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Team News: Arsenal vs Liverpool

Game day baby!

They seem to be coming around awfully fast these days, but hey, it`s the sport we love and what better than watch our beloved Gunners take on their next foe? And the next visitors to The Home of Football MKII are former footballing giants, Liverpool.

Whilst no team should ever be taken for granted this Liverpool side are there for the taking. How caution should be exercised as Chelsea were also there for the taking and we some how failed to capitalise on that.

I think that as long as we keep Luis Suarez quiet this is a game we will win.

Let`s check out who Arsene Wenger has task with kicking the Mickeys while they`re down.

Arsenal team: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Ramsey, Wilshere, Cazorla, Walcott, Podolski, Giroud.

Arsenal subs: Mannone, Koscielny, Jenkinson, Santos, Diaby, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rosicky.




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The Journalist

Writer: Rocky7 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday January 30 2013

Time: 7:03PM

Your Comments

Huge stamp of approval on Ramsey's recent performance there, to play him ahead of Diaby. Of course, it could be Wenger letting Deschamps know he takes the player's return to full fitness very seriously. Liverpool have a midfield of bruisers and hard workers which means our lads in midfield are in for a rough time, especially Jack. Calls for our quick passing, one touch game. Good luck, lads!
Naijagunner
Well, this is the game Ramsey needs to stand up and be counted. Brighton was just the warm up. I'm not a huge fan but here's hoping he proves me wrong.
Wyn Mills
I need an Arsenal win for 250. What the ***** was that defending all about
HuddersfieldYiddo
hahaha...
Sajit
What *****e defending in that half. I dont know how Liverpool are only 1 goal ahead. Mertesacker, Szczesny, Vermaelen - all have made basic errors.
prits
It's one half gone and it isn't like Liverpool players have not had their own share of errors. The pressure is telling on the players, you can see as it isn't as if they have not had a go as well. A game to be patient; we get a goal and it could be 2 more for 3-1 to Arsenal.
Naijagunner
It seems the guys keeping the stats for TV are eager to show Liverpool ahead own the possession stats, whereas it is a lot more even than suggested.
Naijagunner
We just have to throw everything at them, keeping Santos in forward areas, as much as possible and hope we will be more composed when opportunities come. Pleased with Walcott and Jack; you could see Podolski show concern when Gibbs pulled up injured. He has never liked playing with Santos on that flank.
Naijagunner
Giroud!! Now for a come back.
Naijagunner
Theooooooo!!!!
Naijagunner
Fantastic strike, lets hope we don't ***** up again, and can grab a winner somehow
bowiecokemirror
We are so bad its funny
Sajit
I just hope the Gibbs injury isn't too serious, because Santos really is hopeless at defending...
bowiecokemirror
I have a headache!
Naijagunner
Defending Wenger too much! I'm shot of him and his flops
e dubbz
Okay. Today, I give up on Santos. He Appeared to run out of gas and that's no good for a professional. Very disappointed he lets the crowd get to him with the jeers. Completely lost even his offensive strength we all know about. God! Gibbs just has to come back for Saturday or it is back to full back duties for Vermaelen. Jerks is another option.
Naijagunner
Jenks*
Naijagunner
I have a plan. If we start the game with a second half and then have another second half after half time I reckon we could do ok.
Amos.
I've been sticking up for Santos. Not any more. I saw nothing from him that to suggest he should play for us
No 10
I don't like picking on individual players but Santos really is awful. The rest of our defence and GK were hopeless as well today to be fair. Not sure what's happened to Szczesny but he can't seem to catch anything all of a sudden. Sagna seems to be on quite poor form as well at the moment and I'd rather try Jenkinson for a while.
bowiecokemirror
We don't have the players for 4-3-3 and with Santos we're playing 3-4-3 and don't have the players for that either. We need 4 in midfield (and 4 in defence) against any half decent opposition.
Amos.
Negatives...everton winning. Pluses......4 from 6 points against Liverpool aint bad, not letting there heads drop at 2.0. Also I think the spuds have a tricky run of game's in April.......everton, chelsea and man city on the trot. This time last year I was more worried. Walcott and giroud scoring regular is giving us great hope. We just need to stop conceding fu(king stupid goals!!!
gunnerman76
We need to sign another left back quick, or try Miquel there if Gibbs remains injured. No more Santos please, he isn't a defender.
bowiecokemirror
Yay another month of santos at LB! We don't need anybody, why ruin the harmony of such a squad chasing glory on so many fronts? There is nobody out there better than anyone we have. We've tried really really really hard to get realistic options like Cavani and Villa, they weren't just pleb pleasing chases of untamed geese, honest ST holders!
nikolaijns
Rambo was unlucky for the second goal, it was a good tackle, but the rest of it was utter crap, defending like amatuers. Amos, I posted exactly the same thing on Twitter a few minutes ago. Awesome second half, ***** first half. It's not good enough, Wenger needs to start bollocking them before the match even starts.
Rocky7
I dont get barca......we sell them a hord of fu(king players over the last 10, 15 years including our Messiah helping there mission of world domination. Then when we want one poxy player, a player the wrong side of 30 who doesn't even get a start anymore, they tell us to do one! WTF!!!? Fu(k them the arrogant ****s! I hope we never sell them a player for as long as the earth spins. .....****s.
gunnerman76
AW's excuse that our defence is nervous because of mistakes in the big games earlier in the season is a bit pathetic. If they can't handle the pressure of big games then he needs to get defenders in who can.
bowiecokemirror
Wenger's interview was repetitive psychobable once again blaming outside forces. Nothing about improving our defending. Who is he trying to kid? Himself? I fear nothing will change.
Wyn Mills
Where the hell did we find Santos? any chance of paying someone to take him off our hands?
Wyn Mills
That is the question. Is it the quality of our defenders or the quality of the defending?
gunnerman76
That is a very good question gunnerman but not likely to prevent Santos getting Silvestred.
Amos.
I'd love to see us sign Villa, have been a big fan of his for a long time. At the moment it is our defensive side that needs sorting out first tho. I think another CB and LB would increase competition and push the current first choice players harder to improve and not get complacent. Squillachi and Santos don't really offer any competition or a decent back up option.
bowiecokemirror
There is nothing wrong with our defence, this is the best defence available to us. There is noone out there that can better what we already have. These are not the dweebs you are looking for. The january window is evil, it needs to be destroyed.
nikolaijns
I hope its the latter amos. That certainly would be the cheaper problem to fix, but I am starting to wonder. Just thank the stars that we seem to be clicking up the other end.
gunnerman76
Santos isn't the main reason our defence has struggled because he's not really played that often. The rest of our defenders haven't been great either. Sagna, Vermaelen, and Mertesacker were all at fault for the first goal. Santos is often caught out of position, his passing is sloppy, he is constantly diving in with tackles and getting nowhere near the ball. In additon he looks overweight and seems to lack stamina. I just don't rate him the same way you don't rate Arshavin Amos, I've got nothing personal against him (he seems like a nice guy in fact). (",)
bowiecokemirror
Whilst I wouldn't be unhappy at seeing David Villa in an Arsenal shirt, goals aren't the problem. Giroud has scored 5 this week, Walcott is banging them in for fun, Podolski is scoring his fair share. If we could defend as a unit we'd win an awful lot more games. Santos is utter pump but he's played about 100 minutes this season, it's hardly his fault.
Rocky7
Santos was doing well enough last season until he got crocked at Olympiakos. This is a different team and the current fit just doesn't suit him. He's not really what we need with what we have in midfield and up front at the moment.
Amos.
I find it hard to explain how we can play so well in the 2nd half and mostly after going 2 down. Again, almost as if we like to have to fight back against the top sides, rather than seize the initiative and at Home. Wenger has to improve the defending and make us more assured on that side of the pitch; we appear in a rush and are easily at sixes and sevens under the least pressure.
Naijagunner
How has Sagna's stock fallen so far. He has gone from being the best RB in the league to poor. And don't get me started on his crossing - does he actually aim at the nearest defender?
Will-i-am10
Well glad we haven't brought in anyone to disrupt the harmony of the squad eh gooners? Only 12 points dropped this month. Keep the faith. Arsene knows.
nikolaijns
Defensively abysmal - the back 5 should be embarassed to pick up a pay cheque, Arsene if you can't sort them out, is it beyond the realms of fantasy to get someone that can? Santos is a shockingly bad defender, already potentially Wenger's worst signing - him vs Ribery / Robben, what could possibly go wrong?!
shewore
Santos isn't the victim of the system Amos, he's just effin terrible at foot all and has no competitive attitude at all
shewore
Sagna had a good game today, in my view and apparently, was under instruction to go forward more after Gibbs went out injured. Yes, he slipped for their 1st goal but that happens to even the best players. I liked as he was very aggressive early on, going into headers (very few contested headers with him much after he clashed heads twice, with Johnson and Suarez). He was against Suarez and Johnson for much of the game and did well, in my view.
Naijagunner
You pay peanuts you get santos. keep the faith shewore, we were in for Cavani and Villa dontcha know? got close too. real close. So close you could taste your ST renewal.
nikolaijns
If you say so shewore :)
Amos.
It's a minimum of 3 weeks out for Gibbs. Anyone else but Santos.
Naijagunner
Sagna slipped but was caught out by a miskicked pass from Suarez. Even so there was a lot that went on before the ball went into the net. Vermaelen should have made the clearance even though he went with his weaker foot. Szczesny's block ricochets unfortunately off Wilshere and Sagna's attempt to block Suarez's shot deflects off him into the net. I guess there was some poor defending in there but......!
Amos.
You forgot Mertesacker trying to get out of the way.
Wyn Mills
Aside from that stray pass near the end that gave Liverpool a chance at the death, Santos wasn't that bad. Both of their goals had a bit of good fortune- the Sagna slip set in motion the comedy of errors - and a lucky bounce followed by a lucky deflection - that led to the first Pool goal. Despite Santos' error on the second Downing got a lucky bounce. It happens. Liverpool played like a relegation threatened team - 9-10 men behind the ball at all times, only the useless Sturridge as a long ball outlet. If not for Suarez Liverpool would be safe from the drop but not close to qualifying for Europa League. Which is why this game was so frustrating. Liverpool is crap, we should have beaten them. And would have if our celebrated manager could get his head around the fact that defending is kind of important too. Less than 24 yours left in the transfer window. After tonight's match Arsene said he'd be active so I'm guessing that means two players going out on loan?
elbondo
Santos made more than one error, elbondo. A couple of misplaced passes in dangerous positions, risky tackles near the centre circle when there was no one behind to cover - Santos was saved by a combination of poor Liverpool play, luck and good defending from the CBs / Szczesny. More so, he doesn't look fit, he was wheezing towards the end and gave up the chase a couple of times.
prits
http://www.london24.com/sport/arsenal/sagna_to_miss_bradford_trip_as_wenger_set_to_rotate_1_1735837 I think this is why Sagna's crossing has gone to pot again in recent weeks. He was supposed to miss the Bradford game six weeks ago with a foot injury but he played that game and has played every minute since bar Brighton. I'd imagine it's still troubling him.
Little Dutch
But Santos is not a scapegoat - the back 5 had a poor game (although Szczesny pulled off 2 good saves). The mid field was slightly better, and I'm pleased to see Ramsey have a 3rd good game in a row. He offers movement in that position and a fantastic engine. The problems with this squad are in the head, and they need to get their confidence in shape - very fragile at the moment.
prits
Exactly that, prits - "The problems with this squad are in the head, and they need to get their confidence in shape - very fragile at the moment."
damiano_tommassi
Not convinced there's much problem with the squad per se, just the defence. Seriously some of the goals we concede are just slapstick, why can't he sort it?
shewore
Do you think if you put a back 5 of Maldini/Nesta/Cannavaro/Zanetti/Buffon in this team they'd still make the same calamatous errors? Cos I do.
shewore
Only because they've got a combined age of 7237 years.
Rocky7
If midfield doesn't cover well enough then it won't matter greatly who we have in the back four. Which was the substance of a complaint Adams made to Wenger a decade and a half back when the 'famous back four' were shipping too many goals. At present we're playing with three strikers. Walcott offers next to nothing to midfield security and while Poldo tries harder than Walcott it's not his game either. In games against decent opposition we need more in midfield than we offer at present.
Amos.
What could the midfield have done about the calamaties last night? The corner at Brighton? Even their second goal was effin p1ss poor from Santos and Diaby. When you read Sczzney's article in the Guardian the other day you realise what a load of BS it really is when we turn in shambolic games like last night. I accept the midfield needs to offer protection, but why can't we have a well drilled defence that doesn't make at least 2 massive ricks per game?
shewore
Because defenders who never make massive ricks don't exist. Even Adams didn't earn his 'donkey' name for nothing. But teams that don't make that many massive ricks do. Those are teams that generally reduce the pressure on their defenders and earn them just a little more time to be in position and play the ball with a little more certainty. It's not that hard to have a defensively secure team. It's just harder to have a defensively secure team that can win enough games to get where you want to be.
Amos.
Well said there, Amos. It isn't as if we are so poor on the goals conceded front, compared with most PL sides.
Naijagunner
Did i say defenders that don't make massive ricks? I said that don't make them per game, there's quite a difference i'm sure you'll agree. I appreciate that this league is all over the shop and I think even Utd's leaked more goals than us (?), but that is absolutely no excuse for the complete howlers and comical defending we've been so guilty of this season, it's actually the worst defence under Wenger we've had.
shewore
Naija why should we compare to most PL sides? We're one of the biggest clubs in Europe aren't we? Why should our standards slip so much to compare ourselves to the likes of mid table teams?
shewore
The defence over the last few months has appeared to be all over the place positionally. Is that because they're not paying attention or trying to do too much because of poor cover from midfield? I'm not tactically astute enough to be able to work that one out. But the defensive mistakes are there for all to see and it needs rectifying. We can't keep giving teams a head start.
Rocky7
I might agree that there's a difference if I understood what that difference was. We've conceded fewer goals this season than at the same stage last season (and not all that different from a few other prior seasons) so I guess that this can't actually be the worst Wenger defence. But in order to have a well drilled defence that makes fewer mistakes we need a well drilled midfield that gives defenders more time while creating enough chances to win games. We won't find that this season but we can still do better than we have done.
Amos.
We looked fairly composed at the start of the season. As soon as the inquests at home started and we found it tough going against the top sides, the doubts appear to have crept back in and has hounded the side since. If we had one composed player to just focus on the ball and clear/block against Henderson, that 2nd goal wouldn't have happened. For the first, same thing. Vermaelen should have focused on the ball and firmly clear it. No danger! He panics and misses his attempted clearance. One positive though was how quiet they kept Sturridge. Didn't recall him getting a shot off.
Naijagunner
All players make ricks (as you've kindly pointed out) not all players make them every game, like ours appear to do at the moment - with me? Why does the midfield need to be well drilled to stop someone waltzing through 3 defenders? Or to clear the ball from the box when it's at your feet? Not sure i grasp.
shewore
Okay. He got the ball after the Vermaelen air shot.
Naijagunner
Shewore, actually I am comparing our goals conceded stats with the top sides, not mid table teams. We rank well, last time I checked.
Naijagunner
Sturridge had a shot in the first half after losing Vermaelen but the ball from Suarez was sublime. One for the stattos "13 - Arsenal have made more errors leading directly to a goal than any other team in the PL this season" @optajoe
shewore
Pretty well every goal conceded by any team involves a rick by someone somewhere so I guess that every team makes a rick in any game in which they concede a goal. We were looking pretty sound defensively at the beginning of the season but unfortunately that was at the cost of attacking efficiency. The idea that it is enough for defenders alone to be well drilled defensively but midfielders needn't be in order to have a defensively well drilled team is probably unrealistic. Our poorest seasons have always been the ones in which we have had most games in which we've failed to score than in the seasons in which we've kept fewest clean sheets.
Amos.
Ouch! Just checked to see that goals against stats while better than Manure, is now 10 behind City, 5 behind Chelsea and 2 behind Everton. United has improved defensively, since the return of Vidic and Smalling. Clearly, we have to do a lot more work to get some improvements as well. My recommendation is to persist with the same back 5 as often as possible, to allow them build trust in one another and better understanding. Of course, I have Gibbs, Sagna, Vermaelen, Mertasacker and Szczesny in mind. Santos has to be given special fitness training before the weekend game, if we have to use him. I am sure Jenkinson will do a better job at LB than he will; throw Meade on even, or Kos at CB and Vermaelen at LB. we can't make much with Santos as he appears beyond redemption. Even his team mates don't feel too confident with him around.
Naijagunner
True, Amos. The good old "balance" argument. When you watch red nose's side, it is the work put in by the midfielders and the fact that they are an offensive threat, which keeps their defenders from being swarmed in most games. Defending is a collective responsibility and starts from the front, actually. For instance, with Arteta's defending awareness, Santos used to look "not so bad" because, Arteta will cover For him (even Gibbs) wen they are caught in forward areas, out of position. I hope Wenger makes them all stay back for extra drills today and tomorrow to get this right.
Naijagunner
What was the rick for walcott's goal last night then? I don't accept that every goal is the consequence of an individual howler, it doesn't stand up to any scrutiny - if someone's made a great run, or got ahead of the defender, it's completely different to a massive howler - you're dismissing it for the sake of it. No one's said we don't need balance, but I can't see how the balance would iron out these "accidents" as Wenger called them last night - he doesn't mention anything about midfield cover which is funny.
shewore
Its pretty easy to say our defensive stats are better this season as the last was truly catastrophic (49 goals conceded in 38 league games, 67 conceded in 54 games across all competitions). Of course there will always be bad luck, and last season we had more than our fair share of injuries. But last night we probably had our first choice line up until Gibbs limped off, and still conceded a truly comical goal. There's no explanation for an international like Vermalen to panic like that, or a veteran of the German national team to squirm away from a shot on goal. That's just rank bad defending and against a team like Bayern will be more ruthlessly punished.
Wyn Mills
Leaving Walcott free the box? It would've been someone's responsibility to pick him up. I'd go for Leiva ball watching as the individual error there. Not getting tight on Giroud? Agger failing to get between Giroud and Walcott then. Some errors are more glaring than others but most ricochets and miskicks are likely, and often justifiably, to be seen as individual errors whereas also they're sometimes less avoidable than positioning or covering errors. You can always find a mistake somewhere in any goal but individual errors are reduced the more time you give defenders to set themselves properly. What was the individual error in Liverpools first goal? Sagna slipping trying to adjust to a scuffed mis-hit pass? Vermaelen failing to clear a good ball into the box with his weaker foot or not leaving it to Szczesny? Maybe Ramsey not watching the ball and clearing it as it rebounded from Szcesny? Perhaps Sagna and Mertesacker didn't close Suarez down close quickly enough when the ball broke loose? However I'm not dismissing anything, we didn't defend well enough that much is clear, I'm simply pointing out that defending, collectively and individually, is more nuanced than you're willing to see.
Amos.
All errors in their own right, but the scuffed clearance attempts go down as ricks in my opinion
shewore
The Defending for Southampton's goal at old Trafford, last night,was comical too. Triple individual errors, in that case. However, the strikers got the goals and all was forgotten.
Naijagunner
Vermaelen should have done better. Not quite as bad as dropping the ball on RvP's foot at OT perhaps.
Amos.
Exactly that, if Walcott had've put away that fantastic chance straigh after we'd have had the momentum and probably won the game (obviously you don't know with us). Utd's defending this season really has been appalling, just goes to show how even worse we were when we played them, doesn't it? If Wenger can't get this bunch of players to perform better then we need someone that can.
shewore
Nope Amos, definitely not as bad as that. Rick.
shewore
Last day of the window and it is obvious fans in all of Arsenaldom have given up on Wenger doing any last minute deals. he wins that battle then. ;-)
Naijagunner
What battle was that?
Amos.
The battle of "wits" with the press and fans who want him to "spend some money" in the winter window. He did his Spin and the days have worn on to the last day.
Naijagunner
Doesn't take much wit not to spend any money but it's always good to keep your wits about you when you asked to do so. Maybe it is all really only a battle of wits by the media to whip up a media frenzy to sell more papers, higher TV viewing figures and get more internet hits and twitter postings?
Amos.
I feel Wenger (indeed, most Managers) are relieved that this day has come and will pass too. Fat Sam has had his own fair share of whining about how it is a period of so much uncertainty for managers. This is why I would rather Wenger stated firmly, from the start, that he won't be doing any business (Fergie did so and only brought in Zaha under special conditions) in the window. That way, should anything happen, it will be under special circumstances. Of course, that can only be easy when the squad he has few weaknesses and is doing well. It is a double edged sword of sorts; it could either cause complacency in some players or result in the players rewarding the manager's trust with better performances.
Naijagunner
"I would rather Wenger stated firmly, from the start, that he won't be doing any business (Fergie did so and only brought in Zaha under special conditions)" - what were the special conditions; that Fergie's a liar? That the signing was made without his knowledge?
damiano_tommassi
Those were my sentiments too damiano. It would be silly to rule out the possibility of any transaction at any time and wouldn't solve anything anyway. Wenger had ruled any deal out for Villa a couple of times already but you'll find reports today that Wenger has made a last ditch bid to sign Villa today. It doesn't matter what he does or doesn't say. The circus will go on anyway.
Amos.
The special condition I meant was the one which allowed the player go back to Palace on loan till the end of the season. No double speak intended there. I have conceded that the only reason the circus will go on is because the team has evident weaknesses which fans expect the manager to correct by dipping in the market.
Naijagunner
 

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