Archive for January, 2006

Defeat, but this time not without a fight…

45 comments January 29th, 2006

I was expecting us to lose to Bolton, and lose we did. But I was not expecting a brave performance in which our youngsters dominated, and whereby we ourselves could easily have nicked a winner.

The star of the show was Johan Djourou at centre-back, who looked a more suitable partner for Sol than Philippe Senderos. Something that always strikes me about Djourou is that like Toure, it’s obvious he has played in midfield: his ability on the ball, and in starting attacks off, is excellent.

Abou Diaby in midfield also looked to be a good prospect. Physically imposing, tough in the tackle, and skillful on the ball, he might now be hard to oust from the team.

Generally, the young players dug in, and we certainly showed Bolton we weren’t to be bullied – particularly when Diaby scythed into their best player, Ivan Campo, forcing him to withdraw from proceedings. I’m not condoning fouling, but it did give us a psychological boost.

Late on, Djourou and Gilbert tried to play offside against a swirling Gardner cross, Campbell and Senderos were left behind, and Stelios arrived unmarked to head home a cruel winner.

Out of two cup competitions in one week.

All focus has to be on the league now. If we don’t come fourth, we’re in really big trouble.

Out of one cup – Preparing to make it two…

7 comments January 28th, 2006

Forgive me for being negative, but I’m ill. Haven’t made any updates all week because I’ve been down with what could turn out to be glandular fever. Hurrah.

This meant I was unable to attend the 2nd leg of our Carling Cup Semi-final with Wigan. That wasn’t such a bad thing. As you all know by now, horrendous defending yet again from Senderos and Campbell allowed Roberts to stab home a last second goal that put them through on away goals.

Really gutting stuff. Robin van Persie’s extra-time free kick seemed to have swung it for us, but yet again our defensive flaws are made obvious. With Senderos and Campbell, neither defender sweeps in behind like Toure. They simply don’t have the pace. It is an awful combination, and should be avoided.

So how do you respond to going out of one cup competitions? By resting Lauren, Pires, Bergkamp, and Henry, apparently. Hardly ambitious on Wenger’s part, especially when you conisder we’re already missing Gilberto, Ashley Cole, Gael Clichy, Pascal Cygan, Cesc Fabregas, Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Adebayor, and Emmanuel Eboue.

To me, it reeks of surrender. I know Bolton play an aggressive game that we find hard to cope with, but sending a bunch of kids to the slaughter does not seem the appropriate course of action. We can only hope the youngsters fight fire with fire, and show the sort of determination that some of the senior players clearly lack.

Come on Arsenal.

God that was half-hearted. A bit like our season.

Adebayor is a mentalist.

54 comments January 22nd, 2006

Look at those eyes. Utterly mental.

Last night, he surprisingly pulled out of Togo’s first match of the African Cup of Nations at the last minute. Named in the starting line-up, he was nowhere to be seen at kick-off. Togo coach Stephen Keshi explains:

“This morning I said to Adebayor that he wouldn’t play because he hadn’t played in a long time and because he had spent the last week sorting out his contract with Arsenal,” said Keshi.

“Just before the game, I told him I was putting him in the team and then he said he didn’t want to play”.

Adebayor explains: “We lost yesterday and I do not know why I did not start. I was shocked – the main goalscorer of the team [being left out] – that is a joke.”

And not, in Adebayor’s mind, a very funny joke:

“The African Cup of Nations is finished for me. I am leaving the team. I will call Wenger and, if he is happy for me to go to Arsenal, I will go and start my career.”

Well, that might be nice, considering how crap we were yesterday. But now reports suggest he’s training with the Togo squad again?! We shouldn’t be surprised that Ade is completely insane. The only reason we were ever able to sign him was because he had a massive falling out with his previous club, Monaco. Then there’s this quote:

“If I have to kill someone to reach Germany next year, I will.”

I know we wanted more agression, but come on…

From Seventh Heaven to… well, rubbish.

61 comments January 21st, 2006

I’m as befuddled as you, Thierry.

That, my friends, was rubbish.

As a scholar, Theo Walcott still only earns £90 a week. If he spent £7 of it on this PremPlus match, he would’ve regretted it. Let’s hope that’s not all he regrets.

After winning our last match 7-0 using a 4-4-2, Arsene thought it wise to revert to the eternally rubbish 4-5-1. Brilliant. Playing Freddie Ljungberg in central midfield? A masterstroke. Or not.

Playing Gilberto Silva at all was what turned out to be our downfall. He was so bad. He couldn’t pass, tackle, head. He could barely walk. It was like the whale trapped in the Thames. You just thought it best to put him down. Dreadful.

The way that away from highbury our entire midfield just collapses is dreadful. Cesc was one of our better players, but even he got himself stupidly sent off late on. He’ll now miss three games, virtually guaranteeing that we’ll be seeing plenty more of Gilberto.

Abou Diaby came on for his debut, but judging by the performances from some of the midfielders out there, it won’t be long before he’s in the first team. Crazy though it sounds, it won’t be long before the same is true of Theo Walcott.

Infuriating stuff.

Young forward Theo Walcott signs for Arsenal

833 comments January 20th, 2006

Fantastic. A week after the story first broke, Theo Walcott has completed his move to Arsenal.

The fee of £5m rising to £12m is a record for a 16-year-old, and astonishing considering that he could’ve left Southampton for under a million in March. Rupert Lowe isn’t happy that Theo turned down the bigger offer from Chelsea, but Rupert’s woe just makes me all the more delighted.

Theo will wear the number 32 shirt he had at Southampton, and Arsene says he expects him to be challenging for a first team place “after an adaptation period of a few weeks“.

Theo himself said, “Iâ??m so pleased to be joining Arsenal, a club I have admired for a long time. Coming to Arsenal will give me the opportunity to work with world class players every day and play football at the highest possible level. Itâ??s a strange day, because Iâ??m also very sad to be moving from Southampton. Iâ??m leaving many friends and some great coaches who have been so important to my career so far, but I leave with many great memories from the club. Iâ??m now really looking forward to meeting my new team mates and working hard as an Arsenal player“.

As I said before: just fantastic. The top young English talent in the country is at Arsenal. Enjoy it.


Looking forward to tomorrow, there’s another piece of good news with Sol Campbell set to return from injury. Hurrah.

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