Three Points Keeps Top Spot

Arsenal 2 – 0 West Ham United

1 – 0 Eduardo (2)
2 – 0 Adebayor (18)

As with the Everton game, the result did not reflect the performance although this time, it was the latter that warranted more than was achieved by the former. The out of sorts passing game came back together like the pieces of an old jigsaw puzzle that had curled at the edges through lack of use. Not entirely uncoincidental was the return of Fabregas’ touch. That is not the sole reason nor was he my man of the match, that ‘accolade’ would be winging its way to Gael Clichy’s mantelpiece.

Scoring an early goal is conducive to settling nerves, particularly in a derby match. Two goals inside the first twenty minutes whilst not ending the contest, does make matters somewhat easier with opponents who have to push on and as a consequence leave space to be exploited. A single goal can be retrieved in a blink of an eye as West Ham almost proved before Clichy was on hand to block Anton Ferdinand’s shot, Toure having deflected Cole’s goal bound effort wide for the corner; two goals require considerably more application.

Eduardo scored his fifth goal in three games and tenth overall this season. Neat interplay between Rosicky and Fabregas allowed the latter to get to the left hand side and cross to the Croat, who was afforded too much space by the visitors defence, turning and volleying into the corner. Any hopes that West Ham may have had about history repeating itself extinguished with an exquisite finish.

The second one quarter of an hour later, proved that whilst the Premier League may be the ‘most exciting League in the World’ (© any lazy word shy journalist in BSkyB headquarters), the standard of defending is amongst the poorest. Having gratefully received gifts from Everton’s central pairing, Emmanuel Adebayor was the lucky recipient of Ferdinand’s largesse. The new found tactic of a long pass over the top from Gael Clichy caught Ferdinand half asleep; Adebayor took the ball wide of Green and with more backspin on the ball than Alex Higgins ever managed on the green baize, found the net from virtually on the byeline, via the far post.

The second half was a controlled performance. Energy conserved to maintain the equilibrium, ensuring a goal was not conceded, ready to be upped if misfortune struck. That this never happened is a testament to the players’ ability to control a game, denying opponents sufficient possession to create pressure on the Arsenal goal. Even so, had West Ham broken through they were facing a determined Manuel Almunia. Saving well from Ljungberg in the first summed up his afternoon; safety first, dealing with crosses comfortably, largely untroubled by efforts on goal.

Defensively, it is hard to be critical with a clean sheet behind them. Justin Hoyte’s rustiness was evident in the early stages with a poor choice being made in deciding to hook the ball away from Cole but as the cobwebs cleared, he became more purposeful in the right back slot. Gallas and Toure were dependable, the odd slip aside, the latter able to supplement the midfield at times. The news from Arsene that Alex Song has been called up into Cameroon’s ACN squad puts a small spanner in the works in this position and possibly Arsene could sign to cover this window. However, he will be reticent to do so unless he has decided to release either of Senderos or Djourou in the summer. With the visit to Burnley on Sunday, it would not surprise me to see the latter appear to bring him up to speed, perhaps even alongside Sagna to allow Gallas to replace Song in the Carling Cup side.

The midfield was able to make hay; Flamini is tigerish in the tackle and judicious in his use of the ball, a solid platform upon which Fabregas and Rosicky were able to weave their patterns. The latter’s ball retention was excellent and whilst I have no doubt he is not playing at the peak of his game, the Czech international is still a performance level above his opposition. He was unfortunate to be denied by a combination of the defence and Robert Green at the end, Alex Hleb’s introduction almost marked with an assist. Eboue worked hard all afternoon on the right and gave as good an indicator as any as to why he will be missed when he jets off.

The forward pairing suffered at times because Adebayor and Eduardo like to make similar runs. They are gelling together though, both being hard workers for the team, the latter dropping back to link with midfield, the former chasing defenders and balls that others may have given up on.

A good win and three points, fifty reached for the season and the first target achieved; we won’t be relegated…

‘til Tomorrow.

55 thoughts on “Three Points Keeps Top Spot

  1. very good report YW.
    first half reminded me of the Sunderland game. looked like we were cruising but then WH never gave up and kept threatening to score a goal, but a goal for them never came unlike the Sunderland game.
    Clichy has looked great again of late after a slight dip in November.
    we will miss Toure and I really hope its Djourou that comes into the team. every fan I have spoken to down the pub is not sure about Senderos anymore. no one seems to feel secure with him in the team. I hate getting on one players’ back but when a premier league title is on the line I think it crystalizes opinions.
    as you already mentioned I’d even rather see Gilberto used before Senderos but that seems far from wengers mind. in recent games Senderos was the defender on the bench.

    I really like Eduardo. I dont care that he doesn’t do midfield battles, he is there to score goals and win games like he did yesterday. wenger says he is the best finisher at the club, even better than Van persie and that is saying something. I think RVP brings more to overall team play and will always be number 1 choice but EDS cant be far behind.

  2. Well written as usual and your correct, we will definately avoid relegation!
    Can anyone confirm or deny the rumour that Vela has returned to arsenal?? Only arseblog seems to have picked up on it.
    Song got called up so I expect to see a centre half arriving as cover. I’d love it to be Micah Richards. Unlikely I know, but we have the money and he’d suit us perfect.

  3. As per you normal high standards YW

    gazzap

    I cannot wait for RVP to come back to combine with EDS. Defenders will not know whether to come or to go. With Hleb and Cecs slowly coming back to form, defenses will have a nightmare.

    While I understand why sometimes it is difficult to have too many first rate players in one or two positions but increasingly that is the norm to challenge at all fronts. Especially with the ACN pulling players out mid season.

    We need an additional first rate CB otherwise when Gallas gets injured in the next few games we will be very very thin on the CB position.

    Other than that I am basking in the moment.

    Top of the pile still

  4. Great comment from the Captain Gallas this morn.

    Only 5 minutes ago, we had Thierry calling for the boss to make signings and Billy G himself having a moan. Captaincy sits well with him though and his understanding of his responsibilities is spot on. He has backed the youngsters to handle the loss of Kolo and Eboue and called for renewed focus as we head into this title scrap. That’s the attitude the youngsters need to hear from their leader, that sometimes seemed completely lost on the great Henry.

    Whoever comes in, needs to grab that shirt and attempt to keep Kolo out when he returns. No one would have guessed that was on the cards when Flamini got his chance.

    As the New Year starts I could not resist but to say, there were some of us pre-season who said this team would get themselves into a title race and from there anything could happen, but there were some of you, about four regulars in fact, who predicted we would struggle to grab fourth place.

    That like demanding signings non stop was the wrong attitude. You’re a Gooner for god sake, start believing!

  5. Dublgun

    The report about vela is actually from sky sports web page ,its a day or 2 old but you could still find it easily . It basically states vela is ready to apply for a Spanish passport in jan 08, therefore not needing a work permit . And will have the ability to join arsenal fc NOW ! fingers crossed !
    And that takes care of the striker shortage .

    Danny
    arsenal has never been out of the top 4, i think we always knew we would be somewhere around the top during wengers reign (thats why it was so important he signed when he did !), we have never slipped out of the top 4 .Whilst we have a great squad who still without henry last year managed to hold onto 4th spot, This season isn’t over yet and injuries or other clubs buying key players will only add more pressure for our squad to remain on top . I still think unless we get a 10 point buffer ,it would be a brave man to claim victory just yet ! . But next season will be something to behold !

  6. I think Arsene had actually planned to use Song ahead of both Djourou and Senderos so his call-up is a blow.

    What is truly telling is that Wenger told us Eduardo would come good after Christmas. December came and we doubted him and now look what’s happened…

  7. Danny

    I am Gooner for the last 37 years (thru thick, thin and boring and all) and I do believe we have one of the best chances in the last 3 years to win the EPL. But injuries to Gallas and then may be Djourou then we will be decimated for the CB positions. That is being realistic. I am the first to back the youngsters and I have been vocal in my support of Senderos until very recently. I will be the first glad and ernest consumer of humble pie if he succeeds.
    Even AW says it is a gamble or suffering not signing any one this Jan window because of the ACN. I am eager to see The Arsenal to do well so the anxiety about injuries and Murphy’s Law.
    So a signing of the CB is a good insurance and that is not even slating the younger players.

    Up The Arse!!!!

  8. Re Vela

    There was also a rumour of him going to Real Sociedad.

    If he is eligible for a Spanish Passport, he will need to be in Spain and working there to claim it. If it is true that he is able to do so in January and he has returned to the club, he needs to be back with a Spanish club asap.

    Possibly he has returned to Arsenal given that they are on their winter break, for fitness reasons.

    YW

  9. yes but it helps that he has played. he only played in a few prem games prior to Everton and to be fair you cannot expect any player to settle that quickly in the premiership. sometimes strikers do settle quickly but usually they take a few months. as long as he gets chances he will score. its lovely to feel that assured about one of your strikers I think.

    With Song, wenger said 2 weeks ago that song could be going to the ANC but he did not know at that point. so fact is, he knew it could happen and it has. he couldn’t have been banking on him being here, he just had to hope he was. unfortunately it did not go our way and cameroon need him. The thing that will really kill us is if Gallas gets injured while Toure is away.

    I wont beleive the Vela stories until I see him in London wearing the Arsenal shirt.

  10. Malaysia, you’re being unrealistic. If United were to lose Vidic and Rio, what great replacements do they have? We are well stocked, you just have to trust the players, this is the boss’s greatest quality!
    If we let some go, then fair enough but why not trust them like the boss did pre-season.

  11. actually I think united look far worse without Rooney and thats only one player. without Ronaldo they would be very average. people forget that and wrongly give united an aura of invincibility. yes they are good but they are no better than us.

  12. Hi guys, I have been a regular reader & occasional contributor to this discussion, which overall I rate as the most consistently intelligent & respectful Gooner site around. Well done to you all.

    How good does it feel to be at the top, particularly given that few expected the young guns development to have us there so soon. Indeed regulars on this blog were calling for Arsene’s & the Arsenal board’s heads only some 4 months ago for running the club into bankruptcy & failing to buy (and keep our) headline players. Thoughts of a top 4 finish were as high as many allowed their hopes to go. Flamini was
    Sh!te, Hleb also & only a few weeks ago Song & Eduardo too! Not to mention Almunia as our number 1?!?! Gallas was a prat & needed to leave.

    Confidence & belief & team unity are wonderful things & no-one cultivates it like Mr Wenger. Even Almunia has begun looking the goods (although I am still not quite convinced) & Gallas is a true leader, not just the best player on the team.

    How lucky we are to be in the position that we will now perhaps feel genuinely aggrieved if we finish the Premiership less than first.

    One side issue, which has kind of urked me for a little while & someone, I think Howard, touched on it late yesterday. I saw the team unity illustrated best when during the early part of the season goal scorers went looking for assist providers & other team mates to celebrate in fairly low key style & with a sense of togetherness. Yet Adebayor seems to be following in Henry’s show pony style & while I rate many aspects of his game very highly I agree that he is beginning to seek the limelight more than I am comfortable with. A goal celebration is one thing but I agree that his decision making is becoming a little selfish too & I hope it doesn’t in any way affect the team unity that has got the team to where it is. If he scores 30+ a season I will probably put up with it though, as I did with Thierry.

    So as to not end on a sour note I would like to point out one positive of the ANC – we won’t have to watch the Ade/Eboue shuffle for a while…

  13. Danny

    I trust AW more than most here and have mentioned that we should not lose our day jobs trying to do his. Lets see how he reacts to losing Song to the ACN in the Jan window.

    If you want my answer to losing your best CB, look at Liverpool without Agger and Chelsea without John Terry( they have not played a top ten side yet and their lack of Cavalho and Terry will be telling).
    But I had always hope that Senderos will be the next Tony Adams but so far not there or any where near there yet. Lets see if cometh the hour cometh the man.

  14. AW’s addition of the “Long Ball (starring Gael Clichy)” adds another dimension to our attack, simplfies things, and improves efficiency. Honestly, the amount of energy used by our players to maintain our style of play is astounding. Truth is sometimes simplest is best and our opponents have to now expect the unexpected which, if we are able to add & effectively use Carlos Vela (who’s like a brand new Reyes+Dos Santos) in Jan, should finalize an “audacious bamboozlement of all foes-march” to the EPL crown, +/- Champions League trophy in May.

    To the Adebayor bashers: It pays to enrich your attention2detail power!!!!!!
    Yes he needs to be a slightly more efficient goalscorer but his contribution to the team is beyond belief. This guy does EVERYTHING*! And I mean EVERYTHING* expected of his position & more!
    Holding play, fighting back, attempting shots, scoring, supporting the midfield & defence, improved ball control, flicks ‘n’ tricks, heading the ball, galivanting the wings….phenomenal! . If he adds free kicks to his repertoire he’d be “the” ultimate, one of the best in the World. At 23, the sky is the limit as long as he maintains his focus & discipline. He strikes so much fear in the hearts of our opponents because they never know what he’s going to do next. Thank GOD he plays for us!

    I’m looking forward to seeing what the players covering for Toure & Eboue (& Song) can do. Like AW, I have faith in them.
    Go GUUUUNERS!!!!!!!

    *well, almost EVERYTHING

  15. To anyone who dislikes the Ade-Eboue and/or used to hate the Ade-TH14 shuffle—GET OVER IT It’s only a cultural & generational thing!! It’s relatively new to football but adds to the spectacle, and as long as players keep it brief, I see no reason why anyone should have a problem with it. It’s that kind of close-mindedness that sees creates unfair rules like yellow carding players that take off their shirts in celebrating scoring a goal. I mean, do u get irritated when your child (or any child) starts dancing when eating???

  16. Let’s stay with the reality Malaysia! WHO should we sign? That will not mind returning to the bench in 6 weeks time? That we settle into our back four with immediate effect? That will not undermine the spirit of our young deputies by knocking them further down the pecking order? I understand your concerns just think you are being unrealistic. Give the players a chance. Just like Flamini! No one can have the level of depth you hope for without some serious team morale issues!

  17. Danny

    Who shall we sign? I confess I will not have a better idea than AW nor do you. But I know he does not need to be world class but should be better than Senderos in terms of temperament and hopefully with speed on the turn and more important an experience center back that does not need to play all the time. From the way Senderos reacted when we were down the last time he played a full match in the EPL or Champions League( I forget) ie like a deer caught in the head lights and that my friend does not bode well for short term nor long term. Replacing that with better quality is not very expensive or difficult.

    As for the morale of the team- in AW words this is a game for men – competing from within and without is part and parcel of it.

    That said I hope he goes on and prove me severely wrong.
    Like I said we can only leave it to AW as usual and pray that Gallas survive the next 6 weeks injury free otherwise

  18. exactly Danny I cant think of many defenders that fit the bill. so many players these days appear to prefer regular first team football for a poor club than intermittent appearances for a top club. that rules out quite a number of good players. Sagna can also play at CB and perhaps he was rested because he might be needed there. I still get the impression that Gilberto is saying he wont play at centre back for us. If he is saying that then I think he should go. he is holding Diarra back in midfield and wont do a job where we need him most. we will see by next week whether Bert plays at the back at all.

  19. might have a go at naming 2 teams for the next games:

    Burnley:
    Almunia
    Sagna Djourou Gallas Clichy
    Hleb Fabregas Flamini Rosicky
    Ade EDS

    Spurs:
    Fabi
    Hoyte Gilberto Senderos Traore
    Randall Diarra Denilson Diaby
    Walcott Bendtner

    Walcott could go up front and maybe one of the young players like Randall, merida, lansbury or Gibbs will come into midfield. so we can still play 2 different teams despite RVP missing and players at ACN. shows how big the squad is.

  20. gazzap that is only speculation about Gilberto. He has said on more than one occasion that he wants to stay and that whilst he would prefer to play in midfield he is willing to play wherever required. Lets wait and see whether he means that.

    As for the CB position, apart from Djourou and Senderos we also have Sagna, Hoyte and Gilberto (attitude permitting) who can do a job there. There is no CB good enough to slot into the team immediately and then be content to sit on the bench once Kolo returns. Unlike Chelsea, we are not a defensive team so as long as our midfield and strike force are working well and creating enough to keep us moving forward, that will help compensate for a small reduction in quality at the back.

  21. Passenal

    Sagna can’t play a CB in England where set pieces and long ball are crucial part of the game. Arsene said recently that its only in England that one needs to be tall at least 6ft or just about to be a CB.

    Song’s call up is really a blow because he’s the only one that has really improved. Djourou couldn’t hold the Birmingham fans spellbound.
    Senderos can’t not be relied upon; he’s too mistakes prone and lost cups and matches last season because of his ineffectiveness. He hasn’t shown progress this year when he’s come on so where are we in the CB position? What is the guarantee that even Kolo will come back injury-free? We need to get a CB who can challenge the rest for the position. Its a title race now and we need not experiment or relax.

    Sir Alex brought in Larson to shore up United even though they were not short but it was a precautionary measure, he helped them and the rest is history.

    Please Arsene, do something.

  22. Personally don’t really think we need to buy any CB to cover Kolo for 6 weeks. I say this because after seeing what AW’s faith in Almunia has done for Almunia…..forget abourrriiittt!!!!

    Senderos & Djourou are full internationals. They are more than good enough to cover BOTH CB positions never mind ONE! It’s all about trust from AW, they’ve done it before.
    RE: Hoyte slowly growing in confidence & making better decisions in the game against West Ham.

    For the 4 defensive back positions we have:
    Sagna, Hoyte, Djourou, Senderos, Gallas, Clichy, Traore + if needed, Gilberto, Diarra, Gibbs & Flamini. That’s 11 options.
    Again, I say forget abourrriiittt!!! We’ll be ok.

  23. If we are hungry enough for the trophy, then AW must buy a CB at the least! Winning the tiltle is far more attractive short term than team chemistry, which is always changing every summer and January

  24. Firstly I think its a great achievement to be on 50 points with 17 games to go. I also think that Gazzap, myself and many others who were clamouring for wingers were wrong, the team has jelled without Henry, and when we are full strength RVP can play on the left and interchange with EDS and Ade. who both drift out, then we can play 4-3-3 with Flamini, Fabregas, and Hleb, with ROSICKY rotaotong with Hleb.

    I dont think many of the first team will play against Burnley, maybe Toure and Ebuoe, as that doesnt present a risk, with Senderos or Djouru as other CB, and Hoyte Traore at back. Denilson Diarrah Ebuoe Diably, and Bentdner up front with EDS, and Ade, Walcott, Hleb, and Gilberto if he still around on the bench and Fabianski in goal.

  25. Matthew Connolly has just been sold as reported by Arsenal.com. The reserve manager described him recently as a great CB propect but he’s also gone now.

    He was called into the U21 team and felt he was one of the future CB prospects who should have been convinced to stay.

  26. Sorry Howard. Connolly was alright, but not top class. Still a lot of work and development to do. Maybe he’ll come back at a later date if he manages to make a success of himself.

  27. Aman

    No gunners fan HATES ade-eboue . Some just have the ability to identify if they are playing below standard or playing un-sportingly in eboue’s case !
    So , in your preachings of last year why don’t you agree to disagree and drop it!,instead of defending poor performances ! . You take a close look at all ade’s touches prior to the 17 minute mark V’s W-ham and they all where terrible !
    Its undeniable !
    In fact view the middlesboro game too !

    He needs far more work to fit into this team.So many chances squandered that any other high profile striker wouldnt need a 2nd sniff to punish a team !
    Why was he rested against Everton ?
    I think we know the answer !
    He definitely had his best game yesterday ,but at the 16th-17th minute mark it was woeful !

    No one doubts his work rate or commitment .
    just his 1st touch and finishing !
    ( and passing most times)
    which is pretty damn important if your the
    spear-head striker in a 4-5-1 formation .

    He is better suited in a 4-4-2 and hopefully will come good shortly , but i still would be banking on dudu and RVP ..
    To go with anything else is madness !
    fitness permitting of course.

  28. It will be interesting to see Senderos or Djourou along side Gallas. Am I right in thnking that the majority of their appearances have been with Kolo? As good as he is, I think Gallas is a better organiser/leader. If Senderos is going to come good, it may be with Gallas.

  29. Howard

    i agree , any player who is called up for U21 – for any top country has potential! Send them out on loan , let the loaner’s pay for his wages. it costs us next to nothing ,and every year he is worth more . I can only think he was unsettled by prospects of breaking into the 1st team .. but we can speculate all day .. Its just a shame that we seem to get rid of all our British players too quickly and keep French speaking players far to long..

  30. Howard,

    He was not good enough and there are doubts if he will ever be. That is the harsh reality. The only Englishman of those that have left young, that could possibly be considered a candidate for our starting eleven is David Bentley. Frankly his inclusion would be debatable at best and he was insistent on having first team football immediately.

    These young English players a’la Upson, Sidwell, Pennant etc wanted first team football and have ben allowed to leave to further their careers in the belief that they would not have improved our first eleven.

    There is no point sulking everytime an Englishman passes through. If they are good enough they will force their way in. Ashley Cole was and that’s exactly what he did.

    Sidwell, Upson, Pennant, Muamba would not get into starting eleven! Someone here, was having a similar rant about Anthony Stokes being allowed to leave. I don’t see him tearing trees up at Sunderland!

  31. Ethan,

    What is this point about French-Speaking players?

    Are you saying Arsene Wenger is prejudiced against Englishman?

    Which Englishman that has left, could we have stopped from leaving, that would have been good enough to play in our starting eleven?

    We can have eleven Englishman if you like! We may never get in the Champions league again mind!

  32. Harlan, Sagna is actually quite good in the air. Hoyte played centre back against Sheffield and was competant. Trust Arsene, he is up close and personal with these players day-in-day out we see them briefly and whilst we may have our opinions we are not in a position to judge.

    Djourou may not look great at Birmingham, but who was he partnered with? If he plays with an experienced quality defender like Gallas who can help him with his positioning he will do much better. he played 30 games with the first team last season and did enough to convince a lot of Arsenal fans that he is ahead of Senderos now.

    Danny, I agree with you. If Connolly wasn’t English we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. Ethan Gun and Howard are just making mischief. Hoyte is also a former England U21 international but neither is he ready for a regular first team place at Arsenal. However, he is still an Arsenal player because he is willing to fight for his place and Arsene clearly sees potential in him.

  33. I’ve always been impressed with Djourou when he’s turned out for us and he initially put in some great performances for Brum. I’d agree with Passenal that you’ll see a different player when he lines up alongside William.

  34. I didn’t want to come into this player sales debate because I’m not happy. A lot of non-English players have also cried for first team play but were encouraged to stay and now doing well. A typical example is Flamini. Diarra and Diaby have all expressed their wish to move on even to the press but are still here because they’ve been prevailed upon to stay so what’s wrong with asking to play?

    Danny are you now telling me that if you’re an English player then no patience for you?

    The reasoning that if you’re good enough you’ll stay also falls flat. Connolly is just 20, now called into U21 team so it seems he can do well if urged to stay, right. In fact he was the reserve captain so it means he has something.

    I don’t want to mention names but there are a number of players at the Arsenal now who’re crap but still in the squard. Why have they been encouraged to stay and work on their weaknesses.

  35. Howard,

    Still no facts, just speculation.

    Havard Norveldt is a baby and been at the club 5 seconds and he was named reserve team captain. Similarly, Gavin Hoyte has had a spell as reserve team captain. Does that mean that either of the two are guaranteed to be great players? As much as I would like to yes, the answer is of course no.

    If you understand the club you’ll realise our reserve team is very much an extension of our youth team.

    Instead of wildly assuming the lad is potentially great, go check out how he has done for Colchester United. He has not played half their games. They have not been going wild about his performances, like Birmingham were about Bendtner.

    The french-speaking lads you have mentioned are not comparable to Matthew Connolly. They are a lot closer to the first eleven. Diarra has played league games for Chelsea, Flamini for Marseille and Diaby some French division one side too. Slight difference in quality there!

    What could Wenger say to Connolly to persuade him to stay? “Please stay, you’re tenth choice centre half….you’ll get a chance!?!?”

    It’s the norm Howard, if the players are not good enough they move on. That’s not to say with a constant source of first team football, they might not start to hone their tools to take them back toward the top level, but we can’t offer them that. We’re not a charity club, but a winning formula.

    If you don’t want to name names of current squad players, have the b@lls to name the English players we should have kept, that would grace our starting eleven now?

  36. Danny

    Well, we should have kept Muamba, he’s closer to Viera than any of our midfielders. I’ve watched birmingham matches and he’s doing well as a defensive. Strong has height and good in the air too. Diaby is not, he wants to dribble for every pass he gets until he hits a coup de sac.

    Bentley, persuaded to stay could’ve been better than the work Eboue is doing. Equally, Sidwell could’ve developed into a good defensive midfielder.

    I’ve not seen Connolly play but I believe Banfield when he said that Connolly is a prospect because he’s the reserve team manager, right. Besides, the fact that he’s been called into the U21 side means he has improved. I also believe that retention of Connolly would have ben good in the long term because after Toure and Gallas the rest of the known CB are also not good enough except Song who’s come out strongly recenly in that position.

  37. Howard now that you have nothing bad to say about Almunia you are picking on inconsequential fringe players. Connoly made it cleat TODAY he wanted to play first team football and he could not have got that at AFC for years if ever. Please stop crying over spilt milk, Sidwell is a fringe player at Chelsea, and Bentley was big headed and wanted to be in the first team too soon

  38. I can see you genuinely believe this Howard….wow!

    If your going to compare Bentley to someone then compare him to Hleb. Not Eboue, who offers balance to our attacking flair.

    Muamba’s a good lad, who gets thru some tackles and a fair few miles but he gives the ball away too often and as a technician is not in the Arsenal class or Diaby’s for that matter.

    Sidwell left the club five years ago and would not have developed into the player he is now, sat on our bench! Playing first team football made him who he is. That in fairness is good enough to sit on Chelsea’s bench and he still would not be good enough to play for us now, even having gained all that experience playing for Reading.

    Stop deluding yourself, the English lads are not good enough, as much as you clearly want them to be. Bentley is the only one that comes close and he was given Carling Cup time comparable to Fabregas, maybe you should have tried persuading him to stay.

    You talk as if Wenger is racist, but maybe it is you among others that has the problem. You’re the ones hooked on nationality and funnily enough you happily believe Banfield, but can’t trust our French boss.

  39. Let’s face it, most English players (and managers) are as thick as shit. They think that to play with their heart is all that is necessary, they forget to play with thier head

  40. Howard is right about Bentley, I think he is a terrific player – but he seems to need to be the star of the show and he would never have been that at Arsenal.

    Not sure about Muamba, it is easy to look outstanding in an avergae team.

    Certainly disagree about Connelly, the reserve team manager is hardly likely to say anything negative about his players…did Wenger ever say anything negative about Jeffers!?

  41. So… either Wenger is an englishphobe, if that word exists, or Howard (and countless other british fans) prefers englishmen playing for Arsenal even if there are better foreign players available. I know which one of those options sounds more likely to me.

    Regarding transfers…:

    “For the 4 defensive back positions we have:
    Sagna, Hoyte, Djourou, Senderos, Gallas, Clichy, Traore + if needed, Gilberto, Diarra, Gibbs & Flamini. That’s 11 options.”

    Exactly. We have cover. And after six weeks we’ll even have more! Absolutely unnecesary.

  42. “Certainly disagree about Connelly, the reserve team manager is hardly likely to say anything negative about his players”

    Exactly what I was going to say. No scout reports on arsena.com are going to say “well, this fellow is good in the air and tackles decently but can’t make a simple pass to save his life”.

    Connoly is 20 and plays for the U21. So? Djourou played a world cup being 19, and his team didn’t concede a single goal in 4 matches, one with extra time. Senderos played in that same team being 21. Do you see Connoly breaking into England’s first eleven next year? Me neither.

  43. Nothing personal with the guy. It’s just that if he’s not good enough he will be let go and we’ll be able to make some money from his sale. He gets football, we make a profit. Everybody wins. It’s a rational move.

    Sorry for the triple post.

  44. And on the basis of those Swiss acheivements, alongside a Brazilian Captain who can naturally move to the back and in particular cope with any aerial bombardment, we’re going to have to put our faith in our squad depth to handle Kolo’s absence.

    We have enough!! Funny enough, it is the same Gooners that did not think we had enough pre-season to be where we are now.

  45. Come on guys, Matthew Connolly’s not like a Cesc-type teenage wonderboy or new Tony Adams as far as we’ve heard, is he? I’m just wondering what makes you think it’s such a big pity that he’s left. Yes English kid and all that, we hope some English talent will come through. But maybe Arsene and Liam Brady just decided they got better prospects in Havard Nordtveit and Gavin Hoyte (English kid, if that’s what you’re after)? Maybe the kid really didn’t want to wait? He joined the club at 8 and it’s been like 12 years with us, even longer than Arsene’s own tenure. Enough observation by him and Liam Brady there, right? Let’s have some faith in the great guys the club have in charge of all these kids.

    And regarding the CB situation, again, faith. Even Gallas, the guy who’s been playing alongside Kolo in the heart of our defence these 1.5 years and actually who moaned the loudest in the last summer about our team being too young and our lack of established/experienced players, has come out and said the boss can do without any purchase. I’ve been worried about Kolo’s absence too, actually it’s the ONLY thing I worry about this season, really, that’s how satisfactory our progress has been. That we miss Kolo just means how great and important he’s been in the team. To be honest, I need no more reassurance as it is.

    I’d only worry about things when some injuries/suspensions happen. (GOD FORBID!) And even then, Arsene will find a way to deal with things through Gilberto or Hoyte or Sagna who can stand in and do a job. Just really hope Captain Gallas stays fit and healthy.

  46. And look at these fixtures, not terribly worrying are they? The fixture computer’s not giving us a crisis there. I think only Man City away is a tougher one:

    January 12: Premier League – Birmingham (h)
    January 19: Premier League – Fulham (a)
    January 29: Premier League – Newcastle (h)
    February 2: Premier League – Manchester City (a)
    February 9: Premier League – Blackburn (h)

    And Kolo and Eboue wouldn’t likely feature in these anyway:
    January 9: Carling Cup Semi-Final first leg – Tottenham (h)
    January 23: Carling Cup Semi-Final second leg – Tottenham (a)
    January 26/27: FA Cup Fourth Round *

    Chelsea face Everton home and away in Carling Cup (in which they don’t use Kids XI); Spurs and Liverpool at home, Portsmouth away in the league. With Essien/Drogba/Mikel/Kalou out (who’re arguably even more vital to their team than Kolo/Eboue/Song to us), plus existing injuries, now THAT is a crisis. In fact I expect us and ManU to widen the gap and throw Chelsea out of the title race during that period.

  47. Hi Louisa

    When you mention injuries, that is precisely what I am worried about. If Gallas is fit thru out the coming 6 weeks I am perfectly contented not to sign any CBs but we are gambling that it will not happen. Djourou/Senderos partnership was good for the Swiss in the World Cup but that was when Senderos confidence was not shot and that was pre Drogba event. But now the kid needs to get his confidence back. All players makes mistakes even the likes of Ferdinand , Toure , Maldini etc but how they recover is important. Sendy slice a ball during a match and then proceed to play like a frightened ewe for the rest of the game. Hoyte also made a mistake in the Hammers game but he steadied himself and then proceed to give a good account of himself. Here we have hope.
    It is not physical but psychological here and therein lies my problem with Sendy. I am praying that he can overcome his demons and it has not happen yet.
    Then the points about playing Sagna, Hoyte Gilberto , Clichy and etc as a make shift CBs. They may turn out well but it is a GAMBLE and some of the above players more of a gamble than others. We are now closer to the EPL then the last 3 years, should we take this gamble??

    As for the games ahead as relatively easy games, there are no easy game , let me remind you of Middlesborough away. Every point is a Championship point from now onwards with Manure only 2 behind.

  48. Nacho
    your missing the point ! no one is racist , i’m talking about communication between the likes of jeremie , song even flamini ,they all seemed happy sitting in the wings waiting for opportunities , but because we are in the UK and arsenal produce some English youth !,they are always the 1st to leave …Maybe lower ranked teams are racist ?!
    But i think most teams just think he is of arsenal stock and a brit so purchase him now ! Arsene makes a financial windfall , and we lose our English youth .

    I think his policy should be to start loaning them out to lower EPL -championship teams for years at a time almost a joint ownership situation . As it seems our English youth players dont want to stick around long enough to become Arsenal players ! or not given the chances because they are so tangible for arsene simply to sell ..

    And to answer dannys question who was good enough ? well we will NEVER KNOW !!At there age when they left its hard to gauge , the league is riddled with X-arsenal youth ,given more 1st team experience AT OUR CLUB like cesc or flamini the story might have been different . so your argument is who was good enough ? mumba..bentley ..sidwell ..stokes(uk based) if given more chances and time to play the arsenal way maybe ! . There’s also pennant and upson who if given more 1st team chances and
    time to gel in a team similar to todays team who knows the potential !?!?!?!
    You are wrong to think about what they are like today! because if we kept them and persisted with them like we did with cesc and flamini and are currently doing the same to dudu ,bentner and ade Who knows where they would be today?
    Arsenal manufacture stars remember?!
    If they stayed longer at the club perhaps their
    career and skill would have been TOTALLY different ! For the better …

    Well was flamini good enough 2 years prior ?
    maybe at an out of position left back he was …
    But the real answer is he just
    NEEDED TIME TO DEVELOP !
    as has SONG
    as has Cesc !
    as did RVP clichey

    How many 1st team games did pennant and bentley get??? how much faith was shown in sidwell ? the list of english player casualties are endless .

    What im trying to get at here is what youth player of 19 is a world class CB?
    as far as defenders are concerned very few are any cop until they are 25+ same goes with mid fielders , strikers can be younger , but they also burn out younger …

    Yogi ..

    If he is eligible for a Spanish Passport, he will need to be in Spain and working there to claim it.

    errr yes ,Vela is CURRENTLY playing for Osasuna…
    Club Atlético Osasuna is a ‘Spanish’ Primera División football club based in Pamplona in Navarra. He has been in spain working ,
    and just like me in Thailand anyone who is working here is eligible for citizenship ! and a passport?!

  49. Nacho
    your missing the point ! no one is racist , i’m talking about communication between the likes of jeremie , song even flamini ,they all seemed happy sitting in the wings waiting for opportunities , but because we are in the UK and arsenal produce some English youth !,they are always the 1st to leave …Maybe lower ranked teams are racist ?!
    But i think most teams just think he is of arsenal stock and a brit so purchase him now ! Arsene makes a financial windfall , and we lose our English youth .

    I think his policy should be to start loaning them out to lower EPL -championship teams for years at a time almost a joint ownership situation . As it seems our English youth players dont want to stick around long enough to become Arsenal players ! or not given the chances because they are so tangible for arsene simply to sell ..

    And to answer dannys question who was good enough ? well we will NEVER KNOW !!At there age when they left its hard to gauge , the league is riddled with X-arsenal youth ,given more 1st team experience AT OUR CLUB like cesc or flamini the story might have been different . so your argument is who was good enough ? mumba..bentley ..sidwell ..stokes(uk based) if given more chances and time to play the arsenal way maybe ! . There’s also pennant and upson who if given more 1st team chances and
    time to gel in a team similar to todays team who knows the potential !?!?!?!
    You are wrong to think about what they are like today! because if we kept them and persisted with them like we did with cesc and flamini and are currently doing the same to dudu ,bentner and ade Who knows where they would be today?
    Arsenal manufacture stars remember?!
    If they stayed longer at the club perhaps their
    career and skill would have been TOTALLY different ! For the better …

    Well was flamini good enough 2 years prior ?
    maybe at an out of position left back he was …
    But the real answer is he just
    NEEDED TIME TO DEVELOP !
    as has SONG
    as has Cesc !
    as did RVP clichey

    How many 1st team games did pennant and bentley get??? how much faith was shown in sidwell ? the list of english player casualties are endless .

    What im trying to get at here is what youth player of 19 is a world class CB?
    as far as defenders are concerned very few are any cop until they are 25+ same goes with mid fielders , strikers can be younger , but they also burn out younger …

    Yogi ..

    If he is eligible for a Spanish Passport, he will need to be in Spain and working there to claim it.

    errr yes ,Vela is CURRENTLY playing for Osasuna…
    Club Atlético Osasuna is a ‘Spanish’ Primera División football club based in Pamplona in Navarra. He has been in spain working ,
    and just like me in Thailand anyone who is working here is eligible for citizenship ! and a passport!

  50. I’m not saying the games are easy as there are no easy games in the league. I was just saying that it’s not like we’re facing ManU away during those 6 weeks. With Gallas there leading a stand-in CB, we should be fine.

    We can’t speculate too much on hypothetical injuries that haven’t happened right? And if we had to gamble with makeshift defenders, just let Arsene change things around. He knew about the ACN all along. Maybe he has some possible solutions up his sleeves or even has tested or will test different defensive pairings in training or something. Who knows. So don’t worry too much.

    Only Flamini has accumulated 4 yellow cards. Others have 2 or less. He’s playing a vital role in our team and has to be careful.

  51. “Nacho
    your missing the point ! no one is racist , i’m talking about communication between the likes of jeremie , song even flamini ,they all seemed happy sitting in the wings waiting for opportunities , but because we are in the UK and arsenal produce some English youth !,they are always the 1st to leave …Maybe lower ranked teams are racist ?!
    But i think most teams just think he is of arsenal stock and a brit so purchase him now ! Arsene makes a financial windfall , and we lose our English youth .”

    If I understood you correctly, in that case we would be making a profit from other clubs’ idiocy (ie: their desperate need to find english talent instead of simply ignoring the nationality). 😛 It’s great!

    I agree with you when you say a 19 year old defender has not developed totally, but maybe the youth coaches or Arsène can see his potential and its limits, and decided that they had better options and he wouldn’t make it if he came back to fight for his place. You can’t keep all the 19 year olds that may come eventually good, so you have to judge and compare teir potential, development, attitude, etc. and discard some of them, ion a way that is convenient for both parties.

  52. Ethan

    errr yes ,Vela is CURRENTLY playing for Osasuna…
    Club Atlético Osasuna is a ‘Spanish’ Primera División football club based in Pamplona in Navarra.

    It is reported he has returned to Arsenal therefore he is not in Spain. You remember Arsenal? Sort of big green belt area in Islington where lots of people go…in London, capitol of England.

    He has to be in Spain to get the passport. History does not count; you cannot apply for a Spanish passport whilst living in England unless you are a Spaniard. Residency is the key which is why Baptista joined Real in the first place from Sevilla and did not come to Arsenal until his loan spell.

    YW

  53. yogi

    He has to be in Spain to get the passport. History does not count; you cannot apply for a Spanish passport whilst living in England unless you are a
    Spaniard.

    well i sure hope he is in Spain, Vs Mallorca.as if it ain’t him coming on in the 64th minute to set up a sublime goal on a plate for viana
    it must be a pretty good body double ! 🙂

    Osasuna vs Mallorca 2nd jan.2008

    You read the bile arseblog has fed you . I didnt !
    I never knew he claimed he was in the uk already
    If you read what i said CORRECTLY , i said he was eligable to apply in JAN 08 .. not here already !

    If you read the sky sports news, you would realize they are only saying he is eligible for a passport
    as he has worked the required time to apply .
    Hence if the paperwork was pushed through .
    which usually takes under a month to apply for a passport , he could then come to the UK ! and work as a Spanish cit. within this transfer window ,
    and yes rather im familiar with my place of birth ..
    but thanks for reminding me 🙂

    i had forgotten the part about a lot of people ! Who go … thou !!! 🙂

    I never said he was in london ?!
    But he soon could be !

    And why not if arsene recalls hoyte , why wouldnt he do the same to vela ?!

    WHAT SAY YOU ?

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