Arsenal stay focused – bring on Barcelona

Sometimes the results of the teams around us go for us, sometimes they go against us and sometimes we just win our game playing fabulous football and I end up feeling that it doesn’t matter what everyone else does because watching us win is the most important part.

Yesterday we needed Man City to take points off of the other Manchester team which didn’t happen so we’re still 4 points behind them in second place and although it doesn’t matter a jot what happens to spuds, its always a better weekend when they lose, that didn’t happen either.

.

Here are some of the things you wouldn’t have known from the 5 minutes granted to us on MOTD.

Some, actually all, of the interplay between Cesc and Jack was magical, they were able to find each other and weave their amazing skills into this game in a way that Arsene could only have dreamt was possible. We saw Cesc’s ability to do this with Flamini and also when Arshavin arrived but his connection with Jack seems to be on another level. How stupid is Capello to want to sit Jack in front of an England back four? He has magic feet and plays so intelligently, shielding the ball, finding the pass. Shearer said that Jack is a proper footballer, well bloody right too, amazing to think he’s only 19.

Our golden-topped Alex Song was everywhere and showed how much we missed him last weekend against Newcastle. There was double-tagging going on to win the ball back and Alex was in the middle of everything. I’m really looking forward to watching him break up play aginst Barca.

Theo got himself into some terrific goal-scoring positions and had three shots all saved by Hennessy who had a great game against us. Arshavin was running his little legs off and I felt that he had definitely turned the corner and was able to have more influence on the game. Theo, Arshavin and Robin did a fair amount of switching positions in the first half which caused confusion for the opposition and I’m hoping to see more of that on Wednesday night.

Djourou slotted straight back where he left off after hobbling off against Everton and his strong head cleared everything that came his way. A great performance again from him and Kosser.

This was a largely stress free afternoon of football, which was surprising considering it followed last weeks disaster at St. James’ Park. The team was the strongest that AW could put out with only Nasri missing. The return of Song and Djourou put smiles on many gooners faces and although everyone needed to be fit for the visit of Barcelona on Wednesday is was very strong team that set up against Wolves.

It was interesting to see Arsene answer questions about the title race. Usually he would say ‘yes, we are still in with a chance’ or ‘it is very open’ but yesterday he was a bit coy, as if his little dream of winning the title might actually come to fruition.

We’re in a great place and on a day when minds might have been wandering to Wednesday nights game what we saw was a team focussed on winning the game they were playing. Mick McCarthy said his team were spanked – Oh happy days, love being Gooner.

Written by peachesgooner

Player ratings by charybdis1966

Chesney – 9, virtually nothing he did was done badly, i especially liked the forceful punch in the first half where he got some distance in a way Almunia never could/would.

Bac – 8, nothing to find fault with,mopped up everything that came his way and got forward with menace and showed he has a terrific engine.

Kozzer – 9, intelligent interceptions and flawless timing of his tackles.

Johan – 8, imperious in the air and composed on the ball although his aversion to hoofing it clear shows and a few times we conceded corners(not always rightly) where he tried to shepherd the ball out.

Clichy – 8, I heard he gave away a few balls in our area later on in the second half but as it was at the opposite end of the ground I, in the manner of Le Boss “didn’t see it so I can’t comment” however a solid performance.

Jack – 9, what a player, patrols the midfield with the grace and power of £30m player but is only 19.

Cesc – 8, the type of world class performance we’ve come to expect from our skipper. Pulled the strings and seemed to have more time on the ball than anyone else.

Song – 8, provided strength and backbone to our midfield. He’ll be vital to our season run in.

Theo – 7, got frustrated with his attempts on goal and perhaps went into his shell later, but his pace frightened the chubby left full back all afternoon.

The Arsh – 7.5, like Theo not everything he tried came off but still showed why is so highly rated by rational commentators, the crowd was buzzing with expectation whenever he got the ball.

The Boy Wonder – 8, took his two goals with clinical precision, gave us an injury scare and gave us a free kick that went close and one that was miles off – a typical Robin performance in other words !

61 Responses to Arsenal stay focused – bring on Barcelona

  1. charybdis1966 says:

    Hi Peachy, you could tell precious little about the mere 5 minutes MoTD gave us but I also noticed the wing-switching of Theo and the Arsh in the first half.
    I’m glad it was stress free as watching us play peroni-less can be quite challenging, but with my boys in tow I could hardly get bladdered a la Everton.
    Plus, I’m sure me being D and D would not have been a pretty sight, especially for Maire and her mysterious friend.

  2. Hi chary – Peronis next time huh 🙂

    I’ve just read your very good report on 7am kick off, put the link up on here ………

  3. charybdis1966 says:

    Player ratings:

    Chesney – 9, virtually nothing he did was done badly, I especially liked the forceful punch in the first half where he got some distance in a way Almunia never could/would.

    Bac – 8, nothing to find fault with,mopped up everything that came his way and got forward with menace and showed he has a terrific engine.

    Kozzer – 9, intelligent interceptions and flawless timing of his tackles.

    Johan – 8, imperious in the air and composed on the ball although his aversion to hoofing it clear shows and a few times we conceded corners(not always rightly) where he tried to shepherd the ball out.

    Clichy – 8,I heard he gave away a few balls in our area later on in the second half but as it was at the opposite end of the ground I, in the manner of Le Boss “didn’t see it so I can’t comment” however a solid performance.

    Jack – 9,what a player, patrols the midfield with the grace and power of £30m player but is only 19.

    Cesc – 8, the type of world class performance we’ve come to expect from our skipper. Pulled the strings and seemed to have more time on the ball than anyone else.

    Song – 8, provided strength and backbone to our midfield. He’ll be vital to our season run in.

    Theo – 7, got frustrated with his attempts on goal and perhaps went into his shell later, but his pace frightened the chubby left full back all afternoon.

    The Arsh – 7.5, like Theo not everything he tried came off but still showed why is so highly rated by rational commentators, the crowd was buzzing with expectation whenever he got the ball.

    The Boy Wonder – 8, took his two goals with clinical precision, gave us an injury scare and gave us a free kick that went close and one that was miles off – a typical Robin performance in other words !

  4. charybdis1966 says:

    Yes, Peachy, definitely peronis at the Sunderland game.

    The link is here:http://www.7amkickoff.com/2011/man-at-the-match-chary-wolves-fold-as-van-persie-bags-a-pair/

    Feel free to comment as most of the readership are in the middle of their night.

  5. Red Arse says:

    Peaches,

    I really, really enjoyed your take on the game and your classy writing style. Thank you. 🙂

    I saw only the last 10 minutes after having problems with the ATDHE stream, and it looked like both sides were just playing out time at that stage, so your report nicely rounded off the stuff I read in the papers.

    Nice to have the 3 points! 🙂

  6. Red Arse says:

    Hi CharyB,

    Thanks for the ratings and the brief summary for each. V. Good. 🙂

    I am now going to read your report too on 7 a.m.

  7. charybdis1966 says:

    Cheers RedA – hope you like it.

  8. Red Arse says:

    Very good report CharyB. You could do it professionally! 🙂

    If you get a chance, have a look at our little Japanese kid Myaichi, (nicknamed Ryodinho by the Feyenord fans)on the IMS blog video.

    It’s his second pro game and not only did he score a cracker, his alround play was terrific. 🙂

    I think you saw him play in the same pre-season training game at Barnett as I did. Wellington boot played too. He looks even better than he did then, despite having broken his leg since.

    Great one for the future!

  9. Charybdis1966 says:

    Red A, my random musings are just a little bit of fun. I don’t remember Ryo being at barnet last August, did I miss him ?

  10. London says:

    Morning all

    The funniest thing about the game to me was their goal keeper who was clearly under instructions to time waste. Imagine Mick McCarthy’s Yorkshire voice: I want you to slow the game down as much as you can. The goal keeper, obviously not the sharpest tool in the box, did exactly what he was told. In the second half he came out limping; McCarthy had probably kicked him around the changing room no doubt shouting I didn’t mean that you should continue time wasting after we went behind you muppet.

  11. Carlito11 says:

    Hi all, Thanks for the report Peaches. You are right that MOTD gave me barely any insight into the game so your report has really helped me form a picture. If ManU had been knocking it about playing silky stuff I’m sure Hansen and Co would have shown it all and been purring instead of the perfunctory-“Arsenal played great and will challenge ManU” with nothing shown to back it up.
    Now we can focus on a crucial 2 weeks of big games. It is so encouraging to have nearly our first XI fit before this key period and having both Cesc and Robin on form, Theo fit and playing more intelligently and the Wilshere/Song fulcrum developing into a rival for the Keita/Xavi partnership from last year’s Barcelona side, I have high hopes! Apparently TV will play for the reserves imminently and there are rumours that Nasri could be ready by Wednesday. However, I would be happy for AA to keep his place in the starting line up on Wednesday to get Nasri back to full fitness for the return leg. I think Gnarley has it right when he says that the winner of our game against ManU at THOF will decide who wins the league- I reckon we can do it regardless of the result against Barca. And on top of all that optimism we’re off to Wembley in just under 2 weeks’ time. It’s great to be a gooner!

  12. Carlito11 says:

    Have spent a bit of time this morning checking out Ryo Miyaichi and he looks a typical Wenger signing- quick, great ball control, likes to tear down the wing. His crossing still has to improve and he’ll struggle with the more physical nature of Premier League defenders- all the clips I’ve watched, the defenders in Holland have stood off him letting him run at them. That said, he often uses the ball intelligently making sure Feyenoord don’t lose possesion unless in the final third. It’s always hard to judge as I remember looking at Vela before he came and he looked even better! He seems to prefer the left wing but I’ve also seen clips where he operates on the right. Miyaichi is in the Vela/ Reyes/ Walcott bracket of player and if he keeps developing could be a great player for us.

  13. Rasp says:

    Morning,

    Thanks for the report peaches – glad you sobered up in time 🙂

    London,
    I was asking those around me why their keeper was time wasting at 2 nil down. The only reason I could think of was that maybe they thought relegation might come down to goal difference.

    The ref wasn’t great. Zubar should have got a 2nd yellow for a horror challenge on RVP but the ref allowed himself to be conned (or lost his bottle) as Zubar pretended he’d hurt his shoulder because he knew he should have been sent off. Other than that I thought Wolves played as well as they could and weren’t particularly dirty.

  14. London says:

    Hi Rasp

    From where I was sitting he seemed to stop wasting time in the second half but we were laughing our heads off the way he continued doing it after they went a goal behind in the first half……interesting theory about goal difference deciding the outcome of the relegation places.

  15. London says:

    Hi Carlito

    I thought they were more positive about Arsenal than usual on MOTD, I couldn’t work out why, the only theory I have been able to since come up with is the Wilshere starting for England effect. They are starting to fawn over Wilshere in the same way as they do with Rooney.

  16. Carlito11 says:

    Hi London- you are right that they were positive for a change but they didn’t even replay the goals during “the analysis” but there you go. If I was a Whammer I’d also be gutted that their comeback was referred to as “doing a Newcastle” when in fact they scored three goals from open play without any additional help from the ref!

  17. harry says:

    Nice one Peaches…….Quick comments in between my two sunday matches, u12s played and now off to my u18’s…..

    1. A draw would have suited us at old Trampford, but for me actually better United beat city, who have a much easier run of games coming up, united have chelsea twice and pool, so for me will drop the necessary points….And then to ours……

    2. The less MotD show, the better we played……..and more of a threat we are….

    3. It was a complete team performance with all working hard and no passengers, Arshavin has definitely found his way from economy class to first class.

    4. Even if NAsri is fit on wednesday, i would start him on bench and hit barca with arshavin and theo, it will frighten them…..Save Nasri for 2nd leg, ensure he is fully fit….We need him for the run in, dont rush him back…..

    5. Walcott is getting better and better and the team are playing to his strength more, play into space and watch him go…..ALthough he is getting stronger and better at turning players, did it several times yesterday.

    6. Song is a Gladiator……

    7. Kosser will bne a legend if he continues at this rate….

    8. Fab is Fab…..He will stay…..

    9. Wilshere has magic in them there feet, he has more to come as well, his confidence grows game by game as we do…

    10. How many points clear would be if Robin stayed fit all season? The boy wonder is a marvel….

    Oops must go……

    Remember:

    Be proud, Stand Tall, Stand as one, Stand together Conquer all………

    Cannot wait for Wednesday night…..whos meeting up?

  18. Rasp says:

    The second goal was particularly pleasing because of the speed of the attack and clinical finish. Cesc’s pass to Theo off the outside of his foot was exceptional. He would have read the scenario and made the pass in his mind as the ball was coming to him – brilliance you can’t teach that luckily for us is also shared by Jack, Nasri and AA.

  19. charybdis1966 says:

    London @ your 12.16 – that’s the only reason I could think of for the pro Arsenal comments from the 2 Alan’s on MoTD.

    We did larf when Hennesy persisted with the time wasting, perhaps he’d been programmed to waste time to such an extent that he couldn’t snap out of it when they went behind, he was only marginally quicker after the 2nd goal as well.

  20. Carlito11 says:

    Harry- good points all and I hadn’t given too much thought to the respective run ins of the 2 Mank clubs- glad to hear it was the right result after all!
    I am certainly up for meeting on Wednesday. It’ll be one of those days where I wake up thinking about the game and manage to do absolutley nothing of note all day at work- so I may as well try and clock off a bit early and head up to the ground for about 6!

  21. Carlito11 says:

    Rasp- that counter attack was poetry in motion wasn’t it? Reminded me of the 2004 vintage 🙂

  22. dandan says:

    Super report peaches thank you. Watched Barca last night, they were definitely not in first gear if they play like that Wednesday could be really interesting.
    Did you notice another soft goal for spuds rolled through the keepers legs.
    How many times this year has the opposing keeper like yesterday been man of the match in our games.

  23. Rasp says:

    Absolutely Carlito, we’ve been missing that string to our bow. We have the personnel but for some reason we’ve been more methodical than incisive lately. Now Theo and RvP are developing an understanding I hope we will see more lightning attacks.

  24. Red Arse says:

    The game on Wednesday is already on my mind. Hope I can see it as I am not as doomy as all the pundits about are chances.

    I was reminded, in a different context, of T.S.Eliot’s beautiful prose.

    He wrote ‘only those who will risk going too far, can possibly find out just how far one can go’. Wonderful!

    I hope Arsenal can bear that in mind when we play Barca, because if we go for it with heart and skill, we will beat them, Messi or no Messi!. 🙂

  25. SharkeySure says:

    Afternoon all,

    For me there really is very little point in watching highlights on MOTD, 90mins condensed into 5-8mins which has to include slo mo replays and crowd or scenery shots.

    I can never tell how a game has gone from watching it, and I really don’t trust that collection of idiots to paint anything like a true picture.

    Lawrenson, Shearer and Hansen come across as three blokes who’ve had a long afternoon on the beer having a private chat and a laugh about a Sunday League match. They’re all far happier having a chuckle than doing any useful analysis.

    Lee Dixon and Martin Keown are very good, but both are woefully underused.

  26. SharkeySure says:

    “Song is a Gladiator”. Agreed. And he’s OUR gladiator. Lets hope that Barca don’t target him for their ‘forward somersault with pike’ antics to try and get him carded early on. Lets hope we get a sensible ref who knows the difference between a bad foul and a player trying to buy one.

  27. Big Raddy says:

    Still basking.

    Afternoon’s like that don’t come along every week – I am coming to believe that this could develop into AW’s best team and that includes the Invincibles. Primarily because of the age of the major players – from a 20y.o. GK to a 19 y.o. MF wonder and a 21 y.o. speedster. With JD and Kos both under 24, RvP is approaching his prime at 27, as is Sagna.

    Only Arshavin is approaching his autumn days.

    World domination awaits if AW can keep the team together.

  28. Big Raddy says:

    The only negative from yesterday was how toothless we became when AA and RvP went off. And that with Theo, Chamakh and Nik upfront.

  29. Gooner in Exile says:

    My Mum and Dad made it to yesterdays game, Dad’s first comment “Could have been more if Theo was wearing shooting boots”.

    I comforted him in the knowledge he was saving himself to get a hatful against Barca, glass half full and all that.

    Disappointed with MotD coverage, Steve Claridge was purring about the football on R5 Live….”People can complain that they don’t win trophies, but if you’re lucky enough to support Arsenal and come here every week to watch football you are very very lucky” he went on “two or three moves are worth the admission money on their own”

    The best thing about the second goal was the speed of it as Rasp said, that was like the Invicbles used to do it, back to front in 5 touches? The only man that had two was RvP….beautiful. Is it okay for LJ and Theo to retire from International Football? I’m sure he will be held back from playing the rest of the cloggers.

  30. London says:

    GIE

    That was exactly the thing we all said after the second went in: wow, we haven’t seen that kind of break away goal since 2004.

  31. Gooner in Exile says:

    Just to get this straight BR are you saying Bac and RvP will be sold in 2011 or 2012? 😉

  32. Gooner in Exile says:

    Raddy continuing with those ages lets not forget JET, Lansbury, Eastmond, Ramsay all 20 and out on loan. Frimpong 18

    Cesc and Nasri both 23.

    If people look at this group of talent and think that AW deserves anything less than our utmost appreciation and all the money the board decides to pay him to keep him at the Grove they are demented!

  33. Red Arse says:

    GIE,

    Not to mention Bartley (Glasgow rangers), Coquelin (Lorient), Randall, Myaichi, Wellington, Vela, Botelho … I’ve got to lie down the list is making me dizzy! 🙂

  34. Big Raddy says:

    If we are going to find space for the kids coming through then 30 will be the cut off point for all but the GK and CB’s.

    So yes, RvP and Bac to go in 2014, by which time we will have achieved world domination

  35. Gooner in Exile says:

    We HAVE to keep hold of the youth, all of the current crop, our squad is strong already, just think how strong it will be when we have two/three carbon copies in every position.

    I am so positive today, so Wednesday night I’m picking 4-1 for my bet and I will not have my mind swayed.

  36. Big Raddy says:

    You think Barca will score?

  37. Gooner in Exile says:

    Well i had to give them a late consolation

  38. harry says:

    Gooner In Exile@4.24pm………

    Thats is one of the most profoundly true statements that underlines just why Wenger should be held in the utmost highest esteem by all gooners….

    Without been critical, it could even be said that statement is slightly understated…….?

    Wherebhy I respect all peoples opinion, and will discuss with anyone their views, those that call for wengers head at the slightest issue, need their heads examined..

    Wenger quite simply is the best thing ever to happen to our club…………

  39. Big Raddy says:

    It is interesting to read that Walter Smith art Rangers is playing Kyle Bartley as a defensive midfielder. Smith says that Bartley will continue in this role.

    !. Wenger must have sent him to Rangers with that specific role in mind, otherwise why allow him to leave the Sheff Utd first team where he was getting rave reviews as a CB?
    2. AW realises we need a big unit to cover Song. With Ramsey and Lansbury playing well on loan and due back at THOF, we will have 3 lightweights as DM cover (inc. Denilson)
    3. Smith is a fine and very experienced manager. If he is willing to play Bartley in the role then he must be a decent DM. Rangers despite playing in a Micky Mouse League are a top team.
    4. My hopes for a big name DM signing in the summer will be forlorn.
    5. It bodes very well for Bartley.

  40. goonermichael says:

    Fantastic write up . MOTD was a joke as usual but I watched football first and they did it some justice. I’m starting to feel a bit sick of the coverage of shreks goal. he’s even “dedicated” it to the northern monkey fans. It is good to be a gooner.

  41. SharkeySure says:

    “Big Raddy says:
    February 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm
    You think Barca will score?”

    Lol !!!!

  42. SharkeySure says:

    Radders, I never knew that about Bartley, thats fantastic news.

    Off to find clips of Rangers last few games !!

  43. SharkeySure says:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/scotland/9396435.stm

    Bartley features with one great pass, and a lung busting run. After those two moments, thats it from him. Hard to really judge a DM in a 6-0 win, but the commentator raves about him all the same.

  44. Greetings!

    Well,down to you lads now, I think City have blown it. Had the best of the game for all but 15 mins then lost out with Shrek’s ‘Ricky Villa Moment’. Bugger!

    Go for it Arsenal and fingers are xxd.

  45. charybdis1966 says:

    Hi there BV – all the gooners we’re willing you guys to hold on for at least a draw, but there you go.

    Dam Shrek and his jammy, flukey goal!

  46. SharkeySure says:

    You’re a class act BV !

  47. 26may1989 says:

    Evening all. Great write up Peaches, agree with every word. Wilshere, Fabregas and van Persie in fine form and the rest all looking good. Am especially pleased to see Arshavin getting some umph back.

    @Carlito re Ryo Miyaichi, all fair points, but we should all remember that his experience of senior football is his three games for Feyenoord, all he had before that is school football in Japan. Who knows whether he’ll make the grade but he’s made a mightily impressive start given his lack of any meaningful experience before three weeks ago.

  48. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Arsenal will beat Barcalona this week, but I’d rather win the PL 😉

  49. dandan says:

    Chary. Credit where credit is due mate, that goal was a superb exhibition of technical skill, surely BV has shown us the way to go, lets follow his lead, after all we are the Arsenal class is in our DNA.

  50. charybdis1966 says:

    Dandan – if I were to pause for breath and be rational I wouyld have to say, yes it was a good goal, however I may have respect for the goal and skill involved but definitely not respect for Shrek himself.

    The reasons there are to dislike Shrek are far too many to list as I’ve grown up scarred by the triumphalism of umpteern glory hunter London Reds.

    Sorry !

  51. Morning all

    Just to let you know before the new post goes up we’ll need a post for tomorrow if anyone has a germ of an idea.

    I’ll be doing more nagging later 😉

  52. Rasp says:

    He shinned it. I think Nasri’s goal earlier in the season was technically better as he rounded 3 players before sending the keeper the wrong way and slotting the ball home.

  53. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Shreks goal was a great goal, but the boy is a luxury that got more expensive mid season. For a club that is maybe on the market & close to 1 billion euros in debt, surely they need a better striking rate than 1 goal every 26 hours or so 😆

    Rooney is hopeless, lets be honest here. Berbatov is 3 times the player yet he gets the bridesmaid treatment @ Old Cow Paddock.

  54. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    To all my English mates on here, Rooney is not that good. I’m sorry, but he, like Beckham made a living off one amazing effort when they arrived on the scene. Beckhams goal from the centre & Shrek scoring for Everton as a 16 y o. Both are frigging hopeless

  55. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Nani won that game for United but is anyone talking about him FFS.

  56. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    ……& hence why England are not a world force internationally. You pin your hopes on all so rans. Owen is another.

    The best player Engalnd had in the last 20 years was Gascoigne. Hence the result in 1990. That England side was as good as any going around at the time & was unlucky.

    But there is light, Lil’Jacky could be the new Gazza, minus the piss drinking.

  57. charybdis1966 says:

    Completely agree with you there Gnarley, typical gutter press hyping of Shrek.

    He is one step away from being this generations Gazza.

  58. There’s a New Post

  59. Big Raddy says:

    GG. Before you slag off Becks, check out his trophy cabinet.( I like him now he has children who are committed Gooners!)

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