Arsenal 2 – 1 Huddersfield… Phew…!

Morning Peeps!

Kieran D will be posting later… I’m not sure what time it is back there in the UK, I think it’s still officially Sunday but over here is sunny Luxembourg, it’s Monday morning…! We made a right meal of that, didn’t we? Super summer signing Squillaci didn’t exactly cover himself in a blaze of glory either… I haven’t actually watched the game, so I can’t really give you a match report, but I’ll tell you what I know and give you my views of a few things…

The starting XI was a bit reserve and Arsene took the opportunity to rest a few players, considering the lower league opposition…

Almunia

Eboue – Squillaci – Koscielny – Gibbs

Denilson – Diaby

Arshavin - Nasri –  Bendtner

Chamakh

With a bench of Szczesny, Fabregas, Rosicky, van Persie, Walcott, Song, Wilshere

Almunia’s appearance was the first in 4 months and with Fabianski in the wars injury wise, the decision to let Almunia go has been halted and this game was designed to give him an opportunity to show us what he can do and of course to prove his fitness in case he is needed. For Everton’s game, I’d expect Szcznesy to start but Almunia to replace Shea on the bench.

Squillaci and Diaby were the other returnees, and there would obviously be an element of non-match fitness with a few players. Apparently the referee had a very odd game… in lieu of my own match report, here is a quick summary from the BBC…

Cesc Fabregas came off the bench to fire 10-man Arsenal into the FA Cup fifth round as the Gunners narrowly saw off League One Huddersfield. The hosts led when Peter Clarke diverted Nicklas Bendtner’s strike into his own net, before Sebastien Squillaci was sent off for a block on Jack Hunt. The red card changed the game and Alan Lee headed the Terriers level. But Fabregas slotted home a late winner from the penalty spot after Bendtner had been fouled by Jamie McCombe.

A people on yesterday’s blog and more people on twitter and facebook have been expressing a level of disappointment about the game, and the players chosen – and in fact, a security officer in Luxembourg recognised my Arsenal t-shirt and starting commenting to me that Arsenal struggled to beat Leeds, Ipswich and Huddersfield and slated Arsene for his team selection. Do people not get it? We have a squad – we need to use them and we need to keep everyone fit – when we play weaker teams that the top of the Premiership – we need to use these players. If we don’t then we will tire out the existing squad and get them injured – and then the fringe players will have no match fitness and it will all end is us losing games.

We know that Arsene has to do this, so let’s understand when we don’t win 6-0. We did win all those three games mentioned above, whilst resting key players, so lay off Arsene. He played Nasri today when most thought Rosicky would play and Nasri is out now for a month with a hamstring injury – you can’t always get it right, but it makes sense to rotate when you can.

Arsene summarised the game…

It was tough, tough, tough, because it had all the ingredients of a typical cup game. We played a little bit below par and Huddersfield is a good team, they have shown that today. They were efficient, they are always dangerous on set-pieces and crosses, they scored on a set-piece. It had the ingredients of a cup game as well because we were down to ten men so it became very difficult. In the end we had the quality just to make the difference and in the final 25 minutes I felt we had room to score goals. But we play so many games at the moment that sometimes we are not as sharp as we would want to be. That is what happened today.

With Squillaci getting sent off, it does pose another problem for our squad – as he will miss three games through suspension and when you already have your #1 centre back injured and the #2 and #3 playing every game in a row for most of the last 2 months, you kind of need your #4 not to get sent off in his first game back!

Arsene was asked about potentially buying a stop-gap, and was quite certain with his plans:

Not more, not less, because it’s three games. For us it’s good because we play three games in a week so it is only one week [that he will be out]. No [I am not likely to sign anyone before the deadline], I leave these headlines to all the other clubs, but at the moment no. I cannot tell you definitely because someone might knock at my door in the morning and says ‘I would like to play for you’ and he is a good player because I would sign him!

So there we have it – we’re back down to 2 centre backs… tomorrow we play again!

Adios Amigos!

  • Sam

    Well put Dev, thanks for talking sense. Arsene needs to rotate for so many reasons, and we are still competing in 4 competitions.
    Thanks for removing Ade picture from the blog! Funny how Real lost their first game with him…

  • jim

    I was driving home after various detours after the match and heard the venerable Alan Greene on 606 on BBC Radio 5 Live.

    A man called in and said that Arsenal would win nothing with this defence, and Green admitted he knew far less than Wenger (which is a start, although hardly enough after 10 years of gibberish) but he couldn’t understand why we hadn’t bought a defender.

    I pondered this on the rest of my journey, and finally looked in the programme for the EPL table. OK we will win nothing with this defence. So what defence should we have?

    Obviously the one that has let in the least goals since that defence will help that club win the league.

    Here’s the defence record in the EPL

    Chelsea 19
    Man City 20
    Man U 21
    Arsenal 22

    So, there we are, obviously in fourth place, and Chelsea will win everything.

    Funny that.

  • devday

    @Sam

    Haha! Ade’s stamping his style at Real Madrid!
    Ade is like a hot potato – if you touch him, you want to get rid of him – thank God Arsene got rid and somehow managed to get £25m for him!!!

    We’re still competing in all 4 competitions – and we’re playing Arshavin and Bendtner back into form!

  • snehalbumbhatt

    so again against lower league opposition we stuggle and we HAVE to bring on fabregas to rescue us. wenger you cant expect rosicky, denilson, diaby, ect to play together and win – even agianst league 1 huddersfield. this is the 3rd time its happened. says a lot about sqaullaci that he got sent off on his comeback game agianst a league 1 team. the players on the field who are given a chance to play – surely they must feel a great sense of embarresment that wenger has to bring on cesc because they on thier own cant beat a league 1 team. im talking rosicky, denilson, diaby, eboue and im sorry arshavin as well.

    bendtner is definalty better than chamakh and for sure after RVP he is our number 2 striker. chamakh is goal shy who only passes sideways and backwards and always holds the ball up even when the oppurtunity is there to charge forward he will stop look up and pass it usually sideways or backwards. bendtner isnt that great but atleast he has some confidence. will take a shot and take a player on given the chance. glad we didnt pay any money for chamakh. on denilson – jesus christ he is a poor player.

    and finally For all the great things wenger has done for arsenal and football in general, there is something about him it seems i will never understand……his way of making signings!after the game today he was asked whether squillaci being out for 3 games meant he would buy a CB.he replied ‘no..i am not likely to sign anyone before the deadline.i cannot tell you definately no becuase someone might knock on my door in the morning and say they want to play for us!’ WHAT?! can someone please explain this?what happened to identifying targets and making bids for them?since when did we wait for players to decide they want to come to us.

  • snehalbumbhatt

    Wengers obsession with cheapie free second eaters will again leave us without the PL title for another year. Wenger could have used the money he spent on those two clowns The Chuckle Bros and bought one top player but he just refuses to end his manic Vanity Project. Wenger will always put the project ahead of winning. The mans ego is as big as Saturn, he won’t change and we won’t win the PL.

  • yemi

    A lot of guys just show to make comments when the going gets tough….. Never around when things are going well.

    For me, the There are a few things i have said before that i will still say again. NEVER, NEVER play B52 and Chamack in the same team, They don’t attack the goal as a striker should…

    A lot of people have been slating B52, I won’t be one of them. B52 has never been a drogba or a torres or a henry so you can’t expect him to be prolific !!! He is a squad player not a first teamer.

    When you hope to win a game and score goals, your midfield should not read Diaby/Denilson at the same time. Diaby plays around with the ball, sluggish passes, inappropriate passes and holds on to the ball too much while denilson as good as he can be seems to have degenerated in his passing ability. and NEVER NEVER play denilson as your DM. You need to play either of this guys with a cesc or a Nasri plus a song as DM

    Ebuoue as a RB is awfully awful…..

    Kudos to Arshavin, like a said in the last but one blog, his body language has changed and he seems to be getting more involved and interested. The form is not yet back to top shape, but he is getting there.

    @ jim:

    Thanks for the enlightenment

    @ Dev:

    Nice brief post

  • devday

    @Jim

    It’s crazy how the impression that our defence sucks – when in fact Djourou – Koscielny – Szcznesy Axis have kept 5 clean sheets or so – and we’ve only conceded 1 more goal that United!

  • yemi

    Yesterdays game, though we won is one of the very few games in while that i was actually disappointed because we played like huddersfield should have played while they played like Ipswich (no offense).

    We actually played badly, well below average. In the past we have played some games that were average, or we didn’t seem interested or we didn’t click or our opponents played 10 men behind the ball and we had no answers. But yesterday was VERy bad in a class of its own !!!!

  • patrick

    The clock is ticking Wenger, when will you do your job and bring in the central defender who can make the difference. You have had ample opportunities and you have loads of cash. We all know you think winning isn’t everything but we should, and could have the PL virtually won already had you dumped the Vanity Project and sorted out our denfensive weaknesses. Every high ball causes panic. A decent manager would have sorted this problem years ago, why do you keep sticking your head in the sand. It comes to something when we are relying on Djourou who is now our most reliable central defender, if he gets injured we are in serious trouble. How can you hope to overhaul the Mancs or beat Barca with The Chuckle Brothers as the bedrock of the defence. The clock is ticking Wenger. Why am I bothering, he wopnt do anything will he, and we wont win the PL – AGAIN!

  • yemi

    We need 2 defenders, a RB and a CB, then we will be OK

  • Kodjo

    what happens to eboue???

  • Kodjo

    @

    Yemi i dont think wenger is the kind of manager who buys a player and chucks him out after 1 season…i see him persisting with Squillaci for a while. Just like he has done with numerous players when fans/pundits have written their obituaries….

    I think Squilaci is having a hard time adjusting to the pace and intensity of the league…remember this is his first season…then again i can see fans pointing to Verminator…or to Kos to a lesser extent…who have adpated their games quickly in their maiden season at the club….

    How about Wenger recalling Bartley from Sheffield??? Is he not ready…certainly he couldnt do worse than Squillacci???