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Carlos Tevez could be the Next Maradona! Song is Happy for Buddy Ade!!

September 30, 2011

Fun Day Friday…..

Aren’t you just glad we don’t have players who refuse to play when asked? Ok, we had a sulky Anelka years back, an Adebayor who made it clear he wanted out to earn a better wage and Nasri for the same reason but I don’t think any of them actually refused to play when asked.

The saga going on with Tevez is laughable, he’s now been banned from playing for two weeks and he’s not even allowed to train either so how is he supposed to keep his fitness up and his trim figure in shape?

Which brings me back to him being the next Maradona.

You can see it now, can't you ;)

Still, at least he has been offered a lifeline by Irish minnows Limavady!

On a serious note though, how many clubs could afford to lose a player of Tevez’s quality for two weeks? No matter what has been alleged, surely this should all be sorted out quietly and out of the eyes of the press and until the truth has been established, Tevez should be training and playing if needed.

Imagine if that was RvP, we couldn’t afford for him not to play, he’s our key striker but I guess it all comes down to Citeh having so much money and so many players, they have that luxury of casting Tevez aside for two weeks and paying him £500k for doing nothing.

I don’t know what to believe, the club say one thing, the player another but if it comes out that he did refuse to play the likelihood is that he will be sold in January or loaned out for the rest of the season.

If it’s the latter, I wouldn’t mind Wenger taking him on loan for five months, would you?

Most players perform well for four of five months when they have ‘issues’, then they start to fade, by which time he’ll be gone again.

Talking of sulkers, Alex Song has been talking about Adebayor.

I know in the big games he will want to show he is not ‘dead’. Everyone put him down when he went to Manchester City but I am very happy for him.

We know Adebayor is a very good player and I am very happy for him now. He is my friend and has started playing well for Tottenham.

But I just want us to go there, try to play and win. He may be my friend but on the pitch it is different – I just have to do my job.

I agree with him, Adebayor is a very good player and he will be out to prove a point against us on Sunday but all friendship between players must go out the window. This NLD isn’t about buddies it’s about shedding blood for the club we all love and coming away with three points and letting Spurs know they remain in our shadow, no matter how much they want to believe otherwise.

Our players need to be up for this coming weekend, I know we all are……

Have a good day all….

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Oxlade-Chamberlain into the History Books as Arsenal Cling On…..……

September 29, 2011

What a night for our young Englishman, at just 18 years old he scored his first ever Champions League goal and became the youngest player ever to do so!

That was possibly the brightest part of this game, other than Santos securing our victory with a second…..

None of us really wanted to Alex Song in defence but with so many injuries, it was inevitable and he started alongside Mertesacker.

Yet again we didn’t start too well, Olympiakos had their first chance within minutes but Fuster fired his shot wide from just ten yards out. We follow this with a break but the ball over the top for Chamberlain is too strong and he has no chance of catching it before the ball goes out for a goal kick.

Seven minutes into the game, Santos and Chamberlain combine well, only for Rosicky to lose the ball just outside the penalty area.

Then the moment of magic, Chamberlain collects the ball on the edge of the penalty area, jinks passed a defender and finds the bottom of the net. I thought it was a fantastic goal from the youngster, cool head, calm finish, 1-0! This seemed to pick us up a bit too after a nervy start.

Record Breaker......

Straight after, Sagna crosses from down the right but Olympiakos head clear for a corner which came to nothing.

Arshavin then tries to set Rosicky on his way, but the Czech is too slow these days and the away side defend with ease.

Chamberlain, possibly our best player of the night, shows his skills again before finding Arteta, whose cross is deflected out for a corner. The Spaniard fires in the corner, Chamakh meets the cross but wastefully heads wide.

Arteta was then the hero, clearing off the line a Rafik Djebbour chance which looked easier to score than miss. Great defensive work from our number 8, shame the same can’t be said of the defending which led to the chance!

Santos is the next player to fire a ball forward, but yet again it’s with too much pace and goes through to the goal keeper.

Then, on 20 minutes, Santos worked well, his cross failed to find Chamakh but as the ball rebounded back to him, he blasted it into the back of the net. 2-0! That was his first goal in the Champions League too.

Happy Chappie :)

2-0 but hardly cruising!

We go on the attack again, Frimpong plays a wonderful ball through to Arshavin but the little Russian was judged offside. Chamakh was then guilty of a shocking miss and the chance to go 3-0 up, having been put through by Arshavin; he dragged a simple chance wide.

Olympiakos then go on the attack but Fuster ruled offside, however, within minutes he finally get’s his chance and takes it well. Gifted of course by shocking defending, not one player picked up Fuster from a corner and he had a free header which he powered passed Szczesny!

That was only half an hour into the game….

Suddenly, from a comfortable lead, we look shaky – same old same old eh, Szczesny makes a good save from Djebbour, the resulting corner calls the Pole into action again. We looked all over the place.

Not a lot really happened up until half time, other than Rosicky picking up a yellow card… Couple of half chances for both sides – Arshavin and Rosicky can’t decide who is going to shoot during one of our chances and their dilly dallying allows the ball to be cleared.

Half time…

The away side get the second half started and it’s not long before they have another chance on goal from outside the box – Szczesny dives across goal but thankfully the shot goes wide.

Chamberlain has the chance to get his second of the night, having been played in by Chamakh; he’s one on one with their keeper but just fails to lift the ball over him and into the net. The Englishman is involved again when he sends in a cross but neither Arshavin nor Chamakh can get any good connection on it.

Just on the hour mark, a big moment for the ref, who totally bottled it in my opinion! Chamberlain out does Holebas with his pace down the right and the latter hauls him back. Holebas had earlier been booked and this should have seen him off to an early bath but the referee gave nothing, no free kick, no booking, nowt! Shocking decision!

After that, both sides have a few half-hearted attacks but little came of them.

Just after the hour, Torosidis saw a fantastic effort from the right edge of our box, beat Szczesny only to rattle the crossbar!.

Olympiakos thought they might have earned a penalty from a Chamberlain ‘handball’ in the box.

Shortly after, Chamberlain is replaced by Ramsey. Great display from the 18-year-old, he’s going to be very good…

Chamakh, who again looked lost last night was finally replaced by Robin van Persie on the 70 minute mark and it wasn’t long before the Dutchman had his first shot on goal but it’s blocked by a defender and cleared away from danger.

In to the final fifteen minutes and Djamel Abdoun and Francois Modesto are brought on for the away side in place of Mirallas and Pablo Orbaiz and shortly after Gibbs replaces Arshavin.

In the final ten minutes, we hung on and it seemed that Song stopped everything. I didn’t want him to start in defence but I’m now sure glad he did. He worked hard, especially in the second half and in my opinion the MOTM award is a close run between him and Chamberlain.

Not a convincing win by any margin, not a convincing display but we can’t forget how many players were missing last night and we can’t forget that getting three points was vital and we did just that.

Sometimes we need to win ugly, that’s just what we did. We were the only English side to win on match day two of the Champions League and all with our manager sat in the stands.

That ban is now served and he’ll be back where he belongs when we face Marseille, the side that sit top of our group.

Have a good day all, next up is the NLD, bring em on…. ;)

Nine Out Tonight as Injury Curse Hits – Yet Again!!

September 28, 2011

Two weeks ago we went to Dortmund in our Champions League opener for the season and we came away with a very hard earned point.

The result was a little bit disappointing – we held on so well and for so long only to concede right at the end. It’s too early to judge how useful that point will be but as Arsene always says in the group stages it is all about winning all our home ties and getting something away from home.

Tonight’s side will be very different from the one that started in Germany, Koscielny, Walcott, Benayoun and Gervinho are all missing through injury. Djourou is also on the injury list, which again seems to be getting longer by the day – nine is the last count! Miquel pulled out of the reserve fixture on Monday, it is looking very likely that Song will play alongside Mertesacker.

We are joint second in our group with Dortmund and Marseille lead the way after beating Olympiakos on match day one.

Tonight we welcome back Champions League action on match day two, with Olympiakos rolling into town and the last time we met was in the group stages in 2009. We won the home leg 2-0 but lost the away tie 1-0 when we fielded a largely youthful side with Bartley and Ramsey impressing on the night.

Having lost their opening tie in the CL this season Olympiakos will be looking to gain at least a point tonight but they will have their work cut out. They have never gained a single point in England and have only scored a single goal in the process. This goal was scored by Rivaldo at Anfield in 2004/2005 but sparked a comeback from Liverpool who eventually won the CL that season in Istanbul.

We on the other hand have made the Emirates a fortress in Europe. Since we started playing at the Emirates we have only lost once against Manchester United in the semi finals of the CL in 2008/2009 season. What makes this record even more commendable is the fact that both AC Milan and Barcelona failed to beat us when they were the defending European Champions at the Emirates.

Olympiacos play with a 4-5-1 formation which means they will set out to stifle us any space to play in. They will be led at the back by former Aston villa player Olof Mellberg. We must build on our 2nd half performance against Bolton if we are to win comfortably tonight.

We should burn them with raw pace, even without Theo as most European defenders have shown their vulnerability to it. I expect both Arshavin and Rosicky to start and hopefully they will impress, as should Arteta who now has a CL match under his belt.

Right now it’s all about creating momentum with our relatively new side, a good win tonight will give just a little more belief heading into the weekend.

Arsene  Wenger will celebrate his 15th anniversary at the club this week and let’s hope we beat both Olympiakos and the Scum down the road in convincing fashion.


Written by K-TR7

Sir Alex Speaks, Bring Back 3pm on a Saturday….

September 27, 2011

Fergie has been talking about the fixture’s and how the so-called ‘top sides’ have theirs moved around just to suit television showing.

It shows itself quite clearly because when you see the fixture lists come out now, they can pick and choose whenever they want the top teams on television.

Come on Ref, Our Flight Leaves in an Hour!! :)

You get some ridiculous situations when you’re playing on Wednesday night in Europe and then at lunchtime the following Saturday. You ask any manager if they would pick that themselves and there’d be no chance.

Just how many comments have been made on here about our hectic fixture schedule when we are competing in all four competitions?

How many times have we said that the fixtures are all about who plays who and what Sky Sports and ESPN choose to broadcast?

Not only that – how many fixtures are moved just to suit the same broadcasting companies, to ensure they get the most viewing figures?

Is Fergie right?

Look at the Champions League, any side can travel from one country to another and that journey could take many many hours, they could then have to deal with a time zone and severe weather change, let alone pitch conditions! Then, just because Sky Sports want to show that team at the weekend, they could be asked/forced to play on Saturday lunchtime and then, in some circumstances, have had to play again in a Domestic Cup fixture just a few days later!

Also, Fergie mentions how the television channels can ‘pick and choose’ which games they show after the fixtures are released, ‘pick and choose’ being the words that hit home in my opinion.

Why do they assume that Arsenal v’s Liverpool, Manchester United or Tottingham will be a better game than Bolton v’s Blackburn or Stoke, QPR or Swansea for example? Ok, they get to televised on the odd occasion but as much as the ‘top sides’ – I doubt it. Also, with no disrespect meant, those sides are not playing quite so many fixtures.

What gives them the right to think a derby match makes better viewing?

Surely the Premier League viewing should be shared, money going equally to all sides competing – in fact some would say that there are clubs more in need of the money earned from the likes of Sky and ESPN – so why don’t they show them more often?

If they don’t want to do that, then what about just bringing back the Saturday 3pm kick off and show the lot – then every team get’s just what it deserves in the financial cut throat world that BskyB has made sport, in particularly, football….

On top of that, every footballer at every club gets proper rest, they will prolong their healthy career and fans will see them play longer and more often.

After all – isn’t that what football is really about  – playing, being a fan and shouting from the rooftops in support of the club you love?

It’s not all about Sky ‘bloody’ Sports is it??

Do you agree with Fergie, or is he just having another moan?

Finally, reports suggest Jack Wilshere is out now until April after having surgery on his ankle, that means he won’t play again this season after our club medics get their hands on him! Didn’t we just know that?

No doubt we will soon hear the same about Thomas Vermaelen……

They Have Only Gone and Done It Again……

September 26, 2011

Yep, Laura Harvey and her Gals have now won their third Cup in a season. Yesterday’s 4-1 victory over Birmingham Ladies, a side they have not beaten all season, secured the Continental Cup. They had already won the Women’s Super League and the FA Cup, so a nice Domestic Treble in the bag for another season.

Well done to the Ladies…..

From the good news to the bad:

Despite the victory at the weekend, all the Red Tops want to focus on is our players and their contracts, especially Robin van Persie!

The Sun

Maybe I’ll leave it because the main thing for me is the team and that we play well.

The Mirror: Van Persie Stalls on contract talks! Big Headline but all he says he wants to concentrate on results.

The Guardian – Robin refuses to commit to new contract headline

The Telegraph – Arsenal fear Van Persie will leave as talks stall headline.

I gave up after that, what garbage they all print eh!

So, big headlines but each story also prints that our number ten is happy at Arsenal and right now we have many fixtures coming fast and furious, he suggests now is not the time to be talking.

Arsene Wenger has confirmed that the club are talking contracts with players, I beg them to sort his contract out as soon as possible, we can’t afford to lose another experienced player like Van Persie next summer when he will have one year left, especially with the likes of Citeh hovering.

The same can be said for Walcott and Sagna, who I think are also into the final two years of their contract. We need additions to the players we have, not lose the good ones. No, I don’t mean Almunia and Squillaci!

Van Persie says that Dennis Bergkamp was his inspiration in football, on his arrival at Highbury:

The first thing I did was watch the video of Dennis’ best 100 goals, and I was like, ‘wow’.

In my first season I scored five league goals and a couple in the Carling Cup and FA Cup. I thought it would take me 10 years.

I didn’t really start to think about it until I scored my 82nd, 83rd, 84th goals and then realised I only needed 16 more to achieve that.

I hope RvP learned how Dennis respected Arsenal too, how he stayed loyal to the end and how today in the heart of every Gooner, Dennis Bergkamp remains a hero…

Have a good day all……

A Win, A Milestone, Another Injury……

September 25, 2011

After failing last week to string consecutive league wins together for the first since the beginning of this calendar year, we will try to make it back to back in any competition, and follow our 3-1 Carling Cup third round win over Shrewsbury Town with a similar result against second-from-bottom Bolton Wanderers FC.

Last weekend we killed off our own fledgling momentum with a loss to then-bottom-of-the-table Blackburn Rovers last Saturday, we get another bite of the cherry against another side that will start play below us in the table.

This is supposed to be the easy part of our schedule, a breather after our brutal start – but we are making hard, hard work of it.

Arsene took the time to update us on the injury situation in his Thursday and Friday pressers.

Ramsey and Sagna both passed fitness tests and eligible to play.  Rosicky is also fit again.  Squil is approximately a week away from returning.  Diaby is only 3-4 weeks away.  All good news, as we are still short on depth.

On the negative side, JD (hammy) was ruled out for yesterday and Arsene provided the official confirmation of Benayoun’s midweek tweet that he will be out for at least a week, due to a thigh strain.

Prior to kickoff, we received confirmation that Bolton will be returning here for the Carling Cup fourth round tie.

We lined up Szczesny, Gibbs, Mert, Kos, Bac, Ramsey, Song, Arteta, Gerv, Robin and Theo.

Fab, Santos, Frim, Rosicky, OC, Arsh, and Chamakh comprised our bench.

While the inclusion of only one spare defender (a left back) may have raised some eyebrows, I suspect that if Arsene needed to replace either Mert or Kos, Song would go back into the centre of defence, and Frim would assume Song’s normal duties in midfield.

While I don’t think cb is Song’s best position, in this instance, I thought Arsene absolutely did the right thing here; including Miquel in the squad would reduce options if we should need a goal late.  By designating Song as the emergency cb, Arsene was able to include the returning Rosicky, while still retaining the options of OC, Arsh and Chamakh.

For Bolton, Coyle left Arsenal-target Gary Cahill out of the squad and dropped Kevin Davies to the bench.   The match got off to an ugly start, with Kos and Ngog clashing heads while contesting a high ball.  Both were on the deck for a few minutes, both needing treatment, although the former Liverpool man came off for the worse.

When play resumed, Bolton fashioned their best opportunity of the game, Wheater heading the ball down to Pratley from a free-kick, and the latter forcing Szczesny into a difficult save.  For a few minutes, Bolton was on top, as we looked nervous and tentative.  But as fragile as our confidence has been, Bolton are in a worse position than us, and that great chance which Szczesny saved probably didn’t do their confidence that much good…

Our first opportunity came from a great Arteta through-ball.  On this occasion, Gerv took a heavy touch, allowing Jaaskelainen to clean up.  Still, a sign of things to come, as we started to find our rhythm, control possession and tilt play towards the Bolton goal.

Around ten minutes in, Robin curled a shot just past the post, as we pressed.  With twenty minutes gone, Coyle was forced to make an early chance, bringing K. Davies on for Ngog, who couldn’t continue.  At this point, it was clear that we were going to have success down the flanks, and we continued to work them.

Through the opening two thirds of the half, we had taken only a couple of shots, neither of them drawing a save from Jaaskelainen.  As the half wound down, we started shooting on goal.  The best effort of this flurry was a stoppage-time close range effort from Robin, which Wheater blocked.  When the half-time whistle went, we had raised our shot count to eight, but – tellingly – still had not forced Jaaskelainen to make a single save…

Neither manager made any changes at the break, as we kicked off the second half moving the ball directly towards Bolton’s goal.  This time, however, we made it count immediately.  Ramsey’s excellent pass released Robin on the left; he took it towards the corner and squeezed a shot between Jaaskelainen and the left post.

The goal was slightly reminiscent of how Robin beat Valdez to equalize last season’s cl first leg tie versus Barcelona.   The timing was fantastic for us, and probably as bad as possible for Bolton, conceding so quickly after keeping us out for the first half…

This, as hoped, spurred us on as we looked to put this one away then and there.  Robin should have doubled the lead, but denied by an excellent low save from Jaaskelainen…

Ten minutes after the restart, we gained a huge advantage when Wheater pulled Theo – who was clean though – back on the edge of the box.  While the contact looked soft, the Bolton defender definitely obstructed Theo; Referee Clattenburg showed Wheater, as the last man, a straight red.

Now Bolton, in addition to being down a goal, were down a man.  Coyle responded by sacrificing Muamba for Boyata…Surely this was the moment to turn the screw.  Robin took the free-kick, spotted in a central position, just outside the box – unfortunately, our captain drove it straight at Jaaskelainen…

We took complete control from there, mounting a one-way procession towards the Bolton goal, and forcing their keeper to earn his pay.  Jaaskelainen twice saved from Arteta; from the latter save, just after the hour mark, Bolton cleared the ball and former Manchester United man Eagles found himself clear.  Gibbs did fantastic to make up a whole lot of ground, eventually forcing Eagles wide, with the latter only able to fire straight at Szczesny…Then it was our turn to counter and Robin shot just inches wide of Jaaskelainen’s post…

Just prior to Eagles’ breakaway, Robinson went down as Bolton got the ball clear, and stayed down.  Eagles ran the length of the pitch, but couldn’t convert.  So, naturally, we countered and almost got a second goal…

Unfortunately, several Bolton players took issue with Robin, and ganged up around him, one even putting his hand in our Captain’s face.  I don’t quite know what the Bolton players were so aggrieved about; if it was because Robin took the shot while Robinson was still down, they would do well to remember that their defender was on the deck as Eagles broke clear – if they were so concerned about him at the moment, they should have put the ball out themselves.  I

f they were going to ignore him and try and hit us on the counter, then we have every right to do the same to them…Theo, perhaps a bit belatedly, intervened and got the Captain away before he unloaded on Pratley (who looked to be Bolton’s chief instigator) or Knight, and it calmed down a few minutes later, with handshakes and nods all around…

Not that the pattern of play altered – it didn’t…Theo crossed for Robin, who forced Jaaskelainen to push his fine header wide.  Then Kos took a pop from outside the box, and the Bolton custodian again had to save…At this point a second goal was inevitable, and it came 20 minutes from time.  Theo again did great work down the right, cutting inside and sending a beautiful cross in for Robin to glance home with a delicate touch off his left foot.  The goal marked a personal milestone for Robin, his 100th as an Arsenal player.  It was also the 15th goal Bolton conceded this season, taking them one past us in the allowed column.  That was effectively that…But we didn’t stop there.

First Ramsey forced Jaaskelainen – playing his customary blinder against us – into another difficult save…Then Song’s smart pass sent Theo through alone – with time and room to pick his shot, Theo blew the opportunity by sending his shot directly at the keeper…That should have been three.

Arsene then made his first change, with Arsh replacing Gerv.   Rosicky then replaced Arteta five minutes later, and five minutes after that, Chamakh replaced Robin, so the latter could depart to a standing o for his milestone…And on this occasion, Robin and Chamakh sorted out their “What do I do with the armband?” routine, as Robin directed the latter to give it to Rosicky, who skippered the team during the final few minutes…

There was still time, however, for another goal, which came a minute from time.  This goal was also created down the right hand side, with Bac doing the hard work before pulling back for Song to blast a right footed shot high into the net from just outside the box.

The four minutes of stoppage time were uneventful except for the final minute, when Theo first pulled up, then crumpled to the ground while trying to latch on to a Chamakh pass.  It looked bad, and even though Theo got up under his own power, he limped straight down the tunnel.  So we played the final minute out with ten apiece.  Arsh tried a shot from a difficult angle, sending it behind the goal.  The whistle went as soon as we took a throw-in on the left, and the three points were in the bag.

What was an excellent second half team performance and personal milestone for Robin was soured by Theo’s injury.  There is no news of how bad it is yet; after the match Arsene said they thought it was Theo’s hammy, but the player told staff it was his knee.  So we await news of the scan results.

Following our mid-week Carling Cup win over Shrewsbury, there were calls for OC to supplant Theo in the starting eleven.  If the latter’s injury is as bad as it first looked, than many will get their wish.   Whether one thinks it is the correct move or not, surely nobody can genuinely be happy that it may come about from a serious injury to Theo.  Except for his finishing, I thought he was absolutely excellent today, and we will definitely miss the Theo we saw this afternoon…

So, for the first time in ages, we put together consecutive wins.  Going back a couple of weeks, we have now won 3 of 4…And if the second half at Ewood never happened, we would be talking a four-match winning run, and the crisis talk would be pretty subdued right now…But the second half happened, and it won’t be quickly forgotten.  Nevertheless, we have responded to that catastrophe with back-to-back wins, and – for the moment – have a bit of momentum…

The home crowd may have given our team, Arsene and certain players a rough ride as things went pretty sour over the past several months, but they certainly have not lost their sense of humour.

As the minutes ticked by late in the second half, with the team enroute the win, a chorus of “We’re staying up” rang out…Indeed, the three points took us well away from the drop zone.

We currently sit on seven points, in 12th place; and much of that is due to our wretched goal difference.  We could potentially be as high as seventh, with a reasonable gd…Even though we are down in 12th at the moment, the fifth placed team (Liverpool) has only three points more than us, so the opportunity is there for us to move up quickly…

A good way to help ourselves climb the table is to refrain from the “We’re back” and “Now we are going on a run” kind of talk.  We have already seen several false dawns, and nobody ever got to where we want to go by talking about it.  So let’s not put extra pressure on ourselves by talking about how were are going to do this or that…

Let’s just keep quiet, put our heads down and continue moving upwards.  Few things would give me more pleasure than to see the world wake up on a Monday morning in February to see Arsenal sitting top of the table, with everyone wondering where on earth we came from and how that happened…

Despite headlines trumpeting how Arsene declared how he thinks we can still catch Man United, our manager was sensibly restrained during his Friday presser.  What he actually said is the gap between us and the leaders is a big concern, and it is better to concentrate on our performances and not worry about United – absolutely!

While catching and overhauling the league leaders should be the ultimate goal, there are too many teams between us to shout it from the rooftops.  As before, focus on what is immediately ahead of us and look to close the gap that way.  Should we do that, we won’t need to tell anyone how we believe we can catch them – everyone will already know we are for real…

Even though we gained two points on United – thanks to an unexpected, but spirited and resolute performance from Stoke – we have more pressing issues ahead of us, starting with Olympiacos midweek, and then the NLD on the weekend.  Should the Spuddies do us in the latter fixture, we will be right back where we started, so that match is so important, for so many different reasons…

If we can put them back in their place, then we will have real, tangible momentum and will have looked to have weathered the worst.  I personally think we have momentum already; but momentum is only as good as your most recent match…

So let’s enjoy our win, our clean sheet, several excellent performances – and this includes a solid team-wide defensive effort, particularly in the second half -, and our Captain’s century of goals for us.

Whether he will be here for 200 goals or not is anyone’s guess; but yesterday he did the business for us, and as long as he can play and score like this consistently, we will be ok…The goal, obviously, is to be better than just “ok”…

Now we need to really start working towards that – we just cannot afford any more “two steps back” performances…

Written by Oliver

Walcott Ready to Pull His Socks Up and asks The Rest to Follow Suit!

September 24, 2011

Djourou and Yossi are out for today’s fixture with thigh strains but Rosicky, Sagna and Ramsey back in…

I don’t think too many fans will be disappointed with the Djourou news but Yossi, well it’s a shame having opened his scoring tally midweek.

It’s hard to believe that since Bolton beat us back in April this year they have lost nine games out of the ten they have played and we have won just two of the nine we have played.


It’s time to roll up the sleeves, pull up the socks and start playing football the way that most of us fans believe we are capable of playing. It’s time for the players to start being a bit more focused, a bit more switched on and a whole lot more determined in the way they play.

Theo ‘I love to talk’ Walcott has finally come out with something that makes total sense:

Us players, we need to look at ourselves and start doing it on the pitch, to be honest. A lot of people say about the defensive sort of issue but it’s not just the back four, you need to look at defending as a whole team.

Hoorah, Ding bloody Dong, roll out the carpets and get the bunting out, finally someone speaks a bit of sense. Quit the stupid sloppy mistakes like we saw last weekend and starting defending as a team.

Half hearted attempts at making clearance headers and tackles, a fumble of the ball into the back of the net – it’s school boy errors that cost us and it’s time get that out of our game before it’s too late.

Again today we face a side which has a player who was linked to us all summer but this one we actually made an offer for – so all eyes will be on him and you do need me to tell you who that is.

We are the best club in the Premier League right now, for conceding goals that is but today we seriously need a clean sheet. That could again be tough, Bolton have a little fiery one up front in the name of Kevin Davies and of course they have N’Gog who signed from Liverpool in the summer. Both will fancy their chances against us. Kakuta will also be confident after a man of the match display against a strong Aston Villa side in midweek – a match they won 2-0 away from home.

We also had a good win midweek, albeit the side we field today will be very different one to one that beat Shrewsbury.

One thing going our way today though is that we have won the last five home fixtures against Bolton, let’s go make that six.

Robin needs two goals for the 100, Gervinho needs to be less selfish and more ruthless and Theo has met up with Arsene again – he is desperate to play through middle and in turn become far more involved in matches.

I believe I can give so much more to the team playing up front, with the runs I can make off the ball, and I just love hitting the back of the net as well.

At times I feel a bit, if not wasted, then in and out of games on the right. I just want it more and more, having scored a few last season – I’m not a winger and I think plenty of people know that. I’ve done OK out there but I’d love to play down the middle.

Go on Arsene, make that day today, let Robin and Theo be our strike force, see where it takes us……

It’s worth a try isn’t it?

Have a good day all….

Defence is Solid say’s Arsene Wenger and He’s One of The Best Managers in the World……..

September 23, 2011

So says Owen Coyle ahead of our battle with Bolton tomorrow.

In fact, the criticism Arsene has received is absolutely ridiculous. He is one of the best managers in world football. Always has been. Always will be. The nature of the league we are in, with its global coverage, is that everybody has an opinion and sometimes there will be criticism.

If someone asked me which team I wanted to go and watch, I would choose Arsenal, the way they play football is so pleasing on the eye. They have unbelievable players. They have pace. They are dynamic. Free-flowing. But sometimes people have to be careful what they wish for.

I feel he is the perfect fit for Arsenal though, given their history and tradition and the way they have evolved over the years.

Spot On Owen, Arsenal and Arsene are the perfect match, the club want to save money to clear debt and Wenger doesn’t want to spend it – just purrrfect!!

The other bit in Owen Coyle’s interview suggests that he expects Wenger to make another offer in January for Gary Cahill.

1)      I hope he is right.

2)      I hope it’s an offer that ensures the Centre Half is soon playing in the red and white of Arsenal.

As we keep saying though, we have who we have and can’t change that so the only thing we fans can do is hope Wenger has had the squad staying behind for training this week – they certainly appear to need it.

Wenger has reassured us all that defensive training does take place, despite some doubting it:

We work on it every day and practice, I believe that we have been solid quite recently – in Dortmund but not at Blackburn. There is a lot to improve in our defensive consistencies.

The modern game is a team sport more than ever because everybody has to defend completely. All the big teams do it. You do not get away with just seven or eight and the rest watching.

If you don’t do it as a team it doesn’t work. On the day at Blackburn I believe we were a little unlucky and certainly a bit naive as well – we have to concede that. We have played five games, but we started our season basically two weeks ago.

Two weeks ago, Arsene it started on the day we played Udinese……

Wenger has also been talking about the massive influence the fans can have on a game and now calls for the team to start giving something back to them. The only way to do that is to start finding some form:

I always feel that the vibes have to come out from the team, If the vibes coming out from the team are right, the crowd will follow and support us.

So let’s focus on us being right because the crowd feels that. We believe they have to trust us on that.

Amen to that Arsene Wenger, this side of ours does need to start finding some form starting tomorrow and cutting out sloppy naïve mistakes will go a long way to making that happen.

Either that or make sure when we have twenty shots in a game, we convert them all, then it won’t matter so much… ;)

Have a good day all…..

Another Injury, Big Tony talks Relegation and that Weasel Barton talks B****X……

September 22, 2011

Two stories to talk about today, the first has to be the biggest load of poppycock I have ever read – and that is Joey ‘Thug’ Barton reckons he was in with a chance of signing for us and he’d been in talks with Arsene Wenger in August. He goes on to suggest that the incident with Gervinho put a halt to any chance of a move to us……

All I will say is that he is not speaking with forked tongue, then big thanks have to go out to Gervinho.. ;)

Onto the second:

Old boy Tony Woodcock has come out of the woodwork and seems to have jumped on the ‘Let’s talk about Arsenal’ bandwagon…

We’ve seen over the years that clubs can go down that are not expected to, It’s early days, only a few games. This togetherness, this determination, if you haven’t got it to pick a trophy up then how’s it going to be to get away from the relegation zone?

I hope I’m not right, but I don’t want to be sitting here in three or four weeks and they’ve let some more goals in and they haven’t picked up any points. We’ve gone six years without winning anything and are now in this tricky situation.

I’m hoping it’s going to be a bit of a kick up the backside for everyone.
But Woodcock was quick to point out there are currently plenty of positives surrounding the North Londoners as well.

The club are very stable, have got a fantastic stadium, have a fantastic training ground, are making a profit. Although we’re not very happy with where Arsenal are at the moment, there are lots of pluses and positives that have been happening at the club.

It’s not all doom and gloom. There’s a bigger picture there as well.

Tony Woodcock was born and bred in Nottingham, so why does he say ‘We’ – he played for us for four seasons between 1982 -1986 so he is hardly Mr Arsenal is he?

Maybe a few things he says hold a little bit of truth but where was he when we were winning under Wenger, did he speak out then?

No, I doubt it, I guess he’s just another in a long list of ex players who need to earn a bob or two…..

Talking about being relegated so early in the season is just daft, relegation form yes but things can change quickly in football. We haven’t become a bad side over night, we are just down on confidence and if Wenger can sort out the defensive problems, we can soon start to build that confidence back up again.

Little bit of bad news, Yossi Benayoun said on Twitter on Wednesday evening that he is: “Very disappointed as I have a strain and will be out for a week or so.”

Hopefully he won’t be out for long, we need every bit of experience we have in this squad right now.

Benik Afobe has also out with a groin strain, he’s likely to miss the next four months according to Young Guns. What is it with injuries to our young players, just as they get their chance for the first team, injury hits…..

That’s about it for today, have a good one all….

A Glimpse of Tomorrow……

September 21, 2011


September 20, 2011: Emirates Stadium

Just a week after our heroic Champions League effort in Dortmund, we kicked this season’s Carling Cup off with a visit from Second Division Shrewsbury Town. Not the most difficult assignment – certainly not like last season, where we had an immediate trip to the Lane – but certainly not one to be taken for granted. Of course, recent form has shown that there is absolutely nothing this Arsenal side should take for granted.

We followed the win versus Swansea and draw at Dortmund with a horrific collapse at bottom-of-the-table Blackburn – a result that prompted our Chief Executive to come out today and deny that Arsene’s position is in any jeopardy. Of course it isn’t – but the fact that Gazidis had to publicly say so shows the pressure the club is feeling at this moment…

And so, amidst this backdrop, we welcomed the Shrews to the Emirates last night. With his side well placed in Division Two, manager Graham Turner said they will come to try and spring an upset, not just serve as cannon fodder. Arsene said he would name a side with plenty of youth, but with a good mix of experience as well.

True to his word, our manager started Fab, Gibbs, JD, Miquel, Gibbs, Frim, OC, Coquelin, Benayoun, Chamakh and Ju.

Our bench was Martinez, Yennaris, Boateng, Ozyakup, Aneke, Miyaichi and Watt.

Plenty of experience in the first eleven, and plenty of youth in the deputies…While the domestic cups are clearly a lower priority than the league and European league, losing to a second division side at home cannot be part of the plan…

We started well. Four minutes in, a Chamakh header forced Shrews keeper Smith to tip the ball over the bar. From the resulting corner, Chamakh then forced Smith to parry his shot but that was the extent of our early attacking as Shrewsbury started to control play.

First JD – Captain for this evening, by the way – conceded a foul on Wright but Fab was able to claim Jacobson’s free kick but Wright was then allowed too much room and his shot beat Fab, only to smack against the post and Fab was forced to parry the rebound.

That should have been warning enough for our players, but apparently it was not as the resulting corner saw Wright get free and head wide…

Shrews were on top at this point, and with a quarter of an hour gone, we paid the price.

Martin crossed from the right and Collins got between our Captain and Jenks to head past Fab and give the visitors a 1-0 lead…For the next few minutes, we were – predictably all over the place and Shrewsbury could have extended the lead. Ainsworth shot over the bar, and while Coquelin briefly relieved the pressure by drawing a save from Smith, we should have been undone by another set piece, with Grandison heading Wright’s corner from the left inches wide.

We were very, very lucky not to be 0-2 down with under half an hour gone. Gibbs was next to the rescue, only his last-ditch intervention thwarted a three on two break..

We responded by forcing a pair of corners and then drew level with the unlikely source of Gibbs heading Jenks’ cross from the right home – a well taken goal, with the game now back on…From there we began to dominate. Frim tested Smith in the Shrews goal and Ju then shot wide, as we pushed the opposition back and finally started to impose our will on them.

A few minutes before the halftime whistle, McAllister earned the game’s first booking for a foul on Chamakh; Frim took the free kick and forced Smith to parry it but we could not convert. The halftime whistle went a few minutes later, ending an overall poor first half for a pretty experienced Arsenal side, with plenty left to do for the second half…

Arsene did not make any changes at the interval and we started the second half as we ended the first, completely in charge…

First Coquelin, then Frim had shots, the latter forcing another save from Smith. While we didn’t convert, the pressure on Shrewsbury was heavy and surely our second goal was only a matter of time. OC and Benayoun both took early corners and Smith needed to punch the second one away…

The goal finally came just before the hour, with OC opening his Arsenal account. Benayoun got the assist; he picked OC out 25 yards from goal and the latter did the rest, finishing low under Smith and into the bottom left-hand corner…

Relief, to say the least but with a third of the match remaining and a very shaky defensive performance up to that moment, we could not afford to relax…

Instead of keeping the pressure on, however, we then saw a bit of a lull…We then sparked to life and OC should have extended our lead, but Smith tipped his shot around the post…

With 20 minutes to go, Arsene made his first change, bringing Miyaichi on for fellow debutant Ju. Turner simultaneously made a double switch, with Bradshaw and Richards replacing goalscorer Collins and McAllister, respectively. Miyaichi’s first contribution was to be flagged offside. Then OC – clearly the best player on the night – had another shot on goal, this time sending his effort wide…

As the match moved into the final fifteen minutes, we remained very much on top but could not get the elusive third goal. Part of the problem was that nobody but OC was shooting at goal. With 77 minutes gone, Arsene brought Ozyakup on for Frim, and then Taylor made his final sub, bringing Taylor (no relation) on in Ainsworth’s place.

With a minute coming on, Ozyakup got his first Arsenal assist, his pass setting Benayoun up for a close-range finish, the latter’s first goal in Arsenal colors. Like OC, Benayoun quickly tried to double his tally, but couldn’t convert…

With a two goal cushion for the final ten minutes, we sat back a little bit and Shrewsbury was able to dictate play for a spell, albeit without testing Fab or our defence. On the stroke of 90 minutes, Aneke came on for OC and we saw out the remaining few minutes with little difficulty; the match finished 3-1 and we progressed to the Carling Cup fourth round.

As welcome as that is, the most important thing was to get a win and ease at least a bit of the pressure on our club. We accomplished that, three of our players got their first goals for the club and we did it by rebounding from a 0-1 deficit, withstanding a few chances from the opposition to extend their lead and dominating as soon as we equalized.

Almost – but not quite as important was the opportunity to watch a few of our top prospects in action. OC, Frim, Jenks, Miquel and Coquelin all enjoyed starters minute, and Miyaichi, Ozyakup and Aneke are received substitutes minutes and all did reasonably well in my opinion. Hopefully the experience from tonight will be invaluable to them and the club.

I would be remiss not to congratulate Shrewsbury Town FC on their effort and performance.  There will be no patronizing, condescending stuff about a “plucky” lower league side.  Just a sigh of relief, and acknowledgment they had us on the ropes during the first 30 minutes; if they were able to get that second goal – and they should have – who knows what would have happened?

Even as we took control following the equalizer and the Shrews noticeably ran out of steam, they kept it going and tried to attack and get another goal. They came here, smelled blood and did what any good side should – attack a defensively vulnerable, low on confidence opponent.  So well done, Shrews, and good luck with your promotion campaign…

There were plenty of excellent performances, particularly among the younger players; there were also some bad performances, most notably our completely bereft of confidence and form Captain for the evening.  So while we had a peek at what may await when this current batch of youngsters are ready to become first team regulars, we simultaneously received a stark reminder of the issues and problems we currently face.

We got the win and dodged the banana peel; but it is no more than the proverbial “square one”.  Following the mini-sequence of win (Swansea) and draw (Dortmund), I remember Arsene and several players suggesting/implying that the worst was behind us – only for the debacle at Ewood to follow next…

So, if I may, I ask that we refrain from any pronouncements this time.  For one, it is going to take more than a result or two to persuade that we are back on track.  The only thing that will accomplish this is a series of sustained wins, highlighted by defensive solidity and clinical, economic finishing.  The finishing has certainly improved from the first couple of matches but the defence, as shown last night,  remains a massive concern and just does not inspire confidence at the moment.

So let’s try and keep a low profile, get to work, stop talking about what we are going to do, and go out there and actually do it…

We are not going to get there any other way…

Written by Oliver


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