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.

Arsenal draw FC Twente in the Champions League; Bob Wilson on the Future

Good-day to you, wherever you are in the world of Arsenal. Dev has asked me to blog in his absence and as always it is my pleasure to do so. Unfortunately there is a good chance I will be without internet access this weekend so here’s hoping Dev can take a ‘break’ from the beach to give you an update.

The weekend before last I was fortunate enough to have a chat with the legendary Bob Wilson and it was interesting and exciting to hear some of the things he had to say. Of Theo Walcott he said he has been in the gym all summer to build some muscle. This is great because you have to feel that at times Theo was nudged off the ball too often. His pace normally compensated for this but with some upper-body strength I am optimistic he will become a more ‘complete’ package.

This week everybody has been talking about the young Jack Wilshere. At just 16 years of age it is far too early to place ANY expectations on him. However, Bob Wilson was very excited about what the future holds. He said he is going to be a big player for Arsenal, to which I responded ‘big like Pennant or Bentley were predicted to be?’. He said no, Jack Wilshere is going to be an Arsenal and England superstar. Promising stuff, but as I said, let’s give him the time he needs.

The draw for the Champions League third qualifying round was made today, and we will face FC Twente of the Netherlands. What makes this draw interesting is that Steve McLaren is their manager. I hope he gets the abuse he deserves when they come to the Emirates! Seriously though, we should be fine even if they did beat Ajax for the qualifying spot. Thank goodness we avoided teams like Atletico Madrid and Galatasastab.

In other news David Bentley has been talking about Arsenal (not for the first time). He is looking forward to playing against us for Sp*rs. And we are looking forward to watching you lose against Arsenal, David. Having joined Sp*rs he has confirmed what we already knew about him. I will let you come up with the appropriate terms to describe him.

Arsene has said he is looking to find one more player for central midfield, and Gokhan Inler has been linked with us this morning. The 24 year old Switzerland international is a highly regarding midfielder, currently playing for Udinese. However, all of the quotes all come from the player’s agent. In agents we cannot trust. We’ll have to wait and see who this new signing will be. Anyone have any ideas?

Have a good weekend.

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Transfers and Everton Team News

Good day to you all.

Some interesting news coming from Arsene’s pre-match press conference yesterday. Alex Hleb is not for sale, and Mattie Flamini’s deadline has been extended to Monday due to ‘negotiation problems’. For me that basically means Arsenal are, as I suggested yesterday, succumbing to the threat of him leaving on a free and are trying to convince him otherwise by revising their original offer. Who knows – we’ll have to wait and see.

Good to hear that Alex Hleb is not for sale, although I very much doubt that this statement will stop the press making up stories about him going to Inter, Juve etc etc. Indeed we are linked with Niko Kranjcar of Portsmouth, whose father says Wenger ‘has been tracking for some time’ (if you say so, Mr Kranjcar senior), and that he would be the perfect replacement for Hleb.

It is something we Gooners have come to live with in recent summers. ‘Cesc is off to Barca’, ‘Hleb to Italy’, ‘Adebayor to Italy’. We know it is coming, but the bottom line is all these players are contracted to the club, and cannot go unless Arsenal is willing to sell. As the boss said yesterday, the only player free to leave the club is Flamini, although we’re all hopeful that won’t be the case come Monday.

It is, in my opinion, crucial that this team sticks together. All the progress we have made in recent seasons is down to the fact that the core players have remained with the club. We really don’t want an exodus of players this summer because it will mean we have to start again from scratch, which is not an option. If the team continues to improve at the same rate then we will be champions next season, but we do need this group to stick together in order for that to be possible.

Everton Team News

Everton tomorrow is our penultimate game of the season, and last home game. Team news sees the squad remaining more or less the same as against Derby, with Robin Van Persie being rested as a precautionary measure (thigh) and Flamini possibly returning to a place on the bench. I must say that RVP’s injury situation is of great concern. He is such a classy player but you can only be incredibly frustrated with his injury problems in recent seasons. If he had been fully fit all season perhaps we would be parading the league trophy tomorrow at the Emirates. RVP and Rosicky – we need them fit and strong next season, but if they cannot meet this requirement then we really need to think about replacing them with players who are more reliable in terms of fitness.

I think we can expect Fabianski to retain his place in goal, and with RVP not playing it seems likely that Ade and Bendtner will play up front. Theo should get another start alongside Eboue, Cesc and Denilson in midfield. The back four of Toure, Gallas, Song and Clichy will no doubt stay the same, although the Boss may well decide to give big Phil Senderos another chance after having not played since that miserable night at Anfield.

This game is not an easy one to predict. We pretty much have nothing to play for if Man Utd win against West Ham today, which is expected if we’re being honest with ourselves. However Everton are 3 points ahead of Villa in 5th, but with an inferior goal difference. With 5th place offering the only UEFA Cup spot this season Everton will be giving everything to take something from the game. If we are going to reach our target of 83 points this season we will need to be fully focussed and committed tomorrow or we will be punished. The game up at Goodison was one of my favourite away games attended this season, in spite of the fact that my car had been broken into when I returned to it after the game! Here’s a tip to those of you who go to the away games – use the travel club for the Liverpool matches!

Everton will be without Cahill and Arteta and this could be decisive in terms of the result. I fancy us to nick it, what do you reckon?

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Finding Flights to Fiji

It's a beautiful day outside and that simply makes me a much happier person today!

The task of finding flights to Fiji is much more difficult than you'd first think... if you try expedia, tavelocity or any of the main travel sites, you find "no flights to the chosen destination available...."... even BA and Virgin's own sites don't travel there. It makes you think how on earth to get there...!!!

 Two of my closest friends Ali and Sam are getting married there this summer, so it's a must-do mission to find a way to join them... Ali mentioned a site called www.kayak.com and this site has totally come to the rescue.

For anyone trying to find flights anywhere, it has all the answers. It’s taking us via LA to Fiji and via 2 different airlines – something it seems expedia couldn’t manage… low and behold we have found a good route and a good price – the site actually ends up taking us to www.cheaptickets.com so a big thumbs up to that site too!]]>

Welcome to my blog!

The blog is basically going to be a mix of work, friends, family and Arsenal!
The blogs will be random and a complete mix of topics, but hey... that's what they're all about!]]>