Derby Days – Tottenham Carling Cup 1st Leg Preview

Tottenham return to The Emirates this evening in the first leg of the Carling Cup semi final. Much like European ties, I prefer the first leg to be away from home but that said I am not too convinced that is a crucial advantage.

The next sentence is one that I was not sure I would be saying again this season but it seems to be true. Robin van Persie is fit to play tonight. It is tempered with the knowledge that his place comes at the expense of Eduardo, without doubt the most in – form striker at the club. Partnering Bendtner though is going to be good for the Dutchman, a combination that will hopefully produce chances and goals.

In defence, Arsene has confirmed that Djourou and Senderos will play in the centre together, presumably giving him a final chance to decide who is going to partner Gallas in the first instance at least. The limitations and strengths of Senderos are well documented; not so with Djourou. His spell at Birmingham was inconclusive although a positive influence, one hopes, on his career. Whether it was enough to provide him with a springboard into the first team for the next six weeks cannot be gauged on one evening. Unless he is a supremely confident individual, and all of them ought to be given that they are chosen for Arsenal’s first team – as sure a sign as any of their ability – I would expect a nervous start from the player. It is how quickly he recovers from that which will be the indicator to look for.

Ordinarily in midfield, the expectation would be for Diarra and Denilson to provide the central pairing. These are not normal times though for the Frenchman. Diarra it seems is on his way out, most media outlets reporting that he has been dropped for tonight’s game due to poor attitude. Arsene seemed to back this up,

If he continues to fight, he will play

But that could have been spliced together from fifteen different conversations as the kidnappers used to in Starsky and Hutch. My guess is that contrary to media reports, he will play tonight at some point albeit from the bench as popular opinion seems to be that Gilberto will start. Diarra is alleging that ‘promises were broken’ from when he signed. It may be the case that he was told he would play but to demand a move now shows a lack of character that Arsenal are well served without. Interestingly, Lyon have said that whilst they would be interested in his services, he is more likely to stay in England. It begs the question as to whether or not his career will be well served by remaining here. The teams that are reportedly keen on signing him cannot give him any guarantee of European football, the absence of which is likely to stunt his burgeoning international career. With all due respect to Newcastle, Wigan, Tottenham, Manchester City and Portsmouth, I would have thought that a move to the Stade Gerland and regular Champions League football, along with a higher profile in the French media, would have been in his better long term interest but like many before and who will follow, money talks louder.

Gilberto it seems will be the preferred partner in the midst of this individual and self-inflicted turmoil. That ought to free Denilson to be creative, knowing that his partner is defensively minded, although that is no different from Diarra’s presence. It will mean though that there is a lack of drive in the centre, both Frenchmen that have played there are noticeably busy players whilst Gilberto is the opposite, quietly going about his work. My only concern is that the lack of match fitness he has is tangible and the older players seem to suffer more than the whippersnappers. On the right, I would like to see Walcott for the full back positions for Tottenham are not the strongest. That will depend on his fitness levels. If he is not ready to start, this could be the position for Diarra.

The bench, I think, will see some experience added to it with possibly Rosicky and Eduardo there to add attacking force if required to salvage an adverse situation

The team I expect to see is

Fabianski; Hoyte (J), Djourou, Senderos, Traore; Walcott (Diarra), Denilson, Gilberto, Diaby; van Persie, Bendtner

With a bench of

Mannone, Hoyte (G), Rosicky, Diarra, Eduardo

Fabianski has apparently been talking to Almunia,

He told me that if you save a penalty against Tottenham then you are the biggest man in the world

Personally, I would rather that we did not concede a penalty in the first place but that is my quaint and old-fashioned view of football. I suspect he is going to have a reasonably busy evening although it will be interesting to see how Ramos approaches this game, defensively or going for it. Berbatov and Keane are a lively pair and capable of scoring goals yet Tottenham willingly concede something that van Persie and Bendtner should be able to exploit.

The key tonight is not to lose and ideally not to concede, forcing Tottenham to chase the game at White Hart Lane. A two goal win would be nice but Arsene is following a risky path with reliance upon a youthful set up. That has paid dividends so far over the past two seasons; a continuation tonight would not go amiss.

Finally, just to let you know that the competition to win a copy of the Arsenal Opus has been extended from its original closing date to a new deadline of 18th January 2008. The photography competition asks you to submit a photograph that to you best sums up what it means to be an Arsenal supporter. Weekly winners will be picked, the prize being a pair of VIP tickets to an Arsenal game. The overall winner will be inserted into an Arsenal Fan’s Opus whilst the runners-up are to be included in a montage page in the book.

Enter here. Good luck to you all.

As they say in the film industry, that’s a wrap. Enjoy the game wherever you are watching it. ‘til Tomorrow.

75 thoughts on “Derby Days – Tottenham Carling Cup 1st Leg Preview

  1. is the boss not being a bit picky with diarra after all he played viera week in week out and he and his agents spent summer after summer bleeding stories to the media and lookiong for a move but he still played as did overmars and petit so why is diarra going to suffer when for the good of the team he should be playing as he is more mobile and playing better than gilberto and would it not be in diarra’s interest to perform in order to get in the team or show himself off to other clubs

  2. Not sure if RvP will start YW. My guess is that he will be on the bench. Bendtner and Eduardo make a good team – so why change?

  3. Excellent preview Yogi, I find this Diarra situation very concerning. We obviously have a very promising young player albeit not the finished article wanting away with moans of broken promises when clearly he should be showing Arsene why he could be in the first team.
    We dont normally hear of these situations as Arsene normally has the expertise to handle player’s with these frustrations but it does look as if the player has ticked Arsene off and if he does not start tonight it does not look good for Diarra.
    But as Yogi rightly says where does he go? if it cant be to a top four club its going to be a backward step as CL football is the bare minimum when wanting a regular international place.
    I just hope he stays as we cant afford to lose a player with his ability even if it is only to the end of the season.

  4. Surely RVP will be on the bench, if wenger was to place sum of the “more experienced” players into the team I doubt it would be in the front line.

  5. gilberto , denilson diaby were pathetic in the fa match. one thing iwant to see is diaby play in the centere so my teams are

    Fabiansi
    Hoye (j)-dojouro-senderos-traore
    wallcot-diarra-diaby-gibbs
    eduardo-bednter

    with a bench of V. persi, denilson, randall, hoyte (g)

  6. I am a bit gutted with Diarra, but whilst he is promising, he is not that great so lets get rid before his poor attitude and miserable personality rubs off on anyone else in the squad.

    Send him to Lyon though, not Spurs.

    and with that in mind, please sign up Flamini, as Gilberto will probably be off in the Summer and if Flamini goes too, suddenly we are short in that area.

    As for tomight, I think it will be tight and much will depend on which Spurs turn up. need to keep a clean sheet though as we will always get an away goal with their defence. Not happy with Diaby again playing LM. it worked for a couple of games but as soon as the whole world then discovered he had the left foot of an elephant his contribution was nullified. would rather play Lansbury or Randall and have Diaby on the bench to come on CM.

  7. Gibbs played in the reserves game on monday and so will definitely not play. The three left out of the reserves deliberately were Big Gav, Randall and Merida. So assuming Merida is not on the plane to Spain today the bench would probably be Mannone, those three and vanP or Eduardo.

    Would far prefer Diarra to Gilberto who gets caught in possession too often now

  8. Lets wait and see the squad for tonight and see if Diarra is in it – that might give us more of a clue..

    The only place i have seen it mentioned that Diarra wont play tonight is The Irish Times – and with all due respect, what do they know….

  9. veteran RE DIARRA

    But as Yogi rightly says where does he go? if it cant be to a top four club its going to be a backward step as CL football is the bare minimum when wanting a regular international place.

    The manc’s
    if you are not aware already taksin will run this football club , like he ran this country ..
    Unlike romanov, taksin whats to be involved in every desision, its the asain way..
    Soon you’ll be saying top 5 . or he will be in the new top 4 ! No one knows this guy like i do ! and when he enters a race he will win by any means necessary .
    He wants to win , and i totally hate the man !
    But one thing i do know is if diarra moves there
    he will play, and he will get success .Because taksin will buy success!,and from a political basis
    he has to succeed . But the manc’s are easily playing better than liverpool this year ,so in a nut shell diarra has options !

    Im not confident about the game tonight
    i really hope im proved wrong !!!

    i pray i am !

  10. Spurs midfielder Jermaine Jenas on getting revenge for last year’s defeat:

    “I have sore memories and we want to have the opposite feeling this time around.

    “We must be positive, this tie is the other way around and it might help us that we can bring them back to the Lane for the return game unlike last year.

    “I am very confident that we can score goals whenever and wherever we play.”

  11. I have tried to avoid commenting about diarra in the last week because I am worried that its all media talk. I have not seen enough quotes to criticise Diarra yet. But tonight will tell us everything we need to know.

    If Gilberto comes into midfield and plays with Denilson then I am fearing the worst.

  12. its a pity Diarra is leaving which i think he is, all his talk has put me off him and its really irritating esp afterhehas come in to games and absolutely bossed them. i would have preffered to see him play tonight but he is NOT so lets get over it shall we???

    we have to have an attacking impetus and if we have Gilberto as our defensive midfielder we need an attacking partner for him and Denii aint that,he still has alot of defensiveness in him and with Tottenham coming hard on us we need to be attacking too so we fend them off,if we attack them they have to defend but if we are too defensive(Gilberto) we invite attacks and i think thats the kind of way Gilberto plays as compared to Flamster and Diarra,they are in ur face CM’s and dont give teams time but Gilberto does.

    counting Diarra out completely my team would be

    Fabianski
    J.Hoyte Djourou Senderos Traore
    Denilson Gilberto Diaby Walcott
    Bendtner Eduardo

    Subs; Mannone, G.Hoyte, Lansbury, Rosicky, V.Persie

    cant belive um actually going to say this but i think we going to miss Eboue,becoz inthe above line-up i wouldnt mind him in place of Denilson

  13. Despite the attitude concerns about Diarra there is no doubt that right now Diarra is better than Gilberto in terms of movment and passing. Gilberto seems too sluggish and gives away ball quite easily. Even Eboue is worse. I don’t understand why Arsene doesn’t let Diarra have a chance to start up instead of that defender-turned-midfielder Eboue.

  14. Why is everyone saying that Diarra is NOT playing tonight?

    The squad has not been officially announced yet, so lets wait and see….

    It wouldnt be the first time the press are wrong.

    Unless any of you know Arsene personally and he has told you? 😉

  15. OK – now i believe you – squad announced –

    Arsenal squad to face Tottenham:

    2 Abou DIABY
    3 Bacary SAGNA
    6 Philippe SENDEROS
    9 EDUARDO
    11 Robin VAN PERSIE
    15 DENILSON
    19 GILBERTO
    20 Johan DJOUROU
    21 Lukasz FABIANSKI (GK)
    26 Nicklas BENDTNER
    30 Armand TRAORE
    31 Justin HOYTE
    32 Theo WALCOTT
    36 Mark RANDALL
    40 Vito MANNONE (GK)
    41 Gavin HOYTE

    No Diarra to be seen….

    Shame…..

  16. yep that absolutely seals it, Diarra is no longer an Arsenal player. I would like to say it was nice having him here and good luck but he only played a few games and the rest of time he moaned. so I just hope we get a good deal.

    I 100% agree with Casicky’s post above.

    Interesting to see Sagna in the squad. I dont think he will play but you never know. maybe he was just brought in last minute to replace Diarra in the squad to make up numbers but wont play.

  17. Diarra: Sad but true. I have a feeling AW’s not going to sell him but loan him out to Newcastle* (or Portsmouth, Man City or Birmingham) for the rest of the season. His hunger for a regular start must be so high that he’ll forgo the chance for CL footer just to play???? Who’s advising this kid??? I actually hope this is what AW does and does not just sell him outright. Such impatience Lassana, u might live to regret it….

    * there’s really no guarantee he’d get to play here either

  18. Diarra is a disgrace

    As good as he is, I felt Wenger gave him as much games as possible at this time, with the likelyhood of many more games to come in big competitions due to injury, rotation and the ACN.

    All he had to do was sit tight and wait for his chance. Philippe O’Claire from France Football (well respected journo) even said Diarra was ‘stupid’ for having the attitude that he had.

    I’m pretty sure Wenger rates him but was sorely pissed off with him after the comemnts that he made, hence the situation now.

    Like u guys have been saying, its a backward step for him to leave Arsenal – no one has left this club and gone onto greater things – it is the Arsenal curse

  19. Hi All

    He is impatient and we move on. There were better players that had worn the shirt he is not one of them. Too bad. Next please.

    Up The Arse!!!!

  20. Diarra is obviously leaving…thats just so stupid of him, looking at players like flamini, rvp adebayor and co who waited patiently for their time. I think he is off to Lyon. Does anyone know who his competetion for places would be there ? Is he likely to get more games ? 6 mill would be a good deal, thats 4 mill profit in less than 6 months. Lets hope wenger usews that money to find a young prodigy.

  21. I pray that Arsene will play Clichy instead of Traore. so far he’s been lightweight and still far away from the first team. I don’t think he’s capable of containing Lennon.

    Arsene will be making a mistake entrusting our CB positions to Senderos and Djourou against possibly, Berbatov and Keane.They may struggle to contain the trickery of the two, especially Berbatov. He should rather partner Gallas and Djourou for the positions.

    We should take this cup seriously now as we’re still far away from winning any silverware for the season.

  22. a loan deal would be good but I dont see it because if he was still on good terms with Arsene then he would still play tonight even if a loan deal happened before the weekend. the fact he was pulled out the squad suggests to me that either we dont want to injure him or that wenger is punishing him and is actually quite annoyed with him.
    I mean wenger still used Lehmann at Burnley even though potentially he might have left a few days later. thats why I think wenger is not happy with his attitude.

    I just hope we can use him as a make weight for another player. a defender or a winger would be good.

  23. a loan deal would be good but I dont see it because if he was still on good terms with Arsene then he would still play tonight even if a loan deal happened before the weekend. the fact he was pulled out the squad suggests to me that either we dont want to injure him or that wenger is punishing him and is actually quite annoyed with him.
    I mean wenger still used Lehmann at Burnley even though potentially he might have left a few days later. thats why I think wenger is not happy with his attitude.

    I just hope we can use him as a make weight for another player. a defender or a winger would be good.

  24. Lets not worry about the Spuds tonight – we have enough in the team to cause them problems, their defence is weak.

    Djorou and Senderos need to be given a chance – remember their performances together in the world cup? 🙂

    I also agree with Casicky, we need some impetus going forward, so IMO it would be worth the gamble to put Diaby in the middle with Gilberto, and then play Walcott on the left, and Denilson on the right.

  25. So now its not only English players who moan chasing first team place?

    We can lose Diarra and we’ll be fine ‘cos he’s not been great playing for us only showing signs of potential. Diaby too has gone backwards; tends to dribble away any pass he gets until he gets into a coup de sac. His tackles are also not ‘Vierish’ so I don’t think we can get Viera out of him. The person closer to Vierra was Muamba which we let go. However, I think we’re not getting the best out of Diaby ‘cos he’s playing out of position. Unless, he plays in his natural position, we can’t judge him. Unfortunately, we have a lot of players in that position and Arsene may as well allow him to leave too.

    Players to play in the Carling Cup are out with the absence of Clichy. Possibly, playing Traore but Traore has not been impressive with all the matches he’s played dating back to last season and I’m afraid he’ll be handy for Lennon.

    Again, I’m happy Gilberto will be playing with Senderos in as he will provide defensive cover.

  26. Well that was obvious . we all knew diarra was going .. not sure why your all so shocked .. It wasnt like his exclusion during the FA cup didnt have arrows all over it .. I do like G4E’s suggestion of keeping diarra and losing eboue .. on the wing .. Neither are natural
    right wingers so if you judged them on class diarra would win .. Its a shame we screwed him about because it looks like now we will get another 19 year old who will need 6-12 months of bringing up to speed !
    Well he only had 8 starts so we didnt really miss him anyhow .. But i think with the shadow over flamini, arsene should of really tried harder to keep him happy .

  27. I dont think Arsene did too much wrong Ethan, the problem is with Diarra’s attitude.

    You cannot sign for a team and expect to walk into the team, especially when the incumbent guy in the position (Flamini) has arguably been our player of the season.

    Diarra should of behaved like a professional and bided his time, as he would inevitably get a good run in the team before the season is out.

    It will be a shame to lose him, but not catastrophic.

  28. With diarra …
    Even go as far as drop flamini until he signs !
    Let diarra take the stage he desired ! and diarra would have been happy ..
    call it blackmail!, i call it .. well… blackmail 🙂
    until flamini signs !!!

    This is almost identical to the arsene signature last season that me and yogi debated so often ..

    IF your not committed don’t play ! ( or leave)
    It is a basic arsene principle , Either your commited or your not !
    ( and if your not you dont play eg. FA CUP!)
    if your not committed the amount of bad media you attract ,distracts everyone at the club ..

    Flamini should sign now ! or be benched until he does so !
    Why ? because arsene manufactures talent,
    (he wont buy a ready made flamini 2 )
    and part of that process happens every week when they are on the pitch becoming great .. If he doesn’t show commitment, put on denilson and get him up to speed before the games become crucial come the end of the season .

    Like a lot of you have said , who knew flamini would make this greater step in such a short time?.
    Well denilson could do the same given the opportunity . he definitely has the breeding to be great !
    But people like diarra and flamini should not still
    be held in high esteem if they don’t put the club before themselves !
    At least diarra is sorting this out now ! whilst arsene can still dip into the market ..

    Is anyone up to speed on flamini’s contract ???

    Because i can see this hole appearing in midfield
    gilberto will move on and diarra’s gone .. if flamini
    goes also the team will be on red alert with only denilson as a DM .

  29. matt

    no one really knows the promises arsene made to him contractual or not . but by him leaving we can conclude arsene didnt hold good on his promises !
    And it is a real blow because the only other question mark is over flamini’s head ! it will be a shame to loose both of them .. and even harder to replace them .

  30. Not usually this worried about playing the Sp#rs but tonight is different. Ramos has made them more organised in their passing and movement and we cant expect our midfield to get any time on the ball tonight.

    Our likely midfield of Denilson, Gilberto, Walcott and Diaby could do with more creative impetus as our strikers especially Eduardo depend a lot on service from the midfield. Having Rosicky on the bench would have made a serious difference but alas. Diaby on the left wing is an underutilised player but Le Gaffer has shown no indication that he will play him in the middle and Denilson on the wing.
    Traore at left back is going to be sorely tested by Lennon and having Sagna on the bench who can also play left back is a relief. Both the defences look shaky tonight but the Sp#rs must be glad to have Ledley King back. He improves their defence remarkably. lets hope for the best. Go gunners.

  31. I cant quite grasp your logic ethan

    in one post you say we should be fielding a strong team as we are in a semi-final, and in the next you think we should bench Flamini who is a strong candidate for Arsenal player of the Season because he hasn’t signed a new contract.

    I can’t see what Flamini has done wrong, he obviously did not want to fully commit in the summer as he was not getting a game, then when the subject was broached in December he was Quoted as saying I havent time to sit down with Arsenal to discuss the new contract yet as it was a busy month and he was COMMITED to the Arsenal Cause. He is not even holding the Club to ransom or speaking out in public. I am worried but I am sure he will sign up and stay, and if he doesn’t I am sure that Wenger has something up his sleeve.

  32. lets not forget that Diarra was part of the squad that lost to Borough away and put in a mediocre performance at Newcastle
    he had one good game for us, away at Blackburn in the CC
    the bottomline for Diarra is that Flamini is a direct competitor for the Frech national squad’s holding role and not playing and seeing Flam doing well would make that position slowly move away from him
    if his attitude in training falls below par, then there are no two ways to it
    we cant use a whingeing French bloke winding 1/2 of our squad up
    Gallas as a captain would also have spoken to him and if thats not enough, well tough luck
    as far as Traore is concerned, there are reservations regarding his ability to play gainst Lennon
    whilst I accept that he might suffer more than Clichy, he has also shown great skills against Newcastle and will go forward himself
    lets see how our midfield holds together tonight
    its not as if our performance in that area 2 weeks ago was outstanding .. on the contrary, Spurs were better in midflield than we were, despite us fielding our strongest squad
    we shall see ..
    hope that the Djourou/Senderos/Gilberto axe will provide enough cover

  33. The fact that he has been dropped speaks volumes about the kids attitude. Wenger would never drop someone who showed some commitment in training.
    I think Diarra turned up thinking he’d be a shoe in due to Gilberto’s age and the fact that no one rated Flamini for that role. Perhaps now that he’s had time to look at playing staff he’s realized that he is just not up to it. So tally ho.
    I hope we get 6mil for him off city and he heads off there to play for UEFA cup spots year in year out.
    Looking forward to beating the spurs again tonight. Eddy to get a hatrick!

  34. Kind of off the subject & you’ve all probably seen this but if not this link made me spit my cup of tea across my desk while you could hear a pin drop in the office…
    It’s Hitler as a Spurs fan ranting on to his men about why Spurs are always losing to Arsenal. V funny.

    I’m quite new to this blog so i don’t know if posting links is the done thing….

  35. It’s a real shame, because Diarra is going to be top class. But clearly it’s for the best. Arsene even let Lehmann play despite his media comments because of his attitude in training. This implies that Diarra is making no effort whatsoever in training, and we don’t need a player with that attitude.

    That said, I don’t want to see him playing against us because I know he will be very very good in a year or two. I’d like to sell him abroad for £5m more than I’d like to sell him domestically for £7m. Especially since if he goes to Spurs he’ll essentially be getting up to Premier League pace in order for Man Utd to buy him a couple of years later as they do with all good Spurs players.

    Please note also that if Diarra is off, Diaby will follow in summer unless he gets a proper chance. Which means Diaby and Denilson should play centrally tonight. But they won’t, because Wenger is annoying, and we’ll lose Diaby in summer.

    Also, what happened to Wenger saying that he WOULDN’T bring in the first-teamers this year because it nearly messed up the cup run last season?

    Sagna may play, to permit Walcott to play wide right and not have to worry defensively.

    Fabianski
    Sagna
    Djourou
    Senderos
    Traore
    Walcott
    Denilson
    Gilberto
    Diaby
    Bendtner
    Van Persie

    J Hoyte
    G Hoyte
    Randall
    Bendtner
    Mannone

  36. Could it be just that Arsene’s sending the kid to jail for a few games to teach him what it takes to play at Arsenal?

    To be fair though, Diarra has shut up recently. Is it just that the media keeps recycling the old quotes, coupled with Arsene’s omissions of him from the squad?

    If chances have been given, and with so many good and bad examples of Gilberto, Flamini, Clichy, Mad Jens (from whom Diarra should see the consequences of mouthing off) he still can’t learn, just let it go – but for the right price, and not to some rivals close to home.

  37. Don’t see RvP starting straightaway. Just back from injury, I guess Arsene would just sub Bendtner/Eduardo with RvP later.

  38. I agree about letting him go to Lyon for less rather than a premier club for more. we also need Ben Arfa from Lyon so even more reason to deal with them.
    I think wenger knows how good diarra is – he isn’t stupid. he wont want diarra going to our rivals as much as we dont.
    Failing that I would force him to stay at the club at least til the end of season and try and get him to see sense. he is under contract after all. once the Euros are out of the way he wont be quite so desperate for first team games every week.
    I trust wenger with this one. when it comes to transfers wenger is king.

    tactics on the other hand are sometimes his achilles heel. Diaby has to come central tonight. if he doesn’t I can see us getting a tonking.

  39. pat

    I said only cesc – gallas – dudu IN
    not the whole 1st team .
    I still believe in arsene’s general principal
    about giving the youth a go ..
    just not in a SEMI – or final …
    you need to tweak it !
    make sure some key areas function .

    What i mean is RE :flamini

    Why play him for the whole world to see for only at the end of the season to pay us back by walking out of the club . If he has doubts about signing then allow arsene to get a descent fee for him ! NOW and replace him ,or just sign the god amm thing !

    He wouldn’t be the 1st manager to stand tough on this issue . Yes bench him until he signs , give diaby a much needed run or denilson !
    the reason the 2 above players need work is due to him .. flamini could set our midfield back a year if he dont sign !

    Pat you know how arsenal works , remember the phrase of :we dont buy superstars we make them .
    Well if flamini is taking someone else’s spot for this season , then leaves on a FREE !@ just how far will we be left behind the 8 ball in development of denilson or diaby . Or who ever …
    Also if flamini does leave ill be pissed as we didnt give diarra the chances due to flamini !!!!

  40. And player of the season is Cesc! 100% .
    hleb should be nominated and dudu also !
    Maybe even almunia !!!

  41. Mate we will agree to disagree

    All I see is one guy in Flamini acting as a model professional stating his desire and commitment to the Arsenal

    Whilst one is crying and throwing his toys out the pram cause he is not as good as he says he is.

    Besides, even if Flamini hadn’t been as good as he was, Gilberto stood infront of Diarra so he would still have faced the same predicament.

    Also we cant get a fee for Flamini anyway, he is within 6 months of it running out, and even if we had of sold him in the summer, given his performances up and to that time, we would only have got a million or 2 anyway

    As for the Semi, dont get me wrong I would love to win it, but our club ethos on that competition is to play a mix of kids and seniors regardless of how far we get into to, and this is the perfect area to blood and develop the fringe players (Ala Diarra), so I say keep to it and play them. If we get to the Final then great, but if we dont I am not going to get upset about it, I will be more in admiration for how far they got.

    I agree with Louisa, it could well be that Arsene has kicked his arse, dropped him for his attitude and the moaning little git has seen sense.

  42. The fact that Diarra has been omitted from the last two squads doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s going to be sold, but it certainly indicates that all is not well between him & Arsene Wenger.

    There is a possibility that Arsene is simply punishing the player by sending him on “gardening leave” for an indefinite period, to allow Diarra to reflect upon his attitude/behaviour & the situation generally.

    However, if, in due course, Diarra does end up being sold, whilst it would be unfortunate, I wouldn’t worry unduly.

    Arsene will simply instruct his global network of scouts – if he hasn’t already done so – to find him some alternative quality replacements. This would also be the case if Gilberto ends up going in the summer too.

    Arsenal will survive the potential loss of Diarra, Gilberto and any other player that thinks the grass is greener on the other side. We’ve done so before & we’ll do so again.

  43. Of course has anyone thought Diarra may be injured or unwell?

    I don’t suppose he is but you never know.

    He has impressed me as a player but not enough to dislodge Flamini. In fact one of our best halves this season was the 1st at Villa Park. Flamini & Diarra played well together allowing Hleb, in particular much more freedom.

    I hope he stays but if he is determined to go he appears to be very silly. No one will be guaranteed a starting place, even DB10 wasn’t.

    Have to say I just don’t fancy it tonight, no matter what team we put out. Just might be their turn for once. Sorry about that but you know I am always wrong.

  44. When did Diarra do all this moaning that people are talking about? All i remember is one interview in France Football or something. I know that other media outlets etc recycled it endlessly but correct me if i’m wrong.

  45. Jimmy
    thats correct he didn’t really complain a whole lot . and he definitely hasn’t thrown his toys out the pram .. just is dissatisfied with lack of chances , and rightly so .. his chelsea career pretty much sucked , who can blame him .

    And arsene might be pricing him out of his move
    at 6 m .. but i dont think newcastle will be bidding for him as SAM just got the sack !
    So he might stay put. …
    But dropping him pretty much spells the writing is on the wall, if you ask me ..

  46. Thankfully despite their best efforts Tottenham fail to beat us once again – they came mighty close though!

    I just have to give a word of praise to Justin Hoyte who was excellent in the second half when he moved to centre back. I wonder if we’ll see him there more often this season?

  47. Just a thought, which is unlikely to happen but a thought anyway … I have heard that Diarra wants to stay in the EPL but as Lyon are interested in him what about Diarra plus cash for Benzema or Ben Arfa?

    Lyon are interested in him. If Diarra doesn’t take it, tough. He can’t have it all his way.

    Personally, I would prefer to keep Diarra as I think we have a strong attacking team. He is the quality we need in central midfield to support (and I think before too long instead of) Flamini.

  48. Goal.com quotes some German press that Mad Jens is officially off to Dortmund. Click on my name to see the article. Not sure if it’s the real deal. But “Auf Wiedersehen und dankt!”

  49. Pass
    Problem is we were at home !
    the next game if we continue with our midfield
    on a break , at their home, will almost certainly not be so pleasant . We needed some sort of goal buffer .even 1 goal + and i would be more confident .
    (lets hope they sell berba this week 🙂 )

    you know how it is in the 1st leg – 2nd leg sort of things. pressures definitely will be on us next time ..
    Walcott spilled the ball a bit in the 1st half .
    but he definitely killed them for pace every time he got on the ball . And his goal was very welcome !! if you consider eboue and toure are gone it wasnt far off a team the we will see over the next few weeks anyhow. least we are blessed with birmingham and fulham over the next few weeks to get settled in . But we failed to dominate the midfield , just not sure why we didnt have rosicky or cesc on the bench..

  50. Ethan, I was wondering and just posting the same thoughts on another blog:

    I think we still have a good chance to get a win at WHL to go through. In the next 2 weeks we have 3 games:
    Birmingham home
    Fulham away
    (in which maybe only 2-3 CC players will be involved anyway)
    CC 2nd leg on 22 Jan

    They have to play 1 more game bcos of FAC replay. Within 11 days they’ll have:
    Chelsea away
    Reading away in FAC
    Sunderland home
    us home in CC
    – largely with 1st team that is. They must get tired at some point.

    On pressure, I don’t agree, it should be on them in the 2nd leg. It’s their home, they’re 1st-teamers facing our kids/fringe players. They want this cup more desperately – or achievement in any form to put their season back on track – while Arsene’s always set it aside for kids.

    I also think the players will learn from this game. If they can get back to their pre-Spurs CC form, they should have a good chance at WHL. Do you think so, or is it my usual optimism talking again?

    My only major worry is injuries now: RvP, Djourou and Senderos out. Though Theo also came off towards the end, Arsene didn’t mention him in the injury list in the post-match interview. Especially hope the defenders come back real soon.

  51. Losing Djourou & Senderos is definitely an issue but the timing of it might not be too bad. It forces the replacements to prepare to play immediately & possibly for the next 6 weeks and forces AW to consider buying before the close of the transfer window. Not ideal but fairly manageable.

    Not sad about Fat Sam. Always thought him egotistical, a plain user, and overated as a tactician.

  52. Louisa

    I agree with you on Spuds being one game too far for them and especially meeting us at the end of the 4 games in 11 days stretch with a limited squad.

    As I have said in my previous comments, we are too thin on the CB position both in terms of quality and quantity. But that said I am glad to see Hoyte coming on well to perform well in an unfamiliar position. May be we can groom him there. He is definately faster than Sendy and more about him when defending. He got better as the games went on. All good signs.

    It is Gilberto that I am truly worried. Part of teh reason why the CBs did not do well it is because Bertie has not been doing his job well and put a lot of pressure on the back four. Time to go.

    About Fat Sam, he will find another job easily and he is richer now than before with his ego and next paycheck some what diminshed but he will survive and survive well.

    We will go to WHL and win, I am confident and all the more sweeter.

    Up The Arse!!!!

  53. You people are really funny. Right? When an English player moans we quickly support that he should be sold. When a foreign do-nothing player moans he should be kept. A la Diarra, Diaby, Gilberto etc

    What has Diarra proved since he joined us? He hasn’t shown that he’s a first team player yet but he wants to be pushed into the team ahead of Flamini when he’s not playing at the same level?

    I mean you people should give me a break; Diarra at the moment don’t deserve to play in the first team so is Muamba who was sold because he doesn’t deserve to play in the first team.

    Are you prople crying for Diarra because he’s a foreigner as usual? Both Senderos and Djourou are injured and you sold Matthew Connolly? Are you sure Matthew would have been sold if he were French? How long did Alliadere tried even though non-performing before he was sold?

    Arsenal is not helping English players to develop why? Now there is a chance that Gibbs can break through at LW but Arsene intends to go for a Bulgarian to block him.

  54. Louisa good point on the tiredness issue, and I hope you’re right.

    About yesterdays game, well. I dont really want to discuss it as ive done it to death already on other boards. The injuries we picked up worry me, but I dont think we’ll see Senderos in the return leg anyway, since hes basically a first teamer for the next few weeks. I think Hoyte would replace him at CB, where he’s looked decent. Same with Van Persie, assuming his injury is actually minor.

    BTW, it seems everyone’s forgotten that this was the score after 90 minutes last year as well, at the Grove. we won 3-1 in extratime. So its not like its a step down. The only difference is, if it were to go to extra time in the next leg, its in WHL. Which is fine, I dont see that as much of a disadvantage. If, as Louisa says, they will be tired, then going into extra time benefits us more.

  55. And George, you’re talking out of your arsecheeks. If Arsene Wenger thought Gibbs was good enough/ready, he’d play him more. Arsene Wenger is not a racist. People always talk up Gibbs, but unless you watch reserve games, then all people have seen of him was a bit in preseason, and maybe glimpses last season.

    Arsene knows best. Im tired of people questioning his every decision. Sure he gets it wrong sometimes, but who doesnt? And he does it very rarely indeed. So people should stop trying to second guess his every decision.

  56. Booooooooring. It’s NOT about nationality, when wil people undertand it? It’s about quality. We have Walcott and Hoyte in the team and it’s not because of them being French. Nor is it because of them being English. Just because Arsène thinks they’re good enough. He didn’t think the same way for Connoly (and he had his good reasons, they’ve been watching him play for 12 years), and so he was let go. Simple.

    Just forget about the country flags and think about football.

  57. George

    AW is not racist. Period. He paid a bunch of monies for Jeffers, Theo, Pennant and etc. Keeping Hoyte brothers and persevering with Theo. He let go who he let go is because they are either impatient or not good enough. English or not has nothing to do with it.

    Plse do not get us with your own paradigm which is somewhat colored.

    While last nights performance is nothing to shout about but we drew. That is all deserved and we have more hope in the second leg.

    Up the Arse!!!!

  58. Ethan, I think you have to look at the bigger picture. Our reserves who were not on their best form still managed to get a draw against the Totts first team. It was always going to be tight, but we know they can play better than that and the game is still balanced going into the second leg. The away goal has no bearing unless we are still even after extra time.

  59. louisa

    I think i would prefer to play at home any time.
    (look at our stats at home Vs AWAY !)
    and if you isolate the 1-1 all draw at our home , it means the slate is clean and your dealing with ‘on the night ‘the winner is thru to the next round .

    Then add the fact that arsene isn’t playing ANY of our real creative players eg. hleb – rosicky-cesc- flamini
    who give such great service to our strikers it looks to me going down the final straight that we will (At least on paper) come up short. AWAY isn’t a good scenario EVER!. especially facing spurs under the ramos reign ! And berba on a mission to prove he’s the no.1 striker in the EPL .

    WHL is a hostile crowd and im not sure if our youngsters can cope with that sort of pressure .
    Or should i say i wouldnt want to gamble that they can !

    You really have to isolate who is available on the night , say berba gets injured , or dudu and bendtner is out for us .. the pendulum can swing
    either way ..
    As much as i applaud arsene for his youth rotation
    policy you have to compare apples to apples .
    If they produce a FULL STRENGTH SIDE
    we should match them ! and especially spurs .
    I havnt spoke to my mate yet who is a spurs supporter ! but i tell you i know what im in for !

    We can all dream that last night was a good result
    but really spurs have enhanced their chances by bringing it home to WHL to decide ! And walcotts goal was a blessing but take a good look at it .
    Very lucky off his chest and then bounced onto his head and in ! id like to see him say thats exactly what he planned to do ! .. Neutrals called in LUCK! .
    We had a perfect chance to grab that trophy .
    we were in the box seat .. chelsea are under staffed due to the ANC , and our record against spurs is so one sided , a betting man would of said we had one hand on the trophy already ..

  60. pass
    true i will not right arsenal off , but the reasons i gave above , dont thrill me much ! Heading into the tie. Injuries could have a big bearing on the game and gallas needs to play in my opinion , he is captain and should for that reason DEMAND to play …

  61. pass
    dont get me wrong i think big phil wearing the arm band and johan did a reasonable job. But berba missed some easy chances and one wonders if he will still display the poor form by his standards at home …

    i still rate us 50% – 50% but i would have liked the odds more in our favor with a +2 or 3 goal diff at the end of the 1st leg…

  62. terrible public transport, exhorbitant ticket prices, dire football game .. sums it up for me
    worst AFC performance I have seen in many moons
    at one point, it looked like nobody had a clue what they were doing on the pitch
    Djourou/Senderos/Denilson/Gilberto were dreadful .. i reckon there was a stretch of play when Gilberto passed the ball 10 times in a row to the opposition
    only highlight was RVP’s return with a great pass to Theo at the beginning and Traore’s overall play against Lennon
    a shocker considering the sacrifice some people make to go to the game

  63. Yes BB
    it was packed to the rafters.
    I dont think you got your moneys worth .
    theo’s goal was a lucky break that gave us some hope but , its hard to see any positives . Lousia mentioned that spurs have another fa cup replay, thats all well and good but we have this little competition called the champions league – and they are ‘live by the sword die by the sword ‘home and away games which arsene will
    focus on . And thats my point he doesnt seem to care that we had a perfect chance to claim silverware .
    I know pat etc , likes to treat it as an amusement park ride . and you win some and you loose some but least the kids enjoyed the rides !

    but id rather win ! with a full strength squad and play the youth against Birmingham – fulham.

  64. the ref gave a free kick to us when King fouled sagna, BUT it was inside the penalty box. I mean clearly inside the box. and guess what? Sky did not replay that or talk about it, but it was a clear clear penalty.

    hoyte was better than any of the other defenders last night. maybe this boy has finally come of age? I think he might be able to cover at the back if the swiss boys are both out.

    In the second leg personally I would get rid of Bert (send him to the moon or something) and put Diaby and Denilson in the middle. I see den as being the poor mans Flam NOT the poor mans cesc, as some people say. Diaby is closer to cesc in the positions he wants to take up.
    Then have walcott on wing with Randall or Gibbs on other side. Or even walcott up front, where he should be, and Randall AND Gibbs both playing. These youngsters are better than the playing Diaby out of position I can tell you that. Give them the chance to show everyone. I agree that wenger should not be tempted to use Cesc, Hleb, Ade etc.
    I think senderos is out for a while from a report I read. dont know about JD.
    So my team for second leg would be:
    Fabi
    G Hoyte J Hoyte Djourou Traore
    Randall Denilson Diaby Gibbs
    Walcott Bendtner

    THAT is a balanced team – last nights was not even a team. It uses players in their strongest positions, which for me is so important. If they lose so be it – at least that is proper experience for the young players instead of putting crap dinosaurs out there like Gilberto just embarrasing us.

  65. funnily enough it was probably the lowest attendance at the Emirates .. correct me if I am wrong .. only 53K made it
    I can see that it is a tricky call between first teamers and reserves, but some of the performances were unworthy of any AFC player
    also reg Djourou, one wonders whether sending players on loan really improves them .. to my knowledge, he started his Birmingham career more brightly than he finished it
    Denilson/Gilberto are both so slow that one wonders why AW endeavours to play them 2gether
    our back play in general when we had the ball was crazy .. no other words to put it.. we passed the ball squarely and on the pitch you could feel that the guys were so insecure that they completely froze ..

  66. gaz

    I think traore played well V’s lennon , he kept him at bay pretty well . Sagna worked hard but its hard to look professional when your surrounded by TXXXXX’S and the game was so sloppy ..

    my team for next leg would be

    Fabi
    Sagna Djourou Gallas Traore
    Walcott Denilson Diaby Rosicky
    DUDU Bendtner

    with RVP as a super sub.

    But arsene has already stated he’s happy with the youth arrangement. Add the captain and add rosicky as he hasnt played the minutes id like this season anyhow ..

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