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

FC Porto vs. Arsenal

Estadio do Dragao

17/2/10

19:45

On Sky

Porto v. Arsenal

This week has been a strange one. The 1-0 win over Liverpool seems like ages ago. Nevertheless, a injury riddled Arsenal squad travels to Portugal today to face FC Porto, who have won the Portuguese title for four straight seasons.

Vital Quotes:

Wenger on Sol Campbell: "Sol has experience. That was one of the key reasons why we re-signed him.'

"I thought that, if he needs to come in, he can give that to us. He has done well already and coped well with situations.'

FC Porto Team News:

Porto play-maker, Ruben Micael, will miss the match due to a bruised shoulder. Also strikers Ernesto Farias and Orlando Sa are injured as well.

Player to watch: The Hulk

I can't claim to know much about Portuguese football, but much has been made of the Brazilian striker named Hulk. He hasn't played domestically since the 20th of December because of a suspension for violent conduct after the match against Benfica. So he could be rusty, which is good news for Sol and Vermaelen.

Arsenal Team News:

Arsenal have been hit with another wave of injuries. Gallas, Almunia, Arshavin, and Song will join plenty of others in the physio room. Denilson, Fabianski, Campbell, and Eboue will most likely slot in.

Predicted Starting XI: Fabianski, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy, Denilson, Diaby, Fabregas, Eboue, Bendtner, Nasri

Player to watch: Emmanuel Eboue

Not your typical choice, but I feel, if Eboue gets to start up front, he will have a standout match

Ref Watch:

Swedish referee Martin Hansson will be the head official. Hansson will famously be remembered for failing to see Henry's handball against Ireland.

Match Prediction:

The game will start off slow as Arsenal won't want to push forward and fall behind early like we did in against Chelsea and United. In the end though, I think we'll manage at least one goal. So I'll go with a 1-1 draw.

Next Fixtures:

Sunderland at the Grove awaits on Saturday.




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The Journalist

Writer: Brice Coffer Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday February 17 2010

Time: 5:42PM

Your Comments

With the now slow and cumbersome Iscariot in the back 4, I'm considering a wager on Porto. Not a large one mind.
hodfoundgodwithapass
no one cares
TPowell
Rather have him than Dead-knees King. Any draw tonight is a fantastic result, The midfield trio will need to put on a good show if we are to achieve this.
iceman10
Come on you gunners! Away win please. But as Iceman notes, any draw would be just as good. We'll demolish them at home. I just want to see a good tight organised display to carry on from the good work versus the scouse.
Gunnerman
almost got the lineup right gk, TR7 instead of eboue
TPowell
Great last ditch tackle from Campbell to deny Falcao. Porto have started brightly. They have taken a cue from some premiership sides and are not giving us any space to play.
Deltaforce
sol save us early on... who made that awful backpass?
TPowell
almunia's not looking so bad now, is he?
TPowell
And we thought Almunia was bad..
bowiecokemirror
Mistake from Fabianski from a routine cross from Varela. 1-0 Porto.
Deltaforce
Oh dear, what a nightmare...
GoonerLou
And we get beaten a lot at the full-back positions, just as expected, with Portugal famous for producing wingers.
GoonerLou
You up really early Lou. Thats some dedication.
Deltaforce
SSSSSSSSOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
TPowell
Campbell I love you!!!!!!!
Deltaforce
haha sol!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
ajwb
lol, first goal since the 2006 CL final!!
TPowell
:')
ajwb
SSSOSOOOOOOOOLLLLL!!!! :D
GoonerLou
for arsenal that is
TPowell
Great shot from Rosicky saved by Helton.
Deltaforce
porto is leaving us a dangerous amount of space in the midfield... our lads seem a bit surprised to receive the ball under so little pressure
TPowell
Come on DF, it's a European night! I usually get a few hours' of sleep and then wake up for midweek games, all of them. Open game this has been, a bit scary (especially on the flanks) but a proper exciting European cup game.
GoonerLou
Indeed...this is a very very open game. Good save from Fabianski..
Deltaforce
Is it just me or is this Sol-Verminator partnership looking good? :) I was always curious how they'd play together, with both defenders good at headers eager to attack the ball. We just need the full-backs to tighten up a little bit and our midfield will have the basis to do the work with the space.
GoonerLou
Brilliant save from Helton from a super Bendtner header..
Deltaforce
Agree. Our full backs especially Clichy are getting caught in no mans land very often. Positionally, there is a lot to improve.
Deltaforce
porto have been kicking cesc all game, yet somehow its an arsenal player with a yellow...
TPowell
Half time 1-1. Cesc is getting kicked quite a lot in line with pre match pronouncements from Porto players. Diaby and Vermaelen are walking a thin line from being given a second yellow, hope they calm down their 50:50 tackling in the second half.
Deltaforce
I missed the last bit. A guy kicked Cesc on half time. What happened then?
GoonerLou
nothing really, cesc just stood up for himself
TPowell
so almunia really is so bad, right?
TPowell
How awful is Fabianski...
bowiecokemirror
Just....cant...believe this...
Deltaforce
Dear oh dear. Arsene's persistence in not signing a top quality goalkeeper is absolutely extraordinary
Gooner_Vin
Whats Wenger arguing about?
ajwb
Wouldn't be like Arsenal to concede silly goals. This is exactly why we won't win the Champions League.
Gooner_Vin
what happened to Lukasz? He was brilliant last season.. and I was so confident he would be Arsenals long term no1.
Sajit
Schoolboy error doesn't even begin to describe it. We just don't deserve to be playing in Europe with this level of professionalism. I'm so bitterly disappointed.
GoonerLou
Gooner_Vin, it doesn't require a top class keeper to not pick up an obvious back pass.
Deltaforce
why aren't they showing replays of the rosicky penalty shout?
TPowell
This is proper Youtube material. I'm still dumbfounded.
GoonerLou
You are right TPowell. Not one replay for what looked a legitimate shout for penalty.
Deltaforce
Frustrating now with passes going off target
ajwb
oh my god! a porto player gets a yellow!
TPowell
Sagna doesn't look 100%, fitness wise. Hope Eboue comes on in place of him.
Deltaforce
Wouldnt mind Theo's speed on the counter
ajwb
I'm just so angry at Fabianski for gifiting them two goals
bowiecokemirror
Three great saves, two great errors, I just don't know what to make of Fabi. He was fantastic before. Not sure how long Almunia's finger injury will last but I still believe Fabi will come good, he's not the kind of kid who'd dwell on his past mistakes. And hey, is it just me or are Porto a pack of fouling cheats?!
GoonerLou
Walcott on for Rosicky...wish he had come on for Nasri instead.
Deltaforce
I hate Porto
Sajit
seriously, are they not going to show that penalty shout?
TPowell
Hulk is a sissy.
Deltaforce
Cant say Hulk looked that good ,expected more
ajwb
or maybe Sol made him look average
ajwb
sol has had a great game defending, not even taking into consideration his goal
TPowell
You have to say that, even without the errors, this has been a poor performance.
Gooner_Vin
how many good touches have arsenal had in the second half? 2 or 3 i'd say
TPowell
Theo's been brilliant since coming on!
ArsenalRob
I thought we could at least pass it to each other not shown that tonight.We can still win it at home
ajwb
Fab 4's corner taking this game has been very much below par.
Deltaforce
Is it just me or have many of Cesc's corners been too deep past the far post?! Now we need Eboue to do something!
GoonerLou
And Cesc has been poor tonight. One of his worst performances in an Arsenal shirt. As long as we don't concede though we'll be in a decent position.
ArsenalRob
Vin, this has been a poor match. anyone who tuned in expecting to see the "world's top club competition" will be wondering how these two have managed to qualify for the knockout rounds. Arsenal can't complete a pass and the home club can't produce chances lest they be handed to them (literally) by the opposition's goal keeper
TPowell
Both points illustrated perfectly there Lou! Diaby's looked like his old self tonight though.
ArsenalRob
Ching! Ching!
hodfoundgodwithapass
ArsenalRob - in a good way or a bad way?
Sajit
2-1 to Porto. But looking at the fact that their goals were gifts, we should see them off at home with Almunia back in goal. Never thought I'd say that. Atleast we got one vital away goal. Keeping a clean sheet at home is vital now.
Deltaforce
We did the minimum (scoring the away goal) but did the maximum (no need to mention what) by way of self-destruction. Sol really did a great job in terms of positioning and stopping their forwards. He even outshone the Verminator in some of the running back. Poor Sol, must be frustrating for him.
GoonerLou
still no replays of rosicky being taken down in the box
TPowell
why do these players refuse to shoot when the ball invites them to? Diaby is back to his dithering-doing nothing best. Sorry for the lad Fabi but these are mistakes i dont see any top keeper making.. so we are clearly paying the price but at least we get what we pay for... Lehman or seaman wouldnt have made those errors in the CL.
Gael-Force
For Derren's next trick, he will take an ordinary Polish painter and decorator and convince a top European football manager that he is an accomplished young goalkeeper.
gunnerpig
It's really baffling looking back at the shots stopped by Fabi. Those were good saves. Why oh why?! It's not just the schoolboy errors but the sheer naivete of giving them the ball back before we even had a chance to line up the defence of their tap-in. I just don't understand.
GoonerLou
I thought we played quite well apart from Fabianski doing his best to help the opposition. Fabianski has made basic errors against Chelsea in the FA cup last season, against Stoke in the FA cup this season, and again tonight. He might still go on to be a great keeper, but if Almunia had made the same mistakes he would have been crucified.
bowiecokemirror
a bad one Sajit. To be fair, his performance had elements of both his old and new persona. He worked harder in midfield than he typically used to, but also had those moments where he'd dribble beautifully past one man, and then going for another one rather than laying the ball off. He wasn't the worst performer, but certainly didn't look comfortable tonight.
ArsenalRob
Will never forget the look on Sol's face when Fabianski picked up his back pass.. Sol was trememdous for us tonight and deserved better. But really have to say...the refree allowed them the free kick for the second goal really really quickly. There was no time for anyone to track back, even if they had recovered from the shock of Fabianski's mistake. Having Arshavin back for the return game on the left flank will also be very welcome. His style of play really cuts through some of our otherwise indecisive final third play.
Deltaforce
You can never judge a keeper on his first game for a side for several months coming into an intimidating European stadium. Obviously, he made two terrible errors, but also showed some quality. I've personally never been a big fan, but his performance tonight doesn't have a drastic impact on how I rate him.
ArsenalRob
for feck sake diaby have a bloody shot.......anyone running onto the ball on the edge of the box would just smack it...oh no not diaby he just stands there....... what a w@nker
fran merida
I've never really had the opportunity to post on here straight after the final whistle before, but having not been at the game tonight Iperhaps should compose myself a bit, but basically, there is no point in beating Porto in the 2nd leg. I think we very well could, but better teams than this await and if we continue to regard basic defending as somehow beneath us, then can you imagine what Barca and the likes would do to us and our oh so pretentious football? I dread to think. What in the name of ***** was Denilson doing out there? Did he think he was playing upfront? Again, I am left to ask what the hell Rosicky and Nasri have contributed between them. The second half showing was desperately bad and I simply can't believe the rest of Europe is going to tune into the highlights tonight, see the goals we have gifted Porto tonight and ask themselves, "Is this REALLY the knockout stage of the best tournament in Europe?" Cesc's interview was very revealing afterwards (again, I seldom get to see players interviews after the match) but he seemed livid with the goals we conceded and I'm glad. Now I hope he goes in the dressing room and relays his anger to his colleagues. About times the babies were told.
Little Dutch
It wasn't a performance that inspires you to believe that this a team that can win things. I think we're a fair distance away from that. They just don't seem to be learning. This was as far as you can get from a 'mature European performance away from home'. Whilst my love and support will always be there, I have truly lost belief that we will win things - not for a fair amount of time.
Gooner_Vin
LD - good to hear you post-match views for a change! I echo every thing you said. Same old Arsenal, always choking!
Gooner_Vin
Fabianski is a good shot stopper and claims high balls into the box quite well. Its his decision making abilities and postional sense that are under developed. Unfortunately the latter qualities are vital for a quality goalkeeper.
Deltaforce
I'm pretty confident we will still go through, Porto look weak defensively. I'm trying to be positive and say we might as well make mistakes against opposition we can still beat comfortably. Against better opposition we might have been out of the competition after a result like this.
bowiecokemirror
I took a perverse pleasure out of comparing Cesc's interview to Wenger's. Cesc was correct not tocriticise the ref saying he'd have done the same, I should hope so too. Nothing wrong with Porto's second goal, everything wrong with our naivety in conceding it. The excuses from the manager don't cut it there and his captain knows it. I hope that was a deflection attempt from AW and he rips into Fabianski, Campbell and Vermaelen too for their part on that shabby, shabby goal. Have a bit of professional pride lads.
Little Dutch
cant believe wenger's having a go at the quickness of Porto freekick and goal. He's saying they did'nt have time to make a wall!!!??? I remember Henry doing just that against Chelsea a few years ago and he didnt complain then. Wenger's is looking more and more ridiculous with every post match comment.
springy
no springy, he just looks like a typical manager, that's what they all do
TPowell
I don't think it was the defending our players considered to be beneath them, LD. We had been on top of Porto until that point, and I just think we were getting a bit arrogant - a sort of "you cocky little Portuguese w****rs, thinking you can take the lead against us, well we're putting you in your place now, *****", way of thinking. I think that's the technical term for it. I really don't think we'd be that complacent if we were underdogs, as we would be versus the likes of Barca. With Almunia, maybe not the world's greates ever goalkeeper, but he likes to shout, and Song in the side, I'm sure we wouldn't have gone to sleep quite as we did.
ArsenalRob
It seems an arbitrary decision by refs as to whether they'll allow you to take a free kick instantly or not. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't but we should have been alive to it.
Amos.
springy, if Mourinho was your manager and the refree had allowed the freekick for the second goal like he did today, he would have gone to town about it. Would have shouted from the rooftops for months. Almost all managers do the deflecting attention thing. You happen to hate wenger so dont notice the same when anyone other manager does the same.
Deltaforce
I'm with Arsene if you detatch his coments from their context. As he pointed out when Thierry scored that quick free-kick vs Chelsea at Highbury in 05/06, it shouldn't be allowed, but it is, so it should be given. But yes, in context they sound a bit feeble. I don't think he'd got rid of his frustration yet.
ArsenalRob
Absolutely right, Little Dutch. There's no mental strength or 'fire in the belly' in the games that matter. It's all fine when they're strolling around the weaker teams of the premier league but as soon as they face quality opposition, which they inevitably have to to win competitions, they are easily sussed and have no plan B. I thought they had addressed that after the game at Anfield this season but after seeing their performances in recent weeks it's obviously still there.
gunnerpig
It's one of my great bugbears that quick free kicks are so persistently not allowed. We see it all the time at the Emirates, team makes a cynical foul to stop us counter attacking. We take it quickly, referee pulls it back and the team that commits the foul gets the advantage absolutely 100% and the ref rewards them for foul play. It winds me up no end when the rules permit quick free kicks. Fabianski should be holding onto that ball, Campbell should try facing the right way, if Fab is gonna release it, at least get back in fecking position and Vermaelen could see the whole thing unfold but chose to stand their with his thumb up his arse. I usually don't like to fall into the whole "if so and so were there such and such would have happened" because it's futile speculation, but I am utterly convinced that Gallas would never have let that happen.
Little Dutch
LD, agree with you about our lead footed response to the quick free kick. What pains me more though is how the foul leading to the freekick was committed. That sight is what the other top European teams will be guffawing about tonight after watching the highlights.
Deltaforce
.........and still Clichy and Sagna cannot cross for peantuts. These guys live, eat and breathe football yet they have gone backwards as players, in one of the biggest clubs in the land. They are just not good enough in attack, and they seem to be getting worse as defenders too. Denilson is just crap period. Walcant still runs into the nearest defender as opposed to the acres of space around him. Fabianski - this guy should never have played for Arsenal again after that FA cup semi v chelsea last season. Mannone is infinitely better. Has Fabianski not heard of holding onto the ball until the defenders at least have a chance, or throwing it away pretending to not hear the referee's whistle? A yellow card would have been a very professional option and we would have at least drawn this game. Wenger this is what you get when you sign inexperience. It is the difference between trophies and a dusty shelf.
Will-i-am10
make that PEANUTS
Will-i-am10
Gutted for you guys - as a Man Utd fan would much prefer to see you lot through as far as poss - WTF was Fabianski on tonight - he was crap
niteworlok
I know the hobby horses will get their criticism again tonight, a good few deserve it (Fabianski had an absolute mare and Denilson seemed to lose the point of what "defensive" midfield actually means, Jesus, Diaby is, on current form, our best defensive midfielder! How did this happen?) But I'm noticing that the favourites are escaping again. Samir Nasri anyone? Seriously, what has this guy contributed in the last six weeks? Rosicky looks to me to be more of an impact sub now, he's capable of big moments, his assist tonight was good, the goals against Bolton and Everton. But a consistent performance and contribution? Forget it, large swabs of averageness in his play.
Little Dutch
Nasri has indeed been very average since his return from injury. His play seems to have lost the directness that it had and many passing moves seem to break down on the left flank when Nasri plays. He is still trying though but seems to have lost the spark he had last year. Rosicky in my opinion has been miles better than Nasri of late. More direct, lively, crisp in his passing as well as better defensively. So dont know if Rosicky can be clubbed along with Nasri as an under performer this season.
Deltaforce
Cesc is a goner..
Sajit
why is cesc a goner?
TPowell
He is clearly frustrated with the mediocrity around him. And he needs trophies.
Sajit
I thought both Nasri and Rosicky did well though both tired late on. Take away the silly goals and it wasn't that poor a performance but we do have a problem in the way we set up to protect midfield. It's hard to judge though when you are chasing the game after 10 minutes or so. After we'd scored we seemed to shape up a bit better and control a good part of the game. If we'd had the penalty then I reckon we'd have been able to exercise even greater control but silly goal number 2 encouraged them and had us back chasing the game while fearful of conceding another. Fortunately, if we are going to lose away from home in a 2 legged tie 2-1 is a better scoreline than 1-0.
Amos.
Right Sajit, I guess C. Ronaldo was was tired of winning all those trophies ant Man U then... also, Man City hasn't been able to bring in any players lately, after all they haven't won a trophy in 36 years now... worst explanation ever.
TPowell
I personally didn't think Nasri was too bad individually until he became obviously riled, soon after which he was taken off. Unfortunately his replacement was pretty anonymous. Rosicky's performance was similar in that he put the effort in, and showed moments of great quality, but just didn't seem to have much chemistry with those around him. I think it's largely to do with having Nasri and Rosicky both up front around Bendtner. All 3 are good players, but they ddn't move fluently together. When Nasri/Rosicky came central, Bendtner didn't seem to be able to move to effectively pull the defenders away, and both stayed wide, Bendtner was isolated, as our Cesc and Diaby weren't cohesive enough today to offer support - hence Denilson was having to compensate in this regard, leaving us exposed on the counter, and Clichy and Sagna were forced to come forward perhaps a bit too often, as this was our only successful way of getting in behind them.
ArsenalRob
TPowell, I don't think that's a fair criticism of sajit's comment. Ronaldo wanted a new challenge in a new country after achieving pretty much all he could, albeit in the short term, at Man U, and clearly City is a special case. Their side is completely different, and with a completely different mentality in terms of challenging for trophies, than the one two seasons ago, let alone 36. Having said that, I think Cesc has enough patience and love for the club to stay for at the very mimimum one more season. A lot of other players don't though.
ArsenalRob
Scoring opportunities created by Nasri? Can't think of any. Number of shots from Nasri? Can't remember one. Did he track back and help out Sagna? Don't recall him doing so. This sadly has been the case from him for a while now. Basically, Arsenal consider the ball to be an afterthought unless they have it crisply in their possession. That's what's so infuriating, the first half wasn't bad (although we started slowly as we always, always, always do). The second half was ***** poor, didn't defend, didn't attack, the midfield didn't track back but didn't support Bendtner either, just ambling and daydreaming. It's not a terrible result by any means and I still back us to go through. The problem is, we'll play a better team in the next round if we do get through and they will absolutely crucify our approach of only giving two *****s when we've got possession and when we haven't got it, we just daydream about the brilliant things that will happen the next time we get the ball. They look like a team of bloody page 3 bimbos when other sides have the ball, standing looking into thin air wondering how pretty they'll look in those fetching heels with a hawkish, vacuous expression on their faces whilst the opponents jog past them. I seriously didn't think I'd be this angry about a 2-1 scoreline which still gives us an excellent chance, but I'm tired of watching the same mistakes time and time and time and time again with no evidence that anything has been learnt or understood. It's all so depressingly predictable, we squeak past Porto just like we squeaked past Roma, we play United, or Barca in the quarters and we get our arses handed to us again simply because the players refuse to protect their defence when they don't have the ball.
Little Dutch
I thought Nasri was quite frankly rubbish tonight. He seems to have regressed in the same way Denilson has. Both of them easily shoved off the ball or barely competing for it in midfield. The next Zidane? Do us a favour! I feel sorry for Cesc having to carry that lot. This team have won nothing, and I'm afraid will win nothing until a serious examination of heart and determination within the team happens. Simply contrast the attitude of most of our lot with Wayne Rooney busting a gut to put the ball in the net. Talent is nothing without desire.
Wyn Mills
no, that is my point AR, there are so many reasons why players do or do not leave clubs, to just assume that it is his nature to abandon arsenal is ridiculous, not to mention to predict that it is just around the corner is asinine
TPowell
LD how about the dummied cross before the shot from an angle after a neat one-to with Diaby. Not only was that a shot, but that was a great chance. He won't be happy with his finish though. And he was playing on the left, so needed to cover Clichy, not Sagna, but you're right, he didn't do a great job in that department. He did win the ball a couple of times though, and offered an outlet deep in our half once our defenders had won the ball. I agree with your sentiment about not learning from our mistakes though, it is worrying, especially so because it's one of those things that has to be corrected from within the squad - not by bringing in an outsider - and the squad have had all the opportunities they should need to do so without taking them.
ArsenalRob
I'm pretty sure sajit didn't say it was 'in his nature' to abandon arsenal. That him leaving is just around the corner is an overly simplistic way of looking at it though, yes, but not a ridiculous one - many players would take off if they were in Cesc's shoes.
ArsenalRob
Nasri had a shot on target 6 minutes in and one off target 19 mins in. He made 40 passes with 75% success rate and created one assist attempt. He'd have been playing on the left for most of the game so he should have been protecting Clichy not Sagna. But we do have a problem in the way we set up midfield to defend - sadly we are prone to cocking up early on in the key games which really sets the pattern. We need to play with the intention, especially away from home, to avoid conceding for the first 20-25 minutes. The tempo of the home isde usually drops after that wed we can then play with more composure - in theory :)
Amos.
Same old same old. A lack of organisation and defensive discipline has bitten us on the balls once again. It's just mind boggling how the team is allowed to get away with it. I'm *****in furious at the moment after watching that game. First half, no problems, so what the hell happened in the second half?

I still back us to go through to the next round. But when the heat gets turned up and we play one of the big boys can I really say with confidence that we've got a chance? No. It's horrible, but if we can't get the basic concepts of keeping shape, defending as a team and being hard to beat we will see the same things re-occuring like some eternal nightmarish dejavu.
Gunnerman
I agree Wyn. The really frustrating thing, though, is that we do show moments of brilliant determination, like Tommy's great tackle in midfield tonight and Denilson's great run back (from being out of position) to make a brilliant challenge as Porto looked to hit us on the break, before sloppily giving it straight back to them. I think Arsene's philosophy of enjoying the game to get results is getting a bit overdone and is now impeding on our professional concentration.
ArsenalRob
I'm sorry, but if I was Cesc I would be seriously questioning the mental toughness of this team and its desire to win. You can offer the same excuses only so many times. Porto were there for the taking tonight. Any team with serious CL aspirations would have put them to the sword, not tried to dazzle us all with fancy footwork. I'm fed up watching Diaby trying to impress us with his dribbling when he should bloody well just shoot. The casual but careless passes to team mates who get caught time and time again. The lack of anyone in the box to pick up the loose balls that teams like Utd punish so clinically. The lack of proper marking. It goes on.
Wyn Mills
Fair enough AR... now what is it about our fullbacks that have changed so much? Was it not just 2 years ago that they were voted the best two in the prem? In particular, Clichy has turned into a painfully average LB
TPowell
4-3-3 TPowell. I think Sagna's held his own in this formation, but I'm not convinced Gael has it in him.
ArsenalRob
Rob, just wish we showed that same determination further up the pitch where it matters. Midfield is often where games are truly won and lost. Time and time again we fail to protect our flanks, or track back in numbers. I'm really not sure Wenger believes there is any art in defending.
Wyn Mills
Wyn, If i were Cesc, I'd be questioning my own mental toughness as well... what has he done these last few weeks that have been special? How has he played lately in these big matches? Like LD said before, the 'fan-favourites' are often able to avoid criticism. Denilson played no worse than Cesc today
TPowell
Agree with LD in that im completely tired of watching this team. There is too much wrong in every department of the squad, if the defence is playing well the midfield dont protect, if the midfield are functioning the full backs are letting us down, if the full backs are playing well then then we arent playing well upfront (or playing with no forwards) and there really is no point talking about the keepers.
iceman10
On a side note how the feck did the ref miss that penalty shout? oh wait it was the same ref who missed the Henry handball. Looks like UEFA hand out big matches like Arsenal hand out shiny 4 years 50k a week contracts.
iceman10
I think Cesc is creative even when he isn't playing that well. However there's only so much you can achieve with no attacking focus and an exposed defensive line.
Wyn Mills
Hey could be worse, you could have won. Unlikely though cos you seam to have too higher opinion of your club. Wenger is an absolute joke. Anyone who believes he has an intelligent comment to make is a retard. I would be ashamed to have such a plonker as a manager. You lot should prepare to be overtaken by Spurs.
RiF
How creative was he today, Wyn?
TPowell
Wyn, Diaby showed real determination in reaching the header from Tommy's cross, which came after Nicky showed himself determined to make amends for his initial poor cross by quickly retrieving the ball and playing Tommy in. How about the teams efforts after going 2 down vs Bolton at home, another of our recent bad traits. Plenty of determination going forward there. Or the fight we showed in tough circumstances vs Everton - another game in which we weren't really playing comfortably. We've shown it in bursts, but there are moments in games where some players just get too casual. Most of the time, this laziness won't do any damage, and will be forgiven and forgotten, but in retrospect, we can see our fiesty attitude often goes missing where it's needed. TPowell, I thought Cesc played well vs Chelsea. At Man U he didn't play great, but with Song and Den having nightmares behind him it would've been difficult. Tonight he was especially poor, though. His usual version of playing badly is beeing shut down. Strangely, he actually had a bit of space tonight, but didn't use it effectively, partly because there wasn't good enough movement around them.
ArsenalRob
"Hey could be worse, you could have won. Unlikely though cos you seam to have too higher opinion of your club. Wenger is an absolute joke. Anyone who believes he has an intelligent comment to make is a retard. I would be ashamed to have such a plonker as a manager. You lot should prepare to be overtaken by Spurs. RiF" Oh the irony... Anyway, how did you're Champions League game go tonight RiF?
ArsenalRob
What does RiF stand for? Oh - really idiotic fecker ! - yeah that fits ok. We haven't had to bother to be prepared for the spuds to overtake us for 20 years or so. Doesn't seem any point bothering now. What day will St Totteringhams Day fall on this year?
Amos.
Amos, are you looking forward to our play-off games for 4th?
hodfoundgodwithapass
we're in 3rd, why would we be in a play-off for 4th? how insightful
TPowell
Looking forward is a clue.
hodfoundgodwithapass
something you, as a spuddie, do all too well... so next year it is, then is it?
TPowell
iceman maybe he was related to the ref who missed cesc hand ball against pool, cant talk ur self out of this one
123spurs
I don't think I'd bother watching your play off games hodfindsspudslaunchitfromtheback - if you managed to qualify. But it's not an imminent issue - you aren't in danger of being relegated this season.
Amos.
You mean the handball that was outside the box given from a non existent free kick after stevie G's 15th dive of the game? Not sure what relevance that has to this game but hey knock urself out (literally).
iceman10
1! - 2! - 3! - doh!
Amos.
true SG did dive , but it was a blatant hand ball an yes a free kick, you just posted who the ref missed a peno shout
123spurs
true SG did dive , but it was a blatant hand ball an yes a free kick, you just posted who the ref missed a peno shout
123spurs
Even saying it twice 123 it's still hard to make out what on earth you are talking about.
Amos.
thats how many years ye trophy cabinet has been empty an countine for big top club amos
123spurs
not my problem if ur thick
123spurs
Im saying that a ref who made a huge mistake in a huge game has been given another huge game and made another huge mistake? count to 4 before you hit the submit button on your posts if thats not too difficult for you 123.
iceman10
The irony of you calling somebody thick is lost on nobody 123. Big top club? OK we defended like s*"t tonight but there's no need to compare us to Spurs.
iceman10
Nope - still have no idea what you're talking about. Complete gibberish but you are a spud. Not like a dyslexic spud to embarrass himself by talking about trophy counts so you must just be deluded. Almost obligatory state for a spud that.
Amos.
okie dokie
123spurs
i aint comparing must be frustrating for a club like ye with nothing to show for.
123spurs
How many times have we been here - we won’t defend and it looks like we can’t score. A lot of our boys are soft in the head and though we have some character in Cesc, Gallas and Arshavin its not enough. Throwing the FA Cup game with Stoke sent the message that its sort of okay to lose or not try 100% and it perpetuates that softness. Arsene FFS add just one, maybe two, older players if you want to help the rest develop. That old chestnut again.
Andy-bayor
has to be more frustrating for you spuddies considering the complete discrepancy in trophies between our two clubs
TPowell
Amateur mistakes week in week out, Clichy has now been raped down that left side almost every game since back, We have clowns in goal, We dont like defending, too many players pass up the option of busting a gut to get back(Denilson, Rosicky, Nasri). A lot of what we do is good but we seem unwilling to learn from mistakes and be tacticaly aware. LD makes a good point, is it worth going through when better teams will rip us apart for being idiots?
paul_ownz
Nothing to show for what? We're the only club in the top flight of the EPL to win something in each of the last 9 decades. Nobody has done better than that. Consistently successful we are. Frustration might be not winning a title in half a century while your neighbours have the honour of being the only North London team to win the title at WHL - twice! But this is all just abit too easy. You'd be better off not talking about trophies - it's just embarrassing for you.
Amos.
like i said i wasnt comparing an agree with andy spot on
123spurs
Think you guys look much better with Bendtner upfront (even if he is painfully average) just because he offers something different - hes not just a little skillful bloke and gives you a plan B. Nights like tonight (you will hate to admit it because he is a numpty) are when you miss Adebayor.
HuddersfieldYiddo
u def must be think like i said i wasnt comparing. easy on mate go back to past if it makes u feel better casue its a lot better then yer future, with whinger in charge, how long will ye keep backing him
123spurs
TPowell, you're only as good as your last trophy. Which in your case was when?
hodfoundgodwithapass
123spurs you spuds might have a chance of champions league football in 3 yrs time if the 7th place playoff goes through...excited much?
lukychmz
'you're only as good as your last trophy' please explain your reasoning behind this? I would tend to argue that most people view Arsenal as more successful than t*ttenham considering... well everything really.
TPowell
Well let's see hodhoofsituptocrouchie. Our last FAC was 2005 - when was yours? Our last title was 2004 (unbeaten -nobody has matched that) when was yours?
Amos.
if ye owner is happy with 3rd an 4th evey season for so called top club fine be it
123spurs
As for tonight, its the same painful thing we have seen all season, players not giving their all, there was no heart shown tonight, how many times did someone loose the ball and not back track to make tackles. Sol Campbell man of the match for arsenal. New goalkeeper and backup keeper in the summer please boss
lukychmz
Do you think Wenger will try and win the Carling Cup next year?
hodfoundgodwithapass
do you think 'Arry will try and win the Carling Cup next year? he got as close as Wenger did, after all
TPowell
Yeah - he'll give the kids a go in the CC hodthinksspudsplayhoofball. It's that level of competition for us. Rumour has it one club sacked the last two managers who won it for them!!!
Amos.
I dont know what you spuds have to shout about on this board - you lost to Wolves twice, you won't finish 4th and you look worse than us (even if you convinced yourselves you are better on paper). Even your banter is mostly rubbish.
Andy-bayor
Will Wenger play the first team? There are many ex Arsenal legends in the media suggesting a trophy, any trophy is critical for you. Do you agree with them?
hodfoundgodwithapass
Do Spurs fans really have SO little interest in their own club that they have to come and annoy us? ...Probably, not much to say about spurs is there? I have to say i'm not happy with tonights performance. Why are the constantly shooting ourselves in the foot? That second goal was *********, the ref was standing right infront of Campbell, he didn't have a chance to get to the ball. Is it me or did Fabregas look extremley lacklustre tonight? I know he was getting kicked around the park, but he just seemed to care very little, normally it's the other way around.
FuiKaka
if anyone actually cared about spuds, perhaps people would be saying the same thing about them. would you agree with them?
TPowell
Diaby also dissapointing. He gave the ball away so very stupidly numerous times. When there was a good pass on he hesitated and din't make it then just got swarmed and again they were on the counter attack. So frustrating that he doesn't know simple football.
FuiKaka
and the match wasnt on sky sports at least look up the tv guide
123spurs
123 if this was a Spurs thread it would have read "FC Porto vs Spurs Estadio do Dragao 17/2/10 19:45 On Playstation 3"
iceman10
Yeh sorry Spurs guys, i forgot to ask. How did Spurs go in there champions league game?
FuiKaka
FuiKaka, maybe your knowledge of Aussie Rules is stronger.
hodfoundgodwithapass
and yet his knowledge of the english game is still superior to yours...
TPowell
I've yet to any evidence of that.
hodfoundgodwithapass
*see*
hodfoundgodwithapass
I agree once again with LD as usual, except for Rosicky, I thought he showed a hell of a lot of desire, flying into tackles and trying to create something at least and should have one us a penalty. I'm a goalkeeper and even I could have saved that first goal. Yes it does bounce up before it gets to him but anyone worth his salt claims that comfortably. For the second goal I think that is poor refereeing but I didn't think it was a back pass tbh, I thought it was had just deflected off him and I still think that having seen the replay. The ref had an appalling game. How he didn't give the penalty for the foul on Rosicky I have no idea and he was very VERY lenient when some of the challenges on Fabregas and a few more cards should have been shown to Porto players. Denilson and Nasri again went missing tonight, but the others didn't exactly cover themselves in glory bar Vermaelen and Campbell who was my MOTM who were brilliant.
itsup4grabsnow
you've also yet to see any evidence to the contrary of that
TPowell
itsup4grabsnow, agree with everything you've stated except the last line. Imo, Campbell can't be motm, because apart from his clumsy backpass, a man of his experience should never have let that free kick be taken.
hodfoundgodwithapass
so who was your motm then? and for the record, who was the motm for t*ttenham's last CL game?
TPowell
You're clutching TP!
hodfoundgodwithapass
you have a curious inability to answer my questions...
TPowell
Motm for me was the ref.
hodfoundgodwithapass
and you have the audacity to mock someone else's knowledge of football...
TPowell
If the cap fits...
hodfoundgodwithapass
did you just manage to insult yourself? well done. and with that, i'm done for the evening
TPowell
You're right you were well done.
hodfoundgodwithapass
Tpowell, maybe I am reading too much into it, but today's interview was the second time when his views are opposed to that of Wenger. I just hope he stays but wont be surprised if he doesn't.
Sajit
Just one question , spurs..Where exactly where you last wednesday? Saw that the Sp*rs vs Wolves thread on Vital Sp*rs had like 300 odd moans and groans.
Sajit
hodfoundhehadnoballs, how sad is your life that you depend on the fortunes of your rival club for kicks. Life. Go and get one.
Deltaforce
I've said this a couple of times before, and I'll say it again now: With Fabianski in goal, you will never have a settled back line. You've used him for the FA Cup semi-final last season, the Carling Cup semi-final the season before, and countless other times where he's had a howler. I've seen Mannone a couple of times and he seems better than Fabianski by miles. Why doesn't he get picked, then?
DubaiSpur
hallo, arsenal fans please do not be harsh on your team this defensive malaise has hit the big four its not only arsenal, man utd were lucky if milan had decent strikers we would have had a different score, liverpool cannot defend now to save their lives am a chelsea fan and am scared for when nxt week comes against inter.....the top four are transitioning so lets be a little patient....i want to see english clubs go far at least semi finals but the loss tonight wont do our coefficient standings any good as regards our 4 slots for UCL
dozzy
Haha your keeper is great...
IanWrightsUglyWife
There are a few points I have to pick up on the free kick having seen it again a couple of times. Beofre I do pick them up, I would say that 99.9% of my anger is with Fabianski, Campbell and Vermaelen for being so airheaded in the situation and had they shown an ounce of professionalism between them all of the below would be a moot point. But, firstly, surely the referee can't ask for the ball and then give the quick free kick? He has interrupted the flow of the game and actively awarded Porto an advantage (which our bunch of braindeads were only too happy to contribute to as well). Secondly, surely quick free kicks aren't permitted in an opposing penalty area? Otherwise surely quick penalty kicks are allowed too? Thirdly, Porto take the free kick a good six or seven yards forward from where the offence is committed? Fourthly, is it any wonder there is so much gamesmanship in the game today? I am all for it, but referees have allowed it to get to such a point that I am livid that Arsenal are now not more cynical in the way they play. Case in point last night, referee asks Fabianski for the ball, Fab gives it to him, showing respect for the official and the official then *****s on him for doing so. ***** poor. That said, the ref can't be criticised for the non penalty award, that one is squarely down to the linesman who had a great view. So, to sum up, in future Arsenal, kick the ball away, don't give the ref the ball back, stand in front of the ball when the other side have a free kick (Gilberto was the master at this), but most of all, when the opposing team have the ball ten yards from your goal, PAY ATTENTION BRAINDEADS!
Little Dutch
*I meant I'm all for sportsmanship, not gamesmanship.
Little Dutch
Agree LD. All this talk of Henry taking free kicks quickly is a Joke because every free kick that SKY have been showing on repeat (to try and justify the goal) Was outside the box with a wall in place. Once the ref demands the ball off Fabianski we should be allowed to get back in, if the Porto player had taken the ball off Fabianski then ive got no problem with the goal. It was only last week Wenger was demanding a more cynical approach (Telling Denilson to commit handball instead of expecting Everton to kick the ball out after he 'platoons' to the ground) and praising Chelsea for their gamesmanship, this team will never learn.
iceman10
We could and should have been alert to what might have happened at that free kick even if it is rare for refs to allow free kicks to be taken quickly in any situation. In 90% or more of the cases you have to wait for the refs whistle. Apart from the other considerations though the ref had his back to the player when the kick was taken and so couldn't have been sure it was legal - moving ball - correct placement - handling etc., and was also shielding the player from any of the defenders. You can't blame the Porto players for being smart enough to take advantage and you can criticise our boys for not being alert to the danger but the overriding feeling is that the ref gave them a goal they wouldn't otherwise have got.
Amos.
LD, at last, a more reasoned assessment of that particular incident (see what some sleep and watching a replay can do after such a game?). I have gone through the thread waiting for a concensus as to the poor refereeing, in that instance but could only recall one post. Not only did the referee interrupt the flow in the play, he also blocked Sol from doing anything about preventing the kick; which was taken too quickly, being an infringement in the box. The ref appeared to be unaware the kick had been taken until the ball was slotted in. No matter what anyone says about Henry's quick free kick, it was: 1. Outside the box. 2. with a wall in place, though wall was unprepared. 3. The Ref had given his nod to a quick one. The team largely, played poorly and without much fight and plenty of naivety (whats new?), but I think in the 2nd half, Porto appeared to want it more while our key players (bar TV, Sol) failed to rise to the occasion. There is a 2nd leg to be played and hopefully, we make Porto pay.
Naijagunner
i) Where the referee is standing is surely irrelevant. The defending players need to be 10 yards from the ball if he stands over the ball it doesn't prevent the defending team doing anything. ii) It doesn't matter where the free kick is as to whether it can be taken quickly. iii) Once the ball has been handed to the ref, he should hardly be expected to keep hold of it until the defensive team say "we're ready" - he will pass it straight to the team to take the free kick. Overall, it was a stupid goal to concede but it was perfectly fair. Whether Henry's free kick was any different is irrelevant - this was a goal. Get over it.
Shelfinduced
Not that I care about your jaundiced view.
Naijagunner
The referee can do want he wants, stand where he wishes and decide arbitrarily whether a free kick can be taken quickly or not. Those decisions are based partly at least on the concept of fair play and giving equal advantage to both teams. Your sniping is misplaced Shelfinduced. Most of the comments here accept that our defenders were naive and that Porto were entitled to take advantage of any latitude the referee gave them but that doesn't mean that the concept of equality of decision making can't be discussed.
Amos.
I agree Amos. Most of the anger on here (in sharp contrast to Wenger's) is at the players not the ref. However, I don't even see a case against the ref. I'm not sniping - it was a goal and arguing about the ref even if you're more angry about the defenders is simply wrong.
Shelfinduced
Exactly the point, Amos. We admit the defenders could have been wiser to the possibilities from that call and been alive to their defensive duties. However, this does not remove from the fact the Ref gave too much advantage to the Porto team; and this, in an era where Refs will insist on the whistle before a kick is taken, 90% of such cases. Porto is not to blame; I only hope we get such breaks at the Emirates, when they come calling. I am also sure the lads will not make similar mistakes again.
Naijagunner
I am pretty sure you would see a case against the ref if it involved your team Shelfinduced. Wenger is right in that the balance of advantage given by the referee in proportion to the play that led up to the free kick was unfair. It's perfectly fair for him to make that observation just as much as the ref is entitled to say he is able officiate in any way he choses as the rules allow him to. But still Porto's goal, and therefore the outcome of the game was a consequence of the referee's purely arbitrary decision making (and our defensive naivety) rather than Porto's play. Maybe we'll get a similar advantage in the next game but I don't see why Wenger or anyone else should be censored from questioning an action from the referee that you see only rarely in any game - even if the rules allow something the spirit of equanimity shouldn't.
Amos.
Shelfinduced, the players don't need to be ten yards. That's the exact choice the attacking team makes in taking a free kick quickly, have a wall ten yards or take it quickly. By taking it quickly, you refute the right to have a wall ten ayrds away. (Besides which, the free kick was taken eight yards from goal, so technically a ten yard wall isn't humanly possible anyway). As far as I'm aware, the referee doesn't spot up free kicks for teams to take, what next? The ref gets in goal and lines up the wall? Once he asks for Fabianski for the ball, he interrupts the flow of the game so no advantage can be played. He technically has a direct assist for the goal, he's taken it off the defending team and spotted it up for the attacking team. You also haven't answered my point about quick free kicks in the area, surely that means we are now allowed quick penalties as well? Penalties are governed by different rules you say? Ah yes, you're right, they are. That would be ebcause they take place in the penalty box! All that said, most of my anger is still with the players in our area at the time, if they grouped all of their brain cells together, you might just about make a halfwit. NG, I still stand by what I have posted above. Ozi Gooner posted on another forum about an incident he saw in an amateur game whereby a goalkeeper was lobbed whilst busy arguing with a supporter behind the goal, adding the punchline, "You wouldn't see that on Sky, Fox or ESPN." Maybe not, but last night I saw something that stupid on ITV1!
Little Dutch
http://www.football365.com/referee365/0,17033,8747_5956704,00.html I think this is as good a view as I have read about the goal from a qualified ref.
Little Dutch
We might as well draw a line under it though. Nothing will can or will get done about it, and maybe we will be more focused/less naive/switched on in the future. All that matters now is winning the return leg and going through.
paul_ownz
That's a great link LD and reflects my thoughts exactly. Interestingly by the time the ref does raise his hand to indicate an indirect free kick the kick had already been taken.
Amos.
LD, Amos' point is exactly where I stand (and have stood). The Ref gave an unfair advantage to the other team as he wasn't even ready for the kick, himself (Refs usually call back the play, in such cases, but not this one). Agree, though, that the players needed to be more aware and swithched on to the possibilities; but I have looked at the replay again and insist there was hardly an opportunity to react. The Ref has demanded the ball from Fab and handed it to a Porto player, yards beyond the spot of the infringement, while blocking off Sol's feeble attempt to prevent the quick free kick. At the time, only 2 outfield Arsenal players were in the vicinity (not a good thing, in itself). I have read the link and will rest my case on the subject, therefore.
Naijagunner
Shelfinduced, it was a goal and there is obviously nothing to do but get over it. Reading your justification of it was amusing though. When putting a rival team and manager is concerned, any amount of glossing over facts is fine is it not.
Deltaforce
Wenger out at the end of the season. Problems are now endemic and he has shown he cannot address them.
NI Gooner
Taking a quick free kick does not negate the need to be 10 yards away. If it happens that the player closer gets hit by the ball or interferes with play the referee is within his rights to have the kick retaken (and may well book the player). And the ref didn't "spot the ball for Porto", he put it down so that play could continue - what else is he supposed to do? There's little in the rules that makes a free kick in the area different to one outside apart from the fact that the players can be closer than 10 yards if the free kick is closer to the goal than 10 yards. Don't get me wrong, I'd be pssed if it was Spurs and my anger would be directed towards the players, as most fans' (here) anger is. Wenger's by contrast was not. I'm just calling it how I see it.
Shelfinduced
Fair enough shelfinduced, but my point is that my udnerstanding of the quick free kick rule is that if the player elects to take it before a whistle is blown, he does so on the understanding that he can't simultaneously demand players be ten yards back. Players aren't consequently allowed to move forwards before the kick is taken, so of course Fabianski couldn't have just dived on the ball as Porto shaped up to take it, but players certainly don't need to be ten yards back, otherwise taking a quick free kick would be absolutely impossible about 99.99% of the time. Anyhoo, it's all a moot point, because if our braindead defenders had an ounce of sense, it would all have been a moot point anyway.
Little Dutch
Taking a quick free kick is almost always impossible (when there is a goal threat) due to defending player keeping/throwing the ball in the air and/or standing over the ball/arguing with the ref. I thiink that's why it's a controversial and probably a little misundertood. You'll quite often see players routinely kick the ball into the player standing in front of the ball and look pleadingly at the ref - he'll then usually tell them to stop being silly buggers and get on with the game sensibly.
Shelfinduced
Enough, all this free kick nonsense is winding me up no end. Our players were fannying around like a bunch of gimps and we got screwed. LD, where's your match report mate? I'm havin my lunch and need cheering up! :D
Gunnerman
Taking a quick free kick is almost always impossible because the referee rarely ever allows it. As the article linked above explains it isn't about the legality of the ref's actions. That can't be disputed - it's just a matter of whether he was being fair to both sides in a given set of circumstances. Of course it would seem perfectly fair to Porto and equally unfair to Arsenal. In fact neither are wrong - fairness is often just a matter of perspective but in this instance the refe allowed a greater advantage to Porto than he would have allowed them on a penalty.
Amos.
Goddammit Amos. ;-)
Gunnerman
fabianski is tripe lads
radders1990
Feck off Shelf, if it had been the Spuds on the end of that you would have rightly gone mental. Don't come on all high-minded about it.
Moorish
As a Spurs fan and a ex referee may I give a couple of observations on the porto goal? First, defending players do not have to be 10 yards from a free-kick for the kick to be taken, second, it says in the laws of the game, the referee shall signal for the taking of a free-kick, this can be "Take it now if you are ready" said to the kicker and not always the whistle. The bottom line is Arsenal & Mr. Campbell were adjudged to have made a back pass which Fabianski stopped with his hands, Porto took the free-kick quickly, passed the ball (Remember it was a indirect free-kick) then scored. As many comments have said don't blame the referee blame the Arsenal players who were not ready and were also showing dissent by shouting at the match officials over the decision. I can say this as a ex-referee and not as a Spurs season ticket holder that the referee was in the right on this occasion.
Ox Yid
Right by the letter of the law, wrong in the spirit of how the game should be played. I'm with Wenger on this one.
hodfoundgodwithapass
Professional Referees have commented differently, so maybe i would be inclined to listen to their views over yours. However, we had a lot of idiots who didnt react quick enough and therefore its hard to blame anyone but ourselves.
paul_ownz
For those interested in the link: http://blog.sport.co.uk/Football/620/Top_Ten_Quickly_taken_free-kicks.aspx We have #4 a Mr. Henry goal against Chelsea, Sorry boys you can't have it both ways, I rest my case.
Ox Yid
The Henry goal was under completely different circumstances, as has already been addressed in this thread. However, that would have required you to do some reading, clearly too tall an order for you...
TPowell
Paul, Graham Poll in today's Daily Mail said the referee was right to allow the goal, But as you said "its hard to blame anyone but ourselves" so you have it in one.
Ox Yid
No, you don't rest your case, completely different incidents as noted by several independant writers. On Henrys free kick, it was outside the box and the defence were signalled too clearly that it was to be taken quickly, with Eidur Gudjonson running back trying to warn his keeper.

I'm not saying we weren't ******** stupid or that the decision wasn't right in theory, but it's bluddy ridiculous to claim that the referee handled that situation in any way other than shambolically.
Gunnerman
that said, i'm not going to complain about the refs, everybody takes quick free kicks all the time... i'm not even upset with how our players reacted after the free kick was given to be honest, just that we gave them an fk inside the box that was completely unnecessary, and that has to be fabianski's fault
TPowell
TPowell, I did read the whole article before writing a comment, I feel that all free-kicks that are taken quickly mean that the defending team have little time to re-group, that is the point of this situation to gain an advantage and every situation has its own "different circumstances" as you call it.
Ox Yid
right, so you will have no problem when we score off a quick free kick against spuddies next time then, good for you
TPowell
my point is, did you go and chastise chelsea fans for complaining that henry took that free kick early? i'm guessing no, you're just being a typical spuddie in this instance
TPowell
No if the Spurs players are not ready to defend a free-kick and Ar5ena1 take advantage it will be their own fault if they lose a goal, (Can't see it happening they are all a bit brighter than those gunners after last nights showing)
Ox Yid
i saw that brightness this year... they showed their great awareness allowing cesc to stroll trough all of them mere seconds after RVP's first goal of the game... good point
TPowell
I had a feeling you would mention the second goal this season, The Hudd and Sgt. Wilson were just not ready!! and the boy from spain took advantage!!!! I will give you that one well done!
Ox Yid
;-) like i said before Ox, i'm not one who is blaming the ref in this instance, the goal was Fabianski's and, to a lesser extent, Cambell's fault
TPowell
A night to forget!!!
hackneyval
It wasn't all doom and gloom - despite the "curious" refereeing (!), you managed an away goal and should be able to beat Porto at the emirates with a few of your first teamers back from injury. Sure I don't need to tell you that Fabianski is absolute poo...
fifthcolumnblue
A point I forgot to make earlier regarding the second goal. People are saying about Henry scoring the quick free kick against Chelsea was unfair so we can't complain, however they are completely different. Lets compare. Henry's free kick was about 30 yards from goal roughly, maybe a bit more, Their's was in the penalty area and probably 15 yards out and by the time Falcao finished it, he was maybe 8 yards out. Chelsea had had enough time to start to get back and already had 4 or 5 players in the wall, which Thierry could quite easily have hit. We had exactly the opposite. Now which one was harder to score from? The only similarity is that they were quick free kicks. This is appalling refereeing of the highest order and when there is so much at stake you have to question if he is up to the job. Clearly not in my opinion.
itsup4grabsnow
Fabianski is dodgy, Mannone looks way better.
FuiKaka
Was anyone watching Mannone when he had that spell in the team earlier in the season? Hard as it is to believe, he's dodgier than Almunia and Fabianski. Mannone was fortunate that he came into an easy run of games, had he played against United, Chelsea or Porto you'd have seen a lot of catastrophic errors. Mannone simply doesn't have the natural aura of a keeper for me. I'd bet money that in 2 years time he won't even be in the top flight.
Little Dutch
I've got to disagree. Mannone mad a few little errors, yes. But he looks to have a better presence in the box from free kicks and corners. Better natural reactions. I personally, felt a lot more comftable with him in goal.
FuiKaka
On saying that though, as good as a goalkeeper is at 21 (i think he's 21?), it'd be an extreme case where they are good enough to win the league with. A new Keeper would be nice, a new keeper along with the return of RVP ...i think that's all we are away from winning the silverware.
FuiKaka
Mannone caught the eye with some good shot stopping in the Fulham game and that's really all that anyone is basing their judgements on. LD is right he was fortunate not to get found out too often in the run he did have but at the moment he is a disaster waiting to happen. There is a tendency to think that our best keeper is always the one we see least of.
Amos.
To be fair, Vermaelen was trying to organise all the players to run back. I think it was in the players mind that Carrick got a second yellow for kicking the ball away. This was the biggest gift of a goal I have ever seen, it was almost like one of those moments when a team decides to let the opposition walk the ball into net because of a mix-up or mistake by the referee. This goal would have been even more controversial had it been at the Grove due to away goals rule, but lets be real that ref would never had given the goal at the Grove. Last season at the Grove vs United 50 seconds into match Silvestre passed the ball back to Almunia and he Rooney was closing down on him, Almunia dived and picked the ball up with his hands That game really discouraged me from watching portugese football, the Porto players were begging for a yellow card to be shown after almost every foul, raul meireles threw antics when a corner wasn't awarded when it was clear goal kick (just to influence the referee psychologically), persistent fouling on a key player to break the rhythm (I think the ref showed 4 yellow cards to porto players purely for fouls on a single player). Let's face, its no surprise that diving occurs in our when .players are taught to play these tactics by certain managers, Wenger is an idealist and it is evident though young players at the club that wenger doesn't encourage those tactics. Players like Eduardo and Gallas have learned a thing or two in their careers and they are proof that Wenger doesn't condemn it either. This is also one of the reasons why we are considerably poor at shutting games down.
gronedrone
Denilson was awesome against Porto.
Tom14
Hodfound...! Was that really you up there? Everything alright or did you have too much, the night before? Lol! Nice to know you can have a fair view of some things Arsenal/Arsene.
Naijagunner
 

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