Forza Arsenal

Which are the best games of the season? Well, to me they have always been the Autumn  midweek night games. The games start in sunshine and finish under floodlights, it is early season so the fans are excited, the team has gone through pre-season and are all fit and raring to go.  These are nights that live long in the memory.

Yet tonight, despite this being Arsenal’s opening home match, there are ripples, no waves, of discontent and difficulty. The fans are unhappy, the team is torn apart by injury and doubt,  grey clouds are expected over the Emirates. It is in this context that Udinese arrive at THOF to try and knock us out of the Champions League.

Much has been written about the glass half empty/half full performance at St. James. I prefer to concentrate upon the positives – a solid defensive performance and a midfield that controlled the game. We looked under-par in the offensive aspect of the game but surely with the quality we have that will come.

Udinese:. I know little about them but Italian teams are always good, well trained, difficult to break down and almost always a threat. Udinese will be no different despite losing their 3 best players this summer. Sanchez, Inler and Zapata all moved on which will make Udinese a different proposition to the team that finished 4 th in Italy. Sanchez, in particular, will be missed; voted best player in Italy last season he was sold to Barca for over €30m. Yes, we know that pain!

Udinese have only played English opposition once  – they beat Spurs 2-0 in 2009  🙂  This is their first CL campaign having had the best season in their recent history. In Di Natale they have  last season’s top scorer in Italy (29 goals – 59%  of Udinese’s goal tally!), though the loss of Sanchez and Inler will surely affect his supply line.

You know the tale of woe emanating from the Emirates. Cesc gone, Nasri and RvP suspended etc etc.  Despite this, we remain a top European act and have enough strength in depth to win the tie tonight. Much will depend on the efficiency of the attack and for this reason it is a big night for the front 3. Without any real creativity in midfield they will have to start creating their own opportunities, in particular I would to see Chamakh return to the player we saw at the beginning of his AFC career.

My team: (assuming a fit Rosicky)



subs: 7 chaps.

I really hope AW has enough faith to go at Udinese from the start and play a proper 4-3-3 rather than rely on a deep-lying Arshavin, but he has almost always chosen a cautious approach to the first legs of games so I wouldn’t be shocked to see AA start in place of Theo.

We have yet to lose or even draw a CL qualifying game, having won all 8 played. Tonight should see us continue this excellent run.

Udine is a small town (175,000) near Venice in the Fruili region, famous for it’s wonderful wines. Bruno Sacco was born in Udine; the head designer of  Mercedes Automobiles for over 30 years. He was voted one of the 25 most influential car designers of the 20th century and as an ex-Merc man (an old 500 SL) I can testify to his achievements.


written by BR


176 Responses to Forza Arsenal

  1. Big Raddy says:

    Friuli not Fruili. And a couple of punctuation errors …. sorry.

    & sorry for having a 2 post day, they rarely work as there is confusion about which post is active.

    To Chamakh or not to Chamakh? That is the question. Rumour has it that Theo could play centrall with Gerv and AA on the wings. I would be happy with this which allows us to bring on some height later in the game. However, Chamakh needs pitch time if he is to fulfill his potential which we saw so clearly up to Xmas.

  2. Red Arse says:

    Er hello? Anyone there? Hellloooooo.

    BR put the lights on this is getting scary!! :-0

  3. Big Raddy says:

    Nothing to fear RA. You are never alone as a Gooner.

  4. Rasp says:

    Nice one Raddy, I have alerted everyone to the second post of the day.

    Well done on showing a 4:3:3 formation, my preferred front 3 would be Theo, Gervinho and AA. The Arsh hasn’t looked much so far in pre-season or in the toon game, but he comes to life in the CL. I shall love him forever for that second goal against Barca.

  5. Red Arse says:

    Oh there you are. I thought I was on a desert blog! 🙂

    Another really good Post BR. We have some gifted essayists on AA and you are right up there with the Rock!

  6. Rasp says:

    Actually let me change that, my preferred front 3 would be Bendy, Gervinho and AA, with Theo and Chamakh to come on if needed.

  7. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. I am a big fan of the meerkat, who can forget that night at Anfield? I am hopeful that he will have a big season for us now that the focus to create is more on him than ever before.

    Perhaps with the option of a real speed merchant on the left (instead of NB) AA will finally get the chance to play second striker for a number of games.

  8. oz gunner says:

    i’d go with bendy personally.v’however walcott in theory would be good, just yet to see it in action.

    Udinese will be a shadow off their former selfs without inler,zapata and sanchez. Routine victory for the mighty gunners

  9. Big Raddy says:

    RA. That is a compliment indeed – and one that I cannot believe 🙂

  10. neamman says:

    Hmmmm I have to say I am worried. I just think the team has lost its belief in themselves.. we need something ..either a huge win or a huge signing. Something to change the mindset of the players and fans. blue away shirt didn’t do the trick on saturday.. I need to find another lucky shirt. Maybe my Tony Adams match worn or my TOFFS 1930 home… both have been lucky more times than not!!!! :>)

  11. Big Raddy says:

    oz. You mean like we will be without Nasri, RvP and Cesc?

  12. neamman says:

    Hear hear.. lets put Bendtner up front as a target man!!! I have no faith in Chamack.

    That wont happen I fear as he is short of match practise I think.

  13. Red Arse says:

    Hi Guys, 🙂

    It’s good to see that everyone is playing nice today! Excellent! 🙂

    Hi Oz, are you on an all nighter?

  14. Rasp says:

    Its going to be a weird night really – with our new captain and manager sitting in the stands.

    I expect Udinese to be typically Italian – keep it tight in the middle and at the back and try to nick an away goal. I want us to go for the win and show some urgency. We now have a solid defence so the boys can express themselves and show some joy in their play.

  15. oz gunner says:

    @ BR

    thats a good point but i think we have the cover, they do not

    @ RA

    just taking in the banter while i can. Sleep beckons soon though as i have to be up at 430 to watch the game

  16. Rasp says:

    Ahermmmmm, I hope you all appreciate my omniscience, Eboue has been in the ‘OUT’ column of my transfer widget for 2 days now 😆

  17. Red Arse says:

    Do you know, sometimes good things come out of adversity and a little luck!

    What am I talking about?

    Well in another Universe, Bendy would have already left Arsenal, but here, by simple chance, he is still with us. And then with the acquisition of Mia Faro our new Japanese wonder kid and Oxbow Herringface as proper wingers, Bendy could become the tall super-devastating CF we all hoped he would become, before AW stuck him out on the wing.

    Fate or what? 🙂

  18. Red Arse says:

    Rasper, we noticed the inclusion in the exclusion box but thought it was not so much omniscience (Crikey – are you OK Rasp my man?) but wishful thinking on your part.

    Seems like your fairy has come thru’ for you! 🙂

    What’s his name?

  19. RedandDread says:

    Arshavin will play tonite because he provides the creativity that we so need at present (No RVP, No Cesc, No Samir). Theo coming off the bench I am assuming.

  20. RockyLives says:

    Cracking write-up BR

    We have a really good record against Italian teams and I expect it to continue tonight.

    I would prefer to start with AA ahead of Theo in BR’s formation (above). But I would also be happy to see Theo tried down the middle, with AA and the Gerv either side of him.

  21. Rasp says:

    Good point RA, but will AW favour wantaway bendy over Chamakh.

    I very much hope he will and your prediction of Bendy excelling and giving us a plan B as a target man who can prosper from our new found thrust from the wings (oo errr missus)

  22. Rasp says:

    RA, you should kow by now that my predictions are never wrong 😕

  23. RockyLives says:

    I noticed your premature emmanuelation but was too polite to mention it 🙂

  24. Rasp says:

    😆 Rocky

    I’m only just recovering from Post Traumatic Cesc Disorder

  25. Big Raddy says:

    I am surprised by the lack of faith in Chamakh. He is a class player who has scored consistently in the CL.

    Yes, he has had a lean period but he has to have games to get out of it and without RvP, he is the obvious target man.

    As you know, I am a big Nik fan,but he is not going to have a future at the club and Chamakh is.

  26. Red Arse says:

    I saw that the Gerv’s red card appeal has been dismissed.

    So the moral here is, that if you are picked up off the ground, by the neck, and violently shaken, like a rat in the teeth of a mad terrier, and then molested by that other pervert sticking his elbow in your face, you must accept your fate and just die!

    Of course it would not make a scrap of difference to the inane FA’s excusing of Bastard Barton and his bitch – the coward Taylor – but you would not have to serve your extended ban for dying on the pitch.

    I need 26 here, he would understand me or get my sentence reduced! 🙂 Where is he? And where is Carlito and Wonderman?

  27. Rasp says:


    Nik was on fire at Members day – I know it means nothing, but Arsene did say that he looked very sharp in training. I bet he’d want to stay if he thought he could get some pitch time in most games. I don’t see the arrival of the Gerv as necessarily limiting Nik’s opportunities.

    It looks like no team with a CL place has come in for Nik and that may be why he hasn’t gone yet.

  28. Big Raddy says:

    So … we have Chamakh, Vela, RvP, Gerv, Nik B , Theo, Ox, Ryo, Nasri and AA all chasing 2/3 places.

  29. Red Arse says:


    When I heard Arsene saying that Bendy looked sharp in training, I thought he was being unkind to a player on the way out.

    Clearly he was implying he looked thick as a plank when he wasn’t! 🙂

  30. VCC says:

    Stating the obvious here chaps, but as long as we keep a clean sheet tonight, a 1-0 win will be enough, and after Saturdays game I feel we can achieve at least this. Can’t believe I am saying this about our defence, I actually feel we can keep a clean sheet. I hope the men in white coats don’t come and take me away tonight.

  31. Might be able to help you there BR.

    Vela is on loan in Spain; Gerv is at the hairdresser’s; Oxo’s mum won’t let him stay out late;Ryo is playing footsy with a mama san in Tokyo; Nasti is having a fit of the sulks because the nasty fans have called him names; and Cham is – well – just useless, and finally RVP is banned for this game.
    So that leaves Bendy, Theo and AA.

    Simples! 🙂

  32. TotalArsenal says:

    I am with you BR (as so often it seems): Chamakh is the man for us tonight. I would love to see AA in the hole, with Song and Rambo behind him, and Gervinho and Walcott driving the Mercedes Benzes along the wings! Chamakh to score and to have one assist (the glass is brimming again!)

  33. London says:

    Ahhhh the comforting BR pre-match, now I know we will win.

  34. RockyLives says:

    What time’s kick-off? 7.45 or 8? (Want to know when to sneak out of work 🙂 )

  35. VCC says:


  36. VCC says:

    Spitfire’s in the fridge Rocky. Shirt on the hook. Fingers/legs/eyes crossed and ready.

  37. Camberwell Gooner says:

    Guys, reading your comments is making me wet myself ever so slightly.

    Come on you reds. Let’s see off these Udinese types!


  38. Camberwell Gooner says:

    P.S. With excitement, not, er, anything else. Glad that’s clear.

  39. justsaw this says:

    We Bought so many wingers. Now we need Central player. Last year we had too many, this year we have too few central lol. He doesnt trust lansbury and he is too loyal to drop Chamakh. I would have that starting line up if Walcot is injured.
    Sagna – Koscielny – Vermaelen – Gibbs
    Song – Frimpong
    Gervinho – Ramsey – Arshavin

    Bench: Lukasz Fabianski, Johan Djourou, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sebastian Squilaci, Henri Lansbury, Nicklas Bendtner/Armond Traore ( injured in reserve)

  40. Jamie says:

    Can’t wait for tonight. A proper meaningful game under the floodlights.

    Play at a high tempo.
    Get an early goal.
    Don’t concede.

    Chins up. We are better than them, press them and get at them. Italian defences don’t do pace.

  41. RockyLives says:

    Thanks VCC
    I’ll be off to the Football Factory in downtown Toronto 🙂

  42. Jamie says:

    Also in a bizarre scenario where I have to go to the ground via the flat due to a rather unfortunately placed whole in my trousers.

    You don’t need it!

  43. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Hello fellow gooners, I didn`t realise how long into the night and early morning some of you lot carry on, If only AA had such stamina!.
    In answer to Rocky yesterday 9.26pm(sorry its a bit late), I have been lost here since 1991, and I just delivered some treacle from the treacle mines to the Piskies this very morning!.

    Rumour has it , Udinese are a couple of weeks behind us in fitness, maybe a 3 pronged speed attack of Theo,Oxo and Gerv at some stage would be interesting.

  44. RockyLives says:

    Hello GLIC
    Some of us live outside the UK these days so, like they used to say about the British Empire, this is the blog on which the sun never sets 🙂

    What part of Cornwall are you in? I know the area around Boscastle pretty well.

  45. kelsey says:

    A farewell to Eboue,loved the guy except on the pitch and i thought he was nailed on for gunnersaurus’s job.

  46. California Gooner says:

    I really want to see Arshivin, but I want to see him playing at the tip of our midfield three, pulling the strings. Isn’t that where he played for Zenit and for Russia during that fabulous run in the 2008 Euros? Whether that makes our formation a 442 or a 433 is irrelevant. I think we have one of the true genius #10s around and we don’t use him there… let’s see how it works out.

  47. Irishgunner says:

    Evening all, under two hours to kick-off. Just hope the home fans get behind, whoever plays.

  48. Irishgunner says:

    Just noticed Wenger made Vermaelen vice-captain, great decision imo finally got the Captain decision right.

  49. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Hi Rocky
    I`m living in the Launceston area, the first town you hit after coming over the Border from Devon.
    2 of my work colleagues live in the lovely Boscastle.

  50. TotalArsenal says:

    CG agreed. He has got the talent, and should get a chance now. Question is: has he got the stamina?

  51. neamman says:

    Lets go Arsenal!!!

  52. goonermichael says:

    Ryo is in soapland RA! (don’t deny you’ve ever been there) 🙂

  53. RockyLives says:

    I know Launceston (or should I say ” Larnson”). Great part of the world.

    Couldn’t agree more about Arsh. I would love to see him given that freedom.

  54. goonermichael says:

    My last client has come back late to me. I’m going to miss the start. bollocks.

  55. goonermichael says:

    I’ve been to Launceston. I love Cornwall. One of the best parts of England.

  56. RockyLives says:

    Just get the clippers out and give him/her a quick Rooney then run to the game…

  57. RockyLives says:

    Someone should write an Eboue appreciation piece (not me, before Peaches asks 🙂 )

    I know he’s a bit Marmite, but he’s had some good times for us as well as some bad ones – and he always acknowledges the fans.

  58. RockyLives says:

    …er that sounded a bit presumptuous. Obviously nobody should write an appreciation of Eboue unless they wanted to.

  59. Irishgunner says:

  60. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Rocky, Lanson,is what the locals call it, but not being a local, I like Launceston.

    goonermichael, Even with your love of Cornwall, the locals would probably want to string you up, for saying its part of England!

    It is ,it`s own Country according to them,called Kernow.
    The piskies are coming after you! 🙂

  61. VCC says:

    Team Wenger has named for tonight.
    Sagna Kos Verm Gibbs
    Song Ramsey
    Walcott Rosicky Gerv

  62. Irishgunner says:

    #Arsenal team to play Udinese: Szczesny, Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Gibbs, Song, Ramsey, Walcott, Rosicky, Gervinho, Chamakh

    Fabianski, Oxo Chamberlain, Djourou, Arshavin, Jenkinson, Frimpong, Bendtner

  63. Big Raddy says:

    Irish. That is brilliant.

    CG. How’s life? Long time since I have read your wise words.

  64. Red Arse the Langoustine says:

    GM, Soapland!! 🙂

    GLIC, I do not come from Cornwall, but I have been called a ‘pesky pixie’, does that count?

    At 15 y.o and 6’5″, at the time, the girl who told me to take a hike had a good imagination. (She was 21 – but I aimed high – so to speak) 🙂

  65. Big Raddy says:

    Oooh a 100% for BR.

    AW reads AA!

  66. Big Raddy says:

    RA. My you were a big lad! Always try to punch above your weight – it has worked for me and seems to work for GM 🙂

  67. California Gooner says:

    BR, if you want to understand the lack of faith in Chamakh, you had to see the pre-season. He picked up right where he left off last season — making tippy tap passes along the sidelines. He needs to find his inner-beast.

  68. kelsey says:

    arshavin on the bench.
    vela gone to real socidad on loan.

  69. Big Raddy says:

    CG. Don’t we all 🙂

  70. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Red Arse, At 6`5″, you are biggest pixie ever! and wont fit down the treacle mine!

  71. RockyLives says:

    Impressive BR

  72. kelsey says:

    Well done on picking the team BR. Now what about the score. I will go for 3-0 as a minumum.

  73. Big Raddy says:

    Kelsey. Can’t do that. I always put a bok on the team!

    I hope for a clean sheet.

  74. kelsey says:

    I am not talking about your sex life. 😉

  75. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Evening all,
    Just in. Off to read A Big Raddy, grab something cold wet and yellow and I’ll be back in two wags of a duck’s arse.
    Come on you reds

  76. Irishgunner says:

    Wenger “Cesc wanted to go a year ago.I convinced him to stay. Barcelona behind our back made it hard for us to keep him”

  77. Bonsoir, a very sunkissed peaches here, I’ve sneeked onto the computer saying I’m checking emails and I’ll be in such trouble for chatting to you guys but hey ho ….

    Little do they know I’m gonna sneek into the tv room too …….

    Come on you Reds

  78. Irishgunner says:


  79. I saw it, I saw it 🙂 🙂 Thats better

  80. Loads of empty seats sadly 😦 Not all my fault 😆

    Who’s writing the match report?

  81. Rasp says:

    Great start, I’m happy 😛 but I have to say that Chamakh is a complete passenger once again. I’ve watched Walcott and Gervinho get into crossing positions and Chamakh does not run into the danger area – he is totally goal shy, Bendy would have shown much more ambition.

  82. Irishgunner says:

    Empty seats = problem with season ticket holders getting in according to twitter

  83. Hello Rasp 😛

    Hello Irish 😛

  84. Arsenal do this crazy thing when seats go on general sale – membership holders think they’ve booked seats on their cards but when they get to the turnstiles the tickets aren’t active. We had that problem for a Carling Cup game earlier in the year.

  85. Have to eat, be back in a while

  86. neamman says:

    Di Natale looks good
    Nice start but we faded

  87. Big Raddy says:

    As you say, Chamakh a passenger at present. We need more from him and Ramsey. We are getting outfought in MF – Asamoah looks a fine player.

    Nice finish from Theo. TV excellent again.

    Let’s hope Udinese run out of steam and we can punish them in the final 15 mins.

    Bonsoir Peaches

  88. kelsey says:

    Half time thoughts :

    Stadium at least 15000 short. Udinese get a player booked in first minute then good goal by Theo.gervinho should have made it two and then same pattern emerges as always.Song needs to stay back, Szcesny nearly caught out by free kick, gaping holes in our defence and more tippy tappy football.
    If chamakh is a striker than Almunia is a keeper.
    This team isn’t newcastle and we need at least one more goal and keep a clean heet.No fluidity in our game as their defence doesn’t look great and they are not parking the bus.
    Nervous second half awaits.

  89. Big Raddy says:

    Kelsey. I agree. the first half will give confidence to Udinese – they willknow they can over-run us in midfield and that Di Natale will eventually get behind TV. Also they must have seen Gibbs positional indisciplne.

    We need to relax a bit and get the ball to Gerv in space.

    Expect to see AA on 60 mins for Chamakh and Theo go central (I hope)

  90. Irishgunner says:

    Most important that we don’t concede.

  91. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Far better game than saturday. Why not Theo central and AA on for Cham?

  92. Irishgunner says:

    Nikki B on for Chamakh please

  93. Big Raddy says:

    This is not going well. We need some inspiration from someone

  94. Surely 1-0 isn’t enough to take to Udinese

  95. Nobody attacking the ball in the penalty area, why don’t they want to gain possession back?

  96. Big Raddy says:

    Phew ……

    Happy to escape with a clean sheet and quite honestly we looked good at the back once again.

    The major disappointment was Chamakh who gave one the the worst CF performances I can remember in an AFC shirt.and I saw Lee Chapman!

  97. Irishgunner says:

    I need to go watch some movie I like, I think Harry Potter so I can swoon at Alan Rickman, because I may just explode with anger and cannot be about for those that will apologize for that rubbish. We’ll even have some that will say Chamakh had a good game, did he fucking touch the ball in the 2nd half?!

    *off to swoon at Severus Snape*

  98. Rasp says:

    Thank god for the early goal. For the last hour we were second best. Once again, no-one prepared to take a shot from outside the box. Chamakh was running away from the ball and 2 defenders injured, the squad is already stretched to the limit.

  99. neamman says:

    We got better as Udinese tired Theo robbed by a great save. I am confident we can do it next week with RVP back.

  100. Big Raddy says:

    Bobby P remindeed me of a young and slimmer Rickman (who is a Gooner)

  101. Irishgunner says:

    Vermaelen/Szczesny/Sagna/Kos/Song good though

  102. If you need a bit of Alan Rickman it’s Die Hard any day 🙂

    Irish – did you manage to get into the Fantasy Football, I couldn’t get in either

  103. Rambo seems to be our player spokesperson atm

  104. Rasp says:

    Worryingly Rosicky seemed to tire after about an hour, I’m not sure we can rely on him for a full season.

  105. SharkeySure says:

    Chamakh did enough tonight to win himself a free transfer and a pay off. He just doesn’t look too bothered about it either.

    I really don’t know what the workhorses like Koz, Sagna, TV and Song think about playing with someone who puts in so little effort.

    Had Djourou stayed on I’m really not so sure that we would have gotten that all important clean sheet tonight. I’m struggling to remember his last good game. No, even a half decent game would do. I just don’t know whats happened to him.

  106. Irishgunner says:

    All the best people are Gooners BR, could we get Alan Rickman to do the PA, that’d be so amazing O_O

    Or get him to dress as Snape and just glare at our players when they do wrong…

    Le sigh – first question Theo and Ramsey asked was about Cesc FFS Sky

  107. Big Raddy says:

    Ramsey has to get closer to the front players and give them an option. I fely he had a decent game but we need more from him in the attacking third.

    Jenkinson and Frimpong added to the team and kept things simple.

    But overall, there is cause for concern.

  108. Irishgunner says:

    Peaches – no, not until Monday, but I actually did okay, got 50 points. Unlimited transfers this week as well.

  109. SharkeySure says:

    There are times when all prudence needs to go out of the window. Pick a CB, pay what THEY want for him.

    My choice is Samba. He would have rattled some cages when the game was going away from us.

    Hey Irish.

    I wholly agree with your list of positives.

  110. Big Raddy says:

    Evening SS. May I respectfully ask if you had a good summer?

  111. kelsey says:

    Well at least surely we can’t play any worse in the return leg.
    The most interesting aspect for me was whilst chasing the game he brings on frimpong not Arshavin or bendtner.OK bendtner might be off.
    I said after newcastle don’t judge our defence and Song for an experienced player compared to others was awful, and i get the feeling with kos he is always liable to make a huge blunder.Sagna,vermaelen,Szchney and Walcott had a good game.
    We got lucky tonight not to concede but I doubt 1=0 will be enough.
    Gibbs and Djourou with hamstring problems and only liverpool next.

  112. Big Raddy says:

    Walcott worked hard and for once lookesd our most potent forward,

  113. SharkeySure says:

    I think Ramsey tended to sit deeper and go forward in bursts, because he cannot rely on Rosicky to cover him.

    I feel sorry for any MF playing tonight, cos in that position your CF is crucial. The CF’s positioning, movement and interplay, dictates EVERYTHING for your forward progression.

  114. Irishgunner says:

    Peaches – Watch Harry Potter. Alan Rickman as Severus Snape is just ………. orgasmic, no other word for it.

  115. Irishgunner says:

    Evening SS – I’d go for Cahill over Samba, if I had to pick.

  116. Big Raddy says:

    Kelsey. Got lucky? Apart from the misjudgement by Chesney allowing DN to hit the bar, what clear chances did Udinese create?

    I thought we defended very well.

  117. Big Raddy says:

    SS. Fair point about the CF

  118. SharkeySure says:

    Alright Mr Radders, Summers mostly been OK. Just been working too hard since I came back from my holidays. Hopefully tomorrow’s the last of the busy days for a bit.

    I reckon Marouane is STILL on holiday.

    My over-use of CAPS is starting to worry me a little now

  119. Rasp says:

    Since Chamakh was so awful, I can only think that he wasn’t subbed because we had 2 injuries to defenders and couldn’t afford the luxury of removing him from the pitch. It does beg the question though, was Nik on the bench to force the hand of a potential purchaser or would we actually have put him on and made him cup tied for any other CL club?

  120. Rasp says:

    I have to agree with kelsey. For 95% of any game, kozzer is excellent but he does put in rash challenges and concede freekicks in dangerous areas. He needs to be a bit more cool headed when we are under pressure.

  121. VCC says:

    Big Raddy . You see a different second half to me.

  122. SharkeySure says:

    Wonderman’s a pretty decent CF, movement wise. Everytime you look up he’s generally doing what you’d want him to do.

    I’m tired of Walcott not doing the right things often enough for my liking. I want a defender to actually win the ball off him, not just have Theo run it out of play, or cross it straight at the defenders legs or backside.

    Gervinho had a similar ability to simple fizzle out his own moves tonight.

    To be fair, the two of them combined really well for our final chance (unhelped or hindered by Chamakh !)

    I’m still shaking my head about Chamakh’s complete no show tonight

  123. Big Raddy says:

    VCC. Better television??

    I like to be positive as you know. Sure we were under pressure but apart from 2 fine saves from Chesney – which are de rigeur – we looked relatively comfortable, Had Theo been more clinical we could have won by 3

  124. TotalArsenal says:

    Not the game I had hoped for, but 1-0 is a fine score to take to Udinese. To state the obvious one goal there, and Udinese need to score three goals. We can do it but what a stressful game today. Both Rosicky and Rambo struggled to take control in midfield and just do not make themselves available enough. Rambo became a lot stronger in 2nd half, but Rosicky has only got stamina for 60 minutes in a game. He is a bit like alcohol free beer: it looks good, the first taste is encouraging and than it all goes flat. He was a boy amongst men tonight.

    Rasp, I must admit that Chamakh was utterly woeful today – wake up Chamakh wake up Chamakh WAKE UP CHAMAKH.

  125. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hi again,
    Walcott did put in some effort tonight and in fairness to him and Gerv. they had no-one to pass to! Its very nice to have a unified front here on AA with regards to MC. Is Robin back for the return?

  126. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Are any potential recruits going to umm and ahh until the return leg? Some most certainly will want to know the result first.

  127. Rasp says:

    Hi TA,

    AW has a problem. Does he persist with a player like Chamakh and risk reducing the potency of our attack in the hope he will come good or does he move him on. Since he came on a free, I assume he is on pretty good wages so we may have the same problem selling him as with one or two others.

    Personally I cannot agree with carrying on with a player who consistantly underperforms. I do not think he is suited to Premiership football and I also think he has not gelled (apart from his hair) with the other players.

  128. Rasp says:

    Hi Micky, yes the boy Wonder will be able to play in the return.

  129. MickyDidIt89 says:

    There must be something for him to do. Sticking down envelopes or something.

  130. TotalArsenal says:

    Micky, Robin should be back and so is Nasri(?)… Would Wenger want to risk a potential recruit in such a crucial game??

  131. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Good news. We are slightly buggered without him.

  132. TotalArsenal says:

    Rasp, not gelled – apart from his hair: classic! 😛

    Wenger probably believes in Chamakh and I dont think it is a lack of trying/effort with him. He just did not make a good decision tonight and like you (and others) said this afternoon, his positioning is so poor. The only question I still have, is: what is Wenger asking him to do in our 4-2-3-1 – and why is he so little in the box to finish attacks off?????????

  133. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I think the answer lies in the fact that he is neither very good at football or very clever.
    On that low note, its goodnight from this one.

  134. London says:

    Hi folks just back from the game, have read the comments and unusually for me I have to say I agree with the sentiment.

    It was poooooooooooooooooor

    And we were lucky. Chamakh didn’t do a single thing correctly. Shite.

    Someone picked up on the thing that did work and that was when Frimpong came on Ramsey could move forward and play his preferred kind of game. Although, if you think about it Frimpong played the Wilshere role and when Wilshere is there Ramsey can do what he does best and play further forward adding to the attack.

    Sagna was the stand out; he was the one EPL quality player in an outfield of Championship quality football.

    Oh best comment has to go to Kelsey: if Chamakh is an attacker then Almunia is a goal keeper. Top drawer that man in Spain.

  135. London says:

    I can see Afobe breaking into the first team at this rate.

  136. Rasp says:

    Hi London,

    What was the mood of the Emirates crowd, was the support good? Did you hear any dissenting chants or negative stuff about Nasri etc

  137. Rasp says:

    Unfortunately Afobe is out on loan and it has just been announced that Vela has also been sent out on loan. Hopefully that indicates that we have another striker on the way.

  138. London says:

    Hi Rasp

    No negativity at all, the mood was pretty good considering the quality of the fare that was dished up tonight, but hey a win is a win as they say.

  139. London says:

    I have usually got an answer to everything that Wenger does or some kind of justification at least but for the first time in a long time I really don’t know what he is going to do from here. I know we were missing key players but that was the most average Wenger side I have ever seen.

  140. Jamie says:

    Just home.

    Decent result.

    One nil means we have a tough night out there. I think we will get through but it will require another big effort.

    Thought the whole team tried hard although TR7 and Chamakh were passengers at times. Get Bendtner on instead of Chamakh. At least he puts in a shift.

    I think we still need another body in midfield and another cantre back. The squad is ropey

  141. Jamie says:

    The back four didn’t get nearly enough protection from the midfield trio.

  142. pat says:

    1-0 TO THE ARSENAL. Will take those all season long…

    Need a striker with a direct threat on goal – missed Mr VP out there tonight. What happened with DJ coming off – injury? I watched entire game with no sound since ESPN commentary was annoying me.

    Defensively I think they did a good job – not perfect but decent enough – Sagna was great. Kozzer pretty good too. Walcott (could) should have had a hatrick. Shame Gibbs was off – looked a good outlet down the left. Liking Verm as the skipper….!

    Yep something not firing for Chamakh – the dude just needs to buy a goal from somewhere….

    Good to get that first victory under the belt – Udinese are not a bad side… also good to see some of the young guys get some time this game was good experience for them.

  143. Gooner Exile says:

    Couple of thoughts from me and it’s bed for me:

    A) Defence solid, slightly worried by injuries but Traore can cover at LB, thought Jenkinson did well he is a proper Gooner. Love the fact he sent Bacary back to right back.

    B) I wondered in the second half if the plan was to counter attack, always difficult against Italian sides but we sat back deeper and did don’t over commit men forward which appears to be another lesson learned.

    C) Chamakh is a quandary, someone called him lazy but here are his stats from tonight’s:
    Distance covered – 11,050 metres (2nd highest for Arsenal); Passes – 28/39 (72%); Attempts – 1 (blocked)

    I’ll admit he appears to be running away from goal most of the time but can’t say he didn’t work hard. His pass stats aren’t bad considering he often receives ball back to goal with defenders all over him.

    D) Frimpong is a Beast

  144. RockyLives says:

    Ok, so it wasn’t pretty, but a win and a clean sheet should be good enough in Udine with RvP and, hopefully, Jack back in the team.

    The Chamakh conundrum is a tricky one. Well done GiE for finding those stats and giving some balance to the discussion. But whichever way you cut it, he did not offer much to team tonight.
    It was interesting for the goal that (a) we had two players attacking the 6-yard box for a change and (b) neither of them was our CF.

    Overall we had very little flow to our game and we looked like a group of players who have not played competitively together very much (which is the case).

    One thing does .trouble me – these young guys getting hamstring problems all the time. Don’t they stretch properly when they’re warming up?

  145. oz gunner says:

    Tough fought win in the end. Agree MC didn’t give us much of an outlet and i feel verm definently kept us in the game. Amero (sp?) was a handful down the our right. Injuries once again creating a problem, and no suprise really gibbs is one of those.

    I don’t see why MC doesn’t get sent back to the reserves to find some form. In australian rules football its seen as a wakeup call and a chance to find some touch. i think he just needs to bang in a couple of goals and he’ll be back. Does anyone think he is scared of the physicality? remember when he was firing for us he was getting hit from pillar to post by defenders, then he stopped putting himself in those positions. at the start of last season he seemed to have copped an errant head or elbow every game. Now he doesn’t get in there.

    Agree frimpong is a beast, are we sure denilson is on loan?or did frimpong just eat him?!

  146. barumgooner says:

    Morning all. Had to skyplus the game and watch it late. Not the best performance but Udinese did their bit and played really well. I thought the back 5 or 6 were excellent. Aaron and TR were both good in the middle just need to settle into their roles and Cham didn’t have a good night but i agree that he is a worker and i’m sure it will come good. He is imo a class player who gives his all for the team just needs a confidence boost. And yes Frimpong is a beast !!!!!

  147. chas says:

    I was pleased with 1-0 after that performance.

    Apparently Traore was injured (groin) playing for the reserves on Monday.
    On the bright side, Jenks looked very solid.

    Would Squiddly have been chosen as Djourou’s replacement if he’d been on the bench? TV looked a bit ring-rusty as a left back, which is understandable.

  148. WiganGooner says:

    Morning all,

    Is anyone writing a match report/already written one?

    I enjoyed last nights game. I thought there were plenty of positives that echo what has already been said;
    1) Defensively very solid.
    2) Controlled the midfield well
    3) Gervinho and Walcott terrorised Udinese with their pace all game, it was great to watch. Gerv is really, really quick.
    4) Jenkinson after a bit of a nervous start performed extremely well and I believe some folks need to eat their words after the criticism of their signing, he looked 100-times the player of Squillaci.
    5) Sczcesny looked unflappable and his drama save provided great shots for the press.

    To break the mould somewhat, I thought Chamakh did ok up front. I think his job was to pressurise the opposition defence and be a target for long balls and he did that ok. His work-rate again was exceptional. It was clear that Arsene wanted Gerv and Theo bombing past him onto flicks and passes and it didn’t really come off but I’m not convinced it was an awful performance. He was still tracking back and fighting in the 93rd minute and that is to be commended.


  149. London says:

    Morning all

    There are some really good mini match summeries up there with some very interesting views, I particularly liked Pat’s

  150. WiganGooner says:

    Also, totally enjoyed Frimpong’s performance. I thought he showed his quality and his battling with two fouls in 2 mins on the pitch but his work-rate, tackling and distribution (which has been questioned in the past) was spot-on last night.


  151. Gooner In Exile says:

    Oz Gunner: “Agree frimpong is a beast, are we sure denilson is on loan?or did frimpong just eat him?!”

    That may well be quote of the season already.

    Rocky unfortunately just warming up is not enough these days football has become so quick that players are trained like sprinters any little knock whilst at full pelt has the chance of upsetting the mechanic and causing damage. I hope they were just precautionary removals for tweaks, neither pulled up in excruciating pain.

    Also continuing to stick up for MC by not making the attacking run on goal he left space for Gerv and Theo to attack, however that would be ok if occasionally he ran at goal because eventually CBs will just ignore him and leave him to be picked up by midfielders. He is also practising Muslim and is fasting at the moment during daylight, that’s got to affect fitness/strength.

    Also Wenger said before the game he hoped for clean sheet and at least one goal. So he is happy this morning. Grinding out a win when not playing well isn’t that the stuff of champions?

    And he definitely reads AA he gave no press conference last night 😀

  152. Rasp says:

    Morning, sorry I cannot agree with the assessment of Chamakh. Name me any other team where the CF is not expected to present a threat on goal. Link up play is all well and good but a CF must have an end product.

    The point is that he is scared of getting into danger areas in case he might have to make an attempt on goal. He steers play away from the goal. His close control is not great either.

    I’m sure he is a better player than the one we are seeing at the moment but his general pattern of play is exactly what it was with his previous club, he is not a striker and it is a waste of that postiion to play him up front. I think Diaby would make a better striker than him.

  153. Rasp says:

    I know peaches lined someone up for a match report but can’t remember who. I shall be unavailable for most of the morning so if the victim could identify themselves, that would be good 🙂

  154. London says:

    Morning WG

    As the person who is usually the first to jettison his toys from the pram at any hint of an anti-Arsenal comment on here I find myself in the odd position of saying that I think your report is very generous.
    There is some merit in what you say that Chamakh worked hard as witnessed by his chasing back in the 93rd minute but it is no more than I would expect from a player of the lower part of the championship. Those kinds of players look busy but lack the necessary skills to play in the premier league.
    That said, I don’t expect us to attract another CF, after all who wants to sit on the bench for the best part of the season only getting a game when our captain RvP is out.
    No, we have to hope that Chamakh improves or Campbell breaks into the team.

  155. Big Raddy says:

    GIE 🙂

    A point that has not been emphasied enough (IMO) is how good Udinese were.They have some fine players and just mised a cutting edge. I thought Amero, Asamoah, Pinzi and Di Natale were top quality and would certainly get in our squad.

    We are in for a tough return.

    The injuries are a real worry. What is wrong with Diaby?

  156. London says:

    Operation on his ankle, expected back end of Sept earliest.

  157. Big Raddy says:

    London. Or that Theo gets the opportunity to play centrally.

  158. Big Raddy says:

    Thanks London. Could be a long recovery. Shame – this is a big season for him.

  159. London says:

    Personally I have more hope of Chamakh turning into Shearer than I have of Walcott being a success through the middle. Most teams that come to the Emirates sit back, purposely congesting the play, this negates Theo’s pace and as he doesn’t have the close control to compensate it renders him ineffectual.

    But hey, let’s give it a go and see.

  160. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Evening to u all.

    I see Arsenal are still getting kicked by all & sundry. Imagine the reaction from the press if Arsenal actually lost, or got scored against 😆

    If Spuds had have won 1-0 it would have been Glory Glory Tottenham Hotshit I bet 😆

    Siege mentality is just how I like it. Us against the rest, coz winning tastes all the more sweeter.

  161. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    I must say London, Chamakh couldn’t get a kick in a riot IMO

  162. evonne says:

    Morning all
    The transfer window is open for 2 more weeks. Until then I reserve my judgement. However, if Wenger doesn’t buy a CB and possibly a striker, I will stop defending him.
    It is lunacy to think we can win EPL with this team

  163. Big Raddy says:

    GG 🙂

  164. Rasp says:

    We have 2 weeks, we need at least 2, preferably 3 new players. Nasri will go to city. We will have the money, we should already have the targets lined up – all we need is the will.

  165. evonne says:

    Nasri + 20mil = Tevez in my books.

  166. WiganGooner says:


    If nothing comes forward on the match report would you like me to post the draft of my post until something comes forth I can do.



  167. WiganGooner says:


    Chamakh has proven that he can score goals in the Prem and in the Champions League. He is clearly off form and his confidence is shot and I do apportion some of the blame to Wenger for that.

    Dropped as soon as RvP became fit last season, I felt for Chamakh who kept up his end of the bargain at the start of the season.

    I suppose the old adage, form is temporary, class is permanent has never been more applicable than it is right now to Chamakh.


  168. Rasp says:

    Hi WG,

    Sorry, I’m snowed under at work today, thanks that would be great 😛

  169. WiganGooner says:

    No worries Mr Rasp, it’s edited and scheduled.

    I’ve got to pop out from work myself at about ten, but I’ll be back at lunch.


  170. London says:

    Fair enough WG

    I was refering to his performance last evening rather than at the beggining of last season. But, hey ho we both hope he improves.

  171. Big Raddy says:

    WG. Would you really take Chamah over Nik B? And Nik B is not good enough to be a regular first team player at Arsenal, is he?

  172. WiganGooner says:

    Hi BR,

    I think Chamakh’s work-rate is ten times that of Bendtner. Chamakh was forever slotting in and working for the team, I just can’t see Bendtner putting in that kind of a shift. Whilst I agree Bendtner is miles more confident than Chamakh and currently I think his form is better, it’s clear Arsene is concentrating on using the players he has for the season.

    Arsene still expects Bendtner to go, cup-tying him will serve for nothing except lessen the pool of clubs queuing up for his signature heheheh – I’m sure there are so many. 😀


  173. Rasp says:

    I respectfully disagree WG, Bendtner works hard but more importantly what he does is all geared to attacking the goal, not running away from it. Chamakh seems to have no shot in him. He can head the ball well but he cannot shoot – a basic requirement of a striker.

    Its ridiculous that RvP takes corners but it was shown yesterday that we don’t have any decent corner takers without him. We neeed a dead ball specialist.

  174. WiganGooner says:

    @ Rasp

    Fair do’s, we all have our opinions 😀

    Rosicky can take a decent corner, I don’t know why he doesn’t do it more. Theo didn’t do too bad last night, but we certainly could do with someone with a bit more craft at free-kicks and corners.

    -Off out in 5 mins

  175. Rasp says:

    New post …….

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