Tomorrow is another day…

Arsene spoke on his gamble or lack of ability to take more of a gamble:

“It was difficult because we had no strikers on the bench. Arshavin was dead after 60 minutes and we only had Vela on the bench. We took Song off and switched Nasri and we finished with Van Persie, Vela, Bendtner and Eboue in a purely offensive role. We still didn’t score and I couldn’t see there was much more of a gamble to take.  I’m frustrated that the guys don’t get rewarded because this team really wants to do well. I can’t fault the spirit and I believe we have to keep that as a strength and the rest will come.”

Indeed, Arsene, we are all frustrated, but a refreshing post match overview from Arsene. His honesty helps us figure out why he made the changes he did and his attempt and want to try and win the game. With Arshavin only joining recently and having hardly had any match practice. With the preseason just starting at the beginning of January, Arshavin needs games to get him fit and with him not being legible for the Roma game, he’ll have a week to recover from the Sunderland and train until the Fulham game, where I expect him to get another run out.

He acknowledged that the English league is a faster league and he’ll take some time to adapt. The diminutive Russian said:

“I enjoyed my debut in front of so many spectators. But I am disappointed we did not get the result. I am doing everything I can to be as fully fit as soon as possible. I have never played in this League before, so I will have to see [how long it takes]. If I played today in the Russian Premier League, I think I would have been OK, but the English Premier League is a different speed, it is quicker. I think overall it was not so much of a problem for me on the pitch, but Sunderland played very defensive. All of their players stayed in the box. It was very difficult for us. We tried to play for a goal and had chances, but after the game we were not so happy.”

A week later and we should see Andrei in action again. The following week, Eduardo should return and maybe just maybe, we may have some sort of squad for the remainder of the season. There is a little stigma going on in the game at the moment, especially related to Arsenal and how teams play so defensively, that it means we can’t win. But in reality, teams have a right to do what they want, it’s up to us to break them down. Sunderland were not the first team to come with a defensive attitude – actually, they were defensive, but they did move forward swiftly and in the first half they had their fair set of chances. Look at United or Chelsea – most teams when they travel to Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge respectively, put 10 behind the ball, but they somehow manage to break the opposition team. So what it comes down to is our own ability to break down the opposition, not the opposition tactics.

Arsene touched on this subject:

“I am not critical of Sunderland. We have to deal with that because that’s what everybody does to us. They gave us a problem. We have to be good enough to deal with it. We want to be even more determined to punish teams who refuse to play, you know. But I feel at the moment we became nervous when we didn’t score early on and you could see that in the way we didn’t take our chances in the second half. I don’t know whether I would do that as manager of Sunderland. I don’t want to interfere in what they should do because they are free to do what they want. It’s down to us to win the game.”

So, I’ve veered completely off topic, I’m supposed to speak about the Roma game… okay… I’ll be back in the morning with a Roma preview…

Til then…]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[I do believe Wenger when he says that Roma shouldn't be as defensive-minded as most of the teams in the league. And I hope that's true, so it's easier for us to score. I also hope our defence has a super day, so we don't concede any. I have my doubts though, with a Denilson and Song midfield, that we'd be able to achieve both of those targets - to score and keep a clean sheet. Nasri and VanPersie will be the only two players capable of creating chances. The other four players in attack - Denilson, Song, Bendtner and Eboue have more off days than on and it's difficult for me to expect them to do much. I hope to be surprised.
    It'll be interesting to see what Wenger does with Vela and Ramsey. He's already said that Denilson will be important for the Roma game. And we'll probably see Toure and Gallas at the back.

    Has anyone read what Wenger said about Silvestre, having yet another recurrence of his injury. Isn't it the third time in a row now ? LOL]]>

  • zohaib

    Oh and Diaby is available again. Hmmmm.

  • zohaib

    And Wenger says Rosicky will need at least 2 months to get back to his best. I think the only reason why he’s said that is to give Rosicky a little challenge to get back to form quicker. Or maybe he’s just being honest for a change.

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Because the season's over in two months.

    And Eduardo, Walcott and Adebayor should be available in two weeks as well. Mouthwatering...]]>

  • AJ

    < ![CDATA[Yeah, I'm looking forward to the Roma game and think we can win, they will attack us and if Nasri is on form today, he will be the vital player for us I reckon, if he plays in the centre of the park as the "playmaker". If Diaby is fit, I want to see him play, when going forward he is one hell of a player, my only worry is, out of our midfielders we don't have the tough tackling player like Roma have in de Rossi and Aquiliani, who also get forward and both have pretty good long shots.

    As for Silvestre, I had completely forgotten we had him, oh well. I can't wait to see Eduardo back in the league though, Walcott too, as for Adebayor, he can stay on the bench for a while.]]>

  • Ian Tanner

    < ![CDATA[since that scintillating and thoroughly deserved win against the Mancs three-and-a-half months ago, Arsenal have scored just four goals in seven home Premier League matches. The other causes for concern are less widely publicised and appreciated. We have recently lost key backroom personnel: team doctor, head physio and now our multi award-winning head groundsman, Paul Burgess. Are we to be a feeder employer for national organisations and bigger football clubs (as distinct from bigger football teams)?

    I've long argued that Arsenal are not and never will be a "big club" in the way that applies to ManYoo and Liverpool. Another illustration occurred at Old Trafford on Saturday evening. Ronaldo should have been cautioned for his Eboue-like kick but referees are seldom strong enough to give these when they see them; the pressure on them is intense. As Big Fat Sam summarised: "... it's difficult to ref here ..." when opining about the latest, blatant non-penalty for a Premiership away team at The Swamp. This was a game United could easily have lost and ended with 10 men, but they and their arrogance rolls on. As I've said many times before, there's absolutely nothing that Arsene or Arsenal can do to change this, and attempts in the immediate future at league domination by our boys will therefore be massively handicapped.

    Half Full: four consecutive clean sheets, three goals conceded in the last 10 games in all competitions, and 16 unbeaten since Citeh away, if one not unreasonably ignores two 2-0 away reverses - at Porto and Burnley - by our second string. But whereas Blackburn had a reported 24 (!) attempts at goal - 16 on target and hitting the post - opponents at E******s have shown very little ambition recently, which I regard as a very encouraging trend. Bolton were totally devoid of ambition, West Ham were little better and, after a bright first few exchanges, promotion-chasing Cardiff mounted an exercise in damage limitation. Sunderland passed the ball extremely well at times, but as the match wore on their impressive striker, Kenwyne Jones, became increasingly isolated. Almunia had just to maintain concentration in the second half, so redundant was he. In the first he had only to deal with two speculative shots from distance.

    Adebayor, Eduardo, Theo, Cesc, Diaby and Rosicky are all close to returns. These players will add to our potency, either directly and / or indirectly. And then there's Arshavin, but only when he's adjusted fully to the English game (despite Saturday's highly encouraging first half display from him, please don't expect too much too soon). It may come too late to rescue a CL spot for next season - our best route may be to win the thing! - but the future is a lot brighter than many think. I can understand the boos of frustration at full time, which I think was largely down to the lack of second half chances than to a third consecutive Premier League stalemate. Whilst our team gets older and more mature, the ManU manager will also get older, though not more mature. One day quite soon Old Red Nose will retire, and Old Trafford will be a less intimidating place to officiate. We may soon have a more level playing field; and silverware will follow.

    Keep the faith.]]>

  • Ibrahim

    hate to sound like some one who has given up but the way things are going right now we need more than luck to over come a roma side that have gladiators in midfield,denilson is ok but i just hope he can come to the party when necessary as for abu,well a little less holding on the ball and passing in time might just do the trick.As for the missing personnel ,if and when they come back from their respective injuries well………..opponents beware,speed demon(walcot),floor general(fab4) combined with the russian night mare,crozillan trojan,dutch maestro fleet-footed french and da cech warrior … recipe for success and anahilation…….but till then… lets get past roma n then well see

  • Berth

    < ![CDATA[For the fact that Eboue, song and Bedtner will be playing in his came I can't honestly find where the goal will come from.
    really hoping for miracle; am I?]]>

  • debs

    < ![CDATA[come on guys, I think we'll find a goal from somewhere. VP's playing, right? I'm more worried about conceding that all- important away goal.
    on another note, apparently Fabregas told Wenger he's willing to play today, although Wenger refused, as he doesn't want to risk him. i think that's the right decision, cos it'd be disastrous if he got injured again, alhough I'm really happy that he's actually eager to play for the team again. He should be raring to go whenever Wenger thinks he's fully fit, so I'm excited about that!]]>

  • hotsol

    < ![CDATA[points about the refereeing at OT are really important. Note that even a guy like Allardyce commented on this. Even the Times commented on how Webb seemed unable to referee correctly at OT, saying that Benitez’s rant against Ferguson was given credible support after Webb’s performance at OT on Saturday. When was the last time a ref called for a penalty against Man Utd at OT? Compare that to how many times at any other top club’s home ground, incl. ours. The numbers are pretty skewed. Between 1992 and 2007, there were only 12 penalties called against Man Utd at OT — it’s an extraordinarily tiny number compared to those at other top clubs.

    I’ve always argued that Arsenal (esp. under AW) is operating under deep, institutional FA bias that is thoroughly skewed towards Man Utd. And I’ve always thought Wenger has to train his team with that in mind.

    Ian, the term “big club” is pretty relative. How do you define it? Arsenal are one of England’s biggest clubs and a big one in Europe. We are only 1 of 4 European teams to be in the CL consecutively for 11 years. We are one of the world’s richest. We have a world class state-of-the-art stadium and world class manager. If you refer to number of trophies, then, yes we are not as “big” as MUtd and Pool. But very few clubs have as many trophies as we have in our long history.]]>

  • Pete

    Regarding Arshavin – is he only inelligable for only this round in the Champions League (like he was in the last round of the FA Cup), or is he not allowed to play in later rounds too?

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

    < ![CDATA[Arshavin is cup tied as he has played in the competition. That means no appearence at all this season.

    The FA Cup was different because it was just a replay - he wasn't a squad member for the original match. Now the replay is settled he's available for the competition, having never played in it before.

    Though Wenger raised an interesting point - what's the difference. Zenit are no longer in the Champs League so what is the difference between Arshavin playing and Wenger buying any other player from Europe who hasn't previously played in the cup? It's madness. Likewise, if he bought say Alonso who has appeared in the FA Cup this season he'd have to sit the competition out, but Arshavin is free to play. Idiocy.

    Anyway, just watched highlights of our 2-0 loss at Porto - Silvestre at fault for both goals. They made him look a dick. Just serves to remind we're better off with him injured.]]>

  • debs

    he’s can’t play in any CL rounds this season- he’s cup-tied. it’s different from the FA cup scenario cos that only applied to that game- he wasn’t cup-tied; he just couldn’t play that particular game as he was not registered as an Arsenal player when the original tie was played.

  • Pete

    Thanks :)