Archive for October, 2006

Henry wasn’t booed, but…

55 comments October 31st, 2006

…there are a minority of fans who seem to find his presence in the team irritating. The guy sitting behind me on Saturday spent the entire time criticising Henry’s movement and general effort-levels, and by the end of the game there were a few others joining him.

The problem for Henry is that he’s set his standards so high, that if he’s not scoring a hat-rick every week people are bound to criticise. However, the fans have to realise that when we play a 4-5-1 Henry’s role is very different: he can’t drift out to the left and dribble with the ball – he has to remain in the centre and try and take the ball with his back to goal.

For fans to criticise the clubs highest ever goalscorer, and arguably greatester ever player is nothing short of ridiculous.

Henry himself was unperturbed by the draw on Saturday, which gave Man Utd a seven point lead:

“We have won there [at Old Trafford] and they have to come here yet. They are having a good run but we have a game in hand. So the lead could be four, six or stay at seven. We did not start [the season] properly but before this game we had won five out of five and a draw so, in a way, it is not a massive disappointment.”

Arsene, however, has given the team a verbal kick up the backside. Firstly, he’s expressed concern over the points lost at home, and called the team “arrogant” in their performance in Moscow. I think the latter shows just how much he knows we need a win tomorrow…

Finally, Steve Claridge usually talks rubbish. However, today, he’s been praising Niklas Bendtner. Something to get excited about.

The clocks have gone back

25 comments October 29th, 2006

I have literally no idea what time it is.  All I know is that I was where I was supposed to be when I was supposed to be there, and yet I was early.  Why do they mess with it?  I’d definitely probably rather have it dark all Christmas and not suffer the confusion I did this morning.

In the aftermath of our draw with Everton, there’s been a lot of talk about “negative football”.  Personally, dull though it is, I understand that a manager like David Moyes has to do all he can to get points on the board for his side.  Arsene concurrs, but with a caveat:

“We had a lot of opportunities but Everton defended well and they deserve a lot of credit. They were patient and diligent but it was frustrating as well. It was frustrating when at every free kick they stood over the ball but they defended very well.”

We certainly did have chances.  I think I’m right in saying that we had 23 attempts on goal compared to their one.  However, with Emmanuel Eboue out, our side had a tendency to become very narrow, leading to the introduction of Theo Walcott as an overlapping full-back.  Arsene says:

“You have to keep width.”

Yes.  Yes you do.  Anyhow, a draw really wasn’t such a bad result, and any decent result in Europe on Wednesday will have spirits right back up.

With Arsenal struggling in front of goal yesterday, perhaps they should look at the performance of young Anthony Stokes.  The Irish forwad, on loan at Falkirk, bagged a hatrick.  He, along with the likes of Carlos Vela (my tip for the top) and Nicklas Bendtner, could provide some serious competition for places come next season.

With Arsene looking to give Cesc a rest, his case will be eased by the return of Abou Diaby.  Diaby’s injury was a really bad one, the sort where you can’t be sure if the guy returning will be the same all-action player.  I hope he is: Diaby is in the Vieira/Sissoko mould – a power-house box-to-box player that we have lacked in recent seasons.

Check your clocks.  It’s probably 4.00pm yesterday, or something equally confuddling.

Arsenal 1 – 1 Everton: Same Old Story

58 comments October 28th, 2006

I’m back, and nothing appears to have changed. Another home game against a side playing 4-5-1, falling behind to a set piece, and struggling back to a 1-1 draw. Echoes of the games against Aston Villa, Man City, and Middlesbrough were everywhere. Whilst we suffered a defeat at City, on the other two occasions we were saved by outstanding contributions from the likes of Theo Walcott. Today, we have Robin van Persie to thank, after his brilliant free-kick finally broke down a resilient Everton.

Arsenal started the game with the same team who had destroyed Reading last weekend, and it looked at first like it might be a similiar game. Knowing that the key to our game-plan is an early goal, we threw everything at Tim Howard’s goal from the first whistle. However, Everton put a spanner in the works: a Tim Cahill-manufactured goal-shaped spanner. A corner was drifted in from the right, and as Kolo Toure missed his header, Cahill stole in to smash the ball into the top of the net. The Emirates was stunned.

From then on, there was an inevitability about Everton’s gameplan. When their lone striker, Andy Johnson, spends most of the game in his own half, it’s clear they weren’t here to attack. But I won’t criticise them for this: if I was an Everton fan, I’d be delighted with the determination they showed to grind out a point. But as an Arsenal fan, I will criticise them for some of their conduct: Mikel Arteta appeared to stamp on William Gallas, and he, Phil Neville, and Simon Davies were allowed to get away with a succession of fouls. They were also guilty of some blatant time wasting, which referee Mike Riley seemed equally unwilling to punish. I admire the likes of Cahill and Johnson, but today Everton came across as a nasty team.

Arsenal, meanwhile, were playing some good football, and deserved to take something from the game. As we threw men forward, Theo Walcott came on at right-back, with Jeremie Aliadiere at left-midfield. Eventually, in the 71st minute, van Persie curled in a beautiful free-kick to equalise.

Although we looked like we might nick a winner, it wasn’t to be. Some will criticise the team for dropping two points on a day when Chelsea and Manchester United won. However, being there in person, it was clear that the players gave everything they had, and were unlucky against a negative side. As for the formation debate, the 4-5-1 was again impressive, but it seems to have had it’s greatest successes against teams who play 4-4-2. When the opposition go like for like, the congestion in midfield can be horrendous.

Still, thanks to a bit of genius from our young dutchman, we didn’t lose. You have to look at it as a point gained. And we played well.

Don’t panic.

Gunnerblog From Beyond: If it ain’t broke…

46 comments October 27th, 2006

More Gunnerblog From Beyond. Or actually, it’s Gunnerblog From Somewhere Near Coventry. But that isn’t as catchy. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check yesterday’s post.

So, with Everton on Saturday, doing well themselves, the question must be asked: 4-4-2 or 4-5-1?

Some may call it 4-1-4-1, others 4-1-5, some just 5-5, but for now, let’s keep it simple with 4-5-1. Both have their obvious merits. In recent seasons, Wenger has favoured a 4-4-2 at home, leaving the 4-5-1 to retain possession in tricky away games and big European ties. But could it be time to retain a system that has beaten the likes of Real Madrid, Juventus, and Manchester United in recent months?

I have to say, after the dazzling display at Reading, I can see no argument for change. If the four runners from midfield support Henry as well as they did last weekend, Everton will be doomed.

What do you reckon? Does playing at home mean we should radically alter our tactical approach? Or should we persist with a formation that has us playing some of the most attractive football in Europe?

Ps. Wouldn’t it be spooky if I’d died, and so this became Gunnerblog From Beyond The Grave. Still, here’s hoping I haven’t. Touch wood. You’ll all find out tomorrow night, which is when I hope to post a write-up of the Everton game. Till then.

Gunnerblog From Beyond: Wing-wonder Walcott

40 comments October 26th, 2006

Hello. As I explained yesterday: I’m here, and yet I’m not. That is to say that this article was written today (Wednesday), but will be published tomorrow (Thursday), as I am away.

Firstly, a few bits of news that cropped up towards the end of yesterday (Wednesday). After Scandinavian pair Larsson and Bendtner netted in Birmingham’s 4-2 win over Sheffield United, manager Steve Bruce was quick to praise the latter. Meanwhile, our own cup hero, Jeremie Aliadiere has been telling the website that he sees his future at Arsenal. I’m sure he does, it’s just question of how much Arsene agrees.

Elsewhere, Theo Walcott has been speaking about his first 90 minutes as an Arsenal player, particularly a good chance he had towards the end of the game:

“It is always good to play a full game but it was disappointing not to get the goal because I always expect to score when I go through like that. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. Overall though, I felt I did well. I got an assist and hopefully I will get another start in the next round.”

By all accounts he put in a decent performance, starting on the left-wing before shifting to the right. When asked about his multi-positional display, Walcott is typically good-natured:

“I have now played on the right and left as well as up front. It is always good to play in different positions and I really don’t mind where I play.”

It’s a good attitude to have, especially when you consider that Arsene sees his immediately future on the flanks:

“I feel we must let him first play on the wing, then he will go in the centre later. I like to develop a player on the wing a little bit because he has to dribble, and later that will be an asset when he plays in the centre.”

So it’s clear what the long-term plan remains for Theo. It’s interesting: a pacey teenage forward, required to learn his trade on the wing, granting him remarkable dribbling skill to match his speed. Sound familiar? Of course it does.

Same time tomorrow for more Gunnerblog from Beyond.

Previous Posts

Search Gunnerblog

Get your Gunnerblog t-shirts now!

get regular updates from GS with twitter

Top Gunn

Cesc Fabregas
The man in form.

    Retro Arsenal T-Shirts from - Bringing Back The Good Old Days!: Click Here!

Latest Posts

Sponsored Links


October 2006
« Sep   Nov »

Posts by Month

Most Recent Posts

Posts by Category


Powered By

eXTReMe Tracker