Arsenal 1 – 1 Liverpool: Cesc out for season as we fail to beat Liverpool…

Today is the 23rd of December and Lady Luck has given all our rivals an early Christmas present with news that Cesc Fabregas is out for the rest of the season. I'll touch on the game shortly, but Arsene's been speaking on the injury to Cesc.

“The news is not good. It will take three to four months, we count four. He will be working hard to come back earlier but I count four months.”

“We will miss him, of course, but how much is difficult to say. We have to find a way and we want to find a way to compensate the fact that he is not on the pitch to give everyone a bit more.

“I’m sure we can deal with it. When he comes back he can help us get over the line in the final months. I believe we are able to do it.”

Four months would see us until the end of April, and then the training will begin, so although Arsene says we’ll see him for the “final months”, in reality, we’ll most probably see him again next season. He suffered a partial rupture of his medial knee ligament in a challenge with Xabi Alonso and the writing is on the wall.

Arsenal 1 – 1 Liverpool

Van Persie 24, Keane 42

In a game which was a must win game, we fielded the strongest possible side, which included Nasri for the first time in a while. Of course, a little bit not match fit, but nevertheless, very much needed considering our very thin squad. The line up was:

Almunia
Sagna – Gallas – Djourou – Clichy
Nasri – Song – Cesc – Denilson
Adebayor – Van Persie

As the game started, it was Liverpool who started the brighter. They seemed to play with more inherent confidence. Accurate passing and triangles. And for the first 10 minutes, we were chasing shadows.

We did get into the game shortly afterwards with some good play down the right of midfield ending in an Adebayor header. It was on the 24th minute when an excellent move from Nasri, playing a great ball forward to Van Persie saw us go ahead. The Dutchman controlling well and smashing the ball past Reina with his so called chocolate leg (i.e. right foot).

It was a goal that did come against the run of play, but we’d slowly been getting into the game and after the goal, we really started dominating, with some really incisive forward play. With about 10 minutes of the half to go, we did cease up our control somewhat and it looked like we were waiting for half time. With a few minutes to go, we pushed forward pressuring the Liverpool defence, who ended up hoofing a ball up front. Somehow Keane was there first and suddenly it was 1-1. Ouch.

The second half saw Diaby replace Fabregas, who we all now know has suffered a partial rupture of his medial knee ligament. Ouch. At the start of the second half, we came out all guns blazing ready to make this game ours… We were going for every challenge. And then suddenly, Howard Webb realised that we could win this and decided to send Adebayor off for no reason.

Down to 10 men. Lucas is still on the pitch at this point, uncarded, despite 47 fouls.

So the second half was all about containing Liverpool. The game ended 1-1, but just imagine what we could do with 11 men. It’s a sad state of affairs that a referee has such a overwhelming influence on a game, but the Liverpool player, Arbeloa did have a big part to play to. Ade had this to day:

I cannot say he cheated, but what he did was not fair play at all. The defender threw himself on the floor as if I put a knife in him. At the end of the end of the day he [Webb] has made a mistake and he has to recognise that what he has done is a little mistake.

The funniest comment I heard was actually from Mr Wenger himself when he was asked to comment about the sending off. If you haven’t read this, then check this out:

It was not a red card, it was not a second yellow card. I don’t know what it was for and I’m sure he doesn’t know. I am convinced we would have won with 11 players. Today we had the ‘Be a Gooner, Be a Giver’ charity appeal — you cannot say the referee was a Gooner today but he was a giver because he gave us yellow cards we did not deserve.

I love it! So, where does that leave us? Well, a must must must win game against Villa on Boxing day followed by a must win game against Portsmouth. With Cesc out for four months, Diaby will have a run of games now. Personally, I am really annoyed at the way Diaby has been playing recently. He’s been so inconsistent recently and his form has been so erratic, it worries me that he will be in the side. I’d rather see Vela deployed on the left of midfield. But with Ade suspended, Bendtner and Eduardo injured, I think he’ll have to play up front.

Ramsey is the other choice to come in for Cesc, but surely Arsene has to buy two midfielders now. Surely, without Cesc, our top four finish is now in jepordy?

Til tomorrow…

————————————————-

Arsenal:Almunia, Sagna, Djourou, Gallas, Clichy, Denilson, Fabregas (Diaby 46), Song Billong, Nasri (Eboue 90), Adebayor, Van Persie.
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Vela, Ramsey, Silvestre, Wilshere.

Sent Off:Adebayor (62).

Booked:Adebayor, Van Persie, Sagna.

Goals:Van Persie 24.

Liverpool:Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Agger, Insua, Kuyt, Leiva Lucas (Ngog 88), Alonso, Riera (Babel 71), Gerrard, Keane (El Zhar 81).
Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Hyypia, Benayoun, Plessis.

Booked:Keane, Carragher, Leiva Lucas.

Goals: Keane 42.

Att: 60,094

Ref: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).]]>

  • Fo

    < ![CDATA[Four months? Wow, this really is a season of bad luck - can you imagine any team going through the injuries we've had...?

    It's ridiculous!]]>

  • JDD

    < ![CDATA[THERE ARE RUMOURS GOING ROUND THAT WE ARE PLANNING TO SPEND BIG IN JANUARY THAT WAS BEFORE CES FABREGAS GOT INJURED.
    ARSHAVIN-21MIL
    RIBERY-10MIL + BENDTNER
    TEVEZ-30MIL
    YAYA TOURE-8MIL
    INLER-9MIL
    I HOPE THE RIBERY AND ARSHAVIN RUMOURS ARE TRUE]]>

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[JDD may be u want ur name to be Joseph the dreamer. Your dream is all we wish for. But u and I know that aint happening.

    At least lets see hw the four months will go.]]>

  • raymomd

    To All YOU Arsene haters Perhaps you will allow me to educate you! This current phase of Arsenals history is tied up with the new stadium. Arsene has had to spend less and has decided to develop players rather than buy experienced. At the same time Chelsea has had access to transfer funds that no one else could compete with and they were successful. When they (or rather Roman) decided to spend less Man U took up the spending lead. Regularly spending £20 million on players and they too were successful. Liverpool too have taken to spending big, although not on the same scale as the other two. So what will become of the teams that live the dream that they can’t afford, Arsene is conscience itself, his head, heart and his instincts are right. Balancing the books is more important now than ever. It would have been foolish to flash the cash in the past. Now that there is money he wants to buy and he knows that defence is a problem. Transfer targets didn’t materialise into actual transfers. It is to Arsene’s credit that he doesn’t unsettle players who are under contract unlike any other major team you care to mention. As far as Adebayor is concerned he did what any player would do when shielding the ball. A crucifix position just like Babel did when he wanted to keep Toure away in last years Champions League. Maybe the real problem is that Liverpool players know how to go down in style. They are seasoned professionals after all. ps in the internet age you have to know your subject really well before you write, a selective collection of opinions will nolonger do. Literally there are many many people who know more than you. More importantly Arsenal are a discrete club, and very few people know exactly why things happen or don’t happen. Arsene is an insider so when he speaks I listen!!!!!

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[Ray u are 100% right. But for how long will u hold on. 5 years running no premiership, May be 5 yrs sounds like 2 or 3 to u. Wenger is lucky that football is the way it is. I can tell the number of time ve wanted out of Arsenal, but the gunners spirit wont let me.

    Am sure the same happens to other Arsenal fellows that didnt join Arsenal by birth (lol). So telling me Wenger is an inside man is purely crap. His balancing books not knowing he should ve retained Kleb and Flamini at any cost and even added nasiri to the team of last season.

    Like Zohaib said stime, I ve zeroed my mind hoping that one day a miracle happens. May be Fabs Injury will be a blessing in disguise.]]>

  • JDD

    like i said these are rumours i know we wont sign all of them but maybe a couple

  • Fabrez!

    I was thinkin about the way Arsene responded to the Arshavin rumour…looked like he was kinda interested…but dunno bout him spending 20 mil tho. Don’t think any ppl on that list will come…if he spends he may just do that “sign an anonymous player” thing he enjoys so much lol

  • devday

    Having just heard AW on SSN I really really think he will be signing at least one if not two players. Fingers crossed.

  • Fabrez!

    Yeah dev…he’ll sign…even if its just 1 player

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[who's he going to sign though ?

    we clearly lack experience at the moment. with both the experienced midfielders out - cesc and rosicky. the rest of the midfield is still going through the process of learning. its the first real season for song, denilson, diaby - after the strong cesc/flamini/gilberto partnership in CM and hleb/rosicky partnership out wide, last season. its also nasri's first year and theres loads more room to improve for him. and walcott's also out injured.

    i doubt we're going to try and get a temporary replacement for cesc because i think we already have one - ramsey. i say we give him more playing time. we'll probably see diaby though. i just wish we'd see diaby playing more centrally rather than out wide. even if that means playing denilson/eboue out wide on the right and nasri on the left. diaby and song in the center is something i want to see. diaby's recent form though hasnt been great. so b/w him and ramsey, for me.

    which means i doubt we're signing another central midfielder, unless wenger wants to buy stephen appiah on a free. song's been doing well recently, but he's not solid yet. so a defensive midfielder is a possibility. the only other possibility as i see it is a winger and even thats very unlikely because wenger would rather play a central midfielder out of position. so there we go. maybe a CB if one of toure/gallas leaves, but i dont understand why toure would go or why we would want to get rid of him. i'd rather get rid of gallas. maybe a striker to replace bendtner ?

    eduardo should be coming back soon, so hopefully when ade and vanpersie aren't in top form, we can have a proper striker coming on to replace them, as opposed to bendtner.

    the other topic - the captaincy. should we make almunia th captain ? it won't be gallas. so its between toure and almunia. but the question i'm asking is why wenger hasnt already mentioned toure as a possible candidate. does that mean he's possibly transferring out ? i really hope not. in fact i hope he's the captain. i wudnt mind almunia being captain. it seems to get more performance out of him, but as a goalkeeper you can only do so much. although he does make himself heard and he is vocal, so thats good.]]>

  • JDD

    van persie should be stand in captain he shows the most passion on the pitch

  • parsi

    < ![CDATA[There are three big reasons why most football commentary is negative.

    First, it is easier to write negative than positive commentaries. I remember the classic moment 20 years back when we beat Liverpool Not-yet-insolvents in the last game of the year. The fanzine “1-0 down 2-1 Up” celebrated that with a series of articles at the start of the following season. Naively I expected the mag to be full of positives. Instead it contained a whole string of make-believe articles considering what might have happened… if we had lost.

    Second, journalists write negative all the time simply because most people don’t support Arsenal, Liverpool Insolvents, Manchester Bankrupts or the KGB in Fulham or any other team you can imagine. (Incidentally that is why sponsorship of any particular team is always pointless from a commercial point of view. Would you ever buy Crown Paints or Holstein? Sponsors lose far more trade than they gain through their sponsorships. It is all vanity for the top dogs.) So if a JIP (journo in pub) writes a scathing attack on Arsenal, they are pleasing most of their readers, because most readers are anti-Arsenal, and that is good for sales.

    Third, no matter how good you are, you could always be better. (Even Arsenal Ladies have this - true they win every league match, but they have just lost Julie Fleeting, and they have been knocked out of Europe…) - which make criticism so easy.

    So negativity is what we get. You may have noticed how jolly the JIPs were over Cesc’s injury, and how they poke fun at the Lord Wenger when he gets annoyed on the touch line… it pleases most of their Anti-Arsenal readership.

    The only consolation is that JIPs do it to every club. Just today (24 Dec 2008) there are stories about Liverpool’s failure to get the money for a new stadium, about how Scholari is demanding money and the club ain’t got none… so it goes.

    Hence my thought as I get ready to go to my partner’s house for Christmas… a true supporter supports. That’s the deal. To peoople who say they are “Arsenal” but moan a lot about Arsenal my answer is that they should have a bash at being a supporter of a team that doesn’t win stuff, ever. Like Torquay United. Small ground, in need of repair, small crowds, relegated to the Conference, no reason local concern or feeling for the club, got to one Wembley final only to lose… Go there and try supporting them every week. Then come back after three years and realise just how blessd we all are to have had Arsenal chosen for us by our families, our heritage, and our background.

    Just under 99 years ago, Arsenal went bust, and were on the very edge of being taken over by and ultimately merged with Fulham. Because of the dedication and determination of George Leavey, the chairman, who despite not being a wealthy man, selflessly put his own money into paying the players during the summer of 1910, Woolwich Arsenal survived as an independent club, and when the move away from the declining Plumstead area did come it was a move that brought growth and maintained independence rather than bringing closure and oblivion.

    In 1910, first division Woolwich Arsenal were struggling on crowds of around 10,000, and criticism was everywhere. We no longer remember how everyone at the time was a critic of Arsenal, but those who really know their Arsenal history do remember people like George Leavey. He never got his money back, and no one ever really thanked him for saving our club, he is not honoured with any plaques or busts, as far as I know. But I believe we would all do better to remember him, than spend our time sniping at Wenger, the board, the team, or the club.]]>

  • Richiebacardi

    What about Clichy then?

  • Fabrez!

    < ![CDATA[I think Almunia is ok to have the captaincy temporarily actually...he does actually perform better and is a vocal guy.

    And i don't think a CB is leaving unless 1 is coming in. Eduardo needed back sooner rather than later and Bendtner really needs to go play somewhere else.

    Agree with your assesment of mudfield zohaib...diaby hasn't been particularly consistent, song is improving, and ramsey is pretty much the same as cesc but not as good as he still has so much to learn plus lacks experience.

    And we know with AW we don't actually kno who is gonna come in yet. But if he does go for wingers like Ribery or Arshavin, it will give Nasri a chance to play centrally...what do u guys think? Cuz i kno for a fact Nasri can play CM.]]>

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[I think Wenger said the captaincy'll be rotated, or something of that sort. I don't think Wenger'd let Toure go, especially if Gallas is going, cos I'm sure the last thing he wants is us to lack experience at CB- I'm discounting Silvestre cos I'm not a fan. I don't really mind whoever he buys, as long as we've got one more person in the squad, and he replaces whoever he lets go of. I do hope Wenger plays Ramsey often, cos he's got the opportunity to get a run of games now, so he might as well make use of it.
    And I hope Vela gets a run on friday, as we've not seen much of him yet. we don't really have much of a choice really, considering our only available stiker's is Van Persie- well except if we're only playing one up front.]]>

  • Fabrez!

    interesting pasri…never knew that stuff! And richiebacardi…r u talking about clichy on the left wing? cuz i guess that is possible…silvestre cud play LB (altho my confidence in him is lowish) and then Nasri in Cesc’s position…

  • Fabrez!

    Vela wud play with VP i think…he just needs to stop being so deep tho!

  • http://www.wedontknowfootball.wordpress.com williamhill

    i love to see ribery playing under wenger, hes doing pretty well in the bundesliga.

  • nickyg

    < ![CDATA[Great blog parsi. True supporters stick thru the bad times. We have been spoilt, some clubs never win things but their supporters stay true.

    I think AW will buy . I too would love Ribery to come to the club.]]>

  • AJ

    If he doesn’t buy he’s really shooting himself in the foot when it comes to trying to keep us in the top four.

  • Fabrez!

    Shooting himself in the foot is an understatement if he doesn’t buy sum1

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[what i'd like to know is, where the supporters (at least on this forum) stand - do we need another young starlet or is it finally time to get a ready-made player, for a change ?

    facts are - we're almost out of the premiership.
    we're only realistically aiming for the champions league cuz wenger still hasnt won it and its probably bugging him.
    we will most probably continue to disrespect the FA cup and treat it as a secondary objective (think the thrashing given to our reluctant appearance against manutd last season). we'll probably play the kids here because we're no longer in the carling cup.
    so, who do we need if we're looking to finish in the top 4 and possibly win the champions league ?]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[wenger'll be shooting himself in the foot if he goes for another starlet, thats how i see it.

    i'm for getting a ready-made player.

    just not arshavin. havnt seen ribery much, heard a lot but i'm not sure about him either. i have a few players in mind. havnt thought it through though - whether it fits the situation and whether getting them will be the solution or not.]]>

  • debs

    I’d say readymade, Zohaib. We’ve got enough young guns to last us a life-time! lol and we seem to be losing experience all the time… The question of who, is the main issue, cos as we keep saying, Wenger’ll probably throw us something unexpected- but any experienced CB, imo, and I don’t think necessarily from the EPL, as long as such person’s played as an established CB for a long while- not a Silvestre type who’s been relegated to the bench and lacks confidence. Why I say CB is the fact that to me, our main problem is our defence- we concede way to many goals, and that’s cos our CB pairing is always changing. We need someone who’s guaranteed to always play there (barring injury) to give us stability and to give Almunia confidence in the back 4 cos he seems to do more than his fair share of responsibiities. If not a CB, or in addition, a winger/ or a DM. I wouldn’t go for a CM, cos that’ll put Fabregas’ position under threat and open up a way for him to leave- I definitely don’t want that. Our injuries are always in midfield anyways, so it’d be good to have back-up, and not just having one of the players play out of position. I don’t like name-dropping cos it seems to me that if it’s someone we think of, then it’s probably not going to happen- almost as if the fact that we suggest someone will jinx that ever happening, so I try not to bother. We’re ok as to strikers, except if Wenger wants to sell Bendtner, then he’d need to replace him…

  • Fabrez!

    Definitely ready-made…it’s about time to be honest. We have young guns for the next couple generations. So i would just like 2 experienced players…just 2! As many have said, if Bendtner goes, bring sum1 in there. 1. A damn good & experienced CB never hurt anyone and 2. a winger…both ready-made i.e. not teenagers! About the CDM…i reckon Song aint doin a half bad job at the minute. But that would be my 3rd choice if Wenger goes for a 3rd player in Jan….also with sum kinda experience.