The morning after the morning before……

February 9, 2010

I don’t know about anyone else, but I have a sneaky feeling that I still feel pretty much the same as you all do. Bit like a wounded animal who desperately needs a vet, but can’t get to one.

I hurt from that defeat, or rather embarrassment against Chelsea and I just can’t seem to shake it off. Maybe half the problem is that it followed the defeat against the Mancs on our own turf, being knocked out of the FA Cup by Stoke.

Had the defeats been spread out through the season, maybe it wouldn’t feel quite so bad, but it does.

Not only is it hard enough to stomach, but then you have to read all the comments from the likes of Ballack who says we are too soft, Deco, who says we are bottlers and then the only thing our leader can say is we were ‘Naive’ – how can he say that?

Arsene, you are the one being naive, you are the one who thinks that all of our players are good enough – you are clearly very very wrong. Ok, we can’t do anything about it right now because the transfer window has closed but come the summer things have to change, and quite dramatically in my mere humble opinion.

I won’t jump on the ‘Arsene Wenger out’ bandwagon just yet, but I have to say that I don’t think it will be too long before I do – probably right at the end of the summer!!

Listening to some of the pundits yesterday, some of them are now questioning how he has been allowed to continue as our manager when things have gone the way they have for so long. I haven’t really heard them say that before, but of course, they are right.

Then to hear Nigel Winterburn – he made it sound so very simple; he echoed the opinions of most of the fans. He said we need to bring in experience – a keeper, defender, midfielder and a striker.

Well said Nigel!! Maybe he could call Arsene Wenger and give him his views, and why not get Winterburn to pop along to the training days and help Clichy get back to the way we all know Clichy can play.

Walcott says we need to find a killer instinct, well I say to Theo, why don’t you start by finding it yourself!! Clichy says ‘Don’t write us off’ – I say to him, try staying on your post for corners and stop going for a wander!!
I could go on, but what’s the point…

Little bit of news – Luke Freeman and JET have been added to the Champions League squad. JET being added is not too much of a surprise, but Freeman, now that is interesting. He does like to score, but hanging our hopes on such a young footballer is not the best place to be in really. Like I said, it could turn out to be very very interesting…..

On loan Jay Simpson isn’t happy having been replaced by Marcus Bent – why not get him back, he is a striker and right now we don’t have one… Do I sound desperate now 😉

That’s it, not much I know, maybe tomorrow especially at 10pm, I will feel a little brighter…

I hope we all do…

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Classy Arsenal Erupt All Over Pompey

December 31, 2009

The lads really put the boot into Portsmouth didn’t they?? In a day marred by news that Portsmouth’s money men have been turning the lights off, drawing the curtains and hiding behind the sofa when the taxman came calling, the Portsmouth team could have done without our ruthless lot coming to town, to top a bad day at the office off with what only can be described as an exhibition match…

I’d like to say I feel a little sorry for them. It is the season of good will after all. They are bottom of the league, their players haven’t been paid and the Pompey fans are still fully behind their team, but, there is no room for sentiment in football, especially when your in the title race and 3 points are up for grabs. I’m glad we smashed them. I’m selfish like that, I couldn’t give a toss what happens at Pompey, I’m an Arsenal fan and I know I’ll sleep well tonight with 3 points and 4 goals in the bag…

I find it an interesting statistic that in the time Wenger’s been in charge at our beloved, well run club, Portsmouth have had 11 managers!! No wonder they are in the mess they are in. Stability really is key in football, but I guess they’ve found out the hard way…

The game itself was a complete mis-match. Pompey, as expected tried to be competitive in a combative nature, but the midfield trio of Song, Diaby and Ramsey looked assured on the ball and were just as good without it. Song and Diaby used their strength and physiques well and we closed Pompey down at every opportunity. We gave them no room to breathe and after a scrappy opening 10 minutes the players started to find their feet and settle down. We were beginning to settle into a rhythm and with the class and quality beginning to show it was only a matter of time before the 1st goal came. With a little luck..

It came in the form of another free kick. I don’t really know why Wenger lets Robin take them..He hasnt scored from one in 3 seasons of trying, yet while he’s been injured weve scored from three with three different scorers..fancy that!!! This time it was Eduardo’s turn..

On the half hour mark Ramsey was tripped just outside the box and it was perfect for a left footer. Up stepped the little Crozillian who’s shot was heading towards the right hand corner, only for it to take a deflection and end up in the left. No doubt the dubious goals panel will try to award it as an OG, seeing as though Eduardo’s not everyone outside the club’s favorite cup of tea, but 75% of Fat Franks goals have come just the same way. It was Dudu’s goal all day long…

The second was a long time in coming but with only minutes left before half time it can be seen as perfect timing. Eduardo found himself in the box with the ball at his feet after a wonderful left footed pass from Song. With hesitation from the defenders with no challenge coming in,  it seemed like he had all the time in the world to pick a pass to Ramsey, who cleverly slipped the ball to Nasri. The feisty Frenchmen hasn’t really impressed away from home, but we’ve stuck by him and he didn’t let us down. On retrieving Ramsey’s pass he looked to have taken the ball too far as he let it roll to the right. I expected him to hit it first time but Nasri’s choice was justified as he drilled a worm burner into the bottom corner. It was a great finish and at 2-0 the game was over..

The third was a peach. It had been said before the game that Ramsey owes us a big performance. Pompey were the perfect opportunity for him to stamp his authority on a game right from the start like he does for Wales. He’s done well in cameo roles but I’ve always been left unimpressed whenever he’s started for us. Well, he stamped his authority on this one with a fantastic goal which left me giving the lad a round of applause through my television. Pompey looked set to break after one of our attacks had been fruitless but Ramsey pounced on the situation, stole the ball from his man, side stepped his way round another and hit a left footed shot which three keepers couldn’t have stopped. What a shot.

Pompey scored (yawn) and our fourth well and truly put the game to bed. Song’s midfield performance was a joy to behold and all that was missing was a goal. He got it and a lot of it was his own work. Song took possession in the middle of the park about 35 yards away from the Pompey goal and he put his head down and drove towards it Diaby style. He tried to dribble his way through 2 defenders but was stopped in the penalty box. The ball was deflected out to the right only for Nasri to pick it up. Song stayed in the box, lost his man and called for the ball to be put on his bonce and Nasri obliged with a cross that took out all the defenders. Song, in yards of space, powered a header into the net from 12 yards out. Big header from a big player. He’s become one of the first names on the team sheet this year and well played to him. Chelsea forked out 25 million for Essien, Liverpool forked out 18 million for Mascherano.

We’ve only got one Song and he was peanuts!!! Songs emergence as one of the PL’s best midfielders is a credit to the lad. After taking early stick he’s grown in stature and in confidence and he plays like he knows how good he is. What makes him even better is that he’s just as good at CB. Whenever Gallas or Tommy bomb forward, Song fills the gap they leave. What a player. Damn the ACN, it’s as much as a nuisance as those crappy friendlies that get played through the season. Whoever heard of a competition that gets played half way through another competition? Ridiculous. It’s so far behind the times and the sooner the authorities sort it out the better because as far as im concerned its a burden…

Anyway, 4-1 to the good guys and we are in prime position to take 2nd place from the Manc’s next week..

Player ratings

Almunia..6..Made a good save in early in the first half at his near post which you would expect him to make, but didn’t look that great with the crosses and I thought he could have done better with the goal.

Sagna..6..Looks better doing defensive work than what he does going forward but still fairly solid..

Gallas..7..Has been immense this season but was nowhere to be seen for the Pompey goal and roamed forward far too often. Still a good display though..

Big Tom..8..I really want my sister to marry him. What a player. Committment, desire, strength. I love him in the defence but I’d really like to see him in the midfield while Song is away…

Traore..6..Got caught out of position a few times, especially for the goal, but he’s getting better and it’s going to be interesting to see what Wenger does when Clichy, Gibbs and Traore are all fit..

Ramsey..7..Looked assured on the ball with some good touches. Great goal and good touch for the assist and he looks a great player for the future.

Song..9..Man of the match. Superb display. Everything you want from a midfielder. Energy, heart, strength, passing, tackling and a super headed goal to top it off..

Diaby..7..Had an impressive first half but went missing in the second. He’s done well in his last 3 matches but they’ve all been in halves. He did well in the second half against Hull and Villa. I’d like to see 90minutes from him..

Nasri..7..Good goal and good assist but drifts in and out of the game a lot. Like Diaby I’d like to see 90minutes from him. Especially away from the comfort zone of the Emirates.

Dudu..7..Did well tonight. The movement seems to be coming back and the goals are beginning to come again, whether scuffed or deflected, but who cares?? They could all go in off his backside for all I care. A goal’s a goal and when you’re a striker it brings confidence. Let’s hope he stays fit and gets a long run in the team..

Arshavin..6..He really is taking one for the team isn’t he?? With no other strikers capable of leading the line in Nikki and Robin’s absence, this man is sacrificing his all round game so others can play theirs, and he’s still capable of banging in a screamer even when he plays poorly. Hopefully, Dudu’s sharpness will return soon and AA can be restored back to his role where he can start getting himself in the games again. Unless Wenger buys a striker???

Subs..

Rosicky..5..I love this guy, I really do. There isn’t a more magical player than a fully fit and firing Tomas but it’s not happening. Match sharpness is key, but how long will it be before he’s injured again??? And time is running out..

Eastmond..5..Good energy. Definitely looks a good prospect…

Vela..5..Like Eastmond, wasn’t really given enough time. We should see 90minutes from them against Wham in the Cup..

In conclusion, I know it’s only Portsmouth, but there’s 38 games to play to win the league and you can only beat the team thats in front of you every week. 3 points are 3 points and it was a committed performance that deserved the win. If Manure or Chelsea would have won 4-1 every pundit would have been creaming over the future champions, so we should feel the same. That’s 16 points now from 18 and we have a good chance at getting another 9 points from the next three fixtures before the tricky run of games start at the end of January. So far so good..


New York or London, you can still love The Arsenal…….

December 29, 2009

Yesterday my sister, her husband and their son came to visit -I’d like to think it was to see me, but I know it was to see the new additions in our family! 😉

It’s funny though, both my brother in law and nephew, like me, were born within ten miles of the old Reading ground, Elm Park and during our younger years went to watch them play and still do, but like me, Reading are not their ‘real’ team, theirs is Liverpool! (ARGH!)

They are all going off to the Madejski Stadium for the FA Cup match between Reading and Liverpool and I asked them both who they wanted to win. Without hesitation, they both replied Liverpool and for one second I was surprised and questioned them.

My brother in law replied – Well who would you want to win if it were Reading v Arsenal and without a second thought I said, ‘Arsenal’….

My point? Cesc is born and bred a Spaniard, and Barcelona was his childhood team, but deep down you can develop a true love for a new club as many of us have. And Cesc’s new club and TRUE club is ours! Anymore rubbish in the paps about him I won’t be reading anymore, let alone believing..

Tomorrow we are off to play a side by the coast that are fighting for every point they can get.
I have to be honest, and no disrespect to the opposition, but we should win and win well, I just hope we can do it without our little gem Cesc, he needs to rest his injury properly. That’s if he is injured of course!

It will also be the penultimate game for Alex ‘Billabong’ Song – just read he is free to play against the Hammers on Saturday, but for Eboue, its his last game, if he plays!

What about the gossip as we head towards the transfer window?

This morning there isn’t any – not that I have found anyway!

We have just three days to go and the window opens – it will like sitting at home during the holiday period watching ‘Homes under the Hammer’ – what is up for auction and how much will we have to pay?
I have seen the programme, its dreadful, you get the ‘little person’ offering the right price for the house, then in comes Mr & Mrs Money Bags who bid against them just to secure the deal – a bit like us up against The Chavs and their millions!

Thankfully though, Arsene Wenger doesn’t enter that game, he will already know which player(s) he is going to buy, if any of course! He won’t enter a battle of the finances – he will just go about his business quietly in the background and then we will all leap like the ten lords once did and get very excited at the prospect of seeing a new 16 year old English player signed from under the nose of… Rafa or Fergie!!

Ok, again I am being cynical – but Wenger has made me feel like that over the last few years!

All I hope is that he does what we all hope, and he strengthens the squad just a little to see us over the line in the race for a couple of trophies….

Arsene says Cesc will be out for either three days, or three weeks – well that is helpful Arsenal! Other than that not a lot of gossip to report right now.. 😦


Back To The Future and Captain Kremlin..

May 3, 2009

Last night whilst watching yesterdays game on Football First I thought I was going to feel really proud of our youngsters and our squad, then I realized these wins at the end of the season may be detrimental to next years campaign.

When the transfer window opens and we have the chance to buy players Arsene can always fall back on these games and say we have strength and belief and all that tosh.

In reality we did the same thing last year, we  fielded  weakened sides mainly because of injuries and the Ice Cream man got himself suspended, so we won a few games with no pressure on them and got a respectable third, we would not have won those games if we was fighting for first, these youngsters would have bottled it.. I have a new theory the Premiership before Christmas is a tight competitive league but after Christmas some teams have given up the fight, Middlesborough and Portsmouth being two examples, so when we beat them we fool ourselves and think we are fantastic but when we meet the big boys on the up like Man U and Chelsea that’s when the truth hits home.

We  then go into the transfer window with the attitude of we would like that player but if we cannot buy him for so much it doesn’t matter we have all these great players that won at Portsmouth etc.. So we don’t deal like our lives depend on it.

We all know these players are good,  but will they stick together for 4 years and indeed can we wait four years to see how good they will be??  RvP doesn’t seem to want to and whilst we are producing players one end the conveyor belt is chucking them of at the other..

Yesterday we looked composed and elegant but we were flattered by the scoreline, we are not clinical enough and could have conceded as many as we scored at vital times in the match, that’s football okay it may be,  but it would be better if we could learn from these pieces of luck and try to eliminate the mistakes from our games?

We were very lively and defended well from the striker back, are you watching Ade???? Bendtner, Vela and Captain Fantastic Arshavin all closing down the Pompey defence.

The first goal 9/10 times it would have been saved, but this was no ordinary goalkeeper this was England’s No1 goalkeeper and he gifted a goal to Bendtner when he let a half decent header fumble through his grasp. Bendtners “windmill” goal celebration straight out of the Mick Channon’s goal celebration book.. Was that payback time for all the Pompey fans booing our Theo??

The second goal came from a penalty when Andrey was brought down for the second time, in the big games last year like Hleb’s in the Champions League we never get a sniff of a penalty in Mickey Mouse games like these we always get the “Lucky Arsenal” jibes and they always even up and all that. Righty oh!!!

The third came from Vela  after we could just have easily conceded one, when he latched on to a rebound from a Arshavin shot.

I hope that Gazadis and co realize that we would have lost that game if it wasn’t for our captain for the day, the player we spent real money on!!

Fabianski.. 7.5.. Solid performance with some good reaction saves..

Sagna .. 7.. Faultless had load of time on the ball If he of played LB that would have been too many changes..

Song.. 7.. Looking every inch a Arsenal squad player, I cannot see him being world class but a first class stand in at CB and in the DM position.

Djourou.. 7 .. Nice solid performance he looked good next to Song in last years Carling Cup campaign.

Eboue.. 6.5 .. Caught out of position a lot that saw Arshavin playing left back .. funny in these games..

Ramsey.. 7..Not sure what he will become a bit like Frank Lampard I suppose good but plain..

Denilson.. 6.5 He should have shone like a beacon in this Arsenal side, but just another game.. Okay though.

Walcott.. 5.5.. Got plenty of stick off the away fans, may of hampered his game, poor final ball in as usual..

Arshavin. 8.. Made a surprisingly good captain ..Outrageous at times, picking up the Premiership pace now and class is showing.

Bendtner.. 7.5 .. Two goals  made him look good,  but a hard working performance , seems to fit into the team better than Ade now..

Vela..7.. The cheeky chappie, hard working needs a bit of a run in the team, have we time for all these experiments?

The subs who came on just fitted in but the game was over.. Didn’t see the point of Bishcoff, part of the Arsene charity I guess..

A quick word about our away support, the Sol done the double and the Kanu boo’s were loud and clear.. well done lads, class….


Stan to make Arsenal great again and a day out at the seaside for the kiddies???

May 2, 2009

The latest news hitting the headlines this weekend is that our American friend has upped his stake to a measly 28.3% making him the biggest shareholder at the club…I welcome this with open arms for two reasons…

Firstly and more simply…I don’t want the Uzbek that looks like the bad guy from dangermouse to take control….Baron Von Usmanov looks like someone I wouldn’t buy a used car from so I definitely don’t wont him in charge of our club…

Secondly and more importantly for our future…I feel a freshen up is needed at the club and has been for a while…whilst I am proud of our traditionalist values I also am of the opinion that the situation behind the scenes has become stale. The current board have become complacent in recent years and have allowed Wenger to run the club as he likes…..The Kroenke /Gazidis combo brings a fresh of breath air to the club…. Americans are as competitive as anyone and they like to win….I fully believe that they will try to corner the American market with the Arsenal brand….but that also means winning trophies to help to sell the brand….and to win trophies you need to spend money….Kroenke and Gazidis are sports businessmen….businessmen speculate to accumulate so I’m hopeful of a fruitful transfer window….fingers crossed eh??

Onto the footie….

With Wednesdays shenanigans well and truly out of the system(?) we get to support our great team once again in the competition that is our bread and butter….We go to Pompey still in the battle for the great English prize that is 3rd place and I’m really excited that Wenger has declared he will field a full strength squad to achieve this reward, even though we have a CL semi final second leg to play with a goal deficit to make up???

Ok, Ok, sarcastic remarks out of the way….i’m sorry but i’m still smarting with the team selections from the Chelsea and ManUtd games….

I personally enjoy it when we play Pompey…they have done well to get where they are and their fans are amongst the best in the PL… Remember when we thrashed them at their patch in the days of Henry, Bergkamp, Vieira et al (huge sigh)???? Pompey “can we play you every week'” fans remember where they came from, proud to be where they are and are appreciative of good pure football teams, even when they lose…so I have a huge amount of respect for them so they deserve to see us field our strongest team ….

Although I feel the fight for third is meaningless, we still have a 20 game unbeaten run to maintain so I suspect Wenger will stick with the 4-2-3-1 formation..seeing as though it works against mediocre teams, and I suspect Wenger will practically field a full strength squad…

I feel he’ll go with:

Almunia

Eboue Kolo JD Gibbs

Song Denilson

Theo Cesc AA

Bendtner

RVP, Dudu and Silvestre have injuries so it is very unlikely they will play…and Sagna, Nasri, Ade and Diaby will be rested seeing as though they are vital to the cause on tuesday(especially Ade and Diaby)….

I don’t feel there is any importance to todays game… so I’d rest the ‘big’ players….I’d put them all in a room for the day with a big mirror on the wall… and make them watch the repeats of the Chelsea, Liverpool and Manure games….and I’d play the kids and give the armband to Arshavin…

I’d stick with the same back 5…but i’d like to see Ramsey and Coquelin as the deep midfielders, with  AA, Merida and Vela as the attacking three, with Nikki up top….

Whatever team we field, I expect us to win because we are The Arsenal and we are the greatest team the world has ever seen..FACT…. and its a fact because we all say so every week…and we’ll cruise it 2-0… with AA scoring both goals….

Today the club we love will bring a huge smile to our faces until Tuesday when its squeaky bum time…..lets beat Pompey..take the momentum into the 2nd leg and lets have Manure…. Rio is 50/50 and they are defensively crap without Rio…remember Gooners…we beat them 2-1 at THOF earlier in the season….we almost had them 2-0 if it wasn’t for that late goal… WE CAN DO IT…. WE MUST DO IT…but first things first and lets show Pompey why their fans want to play us every week…..

Enjoy the match guys…don’t forget to give all your predictions….a holiday a Ricos playing with the Chucks is up for grabs (now)….