Arsenal Plough their way to Wembley……..

January 26, 2011

Before I speak of a match that had all gooners on the edge of the seats for far too long, I will just say what a great night it was for my boys, tonight my youngster Reece was one of 12 lucky Junior Gunners to form the Guard of Honour as the teams came on, my eldest Luke is a ball boy all season, so all round, how jealous, but proud, am I?

Back to the match, Arsène stated in his programme, he will select his strongest team available for each match, although he started with a reasonably strong team, I always worry when Cesc and Denilson start together as I feel they don’t gel well……

Nasri and Walcott were on the bench alongside Song, but red hot Robin was on the pitch, so Wenger was certainly taking Ipswich seriously.

Arsenal started with a good tempo and had some early chances, RVP turning and hitting a shot wide.  Cesc was bundled over and from where I was sitting, it looked a stone wall penalty, but the ref waved away the claims……It should have been a scrum down at least?

A scary moment occurred after about 15mins or so when Chez went up for a corner and went straight through Sagna,  Eboue was soon into the fray as his replacement……Hope Sagman is ok……

Throughout the game Cesc took quite a bit of stick, I’d be surprised if he can walk in the morning……Talking of stick the Tractor boys were giving our fans a right bashing and clearly out sung us in the first half, milking their moment as we struggled to get the goal to get us into this tie, when will our fans learn…?

Bendtner soon floated a delightful cross over and RVP smashed a header against the bar with the keeper Fulop well beaten…….Would we score or would it be a night to forget?

Then a ball over the top, into the path of the on running Cesc, through the defence, slanting his body and hitting across the keeper, but agonizingly wide again…..

For me we were trying too hard and not holding our nerve, to get the pass right, as we tried to force the play, Ipswich stood firm and resolute, hoofing the ball away.  We needed to expand our play, and try to create an opening, rather than thread it through a gap, tighter than Wengers wallet…

The boys were trying though and notably Little Jack was growing every minute and becoming more and more involved, perhaps because most of the Ipswich team were intent on marking Cesc, that was giving Jack a little too much room, which he exploited…….

Half time came, and then the 2nd half started the same, admittedly I was crying out for Nasri to come on and make a difference, but it was a sublime ball from little Jack on 60mins that got the break through, deep in his own half, he collected the ball, looked up and sprayed a ball right to forward left, as super Nik ran onto the ball cushioned it down, ran on and cut back inside the defender, before curling a lovely right footed shot into the far corner, cue eruption and fans singing……….

Moments later and Kosser headed in a beauty from a corner delivered from the left by Arshavin, 2-0 and the boys went wild, with all the subs part of a mass team hug……It was good to see a corner actually getting into the box, when was the last time that happened?

Ipswich started to wade through mud now, looking for a Tractor to pull them out as they noticeably tired….

The 3rd goal was started with a cracking intervention by Denilson, who stole in and took the ball off Edwards and played straight to Cesc, who run forward and played onto Arshavin, who ran at the defence, cut inside and just as you felt he would go for goal, he slipped it back outside to the in running Cesc as he came into the box who then slipped it through the keepers legs, game over………3-0.

Nasri and Walcott came on for Rockin Robin and Arshavin for the closing moments as Arsenal knocked the ball about and round a now down trodden Ipswich, who for 150mins had held the Arsenal at arms length………and kept the Arsenal fans too quiet for my liking………….

Player Ratings:

Szczesny: Little to do, but oozez confidence, which I think settles the defence at times. Error of judgement when he clattered Sagna, but he will learn as he goes…. 7

Sagna: Unfortunately, short outing……..gets a….7

Djourou: Much better display than at Portman Road, strong and tenacious, read the game well and pushed forward when he saw openings….7

Kosser: A very solid game, pushed forward well, got booked harshly..Great Goal…7.5

Clichy: I think his performances are getting better defensively week by week. Good going forward, only caught out once at the back that I noticed…..7

Denilson: Industrious and plugged away against the backdrop of moaning fans, admittedly I wouldnt have started with him, but he did ok and his interception set up the move for the 3rd crucial goal….7

Cesc: Kept the team pouring forward and closed down very quickly and worked very hard, not at his dazzling best and should probably scored in first half, but still instrumental and probably would have done more if kicked less.. Scored a great 3rd goal….7.5

Little Jack: Head and shoulders above everybody else on the pitch in my opinion, he grew as the game went on and ran the show in the 2nd half, his pass for the first goal was pure class.. It was going to be something special to get the break through. Only a goal was missing from his night….8.5***MoM

Bendtner: Another player who gets the moans and groans from most fans, but worked tirelessly and made things happen, won most of his duels in the air. His goal was sublime…….8

RvP: A continual handful, who tried to get the break through and his endeavour really pushes us on. Hit the woodwork in the first half and had another couple of chances…..7

Arshavin: Kept going and had two assists on the night, better, keep going little fella, we all love you really, just we know there is so much more in your locker……..7

Subs:

Eboue: Solid and kept attacking, still throws himself around too much for me, but a great squad player for me….7

Nasri and Walcott had too little time to comment.

Overall:

After 150mins, the Tractor choked , spluttered and the Gunners blew them away with 2 quick goals, a third near the end ensured no slip ups. Wembley here we come at last……..

Wengers young team, will now take on West Ham or Birmingham as they try to win some silverware after 5 long years, so in the competition that Wenger has bloodied his young boys in over the last few years, might just be the one that breaks the Hoodoo that hangs over us, lets pray, 27th Feb will be our day.

One final note, fair play to Ipswich, you did yourselves proud with your efforts….

Written by Harry


Why did the best team lose? …… answers on a postcard please

January 13, 2011

Once again this Arsenal team have torn up the form book and dumbfounded everyone with their ability to be as mediocre and ineffectual in one game as they can be brilliant and inspirational in another. This was demonstrated in the space of one game in the two contrasting halves against sp**s – but why are we the Jekyll and Hyde of the Premiership?

Two disappointing cup games in the space of  five days against teams that, cup games or not, surely we should beat handsomely. Last night’s away tie against a struggling Ipswich served up an even worse 90 minutes of football than Saturdays’ against Leeds and having started the game with more or less our strongest side it’s impossible to understand why.

After a really dire first 45 minutes in which we created two attempts on goal compared to their seven you would have thought AW would have sent them out second half with rockets up ’em. Unfortunately the rockets didn’t appear until Ipswich had got hold of the umpteenth ball over the top and scored a very nice little goal for themselves in the 78th minute. Eboue was missing again leaving Priskin only Kos and Djourou to beat.

There had been numerous warnings of the ball over the top and clearly Eboue didn’t feel it was his responsibilty as he was caught too far up field each time. He had a stinker and its a real worry that he’s our only right-back cover. He’ll be required to play against West Ham on Saturday and also with Sagna’s suspension, will play the first leg against Barcelona in the Champions League.

With Cesc and Jack starting in mid-field the game plan had to be to score a few and then rest some players, obviously Arsene decided to try it my way for this game and start with a strong side.  I’ve been championing that idea for a couple of months now – every time we’ve played a weakened team in fact – now I’m sorry I interferred, these players have now taken part in a demoralising 90 minutes and who’s to say what the knock on effect will be.

A front three of Arshavin, Nikki and Theo should be able to tear apart any defense but with Arshavin not really in the game, Nikki just not good enough and Theo seeming to be trying too hard there was little creativity and Ipswich concentrated and defended very well. I thought they would tire and we’d lauch an all out attack in the last 15 minutes so how bizarre for them to score in the last quarter.

The Theo van Nasregas formation that was stunningly creative against the Man City dustbins obviously needs all four of the parts to be on the pitch to have any effect. This team just wasn’t balanced – Arshavin doesn’t work hard enough to give Cesc the outlets he needs to spray the passes around. Saying that, Cesc was also not at his game and hardly stamped any authority on the mid-field.

It has to be said that while Chesney did appear to be a little flakey – appearing to handle the ball outside of his area and coming off his line in a rather dodgy fashion – Koscielny and Djourou are growing in confidence as a centre-back partnership. Gibbs was strong and worked tirelessly up and down his wing.

At least the flurry of activity in the last 10 minutes made the stats more respectable – 59% possession with 9 shots on target to their 7. There can be no excuses, although Ipswich defended very well they didn’t park the  bus as evidence of their shots on target shows, so what’s up with our young team? Let’s hope Arsene has an answer and knows how to correct it as we have a rush of games now that we need to win to keep us in contention for the cup competitions and the title.

Will the consolation of beating them in the second tie and winning the Carling Cup be enough to bury these feelings of embarrassment – probably, do they want it badly enough – who knows?

If anyone wants to add some player ratings I’ll attach them to the end of the post.

Written by peachesgooner


Connor Wickham: Will he be a Heskey or a Drogba?

January 12, 2011

Written by Big Raddy

Can you feel the tension? Are you moist with excitement? Breathlessly fearful of the possibility of defeat? Come on …. it is Semi-Final day.

These days do not come along as often as they used to – I recall getting Wembley fatigue followed by even worse Cardiff fatigue, but now a Semi-Final is an unusual event. Am I excited? …… mildly. Yes, I want us to win tonight, and yes, I want us to silence the bleating from the media and glory-hunters, but if we do lift this trophy we will hear a chorus of “it is only the Carling/League/Milk Cup”, and if I am honest, if Sp*rs won it, I would say the same.

But a trophy is a trophy and apart from the Emirates Cup we have been through a few lean years. So let’s start the ball rolling with a rousing victory this evening.

We couldn’t have wished for better opponents; a team lying 19th in the Championship, rudderless, having just removed the odious Roy Keane and leaking goals a plenty, Ipswich could be forgiven for concentrating upon league survival and letting this game go. But roared on by a full house of frozen East Anglian’s they will be trying to impress their new manager and give themselves a chance at the Grove.

One Ipswich player I am really looking forward to seeing is Connor Wickham, a young man who has been attracting Premiership attention. I watched him playing for England youth alongside Benik Afobe and he looks a fine player. Huge for his age (or any age!), skillful, pacy and good in the air, Wickham could well be the first choice England striker of the future. Right now though, he is more Bendtner than Eto’o.

It is a puzzle who will start tonight. Squillaci is out meaning a JD and Koscielny centreback pairing. Let us hope nothing happens to either of them! With hindsight it would have been wise to curtail Kyle Bartley’s loan spell at Sheffield; having watched him at the weekend, he appears to have all the attributes necessary for an Arsenal CB; big, strong, comfortable on the ball and what is more, a natural leader. Bartley would certainly have played tonight.

Who would have imagined at the start of the season that we would miss Wilshere in midfield? Yet his absence was felt against Leeds and young Jack has quickly established himself as an integral cog in our team, he is a shoe-in for Young Player of the Year. I hope he starts as our attacking MF tonight allowing him to show his natural offensive flair.

My team;

Bench: Fabianski  Cesc  Miquel  Bendtner  Ramsey  Clichy  Walcott

I don’t know how many of you have been to Ipswich, but the ground is a classic, cosy English League stadium, a fine atmosphere will be generated, not least by the travelling Gooners who have been exceptional this season.

I expect us to make it difficult and leave with a one goal victory, setting up a 4 goal hammering for Paul Jewell’s men at the Grove

COYRRG


A Cup Final Beckons ………….

December 1, 2010

Written by 26may1989

The important bit is that we are through to the League Cup semi-finals and now stand as favourites – it’s no longer a case of a good opportunity to win the trophy, it will now rank as a significant disappointment if we don’t lift the League Cup in March.

As for the quarter-final game against Wigan last night, that can be summarised in a few words: cold, one-sided and cold.

We faced very accommodating opponents, who never seriously got their game going and made life pretty easy for us. It helped that some of their best players, Rodallega, N’Zogbia, Gomez and Diame, weren’t in the starting line-up, and they included players from their ranks like Victor Moses and Ben Watson. In fact, both of those two didn’t do too badly, and Moses was unlucky to suffer a dislocated shoulder in the first half, prompting his replacement by Charles Insomnia, as the very classy Joe Kinnear once described his own player. But overall Wigan were poor on the night, and only had two meaningful attempts at goal all night, one of those coming in second half injury time.

As for our lot, as Wenger promised, a young but experienced side was fielded. Other than van Persie’s inclusion to assist in his recovery from injury, this was a genuine second string side. Wilshere and Koscielny could argue that they are first choice players at the moment, but none of the other starters could argue the same. That is not to downplay the ability of our starting side: the only starter who wasn’t a full international was Koscielny, but these were our back-up players. The formation was interesting, with three would-be strikers (van Persie, Walcott and Vela) playing in the AM roles behind Bendtner. In fact, it played more like a 4-1-4-1 (with Wilshere pushed up) than our usual 4-2-3-1, and with Wigan in such a passive mood, that made sense.

The performance was ok, nothing special, but more than sufficient to get the required result and provide a bit of entertainment along the way. It could easily have been 3, 4 or 5-0, especially given the various one-on-one chances that were missed. Vela was surprisingly culpable – he may not have convinced us that he will make the grade, and there is every chance he will be playing for a new side within a year, but one thing he has always done well is convert efficiently and stylishly when clear on goal. Not last night though. Van Persie carved open the Wigan defence with back heel passes to Vela, not once but twice, but the chances, along with a couple of others, were still missed.

Wilshere had an excellent game, as did the now convincing Johan Djourou, who won just about every header he went for, intercepted well and passed unfussily; he must now be ahead of Koscielny in the CB stakes.  That said, the Frenchman had a decent game as well, including some bursting runs forward.  Gibbs looked jittery at first but settled in and ended up having a good game. Szczesny didn’t have a lot to do but what there was he did well, including one very smart save in the first half. Vela, Bendtner and Walcott had typically mixed performances, but at least they got into good positions, and Walcott’s deliveries from corners were especially good, one of which led to our first goal, when the ball bounced off Wigan defender, Alcaraz, and flew into the net. Vela also got an assist on the evening, sending the ball across from the left wing midway through the second half for Nic Bendtner to bundle the ball home.

Van Persie’s performance was also uneven but overall seemed to be getting more into the groove of things, and clearly suited playing in the AM line well. Looks like it will be a few more games before he can really start hitting decent form though. Nasri and Eastmond came on around the 70 minute mark, and were ok, Nasri expertly rounding the keeper but then missing another of the one-on-one chances we had.

On the negative side, Denilson (a player I generally like) had a dreadful game, making mistake after mistake and giving up possession way too often. In a higher pressure game, that would have cost us. Eboué also played badly, though he is at least coming back from injury. I was annoyed at waiting until the 83rd minute before Jay Emmanuel-Thomas was brought on – how is he meant to prove himself with so few minutes on the pitch, especially when he played most of those few minutes as striker, which is not his best position?

Ratings:

Szczesny 7

Eboué 4

Djourou 8

Koscielny 7

Gibbs 7

Denilson 4

Wilshere 8 (Eastmond 6)

Walcott 6

van Persie 6 (Nasri 6)

Vela 6

Bendtner 6 (Emmanuel-Thomas n/a)

A word about the weather: did I mention it was bloody cold last night? It wasn’t an evening for anyone to enjoy playing football, so some of the disjointed and low-key performances on both sides can perhaps be forgiven a little. The fact there were players from countries like Saudi Arabia, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Brazil and Honduras on the pitch and in the occasional blizzards underlines the point. But the conditions also made it tough to be a spectator yesterday, so a bit of entertainment was essential. Some of that came from younger members of our own number, with three or four making it onto the pitch late in the game for a pretty tame (the less kind would say lame) pitch invasion. Luckily, our own Captain Marvell, the Reverend Emmanuel Eboué, was on hand to do his peace broker bit and save some running for clearly unenthusiastic stewards, who were expected to charge around to quell the high-jinks. I just hope the club isn’t so humourless as to ban the kids in question, who clearly had a great time doing mock goal celebrations in front of the North Bank.

So, all in all, the performance was fine. Obviously it didn’t match what our friends in East London managed against a strong United side (got to love that), but we go into the League Cup semis confidently and with the real prospect of picking up the trophy in March.


Up for the Cup

November 30, 2010

Tonight we have a chance to improve our ailing home record against Wigan. It may only be the Carling Cup and I for one believe we shouldn’t be bothering but 3 wins and we have a trophy on the Shelf.

Wigan were just the type of team we were looking to draw to draw for this round – they are in poor form and play open football. With what is surely a relegation threatened season ahead of Wigan perhaps Martinez will play a weakened team thinking the CC is unlikely to be won and is a hindrance to his plans. I like Wigan and wish both Martinez (who is just the type of young manager the PL needs) good fortune, but not this evening.

Mr Wenger has already shown he is serious about the Carling this season. He will continue to make wholesale changes but with our depth of squad can afford to do so with confidence.

I expect the following:

Chesney

Hoyte  Nordveldt JD Gibbs

Nasri  Eastmond  Denilson  TR

Walcott  Bendtner

We need to give Sagna a rest and with the injury to Eboue could play Hoyte (if he isn’t on loan). Thankfully Sagna is one of our strongest players and never appears to run out of steam, so perhaps he will start.

A semi-final awaits the winners of this tie and I am fully confident of a win, but the again, I was confident this time last week prior to losing in Braga who are a much poorer team than Wigan.  Tonight we will see a reversal of that result and hopefully more.

COYRRG


Wenger’s U-Turn? Do Me A Favour (and Player Ratings)

October 28, 2010

So, according to the newspapers, this was the game where Arsène Wenger would show his desperation for silverware by fielding a significant contingent of his first team against the Barcodes.

It was a U-Turn they said, a departure from his tried and tested policy of playing kids in the Mickey Mouse Cup. An admission of defeat. Caving in to his critics. Going against his principles.

What utter rubbish. What putrid balderdash.

By my reckoning NONE of last night’s starting eleven would feature in Arsenal’s first team if our squad was fully fit.

Last night’s team:

Our ideal first team (if the treatment tables are empty):

So the idea that Wenger was lacing his Carling Cup team with first-choicers is plain wrong. Not that you can really blame the media. After all, Arsene himself said he was taking the CC more seriously than before.

But I think that was just mind games. It was his way of saying to the players who started for us that he didn’t think of them as second stringers – he saw them as part of a large Arsenal first team squad from whom he expected great things this year.

The average age of our starting line-up was just 23 (and that’s with a 30-year-old Tomas Rosicky bumping up the average). Admittedly only one of the eleven (Eastmond) came from the reserves squad, but it was still a very long way from our strongest starting team.

And so to the game.

It was a lively match, which we bossed from beginning to end. By my reckoning there were five attempts on goal in the first two minutes (including one for them).

Truth to tell we should have been two or three up by half time (indecision and poor shooting by Bendtner and Vela being the main reasons for our blank), but a comedy effort from Newcastle sent us in to the break a goal to the good. Eastmond managed to get a header on target from inside the six yard box, the Toon defender made a hash of it on the line and the ball ended up being Fabianskied into the Newcastle net off the back of the keeper’s head.  You’d need a heart of stone not to have cried laughing at that one.

We had shown some lapses in concentration in the first half and, as you would expect, lacked the fluidity of our normal play, but overall we were doing pretty well and always looked threatening when we attacked.

In the second half the Toon made a concerted effort to get back into it but, despite some wobbly moments, our defence held firm. Koscielny was always there to pick up the pieces and Djourou made some vital interceptions and tackles (but was also muscled off the ball a little too easily on occasion).

When we broke away and scored the second (a calm finish from Theo) you sensed there was no way back for Newcastle, even after they threw on Carroll, Barton and Gutierrez.

The hard working Nicklas Bendtner added a third with a positively Bergkampesque finish, a peach of shot from the inside left position, and Theo sealed the win with his second goal late on.

All in all a job very well done against an admittedly weakened Newcastle side who were, nevertheless, good enough to put the Chavs out in the last round.

Ratings

Szczesny: He’s talked the talk and now he’s starting to walk the walk. One misjudged charge out of his area early on could have ended up embarrassing him. But there were at least two top class saves and a general sense of competence. I also liked his quick distribution, which reminded me of Lehmann. 7

Eboue: Started at right back, shifted to left after Gibbs went off. Some good defensive play. Some excellent attacking runs with the ball. Some falling-over-when-hardly-touched. Some getting into great positions and choosing the wrong option. In other words, a vintage Eboue performance. 6

Koscielny: Hardly put a foot wrong. Was always there to break up the Newcastle attacks and made countless great tackles. MoTM 8

Djourou: The critics are too harsh on this lad. He was out for a year with injury and is finding his way back. He made several mistakes which would have been costly had Kozzer not been there sweeping up behind him, but at other times he showed great skill and determination. He has to learn that, as a defender, it’s no good going to ground and hoping the ref gives you a free kick, because if he doesn’t your whole back line is undermined. 6.5

Gibbs: Looked to be really in the groove, both offensively and defensively, before yet another unlucky injury saw him have to go off. Someone please send him a black cat with a horseshoe round its neck and a rabbit’s foot tied to its tail. 6.5

Sagna: Came on for Gibbs and went to right back. Typical Bacary performance – defensively strong, some good attacking runs and some overhit crosses. 7

Eastmond: A good effort from the lad. Puts himself about and is always available for the ball. Lost possession with some casual passes but it’s part of the learning curve. Is he a Gooner legend of the future? Hard to tell, but he’s worth persevering with. 6

Denilson:  I’ve been critical of Den in the past but last night he was the metronome in our midfield. I thought he had an excellent game, both covering our back four and being progressive.  He seems finally to be dealing with the concentration issues which affected him last season. His pass completion rate is excellent. If he carries on playing like this he will be hard to leave out. 7.5

Rosicky: Every time he starts a game we win handsomely. He was a bit less effective than I would have expected tonight, but his intelligence and composure were crucial to our overall play. 7

Walcott: Two goals, always a threat, this boy’s in form. Something has switched on in his brain, because he now exudes a maturity that wasn’t there before. His body language is different from a year ago and he has the potential to have a memorable season for us. 7.5

Bendtner: Stunning finish for third goal. Always looking for the ball and always direct but, in typical fashion, his touch and finishing let him down once or twice. What’s great about our Striking Viking is that he will never hide, shirk or give up the ghost. 7.5

Vela: A really bad night for Carlos. I want him to succeed, but something is not quite right with our young Mexican. Right now, his Arsenal career is not heading for a happy ending. His touch, finishing and decision-making were all off. 5

Subs:

Sagna (see above); Fabregas 7; Emmanuel-Thomas 6.

RockyLives


A Striking Viking to Nik it.

October 27, 2010

Mr Wenger faces a dilemna tonight; does he keep his promise and target all 4 trophies or does he play the kids knowing there are more important games to come?

I believe the CC is a waste of time for the top teams, a number of games with the potential for injuries and a meaningless trophy at the end of it. I acknowledge  the need for silverware as does Mr. Wenger but the Carling Cup ranks lower than the Youth Cups in my opinion and we shouldn’t be bothering. Does anyone mention the winner’s after the day? No, only the fans of that particular club and they are embarrassed – without checking do you know who played in the Final last season?  The Final isn’t even shown on European TV.

But …… it does allow the fans to sing “We are on our way to Wembley” etc and Silverware is needed at the Emirates as proof that this team is maturing and capable of winning a trophy. We are on a roll (if 3 games can be considered a roll) and would like it to continue.

Newcastle away was as poor a draw as we could have got. A long trip up to the Frozen North, a rabid crowd expecting their team to knock over the fancy-dans from Down South, and a team who are in good form at present with some big units throughout the side (though the brutal Barton is diminuitive). If we play the kids (knowing that the best of them are out on loan) we could get hammered, but do we want to see Fabregas get a kicking from Barton ahead of WHU and Shaktar next week? Be honest  –  if we win both of those games who cares about tonight?  WHU is  a vital 3 points with our rivals having tough fixtures, and 3 points in Donetsk guarantees our place in the Final 16 allowing AW to play a reserve team for the remaining CL games.

We must play Chesney, he needs to feel part of the future. Should he not play AW can hardly expect anything else than a rejected contract offer at the end of the season.

My team:

The Vikings attacked and settled in Newcastle (Monkchester at the time) for a few hundred years. As a student of Danish I can tell you that many Geordie words derive from Danish. Mr Bendtner will feel completely at home; expect him and Arsenal to conquer the Geordie’s once more.

COYRRG

p.s. Sorry about the dreadful title ….


Arsène outwits ‘Arry – written by London

September 23, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by London, pictures by Rasp


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

September 22, 2010

Written by Irishgunner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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