Proud to wear the Shirt?

Another game we need to get 3 points from, however in this case we must be underdogs. Following a very poor run of results (too disappointing to discuss) the team have a choice – either we settle for an underwhelming 3rd place  or we fight to the end, I expect to see some fighting spirit.

Unfortunately, United are in excellent form having strolled through a Champions League semi-final on their way to Wembley, where most right minded people will be hoping for a Barca win. Much has been said about this MU side, mostly to it’s detriment – dull, workmanlike, efficient, lacking flair, not as good as SAF’s previous sides, the worst side to (potentially) win the PL, and above all inexplicably lucky; yet their fans will look at the Silverware and the 2010/11 season with pride. Once again the Purple Conked Glaswegian has shown he is the best manager in World football, who else can make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear?

But, But But  …. the little angel on Big Raddy’s  left shoulder is screaming at me ……. this season has been about us throwing away a title not MU winning one. Alongside the  West London Russians we have contrived to gift United the title, we have consistently thrown away important points, drawing games  we should have won, losing games we should have drawn. I am no statistician but it would be interesting to know how many points we have lost to goals in the last 5 minutes of games – enough to win the title one would imagine.

Before we doff our proverbials to the excellence of SAF’s management of so called “average players,” let us take a closer look at his team. Oh, this is a surprise, it is packed with extremely expensive talent; 3 players who cost over £30m, the most expensive defender in EPL history, a midfield that (taking out Giggs) cost almost as much as our entire team, a forward line with an average cost higher than our most expensive ever signing. And how many of the regular MU players are home grown? Take out the  ancient  Giggs and Scholes and the answer is NONE. This MU team could have a bench that cost as much as our entire squad !! Yet the press cream themselves about how SAF has guided an average team to such heights, a team he has expensively cobbled together – how has this myth been spread? I will tell you – because SAF has the press under his control in the same way that the ref’s and linesmen are too scared (it would be churlish to say corrupt) to give 50/50 decisions against the Red Devil.

I could write a whole post on Nani. Without doubt the most odious player in the  PL.How can any decent football fan pay money to watch this cheat week after week? We have players who are prone to theatrics but this guy who is undoubtedly a fine player takes “simulation” to an art form. The only players in his league are Alves and Busquets at Barca (may I refer back to a fine post by Dandan highlighting the appalling cheating by Barca players midweek). I realise I am old fashioned, but what happened to honesty and integrity? How can SAF allow Nani to perform like this week after week? –  anyone who saw SAF’s playing style would know how he would have reacted to Nani had he been on the pitch against him. And they say a cheat never prospers!!

Hernandez has been a revelation and is just the type of player to cause us problems. The fox in the box who has superb reactions – AW says he was monitoring him, so why not splash a few of our millions on him and sell Vela? Sadly, this guy has the potential to become a United legend.

Our team? Kind of picks itself – we play the best we have. The major disappointment to me of the past 3 weeks is that we have underperformed when having an almost full squad; no injury excuses (apart from TV) and exhaustion cannot be a factor –  today’s opponents have played as many games with a smaller (and worse) squad.

SAF’s usual tactics when playing us is to employ a very physical forcing game and hit us on the break; the game at OT earlier in the season was typical, as was the Cup game when SAF sent out a team with a hugely defensive bias, expect the same today. If Fletcher is fit to play, Cesc and JW can expect a good kicking – the man is the essence of SAF’s  chosen midfield general (Robson, Ince, Butt, Keane, Scholes etc). I like Park, a man who must despair of Nani and Rooney’s cheating abilities, he is a player who would fit well into our squad, an Asian Ray Parlour!

Thanks to our poor run what should have been a title decider has become another interesting game –  a game that SAF can afford to rest Giggs in. Yet today remains one of the highlights of the season. Home to MU has always been a huge game. Some of my all-time favourite  goals have been against MU; a brilliant George Graham scissor kick at the Clock End in a 2-2 draw with Best scoring in front of the North Bank, Alan Sunderland at Wembley, Wiltord at OT, TH14′s goal of the season at Highbury, Freddie’s first goal for AFC, David Platt’s last minute header in a 3-2 thriller at Highbury, PV4′s last kick for the Gunners etc etc. So many great memories – I am sure you can add your own.

What I would like to see from Arsenal today is for AW to get his tactics right and send out a team to match the opposition. Keep Rooney out wide, stop playing such a high defensive line,  allow Nasri to play more central, push RvP onto the shoulder of Vidic – he has the pace to turn him. And above all, the team have to show the fans that they value their shirts, that they are not just professional footballers but that they are immensely proud to be Arsenal players.

Angus Deayton, Eamonn Holmes,  Steve Coogan, Mick Hucknall, Gary Rhodes, Sean Connery, all big MU supporters …………. all live in the South :-)

COYRRG

BR.

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218 Responses to Proud to wear the Shirt?

  1. mickydidit89 says:

    BR,
    Great to have you back in the saddle, my merry fellow.
    Me genuinely thinks a home win. The majority of Arse Fans have us down to lose. This will lift the home pressure and will enable the lads to deliver an away style performance at home.
    I have said before that I am not discussing personnel until after the season, but I can certainly think of a few first team squad players who must be wondering where they will be playing their football next season, as I am sure it won’t be anywhere too glamorous. So, come on lads, show us what you can do.

  2. Oh no, everyone hiding already :( London must be serving breakfast behind his couch.

    We have our best team out there today – bar an absent Vermaelen. Time for Theo van Nasregas to remember why we named them thus, if early chances come our way I hope we put the away with panache but scoring ugly is fine with me too.

    I’m going on my own today so if anyone wants to meet for a drink let me know.

  3. Gooner in Exile says:

    Great pre match Raddy. Especially highlighting the price of this current ManU squad.

    I have numerous work related things to keep my mind off the game why should I be bothered? It’s not important in terms of PL (to expect ManU to get less than 3 points from 12 available and us to win all 4 is dreamland of the highest order).

    However a win today does two things, completes a double of home wins against our two main rivals at home. It also gives the players a chance to prove their belief (JD’s Guardian interview yesterday where he says there is not much between the two teams) that they are indeed capable of winning big games, and that they have the ingredients to be a successful trophy winning side.

    And finally it would bring a bit of squeaky bum affliction on SAF with Chelsea coming their way next Sunday. Other teams (Stratford Hotspuds) would rejoice at ruining the title chances of another, that should not be our yardstick, but would still bring a smile to the face and a red faced purple nosed SAF slurs through a post match interview after he has been injected with four drams of finest single malt to give him the mental strength to give an interview in defeat.

    Here’s hoping ……. COYRRG!

  4. mickydidit89 says:

    Peaches,
    BR talks about wearing the shirt with pride, and I agree with him. With total commitment and effort we can give them a game, and then as you say, take our chances, and by that I mean increase the odds by shooting :-)

  5. mickydidit89 says:

    I think everyone is busy making their “WE DEMAND BETTER PIZZA TOPPING” banners for Rocky’s march.

  6. Gooner in Exile says:

    Now if you want to see a young striker with good finishing ability have a look at our young Afobe’s goals for Huddersfield yesterday against Brighton.

    His first is a cracking turn and finish the second nicking a dodgy back pass but composed chesting round keeper before finishing with his left.

    Its about 39 minutes into Football League Show on BBC iPlayer http://bbc.in/k82ITf

  7. Big Raddy says:

    Goodtobeback Micky.

    JD is right in his conviction that little separates the two teams, sadly the essential difference is MU’s uncanny ability to grind out a result when playing poorly whereas we can lose points when playing sublimely.

  8. Big Raddy says:

    Afobe has the makings of a fine player. I hope his development continues at a similar pace to JW’s. Too many strikers look brilliant at 18 and fade before they make the first 11

  9. Mickeyk says:

    The season is over for us .I hope we go out today with great fearless performance .next season I think Arsenal will win the champions league

  10. Rasp says:

    Great piece Raddy. We must not forget the relative cost of the two squads. If premiership position was related to spending on players’ we’d probably be in the relegation zone.

    In some ways I’ll be really angry if we win convincingly today. The pressure is off the players even though it is United, everyone thinks we’ve fallen apart again so a loss to the mancs would be no big surprise.

    I want to see our players perform under pressure and that situation will not occur again until next season (unless we’re fioghting for 4th spot :( )

  11. mickydidit89 says:

    It is a lost and confused Micky on match days when not going. No jumping in the motor at 7:45. No meeting up with fellow Gooners at 9:00 on Platform 1. I feel like Cinders or one of those blokes that emigrate to Australia as he leads an unfulfilled life with no mates.

  12. mickydidit89 says:

    Mickeyk,
    You are so right, and you have not even heard the great plans Stan and I have for you lucky chaps!

  13. mickydidit89 says:

    Rasp,
    Angry if we win? I strongly suggest a breakfast beer for you my friend :-)
    If in some way Arsenal winning hurts, then take a different angle. Utd losing will always bring a smile to your face.

  14. mickydidit89 says:

    What is the record for consecutive comments. I think I may have a free run right up until ko.

  15. mickydidit89 says:

    After seeing Chav goals against Spuds yesterday, why would anyone be in favour of video technology?

  16. mickydidit89 says:

    The front door of The Emirates is rubbish.

  17. Rasp says:

    Hi micky,

    Of course I want us to win, but if we put in the sort of gritty performance that we have needed and failed to deliver, it will beggar the question – why didn’t you play like that in the CC final, against Liverpool etc etc

  18. mickydidit89 says:

    Ahoy shipmate,
    Those questions need to be answered whatever happens today, so in the meantime, lets beat Utd. For fun!

  19. mickydidit89 says:

    Its early lunch here today, and we are having mash with venison and juniper sausages that I made yesterday. Mmmmmm

  20. mickydidit89 says:

    Back you know when.

  21. Gooner in Exile says:

    To be fair Rasp there is pressure today as CL football is not yet secure…a win today should do it, there is also the pressure to finish third/second which brings financial and euro benefits.

    A loss today leaves two tricky away games and one home to secure six points

  22. str8bat says:

    I know GiE, but my argument recently has been about the player’s ability to perform under pressure. By under-achieving, they have reduced the level of expectation and therefore the pressure to an extent. Even if we win all our remaining games convincingly, we will be left with the knowledge that when it really mattered, we let ourselves down. When we beat Barca at home, this side was on an all-time high, but losing the CC final seemed to drain the spirit out of them. The performance against totnum was great, but the goals we conceded in that game, against the barcodes and going back to the 4:4 against pool show that there is a missing ingredient/ingredients.

  23. Rasp says:

    I know GiE, but my argument recently has been about the player’s ability to perform under pressure. By under-achieving, they have reduced the level of expectation and therefore the pressure to an extent.

    Even if we win all our remaining games convincingly, we will be left with the knowledge that when it really mattered, we let ourselves down.

    When we beat Barca at home, this side was on an all-time high, but losing the CC final seemed to drain the spirit out of them. The performance against totnum was great, but the goals we conceded in that game, against the barcodes and going back to the 4:4 against pool show that there is a missing ingredient/ingredients.

  24. RockyLives says:

    I agree with micky, Rasp, GiE, Peaches, dandan and even MickeyK!

  25. RockyLives says:

    Here’s a little fantasy:

    We beat ManUre today

    Chavs and Manure draw next week while we beat Stoke.

    We enter the final two games of the season with the table like this:

    ManUre: Pts 74
    Chavs: Pts: 71
    Arse: Pts: 70

    Would the Claret Conked Caledonian and his boys start to get squeaky bum syndrome?

    The the following week, by some miracle, Blackburn hold on for a draw against ManUre. Chavs are held by ‘Toon. We win again :)

    Final day of the season, one game to play:

    ManUre: 75 pts
    Arse: 74 pts
    Chavs: 72 pts

    Obviously we still wouldn’t win, as with ManUre home to Blackpool on the final day (and with the officials all terrified of Red Nose) Utd will romp to a 4-o victory – all four goals from penalties.

    But it would be fun.

  26. RockyLives says:

    Yawn… just woke up. Had the strangest dream :)

    Great pre-match BR

  27. Gooner in Exile says:

    Agreed Rasp, was trying to get you psyched up for the game :D

    11/11 Raddy….altho these games shouldn’t be a problem to predict although does present the question : why can’t we rotate from this 11 in big games? United could change three/four players from game to game depending on opponents whereas we will always start the same eleven, time to strengthen and rotate.

  28. Gooner in Exile says:

    Damn Rocky you said it, as I said in my earlier post

    “It’s not important in terms of PL (to expect ManU to get less than 3 points from 12 available and us to win all 4 is dreamland of the highest order).”

  29. Big Raddy says:

    The first half of yesterday’s London Derby was all the the Barca Real CLSF should have been. Quality flowing football in a game which both teams wanted to win.

    I have an active dislike of Redknapp but he showed how to handle a defeat which came as a result of two very poor linesman decisions. Imagine how Moaninho would have reacted!

    The football world has to embrace modern technology – I can see no reason why the authorities delay

  30. Am says:

    LOL the fabregas injury was only reported today

  31. mickydidit89 says:

    I agree with Rocky.

  32. SharkeySure says:

    Great pre match Mr Radders.

    COYRRG !!!

    Back at h/t

  33. Gooner in Exile says:

    Just realised gave Raddy 11/11 and hadn’t noticed Cesc not in the team….just took it as a given!!!

    Oh well is this what we get used to for next season?

  34. Big Raddy says:

    First big refereeing decision goes MU’s way. Quelle surprise!

  35. RockyLives says:

    Commentators just said Foy has reffed MU 18 times and they’ve never lost!

  36. Gooner in Exile says:

    Lee Mason as fourth official and Foy in the middle….both in Fergies pockett……JOKE!!!

  37. Gooner in Exile says:

    You’d think Foy could make the bias a little less obvious tho….non decisions is one thing interfering with the ball is going a bit far

  38. RockyLives says:

    Foy is Utd’s best midfielder – he has personally broken up three of our attacks.

  39. mickydidit89 says:

    We are playing very well indeed against 13 men!

  40. Big Raddy says:

    Desperate performance from the officials – expect worse in the second half.

    ATM Ramsey looks out of his depth but improved the longer the game went on. He doesn’t release the ball fast enough. Thankfully, this will come as he looks a fine player.

  41. Red Arse says:

    Both the lino and the Ref had perfect views of the blatant Vidic handball and red card! No Penalty for us.

    What is going on? Disgusting!

    We have played them off the park, but will probably lose to a breakaway in the 2nd half. There is simply no justice.

  42. mickydidit89 says:

    Song and Jack superb

  43. Big Raddy says:

    Agree Micky – our best players.

  44. RockyLives says:

    So, HT, and as usual we should have had a penalty for Vidic’s blatant handball (which should also have been a red). Wait for Utd’s soft pen award in the second half.

  45. Mickeyk says:

    The future Ramsey wiltshere .buy cesc thanks for the service every ones happy.cl next season put money on it .

  46. Red Arse says:

    MickeyK, who are you; and what have you done to the real, depressed, doom laden MickeyK? :-)

  47. Gooner in Exile says:

    Despite refs there is a worrying familiarity in the way this is going.

    Ramsay Wilshere and Song all good, altho Songs stick legs apart challenge will earn him a booking soon.

    RvP good as is Theo. Nasri been okay going forward but really needs to help Clichy and track back against Fabio.

  48. Gooner in Exile says:

    Perhaps Nasris lack of back tracking was idue to injury.

    AA23 must track back this half

  49. Mickeyk says:

    I’ve finally excepted reality .Iam a lot more optimistic for next season and belive wenger is the right man for the job. Denilson diaby bentner rosiky eboue have to go for the good of are club.

  50. alex says:

    Eboue is such a fucking idiot, he should never play for Arsenal again.

  51. Mickeyk says:

    Oh no eboues on

  52. Mickeyk says:

    YES

  53. Mickeyk says:

    Great performance

  54. mickydidit89 says:

    Yeeeeeeeeeeehaaa

  55. Gooner in Exile says:

    Anyone else see Eboue run the other way when ball went airborne from free kick at end?

    Good performance still need to learn to keep ball at end of tight games or put the ball in the stands for a breather…too often at end gifted ball back by trying to keep possession rather than clear their lines.

  56. Red Arse says:

    Oh that feels so good!!!!!

    The red nose one looked shattered. I am in ecstasy!

    Why did we lose to bluddy, bluddy Bolton? :-(

  57. mickydidit89 says:

    Hey Rocky,
    With the great support, performance and result today, I am not at all sure the “Pizza Topping Demo” is going to go down particlarly well :-)

  58. mickydidit89 says:

    even if I can’t spell!

  59. Gooner in Exile says:

    Shame we have to wait for post match reaction….

    But CL secure now surely….and Spuds might not even get Europa league….it’s not that bad being a Gooner is it?

  60. mickydidit89 says:

    GiE,
    I’ll give you post match reaction…yessssssssssss, I love my Arsenal

  61. Big Raddy says:

    Phew. That was a nail-biter.

    The players gave a proper performance today, although MU really came at us in the 2nd half Szczeny only had one save to make.

    Song my MoM, closely followed by Kos, JW Sagna and Ramsey

  62. Gooner in Exile says:

    FLICKING meeja is a disgrace…..to quote the beeb:

    “Arsenal beat a poor Manchester United”

    Played no different than they have against us for last four or five times bet if they had won (worked) it would have been all about how Fergie tactically outwitted Wenger again.

  63. Big Raddy says:

    BTW. I wore my new AFC shirt today and therefore must take some of the plaudits.

    What is SAF saying? He looked shell-shocked, didn’t even spit out his gum.

  64. mickydidit89 says:

    GiE,
    Spuds would need to win all four (us losing all three) while scoring six per game. Yeah right!

  65. SharkeySure says:

    Agreed Raddy, we had a lot of good performances today.

    Arshavin wasn’t great with the ball and at times he seemed to refuse to join in our attacks, but wot a defensive shift he put in today. Incredible

  66. goonermichael says:

    Fantastic performance. Make me wonder what could have been. I’m going to have a beer and cigar. I hate those northern monkeys so much. The ref should have worn a manc shirt

  67. mickydidit89 says:

    Fantastic to see Arsene looking healthier and more relaxed than I have seen him in a very long time, and not just at the final whistle.
    Great day. Off to shout a bit.

  68. goonermichael says:

    It was men against boys mr evra evra you’re a c***

  69. Big Raddy says:

    GM Foy wears it under the blue one ….

  70. goonermichael says:

    i opened my window and shouted at the final whistle

  71. Red Arse says:

    GIE,

    Sky said much the same thing ‘ Arsenal look to have beaten a poor Utd team’.

    Nothing to do with us playing the so called ‘best’ team in the League off the pitch then!

    Raddy, coming in late today I forgot to say I enjoyed your match preview. Sorry.

    My MOM until he was injured was Djourou who looked a ‘prper’ CB today, other than that I agree your list, although I think young Jack is starting to show mental and physical fatigue!

  72. Gooner in Exile says:

    gm or to quote Jack, Mr Evra is a “F**king Pr**k” . :D

  73. goonermichael says:

    He intercepted 3 passes for them in the first half

  74. Big Raddy says:

    Thanks RA.

    I thought JW showed his appetite for the fight. He was everywhere and even linking with the attack deep into injury time.

    You are right JD had a fine game – sadly out for sometime I would think – it looked like another calf/ankle ligament injury

  75. Big Raddy says:

    It was a lovely goal from Ramsey. Cesc would have been proud of both the run and the finish

  76. goonermichael says:

    If we’d lost that we could’ve been heading for 4th. As it stands now if the chavs beat them and we beat stoke we may get 2nd above the mancs.

  77. Gooner in Exile says:

    So Cesc was dropped right, and Wenger gave him a wake up call showing him whats behind him? ;)

  78. Red Arse says:

    Foy was a prat not giving us the Vidic handball pen in the first half, but he evened it up with the Clichy trip which was a pen from what I saw.

    That is always the worry with Clichy and Eboue they always look as if they will do something stupid.

    I would never have forgiven Clichy if they had been given that pen!

  79. Gooner in Exile says:

    The article from Hansen stressing why United would edge the game today has mysteriously disappeared from the BBC Football home page..

  80. goonermichael says:

    after our goal clichy kept giving the ball away. Thier one was apen but vidic should have been off as well as us getting a pen. Not giving the early free kick for the foul on jack was bad too. I really don’t mind cesc going and I think clichy can go too.

  81. Red Arse says:

    Raddy,

    I love the way Jack plays, he is all heart, but he is usually so sublime it was a surprise to see him caught out on occasion. Tiredness?

    For the first time, (tho’ I usually leave tactical analysis to the great and the good) I think deploying Song to man mark Rooney was a master stroke. Why have we not done so before? Have we? Don’t think so.

  82. Gooner in Exile says:

    Found it http://bbc.in/kcuEXs

    “It is about how deep you can dig in those tough times and while Arsenal’s season has collapsed around them, United have shown once again that they can dig deeper than most when it counts.”

    I don’t think I would mind Chelsea winning the league if it meant Fergie’s great managerial brilliance won naff all

  83. Big Raddy says:

    Whilst agreeing that Clichy’s distribution was poor today, his mastery of Nani was not. Did the cheat contribute anything apart from diving to get Clichy booked?

    On this evidence SAF must be a worried man ahead of the Chelsea game – except the officials will help at OT

  84. Gooner in Exile says:

    I’m not sure Song was man marking, he just did a more disciplined job and Rooney was told to play in his space by Fergie.

    As for Jack perhaps the further advanced position was the cause of more lost possession, just simply by having more defenders around him.

    Though he and Ramsay were very good today, Jack tired towards the end, Ramsay impressed me with his desire to tackle and get stuck in at the end when it mattered.

    As for Arshavin the little Russian was putting in a great shift preventing attacks on our left second half.

  85. Gooner in Exile says:

    So it is Happy St Totteringhams day to all, well barring an absolute miracle. Left it a bit late this year, but next year it’ll be an earlier celebration I’m sure.

    I must now go and do some work.

  86. RockyLives says:

    To start with, I have to say I echo Rasp’s sentiment at 12.09 (the bittersweet nature of winning today and thinking about what might have been if we’d only played like this against a few of the poorer teams). But, having said that…

    …YEEEESSSSSS!!!!!

    Now we start next season with two monkeys off our back – no more commentators relishing saying we haven’t beaten the Mancs or Chavs for X or Y games.

    Song, Ramsey, RvP and JW were all excellent, as were JD and Kozzer. But my MoTM would be Szczesny, for his excellent saves and command of the area and, most of all, for his brilliant professionalism in running the clock down at the end of the game, much to the annoyance of Old Red Nose.

    Also, there’s no way that that Owen dive was a pen – it should have been a booking for Owen. However, I am truly amazed that Foy didn’t give it (at OT it’s a 200% bang-on pen). He must have looked at the Vidic handball at half time and realised what a Horlicks he’d made of it.

  87. Red Arse says:

    Clichy has all the makings of a class full back except for two things. First when he is static, he twirls, gets stuck and inevitably loses the ball.

    Secondly, he appears to think he is a CB and runs away from the left back position to shore up the centre of defence when the oppo attacks. Not his job. Coaching required?

    In fairness he had Nani-the-cheat in his pocket throughout the game! :-)

  88. RockyLives says:

    Sorry GiE, tempting though it is, we can’t announce St Totts Day until it is mathematically impossible for them to finish higher than us. Have to take a hard line on this one.

    But we can tale great satisfaction from the fact that the media’s favourite team, with a manager who’s a shoo-in for the England job and who says there’s nothing to choose between his Spuds and the Mighty Arse, are currently 12 points adrift of us with a -25 goal difference compared to us.

    It makes me so angry that the meeja eulogise ‘Arry and his Mashed Spuds and slag off AW at every opportunity.

  89. RockyLives says:

    And it’s official: The White Scarf ‘Pizza Topping’ Protest is now cancelled.

    Instead we’re going to march to Rome and demand beatification for Arsene.

  90. Gooner in Exile says:

    Okay Rocky party hat on hold

  91. Red Arse says:

    Rocky,

    As always you have come up with a pertinent comment.

    Our defence, until the final 15 minutes, played so well it was easy to overlook Chezzer’s performance. But, his sheer physical presence and unflapability (?) made me forget I normally close my eyes and hope when we have had other GK’s between the sticks.

    Good call. He was excellent! :-)

  92. RockyLives says:

    I know we get paranoid about the media coverage, but read these two paragraphs from the BBC website match report:

    “But the game concluded with United manager Sir Alex Ferguson angry at referee Chris Foy after substitute Michael Owen was hauled down in the area by Gael Clichy in the closing moments, only to have his appeals ignored…

    “With three minutes left Ferguson and United’s players were reduced to a fury as Owen was brought down from behind by Clichy as he raced into the area…”

    Despite us having been on the wrong end of some of the worst penalty decisions I have ever seen this season, I have never read a report where a foul/pen not given against us was described in the same way as Owen’s dive was in this report. Instead the writers normally talk about ‘Arsenal’s appeals for a penalty’ or ‘the Arsenal player was left on the floor but the referee waved away the penalty appeals.”

    But it’s United and it’s Owen, so it must be written up as a definite pen EVEN THOUGH IT WAS NOT GIVEN BY A VERY WELL-SIGHTED REF.

    Watch it again – Owen dives.

  93. RockyLives says:

    I know we get paranoid about the media coverage, but read these two paragraphs from the BBC website match report:

    “But the game concluded with United manager Sir Alex Ferguson angry at referee Chris Foy after substitute Michael Owen was hauled down in the area by Gael Clichy in the closing moments, only to have his appeals ignored…

    “With three minutes left Ferguson and United’s players were reduced to a fury as Owen was brought down from behind by Clichy as he raced into the area…”

    Despite us having been on the wrong end of some of the worst penalty decisions I have ever seen this season, I have never read a report where a foul/pen not given against us was described in the same way as Owen’s dive was in this report. Instead the writers normally talk about ‘Arsenal’s appeals for a penalty’ or ‘the Arsenal player was left on the floor but the referee waved away the penalty appeals.”

    But it’s United and it’s Owen, so it must be written up as a definite pen EVEN THOUGH IT WAS NOT GIVEN BY A VERY WELL-SIGHTED REF.

    Watch it again – Owen dives.

  94. RockyLives says:

    Redders
    There are probably more deserving candidates in some ways (Song, JW) but I loved the way Chesney suddenly looked as mature as Van der Saar.

  95. RockyLives says:

    Also, Chezzer’s learning from his mistakes. There was one Utd break towards the end when a Utd player (Evra?) burst into our box from their left. Chesney started to come – then obviously had a flashback to the Spuds game and back tracked to cover his goal instead.

  96. Big Raddy says:

    What a MU player guilty of simulation? Surely you are mistaken

  97. goonermichael says:

    VDS is the past Chesney is the future

  98. goonermichael says:

    Credit to Arsenal today. I am no Arsenal fan but I can imagine that was one their best defensive displays of the season and Ramsey and Wilshire showed you don’t need Cesc Fabregas. Credit to them for picking themselves up from recent weeks and showing everyone they have the fight in them once again. I said they can win it and they did.

    From a chelsea blog

  99. Red Arse says:

    GM,

    Glad you added the last sentence! Phew, I was about to send the hit squad out for you! :-)

  100. RockyLives says:

    BR :)

  101. RockyLives says:

    If you want to watch the Owen dive again, you can see it on Arsenalist (www.arsenalist.com) who always has the highlights on line after every game (in fact Rasp, he should really be in our Blogroll).

    You’ll see that as soon as Owen turns his body he starts to go down for the pen – even though Clichy hasn’t touched him yet. Then, when he’s practically on the ground, Clichy’s leg touches the top of his calf.

    Old Red Nose referred to Clichy “throwing his hands up in horror” – absolutely, but not horror at having committed a foul: it’s horror at Owen’s dive.

    Nevertheless, as I said earlier, where ManUre are concerned you usually see those given.

  102. Wonderman says:

    Just got back from the game. We deserved our win today, as they tried to play us at the break and it failed! Hernandez was non existent . But for crying out loud have we forgotten how to attack at speed !!!! We also don’t seem to use game intelligence. We put cross after cross in the air for vidic and Ferdinand to gobble up and as soon as we slide one on the deck Ramsey scores . The atmosphere both pre and post game was one of reserved celebration …. As we all know we threw this league away

  103. Gooner in Exile says:

    Unfortunately Rocky it is true, that is what AW and we as Arsenal Fans have to put up with, it is also this media bias which I am sure has led many an Arsenal fan to believe that we are weak, poor at the back and incapable of shooting.

    And just to show how bias the beeb is (well at least on TV and web) here are their stats:

    Arsenal 46% ManU 54%

    According to others

    Arsenal 55% ManU 45% – Guardian, Telegraph

    The full list of Sky stats are great reading for the fight we showed today:

    Arsenal……Team Statistics……Manchester United
    1…………….Goals……………………0
    0…………….1st Half Goals…………….0
    2…………….Shots on Target…………….4
    6…………….Shots off Target…………….5
    2…………….Blocked Shots…………….3
    3…………….Corners……………………6
    16…………….Fouls……………………..8
    2…………….Offsides…………………….4
    1…………….Yellow Cards……………….3
    0…………….Red Cards……………………0
    82.4………..Passing Success…………….76.5
    21…………..Tackles…………………………19
    90.5………..Tackles Success……………..84.2
    55.4………..Possession…………………….44.6
    56.2………Territorial Advantage…………43.8

  104. johnQ says:

    could we win it with fabregas?

  105. Gooner in Exile says:

    Hey Wonderman I did the predictor and have blown some life back into our title dreams, we just need a draw between Mancs and Chavs next week and the League is ours for the taken as they both suffer from squeakybumitis :D

    Do agree with everything else tho….but we won so who cares right?

  106. RockyLives says:

    JohnQ
    Can you elaborate?

    GiE
    Love this stat: Arsenal 21 tackles with 90.5% success! (Utd 19 tackles with 84.2% success). As Robin said after the game, we wanted it more.

    There’s no point dwelling on the ‘what ifs’ (too many this year, for start), but IF we’d only beaten Bolton last week…

  107. RockyLives says:

    Wonderman
    That’s a surprisingly negative assessment. Did it seem that way at the match? On the TV we looked very good value for our win. I know what you mean about the crosses to no-one though.

  108. kelsey says:

    Hello all.Are we happy gooners today ?An excellent all round performance of which the highlights for me wjere in no particular order Chesney,Song, Ramsey and Wilshere and a special mention for Kos. i had my doubts about him being thrown into the deep end this season, but he will be immense for us next season
    We now have a keeper with presence.
    Was cesc dropped ? Not sure about the injury

    Only sour note for me is that Arshavin though he made a few tacles doesn’t have any great influence when he plays.

    We need a striker as number one priority and possibly a left back as Clichy will most probably go.

    Otherwise a really satisfying performance.

  109. goonermichael says:

    Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson bemoaned the failure of referee Chris Foy to give his side a penalty as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Arsenal.

    stupid tosser

  110. RockyLives says:

    gm
    you can’t blame him – he’s had so many years of favourable reffing decisions that I expect he thinks it’s in the rules that ManUre get a soft pen every game. You can imagine him saying “I don’t understand, we didn’t get our penalty…”

  111. London says:

    Back from the game

    The black scarf protest really took off….noooooooooooot.

  112. London says:

    Song man of the match by some distance.

  113. London says:

    Possibly, because he stayed back more; whatever, everyone’s favourite Camaroonian was awesome.

  114. RockyLives says:

    How was the atmos London? It sounded good on the box.

    (and isn’t the black scarf effort planned for the Villa game?) – they’ll have it all to themselves now given that (as you’ll see from earlier comments) the White Scarf ‘Pizza Toppings’ Protest has been cancelled.

  115. Gooner in Exile says:

    Did you notice Fergie indicating to Foy that he had watched it on TV and that it was a pen, perhaps in the hope he would award one if the chance came again, or maybe he was drawing a TV to indicate that the 50″ one he promised him had just been thrown into the bin, but there was a super 3D 100″ screen waiting if he could find his way to add another 4 or 5 minutes injury time.

  116. London says:

    Hi Rocky

    Is it the Villa game, that should be funny. The atmos was as good as could be expected but only a braver man than me would have believed that we wouldn’t concede in view of our recent record, so with that in mind I think people were a little bit resereved until the final whistle was actually blown.

  117. Terrific atmosphere today even during the last 10 minutes when I’m sure most thought the lead would disappear.

    Agree with London and whoever else has said that Song was our old Song today and was awesome!!!!!!!! Not only for his ongoing battle with Rooney but apart from Foy he seemed to be everywhere in mid-field :)

  118. London says:

    One of the funniest things was the Arsenal fans singing Fergies rent boy at Chris Hoy, I mean how many times did he block one of our passes that just so happened to go to a manc player.

    I haven’t seen the replays but did Vidic handle it in the first half when RVP was going for the header at the near post?

  119. …… but I was sitting in the North Bank and they just keep on singing :D

  120. Gooner in Exile says:

    Did he handle it? He could teach Manuel a lesson! by the reaction in ground I wondered whether they may have played it on the big screen as their appeared to be a bit of a reaction as the replay was shown on TV.

  121. London says:

    No, not on the big screen. Chicken shits.

  122. Wonderman says:

    Dont get me wrong, it was a fantastic performance, as we dominated them for large parts of the game. And I’m sorry to sound negative but I Just felt it was the least the team could do for us fans !!!!! On a positive note Wilshere, Ramsey and Song were excellent and we outplayed them with no Fabregas .And I agree with London , Song was my mom

  123. SharkeySure says:

    London, agreed re Song. Immense from start to finish !!

    Sz today. What a calming influence that kid is. You could hear him screaming at his defence to clear the box thru the TV.

    In a word. Authority.

  124. Red Arse says:

    London,

    As blatant a hand ball as you could ever see. Cheating b*stard!

  125. London says:

    Far too many people are agreeing with me, this shall have to stop.

    It was great to have Rambo back, the man offers a genuine goal threat, with Song anchoring the defence tell me this: one single thing that Wishere did, or could do, that Cesc can’t and please don’t say: speak better English because you will lose the argument.

  126. Red Arse says:

    London,

    And your point is?

  127. goonermichael says:

    I agree with you 100% London :)

  128. Gooner in Exile says:

    I will have a go London, tackle and work back, I know Cesc can do it, but he hasn’t seemed willing to do it enough for me this season.

    Admittedly Cesc has a little more deftness with his ability to pick a pass, but Jack will get that with experience.

    But I would go one further, no Cesc meant the play went through more than one avenue (ie Jack, Theo, Nasri and Ramsay) with Cesc it goes through him more than 90% of the time, so sit on him and track runners and the opposition have a recipe to defend against us, give them two/three people with responsibility to playmake they have a very different proposition to deal with.

  129. Gooner in Exile says:

    Some of you might think me mad (especially London) but with his left foot, small frame and ability to carry the ball under pressure I couldn’t help thinking Jack reminded me of Messi a bit today, now I’m not saying as good as yet, but three/four years I genuinely think he could be one of the greats not just of England but World.

    Save this comment to either beat me up with or praise me as a soothsayer in a few years

  130. RockyLives says:

    London
    I’m not sure I’m following the Cesc/Jack point. Are you saying you think Jack’s over-rated?

  131. Big Raddy says:

    Hold Hard. Are there suggestions that we are better without Cesc? If so, I disagree entirely.

  132. RockyLives says:

    Not sure if he’s going to be the same style as Messi, but for me he could be an English Hagi (one of the world’s best ever players – if he’d been Brazilian or German he’d be talked about in the same breath as Maradona and Pele).

  133. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. Pray he is not another Gascoigne

  134. goonermichael says:

    Cesc is going Raddy. We’ll have to learn to live without him. Today shows we can.

  135. Mickeyk says:

    It’s a shame we can’t play like this when the presures on .with the weight off thier shoulders we beat anyone. Ramsey song and that other kid I think he’s name wilshere their the future .let cesc go .spend the money on a few players let some go and the worlds ours .the only one who can stop us are ourselves.

  136. London says:

    The debate is what is the best midfield?

    GIE

    I happily acknowledge, the variety of midfield channels is a good argument.

  137. Big Raddy says:

    GM. Until he waves goodbye, Cesc remains an Arsenal player and Captain. That he will leave I have no doubt, when is another matter.

    If he should decide to leave in summer, who do you think should be club Captain? RvP?

  138. Wonderman says:

    GIE @ 6:30 Spot on mate
    Red Arse @4:46

    ‘First when he is static, he twirls, gets stuck and inevitably loses the ball’
    I am so glad you spotted that. He has been doing that for years now with no improvement and you can bet your life other coaches have spotted it

  139. Big Raddy says:

    London. This is surely a subject for a post. Get writing ;-)

  140. London says:

    I think I confused people: my point is that Fabregas is head and shoulders above Wilshere (please don’t say Wilshere is the future it is a poor argument)

  141. goonermichael says:

    Maybe TV Raddy. I saw Ramsey tell Kozzer to get back after he went on a run late in the game he may be one for the future.

  142. London says:

    So many have come on here and bemoaned the lack of fighting spirit within the team, no one, bar no one wants Arsenal to win on that field more than Van Persie.

  143. Big Raddy says:

    GM. I am certain Ramsey is a future Arsenal Cpt.

    London. I agree (sorry about that)

  144. goonermichael says:

    That has made me very happy

  145. London says:

    Clichy was good today; he was left exposed time and time agian without any help from anyone and he coped very well.

    I am not sure that anyone didn’t really play well, maybe Theo but that could just be my personal worry about his actual ability.

  146. goonermichael says:

    if the bindippers and city beat the spuds they will not even be in the europa cup

  147. London says:

    Now that is a good thought GM

  148. Red Arse says:

    London,

    Your response at 6:48, that — ‘The debate is what is the best midfield?’ is surely incomplete.

    You could as easily have said ‘the debate is what is the best length for a piece of string?’.

    Without a context, the ‘debate’ does not have a focus. The best length for a piece of string to hold up your pants depends on your girth. The best length for a piece of string needed to fly a kite 100 feet in the air is – a minimum of 100 feet.

    Context is all.

    ‘What is the best midfield to play against Stoke?’, may be very different to ‘What is the best midfield to play in the Champions League?’. Context, again, is all.

    Anyway, neither Cesc nor Jack constitute ‘the midfield’ they are only component parts, played individually or together in a unit, dependent on injury and other circumstances.

    You need to formulate your debating question more comprehensively to achieve a worthwhile discussion.

    Just an observation. :-)

  149. London says:

    True, true, true RA but did you drink four pints of lager in celebration after the game?

  150. Gooner in Exile says:

    London I agree re Clichy he always seems to get the ball and everyone turns and runs away leaving him in a bit of a bind. But is that because he himself doesn’t move the ball quickly enough?

    And behind Nasri he was very exposed in the first half. AA23 prevented the build up of play second half much better than Nasri did first half, their first clear opportunity came from a Fabio run, where he noticeably stops tracking around 20-25 yards out and leaves Clichy two on one (Fabio and Nani) I’m not sure which I’d go to mark then either.

  151. London says:

    GIE

    Clichy’s passing and crossing for that matter always leaves alot to be desired but I thought he defended better than usual today.

  152. Red Arse says:

    London,

    You are a master at the non sequiteur.

    If I told you that I once blew my nose so hard, my left leg fell off; that would be similar to agreeing something is ‘true’, so did you drink 4 pints of Lager?

    Quoi?

  153. Gooner in Exile says:

    Someone just phoned 606 to complain that Wenger “all to often” brings off our biggest goal threat (Theo today in his opinion) to secure the 1-0 rather than trying to score a second.

    Now I agree I wouldn’t have taken Theo off as his pace threat keeps opponents defenders honest but to complain that Wenger makes negative substitutions “all too often” is beyond me. I’d think most regulars would prefer to see us a bit more professional and closing out games.

  154. London says:

    Yes, I did RA and that is my excuse for not explaining myself as well as you are suggesting I should.

  155. Gooner in Exile says:

    As for what’s our best centre midfield (if we have to stick 4-3-3:

    Song (anchoring)

    Jack/Ramsay/Diaby and Cesc

  156. London says:

    We had a good four decent breakaways and all of them were wasted look at the replay and see whose pass messed them up.
    The clue is it wasn’t Theo.

  157. Red Arse says:

    London,

    Not a suggestion, just an observation. Other than that — nada.

    GIE, Perhaps the caller meant that bringing on Eboue for Theo, was neither a defensive nor an offensive solution, and defied logic. What do I know? :-)

  158. Gooner in Exile says:

    London….I know Foy was a bloody nightmare for breaking up our attacks

  159. goonermichael says:

    Foy was the mancs most effective midfielder

  160. London says:

    Lol, it’s true Foy broke up four really good break aways.

  161. London says:

    So today in a 4.3.3 with everyone fit and Song anchoring who would be your other two?

  162. Gooner in Exile says:

    If we’re talking fully fit and with a full season under their belts it would be a hard call between Jack and Rambo as they both are good passers have composure with ball at feet and can tackle. But Jack would get it simply because I’ve seen more of what he is capable of and to me complements Cesc better as they have a different style. Whereas Rambo is maybe too similar to Cesc to play in the same side.

    Having said that a central midfield six to choose from of Song/Frimpong/Cesc/Diaby/Wilshere and Rambo is a very good for the heart and mind of many Gooners I would imagine.

  163. London says:

    GIE

    This is obviously what I am getting at: my choice would be Song, Cesc and Rambo. The last time this was available to us was just before Rambo’s injury and we were playing well — very well. A couple of things to bear in mind: Cesc can do everything Jack does and more and secondly it is not a case that if the clock works don’t try and mend it — this season i.e our clock well and truely broke and undoubtedly needs mending.

    PS, I like your midfield six.

  164. MattD says:

    So good to read positive comments for a change after all the Arsene must go rubbish. But 1. Do we NEED Cesc? or should we let him go(with the midfuield we’ve got) and buy a few top players? and 2. should we get Jens to stay on as GK coach and stand-by GK?

  165. johnQ says:

    My choice would be Song, Cesc, and a fit and focus Diaby.

  166. London says:

    Hi JohnQ

    A fit and focused Diaby is probably a better call but I may as well write it before someone else does: fit — and — focused at the same time?

  167. johnQ says:

    A fit and focus Diaby actually had a run of a decent game last season after Ramsey was injured and Cesc inconsistent hamstring injury. His goal against Aston Villa last season was a thing of beauty.

    Unfortunately he blew his chances to make the third midfield spot his own at the end of the season.

  168. 26may1989 says:

    We should be Champions, simple as that.

    The players turned up today; six weeks too late, but at least they did it. Ramsey, Wilshere and Song were as good as others have already said. And Szczesny was very good in goal, confirms why we shouldn’t waste money signing a keeper in the summer. But I thought Koscielny and Sagna were also very good.

    As for Cesc’s future, I think we’d be mad to let him go if there’s a chance he’d stay. There have been various games this season he’s turned. He remains a player of the highest quality. And it’s not like we go very long without injuries, there will be plenty of chances for each of Cesc, Ramsey and Wilshere to get pitch time.

  169. 26may1989 says:

    After Almunia, Diaby is next on my list of players I’d like to see moved on this summer. All potential, precious little end product.

    And I just don’t believe a consistently fit and focussed Diaby exists.

  170. Wonderman says:

    Hi 26, I’m almost with you on that one, but I think he should be told that he needs to deliver next season or he is out

  171. 26may1989 says:

    Hi Wonderman: I think we’ve been there with Abou – he made a big thing of doing an extended pre-season before 2009-10, and initially that seemed to have some effect. But 18 months on and we’re pretty much where we were. His career with us has just run its course. I’d rather see space in the squad created for the likes of Lansbury, Frimpong and Emmanuel-Thomas.

    Truth be told, Diaby would probably do better to go back to French football.

  172. Gooner in Exile says:

    “A fit and focused Diaby”

    I’m pretty sure we should think ourselves lucky that he is awake half the time :D

    If we can two or three players in every position as we have for Centre Midfield we could go a long way, we need quality up top which could be already there (Cham, NikB, Afobe) to accompany RvP.

    Another couple of wide men with pace and final ball (in Lansbury we may already have one). At least one new centre back….Bartley and Miquel.

    I guess what I’m saying is we shouldn’t expect a lot of acquisitions

  173. RockyLives says:

    I don’t think it’s either fair or sensible to compare Jack with Cesc. But when Jack has got three or four full seasons under his belt (like Cesc has) I fully expect him to be the first name on the Arsenal (and England) team sheets. He’s the most exciting prospect I have seen in an Arsenal shirt since, well, since a young Cesc Fabregas.

    And so to Cesc… he has had a poor season this year. As some have pointed out, this may be in part due to the fact that he hasn’t had a proper break since summer 2007. He went from the end of the 07/08 season into the 2008 Euros, then from the 08/09 season into the Confederations Cup, then from the 09/10 season into the WC.

    Hopefully a summer off this year will bring him back to his best for next season (with us, not with the Catalans) but I have another (possibly controversial) plan for Cesc: I think he should relinquish the Arsenal captaincy. He should say he wants to concentrate on his game and not be distracted by the extra demands of captaincy. The armband can then go to Verm or Robin or Sagna – as long as it’s someone who’ll shout and lead. I genuinely think the captaincy has not been a great fit for Cesc.

  174. Wonderman says:

    26 agree with you GIE completely. For me certain players have been given more than enough time to prove themselves and have not in my opinion. Namely Diaby, Denilson, Vela,Almunia. I would love to see Lansbury, Frimpong, and JET given as much of a chance as some others have been

  175. RockyLives says:

    If we want a precedent of a captain giving up the captaincy and regaining his form to devastating effect, how about Ian Botham in the 1981 Ashes.
    He was on a 12 Test losing run as captain. Gave up the role… and then came Headingley.

  176. RockyLives says:

    Sharkey
    £8.8m for Jack? If (and thank God we won’t) we decided to sell him to ManU we’d be asking £30m. Best young English player to emerge since Rooney.

    Mind you, if we can get £8m each for Diaby and Denilson… think I’d take the money.

  177. Rasp says:

    We saw the Song of last season today, because he stayed deep, protected the back four and gave Jack and Ramsay the freedom to go forward. He was Flamini with extra strength. The experiment of him playing in attacking midfield was shown to be ridiculous today. We have more than enough attacking prowess in the other midfielders, but none of them can do the job of shielding the defence and feeding the midfield as well as he can. He doesn’t need to attempt extravagant passes, his job is one of the most important in the team and he (and the manager) should be delighted that he can be such an important cog in the machine instead of trying to turn him into another identikit attacking midfielder …. rant over :oops:

  178. 26may1989 says:

    Exile

    I agree, we need quality up front. But I have doubts about what we have. Van Persie isn’t the right man to be a lone striker. Much as I like Bendtner (yes, there is one person other than his dad and that Danish princess who does), I don’t believe he will ever have sufficient mobility and touch to make it. Chamakh is a good squad striker, and Walcott has it in him to be an out-and-out striker, but we need more. The youngsters like Afobe may be great, but who knows whether they’ll make it.

    With his contract running down at The Bridge, I really think two years of Didier Drogba in a red and white shirt could be the answer to our needs and something for him to finish his career with. He has experience, competitiveness and ability, and he’s a true winner. Plus he s both francophone and established in England. I’m not the first to suggest it, but I really think he could add something that we’re missing.

    The business I’d like to see this summer:

    In: Hazard, Parker, Drogba
    Promoted: Frimpong, Lansbury, Emmanuel-Thomas, Bartley, Miyaichi
    Out: Diaby, Almunia, Arshavin, Bendtner, Denilson, Vela

  179. RockyLives says:

    Rasp
    Amen to that. Song can be one of the best in the world in the DM position.

  180. RockyLives says:

    Sad news about Henry Cooper.

  181. 26may1989 says:

    Completely agree with you Rasp, Song was superb as a back-to-basics DM today. Which is exactly what we need him to be. Long may it continue.

  182. 26may1989 says:

    Agreed, that is sad about Henry Cooper, Rocky, an icon, a real sportsman and very decent bloke has died. And if memory serves, one of his big fights against Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali was at Highbury, wasn’t it?

  183. RockyLives says:

    Yes 26 – his second fight against Ali was at Higbury in 1966. Ali won fairly comfortably. It was the first fight between the two (at Wembley) where the then Cassius Clay was flattened by ‘Enry’s ‘Ammer (and avoided losing the fight only via some shenanigans from Angelo Dundee in his corner, who widened a small rip in Clay’s glove with his thumb and, illegally, used smelling salts to revive him during the several minutes it took to get a new glove on).

  184. Harry says:

    Evening all, great prematch radster, saved me doing it, but I will be doing my match report tonight….So wont say much about the game, keep my thoughts for the report…..

    Interesting reading some of the comments from ones that attended against those that didnt (no offence), its amazing what you see live against screen, I will be rewatching before my report anyway…

    One thing that is clear reading thro all the comments, we have (if cesc, nasri stay) so many options in midfield……

    And on the back of today, I have revised my summer transfer list….

    Rasp, picking up on one thing you wrote earlier, I actually think there was an element of pressure today, city are breathing down our necks….

    As for United been poor, complete twaddle, they tried their usual tactics and it didnt work…..

  185. Rasp says:

    Hi Harry,

    Do you think we would have won in that way today if we’d been favourites to win the title and utd needed a win to keep their hopes alive?

  186. London says:

    I think it is perfectly reasonable to compare Cesc with Jack they may well be vying for the same position in the next game and that has nothing to do with four season’s time.

    Rasp
    I wish you would address the reason that Song was forced to go and play the more attacking role, if you did I think you might understand why it happened.

  187. Rasp says:

    I appreciate that Song’s job today was to keep Rooney quiet – which he did brilliantly. My point is that we do not need him to play a more advanced role whatever the opposition. One of the characteristics this season has been defeats to teams we should beat with ease, so we need a DM of Song’s quality for all games.

    I imagine you are referring to the need for Song to play in that position today due to Cesc’s absence, but I would argue that even with Cesc, Song would be the double indemnity we need to nullify the opposition’s attacking threat. He sat back today and mopped up after Ramsey and Jack made tackles and then played an attacking pass, I don’t see why he can’t do that with Cesc on the pitch.

  188. Gooner in Exile says:

    26 I do think we need someone up there I just think in reality with what’s already there and brewing the number of transfers that sone are calling for won’t materialise, it’s just the need for interchangeable quality all over the pitch that we need with a few slightly inferior number makers when chips are down. I’d rather see Anelka return than Drogba arrive.

    My only worry now is that substitutes for us are not all at required level. And therefore when they cone on they can have the appearance of weakening us.

    Honourable mention for Squilli today who didn’t spark a collapse.

  189. 26may1989 says:

    I strongly agree with Rasp on the DM thing: we need (a) Song to stick to playing that role and (b) have reliable back-up. Encouraging Song to go on too many forward runs doesn’t play to his strengths and creates a problem for the other midfielders (hence LJ often hanging back). And as things stand, we don’t have a real back-up for the DM role: Denilson is a possession midfielder and Diaby a give-and-go mdifielder, neither of whom have the concentration to do the defensive work reliably. Frimpong may well be great, but who knows?

    Personally, even with great performances like today’s, I’m not 100% convinced that Song is quite good enough, but he has plenty of ability to perform what is a key role in our team. And if we’re going to spend money, I really think some of it should go on improving our options at DM, and not in the make-do way of things.

  190. 26may1989 says:

    New home shirt launched. A nice classic look with a 125th anniversary badge. All looks good, am especially pleased with a return to red socks!

  191. Gooner in Exile says:

    To quote my Dad:

    “Someone made the mistake of telling Alex Song he was allowed to play football”

    Dont get me wrong a late surging run and goal from him have been important for us, but he got them coming from deep, and providing an extra man that the opposition had forgotten about. When he joins the play too much the element of surprise/momentum carrying him in to the box is gone.

  192. goonermichael says:

    How funny is all the bitching about the cheats not getting a penalty at the end?

  193. johnQ says:

    Interesting bit of info taken from the BBC site:

    “Arsenal field their youngest line-up of the season. They average 23 years and 296 days today – also the youngest line-up of all clubs this Premier League season.”

  194. London says:

    Rasp

    So long as Cesc is playing next to someone who offers a goal threat ie Ramsey then I agree that Song should stay further back.

    The reason, as I see it, as to why Song has been playing more advanced is to try and make up for Wilshere’s total lack of goal threat.

    Song is more likely to score than Wilshere.

    This season is not a case of if the clock works don’t try and mend it…….we have not been able to score enough goals…….Wenger’s insistance on playing Wilshere, a player who offers zero goal threat, has been one of the biggest causes of this problem.

    The midfield for the rest of the season should be Ramsey, Fabregas and Song.

  195. Evonne says:

    Morning London – do you mean not to play Jack at all??

  196. London says:

    The other thought that crossed my mind is that I reckon it would be better to loan Diaby out for a season rather than sell him out right.
    I am sure I’m not alone in thinking that there is still a slim possibility that he could turn into a very, very good midfield player and we would really have egg on our faces if we sold him at the end of the season and he blossoms next.
    No, far better to loan him to an Italian club and if he flourishes we have the option of bringing him back and if not we could always sell him to Rangers or Celtic lol

  197. London says:

    Morning Evonne

    The reason we will not win the league is because we have not scored enough goals…….Wilshere has offered nothing in that department. Wenger’s insistance on playing him week in and week out has been a major factor in this.

    The focus should have always been winning the league and not Wilshere’s introduction to the first team.

    And to answer your question Evonne — for the rest of the season, Wilshere on the bench coming on at the right time.

  198. Rasp says:

    Hi London,

    I think the reason Jack has played so many games is down to circumstances not Arsene’s choice. The midfield should revolve around Song, Cesc and Nasri with the others all being interchangeable. I don’t think Cesc has been fully fit all season (and most of last). I agree Jack still has a lot to learn and as AW said yesterday, before his injury, Ramsey was ahead of him in development.

    We have scored plenty of goals this season so I don’t see the need to have all the midfielders scoring, I believe it is the goals we have conceded that have been the most damaging. Having said that, my first choice for a summer signing would be a goalpoacher.

  199. Big Raddy says:

    London. Good point about loaning out Diaby. He has yet to play 10 consecutive games for Arsenal, as such we have yet to see if he can become the player AW believes he can be. However, once again would face the conundrum of who gets dropped? I see your point about the lack of goal threat from JW but we have all seen how many he scored in the reserves and this aspect to his game will surely come.

    I recall AW playing Diaby in the Arshavin role – it didn’t work, nor did it work when he played just behind RVP.He hasn’t the pace or the nous to play instead of Nasri, can’t tackle like JW/Song nor see a pass like CF. He is behind Ramsey already as the box to box MF – rightly so on yesterday’s performance. I fear Diaby will never get a regular berth at the Grove.

    As you say a loan or a big money sale. He has already played a dominant role in the French National side, I can see us getting at least €10m for him.

  200. Big Raddy says:

    Having re-read my above comment, I can see that English is becoming my second language :-)

  201. goonermichael says:

    I disagree London. Tha mancs will most probably win the league and anderson, fletcher, carrick and gibson haven’t exactly scored shedloads.

  202. kelsey says:

    Morning all.

    iread this somewhere and thought it amusing.

    Chris foy made two terrific interceptions and a great tackle on van Persie.

    With regards to Jack, if a few more players had the spunk to play like him we would have won the league.no doubt in my mind.

  203. Rasp says:

    Morning Raddy,

    I agree, a loan spell for Diaby would be very sensible, but you don’t see players who have been in the first team being sent out on loan very often so I doubt it will happen.

    Like the rest of you, I am itching to produce my list of ins/outs for the summer, but that shouldn’t take place until after we’ve played the last game. One thing is for sure, we will need to let a striker go if we’re going to sign one.

  204. barumgooner says:

    Morning all. London sorry but I cant agree with you about Jack. Imo he has been one of the shining lights in a very forgetable season for us. If we have failed to score goals its due to to not having wide men attacking the defenders and creating space, we play so flat accross the middle that its like watching some old war film with lines of troops just slowly walking into the enemy whilst the general sits on a distant hill oblivious to change and hopeful that sheer numbers will prevail. Imo we have only been truly effective when Theo has been on form. We need an attacking left sided player in the Bobby/Freddie mould who can mix it up a bit and come inside or take on his man.

  205. London says:

    Morning Rasp

    I think I have made my point about Wishere.

    I share your concerns about the defence, although, I expect Vermaelen to change that next season I also share your desire for a goal poacher: I thought Suarez would have been perfect — until I saw him at the Ems — so disappointed.

    I do not share your view that we have scored plenty of goals — too many draws suggest the opposite to me.

    Changing tack slightly, it is interesting that you say that circumstances have forced Wenger’s hand, there is obviously a great deal of truth in that.

    Arshavin has been like a beautiful flower that has slowly wilted on the wing…..his confidence has been crushed.

    Why, oh why didn’t Wenger try Nasri on the left, Van Persie in the middle, Theo on the right.

    Song DM (and staying there) with Arshavin and Cesc in front?

    I am probably falling into my own criticism of with hind sight we all get everything right.

  206. Big Raddy says:

    It was a blow to see Bartley get crocked at Rangers. He was getting rave reviews and settling well into their team. He could have won Silverware and become a winner ;-)

    I wonder whether AW will extend his loan with Squillaci reaching 31 this year, or bring him back to integrate into the team.

  207. kelsey says:

    Morning Rasp.

    Denilson didn’t even make the bench yesterday so there is one.I think rosicky will be allowed to go (over thirty thing) and I belive Bendtner has had a fall out with AW and if the right offer came along he would be off and the Clichy rumours persist and there is a good arguement that he was a better player two years ago.Almunia is a cert to leave and then of course do we want cesc for another season knowing the inevitable will happen or notthe following season.

    Many decisions for the boss to consider but as you say, at the end of the season.

  208. barumgooner says:

    Raddy, true about Diaby. I admit im not his biggest fan but the truth is that he is not as good as the other midfielders we already have and doesn’t really fit into any of our vacant slots.

  209. Big Raddy says:

    Barum. Despite my making a pledge to myself not to talk about what is needed before season’s end. I agree that the first priority has to be a left sided attacker

  210. Big Raddy says:

    Looking forward to Harry’s match report. Am still basking in the glory …

  211. Morning Grinning Gooners :)

    We have a New Post ……….

  212. goonermichael says:

    I have a feeling there will be changes this summer. Hope I’m right.

  213. London says:

    Manu are one of the few teams that come to the Ems and attack us, when a team does that it creates place, a commodity that Theo usually does well in. Most teams pack the defence in order to reduce space; Walcott doesn’t have the close control to operate in tight spaces and so he is nullified, so bearing in mind that nine out of ten teams pack the defence at the Ems Walcott is nullified nine out of ten games.
    And people say he should be played as a centre forward lol…..in that position he would have even less space and therefore be even less effective.

  214. Rasp says:

    Morning again London,

    If you divide the goals scored by those conceded, you get a figure that represents how many we score for every one conceded.

    At this point, you get the following result:

    Manu: F71; A33 = 2.15
    Chavs: F66; A28 = 2.35
    Ars: F68; A36 = 1.88
    City: F55; A31 = 1.77

    We would have had to have concede 6 fewer goals to beat manu’s score of 2.15

  215. 26may1989 says:

    Across the season, scoring goals hasn’t been the problem, it’s been the frail defence (think of Spurs, Newcastle, Sunderland, West Brom before Xmas). And it doesn’t take a genius to work out that side of our game needs attention.

    But in the run-in, London’s right, a clinical attack would’ve made the difference: draws against Blackburn, Sunderland and West Brom should’ve been made into wins by quality attacking. And that shows, as others say, we need something to improve what we have up front.

    As for Wilshere, I disagree with London. LJ has had a fantastic first season, often being our best player. I don’t have the numbers but I bet he has a good number of assists and pre-assists (if there is such a thing). Playing him has not been a luxury, far from it.

    The future is an axis of Ramsey and Wilshere, we all know that, but for now they’re as likely to compete for places as play alongside one another. And both have different qualities, one of Ramsey’s being his eye for goal from the edge of the box.

  216. mickydidit89 says:

    Morning all,
    Thoroughly enjoyed reading last night’s comments. Have also promised not to discuss personnel until CL qualification safe. Ooo it is, barring Spuds winning every game by six. So I guess mentioning Ashley Young, Eto and Parker would be ok by my rules.

  217. mickydidit89 says:

    I think it was Rocky who made the point that a huge positive has been in proving to this young team that we have what it takes to beat Utd and Chelsea, and Barca.

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