Echoes of 1987

Carling Cup
Semi Final First Leg
Arsenal 1 – 1 Tottenham

0 – 1 Jenas (37)
1 – 1 Walcott (79)

And so the unbeaten run against Tottenham continues; whether or not they have a better chance to end it remains to be seen for they should have been out of sight before Theo Walcott’s late equaliser. Of immediate concern for Arsene is the result of the scans on Robin van Persie, Johan Djourou, Philippe Senderos and Theo Walcott. If you predicted who would have been injured last night, there is a fair chance that one or two would have been on that list.

The opening half an hour of the match was evenly contested; Cerny made a decent save from Bendtner, Fabianksi reciprocated. Malbranque missed a couple of decent chances where he was culpable of lackadaisical finishing. Defensively, Djourou and Senderos played exactly as they were; strangers. The line was pushed high to condense play but as a pair they were not always in tandem and of more concern, neither they or the midfield picked the runners for the ball over the top or to the flanks during this spell. Berbatov exploited this on occasions and particularly sending Keane through to square for Jenas to score.

The introduction of Sagna in the place of the injured Djourou gave the defence a more solid look after the interval; Hoyte gave as good an example as any of why he has a place in the Arsenal squad, versatile enough to be a short term stand-in centre half. However, if the defence perked up, the midfield did not. Gilberto worked hard but the combination of he and Denilson in the middle is to my mind, too ponderous. Neither has the zest or verve about their play, an aspect that makes the passing game work well for the first choice XI. That is not to say that they should be sold or are poor players, simply that they need someone more active beside them to enable them to influence the game more. Ironically, Lassana Diarra would have, I think, thrived in last night’s atmosphere and the match. The only assumption one can make is that his attitude in training has been poor, explaining why he has been dropped rather than played as such other malcontents as Vieira, Cole and Henry.

On the flanks, Diaby and Walcott were exposed by the lack of support inside. The former has yet to quell his tendency to drift inside, the absence of width starving Bendtner of decent service. Eduardo was livelier than van Persie, understandable given the Dutchman’s lack of match practice. His injury appears to be to the thigh rather than the knee, Arsene observing that it may be scar tissue which has been aggravated. It was the Croat who provided the ball through the middle for Walcott to chase onto. Whilst he was fortunate to get the rebound from Lee’s tackle, you have to be there to make your luck in the first place.

The result means that the winner takes it all at White Hart Lane, the loser the fall. Before we get despondent about the performance and that Arsene has indicated he will largely stay with the same squad, I feel this team is better suited to away games, playing on the counter rather than forcing the play. The inexperience showed last night when the tide turned and Tottenham squeezed play. In the away leg, Spurs will have to be more purposeful, leaving gaps to be exploited. That said, I would prefer the introduction of perhaps one or two more regulars to stabilise the team. The problem with that was indicated last season when Hleb picked up an injury in the first leg and spent time on the sidelines. Similarly, it can be detrimental to the youngsters, pointing out that perhaps they are not quite as good as Arsene thought although he may believe the opposite,

Tottenham were sharper than us tonight but we have shown mental resilience and strength and for such a young team that is a positive attitude

At the end of the day, the result means that the tie is still evenly balanced, a draw better than a deficit. Arsenal though have to score; away goals count. Were we to score first, it would a test of Tottenham’s mental strength; echoes of 1987 anyone? Despite the proclamations otherwise, conceding a late equaliser must reinforce the thought that they cannot beat Arsenal at the moment, no matter how well they play or how distinctly average we were.

Of more immediate concern though are the injuries, particularly with Senderos and Djourou being the nominated replacements for Toure; Arsene observed somewhat ruefully,

I cannot tell you how long they will be out, it can be one day, two days, it can be two weeks. It’s difficult to assess tonight. Hoyte, Gilberto, Sagna can play in there, we still have solutions

More will be known today but the worst case scenario I suppose is that Hoyte or Sagna will fill in against Birmingham with the other coming in at right back.

Elsewhere, it is rumoured that Jens has agreed terms with Borussia Dortmund although it seems he has other personal considerations to take into account before finally committing to them.

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.

‘til Tomorrow.

65 thoughts on “Echoes of 1987

  1. If these injuries are for a couple of weeks then Diarra would be very useful. He can fill in at right back if either Hoyte or Sagna go to the heart of the defence, and in the middle if Gilberto is used as cover there.

  2. Agreed with Nacho. Also, I dont really want to see many first teamers…if the defense is shot at that time, Gallas ok, but if theres one person I’d like to see, its Flamini. Gilberto is not providing the defense with any protection, evidenced by the fact that of the 6 games hes started this season, we’ve only won one, and that was against Burnley (apparently). And we all know how good that performance was.

  3. Good perspective YW.

    I cannot see AW risking any of our most important players for the 2nd leg. He more or less said he regretted it last season.

    We were poor as a team last night. The effect of the Burnley game, on a very young team, was plain to see.

    Gilberto is so out of sorts in CM that Denilson was overwhelmed. Gilberto, however is a great pro, kept going, in spite of his lack of confidence, & in the end made a crucial contribution to our goal.

    I think he no longer represents what we want in CM, even when he does regain form. He should be persuaded to play as a CB, where I really do think he still has a future.

    I thought Senderos was ok but Djourou seemed exceptionally nervous. Perhaps he started with the injury. Hoyte was excellent in the 2nd half. He must stay.

    The pressure is on the Spuds. They will be expected to go through now but we know we can do better than that. The Spuds are such a strange team, they could blow us away or we could win comfortably.

    As I posted, last night, I didn’t fancy us in this particular situation but I now feel we still have a real chance. They should have been ‘over the hills’ but didn’t take their chances.

    Credit the lads for sticking with it when it clearly wasn’t going their way.

  4. I read that Senderos was definitely out of the B’Ham game. I think I read it in the Metro so it could be utter cr*p.
    Hoyte or Gilberto?? er, I think Hoyte for his pace and he had a good game there yesterday.

    Fabianski was excellent in goal too. so there are at least two positives from the game… I will not try to count the negatives.

  5. Gilberto is finished unfortunately – plays the game at a different speed, gets caught on the ball, falls over trying to win fouls (unsuccessfully unlike Berbatov). I thought Hoyte was the big plus last night – and Sagna was excellent in H2.

    We should play Gallas and Flamini/Diarra in the next leg, but keep the rest of the B team – hope we keep Diarra, last night was a midfield of strollers lacking bite

  6. How much longer will AW persist with Gilberto? I lost count of his misplaced passes, and he is so slow now. Even with all the injuries Hoyte could be CB and Diably CM instead of on the wing. RVP seems to be another Freddie he really is injury prone, as for Walcott Im beginning to give up hope, its no use sayinf hes young, hes been around for 2 full seasons and is worse now than last year.
    Djouru was hopeless, and I believe Song when he comes back should be our number 3 CB,

  7. Good analysis YW.

    Well I hate to say I told you so but I will nevertheless. INJURIES to our CBs. I am very glad that it is not Gallas that was playing yesterday otherwise our title hopes will be very quickly dented to say the least. Sagna and even Hoyte may be competent but if I am not mistaken at least one of the does not have the stature to be realy good in the air making us more vulnerable to aerial bombarments. I was watching the last few league games and Toure was phenomenal is some of them. I cannot mentally picture Sagna or Hoyte duplicating those defensive headers and tackles. That is why Toure is special for us.

    Now that he is gone for 6 weeks we need some who can perform as well in the air especially.

    We need to buy a competent CB or get one on loan. Call it panic buying or what not. It is needed to keep our title hopes alive.

    Like I say yesterday it was a draw and I am ambivalent. I will be honest , if given a choice between losing and having our players injured especially the CBs , I will chose losing in a jiffy. CC for me is not any where near what we want as compared to winning the title or the CL. Even Borough has won it( with all due respect to Borough)

    Up The Arse!!!!

  8. Flint Gilberto is too slow to play CB, fortunately we have 2 relatively easy games with no Berbatovs in the Birminhham and Fulham teams. Djourus time at Birmingam has unfortunately not improved him an any way.


  9. here’s another positive….

    Spurs’ first string once again failed to beat our second string.

    I think we’re getting so used to expecting to win we’ve forgotten the fun of being the underdogs. Our team had an average age of 22, mostly cause of Gilberto. Imagine the chagrin of berbatov, keane, etc….they could not beat a bunch of kids.

    Spurs losing to Arsenal’s first 11 is acceptable – but what happened last year, and what might happen this year, is pure humiliation.

    Think they won’t get nervous?

    btw, will they even HAVE Berbatov by the time the second leg comes around?

  10. the game proved one thing at least –

    King Kolo is soooo great!!

    oh my, a chasm appears to have opened up at the back now he’s gone

    i do hope Cote’D’Ivoir get knocked ASAP from the ANC

    oh yeah and Fabianski looks like he could be a really top keeper

  11. “Gilberto is not providing the defense with any protection, evidenced by the fact that of the 6 games hes started this season, we’ve only won one, and that was against Burnley (apparently)”

    This is so not true.

    He started against Portsmouth at home, City at Home, Sparta at home… and I’ve only checked the first month, half of which he lost due to the Copa América. We won all those matches.

  12. Lets face it, AW doesnt care about winning the CC, all the same his selection seems weird, if we are going to give younstsrs a chance why not have Randall on the wing, and Hoyte at CB to start? We had Sagna to play RB and why test RVP when hes just recovering a second half appearance against Brom would have been better. Its not worth risking first team plaeys in the CC. In the first half Bebatov tore our whole defensxe to pieces but he was still moody when he didnt get the right pass. They should have won 3-0 so maybe we still have a chance in the second leg.

  13. Gilberto also played CB at WHL. They only scored from a free kick then.

    You do not necessarily have to be quick as a CB. Bobby Moore was one of the best ever & he was slower than my grannie. Gilberto, like Moore is a great reader of the game & is actually not that slow. He is good in the air, which will be useful at Fulham.

    How quickly we like to write off good players because of a lack of form.

  14. I agree that if you are going to give the youngsters a chance to develop then do it. Get Randall and Gibbs into the team. they are both comfortable on the wing, which cannot be said for Diaby and Walcott. Diaby moved back into the middle can become useful rather than a burden that he has become on the wing. Gilberto is past it. Defensive cover at best.
    Move Walcott up front where he might become a danger – he might even become as good as he was at southampton! he has played up front all his life and on the wing he cannot beat a full back to save his life. Merson said last night that Walcott does not take up the right positions, like Ros and Hleb do, to be a good winger – he is a striker playing on the wing.

    If we go with the same team at WHL we will lose and how can that be good for the team? as I say play a balanced young team and then if we lose so be it.

    team for second leg should be

    G Hoyte J Hoyte PS/JD Traore
    Randall Den Diaby Gibbs
    Walcott Bendtner

    bench : Almunia, Gallas, Cesc/Flam, Hleb and Eduardo.

    this is a balanced team. last night it was not.

  15. Nacho – my mistake for not doing my research. I read that this morning somewhere and assumed it was true…if it were, it would definitely be saying something.

  16. The Sun is reporting that Diarra is going to Newcastle for 5.5m but he is holding out for a possible better offer from the Spuds.

    The reliability of the Sun’s news aside, how stupid can Diarra be if it is true?

    I am really worried about the defense during the ACN period. If anything happens to Gallas – we are royally fckd!

  17. Yes I read the same report about Gilberto and I sure they said his last six games. I guess they would include Boro, Newcastle, Seville, Slavia Prague, Burnley and last night.

    If Diarra insists on going to spuds then I would insist he is going nowhere and sell him in the summer. I am assuming his contract is still at least 3 more years.

    Last night I realised that our second string is really that – second best. they are not players who are as good as the first teamers that are just unlucky that they cant get in the team.
    Perhaps with the exceptions of the strikers and diarra (who is leaving).

    Hoyte is nowhere near as good as Sagna at RB
    PS and JD are nowhere near Toure and Gallas and
    Traore is nowhere near Clichy (yet), especially shown at Burnley.
    Walcott and Diaby are not a patch on Ros and Hleb.
    Den is not the next Cesc, though he might be a good back up for Flamini. What I can see is there is no real back up for Cesc in our whole squad, unless Diaby is brought back into the middle (but it seems hell will freeze over before that happens).
    Gilberto is so far behind Flam now its scary.

    Merson was right when he said he expected players like Senderos, Walcott and Denilson to be further in front of where they are now. their progress has been slow this season.

    up front yes I think we have 4 good strikers who on their day any of them can come into the first team and do well.

    I think Fabianski is solid back up to Almunia.

    but generally right across the defence and midfield, the backups are actually some way behind the first team and I can see what Man U fans mean when they say their squad is stronger than ours. I think Man U have a good first team and then about 4 or 5 other players who really are almost as good. But I wouldn’t say they have a bigger squad in numbers its just those next 4 or 5 players are better than our next 4 or 5.

    Any injuries to our midfielders or defenders, especially during the ACN and I feel we could be in trouble.

  18. It’s been mentioned, but I really don’t understand why Diaby is not getting his chances in the middle. I mean, Cesc is impossible to displace, but we have a lineup of guys (Ros, Hleb, Diaby) who like it there. So in these non-Cesc matches, why not play Diaby? Does Arsene envision Denilson as a Cesc like creator, and that position on the second team is Denilson’s to lose? He seems too defensive minded for that, but I guess it could be just that he needs to speed up his decision-making, which is often a function of experience.

  19. i think Hoyte did well at CB last night in the 2nd half, and he has an excellent attitude,unlike Diarra.

    Hoyte would play in goal for us if you asked him too – so he is a valuable squad member.

    Walcott was a poor last night, and it is clear he is a confidence player, so he needs some games to get going.

    I stick by my previous posts about Diaby – whilst he is clearly talented, he has no football brain whatsoever.

    He clearly lacks intelligence, as all he tries to do is take people on, and cannot execute simple passes.

    Im sorry – but he will never be good enough for us.

  20. gazzap,

    man united is not as deep as you think – their depth lies in the same place as ours – in attack. Their defense is no deeper than ours. In fact, with Eboue and Traore, I feel we are more solid than them back there.

  21. gazzap

    It is not as much that our back ups are not good enough to be in the first XI, it is just (I think) that they dont have the experience. Players like Denilson, Traore, Randall etc have huge potential but they can only develop if they have the experience.

    In the short term, this is a disadvantage as they are gaining the experience at Arsenal’s expense while ManU have just bought experienced back ups.

    This is part of Arsenal’s youth policy I am afraid and I am not sure that this is a bad thing really.

  22. gazz .. kind of agree with you .. but then no team has 22 top top players .. otherwise you would have havoc in the team
    I go along as well with what you quote Merson as saying, ie that certain guys have not developed a lot
    what I would say is that when you watch Barcelona, the only top team that really plays young guys, the likes of Bojan/Giovanni do not look much much further ahead then Walcott/Traore if at all considering their ages/individual qualities
    Denilson is also still very young, but the bottomline here is that you do not produce a Cesc/Messi every time..see Fran Merida who was overhyped as the new Cesc and now goes on loan with me thinks a view to be sold at the end of the season
    it changes slightly with Diaby/Djourou who are 21/22 ish now and need to show real progress
    again the question arises whether loaning Djourou out makes him a better player?
    Diaby is soooooo played out of position that it hurts to watch, but he is naturally somebody who likes to take risks on the ball (which I like), and therefore needs somebody to cover for him
    at the end, if we are honest about it, there was one class act on the pitch .. Berbatov .. and a RVP who can be one .. albeit maybe not quite up there with Berbatov.. with the rest of the players in both teams vastly inferior
    being at the game, I found it very poor and had Spurs played the way they played us 3 weeks ago, we would have lost by a mile .. as it stands, Spurs could hardly get their act together in the 2nd half and we escaped

  23. How about Eduardo’s through ball?? Thats 2 in 2 games, Bergkamp would be proud of them passes. Look at the positives lads. We’ve an absolute gem on our hands in Eddy.

  24. there is a definite pattern that our young players were seemingly better 18 months ago than they are now. Senderos, Diaby, Djourou, Denilson and even Walcott. These are our great hopes – the players we always quote as being our future. If these are our first team players in 4 years time, we’d be in the bottom half for sure (not that AW would allow that to happen).
    To be fair Hoyte has definitely improved as has Flamini and Song.
    and Diaby being played out of position hurts every time I see it. I’d rather see him sold than have to sit through the pain of seeing that on a regular basis. I hope the player himself applies the right pressure to Arsene to either get back into the middle or leave Arsenal. he owes it to himself and his career.

  25. BB

    Berbatov better than RVP??!!

    You’re not serious are you?

    people forget how good he is just cos hes been injured so long and Berbas had a good few games recently..

    remember Wenger was considering buying him at one point from Leverkusen, but preferred to stick with RVP…and he’s the man that knows

  26. Robin .. I dont forget how good RVP is .. in yday’s game, he was showing a couple of times how brilliant his skills can be ..
    and I am not keen on entering a discussion about their resp skills .. one point though, AW didnt buy Berbatov for a reason..that reason is called TH14
    cant argue with that one.. can you!!
    best ever player at AFC

  27. Gazzap we just cant afford to have Diably leave even in the summer. All these alleged spare midfielders are gradually disapearing, Gilberto wants to stay but he is slow and out of touch, Flamini may go, and it looks like Diarra is on the way as AW didnt mention him today DESPITE all the injuries. Somehow Diably must get some games in midfield, and Walcott come in as sub but in the centre not on the wing, but thats dificult, with Ade, EDS, Bentdner, RVP, in front of him.

    The whole RVP story is a mystery now hes got flu plus the thigh injury, has he ever had a completem season since hes been with us?

  28. FLU?! how did he pick that up last night? he is not exactly the picture of health is he?

    I know I agree Sol but when you have more chance of players like Lansbury and Song playing in the middle of midfield than Diaby you have got to start worrying for the guy.

  29. Den said “Hopefully (Brazil coach) Dunga will look at this game and see that we can play together,” in reference to hoping both he and Bert can be picked for Brazil….I have just stopped laughing. If Dunga saw last nights game, neither of them will ever play for Brazil again, let alone together. O’hara and Jenas peed all over them! He wants to hope Dunga missed this one.

  30. Honestly, I’m not Arsene but I’ve got a problem with Arsene on the way he insist on some players even though they’re down at the moment.

    Diaby should be moved to the centre instead of outside. Arsene has tried him on the left on several occassions but the youngman is not responding so why persist? Walcott can even play there so Arsene should rather play Walcott there or bring somebody from the reserves to play there.

    Its obvious that Arsene is playing Diaby there because he wants to stop Diaby moaning by giving him games but its not working, its not his natural position.

    Denilson/Gilberto are poor when they’re put together. Gilberto is dropping down and down due to his age. He can no more cope with the pace of the games and should be dropped. However, once again Arsene wants to give him games so he’s compelled to field him even though he’s not performing.

    Denilson too has driven backwards. When he came we thought he’s the right replacement for Cesc but its now clear that he’s not got the ability to match Cesc peromance week in week out. We always lack creativity when assigned Cesc role. Arsene has given him that role match after match but its clear that he’s incapable. He should rather be groomed as a defensive midfielder rather than a creative midfield. Diaby rather has the ability to play that role otherwise Arsene should bring in either Merida, Randall, Lansbury for that role.

    So why did we sell Larsen to Birmingham and brought in Denilson. Larson is playing very well at Birmingham in that position and we should have kept.

    We’re sellling too many of our young players and sometimes bringing in players who’re not that good enough.

    This competition for Arsenal is meant for the young players so instead of bringing in Gilberto who don’t live up to expectation, Arsene should consider Merida, Barzite, Randall, Gibbs and Lansbury.

  31. it is unrealistic to expect 20 top quality players, we do have enough depth, but not if they are all played at the same time. man utd’s complete second team would also struggle against spurs first team. wenger rightly or wrongly doesn’t care about the CC cup and plays the team accordingly. they may still win which is a great testament to their quality, but the reality is like against burnley the midfielders are not good enough, such a shame about diarra because he clearly is. the development of senderos, diaby, djourou and walcott i agree has been disppointing, despite all of them being given a decent amount of games. in my opinion diaby, senderos and djourou are not good enough and unfortunately the more i see walcott the more i think he may also fit in to that group. hotye is a solid and useful player. in fairness to walcott and diaby they are being played out of position and that does not look like changing in the short term. i have said many times i think the squad is imbalanced and thus we have been short on the wings and overloaded in the middle and consequently have players playing out of position and too often us being too narrow in games. i would be happy to say good bye to gilberto, senderos, diaby, eboue and ensure diarra doesn’t leave get a good quality centre back and left and right wingers. with that i think we could win it all!!!!

  32. the cover for cesc shouldn’t be diaby and denilson it is helb and rosicky they are top quality players who love to play in the middle and the pull the strings like cesc, diaby and denislon will NEVER be able to do that, but again that leaves us too short on the wings.

  33. How can so many obviously failing young players have managed to get us to the brink of a second CC Final in 2 years?

    What does not surprise me is that so many of you want to dismiss most of these players after a match we didn’t even lose.

    Most young players have ups & downs, it is normal. What is unusual is the achievements of these lads, all of whom are ready to step into the 1st team at any time.

    Remember this was Tottenhams full 1st team against our complete 2nd choice 11. I include RVP because he has not been fit. A Tottenham team that have been scoring loads of goals recently.

    We had 7 players, including 3 teenagers, who had played on Sunday.

    Some of you guys just have to lower your expectation. These kids have been giving us a real treat but were not at their best on 1 occasion.

  34. not often i say this but i fully agree with you flint. our first team would have had a tough match against them as we did a few weeks ago, so what the expectation was of people after you saw the team is totally beyond me.

  35. Absolutely Flint, it’s great to hear another voice of reason. There are many Premiership managers who would be lining up if any of our young up and coming or even slightly past it players were available.

  36. Flint Im beginning to agree with you, what puzzles me is this team that was crap last night anihilated Blacburn and Sheffield, is it all because we didnt have an experienced CB and Senderos and Djouru are terrible together? Song is light years ahead, I think the dodgy defense started the rot. Playing 2 games a week should not be hard for kids whoearn 15k plus a week

  37. How many of you can list six good games played by Theo? Hes gone backwards maybe on the left wing for a couple of games should see if hes ever goiing to make it.

  38. sol, a huge difference with last night balckburn and sheff, is that diarra was not playing gilb/den do not work well together, there was little bite and drive. also sheff utd are complete crap and to compare them to spurs who have not beaten us for 20 games and facing even more humiliation than last year is not a good comparison.

  39. on a seperate issue, kudos to gilberto’s attitude, i think most fans feel it is time to move on but he is showing a wonderful attitude. also the diarra thing is so frustrating, was he made promises that aren’t being kept? if AW likes him so much which he seems to, why hasn’t he done more to accomedate him wiithout giving in to him (man management being wenger’s best quality) or is diarra just a complete and utter fool.

  40. This site contains so much negativity. The deal with young players is that, despite their potential they are inconsistent. However, consistent enough to get to two semi finals in two years, and deserved to win last years final. Give them some breathing space. Not all will make it, but they are giving 100% and contributing to us being in contention for 4 trophies. Can you imagine if they read this site!

  41. Jamie this site is one of the only ones that has genuine comment some of us have been supporters since the sixties. We all love AFC but facts are facts Theo and some of these others are millionaires and if they dont make the grade its fair comment. Can you tell me how many games has Theo played well? The CC isnt important to AW, but the worry is when players go backwards over the last year.

    Dan I agree with you Diarra was great against Blackburn, and at home they are not a bad side, Its a shame if Diarra goes

  42. jamie,

    your comments are ridiculous, Merse is an arsenal legend and just because he says something you do not agree with you shouldn’t go slagging him off!!!! people today have expressed issues with players who may not make it as you put it. not sure what the problem is with that, other than you don’t agree with them!!

  43. Sol
    Some have disappointed but the comments on this site go from one extreme to the other. They are millionaires but they are still human and prone to dips in form and confidence. Of course we all have opinions and in moments of anger I’ve even thouogft that Arsene has taken us as fars as he could but I’ll withold the opinions until the anger subsides and admit I was mistaken. People are fickle and spontaneously claim certain people are shite. Me? I’m not sure what the point of Denilson is, but Arsene has proved me wrong before so both deserve time and support.

    For thirty minutes we were the better team. Merson was asked if Spurs deserved their lead. He replied YES and I agreed with him. They had a great last 15 in the first half, creating lots of chances. However, he comments claimed they were mugging us for the first thirty. On Sky Sports News he talks such bo****ks, the others laugh at him. Has he got over being sent packing by Arsene?

  44. I agree with Flint. These youngsters have talent and technical ability. But youth also means inconsistency, and it showed last night. Either we’re in this ride of ups and downs while they learn the trade and see these games as part of their learning curve or we don’t agree with Arsene on this policy of setting CC aside for blooding youth.

    Right, bad performance, I was disappointed too. But I also realised I was disappointed, bcos of my high expectations, only stemmed from how great their performances were last year and the first 2 CC games this year.

    They could beat Liverpool, Everton, Newcastle and Blackburn first-teams, came very close to beating Chelsea, but were lucky not to lose to Spurs, because they’re inconsistent – problem with youth and inexperience. (Gilberto’s a different story, he’s either past it or struggling to find his rhythm back after being out for so long.)

    I agree with some of you who mentioned the likes of Gibbs or Randall, since we’re set on giving this entire competition to youth. Even if, with the CB’s out, Arsene decides to play Gavin Hoyte and Havard Nordveit there, I’ll have no complaints. Not to mention that we still have plenty of other options.

    Do we really care if we can get to the first CC final at Wembley, to the extent that you want to play the first-teamers there? I don’t think so. Therefore, let’s just see who Arsene sends out in the 2nd leg and hope for the best rather in the league and CL.

  45. Sorry but I have to disagree, Senerdros was woeful, again, he lacks any kind of positional sense. He was lost for the goal, and gave the ball away only for Robbie Keane to poo his pants when he got within 10 yards of the Arsenal goal.

    Diarby is a great player, but why oh why was he trying to take everyone on? Every time he got the ball, he spun twisted himself into trouble, the same can be said for Walcott, he scored the goal but he seems to spend most of his time losing the ball then falling over.

    Saying that I though Eduardo showed what a class act he is when he came on. Sagna, in my opinion is the best right back in the league.

  46. Darren I agree Eduardo and Sagna were great when they came on.

    I’m still undecided (and who am I to decide anything anyway) about Senderos and Djourou. It’s been revealed that Djourou carried an injury from his Birmingham loan spell. Senderos picked up an injury in the 1st half and he played through it. I’m not sure to what extent their injuries affected their performances. But I think you guys are right in saying that they both need to improve technique-wise. Well, they aren’t first-team regulars for a reason… The same can be said about Theo and Diaby.

    Like Jamie agreed, I wouldn’t be upset if the kids lose to Spurs in the 2nd leg. But I’m optimistic about that, for these reasons:

    (1) Spurs will play 3 games (no less than Chelsea away, Reading away (FA Cup replay, another goal feast?) and Sunderland home), while we have 2 only (Birminhamg home, Fulham away).

    (2) Their first-teamers will get tired, while only about 3 of Arsenal players who’ll play in the 2nd leg will have appeared in the 2 games in between.

    (3) The fringe – kids and oldies alike – players will learn from this experience and improve. Arsene will also address some issues between now and then.

    (4) We actually have an impressive record in away CC games – Everton, Liverpool and Spurs last year, Blackburn this, so I’m not particularly more worried when we go away than when we play at home.

    (5) It’s not that the kids lack talent or technical ability, their bad performance was down to inconsistency. That’s Denilson, Diaby, Bendtner and Traore I’m talking about. I’m still not sure about Senderos and Theo to be honest.

    The only worry I have is the multiple injuries, especially when Djourou’s “definitely out for Birmingham” as reported on Other than that, I’m pretty optimistic.

  47. Guardian reports that it’s Diarra who told Arsene he’s not ready to play for Spurs as he’s not in the right ‘frame of mind’ in the midst of his transfer considerations.

    I have been advocating that we give the kid the benefit of the doubt even though he appears really impatient. I’m fine with young players being pushy for chances. But if he couldn’t handle the pressure of just a potential transfer, he doesn’t have the right level of mental strength to play for Arsenal. Sorry, enough of ‘benefit of the doubt’ because this is ‘proven guilty.’

    Again, link to the Guardian article through my name on the left hand side.

  48. And not just lack of mental strength to fight for his place, he is also stupid enough to not see the fact that (1) Flamini hasn’t signed on, (2) Gilberto’s leaving for sure, (3) all these potential suitors in Newcastle, Spurs, Valencia and even Lyon, come on, can any one of them offer a better career than Arsenal? Really don’t know what he’s thinking.

  49. I have to agree with Jamie about some of the nonsense Merson has come out with in the last 6 months. I am a longtime gooner and loved merson in his Arsenal days, but it seems he has become bitter against Arsenal since Arsene let him go. I respect the comments from TAdams because he is sensible with them but Merson just seems bitter to me.

  50. Louisa I would like to see Diarra knuckle down and fight for a place in the team (he is good enough) but I cannot see it happening though. I read he has been a bit of a pain wherever he has been.

  51. Well said Louisa,

    At half time, I was about to say that all of them were so bad, except for maybe Hoyte. After the game I wondered how we became over expecting from this young team, most of them are not playing regular PL football and playing against a full T*tts side playing week in & week out.

    I think we were lucky to have a lifeline, but it is always difficult to predict with a young team like this…..We might give them the run for their money at WHL or we may lose.

    I wouldn’t be so disappointed, they proved they can compete with anyone….and it gives us hope for the future.

    Good Luck to the Gunner Saturday….

  52. I think it is important to keep a handle on things.
    We saw what was wrong with our last performance
    it is up to arsene to fix it .Tweak it so to speak .
    When Le boss comes out and says spurs had more chances openly.. it scares me.., and those chances will only get more frequent at WHL .

    Moving diaby to the center is a good option with denilson . playing gibbs and walcott on the wing is also viable . But in all honesty cesc needs to be on the bench . Lack of supply to our strikers is the difference between GOALS or NO GOALS . And anyone telling me the pressure is on them is BS !,
    They can close shop and defend for 90 minutes and still win it
    ! The pressure is on us … we have to
    SCORE !!!!!!!!! !!!
    or at the end of 90 minutes 0-0 they win with away goals !
    Our strikers will be aware that they need 1 goal at least , but more likely 2 or 3 to be comfortable !!!
    (as you can presume they will score at least 1 goal at home,they have one of the best records for scoring in the league thanks to berba) also equally there defense is easily exploited . (providing we can supply chances from our midfield) the above is the key when analyzing this next game !!!!

    Its better to deal with the facts as against pretend nothing is wrong . And like someone said earlier if this is really a chance for the youth to shine then where is randall and gibbs? Its amazing how arsene gauges this,lets play the youth ! its more like the fringe 1st team players . As everyone is youth at arsenal.
    Its definitely more like lets protect our midfield players during this useless CC rubbish ! Because up front its the starting team , and at the back its basically our normal defense during the ANC !
    (remember ade and RVP are sort of injured)
    so bendtner and dudu starting is pretty much 1st team . sagna hoyte and one of the swiss guys will start for the 1st team soon enough ! This isnt really giving our youth time to shine . or we would see Nordveit, gibbs and randall !
    All arsene is doing is protecting gallas -clichy- and our starting midfield ,
    This is more like lets protect the engine room of arsenal during these useless CC games !Blooding youth ? that might have been the case last season ! But this season NO !

    And flint defending gilberto is simply madness !
    HE IS PAST IT ! end of story .. Sure he has recently came out and said he wants to stay and fight for his spot , and that might happen but only through injuries and lack of personnel which to him is rather timely and opportunistic .
    In my opinion its only a matter of time.
    Diarra needs to take his spot and be made to stay! Gilberto’s old legs just aint up to pace anymore . he is ALWAYS out of position and cannot get back in time to give the cover to the defense , which is the very reason he has to go !.
    Yes he might be used as a CB now due to injuries which will make nacho happy . but in all seriousness he would have NEVER been used had it not been for the dual swiss injuries … But i can see it happening now … or more of a chance of it.

    We are desperate for another defender and i dont know why we dont try out Nordveit, if arsene thinks he’s so good !And the CC is to blood young talent! I think the CC is more like a cup designed to keep our fringe players less pee’d off …

    This Last CC game was used as a defensive test ,
    up front its the 1st team strikers currently .
    Walcott- diaby – denilson even gilberto have all been used in the 1st team so who are we kidding ?
    to blood youth ?? get off the grass !
    Sagna isnt youth , infact he is a god amm legend !
    If arsene kept to his policy sagna should have been rested !

    So i think we need to go into this next game with
    cesc and rosicky and gallas , and drop gilberto-randall-and gibbs. Then we have a chance ! And get over that our 2nd team is beating there 1st team ! because your only kidding yourselves . most of the players that played in the last CC game have appeared in our EPL games !!!
    Traore- fabinski- are the only 2 NON regular players in the last team line up !!!
    so stick in cesc . and win this thing ..

  53. I read what some of you guys say about about players like Denilson and I wonder about your backgrounds and just what you expect from youngsters like that. The guy is going to be brilliant you can see it in everything he does. OK so it might not come off everytime but the fact that his brain is telling him to try these things means he is a natural, not one of these manufactured robots that some of you seem to prefer.

  54. Does anyone else get tired of the constant moaning from everyone and everything to do with arsenal everytime we put in a below-par performance? Its not like Man Utd and Chelsea havent been putting in weak performances this season either – in fact, Chelsea seem to be winning every game by some incredible fluke, and man utd seem to be struggling to beat even the weakest teams!

    There is no crisis at AFC.

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