Losing would have been a very bad start.

How often does the first game of the season give us so much to discuss? Away at Anfield was always going to be a difficult trip but we left there honours even after having controlled much of the game. Some of our passing game in the first half was sublime with Nasri doing a great job of running the mid-field.

Two red cards and a goal a peice thanks in part to goal-keeping errors left me feeling that we could have done better. Joe Cole was sent off just before half-time for a late two footed challenge on Koscielny that had me draw a sharp in-take of breath as apart from the not quite fit Song we had no centre-back on the bench. Luckily Koscielny jogged out for the second half.

So with Liverpool down to ten men and Arsenal all over them, the next 45 minutes should have been a walk in the park but three familiar occurances haven’t changed since last season – Almunia is not a good enough goal-keeper, We have loads of possession so the game is great to watch and WE GET INTO GREAT POSITIONS AND DON’T  SHOOT.

Thanks to 26may1989 for some good comments following the game that are being rolled out again here.

International break affected everyone, and yet Liverpool had an inspired (if defensive) second half today, and Chelsea decimated (an admittedly very poor) WBA yesterday. Plus today was another example in a long list of Arsenal games in which we fail to break down determined, well-organised defensive football. These happen often with our best team on the field, so the return to the starting line-up of Fabregas, Song and van Persie may not cure the ill. Our next league games see us play Blackpool, Blackburn, Bolton and Sunderland, so there may well be more tests of this kind very soon.

But the game today was pretty frustrating: a good first half performance, albeit without creating enough chances, but a really slow, turgid second half performance. Nice to scrape the point but a suitably horrible equaliser to cap such a laboured second half performance.

My take on individual performances:

Almunia: 3/10. At fault for the goal and made at least two other big mistakes on crosses, and Skrtel could easily have made it 2-0 on one of them. Sorry to say, because I like Almunia’s character, but hopefully the end of his time at the club.

Vermaelen: 7/10. Solid performance, did little wrong in defence and could (should?) have got a late late winner.

Koscielny: 7/10. Excellent start, worked well with Vermaelen and did little wrong. Very harsh second yellow card.

Clichy: 4/10. Poor performance, lots of weak play and mistakes with little attacking penetration. Would hope Gibbs is brought in quickly, but Clichy can and will do better.

Sagna: 5/10. Not great, not terrible.

Wilshere: 6/10. Tough game for his first Prem start for us. Faded and made a bad mistake in the build-up to Ngog’s goal but was as bright and lively as almost anyone else in yellow before he went off other than Nasri.

Diaby: 6/10.

Nasri: 7/10. Excellent first half, didn’t deal so well with Liverpool’s tightened defence in the second half.

Eboue: 6/10.

Arshavin: 3/10. Dreadful, deadened performance, offered little in attack or covering for Clichy.

Chamakh: 6/10. Tough debut, up against a talented, well-organised defence.

Walcott: 6/10.

Rosicky: 7/10. Great cross for the goal, good effort saved by Reina, improved the team.

van Persie: 5/10.

The real story of the game: Liverpool defended (at Fortress Anfield) heroically, as well as Blackburn or Stoke would have done, and Arsenal failed to break them down despite being a man up for half the game. The result was better than I feared but the performance was worse than I hoped. United and Chelsea will hardly be quaking in their boots watching either us or Liverpool. Cole was rightly sent off but Koscielny shouldn’t have been red carded. Leaves us with a problem next week, as does yet another poor performance from Almunia.

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75 Responses to Losing would have been a very bad start.

  1. Morning all

    I couldn’t put it in the post but how amazing was Gerrard yesterday – he was everywhere – we don’t have anyone close to that :(

  2. kelsey says:

    Morning again.

    just to carry on the discussion from earlier on today about Almunia in particular

    One can’t harp back on one good game.of course he is a shot stopper as are all keepers,but his first miss yesterday when the ball just flew past him was sheer embarassment.

    Keepers are always there to be shot at,by the nature of their position, but let’s be honest every time the ball goes anywhere near him we ALL hope for the best.A top team shouldn’t have that added angst.

  3. 26may also put a good comment on about the goal-keeper, I’ll just go and get it

    I don’t think I’m being too harsh on Almunia – the free kick saves were pretty routine, had he conceded one of those it would have been a genuine howler. But he did make at least three mistakes, one of which cost us a goal and one of which could easily have done so. Almunia isn’t as bad as many say (witness the first leg vs Barca, when he kept us in the tie) but his regular mistakes are simply too costly.

  4. Red Arse says:

    Really interesting take on the game.

    I think 26May’s scoring was pretty accurate too. :-)

  5. Red Arse says:

    Hi Peaches, Kelsey et all,

    I looked forward to yesterday’s game with breathless anticipation. And I was not disappointed, either in the game itself, the players, (well for the most part), and in the end by pinching a point, where in different circumstances, we might have taken all three.

    Our new boys, Kosser and Cham, were probably stunned by the ferocity and intensity of both Anfield and the fired up ‘Pool players, but it is all great experience for them!

    Arsene decided to give Jack his big moment and he did not let us, or himself, down. His impact was muted but he passed sensibly, did not try too many mazy dribbles and showed he has a great future at this level. The only area he needs to watch is his over enthusiastic tackling, because on another occasion he might have been sent off for his tackle on Mascherano.

    Cham, on nhis PL debut, struggled to make his presence count, but the packed ‘Pool defence, especially after half time left him very little room for manoeuvre. Arsene does not operate with “proper” wingers and even when Theo came on he tended to come inside and cluttered up the centre of the pitch even more.

    What counted though, was when AA who had a v. Anonymous game, crossed to Tomas who, putting up a delicious lob into the goal area, deceived Reiner and there was our man Cham to nod into goal. Except it wasn’t, it hit the post, came out and Reiner did an Almunia and put it deftly into his own net. It was such a relief to get at least the equaliser!

    Big Al made a couple of good saves, but like Flappy, his confidence is shot, although unlike that plonker Merson, I did not think he had much chance with a huge shot from Ngog.

    Kosser had a v. encouraging PL debut, but it was an almost terminal “start” to his season with Cole’s mad lunge seeming to have broken his leg. What a relief to see him come out for the second half. Phew! But to add insult to injury, he was inexplicably given a second yellow card for a non handball. Ludicrous. But it was probably worth it for smacking his foot into Mascherano’s vitals. Excellent.

    I’m still not convinced about Clichy in defence, and I really don’t understand what others see in Eboue with his diving and histrionics, but it is early days for them and all the rest of our guys and I really enjoyed the game and the spectacle.

    Oops, I have suddenly realised I have got carried away in my enthusiasm and written far too much.

    Sorry, Peaches, Rasp and all! :-)

  6. Ash says:

    nothing said about eboue? i thought he was good. Arshavin was really poor but the sad part it we cant take him out either cz u never knw whn he’ll fire up. anyways check out this website too btw, http://arsenaltactics.com

  7. redanddread says:

    “WE GET INTO GREAT POSITIONS AND DON’T SHOOT”

    Just so you know Arsenal scored more goals than any other EPL team from outside the box/area last season-we don’t shoot enough eh?. food for thought…..typical comment without knowing the facts.

  8. redanddread says:

    Wilshere had a decent performance but has a way to go be fore he can really make an impact in these games and it was his mistake that led to the goal…….he will get better though and he is a tough little so & so!

  9. gunnerwong says:

    The defence is still not good enough.Notice how pool were able to evade the defenders at the byeline. Problem is these defenders have an attack mind and are not defensive by nature.
    We all know for the gunners to challennge, Wenger must do someting and fast.He has another two weeks to strengthen the team. Failure to do so will be an expensive mistake and we know happened in previous seasons.

  10. tommystout says:

    morning all.
    i hope we have all recovered well from the usual 90 minutes of wonderfullness and annoyance that we suffer as gooners week in week out.
    i was optimistic going in to yesterdays game and i still am.
    Arsene knows? well he has to doesn’t he, everyone else knows – our weaknesses. That liverpool blog kelsey pointed us to earlier, they know. Merse knew yesterday – what did he say? “Arsenal will not win anything until they get a goalkeeper”.
    I hope the rumours are right about our interest in Given and i hope that city are stupid enough to sell.
    I thought we played very well at times yesterday without creating many chances….. if we elected to shoot when we had a glimpse of goal, then we would have had an average amount of chances. Please shoot Please shoot Please shoot….

  11. tommystout says:

    redanddread
    i dint know that stat about arsenal scoring the most goals from outside the box!
    very surprising

  12. Rasp says:

    redanddread,

    That is a typcally misleadig statistic you quote, if you equated to the shots in relation to minutes of possesion of the all you’d get another perspective entirely. We have players (Rosicky, Diaby) who are capable of scoring from distance but rarely exercise that ability. We focus so much on pass and move that opportunities to shoot are often shunned in favour of another cleve pass. When teams park the bus as is often the case, we struggle to unlock their defence.

    I imagine you will see Blackpol pulling the triger at every opportunity next week, particularly if Almunia is stil in goal. TWe had shunned several shooting opportunities yesterday that had they fallen to Steven Gerrard would have resulted in a shot to test the keeper.

  13. Rasp says:

    The positives yesterday far outweighed the negatives, good team performance, excellent debuts from kozzer and Chamakh, everyone in the outfield playing wengerball. Unfortunately the negatives were the same as in previous seasons, poor goalkeeping and difficulty in piercing a resolute defence.

    Carragher as man of the match was a joke, if it had to be a pool player it should have been Gerrard who was everywhere on the pitch. I would have given it to Nasri.

  14. 26may1989 says:

    Gerrard was very good, as were Mascherano, Carragher, Skrtel, Ngog and Jovanovic. But I don’t see how Rosicky got a yellow for his challenge without Gerrard getting a second yellow at the same time, they did precisely the same thing, crunching challenge from both of them. The referee was ok yesterday but there were a few marginal decisions that all seemed to go Liverpool’s way, even if they would argue (wrongly) that Cole’s red was harsh. From a Liverpool point of view, I’d be worried that they were outplayed on their famous home ground and had to play like Stoke etc to achieve what they did. But that’s their problem.

    For me, Rasp is being his usual over optimistic self (ha ha!) when he says the positives far outweighed the negatives. There were good aspects of course, but the points were there for the taking at half time but we surrendered the initiative to 10 men (and for a little while 9 men). That was more depressing than the goalkeeping issues.

    But it was just one game, we have a run of games against lesser sides between now and the Chelsea game in early October, so hopefully we can get a run going to provide a foundation for our season, especially with a full squad plus the hoped-for recruits.

  15. dandan says:

    Morning all, At last its here, the first morning after the night before and no real hangover. First impression, thank god we didn’t offer Old Joe Cole all that money to the detriment of young Jack, who I thought gave him a lesson. And Nasri well he is hot hot hot this season, Please AW if Cesc comes back leave AA out who is still in hibernation from the Russian winter. Walcott great free kick and his confidence is definitely growing he will IMHO come of age football wise this year. Much speculation in recent weeks about our new centre back, he was another who answered his critics with an all round display while earning himself an extra week to recover from a match the pace of which must have been a revelation to him. Chamakh had the last laugh equalising with a cannon off post and keeper, after 90 minutes of man handling by the pool defenders, hope the poor ref spoke french, or maybe its better if he didn’t.
    Our keeper nothing new there and that is I am sure being addressed, another CB yep I think so. There were to many clenched backsides for AW not to get the hurry up message when Kos went off on a stretcher. All in all a point at the pool first day of the season is fine, if we can make that four at home and do the same with our other main rivals through the season how bad will that be.
    Blackpool next, now what kind of high will they be on. O my could be another 5 – 6 its never dull being a Gooner.

  16. tommystout says:

    good morning DD
    i agree about Arshavin, though i would like to see Vela get his chance.
    Do you still think a keeper is coming in and CB?

  17. dandan says:

    Undoubtedly Tommy

  18. tommystout says:

    i take it that this is a hunch and that you are not a man who benefits from inside info!?
    Hopefully probing :-)

  19. Red Arse says:

    Really good reponses to the game and it makes for a really good read too.

    There is a little bit of me, (perhaps the underdog syndrome) that feels for poor old Almunia.

    He must think he is going thru’ the hellish footie equivalent of the Sword of Damocles. If he does something good it’s “so what?” if he does something only marginally bad it’s “well what did you expect?”.

    Not sure how I would handle that, if it were me.

  20. tommystout says:

    Hi Red, good morning
    if i was earning 40K a week or whatever i would cope, or drop to a level that i can cope at.

  21. Red Arse says:

    Tommy,

    I have a hunch, but I’m told it’s from sitting in front of a computer all day! :-)

    Stand by for either Schwarzer (highly likely) or Given (less likely).

    I cannot see Citeh selling us Given, making Schwarzer the fav.

  22. Red Arse says:

    Tommy,

    I know what you are saying.

    My point is that all this Goalie business has been conducted under a critical public gaze.

    I want a new Goalie too, it’s just that common decency seems to have come a poor last in the way Almunia has been treated. Wenger should have gone out and got a new Keeper without all this dickering about the price causing this huge delay.

    Arsene must know that and I suspect he was trying to even the playing field by giving him the captain’s armband, as a bit of a sop. Might as well have been an Elastoplast.

  23. 26may1989 says:

    RA, I completely agree that Almunia has been put in a bad position by all of this – he is a committed, decent guy who works well for the team and who has improved his game significantly over the last five years. Technically he is also not nearly as bad as many say, and labours under the disadvantage of playing behind a defence that has never been especially good and which itself gets little help from the midfield. I don’t like seeing Almunia suffer the humiliation of the being the dead man walking in the side.

    But, like you, I still hope his successor is recruited very soon.

  24. tommystout says:

    when i noticed that almunia was wearing the captains band yesterday i was kind of hoping that like DD said or Kelsey i cant remember, – maybe it was to signify his last game for arsenal, thats what i am hoping anyway.
    since last years problems with the bullying of fabianski at corners i watch the set piece unfold like a hawk, theres so much going on. i think almunia suffers in the same way and is singled out and in my opinion is no different to Fab2.
    The way he flapped yesterday on that cross was embarrassing for him.
    The save from gerrard freekick was panicky for what should have been a comfortable save. The one he pushed over the bar was a standard save and the goal? well i thought he was maybe unlucky to be on the receiving end of such a good hard shot placed in the only area it could have beaten him.

  25. hefner says:

    What is Diaby for? He doesn’t tackle well and break up play; he gives the ball away almost every time he passes it; and I never see him win a header.

  26. tommystout says:

    Good morning Hef.
    I thought Diaby did pretty good as DM. He was disciplined and did the job, not too bad for someone who aint figured in pre-season. i’m more concerned with our russian.

  27. gunnern5 says:

    I am not one to bash players but I have no sympathy for Almunia. He is sub-stanard at best and proves that in some way or another in every game.

    Every time the opposition get a corner or a free kick in our end I fear the worst – for good reason.

    Our defenders must feel the same way and that puts further pressure on them. It was a great shot from Ngog that beat him and it’s easy to say he was out of position – so I won’t.

    Having potential transfers conducted in a cloak of secrecy is a pipe deam. So many people are involved that it will always slip out, so I have no empathy with that point of view.

    Arsenal have been blessed with great goalies in the past and we need one now. I’m not keen on either Given or Schwarzer. Last season Almunia gave up 31 goals with a shot stopped % of 87.8 whereas Given stats were 45 and 90.4 and Schwarzer 41 and 90.6 so they were just marginaly better on sved % but a lot worse on goals against.

    We need a LOT better than either of them.

  28. hefner says:

    Diaby gives it away so so often. It’s incredibly frustrating. And he seemed to take the pace out of our game at every opportunity.

  29. Red Arse says:

    Good to see we are in agreement 26May. :-)

    Hef, your question has an implied criticism of Diaby, of course. I am with Tommy on this one. He came straight into a high profile match away at Anfield with v. little, if any, pre-season behind him, having just recovered from injury.

    He is not a natural DM, as his wonderful athleticism and skills are more suited to AM. He was simply doing a job in the absence of Denilson (heaven forbid) and Song.

    Give the guy a chance. Everyone has their favourite bogey player and if we all pick on different players, (and I do my share I suppose), we would have nobody left.

  30. hefner says:

    My criticism is not based just on yesterday – I very rarely see him play well. I’m not even sure what his strength is. Attacking midfielder? How can an attacking midfielder give the ball away so much – and he very seldom scores. I think he gets away with a lot.

  31. Red Arse says:

    Gunnern5,

    Sorry to disgaree with you. I am always a little a little bit concerned when people say, “I mean no disreapect, but” because they always go on a show disrespect.

    The phrase”I am not one to bash players”, is usually the precursor to …. well bashing a player.

    My original point was not to defend Almunia as a Goal Keeper, but to have sympathy with him as a human being who is being systematically humiliated.

    I do have an empathy with him. If I or my family were treated in a humiliating fashion I would be v. upset. As, no doubt, is Almunia and his family.

    You don’t empathise with him, which is your prerogative, but I just cannot agree. Sorry.

  32. Red Arse says:

    Hefner,

    Diaby’s role yesterday was as a makeshift DM and I think you are now making a more general point about his play as an attacking midfielder.

    You are certainly making a good point, in my opinion. The frustrating thing with hDiaby is that he is so talented but does not make the most of his abilities.

    I have yelled at the screen many a time when, having broken up play, he sets off on a mazy run only to toe poke the ball to the opposition. No end product!

    Yaay, Hef, we agree on something! :-)

  33. gunnern5 says:

    Red Arse: You can put me in whatever bucket you choose but I was careful not to “bash” Almunia.
    I gave actual stats – which do a great job of bashing him factually.

    The press, our club, or our supporters don’t have to humilitate him – as he does a first class job of that himself.

  34. Red Arse says:

    Gunnern5,

    O.K.

  35. Big Raddy says:

    Firstly, The Merse is a plum, but I agree with him that Almunia should not be beaten at the near post, no matter how well Ngog hit it.

    Secondly, Diaby had a decent game. Held his position well and did the simple stuff, as did JW. His contribution to an excellent MF display from Arsenal can be seen by the fact we dominated a fine L’pool midfield. And had the lions share of possession.

    I drew many positives from our performance.

  36. Big Raddy says:

    I know this is off Arsenal and very close to blasphemy,but The Spuds were fantastic in the first half on Saturday and will be serious competition this season.

  37. hefner says:

    You know i don’t like to agree with anyone but yes, on this occasion there is a common ground.

    Big Raddy – the thing i love about football is that two people can watch a game and see it completely differently. We dominated midfield for the first 20, then went off the boil, then were really poor until the last 20 I thought.

    re almunia, I defend our players as much as i can but there is only so much you can take; goalkeepers who won’t catch and who get lost on crosses are a disaster – and we have two of them. Almunia makes an error that will potentially cost us a goal in every single game.

  38. gunnern5 says:

    Big Raddy;

    I was also pleased with our yesterday’s performance; playing at Anfield is a formidable experience, especially for players who have never played there before.

    My wife is from Liverpool and over the years I was fortunate enough get to see many games and I always found it intimidating. I just wish our home supporters showed as much passion/love/desire for our team as they do.

    At the Emirates it seems instead of being uplifting for our team the crowd are awaiting the first opportunity to get down on them. The crowd should be the 12th man and not the 4th official.

    Way too many newby fans whose expectations have been elevated by AW’s early successes and accordingly are out of touch with the reality of football. Success and failure are just a tick apart.

  39. Red Arse says:

    Agree with you Big Raddy.

    I don’t think Almunia played at all well, his confidence is low by the look of his hang dog expression.

    I like the expression “plum” applied to Merson. :-)

    I don’t know what it is with Sky, and I know I am generalising, but often when they put up an ex-Arsenal player it’s always someone like Chelsea fan Merson, Manu fan Platt, his own fan O’Leary etc etc. Why not an ex Gunner who is an Arsenal fan?

  40. 26may1989 says:

    RA

    “His own fan O’Leary”, very good! Lee Dixon and Martin Keown are decent when they make TV appearances though, and I always like listenting to Stewart Robson, though that’s almost always just on Arsenal Online TV these days.

    GoonerN5

    You’re right, Arsenal fans at games aren’t nearly as good as they should be in contributing to the club’s success. But it was ever thus – I remember Liverpool’s away fans in Liverpool’s heyday being a pretty complacent bunch as well. Our trouble is partly related to the period of success we’ve had since 1997, which undoubtedly has spoiled Arsenal fans, but is also socio economics. We’re a north London side close to a fashionable, wealthy area of town, and a lot of the fans (me included) are middle aged, middle class types more likely to quietly study the game than indulge in sustained communal banter. It’s not just the new stadium or higher prices either: the Highbury Library tag developed for a reason.

    But the way in which Arsenal fans have developed a tendency towards the negative over the past few years is pretty obnoxious. The unmitigated bitching and moaning from some Arsenal fans, especially when targeting individual players during play, has reached seriously irritating levels. Sorry to say it, but Spurs fans are better at supporting their team during the game than we are.

  41. 26may1989 says:

    Warren Barton on US TV: “I have been talking to people back home and [Shay Given] is going to Arsenal. They are hammering out the details right now.”

  42. kelsey says:

    I wrote this yesterday, and the theme continues today.

    “just had a look round the other arsenal sites, and over reaction to our display is an under statement.i am not sure if they know what the word support your club means”

    Nothing wrong about being critical on a game to game debate,and myy real disappointment yesterday was AA. he is a class player, and he said beforehand that he was still carrying an injury, so i ask myself why did he play.
    I still feel Gibbs will be number one by the end of the season, even though Clichy made a goal line clearance,he is still more prone to not man marking when on the retreat.

  43. gunnern5 says:

    26may: I’m in awe (jealous I guess) of the Liverpool crowd as not many top class teams get that type of giddy support. You see it a lot in lower level clubs but seldom in the top level. Our away supporters are fantastic – good for them!!!

    Booing players is another pet hate of mine. Don’t these twits understand that booing can only make the player more nervous – do they think they boo them to success – or are they just mindless fools?

    Oh; and I won’t start on about glory hunters – they are a breed all of their own.

  44. Afternoon all,

    I didn’t really get to see the game, just a dodgy stream, BBC Updates and MOTD.

    Just on Arshavin – he’s injured, a thigh injury. He said prior to the game yesterday, and indeed Russia’s match, that he wasn’t feeling fit and in form, so why he started ahead of say Walcott/Vela/Rosicky only Arsene can answer.

  45. Frothing Inarticulate Loon says:

    Afternoon all, and to you in particular Red Arse

    You shoud have seen me during yesterdays game, my heart could barely take it. I was like a Frothing Inarticulate Loon from start to finish !

  46. SharkeySure says:

    Re AA’s injury. There’s occasions when a player is trying hard, but failing due to the limitations of his injury, ie Torres in Sth Africa, possibly also yesterday in parts, although I don’t want to take anything away from Kozzers successful one on one’s with him.

    Then there’s AA yesterday, which looked like a completely different kettle of fish altogether. I can’t get over just how unbothered he can look at times.

  47. Irishgunner says:

    Sharkey – I didn’t see enough of the game to really have a valid opinion and I’m not trying to excuse Arshavin but it seems he is suffering with that injury. In the interview I read he said his thigh hurt just training and kicking the ball, never mind getting tackled. It sounds like he shouldn’t be playing.

    I know AA’s attitude can be indifferent at times but I do think he does want to play when he can.

  48. SharkeySure says:

    YOU raised the question as to why he started if injuredf, I can only concur.

    Its crazy really. One more player performing even half decently would prob have made the difference yesterday. To leave him on for 90mins was bordering on negligence yesterday just based on what I saw. To then find out that he was carrying an injury as well, almost drives me to despair.

    Must do better there Arsene.

  49. tommystout says:

    quiet on here today people….. any of you on twitter?

  50. Big Raddy says:

    SS. With the stringent tests given to all the players prior to the game, it seems incredible that AA was passed fit unless he WAS fit.

    Which seems more likely, a player using an imaginary “strain” as the reason for a poor performance or AW risking an unfit player when he had other options?Especially when he left AA on for the whole match.

  51. SharkeySure says:

    Good point BR. I think LSBGP was saying that his injury claims were made prior to the game.

    But like I say, even without any onfo about injuries I was surprisedh was allowed to stay on til the end. Whilst he is capable of pulling a rabbit out of a hat, he looked like he wouldn’t even recognise either a hat or a rabbit in the stupor that seemed to overcome him yesterday.

  52. Irishgunner says:

    Yup – Arshavin made the claims prior to the match.

  53. Irishgunner says:

    Sorry I changed my name back again – I’ll just stay as Irishgunner now.

  54. SharkeySure says:

    I know LJSBGP, I just never got to use it last week. I’ll stop after today.

  55. Big Raddy says:

    My point still stands. No way would AAW have risked him. But with hindsight I am sure he would have started with TR who looked very lively when he came on. Dodgy haircut though

  56. SharkeySure says:

    I agree Raddy, but still wonder how he gets 90mins when playing that poorly. Ok our last sub needed to be someone from the ‘back six’, and Diaby’s lack of pre-season made him a prime candidate.

    But earlier, Eboue was subbed and Arsh left on. Eboue still has his issues (albeit toned down a touch thankfuly!), but he’s still a bloody menace, and perhaps our best at beating a man from a standing start, ie when the defender is ‘set’.

  57. Big Raddy says:

    End product. That is the problem with Eboue. Nice bloke though.

    When playing at home and with a fit Song, he won’t get a start. But this is my problem with this AW team. We have too many players who are good but not good enough and having EE available for selection is an example of that. He wouldn’t get near the Chavs bench.

    I would have been happy to see him leave alongside Denilson, as long as we bought one quality player to replace the two of them.

  58. SharkeySure says:

    You wont have seen the Legia Warsaw game…he was a revelation end product wise, but on the whole I do agree with you.

    It would just have been nice to have one dribbler on the field yesterday, instead of ten people happy to pass the ball (and responsibility?) on all the time.

    Anyway…home calls, nite all

  59. kelsey says:

    Evening all.

    BR I think I disagree with you about every player,yesterday.Were we watching the same game ;)

    With regards to Eboue, I agree he is no Messi, but he was awesome in Poland, and in his defence he is being asked to play in so many different positions, which I would suggest is a fault of the boss. Diaby the same applies.
    I will concede that Mozart seems to be back, something we both thought nearly impossible 12 months ago.

  60. barumgooner says:

    Evening Kelsey. 18months ago I absolutely hated Eboue and couldnt see for the life of me what AW saw in him. He has improved since the departure of the other African players and is now an asset to the club I think. However in an ideal situation with a fully fit squad he wouldnt get many games. He is a useful squad member to fill in when we are short but as with Denilson and Diaby they are players who were good enough to see us through a tough financial period and will now gradually be replaced with our younger generation. IMO of course.

  61. barumgooner says:

    I agree that AA looked dis-interested again and I wonder if this is whats having an affect on Clichy. I may be wrong but have his problems co-incided with the lack of help he is receiving ?

  62. Rasp says:

    Evening all,

    I can categorically state (in my humble opinion) that AA played many games last season whilst not fully fit. I nearly started a riot at one game at the Emirates because I was shouting to get him off because he clearly wasn’t able to run properly.

    Maybe because he’s not one of Arsène’s ‘home grown boys’, or maybe because he’s nearly 30, or maybe because AW didn’t really want to buy him but Gazidis could see the commercial value …. I don’t know, but Wenger definitely plays AA when he’s not totally fit.
    He had 4 stitches in his foot at half time and still was sent out to play the whole second half in his first season with us.

    Maybe Arsène doesn’t like the way AA tries to communicate with him through his website instaed of knocking on his door and saying “look boss, I’m really not fit and I won’t be able to do you justice on the pitch”.

  63. kelsey says:

    Hi rasp,

    are you doing tomorrow’s post ?

  64. Rasp says:

    Hi kelsey,

    I’ve been rather preoccupied latelyas my credit card has been used fraudulently and I’ve been doing battle with the bank, but have been spending a lot of time behind the scenes on the blog

    We have two posts lined up, I just need to confirm that the authors are ok to publish.

  65. kelsey says:

    sorry to here that rasp.

  66. Big Raddy says:

    Just watced the highlights again. We are going to have a great season. With our two world class players missing and our influential DM, we took a well deserved point at Anfield. Few teams will do that this year.

    Kelsey. What can I say? I think Nasri was our MoM, closely followed by Kos.

  67. dandan says:

    Rasp, my wife had that problem last, month someone was spending two grand in Scotland on her card while we were watching the world cup final. But the bank has paid it all back,
    Hope it goes as well for you.

  68. Rasp says:

    Thanks dandan,

    Unfortunately I have to keep taliking to a call centre in India and they can only work from a script so it is very frustrating. I must have been on the phone for 2 hours today :(

    Raddy,

    I agree, Nasri and kozzer were the two best players on the pitch.

  69. kelsey says:

    Morning all.

    If reports are correct Schwarzer is on his way to us and Given is going to Fulham to replace him.

    Is it a question of money that we won’t pay the asking price for Given, or is it the case that City claim that they won’t sell any of their players to any of their title opponents . If so,that is rubbish with Milner being mooted to leave Villa for City or are City really scared that as a unit or as a team we are a better outfit, and they just have a collection of over paid individuals.

    Toure and Adebayor were quick to jump ship primarily for the money.

    Add to that the on going saga with Barcelona,believing that they can dictate all the terms in the inevitable purchase of Cesc, makes me really annoyed that we are not only sometimes a feeder club for others, but we are being treated with absolutely no respect by these clubs,and they don’t understand the words “not for sale”.
    I don’t think Wenger is penny pinching, he just evaluates the true price of a player to the club,be it buying or selling, but the media always put a slant on it that we are a soft touch and generally always take any opportunity to put us down and regularly say we haven’t got the crEdentials to win anything.

    By my calculations, we will be debt free in about 18 months, and some big names will go to the wall, and it might take another couple of years, but we will rule again and leave others in our wake.

    My only doubt is that in theory that we are saving,as a takeover is fairly imminent,might just change things, but then Wenger wouldn’t have signed his new extension so quickly, which is not the way he usually works, if he wasn’t kept fully in the picture.This may sound like a contradiction, but i hope you understand what I mean.

    There is something going on at the club,that none of us know about,and hopefully it will be for the good.

    Personally,i still believe worst way we will finish top 4 this season and then go into over drive next season.watch this space.

  70. Big Raddy says:

    Kelsey

    That is a very good point about AW’s contract signing and the rumoured takeover. As you say, he wouldn’t have committed to the club unless he knew precisely the way the club will be set up over the next 4 years.

  71. tommystout says:

    marvellous post kelsey, it should have been a headliner.
    i’m convinced schwartzer is coming now and fully expect it to be done this week.
    i just wonder who the CB is that we a mulling over.

  72. Rasp says:

    New post….

  73. 26may1989 says:

    Morning all.

    Kelsey, I agree the most likely moves will be Schwarzer to us and Given to Fulham, which would obviously be a shame, most people accepting that Given, though smaller, is the better keeper. But Hughes has clearly been manoeuvring for this triangle, and it would certainly suit the other selling/loaning club in the mix, City.

    The only thing that might change things is the extent to which Given (or Schwarzer) might force the pace themselves, and press for a move to us. I still think City wouldn’t let us have Given, since they are impervious to financial pressure, and so could tell Given to bugger off if he pressed for a move to Arsenal, but there is a slim chance Given might be able to change the direction of his potential move.

    There are also Warren Barton’s comments yesterday, which were pretty specific. But then he could have been talking crap, or it might have just been wishful thinking (he’s a Gooner isn’t he?).

  74. [...] Losing Would Have Been a Very Bad Start [...]

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