Fulham 2-1 Arsenal – 29/11/06 – (Barclays Premiership) 29 November, 2006Posted by lasagnechef in Premiership.
An absolute fucking shocking game, we were abysmal and deserved to lose. Could’ve nicked a point if our players actually gave a shit. Tottenham on Saturday and I’m am NOT looking forward to that…
I’ve been exited about going to this game for weeks but what I saw was not what I expected. Our starting eleven was not a very good one including Alex “I’m crap and don’t deserve to put on the Arsenal shirt” Song and an Henry who didn’t give two shits again. We’ve got 3 very importnat games next so I can understand the weakened side but we should’ve still not fucking lost to Fulham. We went 2 nil down early and Robin Van Persie scored an excellent free kick to give is a fighting chance. However nobody was up for fighting. Listening to talksport on the way home a Gooner was saying how we were very harsh to Song and calling for Fabregas only made him worse. Well I got his point but I’m sorry, the boy just had to get off the pitch whatever it took.
I don’t know what’s wrong with Clichy and Eboue but neither of them were in the squad so we had Flamini at left back and Hoyte on the right, both were not good enough. We played a 4-4-2 with Henry and Van Persie up front, RVP had a good game I feel: scored a great goal and was the only one actually creating anything. As for Thierry, he literally did about three useful things and really we might as well of had Adebayor playing. Senderos picked up two yellow cards to leave us with 10 mean for about 20 minutes, there was 11 bookings in the game and there could’ve been another red or two if the referee actually had a clue where he was.
Not exactly the sort of match report I was expecting to do. That’s two games lost on the bounce and no way in hell can we afford another with the first North London derby at the Grove next. That was the worst display I’ve seen for a long, long time tonight and if we play like that on Saturday then we are in for a severe beating from Tottenham.
The only positive thing I can say from the game is about the support. It was amazing and I have never lost my voice before the game had even started. It shows what sort of vocals we are capable of so I don’t understand why we just sit there in silence at home. It died off towards the end but we had nothing to sing about and I’m surprised most of us were still there. If we can sing anything like that on Saturday then it will be deafening. I’m definitely going to get to more away games even though this means Arsenal have lost every time I go to one.
I’ve done a report like this one before and people weren’t happy about it but this is my blog, which means it is my thoughts, and tonight, these are my thoughts. Tomorrow I will have calmed down and I will be able to analyse the game a bit more, think about what we did wrong and how we can move on, but at the moment this is all I can say about the game.
Good night Gooners, don’t have nightmares about the game.
Henry, Rosicky and Van Perise all back for Fulham 29 November, 2006Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News, Premiership, Uncategorized.
Tonight we make the short trip past Stamford Bridge to Fulham’s Craven Cottage. They are one of the established Premiership teams that have struggled a bit this year but Chris Coleman has managed to bring them up to 12th but will still be desperate for points. I’m sure he’ll do his best to earn a scrappy point tonight but I feel Arsenal have just too much for Fulham; I’m expecting us to score two at least but don’t be surprised to the goals don’t come, because as you’re well aware sometimes we just have ‘one of those days’. However don’t be surprised if we slaughter Fulham 6-0 because the talent and desire is there.
We have a pretty much full team to pick from apart from Gallas, and obviously Diaby and Lauren. However Baptista is being rested for this one, more on that later. This is what I think the team should be, Wenger will probably pick something entirely different but this is my pick: Lehmann, Clichy, Senderos, Toure, Eboue, Hleb, Fabregas, Gilberto, Rosicky with two up front: Van Persie and Henry. A strong line-up and I think one or two may be rested for the Spurs game on Saturday. I think we should go 4-4-2 though, it’s hardly a threatening team we’re playing and this is a good opportunity to test the formation again before that important game at the weekend.
As I’ve mentioned millions of times before I’m going tonight, look out for my ‘The Beast – 9′ shirt. It’s a tricky tube journey with lots of stops and changes down to the River Thames on the District Line. I’ll get there eventually and have a wonder round, see what the cottage is like and get inside nice and early. I don’t think this one’s on TV but it’ll probably be on the radio I’d expect; if you can, support the boys tonight in what should be the start of some form. And as always, a match report to come.
Julio Baptista hasn’t played a great deal after his comeback from injury but has been rested for tonight’s game. The Brazilian hasn’t had alot of football in the past year thanks to some continuous injuries and I suppose getting back into it it’s tough. He’s had some iffy performances but looks to be finding his feet and scored his first goal against Hamburg last week. Wenger reckons we are about to see the best of The Beast:
“We have seen that before with players who came here, it always took them six months to adapt. I am confident he will make a big impact here. There is no basic problem with him. He has just got to adapt to the pace of the game. He has just come back from six weeks out with injury, and I feel he needs to work, maybe he will play on Saturday.”
I do hope Wenger is right, I was very exited when Baptista arrived here but was a little disappointed with some performances, but Arsene is right, and it does look like he is adapting to the game as time progresses. He’s on a season long loan from Real Madrid but it looks like the deal will be made permanent. Jose Reyes went the other way and is doing really well is Spain and I expect the ‘Galacticos’ to want to keep him too. I’d like to see Julio given the chance to play on Saturday and I feel it might be quite a physical game and we may need a little beastliness in our side.
And finally the Ballon D’Or winner was officially announced as Fabio Cannavaro on Monday. I think it should’ve been Titi this time but I suppose his year will come one day. He didn’t even come 2nd though! Buffon was runner-up and probably deserved it, I forgot about him, he had a great world cup and without him Italy wouldn’t have one it. Cannavaro won with 173 votes with Buffon getting 124 who was closely followed by Henry, and Ronaldinho came 4th, about 50 points behind Thierry. Then it went Zidane, Eto’o, Klose, Drogba, Pirlo and Arsenal ‘keeper Jens Lehmann came in 10th which I am very pleased with.
That’s all the news for today; enjoy the game tonight if you get to watch it. Have a good Wednesday.
Henry should win the Ballon D’Or 27 November, 2006Posted by lasagnechef in Champions League, Premiership, Uncategorized.
Well it would be nice wouldn’t it?
I want to put that defeat to Bolton behind us and carry on with the season, I don’t care if we don’t win the title, I just want us to have a good season and qualify for the Champions League and hopefully go far in the competition this year too. The beginning of nice things and good luck for Arsenal would be Thierry Henry picking up the European Player of The Year Award today. I’m not sure when it is announced officially who’s won but reports are that world cup winner Cannavaro will be taking 2006’s Ballon D’Or home. However many people have said that Thierry Henry deserves the prize this year round, and now France’s coach Raymond Domenech has been added to that list. I think he should win it too, and I’m not just saying that as a Gooner. Here’s what the two have done in the past year:
1. Captained Italian side that won The World Cup
2. Cheated with Juve and had 2 titles taken away and relegated to Serie B
3. Left Juve for Madrid because didn’t want to help club back to the top
1. Became captain of Arsenal FC
2. Reached The World Cup final with France and was top goal scorer
3. Reached Champions League final
4. Became Arsenal’s all time record goal scorer
5. Chose Arsenal over Barca, declaring his love for the club
I think that’s it but you can see all Cannavaro has done is one thing, and fair enough it is a big thin but Henry was in that final too but only lost on penalties. It seems as though Cannavaro’s name is being engraved onto that trophy but I think along with many others the Frenchman should be lifting the trophy today.
Thierry Henry picked up his third yellow card in the Champions League against Hamburg last week which now rules him out of Arsenal’s vital game against Porto. His 1st yellow card was a stupid one in Moscow, it was when we had that last minute goal not given after Henry apparently handballed it and picked up a booking for it. It was absolutely ludicrous and now thanks to that we will be without our star player for the decisive group game. Thierry has been saying how he should’ve steered clear of any bookable offences against Hamburg:
“I concede that the booking I picked up wasn’t very clever. It was the result of frustration, but I’m not making excuses – I deserved the yellow card. And of course I am disappointed to be out of the Porto game. “The two yellow cards I picked up against CSKA were not bookings and in fact the first card, well, not only did the ref rule out a perfectly good goal, he booked me for handball! What can you do? Sometimes these things happen in football and I just had to accept the suspension. We showed great character to come back and win against Hamburg which leaves us in a good position to qualify.”
All we need is a point in Portugal and I think we can do it without Henry. We should have Van Persie for the game and William Gallas has targeted this game for his comeback. It’s all very exiting but it will be very tense. I think the Champions League should be our main focus now so not qualifying is unacceptable.
Lets take one game at a time though and the next one is Fulham away in two days time. I will be there giving my support with the away Gooners. Henry and Van Persie will be back for this one after being unavailable last weekend, a win is a must and anything other than that is just not good enough. Fulham have lost their last two games and are not having the best of seasons and need points at the moment so they won’t go down without a fight. I think we need to play the 4-4-2 for this game, the 5-man midfield shows too much respect to teams and what we need at the moment is goals and a man supporting Henry. I think Wenger will probably start 4-5-1 but I hope he realises we will do better with two up top. Mourinho says Arsenal are not out of the title race just yet, we are 33/1 top become champions. As long as we are up near the top challenging the top teams that’s good enough for me. Fulham should be an easy three points but we’ll just have to see how much luck we have on the day. (Also Spurs are 400/1 to win the league)
That your lot for today. Wish a happy birthday to this bloke and I hope we’ll be celebrating Thierry wining the Ballon D’Or tomorrow. Have a good day.
UPDATE: Henry comes 3rd in Ballon D’Or.
Bolton 3-1 Arsenal – 25/11/06 – (Barclays Premiership) 26 November, 2006Posted by lasagnechef in Premiership.
We started with Fabregas, Flamini, Gilberto, Ljungberg and Walcott across the middle: No Baptista but instead the in-form Flamini and Walcott was preferred to Hleb. It was a talented side that started against Bolton but we were shocking; the game looked like it was going to be pretty even but it was frustrating viewing once again. There were good performances from Senderos, Gilberto and Walcott but Adebayor didn’t have a clue what was going on and Ljungberg was just terrible. I really hate to say it but I think Freddie has to go this season. He’s been amazing for us and has represented Arsenal over the Wenger era but I think he’s had his day.
We conceded early with some sloppy defending from a corner, the ball was played in just near the post for Faye to score a free header. Eboue was on the post and should’ve come out to head it away but for some reason he just stood there and watched us go one-nil down. I wasn’t even at the pub yet and was listening on the radio at this point and when they scored I groaned and just knew it was going to be another one of those trips to the Reebok. We were losing with 10 minutes and unlike Hamburg I knew we wouldn’t be able to recover easily.
We attempted to fight back but we really gave nothing and you would believe we are a side meant to be challenging for the title: Losing to Bolton. It looked like we would go in at half time 1-0 down but there were 2 goals in 2 minutes just before half time. Anelka scored a wonderful dipping goal and I can’t blame anyone for it, it really was a fabulous goal. Nothing we could’ve done about that.
Then we were 2-0 surely no way back now, I was thinking about leaving the pub at this point and then Arsenal got a corner, which was surely the last kick of the half. Gilberto made a run in from outside the box and scored an open header to give us a fighting chance. I was now thinking “Yes! C’mon Arsenal, get fucking stuck in now.”
I thought we could do it now. I thought we could fight back and earn at least a draw. Don’t know whether we would’ve deserved it or not but if we played like we can we could easily score. I the second half we hit the woodwork twice and it became clear it wasn’t going to be our day at all. We were all over them at times but nothing clinical came of it, same old Arsenal. There was still time to nick a goal though which was the only thing that kept me watching. Then one last smack in the teeth as Anelka got Bolton’s third: words I wasn’t hoping on saying a couple of days ago. He was played through and may have been very slightly offside but probably wasn’t and he placed it passed Lehmann into the corner of the net. One guy in the bar said, “I don’t pay a grand a year to watch this shit,” and left. I felt exactly the same but for some reason I watched the remaining minutes. I knew we weren’t going to come back, I just felt it would be rude to walk out and I felt for all those amazing Gooners who made the long trip up to our bogey ground. Well done to them.
We are now officially out of the title race. Arsene Wenger has admitted it even though before the game he said we wouldn’t be if we lost. He’s right though, we were out of the title race long ago. Our target is now the top 4, it’s hard to take after all those years of success under Mr. Wenger. Man Utd and Chelsea drew today which was the best result for us aparantly but that title nonsence doesn’t concern us anymore. I say good luck to Manchester United to take the league off Chelsea.
This is about as low as it gets for Arsenal, surely things can only get better, and what better way to forget memories of Saturday than showing Fulham a lesson on Wednesday. It’s my first competitive away game for about 10 years and I can’t wait for it, we’ll need to win and boost the confidence ahead of the yido’s trip to the Grove on Saturday. C’mon the Arsenal, we love you.
Henry and Van Persie out of Bolton game 25 November, 2006Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News, Premiership.
Thierry Henry has picked up a neck injury which will rule him out of today’s trip to The Reebok. Luckily it’s only a minor problem, which will probably see him missing just this one game, but to be without our best player for this tricky match is not good. Also Robin Van Persie will not be able to step in for the injured captain as he is suspended for this game. I didn’t know that Robin was suspended and on the Arsenal.com match report of the last game it says he wasn’t booked. I don’t know, but here it says he’s suspended for the game. It’s a possibility that Baptista or Walcott might get a shot at playing upfront but I’m pretty sure we’ll have Adebayor as a lone striker, something I’m not pissing myself with excitement about…
To add to those two we’ve also got Rosicky and Gallas (plus Lauren and Diaby) out. I think we we’ll go 4-5-1 against Bolton to bulk up our midfield, which I think is the right thing to do against Bolton. The Back five will be Lehmann, Eboue, Toure, Senderos and Clichy. Then in midfield I think we’ll have to go with Hleb, Fabregas, Gilberto, Baptista and Ljungberg. I don’t think Walcott has the physical presence to play today and I can already see him in my head making runs down the right but then getting a strong tackle and losing possession. Then the lone striker will have to be Adebayor, I’ve got nothing against him, it’s just like Henry, he works best with a supporting striker and I don’t think he’ll be very effective up there on his own. So he’ll need the likes of Baptista and Fabregas to help him up top.
I’m not worried about today’s game, I think we have enough to go up there and do some damage. I’d love us to win comfortably though to put those bad trips up north behind us. If we come back with a draw then so be it, it’s better than losing which we have done some much of over the years. The game is on PremPlus so it’ll probably be on down at your local if you don’t have it at home. I’ll get a match report up here asap as usual.
Arsene Wenger thinks we can still win the title this year. We might be 12 points behind Man Utd but that sort of difference has been caught up before. I’ll say it again, football just takes a bit of luck and that’s it; this season we’ve had awful luck and have dropped 8 points at home in this season’s Premiership. All we need is for us to find a bit of consistency and for the others to go through a bad patch and we’ll be right back up there. Chelsea make the trip to Old Trafford tomorrow and the best thing we can hope for is an injury-fest or otherwise a draw.
Speaking of Chelsea, Didier “The Cunt” Drogshit reckons he’s better than Henry! He’s scored 2 more than Thierry this campaign, which has been largely down to some incredibly bad luck and the new formation. I hate Drogba; he’s up there with Ronaldo, Rooney and Sheringham. Oh and he’s been telling us what he gets up to in his spare time:
“I relax when I play computer games, I have fun playing as Henry and shooting wide of the goal! I’m kidding. It just seems my virtual copy doesn’t play as well as the Henry character – although in real life, especially this season, I’m better than him.”
Okay. There is no doubt that Henry is better than Drogba, in fact it’s not even worth contemplating it. Oh and as for the computer games thing…what an idiot. I hope you break your leg :)
Enjoy the game today people, see ya.
Gallas fit for Chelsea clash 23 November, 2006Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.
Arsenal centre-back William Gallas picked up a thigh injury last week and it was feared he could be out until the end of the year. Not such a bad injury and we’re got suitable cover but it would’ve meant he’d have missed the trip to Stamford Bridge on the 10th December. Today news broke that Gallas might make an early recovery and is aiming to play in the Porto game. This is great news for Arsenal and for Billy who must’ve been distraught at the news of missing the trip to his former club. I’m sure he’s been working his very hardest to regain his fitness in time and it looks like he’ll make the trip to Chelsea. Wenger has been talking to Arsenal TV about Gallas’ recovery and our other injuries; this is what he had to say:
“Gallas will not play against Fulham and Tottenham could be a bit premature – but he has a chance to be available for Porto. At the moment we have Tomas Rosicky and Gallas both looking extremely good and close to coming back again. I do not think Rosicky is ready [for Bolton], but he has a chance to be available for Fulham. Lauren and Abou Diaby, meanwhile, remain on course to return early next year. Lauren is practising with the group now so that is very good news and Diaby we think he will be available in January.
Good news on the injury front then. Glad to hear that Ralphy is playing some sort of part in training again.
There isn’t really much news about but it was the loaning deadline day for the football league today so there were a few final day deals going around. Reserve captain Matthew Connolly has joined Bournemouth until 2nd January. The loan of just over a month will do him some good and will be useful for him to gain a bit of 1st team experience. Hopefully he doesn’t like it so much there that he wants to stay though.
Julio “The Beast” Baptista scored his first goal for Arsenal on Tuesday and he’s hoping to cement his place in the first team. His performance against Newcastle was not one to be proud of but that behind him now and I’m pretty sure we won’t see a display like that from him again. I think Wenger needs to play him against Bolton on Saturday for his physical presence and Julio is hoping he gets he nod from Arsene too:
“I would like to have more time and to be a part of the team. But I can only do this by making use of the opportunities the manager gives me. I was satisfied with the goal, I am fit and I hope to keep on helping the team in the upcoming games. I know I must give good performances for the manager. With Arsene Wenger, I am learning nobody is assured of their position in the starting 11 and we all have to prove ourselves.”
It’s good that he’s not expecting to be selected and hopefully he’ll work harder to get in that team. He’s going to have to work very hard too if he’s going to be chosen ahead of Gilberto or Fabregas. I think his best hope is in a 5-man midfield joining those two as another central midfielder. I think you’ll agree it sounds a very exiting partnership.
I’ll have a preview of the trip to the Reebok to come, see you later.
Arsenal 3-1 Hamburg – 21/11/06 – (Champions League) 22 November, 2006Posted by lasagnechef in Champions League.
So an average performance against Hamburg gets us a 3-1 win but a great performance against Moscow and we draw 0-0? Well that’s football for you and I suppose they’ve levelled each other out. I fear again today that out unbeaten record at the Grove would be taken as in the first half it just didn’t look like it was going to be our day. Porto beat the Russians which still eaves the group wide open, we go to Porto away next. We’re top at the moment with Porto 2nd with the same points but CSKA are only two behind on 8 points so it still can go any way. I think a draw in Portugal is enough to see us through but we want Hamburg to beat Moscow to make our job easier.
People were saying prior to this game that we needed to score first however we were one nil down in under five minutes to a good van der Vaart goal. He should’ve never been allowed that time or space though but at least conceding this early you’ve got more time to come back. However it looked like it was going to be another one of those days at Ashburton Grove: countless chances, coming to close but not hitting the back of the net. Hitting the woodwork, hitting the side netting, blocks on the line…everything, but just not able to put that ball the other side of the line.
The first half we played poor but will still managed a few chances. Our main problem in the first 45 minutes was giving away the ball. Whether it was sloppy passes being intercepted or being caught in possession, we were not good at keeping the ball. Thankfully Hamburg didn’t take full advantage of that. I spent most of the first half with my head in my hands but I still thought that we’d score a goal, I know a draw wouldn’t do us much favours in the group but it’s better than nothing. I was also thinking about what it’d be like in the UEFA Cup, not something I ever want to think about again…the whistle blew for half time and all around me there were boos. I don’t know what at but I got up to try and spot someone booing, it was hopefully at the referee or something. We didn’t play well in the first half but you shouldn’t boo your players in at half time.
The team that came out for the second half was not the one that we’d just seen. We looked determined to score and soon after kick off we had a chance, I think it was Van Persie. It wasn’t a particularly good chance but it outlined our ambition to equalize. A few minutes later we had a free kick on the corner of the box with Van Persie who’d gone inches wide with a first half free kick, and Henry standing over it. Thierry took it looking to bend it into the near top corner but it just brushed the side netting, he had the goalie scrambling but a foot the other side of the post and it would’ve been 2 great free kicks in the same goal in 3 days. However the tense crowd didn’t have to wait long to see the equalizer: Fabregas picked up the ball well and played a clever through ball to Van Persie who finished beautifully just slipping it past the ‘keeper and managing to slot it in the near post. The Grove erupted and the Hamburg corner finally went silent. 1-0 to The Arsenal.
Then all game we pushed and pushed to find that winning goal, the tempo dropped a little midway through the second half and I’m sure many people thought it wouldn’t come so Wenger livened things up with some substitutions. A tired Van Persie came off for Adebayor, The Beast came on for an impressive but knackered Hleb and Ljungberg came off to be replaced by Theo Walcott, which always raises the crowd. All three subs made an impact on the game, none more so than young Theo. He livened up our game and got down the wing whipping in some great balls, and assisted the next two goals. He supplied Eboue with the ball in the area, then the full-back drove forward past the line of defence and played in a strong low cross for a tap in, it was a bit too near to the ‘keeper but the power of it took it past him and settled in the back of the net. The goalie may have even got the decisive touch to send it in but sixty thousand Gooners and Emmanuel Eboue didn’t care, we’d taken the lead with 7 minutes to go, we were now 2-1 up and surely have won the points.
I love a late 2-1 comeback in football matches, very tense but so worth it with the celebrations. I really didn’t think there’d be another goal in it but Baptista finished the story at the end. This goal will do his confidence alot of good after not the greatest performance against Newcastle. The 3rd goal involved all three substitutes: Lehmann started off the move but sending the ball long to Walcott who touched it to Adebayor playing to one-two with Theo to send him clear down the right. Henry and Baptista were in the box waiting to be picked out and Theo played a perfect ball to the unmarked Beast who finished powerfully into the open goal. A really nice goal and good to see Arsenal not faffing about with intricate passing and playing some proper route one football. 3-1 Arsenal, definitely no way back for the Germans now.
So in the end, it was a great game to go to, a 3-1 comeback with Baptista’s first goal for the club. Not the greatest of performances ever but tonight all we needed was the points. There was a negative from the game though: Henry picked up a stupid yellow card and means he misses the crucial Porto game. It should never have been a card and now we go to Portugal without the skipper, we still have enough in the side without Henry but I’d prefer him to be playing. Right I’ve really got to go, it’s nearly 1 o’clock and I’ve got to get up early in the morning. Build up to the tricky trip to the Reebok to come this week. Thanks for reading.
Van Persie back but Gallas out 20 November, 2006Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News, Champions League, The Cannon News.
In today’s training session William Gallas picked up a thigh strain in the last few seconds of training. It just shows our luck and the problem will see him out for a few weeks. An injury to a player is always bad, however on this occasion we have talented back up to step in for Bill: Djourou or Senderos will fill in at centre back alongside Toure. I’m not nervous at all about one of these two filling in for Gallas as I know and they’ve shown that they are very comfortable centre-backs, Djourou has already impressed earlier this season but I think the place will go to his fellow countryman, Senderos.
Other news from today’s training ahead of tomorrow’s match was a return for Van Persie, Ljungberg and Gilberto. Robin picked up a foot injury in the first half against Newcastle and Arsene Wenger admitted it could be bad, but it was only minor and he had an extremely fast recovery and could play against Hamburg tomorrow night. Ljungberg and Gilberto were unavailable for Saturday’s match but have now returned to training and are in the squad; Arsene has said though he doesn’t think he’ll start Freddie after 6 weeks out which will probably see Walcott starting on the wing.
So I’m expecting a 4-5-1 of Lehmann, Eboue, Toure, Senderos, Clichy, Hleb, Fabregas, Flamini/Baptista, Gilberto, Walcott and Henry. I hope we don’t just play 5 across the middle all the time now, last season we switched between that and a 4-4-2 in domestic and European games but this season we’ve opted for a 4-5-1 in all competitions. The formation does not favour Henry as he needs another striker up there supplying him with the ball, hence his poor scoring record this season and that’s not the only reason why the 4-5-1 doesn’t suit us. I hope Wenger will play a 4-4-2 more regularly this season but I doubt that’ll start tomorrow night.
There isn’t a great deal of other news. We’re being linked with this ‘Edu’ guy but I very much doubt it’s true. Wenger said recently that we wont strength the squad in January and as much as I want him not to, he’ll stick by his words. Speaking of Edu, our former midfielder has picked up a serious knee ligament injury that’ll see him miss the rest of the season. So the curse of players that leave Arsenal goes on and I hope he makes a full recovery as soon as possible. I never hate players that leave Arsenal, and Edu is one of those players that I still love. Obviously I absolutely hate Ashley Cole but he’s the only one who’s been a dick to us. And as for Jose Reyes, I don’t hate him. I’ve heard him getting booed and slagged off but I’m not one of them: he never did anything to us, he just never really settled here and if he doesn’t like it in England there’s nothing we can do. But back to Edu, I wish him a quick recovery with this horrible injury and can carry on with his football at Valencia soon.
Arsene Wenger has been saying he’s not giving up the title fight just yet. We may be dropping points unnecessarily but as long as it’s not mathematically impossible I know Wenger will keep up the chase. It’s looking less likely that Arsenal will bring the title back to North London this year but as long as we’re up there putting pressure on the leaders all the way I will be a satisfied Gooner. This is what Wenger told arsenal.com:
“It’s not impossible, we just have to fight to win the next game and see where that takes us. If players want to play regularly for Arsenal and they give up when we are still in November, there is just no point in any of us being here. Other teams can slip up as well. It’s all about having patience and starting with a determined attitude. We gave them [Newcastle] too much to hold on to. We did well in the second half but we need that focus in every game that we play. A team always adjusts their focus to the difficulties they expect to meet, but you don’t always get what you expect in a game. That is why we must not take the opposition into consideration when we prepare and instead concentrate on what we want to do, and how we want to do it.”
I hope we do get a little bit of luck his season and if we are up the top chasing Chelsea and chasing Man Utd, when they slip up we should be there to gain on them.
That all the Arsenal news there is really. There’s a bit of news about The Cannon though, I’ve changed the URL to http://the-cannon.com, I’ve always had this link but now the site fully runs off that address so please use that from now on. Many readers I’m sure use the ‘.wordpress’ address and I have made it so that now links to the new address. Also I’ve added a few thumbnail images on The Club page and I’ve finally updated the Kits page so all the images look the same with that rectangle underneath instead of that old blending gold and blue style. I’m still trying to get that ‘Next Game/Last Game’ thing back but I’m having a few problems there and it’s just not working. I’m trying to get them back but I do it and then they’re not there, I’ll have to work out why. And finally, today The Cannon got it’s 80,000th hit, thanks for that. Have a good day.
Arsenal 1-1 Newcastle – 18/11/06 – (Barclays Premiership) 19 November, 2006Posted by lasagnechef in Premiership.
Another frustrating game to watch at the grove ending in another 1-1. Recently our finishing is what has been holding us back from taking all 3 points but our finishing had improved yesterday but the magnificent Shay Given wasn’t letting anything past him. We started with the team I predicted, a little unhappy that Henry was rested but really we shouldn’t of needed him against Newcastle anyway. I was very exited to see Baptista starting but he really did have a shocker.
He didn’t know his role in the game and there were miss placed passes all over the place. I was thinking, if Baptista hadn’t recovered in time for this game, Alex Song may have started instead, and if Song had given exactly the same performance as Baptista then we’d all be going Song is shit, he should never be allowed to play blah blah blah. Going into the game I was a big fan sitting proudly there with my The Beast – 9 shirt but after a while, like others around me were desperate for Wenger to take him off. However the difference is between Song and Baptista is we know The Beast will improve and that performance was just a one-off and he will improve once he gets some games under his belt; he’s been out for a while with his injury and really hasn’t played any regular football in a long time.
I don’t think he is comfortable in that midfield position either, yesterday he was given the Gilberto role in midfield and as a naturally attacking player he really was lost. I still believe he can go on to be a big player for Arsenal, we the fans just have to give him time, and I hope Arsene has the faith to play him again and give him the chance. However there were a couple of moments in the match he impressed: one was in the second half before he was taken off. He played a clever one two and continued his run and if he was delivered the ball he would’ve been one-on-one with the ‘keeper but instead we went down the wing to cross it in. The other was a fabulous free kick on the edge of the box. I’ve seen compilation videos on youtube of Baptista so I know he can whip in a free kick so when he was lining the ball up yesterday I knew he had a chance of scoring. When he struck it, it looked like it was sailing over the bar but it had so much bend and dip on it the ball ended up in the roof of the net just going of the bar. Given was beaten and it would’ve been a great 1st goal for the Gunners.
He wasn’t even that beastly either, got pushed off the ball a couple of times. Was very disappointed with that.
Anyways, the game…The first half we really didn’t play that well and after some poor defending Newcastle opened the scoring on the counter attack. It was a really stupid goal to concede and it was their only real chance all game. Eboue just kept backing off and backing off and allowed Dyer the room to curve the ball past Lehmann. If that was Toure in that situation he would’ve got stuck in and won the ball but Eboue hasn’t mastered this yet.
At half time Henry came out to train which brought the spirits up, everyone around me was saying he should come on for Baptista but The Beast came out for the second half and it became clear that Titi was coming on for Van Persie. I didn’t understand why but he had picked up a hamstring injury in the first half, which might see RVP missing the Hamburg game on Tuesday. The second half was amazing football from Arsenal, it was literally non-stop attack for the whole half and the crowd were really getting behind the team. It’s good to hear what sort of noise 60,000 Gooners are capable of; I just can’t wait for Spurs on the 2nd, that will be a great game and I can only imagine the atmosphere.
We had so many chances in the second half but once again, nothing would go in for us. Alot of the time that was down to Shay Given. He’d just come back from injury and he put in another magnificent performance against us. He stopped so many shots and I thought it was going to be one of those days and I feared that Newcastle would break our unbeaten record at our new home. In the end it took a magnificent free kick from Thierry Henry. It was so perfectly place not even Shay Given could save it. It was only an equalizer against Newcastle but I’ve never celebrated so much at the Grove. I nearly got my leg stuck between the seat in front on me and I nearly feel back over my own seat. We were all over Newcastle and I thought we could go all the way and make it 2-1. It wasn’t to be but it just shows you however well you play it doesn’t guarantee you a win.
We’ve been really inconsistent of late and as a Gooner is very frustrating. I always say I hope we can carry on this form but I just don’t know now. We should have no difficulty beating Hamburg on Tuesday but we’ll just have to see how it goes.
Yesterday’s game was probably the most enjoyable for me I’ve been to so far at the Grove. Well the Bergkamp game was very special but I’m talking about competitive games. I mean we’ve had three 3-0’s but for some reason I liked yesterday’s game. For the second half we were attacking down at the end I was at, and it was non-stop. And the crowd got quite loud which I always love. I’m sure though that the up coming Tottenham will be one to remember. But before that we’ve got Hamburg on Tuesday and a very tricky trip to the Reebok next week. Thanks for reading.
p.s. Oh crap I forgot to mention our midfield duo. Fabreags, and especially Flamini were amazing for us yesterday. They were getting stuck in all over the pitch and really put in all they had into the game to try and help us get that goal. There were several two-footed challenges winning the ball perfectly but with a bit of extra ‘fuck you’ to the player who’d just been tackled; if they’d got it wrong any of those times it probably could’ve been a straight red. I love it when you see players giving a damn and these two yesterday gave everything they had for the team.
Kolo may captain the Gunners against Newcastle 17 November, 2006Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News, Premiership, Transfers.
Some Gooners have been calling for centre back, Kolo Toure to take over from Henry as captain. They might get their wish granted tomorrow as Wenger is considering resting Thierry after playing 90 mins for France and vice captain, Gilberto will miss the game as a family member is sick and he is over in Brazil. Also, Freddie Ljungberg recovered from his calf injury recently after 5 weeks out and was therefore fit for Sweden’s selection for the internationals; he got that injury with Sweden and now this time round his picked up something else. He didn’t play for Sweden as he got food poisoning whilst with the team and now he’ll miss the game tomorrow. I’m sure Wenger isn’t over the moon. That’s two times in a row Sweden have made Freddie unavailable to Arsenal, however he is expected to recover from that and play against Hamburg on Tuesday.
With Ljungberg, Gilberto and Rosicky out, and Baptista now injury-free we might see THE BEAST starting tomorrow. I hope Bap does get the chance, I’m a big fan of the Brazilian and I hope he can deliver at Arsenal. Lehmann is back after sitting out against Liverpool so the back 5 will be as you’d expect. Then I think we’ll play a 5-man midfield of Hleb, Fabregas, Baptista, Flamini and Van Persie. I bit different to usual but I think/hope that’s what Wenger will go for. I understand that Theo Walcott picked up an injury with the U21’s so I don’t think he is in the squad, I’m not sure though. Then I think it’ll be Thierry Henry up front despite Arsene saying he might rest him; I think Wenger has just said that to tell the France coach off basically, I reckon Titi will actually be ok for the game but of Wenger does actually rest him then I think it’ll be Adebayor to replace him.
Even with a slightly weakened side we’ve still got some real talent in there and there’s no reason why this 11 should struggle against Newcastle. The opposition aren’t a bad team though, a great ‘keeper and Martins is a real threat up front. The defence will have to concentrate hard tomorrow and our finishing has to be spot on. I predict a 2-0 win but this match really could be anything, Newcastle are 18th and not doing well and we could stick a few past ‘em but on paper they are a strong team and could cause us some problems. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow.
There isn’t alot of Arsenal news apart from the injuries etc. Wenger thinks Thierry Henry should win the Ballon D’Or this time round. He’s arguably one of the best strikers in the world but has never won the European Footballer of the Year award. Real Madrid’s Fabio Cannavaro is reported to pick up the award ahead of our captain. Cannavaro had a great World Cup going all the way with Italy but Thierry got to that final too and reached the Champions League final in May and became the record goalscorer for Arsenal. Cannavaro is a cheating Juve bastard who’s had a good year and now looks likely to steal the prize. It’s strange that Titi has never won it and Arsene feels this should be his year:
“Congratulations to Cannavaro if that is the case – but for me there is only one candidate this year and that is Thierry Henry. It is unfortunate and it is not right that he does not have the recognition. Thierry just deserves it. He was the top goalscorer in England, the best player in England, the second-highest goalscorer in Europe behind Luca Toni. He played in the Champions League final and he played in the World Cup final. He lost one on penalties and he lost the other in the last few minutes with 10 men. Overall I do not think the fact that a team wins on penalties can make such a difference. When you look at what this guy has achieved in his career as a player I can tell you there are some players in the Ballon d’Or who have a lot to answer for when you compare them to Thierry Henry.”
Arsene is right and I do hope Henry wins the Ballon D’Or, if it’s not this year I don’t know when it’ll be to be honest. He’s come runner-up for the World Player of the Year a couple of times but remarkably has never won the European prize.
Nicklas Bendtner’s loan at Birmingham has been extended until the end of the season. Bendtner has been doing really well for Championship side and Steve Bruce was keen for Nick’s loan to be extended. There’s an option in the loan for us to bring him back to Arsenal if we need him due to injuries, but hopefully we won’t need that. There’s talk of making the move permanent in the summer, I’d hate it if he did go and I’m sure Wenger won’t want him too but I fear that Nick will enjoy the regular football there and ask to move there.
Sorry for not posting for a few days, didn’t get a chance but there wasn’t much news anyways. I’ll get a match report up asap but it won’t be until after tomorrow as I’ve got to rush from North London to work after the game and won’t get a chance to post. Until then, enjoy the game.
Good International Week for The Young Guns 14 November, 2006Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News, Uncategorized.
There’s quite a bit of news following the win against Liverpool so I’ll try and quickly cover most of the stories and most of them are about this week’s internationals.
Justin Hoyte scored for England U21’s as they beat Holland 1-0. One day I think he’ll be England’s right back so it’s good that he’s doing well for the U21’s. The senior England team play Holland tomorrow night at the Amsterdam Arena, it’s live on BBC 1 at 7pm, I won’t be watching as I’ve got work. It’s an experimental line-up chosen by Steve McLaren; he’s got 18-year-old Man City defender Micah Ricards at right back and Andy Johnson partnering Rooney up front. McLaren’s got a bit to prove in this game after not the greatest of starts, his England will face a tough Dutch side that won’t include Van Persie who has withdrawn from the squad as his wife is expecting their first child.
Whilst on the subject of England, Matthew Connolly our reserve captain trained with the England squad. The national side were short on defenders for the practice at London Colney and he was asked by McLaren to join in amongst Ashley Cole, John Terry and Rio Ferdinand. It would’ve been an amazing experience for the lad, he’s only ever played with England at youth level before and here’s how he tells his story:
“I had just finished training with Arsenal, then [Reserve team manager] Neil Banfield said that England wanted to borrow me. It was great. We played a few mini-matches at the end and I was in the same team as Wayne Rooney, Joe Cole and Micah Richards. I think I did quite well. John Terry spoke to me for a while, he asked me what position I play and we just had a little chat, which was great because he’s someone I look up to. I also spoke to Ashley Cole and Micah Richards, and the session lasted about an hour in all. I really enjoyed it.”
Connolly is another promising youngster who’s going from strength to strength with our reserves and this sort of experience will only do him good. I’m sure in World Cups to come Matthew will play an important part in the England setup.
Another of our reserve players had been shocked into playing with their nation: Denilson has been called up to the Brazil squad. He joins up with Dunga’s squad to replace our very own Gilberto who has withdrawn from the squad for personal reasons. This will another fantastic experience for one of our youngsters, he’s captained Brazil for the youth team but will be training along with the top Samba-Stars this week. Denilson is certainly another one for the future but hopefully this experience will send him back to Arsenal hungry and full of confidence.
Last year Arsenal traditionally played a 4-4-2 formation for league games and a 4-5-1 system in Europe. The two formations worked really well for the two different types of games and the 5-man midfield helped us out when the battle would be a little more physical. This season started off like that too but over the past few games we’ve consistently played 4-5-1. Thierry Henry has been talking about how he has to adapt to this new Arsenal style. Especially with the two signings of Rosicky and Baptista this 5-man midfield idea works especially well because we have midfield players who will get forward and easily support the 1 man up front. I think 4-5-1 is the way forward for Arsenal, the 4-4-2 meant we had a very straight midfield line but now we have a sort of diamond that can emerge in games and with our slick passing it suits our game very well.
The captain has also been saying that he will stay at Arsenal for the rest of his career. We kind of knew this in the summer when he signed his four-year deal and I could never see him playing anywhere else. It’s great that Thierry has committed himself to us and God knows where we would be without our record goal scorer. HE talks about how he would refuse an offer that came in for another club and feels we have made adequate additions to the squad this summer to challenge for silverware. He’s not been in top form at the moment and is due a goal, lets hope he hits a run of form soon.
Matty Flamini put in two good performances in last week against Everton and Liverpool and is looking for more regular football in Arsenal’s midfield. He’s is a player that I like and can definitely to a job for us, but he’s going to have a tough job fighting for a place against Diaby, Cesc, Baptista and Gilberto. I think his best hope is to prove himself when there are injuries and giver Wenger that problem of who to play. Exactly what he did on Sunday. Diaby is out until the new year and Baptista is back soon, I think he’s got a chance of fighting with Diaby but I don’t see him ever becoming a regular .He did a magnificent job at make-shift left back last season and has been a great servant to the clubs but I fear he might move away in search of more regular football. We’ll see how it goes but good luck to Matty.
That’ll be your lot for tonight. I’ve got to get an early night as I’m off into Islington in the morning for this university fair thing. I’m gonna wonder over to the Grove after which’ll give me a chance to have a quick look around the shop and take some snaps of the stadium. Have a good day people.
p.s. I almost forgot this :D
Arsenal 3-0 Liverpool – 12/11/06 – (Barclays Premiership) 13 November, 2006Posted by lasagnechef in Premiership.
Well Remembrance Sunday turned out to be a Sunday to remember. A stunning performance from the boys which saw us win comfortably, 3-0. Flamini and Almunia starting due to injuries to Rosicky and Lehmann. I had no idea Jens has picked up the flu so I was not expecting to see Alumni’s name being called out before the game. Poom was on the bench so I understood Jens must have an injury or something. In the week there was news that Manuel recovered from his injury at Everton, I didn’t report on it but how lucky we are that he did. The Flamster was in central midfield with Gilberto and Cesc and it worked beautifully. Van Persie and Hleb were the out on the wings in a 5-man midfield with Thierry up-front.
I wasn’t too worried about Almunia starting but I would’ve been more comfortable with Jens between the posts, anyway the Spaniard was rarely called upon thanks to some fabulous defending. Eboue was letting them get nowhere near the danger area, Gallas made some great tackles, Clichy made a fabulous run and nearly found himself one-one with the ‘keeper; Ashley who? And Kolo Toure, he had an amazing game. He was like a brick wall and was not letting anyone or anything pass.
The first half was a pretty open game that saw both sides having spells of possession, Arsenal started brighter though and had a goal disallowed (this time, rightly) after 2 minutes. Robin Van P had a great ball played over to him but it had an unlucky bounce and the only way he could control it before Reina taking it would be to use his ‘hand-of-God’. He punched it around Reina and slotted it in the net; the referee saw it and yellow carded the Dutchman. At the time I didn’t know what was wrong, I was the opposite side of the ground so I didn’t see the handball but I’m kind of glad the referee did because I don’t like to see us cheating like that.
It was the scoucers who came closest next, some clever play ended up in Dirk Kuyt having a go at lobbing Almunia, it looked pretty close but it settled into the roof of the goal. Then they has a goal disallowed, Kuyt crossed and Crouch headed but he was miles offside and to be honest, he was useless all game. Liverpool had the better play towards the end of the second half but never really looked as if they would score.
I thought we’d go in at half time 0-0 but thanks to some beautiful Arsenal football we managed to nick one before the break. Some good work from Hleb who played Fabregas into the box between two defenders who played a low cross into the danger area and it was Flamini who got the touch to make it ‘one nil to The Arsenal’. It was only Matty’s second ever Premiership goal and it really meant something to him against tough opposition, he ran into the crowd and of course he got a yellow card for it.
Liverpool looked to equalize early after the restart but Gerrard’s shot sailed over the bar not testing Almunia. Arsenal were loving it and looked in control of the game even this early and by such a small margin. However that was about to change: We soon doubled our lead in the 56th minute with a great goal from none other than King Kolo Toure. It was another fabulous move from Arsenal, Fabregas played a clever one-two with Henry and then found Van Persie who was a bit lucky when he got the ball caught under his feet but then played a beautiful ball through to Kolo who slotted the ball between Reina’s legs calmly like a striker, 2-0, and to be honest I thought that meant game over.
The third goal was as easy as they come, RVP played a corner into the six yard box and Gallas was there ready to head home, unmarked. Gerrard and Riise were left to argue afterwards as both had decided to mark Henry leaving Billy completely in the open. 3-0 done and dusted, good night Liverpool.
However there was still time for a Liverpool consolation goal but Bell(end)amy’s header from close range was ruled offside by the linesman. I’m not sure if he was actually offside or not but it was funny watching the scoucers celebrate a consolation goal whilst 3-0 down and then to have it disallowed :) Oh and we nearly made it four late on, Adebayor robbed Carragher and had only the goalie to beat. Manu tried to slot the ball between Reina’s legs but it didn’t work out. Anyway, 3-0 was enough, if it was still 0-0 at that stage and Adebayor had that chance then yes, it would’ve been a big talking point but he’ll learn from that mistake.
So it finished 3-0, a stunning performance from the Gunners. Beautiful football all over the park and we were well and truly deserved winners. Also the fans did well today, it was the record attendance at the Grove and a fantastic atmosphere, it makes such a difference for the players and I think it should be like that every week and not just for the bigger games. Hopefully we can continue this form over the next few weeks and catch up on the leaders; that win puts us in 3rd but we’re still 10 points behind United. It’s another international break this week and I hope that doesn’t ruin our form from this game and we can beat Newcastle comfortably next week. See you later.
Arsenal v Liverpool & Liverpool v Arsenal 11 November, 2006Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News, Cup Games, Premiership, Uncategorized.
Rafa Benitez’s men make the trip to North London tomorrow but the draw for the quarter finals of the Carling Cup were made today at it’s Liverpool at Anfieldhe’s got a few options to replace him, he says he’ll either play Zenden, Gerrard or Xabi in the centre. I hope we can put in a good performance tomorrow and I’ve got a sneaky feeling Henry might be dangerous, I predict a 1-1 draw but it could really go any way. It’ll be a great game though and I can’t wait for tomorrow. For those of you not going it’s on Sky Sports 1.
Our vice-captain, Gilberto Silva says it’s a must win game if we are serious about our title hopes. A few weeks ago we were catching up on the leaders but we’ve dropped back to 10 points behind Man Utd, ok we still have a game in hand but still that’d only narrow it down to 7 points if we won. We can’t afford to go further behind the leaders, we might not realistically be title contenders this season but we must be up there pressuring them all the way. This is what Gilberto had to say:
“If we want to fight for the title then we must win this game. This season we have dropped many points already, that is why we are so far from the leaders. But we know we want to fight for the title and that is why this is a crucial moment for us. I think it is much better, not easier, but better when we play against a team like Liverpool because they will not sit back just to defend. They will come out and want to play – they want to win. But, at the same time, we are confident for this game.”
I went to Arsenal v Liverpool at Highbury last year; we won 2-1 thanks to Gerrard back pass to Henry for an easy winner. Another 2-1 would do just nicely again tomorrow.
Gael Clichy has now fully recovered from his recent long-term injury and he has just started to play regular football for the first team this season. I expect him to start at left back tomorrow and I hope this season will be a good for him as the now, 1st choice left defender. If you don’t already know Ashley Cole fucked off to Chelsea in summer because we wouldn’t give him enough money and Gael is looking forward to filling his void:
“In the summer I saw the newspaper reports about Ashley possibly going to Chelsea and it is a shame that we have lost a good player and a friend. But I have to be honest and say that it is a big opportunity for me now that he has gone. I am up for it. I am here to progress every day and to be the number one left back at Arsenal and the French national team. I am giving 100 percent in training, but I have also learned, after all the troubles last season, to listen to my body and to take care. I feel that this could be my season.”
Hopefully Gael has some better luck with injuries this season and there’s no doubt the Frenchman can go on to be even better than Ashley ever was.
Alex Hleb has been talking about our incredibly bad luck in front of goal in the past few games. It’s been frustrating to watch and sometime I just found myself laughing about how stupid it was. Hopefully the late goal against Everton on Wednesday was the beginning of a new run of luck. This is what Alex said to the Daily Express:
“I don’t know what is happening to us. Maybe the answer is from somewhere up above. I know that we play this beautiful football and there should be no stopping us from scoring. I cannot answer why the goals are not going in. Maybe it is just fate. Of course it could be a problem for us if it keeps going, but nothing is really wrong. All we have to do is be more focused, more concentrated. We have to keep playing beautiful football – and once we are up there we have got to make the most of our chances. It’s not down to who scores them, whether it is the strikers, defenders or the midfielders, whoever. We create a lot of chances, who scores them – that’s not important, but we are not going to change.”
He’s right. I hope he’s right. We just need to keep our cool when finishing and not snatch at chances. Thierry Henry is probably our best finisher; he’s scored some incredible goals and is due a goal at the moment. I see the captain grabbing at least one goal against Liverpool.
The players have been talking about our style of play quite alot recently. It’s come under some criticism due to our lack of goals but in alot of their interviews they’ve been saying something along the lines of ‘we will not change our style of play’. Even Hleb said it in the quote above and Theo Walcott has been saying it too today. In the past other teams and fans have praised us for the way we play the game, it is beautiful but it does mean we have to score the perfect goal. Obviously our style isn’t going to just change like that because we’re not banging them in at the moment. This bad patch of form will pass soon and we’ll be back to out best. Hopefully starting tomorrow.
And finally, the Arsenal Ladies are through to the UEFA Women’s Cup Final after beating Brondby 5-2 on aggregate. I went to the game this afternoon; the Ladies play at Borehamwood’s stadium, which is just around the corner from me. IT was quite a good game and our most notable player was the no.11, Yankey. She was a bit like Walcott with fast runs down the wing cutting into the box. So they’re through to the European cup final and I’d be quite interested in going but I have no idea where or when it is. It was a good day out and for only three quid, a bargain.
Right, that’s yer lot for today. Off to the Grove tomorrow, match report to come soon. Thanks for reading.
Rosicky out for 10 days 10 November, 2006Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.
Tomas Rosicky has picked up a hamstring injury which will see him out of action for an estimated 10 days. He picked up the problem during training yesterday but thank god we’ve got back up that can play there. Van Persie or Walcott will almost certainly be filling the Czech’s boots on the wing so we’ll be alright there for Sunday’s clash with Liverpool. So now including Tom the injury list is now Ljungberg, Baptista, Lauren, Diaby and Rosicky, considerably shorter than it was a couple of weeks ago and all apart from Ralphy and Diaby will be back soon. It’s not great news for Arsenal, another injury to a first team player but we’ve got suitable back up so I’m not too worried, it could be worse.
There’s not alot of news today because Wenger called off his traditional Friday press conference for the first time ever. We haven’t heard from him since the infamous incident with Alan Pardew. He wont be happy with the medias reaction to what happened at Upton Park but he can’t ignore them forever. Personally I think he should’ve had the press conference today and he could’ve said he won’t be answering any questions on the events at the West Ham game. I’m sure Wenger not giving any news today will be the news tomorrow.
Wenger was clearly very irritated last weekend and Gilberto has told us it didn’t stop when everyone was back to the dressing room:
“There were no problems between Mr Wenger and the players because the problem didn’t involve the players, but the situation left us scared. We know the manager and we know that he is very polite and calm. Something very bad had happened to make him react like he did. After the game, Mr Wenger didn’t talk to anyone. As it wasn’t a problem involving the players, he decided not to discuss it with us.
I have seen it on TV many times and when West Ham scored, Pardew came to our bench to celebrate, but in an offensive way. That made Wenger react like he did, and that is why he had to talk to Pardew about that celebration. He was pissed off about the way Pardew celebrated and, as I said, that was the reason he reacted that way. As I saw it on TV, Pardew said some words that he, as a manager, should have thought about before saying. He should have showed a little more respect. Of course, he could celebrate the goal, but not in the offensive way he did. That is what made Wenger react.”
Hopefully we’ve over it now and we can concentrate on the next game but we can still use that defeat and the anger from it to inspire us to victory over Liverpool. Henry has said recently he plays best when he is angry and I’m sure this is true of alot of players, Arsene will be keen to get a good win under his belt, lets hope we deliver on Sunday.
Cesc Fabregas has recently signed a long-term deal to stay at Arsenal and he’s been speaking about how much he loves the club:
“I love the people here, all of the players and all of the staff. We play fantastic football under Arsene Wenger, football which I really think suits me. Everything I want is here at Arsenal. From my experiences in the Premier League, I would have to say that I could never play like that [defensively] because I am only really happy if we are winning games and playing good football, not being so happy to draw and play in such a negative way with 10 defenders. Teams just defend, defend and defend, they try to waste time, which I worry referees do not do enough about. I call it ‘anti-football’ — but we have to accept this happens and break teams down.”
Nice words from the young Spaniard and we’ll be looking for a big performance from him against Liverpool.
That’s about it for today; there’ll be another post before Sunday’s game, until then.
Everton 0-1 Arsenal – 08/11/06 – (Carling Cup) 8 November, 2006Posted by lasagnechef in Cup Games.
I managed to find a way to follow the game, I was listening to BBC Radio Merseyside online with two of the biggest idiots commentating. They were Everton fans obviously and didn’t stop moaning about having 10-men and tried to justify Andy Johnson’s diving: At one point they went something like: “Oh and err Andy Johnson stumbles over in the box, he did well there.” Anyway it was the only way I could follow the game so I was going to have to endure it. We started with a back four of Eboue, Djourou, Senderos and Traore; they had a fairly good game. A couple of slips but recovered after any mistake which was good. The midfield was Denilson, Flamini, Song and Walcott with Aliadiere sort of roaming about Everton’s half switching from winger to 2nd striker constantly with Adebayor playing the out and out striker role.
Flamini had an excellent game by the sounds of things and the scouce commentators gave the impression he was running things a bit in the centre of the park. We played a 4-1-4-1 formation which I think quite suited our youngsters; I mentioned somewhere (I think it was on the comments) that I’d like to see later this season Baptista playing the central striker with Henry having the freedom of playing anywhere in the oppositions half to keep the defenders busy. Aliadiere and Adebayor were playing this sort of game tonight and I hope Wenger uses this strategy alot more. Too much we see both strikers moving out to the wings and when a cross is swung in there is nobody in the box to try and get a touch on it. We need one rigid, physical striker who plays centrally and one quick, skilful one who can collect the ball anywhere and inflict damage. I think the ideal solution to this is Henry and The Beast but I think Wenger sees Baptista as a midfielder for Arsenal, I hope Arsene gives him the chance to play up front.
Early in the game Traore cleared from a corner but in doing so kicked Almunia in the face, Manuel recovered after treatment but it was a bit of a worrying tart to the game. We were handed an advantage by referee Graham Poll in the 19th minute when he sent off Everton’s James McFadden. It came from one of Andy Johnson’s many penalty appeals, he was dispossessed in the area by Djourou and of course Johnson fell over to try and get a spot-kick. McFadden obviously said something to Graham Poll after he waved away Johnson’s claims and was shown the straight red.
However Everton didn’t play like they had one less player and were attacking just as much as we were. Tim Howard and Manuel Almunia were on form and both pulled off some great saves in the 1st half. Just before the break both teams came close: Cahill shot from close range but it was never going to trouble Almunia at the pace it was hit but Everton had committed too many to the attack and Arsenal were on the counter attack with Walcott charging down the wing. Theo crossed it in for Adebayor who shot straight at Howard but it was very nearly a goal. Somehow it finished at half time 0-0.
Poom replaced Almunia at half time, he must’ve picked up a knock from Traore’s kick in the head earl in the game and Wenger was taking no chances giving The Poominator his full Arsenal debut. He was forced into action early as Andy Johnson unleashed a shot and Mart made a terrific diving save. The second half was just as open as the first and we may have been losing if it wasn’t for some great saves by Poom, I was a bit worried when he came on but he proved to be excellent between the post and kept Arsenal fighting.
As the half went on, our extra man was starting to show and a few more chances opened up for us but we couldn’t score once again. I was wondering if it was going to be another one of those days until Adebayor nicked the win with 5 minutes to go. Flamini delivered an excellent corner, which found Adebayor unmarked in the box; he leapt well and met the ball with a powerful downward header to give us the win. By the sounds of it our youngsters played well tonight, I was listening to some very bias commentary but I could still tell we were on top and from the little bits I heard on Sky Sports News I think we should be proud of the lads tonight. Flamini had a great game which is good, he’ll be trying to push his way into the first team, both ‘keepers made some fine saves too which will put the pressure on Lehmann to perform.
So our first team at home infront of 55,000 Gooners could only manage a draw with Everton, but our reserves managed to beat them at Goodison Park. Hmmm…We’re playing another load of scoucers next, Liverpool make the trip to Ashburton Grove on Sunday. They beat Birmingham tonight but Sissoko picked up a bad shoulder injury and will miss Sunday’s clash. Great news for us but good luck to him, it looked quite nasty on the replay. Thanks for reading, lots of piccies for you this time. see ya soon.
Everton v Arsenal tonight 8 November, 2006Posted by lasagnechef in Cup Games, Transfers.
There were alot of shocks in the Carling Cup last night: Charlton narrow beat Chesterfield on penalties, Watford lost to Newcastle in sudden death penalties, and it was Southend 1 Man Utd 0! Haha! Get in! Tonight it’s Birmingham v Liverpool, Chelsea v Aston Villa, Everton v Arsenal and Tottenham v Port Vale. The Arsenal game isn’t on TV tonight and you’ll be pretty lucky to find it on the radio, I guess it’ll have to be Sky Sports News then tonight.
I think the team will be pretty similar to the team that played West Brom; bearing on mind we’ve got the red scoucers on Sunday we won’t play our best players. Hopefully we win; I’d like us to do well in this competition. We haven’t been doing well recently but it’ll be a different looking side tonight full of hungry youngsters looking to impress. I think we are perfectly capable of beating them even though our 1st team drew with them at home.
Ugly mug Phil Neville has hit out at reports Everton played negative football last time round and insists the negativity came from Arsenal or something? Did he not see us non-stop attacking while his team we trying to time waste? Here’s what he said anyway:
“The only negativity about us after the Arsenal game came from within the Arsenal camp. I have played against teams before who put men behind the ball and play counter-attack football. You have to play that way if you want to get any joy playing at the Emirates Stadium. You can’t go out and play 4-2-4 and be gung-ho because Arsenal are a great team, a great passing team. They can pass great teams off the park so we had to make sure we gave them no space. Maybe a little bit more respect should have been paid to us.”
Whatever mate. Everton will field their strongest line-up tonight, as this is a competition no doubt on David Moyes’ wish list. If you find a way of following the game, either on some strange TV channel or on the radio, let us know on the comments, I will too if I find out how. Of course there’s Arsenal TV Online, but I don’t have that.
Not much news today, only a link with Pele. Match Report to follow, see you then
Post losing to West Ham 6 November, 2006Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News, Premiership, Transfers.
Yesterday should hopefully teach us a lesson and help us to be more critical in front of goal. Against Moscow we had so many chances not finished but CSKA missed an opportunity to punish us and grab a one-nil. West Ham have shown us what can happen if we don’t put the ball in the back of the net, a last minute goal to nick all the points. We are going to have sort this problem out very quickly seeing as our next Premiership opponents are Liverpool.
What I wrote after the game was literally right after the game. I drove home from the pub and sat straight down at the computer. At the time I was extremely frustrated and as you can probably see was unable to write a proper match report :) Today I can’t accept the loss and think about what we can learn from it. Gunnerblog likened it to the match at Old Trafford in 2003 with the infamous Van Nistelrooy and Keown incident etc. That season we went on the win the league impressively as unbeaten champions. There were fireworks at Upton Park on 5th November as there were on that 21st August 2003. Wenger and Pardew being separated will be highlighted by the media but nothing happened really, if Arsene had nutted the twat between the eyes then there would be obvious hype but nothing really happened. Spector and Van Persie were all over each over throughout the game and Sheringham and Fabregas (legend) were exchanging words afterwards before Henry took Teddy away and started hugging him for some reason…
After the match some have called for Henry to step down as captain. I have never really liked the idea of a striker being captain but I don’t think Henry should lose the armband. Alot of Gooners are calling for Kolo to be skipper, I think he’d make an excellent captain but he won’t be appointed until Henry has retired/left. If Titi approaches Arsene to say he feels the responsibility of the captaincy is hindering his performance in games then I’m sure Arsene would allow him to step down. But I for one am not calling for Henry to pass over the armband. After losing yesterday a small minority of people are saying Wenger should get the sack. That is just ridiculous, and if you’re one of those people you really need to look back at the last decade and what Arsene has done for us.
Thierry Henry has said that he is motivated by anger, whatever gets him up and running around playing the beautiful football again he should find it soon. Yesterday should’ve provided enough anger to last Thierry months so there’s no reason for him to put in a poor performance again Liverpool. He’s still upset about that last minute goal not given to him in Russia, I’m looking for a big performance from Titi on Sunday and we’ll need him at his best to beat Rafa’s men.
Loanee Anthony Stokes has been hitting the headlines recently as he’s banging in the goals on loan for Falkirk; he’s just scored two hatricks in two games. Amazing stuff, hopefully he can transfer that sort of form to Arsenal. His loan ends in January but obviously Falkirk don’t want him to leave. He was named Young Player of the Month in the SPL for October and has now scored 9 goals in 4 games; he’s the star of Scottish football at the moment. This is what Falkirk manager John Hughes has been saying about the possibility of keeping Stokes:
“I would love to keep Anthony here after Christmas and we have a fantastic relationship with Arsenal, but ultimately, they will call the shots. We have first option on him, but there are a few things which will have to be looked at and, first and foremost, we have to respect Arsenal’s wishes, as they might want to take him back. Anthony also has to want to stay up here and we have to hope nobody else is taking much notice in what he is doing for us. I would like to think he would want to stay at Falkirk, but it would be foolish for me to put all my eggs in one basket. All that matters is what Arsenal say.”
If he is doing well in Scotland and he is not needed down here then Arsene will extend the loan until the end of the season but I just hope that Stokes doesn’t want to make the move permanent. So many great young prospects go on loan from Arsenal and like it so much at their new club they decide to stay. Bendtner has been doing well at Birmingham and there’s noises coming from over there saying he might stay and just recently Kerrea Gilbert has said he’d prefer to stay at Cardiff:
“My heart is with Cardiff now and having been here for three months I really like the place and the people here. But we will see what happens at the end of the season. Cardiff and Arsenal will talk then, but playing in The Premiership with Cardiff does appeal to me.”
Gilbert is another excellent young player and it would be a great shame if he left Arsenal. These loanees that think the grass is greener and leave don’t realise that if they wait a few years they will be regulars in the Arsenal first team, one of the best teams in the world. But if they cannot wait they go to the likes of Cardiff, Norwich and Birmingham: Okay teams but nothing like Arsenal.
An Everton preview to come, until then.
West Ham 1-0 Arsenal – 05/11/06 – (Barclays Premiership) 5 November, 2006Posted by lasagnechef in Premiership.
For Fucks sake. Can’t believe what is happening to Arsenal at the moment, the past three games we just haven’t been able to score. Especially this game and the last we’ve had great chances to score but we’re just not putting it away. West Ham scored in the last minute of the game from some sloppy defending, apart from that our defence were great and made some excellent tackles. The only other mistake was Toure slipping and forcing another one-on-one on Lehmann who once again saved it. West Ham’s defence were good too, we couldn’t find a decent opening. The best chance was with Rosicky again who was set up beautifully by Henry but he was being closed down by two West Ham defenders and was forced to shoot outside of the box and of course, it went wide.
In the second half Hleb was denied a perfect penalty, some clever link up play with Henry but had his legs taken away in the box. A clear-cut penalty, I don’t see why the ref didn’t give it. Argh, I can’t talk about this game. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so angry over football. In Paris I was just sad and wondering what could’ve been, not angry. And I know this was just one game in the Premiership; but it was against West Ham, West Ham. They’ve been doing so crap this season but they beat us. I think we have the worst luck in the world, nothing goes our way.
The only time I thought we’d scored in the game was Toure’s long-range effort. The ball was played across to him and I knew exactly what he was going to do. It beat Robert Green and was swerving into the bottom corner but just went inches wide but I thought it’d gone in as it rippled the side netting. What a goal it would’ve been though. Toure’s been unleashing alot of these shots recently; I think it’s only a matter of time before he nets a screamer.
We didn’t play badly, for the last quarter of the game it was a bit dire but for the rest of it we played okay. Not as good as I thought we might, before the game I had a good feeling and I thought we’d play some great football and knock a few past West Ham. I just don’t understand why things aren’t going our way. It was such a frustrating game to watch and I’m sure there will be loads of talk about the fireworks between Wenger and Pardew but if I was Arsene, I’d have done exactly that, I don’t blame him one bit.
Next game is Everton away in the Carling cup, will we win? who knows… Bye
The Hammers are in for a hammering 4 November, 2006Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News, Premiership, Transfers, Uncategorized.
I can’t wait for tomorrow’s game, Sky Sports 1, 1pm. I think we will be angry from Wednesday’s inability to finish and will stick at least three past Alan Pardew’s struggling West Ham. I think we will perform well as we did in the week but hopefully we will learn from our mistakes in front of goal and put in an excellent performance; I’m expecting something along the lines of what happened at Reading. Wenger feels it wasn’t our system that stopped us from scoring, it was just bad luck and sometimes in football you get ‘one of those nights’. Adebayor is in the squad for tomorrow however Eboue will not be fit in time but is expected to be in the squad for the Carling Cup clash with Everton on Wednesday.
I see the team lining up the same as against CSKA Moscow with RVP switching between the wing and striker throughout the game. Van Persie has said he wants to improve his distribution game and has been getting a bit of stick for it especially from Thierry Henry. This is what Robin had to say:
“I have not set myself any objectives, but I have focused myself on improving my distribution and passing. I want to help my team-mates, I want them to trust me in every situation and know that I am there to help them on the pitch. It is important for a striker to work hard for the team – that can be through goals, assists or just being there for your colleagues.”
I think this is a part of Robin’s game that needs working on and he needs to learn to be a little less selfish in front of goal. It’s not a really bad problem; it’s just that sometimes there is a better option than the one he takes. However it is refreshing to see a player not passing the ball when there is a clear shot.
In the summer we were linked with Nigel Reo-Coker but Wenger says we did make a bid. Wenger is an admirer of the West Ham captain but didn’t go as far as to try and buy him:
“I like Reo-Coker but we never made a bid to West Ham for him. He has a good work rate, technique and power. He has physical power. In the middle of the park he uses that very well, he is very incisive and wins the ball. He did that against us last year.”
We were also linked with Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez before they signed for the London club on transfer deadline day. The two Argentineans signed from Corinthians somewhat controversially and were expected be a massive hit for the club and turn them into a side fighting for European places. However the Argentine internationals have been poor for the Hammers and were left out of the side’s win against Blackburn last weekend. I was one of the Gooners that wanted Arsene buy these players in the summer, not so much Tevez but more Mascherano, I’m so glad now that Arsene didn’t. I don’t know whether they are getting poor service at West Ham and the quality of the players around them are effecting them, or if they are just shit. I do not know.
Arsenal’s least favourite striker in the whole Premiership, Teddy Sheringham, might be playing tomorrow. He was successful at Spurs at Man Utd, which automatically makes him the most loathed player in the world. Also because he is a twat too. Anyway, he might be playing which I welcome, hopefully the old man will break his leg or something and it’ll be something more for the travelling Gooners to shout at.
Arsene Wenger has been having a go at FIFA over the new home-grown players rule. In a few years time FIFA are looking at making a rule of having at least 6 ‘home-grown’ players in a 16-man squad. Obviously this is a problem for Arsenal and our manager has been having his say:
“I am very unhappy because it is not linked to what I like. You must always say to a player: ‘You play because you are better.’ I have always done that in my life. This is not right. What can you tell a supporter who pays money to watch your team? ‘His first touch is not good, yes, we know. But he is English, what can you do?’ I would like to say: ‘Listen, is he English, South African, French or South American? He is a good football player’.”
“I would never like to feel as a player that somebody is better than me but sits on the bench just because he does not have the right passport. I am really concerned that when you love football, you cannot act this way. You have to be big enough and capable enough to tell a player: ‘You do not play because you are not good enough’. Elite sport is first about quality. I would not like to say that I paid £2 million for a player just because he has the right passport. At that level of money, you just have to be good enough to play and not be protected. That is what I fight for. I would prefer to say that you make £4 million per year as a player because you are good enough, rather than say I give you £2 million because I need you and you have the right passport. I do not find that right, and that is not respecting the fans who are paying £60 to watch a game. You are telling them ‘Yes, okay, he is not good enough. But we have to play him because he is from the right country’. We want to be an elite sport, well paid, and so we have to accept it is just down to quality, nothing else.”
I understand the reasoning behind FIFA’s new vision but it really is insane that we must play an English player because he is English when we have a much better Brazilian player now on the bench. It’s like saying at the World Cup You’re only allowed to select players from your own leagues. Brazil would be rubbish as most of their players play in Europe. It’s just mad. A home-grown player can be many things, I don’t 100% understand what makes a player ‘home-grown’. Apparently our French left back, Gael Clichy counts as ‘home-grown’ because he has been with us since a young age and has been living in the country for a long time. My readers have told me before who counts as a ‘home-grown’ player but I’m still not sure. Hopefully FIFA will re-think the rule anyway and we wont have to worry about it at all.
And finally, all-time France leading goal scorer Michael Platini thinks Thierry Henry did the wrong thing not going to Barcelona. Thierry signed a four year deal before the World Cup to stay at Arsenal instead of moving to Champions League winners, Barcelona. Platini thinks he made the wrong choice:
“I sincerely believe he made a mistake in not signing for Barcelona. I told him so and said the same to Barca president Joan Laporta. Henry would have grown a lot at Barcelona. Thierry Henry is a truly great player and is on the verge of over-taking me as a goal scorer for France. However, he hasn’t achieved the same category of other great stars. Why? Because he lacks playing in a great team and winning titles with his club like he has done with France, where he has been European and world champion.”
Titi has won plenty of silverware at Arsenal thank you and I’m sure he’ll win plenty more. Platini is a footballing legend but he is also a knob. Go away, Henry chose to stay at Arsenal because he loves the club and wants to help us move on to greater things.
That’s enough for today, have a good weekend.
Arsenal 0-0 CSKA Moscow – 01/11/06 – (Champions League) 3 November, 2006Posted by lasagnechef in Champions League.
What an extraordinary game. Chance after chance after chance and none of them would go in. it could have easily been 5-0, but luck was not on our side as we drew 0-0 to leave us in a bit of trouble in the group. People have said it was an amazing performance by Arsenal on Wednesday night but from where I was sitting, I didn’t see that. I don’t think we played badly at all, I just think we lacked that cutting edge and we found it hard to break them down at times. We had 23 shots and they had five, that’s tells you that it was a pretty one sided game and the game was just Arsenal attacking again and again. All we needed was just one chance to go in, just one.
Luck was against us and the ball just wouldn’t go in the net. We had about 5 good chances, by where I mean we should have scored. The best one was Henry making a good run down the touchline and then squared it to Rosicky about 2 yards out with an open goal gaping but somehow he managed to miss the target and play it straight back into the stranded ‘keepers arms. It really was distressing to watch and you couldn’t help but think it just wasn’t going to be our night.
Another great chance in the first half was from Cesc Fabregas, he got a clever ball played through to him and was one-on-one with the goalie, he side-footed the keeper and had an open goal to shoot at with a little bit of an angle but he only managed to hit the side-netting. There was someone waiting in the box, I think it was Henry, who Fabregas could’ve squared it to and they would’ve had an open goal to shoot into but instead Cesc went alone but couldn’t break the deadlock.
Those were our best two chances I think, they were both in the first half and both were open goals. They really should’ve been buried but it just wasn’t to be. The first half was the best for us I feel. At half time I was thinking we’re going to kick into gear when we come out and score early but it just never happened. We had a few open headers but nothing threatening to Moscow’s goal. It’s just one of those days in football where you do everything imaginable to score but nothing comes off. Some people in the crowd were trying their best to lift the team but as a whole I wasn’t impressed with the Gooners. In Wenger’s post match interview he said ‘the crowd were great’. No they weren’t, we weren’t shit but we were nowhere near ‘great’. I don’t know whether it was the frustration or the freezing temperatures or what. I had a good feeling going into the game and we did play quite well and create the chances but I just don’t understand why we couldn’t score.
Gilbertosilver from Gunnerblog rang me after the game to see what I thought and I was speechless. Even now I still can’t believe it was 0-0. To be fair we could have quite easily lost 1-0 thanks to a defensive error with left Lehmann to face a one-on-one. He managed to block the shot and then scrambled on it before it trickled over the line. I think it was Vagner-Love who made the shot, when he was running towards our goal I thought it was definitely a goal, well done Jens for making that save.
Thierry Henry also doesn’t understand why we didn’t win. He had this to say:
“We were looking at each other and wondering how we didn’t win. We had enough opportunities. At one point the Moscow centre back looked at me and said, ‘there is only one team on the pitch’. As the skipper, when I walked back into the dressing room I couldn’t say anything to the team. We had the right aggressivity, the right attitude and played good football. We created chances once again and did not put the ball in the back of the net. We had so many opportunities. Cesc had one, Robin had three and how the shot from Tomas did not go in, I still ask myself. But sometimes football is a bit weird. Nine times out of ten the ball from Tomas would go in but it was the 10th time and I am laughing about it because it is funny. I have been in a situation where I have been the guy who has missed a sitter and maybe he is going to be the guy who makes us win at West Ham on Sunday. It is difficult in a way to be too down about it because I think we had a tremendous game.”
Thierry’s right, we did everything as we should’ve but just nothing would work for us, at the end of the game we were just hoofing it up hoping someone would get on to it but I think we all knew it was going to end up 0-0. When the whistle went I swear I heard boos, I’m not sure but I think I did. I’m not sure what it was for but there was alot of angry and fustrated Gooners inside that stadium, I just hope I didn’t hear us booing the team.
After the game the Moscow fans were celebrating as if they’d won, I suppose they just couldn’t believe they’d kept a clean sheet and we delighted with the point. So we are now level with Porto with 7 points and Moscow top the group with 8, so we have no more room for slip ups. That’s enough on the match, it hurts talking about it, I just want to put it behind us and get on with the next game. See you later people.