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Goal scorer finally signed? Gazidis has lost it & What’s in store for us today?

January 31, 2012

Just a short post today as there is little to no news relating to OUR club.

We know what day it is, it’s Deadline Day and I strongly suspect most football fans will be wondering if their club will make a move today on what is their final chance to bag a bargain.

I don’t suppose it will be much different for Arsenal fans although the expectation is not quite so high as some.

To be fair, it’s been a very quiet transfer window to-date, only Chelsea, QPR and Newcastle have spent money and even that hasn’t been vast amounts.

However, their need may not be as great as ours and we still need a player who can score us goals and a player who can help us stop conceding them too.

Will we see Wenger finally dip into the market and spring one or two surprises like he did back in the summer or will we get to 11pm UK time knowing what we had in our squad yesterday we will have now until the end of the season?

Who knows eh but we do know there are a few players out there who would suit our needs very well……

One player who is reported to be on his way through the back door is Brussia Dortmund for 19 year old midfielder, Thomas Eisfeld, the deal is subject  to him passing a  medical and we’ll see today if there is any truth in that one.

Typical though, reports suggest his medical has to be a tough one, just to make sure he’s recovered properly from an cruciate ligament injury he suffered in 2009. Eisfeld has been playing for Dortmund under 19s this season and has managed six goals in twelve appearances, not bad for a midfielder eh?

Finally we seem to have found a referee that doesn’t hate us.

Following Alex McLeish stupid allegation made against Robin van Persie the FA were asked to get involved. However, Mike Jones has confirmed he saw the incident involving our captain and did not deem it to be ‘naughty’ – therefore Robin van Persie has no case to answer as the FA are not able to investigate further…

That’s about it really, unless you are interested in Mo Farah popping into the club to say hello to all, or Theo’s latest chat on the officical website telling us all he’s back to his best and wants to win trophies….

Or if you want to read about Ivan Gazidis telling the world how wonderful our club is and how we are still in three competitions but Manchester City aren’t and how the latter should be jealous of our achievements this season.

Is he for real??

I’d actually say we are in two, the FA Cup and Champions League as the chances of winning the Premier League are little to none! He also suggests that money isn’t everything… blah blah blah – Have a read if you can be bothered….. Heard it all before…

Well, I can’t be particularly, I just want to get to 11pm and know that Wenger has spent a few million of Stan’s hard-earned cash!!

Actually, it wasn’t that short was it… ;)

Have a good day all….

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Striker to leave, Defender linked & All over in seven minutes……..

January 30, 2012

Snippet on Ryo from Wenger:

I will have a chat with him tomorrow and I have a little plan. Oxlade-Chamberlain plays on the flanks now too, so if I can find an opportunity for him to play somewhere I will decide whether to do that tomorrow. It will have to be in England because he will lose the homegrown [status] if he leaves the country.

The good thing is he will be staying in England, so we’ll get to watch him a whole lot more than we do now….

Watfords Adrian Mariappa is the latest defender linked to us, he can play right back and centre back and is valued around £2-4 Million. Newcastle are reported to have had a £1.5 Million bid turned down so watch this space. He’s 25 years old, 5′ 11″ and English.

Oh, and cheap…. ;)

Back to yesterday:

From somewhere within the bowels of a team devoid of confidence, Robin Van Persie, Arsenal’s best player, their captain and talisman drove his beaten team forwards, to produce its most sparkling period of football since Stamford Bridge and possibly the season as a whole.

Maybe Robin senses that winning this competition, the last trophy won by Arsene Wenger in 2005 and which he was a part of, would be some form of salvation,  for a season that is fast going down the drain?

Robin is a proud man, he is proud to be the Arsenal captain, he feels that this is his team and his responsibility, to drive it towards some long overdue success. He can’t do it all on his own but he’s doing a bloody good job at trying….

If anyone deserves a winner’s medal this May, then it’s Robin Van Persie…..

Yesterday was mostly about a seven minute period of play….

A football match is about what happens over ninety minutes, not forty-five, and thank goodness for that eh?

Same old in the first half – good possession but little end product and then a shocking piece of defending gifted Aston Villa their first goal, and to be honest, the second goal was a bit of a gift too – ok Bent finished with real quality but where was our defence?

The first goal was a real crippler – as Villa approached, Merts was all over the place, having been dragged out of defence and then when Dunne jumped to head home, Flappy did what he usually does; Kos didn’t seem to even get his feet off the ground and any other defender just seemed to watch Dunne head home!

Not long after, Bent was clear in the box and fired a shot in, Fabianski made a good save but the ball came back to Bent and from a very difficult angle he slotted home….

2-0 down, yet we’d had all of the possession – same old then I thought!

Well, I wonder how many fans at The Emirates thought, ‘that’s it I am off’ – and left the stadium?

I know I just wanted to switch of the television and stop watching but of course, I didn’t….

Halftime soon came and went and the whistle blew for the second half and what a different half it was….

There was fire in the bellies of our players and we looked a totally different side.

The forty-five minutes that were to follow was all that we had been hoping to see from the beginning of the season. We can’t get that time back but if they can play like they did for the rest of the season, we have hope….

Bloody Love Em!.....

Walcott came to life, as did Song and Chamberlain – even Kos decided to attack their defence, and it all paid off….

Our first goal came from the penalty spot – Song played Ramsey in and he was clean through on goal but Dunne, already on a yellow card, hacked him down. No yellow, no straight red but we were rightly awarded the penalty and yes, none other than Robin van Persie stepped up and calmly slotted home.

Could we??

Well, it wasn’t long before we levelled through the much maligned Theo Walcott.

Walcott darted in from the right, reached the byline and poked a cross into the heart of the area. Hutton took a swing at the ball in attempt to clear the shot/cross but his clearance hit Theo and the ball rebounded into the net – just what we need, an ugly goal – who gives a toss how it went in eh, you have to be there to score and Theo did!

Remember poor old Miquel conceded a similar one against Liverpool earlier this season?

At 2-2, this was anyone’s game but we still had the possession and looked dangerous and it wasn’t too long before we made that count – of all people, Koscielny decided to go racing down the left like a winger and as he cut into the penalty area, Darren Bent gifted us a penalty with a clumsy tackle which left the referee with no choice but to point to the penalty spot.

Up stepped Robin van Persie and the rest is history……..

Listening to Theo speak after the match, it seems our captain was the man who delivered the rocket at half-time and whatever he said it worked so good on Robin.

Other than the victory, the bright lights were seeing Bacary Sagna return and of course Thierry Henry make a cameo appearance towards the end…

All in all a good result, but we still have a few serious issues to address – and yes, they are in defence.

How was Dunne allowed to out jump our defence?

What was Flappy doing when the cross came in?

Who was tracking Bent when he scored?

Pedantic maybe, but if we want to keep on winning, we need to rectify these school boy errors…

We don’t and we won’t always get away with it…..

Neither will Arsene Wenger……

There was an incident during the match involving our captain and the bitter and twisted Alex McLeish has suggested that the incident be looked at by the FA – he’s accusing Robin of deliberately elbowed Carlos Cuellar in the face.

No doubt the FA will jump at the chance…

Have a good day all……

D-Day for Arsene & could an FA Cup run reignite our season?

January 29, 2012

Arsene Wenger has made two statements this week, one in which he maintains that the FA Cup is very important to Arsenal and the second is that the Premier League remains his priority.

So on the back of that it’s decision day, who does he pick, a full strength squad, or does he use this game to rest one or two?

Will we see Chesney in goal, or the flappy Fabianski?

Personally, I love the FA Cup and if I were Wenger, I would be fielding the strongest side we have available.

Wouldn’t we all love to see our team at Wembley in the final of this competition, fighting for a trophy?

Of course we would…

Both Manchester sides are now done and dusted and Chelsea scraped through after a wonderful dive by Sturridge to give them a penalty which Mata converted. For a spilt second I thought my television had switched channels by itself and I was watching trials for the Olympic Diving team – it truly was a shocking case of deceiving the Chelsea Fan referee….

Newcastle also went out at the hands of Gus Poyet’s Brighton….

So, the so-called big guns are going but Liverpool and the Totts are still in the draw, all we have to do today is make sure we join them but it’s going to be tough.

Wenger has confirmed that Arteta, Henry and Coquelin are all in contention to make a return today and that is just the kind of news we all needed to hear. Diaby is pencilled in for a return at the end of next month and Djourou has been dropped ruled out with a slight hamstring injury.

Villa have Gabby Agbonlahor back from sickness and of course they have that little weasel Robbie Keane up front as well as Gooner Darren Bent, Heskey faces a late test but regardless, they have a strong attacking force.

Whilst we were losing at home last weekend, Villa were securing three points away to local rivals Wolves. Admittedly for the last fifteen minutes they were up against ten men but…..

They will be confident, while our confidence has taken a bit of a battering recently….

However, nothing like a good old FA Cup home fixture to get the wheels of fortune to change, a few injured returning, a spirited proud performance and a home victory could see some of that self belief start to return.

We need it too, we have a lost of hard work to get through over the next four months….

And it has to start today…..

Hazard deal on? Ryo to feature? Sagna’s fit so no left back signing & Arsene ‘back tracks’!

January 28, 2012

I don’t get this – Bacary Sagna, one of the best right backs in the Premier League, a player who is just returning after suffering a leg break is the reason give by Arsene Wenger for not buying a left back! Sheet, let the guy come back and play where he is best, not stick him in an unfamiliar position and risk another injury….

Gibbs is reported to be back in full training on Monday, so he will need another week I would imagine and in the meantime, we risk playing another player out of position. Not just any old player though, our best right back!

Logic? I can’t see any either….

Talking of logic and back to the substitution that caused so much outrage last weekend, Wenger has backtracked over Chamberlains injury:

He is alright, it was just fatigue. His calf was not gone or anything like that, he just started to tire a little bit. It is normal for a guy who plays a game at that intensity. But health-wise he has no problem. He will be involved on Sunday.

Call me a cynic, our manager knew he wasn’t injured at the time and now he’s trying to justify his actions…

Hey ho, that’s all gone now, tomorrow is another day, another game and I hope we don’t see anything similar take place.

One player who could feature tomorrow is Ryo Miyaichi as Arsene Wenger has said that Ryo’s future will be decided this weekend.

No of course that doesn’t mean he’s being sold but it could mean a loan deal is on the cards so it could mean we all finally see this youngster play some part against Villa and then Wenger will make up his mind whether to play him over the next few months or let him gain experience elsewhere.

Finally, no doubt you all saw the stories going around again yesterday about Eden Hazard, if we are to believe L’équipe, the French sports newspaper – Eden Hazard will be leaving Lille within the next 48 hours, and the club he is going to sign for is….. Oh, us!

Yeah right I say ;)

Until he’s pictured in red and white on our official site, don’t believe it….

Have a good day all, FA Cup day tomorrow….

Wilshere suffers setback! Moving from Highbury has certainly helped us.. NOT!

January 27, 2012

Having had the good news yesterday about Sagna’s return to training, reports are going around that Jack Wilshere has suffered a stress fracture and now won’t be back until April! There is nothing to confirm this on afc.com but there wouldn’t be would there, not until the transfer window is shut, otherwise the club would need to spend some money!

Chris Samba is making all sorts of threats to Blackburn in order to get his move away from the club, he obviously has his eye on going somewhere, wonder if it’s us?

Anyway, onto todays post:

Since Sundays expected defeat at the hands of England’s greatest team ever, Manchester United, led of course by the greatest Manager England has ever seen SAF – there has been much written and said about our own Manager Arsene Wenger.

Arsenal supporters have started to split, there are those in favour of change and those that believe Arsene Wenger’s six-year drought of Trophies is about to change.

I know how I think Arsenal FC should proceed but I’m not going to try and lead you to my way of thinking. Every supporter should know how they feel and which way they believe Arsenal should go.

Many players have been making statements since Sunday, and from Captain to goalkeeper, they state that the manager is right, he is the boss and he knows best.

Maybe he does but why did we lose then?.

Why did we not have any fullbacks in the team?

Why have we no reserve goalkeeper of any standing?

Why have we got a second in command who had to be pressed ganged into not retiring?

Why do we still have players who it is quite clear, that most of the players do not rate and finally,

Why have we still no replacement for our centre forward?

Statements of allegiance are all very well for the public but when you get a sixty thousand Stadium full of mostly Arsenal fans asking questions, and not for the first time, you realise that there is no smoke without fire.

Arsenal football Club is not a two bob operation,  we are the 3rd biggest club in the world and probably the most stable. They persevere with a no spending policy, fine if you have a squad that can cope with all situations, fine if you are winning your fair share of spoils but if that is not the case then things are not being run the right way is it.

The Arsenal Board are running the show off the field and how are they doing?

Well according to the annual profit Statements not bad, we appear to be one of the best run clubs not only in England, but in the world. Many supporters are looking for someone to blame for our lack of silverware over the last six years and it’s hard to point the finger at a board that appears to be running smoothly and making huge profits isn’t it?

This is almost the same board that changed our stadium from Highbury into a profitable building development and moved us to The Emirates and almost doubled the crowd capacity which of course is a step forward.

‘We needed to move in order to compete with the top clubs’  – that’s what we were told.

Reality is though, since our move to our shiny grand stadium, our actual on-field performances have nose-dived, we have gone from being successful to winning nothing. We lose on a regular basis and our players appear nowhere near the quality from previous years.

We buy cheaply and our style never changes and tactics-wise we have not progressed.

The man in charge of all football related decisions is Arsene Wenger. He is the man who has sold some of the Arsenals greatest players like Henry, Cashley, Paddy, Clichy, Fabregas, Na$ri, to name just a few, but has he replaced them with similar quality or work ethic?

Up to now the answer has to be No he hasn’t, he has replaced them with cheaper and average players and that has to be wrong.

We have made massive profits off the field and we have made the same kind of profits selling our best players, so money should not be a problem for us. I can remember one statement Arsene Wenger made when asked by a reporter what he would do it Arsenals board gave him a Hundred million to spend on players. Arsene’s reply was “I would give it straight back”. Hardly a statement that I could imagine SAF saying.

Mind you, he wins trophies every year and that’s why he is considered the best manager around today and he’s been winning them for many years…..

There are rumours circulating that Arsenal season tickets, which are already the most expensive in the league, are going up for next season.

Inflation no doubt and many supporters will dig deep and stump up the extra, while others will question the rise and that brings us nicely back to the split in support.

Funny though, one of Wengers excuses for not signing any new players was down to the economy, shame the club don’t think about the fans and reduce the season ticket prices, because of that same economy!….

Are you happy with Arsenal FC or can we do better?

Written by Steve Palmer

Could Hazard and Vertonghen really be on their way to Arsenal?

January 26, 2012

The usual gossip mongers were out in force yesterday and two I read related to the above players. Suggestions are that we have made bids for both.

Another I read related to Everton’s Baines, Wenger has shown interest but the two clubs are apart on the fee, in other words Wenger has offered a tenner but Moyes wants that figure in the millions… You get my gist.

Rumours were rife that Eden Hazard was at The Emirates on Sunday and watched us lose to Manchester United, his tickets having been given to him by Gervinho – again, I don’t know if this is true but I’m sure the media and red top reporters would have had a field day if story were it true, apparently a  French journalist spotted him in the crowd with friends!

Hazard and Vertonghen would be the kind of signings to please all Gooners and would probably be half way towards convincing Robin van Persie that his future remains at Arsenal.

Since last summer we have all read that Thomas Vermaelens best buddy is very likely to leave his current club and of course the Hazard rumour seems to have been around since Allezkev was born and that’s well over seventy years. ;)

Seriously, for the right price from the right club both could be available and there isn’t a better club than ours for them to join. Neither would spend their time sitting on the bench gathering splinters like they would at some places and both would just slot in like they have been with us for years.

How do I know that?

Actually, I don’t but that is what quality footballers do and these two are just that! They are not up and coming players with potential, they already have a reputation and both are very good. Ok, they are not proven in the English game but can you see either struggling to adapt? Nor can I.

Knowing our luck though, Hazard was only at The Emirates to watch Manchester United and Arry will get in first for Vertonghen!

Arsenal have until Tuesday to spring a surprise….

Here is an interesting article from the Daily Mirror – it’s worth a read…

Last night was a strange one, Manchester City with all their millions and all their superstars couldn’t muster up enough desire to beat Liverpool. That’s them out of the FA Cup, Carling Cup and Champions League for this season and I for one don’t doubt that they will soon start to drop a few points in the Premier League too, allowing Fergie and his team to walk away with another league title.

Pressure will be on them now and I’m not sure they have the bottle or belief in themselves to roll their sleeves up and win anything.

That’s why we need to start rolling our sleeves up and start fighting for that 4th or even 3rd place spot because both yet could easily be up for grabs.

Vertonghen and Hazard in the door and we’d get one of the places I’m sure…..

Actually, anyone with heart, passion, grit and a bit of steel in them could get us into the top four, that’s what we lack right now!

Have a good day all…..

Arsenal’s Transfer Day nearly here? Things actually look quite good, for the future…

January 25, 2012

Six days to go before we can expect some action from Arsenal Football Club, Arsene Wenger, Ivan Gazidis and his team of transfer negotiators.

It’s becoming a bit of an annual event for Arsenal, we wait until the last day of a transfer window before trying to push through some business and I strongly suspect that this deadline day will be no different.

A kind of Arsenal Transfer Day…

I believe that this is partly due to the fear of being gazzumped by the likes of Chelsea/Man City/PSG.

Also no doubt, its ,in an effort to see ‘interested parties’ such as the selling club, the player and the agents, lower their demands, financial demands that is.

Arsenal used this ploy to sign Andrei Arshavin and more recently to snare Mikel Arteta. Everton accepted a sensible fee and Arteta accepted a lower salary to the one that he was on at Everton. No doubt Arteta’s agent had to accept a lower financial adjustment for the ‘work’ he had to do to smooth the transfer, because Arteta wanted the move. Arteta wanted Champion’s League Football too and that was an important part to the deal.

The lure of Champion’s League football is a massive carrot to dangle but the question remains:

Will Arsenal have that carrot this August???

If Arsenal do not have the attraction of the Champion’s League, then watch the links to players like Hazard, Gotze, Podolski and M’Vila disappear. The lack of the CL, will totally hamper the clubs attempts to bring in that quality of player. Even if Arsenal’s attempts to do so, look lame at he moment.

I wonder if that stupid buffoon Peter Hill-Wood has considered those repercussions? Doubtful I suspect!

If the worst comes to the worst, will we see the ‘rats leave the sinking ship’..?

Robin Van Persie will be certain to leave and I suspect, that at 29 [ next August ] and with his history of injuries, that there will be many at the club rubbing their greedy hands at the prospect of a £30 million transfer fee.

That’s another £30million straight into the back-pocket of Stan Kroenke.

Theo Walcott could be just behind him at a cool £20 million. Stan might allow Wenger to spend the Walcott fee just to keep us plebs in check and I’m sure that Arsene could pick up 2 or 3 cheapo Frenchies for £20 million…..

It’s not all bad though…

In will come Joel Campbell and along with him will be Gervinho, Ryo Miyaichi, Benik Afobe and Oxlade-Chamberlain, that’ll be our attacking options for 2012-13.

Rosicky and Arshavin will be replaced in the squad by Coquelin and Frimpong, both being gradually developed to replace Alex Song when he eventually ‘jumps ship’. Coquelin & Frimpong will join our youthful midfield of Ramsey, Wilshere, Diaby, Henderson, Ozyakup, Aneke and that promising youngster Arteta.

Lansbury of course is also a possibility, that’s if the idiots don’t sell him!!

The defence looks reasonably strong and settled, with all our major players on long contracts.

Sagna [2014], Koscielny [2014], Santos [2015], Mertesaker [2015], Djourou [2014], Jenkinson [2015], Gibbs [2014] and Vermaelen [2015] our new captain. Then of course, in come Miquel, Bartley and Yennaris…..

I suppose that Vela is still an outside bet for next season, but to me, he struggles in English football.

Although still on the clubs books, I don’t really think that the likes of Park, Chamakh, Denilson and Bendtner really matter.

Wenger still has some scope and room for manoeuvre to make possible additions to fill those available spots in his 25 man-squad for next season.
Foreigners maybe, that have a burning ambition to ply their trade in the Europa League prehaps?

I know it can sound like doom and gloom but I believe that this squad, even without RVP, Walcott, Arshavin and Rosicky, have the quality to earn a top-four finish next season.

Right now though, I hope by deadline day we get one or two who can push us on to finish 4th this season……

Written by Allezkev

One mistake too many for Arsene?? Smudger says what most of us have been for a while……

January 24, 2012

Most clubs come to The Emirates these days with great believe that they will beat us and to be honest, why shouldn’t they?

Arsene Wenger perseveres with the likes of Arshavin, Djourou, Chamakh, Diaby, Squillaci, but in all honesty every Arsenal supporter and spectator realised they should have been gone a while ago now and it makes me wonder if Arsene Wenger has come to the end of his road?

This once great tactician has run out of idea’s, he is making mistake after mistake and its now evident that we need change.

What I witnessed on Sunday was the last straw for me personally.

Wenger’s substitution of Chamberlain to bring on a totally ineffectual Arshavin, was the last in a string of  many in recent weeks that just haven’t paid off, this one though cost us dear.

Having surprised us all by finally having the sense to replace Djourou at half-time as he was getting battered on the right, he took off one of our best players, if not the best and replaced him with a guy who week in week out looks as if he doesn’t want to be in England, let alone on a football pitch in a red and white shirt.

Fans have waited for half a season for who they affectionately call The Ox to start doing what we all know he is capable of, only to be taken off midway through the second half. Supporters could not believe what Wenger was about to do, we could all hear them vent their disbelief towards Arsene Wenger.

The Ox had started lively he is a definite Jack in the box, he showed some very clever footwork and his exuberance is intoxicating, something I used to feel the same way about Theo Walcott. When he first started I felt he was the shinning light but I was mistaken, he has never really reached the heights in the game that was expected of him.

Chamberlain though is very different, he’s big, strong and already convinces most fans –  he will be massive for us.

Why Wenger took him off when he did, especially after setting Van Persie up for the equaliser totally baffles me.

The Ox looked as strong as he had all game in fact as the United side had started to tire he was coming into his own. Wenger made the change and the look on that young mans face said everything, his mind must have been scrambled and surely he wondered what he had done to deserve being substituted.

He must have thought after Djourou had been subbed at half time for being totally outplayed that Wenger thought the same about him, but in the case with Djourou he was replaced with a better player Yennaris, but in his own case an out of form Arshavin was coming on.

My heart sank when I saw Arshavin coming on and as said earlier, the home supporters started singing, “You Don’t Know What Your Doing” and this was directed towards Wenger.

Wenger is no stranger to bad substitutions he makes them all the time but this one with The Ox was a complete howler.

Even our captain Robin Van Persie appeared to ask why, maybe he knew the only people applauding the substitution were Manchester United supporters. Mind you, he has been very quick to deny any fall out from Sunday, other players too are in support of their manager since the Man Utd loss.

Wengers reasons after the game were as hollow as his promises to improve the squad!

With millions sitting in the bank, he has decided that we don’t need to bring in any players in this window but he is wrong.

He was wrong this time last year and his wrong again now.

If I didn’t know better I would think he has done this deliberately – surely he cannot be allowed to carry on making these decisions?

I believe it is now time to start looking for a new man to manage us and hopefully he be in place for the start of next season. Now is not the time as I don’t believe it would be fair for another manager to take over to clean up Wengers mess. Wenger should leave at the end of this season and give his replacement a transfer window to put players in place for his  new tenure.

Seven years is enough time for any manager to sort his team and tactics out and Wengers time is done.

Arsenal need new blood, in both leadership and players – it’s the only way forward in my opinion.

Have a read of this article written by old Gooner Alan ‘Smudger’ Smith, haven’t we said it all before?

Written by Steve Palmer.

Arsene knows best! It wasn’t eight but does that really matter?

January 23, 2012

The early season thrashing 8-2 thrashing at Old Trafford seems almost a few seasons ago, as much has changed in the succeeding months. We strengthened the squad right before the end of the summer transfer window and steadily climbed the table, to where we finished calendar year 2011 in fourth place.

Since the beginning of the New Year, however, we have hit a wall, coming from ahead to lose at both Fulham and Swansea, and struggling mightily in an unconvincing FA Cup win over Leeds United. Injuries continue to blight us, as Arteta was ruled out for the second straight match, and none of our first team full-backs are returned…

So we welcomed United yesterday, knowing we owed them something!

Our players may have more or less played down the “revenge” angle during the week but surely some of them had to want to pay United back…

We got a bit of a boost in the morning, with the news TV passed a fitness test and would be available. Unfortunately, Thierry did not, meaning he would not figure today…

We lined up Szczesny, TV, Kos, Mert, JD, Song, Ramsey, Rosicky, OC, Robin, and Theo.

Al, Squil, Yennaris, Miquel, Arsh, Benny and Ju were the bench.

Rosicky’s start in Benny’s place was expected, as the latter did not have a good game in his start at the Liberty Stadium last Sunday. OC’s start ahead of Arsh was a bit more surprising, but welcome, considering how out of form Arsh has been for the past several months.

We started four centre-backs ahead of Szczesny, but the inclusion of three defenders (Squil, Yennaris and Miquel) on the bench meant that Arsene intended to try and keep it a bit tighter.

We started the day in fifth place, and thanks to losses for Newcastle and Liverpool yesterday, we would remain in fifth place (barring another heavy defeat). As Spurs lost at Eastlands in the earlier kickoff and Chelsea dropped two points at Carrow Road on Saturday , this was also an opportunity to make up some ground on the second-fourth placed sides.

Since reaching fourth place on the last day of 2011, we have dropped all six league points we played for and are probably a bit fortunate we have not slid any further than one place.

Yesterday was a golden opportunity to make up some ground on three of the four teams ahead of us in the table and put some distance on the chasers. We don’t get chances like this every week.

United kicked the match off but we started quickly. OC needed only a minute to make his presence known, as he robbed Jones and went on a good run, with Evans having to boot the ball clear in his box. We had the better of the first 15 minutes, as OC and Theo switched flanks effectively and used their pace to good effect. Ramsey and Theo both shot too close to Lindegaard.

There were several previous occasions where we started quickly against United, only to peter out and lose the initiative and that happened in this instance.

On 17 minutes, Jones did his ankle and had to be stretchered off, with Rafael taking his place. While we continue to bemoan our injury situation, it’s worth remembering that we are not the only side short hand. United may not have an entire set of full-backs out, but they came into the match missing both Vidic and Ferdinand, so they don’t exactly have full squad to choose from either…

There was always the concern that our flanks would be a problem, and once United started attacking down the sides, they took control.

Both Nani and Evra gave JD massive problems down the right, and Valencia caused TV problems on the other flank. Szczesny had to save from Giggs at the near post, and ten minutes later, he produced a fine close-range save from Nani, after Evra got away from JD once again.

As the half entered the last few minutes, United were on top…

Two of the worst times to concede goals are right before the break, and immediately after scoring one ourselves. The latter scenario resulted in Swansea’s winner last Sunday, and today we conceded the former. In the first (of three) minutes of stoppage time, Giggs crossed from the left, and TV never picked up Valencia, who ran in to meet the ball at the far post, and head past Szczesny. We were stunned by the goal and had no time to build a response, going into the break at 1-0 down.

Arsene rarely makes non-injury enforced changes earlier than the 60th minute, so it was a bit of surprise to see Yennaris replace JD at the break. A difficult spot for the youngster, to be sure but JD was, frankly, dreadful in the first half, and something needed to be done in that area.

Yennaris then went on to perform well, justifying Arsene’s bold decision. Certainly Evra and Nani got far less joy up that side than in the first half.

We kicked the second half off and got an immediate scare and Robin and Valencia collided. Our captain was down for a few minutes and we feared the worst, even as he got up limping. Fortunately, he was able to carry on and showed no ill effects. We started this half much better and fashioned three good chances in the first 15 minutes, the best coming to Robin, who somehow put Rosicky’s excellent pass wide from point-blank range. A bad and potentially costly miss…

But our heads did not drop and we kept up the pressure. Robin then pumped a cross in the box, but neither Ramsey nor Rosicky could convert. Nani then picked Wellbeck out with a cross into our box, but Mert got across quickly to block on the line. OC then collected Kos’ pass and fired past Lindegaard, but also the post.

We had another scare when Szczesny went down injured – losing him meant Al, who had not played a competitive match for us since his horror show at the Hawthorns late last season. Fortunately, Szczesny was able to continue, and we equalized a few minutes later.

Kos got us going, picking Rafael’s pocket on the edge of our area and finding OC with an excellent pass. OC then found Robin, who calmly finished past Lindegaard to bring us level. With 20-odd minutes remaining, surely we could push on for a winner…

Unfortunately, Arsene contributed to our undoing, substituting OC – clearly our best player on the afternoon and showing no signs of discomfort at this point – for Arsh. The move was greeted with boos and chants of “You don’t know what you’re doing” from the home support.

Our Captain was just as mystified by the substitution, staring at the bench in apparent disbelief. It took only seven minutes for our worst fears to materialize. Just before that, we had another injury delay, as Theo went down hard after clashing heads with Lindegaard when trying to prod the ball home…

Fortunately, he was back on his feet within a few minutes…

Worse followed as Arsh allowed Valencia to blow by him, and the latter found Wellbeck who restored United’s lead with no fuss…

Arsene responded by replacing Ramsey with Ju, but latter, not trusted at any point up to here, made no impact…

Nobody really did…There were six minutes of injury time, but we only really pressed during a small portion – Robin came close to equalizing, and Mert got a shot off. On the other end, Wellbeck went clear and should have made it 3-1, but dithered and we were able to clean it up…

The whistle went shortly after, as we slumped to our third home defeat (in all comps) of this season, and dropped our third consecutive league match…

As stated earlier, we remained in fifth place, but that spot is looking precarious at best. Newcastle are level on points and Liverpool only a single point behind. Even more worrying, Stoke and Norwich are only six and seven points behind, respectively. At the rate we have dropped points this season, we could potentially drop out of the top ten soon, unless we get our act together…

It will be nice to have our injured players return, but how many are really close to returning? And how many will require time and match minutes to get themselves to a level in which they can really contribute?

Unfortunately, our problems run much deeper than injuries…

In November and December, only Robin was scoring – then we were winning. Now it is only him scoring and we are losing…

We have not stopped conceding either. As it is, I think Robin’s fantastic form during calendar year 2011 masked the lack of contribution from other key players. He is still scoring roughly a goal a game, but now it is not enough and there isn’t any sign of anyone else stepping up to fill the void.

Goals from midfield were sparse when we were on our fine run, now they are non-existent. Nobody in defence is scoring, and other than Robin, Theo and Benny have chipped in with the odd goal. Otherwise, nothing…

As they say, “It is what it is…” I didn’t expect any additions during this month, and after this defeat, I still don’t. Arsene used his post-match presser to deliver another sermon on how buying players is so difficult, and how it has to be the “right player”, etc…I think most of us reasonable fans get all that.

I would say, however, that our first team squad is loaded with too many of the “wrong player”, and that is where our problems are. We have players that cannot stay fit, players that have been out of form for several months now – dating back to the previous season, and players who have shown they are not particularly good.

No different from most squads, really; except that we continue to persist with most of these players and it greatly restricts our squad options.

A couple of days ago, Arsene contradicted our “chairman” in saying that missing out on the top four would indeed be a disaster; with less than half the season remaining, that is where we are heading.

If we should ultimately finish fifth or below, having waited forever for certain injury-prone players to return from injury, and persisted with others who have given us next to nothing, will he rue not making the extra effort to bring someone else in during this period, or even purchasing someone in the summer to replace an under-performer or two?

Arsene also used the presser to mount a prickly:’

‘I’ve been in  football 30 years and Idon’t have justify my decisions to you’ defence of the substitution.

We’re well aware of his resume but considering that the player he replaced today’s most effective player with was significantly at fault for United’s winning goal, is it really all that unreasonable to question the substitution? After all, our own captain appeared to question it as well…

Of course it’s reasonable to question.

Not everybody who questions a managerial decision wants the manager out. It’s something that comes with the territory – it’s called accountability. If Arsene does not like that, perhaps it’s time for him to go do something else…

Any way you look at it, this was a bad result. It’s our third league loss in a row, our second home loss of the campaign, and a loss where we basically let five teams surrounding us off the hook.

We have Villa in the FA Cup on Sunday, followed by a trip to the Reebok a few days later. So January 2012 will go down as a month in which we lost all our league fixtures – cannot remember when that last happened.

It’s a worrying sign and with no reinforcements set to arrive, we just have to hope we can get some players back quick, and others will wake up and start producing. If we continue as we are, not only will the top four be a massive, uphill struggle, but any European competition for next season will be a battle as well.

It shouldn’t have come to this…

Written by Oliver

Can we finally take advantage? Ashley Cole doesn’t rate his team-mates!

January 22, 2012

Just a bit of fun to start, Ashley Cole has been asked to name his all time eleven during his playing days and here it is:

TEAM (4-4-2): Seaman; Lauren, Adams, Campbell Cole; Sturridge, Vieira, Gerrard, Pires; Bergkamp, Henry.

Just one Chav, other than him….. :)

Our French master has come out with yet another classic:

Before Sunday’s game nobody will come in so we will have now to focus on the players we have.

I will assess the situation after the game on Sunday but until then nothing will happen now for us.

What does this manager of ours need to witness in order to asses our situation, hasn’t he seen enough?

Does that mean if Miquel gets a roasting he’ll sign a player? What about the situation at right back too?

Sorry, it just doesn’t add up and we all know why!

Sorry Arsene, you could and you should have sorted this out by now, you have had twenty-two days!

Anyway, today we face Old Red Nose side, that same side which battered us good and proper last year. The result saw us sign a few just before and on deadline day of the transfer window and who knows, a similar result may make the club react again in the same way in the transfer window.

Would you be happy if that happened?

No, nor would I!

We need beat the Mancs today and still take advantage of the transfer window.

Can we finally take advantage and gain points on Chelsea who dropped another two points yesterday?

Liverpool and Newcastle both suffered heavy defeats too and a win today would give a bit of breathing space behind us. No doubt Manchester City will gain three points in their match so we could in theory gain three vital points on that lot down the road.

The word ‘revenge’ is all over the papers, it’s not just about that, it’s about working hard, working as a team and fighting until the end to secure three huge home points.

Rumours are that Vermaelen has been passed fit so that would be a massive boost and I strongly suspect that Thierry Henry will be fit too, Arteta is definitely out.

Some of our players have had shockers recently, today, each and every one of them need to have the game of their life, do that and we may just nick a point. ;)

Have a good day all….


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