One Step Closer

Arsenal 3 – 0 Burnley

1 – 0 Vela (25)
2 – 0 Eduardo (51)
3 – 0 WHO??????????? (84)

A performance that got the goals it deserved. Ahead of the clash in Rome this week, Arsene changed things around with Eduardo leading the line and the team through to the Sixth Round and home tie with Hull City, which if won brings a clash with Chelsea onto the horizon. Unsurprisingly, Manchester United drew the ‘easier’ side in the last four, the media salivating this morning over who will not be able to stop them on the barely able to stifle a yawn trip to another double / treble / quadruple / quintuple.

Three cracking goals and an entertaining game which defied the elements. It is a sad indictment of the top flight in English football that two Championship sides have restored my faith in football in this country. Neither Cardiff or Burnley came to ‘park their buses on the edge of their penalty area‘; both sides were prepared to set out their stall to try and play football as it should be played, taking Arsenal on at their own game as it were. It is not hard to see why their Premier League counterparts react defensively when the results are taken into account but both clubs are a credit to the game. Particular mention should also be given to Burnley in their tackling. In a week when their higher paid equivalents have shown scant regard for the well-being of their opponents, the Turf Moor club’s defenders proved that to tackle firmly but fairly is not an art-form as extinct as the Dodo; Carlisle and Caldwell in particular gave fine examples of how tackles in the area can be made without fouls being conceded.

Arsenal started well, probing on the flanks, Gibbs on the left with Arshavin and the Sagna / Eboue reviving The Good Old Days on the right. Gibbs, once more proved a capable deputy and showed more signs of being an excellent long-term prospect. He shares many things in common with his predecessors in that position; good positional sense, excellent recovery speed, productive support to the attack. He also has a right foot that is used only for standing on as his magical little dribble in the second half penetrated the Burnley area, grinding to an untimely end as he cut back inside to shoot with his left rather than let rip with his other foot.

Just past the halfway mark, Arshavin capitalised on some loose play by the visitors to scurry over the halfway line and find Vela. A quick flick on the ball between a defenders legs, another touch to take him clear of some more close attention, finished with a deft chip over the ‘keeper; forty-five yards and three touches of the ball to the back on the net, an object lesson in how to make the ball do the work to free up a player’s mind.

Much is being made of the technique for Eduardo’s goal, a stunning left foot volley following Alex Song’s deliberately weighted chip. The timing of the Croat’s movement to stay onside matched the elegance of the pass he volleyed home. Unusually, van Persie did not equal the standards when in a similar position on the other side of the area or the result would have been more emphatic.

The icing on the cake came with six minutes to go when an Alex Song backheel following some good passing between Gallas and Walcott, set Emmanuel Eboue free in the area, the Ivorian producing the coolest of finishes with a low drive into the bottom corner. If it was seen with disbelieving eyes then, that last sentence is still typed with disbelieving fingers caused not by the players involved, well, yes it was. I am going to start what will no doubt be a popular campaign, “Bring Back The Wayward Finishing Eboue, The World Is Too Scary When He Scores”. I’ll post a link to the Petition later in the week…

Many positives to be taken from the performance, not least from the determination of those ‘second stringers‘ to prove a point to the manager and their colleagues that even though everyone is returning to fitness, the squad know underperformance can be rewarded with a spot of time in the comfy chairs whilst others run around on the pitch in their place.

’til Tomorrow.

250 thoughts on “One Step Closer

  1. Le Gunner,

    Surely we would not want to pay someone 80k a week to sit on the bench. Now that Eduardo is fit surely he will play with RvP as first choice.

    I would have Bendtner ahead of Ade also.

  2. A home re-hab?

    You’re a funny fellow, Ponyboy; a man of contradictions. I hope you’re okay. Take care of yourself.

  3. We just can’t stop slagging our own players, and heaping praise at players from other clubs. Mascherano, Xabi, and Gerrard were in liverpool last season. And they just managed fourth spot. With all their experience and the “world classiness” that they possess. We’ll get to the fourth place, but with players that hardly had any experience. He** in Denilson and Song’s case it is their debut season. Their freakin 20-21 years old. What the f**** do you want them to do?
    Players like Cesc, Messi, Ronaldo are very rare, that are so good at such an early age. The rest of the football player’s are really not that gifted atleast at such a young age.

  4. Manyoo losing to inter would really shut alot of the pundits and people. I don’t want Jose to win, but as long as MANyoo comes down to earth, I woudn’t mind.

  5. Ateeb,

    Even Ronaldo was not world class at 18-19 like the other two. Ronaldo improved at lot at 21-2.

    Thierry Henry had moments but was not world-class at 18 or even 21.

    Cesc and Messi really are exceptional.

  6. AIC,
    I agree with you on all points. I just don’t get why arsenal fans don’t get excited seeing the talented young players we have. It’s blasphemeous to me, to go week in week out, slagging these players. Cesc, Nasri, Diaby,Denilson, Theo, Vela, Bendtner….and the list goes on to the reserves.

    Its outrageous to expect Vela to perform in every game, but judging from his carling cup and FA cup run, I really don’t see many players in the world that can literally try to walk the ball into the net. Seen him chip the ball over the keeper, that many strikers wouldn’t dare to. Bendtner has shown that he can be the complete striker. His reading of the game, and final balls are quite good. And his heading ability is second to none. As for Nasri, I’ve seen very few players to come from lower leagues, and adapt to the premiere league so quickly. Wonder how good he’d be in a couple of seasons.

  7. Oh Lord, please forgive me for saying this….

    I….I…..I ag ag reeeeee with AICeeeee, oh no no no. 🙂

    Of course I want the mancs to lose, we can beat Moaninho very easily…they’re old, they’re very slow…we just want him to get rid of the Mancs.

  8. G4E,

    Not you as well! I feels a bit strange with people agreeing with me on this blog.

    I agree that Inter are old and slow which is why Manu will beat them unfortunately.

  9. Alex- Its a bit disapointing that Ade is up to his tricks again. You are right With Eduardo back if we get 25- 30 million it will be a good bit of business I don’t rate him really.So I won’t lose sleep if he goes and I think he will go.

    No I don’t want Inter to beat them I would like us to meet them next round and kick the crap out of them or in the FA cup final That would be extreeeemly satisfactory

  10. Ateeb,

    It would have helped if we did not have such a bad injury-list and a couple more experienced players but some of the younger players have played more games than AW in tended. People then blame the players for not mounting a title challenge which as always going to be tough.

    Like you say, Cesc has driven the bar up so high for young players people expect too much. As I said earlier, AW himself expected too much if he thought that this squad would seriously challenged United especially with injuries as well.

  11. I feel the same AIC and Le Gunner. I think the only club that can stand up to Man Ure is Arsenal. We did beat the crap out of them over the years and we still can do it over and over again.

  12. AIC,
    I don’t think Wenger expected the injury list going so bad. If he had I’m sure Arshavin would have been bought earlier. If I remember correctly, Eduardo was ahead of schedule for his return. Both Eduardo and Rosicky, were to return by october atleast. Losing theo and Cesc was a bigger blow that followed. I don’t think any manager could have prepared for such a situation. You really can’t have like for like players for 4 positions. And we know, that if these players would have been fit, they’d be in the starting eleven without doubt.

    Imagine Liverpool losing Gerrard, Torres, Xabi, And kuyt, for the larger part of the season. What are you left with? You’re left with a bunch of average/below average players. And I can bet anything that a team without these players, would really fnd it difficult to even stay in the top half of the table. And where are we? We’re doing exceptionally well, with the bad luck we’ve had this season.

  13. “Adebayor once again has opened his big gob about interest in him from Milan and Barcelona and refused to rule out a move so I say to Ade “go you big useless fool we don’t need you.” he thinks he is next big thing in football. Ill advised fool.”

    Good God, you people are pathetic! It’s obvious that the media have started to target Ade, but you fall for it every time, because you just don’t like him and therefore you are willing to believe the worst. If he was one of your favourites, you would give him the benefit of the doubt until you know for sure otherwise.

  14. PAssenal-it is easy to blame the media This is what Ade said “Barcelona make me dream but I also like Real Madrid and Milan, who have very good players.”
    If he is dreaming of Barcelona then he can bugger off. If Fabregas says that he will get it worst , there will be an uproar from the fans It does not matter who syas thses things
    Its a fact he wanted to go to Milan last summer They bought Ronaldhino instead and then they lost interest in him and that is why he is still here. I want players to be proud to play for Arsenal I don’t want any 2 faced players using Arsenal as a stepping stone for their next big money move.

  15. Passenal, 12:33 am – I predicted the Ade bashing would re-commence by the fake-supporters and wind-up artists who take delight in infinite negativity. For heaven’s sake Le Gunner take your crap back to Le Grove, Gunnerblog and wherever else you post. You are pathetic!

  16. “Arsenal were in the running for a time,” he confirms. “Arsene Wenger appreciated me as I was his sort of player. He wanted me in his team and I was tempted, but Arsenal stepped aside when they found out the price Marseille wanted and the decision was made for me to join Bayern Munich.

  17. Hey Le Gunner, can you give me a link to Ade’s video where he said these things? I really want to hear it for myself.

  18. The meaning of “nonentity” is found in this match report

    3 – 0 WHO??????????? (84)

    Haha! Eboue deserves something better.

  19. Poliziano at 9.29PM and everyone else who can’t understand what i was saying –

    I DID NOT SAY DENILSON WAS CRAP.

    Jeez….. 😉

    I caught a bit of the reserves last night, really impressed with Frimpong and Coquelin, both guys look like they have a big future.

    And Jack of course, but we already know what he is capable of.

  20. LUKE, i think thst is more from shock than anything else really.

    we have all been predicting he would score, so the fun and joy and shock of it actually happening after the near misses is what is so exciting LOL

  21. Matt, you were not fulsome enough in your praise.

    In fact, you damned him with faint praise when most of us think he’s the best DM plying his trade in the premiership currently.

  22. LOL – Sory QoS – i will try and be more fulsome in the future.

    I still think it is acceptable to have a healthy debate on individual players, and really, my point was probably more about that.

    I don’t think it is quite deserving of some of the responses i got yesterday!

  23. Team spirit

    Agreed that no malice was ever intended. It should be taken in lighter vein and that’s how I see it too.

    I hope that we supporters of Arsenal respect the RESPECT campaign in our own way and with our own team too.

  24. Hi all

    Pls give Matt some space even if he is less fulsome in praise and utterly unwholesome in his criticisms. (LOL)

    There is surely room for everyone with a view.

  25. I think the doomer versus tinters stuff has been getting on some nerves of recent.

    Am glad the team is finding form and giving the general fans more to cheer for as one so it can only get better as we strive to win all our remaining matches this season which will sure guarantee us the CL, FA cup and maybe even 2nd/3rd

  26. Matt and Ole Gunner I enjoyed your exchange about Denilson. I think what tends to be forgotten is the sequence of events that thrust both Song and Denilson into the firing line, week in and out, perhaps earlier than AW intended.

    Back in August, AW would have expected Rosicky back in January. But we lost Cesc and Theo and Diaby out for spells too. Ramsey is young and suddenly we looked short in the middle.

    I was irritated by the clamour for a DM at the start of the season. AW brought in Vela, Nasri, Ramsey, Bisch and later Arsh, all excellent as we see now, but people were soooo sceptical about the plans.

    Anyhoo, the way it’s turned out we have 13 midfielders in the first team – Cesc, Song, Denilson, Eboue, Theo, Vela, Nasri, Diaby, Ramsey, Wilshere, Rosicky, Arsh, Bisch. That is 14 if Traore comes back, and 15/16 with a couple of very bright lads in the reserves.

    We have depth and quality. The debate about Denilson might be seen in the light of AW was already planning back in August.

    I don’t think Song and Denilson would have expected this many games this season, but the result is that their progression has been faster.

  27. Hey, Don’t get me wrong – i said yesterday, i love the way we play football, and recent performance have been good.

    I am also really looking forward to seeing what AW does when everyone is fit.

    I didn’t lay into Denilson, i just expressed a minor view on the boy.

    I do think he is a good player, and hope you are all right when you say he will develop into a top, top class one.

  28. Matt your comments weren’t that bad.

    Denilson needed this season to mature; he’s improved steadily.

    when Cesc and Ros get back we now have 13 midfielders, quality and depth. It’ll be interesting.

  29. Zimpaul,

    We have 13 Midfielders, 1 of them is world class, 2 of them are massively injury prone, and the rest is all potential.

    Potential doesnt win shit without experience next to it.

  30. Team Spirit,

    One thing weve proven over the last three weeks is that we could definitely win the championship. Cardif and Burnley didnt know what hit them when we done the crab formation

  31. Wow, depressing reading skills by the reflexive Arsene defenders. The point that was made over and over:

    1) Neither Denilson nor Song, despite their talent, were ready to be the regular DM for a club like Arsenal.

    2) Both Denilson and Song have been through the fire, D more than S, and have matured massively as players in the last 7 months. good for them.

    3) Denilson is currently (I think) the DM we need. Based on Burnley, Song might be as well. (I think long term Song will be a better fit. More tools.)

    4) During that process, we bled goals like crazy, and Cesc was out of sorts bc he didn’t trust his DM. We’ve lost our season, and are now fighting not to be out of the CL for the first time in a decade.

    5) This was not only predictable but PREDICTED by many, who were shocked that Flam/Diar/Gilb could all go and NO ONE replace them.

    Therefore:

    Wenger made an error in judgment. This was compounded by the injuries to Cesc and Theo, but we were struggling even when they were in.

    NOTE: Not a single player was slagged during the making of that argument.

  32. This discussion is stale and kind of pointless. Who is to say that Inler or even Alonso or even Bullard ffs, would have slotted right in and not got injured? What is wrong with giving young players playing time? When else are they going to get it? If Cesc hadn’t got injured things might have been different, but then we weren’t exactly pulling up trees even when he was playing. What would we be doing with the newly signed midfielders now if they were being outperformed by Denilson, Song or Diaby?

    The reality is that Wenger made his decisions and we are still in with a good chance of winning the FA cup and the CL – what is so bad about that?

  33. Nolaboyd

    ‘Based on Burnley, Song might be as well. (I think long term Song will be a better fit. More tools.)’

    V. Funny !!!

  34. 21″ Arse,

    If you paid attention to anything apart from your own drivel, you wouldn’t need to ask about Bullard.

  35. A21, obviously it does not take beating only 2 teams in league to win it, else, we would be top of the league now seeing we have won more than two games in the PL

  36. 21″ Arse,

    Some people wanted to see any signing at all, even going so far as to suggest Bullard. I think these supporters are just like WAGs, they just want to know that we have spent some money so they can brag to their Chelshit and Manure supporting mates.

    I wouldn’t expect you be part of the discussion, your mouth was probably doing what it does best in your nearest glory hole.

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