Burnley Battered Into Submission

Arsenal 3 – 1 Burnley

1 – 0 Fabregas (34)
1 – 1 Nugent (50)
2 – 1 Walcott (61)
3 – 1 Arshavin (90)

A day of squandered chances when the scoreline could have matched the Arsenal Ladies 10 goal drubbing of their Tottenham counterparts. On any other day, Nicklas Bendtner would have scored a double hat-trick. Arsenal remain third albeit closer to the summit than at the start of the day.

The victory has come at a potentially high price. Cesc was withdrawn shortly after scoring the opening goal with a hamstring injury, Arsene unable to shed any light on the damage but it seems unlikely that he would risk his most influential player for the midweek clash against Porto with the Premier League title at stake. Following the Spaniard’s departure, Samir Nasri played with a verve and gusto which would have been purred over in the media had it been produced by the captain.

The two had combined for the opening goal which arrived thirty minutes after it should have, such was Arsenal’s dominance from the kick-off. The Burnley defence massed their ranks and Nasri decided that following the path of Garner, Attenborough & Co was not an option, lifted ball sumptuously over the top, Fabregas applying the simplest and calmest of finishes between Jensen’s legs.

Whilst Arsene will be happy with the win, it was laboured in a dominant way. Profligacy in front of goal was evident, the main culprit being Bendtner although others were more than happy to be wasteful. None of his misses rank alongside those of Ronny Rosenthal at Villa Park or even Ryan Giggs in the FA Cup some seasons ago.

Equally, some of the Dane’s efforts were enough to resurrect the ghosts of Tomas Rosicky against either CSKA or Spartak Moscow (I cannot remember which) in the Champions League. To his credit, Bendtner never let his head drop nor did he shirk trying again, time after time. Reassuringly, his performance was recognised in the reception following his substitution.

It was not hard to see why Burnley are flirting with relegation, seemingly destined to flirt briefly with the Premier League before descending to the Championship once more. They were a side full of honest endeavour but lacking a spark. Maybe injured personnel make a difference to them but failing to take points at home with an appalling away record leads to one, inevitable conclusion come May.

They were, in short, ideal opposition for players requiring a confidence boosting performance. Gael Clichy has been criticised, questions asked as to whether or not he can recover the form which marked him out as one of the best left backs in the world. He gave an answer yesterday, containing the sporadic threat during the match, stifling it for the rest. Less convincing but in some ways more reassuring, was the performance of Theo Walcott.

Lambasted in the week for his England performance, criticism which was correct but then took a step too far, Walcott was at his wayward best in the first half, vastly improved in the second when the final ball was delivered on a more consistent basis. This type of performance has marked his injury-riven season. Post match, Theo observed that the last month or so had been effectively a pre-season; from now on, we get the real deal. Let us hope so because the genius of youth is being tarnished by words written.

And Walcott provided a surprise, an all too rare flash of temper. The fuse was lit by a challenge which won the ball, placed no danger to Walcott and was therefore a curious spark. Yet an altogether welcome one. Frequently we are told that Arsenal are too nice, a trait personified by Walcott. Everyone inside the game and out, has nothing but praise for the lad, something he and his family should be proud of. It obviously masked a fire and one which raged in the second half. More please, young man.

The reward for the second half arrived when he cut inside and placed a shot into the far corner, beyond Jensen, ten minutes after Burnley had undeservedly equalised. Eboue hoisted the ball towards safety but it was returned with interest from the centre circle, over an advancing defence. Nugent loitered on the edge of the area, exploiting the gap between Vermaelen and Silvestre; the Frenchman had lost his man, the finish left Almunia with no chance of preventing the restoration of parity.

Storm clouds grew over the Burnley defence before and after Walcott had restored Arsenal’s advantage, the question of when not if the lead was expanded to the required four goals to elevate Arsenal above Chelsea. Chances once more came and went until Arshavin settled matters with a shot struck home during injury time.

As predicted last week, the media has turned even more with Paul Hayward deriding Arsenal’s title challenge in this morning’s Observer thus:

Shame is not likely to descend on Highbury and Islington should Arsenal win this title race, though some think it should, given that Wenger’s men have lost home and away to Chelsea and Manchester United in a campaign in which they have prospered by beating up the poor.

In their Corinthian heyday, the toffs in the Arsenal directors’ box would have thought it vulgar to parade the league trophy in a season when Chelsea spanked the north Londoners 3-0 here and United motored back north with a 3-1 in.

Utterly pompous, utterly ridiculous, it smacks of hope; the hope that Arsenal do not win the title, ramming the harsh and cruel words back into the portals of vanity which proclaimed Arsenal not good enough to win the title, deriding Wenger’s squad as schoolboys against the men of Chelsea and United. The men, who have been less consistent in the matches that matter but know how to beat Arsenal. The men of Stamford Bridge who never lose against lesser mortals except for the double Manchester City recently completed. The men of Old Trafford who failed to beat Aston Villa.

Each team has it’s Achilles Heel. Arsenal’s has been the top two; theirs others. The most consistent team in a season is the one which accumulates most points; it matters not how that total is arrived at, simply that it is. Right now, Arsenal has a good chance as either of those two. It is up to them to deliver.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on March 7, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 163 Comments.

  1. Well,well,well…just got back and enjoyed every minute. What a character Nic is. Nice to see Ivan Gazidis before the game and of course Kieran Gibbs.

    Samir nasri MotM for me.

    Cou….

  2. What was comforting for me ahead of Tuesday was that we continued to carve out chance after chance even after our captain was taken off. Nic’ll never have an afternoon like that again, i’m tempted to put some money down on him to score first on Tuesday night.

  3. Sagna must never again start at RB ahead of Eboue…

  4. Vince

    Spookily enough, I think we said similar things after Blackburn last season…

    YW

  5. Paul Hayward’s article was silly and even non-Arsenal fans slated him.

    Another similarly curious article was from Gabriele Marcotti who sought to explain why Arsenal are still in the title race.

    His article was far-fetched. I could explain it in two sentences. Arsenal have won most of their games, and are as good as any team in the league.

    After giving his explanations for why Arsenal are still in the title hunt, he is still at pains to explain why Chelsea seems to be bottling the title race this season again.

    First of all let me acknowledge that Chelsea can still finish with 91 point which will be a fine total, and which will win them the league.

    But there is something clearly wrong with such an experienced team full of internationals, and so complete, so strong etc etc, that has not won the league in 3 tries, and seem to be bottling the 4th try.

    I say, have said for 3 seasons, that they’re less than the sum of their parts. If Drogba is fit, Lampard is in form, Essien in his element, Terry & Carvalho always strong, Cech solid, they will beat most teams in the league. If they run into trouble, the only player who has come off the bench and has swayed games for Chelsea in 3 seasons is Kalou, and most Chelsea fans don’t even think he’s any special.

    They have a rigid system which fits their starting 11 well, and HAVE NO PLAN B, nor the players to play it.

    They always try to win matches the same way.

    Plus they are an old team, with dressing room issues, player power and a strange (maybe even disturbing) hierarchy in the dressing room.

  6. were man u unworthy champions after being tonked 1-4 at liverpool last season?

  7. ot old trafford*

  8. Each game as it comes.

    The louder the derision, the greater the signal of billowing smoke – originating from a fire in our bellies which might consume all before it.

  9. Had the misfortune to tune in, albeit briefly, to the exercise in mutual masturbation and self-aggrandisement that is Sky’s Sunday Supplement. This is the one where tired old hacks gather to mutually reinforce their delusions about a) their knowledge of football and b) their ability to write anything vauguely coherent to anyone with the power of thought.
    I chanced upon this smugfest at the point where they were talking about whether Arsenal would win the league. Surprise surprise, the general consensus, being corralled in no small part by that huge headed, curly haired Clarkson wannabe Woulnough (can’t remember which paper he writes for this week) is that if Arsenal win, it will only be because Chelsea and Man U throw it away. One idiot with a hard to pin down but hugely irritating midlands type accent claiming to be a Chelsea fan went so far as to say that if Arsenal win it, it will have been by default. What utter bollocks is this? Everyone plays 38 games, home and away against every other side (with the obvious exception of Man U who are allowed to play against a deliberately weakened Wolves side). The team with the most points wins. Invariably this requires more than an average of two points out of every three. So what they’re actually gearing up for is covering up their own inability to see Wenger’s achievement for what it is as opposed to what they want it to be. And in the process show all and sundry that, actually, they know little if anything about football, but happen to have a marginal facility with written English.
    I had to switch it off before I did irreparable harm to the cat.

  10. No way, Blazon.

    Both players have their merits. Sagna’s a great defender, and Eboue’s unstoppable going forward.

    That’s how squads work – you have guys who offer something different to the next.

    Of course there’ a hierarchy, but it’s not like there’s a first team of 11 players set in stone. I’d say we have something like 18 first team players. And it’s usually injury or the need for rest that sees any of them left out of the side.

  11. and that this season we have done the double over liverpool?

    Put more goals past aston villa than anyone else?

    Came back from 2-0 down against bolton?

    Scored 6 beautiful goals in one game after going behind twice against blackburn?

    Came away from Fulham with all 3 points with a quality goal and a goalkeeping masterclass?

    Id say if we win the title we are worthy chamipons….moreso for looking adversity in the eye and having to respond and doing so.

  12. “And Walcott provided a surprise, an all too rare flash of temper.”

    We need to see more of this side of Walcott. (1) it forces the referee’s attention to the tackling, (2) it fires him up to dominate his opponent in that area of the pitch.

  13. I’m happy for us to written off as no hopers for the title, that makes it sweeter when we prove them wrong.

  14. MarylandGooner

    YW

    Many thanks for your excellent blog– I read it semi-religiously but have never posted. I’m glad the Emirates crowd responded humorously rather than vindictively to Bendtner. Granted we need him to be much better, but he will be.

    As for the Paul Hayward piece, it was petty, foolish, and transparently dim. There’s an ex-governor of Alaska who could hire him if he tires of footy.

    Cheers!

  15. We would be worthy champions should we win it on account of (1) our ability to overcome the odds of injuries to key players; (2) minimum spending in the transfer market; (3) lowest team average age; (4) MOST POINTS UNDER THE RULES OF THE PREMIER LEAGUE.

  16. @ Passenal, jimmyd

    Going back to the comments at the end of the last blog post….
    “I find it better to watch at the ground than on TV. I sit in the upper tier so you can see the whole pitch and see the off the ball movement too.”

    I was just talking about the view from where I was sitting – three rows back from the pitch, diagonally opposite the away supporters – I couldn’t see much more than what was right in front of me!

  17. Ok FG, I thought you meant in general!

  18. COME ON YOU GUNNERS!!!!!!
    We need a more fearsome PA song before matches, more fearsome than ‘the wonder of you’… something to fire the boys up… eye of the tiger or smack my bitch up.. something to turn the yoof nasty for 90 mins.

  19. @ YW
    Great post – that Theo flare-up made me think of how some tennis players semi-deliberately get angry about a line call or something just to jolt themselves out of first gear.

    @ ClockEndRider
    ha ha ha
    I am feeling your pain. I don’t listen to anyone except Arsenal, these days. All the rest is rubbish, pretty much.

    @ Luke
    Excellent comment.

  20. @ YW
    And what I was going to add before I got distracted was that the blow-up seemed to be cathartic, not just for Theo.

  21. fantastic blog as usual yw.great work 4rm da lads,theo was briliant but nb nids 2 polish up on his finishin. abilities.on 2 the nxt with porto.

  22. If they’re starting to get their excuses in now, i.e. If Arsenal win, it’s a fluke, it’s not deserved, it’s by default, etc, etc, then they must suddenly believe it’s more than possible.

    To me that’s the biggest vote of confidence the team has had all year and under all the circumstances of this season, it’s a ringing endorsement for AW and the boys.

    Win the league or not, I don’t think they’ll be many so called ‘pundits’ writing us off from the word go next season!!!

  23. Apart from A. Hansen for whom “This is Liverpool’s year” is the default setting….

  24. Calcot…

    hi, yes but…

    the difference is too big to ignore, we are a totally different team with EE who is a world class RB period…Sagna may be a marginally better defender but going forward he’s a predictable embarassment…

    at the beginning of this season i advocated selling Sagna and Clichy while they still held real value on the market and starting EE and Gibbs backed up bu Coquelin etc from the young guns…

    their value on the market would i guess be noticeably less now, they stand out like a sore thumb in an otherwise fine side that’s coming together…Danny Alves ain’t the greatest defender on earth and who wouldn’t jump to get him – we have two of his kind at the Emirates and it’s high time we utilised them, every Saturday…

  25. Pundits! Who needs their opinion wen we have wengerball

  26. Isn’t it nice of the media to retrospectively award Arsenal last season’s Championship, after all we took 4 points off ManU, 3 off Chelsea whilst failing to lose to Liverpool.

  27. ClockEndRider

    Nice one Marc.
    However I fear that you have failed to take into account the ever moving goalposts when it comes to media criticism of Arsenal. Lest we forget, the new look Atsenal, where we use touch and control and skill and elegance to destroy the opposition, largely came about as a result of the media witchhunt against “Dirty Arsenal” in the days of Vieira and Parloutr and Keown and Adams etc. Strangely, part of the tactics we employed then (getting in peoples faces, letting them know we were there, roughing them up etc) were simply beyond the pale then for the same media whores who now promote exactly this from the northern anti-football merchants.
    Clearly for them, consistency is an overrated virtue….

  28. blazon,

    i don’t like the talk of selling a player while “he still has value”, not when the player in question has his heart at arsenal, unlike a certain someone we sold.

  29. fantastic game yesterday once again but i must state that i am hugely disappointed with bentner’s attitude after missing a host of chances he could afford a smile and the boss did not criticize him and instead defended him.bentner is not as young a player as he was 2 years ago and let him take a look at how good the likes of pato,higuain and work harder!his paid to get us goals.

  30. Under the category “better late than never” the Guardian seemingly decides, after a week, it had better take the high road on the Ramsey issue. Dara O’Briain’s blog borrows from Arsene Wenger with the headlines titled “Spare us the sanctimony about Ryan Shawcross being a nice lad.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2010/mar/06/aaron-ramsey-broken-leg-ryan-shawcross

  31. The Rosicky miss was against CSKA. 0-0 at home. Maybe the worst miss I could even imagine. The keeper lost at sea, the whole goal begging, and two feet out and managed to kick it almost sideways into where the keeper was stranded on the deck. I have never seen the Arsenal play so well and not score. I remember van Persie had a free header I was sure would go in that missed as well that match. Thankfully, that was some time ago now!

  32. Shotta, Dara O’Brian is an Arsenal supporter.

  33. No 7 – No need to be apologetic to Blazon who seems obsessed with the idea that we trade players as if the real world is like a computer game. Championship Manager anyone?

    Calcot @ 11:55 am is absolutely right that Eboue and Sagna have their merits:

    “Sagna’s a great defender, and Eboue’s unstoppable going forward.

    “That’s how squads work – you have guys who offer something different to the next.

    “Of course there’ a hierarchy, but it’s not like there’s a first team of 11 players set in stone. I’d say we have something like 18 first team players.”

  34. Eboue had a very good game last night and he has cut back on the histrionics.
    Walcott made a man-of-the-match performance last night.
    Clichy is almost back to his old self.
    Three points in the bag.
    Now, If Arsene has good news on Fabregas injury – this would have been a most excellent night.

  35. ” Shame is not likely to descend on Highbury and Islington should Arsenal win this title race, though some think it should, given that Wenger’s men have lost home and away to Chelsea and Manchester United in a campaign in which they have prospered by beating up the poor.

    In their Corinthian heyday, the toffs in the Arsenal directors’ box would have thought it vulgar to parade the league trophy in a season when Chelsea spanked the north Londoners 3-0 here and United motored back north with a 3-1 in.”

    I don’t remember there being too much derision last season for Manu’s title winning side that had the worst record against the big four and got tonked at home to Liverpool. I hate the media a lot of the time

  36. Passenal @1:27 pm – Thank you lord someone at The Guardian is a gunner. YW exposed Paul Hayward’s antipathy to Arsenal, his piece lathered with heavy prose but totally devoid of logic. Quite frankly, from what I have read on-line, The Guardian is one of those phony, pretentious newspapers who try to straddle the issues without really offending the powers that be. Hence the ridiculous attempt to play the Ramsey issue from both sides of the fence.
    Anyway I think I’ve given them too much attention already.

  37. shotta-gunna
    Dara is an ardent Arsenal fan so his opinion on the matter isn’t exactly a surprise. However attributing the Guardian with taking the high road on the issue on this basis is unfortunately greatly flawed. You see his blog is supposed to be a comic approach to the game. A light hearted write up to compliment all the works of the “serious journalists”.

    The sad fact is that yet again (Jon Stewart in the aftermath of the financial crisis) it takes a comedian to show the journalists how their job should be carried out. Concepts such as honesty, objectivity, morality, truth, and a responsibility to the common people have unfortunately become near enough non-existent in the journalistic profession.

  38. “The sad fact is that yet again (Jon Stewart in the aftermath of the financial crisis) it takes a comedian to show the journalists how their job should be carried out.”

    It’s true, the most insightful comments are often those of the satirists.

    This was from ESPN’s Soccernet yesterday, in all fariness one of the more objective football websites I know:

    “Ramsey, 19, fractured his right tibia and fibula in a challenge with Ryan Shawcross” :

    as if Ramsey was an agent in his leg being being fractured and Shawcross just so happened to be involved. Even verb tense can reveal bias.

  39. @ cdjones

    Same in the MOTD commentary yesterday –
    “two years since Eduardo horrifically broke his leg.”
    No mention of anyone else being involved!

  40. Isn’t it ridiculous? Like Shawcross or Taylor were magically not there? If William Gallas broke Wayne Rooney’s leg he’d be hung from Lord Nelson’s column. Apparently a journo tried that with Wenger on Friday but he was too quick for him.

  41. Paulie Walnuts

    It just goes on & on. Matt Le Tissuehay stating that Gallas` challenge was far , far worse than either Taylor`s or Shawcross. Then again , Gallas is French isn`t he.

    Yesterday`s result showed our charactar once more. In the past, after dominating & missing chances we would have panicked & dropped points.

    The midfield picks itself for Tuesday if Cesc doesn`t make it but the front three is anyones guess. I`d bet that Arshavin starts but two from Nasri, Rosicky, Bendtner & Eduardo is a tough call. Sagna to return at full back & hopefully Campbell too as Silvestre is looking a liabilty.

    Onwards & upwards !

  42. 1 loose cannon

    Does anyone have Chris Twaddle’s email? I have few things to say to him.
    Some people will be remembered for some daft comments , Hansen’s ” you win nothing with Kids” and Walcott will make sure TWaddle will be remembered for his comment “Walcott does not have a football brain” when he scores the winner in a CL final or S.Africa.

  43. Top 4 League PL 2008/9
    MU = 5 pts (0 vs Liv, 1 vs Ars, 4 vs Chls)

    Top 4 League PL 2009/10
    Arsenal = 6 pts

    Who is the flat track bully?

  44. Its interesting that no one seems to have made the link that the “physical” teams do worse against Arsenal. AW should highlight this. Who wants to be kicked? But when you are kicked are you going to sit down and let them run over you? Or are you going to go on with even greater determination and win the game?
    Evidence seems to be showing the second.

    Also lets stop this nonsense about Arsenal losing the league at Birmingham 2 years ago when Eduardo was assaulted. They were losing and recovered with 2 excellent Walcott goals (and the glaring miss by Adebayor). The 2 points were lost by Mike Dean giving the “non” penalty in the last minute to Birminghal. The bigger robbery was Wigan immediately post the AC Milan win and the “waterlogged” and churned up pitch. Those 4 stolen points were the difference that year, not a lack of bottle.

    I don’t feel that confident this year. Not because they don’t deserve it. They clearly do. Its the referees. Non penalty decisions, lack of protection, stupid foul decisions against the team, outrageous penalties given (eg Fagan of Hull city blatant dive against Silvestre). West Ham away 2 points stolen by 2 ridiculous decisions by the ref could be decisive unfortunately.

  45. A glorious day. Arsenal right at the heart of the title race and burning brightly in the Champions League. Wonderful times.

    Great to see so many recently sidelined players making big contributions yesterday; Rosicky, Abou, Theo, Clichy, Arshavin, Nicklas, Eduardo. What a fantastic squad!

    And a productive day for the loanees too. Man Utd were extremely lucky not to lose yesterday, let alone win. I’m sure they’ll slip up again.

    What on earth is anyone doing considering whether or not we ‘deserve’ to win the league? Everyone, please, do hush up. We’re in the thick of a title fight here and not only is that sort of talk irritating and arrogant, it’s a potential FUCKING JINX. I’m not superstituous, but it is. We are playing by far and away the best football in the country – we deserve every goal and every point we get from that, because we earn it with teamwork, skill and perserverence.

  46. flying dutchman

    There can only be 1 reason why some are already beginning to find excuses for a possible Arsenal title win: they are getting afraid, very afraid. Which is great news, and extremely encouraging for us. We should be jumping with joy each and every time we hear such signs of fear, rather than be annoyed. I hope to hear it more & more till May, will be like music to my ears.

    Bendtner was just very unlucky with his misses. The great thing was that it happened yesterday against Burnley. For each horrible miss now, he will score one infinitely more important in the upcoming crunch matches, and all will be forgiven.

    If we win the title it won’t be by Frank’s country mile. That distance is reserved for next season, just like Wenger’s prediction of the unbeaten season was one year early.

  47. no 7…

    hi, wouldn’t you agree tho that Toure is a perfect example of a player sold when he still has value to some on the general market? masterstroke, as was Henri…look at them both now…

    i assume any current player in the squad has his heart with arsenal…what concerns me is if his presence there is holding back superior talents.

  48. Paulie, I saw that. He looked a bit embarrassed as he made the comment, as though he knew full well that what he was saying was bollocks (how couldn’t he), and he was just saying it out of some anti-Arsenal debt of duty. But for who’s benefit? Strange man. Strange TV channel. I say, f*ck em. AW and the team are doing a spectacular job of ramming pundits like that’s words firmly back down their throats. Can’t ask for anything more.

    I’m off to the park for a kick about. Got my Socrates Brasil shirt on but I think I’ll play as Samir Nasri in my head. The Marseille Menace is an inspiration.

  49. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    You must be a Groaner, blazon. You assholes know it all, huh? There’s nothing like reading some revisionist Football Manager bollocks the day after a solid win. What a tit.

    This is the same clown who accused Frank of being racist, right?

  50. nasir…

    don’t know you but you sound delightful…

    no, i have no connection with any of that…

    nor with you thankfully

  51. I can’t believe that anyone’d think they know better than Wenger regarding when it’s time to let a player move on. He’s the absolute master.

  52. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    I don’t know you either, but that won’t stop me from telling you that you sound like spoiled teenager. You know deep down you wouldn’t have been confident with Coquelin and whoever else etcetera is as backup for our fullbacks.

  53. Aaah if it isn’t Blazon….well most of him anyway.

  54. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Tell me about it, Vince.

  55. Btw, well done, zap, the flag was superb.

  56. I have promised not to mention it, flying dutchman. I just reveal a bit more after every game.

  57. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Btw, loved Theo’s celebration yesterday. Keeping everyone reminded that there is plenty of time to show the world what an absolute dunce Chris Waddle is.

  58. I really don’t understand this reference to lady luck. I don’t think that luck is a lady at all. More of an animal I would say. Perhaps a head-louse…or even an arse-worm.

  59. Finsburyparker

    Oh, so that’s what the watch thing was all about.

    I know, it’s obvious, but I never claimed to be the sharpest wit in the west.

    Well, a few weeks ago I said that Theo was next in line for the Hate Mob. His reception during the Liverpool game confirmed the rumbling discontent for me. Maybe I was hearing things? I.

    Like most Gunners I spoke to, I also fully expected him to embarrass his critics, yet again. He’s done so on every return from injury so far.

    It’s one thing to reflect on a game, and players’ performances.
    But the lame bullies who like to lay in, or to just wind up gullible AFC fans always seem to convince their audience to forget that a player returning from injury needs to find form, rhythm and confidence, in any sport.

    Now that, is Voodoo Magic.

    Another assist for the ‘winger’ Nasri yesterday.

    I think Theo had a couple of fun bursts during games on the LW last season. Once he’s fully in the groove, I do expect him to switch around more often during a game.
    Had forgetting that Lord Overmars was right footed.

    Exciting stuff.

  60. The head-louse of happenstance perhaps or the accidental arse-worm. Both are better than lady luck.

  61. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Classy goal from Arteta set up by a nice Pienaar back heel. That was nice.

  62. ClockER:

    “So what they’re actually gearing up for is covering up their own inability to see Wenger’s achievement for what it is as opposed to what they want it to be. And in the process show all and sundry that, actually, they know little if anything about football, but happen to have a marginal facility with written English.”

    They’re not covering for Wenger’s achievement at all. They’re covering their own arses because they had the temerity to say that we would be dumped out of the top four because one can’t win with kids. Then they said we had no squad depth. Then they said we can’t win up north. And on and on and on. If we win, it’ll be a slap in the face to the collective consensus these hacks can’t bare to venture away from. Since they’re cowards they ally themselves with the safest position possible so to not upset the apple cart.

  63. Abou Diaby is really coming into his own now. He is a great player.

    This is definitely the best Arsenal squad I have ever seen. The depth is breathtaking. If Cesc is hamstrung on Tuesday we will still win the tie.

  64. 1 win closer. Need to stay consistant and strong.

    LimparAssist made the great call last Friday. Said Theo would be carve up the clarets. He is the man. Every 20 year old will be inconsistant but in 2 yrs Theo will be consistantly excellent just like Diaby is now. Hopefully NB52 will not catch to much grief. He has great talent and great long term potential. Hopefully these misses will not cause long term brain damage. He just needs another time to find consistant good form. Pray for RVP to come back for the end of the run in and hopefully CL

    Still frustrated that we seem to make at least one big defensive error per game. With our talent we should always have a clean sheet at home against sides like Burnley. Absolutely need a full 90 minutes of concentration and organization and a clean sheet vs Porto.

  65. I think Eboue is perfect for teams that like to sit back and hit us on the counter but Sagna is a better option for teams that play us tit for tat. Both players are useful and bring something unique to the squad. I wouldn’t sell either one because I love that our team doesn’t want for options at right full back. I’m tickled that Arsene is playing Eboue against teams that park the bus because I’ve wanted him to do so for quite some time. Since conventional wisdom dictates that we’re vulnerable to counter attacks, I think we’ll be seeing Eboue more frequently. Personally, I’d like to see Eboue get the start on Tuesday as we’ll need to keep Porto’s Varela from making runs at our fullbacks.

  66. Ole, not to be too nit picky but did you see TV’s positioning for Burnley’s goal yesterday?

  67. .

  68. Since it looks like Hull will get relegated, who would you take from their squad?

    I’d take Cairney, Boateng and Myhill.

  69. I would take Phil Brown.

  70. And laugh in his orange face!

  71. Finsburyparker @ 4:35pm:
    “Well, a few weeks ago I said that Theo was next in line for the Hate Mob. His reception during the Liverpool game confirmed the rumbling discontent for me. Maybe I was hearing things?”

    Are you kidding me? Those two lovely fellows at Le Groan spare no effort to to foment anti-Theo fervor. Force to dole out some praise in today’s blog, they ended with this accusation “… still plenty of shocking decisions and very poor passes.” I began to wonder if I watched the same game. With such support from a popular Arsenal blog, who needs Chris Twaddle as a critic.

  72. Paul Hayward is full of it. That article of his is so pathetic, it makes me want to abandon reading the guardian altogether – its a pity that the paper has some other good journalists.

    I read it last night, thought about leaving a comment over there and then didn’t bother because idiots like that are better left to dwell in their own delusions. If the man is stupid enough to seriously believe what he wrote, no reasonable argument’s going to make any sense to him.

    And while we’re at papers – how big of an embarassment is Piers Morgan? Why is the man even an Arsenal fan? He’s forever been on on the “Arsene Wenger out” brigade, is too stupid to understand what a great club we’ve become and for whatever reason acts like a petulant child whenever we lose.

    Last week he met Cesc at the Campbell’s fashion show and asked him repeatedly whether Cesc was going to be leaving Barcelona. Cesc denies this 3 times and even after all that, the buffoon still doubts him. I’m so scared of idiots like this. I know Cesc is too intelligent for anything Morgan spews but then he’s a “celebrity” of sorts and I shudder to think what garbage he must be paddling about Arsenal to other people.

  73. um – I meant, he asked Cesc repeatedly. If he’d asked Sol that repeatedly, I’d hope that he wouldn’t have a face anymore.

  74. I heard on the radio that Essian is out for the year. Do not know if it is true. I hope not, he is one of the best players in the EPL. If it is true it is a big blow to Chelsea. They do not seem to be the same team without him. Anone else heard this?

  75. Finsburyparker

    Shotta.

    Never been to Le Groan.
    But that is sad to hear.
    They obviously have a not so Hidden Agenda.

    The Liverpool game and others were the first games I’d been to since before Christmas, and I was upset at the fools heckling Theo. I’d heard people say that day, after he came on as a sub (I think) “That Theo doesn’t have a football brain.” Voodoo Magic, or misinformation. They are much the same thing I guess.

    On reflection, it does seem that bloggers, or so called fans’ forums, probably have as much if not more influence towards people’s attitudes towards the players, then pundits.

  76. I wonder why the Chelsea – Stoke game ended with not one Chelsea player with a broken leg? Were the Stoke players not committed in this game? And why not? Did their manager not tell them to “Get in hard”?

    I hope Pulis’hit can explain…

  77. Ahhh! Warren Barton in his infinite wisdom has declared that Niklas Bendtner will never be a hero at Arsenal. He is certain that the twenty two year old striker will never learn how to finish. Why are fox importing mediocre players to do analysis? Is it for the credibility a cockney accent brings?

  78. Finsburyparker

    Sky/Fox’s agenda is their own, and equally obvious. They’ve had the impartial football genuis (Stoke’s coach), Gerry Francis educating the UK audience this week.

    AW/AFC should boycott them I think.

    On the posts between OleGunner and others earlier in the week:

    After speaking to friends this week, we recalled accounts of school level coaches who had encouraged or taught their players ‘to foul’ upon the ‘blind side’ of the referee.
    Of course, the difference is, that a foul and breaking someone’s leg are not the same thing. It would require some coaching to encourage a player to go against the natural instinct, which in a game of football, is not to break the opponents leg.

    That was our conclusion.

  79. GB69…I think he’s probably just cheaper to hire.

  80. Finsburyparker

    Sorry that should be ‘school age football coaches’, not ‘level’, as people of the same age, can train and get coached to a different level or standard then their peers.

  81. Get your streams up and ready for the top of the table clash in france tonight.

    Our new striker will be playing for the home side and it will be good to see how he copes in a pressure match.

  82. All you FOX america viewers who have to listen to the innane ramblings of one W Barton…

    remember this much… he was dying to sign for Arsenal back in the early 90’s.. GG almost signed him but for some reason dropped him like a hot potato… he then went on to win fuck all with newcastle.

    He will harbour some hurt.

  83. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    I hate Warren Barton, G69. His spray tan is almost on par with Phil Brown’s. I could see those guys hanging out, too.

  84. As a Londoner.. Arsenal are the club to aspire to play for.

    He ended up in Newcastle after GG flirted outrageously with him for an entire summer.

    Serves him right 😆

  85. Gilberto The Giant Anteater

    Somehow this escaped my attention but, back 2003, London Zoo named a giant anteater after Gilberto Silva, when an Arsenal supporter (Peter Findlay) won a competition to sponsor the animal.

    Like the midfielder, the giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) is a native of Brazil. ‘To be honest, I’ve never seen an anteater in the wild back home in Brazil, but it was great to meet Gilberto here. He can now be like a brother to me,’ said the happy World Cup winner on a visit to meet his namesake at London Zoo.

    When fully grown, Gilberto (the anteater) could reach 122 cm (4 ft) in length, excluding his tail, and about 61 cm (2 ft) in height, weighing approximately 50.8 kg (8 st). The former Arsenal star stands at 192 cm (6 ft 3 in), tipping the scales at 80.3 kg (12.9 st).

    http://www.zsl.org/zsl-london-zoo/news/gilberto-meet-gilberto,126,NS.html

  86. Paulie Walnuts

    Warren Farton is/was a gooner – & not a very good one by the sound of it.

    Sky / ESPN / R5L seem to have a `mullet` agenda, what with Farton, Twaddle & hair fashionista Gerry Francis at large. Not the only thing they have in common either as they all talk b*llocks.

    I agree we can go through on Tuesday without Cesc. The talent & appetite is there to see.

    Our young players have arrived

    Bendtner to score the winner

  87. I for one after yesterday’s performance, will feel very comfortable with Nasri in the middle, alongside Diaby and Song.

    AA-Benny-Theo up front.

    Wht concerns me more is the CB situation, I really hope Sol or maybe even Gallas, can come back in for this game.

  88. Just caught a few minutes of the Karate Kid, and realized how eerily it foreshadowed the Ramsey incident last week.

    Aaron Ramsey is Daniel (the Karate Kid)
    Arsene Wenger is Miyagi
    Tony Pulis is Kreese
    Ryan Shawcross is Bobby AND Johnny Lawrence

    Here’s the telling scene:

    Shawcross is about to face Daniel in the league.

    Pulis: Ryan – I want him out of commission.
    Shawcross: But boss, I can beat this guy!
    Pulis: I don’t want him beaten.
    Shawcross: But I’ll be sent off!
    Kreese: [icily] Out of commission.

    and later…..

    [just before Shawcross plays Ramsey in the tournament]
    Pulis: Sweep the leg.
    [Shawcross stares at him in shock]
    Pulis: Do you have a problem with that?
    Shawcross: No, boss.
    Pulis: No mercy.

    The only two things the Ramsey incident didn’t have is Arsene being able to rub his hands together to allow him to keep playing (although if he’s already able to stand on the leg, then maybe that’s an equivalent) and instead of Elisabeth Shue to comfort him, Ramsey’s at his mum’s house in Wales during his recuperation. Oh, and in this story, Shawcross is as guilty as Pulis.

    What will certainly happen is that like Daniel, Ramsey will come back stronger than before and will defeat opponents far tougher than the ones who tried to injure him this time.

    By the way, loved the hammering of Hayward on the Guardian website after his nonsense about Arsenal not deserving to win the title.

  89. If Chamakh was watching yesterday he must have been blown away by the quality of service our players get up front. Certainly adds weight to the argument that Ade could only have a season like he had two years ago here.

  90. What a good piece of keeping there.

  91. gossip is gossip, so I shouldn’t encourage it, but I can’t help it on this one…

    http://www.dnaindia.com/sport/report_emmanuel-adebayor-could-leave-manchester-city-next-season_1356298

  92. Hayward took a battering didn’t he (I was one of those contributing). I don’t imagine for a minute he ever reads the comments though….but it was such an appalling piece of hastily scribbled crap that sometimes you just have to respond against your better judgement.

    Fuck ’em all anyway. We’re getting closer. Come on Arsenal!!

    R.I.P Mark Linkous.

  93. A few people have mentioned concerns about Chamakh’s scoring ratio in the event he comes to us next season. Here’s some statistics to put the fears into context:

    Chamakh:

    Bordeaux: 216 games, 54 goals (25%)
    Morocco: 53 games, 15 goals (28.3%)

    Adebayor:

    Marseille: 79 games, 18 goals (22.8%)
    Arsenal: 105 games, 46 goals (43.8%)
    Man City: 18 games, 9 goals (50%)
    Togo: 38 games, 16 goals (42.1%)

    Henry:

    Monaco: 105 games, 20 goals (19%)
    Juventus: 18 games, 3 goals (16.7%)
    Arsenal: 254 games, 174 goals (68.5%)
    Barcelona: 73 games, 34 goals (46.6%)
    France: 117 games, 51 goals (43.6%)

    Additionally, Chamakh has a ratio of just about 1 in 3 in the last two seasons, so his ratio os on the upswing. It’s fair to point out that Henry was mostly used as a winger before coming to Arsenal, but the key is that with both Henry and Adebayor, Arsene took them at the right time and turned them into great goalscorers.

    If anything, Chamakh is more seasoned than both players when they arrived at Arsenal, so put this one down as an absolute no-brainer. He shares the same criticism as the other two as well-wayward finishing ability, and look how they both improved in that area. He doesn’t possess the blistering pace of Henry but he’s more dangerous in the air.

    Chamakh will be a 15-20 goalscorer at the worst for Arsenal once he gets settled in, with the potential of moving to a 20-25 goal scorer.

    Perfect signing if it happens, as long as he can keep his head together and focus on football and not the publicity. His keen interest in politics also means he likely fits the mould of intelligent players that Wenger likes to sign.

    Next season will be a special one, and all the more special if Ramsey returns at some point in the season without any physical or mental ill effects from the assault.

  94. finally a little credit to Soccernet.com for this week’s Winners and Losers section, although they just about ruined it by putting Bendtner on the Loser’s list.

    Here’s what redeemed them this week (under the Winners category):

    Arsenal

    Arsenal’s league record since March 2009 excluding games against the top two:

    Played 34, Won 27, Lost 2, Drawn 5, Scored 95, Conceded 30.

  95. oh i really hope chamakh comes here he’ll be an excellent player for us i’m sure…. all the peices are in place

    and i know its been said but bentdner doesnt get into these great positions for nothing, for such a big guy to lose his marker so easily is the sign of a great striker, he JUST has to learn how to score…

  96. lagooner – Adebayor? who cares where he ends up.
    I have watched this Chamakh bloke he scored tonight with his foot (Yes he can score with his feet) despite what people say about his goal tally I can see why Wenger likes him, he works his socks off for his team. He is a bit like Fellani at Everton. Bordeaux battled hard all game with 10 men thier keeper saved 2 penalties and then committed a howler at the last kick of the game, goalkeepers are really stupid sometimes.

  97. Lagooner, Ramsey should return next season, but I don’t expect to see the best of him until the following season as he will have to go through the niggles and adjustment that goes with a long term injury. Next season should see the best of Rosicky and Eduardo who are both beginning to show signs of returning to their best like Diaby.

  98. 1LC, it’s hard for goalkeepers, one mistake and it’s a goal. Outfield players generally have more chances to redeem themselves.

  99. Naha Zap, Bendtner’s performance yesterday was about lack of concentration, not scoring ability or talent. Technically speaking, the headers against Austria and Stoke were far more difficult than any of his main chances yesterday. It was just a bad day, and nothing to do with talent. He’s had a few of those for us, but always bounces back.

  100. Nah, that is.

  101. yeah we often forgot last season that diaby was just returning from that injury.

    for porto to be honest wether cesc plays or doesnt play doesnt bother me at all, whatever team we play will have the unity and spirit to win the match (aswell as confidence and ability obviously)

    i would play:

    ——-almunia-
    -sagna-silv-verm-cliche——-
    –song–diaby-nasri—-
    –walcott-bentdner–arshavin–

    subs: fabianski, traore, eboue, rosicky, eduardo, denilson, eastmond

  102. (thats if cesc doesnt play)

  103. Calcot i was talking generally not yesterdays game…..

  104. Maybe Bendtner was trying too hard to score since he is apparently very close to Aaron Ramsey?

  105. I don’t think he’s ever demonstrated that he doesn’t know “how” to score. His record is commendable considering his age.

  106. Arshavin is a good player, but it was noticeable when he came on yesterday that we lacked the support for the defence that was there when Rosicky was on the pitch. He is a mixed blessing in that respect.

  107. Possible, Passenal.

    Something else with Nic – I always wondered if all the bravado is just an act. I doubt whether he’s really as confident as he projects.

  108. Either way:

    11 in 32 at international level, with goals against Portugal, Czech Republic and Germany – that’s pretty sh*t-hot for a 22 year-old, and not the record of someone who doesn’t know “how to score”.

  109. i would like to see nasri play like he did yesterday.

    i think he is our iniesta.

  110. I was hoping Bendtner would be on course for the Danish record, but there was a dude born in 1891 called Poul Tist Nielsen who scored 52 in 38 games! That’s not right. They should disregard pre-war records in football.

  111. Hull at 18th position after a 5-1 battering at Goodison Park made my day complete.

  112. Passenal, I agree with you that Arshavin doesn’t cover for his full back. But if we play our game right there’s no reason why any team should even be crossing over to our half. In my opinion, we have looked more solid since Eboue and Theo have come into the squad more regularly. The proof is in the pudding. When we push teams back the opposition are helpless against us. That’s how it’s always been under Wenger.

  113. By the way, did anyone catch the Genoa v Inter game? Genoia are another squad playing a three man back line that dominates a more offensive side.

    Just sayin.’

  114. Captain Fab thoughts below,

    The 22-year old who will take a late fitness test before tomorrow’s game against Porto, said:

    Everyone thinks ‘We are playing Arsenal, we have to go in hard on them’, and I have no problem with the contact game. If opponents think that is the best way for them to beat us, no problem, but when you put your foot half a metre high on someone’s leg, that is not right.

    It is not the first time this season we have seen challenges like this, but until someone breaks their leg no-one speaks about it. It has happened twice to me this season and I was lucky I did not get badly injured.

    I am sure [Ryan Shawcross] did not want to break Aaron’s leg, but the tackle was dangerous. It was terrible. I am sure he wanted to win the ball, but when your foot is that high only he knows what he was trying to do.

  115. I know many regulars were disaapointed with Winterburn and co. (as I was) I thought the boys on the fans forum were excellentand torn the ‘journalist’ on the show a new one.

    Well done boys.

  116. The callers were quality as well.

  117. I felt sorry for Bendtner having had so many scoring chances and not score but overall he was great, he assisted walcott’s goal and after he was taken off we seemed to struggle abit for about 10mins or so.
    Nasri was sublime, that chip for Fabrigas was indescribable. Walcott upped his game, I am happy for the lad, there is only one way for him which is up..up..up. 3 points in the bag and 9 games to go. Aren’t Manu/chelsea playing this wknd? A draw for them will do us plenty of good, cant wait. First things first, Porto tomorrow, anything less than a win is unacceptable.Come on you Gunners!!

  118. Bendtner creates a lot of space for the other players around him, he is a physical presence up front. His link up play is also good and is an intelligent player who can read the game. Only thing is, he can be a little erratic with his finishing, and seems to be affectedby his misses. I can remember games where he has missed numerous chances like the last one, which can only happen when you let your confidence get shot by one or two misses. It seems to be a mental aspect, and I am sure he will work on it and improve with age.

    What the people slating Bendtner miss is his overall contribution to the games apart from scoring (or not scoring) goals. Is it just a coincidence that since he came back from injury we have performed much more consistently in the league? Is it just a coincidence that once he was taken off against Burnley we started looking much more vulnerable defensively? If soeone suggests that all this is just a coincidence, then like Arsene, I don’t believe in coincidence.

    Here’s to Bendtner scoring the 90th minute winner against Porto.

  119. keyserzone,

    90th minute winner? please, no.

    4-0 after 45 minutes.

  120. Tricky game tomorrow. We have only to score one goal and keep a clean sheet and we are through. But any goal from them and we need to score three. So we really do have to defend and attack in equal measure. Cool heads required both on and off the pitch. A tense crowd will be no good for the squad tomorrow. We need to to be in full voice for ninety odd minutes. Anything less is unacceptable.

    A hattrick from Nik would be nice.

    ….Arsenal….

  121. Theo may surprise on one or two people tomorrow.

  122. Agree with Frank. Being 2-1 down from the away leg makes it a very tricky game. The game will start with Arsenal on the attack and Porto defending. This is the situation I am comfortable with, but if we get an early lead, the roles will be reversed, and the players will have to start playing an unnatural game. And the stakes will be too high, a late equaliser would mean a loss and not a draw. So I am much more comfortable wih status quo being maintained for most of the match and then us getting a late winner.

  123. We need to cut off the supply to Givanildo Vieira de Souza tomorrow. Without him they don’t amount to much up front. The full strength team bar him only just salvaged a draw in the league at the Stadium of Drag Queens at the weekend.

  124. “Passenal, I agree with you that Arshavin doesn’t cover for his full back. But if we play our game right there’s no reason why any team should even be crossing over to our half.”

    There is always the risk of the counter attack, which is why you need someone who will defend from the front.

  125. Of course, getting 2 goals early will make things simpler. This is what I dislike about the away goals rule, it makes football more like a chess game with different alternatives and variations. I don’t think that is how football should be played. If I had the power I would just scrap the away goal rule. Although it creates less probability of a shootout, it also encourages teams to shut up shop at home in the second leg in certain situations, when actually the net score is a draw.

  126. Does the away goals rule still apply in the event of extra time?

  127. Yes, as far as I know it does.

  128. I guess that is fair. The home team have an advantage from playing more time in their own stadium which is balanced by the away goals rule in favour of the away team playing more time away.

  129. Finsbury!

    After speaking to friends this week, we recalled accounts of school level coaches who had encouraged or taught their players ‘to foul’ upon the ‘blind side’ of the referee.
    Of course, the difference is, that a foul and breaking someone’s leg are not the same thing. It would require some coaching to encourage a player to go against the natural instinct, which in a game of football, is not to break the opponents leg.

    That was our conclusion

    I agree it’s not any player’s natural instinct.

    Despite all that has been said, broken legs from tackles are still rare in football, and people remember actual incidents vividly.

    That’s why it’s mad to minimise the fact that Arsenal have suffered 3 horrendous career-threatening leg breaks in 4 years, and 5 impact injuries this season.

    Clearly, there’s something happening here.

  130. For tomorrow I’d go with the following team;

    EDS Bendtner Arshavin

    Diaby Song Denilson

    Clichy TV Campbell Sagna

    Almunia

    Bench: Fabianski, Silvestre, Walcott, Nasri, Rosicky, Eboue, Traore

  131. I am taking three huge stockpots on the wagon over to the stadium tonight. Setup around the Drayton park areas close to the away supporters. Stewing up a dish called dobrada which is something of a Porto specialty. Made from tripe and chick peas. The thought of hundreds of drag queens feeding on my tripe fills me with glee. Reminiscent of English football reportage I suppose.

    Might make a bob or two too I should think. When I say ‘two too’ I don’t mean tutu..though I would not be surprised to see one or two of them in the away crowd tomorrow.

  132. Dear oh dear, YW. Your excellent interview with an old gunner the other week has sparked an epidemic it seems. Old players, cigarette cards, pies, pissing in the bloke in front’s pocket, collecting programmes, paying at the gate, heroes on a pittance stories are being spread a little thin.

  133. ole,

    i think i would start nasri ahead of eduardo.

    it would be nice to give walcott a go at them from the start, as an encouragement. but maybe tactically, it would be better to bring him on in the second half, if there’s a need to.

  134. no7,

    I think we should use the squad as much as possible.

  135. Theo on Waddle (from Arseblog) : “I don’t listen to people outside football”. Classy!

  136. What a gorgeous goal we scored on Saturday. The deftness and weight on Nasri’s chip, the vision for him to spot the run, and the lightness of touch from Fabs. “Nuts!” he shouted as he beat the Beast (a more aptly named beast than Julio Baps perhaps? But certainly less deserving of the moniker than John Parkin), then “Ole!” as he peeled away to applaud the assist.

    Finding new ways to unlock a penalty box saturated with defenders is an ongoing challenge at the Emirates. It’s like watching a different form of the game at times, when the action becomes concentrated around the opposition box. It’s like an attack vs. defence exercise. Credit to Burnley though, they did try push out when they got the ball, but then that did allow us to open them up a good many times. On another day, Theo could’ve have had 5 or 6 assists.

    OG, pretty hard to drop Nas after Saturday I’d say, especially if Fabs doesn’t start. But I do like Song, Denilson, Diaby in midfield. Looks dominant.

  137. Limpar,

    i rewatched the goal a number of times. the moment fabregas passed the ball to nasri, he made his run. and nasri immediately knew what to do.

    i give credit to graham alexander: he ran as well, the moment he saw fabregas run.

    but it was too late.

    i think during the move, only 3 people really knew what was going to happen.

    that is what i call: one step ahead of your opponent.

  138. Chris Waddle’s middle name is Roland and due in part to an arse deformity was known as Roly Waddle as a youngster.

  139. This has caused him to be extraordinarily jealous of young players with a natural ability not to ..well…rolly waddle.Theo is one of these players.

  140. What a brilliant pass. What supreme footballing intelligence.

    as you highlight, no7, Graham Alexandar felt he had to track Cesc’s run, but without any understanding of what was unfolding he might as well not have bothered.

  141. Limpar,

    I think we should go for midfield solidity, and give Nasri a breather. It won’t be dropping him it’d be keeping the squad fresh with potentially many games to come.

  142. David Nugent is only unhappy about the bruising he got from Vermaelen.

  143. You are kidding are you not, OG? Why would you drop an in form player such a motm Samir Nasri in such an important gam?

  144. Have your cake and eat it too, OG. That midfield, with Nasri on the right or left of the front three where he can drift inside and create, but also tackle back. Of course then you have to leave Theo out, or Andrey, or Eds – selection headaches in the forward line! We’re just not used to it.

  145. I think it would be suicide to try to do anything other than blast the fuckers off the park with our ability to attack.

  146. Sol Campbell’s middle name is Jeremiah.

  147. ‘Football isn’t a girl’s game’, and on International Women’s Day too. For shame, David Nugent.

  148. Well since he is anything but defeatist these days I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I believe he has turned the corner on that dark period of his life. Most positive centre-half around currently.

  149. Our new boy, Wellington Silva came off the bench to help Fluminense beat Botofogo last night. He set up the second goal, and narrowly missed out on the third. That guy has lightning quick feet! It’s ridiculous.

  150. Why should international women have a day?

  151. Wow, look at Fred’s miss at the start!

  152. It’s something to do with Suffrages I think, Frank. Which is a department store off Oxford Street.

  153. I suppose Nugent isn’t a new gent!

  154. Happens to the best of us, Calcot. I did something similar in the park yesterday. And take Nicklas Bendtner for example… no please, take him.

    Thanks for the Wellington Silva update.

  155. With this Wellington boy, I just know it in my bones, Arsene has found another gem. ! more season and he’s all ours.

  156. The new kind of silly media consensus is that Bendtner doesn’t have good technique. Absolute nonsense.

  157. I have heard from someone who has seen the kid train that he is going to be a massive massive star. The coaching staff have been drooling over him. He could well be the best player that we have had in that age group in recent times.

    This source is very reliable.

    Oh and lagooner, if you’re reading this. I was in stitches about your Karate Kid analogy.

    As a kid I watched that film about 200 times and unfortunately almost know it word for word so it made a lot of sense to me.

    Very true.

  158. I know I got to this one a bit late, but as already mentioned winning the title is about constitency through the season not just one or two games. If Arsenal do win the league we should not forget the 6 points from Liverpool, the 4 from Aston Villa and the 4 from Everton, places where Man Utd and Chelsea have struggled. Hopefully we can follow this with 3 points from Man City and a further 3 from Spurs before the season is over.
    We may not have looked great in every game we have played this season, but who has?

  159. This was a hige win. The race is one for the title. We are now in a great position to winthe crown. I still believe we will win the title. It is sad that fabregas hurt his hammie. great match. http://defutebol.net

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