Everybody’s Happy Nowadays & Villa Preview

Bendtner, Fabianski and Good News On The Injury Front

Nicklas Bendtner and Lukasz Fabianski have joined the ranks of, oh, just about everybody and declared that they are happy at Arsenal. Bendtner declared:

If the manager picks me I will always do whatever I can. I love the pressure, you could say I prefer it and thrive on it. I love it when people are thinking that this is the guy who needs to score or create something today if we are to win. That’s how I set myself up for every game. It’s good if people have big expectations for you. If people are expecting things from me, then I’m happy to take it.

OK so it’s not a “I could be happy”” but it is sort of. Bendtner does not lack in confidence or self-belief and to be fair to the Dane, the only thing missing is goals in his mini-run in the side. He has worked hard and deserves his due reward for effort. Should be manage to add goals to his game this weekend, everybody will be talking Happy Talk.

Meanwhile, Fabianski‘s Mr 20% has bucked a trend by declaring his client to be perfectly happy at the club and with the progress he has been making. Martin Weisner, for it is he, needs to keep his head below the parapet when around his peers for they will be throwing daggers in his direction for spoiling the perception of easy pickings when it comes to unsettling Arsenal players. Mind you, what he does behind the scenes is another matter but at least he is supportive in the media. A story that will no doubt, not find its way into the back pages simply because it does not fit with their ideas about events at the club.

It seems as though there might be the equivalent of some new signings in the January transfer window with the long-term absentees, Eduardo and Tomas Rosicky back by then. Arsene said of the Czech:

[Rosicky’s] surgery went very well. He should be back with us in six to eight weeks, but that doesn’t mean he will be back playing. He will start training. I think a reasonable delay is to consider the beginning of next year.

Of Eduardo, the news was even better:

Eduardo is close to full training and should be playing in two to three weeks

Which is just about as upbeat as you could get on the news of those two players. Little doubt that Eduardo’s return, given the circumstances of his absence, will be a mental boost for those players who were on the pitch that fateful afternoon at St Andrews. Having witnessed the horrific injury first hand and his subsequent rehabilitation, it ought to convince them that with hard work and application, anything is possible.

Aston Villa Preview

Aston Villa pitch up at The Emirates today, seeking to protect their unbeaten record at the stadium. Two deserved draws from the previous visits suggest that they have the tactics of how to survive to a tee. However, the win against United last weekend ought to have brought the confidence oozing back into the Arsenal squad following a minor run of indifferent form.

Martin O’Neill’s side are sitting comfortably in the European places and seem the most likely to be the surprise Champions League qualifiers, if any emerges this season. He has them playing well although last weekend’s defeat suggests that they are not quite the finished article. Several of the team have been, if not coveted, certainly admired by Wenger in the past. Whilst I am not convinced of Barry, certainly Ashley Young and Agbonlahor would be welcome additions to the Arsenal squad.

There will not be many changes to that side, if any. Eboue is still out, van Persie still suspended. Adebayor was rated only 50:50 in Arsene-speak is probably 70:30 in reality. Almunia seems likely to make the grade being 70:30, even with Arsene’s pessimistic view. If Adebayor is fit enough to make the bench, I would be in favour of a more orthodox 4-4-2 formation, with Vela coming in as the second striker. His pace would give Villa more problems.

It seems unlikely that Wenger will concur and it would be no surprise if Diaby retained his place in the system that overcame United. Whilst this enables breaking from midfield in attack and gives protection to the defence, Villa are likely to employ a more defensive version of that formation which will lead to so much congestion that Boris Johnson would more than likely introduce a charge for the afternoon.

I would expect the team to be:

Almunia; Sagna, Gallas, Silvestre, Clichy; Walcott, Fabregas, Diaby, Denilson, Nasri; Bendtner

With a bench of:

Fabianski, Toure, Song, Adebayor, Vela, Ramsey, Djourou

Let’s hope that the players do not waste the opportunity that they gave themselves with the win over United and inflict the first defeat of Villa at The Emirates. Three points would be invaluable as United and Chelsea have relatively straightforward matches whilst Liverpool have a tricky little encounter at The Reebok, although one would expect them to win. Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

124 thoughts on “Everybody’s Happy Nowadays & Villa Preview

  1. dukegoonem says:


    villa are not man utd. man utd will always attack but villa will always defend first! wenger got his tactics or more correctly his formation completly wrong yesterday! 4-5-1 is good away or against top attacking teams but not at home to villa who dealt with our gameplan with ease and hit us on the counter!!

    listen i aint hanging wenger, im just making an observation!!

  2. Poliziano says:

    Robin van Persie for captain? One of our two or three best players; a player in the Arsenal style; and a player who makes his opinions known (so it seems). I wouldn’t say he is unsuitable for the role, but I wonder how much any single player can do to correct the problems we have faced from time to time this season. If the team is not in the mood to play from the moment they leave the changing room, what can a captain do?

    There are renewed calls today for a central defender and a central midfielder. Who should the new midfielder replace? Denilson, of course. Denilson, the great success of the season. Nasri and Walcott have had excellent games, but they have been invisible at times. I feel that is a part of the wide positions. At the start of the season, Wenger expected Denilson to fill in for one or two games. He said that if he can’t do that, we are wasting our time with him. Since then, Denilson has become almost undroppable; and it is becoming more and more clear that he is our most consistent player.

  3. Ateeb says:

    I aggree that it has been more of a mental problem rather than the lack of quality players, that explains the inconsistent form. But if things continue this way untill january, than I expect Wenger to sign a creative player rather then a defender or a defensive midfielder. Apart from other things it would also encourage competition, which is completely lacking. As poliziano rightly notes, Denilson has been the success of the season, and IMO not dropable. But maybe we need a wide player, or someone in the mould of Rosicky/hleb.
    Last season we had Hleb, Rosiscky and Cesc as the creative force. 2 of them are no longer playing. The games we lost, were mostly down to our attack not creating any chances. When that happens, it also puts pressure on the defense. So if we were to buy, come january, it seems only right to buy attacking players, rather than defenders or defensive midfielders.

    And I think we’re missing Eboue, as long as Eboue was fit, it kept walcott on his toes. Since his injury, walcott’s form has dropped. Moreover Eboue brought a bit of directness and atleast make 2 good crosses in a game.

  4. Passenal says:

    “The supporters well my SOTM goes to the train driver he pipped the 123 clap on his train horn as it passed by the stadium during the game…hands down..the other supporters…what supporters? Were there any? Certainly none in the Red Inaction section.”

    Sadly I have to agree with your whole post Frank, but particularly this part. This has to be the worst support I’ve witnessed at Emirates.

    Ateeb, I also agree that we need more creativity in the team. Cesc is off-form and there is no one else to take the pressure off him at the moment. Nasri and Walcott are too inconsistent and Diaby due to all his injuries is still playing himself back into his best form. I know a lot of people will blame Denilson as he has become this seasons whipping boy, but he is by far and away our best midfielder at the moment and didn’t do too much wrong from what I could see.

    To be fair to Wenger I’m sure he believed that Rosicky would be back by now. That set back in his recovery has hit us badly as Cesc could do with a month on the sidelines and Rosicky would be the man to replace him. I think Wenger will be forced to buy in January although the chances of a new player making an impact this season are slim. I’ll just have to continue with my prayers for Rosicky and Eduardo’s recovery. At least they could help us in the latter stages of the CL.

  5. Frank says:

    Denilson and Clichy should be the first player on the team sheet at the moment…and RvP when he is playing. All of them have the right attitude

    ……why, why, why were we not able to play our normal game yesterday???? We beat teams by passing the ball better than any other team in the world…but only when we do it with a fast tempo…yesterday the first half was so pedestrian…we seemed to be trying to play the way Astun Veeella were playing….and of course they are much better at it than us. I don’t buy the Veeella outmanouevred and outthought us mallarckey…Veeella were very ordinary looking yesterday…good at defending..competing for balls…..but ordinary…..we just seemed intent on committing suicide…..

    These players….the very same players that played yesterday are good enough to compete with anyone but why not yesterday…something is wrong at the core of the first team…..why did Nasri and Cesc go missing yesterday….the confidence seems to have drained out of them…is it the Grove?…is it the supporters?….is it that they don’t trust each other?….is it the captain?….

    Well…lets make Robin the captain…it will be like F***ing Blackbeard…rebels…pirates….f***ing hells angels taking to the pitch….no quarter…..Wengerball with bike chains…destroy every f***ing team that dares to step onto the same pitch……CMON ARSENAL…..WAKE UP!

  6. Ateeb says:

    Passenal, I would want us to win the CL, but we can’t put all our eggs in that basket. In CL room for inconsistency is very low, a bad game can knock you out cold. Not even a bad game, but 10 mins of losing focus. You need decisions to go in your favor, and pray the referees don’t **** you up. It’s a tough task to win the CL. Our team though is capable enough to win it, but as things stand right now, we’re too inconsitent.

    Last year was all about creating 5-7 good chances every ganme. The midfield trio of Rosicky, Cesc, and Hleb was unstopabble. Not including Flamini, because well he wasn’t the creative sort, and that is one position I think we are better off at the moment. But Theo and Nasri, blow hot and cold too much for my liking. Despite Hleb’s goal shyness, he would put in a good performance week in week out. Right now we haven’t been able to figure out how to break down teams that park the bus infront of the goal. And Cesc has been completely off form. Rosicky’s return could set things in order, but we don’t know when he’s going to come back and for how long he’s going to stay uninjured. Too much of a risk, we can only hope.

    What scares me is Chelseas 28 Goal difference. They were never about creating so many chances, but Scolari has changed all that. But with such open play also comes vulnurability, as results against liverpool, Manu, Roma, and Burnley show. The players really need to pick themselves up. Cesc did himself a favor, by getting suspended. Would be interesting to see who replaces him for the mancity game.

  7. Alex Ice Cream says:


    You think we are better off without Flamini? Are you Denilson’s dad? Denilson has played well this season – certainly better than Cesc but to say we are now better off in Flamini’s position is utter lunacy.

  8. Frank says:

    We are better off in Flamini’s position

  9. Alex Ice Cream says:

    Its not just a question of attitude. I have said for ages now that the balance on the team is not right and a lack of established spinal partnerships is key.

    Yesterday you had a second striker and and attacking midfielder playing up front together. Cesc/Denilson does not work and to be fair Cesc has not been the better player this season. WE needed a DM but AW couldn’t get one and we have suffered. He also failed to keep two of them last year and we are paying for it. Nasri needs time as does Theo which is why they are both inconsistent.

    The team is too small and weak which leaves us vulnerable to the long high ball or vulnerable to physically dominant teams like Villa. We hardly won a one on one tackle in the first half. There is no natural tackler in midfield, not one and we still don’t have an aerially dominant CB or a keeper who commands the area.

    The best we can hope for this season is a top 4 finish and a run in the CL or dare I say it the FA Cup.

  10. Ateeb says:

    Utter lunacy?

    A differing opinion maybe. But utter lunacy? Seriously? So tell me how is Flamini better than Denilson?

    Only last week everyone was praising Denilson against the manchest united. Just because rest of the players have been shit, does not mean you judge every player by the result. If Nasri and Cesc had performed well, and we would have created, scored, and won(yesterday). I am sure you would be praising Denilson. The only player who looked to have a fight in him yesterday was Denilson. Since he has been told to sit back, he has been doing a really good job holding the midfield, with his energy, tackles(getting better) and more importantly with his passes.

    Imagine if Flamini would have stayed. Do you think he would have done better at the moment than Denilson? We have players who have been blowing hot and cold. The only creativity coming out of cesc yesterday was to pass the ball to Denilson. If flamini would have stayed, he would have been butchered. Do you think Flamini would have done a better job by passing the ball around? What he was good at was to win the ball and pass the ball to Cesc. And trust me if that was going on now, we would have been slaughtered yeserday. Cesc shitty performances has put more burden on Denilson. Flamini wouldn’t have been able to handle that.

    You seem to forget context and circumstances when judging players and analyzing matches.

    UTTER LUNACY MY ***!!!

  11. Poliziano says:

    It’s worth remembering that we had our three best strikers out yesterday. (Adebayor played for a while, but had barely recovered from injury.) With Rosicky also out, one might say that our four best attacking players were absent. Any team in the same situation would be likely to struggle. What would Chelsea be without Drogba and Anelka and Kalou; or Liverpool without Torres and Keane and (er) Kuyt; or united without Berbatov and Rooney and Teves. Arsenal were in a difficult situation yesterday, but that fact was disguised by the excellent performance last Saturday.

  12. Ateeb says:

    And no wonder you continue to back your UTTER LUNATIC argument of the ” OH **** WE DONT HAVE A CLASSIC DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER”

    Seriously? How was that suppose to create chances yesterday? Or Any game that we drew or Lost? JUST TELL ME AIC TODAY, HOW THE ***** HELL IS A DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER GOING TO CREATE CHANCES??!!! HOW AIC?!?! HOW??!!!

    Is he going to let fabregas play his own game? Don’t give me that dumb excuse. What own game? His own game didn’t rely on FLamini for **** sakes. Sure Flamini stood his ground, which Denilson has been instructed to do now. But Cesc operated with Rosicky and Hleb, that’s where the chances flew in.

  13. Frank says:

    Yep…I agree with Ateeb…..and Poliziano…
    down the tunnel again guys…..hopefully if we get this right ….we trun left here…bit dark…got a candle….and then a right here if I remember rightly….don’t step in that it stinks awful…you will never get off your shoes either…..here’s the door…yep looks right…….and ………

  14. Alex Ice Cream says:


    Utter lunacy indeed. Flamini was so underrated its criminal. People complain that we play at too slow a pace well Flamini set a scarily high tempo which the others followed. People say we have no leadership, Flamini organised and gave the midfield drive. He could often been seen shouting and encouraging the others. He also tackled and showed other teams that we would not take any shit. He also closed the space between defence and midfield which we have not done well this season and has cost us a number of goals from distance.

    If you took Flamini out of the team last year and put Denilson in the difference would be astronomical. Denilson is the better passer but that its. In workrate, tackles and influence Flam is light-years ahead and Cesc played far better with Flam alongside him.

    I rate Denilson but he is not the type of player we need alongside Cesc. Flam was world-class last season and you are saying that Denilson is better after a few games! As I said this is complete nonsense, lunacy, drivel, call it what you will.

    Losing Flamini is one of the biggest factors for us being out of the Prem title by November, if ot the biggest.

  15. Poliziano says:

    Most of the criticisms directed at Arsenal fail to address actual problems in the team. As Ateeb has just argued, it is hard to see how a defensive midfielder would have gained us extra points this season. In defense, some errors have been costly. But the problem has almost always been that the defenders have not done what we know they are well-capable of doing.

  16. Alex Ice Cream says:


    The lack of chances created is also as you say due to the lack of Rosicky and Hleb as well as Flam. Flam aloowed the others to play their natural game and also joined in the attacks on occasions. Flamini is not a traditional DCM anyway. Flam was a pivot, a focal point and set the tempo with his perpetual motion and also provided cover for the defence. He took pressure off the defence and gave impetus to the attack.

  17. Alex Ice Cream says:

    Other reasons why we are struggling is that some of our best players of last year have left or are unavailable and the ones who are left have been off form. Cesc and Ade have been terrible, RvP has struggled at times also. Kolo and Gallas looked good at the start of last season but Kolo returned from the ACN a different player. His malaria couldn’t have helped either.

  18. Alex Ice Cream says:


    “it is hard to see how a defensive midfielder would have gained us extra points this season”

    Maybe but its not hard to see how Flamini would have gained us extra points. He is no ordinary DCM. Flam’s drive filtered through the rest of the team.

    Don’t forget that for our 4 meaningful defeats last season Flam only played once. In the CL QF v Lpool their players said that Flam going off was the turning point as our midfield lost its tempo and fluency.

    If Ade is worth 80k a week, Flam is worth double that.

  19. Ateeb says:

    “People say we have no leadership, Flamini organised and gave the midfield drive. He could often been seen shouting and encouraging the others”

    Our we playing with 15 year old kids who needs to be retold time and again that they are playing for one of the biggest clubs in the PL?? If you had attended university you would have known things don’t work the same way as they did in the school days. Shouting and abusing fellow players isnt going to work. It’s not the fuc*** army for FFS. ONE PLAYER WITH ENERGY IS GOING TO MAKE THE TEAM REALIZE THAT THEY HAVE BEEN PAID SHIT LOT OF MONEY, AND THEY BETTER GET THEIR ACT STRAIGHT?

    “In workrate, tackles and influence Flam is light-years ahead and Cesc played far better with Flam alongside him.”

    Total and utter crap. Denilson’s workrate has been amazing. Tackles, he might not be as good, but he’s good. Cesc played far better with Hleb and Rosicky. This isn’t about denilson. And put today’s Cesc in last season, and we’ll see how he played better with Flamini.

  20. Alex Ice Cream says:


    So Denilson’s workrate is better than Flams?

    No it hasnt. There is no comparison between the two.

    Flam has influence and presence and yes it does affect others. Its a very hard qulaity to find.

  21. Ateeb says:

    Amazing. Charisma and leadership qualities, are usually in born thing, it’s really difficult for people to learn them after the age of 20 or learn them at all. And judging from seasons before the last one, he never had it.Flamini was a workhorse, and that was what he was. Just like Dirk Kuyt. Call a spade a spade. Don’t make a hero out of FLAMINI. How is Flamini suppose to create chances? HOW AIC? HOW AIC??!?!

  22. Ateeb says:

    As far as I see, Theo, NAsri, Diaby, Bendtner, were playing their own game. Not much pressure to defend. Villa’s 10 man tactic behind the ball, worked. We only had pressure to defend from counter attacks. The rest of our players should have been able to play their own game. The fact is that it wasn’t about defensive midfielder. It was lack of creativity. GO WATCH THE MATCH AGAIN!!!

  23. Ateeb says:

    AIC ur post at 3:00 pm, makes more sense rather then the we need defensive midfielder argument.

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