Frozen toes and a burnt tongue…

Prior to the game, I, like many Arsenal fans, was very keen for the game to go ahead. I didn’t want to have it re-arranged for the simple reasons that I wanted to watch the game. I, again, like many Arsenal fans, have some sort of addiction to the team and need to physically watch a game in order to get my Arsenal fix, and with the game against Bolton postponed and the last home game the one I attended being against Hull (having missed the Villa game), meant that I simply couldn’t go 21 days without visiting the Emirates.

The strange thing about the snow days is that for a lot of the games, the announcements of calling them off was done either the day before the game or the day before the day before the game, so the 4pm call off on Wednesday was very strange, but being at Saturday’s game, it was clear to see why the games have been called off – and despite the major desire to make the game happen – in hindsight, the conditions were terrible, the fans were subjected to arduous journeys to the game, many will now be ill – and the players found it very hard to play in the condition.

Arsenal as a team – we are renowned for not playing that well in bad conditions – so in reality we should have tried our best to avoid playing the game. I suppose our desire to gain ground over our rivals overtook our desire to wait until the conditions were right. The question is – can you blame the snow? I definitely say yes, although Arshavin disagrees – the Russian saying this:

“To be honest, it was not pleasant to be on the field for both Arsenal’s players and the opponent’s. A strong wind and snow was always blowing in your face. That is unusual for a game at the Emirates. On the other hand, football is played in any weather, so this complaint is certainly not the reason why we did not beat Everton.”

I kind of disagree – the snow did effect the game and changed the dynamic. Anything unusual in a sport can change the way the game works. Having said that though – credit to Everton for their display – they battled hard to close space – and they did deserve their point. In all fairness, we were not on our game and without Cesc, Song and Van Persie, three major players for us – the team didn’t have the balance right. But of course, it was just one game, and with Cesc returning and hopefully the snow going, we’ll be back to our usual self by the next game.

If you have not yet seen the highlights / goals, here they are:

But despite the draw, there are a lot of positives to take from the game. It was good to see Aaron Ramsey have a run out and play well – as did Nasri – but more impressive was Diaby, who is becoming a bit of a leader in terms of his attitude on the pitch. He took the game to Everton, even at 2-1 down – his runs were inventive and he has figured out when to pass and when to dribble, something he was struggling with earlier this season.

The negatives were of course, injuries – with Gallas and Denilson suffering unknown injuries – Denilson to his back / lung and Gallas apparently to his back as well. We should hear more in the next day or two, but Arsene did say this about the Brazilian:

“I have just seen him in the dressing room and he can walk quite normally. We will have to see, is it a broken rib or a deeper problem with his lungs? We don’t know.”

Arsene also summed up the game quite well when he talked about how well Everton played. It’s not normal for Arsene to say what he’s said and normally he does have excuses, but on Saturday he basically said it as it is.

“We played against a very good Everton team who for the biggest part of the game was more dangerous, sharper than us. At the end of the day we dropped two points but, looking at the game, we gained one point. We were closer to losing the game than winning it. We got the point because we had the spirit, the desire, but we didn’t find our game today. I found us having problems technically and as well because Everton stopped us very well from playing. In midfield they were dominant.”

Finally, I wanted to bring you a little something that will probably appear in most newspapers today – the admission of Arsene that he does ask players to handball the ball if injured to stop the game. This I think was said in reaction to the Everton team continuing to play when Denilson pulled up in the centre circle, which nearly resulted in a goal.

“I said to Denilson afterwards: ‘If that happens to you have to commit a handball.’ I’m very serious. If you go down, and there hasn’t been a foul, you cannot ask Everton to stop their counter-attack and not to score. So, if you go down like that, at least put your hand on the ball and it’s a free-kick.”

Interesting statement from Arsene – and you kind of wish he didn’t say these things, don’t you? Let’s see what the papers make of it!

[Thanks to my dear friend Bob who gave me the title of today’s article – Frozen toes and a burnt tongue… in our eagerness to keep warm during the game, we got some hot chocolates in… and in our eagerness to drink it straight away, we burnt our tongues… ouch! Lesson learnt… Frozen toes and a burnt tongue… Arsenal 2 – 2 Everton…]

  • Berth

    Good articule Dev. But do we need a striker or not.

  • Sam

    Nice one,
    Was reading somewhere about podolski and i think he could be a top buy, within a decent budget, strong player with a good finish and decent pace, i think he would suit our style of play and as importantly the EPL.
    Bendtner is not our solotion, he cant finish and has not proven himself, i dont rate him and i feel he is the one player who we do not need. Some moaned about him before and the longer he has bn injured the more ppl rate him, doesnt make any sence! He will be back injured in a couple of weeks anyway.

  • Kuka

    @Sam: I do think that is abit hash on B52. Yes he is not a Drogba (and there aren’t many out there), but you will agree with me that before he got injured, he was on form. So personally I would rather have him back and quick as a target man, than not. I have watched cross after cross, corner after corner go to waste. B52 is an asset.

    Another piece of advice; having watched Arsenal for sometime now and especially under Wenger, you are safe building faith in the players we have. We can speculate all season and by Feb, have no new player in the squad. So for me, am behind every man who turns up in an arsenal shirt. Any new additions will be highly welcome. For now, I want B52, Walcott, Van Parsie, Cesc and all the injured players back.

  • ny

    We need a DM.Diaby was a bit defensive initially and the whole team was strugling to make an attacking move.Once he started attacking everybody was on the mood.Diaby should be unleashed to attack.

  • Sam

    @kuka: i No exactly what you’re saying about building faith in players and really i do but im just really not sold on him

  • Sam

    @ Sam – Till today, I thought I was the only Sam around here. I’ve been Sam for a long time, so I request you to please differentiate your name in order to avoid confusion.
    You can be Big Sam, or any other Sam, but please let me have my name.

  • goonerman

    bendtner mite not be the most prolific scorer even though i still think if he was given a run from now to the end of the season eh could get us 10 premier league goals he is much more than that and he has proved he can do some of the things we need from our central striker! he can hold up the ball to allow players to bomb forward! hes got pace so he is going to scare defences becuase iv seen him score a few goals making darting runs through the centre backs and he is a huge threat at corners,crosses and other set peices he is also really technically good which only helps a player! when he was not playing in our team as a front man he was in the denmark team and he was one of the main reasons they qualified top of their group! he may not give us 25 goals a season but he can give us a lot lot more!

  • hello

    I was just thinking… Never before in recent years has there been such a great opportunity for us to win the league!!

    In previous seasons it has been oiur inconsistancy that has let us down, on our day we are one of, if not the best team in the world. But its poor performances against the lesser sides that often lets us down.

    This season we have drastically improved our consistency, and although we’re not quite perfect yet Man U, Chelsea and Liverpool appear to have lost any of their consistency.

    It is for this reason that I think Wenger and the club have to really grab this league by the scruff of the neck!! Go out there and buy buy buy, even if we don’t really need too. We need to go out there and bully all the other teams around us as well as the lesser sides. We want to make sure we have plenty of cover in all positions and not leave anything to chance!!

    Lets not hope this is our season…Lets make this our season!!


  • Big Sam

    Hows thats sam?

  • Sam

    @ Big Sam – Works for me. Thanks!

  • jeffvip

    @hello,I agreed. I was worried that AW didn’t buy this season that maybe cause us this season trophy. look at Everton match, we play like having 6 midfielder and no striker. Since we have a genuine chance this season, y not spend a lil bit more for the trophy.

  • http://worldofarsenal Josiah

    i agree with you hello

  • Gooner Get Ya

    Almunia is looking very suspect lately and AW is making him captain to try and boost his confidence but it clearly is not working. I think we need to seriously look at this role in the summer if he does not improve.

    We should go for a DM, Moussa Sissoko only 20 plays for Toulouse, he would be <10m and decent cover for Song/Denilson.

    We also need a striker but i am undecided if we actually need a ready made world class player or an up-and-coming new face like Lukaku or Traore?

  • Yemi

    i need to know something, who is the cover for song ? who is the cover for gallas? who is the cover for vermaleen? Who are our strikers? Apart from RVP, who is the cover? i mean the 15 goals minimum cover !!!

  • Gooner Get Ya

    @yemi cover is as follows: Song = Denilson, Gallas = Djourou, Vermaelen = Senderos and RVP = Eduardo/B52. The problem is they are all injured or way off form. In an ideal world we need another player for each position but we need to buy someone needs to be happy on the bench or the current players will have to step back. This is why AW is always talking about not wanting to hold the players back.