Stoke Deliver KO Blow

FA Cup 4th Round
Stoke City 3 – 1 Arsenal

1 – 0 Fuller (2)
1 – 1 Denilson (42)
2 – 1 Fuller (77)
3 – 1 Whitehead (85)

The opportunity to win one of the three trophies in which Arsenal had an interest disappeared yesterday at The Britannia Stadium as Stoke City ended their FA Cup hoodoo, not undeservedly nor as emphatically as the scoreline suggested. Arsene prioritised the upcoming Premier League fixtures, the expected wholesale changes to the side a clear indication of his intent to go to Villa Park in midweek with as strong a line-up as he can possibly field.

Arsene said afterwards:

I do not regret the side I put out, I did not have much choice. We had 10 injuries and a very difficult programme coming up. Our selection was simple, take a look at our schedule and you must see we cannot play the same 11 every time. That is for sure. But, if you do not win in such situations, it is my fault. I can only stand by the team I selected in the circumstances. We lost but there was not much room for manoeuvre in terms of players available.

When you are the away side in a cup-tie, the key thing is to contain the home side for the opening quarter of the match, trying to frustrate their players and quieten the crowd whilst you gradually assert your own gameplan. Arsenal singularly failed in that objective, barely making it into the second minute before Ricardo Fuller got the first of his brace.

A Delap long throw speared into the box, Fabianski hesitated, waiting for the ball to arrive instead of meeting its trajectory, allowed Fuller to connect first with a header into the net. To concede that early was a blow which took its toll. Stoke pressed, had half chances but never capitalised.

Whilst Arsenal recovered, their passing game never materialised, in part due to the pitch but mainly because Stoke did not allow them to settle. Even so, a large portion of the first half was dictated by Arsenal. Fabregas started, surprising on the one hand given he is one of the valuable players to the team but you cannot wrap him in cotton wool.

With the injuries and the Spaniard’s form, playing him was a calculated risk; one that did not work but had appeared to when he slid a freekick to Denilson, the Brazilian getting luck with deflections as the ball arrowed into the bottom corner.

Half-time approached and Arsenal’s ascendency was reflected in a succession of corners. Like the rest of the match, little materialised in the danger area to threaten the parity which had been restored. The second half reflected the first. Stoke hassled and harried, Arsenal passed into every furrow that churned the turf. Wenger wanted to win the tie and introduced Eduardo, Arshavin and the returning Ramsey.

Little changed until the match entered the final quarter of an hour. Sidibe is a deceptively slow man and to outpace the left side of the Arsenal defence was of concern, his cross met by Fuller. 2 – 1. Arsenal sought to fight back but with five minutes to go, Whitehead found himself free on the edge of the six yard area for the simplest of tap-ins. The inevitable exit confirmed when the home team ran out of aspirin for the ball, the referee took pity on its predicament and called proceedings to a halt.

Will Wenger have learned anything from yesterday? Other than you cannot put out a team with ten changes and win, I am not sure. Emmanuel-Thomas did well up front, dropping deep to link attack and midfield but starved of good possession, it was hard for him to make headway.

Eastmond and Coquellin were a mixed bag. It was a tough match for them to come into and nerves impacted on the young Frenchman with his passing. Defensively, he performed decently once he had settled. His passing though was off-key, wayward and too forceful at times. Eastmond meanwhile struggled like the rest of the midfield, to impose the usual passing game on the hosts.

Crucially, none of the trio of JET, Eastmond and Coquellin did anything to suggest that they do not possess the talent to make the grade at Arsenal although they did not make sufficient impression to indicate that their breakthrough would be imminent. It is tough to come into a much-changed side and dominate their opponents; the true measure of the youngsters comes in the Premier League when the fill in for injured or rested players, settling in alongside a strong first XI. To write them off now, on the basis of one cup tie, is premature and short-sighted.

The return of Aaron Ramsey was a boost, as was Theo Walcott’s presence in the starting line-up. The lack of match sharpness in both was evident but expectations that Walcott, in particular, would suddenly turn around and perform at his best with so few matches this season were unrealistic. That was a contributing factor to the flatness of his performance but more telling was the lack of decent service.

Exiting the FA Cup at this early stage is always disappointing. Wenger’s team selection focussed on the next four matches rather than yesterday. Was he right to do so? The end of the season will tell.

’til tomorrow.

Posted on January 25, 2010, in Arsenal, FA Cup, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 285 Comments.

  1. Theo was shite as was Vela

  2. Ist and 2nd

  3. I’ll tell you what is bullshit –

    Wednesday is Man Utd – Man City on SS1, Everton – Sunderland (EVERTON – SUNDERLAND?!) on SS3 and Milan – Udinese on ESPN.

    This will not do at all.

  4. We seem to have made Don Vito an offer he couldn’t refuse:

    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/vito-mannone-signs-a-new-long-term-contract

  5. IS bendtner back any time soon?

  6. I say AW was absolutely right to rest those players. We’ve been top of this bloody thing since November: http://www.physioroom.com/news/english_premier_league/epl_injury_table.php

    With the games coming up, it would have been more of a gamble to send a first team and risk losing yet more players.

    As for the defeat, Stoke just isn’t a place for a footballing team to go: A soft and narrow pitch, half-minute stoppages every time the ball goes out of touch, constant aerial bombardment…

    And this isn’t a football aesthete talking, but it’s like watching an American sport with all the stop-starting, players changing positions and identical players. For their build and style you couldn’t distinguish a Stoke central defender from a striker, midfielder or full-back.

    For me, it’s the only away where match where we need a “plan B”. I’m thinking that Bendtner and Diaby will serve us well when we get round to beating them next month.

  7. Limper Assist.

    I honestly thought I was the only one who was pissed off with the schedule omitting Arsenal on Wednesday.

    Disappointed to have lost as I don’t like losing, but that’s the way the game went.

  8. Not being in the next round of the cup means we have a free weekend before we play Porto away.

    It’s a shame, but the FA Cup has become a distraction. Perhaps it’s time to scrap the League Cup and free up some more time for the FA Cup, to allow teams to be able to take it seriously.

  9. We definitely were 2nd best against Stoke in the ball drying competition.

  10. Alzation

    I ahve long advocated that the League Cup be over with before Xmas. Make the semis one leg, bring forward the date for R1 and involve all PL clubs from that point, except for those playing in CL or EL.

    YW

  11. You were second best!
    Just admit it and move on!

  12. I wasnt at the game yesterday, but from what I saw, I really did not think we were under much threat from Stoke once we got our equaliser and felt we would go on to win, or at worst get a draw.

    Eastmond was excellent, as was Sol and after a shaky start I thought Coquelin played very well.

    However, we do lack something upfront, which is not surpising given the injuries.

    I am kinda surprised we havent signed a striker, even on loan or whatever.

  13. We stood there laughing….ha,ha,ha!

  14. anyone think the extra time added on was too little? i believe it totalled on 6 mins for the entire match. most of stokes throw ins took excess of 20 seconds.

    Also the ref was really poor, Stoke should have had a penalty, but he also should have booked some of their players, how many fouls did they commit in total without a single yellow card? even if none of them were horrendous challenges i though persistent fouling was meant to be punished, a few yellows may have forced them to change a their strategy.

    Still arsenal weren’t good enough on the day in the end, it was always going to be tough, esp with the back 5 line up we had out.

  15. If/When we win the league, this defeat will be long forgotten, as will Stoke’s loss in the next round.

    Fucking joke the amount of time allowed for the football polishing every time the ball went out of play. The game should’ve been 110 minutes!

    And, having witnessed Stoke fans close up and personal (urrrggh) they are a sad bunch of knuckle dragging racist inbreds.

  16. A few years ago we would all have been more upset about going out of the cup but not now. How the fa cup has lost it’s reputation.

  17. There’s one thing that was done very well by Stoke yesterday. Not the team of course, but the Stoke crowd.

    They really know how to give the place an atmosphere and Arsenal supporters can sure learn from that. The noise the Stoke crowd made was really big.

    And I agree, Sol had a good game.

  18. Spike

    what game were you watching?How many shots did Sorenson make? Stoke were worthy winners

  19. Still cannot get over how effin good Sol was yesterday! Brilliant! His 1st game for how long??? Amazing.

    Looks like we will cope if Gallas or vermellen need a breather after all!

  20. Perhaps we will appreciate our first choice goalkeeper now!

    A little surprised by the various accolades in the press – and notoriously critical blogs – for Sol…..yes, he looked more secure than Sylvestre, but he also looked slow – he should only play alongside a much faster partner.

    I just hope Cesc has the energy left for Wednesday night, when we must go top again to set up our charge for world dominance.

  21. Mike;

    After our goal, we had most of the possesion and I diodnt feel we were under pressure from Stoke. Nothing to do about how many shots.

    But looking at your 1st post, you just want to bitch and moan, so feel free……..

  22. Big Johan;

    That was Sol’s 1st game for months and that 1 was a league 2 game FFS! Give the guy some credit, so are you itching to bitch as well?

  23. yes Sol was brilliant for 80 mins.

  24. I was more disappointed with some of the senior players. The kids did well i thought, all things considered, and theo has been out a long time so you can understand him needing more time.

    But the way Denilson just jogged alongside Sidibe not making any effort whatsoever to make a tackle or block the cross was what cost us that game.

    Best thing to come out of the game was that Sol looked good and is a much much better backup at centre half than Silvestre

  25. We have so many players out that AW really had no choice with regards to the team selection. Who else could he have chosen? We could have started with Eddy and AA but if they got injured people would have said that the Villa and ManU games were more important and that those players should not have been risked. Some fans are criticising the selection of a so-called weak team while others are saying that Cesc should not have played either.

    Some would argue that this is evidence that the squad is too weak but our position in the league table shows that this argument is a fallacy. We will see how strong we really in 2 weeks or so after our ridiculous fixture list of Villa, United, Chelsea, Liverpool in 2 weeks however. We had 10 players out so how many players do you need in a squad 30, 40? Who will pay for all these players? AW can’t complain about inexperience however, as he assembles the squad and has money to spend that he didn’t.

    It’s disappointing to go out but no more than that. The FA Cup has often hindered our push for the CL over the years and I believe that AW’s ambivalence towards the FA Cup is at least partially due to the FA’s reluctance in the past to move FA Cup fixtures and replays to help the teams on Europe.

    I have no sympathy whatsoever for Theo however. He was told by AW to not play for the England senior squad and the under 21s but he obviously knows better that AW and Theo has been injured ever since. Theo should have told Stuart Pearce where to go but he didn’t. Theo was as awful as he has been all season and the excuse of him being injured was at least partly self-inflicted. His wages are those of an international footballer but he has been unavailable for large parts of the season and hopeless when he has actually played. He was not the only one yesterday and Sol aside, I thought that the rest of the team were poor and did not look like they were particularly bothered – like the manager. I was disappointed with Fabianski as he was nervous throughout but it can’t be easy to come in from the cold as he often does.

    Its all about the next 4 games starting at Villa on Wednesday. If we do well in these games no one will remember yesterday.

  26. Result was not suprising considering the number of changes made and the fact that Stoke are a tough team to play away. Because we are still in the running for the premiership and the upcoming fixture list I think Arsene made the right decision.
    Arsene has always placed the FA cup as third priority behind the CL and premiership and he stuck to his guns. Whether he was right to not prioritise it over the last few seasons when we have been nowhere near winning the league is another question though.

    Positives: Sol’s performance, Eastmond and Emmanuel-Thomas played well, Ramsay very good when he came on, no replay.

    Negatives: Vela and Walcott both very poor, Fiabianski hesitant, Troare’s positioning, no attacking threat.

  27. That match, given the personnel on show, means very little to us in the context of this season.

    I would echo Big Johan though, I can appreciate now why Almunia is still No. 1. Fab looked flappy and nervous, I like him, but he’s not ready.

    And then there’s Theo, what are we gonna do with him?

  28. To the people that say Sol is slow, yeah he isn’t as fast as he used to be, no doubt. But reading the game and anticipating things like he can, can make up for that. Plus he wont always have Silvestre beside him

  29. sol looked really sharp and didnt deserve to be on the end of 3 goals.

    i thought we lost because of our fullbacks’ positioning.

    ironically, stoke didnt really hurt us with their long balls in, but they did when they started drilling the ball across low.

    before the two goals, they already drilled i think 2 balls across, and we werent exactly comfortable.

    stoke takes an excess of 20seconds per throw in, because they have to wipe the ball dry with a towel. kinda ridiculous, to be honest.

    it is of course disappointing to be knocked out of the fa cup, because although it is the least of our priority, it would have given other players a run-out.

    but let’s go for the premiership and the champions’ league. these two will more than make up for the fa cup.

  30. dsqd:

    i thought fabianski played well, other than the first goal maybe.

    he was aggressive in coming out to claim the balls stoke were sending in.

    the second and third goals…you can’t really fault him. the goals came about because we got it wrong defensively on the flanks.

  31. Arsenal…you’re gonna win f**k all !

  32. If our forward 3 had more than 5 starts this season between them, we would have won that match before we took the chance to throw it away. Even with that side and 10 changes, we gave it away at the end.

    The chance to go back to the top of the league the day after tomorrow, so maybe this is a moment to look forward not back? I certainly would have chosen yesterday if we had to lose a game this week.

    Great news to have Ramsey back, he looked sharp (apart from giving the ball away poorly before the second goal). We are desperately short in midfield now, I think he will start Wednesday, with Rosucky wide right – can’t see Theo starting, he looked real short of match sharpness.

  33. I don’t think Sylvestre did much wrong, he just doesn’t offer that much around the park.
    I thought Troare’s positioning was poor again.

  34. The time off prior to the Porto away leg is a pretty decent consolation prize.

    Would be great is Cameroon could lose today.

  35. Potter Power – and what are Stoke going to win apart from the longest throw contest?

  36. I can see Stoke City being dragged into the relegation places before the season’s out.

  37. Traore lets a lot of runners behind him as he gets too narrow and ahead of the centre-backs.

    They looked at it on the friday night live, robson and winterburn were very complimentary of his overall contribution since coming into the team, but the tape from everton was a littany of disasters.

    Hopefully he will get more consistent and positionally astute as he gets older, because he has all the other attributes to be a top full-back.

  38. I really hope Theo sorts it out. How long can we wait for him to develop into the player that he has been built up to become? I know he’s only 20 and has had major injury worries but if we really want to win something i think he and vela need a wake up call. Neither are scoring or looking like they’re going to any time soon. They are good back up but we need excellent back up with our injury problems.

    Fair play to Sol though, i was impressed with how long he kept going. Good to have him as 3rd choice over potato head.

  39. Bergkamp Ghoulfest

    Alright, alright. We can’t wish relegation on EVERY team that hands us a defeat. Stoke weren’t particularly malicious (not compared to the usual barrage of tackles our midfield maestros receive) and they deserved to win. Simple as.

  40. Bergkamp Ghoulfest

    Bolton, on the other hand…

  41. Fair play to stoke, they weren’t dirty – unlike last years league game.

    We dealt with all the set-pieces and long throws but the first, they didn’t beat us with that.

    Fuller had a very good game, but how on earth we let that clown get free to cross for the second I have no idea, he was useless, slow, and clumsy.

    Fabianski was pretty good, he made two errors all game, in very tough conditions for the keeper.

    We struggled to pass on the shit pitch and teh front 3 were well off the pace. There should only have been one winner though when the subs came on, it looked that way, but we were naive on the break … again.

  42. Walcott hasn’t played all year, strange people expect him to be superb straight away.

  43. My previous post was a bit harsh i know but i think we should make one attacking purchase before the end of Jan.

    Arsenehollis, totally agree re traore, great going forward but his positioning can be woeful at times. It’ll be great to have clichy back regularly

  44. “Troare’s positioning, no attacking threat”

    BigM – are these two seperate points, or one?

    Traore beat Huth several times down the left, to whip in some decent crosses. Crosses that Bendtner will be gobbling up once he’s back.

    No attacking threat from the whole team? That’s a bit harsh. Cesc’s effort, tipped over the bar by Sorenson was a threat, Vela hitting the side netting was a threat. Denilson’s goal was certainly a threat.

    The pitch was atrocious. There really should be a minimum standard of groundskeeping upheld, if the premier league is going to be considered one of the best leagues in the world – we should at least enforce playing surfaces on which football can actually be played.

    It’s all part of the romance of the FA Cup though isn’t it? Giving shit teams a chance. I bet they tread down some of those humps and hummocks for their next PL game.

  45. Spot on Limpar, i bet they do get the rollers out too…

  46. Oh dear the trolls are out. Potter Power, TJ and Tomboy are all the same child…

  47. You’ve gotta love those trolls. Have they not got any kind of life at all? Is there no way of moderating them YW?

  48. Team for Villa, any guesses?

    I think:

    Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaalen, Clichy, Denilson, Cesc, Ramsey, Rosicky, Eduardo, Arshavin.

    It will be another good test of the teams mental strength, to bounce back from the loss with a good performance and win.

  49. BG, I’m not exactly wishing relegation on anybody (except Hull), but I do worry for Stoke City. They beat an Arsenal Reserve side by two goals against the run of play.

    They can only survive on their limited talents in the Premier League for so long. As teams like Wolves, Wigan, West Ham and the like begin to click, they will be rewarded for their ability to play football – and they will all start beating Stoke – who have no ability whatsoever. Hopefully attendances pick up at the Britannia and Stoke fans don’t take Premier League football for granted because it won’t last.

  50. Looks like an awseome team to me hollis. If ever there’s been a time to prove our mental strength and resillience, the next few matches are it. With that team we could beat most teams, just think what our strongest 11 (without injuries) would be capable of…

  51. Limpar – there are worse sides than Stoke, that will keep them up.

    I would like Hull, Bolton, and if Fat twat is still manager Blackburn to go down. They are all poor, but equally, Burnley and Wolves don’t look very good. Stoke have some decent defenders and are more solid than any of that lot.

  52. Bergkamp Ghoulfest

    Limpar, funny how you do end up cheering for some of the lower teams based on the quality of their football. I really hope Zola starts getting results at West Ham and Burnley also play a very positive game, mostly. Wengerball all around, I say.

  53. Would be handy if the manc derby could go to extra-time, pens, have a punch-up, massive media fall-out and 5 red cards.

  54. Entirely predictable result, especially as we had only one of our first XI starting.

    Arsene has gambled, hopefully it will pay off. Interestingly Chelsea have played the majority of their first team in most cup games. Presumably they are expending less energy securing wins. (Sunderland played two 18 year old debutants in midfield getting stuffed 6-2). We however seem to have to expend much more effort to secure our wins.

    We still make stupid defensive mistakes. Defensive mistakes have cost us against Man Utd and Chelsea already this season. The first goal yesterday was typical, had no one discussed how the team were to deal with Delap’s long throws. Similarly Traore has demonstrated poor positional play throughout his run in the side. Where is the defensive coaching.

  55. Two separate points Limparassist. I agree that Traore looked good going forward, but he needs to learn his defensive positioning.
    How much of a theat were Vela and Walcott? We never really looked like scoring from open play and our goal was from a set piece.
    There wasn’t much between the treams though, and we were a bit sloppy defensively for a couple of the goals.

  56. big M,

    i thought traore is the best crosser among our fullbacks.

    if only clichy can cross like him!

  57. Bergkamp Ghoulfest

    @arseneholis

    And a touchline ban for Old Red Nose?

  58. Hollis Burnlry can stay up, I loved that they beat Manu early in the season.

    Teams i’d love to be relagated.

    Bolton
    Hull
    Stoke
    and Manu-malice on my part but I cant help myself

  59. We could have played our strongest 11 and lost!!these things happen.

  60. In would love that list of cloggers to go down Firstlady. Although seeing Blackburn go down wouldn’t upset me too much either

  61. no.7, I agree with you, Traore put in a couple of really good crosses and Clichy’s and Sagna’s crossing is often disappointing.

  62. arsenehollis, yup – that’s the team for me. With any luck, Nik and Sami might make the bench.

    TheBigM, I don’t know where Traore was for the second – we were playing with 2 at the back at that point and it didn’t pay-off. For all the times our gung-ho overloading of the opposition half gets us into trouble though – there are countless times when it pays off in goals. It’s how we play, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. Having said that, this approach has to be tethered with good cover from the midfield – Denilson, fresh back from injury, had put a big shift in all day, and couldn’t make the ground up.

    I think Vela and Walcott suffered for the whole team’s failure to launch into our passing game. When they did get the ball, which was rarely, they had a shitty bog of a pitch to contend with – not to mention a lack of first team minutes in recent games.

  63. Sol maybe slow but not as slow as that donkey Denilson! Can anybody tell me what he offers the team? He can’t run, he can’t tackle, he can’t make a pass longer than two yards, he can’t create an attacking move yet he’s always on the teamsheet if he’s not injured. I have far more faith in Ramsey and Eastmond. A complete waste of space!

  64. Stoke may not win anything but at least we’re not a bunch of glory-seeking morons.
    Up the Potters!

  65. Champions in May

    Say it as it should. Apart from the goal, Eastmond was better than Denilson. Denilson just jogged alongside the player without making any challenge till he crossed. Can’t blame Sol for that he had a great first game. Denilson was also poor in the middle and apart from the goal Eastmond did better than him. If given chances, Eastmond will eventually replace Denilson; he’s had so many chances but his development is stagnant, he doesn’t bring anything unusual in his game.

    Why didn’t Aw use Clichy? He needed games but chose to use a non-defender in a defensive position. Traore can never be a defender; he chose to be a LW instead of defending his position. He was also at fault for the second goal for ‘refusing’ to mark his man. The blame is Traore’s not Sol.

    I’ll suggest Sol and TV against hoofing ball teams, Chelsea, Pool, Hull, Stokes and Blackburn.

  66. nah your just a bunch of fish n chip eating pot heads.

  67. Hmmmm doom and gloom.

    I for one liked seeing that lineup. Taking some positives from the game, those lads will learn more from that than 10 easy wins.

    Sol looked really good, and it’s a testament to cesc’s current fitness that he was played.

    Never mind we will have to do with 2 trophies.

    Come on you gunners!!

  68. Bring on Moneybags City!

  69. I agree with Wenger. It would have been an act of madness to take the first team away to Stoke, knowing what kind of game it might be, risk injury, and expect to have a fighting chance over the next 4 games, and thereafter start the CL rounds. It’s not a matter of ‘if we win the EPL’ then all is forgotten, it’s common sense. I think FA cup has lost its romance anyway, just too much damn football all round.

    I thought Sol was quite OK and Coquelin too, and I enjoyed watching JET. The winning goals, both came directly from R and L back mistakes. Traore AWOL on the first, and Eastmond unable to cope on the second. Aw shucks, it don’t matter to me.

    I enjoy every Arsenal outing, no matter what.

  70. Bert Kamp

    I agree with you. What does Denilson bring to this team? What did Arsene see in him to warrant a whole trip from England to Brazil; pay 3.5+ excluding hotel bills, scouting fees and other expenses to bring this donkey here. He doesn’t pass beyond five yards.

  71. If it wasn’t for Stoke FC’s reputation off the field (racism) I would have a soft spot for their team; they work hard and can play attacking football.

  72. At least we got a game against The Spurs!

  73. Stoke were bordering on the illegal with some of their challenges. I remember one of their players purposely SITTING on Fabianski’s leg after a corner, whilst Fabianski was trying to get up-deliberate.

    We needed to have kept them out for the 1st 20 mins. We didn’t……..

    After that though I though we coped with their aerial assault well.

    We had no real quality posession.

    The pitch was awful.

    Stoke at home are a tough proposition. Unfortunately for them they play away next round.

    Traore is a defensive liability. I like the lad but his positioning over the last few games has been terrible. (or is it that he getting no help on the LHS)

    Sol played well-as did Silvestre, who gamely battled on with an injury.

    Our full backs were a problem all day.

    Coquelin & Eastmond got more gerat experience.

    JEt def. looks one with a bright future.

    The needs more game time

    Vela needs to start imposing himself on games.

    Obviusoly, disappointed but a win on Wed and all will be forgotten!!

  74. Attacking football? with their 30sec ball toweling and those freaking long throws I’d rather see the back of them.

    About the toweling I cant seem to remember seeing them doing it, is it new or did I catch on it(it peeved me to no end by the way) coz were on the back foot?

  75. and whom do chelsea play nxt and is it home or away?

  76. ZimPaul, I agree. It really is too bad.

    Wenger is secretly happy, I think, judging by his comments after the manures went out of the FA Cup. I am disappointed for sure but what’s done is done and it is time to move on. The squad can use the rest.

  77. vivb,

    Chelski always get easy draws in cup competitions. You’d almost think they’re fixing it. How can a club have such exceptional luck?

    They usually get lower league opposition at home.

  78. Stoke played goon futebol. Sad but true. I think Wenger did right. The top priority is always the EPL title. Second is Champions League. The only question I have is why risk Fabregas and Denilson getting hurt when we have huge matches coming up in the EPL. Time will tell. I have a sense this will all work out. http://bobbygee.wordpress.com/

  79. Seeing the contrast here between the articulate posts from Arsenal fans and the offerings from the Stoke contingent makes me proud to be a Gooner. Hell, half the Gooner posts have given praise where it’s due to Stoke, whereas the reply from the Potters is playground name-calling. Classy, guys…

  80. Ole whom did they get this time?

  81. They got Cardiff at home.

  82. Someone at the club needs to tell Traore that LB’s are supposed to defend.He hasnt got any positional sense

    And to all those who think Fabianski is good enough.dream on

  83. Sendy has left the building.

  84. Sendy’s off to Everton for the rest of the season. With Jagielka injured and that aggy aussie bloke off to Turkey, he should get games. Good luck, Big Phil.

  85. Ole

    So we had hard draws last season on the way to the semi did we?

  86. Senderdross

    better than Tweety but not Sol.

  87. Fabianski made a mistake with the first goal. It’s a mistake you can expect a keeper who’s not played much to make as he was unwilling to clatter the man.

    Beyond that he had a good game. Commentators place Arsenal keepers on trial, putting every action under a magnifying glass, and many fans buy that.

    He catches the ball, he gets criticised for how he catches. He comes and punches, they suggest maybe he could have caught….

    It’s laughable how quickly people come online repeating what the commentators said.

    Don’t worry chaz guy, I saw the game too and heard the commentary.

  88. Chaz we might have got it easy last season but it hasnt always been like that unlike chavs in the past 3 seasons..I was hoping they’d get leeds away.

  89. chav guy,

    we didn’t have easier draws than they did. And yes, , I’m not just talking about this season, I’m saying for the last 4 seasons or so, Chelsea always get easy draws, often at home to lower league opposition in both domestic cups.

    Fact.

  90. Denilson is crap. He’s a disgrace to Brazilian football. I can’t believe such a player plays regularly.

    Get of Sol. Sol is faster than Senderos.

  91. Firstlady, I like how you’ve assumed Leeds will beat Spurs in the replay.

  92. David Villa hinting on that he want’s to come to us. That’s how I read it anyway.

    Bye bye PIP

  93. If we can get back on top Wwednesday night, I really fancy us to beat manure at our place. They lean to heavily on Rooney and their midfield wont be able to handle the pace of our play.

    If we can take 6 points now in the league, it will be a brilliant week to build up to the chav match.

    Im off to cheer for whoever is playing cameroon. We’ve only got one song, so we need him back. Hopefully he can win the world cup as a consolation prize.

  94. The Egyptians.

  95. A shame we couldn’t get Saha for 6 months in exchange for Senderos.

    David Villa would be brilliant.

    I know it sounds stupid and flies in the face of everything Wenger, but if we got a decent price I wouldn’t mind us signing Robinho.

    No idea if Moses or Remy are any good, has anyone seen either? Same for Smalling.

    I still think we will get a couple of players. With the schedule opening up after Liverpool, in the league, it would allow us to rest a few more in preperation for European games.

    If we get 8 points from the next 4 games, we couldn’t lose more than 2 points to any side we play. If we get 10, then we will run away with the title. Villa is crucial though, we can’t slip up there, it will make the pressure massive in the next two.

  96. The other donkey, Senderos is just going to leak goals and score og’s over there. I’m amazed fans still crave for him after all the harm he caused. Any memory of Arsenal v Blackburn FA semi, CL with pool, CC finals and a lot crap performances here including og against Villa in 07/8 season when we were fighting to win something.

    At 24, Sol Campbell at 35 is still faster than him. He’ll never get a regular play at Everton. No club wanted to pay money for him. He’s that crap and a waste of money for the 6 years he was here.

    He’ll be remembered as being at par with Cygan, Sylvestre and Stepanov.

  97. Clown

  98. nasirjonesnasri

    I see the scum are out tying to undermine our squad again. The Denilson haters can do one. Keep whingeing guys, it just makes for larger laughs down the road.

  99. I wish we’d kept Senderos. I still believe his true level was that shown in that league and cup run from Feb to May 2006. He was fantastic.

    The other time he had an Extended run in the side was Jan-Feb 08 and he generally played well till he collapsed in the CL quarter finals.

    I think he’s a good defender. He’s certainly good enough to be a squad player here, at least better than Silvestre.

  100. Yes, I wish Sendy all the best. One of the ‘might have been greats’ in my opinion.

    Sometimes, things just don’t work out.

  101. yeah well moda ur a fuckin idiot arnt u.

  102. nasirjonesnasri

    Moda will be remembered for moaning alongside notorious moaners like Geoff, Pedro, Joe, James, and Howard.

  103. ole gunner he is coming back for next season though, after a world cup of experience he will be a gr8 squad player.

    come on egypt by the way.

    I hope song scores a hatrick but they still lose 4-3

  104. Zap, doesn’t look like he’s being offered a new contract.

  105. ok og.

    villa is a must win. its an obvious statement but it is such an important game, we need a platform for the 2 crucial ones.

  106. We should beat Villa. We’re better than them all-round.

    And despite the relatively few number of goals they’ve conceded, they have a crap back 4.

    Dunne gets so many plaudits but he’s very average, as are Cuellar, Warnock & co.

    They concede central midfield to dominate the wings; in that sense they’re like Bolton with pacy wingers, very mechanical.

    I fancy any 3 of our midfielders, if they turn up, to dominate Petrov and Milner who work hard but have no real passing forward passing quality.

    We should beat Villa. If we turn up, pass well, aggressively defend the two wings, and aggressively defend balls they do get into the box, we will beat Villa.

  107. Sad to see Senderos go, I wouldn’t be surprised if he became a top defender. His level might be a notch below Arsenal, but he would do fantastically for a side such as Everton.

    If we can win at Villa, 2 of the next 3 are at home and we can play with a positive attitude rather than immense pressure not to get beaten.

  108. arseneholis,

    I think if you’re good enough to play for Everton you’re good enough to be back up at Arsenal.

  109. I’m as confident as you are, Ole. Also Warnock is injured – I don’t know how they deal with that (swap Luke Young over and have Habib Beye on the right?) but either way it’s gonna give Bac and Theo (if he gets on) a weak spot to run at.

    With only Heitinga and Distin ahead of him, Sendy will be playing soon enough. Maybe soon enough to fight the good fight against Chelsea and Manu when they go to Goodison back to back in a few weeks time!

  110. ole gunner, i think the most important players against villa will be the full backs. sagna and cliche need big games, don’t forget the pace they have. we will dominate in midfield but the fact of the matter is who will take their chances?

    Who knows.

  111. Zap,

    I agree 100%. Who will take their chances?

  112. Limpar-

    so he will basically still be playing for us!!

    btw abt the channels-

    just go on myp2p.eu

  113. Ole – I would have loved Senderos to have made it with us, but that didn’t happen. He is much better than Silvestre I think. However, it seems that things broke down between him and the manager or club and he needed a change. He may wind up being similar to Upson.

    Central defence will be an interesting spot for us now. Assuming Silvestre and Campbell go, we will need to buy or promote. Djourou looks good, but who knows after that sort fo lay-off, so we will start next season with only Gallas and Vermaalen. Maybe Bartley will get a chance, but he is very young for that position, so we might go out and get one or two who we can groom to replace Gallas long term and partner TV in teh future.

  114. oh no.

    cameroon 1-0 egypt

  115. We should beat Villa, but after getting drubbed at ours they will be up for a match. It won’t be easy.

    I think our wing players will be crucial. If Arshavin and Rosicky can draw the midfield wide it will open space for cesc and eduardo. They will be our outlet on the break also. If Villa go for it, we need to be able to exploit the space and lack of pace in their defence.

    I reckon Arshavin will score a few in the coming 2 weeks, he is just getting warmed up for the run-in, now is his time. He can change the tight games.

    It would be good to see the wide players move about more, come central and go ahead of the attack sometimes.

  116. C’mon Egypt

  117. arseneholis,

    Johan Djourou!

    Havard Nordtveit!

    These two will have to get in the team pretty soon or they go the way of Senderos.

  118. egypt arent able to keep possession for more than 10 seoconds..can’t believe they conceded such a soft goal considering the fact that each and every corner was exactly the same

  119. That’s right, Zap. It’ll be like having a secret agent working undercover for The Arsenal.

    I have more time for Silvestre now than ever before. He played on valiantly after being kicked up in the air by Fuller(?) and clearly injured.

  120. emperor gooner/kush sharma

    i know egypt r pathetic today

  121. yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees

  122. goodness me!!! what a cracker!! 1-1 ..get in!!!

  123. i take that comment back!!

    what a goal!

  124. I believe that our problems in defence are mainly caused by the midfield who, in the absence of Alex Song, do not protect the back four at all.

    Traore looks dangerous going forward but his positional sense needs to improve drastically. He received zero protection from Vela however and on the other wing Theo provided no assistance to Coquelin either. Denilson struggled to make tackles in front of the centre-backs which left Sol and Silvestre isolated against any forwards.

    I thought that Silvestre did ok and even made a few tackles and won some headers even after he was injured. Cesc managed a couple of tackles but no more than that.

  125. Haven’t Egypt’s ‘golden generation’ thrown in the towel now? Mohammed Zidan, Zaki, that fat ex-spurs one,; aren’t they all far too old?

    It’s time for the new breed to step forward – but the Ancient Egyptians are a tough act to follow.

  126. We’ve conceded many goals all season. Suddenly Song is Jesus who held up the dam all by himself.

    Bollocks.

  127. 34 m….how many yards is that?

  128. can we go top again on wednesday?

  129. @ ole gunner

    true …but there is more to song’s game…he’s good at creating space in the midfield which helps the flow to our game..he’s very good at turning and changind directions..he adds another dimnesion

  130. Flint McCullough

    Good appraisal, YW, although I thought the big plus was the performance of young Craig Eastmond, who clearly is a good reader of the game & is fast becoming a good solid member of the squad capable of filling several duties. We need his type as well as the more extravagant creators.

    Also Sol & Sylvestre did well. Coquelin grew into the game but looks way short at the moment, whilst JET did enough to show he can be put in for the right occasion.

    Difficult game for Theo & Vela but you would have hoped for more from them. Theo simply did not contribute but to be fair needs the games for fitness & confidence.

    AW got the tactics right putting us in a position for 3 seniors, including Ramsey in that now, to go on for 20 minutes to win the game. Unfortunately it was Stoke who seized the initiative from there to deservedly win the game. No complaints, we needed the home draw for this type of match.

    The decision to play this team will be proved right or wrong by our performance at Villa. In all honesty the disappointment from this loss (I am as bad as the next man in defeat) was diluted by the draw for the next round. Man City away would not have been a game for the kids just before Porto away.

    I see there are still some Denilson denegraters here. He is lacking form at the moment coming back from injury but he is a top class performer, who always puts in a shift that the tv viewer might not always appreciate.

  131. has anyone seen the advert on eurosport where the guy buys a light blue shirt and sends it to his son where he recieves it and is on the phone to him when their team scores?

  132. Exiting the FA Cup at this early stage is always disappointing. Wenger’s team selection focussed on the next four matches rather than yesterday. Was he right to do so? The end of the season will tell.

    if we dont win a shit this season also then will yogi have a blast at wenger for yesterday. i dont think so…..

  133. Emperor Gooner,

    Song has been fantastic for us, playing sometimes like Ruud Gullit.

    And we do miss him.

  134. The only team that stands to win a shit this season is the team that buys David Bentley.

  135. is it me, or does the ball move rather weirdly at the african nations cup?

  136. Leave off Theo and Vela.

    What do you expect from them?

    They are casualties of our new formation. No real role for true wingers when you play a 4-3-3 is there. If either truly flash to the wing they leave the midfield covered by a single player.

    Arshavin and Rosicky are better cutting through the edges of the box and their passing vision sets Fab up for goals. Our success has been in narrow play through the short passing game, not through wide balls to the wing. Crosses aren’t going to help us, neither is the outlet passing in the deep wings because the overlap from Sagna and Clichy/Traore have no one to cross to.

    Like RvP early on, they are struggling to adjust to new roles, only with far far less time on the pitch.

  137. When are Bendtner, Diaby, and Nasri expected back?

  138. axis,

    well vela does have a place in the new formation. i think he has the guile to play on the flanks.

  139. I think that as a “newer” an non UK Gooner, my perspective on the FA Cup prevents me from getting upset about the match yesterday, at least in terms of the “big picture”

    i thought AW rested the right people, we cant expect Gallas and TV to be machines afterall, and i think AA especially will benefit from the limited action

    and the THeo and Vela stuff, is i agree axis, just tired and misdirected. i think bc we are so used to giving our yougn players chances that when they dont produce at the levels they’re capable of, some of us become upset bc we’re used to our first teamers being already at the top top level.

    didnt the people who are hating on theo and vela (le groan crowd im looking at you) learn their lesson doubting TH14??

  140. Ole @4:57

    i agree.. i think Song’s absence really shows how valuable he has been this season. if it werent for Fab’s unbelieveable season thus far, i would say he is our MVP

  141. We do go back top of the league with a win Wednesday.

    Ole – I rate Djourou very highly, but after a season out with a bum knee, it might take a while for him to ready. Look at Eduardo and Rosicky and the follow on injuries before they were clear of the big lay-off.

    Maybe we will get a bench of Campbell, Song, Bendtner, Vela, Walcott, Nasri for Wednesday, that would be sweet.

  142. one disadvantage walcott has playing for arsenal is that he can’t use his pace unless we are breaking from corners.

    let’s face it, when teams play us, you immediately see 11 players in their own half, and there is no space behind the defence for walcott.

  143. the longer this match goes on , the more likely it is that cameroon will snatch a late goal..not necessarily because they are the better team or they’re creating more chances but simply because all of us support arsenal

  144. No7 – that is nullified if we have the lead.

  145. Any one with a stream to Cameroon game?

  146. oooh- song in a tussle with meteeb.

    i like it.
    you dont mess with alex song…

    i’m annoyed we wont have diaby without song where will our muscle come from?

  147. G4e click on ”sopcast”

    download it.

  148. Oh thanks Zap, but I’m at work and I can’t install Sopcast here 🙂

  149. California Gooner

    On the Arsenal site, Arsene talks about Gallas playing on the edge of getting injured — something that most fans would probably concur with just based on casual observation. How do you think he will handle this over the next four games? Will we see Sol substituted in at 60 minutes? Can we even afford to pull Willie G off the pitch during these next games?

  150. In fact everyone who needs streams for anymatch.

    click on the link,

    download sopcast.

    once u finished click on ”live sports”

    click on the match u want to watch.

    it will have a collection of streams, click ”play” on a stream that says ”sopcast” on it and watch.

  151. oh, sorry G4e.

    it’s a horrible game anyway…

    still 1:1 it;s a really really crap game.

  152. Blessings to one gooner worldwide family.
    The team was lacking a bit of thrust yesterday which is why Theo still looked like a lost bunny rabbit. I expect him to take these games by the scruff of the neck like the crazy little warthog Coquelin. He is a squashy face too but is better than the brazilian squashy face. Don’t worry gooners, Wednesday night is the big one, and the team, god willing, will stampede all over the Agbonlahor snakeboy and his baldhead teammates. I spit on them

    Blessings.

  153. We seem to be starting very slowly these days. In both Bolton games plus Everton & now Stoke we`ve handed the initiative to the opposition & struggled to get going. It`s something that can`t be allowed to happen in our next four matches.

    Like others, I`ve been very impressed with Craig Eastmond. He takes responsibility, reads the game well & doesn`t try to over do things.

    As for Theo, he seems to be as frustated with his form / injuries as the fans & media are but he just needs a goal or two to recover confidence. I`m sure he`ll play a big part for us over the next 4 months

  154. That’s ok, I will follow it on EuroSport then

  155. California Gooner

    Gunner4Ever, download TVU — try channel 79038. In general, livetv dot ru will give you a pretty good option of streams.

  156. arsenehollis,

    i just feel that teams don’t afford us the space they afford chelsea and man u. if we have that kind of space those teams give those two teams, we would be scoring much more!

    i don’t want to go into an argument with you, but i honestly feel that even when we go 2, 3 goals up, teams still stay back.

    hence our patient passing game. walcott suffers because to me, among all our attackers, his technique is the worst.

  157. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arsenal_and_Chelsea_football_rivalry

    maybe if u would like to look at the ”HONOURS” section…

  158. egypt are playing like crap.

    it just shows that winning a tournament is not about winning the first three group games effortlessly.

    it is about growing into the tournament.

  159. A raggamuffin ode to red and white tings.

    ‘Now the fans arent feeling low, cause the Arsenal they will show,that bombasstic badboy flow, all the premier league will know, Chelsea is a bitch, a ho, Wenger let his tree dem grow, making all around look slow, ashley coles a pig and joe, he is no longer my bro, now its time for us to show, with our players like Theo, title race we shall not blow, cause the man like Arsene know. Yes the man like Arsene know’

    Jah Bless

  160. Blessings be to Mamasita Ayahuasca.

    David Rocastle RIP

  161. ET !!!!!!!!!

  162. Thank you for the links guys, really appreciate it.

  163. extra time.

  164. thanks geremi

  165. our boy’s coming back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!2-1

  166. welcome back song!

  167. dont be so sure notlager.

    still half an hour m8.

  168. what a free-kick!!! 3-1..get the f** in !

  169. but that wasn’t a goal. really unlucky for cameroon.

  170. can i take the comment back?

  171. Phantom goal.

    Awful decision. I want Alex back, but not like this, especially if he’s totally demoralised.

  172. i feel sorry for cameroon. they don’t deserve that.

  173. it’s 3-1 abc.

  174. Looks like Song is coming home. He’ll be down about not getting through, but at least he can hold his head up high regarding his own performances.

  175. can song play vs villa??

  176. Just logged in – is there controversy about the third Egypt goal?

  177. fungunner

    the keeper smacked onto the bar and it was thought to have crossed the line before it bounced back into the 6 yard box

  178. Yesterday I wanted Cameroon out and now I feel bad for Song….it’s OK Song, come back and win the league with us.

  179. he’ll be shattered even if he doesn’t make wed.

    he’ll be back for manu. oh i’m even more confident now about the next few weeks.

  180. ooh imagine an egypt-algeria match in the ACN!!

  181. YEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSS

    We got SONG BACK.

  182. Well, Not so sure about all this gloating. This poor bloke has gone out of a competition on two successive nights!

    Hardly a boost to morale.

  183. Diaby should be fit to for Manure.

    Diaby, Song and Cesc will beat all-comers

  184. i don’t understand this!! this is football!! losing is a part of sports and one should have it in their character to pick themselves up..arshavin’s case was different and one may empathise , but this is entirely different..these guys get paid like hell..if song isn’t played against villa , it would be quite a shame!!

  185. Especially if the all-comers include Darren Fletcher and Michael Carrick.

  186. With the world cup so soon and so much to play for at club level, I can’t see Song being too gutted at this point in time. Down for sure, but not out.

    Maybe he will even make the bench for Villa, in case of emergency.

  187. Song won’t be in the squad for Villa. He won’t be back in the country until Wednesday and Wenger will want to see him train after all that travel and football in Africa.

  188. fletcher will be key for manu.

    Song, please kick the shit out of him to take out ur frustrations, i hope he does i really do..

    it’s either that or he’s demoralised.

  189. Thanks, Zap.

    Coming back to his mates at Arsenal will cheer Alex up. He’ll go straight back in the team and not have a chance to mope and he will love that he has been missed. A rousing chorus of “We’ve only got one Song” will be in order on Saturday.

    Mad Manu Boo-boo and Song back for the weekend! And neither of them injured! Hurray!!!! Yippeeeeeeeeee!**

  190. I feel bad for cameroon.

  191. I was thinking that Limpar, Fletcher will get played off the park, dirty little git.

    In a title race this tight ever little thing can make a difference. We have suffered badly with injuries, worse than any other team, but maybe we will get a few breaks now.

    A filthy Manc derby full of niggle, kicks, emotionally draining, extra time, and an all around distraction would be nice.

    When Europe starts again focus and squad depth will be crucial. We however have the easier games, better draw, no glamour tie, or old coach to get caught up in.

    If we can win these next 4, or enough to be top, it might open up for us in both competitions.

  192. Diaby fit for the weekend, you say? This gets better and better!

    And isn’t Bendtner meant to be starting at Aston Villa?

    This will lift the entire squad. Reinforcements on the way.

    I do feel sorry for Cameroon, but I can’t pretend I’m not happy to have Song back.

  193. That wasn’t a goal for Egypt! Cameroon should demand to be the 5th team in the semi-finals!

  194. AW should try and rile some doomers saying that they’ll be like new signings.

  195. Limpar were you joking about Zaki and Zidan bieng old?

  196. Nice one Ole.

    With Diaby, Song and Bendtner back by weeks end, we will suddenly be the big boys dominating in the air and bullying smaller sides.

    I can’t wait for tomorrow. I’ll be down the bar an hour early to get the big screen for the Arsenal match, then have a chat with my Nan on the phone from the Emirates. Top of the league beckons.

  197. Sad to say, BUT AFRICAN CUP IS A JOKE, most goals you see come from absurdly embarrassing mistakes, cameroon may be more talented but Egypt is a team passionate AND organized , mystery why they never make it to WCup.. anyway.. who cares right?

  198. Song is back, we will not have to be embarrassed again, let’s hope like yesterday with that void in midfield anchor that made Wenger’s jugular triple substitution look so impotent. Let’s hope the team is up for it in Villa. such losses can have a dynamic of their own as we all remeber from previous yearS , loose a cuptie and unravel your season

  199. apparently manu and song are good friends so along with the rest of the team i think he will recieve a warm welcoming..

  200. We beat Stoke in the F.A cup.

    We face man city away in the next round.

    We get knocked with a demoralising defeat, 3rd in a row at eastlands. someone gets injured.

    We draw our next 4 games.

    Title hopes vanish.

    We AVOID this. We will have MORE rest going into the Champions league game against porto.

  201. i meant manu eboue, of course..

  202. Manu play Sat 12.45 away to Everton after Wed in Milan. Then Fulham 12.45 Sat after the return Leg.

    Chavs play man city 12.45 kick off after away to Inter. Then Away to blackburn after the return.

    We play home to sunderland after our away game, then Hull away after the home leg, all sat 3pm.

    Small differences, but every point helps.

  203. I’m glad that Song will be back on the one hand, but I cannot celebrate his team going out of the competition especially in controversial circumstances. That is the kind of thing that can play on your mind and affect your game. If he comes back and does not pick up where he left off, I can just imagine the stick he will get. People really have to be careful what they wish for.

  204. Haha Big Al. I think Arsene does that on purpose. Wind them up, f*** with their minds. He will sign a couple of youngsters just to take a p*** at the doomers. Probably, laugh his a** off when he gets home and thinks about the reactions he receives. In Arsene we trust.

  205. If Song can’t deal with a loss, then we were in trouble anyway – we need more strength than that. I seriously doubt it though. Remember, Arshavin was captain and blew his last ever chance for a world cup, it is very different.

  206. “We could have played our strongest 11 and lost!!these things happen.”

    Yes, firstlady – this is the eventuality that is never considered.

    **
    @ arsenhollis, LA, OG
    Djourou is ready to be backup, but we don’t know about Nordtveit yet. Perhaps that’s why Wenger is sort of considering Smalling?

    @ Paulie Walnuts
    “We seem to be starting very slowly these days.”
    Agree, it is a worry.

  207. At least it wasn’t the final or semifinal. It’s much harder to go out then, because you have started to dream…

  208. arseneholis you could just as easily argue that Arshavin being older and more experienced should have been able to handle the disappointment better.

  209. FG – Harvard has been playing DM in Germany, maybe a Song style change in position?

  210. Not really Passenal, age works against you when you have to watch the last chance pass you by.

  211. what do u guys think the biggest hope of chelski dropping points r?

    b’ham?

    citeh?

    everton?

    us?

  212. Chelsea play manure after a Champ League QF date. They have an early kick-off with shitty oil toy after a CL game. I don’t think they will beat us again. Everton look like the form team in the league, after us – with Senderos they will get even better.

    They will get old and tired playing on 3 fronts, they haven’t handled that in 3 years.

  213. arshavin will still be good when he’s 35. pace is not his main asset, arsenehollis

    as long as he is still able to control the ball and slam it home he can produce a liverpool-esque goal for years to come.

  214. winning the league against citeh in the summer would be gr8, with viera scoring a purposeful own goal after emotionally shattering thanks to an unbelievably warm welcome.

  215. Maybe he goes to the next world cup, but he wont be the main man, captain, star player in his prime. He never got the chance to build on his showing at the Euros.

  216. I really think Song should not be down about this, his National team played like crap all tournament. He’s young and will have many shots at the ACN & World Cups to come.

    He should be raring to go mentally, but I can’t assess physically. After all his chances of winning something is probably bigger with his club rather than his Country (at least at the moment).

  217. lol Arsenehollis you don’t think arshavin will be the main man and Captain for Russia when he’s 32..

  218. In fact I can’t assess both his mental & physical status, I hope he will be strong, but we should at least show him how much we welcome him back when he plays for us

  219. arshavin isnt a pensioner u know….he’s only 28 for goodness sake!! btw how old is drogba? 32.

  220. i like ur pic g4e. thats the celebration v blackburn init. nice.

  221. I am not in any position to judge the mental or physical state of Song either, but since no one wanted to consider the possibility of the loss affecting Song, I thought I would. The gloating is unseemly as it may not mean anything to us, but to Song it would mean a great deal.

  222. Most likely you’re right Passenal, no one wants to lose anything. What I hope for Song is not to be down so much since he’s so young and still have all to play for…it would definitely be much harder if he was 32 not 20something.

  223. cesc for pfa player anyone, lets NOT some chelski or man U mug win it.

    http://fansaward.givemefootball.com/vote-0e40ca0b-8460-47b6-b0f7-853d8b1f6bf3

    Also I feel bad for song I would have took the sacrifice for him to win the ACN.

  224. No ones gloating, but it is good for Arsenal so fans enjoy it.

  225. don’t worry its not your last chance ever Arsenhollis lol ,you can still recover..

  226. I completely disagree with everyone who has suggested that our defeat to Stoke was inevitable. Once we had equalised, the worst I could see happening was that the game would end 1-1. Our substitutions should have made certain of the victory, but they failed to have the expected effect. In fact, we got worse after the substitutions were made.

  227. There will be many more.

  228. Denilson’s goal didn’t get a lucky deflection. Whatever deflections there were had an imperceptible effect on the path of the ball. If any luck was involved, it was that the ball was not deflected, but went exactly where Denilson intended it to go.

  229. just don’t blow it..

  230. Poli the best players create their own luck..

  231. California Gooner

    I guess both Chelsea and we get our all of African players back now. I guess Song won’t be ready for the Villa game, but this is bad news for Man U.

  232. I’ve forgotten about the Stoke result already, and moved on (as YW said, it will mean something in their history book). Is it me or does the FA Cup not hold the same allure it once did? Perhaps there are much more important competitions these days and more chances to get into Europe rather then through the FA Cup. It’s a nice day out for the finalists especially if one of them is from the lower divisions.
    But isn’t Stoke a depressing place, did it not once get voted the worst place to live in England? If my American friend only knew where that English china was made! Perhaps the win will cast a ray of sunshine into their miserable existences.
    Or maybe we could send Tunday/William/Howard to amuse them?

  233. The subs didn`t work at Stoke but Arsene was trying to win the game when most sides would have been content to play for a replay.

    Three goals in five games for our young Brazilian – form which would normally be well received if it were anyone else.

    Like others it`s impossible to know how difficult it will be for Song to overcome tonights defeat & recover his EPL form but his sheer professionalism this season indicates that it won`t be a problem

  234. On top of that there is the flight, time difference and going from the extreme heat in Africa to the cold in London. Let’s hope he does adjust quickly, but be prepared to be a little patient if he does not hit the ground running.

  235. Song is on his way. A win against Manure will cheer him up but its more likely he will not be involved in that game or possibly come on at some stage.

    When Wenger said “Drogba did nothing” when we lost against the Chavs pundits and certain experts just laughed at the comment. Having watched Drogba last night against Algeria I can see what he was trying to say. He was immobile most of the game and looked like his legs are gone. Without a good delivery he did not do much. knowing Wenger’s incredible knowledge of when a player is going down hill, you can’t doubt what he was trying to say. He has seen signs that the pundits and others failed to see. But of course when playing with Chelsea surrounded by good players that makes him effective. I have a feeling this time around we will overcome the bogeyman that is Drogba.

  236. I hope you’re right about Drogba, 1lc! It is surely payback time x ten!

  237. Yes FG and 1lc, we owe him a few!

  238. 1loosecannon your avatar MUST come true..

  239. Zap it’s a shame your boys did not sent him on a stretcher. How did you survive that game last night? It’s the only game I have watched this African cup judging from the commentator its the most entertaining game so far. Are you going all the way?

  240. hmm. i really dont know i think we’re playing ghana in the next round aren’t they? It was a good match yes, much better than most this tournament. it will come down to luck i think.

    we took full advantage of the ivorians dancing around on the touchline…they thought they were through.

    england better watch out algeria aren’t as bad as most people think.

  241. Moaner:

    “Sol maybe slow but not as slow as that donkey Denilson! Can anybody tell me what he offers the team? He can’t run, he can’t tackle, he can’t make a pass longer than two yards, he can’t create an attacking move yet he’s always on the teamsheet if he’s not injured. I have far more faith in Ramsey and Eastmond. A complete waste of space!”

    Flint:

    “I see there are still some Denilson denegraters here. He is lacking form at the moment coming back from injury but he is a top class performer, who always puts in a shift that the tv viewer might not always appreciate.”

    Took the words right out of my finger tips. The Denilson is shit crowd has selective amnesia. The truth is that Denilson’s passing has improved enormously, his defending is way better and he has added scoring goals to his game. These people just love to be proven wrong.

  242. ———-almunia—-
    -sagna-gal-vermaelen-cliche-
    -denilson–cesc–rosicky-
    -eduardo-JET-arshavin—–
    -fabianski-campbell-silvestre-wilshere
    -ramsey-walcott-vela

  243. Great news about Mannone. Young Guns can stick that up their arse. I don’t look at their site often; and whenever I do, they say something annoying.

    Contra Ole, I thought he did very well during his brief spell in the first team. He has a great physique. He’s not just a fat bastard like a lot of goalkeepers, but he’s not a streak of piss either. His Dan Dare chin suggests that he won’t take any shit from opposition strikers.

  244. Zap-You have doubts then? From what I saw Algeria wanted it so badly they worked their socks off. They had a bit of luck with I.C goal that was ruled out. More Bad news for Portsmouth they have 2 Algerian players. Belhadj is not real at 120 min he was running down the flanks like speedy Gonsalez, while others dead on their feet, It made me laugh.

    Gainsbourg69- Ask any coach and he would tell you players are judged on how fast they improve. Denilson has come leaps and bounds and he is only 21. he will be one the best, mark my words.

  245. Polizi You don’t like Younguns? They are not that bad I guess, I don’t know really, I had a look few times checked Afobe on there, they do provide something different

  246. The most marked difference between the Denilson of this season and the Denilson of last is his long-range shooting. From what he said in an interview a while ago, it seems he always had the ability, but needed the encouragement of Wengerto put it into practice.

  247. 1lc. i do believe we can win but u know what i mean- luck will come into it.

    have you seen the way this ball moves though no wonder everyone’s scoring from 30 yards out.

  248. I wouldn’t class Young Guns with Le Grove, but it does seem to have a nasty edge to it. Their article of a few days ago implied that Mannone had been shown the door by Arsenal.

  249. semifinal- algeria vs egypt!!

  250. The problem against Stoke was that the young and very old having performed very well for 75 minutes, began to tire. Quite simple and AW said as much.

    I am happy to leave the FA Cup to the freaks this year. Poor old ITV really did get sold a pup.

    Looking forward to Alex coming back…I reckon that many players in the ACN this year have half an eye on their domestic performance and the other on the World Cup.

    ….Country mile….by the first week in February they will all begin to realise.

  251. California gooner,

    Chelski will have Mikel & Essien over for another week.Teams left in competition stay till Sunday.

  252. I know what you mean about that website Poliziano, sometimes it is good and brings you news about the youth players early before you read it elsewhere, but at times it can be sensationalist and some of the posters seem to forget that we are talking about very young players with a lot of developing still to do.

  253. Essien is supposedly injured as well, although I would not be surprised to see yet another miraculous recovery once he returns to the bodge.

  254. He’s already back in England, and should be out for four to six weeks.

  255. i hope emmanuele thomas plays

  256. I’ll believe it when I see it Poliziano. chelski always play mind games about player injuries.

  257. I like what you said about Denilson Poli..

    With the shooting aspect added to his brilliant passing, close control and ball winning game he looks to be the Marcos Senna of this decade and whats great is unlike Senna, he’s shown that kind of maturity at a much younger age..

  258. Whoever Chelsea have available, we should be much better placed than we were in November. As well as (with any luck) a full strength defence, we should have Bendtner available, Eduardo in better form, and all our attacking players accustomed to the absence of RvP.

  259. 1lc, Too true. People tend to forget his age and the conditions in which he plays under. A part from the fact that he’s twenty one, he’s a virtual starter for Arsene Wenger and plays in one of the best midfields of Europe. Compare that to Lucas and all the other up and coming Brazilians who are supposedly better than he is.

  260. Poli, maybe u just caught them at a wrong time. i usually ready them and they are quite good.

    They did say vito is stalling on whether or not to go out on loan not out of the club.

    Try again. i do assure u they are quite good with the young guns and reserves info.

  261. What happened to my comment?

    Poli, u may have gotten them wrong… they said Vito was stalling on aloan deal not going out of the club…

    They are a highly recommended site.

    Also Naija for the Semis in the ACN, which is nice!

    I expect a Nig vs Alg finals but it would be nice to get Egypt again and beat them… how ironic would that be that they won our first match and we won the last one which is the most important of all

  262. Poliziano:

    “The most marked difference between the Denilson of this season and the Denilson of last is his long-range shooting. From what he said in an interview a while ago, it seems he always had the ability, but needed the encouragement of Wengerto put it into practice.”

    I’m sure Fabregas said something to that effect last season when he started banging in goals. I think it was after the goal against the Spuds. Another player with the same problem was Ramsey. He was scoring screamers for Wales and didn’t even attempt to shoot from outside for us. And look at him this season. That goal against Pompey was like the one he scoires regularly for his NT.

  263. You might be right about them in general, Team Spirit; but having read the article again, it still seems to me to be implying that Mannone was leaving Arsenal permanently, and that the only question was where he would go. It never suggests he would be given a new contract.

  264. Essien is supposedly out for a month and a half, maybe even more.

  265. Young Guns is the anti-doom. I read it all the time and they have a fierce loyalty to the academy boys, not to mention Arsene.

  266. Its nice to have such access to young players as we have never had it before but it also brews complacency when fans see young players and become convinced that they can perform at levels they aren’t ready to..

    Ramsey is growing well but has struggled against the mid-table teams he’s started against, patience is required both from the fans and the player’s themselves..

  267. What our boys have to realise is that winning the league could become very close to reality in the next fortnight.

    Villa are a weaker team on paper, and they’re a weaker team on form and history, and we haven’t lost at Trailer Park (sorry I meant Villa Park) for years now.

    From the very first second of the game on Wednesday, the boys have to leave no doubt about their desire to win the title.

    If Villa make a scrap of it, then scrap they must. Make runs, show intensity in the tackle, don’t be complacent and let things go, communicate with each bloody other.

    If they do that, they’re likely to win. If “shit” happens and they lose or draw, and even if they win, they had better be ready to do the same thing again against Man poo, Chelski and the Scouse rag army.

    I speak for myself now. All I want is for them to rise to the occassion. Either outplay or outfight the opposition, ot at leats match them. Leave no doubt and no room for regret-whether theirs or ours. If they do that and we get 0/12 we’ll still be bloody proud of them as ever.

    Never again what happened in the semi-final games in April 2009. Never again. Turn up from the first fucking minute.

  268. In 3 (Everton home, Bolton home, Stoke away) of the last 4 games, we conceded the first goal of the game. In the Bolton game at home, we conceded 2 goals before bucking up. There should be no repeat at Villa Park. We need to keep a clean sheet and not have to scrap for a come from behind win.

  269. California Gooner

    nobody concerned about the concern about Gallas? I mean, Arsene says he never knows if they guy will make it through 90 minutes, that he is on the verge of injury, and not a peep. Frankly, I’m a bit worried. The guy needs rest, but when can we rest him?

  270. “Leave no doubt and no room for regret-whether theirs or ours. If they do that and we get 0/12 we’ll still be bloody proud of them as ever”

    “Never again. Turn up from the first fucking minute”.

  271. Can’t wait till Song is back in the team I for one have seriously missed him!! Also if Gallas is injured I would feel confident in Sol playing alongside Vermaelen however I would prefer that happened after our tough run of fixtures. Still uncertain how he would cope with top class opposition. On the other hand maybe Sol is the one guy that can deal with Deedee…who will at the very least not get out muscled by him.

  272. CG – he just had a rest on Sunday obviously in the hope of getting him through the next 4 games. Sol has also had a run out in case he is needed for cover.

  273. California Gooner

    I’d rather Arsene were able to rest him before any injury… but I can’t see that happening. So I guess Billy G, Arsene, and the team will have to ride their luck on that one. Yes, Sol would be a solid replacement, at least for a number of games.

  274. COME ON YOU GUNNERS!
    Hello Tunday, I like your stuff man.
    More fire!

  275. Just read somewhere that Bendtner has only scored 3 goals this season is that true??

  276. True, Maria! But he’s only been on the pitch for about 650 minutes in total.

  277. Yep Maria; however, he was playing on the right of the front three and came off the bench for five of his nine league appearances. In fact, minutes played this season adds up to around 4 games.

    http://guardian.touch-line.com/?CTID=11&CPID=4&TEID=217&pStr=Squad_Stats&t=4

  278. In the league, that is.

  279. is Diaby injured or available? anyone>?

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