I'd like to talk about the Eboue incident in more detail. The fans seem to be split on whether or not it was right to boo him. I'd have to agree with the majority of fans that booing a player doesn't help. But as I said yesterday, the frustration of the fans must be considered too. It wasn't just one fan, it was thousands, and it wasn't just for one thing, it was for a catalogue of mistakes. Eboue is disliked by a lot of fans because of his theatrics on the field as well and poor decision making. Take that as a basis and add a bad performance on top, it's clear to see why the fans booed. It is their only real way of making their feelings clear.
Arsene spoke about the booing and like me, I hope Eboue listens to the fans and starts to realise that he has to focus.
“I will sit down and talk to him. But I believe it could make him stronger and more determined to show how good he is. Manu is really loved inside the team and he is a good boy. But you can see that when he lost confidence it was very difficult for him. There were five or six minutes to go and he couldn’t keep the ball. It’s partly explained by the fact he was playing on the left of midfield but then he played very well there when we beat Blackburn 4-1. Still when you lose confidence, it’s not the best position for him.
“There were two aspects in the game. The crowd were behind the team when we suffered but, towards the end, they were so nervous as well. They expressed that and took Eboue as a target. You want your fans to be behind the team but we also have to focus on the quality of our performance and accept the verdict of the crowd. But I say again, apart from the very disappointing stuff with Eboue, they were behind the team for the most part.”
Interestingly Arsene comments on Eboue playing on the left wing. Considering Denilson has been playing on the left of midfield this season and Eboue is definitely better on the right, it’s strange that the Ivorian was deployed there in the first place. But of course, Arsene must have thought Denilson was a better option on the right, which raises many other questions about Eboue!
Kolo Toure is a good friend of Eboue and was quick to back his team-mate:
“Eboue had an injury for six weeks and this was his first game. We had some injuries and that is why the boss put him on and he played well. At the end he had a difficult time but we need to give him credit because he was not 100 per cent however he had to play because of our injuries and he did well.
“The fans gave him a hard time and that is unusual at Arsenal. I was surprised because normally our fans are [always] nice. I think the tension was really high and that is why they were hard. In the end we had three points and that is good. He will have a chat with the boss and I think he will come back. We need him and he is a strong boy. I’ll call him, he will also have a chat with the manager on Monday and then he will be fine.
“I just want to tell the fans that he is a great lad, he loves the Club and wants to do his best for the Club. Sometimes, when you come back from a six-week injury you cannot give 200 per cent. We hope that next time they will help him to come back. That is the only way to behave.”
And when you hear what Kolo has to say, you do kind of feel bad for Eboue now. But ultimately, Eboue has to change his ways and endear himself to the fans. Fans minds are easily changed, as a group of people supporting our club, we are naturally forgiving when players perform to their best, try for every ball and give 100% (and don’t dive!).
Talking about Toure – he’s also been in the press in regards to his partnership with Gallas. What is clear is that Djourou has played once again along side a shorter defender and we’ve kept another clean sheet and won another game, the stats don’t lie, Djourou should be in our defence. At the expense of Toure or Gallas?
“We played last season together and we finished third and had a really good season, three points behind the top two,” said Toure.
“He [Gallas] is a great player. I’ve been at the Club a long time now and for me I’m just focused on my game and doing my best. I’ve been injured and maybe that is why we haven’t played together but we are both really professional and have been in the business a long time now.
“When you look at Chelsea they have [Ricardo] Carvalho and John Terry but they are not better than William Gallas and me. I’m confident about my quality and William’s as well. We’ll play more and we are going to show that.”
Some good fighting talk from Kolo there – and that exactly what we want to hear.
The weekend results have seen us stay in fourth, of course, the win more vital considering Villa, United, Livepool and Chelsea all won too! But we’re on 29 points, which is 8 behind the leaders. For us, it’s actually a bit of a miracle that we’re only 8 points behind considering our 5 losses this season.
“What is a miracle is that we are still in there with a chance with 29 points,” said Wenger. “We have had some indifferent games but the thing that has saved us is that we have beaten our main rivals. That has prevented some damage. We are still in there – we play Liverpool at home soon which is a chance as well. We know we can’t lose any of the games against the big teams now.”
If we win against Middlesborough and then Liverpool, that will see us close the gap. It’s touch and go this season. But I still feel if we are going to have any chance of winning it, we’ll need to get another winger. As the comments have highlighted, we’ve now lost Nasri, Walcott and of course Rosicky (who is now out until March) and that means the only winger we have in the squad is Eboue (and maybe Vela if Arsene wants to play him there). Of course, Jack Wilshere is too young, Ramsey may be someone who may play, although I prefer him centrally. But if we do sign a winger, that would really help us push forward.
Okay, this blog is getting too long. Best commentor results tomorrow….