Song’s Position In Question – written by RockyLives

September 30, 2010

What’s wrong with Alex Song?

Last year he was well on the way to becoming the Premier League’s best defensive midfielder. After some false starts he seemed finally to have perfected his game: pick up the ball from the centre backs; move it on quickly to the more progressive-minded midfielders; always be available to receive and pass when we need to keep the ball; break up the opposition’s attacks when we lose it. For a period last year he was doing that job brilliantly.

Now, suddenly, he’s playing a totally different game.

I lost count of the amount of times he was our most advanced attacking player on Tuesday night. And when he wasn’t furthest forward he was bursting into the opposition penalty area time and again to break up our best attacking moves.

It was as if his head was possessed by the ghost of Thierry Henry, his feet by the spirit of Willie Young. Perhaps the soul takeover happened at the same time he got his Norman Beaton haircut.

Imagine if Andrei Arshavin started a game in the left forward position, but spent most of the 90 minutes covering right back. That’s the equivalent of what Song was doing.

The question is why?

It can’t really have been down to sheer stupidity, because it’s a pattern we have seen in the last few games. If Arsene Wenger and Pat Rice disapproved they would surely have given him a good slap round the back of the Colney bike sheds by now.

Instead his forward movement was so pronounced in this game that he must have been instructed to play this way, which is really worrying. When you finally get a player to fulfil perfectly the role for which his footballing gifts suit him, why would you switch him out to do something he’s less skilled at?

Don’t get me wrong. I think Song is a great player. But he’s a great defensive midfielder, not a great attacking midfielder. He does not have the touch, control or eye for a quick killer pass that is essential for the position he was playing in on Tuesday night. That’s a job best done by the likes of Fabregas, Nasri, Arshavin, Rosicky and Wilshere. Yet I would bet that on average across the game he was more advanced than either Wilshere or Rosicky. Hell, there were even times when Chamakh had dropped deep to pick up the ball and Song was our centre forward.

I know Denilson was playing a holding position which theoretically gave Song the freedom to roam, but if that’s the case there’s no need for Song at all – let’s have a more skilful midfielder in there instead. Against Belgrade Song was generally the reason our attacking moves broke down. His misplaced passes around the edge of the Belgrade box became too many to count and when he got inside the box his less-than-refined close control did the same.

He still managed to carry out his midfield defensive duties to some degree and I’m not going to criticise him for leaving holes because, on the night, Belgrade were offering very little in attack.

I’m more concerned with his cack-handed contribution to our attacking moves. We have the best attacking midfield options of any team in the Premiership – and Song is not one of them.

Come on Arsene, you must know the saying about square pegs and round holes. If you had a bottle of premier cru claret you wouldn’t put it in the fridge (unlike Owen Coyle–glass-wine.html). So don’t put your best defensive holding player in the position that belongs to an attacking midfielder.



Arsenal Back To Winning Ways – written by London

September 29, 2010

That’s better, now where were we before we were so rudely interrupted by that nightmare on Saturday? Ah, yes I remember we were talking about how people were yet to realise how good the squad is and from it a team to rival the Invincibles could emerge; well, we might have to rethink the latter but last night went some way to help prove the former.

Wenger made six changes to the team that were embarrassed on the weekend, fielding a combination that included Belt and Braces, that’s both Song and Denilson for those who do not read my reports that often. With Wilshere placed ahead of them which together created a midfield axis that the whole team revolved around.

Song and Denilson sit like guard dogs in front of the defence alternating vertically in their attacks, when Song goes forward Denilson stays back and visa versa, this enabled Wilshere to do what he does best: be creative without the hindrance of defensive duty – and it worked. Wilshere linked with Arshavin to create in car terms what I can only describe as two Ferraris in a sea of Ford Sierras, their partnership was head and shoulders above anything else on the field. This paid dividends in the form of the first goal: sublime interplay between the two, with a back heel from a different footballing planet, setting up the Russian to lash home.

One nil up and we were in control but only after the defence had blown off the cob webs. Djourou looked like Bambi on ice and Fabianski appeared as scared as a person who would be looking for a new job next Monday if he messed this chance up.

More opportunities fell to Arshavin, Chamakh and Rosicky but the Partizan goal keeper was obviously using this game as a show case for better paid employment else where and decided to put on a show of stopping pretty much everything that came his way.

What is it with these teams in blue and white stripes? Why don’t they just roll over and give in as they are supposed to do? Again, not tonight, irritatingly they were awarded a penalty and worse, they scored from it. I am not sure what Denilson was doing but what ever it was he shouldn’t have been waving his arms around in the air when the ball is travelling towards him.

One each at half time, but we were clearly the better team a fact that I am sure Wenger emphasised to them during the break – it worked. Arsenal came out and dominated play but although we huffed, puffed and were even awarded a penalty we still couldn’t score. Chamakh was put through with only the goal keeper to beat but before being able to pull the trigger his legs were clipped and down he went, the ref pointed to the spot, up stepped Arshavin and lazily hit it down the middle allowing the keeper to save.

Still one one but it helped that the ref saw fit to give us a hand by reducing their team to ten men. With an extra man it wasn’t long before we were able to take advantage: Rosicky sent in a beautifully flighted ball for Chamakh to climb and head goalward, unfortunately it hit the bar but that was the last of the goal keeper’s nine lives and it rolled kindly back to the Moroccan who poked it home.

Two – one and the gods were smiling: all the things we had written on our wish list before the game began to be ticked off one at a time. Squillaci scored his first goal from a wonderfully taken corner which actually cleared the first man, why can’t we do that more often? Fabianski saved a penalty sending his confidence sky high, Djourou settled down to play a decent second half and Wenger was able to take off and rest key players ahead of our big game on Sunday. All in all, a good day at the Belgrade office. The smiles are back, have a good day.

Written by London.

Partizan. Fabianski to have a quiet but impressive game – written by BigRaddy

September 28, 2010

I have to be honest and say that prior to my research I knew little of Partizan Belgrade, not even knowing which country they represent (my geography tuition ending prior to the destruction of Yugoslavia). I read that they are top of their League and have won the Serbian League and Cup double for the past 2 years.

Their ground holds 32,000 fans who appear to have considerable influence over the club; a few years ago the fans were unhappy with their trainer and refused to attend home games until he resigned, which he duly did. This requires a level of organisation that we Gooners can only contemplate  – perhaps there is a way to persuade the club to buy a new GK !

They lost their opener 1-0 away to Shaktar and showed themselves to be a decent team. Their star player is the inevitable Brazilian, a striker named Cleo who has scored 14 goals in 15 European games.

But this game is about how Arsenal bounce back from the weekend, it is a test of character in what is a difficult week. Poor Fabianski will be under enormous pressure knowing that millions of viewers will be awaiting his first error; should he fail tonight the repercussions will surely end his Arsenal career and many would give away 2 points to see him do just that, an appalling desire from so called “fans”.  I would like Fabianski to have a very quiet evening but make two wonder saves, thereby giving him the confidence to play well at Stamford Bridge. A clean sheet would be great.

As usual I have no idea of the team but I would play these chaps:

The entire defence had a terrible game at the weekend, Almunia took the brunt of the blame but they were very poor as a unit. Tonight can only be better. Partizan play a packed midfield with a lone striker, a formation which tends to blanket our passing game, patience will be an issue. We need to be mindful of the ball over the top, particularly as our defenders normally play high up the pitch. I hope we attack from the off and quickly build a platform to win the points, if we score first we will go on to win, but with confidence having been shaken, an early Partizan goal could be ruinous.

Founded in the 6th Century BC, Belgrade is the 4th largest city in S.E.Europe with a population of 1.6m. It has one of the biggest rivalries in World football between Partizan and Red Star. Serbs are very good at tennis having reached the final of the Davis Cup.


2010 Arsenal Embarrassed ……. what went wrong in 2005? – written by RockyLives

September 27, 2010

Last night I typed “Arsenal+Embarrassed” into Google, limiting the search to the previous 24 hours. The number of hits was 31,500, which just about says it all.

I don’t want to join the stampede of condemnation that followed Saturday’s result and I do not subscribe to the theory that our season is over before it’s begun, but I’ll admit to being spooked.

It would be great to put it down to a bad day at the office (the sort of bad day where you realise too late that you forgot to put your trousers on before leaving home), but the flaws we displayed had the whiff of déjà vu all over them. And that’s not the name of a new perfume from Victoria Beckham.

Familiar failings were on display, but when did they become familiar? At what point did the Rolls Royce Arsenal of Doubles, trophies and unbeaten seasons give way to today’s version: a flashy Lamborghini with a dodgy carburetor?

Looking back through recent history a lot, to me, hinges on the group of players who arrived in 2005.

In the year from January 2005 to January 2006 the following players came into our club:

Emmanuel Eboue

Nicklas Bendtner

Armand Traore

Alex Hleb

Abou Diaby

Emmanuel Adebayor

Alex Song

Theo Walcott

Vito Mannone

Mart Poom

We have had good and bad players before and since but there is a certain malaise that seems to affect the 2005 intake and I would love to know the reason.

Leaving aside Mannone and Poom, who are bit-part players, the others, to a greater or lesser degree, share certain failings that have frustrated the supporters and affected results:  lack of focus, lack of awareness, inability to concentrate, bad decision-making and what might be summed up as a lack of pure class.

The likes of Diaby, Walcott, Song, Hleb and Adebayor have looked like world beaters one game and panel beaters the next.

Of the bunch you would have to say that Adebayor was the most successful because he had one good season, and that Theo should be cut some slack because of his age and because he is now (hopefully) beginning to show signs of turning into the finished article.

But the rest – particularly Diaby, Eboue, Traore and Song – have shown a maddening lack of consistency. They can be amazing one minute (Diaby away at Villa anyone?) but on their bad days they seem to lack effort and a sufficient degree of football intelligence.

In fact, with their repeated inability to pick the right option they don’t feel like Wenger players at all. Arsene has always loved players who read the game intuitively – think Vieira, Petit, Pires, Fabregas, Ljungberg and others too numerous to mention.

Of the 2005 batch even Bendtner (whose work rate and effort is beyond reproach) is hampered by what can only be described as a certain lack of class, evident in his poor touch and poor decision-making.

For what it’s worth, I think that in 2005 Arsene took his eye off the ball when it came to transfers.  The sheer scale of the job involved in moving to the Grove must have been all-consuming (it has been reported many times that Arsene pored over every little detail of the new stadium). Added to this was the knowledge that money would be tight for several years to come. Somewhere in all this I believe he did not give the job his usual focus and ended up signing players he would not have signed today.

Of course that could be 100% wrong. Maybe the 2005 intake have struggled because they arrived at the transition point from a great team to a merely good one and could not cope with the expectation and pressure.

Or maybe, joining a team that had so recently been Invincible, they thought success would come automatically to them without having to sweat every drop of blood to achieve it. To use an in-vogue word, maybe they just felt entitled. Up-and-coming players previously at the club, like Cesc and RvP, had had the chance to live and play alongside the Invincibles and, one assumes, to imbibe a sense of what it takes to be the best.

Whatever the reason, our midfield against West Brom had three of the boys of ’05 in it and the failings that have become the trademark of that group of players were evident.  Many of our worst performances of the last few years have led to members of this group being castigated by fans.

Of the outfield players who arrived in 2005, Eboue, Bendtner, Diaby, Song and Walcott are still with us and Traore is out on loan. Who knows, they may end up being instrumental in bringing us silverware, but I’m not banking on it. I‘m putting my faith in the ones who have come after: Wilshere, Ramsey, Nasri, Chamakh, Arshavin, Rosicky, Vela and the rest.


One day chicken, next day feathers – written by London and peaches

September 26, 2010

London’s analysis

It seems as though the players’ midweek celebrations went on a bit longer than we might have thought. The only thing that surprises me is that one or two didn’t take to the field carrying half empty Champagne bottles and wearing sun glasses to shield their eyes from the painful effects of the sun after a late night.

The hang over was written all over their faces; men dressed in red and white lumbered around the pitch with tired limbs, totally lacking in any sort of urgency.

The fog from their lazy minds only started to clear well into the second half after which, I can only presume, someone had the bright idea to hand out sobering black coffee and paracetamol which, although was a step in the right direction, did take time to take affect and by the time it did we were three nil down.

That must have been some party because only a shadow of the team that ripped spuds apart in the week turned up yesterday.

We were pants, arrogant pants as one “Baggie” came on the blog yesterday and rightly told us.

Peachesgooner’s conclusions

I agree London but who’s to blame?

Almunia will no doubt bear the brunt of most people’s anger but as London says, there was definitely a hang over from the players ……… oh and how about the arrogance of our fine manager for  not playing the best team available from the start.  This is not the first time that we’ve had our playmakers sat on the bench being saved for a future fixture while the those on the pitch are unable to be effectively creative. Today Jack Wilshire – undoubtedly the star of Tuesday night’s heroics against spuds – and Tomas Rosicky must have watched in agony as the first half drudged on.

Neither Song, Diaby or Eboue were finding their man. They were all passing to the ‘invisible one’. We had no control of the mid-field and there was absolutely no sign of the play that tormented the scummers the other night. How embarrassing is that? To have had even 50% of the control would have meant we were stringing some passes together instead of giving the baggies every chance of getting into the game.

And so the 2nd half came to pass and it was still nil nil. From the way we had played in the first half, unless there were changes, I couldn’t see us gaining an advantage quickly. What I didn’t see coming was the baggies on the attack and an Arsenal mid-field that just stood still and allowed them to pass through with ease. One goal conceded was quickly followed by a second and a disturbing chill descended on the stadium.  Eboue and Diaby were sacrificed for Wilshere and Rosicky – probably half an hour too late and soon we were 3 down.

Three down at the Emirates against ……… newly promoted West Bromwich Albion!!!!!!!!! You couldn’t make it up really. Was it all Almunia’s fault? I don’t think so, the  goalkeeper must be protected by the back four and the back four must be protected by the mid-field and if the mid-field had been working effectively, then we should have been in the lead anyway.

If we can’t defend as a team we’re going to struggle this season, but if we don’t send out the best team available from the start, there are always going to be other excuses. M. Wenger this one is your fault.

West Bromwich Preview – Unbeaten & on the way to Invincible – written by BigRaddy

September 25, 2010

Always good to play a newly promoted team at home after a busy (and triumphant) week. West Brom according to Mr Wenger will be a tough test and one of the best sides we could play. Tosh, I say – he couldn’t have asked for a better fixture considering the progressive destruction of his squad.  If we don’t pick up 3 points today we may as well hold up the white flag regarding the title.

We go into the game on the back of a confidence boosting and easy victory over our local rivals. The dressing room must be awash with testosterone which AW will be looking to unleash upon a team who have started brightly having taking a spanking at Stamford Bridge, but drawing with Spurs and beating Man City last time out (CC). This must be tempered by an appalling away record – WBA have just 4 points from a possible 52 in their previous away games in the PL.

In Roberto di Matteo WBA have a fine young coach who will be assuring his side that they can escape a beating akin to the 6-0 at the Bridge.  Should ex Arsenal youth player Jerome Thomas start,  it could be an opportunity to apologise to Jack Wilshere for the push that got Thomas sent off with a 3 match ban. You may recall Jack refused to take Thomas’s hand after he was elbowed, JT reacted to the snub by pushing Jack and got red carded.

I cannot see Di Matteo playing anything but a cautious game hoping to counter attack. He must know that should Arsenal score early Scott Carson will be in for a very busy afternoon.

My team …..

Bench:  Chesney, Vela, EE, JD  Diaby/TR

This assumes Rosicky and Diaby will not recover from injury. If either is fit, I would replace Denilson. Vela didn’t do enough at WHL to start today, neither did Djourou. I would like to see Chesney get a start but expect Almunia to play. It would be good to give Chesney a bench seat thereby making him feel included in the first team set-up.

We have been playing fast, fluent football, have become more incisive upfront with less pitty-patty around the opposition box and we seem to have sorted out some of our defensive frailties. In short we have been superb up to now. Even at Sunderland where we had our backs to the wall there were many positives, not least of which was the knowledge  we should have won the 3 points despite a lacklustre first half. Wilshere has been superb and is growing rapidly into the team, though I expect him to be rested as soon as Diaby and Cesc are fit. We remain unbeaten and on the way to another Invincible season 😉

This to me is an surprising fact about West Bromwich, two of my favourite singers were born there. Robert Plant  ex Led Zep and  Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy. Now to me Lizzy are the quintessential Irish band and I always thought Lynott came from Ireland – but no, he was born in Sandwell General, West Bromwich.  Wherever he was born, he played in one of the finest bands ever to walk the planet, RIP.

Can we win? Of course. Will we win? Certainly.


Wenger is not very clever…….. – written by Rasp

September 24, 2010

……. No, he’s much better than that – the man’s a bloody genius!

I don’t know the figures, but I would guess that there would have been in excess of 50 players transferred to Premiership clubs last summer, yet I believe we have made the three best signings of all.

Obviously there is a team involved in securing transfers, but since Arsène shoulders all the blame from some quarters, I’m choosing to give him most of the credit. The scouts and Gazidis’ department will have played their part, but a manager who apparently scrutinised the minutiae of every detail in the building of the Emirates is sure to be the driving force behind such important matters as recruiting playing staff.

We have signed 3 players of real quality, in key positions and without competition for their signatures from any other top clubs. That is some feat. I wonder how many other managers would have been suitors had they seen the way these players have performed for Arsenal so far this season – I’m guessing plenty.

Taking the players in the order in which they were signed:

Marouane Chamakh

We’d been after Chamakh for more than a year and Arsène would no doubt have dearly loved to sign him last January, but he stuck to his principles and refused to pay the overinflated price Bordeaux slapped on the player. We secured his services on a free transfer in May this year.

Arsenal got the better deal. Clubs with lesser managers may see a limitless bank balance as the only route to success, but our boss likes to make the books balance. Chamakh played his part in the process by always saying he wanted to sign for us as I’m certain other clubs would have been interested if his agent had touted him on the open market.

Chamakh has all the attributes a manager could wish for in a front man. He works tirelessly, he can hold the ball up, his first touch is assured, he brings others into play, he is a good header of the ball and he can finish.  We’ve been lacking a ‘Chamakh’ for the last 3 seasons, and now we’ve signed the real thing.

Laurent Koscielny

This guy was the most controversial and criticized of our summer signings. A reported price tag of just under £8.5m was seen by many as too high a price for a virtual unknown from the second division of French football – I wonder how many who witnessed his performance against our London rivals would say that now.

My hope was that in time, he would turn into a player of Vermaelen’s calibre. I’m not normally the most patient of supporters; for once I haven’t needed to be. He gets better every game. He has made a couple of expensive gaffs but his reading of the game, timing of tackles and bravery has far outweighed the mistakes which I expect to disappear as he gains experience. His body language is completely different to when he took to the pitch against Barnet. He is as Arsène described, ‘a warrior’

Sébastien Squillaci

In some ways, this was my favourite signing of all. In stark contrast to my greeting of the news of the last minute deal for Mikaël Silvestre, this time, I was ecstatic. I hadn’t expected us to sign a player of Squillaci’s quality. Here we had a fully fledged 6’1” tall French international centre back plucked from Sevilla for the very reasonable sum of 4m euros. We all new we needed quality reinforcements in defence and here was our answer.

Squillaci has shown just what we have been lacking in recent years. He’s an experienced player who is a strong solid, no nonsense defender. More importantly, he’s a player who can rotate seamlessly with TV and Koscielny. He has hardly put a foot wrong on the pitch since joining us and already has an excellent understanding with the rest of the defence.

I’m tempted to suggest that the performances of Koscielny and Squillaci have contributed to Almunia’s confidence and his improved form so far this season. If that is the case and he maintains his current level, the fact that we didn’t sign a keeper over the summer will not be viewed as a major error.

No apologies

The headline to this article might be viewed by some as a cheap way of getting bloggers ‘clicking’. Well in this instance, I make no apology.

If you agree with the piece you won’t mind and if you disagree, at least I’ve made you consider how brilliantly well we’ve done – three top class players for a total of less than £12m. All are players in the Arsenal mould. They have enriched the squad to the point where we can withstand injuries to key players and still compete at the highest level.

Arsène outwits ‘Arry – written by London

September 23, 2010

Seems as though quite a few were surprised by the strength of the team Wenger put out against spuds including many of our own and certainly many of theirs  most notably of which was Twitchy himself who, judging by his team selection, was no where near anticipating who he would face.

My only guess as to why he got it spectacularly wrong was that for a moment he must have thought he was in the big league, the one he read about in news papers for years in which managers of the big four put out weakened teams in the fizzy cup to preserve key members for imminent Champions League duty, well, talk about misunderstand.

“Arry” you got it laughably wrong to the point that you, your team and all your inbred fans were humiliated during the game before then being unceremoniously dumped out of the only cup final that you are ever going to get near this season.

It was totally predictable that Wenger would put out a strong team, the pattern over the years is there for every one to see: we do not go out in the first round. He also gave us a clue before the game in which he made quite clear that he always puts out a side that he feels can beat the opposition. This is true but only to a point.

It is commonly thought that he doesn’t care about the CC which is true in one sense but false in another: Wenger cares about it up until the quarter finals which happen to be just before Christmas and more significantly in football terms just before the transfer window opens.

By caring about it up until then, he achieves many things, most importantly it gives the youngsters an opportunity to play in a competitive game. Players like Jet, Eastmond, Nordtveit and such need to have some sense of belonging to the club and playing in the CC gives them exactly that before, more than likely, going out on loan in the New Year transfer window.

If they had played on Tuesday night we probably would have been beaten; they would have got a game but what real good would that have done? Far better to beat the scum then hope for a nice home draw against Brentford or someone like that in which the aforementioned players along with the Lansburys and the Gibbs can have a go.

Wenger continues this policy into the quarter finals at which point he throws the completion to the wolves. There is no way he would have picked that team in the quarter finals even if it was against spuds — for the simple reason that they might win, the result being that there will be a two legged semi final to deal with in very early January, that is, just after the exhaustive Christmas playing period and just before the all important Champions League restarts.

No, we definitely do not want that; the plan makes sense, we progress in this competition until the quarter finals and then it is time to say goodbye to the fizzy cup.

When this happens I will wave good bye and say good riddance because I am one of those who agrees with the priorities of the club, those being the EPL followed by the CL then the FA Cup but only if we have been knocked out of the CL, if we are still in that competition then damn the FA Cup as well.

I just don’t understand this call to win the CC, it makes no sense to me, it weakens us in other more important competitions, as to those who say we haven’t won a trophy in 5 years, ask yourself this: would you really want the name of the CC on display in our shiny new ground, you know where I mean, around the pitch there is the long list of trophies Arsenal have won over the years and then the gap……….do you really want the next one to be the CC…… tacky.

We are the Arsenal, a cut above; I want the European Champions League to be the first trophy to be painted on our stadium……now that would be classy.

Written by London, pictures by Rasp

Arsenal 4 – 1 Them Lot:Spurs Are Such Nice Hosts Aren’t They? – written by irishgunner

September 22, 2010

Written by Irishgunner

I don’t know is it because they want to be us so much that they helped us out last night, or is it that they are yet to figure out they are a pale shadow of our greatness? Either way, Tottenham must stop trying to out-pass the mighty Arsenal, instead they should play like Stoke or Blackburn. Oh wait, of course that is right, they did! Maybe they thought Jack Wilshere was the ball and that’s why they kicked him so often…. All credit to Little Jack (who isn’t so little anymore) who kept dusting himself off and getting on with the game.

Aside from all the kicking, Spurs were good hosts though: they let us have as much possession as we wanted, when we struggled to score they handed us two penalties, and then, in the nicest gesture of them all, they scuttled away out of their own stadium so our wonderful travelling fans could get on with the celebrations.

Playing “those lot” is always exciting, but when it comes to the Carling Cup it’s hard to know what to expect. I always expect us to beat them, but we know Arsene likes to rest up for the “fizzy cola alcohol Mickey Mouse” League Cup. So, it was with great glee that we saw him name a very strong squad for the game last night. Rosicky, Nasri, and Wilshere formed a tasty midfield and did not disappoint.

Just how bloody impressive is Jack Wilshere? I’m not one for thanking Bolton Wanderers for much, but that loan spell he had with them last season has done him the world of good. His left foot is majestic, he has an eye for a pass, is composed on the ball, demands possession, and isn’t afraid to get stuck in. Its like watching Cesc again when he first broke into the first team, you really wonder can this really be only a kid you are watching.

Its hard to pick holes in last night’s performance.

Fabianski was poor for Keane’s offside goal, but to be honest I don’t see the point in having a go at him today when it’ll just take up gloating time. Having said that, you can see why Chesney is a bit peeved with the whole situation.

Koscielny had a good game for me. He’s a tough nut and really gets stuck in. I don’t see him as first choice yet but he is a very good understudy and is new to this level of competition. His performances have been up and down so far, but he’ll learn and could prove to be quite the shrewd signing.

Gibbs had a great game again, and its of no wonder Clichy’s performances have upped lately with this guy hot on his heels for a starting spot. Eboue was Eboue, didn’t do much right or wrong. Djourou looked very rusty, he was caught out a few times but considering his lay off, we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. He did make one fine last ditch tackle in extra time.

Denilson played well for me. He got stuck into the dirty work and kept going all night (I’m being nice and not mentioning his shooting….oops). Same goes for Henri Lansbury who is a very game kid and he took up a great position to score the opener. I was slightly disappointed in Vela who I hoped would influence the game more.

We knew Arsene meant business when he brought on AA23 and Chamakh. The Moroccan continues to impress with his work rate, while Arshavin was himself of late – looked off form but still managed to score.

Speaking of Arsene, I wonder just what he was doing on the Blackberry. I’ve my suspicions that he wasn’t getting in contact with Pat Rice at all, why do I feel when ‘Arry checks his phone he’ll have a load of messages like “Ur sh8” or “Who r ya?” Or maybe Arsene was tweeting?

Either way, I’m sure Arsene was gloating to someone. Speaking of gloating, no individual ratings today, we beat the scum and beat them well, 10/10 for everyone, now lets get gloating.

Into the House of Darkness – WHL – written by BigRaddy

September 21, 2010

Let us start here. There is light and there is darkness, there is good and there is evil, there is N5 and then there is N17. N5 is blessed with parks, glorious architecture, fine restaurants, great bars and the finest football stadium in Britain; whereas N17 is a total toilet, the parks littered with dogshit,  litter and hoodlums, the architecture can only be described as urban wasteland, the restaurants vary from appalling to mediocre, the bars imbue such depression that suicide is an attractive alternative, and the football ground (it cannot be called a stadium) is a complete joke.

If you win the Lottery you may well choose to live in Highbury, if you have descended into a life of crack and crime, you probably live in Tottenham.

(N:B: The above is written in jest, but there is a little truth in there…..)

And the football teams reflect their surroundings. Arsenal have an urbane, intelligent manager, Spurs a semi-literate “wheeler-dealer” (Sky tm), Arsenal have a team who play with brio and flair, Spurs have Huddlestone and Crouch, Arsenal have a warehouse full of silverware, Spurs won the league in Black and White.

And so we come to the Carling Cup. When we drew the mugs from N17, I despaired because the Carling Cup is a meaningless trophy for us but any game against the forces of evil is big, and the potential of losing to them hurts, plus we know how Mr Wenger views the CC with his attitude towards playing only the youth and fringe players. The last time we played in the CC at the Lane, we left humiliated (though the 5-1 scoreline hardly reflected the game).

However this time could be different because somehow Spurs have found their way to the top table and have to prioritise just as we do. In other words we will find out by Harry’s team selection whether Spurs really are a Top 4 side or just pretenders who know they will get bounced out of the CL and finish outside the Top 4. Will Redknapp play any of his first team with West Ham away and Twente at home inside a week?

If not we could be in for a treat because we have such strength in our reserve and youth teams. Unfortunately the injuries to so many of our first team precludes AW from playing some of the second string (JW, Vela Kos/Squil,Denilson, Ramsey etc), but we are sure to see Gibbs and Djourou. Perhaps an outing for JET who is set to cause havoc.

The Young Men in the White Hats……

My team is made up from a process of elimination, with the plethora of injuries in the forward positions we will have to pack the midfield, plus many of our best youngsters are out on loan.

To me the games rests upon the team Harry plays, has he the courage to play a reserve team in front of an expectant full house at WHL? He knows that the record breaking win (as in they broke our undefeated record) set Tottenham up for their late run to the CL, and also how important a win is to his knuckle dragging acolytes –  Harry is nothing if not pragmatic. I expect Spurs will line up with some big players, Keane, Jenas, Palacios, Hudson, Krankjar, Dos Santos, Corluka and who knows maybe our mates David Bentley and William Gallas – all Full Internationals. They will not want to be beaten by kids

The final word must go to Bobby Smith who died on Saturday. I was raised in a Tottenham loving home, my father was Spurs and took me many times to WHL to watch the Double team of 60/61. In a side of hugely divergent talent from the silky skills of Blanchflower to the destructive aggression of Mackay one man stood out for me, his name was Bobby Smith. A proper centre forward , hard as nails, great in the air, a tremendous shot and no mean skill on the ground, a natural goalscorer.  Bobby Smith was my first hero , at this very moment I expect he will be scoring hatricks  on the Elysian Fields. Gone but not forgotten.

Can we win? Of course. Will we win? Unlikely