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Wenger Boys Make It Complicated

Due to a lunch hour that has been diminished by a nationwide cash machine shortage, I will have to make today's exchanges brief. (A real challenge for me, let me tell you!)

Over at my other literary Arsenal employers, the gooner, we have been trying to ascertain what would make a great Arsenal anthem. A chant in the vein of #You'll Never Walk Alone# or #Blue Moon#, something instantly evocative of our club and its unsurpassed history. At this rate, Avril Lavigne's #Why Do You Have To Go and Make Things So Complicated?# might just be our signature tune! (NB, this was not meant to be a plug for the gooner, nevertheless, new issue this Saturday!)

What on earth has to happen for Arsenal to apply some defensive concentration in the opening stages of home games? One has to question why this mistake is being repeated constantly. (Speaking of signature tunes, #Over and Over and Over Again# seems to strike a chord of resonance). Once again, Arsenal were lacksidaisical in defence and found themselves a goal down in the first half. The phrase 'here we go again' was palpable in the thick winter air, as Arsenal put their wotsits right on the line (not to mention their Champions League future). Seriously, as a child, how many times do you put your hand in a blazing oven before you realise it's a bad idea? The 'comme ci, comme ca' nature of our defending threatens our season, and it nearly dealt us an enormous blow last night. The goal also confirmed that, for all his industry, Mathieu Flamini just is not good enough to do the 'screening' job. Throughout the game he did not pursue the ball in the correct areas and I can remember few occasions when he won it back for the team. The first half petered out into a damp squib, Hleb's shot crashing the crossbar our solitary moment of danger as the players did not seem to grasp the gravity of the situation.

I'm certain that it does not happen often, but I'm willing to bet money the crockery was damaged at half time as Arsenal enjoyed a second half resurgence. They began to press the ball in all areas and were rewarded with a swift equaliser. What followed bears discussion. I sit in the East Upper opposite the dugouts and I am convinced I saw Henry gesticulate wildly to the Arsenal bench. At first I was aghast as he appeared to flick a provocative v-sign towards Arsene Wenger. But in hindsight, he was obviously reminding the manager of the merits of a two man forward line. This also suggests that Henry lost his rag at half time, fed up with being isolated as a lone striker. Seconds later, Henry was booked for a petulant charge at Joris Mathijsen which sees him miss the Porto game. Is this inspired leadership or moon faced sulking? I'll let you decide. Either way, I do not think we will play 4-5-1 at home again.

The Gunners huffed and puffed again thereafter in a similar vein to the Everton, Boro, Newcastle and Villa matches. But le boss showed further tactical acumen with two substitutions that were to change the game irrevicably. I raised my eyebrows in a mixture of surprise and disgust to see Hleb and van Persie substituted, but Adebayor and Walcott changed the match. They bought the side a refreshing vibrancy. Adebayor charged around like a man possessed, closing down space and holding the ball up, bringing others into play. But his most effective contribution was to maraud down the right hand side. His nuisance factor pulled defenders all over the shop, allowing room for the pace and guile of young Walcott. Hamburg had substituted a left back for a striker following the equaliser, and Eboue, Walcott and Adebayor declared open season on the right hand side. It was therefore no surprise that Arsenal took the lead when Walcott fed an overlapping Eboue, and Wachter spilled his shot gloriously into the net. The third had a nice touch of symmetry to it for Wenger, as Adebayor linked up excellently with fellow substitute Walcott and his pinpoint cross was met with a firm header by the Beeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaasssssssssssssst! A glimpse of what he can give us, and a goal created by all three substitutes. Relief collectively washed over us with a crucial three points had been bagged. Hopefully, this result will give the side the confidence to surmount one goal defecits. On the other hand, let's hope that it gives the players to good sense to CONCENTRATE!!!!

With the relief having evaporated into early morning frost, a few notes of caution. Firstly, we still have it all to do. I managed to catch most of the Porto Moscow game in the Tavern and Porto looked incredibly dangerous. Estadio Dragao had a fiersome reputation as a cauldorn of partisan support and obtaining the much desired draw is by no means a foregone conclusion. The fact that we are shorn of our captain, frankly, does not greatly trouble me. To be honest, I think he could do with the rest with the game sandwiched precariously between two huge London derbies. Also, Zagreb, Hamburg and United away have all been achieved without his influence this season, this side can play without him and I have full confidence that his loss will not be greatly felt. Another thing troubles me, the law of averages suggests that we had to win from a losing position sooner or later. Likewise, the universe could have its wicked way on December 2nd too, because sooner or later we'll lose from a goal down. If you shoot yourself in the foot enough times, you'll eventually die of blood loss, comprende? LD.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday November 22 2006

Time: 1:27PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
I think the result means Van der Vaart could be available in the January window - for £8-10m and aged 24 he looks great value. Plus his wife is seriously hot
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22/11/2006 14:09:00

i have been saying for weeks now, the pretty stuff is lovely to watch, but we need to get ugly and scrap a goal when we need it, lets face it, chelski have been doing that for 2 years now !
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22/11/2006 14:10:00

van der vaart would be an excellent signing, but i reckon sahin would be a lot better in the long run.
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22/11/2006 14:12:00

Tim, as you point out going a goal down is a dangerous habit to get into. Let's face it Hamburg are not top drawer! But nonetheless, a good comeback for you blokes.
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22/11/2006 14:14:00

Good one, LD. I agree partially with what u said abt Flamini, a poor game, but give him some more time, and I think he will be there coz he is still young. apart from that, the article was spot on. Atleast now, we seem to have reached a stage where we can win after going one goal down. So soon enough, we will hopefully be in a position where we do not concede a goal soon.
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22/11/2006 14:52:00

harry is she hot ? i will have to check that and come back to you, and protocal, sahin would be a good signing, but i feel you are playing too much football management games, there is no way the germans are going to release a quality youngster as nuri sahin to us.
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22/11/2006 16:57:00

yes vdvs wife is very tasty, i would love to see him play for arsenal, hes 24 would fit into our system, and can score crackers when ever he wants. The goal last night was the norm for van der vaart, take a look at the guys goals from last season, scores all the time from outside the box, something we lack. Wont happen though, we wil have so many midfeilders it would be ridiculous, and wenger has already said he isnt going to buy any one, but i still have hope.
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22/11/2006 17:21:00

Good luck getting to the next round,where hopefully your get knocked out by the first half decent team you've met.The smell of repetition is clearly on you.
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22/11/2006 20:45:00

buying van der vaart would be a complete arse-up. not because I doubt his merits as a player, but i do recall everyone saying how much they love rosicky, where'd he play if you want van der vaaart so much? Also, Theo would see his playign time threatened , seeing as arsene has said for the next 2 years he wil be playing on the wing. What would happen to cesc if VdV came? nothgin of course, but more importantly, where on earth would you play him? we have all bases covered now, creative midfield players is something we definitely don't need. Time together, as a unit, is. »Arsene Knows««
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22/11/2006 21:02:00

HTG, you think "the smell of repetition" is bad? You should have smelled the bogs in the Totts dressing room on May 7th. Greenpeace declared it an exclusion zone. #You shat in the sink, you shat in the bath, Champions League you're havin a laugh.#
Little Dutch
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22/11/2006 21:29:00

Rosie's are red,violets are blue you aint winning the league or any cup's too.
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22/11/2006 22:06:00

van der vaart is different from all our other midfeilders, we have 2 main creative mids, cesc and rosicky and we could do with one other who could play on the wing in van der vaart, he can score long range goals, and cesc definetly cant. There was talk about buying ribery not too long ago and there were no complaints about no enough room, a deep squad is good??
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22/11/2006 22:23:00

Roses are red, violets are blue, what have you won, since 1962?
Little Dutch
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22/11/2006 22:52:00

roses are red, violets are blue, thirteen league titles to your crappy two. »»Arsene Knows««
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22/11/2006 23:52:00

i don't see van der vaart as a winger, i see him more similar to a rosicky type who plays all across the pitch, and whilst positionally and style of play-wise, he may fall somewhere between rosicky and van persie, i don't feel he's sufficiently different enough to warrant a purchase. Anyhows, methinks if wenger wanted him, he would have bought him before he juined hamburg, when he went for an absolute steal. It's unlikely he'd be so cheap again... »»Arsene Knows««
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22/11/2006 23:55:00

yes thats true wingston, and anyways arsene wont buy him. I didnt call him a winger, i meant he can play there sort of as he did for holland against england. But i spose we do have enough in that position, i just really want a goal scoring midfeilder who can score from range.
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23/11/2006 01:09:00

I think Rosicky will start to score consistently from that range, soon enough. He's already shown that he is willing to shoot from distance. Just a matter of time.
Report Abuse
23/11/2006 10:24:00

he scores occasionally from range and close range, hes never really been a consistent goal scorer but he does a different job.
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23/11/2006 12:53:00

What VdV offers is a quality left foot .. its been ironic his last two goals have been with the right. He'd been an excellent signing for Spurs, especially as Hamburg will now miss out on the UEFA Cup as well. At Arsenal I think you'd end up with two many similar players in Hleb, Rosicky, Ljungberg and even Van Persie who can play down the left. I think if you paid £9m for VdV it would still be money well spent
Report Abuse
23/11/2006 12:56:00

Van der vaart is very similar to Malbranque but a left footed version.
Report Abuse
23/11/2006 15:00:00

better than malbranque
Report Abuse
23/11/2006 15:24:00


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