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Liverpool 1 Arsenal 2

Trips to Anfield are always laced with importance and imbued with meaning. Of the top four derivations, a fixture betwixt Arsenal and Liverpool is always the most well mannered, certainly where the supporters are concerned. Though Liverpool`s history is superior to our own, the two clubs I think see a lot in one another and the clash is always engendered with a mutual respect. (Kenyon left his evil smear all over United and Chelsea, whilst Liverpool and Arsenal are largely clubs that have hung on to their sense of tradition and class. Though Gillett and Hicks are doing their best to sully 'the Liverpool way` on Merseyside, whilst Arsenal fans grimly hope that Kroenke and / or Usmanov aren`t allowed to do the same in North London). However, with the results filtering through on Saturday, fate seemed to be beckoning an epoch making result. With Liverpool operating at the nadir of their confidence, one felt that if ever there was a chance for Arsenal to blow their way back into the title equation, this was it. Football changes incredibly quickly, two weeks ago Chelsea were already champions and anybody else who dared take a Premiership pitch before May was an insouciant upstart worthy of contempt. Wolves were dead and buried and on course to do a Derby ("Nobody noticed they were here, nobody will miss them when they`re gone" was a line that stood out for me after their defeat to Chelsea). The Championship race this season is turning into something of a "tallest dwarf" competition with all contenders looking fallible.

Though my personal prediction was for a draw, the away end seemed to be enveloped in cautious optimism, sat as I was two rows behind Bananaman, Batman and the Joker, and one row in front of a triumvirate of Santa Claus`, the Christmas spirit was pervasive. The mutual respect I spoke of earlier was given a delightful kicking with some choice renditions of "Feed the Scousers (Let them know it`s Christmas Time)" and "Thursday nights, Channel 5." Arsenal actually began the game in an adequate enough manner; feeling their way into plenty of possession, but Liverpool`s high octane pressing game made chances difficult to come by. Liverpool took some time to feel their way into the game, but once they did, caution and fear struck Arsenal. The first such signs of concern came in the 12th minute, Samir Nasri time and time and time again left the left flank brutally exposed with his lack of tracking back and Liverpool did not take long to play on his idleness. Lucas set Steven Gerrard free down Liverpool`s right with Thomas Vermaelen and Alex Song in Liverpool`s penalty box for some reason (this was from open play, not as a result of an Arsenal set piece), Gerrard had plenty of time and space to pick up an unmarked Fernando Torres, but he uncharacteristically scuffed his finish straight at Almunia. You have to feel a fitter, sharper Torres would have ruffled the net. In trying to run back all on his lonesome, it was clear William Gallas was in some distress. He was completely unable to sprint for the rest of the match, yet soldiered on with an impeccable defensive display (I think his ailment also focussed Vermaelen on his defensive duties and as a result he too was outstanding). Much has been written about Gallas` lack of altruism in the past, but yesterday I watched a man put himself through the pain barrier for his team (Arsene evidently, lacks confidence in Silvestre as much as the rest of us) and for that he ought to be commended.

The home side began to apply the pressure, with Mascherano and Lucas snapping at heels and frightening Arsenal`s tentative midfield into meek submission. Liverpool might have had a penalty; Steven Gerrard had already started to indulge his favourite habit of lunging to the floor in the area when Gallas took him out. Webb waved away what looked a genuine penalty claim, had Gerrard not already been conjuring the dive by the time contact was made, he might have got his spot kick. Gerrard bleated at the referee in disbelief, it turns out Stevie my boy, that when you consistently cry wolf in such a Machiavellian manner, nobody`s going to show you much sympathy when a feral creature mauls your balls off. I said many times in the immediate wake of the Eduardo incident and in every penalty call we had turned away thereafter that the ultimate punishment for persistent divers is that they will not get genuine penalty calls. The amount of times Robert Pires was felled in the box without reward in his last three years of his Arsenal career was innumerable.

Arsenal were being well and truly pinned back and struggled to create anything of note with Arshavin isolated. The sole opportunity of the first half came when Fabregas floated in a right wing free kick which Vermaelen headed over when he ought at least to have tested Reina. Gerrard took another appalling tumble, maliciously designed to get the already booked Denilson sent off. Though Webb acquiesced to Stevie Me`s faux agony, he still earned a right earful from Saint Steve of Gerrard for not brandishing a red card. The Daily Mail began a "Name and Shame" campaign for divers in the wake of Eduardo`s indiscretion in August, no surprise that for the second week running they have refused to correctly adjudicate their moral outrage to Mary Poppins. Aurelio curled in the resulting free kick, which Almunia rather unconvincingly tried to punch, he flapped at the cross palming it straight down to Dirk Kuyt who tucked the ball away. Questions may be raised towards the linesman as Lucas was standing behind the keeper and blocking Gallas` view on the goal line, which made Lucas offside and active. However, it was a difficult call to make and Arsenal were deservedly a goal down.

Subsequent reports suggest that Arsene went postal at half time with a string of invective, explicitly calling into question the suitability of his players to wear the cannon on their chest. Amos wrote an interesting article yesterday about Arsene`s apparently tougher demeanour where internationals are concerned and I wonder if this has filtered down into a meaner streak from the manager. His refusal to countenance Fabregas playing for Catalonia represents a change in opinion as the likes of Henry, Vieira and Pires were often allowed to participate in charity games and the half time hairdryer might just be a sign that Arsene expects his team to deliver now and the pampering and avuncular eye towards his younger charges and talk of a "young team in development" is now at an end. One can only speculate but whatever spittle laced words were that bounced off the Anfield dressing room walls seemed to resonate in some eardrums because Arsenal were a different beats at the beginning of the second half. A mixture of Liverpool`s lack of confidence (indeed, myself and Lord Lowe had spoken at half time about the home side`s current propensity towards conceding late goals) and lack of energy and Arsenal`s shift in approach, Song and Denilson began to press hungrily, Walcott switched to the left with an eye towards making runs into the centre and pushing Liverpool back. Nasri drew two Pool defenders to him on the left touchline, the ball broke to Fabregas in the area but his shot went straight at Reina.

But Arsenal were level within four minutes of the restart. Fabregas set Nasri free on Arsenal`s right; Walcott again tried to make himself a nuisance further up the pitch by getting into the box, Nasri`s cross first hit Carragher and then clipped the shins of Glen Johnson and trickled into the net. As you know, I don`t buy into the concept of "luck" at all, Arsenal played through Liverpool, Nasri put a good ball into a difficult area and Walcott`s presence panicked the Liverpool backline into the mistake. It was not serendipitous just as there was nothing "unlucky" about Diaby idiotically heading the ball into his own net at Old Trafford. The home side had dropped half a yard in pace and an absolute acre in confidence, Arsenal scented blood and drew it again just seven minutes later. Fabregas sent the ball to Arshavin on the edge of the area; the Russian somehow used the millisecond of time available to him to control the ball in a snatch of space and then send an inch perfect shot into the top corner via the post. Cue delirium in the Anfield Road End. I`ve repeated many, many times before that what makes Arshavin such a special player is his ability to make instant decisions and then execute them with unerring accuracy. He was being closed down rapidly by Carragher and Agger and delivered his shot with zero back lift yet still managed to control the ball and send it into the top corner, his biggest gift to the Arsenal side since arriving in February has been that, in working class London parlance, "he don`t fuck about." He`s also a surprisingly tough character, hard to knock off the ball. There was a very amusing incident towards the end of the match, visible only to those of us in the away end when Agger was clearly becoming irritated with Arshavin, Stevie Me, Minister for Truth and Justice MBE barged in, all pointy fingers, furrowed brow and acid tongue. Arshavin looked on with a butter wouldn`t melt look etched on his features, before waiting until Gerrard and Webb had turned around to give Steve a nice, patronising pat on the bum. It was a gesture Gerrard didn`t seem to appreciate, but hell, there was contact from Arshavin and Gerrard stayed on his feet, so I guess we should be grateful to have witnessed one early Christmas miracle.

Gerrard of course still had time to execute his fourth dive of the game in the centre circle, an attempt to which Webb reacted to with fury and frustration, angrily urging Gerrard to get up, fed up with his antics. It beggars belief that, given that Webb was that visibly annoyed with his constant simulation that he still didn`t have the cohunes to book Sir Steve. (I would also point out that if any of you heard the tuneful refrain from the Arsenal fans of "All you do is fucking dive" on the television, then I will be issuing copyright as the person that started it!) Liverpool were unable to produce a single shot on target thereafter and it was especially pleasing to see Arsenal close the game out professionally, keep their concentration and play for possession in the final stages. Liverpool were simply out of confidence, out of ideas and out of steam. Song and Denilson did an absolutely sterling job in the midfield (Song is recognised more for his all energy displays, but Denilson`s positioning and ability to take the pressure off his defence by playing the ball smartly or drawing the foul to interrupt the opposition should not be underestimated). Vermaelen and Gallas were in "thou shalt not pass" mood and in Andrey Arshavin, we have a guy who can do very little for 89 minutes but win you a game with the stroke of a boot. He has now scored on both of his visits to Anfield and his only visit to Old Trafford (he has yet to play at Stamford Bridge); this is a big game player. How important the victory was in terms of the title race will be revealed in the fullness of time, but needless to say we are still in it- though I still think we`re slightly short in the long run. What we can certainly do this year is be involved prominently for as long as possible and build some confidence for the future. I think being in the mix until May and coming up a little short will serve much better for next season than leading the thing by five points in February before spectacularly throwing it away- a la 2007-08. It was pleasing to see an assured performance from Arsenal; we sensed Liverpool`s weakness in the second half, exploited it, got ourselves in front and then focussed ourselves again on not conceding and playing on the counter attack. It is a sign of maturity we have all too often lacked over recent seasons. Who knows where this campaign will take us? But when I come to draft the season review in June, I hope I am highlighting Arsene`s half time invocation of his players` fitness to don the shirt as the turning point.LD.

TEAM: 1.ALMUNIA, 3.SAGNA, 10.GALLAS, 5.VERMAELEN, 30.TRAORE (18.Silvestre `88), 17.SONG, 15.DENILSON, 4.FABREGAS©, 14.WALCOTT (2.Diaby `71), 8.NASRI, 23.ARSHAVIN (16.Ramsey `90). Unused: 9.Eduardo, 12.Vela, 19.Wilshere, 21.Fabianski.




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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday December 14 2009

Time: 12:47PM

Your Comments

Arshavin was anonymous for most of the game, yet in about 8 minutes he helps set up one and then scores another, he is a strange talent for sure
Ozi Gooner
Great write up Timbo! The game yesterday was a cracking match, but for different reasons than usual. It's funny how other fans often come to VA and comment on how they'd love to see their teams play like we do .... yet sometimes we're crying out for Arsenal to play other teams in the league do and just add some grit. We did that yesterday and it was really refeshing to see. I love our natural game and enjoy watching it more than anything in sport, but ever now and again you just need to show some grit rather than flair. Yesterday it worked for us really well. I also agree that we'll come up a bit short this season, injuries screwing us up once more, but as long as we make a fight of it there isn't much shame in that.
Rocky7
Good write up. Which Batman was it? The Dark knight or the Kpow, Boosh, Phwam Batman
paul_ownz
The Adam West, "boom, pow, splat" version. But he was sat next to a very Heath Ledger joker.
Little Dutch
Another thoroughly enjoyable read LD. Arshavin is doing what I thought Eduardo would do which is nothing for 89 minutes but still win the match for us. At he moment he seems to be our Drogba, Torres or Rooney (pah!).
Sir Henry
Whilst im a massive fan of Stewart Robson as a pundit, watching the highlights ATVO has reminded me that he has an unnatural hate for Denilson and a love for Diaby that goes beyond the realms of comprehension. Benayoun goes past Denilson and he goes into a rant about how Diaby should be playing and how Denilson can's tackle in those areas. What's the guys problem?
Tom14
Wonderful anecdote regarding Arshavin and Gerrard's interaction. I can just see Arshavin's face now, haha
TPowell
A perfect weekend all round, and now I see Silvio Berlusconi has had his teeth smashed in? pinch me I must be in feckin dreamland Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay
nikolaijns
I'm a bit conflicted by that one Niko, on one hand, someone punched a 73 year old man in the face with a great deal of force, leaving him hospitalised for a few days. On the other hand, it was Berlusconi. Tricky........
Little Dutch
am i the only one, or is it time to for walcott to shut up and just play well for Arsenal... he always goes on about how arsenal will win the title and gets crocked right in the next match.. i think that we should just keep our heads down and win matches.... period!!
arseneknows
Whilst Admittedly I felt a tinge of guilt at laughing when purple nose received a swift foot to the nuts from one of his fellow jakeys recently I have no qualms whatsoever here LD (Would it make it alright if it was another geriatic that lamped him?) Besides hes got off pretty lightly (so far) It's not like he's lamp post dressing. He's had this coming for a long long time and I'm delighted.
nikolaijns
geriatric even
nikolaijns
Arsene getting angry at his players (and showing it) is not as unique as many believe. His players in Japan said his rages would terrify them. I don't know if it was Adams but one of his veteran players once told the story of how Arsene flew into a rage in the dressing room after a loss to Man Utd. Arsene screamed obscenities and threw things at his players. // I presume that the English media will be full of columns bemoaning the downslide of sportsmanship and morality in football after those two English wonderboys, Rooney and Gerrard, blatantly dived in one weekend. I'm sure those columns are being written as I type.
jaelle
Actually Jaelle...http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/football/2770110/Wayne-Rooney-Id-never-dive-really.html
nikolaijns
Surely he's got to be slightly more taller than 5' 4'' !!
Tambling
I am getting slightly concerned with Eduardo's lack of game-time. I know he's still finding form after a long time out, but, much as I like him as a player, I don't really see how he'd fit into our 4-3-3. He works in a 4-4-2 with a player who can hold the ball up, but in the centre of the front 3 he isn't able to link play very well and becomes isolated waiting for that elusive run to be made between defenders, rather than coming in front of them, dragging them out of position, and feeding the wingers, before then making the run, as RvP was doing so brilliantly and Arsh has demonstrated in patches in the 2nd half yesterday, notably in the build-up to the equaliser. In order to get Dudu involved the 2 wingers would have to drift more central, especially as he's not much of a target man in the air, and the midfield would end up being too congested - as was the case vs Sunderland. On the flanks of the front 3 I again don't think he'd be able to assert himself so deep in field against opposition who are quick to close down. His talents are very specialized, and I'm far from convinced that this is the right system for him to show them. He seems like a great guy, I know we've waited patiently for him, paying his wages whilst he's been injured, and he'd been doing great before that day in Birmingham, so it would be really harsh to just let him go, but honestly, I have my doubts as to whether we should have renewed his contract so early, with younger players pushing for his place on the bench, and a different type of striker more in need.
ArsenalRob
niko, Patrick Barclay (always good on this stuff) has a great piece on the xenophobic double standards: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/columnists/patrick_barclay/article6955319.ece
jaelle
On a seperate note, how ridiculous is giggs winning Sports personality of the year? (or whatever its called). By letting the public vote it just becomes a popularity contest with all the Mancs having voted for him. He only played 15 times last year in the league, infact i dont know why i even bother to be amazed.
paul_ownz
lovely article just as usual. on note, song wasn't at liverpool half when torres had his chance at the 12th minute, actually, song was trying to cover up, amazing young player, growing into me indeed.
Gooner SA
Football has always been an old boys, jobs for the boys, look after your own club, I totally understand the unwillingness of hacks to get stuck into an English player when two months later they'll be rubbing shoulders with them at some charidee bash. None of them want to rock the gravy boat. Fancy dan foreigners are far easier targets they are only here fleetingly and will retire up sticks and return home, but these English players will still be here bearing a grudge against said writer that wrote that unfavourable piece 11 years ago. I'm sure it's not a problem native only to England, I'm sure the press of every nation all over Europe where the majority of the worlds elite ply their trade give more tolerance to indigenous players whilst highlighting the faults of overseas players. It is unfortunately human nature to segregate and scapegoat.
nikolaijns
Great read again LD. Er, 8% of the MotM votes went to Almunia in the poll? I'm split between Song and Vermaelen for the record.
GoonerLou
Lou, Song was ok, but he really didn't do anywhere near as much as Vermaelen, Gallas and Denilson.
Tom14
dun think being 5 points ahead in feb will be a bad thing. this team has thrown it away in the past, and i'm sure they won't repeat that mistake again. winning it this year is more important than challenging all the way till may and then mounting a serious challenge next season. the season is not even half way done, no point in thinking bout next season right now, we've got a championship to win..
luckys_10
Can someone let me know what AW said about Essien and Chelsea? Or provide me a link to an article quoting him?
jaelle
He basically said that because Essien did not answer the international call up from Ghana that he should've been ineligible to play in Chelseas following match where he scored two goals. Wenger has suggested that point docking for Chelsea would be the right procedure to take and Wolves who were on the receiving end of the t*****ing are looking into matters. As we play by the book regarding international call ups and are always suffering greatly for it. AW is obviously greatly hacked off at a scummy club like Chelski bending the rules and thus far having got away with it.
nikolaijns
oh fer fecks sake t-w-a-n-k-i-n-g is not fecking swearing!!
nikolaijns
The panto season is soon upon us - I suppose it's considered swearing to mention the great panto dame widow t*****y lol
nikolaijns
No Niko ... but w-a-n-k-i-n-g is ..... lol
Rocky7
yep, methinks the filter needs adjusting somewhat. Sort it aht Fear!!
nikolaijns
I wonder if Scunthorpe is filtered?
Rocky7
Apparently not.
Rocky7
what if I wanted to espouse the virtues of wonderful Germanic towns like *****dorf and *****um?
nikolaijns
My geography isn't up to scratch and I have no idea what towns they are. lol
Rocky7
There is a town in Scotland called *****.
Rocky7
There is a town in Scotland called *****.
Rocky7
???
nikolaijns
Just read patrick barclay's piece on diving jaelle, excellent article but like barclay I think we all know that it won't make a blind bit of difference and the preferential treatment given to English players will continue
Dberg
Too true, Dberg. niko, thanks for the info re AW and Essien. I think most of us thought Chelsea would try to get away with something as the ACN neared. Isn't the Ghana FA demanding to evaluate him themselves? Re the game yesterday - is it just my impression or did our players show, collectively, a nastier side to them yesterday? Nearly all of them were getting "stuck-in" as you Brits would say, throughout the game, much more so than I've ever seen them.
jaelle
Yeah Jaelle I think Ghana have no intention of taking Chelseas word for it and who can blame? re yesterday I don't think we had much option but to return in kind, Masch, Gerrard and even Torres ffs were sliding in with pretty full blooded challenges, so it was a kinda fight fire with fire thing. Way too much head tennis going on too which obviously we're rarely going to come out of on top. Still no complaining here, in all honesty at HT I had no hope that the players had the fight in them to turn it around.
nikolaijns
lol niko i'm assuming ur a straight guy and yu've never been there :D
luckys_10
Jaelle - noticed that from Arsh more than anyone, although he does have a tendency to leave his foot in...love the way he puts it about, think he gets away with it a bit more than say a Diaby would purely down to size and that expression he pulls after doing it 'who, me?'
shewore
"down to size and that expression he pulls after doing it 'who, me?'" -- LOL!! :-D I know, count me as one of those people who he's got me totally fooled. When he was called on those fouls yesterday I thought "wait, that wasn't deliberate, he's not like that" and I thought that every time he did it. Looks so damned innocent.
jaelle
wheres that lucky dildo? nope never been heard theres not as much of a buzz as other places, yes I'm straight (well sexually, not really in any other way) I have been to both w-a-n-kdorf and w-a-n-kum though.
nikolaijns
In a "tallest dwarf" competition, thankfully in Arshavin we have a dwarf who stands tall indeed.
krismon1
It was a brilliant win, and the 2nd half performance was very solid. Arshavin's goal was top class, and I'm glad Wenger tore into this team - its high time they got some 'tough love'. The ref was largely rubbish, I thought, for both sides. This time, we got lucky with a penalty call, but Pool were poor in the 2nd half.
prits
Arshavin was a shadow for most of the game, put his boot behind one lucky shot (off the post) and based on the qualities of the rather small player, he wouldn't get a game for Portsmouth. Arshavin - completely overrated.
djdutts
djdutts, since its impossible to keep quiet and still communicate vide the net, I'll content myself with asking you to take a look at the League table, and then say after me, "silence is the best answer for a fool"
deledudu
Haha djdutts, nice one mate.
shewore
In 16 games this season Portsmouth have only scored 9 goals more than Arshavin has scored on his two visits to Anfield .... but yeah, he wouldn't get a game.
Rocky7
First time post, just love this website, keep up the good work, it certainly helps the day pass quicker. I was at Anfield celebrating my birthday on Sunday and genuinely believe that aside from the purple patch at the start of the second half we never moved out of second gear, to a greater extent this was probably due to the fact that Liverpool were dejected after Arshavin's goal. The drive home was somewhat enjoyable knowing as I had attained 2 tickets in the KOP end for my brother and friend whom became the focal point of my abuse, but on a serious note as ecstatic as I was with the win (I have attended this league fixture at Anfield for 5 consecutive years without tasting victory), I have a reservation that just will not diminish with the passage of time. For my liking the worst player on the pitch by a country mile was Almunia, each and everytime the ball was there for him to claim or distribute I experienced a pang of butterflies in my stomach. When taking a goal kick he kicked the ball out of play on so many occasions unnecessarily and was nothing short of woeful in collecting balls from shots or back passes. Don't get me wrong he plays for the Arsenal, which in my books entitles the guy to be cut some slack. but surely we have reached the crossroads with him. In my humble opinion finding some quality to place between the sticks in January is of a higher priority than finding somebody to compensate for the injury to RVP. After all you know you have issues when Everton fans are claiming their keeper is better than yours...and you find yourself with no ammunition to refute their claims!!!
We8Spurs
I think that the criticism of Almunia is overdone (today, I heard him described as "the worst goalkeeper in the league by a country mile" which is such an immense over exaggeration that I just switched off as to the rest of the guy's point). He is having a very unconvincing time of things, though he didn't play anywhere near this badly last season, which suggests it's bad form more than anything. Personally, I was incredibly taken with Fabianski's performance in Greece and have very much liked what I have seen of him. He is brave and decisive and, though he will make mistakes from time to time at his stage, I reckon the keeper that is decisive will save you more points than he'll cost you in the long run. Someone who hides from decisions will perhaps not be subject to the same focus, but will ultimately cost you more often than not. I would say that Fabianski has to be banging on the door very firmly at the moment. Great, available keepers are at a premium, I think Fab should have the chance to at least try and prove he is worthy of the job long term and I think he may get that opportunity before long.
Little Dutch
Agree completely with LD re Fabianski and Almunia. Last season Fabianski got so much criticism from gooners, many were saying he'll never be any good, and I just shook my head thinking these people must be about 10 years old. Young keepers MAKE MISTAKES, sometimes really bad ones and in big games. But every time I've seen Fabianski I've noticed that, in comparison to Almunia, he is more decisive, braver, more determined to shout to and organize his defenders. I really do think the kid will one day become a top class keeper. He's not polished in terms of experience but he looks polished in terms of his training from Poland, who are known for producing excellent keepers. I don't see the same thing from Almunia. Almunia certainly isn't the worst keeper in the league but he is suffering a poor run of form. He was never the best but he's been decent enuf in the last 2 seasons and his stats showed that he was the league's 4th best keeper, which is a good return from him. As long as he kept that form, I was willing to accept him as our #1, knowing how hard it is to find an available, top class keeper who doesn't cost more than two CDs and a DM combined. But this season he's not even decent, he's lost his form dramatically. Last season he didn't terrify me, this season he does. So I think Fabs should be given more of a chance -- but he too will make errors that young and inexperienced keepers make. Since AW won't or can't go out and find a better alternative in the transfer market, we don't have any better options.
jaelle
LD I accept your point regarding the criticism levelled at Almunia, it is no fault of his that we have persisted with him for so long, I still recall him doing well last year however in all his time at Arsenal he has never, I repeat never commanded his box. This is manifested by the sheer volume of unnecessary goals that we concede. Last season and the one before at the Emirates left me wondering why is it that we need to concede in order to rally a response, in 2007 we were tenacious enough to overcome this to a greater extent but conceding cheap goals time and time again will impact the players, this coupled with the fact that Arsenal have pursued a policy of blooding youth will inevitably result in some of our charges losing confidence. One further point, whilst I am not advocating Don Mannone as a solution, I fail to understand what if anything Almunia has done this year to justify being ahead of Vito or Fabianski
We8Spurs
Jaelle I agree with you, our alternatives for the GK spot will incurr errors due to the fact that they lack experience. But the question I find myself asking is that if we are able to persist with Almunia's mistakes than surely it would be better to have the mistakes made by younger charges whom could eventually make the spot their own
We8Spurs
Absolutely right on the money about Almunia LD. He has been unconvincing, though that isn't unique among a few top keepers at the moment, and trying to defend him doesn't mean that anyone is blind to his shortcomings. But in the current atmosphere it isn't possible to look at any game without picking out faults that would be ignored in almost any other keeper. Fabianski should get a go but it's inevitable that he will cost us. But he won't be judged by the same criteria as Almunia is, just as Mannone was able to get away with some frightening misjudgements simply because he wasn't Manuel. With any luck though Fabianski will have had a run of enough decent games to have built up a credit balance in supporters minds and that confidence should allow him to get past the times when he will feck up.
Amos.
I don't subscribe to the simplistic argument taht seeks to label Almunia the worst 'keeper in the Premier League, but you have to admit that he comes pretty close to taking that dubious honour. He inspires no confidence in his defence, he spikes my blood pressure every time a cross goes into our 18 yard box, and I cannot in good conscience remember a game where but for him, we would have lost. I remember Manone against Fulham, but whilst Almunia might have done something similar in the past, all I can remember are the many calamities he has caused in his time between the sticks as the numero uno!
deledudu
No doubt Wengers rant was regarding belief. The way we play each and every player has to believe or our style will be swallowed up by the "put ya foot in" crew. Truth is we went up to about 3rd gear for 20 minutes and liverpool had no answer even with our shaky keeper.
iceman10
I'll go with all. Almunia, not the worst keeper in the world, but not good enough. Fabianski has done everything needed to earn a run in the team, and there are very few top keepers out there. I truly believe Fabianski can become one of them. He justs needs Wenger to have the balls to drop Almunia .... and after the way Lehmann finished his career, we know Arsene isn't afraid of doing what was needed.
Rocky7
Not the worst keeper in the league in general, but one of the worst on current form. He does not command the area, catch balls, decision making is poor, distribution has been poor. I would sooner see Fabianksi in goal, who possibly will make 2 or 3 really bad mistakes like Lehman did but be commanding and convincing the rest of the time. I would could point to about 6-8 goals which i think Almunia should of done better on, which at this point of the season is too many.
paul_ownz
Lets just say Fabianski is better than Almunia by a country mile.
Sajit
can we have a list in order of whos a worst or better gk in the league then....where would almunia be?
fran merida
First Essien, now Drogba. Can Chelsea be THIS blatant about it? http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2009/dec/15/didier-drogba-chelsea-portsmouth-ancelotti
jaelle
I'm apprehensive every time there is a cross into our box. Almunia was slow off his line at the best of times, and that problem has become worse with a loss of form. One thing I'll say about Fabianski though - he seems to recover quicker from game to game after he's made a mistake. This is only a first impression coz he's not played regularly but I liked his decisiveness in goal. I'm a bit disappointed in Almunia, coz I really believed that he was good enough after 2 solid seasons, but instead of kicking on from there, he has regressed a bit.
prits
Almunia isn't top class and just doesn't inspire confidence. Makes you realise how good Lehmann was. We should have signed Brad Friedel when he left Blackburn.
Gooner_Vin
Friedel.... Now thats one keeper, in recent memory, with an evident string of match winning saves. Almunia is no spring chicken and for such a big man to be struggling to regain confidence, is worrying. Next couple of clangers and he is out, in my view.
Naijagunner
Fran Merida - Friedel, Given, Reina, Jensen, Sorrensen, Hart, Cech, Jaaskelainen, James, Gordon & Green better in my oppinion. Im not sayin that they are all brilliant without their own faults, Green's gaffe yesterday was quite bad, but in general i think they are better keepers. I can only go by what i have seen on match of the day, games against us or the odd game i have seen.
paul_ownz
HEY, just wanted to put in my tuppence worth to the Almunia-Fab discussion. Well there is T.Kuszczak who has just been given a run of games ahead of van der Sar, whilst being behind Fabianski in the pecking order in the Polish national team! Hell! Even W. Szczęsny is being lauded as a future great after playing one game for Poland! Gives you smthin' to think about...
Paulo Gun
He is 5'7"....
freshman
 

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