The Prodigal Gun Returns.

Have you ever driven an automatic car along a motorway when for some reason you need more speed and you’ve gunned the thing: that’s pressing the accelerator to the floor which makes the car drop a gear, the result being that it takes off. As the car powers ahead the force of the surge creates a heady combination of excitement and satisfaction. You know where I’m going with this one don’t you?

Fabregas returned and boy did he show us how much we missed him. Our captain walked onto the pitch to eager applause, gave a mid-field master class, which included two assists, and then departed after 75 minutes to a standing ovation.

I’m old enough to remember Liam Brady who I idolised but probably with a young fan’s adoration rather than fully appreciating the depth of his talent. Fabregas, on the other hand, I have watched develop and, like a fine wine, I have savoured every minute; he is simply the most talented Arsenal midfielder I have ever seen.

The team selection was interesting it could be easily dismissed as a 4-5-1 but there were some subtle differences: it seemed more like a 4-2-3-1, something I have never seen before. The back line picks itself but it was what happened after that is where it got interesting. Wenger seemed to opt for, not one, but two defensive shields. Denilson and Song where placed just in front of the back line like two well trained, disciplined guard dogs.

Ahead of the two Rottweillers was Fabregas: given a licence to roam but with the cautionary warning of not to waste precious energy by tracking back, that was the job of Denilson and Song who oozed confidence completely secure in the knowledge that their job description was to break up play and give the ball to their Captain.

In front of Fabregas was Adebayor the loan striker who was reinforced when needed by Walcott and Arshavin.

At first sight the formation seemed unnecessarily cautious and then the penny dropped, it was a dress rehearsal for Tuesday when Wenger will play this new 4-2-3-1 formation in the Champions league against Villareal, although, Nasri will obviously replace Arshavin.

Arsenal controlled the game from start to finish which was made easier by Mark Hughs breaking the golden rule when playing Arsenal at the Emirates: don’t try and play football against us. The other rule they broke was letting us score early: Robinho looking bored of being in the EPL and playing even more slovenly than usual gave away a free kick out side the box close to the by line which Fabregas floated in for Adebayor to score an excellent header.

Scoring an early goal, as we are all familiar with, forces the opposition to come onto us, which is exactly what City did, this created the one thing Theo loves and needs more than anything — space.

Looking fitter than a butchers dog Walcott made the most of it running turbo charged rings around Bridge until he limped off and City realised that the only way they were going to stop him was by hacking him down which they tried every time the got the ball. Apart from a couple of lapses of attention by the defence we went into the break deservedly in the lead.

I have heard rumours that Wenger’s half time team talks often consist of reminding our players that they are better than their opponents and that they can afford to play higher up the pitch and apply more pressure. Well if that was what he said it certainly worked as they came out for the second half, moved up a gear and within 5 minutes of the restart Fabregas had played a chip to Adebayor of such quality that superlatives fail me, Adebayor for his part controlled it perfectly went round the goal keeper to score his second.

Arsenal may have powered up the metaphorical M1 motorway in the first half, bursting past Aston Villa, but in the second, after having secured the points, they cruised back home in the open top red machine, sun blazing, to sixty thousand very happy fans in the Emirates stadium.

Players ratings.

Almunia: it is much easier to criticise than it is to write constructively, which is the only reason I can come up with as to why people still doubt his talent; another top drawer performance. 8

Sagna: there should be a default setting on my keyboard that I press and it automatically writes “Sagna gave another first class performance.” 7.5

Toure: I love it when Kolo goes on his powerful runs into the opponents half, we had the pleasure of a couple of gems yesterday. 7

Gallas: made one mistake but that was the exception that proves the rule – he is a truly world class defender. 7

Clichy: all Arsenal’s back line are destined to live in the shadow of the famous back 4 but not having felt the pain of defeat for four months this defence is going to have to start getting some recognition. 7

Walcott: he no longer looks like the lost little boy on the wing; ever since he has returned from injury he commands his starting position. 7

Denilson: played with a smile on his face. Freed form the pressure of being expected to link the defence with the attack – he shone. 7

Song: powerful, confident, while most dismissed him there were some supporters brave enough to say, wait, it is too early to write this player off, he has more to give, which has proved to be the case. 7

Fabregas: God: 9

Arshavin: he seems to have changed from wanting to control everything in a captain of Russia kind of way to sitting back and looking at the situation and asking himself hmmm how does this work? 7

Adebayor: David Villa would probably be better suited to our play but we don’t have David Villa we have Adebayor and his job is to score goals, he scored two: credit where credit is due. 7.5


Bendtner: still does not offer as much as Adebayor but he will. I see him as someone patiently learning his trade. 6

Eboue: made some good runs, better than usual but as soon as he arrived in the box he got confused and blundered 5

Ramsey: I’m convinced that he knows that he made the right choice in coming to Arsenal. Nowhere else would he have received the opportunities that he has so quickly here at THOF. 6


137 Responses to The Prodigal Gun Returns.

  1. London says:

    New post, new day, start a new. Morning Everyone.

  2. raif says:

    its good to see the fabster back. we are going to need him big time in the comming big games.

  3. Big Raddy says:

    Fine Post London.

    A fair reflection of how I felt the game went.

    I was very impressed at the job done by Song and Denilson. Their dynamism allowed Cesc the freedom to play upfield, which was the key to our performance.

    It should be pointed out that MC were rubbish. They were beaten before the game stated ,a reflection of Hughes management skills.

  4. chaf1 says:

    Good morning

    Yes just what I thought. Absolutely Fabregas.

    Hughes is definitely not used to having skilfull players around, he’d be better off with Bellamy and 10 thugs. Theo is old enough to drink now and has left Jack Wilshere outside on his own to have his coke and crisps. Adebayor plays like he has an ipod on, but he scored two good goals. And Song and Denilson combined make a very good Gilberto. I think by wednesday we will know the extent of how good City were.

  5. London says:

    Morning Chaf

    Good comment, and may I say I enjoyed your company at the game yesterday 😉

  6. chaf1 says:

    Likewise old boy

  7. chaf1 says:

    Smiley thing

  8. Rasputin says:

    Good post London,

    I agree with Raddy, the Song / Denilson partnership was very effective yesterday and as you pointed out, it relieved Cesc from having to track back so much. I thought Ade’s header for the first goal, although it was poor defending, was excellent. He lined up his body and picked his spot to perfection. His second was the sort of chance he may well have missed pre the reality check of seeing others around him develop in his absence. It was a great balanced team performance where everyone played their part.

  9. peachesgooner says:

    Morning all

    All smiles this morning 🙂

    Although I’ve advocated for 6 up front I’ll be jolly happy to accept 4 after yesterdays wonderful performance.

    I still think Ade didn’t need to be on the flanks as much as he was. At times he was there with Sagna, Theo and Cesc and it was very cluttered and if the ball did get released it was up to Arshavin!!!!!! little hero that he is to do battle with a giant defender. Cescs role was to move the ball forward – often Ade was behind him.

    While he wears our shirt I will support him and applaud him and feel free to criticise him.

  10. avenell says:

    Morning Roadsters.

    Good Post London, the added bonus about Fabregas was in the programe notes.

    Thanks for the stream in case you never saw the comment last night peaches, it was solid all the way through.

  11. Rasputin says:

    Well said peaches! The interpretation of a comment as criticsm, observation or prejudice actually lies in the mind of the individual. We do not have a perfect player who is exempt from critical analysis, and we’re all armchair managers with our own take on things 😉

  12. rico01 says:

    Morning all, just popping my head through the door, before heading off out – i have now finished unpacking, but i was not too far away in my call, Thomas is playing in a friendly on Tues evening – fingers crossed 😉

    Good read London

    Great game, and well done Ade for doing your job 😉

    Cesc – ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh 😛

    Well played everyone (except nik 😉 )

  13. chaf1 says:

    Good morning Rasp, Peaches and Rico

    When criticising, is it right to criticise a player who is not good enough for Arsenal, or should you critiscise the manager for choosing that player. Or are you criticising the player for his effort or lack of it. I hope thats clear!

  14. Big Raddy says:

    I am heading to Italy for a couple of week. No internet access in our remote mountain village. So my predictions…..

    Villareal 1-0 (to VR)

    Wigan 0-2 (to us)

    Villareal (H) 3-1

    Chavs 2-0 to the men in the white hats.

    If all goes to plan, we will be very handily placed for the remainder of the season.

  15. avenell says:

    I will write them down Raddy..

    Surely some of the fun of blogging is to debate where the team could be improved and also to let your views known what you would do if you was the manager of Arsenal..
    I think we could improve on Ade..
    Years ago I thought we could improve on Raphael Meade, Perry Groves, Ian Allinson and Martin Hayes. but it didn’t stop me supporting them when they wore an Arsenal shirt and am grateful of what they done for the club.

  16. Rasputin says:

    Morning chaf,

    If you make a comment on a player, you are either criticisng or simply making an observation about the player….the same applies when talking about the manager or anyone else for that matter. The wording of the observation will make it clear if you are talking about, technique, ability, work rate or any other parameter! I hope that’s clear 🙂

  17. rico01 says:

    Raddy – you will be missed, have a fab break 😛

  18. Big Raddy says:


    I agree, we could improve on Adebayor, and no player is above criticism. However, he did what he is paid to do yesterday. Could Villa/Torres Eto’o etc score more than Ade? Sure they could. But the point is that we have the Togonator and he came back with a brace, for which I salute him.

    As you say, the fun of blogging is debate, I am debating that Ade deserves plaudits for his performance. Peaches assertion that he shouldn’t drift out of the box, is contrary to the instructions given to him by our great Leader, otherwise AW would have stopped it.

    But it is Peaches right to tell it like she sees it, and mine to disagree

    BTW. I feel the same about all the poor players we have seen in the shirt. If they are picked, I support them.

  19. Rasputin says:

    Morning Raddy,

    Its an interesting point and I have often wondered myself how much influence AW can have on a player during play. He is not a great shouter and doesn’t seem to use Raffa’s sign language. I’m not so sure that Ade was given license to drift wide and leave a vacuum in the centre. We had more width than all season on the pitch with Theo, AA, Cliche, Sagna etc so if the ball was going to be received out wide, Ade should not be first choice. He didn’t ‘do his job’ and score 2 goals from out wide – he did his job when he received the ball in the centre and in front of the midfield…..

  20. chaf1 says:

    I have been through a lot at Arsenal as well as everyone I should imagine! I watched Marinello, Hawley, Chapman, Jensen, McGoldrick, etc. And I still go. By the way I like Ade, but he would be better if he concentrated and tried harder! Very Brian Clough.

    Today is like a debate on debating. Or even a mass debate…

  21. Rasputin says:

    Don’t know if you’ve heard rico, sorry to disappoint, but Tomas will not be playing on tuesday – he’s picked up another minor injury……do you think he’s getting fed up with himself.? These disparate injuries must all be part of the same ‘syndrome’ that has plagued him for so long.

  22. peachesgooner says:

    Raddy – have a lovely time in Italy 🙂

    IMO Arsene likes to bring players to the club who can replicate the style of successful previous players – in the same way supporters feel comfortable when a new player seems to mirror what has gone before.

    Thus the critism of Song – who didn’t appear to have the qualities required at first to be the new Gilberto or Vieira but maybe Song is going to be just Song and he is going to do a great job for us.

    Cesc is fabulously Cesc – he isn’t Vieira but he is fabulous non-the-less.

    Adebayor was likened to Kanu – his languid style of play is similar, often his first touch is lousey but other times his control is amazing. Kanu was a good finisher and could strike the ball, Adebayor is not a good finisher and can’t strike the ball. If he works hard for the team he has my support but yesterday he got in the way when he could have been more intelligent and moved into space instead of cluttering up the wing. As it happens we won 2-0 and so it didn’t matter but if that game had been 0-0 then his poor positioning would have contributed to a lack of goal-scoring opportunities. Thats my criticism. If I were Arsene I would have to tell him 🙂

  23. peachesgooner says:

    Rasp – I agree with you in that I don’t see how both Cesc and Ade could have been given licence to drift wide – good thing Eboue wasn’t playing aswell there’d have been no formation to speak of 🙂

  24. avenell says:

    If we play wengerball, formations tend to go out of the window because it is total football.
    Every player can play in every position.
    How many times did we see Freddie and Sir Robert change wings compared to how many times we have seen Theo?..

  25. Rasputin says:

    OK maybe every player can play in every position, but Arshavin can’t grow a foot and make himself 6ft 3ins 😉 – if Ade’s on the pitch and aerial balls are coming into the box, I’d like to see him competing wouldn’t you? Ade’s not the best crosser of the ball so ideally he’d let others occupy those positions. He’s such an impressive physical presence, he unsettles defenses and will make the opposition play deep…

  26. avenell says:

    Like I say Ras I wouldn’t have Ade in the team he doesn’t suit arsenals play..
    Arsenal style of play went backwards before christmas and everyone was shouting for wingers.. we don’t do that or didn’t. That’s the Wimbledon way not mr wenger obe’s
    wingers stop the attacking full back getting forwards hence why Sagna was very poor compared to last season when he had Eboue in front of him.

    Ras I have to pop out to some place called “tesco’s” so we can talk soon seeya.. 😉

  27. Rasputin says:

    I agree ave – ideally, I’d like to see the ball played to feet rather than pumped up to a big man, but we open ourselves to the ‘want to walk the ball in’ criticism so route one is OK once in a while.

    Have fun in the aisles……

  28. kelsey says:

    Morning all,
    just popped in bewtween matches.Read the post,good apprasil London.Debate is all about opinion,and if we all had the same opinion,there would be no debate.

    First and foremost I support Arsenal, and have been privaliged to some great highs and a many many disappointments.

    I could debate 9not argue) that IMO vela won’t make it as a first team regular,many may not agree,but it’s an opinion I have,

    With regards to Adebayor,if he scores in every game from now to the end of the season or not,and we finish up winning a trophy ,he will be part of the Arsenal tem.

    I will not critise him if he puts the effort him,he has some attributes and some faults,but his antics las summer i feel were disrespectful to the club and the fans.He believes his own hype,and on his day he is a good asset to the team,but nowhere the World Class player he thinks he is.Look at his face in the tabloids today after scoring the first goal.he is smug and arrogant and i truly believe that in the long term he is troublesome and will not benefit the club in the long run.These are just opinions,nothing more.

    i have to go out again but will be delighted to continue this debate later.

    Raddy,have a nice time in italy 🙂

  29. kelsey says:

    my spelling is shite

  30. JonJon says:

    fine post london…..

    i thought we were good yesterday…17 games unbeaten and another clean sheet…..

    cesc plays better when he just has to attack, when hes got the right players around him he runs the show like a puppet master….

  31. London says:

    Thanks Jonjon

    Did you win any money on the horses yesterday?

  32. JonJon says:

    yup….125notes….only went and put a bet on the winner didnt i??? 😉

  33. JonJon says:

    had a £1 each way on it….thought id put £2.50 on it but that was my other two….

    irish invader and parsons legacy…..

    still a nice surprise though…

  34. London says:

    By the way Jonjon were you able to watch the game on football first, last evening?

    Cesc has got a new trick, I wanted to put it in the post above but I couldn’t find a way of explaining it. Some how he drags the ball behind him creating space which enables him to go past the player trying to tackle him. Not a paticularly good description which is why I wondered if you noticed it?

  35. JonJon says:

    ahhh yes london i noticed that….

    i know what you mean…. he did it once when he was near the half way line and went on a run and had a left footed shot i think…..

    i think the rest has done him good….

  36. London says:


    we need a name for it?

    And Rico was absolutely right

  37. Rasputin says:

    Hi JonJon,

    Well done with the bet and good to have you back – hopefully in good health.

    I loved yesterday’s game, 10/10 for everyone including AW from me….I know its easy when you’re winning, but I thought the timing and choice of subs was also spot on and the replacement players all fitted sleakly into the system. It was nice to see a cameo from Ramsey who seems to have regained his poise and confidence.

  38. JonJon says:

    hi rasp…

    thsnks mate…

    it is easier when your winning but its also easier when you have the majority of your players fit….

    rosickys return will be a huge boost for the run in…. if he gets fit for the last 5 games or so we will be in will a great chance of silverware…

  39. JonJon says:

    i hope manure smash villa……

    6 points clear and they have everton next on the back of two confidence draining defeats……

    we’ll beat wigan and hopefully will be 9 points clear…

    that will be adequate breathing space with the big three still to come for us…

  40. avenell says:

    Mancheter City.. W1 D5 L10 A decent performance yesterday but c’mon they are hardly world beaters away from home..

  41. avenell says:

    Are you there jonjon? :mrgreen:

  42. JonJon says:

    robinho wasnt worth 32mil….

    and he’ll be off in the summer…

  43. JonJon says:

    still here ave…

  44. Rasputin says:

    Unfortunately Rosicky’s groin strain is hampering his return – I think he’s out for the reserve game this week.

    Who’d want to buy Robinho with an attitude like that? It looks like Etoo’ooo’oo? may be in the prem next season for one of the money-laundering teams.

  45. Rasputin says:

    Bugger, Everton have scored….come on Wigan…….

  46. JonJon says:

    the PL has seen in robinho what Real saw in him and thats why he wasnt a 1st teamer fo them….

    eto would be a good signing for any team in the PL but it depends who barca sign…..

    id swap eto for adebeyor all day long…

  47. rico01 says:

    Afternoon Roadsters, how are we all doing, still happy from yesterday…. I am..

    Re Ade, I agree that he lurks around on the wings and bearing in mind he was the sole striker yesterday, it seemed strange – I have said that about him before, and Robin is another one guilty of doing that in games..

    I think they both think that if Henry could do it so well, so can they, but they can’t, neither have his speed or skill to break away from the defender and finish the move with a quality strike on goal. I am glad Ade got his goals, the first was poor defending but the second was a top class goal, good feet and finish, but the cross from Cesc was inch perfect.

    I am not going to get excited over the return of the big man, but if he scores, does his job, then as said by others, I will support him. But he still has an awful lot more to do and prove before I forgive him…

  48. avenell says:

    What do you think of the rumours that Man U have lined up Ribery to replace Ronaldo?.. seems like they are getting the supporters used to the idea that the winker is off..

  49. rico01 says:

    Hi JJ, I would too, I like Eto, he is big, strong and has the nose for a goal..

    When Nik and Ade swapped, I still didnt like the way Ade failed to really acknowledge Nik, its not right, even Eboue was all hugs and stuff when he came on..

    and talking of Nik, at one stage the midfield were up for the attacking play, and he was on the halfway line going to get the ball, why??

  50. rico01 says:

    Ave, I agree about what has been said about the winker, his body language speaks volumes, he is not happy at Man U, and no doubt SAF talked him into staying for one season to show RM that they don’t always get what they want – I reckon he will go to Barca this summer, and that will be another win win by SAF

  51. rico01 says:

    Everton are 4-0
    Manure are 1-0

  52. rico01 says:

    😉 😉 😉

    Gosh, have i been sent to Coventry 😉

  53. avenell says:

    Naked on horseback.. 😳

  54. rico01 says:

    Bugger Manure 1-1

  55. rico01 says:

    Hello ave, i have emailed you

    oh no, i didnt put on any sun cream 😉

  56. avenell says:

    If ManU lose we could catch them if we win at their gaff and there botty’s go..

  57. JonJon says:

    rico… ade’s second was offside…he got lucky…

    and bendtner was doing a robin…. when we have 5 midfielders he still thinks he has to link up play as a sole striker…..

    ronaldos off…..

    and i hope he goes because real cant afford both ronaldo and cesc… 😉

  58. rico01 says:

    Senna is back for the Villareal game, i think i read they got walloped yesterday 😛

  59. JonJon says:

    they got trashed 3-0and carloza their danger man broke his leg.. 😉

  60. rico01 says:

    JJ, it was a close call for sure 😉

    Sir Bobby Pires has come out in the press and told Cesc to stay put, and I never thought of that JJ, you are right, no way could they afford both, and for RM I think Ronaldo would please the fans more – also, i have said many many times, a Catalan man would never play for RM – when Cesc goes, I think it will be back to Barca – and I actually wouldnt begrudge him that, as long as it’s not until he is 32 years old 😛

  61. rico01 says:

    JJ, thats sad he broke his leg, I hope it heals in 4 weeks time 😉

  62. JonJon says:

    the thing is with the spanish teams rico…especially the giants….is that the fans expect major signings every year…its all about politics in the spanish ranks..i.e. presidential elections….

    names such as kaka, ronaldo, cesc etc are named every year on the basis of the presidents wanting to remain in charge….they promise the fans alsorts just like a government would promise the public blah blah blah…..

    cescs name will always be mentioned…but that doesnt mean he’ll go….

  63. rico01 says:

    Ave, the chance of the dippers dropping form though is a little unlikely right now, I hate them with such a passion and really dont want them to win the league – Also it could open the door for Chelsea, and the thought of that chopper Cole winning the league… no no no, come on manure beat Villa, and we just keep winning 😛

  64. JonJon says:

    barca just like to pick on us because we never win anything….

    they only signed hleb because they knew cesc and hleb were buddies and cesc maybe tempted….

    it wouldnt surprise me if the went for rosicky this summer too… and went for cesc after…..

    they are sly as a fox that went to the university of cunning and got a degree in cunning…..

  65. JonJon says:

    liverpool wont win the league….the momentum is with them at the minute because they are winning….alot like villa….

    they will hit the wall sooner or later and fall to bits like they did at xmas after benitez rant…

  66. rico01 says:

    JJ – Cesc wont go, not all the time Arsene is our manager – he is so well respected by players, and is one of the main reasons why players sign for us – Barca were stupid with Hleb, we all knew he was a one season player for us at the time they bought him, had he stayed he would no doubt have got better, but it took him a couple of seasons to get where he was – he is going through exactly the same settling in period at Barca, the difference though will be they wont wait for him to come good, he will be sold in the summer.

  67. rico01 says:

    So hope you are right JJ, I f-in hate them ( sorry ave )

  68. JonJon says:

    im not bothered about other players breaking their legs… one gives a shit about us when we get kicked, punched, shit on when we play….in fact most people applaud it and say thats how to beat us so i couldnt care less about other players anymore…..

    give what you recieve is my philosophy… 😉

  69. rico01 says:

    I have just seen the Manure goal, how funny. Friedel pushes a manure player in the back, as he falls the ball goes over where his head would have been into the back of the net 😉

  70. JonJon says:

    hleb will end up in germany….probably as a replacement for ribery….

    but it takes hleb 3 years to get used to a league so hes fucked his career right up…..

    if he would only have listened to wenger…. 😉

  71. rico01 says:

    JJ – its about Karma, I thought to myself, be nice about his leg then we will beat them…. 😉

  72. kelsey says:

    Just watched the first half and united look all at sea and that makes villa look good,though to be fair Villa look the better side.United are far from invinsible,but we really don’t need Villa getting anything out of this,and Everton have won again.

  73. avenell says:

    Wenger spoke to Hleb in Spanish.. 😉

    Hi Kelsey!!

  74. JonJon says:

    i wonder if wenger speaks to theo and jacky in french?????

    he probably speaks to jacky in baby….adabooboo…adabooboodoodoodoo…..wheres jacky…??? there he is….how big is he…?? hes sooooo big….

  75. JonJon says:

    manure miss ferdinand big time….

    amazing how an injury can change a team isnt it???? 😉

  76. avenell says:

    Ray Parlour was saying on the radio the other day that Mr Wenger obe likes a laugh..They call him Inspector Clouseau..
    When the flodlights failed at Palace, Perlour was hiding behind a post saying “there is a bomb!” in the fake french accent..
    On the bench during that game Gary Lewin and Pat Rice were still giggling about it..

  77. avenell says:

    Strange that a Man U game lasting nearly 96mins..

  78. peachesgooner says:

    Hiya – have I missed everyone, its the nice weather you see – I don’t get in much 😆

  79. peachesgooner says:

    Its quite nice being a manc when they do the business for you – 6 points clear of Villa and they play everton next oooooooooh 🙂

  80. kelsey says:

    I am here.
    On reflection,I am glad Villa got nothing out of the game.Realistically we can’t expect all 3 teams above us to drop so many points,so one game less,we have a 6 point cushion,and although i feel we will have a big say into the outcome of the title with some hard games to come,villa have to play Everton,and considering we were 8 points behind Villa a month ago,I am confident we can cement 4th place and concentrate on the two cup competitions.

    Any news on our injuries the only one I hear is definitely out is diaby.

  81. avenell says:

    If the Mancs win the league and we end up 2 points behind them I will remember that.. 😉

  82. avenell says:

    I’m pretty sure Mr Wenger obe said the only one who might make it back was Nasri..

  83. London says:

    This is really good news Villareal have lost Cazorla with a broken fibia; he’s out for the season. This player was very important to them. Short and powerful very much like Arsahvin but to give the impact of the loss I would say imagine how important Arshavin will be to us this time next season, he will be running the show, and then to have him break a leg.
    The other thing is that Villareal lost 3-0 to Almaria their confidence is going to be shot to pieces.
    I am revising my prediction to 2-1 to us.

  84. London says:

    The only change for Tuesday will be Nasri for Arshavin

  85. avenell says:

    I would like to see Theo rested if it means him risking his knee. I thought he should have gone off earlier yesterday..

  86. London says:

    I watched the second half of the manu- villa game and I found it really hard not to want manu to lose. But the reality is that it is far better for us that Villa lost it will give us the breathing space at vital times to focus on other, possibly more important games.

  87. London says:

    If Walcott is injured he won’t play but I don’t buy into the idea that he was injured during the international break. I expect him to be fit as a butchers dog for Tuesday.

  88. avenell says:

    Theo was sitting with a ice pack on it after he was taken off yesterday, if there is any problems with it he needs to be rested.

  89. avenell says:

    Theo must be trying to win a BAFTA with this Knee performance if there is nothing wrong with it.. 😉

  90. peachesgooner says:

    Just had a pool supporter on the phone – didn’t know quite how to deal with her, she told me I sounded too cheerful 🙂

  91. peachesgooner says:

    ave – you have a point there, we didn’t really believe that he had a knee injury – he could have got it yesterday he certainly got a bashing

  92. avenell says:

    I think he had a slight knee problem. Colin Lewin would have had to explain to Uncle Gary if he was lying. Also Theo would have had to lie too, and wasn’t Theo pictured around the training ground before England were playing last Wednesday. He was hardly hidden away from the England camp.

  93. rico01 says:

    Hi Guys – sorry, I had to have my supper, play with the chicken, and I was laughing so much that Manure scored in the 99th minute against Villa 😉

    peaches – have you been sun bathing all day 😛

    Theo – its all a show, Villareal would have been watching yesterday, the FA would have been watching yesterday, and that ice pack was for their benefit – Tuesday Theo will be fit and raring to go..

    London, JJ was saying earlier about Cazorla, bad news for him, but good news for us – JJ was saying he is a real threat, big play maker, so maybe lady luck is going to be with us –

    Bobby will score the winner…. an own goal 😉

  94. JonJon says:

    hi guys im back

    rico are you watching the valencia game


    i dont care if we have to sell ade and rvp i want that man….

  95. avenell says:

    How did theo get away with this Rico?.. It was an England qualifier.. wouldn’t someone from the England camp said like “hold up Theo is training and walking normally over there” “lets test his knee”..?–Arsenal-star-isnt-Capellos-squad.html?ITO=1490

  96. JonJon says:

    wenger and capello are buddies….

    we are now going to get things like that thrown our way just as fergie did under erikson and umberalla man…..

  97. avenell says:

    Capello is a winner, he wouldn’t put up with pretending Theo is injured.. he had to play Lennon didn’t he? No man would allow that..

  98. rico01 says:

    JJ – I’m not, but have just seen they are 4-1 up, i have pressed the s+ record button, so hopefully i will see the goals – I love David Villa, and I would swap him for either Nik, Ade or both – I know we have Eduardo, who many say is similar, but for Spain he kind of plays on the left of midfield. Put him in there, play Arshavin and Theo as forwards where they can really destroy the opposition – and we are sorted, oh to dream JJ

  99. rico01 says:

    ave – do you think that is an up to date photo? hasnt Theo filled out since that picture, and why would he be with Little Jack ??

    No, i dont buy it, its all a con 😉

  100. rico01 says:

    ave – had to play Lemon, Oh i laughed at that 😛

  101. JonJon says:

    theres 3 gooners up here in leeds, a couple of buddies and myself, and weve wanted villa for years….

    when the rumours were flying round that he may be leaving valencia before the euros we wanted wenger to sign him….and we still do…

    villa and dudu are the same type of player in their finishing but villas all round game is much much better….he makes goals for himself….and doesnt drift in and out of games like a regular fox in the box does…

  102. JonJon says:

    good call rico its a conspiracy i tell you…

    that photo was from last year….. 😉

  103. rico01 says:

    JJ, I really rate him and he would make a good choice for the back of my shirt next year, only five letters to pay for ;)i didnt realise you were up in revvvvvie land 😉

    I du du think the two together would be ruthless…

    and yes, a conspiracy JJ indeed 😉

  104. rico01 says:

    got to lock the chickens up, be back in short while, as long as they dont play me up as usual 😉

  105. avenell says:

    England use Shenley for training when they are playing at home..
    Anyway stop arguing now it’s getting boring.. 😉

  106. London says:


    I mean something different. Theo wasn’t injured which England were well aware of, rather than pretending. They had Sean wright Philips, Lennon and Beckham available so as JonJon said Capello and Wenger are mates… Capello said he won’t be playing…Stuart Pierce said can he play in the under 21s? Wenger said your having a laugh… Walcott cannot be seen to not want to play for England..Hey presto, knee injury…internationals over… miraculous recovery.

  107. avenell says:

    In that case then London.. are you saying Capello prefers Lennon over Theo. He has been the best England player this campaign. I don’t see why he would drop him.

  108. London says:


    Theo has been out for a while, Lennon has been on form and Wright Philips has a good England track record that’s without mentioning Sir Becks. It’s not a case that Capello likes the others better; he just didn’t need to take a risk on Theo’s match fitness or lack of it.

  109. JonJon says:

    you guys forgot to mention bentley….. 😉

  110. avenell says:

    The knee locking up while walking off the training field seems a bit of a stupid story to make up though.
    A lot of people have said that is a small tear in a cartilage.
    Why not say a slight hamstring or a groin strain (as we are specialists at those).. Now defenders can target Theo’s knee like Man city did yesterday. and as you have pointed out similar to Arshavins foot, which was targeted when he played for Russia in the week.

  111. JonJon says:

    maybe theo does have a slight knock…he was sat on the bench yesterday with an ice pack on his knee….

  112. rico01 says:

    Ave – its only you arguing 😉

    Theo was not ever injured, and still is not – there you go – I said it 😛

  113. avenell says:

    That is what I am saying Jonjon.. if he never had a knock, saying he has could have made the man C defenders target him, like stamping on Arshavins foot..

  114. London says:


    You have a good point, if the conspiracy theory were true a good old fashioned, tried and tested groin injury would have been better.

    I still find the idea of reporting that he will be out for the season on one day only to anounce two days later that he will only be out for length of the internationals very fishy. So I asked myself why?

  115. JonJon says:

    theo will play tuesday knock or no knock…we’ll keep it tight at the back and play a 451 or 4231 and go for the clean sheet and hit them on the counter….

    theo will be crucial for our counter…..

  116. rico01 says:

    JJ, that was for the benefit of Villareal and the Fa 😉

  117. rico01 says:

    London, its Arsene playing the SAF trick, he has learned at last – 😉

  118. London says:

    I didn’t get an opportunity to see the replays so I didn’t see the ice pack on Theo’s knee.

  119. rico01 says:

    So good I said it twice – oops 😛

  120. avenell says:

    You sound like Ted Rogers jonjon.. 3….2…1… dustybin,. Hat trick.. Kiss my ass in Gaelic.. lol.. boring now.. how long have you supported Arsenal? I am a better supporter than you .. It’s my ball so you can’t play.. are you watching Tottenham? haha.

  121. London says:

    Hi Rico

    I worked my magic before I saw your other comment.

    And I agree, it was a case of Wenger playing a SAF trick.

  122. rico01 says:

    So, moving on then – Villreal on Tuesday


    Bac Gallas Kolo Clichy

    Theo Cesc Song Nasri

    Ade Nik

    or if fit Ade/robin and Dudu

    Subs – Merida, Ramsey, JD, Fabianski, Eboue!!! Jack, Vela

  123. rico01 says:


    The Dippers are relagated – women of course 😛 😛 😛

  124. London says:


    Is that the team you want or expect?

  125. rico01 says:

    London – possibly a bit of both, Robin and Dudu may not be fit – if they are i would start with them up front,
    if they are not it will be Ade and Nik,

    he may go with 1 up front, in which case, if fit i would play the same midfield but with Diaby in front of them with probably Ade up front on his own –
    dont get me wrong, he is not my favourite but Nik is not good as a lone striker.

    I really hope he plays two up front to start and goes for the early goal, get them to open up from the start

  126. London says:


    I do like your positive attitude to team selection you seem to like to go for the early goal idea which I suppose is the glass half full way of picking the team. Although, I always try and be positive when it comes to the early goal I am a glass half empty kind of person. In English, what I am saying is that I am not as brave as you and therefore I would only want to start with one up front and protect the clean sheet rather than chase the early goal.

  127. London says:


    I am calling it a night. Speak tomorrow.

  128. rico01 says:

    Nighty night London, as it is only us I may aswell do the same – but I stick by play the way we know, attack the little tinkers, win in Spain, and all will be rosey 😛

  129. avenell says:

    Don’t worry about all us others just reading your every touch and caress of the keyboard Rico.. 😉

  130. rico01 says:

    you taking the mickey again ave 😉

    seriously, i have to go too sadly, i would love to stay up all night blogging 😉

    Have a good eveing all, i will catch you all tomorrow

  131. avenell says:

    Nice one Rico.. good nite.. x

  132. peachesgooner says:

    Morning all

    Where are the early birds?

    I’m looking forward to more footie tmoro, can’t decide if going to the Emirates to watch the game on the big screens is a good idea or not. Last year I watched the 2nd leg against Liverpool at the Emirates – and we all know what happened there.

    Ho hum, by the time I decide what to do there’ll be no tickets left 😦

  133. rico01 says:

    Morning all,

    Hey peaches, how are you this morning, dont go to the Emirates, stay at home in the warm, the weather is going to get colder tomorrow….

    Be back in a short while, got some washing to hang out and a couple of other things i really must get on with 😦

  134. peachesgooner says:

    hi rico – your friend chary mentioned you this morning in connection with Nikki 🙂

    Is it really going to be cold tomor 😦

  135. rico01 says:

    Yep, sadly so, and wet I heard, lets hope ‘they’ have got it wrong – I popped and replied to Chary 😉

  136. avenell says:

    Morning Roadsters..
    NEW POST.. if you would like to press the home page..

  137. Rasputin says:

    Morning Roadsters,

    Colder and rain for the next 5 days for the London area / south east – not what the gardening industry wants 😦

    Theo’s contract negotiations should not be put on hold unless AW has spoken to him and the deal is done in principle. Theo is already very good (Englands No. 1 right midfield choice) and he will get even better. Who knows how important our english players could be if Pratini gets his way.

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