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Arsenal 2 West Ham United 0

Most of the pre match discussion focussed on the Champions League draw with Barcelona- a discussion lubricated further by the fact that Lord Lowe had booked our flights to Perpignan that morning as a crowd of around nine of us prepare for a trip to Catalonia. But whilst our heads were somewhat in the clouds as hotels and flight times were discussed in earnest, the focus of the players had to be 100% on West Ham United and a chance to apply the pressure on Manchester United and Chelsea at the top of the Premier League. Let`s face it, 5.30pm kick offs absolutely suck balls- particularly for home games when the build up becomes excruciating as you try and convince yourself that getting to the pub any time before 2.30pm is likely to result in you spending most of the first half slurring badly and trying to prevent your bladder from exploding.

But the game eventually got under way in teeming rain, the precipitation forming a film of liquid across the early evening sky and the Gunners appeared to buck a trend by starting brightly on the front foot. Indeed, Arsenal were ahead after only five minutes, Arshavin and Clichy linked up on the left hand side, Clichy`s cross was cleared to the edge of the area by Tomkins, Denilson showed a characteristic perception in picking up the loose ball, he played a one two with Bendtner in a very confined space and Denilson`s low drive from the edge of the area zipped sweetly into the side netting. That is four assists and four goals in Bendtner`s last six games; he has become quite a sounding board for our attacks. Arsenal looked in the mood to finish the game nice and early so we could have a relaxing Arsenal game for a change. It was Bendtner again who knocked down Fabregas` pass, to Denilson who played a neat one two with Nasri and as the ball sat up, Denilson attempted to meet it with an aerial volley but just got his timing wrong and consequently scuffed the ball straight at the keeper. West Ham only threatened sporadically, counter attacking on one occasion down Arsenal`s left, Junior Stanislas put in a low cross which just evaded Mido in the area.

But Arsenal were playing their world renowned brand of one touch football, nearly registering a contender for goal of the season as Clichy, Nasri and Arshavin exchanged one touch passes, leaving Bendtner to slightly overcook a pass to Fabregas in the area. Bendtner hit a low shot just wide from the edge of the area as the home side dominated. Arshavin again linked up with the effusive Gael Clichy, who played an intelligent angled pass to Fabregas in the area who steered a first time effort just wide. But with the half seemingly winding down to a soporific conclusion, the complexion of the match was to be altered completely. Diamanti hit a hopeful long ball towards Guillermo Franco, he was only too happy to fall in a crumpled heap under flimsy contact from Vermaelen. The linesman and the referee agreed with the award of a harsh penalty, but Martin Atkinson, who must have been a good forty yards away from the incident, took an absolute age to arrive in the area to brandish a red card for Vermaelen. The penalty award I can just about understand, though Franco, who of course fell in a crumpled heap under the feather touch of Gael Clichy in Villarreal 2006, but the red card was incredibly harsh and the referee was quite obviously influenced by the misinformed coverage of the Sol Campbell penalty award at Hull last week. Was this really a clear goal scoring opportunity? Franco did not have control of the ball so I cannot see how it can be considered as such. This was Arsenal`s first red card since Eboue`s dismissal at White Hart Lane fourteen months ago. I would bet you money you don`t read that sentence anywhere else today. Diamanti stepped up for the spot kick, but Almunia guessed correctly and beat away the spot kick and was swift to smother the rebound too. Almunia`s record with penalties is very impressive, he rarely goes the wrong way and you know you have to hit the corner to beat him. It was an enormous turning point and allowed us to reorganise at half time still in the ascendancy. Being forced to chase another goal with ten men would have been an enormous ask.

Alex Song slotted in at centre half and had a quite incredible game, in both of his positions. A few players were asked to play in two different positions during the 90 minutes- Arshavin, Song, Eboue- Diaby came on as a left winger. That they were all able to do so with such little fuss is an enormous credit to their professionalism and versatility. The second half began with West Ham very much on the front foot, sensing their opportunity for at least a point. Arsenal were able to shift their philosophy and concentrated on not conceding for the first fifteen minutes of the half. After the combustible Diamanti took a nasty swipe at Bendtner`s ankle, the home side`s only hold up striker had to go off, so Diaby came on as a left winger and Arshavin shifted to a lone striker role. Diaby was also quite immense when he came on, his ability to find space by appreciating the space around him and shifting away from players with beguiling turns is something to behold. I must admit to feeling rather smug to see some of the boo boys silence their critics, but I have to confess I didn`t really see this coming from Diaby. We have always known about his skill, but he seems finally to have learned when best to use it. Despite West Ham enjoying a good deal of possession, they rarely threatened. Diamanti had a strike that flew narrowly wide. But the biggest heart flutter came on 74 minutes when Carlton Cole moved away from Clichy and Song before hitting a left foot shot from twenty yards which clipped the outside if the post.

The Irons appeared to have run out of ideas and Arsenal began to sense their chance to finish the match. Fabregas won a crunching challenge in midfield, which allowed Eboue to take on the West Ham defence on the edge of the area, Fabregas was a picture of kinesis as he sprinted to the edge of the area to pick up Eboue`s pass, Fabregas tried to dink the ball into the area only to see Matthew Upson handle and a penalty was correctly awarded. Atkinson was incredibly keen to send off Vermaelen without pause for thought and from forty plus yards away from the incident, but he didn`t feel Upson`s deliberate handball warranted a second yellow card. Go. Fucking. Figure. Fabregas stepped up, Green was stood a long way over to his left, which is where all three of Fabregas` Arsenal penalties have been placed, but Cesc called Green`s bluff and steered the ball insouciantly to his right to seal the three points. Yesterday`s was a quite outstanding performance on a number of levels. The side had to show different qualities to hold their nerve and their lead when West Ham`s tails were up, the versatility showed by a number of players bears repeated praise. Arsenal have not had an easy ride of their last six league games yet they have won them all. Badly broken leg? Dodgy penalties? Harsh red cards? Shit referees? No problem, the Gunners are sweeping aside every obstacle and demonstrating a mental fortitude many thought was lacking. Several public funerals for our title chances haven`t perturbed the side and whatever happens in this title race now, they have earned our respect.LD.

1.ALMUNIA, 27.EBOUE, 31.CAMPBELL, 5.VERMAELEN, 22.CLICHY, 17.SONG, 15.DENILSON, 4.FABREGAS(c), 8.NASRI (3.Sagna `74), 23.ARSHAVIN (9.Eduardo `84), 52.BENDTNER (2.Diaby `57). Unused: 7.Rosicky, 14.Walcott, 18.Silvestre, 21.Fabianski.




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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday March 21 2010

Time: 4:53PM

Your Comments

Petr Cech, February 8: "I think we have cut off Arsenal by this win and they will find it only very difficult to erase the nine-point gap at this stage of season, especially with the tough games they are going to play yet."
Little Dutch
As Chelsea draw 1-1 with Fat Sam's Blackburn we still sit in front of Chelsea, though they have one game in hand. Chelsea still have Spurs, Liverpool and Man Utd, United still have Chelsea, Man City and Spurs. We've got a real shot at winning the league. If we do I think it will be Wenger's greatest achievement, even bigger than going unbeaten in 2004.
Rocky7
Its the hope that kills me. Song was absolutely immense yesterday in both positions, easily man of the match, though there are a fair few who deserve a mention. I'm hoping Wenger persists with Song at centre back next week, I don't think my nerves could take a Sol and Silvestre pairing. All in all an excellent weekend.
Monkeyjerky
I think he will play Song at CB. Diaby, Denilson and Cesc are more than enough for Brum. As for yesterday Song, Eboue and Clichy excelled, they were all first class.
Rocky7
Massive massive win that and chelsky dropping points just makes it a fantastic weekend. As for manure and chelsky they will drop more points we just have to make sure we don't. Plus with RvP possibly coming back in few weeks will make's it not an impossible task to win all the remaining games.
Armory
Amen to all that, guys.
julieloveshenry4ever
nice write-up tim. what's the news on Bendtner? I can't be bothered to go to any football site other than this one so I haven't heard anything yet.
TPowell
This is the most exciting league season in my time as a supporter. To win the title would be a bigger achievement than the Invincibles. This weekend was a massive step towards that goal. United may be the favourites, but that is fine with me.
gunnerkid107
I like the fact that Sol Campbell is always there to celebrate with our goalscorers. Some players always never care to join the goal celebration as if there is no unity. Look at how MU players celebrate when they score and see what happened after Cesc scored the penalty.
fcdematthew
There has been no news on Bendtner yet. I still think it was a tactical substitution, precautionary at worst.
gunnerkid107
Man what a change! last season would we have noticed if Bendtner was injured? Would we have cared? he has taken a huge step forward this season along with Song and Diaby who I thought was fantastic when he cam on yesterday.
Armory
We seem determined to do this the hard way but Almunia's save was pivotal. We would have had to try to take the game to them with 10 men in the 2nd half and that would have been a different proposition altogether. Having kept ourselves in the position to play on the counter we did it really well and everyone played their part. We can't hope to meet our apsirations without belief and these sorts of encounters must strengthen that after each game. Keep our focus on the B'ham game and a good result there might be the ignition we need for the business end of the season.
Amos.
My nerves are not going to be able to take this till the end of the season. The closer the prize gets, the worse this is. Really could have done with Liverpool getting a point at least today at United because I really fear their know-how at this stage of the season. Cesc is just an amazing player, every time I watch him play he's just a sumptuous footballer. If this team sticks together until their prime years, they'll be some team, that's for sure.
Gooner_Vin
You guys must be happy with the Chelsea game. 2nd what a comeback
Blitz
Spot on about Diaby - his decision making has improved tremendously, and you can see the immediate impact its having on his game. His skill and talent were never in question. Almunia deseves a lot of credit for this win - often, arsenal fans who are (over) critical ask when has Almunia ever won us points? Its true that he doesnt win as many as other top goalies, but this was 2 pts earned by Almunia, no doubt in my mind. As for the title race, its tough to see past ManU - they finish seasons very strongly, they now have Rio & Vidic back from injuries, and Rooney in red hot form. I'm loving the fight that this squad is putting up, though. Lets focus on the next game, against Birmingham and get the 3 pts there. Song & Sol in CB, Diaby/Den/Cesc in mid field should be good enough.
prits
Rocky, we also still have Man City and Spurs, so apart from the fact that they have to play each other our run in is not much easier than manure and chelski. Liverpool are definitely not a top 4 team anymore. But if CSKA Chelsea can drop points to the likes of Blackburn we have a shot. Their belief must be dissipating at the moment. I think ManU are our main rivals for the rest of the season
afri-gooner
afri-gooner, that is the point though. We don't have to play Pool, United, or Chelsea, so therefore our run in is easier.
gunnerkid107
Ok, one of ManU or Chelsea will definitely drop points when they play each other, for us a draw would be perfect obviously. Apart from that, ManU's difficult games are exactly the same as ours: ManCity and Spurs. So the difference isn't that big, and we're still behind so they have more margin for error than us. As for Chelsea's run-in, playing Liverpool won't scare them - I'm pretty sure they'll finish 7th this season. Don't get me wrong, we can win this year, but not because of a significantly easier run-in.
afri-gooner
In the end, it could even come down to goal difference, and United's quite a bit better than ours. Let's absolutely demolish some teams. How about 7-0 against Spurs?
afri-gooner
The biggest tragedy will be if we end up empty handed at the end of the season. This team deserve something to show for their efforts. They have made us proud with their fight and character.
Sajit
to think we were 11 points ahead of you & writing you off.You're now the favourites.
Chelsea24/7
I dont think Cech's comment was too premature at all even though I had the belief that we could still challenge. But Fergie was even worse he said "that's Arsenal out of it now.." in post match interview with Shrieves after the 3-1 defeat at home. I thought that was very rude. The Bendtner substitution was purely tactical I believe. Clichy was solid and is surely becoming one of the best left-backs in the world again. Denilson had an almost perfect game yesterday (after having 100% pass success rate, he made one poor pass and the fans groaned). Song and Diaby have won over the fans, so it shouldn't be a problem for a player of Denilson's quality.
gronedrone
I think Sol deserves a mention for yesterdays performance aswell, I'm kinda glad he was there next to Song because he's just got a wealth of experience and as good as Song did i think Sol would've helped with that in a way. The level of maturity we're showing these days as a team is so refreshing, i was getting kinda sick of seeing us shoot ourselves in the foot.
FuiKaka
I thought Clichy fouled Jose Mari against Villareal - strangely enough my mind went back to that incident as well (and the subsequent penalty save).
sunaadh
To clarify, the Bendtner substitution was not tactical, he went straight down the tunnel flanked by the physio.
Little Dutch
Somewhat off topic but here I go. First I hardly watch any football except when Arsenal are playing because i just don't enjoy it. I have known about Leo Messi for a while now and seen him play in the CL a few times but i don't pay too much attention to La liga to be honest. This week i watch 3 barca games (vs valencia, stuttgart and zaragoza) and the boy scored 8 beauties, the kind of goals that if you scored them on PES, you'd go running around, beating your chest. I was ecstatic at the tie against barca but after watching messi last night, I am scared. This boy has elastic limbs and is on a different planet. Rooney looks wormanlike in comparison. Messi's small but his temperament is incredible. He gets fouled but keeps going. I know Wenger believes strongly in Arsenal imposing their play pattern on everyone instead of attacking the opponents weaknesses but Wenger better pay special attention to this boy. He deserves it. If anything, he may just have forced Arsene's hands to do something about him. On the other hand, 8 goals in a week could see him go through a dry spell now.
Gael-Force
Oh by the way, i don't believe that there is any chance Messi will go through a dry spell... just not that type of player... Still only 22..
Gael-Force
I don't think we're favourites, that dubious honor goes to Man i.o.U, regardless, I think we find ourselves in a remarkable position considering where we where at several stages of the season. Great resolve to win this game, and we always looked in control even with 10.
Gunnerman
Gael-Force, nuff respect to Messi, but the last time I checked, football is a team sport. Why was Messi quiet in the matches against the Chavs last season? I watch la liga religiously since Henry moved to Barca, and I can tell you as a fact that Messi is a player who thrives on space, this is not to say that he cannot create the requisite space on his own, he's that good, but when denied the ball, he's just a passenger on the pitch. Wenger was right when he said that its a 50/50 game. They have Messi, he's a special kinda player, yes. But you know what? They also need to worry about us, we've got the unknown variables known as Xs in the likes of Diaby, Song, Eboue, Walcott and several others on our team. The battle is in the defence, if our defensive midfield and the back four plays to their potential, we shall win the day. Barca plays much like us, but I am of the firm opinion that we are faster and better at keeping the ball, and the other fact to consider is the fact that whilst Barca's players are generally well scouted and known, few of ours have attracted much attention. We are the underdogs, and I love it like that.
deledudu
I was hoping for United to drop points against Liverpool and they might have done were it not for a dubious penalty. United got this dodgy decision yesterday which got them two more points and when you think about the “standing foot” equalising goal at a crucial time in Milan in the CL, the Vidic tackle in the Carling Cup final (no sending off), the gifting of three points by Wolves in the EPL and the tremendous CL draw for them I begin to wonder whether we can compete against a club that gets so much good fortune.
Sir Henry
The referee on Saturday was a complete toss pot who couldn't wait toi get one of our boys off the pitch. Vman acted with dignity when he should of chinne dthe useless little twerp for being totally incompetent. An appeal would be useless as can you see the FA over turning ANY red card appeal by Arsenal? Yeah and pigs might fly. SkySports actually mentione don their news feed "it was Arsenal's first sending off in 69 games (or something), BUT still Wenger's 70th red card of his reign" FFS, when have you ever heard Sky mention the obcene amount of red cards Man Utd have accrued under Fergies regieme.....
LondonGooner
deledu: "Barca plays much like us, but I am of the firm opinion that we are faster" -- agreed; "and better at keeping the ball" -- NOT! Really deluded comment, imo. At our best we are EQUAL to Barca keeping the ball. Against strong, intelligent opponents it is actually relatively easy to take the ball from us. The biggest difference between us and Barca is OFF THE BALL movement and discipline. They are consistently and collectively relentless in fighting for the ball, tracking back, defending. We are not there yet, we do it sometimes, individually, but not consistently and collectively. That said, I do think we have a strong chance of eliminating Barca like we eliminated the 08 holders. Yesterday Barca conceded 2 late goals and there've been a number of very tight 1-0 wins and 0-0 draws this season for Barca. What concerns me more is the teams after Barca. // As for Saturday's game, fantastic classy and gritty performance, amazing to see how many players are coming into form at this stage of the season. How about that Denilson, eh?? :-) For Almunia all I asked was that he maintain his form from the last 2 seasons (ranked as the PL's 4th best keeper). He wasn't any better or worse than Valdez last season. Ditto re the referee's staggering incompetence. Unbelievable. Still, I was shocked we were actually awarded a penalty. Thanks to Fat Sam, and I'm shocked to see that Spurs might actually take Pool's 4th place spot. Have to give them credit for winning at a ground they hadn't won at for how many decades? Actually glad to see 2 "soft" London clubs win at that "manly" ground. I'll be thoroughly disgusted to see Utd win the league again -- as if we all want to see the PL become an imitation of Lyon-dominated Ligue 1, ffs! We have to do it for the good of the PL!! :-D
jaelle
I totally agree deledudu... We have a chance but i see it as 40-60 in barca favour. That's still pretty good. Barca have been riding high on confidence after last season and this season we still lacked the self-belief to defeat United or Chelsea (those 10-12 goals shipped hurt). The underdog tag suits us. On the Messi note, i think i was unlucky/lucky? to get to see 3 barca matches in a week and see him bang in 8 goals. He even won the penalty for ibrahimovic. I hope the players can trust themselves more and play their natural game. We need 11 players with bendtners confidence/arrogance...
Gael-Force
deludu - I admire your confident analysis. I, for one, don't hold much optimism for our chances but concur with your point about Messi being kept quiet against Chelsea last season. I really believe we need to play with tactical nous in this game and not try to outplay Barcelona. The only thing you can say though is that our players could really be inspired to win as they were against Milan. Messi is just a phenomenal player. I don't like the idea of him taking on Sol.
Gooner_Vin
Sir Henry, you are too subtle and gentlemanly about Man U's 'good fortune'! Fergie has acolytes like Allardyce, Pulis, McCarthy etc who just cant wait to do their master's bidding. Just watch how Fat Sam rolls over for the Mancs when they visit Ewood Park later this season. As if that were not enough, so many refs are on nickname terms with the Red devils. The bias of the establishment towards them is fairly blatant.
Deltaforce
I ranted about Refs' handling of our games, going into the run-in; plus how Man U will get favoured, as was again evident (not so obvious) in the game against Liverpool. No way was Valencia fouled in the box, yet they got the penalty. What we must do is focus on our games, one at a time; Man U are bound to drop 3 points more than we are likely to drop, as we negotiate the business end of the season. Chelsea will still give it a fight, but will find themselves with nothing, this season unless they win the FA cup. Don't ask me how I know these things. I just know!!
Naijagunner
"Don't ask me how I know these things. I just know!!" -- ok, that's good enuf for me, naija! :-)
jaelle
To clarify again, nothing wrong with United's penalty. Under fouls and misconduct, rule 12 of the laws of the game says: 'If a defender starts holding an attacker outside the penalty area and continues holding him inside the penalty area, the referee must award a penalty kick.'
Little Dutch
Julie, got to say I agree with your inciteful take on Barca compared to us, especially with keeping the ball. I don't think we are quite at Barca's level at keep ball (we were few years ago)yet, but what we will do better is work harder at closing them down in midfield, when they are in possession and keep their defense busy with our pacy players. As for Messi, if he is starved of supply, he can do little and this should be the game plan. Messi is a phenomenal player but I have seen him have some quiet games where the opponents have quick players all over the field and are willing to move the ball around quickly. They are not so good Away, in Europe and are beatable over two legs; Arsenal is one team that can hurt them in that regard. I will worry too, if I were Barca.
Naijagunner
LD, thanks. Sounded like you were describing a Dance style there. However, I am not sure he was still holding, once inside the penalty area, though, which was the point Mascherano (?) was making to the Ref, vehemently. The Pool players were directing him to the Asst. Ref for affirmation but Webb (isn't he a Man U supporter?) stood his ground.
Naijagunner
Arsenal appealing verminators red card, bit risky that we last couple of time a team has appealed a red card the FA have increased the ban
Dberg
By the way guys, my 4 year old son says we will win against Barca. Why should we care? Because last time he made a prediction, it was 100% accurate: We had just gone down to Stoke, and he said "don't worry, we'll score 3"!!!! Final score: 3-1 to the Arsenal!
afri-gooner
Really, Afri? Okay, let him confirm for which of the 2 legs he is making his prediction. Be sure to buy him whatever it was you bought him when he gave the correct prediction of the Stoke game :-) Dberg, don't like the idea of an appeal of the red card myself, as it could result in an extension of his suspension. Having said that, the card was unfair and maybe the club should test the resolve of the FA, especially if the Ref is willing to take the view it was a wrong decision.
Naijagunner
Even though TVs red card was a bit ridiculous, I find it hard to understand the strategy in appealing it. The FA is known to back the refs, even if they got decisions wrong, so its not enough that Arsenal feel they're right. This is a risky strategy, as we could lose TV for 2 games, insted of 1 (someone, pls confirm whether it means an automatic 2 game ban if the appeal is rejected).
prits
It's not an automatic extra match if rejected, only if it's considered frivalous. I think it's a calculated risk, if we were to lose him for another match it would be Wolves at home. I think the thinking is really todo with the Brum game, we win the appeal, we get him for that game. Lose it and you'd imagine we should be able to cope with or without him for Wolves.
Little Dutch
Jaelle, disagreeing with my opinion is one thing, calling me deluded is quite another thing. You are entitled to whip yourself into a frenzy in admiration of Barca, I however beg to differ, and whilst I usually have nothing but admiration for your opinion, your rude dismissal of my right to hold an opinion only diminishes you. I am flying into the UK specifically to watch the match, and if I cannot believe that we have a chance, I might as well sit in sunny Lagos than suffer the English spring!
deledudu
Barca are an amazing team, yes we have the quiet talent, but as good as Messi is, if we keep him quiet, we gotta worry about Xavi, Keep them both quiet, say Hi to Inniesta and Henry ...it's a field full of an amazing amount of talent. But Barca are different, it's a team full of amazing amount of talented players, who can actually play together, and feed off of each others strengths. Looks at Madrid and Man City, you can buy all these amazing players but that doesn't always mean a good team, these players have got to fit into a team of 10 other men and Barca have done that fantastically. They are the best team in Europe right now. On the flip-side, we all also know how good Arsenal are. Oh how i'd love RVP for this game. Giving then AA, RVP and Cesc to worry about would cause any team a world of havoc, not to mention our other stars. Secretly i was kinda hoping we were going to draw Barca (in the final would've been better) because if both teams fire up, it's gonna be one hell of a game.
FuiKaka
http://www.football365.com/story/0,17033,8652_6046509,00.html - on RVP
FuiKaka
if the red card gets overturned, good for us, and if it doesen't well then TV has a good rest for the Barca game!!
luckys_10
do you think henry would celebrate if he scored?
LHrover
LHR - Henry has already stated that he wouldn't celebrate if he scored, and i believe him. But it doesn't matter either way, i can't really see Barca playing him after his comments
dberg
deledudu, apart from your offense at my rude dismissal of a certain part of your comments, you've completely misrepresented my comments re Barca. Read them again -- exactly where did I say we have no chance? Apologies for the rude "delusional" comment, but I've been reading lots of what I think are delusional comments from gooners like "Clichy will have Messi in his pocket" and other such idiocy totally dismissing Barca's strengths. (Tho I'll certainly gladly eat humble pie if that Clichy comment turns out to be true). We have pace and we have extremely talented players who at their best can match the best of Barca's squad. As I said, what separates us from Barca is not squad quality but their CONSISTENT and COLLECTIVE relentless fight for the ball, their movement OFF THE BALL, they work incredibly hard to get it back for 90+ mins, the forwards commit more fouls than their back line, their forwards track back regularly and do defensive work. We simply are not there yet in terms of consistency and collective work. We get that part of our game sorted and not only will we equal Barca, we'll be better. As I said, I think we have a good chance of eliminating Barca -- as we eliminated the holders in 2008. We raise our game against such strong, attacking teams. It wouldn't surprise me at all if on April 7th the media are waxing lyrical about our amazing elimination of Europe's best team from Europe's most prestigious football competition. It's the teams after Barca that concern me more. One more thing: Messi was well marshalled by Chelsea last season in the sense that he could not score, but he was still very dangerous in creating chances. He needs to be heavily marked with power and intelligence and with no drop in concentration -- the way Drogba was effectively marked by Samuel and Lucio in two games (something we have never been able to do). Our defenders need to be very careful with him because he knows how to get past several defenders and the only way they get the ball from him is by conceding fouls and penalties. It's a cliche, but in this case it's true: the ball quite literally looks to be connected to him by an invisible string.
jaelle
dberg, agreed, can't see Pep playing Henry, esp. at the Grove.
jaelle
Oh, and one more thing Barca have that we've often had trouble with: understanding and communication, confidence in teammates' ability to deal with a problem. Recent games show that part of our game has improved.
jaelle
Sorry, I keep adding comments! I don't think Xavi will play at the Grove, he's been injured.
jaelle
Well we've failed with red card appeal, so Vermalean will be out this weekend, ******** stupid FA
dberg
FFS! dberg, has the ban been extended?
jaelle
Jaelle, love your posts, but PLEASE learn to use this - <*br><*br> (without the asterisks) to put line breaks in your massive walls of text! It would make it so much better to read.

Of course if you don't want to it's no big deal! Just a tip to encourage less skipping and more reading. Cheers. (this goes for all of you!) :-)
Gunnerman
Jaelle - ban hasn't been extended so we're back to where we started, Vermalaen will miss the Birmingham game.
DBerg
test post
Sajit
Awesome, I can embed html tags in here..Hmm.. read somewhere that thats a possible security problem. :)
Sajit
Hello evry1, im new here.. Jst gat registerd.. I luv arsenal fc. Hw do u guys welcum newcomers here?
shady gunna
Gunnerman, tks for the suggestion, honestly didn't know how to put in line breaks here.
jaelle
shady guna, we usually initiate new members by stripping them naked, driving them to the Seven Sister's Road at 3 o'clock in the morning and forcing them to run the full length of Seven Sisters shouting, "Sol Campbell has won the double!" See you there in a few hours.
Little Dutch
Hey shady man welcome! But do whatever LD said its requirement.
Blunt G
Lol, LD. I doubt that Shady will be there; now, we'll have to make you take his place for telling him too early and giving him a head start. Re: your comment on Vermaleen's red card appeal iro Wolves.... "Lose it and you'd imagine we should be able to cope with or without him for Wolves". I don't know about Wolves being easy. Just watching their game with West Ham and find myself thinking they will be a tricky side. McCarthy has built a decent team there as they absolutely smashed Zola's side right at their own backyard; scores currently 0-3. Good thing, TV5 will be back for that game, I daresay.
Naijagunner
3 O clock in the morning?? you ********s made me do it at 3 in the afternoon!
nikolaijns
And I had to wear a billboard saying 'Bill Nicholson packed fudge'
nikolaijns
Late as it might be, I have to be man enough to admit that I did not read the rest of your mail Jaelle. Having read it now, I've got to admit its rational and far more objective than my own post which is based on faith. Remember that there is little about faith which Paul or some other biblical figure defines as "the substance of things hoped for, and the evidance of things not seen" We have the potential, and I simply have to find the belief that the team I love will find that irrational X factor to deal with Barca, as the dealt with Madrid, Juve, Inter and Milan in the past. Oh, I can also understand those who cannot be as blind as I am, I use Arsene's opticians!
deledudu
If I remember correctly Niko, you insisted on doing it at 3pm. And I think I'm right in saying that you just happened to have that billboard lying around in your front room?
Little Dutch
Oh...yeah...it's kinda coming back now. I still maintain I never realised sp*rs were playing at home that afternoon though. I got to Chigwell before they all gave up the chase.
nikolaijns
I told you; Shady Gunna has fled!!!
Naijagunner
 

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