Everywhere I go, I meet a footballer… Sunday Roundup.

Today's been a good old fashioned FA cup day, with Everton beating Villa and as I type, Nani has just scored a goal for United against Derby - a very good goal indeed. Hmmm. We've got Cardiff tomorrow and I'll be back with a FA cup preview in the morning tomorrow, but today I'd like to review our season so far.

Before I do, I have an announcement to make regarding the commentator of the month for January.

And the winner is:

Zohaib

Congratulations Zohaib, well done. You’ve been a regular commentator on WOA for a while now and you’re comments are keeping us all very entertained.

So… our season so far, well, it’s been a tough one no doubt. We’ve really struggled this season, and as I watch replays of older games, I can really see that even the games we won weren’t exactly the easiest games for us in the world. Last season, many of our draws could have been victories as we had the 17 / 25 shots on target – but this season, it’s the opposite. Our 20 shots a game are now 6 or 7 shots and that’s another fundamental reason why we’re lying in 5th position. Our season so far has definitely not been as successful as all hoped and wanted it to be, so where did it all go wrong?

Well, let’s take a look:

  • Adebayor’s form has been woeful
  • Bendtner is not a premiership class striker
  • Van Persie has had to regain his fitness in the earlier parts of this season
  • Gallas had a lot of problems with the captaincy as well as the team
  • Diaby’s injury at the beginning of the season
  • Toure was in and out of the team, with form and injury problems
  • Injury to Cesc Fabregas just as we were finding form
  • Injury to Theo Walcott
  • Nasri’s injury woes this season
  • Rosicky delayed comeback
  • Eduardo’s additional delay
  • Our inability to strengthen the midfield (we tried with Xabi Alonso)

What could we have done differently? We really should have signed a defensive midfielder at one point… Can we really say that injuries have blighted our season, should our squad be able to cope with injuries? Too many questions, not enough answers.

In FA cup news, before we’ve actually played our 4th round replay, we already know that we’ll see Burnley in the 5th round and if we get passed them, we’ll have either one of Sheffield United or Hull City. Interesting times, not many hard teams there, we could easily get to the quarter final.

If we want to…

I’ll be back tomorrow with a Cardiff preview – in the meantime, where are all the comments????]]>

  • Pissed off

    Congrats Zohaib, always my favourite and will remain my favourite.

  • Fabrez

    < ![CDATA[I'm guessing u didn't carry out a mini-interview on Ruud? Perhaps have him think about coming to The Emirates? lol Congrats Zohaib! Consistently good comments! But u mean best comments for Jan not Feb rite?

    You could add losing Flamini to that list as well...sad 4 him he's the bench shiner @ Milan. Ah well. Out of that list dev, it is pretty much injuries that dominate it...so that is the main reason. Ade's form would not have been a bit less of a factor if Eduardo didn't get injured...and i won't get on Bendtner's back too much...his last few games have not been as awful as we are used to...but a club like ours should surely have better strikers...that's 4 sure. The captaincy issue was messed up! That is why Man City beat us. It was all about re-building confidence after that incident. But that Gallas issue could have been worse so credit to AW for damage control limitation. He handled it well. And that CM/DM issue we have needs to be solved this summer. I can understand we have a decent no. of players in the CM position but we really needed an experienced player to perhaps compliment Cesc & teach the others but we never got him.

    In terms of trphies, we have a good shot at the FA Cup...i have a really good feeling about that competition this term. I feel as if the players are up for it. In the CL we need to get past Roma and by the time the nxt round comes Eduardo, Theo & Cesc will be well into it with Rosicky just lacking match fitness (hopefully)...fingers crossed we'll have no injury worries by then. Of course the prem will we it's usual weekly fight but we can secure 4th spot at least once we don't lose and draw a lot less (i.e. WIN!)]]>

  • Richiebacardi

    Hey guys not sure if this is old news or not but I’ve just read in todays NOTW (the only factual newspaper…ever) that Yaya is coming to the Emirates in the summer for around £12 million.

  • JDD

    < ![CDATA[maybe a defensive mid could be on the way i heard that wenger might take stephen appiah on a contract until the end of the season with a view to make it permanent if he impresses.

    appiah is a player i like i saw him play for fenerbache and juventus and also ghana he looked very good but that was while ago since then he has had several injuries but i think its worth the risk because when fully fit he is an exceptional talent.many ghana fans say he is the best ghanaian midfielder ahead of essien.]]>

  • debs

    < ![CDATA[congrats Zohaib! very well deserved, even though you're like one of the most controversial ppl ever! :) But that's what your contributions very interesting, and if WorldofArsenal didn't award it to you I'd have had a right strop! lol

    And yeah, Fabre(gas)z :) injuries have been our main issue this season, but luckily, the return of those injured lot will probably salvage 4th spot for us! (Fingers crossed!)
    Good thing Ade realises he's been sh*t, cos I'm hoping that means he's working on it- he's got reflection time now, aka injury, so hopefully he'll sort it out- but then I'm sure if he's still dodgy when he gets back, he'll blame it on the injury! Typical!

    But about the game 2moro, I'm well excited! I've missed Arsenal football these part days, although that's sort of good for the nerves! Lol. It should be a good game, one we can and should win (easily I hope!), it's just unfortunate Ramsey'l not be able to line up against his old team once again! But I'm looking forwad to a good game and some Eduardo magic! :)]]>

  • devday

    < ![CDATA[Fabrez - indeed, i meant Jan, post updated. Ruud was talking to the other person in the lift in spanish, he was quite animated so i didn't interupt. he is here for the week so i should be able to 1) get an autograph 2) get a photo or 3) interview him!!!

    yeah, I missed a big one out there, two points - letting gilberto and flamini go...!

    Richie, that story is not going to happen, Yaya's agent is just looking for a better deal with Barcelona!]]>

  • devday

    Debs – definitely. the return of the many injured players is exactly what we need, timely, but we do have a mountain to climb – we really can’t afford any more slip ups. But am really looking forward to the game tomorrow. It feels like so long since we played :-)

  • Fabrez

    < ![CDATA[*be its usual weekly fight...

    JJD, what is the source of that Appiah story? I think AW didn't get involved with signing him bcuz of injury problems. I know he was training with Sp*rs in the Jan window...guess they didn't take him after all? As for Yaya...i just don't know anymore 2 b honest.

    But can't wait till 2nite...we should get past Cardiff! Shame about Ramsey but I'm well excited! I see u can't wait for Eduardo huh Debs? :P Hehe Neither can I! :)]]>

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[Yeah Dev, massive mountain! But after watching/listening to the Everton/Villa match today (granted it was a cup-tie), I have a feeling a Villa slip up is on the cards... we'll know for sure after the match against Chelsea- I just have that feeling that just like we faltered in the title race last season at the crucial moments (still hurts a bit!) they are getting to that same point, and we're in a good position to take advantage- I just hope my feeling's right!
    True, Gilberto should still be with us! Flamini and Senderos warming up together today for Milan in the 2nd half- brought back memories! Albeit mixed ones! lol. Definitely shouldn't have let Flamini leave :(

    And yeah Fabre(gas)z- my new name for you :), even though it takes longer to write! I'm excited about Eduardo!!! Probably more so than you! ;) Hattrick 2moro, right? ;)

    (wayy too many smileys now :) lol)

    And Appiah to us, JDD? It's one of those stories that you just don't believe until you see it happening! But yeah, it's Mr Wenger- so you just never know!]]>

  • Fabrez

    A Villa slip up is ideal at this stage! But who would you want to see drop 3 points come nxt weekend? Chelsea or Villa?? Or would a draw b good for us? As of now, i’m not even sure. But hey…we’ve go Sunderland 2 get past as well…that looks a good weekend for us 1 way or another. It’s funny u mention last season Debs…bcuz i was looking at some highlights from last season, then they showed the prem table at that stage of the season and sure it was nice 2 see that we can be table-toppers but it hurt as well! We were leading Man U by 7 points or so *sigh* But it is good 2 know that the table can change so quickly…hopefully to our benefit this time?!! And if i’m Fabre(gas)z, u can be Deb(duardo)s lol! :P

  • Gunnerian 4ever

    < ![CDATA[You have mentioned so many reasons that made our season as it is but there are only 2 or 3 reasons in fact
    1- Not strengthen our squad (Xavi Alonso to be precise)
    2- Cesc injury
    3- Rosiscy did not come ( at least in December)
    Dialby is always injured and him with Denelson need 2 more tears to be dependable so you cannot mention his injury as a reason
    Song and Epoue are out of order]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Sweeet ! Thanks fellow Gooners. Thanks to my keyboard. Thanks to my mouse. Thanks to my monitor. Thanks to my CPU. Thanks to my internet connection. Thanks to the electricity-supplying organization (I have 4 hour/day power 'load-shedding' in my country, so it becomes quite a nuisance to write a long comment and then have it disappear because the power vanished !) It's great to be part of such a friendly, fun and intellectual community. And best of all it's about ARSENAL. Thanks again !

    As you can see my 'thankyou-speech' has been heavily influenced by the Hollywood awards season virus. (Is it just me or were the Grammy's absolute rubbish ?)]]>

  • zohaib

    aww that’s sweet. thankyou Debs ! :D

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[We certainly have had an insane amount of troubles this season. It seems like every season it keeps getting worse. The injuries have become a consistent part of every season. We need to get that sorted.

    Other than injuries, our CB partnership isn't the greatest. Maybe they need more time to gel. And our CM partnership - well there isn't a solid starting couple, for one. But that's Wenger's excuse for grooming everybody, and ensuring everybody gets some time on the field, as well as injuries forcing some decisions. But where we were wrong was when we went into the season without a proper DM. As it is our CB partnership was weak. Considering that, we should at the very least, have got a proper DM to give them some cover, as well as strengthen the midfield itself. We didn't and we suffered. As the stat's show, we haven't been creating as much. We haven't been threatening either. That could be because everybody's got more responsibility to defend, because of the lack of a proper DM, as well as not being good enough creatively, even when we had Cesc and Theo on the pitch. It was still a work-in-progress. Theo's still learning. Cesc had played 200 ? games without a break and was definitely in dire need of a rest. Plus, he didn't have a proper partner who would compliment him in midfield, so the whole equation wasn't as clinical as it should have been. Nasri's only just come in. He'll improve too.

    Overall, by letting Flamini, Gilberto, Diarra, and Hleb all go at once, Wenger's taken a couple of steps back from last season. We'd become a strong unit. And all that was broken up, yet again, and again we had a 'team-for-the-future'. Again we had to rebuild.
    All that is still acceptable. What I won't accept, is the injuries. As strange as it sounds, they've been consistently destroying us starting from 3 seasons ago. And I've had just about enough of it. There isn't really a solution for it, with the limited funds we have, but that's the only area where I want Wenger to do something. Unless he decides to spend a bit of money on a DM.]]>

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[erm, Fabrez, my name's not Eduardo-inspired, so that new name can't apply! ;) As to the Chelsea/Villa match, I'm not sure either, what result would be best for us, but I don't think I'd want Villa to win- their confidence will be sky-high! Maybe a humiliation by Chelsea? I don't even know! But I guess any result at all helps us anyways, but not sure what one would be the best. A draw perhaps? But yeah, we've got to focus on our end and beat Sunderland, cos if we don't, then the result's irrelevant to us!

    Grammy's, Zohaib?! You should only watch Arsenal-related stuff! lol! And true say, our injury woes are quite worrying, although Everton seem to have had more than their fair share (although they still manage to win games!). But how come Villa never seem to have loads of them, seeing as they've got a compact squad as well?]]>

  • Debs

    Haha Dev! I see you’ve got Zohaib as commentator of the month for Jan 2008 at the top left corner! I wonder who won it for Jan 2009 then! ;)

  • Marriich

    < ![CDATA[I’m sure Gooners AND Liverpool fans will back me up on this!
    That Harry Redknapp. The things he does and says. He is just a rogue!

    The man can say what he wants and it is eaten up by the English media. He scratches their backs and they scratch his.

    I’ve never known a football manager who taps players up so publicly as him. He is at it again. Now he is “admiring” our very own Armond Traore from afar. Well its not that far from Shite Hart Lane.

    Perhaps he forgets that Traore was arrested entering Shite Hart Lane with a knuckle-duster but I’m sure Armand would rather stay at Arsenal.

    Of course Redknapp will escape criticism again for tapping up players because he is such a nice bloke.

    I’m sure I’m not the first person who is annoyed by Redknapp’s antics. He does it all the time yet is never punished.

    He did it when taking Robbie Keane back to Tottenham from Liverpool and he will do it again. And again. And again.

    Perhaps the FA have no bollocks and the English media will never mention it because it enjoys a “special” relationship with Redknapp.

    Its about time Redknapp was punished. His lovable ways maybe loved by the media but all he does is publicly unsettle players.

    And there was me thinking that was illegal!]]>

  • devday

    Good spot Debs – and congratulations Zohaib! Your internet usage issue sounds really annoying!

  • zohaib

    We’ve got Sheffield Utd or Hull if we beat Cardiff. I don’t know if it’s a good draw for us or not since this season we’ve been playing better against the ‘big’ teams and crappy against the ‘smaller’ teams.

  • Debs

    I think it’s a good draw Zohaib, cos we’re at home, so we’ve got a better chance of going through. It’d be better to play the so-called ‘big teams’ in the semis or finals, but definitely not the quarters, cos we’ll that’ll diminish our chances! Don’t fancy playing Man U in the quarters in March (I think!), while we’re battling for 4th spot! Too much pressure, I would think…

  • devday

    I had breakfast with Ruud Van Nistelrooy. His wife has his properly under the thumb…!

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Yea the timing's another issue. Good point. But we've not had a great home record. I think we've been under less pressure when we're away from home. Plus the opponents feel the need to come out and attack for a change, so we get more space and chances to attack back. In a way, it's easier for us to play our football away from home.

    Anyone heard Bendtner say he should be playing every minute of every game for Arsenal ? LOL]]>

  • zohaib

    He also said he didn’t watch the Euro2008 and has no idea of what type of a player Arshavin is !

  • Debs

    Yeah, I wonder what Bentdner’s playing at?! I don’t think we can handle any dressing troubles at this moment in time and he seems set on doing that! He also said stuff like he should be playing every game and every minute of every game…

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[And true, we've not had that much home advantage this season, but I think that's just in the League though-
    I think we've won all our home cup games, and we crashed out of the Carling cup playing away at Burnley. If we had to play Burnley away again in the FA cup in the 5th round, I'm sure they'd really fancy their chances. I'd go for a home tie any day in the cup competitions against lower league opposition, cos the Emirates effect makes a big difference, seeing as they don't visit us there often like say in the league... I'd be more confident of us winning cup ties if we were home than if we were away (except if it was PL opposition, cos then, we wouldn't really have an advantage per se, as you rightly pointed out).]]>

  • Debs

    And Dev, stop making us jealous! :)

  • Yemi

    We really have our jobs cut out for us in the FA (all things being equal). cardiff, sheffied/hull should not really be a problem for us but without souding too pessimistic, i would have been looking past those teams to whoever is next but for this season, you can’t really be too sure again.