This isn’t based on fact. I just have a gut feeling.
I’m trying to stay away from the twitter, Sky Sports and Metro deadline day feeds but I can’t help it.
How difficult is it to unplug these days?!?
This isn’t based on fact. I just have a gut feeling.
I’m trying to stay away from the twitter, Sky Sports and Metro deadline day feeds but I can’t help it.
How difficult is it to unplug these days?!?
In last season’s corresponding fixture, Liverpool won their first game over Arsenal in eleven attempts over eleven and a half years. Needless to say it is critical that a repeat of that blip doesn’t happen tonight.
In terms of our squad we are looking pretty healthy. Available for selection tonight after resting at the weekend is Wilshire, Walcott, Cazorla as well as Vermaelen is fit following his ankle injury. I am excited to see how we get on tonight. Cazorla always seems to have a storming game after a good rest, so I am looking forward to him ripping them apart. It is a good time for our forwards to be hitting form and in Giroud and Walcott, we can certainly feel confident of a goal or two.
We are short of a couple of quality additions, more so as we have significantly weakened our squad by loaning out players who can do a job for us, especially Frimpong who I feel offers a bit of steel in our midfield and has been knocking on the door for a while. I totally understand sending him off on loan to play Premier League football, to learn and to grow. Stunting his growth by leaving him on the bench hurts us more than helps, but we need to replace him with a quality player.
I understand Arsène when he says he doesn’t want to stifle young players coming through. A large part of our ability to attract top, young talent is based on the fact that if you are good enough, age is irrelevant and Arsène will back you. Can there really be no one out there that we could get on loan for 6 months? Or a short-term contract? I admit, I’m feeling a tad uncomfortable about the current squad. I feel we lack a bit of experience in the middle which leaves us irresponsibly light at the back when the opposition are counter-attacking.
Liverpool are a side that likes to control possession, to play the ball on the ground and play through teams. The type of side that plays to our strengths too. They aren’t formidable through the middle of the park and with the exception of Gerrard and the loathsome Suarez, lack any real world-class talent. Make no bones about it, I hold less concern about this result than the game against Brighton that I felt could hold some surprises. Liverpool won’t surprise us. We need to do our research, get someone mobile like Koscielny tight to Suarez and Ramsey/Diaby on Gerrard and Liverpool will struggle to affect the game.
Liverpool are not a walk-over but they are a familiar foe and familiarity breeds complacency. We need to be focussed, we need to setup a real run of form now. We have big-big games coming up and we start tonight. A victory tonight would put us one point off fourth spot, Arsène’s current Holy Grail. I cannot fathom why the signing of Walcott constitutes a success in sealing the quality signings that we need to strengthen. We are horrendously short of a real defensive midfielder in our side and that could really make a difference for us.
Is Arsene short-sighted, or does he really believe that Ramsey can do the role? He has done well in the last two games, but I just don’t think his instincts suit the role. Only time will really tell, but I don’t want us to go out of the Champions League to Bayern as part of an experiment when a purchase of Lee Cattermole, or some other nasty (but incredibly good at what they do) defensive midfielder who would take a game like that by the scruff off the neck. Bear in mind, that player wouldn’t need to play every week, but in those games that Arsène feels that a defensive midfielder is required.
Top sides have quality defensive midfielders. They all do. It’s not a mystery or a secret. Arsène’s most successful years at Arsenal involved three of the best defensive midfielders to wear the shirt, Petit, Vieira and Gilberto Silva. Were they the best players with the ball? Not in comparison to the likes of Bergkamp or Pires but in their role they didn’t have many peers of the same ability.
We miss a Gilberto Silva every single game. Every single game a run from the opposition gets through that should be stopped. Enough of this though, we have talented players who can win tonight and that is all that matters in the very short term.
Come on you Gooner’s we have invited the bin-dippers to Arsenal. Lets give ’em a right welcome and then a decent spanking to send ’em home!!
Momentum is hard to generate when you are under pressure and every performance is examined, dissected and picked at liked volovants on a 1970’s party buffet.
Arsenal have made a recent history of making things hard for themselves in games, starting off games and refusing to play until the second half begins. As a fan its frustrating to see us struggle so up until halftime, then a few stern words from Arsène puts their heads on straight and they come out as world beaters. If we didn’t give teams the head start our season could be very different.
You can only play who is in front of you and Saturday saw us take on the Seagulls at the spangly new Amex stadium. Confidence was high following the excellent victory against West Ham in midweek.
Arsène made several changes, resting Gibbs, Sagna, Cazorla, Wilshire and Walcott whilst Vermaelen missed the game through injury. Rosicky returned to the line up along with Santos, Jenkinson, Ramsey, Koscielny and Oxlade-Chamberlain. Per Mertesacker took on the Captain’s armband.
The game against Brighton and Hove Albion promised to be a corker and it didn’t disappoint. Arsenal and Brighton both started brightly with Arsenal edging the early pressure, but the first real chance fell to Brighton when they broke through in the 14th minute, Sczcesny saved well and that started the move which culminated in the first Arsenal goal. Direct running from Rosicky created space, Podolski played the ball off smartly to Giroud in space on the edge of the box and he finished with aplomb high into the corner of the net.
Brighton were not so easily despatched however and they kept up their swashbuckling raids and despite early Arsenal pressure equalised before half-time with an Ashley Barnes header. They targetted our left-back area and exploited Santos’s lack of match fitness.
Halftime came and went and the second half started well with more great goals. Diaby hit a great ball over the top, bringing back memories of Alex Song’s hollywood passes to RvP. Giroud watched the ball drop over his shoulder took a touch to control and then buried it past the ‘keeper with his second. He is getting better and better and that bodes well for his Arsenal career.
Santos continued to find himself the focus of Brighton’s attentions and it wasn’t long until it bore fruit when Barnes hit a cross that bamboozled our centre-backs and the debutant Ulloa headed past a rooted Sczcesny. We should have soon much better on all aspects of that. Santos should have stopped the cross, he didn’t stop one all game. The BFG should have been goal-side of Ulloa and Sczcesny could have claimed it.
Sensing the Arsenal still had plenty to give, we began to turn the screw and Arsène seeing the opportunity to put the tie to bed introduced Wilshire and Walcott for Rosicky and the Ox. Walcott’s raw pace immediately made the Seagulls nervous and it was no surprise when the ball fell to the inform Walcott he shot on sight and a deflection saw it past the ‘keeper.
Arsenal saw the game out with confidence and march on to the 5th round and a home tie with Blackburn.
This is a winnable competition now with interesting results in this round leaving this a real opportunity for silverware with the Spuds, the Bin dippers, Villains and Chelski facing an unwanted replay.
Come on you Gooners!
OK, so they weren’t lazy. It was a play on words and a poor effort at that. My sincerest apologies to anyone offended. Still….5:1 isn’t anything to sniff at so perhaps I can be forgiven for a little over-exuberance following the result. Bi-Polar Arsenal strikes again and I can’t help but smile today. 5:1 is a cracking result and we can be delighted with it.
Last night three players that have divided the Arsenal fanbase both clicked and put in amazing performances. Firstly, Ramsey who was picked in the side for the rested Diaby. Ramsey did well when he came on at the weekend and in the previous fixture too. He can be guilty of the odd Hollywood pass, but his vision is sound although his execution of it can sometimes be found wanting. Last night however it all worked for him. Sitting deeper allowed him to win balls and hit lovely through balls to a scampering Jack, Poldi and Giroud. We saw a small cameo of Arsenal for years to come there. Rambo and Jack have a chemistry on the pitch, it was clear to see that with them both in the middle we will create a lot of chances. We need a defensive midfielder with them, but it worked well.
Secondly Prince Poldi, a player with fantastic ability and he can be a real game changer. His strike to equalise was stunning. The whole game he terrorised West Ham with his direct running and his assists were of the highest quality. His form can be bi-polar but on form like that he looks like a World Champion and worth every penny. I really like him. I think he gives us a bit of steel, a bit of never give up attitude when he is “switched on”. Unfortunately sometimes it seems like he is “switched off” but that could be down to acclimatising to a new league with new physical demands. I think there is enough in his performances to suggest that he deserves to be there and deserves to be one of our top players for years to come.
Thirdly Olly Giroud, the man who made a transfer to Arsenal on the back of a season of great headers, fantastic work-rate, brilliant tap-ins and results in the big games. He never hides, he never gives up and he does score goals. Both of his goals yesterday were top-top finishes. I like the fact that when it isn’t going in the net for him his head never goes down and he gives everything for the team, which is so critical in our system. I’ve never held back from saying I think he is a good player and he can chalk down last night as another marker of his understated quality. He’s no Thierry Henry, he’s not a speed merchant with a mercurial class and a touch of swagger about him but he is undoubtedly a decent player who can do very well for us.
Final note for Walcott who performed admirably on the right of the front three, excellently taken goal and he was denied by a goal-line clearance too. He can really help ignite Arsenal this season and he is certainly doing his best to replace the goals we are missing.
What a difference a game makes, I think we’re all bouncing today.We cannot ignore the holes in the squad though and I hope Arsene can crack on and get on with signing some players. He called the post match short to “work on transfers” and it would be so easy to suggest that considering Diame was in the ground and so was West Ham. He could fit in well as I have already said, but speculation is rife and never let it be said that I spend far too much time looking at it. I prefer the sound of my own guff, not someone else’s.
So its on swiftly to the weekend and a very important game against Brighton at 3pm on Saturday. It’s the FA cup and we need to be professional, approach the game like we did last night and all will be well I think. We cannot take complacency onto the pitch because we will get beaten by Brighton. They are a good side and already have a scalp in this competition, lets not give them another one.
Final note, it shows the considerable lack of class that again unsurprisingly Chelski refused to apologise for the Hazard incident. There was blame on both sides but Hazard is firstly an adult and secondly a millionaire footballer who should know better. He said on Chelski TV – “The boy put his whole body on to the ball and I was just trying to kick the ball. I think I kicked the ball and not the boy. I apologise.”. That’s not an apology son. First you have to identify that you did wrong.
We face West Ham tonight in a must-win game. We cannot afford any more daft games. We haven’t got the opportunity now to just play catch-up. We have to be focussed, determined and we have to fight from the first to the last.
Momo Diame, the much vaunted midfielder from Senegal has an opportunity tonight to put himself in the shop window. His highly publicised 3.5 million buyout clause in his contract is there for all to see and I struggle to think of a reason why he wouldn’t be worth a punt. Arsene has had little dalliances before – Squillaci, Alberto Mendez Rodriguez, Amaury Bischoff etc. He’s got previous, Diame has the essential Premier League experience and he fits the mould of a typical Arsene player.
From my connections with Wigan, Diame was a good trainer, but when his stock rose in the Premier League, his advisor’s told him not to sign any new contracts and to see it out and negotiate a free transfer. This he did, but remained fully focussed and professional ’til the last. There is no question that the guy has class. I really rate him and I’d like to see him in an Arsenal shirt. Is he the answer to the Diaby problem? They are very similar so that question I will leave to Arsene.
West Ham are a different prospect now than they were earlier in the season. With the savvy addition of Joe Cole they look more dynamic, more fluid than before. He provides a creative option and he has a lot to prove. We will have to be intelligent in picking up his positions as he tends to be given a free role to create and he can score goals too.
We cannot take this game lightly, we have to be professional. No more slip-ups. No more half-arsed first half’s, we need to finish teams in the first twenty, not in the last. Remember when Arsenal used to have won the game by half time? We’d be 3 or 4 nil up. I want to see that again. Will I see it with the current squad, unlikely. With some additions up front, midfield and in defence perhaps.
The team news for tonight’s game is encouraging with a return for Podolski and the Ox to first team training after sickness and Diaby (whilst knackered is not injured) so we can be confident. Our first team should finish off West Ham reasonably easily if we play anywhere near our level. Cazorla would benefit from a rest tonight, but we need him.
Come on you Gooners!!
In this snow encrusted world that we all live in at the moment you could be forgiven for being a little downhearted following the powder-puff defeat against Chelski. I for one looked on, dumbstruck whilst we gave away opportunity after opportunity as if they needed them.
Were Chelski better than us over 90 minutes? Good lord no. We had enough about our play in the second half that we could have nicked something. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times that I would be happy if we nicked a draw, deserved perhaps but not got.
Will that be a worrying indictment of our season? So close, but when it counted we folded? When we started the game yesterday we were afraid. The ball was a hot potato and nobody had the oven gloves. We miss the experienced head of Arteta and we need someone else. Someone with Premier League experience who isn’t going to be cowed by playing against Mata, Ramires et al.
The mighty George Graham, arbiter of the Boring Boring Arsenal era has seen fit to stick the knife into Arsene by suggesting the current Arsenal “crisis” is Arsene’s fault. So I feel it necessary to draw a line in the sand, mark out my territory, make a stand.
I don’t agree with you George. I think the football landscape has changed faster over the last 10 years than it has since the Sky era began. Football clubs with normal means and sub-par players got promoted (Citeh) to the Premier League using extraordinary funds outside their generated means and were able to invest enough to become a global super-club – in appearance if not in behaviour./p pHas anyone forgotten the spending at Citeh even before Robinho? Sven Goran Erikssen took over there and was given a substantial warchest and he invested heavily. Bruce came in and did the same and now Mancini.
Let’s not forget Chelski, Claudio “the Tinkerman” Ranieri was given a super-boost when Abramovich arrived, bankrolling the signings of Frank Lampard, Arjen Robben, Joe Cole and more.
So long ago, but those butterflies flapped their wings and wholesale changes began in the Premier League. We are not alone however, the Premier League is only one example, look at PSG, Anzi Macachkala, Spartak Moscow they’re all at it.
We don’t have an owner that throws money at Arsenal. Are we worse off for it? After years of slagging everyone else off for the same, it would be rather hypocritical to sit there and say yes. We have our way of doing things, we’ve built a tradition and an identity and that is all down to Arsene. Where would we go if Arsene left? I’m afraid for this Arsenal side at the moment. We aren’t starting games well and haven’t for some time. We can be a good side, but we seem to need a kick up the backside at half-time. As if they need to be told to play better – rather than just doing it.
There is a void of any real responsibility and decision-making on the pitch and that is where we are struggling. Years ago, Adams would have been calling the shots on the pitch. Who do we have talking now? No one.
No one talks anymore. I’ve seen Arteta pleading and encouraging, but no one else.
Why are we so keen to keep quiet, are we so fragile that some harsh words could damage a players performance? It’s weird and frustrating.
So should Arsene leave the Emirates tent? I hope not, I feel that the man has earned a bit more patience. He needs to be told that further poor performances will seriously affect his Arsenal stock and his future will be considered. I don’t want to see the back of Arsene, but something needs to change on the pitch. Performances like Chelski cannot keep happening. We need leaders, talkers but most of all, we need fighters.
Well it’s been a trying week, I’m on my 12th day straight of working, Theo still hasn’t signed and my website has been hacked several times this week. Very annoying indeed.
So where is Arsenal at the moment? After a convincing win against Swansea which really showcased how much of a difference Abou Diaby can make to our side we are rapidly approaching Chelski on Sunday. Arsene said after the game that he is very confident Theo will sign, but sensibly the club are waiting for him to put pen to paper before heading out on transfer business. After all, we only know how much is in the kitty once the Theo situation is resolved, if he doesn’t sign we need to sign a replacement now, not in the summer.
There are plenty of names being bandied about and you know it’s not my style to start going over the rumours like carrion crow over a battlefield, but there are certainly some rumours that pique my interest and some that make me laugh. Cavani? Are you having a laugh? We’re more likely to sign his cousin (3rd removed) who once played 90 minutes in a sunday league game on hackney marshes.
Let’s be very honest. When all the talking is about big money to spend, don’t be surprised if we nab a few bargains instead. Diame for one. Allegedly he has a low buyout clause in his contract, so he’d be a good choice and good backup for Diaby. I think we need a winger too, although if Gnabry can get near the team, or we can recall Miyaichi and he gets match fit then perhaps that won’t be such an issue, but with Theo asking for more time up front, we need a replacement. Arsene is allergic to Arshavin, so we need to buy someone lest he continue to be tempted to play Rambo out there.
I liked our midfield against Swansea a lot. Interchangeable players, moving with pace and really getting at the opposition. It was like the Arsenal of old at times and it all worked around the excellent Diaby. Make no bones about it, when fit he is a cracking player and he dominates sides. If only he could get on the pitch more often. I do think Diame is a ready made replacement for him, so I hope Arsene takes a punt on him. He fits the bill and he is cheap. I’ll not be surprised if noone comes in though, “the right players weren’t available” and all that…”Theo signing was like buying a new player” etc. Coquelin’s performance against Swansea might con Arsene that investment in the midfield isn’t required, but I’m not convinced. Coquelin was good, but he has the inconsistency of youth in him.
I hope we take the opportunity this window offers and strengthen, add some needed talent to our squad. Strengthen our bench a little. We need to have big players to come on as a sub. Super attacking talent. Someone who can come on and the entire Emirates crowd will think “it’s alright, he always scores”. When was the last time we were able to bring on a sub and think that he might change the game significantly? Perhaps the last time we brought on Giroud, (who has been excellent in his first season) and put him up top after a shameful 70 mins of Theo running down blind alleys?
Just to be clear, I like Theo, I rate him and I think he is a really good inside-forward. He can get at players and affect a game in a way that noone else in our squad can, but he can’t do it as a centre-forward. (watch him score a hat-trick against Chelski and the hapless Terry now:))
That’ll do for my musings for the day, pre-match to come tomorrow. Til then Gooner’s!!
We welcome Swansea to the Emirates off the back of a decent run of form. The weekends result aside (which I will discuss later on) we had a decent Xmas period and managed to close some ground on the top.
In football, you are only as good as your last game as results tend to follow on and a really poor performance one week tends to lead to a timid, restricted performance in the next. Fed by the desire to not dropped more points, teams tend to drop back to basics and leave the Hollywood at home whilst they try and nail three points to the board.
As we have seen recently, Arsenal doesn’t do the basics very well. Koscielny’s sending off at the weekend was laughable. Certainly if you are a Citeh fan. It was ALWAYS going to be a sending off. You just cannot haul players down and not expect to be pulled up for it.
The game against Citeh was pretty unremarkable, they started better than us and put us on the back foot. Koscielny panicked and got himself sent off then we were always going to struggle against a top side, but for Sczcesny, it could have been an embarrassing scoreline by halftime.
An extremely good friend texted me during the first half and asked if I was watching and told me about the sending off- unfortunately I was working all weekend so was just watching the live text.
My words were simple, “Dean can be card happy, we just need to be careful and get some pride”. My concern was exacerbated when Vermaelen got a yellow on the cusp of halftime.
Arsene got into his players and a different Arsenal stepped out in the second half. Thank the football gods! We played shorter football and tried to get back in the game. We restricted Citeh and we were able to see the game out 2:0. Credit where it is due, the Scum only lost to us because they went down to 10 men, so that 5:2 scoreline being an indicator of what happens when you lose a man I think we performed pretty well against a top side.
Kompany’s sending off at the end was harsh, ref’s give them based on perceived intent rather than the tackle itself and I am pleased that it got rescinded, I thought it was a yellow when looking at the highlights.
So based on the above the Arsenal side facing the Swans should be positive. We need to be free-scoring tonight and be miserly at the back, two things that have been unreliable at best. Looking at the players training before the game, it’s good to see Frimpong back in the fold. I’d like to see him get a run-out tonight. Rest Diaby for the weekend, unless Arsene is thinking “play him whilst I have him until he breaks down again”? A sensible action perhaps. When you have a
player that is so frequently unavailable, the temptation to over-play him on his return must be huge with the idea of getting your moneys worth out of him. Dear god we’ve struggled to do that with Diaby for so long.
We need to be focused, determined and free in our minds to express football the Arsenal way. We need to forget the obvious importance of the cup for these 90mins and just get the result. We need it before the weekend when we take on Chelski on Sunday. That will be a real cup final as they are one of our rivals for a top-four finish. Not lofty aspirations, but the minimum.
Come on you Gooners!! Come on Theo, sign and bang in a hat-trick tonight.
It is what it is. I think if you would have sat down both managers before the game and suggested that it was just a single game, played on through 90 mins, extra time and then penalties if necessary they would have accepted that gladly. As it is, both teams face a replay in the middle of a very intense fixture list.
The game itself struggled to ignite to the level that we were all hoping. Two good footballing sides yet it was Arsenal with all of the football, but no penetration. We were flat. Swansea sat off us and hit us on the break, but neither side could find the breakthrough in a boring, flat, pedestrian first half.
Things had to change, we came out for the second half a bit more determined, but again nothing was really happening until Laudrup threw the first die, he cast on Michu and Pablo Hernandez and attempted to take the game to us. Michu, the bargain and best signing of the season took 1 minute and 13 seconds to display why the ridiculous transfer fee Swansea paid for him was the best business of the summer with a calm finish after shrugging off the BFG (caught under the ball) and then riding a late challenge from Koscielny before finishing past a sprawling Sczcesny.
Nothing was coming off for Arsenal and we needed changes. Wilshire kept trying and was getting visibly frustrated, he kept looking at the bench and nothing was happening. We still had 30 mins to play and we needed to change things. Ten minutes later Arsene threw on Podolski for Ramsey and that set fire to our game. The Gibbs/Poldi partnership has borne fruit this season and yesterday was no exception.
From the second he stepped on the pitch our intensity changed. Our slumped bodies suddenly sprang into life again and soon chances started falling for us. Theo thumping wide, Giroud who had been one of the brighter lights of the second half continuing his steady work and Cazorla started to find space and time to start affecting play. Podolski fired wide after good work in the box when offside and it seemed like the tide had again turned in our favour.
Podolski showed again why I think he should be centre-forward. He finds space in the box extremely well. If Theo is excelling up front, then Podolski
We play Swansea today in the FA Cup. Recent history suggests Swansea are a dangerous opponent and need to be taken seriously. Good news then! No Chamakh or Djourou.
Being serious for a moment, this fixture could not have come at a worse time for Arsenal FC. We are coming in off the back of a poor result and the confidence isn’t flowing. The ignominy of the last result will be in their minds mixed with the emotions from the previous game against the Swans so it could be an interesting game for the neutral. That is, I just can’t call which Arsenal will turn up.
When faced with criticism this season Arsenal have responded valiantly and performed well so I hope today is no different. We are however a Jekyll and Hyde side and anything could happen.
Just can’t call it. But I hope I will be able to write something positive on Monday. With the successful loan deals for Chamakh and Djourou perhaps Arsene has made room for reinforcements? Exciting and required.