REDISCOVERED BELIEF SWEEPS NEWCASTLE ASIDE

ARSENAL 3 – 0 NEWCASTLE UNITED

1 – 0 van Persie (18 pen)
2 – 0 van Persie (41)
3 – 0 Denilson (59)

September tomorrow and the more things change, the more they stay the same. Arsenal at home spurned a host of chances having made the opposition look particularly ordinary; the Arsenal passing and movement was the best in the land; Robin van Persie is injured.

A much-improved performance and three thoroughly well-deserved points, once more the Toon Army’s plans for global domination ripped asunder as Keegan’s tactical naivete came to the fore, an inferiority complex being transmitted by his players was reinforced as they were made third best in a two-horse race.

No doubt the arrival of Cesc has re-invigorated the midfield, bring forth the dynamism that was previously missing. It is not all down to one man for the defeat at Fulham has been shaken from the system and treated correctly as a wake-up call to be heeded. van Persie and Adebayor shook off the pre-season slumber and were performing to the high levels of expectations that they have set themselves.

Whilst the Togolese did not find the back of the net, he had a hand in all three that Given retrieved. Or more accurately, allowed N’zogbia to do so. The penalty was the self-destruct button that Newcastle seem so adept at pushing; there was no reason to concede with Adebayor’s cross no doubt destined for a Newcastle head. van Persie despatched it will force and accuracy, something missing from his game prior to yesterday. It is not as if there had not been warnings of what was to come. Gallas should have done better from close range following Sagna’s flick on of Nasri’s corner. Given saved well from Toure’s effort from range.

You know it is going to be a good afternoon when Eboue thinks he is Pele. Breaking from midfield, he and Adebayor combined well on the right. Adebayor found Eboue in the area and despite treading on the ball he backheeled for van Persie to beat Beye to score with a powerful shot. Not quite Pele, maybe his distant cousin, Dave.

It would not have been the current vintage if there were not a few scares along the way. Owen might have done better but with Ameobi providing ample defensive cover there was no need for any Arsenal intervention as the ball swept wide of Almunia’s post. Butt found the woodwork early in the second half before Nasri and Adebayor wove pretty patterns on the edge of the Newcastle area, ran into a dead-end and then found Denilson in space on the penalty area and suddenly, two of the four Premier League goals this season have come from midfield. A strange start to the season indeed.

van Persie almost sealed his hat-trick with an improbably angled drive but that was end of his afternoon as a Newcastle boot ended the Dutchman’s contribution. Disconcertingly, Arsene said afterwards that he hoped the ankle was not broken, X-rays today will show the extent of the damage. There was still time for Nasri and Walcott to be denied by a combination of good goalkeeping and poor finishing.

And pantomime booing emerged once more. At least this time, it was for Joey Barton who quite deservedly got a hospitable welcome. Which is where Nasri would have ended up if Barton’s studs were pointing a centimetre to the right. The Frenchman had his revenge which brought forth a bout of righteous indignation from Keegan. A sign perhaps that Newcastle’s problems in the manager’s office are not solved if he is more concerned with the thug getting some retribution before being suspended once more.

A good afternoon’s work with the performance matching expectations from before the season’s commencement.

In this morning’s News of the World, Peter Hill-Wood has told Red & White to go forth and multiply. Only more politely than that,

You don’t need billionaires…You have a lot of people spending a lot of money and it doesn’t work

Despite the newspapers unsubstantiated claim that ‘Wenger is thought to be in favour of the tycoon taking over at The Emirates’. Taken with Arsene’s post-match interviews, the signals are not to be too expectant of any new faces arriving at the club in the next thirty-eight hours unless of course, they represent ‘super’ value for money. PHW states the party line,

We are pretty happy with the squad we have got. We are not going to pay silly money for a player who is going to strengthen the squad only a bit

A fairly open statement, on the hand definitive, on the other open to massively wide interpretation, depending on the emphasis you put on written words in the sentences. The clear inference is that they have quoted some wild figures when enquiring about players; that to some extent is of the club’s own making. Giving newspaper interviews that categorically state Arsene could pay £30m for a player, no problem, invites inflationary transfer fees. It might soothe the beast that is the media and supporters but it adds a couple of million to outgoing payments.

The crucial ‘open’ nature of his statement is the last six words. Define ‘a bit’; ‘a bit’ of the technical ability of all of the players is a big bit; ‘a bit’ of their ability to mix it is a small ‘bit’. Finishing third last season by ‘a bit’ which is all that four points is, constitutes a worthwhile investment to breach the gap.

Arsene though might be fretting more than PHW thinks. After all, he has received the dreaded vote of confidence,

How can he be under pressure when clubs in our league haven’t won anything in thirty years?

Of course he is under pressure. The pressure that a winner puts themselves under to continue winning. Quite rightly, that is the only pressure that the Board should exert upon him for some time. They have to maintain their collective nerve under external pressure from the media and Red & White. They gave Arsene the leeway to rebuild, imposed constraints within which that must be achieved and he has done so. The least that he is due is the time from us and them to do so.

’til Tomorrow.

63 thoughts on “REDISCOVERED BELIEF SWEEPS NEWCASTLE ASIDE

  1. Luke says:

    At times the Newcastle players were made to look like statues as our quick passing mesmerised them and cut through them like a hot knife on butter. It was pretty and effective. Wonderful.

    But it has to be asked whether we could play the same way and with the same confidence if we’re a goal down. Who in the team could lift and lead the team back from the dead, like in the Fulham game?

  2. Ian Dolent says:

    ACLF Challenge!!!

    Friends..? Gooners..? Countrymen..?
    Before we all get on a euphoric, chest-beating, “I never said that / this is what I’ve been saying all along” trip, due to our victory over the Toon. I’d like to propose that we put our individual cards on the table…..

    Whether we are AKBs or doom-mongers or any colour in between, would it not be useful to declare our current beliefs and expectations for posterity? So that we can reflect on them honestly, come the end of the season. I suspect that a lot of us conveniently “forget” just what it was we have been banging on about all year.

    My proposal is that readers answer the following questions NOW and we can bear them in mind during the months to come and fully appreciate our clairvoyance in the summer.

    Mine are below, PLEASE EVERYONE SUBMIT YOUR OWN ( what about you Yogi!!?!)

    PREDICTIONS: 2008-9

    LEAGUE POSITION:

    3rd

    SILVERWARE:

    Champions League

    PLAYER OF THE SEASON:

    Cesc

    PLAYER TO WATCH (IN A GOOD WAY):

    Vela

    SIGNING OF THE SEASON:

    Nasri

    ONE FIRST TEAM REGULAR TO BE OFFLOADED :

    Eboue (now and forever)

    MANAGER TO REPLACE ARSENE (God forbid!):

    Bill Shankly …(o.k.….. Hiddinck)

    Have fun!

  3. solgooner says:

    Good comment Yogi, at home we play superbly, Nasri is a better version of Hleb, and Vela shows what he can do.

    All of us know that technically AW is the best manager in the EPL and we play amazing football, our only fear is that the squad is not strong enough, if we can win at Blackburn and Bolton, and later in the year at Newcastle and Middlesborough, we have a very chance in th EPL.

    Our worry is that Cesc does not get injured and that Rosicky, EDS, Diably come back from injuries and dont relapse quickly, just as we are worrying now about RVP lets hope its just a bruise, and he could have 2 weeks to recover.

  4. shotta-gunna says:

    Contrary to the panic-mongering, hysteria for new signings, spending-mania, and over the top bashing of the manager-and-players on these pages and and that of several other blogs, yesterday’s total dismantling of Newcastle by the Gunners was a thorough vindication of Arsene’s faith in his squad and those of us stand firmly behind him in the direction he is taking our club. While there are no guarantees that we will win either the Prem or the Champion’s League, the manner in which we ripped the Toon apart on the field of play demonstrates that we have a squad strong enough to do the business even if we fail to find the right player at the right price by Monday as the manager insists. The beauty of Arsenal today is to see the transformation of these talented young men into world-beaters right in front of our very eyes. There will be setbacks and legitimate cause for doubt as in any great journey but I for one am going to enjoy the ride as Arsene Wenger is now full blown in rebuilding another great championship team.

  5. Aneta says:

    Wenger cannot be blinded by yesterdays win.We still need an experienced DM.

    We are such a better team with Cesc there but the lessons have to be learned for last season and to not burn him out

    Vela looked great in his 20 min cameo

  6. shotta-gunna says:

    BTW: I continue to find the continue maligning of Eboue just sickening. This young man is in the second year of his conversion from right back to right midfielder and it is obvious to all, but those who are blinded by mindless prejudice and chauvinism, that he is doing a job for the team. (To paraphrase Mourinho clever players please the fans, smart players please the manager). Eboue’s job every time he plays is to provide proper balance between offense and defense. He is a big, physical presence who is very comfortable with the ball at his feet and is very good at taking the ball from deep and running at the opponents in their half of the field and linking up with the forwards. It is the mindless Eboue-bashing that started my posting on this blog but over the past year I have been simply amazed at the imbecilic opinions about the player that started with a few bloggers and continuously echoed by posters. Just shows you how fickle people really are.

  7. solgooner says:

    If Ebuoe stops acting falling down without reason and continues his passing improvement he can be a valuable member of the squad,AND PLEASE NO TRIBAL DANCING WHEN EGO EVENTUALLY SCORES

  8. El Tommo says:

    Muppets – when we turn over a decent side like that we can relax – beating a bunch of not good enough to start with and not even fit players led by the league’s most laughable clowns of a manager (see Barton – utter joke) then we can feel happy. let’s see what happens against Blackburn.

    “The beauty of Arsenal today is to see the transformation of these talented young men into world-beaters right in front of our very eyes.”

    You have to be the most naive twat I’ve ever come across you c*nt.

  9. Ole Gunner says:

    I just wanted to say again: Why is the whole world seemingly convinced Wenger won’t buy. I really really don’t get it. He’s bought more players than Chelsea or United already. Every summer he buys several players. What’s the source of this notion?

    He just won’t spend big.

  10. Magneto says:

    “They (the Board) have to maintain their collective nerve under external pressure from the media and Red & White”.

    And some Arsenal fans too, sadly.

  11. Flint McCullough says:

    Quite agree Shotta.

    We have a lot of people, who clearly, don’t want the joy of seeing a team develop & have no interest in the game of football itself.

    They just see the worst, having no joy in their lives, other than having the satisfaction of believing that they know best & the pleasure that they will be proved right, whenever we get our next defeat, whenever that is.

    Yesterday was what I go for. Seeing our lads giving a respectable team, who Man U couldn’t beat, a good thrashing by playing great football.

  12. shotta-gunna says:

    Talk about transformation of players. Two years ago on this very blog and others I read several uninformed opinions about the value of Adebayor and Flamini. Within a year we lost the latter to AC Milan and, if Wenger is to be believed, Ade could have easily signed this summer for a bigger paypacket at one of the so-called big clubs. A similar round of hand-wringing and hysteria went up when Song began to take his first steps into the first XI. Wenger had to shelter him from abuse and restore his confidence by sending him on loan to Charlton in 06-07. Injury disrupted his return to the 1st team in 07-08 but now according to many of the same abusive posters he is the great hope to saving our so-called DM “crisis.” Twat or not, despite the mindlessness and fickleness on these pages, I am enjoying the Wenger transformation. It is a great journey and while there are no guarantees, I am optimistic we will win the Prem or the Champs League sooner rather than later.

  13. Frank says:

    Excellent performance on the pitch…and the fans were much better yesterday. Everyone performed well but special mentions for Nasri and the speed with which he has adapted, Cesc because he is Cesc, RvP becuase he is pure class….and Eboue because he was not my favorite player and he is changing into a real prospect right before my eyes.

  14. Mia says:

    Ian Dolent:

    Prdictions? Impossible. Massively harder for harder for us than for ManU, Chelsea and Liverpool because we’re thinner and more vulnerable to injuries. So much will depend on luck and – I’m still hoping – new signings. But here goes:

    League position: 4th, by the skin of our teeth.

    Champions League: could be group, I’m afraid. Any two are good enough to go through. We’ll be without key players – Eduardo, Rosicky, maybe van P – and for the earlier fixtures the young players may not have quite hit their stride. Group is the worst-case scenario.

    If we do get through, then quarters or semis. UEFA will rig the draw again to put the English sides against each other, and look at our league fixures for April and May: some bastard has ensured that like last year we’ll be playing a top-four side three times in a matter of days. Now compare THEIR bloody fixtures:

    Chelsea: Newcastle, Bolton, Everton, West Ham, Fulham, Arsenal, Blackburn, Sunderland.

    Liverpool: Fulham, Blackburn, Arsenal, Hull, Newcastle, West Ham, West Brom, Spurs.

    ManU: Villa, Sunderland, Wigan, Spurs, Boro, City, Arsenal, Hull, Fulham.

    See what I mean?

    Best signing: well obviously the wonderful Nasri. Who else is there? Silvestre?

    Players to watch in a good way: Vela (those beautiful eyes!), Song if he’s given a chance; Fabi and Wilshere in the Carling.

    Player who might be offloaded at some point soon (perhaps just a loan): Djourou, but over my dead body.

    Players I would offload (if someone held a gun to my head):
    1. Diaby: as a holding midfielder he’s a red card waiting to happen. He’s a Vieira who gives the ball away and can’t tackle safely. Now, even a Viera who could tackle safely was just a little red-card-prone, so imagine …! That means he’s a squad player to provide cover on the left, but we’ve already got Vela, Eduardo (not that I like that idea) and Wishere coming through. Will Diaby ever play two games on the trot in one position before he gets injured again?

    2. Bendtner: Yes I know he has considerable merits. I could list them, at length. I just don’t like him that much, never have. No point engaging me in discussion; I’m not capable of rational speech on the subject of Bendtner.

    I hope I’m wrong. I hope we win the Champions League. I hope we don’t have more than our usual share of bad luck – we’ve already got a big does of it in the form of the fixture list. Trouble is, if you’re a flair team, a confidence team, a beautiful team, you’re more than usually dependent on luck. Or on justice, if that’s the word you prefer. Justice would give us the Champions League, no question about it.

  15. utkarsh86 says:

    Talk about transformation of players. Two years ago on this very blog and others I read several uninformed opinions about the value of Adebayor and Flamini. Within a year we lost the latter to AC Milan and, if Wenger is to be believed, Ade could have easily signed this summer for a bigger paypacket at one of the so-called big clubs. A similar round of hand-wringing and hysteria went up when Song began to take his first steps into the first XI. Wenger had to shelter him from abuse and restore his confidence by sending him on loan to Charlton in 06-07. Injury disrupted his return to the 1st team in 07-08 but now according to many of the same abusive posters he is the great hope to saving our so-called DM “crisis.” Twat or not, despite the mindlessness and fickleness on these pages, I am enjoying the Wenger transformation. It is a great journey and while there are no guarantees, I am optimistic we will win the Prem or the Champs League sooner rather than later.
    To Shotta Gunner u have said all what i have been wanting to, the amount of abuse i have got on various Arsenal forums for saying this and defending Arsene has been horrible guess they are Fans and we are supporters…

  16. Siva says:

    A slightly different take on the transformation, Song in the middle seems to be AW’s solution to playing Walcott on the right instead of Eboue to maintain the defensive & physical balance of the team!

    Any news on RVP’s x-ray yet?

  17. Mia says:

    Predictions.

    Going into last season, I thought we good. Many people didn’t. They said Ade would never compensate for the loss of Thierry.

    Who predicted that Flam would work well with Cesc? Not me. I thought Cesc needed a player like Gilberto to mop up behind him. Who predicted that we’d lose Flam and Hleb? Again, not me.

    My point is that the euphoria following yesterday’s trashing of Newcastle (who always give us space and who were down to the bare bones – no Martins, a half-crippled left back) is as stupid as the depression following Fulham. One game tells us little we weren’t already aware of. If we grind out a result against Blackburn, Bolton and Hull; if we trash Dynamo Kiev; if we strengthen this window or in January; if we don’t pick up more terrible injuries… then perhaps we’ll do very well.

    At the moment, I feel exactly the way I did before we’d even kicked a ball. We may be very good and we’re bound to have a few stunning games – we always do. But we are also one bad injury away from total disaster. The injury in question being to Cesc.

  18. Josef K says:

    El Tommo

    “You have to be the most naive twat I’ve ever come across you c*nt.”

    You seem to misunderstand the nature of basic interaction.

    It works like this; person A makes a statement and provides some context to justify it, person B either agrees or disagrees and then lays out their reasoning.

    And so the discussion continues.

    Judging by the near total incoherence of your first paragraph it would appear that the first element eludes you.

    Judging by the fact your sentence directed at Shotta contained two terms drawing comparison between him and female genitalia it would seem the second element is a greater intellectual challenge then you’re able to meet.

  19. Mike says:

    Well said Shoota.

    I have been regaling against the midless stupidity aimed at various players for several seasons.

    We’ve had Ralph, Cygan, Flamini, Bert, Ade, Song, Hleb, Eboue and many, many more.

    I’ll bet these were the same pullocks singing “what a waste of money” to DB10 until THAT goal.

    Eboue is a powerful, skillful player, I just think there is an element who sees him as an obstruction to Theee-oh, so the vilification starts as an attempt to get him out the way.

    As for the “twat” and “c*nt” comments, the lack of any cogent reasoning in the rlevant post certainly tends to indicate that that particular “contributor” would do well to look in the mirror if he’s looking a for a “c*nt” or a “twat”.

  20. Mike says:

    *mindless*, not midless, although that might be interesting.

  21. FunGunner says:

    Well said, shotta-gunna

    And to Josef K – lovely! lol lol

  22. dfunkydog says:

    “Eboue is a powerful, skillful player, I just think there is an element who sees him as an obstruction to Theee-oh, so the vilification starts as an attempt to get him out the way.”

    —————————

    Powerful – yes

    Skillful – not really

    an element who sees him as an obstruction – true

    vilification starts as an attempt to get him out the way – only because performances like yesterday are few and far in between.

    I don’t think there is much to choose between the two at the moment, even without Theo, Eboue on last season deserve some stick.

    If he keeps playing like he does now, like we know he has the potential to, then he will get deserved praise.

  23. confidentgoner says:

    shotta, flint,

    thanks for the mature analysis of ebue’s game. most gunners think a team will function well with 11 stars. who will do the dirty work? AW needs to focus him on his end product though. for a player so quick and gifted he should be banging in goals!

  24. Joel Cairo says:

    Adebayor had a great game yesterday. He constantly worked, disrupted Newcastle, and was unselfish in his handling (footling?) of the ball, thinking of the end result first. He makes this team as much as Cesc, whether he scores or not.

    Nasri looks choice, doesn’t he? Not just on the ball, or defending back, but the way he sized up that coward bully, Barton, and didn’t wait long to do so. Barton’s first tackle was clearly intended to injure.

    Why is it that clear missed tackles which only rake the cleats down the shin and onto the top of the foot are permitted? It happened to RVP yesteday, and to Eboue and one other last week.

    Eboue — perhaps its not just Arsene who sees something the fickle fans don’t see. The team were thrilled at his success; the opposition respect him on the ball. Something about him did not lead him to drop down the order chart as Senderos did. Give him a break.

    And Sagna shows every match how the beautiful defense is played and effective. What a find!

  25. algerian-gooner says:

    rvp was cleared to go to play for his country,thank god

  26. dukeGoonem says:

    Mia

    I’d love to know who you think will finish 3rd then and who we will just scrape in front of?

  27. Paulie Walnuts says:

    An excellent win & some smashing football but we shouldn`t get carried away in the same way as some people did last week when we were poor.

    Nasri has settled superbly & I hope he can do it away from home too just like Bobby Pires used to.

    I`ve got a feeling AW will make a signing tomorrow but haven`t a clue who it will be or what position.

    I really hope D`jourou is not sold or loaned out again.

    As for Eboue, I`m not changing my opinion of him. I don`t see him as the long term solution to play RM, unfortunately.

    He`s technically OK & a marvellous athlete but his decision making in the final third is poor & that is mostly instinctive.

    He played well yesterday & is obviously well liked by the squad so I hope I`m wrong.

  28. Passenal says:

    Eboue is skillful – being able to drive forward with the ball the way he does and his clever back heel passes of which I’ve seen a few are only some of his skills. He is also useful on the defensive side as he teams up well with Sagna.

    In case people have forgotten, last season was his first as a converted midfielder and his confidence took a dip as he was uncertain about what to do at times in his new position. This season he seems more settled and his confidence is growing. He’s still going to do daft things from time to time and make the wrong decisions in front of goal, but if we give him our backing, I’m sure we’ll see more of the good side of Eboue.

  29. dukeGoonem says:

    in regards to eboue i think we have just been spoilt. the guy has been booed and slagged off by many, and for what? taking time to adjust to another position! i have seen plenty of players in the past that were a lot poorer then him and recieved not even a whisper of disconsent!

    Im glad he is in our squad, there are a lot of teams that if he played for he will be one of there best players! like spurs!

  30. Mia says:

    Bishcoff:

    I didn’t know much about him till I read this month’s Arsenal mag.

    He’s an ATTACKING midfielder, not a holder. Before he was injured he was competing for a place with Diego.

    We targetted him ages ago, long before he was injured (as is normal with Wenger), i.e. we didn’t just sign him because he was free and a cripple who could be company for Rosicky and co.

    He’s had a serious pelvis injury for at least a year, made worse by coming back too soon after two operations. He’s apparently running now and could be playing in November.

    Despite having a Portugese mum, and playing for the Portugal under-21s, he actually looks like German, with a slight double chin. (He will be German on his dad’s side, of course, i.e. of German ancestry, like Wenger, since he comes from Colmar.)

  31. dukeGoonem says:

    Mia

    im trying to ask you who will finish 3rd but it is awaiting moderation? dont know why ,i havnt used any abusive language, but who do you think then? coz liverpool are a two man team and spurs are shiite! is it everton? or maybe pompey?

    and why the pessimism? we are 3rd at least!!!

  32. Passenal says:

    I agree duke, I can’t see us doing worse than last season unless a disaster strikes – 2nd at worst, 1st at best.

  33. davebluez says:

    “You know it is going to be a good afternoon when Eboue thinks he is Pele.”

    Thanks for the chuckle, Yogi. 🙂

    I was very pleased for Eboue yesterday, I thought he did very well, and I fully admit to being one of those who has questioned his inclusion in the squad, for NO other reason than his instinct to cheat and dive. Fingers crossed on that front.

    Was also very impressed with how naturally Vela linked up with Cesc. They looked like they’d already been playing together for a while, and it certainly bodes well for the future.

    But the honours of the day go to Nasri. Forget the football. I’m talking about the subtle trip at the end. On that bloke. No immediate thuggish reaction to Barton’s attempted leg breaker, just a mental note, which I imagine combined with the crowd’s reaction to morph into a piece of sublime Frenchness. “Touche! ‘ave that, you Engleesh swine.” I think referees should carry an extra card, a Fair Play Card, to be brandished at moments like that.

  34. dukeGoonem says:

    when you compare this years team to last it is

    almunia.clichy.sagna.toure.gallas.eboue.fabregas.flamini.hleb.ade.van persie

    almunia.clichy.sagna.toure.gallas.eboue.fabregas.denilson/diaby/song/.nasri.ade.van p.

    so not too much change then. and nasri is going to be better then pleb! so it is a case of either getting a dm or one stepping up to the plate!

    we are in good shape as wenger said all along!

    but the same as last season we are still vulnarable to injuries or burnout so i think we still need an experienced player in there!

  35. Mia says:

    Wonderful article on Ade in the Arsenal mag, a million miles from the usual bland, cheery stuff. I recommend it to everyone who’s criticised him for his brainless egocentricity during the summer – and that includes me. This kid wasn’t exactly born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

    His mum was so poor she was known as a ‘patchwork’ woman, i.e. one who couldn’t afford a matching headdress and dress. She sold dried fish on the border from dawn to dark but still could barely feed her family. Now she’s a bit better off but she won’t live in the new house he has had built for her. Why is unclear – perhaps she doesn’t feel worthy? Perhaps she fears being lonely and out of place in a better-off neighbourhood? Whatever the reason, as a result she can’t even watch him on television. Her dream is to be invited to the Emirates, so let’s hope if she does come, it isn’t on a day when he’s booed.

    Ade has had almost no schooling. Contracts, interviews – they’re a nightmare for him. If he could go back to school now, he says, he wouldn’t miss a single day.

    Football has been the only thing in his life. He was semi-paralysed as a baby; as a toddler he couldn’t walk, could only just crawl. Prayers. Doctors. Ritual medicine. Nothing worked. Then someone dropped a ball near where he was lying:

    ‘Sheyi got up, fell, got up, fell. He was sweating, crying, snot was pouring out of his nose but he was determined to get the ball. He struggled for hours… The next day he could walk. He was reborn that day to be a footballer. It’s his destiny.’

    Heartbreaking, eh? There’s a lot more, including some interesting things about the tour of Togo over the summer, and there are some terrific pictures as well.

  36. davebluez says:

    ‘Sheyi got up, fell, got up, fell. He was sweating, crying, snot was pouring out of his nose but he was determined to get the ball. He struggled for hours… The next day he could walk. He was reborn that day to be a footballer. It’s his destiny.’

    Thanks for that, Mia.

  37. shotta-gunna says:

    One last thing about Eboue. Arsenal fans get so smug and self-righteous about cheating and diving etc, it is no wonder fans of other clubs regard us as just another bunch of holier than thou hypocrites. I hardly ever read Liverpool and Man Utd fans slagging off Gerrard and Ronaldo respectively for earning free-kicks and penalties by going down ever so easily for the slightest mistimed tackle. Eboue gets his fair share of sly, professional trips and tugs as he comes bearing down or past his opponents. Furthermore, I have observed that he has very upright style of dribbling, makes it relatively easy to go tumbling when players rake away at his ankles. No wonder he gets frustrated because the refs hardly give him a break. In the end it really doesn’t matter what a minority of fans think because it is obvious he is doing what the manager wants; no wonder he often makes the 1st XI to the chagrin of certain posters. It is obvious they would prefer a certain defensively naive, one dimensional winger (who no doubt has improved over the past year) to start ahead of him.

  38. Mia says:

    Who do I predict will be third? Pool, I suppose – I think they’ll make more of an effort to grind out the one-nils after the flac Benitez has had for prioritising the Champions League. I also predict Villa, Spurs and City perhaps will do better than last year. I’d like Pompey to do well but don’t see them pressing for fourth.

    So much depends on luck, injuries, burn-out – and we’ve been handed a large piece of bad luck in the fixture list. Of course we could be third; we could even win. We should have good players for the second half of the season – Eduardo, Rosicky, Bischoff, the kids after their run in the Carling. It’s just that I’m not really expecting it right at the moment.

  39. Dgob says:

    A fantastic performance yesterday in which Wenger gave food for thought to many critics. However, I would just like to say a HUGE congratulations to the crowd. A horn at the new Clock End, a drum at the new North Bank and strong and joyous support throughout. This reminded me of Highbury and restored my faith in our Support.

    Come on you gooners

  40. GUNNERJONES says:

    el tommo you are a true wanker , please go back to le grove , or your cave, i love this blog but every now and then a idiot like you comes along and ruins my morning read….
    Eboue played much better yesterday , its only his second season in mid field and i can see his potential. Just have to get him to stop his play acting.

  41. davebluez says:

    I agree about the increased vocal support, Dgob, but as well as being encouraged by the great football, I suspect it also had much to do with the late kick off allowing more time for muchos beers to be consumed beforehand. Maybe.

  42. Gunner4Ever says:

    Great post and a great observation about the two goals from Midfield Yogi’s.

    People don’t realize that a player like Cesc played yesterday his 200 games for Arsenal at the age of 21. Wow.

    Song will be a great midfield player for Arsenal, I’m not sure why people always think of the midfield as Defensive Midfield & Attacking Midfield as the only option? Why not develop midfield players that have the ability to attack and defend equally? I have no doubt in a couple of years we will have two of those Denilson and Song…I don’t think Diaby is there defensively yet.

    Lay off Eboue, I’m beginning to like him again. He did well, he was effective, much less acting, and I feel he is becoming a man. Some kids take time to mature.
    ===

    I’m still trying to figure out the retarded psychics of why we constantly have to attack specific players in our team instead of saving that for other opponent’s player?

    I know you get frustrated some times, I did with Theo and Gallas but life goes on dudes. What’s bad today can be good tomorrow, and what good can turn bad too. Give the people a chance to do their work, Club, Manager, Players…..for how long you say?

    I don’t know….For as long as I see that we have good players, as long as I see them play the best football ever, as long as I see them give their best collectively in a long season, as long as I see them progress from year to year…..I will give them all the time they need, they are not doing me any harm!

    G4E

  43. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Good stuff Mia,

    I had no idea Bischoff was an attacking midfield player & if he was competing with Diego he might be useful.

    The Ade stuff certainly makes you think a bit too.

    Shotta G,

    Just because posters don`t rate Eboue at RM doesn`t mean they want Theo there either.

    I believe their best positions are elsewhere & both are being asked to do a difficult job for the team so should be given more support.

  44. Siva says:

    Mia, thanks for the background on Ade. Guess football offers hope to many young players from Africa.

  45. Magneto says:

    The new Chelsea manager Phil Scolari has revealed today that Arsene was apparently interested in signing Kalou, earlier in the summer, if he was available.

    Scolari probably shouldn’t have made public Arsene’s interest in the player. But, having done so, he said that Arsene saw Kalou as a centre forward.

    If this is true, I wonder if Arsene intended to use Kalou as a straightforward ‘replacement’ for Adebayor, in the event of him having been sold?

    I guess we’ll never know now.

  46. FunGunner says:

    @Gunner4Ever
    “I’m not sure why people always think of the midfield as Defensive Midfield & Attacking Midfield as the only option? Why not develop midfield players that have the ability to attack and defend equally?”
    Yep. That’s what some posters were saying (people who post, I mean, not A3 size publicity sheets lol) the other day. It would explain why AW lists Diaby as a possible partner for Cesc. A midfield of all-rounders gives us a tactical advantage because the opposition can’t stifle the play just by doubling up on Cesc and closing him down, because at least two of the other midfielders can make a reasonable fist of the creative, attacking role. The conundrum of Denilson is also solved if Wenger sees him not as attacking or defensive but as a “complete” midfielder – able to do both.
    Knowing Wenger’s love of total football, I think it highly unlikely that we will ever see him buy a refrigerator-with-a-head type of CB, or a purely defensive midfielder.

    @Mia
    Very interesting to hear that about Adebayor. It does indeed explain a lot, including his occasional clumsiness – perhaps it’s a relic of his childhood incapacity.

  47. ScotGooner says:

    @FunGunner:

    “The conundrum of Denilson is also solved if Wenger sees him not as attacking or defensive but as a “complete” midfielder – able to do both”.

    Thanks for saying that. This is something I’ve been debating with my brother about.

    I had some time to watch the Arsenal-Twente game again this afternoon. And I was amazed at around 14:30-Nasri track back and win the ball with a cleanest tackle/slide. I think the quality of tackle shows a lot about the quality of the player.
    Players like Sagna make a tackle that aims to win the ball back and it is really clean and swift. On the other hand, we just see so many not-intended-to-hurt-ya-but-oopsy kind of tackles by talentless lumps..

    By the way, I hope RvP’s injury’s not serious.
    I read that it is just bruising, but the only source about it is goal.com which I trust as much as I trust Joey born-again-while-in-jail Barton. Could
    anybody give us any credible link if anyplease?
    I’m just so worried.

    Many thanks in advance..

  48. Jamie says:

    Who was the DM and who was the AM when Vieira and Petit played together?

    Similarly, wide midfielders don’t have to be wingers, some people post as if 66 never happened

  49. reg says:

    Vieira has anyone heard he might be back? would be great if free need that leadership

  50. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Whoever plays alongside Cesc has to have a defensive side to their game but that`s not to say they have to be wholly defensive.

    There are many old fashioned `wingers` around these days & we wouldn`t suit one anyway.

  51. Mia says:

    You know why Ade cut his hair towards the end of last season? He was too exhausted to take care of it. He was falling asleep over meals. Perhaps we didn’t fully appreciate how hard he worked for us last year.

    The most heartbreaking bit for me is the thought of him at fifteen being told by his mum, Go, look at how we live (a two-room shack with a leaking roof for ten people). Go to France, we need you. And then sitting on the plane, struggling not to cry, struggling with the strange food and the even stranger plastic-wrapped cutlery. And when he arrived he was laughed at – because he was so skinny, because he couldn’t stop shivering, because he wore all his clothes at the same time to try to keep warm.

    Now back in Togo he’s more important than the president and the king rolled into one. He’s like some kind of god, only rather more useful because all summer long he was handing out cash to complete strangers – kids who’ve just lost their mum or dad and need money for a coffin, people who can’t afford hospital treatment, schools that don’t have any footballs…

    We criticised him – well, I did – for being vain and deluded and out of touch with reality. We criticised him for demanding more money ‘for when he retires’. But consider what the reality was for him over last summer. Crowds, drummers, trumpeters, a vast mass of people pressing around him hoping to touch the hem of his T-shirt as he went about the country on a ‘Tour of Hope’.

    His patron, the guy who paid for his first boots and plane ticket to France, said:

    ‘He went from earning nothing to big money very quickly and he was like “Oh let me spend it” – I said “No, I want you not just to be a good player but remembered for generations to come”. He said “you mean even if I die generations will remember me. How will I do that?”

    How indeed. He’s supposed to rescue the entire nation from poverty apparently. Wouldn’t you be a bit out of touch with reality with those sort of expectations heaped on your shoulders?

  52. Ateeb says:

    Mia:
    Wow u really got touched by Ades life story. I suggest a further reading of how Imperialist Britain colonized the world. That should be an interesting read as well. Or if you’re not comfortable with your own history, I’d suggest a book called ” King Leopold’s Ghost”. It’s about Belgium’s colonization of Congo, pretty interesting.

  53. gris gris says:

    Ateeb, you are a tool. You belittle someone who is taken with the story of hardship experienced by one of the team. Can’t you let someone empathize with a real, human story without dragging the spectre of colonial oppression into it?

  54. Malaysiangunner says:

    Mia

    Thanks for the post. GUess we should stop judging people too quickly and walk a mile in their shoe as the cilche goes. Now I understand Ade a bit better and guess when you have been with monetary security for a long while , money becomes very important and moreso if he has so many more mounths to feel indebted to.

    If you read my last post I am turning around to getting to like him again strictly because the selflessness I am seeing in his recent games. The trauma of this summer may not be bad for all our growing up process.

    Up The Arse!!!

  55. Malaysiangunner says:

    without monetary security- oirrection

  56. Cyril says:

    Barton’s brother is an axe murderer, and they used to hang out together and bang up people on the streets for fun.

    For some he’s a dangerous psycho, him and dirty nick (butt) will give a bad reputation to Newcastle of being the new bully in town.

  57. Luke says:

    The window will shut in less than 18 hours… We will know soon the answer to the 64 million dollar question

  58. Luke says:

    Vieira’s presence at the Emirates last weekend has led to speculation about a possible return. Any truth to it? Will we get back the same Vieira or an over-the-hill Vieira?

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