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Diaby Praises Villa & Everton After Draw

Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby praised both Aston Villa and Everton in an interview after the Gunners snatched a last gasp equaliser away at Goodison Park last night.

Robin van Persie came to Arsenal's rescue for the millionth time this month to salvage an unlikely point against an Everton team that one could argue deserved all three.

The draw came 24 hours after Villa notched up another win leaving us 5 points adrift of the much coveted Champions league spot.

'We are not going to let up until the end of the season.' claimed the Frenchman

'We are going to try to get points in every game and won't give up.'

'We are very focused on our games. Of course, Aston Villa have been fantastic and are in front of us, but we are really focused on our job and what is most important is what we are doing on the pitch.'

'I think tonight it was very important to get something from the game. We drew and took one point which I think is good for us because we were not so good. When you see the game, Everton were better than us and to take one point is very good here.'

It's hard to think that we could be playing UEFA cup football next season, but it becomes a very real possibility with each passing game. Despite actually being on a pretty decent run of 9 matches unbeaten in the league, our performances have been tepid and uninspired, and the failure to bring in some fresh faces could have catastrophic consequences.

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The Journalist

Writer: Rocky7 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday January 29 2009

Time: 12:05PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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Crisis!111!!!!! 111 11!!!!
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29/01/2009 12:35:00

How about Diaby focusses on his first touch and simple passing, than worry about Villa or Everton ? The Arsenal PR 'gurus' would have been better off interviewing RvP rather than Diaby after this particular game.
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29/01/2009 12:45:00

Huggy bear you can eff off n all.
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29/01/2009 12:53:00

The Arsenal PR "Gurus" are ***** jobs, I swear.
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29/01/2009 12:56:00

I have braced myself for the fith position this season. IMO its not the end of the world...maybe "the Wenger Project" needs to hit rock bottom before it can climb again..then maybe he can jettison some outdated ideals and we can have a much better next season. Its surely not the end of the world to end up 5th...ask Bayern Munich, AC Millan.
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29/01/2009 13:21:00

You know, it;s not that I mind playing only for 4th place, or playing in the UEFA cup, or fighting for mid table "consolidation", or even fighting relegation. There are many people supporting such teams with such varied aims, and they are perfectly fine fans, reasonalbe and knowledgeable and all round nice people. Different clubs have different ambitions in line with their abilities and means and status and it's all good.
My beef is this: Since when did we become a UEFA cup team? Since when did we become a 4th place team? Since when did our ambitions go so low, and why did we take them so low? Arsene Who? will keep on yapping about the credit crunch and economic sensibility and blah blah blah, the stadium, whatever, but is he now saying that the circumstances, whatever they are, are such that we are no longer a club capable of putting together a title winning team?
I mean, if there's inflation and suddenly foodstuff is costing double its actual value, does that mean you now go and starve your kids as a matter of principle? "This packet of cereal is worth one pound fifty, not a cent more, and I'm not paying over the odds for breakfast cereal, and I'd rather my kids went without breakfast than buy this at an inflated price..." Coz when you put together a team playing the way we've played numerous times this season, that's basically what you're doing. I know Walcott, Fabregas and Rosicky are injured, but even before Walcott got injured, we'd put out our fair share of gross performances.
I was willing to wait throughout the so called "transition" period after the chief characters of the Invincibles cast left one by one, because the rebuilding made sense to me, and I could see the work being done, and I had reason to believe that once the rebuilding work was complete, we'd have a team perfectly capable of competing at the top. And last season, we almost there, there or thereabouts. But then when we lose the players we've lost, and failed to replace them as needed, either by buying or by having others step up a la Flamini last season, then I have no reason to have patience, to be expectant, to be hopeful, to have faith. When the manager fails to address a defensive problem he has admitted to seeing in two transfer windows, then where does that leave us? When we have to play Song and Diaby in the middle, and, true to form, our midfield is as spark less as it was last night, why would I look at our team with any optimism? It's all very grossly disappointing and depressing to be honest.
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29/01/2009 13:22:00

And yes, I know that all things considered a 1-1 draw away to this Everton team team is not such a bad thing. It isn't. But for umpteenth time this season, more than the result, it's the performance that really makes dread what lies ahead for us.
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29/01/2009 13:25:00 i said maybe we have hit rock bottom (hopefully it cant get worse) Mr. Wenger can drop this " (pet) project" and build a team that CAN win stuff.
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29/01/2009 13:34:00

Good points well made gaga, i'm fed up with some fans harping on about the financial success = why bother supporting a football club?
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29/01/2009 13:40:00

Diaby is, what one of my old football coaches would describe as, a complete pup.
Little Dutch
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29/01/2009 14:11:00

Since when did we become a UEFA cup team? We only became a CL team 10 years ago and are currently at least one of only 3 or 4 teams I think that have competed in the competition consistently since then. What was it Wenger said about not liking sausages when you are used to caviar? It's a disappointing season so far - but only that. The world isn't coming to an end.
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29/01/2009 14:15:00

I think it's hard to pin point exactly when we became a UEFA Cup team...probably Citeh away.
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29/01/2009 14:21:00

While I concur the world isn't coming to an end, we are currently in 5th place and have been for some time, we will be for another two games at the very least. So I think it's fair to say that at the moment, we are a UEFA Cup team. Big improvements/ massive downturn for rivals/ faulty catering will be required to ensure that isn't the case come May.
Little Dutch
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29/01/2009 14:55:00

I wasn't disagreeing that our current form is that of a side in a Uefa spot rather than a CL spot. Just pointing out that CL qualification every year isn't really automatic - we have just come to assume it's so. The run will come to an end at some time. Perhaps this season is the one. It is/will be disappointing but not really a disaster.
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29/01/2009 16:13:00

To be fair, we have had major injuries. Had Walcott, Eduardo and Fabregas been playing, we would have won a few more games. But we still have a poor midfield, no real attacking continuity.
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29/01/2009 16:16:00

The way I see it, Wenger has by principle that regardless of our defense, we will always have to outscore the opposition, so as to be competitive and still play the MOST attracting football in the world. I guess thats the reason for not investing into securing defense but rather into offensive players. So it all comes down to panache. We don't win titles every single year, but, when we do, we do it in style. That is, IMO, Wenger's prerrogative. I guess some of his bets back fired - Diaby being the most blattant one. And probably Rosicky. So, if we don't have anything but a Fairs cup -eurowise- we may as well beguin by notching the UEFA Cup next year. Surely it is going that way
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29/01/2009 20:58:00

Do we think that Wenger has lost the winner's edge? Is the complacency shown by the team a reflection of him? Is he in his comfort zone? You can't see Alex Ferguson or Mourinho being able to stomach 4 seasons without winning something (whether they win or not isn't relevant; they'd be doing everything in their power to do so).
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29/01/2009 22:24:00

Diaby praises those teams cause he belongs on those crap teams.
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29/01/2009 22:59:00

Gaga is absolutely on point,I share the same frustrations. The thought of AW getting complacent has also crossed my mind GV,more and more of recent.Am gettin more frustrated each matchday. Its not the results,its the way we play,simple passes,1-2 passes,running off the ball,quick counter attacks......etc,all things we used to do effortlessly without thinking are now so obviously missing from our game and its very painful to watch. Still the same gaffer so its the quality of our players that has dropped....and drastically too. We used to be known for playing the most entertaining football& winning,now we are regarded as a team that TRIES to play ENTERTAINING football and hopes to win even against mediocre sides. In my humble opinion,Diaby is rubbish and not good enough,why should we settle for half baked,slow thinking,no-awareness having and the guts to talk to the press after that performance. If I had been told that movin to the emirates will result in putting up wit a shaky defence,a rubbish mid field,and a barely decent attack,then I would have happily stayed in Highbury...........(ohhhhh good times).But we didnt have a choice,did we? Sad to say,difficult to admit but am losing faith in AW,he who hesitates is lost, will he ever sign Arshavin,sometimes u need to sign a player to make a statement while strengthening ur team,thats wat big clubs do to build a squad,did Man.U really need Berbatov,did Milan really need Ronaldinho or Beckham(albeit on loan and hes scored 2ce now),but AW only signs a player when we really,really need a player &sometimes he doesnt and dats why we play RBs in RM,CMs as wingers. Every team needs constant refreshening or the team becomes flat like the current Arsenal side less RvP. Sorry,had a lot to get off my chest.
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29/01/2009 23:59:00

I think Arsene has been unfortunate in the sense that he never wanted Hleb and Flamini to leave and had built a team that had learnt how to play with each other over a few seasons and gone very close to winning the league. With those two gone, Rosicky injured and Cesc either overburdened, tired and now injured, we're having to use Denilson, Diaby, Song and Nasri. This is well and truly a transisition season for us and, even if we had bought a couple of players, who's to say they would have gelled instantly and clicked into gear. Even Barca with all their stars didn't click until this season. That said, Wenger doesn't appear to have been single-minded enough in his pursuit, has overestimated his team, and probably underestimated the other challengers. The reason we're after Arshavin more than anyone else is most likely because Wenger can see what we're missing from last season - a Hleb type player.
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30/01/2009 09:50:00

My God you guys can overreact. No matter what you normally think of Diaby (and yes, I agree he's brilliant occasionally and underwhelming the rest of the time), he didnt' say anything that wasn't true: - Villa are ahead of us and have played well this season. - Everton are a tough team to beat at home. - Arsenal didn't play well in that game and were lucky to get a point. Nothing particular controversial there. Sounds like he was just being honest and generous to his oponents. Would you rather he said "They're all sh**, they're all a pack of c***s, and we played so much better, it's all the ref's fault."? And btw, which rubbish Arsenal player set up our goal with a perfectly weighted pass to Van Persie in crunch time?
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30/01/2009 09:51:00

I must have missed a few months is the season over already, wow with supporters like this we should be finishing and looking for a place in the lower leagues. k1 you are so correct, must be me but I thought we were considered supporters, not a bunch of doom sayers. Frankie Howard would have really loved you lot in his scripts. We are 8 points behind the leaders and 5 points behind AV, a lot can happen between now and the end of May. This blog is fast becoming like all the other blogs full of Doom.
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30/01/2009 11:57:00

People's only responsibility is to say what they feel, whether that opinion is negative or positive. Whilst I agree the world is not ending and most blogs overdo it, the fact is there has been a steep decline in the last 12 months, we have had two transfer windows to rectify the weaknesses and have not done so (even if we sign Arshavin, the reality is we need at least one more) and really do not look like qualifying for the CL. That's the truth of the fact and I understand why people are frustrated, I know I am and I won't pretend I'm not. Complaining about the team's prospects doesn't make you a bad supporter. If you have a more positive outlook, by all means put it across. Though I do think talk of how far we are behind United is bordering lunacy, United haven't even warmed u[ yet and are infinitely better than us.
Little Dutch
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30/01/2009 12:02:00

Its ironic to think we didnt want to spend those few extra pounds this summer to get the quality we needed, yet by not buying we may risk not entering the champions league costing us even more.
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30/01/2009 12:22:00

Amos, I know it's not automatic.
Just as it isn't automatic that our own Sammy Wanjiru wins the Olympic Gold, or Martin Lel wins the London Marathon in April.
It is not automatic. Ok. But then, the likes of Sammy Wanjiru and Martin Lel are 2:05 Marathon guys, as in guys capable of finishing a marathon in 2 hours 5 minutes. If these dudes now start running 2:15 and 2:20 marathons, then their performances have to be questioned. Not because it's automatic that they should win their events, but because their running pedigree is a lot better than this
And that's my thing with Arsenal; our pedigree is much better than the UEFA cup, much better than merely fighting for 4th place. When problems that are so easy to see both on the field and the table are not fixed, then you really cannot fault me for being frustrated. And I'll say it again, it's not even the results per se that get to me, it's the performances. Remember that 0-0 against some Russian team in the CL a couple of seasons ago? The result may not have been what we wanted, but the performance was excellent, and on another day, we might have scored 7. And that's the thing, results may be wrong, but a good performance will leave you feeling that although that's not what you wanted, on another day, we might have won that.
And that's the thing. You look at practically all the games where we've dropped the 27 points we've dropped so far, and none of those performances give you the feeling that on another day, we might have won it. And although buying players is no guarantee they will be able to play well together, if you have a stark need for players, the only way you'll find out if they'll play well together is by buying them. You'll never find out if you don't buy them. And if it's become so hard to buy players that a defensive problem cannot be addressed in two successive windows, then I have reason to worried and frustrated, whether or not I blame it on the manager. And in my case, I feel it's largely the manager's fault.
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30/01/2009 13:16:00

I might have said "...and that's the thing..." a touch to much. Just like the passing of some team I know!
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30/01/2009 13:23:00

If you always do the same things, you'll always get the same results...
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30/01/2009 13:31:00

There is little point in comparing individual athletic performance with a team sport especially one based on a league system. The variables internal and external are too great. We are behind our performance last season but have the same number of points as the season before and ahead of the season prior to that. There have been a couple of times in the Wenger era where we have had the same number of points or less at this stage of the season and finisihed in 2nd place. The double in '98 was achieved from 5th position where we had fewer points than we have now at the same stage so our 'pedigree' isn't set in stone. We aren't similarly handicapped as an ageing athlete physcially incapable of getting better. The team changes and develops over time. There is alittle reason to expect, based on our 'pedigree' that we won't get better and improve. I didn't ever imagine that Dein would be so right about the supporters stomach for the step change the club has made - but he was.
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30/01/2009 14:00:00

You know when you say Dein is right about anything that I'm going to step in! This isn't about the changes per se, but I'm pretty sure I don't remember anyone saying, "there will be a bit of a change, when good players leave we'll not replace them and just put average players in their place and cross our fingers and hope everything works out for the best." The clamour here isn't for a big Chelsea style splurge, nobody is asking us to alter our transfer policy. In fact, from what I can garner, what people really want is the readoption of our transfer policy! As opposed to the current inertia and the "make do and mend" psyche we have adopted over the last 12 months. The reason I feel frustrated is because we have betrayed the principles of the club over the last few years. I think we all accept that the Premiership has changed since 1998 and comebacks of that magnitude just won't happen anymore, nor do this team have the players of the quality or attitude to do it. Herein lies the basic crux of the whole point, the Premiership, and I'm not talking transfer policies, I'm talking on the pitch, has changed and we haven't adpated to do it.
Little Dutch
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30/01/2009 14:10:00

Buying new players is blatantly the only solution to this mess, goddddammittt...Just ask Tottenham.
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30/01/2009 14:29:00

It seems quite simple to me. We have less money to spunk on players than most teams in the premiership. We are too sensible in this area. Our future is secure, but our thirst for Jim'll fixit players goes unquenched.
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30/01/2009 14:33:00

This is the area of my annoyance, Arsenal have done such a good job of doing sod all in the transfer market, that our own fans are convinced that it's a bad idea to buy players and something beneath us. Firstly, I rate Wenger's judgement far too much to equate his eye for a deal with any Tottenham coach of the last twenty years and beyond. Secondly, it's not a case of Jim'll Fix It players or spunking loads of cash, there is such thing as a middle ground, it is possible to enter the market without bidding Ł100m for Kaka. Why do Arsenal fans keep jumping to this extreme conclusion? But surely it's obvious that this side is not close to good enough to challenge for big honours, if we're going to lsoe key players (Hleb, Rosicky) does it not make sense to replace them? Is that really such a bad idea? The purchases of Sagna and Eduardo proved we are capable of buying quality at decent prices, so why have we abandoned this in the last year? Did we really think a mixtire of Denilson and Eboue on the right would do it? Was the solution to the fact that our defence wasn't quite good enough last season to sell Senderos and buy Silvestre? Is it not reasonable to suggest that if you drop five places in 12 months that something has probably gone a bit awry in that time?
Little Dutch
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30/01/2009 14:43:00

LD no one is suggesting they should not say what they feel but the over whelming comments apart from a very few are all negative. We threw away our opportunity to win the EPL last season by negativity and that was the team, now as said the reports of almost all the blogs are the same Doom Doom Doom. The season is not over there is still a long way to go and we have not lost a game over the past nine matches yet no one seems to want to take that on board. When you consider how many of our play makers are out I as a simple fool think that's a bloody good achievement. If as the boss says we have these players coming back on board its like three /four new signings. Its very much like that old poem IF 'all around you are losing their heads'.... (and yes I may not have quoted it correctly). I still believe there is a twist to this years EPL and we are still in the running for the FA and CL. Will we win through who knows, but we are still in there. Did we need more players, yes i think you are right, but at the end of the season you maybe wrong. By the way your hat to be boiled with salt??
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30/01/2009 15:01:00

Ld, mate, I'm ribbing... We haven't abandoned though have we? We bought Nasri. We're getting Arshavin. Eboue played on the right last season, and - depending on your opinion of him - did a good job. The first team gelled beautifully last season, but it was fragile, and losing Hleb (big loss) and Flamini (disappointing loss) has knocked the balance off. Nasri went some of the way to redressing that balance, but Flamini's role was arguably easier to replace within the squad. I certainly didn't imagine that we would not have a ready and waitng replacement for him, I mean, he was good, but not great, but complimented the make-up of the rest of our midfield very, very well. Fact is, to my mind, it's not the lack of new players that's hurt us this season, it's the loss to injuries, and the fact that Adebayor has not been so effective for us this time out. Adebayor is still a huge part of our team, but he is less influential in front of goal for us this season. The injuries are difficult to control, and yes, perhaps Wenger should of brought in (more) players to largen the squad, but he didn't, and as a result maybe we are suffering more than we/he'd like. But we're not dying, no way near it. Also, I don't believe we're as rich as we think/seem. We've adopted a sustainable model, which means debt we can cope with, Wages that push us to our near limits, and a none too generous transfer kitty. What we are doing as a club is possibly only possible under a manager like Wenger, and for that the board, and to a lesser extent the fans are incredibly grateful, not to mention, lucky. Most, if not all, other managers would have seen us drop further down the table, and increased our debts on players that may or may not improve us. I know we're not as good as we were, but we're still better than most of the others, and we'll get back to the top again, I'm sure of it.
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30/01/2009 15:02:00

It's not a bad idea to buy players - it never has been. The manager and club has never thought so as it has always bought and sold players and continues to do so. I can't think of anyone supporter who has ever put forward an argument to the contrary. There is no debate about it. It is a very good idea to buy players if you can buy ones better than you already have. If you have a clear idea of the players you want in a period where you have financially been no better than 3rd in line at best for recognised talent then it's an issue of availability. The timing may not always suit the needs of the club. That Wenger misjudged his squad in the summer is clear. Mistakes have been made in the past and will be made in the future. I am sure he regrets it now especially as he had 'expected Rosicky to play 80% of the games' but what's done is done and arguing that we could have bought so and so player last summer changes nothing. It doesn't prevent us buying the players that we think we need in the future. None of what has happened or hasn't happened is terminal. It can be fixed in time. Wenger's present policy was rooted in the investment in the stadium. Dein said that supporters wouldn't take the restrictions on team building that the new stadium would impose on us. He was right - for a large part they haven't.
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30/01/2009 15:13:00

I couldn't disagree with that post at all Chaos, I think the loss of Flamini has not been huge and after an inconsistent first couple of months, Denilson has performed the role excellently. I've been one of his big admirers, but even I'm surprised at how quickly he has found consistency. But what you outline about how the club has been run is the source of my frustration, I know that Wenger can make more with the resources we have got. Maybe I rate him too highly, but I've not been impressed with the squad for some time now. Last year, we had the starting XI but not the squad and I was unhappy we didn't strengthen last January. Now I don't think we have the starting eleven even. With assists and goals together, Ade's influence in front of goal is very, very close to what it was last season, though I think his all round play has suffered from the lack of a balanced midfield. I just have little to no idea why this hasn't been rectified before now when it has apparently been clear that this would be the case for some time. If the squad wasn't quite good enough last year, why did we think weakening it would make things better this year? As for the supposition that returning players will be like new signings, they won't. Firstly, we were in this situation when Cesc and Walcott were fit, secondly, Rosicky ain't coming back. Wenger has virtually ruled him out for this season and I think we'll try and get him fit so we can at least try and get some money for him come the summer. I don't think the club is doomed or anything like that, I just think with this manager we could be doing better than desperately chasing 4th and a couple of decent additions we could be right up there again, yet we seem reluctant to do this.
Little Dutch
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30/01/2009 15:27:00

But there's the rub of my point, most of us do accept the restrictions the stadium has put on team building based on the fact we recognise Wenger's eye for a bargain and his ability to work excellently on a small budget. What I struggle to accept are the restrictions the manager and the club have placed on themselves by refusing to operate within that budget whatsoever. Let's look at the timline here. We lose Overmars, we buy Pires at a reasonable price. We lose Lauren? We buy Sagna at a reasonable price. We lose Campbell? We get Gallas at a decent price. Baptista doesn't work out? We buy Eduardo at a good price. Then suddenly, we lose Hleb and Rosicky? We buy Nasri to replace one and hope Walcott and Eboue will do on the other side. (Expecting Rosicky to have been fit was laughable judgement. Honestly). We lose Flamini, Diarra and Gilberto? We just hope that Song and Diaby can cope (Denilson can and I am happy with that much). We lose Senderos? We buy Silvestre. It's not hard to equate the decline in our form with a shift in the club's approach to buying players based on the timeline above. It's not wrong to ask questions about that, especially considering that another window is about to pass and we might, just maybe get one player in when in reality we needed two or three. It's clear we have shifted to a make do and mend policy in the last twelve months.
Little Dutch
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30/01/2009 15:42:00

I dont like to hear the injuries as an excuse - as soon as the window shut in the summer, the overwhelming opinion was that this squad was thin. Events during the season only painfully confirmed that. This problem can be fixed, but I dont see Wenger doing enough to fix it. Arshavin is not going to come in, and wave a magic wand to solve all our issues. I dont have any faith in the Arsenal medical team - already Rosicky and now Silvestre have exceeded their initial estimate comeback times and this is something that I've noticed happening too frequently for my comfort. Theo & Cesc will most likely not make it back by end Feb end and early April respectively. Where does that leave this already paper thin squad? Wenger has made some huge errors in judgment, and I'm extremely disappointed not to see any corrective action taken in this regard. Lets talk about the here and now, instead of all the mistakes Wenger has made in the summer.
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30/01/2009 15:47:00

Ok, things are bad, by our occasional standings, but that's it. 5th place, in the CL, in the FA cup, and planty to still play for. Not bad for, what some opinion would have you believe, is an awful team, with a paer-thin squad. I know we've had it good. We don't want sausages. I'm frustrated too, but the despair is a little ott, no?
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30/01/2009 16:04:00

The 'make do and mend policy' has been going on for a lot longer than 12 months - about 5 years in fact. Wenger was ready to spend on Alonso in the summer. This along with the acquistion of Nasri supplemented by Ramsey and Vela coming in would probably have satisfied most supporters of the clubs good intentions in the transfer market. But you know I don't think our position would have been a whole lot different. It's disappointing but that's all it is.
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30/01/2009 16:32:00

Everyone is concerned at the poor performances this season. It is true that we have got used to being a "Champions League Team" but we shouldn't forget who brought us that standard of football and level of expectation in the first place. There is no denying however that mistakes have been made, whether this is down to over confidence, underestimating the opposition or plain hubris I am not sure, although I have my suspicions. When we were more successful and playing much better football it was fair that the manager took the credit, now that things are going quite badly wrong it is fair that the manager takes the blame. Mistakes have been made; letting Campbell go was wrong in my opinion and Wenger didn't try hard enough to keep Pires or Viera but luck was with him and the team continued to function quite well. Parting company with, Gilberto, Flamini, Hleb and then Diara now seems like gross negligence. The injuries were perhaps unlucky but the squad looked very thin before those occurred. Wenger has nailed his colours to the mast and pinned his hopes on the young players coming through and this plan has failed. Most of them were not ready and some of them now look as if they won't be good enough for quite a while yet - perhaps never. I appreciate that the club wants to spend wisely but surely good players can be found without breaking the bank. We are crying out for a good, hard centre back, a workaholic midfielder and a winger. Competent, experienced players coming in would help the youngsters develop and remove some of the pressure from them. The season isn't over and you never know what will happen but being honest and objective I can't see us finishing higher than fifth because whatever we can do I don't see the four teams above us dropping many points - in spite of Liverpool's efforts to cock it up again. I only hope that this will be a "Wake-up-call" and that we'll see some transfer activity in the summer. IMO Arshavin won't arrive BTW.
norfolk dumpling
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30/01/2009 16:44:00

Wenger has been too loyal to dross, where as other managers would have shipped them out he's stuck with em, something that could be translated as stubborness. Diarra is a kant, if we had him last season things would have turned out very differently.
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30/01/2009 17:07:00

I agree with Prof's points on the forum. He states that we basically don't have good enough footballers in midfield. The likes of Song, Diaby, Eboue and Ramsey (to an extent) are not good enough to cope with the football that we play. They have other qualities and can do what they do well, but none of them are as good as Hleb or Flamini or Fabregas at keeping the ball and combining attack and defence. Nasri - Fabregas - Denilson - Arshavin is a fantastic midfield in my eyes, as good as last season's first choice. But the lack of quality, not defensive attributes, are hindering us. We cannot keep the ball, therefore putting more pressure on the defence, pressure that a team with quality footballers would not be put under (watch Man Utd with Carrick, Scholes, Ronaldo and Park to see the difference). Diarra would have been a quality player for us right now, not because he can defend, but he is a good footballer who can do both sides of the game. It annoys the hell out of me when you hear idiotic statements like "We don't have anybody who wins the ball back" or "Flamini was great because he used to cover the defence" - what do these people watch in a game? Lets look at it this way, Flamini tackles the Everton attacker, he looks round and sees Fabregas, Hleb and Rosicky, Denilson wins the ball against the Everton attacker and he sees Song, Diaby, Eboue and Nasri. There is a big difference.
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30/01/2009 17:12:00

We can easily forget that finding players for under 15 million who are good enough to fill our needs is not easily managed. Yes Sagna and Eduardo were great buys, and Arsene showed a shrewed eye there, but there will not always be players like that available for such prices. Sometimes the missing piece of the jigsaw isn't so easy to find.
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30/01/2009 22:54:00

Amos, football clubs do have such a thing as a pedigree, without the quotes, which is why West Brom fans would be over the moon if they qualified for the UEFA cup (they're calling it the Europa league, I gather), whereas we will be wholely disappointed if we get the same spot.
Although there's a world of a difference between individual and team sports, and more so team sports based on a league spanning 38 games and nine months, the question of quality, and it's subsequent effect on performance, is valid in both. That's why Rafael Nadal is at the top of tennis, but the so and so ranked number 1298 by the tennis people is not. Similarly, Man U is top of the football league, and Kettering or whoever is number 92. The difference in quality is huge, whether it's between teams or between individuals.
Which brings me to our beloved Arsenal. Has there been a change in quality? Yes there has. For better or for worse? For worse. Causes? Well, I have a feeling that losing the players we've lost, without replacing them, both in numbers and quality (that word again) might have contributed. There has been a decrease in quality, and although I'm not one of Arsene Who?'s scouts, when he comes out and says that other clubs come to us when looking to improve their teams, and this in article on .con explaining why he won't buy a central midfielder, and this in an article saying Song and Diaby are developing well, and this in a week when the said duo produced an utterly listless performance in midfield, then I'm convinced that the reason the quality hasn't been improved is because the manager did not see the need. Again, when a defensive problem, acknowledged by the manager himself, is not addressed in two transfer windows, then you've got to wonder. Actually that has me confused to be honest; why Arsene Who? would admit there's a problem on the one hand, then fail to deal with it on the other hand.
All in all, my contention is this: our quality has gone down, as illustrated not just by our points tally, but by our performances in general. And it feels that no real effort has been made to improve it. Like I said, I'm not privy to Arsene Who?'s transfer activity and all that, but many of his comments convince me he is basically satisfied with what he has, as opposed to having to make do with what he has. Of course he won't come out and say he's having to make do with what he has, but like I've mentioned before, when a problem goes unanswered in two transfer windows, I can't help but wonder. And it's hugely depressing.
Should I perhaps revise my perception of our "pedigree". Perhaps I should. But I'm really struggling. Just as I'm struggling with the fact that a girl I was hoping to date is moving to Japan, and maybe she and I just were not meant to be. Oh how I miss the days when WE used to be the team to be, when people all round respected, maybe even feared us. Now every Tom, dick and Harry who fancies some CL football thinks we are there for the taking.
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31/01/2009 11:09:00

And this bit about players coming back from injury being like new signings; really Arsene? Really?? Oh, so before Fabregas and Walcott got injured, we had a picture perfect squad, the team was flying, no?
Where the ***** does he get that from? It's wholly maddening.
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31/01/2009 11:28:00

It shouldnt be maddening, not if you understand Wenger. Its pretty much expected from him.
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31/01/2009 17:45:00


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