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Rust Never Sleeps

Happily, this will be the last match report that I will write from my armchair, come the next round of the knockout stage I will be back cruising the Ryanair websites and scouting the cheap continental beer. As I write this, seven of my good friends are sunning themselves in 23 degrees of Andalusian heat- and I hate them all! (For the benefit of Tottenham fans, I have spoken to them and they reported no altercations with the police and no trouble at the match at all, quelle surprise). Eyebrows were raised when Wenger took a weakened squad out to Southern Spain, with qulaification but not top spot secured. I understand this decision, we have ten games in December, seven of which are away, two heated London derbies to negotiate and we end the month with fixtures at Pompey and Everton. This will test our resources to the maximum and I understand resting crucial players. This decision might not come off, the resulting defeat may result in a loss of confidence/ momentum, but frankly we are not going to obtain maximum points in December, nobody is, so Wenger is clearly playing the percentages in terms of trying to protect players. What I do know is is that if we attempt to stick with the same XI all season long, we will be exhausted come March and will in all probability lose tired players to injury. This was a decision made in the long to medium term and castigating Wenger for it straight off misses the point, we will not discover until the Spring time whether this risk pays off. It might not, but top managers have to make these risky decisions all the time, it's a necessary ingredient to success. Wenger gets more right than wrong, so I'm willing to finish second in this group if it slightly enhances the probability of remaining top of the Premiership come January. If we want to win the Champions League, we have to beat the big boys anyway, and if we can't do that it might just as well become apparent in February, as April or May. A glance at our last two campaigns will tell us that PSV Eindhoven knocked us out in the 2nd Round, Real Madrid didn't.

Anyways, Arsenal started the game very positively, playing their neat passing game which hushed the partisan home crowd. On eleven minutes Arsenal took the lead, a wonderful Eboue backheel down the right hand side found the impressive Niklas Bendtner, he had all the time in the world to pick out a precise cross which found Eduardo. The Crozilian chested the ball down, fended off Dani Alves and slotted the away side into an early lead. Sevilla looked all out of puff from there on, with Denilson and Fabregas controlling the centre of the park and Sevilla lacking the inspiration and inclination to supersede our dominance. Bendtner was proving too much for Dragutinovic, but was too often isolated with Eduardo marooned out on the left. The home side became tetchy and indisciplined, a sure sign of our superiority. But Arsenal were the architects of their own downfall, a hopeful punt forward from Adriano was hopelessly sliced by Senderos, who was under no pressure, Navas forrayed onto the loose ball but his low cross only found Gilberto, but a poor clearance arrived perfectly at the feet of Seydou Keita who bent an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net with the outside of his left foot. Senderos' attempted clearance had an horrific air of Sunday league about it, watch highlights of all the Champions' League games this season and I bet you won't see another error quite so amateurish. Gilberto's clearance likewise summed up a poor performance, having played twice for Brazil last week he shouldn't have been suffering from lack of match practise. Flamini will not fear for his place on Saturday.

Gilberto almost provided Sevilla a second assist when his lacklusture pass fell straight to Luis Fabiano, fortunately Kolo Toure roared back with a last ditch tackle which put the Brazilian off sufficiently to scuff his finish. Sevilla were well on top and cemented their new found swagger with a second goal. Alves cleverly drew a foul from Traore on the left, and without Gallas barking instructions, Arsenal let Luis Fabiano in totally unmarked to head home the free kick. The commentator suggested Almunia might have saved it which I felt was a laughable suggestion, it was a sweet header buried right into the bottom corner, the defence are the ones who take the blame here. The Gunners' had a brief forrasy forward, Fabregas found Bendtner on the edge of the box, his teflon coated boots somehow kept the ball (as they did all night) under tremednous pressure from two defenders, he nudged the ball back to Eduardo but Palop managed to save despite being stranded on the ground with Bendtner's sizeable frame astride him. That was the second occasion Eduardo had fed off of Bendtner, so quite why Eduardo spent the entire match upfront alone baffles me, Eduardo clearly wasn't comfortable on the left. Bendtner was retaining the ball all night alone only to be handicapped by a lack of support. Eduardo's only notable contributions were in the box feeding off of him, so why Wenger did not pair the two together I cannot tell you.

Sevilla could easily have grabbed another before half time, Almunia beat Fabiano's shot straight out in front of him, but Kanoute screwed the rebound wide with the goal gaping. It was now Arsenal's turn to lose their discilpine as Hoyte could easily have seen red for a cynical and cowardly stamp on Alves. Denilson too went into a challenge and two footed and can consider himself fortuituous not to have been red carded. A swinging Alves volley was met with a swinging volley from Keita as Sevilla finished the half well in the ascendancy. We had well and truly dug our own grave. The second half brought little change, save for Pulsen's trip on Eboue not drawing a stonewall spot kick. with Bendtner still our most effective player, but confusingly Wenger persisted with wasting his good work by employing him as a lone striker. Adriano directed an Alves cross narrowly wide. Controversy ensued as Senderos chested away an Alves cross, and the referee ridiculously awarded a penalty. With the linesman not buying it the referee reversed his decision. Correctly so, but it was a terribly convoluted way of not awarding a penalty, that's really rather easy, just don't blow your whistle!

Fabregas gave way for Rosicky, but instead of putting the Czech on the left and moving Eduardo upfront, Rosicky was given a free role behind the lone striker. It was clear from then on that we could not salvage a result. Wenger began to lose his cool on the touchline and was ordered off. But without being able to access the stands, Wenger steadfastly stood behind the dugout. The implication was probably that he should go down the tunnel, his subsequent refusal was rather childish it must be said and it will probably land him in unnecessary strife. With Arsenal pushing in vain for an equaliser, Sevilla broke and condemned us to our first defeat. Alves' umpteenth cross of the match was all set for the feet of Fredi Kanoute, but Toure and/ or Sagna bundled him to the floor and the penalty was the only decision. Kanoute cooly rolled it home and control of the group was wrestled from our control. The performances of Bendtner and Traore were rare bright spots in an otherwise naive display. It's disappointing to have surrendered control of the game so easily, but if I could have chosen a game to lose in the next month, I would have chosen this one. Time will tell if Wenger's gamble will pay off.LD.








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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday November 28 2007

Time: 1:24PM

Your Comments

Disappointing result, but not the end of the world, hopefully we'll win in our last game and see where that leaves us at the end of qualifying, you never know, Seville could lose to Prague. Meh.
Gunnerman
Gilberto was very average on both games he played for brazil, because he isn't having a good run of games.
k_chelski
That was the worst refereeing I have seen since Graham Poll's disaster between Australia and Croatia at the World Cup. Clap, clap, ***** knuckle! But honestly, we were absoloutely *****e, especially considering we took such an early lead. What has to happen for us to win a penalty though? Does a player literally have to have his leg broken off in the box? It is starting to seem that way.
Ozi Gooner
I think only Bendtner & Kolo can truly say they did well!! Disapointing, but out of all the games we've played so far this season, this was the one I'd "want" to lose.
Rocky7
The upside here is that we know we can give Adebayor a breather and trust Bendtner to perform. I also have to mention something that came out of Walcott's brief cameo, this boy really has to up his workrate, his defensive output is easily the worst of our squad. It was really frustrating to see him lose the ball and not bother to chase back when he had been on for two minutes. I hope that the Arsenal fans hysterical hyping of him hasn't given him English Footballer's Syndrome.
Little Dutch
It'll prove to be the best thing that could have happened. 1: Kick up the bottom
hatespur
3:We are better of facing a good side in the next round
hatespur
2. Wenger will realise he needs a centre half before Kolo disappears
hatespur
Good report LD. Eboue's theatrics didnt get a mention though. I thought he had cut it down, but it doesnt look that way. This kind of nonsense doesnt help when coming to penalty decisions not awarded. Hoyte's stamp was alo unnecessary, and untypical of him. The defence was sloppy, too many mistakes for a CL game, and we were lucky that we werent punished every time. That said, Seville's passing game was very good, esp in the 2nd half. We were outplayed by the better team.
prits
4:Some top players have rested before a crucial December period
hatespur
Also, i think we should be unanimous in our criticism of Eboue's antics. If he hadn't been such a t*** for an hour he'd have got a penalty.
hatespur
I think past theatrics may have counted against Eboue, but to be honest I don't think he was too bad at all. A little over reactive at times, but no more than a myriad of other players on our team or their team, it's just Eboue has more of a reputation. Kanoute exhibited some theatrics but correctly wasn't denied a penalty, Walcott went down holding his face at the end when there was no contact with his face at all. Senderos' performance last night was awful, but Phil has always been the type of guy who needs a run of games to get confidence, still I'd be tempted by Djourou.
Little Dutch
Well i for one am very disappointed by this lose and will be more disappointed if we draw a hard team in the knock out round.
AB_Arsenal
A number of players from Sevilla were worse than Eboue last night as far as theatrics go but that doesnt excuse his consistent *****iness, for lack of a better word. Alves was disgraceful repetitively, Navas dived for the frree kick for their second goal, Fabiano is a tampon. Stil regardless of wether or not Eboue has a reputation that never seems to stop Gerrard getting penalties that arent there, or Carragher giving them away when they are for that matter, so there is still no excuse for the decision that could of changed the game, but there is also no excuse for the averageness of our performance. So all I can say is at least this wasnt a more important game. The problem, and the reality, is though the obvious penalty calls not going our way has already happened twice in big games (Carragher and Vidic) and could cost us badly this year.
Ozi Gooner
AB, we'll be better off playing a top team. We had the best tie of the the draw last year and got beat. LD, i like to love everyone who wears the shirt, Eboue makes it difficult. He dives, he moans about everything and always looks like he is sulking. I personally would get rid.
hatespur
I know what you mean, he makes me cringe at times too, but I still think there are other members of our squad who have as much to answer for. RVP being one, some of Lauren's tackling wouldn't have been out of place on Mean Machine, but he received little flack. Criticising Eboue has become acceptable, which is fair enough, but we have to criticise all of our players who are responsible and I don't think we do.
Little Dutch
Ralphie's tackles became legendary. It is diffent for me being commited than having Eboue's petulance. If i had gone last night (regardless of the result) I'd have been spitting feathers at the way he had behaved. I could'nt give a flying intercourse about the behaviour of the Seville players, that's their lookout. I just want Gooners to behave in the way we have become accustomed.
hatespur
Yeah, at least RVP and Ralph were funny when they acted the ****. Like Laurens tackle on Ronaldo a few years back or RVP's 'hand of god' attempt against Pool last year at home. Both comedy gold.
Ozi Gooner
For me LD, is not the fact the Eboue makes the most of things in order to win free-kicks (which should be criticised for any player who does this) it's the manner in which he does it. van Persie has taken a tumble or two in his time, but when the FK has (or has not) been awarded, he gets up and gets on with it, Eboue cries for 20 minutes and then tries to exact revenge on the player who didn't do anything in the first place. Last night Hoyte got nuged and slammed into the advertising hordings, he got straight up and ran back to his position, I remember wondering what would have happened had it been Eboue. Eboue is easily the worst offender in our team, he's an embarrassment.....especially as he's a decent player.
Rocky7
A lot of Eboue bashing going on here. He did give a somptuous back-heeled pass for the first goal. I agree that his play-acting is embarrassing and ridiculous at times but he is still young and Wenger will have a word. After all he's not the first one and certainly not the worst one. You can't dismiss a player for that. They can't all be Roy Keanes.
Gael-Force
Does anyone have a view on whether Senderos' inept perfomance last night will prompt le Boss into the market come January?? Bearing in mind we have Kolo out for maybe 6 weeks, he may be pushed now.
hatespur
Fair point and I won't say you're wrong to do that. But I just hope the reaction is the same the next time RVP kicks out or falls easily, or Walcott goes down holding his face. Eboue's mannerisms in committing these acts are embarassing because, a bit like Drogba, for somebody so committed to hystrionics he's incredibly unconvincing. RVP is a bit more snide about it, but he's still essentially doing the same thing. Vieira was equally as capable of falling like a pansy under the slightest contact, as of course was Pires, but it was considered less acceptable to slate them so they weren';t as widely condemned. I don't honestly think Eboue was so bad last night, he made a meal when he was genuinely hit in the throat, but nowhere near to the extent he made out. I have probably seen a hundred incidences of Arsenal players exaggerating contact in the last year which drew no attention.
Little Dutch
But twenty minutes later Hoyte stamped on someone. Like I said, I'm not defending Eboue per se, but RVP has been known to exact some revenge in his time. As I've said, Eboue just has this childish air about him, whereas RVP looks more like a nutcase which somehow makes it more acceptable. What I'm saying is that both players are committing the same act with the same intention, it's just one is slightly better at doing it than the other.
Little Dutch
I can see what your trying to say HS but i would rather play an easier team this season, in which we have proved we can dispose of any weaker opposition than a tougher opponent which will always cause us more trouble especially if injuries start to pill up by February next year. Also i definitely think Wenger will but another CB in January their is now way he can continue playing Senderos anymore.
AB_Arsenal
I'm starting to feel that something has to be done about another CB. I had a lot of time for Senderos and a run of games may have him come good but its not really something we can risk at the moment. Djourou hasnt been exceptional for Birmingham but thena again he's not playing beside Gallas, Clichy and Sagna so if he comes back it maybe okay. I strongly doubt if Wenger will panic buy though unles he plans on selling Phil.
Ozi Gooner
Look back to the other year when RvP took a tumble in a European match, I wrote an article condemming his actions, as I always do when it's a Gooner, I have a go at Eboue more than any other Arsenal player because he's playing the **** more than any other Arsenal player.
Rocky7
LD, we obviously have differing definisions of cheating. I don't consider what Essien done at the weekend as cheating, but more a blatant attack on another player. What Eboue does week in week out is cheat, plain and simple. RVP or Hoyte for that matter are no less culpable, but more defendable in their actions. Eboue's antics at Anfield last season gave me cause to hang my head in shame, whereas RVP or Hoyte reacting over aggresively to a foul makes me think that the red mist has come in and they are a little silly for taking the bait.
hatespur
Refreshing to see fans criticising unsporting behaviour of own players, did not see game last night so can't comment on Eboue behaviour. But have notice in previous games his tendency to over react, and I have to say when he's mad he's pretty scary
Topspur1
I remember the article Rocky, as I remember the incident. RVP does it quite a lot, what I'm saying is that I remember countless occasions of other Arsenal players doing the same things as Eboue is doing, but without attracting attention. Sagna for example very much made a meal if a challenge McCann put on him a few weeks ago, but it was ignored. Pires and Vieira dived regularly in an Arsenal shirt but niether attracted anywhere near the same consternation as Eboue. The Anfield example is a pertinent one, because he was castigated for feigning injury, but missed six weeks of the season with the injury he was accused of faking. Like I say, Eboue's big problem is that he looks like an idiot, in the same way Beckham used to in his tantrums with his stupid pouting, but whether whingeing like a bitch or snarling like a nutter, a dive is a dive and a hack is a hack.
Little Dutch
Have to disagree with you regarding Pires, he certainly got the attention from his antics, probably more-so than Eboue. I think the other players maybe "get away with it" more because they do not go over the top.....but that said, none of the other Arsenal players are at it as much as Eboue. Nowhere near.
Rocky7
Agreed Ld, I personally would rather a player of ours be accused of being a hacker than a diver. At Anfield, you are right. Eboue did have a long term lay off after the game, but if i remember rightly it was due to a challenge much later in the game than the 5-6 he feigned injury for. Trust me, i'm a season ticket holder (in fact i'm not far from you) and i never give anyone in an Arsenal shirt undue critisism, but Eboue goes over the top sometimes. If we are going to chastise others for diving/cheating/feigning injury then we should offer our own the same criticisms.
hatespur
TS1, we were of the more vociferous persuation when Zokora dived against pompey, so it's only cricket that we do the same with our own players.
hatespur
The problem with Eboue is now that if he does get genuinely hacked, we will never know if he's hurting or feigning. In fairness he did get hit in the neck/throat area which can be painful. Maybe Eboue has just a low pain barrier... It wasn't the turning point of the game... his non-given penalty may have been.
Gael-Force
Absolutely, that's what I'm saying, we should criticise all of our players and we blatantly don't. We criticise Eboue, but ignore it when others from our team are just as guilty. Pires got media attention but not criticism from Arsenal fans. Vieira would dive two or three times a game, I don't think Eboue is that prolific, Vieira was just much cleverer about how he went about it.
Little Dutch
Gael, he went down like a fat dog on a wet lino. In fact, i've known fat chicks go down with less gusto than that.
hatespur
From a personal point of view LD, that's exactly what I do, and believe Eboue to easily be the worst offender....since Bobby left anyway.
Rocky7
There is definitely a reason for Eboue being criticized the most. Others might also dive (and cheat) but Eboue is the one who makes me embarrassed in form of my friends who aren't arsenal fans and i think its the same for most gooners.
Spartan Gooner
I think people are being too harsh on Eboue. He is not worse than many of the players in the league and not far worse with some of our players. Yesterday he was targeted by the Sevilla mob and I can recall a number of dirty tackles, stamps, elbows and pushes on him by Crespo, Adriano, Poulsen and especially Dragutinovic.
G4L
spartan gooner-aint nothing worse is there when a player from "your" team dives, i ended up getting sick of watching Robben play, ended up being pleased we got rid of him, and purely down to not wanting to be embarrassed by him. the worst thing is these players are good enough to not need to dive. it'll be interesting to see how your guys react to the first defeat of the season, tis what the rest of the country has been waiting for. lets see how you guys do against villa.main thing is tho that your thru to the last 16 despite last nite
SMOKIEJACK
I think you might be right about being harsh on Eboue, but it's impossible to not be affected by his reputation. When you know that someone is inclined to act, how long do you go on giving them the benefit of the doubt whenever they go down? Last night when Eboue got an arm in the face and I saw it with my eyes, it was one of the few times I fully believed him. Like most people I dont like cheats, no matter their colours. Diving and cheating to swindle the ref (and the fans) are different to what Navas did to earn his free kick yesterday - he just made 100% sure of getting a foul by exaggerating his fall a bit, but it was a foul. Telling the difference between the two forms isn't easy.
Andy-bayor
G4L, that whack in the throat was nothing that doesn't happen 20 times per game, He went down like he'd been shot and continued to make a meal of it after the game had resumed. I don't like to see other teams do it and I won't defend our players doing it. Ironically, the only time he didn't dive he was denied a blatant penalty. S.J, this was a meaningless defeat regarding the other Premiership teams. Whatever happens at V.P, it won't be because of last night's result. We rested a load of players and having been at our recent games, I thought we needed a little kick up the kyber.
hatespur
hs, it happens but the offenders get punished most of the time. Especially if it is on purpose. Yesterday there was no punishment for the offender. Players (not only Eboue) are intelligent enough to see when refs miss a decision and try to influence the next one by exaggerating the first. Some times it works and sometimes not.
G4L
G4L, Like Hoyte stamping on the Brazilian?? Swings and roundabouts.
hatespur
I deplore the tendency to do this whoever it be. I would like to point out though RvP has cut out the acting largely this season. hopefully he will continue to do so. the problem with Eboue is he has not learnt to control it. The interesting fact was in the ManU game he was on the best behaviour though out. But one of the major problems with Eboue's antics is that they have this tendency to disrupt the rhythm of our play apart from being looking very silly. When the opposition player makes a "professional" foul (I don't know what is professional about it), the team should respond ideally by upping the level of play. I dont know the best way to respond. We should call the referee to protect our players from thuggery from the opposition, but at the same time we should not be doing theatrics like Eboue or RvP.
questforavalon
One more point: Our run this year has its origins in two occasions. RvP's wonder goal in the final minutes to win Emirates Cup (against Inter) and the Fabregas' tackle on Thomas Repka when the later said he will "sort" us out. This is what we neec against any opponents who think they can tackle us out of the game. Maybe the first choice team learnt it this year. Lets hope they pass the spirit on to the rest of the squad (the second choice) very soon as we would need them in the comming months esp this december.
questforavalon
I think our season this year has been built on more than that quest, bit too simplistic there.
AFC85Lew
Bad refereeing in a sevilla match sound very familiar.. you only got it in one match so quit Whinging. What will become of the Arse that is Mr whinger?
cockeril
We will be fine this season. And you can take that to the bank.
Warri Gooner
Some criticism of Eboue for this game is deserved. I am probably more annoyed coz he has a history. The difference between this and other incidents that LD pointed out is that the other players dont do it as often. With Eboue, his theatrics happen all too often, hence the increased focus / criticism for him. But there is far more to discuss in this game than just Eboue.
prits
I think what gets us about Eboue is his mannerism and general vibes he gives off - he just comes across as a whinging, play-acting, cry-baby, so does't elicit any sympathy. It is quite similar to the way that Drogba used to be, in many cases worse. Shame cos if he really gets his head down, he could be truly top class.
Gooner_Vin
I'm not buying the criticism of the ref, he didn't have a great game, but we were fairly beaten by the better team so complaingin about the official is just bitter. Like I've said with regards to Eboue, Vieira dived more than Eboue does in an Arsenal shirt, but got no criticism from the fans, nobody has come out for a suitable explanation as to why Walcott went down clutching his face when there was no contact. Having a go at Eboue is a bit of a fashion statement for us to show our objectivity, Eboue is the poster boy for our own sense of fair play. I'm just saying let's see this applied to everybody, let's all stand up and say, Hoyte shouldn't have stamped on Alves. Nobody moaned more than me when Noble assaulted Hleb, so let's be fair and say Hoyte was just as wrong and cowardly. Let's all say Denilson should not have gone into a challenge two footed, just as Paul McShane shouldn't have. I just don't see that all players get castigated as much as Eboue.
Little Dutch
Shame really, apparently he's a really nice bloke off the pitch. You're right with the Hoyte thing, if Barton for eg had've done it to one of ours there would've been a backlash.
AFC85Lew
LD- why do you keep saying we have 10 games in December?? Maybe I'm missing a game but I make it 9 matches. Of those 9, 1 is a CC game where Wenger will just play the youngsters anyway & 1 is a meaningless match at home against Steaua, where again Wenger will just play youngsters. It makes no difference to Steaua anyway because they are definately bottom of the CL group, no matter what happens against us. So that means technically speaking, the first choice players only have 7 games to contend with!!
Ashburton Gooner
The Steaua game's not meaningless at all? As Sevilla winning in Prague is nothing to take for granted, the Slavians are v proud of their side, believe me.
AFC85Lew
Apparently nobody cares about winning the group so it is meaningless. Sevilla need to win, Slavia Prague don't & Slavia are going for their own league title so why would their manager risk players in a match where the result is not going to alter their position?? He will play back-up players & Sevilla will walk away with the result they need. Wenger on the other hand could play the academy side & win against a Steaua team that will have no interest in playing this game.
Ashburton Gooner
Dunno mate, don't think the game in Slavia will be that easy, it was effin freezing out there couple of weeks back and will only be colder now. But anyway, yeah we do only have 9 games in Dec.
AFC85Lew
AG, I think its a bit off the mark to suggest that nobody cares about winning the group. That would be nice of course, but its not a huge blow to our chances if we finish 2nd. It depends on your priorities as well, coz you are keen that we win the CL this season, while I would be more happy if Arsenal won the Premiership.
prits
We seriously need another CB when Kolo goes to the ACN, Eboue will also be travelling so there will be less competition for the place on the right wing.
stukazufuss
Think the chances of Arsene bringing in another CB for January are slim to nil, couple of reasons - one, he wouldn't want to completely destroy the already fragile confidence of big Phil (who he rates) and two, what CB of our calibre is likely to come, for a month?
AFC85Lew
I'd love to finish first in Group H, but I'd rather be first in the Premiership. Like I say, if we're gonna win the CL we've got to beat the good sides eventually, and if we can't we might as well go out in February as opposed to "doing a Tottenham" and beating the lesser lights before getting undone by higher quality in April. I'm not saying the CL isn't important, but the league must be the bread and butter, everything else is an offshoot of that. I don't believe Sevilla will lose in Prague, though it's not a foregone conclusion. Wenger didn't just throw this group away willy nilly, he's said numerous times in the past, including last season, that he regretted not resting players before seeing them tumble out of competitions in the last stages. It's a risk that I can certainly understand, time will tell if it's correct. He took two pretty big gambles this summer, selling Henry and installing Gallas as captain. Thus far, both have looked very good decisions.
Little Dutch
LD- As far as I can remember (& admittedly my memory isn't good), the only time Wenger has ever expressed regret at not resting players is when he refers to the FA cup. From a purely selfish point of view I have seen Arsenal win the league on 5 seperate occasions & whilst I would love to see them do it again, right now I'd prefer to see them lift the one major trophy they haven't got & thats the CL. Now I fully appreciate the fact we will probably have to face a 'big european team' eventually but I don't think it needed to be so quickly & whilst the sentiment is ok that we we may as well face one now, as lose to someone in april etc, that exact same thing goes for the premier league. Whats the point in being in the title race at the end of april only to lose it in may? You cannot say when a player will be injured, so surely playing them until such an event occurs is the sensible thing. Arsene rested Henry on several occasions & each time he came back, he never played as well straight away & inevitable ended up injured each time. Obviously my mentality differs from most on here, I think you should play the best available players & see where that takes you, after all you can't pick & choose which trophies you win.
Ashburton Gooner
Quite true, he has referred to the Cup, but I think he's extedning that because, broadly, our objective was achieved in qualifying, he's trying to put his eggs in a few different baskets. Like you say, there are no gurantees, but I just cannot see how we can get through the season without rotating a little. It just isn't possible. Wenger is trying to strike a balance. As for injury, you can't predict them, but you can make measures to insulate players where possible. Wenger recently said one of his bigger regrets was not resting Pires for the Newcastle game where he was ultimately injured. Fatigue increases your chances of injury, both because of mental lapses and physical conditioning. Adebayor might break his leg on Saturday anyway, but while that isn't a certainty, we should try and protect him where possible.
Little Dutch
Yeah, thats a fair assessment LD. I just don't see why the rotation can't be kept down, instead of making 8 changes just make 2. Surely playing with the majority of the first team would only help players like Eduardo adjust. Whats the point in him striking up a partnership with players that on the whole won't feature in the first team on a regular basis. The Chelsea match apart, I'm pretty sure we are capable of beating every team we play in December (I don't mean we will beat them all, just that we are capable) even if we rest 1 or 2 in each match.
Ashburton Gooner
Not playing Eduardo on the left wing would have been a nice start on Tuesday, certainly. Particularly when Bendtner was playing so well.
Little Dutch
Obviously there is method to Wenger's madness when he insists on playing people out of position, however it does become annoying when he keeps the reasoning to himself. I'm sure after the Man Utd match he said he wouldn't play 4-5-1 anymore. If Cesc is out for 3 games I would like him to move Rosicky into centre midfield & give Gibbs a match or two to see how he performs. It won't happen, but I'd still like to see it.
Ashburton Gooner
 

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