Friday, 25 March 2011

Sky are a disgrace

Sky should be suied or punished in some way.

'Van Persie: Not good enough'

Having this as a headline on their website. When you look at what Van Persie says, it's not at all like the headline makes it out to be. He talks about his 'belief in the team', how he is staying at Arsenal and how he is 'looking forward' at Arsenal as well as pointing out what a set of moaners Chelsea and Barcelona are.

I can't help but think that if this was Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, Steven Gerrard or someone like that then the headline would be:

'Giggs believes in Man Utd' or 'Rooney blasts Chelsea moaners'

It's not paranoia, it's true that Arsenal are unfairly treated and looked down on by people in football, especially the people who are just above murderers and paedophiles in the society ladder, journalists.
I'm getting so fed up of Arsenal being treated disrespectfully by the media, opposition players, managers and unfairly stereotyped. Even us fans are unfairly stereotyped.

It pisses me off.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

We're Screwed and Wenger needs to buy players

Not two things I usually say about Arsenal, but I am writing this having just seen the news that Johan Djourou is out for six weeks, Vermaelen the season and for the West Brom game at least, we're without Fabregas, Song, Walcott, Szczesny and Diaby too. It's just the same season after season. Non- stop injuries, especially at this time of the season, the most important.

Sky keep banging on about Man Utd's injuries but I envy their 'problems'. I can't see us winning the league with the centre halves we have available. That is one very important area where Man Utd are better equipped than us as they have stronger cover for Ferdinand and Vidic than we have for Djourou and Vermaelen. Squillaci is bound to cost us at least a couple of points and while, long term I rate Koscielny and think people are too harsh on him, he's probably going to make a crucial mistake or two before the end of the season.

This means a few things. One: we need to be damn good going forward for the remainder of the season as we aren't going to be as good defensively as normal. Two: we need our other players such as Song and Fabregas especially to get and stay fit and hope that players like van Persie and Nasri in particular don't get injured.  Three: that we need to buy more players. We need another centre half, a defensive midfielder and maybe a young winger. I say this because Arsenal suffer from injuries a lot more than their rivals, and it always seems to be to key players. Never to someone like Denilson or Eboue that are just cover players.

Walcott is injury prone. Van Persie is. Fabregas is becoming that way. We are too reliant on Song. Squillaci and Denilson are liabilities. Hence we need to a defensive midfielder to replace Denilson. A quality centre half, one that is much better than Squillaci and a young, versatile winger that can replace Walcott when he's inevitably out injured. This way, and with the returns of Ramsey and Vermaelen, we won't be as badly affected by our inevitable injury problems. If Wenger doesn't act on this this summer, I'll be disappointed and frustrated at him because it clearly needs attention as it's happening every season.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Unlucky streak continues

Things just ain't going our way at the moment. Every keeper that plays against us is having the game of his career and refereeing decisions are going against us. Today, it wasn't decisions going against us, but we were still so damn unlucky. 

Unfortunately, two weeks on from having all our eggs nicely spread around our baskets, three of our baskets have been taken away and all our eggs are now in the last remaining basket. It's not all that bleak though, we're in a much better situation than we were this time last season in the league, chasing only one team with a lower points deficit. The Premier League title is well within our reach.

However our chances were dampened today by the season ending injury to Johan Djourou. Unfortunately not only are we without our two best keepers, but now our two best centre halves and the man who possesses the unlucky number 18 shirt at Arsenal now has a huge responsibility in covering for the outstanding Djourou who hasn't lost a game in the league this season. That's how good he has been for us.

Also, the result may dampen our chances but I think it's good that we have a week to recover and let things settle before the team next set foot onto a football pitch. I think the morale won't be as badly affected, as they will have a sense of unluckiness plaguing their minds rather than a sense of being outclassed therefore I don't think today's result will harm our title chances much. In fact, it could galvanise us. After all, the bad times are the times that can pull you together more and make you learn more.

There will be a great feeling of injustice at Arsenal at the moment I think and I'm sure that they are cursing their luck like the rest of us are. I think this could be a time that pulls the squad further together and drives them on to try and win the Premier League. I think it helps really to be out of everything else. Obviously we'd rather still be in the other two but it helps our Premier League title chances for us to be out of the others so we can focus on the league. Also, this means we will only be playing once a week generally and this may help the injury situation and lesser the chances of fatigue.

There's no point in getting too down and pessimistic about things, we just need to hope for the best and look on the bright side.

In terms of how the team played today, I can't really fault them. Usually when you lose you have someone to point the finger at, but no-one seemed poor. I am a little concerned at how easily they scored, I have defended our centre backs an awful lot in recent months but I am concerned about how congested their area was and how tightly their defenders marked us compared to how we marked them. However, I did only watch the second half when we were chasing the game. Maybe we were better at this when we were level and didn't have to gamble as many players forward. Additionally, I think that it was probably down to their general defensive system against us, not just a comparison in defenders. Plus don't forget that they had Vidic and we didn't have Vermaelen.

In terms of going forward, we were fine. The chances we should have done better on were the Chamakh header and the Rosicky chance at the end but other than that I can't even fault the finishing, van der Sar was outstanding today, like every opposition goalkeeper seems to be against us at the moment. But when you play against Man utd you need to make the most of your chances and we didn't do that today. Had Chamakh headed in his great chance as he should have, it might have been a different story today.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Disrespectful babies

I've got to say, I'm a little cheesed. It annoys me how Arsenal players talk about Barcelona and how their players talk about Arsenal. Barcelona's players are too up their own arses to show the slightest hint of respect to Arsenal. We must have irritated them at some point, or maybe they see us as their biggest threat and they realise that we will be a better team than them very soon.

Xavi and Sergio Biscuits have the audacity to question our 'ambition'. Oh sorry, is it a lack of ambition to protect a lead? Did Inter Milan show a lack of ambition last season when they played even more defensively than us there last season? They simply can't take it that we beat them at their own game in the first leg, even then they came out with comments such as 'we were superior' when they weren't and the statistics prove that. And they even have the bitterness to have a go at us when they beat us! They are like a bunch of kids.

Here is what Biscuits said:

"If anything should disappoint Arsenal it is not the ref but how little ambition they showed"

And now Xavi:

"We were superior to them from start to finish,"
"Arsenal barely had a shot on goal and their only goal was scored by our player. They didn't want the ball and our tempo of play and our intensity was always going to see us through."

Xavi in particular must be scared of us or constantly irritated by our team because he can't stop whinging about us and coming out with bitter, disrespectful comments. Remember in the summer when he was the chief of the 'Tap up Cesc Fabregas' team with his disrespectful comments about how 'maybe he'll come in January when Arsenal are out of the title race'? Well Mr Dick Head, we're still in it and the man you constantly wank to every night is still at our club. Pique, Puyol and Messi have all come out with disrespect towards Arsenal in the last few months and it's not on.

His 'their only goal was scored by our player' comment is perhaps just trying to hide to fact that they are so vulnerable at the back and on set pieces.

Someone has to do something about them to shut them up, discipline them whenever they try tapping up our players (which they criticise and call inferior- well they can't be that inferior if you're begging for them to come to your club).

I like how our players don't sink to their level but I wish they wouldn't compliment them all the time, such as Sagna this time and others like Fabregas.

Whether you're the best team in Europe or not, you don't have the right to behave this way ALL the time. Not that they are, they just think they are. Did they win the Champions League last year? No. So why do they think they're the best about? They might be this season, I admit that but they are too arrogant and (again) disrespectful to see any other possibility.

I think the reason for their bitterness and disrespect is fear or because they still haven't got their own way for once with trying to sign Fabregas. They are just spoilt, thick babies.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Robbed...Yet Again

This is just getting silly. How many times can a team be robbed in one season? Surely things are going to go in Arsenal's favour soon. Arsenal being robbed by officials is becoming a regular occurrence, and it's not right. Last nights ridiculous decision to send off Robin van Persie swung the game around back into Barcelona's favour and spoilt a perfectly poised game.

Some cynics may look at how dominant Barcelona were and naively say 'well Barcelona would probably have scored again anyway even if van Persie hadn't been sent off' but that isn't the point, and nobody knows that, in fact I would have fancied us to go through. Barcelona had to score twice to win the game, in a game where they struggled to break down a very disciplined and organised Arsenal team throwing themselves everywhere to stop Barcelona from scoring. And Arsenal having 11 men on the pitch would have made it a lot harder for Barcelona to win. I'm very pleased with the way the team defended in the first half by the way.

The story of the bad parts of our season- the referee (or linesman in some cases) screwed Arsenal over. Not only is it worrying that Arsenal are being screwed over so much, but I also worry about how many times it is going to happen again this season. Will it ultimately cost us success this season? Only time will tell.

Lets cast our minds back to this particular case of robbery. Robin van Persie receives a ball over the top from Fabregas, flagged offside (the linesman out of his sight) and shot the ball wide of goal. Literally ONE second earlier, the referee had blown his whistle, the one that was impossible for a player to hear when surrounded by 90,000 or so fans shouting, whistling and blowing horns. He was then shown his second undeserved yellow card of the match. Disgrace. How can you be booked for that? The referee had probably made his made up after caving in to the Barcelona players' pressure that he was instantly going to book the next Arsenal player that showed the slightest possible hint of not rushing to do something or time waste. Referees that give in to pressure from players and the crowd should not be refereeing, particularly in such a big game. Because, you could tell he was under pressure from the ever- moaning Barcelona players (very Man Utd like) and the crowd as Barcelona wrongly claimed that Arsenal had time wasted once or twice already in the game, such as when Wilshere and Szczesny went down injured. And just like Phil Dowd at Newcastle, he gave in and couldn't wait to get on their good side by instantly punishing Arsenal players without hesitation, such as van Persie's first booking when he did absolutely nothing but Daniel Alves went rolling down on the floor as so many Barcelona players have done over the course of this tie.

I am going to acknowledge the Arsenal performance as well as I felt we defended very well, were disciplined, organised and our midfielders tracked back excellently especially Nasri. They threw their bodies in the way heroically, got back in numbers and showed great determination and steel. Players such as Messi, Villa and Iniesta were struggling to make their impact on the game and Barcelona were being forced out wide, which is where you should force them. Plus, Barcelona didn't get many sights at goal in the first half or create many chances. (I watched it up until 59 minutes and then watched the last 5 minutes as I was wound up by the referee and very edgy). Last note on the performance goes to Samir Nasri who did absolutely brilliantly to win the corner for the goal, great strength and skill to win the corner against a posse of cheats Barcelona players.

Just to finish, here is a list of the games where big decisions have gone against Arsenal. A couple are from games we either won or it didn't end up affecting the result but could have done, e.g. Man Utd away.

  1. Sunderland A- played on way too long after injury time
  2. Tottenham H- freekick before the penalty (obvious non freekick)
  3. Aston Villa A- their first goal offside
  4. Fulham H- Ref should have stopped the game due to Koscielny having a head injury
  5. Man Utd A- Their missed pen wasn't a pen
  6. Wigan A- Their first pen shouldn't have been and we had a penalty identical to the one Tottenham won at our place turned down in the last minute
  7. Ipswich away- blindingly obvious offside goal
  8. Everton home-  massively blindingly obvious offside goal
  9. Newcastle away (see previous article)
  10. Sunderland home- offside and pen
  11. Barcelona away

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Squad players fail to provide

It is becoming more and more apparent that some of Arsenal's squad players aren't quite good enough. They're good players but not good enough to be in a team that wins the league. I think if you just had one or maybe two of them in the team we'd get away with it but when there are so many like today, we struggle a lot more.

To be fair, anybody missing the majority of the spine of their team plus others would struggle against a decent side on top of their game. Fabregas, Song, van Persie, Vermaelen and Walcott were all missing today and there's no shame in admitting that we missed them today. OK, Vermaelen's been missing for a while so you don't really count him as much as it wasn't the defensive side of things which were the problem today, it was the attacking side.

We missed the creativity and drive of Fabregas, the solidity and ball winning ability of Song, the goal threat and link up play of van Persie and the immense pace and finishing of Walcott today. The trouble is that players such as Denilson, Diaby and Bendtner came in for them today.

Bendtner I was praising the other day but his problem is that he is too hit and miss. He is the sort of player that when he's not scoring, he's not really any use which is not the case with someone like van Persie. But he can be very good and be a great impact player at times. I'm a season ticket holder at Everton and Tim Cahill is a player that notches a lot of goals for Everton, but in the games he doesn't score he's like a waste of a player as he isn't really doing anything else. Bendtner is like that.

Denilson ain't good enough. Simple as. He isn't strong enough, clever enough, brave or solid enough to be a good defensive midfielder. He isn't good enough in terms of creativity, passing or being a goal threat to be playing further forward. He just doesn't offer us anything.

Diaby's mind is too slow to play for a team like Arsenal, particularly in a game where Arsenal are chasing a goal and want be not- stop attacking. He neither has the passing ability or creativity to be in this team. I think it's time to move on for player's like Diaby and Denilson. I wouldn't sell Diaby as he can come in useful as back up to Song or in away games where you need to dig in and be physical. But Denilson has to go.

I'm still not sure about Rosicky. I still think he's a good player to have in your squad, not everyone can be as good as Fabregas, but he is a bit hit and miss too. He should have started today, or at least come on earlier than he did.

Marouane Chamakh concerns me a bit. He made a slight impact today but when push came to shove in an important game, neither him or Bendtner could fill in for van Persie and win us the game. His attitude stinks at times and he doesn't move enough in the build up play. He only seems to get interested when the ball is in the box. But he is a decent player and would be better when he has players like Fabregas and Walcott in the team with him, same for Bendtner to be fair.

Maybe I'm over-reacting and being a bit harsh on these players. Like I said, they would do better when there are more first choice players in the team, but they should have been able to step up between them today and deliver a win. Which brings me to my next beef...

Arsene Wenger's team selection. The man is a genius and knows more about football than me . But it is my opinion that he got it wrong today. Diaby and Denilson coming in for a home game against a team that are leaking goals and have lost their last four games doesn't make sense to me when you have Rosicky available and even Ramsey. Why Diaby wasn't hauled off earlier for Rosicky or why Rosicky didn't start instead of him today is beyond me. One thing you can never really criticise Wenger for is being too cautious in his team selection, but today he probably was. I can't imagine cautiousness was the reason behind his centre midfield selection today, but whatever it was, he got it wrong.

On the positive side, we drew. We didn't lose. And we are not out of the title race. This is just a minor setback. Nothing more. We could be jumping with delight come Tuesday night and going on about how brilliant Arsenal are. I hope Fabregas and Song are available and Barcelona suffering a couple of injuries would be a nice bonus too.

Hopefully, everyone can play with the heart, determination and quality of Jack Wilshere. As he was almost on his own in that department for spells of last Sunday and today.

Come on Arsenal!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Brilliant Bounce Back

I don't think anyone could have asked for a better response from Arsenal tonight. The early goal from Chamakh set things up nicely and a comfortable 3-0 lead saw us head in at half time with the tie in the palms of our hands. Nicklas Bendtner showed the clinical touch that we would like to see more than ever with van Persie out during this important period. I know we were only playing Leyton Orient but that's the best I've seen Bendtner and Chamakh play together as I was starting to think they aren't suited to playing in the same team.

And a collector's item from Gael Clichy was the cherry on the cake, which I must say was brilliantly taken. All the finishes were very nice tonight but I think Clichy's just pipped Bendtner's second.

Arsenal were excellent going forward, although looked shaky at the back. But to be fair Squillaci was playing and Miquel was impressive at the back. I'm not concerned about that, what I was impressed with was Almunia's aerial ability tonight, as he claimed a few crosses and corners very well. He did have one scary moment just before half- time but you could argue he did the right thing, forcing the player out wide where he could only fling a hopeful cross in.

Conor Henderson deserves a mention as he was very tidy. He didn't do anything spectacular, but he did the simple things expertly and kept the ball well. I think he was out of his preferred position too. I could see a bit of Jack Wilshere in him.

The most positive thing from tonight, other than the result and the fact that we bounced back so clinically and calmly, was Nicklas Bendtner's hat-trick. His header was brilliant, climbing excellently with perfect execution, his second goal was lovely, cutting in and firing into the far corner (pity a similar chance he had vs B'ham on Sunday didn't go in like that though!). His penalty was perfect as well and summed up his fantastic performance. Ironic that he gets so much criticism from pundits and some fans yet he has actually got more hat-trick's for the club than Robin van Persie, having played less than him. He is a fabulous player in the making aslong as he gets games and doesn't get too far ahead of himself mentally.

Match Ratings:

Almunia 7
Eboue 5
Squillaci 5
Miquel 7
Gibbs 7
Denilson 6
Diaby 7
Rosicky 6
Bendtner 9
Henderson 7
Chamakh 7

Nasri 7
Wilshere 7
Clichy 8