England vs Slovenia: Match Day Live

Afternoon fellow Gooners,

Today sees England play their biggest game this year and Fabio Capello has chosen a very narrow line up, with four central midfielders. Perhaps his plan is to shoot shoot and then shoot. It’s strange not to see Arsenal target Joe Cole in the line up – I have to say that he was one of the most impressive players in the games against Mexico and Japan.

The line up (not official yet) is:


Johnson – Terry – Upson – Cole


Milner – Lampard – Gerrard

Defoe – Rooney

I’d expect this to turn into a 4-5-1 when we’re defending:


Johnson – Terry – Upson – Cole

Milner – Lampard – Barry – Gerrard – Rooney


Doesn’t look that great, no width, no wingers, no Lennon, SWP or Joe Cole… but if it works…

Words from Milner today:

“Actions speak louder than words. To win the World Cup you must win the big games. This game is in our own hands. We’ve just got to concentrate, enjoy our football and play with freedom. It’s hard to get that club unity at international level but it’s growing. We’ve been together for nearly a month and we are now unified. You don’t expect your first match to last just 30 minutes. It was just poor timing being ill three days before.”

And we all knew that James Milner had been ill, and therefore, it’s strange that Capello picked him!

  • Arsefan101

    Why are we not playing Joe Cole? The four man midfield is basically 4 central midfielders –> Capello has gone mad!

  • devday

    I think it’s all about shooting and graft. Neither Lennon nor SWP have impressed at all…!!

  • devday

    PS, I have no idea what Joe Cole did to upset Capello – you would have expected him to have played some part so far!

  • devday

    Injured England captain Rio Ferdinand: “I’m predicting a 3-0 win today for England… roll on the Three Lions! I’ll be letting the lads know the twitfam are behind them!!”

  • francis1

    I think Cesc is getting a idea about what to expect from Vicente del Bosque.
    Del Bosque is what I could call a Real Madrid man. He played there the main part of his career and after he stopped playing he became first a youth coach and later on he even became a rather successful coach of the first team. Until president Perez found that he didn’t have enough charisma to lead the galacticos.

    But from his past it is normal that Del Bosque keeps a soft spot for Real Madrid in his heart. When you spend about 20 years of your career somewhere you keep that in your heart. It’s in his DNA, Xavi would say.

    And so it is interesting to see that now Del Bosque is in charge of the Spanish national team and in this world cup he is going the Barcelona way. His 3 most important midfield players are the players that are mostly picked by Guardiola at Barcelona: Xavi, Iniesta and Pique.

    And this is giving a signal to Cesc of what to expect when he should leave for Barcelona. I’m not saying Cesc is not as good as those players but the fact is that those 3 players are well established in the Barcelona team and if they are fit, they will be on the field. Why would Guardiola put one of them out of the team for the moment? Together with Messi they form a great midfield partnership and can destroy any team on the day. So it would be fair to think that even Cesc would struggle to get in the team.

    And if we know one thing from Cesc is that he hates it on the bench. He always wants to play. Sitting on the bench is the worst thing you can do with Cesc. It has been said by many players and coaches that Cesc would play every day if needed, he just loves it so much. And now he is sitting on the bench when Spain plays and even when they were struggling to create an opening against Switzerland Del Bosque kept Cesc on the bench. I think Cesc was dying on that bench over there and was frustrated not been given a chance. And even when Iniesta had to come off, he still didn’t get a chance.

    So if Cesc wants to go to Barcelona he will realise by now on that far from being the first player to put on the team sheet he will be somewhere 4th or 5th choice in midfield. He will play his games whenever Xavi or Iniesta need a little break and then he will go back to the bench. He will come on in the last 10 minutes when the game is won by Barcelona and Xavi or Iniesta are called off the field after a standing ovation.

    That will be his role in Barcelona for now. And Del Bosque is giving this message to Cesc for the moment in South Africa. He only was brought in to replace Xavi and that is what he will be at Barcelona for as long as Xavi is delivering : a backup player.

    So the lesson being taught by Del Bosque could have Cesc thinking what to do. Stay at Arsenal and be the most important player in the team or go to Barcelona and be a squad player for the moment. Given the way Cesc is feeling about wanting to play at all time the experience of sitting on the bench could mean a lot to his chances of staying another few years in the Emirates.

    But could it be that Del Bosque is doing this deliberately? Is he putting Cesc on the bench because of his Real Madrid past? Because if Cesc were to go to Barcelona to sit on the bench it would mean that whatever happens to Xavi or Iniesta they have a player on the bench that is as strong as they are or even better. To have a player like Cesc on the bench would be the biggest luxury for any team. And if Cesc were to stay at Arsenal this would mean that Barcelona hasn’t got a replacement of the same quality as Xavi or Iniesta.

    And so it would weaken Barcelona if Cesc were to stay in London and thus help Real Madrid. Remember, Real Madrid being the team Del Bosque spent most of his career with.

    And let us imagine for one second that Perez, the president of Real Madrid would be thinking of getting Cesc to Real Madrid. Well I’m rather sure it will have crossed his mind on a few occasions. Because this would be the biggest insult that he could give the old enemy Barcelona.

    Imagine Cesc playing for Real Madrid. The player that Barcelona couldn’t hold on to when he was young and the player that the Real Madrid fans use when they want to taunt the Catalans. That player playing for Real Madrid would be one of the biggest achievements for the team from the Spanish capital.

    Never going to happen? I’m not so sure you know. Remember that almost all the captains or best players from Barcelona ended up in Madrid after a while. Remember Shuster, remember Ronaldo, remember Figo,… at some stage they would have told you were crazy if you would have said that they would go to Real Madrid some day but they went there. Money can make a man do strange things (or a woman off course) and suppose Real Madrid offer him a certain starting place in the team… do you think Cesc wouldn’t consider it for a moment? He can be 100% Catalan but when money talks AND he is guaranteed a starting place on the field…..I wouldn’t bet against it.

    Some could argue that Del Bosque would not risk his own career by putting Cesc on the bench to do such a thing. But in fact Del Bosque doesn’t risk anything. We, as Arsenal fans, would put Cesc on the field but Del Bosque can point at the fact that he is playing a midfield that is made out of the midfield of Barcelona the best club team in the last seasons. Why would he risk interfering with the understanding those players have build in the last seasons. He doesn’t have to risk anything because no one will blame him for playing Xavi, Iniesta and Pique.

    Anyhow Del Bosque is not doing a bad job by putting Cesc on the bench if you ask me. It will keep him free from injury, he can rest a bit and he can think about his place in Arsenal and his possible place on the bench in Barcelona. And if he still wants to go and if he would put in a transfer request I think it would be fair for Arsenal to tell Cesc that if he wants to go he will be sold to the highest bid and this could maybe open the door for Real Madrid if they still can get a loan somewhere.

    For those who say that Cesc will not be playing with his heart in the Emirates I can only say that the football animal Cesc is, he will be playing with his heart in whatever team he will be playing. He just loves the game too much to just be a passenger in a team. In Dutch we use the expression for a football player full of passion for the game a ‘football animal’ and Cesc is one of them.

    So I think Cesc will be considering his chances and will hold on to his Arsenal shirt for a while. And maybe Del Bosque is not thinking about this at all but he still is doing a great job then for us so maybe we could whisper a silent: Thank you, Vicente, muchas gracias.

  • devday

    News is that Joe Cole has actually been injured for the last three games. Knee issue.

  • devday

    1-0 – Defoe!

  • yemi

    @ devday: Still no creativity in the team. There is strength but when playing a defensive minded team, u need a little bit of guile .this article seems to buttress my point hxxp://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/football/jim-white/article/20672/

  • devday

    @ yemi:
    On the showing of the first half, we do have creativity in Gerrard and Milner. No one like Ronaldo or Kaka though, you’re right. Hopefully when JC returns from injury he can play a part.

  • Nick

    If he returns from injury. He’s chronicly injured like Bendtner.

    US and England Advance to most likely play Germany & Ghana. Where those two teams sit in group D is hard to say. I’d like to see England vs. Germany and US vs Ghana.

  • KittyGooner

    Yeahyyy we are through…!

  • Kodjo

    @ Yemi

    I’m now writing under Kodjo instead of Francis… bcos there is another Francis.

    You are right… England still lack creativity and may struggle against well organized teams…..but then again they can blow super hot and blow out Germnay…cos Ghana has proven that the German midfield can be by passed with quick passing and movement …and their defense can be broken down…if only Ghana has taken their chances it would have been a different story

    Good thing though Ghana is thru to meet the USA a repeat of the previous world cup game

    Bad situation for Nigeria..

  • Yemi

    @ Kodjo:
    Yeah, Nigeria has the worst miss of the tournament so far !!! In fact the could do a 1,2,3 in the worst misses of the tournament so far in Yakubu, martins, Uche and obasi.
    Kudos to ghana though for keeping the african flag still flying. ivory coast need a miracle to qualify. The need to score as much as possible and hope that Brazil beats Portugal well(On the form of last matches i don’t see that happening)