Arsenal vs Aston Villa: Vermaelen Starts!

Afternoon Guys,

It’s Friday and it’s a scary, scary Friday… it’s Friday the thirteenth… Wo ha ha [scary ghost noise] ha ha…. Okay so, it’s just like any normal day… but a day where Arsene announced that Vermaelen is back and will most likely start against Villa this weekend!

Here’s a snippet from Arsene Wenger’s press conference today:

“We have lost Laurent Koscielny with a thigh strain from Sunday against Stoke. It opens the door for Vermaelen. I have not completely decided yet but there is a probability he will start. We have question marks against Fabregas and Nasri. They will be late decisions. During the week we lost Tomas Rosicky with a thigh strain. Diaby will be out but I believe that Clichy will be back.”

Exciting times… as Arsene likes to say, the return of Nasri, Cesc and Vermaelen will be like three new signings… Personally, I think both Nasri and Cesc will return to first team action. Ramsey will drop to the bench and Vermaelen will start… this is my line-up for Sunday:


Sagna – Djourou – Vermaelen – Clichy

Song – Wilshere

Walcott – Cesc – Nasri

Van Persie

With a bench of Lehmann, Squillaci, Eboue, Ramsey, Arshavin, Bendtner and Chamakh

It’s the final home game of the season and with Man City only two points behind us, it’s essential that we win this and the next game. It’s been such a dire end to our season that we need to win our last two games to avoid finishing fourth – something we simply couldn’t conceive a possibility 2 months ago. With Vermaelen and the rest of the team back, we’re actually fielding our best team. No one who would make it in is injured or suspended, it’s a real test of this squad.

The eleven I’ve mentioned are the best we’ve got – and we’re at home, playing against a Villa team managed by Houillier… surely we must win!?! I won’t go into detail on who I think we should replace on the bench or replace in the first XI, we’ll have plenty of time for that in the summer! Chamakh has been linked with a move to Lazio, but I think there is more to come from the Moroccan – I don’t think he’ll ever be a top class centre forward. He’s a cheap man’s Adebayor, who in himself is a cheap man’s Drogba! But he has said there is a lot more to come from him too…

“It’s huge here. In the way you make a run, the way you position yourself and your defending. I’ve always been good in the air, but I can still do better. As for the physical impact of the Premier League, I was expecting it and I had prepared for it. I worked very hard in pre-season and with all the French players it was very easy to settle in. I have naturally more affinity with the French and with the Francophones in the squad, like Song or Eboue. It’s my first transfer and I was a bit worried. When I was with Bordeaux, I used to do everything I could to put the new players at ease. This time it’s they who helped me a lot. But you can’t hide from it, with the injuries to Van Persie and Bendtner, I found myself at the forefront of things from the outset. When they came back, people said I had lost my place. Well, actually it’s more that Van Persie logically got his place back! He’s an excellent player, a phenomenon. I still have a way to go yet and I’m here to learn. That said, if I can bring that little bit extra to the team, all the better!”

You’ve got to feel a little bit for Chamakh, as he did well earlier in the season when he was getting games and consistently the first choice. It’s been unfortunate for him that he’s not played much at all and of course, without games, it will make you a little unfit. If we do look at changing things around this summer, I’m pretty sure Chamakh will not leave – I’d expect more from him next season. Personally, I don’t think he is actually the perfect fit for us – I think our game is built more on pace than anything else, but he does give us an option. Our formation only allows us to play 1 striker, and for that reason, it’s not an ideal solution for him.

On the transfer mill, Scott Parker has been heavily linked with a move to us this summer. He looks very tired and quite shattered, will he be able to give as much as he gave to West Ham this season to us next season? And he’ll be a year older. Apparently, we had a table at the awards dinner – specifically for Scott Parker… yes, I know, it’s all rumours and I know it probably won’t happen – but Parker has proved that he is a leader and a work horse. No-one can deny he wouldn’t be a good player to have!

It’s a big day at the Emirates, and there is a march pre-game – many say it’s a protest, but I say it’s a march! The focus is for change at the top – for fans to be taken more seriously, appreciated more and for certain things to change! I think it’s a good idea… The “She Wore” site explains more on the march:

It is a peaceful walk, not a protest,not a demonstration. Scaremongering by certain newspapers and blogs saying the club and/or police worried about it getting heated is at best a misquote at worst its a lame attempt at undermining all the BSM’s good work over the last year, it will be peaceful. This is not Anti-Wenger or Wenger out and on the day of the march no chants of that nature will be allowed. This in not even an Anti-board march, they just need to change and not lose touch with the support.

Let’s see what comes of it…

Until tomorrow Gooners, until tomorrow…

  • Sharad

    Does anyone care?

    What sort of performance do you expect against Villa?

    They will be playing in their flip flops, looking forward to 5* holidays and waiting to hear if their agent has secured some new endorsements and an extended contract.

    Plenty of time to buy a new Ferrari or mansion before the same shit next season.

  • Sharad

    I hope we lose this game.

    Or that old french idiot will just say…

    I knew the team would come good. This win shows I was right after all and nothing needs to change.

  • Sharad

    Last home game for Cesc and Eboue.

  • Fo

    @ Sharad:
    Well said!!!!

  • JayJayGooner

    It’s been a worrying end to the season and it feels like an end to an era. I am looking forward to us playing against Villa, at home – a game we need to win to guarantee 3rd next season.

    Exciting to see Vermaelen back, that is for sure.

  • Madmax

    So now the we will win the PL has become we must not finish 4th. How can beating a poor side like Villa send anyone home happy and give them optimism for next season. As long as we still have that millstone around our neck called Wenger we are in trouble. There will be no major signings this sumer just the same old rubbish trawled from the bottom of the barrel. It will be interesting to see if Wenger recognises that we need an English spine and brings in players with heart and desire or adds players like Eboue, Denilson or Rosicky, players who have been allowed to sponge off the club, contributing little but taking a lot. These are the sort of players Wenger favours and this is the reason why we can’t win a bean never mind a trophy. Why Wenger didn’t buy Vincent Kompany when he could have is beyond me. Why he pushed Toure out, and then allowed Gallas to leave before replacing them with two accident prone losers in Koscielny and Squillaci has turned us into a laughing stock. Why anyone is still supporting Wenger is a total mystery. Optimism, what a joke.

  • devday

    @ Madmax:
    You’re right…

    Gallas + Toure + (Kompany)


    Squillaci + Djourou + Koscielny…

    Have we regressed defensively?

  • Madmax

    There are lots of apologists claiming that this is one of the toughest PL seasons in years. That’s rubbish. The only difference this year is that Manure and Chelsea were so poor – but still better than us – and we have got worse. This should have been the season for us to seize our chance to win. Wenger could not do that. He is already gathering his excuses for failure next season “Manure cannot guarantee a top 3 slot next season” yeah right. This vainity project, terible coaching and tactics, over-realiance on foreign players who if they are any good really just want to go Spain in the end or wasters that no one else would want and a team that every commentator and even the players themselves openly say lacks leadership and spirit. This is the root of over woes. Again in transfer speculation we are linked with a stream of sub 20yr old emerging talent. I can only see more of the same next season. I have been watching the FA cup build up – saw the 1971 Charlie George goal and it brought a tingle down the spine. Good Old Arsenal

  • Jimmy

    I said so many times for ARsenal to sign Kompany. But instead City signed him for £6m and he is now their player of the year. if he played alongside Gallas or Toure we would have easily won a trophy by now.
    Seriously £6m for Kompany, isn’t that about how much squallaci was?

  • Berth

    Look at Ac Milan – with the changes they made they brought success. personnel should be the answer; it can solve a whole lot and can even compensate for tactics.

  • Berth

    Did anyone see the Boateng MJ celebration.

    We need that at the Emirate pls.

  • yemi

    Wat a way to end da season! Does this mean more games next season? Qualifier?

  • Madmax

    the wankers have done it again – bunch of class A knobs who dont give a shit about the club

  • terrencetg

    I am angry but as someone else has said not surprised.

    I would love Wenger to get sacked but there is little hope of that happening so I can only hope he has the good grace to resign…….but that won’t happen either.

    I think it is shameful the way the club has become more and more detached from its true fans whilst at the same time indulging sub-standard, passionless wankers with wages generated by our hard earned money.

    I only have one way of protesting and have done that since the turn of the year……..not going and I won’t pay for a ticket again until Wenger is gone.

    I agree with the BSM totally but I also believe that the club’s arrogance towards us can be linked to Wenger and that he has little respect for us. He, the marvellous economist that he is, has bought into this business plan that sees the club get richer while the genuine fans get less in return. Don’t disassociate Wenger from the board as he is as much a part of it as Gazidis, Kroenke etc etc. Wenger is simply the public figure whose bullshit some believe due to long forgotten past glories.

    I am angry, sad, disillusioned but most of all I am just bored of Arsenal and being treated like shit by them.

  • terrencetg

    I remember when Mourinho said that our second team look like kids, while our first team look like boys. Good we lost so that Wenger will not come up next season with these kind of pathetic footballers in his team. Kids don’t win you title but when you mix them with experience then you can have a chance. I tell you the two goals our keeper conceded will not pass Van der sar,Giggs and Paul are still playing for Utd at there age and they are wining titles after title. My worst fear has come at last we must play in the playoff of a champions league which is not good enough, all together we failed this season and both Wenger and all his players are to blame not the board. Will he learn now and buy better players to have a go next season or we will find ourselves in a mid table next season of which he has aleady started to confess. Now the first two signing we must do is to hold unto Fabregas and Nasri, then buy Men who are good not kids who will be brilliant.

  • Bonathan

    Well, i think you can take it as given that man utd, chelsea and man city will finish in the top 4 next season. that leaves one more place up for grabs between us liverpool and spurs. If fabregas and nasri both leave, we could be in the shit. It could be the start of a snowball effect. if we don’t get in the top 4 next year, then what? van persie, arshavin and wenger leave? we can’t let this happen. liverpool will be strong next year. we need to be ready.

    We all know what we needed last summer, and we all know we would have been in a much better position now if we had got the right players. But that’s been and gone now. Wenger has admitted he made a mistake and he is still a great manager. so let’s let him try and rectify the situation in the summer.

    I expect fabregas to leave. I just hope we can keep nasri. That will be so crucial to us. The nasri situation doesn’t look great, but let’s just wait and see. I personally think he’s at the prefect club for him. for now.

    at the end of the day, if fab leaves, we cash in on bentner, vela and almunia, we should have a lot to spend even without any extra funds. Yes, fab will be a miss but let’s face it. We haven’t had the best from him this season and the distraction of barcelona will ensure we never will get the best of him again. not just that but he’s not an ideal captain either. let’s face it.

    The only player I think we can make captain is Thomas Vermaelen. He’s the only one really in that mould. He hasn’t been there a long time but hey, who cares. he’s respected by everyone and he fits the part. that’s the main thing.

    We should pay whatever is required for shay given as well. He would add some much needed experience and quality and wouldn’t hinder the progress of the young keepers too much. One, because he is into his mid to late 30s already, and 2 , because he gets his fair share of injuries. He would be a fantastic role model for the kids you could also give him the captains armband if TV was out.

    A striker, and a nice wide man and we’d be looking good. Oh, and i nearly forgot to mention a CB!!