The Sanity Of Everton Following Transfer Madness

The transfer window closed with the media’s wet dreams all answered in one go; a ‘world superstar’ move, British transfer record, most money spent on an English player and proof positive that football clubs have more money than sense although this last point will probably wait until later this week when Chelsea’s losses of £70m are taken apart.

Whilst I understand the £50m spent on Torres – it is in keeping with the fee paid for David Villa – £36m for Andy Carroll is sheer lunacy. Luis Suarez is suddenly a bargain at £23m, Ajax kicking themselves for not waiting a smidgen longer when they probably could have taken Liverpool for another £10m.

Carroll is a decent young player but for the money that has been paid for him, he has no time to learn the game, he has to be the finished product, the media will waste no time in branding him a flop. With a ponytail already in situ, it is not going to take much effort in Photoshop to impose the Geordie onto a donkey’s body. But that is Liverpool’s problem.

There was a flurry of activity at Arsenal, various loan deals confirmed with the squad trimmed for short or long term. Significant deals were noticeable by their absence, Wenger had been preparing the expectant masses for this even after Sebastian Squillaci‘s dismissal on Sunday.

No doubt some will castigate the manager for not getting rid of the current boo-boy favourite, Denilson, yet the question is whether the squad needed any attention at this moment in time? The answer to that will only come with the return to full fitness of Thomas Vermaelen.

The Belgian defender’s absence in the only real black cloud at the moment, one that shows no sign of lifting in the silence surrounding his progress. If his comeback is uninterrupted by niggling muscular injuries, Arsène can point out that he has made the right choice. Any alternative return casts doubt on Wenger’s decision not to find a short-term solution.

Nicklas Bendtner observed how important the month of February was to Arsenal’s season. Whilst the Dane is correct that there are some key matches, the volume is more important. Including next week’s ludicrously scheduled internationals – are Fifa and the TV companies one in the same? – the players have to contend with two matches each week.

This run of fixtures will test the squad. Arsène may believe that any injuries can be overcome by recalling players from loan but that rather depends on who the absentee is. Samir Nasri cannot be replaced by anyone who is currently on loan, none of those players has the same train of thought on the pitch or playing style. In those circumstances, Cesc’s fitness becomes more important than before.

The captain and Nasri have proven that they are the inspirational players, recent cup-ties have been won or saved, by this duo’s inclusion in the team. No doubt the club will be hoping that the Frenchman’s hamstring mends considerably quicker than the end of this month.

Arsène spoke of prioritising competitions, noting that history shows how hard it is to compete on four fronts. Indeed it is but with that soon to be three after the meeting with Birmingham City at Wembley, he is right that there is no need to take such decisions. My argument in light of the way this season is panning out, is that there will be no need to take such action.

The fixtures are kind in that respect. The away trip at Orient in the FA Cup will allow some of the first XI to be rotated, the Premier League fixtures immediately prior to both legs of the Champions League tie with Barcelona are kind, Wolves and Sunderland visiting The Emirates could have been more demanding.

March meanwhile is relatively relaxed. Depending on progress in knockout matches, there are probably only going to be four matches in the month, internationals once more intervening. There might only be three although I suspect that the weekend set aside for the FA Cup Quarter Finals is being eyed as a potential date for the re-arranged Tottenham game. That scheduling allows for some rest for the players before April’s hectic fixtures.

More immediately, Arsène has to find the right team for tonight’s fixture with Everton. Actually, it picks itself following the lacklustre collective display that the second string has put out in recent cup-ties. The only issue Wenger has to deal with is replacing Samir Nasri, a toss-up between Andrey Arshavin or Nicklas Bendtner.

The Russian would be an almost like for like swap in terms of the team, requiring no reshuffling. Incorporating Bendtner is not so simple. The Dane is not comfortable playing out of position on the right, asking him to be effective on the left is one step to far, despite scoring from that side of the pitch against Ipswich.

Bendtner’s inclusion would mean moving either Walcott or van Persie to the left, reducing their effectiveness. Given that the duo are key to breaking down Everton’s no doubt obdurate defence, I believe this will give Arshavin the edge in Wenger’s thinking.

The line-up I expect tonight is:

Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny, Djourou, Clichy; Fabregas, Song, Wilshere; Walcott, van Persie, Arshavin

It has been fifteen years since Everton emerged victorious at Arsenal, 76 years since they won this fixture in February. Tonight is not an occasion where those runs should end. United’s match this week is a routine home win so anything less than a victory for Arsenal will let a bigger gap emerge. That cannot be allowed to happen.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ’til Tomorrow.

538 thoughts on “The Sanity Of Everton Following Transfer Madness

  1. Firstlady says:

    Whatever fabby said(someone post the details) the ref had it coming!!he made the worst ref look like phd ref,that’s how bad he was!

  2. Remi says:

    Cesc should have just said he was a crap ref and stamped on his bollocks for good measure!

  3. Firstlady says:

    Indian the same i was watching on

  4. 1 loose cannon says:

    Moyes accuses Fabregas of abusing the ref in the tunnel and he think he should’ve been sent off in the tunnel. What a laugh ? since when players were sent off for abusing the ref verbally. They did not even get sent off on the pitch never mind the tunnel. Its a typical tactics when a manager under pressure tries to deflect the attention from him, and his team by accusing the opposition of something that no one has seen or heard in the tunnel. It reminds me of Phil Brown’s pathetic accusations in the tunnel. That was a hard earned victory, nothing was given to us if anything we were against 12 men tonight.

  5. mj_gunner says:

    If Cesc did abuse the ref, I would be glad. Weak spine anyone?? Take THAT!
    —-
    Any review’s about Vela’s performance. Sky says ‘Vela struggled on the wing’
    But that’s Sky really!

  6. Irishgray says:

    Vela was taken off after about an hour, apparently he was pretty disappointing. But in fairness he is used to playing with the Arsenal, it will take him a while to get used to the drop in the standard of assistance from his new team mates 🙂

  7. Irishgray says:

    Off to the pub with me before the Girlfriend gets home and tells me what “dinner plans” she has made this time, hate it when she does that!!!

  8. MikeSA says:

    Moyes, one of fungusbum’s special “fwiends”, unable to steal points from Arsenal despite the best efforts from his entire team of 14 on the pitch, now has to save some face with his god by trying to raise a ruckus with our player in attempt to distract our team, they probably figure they might even get him banned for a game or two to give manusa a bit of a helping hand

  9. finsbury says:

    ‘0-1 to the referee’

    ‘2-1 to the Arsenal’

  10. Passenal says:

    Just back from the game – what an atmosphere and what a result! The crowd are finally starting to believe. Even when we went behind, there were no groans and sighs directed at the players, for once they directed all their ire at the enemy – in this case the referee. I wondered if we were being too partizan at the ground but I see from the comments here that we were not the only ones who thought he should have been wearing a blue shirt. He was absolutely shocking! Our players only had to breathe near an Everton player for a foul to be called. And as for that assistant referee – how on earth do you know whether the player was offside if you are on the half-way line while the action is happening on the edge of the penalty box? Seems like poor positioning for a so called professional.

  11. dupsffokcuf says:

    MikeSA – You’re in good form tonight.

    What a game. PHEW my blood pressure was getting a bit high I think. MoTM for me Kos6 followed very closley by Clichy.

  12. nolaboyd says:

    Passenal, the assistant was dead level with Saha the whole time, so it’s even worse. It’s not that he missed something, it’s that he actually doesn’t know the rules of the sport.

    http://arsenalist.com/video/?id=xgujyz

  13. bill (not with blue letters) says:

    I agree with all this commentary madness. The only reason i kept it on this time was because i knew that once we scored, the crowd would start cheering (finally) What a difference ten’s of thousands of people screaming can make!! This has been an awesome month. We get to watch 2 matches a week, featuring some of real class players. Not to mention the ones coming off the bench… Fuck the haters!!

  14. Supercod says:

    Just got back from the match, thoroughly deserved albeit very hard fought. The lino and ref knew they cocked up. The ref saw the replay and belatedly spoke to the Lino while fab and RVP were waiting to kick off. Amusingly the half time highlights could only show the actual shot rather than the pass as it would be deemed a controversial incident..!

    Subs made a massive difference, they all made a bug impact. Arshavin showed real willingness and sharpness, Bendtner occupied the CBs allowing RVP more space and Diaby looked good playing the anchor role, especially after Jack’s foolish booking.

    Hopefully this will mark a turning point in the mentality of the squad, it’s looking like they actually believe they can do it.

    All round a good performance in spite of a shocking display by the officials.

  15. dupsffokcuf says:

    What is it with the FA. They can block a funny youtube video in hours but cannot make serious football decisions in weeks.

  16. Passenal says:

    That’s even worse nolaboyd – at the game it looked like he was behind the action, at least that would have been an excuse for his incompetence!

  17. Common Sense says:

    Cunt announcers, cunt ref.

    Anyone remember the goal taken from us at Wigan two or three years ago? Cesc played Van Persie in near the edge of the box, Wigan player got a touch, RvP slams home a class finish…no goal. Much harder to see and call than today’s bullshit.

  18. Passenal says:

    “Hopefully this will mark a turning point in the mentality of the squad, it’s looking like they actually believe they can do it.”

    Even more so, the crowd are starting to believe Supercod! If this team can get consistent backing from the crowd – even the less popular members of the squad – it will go a long way towards giving them the confidence they need for that final push. It was great to hear the Arshavin song again tonight, which I have not heard lately. The crowd were even expectant on his arrival rather than dreading his appearance, which has mostly been the case lately!

  19. Passenal says:

    Common Sense, I also remember Adebayor getting a goal called offside in similar circumstances against Middlesborough, I think.

  20. shottagunna says:

    Sky saying Vela was “disappointing” is typical of their sensational, over-hyped reporting. I watched the entire game on tv. Vela played as an inverted winger (left footed player on the right) for the first time in England and naturally is taking time to get used to that position. It is typical of West Brom who play Jerome Thomas on the left with a devastating right foot. Over the course of 55 minutes he showed some flashes but had some lows. He has so much talent that he only needs to apply himself to become a star at West Brom. If Jerome Thomas can become a star-player at West Brom then Vela has galactic potential.

  21. dupsffokcuf says:

    Passenal – I would not bank on all the fans getting behind the team. This was from an idiot on twitter about 5 mins ago about Diaby

    “he’s a moron. End of discussion.”

  22. shottagunna says:

    Supercod | February 1, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
    “Hopefully this will mark a turning point in the mentality of the squad, it’s looking like they actually believe they can do it.”
    How many more turning points must this team make before you are convinced? I am already dizzy by the amount of turns thrown in the way of this team by plundits and bloggers. As tonight demonstrated the entire football establishment in England (FA, referees and media) are so intent on robbing the Arsenal that we the fans should stop having doubts and rail mightily to expose and remove the dishonest the obstacles in our way.

  23. Passenal says:

    dups, I never expect all as there are too many morons in the world, but the overwhelming majority of in stadium support was totally behind the team tonight. I remember thinking at one point that the balance seemed better than the internet crowd!

  24. Gainsbourg69 says:

    We should buy Felaini and unleash him on the cloggers. Since his stamping on players is deemed clumsy, I’m sure he’ll get away with a bunch of nasty tackles that will be laughed off because he has funny hair.

  25. team spirit says:

    Moyes is being rather strange… if he starts to speak about it, he should finish by telling us what he thought he heard. Or as earlier suggested, he has created work for the media to deflect from his team unable to win after help from the officials?

    Since it was apparent;y off camera, how does he expect peopel to know what was said

  26. Byo says:

    Moyes has to take the focus off his bunch of kicking pathetic losers, who got beat even after being gifted a goal by the shambolic referee.

  27. Nasir Jones-Nasri says:

    Fuck em all. It’s Arsenal against the world and I’m proud to be a Gunner right about now. 11 v 14 and we still find a way to walk off with the 3 points. One of those victories that puts hair on the chest.

  28. colneyblog says:

    International games are scheduled for feb 8th and feb 9th:

    feb 8th – Ivory Coast v. Mali – Valence – Eboue
    feb 8th – Rep. of Ire. v. Wales – Dublin – Aaron Ramsey
    feb 9th – Belgium v. Finland – Ghent – (luckily no Vermaelen)
    feb 9th – France v. Brazil – Paris – Clichy, Bacary, Diaby,
    feb 9th – Holland v. Austria – Eindhoven – Rvp
    feb 9th – Morocco v. Niger – Marrakech – Chamakh
    feb 9th – Croatia v. Czech Rep. – Pula – Rosicky
    feb 9th – Macedonia v. Cameroon – Skopje – Song
    feb 9th – Denmark v. England – Copenhagen – Bendtner, Wilshere,Gibbs,Theo
    feb 9th – Malta v. Swiss – Ta’Qali – Johann
    feb 9th – Poland v. Norway – Faro – Woijciech
    feb 9th – Spain v. Colombia – Madrid – Cesc
    feb 9th – Iran v. Russia – Abu Dhabi – Arshvin

    And then after these useless round of friendlies, proper continental qualifiers will be held on 25th of march.

    feb 5th (A) – Newcastle – 15:00 gmt
    feb 8th/9th – Internationals
    feb 12th – (H) – Wolves – Only 3 to 4 days to recover from jetlag.

  29. Luke says:

    I just noticed from the replay that the “free” header by Kos was made possible by Diaby blocking/shielding him from the attempt by Feillani to challenge for the RvP corner.

  30. Frank says:

    Just got back from the game. Crowd were good last night. Especially the guys in the two rows in front of me who did not turn up and so provided me with an unobscured view of the game. Special thanks to the ginger bloke who always arrives ten minutes after the start and leaves five minutes before the end. Gives the rest of us a chance to stretch our arthritic and/or new hip and/or knee joints.

    What a bunch of bastards Everton turned out to be, especially Fellaini who can’t control a ball without using his hands, and Arteta…who is just a cheating little prick.

    Possibly some of the most biased refing I have seen in a long-time and the cries of ‘check his bank accounts’ from our stand were totally justified.

    All did well…but special mention for Andrei. ‘keep it going, son, you are pure class’.

    …..Arsenal….

  31. goonerandy says:

    Arshavin really looked sharp when he came on.

  32. viceologist says:

    You know what I find interesting? The fact that the media are trying to stir shit up in regards to Fabregas’ alleged outburst… but when Fletcher decided to yell in the officials’ face and proceeded to give him a forearm shiver in our game against the Mancs, nothing was done on the pitch to punish him. There wasn’t even a mention of it in the media…laughable bias!

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