Taxi for Henry!!

June 23, 2010

And Diaby, Clichy and Sagna, taxi to the airport of course to catch their early flight home from what can only be described as a total embarrassment. Not all down to the players I know, a lot has to do with the dreadful management team. To turn up at a World Cup in such disarray is dreadful, just dreadful!

As an Arsenal fan, I feel sorry for the current players who represent France and Arsenal but by the time I finish writing this post, that feeling of sorry will be gone. These players, if they remain with Arsenal for the coming season will now get a good rest and be fit hopefully for our new season, that to me is what really matters.

Henry, yes its a sad way for him to bow out of  ‘top’ international football, but I guess what goes around comes around and maybe fate took over. The French should never have qualified should they…… It’s a shame really, this for Henry should have been all glitter and glory in what is surely his final World Cup, he has given so much to club and country over the years he should be waving goodbye to international football with his head held high. Instead, he has to read about how he cheated to get France to South Africa and how he is to blame for the ay the French campaign has gone.

One of the best strikers France has ever had has been on the bench for most of the competition and will now fade away as subtly as the sun goes down at night….

He deserves a better ending….

This is the only way I will remember the great man, not as being French but as being Mr Arsenal while he was with us and we know that our club will always hold the greatest love in his heart….

Henry the winner….

Henry saying bye bye…… 😦

Moving on, with a tear in my eye, anyone who wanted Wenger to get Gourcuff to replace our current captain if he leaves needs to re-think, he has been woeful and today his sending off completed what has been a dreadful World Cup – but then, didn’t Wenger say that he won’t judge a player over four weeks? What about just over a week Arsene, you seen enough to put you off?

I’m really disappointed for the South African side, they huffed and puffed and nearly blew the French House down by the goal tally they needed to go through. At least they can hold their heads up and be proud for the way they have conducted themselves.

From one team in a shamble to another, tonight it’s do or die time for England. They may not have cheated in order to qualify but the off field antics haven’t been good either. The  only difference is, I really want England to qualify. Not because I am English, it’s because not one member of the England squad plays for Arsenal so the longer they stay in South Africa, the more the players use up their energy. Then I hope they start the new season, knackered, burned out and maybe even a little bit crocked.

So, Come on England, go woop that side you are up against this afternoon, I’ll be cheering loud and proud, or watching a
re-run of Loose Women 😉 Maybe a spot of tennis at Wimbledon would be easier on the eye……

Oh well, that’s it, short and sour today 😉

Have a good day all and lets hope the new boy gets announced today….

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Vela, Diaby, Gallas, Clichy and Sagna, oh, and Wenger….

June 11, 2010

 So the World Cup finally kicks off later today…

First up its South Africa v’s Mexico and we should see our own Carlos Vela during the opening game up against the hosts.Following that, France play Uruguay, so more Arsenal interest as Gallas, Sagna, Clichy and Diaby could all be involved at some stage.

Its seems Gallas is off so I’m not really interested in how he performs to be honest but the others are all 99% sure to be playing in the red and white of Arsenal next season so interest for us Gooners will be high.Vela and Diaby are the ones for me who need a great tournament. Vela has to convince Arsene Wenger that he should be playing more next season, Diaby still has a few fans to win over so he will be out to prove a point when he plays. Personally, I shan’t hold my breath on the latter, I’m one of a few who hope he plays well and adds an extra few million to his price tag. Wenger rates him highly though so he’ll be staying so good luck Diaby, go out there and convince any doubters that you defend, you can learn when to pass and that your brain and feet can work together. I think with Clichy and Sagna, you know just what you’ll get, solid defending and poor crosses 😉

One other Frenchman we will all be keeping a close eye on no doubt is Yoan Gourcuff. Many an Arsenal fan see this man as the ideal player to fill any void that could be left in our midfield should ‘you know who’ move on in his career. Now at least we can all get to see him play in a few games. I think the French are in for a tough game tonight and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Uruguay win.

Arsene Wenger is also in South Africa, no doubt commentating for a French television/radio channel and earning a few extra pennies along the way. I guess we can disregard any chance of new faces being signed whilst he is at the World Cup, he doesn’t seem the kind of man to leave this to someone else, well not since David Dein left anyway…

What I don’t get though is why has Arsene Wenger gone to the World Cup, I bet we don’t see old Red Nose there, ‘Arry or Ancelotti, or many other top managers, no, they no doubt will be either having a break from football, or sorting out their new signings before having their break.

Why isn’t Arsene Wenger doing the same for Arsenal? He said he would make our signings before the World Cup began, well forgive me, it has and we still have only signed Chamakh…..

I know there’s plenty of time after the competition ends to sign players, but we then begin pre-season training.
Shouldn’t these new players need to be involved in the training, get to know their teammates, learn the ‘Wenger Way’??

What do I know, eh!! Maybe the deals are all done and dusted, he just want to keep us all in suspense!! If he is, it sure is working!

That’s it, not much gossip around to spread around, so just enjoy the opening ceremony and football later and lets hope for a great tournament.

Good luck to which ever country you are cheering on….  For me, despite flying the flag of St George at home, I can’t wait to see the Dutch!!

I’m going for a Uruguay and Mexico win


The Adebayor Show Continues-From Gooner to Goner..

July 17, 2009

Since last summer I’ve firmly believed that Ade would be sold on this summer. I wrote a post back in April explaining my reasons why I thought he was off…

For those of you who cant remember here’s the link;  https://avenell.wordpress.com/2009/04/28/ade-out-the-back-door/

When Ade first signed for Arsenal, Wenger knew what he was buying. He was buying a raw, physical, hardworking talent that if polished correctly, could become a gem. Arsenal were desperately in need of a Plan B striker. Ade’s physique, natural pace and work ethic made him a perfect candidate and although his finishing was abit suspect, he was young enough for Wenger to mould into the next superstar…

All these things aside, another attribute that Adebayor brought to the Arsenal party was his poor attitude. He was known at Monaco for being abit of a trouble maker. Regularly opening his mouth at the wrong times, saying the wrong things and ending up keeping the Monaco bench warm as a consequence. So why didn’t we see this part of his persona when he was settling into the side??? The answer is easy…

Thierry Henry!!!!

Adebayor was in awe of the talent he was playing with at Arsenal. He knew he wasn’t the best player in the squad, he knew he couldn’t make demands and strut his stuff in a team containing Thierry. Adebayor was a sidekick. A yes man, who kept his mouth shut and worked hard on the pitch to impress the man he was playing with. This was a hungry Adebayor, with everything to prove and he used his attributes on the pitch to make him one of the PL’s most feared strikers. Although his finishing was still leaving alot to be desired, his constant harassing, hounding and physical one on ones with defenders, left gaping holes for the other players in the squad to work their magic. Adebayor played as part of a team, he was a team man and he knew it and he was quickly becoming a fans favorite.

He finally got his chance when Thierry left. We needed someone to step up and with injuries to our other strikers, Ade played a whole season. With doubts about his finishing still hanging over his head he just stuck to what he knew best. Smashing into defenders, helping to create the gaps and due to his hard work more than his natural ability, he earned himself 30 goals and high praise from several quarters of the Gooner faithful.

So where did it all go wrong??? That ones easy too. No more Thierry Henry.

For some reason, Adebayor felt that he was the best player at our club. No longer was he a team man. In his eyes, he was the team. He was top dog.  His feet left the ground quicker than quick and his ego inflated at the same rate. His attitude changed from then on. He was no longer the young, hungry Adebayor in awe of the players around him with a point to prove. He became the Monaco Adebayor. The Adebayor who Wenger hoped he could control and use that cocky attitude to its most lethal potential on the pitch. How wrong Wenger was..

Ade’s attitude hasn’t only stopped with Monaco and Arsenal. We see it with the national side too. Adebayor repeatedly falls out with players and coaches and its all because of one reason. Adebayor fully believes he is untouchable.

Its such a shame because a more humble, more dedicated Adebayor with a mind set to keep on improving, could go on to become a truly lethal striker. That chance has gone.

One of Wengers motto’s is that you need to keep on believing you can improve, or you will never make a top player.

Ade seems to believe he has made it. He has proved how good he is by ‘that’ season, he doesn’t need to work as hard anymore, he has nothing left to prove and he couldn’t be more wrong…

Henry didn’t manage to score 30 goals and get 20 assists season after season because he thought he had made it after the first. He kept on improving, he kept on beleiving he could improve and he reached the same high standards season after season. Thats what made him so special, he knew he was the King, but he proved he was the King time and time again. Leading us to glory on several occasions..

Ade’ s 30 goals was a good personal achievement. Yet it wasn’t a good team achievement. There was no silverware at the end of it all. That’s exactly Ade’s problem. He is no longer a team player. He’s a ‘Team Adebayor’ player. And he’s lost touch with the fans because of it. The people who pay his wages? He no longer cares about and  I think Wenger realises this….

So the current transfer saga doesn’t surprise me, but why is it taking so long???

I have a couple of theories…

1…Wenger wants him out and Ade wants to leave, but he was hoping the constant flirting with Milan would mean they would be in for him this summer. They haven’t.. So ‘Team Adebayor’ has tried to force their hand by manufacturing a move to Citeh…with the terms and the fee agreed, the medical and the work permit completed, there is nothing else for Ade to do but to sign on the dots. Yet where are Milan??? Still no sign..Ade knows there is no way back now. So he’s delaying the move hoping and praying that Milan come in for him…

2…the rumours about how it will be perceived in Africa maybe true..but its a smokescreen..Ade is taking time out to make it look like he’s thinking carefully over the issue and when he makes the decision he will make out it was the fans that forced him out and he had no choice but to sign for Citeh..Besides, he wants to be part of the revolution and the opportunity is too good to turn down…its purely a football decision and its not about the money at all!!!!!!!!

Either way Adebayor is as good as gone and we have 25mil in the back burner. So what do we do with it?

25mil is alot of cash, it is for Wenger anyway..Wenger could buy the title for 25mil such is the genius of the man we have at our helm.

I think its fair to say that the majority of Gooners would like to see another striker brought in..Two names that are being branded about are Chamkaka and Huntelaar..From what I can gather, Chamkaka is another striker in the mould of Adebayor. Hes likes to run the channels and he likes to put himself about yet he misses alot of chances..We don’t need another striker like this..Huntelaar, although lacking in pace, makes up for it by his deadly finishing..Huntelaars a finisher and what this team needs is an assassin…Personally I don’t think we need another striker, we have enough and in Vela and Dudu we have our finishers..I’d question myself on the fact that Vela is still too young, and Dudu’s fitness still has to be proved over an entire season. They are risks..At a time where we are going into a 5th year without silverware, we could do without the risks..so i would be happy if Wenger paid that little bit extra and got Huntelaar..

The main part of the team for me that needs a good look at (and a good player) is the midfield…

A good footballing team has to have good individuals…but a great football team relies heavily on partnerships and combinations….

The GK has to have a good relationshipwith his defenders…The CB’s have to have a good partnership. The FB’s need a good partnership with the widemen. The CM’s need to have a good partnership and lastly the CF’s need to play well together…

I don’t see too much of a problem with the GK. Kolo and Gallas have looked abit rocky at times but Wengers moved swiftly to rectify that with the signing of Vera Lynne. The FB/wideman combo looks solid with Clichy/Rosicky and Sagna/Nasri. With Ade gone, we have several available partnerships upfront which look dangerous. AK47/anyone else would do me…The problem is the CM. Cesc is a vital and fundamental part of the way we play. So Cesc needs a partner..Someone who can play box to box. So the 25mil needs to go into the midfield…

OPERATION SUMMER REBUILD PRIORITIES

1..Sell Ade

2..Buy a midfield warrior..

One down, one to go..

Have a great day peeps. Fingers crossed for the confirmation we’ve been hoping for…


The summer rebuild…A fans perspective..Defence.

June 5, 2009

Now then boys and girls, today we get to put our Tony Adams thinking caps on!!

The Arsenal defence at the minute seems to be a bit of a weak spot in our team..and Sir Wenger Obe Cbe AFC would seem to agree…

The Arsenal defence conceeded 37 goals in 38 PL games….breaking that down further to 16 at home and 21 away…For a top four side challenging for the PL title that is simply not good enough..as the PL table suggests…

Manutd conceeded 24, Liverpool 27 and Chelsea 24…

A successful team not only has to be good with the ball, but without the ball too…If we want to catch our rivals next season these figures have to improve in our favour…in simple terms..we need to tighten up…

Personally…i cant understand why…if we break our 1st choice back four down..we have two fullbacks who were both in the PL team of the year 2007-08… we have an experienced French international whos won many trophies with Chelsea and on his day is probably one of the best CB’s in the world…and we have Kolo…Arsenal through and through and was part of the invincible defence….

On paper we have probably one of the best defences in the world…even Carlsberg would do well to better that defence…

My opinion is that we have too main problems with our defence….

1…No quality arial presence..

2…No quality backup for injuries…

So what do we do???

If we look at our defence next season and break it down we have…

LB…Clichy, Gibbs, Troare.

RB…Sagna, Eboue

CB..Gallas, Kolo, JD, Song, Senderbramble, Fishhead.

Gallas and fishead can play LB and Kolo can play RB (not very well)…Its fair to say Gallas is the only one who can adapt to the FB position…

We have too many average CB’s, we have too many players that cover the LB position and not enough quality at RB

We dont need Troare..Clichy is the first choice and Gibbs has impressed as an able deputy..Troare is surplus to requirements…Senderos has proved that he isnt quick enough to handle the PL..and he is mentally weak and has moments of madness so hes out of the door too…Fishead is over the hill..he isnt of top 4 quality anymore..either 1st choice or backup…thats why Fergie got rid and thats why we should too…Eboue has pushed the fans to the limit this season…time and again we have been subjected to some woeful performances and he should be sold…

So thats Troare, Senderos, Fishead and Eboue….That looks like an awful lot of players but we are still left with the first choice defence…

So who do we bring in???

Sagna will need cover at RB…so how about Glen Johnson??? Or Micah Richards…with Richards we get a gooner and a RB/CB all in one go so maybe hes the best option??? Or both..we could use Troare as a makeweight for Johnson????

The CB positions are still pretty strong with Gallas, Kolo, JD and Song…but we still need a ball winner and my shout is Lescott…strong, quick and good in the air and the mainstay of Evertons impressive defence in recent seasons…then Wenger gets his wish of last season of a dominant CB who’s left footed!!!!!!

That leaves us with a defence of

RB…Sagna, Johnson, Richards

LB..Clichy, Gibbs, Lescott

CB..Gallas, Lescott, Kolo, Song, JD, Richards

Now we have a more balanced stronger, quicker defence with arial presence and quality backup for places…

Over to you Roadsters…or Roasters…Or Roosters…depending on what part of the country your from!!!!


Season ends on a high…

May 25, 2009

After a season of more lows than highs, we signed off in style yesterday as we put Stoke to the sword…The the top 4 spots had already been claimed and we didnt have anything to play for so the pressure was off….or was it?? As it was the last game of the season and as it was Stoke we did have something to play for…two words….pride and revenge..and neither the fans or the players let us down yesterday…

The sun shone, and the support and our football flowed as much as the beer and we showed that the early season game at Stoke was a fluke result…its a shame though really because those other ‘fluke’ results against Hull, Fulham, Sunderland etc probably cost us the league but thats football…we have all summer to put that right….right??

The fans gathered before the game and marched en route to the game to show their support for Wenger and the team…the banners to support Wenger were there to be seen all around the stadium…the turn out for a game against Stoke was immense…just as it was for the FA youth cup midweek….thousands upon thousands of the Red and White army were there and they made sure Wenger knew they were there…

Wenger wants more support like that every week next season…which is fair enough….as long as he doesn’t expect a march before every game!!!! And as long as he doesn’t start playing players out of position and watching them play poorly for 80mins before changing it….just a thought….

But…today is not the day for negativity….its a day for looking forward with anticipation and excitement and it started yesterday as we gave Stokes bullys and long throwers a damn good lesson in football….

The phrase ”boys against men” has been branded about alot recently…and all aimed at us…in a negative way…well yesterday we put that right and reversed it round…if it was a boxing match it would have been stopped after the first round…

We started the game well…the passing was crisp and direct, the ‘spine’ of the the team turned it on and our big game players turned up for once…and we went after Stoke from the start with a hunger and a passion that has been missing from this team for large chunks of the season..

The first goal came from some lovely interplay from a corner after 10 mins…Cesc found himself with space on the byline and fizzed a ball in low and hard that any predator would thrive off…unfortunately for Stoke..it was their own predator and it clipped of Beatties heel into the net…Yes!! Good start…a goals a goal and it was 1 nil to the Arsenal…

Our second came from a slice of luck…but in football you make your own luck…Robin took a pass just outside the box and looked to have lost control…but he never gave it up and battled for it back like anybody proud to wear the shirt would….he found himself in the box with the ball at his feet and took a tumble off the slightest touch that even Ronaldo couldnt pull off….and a minute later SMASH…perfect pen…the keeper didn’t have a chance as it clipped off the post and into the net….Robin Van Persie…Robin Van Persie…

The third was an excellent header from a free kick that was fizzed in with pin point precision from our chocolate legged boy wonder….with Toure and Diaby we actually had a bit of height in the box for once and the free kick was a beaut…Diaby leaped like a salmon and used the pace of the ball to glide it into the net… it was a great header by our very own enigma and the keeper didn’t have a chance again…. 3nil boys…let the carnival begin..lets thump em now… 

 Stoke pulled one back… sigh…but we wont talk about stoke…yesterday was our day…

We managed to regain our 3 goal advantage when Robin showed great technical ability and got himself into a position to intercept a Delap header back to the keeper…he chested it down…swivelled on a sixpence and blasted the ball into the goal…it was a piece of technical brilliance and his 20th of the season…a good return…

4-1…haha..and it wasnt even half time!!!!!

The second half was much of the same style of play…we were still all over them but we couldn’t break them down and unfortunately we couldn’t ripple the back of the net….we deserved a cricket score..it should of been a cricket score…but 4 goals was enough to smile about and Wenger and the fans and the players all went home happy….

Ratings

Mannone…9….no chance with the pen but had nothing else to do but save a Beattie free kick that was straight at him…

Sagna…9…a fairly quiet game but thats what you want from your defenders

Kolo…9…see Sagna.

Song…9 see Kolo

Gibbs..10..I love this lad…tackled, stormed forward, showboated…brilliant… Clichy who??

Walcott..9..needs to play in the middle

Cesc…10…brilliant passing, sprayed the ball everywhere and Stoke crumbled

Denilson…9…steady and consistent

Diaby…9..see Denilson

AK47…9…direct forced the issue and shot on sight..shame he didn’t score…

Robin…10…two goals, an assist and a battling perormance..what more can one ask for???

Subs

EE…8…plays for Arsenal

Nikki..8…see EE

Vela..8..see Nikki

Overall the fans wanted an end of season party and the players brought the beer and the strippers with that performance…and celebrate we did….

We now have a few months of withdrawal symptoms to look forward too…but hopefully the transfer window will give us something to shout about….the Under 21 championships are on the summer to keep us going too..maybe Wenger will take his cheque book!!!!!!

Have a good bank holiday guys and thanks for all your comments over the past few months….

Next season will soon be upon us and next season is ours….


The score line flattered Arsenal; no, the half time score line flattered Wigan.

April 12, 2009

At the rate our central defenders are dropping we are going to need a miracle of biblical proportions to hold back the tidal wave of attack we will face from now to the end of the season; so, today being what it is, what better miracle could we hope for other than Gallas to rise from the bed.

A topical point I thought I would try and get in somehow. Unfortunately, however, I don’t believe in miracles, although, I do believe in Arsène Wenger, not in an Arsène knows best kind of way — put Eboue on the left wing or Song at right back and see what happens — I can make my head spin around and spew green bile in such way so as to make the girl in the Exorcist seem no more angry than someone forgot to put sugar in her tea, no I believe in Arsène in such a way so as to use his squad intelligently enough to guide us to the end of the season.

Today’s line up had very little to do with Wigan and everything to do with Wednesday’s Champions league game with Villareal. The reason I emphasise this is because at first sight it might seem like a poor team selection reflected in the half time score line but Wenger clearly felt he had enough strength in depth to get a victory no matter what team he picked and used this trip to try every possible formation that he is likely to need for Wednesday, starting with Bendtner: someone that I don’t expect to start against Villareal, although, if Adebayor were to get injured Bendtner would be primed and ready to step into the breach. Equally, if late in the game and we still need a goal and high balls are the order of the day, then Bendtner could replace Walcott.

The only surprise for me was that there was no Eduardo yesterday even if it were for two minutes because if we need quick feet in the box then there is no better that our Crozilian.

The Gibbs debate is now academic if Djourou is out for the rest of the season and with our luck being what it is then Gibbs is going to have to be used at left back and good luck to him. Yesterday’s game should have done his confidence the world of good and although he made a pigs ear of his headed back pass he recovered well by pulling the Wigan player down in such a way that Tony Adams would have been proud of — and it was never a red card, Sylvestre was easily beyond him 😉

The Wigan goal was annoying in a way that we have suffered many times this season: indecision in the 18 yard box, but yesterday wasn’t about their goal it was about our comeback. I cannot recall a game in which Arshavin has played and we have gone behind; anyway, he clearly doesn’t like it and grabbed this one by the throat and sorted it out in a no nonsense Russian way. The assist for Theo’s goal was welcomed but we got a tantalising first glimpse of the eagerly anticipated interplay between Fabregas and the Russian Wizard the combination of which led to Sylvestre’s all important second goal.

When Wenger brought RVP on and effectively changed the formation to 4.4.2 he had a choice to make that I was very worried about; he was either going to have to take off either Denilson or Song. I was really pleased that Wenger took Denilson off not because I have a problem with him; he has come on leaps and bounds this season and has played a vital role; no, it’s because Denilson offers what Fabregas has in abundance whereas Song offers more defensively giving Fabregas the freedom to do what he does best. Our captain’s fitness is returning and he is getting closer to his masterful best.

Arshavin’s third goal, scored on the break, to which the commentator made the point that Arsenal have been scoring goals like this for three, four or five years; more accurately, the problem, which the commentator didn’t realise was that that goal was the first goal we have scored on a break in five years.
RVP played the ball out of defence to Adebayor who tore down the pitch only to make a sloppy pass that never reached Fabregas but fortunately Kumas played it into the path of Arshavin to score and rap up the points.

Which just leaves me with the fourth goal, oh joy of joys. There are many that feel the Song is not up to Arsenal standard and give sound reasons as to why, which I respect. Here’s another view: Song has made such great leaps forward to the point where he is now scoring goals, I wish him continued progress in the hope that he can make that position his own in the same way as Flamini did, and don’t forget that Flamini was ridiculed when first playing in the midfield that’s before he had his run at left back for those who may not remember.

Bring on Villareal


The Defence: Where Did It All Go So Right?

April 3, 2009

In the space of a year our central defence has gone from a unit, viewed by many, as one capable of winning the league to one that should be broken up and sold as scrap and then back again, maybe not back to winning the league, or at least not this season, but certainly back to a point where people are not longer calling for Italian sounding defenders to be bought immediately to replace the out of sorts partnership of Toure and Gallas.

Where did it all go wrong and how was the turnaround achieved?

The obvious starting point was the Birmingham game, we all know what happened that day and the only curious thing that remains is how it still divides us. There are those who think that it was no way for a captain to behave and there are those, like myself, who sympathise, and view his behaviour as understandable, having just watched 6 months hard work go out the window.

This season started with high hopes, maybe one or two concerns about the mid-field which have turned out to be completely valid but as far as the defence was concerned, there seemed to be no reason why they wouldn’t continue at the same high standard as they left off at the previous season.

That was until we started leaking easy goals and dropping points: the finger of blame being pointed directly at Gallas and Toure. Everyone had a theory as to what had gone wrong and why the partnership was no longer working. They ranged from Toure not having shaken off a bout of malaria he had contracted in the close season to Gallas longing to return to France, although, probably the most common was that the two of them had got it in to their heads that they couldn’t play together.

What fascinates me is how Wenger went about solving the problem. He seems to have deconstructed the partnership, rebuilt each player’s confidence before finally reuniting them.

Relieving Gallas of the burden of captaincy was probably the obvious first step. The next step was to rebuild his confidence which he did quite easily by playing Silvestre next to him. It is obvious that they both have a great deal of respect for each other: a common language and the fact that Silvestre is left footed all helped. Gallas’s game started improving immediately; Silvestre wasn’t doing too badly either and a goal against spuds was an unexpected but welcome surprise.

Now I know that Silvestre is another player that divides us, there are those who will only ever see him as a manc b………d and will never accept him no matter what. And there are those, like myself, who see him simply as very experienced back up; an inexpensive insurance policy taken out by Wenger at the beginning of the season just in case both Toure and Gallas get injured at the same time. I mean, it’s not as if we signed Teddy Sheringham is it?

Toure’s confidence had plummeted; he had put on extra weight, things got so bad that he even put in a transfer request and there are some of us, and to my shame I include myself, who thought that it might be better if he left. Wenger solved this in a similar way but instead pairing him with Silvestre, Wenger chose Djourou. Toure was made captain; he was in charge; he knew exactly what he was doing and his game started improving.

The two pairs of Gallas and Silvestre and Toure and Djourou seemed to play alternate games building confidence every time they played until being reunited for West Ham at home on the 31st of January and it is worth emphasising that we have only conceded three goals since. The case for the defence rests…I know, I know, I just couldn’t resist it.

Written by London