Well that didn’t go to plan or did it?

Watching Arsenal crash out of the FA Cup at the hands of Stoke is not my favourite way I to spend a Sunday afternoon. I understand and agree with the team selection: I realise the need to give valuable experience to many of what is hoped will be the stars of the not too distant future but even after grabbing that crumb of comfort it is still not enough to console me and alleviate the pain of watching the club that I love lose.

Player ratings:

Fabianski: wow, if like me you were thinking that the Pole, who has clearly developed a penchant for pies while he has been injured, was the answer to our goalkeeping woes then you, like me, are feeling very worried indeed. In his defence dealing with Delap’s throw-ins would cause Casillas, and any group of defenders you care to name, problems. 4.5

Coquelin: the television commentators blamed the young Frenchman for the first goal; I’m not so sure, it seemed to me that Fabianski was much at fault. That said, he got better as the game went on and made some fine tackles. I can’t quite work out what is his natural position, is he a DM? Does he have the range of passing to play that role? Only time will tell but the more games he plays the quicker we will know. 5

Campbell: the only Arsenal player who looked as though winning the game was important. He tired towards the end but that is hardly surprising, all in all it was great to see him out there playing for Arsenal again and I am greatly relieved to think that he will be the first choice back up should Gallas or Vermaelen get injured. 8

Silvestre: I think I am correct in saying that he joined Arsenal on a two year deal, if right then that takes him to the end of the season at which point I expect him to leave to be replaced by Bartley in the pecking order. At thirty five he was always going to struggle for pace and unsurprisingly he was left wanting on more occasions than we should expect from an Arsenal player. 4.5

Traore: for me this young Frenchman was the bright light of the afternoon; he has clearly had time to reflect and improve upon his last outing in which he was given a torrid time by Gallas as much as Everton. Today the jitters were gone, in their place was a composed performance and some excellent crossing. 7

Denilson: some times it is hard to fight the young Brazilian’s corner and today is certainly one of them. The goal was welcome, he has his fitness back but I will save judgement for the Villa game in which he will be surrounded by the best players that Arsenal have to offer. 5.5

Eastmond: coming on leaps and bounds; his progress is clear since only two games ago he was completely out of his depth against Bolton. 5.5

Fabrégas: apparently he was only playing because Wilshire was unwell. Even the best midfielder in the country struggled with so little help. 7

Walcott: he’s a shoe in to go to South Africa……..for the same reason as last time………mascot………Walcott the mascot, it has a ring to it; he was pathetic. 2

JET: no easy task coming into the first team and having tweedle dee and tweedle dum on either side of you in attack, did what he could, helped out aerially in defence. 5

Vela: or on today’s performance tweedle dee, OK perhaps a bit harsh as he was certainly playing as though it meant some thing to him in the first half but we need a bit more than that Carlos. 5

Arshavin, Eduardo, Ramsey: it all made sense to me, I expected that we would go on and win it. 5 a piece.

If the plan was to win then clearly it failed but if the plan was to get rid of this insignificant distraction, then it went exactly to Wenger’s plan.

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160 Responses to Well that didn’t go to plan or did it?

  1. London says:

    Morning Roadsters

    A new day, a new start.

    This is obviously not a match report so if anyone has put some effort into one please just put it right over the top of this.

  2. Rohan Dias says:

    Been reading your blog for sometime and really enjoy it. Continue the good work, fellow gooner 🙂

    Cheers from India 🙂

  3. Big Raddy says:

    Morning,

    My main concern was the lack of protection that Fabregas received from the Ref. Cesc was systematically fouled through the whole first half, which must have been a tactic devised by Pulis. Nullify our main threat & we are beatable by a team of thugs.

    I write “devised” because the attacks upon Cesc were rarely by the same player twice in a row.

    AW must have been terribly disappointed by the right side of the team, Coquelin, Denilson & Theo were hopeless against a very physical team. No power, no cohesion and no imagination

  4. Big Raddy says:

    Good post London.

    My only beef was the mark to Theo. He was no better or worse than Coq, Silvestre or Denilson. He never got the service to display his talents. Not a single pass behind the defence to use his main asset – speed. That said, he was dreadful when he did have the ball ! So, in essence, think you have overvalued Coquelin, Silvestre and Denilson !

    It was great to see Sol in the shirt. Made me feel young again

  5. London says:

    In my ambassadorial capacity welcome to the Avenell Road, Rohan.

  6. London says:

    Morning BR

    I know you are right, I am just so disappointed with Theo. That said, nothing would give me greater pleasure than to have to eat my words.

  7. Rasputin says:

    Morning Roadsters,

    Thanks for the post, I’m sure your assessment was spot on, I am not properly qualified as I followed the game on the internet and only saw scant highlights.

    What can we learn? I’m not sure.

    …….If the manager sends out the message in his team selection that the game is not high priority, that affects the senior players??? maybe

    …….A combination of experience and reserve players seldom works especially not against a ‘physical side’ …. probably

    We will know in 2 weeks whether the gamble was of playing Cesc was worth taking. AW criticised McCarthy for playing a weakened team against manure – personally I would have played an even weaker side and protected cesc – there were other options apart from Wilshire.

  8. London says:

    Morning Rasp

    Good point about McCarthy.

    I heard an interview with Wenger this morning, he was gracious if not bullish in defeat.

  9. Rasputin says:

    Morning Raddy,

    You’re right, the ‘attention’ Cesc is getting from the opposition these days is a worry, and as you say, the refs seem to let it go. Like AA, Cesc never rolls around in agony after he is tackled, he just gets up and carries on – maybe he should take a leaf out of Drogba’s book? – nah, forget that…..

  10. London says:

    Rasp

    Do you really think AA roles around more than is necessary? I think of him as someone who gets up as soon as he can.

  11. Rasputin says:

    Morning London,

    I’m glad AW didn’t major on towelgate as we’d have just been branded as bad losers. Had we won, I’d have liked to see us make a real fuss about the timewasting/unfair advantage they gained by using equipment that is not part of the game. The FA needs to address this problem.

  12. Rasputin says:

    London, I said ‘like AA, Cesc never rolls around etc etc …’ we agree 😉

  13. London says:

    Ah, I see what you mean Rasp.

  14. London says:

    BR

    “Didn’t major on towelgate” That’s hilarious and has helped me start to get over this loss.

  15. Rasputin says:

    Have you been on the sauce London? … that was me 🙄

  16. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp.

    If I can see it, why can’t the refs? They are professionals (?). Surely it is possible to review the match retrospectively and alert future refs to the problem.

    It is not just Cesc,. The same happened to Ronaldo …. no wonder the managers become so frustrated.

    I would like to look at Stoke for a few seconds. They won, what does that tell them and other average teams? That playing non-football succeeds. A terrible message for any fans of the “beautiful game”.

    When Brazil won the World Cup playing the Stoke way, their team was derided in their own country. In the UK , the media laud a team that showed nothing bar physicality. A giant or aggressor in every position. We need more managers like Coyle who can bring an average team into the PL playing attractive football.

    Yesterday depressed me, not so much because Arsenal lost, but because good to watch football lost, and we know what that means for the ankles of our team.

  17. Big Raddy says:

    Well played London. On the sauce at this early hour. Hope it isn’t an anaesthetic for a skiing injury 🙂

  18. Rasputin says:

    Good point Raddy. I think it may be a ‘generational’ thing and in time a ‘modern’ approach will percolate through in this country. The premiership is watched worldwide because it is the most exciting league in the world and that is partly due to the combative nature of our game. Personally, I get far more enjoyment from watchinga string of perfectly executed passes rather than a slide tackle from behind and hoofing the ball upfield – that’s why I support the Arsenal.

  19. London says:

    It made me chuckle so much, I didn’t take a proper look at the name….sorry about that.

  20. London says:

    It’s a bit early for drinking, I am back home, blogging here as a way of trying to avoid starting work.

  21. Arse&Nose says:

    Where was Fran Merida?

  22. Rasputin says:

    Here’s something controversial….. the players pivotal to our success this season in order of importance to the side ..

    Cesc
    Song
    TV
    Gallas
    Bendtner

  23. Big Raddy says:

    LOL Rasp !

    That is a lot of expectancy on the shoulders of a player who has yet to show a consistent run of form in the shirt. As yo know I have high hopes for Nik, but …..

    IMO, AA is the key in the big games. If he and Rosicky are firing and fit, we can be contenders

  24. London says:

    Ah, that’s an interesting distraction that will enable me to avoid starting work for another ten minutes.

    I would put Vermaelen above Song and also put Gallas on a par with Song.

  25. London says:

    I forgot about AA. He has to be above Bendtner

  26. London says:

    A&N

    I was not drinking with Fran Merida 😉

  27. Arse&Nose says:

    So he wasn’t in the squad, and he wasn’t in the pub….hmm

  28. Le Foxe says:

    Reckon i must have been watching a different game – 7 for Traore? He was to blame for the final goal, he was about 2 foot away from Whitehead. School boy errors and all that.

    I was just embarrassed watching the game last night. We can moan all we want about the Stoke tactics and the fact that the towel seemed to have 22% of possession, but the truth is we should have done better. We knew what was coming and didnt cope. To me, Vela and Walcott didnt do anywhere near enough to justify a starting berth. Lets not forget that they are both internationals, but watching them you wouldnt think it.

    Wenger really does need to invest in at least 1, if not 2 more players to this squad. We need to kick on from here, but my worry is that this FA Cup hangover wont shift till March.

  29. gazzap says:

    I thought Traore was at fault for their second and third goals. The fact Denilson could not catch Sidibe was hardly Den’s fault, it was Traore’s for being miles out of position. and why didn’t he track the Stoke player into the box for their last goal. I accept he was tired by the end but when wenger throws on lots of attacking players you really expect your back 4 to defend.

    On Fabianksi, it looked like that long throw really surprised him the first time, like he hadn’t done any research! after that he dealt with the throws very well to be fair. at least he learnt.

    I thought, other than Cesc and sol, all our best players were the reserves – Coquelin, Eastmond and JET. Coq is a DM not a right back and he had a bad start but he picked himself up and improved a lot, so fair play to him.

  30. Rasputin says:

    The reason I put Bendtner in there was because he may be the missing ingredient that pulls our midfield and attack together … but he’d have to come back at the level he was before the injury and continue to improve.

  31. gazzap says:

    BR, I agree about systematic fouling. Stoke must have given away about 20 free kicks. The ref did not pull them up on the sheer number even though very few of them were bad fouls. they were cynical and designed to stop us attacking. Its funny, but when we do a foul that stops the opposition attacking, we always get a booking for it.

  32. Rasputin says:

    Raddy, I am AA’s biggest fan … I just expect him to produce the magic – so I’m taking his contribution for granted 😛

  33. London says:

    Morning gazzap

    At one one the aim was obviously to go on an try to win or, at all costs, avoid the disastrous effects of a replay, this as I see it called for Traore to push further up, cover behind him fell to Silvestre but with his legs the way they are that was a big ask.

  34. Arse&Nose says:

    gazzap, good guess!

    according to the stats 20 fouls were given against Stoke. There could have been 20 more if the ref wasnt such a coward.

  35. Big Raddy says:

    Exactly London. AW gambled, it didn’t come off. He takes the flak. Let’s get onto the next game.

  36. Rasputin says:

    If we win convincingly on wednesday all will be forgotten. If we get 7 points out of the next 4 games I reckon 2nd is realistic and if the chavs suffer a dip in form we could win the prem.

  37. London says:

    Rasp

    That’s a very optimistic view 😉

  38. Rasputin says:

    I thought you’d accuse me of being a pessimist London 🙂

  39. Arse&Nose says:

    We need to pray that Cameroon get knocked out tonight so that we get Song back. He is vital.

  40. Rasputin says:

    I don’t know what happened to Fabianski yesterday … he was dire. I’ve been calling for him to replace Al for some time and maybe if he’d had a run of games he would have been fine, but based on yesterday’s performance, Almunia is our No1.

    It was obvious that the players didn’t feel like a ‘team’; there was no balance. It appeared to be due to a lack of confidence in their team-mates as much as lack of self belief that contributed to the overall loss of cohesion.

  41. Rasputin says:

    Morning JJ 😉

  42. Big Raddy says:

    Time to put this defeat into perspective. We had one first choice player on the pitch. One.

    That we lost to a physical team on a dreadful pitch with a poor ref was no surprise. Would I take AW to task for playing that team? No. I thought prior to the game that we had enough to win, so did AW., and he gambled with the 3 subs which didn’t work. Some you win, some you lose.

  43. Arse&Nose says:

    All of our youth team blogs rate Sczeney as our best keeper. He is currently on loan to Brentford and putting in star performances.

  44. alfamilano says:

    Morning all. Good post London, got straight to the point.

    Disappointed like everyone else, but here’s what struck me. Normally when we bring the second string on, they fit into the Wengerball system pretty much straight away. They might not pass as quickly or accurately, might be muscled off the ball more easily and might not take their chances and maybe we end up losing, but it looks like the same team we know and love.

    Yesterday just looked like a team who hadn’t even trained together before. Cesc played like a hero trying to keep it together, he must have been so frustrated.

    Sol looked good but Stoke aren’t the fastest (Delap on the wing?). As a Traore critic I thought he looked a lot better. Where did those step overs come from 😮

  45. Big Raddy says:

    True Ras. 2 shots on target tell much of the story.

  46. JonJon says:

    sorry just abit confused…

    nice one london…

  47. London says:

    JJ

    Confused about what, if you have a post stick it up there, no one asked me to do anything, I just took the piss as usual 😉

  48. Rasputin says:

    That’s good news A&N, I rate Vito. Surely sooner or later, one of our keepers will emerge as the No.1 we deserve?

  49. Arse&Nose says:

    I have high hopes for Szcehsney, he looks like the best keeper we have. 6ft5 as well.

  50. kelsey says:

    all good points above.As I have already mentioned they were the better team on the day, and who knows if we had fielded a stronger side that the outcome would have been any different.Wenger has not for the first time looked at the F.A.Cup as a non priority,which I personally don’t agree with.However the 11 that started had never played together before, many of whom looked extremely nervous and in all fairness played very poorly.We have been down this road before and if the manager deems fit that we should save our better players for the hard fixture list that is imminent then so be it.I was surprised Fabregas played, but I understand that was only because Wilshere picked up a late injury. We might well implode or it could be a master stroke, the next two weeks will tell us a lot more.

  51. JonJon says:

    its not a problem london…

    i did do a write up last night but its seemed its dissapeared…

    i’ll bang it up later though and let yours have some airtime.. 😉

    i’ll go read it now…lol

  52. gazzap says:

    If we think Almunia and Fabianski are bad, Mannone is worse. wenger is terrible with keepers. The younger polish keeper szczesny, will be better, I have no doubt.
    Thing with lots of keepers is if their first contribution is a big mistake it can really affect their whole game, and we saw that with Fabianski. He knew straight away that the first goal was his fault, and it got to him badly. It made him make the mistake where the ball slipped under his glove. I was surprised that an international of his quality would let it effect him so psychologically.

  53. Big Raddy says:

    Sure Fabianski had a game to forget. He must have trained and trained agianst the long throw, then the first time in action, Stoke score. His nerves must have been shot to pieces, and he never really recovered.

    I am hesitant to judge him from this game. He is still very young for a GK, and one doesn’t get the kind of reputation he has without having some skills.

    As a backup GK, he will do for a few years, after which we can assess his abilities. I am more concerned about our No.1 GK.

    Mannone did enough in his run to show that he deserves a contract. IMO.

  54. gazzap says:

    Remember we lost at Stoke last season with RVP and Diaby in the team. so this was not all about wenger sticking out a weak team. our strongest team might have lost yesterday.

  55. Big Raddy says:

    Morning Kelsey.

    In my opinion, whatever happens over the next two weeks, it was the right team for the game. Had we played to our potential, we could and should have won.

  56. sonnu says:

    i don’t understand why aw is getting rid of senderos than silvestre.admit this there was something else than fa cup in wengers head.he put fabregas so he won’t b accused of not respecting fa cup.

    theo is guy who plays 1 good game and 10 bad games theo ur very lucky to play for arsenal you r fucking up urself.
    denilson a fucking disaster he will always be shit.
    silvestre experience shit player.no compalin of other players.but get rid of walcott denilson and silvestre

  57. Rasputin says:

    Stoke are our kryptonite … 😆

  58. Edmond Dantes says:

    Morning all

    I must say that it is beneath the Arsenal to play a team like Stoke. The style and panache of Arsenal against their boring zzzz…(whatever they do!) Well, thats English football, I guess. The good, the bad and the Stokes of the world.
    What can one do? (long sigh)

    Having said that, we should have simply defended better. It was asking alot from a patched-up defence.

  59. Arse&Nose says:

    The reason we lost is that we didn’t only play Stoke yesterday, we played against a blue&white towel as well.

    None of our players got close to the towel, and it was a constant menace down the touchline’s.

  60. London says:

    Morning sonnu

    Silvestre is fifth choice back up, where as Senderos at 24 really should be playing on a regular basis, so my guess is that it is more a case that Senderos wanting to leave rather than Wenger wanting to sell him.

  61. London says:

    I thought the towel should have got a red card for throwing itself to the floor so often.

    Best I could do at short notice 😉

  62. JonJon says:

    i disagree with you on traore london…

    i thought he was poor…really poor..

    what annoys me the most about yesterday is that with the mancs and the dippers out, we had a chance to win this trophy and he fielded a stronger team in the 3rd round…

    i didnt see the point in playing practically the reserve side and then risking cesc…why not rest cesc too…

    and denilson and theo showed their true colours…they are garbage and they are being carried…along with cesc they were supposed to be our dangermen in that game and they couldnt step up…

  63. Edmond Dantes says:

    The ref should have added time because of the ball being dried all the time. It was taking a good 15-20 seconds each time. In total, that could have been an extra 5 minutes alone. Too bad we were already two down at the end.

  64. Edmond Dantes says:

    The crucial goal was the second Stoke goal. I think Traore was most to blame for not stopping the cross coming in.

  65. alfamilano says:

    Maybe we should have smeared the ball with grease during our throws.

    Or maybe just kept the ball and defended better 😦

    Only one goal came from a throw, the other two were decent moves. The players will all have learned something. Shame JET didn’t get better/any service.

  66. Rasputin says:

    Eastmond did well though didn’t he? – no irony intended 😉

  67. Edmond Dantes says:

    Campbell looked quite good winning his fair share of long balls. This was the ideal match for him. He would do well against the likes of Davies etc. who normally win those aerial duels all day long against the Arsenal defence.

  68. JonJon says:

    i also thought both our FB’s were poor…traore was pretty much useless on the left and etherington was all over coq banging in cross after cross..

    dont really blame coq much though..he needed help from his ‘senior’ well paid collegues…and i dont remember theo tracking back down that side once.

    but thats what you get from theo..nothing

  69. Edmond Dantes says:

    I agree JJ.

    There used to be a buzz of anticipation from the crowd when Theo used to have the ball. Now he can’t even get on the ball.

  70. JonJon says:

    he doesnt even try anymore edmond

    i reckon he wont be at arsenal in 3 years and in 5 he wont even be playing PL football….not even abroad..he’ll be playing in lower leagues…thats if hes still playing ball…

    if wenger hadnt spent so much money on him he’d of been out of the door already….

  71. Rasputin says:

    Theo is an enigma. We all remember that blistering run that set up the goal against pool in the CL semi (followed seconds later by Kolo’s clumsy challenge and their penalty 😦 ). If he worked as hard and had the attitude of, dare I say, Eboue, he’d cause more problems to the opposition. It seems odd to suggest EE as a role model for Theo, but it is more realistic than comparing him with TH14 who was/is outrageously gifted.

  72. London says:

    My guess would be that Wenger gives Walcott two more seasons, that will take him to 23, the reason for this is that Wenger often says it is not always possible to to know just how good a forward will be before then.

  73. Edmond Dantes says:

    The Carling Cup and the FA Cup are like comparing chalk and cheese. Under normal circumstances, the FA Cup deserves a full strength team. But given the injury troubles; I can’t dispute AW’s team selection too much. But all in all, it’s another missed opportunity to pick up silverware. After all, Manure and Pool were already out. If we go on to win the CL or the EPL then we can’t argue with AW for sacrificing the FA Cup. However, it’s very easy to argue points with the benefit of hindsight and as such, I cannot criticise AW.

  74. JonJon says:

    rasp..i would happily see eboue play instead of theo anyday of the week…and we know how i feel about eboue

  75. Rasputin says:

    I agree JonJon, that’s the point EE tries hard and makes the most of his limited ability.

    London, if Theo is a forward and is clearly not improving playing out of position wide, why don’t we at least try him centrally and move AA wide?

  76. Edmond Dantes says:

    Persisting with Theo is a gamble that I hope will pay off sooner rather than later. This season I’ve been impressed with Ramsey’s development. From the really young ones, he looks the most impressive.

    Incidentally, If Arsenal doesn’t win anything this season, what excuse would Cliff Richard have?
    He’d say, “Darling, we’re the young ones.”:-D

  77. JonJon says:

    london…

    i would agree with that point…

    the thing for me is that you can see development in a player over the years…

    theo just seems to have gone backwards..hes learnt nothing…he was more dangerous when he was 17 than what he is now…

    edmond…

    i would have liked to have thought that with 2 of the ‘big four’ already out in the 3rd round we had a good chance in this comp..but on the other hand our league fixtures are pretty damn tough…so for me we either go all out or we go with the reserves and see how we do…

    which is why i cant understand why we played cesc…

    im not too bothered about going out of the cup if im honest…what upsets me is the way we lost and the way some of our ‘stars’ performed…

  78. Edmond Dantes says:

    😀

  79. Arse&Nose says:

    I’m on a diet and someone is eating chicken in our office, this is torture.

  80. London says:

    JJ

    I agree with you but my guess would still be that Wenger gives him until he is 23. And I don’t think it has anything to do with the money he earns, I find that suggestion a bit daft.

  81. Rasputin says:

    There is a saying “If you want a job done, find a busy man”, I think Arsene employed that ethos when he asked Cesc to try to hold together the disparate entities in yesterday’s team … well done Cesc for trying, in hindsight, not worth it, can Arsene see into the future … no

  82. JonJon says:

    why though london??

    the way i see it is that wenger has let players with more ability leave the club at a young age in the past…these players mostly came through the ranks so wenger wasnt losing anything…

    now we have a player who cost him 12 million but is making less of an impact then bently,alliadiere etc…

    if bently had cost us 12mill i dont see wenger shipping him out as quickly as he did…

    i think theos price tag is one of the reasons hes still here…probably the main reason…

  83. JonJon says:

    risking cesc though was pretty pointless though i think

    we have a situation in the league where we need cesc badly..

    so why play him i the same team as JET, coq, eastmond, vela, denilson, theo..

    might as well put ramsey in from the start..if hes fit enough to come on as a sub hes fit enough to start..

  84. Rasputin says:

    I agree JJ, I’d play Ramsay in place of Denilson on wednesday.

  85. JonJon says:

    id play gunnersauras instead of denilson

  86. Rasputin says:

    He’s not so easy to knock off the ball 😕

  87. JonJon says:

    could probably run abit faster too

  88. Rasputin says:

    Come on Egypt – we’ve only got one Song and we want him back…. kick off at 4:00

  89. alfamilano says:

    Gunnersaurus can hoof it into the top tier when he needs to.

    Surely if towels are OK then so are grenade launchers.

  90. London says:

    JJ

    There might be a post here, so I will think about the answer to that one.

  91. Rasputin says:

    I wonder if you can buy towels as part of the home kit at Stoke?

  92. London says:

    Gunnersaurus is definitely one for the future, Wenger will stand by him until he is at least 23 million years old.

  93. alfamilano says:

    😆 Rasp and London

  94. JonJon says:

    ok london..sounds good..it is a good topic for debate…good call..

  95. London says:

    JJ

    I have an idea, if you write 400 words on Walcott from your view (pretty much what you said above but with a bit more meat on it) and I write 400 words on him from my view and we post them together as a headline post on the lines of: JJ says: blah, blah, blah and London say: blah, blah, blah. If your up for it let me know and post it into drafts.

  96. JonJon says:

    im up for that…i’ll start on it tonight if thats ok…??

  97. Rasputin says:

    Shall I write 400 words on how you’re both wrong? 🙄

  98. JonJon says:

    haha…rasp if you want.. 😉

  99. London says:

    “Mannone sets sights on becoming Arsenal No1 after signing new deal”

    Vito, you are not going to need long distance glasses, it’s there sitting in front of you, just pick it up.

  100. London says:

    Traore seems to have taken a spanking today from almost everyone except me. The main accusation seems to be that he was out of position for the second goal.

    Well, my answer to that is, no he wasn’t; he was doing what was expected of him: attacking down the left flank trying to help produce a second goal for us.

    When Sagna is high up the pitch available to receive the ball and cross it, do we say he is out of position? No we do not, we say he is bolstering the attack, if at this point the opposition break; it is the covering central defenders job to snuff it out.

    I stand by my comment about Traore being the bright spot, compared to his previous game against Everton he was head an shoulders better.

  101. London says:

    Come on Egypt

    Now there is something I didn’t expect to be saying.

  102. Rasputin says:

    Bugger, Cameroon 1 up 😦

  103. Rasputin says:

    1 all

  104. alfamilano says:

    London, I’m with you on Traore, he was having to cope with Silvestre and no support from Denilson.

  105. Rasputin says:

    From what I could ascertain, none of the youngsters should have been singled out for crticism – unless Denilson is still considered in that category?

  106. alfamilano says:

    Rasp, some constructive criticism definitely, they weren’t that great otherwise we might have won, but it was the overall team performance that sucked.

  107. Rasputin says:

    Fair enough alfa … it sounds like one of those games when inexplicably we weren’t up for it …. I’m pretty sure there were those who thought that a draw would have been the worst outcome

  108. alfamilano says:

    And Stoke played well; like someone else said earlier, they beat us last year.

  109. Rasputin says:

    We play them away in the prem on 27th Feb – let’s hope the first team have learned the lessons…..

  110. Big Raddy says:

    Ras. Stoke away is just the type of game that we must take 3 points from, and I believe we will.

    Come on Egypt. This is important to us !!

  111. Rasputin says:

    Agreed Raddy…..

  112. London says:

    I think the Stoke throw-ins create a totally different and separate game within the game of football.

    It is so different that to me it is the equivalent of playing football for seventy minutes and then, with the same players, playing Rugby for the remaining ten.

    We as Arsenal would expect to win the football part but how can any team we field expect to win a game that is as alien to our players as Rugby is?

  113. London says:

    If we get Song on a private plane now he could play at Villa on Wednesday, two games in a week for a man in the prime of his life shouldn’t be a problem at all.

  114. kelsey says:

    London,

    you may be joking,but quite honestly why can’t a fit young player not play twice a week on a regular basis.Playing time is about 46 minutes ball in play per match.

  115. kelsey says:

    i see not much mention about mannone signing a new contract.

    question ? does anyone read anything into that.having 3 keepers who apart from seniority in age all are much of the same. Is one on his way out ?

  116. London says:

    Hi Kelsey

    I see the idea of having three goal keepers of a similar level as a microcosm of the whole youth development system, that’s to say that it is understood and expected that not all will make it but as in the case of the keepers, if you start off with three decent prospects then you should have a good chance that one will turn out to be very good.

  117. Rasputin says:

    If it’s OK for Ade to come back and play at the weekend, it should be OK for Song?

    I know he’s a sound family man so maybe he won’t want to party, but you couldn’t criticise him for wanting to stay and enjoy the spectacle of the final.

  118. London says:

    I could, get back here now.

  119. Rasputin says:

    You’re a hard man London 😆

  120. Rasputin says:

    Song, come back where you Billong…..

  121. London says:

    Ohhh, good one.

  122. Rasputin says:

    Good headline for tomorrow ….

  123. London says:

    Very true

    So, now you have only got about six hundred more words to write 😉

  124. Rasputin says:

    I leave that to the erudite “Ambassador of Avenell Road” 😛

  125. London says:

    You must mean Rico 😉

  126. Rasputin says:

    By all accounts he wasn’t ‘outstanding’ at the ACN….

  127. London says:

    Did you see the game today? I saw bits of it; he was playing into the hands of his critics: sloppy passing, giving unnecessary fouls away, slow to get back. Camaroon were far the better side though, Egypt were awarded a goal in extra time that never crossed the line which completely broke Camaroon’s spirit. Still, one mans loss is another mans fortune or something like that.

  128. Rasputin says:

    No I didn’t see it London, I’d just picked up that impression from various reports…..

    I just hope he’s still in ‘Arsenal mode’. We know it takes him time to adapt his game (partly just maturing), with any luck he’ll be the rock we need in midfield again. He’s almost as good as Vieira when it comes to shielding the ball. There have been times this season when he’s been surrounded by the opposition and still emerged with the ball.

  129. peachesgooner says:

    So, is Song coming back or not….did Cameroon get knocked out…….

  130. peachesgooner says:

    London – I agree with you about Traore – he plays as an attacking full-back and its up to one of the centre backs to cover for him when hes marauding forward……

  131. Rasputin says:

    Read back peaches ……..

  132. peachesgooner says:

    Hi all – I’ve had a very busy day 😉

    I have to agree with whoever said that without our lengthy injury list we would have fielded a stronger side – whether we would have won is another matter……

    Just had a spud on the phone laughing at me for saying we have greater silverware in mind than the FA cup 😦

  133. peachesgooner says:

    Sorry rasp – did you agree about Traore too 😳

    Don’t make me read it all again – I’ve just trawled through the lot – shouldn’t you be writing a post 😆

  134. peachesgooner says:

    …….and Cameroon? Song Billong?

  135. London says:

    Thank you Peaches, it is reasuring to know that there are one or two others on this site that know a bit about football 😉

  136. London says:

    Yes, he should.

  137. Rasputin says:

    Ouch!!!! 🙄

  138. Rasputin says:

    I’ve just seen that the Ivory Coast are out as well, EE is welcome back too…….

  139. kelsey says:

    Double ouch 🙂

    Actually the standard of football at the ANC has been pretty poor all round.

  140. Rasputin says:

    London,

    I’ve been excommunicated, I can’t write posts……

    “mon umbilicus a été coupé”
    “el ombligo ha sido cortado”

  141. London says:

    You know that is not the case, you only have to email it.

  142. London says:

    Triple ouch

  143. peachesgooner says:

    So, what are we going to do now 😦

  144. London says:

    Bloody hell, I might have to work or something in the day now.

  145. London says:

    The start of the post that never was.

    If you listen carefully you will hear the sound of the plane landing carrying Song back from Angola; a car will be waiting for him at the airport ready to whisk him away to the hotel in the midlands to join the rest of the team where he will rest and be ready to face Villa on Wednesday evening. Well, why not, he is a young man in his prime why shouldn’t he be able to play two games in a week.

  146. Rasputin says:

    I’d just like to say goodbye to all my good mates on AR, I’m very sad …..

  147. London says:

    Rasp

    I take it you had no idea about this? I seems Kelsey didn’t and even Peaches?

  148. London says:

    I thought it was a good blogg today, just goes to prove that people can dip in and dip out whenever they want. I don’t understand the need to shut it down.

  149. Rasputin says:

    No, it came as a shock London. I agree it was fun today 😦

  150. London says:

    My powers have just disappeared, I feel like the shrinking man, slowly disappearing for ever.

  151. JonJon says:

    cheers guys…its been fun…i wont be doing much blogging but if i do i’ll probably chat to some of you on other blogs…

  152. peachesgooner says:

    Seems like the great man has given us back our power to speak to each other at least – thanks ave 😉

  153. peachesgooner says:

    Well I thought he had 😦

  154. peachesgooner says:

    You guys all did really well today – it looked like you’d had a great days blogging 🙂

  155. Wrighty7 says:

    Avenell mate whats going on geezer? Why you closing down?

    Send me an e-mail.

  156. Big Raddy says:

    I join in the sadness over this demise, and am confused as to the why’s and wherefores.

    But I guess I will see you chaps somewhere else.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed this community and wish everyone well. You have all been an active part of my life and the site is a testament to the endeavours of the administrators.

    Thank you all very much and we will meet again in the ether

    A particular thank you to Avenell. Well played mate.

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