Archive for October, 2008

Who shot Gael Clichy????

Add comment October 31st, 2008

In the aftermath of Wednesday’s games, plenty of questions have rightly been asked.  An inquest into our failings apparently took place in the dressing-room after the game, though who exactly would go to The Sun behind the club’s back is hard to determine.

Perhaps the most pertinent question, and one that is yet to have been asked, is who fired the shot that took down Gael Clichy in the build-up to Jermaine Jenas’ goal?

After extensive research, I believe I have identified the shooter.  Who is this man?  Possibly suspects include Kieran Gibbs, Eric Abidal, and Teddy Sheringham.

For my less conspiratorial thoughts on the game, check out the arsecast.

Stoke preview tomorrow.

Arsenal thump Spurs 4-2 to keep pace with leaders

1 comment October 30th, 2008

Arsenal 4 – 2 Spurs
(Bentley 13, Silvestre 37, Gallas 46, Adebayor 64, Bent 67, Van Persie 68)

After falling behind to a wonder goal from David Bentley, Arsenal dominated Spurs last night to thump them by four foals to two – and it could have been more.

Mikael Silvestre and William Gallas headed goals either side of half-time, before Emmanuel Adebayor got his customary goal against Spurs.  Darren Bent fired an instant reply, but Van Persie put the game back beyond doubt with just twenty minutes to go.  After a difficult start, it was a thrilling display, and we thoroughly deserved our three points.







Spurs preview: Don’t get mad Ade – Get even

1 comment October 29th, 2008

We owe Spurs.  Big time.  For this.

No-one has a greater debt to pay than Emmanuel Adebayor, who was part of a disgraceful on-pitch row with Nicklas Bendtner.  However, the Togolese striker is determined to put things right this time around:

“That day, they played quite good football. Maybe we were not ready, they took their chances. If it was 2-1, you could have said they had luck but they won 5-1 so there’s no luck there. They deserved to win.

For them it was a big event but now we have a chance to take our revenge. We hope the result is the reverse and we can put it in the Arsenal shop on Friday.”

After two goals in his past two games and rested legs from Sunday’s spot on the bench, Adebayor will provide a huge threat to a Tottenham backline that could be bereft of Ledley King.  With seven goals in seven games against our vicious rivals, he seems the man most likely to put Tottenham to the sword.

But there are other candidates.  English sensation Theo Walcott would love nothing more than another derby goal, whilst Samir Nasri may further his credentials as ‘The New Pires’ by inheriting Bobby’s habit of putting one past Spurs.

Nasri and Walcott should be on the wings, with Denilson available an alternative to Alex Song to partner Cesc Fabregas.  You’d expect Van Persie and Adebayor to play upfront, though Abou Diaby could run the Dutchman close for a starting place.

The real question marks are over the defence.  Toure and Sagna are both available, and whilst I’d expect the latter to replace Emmanuel Eboue, Kolo may struggle to oust Mikael Silvestre.  It’ll a big call from the manager and only the way the game pans out will tell if he’s got it right.

Whoever plays, it’s important we get at Spurs and expose their fragile confidence.  After their terrible start to the season, they come to the Emirates as serious underdogs, and that lifting of pressure might aid them.  However, if we play as well as we can, I don’t think there’s any way that they can live with us.

Ex-Arsenal News

Two former Gunners hit the headlines yesterday with their new jobs.

Freddie Ljungberg has signed for MLS club Seattle Sounders, who currently possess a hefty squad of just four players.  Whilst Ljungberg insists he wanted to go whilst still in his prime, there must have been a serious derth of offers from top European sides, and after his disastrous spell at West Ham that’s no surprise.  Nevertheless,  Freddie remains an Arsenal legend, and we wish him the best in the footballing theme park that is the MLS.

Tony Adams, meanwhile, is the new Portsmouth manager, and has warned Arsene Wenger that he is “coming to get [him]”.  I wish Adams all the best of luck, and am sure he will be a good appointment.  He has been very vocal about his desire to manage Arsenal one day, and maybe he is now starting out along that path.  As a club we seem quite quick to jump on the backs of our heroes after their playing days have ended – comments from the likes of Adams, Ian Wright and Ljungberg have resulted in them being lambasted by fans who once cheered their every step.  In a game now populated by mercenary players, we ought to celebrate everything that “Mr. Arsenal” did for the club as a player, and wish him success as a manager.

Finally today, Happy 21st Birthday to my Chelsea-supporting brother.  I wish him well, but hope his team forget to give him a present up at Hull.

Come On You Reds!

“We fully deserve to be where we are at the minute”: A Spurs fan speaks to Gunnerblog

2 comments October 28th, 2008

Arsenal and Tottenham’s rivalry is legendary. Each weekend, the respective teams results are qualified by comparison: an Arsenal draw seems much more palatable if Tottenham have lost. This season, many Arsenal fans have drawn almost as much satisfaction from Spurs’ terrible form as from our own performances. There is a symbiotic quality to the clubs existence – like all rivals, they are interdependent, and in part defined by their polar opposites.

And yet, one rarely gets to know what Spurs fans actually think. A discussion between Arsenal and Spurs fans so often descends into insults and jibes. With Spurs suffering a unique season, and the maddest of weekends, I thought I would turn to a Tottenham supporting friend of mine: one of the more genial and sane among his kind.

Adam is a twenty year-old History student from North London. He has supported Tottenham since he was five. He has held a season ticket for the past 15 years, as well as attending a large number of away games in recent seasons. His favourite current player is Ledley King, and his all time Spurs hero is David Ginola. I spoke to Adam yesterday at some length about the troubles that Tottenham has undergone. Whilst we all like to read about Spurs’ suffering, it was also interesting to get an insight on the Tottenham fans’ attitude to tomorrow’s game, and the Arsenal side they will be facing:

Adam, I believe I’m right in saying that in pure mathematical terms, this is the worst start to a season in Tottenham’s history. Does it feel that way?

To be honest, the win yesterday was greeted with relief more than anything. We have been the worst team in the Premier League so far this season and we fully deserve to be where we are at the minute; say what you want but if you don’t look like scoring you are always going to have problems. Yesterday the tide seemed to have turned a little bit, mainly because for the first time since Wembley (GS: The Carling Cup victory over Chelsea) the players looked as if they were playing for something more than their wages. I have absolutely no doubt that if we had stuck with Ramos we would have gone down, so whilst i have my issues with who we have got in to replace him, it was nice to see us act swiftly and efficiently for once.

The events of the past weekend were quite extraordinary. Ramos, Comolli and Poyet are now gone – who do you hold accountable? One of those three, or a man still at the club: Daniel Levy?

Whatever anyone wants to say about our personnel and weaknesses in certain areas, we have a better player than Hull in EVERY single position on that field. Yes, we are very thin up front, but if the manager gets the players to play for him and with passion, then in general you are going to suceed in the Premiership.  Ramos wasn’t doing that and therefore I have to point the finger at him for why we are bottom of the league. Comolli hasnt covered himself in glory, but I simply cannot believe that Ramos didnt have a say in transfers – that would be simply ridiculous and I feel that lazy journalists were using that line to fill column inches, irrespective of whether it was true or not.

Daniel Levy in my opinion has been an outstanding owner for the majority of his tenure, but his actions in the summer take some explaining. On the Keane issue, Gareth Barry and Ronaldo wanted out easily as much as Keane did yet they stayed at their clubs through a combination of tough chairmen and managers; if we had done the same then we wouldn’t be in half the mess that we are in at the minute in my opinion. On the Berbatov issue, I feel that Levy wanted to make a scapegoat of a player that for me, fully deserved his move – he never said he wanted to stay with us forever (unlike a certain Irish Number 10) and gave us two years of outstanding service. If we’d let him go in May for ten million less then we’d be in a far better position as we would have been able to bring someone else in after a long period of discussion and analysis – I actually quite like Pavlyuchenko but i do feel that we could have got someone in with him if we had had more time to conduct our business.

What are you feelings about the appointment of Harry Redknapp? And, if you were at the game on Sunday, did those seem to be reflected in the wider Spurs community?

I’ve never liked Harry Redknapp as a personality as I feel he is extremely dishonest and disloyal, but I am willing to get behind him if he steers us out of trouble, which I feel he will do. Unfortunately, us Spurs fans are an extremely impatient bunch and I can’t really see him taking us to any dizzying heights, which will undoubtedly turn many against him as his limitations at the top level are exposed. Moreover at 61 it is also questionable how much longer he will stay in the game, so whether he has been brought in as a stop-gap to save us or as a genuine long term option will become clear in the coming years.

In general, people seem positive about the appointment which I can fully understand: we need to be hard to beat and bring in players that will toughen us up which i feel he will do, so overall it is difficult to be too downhearted, especially in the current position that we find ourselves in.

After your horrendous start, what are your hopes for the rest of the season?
The prospect of relegation doesn’t scare me, and to be honest if it got rid of some of the deadwood that are only there for the money then I would almost welcome it, but to be honest, if you’re not in the Premiership, you are nothing in this day and age, so all I can hope for is that we stay up and consolidate for a season before looking to improve next year.
If you looked up the term ‘Next year is our year’ on Google, they would probably direct you straight to our official site, and I know that I am doing nothing to dispel that idea at the minute, but in the current situation we can’t really be expecting any miracles or pushes towards the European spots until at least next year.

Harry has a penchant for signing ex-Arsenal players, as well as players who’ve played for him before. Considering that, I think it’s more than likely he’ll make a January move for Lassana Diarra, which would only serve to decrease the Frenchman’s popularity amongst Arsenal fans. Do you think he’s the sort of player Spurs require to help turn things around?

Absolutely. For years we have been crying out for someone just to sit in front of the back four and destroy the opposition attacks and he may well be the person to do it. To be honest, I feel that with his natural lack of creativity partnered with his incredible athleticism, it would be silly to overlook Jermaine Jenas for that position as he isn’t really doing it as a ‘box-to-box’ player, but with players like Modric in the centre (who was outstanding for the first time on Sunday in the number 10 position) it is absolutely essential to have someone in there to break up the opposition’s play and distribute it quickly to the creators, much like Flamini seemed to do for Arsenal last season. Diarra would certainly be a player that i would be earmarking if I was in charge come January.

On to tomorrow’s game… In recent years, a lot of Arsenal fans have come to view games against the likes of Chelsea and United as of greater significance than the North London derby. Is this still the biggest game of Spurs fans’ season?

Without question. I can’t even offer an alternative view because every one of us to a man sees you as our biggest rivals, as I’d like to think the majority of your fans would concurr when they answer the question 100% honestly.  I cant believe that any Arsenal fan over the age of 16 would want to beat anyone in a cup final apart from Spurs – the league is obviously a different matter due to the battle for points, but deep down in your hearts, I’m pretty certain that we are still the team that you most enjoy beating… and let’s be honest about it, you’ve got used to it in the last 5 or so years!

I wonder if maybe the fact we’ve got so used to it is what contributes to the slowly descreasing excitement about the game.  In recent seasons, Emmanuel Adebayor has held a bit of an ‘Indian Sign’ over Spurs, scoring against them six times in his relatively short Arsenal career. Has that been noted amongst Spurs fans and is he a player you’ll worry about facing?

I always believe that if fans are booing an opposition player it is largely down to a fear of him, and that is certainly true of Adebayor. We now have a song about him (which, by the way, I think is disgusting and will never sing at a game), and for me that shows an inherent fear of him among the Spurs fans. He does seem to turn it on against us and I have no doubt that he will be a huge threat come Wednesday night. Hopefully King will be there and be his usual brilliant self, but i will be seriously worried if I see us lining up without our captain marvel at the heart of the defence.

It’s clear King’s availability is closely linked to Tottenham’s chances of success – having played at the weekend, do you think he’ll be fit to start the game?

I actually don’t think there is much point in predicting when he is or isn’t going to play anymore – it doesn’t really seem to make much sense: he will play 90 minutes in one game, look absolutely fine, jog off at the end and then have to miss the next three games. What has happened to him is nothing short of a tragedy and I feel so sorry for him that he has never been able to receive all of the accolades that he deserves as England’s best defender.

Whilst I’m not sure I’d go that far, I’ve long been a great admirer of King’s, and if it wasn’t for his injury problems, would’ve happily seen him in an Arsenal shirt. Setting realism aside, if Harry could pull off the signing of one current Arsenal player this January, who would you choose?

It sounds very clichéd but I think I’d have to go for Fabregas. One thing that Darren Bent has got in his locker is serious pace and I feel if we had someone like Fabregas threading balls through to him then he would be in line for the Golden Boot. I also feel that with Fabregas’ nasty, niggly side to his game (I mean as a compliment due more to his intelligence and knowledge of when to give free kicks away etc) that he would be the perfect partner for Modric in the centre of midfield.

Failing that, i would not be able to say no to Adebayor; after being privilaged enough to watch Berbatov hold the ball up and bring others into play for the last two years it would be great to have someone of a similar ilk leading the line again for us – maybe Pavlyuchenko will be able to do it but I must admit to being slightly sceptical about that after his first few games for us!

Heurelho Gomes has come in for plenty of criticism this season. What is your assessment of the Brazilian goalkeeper?

I think a lot of that criticism is harsh to be honest, and just another way for the press to get at us. He’s made one or two high profile errors, but has kept us in games at times this year and stopped defeats becoming maulings. To be honest, anyone would have been better than Robinson, and his willingness to come for high balls has been a breath of fresh air really – we all knew that he would make the odd mistake but I think he will win us more points in the long run than he loses. Also, which keepers have been perfect so far this year? I can’t think of any.

You mentioned Luka Modric before, and I know he is a player Arsene Wenger looked closely at signing. Since his move to Spurs, Wenger has remarked that he believes Modric to be too lightweight for the Premier League. Has this claim been substantiated by the Croat’s early Tottenham performances?

For the first time on Sunday we saw the 16 million pound Luka Modric, and to be honest it was a joy to watch. He was playing in a far more advanced role than before and the Bolton players struggled to pick him up. Considering he has only had ten games for us, it is a bit harsh to expect immediate adjustment from the guy, but after a decent performance on Thursday against Udinese and a great one on Sunday, it will be interesting to see how he fares on Wednesday, especially as Arsenal dont have any hugely experienced defensive midfielders in the squad after the loss of Gilberto and Flamini. Song looks good from what I’ve seen so I’m pretty sure that that will be a pretty pivotal battle and one which Modric will simply have to win if we are to get anything whatsoever out of the game on Wednesday.

Former Arsenal man David Bentley joined Spurs this Summer, but doesn’t seem to have made the expected impact. Why do you think this is?

For me, he hasn’t come good because he wasn’t actually very good in the first place. It was clear that England needed a new right midfielder in March and Match of the Day seemed to pick up on Bentley as the answer to all of our problems there, which probably doubled his price tag at the very minimum! It’s clear that he has a decent delivery, but I have been extremely unimpressed so far and I am beginning to attribute that to his general lack of ability over anything else – the effort is there, but the skill level and pace simply aren’t at the moment.

What would be a good result for Spurs on Wednesday? And finally, what is your predicted outcome?

For me, the game is either going to go with logic, or footballing logic. Normal logic states that you should give us an absolute hammering as you are better and more settled in pretty much every area of the park. However, football logic has a funny way of rearing its ugly head in games that are apparently nail-on victories either way, so I wouldn’t be suprised if we chose this year of all of them to pull a result out of the bag!

In fairness, i think it’ll be three nil to Arsenal, but if we show a bit of fight and if everyone plays for each other, the club and the fans then maybe, just maybe we can scrape something. A good result would be ANYTHING that increases our points tally, so if you offered me a draw now I’d be absolutely ecstatic.

Thanks for your time, Adam.  I would wish you luck, but I’m afraid I just can’t.

It’s still Tottenham’s biggest game, and that in itself should act as motivation for our fans.  With the arrival of Redknapp and a first win of the season under their belt, Spurs will fancy their chances of an upset tomorrow.  It’s vital that our concentration is absolutely there: a slip to a struggling Tottenham would be too painful to bear.

Full preview tomorrow.  See you then.

Adebayor Cameo Wins The Day

1 comment October 27th, 2008

West Ham 0 – 2 Arsenal (Faubert 75 (og), Adebayor 90) – Highlights here

On a  ground where we have won only once in past eight years, this has to be considered an excellent result.  For much of the game it looked as if Robert Green’s heroics would deny us the three points, but a twenty-minute cameo from Emmanuel Adebayor secured the victory and kept us just four points off table-topping Liverpool.

With a very tough series of fixtures approaching, Arsene decided to make use of his squad.  Adebayor, Sagna, and Toure were left on the bench, whilst Denilson was not even in the eighteen.  That meant that Silvestre and Gallas were partnered at centre-half, with Song playing alongside Cesc and Bendtner and RVP (neither of whom started in Turkey) up top.

In the first half, we moved the ball well enough but Arsene was clearly somewhat frustrated by our reduced tempo.  Diaby, Denilson and Adebayor all move the ball faster than their replacements did yesterday, and it occasionally showed.  When we did play with tempo, chances came: one Walcott burst ended with him thumping an effort against the bar, whilst another saw him reach a Van Persie flick only to be denied by an extraordinary save from Green.  Green also did well to turn a Bendter effort round the post after the Dane had cut in from the left.  At the other end, the in-form Manuel Almunia did well to flick a Craig Bellamy effort over the bar with his outstretched boot.

In the second half, you began to fear it might be one of ‘those’ days.  You know, ‘those’ days: the ones that make you want to sit on the floor and cry into your lukewarm porridge.  It came as no surprise when Wenger decided to introduce Diaby and Adebayor.  However, I was pretty shocked by his decision to withdraw Walcott (as well as Nasri), who had been our greatest attacking threat.

Nevertheless, the improvement was immediate.  Van Persie moved out to the right, and Adebayor set about terrorising a West Ham defence that hasn’t kept a clean sheet since around 1912.  However, it was the Dutchman’s turn to come close to scoring, firing a stunning free-kick against the up-right with Green well-beaten.

Robin was relishing the space afforded him on the right, and he cut in to play a part in the opening goal, slipping in Adebayor, who skipped past two challenges before firing across goal - Julien Faubert, panicked by the lurking presence of Bendtner, stabbed the ball past Green.  It was no less than we deserved.

We then switched to a 4-5-1, with Bendtner dropping wide left.  In the dying moments, this formation switch helped us grab a second.  After the ball was cleared from our penalty area, Bendtner found himself in a bit of space well inside his own half.  Showing off his playmaking credentials, he sprayed a fifty yard pass into the path of Adebayor, who rounded Green and finished coolly for his eighth of the season.

As I suggested: an excellent result on a ground where we haven’t always thrived.  And as a cherry on this particular cake, what a lovely away kit we have this season.

Although Adebayor’s intervention was required to win the game, there were impressive showings from several ‘squad players’.  Bendtner and Adebayor’s spat last season has left both players so eager to make up for previous wrongs that the two actually combine very well, and what with Spurs keeper Gomes’ vulnerability on crosses, I’d be tempted to see them both start on Wednesday.  In midfield and defence, Alex Song and Mikael Silvestre both played excellent foils to their more talented partners.  Song had his best game of the season, and his positional discipline granted freedom and space to the more illustrious Cesc Fabregas.  Alongside Silvestre, meanwhile, Gallas had the best game I can remember his having in an Arsenal shirt.

Perhaps the reason is less to do with personnel and more to do with positioning.  Gallas played on the right-side of the centre-backs: the position he operated in during his best years at Chelsea alongside John Terry.  As with Terry, Gallas dropped off, allowing the taller Silvestre to challenge for high-balls whilst he mopped up behind.

As much as I love Kolo Toure, I can see Silvestre staying in the side for the game against Spurs, and possibly beyond if his partnership with Gallas proves to be effective.

With Harry Redknapp now in charge of the previously faltering Tottenham, Wednesday feels like a much tougher prospect.  Nevertheless, with Adebayor rested and with his goal record against Tottenham, we have plenty of reason to be confident.  More tomorrow.

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 2008
« Sep   Nov »

Posts by Month

Most Recent Posts

Posts by Category


Powered By

eXTReMe Tracker