Archive for April, 2007

Arsenal 3 – 1 Fulham: I blame the minute of applause

150 comments April 30th, 2007

It’s a lovely gesture, and a fitting tribute, but the minute of applause for Alan Ball and Arthur Milton backfired for Arsenal yesterday when it became immediately apparent that a crowd that’s quiet at best had completely exhausted themselves before the game had even kicked off. This led to a fairly drab display that allowed Fulham back in when they should’ve been dead and buried.

Fortunately, Emmanuel Adebayor rescued us, and Gilberto rubbed their noses in it. Full report later today, but right now I’ve got to run.

Feel free to talk amongst yourselves.

A little late, but here’s the match report.

Almost no point now, but I thought I’d add a few more thoughts on yesterday’s game. After going in front so early on, it looked like we’d run away with it, but lo and behold we failed to make the most of several good opportunities.

After a while, we became complacent – showboating at 1-0 is never a good idea, and a Fulham equaliser became an inevitability. Mad Jens showed a new contract hasn’t settled him down in the least by charging out of goal to allow Simon Davies to lob him from a feeble punch.

Fortunately, Adebayor produced a calm finish and Gilberto a cool penalty as we quickly restored our lead. It was almost as if we required the equaliser to spark us into life once more.

If we want to beat Chelsea next weekend, we’ll need to play a whole lot better.

My funny feeling…

73 comments April 29th, 2007

…is that we’ll thrash Fulham today. I almost feel sick saying it, because my record with predictions is such that it makes it almost certain we’ll lose. But after a few heartening performances since the win over Bolton, and with Fulham struggling under a caretaker manager who owes almost all his success to David Healy, it just seems it might be time to give someone the kind of thumping we haven’t really delivered since our Baptista’s Anfield romp.

Baptista might start today, with Abou Diaby shifting out to the left, to cover for the wholely unsurprising absences of Freddie Ljungberg and Tomas Rosicky. A point confirms Champions League qualification (it’s already confirmed – thanks bassetjb), but with Liverpool slipping up yesterday, it’s possible we could apply pressure for third place too.

In a typically forthright interview with Amy Lawrence, William Gallas has spoken about Arsenal’s problems defending set-pieces:

“I will change that. I will talk. I’m old enough to organise things. I don’t like zonal. Maybe it’s a good system when you have the right players. When Arsenal had a lot of tall, strong players a few years ago – Sol Campbell, Martin Keown, Patrick Vieira – it can work. But this season is different. We don’t have a lot of tall, strong players. Zonal is difficult for us. If you mark one v one that means that is your man and when your man scores it is your fault. It is your responsibility to mark him. With zonal when you concede a goal everyone looks at everybody else.”

That’s a sight we’ve seen too often this season, and I have to say, I agree with our French defender. It’s clear as day that the zonal system hasn’t been working for us for some time now, and as the old adage goes, a zone never pops up to head home. Mark the men and allow the keeper control of the area.

People might say that Gallas shouldn’t come out and say this in the press, but if it requires that to pressure Arsene into making the defensive changes we so evidently need, then I’m with Gallas all the way.

I’d like to finish by congratulating Leeds United on qualifying for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. If you wish to send your congratulations to the fans of Leeds United, feel free to do so here.

It looks like we’ve missed out

686 comments April 28th, 2007

In recent weeks, I’d decided I definitely wanted Chelsea to win the title. Not only were Manchester United the old enemy – it’s far more important than that. It’s because for the past two years, I’ve accepted Chelsea’s dominance, on the condition that we did everything we could to be the first side to beat them to the title. Manchester United, at least two years ahead of us in terms of the development of their team, look to have beaten us to the punch after a quite amazing 90 minutes. Words don’t do it justice. All I can say is that Phil Neville’s “defending” was more than suspicious.

There is so much news from yesterday it’s hard to sum up. I think it may be time for bullet points:

Competition winner: Bad luck, bro

136 comments April 27th, 2007

As I’m sure you know by now, we’ve been running a competition on Gunnerblog this week to win a Robert Pires t-shirt.  However, when my Chelsea supporting brother heard about this, he was inexplicably interested.  “I rate Robert Pires”, he claimed, before following up with the bluntest of questions: “Can you let me win?”

“No, I can’t”, says I, keen to preserve the integrity of my website.  “If, however, you enter of your own accord and happen to be drawn out the hat, then I’ll readily congratulate you”.

He did enter, complete with entitling the email “Nudge nudge wink wink”.  As far as he could see, all he had to do was answer the simplest of questions, and surely I’d fix it for him to have a brand new t-shirt:

Which club did Arsenal sign Robert Pires from?

According to my bro, Metz.  Oh dear oh dear.

Congratulations instead to Nicole Smith, who correctly identified Marseille as Pires’ previous side.  My bro should’ve known better – Bob scored an absolute cracker for Marseille against his beloved Chelsea just before he moved to us.  I’ll be in touch with the winner over the weekend – thanks again to our friends over at, who’ll be giving away another t-shirt here in just six weeks time.  In light of their affiliation with Gunnerblog, they’ve added a bunch of new Arsenal shirts, which are all worth checking out.

Not a huge amount of football news around today, but I suggest you listen to the arsecast for the greatest technical accomplishment since man landed on the moon.

Lehmann to go with Arsenal’s terms?

833 comments April 26th, 2007

Jens Lehmann“I will play another year for Arsenal. This club has a great outlook. For me it’s important to play Champions League.”

So, it looks like Jens Lehmann might be staying at Arsenal after all. I hold my hands up: I’ve said on more than one occasion that I thought he’d be going, and that information came for very well-placed sources.

However, it seems Jens has decided he’s rather a year’s contract at Arsenal than two-years in the Bundesliga, and I have to say I think he’s made the best choice for him. He’s already said he’ll consider his future after Euro 2008, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him call it a day then – at that stage, he’ll be only a few months away from his 39th birthday.

The question remains: is this the best thing for Arsenal? It comes just a day after rumours linking us with Yohann Pele, and only a week after Lehmann was widely blamed for disrupting our defence in the North London derby.

For me, it comes down to a question of finances – if Arsene’s transfer budget is as meagre as sources suggest, then perhaps it’s worth delaying the inevitable to strengthen other areas of the team that require more immediate treatment – I’m looking at the wide areas specifically. Of course, it’s perfectly possible that Jens could stay alongside another new goalkeeper – though that’d be a slap in the face of the current able deputy, Manuel Almunia.

Jens staying would also halt the flow of experience and winning mentality out of the club, which can’t be a bad thing.

Anyhow, at the moment this remains mere speculation. More if and when it becomes fact.

R.I.P. two fantastic Arsenal players, Alan Ball and Arthur Milton, who’ll both be sorely missed.

ps. Good>Evil

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