Much a do about nothing… day 4…

Almunia has been hosting a web chat over on, but that's about all that's going on. Breaking news about Mark Randall wanting to get some loan experience just doesn't cut the intensity of a game every three days and fighting on all fronts...

The only news we have today is that fact that despite not playing for us for the previous X amounts of weeks, Emmanuel Adebayor is going to play for his country. In one way, it's good - if he's ready, then it's good match practice before he returns to the Emirates. The Togan coach said:

“Ade did not come here for nothing, he is here to play against Cameroon.

“He is the main man for the national team. He is my captain, the nation can count on him.

“He has always given his best for the country so he will be a boost to the squad. He is a wonderful player.”

Okay, if you say so Mr. Thissen – the fact that he’s been woeful for Arsenal this season surely may contribute to the fact that you shouldn’t play an injured player. Anywho – I’ve lost my ability to care about what happens with Adebayor – since he’s been out of the team, we started to win and score goals…

In the meanwhile, Matty Almunia must be mega-bored when the International break comes. He’s stuck at the Emirates with… hmmm, let me think… the injured players, so that’s Cesc at the moment and always Rosicky. Maybe Rosicky organises games for these weeks or something. Hopscotch?

Almunia probably hates hopscotch and said:

“People are asking this question now because I have been in England for five years and am able to apply for a passport.

“I am taking in the information, what I need to do for a passport. I think, for January next year, maybe I can have the permission.

“Maybe I will get a passport, then after, if I get the call-up [from England], I will think about this.”

Oh yeah, baby, that’s the spirit – it would be the weirdest thing ever seeing Almunia play for England. I’m surprised he hasn’t got a Spanish call up to be honest. So hang in there Matty A… someone will come a calling soon…]]>

  • Steve

    < ![CDATA[Hopefully Ade will not be risked if he is not fully fit.

    I'm sure he is in one of those grey areas where he is probably fine to play, but another week wound reduce the risk of recurrence. Hopefully he will only play 60 or 30 mins in each game and come back match fit.

    Almunia is a good keeper, but he's not that young and wouldn't really be a long term solution to the keeper problem. Then there will be the obvious political issue of a spanish keeper in goal for England, that would definately get some column inches.

    Plently of other countries have foreign players (Eduardo and Deco spring to mind), and we have done it with Petersen in cricket. Nevertheless, would cause a bit fuss.]]>

  • Fabrez

    < ![CDATA[Almunia keeping isn't a bad idea but as Steve said, the political issuses will come up and he isn't young. I'm not sure we'll c that happen. I think he deserves to be at least 3rd keeper for Spain if not 2nd...Reina isn't that much better than Manuel...

    And Dev, seems as if Rosicky has beeb doing a bit more than arranging hopscotch! He's had an interview done on ATVO which i was absolutely delighted to see! I was well pleased bcuz i only read of things he supposedly said on SSN but seeing him speak was great. Mention that 2morro maybe? There is a part 2 to come so i'll b on the look out 4 that!]]>

  • Fabrez

    Oh yeah…Adebayor…if he’s fit then he can play. Match practice is good. Hope Togo don’t go and stupidly injure him tho… I’d like 2 think that common sense will prevail…

  • Pete

    It’s a bit harsh on Ade by suggesting he’s comletely useless. He did put in a few good performanaces this season. He came on at 60mins and scored two winning goals against a tough West Ham. Ok he’s no where near the form he was on last year, has missed chances, and has had to cope with a few injury setbacks, but he’s not been 100% rubbish like a few people seem to suggest. 12 goals in all comps so far for a guy whose been out for a few long spells isn’t too bad imo.

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[Pete you and I and all Arsenal fans know what a pain in the A** Ade can be when it comes to conversion rate. I mean this guy struggles when it comes to one on one with goal keepers. If our top striker cant bury such chances then his not worth being in the team.

    Besides the conversion ratio, his hold up play is really appalling- that's an area Bedtner is better by miles. Am not saying we should take him off and replace with Bedtner, but am saying he should buckle up, learn all these flaws and work on improving them; I mean Beckham did learn how to score from free kicks , it didn't come naturally, Ade as we all know is not a natural scorer like Eduardo, he should however sort himself out, seek for videos of men Like Inzaghi, Nisterooy and co..

    It saves a lot doing so.]]>

  • debs

    < ![CDATA[True Pete, Ade's put in a few good performances this season, but no one really remembers because they've been too few and far between.
    Don't know if we could even say the same about what's his face... Silvestre- it actually took me a bit to remember his name! That's not good! lol. I read an article recently where the writer was like it's good news for our opponents, not us, that Silvestre is back, cos our run of not conceding goals started when he was injured! That's a bit harsh, but it definitely echoes some of the fans' feelings towards the dude. Poor him. I do hope he impresses when he gets back, cos he's definitely not got a lot of people on his side, me included!]]>

  • jamesgillesp

    < ![CDATA[Let Togo play Ade if they want. If he is ready then why not, we have been getting better results since he has been injured anyway..
    If Almunia did play for England I'm sure there would be a lot of uproar - England fans don't like foreigners! It can happen to 'smaller' countries - i.e. Eddy in Croatia, but here people wouldn't like it.
    Personally I wouldn't mind him playing for England - but its just another player away on internationals..]]>

  • Debs

    Fabrez it was so lovely to see and hear Rosicky, especially as he seemed really chirpy. That’s brightened my totally drab day a whole whole lot! Can’t wait for him to be back, and it’s great to see him ‘boiling’ to play again!

  • Pete

    Totally agree that Ade need to knuckle own mate, I’m not saying he’s the finest striker at all (although last year he was up there with the best in the league). And your criticism of him is fair. But I think that because he’s not had the greatest season, sometimes people can be overly critical, making out that he’s completely useless, which is unfair. Thats all I was pointing out. But otherwise, totally agree with you squire :)

  • Pete

    *knuckle down*

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Last year we had Gilberto, Flamini, Hleb and Diarra in midfield. Gilberto being the veteran. Hleb being an experienced, talented, creative, attacking, supplier. Flamini being the defensive midfielder with determination, grit, muscle, strength, stamina and work-rate.

    We even had Eduardo and if I'm not mistaken, Rosicky playing for some 6 months before both got injured.

    That midfield was miles better than the midfield we started with this season. Walcott is far from being the complete player. For me, Hleb was obviously better, specially in terms of supplying the strikers and creating goal-scoring opportunities.

    Last year the strikers didn't have to create opportunities for themselves, like they need to do sometimes (as has been crystal clear this season). The midfield provided them with moves that needed a touch or two to put them into the net. Adebayor was getting everything on a plate. There wasn't a whole lot he needed to do. Hence it was easy being amongst the top strikers in the league.

    This season, when more's been asked of him, he's failed to deliver. One of the job's a striker has is to create goal-scoring opportunities himself and another is to finish them off. And as we've seen too many times this season, he just isn't good enough. He doesn't have the ability to create anything for himself. He isn't a very good team player either. Often getting into the wrong positions on the pitch. His link-up play can be much better. Bendtner's is definitely better than Ade's. Ade is too slow for the game most of the time. He's got top speed, but not quick feet, which is crucial against a side who's parked the bus in front of goal, which is often the case against Arsenal. Funny enough, I think he was quickest in his very first season. His partnership with Henry was better than the best partnership we have now. Obviously much of that was because of Henry. And such was the class of Titi that everybody looked good beside him. Now Ade seems to have cooled down and he seems more lazy. Only for 20 minutes in a game will he seem like he cares to try and make something happen, though mostly still, he's running around like a headless chicken. The other 70 minutes he's getting caught offside. There doesn't seem to be anything that interests him in the game anymore. He's probably happy with the salary increase. He feels like he's one of the best strikers in the world because other top clubs have apparently been interested in him. And now he doesn't need to do any more hard work for his club because he's got nothing left to prove.
    The only standout quality about him is his height, and that is natural, not something he has to work on. It does give Arsenal as a team, an advantage to have a variety of attacking qualities, but Ade's just not intelligent enough to use that ability. We aren't known to be a 'long-ball' team but our crossing has been getting better and better. Some people think Clichy and Sagna can't cross. I disagree. They've been putting in some sublime crosses lately. Walcott can't cross yet. Nasri can, Arshavin can, and I'm pretty sure Cesc and Rosicky can as well. I've even seen Diaby and Song playing some majestic, accurate long-balls. We just need to know when to use which form of attack. That's the best way to be most efficient and threatening going forward. It's better to have more options in attack than to be so blatantly predictable. It makes it harder for the defense if they don't know what form of attack is coming, rather than to expect short, pretty passes everytime.
    But even in the air, Bendtner is far better than Ade. He wins the ball much more in the air. His touch and control is as good as Ade's if not better. He isn't scared to challenge for the ball when it's in the air, like Ade. Bendtner can head it just as well as Ade. Sure, Bendtner doesn't have quick feet in the box either and sometimes he lacks the quality in front of goal to finish, but he's only 21. Ade's 26ish. You decide who can get better.
    If I had to choose between the two I'd take Bendtner. He brings much more to the team. He can even play on the wing because he has good top speed and ball control. He has weaknesses to his game like anyone. But that's mostly to do with not having quick feet. I think the part about finishing is in his head. If he can sort himself out mentally, I think he'll be a much better finisher.
    If Ade leaves/is sold, and if Wenger feels he needs a replacement (even though we'd have enough strikers in number - it's debatable if we'd have enough experienced strikers though, with Vela, Walcott and Bendtner being under 22, and only VanPersie and Eduardo being the experienced ones) I think it'd be necessary to get someone with similar height to keep the balance in the team. 2 tall strikers and some short ones. If we go for a tall striker, there are some options on the market. Ideally, I'd like for us to get someone who's got decent height but much more quality in his feet than Adebayor. And I think there are players available who possess both those qualities.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Ade's not completely useless. But he's not Arsenal quality. He could do well for mid-table teams. But he doesn't deserve to be at a top 4 club.
    He's been likened to Kanu but that's harsh on Kanu. Kanu was a brilliant player with so much quality. Ade is hardly that.]]>

  • Steve

    < ![CDATA[2007/08 PL top scorers:

    1. 31 Ronaldo
    2. 24 Adebayor / Torres

    You can't deny the stats, this guy has the class to be great at this level.

    I know he's been inconsistent this season but so has the whole team. Judge him by the end of the season.

    When we are back playing well and he gets the competetion for places aswell as the support/service any striker needs, he'll be back to his best.]]>

  • zohaib

    Ade has yet to impress me. Don’t think he can get any better. Bendtner can. Any striker would benefit from having Cesc, Rosicky, Nasri, Arshavin but a striker should also be able to create opportunities himself. And Ade can’t do that. Bendtner can’t really do that either. VanPersie, Vela and Eduardo can. Even Walcott can.

  • zohaib

    For me, stats don’t really mean much in the real world. The only real conclusion are those that are drawn from watching the games. Not reading some stats at the end of a season. For the simple reason that there are too many things the stats don’t show.

  • Steve

    < ![CDATA[Strikers should be judged by goals, personally I never rated inzaghi as a player, but he scores so many goals he makes me look like an idiot every time I write him off.

    Ade'll come good.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Ok then all that's left is for you to see some stats of the amount of chances strikers miss. Because I'm pretty sure Ade'll be right at the top of that chart.

    If only I knew where to find them.

    Inzaghi's an out and out striker. He's grown older so now he looks like a rusted piece of machinery. Doesn't move smoothly, looks stiff and rigid. But he's got deceptive ball control and basically is a finisher. Someone who gets on the end of almost all 50-50 chances in the box and tap-ins and that sort of stuff.

    It's not about writing them off. It's just a matter of personal preference. I wouldn't have either Ade or Inzaghi in my team. I won't write Inzaghi off because I know he's got the annoying ability to score when he looks like the last person with the ability to score. I just wouldn't have him in my team.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[A little stat from last season.

    Minutes per offside:

    Marcus Bent 43.2
    Emmanuel Adebayor 44.4
    Dean Ashton 50.4
    Nicolas Anelka 57.5
    Emile Heskey 59.6]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Here's another from last season.

    Offsides per game:

    Emmanuel Adebayor 1.83
    Marcus Bent 1.74
    Nicolas Anelka 1.56
    Dimitar Berbatov 1.25
    Emile Heskey 1.25]]>

  • zohaib

    1.83 has to be wrong. It seemed more like 5 offsides per game.

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Notice the bit about most offsides here.


    Appearances - 12 players - 38
    Substitution on - Marlon Harewood, Shane Long - 22
    Substitution off - Elano - 23
    Passes in own half - Rio Ferdinand - 912
    Passes in opposition half - Francesc Fabregas - 1690
    Dribbles attempted - Cristiano Ronaldo - 191
    Clearances - Martin Laursen - 739
    Blocks - Richard Dunne - 37
    Interceptions - Gaël Clichy - 136
    Fouls conceded - John Carew - 100
    Fouls won - David Bentley - 90
    Offsides - Emmanuel Adebayor - 66
    Yellow cards - Nicky Butt - 13
    Red cards - Richard Dunne, Sulley Ali Muntari, Ryan Nelsen - 2]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Here's more :

    05/06 - 13 appearances - 4 goals - 3.25 games per goal
    06/07 - 29 appearances - 8 goals - 3.625 games per goal
    07/08 - 36 appearances - 24 goals - 1.5 games per goal
    08/09 - 22 appearances - 8 goals - 2.75 games per goal]]>

  • Pete

    To be perfectly honest though mate, there aren’t any strikers in the league this year that have been outstanding. Take Santa Cruz and Berbatov as an example. Both proven quaity in their position, but haven’t lived up to previous seasons form. I’d even argue that Torres hasn’t had as good a season this year than he did last year. Same goes for quite a few midfielders, including Cesc and Ronaldo. It’s just been a bit of a strange season of football alll round.

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[That's a whole other issue. I want my strikers to be performing to the best of their abilities. Anybody and everybody else is irrelevant. Comparisons are for those who want to make generalizations and conclusions at the end of a season based on inconclusive stats (which don't show everything) because they need some fancy figures for bragging rights or whatever.
    What about deflections ? What about the chances that hit the woodwork ? What about wrongfully awarded penalties or freekicks leading to goals ? What about goals that crossed the line but were not awarded ? What about wrongfully disallowed goals ? Or wrongfully allowed goals ? What about refereeing inconsistency and stupidity and when that has an affect in the context of the game ?
    Just because a striker scored X number of goals doesn't necessarily mean that he deserved to score exactly that amount of goals, or that he had the potential to score no more/less. In the case of Ade, his midfield was a huge contributor to him scoring as many as he did.

    And btw, all the stats I've listed above are from last season, i.e., when he was having a great season by his standards. Still he's managed to get himself offside 66 times in the 36 games he's played. Atrocious. And that's only part of it. How many chances did he miss that he should have converted ? Probably twice the number of chances the guy in second place missed.

    I agree that this season's been very strange. The top striker has only scored 15 goals till now. Gerrard's scored 13 and Ronaldo's scored 13. Both midfielders. It seems the strikers have had a lesser say compared to last year and either more midfielders are scoring goals or less goals are being scored overall or both. But this has nothing to do with Adebayor not scoring the many chances he somehow manages to miss even though they are easy chances. He doesn't perform anywhere near the level people seem to praise him for. Over-appreciated and over-hyped in my opinion. He's just not that good.

    I've been giving it some thought and I think if we ever play Ade or Bendtner, we need to play them as the support striker behind VanPersie or Eduardo. Both Ade and Bendtner seem to play deeper and spend more time away from the box either on the flanks or in the center. They don't take advantage of their height and play on the shoulders of the defenders like most tall strikers do. They're absent when crosses do come in from open play so what's the point of playing VanPersie as yet another support striker. Play Vanpersie and Eduardo up front as out and out strikers. They're much better and quicker on their feet. They've got much more quality in finishing too. Play Adebayor and Bendtner as support strikers. That way they'll also be able to help out if the midfield lacks height and win goalkicks in the air etc. For example Bendtner's link-up play has been very good and he's improving. So I think Bendtner could definitely play as a SS. Ade could maybe. He'd definitely be slightly better in a SS role than he has managed as a striker.

    I believe had it not been Torres' first season, he would hit the 30 goal a season mark. And there's the issue of Rafa and his freaky formations and rotations policies which sometimes hamper the form of some of his players etc.]]>

  • zohaib

    And also, Torres played fewer games than Ade yet managed to score as many. That also tells you that it’s wrong to think of them as being on an equal level last season since they had the same number of goals. Most people do that. Make judgements based on incomplete stats.


    Hleb being an experienced, talented, creative, attacking, supplier.


  • Steve

    I don’t really care about how many times he was offside. If he was offside 20 times in a game and scored 3 goals I’d say he had a good game.

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[If a 'world-class' striker manages to get himself offside that many times. First of all it shows how much he knows about the rule, how much he works to not be offside. It also affects the morale of the team, when they see that they're working hard to make something happen and their 'world-class' striker is destroying all the moves by standing in the wrong place.

    'Lies' my foot. LOL.]]>

  • zohaib

    Schoolboy errors. Disgraceful at a top 4 club.

  • Steve

    < ![CDATA[Well it depends on why he is offside. I don't imagine many of those will be Ade slowly walking back when the back line hoofs the ball up to him as we never do that.

    Being offside when looking to time your run to latch on to a Cesc through ball is another matter, and those things can often lead to a 1-1.

    It always pays to be on the shoulder of the defence because you can exploit any mistake by the linesman. Just look at Rooney's 2nd the other day, was half a yard offside, but these goals get given.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA['It always pays to be on the shoulder of the defence...'

    Exactly ! But he's never there is he. That's the issue with him. He can't hold the ball up properly. Everytime he's got his back to the opponent's goal and he receives a pass, he immediately runs back towards where the pass came from or passes it right back. Why doesn't he use his strength and hold the ball up there ? What's he so scared of for ? It's not like he's got a bulldozer behind him that'll flat him in his path ! Yet he runs back like a chicken with no strength to resist a tackle at all. He conveniently forgets that he can't get a strong tackle from behind anyway because that's a yellow card. I fail to understand why he makes such silly decisions.
    That's basically his problem. He slows the wave of attack too much, which causes all the opposition's midfielders to run back into place and then it's much harder to break the opponents down. That's been our problem all season and even in the past few years. We have lacked the intelligence to know how to penetrate and when to penetrate. We pass it around too slowly and our movement can be much much better. We continuously make it harder for ourselves by not being sharp and quick enough.
    And Ade is one of those players that break our own attack up and slow it down to the point where it becomes useless and you've got to wait for the next move. And if that wasn't enough, he misses too many chances when he does manage to get into the right place.
    He's rarely on the shoulder of the last defender. That's part of my complain. If he was, you'd see more crosses coming in and you'd see him being in the box for a change, trying to connect with those crosses. The only time you see him in the box is if it's a free kick or a corner.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[And please, don't try to suggest that we don't have people who know how to cross. I don't believe that such talented players wouldn't know how to pass the ball in the air. It's just that we probably don't practice it enough. Which is wrong I think. If we don't we should. We should try to be a more all-round team so that we can win against any kind of opposition.

    Clichy and Sagna are no Beckhams but they've been getting better and better and I've seen some delightful crosses played by them. Even Song, Diaby and Cesc can play balls in the air and obviously Nasri, Arshavin and Rosicky can as well.]]>