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Bare Bones

Next up Aston Villa.

Arsenal find themselves three points ahead of ManUre, four goals worse off as far as goal difference is concerned.

Currently we could do to bolster our goalscoring record some, with the mancs lying ahead of us in said 'difference' column, even if they sit behind us in the table.

So it's particularly sad that we must do without the chap who was looking increasingly like our goalpoacher extraordinaire for the next nine months or more. So who've we got left up front?

What concerns me, and has for the past couple of months, is the way we have come to rely on the presence of Adebayor up front. It kinda snuck up on us, but I bet that now, nobody would refute the claim that Ade has become the main man up front for Arsenal. A strange situation, given that we were all concerned with how we would cope without TH14, seeing that we relied on his goals and presence so much, and that in the infancy of the season we were uplifted by the way several members of the team upped their game and replaced Henry's missing goals. We slipped into the same trap somewhat, with Ade becoming such a vital presence in the team.

Of course, it's great that a player raised his level so much so as to make Henry's sale a peripheral matter. But what happens if that player goes off the boil for a period? Ade's seemingly a definite starter anyway, but now, given Eduardo's lengthy layoff, the team need to cast their gaze around and once again all urge themselves on to chip in with goals.

Is anyone any wiser as to how near RvP is to coming back? I'm not. There've been quite a few false dawns on this front, and how we could do with him returning some time soon. Robin was the guy most of us would have expected to be that '20 goal a season' striker when the season kicked off, and it's astonishing how we've made light work of his near-five month (!) absence. I really wouldn't like to hazard a guess at when we will see him on the pitch again, as it would only serve as a further disappointment, were he to break down again before fulfilling that hope.

Looking elsewhere upfront, we have, striker-wise, Theo and Bendtner. Both young, both showing promise. Both now presented with the opportunity to make something of a name for themselves.

It's a shame for Theo that his first goals in the Premier League were so completely overshadowed by the horrific events early on in saturday's game. Here's hoping that having finally notched in the Prem, he can kick on and, freshly relieved of the wait for him to open his account, register a burst of a few more goals in the coming fixtures.

As for Bendtner, there's a question mark as to whether he and Ade can perform up front together. I see no reason why not. Both are fine footballers, both capable of giving a physical presence up front, both posing problems in the air and proving tricky on the ground. Bendtner seems to know where the net is. It's just whether he is ready to be thrust into the heat of a title race, and if he is pushed in amidst it, how will he cope and measure up to the occasion?

Other goal outlets of course come in the form of Rosicky (still injured), Fab and Hleb. Hleb of course can play in that shadow striker / hole role. Then there's Billy Gallas and the Flamster.

Ultimately, we just need one of these guys to step up per game and do their bit on the goals front. And pray they don't come-a-cropper. They were tucking them away earlier on in the season, now's the time where we could do with them doing more of the same.

We're down to the bare bones up front right now, but with that three points cushion, it's still in our hands. And as you all know, it's not just having a great goalscorer that wins you the league, it's those unlikely heroes that pop up unexpectedly with the odd goal who are the ones that help carry the winners over the line.

The second half response against Brum was heartening. A team with heart and spirit. I don't see these guys caving in, I expect to see that traditional Arsenal spirit in the face of adversity come to the fore again - that 'grit' that was once a hallmark of our George Graham-era teams. And as has been said before, I hope that what has happened this past weekend spurs our boys on to win that title - not just for Eduardo, but also for themselves, and for us, the fans. I want to see Eduardo hobbling up onto a podium come may, to collect his winner's medal. This weekend's game against Villa will be revealing.

Come on you reds!

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The Journalist

Writer: Wingston Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday February 27 2008

Time: 12:40AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
you forgot to mention the fact that adaybayor and nicky bendtender hate each other
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27/02/2008 01:02:00

hope to see RvP back soon. we need him more than ever now.
Report Abuse
27/02/2008 01:09:00

You forgot to mention that we've got twice as many points as the Spuds in the league.
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27/02/2008 02:32:00

An Ade-Theo combination might work well. Wenger has not been a fan of putting Ade & Bendtner upfront, and its better to use that towards the end of a game with tiring defenders. Theo has got the confidence now, and although it will be sacrificing his long term development a bit, playing him upfront will be good for him and the team. He has looked better upfront, in the few glimpses this season. Crucial time for Cesc, he has looked better and better in the last few games, and its time he popped up with a goal. The reliance on Ade is a bit of a concern.
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27/02/2008 02:54:00

Theo's gotta play on the right while Eboue serves his match ban. An Adebayor - Bendtner pairing doesn't sound too bad.
Phantom of the Grove
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27/02/2008 05:30:00

Playing Hleb behind Ade is also an option that has worked better in some matches than others. That depends on the fitness of players like Rosicky though. The Ade-Bendtner pairing doesn't look too slick - they play in the same position too much though it could be made to work for a game or two depending on the oppostion. If Rosickys fit I'd prefer to go with Hleb or Walcott behind Ade but we do now need RvP back sooner rather than later.
Report Abuse
27/02/2008 09:04:00

I had a tenner on RVP to be top scorer this season, made before he got injured. I'm still hoping he'll come back and bag a hatrick every game.
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27/02/2008 09:16:00

I don't want to see Hleb in any sort of striking position again. Great player that he you just lose so much attacking intent by playing him behind the frontman.
Ashburton Gooner
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27/02/2008 09:22:00

I've been thinking (as i'm sure everyone has) a lot about the Eduardo incident, and what all the players must have been feeling when it happened. It struck me that while obviously no player can be pleased to see a teammate injured, one player who may just have secretly thought to himself, 'this is my chance' is Walcott. Eduardo's (and Rosicky's) injury virtually guarantees him a starting place for the next 3 to 4 games until Rosick and rvp get back. This includes a Champs League game against Milan. What 18 year old up and coming footballer who has been champing at the bit for game time could not get pumped up at this prospect? His two goals against Birmingham confirmed to me that whilst most players took a hit from Eduardo's injury, Theo sharpened up and will now be determined to take this chance. Let's hope so!
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27/02/2008 09:35:00

Off topic but a quote i read about Eboue and enjoyed, "Eboue's huge talent with his feet is severly hampered by the lack of anything between his ears" So true. Unfortunately.
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27/02/2008 09:45:00

Ignore 5-1. He is still expecting the Spuds to finish above this season. Oh wait, what's that you're saying, idiot? "Next year we will". Hmmm, where have I heard that before? YOU ARE A C 0 CK.
Report Abuse
27/02/2008 10:17:00

Dont be too cocky Moorish, it could come back to haunt us. If they win their final 12 games, and we pick up less than 5 points from our remaining 11 then they could make us look stupid indeed and i will point my finger at you
Report Abuse
27/02/2008 11:33:00

If that happens Paul then it will have taken something going wrong slightly more major than I could influence with a comment on this website! ;-)
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27/02/2008 13:42:00

we might have half your points this season but we have double the silverware that you have this season
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27/02/2008 14:19:00

5-1, two times zero is zero. Noob.
Report Abuse
27/02/2008 14:43:00

i belive you won the emirates cup -which counts as half a cup because it means dickall therefore 2x half = 1. jog on gooner scum
Report Abuse
27/02/2008 14:55:00

I believe you won the Vodafone cup. You need to recalculate
Report Abuse
27/02/2008 15:18:00

5-1, was your previous name 'ten years'? »»Arsene Knows««
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27/02/2008 15:45:00

in 1999, there was a curry shop that opened up called 'Curry 2000', in anticipation of the new millenium. Your name will soon become redundant too. I hope to see you back here next season, with your new name '1-3' »»Arsene Knows««
Report Abuse
27/02/2008 15:47:00

Talking of goal difference Wingers, shouldn't we be sending Newcastle a thank you card for gifting the Mancs with a plus 10. We'd just clawed back the last 6 goals and then they go and hand them another 4. Cheers barcodes!
Report Abuse
27/02/2008 15:58:00

Wingers his name was 'Dung Beetle'.
Report Abuse
27/02/2008 16:06:00

flv - yeah, I'm eternally thankful to the magpies for laying down to have their bellies tickled twice in a row by the mancs. I bet fergie was quick into Keegan's office with a bottle of wine after both those matches...
»»ARsene Knows««
Report Abuse
27/02/2008 17:13:00

seems fitting, G4L!!!
»»Arsene Knows««
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27/02/2008 17:15:00

Based on the past experience, we can assume that when Fergie clears out some of his players like Fletcher, Saha, Brown, etc. to make way for more of the 50 mil domestically cultivated talent like Hargreaves, Tevez, Anderson and Nani there is one likely destination for them all: St.uffMe Park in Newcastle or their neighbours at the Stadium of Plight.
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27/02/2008 19:05:00

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27/02/2008 19:08:00

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27/02/2008 19:19:00

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27/02/2008 19:41:00

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz same ol' zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Report Abuse
27/02/2008 19:41:00

Paul_ownz, thanks for telling me there's something called "Vodafone Cup" LOL! Another LOL at 5-1, we won two pre-season cups, not one, the other one from the Ajax Tournament. By your "logic" of those counting as 1/2 cups, you have to do your math again smart boy. love that "logic" LOL
Lou the Gunneress
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27/02/2008 22:36:00

Hleb playing a withdrawn striker role normally works with Eboue and Rosicky out wide. With Rosicky injured and Eboue suspended for 2 more games, I dont see how that will work for the next 2 games.
Report Abuse
28/02/2008 03:43:00

You guys better heed the advice from paul_ownz ... Don't be too cocky.
Report Abuse
28/02/2008 13:02:00

Oh, we already have a trophy in our club's display cabinet for this season. Yours is still empty ???
Report Abuse
28/02/2008 13:05:00

Thats great, you do ivanskg, i hope your cleaner gave the cabinet a good dusting out, cobwebs can take up an awful lot of room when your trying to fit in a "bacofoil" trophy! Still when you have been starved of any meaningful success for so long, even winning the Fizzy pop cup will do........!
Report Abuse
28/02/2008 13:17:00

i think being overshadowed was good for theo coz the hype around the boy doesnt help his performances in anyway and bendtner is cocky enough to handle the pressure and at a young age the magnitude of the situation doesnt click with young for RVP i think he will be on the bench come the next game.
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28/02/2008 21:47:00


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