Arsenal 2 – 0 Olympiakos

Arsenal 2 – 0 Olympiakos

Van Persie 78, Arshavin 85

Evening all. If you remember in February of this year, when Sunderland came to the Emirates, they put 10 players behind the ball and basically defended for 90 minutes. That game ended up in a 0-0 draw and it was a game where we threw everything at them but could simply not break them down.

Well, just imagine a European side, managed by Zico with some slightly better players than Sunderland with the Greek goalkeeper who won Greece the Euros (and don’t forget ex-Aston Villa player Olaf Mellberg in the centre of their defence)… doing exactly the same in the Champions League.

It was probably one of the most negative displays of an away team, and maybe as a result, we just started playing. In a way, kind of forgetting it was a Champions League game – we just kicked the ball around with consummate ease. At some points, we really did over play, but then again, maybe it was key to unlocking their defence.

Our line up yesterday (was nearly correct in the preview post)… thanks to Joel Sequeira and the rest of the guys for commenting on the game last night… was…

Mannone

Eboue – Gallas – Vermaelen – Clichy

Song – Diaby

Rosicky – Cesc – Arshavin

Van Persie

I have to say, from where I was sitting in the stands, the first half was electrifying - the noise in the stadium was awesome. Having the four players of Rosicky, Cesc, Arshavin and Van Persie meant our attacking play was sensational, with an excellent move between VP, the Russian and the captain resulting in Cesc hitting the bar (a worthwhile highlight to find somewhere if you can!)…

But Olympiakos were resilient in their defence… and it took until the last fifteen minutes before we managed to score. From my point of view, I couldn’t really complain about the effort and the football was sensational, but when Diaby and Rosicky came off and Eduardo and Vela came on, and we reverted to 4-4-2, we looked much more dangerous. Eduardo slipped into between two defenders, as Vela made a decoy run to the left, Cesc finding Eduardo and then the Crozilian squaring to Van Persie, incisively and accurately to make it 1-0. And 1-0 soon turned to two when good play from Van Persie and the electric Arshavin resulted in a tap in with a back heel from the little man after so really attacking play!

Arsene was delighted with the win and of course with Arshavin:

“I’m very happy because we had a great first half with outstanding quality. Unfortunately we couldn’t take advantage of it and at half time it was 0-0. It’s difficult to maintain that pace and quality for 90 minutes. In the second half our physicality dropped a little and our fluency went a little bit as well. It’s important then not to make a mistake and to dig deep and hope that they die a little bit more than us and take advantage in the last 20 minutes. That’s what happened. I think we dominated from the first to the last minute and Olympiacos defended very well. They were well organised and disciplined and gave absolutely everything for 90 minutes.”

“When you play against a team who defends with 10 men in their half it is important to have players who can play in a very small space and Arshavin is a specialist at that. He was sharp tonight and determined and in these types of games he is always a threat.”

So good news from Arsene is that Theo will be back in the squad for the home game against Blackburn this weekend and finally, in our fourth season at the Emirates, I kind of feel like the Stadium is becoming a bit of a fortress, the fans are louder, the team seems to know that they can beat anyone at home, and that’s really exciting. I can’t wait for the weekend’s game, knowing that we’ll have a selection of Van Persie, Eduardo, Vela, Arshavin, Rosicky and Walcott to choose from… Nice…

Okay, it’s Champions League Wednesday, so time to see what’s going on at the Santiago Bernabeu…

Have a good evening mes amigos….

Match Preview: Arsenal vs Olympiakos

Arsenal v Olympiacos
UEFA Champions League, Emirates Stadium
Tuesday, September 29, 2009, 19:45

It’s match day! And the games are back to their twice weekly cycle and before we can digest one game, we’re already previewing the next one. And after our tiresome win over Standard Liege, we’ve got a good old fashioned home game, which really has to be considered a home banker, 3-pointer.

One familiar face in the Olympiacos line up will be ex-Aston Villa Olaf Mellberg and the former Premiership player has been part of a very successful defence, a defence which has only conceded 2 goals in the last 10 games. The player commented ahead of tonight’s game:

“It will be a really tough match,” said the 32-year-old. “We will need to be on top of our game all over the pitch. They’re probably one of the best teams in Europe at playing quick football. We’ve defended well so far this season and we need to do that to stop Arsenal. Going forward they are one of the best sides, not only in England, but in Europe. We played in the first ever game here and I scored the first goal. We got a draw too so it was a good game and I have happy memories of it.”

In terms of team news ahead of the game, news is that we’re planning in giving Tomas Rosicky his first start in a while in a front three with Van Persie and Arshavin, whilst Sagna and Clichy may be rested for Eboue and Gibbs respectively. Theo Walcott and Carlos Vela look set to take part in a closed door friendly against Olympiacos Reserves, which means the likely line up will be:

Mannone

Eboue – Gallas – Vermaelen – Gibbs

Song – Diaby

Rosicky – Cesc – Arshavin

Van Persie

With a bench of WS (our keeper whose name I can’t spell), Sagna, Clichy, Silvestre, Ramsey, Wilshere and Eduardo.

Ultimately, if we dropped Diaby and played Cesc deeper, moving Rosicky central, Arshavin right and Vela or Eduardo left, we’d probably have a better team, but I’m not the boss and the boss really wants to play Diaby, week in and week out until eventually he becomes good!

I’ll be at the game tonight, so won’t be able to run Match Day Live, but I’m hoping some of the readers watching the game will add a few comments to help others not watching the game know what is going on!

Before I go, a quick excerpt from Arsene regarding the money situation. We made a whopping £35.6m profit this year – and that’s £6m more than last year. In fact, we’ve been making profits every year despite the stadium and despite the service debt. Remember, these numbers are after the debt payment has been made, which makes the situation even more positive…

“It is true there is money and people reproach me for not losing money. It is not a personal thing, it is just that I have a squad that is strong enough to compete.  We have worked with the young players and I am at a stage where they are now coming out – Diaby, Denilson, Song, Fabregas, Walcott, Vela, Ramsey. I have so many players and if I buy now in front of them, I will not find better players. I will not have a better team. Look at the two last players we bought – Arshavin and Vermaelen. We have spent money. When we bought Vermaelen was he a big name? Certainly not because nobody knew him.  It’s not because I’m against spending money, I have nothing against spending money. But I do not spend money because out of the squad [to face Olympiacos] is Nasri, Walcott and Bendtner. And people want me to buy strikers, but where do I put them? I don’t know. I have to then lose players, who, for me, are world-class.  If you are convinced you can maintain your policy and he is the player who makes the difference, then you spend money. But if you buy one player who you have to pay £15million a year, you cannot keep the rest at two [million]. You have to think about the consequences.”

And that’s a good summary of our financial situation, our policy of players and the reality which is the disruption super duper high value players can make. Good on ya Arsene, all we need to do now is win something!!!

Til tomorrow…!

Will Diaby ever get better?

When writing the question, I thought “I doubt it”… but I have a little more to say on the French International…

Abou Diaby joined us in the 2006 January transfer window, so he’s been at the club for the best part of 4 years now. When he joined – aged 19 – everyone thought he was going to be the new Vieira… including Arsene Wenger, the gaffer commenting on him:

“There are similarities. They are the same stature, the same size and have the similar style.”

For the rest of that season and the beginning of the next, Diaby continued to impress. His energy and work rate was pretty good and he seemed more technical than average, very exciting to have him in the team…  until the Sunderland game in May 2008 in which Diaby had his ankle broken and was out for about nine months. That year turned into something like 9 months out, 1 game back, 2 games out, 1 game back and it continued that way until this summer… but then the French international got a groin injury… so it was back to square one.

This season, since his return, we’ve seen a lot of Abou Diaby and to be honest, he’s not convinced. I think he’s had some part to play in 7 games this season, starting 4 or 5 and he looks completely out of place. Yes, he’s got skill, but he lacks in mental sharpness and also lacks in spacial awareness… how long will Arsene put up with him?

Do you think he’s out of his depth nowadays? Will he ever be able to get to the level he was once at?

All I know is that at the moment, he will be afforded an extended run in the team as the boss confirmed that Denilson will be out for the next 8 weeks.

“Denilson has a small fracture in his back,” said the manager. “He will be out for two months.”

With Denilson out, our middle three will most likely be Song, Diaby and Cesc, and with Nasri still out, it does leave us short in that department, but none the less, we will most likely see Diaby extend his run in the first team and maybe in two or three weeks, the answer to the question would be “of course, Diaby is amazing”…

And he also revealed that Nikki B had a car accident yesterday, which means he’s out for tomorrow’s game against Olympiakos.

“Nicklas did not practice because he had a car accident on Sunday. Fortunately there was no real long-term damage, but he was bruised and we thought it better he did not train. He should be back for Sunday’s game.”

Which means we are likely to see a front three of Eboue, Van Persie and Arshavin – as Vela isn’t ready yet, Eduardo has some sort of niggling injury, any ideas? Walcott is going to play in the reserves on Tuesday evening. We’ve arranged an Arsenal XI versus and Olympiakos XI and he’s most likely going to play in it to gain some match practice…! The Arsenal.com site says Eduardo is set to return to the squad and will most probably start on the bench

And for those of who up for some Carling Cup action later in exactly 1 month… then the Liverpool game has now officially been confirmed by SKY on Wednesday evening… the day I fly to New York!

And finally, the club came out yesterday and released their financial report for the last year and we made a whopping £35m + profit… that’s a considerable amount and I believe that is after we’ve paid off the service to the debt, which means in actual fact, we were up £60m at one point!

It’s great news and the quicker we pay off the loan the better. I hope the guys at the top got one of the offset mortgages, so you don’t get charged on interest for money you have in the bank, one of those Virgin One accounts or the like… it also means that we know we do have money to spend if the right player comes along…

Arsene said this:

“I am encouraged by the fact that the financial results are good because on my side I try to contribute to that. I am quite proud that I work in a company that is in a strong financial situation. I have always worked in clubs which make money and I would not feel that I do my job well if we lost money at the end of the season. “However the sporting side is always the most important thing. To be completely happy you have to do well on the sporting side but never, no matter what happens, can it be accepted from any manager that to do that you put your club in trouble.”

So, maybe this January, we’re set to sign Melo, Ribery, Torres and… yeah right!

Okay, match preview tomorrow morning… until then!

Fulham 0 – 1 Arsenal, a good old fashioned “ugly” win…

Morning all…

Yesterday saw us win away at Craven Cottage and it was one of those good old fashioned ugly wins. I caught the game on BBC radio five as I travelled up north to Birmingham after watching the pre-match on ESPN. A very different experience listening to the game comparably to a stream, live tv or of course going to the actual game… with Graham Taylor not my preferred commenter to listen to… but it kept me very entertained on my travels and was ultimately I was a happy man by the time I got there!

Fulham 0 – 1 Arsenal

Van Persie 52

Despite reports that Theo Walcott was going to return to the squad, we went into the game without him or Eduardo included in the squad. I’m not sure why Eduardo wasn’t included, but we did see Vela on the bench alongside Rosicky so we did have options on the bench if required.

Mannone

Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Clichy

Song Billong – Diaby

Bendtner – Fabregas – Arshavin

Van Persie

The game itself was a very good spectacle of football… my report comes from the MOTD highlights… which happened to be one of the last games shown!

Mannone was our man of the match and the first major talking point was a fantastic double save from the Italian keeper as he kept out Johnson and then the follow up from Dempsey – albeit it hit the keepers face for the second save. Arshavin was next to have an attempt and some brilliant play by Van Persie and especially Cesc Fabregas put the Russian in – but the ball took a nasty bobble and Arshavin skyed it. Fulham were pressing and Mannone pulled off a great save from Zera with an outstretched arm. That was all I got from MOTD of the first half!

The second half highlights kicked off the the goal coming minutes into the half as Cesc floated the ball into the path of Van Persie, who finished very well with his right foot. But then it was Fulham’s turn to have a go and another brilliant save from Mannone from an Andy Johnson header. Next a Konchesky free kick and a Zamora header and our keeper pulled off another great save.

That’s all we got from MOTD of the second half… I can assure you we played better and had a host of other chances, but between the radio and Match of The Day, that’s all I can report.

Let’s hear from Arsene:

“The three points are the most important thing because we played against a very good Fulham side today. I believe we had problems in the first half, especially to find our game. They stopped us from playing, they played a very good game today – committed, aggressive, well organised. You needed to be special to come out with three points. In the second half we had plenty of opportunities but we took one of them very well after a very good pass from Cesc Fabregas to Robin Van Persie. After that we had many opportunities to score a second goal. We were more dominant in the second half but Fulham always looked dangerous on set pieces, on the counter attack and they did try down to the last second.”

And on the performance of the keeper, he said:

“I believe we will give him 10 out of 10 because everything he did was right. For a goalkeeper that is most important. He stopped everything he had to stop, didn’t make any wrong decisions and overall he has shown he has the potential to be a very good goalkeeper. He is goalkeeper No 3 but goalkeeper No 4 is exceptional as well. I believe Wojciech is quality and he has shown that against West Brom and I gave Mannone the advantage because he’s three or four years older and has more experience. Until the next game he is No 1. In this job you have to go from game to game. He has played a fantastic game today and the consistency is the first sign of quality. He kept us in the game in some unbelievable situations. You say that keeper sometimes look unbeatable. Today he looked like he could make the save needed every time. He comes from Italy that means he is a lover of the game. He is a quiet boy but he has outstanding physical qualities  and fantastic reflexes. You saw that today. He deeply wants to improve every day. He is passionate about the game.”

It looks like Almunia won’t be back for Tuesday’s game and Mannone will continue in goal. The three points were obviously very important. We’re now 5th in the table and have a game in hand which would put us third. We’ve played two of our four toughest games of the season and we’ll see next weekend when we play Blackburn if we can gain further ground as Liverpool play Chelsea.

Okie dokie… That’s a wrap…

Mannone for England?

x

Match Day Live: Fulham vs Arsenal

Today is a very important day for us… With two teams above us losing, in Villa and Chelsea, we must win to gain some ground on the top four. If we win today, we will swap places with Man City to get to sixth, with a game in hand on the current top 4 of Man U, Chelsea, Liverpool and Sp*rs – and a win in game in hand would see us only 3 points behind United and Chelsea…

Before I look at today’s team news, we’ve had the Carling Cup draw today and we’ve got Liverpool at the Emirates on the 27th or 28th October… I’m hoping the 27th… Here’s the Carling Cup draw in it’s entirety:

Blackburn Rovers v Peterborough United
Manchester City v Scunthorpe United
Tottenham Hotspur v Everton
Barnsley v Manchester United
Chelsea v Bolton Wanderers
Sunderland v Aston Villa
Arsenal v Liverpool
Portsmouth v Stoke City

It will be an exciting game, and I’m sure if fit, Carlos Vela will start this one!

Fulham v Arsenal
Barclays Premier League, Craven Cottage
Saturday, September 26, 2009, 17:30

Okay, onto today’s game and the confirmed line up is:

Mannone

Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Clichy

Song Billong – Diaby

Bendtner – Fabregas – Arshavin

Van Persie

And on our bench we have:

Szczesny, Rosicky, Vela, Ramsey, Silvestre, Eboue, Gibbs.

Come on you Gooners… time to switch to the comments and discuss the game…

Match Preview: Fulham vs Arsenal

Morning everyone…

Apologies for the random and sporadic articles this week include a “No post today” post… but all systems are back in action… the crazy week has nearly ended and we take on Fulham tomorrow in our first London derby of the season… Of course, being two London teams will make the game a little spicy and Fulham are a team who have beaten us at Craven Cottage in recent times. A good win over Fulham will show that we’ve improved from last season and are ready to push on. With 6 points dropped already this season, we can’t afford to drop any more points and this game is certainly a test.

The work Roy Hodgson has done down at the Cottage is quite admirable – taking a much fancied for relegation side and making them a top half and in Europe side…! Arsene was full of praise for the Fulham manager:

“There’s no surprise at all. Because I believe that he’s a man of intelligence and of big experience. Yes, of course he’s among the top English managers. You look at his CV. I believe as well this is a job where you consider the lengths at a top level of a manager to consider ‘is he top level or not’. I believe he has [spent] a long time at the top level. That’s the most difficult thing.”

And his presence, tactical nous and way he’ll put his team out against us will make it a harder than average game. The good news is that it looks like we’ll have a few players back and the ones that didn’t play against West Brom will be rested… Arshavin is back in the squad against Fulham and Rosicky is also available… throw in Van Persie, Bendtner and Eduardo and Vela in and around the squad, we’ve finally got some sort of options… Vela may not be in the squad as the manager runs the rule over him in the reserves whilst he gains some match practice, but he will definitely feature soon…

“We have had Arshavin out [since the international break] and we had a problem with Van Persie during the week,” said Wenger. “But Arshavin should be back and Van Persie should be all right too. We have a test tomorrow with him. Almunia is still short, still a week away. Normally Mannone [would deputise] but we are 48 hours away from the game.”

Which leaves us – potentially – with this team:

Mannone

Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Clichy

Song – Cesc

Arshavin – Rosicky – Eduardo

Van Persie

How good does that team look? It frankly looks awesome… whether or not Arsene will play the selected team is debatable, normally he’d opt for Bendtner, Eboue and Diaby somehow in the formation, but you have the technically better players Arshavin, Rosicky and Eduardo, it doesn’t make sense to play the former three players…! With Walcott also available, we’ll have a strong team and strong bench without a doubt this Saturday…

Okay, there’s a little bit of a preview you for you, let’s get behind the team this weekend and bring back the 3 points!

In other news, you may have heard that Sol Campbell has quit Notts County… to be honest, I thought it would happen and think we all did. Getting back into the team for the World Cup is cited as his main reason… and if you think about it, Sp*rs have just lost 4 central defenders… anyone ready to put a bet of him going back to the evil side of London???

Til tomorrow…

Arsenal 2 – 0 West Brom… An emotional charged night at the Emirates…

Arsenal 2-0 W.B.A.
Carling Cup, Emirates Stadium
Tuesday, September 22, 2009, 19:45

Now that was a seriously emotionally charged night at the Emirates… we managed to get over 56,000 people down at the stadium yesterday for one hell of an exciting game! The only reason we didn’t hit 60,000 was probably the lack of West Brom fans…!

There was an awesome buzz around the stadium, a lot of people coming down to the ground who hadn’t been there before or not in a long time. A great vibe, and a lot of kids on and off the pitch.

The starting line up was slightly different than predicted:

Szczesny

Gilbert – Senderos – Silvestre – Gibbs

Coquelin – Ramsey

Sunu – Wilshere – Traore

Watt

So, Sanchez Watt and Giles Sunu made their competitive debuts as starters for the game and after breaking both arms in a freak incident, Wokas Szczesny was in goal. And the game was a tough one without a doubt, with the West Brom team adopting a physical approach but did manage to mix it up with some decent football too. West Brom are currently top of the league in their division and virtually a Premier League side. We did toil for a long period of time to find the gap / chance we wanted. Sanchez Watt and Giles Sunu did start off a little nervous and Watt gave away possession a lot.

As the game went on though, the team gained more confidence and we found ourselves with a bit of an advantage when former Arsenal player Jerome Thomas found himself in spot of bother and get sent off when he shoved Jack Wilshere to the floor.

Carlos Vela – who had yet to feature this season – came on half way through the second half and was instrumental in both the goals. The first coming from a fierce strike which rebounded in Sanchez Watt’s path and the 18 year old opened the scoring. Then the Mexican himself then skipped through the defender and the keeper as the defender attempted to chest the ball back to the keeper. The energy of Carlos Vela is something we can really do with in our side and I hope he features more now…

Arsene spoke after the game… firstly on Vela, he said:

“When he came on straight away he made a difference because he is dangerous in his control and in his movement. His class gives you something special but I feel overall it was a good game. It would have been a great game certainly if it had stayed 11 against 11 but we were patient, we played with cohesion and intelligence. We didn’t make mistakes and in the end the natural outcome was there.”

And also spoke on Jack’s performance, saying:

“I feel he did very well. He looked always lively, dangerous in a difficult part of the game. When it was very tight in the first half he looked to find openings, he is not scared. He has something which is very difficult to give to players, no matter how big the game is he takes the ball and takes people on. He still sometimes has a little lack of experience in his decision-making but you see there is something special there.”

So that’s my little summary of the game… not a great detail in there, but a summary of the night… time to look forward to the next game, boy they’re coming thick and fast!

No Post Today

It’s all crazy over here… work’s gone mad, booking flights for my October trip is even madder and as a result, there’s no real blog today… there will be one tomorrow…

All I can say is well done to the kids for disposing of West Brom! More from me very soon!

Match Day: Arsenal vs West Brom, Carling Cup

Arsenal v West Brom
Carling Cup, Emirates Stadium
Tuesday, September 22, 2009, 19:45

As the Black Eyed Peas say… tonight’s gonna be a good night… and I’ve very much looking forward to the game tonight… it’s crazy to think all us Arsenal fans get so hyped up for the Carling Cup. We’re probably the only club in the League that get really excited for such a game… tonight’s going to be a very exciting night of football.

As I write this, no real squad information has been announced, but we can gage some of the starting XI by who played last season is various positions, a look at the under 18′s this season and also a look at the fringe players.

Arsene mentioned a few hints though…

“You will see Wojciech Szczesny, Ramsey, Gibbs, Wilshere and certainly Vela. Traore will play.  Some experienced players will guide the team like Senderos and Silvestre. But overall it will be a very, very young team as usual.”

Arsene took out time to specifically talk about Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey and said:

“I believe last year he [Wilshere] paid a little bit of a price physically for a very demanding start. This year we feel that he is strong, more mature, and I’m sure that he will show that. It’s difficult to treat them [young English players] completely the same because you want to speed up a little bit their progress, but physically I will still treat him like anybody else because most people once they get to 19 years of age – 19 or 20 without big injures – they are over-used. A big injury can always happen because you get over-use of the players.”

“You cannot predict that too much, because for a player like Aaron Ramsey you know what can happen because he’s now physically ready. I believe you do not know what will happen throughout the season so for Jack the most objective target is to improve. There are some areas where he can improve and that is most important that you work on everything.”

You can see that both Ramsey and Wilshere have grown in stature since this time last year. Wilshere was a stand out player in last season’s campaign and it will be interesting to see how he plays tonight. His appearances pre-season also confirmed the guile and skill he has, but it will be our first time in a while to see the boy in action.

So, let’s give it a stab… The team that may play tonight… I’m thinking 4-4-2 for these guys, but maybe it’ll be a 4-3-3…

Szczesny

Gilbert – Senderos – Silvestre – Gibbs

Wilshere – Randall - Ramsey – Traore

Watt – Vela

With a bench of Shea, Bartley, Murphy, Deacon, Barazite, Eastmond and Luke Freeman

Or if it were to be 4-3-3, we’d be looking at:

Szczesny

Gilbert – Senderos – Silvestre – Gibbs

Randall - Ramsey

Watt – Wilshere – Traore

Vela

It will be Carlos Vela’s first outing this season and I’ve been annoyed that the player had been injured before the season as his cameos last season had been very exciting.

Another player who will be starting for us tonight is Philippe Senderos and if you all remember correctly, the boy was on the verge of a move to Everton after a loan at Milan and things didn’t work out for him, but now he finds himself back at the Emirates. Arsene spoke about the need for 4 central defenders, and the need to rotate and Senderos and Silvestre will both get their chance tonight. Arsene spoke on Senderos too and had this to say:

“I don’t believe he is starting his career with us again because we know how good he is but it is a new start let’s say. We have already seen his quality and he is still very young for a centre back. He’s 24 years-old and he has the future in front of him. The best 10 years are now coming for him. Philippe is an intelligent boy with a very good attitude and you don’t ever question that. His position at the moment is that we have four centre backs and he is one of the four because Djourou is out for nearly the season. In this job you have always to be ready and the day you get the chance you can do well. If you are not ready, everybody will say he is not good enough to play for Arsenal Football Club.  Now he is back with us so we will just give him a chance.”

Okay, boys and girls…… I am off to the game tonight, so I’ll have to leave it up to you to update everyone of what’s going on…

Come on you Gooners!

Thierry & The Thomases…

Afternoon all and what a weekend of football it was… we had some very interesting games – two games where I couldn’t figure out who I wanted to lose… in fact, I wanted all four teams to lose on the two main games yesterday… an impossibility of course.

For those of you who managed to watch Sunday’s football, it was very exciting – the Manchester Derby was pretty awesome, a seven goal thriller and I think United played well and City showed that they do have some sort of team out there. All in all, I have to be pleased with the two losses for Sp*rs and Man City… if we can win a few more, we can start climbing the table and get above them… then after that, we’ll hopefully see Chelsea and United lose a few?

Tomorrow sees us take on West Brom at the Emirates in what promises to be an awesome game of exciting young talent… we’ve seen players like Clichy, Cesc, Denilson, Walcott, Bendtner, Song, Diaby and of course the likes of Vela, Ramsey and Wilshere all come through the ranks and all of them have had significant time in the Carling Cup prior to their involvement in the first team. Tomorrow may be ideal for the likes of Ramsey, Merida, Wilshere as well as players such as Sanchez Watt, Jay Simpson and a whole host of the under 18′s from last year join in… We’ll probably see Szczesny in goal too, with Silvestre and Senderos getting a run out to help them gain some match fitness… more on the game tomorrow.

In other news, Thierry Henry has added his contribution to the situation regarding Emmanuel Adebayor… he had this to say:

“The fans at Arsenal were great. They were and always will be my family. I never saw them behave badly so to react like they did at the weekend shows just how angry and upset they were. No matter what Adebayor’s emotions were, he could have earned himself a lot of respect by not celebrating the goal.

“That would have shown real class and that to be honest is what most players choose to do when they score against their old clubs. I don’t really understand why he didn’t do that.”

“Arsene (Wenger) puts a lot of investment in you when he sees talent and I don’t think it would hurt for Adebayor to show him, the club and the fans a little respect.”

And he’s definitely hit the nail on the spot. Ade blames us, the fans, for him leaving, for him feeling like wanting to leaving and for his reactions on the pitch. Apparently, he blames the Arsenal fans for our voodoo majic, which made him stamp on Van Persie and Cesc Fabregas too… But in reality, ultimately, the players decision come from himself, from within, the actions of any human being are not dependant on other people’s action.

Thierry is an example of someone who acted in the right way. He always treated the manager and us, the fans, with the utmost respect. When he left and when he returns, he’ll always receive a standing ovation… and so will Kolo… I won’t go into the absurd levels of disrespect that Ade has shown us, the fans, the manager and the club, but ultimately, good riddance…

And finally, time to touch on the two Thomases…

Rosicky is officially back and ready to play, so congratulations to him on the comeback! He’s done very well in the last couple of games and it’s remarkable to see him back at this level, playing the way he is doing right now after such a long time out of the game. I don’t think he’ll be risked in the Carling Cup, but rested for the weekend game. With Nasri, Vela, Walcott and Arshavin out – he’s very important to our attacking play…

And of course, Thomas #2, Vermaelen has just been inspirational since he’s joined. He’s second goal on Saturday was absolutely amazing and he’s already got 5 in just 7 games at the start of the season. Good stuff from the Belgian.

Van Persie had this to say on our top scorer:

“The first one showed he is very, very strong from corners and free-kicks and that is very important for us,” said the Dutch striker.

“Even if we play badly we can always score from set-pieces.

“I would have been proud of his second goal.

“He is raised in Holland. I am not saying every Dutch player is good technically but when you are raised in Holland – especially at Ajax, Feyenoord or PSV – you are brought up getting the ball, moving it first touch, move again, pass, move.

“He was at Ajax since 15 so it is in his system for a long, long time.”

Time to go now, we’ve got a very exciting game to look forward to tomorrow…

Til then!

Arsenal 4 – 0 Wigan…. The Verminator Strikes…

Arsenal 4 – 0 Wigan

Firstly, major apologies for the lack of Match Day Prview and Match Day Live this weekend… With three of my closest friends holding important events on Friday and Saturday, it was virtually impossible to get any access to the net and as a result, missed out on our usual match day discussions… I did however manage to make it down to the game – for what was a great day out at the Emirates…

Time for a match report! Okay, let’s start off with the team that started today:

Mannone

Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Clichy

Song – Diaby

Eboue – Cesc – Eduardo

Van Persie

Rosicky and Bendtner were on the bench along with the usual suspects Ramsey, Wilshere, Gibbs, Silvestre and substitute goal keeper Szczesny.

We continued with our 4-3-3 formation, which we look like we’re adapting too well. There was a good feeling around the ground pre-game, with the only disappointment being the lack of Wigan fans… with only a couple of hundred turning up and the result showed why the support didn’t come from the away team.

You could tell from the kick off that we were determined to put on a show, and we started on fire. Cesc playing in Clichy behind their right back and if their defender hadn’t cut it out, it would have been 1-0 to the home team. You could sense a goal was coming soon and the continual fouling by Wigan allowed us to have several free kicks around the edge of the area. Van Persie came very very close and he really is due a free kick soon. We were definitely the better team and really dominated the proceedings… Eboue nearly had the ball in the back of the net but hand balled in the process to earn himself a yellow card.

Wigan were very physical and the persistent fouls on Cesc, the sandwich of Van Persie, an elbow on Gallas just three highlights into the 18 or 19 fouls they had throughout the game.

The first goal came through a set piece – something that we’re getting much better at this season, as Van Persie curled an excellent corner into the box and who was there? None other than our new Summer signing Thomas Vermaelen. What a signing. He rose beyond his size suggests above two Wigan players to glance the ball into the net. Excellent stuff.

Shortly after, some excellent play from Van Persie saw Eboue in one on one with the keeper, and it was agonizingly close to 2-0. But the half ended with a spell of pressure from Wigan as they tried to get an equaliser before half time. Our play was a little bit sketchy defensively, and a few corners and goal mouth scrambles did have me a little worried.

But we were always creating chances and we went straight down the other end and some brilliant play from Eduardo showed Van Persie in but saved by the keeper. A crazy moment later saw Van Persie and Eduardo both free in the box, both onside and both unmarked. Van Persie was the man in possession and it seemed easy to score than to miss. But with his back to goal, Van Persie elected to shoot on the swivel and instead of a quick pass to Eduardo to finish, the ball went wide.

At half time, at 1-0, we knew we had to score another – we hadn’t kept a clean sheet in the Premiership this season.

The second goal came when top scorer Vermalen wondered forward exchanging headers with Song and then passes with Eboue before a pinpoint shot from outside of the area, top left hand corner, absolutely brilliant goal… 2-0 to the Arsenal. 2 quickly turned into 3 as Wigan crumbled and some good play from Clichy, come in from the left to claim a loose ball set up Eduardo who on the second attempt scored a goal, although Emmanuel Eboue also claimed it which is yet to be decided.

At this point, it was awesome football. Alex Song showing some very good dribbling skills with a mesmerizing run going past 4 players but hitting the post. Chances were coming in the bucket load and Eduardo could have had another one had Kirkland not been so astute. Eduardo and Eboue were taken off and Rosicky and Bendtner had a little run out (Ramsey for Diaby also happened earlier on) and Wigan looked like they wanted one back with a goal being disallowed for offside.

And just to top it all off, Cesc Fabregas managed to get a goal on the stroke of full time, when Bendtner crossed accurately and Cesc finished well, maybe with a cheeky back heel? It was hard to tell.

The manager was pleased about the performance and especially that of Vermaelen and had this to say:

“I am quite crazy but perhaps not enough [for that]. What is good since the beginning of the season is that we have scored goals. We scored four today but we could have scored more. Even in the away games  – Man United and Man City – we could have scored more. That shows we have the potential. I thought [Vermaelen] he could adapt quickly but not as quickly as that. Let’s be honest. It is good for the confidence of the team that we did not concede today. It is little bit of the price to pay for our style of play. We had maybe 10 chances today and gave two away. But I think we’ll be more and more solid when we get used to the way we want to play.”

Arsene also took time out to mention the progress of Emmanuel Eboue:

“He did what you have to do. Shut up, play and do well. Let people talk but shut-up yourself. This is a job where you have to respond mentally. The supporters are behind him because he plays well and with the right spirit. “He is a sensitive boy and an extrovert. He plays as a defender but he is a creative spirit in my opinion. That is why I used in midfield because he has good acceleration and a good dribble. I believe he was a bit too nervous at the start but age will help. He will get less excited and his vision will get better in the final third. He shows that now already.”

Well done to the lads for coming through with a good performance post a few unlucky games – time for the kids to have a run out now as we move over to the Carling Cup this Tues.