Liverpool 4-1 Arsenal – 31/03/07 – (Premiership) 31 March, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Premiership.
Meh. Haven’t had a proper beating in a while. With a 3-0, 3-1 and a 6-2 already against the scoucers this season I didn’t really expect this sort of score. Gilberto and Aliadiere are injured so it was Baptista and Adebayor paired up top and a midfield of Hleb, Fabregas, Denilson and Diaby. It was a poor performance really, we just didn’t have any cutting edge and a lot of our play was cut out. Also quite a few times we got into a decent position but the poor touch of Baptista lost the chance.
We started poorly and were 1-0 down to a Peter Crouch goal in the 3rd minute. There was some clever play out on the wing and Crouch outstretched Toure to tuck in a low cross past Lehmann. Not a good start at all but I still thought we could come back from it. However half an hour later Crouch made it 2-0. Between his goals Lehmann had saved an overhead kick from him and Baptista had a side footed shot spooned well wide. The second goal was a typical Crouch goal. Liverpool took a free kick quick midway in our half was put out wide to Fabio Aurelio who whipped in a perfect cross for Crouch who had an easy header on the penalty spot. Two down now, I thought it might be over but there was still hope. Half time came and we looked a little better into he second half but we were still not good enough.
Agger’s header made it 3-0 to Liverpool on the hour mark. The game was definitely over now, the thought of leaving the pub crossed my mind but I thought I might as well wait it out. We were getting closer to scoring in the second half, Adebayor hit the post twice but Liverpool still had their chances. Gerrard should’ve scored but he made it comfortable for Lehmann to make the save. So 3 down now with half an hour to go. Pretty dire viewing, it’s never pretty seeing your team getting beaten so convincingly.
I thought it’d be nice if we got a goal but it had to happen the only fucking time I went to the toilet. I couldn’t wait any longer, I could still hear the TV outside and it sounded like there was another goal. I rushed out and to be honest I was disappointed we’d scored in a way. Can’t believe I missed it. Anyway it was Fabregas’ corner, Toure headed it on at the near post and Gallas fumbled it in. By no means a pretty goal but we’d scored. However just to rub it in Liverpool went and scored again 8 minutes later. Crouch completed his hat trick with not long left to go and all we could do was wait for the whistle.
Fair play to the Gooners’. It’s a long old trip up there but they sang their hearts out, made me proud to be an Arsenal fan despite the score. We’ve had some better memories up there this season but oh well. Now we drop to 4th but with a game in hand. Next up its West Ham at home, not as easy as you may think. Thanks for reading.
Not a lot going on round these parts lately 28 March, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News, Transfers.
As you’d expect in international week there’s absolutely nothing for me to talk about, and if there is it’s a load of crap. I better write something though so here you go.
Cesc Fabregas has said how he feels part of the Spain ‘family’ now. At 19 years of age it takes some talent to be an international regular, especially for a side like Spain. Cesc has proved at Arsenal week-in week-out that he can do the business and now he’s getting a lot more opportunities with his national side too.
We’ve been fined £100,000 for that Carling Cup Final brawl. Chelsea have been given the same punishment but don’t be surprised if in the next few days you hear a bit of, “Well he started it.” We’ve got a fortnight to appeal but I don’t think we will, admittedly things did get out of hand and the 100 grand is probably just.
We’ve been linked with Franck Ribery, Eric Abidal and Florent Malouda. Ribery has said he will decide on his future in the summer but wants to concentrate on qualifying for the Champions League with Marseille. Lyon left-back Abidal has turned down a new deal and could be on the way out, there’ll be some big names after him and with his £10m buy-out clause I don’t see us signing him. Malouda doesn’t really seem interested in moving away, he says he’s tempted but he just signed a contract until 2011 last summer and he’s not exactly looking for a new club.
Also, Gilberto Silva has been talking about a move away from Arsenal. He says he tempted by Juve but he’s committed to his Arsenal contract and it is up to us whether he stays or goes. I really don’t see Gilberto going anywhere fast to be honest. As far as I can tell he’s happy at Arsenal. However he is 30 now and you know Wenger will only do his 1 year deal extensions after his current contract runs out in 2009. I can imagine it’s quite frustrating for a player and last year we lost Robert Pires due to this.
Ok, that’s your lot I’m afraid. Have a nice day.
Internationals news – Adebayor considers quit 25 March, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.
Emmanuel Adebayor has said he’s thinking about his future with Togo after receiving death threats. Ade scored twice in the 3-1 win over Sierra Leone in the African Cup qualifiers. The night before the game he got death threats but went on and proved to be a vital player in the game. Obviously now Emmanuel must be a little worried but I don’t think he is too bothered, he’s going to have a think about his international future but I think his won, and his family’s, safety will come first. Here’s what he had to say:
“I am only trying to put certain things right and correct a few mistakes in Togolese football but it appears some people do not like it. Now I am going to go back to Arsenal to think about my future. I have to protect my life and I have a family to look after.”
Hopefully it all works out fine for Ade but he is in a bit of a dilemma now. He’s pretty much certain to start in next week’s crucial game at Anfield and he’ll need to get all these negative thoughts out of his head until then.
The only news about today is on the weeks internationals so I suppose I’ll just have to talk about that. There are no reported injuries so far which is a relief. Senderos got 90 minutes, and Djourou 45, in Switzerland’s 2-0 win over Jamaica. The euro 2008 co-hosts were going through a bad patch of form but this win gets them on the right track. Justin Hoyte came on as a sub in England U21’s game against Italy. It was the first ever game at the new Wembley and what a game it was. It featured the first hat trick at the new stadium and I think the quickest goal in both the new and old Wembley; and it top that all off it was done by the same guy. David Bentley became the first Englishman to score with his free kick. It ended 3-3 and it was quite a game that 55,700 witnessed.
Cesc Fabregas has said this season has not been good enough. We’re out of ever competition and with not winning anything last year either Cesc is not impressed. Here’s what Cesc said:
“To be so many points behind United is not good enough. It was so disappointing to go out of the Champions League to PSV Eindhoven. We had the chances to beat them. After reaching the final last year I thought we could go all the way again and win it this time. It’s hard to imagine that a few weeks ago we were still in all the competitions – the Champions League, FA Cup and through to the Carling Cup final. But now we are out of everything.”
This is exactly what was on the fans minds and I suppose it’s good that Cesc is on thinking the same thing. Obviously we’d like to have won something this year after last season’s disappointment but I’m pretty confident the Arsenal trophy cabinet will be filling up shortly. Next year I think the Carling Cup will be a possibility again, the Premiership I think we will put a lot more pressure on Chelsea and Man United if we’re not so unlucky with our injuries and the Champions League? Well that’s just all about luck at the end of the day.
That’s it for today, I’d just like to apologise for yesterday, writing exactly the same thing as everyone else did about Gallas. I really should pay more attention to news now. Hope you’re having a relaxing Sunday.
Gallas needs to learn to keep his mouth shut. 24 March, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.
I know he means well but it’s happened on more than one occasion were he’s criticized his team mates, staff, fans or the club in general. I know he means well and these outbursts might just be an extension of how much he cares about the club but really he’s got to know when enough is enough. Here’s what he said recently in an interview with L’Equipe magazine:
“It has been my most difficult season for a long time. The most difficult part was remaining unclear. If I had known from the beginning that I would need three months, I would have accepted it. But at first they told me it was a cramp, when in fact it was a strained muscle. Do I have something against the Arsenal medical staff? A little, yes, with the error in diagnosis. The doctors did then do their best for me to come back, but in the end my season has not been satisfying.
I knew the Arsenal team was young, but day after day I have come to understand they really miss experience. We made mistakes that experienced players would never do. When I left Chelsea I knew we would remain behind for at least one year. We play very, very good football, but that is not enough. We have to fight, and have a killer instinct in front of the goal. We can’t always rely on Thierry and the youngsters have to understand it. Our young players have to do more.”
I do get what William is saying; the medical staff got it all wrong with his injury. However the bit about the youngsters giving a little more is a bit harsh. Some players have come through this year and have been amazing for us; they’ve more than just filled in when needed but actually given Wenger some thinking to do in his selection. He is right about the final quality in front of goal and I bet it’s just as frustrating for the players as it is for the fans.
I really like Gallas and I really admire the passion he shows for the team. However sometimes this gets the worse of him in little quotes like this.
Earlier in the season we wondered whether we’d actually see Bendtner back in an Arsenal shirt again but with Wenger saying he will return and Steve Bruce expecting him to leave it seems he will be playing at Ashburton Grove next year. He’ll have to fight for a place though; I see him as behind Van Persie, Henry and Adebayor but who knows, a good run or some injuries and he’ll get a good chance to prove himself.
There really is no other news regarding Arsenal. I’ll speak to you next when there is, see ya.
Boring Boring Arsenal 23 March, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.
Argh don’t you just hate international week? There’s fuck all news about, so much so the last time I checked on Arsenal.com the headline was ‘Why not check out our squad profiles?’ I thought I better write something on here seeing as I haven’t for a couple of days. Suppose I’ll just have to talk about whatever news there is…
Apparently we’ve signed some kid called Gilles Sunu. The 16-year-old French Chateauroux Striker could sign for up to nearly £3m and it one of the biggest prospects in youth football.
Cesc Fabregas has said that Man United deserve to win the title. Ever since Abramovich joined everyone knew it would take a special effort to take the title away from Chelsea. Manchester United this year have been on top form and really, I agree with Cesc they deserve to take the Premiership away from Stamford Bridge. Chelsea haven’t been that great though this season, Tomas Rosicky has said they play boring football and he’s right. Also there’s been a bit of a fall out behind the scenes and that hasn’t helped matters on the pitch at all.
Abou Diaby has been called up to the France squad and I think he thoroughly deserves it, as does William Gallas. He’s done incredibly well this season for us, coming back from that terrible injury and still having an impact on the team at his young age. Whether or not he gets a cap or not for France is another question but it just shows you how well he’s done just to get the call up.
Finally Gilberto has been talking about his role in defence and how the team must stick together this time. He said he prefers it in midfield but if he is asked to he will oblige and fill in at the back.
Right, hopefully there’ll be a bit more news in the coming days, not injury news though. Have a good Friday night.
Theo Walcott becomes the third top striker out for the season with a shoulder injury that needs surgery. He had this problem a while ago and Wenger thought about having it sorted out but with Van Persie injured and (at the time) Henry struggling he thought it would be best to keep as many strikers available as possible. The 19 year old fell badly on his shoulder in Sunday’s game against Everton and now it’s been confirmed that he’ll be out until August.
Not only is it a shame but it’s also stuck us in a bit of unavailability for attacking options. Hopefully Van Persie will be back before the end of the season but I’m not expecting to see him play a lot more football this season. We’ve got Adebayor, Baptista and Aliadiere but if anything happens to one of them we’re right in trouble. Ljungberg’s played there before, Rosicky might be able to do a job as a deep forward and then we’re into the reserves. However you stick Toure anywhere on the pitch he will play his heart out and do a decent job; Lehmann’s replacement? Could well be.
So now we’re right down to the bare bones as far as strikers go but Wenger has said we don’t need to buy any more. It’s pretty bad times when you think about it but by the End of the transfer window we’ll have Henry, Van Persie, Adebayor, Bendtner, maybe Baptista, Aliadiere and Walcott so if someone was brought in there’d be a lot of competition for places.
Wenger has also been talking about our tropheyless season saying he’s building a young squad so we’re going to have to accept a little less silverware at the present. I completely understand Arsene and have total faith in what he’s doing. He said he’s as frustrated as the fans not winning stuff but he’s completely right saying we went 25 years without a trophy so why are we complaining about just two years. That’s all for today on an unusually busy international weekday. Thanks for reading.
Everton 1-0 Arsenal – 18/03/07 – (Barclays Premiership) 19 March, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Premiership.
How the fuck did we lose that? I tell you what we should’ve lost at Villa and won at Everton so I suppose it’s levelled itself out. It was a very quick start to the game, whenever the ball was won heads got down and there were quite a few decent attacks in the opening of the game.
We had Baptista and Aliadiere up front who were working well with the midfield doing some good passing moves. Diaby was superb again in my opinion; worked his socks off and did a brilliant job. Gallas also had a good game but his partner at the back Gilberto was having a shocker. Nearly gifted a goal to Andy Johnson but Lehmann recovered well diving and push the ball away from Johnson.
We were having more attacks than Everton but theirs looked more dangerous than ours. Every time they got forward into our half they looked confident and we looked shaky. Going forward we weren’t bad, but we lacked just that very final quality again.
I was very surprised that it was still 0-0 at half time; I expected us to be winning but in reality the home side could’ve been too. They’d hit the woodwork, had a decent penalty shout and tested Lehmann.
I was pretty confident that we’d win this one, the goal hadn’t come yet but I was certain it was on its way. However as the clock ticked by with the scores level I began to doubt it. We were coming to close to scoring, Aliadiere got on the end of a couple of runs but couldn’t quite steer the ball in.
When the board was put up for three minutes of extra time I thought to myself ‘Oh bollocks Arsenal you should have won this one, we’ll never catch up with Chelsea not taking three points at fucking Goodison Park. We’ll I suppose the one point will be okay oh hang on there a bit of dang…shit.’ Everton have to go and score don’t they. The cross was whipped in and there was a bit of a goalmouth scramble. In the end the ball laid off for Andy Johnson about 5 yards out and he just smashed it into the back of the net. A few players tried to throw their bodies in the way but it went straight through. Lehmann just missed it but he would’ve needed a very strong hand behind it to have stopped it from going in.
It was a crappy game to lose but in the end after I’d calmed down I thought it doesn’t really matter any more because we’re not exactly in the title race or anything. 3rd and 4th will be closely contested but at the end of the day there’s really not much difference between them. However I think we’ll finish above Liverpool anyway. We’ve got to play them next in two weeks time, next week is internationals. Woohoo…look forward to another week of fuck all news. See ya.
Aston Villa 0-1 Arsenal – 14/03/07 – (Barclays Premiership) 15 March, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.
Well on paper we’ve put a terrible period for Arsenal behind us. However, if you managed to watch the game we were absolutely terrible. Our makeshift back four were shocking and gave Villa countless chances. Lehmann was near by to cut out through-balls on a couple of occasions and really we were very lucky not to concede. On the other hand we should’ve got about three. Aliadiere missed two absolute sitters in the first half.
We took an early lead in the 10th minute. The goal goes down as Abou Diaby’s but it was it was only his wicked deflection that sent Baptista’s shot into the back of the net. Diaby had the ball out on the left wing and cut inside giving the ball to Baptista. Abou carried on his run into the area but The Beast found himself in space and had a shot, it was going well wide but luckily it hit Diaby on his way into the box and went in past the stranded Sorensen. 1-0 up in 10 minutes, you thought there might be something special on but if you were actually watching the game the goal suited it very well.
We had quite a few chances in the first half, not long after the goal Aliadiere got into the box well for a one-on-one but his low side-footed shot was saved well. Midway through the first half Villa had a decent penalty shout when Djourou brought down Carew. In the end the referee decided the challenge was just outside the area, the replay showed he was 100% correct. Djourou was rightly yellow-carded for the challenge but it could’ve been a lot worse.
The next best chance came just before half time when Ljungberg’s cross found Aliadiere unmarked 5 yards out. It was a nice move by Arsenal and Freddie whipped in a perfect cross from the right. Aliadiere was right in front of goal with no challenging defender, all he had to do was get it on target and it was a goal. Jeremie somehow managed to miss, heading the ball into the ground and over the bar. We should’ve gone in at half time 2-0 up with that chance but with the opportunities we’d gifted to Villa you might argue we were lucky to still be in the lead.
Villa came out looking much stronger in the second half and were piling the pressure on our terrible defence. We were quite lucky, most of the time it was a last second interception before a Villa striker was through on goal and Lehmann was called into action on a few occasions. We were terrible, truly awful. The Arsenal.com match report reads “Gallas and Gilberto had been immense all evening.” I’m not really sure which game they were watching.
Towards the end Aston Villa were committing players forward and we nearly caught them on the break but it wasn’t to be. There were more chances in the second 45 but nothing really like the first half and in the end we hung on for the 1-0 win.
There were some okay performances. Lehmann did his job I suppose even though he looked quite dodgy on occasion especially picking the ball out the air from crosses. Diaby was quite good; nothing special but he wasn’t too bad. Ljungberg was probably our overall man of the match, got around the pitch well and did his stuff. Rosicky looked threatening when he came on but was never really more than that.
As I said at the beginning, on paper this is a great result, on the television screen it was a completely different story. However, it’s 3 points, and that’s all I wanted. We will have players back for our next game against Everton on Sunday and Wenger will be looking for a much better performance at Goodison Park.
I’m going away again, there won’t be any updates on the site until Monday. I’m sure you’ll mange. See you next week.
Villa Preview: Rosicky’s back but many others are out 14 March, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News, Premiership.
Flamini, Hoyte and Rosicky all return for tonight’s trip to Birmingham but there are plenty of absentees. Henry we know is out for the season and Van Persie is a while away. To add to that there’s Hleb, Toure, Eboue, Adebayor and Clichy who are all either injured or suspended.
I think the back 5 will be Lehmann in goal, Hoyte at right back, Djourou and Gilberto in the middle and Gallas at left back. Then in midfield I would personally go for Rosicky on the left wing, Fabregas and Diaby/Denilson in the middle and then Ljungberg on the right. Up from we’ve got no other choice except Baptista and Aliadiere but they do quite well together.
It’s quite a makeshift side but I think it’s definitely one that should beat Aston Villa. If we seriously want that second place we’ve got to take all three points in these sort of games.
It’s not on TV. I’m not sure how I’m going to follow it. Hopefully it will be on the radio or I might try an internet stream. For those of you who have it it’s on Arsenal TV Online.
There’ll be a match report in the morning as always.
There was a little bit of news today. Wenger says he might look at ‘super, super class’ players. It’s unlike Wenger to go for big money, big name signings but he says he might be tempted in the summer. Here’s what he said:
“It will be maybe one or two – maximum. And then only super, super-class because we have what is needed. If someone is available I would always try to improve my team but the basis is inside the club. Of course it’s frustrating but as well it is promising because we are five to six years younger than everyone else. I know that people want ‘here and now’ – we live in a society of ‘here and now’ – but unfortunately unless we have massive amounts of money we have to be patient. And I feel we are not far away from the other teams.”
So what he’s really saying is there’ll be a couple of signings and then only players that are better than the current lot. However he then says we haven’t got a great deal to spend, so really he’s not targeting ‘super, super-class’ players at all.
The main target in the summer should be a ‘keeper, Lehmann looks like he’s leaving but he’s getting old anyway now. However, Wenger believes Jens will sign a new contract. As much as I like Lehmann, his best years are past him. Last season he was immense and this season too he’s made some great saves. Whether or the mad German is guarding our goal next season or not I don’t know, but I do think we need to start looking at the future.
Enjoy the game however you manage to watch it.
Time to get over it and focus on the rest of the season 13 March, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.
Right, the period of reflection is now officially over. Forget about the Champions League, forget about the FA Cup and the Carling Cup has been put to bed. Now we need to get down and concentrate on what we have got left, the Premiership. Ok we might not be looking at winning it but I agree with Cesc, our target now must be 2nd place. It’s going to be some task to overtake Chelsea but it is definitely do-able. The Russians still have Man United to play and are the visitors in the last game at Ashburton Grove this season.
The gap is currently 11 points. Say we win our game in hand and beat them at home, the gap would then stand at just 5 points; and in the 10 games left it’d be easy to catch up. The only tricky ties we have are Liverpool and them, we’ve also got Bolton, Newcastle and Pompey but I see those as easy 3 pointers now.
If I was Mourinho, I’d be worried. We’ve got nothing to lose. Also they’ve got Europe to concentrate on. I’m pretty exited about the season now, aren’t you?
There’s been a bit of talk that Henry has played his last game for Arsenal. I reckon it’s all bollocks. After the Champions League Final I was unsure where he was going, now I’m certain he’s staying for life. Well at least until he retires anyway. He won’t return to training until June earliest, hopefully this extended break will do him some benefit.
Tomorrow night we play Villa. There’s a fair bit of team news here but I’ll go into that tomorrow. However I will say we’re looking a little short on players. I’m going on holiday again the morning after the Villa game. I’ll have a preview tomorrow, a match report after the game, then nothing until Monday. Sorry. Thanks for reading.
There will be money to spend this summer 11 March, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.
If you do the rounds on the Arsenal blogs today you’ll notice there is absolutely no news going about. Usually I’d be sitting down to write a match report today but our next game’s not until Wednesday against Aston Villa. The only real news about today is about Arsene Wenger’s transfer budget this summer.
Managing director Keith Edelman has assured there will be money to spend come the transfer window. And there needs to be. Top of the shopping list will have to be a new ‘keeper. It’s more likely than not that Jens Lehmann will move on at the end of the season. We need to bring in a replacement whether Jens leaves or not; he’s getting on a bit now and I don’t see Almunia as the man to fill his shoes. Manuel to me is on of those ‘perfect no.2′ goalies.
Edelman has said our early Champions League exit will not effect Arsene’s transfer kitty. Here’s what he had to say:
“It will not affect the manager’s budget at all. It certainly will not mean it will be cut in any way. If we had gone all the way to the final it might have been increased, but the budget is set based on an exit from the first knock-out round. Arsene will have money he always knew he would have, regardless of the result against PSV Eindhoven. Of course it was a massive disappointment to everyone at Arsenal but it won’t affect the financial side of things.”
Obviously Wenger would never of had a massive load of money to spend in the Summer due to our stadium debt but still, if we’d gone further in Europe things might’ve looked a bit better. Players definitely need to be brought in this summer. I think at least two minimum but I expect there will be a few departures too.
I’ll think about a shopping list when the transfer window actually comes, however it’s weird we’re thinking about it now. The season is still on, bring on Villa…woo.
There’s also a bit of talk about the possibility of Arsenal having a white away kit next year. Connections in the Arsenal shop have said we will definitely be playing in white next year. Also I’ve heard it will be with ‘redcurrant’ trim like last years kit. Apparently it’s all to symbolise Herbert Chapman’s vision. Here’s a very quick photoshopping I did of what the new kit may look like. Arseblogger has had his say and I think we’re all with him. More on that another time but it does seem likely now.
What we’ve still got left to play for this season 10 March, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.
Well as I’m sure you’re far too well aware it hasn’t been a great couple of weeks for Arsenal and now we’re got a rare free-weekend to reflect. The only competition we’re left in now is the Premiership and I’m not even going to go into the possibility of us winning that. So it’s set to be the second season in a row without any silverware. However, take a look at Man United, they’ve been in a very similar situation recently and now look where they are.
Many Gooners are saying the season is over for Arsenal, and it probably is. However there are a few things worth hanging around for. We’ve still got the North London Derby and Chelsea’s visit to the Grove to come. Also it would be quite an achievement if we could go our first season at the new stadium unbeaten. It might’ve seemed like we lost on Wednesday night but the unbeaten record is still there. Chelsea are the main threat to stop that record on the last home game of the season.
I’ve become patient with Arsenal since the Champions League exit. I’ve come to terms that I can’t expect Arsenal to win everything, every season. The move to this incredible new stadium was always going to result in a few years of not so good seasons. Wenger prepared for this well, he knew he wouldn’t have much to spend in the transfer windows. Therefore he bought talented youngsters that would come through in these times. Denilson, Fabregas, Van Persie, Diaby and all those sort of players have been brought in at an earlier stage so signings weren’t needed in the future. Some players like Fabregas and Denilson were probably not predicted to blossom so quickly but they’re examples of how well Arsene and his scouts have done. I think it’ll be about another 2 or 3 years before we start getting decent transfer budgets to spend. However the team that’s coming through is mouth-watering.
The good thing about football is there’s always next season and the season after that etc etc. I suppose we should be looking forward to the 07/08 season now but as I say there’s still a lot of exiting things to go through in the remaining two months of this one.
Thierry Henry will have to look forward to August too as he’s been ruled out for the rest of the season. The long rest should do him good. His body is in a bad way and hopefully the 5 month break will give him time to recover. Whether he comes back as the old Thierry we used to know remains to be seen but there’ll be no more Titi for this season.
The same can be said for Robin Van Persie. He might return for the last few weeks of the season but I don’t think Wenger will rush him back. That means we’re without our two best strikers for the rest of the season. Adebayor is quality but as Gilbertosilver points out this will be a time for Baptista and Aliadiere to prove themselves.
More tomorrow, have a good weekend.
Arsenal 1-1 PSV – 07/03/07 – (Champions League) 8 March, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Cup Games.
So that’s it, the European dream is over for another season, and so is any other chance of silverware. Most players gave their all last night but it wasn’t enough and we went out 2-1 on aggregate. All day I had been confident and really up for it but when there was about an hour left until kick off I got really nervous again. It was announced that Henry was on the bench and it was obvious that he’s nowhere near fit. Gilbertosilver made a good point that he should’ve started and then subbed off if he was having problems. When he did come on he went down after a few minutes punching the floor. I don’t know whether that was picked up during the game or he carried it into it but he was certainly not in a good way.
We started with Toure at right back and Gilberto at centre back. Denilson partnered Cesc in the middle while the other Brazilian, Baptista was up front with Adebayor. It wasn’t a bad looking team but it was nowhere near our best. We would’ve battered PSV with a fit Henry, RVP and Rosicky. Toure was incredible down that right hand side, he’s one of the few that really cares about this team. If it was up to me I’d make him captain, or vice at least. Not saying that Gilberto is a bad captain, but I am saying Henry is, I’ve always thought that. Kolo is my new Arsenal favourite but it’s not as if he’s just begun playing with this passion.
Another player last night who seemed to give a damn was Gallas. He’s only just joined from the scum but whatever shirt he sticks on he’ll play his heart out for the team. I really admire his commitment and if he’d been here longer, he’d have a shout for the armband too.
The players were at it from the word go last night and were putting pressure on PSV. We needed a first half goal and the boys were really pushing for it. The whole first half we were by far the dominant team. I was surprised we weren’t one up at half time with the possession we had but we never really created enough clear-cut chances. There were no subs at half time and at this point I was sure Henry wasn’t fit.
A few minutes into the 2nd half, Henry was warming up on the sidelines as the need for a goal grew. However, it was while Arsenal’s top goalscorer was being readied we scored. Denilson’s corner cleared Gomez and went in off Alex. The Emirates erupted in jubilation and relief, we were back in the Champions League and it was fucking amazing! The PSV fans who’d been singing all game just shut up and watched. We had a handful of chances just after the goal to take the lead on aggregate but n=we couldn’t seem to find the back of the net. We needed that final quality and Wenger thought that would be provided in Thierry Henry…
He came on in the 66th minute for Baptista but you could see immediately he was nowhere near fit. Soon after that Henry was down on the floor, clearly in pain. We were still pushing for a second when we gave away a sloppy free kick with 7 minutes to go. The ball was whipped in and Alex made up for his own goal by heading past the stranded Lehmann. Game over, we needed 2 more which was never going to happen. Gomez was running around like a lunatic in front of me and injured himself doing so. What a twat.
The stadium started to empty, I was pissed off at those who left but I could understand them completely. I just slumped on the seat in front facing the inevitability. In one way I didn’t want us to score so we didn’t have that pressure of only needing one more. The Arsenal chants when the game was clearly over were beautiful, a similar thing happened in Paris. There weren’t many joining in but those who were sang their hearts out. I love Arsenal.
So that’s it for this season. 2nd place? Unlikely but it can be our target. Thanks for reading.
Just a quick one because I want to get down to the game early. I spoke yesterday about Henry being fit, fantastic news and Wenger’s been talking about how his inclusion in the side helps us. Also, Freddie’s been looking forward to the game and talking about coming so close last year inspires us to go further.
Arsene says confidence is on a high in the Arsenal camp and it needs to be. It’s not secret we’ve not been doing too well recently and we’ll need the players to believe in themselves tonight. Also he’s said we must take our chances and not faff around with the ball around the box and I agree. Sometimes we try to be too perfect, we need to score more sloppy goals. It’s not the Arsenal way but as long as we can get the ball in their net tonight I will be happy.
As far as the team goes it’ll be the best one available to Wenger. I reckon it’ll be Lehmann, Djourou, Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Ljungberg, Fabregas, Gilberto, Hleb, Henry and Adebayor. Maybe Walcott or Diaby will come in for Freddie but I expect Wenger will go with his experience tonight.
This week I’ve been pretty scared about the game I must admit but today I’ve just felt really up for it. I think we can do ’em tonight and remind the Gooners why they love Arsenal so much. I’m going to sing my heart out tonight, and we need everyone else behind the team too. I don’t care how many strange looks and ‘sidaaans’ I get; if you’re not here to support the team fuck off and watch it on tv.
Last night Liverpool got through against the holders, Barca. Watching the highlights gave me goosebumps and I admit, I was so jealous of them. I hope we can create anything near that atmosphere tonight and to join them in the next round.
Whatever way you’re following the game, will the boys on, pray and have confidence. If we go out tonight we’ve got nothing really left to play for so we have to give more than 100%. I just can’t wait which is why I’m going down to the Emirates now. A match report tomorrow. Enjoy the match.
Good news on Thierry Henry 6 March, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.
This week the main news has been whether or not our captain Thierry Henry would be fit for the vital 2nd leg against PSV. Titi has been on and off this season with injuries, the main problem is playing when not fit and aggravating the injury. He took an extended break to get over the injury this season and I thought him coming back meant he was ready and fit again. He went through some bad form last month and put it down to not being 100% fit. He’s had injections along the way to stop the pain but it hasn’t been helping.
I’d say if he’s not fit, don’t play him. However tomorrow’s game is so important we have to have our best players playing. That’s why today’s news that Henry is fit is a massive boost in confidence. This is what Arsene had to say:
“He can play. He trained this morning and he can start if I decide to start him. There is no risk for his health or medical problems. Just a risk that it gets a bit worse after the game and you have to start from scratch again. He did not practice for two weeks but he did a few gym sessions without running so I don’t think he missed too much.”
Hopefully Titi is actually fit this time. I have to say I’m pretty scared going into tomorrow’s game but a pairing of Henry and Adebayor up front will ease my nerves a great deal.
There was a bit of bad injury news today, Senderos has a tight hamstring and will miss the game. To be honest I’m not to bothered by the news, Big Phil’s going through a bad patch of form at the moment and the rest may do him some good. It’ll be Gallas, Toure, Clichy and Djourou at the back then tomorrow and that’s more than enough to halt the Eindhoven attack.
The only other bits of news is Gilberto talking about Dutch racism and news on Ade’s FA hearing. I’ll have your proper match preview tomorrow for what will be the most important game of our season so far.
Boring Boring Mondays… 5 March, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.
Absolutely fuck all going on this morning. I was going to do a piece on Alex Song’s impact at Charlton but I’m so knackered and can’t be arsed. I missed quite a bit of news last week and I was hoping there’d be a bit for me to talk about this week. We’ve got the vital Champions League tie against PSV on Wednesday but then at the weekend there’s no games for some reason. So apart from Europe it’s going to be pretty dull around here. Hopefully we’ll manage to turn things around against PSV otherwise things are looking pretty gloomy around Arsenal Football Club.
Gilberto has been trying to lift spirits by saying there is still the chance of success this season. Here’s what he had to say:
“We are very aware of what we are capable of doing. The rest of the season is in our hands and when you are in that situation it sounds good because we know we can control it. Everything is down to us. We just want to fight for the victories. It won’t be easy but we just have to do our job and play like we did against Reading. We must fight for every ball for 90 minutes or 95 if necessary. We were a bit down and frustrated recently because of the results. The performances have been good, but this win against Reading now helps us set up for a massive match against PSV. It is the biggest game of our season because if we lose the season will be over in terms of trophies.
We know that we can win against PSV because we played well there. It was only the result that was missing. They will have to change the style they played at home. I was surprised at the way they played there. We watched a few videos of them and they behaved completely different during those games. They sat back against us, waited for our mistake and they capitalised when we lost concentration. But we have 90 minutes to win the game so it is important to remain calm. We have to score when we create chances but we are going to have to be patient as well.”
If we play like we did against Reading we won’t progress in the Champions League. Gilberto hasn’t really told us a lot we don’t know there but you can’t blame him for trying to say something cheerful. I think that Adebayor, Eboue and Toure are all available in Europe, which makes things a bit better. It’s a must win game, if we don’t, well…our season’s over in my opinion. There will be a late decision on Henry’s fitness this week as Wenger decides who to partner with Ade. Honestly, I’d rather an 80% Henry than Baptista or Aliadiere but I’m expecting to see The Beast and Adebayor up front come Wednesday night. I’ll build up more to the game tomorrow.
Wenger has praised his team and is not bothered if we don’t win anything for the second year in a row. Also he talked about how his youngsters have improved so much this season and his pride in reaching the Carling Cup final.
Adebayor wants a new deal and says he’s not interested in anybody but Arsenal. More on that when I hear it.
Reading’s Dave Kitson reckons Denilson tried to break his leg. I really can’t imagine him doing something like that. Kitson thinks the Brazilian went in with intent to hurt him but my guess it was nothing more than Denilson’s passion and desperation to win the ball.
That’s about it for today folks. See ya.
Arsenal 2-1 Reading – 03/03/07 – (Barclays Premiership) 4 March, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Premiership.
In my week away I wasn’t able to get on a computer and check the news so I was completely unprepared going to the Emirates yesterday. Like I didn’t know Henry was injured, I didn’t know the clock end clock was up and Eboue’s got a three-match suspension. However I didn’t know we lost 1-0 to Blackburn; I managed to find a bar to watch it but I’m not going to go into that game…
So it was a strange team that started yesterday Gilberto at centre-back and Walcott up front mixed in with a makeshift team. The first half was absolute crap. Against Chelsea our reserves were amazing and I can’t think of any fan who was upset with the team’s performance. Against Blackburn it was a completely different story so I was hoping we could put that behind us by thrashing Reading. The only real chance of the half was Cesc’s sitter. Baptista drove into the box and Hahnemann had little choice but to close down The Beast. So he simply squared it to Fabregas for a simple tap in but somehow Cesc got the ball caught in his feet and the danger was cleared. There were a couple of other efforts in the first 45 but nothing really clinical. This very different Arsenal side were having troubles creating anything and were far from playing well.
The scores were still level at 0-0 when the players went in at half time, a score I was not expecting. They needed to kick into gear for the second half, anything less than a win against Reading at home is not acceptable. We came out better in the second half but still not really that good. 5 minutes in Fabregas had a long-range shot saved well but soon after that we were awarded a penalty. Clichy drove well into the box, I though he was going to shoot but he was tripped by Andre Bikey and Gilberto’s fine penalty beat Hahnemann. 1-0 up now and it was relief for the Gooners. It’s been a bad week so a win here was not only vital, but also important to put the negativity behind us.
The 2nd goal came 10 minutes later when Denilson found Baptista who, with a bit of luck, drove through the Reading defence and finished well. Baptista hadn’t had a great game and to be honest I was sure he’d manage to fuck up and lose the ball but he did well and it was a great goal. 2-0 and you’d think that was game over. A tiring Ljungberg and Walcott came off to be replaced Diaby and Aliadiere.
In the 78th minute Leroy Lita was clear on goal, I knew it was a goal and it’d be 2-1 but he managed to blow the chance by shooting right into the arms of Lehmann. 4 minutes from time Hleb was replaced by Senderos and just after the substitution Reading scored. They had a corner whipped in near their own fans and a couple of heads went for it but I think Cesc got the final touch and it went down as his own goal. The rest of the game was a bit scrappy as we hung on for the win but we did and now we’re just 1 point behind Liverpool with 2 games in hand.
It was a strange day out to Arsenal without having all the week’s build up, but I’m happy to be back and happy to see The Arsenal wining again. Have a good Sunday.