England 1 – 2 France – How The Arsenal Players Faired…

Having just got back from a freezing night at Wembley, it’s time to reflect on what was a very strange night of football. Now whether you’re an Arsenal fan or an England or neither, then one thing that was evident, is that the players and tactics from the England first half display was completely abject. With my England hat on, I really have to question the set up – Barry and Henderson were completely useless in the middle and when you play a decent side and you have no middle, you’ll never get hold of the game – and that’s exactly what happened. We played a 4-4-2 with Gerrard up front and it didn’t work. The midfield was found out and that was one of the sole reasons why we lost the game.

Looking at the Arsenal players…. let’s take a look at each one, one by one…

Kieran Gibbs

For me, young Gibbsy had a decent game. He was quiet throughout the game and played quite a disciplined left back role. He didn’t have much protection from Milner as the young Man City midfielder moved inside in search of the ball. Gibbs hasn’t played too much in recent times, and the lack of match practice showed a little. In the first half, he didn’t go forward much at all, but did so much more in the second half and showed glimpses of his attacking abilities with a few good crosses and good movement before he was substituted.

Result: Good overall performance, did well in difficult circumstances.

Theo Walcott

Theo would be the first to admit that this wasn’t his best performance in an England shirt. In fact, for him, it was pretty much a non-event – I was quite disappointed with his overall performance. But in one way, it felt like he didn’t know what position he was playing in. He wasn’t playing in a 4-4-2 and he wasn’t playing in a 4-3-3. In a way, for me, it looked like he was playing like the old Theo Walcott, not the 2010 version. He didn’t protect Jagielka in the first half and really didn’t make an impression going forward. I hate to say it, but not a great performance at all.

Result: A night to forget

Bacary Sagna

The French right back was in magnificent form and was solid throughout the game. He got the assist on the second French goal and it was a great run and cross – generally, his crossing was very good. I feel that he is coming back to some of his best form and he kept Milner, Young, and anyone else who dared enter his area on the pitch very much at bay.

Result: Solid performance

Samir Nasri

Samir has shown this season for Arsenal that he has the bit between his teeth and he is very much in control of his own destiny. He was scored seven goals for us this season and his general build up play has been excellent. For France, he showed a similar form – his combination with Gourcuff was sensational, both players interchanging with such fluency. Nasri continually ran against the England defence and had them on the back foot all night.

Result: Bossed the game and showed a good level of maturity

A few of the other Arsenal players were playing last night, with Arshavin playing the full game as his side lost 2-0 at home to Belgium, Cesc and RvP both getting 45 minutes and Maroune Chamakh playing around 70 minutes and scoring a goal too. Djourou, Fabianski and Rosicky also in action – and at the time of writing, I am hearing that there are no new injuries!

Finally, on a non-Arsenal note – well done to Andy Carroll. I know he’s not the role model player, but he was the best England player on the pitch. With Heskey retired and the likes of Kevin Davies not the type of player I’d like to see play for England, suddenly Andy Carroll has put himself in the frame.

  • Berth

    u English guys over hype players just one or two decent touches and Andy is suddenly a good player.

    Gibbs wasnt any good either. We all re about saying Gibbs is better than Clichy, but no one knows; the lad hasnt played dat much for Arsenal –

    Capello should leave too. He is a confused man.

  • Sam

    Surprised about the lack of Sp@rs players in the England team. Were was Bale? I’m worried that he’s gone be fresh on Sat while all our players have had a full runout.


    Rooney would have been zero help against the midfield domination of the first half and i suspect we wouldn’t have fared any better in the second half if the game wasnt a friendly and the french hadnt slacked off for the last 30 minutes.

    We were outclassed and have been time & time again but we’ll continue to blame Capello/formations/not selecting certain players which ultimately distracts everyone from the fact that english football stinks from the grass roots up.

  • Goonerman

    @sam, Bale is welsh mate

  • Sam

    Oh, my bad. Can’t give a rat’s ass for these Sp@rs ball kickers, and the way the English media were rambling on about him, I just assumed. Thanks Goonerman.

  • fredric

    Where are we? We have the usual crop of injuries but thus far we cope – and we are coping far better than before. Cesc running on half throttle, Vermaelen not running at all, Van Persie out for virtually the whole season and Bendtner and Theo for what seems most of it, and no Ramsey at all either. Frimpong, hopefully the absolute backup for Song, out all season. Lansbury being used by England under 21 as a goalkeeper in an international (yes honestly, read the reports) but still we cope. Denilson and Diaby out for long spells (although the Anti-Arsenal would like them to leave the club, but not me).

    And we are currently second in the league.

    We have at least two terrific keepers, the loony stories about the Unpronounceable One not signing a new contract until he gets extra games were proven to be loony stories. And we have Jack.

    OK you know all this stuff – but just look at this…

    * Benik Afobe, had four starts for Huddersfield since he went there on November 2 and scored two goals.
    * Kyle Bartley playing virtually every game for Sheffield United.
    * Pedro Botelho played 12 games for Cartagena and scored two.
    * Tom Cruise, immediately into the Carlisle team – played in the last two games.
    * Cedric Evina, went to Oldham in October, started five games.
    * Luke Freeman, playing for struggling Yeovil, six starts, eight times on as sub, still managed 2 goals
    * Vito Mannone at last has had a game for Hull – a 2-0 away win against Preston.
    * Sanchez Watt, eight starts, four times on as sub for Leeds.
    * Wellington Silva, joining us in January.

    Now of course I am not saying that these guys are all going to make it – and in fact some of the guys who I have missed out of the on loan list might surge ahead – but my point is that out of the fourteen (yes 14) players on loan a couple are bound to make it.

    Elsewhere Arsenal Ladies are making heavy weather of having no league to play in (they are in the new summer league starting in March) but did in the last couple of seconds manage to get through to the next round of the European Cup. Progress under difficult circs.

    The reserves (men’s reserves I mean) are two points off the pace with two games in hand, and we haven’t even started in the youth cup yet (first game is in the third round in December). The youth team are third, two points behind the leaders – not bad having had all their promising talent promoted to the reserves (who lost all their top talent to the loan squad).

    So is this good or what? And what of the rest?

    Fulham Oil have suddenly found that what Untold told them in the summer is true – they don’t have a replacement youth system like Arsenal do. And if they rush out and buy as the papers are saying today, then that sets back their ability to qualify for Europe. What is interesting here and in Sheikh Yermoney’s team in the north is that the chairman rules the manager. A little different at Arsenal methinks.

    Both oily teams have proven that money can not only not buy you love (as the rather boring Beatles said) but can’t buy you the championship either, although to be fair it can help. (Which is why my song, “Money can’t buy you love but it helps” never quite made it to number 1).

    Liverpoodle are now talking the same talk as last summer (only then it was £35m to spend – this summer it is £45m to spend) but still there’s nothing going on with the stadium, which is their real problem, because the lack of a proper stadium is what causes their eternal cash short fall. And if Fernando Torres pulls a sicky, they is dead in the water.

    Manchester IOU are still playing games, paying off the PIK loans without telling us how, and it is a measure of how far they have sunk that they have thrown every dice in favour of keeping one player. Yes they are third and heading for an unbeaten season all of their own, but involving drawing over half their games. And at the end of this season some of the over 60s in the squad must retire.

    Tottenham can’t make it in the Champs and the league at the same time, and will almost certainly give up the Champs League next season to Sheik Yermoney. Blackpool give us a laugh, Blackburn and Wolverhampton give us the horrors. Aston Villa have signed the one Arsenal player whose picture adorns a wall in my house, my great hero, the man who made the club tick so perfectly and let the genius of Henry out of the bottle. Given his age you wonder why Villa have done it – but it also shows why M O’Neill left in a huff. (I know why Robert did it – he has a radio show in France, and needs new material to keep it rolling along.)

    Oh and that Mr Adebayor ain’t doing much, nor is that Mr Hleb at Birmingham. Funny that. Good profit for us though. Meanwhile overseas Barca have done nothing to show that they are not actually totally broke, WC Milan are broke as mentioned earlier, and Real Mad are totally bonkers.

    So what of us? We have a forward line to die for. We have a midfield to die for. And I think that we have the flexibility to cope utterly in defence. Don’t give me all that Fabianksi is a prat stuff, or that Clichy is useless. This is a team plus plus.

    Just look at the side we can put out in the diddley cup games. We make 11 changes and put out 11 class players.

    Overall I think we are entering a new world, in which we are seeing the crumbling of the old order (Chelsea trying to downsize, Man U beset with financial worried and old players they can’t replace, Liverpool beset with every problem you can imagine, Tottenham finding they have bitten off more than they can chew) and the failure of the new order (Man City – you can’t just buy you way in.)

    My abiding memory of the first bit of the season is Sir Alex F Word defending the situation at Man IOU claiming that there is no problem that Giggs is actually an Old Testament Prophet because he has a wonderful bunch of kids coming through, and then not being able to name any of them and descending into a mumble about how glorious the 14 year olds are. Man IOU reserves, played four, won 1, drawn 2, lost 1. Hmmm. In the youth academy sixth in the table, eight points off the league leaders, one game in hand. Hmmmm.

    Yes, well.

    It all looks rather good to me. I am rather looking forward to the special celebrations on Saturday – celebrations of the Tinies 50 years without a league win. Special t-shirts at the ready.

  • Yemi

    @ fredric:
    nice one