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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Arsenal vs. Manchester United

Ashburton Grove



On Sky

Preview: Arsenal v. United

After not really getting going midweek against Aston Villa, Arsenal host rivals Manchester United tomorrow in the second of our four season defining matches.

Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Silvestre, Clichy, Denilson, Diaby, Fabregas, Nasri, Walcott, and Bendtner. That was the team that beat the Champions at the Grove last season. There are a couple of odd similarities between that team and the one that will start tomorrow. For one, an old man will start at centre back, in Campbell. Also, Nicklas Bendtner will once again be asked to lead the line in this mammoth fixture. How these two players handle the situation will go a long way in deciding this match.

While there are some similarities, a lot has changed. I doubt many United supporters will argue that their team has lost some of its quality since then. On the other hand, I believe we`ve massively improved. I realise that anything can happen in 90 minutes, but for once this season, I am truly confident going into a big game. I hope that is not a bad omen.

Vital Quotes:

Wenger is backing his big game Russian to make a difference.

'I am very happy with Arshavin, because in every big game he is influential and creates the chances.' said Wenger.

'When you look at him, he turns up when it is really needed - not at 4-0, but at 0-0. He is always coming up with something special.
He is a player whom you always rely on in a big game like that.'

'Arshavin likes the big stage. He can be quiet for 20 minutes, and then suddenly turn up with something decisive. That is what you want from the big players - the big players make you win the big games.'

Arsenal Team News:

Eduardo and Thomas Vermaelen are the latest injury casualties, but at least the big Belgian doesn't have a broken calf bone. Bendtner will return and make his first start in three months, while Sol Campbell will face United as Arsenal player for the first time in four years. Sol will be hoping for a similar defensive score line, as he, Cygan, Toure, and Lauren held United to a goalless draw at Highbury in January of 2006.

Some good news is that 2009 player of the year, Alexandre Dimitri Song Billong, is back in the squad. Diaby, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Djourou, Eduardo, Merida, and van Persie are Arsenal's missing injured players.

Predicted Starting Lineup: Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Campbell, Clichy, Song, Denilson, Fabregas, Arshavin, Rosicky, Bendtner

Player to watch: Nicklas Bendtner

Nik did a fantastic job against Ferdinand and Vidic last season, and some Arsenal fans have suggested that Eduardo's sore hamstring might be a blessing in disguise. No disrespect to the Crozillian, but Bendtner's physical presence could give us something different. Also the Dane knows and is relishing the situation he finds himself in.

Manchester United Team News:

After an early season injury crisis, Ferguson has almost a full squad to choose from. Though, Rio Ferdinand will the serve the first game of his four match suspension for a blatant, off-the-ball elbow agaisnt Hull's Chris Fagan. He should be serving the second game of his three match suspension, but an appeal let him play in the midweek Manchester Derby. Hargreaves and O'Shea are United's only other causalities.

Possible Starting XI: Van der Sar, Rafael, Vidic, Evans, Evra, Park, Scholes, Carrick, Fletcher, Valencia, Rooney

Player to watch: Wayne Rooney

He's the best striker in the Premier League right now, and he'll be looking forward to the battle with Sol. If we can win this battle, then I am sure we will win the game.

Match Facts & Stats

This will be the 42nd time Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have faced each other. Ferguson has won 16 times to Wenger's 14, with 11 draws (two of which were then settled by penalties).

The Gunners are the division's form team, earning 24 points from 10 unbeaten league games since a 3-0 home defeat to Chelsea in November.

Manchester United has not won any of their last six away league matches at Big Four opposition, losing five times.

Ref Watch:

Chris Foy will be the head official. I've never been a fan.

Match Prediction:

As I said earlier, I'm confident. I'm going with my gut feeling of 3-1 to the Arsenal.

Next Fixtures:

7/2 (Sun) - Chelsea (a) - Premier League

10/2 (Wed) - Liverpool (h) - Premier League

17/2 (Wed) - FC Porto (a) - Champions League

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The Journalist

Writer: Brice Coffer Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday January 30 2010

Time: 9:54PM

Your Comments

One other player we must stop from performing will be Evra, who seems to have his best games playing against Arsenal. Perhaps, to affirm his being higher than Clichy in the French National team's LB pecking order. Boy, am I tense for this one.
For the Villa game I was happy with a draw before the game but this game I feel that it would be a missed opportunity if we didn't win.
I just read that this will be Sol's 200th Arsenal appearance.
This is the game i personally look forward to most of all (as does Cesc Fabregas) i hold an unusual amount of hate for Manchester United and there is nothing i love more then beating them. Oh and how i hope we do it tonight. As always with these sort of games i make no predictions because we all know, ANYTHING can happen. I'm happy with "song, den, cesc" ...that combo has worked fantastic for us this season. C'MON YOU GUNNERS!!
As much as I dislike you.. I still want u to beat manuers...
Funny how the wolves game could really give Manure thetit leat the end of the season. We have the chance and thetitle is in the hands of those who want it most. Chelsea only just won last night so the title race is wide open. Go you gunners
Haha kosovo - thanks ...i guess.
FuiKaka A good read about Song, didn't know he had to face up to so much. Imagine going through the treatment at Craven Cottage AND being called Wenger's worst ever signing at 18.
Can't believe we could field a team who is only one player (van Persie) short of our first team tomorrow!
2 surely tom, what about Vermaelen?
Oh yeah, but he may play...
Could do, but with all the verbal support Arsene's given Sol ahead of the game I doubt it.
Without Vidic or Rio, Wenger starts Nasri instead of Bendtner. Vermaelen starts!
I just hope we are not rushing the verminator back.
why wouldn't Bendtner start... with this line up, we'll win no long kicks up field nor any crosses... makes it so much easier for other teams to defend us, in my opinion
sol isn't on the bench? must have been injured, so perhaps we are rushing verm back...
gk, what is FSC talking about, saying that this game is available in HD?
looks like Alex is going with more DF team. and arsenal are going with offensive one. if arsenal does not win this game they will not win the league simple as that. Bolton can beat this MU line Up. apart from Rooney they Look like Midtable team.
from the left side? never
and 0-2 from the counter.BIG SUPRISE
Now, we are screwed.
they are simply playing better and we must admit that well done utd. We could point to our injury list but to be honest the players that we have out should be doing better.
i really dont understand our boss....why doesn't he buy a striker?? if bendtner was fit then why is he not playing??? why does he take risks at one of the most important fixtures of the season?? all those chances by arshavin could have been clinically put away by a good striker...clearly arsene doesn't seem to know offlate
@ armory, we can hardly point the injury list - we have basically our first xi on the pitch bar van persie and arguably diaby. We are getting beaten down - we could come back to win which would be amazing, but based on this performance, this arsenal team simply isn't good enough.
what is annoying is that the team is capable of so much only if there are one or two more good recruitments.. his adamancy to not spend is going to cost us again this season.... i love you arsene but you really take the ***** sometimes
There's no way you can blame injury lists for performances like that. It's simply a lack of passion and fire in the belly when it comes to the big games. Rabbits in headlights.
Gunnerman said it,not good enough.From the start of the 2nd half the team have to show what they can do,go at ManU 100% with nothing to lose.Show the fans some desire at least
Call it lack of steel in midfield...bottle...I don't know. Whatever it is we still don't have it. For me Denilson is still the weak link. Not enough closing down of opponents. Too many balls threaded easily through our defence. You could see the first goal coming. The 2nd was madness with 3 players looking at Nani and no-one watching Rooney. Crazy! We need to really step up the aggression second half or Utd will over-run us.
Wyn Mills
Its half time and I'm pretty sure there will be twists to come, but this is shocking. After all that was said the starting lineups were certainly suprising. On paper I had us down to lose as brown and evans have been awful together (browns fault imo) Nani and Park are normally useless in the final third and scholes has played 3 games in week. But to be fair, Nani has been like a new signing in the last two games. I personally thought the last two games he played were flukes and that Valencia would take his place to protect Rafa. But thankfully Fergie has decided to feed his confidence and it has certainly paid off so far. For such an allegedly poor team, we are showing that we can still mix it with an almost full strength arsenal team away from home. I cant see Brown coping with your movement for 90mins though, so I think we will have to score again before you do to kill the game off.
When is Arsene going to buy a keeper or change to the young keepers that we have. They would not put the ball in their own net
Its not because of lack of passion or desire, these players really want it Man United have just been the better the team in the first half. We have been extremely poor defensively, the first goal was a good piece of skill by nani but you should never allow the player to get through in the first place, and if that was on the other side of the pitch Man U players would have committed a professional foul and taken the yellow card. And the second goal; nobody tracks the most dangerous striker in the country at the moment.! Enough said. Bendtner should be brought on now.
this game is over. Bring on Chelseki! we will beat them by 3-1
ha nice gag collow! Always rely on humour for a mood lightener. Chelski will feckin annihilate us
phew panic over Walcotts coming on thought we were going to lose for a momet, 4-3 it is.
Dunno how to feel seeing Deni going off but seeing Theo coming..ah well cant do much wrong
Niko if we don't score by 70minute, there will be no chance for a come back. and i do believe we will win the Chelski game
Go away dan
sell them all - ******** usesless bunch of bottling ****s -
Collow theres only one team here that'll score and it won't be us mate sorry! & do shut up dan you cock I'll post the link to Le Grove if you want it.
at least a consolation goal
Ok that worked I'll try it again there's no way we'll score 2 in 7 minutes
we're gooonnnna win 4-3
2009 as the best year of arsene seems a bit hollow now... this is so frustrating
dust ourselves down n start another reason to give up now
Told you you'd win nothing
Well there we go, a severe underestimation over the now traditional malaise that sets in after getting knocked out of a cup. No fight until we were trailing by 3. All started by our woefully insubstantial keeper and spread out like a virus. No belief, no fight, just lots more painfully ineffectual tippy tapping and snails pace counter attacking. One day left and no new faces will appear to lift morale. Anyone thinking we can get any further than Porto in the CL and third/fourth in the league is in dreamland I'm afraid.
Why do we make other teams look good? We gift them there chances and can't put away our own. And I'm really getting tired of Almunia, he's just not Arsenal quality. I can't believe how much I was looking forward to this match
Spot on nikolaijns. Almunia is a joke and i've never seen such a gutless arsenal side when it comes to the big matches.
Its happened twice against chelsea and twice against United, this is conclusive evidence that there is a problem Wenger must address. Counter-attacking has become to easy against us!
Ferguson has just declared us out of it! I wouldn't be so sure of that just yet.
les not just blame almunia.. that ball from nani was about to be tapped in at the far post regardless of almunia's touch.. against teams who r top quality we need to use the flanks to open up spaces which we didnt
I don't think we were gutless, I just think that Arsene's famous motto of focusing on your own game was taken a bit too far today. We were up for the game, you could see that in the chances we created, but we just played so naively, and with such a lack of defensive responsibility. Clichy just can't handle a winger who can match him for pace, and Song provide his usual cover because Denilson continued his poor form (although it may be down to an injury), and Song was being made to do too much supporting the attacks when we were chasing the game, so we ended up leaving acres of space through the middle to Man U's right. I know the Song-Den-Fab axis is effective, but with Den struggling, I would much rather have seen Rosicky drop into midfield.
Gutless is right. Utd showed 100% more determination to deny us space and time. They forced the mistakes. They broke at speed. Time for Wenger to start his speech about' being fit to wear the shirt' again. And time for fans to start asking the players a few more questions.
Wyn Mills
Arsene summarised it perfectly...we were rubbish both defensively and offensively. How can you leave 1 defender against 3 in a game like this!! Completely suicidal. Arshavin needs a kick up the a**e, he had so many chances to score or set up others in the beginning. Anyways we need to forget about this quickly and get ready for chelski. We're not out of this title race yet!!
Cesc is King
arseneknows: "all those chances by arshavin could have been clinically put away by a good striker". I know he's not a natural striker, but he's got the attacking instinct and finishing potential as one. It's easy just to say that if a different player was playing, he would've scored, but the fact is Arshavin doesn't lack the quality to do so, he just wasn't up to scratch with his end product today, and he grew frustrated. We're bound to hear some morons say 'if we'd spash the cash (they love that phrase) on David Villa we would've scored 4-5 today', but in truth even David Villa has off days, just as Arsh has his ultra-clinical days, most obviously at Anfield, and I bet you were amoung the many who thought the signing of Arshavin would have the effect that people are saying Villa would have now. Sometimes the answer's not that simple.
Dare anyone say it? Is it just The Big Two now? That's four big big games against The Big Two at home in which the result has been in little doubt by the halfway mark. Now, not being the type to hang around and gloat at a painful loss, I'll do the offski.
There is zero difference in terms of talent between the two teams save for a gulf in the class of keeper and the fact they have a shrek, the difference is purely psychological, we show manure way too much respect and in all honesty this team fears them as they do chavski. Manure have no fear whatsoever of us, they came again and took the p1ss, utterly dicked us and outplayed us in every position. This is what needs looking at, our bowing down mentally to a side that really aint all that. You better believe it will be no different next sunday, the game will be lost before a single ball is tippy tapped.
As for the title, if, and that's a big if, we can get at least 4 points from the next 2, we'll be well in the mix still. Pretty much, if we can keep our heads regardless of results in this 4-game tough patch, and carry on winning the more likely games, we'll be in with a good shout come May. Both Chelsea and Man U will drop points, you can be sure of that, and we've got the easier run-in. It all depends on our mental state coming out of this run, and a slight (I know we won't get much) bit of luck with injuries
I am not going to reconsider my earlier prediction. I said if Arsenal loses this game they would not win the league. I stand by that comment. Arsenal are out of the title race I donít know about miracles, but to they are out. With such a low confidence and Chelsea and Liverpool coming up that is anther 6points that I donít see arsenal picking up. This game proved that arsenal canít win big games and I can hear a lot of arsenal fans saying they still have CL to play. But again how are they going to beat big team with this kind of performance. There is always next season letís hope these players mature, they come somewhat out of age this season.
I agree with everything but the last sentence niko, which depends on the way the players react from this. I actually think we'll have more succcess away from home against the big 4/3. Our natural instincts should point to a less reckless defensive display, and then it just depends on concentration, patience, and a bit of luck.
Did we have our chances? Oh yes we had our chances and they all went begging. Haven't looked at the stats but I'd think we ha more chances to score than they did. But when midfielders/ playmakers are tasked with both STARTING a move and then FINISHING it, what can we expect?? How many times did Arshavin or Cesc start an attack and then wondered who to thread/ cross the final ball to. Denilson, Nasri and Clichy dissapointed today. We could REALLY do with a freaking striker and Diaby could not come back sooner in Denilson's place. Almunia looks shell shocked and punch drunk all at once. Fabianski has to come in for Chelski though I wonder if he'd fare any better aerially against Drogba and Anelka. We really do have our backs against the wall now and the response against the chavs will tell us everything about this team that we need to know.
Last 3 games at home to the big 2, 2 for 10 against. When will somebody at Arsenal show us that this isnt good enough for a club with our resources? Complete lack of mental toughness from a team that have been brought up as losers (New breed of losers waiting behind them aswell with our new FA cup policy).
How many deflected goals is that now lads? Surely a new record...Anyways despite "The team is the new striker" - Anus 24/01/10 - you do look blunt without RVP and i really dont think youre getting better as a side, i think the standard of the prem has dropped thats all. Utd have got worse without Ronaldo yet were far too strong for you today. Niko there is a clear difference in ability, i mean ffs Utd brought Valencia, Berbatov and Giggs on to see the game off. To try change the game you brought on Bendtner, Eboue and Walcott who im sorry to say are average at best. And they had no Rio or Vidic - the core of their side.
Its worrying how brittle we look when we play against the Mancs and Chavs. Its almost as if beating us is all about getting the first goal. Our shoulders then droop and the urgency in our play dissapears, replaced by a recklessness. Recklessness which causes midfielders to stop pressing for the ball, defenders to over commit themselves in attack and resultantly for our team to lose its initial formation. For a good counter attacking and physical side playing with a quality striker, getting the first goal against us really means 90% of the game is already won. Rant over.
Awful awful performance from too many players. Denilson, Clichy, Almunia really poor. Sagna, Nasri, Rosicky below average. Fabregas Snuffed out, Song too much to do because of how poor Denilson has been. Vermaelen, Gallas & Arshavin come out with some credit. What gets up my nose is how we didnt want to fight today, no one wanted to put themselves about and only when we got a consolation goal did we show any bottle. I think you can only get along so without a target man. Asravhin looked ok but no one really held the ball up or was available for a cross in the box. With the transfer window slamming shut tommorow it looks like another season with regrets. Maybe the Champions League will be easier for us as long as we avoid the English teams.
HY trust a spud to bring up strength of the bench. Not my argument. Bendtner, Eboue and Walcott, three players that can barely change their own grundies let alone a game. Would Berbatov, Giggs and Valencia been able to turn round a 3-0 deficit in 20 mins? would they feck. Looking at the first 11s today on paper we had enough to match an ordinary (barring shrek) utd side, but they psychologically had us before even hitting the turf. Surely after not beating a top team away in a decade+ this is something you can relate to?
lol in a big way
I tell you what is lol in a big way hicksville and that's your chances of achieving your precious holy grail of 4th. En Vogue must've had sp*rs in mind when singing 'Never gonna get it, never gonna get it, never gonna get it never gonna get it, never gonna get it never gonna get it'
Another lol in a big way are the way CABE laughed openly at your proposed stadium architechural plans I believe the exact quote was "We are concerned that an overall masterplan for the site is not evident" looooool how perfectly does it sum you lot up?!
You lot are kings nay emperors of lol in a big way, the countdown is on til the big 50 Hicksville, you'll be able to see the firework celebrations even from your northen outpost. :)
it didnt help with song getting booked so early,it snuffed out his ability to tackle,also for every contested header the ref allowed Manu to get away with sly pushes on our players who were not strong enough to compete....we had too many passengers,too many players who werent match fit.
fran merida
niko - An admirable attempt to deflect attentions ;)
A serious question HY. Why do you feel the need to pop up on this board after every Arsenal defeat or controversy? I understand when Spurs get a result against Arsenal or if its Spurs/Arsenal related but it seems a bit pathetic that you seem to cream your pants at every Arsenal failure. Is your life so empty?
Whoa nelly arent we in a moody 2day? My initial point was yes we're still a average side and we only ever look good with Lennon on form. But whats shocking is that we're only 7 points behind this great Arsenal side that youre all philosophising over, i mean holy ***** if we were half decent and actually beat Hull, Stoke and Wolves at home like we really should have we'd be above you. And we've got a circus act upfront! You're not as good as you think you are. As for En Vogue ive absolutley no idea who that is - i was never part of the London Gay scene unfortunatley, although niko my dislike of you has nothing to do with your sexual preferences honestly, you do as you please lovey.
The 2nd goal summed up this team perfectly. It was almost identical to the 3rd goal they scored in the champions league last year (The 1 we have been treated to watching every day on the SKY HD adverts), what price they choose the goal today to advertise SKY 3D?! Denilson doing his now infamous jogging back without actually doing much gig, not seeing the countries most in form player running behind him after doing a similar trick last week, Clichy doing his Best impression of Benjamin Button, do these guys actually review Videos of the mistakes they make?
Just returning from a pressing engagement and couldn't watch the game. However, from what I can glean from posts here, the recurring naivety of the team caught up with us again, against a top side. Maybe, the big occasion becomes too much for our lads, which are the times we should look up to our "big game players" and we do not have enough of them. It will seem Clichy disappointed again; maybe time to push Eboue to left back till Clichy is back to full fitness. I do hope they will be better prepared for the Chelsea game; at least we can look foward to that instead of judging our credentials from this (always 50-50) game.
oh dear HY homophobia already? my you never seemed like the brightest button but I never had you down as resorting to such low insults when you are out of ideas. Are you up forthe big five-0 party? Burning effigies of Chas n dave, a gazza style pig roast (drenched in booze and squealing), no cups for the lashings of champers obviously - just plastic ones with carling written on them. Free lasagne for the first 5000 earlybirds, I'll pop your invite in the post shall I?
Youre right paul, but i only disagreed with nikolaijins point that youre as good as Man Utd. He then bit in and out came the anti Spurs rhetoric youre all so famous for.
Btw, I can't scroll down to all the rest of the comments as the drop down icon is missing on the COMMENTS section of the article; is it just with me or can someone explain this (if I can see the explanation, that is)?
Ifs, buts and maybes dont mean sweet FA HY. If We had beaten Chelsea and United this season we would be top? I think the majority of members on this board believe we are the 3rd best team in the country, personally my frustration is that if the club and management team were more pro active we would really be competing with a big 2 that simply arent as good as they were in seasons past.
HY nobody here called the current Arsenal side "great". Ever. We will wait for them to win some significant (not Beer cup) silverware to term them that. Its easy for you to say if Spurs had beaten Hull, Stoke and Wolves you would be ahead of us! Thats like us saying we should'nt have lost the matches that we did against City or United because we had more chances to score than they did. Well touch luck. Thats why your team is mid table most of the time and our lack of sharpness up front and fragile mentality means we finish 3rd or 4th and not as champions.
"niko my dislike of you has nothing to do with your sexual preferences honestly" how exactly am i homophobic? I even said you should be able to live the lifestyle choice you want mate, and i honestly believe that.
Yeah fair do's if ifs and buts were candy and nuts. That winning mentality youve been talking about we havent had since the 80s. It does go to show how the standard of the league HAS dropped though, people have been calling the league crazy this year its because everybody has struggled to maintain that winning form. I wouldnt put it past you at all to go to Chelsea and "batter them" in the words of Sir Alex. Youre not out of the title race at all yet.
I aint your mate ****
Mathematically were not out of it mentally we probably are.
is that a song by en vogue?
No it was a Darren Bent facebook message to Levy
ok maybe we're not good enough to beat chelsea or united when we play against them. but we're definetly better than the rest. and we should be beating all of them. the missed chances vs burnley, everton and villa can cost us more than these big games. if we on a run similar to this and beat the rest, then we're definetly not out of it. just need to take this on the chin and move on, time to dwell on all these things is in the summer..
Must say I never thought much of Bent till that Twitter rant. He won my respect, he did.
Fourth place yiddo never gonna get it never gonna get it never gonna get it never gonna get it.
Never answered my question btw how will you be spending the glorious golden jubilee? If pork isn't your thing we can sort out something else they'll be plenty of tuck in the street parties of North London. Barbecued skinny chicken maybe?
Why is it that as soon as Arsenal come under pressure they crumble? Yet another season without a trophy after today.
we are never going to win the league, we need a world class striker and goalkeeper because almunia is terrible
nikoljains, i come in peace. there was'nt any difference in the 2 sides bar rooney like you said. in fact you have better technical players. wenger has to give his side a chance and he's not doing that, by that I mean he has'nt bought in this window. you need a big striker for starters. you have the money,in this day and age buying someone for £10 mill is'nt a gamble. if he'd gone in for some one like Huntlaar and it doe'snt work out, well it would'nt be the end of the world would it.
Can you send me an invite to that shin-dig your getting such an erection about diko, it sound's tearing. And I'll send you one to the 'South-london pikey losers that never win feck all bash' It's going to be great, Arsene's givin a speech on how to promise the world but end up with Eboue, re-runs of all your European final defeats (06' is a cracker), Cabaret come's from Vic Acker's & the Fish Faces, Merson's will bring the gak and it's all you can eat roasted hedge-hog.
we had our 49ers unbeaten record.....spurtz have a better record 49 years without the top prize...soon to be 50 years,thats going to be a great party, do you fancy coming to that one HTG?
fran merida
I won't bother doing a Tottenham version of that HtG, because it would be too long, but, and I know this may surprise you, Arsenal didn't actually win a trophy last year, so maybe 'South-london pikey losers that never win feck all bash' wouldn't be such an appropriate title for that party. I'd suggest touching up on your understanding of the English language before accusing someone of being a pikey. Oh, and Arsenal's based in North, not South London. You should know, you've been in it's shadow for a long, long time now.
Cheers springy, from what I gather we did ask about Huntelaar for an end of the season loan but were turned down flat by Milan for whatever reason, presumably monetary. I think all gooners are heartily sick of being given the merry go round of feck all reinforcements followed by hollow statements of how big our war chest is. I fear for us when we play your lot next week! It'll be 8 points with a game in hand come the end of the game and goodnight Arsenal methinks. Sure we clawed an 11 point deficit back but aint no way that'll happen twice in one season.
We've been conceding goals to all kinds of teams all season and getting away with it because of our attacking prowess. But you can't get away with it against the very top opposition. It's galling to see us comprehensively outdone by Chelsea and Man Utd as we have been the last two seasons. That's not the performance of a top 3 side. Do we honestly see United doing that to Chelsea, Liverpool or Villa even?
Its not as if you dont have the money, I dont understand, your were/are in a great position in the league a new striker/face would lift the place and you have to give it a shot. Chelsea done it with Anelka,£15 million and it so very nearly came off. I dont think we will annihilate you next week. If you play Bendtner and Campbell just for set pieces it wont hurt. As for the arsenal spuds love in on here, and I've said this before, How on earth have spuds fans got the audacity to come on here and have a go? Talk about in denial!!!!
Yep I know can't argue with any of that springy, believe me we're in the main as nonplussed as you. I love the faith Wenger has in his players but at the start of Jan given our position the lack of positive action is gobsmacking. None of us were asking for club records to be broken, none of us were naive enough to expect a world class striker - just to bring in an alternative option with a bit of experience and an eye for goal, both Chelsea and Utd did this with Anelka and Larsson and both of those are world class but we could've done the same albeit a bit more 'budget'. The fact that we haven't done this given Van Persie is out til March at the very very earliest, and that we now have eduardo injured leaving us only Arshavin and two inexperienced campaigners like Bendtner and Walcott is just radio bluddy rental!
Absolutely Niko. Sometimes its not about getting better players than the best we have in a certain position. Getting a striker who plays better in our system better than RvP is indeed difficult to get especially in January. So if our best laid plans went haywire because of injuries a back up plan was not too much to ask for considering that AW and Gazidis had time to mull things over. A backup plan need'nt be long term, a short term one which serves the purpose could do as well. If a short term plan makes 4 years of training, development, pain and dissapointment worth the effort and wait, it would have been great to gamble - just this one time.
I know you guys have been crying out for Wenger to spend money on a striker, but who would you have had him buy this january? and who would they be replacing in the long term? (assuming you agree that having Van Persie, Arshavin, Eduardo, Bendtner, Walcott, Vela plus a new striker is excessive). Please don't say Huntelaar.
I gotta say we have been way too rigid and inflexible in our approach to getting a stopgap to not even see us over the line but (in another season where injuries have decimated us) just to see us maintain being competitive. This rigidity also extends to our tactics. Our inability to switch from 4-3-3 when playing utd today cost us. They killed our midfield today. There's no shame in switching back to 4-4-2 at home against another top 3 side. Bendtner and Arshavin up front would've made sense. with a MF of Song Cesc, Nas and Rosicky. I'm really not sure what Denilson has to do to get benched, he had yet another mare.
tuscan3000, though it was just an exercise in speculation I was hoping for a player like Saha. Technically good, fits into our system, does not replace any of our strikers in the long term yet fits our short term purpose. Out of the list of strikers you mention, RvP is not available currently (hence our current dilemma), Arshavin is a playmaker or support striker and is best played in that role and Bendtner has just recovered from a medium term injury. Eduardo unfortunately will take time to adapt to our 4-3-3 system considering that he did not train with the team in pre season and is still in my opinion not back to 100%. The problem we face is not of numbers but of the inability (for various reasons) of our forwards to seamlessly step in for RvP.
That's the million squid question innit tuscan? Did it have to be a purchase? A loan deal would've been more likely. We do have a wealth of attacking talent but three of the lads you mentioned are injured (yep Vela has a knee problem now, another training injury!) and two are only just returning after relatively lengthy layouts and have never had a real purple patch in the side yet. Which leaves Arshavin. Either way it ain't happening now so it's all pretty moot mate :(
It makes me laugh sometimes watching the way we attempt to beat the very last man when people like Rooney just want to thump it into the net. I love our philosophy, but sometimes you just gotta admit its just all about how many more goals you can score than your opponents. Are we victims of our own hype?
Wyn Mills
Its obvious we want Chamakh, and even if we had to pay over the odds for a player who only has 6 months left on his contract why not do it. We are in real need of a target man, someone with presence in the box, someone who gets on the end of crosses and Chamakh has scored plenty with his head. Im sure 8m would be enough to get him now considering he will go for free come July. Im not saying that a striker is the answer to all our problems, but watching home and away games since RVP has been out i can see that the ball comes back too many times as no one can hold it up and that we have no aerial presence in the box making all crosses useless. Dont want to always talk about Almunia but does he give us anything in a game that another keeper wouldnt match as a bare minimum. Again with awful distribution & kicking and although maybe the goal not entirely his fault i cant help but think he is not good enough and a better keeper would be tipping that over. Why he keeps playing Denilson when he is playing so poor i dont know. It looks to me he is playing at 50 percent as if injured or something. He moves slow, akwardly and has started to misplace more passes. I would like to see his opta stats now compared to before his injury.
As a united fan, its probably easy for me to say buying isnt the answer when my team has won the last three league titles and you guys really want to win this one. But I just think there is a real lack of quality out there, which is why wenger hasnt moved for anyone. I dont know about sahas situation, I was just under the impression he's an everton starter who they wouldnt sell or loan. As for chamakh, I was under the impression he was a 26 year old who hasnt played outside a weak french league, has had one good season in his entire career and was allowed to run down his contract to the final year - not a common situation for a good player to be in. Fair play if he arrives on a free or loan- not much of a gamble - but to buy him in january when he is free in 6 months seems wasteful. I might have him all wrong and we may well find that out next season, but my only point is that I can see why wenger wouldnt want to upset the squad by bringing in another striker. When they are all fit there are too many and the ones that are fit now will want wenger to show a bit of faith in them if they are to stay and develop at the club. To me it would only be worth bringing in a january signing if you KNOW he can definately do the job now (ie proven it at a high level with the attributes to succeed in the premier league) or you KNOW he is so talented that you are happy to risk losing one of your current strikers if they fall behind him in the pecking order. I can't see the guy who stands out as falling into that category in the january window.
Paul dont worry about Denilsons stats trust your own eyes because you are 100% about the way he playing right now.
Watching the match again I'm really angry with Denilson's performance. This guy just isn't good enough to anchor our midfield. It was noticeable that Fabregas was the one dealing with both Scoles and Fletcher which in turn limited his forward forays. Denilson was a passenger yesterday. And it's not the first time either.
Wyn Mills
Denilson was poor yesterday and hasn't looked the same since his injury. But because he's flavour of the month, nobody wants to look at ghow badly Alex Song played yesterday. Song seemed to think he was a striker yesterday and Denilson at least tried to defend (albeit not very well). I could at least say that Denilson was in position, I lost count of the amount of times United broke at speed and Song was waddling back shoulder to shoulder with Arshavin. But people like Song and they don't like Denilson, ergo, one player will get the flack. I thought Denilson got badly caught out trying to cover Song and play two positions, but at least he didn't hide. The likes of Song, Rosicky and Nasri all hid yesterday and should be thoroughly ashamed of how they played. But it's much easier for supporters to lay into Denilson and Almunia.
Little Dutch
Another deflected goal. Thats gotta be some kind of record?
LD - that doesnt explain him simply not tracking Rooney does it, or getting caught completey flat footed for the first goal, or losing the ball for the third. Song had a shocker and needs to get some of that discipline and awareness that he's picked up at club level, he's not the best player in a red shirt, that's for sure. What you're describing there is symptomatic of Song "buying" credit with the supporters this season, exactly the same thing will happen with him if he puts in some more shifts like yesterday. His style of play also strikes more chords with support than Denilson's, it's more "obvious" if you will.
Can't say I agree with you LD. Denilson looked as if he couldn't give a rats ass on the second and third goal. Arseblogger pointed out that the referee outran him on the third goal yesterday, that is how good Denilson was at tracking back. Mind you, it was he who gave the ball away as well. He was simply abysmal yesterday, as he was against Villa and Stoke. It is not so much his lack of ability that worries me, as I think he has that in abundance (as is the case for the whole squad really), but his lack of effort was for me shocking. When you give an interview a couple of days before the match saying you're going to prove that you've become a man you do put your self on a pedestal, and boy did he crash down yesterday.
I agree, Song's style of play does strike a chord with fans because he runs around more, Denilson is usually in position. I didn't say Denilson played well, or that I felt his "attempt" to track Rooney's run was anything other than risible, nor was his performance. But ask yourself this, for the first and second goal in particular, can you even see Song in the picture? Both were poor, as were Nasri and Rosicky. I'm shocked that I have not read anywhere this morning just how utterly woeful those two were in attitude. But they're onside with supporters so it won't get mentioned. instead Almunia gets blamed because people don't like him. Other than that awful kick out, I don't really see what he did yesterday to earn the amount of vitriol I've seen. The 1st goal he might have done better, but I don't think it was a catastrophic error. It was a mi***** cross the likes of which undid Seaman a couple of times. But objectivity never comes into anyone's analysis. It's always a case of "I don't like x, so I'll blame him. But I'll ignore the appalling contribution of y, because I've got his name on the back of my Fly Emirates sandwich board."
Little Dutch
ptv, like I said, I didn't say Denilson played well by any means. All I'm saying is that neither did Song (was he tracking back for the 2nd and 3rd goals? I didn't see him). As for Arseblogger, toilet humour is all that guy is really good for, together with a string of media gotten cliches.
Little Dutch
ok Denilson wasnt the worst culprit out there, but i dun see anything wrong if the supporters criticise his performance. frankly i dun really understand what he brings to the team. do we really need his type of player in our set up. he has good qualities all over the park but he isnt the master of any single thing and given a particular job, he cannot do it at the level that it is required. Wenger ha always been the only manager who would get in players to fit in according to the system that he wants to play. but over the past few seasons, we are adjusting the system to fit according to the players that we have, which is why it is not working well, because there is something lacking in this team. it's 90% there, that little bit quality which the 98, 02 and 04 team had is missing here..
I know what your saying LD about Almunia and how we are always looking for a scape goat but he has become a liability in my eyes. I know its counter active to get on a players back which is why i take time to reflect on things and make an oppinion after the match, but he looks low on confidence, does not command or even talk to his defense, keeps shanking the ball out and has poor distribution. I watched the game again on Sky and the amount of goal kicks up to Arshavin when he should be playing it short. The man is 5ft4 and will never win an aerial battle. Even if it was only one bad kick to Nani and could of done better with the goal, it seems to be one or two mistakes on a regular basis. That, the poor kicking in general and lack of confidence dont exactly do much good for the team.
Yeah but Ownz if we had someone that could challenge for the long balls in the air up top we wouldn't be on his back for that, the buck stops at Wenger for that one.
I agree Shewore 100%. So is Almunia having a dig at Wengers policy to to field short people or is he just too thick to understand that Nasri & Arshavin wont outjump any CB
Haha. It's painfully obvious in my eyes that he doesn't want the ball anywhere near him or his goal, hence the hoofs upfield.
Denilson has not been good since his injury, he looks heavy footed. The back injury clearly is not gone. I like him but his awareness and passing have been poor also since his return to the team, maybe he was rushed back but he needs sometime out to freshen up. As for Almunia, ive had enough of him. Hes had to many chances and the back 4 have no confidence in him. He looks a nervous wreck. He is just not the world class keeper we need.
Almunia humping the ball long was symptomatic of the fact that he had no other choice. Neither of the full backs nor the wingers were showign for him, so he had literally no other recourse. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with saying Denilson played badly, there isn't. But all I'm saying is you have to criticise all of the players that played badly, or else, for me, you're not looking objectively at the team's performance, you're just looking for an excuse to have a go at the players you dislike and to ignore the failings of your favourites, which is pointless. Arsenal is a team and I guess I'm saying what I've said a million times before on here, I don't get the hang ups on individuals. If you choose to support a team, why choose to support some players but not others?
Little Dutch
To be honest i personally have said only the CBs & Arshavin have come out with any credit, and on second viewing Arshavin was wasteful and greedy in some instances. I have been Clichys biggest admire but it has not escaped me that he has been rap.ed by both Nani and Young and has overall not had a good season. Arshavin has drifted in and out of too many games & Sagna has not looked quite as solid as in previous seasons. I look at any game or period of time objectivly and base make my own oppinion. And for me persoanally the keeping situation needs to be addressed
I don't doubt that Paul, the post wasn't so much aimed at you but a general tirade.
Little Dutch

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