Villa Preview: Hleb and Clichy could be fit 30 November, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Premiership.
My last post was somewhat pessamistic, however I’m now feeling slightly better about tomorrow. This could be partly down to tthe fact that I know how I’m getting home to London from Birmingham, which was worrying. The reason I’m feeling better is down to a few things, once I understood that Flamini, Adebayor and Gallas would be back, I realised that we’d be a different team to the one that lost to Seville and we’re much stronger with these three guys.
The news got even better today when Wenger announced that Hleb and Clichy have been included in the squad. I’m not so worried about Clichy, I mean he’s done brilliantly, but I feel comfotable with Traore at left back. The possibility of Hleb playing though is fantastic news. He’s been great this season and seems a completely different player to the one I knew a few seasons ago.
It’s not clear whether Hleb or Clichy will play, Arsene’s going to make a late decision on those two. So here’s my guess at the team, one with those two included, and one without, depending on their fitness:
Sagna – Toure – Gallas (c) – Clichy
Hleb – Flamini – Diarra – Rosicky
Adebayor – Eduardo
Sagna – Toure – Gallas (c) – Traore
Eboue – Flamini – Diarra – Rosicky
Adebayor – Eduardo
I haven’t picket Walcott becasue Eboue did well for once the last game so I think he should have a chance. I prefer Theo as a sub anyway, that can come on to change things if needed.
I’m feeling confident now. I think we can win this and prove a point to start December well. I would take draw though, I’d have to admit. I’m really exited about this, my first away game since Tottenham. I’ve got to be in London early in the morning to catch my lift so I’ve got to go now. I’ll get a mtach report about my day soon.
Thanks for reading and enjoy the game.
I’m worried about Saturday… 29 November, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News, Premiership.
One loss and I’m a nervous wreck again. Seville was a game we could afford to lose and I even said before the game that it didn’t matter. Now I’m doubting us and thinking how badly we’re going to do over the winter. Aston Villa are in good form and we have to travel up to them on Saturday. I’m going to this one, haven’t been to many away games this season so when the opportunity came up I couldn’t say no. But now I’m scared.
We will also be without quite a few of our best players, in fact you could say that the missing Hleb, Fabregas and Van Persie have indeed been our best players this season. So yeah, Clichy, Fabregas, Hleb and Van Persie are all set to miss the game. Thankfully they’re all slight problems and we could see them all return in our next game, the ever optimistic Wenger even believes we could have one or two back for this game. But I doubt it.
So it looks like another mix and match squad and I have to say I’m slightly worried. If the performance is like the one in Seville, then we will be in trouble. We’ll have Gallas and Adebayor back though, they’ll help. Then I guess Traore will get another chance at left back. The midfield and attack could be anything…pick 6 names out out Gilberto, Diarra, Denilson, Rosicky, Walcott, Adebayor, Eboue, Flamini and Eduardo. Wenger’s gone with a 4-5-1 a few times recently but if it were up to me I’d go with 2 strikers of Eduardo and Ade with Walcott and Rosicky coming round the outside on the wings. Then Flamini and Diarra in the middle.
The creativity of Cesc will certainly be missed; maybe Denilson could attempt to fill his shoes? However, it’s not worth risking Fabregas in this one game if he has a problem with his hamstring, the player himself hopes he’ll be back. Hleb too will be missed and I don’t think we’ll see him for a couple of games yet; hopefully Rosicky can play his role.
I’ve got that nervous/exited feeling that you get with a Man United, Chelsea or Tottenham game. I’m looking forward to going, but hopefully it won’t be a long journey home after the first defeat of our season.
In other news, Arsene Wenger believes that Almunia is nearing a international call up for Spain. Le Boss has also been talking about when Carlos Vela eventually gets his passport.
I’ll write up a proper match report tomorrow. Hopefully there’s some good news about those injuries. Thanks for reading.
Sevilla 3-1 Arsenal – 27/11/07 – (Champions League) 28 November, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Champions League.
I’ve said with some wins this season you can tell exactly what I’m about to say just by reading the title. I’m afraid that’s the case here again. We were outplayed by the Spanish side and deserved to lose. It was out first goal we’d let in all season in Europe and we collapsed.
Fabregas started and for some reason we had Bendtner alone up front with Eduardo out on the wing. Denilson started too instead of Diarra, apart from that it was the team I expected. We started quite brightly, this mix-and-match team seemed to be working together well and we got an early goal through Eduardo. Eboue played a great back heel down the line which Bendtner got onto down on the right. He played in a great cross towards Eduardo in space. Instead of heading the ball for some reason he took it on the chest and with the goalkeeper and a defender scrambling for the ball Eddy did well to finish calmly in the corner.
1-0 up after 11 minutes and I thought we could be in with a chance of winning this, never mind losing. We were cruising and looked in complete control of the game; Eboue was doing well down the right. Bendtner was causing problems and we looked like scoring again.
Until Seville equalised in the 24th minute. It all started from our goal kick; Almunia cleared it deep but it was headed back towards our goal. Senderos was in space to control it but for some reason went for a half-arsed overhead kick which he was always going to slice. I don’t know what he thought he could achieve if he pulled it off anyway.
So that mistake from Philippe went straight to an opposition player who broke down the right. We were caught out at the back but when the low cross in, Gilberto managed to get there. However he pulled his clearance back instead of knocking it into touch. Gilberto gave the ball straight to Keita who blasted the ball in the top corner.
Once this goal went in we were shocked. We never really got in the game from now on. We were misplacing passes and we just generally didn’t look confident. Seville took advantage of this and pushed for their second.
10 minutes after their first, the home side got their second. Traore made a foul out on the wing in a dangerous position. Alves took the free kick and Fabiano made a good run to find himself a free header and now we were losing.
We were lucky not to let in any more before half time. We were begging for that whistle to go and we were just hoping Arsene would sort it out in the break and we’d come out stronger in the second 45.
The second half started much the same with Seville putting us under pressure. We had ambition though but we lacked that final quality. It was quite hard to watch us just get taken apart. They were simply better than us, something Arsenal fans haven’t seen in a while.
10 minutes into the second period Fabregas signalled to the bench that he needed to come off. He didn’t look in a bad way or anything but it wasn’t your typical Cesc Fabregas performance. He was replaced by Rosicky in the hope that Tomas could add something to help us find a goal. Cesc felt his hamstring pull tight, and came off as a precaution. Even though we were losing, we could still take him off as we’d already qualified and at the end of the day, the loss doesn’t matter.
Alves was a right nuisance down the right wing. When he wasn’t diving, he was causing us problems and sending in great crosses. Somehow we managed to deal with them but it wasn’t easy to watch.
In the 64th minute Seville were awarded a penalty. It was Alves again who crossed from the right but Senderos blocked it just inside the area. The referee pointed to the spot when it clearly hit Senderos’ chest. All night, Philippe had this bizarre tactic of holding his hands behind his back when defending. I know he’s just doing it to prevent giving away a handball, but it was weird. So when Senderos blocked that cross, his hand was behind his back and here was no way it struck his arm.
Chelsea have been getting into trouble this season for crowding round the referee. However, Toure and the rest of the Arsenal players questioned the ref in disbelief, surrounding him and calling for the linesman. I know this is wrong, but if this never happened the referee wouldn’t have changed his mind. Luckily we got away with it and the penalty was cancelled and it was a drop ball.
Sagna replaced Hoyte in the 66th minute and Theo Walcott came on for Eboue to try and change things. We were still trying to create stuff and trying to get forward but it was in vain. We couldn’t score however we tried and we just had to accept defeat.
Seville made sure of the win when they scored their third from the penalty spot. Kanoute was through but Sagna and Toure were charging back and all three tumbled over in the box. I don’t know whether it should’ve been a penalty or not, I don’t really care, but the ref was delighted to be able to award them another and he wasn’t going to change his mind on this one. The ex-Tottenham man converted it, 3-1 final score.
We lost, oh well. It’s not the end of the world, we’re through anyway. Would’ve been nice to come first but it doesn’t look that way now. Wenger was sent of in the second half demonstrating against the terrible officials. He wouldn’t leave though; he just hung around at the end of the tunnel about 3 yards from our bench. Fair play to him.
Eboue for the first time impressed me. He showed that he can actually do something and was quite useful for the majority of the game. However he more than made up for this with some stupid dives and moaning but at least I know he can do something for the team. Bendtner was also good; he won every ball and looked the biggest threat to Seville’s defence.
Senderos and Gilberto were not good though. Both are lacking first team football, but still, they did not look good at all. Senderos was shaky and I didn’t trust him one bit, he made so many silly mistakes and just looked like a clown in our back four. I’m dreading it when Toure goes away in January. Gilberto had a funny game, at times he looked disinterested, but at times he looked like he had a point to prove and was getting stuck into the game. He too made some sloppy errors and last night’s performance wont help him get back in the team.
Toure also thought the referee was bad. That’s twice in a row now we’ve had bad refereeing. Hopefully on Saturday we’ll get someone who knows what they’re doing.
Seville Preview 27 November, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Champions League.
A win tonight means we top the group and Wenger has said that’s what he’s aiming for. It’s not a full strength side that he’s sent to Spain and I’d be very pleased/surprised if we came away with all the points. Adebayor and Gallas have been omitted from the squad and Wenger explains why here. Other than those and the injured Clichy it’s a full strength squad. But it’s hard to tell what sort of team Arsene’s going to start with.
Bendtner is going to start. We know that, but who else? It could either be mixture of the non-regulars and more experienced players, or it could be a ‘Carling-Cup-ish’ side with a strong bench. Will Fabregas start? He was clearly missed at the weekend but will he get an extended break? Flamini and Gilberto are back in the squad after missing out the Wigan game with minor problems. I think Gilberto will get a start and Flamini will be on the bench.
Traore looks to come in for Clichy and Wenger could decide to rest Sagna too and give Hoyte a chance. With Walcott picking up a knock on Saturday I doubt he’ll start but no one really knows if that challenge has had any effect on him, so he could partner Bendtner.
Anyways, here’s my stab in the dark at the line-up:
Hoyte – Toure – Senderos – Traore
Eboue – Gilberto – Diarra – Rosicky
Bendtner – Eduardo
With Theo starting the last game I think it’s fair to give this opportunity to Da Silva. This will also be a chance for Senderos to prove himself before Toure goes away to the African Nations Cup. Diarra asked for games, so he should get given the chance, he’s done alright, but I still prefer Flamini at the moment. It’s up to Lassana if he wants to push for that first team place.
On the bench we’d have Fabregas, Sagna, Denilson and Walcott as more options. I really have no idea how Wenger’s going to approach this, we’ll have to wait and see tonight.
I’m guessing it’ll be a draw tonight but even that will be a tough test for this team. A win would be fantastic but I think tonight could be the night we lose our unbeaten run. No biggie, we’re through, the run is just a bit of fun.
Right I have loads of work to do so I better go. By the way it’s elstreegooner’s birthday today, maybe he’ll get off his lazy arse and actually write something for once. Match report tomorrow, until then.
Clichy injured and Ade + Captain Fantastic rested 26 November, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News, Champions League.
Just as our injury list cleared last week, surprise surprise there’s a load of names back on the list. The newest addition to that is Gale Clichy who picked up a knock against Wigan. Gael’s been fantastic this year and has been one of my favourite players in the squad. He’s been out of action before with serious injuries but this time it’s only I slight problem thank God. Here’s what Arsene said about him not being in the squad for Seville:
“Gael Clichy is injured. I would have taken Clichy but he has a thigh problem, however he should recover for the weekend.”
That’s good news, when I saw the headline of his injury I was worried. He should hopefully be back for the Villa game on Saturday.
Clichy, Gallas and Adebayor are all out of the squad for Seville, Willy and Emmanuel are being rested ahead of the up-coming busy schedule. Cesc Fabregas, Gilberto and Mathieu Flamini are all back in the squad but are not certain to start; it’s going to be a weakened side that plays our biggest rivals in our Champions League qualifiers. We’re already through to the knock-out stages so we can afford to slip up here, a win would secure our place as group leaders but that’s not really important.
Wenger says Bendtner will start; he did alright against Wigan so it’s fair enough. I’d guess at Eduardo partnering him. Walcott’s travelling too after being carried off on a stretcher a few days ago. I’ll look forward to the game tomorrow in the match preview.
Gallas will get a well earned rest tomorrow night but he will certainly be missed. Regular readers will know that I wasn’t exactly over the moon at Gallas’ appointment as captain at the beginning of the season. However, I was wrong. This is why I’m not the manager. He’s been incredible for us so far and has been an inspiration to everyone on the pitch. He fights right to the last minute, which can be proved with his two late goals against Man U and Wigan.
His attitude is fantastic. I’ve heard many stories about how he’s brought the squad together. Clichy told us that Gallas introduced the post-match huddle, he took the reserves out to see 50 Cent (shame, but still a nice gesture) and I’ve heard more than a few times that William encourages the squad to go out together and players are often found socialising together outside of the training ground.
Gallas has been great for Arsenal. I’ve been a bit harsh to him, but I’m sure even his biggest fans will say he’s said a lot of controversial stuff and it seems, for now, he’s learnt to keep his mouth shut. The vice-captain, Kolo Toure has been talking about our new leader, even likening him to Tony Adams and Patrick Vieira:
“William gives everything for the Club. Both on and off the pitch, William is a really good captain. He is loud in the dressing room and he has a big heart. Everything he says and does is for the team and the Club. That is the most important quality in a captain. William seems to enjoy the responsibility. He is a really mature player, he has played in a World Cup Final and he is 30. Age and experience really helps as a captain. He leads by example.
When Titi was here, he was outstanding. Patrick was strong and Tony as well. I have played under some fantastic captains and you just follow them. I think he deserves to be mentioned among those names as captain because he is such a strong figure. He has great maturity in a really young team so that’s so important. The young players, when he says something, they really listen to him because they respect him.”
Billy has really grown on me. I’ve always loved a player that gives his all but his ‘ex-Chelsea-ness’ and ‘outspoken-ness’ has been a turn off, but now I have to say I really like Big Willy. He loves the club too and you can tell that he really thrives with the responsibility.
I’m bored of writing now. Speak to you tomorrow about the Seville game.
Arsenal 2-0 Wigan – 24/11/07 – (Premier League) 25 November, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Premiership.
Another game, more goals in the last 10 minutes. It’s very consistent but very annoying for us Gooners! For 83 minutes Wigan held on at 0-0 and as always, I worried that we were going to slip up for us to score late on. With Man United incredibly losing to Bolton we needed the win to go three points clear with a game in hand. So yesterday was a really important win for us to put some distance between us and a Man United side that’s playing well.
We started with pretty much the side I thought, just with Walcott for Eduardo; I said it’d be a good opportunity for one of the two and it was Theo that got the nod. He looked hungry but altogether he didn’t look very effective. I mean he showed us a few times some good skill but he didn’t seem incredibly dangerous to me. Not a too bad game for him, better than other performances recently anyway.
The first half wasn’t the most exiting football game ever. We were by far on top, Wigan only had about two chances, the best being a free header in about the 25th minute in that went just over, Almunia had it covered. We had plenty of attacks but they were either long-range efforts that were way off target or scrambles in the box. I remember Adebayor having a good chance when he got a cute little ball squared to him. He did well to get to it but if his first-time-shot was just a bit more towards to post I think it would’ve gone in.
We showed potential to score but it was still 0-0 and that’s what counted. Half time.
The second half started the same, with us on top, but with more urgency. We were trying and trying but Wigan were hanging on to that clean sheet. This went on and on yet it took until there was 20 minutes to go before Wenger decided to make a change. Eduardo came on for Eboue who hadn’t impressed he again, he didn’t make that many mistakes as he usually does but he was completely anonymous and was certainly not helping. Eduardo added something to the attacking and we were getting closer to that goal.
The crowd’s frustration was not being helped by a terrible set of officials. The linesman on my side was shocking; he couldn’t keep up with fast tempo and was guessing at offsides, goal kicks and corners. At times I thought he was watching a different game, he was not good however, his performance was out-done by the referee himself.
He completely didn’t have a clue and had to control of the game. The players didn’t respect him so the situation got worse and worse. There was a bit of a brawl when Denilson received a terrible challenge, worthy of a red card, if not he would very luckily get away with a yellow. I believe the bloke who made the foul was ex-scum Michael Brown who was already on a yellow. It looked like he was just about to be is missed when the players clashed and right in front of the referee Heskey started shoving Gallas and pushing him in the face. I thought, great, they’ll be down to 9 men. But no, Brown got away with nothing (however it might not have been him that went in on Denilson) and both Heskey and Gallas got yellows. Crazy.
Then, with 10 minutes to go Heskey committed a terrible challenge on Walcott right in front of me on the right wing. Theo went down in a heap and it looked like his ankle went underneath him or something. After being let off a red card in the brawl I thought he’d have to be off now, but no. In fact, I don’t think the ref would’ve even noticed there was a foul if it wasn’t for packed stadium screaming. Anyway, Theo got stretchered off with his head in his hands and Bendtner came on. After Wenger says Theo will be alright, which is great news.
These two moments
spurred (no, I don’t like that word) drove us on, and it was William Gallas who came up with the vital goal, just as he did against United. Sagna played the cross from the right 7 minutes from time and Gallas had continued a run from deep. He got there first in front of Bramble at the near post and headed home. 1-0 to The Arsenal.
2 minutes later we secured victory with a Tomas Rosicky goal. We broke from our half with Bendtner. Tom was surging through the middle unmarked, as it was three against two. Nicklas played a great ball to him and all Rosicky had to do was take the touch and slot it in the far corner. A nice goal and that completed the win.
It took a while for the goals to come but you have to say it was a good win. Especially with United losing. These are the sort of games we’d have drawn last season and this is why we’re top. Next up it’s Seville, previews to come. Bye.
Wigan Preview: Selection Problems & Competition Winner 23 November, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News, competition, Premiership.
I cannot express enough how much I loathe fucking international breaks. Just as it looked like we had our full squad back available again we’ve got a load more injuries to deal with going into the busiest period of the season. Denilson, Diarra and Eduardo could get a start tomorrow as we have six players out of the game, Fabregas is suspended and Gilberto only comes back from his Brazil duties today which should make him miss the game. You never know though, he could offer himself fit to play but it’s up to Wenger. The others are Hleb who looks like he’ll be out for about 3 weeks, Flamini who’ll be out for a week, Diaby is also out for 3 weeks and Van Persie isn’t fit enough yet but we might see him next weekend.
Recently I’ve been talking about our wealth of midfielders but after one international break we’re down to slim pickings. It looks like it’ll be Denilson and Diarra, a ‘Carling Cup’ partnership in midfield. They’re still quality players though and thankfully we have this sort of talent available in depth. I’m sure those two will we right up for this and they’ll make the most of their chance. As I said, there is the possibility of Gilberto playing but I would guess at those other two starting.
Up front I was looking forward to seeing Van Persie back playing again but it’s going to have to be one of Walcott and Eduardo to partner Adebayor. Both did well on international duty and I really have no idea which one will get the nod. You could argue this is the sort of game that Theo would love to star in and we should give him the opportunity, however Eduardo put in a good performance against England on Wednesday and he could continue that form in the league.
In defence Senderos is back but he’ll only get a place on the bench. It’ll be the same back four that have done so well this season. Just thought I’d add what a signing Sagna is looking to be. He’s a great right back and he’s come in and looked a part of this team straight away.
So here’s my guess and a somewhat makeshift team:
Sagna – Toure – Gallas (c) – Clichy
Eboue – Diarra – Denilson – Rosicky
Adebayor – Eduardo
I’ve gone for Eduardo, don’t ask me why. Theo is a great option to have on the bench and I wouldn’t be surprised if he came on at some point.
As for the opposition, they’ve lost something like 7 in a row and have replaced Tottenham in the relegation zone. Their manager has been sacked who’ll be replaced by Birmingham’s Steve Bruce. The deal hasn’t been fully agreed yet so they’ll have a caretaker manager in charge of tomorrow’s game. Emile Heskey’s back and he always seems to score important goals against us. Toure will have to keep an eye on him.
Truthfully, I think we’ll win. We’re missing a few players and we’ll have to see how we get on without Fabregas but I think there’s still far too much talent in our team for the struggling Wigan and we should win comfortably. I can’t wait to get back down to The Grove tomorrow; it’s been far too long. I’ll get a match report up Saturday night or Sunday.
Entries for the t-shirt competition closed at midnight last night and I can reveal that the lucky winner was Paddy Kelly from Northern Ireland. Well done Paddy and enjoy the shirt. Thanks to everyone for entering and hopefully we’ll have some more competitions for you in the New Year.
Thanks for reading and enjoy the game.
Eduardo’s laughing & Hleb’s injured 22 November, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News, Internationals.
Well the top news story around here is England crashing out of the Euro 2008 qualifiers last night to Croatia. Being English I am disappointed but we were so terrible you can only laugh. Hopefully this setback will sort the team out and maybe we’ll realise we’re not as good as all the hype. The only play we had involved was Eduardo Da Silva who had a great game and provided a great assist for their 2nd.
He showed confidence, composure and skill and looked a very exiting prospect. He’s still taking his time to settle in at Arsenal, which is fair enough, but after last night we all know what he’s made of.
Spud’s clown Paul Robinson was dropped and not even on the bench and Carson came in who has looked good recently. However he had a shocking 1st half, the fist goal has to be completely his to blame I’m afraid. He made up for it with some great saves in the second half though. England went 2-0 down inside 15 minutes in a game which they had to at least draw; Israel handed England a massive life line by beating Russia but we were so crap we couldn’t complete our part of it.
Beckham cam on at half time and played well, he set up our second after Defoe won a penalty for our first. So we had somehow made it back to 2-2 and we were going to the Euro Championships. All we had to do was no concede. And we did. I could only laugh when the goal went in and I knew we’d completely blown it now.
Steve McLaren was sacked early this morning, not soon enough to be honest. Next Birmingham manager? I’ve never liked McLaren; he’s been crap from the start and played a major, major part in England not qualifying. Thank god the internationals are over now…
That’s the big news over here at the moment so I thought I better cover it, but the breaking news to Gooners is that Hleb picked up an injury when Belarus played Holland last night. He was taken off at half time with a knock but we’re not sure how bad it is. His manager said afterwards that he could be out for a couple of weeks but I’ve got no links for you or anything. I’m sure once he’s been examined at London Colney we’ll get some official news.
Hleb’s quite good at recovering from injuries so hopefully we’ll have him back for the busy winter. This does mean we’ve got quite a few players out for Saturday. Hleb, Flamini, Fabregas and possibly Diaby could all be out, but at the same time they could all be available, as we don’t know how bad their knocks over the internationals have been. Van Persie and Senderos are back in full training now, I don’t know if they’ll be 100% ready yet but I’m sure we’ll find out all the news in tomorrows press conference.
Today’s the last day to enter the t-shirt competition. Get your entries in before midnight and you could be in with a chance of winning. And please don’t enter twice, it’s easy to pick out the dirty cheaters that have and the duplicate entries have just been deleted so it’s fair and square. I’ll be announcing the winner tomorrow so stay tuned.
Injury no.1 and no.2 & ‘Invincibles’ talk 20 November, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News, Transfers.
I said the other day that we wouldn’t have to wait to long until we could expect an injury or two; and we now have a player that has started pretty much every game out. Mathieu Flamini, who earnt his full-France debut a few days ago coming on in the final minutes against Morocco, has now picked up a knock. The French coach didn’t reveal what the injury was but did hint that it wasn’t major.
It looks like now we will have both Flamini and Fabregas out for Saturday’s visit of Steve Bruce’s Wigan side. This could give opportunities to Gilberto and Diarra, but not Diaby. Apparently he’s picked up a problem away on international duty too. Luckily the news at the moment doesn’t sound too bad on theses players and at least they’ve both come in central midfield where we have surplus quality.
At the start of the season we were being written off by all the papers and the general feeling about the Henry-less Arsenal is that we’d lose out on our Champions League spot to Tottenham and fall into decline. However we’ve started the season rather well in case you haven’t noticed and we’ve held our position at top spot in the table since September with a game in hand.
It seems losing the character of Henry has in a way raised spirits at the club as the players have come together as a family and got stuck into this campaign. They’ve taken no notice of their age or lack of experience and hit back at their critics this summer. There’s a long piece here from a number of journalists talking about how Arsenal have transformed into the next generation of ‘The Invicibles’.
This re-branding of our young team can be quite distracting but I really don’t mind the ‘I’ word at the moment. It doesn’t seem to be distracting the players and I’m guessing their either taking nothing of it or just seeing it as a nice compliment. This table shows that at this point in the season in the 2003/04 unbeaten season we had won 9, drawn 3, scored 25 and conceded 10. This current season we’ve got a slightly better record scoring two more goals. However, in 2003 at this point we’d lost twice in Europe and were struggling in the League Cup; this year we’re unbeaten in all competitions and looking fantastic wherever we play.
I wasn’t expecting this year to be our year and I thought the best we could achieve was 3rd. I haven’t changed my mind but dominating the Premier League is great! I’m trying not to get carried away though to try and stop me being disappointed when/if we don’t win the league. I’m just taking it game by game just as the team are and it’s just a bonus being at the top. If we’re still top come the end of January then I might start dreaming of silverware.
The only other bit of news is from Justin Hoyte who says his intentions are to stay put. He’s been linked with a move in January but he says he wants to fight at Arsenal. He’s got Sagna, Eboue and Diarra as competition so I don’t think he’ll ever break into the team but he’s useful to have in reserve. To be honest, we’ll cope whether he stays or goes.
Thanks for reading.
News? There is none. 18 November, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News, Transfers, Uncategorized.
No update on the site in a couple of days. There’s been nothing to talk about. The internationals have been on and Scotland didn’t get through but England gave been given a final chance as Israel beat Russia. We need avoid defeat against Eduardo’s Croatia on Wednesday and we can even top the group if we win by two goals.
But that’s boring. We want Arsenal news but there isn’t really any. I suppose if there was any big stories they’d be about injuries. So maybe it’s a good thing? There’s still another round of matches to go, I’m sure someone will find a way to injure one of our players.
The top story today I suppose if from The People who report that Spurs want three of our players. I’d be very surprised if this story wasn’t just made up but I better talk about it anyway. They’re supposed to be interested in Diaby, Denilson and Traore to add to their squad. These are three youngsters that I rate very highly and I especially wouldn’t want Tottenham getting hold of them. Apparently we’d accept a £7m bid this summer for Diaby, and we probably would after Abou’s recent quotes; but not from Tottenham. The People also say that Sven is looking at Diaby to add to his new Manchester City side.
There’s news on Jens Lehmann‘s situation too. Mad Jens played 90 minutes for Germany this weekend and his manager has told him he needs first team football this season to play in Euro 2008. Lehmann says that he’s received bids from other clubs and believes he’s better than Almunia:
“I would like to be in the thoughts of my coach. You can boil it all down to one question: Is the other goalkeeper better than me? If not, why am I not playing? I’ve shown I can win matches and titles. Even if he is just as good as me, I should be playing. There have been concrete offers. There have been some calls. But it’s possible that I’ll stay at Arsenal.”
If Jens hadn’t reacted in the way he has over the last few months following his drop from the side, then he’d be back playing again in my opinion. By continuing to slag people off he’s only digging his hole deeper. Jens, shut up, we know you’re good, we know about all the things you’ve done for us, now just keep quiet and get on with it and you might get your place back.
The only other story was about Theo Walcott who won a penalty late in an England U21 game after a great run. He was unhappy about not being able to take the penalty and was shouting at people or something. Passion? Immaturity? Whatever. After another hilarious injury to Michael Owen for England there was a chance that Theo would get called up to the full squad, however that place has gone to fucking Darren Bent. Oh well.
Talk to you soon I guess. Don’t forget to enter this. See ya.
Friday Round-Up: Diarra wants to play 16 November, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News, Transfers, Uncategorized.
Not a great deal going on today, hence the late blog. I suppose the main story is that Lassie Diarra finds his situation at Arsenal ‘puzzling’. Here’s what he said:
“I am a midfielder. The French team coach recently used me on the right and I was pleased to play. But my position is in the midfield. If Willy (Sagnol) was here I would not be in the starting XI. Each time I join the French team it is a big pleasure. But it is true that my situation for my club is puzzling. But it will be sorted out soon. To be called again by Les Bleus I have to play for my club.
So that situation has to be settled quickly, I am not getting mad with that. I am patient. At Arsenal I don’t feel in competition with Bacary Sagna, as I am a midfielder. The midfielders are outstanding, but I work fine in training sessions and I am waiting for an opportunity.”
This is not the first time he’s reminded us that he’s reminded us that he’s a midfielder, not a right back. In fact it’s about the 100th time. I said the other day about how Diaby’s not happy with the lack of appearances he’s getting and it’s not helping that Diarra feels the same. He joined us from Chelsea because
Ashley wants his bum he wasn’t getting played at Chelsea and thought he might be able to get first team football at Arsenal. I don’t really know why he thought he’d come straight into our first team but fair play to him to have that self-confidence.
It’s good news that Lassana has said he’s ‘not getting mad’ and that he’s just going to wait until he gets the call. Like Diaby, he’s got a hell of a lot of potential and is certainly one we’ve got to keep. However, if I’m being honest, I think that Diarra might just be the bigger talent out of the two and Diaby might make that summer move he hinted.
There’s been a lot of talk about our lack of English players recently. I haven’t really spoken about it because it’s a load of crap. England’s lack of success has nothing to do with us, they’re just shit. In fact, there are quite a few players that we’ve brought up but they’ve moved on either because they’re not good enough for Arsenal or because they like to put mobile phones up their bums. Anyway, Arsene says we’ve got homegrown talent coming through. He also says he hopes England go through to the Euros.
Tomas Rosicky got linked with a move away from Arsenal the other day but these quotes assure he’s going nowhere.
That’s about it for today I’m afraid. Don’t forget to enter yesterday’s t-shirt competition! Thanks for reading.
New look & T-Shirt competition 15 November, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in competition, The Cannon News.
The more observant readers among you will have noticed that I’ve given the site a bit of a new look. Nothing major, just a bit of a change because I got a bit bored this morning. Hope you like it. You better ’cause I can’t be arsed to change it back.
Right, today’s a special day because not only have I re-designed the site, but I also have a competition for you to enter. The Cannon’s very first competition in fact. The awesome guys at arseshirts have given me a brilliant Adebayor t-shirt to give away to one lucky reader.
Emmanuel Adebayor recently knocked in Arsenal’s 1000th Premier League goal and it looked like he’s got his confidence back. What a great way to celebrate his success by giving away an Adebayor t-shirt!
If you don’t like the colours of the one above that’s fine, click here to see the other options arseshirts has to offer. Also, obviously I’ll get it in the right size for you too. If you’re the lucky winner I’ll get back to you on the email address you entered the competition with and you just let me know which one you want.
Right so here’s the question:
- How many goals did Emmanuel Adebayor score during his first season at Arsenal:
If you think you know the answer send it to adebayor[at]the-cannon.com, just replace the [at] with an @ sign, I’ve just written it like that so I don’t get loads of spam.
Get your entries in before midnight (English time) on the 22nd of November, so you’ve got a week to enter. And! Please include either ‘a’ ‘b’ or ‘c’ in your email subject to make it easier for me to see which ones are wrong.
Diaby considers leaving Arsenal 14 November, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News, Transfers.
Sad news really. I’m a big fan of Diaby (when he’s played in centre midfield), but we possibly have the best collection of centre midfielders in the world. Fabregas, well, I don’t need to tell you about him. Gilberto is excellent and the captain of Brazil but I believe that he’s nearer the end of his Arsenal career than the beginning. However there’s Denilson, Flamini and Diarra fighting for that second place in the first team also at a young age.
I think Diaby’s got the talent to be the best out of those three names above but I completely understand his concern. I think Diarra is the long-term option in the first team and Denilson will probably end up competing with Merida etc for a place in the future. But for now, it looks like it’s Flamini and Fabregas in the team with Diaby only getting chances out on the wing or in the Carling Cup.
Here’s what he said:
“This time I have not been called up by France and I do not play that much for Arsenal. I need playing time. I thought that I would continue after I scored but it did not happen. I remain patient and do not give up because I know that my chance will come. Arsenal’s team is doing well so I have to show patience and it will be unlocked then. I do not regret my choices. Those things happen.”
“The situation is like this today but it can change tomorrow. The players that are on the pitch are not automatically better than those who are on the bench, but they do their job very well. The season is long so I do not plan a move yet. Maybe later if it continues, but not in January.”
There are some positives and negatives from those quotes. At least he believes his chance will come and he’ll carry on trying. I thought it would be hard to find Vieira’s replacement but Wenger found the absolute duplicate. Hopefully he doesn’t move on but we’ll have to wait and see what happens in the summer.
In other news, Adebayor talks about how his lack of goals recently was effecting his confidence. This was very clear watching him play and as soon as he goal that goal in the second half of the Reading game you could immediately see the difference. Hopefully he can still find that form after this 2 week break.
Ashburton Grove is prepared for the risk of a terrorist attack. Which is nice to hear.
And Arsenal.com has a nice little piece about some of our most beautiful Premiership goals. We scored our 1,000 league goal on Monday night and they’ve picked out some of the best to bring back some happy memories.
That’s about it for today. Look out for a t-shirt competition coming in the next few days or so. Bye bye for now.
Reading 1-3 Arsenal – 12/11/07 – (Premier League) 13 November, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Premiership.
So we’re back at the top after that 3-1 win. We needed to win by two clear goals to overtake Man United and we did, but it should’ve been about 5. I guessed the team pretty much right, it was just Rosicky in for Eduardo who wasn’t even on the bench, not sure why that was. Hleb supported by Adebayor up top and Rosicky who returned from that slight injury to start on the left wing.
Reading started well and had us on the back foot in the opening couple of minutes but their spell of power didn’t last long. We won the ball just inside their half and Tomas Rosicky sent Adebayor clean through on goal. Ade slotted it to the ‘keeper’s left but the ball struck the post. An early indication that there were goals to come but it was unfortunate for Emmanuel who still couldn’t find the net.
After that good start, I thought we might have a game on our hands. However the home side’s tactics were not positive at all and decided to put 10 men behind the ball and defend, defend, defend. It was not pretty for the (very quiet) home fans but at least they were drawing with the league leaders.
Arsenal on the other hand we playing good football but found it hard to break the thick defence down. It looked like we were going to have to settle for 0-0 at half time but we grabbed the opener in the 44th minute. We showed some of our classic great counter-attacking football last night and the fist goal was a perfect example of this.
It all started from a Reading corner. Flamini started off the move passing it to Adebayor, he sent Hleb down the wing and he cut inside towards goal. Alex had a great chance test the goalie but Flamini had continued his run and Hleb unselfishly squared it. Mathieu was under pressure from a defender but he did well to finish it and we went it 1-0 up at the break. It was a wonderful example of the sort of football we can play and there was nothing Reading could do about it.
After a frustrating first half it seemed that goal gave us the confidence to break the home side down and the second 45 got off to a quick start. Adebayor had a good chance a few minutes in but he only had to wait a little while longer until he could celebrate his first Arsenal goal in far too long. It came in the 52nd minute of the game when we were passing the ball around in the area trying to find some space to shoot. In the end Fabregas picked out Ade who calmly and accurately curved the ball into the far bottom corner. It was a great goal from Ade and one he badly needed.
That goal instantly gave him the confidence boost he was looking for and should’ve got his second a few minutes after. I think it was Cesc who played him a great ball who sent him through and Ade completed another beautiful finish. However, the lino flagged for offside but the replay’s showed that, 1. Manu timed his run perfectly. And 2. That the lino wasn’t keeping up with the pace of the game and it appears he may have listened to a Reading sub warming up on the line rather than trusting his own judgement.
Anyway, it didn’t matter too much. If we were still at 0-0 then I would’ve been screaming and swearing at the television and kicking the pub furniture all over the place.
We were quite comfortable now and coming up with chances here and there without seeming to break sweat. We were far too good for Reading and their manager afterwards admitted we were a different class and ‘showed them a lesson in football’. We did the same last year; surely we don’t need to show them again? Oh well…
We made sure of the win in the 78th minute with Hleb making it 3-0 to The Arsenal. It was a great goal by Alex ‘George Best’ Hleb and I’m sure he won’t forget this one. The Belarusian seems to be getting better and better and looks a complete different player to the one I pretty much loathed a few seasons ago. Hleb picked up the ball just outside the box, skipped past a couple of players before performing a crafty little pull back in front of the ‘keeper then finishing past two defenders on the line. A fantastically skilful goal and one definitely worth looking up on YouTube.
The result was spoiled three minutes from the end when Shorey grabbed a consolation goal for the home side. There was a little bit of a mix up in defence. Almunia made a good save at him near post but unfortunately the ball came out to Shorey who had a simple tap in with Manuel still stranded on the floor. A real shame we let that one in but we still won by two clear goals so it didn’t matter.
I thought it was a good performance. Adebayor looked sharp and back on form, shame that’s ruined by the two-week international break. Hleb looked great also, lets hope he carries on getting better and better as he seems to be. Eboue once again frustrated me but I’m not going to go into that, there’s no point. Rosicky’s had better performances too but he looked bright at stages. One thing last night did show was that we still need a winger Arsene.
We now have a fully fit squad for our next game but we take another fucking international break now and I’m sure it’ll do it’s best to injure our players again. Should be quite a boring couple of weeks. Well, apart from Steve McLaren getting sacked.
Thanks for reading.
Reading Preview: Changes. 12 November, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Premiership.
The big news ahead of tonight’s game is that Wenger has said there will be changes. However that’s pretty much all he says and doesn’t really help any of us in predicting a team. It could a change from the first team, a change from the last line up (meaning a stronger side) or it could be a complete change around of the team. I dunno. All we know is there will be changes of some description; it’s just a question of changes from what?
Arsene did also mention that all 8 players he rested against Slavia are available again so that might mean he’s going for a stronger team. He also said that Senderos is back in full training and he’ll be joined by Van Persie soon. Phil is still a bit short to be included in tonight’s squad but at least he’s back now. Both players are expected to be ready for our next game after the internationals.
I’m guessing it’ll be a bit of a mix & match team tonight then. I’m guessing Fabregas will come back in along with Toure and Adebayor. In midfield Flamini could get an extended break or possible we’ll see one of Gilberto, Diarra or Diaby. There’s only one certainty, Almunia will start ahead of Lehmann.
Here’s my random guess at the team then:
Sagna – Toure – Gallas (c) – Clichy
Eboue – Fabregas- Flamini – Hleb
Adebayor – Eduardo
Eduardo has to take all the opportunities he can get and maybe this is his last chance before Van Persie comes back. The same goes for Eboue, haven’t been terribly impressed with him and as Rosicky will still be fragile I’d start Emmanuel and see how he gets on.
Team news for Reading is that Michael Duberry is a doubt. The defender will face a late decision of whether he’ll play. Also, Ibrahimo Sonko will kick Adebayor if he needs to according to these quotes in the Mirror. What fantastic tactics. Also, it appears Sonko and Sagna are long lost cousins and will meet for the first time today. How strange.
Anyways I’ve got to be off to work. Then it’s down the pub to watch the game tonight. We need to win as Man United have nicked our spot at the top. Hopefully it’s better than the last game. See ya.
Rijkaard: ‘Fabregas is perfect.’ Cesc: ‘No I’m not’ 11 November, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.
After Cesc’s trip to Barcelona in the week speculation about his move has started up again. I’ve just got used to it now, Fabregas is a special talent and one of the planets greatest prospects so he’s bound to be linked in big moves. It’s pretty well know that Barcelona want Cesc back and manager Frank Rijkaard was asked about him this week:
“It’s one player that stands out most in the football world because of his enormous talent. At his age what he is doing at Arsenal is something impressive. It should be bared in mind that it has become the real leader Arsenal. I do not go searching for any defects in people, but the truth is you do not encounter any.”
He’s right. Last season you could’ve said he doesn’t score enough but he’s righted that wrong very well this year. He’s also great defensively and goes for every ball. However his main aspect is that he controls the game and dictates the play. The only department he is lacking in is his goalkeeping but that can be worked on.
Cesc has recently come out with these comments though saying he wont be a top player until he’s won trophies. These quotes are in response to Alex Ferguson who recently hit out at him saying that he’s not a world class player because he hasn’t won anything. He was a part of that 2005 FA Cup winning squad but that’s about it. Hopefully it’s not too long until he has a few more medals though.
The only other news is that Almunia wont let Lehmann’s comments distract him.
I’ll write up a Reading preview tomorrow morning. Until then.
Period of silence before Reading v Arsenal 9 November, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News, Champions League, Transfers.
No I’m not talking about this. As our game isn’t until Monday we’re going through a bit of a dull period of news. The only stories of any interest is all reaction to Wednesday’s uninteresting game…
Gallas has been talking about qualifying from our group. He said it was just important to get at least a draw and the boring match doesn’t matter. Here’s what he’s said:
“The most important thing was to qualify. It was not easy, we played against a strong team and it was very difficult for us to play how we play normally but the more important thing was to qualify. I told them before the game to be careful, because it would be a difficult match. We won 7-0 at home, so we knew they were going to defend and have a big match in front of their own fans. I told them to be ready for the fight and they did the job very well.
He went on to say we’re “very happy” with qualification but it’s not over yet and Seville will be looking to beat us at home which is a difficult place to go in Europe. At the end of the day however boring and uninspiring that 0-0 was, we got through to the next round and that was our task on Wednesday night.
Gael Clichy thinks that the squad rotation was a good idea.
However the biggest story is about Gilberto Silva. There has been alot of talk about him recently with his lack of first team opportunities. The media have been suggesting he’ll be off in January and there’s been a rift between him and the manager. However the Brazil captain has rubbished these claims with these quotes from after Wednesday’s game:
“It’s not true, if I have said something to Arsène it would never come out in the papers. I would go to him and speak to him face-to-face; we have great respect for each other. The only thing I can say is this is not true. Everyone knows I’m not 100 per cent happy to be on the bench, that’s normal. But I’m being professional and doing my job. I respect everybody in the squad, I respect him and I respect his decision. It’s the only thing I can do. I am not thinking about leaving now. I’ve said that I’m happy at the Club. Of course my situation is not very comfortable on the bench. But I’m still not thinking about leaving the Club. I prefer to think that I have the condition to get back in the team. I will do my job, do my best to achieve that. This is what I have in mind.”
“I don’t know [if I will extend my contract]. That’s not just down to me. It would be great if I could extend my contract with the Club and finish my career here. But I need to see if the Club has the same feeling and it wants the same thing as I want.”
This is great news and has taken a weight off my Mind. I was worried tat He’d be off in a couple of months and I was pretty much sure that he would. But this latest news is great. It’s fair enough he’s not happy on the bench, that’s understandable. However he’s taken it much better than Jens Lehmann and I think there’s is a little dig at Jens in this. This is the proper way to react and I hope the Brazilian can fight his way back into the side. He might get another start on Monday night as Wenger’s said he’s going to change the side around again. Gilberto could get a few games over the winter and I’m sure he’ll make the most of them.
And finally, Cesc Fabregas and Alex Hleb used their day-off to go and watch ex-team mate Thierry Henry’s Barca beat Rangers 2-0 at the Nou Camp in which Henry scored the opening goal. With Cesc being in Barcelona the Spanish press revived stories of his move to the Spanish club. This was brought up in today’s press conference and here’s what Arsene said:
Wenger: “This is no story. Fabregas is under contract with us. If Barcelona want to buy any player under contract then I’ll give them my phone number. But I think they have it because they just bought Thierry Henry.”
Journalist: “Still would you be open to an offer?”
Wenger: “No chance.”
Have a good weekend people.
Slavia Prague 0-0 Arsenal – 07/11/07 – (Champions League) 8 November, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News, Champions League.
Well there comes a time in some games when you really cant
be bothered to write anything about a game. 0-0′s can sometimes be quite exiting but this was not an example of this. From 7-0 to 0-0. Anyway the point was enough to see us through to the knockout stages and that’s that.
It was a somewhat ‘Carling Cup side’. Only Almunia, Clichy and Gallas started last night and our last game against Man United. The rest of the team was made up of Song in defence, Diarra at right back, Walcott, Gilberto, Denilson, Diaby in midfield and Eduardo and Bendtner upfront. It wasn’t a bad side but it did seem quite mix and match.
Slavia must have felt a bit embarrassed by the 7-0 defeat and set out to stop it happening again. It’s fair to say they went for the 0-0 but they had some decent chances forcing Almunia into action a few times. Lehmann, watching from the bench must’ve felt that he’s going to have to work hard to get those gloves back on and playing again. I think I’d have to say Almunia was man of the match. I don’t know who else it could possibly go to?
Walcott looked far from the player we saw against Slavia at home. In fact the whole attacking half didn’t look very creative. Adebayor came on late in the game and had a decent chance with a header about 5 minutes from the end. Apart from that we created nothing decent. I can’t be angry with the players and say the performance was bad, it just wasn’t that good. I like Jeff Stelling’s comment, sums it up nicely:
“Even the most beautiful women don’t always look their best.”
We go into a busy period of matches soon and a lot of these players will be hoping to get a game during this time. Hopefully we’ll see something better from them if they do get selected.
Just a final thought. Is this how we play when Francesc Fabregas isn’t around? Hmm.
If you want a proper match report, here you go. Just don’t fall asleep reading it. See ya.
Slavia Prague Preview: Squad Rotation 6 November, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Champions League.
Well don’t expect anything like the last score line. Prague will be just a bit embarrassed about the 7-0 thrashing and will be looking to put things right in front of their own fans. I still think we’ve got too much for them to beat us though. However, we’ve left England with a squad missing 4 of our best players: Fabregas, Hleb, Rosicky and Toure have been rested. Cesc and Alex have been left out purely to give them a break but Kolo and Tomas picked up slight knocks against Manchester United and have been left out as a precaution. Toure will definitely be back for Reading but Arsene cant be 100% on Rosicky’s fitness.
That means there’s the opportunity of a possible start fro Gilberto, Diarra, Diaby, Denilson or Walcott. Theo was a star when he started against them at home and I think he’ll get another chance tomorrow night. At centre back we have the option of Gilberto, Song or Hoyte. There was those rumours that Gilberto Silva has refused to play in defence and if they’re true then I think Wenger will prefer Song to Justin Hoyte who has been linked with a January move to Everton. However I’m expecting to see Gilberto start alongside Gallas at the back.
On the wings I’m guessing it’ll be Eboue and either Walcott or Diaby, depending on whether Theo’s getting another chance as a striker or whether he’ll be out on the wing again. Personally I’d give him another chance up top, possibly with Eduardo by his side. Ade has played a lot this season and he could probably do with a rest too.
So here’s this week’s completely wrong guess at the team…
Sagna – Gilberto – Gallas (c) – Clichy
Eboue – Diarra – Flamini – Diaby
Walcott – Eduardo
That’s what I’d go for anyway with the squad that Arsene’s chosen. That should be enough to cause Slavia problems. Although they will be looking for revenge I really don’t think they’ll cause an upset. A draw is enough to see us through to the knockout stages, and I’d be surprised if we don’t achieve that tomorrow night.
We’re live on…erm…Sky One. Yeah. Presented by Noel Edmunds and Dr Zoidberg from Futurama. No idea what the score will be, but whatever happens I’ll be here with a match report on Thursday. Until then.
Arsenal 2-2 Manchester United – 03/11/07 – (Premier League) 5 November, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Premiership.
Sorry about the lateness of this report. Simply haven’t had time to do it. I’m sure you’ve all read about the game enough times by now, but what a game it was, so you’re still getting a match report.
We started with Eboue on the right and Hleb in the centre. It was probably the best option to go for but Adebayor was left too isolated and after the game Wenger admitted it was a bad choice and that we missed the 4-4-2 option with Van Persie.
I thought the game would start with both teams being very cautious and it would take a while for it to get going. However the game got straight into action from the whistle, both sides were getting decent possession of the ball and creating things.
In the first half an hour I think I can say we had the upper hand; we were playing decent football and the visitors looked worried. However, United looked dangerous themselves and their counter attacks had me scared.
Possibly our best chance came from a free kick out on the right in the 36th minute. Fabregas was getting ready to take when Gallas came over to have a quick tactical word. The captain then took up position in the box and started his run he’d discussed with Cesc. William lost his man and ended up at the near post, Fabregas played the perfect ball in and Gallas got good contact. However Van der Sar got to it with his legs and it looked more and more likely that it would finish at half time level at 0-0.
However Wayne Rooney made all the visiting fans go into the break with a big grim on their faces. Ronaldo got down the right wing well and played a low ball toward the near post. Rooney made the run away from goal and got the ball before Gallas and managed to divert it into the net. Bill was sliding in for the challenge and I think his touch took it away from Almunia as it’s gone down officially as an own goal.
At half time I wasn’t in the best of moods. I couldn’t believe we were 1-0 down. A few minutes ago I was thinking that we’ll score and win in the second half, but now we were losing. After I’d come to terms with going a goal down I realised we’re more than capable of getting more than a goal back in the next 45 minutes.
In fact it only took us three minutes to get the equaliser, and it was Cesc Fabregas again who came up with the goal in the 48th minute. Eboue started off the move feeding Adebayor a good ball whose shot was blocked by Van der Sar who rushed out to collect. It looked like the ball was going out but Sagna hadn’t given up on chasing it and got there first. He found Fabregas unmarked in the box with a ‘keeper-less goalmouth starting at him. Credit has to go to Cesc for his composure and accuracy. He took a touch and then placed it right in the corner leaving the defenders on the line hopeless.
1-1 and the place went wild. The
fans from Manchester visiting fans shut up and the atmosphere was incredible. We were right back in this now, Man U looked dodgy after conceding and we were looking to exploit it. The visitors soon got back into gear and this is where the game truly began…
The second half was amazing. Both teams were playing football that perfectly displayed why these two teams are 1st and 2nd in the Premiership. It was end-to-end stuff and great football in between. Both sides were also getting decent chances in front of goal and you just knew there was another goal in this game.
Time ticked on and it looked like it was going to end one goal each, unless someone got a winner late on…
And it looked like Manchester United had done it. With seven minutes left on the clock Cuntiano Ronaldo got United’s second. Saha picked out Evra who made a great run down the left, which we couldn’t defend. Almunia decided to come out to face him which proved the wrong decision as the ball was squared to Ronaldo who finished into the empty net. They went mad as they thought they’d found a crucial winner. I just held my head in my hands and faced defeat.
I thought we’d lost. I didn’t think we’d be able to get past a Man Utd side that was going to defend and time waste the rest of the game. My misery was intensified when 1. Evra’s sliced clearance looped towards goal but hit the crossbar and went over. And 2. when Eduardo was gifted a chance at the far post but decided to put his foot through it and he smashed it high and wide. I shouted many expletives to Eddy at this point and I’d just like to say I’m sorry and I didn’t mean it, I was just upset because I thought we were going to lose. Sorry Eddy.
The board went up for injury time and I prayed for a winner. There must’ve been millions of Gooners around the world begging for a late equaliser and our prayers were answered. William Gallas came up with the goal in a goalmouth scramble. Walcott shot right at the ‘keeper from 3 yards out and if Gallas hadn’t converted the re-bound then I think it’s fair to say I would’ve run on the pitch and slapped young Theo. However Big Willy was on hand and shot well from a tight angle. The ‘keeper got to it but he was way behind the line. I knew straight away it was a goal from where I was sitting and was celebrating like mad. I was just lucky the Linesman agreed with me and a few seconds later those millions of Arsenal fans joined in with me.
It was an incredible moment and the celebrations were almost as wild as when Henry scored that injury time goal last year. After the goal we had the complete stadium singing, “We are top of the league!” It was incredible.
We could’ve got a winner with United still in shock but in the end I have to admit the draw was a fair result. Neither side deserved to win and I would’ve taken the draw before the game anyway. It was a fantastic game and one I’m sure I wont forget for a while. So we kept our place at the top with a game in hand, it’s Reading away on Monday but before that it’s the Champions League on Wednesday. Thanks for reading.