It’s Grin Up North!

Written  by Carlito 11

A result to put a smile back on our faces, a Nasri inspired Arsenal waltzed past a doggedly determined Leeds side to halt the slide against Championship opposition.

The game kicked off with some tough challenges signalling a hard fought encounter but we soon got our passing game going, Arshavin and Chamakh combining nicely before the latter dummied the return of a one/two letting a besnooded Nasri slip through the centre of defence and bury the ball in the 5th minute. The deafening noise from the home support receded and the game was going according to plan.

Chamakh had a couple of efforts thereafter- a great powerful header needing a good save from Kapser Schmeichel and a powder puff shot from the edge of the area. It is no wonder his first touch is so fantastic when a shot aimed on target has all the power of volleyed hacky sack. Where MC’s first touch is a thing of beauty, NB52’s has all the cushioning of a ping pong shot, one of which fortuitously ricocheted off Andy O’Brien to Sagna who took a touch and smashed it from the right hand side of the area- clean off the laces- to make it 2-0 and Arsenal were cruising at 2 nil. A superb goal from our Mr Reliable.

Nasri and Song were running the show at this stage but despite a good work rate from all three forwards, Nik Chamshavin was not producing much up front with some poor decision making from AA , poor touches from Nik and poor shooting from MC leading to the odd groan. But the defence was relatively untroubled and the team was playing for each other when Arshavin was fouled allowing Leeds to continue a build up around our box in the 37th minute. The ball found its way to Johnson who scored what must be the goal of his career, busting the net from 25 yards out. It was an unstoppable shot that Szczesny could do nothing about despite leaping valiantly in the right direction. The renewed fervour of their support did little to alter the fact that we were still much the better team and despite the best attempts of ITVs commentary team to convince us otherwise, there was no Arsenal wobble this time.

The second half started with a great move and a Song shot on target. Schmeichel was busy throughout and pulled off some good saves. Leeds countered and closed us down and tried to boss the game and if Song had not been there like a rock against the tide they may have done better against an otherwise lightweight Arsenal midfield. Arshavin had the look of a man desperately trying to play himself back into form but it was not to be and he and Chamakh were replaced by RvP and Fabregas .

We immediately shifted from 3rd to 4th gear and within minutes Bendtner had the ball down the right wing and flighted the perfect cross. Van Persie leapt and hung in the air before nodding emphatically through the outstretched grasp of Schmeichel. After that it was showtime with flicks and kicks- our away supporters singing the Rocastle, Henry and Wright songs loudly enough to be heard on TV.

Smiles all round at the final whistle- Huddersfield at home in the next round!

Arsenal verdict: Good performance with even those off form grafting hard.

Leeds verdict: They’ve got better players than I had given them credit for and play a fair tough tackling game. They deserve to do well this season based on this performance.

Support verdict: Leeds started at a tremendous volume but after initially being hushed by the first goal they kept it up well until the end. Our support could be heard well too 🙂

Man of the match: Nasri, Song and Sagna all deserve a special mention.

Moan of the match: Why do other teams’ fans always sing “same old, always cheating” when their players have committed the heaviest or clumsiest fouls?

Player ratings:

Szcenzny 7 Didn’t have much to do. Was a solid calming presence when required and couldn’t do anything about Johnson’s screamer.

Sagna 9 Reliable as ever and a gem of a strike for our second.

Djourou 8 Solid tidy play winning everything in the air.

Koscielny 8 Did nothing wrong and showed he is a ball-playing centre back!

Gibbs 8 Some good runs to link defence and attack. Untroubled by and large.

Song 9 Immense presence – at times winning out against 3 Leeds players. Had too much to do at times but managed very well.

Denilson 6 Just doesn’t have the presence to mix it even at this level. Left Song to do most of the breaking up and most of the link play.

Nasri (Captain) 9 Another gluefooted display of glide and finesse. A joy to watch and a great goal to get the game plan going.

Bendtner 7 Frustrating as he can be, his cross for the 3rd was top drawer and he put in a shift. Can he develop a better first touch at this stage?

Chamakh 6 Some excellent link play and a good header in the first half. Faded in the second. Can he develop a better shot?

Arshavin 6 Really tried, but it’s not coming off for him at the moment and his passing and decision making are suffering as a result.

If you don’t agree with Carlito’s player ratings have a look at London’s ………………….

Szczesny: noticeably different from his recent performances: much calmer body language, a sign I read to be growing maturity. Kicking was much better, although, he obviously needs to keep practicing that part of his game. 8

Sagna: it is obvious to say that footballers play better after a rest but never is it truer than with Sagna, watch and notice the difference the next time this happens which will probably be after the Barcelona game, oops I almost forgot to mention, he scored a lucky goal, only joking. Dammed if he was going to try and roll another ball across the box for Bendtner to miss again. Pick that beauty out of the net Shmeichel. 8

Djourou: back to his calm, laid back, reassured, Swiss self; he has come a long way this season, not the finished article so we shouldn’t be too hard on him when he slips up and slip up he will but that is for the future; tonight, I felt very comfortable with him there. 7.5

Koscielny: top drawer performance, some superb long range passes, I know that Leeds are not Prem opposition but if he carries on improving at the rate he is we are going to be very happy bunnies. 8

Gibbs: got caught out of position far too many times for my liking; although, he improved as the game went on. I still don’t understand how people can rate him higher than Clichy? 6

Song: I have run out of superlatives for the best player of that position in the EPL, would you still take Essien over our Alex? I wouldn’t. 8

Denilson: tut, tut thinking that the English press won’t pick up on interviews given in Brazil is a bit naïve. A functional performance but nothing special; the only positive I can think of is that with Song being so obviously being first choice DM at least we have someone who is prepared to spend most of his time on the bench acting as back up in emergencies, conclusion, hurry back Frimpong. 7

Nasri: I wrote a post the other day on my perception of how certain players like playing with certain others, Nasri and Chamakh are obviously bezzy North African mates living in London and loving playing their football together. Tonight he was given a chance to practice for his inevitable, soon to be central midfield role; he is not quite ready yet as the fact that his performance tailed off towards the end demonstrated but it is now when and not if. I almost forgot his goal as well, class, pure class. 8.5

Bendtner: the first thing I would say is that there is no doubt in my mind that he is getting better with every game, that said with every game I get more confused as to what we are going to do with him, great cross for the goal though. 7

Chamakh: lots more defensive work going on tonight, lots more chasing down and chasing back. I like it; he needs a goal now to fully regain his confidence. 7

Arshavin: BR put forward the idea that it is not right to accuse a player of not trying as how could we know if he is or not (forgive me if I misunderstood). I judge a player on whether he is trying or not by the effort he puts in to regain the ball once it is lost and within that criteria I don’t think Arshavin can be criticised in the slightest tonight; he was unlucky, I thought, that the extravagant things he tried didn’t come off. 7


Fabregas: we’ve got Cesc Fabregas, we’ve got Cesc Fabregas. 8.5

Van Persie: biased moi (said in a Miss Piggy voice). 10

123 Responses to It’s Grin Up North!

  1. Morning all

    Thanks Carlito for the post and London for an extra set of player ratings.

    The ITV commentary was sooooo off putting wasn’t it, they obviously don’t watch enough Arsenal or they thought they were only showing the game as Leeds were going to beat us 🙄

  2. says:

    I’m sure I heard Leeds fans at the Emirates leg singing abiut how they hate ITV. Could well have been ITV’s cack handed efforts to get Leeds fans back onside.

  3. EW says:

    Leeds fan here and as they say “We can now concentrate on the league”. I went to the Emirates and the big difference last night were Nasri and Sagna. I thought both were superb. I thought Arshavin and Chamakh were uninspiring again but with Nasri in that mood you dont really need anyone else. I thought we were getti ng back into the game second half and had a couple of near misses which inspired Mr Wenger to bring on VP and Fabulous and that was it. Best of luck for the rest of the season and i hope you get the silverware you deserve for the classy football you play.

  4. Rasp says:

    Welcome EW and thanks for the comment. I thought Sagna was superb yesterday, and not because of the goal but his general play.

    I also have to compliment Leeds. They are a very good hardworking football team and there should be no comparisons to the physical (dirty?) Leeds sides of the past in terms of their attitude to the game. Good luck and we hope to play you in the Premiership next season.

  5. London says:

    Excellent report Carlito

    You know Peaches is going to be hounding you now lol. Your player ratings make a great deal of sense. Gibbs, well, there has to be a slight difference or it would be boring.

  6. jim says:

    “Nasri and Chamakh are obviously bezzy North African mates”

    Except of course that Nasri is from the South of France. Fine, he may have some african ancestry, but by that logic, Arshavin and Chesny are best buddies too – you know both being from that country called Eastern Europe.

  7. London says:

    Hi Jim

    Thanks for falling into that trap; have you ever been to Marseille and I don’t mean the pretty port part I mean the tough estates where both Nasri and Chamakh grew up?

  8. Gooner in Exile says:

    Good report Carlito.

    Agree with nearly all of it except player ratings for Deni and AA.

    I thought AA last night was showing signs of recovery from the slump, he looked to be putting in the effort that has been missing in recent weeks even if things were not going for him.

    Denilson is a quiet unfussy player and I think he us underrated for that reason, I remember some fans being the same regarding Gilberto Silva but how we missed his “Invisible Wall” when he left. Deni is not at that level yet but he shows signs of getting there, he reads the game well is not fearful of tackles and more often than not passes to his teammates.

  9. 26may1989 says:

    Bolton have just signed a CB (David Wheater) – that’ll fuel the Cahill departure rumours.

    Good write up of last night’s game from C11, captured the mood of a hard fought but convincing Arsenal performance. It was also good to see Leeds in solid shape, it’ll be good to have them back in the PL, whenever that happens.

    Now for that run of home games.

  10. Rasp says:


    Thanks for a top class match report. I know it is excellent because it reflects my view of the game perfectly 😛

    The only thing is, I’d have transposed your player ratings for Nik and AA. Arsh tried really hard and tracked back to defend, Nik on the other hand just looks clumsy and lumbering much of the time.

    I don’t doubt they both have the desire, but I have given up on expecting Nik to achieve his ‘potential’ whereas AA has shown what a superb player he can be and is obviously striving to regain that form.

  11. Red Arse says:

    Well done Carlito, 🙂

    It was an overall wonderful display of football, but your Post managed to avoid understandable hyperbole.

    Both your ratings and London’s are pretty much in agreement. Shades of colour between them and I would not argue either. 🙂

    JD and Kosser were outstanding.

    My heart bleeds for our diminutive Meerkat. AA is trying so hard (too hard?) but little is coming off for him and it is clearly upsetting him. He is class and his form will come back. It will, it will!

    One jarring note; Bendy is not a winger and it showed. London is right, it is hard to know where he plays best and I remain unconvinced he has a future with us.

    Won’t be around much today, (overdid it yesterday 😦 ) but I hope to be around tomorrow to discuss Rasper’s and Raddy’s suggestion for my tag name change! 🙂
    You are in biiiiiig trouble Raspberry! 🙂

  12. 26may1989 says:

    And top line from Carlitto: “Nik Chamshavin was not producing much up front”.

    Chamakh (like many players playing for francophone African nations) is, though representing Morocco, born and brought up in France (I think he’s from somewhere near Bordeaux). I remember reading somewhere that all the members of the current Algerian squad are born in France.

    Agree with Peaches re the ITV commentary, Andy Townsend is an embarrassment.

  13. king gooner says:

    yeah,you could almost hear the itv panel/commentators gagging for leeds-peter “i luv MANURE” drury-with his “white machine”ffs!this when WE were 2/3 up-still it’s nothing more than i expect from the arsenal hating(manure loving)media-but on we go!

  14. Rasp says:

    Morning RA,

    Sorry to hear that you’ve not been well. I trust you are on the road to recovery – keep your hands off the nurses and on the laptop 😆

  15. London says:

    I remember people booing Gilberto off the pitch at Highbury but oh boy did they/we miss him when he had his back problems. There is an interesting paradox between the two: Denilson’s is a better passer of the ball but Gilberto was by far a better defender. I no longer see where Denilson future lies at Arsenal; he is not going to better than Diaby and Ramsey at going forward and he is never going to be better than Song at defending.

  16. Sid says:

    Que Sera Sera… As I read in the Times this morning we are still on course to go to Wembley 3 times this season! I can only dream.. I’m in a great mood and today will be brilliant.

  17. charybdis1966 says:

    Morning all, great post on dee-boo(as Richie Benuad would say)Carlito and my pre match comment shows just how much/little I know!
    Peachy, if there are no posts in the drafts cupboard I have the kernal for a post I could knock up tonight.
    Can I interest you ?

  18. Rasp says:


    I think peaches is out for a while, but I’d like to accept your offer on her behalf.

  19. charybdis1966 says:

    OK Raspers, I’ll put aside the Blakes 7 DVD’s tonight and get cracking.

    The performance last night reminded me why I’m glad to be a gooner – if we have these performances till May we are in for a good season.

  20. Rasp says:

    king gooner,

    I agree, the studio ‘experts’ team (Andy Townsend in aprticularly) were giving a laughably one-sided commentary of the game.

    It’s fair enough to big-up the underdogs, but rather condescending to Leeds (who played very well) and unprofessional to give such an unbalanced view. A blind man would have thought that Leeds should have won 10 nil.

    If the foul on AA before their goal had been the other way round, they’d have focused on that much more than they did. He was pulled back by the arm so it was a definite free kick and the Leeds wondergoal would never have happened. Good luck toi the lad though, it was a magnificemt strike and no shame on Sz for not saving it.

  21. Rasp says:

    Incidentally, it’s great to see Boy Wonder scoring with his head – that’s certainly the best headed goal I’ve seen him score. If you look at the pic, he seems slightly shocked himself. But it shows how his confidence has grown that he attacked the box and took it on.

  22. Carlito11 says:

    Thanks for the support folks- was a fun game to get on my debut! Rasp- I gave NB52 (the bomber) an extra point for the cross to RvP but thinking about AA also set up Nasri’s so parity between them would only be fair.

  23. Carlito11 says:

    Did you see the relish on Fab4 and Rvp’s faces as they got ready to come on! They had that evil glint in their eye like wolves decending on a pack of penned in sheep- fantastic stuff and a visual confirmation of London’s assertion that they love playing together

  24. Wonderman says:

    Thanks for the post Carlito. London I could’nt agree with you more on the Gibbs/Clichy point. I said the exact same thing to Sharkey whilst discussing the game last night.Clichy has the odd clanger but he never gives opponents so much space and consistently intercepts therefore starting off an attack. I cant see a future for Denilson, as he is slow, has a strange technique of tackling and passes sideways and backwards more often than not usually telegraphing it first. With Ramsey, Wilshere, Diaby not to mention Frimpong all fighting for the 3rd midfield place I dont see how he makes it.

    What can we say about Sagna ? up and down the pitch, rarely loses a header and is adding goals to his locker.
    This time last year we were besieged with injuries, the picture is much improved this year, lets hope we get a centre back, because then we are set !

  25. GunnerPete says:

    Well London or whatever, your marks are stating that you are another who cannot get rid of bias in your soul. As a Gunner for over 61 years now I can honestly say that apart from Denilson and Bentner the whole side deserves an eight. Gibbs & Djourou in particular have made our defence much more professional…when Clichy is playing our left side is wide open and nearly all goals against us have come via that area.

    Funny how quite the Sky, ITV and Sun hacks have gone about our goalie since Chesney came in???? And now I have mentioned it…what about that crappy totally biased ITV presentation last night and always. It is no wonder fans hate watching sport on that channel. It starts with the tubby West Brom idiot who knows very little other than his hatred for AFC and then goes to the commentater and buddy who added so mutch hype to the Leeds disply it completely overshadowed the fact that they were slaughtered.

    In the end AFC won at a canter and hopefully go on to show everyone who doubted that with an almost full squad at last, we can win the lot!

  26. London says:


    It’s all about perspective and my perspective is that Gibbs was caught out of position more than he should hence the lower mark.

    We are playing Wigan on Saturday why don’t you volunteer to write the match report and the player ratings?

  27. Dirty Turkey says:

    My ratings, for what they are worth:
    Szcenzny – 7.Good claiming crosses but his kicking is awful. Compare to Schmeichal’s goalbound shots!

    Sagna – 8 Reliable and a good goal.

    Djourou – 8 Still doesnt look comfortable with the ball over the top.

    Koscielny – 8 As Djorou but looked a little more composed.

    Gibbs – 6 Good attacking play but out of position so often when defending, it wasn’t funny.

    Song – 9 Great today. Looks incredibly clumsy when controlling a pass but always seems to get the lucky bounce to get away from the challengers.

    Denilson – 3 Outclassed by Championship midfielders 3 times this season. Please Barca, buy him!

    Nasri – 8 Never stopped running, creative hub and a fine goal. Nuff said.

    Bendtner – 6. NOT A RGHT WINGER – EVER !!! Feel sorry for him but AW is making him look like a mug. Play him as CF or not at all.

    Chamakh 7 – started brightly and faded. Badly. It’s a shame NB52 couldnt cross like that when Chamakh was on the pitch it would have increased his score.

    Arshavin 5 His smile at punting that shot 100 feet over the bar summed his night and season up. Have defenders got wise to him or is he overweight and looking sluggish? Prob a bit of both. Looks like a player knowing he is being replaced in the summer.

  28. Rasp says:

    Hi DT and welcome,

    I agree with your assessment of Denilson (although 3 is way too harsh), you’re spot-on that Nik B is not a right winger, but he doesn’t have the necessary mobility and speed of reaction to be a central striker either.

    I can’t agree with your view of AA. Adebarndoor used to be far more annoying by grinning after he’d missed a sitter. I think AA grinned because he knew how hard he was trying and nothing was coming off for him. You may be corrrect, he could be on his way in the summer, but if he regains his form, not many will be happy to see it happen.

  29. Carlito11 says:

    Thanks for the ratings dirty turkey- song does it too often for it to be a lucky bounce- actually reminds me of the way big pat contolled the ball. Leggy but not inelegant. Gie- I think denilson found himself bypassed and chasing the ball to give me real confidence- hence song mopping up so

  30. SharkeySure says:

    ‘Lucky bounce’ …lol.

    Good write up Carlito, job for life there think. Peaches will soon have you wrirtig match reports by candlelight !!!

  31. SharkeySure says:

    London, as Wonderman says, neither of us getsthe Gibbs is bettedr thab Clichy thung either. GIbbs reall needs to popen up and express/impose himself more. He plays like a stand in who’s unsure himself. He should be more confident in his ability.

    Last night he caught out a hestitant Leeds defender then proceeeded to pass the ball square and loosely (!), instead of driving at and committing said defender.

  32. SharkeySure says:

    Jeez re-write reqd:

    London, as Wonderman says, neither of us gets the Gibbs is better than Clichy thing either. Gibbs really needs to open up and express/impose himself more. He plays like a stand in who’s unsure of himself. He really should be more confident in his own ability.

  33. SharkeySure says:

    I said to Wonderman last night, that if Gibbs was a flower, bees would never pollinate him, cos he never opens up.

    When he’d finally finished laughing (2-3mins?) at my analogy, he agreed with me.

  34. Gooner in Exile says:

    Time to defend some unfair criticisms.

    Gibbs was brought up as a CM he has deputised as a LB but that’s probably not his true position he is probably being given the play him on the edges role while he develops. He will get better but is capable of suffering the old Ashley Cole syndrome of getting sucked in under the ball. He will improve and he is probably better going forward than defending at the moment.

    As for Deni/Song comparison I think it is surprising we are judging them as the same type of player. Song is becoming more like Viera with his attacking runs from deep i dont think he is a disciplined enough defensive midfielder that we can all rely on.. That is never going to be Deni’s role he is effectively the collector and mover of the football.

    Everyone has their opinions which makes football interesting I guess. But if we did have 2 Songs etc we would never keep then all happy, we need a squad and they have to play occasionally. The squad is looking strong and the squad players did their jobs last night, that’s all we can ask

  35. elvi says:

    kosenly deserve only 7 bcz he clearnce was really bad n they score goal.we really need big CB…our defence line is shakey even with team from championship…imagine what will happen when big barc will come in front of them.

  36. Wonderman says:

    @GIE just to clarify it was’nt a criticism just an observation that in my opinion Gibbs does not displace Clichy yet. I do believe however that where teams park the bus he is preferable to Clichy. I agree that Denlson is metronomic, but I cant get past two things with him a) the lack of pace b) the way he always seems to telegraph his passes. I think his biggest problem will not be his perceived lack of ability real or imagined but the strenghth of competition he faces. Rememeber he still does not have a full Brazil cap .

    The squad is looking strong with the most scary thing being the age of it

  37. SharkeySure says:

    I’ve always liked Denilson, but figure that certain games suit him better than others. If we’re struggling to keep the ball (rare event eg Barca at home last season) then he’s one of the best for that.

    But where we need to get at teams then he can’t be trusted to keep the back door shut against breakaways because he’s not very quick across open ground, and he can also be a little bit lightweight.

  38. Gooner in Exile says:

    Defence shaky??? A long range thunderbolt is hardly evidence. As goals conceded go it’s the most excusable

  39. Carlito11 says:

    GiE I think the true comparison would big Jack va Denilson rather than having two songs- although you wouldn’t catch me complaining if such a thing were possible! I feel jack is always on the right side of the ball, has the ability to mix it with rougher players and in general compliments cesc and song far more effectively.

  40. Carlito11 says:

    Would BE Jack VS Denilson- typinsons 🙂

  41. SharkeySure says:

    Carlito, you’ve a long way to go to even think about challenging for my Typinsons Shield. Nice try though

  42. Wonderman says:

    Carlito for me Wilshere wins hands down and we have’nt even seen half of what he is capable of yet. For me in Denilson we are see Edu all over again. Very good brazilian player not quite in the national box seat not good enough to displace nd keep out other players in his position when fit, and also under threat from younger players coming through

  43. Carlito11 says:

    Sharkey, you are the undisputed, heavyweight champion of typinsons and even Don King and a hefty purse couldn’t persuade me to challenge you! 😉

  44. Tony White says:

    Saw the game on the telly last night. From a Leeds perspective Arsenal look brilliant when they get that forward momentum going. However I still think there’s some question marks regarding some of their players when the going gets tough. Song looked great – once Aresenal got their noses. He’s one of those players that go AWOL when there’s a real battle. If Aresenal could get their hands on another Viera then they would be serious contenders.

  45. Carlito11 says:

    WM- Edu was a favourite of mine for his box to box David Platt style. I remember feeling we missed something when he was injured or finally left but I don’t think I’ll be revisiting those emotions when denilson moves on I’m sad to say.

  46. Carlito11 says:

    Thanks for the comment Tony. You are right that we are a totally different proposition once we get a goal up and many teams recognise that by parking the bus. It breaks up our flow and belief tends to ebb if we can’t get that first goal. Our experience of Song though, is that he can be relied upon no matter what the situation is- a quality that makes him indispensible

  47. Wonderman says:

    Carlito fair point. I did Edu a disservice comparing him to Denilson( but I am sure you get my point), and I agree I wont be shedding a tear when Denilson leaves

  48. SharkeySure says:

    Edu wot a player. Edu worked angles like no player I have ever seen.

    I once heard that Pythagoras only started work on his ‘Theorem’ after watching Edu play. Not sure if thats completely true, but its at least plausible, surely.

  49. ryandanielwood says:


    Great debut match report Carlito, completely agree with your ratings and more importantly the reasons.
    And yes I spotted the look on RVP and Fab when they were getting ready to come on. And I immediately thought of the “leader of the gang” post. 😛

    For all of the media’s attention to Denilson’s comments, I don’t believe for a second Fab was jolted by it. From his point of view this season has to be going as well as he could have hoped for, whether he joins Brokecelona or not in the summer.

    The team is on the whole quite healthy, and even with Verminator out since Sept and RVP only just back, we are in the thick of the title race, and we achieved it all without their differing “Leadership” figures. (Cold and calculating Belgian, James Dean Playboy Dutchman)

    I’ve always been one to forgive Fab for his Barca yearning, as long as he gave AFC everything and dealt respectively with the fans, and of course as long as he carries us in his heart, blah blah blah 😛

    And his tweetings and his undertaking of the Denilson mess, proved exactly why I love the guy so much. He has handled the media so well in the last year, and as his star is rising all the time, long may he continue to be a man of his word.

  50. Wonderman says:

    Sharkey and what a left foot !!

  51. Carlito11 says:

    Off for a bit. Can anyone tell me how the hell Ramos is being linked with us for a £25m move? I don’t think my 7 year old godson would believe that or have I missed some earth-shattering revelation that makes this plausible?

  52. SharkeySure says:

    Wonderman, Edu never had a left foot, it was a magic wand shaped to look like a human foot. I have this on good authority!

  53. London says:

    Bloody hell Sharkey, you are on good form today, this comment deserves respect 😉

    “I once heard that Pythagoras only started work on his ‘Theorem’ after watching Edu play. Not sure if thats completely true, but its at least plausible, surely.”

    I was an Edu fan as well.

  54. Rasp says:

    Leeds fans get the award for best comments from opposition supporters. Although we’ve only 2 (EW & Tony White), their comments have been excellent and we haven’t had a single abusive or objectionable post to moderate.

  55. SharkeySure says:

    Cheers London.

    Credit where its due to those types of players though. I’ve sat high in the eaves at Highbutry at marvelled at how some players can work angles andfind passes that I can’t even see from my lofty position.

    I doff my cap to the likes of Edu, Bergkamp and Fabregas, for passing the ball so well in a league as quick as the PL. Guys like those three make a mockery of the pressure that they are put under by oposing midfielders.

    Hvae to through Modric in there as well I’m afraid. Proper little magician. He made Fletcher look pretty foolish time and time again on Sunday gone.

  56. SharkeySure says:

    Blue Valentine was a top man as well Rasp. Individually he gets my vote.

    Fair do’s to both Citeh and Dirty Leeds though, big big crowds no matter how low they fell.

  57. Rasp says:


    I too was mortified when Edu left.I remember him getting a wonderful brace of goals one night in the CL (away game I think) but can’t remember the opposition – can you help?

  58. Rasp says:


    I agree about BV, top top bloke, but I suppose it was too much to expect that he’d keep comng on when the debate wasn’t relevant to City. Hopefully we’ll see him every time we play them though.

  59. RockyLives says:

    Excellent debut match report Carlito.
    We didn’t have the ITV coverage on this side of the pond but the commentary team here were still doing their best to make it seem like an even encounter despite the fact that we were clearly on top throughout.

    However, they were complimentary about our play, although one line made me laugh. During one period of beautiful Wengerball pass-and-move the commentator said: “This is great experience for Leeds because if they get into the Premiership next season they’ll be up against this type of football every single week.” Yeah, dream on.

  60. SharkeySure says:

    I remember one of those Edu goals well Rasp. Unusual for him in that he weaved in and out of a few before curling home a pearler with his human foot. (Thats his right btw)

    I was struggling to remember and only got as fara sa it being Almunia’s old club. Quick look at the Segunda div table makes think it was Celta Vigo.

    Plausible ? Correct ? Complete load of shit ? Who knows..

  61. charybdis1966 says:

    That blogger who came on here as “Simon Grayson” yesterday was a decent chap too.

    Also, I may be clutching at straws, but does anyone think Wheater is a replacement for Cahill (possibly coming to us)at Bolton?
    Or is he just filling O’Brien’s slot – he’s a centre back who left Bolton earlier in the window?

  62. SharkeySure says:

    I haven’t seen much of Cahill, but like Darren Bent, his passport and its impact on his valuation represent everything I dislike about modern day football.

    Can you imagine that we spend close to £20m on Cahill..?? Thats the equivalent of two Sammi Nasri’s or Tommy V’s, or close to four Kozzer’s. Madness.

  63. SharkeySure says:

    Rocky – “this type of football every single week” – LOL

  64. charybdis1966 says:

    That’s what I thought S Sure, I guess it is clutching at straws, I just have a horrible feeling if
    Johan breaks down we are royally screwed; then we’ll end up playing Kozzer with Miquel/Song at the back.

  65. 26may1989 says:

    Edu did indeed score two in an away game at Celta Vigo, the second of which was a classic curler into the top corner, following a shimmy/dummy to earn the space to shoot. For me, that was the high-point of his Arsenal career.

    He was a fantastically talented player, no doubt about that. But I was bitter about his departure – here was a player on whom we’d spent a sizeable wedge but who arrived on a forged passport, got sent back to Brazil, played for his “old” club for most of the season while a proper work permit was sorted out, thenarrived crocked and stayed crocked for ages. When he did make his debut, he scored an own goal in that bizarre 3-0 home defeat to Boro. And then, having taken a while to settle in, he had a good 18 months or so for us, then did a Bosman and went off to Valencia. So much for the loyalty the club had shown in dealing with his forged passport and injuries.

    But as you say, a very, very able player.

  66. SharkeySure says:

    26m. For me his high point was the FA Cup game at Old Trafford (2002?) in which we had no Paddy V and on that day Edu was absoutely imperious. I think he might have scored a deflected opener that day, but it was the way that he controlled the tempo of the match almost from start to finish that enthralled me. He did it all at almost walking pace. Class act.

    Out injured for his first year at Valencia wasn’t he. Cruciate in his first game..??Touch of intercontinental(?) karma..??

  67. London says:


    It makes sense that with Weater’s arrival at Bolton that Cahill will be going somewhere but whether it is to us…….who knows.

  68. RockyLives says:

    I’d be amazed (and slightly conflicted) if we splashed out £20m on Cahill. Conflicted because I would be pleased we’d signed an experienced EPL centre back, but disappointed that we had been forced to pay so much over the odds. Is Cahill worth four Kozzers? Not thanks – I’ll take the four Kozzers please.

    However, I really would like AW to get in some form of decent defensive cover (by decent I mean hopefully not a Silvestre-type signing). As Chary says, if JD breaks down we’re in trouble.

  69. mickydidit89 says:

    Excellent post. Thanks. I agree with every darn thing, so that’s boring. Your later comment “Did you see the relish on Fab4 and Rvp’s faces as they got ready to come on!” is a great observation as it is both true and shows how much these guys enjoy their Arsenal Football at the moment. I asked the question during the West Ham game whether anyone noticed Nasri rolling his eyes when he realised he was being taken off. Quite simply, he was enjoying himself.

  70. 26may1989 says:

    Think you’re right, in fact I think I was watching the Valencia game where he got that injury. As you say a bit of karma, but given his talents I was still disappointed to see his Spanish career go down the toilet. I think he’s still playing, now back in Brazil. No idea if he’s been able to maintain his high standards.

    Am ashamed to say I can’t remember the OT FA Cup game that year.

  71. mickydidit89 says:

    Afternoon Sharkey, Rocky, London, Chary, 26May, my butcher, cats, the bloke in the tractor this morning, and what’s left of the christmas cake.

  72. mickydidit89 says:

    Loved Edu, Petit, Gilberto and Flamini which is why I keep stroking Denilson!

  73. RockyLives says:

    Morning Micky 🙂
    The cat says miaow.
    I have it on good authority that Cesc and Robin were grinning before coming on against Leeds because they were discussing London’s “Who is the Leader of the Gang?” post.

  74. Carlito11 says:

    You have a fantastic memory 26May- Thanks for bringing back the good and bad as I’d forgotten exactly why Edu leaving left a bad taste in my mouth but I didn’t say anything in case it was just sour grapes at losing a great player 🙂

  75. SharkeySure says:

    26 – Like your good self, I was very sad to see Edu suffer such a bad injury. In writing my ‘karma’ comment I was aware that it might come across as me saying he dserved it. Thats deffo not the case.

  76. RockyLives says:

    Just thinking about our recent run of games (since and including the Chavski win).

    With Song in the starting 11 we’ve played 6, won 4, drawn 2, lost 0 with 13 goals for and 3 against.

    The two games in that period where Song didn’t start: P2 W0 D1 L1… F2 A3

    For the record:
    With Song in the starting 11:
    Chelsea 3-1
    Birmingham 3-0
    Man City 0-0
    Leeds 1-1
    West Ham 3-0
    Leeds 3-1

    Without Song:
    Wigan 2-2
    Ipswich 0-1

    I’m not saying it’s all about Alex, but he was absent for our two worst performances out of that run. Admittedly he started the first Leeds tie where we weren’t brilliant, but I thought we did OK in that game and our main problem was the lack of fluidity up front. If Den hadn’t stuck out a silly leg Leeds wouldn’t have scored.

  77. charybdis1966 says:

    Hi Mdi89 – are you going to the Wolves game, Irish is flying over for that one ? Me and Finest cuts(plus presumably Peachy/Raspers) are meeting up for a pre match piss up.

  78. SharkeySure says:

    Well its a funny one Carlito, cos I was at his last (home?) game vs Everton. He took the penalty as demanded by the crowd (?) and was waved off into the sunshine with best wishes !!

  79. Carlito11 says:

    Micky did an email reach you? I think I might have spammed BR by accident this morning!

  80. Carlito11 says:

    Says a lot about our amazing fans really SS! Not sure I’d have managed a smiley farewell but maybe we thought we had a suitable replacement lined up? As I recall we keenly missed him the following season.

  81. SharkeySure says:

    Alex Song is our saviour..?? Yes Rocky, I agree.

    The stats and data are superfluous for such a clear and undisputable assertion.

    Oh, yours was a question, and the assertion was mine.? Ok. Cool.

  82. mickydidit89 says:

    Saw your comment and have just checked personal emails and yes. I will respond. We will be just around the corner from North Bank, upper orange, Turnstile A. No firm plans yet.
    Wolves is a maybe at this point. Weekday games are strangely better as I can wangle some kind of business meeting “up country”.

  83. London says:

    Wooooo, lets hold all our horses for a moment and make sure we have Edu’s departure in the correct perspective. It is true to say that he left on a Bosman but we should all know by now that not all Bozmans are equal, some are much more equal than others and they don’t get more equal than that of Sol Campbell from a spud perspective.

    Edu was nothing like that; he was offered a two year deal on a reasonable wage but there was no real commitment from the club; we had Fàbregas to find a place for. Edu’s wife made it absolutely clear that she wanted to move to Spain, the man was offered a five year deal with Valencia; Arsenal could have matched it if they really wanted him to stay but I notice they didn’t.

    I can remember his last game and boy did he get a good reception from all the players around him, he was liked by them and respected by fans like me.

    And that concludes the defence for Edu.

    26m you are right that he scored a brace at Vigo…I was at the game.

  84. RockyLives says:

    Sharkey – not sure whether mine was a question or an assertion, more an assquertion really.

  85. charybdis1966 says:

    I’m going to the Toffees game also MdI89 – peroni-fest time !

  86. RockyLives says:

    Loved ‘Nik Chamshavin’, the poor man’s Theo van Nasregas….

  87. RockyLives says:

    It’s always lovely to be told I’m right, but I have to confess that it was 26May who came up with the goods on Edu’s brace against Celta Vigo.

  88. London says:

    Sorry Rocky

    A quick edit and it is just as I meant.

  89. Carlito11 says:

    Cheers all- the pub beckons after another fun day on AA! Still grinning 😀

  90. 26may1989 says:

    London, you’re absolutely right that Edu was popular amongst the players (I remember some sort of semi-Bobby Pires we are not worthy thing at that last game), and yes, many fans also lauded him, and accepted his excuses for leaving on a Bosman. I acknowledge I am in a minority on this one, but given everything the club and indirectly the fans did for him, and the specific history of his time at Arsenal, I thought it pretty cheap of him to wind his contract down (and make no mistake, that’s what he did).

    Of course Valencia offered him a great contract, there was obivously no transfer fee to pay for a quality player. He felt he was ready for top drawer contracts, Wenger wanted to keep him and an offer was made – he just wanted more and ignored the waste of two years in part down to his own dishonesty that we had before we saw anything from him.

    String him up I say!

  91. London says:


    I definitely wouldn’t want you as opposing counsel.

  92. 26may1989 says:

    Love the stats Rocky, and no disagreement from me re how important Song has become for us.

    But, looking at it all another way, by my reckoning, of the 14 games we’ve failed to win in all comps this season, Song has started 9 and came on as sub in 1. And he started in every one of our league defeats.

    Not sure that really means much though…..

  93. 26may1989 says:

    Thanks London. Strangely enough my clients don’t say that……

  94. Sean says:

    There’s my Arsenal match write up, from a Leeds fan, Let me know what you think Arsenal fans!

  95. Rasp says:


    That is a very fair, well written and entertaining article. The site does credit to Leed supporters, who have impressed me greatly these past two days – any chance some of your lads can come down and give our supporters some singing lessons at the Emirates?

  96. Rasp says:

    …. not all of our supporters, I’m sure you realised how good the away fans are, just some of the ‘new fans’ that need vocal encouragement.

  97. mickydidit89 says:

    I wasn’t at the game, but on TV it sounded to me like some of the Leeds fans joined in on the “Rocky, Rocky, Rocastle” chant. Am I right. If so, good on you lot.

  98. RockyLives says:

    Wow, that was the most comprehensive match report I’ve read in ages.

    Can’t disagree with much, but wishing that your lot had ‘put the boot in’ and ‘let them know we’re there’ is a bit sad. We’ve had enough broken legs from cloggers trying to let our players ‘know they’re there’ for this sort of nonsense to leave a bad taste. Usually these phrases are euphemisms for ‘let’s try and hurt them deliberately’ which can have very unfortunate results.
    If one of your boys had gone in studs up on Nasri’s ankle, for example, what do you think would have happened? Either he would have been removed from the game through injury – and I can’t believe that with your well-written report and good blog site that you would seriously advocate that as an approach to football; or Nasri would have been a bit bruised, run it off and carried on as normal. He certainly wouldn’t have been intimidated. Our creative players are used to being booted up in the air week-in week-out in the Prem and they don’t hide. The ‘soft Arsenal’ tag is well in the past.

    Your team have the potential to do well in the Prem next year and it would be a shame if you turned into a bunch of Allardyce-style cloggers (with Grayson, I don’t expect that to be the case and I expect you to try and play skilful and committed football).

    One other point – Denilson is not a Brazilian international. He played for them at youth level but has no senior cap. And most Gooners have him well down the midfield pecking order behind Cesc, Wilshere, Song, Diaby, Ramsey and Frimpong.

    But I don’t mean to carp – it was an enjoyable read.

  99. Big Raddy says:

    Super post Carlito. Very much as I saw the game.

    I am still basking in the pleasure of watching a great player develop, I am speaking of Samir. We have been blessed, truly blessed over the past decade to see the flowering of DB10, TH14, PV4, RP7, CF4 and now SN8. He is that good.

  100. RockyLives says:

    and not forgetting EE27

  101. RockyLives says:

    But you’re right BR. Samir is gaining world class stature this year. And, fitness permitting, I would hope RvP10 will also go down in the roll call of the greats.

  102. SharkeySure says:

    You’re so right Mr Radders, the ‘superclass’ talent that we’ve seen grow in front of our eyes in the last 10-15years is frightening.

    I’d add RVP to that list, respectfully of course. Perhaps he can take Eboue’s place..? 😉

    Nasri’s the most expensive player on that list at approx £10.5m !!! Incredible.

    Darren Bent £24m. Contrast and discuss..??

  103. Wonderman says:

    Sharkey ….Bent for £24m just beggars belief ! I heard them say on sky the other morning that he has cost over £50m in transfer fees in his career thus far goes to show what premium a british passport costs !

  104. London says:

    Does anyone remember the Catherine Tate sketch in which a husband and wife sit on the sofa and talk in Northern accents about how outragious and expensive some seemingly normal food is.

    Garlic bread, Garlic…..bread, two pounds fifty for garlic bread, the dirty bastards.

    Darren Bent….Darren Bent….24 million….the dirty

    Oh well, this might be one of those in which you had to be there.

    Goat curry…….goat…….curry..

  105. London says:

    This is what I mean, imagine them talking about Darren Bent.

  106. Irishgunner says:

    Oh the joy of having Samir Nasri AND Cesc Fabregas in one’s midfield 😀

  107. Wonderman says:

    Top Top London Top lol

  108. SharkeySure says:

    That couple are two of my fave characters on TV London, never saw enough of them really.

    Top quality.

  109. SharkeySure says:

    Alright Irish, surely you’d wish you could squeeze a Milner or a Barry in there instead..??

  110. Irishgunner says:

    No Sharkey its all good thanks.

    That Makoun that Villa bought always struck me as a decent player when I saw him playing for Lyon – suppose we’ll find out soon.

  111. London says:

    I crack up when he starts talking about Leeds.

  112. London says:

    Hi Peaches

    I won’t mind if you take those down.

  113. Carlito11 says:

    Rocky- I doff my hat to that riposte- top gooner! Some of the prose on this site- 26may London BR and all is better than john Mortimer. It does no harm that the subject matter is so close to my heart. You may excuse my sentimentality on 2 bottles of Malbec!

  114. charybdis1966 says:

    Peachy/Raspers – I’ve put a post in drafts; I hope it’s useable.

  115. Rasp says:

    Thanks chary, that’s great.

  116. charybdis1966 says:

    No worries Raspers, night all.

  117. Big Raddy says:

    So the Cahill stories continue I can’t see it happening unless;-

    1. AW believes Vermælen is out long-term and likely to have an injury filled career.
    2. He is disappointed with Squillaci and will sell him a.s.a.p.
    3. Koscielny is not as good as he hoped.

    My reasoning as to why he will not sign him:

    1. Cahill will not accept a bench spot or rotation.
    2. We have yet to spend half that much on a defender.
    3. It is so short -term with Bartley and Miquel looking fine prospects.
    4. Song can cover in emergencies.
    5. Cahill/TV would have be considered our first choice CB pairing. Would that be better than JD/TV. I think not.
    6. Koscielny is settling in and has Wengerball already.
    7. Squillaci is a very good 4th choice CB
    8. No poofters

    But if he signs and becomes a better player, I would be delighted

  118. charybdis1966 says:

    Hiya Radders, I didn’t know Cahill was a ‘lifter.
    Not that it matters especially.

  119. Big Raddy says:

    Monty P Chary ….

  120. charybdis1966 says:

    Oh right Radders, over my head as usual 🙂

  121. Big Raddy says:

    I would say too base for your delicate sensibilty

  122. Morning all

    There’s a New Post

  123. Stefano Zaffiri says:

    Carlito all you wrote is perfect!!!!!

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