Rambo Hammers West Ham

FA Cup 3rd Round
West Ham United 1 – 2 Arsenal

1 – 0 Diamanti (45)
1 – 1 Ramsey (78)
1 – 2 Eduardo (83)

Two goals in the final twelve minutes turned a looming FA Cup exit into progress and a visit to The Potteries in the 4th round. It was not a vintage performance with the reshuffled Arsenal side seeing plenty of the ball but during the first half, struggling to make telling use of the ball in the final third of the pitch.

Wenger had been criticised for making use of the squad before the match but the defenders chosen were strong and experienced, few options available with Philippe Senderos failing a pre-match fitness test. Elsewhere, an experience gathering exercise was underway, Merida and Ramsey in the midfield with Song whilst Vela played further forward alongside Wilshere and Eduardo.

A largely forgettable first half contained vague threats from Arsenal. Ramsey had a shot deflected over whilst Green was comfortable in saving from Merida and Eduardo. West Ham huffed and puffed, provided sporadic threats but rarely called Fabianski into action in the first half. The Pole was confident in his area, Diamanti bringing out a good save when given too much room by Silvestre.

With the half-time whistle looming, the Italian made a breakthrough. Behrami, West Ham’s best player on the afternoon, put Diamanti through and despite Fabianski getting a hand to it, the shot found the back of the net.

Arsenal stepped up a gear in the second half but in the early stages, West Ham had the clearer opportunities, Stanilas forcing Fabianski to make another excellent stop. Yet with the hour marked passed, Wenger moved to Plan B, introducing Diaby and Nasri into the fray at the expense of Wilshere and Merida. This, with a tiring home defence, invigorated the side, Vela in particular making hay by playing further to the left than previously, stretching the game to Arsenal’s benefit.

Green had to make a double save from Diaby and Song, a warning of the storm about to crash onto West Ham’s shore. It took just over ten minutes for the impact Wenger desired. Song battled his way to the edge of the area, Vela jabbed the loose ball through to Ramsey, the Welshman spinning and firing low across Green and into the net. A well-deserved goal for Ramsey, a much-needed equaliser.

The match was an almost carbon-copy of the visit to Liege, the deficit smaller but the momentum swinging firmly into Arsenal’s favour nonetheless. The winner came with seven minutes to go. Vela delivered a telling cross from the left, Eduardo leapt Salmon-like, to arch the ball past the sprawling dive of Green. 2 – 1 and the myth of how tall centre backs are invincible in English football, Upson rendered impotent by his lack of athleticism in the jump allied with Eduardo’s determination to win the header.

A regular criticism is that Arsenal are unable to close out a game when it matters, a one-goal lead never enough. Yesterday, that lie collapsed, left dazed and bemused in a crushing heap. West Ham were denied time, space, useful possession and penned back regularly in their own half in the remaining minutes. Not having the ball is a problem in trying to retrieve a situation; not being able to get it, a sign that your opponents know what they are doing.

Wilshere and Merida are the scapegoats of the day. They had afternoon’s to forget on the whole; both were off the pace, their lack of minutes on the pitch beforehand showing through. Rectifying that in a short space of time is not going to happen at Arsenal. Loan moves for both would be beneficial in promoting their Arsenal careers.

The Spaniard is of course, being beaten by the stick of his as of yet unsigned contract. Presumably he is waiting for the offers to come in now that he is free to talk to other clubs. Memories of Flamini, to a lesser extent, presumably drive the irrational complaints over his performance, the same people no doubt criticising Wenger for not pushing the player into the first team following his Carling Cup and Champions League performances.

Wilshere on the other hand seemed curiously lax in touch. Confidence drained from him when he made a key defensive error, further seeping away when opting to shoot. It is hard to criticise a player for doing exactly what Arsenal as a team are lambasted frequently for. Both players will learn from the day, using it as a positive influence on their respective careers will be key to that education.

Very real positives came from Fabianski, Ramsey, Eduardo and Vela. Goalkeepers at Arsenal are regularly in the line of fire; Fabianski bucked that trend with a strong performance yesterday, in much the same way that Mannone did earlier in the season when called upon. Eduardo continues to grow in confidence, similarly Vela. Both pulled West Ham across the forward line with a goal doing the Croat’s confidence no harm at all, 3 in the last 4 games for him, a sign that he is recovering his goalscoring form in an injury-disrupted season.

Vela flatters to deceive at times. A question mark over him playing centrally exists at the moment, his slight frame making him tricky to mark but relatively easy to stifle in that position, physically. On the left yesterday, he proved his worth, particularly in the second half. His crossing was excellent, suggesting that he may make more headway in getting regular appearances through that avenue.

But once more, the spotlight falls on Aaron Ramsey, following his dominant performance at Fratton Park with another at West Ham, adding goals into his repetoire increasing his threat. He and Fabregas are similar in many respects but at the moment, the Spaniard’s vision raises him above the crowd. Ramsey can follow suit but on this form, replacing his captain for the short-term is not an issue at all.

Wenger spoke of his envy of Ferguson and United’s cup exit, freeing up a weekend before the second phase of the Champions League. Some mischief in his words no doubt, loosely sprinkling salt into injured United wounds. The headaches he faces are those which managers are supposed to relish; a lot of fixtures and players fighting for places in the squad and an FA Cup 4th round tie to fit into a crowded fixture list, a sign that things are moving in the right direction.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on January 4, 2010, in Arsenal, FA Cup, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 168 Comments.

  1. I thought merida and Wilshere just seemed a touch overconfident. Immaturity Probably with a touch of youthful arrogance. Time is what they need.

    On the other hand Ramsey looks ready for anything.

    Good game.

  2. Oh, Bacary Sagna! It’s been said before but it became apparent again against West Ham. Isn’t it about time Sagna, with all his admirable energy and determination, learned to cross the ball properly? It’s hard to believe he is not working at this in training. (It reminds me of the otherwise masterful Paul Scholes’ now legendary inability to tackle properly.)

  3. Just read back last nights post.

    For the record Lagooner, I said nothing untoward about you unless you believe that my thinking you were NYmarcus was an insult.

    As for my comment about being our finest hour, that had nothing to do with you whatsoever.

    Sensitive soul aren’t you?

  4. I missed the game entertaining my brother and his family all the way from Nairobi! A rare event at the ZimPaul household. I caught the last 5 happy minutes, stealing away from the festivities. Great we pulled through and Eduardo (and Vela) continues his surge in form. Did Clichy play? Diaby looked imperious. Surprised to see Song still around!

  5. Jack, I agree, it’s a sagnaficant issue.

  6. merida and wilshire had bad games…no more and no less. Young players are inconsistent. and their confidence is that much more fragile.

    I thought ramsey played very well. He was one story. Diaby was another. When he came on he drove the team forward in…dare I say it, Viera like fashion.

    but the biggest story for me was Vela. if there is one thing I miss about Reyes is that he drove at defenders. He didn’t always get past them, but he took them on, making the defense collapse.

    Vela has that ability, and the speed. If he uses it. The trick to it though is keep the ball close to him – walcott also could do it but he tends to kick the ball far ahead of him….with Vela you actually feel like he is about to turn in either direction.

    you can see the defenders worry.

    impact sub for now…but if he can grow in confidence to come on for the last 20 minutes of a match, he could do much damage

  7. Great result! Inspiring comeback.

    Personally there are managers whose dreams I’d prefer us to shatter other than Zola, but nevertheless really really pleased with the win. It was also a great opportunity for our younger players to learn more.

  8. @ consolbob….yea….was a little dissapointed with merida and wilshere’s attitude…they are such brilliant players…they just need to apply themselves better…and that can only happen if theyre given a good run of games or sent out to loan (pref. wilshere to a top championship side and merida to a struggling la liga side)…that should give them the steel and more importantly the mindset required to mature into better players…
    Im really starting to worry about walcott…what the hell is up with that kids body?…i hope hes ok…
    Transfer season is upon us…inspite of losing RVP, Bentdner, song (for a bit) i still feel the most immediate reinforcements are needed in defence…cover for Gallas and Varmalean…(who have been by far the most skilled and entertaining defensive pairing in the EPL so far)!!!

  9. Fantastic write-up again, YW!

    Good points about Vela, Nando.

    @ jack,
    Sagna’s crossing last night wasn’t great, but this season it’s improved overall, don’t you think?

  10. @ nando….i really missed vela when he had that recent injury spell, hes a gem of a player, i hope yesterdays game (the 2 brilliant assists) has given him the confidence to use his extraordinary close ball control to run at defences.

  11. Vela would make a fantastic out and out winger for any team, and a fantastic striker for many. I think he will become a fantastic all round forward for Arsenal. He is already an exquisite finisher of the ball. At Arsenal, with this formation, he can play across the line, giving us great wingplay when we need it, and overlapping with a centreforward to get in on goal through the middle himself. He is an excellent, versatile cog in our whirling dervish of a forward line.

  12. PaulMerson&ian wright

    Its tough to throw Wilshere and merida on at the same time in a tough game but the experience would have done them the world of good. just good that the cavalry arrived with time to turn the game. Never in doubt that we would win once Abou Diaby came on.

  13. PaulMerson&ian wright

    oh F*ck i still got that moniker from the other day…oh well i might keep it. but then my comments will have to be of a more negative stance.

  14. Aaron was fantastic, he should play regularly now, always looks like he can make things happen, just brilliant. Overall the whole team played well with diaby stringing a 3 match streak of playing well, so special congratulations to him.

    Just something that could become a concern. I think there are some valid points here which I have been noticing since jack’s altercation with jerome thomas. NOTHING SERIOUS but Arsene needs to look into this.

    http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/opinion/blogs/mirror-football-blog/Oliver-Holt-opinion-Why-Arsenal-star-Jack-Wilshere-needs-to-be-beware-an-attack-of-the-Bentleyitis-article276767.html

    Cheers all!!

  15. Well, you didn’t fool me. Even at your most miserable you can’t possibly match those two sad traitors.

  16. So who are you really, o blogger AKA PaulMerson&ianwright?

  17. CB, please don’t talk that way about Paul Merson. He is one of my childhood heroes. It is not his fault he is completely retarded. His massively over-developed football brain had to push some other cerebal sector into touch to make room for itself, it’s just sad that it happened to be the entire remainder of his brain.

  18. Merson isn’t half as bad as Wright to be fair.

    I loved Ian Wright as a player but he just struggles to say anything positive about our club.Saying that Chelsea have won the title when they are clearly not the best team is just a joke, the sort of shite you expect to hear from Kerry Dixon or Paul Elliott or any other ex Chelsea player.

  19. consolbob,

    merse and wright are not traitors they love arsenal, i’m sick of pricks like you having a go at our old players because you don’t agree with something they have said..

    football is a great hobby but it isn’t a religion lay off them, they are far more important to arsenal then you..

  20. It’s impressive how, despite all the pressure, managers maintain their sense of humour.

    Arsène W: “Manchester United won’t gain a great advantage in the Premier League, it is more with the Champions League that the FA Cup is conflicting. The fifth round is just before a Champions League game and before that we play a lot in midweek.”

    Sir Rudolph F: “The referee gave five minutes. That is an insult to the game and the players out there.”

    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same . . . . . . . .

  21. Why couldnt any ex Arsenal player see this title challenge coming. their all just as baffled as the prick media and basically anyone outside the club.
    #you wouldnt know that half these c*nts actually worked with the genius(Wenger). only the likes of Henry and Petit knew we could push for the title, men who have not forgotten who Wenger is and what he can do.

  22. What is all the panic about Jack Wilshere and Bentleyitis rubbish? He’ll be fine. I thought he tried a little bit too hard to impress the boss and put a bit of pressure on himself. He could’ve easily played it safe and make a simple pass but he tried to do something really special.its inexeperience nothing more the talnet is there.He has a fantastic manager and he will advise him I’m sure.

  23. Well John, you just need to think a bit. I loved Merse and Wrighty as players but as professional pundits who are paid to give their views, they are very poor.

    Worse than that, they contribute to the running down of our club that so much of the media love to do. This only helps our rivals.

    Negativity breeds defeat.

    They were once important to Arsenal. Now, they are just another pair of crap pundits who retain the ability to make some of us smile at a memory now and again. I will give that Merse clearly loves the club but Wrighty? It’s just another way of making money.

  24. When watching Gillette Soccer Saturday with Stelling and his goons, I noticed that Paul Merson says the phrase “I mean” more than anything else. He does it literally after every 3 or 4 words he says.

    Next time he’s on, try and count the number of times he uses the phrase “I mean” in any diatribe he spews out. It’s actually more comical than listening to whatever he has to say.

    Ian Wright was a very good player for Arsenal, but that doesn’t excuse him from being the first class platinum idiot off the pitch that he is. I’ve honestly tried to understand anything he says and nothing he says is coherent.

    I think the mistake that TV studio bosses make is assuming that the bridge between footballer to pundit is a straight forward one. A lot of former footballers actually need some sort of media training – be it public speaking, basic literacy or just plain and simple GCSE education that would help them communicate with the masses. Simply sticking an ex-footballer on screen in a cheap Mataland suit doesn’t often achieve the desired effect.

    I laughed the other day when driving back home and was listening to Talk Shite when a seasoned journalist (think it was Saggers) had to point out to the dwanzy that is Mickey Quinn live on air that you don’t actually pronounce the letter ‘x’ in faux pas.

  25. @ Darius Stone, at 12:42 pm

    BBC have recently had, I don’t want to say it, more educated former players. Martin Keown, as we all know worked under Wenger and shares much ideologies as him. Gavin Peacock was studying philosophy during the time he was pundit on MOTD2.

    And I swear, Gordon Strachan only became desired as manager after his stint on Match of the Day, as his record was not spectacular before then.

  26. The Brain however MOTD do insist on using Hansen.

  27. Is Martin O’Neil going with any of the terrestrial channels to the World Cup as a pundit? He was utterly superb last time around, spoke total sense and was never afraid to disagree when he thought other people weren’t.

  28. Unless wilshire starts poofing his hair like Errol Flynn I think the comparison is weak.

  29. Wilshere is just having the same problem possibly every young player has: trying to impress. Rambo had the same problem last year but in 6 months time he matured greatly and could slot easily into any Premier League side with his vision, shooting and the potential he still yields! Wilshere needs his time, too, but he already showed us great glimpses of the future yesterday. His first half was good (and he often managed to get past defenders) but in the second half he made a couple stupid defensive mistakes (I especially think of a scene where he tried to pass the ball back to a defender, it got intercepted, then somebody cleared the ball to him and he got muscled off the ball by Diamanti). Still, nothing to worry about. He is 17 ffs. Next year he will be a first teamer.

  30. one phrase i caught from the commentator was…

    “Arsenal are really struggling and need an Adebayor type of player who can really head the ball…”

  31. Oh and Diaby has gotten so good now: when he came on I instantly knew we were gonna win the match and I think I am not the only one. Diabys has become a player you really have confidence in because you know he can threaten any defense. A bit like a Drogbear, just that Diaby plays in midfield (and doesn’t have any snipers aiming for him).

  32. Also for a bit of dreaming: just imagine winnig the treble with THIS squad. How awesome would that be?

  33. Followed By

    “Without Febregas and Arshavin Arsenal struggle and are rudderless…”

    I tend to think he was watching the ManU game

  34. @EvilFreik

    By a country mile…

  35. Yes, Wilshere’s problems are mentally if anything else. He played with confidence (and admittedly, a stronger team) in the Emirates Cup and looked a world beater. He looks like a player who thrives on movement and creativity and thus on the right, prefers to start deeper so he can drag players out of position.

    As with Ramsey, the Welshman’s quick improvement this season has seen him make better decisions, playing with less doubt and has tactically improved. Fabregas was streets ahead in this regard at 17 so comparing why Wilshere hasn’t played half as much is a bit unfair.

    Will make a great player though, so he has to be patient more than us.

  36. @ consolsbob at 12:39 pm and Darius Stone at 12:42pm

    Well said.

    ***

    @ arsenalkabisa

    ha ha ha.

  37. What’s bothering me is that no card was given for the the kick to Diaby’s face/shoulder. Not even an yellow!

  38. naga, why do you link to such tripe? Holt says Wilshere is “acquiring a reputation among some of his team-mates at Arsenal for growing rather intoxicated with his own ability.” Which players, Mr. Holt? Can we have a quote, please? Or are you talking out of your gaping posterior orifice?

    The best footballers are the ones who really believe they can do anything, and gradually refine that to a realistic sense of what they can do. I think he believes he’s an amazing talent, because he is. But he’s surrounded by them.

    It reminds me of Nik, who is certainly not lacking in self-belief, going on to his friend at a pub about how amazing it was to be surrounded by such talent and organization.

  39. Wilshere and Merida are both very great players and while many will be critical of them because of one game, remember that these kids are just begining to get the exposure they need. The trick is to give them more play time and to have them relax and not apply themselves too much. When a player tries to please too much, sometimes they fumble. The pressure is on them to perform at Arsenal and I feel that we fans are addding too much to that pressure. Wenger never gets it wrong. Give the lads time. So much could have been said of Ramsey sometime back and look at him now. Look at Song and look at Diaby. Things are looking up and these lads will follow suit soon.

  40. A great response by Arsenal – I was genuinely worried that we would become another “shock” result at 1 nil down. Great to see Diaby putting in some consistent performances now and I thought he really made a difference when he came on.

    Another tricky tie at Stoke, but it would be very pleasurable to ram a result down the throat of Pulis and Sorensen after some of the crap they have spouted in the past.

    On the subject of Wright and Merson above, both are ex footballers, with typical ex footballers brains unfortunately. Pity they can’t shut up all the same.

  41. Another inept negative approach from Zola as West Ham were leading with 70 minutes gone but the negativity cost him big time,next two games against two very negative teams in Bolton and Everton who will play for a draw if possible but Arsenal shall persevere with 6 more points and plenty more goals at the Emirates ,up the Gunners.

  42. Listening to the two commentators ,one of them being Gary 0,Neill one would think that these commentators are supposed to be impartial ,well not quite.

  43. Those two goals were huge. West Ham was in control. In a span of five minutes The gunenrs scored and that was all she wrote. It looks like the Gunners are finding their stride. A real good win. Spam Bobby http://bobbygee.wordpress.com/

  44. It may have been me or the camera angle – but the Boleyn ground’s pitch seemed tiny last night. Out of interest, do teams repaint the lines depending on the opposition? Because it would suit a side like West Ham to give us as little space as possible.

    I think this could have been a factor in Merida and Wilshere’s performances. They had nowhere to go against a team that was hunting in packs. Surely the further we go into the season, the fewer the teams that will try to use West Ham’s tactics. It’s almost suicidal.

    It’s like watching England in any major tournament; they get one or two goals by grafting and harrying. Meanwhile the opposition bides its time and waits for plucky John Bull to run out of puff before administering the killer blow. By the end it’s pathetically one-sided and England go out.

    I think Middlesbrough were the first to try that high-tempo pressing stuff against us, back in 2007. It worked a couple of years ago, but we’re a much better side since we got rid of Hleb and Flamini.

    I’d say you have to make sure you score at least two goals against us in the first half to make that kind of game-plan work, because there’s only going to be one team in it for the last half-hour.

    Come the 70th minute, Behrami and Kovac were out on their feet, and I’ll be surprised if the Hammers do too well in their up-coming fixtures.

  45. Another satisfying night, the second goal was crucial we needed a replay like a centipede needs foot rot.
    Jack did struggle last night and a spell away with another footballing side would do him good, but Burnley without Owen Coyle might not be so expansive and therefor maybe not the right home for our boy. Better to wait and see I think

    Tell me am I alone in getting annoyed when professional players continuously fail to clear the first man from corners and free kicks. I find it as irritating as players claiming throw ins etc when they know they kicked it out.

  46. – – – – – – – Almunia – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Traore
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – -Denilson – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – Ramsey – – – Diaby – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Nasri – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Eduardo
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – -Arshavin – – – – – – – – – –

    Fingers crossed on the Denilson fitness test.

  47. yes it was interesting to see how the switching of positions isn’t as seamless when our younger players attack in comparison with the more experienced players.. Wenger was wise to start Dudu on the left and then in the middle in the second..

    The older heads Arsh Rosi and Dudu (diaby Nas) shift and switch positions effortlessly with out disrupting the teams shape.. Ramsey did well to capitalize on the strengthened team ..I have a feeling that any of the three youngsters could have benefited from the experienced introductions but Ramsey’s fitness made the choice simpler for Wenger..

  48. limpar whats up with Rosicky?

  49. Does anyone think it migh be possible Rosicky will start against Bolton.

    We know that Arshavin has a foot porblem and may not be available for Wednesday, so im thinking Wenger may have left Rosicky out just in case he’s needed to start against Bolton.

  50. I don’t know KS, sorry for misleading you. I thought he was a shoe-in to start yesterday, and then he didn’t even make the bench so I guess there’s been a setback in training on Saturday. No word on it from AW, far as I’ve heard. Hopefully he’s available Wednesday.

  51. That’s a thought, ArsenalsAfro.

  52. It seems Cashley has just been done for doing 104mph in a fifty limit, said the Paparazzi were chasing him

  53. nasirjonesnasri

    How many games does Abou have to string together for c*nts like Nagagunner to stop mentioning he hasn’t been able to string consistent performances together in the past. The doomers just won’t accept the fact that Abou Diaby is becoming one of the best midfielders in the world.

  54. not much of merida and wilshere’ yesterday performance stuck in my mind… but how could a pro hit three corners ‘consistently’ not reaching the near post?

    this… in addition to sagna’s well know problem …in addition to walcott’s poor crossing technique … has become a signature arsenal winger performance

    the crosses vela put in during the last 20 mins or so (after the subs) could be the exception… does it mean having trained in a different regime helps? wenger and his coaching staff seem not to care about these and other basic skills (eg header, tackles)??

  55. OneOfUs

    Stoke will certainly be repainting their lines for the F.a Cup tie, as narrow as possible..!

    Come On The Arsenal….

    What’s the latest on Denilson’s injury?

  56. OneOfUs

    Stoke will certainly be repainting their lines for the F.a Cup tie, as narrow as possible..!
    Come On The Arsenal….
    What’s the latest on Denilson’s injury?

  57. OneOfUs

    Stoke will certainly be repainting their lines for the F.a Cup tie, as narrow as possible..!

  58. A very crowded fixture list awaits

  59. You’re quite right, useroz. None of our players ever seem able to tackle anyone at all, and I can’t even remember the last time we scored from a header. I blame Wenger and his coaching staff. It’s all itsy bitsy bullsh*t triangles and no fookin up and under. I wish we were more like Leeds.

  60. consolbob I understand that wright saying he don’t think arsenal will win the league and that chelsea will win it would annoy you.

    but if he answers arsenal are the best and will win everything all the time he won’t get taken seriously by others.

    of course we would be loving it if he did!!

    iv’e heard loads of ex arsenal greats saying we need more , we aren’t good enough yet. It doesn’t mean they are right it’s only an opinion.

  61. useroz

    I think I should take our corners!!

  62. Leeds defeated Man U so clearly their style of play should be emulated.

    There is no doubt we are absolute rubbish at headers, particularly because we don’t have a strong, physical (TM) forward who can win the ball in the air. That Eduardo fellow will never score a header because he is too short and lightweight.

    And tackling, good god, don’t get me started. Everyone knows you only win with strong, physical (TM) defenders – none of that nancy-boy stuff that we like to play. You have to tackle strongly! Make the other team fear you!

    Also, Merida and Wilshere are pants.

    (firmly tongue-in-cheek in case it’s not obvious)

  63. There’s really no pleasing some doomers.

    I bet you they’ll still be complaining when we win the first trophy citing that it’s long overdue and there’s nothing to celebrate because we were several years late in winning a trophy. They’ll be focussing more on the fact that we didn’t keep clean sheets, or that we didn’t use a ‘strong’ phucker built like a brick shit house to ram through agrucultural defenses, or that our goal scorers run to the left of the goal to celebrate when they score and never to the right.

    Heck, they’ll even complain the opposition didn’t fall over and die in embarrassment if the team don’t play to their expected standards.

  64. Bob Wilson knows. Dennis knows. TiTi knows. Charlie Nicholas, generally, knows. Romford Pele knows.

    Dixon, Keown, Winterburn, Adams, Wright and Merse; have all been cowed into the popular line of pundit’s tripe that they, as pillars of Englishness, were the keystones to Arsenal’s success through the late 90s. This characterisation has come to define their position in Arsenal and football’s, rich tapestry. It has also defined them as people in many respects. It is hard for them to give the current squad their full backing, because they would, in a way, be undermining a little bit of their own legacy. Which is massively self-centred, but that’s human nature I guess, and certainly the nature of many a footballer.

  65. What we gonna do about Walcot fellas? The boy is pure, unadulterated shit. Not Arsenal standard methinks

  66. LimparAssist, What a load of tripe brother. If that is the case, why dont other teams ex-players put them down? Why is it just an Arsenal problem brother?

  67. What are we gonna do about CharlieG fellas? The dude is pure unadulterated shit. Definitely doomer standard methinks.

  68. It comes down to the inherently rascist notion of Englishness vs. The Other, as perpetuated by the British media, CharlieG.

  69. Give Walcott a break please. He’s coming back from a bad run of injuries and thus would naturally struggle to find his form in the first few games. He is definitely Arsenal standard in my book.

  70. LimparAssist, What self-pittying crap brother, stop playing the race card every chance you get brother

  71. Bit harsh on Dixon and Keown I think…

    I rarely watch MOTD so maybe I’m just uninformed, but when I do, the two of them seem to have their heads on pretty straight. There’s the occasional comment I take issue with, but overall they seem ok.

  72. legio, listen brother, methinks walcot is crap, what you thinks is up to you brother, dont get your knickers in a twist all the time, stop wearing them brother

  73. Finsburyparker

    Trolls don’t hibernate.

  74. James!

  75. Finsburyparker

    I agree with that Taeryn. I’ll always remember seeing Keown on Football focus last season, or the season before talking about his coaching experiences & revealing how shocked he was at not just the standard, but the style of grassroots football.
    What he was trying to say, between the lines I think, was that as people don’t play in bogs wth pig’s heads anymore, a passing game isn’t a retarded concept. Half of Holland was drained and turned into a football academy, so why not here?

  76. Great win yesterday!

    Vela was excellent and doesnt Diaby look like one of the best midfielders in the PL at present? what a player!

    Walcott is a wonderful talent!!!

  77. Finsbury, Trolls do hibernaste, they find a nice bridge, crawl under and have a sleep, you know dis my brother, you are my brother

  78. Paul N my brother, Walcot is dogshite and must be spanked untill he learns to pass, its the only way

  79. Gunner4ever

    . , . >

    Brother

  80. I like Paul Davis and Kenny Sansom on ATVO. They’re always positive and fun. I don’t think Paul Davis could make it as a pundit anywhere else – he doesn’t have the gift of the gab – but he comes up with some smart comments and Arsenal fans will always give him the time of day. Kenny is hilarious as well.

    Perhaps they’re expected to keep it positive on ATVO, and that’s fine by me, but, as LA touched on with the legacy comment, you can tell the pundits on there are not infected with Merson and Wright’s bitterness towards AW.

  81. nasirjonesnasri

    Word up to LimparAssist @ 4:21.

    You’re a bit of a mong, aren’t you CharlieG? We aren’t your brothers you f*cking invalid. Get a grip.

  82. Walcott, great player!! Played wonderfully against portsmouth!

  83. And Rosicky signs a new contract. I think that just leaves Gallas and Merida now, and then we’re settled for a couple of years at least.

  84. very good news

  85. If only Gibbs or Bendtner had learned to keep goal.

    Then we would be odds-on winners of the “medical room/ACN unavailables” Premier League (and, probably, the Champions League as well) :

    Bendtner/Gibbs
    Eboue, Djourou, Senderos, Clichy
    Song, Denilson, Cesc
    Walcott, RVP, Arshavin

    What a knock-out team.
    Why hasn’t Arsène bought a decently injured goalkeeper?

  86. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  87. The MOZART

  88. Tomas Rosicky….Click Click Click

  89. nasirjonesnasri

    Ahhhh, I see what’s going on.

    Trolling is already super annoying without the whole “Macho Man” Randy Savage brother thing going on. Trolling whilst imitating “Macho Man” is just flat out looney. Sounds like a serious cry for help, if you ask me.

  90. flying dutchman

    What impressed me the most yesterday was the end, when instead of dropping back and playing out the remaining time, our team really went for the jugular and could have easily scored 2 or 3 more within minutes. Must have been terrifying for any watching rival, and a sure sign of things to come in the next few months. It’s a sign of the confidence flowing in the team, and we all know what an Arsenal on an extended run of form can do – just remember the 1998, 2002 & 2004 successes which were all based on such runs.

    I think the season has only just started now. The pieces of the puzzle are all falling into place one by one, injuries cannot seem to stop the team, there won’t be any signings needed in the window except maybe for a defender as cover, not for Song – his job will be handled by the squad depth available.
    The team right now has completely left the talking to others, the engine is revving up to max power for the business end of the season, you just feel it.
    This growing focus is almost like an ocean retreating for miles, minutes before it comes rolling on like a devastating tsunami. I hope I’m not mistaken.

  91. Great comeback and determination from the boys. You could see when nasri and diaby came on we held the ball better in the final third. Great goal by Ramsey we’ve found out he has two great shooting feet and his development under Wenger has been absolutely staggering. Should be an example for the other youngsters to emulate. We found out Vela is better on the wings and has quite a good cross on him. Wilshere is too raw and needs to be farmed out. Merida is full of good ideas but finds it hard to execute them when being pressurized. You could see West Ham going more negative towards the end as they tired out. It was disappointing to see them revert to a 8-1-1 formation but its expected from teams that are holding a lead against a team of arsenals calibre, even though it might not necessarily work!! We passed and scored through an eye of a needle today but thats beginning to be our trademark. Song will be missed!!!

    Agreed Jack, Sagna needs a few lessons from Vela on how to cross.

  92. Nasir-Lawrence-olivier-brad-jolie-Nasir,

    Listen brother, Walcot needs to sort his passing out, if you cant handle the truth thats your problem, be cool now brother, be cool

  93. you are surely not mistaken FD..

    I’m glad to see Diaby is so excited to fill in for Song, it can only aid his development into one of the most versatile players on the planet , I look forward to seeing him carve through the oppositions mid-field from deep, in the way only Diaby can..

    If Neves can get fit again he and Diaby will provide the perfect platform to solidify our resurgence to the top..

  94. Rosicky, this guy is deceptively brilliant. He makes the game look so easy that somethings he does get overlooked at times but when you see the replays of what he does its unbelievable. Injury free, he is head and shoulders above 90% of the players in world football in my opinion. He is a great great player!

    Pure class!!

    Man, we have a wonderful set of players!!!

  95. Football 365:

    The Czech Republic international, who joined the club from Borussia Dortmund in 2006, is the 15th player to sign a new contract for manager Arsene Wenger since May 2009.

    Here’s hoping Gallas will be #16.

    It’s remarkable how he has transformed himself since he lost the captaincy. It’s almost as though he and TV are willing each other through this long stretch of games. His re-signing will be as important to us as a new signing in January.

  96. As much as I think Gallas has earned himself the praise and a new contract this season, I have a feeling Wenger will let him have his pay day with another club.

    I’m not sure how much time left on his contract but it doesn’t seem like a coincidence or surprise to me that he was not offered a new one yet.

  97. @ flying dutchman: Going for the juggular is one of the things that were criticised last season. Tactical understanding has improved this time round and were never troubled after that.

    Gunner4Ever: Going to change your picture soon? I’m guessing Diaby although you’ve had him before so maybe Rosicky. Eduardo is ready to hit a purple patch so maybe him.

  98. @ G4E
    I’m pretty sure Gallas has been offered an extension – they are in talks.

    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/wenger-gallas-and-rosicky-deals-in-pipeline

    He’s only 30, isn’t he? I hope he stays around for at least another couple of years.

    And we’re going to be on terrestrial telly again, yay! Moronic ITV commentators, but still…

    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/fa-cup-stoke-v-arsenal-to-be-shown-on-itv

  99. Paul N- I couldn’t have said it better myself. Rosicky is a one in a million type of talent. Everyone seems to overlook this. I don’t know how this sounds but I was supremely touched to see him on the pitch v.s Portsmouth. He just had a few touches but the joy he had on his face to be playing was very moving. He’s a true footballer through and through and wants nothing more but play the beautiful game the way it should be played. I hope he overcomes the injuries that have robbed the world of his staggering talent. I would love for him and his team mates to succeed in the near future. If anyone deserves it he does.

  100. If we find an adequate replacement for Gallas in the coming seasons I would love for him to stay and be a back up left back. I know were flooded in that department but it would be great to see Gallas bombarding down the flanks and scoring goals!! Farfetched I know but I have a feeling it could work.

  101. Rocisky can play but Walcot cant, the lads scored one hat-trick and thats it, the boys wank my brothers, the boys pure wank

  102. @ G4E
    Gallas has been offered a new contract. Talks are ongoing.

    Plus we’re going to be on terrestrial telly (in the UK) for the Stoke FA Cup tie.

    I put a couple of arsenal.com links in an earlier comment, so I’m in moderation.

  103. CharlieG, run over your puppy, steal you lolly pop? whats up with this guy!?

  104. As has been suggested by others, we all need to chill where little Jack is concerned. Look at Ramsay at Cardiff last season – how he has grown from that nightmare game into a genuine cover for Cesc is yet another example of the supreme coaching staff and the wonders Arsene works at the Ems.
    Great new about TR7 – he is real class.

  105. CharlieG – I’m a mite confused.

    I think we’d all registered that you belong to a small minority of folk who don’t rate Theo, but who are these boys who are wanking your brothers?

  106. Ok Charlie…understood. You don’t like Walcott.

  107. The Brain, not sure yet on the change 🙂 Maybe Diaby. maybe Ramsey…I’m not done with the Midfield yet…too many good choices.

    ==

    FunGunner, my mistake I’m sorry I didn’t know Gallas was offered a new contract. Do we know the length? One or two years?

  108. Oh, doomers can’t bash Diaby anymore so they suddenly have to bash Walcott? WTF? Can’t we just support ALL our players? Do we really have to pick out some to bash them? What the hell is wrong with you dommers. Go and support Tottenham, you f*ckers.

  109. Anyone seen this vid?

    Absolutely staggering video of Arsenal 2009.

    Brings tears to my eyes!!!!

  110. CharlieD's a donut

    read my name

  111. hehe.

    Nice video piresaholic.

    hey- did you see the opening of burj dubai?

  112. Walcot isnt even good enough to be a squad player my brothers, the lad has been going backwards for years. He scoored a hat-trick for the mighty mighty england but thats about it. He is wank for the goons. We as gooners deserve better, we insist on the best and unfornately Walcot is 1000% horse-shite, you hearing me brothers? You feeling me sisters?

    Ere menow, mr bredwins, walcot is wank baby

  113. Zap you donut walcot aint got the ability we once thought

  114. CharlieG you know nothing.

    brother

  115. Zap you donut you need to wake up and smell the coffee my simple-minded brother. Walcot has been crap and has got crapper every season. The boy is now downright shite, we couldn’t sell him to man city for christs sake brother, are you hearing me?, are you feeling me my brother? stop feeling me brother, serioulsly, i dont like it. Walcot just aint got enough talent.

    Dont be a donut all your life brother

  116. Whoot Whoot, that’s the sound of Roz-itz-ki!

    Right then; big, big game on Wednesday night. Time to turn our, “Aha, but we’ve got a game in hand” into a, “Watch your backs you vulgar pack of flash fulham upstarts, you Abramo-come-latelys! The Arsenal have got you on the run. Us and our super uber miracle squad are capable of impossible shiny footballing magic you can only dream of, or dream of buying, and we’re here to win a Premier League Championship – not by hook or by ill-gotten crook, but with beautiful football, impeccable manners (hide yourself Sami), a cheeky dance routine and a lovable spring in our step.”

    Cue an insipid bog of turgid rubbishness from CSKA Fulham, a la Ancelotti era Milan, and… WE’RE ON OUR WAY!

    JT, Fat Frank, Cashley; go f*ck yourselves with one anothers diamante encrusted iPhones. I bite my thumb at all of you. And you CharlieG; a chav in a nice pair of shoes, is still a chav.

  117. ————–almunia–
    -sag–gallas–vermaelen-traore-
    —–diaby–ramsey—nasri——
    —-eduardo-arshavin–vela—

    i don’t know what the hell Wenger’s gonna do if Arshavin isn’t fit- risk rosicky? I think Rosicky will come on as a sub and play against Everton alongside the apparently returning Cesc and THEO

  118. HAHAHAHA

    CharlieG you are William ya donut!!!

    you’ve blown your cover

  119. G4E
    No need to apologise 🙂 I was just trying to reassure you. I don’t know anything about the length of the contract. All it says on arsenal.com is that the club are in talks with him, and they announced both these talks and the Rosicky talks in December. So fingers crossed that we will get an announcement soon that Gallas has committed himself to us. I can’t remember exactly how old he is, but the one-year policy doesn’t kick in until the day before the player’s 33rd birthday. But the important thing is that he should want to stay with us, given how easy it is to walk out on a contract these days.

    So please stay on at least another couple of years, Billy! You know you want to…

  120. Brotherhood of the Trolling Pants

    Charlie Pants G u don’t know squat brother

  121. you can call CharlieG William that’s his name.

    what a donut

  122. No I haven’t Zap. Looking for vids of it right now and found this.

    Pretty cool. I was also surprised to find out that it was renamed Burj Khalifa Bin Zayed. Interesting. Thanks 4 the heads up.

  123. yeah i know- cheers. I was also surprised to find that out…

  124. @ LimparAssist on January 4, 2010
    at 7:44 pm

    ha ha ha ha ha – hilarious rant!

  125. pretty cool fireworks aswell- it’s incredible how rapidly it has been built- last time i went over there it was in it’s very early stages

  126. Zap my donut brother, meine name ist nein william, mit dem bus, Ma je suaf, Je voudrais un donut, walcot is sheiste

  127. so hopefully we’ll have a decent team to match Bolton. I was talking to my friend who is a bolton fan recently, it was interesting to see the game from their perspective.

    Come On The Arsenal On Wednesday

  128. I would be astonished if Gallas leaves in the summer. He has probably been the best centre back in the league this season. He could be given a two year contract without any worries at all.

  129. At the very least, Wilshere and Merida allowed Diaby and Nasri to have almost a whole match off.

  130. “A chav in a nice pair of shoes, is still a chav.”

    Ha! Ha! Ha!

    Fellas, Wilshere and Merida cannot be expected to be world class every time they step on the pitch for us. If I recall, Ramsey was equally as mediocre when he started to get regular first team football. So why not give these two other lads the benefit of the doubt? They’ll get there without a doubt. Otherwise Wenger wouldn’t waste his time. I hope Merida gets tied up soon as he’s a great player and a star in the making.

  131. Well, Charlie G is certainly not a linguist, whatever he is!

  132. You almost got it right Charlie G… you said je suaf… you should have said je me sauve.. and that would have been absolutely right… meaning I’m off… and you would have got full encouragement… fuck off !!!

  133. California Gooner

    Injuries are always a risk, but right now I am feeling pretty good about our midfield. Song, Cesc and Diaby (the Diaby of the last weeks) are as dominant as any midfield around. Denilson is evolving into an all-action man, similar to a healthy Hargreaves. And Ramsey seems to provide a somewhat more offensive option to come in, although he clearly isn’t ready to carry things and plays better with a strong supporting caste around (to some extent that is true with all players, of course). With those five we have a really solid core. Nasri and Rosicky are, of course, nature midfielders as well and could fill in, , but seem to be exiled up to the wings. They are not as dynamic as I would like there as they are obviously nature midfielders. But that is the Wenger way. When either play, our 4-3-3 can look more like a 4-4-2, with both the pluses and minuses that change implies.

  134. I hope so FunGunner…Gallas is great this season and obviously work very well with Vermaelen. It makes you wonder if Toure was really the problem?

  135. I think Wenger is a very kind man, and I like that; but I don’t think he is so kind that he will let one of his best players go on the cheap just so he can get a pay day. That would be to turn kindness into profligacy.

  136. Denilson is very different to Hargreaves, who is a kind of poor man’s Gattuso.

  137. Haven’t heard too much about what a crucial turning point Fabianski’s save from Stanislas in the 48th minute was.

    That was a fingertip save to his left from a 6 ft 3 in agile goalkeeper to save a shot that was heading near the top corner.

    That’s a save that very few keepers on the planet could have made.

  138. In fact, if you castrated Gattuso, you’d end up with something very like Hargreaves.

  139. Hargreaves is a poor man full stop. He hasn’t played in 2 years has he ?

  140. Fabianski is a good keeper. Apparently though, there are mutterings that Wojciech Szczesny is going to be a great keeper.

  141. lagooner – yeah, that save was fantastic. What a talent that kid is.

  142. @ G4E

    I’d say it was Toure + Gallas that was the problem, and Gallas having to play left-sided. I think AW stuck with the pairing for so long because he thought they ought to be capable of “putting the game first” as he puts it, but they couldn’t/wouldn’t. And then Toure asked to leave anyway, and Wenger had TV up his sleeve…and the rest is history!

  143. Amazing news about Rosicky, slightly concerned by how his long hair’s making him look like Shape Of Punk To Come era Denis Lyxen though.

  144. clichydoubledeuce

    why was diamanti being such a prick yesterday? is it an italian thing?

  145. He’s just a rough diamond.

  146. clichydoubledeuce,

    Are you trying to say all Italians are pricks?

  147. California Gooner

    Muppet, I have to agree with you that Hargreaves hasn’t played as that is simply fact. But poor man’s Gattuso (Poli)? He is much better with the ball. Anyhow, the debate is irrelevant. Denilson combines incredible energy in defense with the occasional very effective run forward. I’m glad we have him.

  148. If it’s in Wenger’s plan Poliziano, he will let his best player go if it’s in the player’s interest and also in the club’s interest….especially if the player is in that age bracket where it may be the last decent contract he will get in his career.

    But it’s all in Wenger’s hands & depends on his plans. If he has another defender lined up in the summer, or he intends to keep Gallas another season or two…who knows?

  149. I’ve conversed with many Italians and there is only one that I could say is a 100% prick

  150. I think Wenger is fond of Gallas, and would be reluctant to let him leave. Many Arsenal fans still distrust Gallas because he played for Chelsea, but Wenger is able to judge him without prejudice.

  151. That is true Poliziano, I was upset he got the captaincy before Toure too. But, my emotions as a fan can cloud my judgment…Wenger doesn’t…I think 🙂

  152. Wenger is perhaps too free from prejudice. Ex man utd players, for God’s sake!

  153. True that too

  154. clichydoubledeuce

    lol @pz

    charlieg, just focus on the theo-bashing, mate

  155. haho, I’ll wait for official confirmation, since there are no quotes in that article.

  156. wow 4years for Rosicky..

    I’m so happy for him and me..

  157. Actually Passenal it’s already been confirmed. If you look on the Arsenal website for the fixtures list the FA Cup game is pencilled in for the 24th. My only question is when was the tie supposed to be played?

    Either way, if the game has been moved by the request of ITV, then that’s a just a load of boll@*ks really.

  158. “Eduardo leapt Salmon-like”….. lol……..not one of your better writing moments 🙂

  159. It’s all about the money…the FA and TV wouldn’t give a rat’s a$$ about Arsenal being tired or not.

    It’s sick

  160. Sorry Serk, I didn’t follow the link, I thought it was a link to the article about Cesc being injured for another week.

    G4E – if I was paranoid I would think they are doing it deliberately in hopes of seeing an upset as Arsenal are more likely to field an under-strength team with a more important game a few days later.

  161. Sure is great news.

    Rosicky is now the 15th Arsenal player who has committed his future to the Gunners since May 2009. Rosicky joins Abou Diaby, Henri Lansbury, Carlos Vela, Eduardo, Sanchez Watt, Alex Song, Nicklas Bendtner, Denilson, Robin Van Persie, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Theo Walcott, Lukasz Fabianski, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere, who have all recently signed new contracts with the Club.

  162. For the game against Bolton, from a first-team squad of 29 players (as of today’s Arsenal.com), we now have:

    Injured: RVP, Denilson, Walcott, Fabregas, Rosicky, Gibbs, Bendtner, Clichy, Djourou

    Out in Africa: Song, Eboue

    Unused Goalkeepers: Mannone, Szczesny

    Players Remaining (16)

    Still, it’s a testament to the remarkable squad built by AW that the team against Bolton will look fairly formidable.

    (Probable)
    Almunia, Sagna, Vermaelen, Gallas, Traore, Ramsey, Diaby, Denilson, Nasri, Eduardo, Arshavin

    Subs: Fabianski, JET, Senderos, Silvestre, Wilshere, Merida, Vela

    The real test will come against an Everton team that’s playing much better in recent weeks and is hungry for revenge after their opening day humiliation.

    Rosicky and Clichy might be back to strengthen the squad for the Everton game, so let’s hope everyone comes through the Bolton game unscathed. Thankfully, aside from Davies and McCann (who might be injured), Bolton are a less thuggish team than in recent years, so the signs are promising.

    A nice, tidy 2-0 win (Eduardo and Nasri) with no injuries please.

    Finally, with the injuries and Africa, can’t see Wilshere going out on loan now. He might have struggled against West Ham, but he’s a nice sub to turn to if we’re in trouble.

  163. Great news about Rosicky’s new contract, He s o looks like a rockstar in that pic.

    Just read the times article. Pretty depressing, nothing is gonna come easy our way.

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