Romance vs Silverware

What a run we are on!  Can our East London neighbours stop the momentum this team is building? If Arsenal were to lose today would it have a knock on effect for the rest of the season? What do you think?

I know what I am about to write will be as popular as a root canal treatment but I can see advantages to our suffering a cup upset. Hold hard before you jump on me and allow me to explain……

The magic of the FA Cup. Let’s be honest, it has disappeared as the Champions League and  TV saturation of the Premiership has developed. Gone are the days of the plucky young David’s defeating the Goliath. Nowadays we see Man Utd put out a team with 10 changes from their regular PL side scrape past Crawley – does SAF take this action because he believes in the sanctity of the FA Cup? No, he does so because he puts a low priority on the Cup with big games to come for his side. I expect Mr Wenger to do the same today. In my youth, the Cup was as important as the League and I travelled near and far to watch the Arsenal (one particularly gruesome and bitterly cold trip to Yeovil stands out in the memory). Today, that excitement has dissipated..

It would be great for the future of the Cup if a minnow won and reached the final rounds, and why should it not be Orient? A club which many Londoners and in particular Arsenal fans look upon with affection. Headlines would be written around the world about how the mighty Arsenal having just beaten “the best team of all-time” have been beaten in the World’s oldest Cup competition. It would be a superb advert for the Cup. Surely we can be that generous to the long term future of the FA Cup.

And how would a loss affect our side? In my opinion we would have a group of deeply ashamed and embarrassed players who would gird their loins and refuse to allow that ever to happen again. Sometimes a good kick in the kischkas is the propellant required to push a team to glory.

Plus we would have one less competition to worry about. One could argue that there are only 3 decent sides left in the competition and we have a real chance to win another domestic Cup Double, to which I can only agree.

Games like today raise questions about our loan system.  Most of our loanees would have played today  – Mannone, Cruise, Traore, Bartley, Ramsey, Vela, Coquelin, JET, Randall, Lansbury to name but a few. Instead AW will be forced to play a number of members of his first team just a few days prior to a tough game at home to Stoke.

This is my guess for today’s line-up:

This team should certainly have enough to beat a determined Leyton Orient.

Leyton is mentioned in the Domesday Book. It was severely damaged by Zeppelin raids during the First World War who were trying to bomb the local docklands. Iron Maiden , those true English gentleman who carry the banner of Proper Rock to the world were formed in Leyton.


Written by BigRaddy

162 Responses to Romance vs Silverware

  1. Morning

    Seems not only I have the magic touch, the pitch layout appeared while I was switching between posts 🙂

    FA Cup – I have to say I do love the competition still, although I would love to win the Champions League too. Can’t I have both 😆

    …… and the Premiership of course …….

  2. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    So The Arsenal are going to China Town today 😉


    I thought your Iron Maiden came from Grantham?

  3. Big Raddy says:

    GG. Not according to Wikipedia! But who know – it wouldn’t be the first time I give given out wrong “facts” but having checked the IM website – they were formed in Leyton.

    Peaches. Of course we can and will win 4 trophies this season, but ……

  4. HR says:

    This is ridiculous.
    There’s only four more games we need to play to win the FA Cup and your thinking about the positives of losing?
    Arsenal are doing something great this year and we should support them in every single game – wenger may field a weaker team today but it will certainly be stronger than man utds yesterday and will be good enough to beat Orient.

  5. Red Arse says:

    Interesting Raddy.

    I have to agree that part of the glamour and romance of the FA Cup is the chance for “minnows” to beat the big boys.

    I am all for it!

    Provided it is any other big club, except us!! 🙂

  6. Red Arse says:

    Hi GG,

    Was that you in disguise yesterday? 🙂

  7. London says:

    Morning BR

    I understand where you are coming from and I certainly know you don’t mean it in a negative way what so ever.

    I agree with your team above and I think it is the right way forward for the club.

    Is there anyone who thinks today’s line up should be the same as Wednesday? There shouldn’t be and by realising that I hope people stop writing that we should always field our strongest team. To call for that shows a lack of understanding of our squad system. The team above is not the strongest we have but it should be more than enough to beat Orient and if it isn’t, so what because as the thrust of the post above says we really have bigger fish to fry.

  8. 2 times says:

    i say lets go for this as well. balls to romance!:)

  9. chas says:

    Szczesny’s focussing on Orient even though he won’t be playing. What a star..

  10. chas says:

    If the Citeh v County match doesn’t overrun, we’ll know who we could face before we even kick off. Draw at 4pm ish. Strange.

  11. Rasp says:


    Well done Raddy a controversial post to shake us out of any complacency 😉

    There has to be an article in the subject of squad rotation, first team v ‘B’ players, cup priorities etc.

    My view is this. We should try to win everything we are in with a chance of winning.

    If we have to prioritise in terms of resting players, it has to be as follows:

    Premiership and CL – equal priority at this stage

    CC final – full strength team, a win is vital to our ‘belief’ to progress in the above 2

    FA cup – must take last place in order of priority when playing lesser teams. If we get through to the semi’s, then play the strongest team.

    So basically, I would only rest players today and in the next round of the FA cup.

  12. Wembley79 says:

    Sorry, can’t agree.

    We have seen that we do not respond well to being knocked out of cups/losing big games at this stage of the season, in fact it usually has the opposite effet – it sets of a domino effect which leaves us out of everything by March.

    I agree that the team above should be good enough to beat Orient, and that anything other than a strong team will probably fail to get required points against Stoke.

    If this were to happen, extra pressure would then be placed upon the CC Final, with the feeling that we may have already lost too much ground in the league and that this may be our only hope of success etc.

    I say f*ck em, let’s go for all 4 – we are The Arsenal after all

  13. Big Raddy says:

    Good point Rasp.

    In fact there is no need to rest players after the CC Final. Should we go out at the Camp Nou (& I am sure we will win over there), we will have just 10 games left (excluding FAC).

    AW can play the first XI in every game.

  14. Rasp says:

    To qualify my previous comment, I would ceratinly make early substitutions if we are comfortable in any game, and I would include Diaby, Bendtner and Chamakh in the ‘first team’ category if they are in good form.

  15. Big Raddy says:


    Of course you are right, but perhaps, just perhaps, from adversity comes strength.

  16. mickydidit89 says:

    I stand by my prediction of 8/11! Oh, and what about the Leyton Buzzards? I say we neither tick nor tock without Cesc or Nasri. Cannot believe AW will play Song and Denilson.

  17. Rasp says:

    Hi micky,

    What do you know about the Leyton Buzzards?

  18. mickydidit89 says:

    One of a few great bands who helped define an era and in no small part woke me up and made me the man I am not today!

  19. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh, and I saw them a few times, can’t remember where, although I could have an educated stab if it mattered.

  20. mickydidit89 says:

    Leyton Buzzards

  21. Gooner in Exile says:

    Much to consider Raddy I would guess the loan policy is a result of the success of LJ this term following a good end of term with Bolton.

    Also putting the potentially surplus to requirements players in the shop window (both those on loan and those who have stayed to be squad players.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we are slightly stronger than anticipated, we need to continue to win on all fronts, even a reduced first eleven should have enough, and too often we have seen eight changes result in a disjointed performance, we cant afford to give any minnows a sniff.

    NB I think GGs reference to the Iron Maiden from Grantham was probably Maggie Thatcher

  22. mickydidit89 says:

    “NB I think GGs reference to the Iron Maiden from Grantham was probably Maggie Thatcher” 🙂

  23. mickydidit89 says:

    Cards on table:
    Eboue Squil JD Gibbs
    Cesc Den Jack
    Bendy Cham AA
    Back for KO.

  24. Aditya says:

    Looks like Miquel is playing according to Young Guns

  25. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. 12.33 Of course!!! I am so slow today as a result of a 12 hour drinking session which involved the entire gamut of alcoholic refreshment – from the humble hop to the garrulous grape and onto the mighty malt.

  26. Carlito11 says:

    Raddy- thanks for the excellent pre match! London I completely concurr regarding rotation- our second string must play and be good enough today. It’ll be interesting if Igansi does play today to see how he holds up- should really be Bartley but he’s on loan. Just gave the idea for a post on the merits of the loan system in fact!

  27. RockyLives says:

    Ah, the Leyton Buzzards – didn’t they do ‘Saturday Night Beneath The Plastic Palm Trees’?
    Great song.

  28. RockyLives says:

    Top thought-provoker.
    I’m not sure whether my view puts me on your side or against. Basically, I would definitely play a weakened team against lowly opposition in the FA Cup.
    But I also want and expect us to win.
    As Redders says, it’s great to see a minnow knock out a giant in the FAC – so long as we’re not the giant.

  29. RockyLives says:

    I see Vela got an injury time equaliser for West Brom after coming on for the last 20 minutes.

  30. dandan says:

    Afternoon all, Interesting words Raddy thank you, Personally would play a strong if not quite the first team with the intent of doing the business in the first half and taking our key midfielder off on the hour.
    Chamach,Bendy and Gibbs need a full game, Cesc LJ and Song can do a half and a day off for AA and JD would do no harm.

  31. RockyLives says:

    I would definitely start AA. He’s starting to get some form back and he needs to keep playing. He could pick up a couple of goals in a game like this…

  32. RockyLives says:

    If Miquel really is starting at the back I imagine it will be alongside the Squid, with a rest for Kozzer and JD, which is fine by me.

  33. Red Arse says:

    Just watched Celtic v Rangers. Although Rangers lost 3:0 I think Bartley played OK.

    He played in midfield, and was very good in the air, and not bullied off the ball.

    He looked a bit lost at times in truth but that’s what the loan is supposed to teach him, and it is a top of the table game in the SPL. Good for him!

  34. RockyLives says:

    Apparently Bartley was booked after two minutes, which must have hampered his game somewhat.

  35. RockyLives says:

    Right, off out now. Back after the game.

  36. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. Just the 9/11 today 🙂

    Good luck to Miquel. A huge day for the boy. 18 y.o. and Arsenal CB, a dream come true.

  37. Carlos Vela scores 🙂 😀 😆

  38. Red Arse says:

    Almunia, Sagna, Miguel, Squidger, Gibbs, Denilson, Song, Rosicky, AA, Chamakh, Bendy.

  39. Carlito11 says:

    Pleased for vela! How crap is that fa cup draw? Away at old Trafford if we beat leyton! Not the kind of game we want at this stage of the season

  40. The footballing gods work in strange ways don’t they …….. quarter final against the manks at OT if we get passed Orient

  41. Hi Carlito – not even at home!!!!!!!

  42. GiE is going to do the match report so you can all relax, I’ll not be chasing anyone to write by candle-light 😉

  43. mickydidit89 says:

    9/11. A-.
    Song, Denilson, Rosicky is horrible in my book.

  44. mickydidit89 says:

    Back for KO.

  45. SharkeySure says:

    Afternoon all.

    Decent enough team, and its only right that Kozzer and DJ finally get a rest with Stoke up on Weds and Brum next Sunday.

    My only concern is Rosicky. I hope he improves on his last few outings.

    I’ve just been watching this:

  46. Carlito11 says:

    Hope to see chamakh get his mojo back today

  47. Rasp says:

    How completely mad and oh so typical of the FA to allow the draw for the next round to take place before our game has even been played. Do they really think that it will not affect the psyche of players going into a game when they know who they will meet in the next round? Total insanity – but at least the TV companies can start on their scheduling 👿

  48. Carlito11 says:

    You are right Rasp- they try and do their marketing off the back of concepts like tradition and integrity and constantly mess with the essentials of the competition

  49. Carlito11 says:

    We are supposed to only have 1,800 supporters there but we seem louder than them!

  50. Carlito11 says:

    Coming back to Raddy’s theme in the post- maybe it ain’t worth winning this to then go on to OT? I’d much rather focus on the league but we obviously don’t want a humilating loss here today… What is wrong with chamakh in this game? More sluggish than a slug

  51. Red Arse says:

    Looking at both teams play, so far, I think two of the worst players on show are Donkey Den15 and Bendy52.

    Well Chamakh has just missed sitter! maybe he is trying to get on my list!

  52. Carlito11 says:

    Lots of good possession but only arshavin up front looking sharp and no other real creativity despite the pass completion rate

  53. mickydidit89 says:

    I am really really struggling to up the blood pressure!

  54. Big Raddy says:

    EA. It is more a question of who is not playing badly. IMO only the back 4, Song and Arshavin are even average.

    Rosicky is a shadow of the player we knew, how can he be an International Captain? Nik B and Vhamakh both dire, Denilson very very poor.

    What I don’t want to see is AW sending on JW and Cesc to salvage a game against poor opposition, but I fear the worst.

  55. Red Arse says:

    You are right Carlito, plenty of possession but the passing is very slow and ball control, perhaps because of the bumpy pitch, is very poor.

    Ignasi has played well so far for an 18 year old debutant!

    If we draw, at least I might be able to get a ticket for the replay at the Emirates. 🙂

  56. Red Arse says:

    Raddy, I could not agree more.

    The starting team should put this game to bed, and not endanger our “big” players.

    If they cannot do so, I will be very disappointed with them!

  57. thedeadlygonner says:

    really this is very sad.the likes of denilson and NB52 are just disgrace.We haven’t tested the leyton goalkeeper and i hope second half would be better.A draw would just pile up the fixtures list so we better deal with now.Sending a player or two won’t be bad.Nasri would be useful and it will make more fit.

  58. Big Raddy says:

    No No NO The DG. Why take the risk?

    The bumpy pitch isn’t helping but as we have our two best headera upfront why not put some balls into the box?

  59. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh Irish…the monent has arrived

  60. goonermichael says:

    What a header

  61. Big Raddy says:

    See above 😀

  62. goonermichael says:

    You Da man Raddy 🙂

  63. goonermichael says:

    I’ve just had my Arsenal tattoo done. It’s wicked

  64. deadlygonner says:

    Great idea hope more of the same.We suddenly look better and that goal has reassured confidence we need one more.

  65. Big Raddy says:

    Nice work GM.

  66. goonermichael says:

    I just drove past the orient ground. There are people watckin through cracks in the gates at the corners. My wife wouldn’t let me stop

  67. Carlito11 says:

    What odds on rosicky to score first- and with a header!!! Hopefully a couple more goals for us in this but you are right Micky- doesn’t set the pulse racing!

  68. Big Raddy says:

    Den 15. Shocking. Get a grip man or you will be playing regularly at this level.

  69. Big Raddy says:

    GM. Thumb and Under come to mind

  70. goonermichael says:

    There wasn’t anywhere to park Raddy 🙂

  71. mickydidit89 says:

    Threaten her with a more tolerant No5!

  72. mickydidit89 says:

    Blood pressure still a rock steady 125/75.

  73. mickydidit89 says:

    Blood pressure still a rock steady 125/75. I am turning into a spoilt Gooner!

  74. Carlito11 says:

    The squid really tool that full pelt in the eye!

  75. goonermichael says:

    Same old orient fans toom much incest

  76. Carlito11 says:

    I don’t think you’re being spoilt mickey- it’s natural after Wednesday and it’s about time we comfortably dealt with lower league opposition. Not that we’ve played well either apart from arshavin

  77. goonermichael says:

    straight through his legs

  78. Carlito11 says:

    Bollocks F##K F&^K F*(K! So annoying!

  79. mickydidit89 says:


  80. Carlito11 says:

    4 minutes- start bleeding shooting!

  81. Big Raddy says:

    Oh Dear

  82. Big Raddy says:

    What has happened to Chamakh?

  83. Big Raddy says:

    I would rather we had lost

  84. goonermichael says:

    another match is not really what we need. Very poor

  85. goonermichael says:

    Being one up that can always happen. coco is useless though

  86. mickydidit89 says:

    Let the reserves dig us out of this mess. Oh dear. Off out. Chin up lads.

  87. goonermichael says:

    Wher is my avatar.? I just noticed it’s gone

  88. Carlito11 says:

    I’m with you Raddy- better to have lost this one. F-ing annoying that the second string don’t have the same attitude as the 1st XI. Arshavin was good today but that was about it. Annoyed!

  89. Gooner in Exile says:

    I’m not sure what to make of that, controlled possession, nicked a goal against two banks of four, and then a freak chance created by a moment of brilliance 2 minutes to go and we’re looking at a replay, and unable to bring on the game changers. Should have probably brought them on with 20 to go to finish them off.

  90. Big Raddy says:

    Perhaps there has been a WordPress problem GM.

    We were pants. Just the back 4 and Arshavin put in a shift. Denilson isn’t good enough, Nik B has no idea where to be on the pitch, Chamakh has lost his mojo, TR is half the player he was. Song’s passing was very poor and Almunia fluffed the only shot he had to save.

    A replay is the last thing we need ahead of the Barca game.

    Only positive is that Miquel looks a player.

  91. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. You are in a generous mood

  92. goonermichael says:

    Play the same team next time

  93. Carlito11 says:

    That’s gotta be bye bye Jose hasn’t it?

  94. goonermichael says:

    hope so carlito

  95. Neamman says:

    VERY disappointing but Im happy [consolation] that Orient have a big payday. A small club hits it big, the romance of the cup.

  96. Well, I’m flabbergsted, some of those players are just not good enough are they. Arsene said we didn’t kill the game off and he’s right – we hardly tried to win never mind kill the game off.

    The players in this team should have created more chances and thats the problem – lots of possession but not enough in the final third. I think Arshavin should have spent more time in the middle – push Chamakh out wide and make him work for his place in the team.

    I suspect we’ll have to play the replay on the weekend of the next round as we already have 2 mid-week games in the next couple of weeks.

  97. Sid says:

    Some of the criticism on here is harsh. Such a step down from Wednesday can be the only reason some of you have said things you wouldn’t usually say. GIE seems the most reasoned. The only reason we drew was because Almunia is not good enough. In a game like this you expect your keeper to have to make one important save and he fluffed it. Under his body! If I was the manager I wouldn’t be able to trust him anymore. Chesney surely has to play every game from now until the end of the season.

  98. Gooner in Exile says:

    Not generous Raddy, realist today, you can’t change that many players and expect to see a display that we are used to. Orient were well organised and clearly playing for the draw, and when we scored they came out of their shell, if they had played like that from the start we probably would have won at a canter. As it was we squandered a few chances in the second half to bury the game.

    None of us is really too fussed if we go through or not, it’s another run out for the squad players who knows when we may actually need them.

  99. Sid says:

    Carlito, better to have lost?? You serious. A draw is always better than a loss.

  100. Silly me, we do have a spare week …….. replay 1/2 March

  101. Red Arse says:

    Arshavin and Song were good in the first half. Neither could pass in the second half.

    Bendy52 has no ball control, DonkeyDen15 would not get a game in the Orient first team. Both were crap all game!

    Ignasi is def one for the future. 🙂

  102. chas says:

    Weds 2nd March for the replay

  103. chas says:

    Have I stumbled on to the wrong site?

  104. kelsey says:

    One has to be disappointed with the general play today against a team who compared to Leeds and Ipswich offered next to nothing .
    I felt at half time that we wouldn’t even score as the whole balance of the attack looked wrong,, or we might just sneak a goal.
    I don’t think one should chastise cetain players but I was concerned about Almunia and Chamakh.

    Almunia always looks totally disinterestd and his aimless kicking of the ball upfield didn’t reach any of our players throughout the game.If he should have saved the goal is debateable,i would need to see it over again.
    I have said from day one that Chamakh isn’t a striker, in the true sense of the word.He just hasn’t got a shot on him, and being able to head a ball is an atribute but he is also pretty slow, and I am allowing for him having his first season in the PL.

    AT one nil, I felt a word that is often labelled at us…arrogance.

    We will most probably win the replay and i would wager if we do both us and United will play weakened teams.

    The euphoria from last Wednesday has quickly disappeared and there is a big gulf between our A team and the B team.

  105. SharkeySure says:

    I thought NIk B did Ok, his is hit and miss, agreed, but I do think he makes things happen, and shows the required urgency and work rate.

    I pretty much forgot Chamakh was playing. Its amazing that this is the same guy who’s work rate and link up play had us wondering how RVP could displace him when fit.

    I thought Song mostly did Ok, when he kept his passing simple and quick. Arshavin put in a decent shift today, and probably deserved a goal for his efforts.

    Almunia. as Sid ays, he has one routine(?) save to make and messes it up. I guess that would have been Fabianski playing today if fit, so c’est la vie.

    Miguel. Top quality.

    Gibbs. I have a real problem with how conservatively he plays. He just never opens up and drives at people, nearly always turns back and takes the safe option. That just won’t win us games.

    Denilson. I no longer see any real benefit to him playing, even though I used to like him. A few years ago he was the backbone of a team that Blackburn (BOlton?) away in extra time in the CC. That night he was feisty, fearless, dynamic and full of energy. I want that Denilson back.

  106. Sid says:

    I agree Chas. The slightest indiscretion by any outsider and they are asked to watch their language. But the regulars can use derogatory terms such as DonkeyDen15. I enjoy reading this site for the reasoned dialogue and not have to read rubbish like that.

  107. SharkeySure says:

    Kelsey – I’ve still got the euphoria from Weds nite. You rightly state that that was our B team.

  108. Rasp says:

    AW should play the same team at the Emirates with Diaby in place of Song, EE for Sagna and Ramsey for AA. That was very poor and it is totally down to the players. Our squad for that game must be on 10 times what the Orient players are earning. They had a chance to prove they are good enough for the first team and blew it. Thank goodness Almunia has proved definitvely that he is not good enough. He panicked (as he always does). The shot was straight at him.

    Chamakh is turning into the new Reyes. It can only be in his head. Perhaps he doesn’t enjoy living in the UK or maybe he has no friends in the dressing room. Either way he is lacking in cojones. He’s a striker FFS, he should want to score, not be afraid of missing.

  109. Brigham says:

    Orient now have a decent pay day which in all reality they did not deserve. At one nil we were happy and content,although we did not look like killing the game off.

    Chamakh and Denilson were both poor today, particulary Chamakh who is looking like a man in need of an energy pulse injection.

    Aluminia, goodbye.

  110. chas says:

    btw, I wasn’t having a go at the site at all, only at the name calling of our own players.

  111. Rasp says:

    I know chas. We don’t condone that sort of thing, but I can understand the frustration. I don’t think our disappointment can be anything compared to Arsène’s – he must be coming to the realisation that our first eleven are world beaters but that the next level cannot be relied on. The need to keep our first team fit is now obvious and paramount.

  112. chas says:

    Completely agree Rasp.
    When a team is playing well, every single player takes responsibility for the outcome of the game… our first XI seem to do.

    The second string, on the other hand, does not contain enough players willing to take on the responsibility.

    I went to that Wigan away game where Arsene made so many changes and there was no cohesion at all.
    5 changes, yes, 10, not so sure.
    Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be any halfway house team.

    RA, I know you were only pissed off at yet another unnecessary replay.

  113. Red Arse says:


    Can I say that my using an admittedly factious nickname for Denilson today, is because he is very stubborn and keeps repeating the same mistakes.

    How you can equate that gentle soubriquet with foul or abusive language defies belief.

    What I find offensive is your disproportionate attack on one player and his personal trustworthiness;

    — The only reason we drew was because Almunia is not good enough. In a game like this you expect your keeper to have to make one important save and he fluffed it. Under his body! If I was the manager I wouldn’t be able to trust him anymore –.

    Unbelievable! Excuse me while I go and upchuck!!

  114. Big Raddy says:

    My problem is this ….

    Those guys are out there wearing the shirt. A shirt that I have devoted a large part of my life and income to.

    Today’s team were almost all Internationals; we no longer can use the excuse of them not having experience – they have all played in the first team (bar Miquel who had a decent game).

    If Arshavin who is seriously lacking in form can put in a shift like today, why can’t Chamakh?

    Denilson gives his all, it is not his fault he isn’t good enough – he shouldn’t be out there. AW should have kept Ramsey or Lansbury at Arsenal. Ramsey is hardly getting pitch time at Cardiff and Orient would have been ideal for his return to the first team.

    Nik B is not and never will be a winger. He had no clear picture of his role today and spent much of the game searching for the ball. His control is patchy but at least he had the clarity of thought to create space for himself and make a telling cross. If he makes an assist or scores every game then he deserves his place, but he is desperate for clear instruction.

    I cannot accept the need to change the GK. Szczezny has hardly played out a season has he? Seaman and Lehmann always played FAC games.

    Ultimately the buck stops with Mr Wenger.

  115. johnQ says:

    I thought Rosicky played pretty well today, taken his goal very well, and have a shots on goal more than any other player on the pitch. He also link pretty well with Arshavin, and both of them along with Squillaci were the standout player for me today.
    NickyB waste a lot of chances, Chamakh was anonymous, and Denilson was average, maybe a little bit rusty, but to call him a donkey was just pathetic, considering he didnt play many games, like most of our 2nd string.

  116. Rasp says:

    Today wasn’t a disaster and to be cynical, the return leg will earn the club another £2m+. I’d give most of those who played today the chance to redeem themselves and rest AA , Sagna and Song all of whom played well enough. If the rest can’t put in a better stint at the Ems, they will ultimately pay the price by not being included in what could be the best Arsenal team yet under Arsène.

    I agree that it would have been a perfect game for the likes of Ramsey, JET and Lansbury and I would have expected them to put in a more determined performance than many showed today. Let’s hope the loan spell for Vela will have as positive an effect on Vela as it did for Wilshere.

  117. RockyLives says:

    The point has been made before that our ‘youth teams’ used to do better in cup competitions than our ‘second eleven’ currently does.

    The reason for this is obvious: the youth teams were used to playing together week in week out, whereas the ‘second eleven’ spend most of their time bench-warming and getting the odd 10 minutes here or there. It’s no surprise they struggle to display any fluidity.

    That said, there were still some disappointing individual performances out there today, although I thought AA did well and kept trying, TR7 did his best to create movement and Bendy, through frustrating, does make things happen (in this case, creating a goal), the two CBs did well when called on.

    Let’s not make the mistake of writing off other players who are below par. We all saw early season how good Chamakh can be so we shouldn’t turn on him now.

  118. mickydidit89 says:

    An hour or two down the boozer works wonders.
    Reading comments, I agree with Rasp: “AW should play the same team at the Emirates with Diaby in place of Song, EE for Sagna and Ramsey for AA.”
    With the 2ndXI out, I hardly see how it constitutes a problem in terms of fixture congestion. Frankly, this lot could do with both the exercise and the practice. So only a positive in that respect.
    Having said all this, I mentioned before the game how we never tick without Cesc or Nasri central, and I have not changed my mind.
    My one proviso to all this, and I think BR mentioned it, why the need to change keepers?

  119. London says:

    I agree with Rasp: extra 2mil income, Diaby and Eboue for the home leg, where’s the problem?


    You are a regular, so if there is something you don’t agree with explain why.

    Night, night.

  120. Red Arse says:

    Not surprisingly, the real regular AA bloggers Raddy, Rocky and Micky have, between you, all made sensible and well balanced comments.

    Thanks for putting things into perspective.

  121. London says:

    I’m Sparticus, no I’m Sparticus. I agree with Rasp, no I agree with Rasp. lol

  122. Red Arse says:


    If you are Spartacus, who are that lot hanging around the Via Appia? 🙂

  123. SharkeySure says:

    Rocky, I agree about not turning on players, and my comments about Chamakh’s early season form, were meant in terms of ‘I know he’s a better player than he’s currently showing us’. I hope he can do ‘an Arshavin’ and reclaim his form thru hard work and application.

    He still has some nice touches, but he really seems to lack some oomph at the moment.

  124. SharkeySure says:

    For ‘ooomph’ – replace with ‘forward thrust’ (c)MIDI 2010

  125. Red Arse says:


    Chamakh was like a breath of fresh air earlier in the season. like you I cannot believe he won’t get that “oomph” or “forward thrust” back.

    It’s a late reaction to the demands of the EPL. He will be OK, in my opinion.

  126. SharkeySure says:

    For what its worth Red, I think ‘Donkey’ is a little harsh for Denilson, but more than that, I just think its wholly unnecessary.

    I don’t think he was particularly poor today, he just doesn’t seem to influence games in our favour either offensively or defensively. To have so little influence from CM over Lg.1 players is a pretty poor show.

    I’m not sure that we’ll be seeing too much of him going forwards.

  127. SharkeySure says:

    I think you’re right Red. Someone else once remarked that we are generally seeing him playing with the B team of late, and that all his good games were with the A team. That would make a difference to any CF I guess.

    Chamakh was truly amazing from Aug to Nov(?). I refuse to believe that he won’t get back to that level. He just needs more A team minutes

  128. SharkeySure says:

    I love that scene from Spartacus. 70 yr old bloke who’s 4ft 6in tall, weighing in at no more than 7st (100lb/40k) stands up and says ‘I’m Spartacus’. Yeah course you are mate.

    Its a scene that could have been lifted straight from The Naked Gun series or Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

  129. RockyLives says:

    I wasn’t accusing anyone here of turning on the Chamster, but I can feel a sense of frustration growing around him and I hope it doesn’t mean the crowd start egtting on his back.

  130. mickydidit89 says:

    I’m going to shove off as I’m not feeling too chatty. Bottom line is this, I still think we will win everything this season.
    Life is so easy when you are an optimist.
    Nite all.

  131. Gooner in Exile says:

    Just wanted to say that anyone watching Crawley outplay ManUtd for great swathes of yesterday’s game should think about the performance our squad players gave today.

    Season record for most completed passes in a game, we controlled the game but were toothless in attack and left vulnerable for the equaliser by not killing the game off when we should have. The first XI have looked as toothless when facing two banks of four.

    Cheer up people majority of you didn’t want to go through anyway 😉

  132. Red Arse says:


    I understand your comment. My intention was to make a somewhat tongue in cheek epithet for Denilson, based on my opinion that he keeps on repeating the same mistakes.

    On reflection, although my opinion has not changed regarding his play, if I could retract the soubriquet I would, as I would never intend to give offence to AA bloggers.

    I had thought fellow bloggers would have known, from my time on here, that I am not normally given to being gratuitously offensive. Clearly I am wrong.

  133. RockyLives says:

    Come on everyone – Give Redders a break.
    Calling Den a donkey is hardly a heinous crime, particularly from a regular contributor known for his sense of humour. Someone referred to our ‘keeper earlier today as Coco, but no-one seemed offended by that.

  134. SharkeySure says:

    Thats a funny one for me Rocky, that ‘link’ between the blogs and the match day crowd. Just yesterday I was thinking about how many people from a 60k home crowd are avid bloggers. My guess is not too many. (Research: None!)

    There was a cross blog campaign last week to get a ‘certain Song’ sung at the Grove during (throughout?) the Barca game. By all accounts it simply didn’t happen.

    Previously I’ know that some of the more negative fans/blogs are almost stunned to hear fans singing ‘there’s only one Arsene wenger’ after the ‘sheer horror’ of five trophyless seasons.

    They truly believe that their view is the majority one, in spite of the voluble evidence to the contrary provided by 55k gooners at every home game. Its odd.

  135. liambradygooner says:

    That perfomance was below par.if there was one thing that is clear is the class between our first X1 and second string, from beating barca to drawing with lorient.

  136. SharkeySure says:

    Agreed Rocky, Red’s comments raised an eyebrow with me, but nothing more. I do worry about the start of a slippery slope though.

    Can I also confess that I think ‘Coco’ is an absolutely brilliant name for Almunia. THAT oicof him carrying the poodle dressed like God only knows what…yep Coco suits

  137. RockyLives says:

    Your 10.51: Absolutely true. I would imagine a fair chunk of the crowd never read blogs and a majority dip in and out only occasionally (and then only to look at news, not opinion). It’s quite funny really.

  138. SharkeySure says:

    LBG…but like others have said, its also about the continuity and momentum of playing together more regularly. The B team just doesn’t have that.

  139. Gooner in Exile says:

    Sharkey I think your point about Cham needing A team minutes is fair and also true of 80% of today’s line up.

    How dispiriting is it that you never get to play in the “big games” yet are sent out to play at Brisbane Road, I personally think the squad is more harmonious than that, but if AW needed to rotate I still think that we would have been better having 7 regulars today and Wednesday, assuming one of those is the keeper you are talking one or two outfield players starting both games. Today if Nasri/Cesc and Theo had started alongside Song Cham and Arsh, job could have been done by 60 minutes. Bring them off and swap around for Stoke.

  140. RockyLives says:

    The trouble is, we did field more first teamers against Leeds (and Ipswich I think) and still struggled.

  141. gnarleygeorge9 says:


    It was your Iron Lady Maggie T who is from Grantham 🙂

    Full credit to the boys from the Mystic East. They worked their arses off & got a result.

    Did anyone really think that Orient were going to just let Arsenal boogey their way on through their manner without putting up resistance? Especially a Club that was formed in 1881.

    But as MDI89 said, The Arsenal can still win 4 Cups this season. And a little bit of a gee up for Chamakh from the fans won’t hurt. Its worked wonders for the Little Russian Dynamo. Putting a player, down on confidence, under the spot light from the fans means the fans care, as long as they’re not childish with their comments.

    Come on Chamakh, lift man. You are Arsenal, you are a good man 😎

    The replay will now put the spotlight on the home fans to see if the Barca effort wasn’t just a flash in the pan.

  142. Gooner in Exile says:

    Haha GG, it’ll be £10 entry I guess, with games coming thick and fast and credit cards stretched I’m not sure many would pay full price, especially considering the team that may be fielded, so much for Barry Hearns pay day.

    When I did audit of Fulham (a good few years back) the FA gate money split forms were all handwritten. Started with fat receipts then costs were deducted (incl floodlights, policing etc) before a profit was split evenly.

  143. Gooner in Exile says:

    Fat=Gate early morning iPhone typing

  144. dandan says:

    Here we go again, why-O-why do so many view it as feast or famine, we had the game under control for 88 minutes then one moment of individual skill did for us, “Big Deal” It happens to the first team so why pillory the second string. More or less the same team will play and win at the Emirates,
    So as far as the first team is concerned it is not an extra fixture and all these players need pitch time because reserve football is no longer for squad players and the squad do all need to play.
    Plus I get to see an extra game, whose gonna complain about that. Certainly not me

  145. London says:

    Well said Dandan


  146. kelsey says:

    Morning all.

    I have changed my mind slightly with reference to us having an A team and a B team.

    Sagna is our first choice right back.Arshavin (our highest paid player if what i read is correct ) is a class player but has had a dip in form,and didn’t play badly..Song has been brilliant in several games this season, maybe he hadn’t come down from the Barca game or was upset about being subbed in the Barca game.
    What was missing was a midfield general and on current form one needs at least 2 of 3 from Jack,Samir and Cesc.

    I have watched the game again and Almunia was awful from his attitude and display and Wenger needs to ship him out ASAP.

    Denilson,Gibbs,Bendtner and to an extent Chamakh are B team players,at least for now.
    Rosicky though he scored doesn’t offer enough to change a game .
    Many games to go but i wouldn’t be surprised to see Arshavin,Rosicky and Bedntner all leave in the summer,but we need a fox in the box to compliment the A team, aswell as cover for RVP.

  147. kelsey says:

    Morning dandan and london.

    We all view the games differently but our attack was firing blanks against a pretty poor team,to me that was the issue,not that we conceded near the end.

  148. Big Raddy says:

    Kelsey I agree with you.

    On this sunny morning things don’t appear as dark as they did post-game.

    I cannot accuse anyone of lack of effort, just quality, and the pitch didn’t help.

    A point well made is that the B team will get more time to gell and become a better side. It would seem to be the trend for the big clubs to have two sides – a PL/CL team and a Cup side. We now have that in place and with the addition of the loaness are well set for the future

  149. kelsey says:


    I would say you half agree with me 😉

  150. Big Raddy says:

    No I completely agree with you (apart from the reasons for Song’s performance)

    Hopefully Vela can become our fox in the box – he has the build for it!

  151. Rasp says:

    Morning all,

    Yes, the points about the B team are spot on. The amateur psychiatrist in me suspects that the problem with Chamakh is more than just a lack of form or confidence although both are probably true. He can’t be tired. He should have scored yesterday but he didn’t attack the ball across the box or the heading opportunities which were presented to him.

    I accept that he is not a striker. He plays with his back to goal and when he receives the ball he plays it back out rather than attempting to turn the defender and let off a shot. Nik and Theo are more strikers than Cham – so the question is, with all the top class attacking midfielders we have, where does he fit into the system?

    He didn’t put in the effort required yesterday. In short, I believe that for some reason he is not happy playing with this team/playing in England.

  152. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. Perhaps he was on a huge high from his initial run in the team, then when RvP gets fit he is unceremoniously dropped. It would affect anyone.

  153. dandan says:

    Morning Kelsey there will always be first team players who need a run out in these, games maybe coming back from injury or suspension or just to give them captaincy experience or on the job training to the others playing around them.
    It also allows AW to compare players in a game situation. With so many in the production line there will of course be clear outs at season ends. For instance we have all those Loanee’s and 17 new Pro.s signed this year alone if that happens year on year constant refreshing of the squad on a yearly basis is inevitable.

  154. I think you’re both a bit right Raddy and Rasp, as soon as RvP was fit I don’t remember Chamakh being used even as a sub and that was when Arsene said he was tired. More to it I think ………….

  155. Rasp says:

    I agree with that Raddy, but he wasn’t a prolific goalscorer with Bordeaux. He had a reputation for not taking as many chances as perhaps he should. I called it a lack of cojones yesterday. Its not even that hs seems scared to shoot, its that he is reluctant to even get into a position where he can shoot. That could all be down to a lack of confidence but his past history suggests that he has always been that way.

    If we play 4:5:1, the ‘1’ must be able to hold up the ball (which Chamakh does well) but they must also make runs into danger areas after they have linked with the midfield and try to finish off the move. I think the problem is in his head, but I am beginning to wonder whether he believes that premiership footballl is right for him. There are no signs that he has established strong friendships with any of the players.

  156. dandan says:

    Rasp in my opinion Chamakh has problems with the pace of the game, he undoubtedly has skill and quick feet but it is the speed of thought that seems to be the problem, in the tight space game we play up front, the one twos which are our trademark require a quick brain and reflexes

  157. Any one from Cesc, Jack or Nasri would have given more impetus to the mid-field, I liked it best when Arshavin was in the middle at least we looked like we were trying to create something. Possibly he should play behind Chamakh is these games but then we have no wingers at all 😦

  158. Rasp says:

    Hi dandan, that’s sort of what I am saying. I wonder if Cham has decided that he is not suited to English football?

  159. Gooner in Exile says:

    I’m glad the more negative responses to the result have calmed down.

    A few weeks back a number of us wrote off AA, he is now proving us wrong and that class is permanent whilst form is temporary. Those saying he should go at the end of the season need a head check, picture him in your mind playing for Chelsea or City and scoring a winning goal against us and think about whether we still think he is surplus to requirements.

    As for Cham i see a confused player not sure of his role, and also where best to position himself when the ball goes wide, our crossing can be very inconsistent and struggles to make the most if his alleged strengths.

  160. Hi, thanks for this comment 🙂

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