Everton Preview And Arsene Wigs Out

A tough trip to Everton today. One defeat in fifteen games is not a record to be dismissed lightly. Indeed, their last two defeats have been at home to Liverpool and away at United. However, that indicates a flaw that can be exploited. Everton are capable of being a troublesome opponent but one which seems to fall short against the leaders. Recent history suggests that against Arsenal, they are either stubborn resistors or capitulate completely. The former seems more likely which puts pressure on the players to recapture their spirit and performance levels of pre-November.

The team news going into the game is mixed. William Gallas has recovered from his foot injury and will take his place alongside Kolo Toure in the centre of the defence. Emmanuel Eboue is rested ahead of the Cup of Nations whilst Theo Walcott is not expected to return before the visit of West Ham. Which means the tinkering that Arsene would have done anyway is going to happen in midfield.

Robin van Persie is still not fit. Arsene commented yesterday,

I thought he could play against Everton but I was a bit too optimistic because he is not ready. I believe it is a short term problem but he will not be available against West Ham either. It is a muscular problem but we need patience. It is a small injury but if you want to win a horse race you need your horse to be 100 per cent

Very true but they shoot horses, don’t they?

There seem to be three options for him. Firstly, he could employ Diarra on the right hand side. It is a risky proposition. He has performed in the past at right back; the move into right midfield is an altogether different prospect. From what I have seen of him, I do not think he has the requisite attributes for the role. He is an able deputy for the defensive midfield role but I am unconvinced he has the ability to stretch a defence by giving the Arsenal midfield width. Unless there are unreported injuries, I suspect this is a non-starter.

Arsene may be tempted to do is put Diarra into the centre as a defensive pairing with Flamini, leaving Cesc to roam free in the middle, the peak of a central trio with Rosicky and Hleb on the flanks, the formation being almost 4-2-3-1. This would have the effect of negating one of Everton’s defensive midfielders, occupying them with the possibility of a break from Hleb, Fabregas or Rosicky and impeding their ability to get forward to support any attacks by the hosts. It would give Arsenal a solid wall in front of the defence but unfortunately may cause a narrowing of Arsenal’s attacks, relying too much on Sagna and Clichy to bring width as Rosicky and Hleb move naturally inside.

More likely, Diaby will be included on the left with Rosicky moving to the right. This seems to be Arsene’s favoured deployment when the right side of midfield is depleted and could well be a favoured tactic over the next six weeks with Eboue being absent. Whilst I am sure most would prefer to see 4-4-2, that appears to be unlikely if the BBC are correct and Eduardo has not travelled to Liverpool. Much as it would be a popular move to include him from the start, Bendtner will be rooted to the bench until the final quarter of the game, injuries aside.

The likely line-up for the match would seem to be

Almunia; Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Clichy; Rosicky, Fabregas, Flamini, Diaby; Hleb; Adebayor

With a bench of

Lehmann, Senderos, Song, Diarra, Bendtner

Arsene has signalled that he will not be active in the transfer window due to start next week. On the subject of forwards, he commented that van Persie would be ‘like a new signing’ which may well be the bud being well and truly nipped. Jens, we are informed, will be allowed to go if he wants to which is significant as it means that Fabianski must be performing well enough in training to have convinced Arsene that he is ready for first team action if called upon. I am surprised by the comments in some respects as I believe it would have been useful to have someone that experienced to step in if Almunia needed a small piece of motivation to rediscover his form. However, Arsenal is being linked with Heinz Muller amid fifty seven varieties of transfer rumour…I wonder if it’s too late to get a gig with Sir Bruce?

Lassana Diarra and to a lesser extent, Abou Diaby have been singled out for criticism by Arsene, a rarity in itself. Both had murmured that they may want to leave The Emirates if regular first team football is not presented on a plate to them. Arsene gave them both barrels,

You tell me one club in the world, of our size, that gives a chance to the young players as we do? There is not one. You go to Real Madrid, you go to Milan, where do the young players play?

He is of course correct.

You cannot always feel sorry for players who are a bit frustrated. We are not in a kindergarten here – we are in a job for men. Why should I come up and give explanations for every individual who is not happy? It is a joke.

Sadly Arsene it is not.

When you are a professional footballer, competition is part of your job. Why should we suddenly all feel surprised a player is frustrated? You cannot be at our level at one of the biggest clubs in the world, paid at a fantastic level, and have no competition.

At the end of the day, I will act for what is good for the club, because that is my first responsibly – what it important is what is good for hundred of thousands, not what is good for one.

It is a rare outburst from Arsene, publicly at least but one has to say, a timely one. The lead up to the transfer window seems to be used a bat with which malcontents can beat the managers into submission. In Diarra’s case, his interview in France recently was foolhardy. If he believed he was going to walk straight into the Arsenal team having moved on transfer window deadline day, he was deluding himself. Rare is the ability of a player who instantly commands a place in any team. Diarra is not such a rarity. He is a promising individual who has done well to work himself into the French national squad; he is however not indispensable, merely expensive to replace. He is also a player with a lot of hard work to do to win people over in terms of his attitude.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ‘til Tomorrow.

75 thoughts on “Everton Preview And Arsene Wigs Out

  1. 4.5.1 it is Yogi, unless Wenger goes crazy overnight and decide to play 4.4.2……..I don’t that’s ever going to happen specially after ther resent performances or results. The last thing you would want right now is to lose this game.

    I think and hope we will be better tomorrow. I have no changes to Yogi’s 11. I think it’s the most effective with the current options. I just hope that Wenger sends Bendtner and trust him with a 30 minute run instead of the 15 minutes when it’s little too late to do anything. I think it would be a good confedence boost for him, even if he doesn’t score but provide good couple of assists.

    Good luck Gunners.
    G4E

  2. I have to add this

    It’s about time Wenger came out and put things straight. I can never blame a player of Diarra’s quality for wanting to play…..in fact if he doesn’t care to play….what good is he?

    It’s good he has the belief and desire to play, he needs to be patient that’s all. I think he’s not taking the right route to resolve his problem.

    G4E

  3. YW

    The whole problem with Arsenal is the 4-5-1 formation that keeps Ade at the top of the pack. Ade is not performing not because of goals but his overall contribution is poor.

    He has a very poor touch, his passing ability is below Arsenal average, he jumps and often miss balls, 90% of them. Anytime he gets a pass even in the box his first reaction is either to hold the ball or pass. He rarely shoots as a striker and when he does often misskick badly. His decision making is poor and often offside. He doen’t read his own movements.

    YW. Is not true that we hailed him last season; he scored 12 goals in all competition and even RvP who played only half the season scored 13. So Ade is not the striker of the calibre needed to propel us to the title, hence the need to integrate Bendtner in the team quickly.

    Ade has delivered 10 goals, compare that with Anelka at Bolton, a team which hasn’t got the creative ability Arsenal has in midfield. His conversion rate is poor so why should we depend on him solely as the lone striker?

    Meanwhile a juniour striker sits on the bench with good touch, passing ability, heading ability and an instinct to look for goal anytime he wins the ball. So why keep on the bench and only given 10/15 minutes a game when we need goals?

    The 4-5-1 is not workng and also affecting the play of Cesc as Hleb don’t give Cec enough space to him to manouvre in the final third. Hleb at Stuttgart was an LM and an excellent player in that position so what Arsene perhaps need to do is to Hleb to the left and Rosicky to the right. In fact, in a pre-season match with Inter, Hleb was excellent on the left. This will allow Arsene to bring in Bendtner in a 4-4-2 formation which will improve passing and coordination in the final third and also provide additional physical presence and aerial threat.

  4. Just read a article in a Croatian newspaper about Eduardo and how he was hoping to get a run and that he thought he was training better than at any time in his career and ready to step up.He will be very upset not to be included today I’m sure.He also mentioned he’d chatted to Arsene about things and that’s why he was confident he’d get a run today.He was wrong.How on earth someone can get up to speed by playing once a month in the carling cup is beyond me.And which top side in the world constantly plays with only one striker?
    Yes, the answer is Zero.Oh, England played with one striker recently, at home.
    Now that the midfield goals have dried up it doesn’t look that smart to be honest. Looked pretty crap against Pompey until the last 10 minutes.

  5. Interesting comments on yesterday’s post but I’m going to limit myself to answer the one thar involved me directly.

    “Btw, Yogi,

    As a testament to your blog and to the Gunner’s style of play – I saw that non-edible Nacho was from Argentina, living in Buenos Aires. I also am from Argentina (though I lived in London for 4 years, now live in the US and go back to London 3-4 times a year).

    I can tell you – People from Argentina support local clubs or European Clubs where the Argentine play (like Inter), so this is rare. But we appreciate good futbol, we do, and good writing!

    I’m guessing Chelsea (if they HAVE any blogs who support them), don’t have any….though maybe that’s made up by a large number of russians…”

    Exactly. It’s annoying to find the local press only covering teams with Argentinians but that’s why I’m thankfull for these blogs. I am though really impressed about the lack of other team blogs, when there are so many popular Arsenal blogs. Their tema are so boring that their fans don’t even want to talk about them?

    But it’s excelent to be able to support a team you’ve CHOSEN to support. You have actual reasons for it, and it’s not just ’cause your parents told you so. It also puts things in perspective. Why am I supporting Arsenal? Because I like the way the club is ran, the way it plays, the way it believes in team-building and not instant gratification… all that, I think, helps me to avoid some knee jerk reaction commonly seen in some when something goes wrong. When you actually believe a bit in what you are supporting, it all works better.

    (you wonder why sometimes, yesterday’s blog being the example, fans are told by other angry fans to “go support another team”? Exactly because of that. Do they believe a bit in what they’re supporting?)

  6. I’ve just read a piece on Tribalfootball that QPR has bought Matthew Connolly for 1+. If its true then its very disturbing.

    Matthew was sent on a loan to Colchester and has done well as a CB resulting in being called into the U21 side. Just 18/19 I’ve been thinking he’s one of the few English youngsters coming through in a year or two to replace Gallas.

    Its disturbing because he’s a player who’s coming through the academy. If Arsene is holding on to players like Senderos and Djourou who have fallen backwards in terms development but quick in shipping away English prospects then I’m disturbed.

    I don’t believe Tribalfootball and I hope its not true. Mat is a player with prospect and growing so Arsenal should try as much as possible to keep him. I was not happy when Fabrice Muamba was sold while we brought in Diarra as a defensive midfielder. From Birmigham’s games that I’ve watched, he’s more of Vierra and could develop to be a better defensive midfielder than Diaby and Diarra.

  7. Totally agree with Howard.
    Today’s away trip to Everton for Arsenal if we want to compete with leaders Manu. Even if we get a draw tomorrow I will be sad cause we will be out of title race. I will give you plenty of valid points.
    1. At the moment we are lacking confidence. Playing with 4-5-1 formation we are playing such bad football which is very unusual for AFC. We played so below par aginst newcastle, middlesbrough, spurs and pompey’s(those matches are most recent matches we played). I think we were playing such a good football and were effective until we beat prague 7-0. After that we were never to our best. We grinded some fine results and we played good in short glimpses(like against villa in 1st half) but most of the times we lacked our passing, creativeness and effectiveness. Really we are looking so tired and out of ideas. On the other hand Manu are far more effective and direct and they are looking more dangerous as the season progress. Also they have a world class player(worldclass diver and cunt too) who can single handedly win matches for them, like henry used to do for us. We don’t have any player like him.

    2. After injury Fabregas and Hleb both are looking so tired and clueless. They compromise our 90% creativeness but both of them are not near to their best.

    3. We don’t have a good frontline. Our frontline is no better than pompey’s. Adebayor is not Arsenal quality, he can be okay for pompey or boro. Van persie is our only danger man upfront but he cannot even play half of the matces in a season.

    4. We will miss Toure for sure. he cannot be replaced by either djourou or song. If there will be any injury to Gallas, imagine the backline of senderos and djourou, our defence will be helpless.

    5. We desperately need two good signings, LM( silva of valencia will be awesome) and either a deadly striker or a strong CB who is good in air.
    But I doubt wenger will buy anyone(he will probably buy 2 16 yr old kids paying 2 m each).

    Result of these, we will not win league this season too and we have to say our players are young and they will come good next time.

    Being a gunner I still hope we can win league this season. We can cheer in coming May if and only we can manage these things.

    1. Have Van persie available for rest of the season(but wenger already ruled him out against westham too) or buy a world class striker who can finish what our midfield creates, like Benzema or may be Anelka.

    2. We will need Fabregas and Hleb to be in their best. We need more goals from Fabregas, Hleb and Rosiscky for rest of the season. As for Rosiscky he is having a good run of form(fitness). It will be very good if he can stay injury for rest of the season. He wan the only player who tried to win against pompey.

    3. Wenger should stop rating Adebayor too much and believe in the fucking 4-5-1 formation. This 4-5-1 is the main reason we are now behind Manu. Bentdner is far better than Adebayor in every footballing aspect bar pace and hard work. This guy deserve to start before Adebayor. Also where is Eduardo(who is supposed to repalce Henry). We need more from him and I am sure he will come good. He is the best finisher we have in our team(watch those 2 goals against rovers, watch you adebayor cunt.

    4. We need Gallas to be leading the team untill may. He is a tough leader and that’s what we need.

    5. Wenger need to improve his tactical awareness. We cannot depend on the Wengerball theorem all the time and win matches. Look we were lacking Wenger’s beautiful smooth passing football for almost two months.

    This is not the end of the world and we still have many positives. At certain point Manu will also lose points for sure, so what we need is to give our best and try to win all the matches. We have discovered a warrior like flamini in the middle of the park and we have a leader like Gallas. When in form our midfield is the most creative midfield in england. Almunia is performing so well. So still we have plenty to be in the top.
    I also think it will be good for the team if we get rid of Gilberto and Lehmann this janaury(who can deteriote the team chemistry one way or other) but definitely we should respect their contribution to the club.
    Come on gunners!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Good post Yogi. I disagree on your estimated team selection though, I don’t believe Wenger will take the field without Bendtner.Wenger is above all else fair to his players and it would be unfair to hold him back after his recent performances. The team looks tired right now, but Bendtner looks like he can bring the team back to life, I’d be very surprised if Wenger ignores him again.

  9. Howard,

    A couple of attacks from you this morning. One senses the laughing or should we say doubting Hyenas are circling.

    Not going to answer the Ade debate. We do not agree and won’t agree if he scores thirty goals this season.

    Many of us would prefer us to play 4-4-2. Wenger is finding that difficult at the moment and probably is weary of registering a loss rather than a dissappointing draw. That may soon change or be forced too.

    The latest attack is regarding English players. It’s churlish and without facts. Connolly has not as you suggested been impressing at all with his performances at Colchester United. He has been in and out of the side. Senderos and Djourou get chances because they have shown Wenger they have the potential to be good enough.

    Don’t pretend that you have seen this potential in Matthew Connolly!

    What an obvious cheap shot!

  10. A very interesting & enlightening comment, NEN.

    From so far away, you have a much better grasp of what being an Arsenal supporter means than the sometimes local people that Danny describes so well.

    Great post as usual YW. I don’t think RVP is ready for the pie factory just yet.

    It is also interesting that AW confirmed that this team has not reached anywhere near its full potential yet.

  11. Richard, the BBC often get the squad wrong as they are just guessing. I would not be surprised to see Bendtner on the pitch and Eduardo on the bench, although given that this is an away match against a tough opponent it may not be the time to change formations too much.

    P.S. perhaps you should wait for confirmation from AfC rather than rely on ‘Tribal Football’ for you information Howard. Also, if you know anything about Arsenal you would know that Muamba wanted to leave after getting a taste of regular first team football at Birmingham. Perhaps he knows his level better than you do.

  12. Excellent post YW and (with the obvious exception) excellent considered responses. I’m the least optimistic Arsenal fan in the world but I really do believe Cesc is due a big game and that it will be today. His lack of form in the last couple of games has lent the flavour to our overall malaise. Great players always come back with a bang. Let’s hope it’s today.

  13. Ignoring the tiresome and cheap shots in Howard’s comment, several media outlets are carrying the Connolly transfer in print this morning so it would seem to be a ‘done deal’.

    However, my observation would be that the player has been out on loan last season and this. From memory, I think he went to Bournemouth last term and did reasonably well there but according to match reports has struggled with the step up in Divisions this time.

    One thing is certain that the player is continually monitored on loan and Arsene has obviously seen enough to know that the player will not make the grade at Arsenal.

    YW

  14. Now I am about to make a blasphemous statement:

    … I THINK EITHER FABREGAS OR HLED HAVE TO BE BENCHED…. for at least a match.

    This necessary to instill a sense of competition into the team and also because both Fabregas and Hleb have been pedestrian in their performances in the last few games.
    Also bencing either of them will give them a much needed rest since they seem to be playing as if “they are on empty”.

    I am happy that Wenger gave Diaby a chance at Portsmouth and in my opinion “he messed up”. I was seething with annoyance a few times when Daiby lost the ball at portsmouth. Now that he has been given chances when needed and didn’t perform , Wenger would be justified if he sold him off….the next time he or his agent feels they can be either mischevious or naive about comments of leaving the club. Wenger is being factual about Diarra, Diaby and any other potential sulker thinking they are good enough that they want to threaten the club with threats of leaving. It is fundamentally basic that there would be competition….and what is in the interest of the club is that the Manager picks players solely based on what is in the clubs interest.

    Any players that wants to leave should please leave…..there will others who want to fill there space.

    Fabregas, Flamini being in the team at early is not a norm instead they were privileged to have been available when Parlour, Edu, Viera and co …. already either starting to deline and succumb to injuries or were already considered dispensable by the club manager.

    For Everton I would really prefer we go with 4 4 2 (actually 4 1 3 2)….

    Such that we have
    Almunia

    Sagna Kolo Gallas Clichy

    Flamini

    Diarra Fabregas Rosicky

    Bendtner Adebayor

    Subs

    Eduardo, Denilson, Fabianski, Hleb

  15. Yogi – you are a voice of reason in a world of crazy bloggers. I have trolled many of the Arsenal blogs this morning and admittedly genuine Gooners are all getting wet at the prospect of a 4-4-2 formation. Can you imagine… playing 4-4-2 away to a form team like Everton . Unlike them I am scared sh*tless. Their team selection is typically Bendtner up top with Ade and the usual suspects. Apart from the back four, the only defensive player in this lot is Flamini. Superman Flam is to cover our defenders against the likes of Arteta and Cahill who like to counter-attack from deep positions. So Ade and Bendtner will be allowed to score at will and we will out-shoot Yakubu, Johnson and Cahill. If we are true die-hearted gooners we should tear ourselves from our fantasies and understand the real world where Wenger and Arsenal live. I am getting very weary of singing the same tune.

  16. shotta gunnah – I think you make a good point. Diarra is in the squad so it might be more a 4-5-1 when defending with Diarra and Flamini either side of Cesc and a 4-3-3 when attacking with Hleb and Rosicky supporting Ade up front.

  17. Just to complete my thoughts: The last three winners of the EPL (ManU and Chelsea) have proven that you must be as good (if not better) defensively as you are offensively to win the League. Chelsea in particular set the bar the highest when in 2005-06 they recorded 95 pts for the season with an amazing 72 goals For and 15 Against. Already tour team has conceded 14 goals half-way the season. Yet many Gunners are fantasizing about sexy football and outscoring our opponents. I reckon that in the EPL today every team suspects they can nick a goal against us, especially away from home, and then park the bus. This Everton team is more than capable. With one defensive midfielder (Flamini) who fits into the current setup and none of the other bench players at the same level, be very scared of a 4-4-2 formation!

  18. Danny/Flint

    You can call me names but I’m not happy with potential English players being sold to other clubs all the time.

    Two arguements have stood out:

    (1) Players not making the grade

    At 18/19 and now called into the U21 national team, Connolly is really someone with a future to play CB so why sell? He’s still has years ahead of him to develop. For all ‘accidents’ caused by Senderos performances, he is still in the team and expected to come good in future so why sell Connolly?

    (2) Bad attitude/moaning

    Bentley, Muamba and others moaned about not getting a first team place so was Flamini, and now Diaby and Diarra so why are they not sold but encouraged to stay?

    A lot of fans talk about some English players coming through but they’re continuously being sold. In need of money? I don’t know. Its disturbing for me.

    Well I’m preparing for the Goodison match so off.

  19. The 4.4.2 in this game makes us vaulnerable to counter-attack from a good side that can finsh rare chances.

    I would encourage 4.4.2 in other games though. I can see it happen when RVP is back not before.

    G4E

  20. Howard

    Lets look at the CB’s in the current squad. Toure and Gallas are the first choice. It seems that Djourou is being primed to replace KT when he goes to the ACN. Senderos is in the CC Team and a regular on the bench.

    Song is performing better than anyone expected at CB and looks to have good potential there. Of that group, only Gallas is 30 or over. So, unless Connelly is exceptional, he is at best fifth in line. And that is without considering his peer group at the club.

    You do not like Senderos but indisputably he is a proven international and has a CL Runners Up medal when he showed his potential. Now he has had a rough season, and a poor performance in Seville but counter that with some solid displays in the CC. A tough call but do not forget he is only three years older than Connelly and of his time at the club, has lost at least a season through injury.

    Will Arsene perservere with him? Yes, until he has four other CB’s who he believes are better than PS. At that point he will release him.

    Should Connelly automatically be chosen because he is English? I won’t even dignify my own question with an answer.

    The point is that Connelly has not shown the exceptional talent to put him ahead of the pack for a place in the squad so why keep him?

    Why is his sale so disturbing to you? Why are you so hung up on English players coming through at Arsenal.

    When I have spoken of the youngsters coming through, I never thought of Connelly simply because I did not believe he would be kept with the current level of competition in the squad and the match reports I had read of him at Colchester.

    YW

  21. This is my first post although I have been following this blog for quite a while now. Losing to Boro and drawing with Rovers, Toons and Pompey are the only ‘unexpected’ results thus far. Comparing these results to that of last seasons, I feel that it is a remarkable improvement. Dip in form is normal, if not expected. No athlete can sustain 100% form throughut a season.
    I believe that this current slump is only temporary. The only worry for me personally is the departure of Toure and to a lesser extent, Eboue for the ANC. Toure has been rock solid at the back and contributed to our attacking plays. Eboue can also do the same, but what is bothering me about him is the silly tackles and making a meal of challenges made by opponents. This has disrupted the flow of the game and at times caused unnecessary tension in a match.
    However, I still feel that this match against the Tofees will be a sterner test for us than the matches we had against the Devils, Reds and even Spurs. 3 points will be tough, a point not a disaster as suggested by some.

    But I hope we kick their Arse..

  22. there aren’t many positions in the team where if a really good player was bought by the club they still wouldn’t be able to get many starts but Diarra and Diaby both find themselves in that situation. we have a lot of midfielders and more than that we have two virtually undroppable midfielders in Flam and Cesc. Diaby now has to accept a career on the left wing and Diarra is feeding on scraps.
    Its a tricky one. maybe Diarra can adapt to right wing? if he can, he will find himself in a lot more starting line ups.

  23. I think We have some other CB’s in the reserves/youths that maybe pushed Connelly even further down the pecking order.

    Remember Arsene even signed two more pre-season in Kyle Bartley and the Norwegian kid.

    At least he has had the Arsenal Education and I am sure it will help him down at QPR. Good Luck Matthew

    As for the formation today, I would still prefer to play 4-4-2 but I am sure we will stick to 4-5-1.

    I just dont like it and as we have seen, It is very ineffective if your front man and creative midfielder are off the boil. It also then proves to be harder to get back into the game should you go a goal down. you then need to switch to 4-4-2 to chase the game.

  24. i did not know song was going to the anc.. wtf are we gunner do now if gallas gets injured!! wenger MUST get cover or we are fu****!!

    also why do we keep playing after everyone else. i think this is not good for our inexperienced team.

    up the arse!!!!!

  25. I dont think Song is. I am sure Arsene said the other day he wasn’t

    Either way We have Senderos and Gilberto who can play there, so not too concerned if he has been

  26. YW

    I don’t think any English English player will come through then; from your arguement once somebody is ahead of them in the perking order. Seems like the current trend is to send them on loan and sell them. Gibbs, Randall, Lansbury, Simpson and others will all be sold ‘cos they’re down the perking order. Meanwhile Arsenal continue to bring in youngsters from outside. It could be Imputu of Congo, Luka of Bulgaria etc.

    We’ll see how Arsenal will continue to look like in the next year or two.

  27. all huff and no puff, that is the story of our away performances, looks like our boys need to spend more time in the gym.

  28. There have been a lot of posts in the last few weeks about a half of Arsenal playing football being so bad well tonight they have topped it

    That was dreadful, You cant single players out because it is a collective load of rubbish. Why do we persist in playing CM in LM positions, it just doesn’t work. We finally put two great headers of a ball on to the field, but put the most Right footed player in the world on the LW to put balls in (Not that we ever got that far forward)

    NOT ONE ATTEMPT ON OR OFF TARGET.

    Arsene you will be earning your money in this half time team talk. I know it is not the end of the world if we lose this game but I do expect us to at least try and win it

    For me, get Diaby off (Its not his fault, he just doesn’t play out there, even if he stays on and scores 3) Rosicky on, give it ten and if we are still S£$t get Ade on for EDS and Diarra for Flamini.

    Oh and how dis-interested was Jens when warming up whilst Almunia was injured….

  29. yeah we look weak in midfield, could say get diarra in there but he was in there against middlesbro and look what happened, i aint got no answers to this shit..

  30. f*** me…. eddy looks the dogs. we knew he was class. so there is the answer then , play eds in every game!!

  31. Being outmuscled in midfield is one thing. At least the guys are trying harder than in the previous away games. And 2H has been much better than 1H so far. A couple of moments of brilliance from Eduardo might be enough to do the job. Let’s have some faith.

  32. 1st half was bad… but somehow I have a funky feeling we would win this game anyway. I’ve placed big bets on Arsenal to win this and I usually don’t bet on the team I support for fear of being too baised. Heck I even placed more bets on Arsenal to win this game even after they were a goal down. Eduardo was class, wasn’t he? He reminds me so much of Ian Wright! Ok I know you guys are going to say look what effect Ade has when he came on… but come on the goal he scored you have to admit it’s a fluke. Don’t tell me it’s not, and that it’s because Ade has the presence of mind to chase the ball. His control was bad, he didn’t help out to defend even when our defence was struggling, and the part he played in the last goal… come on the Everton players were already way to tired to defend properly.

  33. I dont envy you trying to sum that game up Yogi

    It wasn’t vintage by far and 4-1 was seriously flattering, and Arsene definately earned his money at half time.

    I still dont think it was a great performance which is a strange thing to say after scoring 4 goals but again they have turned around a game we would have lost this time last year, so fair play. I am still not pleased with this playing Diaby on the LW either, I dont want to rock the boat with mad signings so I wonder if Lansbury or Randall are worth a punt.

    to try and make sense, it was important to get back into it early and so it was, goal 1 was excellent, 2 was lucky not to be penalised for handball, 3 should never have happened and 4 was the only arsenal like goal of the night. Nic should have got a straight Red and I imagine he may get a rollocking for that, Arteta was unlucky for me, I dont think he meant it.

    Again the 1st half was shocking, and hopefully this is the turning point back into a run of form, well done Arsenal, there are not many teams that would have turned that around from being so poor

    Ha, just heard we only had 4 shots on target, I guess they all went in

  34. Oh and just to mention, how cool and clinical were EDS’s finishes, I hope he gets to start more games now, he had no service in the 1st half but look what he can do when he does

  35. A few answers + some questions out there.

    Nick showed us exactly how well Ade has been playing & that is not a slur on Nick. It is a difficult position.

    Eduardo is a goalscorer supreme but will he be able to offer more in his general play? He will in time I think.

    Pat – it just showed us what a mixture football is. We have played better & lost but here we are winning 4-1 against the form team on their own patch, in terrible conditions.

    Leave Arsene to sort the team, the rest of us just know sweet fa in reality.

    Howard- you have to accept players are good enough or they are not, regardless of where they may come from.

  36. Come on, we won! Isn’t it wonderful to win when we weren’t playing our passing football at our very best? Eduardo’s 2 moments of brilliance turned the game entirely around.

    To be honest, we gave away too many silly free kicks and corners. But thankfully they only capitalised on one of them. That’s a combination of luck and really improved defence.

    If I were playing, I would have parked a big double-deck bus in front of our goal at 2-1 up and with 10 men. But Ade was still out there chasing the ball which led to his goal, don’t be so hard on him!

    Glad Tommy Rosicky alos got onto the scoresheet – he deserved it after working his socks off these few games. Since Hleb, Cesc and Flamini got injured he’s been doing a hell of a lot in the midfield.

    Do you guys think Arsene made perfect substitutions today? How he protected Cesc from acting stupid in the heat of things and added defensive awareness and experience towards the end of the game with Diarra, Ade and Rosicky.

  37. I wonder that about EDS too Flint, he reminds me a bit of Ian Wright, maybe he will just be that fox in the box.

  38. Definatley Louisa, it is always good to win when playing well and that is a key difference between this year and the last few.

    Subs were good but would have been better if they had got Nic off in time 🙂

  39. Yeah Pat, the TV commentary said Arsene actually wanted to sub Nick Bendtner anyway just before his 2nd yellow but couldn’t so he kept waiting for a break. Then the kid got himself into that. His sending-off was deserved though. That was a bad challenge, “a striker’s tackle” or not, that was dangerous.

    4-1 is really flattering. But I think our guys do need a confidence boost. And doing that while ManU slipped up (imagine how Ronaldo’s banging his head on the wall ruing his penalty miss!) is just perfect. HAPPY NEW YEAR GOONERS!!!

  40. Flint

    For once I concede, Ade is a shade ahead of Nick.

    What a title winning performance? At the end of the season, we will look back at this game and say hi ! this was the turning point. Very important after MANU lost. Great, great , great game for us.

    Love the team and love all of you.

  41. We love you too Howard.

    Not the best performance by any means, and some talking points there, but ill save discussion for tomorrows post.

    Good way to end the year!

  42. Can’t believe the Everton players thought Fabregas was play acting when Arteta elbowed him in the face. Absolutely outrageous! Arteta is a sneaky guy who always tries those little tricks to try draw fouls from our players. I counted 2 dives from him and 1 from Neville. Ridiculous. We definitely deserved to win.

  43. Forgot about the dives, That Ref was pretty poor really, Nevilles was the worst and it should have had a yellow.

  44. What a roller-coaster ride…

    ManU lost, giving us some motivation for going back on top.
    Bad start on our part, giving away silly free kicks and corners, Everton strong in breaking up our play.
    When we went 1-0 down, it started raining. I thought it’s probably not our day. Reminded me of the bad, cold, raining nights at places like Goodison Park and Bramall Lane against strong, physical, cunning, effective opponents last year. I would have been happy to come back home with a draw.
    A few ref decisions could have gone against us, e.g. “penalty” claims that were not given.
    A few lenient decisions especially diving unpunished, like gackt13 said.
    A few feisty moments with Kolo, Flam and Cesc. Glad to see Almunia try to calm them down in the heat.
    Eduardo’s 2 goals I can watch again and again and again. Let’s be honest, when nobody’s playing particularly well, he almost single-handedly changed the game entirely. Ade’s goal was a bit funny, capitalising on the error between Howard and Yobo. Absolutely love Tommy Rosicky’s at the end, classic well-worked Arsenal goal.
    Just when we needed a win, just when we thought it’d be a tough place to go, just when the opponents had been in the form of their lives, we got the 3 points, and back on top.

    What more do you want? Let’s have a really HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

  45. Maybe some of those clamouring for Bendtner to start over Ade will now STFU – he is not yet ready for 90 mins in the Premiership.

    Great result and a wonderful feeling to be going into the New Year top of the league. Now we’ve added clinical finishing to our repertoire – 4 shots on target, 4 goals – how sweet is that?

  46. Yeah Passenal, at least I’ve learnt how he’s not ready yet now that he’s been given a chance. I’m not blaming the boy for his performance though, it’s a tough role in a tough place to play football. But he really should learn to tackle, or just leave it to his teammates.

    Do you guys think Eduardo will get more starts now? I think he’s done enough to prove himself – been to tough places like Blackburn and Everton, in bad weather, 2 goals each. Is Ade-Edu a feasible pairing up front you think?

    When’s RvP coming back anyway? I’m feeling sorry for the guy. So much talent, so few games.

  47. Backt13 and Pat, Arsene apparently feels the same as you about Eduardo (on the BBC website): “He’s a fox in the box, you can say that. He didn’t have the best first half. He’s a difficult player to manage because he can pop up at any moment in the game and score you that kind of goal. He’s a bit of an Ian Wright type.”

    On the delay of bringing on Ade for Bendtner, Arsene said Ade was ready for a while, but it was a corner against us so he waited. But after that, Bendtner got sent off, and so “I got punished.” He had to bring off Eduardo as well to accomodate tactical changes.

  48. Okay agreed. Nick need to be fed in gradually, may be coming on in the second half as an impact player this season. Seems he can’t play for full 90 minutes without losing his head.

    Arsene have been right in saying he’s not ready yet.

    All that Dudu needs is a throughball or something like that and he’ll score; he’s such a great finisher. Ade should learn from him.

    A massive title-winning result for us if you look at the next 10 games.

    If we can play consistenly and get 27 from the next 10 games we will win the title. The next 10 games are manageable except Man City away.

    Notice something? The back four is becoming stronger and stronger and seem to be holding their own against high balls.

  49. I’m not slating Bendtner by any means Louisa – he is a talent no doubt, but I just think some people need to put things in perspective and leave the decision on who is ready or not to the manager. I’m sure we will be seeing more of Eduardo now – Wenger did describe him as his ‘secret weapon’ for the second half of the season, except the secret is out now!

  50. Yes Eduardo’s been our worst-kept secret since he terrorised the England defence for Croatia a while back! So happy to see him starting to do the great things ew knew he’s capable of.

    I don’t mean we’re slating Bendtner and I think we shouldn’t because like we said Everton’s tough for a 19-year-old. All I want is that we go back to 4-4-2 and only use 4-4-1-1 or 4-5-1 in really tough away games and ONLY when Hleb/Rosicky/RvP/whoever in that 2nd striker role is truly 100% fit and creative and on fire, a young Dennis basically…

    Ade-Edu against West Ham, anyone?

  51. Phew…..what a beculiar match and to quote Jimmy Greaves “its a funny old game”.
    To score four goals when neither our key players were even at the races is bewildering.
    Ill post tomorrow my thoughts when i have had a chance to digest what ive just seen, suffice to say we were awful first half and only ordinary in the second.
    One stand out point though which almost everybody has touched on is we have an awesome striker in Eduardo. When this guy gets to grips with the EPL and he is slowly getting there, we are going to have probably the most naturally gifted finisher in the league.
    See you tomorrow.

  52. Just a few moments time out from setting up my brothers computer…

    All of those against Ade, note Bendtners touch and control today.

    Nothing Against Bendtner but I think he illustrated what Ade brings.

    Bendtner has it, no question but he is for the future not for today.

    I think tonight is going to help the team and also the fans to unite a bit behind the team – nin recent weeks Almunia has silenced his doubters and tonight the front players silenced a few also.

    Come on you Reds!!!

  53. Almunia has silenced me for good. He’s really up for it and has worked hard to improve.

    He’s not the Almunia I knew few months and weeks ago. I’m now convinced we don’t need another keepr just a back-up for him and Fabianski. I hope Senderos shut my mouth too but no need to experiment with him now. Too risky to give him more chances while we go for the ultimate.

    Good night and congrats to all of you for this win especially, YW, Flint, Danny, Luisa, Veteran and all the rest. Love you all.

  54. We did not click in the first half, but we did so well in the second. The game is 90 minutes and I will take this kind of result in this kind of game any time.
    I think we may all agree Bendtner is a good impact player for now and not the 90 minutes.

    We all tried our best to debate what’s best for our team and in the end, it turned out Wenger also Knows very well what’s best for the team and Arsenal.

    It doesn’t matter who’s ideas were wrong, just be happy you are NOT the Gunners manager 🙂

    As usual, I’m going to see the game again….two points clear at the top + 3 goal deficit…..hmmm. Awesome.

    G4E

  55. Well I’m delighted Eds got off the mark finally.Of course I’m a biased Croat Pom but that game was typical of his performances for Croatia.He may do little for 89 mins then get one shot and score.He will not always play the Arsenal way with flair, although he will definately improve his general play, but his goal to shot ratio for every side is fantastic.He really only played the game at this kind of pace in the Croat league in derby matches so to do it 30 times a season will take time.He’s still a long way off the best form I’ve seen but it’s promising.
    Although I can remember seeing Ian Wright a bit when younger was he a contributor around the park as well as an out and out striker?Is there room for a player like that in the modern Arsenal side when we’ve been fed players like Bergkamp and Henry for a decade and now expect players to have the whole package.I come down on Ade a bit but then he brings what others don’t.Perhaps only RVP will be in the mould of the 2 previous greats, in time, and we will just have to accept that the others bring their own certain qualities and stop finding these chinks in their game.I see a bit more rotation like today up front in the future and maybe no certain starters week in week out ,with results the main goal and all players getting there share of time.

  56. I will save my thoughts for 2morrow, but I can’t help saying I told you so. Ade, next to Drogba, is the best forward in the EPL playing the man up top. BTW: while Drogba depends on strength and power, Ade’s biggest asset is his speed and his skills. Bendtner is one for the future; today he is best as an impact sub, not one for the full 90 mins. Save that for Ade.

  57. Richard “is there room for a player like that in the modern Arsenal side”. You betcha bottom dollar there is, if Eduardo can regularly finish like he did tonight YES is the answer.
    You must have been both relieved and proud of your fellow Croat tonight Richard, he did the business and long may that continue.
    He reminds me of a player before your time Jimmy Greaves who is the best finisher i ever saw, the same coolness infront of goal and an ever so easy way of doing it

    We all love you too Howard- God bless

  58. I haven’t got anything of real interest or merit to say except fucking aye right at last! At last Wenger’s answered all our questions on how the fuck we’re going to win the league! His outburst yesterday was spot on and now followed by his very fan flattering starting 11 plus his Touché substitutions (bar nic’s red) have made me feel like whatever happens between now and next june Arsene is absofuckinglutely on top of it.

    I hate to jinx shit but the league is ours for the plucking, and the Very Big Cup ain’t exactly out of our norf lundun grasp!!!

    Bring it on mate, up the Arse!

  59. Eduardo proved that he is by far the best finisher in the club. His stats this season are the best when it comes to efficiency.

    As for Bendtner, very silly rash decision, purely down to lack of experience. We’ve seen it before with Denilson earlier this year and with Fabregas a couple of years ago. Lets just hope he learns from this.

  60. Yes I’m delighted Veteran, because I knew he could do it but also that he was lacking the confidence.He’s been below par for club and country for a few months and had me worried lately.9 goals in 10 starts now but still alot to prove in the Prem.Yesterday I had to remind myself that he was good enough, I thought back to when he scored against Arsenal for Zagreb and hoped he could get back to that form.I still expect much more from him but he’s obviously one of those that will need this first season and he was actually going to be subbed at halftime today so well done Arsene for sticking with him.He’s no Jimmy Greaves Veteran but one stat from last season was approximately 56 odd goals from 80 odd shots for Dinamo.Not games but shots.And I would assume that his 9 goals have come from not much more than15- 20 shots by my count in all matches.Might be wrong but he often only has one or 2 chances per match.It took him 5 matches to score for Croatia and then he exploded once he got to the pace of the games.I expect him now to be a headache selection for Arsene and I expect alot of goals.Many a Croatian legend like Bilic and Suker have gone out on a limb saying he will be a great at Arsenal in time and it’s very rare for those guys to talk someone up like they have Eds.
    However, he was the second best player in the croatian league.Luka Modric will be the best Croatian player ever, I have no doubt about that.There is no room for him at this club and he’s far too expensive but he will do to any club what Fab4 has done here.It’s a real shame he’s no longer linked to this club.

  61. A note on Eduardo – with 9 goals now, is he our 3rd highest scorer in all competitions, behind Adebayor and Fabregas?

    Sweet!

  62. Good morning to you all and may our happiness continue until May 2008 when we rap-up the title in the cabinet.

    I just realised ED’s goal ratio is the best so far. I mean 9 goals from 10 starts? He’s the better finisher. From what I’ve also seen he thrives on playing with Bendtner than Ade while Ade is fine with RvP. It’s only Bendtner who’s partnered well with all the others, I mean ADE, RvP, Theo and Ed.

    It seems therefore that Arsene is developing a combination of striking partnership here.

    (1) Ade/RvP

    Nik coming on as an impact player

    (2) Ed/Nik

    With Theo/Ade coming on as an impact player

    (3) Ade/Theo

    Also with Nik coming

    Nik/Ade won’t work, according to Arsene. We’ve not seen RvP/Theo yet.

    Ed style of play is just be given a goal opportunity. His overall contribution is not necessary; once the midfielders are able to find him then he’ll score.

    We should assess Ed on his chances not on his overall. I don’t see him contributing much in games, all that he will need is a good pass to him to finish. So FAB4,Hleb,Flamini and co should find a way of finding Ed.

  63. hmmmm back too A 4-4-2 !?
    did we win? was ade on the bench?
    was it a good win ?
    THANK YOU !!! GOD !!!

    Great Man’ure Upset ! too!
    BACK ON TOP !
    mind you we have west ham next week ourselves.
    its on the edge of your seat stuff ..
    thank you arsene for listening to me !
    Ade looked much better and fresher coming in at 70 minutes .His pace was noticeable and his presence was better Bentner was a tad disappointing but he was viewed as the aerial threat and in a heated game the lad boiled over – he will need to keep check on that or he will be exploited like rooney is!

    Dudu to support RVP .. the choice is very clear now !!!

    cross fingers
    for the above 2 players fitness levels !

    PS: i think arsene will purchase someone ,but why tell the press ??? probably unknown youth or a silent giant .. Defense and a natural winger.

    what happened to modric?

  64. ethan

    I don’t think we need Modric. Chelsea has raised his price to 18. His real value is about 7 so Arsene won’t pay for that. If anything, Arsene may go for the young Bulgarian Lukic who was very successful in trials here. Lukic at EUR1million is far cheaper than Modric and we also have Gibbs coming through in that position.

    We rather need a CB and I think Richards or Anton Fedinand will be fine. Anton is tall and strong and will develop further at the Arsenal.

    Ade is shade ahead of Nik based on yesterday’s game. It was also clear in the game that Ade can do better as a sub or part player than he playing for the whole 90 minutes. I’m of the view that Ade sharing that position with Nik will bring a lot of positives. Ade will play for first while Nik will come in later in the match. The reason is both of them get tired after the hr.

  65. Howard i feel your absolutely correct about Modric (great player that he may be or becomes) he will be too expensive and its not that we are short in midfield is it ?
    I also agree with the CB situation, but Arsene has come out and said he will not be buying in the window whether thats his way of keeping prices down or not we will have to wait and see.
    A hunch of mine is that he wont, he’s got so much belief in this squad and if he does get someone in what does that say to someone like Djourou or Song who have shown that they are perfectly capable if given the chance.

  66. Some of these statements have written half a dozen times , in a row.Does anybody actually read the previous stories before commenting??

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