Porto 2 – 0 Arsenal, a lacklustre performance and a look at the draw…

Yesterday was a game that was played in the manner that the selected team could play it. The result was always a possibility and by resting the majority of the first team coupled with the injuries we had on the books, it was always going to be tough to win out in Porto.

But something I've just found out - because Athletico Madrid, Villareal and Real Madrid all finished second in their group, Barcelona, by finishing first can only be drawn against one of these four teams:

Chelsea, Inter, Lyon or Arsenal

And they’re the form team at the moment – yes it could all change by the time the next round starts but it does get a little bit scary. And of course, by the same token, we could play one of the following teams:

Roma, Panathiniakos, Bayern Munich, Barcelona or Juventus

Who do we want out of that lot? Would Panathiniakos be the easiest? A return for Gilberto?

Okay, back to yesterday’s game.

Porto 2 – 0 Arsenal

Bruno Alves 39, Lopez 54

In a game which saw a reserve side fly out to Porto, it was a makeshift team that took on our Champions League rivals. It was a battle for the top spot in the group and we started with the following team:

Eboue – Gallas – Djourou – Silvestre
Ramsey – Denilson – Song – Diaby
Bendtner – Vela

It was more of a 4-4-2 than a 4-5-1 and we started well. The first twenty minutes saw us get on top and we look good at the back, very good in midfield but a little weak up front. We didn’t really have much going for us up front. Bendtner had another one of those games where he was fairly anonymous. Vela played a little on the left wing, which saw Bendtner often surrounded by defenders.

It was Porto who took the lead – from a corner, unmarked – how many times have you heard that before? This time it was Diaby’s fault – but it was a game where the first goal would be vital. Whoever scored first who change their game into a defensive / counter attacking formation and that’s exactly what happened. The only memorable shot on target in the first half was an effort from Aaron Ramsey.

The second half continued in a similar vein, with Porto defending well and us not really having much in the final third. I suppose it was inevitable by playing four central midfielders that we’d lack width and creativity and all too often, we’d see all four midfielders within 10 metres of each other.

The second goal came through a counter attack and some more poor defending. albeit Lopez finishing well. The game really hung for us on the fact that our attack was non-existent. Vela played well, but a little too deep, and Bendtner, I think had the worst game he’s had in an Arsenal shirt. Arsene, post game, spoke about the inability to pose a serious goal threat:

“We have seen our weaknesses from when we were in a position where we had to come out at the back and put them under pressure, because we lost balls where you cannot afford to lose balls and we were in trouble.

“In the last 20 minutes, they were dangerous every time we lost the ball and we were not effective enough up front.”

He says not effective up front, and I think he’s beginning to realise that Bendtner’s chances are coming to an end. Early season good form pushed him up in our thinking and at one point I thought he deserved a good run in the team, but having had that run, he’s shown most people that he’s not good enough to be considered as a first team regular.

In reality, Gallas, Eboue and Bendtner could well be playing their last season at the Emirates.

When Arsene was asked about his team selection, he said:

“We had some injured players at home, but we have played five times now out of six a game away from home in the Premier League after a European game. This was the only match we could try to protect our next fixture in the championship, that is why we did it. But many of the players who stayed at home were a doubt any way.”

And you’ve got to consider that winning this game had less importance than winning against Boro on Saturday. Hopefully, that is, we will win the game on Saturday, but let’s wait and see. We should have Ade, VP, Cesc, Clichy and Sagna back, and that’s a lot of extra strength to our squad.

But hat’s off to Porto, after a nervy start they really did get into the game and deserved their win. One to forget tonight, I wouldn’t worry too much about the performance or result tonight, it was a tough game to play mentally.

Let’s beat Boro on Saturday and then we’ll all have a smile on our faces.

Til tomorrow…


FC Porto:Helton, Fucile, Rolando, Bruno Alves, Pedro Emanuel, Lucho Gonzalez (Costa 77), Fernando, Raul Meireles, Lopez, Hulk (Guarin 88), Rodriguez (Mariano Gonzalez 78).
Subs Not Used: Nuno, Stepanov, Lino, Sektioui.

Booked: Lucho Gonzalez.

Goals:Bruno Alves 39, Lopez 54.

Arsenal:Almunia, Eboue, Gallas, Silvestre, Djourou, Ramsey (Wilshere 59), Diaby (Gibbs 59), Song Billong (Randall 78), Denilson, Vela, Bendtner.
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Hoyte, Merida, Simpson.


Att: 37,602.

Ref:Kyros Vassaras (Greece).]]>

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[Am tired of complaining about this team. I think its getting to the point Wenger will make the job extremely difficult for himself; when he will let off some underperforming players and try to replace them, prolonging the taste for sucess for the fans.

    Bendtner, Diaby , Ebuoe to some extent denilson ( he keeps loosing ball in vital areas) are haunters doing nothing in the team at the moment, they all flatter to deceive fans. At least am sure Wenger is seeing the futility of his policy. 4 years is alot and the 5th is not far away.

    Hope we meet Barca in the CL to see what quality our team possess.]]>

  • jeffvip

    < ![CDATA[Roma, Panathiniakos, Bayern Munich, Barcelona or Juventus

    I hope we doesn't get Panathiniakos, we will lose... We might have a chance to win if we are gonna meet Barca]]>

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[so gutted I couldn't watch the match yesterday! not too too sad about the result, considering the team selected, but I expected at least one goal. Either ways, as to who we end up playing, I'd rather we played Barca or Juve cos as we all know too well, we seem to turn up when the opposition look like a threat to us, which is frustrating as hell! it looks like a fairly tough group to pick from, but I think the harder the better, although that'll probably not help the fans' confidence as to whether we can win. But by feb, we should have our proper first team in place (fingers crossed there'll be no injuries!), and as long as we have a fairly decent run in the league, I'm sure there'll be nothing to worry about!
    but february is ages away (well, not really) and we need to concentrate on her league form cos that'll be crucial in determining whether we can turn the heat up in the CL. So for now, no worries about who we draw- Saturday's more important at the mo!]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[I'd love to see the possession stats - I thought we probably had th majority but Porto jut defended extremely well and hit us like a team full of confidence.

    Bendtner was shit. See yesterdays debate but I stand by my opinion. He's probably one of the worst players that's managed so many appearances in recent memory.

    Eboue to be fair to him, which is difficult because I think he's poor to, was patently unfit and tried his hardest. From that perspective he and Jack Wilshere were the only two players that seemed to give a shit.

    Gibbs played well and its funny - the youngsters came on and showed passion and heart.

    I think thats what our team misses - not 30 year old proven defenders - just the will to win and the belief we can. And the passion, too many of our players look like they are treading water until August.]]>

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[Yeah, your debate yesterday was interesting, but I do actually understand where both of you are coming from though. Too bad you guys can't agree! I guess you agree to disagree! lol

    Yeah, passion is really something we need at the club. Only a few players seem to have it, but we need it from the whole squad! Guess Wenger needs to sort it out...
    How did Vela do though?]]>

  • Dan

    < ![CDATA[Its easy to forget how most were asking for Bendtner to be given a run ahead of the underperforming Adebeyour. He's been given a fair crack of the whip and for my money he hasn't delivered the goods. Its time for him to move on.

    The club need to realise that we aren't getting the balance between home-grown and purchased players right. Wenger claims he doesn't buy because it blocks the developement of younger players, but the truth is if they are really good enough, they will force their way into the side. The players don't have to be with eachother from the youth team days to have a sense of camaraderie. Team spirit would build much quicker if we were winning trophies.

    Whats better - Winning trophies but occasionally losing out on players with great potential ala Bentley & Upson OR Having a team made of mostly the clubs own nurtured talent and saving a few bob but being a far less dominant team. It seems pretty obvious to me. I am really struggling to see a positive side to the current system, because the team hardly look like they enjoy each others company any way. Am i missing something here?

    I suggest we replace Bendtner with a striker who can hold the ball up - maby even Heskey if it comes to that. We sign another winger, spend a chunk of cash if necessary. Sign a defensive midfielder, who enjoys to do nothing but protect the back four. And finally a new CB because it is seeming unlikely Gallas will be sticking around.

    This mini rant is nothing to do with last nights game by the way, i am pleased Wenger rested the players he did - it was the right thing to do. Its because we are nearing January and the club's playing staff needs change.]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[

    Its easy to forget how most were asking for Bendtner to be given a run ahead of the underperforming Adebeyour. He’s been given a fair crack of the whip and for my money he hasn’t delivered the goods. Its time for him to move on. I was one of those! But he’s not taken his chance has he, and as you say time to go. He’s one of those players that makes one good pass a match and its enough to make you think he’d be great given a run in the team… but he doesn’t improve at all.

    Although Dan, I’m really confused by what you mean in regards to both Upson and Bentley. Its too early for my tiny brain!

    Debs – Vela was ok, but pretty much played in midfield most of the match, where I believe he should have playing in on the shoulder of the last defender. He has some terrific pace and its wasted by him tracking back to the half way line to find the ball. Bendtner on the other hand stood by the last defender and squandered the ball everytime.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[yeah i thought you were gona do that. single out bendtner when pretty much everybody was shit. vela was shit, ramsey was shit, diaby was shit, denilson was shit, eboue was shit.

    but no, you just have to single out bendtner just to add to ur unneccessary argument to gain leverage here.

    cheap, 3rd rate attitude.

    it really wasnt a debate about bendtner is great vs bendtner is shit. you dont need me to tell you he's shit. you just assumed that so you could argue. all i said was, he's got a different set of qualities from our other strikers, which is probably why wenger's got him in our team. but you're just going to deliberately misunderstand me, and assume i'd like to see him in place of any other top class striker.

    get over urself man.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Dan - goood comment

    its hard to know, what the issue is with buying a proven player. the media says the club is broke, the financial reports say they have the money, the board say they have the money, wenger says he won't spend 'over the odds' (who decides what the odds are).

    but it feels like wenger's trying to do his best to control the market by not spending over th top for players. he needed some help, he couldnt control the market alone, and now he's got help in the form of the credit crunch. this should help us, in that most clubs should have less money to spend, with the exception of mancity. and probably any other middle-east-owned clubs. but does this mean more clubs will be looking to sell to middle-east oil-rich businessmen ...]]>

  • Dan

    < ![CDATA[Lest have a guess at how to do this quote thing you have going Kieran - here goes.

    [quote] Although Dan, I’m really confused by what you mean in regards to both Upson and Bentley. Its too early for my tiny brain! [/quote]

    I'll try explain again (i'll probably make things worse lol). When we didn't rely soley on the youth teams developement to improve the first team - we were winning trophies, but buying players to put straight into the team did block the way for players such as Upson and Bentley, who i think would be useful now. But missing out on their kind is worth it if it means winning trophies.

    So we should sacrifice people like Randall who may or may not end up as a top player, and just buy a quality CM and put him in the team. I think the really great youth players like Wilshere and Ramsey will get in the team eventually no matter who is in front of them. They are the youth players we want. Not the whole fucking lot.

    Did i make any more sense that time?

    Oh and Zohaib, no one mentioned you at all, but you've assumed all the comments about Bendtner are bashing you! So i think its you who needs to get over yourself. People are bored of Bendtner not improving, its nothing personal.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[dan u wudnt understand bcuz u werent on the recieving end, but that was clearly an indirect bash at me.

    and anyways, that matter needs to be put behind us. it was yesterday and its over. lets forget about it.]]>

  • Debs

    yeah guys. enough of the attacks or supposed attacks or whatever the case maybe! Not healthy…

  • Debs

    yeah guys. enough of the attacks or supposed attacks or whatever the case maybe! Not healthy…

  • Dan

    < ![CDATA[Ok Zohaib, end it there then.

    So Kieran, how are you quoting people with the yellow box?]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[Dan,
    <blockquote>enter quote here </blockquote>

    When we didn’t rely soley on the youth teams developement to improve the first team – we were winning trophies, but buying players to put straight into the team did block the way for players such as Upson and Bentley, who i think would be useful now. But missing out on their kind is worth it if it means winning trophies.
    Ah I see – yes I agree. You can’t hold off on buying players just in case they block some younger players who may or may not make it. Case in point, Upson is playing well now, but we’d have had to wait 5 years for that. Bentley I still don’t rate, some flashes of brilliance aside (and fair to him, out of position a lot of the time) he just doesn’t seem to turn it on every week.

    I definately agree – if a player is good enough, they will seize the chances they are given regardless of who is in front of them. Everyone get’s injured or suspended once a season.

    Obviously the only thing with that is some of the youngsters won’t want to sit and wait for that chance – Bentley and more recently Diarra are good examples.

    People are bored of Bendtner not improving, its nothing personal.

    Quite. My opinion this morning is the same as yesterday, in fact compounded by yet another poor display. No one was amazing, but given recent performances Bendtner had more to prove than anyone on the pitch, even Eboue, and he failed.]]>

  • devday

    < ![CDATA[Guys! No need to quibble!

    Bendtner was in fact very very shocking. Shouldn't be an Arsenal player. Full stop!]]>

  • Dan

    < ![CDATA[Lets have a go then...

    Upson is playing well now, but we’d have had to wait 5 years for that.

    Very true, and it could well be the same with some of the players we have at the moment. The difference is nowadays he is just playing them and refusing to buy anyone new to put ahead.]]>

  • McClone

    < ![CDATA[Yeah very true - but Upson isn't a John Terry.
    Actually John Terry is a prat, so that's an unfair comparison.

    Fergie tends to buy 25-28 year olds who've done the business and he tends to pay a bit more but then tends to win more often!]]>

  • McClone


  • Gooner Get Ya

    I agree with Dan, some of our youngsters need to either step up or step out. The trouble is if we have no cash to spend we will have sell 3 youngsters to buy 1 proven player which would thin out our squad even further.

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[Gooner you call Gibbs and Randall squad players - people underestimate what difference a player can make in a team.

    I dont mean to be funny but imagine how this team would ve been if we had Just an Eto that has passion or a serious DM that is aggressive. Ask ur self that.............]]>

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[blockquote>"Bendtner was in fact very very shocking. Shouldn’t be an Arsenal player. Full stop!"<

    Dev ur really upset by Bendtner, why?]]>

  • JDD

    i agree with dev bendtner is not good enough i have only see him have 1 good season when he was on loan at birmingham playing in the championship i think he may have played his last game for arsenal now that eduardo is nearly back randall also has to go

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[problem is, when you have adebayor, vanpersie, eduardo and vela, all fit, who do you play and who do you keep on the bench.

    we all know bendtner isnt an amazing striker, maybe he knows that as well, which is why we can expect him, and he would be content, to sit on the bench when th others are playing.

    which other striker would do that. no big-name striker will be willing to sit on the bench. even bendtner wants more games. he's here for a purpose - he's the player that we have as backup in case that the other strikers get injured, or are rested. sure he's poor in many ways. sure i'd rather have someone better, but which other striker will be happy to sit on the bench.
    or maybe wenger doesnt know how to control his players like fergie does. maybe he cant deal with stars.

    i dont agree with that philosophy, but i can't say what position the board is in etc. i'm not sure wenger will replace bendtner but if he does, there are options. i'v been really impressed by Amr Zaki - strong as an ox, big, decent height, better control with the ball at his feet than bendtner, and for a guy his size in general, a good attitude, ability to make goals for himself, ability to be a team player etc.

    we'v got a friendship with steve bruce - he won't be looking to do us any favors, but this is the sort of player we can sign. someone who's not really a big-name player, who's had a good start to the season.

    anybody know how much he costs ?]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[Apparently they are looking for £15m to £20m for Zaki. He isn't a Wigan player he is on loan from El Zamalek, who are looking to capitalise on the impact he has made in the Premiership and he is 25 so has a few years left in him.

    I'm not sure Bendtner will be content to sit on the bench at the moment - he said he had to think hard about coming back from loan because he wanted to play first team football - he's had a good run in the team now and I think it will be quite frustrating to have to return to the bench.

    JDD - Randall has been awesome in the reserves! Don't let a few substitute appearences form a solid opinion just yet - he's widely renowned by all at the club to be one of the best kids we've got. Granted he hasn't played all that well in televised games of late (Burnley, urgh) but he definately has talent.

    Pissed Off, problem with Eto is he has too much passion! He's always bloody complaining or moaning! He's like William Gallas in a strikers hat!!]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[15 - 20 mil pounds ! okay then. that makes matters a little tough. that'll probably be 'over-the-odds' according to wenger.

    bendtner - he'll be more content than anyone else to sit on the bench, and we'll be more content to have him, before anyone else, on the bench.

    so who's willing to take bendtner's place ... ?]]>

  • JDD

    < ![CDATA[we shouldn't get eto or zaki the player we should get is someone like vagner love or adriano both world class forwards and thier respective clubs wouldn't be looking for silly money like lyon wanting 90mil for benzema or valencia wanting 60mil for villa
    i think yaya toure is a 75% of coming in january
    i think wenger will also add players like giovinco, raul albiol and i am also hearing about two st ettien players dabo and matuidi i think they are both 20 years old and they both look like great players]]>

  • Gooner Get Ya

    JDD – I have heard similar rumours about Yaya, 6m was the price I heard. I would love to see Yaya in an Arsenal shirt he looks like a decent midfielder that could form a partnership with Cesc.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    JDD – I have heard similar rumours about Yaya, 6m was the price I heard. I would love to see Yaya in an Arsenal shirt he looks like a decent midfielder that could form a partnership with Cesc.

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[come to think of it, its not that bad that we lost.

    if we had won or topped the group, we might've been facing an even tougher set of opponents, if not as tough.

    maybe wenger deliberately chose not to motivate them enough, or be slightly more defensive. although, he still couldnt have affected the draw completely.

    lets see who we get though.]]>

  • zohaib

    6 mil for yaya ? i duno but it kinda sounds like a good deal. maybe they owe us a couple of good deals after taking henry on 14 mil (they might as well give us a star for free in henry’s place) and hleb for 12 or 14 mil or watever it was.

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[By coming second we can draw Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus or Roma (who beat CSK Fulham 3-1!), but if we'd have topped the group we'd have pulled Inter Milan, Real Madrid or Villareal, so as you say its swings and roundabouts.

    Previously we came second, pulled AC Milan and beat them 2-0 in Italy though so it depends on the team.

    The thing with coming second is not the team you get drawn against though - you lose the home advantage in the 2nd leg. Ok, so we beat Milan away but we were on top form. I think we'll struggle to play the second leg against any of the teams we can get drawn against away from home.

    That for me is the reason we should have won the group so we could go into the second leg knowing we were playing at the emirates (although knowing us we'd probably boo the team off anyway so....!)

    Zohaib, (this is an attempt at a joke!) I think we owe Barca a star after they paid us so much for Hleb!!]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[lol, its come to that has it. just been frustrated at life in general. maybe thats visible here.

    this season its us that are unpredictable and inconsistent. maybe un-motivated at times. i feel that playing away from home is probably better for our confidence. the home supporters have been tough - yes, they have been treated to unusually inconsistent football, which is why they have a right to be frustrated.
    it still depends on how we do uptil feb, but if we're inconsistent, then theres a chance the home supporters won't be cheering us on like they should and we might find it easier away from home. we're a team that seems to start off poorly and get better as the game goes on (if its a matter of 2 halves) and if that has any relationship with a game over 2 legs, then it would mean we usually get better by the 2nd leg.

    i dont believe in 'home-advantage'. every team has to play away once in the 2 legs. so whether one plays away, first or second, it makes little difference. one can just as well try to give everything in the first game, rather than wait for the 2nd to make amends.

    if we're playing badly, we have little chance anyway. but if we're playing well, we have too much possession and usually have to play around a 10-man defence, which is almost as tough. wat makes it easier is if we're away from home. bcuz then the other teams come out to play, instead of parking the bus.

    so theres a case for both arguments ...

    we just have to draw them out to create space, then create chances, take them, and not leak goals.]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[

    i dont believe in ‘home-advantage’. every team has to play away once in the 2 legs. so whether one plays away, first or second, it makes little difference. one can just as well try to give everything in the first game, rather than wait for the 2nd to make amends.
    It’s certainly true there is no home advantage at the Emirates at the moment, and I think the Arsenal players often step up their game away from home. Real Madrid and AC Milan are two great examples in recent memory.

    For teams like United and Liverpool I think it’s more important.

    Leaking goals is what Arsenal do best though!]]>

  • zohaib

    yeah and theres another thing that bugs me. whether its us being unlucky or something else – i can’t help but feel that every team seems to step their game up against arsenal, yet when they play liverpool, manutd, or chelsea, they don’t raise it as much. why is that !

  • Debs

    Zohaib I think it’s because ppl see us as the weak team in the big 4 this season and they feel that if they take it to us, they might be able to get something and the fact that we’ve been inconsistent doesn’t help matters…

  • Debs

    I also agree that we really dont have much of a home advantage anyways so it doesnt matter that we came 2nd. but you never know, come february and it could have all changed! That’s the beauty of footy!

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[

    Zohaib I think it’s because ppl see us as the weak team in the big 4 this season and they feel that if they take it to us, they might be able to get something and the fact that we’ve been inconsistent doesn’t help matters…
    I also think we play the best football – everyone labels us as the most attractive side on our day, even Andy Gray who hates us. And I think that smaller teams like to come up and show it doesn’t matter. Its always nice to beat the best team!]]>

  • Debs

    yeah, and we’ve been giving them too much pleasure! Time to show them why we ARE the best team, starting 2mo with Middlesborough!

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    You just know Allialidere will actually have a good game for once and Justin Hoyte will probably be on fire!

  • Debs

    yeah, cos they’d want to prove Wenger wrong for letting them go!

  • JDD

    hoyte is not playing and i think gallas and djourou will be able to handle alliadiere

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[i duno about being the team that plays the best football. we've clearly not done that this season. and even last season the others werent worse than us. so i dont understand all this talk about being the best footballing team. i dont kno why the commentators and pundits say it.

    i think whats happened is that the commentators and pundits said that we were the best footballing side when we had henry, reyes, bergkamp, pires, ljungberg, fabregas, vieira, edu, etc. and since then some journalists have used that as a way to elevate our current status when the football we're playing now isnt anywhere close to that good.

    i think its a matter of miscommunication, and taking comments out of context. clearly the pundits imply that we WERE the best footballing side. to me its very clear - we havnt been the best footballing side since all those guys left.

    to be the best one needs to be consistent, which we aren't this season and we weren't the past 3 seasons. with the exception of last season from august to february. after that we fell apart. and the season finishes in may, not feb. so to say that we were good enough is only partly correct. bcuz we wernt good enough for long enough.

    manutd has been the best footballing side in the premiership for th past 2 seasons. thats why they'v won it both seasons. they also won the champions league last season, which means they were the best if not one of th best, in europe last season.
    they play all sorts of football. their team is a complete team. they know what to do in every situation. they can play long balls or quick one-two's. they can play posession football, counter-attacking football, competitive football and anything else. they can play lobbed passes (which we're allergic to), when theyr needed. their passing is almost perfect, in that they always seem to be able to find someone to pass to, in space, and that someone can immediately pass it to someone else, in turn. the weight of the passes is brilliant. they know exactly when to pass it, where to pass it and how much pace to put into it. they can battle against the more physical sides and they can defend properly. they'v got one of the best defenses in the league.

    we, on our day, will only have some of those qualities, and even then i'm disappointed to say that we won't be as good with our present squad. and we're not consistent enough, while manutd are.

    if i was to compare our previous squad with their present squad, that would be more of a match and i'd give us the label of being the best footballing side, but certainly not with our current squad. what is it that we have and they dont. its clearly not as if we've got a better defense.

    so i fail to understand why some people think we're still being labelled as the 'best footballing team'. i think it was meant about our previous team.
    and i also think it may be a reason why some of our current players are somewhat de-motivated. do they think they'r already the best ? maybe theyr too young, and all the money theyr earning has got to their heads and corrupted them. maybe they think they dont have anything to prove anymore bcuz all the pundits are labelling them as being the best footballing team. they havnt won any trophies though, so its not logical that they get de-motivated. maybe some of them just don't want it enough.

    we also need to stop thinking that arsenal is the best footballing side presently. on their day they can be. but theres a long, long way to go for that to happen. and there need to be some changes to our squad. its too clear that theres room for improvement.]]>

  • Debs

    I think it means best footballing side in the sense that we play pretty football and when we’re on our game, we can beat anybody, not so much that we’re the best team in the world…

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[i still feel even when we're on our game, with our present squad we still dont compare to our previous squad.

    i'v heard a lot of people say we play kindergarten football. meaning we play very simply. its easy on the eye. and doesnt that also mean its easy to defend against us, bcuz the opponents also find it easy on the eye ?

    wat i meant was that we dont know how to deal with complicated situations or we end up making it difficult for ourselves. and that we're an incomplete side. we dont know how to use the long ball to our advantage. it doesnt become not-pretty if its done right. and we dont kno how to defend properly. even though we have the best fullbacks in the league. we dont know how to defend as a team.]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[

    I think it means best footballing side in the sense that we play pretty football and when we’re on our game, we can beat anybody, not so much that we’re the best team in the world…That’s clearly what I meant. We can play beautiful football. Every manager we’ve played against so far this season, the pundits on match of the day, even Jamie Redknapp have all said this season, if you want to go and watch a football match go to the emirates. Arsenal might not win, but you’ll get great football.

    I obviously dont think we are the best team because if we were, we’d be top of the league.]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[

    i still feel even when we’re on our game, with our present squad we still dont compare to our previous squad. That’s not the point though. At our best in this league against the present competition we are capable of the most attractive football.

    We can’t arrange a match between ourselves now and ourselves 2 years ago.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[so we are beautiful yet not the best. plz allow me to be confused.

    so you're saying that arsenal on their day plays the most beautiful football. meaning more beautiful than manutd or anybody else. i fail to understand how thats possible. firstly, how do you measure who plays more beautiful ? and secondly, i think its clear that manutd and chelsea and even liverpool to an extent are more complete sides than us. as i'v mentioned earlier, we cant defend properly or play the long ball effectively. so how can a side be a more incomplete footballing side, yet be more beautiful.

    maybe its because i see effective football as the one that is beautiful, whereas some of the pundits and some fans probably think that its got to be either beautiful or effective (which some people incorrectly think of as 'physical'). how is it then that manutd have both qualities. haven't we seen them play all sorts of football. the backheels, the one-two's, the through passes. theyr much more threatening than us. much more effective at penetrating the opposition. whereas we force the opponents to park the bus bcuz we give them too much time to set themselves up. we're too lazy/slow to find the quick passes and to move into positions to receive those quick passes. and as a result we're much less threatening.

    another problem with us is that, individually, only our fullbacks(sagna from last season - he's out of attacking form this season) stand out as players capable of injecting life into a match, or being 'game-changers'. we often see clichy making attacking runs, trying desperately to do something on his own. thats what we lack. i dont kno if its a direct result on so much emphasis put on being a team, that we've lost a bit of individual flair and quality.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[

    We can’t arrange a match between ourselves now and ourselves 2 years ago.

    oh no ! really ? are you sure ? i even bought a ticket !

    who said anything about arranging a match b/w the two.
    its pretty obvious when you watch the previous team and then the present team.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[some fans and some pundits (God knows what their agenda is) seem to mistake lazyness and slowness for being beautiful.

    do we not agree that the way we play has started to frustrate us as the years have gone by. since 3 seasons ago when we finished close to 15 points behind the champions, we'v been a side that struggles to create clear chances. and now that henry and hleb have gone and rosicky, eduardo and vanpersie are injured for lengthy periods, we're even less effective up front.

    there isnt one game where i'm not frustrated. and its been the case since the last 3 seasons. now the frustrations sometime turn to anger, and other times to hopelessness and me giving up on hoping for a comeback, during a match. we lack the players who are intelligent enough or got that attitude one needs to change a match during the match, rather than think about what they could have done after the game.]]>

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[I think Zohaib, it's not always about focusing on the negatives, which there always would be, so there's no point dwelling on it- you'd end up with a massive corollary. We do know where we need to improve, and so does Le Boss, and I'm sure the players know as well. Agreed, we not the same team as we were years back, but that's the past- the team we have now, imo, can compare with the team of the past as long as we're on our game. That's the main problem we have now, not so much that we've not got the squad for it. We've been hit with quite a few injuries, and if not for that fact, we'd really not be where we are right now.
    Each team has their good points and also their bad points, some obvious, some not so obvious, but without a doubt, one of our good points is that we play the best football- not so much winning all the time type of football, but the type you'd gladly pay money for- FACT]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[and i think that its important to focus on the negatives (theres a difference b/w focusing on the negative and being negative) because thats where one can learn from, to get better. we have too many problems, and we need to pay attention to them rather then ignore them.
    if anything, by focusing on the negatives, i'm being positive. i'm trying to make a difference, identifying problems and suggesting solutions.

    i'm sure wenger has some idea of what the problems are and hopefully he'll know how to solve them quickly (there've been people who suggested he'd lost the plot this season). but i'm not so sure about the players or some of the fans.

    i cant agree that our present team on a good day would be as good as our previous team. no way. and we're talking first team players only. not potentially brilliant kids in vela, ramsey, wilshere.

    yes we've had injuries and maybe we'd be more consistent without them. but why are we the only ones to have so many injuries so frequently. surely that cudnt be bad luck. its comical how all our important players get injured in groups of 4 or more and its mostly the older more experienced ones ! its not the first time its happened this season, which is why its completely baffling and frustrating. theres gota be something we're not doing right. whether its on the training ground or whether its demanding proper protection from referees. clearly fergie does it best.
    (another something to learn).

    each average team has good points and bad points. the top teams have only minute, rare bad points. i'd like to know of the bad points that manutd or chelsea have. help me out plz ...
    plus, in the modern world, everything gets media coverage, there are experts, pundits, ex-footballers, commentators, statisticians, and more to explain most if not all things that are less obvious.

    and i'm not in favor of this attitude thats developing in some fans that so long as we play entertaining football, we dont care whether we're winning trophies. a true fan would only say that if we're only a few points away from the title, bcuz only 1 team can win it. i thought we'd played enough entertaining football over the past 3 seasons and now it was about time to win some trophies. what happened to that. any real fan would want trophies. those looking for entertaining football would pay for a ticket at whichever club offers that, and tomorrow when some other clubs offer that just as well, they'll just shift boat. only the true fans care about whether we're winning enough or not. those looking for entertainment will not always be fans.
    we need to stop being entertaining if its costing us winning. and its clear that it has been. as recently adebayor and gallas have suggested that we need to learn to play tough and grind out wins if necessary, instead of relying solely on entertaining football. we can entertain as much as we like after doing the hard work and getting the first goal or two and gaining control of the match.]]>