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The Emirates Cup - A Fan's View

There is no doubt the weekend's Emirates Cup was a great success as it went without a hitch and more importantly, Arsenal were the victors.

Unfortunately my bank balance meant that I was unable to attend either of the days so I slobbed out with Doritos and a healthy supply of well known cider in front of the TV.

From what I saw I now have very high hopes now for this coming season. Apart from the first half against PSG, our play was absolutely superb. Bendtner opened his account for Arsenal and assisted Flamini for the opening goal and caused a few problems, Diaby looked solid and made a few great challenges once he had been moved to his natural position in the centre of midfield, Denilson as solid as ever and our latest Frenchman added to the ranks Sagna looked solid at right back and it can't be long before Clichy breaks his goal scoring duck with his runs forward from left back. However, it was the performances of Eboue, Hleb and lastly and most importantly Van Persie who were the main reason for my renewed hope for this season.

Eboue's mazy runs against Inter Milan were almost, and I'm afraid to make this comparison, Ryan Giggs like and was a constant thorn in the side of the Serie A champions, drawing a number of dangerous free kicks which could prove a vital ability this season for Gallas and Toure to get into the box and hopefully score some crucial headers from set pieces.

Watching Hleb playing just behind Van Persie in the 'Bergkamp role' he seemed much more comfortable there and revelled in his free role playing behind Van Persie, which for me made a very strong case to playing a 4-5-1 formation, however this is for Wenger to decide but I would not rule out seeing it at some point this season. Last but by no means least is Robin Van Persie. He showed glimpses of brilliances in the first half against PSG, a mazy dribble through the heart of the French sides defence and a couple of freekicks flying just over the bar, but his performance against Inter Milan was by far his best performance of pre-season so far and he could have had a hat trick at least being denied by both goalkeepers Francesco Toldo and Julio Cesar but capped a good peformance with a superb goal. Receiving the ball from Emmanuel Eboue he bemused defender Francesco Balzoni with some exquisite footwork before firing in a vicious strike with his unfavoured right foot past Toldo. Cue celebration from the Arsenal fans and a certain lazy student in Kent!

Wenger's programme notes and post match comments have made quite interesting reading. In the programme notes he quoted as saying we need 'one or two more players'. By the looks of yesterday Eboue and Sagna are forming a useful partnership on the right hand side of midfield could push Hleb for his place. But as our Belarus midfield had a great couple of games it could be Rosicky who makes way for Hleb to play on the left which might mean there is no need for a us to buy a winger. Granted i thought prior to yesterday we needed a left winger and I think we still do , however the speculation surrounding Nicholas Anelka has now intensified in the press and among supporters. Discussing the potential return yesterday of the French striker Wenger said: 'I can never say no because the transfer window is still open'. He also said a few days ago that 'At the moment I have not made an offer for Anelka'.

I think 'At the moment' is a very interesting and very important. Could he possibly be thinking of bidding for Le Sulk? His quotes suggest here it is in the back of his mind. To be honest and I maybe one of a very few number of people, but I'm not totally against him returning. He is a miserable so and so but he is still a quality striker. He may have only scored 11 goals for Bolton last season, but with the creative team of players we have at our disposal he could easily double that. If Eduardo's work permit isn't approved then Wenger is going to have to get another striker in quickly and I think he would want a proven Premier League striker and Anelka fits that bill and would add some experience to the side.

The next few days regarding transfers should be interesting to see if any new players are brought between today and the start of the season and see how the Anelka saga works out . After our Emirates Cup success there is now our trip to Amsterdam to look forward to as well and the chance to win, to quote the Daily Mail's Simon Cass 'meaningless silverware' before the season starts. On the contrary, I'm happy to say I disagree with Mr Cass quite considerably. There is no such thing as meaningless silverware. Although it's not exactly the Champions League, this win will have done a huge amount for our young sides confidence which after Thierry Henry and Freddie Ljungberg's departure is very much needed.




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The Journalist

Writer: Chris Aylward Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday July 31 2007

Time: 2:25AM

Your Comments

Great Article. I had been indiferent to Anelka coming for quite some time, but as of late i have been totally against him coming. The first reason is that he is 29 and about to be, if not already, past his prime. Also i think Anelka would mess up the great Chemistry the team has at the moment. But i think Arsene Wenger is aware of both of my points and is using the media speculation of a move for Anelka as a Smoke screen for his real targets.
SD Gooner
true SD the spirit in the team is incredible, they are fighting for each other and le sulk could very easily change that.
mish
Itsupforgrabsnow, that is exactly how I felt about the weekend!! I am absolutely excited!! Great read too.
gunnerkid107
Good article, focussing on al the positives that came out of the weekend. I agree with them, very impressed by Eboue, we all knew Hleb was quality. I dont think it matters where he plays, his impact on the side is still the same. I dont mean to spoil the party, but in the interest of the full perspective, our defence still concerns me. 2 weak moments, 2 goals conceded. Reminded me of too many games last season, and something I hope is fixed soon.
prits
yes that concerned me too i think our midfield defended very well they were all over inter players but that doesnt really tell us how they will cope with the premiership tempo. two defensive mistakes lets hope thats down to pre-season rust. for me the most important thing is converting the chances we create if we can do that early in the game than opposition teams will have to open up.
anonymous
Just as we needn't have got too down after the defeat against Salzburg then logically we shouldn't be too up after the wins at the weekend. But it is right to enjoy the moment. Our problem last season was consistency. We could beat ManU twice but we could also lose games to lesser opposition. We need to discover consistency as well as form. What we have seen over the Emirates weekend though is that our squad is a lot stronger than some imagined. Eboue, Sagna, Senderos, Bendtner, Traore and Flamini all confirmed their worth. Along with those yet to contribute Ade, Rosicky, Eduardo, Walcott, Djourou & Song we can afford some optimism.
Amos.
eboue playin at rm with sagna at rb is a deadly pair , they both seem to have a gr8 understanding of each and other .
HENRY`14
Great article, if Wenger does buy Le Sulk then he must have his reasons, then again Le Sulk is quite a talented player, just look at his goal VS Ukraine, genius.
stukazufuss
I went both days, and have to say it was a cracking couple of days, obviously Sunday being the best day, hopefully the emirates cup will be here to stay, several highlights for me but Eboue,Sagna, Clichy, Hleb, gibbs and RVP were the biggest standouts, I cant wait for the season to start! I Enjoyed reading this well written article aswell
TR7
Well written! I guess that the formation from Sunday with Hleb central and Eboue at RM provides a good alternative to last season's starting line-up. With the wealth of truly talented midfielders we now have, it's difficult to see how we could contemplate the purchase of someone like Diarra. In fact although I fully support our buying an older player or two, it's hard to see where we would squeeze them in, unless it's up front.
Andy-bayor
A great start to the post Henry era! Well done!
sandgroanun
Good read, thanks Chris! I agree with everyone that there are many positives from the 2 matches. Obviously, we saw: 1. RvP's goal and sublime skills displayed. 2. Hleb's excellent performance in the CM position behind the striker. 3. Eboue's dazzling runs down the right flank as a right winger. 4. Promising Eboue/Sagna combination. 5. Cesc and Denilson being their usual selves, though a bit short of match-fitness. 6. Surprisingly good first-team debut for Gibbs - btw he's the kid who scored the only goal against ManU in the FA Youth Cup tie at the Emirates, which set a new attendance record in the competition. 7. Same for the other young kid, Traore. Expect to see him and Gibbs in this year's Carling Cup run. 8. Clichy was as good and lively as ever, even excelled in the LM role in the 2nd half of the PSG game. 9. Senderos seemed so solid, whether partnering Kolo or Gallas in either half of the PSG game. 10. "Even" the Kolo/Gallas partnership seemed a lot more promising than before. 11. Bendtner may need to sharpen his finishing (so does Adebayor, for that matter), but they'll get there as there's good potential there. 12. Diaby may not be the Vieira-esque player we'd hoped for but he's more attack-minded and could match our former captain in terms of work rate and stamina. 13. Flamini - how could he be like our 5th choice CM and still so good after sitting on the bench for months? We're so blessed with talent in the middle of the park! And some other points I thought were worth mentioning: 1. Team spirit is visibly fantastic. RvP said he and Cesc were smiling to each other because they're so happy that they're playing well and running for each other the whole time. I've watched all the post-match interviews from Arsene, RvP, Bendtner, Flamini, Clichy and Gibbs. It's amazing how Arsene and the coaching team taught them not just the skills on the pitch, but also this grace and class off it. They seemed so mature and clear-headed despite all the doom and gloom. Very confident and no arrogance there (which was probably a bit of a tag that people put on RvP before). They're all 20-24 years of age, Gibbs only 17. 2. Bendtner's goal was, yay, from a corner! Just when was the last time we scored from a set-piece?! 3. We scored a total of 4 goals - 2 by strikers, 2 from the MIDFIELD! I was honestly the most excited when Hleb did it, after being criticised the whole last season for not doing that enough. 4. Our lack of width could just be addressed (partly) by having Clichy and Eboue in the LM and RM positions respectively. With the money from the sale of Reyes/Freddie/Aliadiere/etc., I of course hope the next rabbit that Arsene pulls out of the hat is a left winger. But with so much strength on the right, and some decent backups to Rosicky, I guess we shouldn't be too worried. 5. We even showed more steel than last term. Look at Cesc who wouldn't be bullied off the ball in the middle, or Clichy/Diaby/Denilson who put in decent tackles, or Bendtner who wouldn't go down as easily as the Beast or Aliadiere (shouldn't be the standard to compare to, I know) or Sagna/Hoyte who seemed strong and pacy at the same time. Sorry for being so long-winded. Couldn't help. :P
Louisa
I went to the Inter game on Sunday and I'd just like to add to the above accounts that the atmosphere was pretty damn good too. My voice is just totally wrecked. I sound like a zoo burning down 8-)
flv
Did anyone see Gallas giving orders to Traore to show the trophy to all sides of the stadium? it made us all laugh! Billy Gallas, what a gooner!
TR7
Its good Eboue is proving his worth and the dooms of shame are turning green with envy as they were calling for his release when Sagna came along. Keep it up lads
Zimbolicious
Yep I saw that TR7 and it was funny. Traore tried to come back to the tunnel twice and Gallas waved him away!
Andy-bayor
 

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