.

My point is that we got these players minutes, but by lumping them all together, instead of responsibly mixing and matching with in-form, first team regulars, we may have done more harm to many players confidence than good to their “sharpness”…This is one of the biggest reasons I am not a fan of these mass changes that Arsene sometimes makes. Yesterday, Man United featured a similar massively changed side at home against non-league Crawley Town and they struggled to a 1-0 win that many consider harsh on their opponents.

We are no different; we struggle as well when we make so many changes. But this goes back to my original point – is it really necessary to make all these changes? Confidence and momentum are two of the most important ingredients in any successful side; these elements are often the first to disappear when we completely change our sides, regardless of the opposition. If we want to sustain our momentum, keep confidence flowing through the squad, and go from strength to strength, we simply cannot afford to make so many unforced changes to our side. In my opinion, that is…

Unless, of course, winning this competition is not really a priority after all. Arsene has said that we will go for it in all competitions on several occasions…Just this week he was quoted saying we have a chance to win four trophies this season. But I am starting to wonder if this desire to “go for it” on all fronts has not given away to prioritizing rotation with upcoming matches in mind, and a tacit, unspoken understanding that not having to play any more FA Cup matches would not necessarily be such a bad thing…If this is anywhere close to reality, then we got the worst of both worlds today – not out of this competition, and having to deal with another fixture jammed into an already congested calendar.

Let me quickly say well done to Leyton Orient FC. They were not overawed by our side, competed well in the first half, did not give up when we finally scored and wasted a couple of good chances to add to the goal, kept competing and ultimately got a deserved (I thought) late equalizer. Regardless of my complaints about our starting eleven, it is still packed with several international-caliber players – including a couple of national team Captains. Orient never appeared overawed to me and looked as they always thought they could get something from this game. I expect that we will win the replay on home turf, but I do not expect them to come over just to make up the numbers…

The winner of the replay has been drawn against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the quarterfinals on March 10th. Should it be us, there will be many associated subplots. I shan’t concern myself with any of it until after the replay, provided we are the side going to Manchester…

In closing, I’ll just say that squad rotation and quality of our second/third eleven has been a major polarizing issue amongst Arsenal supporters this season. I am not against rotating the squad – right now, I think it is absolutely necessary, considering packed our fixture list is. I am, however, against making these unforced wholesale changes to the squad. Today’s result showed me, again, that it is often self-defeating, does not get us the results we want, and potentially stalls momentum and drains confidence.

For me, the right way ahead is to rotate no more than four a match, and look to make additional rotation through in-match substitutions. None of us can know how today would have alternatively played out, but if we had changed only a handful of positions, and looked to use substitutions to make additional changes, is it so outside the realm of possibility to believe that we would have won comfortably and saved ourselves a full extra fixture in the form of a replay.

For those who believe that wholesale rotation such as today is completely justified, I respect your opinion, but also believe that events – from today, FA Cup tie versus Leeds, league fixture at Wigan – lend more support to the opposite view. In the end, I guess much also has to do with how important winning the FA Cup is to each of us.

For those who want to win this cup – such as me – changing the side in the manner we have today is irresponsible and potentially self-defeating. For those who feel that this cup must take a back seat to resting our starting eleven and getting match minutes for members of our second/third eleven, than this result can fully support their view as well.

It is what it is…

Written by Oliver

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310 Responses to The worst of both Worlds….

  1. rico says:

    morning…

  2. Suhail.TV says:

    hello..

  3. rico says:

    Hi STV, where you been?? ;)

    Dreadful showing yesterday by our lot…

  4. Suhail.TV says:

    around here and there rico, confirms wenger got his best11 right.

  5. rico says:

    i know we have what we have now but i’m still all for calling a few back from their loans and playing them ahead of a few we saw yesterday – it was such a heartless performance…

    pass pass pass pass…. nothing at the end of it…

    Too many changes in one game but even so, how they could not win is still beyond me…

  6. Suhail.TV says:

    ..may be the second string want a game more to get well bonded.. but how bad squilli is beyond me!!

  7. rico says:

    not just squilli – nik, almunia and chamakh were all poor yesterday, song and denilson just do not work together…

  8. simon says:

    “Let me state up from that I do not believe in rotating more than half the squad for any one match”

    Good job you have cock all to do with the club then. You’ll undoubtedly be the first to moan if a player from the first XI got injured playing in the cup anyway.

    How predictable was it that the whingers would be out in force after anything other than a win, even after doing Barca.

    Arsenal have some great fans but also some absolute helmets following the club.

  9. rico says:

    simon – i don’t see the point is being rude really, it’s olivers opinion.. did you enjoy yesterdays performance? are you glad we have yet another fixture just before we face barca again? another show like yesterday and the big boys could be needed and what if they get an injury then??

    The team were poor yesterday….. do you think that was down to rubbish players, the wrong mix, or both??

  10. Suhail.TV says:

    I support putting same team in emirates, they will get more experience oh.. no squilli n den..

  11. W.A.T.H says:

    If your gonna have a pop at someone simon maybe words of wisdom from you as to why you disagree or were you happy watching that lot go through the motions yesterday..? football is about playing and winning and injuries are part of the game, now more chance of injuries with having to play first team players to bail out the crap that played yesterday and couldn’t be arsed….!

  12. rico says:

    Thats why we need Lansbury back STV, then NO Denilson…

    I’d rather see Bartley too that Squilli but Kos or JD to come in I hope but wenger won’t risk them so close to the barca game…

    That side still should have won….

  13. Matt says:

    Not rude, correct. We have a home game now to blood even more youngsters in, wont affect our first team who will get the rest anyway. Calm down, very little damage in getting a reply here.

    They need games so when they come in they’re at least match-fit.

  14. rico says:

    Morning WATH – i can’t see wenger risking the big boys before the barca game – it will be worse, diaby in for song and eboue in for sagna….

  15. W.A.T.H says:

    That side yesterday apart from a few couldn’t be arsed in the slightest, turned up purely for their pay packet.

  16. W.A.T.H says:

    As my mate said to me yesterday, rather play the ladies team in the replay they’ll at least put in some effort…!

  17. W.A.T.H says:

    We blooded one youngster Matt, the writer isn’t having a pop at him is he think what he saying is far to many chnages and its the 2nd string again that look like they can’t be bothered…… You’d think they be trying to impress with a final but a week away yet most looked like they just didnt wanna be there. Piss poor attitude and commitment yet again from the same ones as usual.

  18. Suhail.TV says:

    ..on the plus Rosicky did better,

  19. rico says:

    Matt – but what will happen if it’s 0-0 with ten mins to go? AW will have to bring on better players to get the game won..

  20. rico says:

    I think the old CC side full of the young guns would have played better….

    It hurts to watch players who look like they don’t give a hoot….

  21. W.A.T.H says:

    I see simon is one of the other predictable kind of fans that he disagrees with somethin/someoneg makes a comment and vanishes obviously due to the fact he’s always right and knows it all…!. If Chez gets injured we’re in HUGE shit…! FACT…! Thought Ignasi played pretty well considering what was next to him just a shame him and Gibbs were partly to blame for the goal.

  22. K-TR7 says:

    Morning all.

  23. rico says:

    Rosicky was better than usual and at least he got a goal at last…

  24. rico says:

    That worries me big time too WATH, imagine Al v Barca or the Mancs if we get past Orient….

  25. rico says:

    Morning KT…

  26. K-TR7 says:

    The difference between our team A and B is that our first team have become very direct taking the shortest route to goal.against barca it took 4 passes to score.they also know when to tiki taka to kill off the game.

  27. K-TR7 says:

    I really hope ramsey comes back as playing denilsong isn’t helping.

  28. rico says:

    KT, thats because they don’t have the ability, speed or strength to play that way imho…

  29. rico says:

    1st march rambo is back… wenger needs to get jet and lansbury back then too…. sorry if i have said that before….

  30. W.A.T.H says:

    Morning KT, the 2nd lot also can’t be arsed and more importantly just ain’t good enough end of…! four or five can’t carry 5 that aint good enough and/or couldnt give a shit by going thru the motions.

  31. W.A.T.H says:

    Has someone swapped Chamakh for his very shit twin brother cos its not the same player from the first three months of the season !!

  32. W.A.T.H says:

    Yeh you’ve said it about hmmm 10,747,483 times Rico :P

  33. rico says:

    :) re chamakh, he’s burned out already, played too much too soon for the PL….

  34. king gooner says:

    maybe there was too much rotation agreed-but the risk of injury is greater-knowing our track record it would be nailed on-the team he picked should have done the job.end of.however,many haven’t played for sometime,so needed game time & if a few couldn’t be arsed that is the problem-we are in for a physical game from pulis & his thugs on wed too sonn imo to risk first teamers against the o’s-yes,another fixture in a crowded schedule is unwelcome but plus for those he need games..

  35. rico says:

    Did you guys see this yesterday..

    Barcelona shot-stopper Victor Valdes picked up a minor knock to his knee in training yesterday, but reports from Spain now suggest that he could require surgery, forcing him out of the Champions League second leg clash against Arsenal.

  36. rico says:

    hi king gooner – they certainly couldn’t be arsed, well a few and that’s all it takes….

    who plays against the hoofers will be interesting, surely it has to be back to the big boys…

  37. rico says:

    add one to that then WATH ;)

  38. K-TR7 says:

    Hi WATH.I like how our first 11 plays a mix of invincibles counter attacking direct style and continental tiki taka.it looks like Aw has finally found balance between the two styles.our 2nd team however can’t play as well as our 1st.

  39. K-TR7 says:

    Rico that isn’t necessarily good news.

  40. rico says:

    Barca scraped a 2-1 over Athletic Bilbao….

  41. I absolutely agree with what was said but you can see the other point of view: it is fantastic or not to see twice a week Arsenal play (live or on TV) until almost the end of the season? Not good for my heart but there are, I suppose, three advantages (the order is irrelevant): a) financially and economically good, because it generates more revenue b) Good for TVs because it’s guaranteed entertainment, emotion and interested public c) Disclosure of the name of the Club throughout the world, without associated merchandising (which may come next …).
    Is there any other football club in the world at the end of the season has played more times than Arsenal and spent more time on TV than we do? I do not think!

  42. W.A.T.H says:

    KT, they cant play like the first cos they nowhere near as good and yet they should be far to good for Orient and yet they were not cos they couldn’t be arsed, bendy prime example, how many tackled did that knob pull out of, wht drop off into the midfield all the time ???? EH has such an ego he prob took it as an insult he had to play against the lowly Orient…! Sooner he pisses off the better and take 3/4 others with him…!, As said 5 players can’t carry 5 crap ones…!.

  43. rico says:

    Why KT? i read Pinto is rubbish…

  44. SD-London says:

    Hi all.

    I will support Simon here although without the shots at Oliver because Oliver simply Rocks .
    Concerning the game, i did mention on Friday that Wenger is not going to care about the FA Cup this time around: Sorry but that’s the reality of the season we are.

    We should be glad we have a replay, because i will get to watch one more game :) and the fringe players :( will get more practice.

    1. We had a mid week game and the first teamers played their hearts out against Barca(JD felt his back and Walcott had a knock on his hamstring)Although both okay now but there was not going to be any rushing them back.

    2. Wenger is closer to these guys than anybody, so he only knows how physically fit they are.I knew the equalizer was coming & i suspected Wenger knew too but he still didn’t bring in his top players.

    3.The replay will be easy because he will use the same players but substitute in the second half if things are not working well.

    4. I think we should trust Wenger’s decisions now because i know majority of us didn’t think we will be in this position (in four cups still) at the start of the season. Wenger bought untested names Squillaci and Koscelny and the verdict was that we were not going to even qualify for the Champions league.
    The press were saying it is btw Man Utd and Man city :) .

    MY VERDICT
    We have a game on Wednesday and a final on Sunday, both very very important, Wenger was not going to risk any of his top players for a game that we could get a replay & a replay we got.

  45. W.A.T.H says:

    Sorry SD but will agree to disagree, The fringe players are not good enough, fact and if it mean’t playing a few young ones then I’d be happier but watching the same crap go thru the motions when ever they are called upon is tedious and then bottom line we end up playing players who should be resting to win games the fringe lot should batter so where exactly is the benefit..? isn’t one mate..!

  46. rico says:

    How many times did Nik get in the way of Sagna, Sagna for goodness sake, thats how far back he was coming… why didn’t he get in the box and be ready to get his big oversized head of his on the end of a cross….

  47. rico says:

    Hi JM – yes its great to know they are on TV but watching them yesterday was worse then pulling teeth..

  48. rico says:

    Hi SD, i can see what you are saying but…

    some of those players are just not good enough in my book and i cannot for love nor money see why wenger thinks they are…

  49. Steve Palmer says:

    Morning all, a good long read Oliver,the lads must have got right up your nose.
    I have mixed feelings on games like these, I like Chamakh, and feel he gets a bit of stick for his performances, but what do we expect, the service is all important to forward players, and the service was poor.Bentner and Chamakh together is not a good match they get in one anothers way, we have the same kind of problem in midfield and in defence as well,Oliver is right when he said in so many words they didn’t blend very good, but i ask myself whether we actually went out there to win. Is Arsene true to his word of treating all comps the same. From fielding a team to beat Spains Best, to a game a couple of miles down the road, against a side we should beat with our eyes shut,Hardly the same intent. Leyton are happy with a replay, from going from Breaking even Financialy for the season, to making a profit with the replay, Hearn can now afford a holiday for his lads to Vegas, whilst our players play like Johny vegas.

  50. rico says:

    morning steve – i like that comment…

    ‘Hearn can now afford a holiday for his lads to Vegas, whilst our players play like Johny Vegas’
    :lol:

  51. rico says:

    chamakh did miss one that even i could have scored though steve… ;)

  52. Steve Palmer says:

    quality, rico

  53. rico says:

    i thought so too – written really well…

  54. Steve Palmer says:

    When you look at the big picture,if all goes to plan, Wenger will field a stronger 11 in the week and keep his fingers crossed we get a result, i would imagine quite a strong team in the first half and a few changes in the second. The final Sunday would at this stage be his priority. But with Wenger who knows.

  55. rico says:

    Guillem Balague:

    Barcelona head into this game on the back of a fascinating game at the Emirates Stadium. On one hand I think Barca played 80 passes too many. They speculated with the result at one point, thought they had won the game and just kept the ball.

    They weren’t as direct as they should have been. Messi should have converted his chances. Barcelona were superior to Arsenal, there’s no doubt about that, but they fell into the same trap as last year where they allowed the Gunners back into contention. They allowed the game to escape from them.

    The debate in Spain is whether you can still trust this team, or if there is actually something wrong with them, like a lack of confidence or physically lax, which is often the case around February. I am of the opinion that you have got to have faith.

    However, I think Arsenal are now favourites to progress. If they play counter-attacking football they can take advantage of the absence of Gerard Pique and Carlos Puyol.

  56. rico says:

    I hope wenger plays his first eleven in both matches, the PL and CC are ours for the taking…

    Get those two done, dusted and won then see whats what i say, at home that eleven from yesterday should win the replay, LO will be overcome by the occassion of playing at the Ems… ;)

  57. SD-London says:

    Well i have tried, but i will try one more time.

    Wenger will not risk getting his main players injured in a game we can win with a poor 2nd team or at worst get a replay when we have 2 important games coming up in just few days.

    i HOPE THIS HELPS :(

  58. Steve Palmer says:

    Barry Hearn was talking after the game about how much the replay was worth to Orient, he said 4.5.or 6 hundred thou, what do you expect we got yesterday

  59. rico says:

    SD, what’s up??

    For the replay i see:

    Eboue in for Sagna and Diaby in for Song…

    The rest will probably be the same as yesterday….

  60. Steve Palmer says:

    SD your probably right, i wouldnt argue with you.

  61. rico says:

    I still think that game was always going to be a draw steve, too much was said before hand ;)

    very little from yesterday, the crowd capacity was too small… not sure what tv payments would give us..

  62. SD-London says:

    oops well, my reply was sent at the wrong time. i was trying to reply to commenets from 11.24 .

  63. rico says:

    No worries SD… :)

  64. Will says:

    I will debate with anyone why yesterday’s performance was not acceptable. Anyone want to?

  65. W.A.T.H says:

    Ok Will your on………

    Denilson is Brilliant…
    Bendtner is a world class striker….
    Almunia is hard done by and should be our No1 keeper
    Squillaci is a hardcore no nonsense quiality centre half and Chamakh has not been abducted by Aliens….
    Please debate…!

  66. rico says:

    Just read that the replay will give the club £3Million, wenger must be planning on buying another player with that amount ;)

  67. W.A.T.H says:

    Oh yippee we get another Squillaci….!

  68. oliver says:

    morning all…bank holiday (president’s day) monday here, so i’m home with the kids…thanks as always for taking the comments, rico…i see the comments and debate, nothing that changes my opinion arsene over-rotated and misplaced his faith in some players again…i neglected to mention that I had hoped never to see “captain al” again.

  69. Will says:

    Wenger has an ego the size the pacific and will not accept that some of his young kids have not made the grade. He WILL NOT admit to making mistakes or that promise has not been realised.

    I have watched football for years and I am at a loss as to see what Denilson does. He doesn’t intercept the ball like Gilberto, he doesn’t make tackles like Vieira or Petit. He doesn’t make incisive forward passes like Cesc or Jack. He doesn’t dribble like Nasri or AA so, what exactly does Denilson do except make 3 yard passes sideways or backwards and then watch opposing midfielders run past him?

    Chamakh, I am giving the benefit of the doubt but I am starting to think our football is too fast for him mentally.

    Nik B should do the gentlemanly thing and leave. He is simply not good enough. Say him during the recent international and he was not good enough there either. His brain is slow and his shooting ability is mid table championship level.

    Almunia is shot, no confidence and when you are of limited talent, that is a liability. Wenger needs to release his as soon as he can.

    We have passengers who believe that now they have the prestige of playing for The Arsenal, they have made it and we can’t have that. We need players with the hunger of Jack, Cesc, Nasri and RvP who want more and more. Who don’t think being at a huge side is the pinicle but being at a dominant club is the place to be.

    I am so angry right now and I am angry with Wenger for not having the balls to admit some of his kids are not good enough.

  70. rico says:

    morning oliver, great write up again, thank you…

    captain al could be back in a jiff if chesney picks up a niggle, heaven forbid that should happen….

  71. oliver says:

    will, i understand you frustrations, but my larger source of annoyance is the casual attitude in many of these players. i still think many are valuable squad players – but as cover for certain positions, where playing alongside our first teamers will help them perform better and compensate for certain deficiencies. i do not think fielding a team almost completely of these players is a winning formula…deficiencies are exacerbated, as we saw yesterday…

  72. Will says:

    Oliver, who were we playing yesterday?

  73. oliver says:

    rico, that moment would constitute our nuclear winter…as they say, all bets are off…

  74. rico says:

    Hi Will

    I cannot disagree with anything you have just written, i am sure wenger can see just how poor they were, he just doesn’t tell us….

  75. oliver says:

    leyton orient, of course…a third-tier side from east london that we should have beaten comfortably. but not for the first time, this second string of ours coul not get the job done.

  76. rico says:

    that thought is real scary oliver… chesney best be kept in other than on match day and training days ….

  77. rico says:

    Our team should have going gung ho for goals yesterday, trying to show wenger they deserve a start on sunday…..

    i wouldn’t play any of them barr Sagna, Song and AA….

  78. Will says:

    So Oliver, that says to me that many of the second string are not good enough. This performance was not a one off. Therefore the blame lays squarely at Wenger’s feet.

    Wenger needs to see these players are not good enough and it is his job to get rid of them, not protect them and keep giving them chances.

  79. W.A.T.H says:

    Will,
    Very good round up of the players mentioned but you left out one thing from most of them that Oliver has picked up on…! They also all lack motivation and commitment..! That was also sadly lacking yesterday.

  80. oliver says:

    i wouldn’t either. we are ninety minutes from possibly winning our first emirates-era trophy, that will be no time to play musical chairs with our squad. we are so close, we cannot allow concerns about upcoming fixtures to distract.

  81. W.A.T.H says:

    Oliver, you and I have discussed this a few times before but for me to see that waiter lead out The Arsenal with the captains armband is an insult to my intelligence. The bloke has as much charisma and passion as Hodgson does as a manager its pathetic.

  82. oliver says:

    will, I think you and I agree that most of these players are not good enough. where we differ is that I think some are serviceable as cover for first team positions. I feel that when arsene rotates responsibly – no more than a couple of changes – our squad players perform better by virtue of playing alongside our best.

    I do agree that some of these players need to move on this summer, but certainly not all.

  83. oliver says:

    wath, i commented earlier about neglecting to mention that in my report. he has no business leading our side, he was dropped after a dismal show against wbrom, slipped down to third choice and has no future here. what message do you send by choosing such a player as captain for the match? i would have chose sagna as yesterday’s captain.

  84. Will says:

    No, not good enough for cover Oliver.

    Out this summer

    Almunia – Limited talent + low confidence = liability.
    Squil – Scary and I want a top class defender in.
    Denilson – Plainly not good enough for our football.
    Nik B – One goal a month is not not good enough – Get JeT in as back up.

    Get these tools off the wage packet and we get at least £150k a week.

  85. W.A.T.H says:

    Rosicky has been Captain before so why not give it to him but the waiter, as you say to have him as captain is just a joke….!.

  86. W.A.T.H says:

    Those players you have mentioned Will should all be got rid of, the rest that played yesterday do offer something and can be brought into the 1st team and offer something. Hopefully Wengers plan is he knows this and the loanees are out getting experience to come back better and ready for next season, if this not teh plan then we in trouble cos the 4 u have mentioned are of no use to a blind man….. bendtner would make a good stick mind you…!

  87. rico says:

    oilver, spot on re sagna, if not him then song, definately not almunia…..

  88. Will says:

    I think Nik B is blind the way he shoots.

  89. oliver says:

    will, i would keep bendtner and add rosicky to you list of those three. I am not in any way, shape or form ready to give up on gibbs, chamkh, miquel, or arshavin…

  90. agirlagunner says:

    I didn’t think it possible, but I am more annoyed now than last night. :x

    Good write, oliver. ;) On the evidence of last night’s abysmal performance, surely AW will now see that wholesale changes do not work; and a fair few of our second stringers need to be sold/donated!!! :(

    Hey, rico, how are you? I watched the match again (just because), and Nik was dire, dire, dire. Song is no better in replay, and Almunia is nothing short of disastrous.

    Hey, Will and WATH.

  91. rico says:

    I stand by my comment yesterday…..

    rico says:
    February 20, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Alumina – Shea, Manonne
    Squlli – Miquel, Bartley
    Denilson – Lansbury, Coquelin, Frimpong
    Bendtner – JET, Afobe, Sunu

    We don’t need them – sell the lot and use the money to buy a player who will immediately improve our first team…..

  92. rico says:

    Hi agag, i struggled to watch it once, how on earth did you get through another viewing….

  93. oliver says:

    we can help denilson towards the exit by immediately installing ramsey in the squad upon his return from Cardiff.

  94. oliver says:

    morning agag…part of me thinks that if arsene had to do it all over, he would do it exactly the same…

  95. Will says:

    Oliver, what on earth makes you want to keep Nik B?

  96. agirlagunner says:

    I have that unhealthy habit, rico. ;) Not good for my sanity, I know. ;)

    oliver, your 2:00 fills me with dread, and yet… and yet… you may very well be right. :cry:

  97. rico says:

    i think he would field the same side too – if i’m honest, i think he is taking the FA Cup less seriously than the other competitions we are in…

  98. rico says:

    i’d rather have watched paint dry agag, it was one of the worst performances i have seen by us in a while…

  99. oliver says:

    because I think he can still do a job for us as a backup. he was poor yesterday and has had plenty of similar games, but can still score goals, and has scored some in big matches. I think he gives us much more than the other three you lumped him with. you – and others would get rid of him…fair enough, i would choose to keep him…

  100. W.A.T.H says:

    I’m with Will on that one Oliver, Bendy needs to see the exit door asap the bloke is one arrogant big head who thinks he’s pele…! Huge attitude problem…! Hi AGAG ;-)

  101. Will says:

    Oliver, he has played 90 games and scored 18 goals. Forgive my maths but I make that one goal every five games.

    Tell me what that brings to us.

  102. oliver says:

    wath, understand. i know i am in a distinct minority here, but i would still hang on to ink.

  103. oliver says:

    ink….hahaha….my iPad does not know who nik b. is..

  104. rico says:

    I’d like to see JET get a chance now and then Afobe…

    It doesn’t help play Nik on the right wing, if AW is going to play two out and out strikers, why don’t we play to them?

    Instead, too many times Nik kept dropping deep, why??

  105. W.A.T.H says:

    ink is about right Oliver he is like watching ink dry ;-)

    If during the summer we have no strikers who are better than him to let him go then we are sadly lacking depth…! We stuck with him for now but in the summer he has to go..!

  106. Will says:

    He thinks he is doing us a favour by giving up winter breaks and going skiing.

    He is an arrogant arse who has less than a quarter of the talent he thinks he has.

    He is slow paced and slow witted and not that good in the air.

    get rid of now, get JeT in and give Vela more chances in the centre.

  107. agirlagunner says:

    I have finished reading all the comments now. A lot of feelingly felts, WATH. ;) Next time we have a poor game, you have to write a report, too :D

    oliver, I thought this year’s Nik would be better than his last year self. But no! He continues to frustrate. Quel dommage. ;) But I’d still keep him, I think.

  108. oliver says:

    will, it brings us more than the others you mentioned…i don’t see him as a prolific starter, i see him as someone to serve as cover or someone to add to the attack when things are not going well. is he going to score every game – of course not. is he going to have his share of stinkers? yep. i am not asking him to score 41 goals like andrew cole did for newcastle in 1994. just add depth to the striker position and score some goals for us. you don’t think he can do that, but I can and your argument does not alter my opinion.

  109. rico says:

    Thing is, we can all go on about who we would get rid of but we are stuck with who we are until the end of the season….

    Who knows what will happen then, Nikki has said if he doesn’t play he will go, so right now he isn’t playing and should we get knocked out of the FA Cup, he won’t have much playing time if we stay injury free so he could be off in any case…

  110. Will says:

    Oliver, one goal every five games. Doesn’t add a thing. Just looked up his Birmingham stats and was scoring one goal every 3.8 games at championship level.

    What you are saying is, if we need a goal through him on? Me and you would have as much chance to score.

    1 goal every 5 games. Not good enough as a 6th choice back up for my team.

  111. SD-London says:

    The problem was simply that the midfield didn’t supply enough passes that was why Bendtner went so deep and eventually confused the living day light out of the formation.

    Rosicky just lacked the creative ability ti fish out the right pass.

  112. rico says:

    I’m a Nikki out fan….

    BUT, we are in all four competitions, we had one squad as others are on loan, we need everyone in this squad to give their all until the end of the season…

    We cannot do anything about who we have and when it comes to Nikki i think we need to agree to differ on whether he should go or not….

  113. oliver says:

    will, you are not going to convince me otherwise. I understand you want him out, but i think he is worth keeping. I can care less about the stats you quote or anything else. I have seen him come on and get goals for us. i would keep him in my squad.

  114. rico says:

    Song and Denilson didn’t help much either SD…

  115. agirlagunner says:

    SD, I agree. Our midfield was all over the place last night! :( Not enough quality playmaking.

  116. W.A.T.H says:

    The midfield cant pass to the forward if they 3 yards in front of them SD…… Rosicky can hardly do it alone when denilson only wants to play 400 passes within the radius of 2 yards backwards and sideways and no ambition to give the game tempo or go forward…! Bendtner never reads the game doesnt make space to demand the pass then tries to vanish up his own arse when he does get the ball looses it shrugs his shoulders and then does sweet fa to get it back…! Quite simply the bloke is very average but like Rico says we stuck with him until the summer and then pls pls pls someoen is stupid enough to come buy him…!

  117. Will says:

    Oliver, please tell me what he brings because I have proved beyond all doubt, it is not goals.

    What do you see in him?

  118. oliver says:

    I see a player who can come on, be a second or third striker, give us height and presence and score goals, despite what you think.

    i am not trying to convince you we should keep him – you have your opinion and i respect it. but i have my opinion and i am not changing it – i think nik is worth keeping.

  119. W.A.T.H says:

    Oliver, I see what your saying but a lot of the problem there is also the fact he isnt brought on as a striker he’s brought on as a right winger which is madness !!, For now he is an option to come on as a plan B but then should be played as a striker but come the summer if we have noone coming through who give us better quality than him then as I said I think we sadly lacking in depth as he is not the answer at all.

  120. Will says:

    Mate, I am trying to see your point of view but you keep saying goals. He scores one every five games.

    You say height, how good is he really in the air? Does he give us that back to the goal bring others in to play? No.

    Please don’t take this as an attack on you but 1 in 5 is pretty damning do you not agree? I mean, it is 1 in 4 in the championship, are you honestly, hand on heart saying that you would be happy to see him coming off the bench with us 1-0 down in a win the game win the league game?

  121. oliver says:

    will, i am not asking you to see my point of view – can you not see that? you have your opinion on nik and i have no interest in changing it. i have my opinion and am not changing it either. i think the guy is worth keeping. i think he is good cover and can score goals for us. that is how i see him. you see him differently and i have no problem with that.

  122. Will says:

    You keep saying goals. Why?

    Let me remind you.

    1 in 5 in the PL
    1 in 4 in the championship.

  123. oliver says:

    will, i think he can score goals for us. don’t bother waving stats at me, you are not going change my opinion.

  124. Will says:

    Stats or facts?

  125. rico says:

    Will, he does score but not often enough but then he doesn’t play that much either…

    My gripe is why do we play him on the right….. Play him in the middle and tell him to stay there…….

  126. oliver says:

    both. once again this how i FEEL about the player. your arguments are not going to change that. you want him out, i want to keep him in the squad.

  127. rico says:

    Shall we move on from Nikki….. Opinions are individual…

    Like i said, we are stuck with our squad until the end of the season…

  128. Will says:

    Ok, You are wrong but that is your choice.

    Viva 4th place.

  129. oliver says:

    will, i am perfectly happy to agree to disagree. can you not accept i feel differently than you?

  130. oliver says:

    in your opinion, i am wrong. and what does 4th place have anything to do with it?

  131. rico says:

    oliver – i’m not trying to get you to change your mind, i can’t as your opinion is yours… at the end of the day, Wenger rates him so thats that really :)

  132. oliver says:

    thanks for the intervention rico…

  133. oliver says:

    rico, the opinion comment not directed at you?

  134. SD-London says:

    Since we have touched on the height and ability to head , i will admit bendtner is not that good.

    But then it just occurred to me that their poor performance wasn’t due to them being poor because this were the same set of guys that played 11 games last season without rvp, Gallas or Fabregas and they won 9 out of it.

    But for some reasons no one took any initiatives yesterday. bendtner should have realized that if Walcott is not playing that he is still the best on that right , he should have then supplied chamarkh few crosses – who knows.

    Rosicky as a more experienced player should have figured out where the opponent’s weakness was, which really scares me when i think about Wilshere’s ability to see an attacking opportunity.

    Well maybe Wenger could have rescued the game and maybe he thought this guys needed more playing times and wanted a replay for them if possible & £3mill will go a long way to pay some salaries as well.Wenger Wenger Wenger!

  135. rico says:

    No probs oliver…

  136. rico says:

    i did wonder ;)

  137. Will says:

    I am trying to understand your opinion Oliver. I respect what you say on here but this has me baffled. The facts shout out he is not good enough.

    This season:

    18 games – 6 goals (3 in the league cup) – 2 assists

    Career:

    189 games – 53 goals (13 goals in 48 championship games) – 26 assists ( 9 in the championship)

    Is that really someone you want to rely on to win us a tight game?

  138. rico says:

    SD – where i think wenger missed a trick was not playing Eboue on the right and not played song..

    Had he had done that we could have played the old fashioned 4-4-2 with Nik and Chamakh in the box on the end on Eboue’s crosses…

    Either that or a bit of good old hoof over the top football just to get the goals…

    The first team have the speed and skill to play the way they can, the second string don’t have it so why does Wenger try and get them to play the same way…

    Play to their strengths not their weaknesses….

  139. rico says:

    Will – come on, move on please, no matter what stats you supply you cannot expect to change another persons mind – its an individual opinion which oliver is entitled to…

    please let the nikki debate finish here….

  140. K-TR7 says:

    Afternoon all.i’ll not get involved in the HRP debate.i just want to discuss our 2nd CL goal on wednesday.for me counter attacking is one of the most breathtaking aspects of modern football.watching rooney and ronaldo do it to us hurt but you had to applaud their execution.Against wolves we scored an invincible-esque goal that i was very proud of.against barca we went from ‘Danger here for Arsenal’ to ‘AAAAAshaviiiin!’ in a matter of seconds.it was one of the most devastating counters i’ve seen and definitely a contender for CL goal of the season.i really hope we score such goals regularly as they just take your breath away.

  141. Will says:

    I just can’t. I can’t understand why people can not see he is NOT GOOD enough for us. He brings absolutely nothing to our game but then tells us he is doing us a favour but not having a skiing holiday in mind-winter.

    Are we saying we are happy with mediocrity and 4th place finishes?

  142. rico says:

    Hi KT – did you by chance see Paul Merson on Soccer Sport on Saturday??

    He said that our second goal was one of the best he’d seen, and had Barca scored it the whole world would have been raving… He said it was miles better than Rooney’s flukey overhead kick…

    I have to agree… It was stunning…

  143. K-TR7 says:

    By the way good read oliver.

  144. agirlagunner says:

    That was a stunning goal, KT. Mine is the hope that our players realize they have the technique to pull it off, and would, henceforth do it more often. :)

  145. Will says:

    That goal was a perfect example of fluid, quick witted players.

  146. agirlagunner says:

    Will, easy now. ;) And enough, please.

  147. rico says:

    three or fours times in camp nou would be a good time for that agag :)

  148. K-TR7 says:

    Rico i hated the way ITV were implying we scored a barca-esque goal…NO it wasn’t.all Aw teams score such goals but this one was just special.

  149. agirlagunner says:

    That’s doable, rico. :) And Theo will improve upon his first leg performance, too. Let the stains outpass us, our goal would be to outscore them.

  150. agirlagunner says:

    Hey, KT. Howdy? Can’t wait for the second leg. Our first team should still be brimming in confidence. ;)

  151. K-TR7 says:

    Key to both wolves and barca goals was Fabrégas.his touch,turn and 50 yard passes sliced both defences apart.our players should know that the ball can travel much faster than you can.let the ball do the work for you.Barca made the mistake of doing too much but in the end went nowhere.there comes a threshold when possession becomes tiring to the ball carriers and thats exactly what happened.they made 700 passes but had one goal.we made almost half that but our second only required 5 passes.i really hope our players learn to take the shortest route to goal instead of pointless tiki taka.

  152. rico says:

    KT, AW had us scoring goals similar to that long before the pundits started bigging up Barca.. Its them who have copied us…

  153. K-TR7 says:

    Hi agag.theo/nasri/rvp/cesc will be much better.i had fun watching a half fit nasri take Alves to the cleaners at one point.in 3 weeks time he’ll be much better.the Camp nou pitch is the same length as the Emirates but 6 metres wider.that gives us enough space to counter when they attack us.without pique/puyol/valdez i certainly fancy us to score so they may need 3 or more goals to qualify.

  154. rico says:

    and jack before cesc against barca kt…

  155. K-TR7 says:

    Rico the major difference between last season and this is jack the lad.when he wins the ball he drives forward which has given us directness we have lacked.theo has also contributed and thats the way Aw wants his teams to play.all of wenger’s teams rely on 3 key aspects:technique,speed and composure.thats the way we’ve been since Aw has arrived.

  156. K-TR7 says:

    Rico jack took out 4 barca players with one pass.he has what can’t be taught.he has that awareness that the likes of cesc/pirlo/xavi have.he was born with it and as Aw put it its like science in his brain.

  157. agirlagunner says:

    Against Barca last year, particularly, in the second leg, we were so shorn of attacking options, and Barcelona capitalized on that. This year, our key players are fit (barring TV5), and that has spelled the difference. I love it. :)

  158. rico says:

    KT, i know, he is just one heck of a player, AW needs to be careful though, his bones are still growing – we don’t want another Owen….

  159. agirlagunner says:

    Plus, we don’t want LJ turning into Shrek, getting involved in all sorts of unsavory things, believing all the hype, thinking he’s all that. AW will sort him out, I think. :)

  160. K-TR7 says:

    Rico Aw will take care of him.when ramsey comes back he’ll get rested more.

  161. Will says:

    I remember the invincible’s, we didn’t make 500 passes a game. We won the ball high up, usually around the halfway line and within 4 passes, we were shooting.

    That is unstoppable football.

  162. K-TR7 says:

    We are also rebuilding our reputation at the Emirates after early season wobbles.after wednesday the fear factor will start to develop if we continue to put teams to the sword regularly.if the fans can keep up the support no team will relish playing here and once we win that elusive trophy the grove will finally feel like home.

  163. K-TR7 says:

    Will thats what we all love to see.thats why Germany were more entertaining to watch than Spain.last season we played more like spain but our current 1st team can play either style depending on circumstances.that balance between continental tiki taka and direct football has been what Aw has been striving to achieve in order to conquer both domestically and in Europe.it looks like he is finally getting it right.

  164. SD-London says:

    thank you kt , i am still buzzing from wednesday’s result even towards the end of yesterday’s game and they showed our bench i was just all smiles. because i saw our players and i just smiled as alumna floofed another goal.(doen’t he get tired of balls going through his legs ?)

    Wednesday was great , full reversal of fortune in just 15minutes Arshavin’s goal was exquisite.

    Wenger will keep playing the fa cup team because they need to master the aw way just imagine if the 2 teams start to play the same way , we will be the most dangerous team in Europe simply.

    That’s what makes Barca great because they have 2 teams that are equally dangerous.

    Although some will go in the summer just to filter the team down and this are my picks :

    Bendtner he is too proud to stay
    Denilson- wenger is probably tired of him by now
    Ebuoe- we love him but i think he his not improving Wenger might let him go
    Rosicky- he hasn’t recovered. His passes are never sharp, he would get a game play if
    Daiby stays in form.
    Alumna- He knows he is leaving

  165. K-TR7 says:

    You also have to appreciate how fit our players are.Barca looked jaded after 70 minutes.nasri who was playing his first game after a hamstring injury was sprinting at full throttle in the 85th minute.Aw has to take credit for that.

  166. K-TR7 says:

    Hi SD.Wednesday is one of those European nights that we’ll live to cherish forever.in fact im still buzzing…

  167. K-TR7 says:

    For all VDV lovers his fitness is one of the main reasons Mourinho and Wenger don’t want him.in most spud games he disappears in the 2nd half due to that.he certainly wouldn’t have been able to sprint right at the end like nasri did.

  168. SD-London says:

    mAY BE THERE WAS NO MARNSTRING INJURY TO NASRI , NICE ONE WENGER :)

  169. SD-London says:

    DAMN! I WROTE THAT IN A HURRY, BYE !!

  170. rico says:

    Good point about Rambo KT and resting Jack – is Rambo playing much at Cardiff??

  171. Will says:

    Oliver.

    I behaved in an unappealing way and I apologise to you sir.

  172. K-TR7 says:

    Rico i have been following his progress through young guns and it seems he is coming along nicely.cardiff want to extent his loan deal but Aw won’t allow it.i kind of feel sorry for him because before he got shawcrossed he looked just as good if not better than jack but better in the final third.it would’ve been him and not jack that would probably be getting praise from the media and that must hurt.

  173. Will says:

    Yes but we can have Jack, Rambo, Song, Nasri and Cesc.

  174. K-TR7 says:

    Nice one will.we’re all gooners at the end of the day.

  175. W.A.T.H says:

    KT, I doubt it will hurt Aaron merely spur him on seeing how well Jack has done and knowing when he fit he can get a game in the team, for me Aaron and Jack are the future, we all know Cesc will piss off….!

  176. K-TR7 says:

    Lol SD…Manstring.

  177. rico says:

    Good man Will…..

  178. K-TR7 says:

    I hope ramsey comes back stronger WATH.he looks to me like cesc’s replacement and not jack.jack is a very interesting player.he can dribble,pass,tackle and intercept passes.the complete package.

  179. rico says:

    KT, sadly thats football… but Rambo will be itching to get involved in this side and its great for us to have him coming back…

  180. rico says:

    one thing for sure though, if cesc does go with ramsey and jack its looking less daunting but a part of me is beginning to believe that cesc will be with us for a few seasons yet….

  181. Will says:

    I honestly think Cesc will stay this summer.

  182. K-TR7 says:

    Cesc,jack and ramsey midfield…Tasty!.Total football at its best.i feel the same way rico.it seems that Barca move will not happen soon.

  183. rico says:

    he’ll go but not yet – as long as wenger stays i think he will stay, then, when wenger retires, Pep will take over and cesc will stay longer….

  184. Steve Palmer says:

    Rico, what can you tell me about Miquel, as i dont recall anything about him

  185. rico says:

    Spanish, born in Barcelona, deemed not good enough for them, he’s a left footed CH who joined us in 2008, signed pro in 09 – he’s 18 years old….

  186. Will says:

    I don’t see Cesc foing for a number of reasons.

    1) Barca let him down last season and left him hanging out in the open. They pressured him to ask for a transfer and then refused to meet the valuation of him which seeing for how much Torres when for, was under valuing him.

    2) He is starting to see trophies come to Arsenal.

    3) He knows he is the main man at The Arsenal, he will be a sub at Barca.

    4) I think he is enjoying the football with RvP, Samir and Jack. They are playing amazing ball.

  187. Steve Palmer says:

    Although he and squilly messed up,i think he may fit in somwhere, liked what i saw of him for his debut whats your thoughts

  188. K-TR7 says:

    Aw teams:speed,technique and effeciency.

  189. K-TR7 says:

    Pace,power and precision.

  190. W.A.T.H says:

    KT, Jack, Aaron and Nasri….. Thats jusr as technical and possibly an even quicker central three than Jack Aaron n Cesc…! For me Aaron is more of a Gerrard type of central midfielder and was just starting to boss games b4 the injury, the boy has tons of class and prob good that we bringing him back slowly and keep the expectation levels down a bit.

  191. Steve Palmer says:

    Perhaps walking off of the Nou camp with a win might subdue all of the dreams he has had from a boy Will

  192. W.A.T.H says:

    Steve, the goal was Miguel and Gibbs making a bit of a mess, thought the youngster did very well and considering next to squilli he did very well. Good in the air and composed on the ball but at 18 def a good prospect.

  193. K-TR7 says:

    Miquel looked like a left footed pique to me in terms of playing style.that goal we conceded was a rookie mistake that he’ll surely learn from.we can’t judge him yet but he is one to look out for.

  194. Steve Palmer says:

    glad i’m not alone

  195. rico says:

    I think he is very happy too – in fact i think the whole starting eleven are very happy, you can tell on the pitch… and after them there is Eboue to keep everyone smiling…

    We just need to get that CC Final win….

  196. K-TR7 says:

    WATH thats true.jack,ramsey and nasri is highly technical,creative and very direct.they may not have theo’s pace but they can make the ball do it for them.creative and direct football at the same time.

  197. Steve Palmer says:

    i stand corrected Wrath

  198. rico says:

    i thought he did well Steve, one game at a time for him….

  199. rico says:

    KT – Miquel was dubbed the new Pique a while back, i remember writing about it. I think thats when most fans stood up and took note of him. (not when i wrote about him, when he was compared to pique) ;)

    I so wish we had our own TV channel again, i used to enjoy keeping check on all the reserves etc, it’s good when one of them finally gets a chance… Now for Chuks and Afobe ;)

  200. K-TR7 says:

    Nasri has really matured.he is very quick and can dribble through a key hole.if he is fully fit at the camp nou alves will have a tough time.

  201. Will says:

    I would like to see Nasri getting more slide passes behind the defence on the 18 year box. He has the talent to take a pass in stride and slot it like Henry.

    I think you are right Steve but I think even if we lose there, Cesc is happy at Arsenal now. We finally have a midfield with players on his wavelength.

  202. W.A.T.H says:

    No worries Steve, think your meaning of stuffing up with squilli is spot on cos squilli def didnt help the young lad out very much at all…! Least when he puts on a bit of bulk he has the height already.

  203. W.A.T.H says:

    KT, noone is quicker than the ball however quick Theo is but the other three have technique speed of thought and quick feet…! ;-)

  204. K-TR7 says:

    Will the sky is the limit for nasri.there is nothing he can’t do in the final third and thats why Aw pushed him further up the pitch.he accelerates our play through dribbling complementing cesc’s link up play.

  205. rico says:

    depends how hard the ball is hit wath :lol: :lol:

  206. K-TR7 says:

    WATH with theo on it will be like playing with two balls!…

  207. K-TR7 says:

    Is it just me, i think jack has a better first touch and much tighter one than cesc which enables him to wriggle himself out of tight sitiuations.

  208. Steve Palmer says:

    The only thing i worry about with Cesc is he appears to me to be in awe of Barca when he was interviewed after the game he got all his times messed up and his comment of this is not the nou camp didnt give me a lot of faith

  209. W.A.T.H says:

    I think your right re Jack and first touch KT, also think he keeps the game moving quicker than Cesc. Players that move the ball quickly free the speedsters up front as long as the speedsters can read the game well enough to make the runs and see the passes…!

  210. K-TR7 says:

    I have also noted that Arsenal fans seem to understand football more than fans of other clubs.I argued with a chav fan that bringing in Torres doesn’t necessarily mean the goal tally will double just like the way that a woman takes 9 months to conceive but bringing 9 women together won’t result in delivery of the baby in a month.i like the debate here and long may it continue.

  211. W.A.T.H says:

    KT the other prob with Cesc that is def starting to happen is the “Henry” syndrome…. Everytime a player gets the ball they don’t always play the best pass to the players in the best position they only pass to Cesc…!

  212. Steve Palmer says:

    KT if it takes nine months to concieve i think i know where i went wrong all those years ago

  213. K-TR7 says:

    WATH i like the way jack drops his shoulder right at the last second before receiving the ball and turning away.he also sometimes just lets it roll across him before even touching it.at times he draws his markers and just when he is about to be dispossessed he pokes the ball and accelerates away.he was excellent against barca with 94% pass completion.in the 1st half he had 100% completion showing remarkable composure when we looked like buckling under pressure.if he improves his right peg…who knows?

  214. oliver says:

    will, rico tells me of your apology – no worries, bro…accepted and I think both of us will be happy if nik exceeds expectations….that is more important than either of our respective views…at the end of the day, we only want our team to do well…

  215. K-TR7 says:

    A barca fan was arguing that we were too physical for them…maybe Andy Gray was right after all,they cannot survive on a cold wet Tuesday night at the Brittania.

  216. rico says:

    good on you too oliver…..

  217. K-TR7 says:

    Im also lost for words after hearing the media and xavi claim barca were much better.possession is only nine tenths the law.when we lose to the mancs/chavs with 70% possession we are called spineless and weak.we had more shots on and off target,more corners 4:1,won more aeria duels 57%:43% and more successful tackles 89%:85%.BBC even reported possession ended up 47%:53% in their favour.they missed chances…so did we!

  218. Steve Palmer says:

    All those stats one question, who won

  219. rico says:

    KT, did you see this from earlier…

    Guillem Balague:

    Barcelona head into this game on the back of a fascinating game at the Emirates Stadium. On one hand I think Barca played 80 passes too many. They speculated with the result at one point, thought they had won the game and just kept the ball.

    They weren’t as direct as they should have been. Messi should have converted his chances. Barcelona were superior to Arsenal, there’s no doubt about that, but they fell into the same trap as last year where they allowed the Gunners back into contention. They allowed the game to escape from them.

    The debate in Spain is whether you can still trust this team, or if there is actually something wrong with them, like a lack of confidence or physically lax, which is often the case around February. I am of the opinion that you have got to have faith.

    However, I think Arsenal are now favourites to progress. If they play counter-attacking football they can take advantage of the absence of Gerard Pique and Carlos Puyol.

  220. K-TR7 says:

    I saw that rico.their big pitch just gives us more variety of angles to attack from.so long as we stay tight and compact and counter like speed demons we’ll score and that will force them to score 3 or more.the more they commit the more vulnerable they’ll be.i can see Aw planning to surprise them by attacking from the off.if we score first i’ll start believing.

  221. Will says:

    I can see the Henry syndrome happening less and less now that Nasri and Jack have found their feet.

  222. Steve Palmer says:

    I personally love Arsenal fans, knowledgable and are the first ones to say whats gone wrong, we can moan amongst ourselves and keep our tempers, but one thing were not good at, is outsiders telling us the same things, just an observation.

  223. K-TR7 says:

    Regarding our B team i’ve realised its like our past A team without cesc!it just shows how far we’ve come.

  224. W.A.T.H says:

    KT, the thing with Jack is the awereness of what and who is around him and that peripheral vision that he has gives him the time and the space to do what others could only dream of, its like the comment Lee Dixon makes about Dennis, he said its as if Dennis played the game from watching in the stand knowing exactly who is where on the pitch. Great quote…!

  225. K-TR7 says:

    Will thats true.jack even shouted at cesc for his positioning at a throw in.earlier in the season fabianski dragged cesc back for a corner.i’ve also seen koscielny and rvp have a go at him.this is why we’ll win trophies.

  226. W.A.T.H says:

    I like that Steve, we can slag our own team off and disagree about stuff but anyone else comes on and slags us off they can fcuk right off with their crap….! :-)

  227. K-TR7 says:

    WATH Jack has that bergkamp-esque ability to play the game at his own pace.the iceman would walk while others were running.that awareness can’t be taught and its very rare to get in a player especially an Englishman.it separates great players from good players.

  228. W.A.T.H says:

    Ppl with that ability come along only once in a while KT, the ability is then made to look even better when you have quality around you that can actually read what you wanna do and know where you want them to be..!

  229. JonJon says:

    great post again oliver
    evening guys..wath youve been on form today fella.. again ;)
    i think the rotation is necesary really against these teams…with the PL and and trip to wembley more important we need to rest the players when we can..
    so far weve had a great cup draw..which has enabled us to chop and change and not risk the likes of rvp…
    weve made it hard on ourselves by not performing but i will take a draw against orient if the means keeping the first 11 fresh and doing stoke and brum in the next two games..

  230. Will says:

    Jack does what my dad always told me to do.

    Before you ask for the ball, have a look around, that look will give you an extra 2 seconds on the ball.

  231. W.A.T.H says:

    JJ have you been out chasing Theo’s autograph all day ? The rotation argument is never gonna be one where ppl agree it has to be done the debate is always going to be how many need to be rotated at a time. In all honesty the team to beat stoke needs tobe the first 11 that will then have to play Sunday! should a few of got us thru yesterday been rested and a few then in to beat Stoke and then they all play sunday? its a vicious circle and noone is right and noone actually wrong in many ways just a pain in the arse the 2nd string cant be arsed to get the job done and a replay was the last thing we needed.

  232. W.A.T.H says:

    Will, Jack is one better than that mate he doesnt even always look, he knows who’s around him !!!

  233. JonJon says:

    ktr..
    thats a great comment
    the b team is the past a team without cesc and thats why we are fighting on all four fronts and not just for fucking fourth…

  234. K-TR7 says:

    Hi jj.If there is one thing id like us to adopt from barca’s gameplay is how to seamlessly switch play from one flank to the other.this enables a team to catch their opponents off guard.

  235. JonJon says:

    they are more than a pain in the arse WATH
    they need a pain in their arse cos complacency is rife in some of those lads..

    not being able to get into the first team should be good enough incentive..but no..they seem to want the young guns to take their place in the summer..

    good…cos i think aw has been more ruthless this season and we could see a mini clear out

  236. rico says:

    Steve – top comment at 6.52 :)

  237. JonJon says:

    our first team can all do that ktr
    jack cesc nasri all have the ability to hit the diagonal cross field pass..
    denilson and diaby cant they need the triangles and its why we look better when they aint in the team..

  238. W.A.T.H says:

    Did anybody notice the 60yard diagonal Miguel played out from left to right in the 2nd half…? Superb…!

  239. rico says:

    hi jj, nothing like a good summer clear out – i do it every year with my clothes :)

    KT – bigger pitch will be just perfect, we can give them the run around and tire them a lot quicker….

  240. JonJon says:

    rambo will be back for the replay..
    hes back end of feb..he’ll be straight in the side..

  241. JonJon says:

    some of those players we wouldnt get rid of in a car boot sale rico ;)]

    wath wants a big bonfire.. i concur..
    jet lansbury rambo pingpong and le coq in next year..oh and vela….

  242. K-TR7 says:

    JJ ive been meaning to ask of your opinion of the tactics in our game against Barca.i think in the first half we tried pressing them all over the park which as a result meant they stretched us out.as a result villa and messi were able to make runs through our CBs and fullbacks with xavi/iniesta finding gaps in our stretched midfield.we couldn’t even build an attack due to how stretched we were.in the 2nd however we pressed them but left their fullbacks alone which meant that xavi found it hard to play through the congested midfield forcing him to give Alves the ball.our fullbacks tucked in covering the spaces villa/messi were running into.we covered all their passing options and thus Alves/maxwell couldn’t do anything with it.we dominated the game by forcing them into non-threatening areas of the pitch.when we won the ball it was easier to build up attacks as players were close to each other.what do you think?

  243. JonJon says:

    i seen that wath
    hes very composed and great technique..good reader and quick..
    experience and strength will come in time..
    but hes a good prospect..

  244. rico says:

    jj – i’ll be there with the matches :)

    can’t forget Bartley either, he made his debut for Rangers last weekend in the centre of midfield…. got cracking reviews too

    WATH – i didn’t see it :(

  245. K-TR7 says:

    JJ but we don’t do it enough.of our first 11 only cesc,jack,clichy and vermaelen seem to do it.

  246. W.A.T.H says:

    This could be fun, KT asking JJ about tactics, Ok I’ll sit back with me feet up and await the results of this great thesis. . . . .! Don’t forget to mention the spandex lycra stocking JJ makes em run quicker ;-)

  247. JonJon says:

    ktr
    in a nutshell…
    same way as we played at the grove..
    hold the line close the space not the man and revert them to ‘denilsons’..hit them on the counter and pass them to bits when they are knackered…

    only thing i would change is if valdes is out we shoot on sight….test that reserve keeper nobodys heard of
    shoot shoot shoot..

  248. W.A.T.H says:

    JJ u toss pot is that it……………?????

    Very disappointing….! Didnt even have time to go get the ice cream out the freezer n put me feet up..!

  249. JonJon says:

    rico he was pants in the old firm derby at the weekend :(

    and the pink furry slippers wath..

  250. W.A.T.H says:

    Ah your referring to what Bendy plays in JJ ;-)they pink furry slippers are they not..?

  251. JonJon says:

    im shit hot at tictacs wath..
    it comes from years of studying the game and not pissing about on building sites, riding horses, and other activitys they do down at that ymca of yours ;)

  252. JonJon says:

    bendys slippers are legendery
    they went well with his soho square pink bib he had on in that CL game once..

  253. W.A.T.H says:

    Getting in n out the shower and shovelling manure for your cabbage patch don’t constitute tactics JJ….. I’ll have you know I’m the boss and I delegate so there…!

  254. Will says:

    Wath, he does look, watch him next time. He is constantly watching, knowing where everyone is, how much time he will have on the ball.

  255. JonJon says:

    i think bendy should revert back to wearing them again..
    he scored some right goals when he was in soho mode..
    those defences were dazzled by 80′s wham mullets and pink fluffy slippers..

    im suprised he hasnt tried the nike turbo flip flops yet..

  256. rico says:

    i didn’t see that game jj but he’s still learning and i’d rather someone like him got a chance right now than suilli – he’ll come good…

  257. K-TR7 says:

    JJ we must control the space just like inter did.force them to put crosses in,congest the midfield.burn them on the counter.

  258. W.A.T.H says:

    What I am saying tho Will is watch the fact he’s always looking and when the pass is coming he doesnt need to look cos he already knows….! He doesnt just look around him when he’s receiving a pass its all the time…! Thats what makes him special.

  259. rico says:

    WATH – shall we talk bonfires ;)

  260. JonJon says:

    lol wath
    which reminds me..the crabbage patch kid
    its a hybrid of a crab and a cabbage..
    now guess the player ;)

  261. W.A.T.H says:

    I’m sure you can introduce him to them JJ ;-)

  262. W.A.T.H says:

    It ain’t just one your talking abt JJ there are a few in that category…! but one main culprit obviously..!

  263. JonJon says:

    to be fair though rico..he got a yellow card in the first minute for kicking brown 20 feet in the air…if it would have been later in the game it would have been a red..
    he was playing as a holding mid so his game went to shit after that he had to be careful..but the foul was worth it ;)

  264. W.A.T.H says:

    Bonfires Rico…? and who to put on em…??? Hmmmm I have a long list…………!

  265. JonJon says:

    yeah ktr
    there is little point in going gung ho and trying to close down every man every time they get the ball because
    a..it will knacker us out..
    b..they will denilson around us in the space we leave

    closing the space as a unit will be enough..forcing them to play with themsleves.. ;) they will press hard so we just need to keep possession tidy and knacker them out again..

    and use the space alves leaves on that flank on the counter..

    and shoot shoot shoot and shoot some more ;)

  266. W.A.T.H says:

    I also have a few mates who would help with putting said ppl on em ;-)

  267. rico says:

    why are they playing him in the midfield?? surely wenger cant be happy…

    would have liked to have seen him hoofing brown in the air though jj ;)

  268. rico says:

    I have a very long list WATH, a very long list…..

  269. JonJon says:

    squidgey was a mistake by AW…
    we needed another koz/tv really..
    wenger just went all fish head on us and panic bought isntead of paying that little extra and got someone half decent..
    its not turned out too bad cos JD has stayed fit and reached potential..but TV needs to get fit quick cos if we lose one of the other two it could all go tits up..

  270. JonJon says:

    whos in and whos out for you wath??
    ive seen most of the guys list on here..havent seen yours i dont think..

  271. JonJon says:

    i dunno rico
    i guess they need a dm in walter smiths style and bartley fits the bill..
    as long as he gets games i dont care..its better than not playing at all..

  272. W.A.T.H says:

    I don’t have a list JJ, they just vanish if I had my way ;-)

    Hence several bonfires Rico cos otherwise its gonna pen n ink a bit so need to spread em out…! :-)

  273. W.A.T.H says:

    Heard TV won’t be back til end of march early april, if we lose Kos or JD were in shit street !!

  274. JonJon says:

    after last nights debut would anyone give miquel a crack??
    i know hes a bit young to throw to the lions but he cant be any worse than stepanovs can he??

    never know he might look the fucking bees knees and save us 12-15mil in the summer..not like wenger will spend that anyway like but you know what i mean…

  275. K-TR7 says:

    JJ there is a popular opinion that parking the bus is the only way to beat them there.if you park the bus they’ll strangle you in your own half and its very difficult to regain control and they’ll run riot.playing a high offside line may be risky but will compress the space.this will push them further away from our goal which will also reduce the distance we’ll have to cover to reach their goal helping us conserve energy.

  276. rico says:

    i don’t care either really jj, he’ll toughen up and play footie, thats all we need him to do….he’ll be learning where ever he plays on the pitch….

  277. rico says:

    Thats not good news re TV WATH, no bonfire for for squilli just yet then…. however big ;)

  278. rico says:

    any team who parks the bus against barca will get destroyed…….

  279. JonJon says:

    no parking the bus ktr
    keep the highline
    it will leave us open to dodgy offside calls and villa loves playing off the last man but id rather take that risk than try stand off and let messi run at us…

    is that man ever injured?? surely its time he picked up a niggle

  280. K-TR7 says:

    Messi was injury prone when he was younger but now he rarely gets injured.

  281. rico says:

    right all, i’m done for the day…

    catch up tomorrow – be good,

    nighty night….

  282. K-TR7 says:

    I am also concerned about song.he seemed abit slow when pressing barca which resulted in him giving away lots of niggly fouls.i think he isn’t mobile enough.against newcastle before diaby’s moment of madness he showed he can play there.maybe its an option?…the camp nou crowd will pressurise the ref to send song of for those fouls.

  283. Will says:

    I still don’t think we will see TV again this season.

  284. JonJon says:

    must have bionic limbs..
    night rico

  285. JonJon says:

    songs mobile..
    hes just fucked…he needs a rest but he wont get one while denilson is useless in the PL, diaby gets injured or suspended or until rambo comes back..

  286. JonJon says:

    if we dont see tv again this season then i dont think we’ll ever see the real tv again
    a year out of the game is a long time..it will take him months to get up to speed and with the way koz and jd are going he wont get months..

  287. rico says:

    bionic limbs and my name in one sentence jj, that worries me :lol: :lol:

  288. K-TR7 says:

    I really hope we see Tv again this season.as you say jj a year out is just too much.

  289. Will says:

    I agree with you there JJ and that is a niggle in the back of my mind.

  290. W.A.T.H says:

    Diaby instead of Song would be suicide the bloke is a nightmare…. dithers on the ball slwos the game down cant tackle cant head the ball and gets the wrong side 90% of the time…! Song was giving away niggle KT cos of the booking in 5 mins, he wanted to tackle properly then prob pulled out cos was scared and then ended up fouling anyway…! He has to play…!. TV might as well rest til August but that also means AW fucked up big time yet again not buying in Jan !!

  291. JonJon says:

    haha rico..its not even watershed yet..

  292. rico says:

    :lol: jj

    Oh – Diaby will be injured again by the barca tie ;)

    Def gone now…

    be good you boys :)

  293. JonJon says:

    diabys not the best wath but until rambo gets back who would you rather have diaby or denilson..
    diaby got strength..which we lack when song dont play.
    diaby would have done last night to rest song..
    song wont get a rest now until after the final..and hes needed one for a fortnight..

  294. W.A.T.H says:

    Testerday is a dif kettle of fish JJ, def would of played Diaby to rest Song but not in a million years play diabolical instead of Song at the nou camp…!Song can rest the Sunderland game b4 nou camp…! Diaby can come in and try do a job although that wont be easy either.

  295. JonJon says:

    nah not at the nou camp
    song and jack all the fucking way ;)

  296. JonJon says:

    but he does need a break..
    hopefully we’ll be smashing stoke and brum 3-0 after an hour and we can take him off both games…

  297. W.A.T.H says:

    And do you start with Theo or bring him on in the 2nd half with 25mins to go..?

  298. Will says:

    When is Rambo back?

  299. W.A.T.H says:

    Should be end of the month Will…!

  300. JonJon says:

    v barca??
    start with theo again
    make em chase him for an hour like they did at the grove and knacker em out for AA to come on and do the biz

  301. JonJon says:

    rambos back last day of feb..
    he’ll play v orient..

  302. W.A.T.H says:

    Theo needs to stay wide and stay further forward in the 2nd leg…! Maxwell is shit scared of him and they put 2 extra to help all the time, time for Theo to use a bit of brain…! Am off mate catch ya soon… behave n no tu tu danceing round the lounge to keep warm ;-)

  303. JonJon says:

    lol
    no dancing tonight ive just done my toes.. ;)
    see ya sailor dont let the cowboy or the policeman get the better of you..
    chat soon mate..

  304. rico says:

    Morning anyone….

  305. rico says:

    Interesting….

    ARSENAL and Barcelona are locked in a bitter bust-up that is souring relations between the Champions League rivals.

    The Spaniards are furious with Arsenal for trying to snatch 16-year-old wonderkid Jon Miquel Toral Harper from their academy — just like they did with Cesc Fabregas.

    SunSport can reveal the storm erupted before the clubs clashed at the Emirates last Wednesday as Barca president Sandro Rosell made his opinions forcibly known to Gunners chief executive Ivan Gazidis.

    An eye witness said: “Rosell seemed to be raising his voice at Gazidis who stayed calm and did not respond. It was clear, though, that Rosell was particularly angry.”

    The Catalan giants are furious with the Gunners for trying to lure midfielder Toral. He has an English mother and is, I understand, now close to signing a professional contract with the Gunners.

  306. Will says:

    Morning Rico

    Saw that this morning, does someone want to remind Barca of the amount of times they have illegally tapped up Cesc?

  307. rico says:

    Morning Will,

    I think Wenger is trying to…

  308. rico says:

    New Post up – see you there Will

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