West Ham United (H) Preview & Spanish Dreams

The ‘Appy ‘Ammers struggle with the Crosstown Traffic this evening, in media eyes sacrificial lambs brought to the altar of The Emirates for a ritual slaughter. The sides meet for the third time with eyes drawn back to the Premier League following yesterday’s Champions League draw for the Quarter and Semi-Finals.

If Arsenal wanted to test themselves against the best in Europe, the route to The Bernabeu in May certainly presents those opportunities. I suspect Arsene might have preferred the first leg to have been in the Catalan capital but either way, Barcelona represents the sternest of tests. Arsene noted in his press conference that Arsenal will be ‘billed’ as underdogs. Suits me down to the ground, there will be a plethora of stories about how the squad is not good enough to compete with Barca and some will no doubt comment we should not even be in the same stadium (bring it on, Collymore!) but who cares what the media think?

Arsene does as he vainly hoped that the build-up would not be dominated by stories surrounding Cesc. Of course they will. Every press conference between now and then will be 20 minutes of transfer gossip and speculation, 30 seconds about the match. In a masochistic way, the coverage will be captivating; the English press will blame the Spanish media for the stories and the vicious circle will be completed as the roles are reversed. Supporters will be left in the middle wondering how an innocent comment can be twisted into so many different meanings, enough to make the Chinese wish that they had never whispered in the first place.

Wenger also noted that the venues for the two legs were not important in terms of their sequence:

Statistically it is not proven. We like to think in our job that to play at home in the second leg is an advantage, but it is not proven at all in the statistics. It is 50:50. These are ties where the quality of your concentration for 180 minutes and the form of the day is very important. We have to go into these games with the right focus

Sorry Arsene but being at home in the second leg is statistically proven to be advantageous. Since the Quarter Final stage was reintroduced in 1994/95, there have been 90 quarter and semi final ties; 49 teams who played the first leg away from home have progressed, 41 home sides have done so. Indeed, on two occasions – 2001/02 and 2007/08 – teams who played the first leg away from home progressed. No such clean sweep has been achieved by the home sides in the first leg of each tie. Statistically proven but not as emphatically as football folklore likes to believe. Of course, his point was that it will take two excellent performances to progress. No argument there.

Reading comments around the web yesterday, I am stunned that people are nervous of this tie, entirely negative in some circumstances. Honestly, I do not understand that mentality. If you cannot look forward to matches such as these, then why bother following football at all. There are precious few big matches in a season; this will be the biggest that The Emirates has ever hosted, including last season’s semi-final. Perhaps it was the sense of anti-climax due to the performance on the night but this one seems bigger, possibly because United are a ‘routine’ domestic opponent.

Barcelona’s form over the last two seasons has been nothing less than outstanding. Anyone who is not impressed by them is blind or stupid, quite possibly both. Arsene will no doubt have spotted weaknesses and there have been occasions from those matches that I have seen, where Barca have appeared vulnerable. Even so, a team which has lost once in the League, once in the Champions League and once in the Copa del Rey cannot under any circumstances being treated lightly. The manager and players will leave the bravado to us in the stands.

Focus is drawn sharply back to this evening’s match. A win puts Arsenal top until tomorrow at least. A win is all that is required this afternoon. A resounding victory which adds substantially to the goal difference would be a bonus. With West Ham struggling, it is a match Arsenal should be confident of ending with maximum points. Hull gave an indication that those teams down at the bottom will be resolute in their defending, Arsenal will not take the outcome as a foregone conclusion.

Team news is mixed. The returns of Song, Fabregas and Rosicky are most welcome. Tinging that news with some disappointment were Arsene’s comment that Robin van Persie, although progressing well, is unlikely to play before mid-May. Perhaps it was a slip of the tongue on his part – and Wenger made the comment before the Champions League draw – but the Premier League season ends in early May.

The returning trio strengthens the squad. Whether all three will start is another matter although I would like to think that they are fit enough to do so. Fabregas will no doubt slot straight into his central role which is hard on Samir Nasri as his form in that position has been sparkling. I hope that he can continue this from a wide position, the fate he resigned himself to a while ago when he commented that although he knew playing on the flanks hurt his World Cup chances, he wanted to play for Arsenal and if Arsene put him on the wing, that is where he was happy to play.

That attitude is one that seems to pervade the whole of the squad with square pegs in round holes as the injury situation dictated. It is also the reason why English players rarely come to Wenger’s attention. Few are technically adept at playing the game in the style he demands, even fewer have the versatility to do so in a variety of positions.

Were I to pick the starting line-up, it would be as follows:

Almunia; Sagna, Campbell, Vermaelen, Clichy; Fabregas, Song, Diaby; Nasri, Bendtner, Arshavin

with a bench of:

Fabianski, Eboue, Silvestre, Denilson, Rosicky, Walcott, Vela

A reminder of how good it is to see Arsenal at the top? This is the Premier League table from six years ago today (courtesy of When Saturday Comes):

A repeat of those top 3 positions come Monday morning would be most welcome. Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on March 20, 2010, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 367 Comments.

  1. cmon you Gunners

  2. bring ’em on. If we can’t beat them over two legs , we don’t deserve to win the trophy. Can’t wait for the 31 st March

  3. TerenceMcGovern

    It is worth noting all the Man utd fans all over the blogesphere who are either A: assuming that we havent a hope of going through or B: gleefully predicting that we are going to be thrashed.

    Whilst they do have some experience in the field(being thrshed by Barcelona that is) It is worth noting that Man Utd supporters in the main have the intellectual level of inbred guinea pigs therefore it is probably a waste of time pointing out that the worst that we can do against Barca is the best that they did..get hammered.

    However I suspect that we can do a bit better than that. I dream of holding them in London and a certain dutch striker who has unlimited access to God’s left foot being available for the second leg.
    Oh yes my dreams are large indeed. Almost as large as the hubris of utd fans that assume they will brush Bayern aside depending all the while on just one player carrying the rest.

  4. YW
    Wenger said 80% of Gallas missing the barca match, that is only 20% of him playing

  5. The cross hairs need be squarely on the West Ham match.

    Objectives, clean sheet, large goal difference, and no injuries.

  6. 1. I’m excited about taking on Barcelona in the Q-F.

    2. I thought Wenger said Gallas’s chance of playing in the 1st leg is 80% OUT?

    “He will play some part before the end of the season, but will he be ready to play against Barcelona? That is another question mark. I would say he is already at 80 per cent out for the first leg.

    “But he should play again before the end of the season.”

  7. Seems like Gerrard, for some mysterious reason, was dead set on committing kamikaze in the last 2 premiership games and get himself banned-suspended.

    If this attitude is brought into tomorrow’s game, who is to say that he won’t be red-carded?

  8. The stats you provide about the progressing side and the sequence of the games (home/away) aren’t statistically significant.

    It would be realistic to say that a 49-41 split falls within a margin of error of 4 from being 45-45 and totally even.

    Thus, arsene is right, it hasn’t been statistically proven. The appearance that being away in the first leg is adventageous just happens to be the result of the (somewhat limited) sample.

    Philosophically, I think you could make a good point for either, but statistical analysis is inconsclusive at this point.

  9. Steve makes a good point about statistical significance Yogi.
    That spread, I’d imagine, is small enough to be occasioned by pure chance.

  10. Enough of this talk about “testicle analysis” and “testicle significance”!! Let’s just knock 5 or more past the Hammers. I am drooling over the Barca games though I must admit. I mean we play Stoke and Hull and other shite teams week in and week out but this is what we want, so to all those who say we do not stand a chance I say: Bring it on!! We can beat anyone on our day and we know it and Barca know it!! Remember fellow Gooners we got beat 3 – 0 by Milan only to come back (after everyone wrote us off, sound familiar?) to thrash them 5 -1 AT THE SAN SIRO!!!! Nuff said 🙂 COYG

  11. Arsenal can beat Barca.The big games are what being a great teams is about.let’s Just Do It

  12. I should also add that it’s important the team focuses on what’s crucial per time.e.g. today;hammer the Hammers and pick the wins as the matches come.we can

  13. I agree with irish gray and statistics about home advantage got well and truly stuffed by Inter v Chelsea and PSV v Arsenal. Barca dont like defending and I dont think that Danny Alves and Abidal could cope with eboue, walcott, arshavin, clichy running at them all game with Bendtner mopping up the crosses in the middle. First to spanking West Ham and going back to the top. Defeats or draws for the chavs and scum then the Double is on.

  14. Jeff / Luke

    Now you know why the posts turn up mid-morning normally!!! Thanks for the update and the post is likewise amended for those who are wondering what the hell they are talking about.

    Steve / Saloner

    Going to agree to disagree with you. I would add to those numbers that never less than 33% of the 6 ties covered each season were won on aggregate by the away sides but home sides in the first leg progress more erratically, the range of their progression being 0% – 66%.

    Now, I could weight it according to standard of the opposition, how many of those teams were top seeds in the tournament. Hang on a mo, I’ll get me coat and nip down to Tesco to buy a life…

    YW

  15. I’m going to have to agree with Steve/Saloner on the statisics issue, i see a slight skew in favour of the 2nd leg home team but nothing that would survive a particuarly robust test of probability.

    I have a very strange feeling we’re going to see 0-0 at the Emirates and 1-1 at Barca…

  16. If the home team in the first leg do not concede a goal, the advantage switches to them because the home team in the second leg have to concentrate on defence more than they might other wise do as any away goal scored means that the home team then have to score twice.

    I think that a 0 – 0 draw at home in the first leg gives that team a slight advantage in the second leg.

  17. A clean sheet at home is the minimum. Even 1-0 is not safe.

    0-0 at home will make for a nervy 2nd leg.

    If Wenger is honest (I don’t expect him to be since we’re all acting and behaving in the best interest of the team), he wouldn’t say that having the 2nd leg at home is not an advantage. For us we play best “with the handbrake off”, and having to keep a clean sheet at home in the first leg will tend to restrain us and result in us playing with caution (read: “handbrake on”), not knowing what scoreline is enough to take us through the home and away quarter-final..

  18. Good post yogi.I’d like to drift to barca abit,its so exciting and scary at the same time.barca love to build their game from the back,hence when alves gallops upfield,messi can have the licence to drift inwards.defenders hate direct players like him hence they retreat further.behind messi,there will be acres of space for xavi and iniesta to operate which results in battering of teams.their lb doesn’t push forward as much to guard against counters leaving a three man defence.i feel that attack is the main form of defence,if AA can keep alves busy,messi won’t have much freedom to come infield hence he won’t be as effective and thats what stuttgart did to perfection in the first leg only to be conservative in second leg only to receive a battering.barca are a great team,but i don’t think they have faced an opposing team like us in the la liga.

  19. a fungus-coated right hand

    Take this statistic and put it where the sun don’t shine: Arsenal to stick 4 goals past the Hammers today.

  20. “If you cannot look forward to matches such as these, then why bother following football”

    I completely agree with that Yogi.

    I haven’t looked forward to a game in this manner since we played at Old Trafford in 97/98.

    This game is one of those where our team is coming up and has a real chance to dethrone the champion. It didn’t win us the league back then, not for certain, but there would be no stopping us afterwards. This tie can be like that, if we beat Barca we will really take some stopping.

    I think this will help us domestically (the complete opposite of the chavs) as the team will be energised by the prospect of such a game and start to turn into top,top form.

    Rather than being a distraction, that draw may be a real blessing, especially to our goal difference.

    I think we will go out and turn on the style today, with the players feeling great about the position they have fought to be in, knowing they will go top and with Europe on the horizon.

    We need to smash a few teams at home and that will start here.

  21. We will play Brum, Barca, Wolves, Barca, Yids al with 3 days rest. We can hope that the scum get through in the cup, it would help us out for sure, but if they don’t, we will really need to be careful with our defenders.

    Gallas back would be such a boost, especially away in the CL.

    Campbell will need a rest, Vermaalen it seems wont get one and a single injury and we are very thin.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to big changes at home to Wolves, and maybe even Song at central defence against Birmingham.

  22. It is a tricky one. While we play d same game the their speed in moving d ball in d final third beats ours, and when u ve messi and iniesta running on u….. Arshavin wud ve to play at his best, and his long range shooting wud b required. He simply hv to keep alves busy, tk d ball 2 him and ve him 2nd guessing on attacking. Rosicky wud b my preffered winger, at d grove, thou walcot is tempting as i reckon barca wud give him rum 4 his pace. My fear thou is on Clichy, he is slowly coming bak to top form but less skillful wingers go past him with ease still. Diaby wud really need to be dat box to box midfielder, using his long legs to break up play and go past players with skills, cause barca work so hard off d ball. Cecs and song simply need to win dat midfield battle, him and song might need to practice rotational foul, wen playing against messi u can’t get away 4rm it. Vermalen shud also forget about attacking on d day . D boys need to get their shooting boots on. We can’t afford to keep running in triangles in front of their box.You wud think Bendtner wud dominate puyol in d air but puyol is amazingly gud in d air also. Arshavin will win us that match. He can’t afford not to perform. Today game is our priority we need goals, i won’t b suprised if goal difference wins this year title.

  23. iv a good feeling playing away in the 2nd leg will be better for us!! barca only play one way as we do though at home theyll be going all out for the win,they play a really high line which nobody does against us in the league and that plays into our hands!! if u watch their games every week u see teams geting chances but either being not good enough or bottling it to take them chances!! i cant imagine theyre looking foward to chasing the ball and wont have faced a team who keep it as good as us!! they would have prefered united who with the likes of carrick and flecther as they did in the final cant keep the ball for love nor money!! bring it on iv wanted this for so long!! anyway for now whats important is today and geting 3 points!! cmon you Gunners!!

  24. Paulie Walnuts

    I hope the team forget about the Barca games as we`ve huge games before we meet them.

    I think Yogi has nailed the team for today.

    Hope we get another fast start & a very early goal would be nice for a change

  25. actually, i think this time round, playing at home first is better.

    didnt we go all the way in 2006 based on our away results?

    i thought last season against man utd, we screwed it up in the first leg, and just collapsed due to the pressure in teh second leg at home…

  26. Cheers Yogi, a pleasure as always.

    Seeing that league table again really brought back how amazing that season was.

    I think Arsenehollis makes a good point about the games leading up to Barca. I agree and think the team will really start to show what we can do scoring goals and scaring the catalans. I’ll be very happy if that is the case but obviously the main concern is getting maximum points from every league game, even if it’s ‘ugly’.

    I would maybe start Theo instead of Nasri for this one – only because he is in more need of game time (and starts). But for both Bacra games I would play the lineup Yogi suggested above. With Nasri offering the guile and tenacity that Theo sometimes lacks.

  27. against barca, we just have to keep the ball.

  28. Dickov needs to start against Barca, it is the only way to unsettle them

  29. The Soccer Saturday boys are finally backing us! Merse predicts 7 or 8 nil today. Reckons they’ll be putting extra lightbulbs in the scoreboard! And Thompson thinks we’ll turn Barca over 3-0! Can’t believe my ears really.

  30. Jeff Stelling still hates us though.

  31. the question is…..can we score at the nou camp?

    the answer is……..yes!

    can we keep a clean sheet at the emirates?

    The answer..yes.

    Ive gone a bit mad today and put my 5er on sky bet for arsenal to win 5-2 sol campbell to score first against the hammers………..the odds arnet nearly as steep as they should be.

  32. Very good posting as always, Yogi. A further comment on the statistics issue: weren’t the “second home game teams” seeded in some of the serious years?

    But this was a possibly season defining comment:

    “If you cannot look forward to matches such as these, then why bother following football”

    What a fantastic opponent we have been given! This is the best possibility for us all (mostly the team, erm) to show what we can turn up to. And I rather prefer meeting them at this stage, too. Except for the Gallas situation, of course.

    My cousin joked: “I can imagine Messi’s frustration when Campbell and Silvestre run circles around him.”

  33. Villa are really struggling against Wolves, the visitors are 2-1 up. It’s good if it stays the same, the less Wolves have to play for when they come to the Emirates next month the better.

  34. …my timing is awful.

  35. Hey guys, let me know what you think of the games played/being played as we build up to our game. Cheers!

    http://socceropera.blogspot.com/

  36. 1 loose cannon

    Let me add something to the mix the teams who top their group get to play second leg at home and as we know the teams who normally finfish top of their groups are generally better as consequence they win the tie. the stats don’t really reflect the importance of the second leg at home. Don’t forget the away goal plays a big part. with 15 minutes to go usually the home team gets edgy and nervous about conceding. Anyway in the end it comes down to focus and determination even if you are inferior. We certainly not inferior. And we can match them in every department. Messi add an edge to their team but it does not always work. Madrid had Ronaldo and Kaka and they lost at home so it there for the taking if our team wants it more and I’m confident they will give their best to go through.

  37. West Ham, boys, West Ham!

    NOT Barcelona!

    We can win the League by beating people we’re better than. Whatever anyone says about all gamers being difficult in the run in we’re favourites in every game left in the league.

    Yeah, maybe we can beat Barcelona and if we do we can think about Inter or CSKA and then whoever in the final – but that’s another day.
    West Ham today, any win, don’t get ahead of yourselves on the GD thing just win the games.
    Even winning 6 of 8 will give us a decent chance.
    To do that we need to win this one, I think.

    Anyway I don’t personally think we’ve got very much chance in the CL even with Gallas since we couldn’t defend against Porto. We can probably win almost any game – it’s just that we can also lose and there’s lots of good teams left in the CL, many of whom can defend, which is going to make them favouriotes againbst us imo.
    Barca’s a great draw cos if we can beat them mybe we can win it otherwise just one game at a time in the league.

  38. a fungus-coated right hand

    You can all have your statistics and draws. I’ll take the game anytime. Bring on West Ham!

  39. I hate these late kick-off times on a Saturday. It messes up my whole day.

  40. Thanks to us Stoke recieve another red card shame it’s against the Spuds.

  41. BTW the Spuds are 1-0 up.

  42. Fascinating game between Everton and Bolton; Jacky Boy hasnt been too influential thanks to a largely very physical game; Everton would be a better choice for the top 4 spot for me; they seem to have a better overall game than Aston Villa for instance; dont know where they went wrong; probably the 6-1 drubbing we game them [Arteta scored a nice freekick]

    http://socceropera.blogspot.com/

  43. Portsmouth just knocked in 2 goals inside a minute against Hull lol they now lead 3-2

  44. PLay up Pomepy!!

  45. AM REALLY HAPPY FOR POMPEY

    They can still survive mathematically, cant they? Especially at the ex[ense of wolves would be nice

  46. @ Chris 3:11 p.m.

    What the hell are you talking about? “we could not defend against Porto” it was Fabianski who made 2 glaring errors in that game that led directly to each goal!! Without those errors we would have won !-0 in the first leg and as we all know we thrashed them in the second. Jesus Chris you are as bad (if not worse than) as Warren Barton at analyzing a game.

  47. Great result for Pompey!! Would love to see them stay up. Yes it is possible but highly unlikely.

    Dammit all to hell!! I just hate FSC as they have that idiot Warren Barton as a pundit. Ponce is more like it!!! I swear he is on not because he played football but simply because he has an English accent!!!

  48. Iain Dowey to the rescue!!
    Ahem. Oh dear.

  49. Correction: Dowie. “Dowey”, “Dowie”. Who cares.

    Useless bloody Stoke.

  50. its

    Almunia

    Eboue Campbell Vermaelen Clichy

    Fabregas Song Denilson

    Nasri Bendtner Arshavin

  51. Just a reminder to a lot of Gooners who are pointing out how the Hammers came back from 2-0 down to tie it 2-2, Fabianski was also in goal for that match. I actually like him but think he needs to be loaned out for a few months to get first regular first team experience. His mistakes seem to come from nerves more than any lack of skill. Shame as he has played some great games for us, mostly cup games.

  52. ..

  53. it was mannone actually.

  54. Am a new Poster on the bbc 606 and cant seem to see my comments!

    Is it the shock of the win that has made them not update the side results viewer and the As It Stands table to reflect the pompey result?

  55. I reckon so Team Spirit

    COYG

  56. Wonder why we started with both Song and Denilson, a bit defensive no?

  57. Well, well, well!
    Seems Arsene believes in stats afterall.
    Denilson starts.
    Always starts when he is fit.

  58. Is it just me or has Almunia looked really calm and settled in goal of late? He seems much more confident for some reason.

  59. yeeeesssssss!!!

  60. DEnilson!!! I take it back defensive my ass!!

    COYG!!!!

  61. DEEEEEEENNNNNNNNNNNNYYYYYYYYYYY

  62. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    F*ck off Le Grove. Arsenal’s #15 with another brilliant strike.

  63. Denilson, my yute!
    Get in their!
    One for the stats.

  64. Love the celebration!!!

  65. Quite right NJN!

  66. Why is Denilson playing again for us?

  67. Well played Clichy on the wing to get that cross in, would be great if he could teach Sagna to do the same

  68. It must have been a hell of a tight angle for him to pass it sideways into the net! WINK

  69. Shut the fuck-up you ignorant mob!
    Come on ND.
    One for the fuckin stats.

  70. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Wenger is a genius.

  71. LOL Vince

  72. Btw. nice tidbits from one of the writers @ le-grove!

    “No, I knew he was going to play Denilson and Song so gave my ticket away, it wasn’t worth wasting my Saturday evening, we’ll win, but he’s being a wanker playing that midfield.”

    “He’s still fucking useless, now he’s in for the next 6 games.”

  73. EBOUE IS GOD

  74. Yet again no protection fromt he ref.

  75. The fact is since the 21 game unbeaten run last year, the boss has demonstrated unflinching faith in Nieves. He trusts him.
    But the ignorant mob think they know better than the boss.
    Take that fuckin’ goal!

  76. Deny almost scored a second one!

  77. Sagna can and has put in quality crosses this season.

  78. But…Maria? 🙂

  79. fingers crossed Nasri will be ok

  80. Mido and those bloddy thunder thighs again.

  81. I know he can and indeed has done Maria, but there is almost no consistency with his crosses. And considering how often he gets forward he really should do better. By the way I think he is an awesome player but his crossing needs work.

  82. I think Irishgray has this one exactly, Maria.

  83. Yet another foul on Cesc.

  84. Maria – I was awaiting your comment on Eboue vs Sagna. BTW: I love both players even though I had to carry the torch for Eboue two years ago.

  85. Twat in the Guardian said Arsene may have to ‘make do’ with Eboue. The guy is a wizard.

  86. Steww – Most of these twats are slowly but surely have to eat their own words.

  87. I have a great Portugese or spanish commentator. Alex Song Bilong and Fab air o gas and Nasri scored une goal fabuloso apparently.
    Such a pleasant change from the English speakers.

  88. Lol, I disagree and would point to a number of assists by Sagna, but the Spuds game was a perfect example of his improvement on that front.

  89. Rotational fouling of Cesc, again. Is martin Atkinson afraid to use his cards.

  90. OK Maria. They are both our players and I love them both.

  91. SG,

    I am not comparing Eboue and Sagna just wanted to mention that Sagna’s crossing has improved. Nothing more.

  92. I think I can understand playing both Denilson and Song as they are both very defensive minded, they will afford more coverage for Eboue who is not as strong a defender as Sagna, although he is God

  93. Point taken, Maria.

  94. At this point W/Ham have been absorbing a lot of pressure but to me they are candidates for a knock out punch. It is getting closer.

  95. pass of the match from Song

  96. Love me some Eboue though.

  97. Disgraceful, Diamanti high fiving one of his team mates after that challenge…

  98. irishgray at 6:02 pm – Another reason for selecting Denilson is playing at home – The opponents will not get away with ploughing into his back when in possession.

  99. What a fascinating decision.

  100. Manue Almunia!

    Take that the Manuel haters!

  101. Almunia not good enough?

  102. BIG ALLLLLLLLLLL

  103. What adjustments will Wenger make?

  104. When I consider the penalties we have not had this season that is breathtaking. Shocking.

  105. Sent off??

  106. Song back into defence is all.

  107. Three game ban.

  108. Maria – surely the video evidence will have the red overturned?

  109. how in gods name was that a sending off?…someone please enlighten me

  110. I hate my stream and PL refs.

  111. This is a nighmare for the anti-supporters: a goal for Denilson, and a penalty-save by Almunia!

  112. we HAVE to appeal that one

  113. I don’t think he will, Song will simply slot in beside Campbell. I can see theo coming on in the second half though.

  114. Fucking attrocity! Surely we can appeal that red card

  115. I reallyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy hope so Steww.

    Song has looked breathtaking in the middle wouldn’t want to lose him there.

    Btw where is Diaby?

  116. Woah, Sol & Mikael in defence for a while then. Unless Song drops back I guess?

  117. arseman – not even a foul One of the worst decisions I’ve seen in 40 years of watching footy.

  118. Almunia almost always gets the corner right, I think that’s a fact. He got the corner right against Hull, too.

  119. Song has to drop back in defense. We may have to sacrifice one of the wide players (Nasri or Arshavin) for Sagna. Tough decision.

  120. FU*KING RIDICULOUS RED CARD!!!!

    We’ve been fouled worse than that and we don’t even get a penalty.

    Now for that the referee sends Verma off?!?

    RIDICULOUS! HE is finding an excuse to send Verma off so Man Utd and Chelsea can win the league?!?!

    BULLSHIT!

  121. It is a red card. A silly and sloppy one but there was interference on a goal scoring opportunity. Pity we never get the same kind of decisions when they happen to us.

  122. Same amount of matches Shawcross was out for.

    What a joke.

    Oh Tommy……..

  123. Shotta @ 5.59

    Did you have to say that?

    Disgraceful reffing today, ignores rotational fouling of Cesc, WH player goes down looking for a penalty

  124. Weakest red card I’ve ever seen!!!!!

  125. Second penalty save from Al.

  126. yea that is funny, the same amount of matches Shawcross is out. What a joke!!

  127. I’m seriously beginning to think that there’s a conspiracy of some sort going on.

    How much $$$ did the Ref pocket from Manure and Chelski?

  128. Have to survive this ref for another 45 minutes.
    35+ mintues till the first yellow.

    He’s ‘avin a larf!

    COYG!!!

  129. Let’s just kill it with 4-3-2. Keep song I’m the
    d, Denny- nas – fab midfield and go arshavin bendy up front. Is eduardo on the bench?

  130. Poli – There is one know-it-all supporter who hates my guts for calling him out for his anti-Almunia diatribes. I remembered him with that save. At the time, I warned him that Big Al will make him look like a total fool. And he did.
    As for the Denilson haters – I described them as an ignorant mob. Vindicated again.
    Can I gloat?

  131. Guess we’ll have to win the league the hard way.

    Can we appeal for the red card?

  132. Well done Almunia!! Anybody know just how many penalties Almunia has saved for us now?

  133. Maria…..Seriously…one has to wonder…

    a career threatening tackle=Harmless foul=3 match ban?

  134. take arshavin out and send diaby as dm helping denilson protecting our defence,song drop cb.

  135. I don’t believe in conspiracy theories…but that was such an appalling decision.

    Come on Arsenal.

  136. Can things never go smoothly?

  137. If we use the subs right we can still beat this lot BUT can we beat this ref?

  138. So the Verminator will miss Birmingham, Wolves and Wigan?

    We can definitely win this game; I dont see Wenger changing tactics too much in the second half; we have to put more pressure on them, me thinks

    http://socceropera.blogspot.com/

  139. WIgan and Birmingham away?

    Ouch.

  140. Shotta-Gunna you may Gloat all you want

  141. Gloat at will, shotta!

  142. Even Andy Townsend says the sending off’s harsh.

    I’m watching the game from Singapore by the way

  143. Franco threw himself on the ground, pundits saying he’s clever!
    disgrace

  144. Is that a 2 game or 3 game suspension? What teams will he miss?

  145. Thanks Irish and Poli.

    But there is plenty work to do.

    I think either Nasri or Arsha have to be sacrificed. Tough.

  146. gackt13….espn star “pundits”?

  147. ATVO said it would only be a one-game ban for Vermaelen.

  148. Come on! Let’s whack them 4-0!

    We can do this!!!!!

  149. BTW – I agree with everyone. This is the softest red card I have seen in ages. Is the ref Martin Atkinson? His history is atrocious?
    But we shall overcome. This is a team of grit and determination. No question.

  150. Think Espn in SE Asia uses Sky pundits =(
    Cheers gackt13, I’m watching from s’pore as well.

  151. all franco dives = penalty saves

  152. They seem very sure it is just a one-game ban.

  153. A straight red is three right?

  154. @ Poliziano…i think this is how it works

    Denying obvious goal= 1 match

    Offensive or abusive language = 2 matches

    Violent Conduct / Serious Foul = 3 matches

  155. No change in the personnel.
    COYG!

  156. They do Pz??

  157. As every single one of our players is twice WHU’s best player we still have the advantage…

  158. We are to deep.

  159. No maria we are playing a different game now. Everyone relax. we are fine.

  160. Does anyone know if their was actual contact between verm and franco or have a link showing the foul?

  161. Let them have their little go, like Porto did early in the second half. Remember what happened to them.

  162. Once again the boss puts complete faith in Denilson to be his defensive midfielder in a 10-man line-up.
    Will the Denilson haters be chastened?
    Doubt it.

  163. I also thought the same Pz, it could be just a one game ban.

  164. I hope so Steww.

  165. Afro – I saw no contact worth mentioning. He may have brushed his sleeve.

  166. It is looking more and more like a 1 game ban. look on the bright side he will be nice and rested to face Barca. COYG

  167. If we’re going to play this deep, better if Theo came on, to push them back a bit.

  168. I think Rosicky should come on for Arshavin as he is much better at tracking back and covering the defence.

  169. Fucking love Denilson. Head never drops. Already several great interceptions and another fine shot.

  170. Cole to come on it seems.

  171. Rosicky also has a great shot from outside the area and I can see us having a lot of those chances as the game goes on. Diaby on for NB52

  172. Diaby for bendtner?…dint see that coming

  173. Diaby on?

  174. Steww @ 6:47 pm – Right on cue. Positioning and interceptions is uncanny.

  175. Arsene knows I suppose…

  176. Ok thanks steww, if thats the case i’d usually say appeal, but as its only a one game ban i dont think its worth the risk.

  177. Nasri really is a scrapper isnt he? Awesome player

  178. Diaby is going to have to curb his attacking instincts a little

  179. He’s stuck AA up front on his own. He’s done that before for us.
    Song looks very calm back there.

  180. Ref is shit. Be fair Upson didn’t deserve a card for that.

  181. and we have EBOUE!

  182. Diaby has been good so far, he does know, doesn’t he?

  183. Denilson playing out of his skin!

  184. Diaby playing very well but I think Arshavin looks to be a bit off pace, would love to see Rosicky come on.

  185. irishgray….AA does look tired..

  186. EEEEEEMANUEEELLLL EEEBBBOOOOOOUUEEEE

  187. There you see the value of Denilson – maintains possession without needless fouls. A giant of a player.

    Eboue is a god…of dribbling!

  188. Come to see Eboue

    You’ve only come to see Eboue

    Come to see Eboue!

  189. almost Sol!!!!

  190. sagna on for Nasri!!!

    time for Eboue to shine!

  191. Excellent move Arsene, Nasri off for Sagna, Eboue will push up on the right wing. Well played Samir.

  192. Eboue was pushing up so often that at one stage Clichy had to cover right back.

  193. Sagna comes on to match up with MacCarthy.
    Nasri sacrificed.
    I got only 50%.
    Thank god I am not the manager.

  194. next change will either be Theo or Rosicky for Arshavin.

  195. Nice try Arshavin

  196. off the post…carlton cole…thats as close as ur going to get tonight

  197. Close shave.
    Big Al had it covered. LOL!

  198. Great run by Clichy

  199. panalty

  200. PENALTYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

  201. come onnnnnnnnnnnn

  202. Eboue is a god!

  203. get in !

  204. yeesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

  205. 2-0 to the Arsenal!!

  206. Yessssssssssssss take that you fuckerssssss

  207. ARSENAL!

  208. Why is he not sent off?

  209. Oh Captain, my Captain

  210. Give Cesc the goal, give Eboue the assist.

  211. DUDU is on…yaaaaaay

  212. We only come to see Eboue!

  213. YYYYYYYYESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

  214. MOTM EBOUE

  215. Is a hand ball not an automatic yellow.

  216. Eduardo on for Arshavin, he wasn’t sent off Steww because it was not intentional. Its what they call “ball to hand” not “hand to ball”

  217. Maria – My family is about to call the cops for a breach of the noise ordinance. Maybe they should report you too. 🙂

  218. Steww…should be…

  219. Deni lost the ball moments ago but good work in general.

  220. Did Diaby really back heel it to himself?? Genius.

  221. shotta….denilson has been absolutely immense

  222. Has Benni MacCarthy touched the ball more than once since he came on. Marvelous defensive work.

  223. I agree Arseman

  224. Absolutely brilliant result!! We are now top of the league!!! Have a good look fellow Gooners, its pretty 🙂

  225. Arrseman @ 7:20 pm – My point exactly Arseman but I wanted to point out to the “mob” that Denilson is human after all.

  226. steww….top of the league stuff…..
    Diaby-inspirational sub

  227. That they should SG.

  228. Another heroic performance from Arsenal.

  229. Benni MacCarthy is a smart man after all. He sought Denilson’s shirt after the whistle. Totally closed out.

  230. shotta- so true..thats what most people need to take into perspective

  231. This squad needs wheelbarrows for their balls.

  232. Job done. Top of the league. I feel all warm and glowy.

    ARSENAL.

  233. Love the fact that Sol was appealing for the handball from all the way in our half!!

  234. My heart has really enjoy the last three ‘easy’ games.

  235. My Man of the match is definately Mr Song. Magnificent no matter where he played. Didn’t put a foot wrong just simply marvellous.

    The runner-up: a close-call but I think it’s probably Clichy. Another great game and a great way to come back.

    Honourale mentions: the entire team. Denny-haters must be silenced as she was brilliant too. Strong in the tackles and score the goal to boot. Diaby is a jedi-knight. His ball control made utter fools of West Ham at times, and such skill can only be explained by a sensitivity to the force.

  236. hope torres turns vidic inside out tomorrow

  237. Great performance by everyone 🙂

  238. A R S E N A L

  239. Some of the turns from Diaby, using the run of the ball, were exquisite – and made the charging in West Ham players look like unskilled oafs.
    And why was Tomkins not booked for the foul, several pushes in the back.
    And, lastly, some of the people on the BBC and Guardian, complaining that Big A was a yard off his line for the penalty save – every penalty I have seen has the GK moving before the kick is taken.

  240. Hey gadget, I didn’t know Denilson is a girl…. LOL

  241. Song and Eboue, to share the best performances award. Brilliant play from both of them.

  242. Clichy was fantastic but gotta give a shout out to our old warrior Sol, man he is in great form, not as quick as he once was but great strength in tackling and never gives up

  243. Gadget….clichy did have a great game…but my MOTM would go to either Denilson or Eboue…
    just goes to show how many match winners we have in our teamQ

  244. TOP OF THE TABLE YET AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!

  245. Yea gadget, lol, what’s up with that? 🙂

  246. Denilson, Eboue, Song…stand out for me today, but a great performance from all. Almunia for saving the penalty too.

    We are dealing much better with the difficult moments in games.

    I would like to think we have some easy games, but nothing is easy if you’re not totally focused on the win and what’s at stake.

    Up up all the way Gunners..

  247. That’s it I am off to the pub!!! Time for some celebration, a few cold ones, a little bit of ribbing with any Chavs or Mancs and of course I will have to talk up Torres a bit, just to be a dick lol 🙂 Great game everyone, have a great weekend and lets all hope the “Pool can do some damage 🙂

  248. Ateeb you beat me to it 🙂

  249. One of the most nervy games I have seen in a long time! Felt like a final {every game is probably a final from now on}

  250. absolutely fantastic result… gr8 performance… they really look like a title winning side… 😀

  251. Absolutely brilliant performance by arsenal.

    Absolutely fantastic. The sort of game where the critics would say that we would normally buckle in.

    Denilson, Song, Diaby, Eboue and Almunia were magnificent.

    If West Ham had got anything out of the game, it would have been a complete travesty. They deserved absolutely nothing for their totally cynical approach to the game. Franco went down like Monica Lewinsky for the Vermaelen sending off, and they should have had double the amount of cards for the challenges that kept coming in.

  252. hahahahahahahahah! Oops on the typo Gackt!

    @ Arseman, indeed! I can’t argue with you at all. The entire team from 11 to 10 were all fantastic.

    Arssenal Arssenal Arssenal!

  253. MOTD for me has to be Big Al that was a MASSIVE save!!!

  254. Is there a scenario that’s been thrown at this team that they haven’t dealt with? The confidence must be so high after coping like that for the whole second half.

  255. “Franco went down like Monica Lewinsky for the Vermaelen sending off”

    LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL

  256. Question, that was a straight red for TV, right? Isnt that a three match ban?

  257. Irish – Yes big shout-out to Sol and all the defenders. They especially made MacCarthy look like the invisible man.

    But lets save most of our praises for Eboue. Those marauding runs had West Ham defenders shitting. Memories of Sunderland. He is a god. We only come to see EBOUE!

  258. Eboue’s name was sang the longest and hardest at the Emirates.

  259. Muppet – Monica Lewinsky.

    HA, HA, HA, HAH!

  260. @ nemesis….i think its going to be a 1 match ban.
    FA disciplinary procedure say 1 match ban for denying a clear goal scoring opportunity.
    But then again its the FA….

  261. Arseblog claims its only one match. So say ArsenalOnline.

  262. Shotta is on the blog gloating.
    Gloating, Gloating.
    Shotta is on the blog gloating
    Gloating for Deni!

    Shotta is on the blog gloating.
    Gloating, Gloating.
    Shotta is on the blog gloating
    Gloating for Almunia!

    Yes sir. I said they would look like fools.
    Kept my counsel and I am having the last laugh.

  263. shotta-indeed…enjoy the moment!

  264. Official site says it’s only one game.

  265. loooooooool

    You go SG.

    Enjoy we all are!!!

  266. Where are my ACLF buddies to share in this moment? I am not selfish you know.
    We can gloat between now and Birmingham.
    It has been a tough four years fending off the haters of this young team and Arsene Wenger. Lets be happy for today at least.

  267. ONE MORE DONE IN THE CUP FINAL SERIES.

    7 to go!

    Well Done All Gunners… Players and Supporters alike

  268. shotta – I am here. Never ever doubted this squad. They have balls, skill, desire and never ever give up. Arsene cleaned the dressing room of dissent in the summer and bought what we needed and now the boys are truly men.

  269. Is there any way we can bend the rules so we can put a midfield consisting of Denilson, Cesc, Diaby and Song on the pitch?

  270. espn mentioned 2 ganes here.. hope its just 1… actually i thought sol’s challenge in the opp. box was rash and dangerous.. would have been screaming if that was against 1 of ours…

  271. Steww is a star!

    This train has no room for those of weak belief.

  272. I only bask in the reflected light of this glorious Arsenal squad.

  273. Every player pulled their weight so it’s hard to select a man of the match. Almunia’s save was the game changer so I’d probably give it to him. Excellent reflexes from the big man. I was sure that Diamanti was going to score.

    Song was huge today. My favorite play was when he wrong footed Carlton Cole and took the ball away. The boy was an absolute wall throughout.

    Clichy, it can’t be denied, has regained his form. His committment and his energy were awesome. The left hand side was in sure hands the whole game.

    Eboue is the man. If it weren’t for him I think we would’ve drawn. His dangerous runs and his stamina is what got us over the edge.

    Denilson was his usual consistent self. Never made anything harder than it had to be and he made himself available to take the pressure off of everyone’s shoulders. Excellent game by him and a well taken goal to boot.

    Everyone esle did really well but these four were the ones who stood out the most. Good game. We got the three points and we’re top of the league.

  274. Is this a Premiership record to top the table three times in one season? I suspect not. But this will end up with many more toppings before the season has ended. Make my topping with the championship please!

    I hope this is only one game for Vermalen. This ref, it seemed to me, found it hard to strike a balance in this game and was absolutely influenced in his calls by players.

    The FA needs an upgrading school for the refs which should be a constant requirement throughout the season to maintain their credentials at this level. I wonder if the FA already has such a structure?

  275. An embarrassment of riches Evil Fiek. It is remarkable the faith Wenger has in Denilson. Played him over Diaby today. Who could have thunk that?

    Defensive solidity anyone?

  276. @chkmiaot
    Unfortunately have to agree. That challenge was really clumsy, especially after he made a similiar one at the other side. He got lucky once but the second time…

  277. Bit of uncertainty over whether it is a 1 or 3 match man for Vermaelen ?

    Anybody know.

    Shotta – great comments. The only reason for not joining in is superstition. But, oh my, there are so many people who deserve to have their noses rubbed in it. Well and truly. But for it to be a truly wonderful experience, we need to win the league.

  278. 1 or 3 match ban ?

  279. According to John Cross from the mirror, Wenger has said that VP will be back with arsenal in training this week, and is a month away from playing.

  280. Fa Rules:

    A Player who is dismissed from the Field of Play for denying a goal or an obvious goalscoring
    opportunity by physical means or by handling the ball, will be suspended
    automatically from FTCM commencing forthwith, until such time as his Club has
    completed its next FTCM.

  281. awesome news if true muppet… cant wait to see him back in action… we will be unstoppable..

  282. FTCM??

  283. Nasri was awesome today, left, right, forward & back, never stopped running and chasing.

  284. why can’t we appeal teh red card? the west ham player dived didnt he?

    Dupsffokcuf,

    what is FTCM?

  285. teah.. what is FTCM???

  286. *yeah..

  287. That penalty was not really a penalty, and if the referee decided to give such a very soft one he should not send the defender off.

    Their player elected to fall down instead of taking his chance, he thought it would be more secure to get the penalty, so why send off the player who didn’t even touch him?

    Anyways, the referees and FA can try every obstacle they put on our way….

    …F*ck all that….We are going to Win.

  288. First Team Competitive Match

  289. A cheeky foul by Nasri to block a counter.

    And Eboue on Kovac, too good for the ref to spot.

    When it comes to bullies, Eboue doesn’t waste time Bible Bashing, he just bashes.
    Not that I approve, heh, but at least Eboue is in control of himself. His opponent did get up.

    Fabregas, straight down the middle…

    COYG!!

  290. Top of the league!!

    Let’s hope we stay there now.

    Denilson was immense today.

  291. That is 2 matches in which a penalty has been awarded against us when the player was not in control of the ball.

  292. I read elsewhere that it was the linesman who flagged West Ham’s penalty.
    So, that was not really the ref’s mistake then?
    Still, an awful decision.

  293. I understand the Linesman signaled for the ref on the penalty, but it’s the ref’s final decision. So, both of them were wrong.

  294. Top of the league!

    Let’s hope we stay there now.

    Denilson was immense today.

  295. ja it was the linesman who flagged.

    i honestly wonder what we need referees, linesmen for.

  296. Top of the league!!

    Let’s hope we stay there now.

  297. Why am I under moderation?

  298. True G4E.

    Well done Arsenal.

  299. What a knob you are shotta. Instead of simply enjoying the victory, we have to (again) listen to your delusional whinings about proving everyone wrong.
    This reminds me of you..

  300. For stats fans:
    Denilson made 73 successful passes today, and no unsuccessful passes. He was our second best tackler, with 6. Song made an impressive 10 successful tackles.

  301. And for non-stats fans?..

    Don’t leave us hanging Poli dog.

  302. Star Muppet.
    (Yes I know it is the other prick but it is just the perfect response to any of them)

  303. @ Finsbury

    His learnt from the best Song has clocked up at least 6 of his yellows doing excatly that.

  304. ACLF. Where sycophantic bed wetters from North America and North Africa talk about how much they know about football.. about how THEY will prove everyone wrong. The place where every third post is ‘ I agree with.. ‘. Where god forbid anyone should dare to question any part of Denilsons game, because footballing gurus Shotta and Nasir will wage a hate campaign against you. Maybe free speech is a somewhat confusing concept for them.. who knows?
    Tis a shame because the site is written well. Just not worth posting here unless you tow some strange line cultivated somewhere between shotta’s delusion and his narcissism.

    And you know this dogs.

    Any of you mugs going to the Nou Camp?

  305. I know what you mean Maria. It’s just another of his strengths.

  306. Ole

    Don’t know – will look into it for you.

    Cheers

    YW

  307. Ole – for having such a great website.

  308. William are you being forced to read Shotta’s comments? If not why read them then?

  309. F*ck Off …….
    Not really worth mentioning by name.

  310. To true G4E.

  311. Maria,

    Sometime last season, maybe the one before, I watched some clips of Beckenbauer,
    whilst humming a little Song to myself.

    Not that I know anything, but I like to think of Song as the squads ‘libero’.

    Off to celebrate, COYG!!!

  312. Doh, I’m sure loads of people describe Song as a ‘libero’.

  313. a lot of.

  314. The difference between us (ACLF’ers) and you (Groovers) is that we always, always believe in our team, players, and manager.

    You on the other hand will whine about every little thing and will immediately write-off the team and berate the manager if things doesn’t go your way.

    So here on ACLF, we say welcome to every new comer with a point but also with the basic belief and utmost support for our team, players, and manager.

    If you’re here to be a scumbag little ass to prove “you know it all” and “told us so along time ago”…You’ll always get the standard “F*ck Off”….it’s the least we can do for people like you.

  315. @G4E. It is always dangerous to assume anything. I am a forever optimistic gooner, who would follow the team whether we were challenging for honours playing Wengerball or whether we were in the second division. I think there is a lot of intelligent comment here and the positive nature of most contributors is refreshing. However.. it is not a place that makes newcomers welcome, and I have rarely seen the peeps I named above post anything but drivel regarding my beloved club. The first time I posted here a few weeks ago I was told to ‘Fuck Off’ ..
    Anyway… its cool.. I will just read YW and Darius’ posts from now on. I have no intention of discussing this with small minded people such as yourself.
    Peace.

  316. Oh f*ck-off William.

    Another of the many Arsene-Deni-Almunia haters!

  317. Good for you…you do that.

  318. Respect is earned, not given!

  319. Ole

    Think I have solved it – try a quick post now.

    YW

  320. Hahaha. Hark at you Shotta. A right little dictator.

    And I love Wenger, love Denilson and think we could do with a better keeper next season. Just to be accurate. Idiot.

  321. william, fUck off you fucking idiot!

  322. Just sensational tonight. Denilson was great, so was Song.

    Still a lot to do, but one by one they line up the obstacles and one by one we smash through them.

  323. Why am I am idiot notlager?,, Thats extremely childish. I don’t believe I’ve ever said anything to you to deserve such vitriol. (Although thanks for proving my point made a few posts earlier!)

  324. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Thanks for the shout out, Will dog. If you want to read blogs and comments that slag players daily that’s your own deal. Head over to Le Grove for that. You’re mad because you were one of the doubters shotta and Muppet are on about. You know f*ck all and Wenger has proved that repeatedly this year. Now back to the underpass you wart faced mong.

  325. Nasir, can you actually read?, Are you that self obsessed that you are going to try and tell me what ‘I’ think about The Arsenal.

  326. That’s right QoS, they tried by booking Song for a non-existing foul and got him banned for 2 games and it didn’t work.

    Now they sent off Vermaelen for another non-existing penalty and it didn’t work and will not work. The belief and confidence are high, and all our players will proof they’re good for the task. That includes Almunia who saved the 3 points today…(Idiot)

  327. Almunia was wonderful today. That doesnt mean I dont think we need a monster of a keeper to dominate in the coming years.

  328. Futile mistake.

    The Arsenal tide will swallow you….be smart, swim with it not against it.

  329. Great win today. And I think that’s the relegation scrappers out of the way with now.

    A nice thing about the run in is that Fulham, Blackburn and Birmingham have little to play for, while Wigan and Wolves should be safe by the time we face them.

  330. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Yeah, I can read. You have a problem with Denilson as evidenced by your whinge about how people can never criticize him here. There is a divide between Arsenal fans who think Denilson is quality (me and most ACLFers), and the Le Grove crowd who must find someone to slag no matter the outcome. This blog supports him and the work he does, and for some bizarre reason you hate that. It’s f*cking mental.

  331. The rank hypocrisy of the Williams of this world just makes my blood boil.

    Littered across the blogsphere are too many Arsenal websites where bloggers and posters take great pride in publicly bashing Arsene Wenger, slagging and slating his young players as not good enough to wear the shirt. Reading their posts it is often without any merit or logic. You would think you are reading a Spurs site, how great is the animus to Wenger and the player who happens to be the scapegoat du jour.

    Fortunately YW and his core of posters have never followed this road. After four years, the tide is turning and Wenger and his band of scapegoats have proven to be 1,000 times better quality than most of the critics would have led us to believe.

    IMO, the Williams of this world don’t like it because they are are being proven wrong week after week and we at ACLF are reveling in it.

  332. I agree with Shotta G

    What happened to shutting the bug trap, reading Yogi’s & Darius posts, then f*cking -right-off?

    Can’t keep a man’s word?

  333. 1 loose cannon

    Some good news. RVP will start training next week he could be back for the C.league second leg

  334. Where did you get the news from 1lc?

  335. tomorow is a big day for arsenal.

    Come on Liverpool.

    Come on Walrus.

  336. Today’s programme suggested RVP was`at least 3 weeks`away after he resumed`training, so no chance of CL 2nd leg

  337. Emperor Gooner

    once again Eboue was absolutely outstanding…and this was one of Diaby’s best performances ever

    the whole team battled like warriors..proud of the lads !!

  338. YW,

    Thanks mate…much appreciated.

    Isn’t it all starting to have an inevitable feel to it. I know we haven’t won anything yet, but you feel our fate is in our hands, and we will get a lot of points on board between now and the end of the season.

    When the red card came, I remembered the 3 terrible weeks in March/April 2008 when we lost the title after we had been the best team in the country and were running away with it.

    There were a lot of disastrous refereeing decisions then. 5 minutes after the red card today, I realised my belief that we were going to win the game hadn’t changed.

    For those who say Wenger has no Plan B, look at the change in tactics today, the substitutions and realise that we can actually keep a defensive shape and be resilient.

  339. Ole, I felt the same way today.

    I think Sol’s “never say die” attitude has helped the young lads in the last few games to concentrate for the full 90+ minutes.

  340. I only started posting with any regularity this season and didn’t have any problems as a “newcomer”. The fact I didn’t say anything stupid or go on a name-calling spree probably explain it. I think we should all take a minute to consider just how incredible the signing of Sol was, in terms of how much we’ve needed him and who we could possibly have signed instead who would have fitted in so well.

  341. 1 loose cannon

    Mean lean- This is what Wenger said : “He is looking sharp. But he is still a month away. He should be back with us this week. Our fitness man has seen him in Holland and here.”
    OK Maybe not the CL 2nd leg but who knows he might be ready it will all depend on how he react to training. More likely the Spurs game. We know He loves playing the Spuds.
    it is worth reading what Hleb has to say about the Barcelona tie. I think he knows what he is talking about as he played for both teams.
    he said:
    “Arsenal have a style they like to play in and when they play well, like they did against Porto, it’s fantastic. Arsenal’s style is quicker than Barcelona’s. Barcelona’s build-up and passing is less direct. Arsenal move the ball faster. That can make it difficult for Barcelona.”

    “and it’s important not to go out there scared when you play against Barcelona. I don’t think Arsenal will do that. I believe they can take on Barcelona and do well, and win.”

    The Ice cream man makes a lot of sense.

  342. Of all the players who’ve left in the last few years (aside from TH14), Hleb’s the one I miss the most. His dribbling is an utter joy.

  343. I have been a big time critic of Almunia but today he looked so concentrated throughout, he was calm and collected and I was always confident he wouldn’t mess up, why oh why couldn’t he have been like this all season! At least he’s coming good in the business end of the season, that was an awesome save!

    Song again proved everyone that beleived in him right! He was the definition of immense.

  344. Song is just another reason why I am an AKB follower.
    If fans still cannot trust the vision of Arsene then I feel sorry for them because the next few seasons will surely show the real depth at Arsenal.

  345. All were heroes in our win over West Ham. In particular, Denilson, Almunia, Eboue, Diaby and Fabregas. The versatile Eboue played 2 roles during the match and was instrumental in our second goal when the attack was sacrificed. Diaby came in and made a difference.

  346. Vince:

    “Of all the players who’ve left in the last few years (aside from TH14), Hleb’s the one I miss the most. His dribbling is an utter joy.”

    I’ve always liked Alex Hleb. He was one of my favorite players while he was at Stuttgart so you can imagine how over the moon I was when Arsene signed him. The way he left, though, left a very sour taste in my mouth. It was horrendous to watch him sit on the bench when he could’ve been weaving his magic at Arsenal.

    I totally agree with his comments regarding Barcelona’s slower passing game. The way they beat teams is by passing them to submission. It’s a very patient style where they go back and forth like a metronome until they find space and explolit it. If we can get them to chase the ball we’ll be able to open them up.

  347. a fungus-coated right hand

    Have to agree: The presence of Sol has helped the confidence and concentration of our other defenders immensely. In particular, Clichy.

  348. So it’s looking to me like the order of preference in central defence is

    Gallas and Vermaelen

    then

    Campbell

    then

    Song

    then

    Silvestre

    If Djourou jumps back into the fray, then I would think he would ultimately be ahead of Campbell in the pecking order.

    What this really means is that Arsene has decided that he cannot have under any circumstances Silvestre and Campbell playing together and quite possibly he would take Song over Silvestre if only one of Gallas, Campbell and Vermaelen were fit.

    The heartening aspect of this is that we would need 4 injuries/supsensions before exposing Silvestre. Right now we have 3 (Djourou, Gallas and Vermaelen). I’m not particularly anti-Silvestre but I would certainly feel less comfortable with him back there in a crucial game.

  349. Anyone see Arteta’s free kick today? It’s just cruel how he doesn’t get into the Spanish squad.

  350. Is Vermaelen’s suspension for 1 game or 3?

    According to redlondon, it is one.

    http://redlondon.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/thomas-vermaelens-suspension/

  351. It was amazing that doomed Portsmouth is mustering some decent results and managed to beat Hull City (bravo!) 3-2 yesterday. It would be a tragedy if they fail to be sold and are liquidated eventually.

  352. For once the schedule seems to be playing in our favour.

    We have a week to prepare for Birmingham, while they have a midweek game at Blackburn, which should be a nice battle given the characters on both teams (Bowyer, Ridgewell, Diouf etc).

    Hopefully they can destroy each other in a meaningless mid-table battle, leaving us to cruise to a 2-0 away win before our meaningful midweek battle with Barcelona.

  353. Hello ACLF friends, just to let you know that Jen had a baby boy yesterday and I am a Dad again.

    And what a performance by our lads too!

  354. Congrats ZimPaul!

  355. ZimPaul – congratulations !

  356. Zim Paul.

    Congratulations and hope Jen and the baby are bright and bubbly as can be.

    Make sure the first word the lad can speak is Arsenal.

  357. Congratulations Zimpaul. You have done the Arsenal tribe proud with the new addition. 🙂

  358. What an immense performance from the team. I agree with 1LC it seemed as if Arsene was keen for the team to outline their defensive solidity. I was screaming for Theo to come on but the team put in a Hurculean performance to take maximum points. Eboue, almunia, nasri,cesc,diaby,denilson and Song were unbelivable Song played CB like he had been playing there all season Eboue continues to terrorise defences with his mazy runs. I think we finally have the missing ingredients self belief, resilllience and win at all costs mentality. Man U n Chelsea beware.

  359. Another ACLF baby in little more than a week.

    Congratulations and good luck in the nights ahead.

    All the very best to you and yours, ZP.

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