World Of Arsenal

Thursday Round Up & Arsenal vs Aston Villa Preview

Evening all, it’s been a long day. That’s a funny expression because all days are the same length. Unless you base it on daylight vs  night in which case, every day is different and of course today was a longer day than yesterday and this will continue until mid July… then days will be shorter until mid Jan and so on and so on

Okay let’s start again.

Evening all, it’s been a action packed day!

Congratulations Arseblog.

First of all, let’s give a big round of applause to Arseblog which is 6 years old today. Arseblog has been an inspiration to all Arsenal bloggers out there and one of my many daily reads… well done, here’s for another six years!

The Judicial System 

Yesterday saw some real strange behaviour and highlighted the ludicrous judicial system it employs by giving former Arsenal striker, Jeremie Aliaidiere a 4 game ban for a slap on Liverpool’s Javier Mascherano.

Left Back says:

“So, let’s get this in context: Jeremie Aliadiere will miss 4 games because he ‘raised his hands’, not because of a punch, an elbow or anything that might really hurt a player. Martin Taylor gets 3 games after his brutal challenge put another player out of the game for 9 months.” – Read more here

It’s a strange symptom of a somewhat erratic governing body, which unfortunately “acts” as the law in football.

Eduardo Catch-Up 

The president of the Croatian FA flew into London yesterday to see Eduardo. Something we forget is the hero status that he has in Croatia. He is simply a wonderful player, someone who gels their team together and a nice guy in the process… Vlatko Markovic (the president) said:

“It is because of Eduardo I am here. It is a very worrying time. Not just as a player but as a person, he was close to our hearts. He came to Croatia when he was only 14. There have been thousands and thousands of text messages asking about him.”

When Markovic goes on to say “he is our superman“, you can understand how this tackle has affected a nation.

Good news, however, is that Eduardo has now been released from hospital, it was revealed on Arsenal.com. I hope he goes back home, had a good relaxing few days and then starts on the road to recovery.

He’s received over 21,500 messages and the support he’s had has been overwhelming!

For more information on how to contact Eduardo my post or via the Arsenal.com website and for a little tribute to what he is all about, click the bit of this sentence which is linked up!

Usmanov increases stake

In other news, The Fat Orange, also known as Mr Usmanov has been slowly but surely increasing his stake in Arsenal and has been again been commenting to the press about reaching a “blocking state”, which really means the biggest shareholder, but without full control. I.e. He can block any vote or action from the board.

“We have announced that our company will buy up to 25 percent. We do not have any other plans.”

To throw a spanner in the works, Metalloinvest, a company which Usmanov controls will sponsor Dynamo Moscow next year and what happens when if we gets Moscow in the Champions League next year?

I suppose the Emirates currently sponsor us, as well as at least 3 other teams, but this is slightly different as he is an owner – this kind of reminds me of Mr Chelski and his involvement in many clubs.

Aston Villa Preview

On Saturday an in-form Aston Villa travel to the Emirates in which will be a mouth watering clash. After the dropping points against their midlands rival Birmingham, it is vital that we win the game.

Adebayor - the key man this saturday

I did a peice on our attacking options yesterday, and highlighted the players who will fill the void left by Eduardo in the next few months.

At the Emirates and with a must win game, Emmanuel Adebayor could be the key man. I feel his is a little fatigued at the moment, he has been an ever present in our squad this season has has 19 goals to his name…

Almunia has been speaking ahead of the game and has been talking about our home form being vital if we are to win the league, and the blond haired goalkeeper has made a very good, if not obvious point. 3 points is a must at home, and possibly 3 points away is also a must in the run-in.

11 games to go boys!

“All the games we have at home must be won. Here we are so strong and that is what can help us win the title.

“What must not happen again is what happened in the League here against Birmingham where we dropped two points.”

“Our physical fitness is good and I think we are a young team that has everybody is in good shape. Mentally these young people have a lot of fantasy in their head and show that on the pitch.

“We have a good feeling in the dressing room and outside of football. That is the secret, the focus that we all have on what we want to do. That is what it is all about.”

Almunia will prove a vital player if he can perform like we know he can during the final games and can save us points with vital games against Man U, Chelsea and Spurs coming up.

“Young Theo” also spoke today and he could be a very important player. He scored two goals against Birmingham at the weekend and is more confident now. Let’s hope he goes on a goal scoring run and if he can hit 10 by the end of the season, we’ll have the league wrapped up. I know that that is a lot to ask as he has just got his first 2, but when he gets going, he really gets going… his pace and trickery (if he doesn’t out pace and out trick himself) will be a very useful weapon. Theo speaks:

“I feel upbeat, I feel confident. The goals helped and they gave me a boost so hopefully I can take that into Saturday. It was nice to get a poacher’s goal. My agents have told me I need more of those. Then the second was more about the kind of player I am. Left-foot too, which is something people have questioned me about. Now I just have to improve with every game and time will tell. After all, the boss picks the team so when I do play I will just do my best.”

Theo also talks about the Villa game and the danger men. He speaks about how Agbonlahor has come on this season and I’ve been watching the progress of both him and Ashley Young with avid “what if we had them” envious eyes. Both players play with Theo at England Under 21 level, so he has the insight…

“Gabby has been doing fantastically well and it’s such a shame he got injured just before going with England. He deserved the call-up, just like Ashley Young, because he’s worked so hard. He is consistent too, he does well in every game.”

More on that tomorrow.

More news sees a rallying call by Cesc Fabregas on himself. He knows that his role in the team is a very important one and that it’s not about winning man of the match or player of the month - it’s about winning the next game and then the league. More here.

Arsenal vs Aston Villa Squads

A interesting piece of news from last week was that we were Arsene was mulling whether to include Van Persie to be in the squad for the Birmingham game. I don’t expect him to be back just yet, but a place on the bench is surely his. With Eduardo a long term absentee, and both Rosicky and Diaby still out our squad of 16 will be from the following players:

Goalkeepers: Almunia, Lehmann
Defenders: Sagna, Senderos, Gallas, Clichy, Hoyte
Midfielders: Cesc, Flamini, Hleb, Walcott, Gilberto, Denilson
Strikers: Adebayor, Bendtner, Van Persie

It makes common sense to see Almunia, Sagna, Senderos, Gallas, Clichy, Cesc, Flamini, Walcott, Hleb, Adebayor & Bendtner start with Lehmann, Hoyte, Gilberto, Denilson and Van Persie on the bench.

Villa have left and right back problems, so it looks like Bouma may revert to right back and Barry slot in at left back with Maloney, Gardner, Reo-Coker and Young making up the midfield. With “Gabby” and Carew up front, it’s more a 4-5-1 come 4-3-3 formation.

The starting line up I expect for Villa is: Scott Carson, Wilfred Bouma, Martin Laursen, Curtis Davies, Gareth Barry, Shaun Maloney, Craig Gardner, Nigel Reo-Coker, John Carew, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Ashley Young.

Okay, it’s been a long day and a long night and a big shout out to all those who read this every morning… the comments are pouring in even if they’re not in the comments tab!

In other blogs, Jeorge Bird reports on a supposed target for Arsenal, Per Ciljian Skjelbred, a replacement for Flamini - I hope not! Young Guns talks about Pedro Botelho, a exciting left winger and we could so do with one of those… A cultured Left Foot talks about how it’s time to refocus and something that we need to do immediately.

I’ll be back tomorrow evening with the Thursday round-up; until then, have a great day and let’s all hope we all win the lottery and can buy back a bit of Arsenal!

Til then!]]>

Birmingham 2 – 2 Arsenal: Match Report – A very bad day

It was my birthday dinner today with Friends and Family and it was the only positive of a very upsetting day this weekend. I went up to Birmingham on Friday and was up nice and early for the game. Our "reserved" parking space was rudely taken by Mr. Doug Ellis of Aston Villa and we had to park about an mile away from the stadium. And after a 10 minute walk to the stadium we were somewhat aggrieved to find out that we weren't allowed in because we were wearing denim and had to go back to the car to get changed... a really annoying start to the day and a glimpse into what was in store for today.

We eventually got in, had lunch and finally the game kick offed.

What happened was one of the worst games I've witnessed. And I don't hold anything against the Arsenal team for the performance. The one major thing that happened was the Eduardo injury and it's something that we never got over and obviously lingered with the team for the entire game. We were shocked, Cesc in particular was taken aback in a way in which I have never seen a player effected.

“I think this guy should never play football again. What’s he doing on the pitch?” fumed Wenger. “The injury is the result of a very bad tackle that is not forgivable. The first diagnosis is that the injury is very bad. He appears to have broken his shin and his fibula.

“I’ve gone along with the idea for a long time that to stop Arsenal, you have to kick Arsenal. I knew that was coming for a long time now.

“The season is over for him and it’s very, very bad. More than the season is over.”

The injury was the most horrific injury I have ever seen in my life. I agree with Arsene’s sentiments and it’s crazy. I’ve seen the injury several times now on YouTube and various other sources and it’s worse every time I’ve seen it. I just can’t get over it. Eduardo’s skin, leg and ankle have been broken and it’s just criminal to witness to see what happened.

Okay, enough about the injury, it’s 4am and I’m still in shock.

The game carried on and it was a weird game – I couldn’t forget what happened to Eduardo and I doubt the players could either. James McFadden played well today and was a continual menace to our team. He “won” the free kick, and realistically that should have never have been. But it was a good free kick and before we knew it Birmingham were 1-0 up. Alumnia wasn’t really to blame – most people thought he should of saved it – but I think it was a good free kick and in all adversity Birmingham were 1-0 up. We had nothing, we couldn’t concentrate and half time at 1-0 was inevitable.

The second half started, and whatever Arsene said got to the team. We came out all guns blazing and within about 15 mins, 1-0 turned into 2-1. Theo Wallcott, who I said would be our star man, scored two goals, one which was a poachers goal and the other which showed his true class.

We have chances galore to wrap it up but we just couldn’t find the 3rd goal and even though we have a stone cold penalty turned down with 5 mins to go, we really should have seen the game out. However, in the fourth minute of stoppage time, we conceded a penalty – Flamini lost the ball and Clichy made a brash challenge. Our three points turned into one point.

Dropped points.

I’m still in shock now and it’s been a crazy day.

Arsene said: “It affected us one hundred per cent in the first half but we also have to look at ourselves,” he continued.“We should have killed the game off earlier and scored the third goal. We didn’t do that.”

I have spent the last few hours reviewing the game and what’s happened, and I can’t get over it.

A press release from Birmingham City reads:

“The club are saddened that such a fantastic game of football has been marred by a serious injury sustained to Arsenal player Eduardo.

“But Martin Taylor is adamant there was no malicious intent in the tackle and he is deeply upset by the extent of Eduardo’s injury.

“Having reviewed the incident, this (no malicious intent) is clearly the case.

“The club and Martin Taylor would like to send their very best wishes to the player for a speedy recovery.”

All in all, I think I need to get some sleep and reflect on this in the morning. Arsene has more grace than me and he retracted his statement today in a statement on the Arsenal website.

“It was a highly emotional afternoon and we were all shocked by the injury to Eduardo,” said Wenger.“On reflection, I feel that my comments about Martin Taylor were excessive. I said what I did immediately after the game in the heat of the moment.”
Okay, more tomorrow, I think I’ve said enough today.

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