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Theo Walcott disappoints! No going back for this midfielder and Robin is not Racist!

October 31, 2011

So then, Yossi had naffed off the Blue side of London having tweeted:

‘What a great win today!!! Well done guys!’

Good man I say, I would have been pretty narked had he thought otherwise and I think we can safely assume he won’t be returning to the Chavs next summer, in fact I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Wenger kept him on after his deal comes to an end.

The Chav fans certainly don’t want to see him back and have since labelled him ‘Judas’ – Ah, happy days eh….

Don’t suppose Yossi will lose too much sleep over that..

Walcott has been talking about his goal on Saturday and how he is lucky to be alive!

Hhaving missed a chance to pass to Aaron Ramsey who was free, he fell over, got back on his feet quite rapidly and somehow, after getting past a few static Chav defenders, he blasted a heartfelt shot with venom passed a hopeless Cech to give us a 3-2 lead he said:

I managed to lose my balance but get up quite quickly. If I hadn’t scored Aaron (Ramsey) would have killed me because he was free.

Sometimes you just have to be selfish and when it pays off, it’s all worthwhile, I hope this kicks starts a bit more go in the not so young anymore English winger/striker!

However, having put in his best performance for a good few weeks now, Walcott has kind of put his foot in it and said just what we hoped he or any of the other players wouldn’t start saying:

We don’t want to say where we’re going to finish at the end of the season, but the way we’re playing at this moment in time we believe we can beat anyone.

Why?

Why not just enjoy the victory, a victory which still had a few faults within the performance, keep his head down and concentrate on what goes on on the pitch?

Why start telling the world that we can beat anyone? Keep those thoughts in the changing room and don’t set the team up for a mighty fall. We have a massive game tomorrow night and that should be on every players mind, nothing else right now.

Feet on the ground Theo…..

One thing I did like reading though was his comments on Robin van Persie:

He is a great leader, a great captain. Anyone in that dressing room will tell you he is an absolute leader.

Good, it seems we finally have a captain that players look up and believe in his leadership…

About time to eh?

Talking of our leader, he has totally rebuffed the stupid suggestion that he is racist after his celebrations on Saturday:

It is totally ludicrous to suggest that my action of brushing my shoulder could be construed as anything else but a showing of joy and celebration.

Hasn’t Robin celebrated in a similar fashion before?

Funny how this has been highlighted after a game against the Chavs, the side whose captain does have a case against him to answer…

Oh well, onwards and upwards for us, Champions League again tomorrow night and a victory against Marseille should be enough to secure our involvement in the knock-out stages…

Have a good day all….

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That One is For You Mr Buck!

October 30, 2011

This fixture would tell us more about ourselves than any other recent one.

We arrived at the Bridge having won six of our last seven in all competitions, including some credible wins – notably away at the Velodrome in the Champions League and at home versus Stoke last weekend.

Chelsea on their patch is a different proposition entirely, an impressive performance – be it win, lose or draw – may suggest (dare I say it) that we can still mount a credible title challenge. An unimpressive performance may have suggested our good recent run is a false dawn…

Even if we had gotten off to a great start this season and were sitting in the top three, we would likely have gone into this match as underdogs, so I would not have considered a loss as decisive – I was more interested in how we played and competed.

Thomas Vermaelen and Carl Jenkinson were back in the squad but had to settle for a place on the bench.

Prior to kickoff, we received confirmation that we will face unbeaten league leaders Manchester City at home in the Carling Cup quarterfinal tie. Piece of cake, eh?

We lined up Szczesny, Santos, Kos, Mert, JD, Ramsey, Song, Arteta, Theo, Robin, and Gerv.

Fab, TV, Jenks, Frim, Rosicky, Arsh and Ju rounded out our bench.

The last time we won at the Bridge (late 2008), Robin scored twice as we rallied from 1-0 down to win 2-1 over a Drogba-less Chelsea side who arguably were trying to get Big Phil sacked. We lost each subsequent home/away/cup match to them until the 3-1 home win at the end of last season.

In last season’s 2-0 league loss here, we started quickly and had spurned two great early chances to score, so when Theo laid goals on a plate only for first Gervinho and then Robin to spurn, I feared the worst.

In the first move, Theo burst past a certain Cole as though the latter stood still and put a great low cross in for Gervinho to scuff wide, Theo  then repeated the move, only for Robin to shin wide.

It was almost inevitable we would pay for not converting and the bill was presented a quarter of an hour in. Mata was afforded way too much time and space on the right and he put a great cross in for Lampard to beat Mertesacker and head home. Great cross that it was, Mertesacker should have done better to cut it out or at least put Lamps off.

For the next ten minutes, we gave as good as we got but were neither side were able to fashion any clear openings.

That changed on the half hour mark, as Chelsea should have made it 2-0, Lampard put Sturridge through on goal; with time to pick his shot, the latter sent a tame left foot shot wide with the entire goal at his mercy.

That was a huge miss, and we needed to make Chelsea pay for it and we only had to wait five minutes…

Ramsey started the move with a great through ball to Gervinho, who drew Cech and squared for Robin to equalize.

Within seconds, Sturridge thought he had restored Chelsea’s lead, but he was rightly ruled offside as he fired home…

Just as it looked we would go into the break even, Chelsea did regain the lead. Ramsey conceded a corner down the left, Lampard delivered it and Terry beat Mertesacker to the ball to bundle it home. It was a good finish from Terry but once again, the German was beaten easier than he should have.

Neither Arsene nor AVB made any halftime changes.

Robin worked Cech with an early shot, as we looked to make a quick response to Chelsea’s late goal. Throughout the first half, Boswinga had given Santos fits down the left. With three minutes gone, the roles were reversed, as our left back latched on to Gervinho pass, got free down the left and slid the ball through Cech’s legs for our second equalizer.

As with our first equalizer, Chelsea responded within a minute. On this occasion, Cole got free right outside our area and Szczesny rushed out and brought him down. It was clearly a foul, and the question was whether referee Marriner would deem Szczesny the last man – resulting in a sending off – or not.

Kos was covering on the other side of goal and appeared to have gotten far enough back to make himself the proverbial last man. So Marriner opted for a yellow and a free kick, much to our relief. Szczesny then produced a fine save, diving to his left to keep Lampard’s deep free-kick out…

Chelsea came again, this time Santos ended the attack with a great tackle on the edge of our box…

We then took the lead for the first time, ten minutes into the period, there appeared to be little on when Theo drove down the right with the ball.  He checked inside and then slipped over about 30 yards from goal. Despite the presence of two defenders around him, he got up, collected the loose ball, went in alone on Cech and beat the Chelsea goalkeeper at his near post for our third of the afternoon.

We have had gotten plenty of criticism for defensive howlers over the past couple of seasons but I cannot recall too many instances where we simply gave up on a play, as Chelsea appeared to and let the opponent score. That is not, by the way, to diminish Theo’s effort and overall performance in any way. He has often played well against Chelsea, and today was no exception, certainly his best performance for several weeks.

We knew Chelsea would try and respond but we made the better chances, with Ramsey – having another great game – fashioning a good chance for himself but unable to apply the finish.

AVB then made his first change, replacing Sturridge with Malouda and then bringing Lukaku on for Ramires ten minutes later.

JD was the first Arsenal starter to make way, with Jenks replacing him on 75. AVB made his final change, Meireles for Obi-Mikel a minute later.

The changes were not immediately decisive, however, as we held firm at the back and defended well throughout the side and when conceding possession,we worked hard to either win the ball back, or cut Chelsea’s routes to goal off.

With just over 10 minutes to, Robin reacted angrily to an inadvertent-looking elbow as he and Ivanovic contested a high ball. Our captain appeared to shove the Chelsea defender as they walked up the pitch and Ivanovic collapsed, probably to get Marriner’s attention; the referee took note, spoke to both players and issued yellows to them both.

At the 80 minute mark, Rosicky came on for Theo and within a minute, Chelsea were level.

During the move, Lukaku clearly fouled Santos, pushing him off to retain possession, and feed Mata, who beat Szczesny with a wonderful curling strike from just outside the box…

So after going 3-2, we were pegged back again and with ten-plus minutes remaining, it was anyone’s game…

Arsene certainly thought the foul should have been called, giving fourth official Webb a prolonged “what for” on the sidelines…

Just as 3-3 full-time started to look likely, we regained the lead four minutes from the end of regulation.

Malouda actually started the move with a poor back pass which sold Terry short, the Chelsea skipper awkwardly slipped – similar to Theo earlier in the half – and Robin was on the ball in a flash, going in one-on-one with Cech.

The Chelsea keeper, probably anticipating Robin to shoot with his left foot, dived to his right; Robin simply checked on to his right foot, rounded Cech and stroked the ball into the empty net for his second and our second lead.

Arsene made his final change two minutes from time, replacing Gerv with TV.

We wrapped it up in the second minute of stoppage time, clearing a Chelsea corner for a four-on-two break. Rosicky waited for Robin then sent him clear down the left and our captain beat Cech at his near post (again!) for the hat trick.

Chelsea were finished and we saw out the remainder of the 4 minutes and 45 seconds stoppage time with no further trouble.

Our biggest test of this recent run turned into what was clearly our best sustained half of football, our biggest league win and our first away league win of the season. Perhaps it is a bit ironic that such a key victory was not rewarded with a rise in the standings: we started the match in seventh place and moved up to sixth at the final whistle but Liverpool’s win at the Hawthorns in the late kickoff moved us back down to seventh.

No matter, we are on the right track and if we keep playing like we did in the second half, we should be back in the top four sooner rather than later…

That is not to say, however, everything was perfect.

We were defensively shaky in the first half – particularly Mertesacker and Santos and we didn’t take all our chances.

Everything improved dramatically in the second half and that is a performance to build upon.

Robin will obviously get the plaudits for that hat trick but everyone contributed to this win. For me, other standouts were Theo, Ramsey, and Kos, with Gervinho and Arteta also having fine games.

Over 90 minutes, every team will make its share of mistakes – this was an afternoon where the good far outweighed the bad…

I will say – yet again – that we and the players can help ourselves by not getting too far ahead. Since the disastrous collapse at Ewood, we have steadily climbed the table, are topping our CL group and are into the Carling Cup quarterfinals. We clearly have momentum, we are getting some of our injured players back and our current players look to be getting more and more comfortable with each other’s games.

So let’s quietly continue doing this.

We are on our way back, which is evident and does not need saying. In fact, there is little that needs to be said. Let our actions on the pitch do the talking, and lets refrain from proclaiming what we are going to the do to this team or that team…

That is advice my compatriot and erstwhile Chelsea suit (Chairman) Bruce M. Buck would have done well to heed. On Thursday, discussing the club’s failed attempt to re-purchase the Stamford Bridge freehold, he told supporters to “get together and beat the crap out of Arsenal.” Our only response is to smile and point to the full-time scoreboard…

A final word on referee Andre Marriner. I thought he did a fine job this afternoon. He made some decisions which upset both sets of fans – notably Szczesny’s yellow instead of red and Lukaku’s foul on Santos in the build-up to Chelsea’s third goal.

Nevertheless, I felt he gave the players the benefit of the doubt on both occasions and I thought he was consistent in this respect. He kept his cards in his pocket for the most part and when tempers started to simmer a bit in the first half, he spoke to the players and calmed things down rather than flashing cards left, right and centre.

These are never easy fixtures to handle but I thought he and his crew did a great job, using restraint, common sense, and consistency.

So we head back home with a rather large scalp in our belt and a big away win over a credible opponent. Enjoy this now but don’t forget we are back to work on Tuesday, with our home tie versus Marseille. Win that one and we are just about into the Champions League group stages. Then we have a West Brom side at home on Saturday – a side that took four points from us last season. We can ill afford to spend too much time patting ourselves on the back over today’s result.

Neither should we dismiss it as just another win, yesterday’s result is a signature win and tangible evidence that we have turned a corner and heading in the right direction. This should show us that we need not fear anyone, so long as our attitude and application are right.

If we continue to play as we have today, we will win far more than we lose, and we have a real chance of turning this into a pretty memorable season.

So let’s celebrate a great win, and then get back to work, all teams are only as good as the last result, and – for better or for worse – we are certainly no exception to that…

Written by Oliver


Big Speech Arsene, Now we need a big performance to back it up…..

October 29, 2011

If we give absolutely everything and fight together for every single game in every single competition we can still look back at the end of the season and be proud of our attitude and what we have achieved.

Have we fans not been saying that for many seasons now?

It’s all very well Wenger coming out with this rousing speech at the AGM on Thursday night but why has he not been able to be as passionate with his words to the team over the last few years? Sometimes we have played so poorly and without passion it’s pretty clear the manager has not been able to motivate the players in a way he maybe could or should have done.

Thursday though, Wenger said he spoke from his heart and if he did, maybe the old motivational skills are on their way back and he’s got it in him again to get the best from the players?

We’ll find out later….

Seriously, we can beat this Chelsea side today, if every player ‘turns up’ ready to play and fight from start to finish. Each and every one of them needs to back up Wengers words with action, do that and be proud of the shirt on their back.

Team News:

Gibbs, Sagna, Wilshere and Diaby are all definitely out of today’s squad, Jenkinson may be fit enough to start, depending how his training went yesterday and Vermaelen is definitely in the squad but may not start. Wenger suggests that that decision is down to us playing again on Tuesday against Marseille.

Why, the most important match today is against Chelsea, why is he already thinking about the Champions League fixture? If Vermaelen is either fit for today or he’s not, the squad for Marseille will take care of itself when Tuesday arrives and I’m sure every Arsenal fan cares only about getting at least a point today at Stamford Bridge!

Remember this??

Of course you do, it’s only a few months ago………

Song, Cesc and Theo were the goal scorers when we last played the pensioners back in December, what a game that was too and despite Robin van Persie missing a couple of glorious chances in front of goal. Drogba, who is missing today having seen red last weekend was a threat that day, but the most notable involvement in the game was a bust up with John ‘Thomas’ Terry after we went 3-0 up!

Djourou was immense that day, maybe the first time one of our defenders had Drogba in his pocket and Theo Walcott had a day to remember, we need another from him today.

That victory saw us go to second in the league and the talk was all about us being title contenders, Wenger was one of a few guilty of making that comment.

We didn’t need it then and we certainly don’t need it now, regardless of the outcome of todays game.

In that fixture we lined up:

Fabianski
Sagna
Kos
Djourou
Clichy
Fabregas
Nasri
Walcott
Song
Wilshere
van Persie

Substitutes:

Szczesny
Squillaci
Diaby
Rosicky
Arshavin
Chamakh
Bendtner

Are we facing them today with a stronger squad than we did back in December last year?

Chelsea are on a pretty good run despite not keeping a clean sheet during their last eight games. The last time we beat them at their tired old ground was back in 2008, but maybe the significant statistic is that we are on a run of eight away league games without a win – our longest in the Premier League.

So the odds are stacked against us today, but as Wenger says:

If we give absolutely everything and fight together for every single game……

We may just spring a surprise on the pensioners today…….


Seven wins from Eight, are we out of the slump?

October 28, 2011

Morning all,

Seven wins out of our last eight, does that mean we are out of the slump?

I would say no but we are getting better though. Our confidence is building and team spirit is improving but we are still a way off winning the league, FA cup or Carling Cup not to mention the Champions League!

The hard reality is that it may take a season or two to get over the loss of Fabregas, Na$ri and Clichy.

Yes we have brought replacements and given time some of them may go close to replacing these old players but that time is not here yet.

Our worst result for many years is still emblazoned in our minds, I know we had a lot of players missing but 8.2 is a drubbing however you dress it up. Since then we have gone on a little run and the teams we have beaten have troubles the same as us in one way or another, so we can’t start praising ourselves up until we inflict some damage to some of those teams at the top end of the table.

The teams above us are there for a reason, they have set targets for themselves that we must reach but have we got the team to do that?

I don’t know the answer this season, unlike previous ones when I have always thought that our team was good enough to compete with the best in our league. It’s hard to say just where we really are this season as we haven’t had all our best players playing at the same time yet. Injury or suspensions has rendered that question impossible to answer.

Supporters are more upbeat than they have been since the start of the season, seven wins out of the last eight seems to have lifted spirits but we are still not playing impressively.We still hold our breath when we face a free kick but thankfully the players have started to deal with these a little better and supporters may have started to fidget less in their seats but they still expect a calamity to happen any minute.

Dependability has gone out of the window and we have gone from confident side to a team that plays one game at a time.

Wenger has started to introduce his latest crop of youngsters and early signs look encouraging but whether he uses them in the first team remains to be seen.

Per Mertesacker has taken a while to fit in but now seems to be settled in and has started to form a good understanding with Kos.

Arteta, who many had thought was a replacement for Cesc, will never be as there is no replacement for our ex captain, he was a one-off and his pin point passes and defence splitting runs is now just a distant memory. He has done a good job and although he maybe guilty of holding the ball too long but when you have no one running for positions what do you do?

Santos has been used spasmodically but with Gibbs injured so often, he’ll feature more no doubt.

As for some of our longer term players, Mr ‘reliable’ Sagna, injured right now with a broken leg, Alex Song, Mr I’ll run through walls for you is still doing his best and Arshavin, who is not one of my favourites is starting to improve. Mind you, maybe playing him in his preferred position helps!

Robin Van Persie has been like a breath of fresh air, his fitness has improved and he has found the back of the net, enough said, I don’t want to jinx him.

Rosicky has done what he needs to do mostly good but not enough, Theo Walcott ‘I’m not a winger’; well his form has been dreadful! He runs around like a headless chicken, where he’s running to nobody knows. Having played as a winger for four years or so, he now thinks he might be a striker.

A striker he may be but he has a lot of competition and Ju Park has just thrown a spanner in Theo’s works and with Chamakh, Gervinho and not forgetting the Ox and Ryo all looking for a start, Theo may be better off staying on the wing.

Chesney seems to have cemented his place as our No1 goalkeeper and from what I have seen of him, he’s probably the best of the three.

Thomas Vermaelen is again like a new signing and supporters want him back but where to field him? Wenger will have to scratch his head and work that one out. Jack Wilshere has been out since the start of the season and I doubt we will see much of him, maybe the last couple of months.

Aaron Ramsey’s form has started to improve but I think he misses Jack and Chamakh, well he has a lot to do and if he doesn’t soon, I think he’ll be off. Frimpong is in there battling with Coquelin for a place in midfield but both will soon become a fixture I am sure.

We also cannot forget that Diaby is yet to feature this season.

There are more that have started waiting in the wings and from what I have seen or heard about them, it’s encouraging for the future of our club.

Chelsea on Saturday, how are we going to do against a top team?

This is where we see if the team’s confidence is high enough to do battle and come out on top.

We will have to wait and see but with our old nemesis Drogba suspended our chances are far better. Chelsea have an ageing team and reading between the lines not all is well in their camp, you can throw money about all you like but ageing players mean slower players, we have to run them ragged.

I believe we will.

Written by Steve Palmer


Thank Goodness Wenger isn’t English…….

October 27, 2011

Morning all,

Seems like I was wrong in an earlier post I wrote suggesting that the FA was after our manager.

Wenger has publicly said that he would never consider managing England and he’s also said that the position should be filled by an Englishman, suggesting that the best man for the job is the fella down the road. You know the one, the twitchy wheeler-dealer but that’s not to say that Wenger wasn’t asked.

I touted Stuart Pearce but he’d already been appointed as the manager of Team GB for the next Olympics so I guess that’s why he ruled himself out.

The strange thing about this appointment is that Wenger is not to keen on letting his players play for team GB, I guess it’s because of Jack, Theo and Aaron and some of our other British players.

When you think of it, England do have a bit of a nerve asking for players to be released to play for their respective countries.

Look at Jack for instance, they want him to play for the under 21’s,  for the senior team aswell and you can bet your bottom dollar that he would also be called up for Stuart Pearce’s Team GB.

I’m a passionate Englishman, I would always like to see Arsenal players representing their countries but I believe that it shouldn’t be to the detriment of the Arsenal.

We find these talented players, usually youngsters and we either buy them from wherever or bring them through our youngsters program. We train them, nurture them, pay their wages, only for the FA or Team GB to use them whenever they like.

Recently we have been going through a bit of a lean spell, although hopefully we are through the worst times and are now improving game by game but with the injuries we have had in this first eight to ten games makes you realise that when were short of players the FA or England really don’t care, unless of course they have an international fixture coming up.

You have to consider that every home game at Wembley must bring in £3 to 4 million.

They don’t have to pay transfer fee’s or worry if any one player gets injured they just leave it to the parent club to nurse these players back to health. The FA must have insurance in case of injury but we have to play without the injured player sometimes to the detriment of our own club and although I like to see England do well, I would much rather see Arsenal do better.

We now have a few possible England players and perhaps Team GB and Wenger must be getting worried, after all the English press have had a field day at his expense since the start of the season which makes me laugh when I think of some of the comments and articles I have read about our poor players and Arsenals position in the league.

Will we make the top four, will Wenger get the sack, will he walk away, then, the same bodies ask for some of our players to make them a few quid and help them field a team. No wonder Wenger shows little response to them, not to mention some of the decisions their referees have given against us.

At the end of the day our players want to be seen on the big stage and we have already seen that not every Arsenal player views his long-term future with us and have jumped ship. Unless we start improving trophy wise we could lose a few more.

So should Wenger allow these players to play in these Internationals or the Olympics or should he just concentrate on Arsenal’s form?

Tough call if you’re a patriotic Englishman, thankfully Wenger is not.

Written by Steve Palmer


A Stroll in the Park, Simples!

October 26, 2011

We have a treat today, a match summary from Allezkev who was at The Emirates last night…

We lined up:

Fabianski, Yennaris, Squillaci, Vermaelen, Miquel, Frimpong, Coquelin, Benayoun, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arshavin and Park.

Substitutes:

Mannone, Meade, Boateng, Ozyakup, Aneke, Ryo, Watt

We appeared to start out 4 4 1 1, although at times it was 4 5 1.

Arshavin played through the middle, Young was superb, constantly moving, making runs & making himself available.

The first half was fairly uneventful, Adam Bogdan made a couple of saves & Fabianski was forced to made a good stop.

Bolton put out quite a strong side and most of the first half was an evenly fought contest.

Vermaelen came close from a free kick, Arshavin looked as if he was going to chip it over the wall but instead slid a short pass to Verm who unloaded a thunderbolt that Bogdan did well to push away.

Bolton went for it from the restart and caught us but after they scored the game seemed to open up. We quickly equalised and soon after got a second. Boltons fragile confidence sagged, they had a good go at us but their finishing was terrible.

Young came close with two efforts, a dribble across the face of goal followed by a rasping shot from 20 yds that Bogdan palmed over and late in the game he again found himself in front of goal but seemed to slip as he turned and shot. It nearly crept in but Bogdan again saved.

A lot of fans would have gone last night, to see what all the fuss was about Oxlade~Chamberlain. Maybe he suffered a bit from all the hype and high expectations but it wasn’t his night.

He did some really good things and you can see his quality but it didn’t fall for him as a couple of chances went begging. He was a whisker away but he’ll have other nights when he’s the hero. He looked frustrated when he came off, so you can see he’s desperate to succeed. He still has a lot to learn but he’s a fantastic player and he’s at the right club to learn properly.

Park Chu Young announced himself to the Arsenal fans with a superb 90 min display. Despite being dwarfed by Knight & Cahill, he competed and won his fair share of high balls and as the game went on you could see him improving & growing in confidence. He always made himself available, was constantly making runs and angles for a pass.

He could have scored twice in the first half, a rasping 20 yard drive that Bogdan palmed around the post and an opportunist turn and shot in the area that Bogdan grabbed by the post.

A goal hanger..? A goal poacher..? His goal was class a goal scorers goal..!

Our Goals:

Arshavin gained possession on the edge of the Bolton box. Looked to go on a mazy run but just made a bit of space for himself and seemed to pass the ball diagonally across the face of goal and between the Bolton defenders and into the far corner of the net with Bogdan left stranded. It looked simple, or ‘simples’, but the execution was superb.

Park Chu Young scored a real strikers goal. Arshavin again gained possession, advanced on the Bolton penalty area and waited until Park, to his left, began his run and just sent a slide rule pass that Park ran onto. Park opened up his body and just bent his shot around & across Bogdan and the ground exploded. I think he is going to be a very useful weapon in the weeks & months ahead.

Katkuta was giving us problems but Miquel and Benny were doubling up on him and just about keeping him quiet.

Fabianski was a mixture of good stops & flaps. Overall he did ok, but I don’t want him near the 1st team. He will always be a goalkeeping enigma.

Yennaris had a very solid 90 mins. Tackled well, didn’t waste a pass and did enough to show that he has 1st team potential.

Miquel was a surprise at left~back but he did very well against a dangerous opponent in Kakuta. Benayoun often dropped back to support him [Theo take note] and together they nullified the danger.

Squillaci picked up a brainless yellow card, a foul on the halfway line with the Bolton player going away from the Arsenal goal but fortunately after that he got his head in gear and had a reasonable game. Just keep him away from the 1st team.

Vermaelen was the big selection surprise but he was superb for his 83 mins.

Besides his first half exocet he just went about his business with the minimum of fuss. He went off to a standing ovation, a job well done and a 1st team place at Stamford Bridge a near certainty.

Frimpong & Coquelin again showed their huge potential, they anchored the midfield despite some tasty Bolton challenges.
Both have different styles but both have complimentary assets that give our midfield that mixture of robustness and delicate technique. Chasing and harrying one moment, moving the ball around with precision the next.

Benayoun had a good solid game, buzzing around, always available, using the ball intelligently, helping out his team mates. Benny is a valuable member of the squad. Reliability is his middle name.

We had the full set from Arshavin, one minute we’d be pulling our hair out at another lazy misdirected pass, the next  we’d be dancing in the moonlight at his skill, vision and ability. We’d be moping around after giving away possession, next the axis in a sublime passing movement. He was behind everything good in this performance.

But that’s our meerkat..!

Other substitutions:

Ryo came on for Oxo, to a big cheer. He went on a couple of buccaneering runs that promise an exciting future. He gets you out of your seat that’s for sure and once this rough diamond has been polished he’ll be a dangerous weapon in our armoury. On one occasion he battled with a much bigger Bolton player and somehow came away with the ball, blasting off towards the Bolton goal. I think he is gonna be a big favourite of the fans in no time.

Ozyakup came on for Frimpong. He was neat, tidy and moved the ball intelligently, another with a lot more to offer.

Boateng came on for Verm & played out the remaining 7+4 mins without mishap.

Some of the passing & movement in the 2 nd half was top-notch. The defending at times was harem scarem but THIS IS Arsenal.

Some of the Benny, Arshavin, Park combinations in the 2nd half were of the highest level as Bolton were pulled all over the place.

Bolton did have opportunities and when Verm went off I did fear a late headed equaliser as they threw the kitchen sink at us but their finishing is terrible, at times, Hackney Marshes standard luckily.

Now for a home draw in the 5th Round. Palace would be nice.  :-)

Written by Allezkev


Surprise Vermaelen return tonight? Form goes out the window for this game….

October 25, 2011

League form bears little relevance to Cup Competitions in my opinion and especially in this Cup.

Teams change, different personnel come in for their chance to show their worth, prove that they deserve a chance on a regular basis.
We can expect little different tonight either, we should see a mix and match of old and new, experience and inexperience but whoever gets their chance, I hope take it.

It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that Robin van Persie will sit this one out, maybe Wenger will keep him on the bench for that ‘just in case scenario’ – but I hope not, he needs to take this opportunity to rest and rest properly, not be sat around on a cold damp chilly night in London.

This is our starting eleven from the last round against Shrewsbury:

Fabianski
Jenkinson
Miquel
Djourou
Gibbs
Chamberlain
Coquelin
Frimpong
Benayoun
Ju Park
Chamakh

Substitutes:

Damien Martinez
Nico Yennaris
Daniel Boateng
Oguzhan Ozyakup
Ryo Miyaichi
Chucks Aneke
Sanchez Watt

Whether Wenger takes tonight’s fixture a little more seriously remains to be seen.

After all, we are facing a fellow Premier League side in Bolton, one that we huffed and puffed against in the league and only managed to score the second and third goal once they had been reduced to ten men.

He has no choice but to makes changes at both left and right back due to injuries to both Gibbs and Jenkinson, no doubt Santos will come in on the left but on the right, I’m not sure who will play.

I strongly suspect that Djourou will continue there, however, we are talking about Arsene Wenger here, who knows what he will do, maybe Yennaris will be his choice. ;)

Squillaci could come in to play alongside Miquel, unless of course Thomas Vermaelen makes a welcome return, he certainly looked ready in training yesterday..

Will he, or won't he??

Wouldn’t it be a sight for sore eyes to see him back in red and white tonight, a massive boost to every player in the side and every fan across the world?

Wenger said yesterday:

He is back in full training again, he is alright now.

I think he will be at least on the bench.

The midfield will no doubt be the same, unless Tomas Rosicky comes in to add a bit more experience to the side and having been an unused substitute on Sunday.

One pairing I hope stays the same as the last round is Ju Park and Chamakh, both need playing time and both need to have a good game. Hopefully they can get a few goals between them, not only for the team of course and the result tonight but maybe more importantly, for themselves.

Things are starting to improve a little for us but we should be very aware of the wounded animal…

Bolton are struggling, they are suffering maybe the worst they ever have done under Owen Coyle and tonight they will be glad to escape the pressure of the Premier League and they have just been on the receiving end of an earful from their captain Gary Cahill:

A few of the lads, myself included, need to have a look and question themselves over whether they are doing enough.

You can maybe afford to carry one player but you cannot afford to carry a handful and it has been different players in different games.

When you are under pressure, there is only so much you can head out and defend. It is difficult because I was out there (against Sunderland) thinking, ‘Why are we under so much pressure?’ We were defending all the time. We have to sort it out.

Owen Coyle has confirmed that he is planning to make seven or eight changes and no doubt those coming in will want to impress their boss, wanting him to believe that they could be the players to turn their season around – another reason for us to stay focussed from start to finish.

This is going to be a tough fixture and nothing should be taken for granted.

I hope Bolton sort their troubles out but not tonight, I hope they have to defend as much if not more than they had to at the weekend when they lost 2-0 to Sunderland.

We need to continue our mini recovery, grow and build each game and there would be no better way to go and face the Pensioners on Saturday than with another win under our belt…

Oh and of course be in the pot for the next round ….


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