Arsenal Win Keeps Title Flame Flickering

Arsenal 2 – 0 Sunderland

1 – 0 Bendtner (27)
2 – 0 Fabregas (90 pen)

Before the weekend’s fixtures commenced, the objective was three points to ensure that capitalising on closing the gap to the top was not wasted. Come the respective final whistles, second place was but a win away, Chelsea provided their expected win so no change there. Provided that wins are achieved in the next two games, March 6th may see that advantage all but wiped out – if Manchester City can take something from their visit to Stamford Bridge next weekend – albeit with a game more played.

A lot of ifs, buts and maybes in a labyrinthian Premier League season. Yesterday’s win was ground out; a far from vintage performance that yielded the right result, the outcome far more important than the sum of its parts. There were several major positives: a clean sheet with a changed defence; Walcott coming back to match sharpness, his pace delivering end product in the first half; Bendtner getting a goal that his hard work in previous weeks deserved.

Emmanuel Eboue came in a right back and provided a sterling performance, a Man of the Match outing, foraging on the right, causing the visitors defence no end of problems. Eboue was crucial in the opening goal, bursting to the bye-line, cutting the ball back across the face of goal for Bendtner to stab home from close range. Sunderland were appealing for offside, culprits hiding their shoddy defensive work behind raised arms having failed to track the Dane’s run from the edge of the area.

The lead was no more than Arsenal deserved. Moments before scoring, Bendtner’s shot had struck McCartney and looped onto the top of crossbar, indicative of the cumulative patchy form of Arsenal in recent weeks. Walcott fired wide having outstripped the visitors defence and all of his supporting colleagues whilst Nasri was denied.

The hour or so gap was mainly Arsenal possession, punctuated by sporadic Sunderland attacks, the most dangerous of which saw the highly overvalued Kenwyne Jones shoot wide following Richardson dispossessing Ramsey in the middle of the pitch. Arsenal had a high number of freekicks, Cana in particular can consider himself lucky not to have been sent off for a two-footed lunge.

Since beating Arsenal in November, Sunderland has yet to record a Premier League win; it was not hard to see why on yesterday’s performance. Their mentality has sunk into ‘if it moves, kick it‘, a sign that slide down the table is gathering momentum, three points their margin of safety. The longer they continue, the more likely it is that they will be ‘the big club‘ which is snared into the fight for survival, a battle which they may well lose.

One player whose value to the side was emphasised yesterday was Alex Song. His calmness in midfield provided a barrier for the back four, sorely missing in Porto during the midweek defeat. Equally, his passing is simple, rarely seeking the defence-splitting ball, preferring to keep possession with a simple lay-off to a colleague.

A fair reflection, of sorts, arose when Campbell tripped Fabregas as full-time beckoned. The penalty, I think Arsenal’s first in any competition since August, might well have been awarded on the cumulative basis so wild were the visitors challenges. It was despatched confidently into the bottom corner by the skipper, a goal which keeps title hopes alive.

The chase for the top is still alive, winning crucial since any dropped points may be severely punished. The top two have tricky weeks ahead, a long winning run may yet prove decisive.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on February 21, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 121 Comments.

  1. Arsenal

  2. Good game by the team. Just wondering when Eduardo is coming back? Our link up play just isn’t the same. Bendtner had a nice tap in, but he can’t make that final decisive pass that RVP/Edu can. Cesc also hasn’t been the same since he’s not getting the ball back in the right situations anymore…thoughts?

  3. Stoke is a vital game for us, we need Campbell in the team to counter those long throws, lets hope Ebuoe keeps up this form for the rest of the season , and that we do get him to sign a new contract and not have a Flaimini situation. Cesc was not up to his usual form the constant Barcelona rumours cant be helping.

  4. What amazes me sometimes is the sheer ungratefulness of Arsenal customers who can’t get it into their thick heads that the transfer window is closed.

    All I heard last night was moaning and moaning about the fact that Wenger didn’t buy players.

    FFS – we’re 6 points off the pace and clawing back points already – and Chelsea have arguably a more difficult run than we do.

    Hypocritical rubbish from fans who are too weak to stomach a fight yet they want this team to show fight. Useless fans.

  5. Phemmit 4rm Lagos

    Can somebody tell me y wenger still listed fabianski on d bench? Y he can replaced him wt manone?

  6. Because Fabianski’s a better goalie than Mannone

  7. mannone is a good young keeper, but not in the same league as fabinski

    don’t give up on the young pole, he has immense talent… far more than almunia and certainly far more than mannone.

    he made an elementary mistake, that i’m sure he won’t make again for a very long time.. if ever.

  8. Haha – short and sweet.

  9. Fabianksi was capped at 21 by Poland. He’s won the league twice in his home country. He’s not crap.

    His anxiousness to depose Almunia is the source of his mistakes. Look at that first goal against Porto. He didn’t even have to touch the ball. It was going wide.

    He needs experience.

    Mannone is another matter. Maybe he’s a very good keeper. I don’t know that he isn’t. He’s apparently very well rated by the Italian youth set up for the national teams.

    But he’s never been number 1 in any club. So he needs to go out on loan.

    He’s not a threat to Fabianski or Almunia and I suspect that’s part of the problem. Each of them is secure in his position.

    I think Mannone should go on loan and an experienced and competent keeper, even an old one, brought in.

  10. Nice, accurate summing up YW.

    The win blew away the Porto cobwebs & with a clear week I`m convinced we`ll be very good at Stoke.

    I like Arsene choosing Eboue at home certainly against the so called `lesser` teams as he gives us so much going forward. The pace he & Walcott have down our right side is a great weapon when teams come to defend.

  11. Just saying what I would do, not demanding AW do what I think.

  12. I agree with Ole. The press are full of shit. Instead of analysing the merits of Fabianski, they jump on the bandwagon that Wenger needs another keeper. Porto scored a fluke goal and Fabianski suffered a bit at Stoke, where, let’s face it, every premiership keeper has suffered, from their brand of gamemanship from throw ins into the area. Even Shay Given was exposed recently up there, and he is among the best in the premiership. One Manchester City caller demanded a new keeper after that performance. How stupid can you get.

  13. Paulie Walnuts, if Arsene ever had a fully fit squad there is enough variety to play different players against different opposition. Some people are clamouring for the same team to play Stoke, but Arsene needs to consider the opposition in his selection. We will miss the physical presence of Diaby, but that can’t be helped. But I thought Bendtner did well in defensive situations yesterday, which could be very helpful against Stoke who only have one way of playing.

  14. PASSENAL I agree about Bentdner BUT we have never had a full squad. RVP has never played a full season nor has Rosicky or EDS we are just very unlucky with injuries and after players like Diably and EDS come back from major surgery they are more injury prone. I am worried to read on AGC website that Gibb has had another operation I hope he come back completely fit as then Clichy can go to Milan

  15. I think yesterday was our second pen. since August we had one at home to Stoke which Cesc missed.

  16. 1-0 to the sp*ds…..Defoe scores offside goal.

  17. it’s not about Fabianksi’s talent – it’s his decision-making & mentality. Can he hack the pressure?

    He lost us the cup semi and he made two absolutely stinking howlers last week. I dont give a sh*t about the ref, fab should have stuck that ball into row z.

    Talent isnt enough by itself.

  18. Fabiansky is technically a very good goalkeeper, but his decision making is dodgy. There is also question regarding his temperament. Can he handle the pressure to be Arsenal goal keeper week-in week out?
    Mannone refused to go on loan, because he think that he has a chance to play. That even stopped our second polish goalkeeper to go on loan to Brentford.
    However, IMHO Vito is not a good goalkeeper. His technique is very suspect. A couple of years ago he went on loan at barnsley he was an unmitagiated disaster. He is a good shot-stopper and reflex goal keeper, but he is bad at crosses and set-pieces.
    On the other hand Szechney who is now on loan at Brentford is viewed as the best goalkeeper their club ever had. To me he is our future goalkeeper.

  19. nb was pretty useful for us again but im torn as to whether its because he is good or just big. i guess a bit of both tbf.

  20. i felt far more comfortable with manone in goal when he had his spell in goal. very calm and level headed. dont forget gomes was highly rated outside the uk, great reactions but that is hardly enough when you need 100% concentration.

  21. I don’t think Fabianski was entirely to blame in the semi final of the FA Cup. That is a bit harsh.

  22. Fabianski is always in a rush to do things. really not necessary.

  23. Passenal,

    Good point about Bendtner. His defensive work is pretty good & under-rated

    It certainly seems that Fabianski has decision making problems. He seems anxious & that influences our defence in general. Having said that from what I`ve seen he`s better than Mannone & they could both become fine keepers

  24. I wonder where we’d all be if every time we made a mistake in a new job or during probation, our employers handed us a week’s notice and a P45.

    At least we can be sure of one thing. Fabianski is never going to make such a mistake again.

    I think there’s a culture in football now where the solution to every problem is seen as ‘buy, buy, buy’.

    Clubs are at risk of disappearing off the face of the planet for this sort of brazen cheque book mentality, yet people still display a breath-taking lack of understanding of the environment we now live in.

    Whatever happened to sorting things out on the training ground with an occasional hair drier treatment if necessary?

  25. Fabianski needs playing time, that’s all. He’s got fantastic reflexes and can be incredibly good at shot stopping, his technique is faultless but he needs a cool head. He’s trying too hard. But all that comes with experience and till you get there you make mistakes. There’s no way round it.

  26. There is no reasoning with these people Darius.

    It is the disposable generation.

    Replace player x with player y.

    Let Wenger make the decisions. If he decides player x needs replacing, he usually acts. The D&G clan didn’t even notice the reason for the departures of Toure and Adebayor. They were too busy arguing about the lack of incoming players.

    Song and Eboue, two of the most scapegoated players in recent years and now two of the most welcomed on to the pitch. How did that happen ?

  27. Paulie Walnuts, I have to agree with you again re Fabiansky. I think he seems over eager to impress and become number 1 whereas he just needs to relax and be himself and his time will come. He definitely has the ability, I’ve seen him play really well in the cups. He just needs to be in less of a hurry then he can make better decisions.

  28. Unfortunately whenever Fabianski had to play in the last 12 months or so it had been really important matches. That puts extra pressure on him. I really think a run of “nonsene” games could put the required confidence into him to actually show his potential. And he obviously needs to start talking to the defense, but that seems to be a problem that every one of our keepers suffers..

  29. I agree with EvilFiek.

    Fabianski’s errors have been magnified because of the high profile games and also because we tend to be very good at keeping the play in the opposition half. A lower league keeper will look very busy and pull of some stunning saves, because they are under the cosh. On the other hand, Arsenal concede very few chances, so the goalkeeper doesn’t even have a chance to flatter. One chance conceded out of three and he is exposed.

  30. People can call him Flapianski all they want but, as a matter of fact, you don’t become the best goalkeeper of a country if you don’t have the ability. Fabianski has got the ability — I don’t think he would’ve played an integral part in Legia Warszawa winning the championship and coming second the season after if he didn’t have what it takes to be a classy keeper.

  31. Fab will prove to be an outstanding keeper.Mannone looks vunerable and lives off one display away to Fulham.On another day the free kick is re taken,they dont score and people remember his 2 great saves which keep us in the tie rather than the og.I love coming to the Emirates but its a long and expensive trip from here and the constant negativty of so called fans astounds me.

  32. Well said Passenal. Without the service our players provided for Ade he will never have another thirty plus goals season ever again. That was a one off. And a tall player that can’t win headers, stays off side constantly and barely scores is not a player we need at Arsenal. Good on Arsene for milking all that money off Man City. In a year or two, Ade will be at Blackburn or Bolton. Believe that. But then the doomers know better right?

  33. @EF

    How old was Fab when he was winning these titles?

  34. On Ade I heard a hack claim that even when he wasn’t at his best he still scored 17 plus goals is that true?

  35. I think Eboue should be our starting RB until Sagna learns how to go forward down the right and how to send a decent cross in. We’ve been missing the kind of directness Eboue provides for a while now. It balances the team and it keeps the opposition pinned back in their half. Quite frankly, if it weren’t for the couple of times Ramsey gave away the ball yesterday, Sunderland wouldn’t have had a shot on goal. That’s the way we ought to play more often and especially against teams like Stoke. The more we keep them pinned back the less effective their long, central passes and their long throws will be.

  36. yes gainsbourg but the downside is having eboue at rb makes us more liable to the counter attack

  37. By the way, did anyone catch Quincy Owusu-Abayie for Pompey yesterday? He was one of our cast offs a few seasons ago. He was awesome. So was Jamie O’Hara. It seems as if he hasn’t forgotten his Arsenal upbringing.

  38. stoke will b tough no doubt about it

    all we need to do is never invite them out to the wings, mark their wide men closely and dont give away many throw ins, for goodness sake!

    even kick it out for a corner if in a situation like dat

  39. yeah he was awesome

    pmoth were robbed yesterday, u gotta feel sorry for them i remember going down there a few years ago, every1 was happy just being in mid-table, it was a great atmosphere everyone was happy it seemed, they dont deserve whats happened this season

  40. Not really Zap. Sagna may be marginally better than Eboue at defending but it is a fair trade off if you consider the amount of work the opposition has to do in order to stop him going forward. In other words I’d rather have a right full back that can keep play deeper in the opposition half than a decent right back with little to no end product.

    Look at yesterday’s game and compare that to the game against Porto. Against Sunderland their wingers were completely out of the game and they conceded free kicks close to their penalty area. The Porto game saw Varela cause havoc with our defense because he was allowed to run at them all game long. I’m not saying that Sunderland is up to the standard of Porto but I’d rather have a player like Varela running after Eboue in his own half than running at Sagna in ours.

  41. Zap:

    “Stoke will b tough no doubt about it

    all we need to do is never invite them out to the wings, mark their wide men closely and dont give away many throw ins, for goodness sake!

    even kick it out for a corner if in a situation like dat”

    Zap we don’t play like that. Our game is offense first. We thrive on keeping the opposition pinned inside their half while creating chances by way of our passing and movement. What we need to do in order to neutralize their wingers, who are quite poor to begin with, is to terrorize them with our speed down the flank. If you saw the Pompey game yesterday you’d have noticed how Belhadj and Quincy were running the game down the left. So much so that their right full back got a double booking. It was similar to what Theo and Eboue did to Sunderland yesterday. Even Nasri was creating openings for himself deep in the Sunderland half and we benefited from that. That’s how we should play Stoke. Hopefully we’ll put our chances away and win by a comfortable margin.

  42. Flapianski may be good but he suffers from big club syndrome. he should not be in our first team yet.

  43. cant blame him for the 2nd Porto goal, that was just pure in-experience. But he will keep making these mistakes whilst he is doing his apprenticeship.

  44. Sagna is lucky that the boo boys dont like Eboue as hes been poor for 2 years now,equally if Gibbs were fit he would be first choice now.

  45. Maria, here are Ade’s stats:

    06/07: Lg: 29 apps, 8 goals.

    07/08: Lg: 36 apps, 24 goals.

    08/09: Lg: 29 apps, 10 goals.

    Thus far this season he has 7 goals in 14 appearances.

    When all is said and done, we sold City a player of Emile Heskey’s ability for twenty five million pounds. And the reason why he got so many goals that season is because we had a midfield trio of Cesc, Hleb and Rosicky providing him exceptional service. That was as good a midfield as he’ll ever play with.

  46. Sagna is the best RB in the world, defence wise, lets not forget that. I agree he should work on his crossing.

    The guy is class, the only match that I though he didnt play well was the first match against Chelsea.

  47. Lol…..69 that’s the first time you’ve made me laugh.

  48. did your see barndoor today he was as good as he was for us last season.
    emile heskey = barndoor quality
    yg that is true and of there is any truth in rumors of clichy going for ~15mil id be glad to take it with gibbs, traore and cruise

  49. Wow. It’s easy to see how worship sometimes takes on the quality of fanaticism.

    I keep reading on this site how brilliant Wenger is at not falling into the trap of buying players, as if buying players was the moral equivalent of the two footed tackle or shagging your team-mate’s wife.

    It all rather jars with the fact that Wenger has spent twelve months chasing a certain Moroccan striker and by his own admission spent the last day of the transfer window trying to sign any number of new players.

    This devotion business can get very testing at times !!!

  50. Uptight Literary Guy

    Sagna has been poor for two years if your only measurement is crosses. I’ll admit that he only gets about 1 in 3 right. But if you measure work rate, toughness, discipline, and the percentage of scores that come through the right side of defense, I think you’d come to the conclusion that he’s one of the best in the PL, as his peers have voted him. Eboue brings a very different element to the team; he can spark things that Sagna can’t, but he does not have the dependability of the Frenchmen. I hope a more regularly appearing Eboue does not make Sagna obsolete; I’d love to see them both have spots on the team, maybe Eboue as a holding midfielder on the right. Sagna has never been vilified as have Song and Eboue, but I do think he’s under-appreciated.

  51. Uptight Literary Guy

    You beat me to it, Paul N, but I’m glad I’m not the only one noticing!

  52. The Gainsbourg delusion.

    Say what you want. Adebayor’s scoring record in the EPL is 1 goal every 2 games.

    Heskey’s is more like 1 in 5.

    Adebayor’s scoring record is better than any striker Arsenal have now, and is comparable to any Arsenal striker of the last 30 years apart from Henry and Wright.

  53. Paul N:

    “Sagna is the best RB in the world, defence wise, lets not forget that. I agree he should work on his crossing.

    The guy is class, the only match that I though he didnt play well was the first match against Chelsea.”

    I love Sagna and I think he’s a good defender. But we don’t really need him against teams that park the bus infront of their goal. Those types of teams need to be opened up by good wing play and he just doesn’t provide that for us.

  54. Ole, Heskey at his best was good for eight to ten goals a season just like Adebayor. As he has gotten older and played with shittier teams his goal average has dropped. But Adebayor plays for one of the best teams in the country and his goal record is poor for a striker worth twenty five million pounds. By the way, did you see him play today?

  55. I think people are being unfair to Ade. He may have ended up disappointing us, but when he is on his game he can be a handful and can surprise people with the quality of some of his goals. I don’t think it helps to re-write history. He had to go because he stopped being a team player and was disruptive to our team spirit, but let’s not pretend that he does not have qualities when he puts his mind to it.

    RSD I hope the Clichy rumours are not true. He suffered a stress fracture to his back, which is a pretty serious injury and I think he had to come back too quickly because Gibbs was out and Traore was not mentally ready for the regular responsibility. He was not helped by coming straight back into such high profile games, but now that he has had a chance to play himself back into match fitness, he is doing much better. Unless Arsene is concerned about his ongoing fitness, it would be crazy to sell an experienced defender who has not even reached his peak yet, when his understudies are not ready. Gibbs is a good deputy, but I don’t think he’s ready to play 38+ games as first choice however eager people are to have more English players in the first XI.

  56. Steve,

    You might have a small problem with understanding arguments.

    Do you really think there’s anybody here who thinks Wenger should never buy players?

    On what planet do you live?

  57. UPG:

    “Eboue brings a very different element to the team; he can spark things that Sagna can’t, but he does not have the dependability of the Frenchmen. I hope a more regularly appearing Eboue does not make Sagna obsolete; I’d love to see them both have spots on the team, maybe Eboue as a holding midfielder on the right. Sagna has never been vilified as have Song and Eboue, but I do think he’s under-appreciated.”

    I don’t doubt that Sagna is an integral part of the team. But for the style we play, a defender that is good getting forward is better than a defender that makes a hash out of our wing play. I’m of the opinion that Eboue provides a lot more when we play a team who is happy to sit back and hit us on the counter. That’s all. No one is under-appreciating Sagna. But just like Eboue has been made to play as Sagna’s back up, I don’t think it is too unfair for him to be Eboue’s back up either.

  58. Good Post

    We have a few average players – no need to name we know who they are – pure and simple we cannot afford to have good players in every position – that is why we bring on young players and hope when they mature they are not lured by a better contract elsewhere as we can only give a couple of players mega contracts due to moving into a fantastic new ground – we all know this

    This team and all future teams will have the same flaw unless we either win the league or CL within the constraint our spending allows

    Yes we have let in silly goals and at times the defending has been embarassing and outright hilarious but we are still in a good position and have a squad when fully fit would be a match for anyone

    I cannot wait for the next game against Stoke and I am sure we will win even though we have a few average players

    Arsenal Forever

  59. You all know that none of our goal keepers are as good as Man U’s, Chelsea, Villa, Man City, Liverpool or Everton’s. We should not accept less if we are serious about winning trophies.

  60. Passenal, he does score spectacular goals, as evidenced by the stunning goal he scored against Villarreal, but the guy thought he was better than what he really was. His 30 goal season was a one off the likes of which he’ll never get to again. And that’s what he’s living off of right now. And if you’ve noticed he hasn’t shed his habit of straying off side due to his lazyness.

    Totally agree about Clichy. I’d take Clichy over Gibbs and Traores any day of the week. Nothing against the youngsters but they are nowhere near his level right now. On top of that he’s only 24 years old. He hasn’t even hit his stride yet.

  61. We have at least 2 very good players per position. Except for left centre back. Amazing strength of squad. In some positions we have 2 excellent players.

  62. Steve, look at the table. Our philosophy seems to be working quite well at the moment. Why spend money unnecessarily when this team is a legitimate title contender and will be for the upcoming seasons as well? The more these youngsters are exposed to top class opposition, week in and week out, the better they’ll be when they hit their peak.

  63. The Funny thing about Arsenal fans is that a player is the best when he players for another club, or our injured player better than the current starter. It beats me that people think Gibbs who has hardly played this season is better than Clichy or even Armand. Really wonder what the yardstick is. This same people who think it’s good business to sell clichy because his form has been poor, neglect the fact that he had a long lay off’s in the past two seasons and is playing himself to fitness. Watch then turn around after we sell him, about us being a selling club and not holding onto our best players. Thank Goodness Arsene decides who stays or goes.

  64. California Gooner

    I agree that we look a better team, right now, with Eboue in the side. Quite simply, he knows how to break down a defense on the right and side of the field. His dribbling and passing are excellent and his defense is very good too… when he concentrates. He is a confidence players, so having the fans behind him is a big deal.

    The problem when we play Sagna is that we invite the other team to attack. We are usually pretty poor when we come to defend. We are a team that has to outscore the opposition, and Eboue really helps us do that by causing chaos in the oppositions defense. He rarely scores, but he creates a lot of opportunities for others. So, with two central midfielders sitting deep (as Song and Ramsey did yesterday), our RB is free to maraud forward.

  65. Ole, we have Sylvestre that can play at LCB. I thought the did alright yesterday.

  66. coolsteve,

    Astute point.

    Then there’s the phenomenon of loving young prospects until they’re actually in the team, then they become the enemy.

    When Denilson was in the Carling Cup side, he was thought of as highly as Ramsey is now. Once he’s in the team he’s no longer appreciated.

    Same with Bendtner in reserves and at Birmingham. Or Djourou. Or Diaby when he first came.

    Not to forget that the reason Eboue became a villain is because he was starting ahead of Walcott who’s now a crap player who’s fit only for the championship.

  67. Gainsbourg,

    Silvestre is crap, and he almost cost us 2 goals yesterday.

  68. Personally, I wouldn’t mind it if we played a 3-1-5-1 with Sagna next to Gallas and Verma. If we were to sit Song infront of them we’d have an impenetrable defense.

    My line up would look like this:


    Dudu, Theo and Nasri rotating in when needed.

  69. Silvestre was not crap yesterday. And the one who almost cost us two goals was Ramsey.

  70. He’s lucky Almunia saved from Bent. he’d have had to explain how Bent got ahead of him. Bent had nio right to get to that ball, except for Silvestre crapping.

    With the Jones chance he failed to get closer to Vermaelen, allowing the easy pass from Richardson.

  71. Didn’t both those chances come as a result of Ramsey giving the ball away in our half though?

  72. @Passenal i wasn’t saying clichy is bad at all and would be the first to jump to his defence if a Jonny plastic moaned about one mistake.
    But for ~15mil for a LB…..

  73. Sure but it was terrible defending from an experienced defender. Mistakes that are as inexplicable as Fabianski’s for Porto’s first goal. With the Jones chance, he saw Richardson win the ball, he saw Jones start to make his run…instead of traching his run, he tried to play him off even though Jones started his run from 8 yards ahead. Woeful.

    And then with Bent, I just want to know why on earth he let Bent get to the ball.

  74. dont worry og just think
    11 more games and you’ll never have to think of him again

  75. I agree with Coolsteve, whats up with this selling Clichy rubbish? who came up with that?

    clichy has been injured and each match you can see the improvement. Dont forget that this guy always handled Ronaldo 1 v 1. It wasnt until he got injured that United beat us last season, remember dat!!!


  76. Great post. First time I’ve visited the blog. Count me in for future posts too 🙂
    @ole- your line up has 5 defenders and 1 DM. Do you think that’s really what wengers new attractive football style is all about?

    IMHO theo had a great game and skinned his marker so often ferdinand had to drop deeper from CM to help LB out and thus changed quite literally changed the entire game… Ferdinand though not in the same class as fab and nasri WAS making a few interceptions and disruptive tackles that him moving deeper reduced…

  77. The Jones chance was a result of Ramsey losing the ball & Silvestre stepping up trying to play offside (as he did at West Ham in the cup).

    Clichy leaving is nonsense.

  78. Oh I dunno what the self-publicity rule is for ACLF but I’ll take a chance-

    I’d appreciate it if you took a look 🙂
    just starting off.

  79. Nah I doubt clichy will leave already wenger has a soft spot for him or else he wouldve already shifted sagna/vermaelen to LB and got Campbell into CB or eboue at RB..

    Oh abt my blog- it’s in it’s infancy so ANY constructive suggestions will be considered…

  80. Ole, we all know you hate Sylvestre for his manc past so you are hardly objective. Ramsey losing the ball is what put us in trouble. He’s just lucky Sunderland were too crap to take advantage. Had that been Denilson we would not have heard the end of it. Instead we have bloggers who didn’t even see the match declaring that Ramsey is a better player than Denilson and conveniently glossing over the former’s mistakes.

  81. Sell Gael??


    Now his one guy I can see finsihing his career with us even if AW retires which I can’t say for all other players.

  82. No, Passenal.

    Ramsey lost the ball. Fine, I know that. But Silvestre’s defending on the first chance was amateurish. Honestly it was.

    I give a pass to Vermaelen since he was holding the line. Silvestre however had no excuse for letting Jones through.

  83. Just seen Adebayor on T.V and claims City played with the ‘handbrake on’.

    Another Arsene product…….looooooooool…….

  84. Bilic just told those ‘honest’ Englishmen on live t.v that their not so honest.

  85. MOTD finally spicing it up!!

  86. The only sport that should be played on the Wigan is mud wrestling.

  87. Sorry Ole, but why is it ‘fine’ that Ramsey gave the ball away when I’ve seen you on here laying into Denilson for his mistakes? The only difference is that Jones missed his chance so Ramsey’s mistake did not lead to a goal. Maybe Sylvestre could have done better, but we were in control of the ball and it was Ramsey’s mistake that put him in trouble so it’s hardly fair to lay the whole blame at the feet of the defender if you are going to start apportioning blame.

  88. Passenal,

    Giving the ball away, is something all players do. Even the best of them. Not tracking a runner who you see start running from 8 yards ahead of you is amateurish.

    Very poor defending, almost at the scale of Fabianski’s own goal against Porto.

    Good point about Ramsey giving the ball away. He does it more often than Denilson who gets butchered for that. But Ramsey’s 18 years old and it’s to be expected.

  89. Ghanian gooners

  90. @ PAuline

    Clichy always handled Ronalso one on one?..

    Er, I think you’re thinking of Cashley.

  91. YW

    Small point. But your description of our first goal is different from what I saw. Eboue shot/passed to the far post not from a cutback from the bye line.

    “Emmanuel Eboue came in a right back and provided a sterling performance, a Man of the Match outing, foraging on the right, causing the visitors defence no end of problems. Eboue was crucial in the opening goal, bursting to the bye-line, cutting the ball back across the face of goal for Bendtner to stab home from close range. Sunderland were appealing for offside, culprits hiding their shoddy defensive work behind raised arms having failed to track the Dane’s run from the edge of the area.”

  92. Chelsea’s home game coming weekend is on the back of a midweek away tie against Inter Milan in the Champions League. They may just drop 2 if not 3 points against Man City from Champions League hangover. I would prefer a draw to keep Man City at a good distance from us.

  93. If Song had not played, Cesc + Ramsey in midfield would have been over-adventurous. Ramsey (more attacking minded) and Denilson are different kinds of players.

  94. @luke he says across the face of goal so i dont see you point. dont do a wapping and only half listen to stuff.
    Yes the pensioners have city in next wk but city are also away on wed to stoke for a chance to play chels in the next round. lets hope city thump stoke but not to bad we dont want them to be too much of wounded animal when we go there on saturday night.

  95. @Ole
    On the topic of Adebayors goal average.

    His goal average is obviously inflated by his superb 07/08 season and even with that counted in, he has got almost the same avg. as RVP. Also, if you compare those two, you will see that while RVP has almost constantly had a 1 goal in 2 games average (or very close to), Adebayor managed that feat only in 07/08

  96. I am no longer interested in the antics of Adebayor, except when he is facing Chelski or Manure. He controlled a pass with the hand yesterday and nearly won it for Man City with a snap shot that had pace and accuracy.

  97. do you reckon ade would work in the 433? EF

  98. Ole I too don’t like Silvestre but to blame him for the goals we almost conceded? Give the guy a break, I thought he did pretty well.

    Ramsey sometimes gives the ball away to easily and unnecessarily when a simple pass would have done it and it doesnt get much of a mention. I read about four different blogs yesterday ( mostly I do it when we win and when “he is not an Arsenal type of player kind” is not playing) Amazingly they were all happy Denilson didnt play and non mentioned how Ramsey was close to costing us two points. Some of these people really make me wonder, they only see what they want to see.

    I was really impressed by Eboue. Even Walcott did pretty well for a change. As a team we were very solid and bar the missed chances I enjoyed myself immensely. Keeping the clean sheet was also very important. I miss Edwardo. Hope he is on his way back.

    Stoke here we come, one game at a time and a close eye to the rivals as they lose more points down the road.

  99. The point is Denilson and Ramsey both make the same mistakes in giving the ball away. So it just comes down to preference. Maybe Denilson is more ugly. but i dont think Poliziano thinks that!!

  100. generally the team played well, good body movement, control, dribbles and runs. walcott seems to be gaining confidence and match fitness, eboue was very impressive yesterday and has always played well since booed, shows great mentality, some players would have ran away from the club after dat episode.
    For arsenal this is the perfect time for injured players to return and help those who played and are fatigued while in there absence, sagna is a good player but he has played many games this season he’s performance should wane over time.
    this is the time for consistency and quick return to fitness the top two have some dicey games to play.

  101. DG

    Fact is passing accuracy is never 100% whether Denilson, Ramsey or Fabregas. However, depending on where the misplaced passes happen, the result can be fatal.

    Who is the man with the stats on passing accuracy? Is he Ole Gunner?

  102. @realsocialdad
    I am not sure…it would’ve depended on if he had a “lazy” day or did work. I am convinced that one of the most important attributes for the player in the middle in your 4-3-3 is work rate. He has to go for the ball, link up, create space, etc.
    A lazy Adebayor would be no good in our 4-3-3, but an Adebayor that works for his team mates, well, I guess he could be effective.

  103. Why people can’t get it ? Silvestre is a cover and comes on and do a job when is needed don’t expect a top class 20 millions defender to cover for us, He does what he can with whatever is left in him. If your no 1 get into trouble every game then its a concern.

  104. DG – This is not a Ramsey vs Denilson issue, but it is notable that certain players short comings are over emphasized whilst others are glossed over. It doesn’t surprise me, but at least be honest about the source of your prejudice.

  105. There’s no point in arguing with Ole, the Alan Hansen of ACLF.

    Denilson looks completely normal, in my opinion. He doesn’t give the ball away. That’s one fact the statistics prove beyond doubt. Ramsey looks a lot like one of the brothers Neville at the moment, but I hope he will grow out of it.

  106. Passenal you are my heroine. You are always level-headed and accord fairness to all players despite their status as fan favourites or not.

  107. Poli and Passenal – I totally concur with you and yes, disagree with O/G. I posted earlier that “Sly” and the defense played very well. For being our no. 3 or no. 4 defender Sly more than held his own, despite being exposed by Ramsey’s losing the ball in a very dangerous area. I highlight Ramsey’s error simply because the anti-Denilson cabal has totally glossed over the fact that while Ramsey is talented he is suspect defensively, in contrast to the Brazilian.

  108. Easy now, a good win and you know this. I tell you something though dogs, I never thought id be so happy to have Almunia back, The Fab man makes Almunia seem like Pat Jennings and you know this. Only gripe would be Walcot, the boy is wank. Im judging this on football ability alone, unlike Shotta who hates Walcot cos he’s English. The man needs to grow into a boy and stop wearing nappies, the World Cup is looming dogs, its here and iots gonna be the boom ting

  109. EvilFiek,

    Adebayor has a better scoring record than RVP though RVP is more talented but more unlucky with injuries. We didn’t sell a crap striker, we sold a good one.


    On Mean Lean’s blog I noted exactly the same point you made. However, even Nigel Winterburn couldn’t believe how amateurish Silvestre was defending the Jones chance. Listen to the commentary on ATVO. It’s beyond belief that so many people deny this.


    It’s a red herring. Silvestre is an experienced player. He’s not developing. If he nearly costs us 2 goals I have no qualms pointing out that fact.


    I’d normally take it as an insult to be compared to Hansen, but given how much you revere the arse-stupid fellow, I’ll take it as a compliment.


    The defence generally played well. Clichy and Vermaelen were very good at compacting play. And we were comfortable on set-pieces. However, it is incontrovertible that Silvestre almost cost us a goal 2 times with amateurish defending. Defending as bad as Fabianski’s on Wednesday.

  110. Yes yes Ole, way to get at them partner !!!

    That was like a five pronged attack dog !!!

    Ole’s kicking ass and you know this !!!

  111. Giving the ball away is not always while passing the ball, sometimes it’s when a player dallies on the ball. All players are prone to doing that.

  112. @Ole
    Yes, but only marginally. And mostly because his scoring record has been inflated by this one good season. He has had a worse ratio than RVP every other season. Check it for yourself.

    Never said he is crap, just not better than RVP. Robin scored 11 goals in 22 matches in 06/07 and 11 goals in 28 matches in 08/09. Adebayor scored 8 goals in 29 matches in 06/07 and 10 goals in 27 matches in 08/09.

  113. Fuck off William you troll.

  114. Fuck off William, go into school.

  115. EvilFiek,

    His record is his record. I didn’t say he is better than RVP either. I love Robin Van P., and rate him ahead of Rooney, Drogba. I literally won’t take any striker ahead of him, unless we could get Titi back in pre-2007 form.

    But Adebayor has a better scoring record, marginally or not. We know why that’s the case. RVP has been injured a lot, and it’s preventing him from getting the recognition his talent deserves.

  116. Ole / Muppet,

    Hey hey come now G’s i’m agreeing with you, your football knowlege is unprecedented and I want to learn and you know this, just dont shoot the mesenger, and dont shoot the sheriff, and defo dont shoot the mother f~cking deputy

  117. This was a huge win for us. We are now still within six points of Chelsea. We are two points out of second place. Fabregas had his hand in both goals. This is huge. Eleven matches left 33 points to be gained. We can’t afford to drop any. Chelsea and Man U will both drop points. The title is within sight.

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