Morning all. What's crackin? Not a whole lot of news to go over today regarding Arsenal, except that Gareth Barry reportedly really wants to come to Arsenal. So nothing we haven't heard before. Would you rather have Gareth Barry or Xabi Alonso? That's a tough question. I'd certainly take either but I do wonder who most of you would take if you could pick one.
So yesterday I asked you all to fill out a survey about the 08/09 season for Arsenal, and the responses were really interesting to me. So today I think I'll just go over the survey results and talk about what they mean for Arsenal.
The first question was simply, how do you feel about the season as a whole, and 40.9% of responders said they were disappointed, probably online betting people. 27% said it was acceptable, while 18% said it was neither acceptable nor disappointing. So very few people were REALLY happy with this season and not many were VERY disheartened either. I'd say that's probably a pretty accurate reflection of all of the Arsenal fan base. While there were some positives, like reaching the semi-final of the Champions League and the FA Cup, winning zero trophies yet again makes it disappointing for me.
The next question was about the player of the season, and this one really surprised me! With 31.8% of the vote, Robin van Persie was selected as Arsenal's player of the season over Andrey Arshavin and Manuel Almunia, who placed second and third. I may get bashed for this one but I think Robin van Persie gets a lot more credit than he deserves. He's a great player no doubt but if you're never fit than how useful are you really? He did a better job of staying healthy this year but if I'm asked for my personal player of the season I'm taking Almunia or Alex Song, who I thought really made a breakthrough.
A whopping 95.5% of responders said that Arsenal need to strengthen the squad before next season, so no debate there really.
50% of fans said we weren't too far off from Champions Manchester United, while 40% said there is a noticeable gap between us and the league winners. I think when you look at the squads as a whole, the gap is possibly wider than it appears. When you look at our bench on most league games, you see players like Eboue, Diaby, etc while on United's you see Tevez, Berbatov, Giggs, Nani, and others that I think are better players. Our first eleven can play with anybody, but I think we lose out in squad depth.
For the question asking which position needed strengthening the most, unsurprisingly the top answers were center back and defensive midfield. I think everyone agrees with that. Even with Song's emmergence, we could still use an experienced player like we got with Arshavin that could really lock down our midfield.
82% of fans say that Cesc Fabregas is our most important player, and he damn well is. He's our Xavi and Iniesta all rolled into one, and when he's gone our team isn't half as good as it is with him.
A really interesting one asked if it was more important to play beautiful football or to win trophies, and amazingly, the vote was split 50-50. I have a follow up question for those of you who said beatiful football is more important. Are you saying that you would rather Arsenal always be able to play good football and not ever win another trophy? Personally, I'd rather have the trophies. Arsenal used to be a 1-0 team forever but winning still felt nice.
100% of fans said that Arsene Wenger is the right man to take Arsenal forward as manager. That's right, 100%. So that should put that debate to bed. In Arsene We Trust, that's right.
So the survey did provide some interesting results, and I think most of them really showed that Arsenal fans have very similar opinions about most subjects regarding the club. We still have faith in our manager, and we know where are main weaknesses are, so let's get them fixed. Come on Arsene, if Barry wants to come, then let's bring him in.
If you have any thoughts, share them. If not, thanks for reading. Cheers.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Morning all. What's crackin? Not a whole lot of news to go over today regarding Arsenal, except that Gareth Barry reportedly really wants to come to Arsenal. So nothing we haven't heard before. Would you rather have Gareth Barry or Xabi Alonso? That's a tough question. I'd certainly take either but I do wonder who most of you would take if you could pick one.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Good morning all. What did you think of the Champions League Final? If I had to guess I'd say you probably all enjoyed it immensely, getting to watch the red cunts from the north crying and getting crushed by a team that resembles a better version of our team. We tried to play that exact same game that Barcelona played, but there are just a few differences. Denilson is not Andres Iniesta, Theo Walcott is not Leo Messi, and Adebayor is not Samuel Eto'o. So as we get those slight problems worked out, we'll be as good as them! Really though, watching that Barca team is fantastic. Iniesta was man of the match for me. He was pressuring United all over the field and his dribbling and movement was astounding. Of course Messi was scary as shite every time he touched the ball, but that's just a given now. He's amazing. I was really hoping Thierry would score, and I loved when he skinned Rio Ferdinand and Rio ended up on his arse and Thierry got in a shot, but it wasn't to be. At least he finally got the medal he deserves though. I love TH14, and if it couldn't be Arsenal winning the trophy, then I think Barca deserves it more than any other team, for the way they play, the players they have, and the way they have dominated everyone this season.
Right, on to Arsenal then. It appears we're going to have two new signings, but don't get your hopes up because they are both 15 years old. Jamie Edge, from Cheltenham Town, has had a fee agreed on by the two clubs and just has to agree to personal terms. The other player is Martin Angha or FC Zurich. Edge is a midfielder and Angha is a defender. That's pretty much all I know about either of them.
This does tell us a lot more about Arsenal though. We have previously discussed which trophies Wenger prioritizes, but now we know the answer to that undoubtedly is the FA Youth Cup. We won it this year, and now he's restocking the team to make another run at it. No wonder we haven't been making many first team signings, it's because what really matters at the club is whether or not our 16 year olds can win trophies next year. Now I see the project finally coming to fruition, all this time I thought we were trying to get things like the Champions League and the FA Cup, but really it's about holding onto the Youth Cup. Everything is clear to me now. It's also being reported that we're after 16 year old Dutch youngster Luc Castagoines. We're really going to make a run at that trophy next year!
Robin van Persie has been looking to sign a new contract but says that right now there is "nothing to report." He still has 2 years left on his current deal but with the way players can leave on Webster's and Bosman's and all of that you can never have long enough contracts. Hopefully they get this one done pretty soon because we all know what an important player RvP is for Arsenal when he's healthy, which unfortunately is not enough.
And last but certainly not least today is Theo Walcott being called up for the Under-21 Championships this summer. A lot of people seem to be making a fuss about it, saying he will be tired from not having a summer break, but I'm not buying it. He's only 20, it can't be anything but good for him to play more. I hope Theo has a great time and while I'm not from England I'll be rooting for them to do well because of Theo.
That's about it for today. Hopefully there will be more news soon enough, because the last week or so has been dreadful for Arsenal news. Cheers.
I've also made a survey to poll responses from all of you Gooners to reflect back on this season. It's only 10 questions and takes all of 3 minutes, so please leave your input. It will be much appreciated. Thanks. Click Here to take the survey.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Don't have a lot of time for a post this morning, but it is the last day of the season and I wanted to wish Arsenal good luck and Hull and Newcastle terrible luck. I really hope you cunts get relegated, because I hate you so very, very, much. As for Arsenal, I just want to see a good fun game, with no injuries, and hopefully a couple goals for us. I have a really funny story to tell you all tomorrow, but for today, just hope that the Geordie cunts go down. Cheers.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Gooood morning everyone. It's pouring for like the 10th day straight here in what is supposed to be sunny Florida. Shite is insane in the membrane. I do have some good news though. I got an email this morning telling me that the ArseNole.com domain was expiring in July, so I went and renewed it for another year, so I can at least guarantee you pretty average Arsenal coverage until July 22nd, 2010. How exciting is that? I think this summer will be a big one for the site. I'm thinking of changing some things up, adding some fun new stuff, getting a lot more and a lot better podcasts done, and maybe more. I'm calling it "taking it to the next level." I know, it's a really new and original name. So look forward to that.
So tomorrow is the last day of the Premier League season, and a pretty meaningless one for Arsenal. We play Stoke, and while it doesn't really matter and the grand scheme of anything at all, you always want to go out with a win. Fabianski will start in goal, while Samir Nasri and Emmanuel Adebayor will both miss out. Nasri has an injury, and Adebayor, well you can have your suspicions about why he is out again.
The more exciting matches take place for the teams at the bottom of the table, though, where Hull, Sunderland, and Newcastle could each be relegated on the last day of the season. Hull have a tough match against Manchester United, who even with a weakened side should be able to handle business against them. Aston Villa host Newcastle, who with a win will pretty much be safe, but Villa are tough even though they've been on a terrible run of form. Sunderland are pretty much safe, as they'd need both Newcastle and Hull to win to be worried, but they host Chelsea, so I'm expecting no better than a draw for them.
Who do you think will be going down? Obviously West Brom and Middlesbrough are doomed, but out of those three who do you think? I really hope it's Newcastle. I can't stand their fans who think they deserve to be in the Champions League just because they THINK they are a big club. I'd be bummed a bit to see Sunderland go down, as Newcastle and Hull are just filled with cunts and deserve to go down much more. Should be exciting though on Sunday.
So the FA Youth Cup first leg was yesterday, and Arsenal beat Liverpool 4-1 at home. Gilles Sunu, Jack Wilshere, Sanchez Watt, and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas all scored. So we take a hefty lead up to Anfield and I really want to thank the 33,000 Arsenal fans that came out to the Emirates to support the younglings. May 26th is the second leg, and it should be good entertainment with Liverpool needing to win by three goals at least.
The last bit of news for the day, which I personally am really excited about, is yesterday I got my tickets to AC Milan vs Club America in Atlanta July 22nd. I haven't even been able to see Kaka or Ronaldinho or Pato live and in person so it's really exciting. I'm going with my brother and we'll be painting our faces red and black. So that'll be fun.
If I don't get time for a match report tomorrow, enjoy the day full of matches, some much more important than others. Personally I'll be watching the Newcastle match, so sue me. Cheers all.
Song for the day, Rancid's "Last One to Die.":
Friday, May 22, 2009
Hello everybody and welcome to this fascinating discussion of Arsenal's new away kit for the 2009/2010 season. I am writing about away kits simply for the fact that I don't want to talk about transfers yet, which is all the newspapers are talking about already. So you're stuck with away kits today. Deal with it.
So if you haven't seen it yet, this is the picture of the new Arsenal away kit for the 09/10 season:
My first reaction is, wow, that new kit is complete shite. My second reaction is, wow that new kit is complete shite. After giving it some intense thought, I have decided the reasons that I hate the new kit. First of all, I don't want pinstripes on any Arsenal kit. It's just not Arsenal and it's a bad move. Second of all, dark blue shirt with dark blue shorts with dark blue socks is never a good fashion statement. I actually kind of liked the old blue away kits but this one to me is just awful. I'm ok with football kits trying to look retro with the collar and stuff, so that's not an issue with me, but this one is just plain boring. Even Theo looks bored to have to be wearing it.
If you take a look at the away kits over the years, I'd say this has to be right up there with the worst ones. Here's a few to compare it to. Tell me if you think it's better or worse.
The infamous 07/08 white kit. It actually sold really well, even though 90% of Arsenal fans criticized it. I'll admit that I too have one, with Toure on the back. Why is this one so awful? Simple. Sp*rs play in white. Also, if you get it dirty it doesn't wash very well. Still better than the new blue one though.
The old blue kit that I liked much better than the new one. The yellow lines down the side gave it some pizazz and it just looked a lot better with the crest in the middle I think. The color was brighter too which made it more lively. Plus we were a much better team back then...
The yellow from this past year I thought was actually kind of nice, although it definitely had to grow on me. When it first came out I didn't like the yellow they had chosen but now it's one of my favorite kits to wear, especially because mine has Fabregas on it.
Alright that's about enough on the away kits, although I do think it is ridiculous that Arsenal now comes out with a new away kit every single year. I'm sick of buying them all frankly, but as a loyal supporter, I do as I must.
The first leg of the FA Youth Cup takes place today between the Arsenal young guns and the Liverpool young cunts. The first leg is at home and it's something we haven't won since 2001. It'll be a good look at the youngsters like Jack Wilshere, Coquelin, Sunu, Frimpong, and Emmanuel-Thomas. I'm really looking forward to this match a lot more than I'm looking forward to the Stoke match Sunday. It's on at 3 pm EST so if you're in England, go support them, and if you're not, at least watch the match. You can find links to watch the match here. If you don't get to see it, I'll be tweeting about the match, so follow me on twitter.
That's about all I've got today. Let me know what you think about the new kit, and if you want to talk about the Youth Cup then I'll talk about that as well. Or even if you want to look ahead to the Stoke match we can talk about that. Have a good one everyone. Cheers.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Morning all. Lack of any trophies to play for and lack of any real news has caused a severe lack of motivation for me to write blogs lately, but I figured I need to get back to it, so I'm here today. It's been raining here for 5 days straight. This is Florida, it's supposed to be sunny. It pretty much sucks. "I'm staying here. "If that changes I will let you know, but don't worry about that. It's not an issue."
The main topic of news the last few weeks has been about Arsene Wenger possibly taking up the manager position at Real Madrid, who have always wanted him and never gotten him. Well Wenger has again put the speculation to bed, saying he's staying at Arsenal.
To me, it was never in doubt that he would stay. Out of all the times he's been linked with another job, he's always been loyal and stayed, and I didn't really think it would be any different this time. Real Madrid wouldn't give him the control he wanted and they certainly would not allow to stay manager if he went four years without a trophy there. It's not the right job for him. It's just the press fiending for stories while there aren't any. So Wenger will be here, don't you all worry about that.
The other big stories this week have revolved around Emmanuel Adebayor, and whether or not he'll be sold in the summer. If you've read the blog for a while (and my thanks to those of you who have and are still here) then you know that I've almost ALWAYS backed Adebayor, even while 90% of Arsenal fans were bashing his head in with a mallet. However, I DO think he will be sold this summer. I don't think it's right the way he's been treated this year by the fans though. This is a guy who scored 30 goals for us last year almost by himself while RvP and Eduardo for out for large portions of the season, yet when he doesn't repeat the feat every year he gets blasted. The guy is a good striker that his given a lot to this club. No, he's not my favorite player but I do think he at least deserves some respect from fans for what he has done for us. Unfortunately I do think Arsenal will cut ties with him if they receieve a decent bid from AC Milan or Inter. Hopefully we use that money to buy a center back...
So the end of the season is almost here, which means transfer speculation will start with a rush. All I want for Christmas though is a center back and a central midfielder. I also wouldn't mind if Diaby was sold. I'll really get in depth with the transfer previews after the Stoke match. Look for a two part transfer preview starting next Monday, including potential targets, speculation, and all of that good stuff.
On a side note today completely not about Arsenal, please boycott Soulja Boy's music, because he is the worst thing to happen to music since Kanye West. Thanks for destroying rap music you two.
That's all I've got for today. I'll try to get something up tomorrow. So until then.
"I'm staying here.
"If that changes I will let you know, but don't worry about that. It's not an issue."
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
In this podcast, I talk about the Semi-Final exits in the Champions League and the FA Cup to United and Chelsea, along with the team selection for those matches. I go over what could possibly be upcoming in the transfer window, and talk about Kolo Toure's new contract, Stan Kroenke's eventual takeover of Arsenal, and more. Let me know what you think of it because I need feedback. Try to get better each time, ya know? Cheers
You can listen to the podcast here or download the podcast here, or you can subscribe in iTunes by clicking here. Or you can even just listen to it right here in your browser by clicking play below.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Morning everyone. I could definitely use some coffee. Hang on I'm going to go make some. Alright, got that going now. On to Arsenal. Arsenal have been a bit puzzling lately to me. We'll start with two weeks ago at Manchester United in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final. The lineup we sent out onto the pitch that night was one that none of us would have picked in a million years. Putting Nasri in the center wastes his skill that he has the chance to use out in the wide spots, putting Cesc as a support striker wastes his ability to pick out a brilliant pass, and Diaby is just a waste period. United ran us into the ground with a lineup clearly designed to defend, and only some brilliant work from Manuel Almunia kept us in the tie. Yet we all know what happened in the second leg. In between those though, we played Portsmouth away in the league. With what you'd probably consider a "reserve lineup" with all eyes on the second leg against United, we wiped the floor with them 3-0. I know it was only Portsmouth but when you see how well players like Vela and Bendtner played, it makes you wonder why on earth they didn't get a chance against United. You can't tell me that Vela doesn't bring more to the team than Diaby does, and you can't tell me that Adebayor (even though I still do support him, mind you) is in better form than Nicklas Bendtner right now.
In the second leg, Kieran Gibbs made a crucial error at the beginning of the match that allowed United to score. I don't blame him at all though, it happens to everyone. The problem I have is that Gibbs was having to play in that match in the first place. An 18 year old should not have to start at left back in the Champions League semi-final facing off against arguably the best player in the world. If Wenger didn't want to bring in someone as cover for Clichy, then he at least could have used Eboue at left back, who played well there against Portsmouth and has shown himself to be quite a capable full-back against top opposition, including the clean sheet streat in the 2006 Champions League. Silvestre as well, is not someone who I'd ever dream of lining up to face a team like United in such a big game, yet a refusal to buy last summer when everyone knew we needed to left us in such a position.
My main issue with how Arsenal have been managed though in the last few weeks is Arsene Wenger's prioritizing of competitions. He seems to be quite willing to give up some competitions to have more of a run at others. We already know he plays a bunch of kids in the Carling Cup, and I'm fine with that because I like to see what they can do against some top clubs and it is good experience for them. The FA Cup being pushed to the side though, is something that does not sit well with me. Wenger's quote to Sky Sports was this:
For me there’s two trophies really. The Premiership and the Champions League.
It shows why, even though Arshavin couldn't play in the Champions League anyway, he didn't play against Chelsea. Alex Song, who has been in the best form of his life, was left out in favor of Abou Diaby. We were in the FA Cup Semi-Final. A match that all of us were excited about, with the hopes of our first trophy in four years if we could just win the last two matches of the competition. Yet Arsene never cared if we won the cup at all. His thoughts were on the Champions League, which we went on to get crushed in anyway. So instead of having the FA Cup to still look forward to, our season, yet again, must be marked as a failure.
I've always enjoyed the FA Cup. It was the first trophy I ever saw Arsenal win live. It isn't like the Carling Cup where nobody really cares and not many teams put out their best sides. This is a prestigious competition that has gone by the wayside for Arsene Wenger's dream of winning the Champions League. When you prioritize competitions, you need to make sure you are winning the ones that you make a priority, or else your strategy was a waste. If we are not going to play our best team that gives us the best chance to win a trophy, why not just send the team out to lay down on the pitch? Because that's essentially what we were doing.
This isn't a bash Arsene Wenger post, but the signs are worrying that his stubborness has gone too far now. His refusal to buy in the summer when it was SO clearly needed still irks at me, and probably at the rest of you too. Imagine if we had bought Arshavin in the summer, so he wasn't cup-tied in the Champions League and we had had him against United. Does anyone think that that tie wouldn't have gone differently with him in the lineup? Yet we waited till January so we could save a few quid and we couldn't use him for our most important match of the year. In fact, we didn't use him in our second most important match of the year either, the FA Cup Semi. If we bring in some players for next season, should we expect them to start the year or just wait until halfway through? The youth project is not a failure, but it is not a success either. Success would be titles and trophies, none of which we have since the old guard left and was never replaced.
The upcoming offseason troubles me greatly. I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't worried about the potential of Cesc Fabregas leaving. He clearly needs and wants help in this team, and even asked for it in the for of Xabi Alonso, but help was never given to him. Lose Hleb, lose Flamini, lose Gilberto, and replace with only Nasri. That's never a good move, no matter how good you think your team is. If a bid comes in for Adebayor, I'd expect him to be sold. I've always thought he was a good player, unlike the majority of Arsenal supporters, but a decent offer for him won't be refused. I don't know that Bendtner is good enough to lead the line for us, which means we might need a striker in the transfer market too. I'm at the point though where I don't expect one to arrive. I don't really expect a midfielder, or a defender either. I'm getting to where I'm resigned to sending the same team back on the pitch to watch them fall short yet again.
It's painful as a fan, one who lives and dies with the club, to see them continually miss out on it's goals and nothing be done about it. We had to sign Arshavin just so we could finish in the top four this year, and that just isn't how it should be. I don't buy that this club has no money for signings, it just doesn't make any sense. It's just stubborness that says this team is good enough, and Wenger wants to prove every doubter wrong by winning with this young team. The problem is, when these young players get sick of not winning, they won't be in this team anymore. Just like Flamini, they will be seeking greener pastures. The time to win is the year that you are in. You can build to the future and still have a great squad. Look at what United have for example. They play a 35 year old in Ryan Giggs, who is a cunt of course but they still get the best out of him, and also have young players like Nani who can play in his spot. It gives them options and versatility that we don't have, and allows players to develop in training instead of on the spot like Kieran Gibbs had to. I'm sick of the excuses about how he doesn't want to stunt the growth of the young players, because competition only makes you better, not worse. And if bringing someone in the compete DOES crush their development, than they weren't good enough to play for Arsenal anyway.
It could be a tough transfer season this summer yet again, but I hope, for the club's sake and for the fans' sake, that Arsene Wenger decides enough is enough and makes some changes. Cheers.
Leave your thoughts. I'm going to try to do a podcast later today too on the new computer, so I'm hoping for some good quality. If you have any ideas or things you want to hear on there, leave them in the comments or email me. Peace.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Morning all. Well, it was pretty bloody awful wasn't it? This match is like Chlamydia, it's awful and disgusting and yet it just will not go away. While I'll admit to not being confident heading into yesterday, I was at least hopeful. I thought maybe we could at least get the first goal and give ourselves a chance to prove we could hold them off, but I was wrong. Most of the match, I sat in my chair, not making a sound, just kind of absent-mindedly gazing at the screen in hopes that maybe an Arsenal goal would snap me out of my trance.
We did start brightly, holding the ball for just about the whole first five minutes of the match and flowing well. No real end product though meant it all went to waste, and it only took United one attack to deal a hammering blow to us. Ronaldo crossed into the box low, Gibbs tripped and fell, and Park finished. The crowd was stunned, I was stunned, I think everyone in the world was stunned. Nobody had envisioned it going like that. Three minutes later, Ronaldo went down from a soft foul, rolled around like a girl, then got up, took the free-kick from 30 yards out and of course sent it right into the net.
The tie was pretty much over after just 11 minutes in the second leg. Watching the rest of it was like sitting through torture. We couldn't get a goal back and we really went off of our game after that second goal. It sucked the life out of the players, the fans, and even Arsene Wenger, who was visibly shocked. I have never seen him with his hands over his face so many times in one match. To the fans' credit, they did keep singing a few times even though we were dead men walking. That always makes me proud to be a Gooner.
The second half wasn't really any better. They scored another on a ridiculously good counter attack while we were pushing everyone forward to try and score four goals in 45 minutes. That one really put it to bed. We managed a consolation goal from an RvP penalty, but it didn't matter. I didn't cheer when it went in or anything. I was just too downhearted. In our biggest match ever played at the Emirates, we failed miserably.
I felt bad for Kieran Gibbs. While he's certainly at fault for the first goal, he's so young and inexperienced and was forced into the match by a lack of cover for injuries to our defenders. With experienced players like Gallas and Clichy out, we have to turn to Gibbs against a team with Ronaldo in it, and that's a tough matchup for anyone in the world, and certainly for an 18 year old. I hope he recovers from this one. Mentally it can be a huge blow when you make such a big mistake so early in a huge match.
Nobody really had standout performances for us, but if I had to pick two players that I thought did well I'd take Nasri and Song. Nasri was running everywhere chasing the ball, and when he got on the ball he made some really crafty runs with it. Sure, the end product could have been better but that's a given when you look at the scoreline. Song did pretty well breaking up play in the middle and worked really hard again. He's definitely having the best few months of his career lately.
Although it's unpopular to say, Cesc had a pretty bad game. He didn't get on the ball much, and when he did, a lot of his passes missed their targets. I said yesterday that he would be the key to the match, and he never really got into it. I'm definitely not blaming him for the loss, because that would be incorrect. I'm only pointing out what I saw in the match, and I didn't see a lot of Cesc Fabregas.
So it's another season without silverware. That makes four straight years. It is what it is. When you have a manager like Arsene Wenger, you can always expect a few things, including beatiful football and stubborness. The board have backed the youth project, and that's how it's going to be. We have to remember that Cesc, Theo, Clichy, Bendtner, Song, Nasri, Denilson, and Djourou are all under the age of 23, so it's not like the window to win trophies is closing. We need to be able to keep our players though and also add some more. We've seen the impact that Arshavin has had on this team, so why not add a few more players with his type of experience in the summer?
Remember Gooners, we're all Arsenal supporters. Some people are mad at Wenger, some are mad at the players, but nobody should be mad at the other supporters. We're all one club, and we all want them to win everything every year. Sometimes it just doesn't go that way. Arsenal have gone a lot longer that four years without a trophy before, so let's be patient. Manchester United were a much better team this year, but we've seen that we can beat them on our day, and I think we're only going to get better. So while it feels miserable right now (and believe me, it bloody well does) tomorrow is another day. They'll be giving away trophies again next year, so let's all hang in there and be ready to back the team again next year, hopefully to many finals and championships.
Come on you Gunners!
Monday, May 4, 2009
Morning all. Going to be a quick one this morning as I've got some stuff to get done today to make sure I have my afternoon clear for tomorrow's match. Everyone getting excited yet? I've been thinking about it since last week's match on and off but I think it's just now setting in that the game of the season is tomorrow.
Today I want predictions, thoughts, and everything else to go along with the match tomorrow. If you've got what you think is the score, share it with us, and if you think you can guess Arsene Wenger's lineup then go for it.
I think the match really depends a lot on the first 20 minutes. If we come out and we're playing well and controlling the ball, even if we haven't scored I think that will give us a huge boost for the rest of the match. If we could get an early goal that would be immense because theoretically we could win the match 1-0 and still go through on penalties but that is leaving too much to chance and I don't know that any team can shut out United when they need a goal in a match this big. It's all down to how our midfield and defense can stifile players like Ronaldo, Rooney, Tevez, and Berbacunt and control the ball. Against Portsmouth we had a lot of possession and the game turned out like you'd want any game to. The last United match though we were pressured and couldn't hold onto it like we needed to and well, we were awful going forward.
The key to the day is yet again Cesc Fabregas. Wenger needs to play him in his central midfield role and not as a support striker. His passing, vision, and control, not to mention his cool, are just what we need in midfield. He dictates our tempo and sets the table for players like Walcott, Adebayor, etc. Speaking of Adebayor, I'm not sure if he'll get to start or not tomorrow, with Bendtner having a good match against Pompey Saturday and Robin van Persie training today. A player like van Persie is important to have because he has a dimension that Adebayor and Bendtner don't really have, and that is some trickiness and cleverness with the ball. I don't know if he will start or not but I'd expect to see him at some point for sure.
Obviously if United score the task becomes a lot more difficult a lot more quickly. Clichy and Gallas are still both out but Silvestre is back training so he should start. Eboue could play at left back again or Gibbs could slot in there. Either way they have a rough task on their hands. United aren't going to sit back with just a one goal lead, nor do they every just sit back and defend. Ronaldo and Rooney are real game changers, who even if United aren't playing well can score a goal on their own that puts us in a really tough spot of having to score three goals. Almunia needs to have another top notch day but he really needs some quality help from his defenders.
Theo Walcott will be important down the right-hand side. Patrice Evra hasn't had his best season for sure at left back and we'll need to try to get him into some space where he can use his pace and quickness. I hope to see Nasri on the left instead of that awful central midfield role that Wenger had him in last week which was really not playing to his abilities. And I'd like to see Alex Song continue in the team in the holding midfield role. Of all our players, I think he's improved the most this year and his work ethic in trying to shut down the other teams attack is one to be admired. He's certainly not the prettiest out there, but he has been effective and we need him in there for such a big match.
So like I said, I want to hear from all of you today. I want score predictions, lineup predictions, and how you think the match will go as a whole. I'm going to make it into a little bit of a contest, with the winner getting a £10 gift card from Arsenal.com. All you have to do to win is predict the match score along with the scorers. I'll even pay for the shipping. So submit your predictions either to my email, which is ArseNole[at]arsenole[dot]com or just leave it in the comments with your name. Remember, you have to be IN the contest to WIN the contest, so you might as well get your name in! Come on you Gunners!
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Hello all. Nice match yesterday wasn't it? It's great to see some of the younger players get a chance to play in the league games, especially when they take full advantage of their opportunities and we get a win. With everyone focused on Manchester United on Tuesday, this match had been pretty much forgotten about by most of the Arsenal community. It wasn't really a game we had to win, but win we did, and with some style.
The lineup was an interesting one.
We pretty much dominated the match throughout, and while Portsmouth had chances to score, Fabianski did well and Pompey's finishing was dreadful. They had several chances but none came that close to going in. Attacking, though, was where we were at our best. I thought Vela and Arshavin were outstanding, their movement and passing was great fun to watch, and Bendtner also had a good game, netting a header and a penalty.
Eboue looked really good attacking down the left and pretty assured in his defense, even though it is not his prefferred side. Having watched him at fullback a few times the past couple of weeks, it makes you realize what a mistake it is playing him in midfield. Eboue is a very good fullback who knows when to get forward. He is, however, a terrible midfielder, with no end product whatsoever and a poor decision maker. I wouldn't mind seeing him play left back against United. That's right, I'm supporting starting Eboue against United. Even though Gibbs has played pretty well, I think it'd be the right choice to go with.
After we were up 3-0 in the second half, we got to see the likes of Randall, Bischoff, and Fran Merida come on. It's a few players we haven't gotten to see a lot of so it's nice for them to get some experience in a real Premier League game.
Fabianski will be thrilled to have kept a clean sheet after the disatrous game against Liverpool, and I was really happy for him. With young keepers, you really need them to get confidence and keep it, because it really can affect them long term. With that said, this clean sheet will go a long way to helping his confidence and I really do think he can be a future Arsenal number 1. The way Almunia has been playing though, it could still be some time to wait, so lets hope he's ok with being the number 2 for a while.
Man of the match for me though was Carlos Vela. What a player that young man can be. I'm really surprised we don't see him come on more often than he does. He brings an added dimension of cleverness that not a lot of our current squad have with the ball. The goals he scores are usually spectacular, and his movement and strength is really good for being so young. Arsene certainly showed good vision signing him a couple of years ago, even though he couldn't get a work permit right away. It's looking like it's going to be well worth it.
We really miss Arshavin in the Champions League games. It's been said before, but his experience and quality is something we've desperately been needing. If he was eligible we could have played Cesc in his prefferred central midfield role and played Arshy in that support striker role, which he loves playing. Getting to see him next year against those European clubs should be a real treat, but we'll have to make do without him on Tuesday.
Ok that's it for today because I've got to go to work. I'll get up a Manc scum preview tomorrow, and some additional stuff the day of the match. Leave your thoughts on Vela, Arshavin, Ramsey, Fabianski, or anything else you want to discuss in the comments section. Cheers all. Have a good one.