Arsenal - Arsenal 2 Manchester City 0
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Arsenal 2 Manchester City 0

With Arsenal getting a head of steam prior to the international break, there was always the lingering anxiety that our rhythm had been disrupted- particularly as messrs van Persie, Diaby, Eduardo and Nasri had hobbled home amongst the walking wounded (none of the aforementioned strangers to the comforts of the treatment room). Still, as we supped our afternoon ales in the glorious London sunshine, the feeling of bullishness was tangible, a winter of frustrations forgotten in the Highbury sunshine. 'An early goal will see us right today,' was the chipper prediction from yours truly. Clairvoyance indeed.

Four minutes in Bacary Sagna raced down the right flank, only to be barged not once, but twice by a helpless Wayne Bridge. He would hobble off injured not long after. From the resulting free kick, Cesc Fabregas flighted a free kick into the box away from the keeper, Onouha got sucked in towards the bucaneering Toure leaving Adebayor completely free in the area to check his watch, correct the wind resistance, rearrange his boxers and head the ball into Shay Given's far corner. It was a gratefully received favour from the Citeh defence to leave Arsenal's sole aerial threat unmarked in the box in the first five minutes. However, City were in no immediate mood for abject surrender. Wright Phillips was their most clear and present danger, as he sauntered down the right hand side, his cross took a ricochet off of Gael Clichy and Manuel Almunia had to be sharp to react to prevent the ball snaking past his front post. Almunia was again at the forefront of the heroics when he beat away Wright Phillips shot with his legs.

The Gunners were showing signs of being their old effusive selves in attack though. The excellent Denilson was once again smartly onto a loose ball on the edge of the area, Adebayor took the ball from his toes and had his shot blocked by Richards. Toure took the ball on the right, sauntered into the box, dancing around Zabaleta, before having his shot held at the front post with Song on for the pull back. Even so, I can't think of many centre halves in the Premiership that could dribble into a crowded area with such poise. But once again, defensive frailties would be exposed by the visitors. de Jong used the full back instincts from his youth to manouver up the right touchline, fed Wright Phillips who picked out Gelson Fernandes who had found a pocket of space vacated by Gallas, fortunately for us he snatched at his shot and clipped the outside of the post. A collective intake of breath sucked the air out of the stadium momentarily. City used the chance as fuel for a further forray, yet another Wright Phillips defence splitting pass sent Bellamy clear, but Almunia was smart off his line to thwart the chance. My principal criticism of Almunia has been how cumbersome he is off his line, yesterday Almunia looked a much better keeper all around and while the victory ended up being relatively comfortable, amongst the literatti of praise for Fabregas and Adebayor, it is worth remembering Almunia's contribution in the first half.

The Gunners had one final flirt with goal with a quite startling piece of interplay. Arshavin fed Clichy on the left hand side with his options limited, he tucked the ball back to Arshavin whose radar suddenly flickered and he fed Adebayor, he returned the favour with an improvised first time backheel flick and Arshavin's low shot was beaten out by Given. It had been a fairly impressive first half with some positive attacking play, however, with Arshavin being asked to play behind Adebayor, City found joy down our left hand side in the diminutive shape of Wright Phillips. In the second half, Fabregas moved further forward and Arshavin stayed more steadfastly on the left. It meant his effectiveness was slightly subdued yesterday, some tinkering and adapting to be done there before everybody is on the same wavelength. To be expected really. Injuries to Kompany and Bridge had slightly interrupted Citeh's flow at an important time.

However, if an early goal in the first half was exactly what the doctor ordered, an early second half strike was the prescription for a fever. It arrived through the same symbiotic partnership which forged the first and the same duo that tore up Premiership defences last season. Fabregas, with the incredibly able buffer of Denilson and Song behind him, moved further forwards and gave us all a reminder of what we have been missing. An inch perfect chipped past floated over the follicles of Richard Dunne, Adebayor showed commendable poise and composure to take the ball into his stride, saunter past Given and slot the ball into the empty net. The Adebayor of two years ago would possibly not have controlled and finished quite so elegantly. Fabregas was probably making those sort of passes in the womb. Adebayor's finishing has come on a lot this season, I can't recall too many he's missed yet this year.

City really did throw in the towel at that point and Arsenal, at the beginning of a punishing schedule, had the sort of game they really wanted heading into a key Champions' League game in Spain on Tuesday. Alexandre Song headed Fabregas' corner inches over the bar, it would have been a goal richly deserved for him. Whilst Denilson's progress, demonstrated ably again yesterday has been obvious for some time (well, it has been to those of us who do not falsely consider Flamini some kind of demi God all of a sudden), the progress of Song over the last month has been astronomical. Seeds of talent have been visible, but he really seems to feel at home in this team now. Fabregas and Adebayor were to combine again to nearly complete a hat trick of destruction, Fabregas pulling back from the touchline for Adebayor, but his shot was well saved by Given. Wenger was afforded the luxury of removing Fabregas, Walcott and Adebayor. The Gunners could have had a third, Clichy played a through ball to Adebayor only for Coward Webb to pull the play back senselessly for a non injury to Arshavin and Richards. Arsenal were then asked to give the ball back to Given. An incredibly easy match to referee ruled completely incompetently by Webb. The Gunners final chance came when Sagna pulled the ball back to Eboue, only for the Ivorian to slice wildly over. We have our Eboue back it seems and right now, it seems we have our Arsenal back too.LD.




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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday April 5 2009

Time: 12:22PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Good write up LD and with NIck Ramsey coming on the momentum seem to be maintained. Toure is really looking the Toure of old. p.s http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/sport/250240/Rosicky-in-reserves-return.html better start getting ready hat stewed or boiled??
alwaysgunner
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05/04/2009 12:40:00

Good write up LD and with NIck Ramsey coming on the momentum seem to be maintained. Toure is really looking the Toure of old. p.s http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/sport/250240/Rosicky-in-reserves-return.html better start getting ready hat stewed or boiled??
alwaysgunner
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05/04/2009 12:40:00

A comfortable enough outing yesterday made so partly by the early goal and the first half clean sheet though it wasn't an entirely convincing defensive performance. Shouldn't one of the midfielders have been tracking Fernandes? This formation/selection worked in this game - I am not so sure it will always serve us as well.
Amos.
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05/04/2009 13:25:00

A comfortable enough outing yesterday made so partly by the early goal and the first half clean sheet though it wasn't an entirely convincing defensive performance. Shouldn't one of the midfielders have been tracking Fernandes? This formation/selection worked in this game - I am not so sure it will always serve us as well.
Amos.
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05/04/2009 13:25:00

I like the way that Song has taken up the "Vieira" role whereas Denilson plays the "Petit/Gilberto" position, allowing him to roam forward. This is not picked up by the general fan, as Song is always referred to as our main DM, but he did that half and half role well. Denilson was sublime.
Tom14
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05/04/2009 13:37:00

I like the way that Song has taken up the "Vieira" role whereas Denilson plays the "Petit/Gilberto" position, allowing him to roam forward. This is not picked up by the general fan, as Song is always referred to as our main DM, but he did that half and half role well. Denilson was sublime.
Tom14
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05/04/2009 13:37:00

Great report though i'm certain it was Song who flicked the ball to Arshavin not Adebayor which again demonstrated his understated technical ability..
Anon 1
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05/04/2009 14:03:00

Great report though i'm certain it was Song who flicked the ball to Arshavin not Adebayor which again demonstrated his understated technical ability..
Anon 1
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05/04/2009 14:03:00

"...completely free in the area to check his watch, correct the wind resistance, rearrange his boxers and head the ball into Shay Given's far corner."...LOL..nice one LD. All I have to say is that, may momentum continue on Tuesday...I really want us to close the deal in Spain so that we focus more on FA's game with Chelski but in other hand it seems AW may have a lot of options for rotation once the other shot term injured players are back...Hooray !!!
CoastarianGooner
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05/04/2009 14:27:00

"...completely free in the area to check his watch, correct the wind resistance, rearrange his boxers and head the ball into Shay Given's far corner."...LOL..nice one LD. All I have to say is that, may momentum continue on Tuesday...I really want us to close the deal in Spain so that we focus more on FA's game with Chelski but in other hand it seems AW may have a lot of options for rotation once the other shot term injured players are back...Hooray !!!
CoastarianGooner
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05/04/2009 14:27:00

By the way Anon1, I too thought Song flicked the ball and not Adebayor as he was at the centre of the box.
CoastarianGooner
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05/04/2009 14:29:00

By the way Anon1, I too thought Song flicked the ball and not Adebayor as he was at the centre of the box.
CoastarianGooner
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05/04/2009 14:29:00

It was Song. He is a very good attacking player. I actually think he is more suited to that role than at CB or DM.
Tom14
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05/04/2009 14:32:00

It was Song. He is a very good attacking player. I actually think he is more suited to that role than at CB or DM.
Tom14
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05/04/2009 14:32:00

Yeah, it was Alex, although occaisonally I get confused, too, with that hair, in fact so did the MOTD commentator, although that doesn't surprise me, now the general public miss another chance to agknowledge Song's offensive ability. It was also Richards, not SWP, who's shot Almunia saved after SWP's turning Clichy and run down the left.
ArsenalRob
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05/04/2009 18:33:00

Yeah, it was Alex, although occaisonally I get confused, too, with that hair, in fact so did the MOTD commentator, although that doesn't surprise me, now the general public miss another chance to agknowledge Song's offensive ability. It was also Richards, not SWP, who's shot Almunia saved after SWP's turning Clichy and run down the left.
ArsenalRob
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05/04/2009 18:33:00

Yeah Tom, I'm beginning to think that about Song as well. He really is a well rounded player, and I think Wenger should focus on developing him further rather than Diaby as I feel he's a much better prospect.
TPowell
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05/04/2009 19:01:00

Yeah Tom, I'm beginning to think that about Song as well. He really is a well rounded player, and I think Wenger should focus on developing him further rather than Diaby as I feel he's a much better prospect.
TPowell
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05/04/2009 19:01:00

Song is playing so well at the moment, he's improving every game. I am so happy with the 3pts, even happier now that poor Villa lost at OT.
hackneyval
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05/04/2009 19:14:00

Song is playing so well at the moment, he's improving every game. I am so happy with the 3pts, even happier now that poor Villa lost at OT.
hackneyval
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05/04/2009 19:14:00

Diaby should be sold in my opinion.
Tom14
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05/04/2009 19:46:00

Diaby should be sold in my opinion.
Tom14
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05/04/2009 19:46:00

LOL hackneyval..I saw the match and Manure were not good defensively at all without Vidic..if Villa were on form they would have thrashed Manure...also, the first 10mins the ball possession was 70% in favor of Villa in OT!!! Now that gives ne hope of getting 3pts from Manure when we meet them based on this weekend's performances :)
CoastarianGooner
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05/04/2009 19:49:00

LOL hackneyval..I saw the match and Manure were not good defensively at all without Vidic..if Villa were on form they would have thrashed Manure...also, the first 10mins the ball possession was 70% in favor of Villa in OT!!! Now that gives ne hope of getting 3pts from Manure when we meet them based on this weekend's performances :)
CoastarianGooner
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05/04/2009 19:49:00

just a few corrections: the foul from which we scored on Sagna was by Robinho, while Bridge was injured in a sprint with Theo. Gelson Fernandes was played onside by Clichy while Gallas, Toure and Sagna were in a perfect line. The one-two was Arshavin-Song-Arshavin and not Adebayor. I am an arse I know :) Btw, Almunia was just excellent. I can't make up my mind who do I want to win the title less: the scousers or the mancs.
G4L
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05/04/2009 19:53:00

just a few corrections: the foul from which we scored on Sagna was by Robinho, while Bridge was injured in a sprint with Theo. Gelson Fernandes was played onside by Clichy while Gallas, Toure and Sagna were in a perfect line. The one-two was Arshavin-Song-Arshavin and not Adebayor. I am an arse I know :) Btw, Almunia was just excellent. I can't make up my mind who do I want to win the title less: the scousers or the mancs.
G4L
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05/04/2009 19:53:00

Tom14..Diaby can be a good utility player like O'Shea unless if he demands first team place permanently..but the way things go I feel Denilson is cementing his position to a permanent one..by the way, do u think AW should use the same team for Villareal's game only to replace AA with Vela? I liked the idea of Denilson and Song together in the middle with Fabregas to concentrate on making up goals..I really can't wait for Tuesday..48hrs to go!!!
CoastarianGooner
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05/04/2009 19:54:00

Tom14..Diaby can be a good utility player like O'Shea unless if he demands first team place permanently..but the way things go I feel Denilson is cementing his position to a permanent one..by the way, do u think AW should use the same team for Villareal's game only to replace AA with Vela? I liked the idea of Denilson and Song together in the middle with Fabregas to concentrate on making up goals..I really can't wait for Tuesday..48hrs to go!!!
CoastarianGooner
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05/04/2009 19:54:00

G4L..let the Scousers win for a change otherwise the Manure will keep bragging a lot..I don't about you but back in Kenya, Gunners will prefer Scousers to win over Manure due to magnitude of supporters (Scousers are few).
CoastarianGooner
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05/04/2009 19:56:00

G4L..let the Scousers win for a change otherwise the Manure will keep bragging a lot..I don't about you but back in Kenya, Gunners will prefer Scousers to win over Manure due to magnitude of supporters (Scousers are few).
CoastarianGooner
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05/04/2009 19:56:00

I think it would be a mistake to sell Diaby, he has great potential and needs to stay fit for a long period to show us what a good player he can be. Dont forget not long ago we where all moaning about Song, Denilson and Eboue and look at the improvement in these three players in the last two to three months, no reason Diaby can't do that to, after all Wenger seems to have great faith in him
Armory
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05/04/2009 19:57:00

I think it would be a mistake to sell Diaby, he has great potential and needs to stay fit for a long period to show us what a good player he can be. Dont forget not long ago we where all moaning about Song, Denilson and Eboue and look at the improvement in these three players in the last two to three months, no reason Diaby can't do that to, after all Wenger seems to have great faith in him
Armory
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05/04/2009 19:57:00

I was not moaning about any of those three Armory, they seem to be able to come in as backups (and Denilson as first choice) and perform really well. They also seem to accept their position. I get the feeling that Diaby would either have to sit his career out at Arsenal and make no progress, or move to a Bolton/French club to suceed. He is not good enough for us.
Tom14
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05/04/2009 20:25:00

I was not moaning about any of those three Armory, they seem to be able to come in as backups (and Denilson as first choice) and perform really well. They also seem to accept their position. I get the feeling that Diaby would either have to sit his career out at Arsenal and make no progress, or move to a Bolton/French club to suceed. He is not good enough for us.
Tom14
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05/04/2009 20:25:00

From where I was sitting in the stadium yesterday, I still heard a couple of boos when Eboue came on. Whether these were ironic or not I don't know - if not, then as has been commented here previously, we have some idiotic Arsenal fans. Actually Song has won the fans around because they were singing "we've only got one Song" in the red section yesterday. He was really impressive yesterday, not least aerially. He should have actually scored with his header, it was a very good chance IMO. I also do like the solidity that the Denilson and Song partnership gives up with Cesc having more licence to roam. Although, Cesc likes to dictate our play and get involved everywhere. He really is the heartbeat of this team as someone said.
Gooner_Vin
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05/04/2009 21:09:00

From where I was sitting in the stadium yesterday, I still heard a couple of boos when Eboue came on. Whether these were ironic or not I don't know - if not, then as has been commented here previously, we have some idiotic Arsenal fans. Actually Song has won the fans around because they were singing "we've only got one Song" in the red section yesterday. He was really impressive yesterday, not least aerially. He should have actually scored with his header, it was a very good chance IMO. I also do like the solidity that the Denilson and Song partnership gives up with Cesc having more licence to roam. Although, Cesc likes to dictate our play and get involved everywhere. He really is the heartbeat of this team as someone said.
Gooner_Vin
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05/04/2009 21:09:00

Apologies for some of the errors, I usually watch a highlights stream before writing, but this was a bit of a rush job at my mate's house this morning so I had to do it all from memory. Personally I'd be ok with Liverpool winning the league, United I'm numb to, I just don't want Chelsea doing it. My big fear is that United could win the title by beating us at Old Trafford, that I don't want.
Little Dutch
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05/04/2009 21:39:00

Apologies for some of the errors, I usually watch a highlights stream before writing, but this was a bit of a rush job at my mate's house this morning so I had to do it all from memory. Personally I'd be ok with Liverpool winning the league, United I'm numb to, I just don't want Chelsea doing it. My big fear is that United could win the title by beating us at Old Trafford, that I don't want.
Little Dutch
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05/04/2009 21:39:00

GV, I like the Song - Denilson thing too, but I feel that Cesc could play that role, whilst defendign a bit more, he is good enough and well-equipped to do that, he did last year. We miss out on nasri or van Persie in the previous team formation, is Song worth that?
Tom14
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05/04/2009 22:31:00

GV, I like the Song - Denilson thing too, but I feel that Cesc could play that role, whilst defendign a bit more, he is good enough and well-equipped to do that, he did last year. We miss out on nasri or van Persie in the previous team formation, is Song worth that?
Tom14
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05/04/2009 22:31:00

I'd hate both scenarios, but, although I don't particularly dislike Liverpool more than Utd or Chelsea, I have enjoyed their lack of success, so I think I'd rather Utd, then we have the chance to rob it from them next season. It'd be sweeter than grabbing it off the scousers.
ArsenalRob
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05/04/2009 23:26:00

I'd hate both scenarios, but, although I don't particularly dislike Liverpool more than Utd or Chelsea, I have enjoyed their lack of success, so I think I'd rather Utd, then we have the chance to rob it from them next season. It'd be sweeter than grabbing it off the scousers.
ArsenalRob
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05/04/2009 23:26:00

Yeah I agree Tom. But perhaps when we are facing a tough long-ball-team away, Song's aerially ability could make the trade off worth while. When Cesc plays a bit further forward he is still very effective, but I prefer him deeper where he sees more of the ball and can influence play a lot more.
NoFitState
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06/04/2009 00:53:00

Yeah I agree Tom. But perhaps when we are facing a tough long-ball-team away, Song's aerially ability could make the trade off worth while. When Cesc plays a bit further forward he is still very effective, but I prefer him deeper where he sees more of the ball and can influence play a lot more.
NoFitState
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06/04/2009 00:53:00

I expect Denilson, Song, and Cesc to be deadly in Spain on Tuesday. Unless van Persie recovers in time for the trip then we will lineup in a 4-5-1.
gunnerkid107
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06/04/2009 01:11:00

I expect Denilson, Song, and Cesc to be deadly in Spain on Tuesday. Unless van Persie recovers in time for the trip then we will lineup in a 4-5-1.
gunnerkid107
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06/04/2009 01:11:00

I know what you mean, and I agree with it completely, GK, but surely 'deadly' isn't the word to describe Alex Song?!
ArsenalRob
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06/04/2009 01:19:00

I know what you mean, and I agree with it completely, GK, but surely 'deadly' isn't the word to describe Alex Song?!
ArsenalRob
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06/04/2009 01:19:00

The fact that Denilson and Song started alongside Cesc meant he didn't have to work as hard as he usually would, and also helped free him up for attacking forays, he was sublime on Sat, a joy to watch. And i must be a 'general fan' Tom cos i really didn't think Denilson was sublime, one huge City chance came from him squandering posession, not saying he was poor, as he got better as the game went on but definitely wasn't without fault.
shewore
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06/04/2009 08:26:00

The fact that Denilson and Song started alongside Cesc meant he didn't have to work as hard as he usually would, and also helped free him up for attacking forays, he was sublime on Sat, a joy to watch. And i must be a 'general fan' Tom cos i really didn't think Denilson was sublime, one huge City chance came from him squandering posession, not saying he was poor, as he got better as the game went on but definitely wasn't without fault.
shewore
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06/04/2009 08:26:00

Also - Song as a very good attacking player? Do me a favour! I like Song, i really do, but wouldn't go that far!
shewore
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06/04/2009 08:28:00

Also - Song as a very good attacking player? Do me a favour! I like Song, i really do, but wouldn't go that far!
shewore
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06/04/2009 08:28:00

The Boss has a problem! Nasri, Song, Denilson, Cesc, Walcot, Arshavin, Diaby, Rosicky (if ever fully fit again), Ramsey, Wilshere (in time) and even Eboue, who does he play, who does he leave out and in what formation? Nice problem though and a lot better than wondering how to find a decent midfield from the available players. Great game on Saturday, I thought Song and Den were terrific in midfield. Cesc was Cesc and Ade looked hungry again. Even Theo put himself about a bit and tackled back well. Shame about the one or two defensive errors from Gael and Gallas. I am getting a bit concerned about Gael!
norfolk dumpling
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06/04/2009 09:19:00

The Boss has a problem! Nasri, Song, Denilson, Cesc, Walcot, Arshavin, Diaby, Rosicky (if ever fully fit again), Ramsey, Wilshere (in time) and even Eboue, who does he play, who does he leave out and in what formation? Nice problem though and a lot better than wondering how to find a decent midfield from the available players. Great game on Saturday, I thought Song and Den were terrific in midfield. Cesc was Cesc and Ade looked hungry again. Even Theo put himself about a bit and tackled back well. Shame about the one or two defensive errors from Gael and Gallas. I am getting a bit concerned about Gael!
norfolk dumpling
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06/04/2009 09:19:00

shewore, of course Song was not playing like Hleb, but he was attacking in a different way. He caused problems with his running and he has serious skill at times. He did defend at times, but overall, he attacked more. And also, of course Denilson made a mistake in the game, it happens. But there were occasions where every player made a mistake. On the whole, he was sublime.
Tom14
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06/04/2009 11:27:00

shewore, of course Song was not playing like Hleb, but he was attacking in a different way. He caused problems with his running and he has serious skill at times. He did defend at times, but overall, he attacked more. And also, of course Denilson made a mistake in the game, it happens. But there were occasions where every player made a mistake. On the whole, he was sublime.
Tom14
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06/04/2009 11:27:00

Good performance and result. Its just a shame that Denilson and Song have taken this long to play well - a miscalculation by Wenger IMO. But the team has a nice settled look to it, and we seem to have a lot of options for players and formations. A 4-4-2, or a 4-4-1-1, or a 4-2-3-1 all look likely with the personnel we have. A season or two ago, I would have been resistant to anything but a 4-4-2 but I'm warming to different formations now, as it gives us an air of unpredictability.
prits
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06/04/2009 21:19:00

Good performance and result. Its just a shame that Denilson and Song have taken this long to play well - a miscalculation by Wenger IMO. But the team has a nice settled look to it, and we seem to have a lot of options for players and formations. A 4-4-2, or a 4-4-1-1, or a 4-2-3-1 all look likely with the personnel we have. A season or two ago, I would have been resistant to anything but a 4-4-2 but I'm warming to different formations now, as it gives us an air of unpredictability.
prits
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06/04/2009 21:19:00

They (particularly Denilson) have played this well all season (well, not every game) but our attacking play was just awful, nobody to pass to and nothing coming from their tackles/blocks/interceptions. it is like a player who sets up lots of chances, unless they go in, it is ignored.
Tom14
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07/04/2009 11:58:00

They (particularly Denilson) have played this well all season (well, not every game) but our attacking play was just awful, nobody to pass to and nothing coming from their tackles/blocks/interceptions. it is like a player who sets up lots of chances, unless they go in, it is ignored.
Tom14
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07/04/2009 11:58:00

 

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