Up For The Cup – West Ham United Preview

The short trip to Upton Park heralds the FA Cup, a competition which is rapidly acquiring the same status as the League Cup in its various guises. Rotation is the order of the day for Arsenal and it would be little surprise to see substantial changes from the team which wiped the floor with Aston Villa. For both sides, today’s encounter could be considered an unwelcome distraction to their Premier League aspirations, victory and survival more important in the longer term for both clubs.

Alex Song is likely to be one of the few who retain the place although depending upon injuries, he may be required to form a partnership at the centre of the Arsenal defence with Mikael Silvestre. The question mark arises with Philippe Senderos who is apparently ready to return although Arsene’s phraseology left some doubt as to whether or not the Swiss international is entirely fit. Assuming he is, he and Silvestre ought to be the main pairing. At left back, Traore may well be rested for Cruise to be initiated into the FA Cup following a decent debut at Eastlands in the Carling Cup.

The only defensive position where the should any question mark is right back. Does Wenger want to risk an entirely new back five by including Gilbert there – assuming Fabianski is custodian – or is he is going to put Sagna in to give some experience on the right hand side of the team? With Eboue’s absence, the choice is Sagna or Gilbert. If the midfield contains Song, Gilbert will play; if not, Sagna will slot into the right side to bring a touch of solidity.

The opportunity presents itself for a number of players in midfield and attack. Ramsey was outstanding against Portsmouth and should continue in Cesc’s absence alongside Diaby and Song in the first choice. The only change to that trio would be the inclusion of Merida to compensate for the Cameroonean playing defensively. Rosicky was slated a week ago to start today and on the opposite side, I would like to Wilshere given 90 minutes before he seemingly disappears off on loan to Burnley although with Owen Coyle the current favourite to replace Gary Megson, some doubt must be arising with no guarantee of first team action in a footballing side under new management.

The final choice Arsene has to make is central striker. Watt is the apparent understudy of choice but Eduardo got a confidence boosting goal at Fratton Park and could be preferred to start at least. The count against Watt is the lack of experience in the side further back. Is it too much for the XI to have a youngster?

A possible starting line-up would be:

Fabianksi; Gilbert (Sagna), Senderos (Song), Silvestre, Cruise; Ramsey, Diaby, Song (Merida); Rosicky, Eduardo, Wilshere

FA Cup history is part of football folklore in this country. The numerous upsets have woven a rich tapestry through time but some of the sheen has been dulled by the revisionism of Murdoch’s Empire and Uefas degredation of domestic cups to Europa League places. A competition purely for cup winners was not rated at the time, considered lesser than the Uefa Cup by general consensus. Now that is happening to the Uefa Cup, rebranding it the Europa League does not enhance, merely confirms its subserviance to the Champions League.

With that background, it is hardly surprising that in the early rounds for Premier League teams, rotation is applied. The public’s answer was given in part yesterday at Wigan where barely 5,000 hardy souls turned out to witness the 3rd round encounter. Does that mean we care less about it or merely a sign that the EPL is being served notice that supporters are not the bottomless pit they are assumed to be?

Personally, I love the FA Cup but I do not feel cheated if a “second string” side is put out. Facing 80 or so teams, the XI fielded has a decent chance of progress. As the tournament reaches its latter stages, Wenger will put out stronger teams. I do not subscribe to the theory that defeat today could derail a title challenge since not many starters are regulars in Arsenal’s strongest line-up.

I do think, however, that winning the first trophy is going to be crucial to this squad, helping make the transition to champions; history has proven that cup wins are a good stepping stone for title winners. It is not essential though; it is not necessary to follow that path. It is, if you win, an enjoyable afternoon.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ’til Tomorrow.

Posted on January 3, 2010, in Arsenal, FA Cup, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 190 Comments.

  1. 1sttttttttt

  2. It’s a hard team to pick, due to the number of injury and African Cup losses. Arsene’s selection will be interesting to see. Arshavin has been playing with an injury, Eduardo and Diaby with their injury history might be a risk to start and with Wilshere possibly going on loan, do we want to cup-tie him and reduce his opportunity for playing time elsewhere? I’m just glad I’m not the one having to make the decisions!

  3. I think the hammers are as bothered about this game as we are, the league is everything just now. As long as we don’t get whooped, which I doubt, then a weakened team is to be expected. Why risk injuries to 1st teamers?

    It’d be nice to have this new striker sorted out soonish by the way.

  4. Correction Yogi Cruise didn’t feature in the Carling cup but against Olympiacos in the champions league

  5. Really tough guessing the side today but here goes


    Gilbert Senderos Silvestre Rain Man

    Eastmond Song Merida

    Wilshire Eduardo Rosicky

  6. its obvious that The FA cup is not a real priority the two competitions we want to go for are the EPL and ECL. All other competitions are good for the youngsters, I am surprised that Coquelin has never been given an opportunity, and as Vela has had so little playing time today may be his day.

  7. Should be a good game today, with the rotation and being away it should be pretty even. Whoever plays though, we will have attackers of top quality and that should swing it our way. I reckon 3-1 to the Arse.

    I hope Wilshere, Rosicky, Vela, Merida all get a game. It would seem to make sense to try and get Eastmond some minutes, as he appears next in line after Denilson – currently injured, apparently with something similar to the knack that kept him out for 2 months.

  8. Of all the ridiculous news from Spain todays Marca is the most outrageous. because Arsenal.

    Because we are in so called economic crisis because of the stadium we are going to sell Cesc for 45 million Euros. it gets more ridiculous each week.

  9. A little crystal ball action: vela will play. And wilshire. Both need games and confidence. Rosicky just games.

    Merida will play I have no doubt. He has not signed a contract yet and needs to. He will partner Ramsey and song.

    Gilbert and I would guess traore. Gibbs anc clichy are due back soon enough. Silvestte and senderos.

    But truly this is a game west ham want to lose. And we will oblige

  10. I think this is a good opportunity for Merida and Wilshere. West Ham have injuries and their focus is on survival, they are also not a team who will just look to kick lumps out of us.


  11. Leeds have just scored against ManU.

  12. Manure 0-1 Leeds. Will the leeds louts sing the munich song?

  13. SomeRandomGunner

    Are manu trailing against leeds :O ?

  14. Yes Leeds are 1 – 0 up

  15. Leeds are really surprising me, pretty much dominating the game at Old Trafford.

    My team for West Ham


  16. Iggy Pop selling car insurance?

  17. MU out of FA cup.. ha..ha..
    MU 0-1 Leeds Utd

  18. Paulie Walnuts

    ha ha ha ha ha ha !

  19. I hope the last 5 minutes at Upton Park aren’t that tense!

  20. nice.. losing at home to the third tear even fergie time wasn’t enough..

    and the look on rooney’s face.. priceless..

  21. hahaha manure got played like judas did.

  22. War of the roses? Did anyone here the Munich song the leeds fans sang?

  23. Fergie thought he could even make jesus extend the time. With stashful of cash.

  24. http://veetle.com/viewChannel.php?cid=4b05959c0d76b

    I know it’s on ITV, but here’s a possible stream for the Arsenal match. See the blonde in the studio? I know which channel I’ll be watching!

  25. Seriously guys, id been thinkin about it for a while but i thought he might not be able to mix it in the premiership but scorin today against man u, has kind of taken doubts out of my mind… we need a striker.. Jermaine Beckford! he has pace, skill and is a very good finisher! what do you think

  26. hi guys, if you guys need a streaming link, please try this one:

    password: indah

    thanks, and special thanks to the blogger

  27. bsdsshde

  28. indah means beautiful in indonesian

  29. ‘Walcot’ means ‘Pony’ in ancient Aztec

  30. I have no idea who he is, but Jermaine Beckford is my new favorite player.

  31. NOT at all i think he would go for a stronger stating 11,he said it himself………..

  32. West Ham United: Green, Faubert, Tomkins, Upson, Daprela, Kovac, Behrami, Stanislas, Diamanti, Jimenez, Nouble
    Subs: Stech, N’Gala, Da Costa, Payne, Lee, Edgar, Sears

    Arsenal: Fabianski, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Silvestre, Ramsey, Song, Merida, Wilshere, Eduardo, Vela
    Subs: Mannone, Gilbert, Diaby, Nasri, Traore, Eastmond, Emmanuel-Thomas

  33. ps Jay Simpson just scored for QPR.

  34. OOU, Iggy Pop plastered across London Buses selling some Virgin phone contract six months ago was pretty funny, especially when it transpired the particular tariff he was promoting was not in fact available to professional musicians – the campaign was hurriedly scrapped.

    Maria – yup, Robbie Keane crying. His caravan has just been towed.

  35. Wengers argument that going a long way in the cup is no good and that he wants to focus on the league has just gone out the window with Manure losing to Leeds

  36. Arsenal: Fabianski, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Silvestre, Ramsey, Song, Merida, Wilshere, Eduardo, Vela
    Subs: Mannone, Gilbert, Diaby, Nasri, Traore, Eastmond, Emmanuel-Thomas

  37. Big thumbs-up to that team. Wilshere, Eduardo and Vela up front, with Rambo, Fran and Song creating behind them. Big strong back four and Fabianski who’s really earned another Cup run.

  38. What happened to Rosicky and Senderos, who were supposed to play?

  39. Hey all. Any links to streams??? Thanks in advance. Enjoy the match… Cmon you gunners!!!!

  40. That’s a strong team!

    Really, LA?

    Man, I just read that swiftcover doesn’t insure professional musicians either. I know it’s silly getting precious about artists, but there will always be people who want to see him perform. He could make money that way instead of sh*tting on his legacy.

    Just as long as he doesn’t play any new stuff!

  41. Sagna Gallas Verm Silvestre

    diaby song ramsey

    wilshere vela eduardo

    Thats quite a good team

  42. Merida is playing instead of diaby piresholic

  43. I’ve just seen – ManUre knocked out by Leeds! Ha ha ha. Rolling on the floor, laughing and waving my legs in the air!

  44. COYG!!!!


  45. Gotta love Ferguson bleating about not enough injury time. I mean, seriously? Shameful, what an embarrassment to football that man is.

  46. links please…

  47. Fabianski is looking good.

  48. this is shite

  49. Come on gunners, let’s get a goal or two before half time!

  50. Damn damn damn.

  51. West Ham will tire. How many times have we seen teams come at us like this and then fall away in the second half?

  52. Hope you’re right, OOU. Shame Rosicky is injured (I presume?) we could do with a string-puller.
    Come on boys, pull it out of the bag in the second half.

  53. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Go play with your Championship Manager or something then, William.

  54. I guess Senderos failed his fitness test. How frustrating for him and AW.

  55. Nasir-Jones-Nancy-Nicola-Nasri,

    I play Fifa 10 actually ass wipe, its the bomb

    We need to do better this second half, that was not good enough

  56. Come on Arsenal, tear them apart.

  57. Are West Ham our bogey men this season or something?

  58. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Diaby and Nasri fpr Wilshere and Merida.

  59. Oh, so close!!!!

  60. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    How did we not score that.

  61. Yeaaaahhhhhhh!

  62. Ramsey!!!!!!

  63. What a last few weeks he has had. Fantastic work inh the buildup as well

  64. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Get in… Ramsey got us back in it!

  65. I want to have Ramsey’s babies!

  66. Brilliant (the goal – not you having his babies)

  67. F*ck off Jimenez.

  68. F*cking hell. Not Diaby. Seriously, what the f*ck was that challenge?!

  69. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    F*ck off Jimenez.

  70. Please let Diaby be OK. I thought a high foot was a mandatory yellow card?

  71. Yeah, in retrospect it’s a tad extreme and scientifically improbable, but I still love Ramsey. 😉

  72. Dudu!!!!!


  74. Perfect header.

  75. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Eduardo heads home!!! Get in!!! What a header!

  76. What a Goal!!!!!!!! One of the best this season

  77. Brilliant!

  78. thank god Diaby is back.

  79. @Taeryn – good, no more babies

  80. What an inspired substitution that was.

  81. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Eduardo almost buries another header!

  82. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    West Ham are out of gas.

  83. Well, that made my day.

  84. Finsburyparker


    Nasri And Diaby have had the same impact as Hleb & Eboue in that CC game at the Spuds a few seasons ago.

    And that OOU called it in correctly. Like Liverpool and other teams, West Iceland (not far from Olympic park & future East Westfield site!) blew too many bubbles in the first half?

    Great effort from Song & Vela in the build up to for first goal.
    Lovely cross. Did anyone doubt that Croatian footballs leading striker, the school of Boban & Prosinecki, would be able to head the ball with such skill?

  85. Fantastic result. Well done, boys.

    And I often forget to say this, but well done to the away support.

  86. He may not be the tallest, but he’s great with his head, is Dudu. And it’s his first quality goal for a while. Should do wonders for his confidence.

  87. clichydoubledeuce

    que sera sera….

  88. The second half was, to borrow a well used phrase, a country mile. Yes, we obviously needed that tall striker, that the pundits have been calling for.
    Kind of ironic that I watched the game in the US, being played in London, on a stream from somewhere in the Middle East.

  89. That ex chav has just said that West Ham will be dissapointed with the second goal as they had Upson against someone who is “… five foot nothing”.

    Obviously if you are taller, you are a better player.

  90. F*cking hell. Stoke away.

  91. whatever will be will be

  92. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Bring on Stoke City on the 4th round.

  93. They’re not making it easy for us!

  94. I like the way that this FA Cup is shaping.

  95. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    in it should say

  96. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Bwahaha! They’re mad Eduardo bossed Upson for that header! Awesome.

  97. thats the beauty of football MD, its the universal language!!!!

    I was impressed by vela towards the end. Great substitutions from wenger though. Diaby and Song picked it up. Nasri was dribbling around them 4 fun. Thats all we needed, to hold the ball upfront and pass the ball through the eye of a needle. West ham were playing extremely negative which disappointed me. They got what they deserved though and paid the price for not trying to get the second.


  98. California Gooner

    I thought Diaby was the difference maker, although in fairness, both substitutions worked well. When he came we gained a security in midfield and directness and Ramsey was freed up to go forward. The change in our play reminded me somewhat of the effect Cesc had at Villa. It seemed like only a matter of time before we scored. Tremendous performance.

    Great cross by Vela for the second goal as well. I am a bit surprised that he never tried to run by anyone on the left. All the same, our ball movement was sublime. Great victory.

  99. crazy how much the entrance of diaby and nasri changed the match… i hope al those who said abou wasnt good enough are feeling quite sheepish… he was delightful to watch today, as with the past few weeks!!!!


  100. I’m glad to see that Diaby reads ACLF. He clearly saw Consolsbob’s request at 5:22. His energy was just the stimulus Arsenal needed.

    While some continue to worry, I think in his last few games Eduardo has started to play very well. Expect lots more goals from him.

    Ed – waah – doohhh
    Ed – waah – doohhh

  101. did i start the trend of non-UK Gooners posting on here with a name thats an indication of where they live?? i see MDGooner, California, hahah i guess im just a trend setter

  102. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Lol’ed at Diaby reads ACLF.

  103. Man Ramsey is scoring 4 fun I LOVE IT doubt he wouldve been given the same opportunity at UTD

  104. @NJ
    Indeed you are the cutting edge trendsetter.

    BTW, my experience is that Jersey is just like Essex back in the UK

  105. I agree Pz. Expect Eddy to start scoring regularly now.

    Diaby is another monster.

  106. I remember a certain NYMarcus who morphed into LAGooner.

  107. hmmm

    ive just noticed it more and more

    im sure the whole squad would appreciate this site if they saw the trash on LG!!!

  108. BIG THANKS TO JON @ 2:24

    that site is incredible… on there chattin with pires now! cmon on over

  109. In a few years time, Wilshere, Ramsey, and Vela, will be substitutes in the FA cups. Coming on to win matches for us. The farm system is working beautifully.

  110. Consolbob,

    LAGooner is definitely not NYMarcus. They are totally different bloggers.

  111. the machine started off slowly..

    but needed some updates to find its true rhythm and tempo..

  112. Eduardo is back.

    Ramsey is just superb. Vela looks like he will contribute too in the run in.

  113. Piresaholic, West Ham did go for the second goal but they were just drained from all the running. They couldn’t help but go negative.

    I feel as if the squad overall is growing in confidence. Good to see Dudu get that goal. I hope he goes on a bit of a run now and gets his form back for the crucial stage of the season. Glad to see the kids get a run. Wilshere and Merida still look a bit frail but they’ll get there the more they play against more physical players.


  115. I agree with Muppet. I am yet to see LAgooner, use references to the right wing in the U.S, to make his point about football. Something that NYmarcus excelled at.

  116. NYMarcus was actually brazilian and he lived on the east coast.

  117. Two Vela assists, two lovely goals. A rip-roaring finale. I will echo FG and say a big shout out to the away boys, that looked like all sorts of fun and they outsung the Wet Spammers all game. Green and co. looked intimidated to be playing in front of our rocking away end in the last 10-15 minutes. The more we can have that effect on teams the better. Great stuff, team and fans.

  118. “That ex chav has just said that West Ham will be dissapointed with the second goal as they had Upson against someone who is “… five foot nothing”.”

    I had to turn off the match when I heard that…nearly made me sick. Incredible how they still manage to smear such rubbish onto something so flawless.

    Instead of appreciating the beauty of our play they just have to wallow in their bitterness. Why do they pay these people to provide a “post-match” analysis? i didn’t see any “analysis” there, just a bunch of ignorance.

  119. Diaby reads ACLF? That’s awesome.


  120. Jack was looking a little like Ramsey against Cardiff last year tried to hard to play the Bond part when it was not on. Especially when we aren’t playing well as a team. Who needs to bring on a striker when are MF are the real gane changers. WTF was up with the draw though Stoke away???? While Chavski get preston.

  121. Andy Townshend bloody hates Arsenal.

    He’s also an absolute reprobate. Commenting on Ian Holloway’s reaction to a decision which went against him in his team’s FA Cup tie yesterday, whereby he took off his scarf and coat, threw them to the floor, stormed off in a huff, (returned in a minute and a huff) and proceeded to shout the word “C&NT!” repeatedly in the 4th official’s earhole – Townshend says, “That’s the great thing about Ian, every single game means so much to him – brilliant stuff”.

    Yes – what a shining example Ian “Anger Management” Holloway is to the rest of us, thank you Andy.

  122. California Gooner

    NJ, I’ve been around here a while. Before that there was NY Marcus (his posts were derided by some, much love by myself), LA gooner, and a few others. So, maybe you are just joining a trend. Not sure. But is nice that the ACLF conversation reaches so far and wide.

  123. I think Jack will get better with more playing time. From what I saw he was getting past players really well and moved the ball about with some purpose. Best of all, he didn’t get bullied off the ball.

  124. Limpar, That’s what they say bout Rooney as well. His petulance is seen as passion. Because he’s just such a passionate guy isn’t he?

  125. Second half is were it all happens.

  126. 69 he was ‘bullied’ off the ball on a number of occasions but was given little protection.

  127. the police commended Leeds and Manu fans for their impeccable behavior at their game considering the historic rivalry..

    5 people were arrested..

    Rooney is the best and most passionate player in the world, yes .. better than Messi, who has a tattoo writing “On the pitch we give all” over his knuckles..


  128. Does everyone agree that Fabianski inspires confidence handling corners and crosses and set pieces?

  129. Song was an absolute monster in the middle of the pitch today. We will sorely miss his contributions in the next while due to his participation in the ANC. What a game. Nice to see young Jack get a good run out today. He needs more of those situations for more seasoning. I liked Vela’s crosses into the box today. He is a developing talent who is not the least bit selfish.

  130. Song will definitely be missed. He was everywhere…I hope he has a great time and comes back strong and well.

  131. Fabianski has never really disappointed me while playing in the side. He got his hand on a certain goal today.

  132. Is that right Muppet? I am sure that LA admitted to being NY in response to some questioning by someone on here a few months back.

    Still, I could be wrong. It has been known.

  133. Maria, I saw him get disposessed a few times but not bullied. Maybe you and I have different definitions of what getting bullied means but, considering that jack is all of seventeen years old, I thought he stood his ground pretty well out there today.

  134. 1 loose cannon

    Once again the away supporters were marvellous they gave all I could hardly hear the west ham fans. I only wish if the home supporters could learn a thing or 2.
    Abid Please don’t expect people like Townsend to say anything positive about Arsenal I heard the “5 foot nothing” comment which I thought very unprofessional that was Eduardo’s Trade mark header similar to the one he scored against England he is lethal if you deliver a good ball to him, Upson could do nothing a bout it.

  135. @ 1 loose cannon

    Totally agree about Eduardo’s goal – just like against England a couple of years ago, he put it in the only spot that the keeper couldn’t reach.

    @ consolsbob
    You know, I think you might be right. My recollection is that there was a bit of bluster and obfuscation, then he admitted it. He has quite a few blog monikers and even a female identity, I think. Well, NYmarcus does, anyway. But I wouldn’t want to swear to the fact of NYmarcus and LAgooner being one and the same, because it was around the time of the Blog Wars and my attention was focused on more important matters.


    But back to today…Wookash was indeed outstanding today – even on their goal, because he guessed right and nearly saved it.

    You can see why Jackie W needs to go on loan, though. He really needs a run of games – Merida as well. I echo the plaudits for Song, Vela et al. You could see Song was knackered but the man’s commitment was humbling. As for Ramsey, he just blossomed in the second half. An absolute gem.

    Would also like to pay tribute to Sagna. The man is super-consistent, apparently indestructible and utterly determined. And he has worked on his crossing. How many assists is it this year?

  136. Does anyone know how Rosicky is or rather if there has been any progress with his contract ??

  137. btw Maria agree with what you said earlier about Wilshere and the ref’s performance.

  138. I love little Jack to bits but imagine if Eboue had played like him today.

    All the doomers out there who have been complaining why Wilshere isn’t in front of Eboue will hopefully have some more understanding today. Physically he isn’t ready for top level football yet. Talent isn’t quite enough to get you by.

    He is young and will become a great I have no doubt but is still raw.

    Ramsey will become a great midfield goalscorer, never afraid to shoot and gets into good positions.

    Two chocolate left foot strikes in two games for him.

    Fabianski was great today and is pushing Almunia all the way.

    Didn’t Leeds do well today? I was very impressed by the way they approached the game, I wish more teams would take on Man U at Old Trafford like they and in fact Sunderland did earlier in the season.

    Any clue on Rosicky? Hope it wasn’t yet another set back, well a serious one at least.

  139. Once again a great team performance. I’m sure Diaby and Nasri would be the first to say how the team made it easier for them to have an impact by wearing West Ham to the bone for the preceding hour or so. Like Cesc’s lovely cameo against Villa, the team created the platform.
    The substitutions were masterful though and also proved how much Arsene wants to do well in this competition.

  140. Consolsbob,

    There were 2 marcus’s. He was definitely not NYMarcus. Perhaps he admitted he was the other one.

    Mean Lean,

    Some of the numpties on Le Groan are slagging off Merida. For his play, and not signing an extension. I recall that he signed a long term contract last year, so I don’t know what the hell they are on about. How the hell can they slag of Wilshere and Merida after just a handful of games at the top level ? It beggars belief.

    I agree that Wilshere needs a loan spell and more games.

    What happened to Rosicky ?

    Good news about Eduardo. If he starts to get anywhere near his 2007 level, we have a lethal injection for the run in.

  141. Well, well, well

  142. “Bluster and obfuscation”. Lovely.

  143. I stopped reading lagooner’s posts a long time ago, but I would be surprised to learn he is the same person as NYMarcus. They seem to have very different personalities. NYmarcus is hysterical, lagooner a depraved depressive.

  144. I doubt that Song’s departure will significantly influence the fortunes of Arsenal. Any team will be the worse for losing a first-choice player, but our other players will adapt to make the difference hardly noticeable.

  145. Well, maybe Pz. There was one consistency though.

    You fought with both of them.

    My memory of those days is the same as Fun’s.

    That was our finest hour.

  146. Without Carlton Cole, Franco West Ham suffer from lack of physicality. Nouble is still learning his trade, he lack nous against experienced defender. Whenever West-Ham had a long ball upfield, Gallas and Vermeulen were overcrowding Nouble.
    The two anchormen (Kovac and Bahrami) just ran out of gas toward the end.
    Diaby’s overpowered them. That allowed Ramsey to go forward. Nasri also introduced more directness in the play.
    At least Jack Wilshere’s performence should squasch the idea that he should be playing week-in week-out in the first team. He was extremely poor. He clearly needs at least six months on loan. The best thing for him would be a dominant championshion club rather than a struggling premiership club.
    Merida is again showing that he is still lacking physicality. He was often pushed around.

  147. I expected at least the americans to know that nola stands for New Orleans, LA.

  148. Good grief – a performance like that, a result like that and all some people can do is publicly criticise two reserve team youngsters. I am speechless.

  149. @ nolagunner

    I was in New Orleans briefly some years ago – LOVED the place even though it poured with rain virtually the whole time and I was nearly mugged.

    @ Pz
    Good point about the different personalities. Perhaps cbob and are misremembering.

    @ Muppet
    Some of the numpties on Le Groan are slagging off Merida. For his play, and not signing an extension.

    This so typical. Moan that the player is not good enough and then moan that he might not stay! I don’t know whether to laugh or cry! (Holds head in hands)

  150. AW played a blinder with the substitutions as well. Just what was required.

  151. Exactly FG !

    Knee jerk reactions to both the players performance and his status at the club.

    I love these definite conclusions made on the basis of one game. If those guys were in charge, arsenal would sink like the titanic – into the vauxhall conference.

  152. Every young player at Arsenal has to experience alternating periods of praise and blame. It is a rite of passage. Recall that after our pre-season games Wilshere was being grouped with Arshavin and Fabregas as our only three world-class players. It is important to recognise that excessive praise of our young players is nothing more than disguised criticism of our senior players.

  153. Good points PZ, if Merida and Wilshere are being slated, it means they have arrived. They just have to get past the negativity and they will become key players for Arsenal in the not too distant future!

  154. Total shinfo, but i’d never really noticed just how early Verma goes up for headers. Every time he went for one today he’d be in mid-air before his opponent had even started to jump!

  155. Just like you’re not truly famous until Hello magazine has featured a double-page spread on your cellulite…

  156. I noticed that too Vince. What a player. The signing of the season without a doubt.

  157. He just sort of hangs in the air longer than you’d think physically possible. He enters the Vermatrix.

  158. Le Groan has been bleating like sheep for the likes of Wilshere, Vela, Merida and Ramsey to be playing every week. Now that we can see them, we perhaps conclude that Ramsey is nearly ready, Vela too, maybe, and Merida and Wilshere are not quite at the physical level required, but we know they are technically ready.

    Now they complain, and no doubt Wenger will then be accused of not playing more of Merida, Vela and Wilshere in the future when we are short of a few players in the future.

    That site cracks me up.

  159. Vermaelen judges the flight of the ball superbly. Did you see when he and a West Ham player went for a ball and the WHammer rushed forward and jumped way too early, only to watch the ball sail over his head and onto the chest of TV, who took it down calmly and expertly. I actually laughed.

  160. I think Vela is there or thereabouts, though. He is next in line after Ramsey to make the breakthrough.

  161. If Merida and Wilshere are in the first team, they should be judged on their performence and not their young age.
    We can accept that as youngsters they are still learning their trade, but it should not be used when assessing their performence.
    Like I said, Merida needs to hit the gym, because clearly he needs more upper body strength. Ramsey has the same size, but he is rarely pushed around.
    Wilshere has been overhyped. One day, he will be a world class player, but right now he is a young teenager who needs to go on loan.
    Once again Song was immense in the middle.
    We are definitely going to miss him.
    We needs three players during the transfer period.
    + One striker to add more physicality and be able to held the ball upfront. Today Eduardo and Velo shown that they cannot do that. Eduardo needs somebody to play from. He was very good for us when he used to play with Adebayor.
    + A defensive midfield. Scott Parker at a reduced price would not be a bad choice. Matuidi could also be a good choice, unless Arsene Wenger think that Coquelin or Easmond are ready to step in.
    + A defensive versatile player who can play right-back, centre-half, left back. Sylvestre may have a great attitude, his legs are clearly gone and Traore cannot play more than once per week. BTW a lot of attacking play normally comes from the full back, Sylvestre did not provide any forward impetus on his side. Sagna needs a break, with Eboue away we have no cover at right back.

  162. @ Muppet, that last post.

  163. I meant MY last post, obviously.

  164. Is Valentin a groveller?

  165. @ Valentin

    Taking a long term view, do we need all those new players? We already have 29 or 30 first team players, and look how quickly Ramsey has come on since last season. Or Song and Denilson in 18 months. We have a temporary problem with injuries (I hope to God it’s temporary, anyway!) rather than a long term problem with quality. I can see that we could do with a different type of striker, but beyond that, we would be OK if there were fewer injuries. For example, when would the extra DCM play when Song and Denilson return? And three left backs really ought to be enough. Why do you say Traore can’t play two games in a row? I agree that Silvestre is much better at CB than LB, but I thought he worked very hard and did a lot right today. (Not the “offside trap” for the goal, obviously.) And once again he backed up his teammate when it threatened to get a bit tasty.
    Gilbert can cover at RB. And so can Ramsey. Looking long term, Djourou and Nordtveit can play RB and CM.

    I just can’t see Wenger going for more than one player, if that. And it might not be in the position we expect. He has a way of thinking outside the box. (Sorry, Pz.)

  166. Upper-body strength is irrelevant in football. Of the muscles above the waist, only the oblique and abdominal muscles are particularly important. If you watch footballers when they swap shirts after a match, you will see that many have no more upper-body development than an average man, and very few have significant muscular development. For out-field players, the other muscles of the upper body have almost no legal use. In challenges shoulder-to-shoulder, for example, the main force is exerted by the legs and transfered to the torso by the obliques.

  167. It’s not necessarily physical power that the likes of Wilshere and Merida need. Experience will teach them how to use their technique, to overcome the opposition. Not every player is a battering ram but time on the pitch develops their game understanding and they learn how to use their skills to the best advantage.

  168. I agree with FG and PZ.

    After listening again to the recent post match press conference against Villa, it is interesting that Wenger says that he may sign both a midfielder and a striker. He cites the loss of Denilson and Fabregas through injury as the factor for signing a midfielder. Whether it is also down to the loss of Rosicky, or at least, his lack of availability on a consistent basis, one can only speculate about his thinking. We have Song, Ramsey, Merida, Diaby, Denilson currently playing vying for the 3 central midfield places. One DCM and 2 others who sit at the front 2 in the triangle. Nasri could conceivably play as one of those players, but this experiment seemed to go wrong against Chelsea last May. So Wenger may be looking for somebody else. An outright attacking midfielder ? A box to box midfielder ? Or a DCM ? Who knows ?

  169. Consolbob,

    Yes, you were wrong.

    Thanks for the correction, Muppet.

  170. PZ,

    I didn’t stop reading your posts. I was waiting for you to come up with a comment to match ‘Chelsea will struggle to make the top 4’.

    You should change your name to Nostradamus.

    As a few on here can tell, I have avoided any conflict with some of those I clashed with previously. It’s clear that PZ and Consolbob are too petty to do likewise.

  171. Consolsbob

    Your finest hour? Sadly, I can believe that.

  172. What the hell was Eduardo thinking trying to score a header when he was up against the collosus that is Upson???

    No no No!

  173. Vela and Eduardo were fantastic 2nd half and Eduardo showed what a great striker he was. That twat Andy Townsend tried to make out it was a mistake by both Upson and Green!

    Wilshire and Merida have played hardly any football, so it wasnt too unexpected that they didnt play too well and a loan each would definitely benefit them and us.

    I thought Fabianski was excellent too.

    And good old leeds!

  174. Losing at home in only the three round to Leeds FC is a joke. Am looooooooooooooving it!!!! Couldn’t have happened to a nicer team.

  175. Couldn’t agree with you more Maria! 😀

  176. valentin’s a mug


    what a mug u are valentin. Curses to u and all ur slimey wretch at le grove.

  178. Merida and Wilshere are on the first team for a reason. They might need to go on loan to get playing time but they’ve got what it takes right now. It’s not like Diaby, Song, Denilson and all our other youngsters jumped off the becnh and were amzing right away.

    I totally agree about buying Scott Parker for the defensive midfield. I’ve wanted him at Arsenal since his Charlton days. He can definitely play Wengerball. I’d hate to see him go to Blackburn or some other club like that if we can snap him up.

  179. Scott Parker has always been one of the players in the Premiership that I think would be a nice purchase for Arsenal. I also had some of those thoughts for Upson. But after today I admit that I have changed some of those ideas. Wenger is seldom wrong when he releases somebody as he did with Upson many years ago.

    With respect to the comments about upper body strength, I have always thought that Arnold Swartzaneggar had the best approach. These boys need to go in the gym and do some work to stop looking like girly boys. They have no arms no pecs and you can push them over with a breath of wind.

  180. Happy New Year everyone.

    I shed tears of joy last evening when we came back to win that game. Happy days ahead.

  181. As Wenger would say it himself, when we sign talented young players with potential, we must have patience to develop them, and the courage to play them. Diaby, Song have been moulded this way, and I’m sure Vela, Merida and Wilshere will come through to become stars in future. We’re not Chelsea or Money City who buy success by by signing established stars whenever the team needs to plug a gap. Getting 65 mins against West Ham in a knock out competition like the FA Cup would be good for the development of Merida and Wilshere. It doesn’t look likely that Wilshere will do a Walcott in WC2010 though.

  182. Diaby Reminds me so much of Vieira. I used to pity teams that had to stand in the tunnel with Vieira. I think many a games were lost that way… Playing Diaby is almost like cheating.

    OHHHHHHHH and Edwardo is coming good… three goals in four games is it?

  183. Anyone got the latest on Denilson’s back injury? I assume he won’t be in contention for Wednesday – if so, who will deputise for Alex Song? Diaby is looking stronger than ever right now, but he is a naturally roaming, attacking player. Would we be better off using Eastmond, Frimpong or Coquelin perhaps. Or Nasri. Or Ramsey. Are there other options I’ve not considered? Pz, Big Phil’s injured so that’s not one.

  184. LA, AW said Denilson’s got a test today, and then another on Tuesday. If he’s OK he’ll play.

  185. Great news, thanks OOU.

  186. @ Spike on January 3, 2010
    at 11:44 pm

    I laughed

  187. I think it could be Arsenal Spurs in the final!

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