Milan Are Pato-Poopers As Wenger Dares Cesc

The opening day of The Emirates Cup left Arsene with positives and some work to do, pretty much as he would have expected the case to be. Chamakh scored, taking his goal well following a good run from Arshavin. The Moroccan let the ball roll across his body before slotting home, reminding everyone that the fuss made about his aerial ability overlooked the fact that he has good technique on the ground.

It was not his only telling contribution to the game and the initial feeling I have is that van Persie and Fabregas will find him a joy to play alongside. Time will tell on that one as will the positive vibes coming from the performances of Gibbs, Frimpong and Wilshere. There is a sense of competition for places building up in the squad where established internationals can feel somewhat uneasy with young blood looking to usurp them in the starting line-up. That will not happen overnight but once more, Wenger’s belief in the squad is easy to understand. Let us hope that it is not misplaced and with progress being evident, there is no reason to think that it has not.

Defensively, Wenger will have been disappointed by the goal conceded, Pato’s threat is normally considered to be on the ground rather than timing his jump far better than defenders. Still, if you are not going to mark properly, conceding a goal has to be a not unexpected punishment. Despair should not be the overriding feeling in this sense though. Koscielny showed good aniticipation and had a decent understanding in his fledgling partnership with Vermaelen. Physically there are doubts aired about his strength in the Premier League and an additional centre back might help him develop away from the spotlight in that sense.

Has Wenger made a statement of intent in choosing Fabianski ahead of Almunia? If he has, the Pole chose yesterday to answer some of the criticism directed at him. Would regular first team action eradicate the mistakes, the exuberance of youth which sees concentration drop from his game occasionally? That is a question still to be answered and those solutions may present themselves this season.

Wenger suggested that there is a case to be answered for Barcelona’s tapping up and then immediately gave the biggest barrier to any successful prosecution by Uefa or Fifa; proof. Media talk is not tapping up in the eyes of the authorities; having contract talks without Arsenal’s permission is. That is where the proof has to come in. Unless one of the parties lets slip that the contract is agreed- the principle source for this would be Cesc’s agent – there is little anyone can do. Would a slap across the wrists in any case, have an effect on the rabid verbal claptrap spouted by the Catalans? No, that is only going to come from a change in the ‘corporate’ arrogance shown by them. The lack of class shown in their behaviour is not going to be easily forgetten.

How deeply it rankles with the manager was shown as he challenged his captain to end the speculation with a clear statement of intent to stay at Arsenal. Considering they have met prior to the friendlies this weekend, Wenger must be reasonably sure that such words are going to be forthcoming from Fabregas because it is a high-risk strategy otherwise. In any case, I am not sure that the media will stop speculating about the desire of Barcelona to sign Fabregas, the timeline will merely move on twelve months, the precursor to another summer of tiresome and tedious behaviour from the Iberian Peninsular.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on August 1, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 169 Comments.

  1. What luck. Sorry Bigbrovar.

  2. good avo

  3. What if I take away 2nd too?

  4. Damnit!!! Grarse. Where did you pop out from?

  5. We are weak at the back and IMHO would need a new keeper and at least 2 defenders. Almunia Fabianski and just don’t cut it for Arsenal. And we should not be carried away by one game performance. We need a very good keeper someone the defenders can have confidence in. We also need to work on our vulnerability in dead balls situations and long balls. We have to look back at 4 last sessions and what we could do better..

  6. Ateeb@ I decided to read the post first before posting a comment you know play it fair :D.. when I was posting my comment There was no comment before me so I am first in my heart :p

  7. People are getting their knickers in a twist about one headed goal as if we should never be scored on? That’s not giving Milan any credit at all. Seedorf and Pato are top class players and they have probably perfected that move through many attempts. Pato knew where the ball would be, which is why he was able to anticipate it and be in the right place at the right time. Seedorf has been there, done that and bought the T-shirt so he knows how to place a free kick. Apart from the fact that it was never a free kick to AC in the first place, the defending was good overall.

  8. I’m not going to argue with anyone today. BB you are entitled to your opinion.
    See? I’m being good.

  9. Good display yesterday, encouraging for the start to the season.

    Frimpong impressed again, as did our two new signings. Gibbs is going to give Clichy some much needed competition this year.

  10. No need to worry about the goal too much. It was a good delivery, and lots of team could have conceeded that particular goal.

  11. @ ateeb

    mobile phone…so slowwww you took 1st 😉

  12. Haha. I know what you mean. I was second in my heart too, but grarse took it away. But who’re we tryna fool? These are just excuses.


    I suspect Arsene has talked to Cesc, before coming out in the open demanding he clears the issue. I’m sure Cesc’s comments will follow soon. I just don’t see what he can add anymore. It will be the same like before. “I love Arsenal, Arsene my father, but my heart aches for Barcelona”.

  13. Aside from what Yogi’s said, I took 3 things from yesterday:
    1) SHIT ME, it’s only been a few months since we last saw him but i’d totally forgotten how quick TV5. It’s ridiculous how much ground he covers when he’s chasing a loose ball. Koscielny’s no slacker in that regard either.
    2) Lil’ Jack’s having the same effect on the crowd as Walcott, the second the ball arrives at his feet there’s a sharp intake of breath and a sense of anticipation as everyone waits to see what he’s gonna do with it. I LOVE those little chipped passes he did to Vela repeatedly in the second half, every one was inch perfect to his feet.
    3) The aforementioned Mexican looks hench, weirdly I don’t remember him looking that bulky in the World Cup though which is bizarre. He certainly didn’t get shrugged off the ball which is something he’s previously been unable to do much about.
    All in all it was just great to see some Wengerball.

  14. I’d agree with that Ateeb, I very much doubt Wenger would put that kind of pressure on Cesc to say something without having arranged it with him first.

  15. It was a good display but it was a pre-season game. To me the conceded goal was a good goal but could have been avoided.

    The midfield to frontline is now very deep. The defence however looks too slim (literally)

    Will the purchase of a new keeper mean Manone is gone? I liked what little I saw of him.

    Anyone else perturbed by the amount of clear chances wasted?

  16. Passewnal and others who were at the Emirates yesterday.

    Is it worth reading anything into the fact that Fabianski was listed first in the squad list before Almunia in the match day programme?

    My take on Arsenal keepers is that perhaps Wenger has to sacrifice one of Almunia or Fabianski to pacify the noise makers. From a long term point of view, it would make more sense to keep Fabianski and give him a run of games to cement some confidence in him.

  17. After Wenger’s fiasco with the Kenya “journalist” in South Africa nice to see something good come out of it. The Arsenal community sent two coaches down here and gave our kids a good run about. Even identified two with immense talent. Also say they hope to set up an Arsenal school here within two years.
    As for yesterday’s match had been hoping to see more from Wilshere. Disappointed, and that’s because I expect the boy to become a phenomenon – like Messi maybe. I just can’t grade him as per the usual footballer – always expect that something special from him. Unlike Frimpong who is good yet I expect his development to be more low key. Probably makes him the luckier of the two. Wilshere is under immense pressure – which comes with being a maestro.
    Think Randall’s miss was unforgivable. And I thought his Arsenal career was over. Maybe the professor has a few tricks in his bag yet. Randall’s development was disrupted by our acquisition of Ramsey – and maybe those cigarettes!
    Hope Emmanuel-Thomas plays today. Too bad my favourite reserve, Henri Lansbury, is injured. Expect something like Arsenal 4 Celtic 0. And that Celtic 19 year old winger is good. Maybe we should buy him.

  18. Did any of you guys read that article over at Untold Arsenal, on Koscielny. For a change it was a good article, that had an extensive analysis of Koscielny. Apparently he had some amazing statistics for the last 2 seasons. And was considered the best defender in the french league. No wonder he didn’t come cheap, given how he wasn’t much known in the mainstream media.

  19. Good things about yesterday:

    Wilshire must start this season.Better than Diaby will ever be

    Chamakh a striker with a good first touch.Take note Bender you have gone done the pecking order

    Gibbs:Nothing between him and Clichy now.If it was up to me i would choose KG

    Bad: The crowd.No singing Mexican Wave Shit

    Set pieces we can take them and we STILL cant defend them

    Still no NEW keeper

    I think Cesc will hand in a transfer request on thursday his heart is not in the club anymore

  20. 354.

    The number of runs by which we have just beaten Pakistan Ateeb.

  21. To be honest Passenal, I’m one who was dismayed by the conceded goal. It was too easy. it wasn’t an outstanding leap. It was just nobody attacking the ball early and with determination. Our defence should be harder to crack than that.

    As you said, the defending was quite good, and that’s the frustrating thing. We defend well and then concede a stupid goal.

  22. Seems to me Wenger’s meeting with Cesc might not have gone as well as we hoped. I don’t see why Wenger would have called on Cesc to make a statement. He has been totally used by Barcelona first as a vanity project for Laporta and then as a face saving exercise for the club who do not want to be seen as being unable to secure the players they want to buy. I can imagine Cesc is in a desperate position (as he was when RM made overtures), he doesn’t want to snub them and therefore ensure his eventual return to Barcelona doesn’t happen. Comparisons are made with Ronaldo but Man Utd secured £80m for him, not the £25-30 Barca have offered.

    As for proof of tapping up does not a club statement that Cesc is facilitating the transfer but Arsenal/Wenger are blocking the transfer not clear enough.

    With Kaka now available Cesc’s market value can be more clearly judged. This might also offer a player that would suit Arsenal’s marketing team could readily use. (depending on his physical condition).

  23. Cbob

    A country mile…


  24. SomeRandomGunner

    Chamakh was impressive. Koscielny looks a better defender than Vemaelen . In the first half itself he made some 10 interceptions his positioning was great through out the game.

    Anybody noticed his long ball to Chamakh where Chamakh held the ball and squared it for Nasri , that pass could have been better . But that ball was really telling another quality of Koscielny, anybody sees any resemblance to Pique’s pass to Ibra against us ?

    But i did notice a problem with our CB pairing, because both Vermaelen and Koscielny looks to attack/intercept the ball. If they fail to intercept/loose the tackle other CB has to recover quickly and cover for that. Koscielny did that in last game , but Vermaelen does not look up for that. But it is just their 2nd game, they should have better understanding after quite a few games. Desi the moment you talk about when our defence was split was due to this problem , Koscielny tried to intercept the ball and pulled out of the position and Vermaelen did not expect it we were opened up. This could be a problem with new CB pairing, in our home game against Barca Vermaelen did this and Song was not expecting it at all. I think with more games together this could be a very very good CB pairing. And our counter attacking is going to be much faster and effective with two ball playing CBs.

    Frimpong did good, but still not ready he is too naive. Gap between our defence and midfield looks too big and that caused us few problems. That Arshavin shot from Chamakh’s brilliance, i thought the midfielder was coming in too late or did not come in at all. That is a worry because we depend on midfield for goals. After all whole midfield was second choice.

    Over all i enjoyed the game. Arsenal look very good. Koscielny and Chamakh are going to be great this season. Did i mention Rosicky was great. Gibbs is looking like a better option than Clichy with each game.

    I would like Chamakh on the right and RVP in the middle and Arsha on the left. Chamakh can attack crosses coming in from the right at far post. Interchange with RVP and RVP can cut from right.
    I am excited about this season. Hopefully we do not have to play our 3rd choice players because of injuries.

  25. Bob,

    Haha. I thought I’d catch up with the match in 30 mins, wasn’t expecting them to do do that. I hope that’s the last we see of Kamran and Umar Akmal.

  26. Wow. The Ateeb-anator and Bob are back. Woe to the doomers. Couldn’t help myself. Heh, heh, heh.

    1LC – You are the bomb. The vid of Jens Lehman was fantastic. The guy was a character.

    BB – Behave!

  27. what happend?

  28. Our new signings impressed me yesterday. But at the end of the day it was the same old story, we dont finish teams off and we concede soft goals. Recipe for disaster.

  29. Ateeb theyre a young team this will stand them in good stead. There are some real quality bowlers in the Pakistan attack.

  30. I’m with you Ole, the goal conceded was all too familiar. Djourou seemed to duck away from it, there was no one busting a gut to clear it… and it falls to little Pato to put it in.

    Positives though, Koscielny showing what he can do, Chamakh’s all round play, Vela’s cameo was a good one. And Gibbs is now a serious threat to Clichy’s first team place.

  31. Darius, we’ll see chickens growing teeth before we see the day AW gets rid of a player to pacify so-called noise makers.

    It was a really, really nice, seeing the boys play at the emirates again.

    Why, oh why, did we have to concede a late goal? Funny thing is, it wouldn’t have felt so bad if the goal was conceded earlier in first half. But them scoring so late, and from a set piece reminds one of all the defensive lapses from the previous seasons.

    I fear it doesn’t begin to play on the minds of the players, because it’s certainly on my mind.

  32. Steww,

    The bowlers are good. It’s the batsmen that I am worried about. Frankly it’s been a decade since anyone great emerged in the pakistani cricket scene, in the batting department. The last good one was Muhammad Yousaf. Apart from that no one has really cemented their place in the team. Boom Boom, has fucked many player’s careers, since he aspires them. And they follow his boom boom style.

  33. Ateeb.

    If there’s one thing that has disappointed me for this 1st test, it’s the lack of fight. I just feel Pakistan gave up – 354 is a hell of a gap, and YW’s description of a country mile doesn’t begin to describe how big the gap was.

    I know the odds were against the visitors, but a bit more fight wouldn’t have gone amiss.

    Henristic – teeth bearing chickens??? LOL!

    Funny that the usual media commentators are already jumping onto the “typical Arsenal” band wagon…Can’t close games, can’t defend.

  34. Fans must not read too much into this game which was nowhere near real match conditions, ie no bone crunching tackling, roughing up, dodgy refereeing, more than half the team nissing. just a fitness excercise and a run around for the kids. A win would be a bonus but good performances all round by all the boys.I particularly enjoyed Vela nutgmeging 4 players and nearly scoring, We can only get better.And now to giving Celtic a pasting.

  35. Koscielny is very clearly strong enough to defend in the Premier League. You don’t need to see him clattering Chris Samba to know that.

    More strength in depth needed, yes – but i’m very happy with |Koscielny|Vermaelen| as a first choice partnership. Young, aggressive, fast, great on the ball. Really look the business. Bring on the scousers.

  36. As a matter of fact Darius, chickens are the closest living relative of Tyranosaurus Rex.

  37. Arsenal starting XI:
    Sagna, Vermaelen, Djourou, Clichy
    Frimpong, Rosicky, Wilshere
    Walcott, Emmanuel-Thomas, Vela

    Mannone, Koscielny, Nasri, Arshavin, Eboue, Gibbs, Chamakh, Randall, Nordtveit, Hoyte, Yennaris

  38. Arsenal.

  39. I have no idea if this is possible……but any chance of Joe Hart?

    Does Wenger rate him or is Hart waiting around to hit the lottery?

  40. A lot of positives, but you weren’t watching the match if you think Wilshere was anything better than “disappointing, at best.” He didn’t have any good touches, consistently made poor decisions, and just wasn’t anything like the promising young star we’ve come to expect. I’m sure he’ll be fine, but yesterday he was awful. Shame on you for wearing myopic-colored lenses in your assessment of him.

  41. Woop…!

  42. Walcott takes a free kick?!!!!!

    Well done.

  43. Theo ‘No end-product’ Walcott on direct freekicks now. Lovely curling effort needs palming out from the top corner.

  44. That foul on Wilshere was straight frrom the Stoke school. 2-0 to the Gunners.

  45. Sweet strike from Bacary. Looks like Theo’s been putting in the work on the training pitch too….

  46. Wow a left footed strike from Sagna makes it 2-0.

    What else will we see in this match.

  47. Our RB’s developed a Cultured Left Foot 🙂

  48. What’s that, Arsene? Goals from everywhere? Surely not from eeeverywhere.


    Surely not from say… Bacary Sagna??

  49. Frimpong!!! Oh my God is he something??? Bring on the scousers….

  50. LA @ 3:53pm – Djourou looked very sound defensively in this 1st half. The s CDs can hold their own. I expect a veteran who doesn’t expect to start every game. AW will not spend 10 million and 60K per week to play as back-up. That is financial madness.
    Sorry doomers.

  51. @Zama

    Well said.

  52. Correction: The 3 CDs

  53. @shottagunna

    I still he should spend high. JD is injury prone.

  54. Good showing Wilshere today better than yesterday. Hard to imagine that Frimpong is only 18, Ghana looks to have an automatic successor to Essien. Never been convinced on Thomas as an out on out striker he’s better coming out deep. So far looks like he may have to go out on loan again.

  55. Streams….

  56. Would like to Nordtveit and Hoyte come on. Yennaris maybe after the fourth goal.

  57. Agreed. A journeyman like this Bosnian we’ve been linked with today, Emir Spahić. Although that particular link looks a bit like journos fishing around Lige 1 for an ‘Arsene Wenger type signing’ to me.

    That or another young prospect to apply pressure from beneath, someone like Kara Mbodj or Serdar Taşçı perhaps.

  58. Nasri is on fire!!!!!!!

  59. Not going to the WC looks to have done Theo a power of good…

  60. 3-0. Nasri. Asssist by Walcott. Celtic have been under so much pressure since the 1st half. I think the floodgstes are goin to open up. This Arsenal team is just too much for them.

  61. Return of Chamakh
    Once Again
    Return of Chamakh
    O my gawd!

    (Mark ‘The Mack’ Morrison… in case you didn’t get it)

    Loving Chamakh’s first touch.

    And Walcott’s all-round devastation.

  62. LA – Walcott is giving fits to whichever left back Celtic put on him. He looks like a man with something to prove.

  63. ROTFLMAO Return of Chamakh

  64. Celtic have a basketball center in goal

  65. I think the kit makes our players look a little more beefed up.

  66. Eboue is the court jester of this team. What a guy?

  67. Thanks guys.

  68. Djourou – you are not an attacking midfielder. WTF?

  69. That clock looks stupid, I’m for arsenalising the stadium but it’s not highbury and we should create new traditions.

  70. Saw the new clock on tv!! It looks magnificent and majestic..

    The clock is back!!! The clock is back!!!

  71. Qh well that youth.. and thats a BIG miss.

  72. hahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  73. Samaras misses a pen but wtf was Wilshere thinking. That was a needless foul.

  74. Poor old Almunia. Celtic won’t even give him a chance from the penalty spot.

  75. Calm down, Samaras, you f*ck. We’ve only got three of them…

  76. That is offside? Do I have on my Arsenal blinkers?

  77. It could easily be 3-3 now

  78. Oh Walcott – be selfish, go for it.

  79. Yeah but it could also be 5-0. Turns out it’s neither. It’s 3-1. Soon to be 4-1…

  80. Nothing can stop the Aluminium man!

  81. That a huge space between the two central defenders just created an easy chance for Celtic.

  82. Djourou and Kos have a lot of work to do between now and Aug 15th. They look like they were playing together for the 1st time.

  83. so what exactly is the score?

  84. Exciting game.

  85. Highlights just how vital TV is going to be.

  86. Another CB please

  87. For all the readers of tea leaves – Big Al played all 90 mins of this game and made sveral critical saves. I leave all the haters to draw their own conclusions.

  88. 3-2 Team Spirit.

  89. Shotta – think that’s gonna be the starting back 5 at Anfield injuries etc permitting.

  90. A good free kick from TW, a leftfoot goal from BS all in all ok.

    Still not convinced on defence without TV.

  91. Usual bollocks from the “pundits”.

  92. Encouraging stuff though on the whole. Frim and Wilsh looked very assured. Feel sorry for JET, shows some nice touches but no definite position doesn’t help him – could be a victim of his versatility. Can’t wait for the real stuff to start now – I work with two scousers….!

  93. Was just over at Le Grove for a moment for some reason. What a bunch of idiots. Main topic of discussion is Theo, and almost everyone there is slating him. Inexplicable. The guy had two assists, set up innumerable scoring opportunities, and tracked back well to defend. Hustles all over the pitch. Yes, some of his crosses and shots are poor, but that’s also true of Iniesta or Messi or anyone else (let alone jokers like SWP and Lennon, who having nothing close to Theo’s quality). The poor kid is held to a ridiculously high standard just because he can create scoring opportunities almost every time he touches the ball.

  94. If Theo’s thinking had been as quick as his pace we could have won 5-2. Gibbs was roasted on the left though. Too many defensive changes all at once threw us out of our rhythm.

    Well, I think our first choice 5 is good enough.

  95. It’s silly to draw anything too positive or negative from that tournament, especially as we were up against sides whose preparations are so out of sync with ours – AC Milan are well behind us, while Celtack are two weeks ahead, having already played Champions League football.

  96. Supercod – If you mean the five that started the game I am not so sure. It is a toss-up between Djourou and Kos. My position is well known re GK. Big Al is the keeper until proven otherwise. The combination of Djourou and Kos today tells us that when the defenders don’t play as a team it puts too much pressure on our Gks, whoever that is. But I am confident we will get it sorted. Today is Aug 1st for heavens sake.

  97. Shotta, just hope everyone comes through the Poland jaunt uncathed. Not sure if taking the players abroad again with the added distraction of the international friendly between now and the start of the season is a great idea…

  98. I agree with Oneofus. But Frimpong tired after the hour. Maybe it was too much for his young heart!

  99. Wilshere man of the match seems a little generous on that showing. I love the little guy though, so much talent, and that combative streak makes him a big player for us this season.

    The two assists by Theo were quality, but he can be frustrating to watch. Our midfielders love to feed his runs, so he gets a lot of the ball, but his success rate when he gets it is not quite good enough……yet.

  100. I would really like to say that Walcott is getting better and better but the truth is he isn’t. I actually think he’s gone a bit backwards since the 07/08 season. I used to feel this kid was a threat whenever he’s on the ball but right now I just feel he’s a waste of space to be honest. Offcourse I want him to succeed but I just dont see how thats going to happen. Look at the difference in Wilshere since the last Emirates cup, those are the types of strides Walcott must take. Overall, our team played well but we HAVE to sort out the defence because the top premiership sides will not be as generous as Celtic.

  101. I thought Theo was very good today. There was a sense of danger everytime he touched the ball. He also linked up well with his teammates.

    Frimpong had a poor beginning of the first half but played a lot better as the game progressed. I liked the way he shrugged that Celtic player off the ball as if he wasn’t even there.

    Wilshere’s time at Bolton did wonders for his tackling and his aggressivity. I no longer cringe when I see him go in for a challenge. He can handle himself pretty well.

    I’m not too worried about the goal conceded by Kos and Johan. They’re both good players who just need to learn how to play together. The reason for their lapse may very well be lack of understanding.

  102. As you stated in your opening line for Today’s Blog ” Some positive but still some work to do. Frimpong came out of this game with many positives.

    Friendly game or not it is patently clear that Walcott is just to inconsistent in with his final ball.I truly believe that he himself is not sure of what he is going to do and luck n final prayer are asked for when he’s in an attacking position.

    Just cast your mind back to the Game just played and you’ll see what I’m talking about. The reality Celtic should have been dead n buried by 70 mins.

    Yep I know it’s only a friendly but is clear in my mind that this player is not developing,maturing in his football(mental) sense. The developement of J.E.Thomas.Wilshire,Frimpong is there for all to see.

    I will wait and hold my judgment on the defencive issues It is safe to we need another Centre Back and of course Wenger knows this.

    The Team the Squad has another season of experience under it’s belt. Chamak n Lauren Ko(I wont try n spell it off the top of my head) are good additions,however experience,experience was spoken of in terms of possible player(s) coming in??? Do we ALL TRULY believe that last years defensive frailties (41goals)have disappeared over since the end of the Season.

    Then there is of course the ongoing shituation on whether Almunia.Fabianski should be replaced. Almunia had a good Game today,however does one game make him a good goalkeeper all of sudden? Only time will tell….

    It’s another 2 weeks n before the season starts the Transfer window still offers us hope in that AW is on the lookout for the RIGHT players…..I want Theo to take on the mantle of being a creative,decisive,effective,clinical,role within the Arsenal team this season…To blow more hot than cold…..I Wonder….Ras

  103. Piresaholic,

    I disagree regarding your assesment of Theo’s progress. I think that Theo has grown in confidence and his runs are more clever than they were last season.

  104. Agreed Ras, the perfect way to describe Walcott is frustrating. His decision making just annoys mee sometimes because we all know he’s capable of doing the right things but doesn’t manage to express himself properly. Has he lost confidence? Does he not care?? Right now his negatives outweigh his positives and its not even like his positives can’t be replicated by other players in the squad. Its messed up though because he makes the hard look easy and the easy look hard, strange phase he’s going through right now. Kos was very impressive today btw and it just goes to show that when Wenger buys a player, he’s always quality.

  105. Gainsbourg- I’m just expressing how he makes me feel when I watch him play. Granted he got two assists today but he can offer SO MUCH more and assert himself far more often. Its crunch time per se but keeping in mind that the season hasn’t even begun. Let’s wait and see what he offers us against stiffer opposition, only then can we really come to a consensus.

  106. It strikes me, with Theo, when he’s confident he takes on the full back. When he’s not he runs up the FB, stops and lays the ball off. That way he isn’t seen to make a mistake (Lennon did much the same in the WC). I was encouraged at the runs he made and the postions he took up, just wish someone on the coaching staff could improve his delivery – he doesn’t seem to look up or try to pick out a team-mate. That said he is a great outlet and a constant threat, the oppos generally look more stretched when he’s on the pitch….

  107. He did OK against Barcelona.

  108. I find some of the criticisms of Theo way OTT. It is as if he is supposed to be Ronaldinho and Robben rolled into one. He is only 21, last time I checked, and is still maturing into a footballer. When Robben was at Chelsea, as a winger, he used to run into several dead-ends but nobody dicounted his talent and potential. But we have the meme “no football brain” and “hasn’t improved”. Walcott’s biggest asset is his pace and no matter the opposition he uses speed to open up teams. But it is also a negative if not harnessed properly. It is obvious he is now trying to not solely depend on his speed but to become better in his decision-making; whether to pass, go it alone or shoot. Better judgment will come with time.
    IMO the positives long outweigh the negatives. Thank god he is a gooner.

  109. 1 1/2 games against FC Blagger,

    1 assist,

    1 goal.

    Not bad.

    Not so long ago.

  110. The funniest part of the game for me today was watching Little Jack Willy trying to plead his case that it wasn’t a penalty he conceded…LOL! The cheeky bugger.

    On the Theo debate, I tend to think that even though he doesn’t make the correct decisions and his final ball isn’t always inch perfect, the advantage to Arsenal is that the opposing team cannot or dare not take the chance that he won’t.

    The fact that he’s running at and beyond them scares the living shit out of any defense and causes panic, enough for our midfield runners to gain advantage with the spaces that open up. In this respect, if Theo delivers, well and good, if it doesn’t work out, then the team still benefits.

    The boy is under unbearable pressure from a thankless and bitchy media and a disillusioned fan base in the UK – cut him some slack. I’m sure he’ll be the first to admit that he’s got a point to prove this season.

    I think he’ll be more effective for Arsenal as an impact player e.g. when a left back has picked up a yellow card early in the game or early in the second half. Theo is just the punk to unleash on such a defender.

  111. Did you guys notice how badly the commentator on Sky wanted Celtic to score the equalizer?? Am I just being paranoid??? Or is it us against the world?

  112. Arsenal was confirmed on Moldovan TV signing goalkeeper Nilain Levroji this week in a bid to solve their ongoing goalkeeping crisis.The 23-year-old from Iskra-Stal Ribnita will join the Gunners in a €5million deal to be completed on Tuesday.

    Levroji has played twice for the Moldovan national team but has been rated as one of the top young keepers in European football.

  113. BTW, like Goldman Sachs, I am buying a lot of derivatives, options that Almunia will be our GK this season. Yes I am betting against the herd, blogger opinion. Like Goldman, I intend to collect.

  114. Walcott’s contributions statisticaly cannot be argued with. The boy is a class act.

    I agree that he can offer so much more and I have faith that he certainly will.

    It’s easy to forget what a natural finisher he is aswell.

    The day is fast approaching when it all clicks together an we have one hell of a player on our hands, one even better than the hell of a player we have already.

  115. Piresholic, I really don’t understand what game people like you are watching with this criticism of Theo. Theo had two assists for god’s sake — what more do you want from a winger in any single game? But on top of that, he created several other scoring opportunities, and took a wonderful free kick. He was an inch or two away from successfully chipping the keeper late in the game, and his low crossing (short or long) is consistently very good, and his tight passing is excellent. He defends well, and he never stops working. Of course some of his shots and crosses go awry, but that can be said of anyone. And he has had awful luck with injuries. Was it his fault that JET and Chamakh had both run too far towards the goalline when he cut the ball back across goal? No, one of those two would have had a sitter had they stayed at the top of the six yard box. If he remains injury-free, Theo is going to create loads of goals for us this year.

  116. I really hope your right GoonerinLA. I do understand he had a rough season last time round and will reserve my judgement until later on in the season.

    I also wanted to make sure I wasn’t tripping, were we playing 4-4-2 against Milan yesterday?

  117. ok…. means we win the emirates cup…. nice defense (of the cup LOL)

  118. Theo can’t even buy a break from On Vela’s goal, the official match report says “The England winger went for goal but scuffed his shot across the six-yard box where Vela slid in to gleefully convert.” Really??? I saw him collect a pass from Wilshire with a perfect first touch, recognize that the keeper had the near post covered, and pick out Vela on the far post with an inch perfect cross — i.e., create the goal with a nice assist. Rose-tinted glasses here, I guess, but I hope what we’re seeing is the start of the year where the kid silences his critics and recognizes his boundless potential.

  119. Supercod:

    “It strikes me, with Theo, when he’s confident he takes on the full back. When he’s not he runs up the FB, stops and lays the ball off. That way he isn’t seen to make a mistake (Lennon did much the same in the WC). I was encouraged at the runs he made and the postions he took up, just wish someone on the coaching staff could improve his delivery – he doesn’t seem to look up or try to pick out a team-mate. That said he is a great outlet and a constant threat, the oppos generally look more stretched when he’s on the pitch….”

    I think you’ve got it wrong. Theo’s letting the FB run by him has nothing at all to do with his confidence. If he can make a run, he’ll make it. But if Sagna is overlapping and he’s the better option, Theo has to pass the ball to him. The fact that Theo draws three or four defenders at a time means that he can’t make runs every single time. If he did, people would be complaining that he’s a ball hog. I mean, just because he haspace doesn’t mean he should have a go every single time. Look at Ronaldo and Messi when they’re well covered. They don’t go on runs just to show that they can beat defenders. They pass the ball or they make rns to draw defenders away from his teammaes.

  120. “Arsenal was confirmed on Moldovan TV signing goalkeeper Nilain Levroji this week in a bid to solve their ongoing goalkeeping crisis.”

    Good lord. Who the hell is he? Even googling him leads to just three results. Please Arsene buy that Italian Machetti. No more, of these unknowns. JUST THREE RESULTS ON GOOGLE!!

  121. Walcott still cant make the right decision.His final ball again was piss poor

    Almunia’s reaction when presented with the trophy said it all.He’s off

    Wilshire our best player by a mile again.Wenger must start him at Anfield

    The siigning of a quality experienced CB was never more evident today.In the last 20mins Djourou and Kos were ripped apart by a Celtic forward line led Samaras FFS

  122. GoonerInLA

    The best thing that could have happened to Arsenal is that Theo Walcott and Samir Nasri were snubbed and not picked for their national teams for the world cup.

    If you asked me, it’s pretty humiliating for two young lads who thought they had done enough to make the grade. Funny enough, by not going to the world cup, both their stocks have risen and I truly hope they will channel that anger and frustration of being left out of the world cup by rising to the challenge this season and proving to the world that they are worthy.

  123. I can’t confirm that rumor. But what I can confirm is that Moldova is in Europe. In case anyone was wondering where it’s located. Somewhere on Europe, for sure. Can’t find it in a map so far. Looking…..

  124. Geoff,

    What are you doing here?? I thought we were going to do some AKB bashing on our blog. Come back, we need to deal with this guy who thinks Theo will come good this season. What a TWAT!!

  125. Steww…Sirens, pleas!

  126. Piresaholic:

    “Gainsbourg- I’m just expressing how he makes me feel when I watch him play. Granted he got two assists today but he can offer SO MUCH more and assert himself far more often. Its crunch time per se but keeping in mind that the season hasn’t even begun. Let’s wait and see what he offers us against stiffer opposition, only then can we really come to a consensus.”

    Something that I saw in the Austrian traning camp was Theo cutting inside much earlier to get behind the defense and exploit the back line with his pace. This is something which Theo never did before and I think it’s somethig Wenger has been coaching into him. A player with the vision of Cesc or Van Persie will be able to exploit that a lot beter than what we’ve seen thus far. Like you said, let’s wait to see what he does when he’s out there with the first team. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

  127. I love Theo I really do but he can be so frustrating to watch i mean to consistently over-hit crosses like that a mistake once twice, three time is just plain awful at this level.

    He will never ever sign Buffon I actually think Almunia and Fabiansky will end up fighting for the No 1 spot what is certain is that he will buy at least a center back, with Jaglieka injured not sure he will gamble on him my money is on Zapata because there are no good english defenders available at a decent price.

  128. How the fuck are Zapata or Hangeland big names? Only to tabloid slaves.

  129. Having said that I remember Giggs when he was a fledgling at manure very very inconsistent with the crosses. Theo i guess all i want to see is a linear progression. Unfortunately with regard to your passing and especially your crosses I can say you are improving.

  130. Ole Gunner my friend…

    I constantly ask myself what is the SI unit for these types of players bandied about – big-name, established, world-class et al. That’s not even starting the conversation about the fact that the said player has to be a 6 ft 3″ neanderthal.


  132. I blew my cover. How can I change my wordpress identity? LOL.

    PS: Have any of you guys checked out the other side? With one one or two exceptions, it is a home of lunatics. Absolute schizophrenia.

  133. They are not big names, it’s just that they’ve heard of them so they must be good!

    ‘ll leave the analysis to the manager. But it was another enjoyable performance and these were my observations.

    Carlos proved he can score more than chips!

    Good handling and quality saves from Almunia. The crowd were respectful towards him too, despite the internet campaign to discredit him.

    We did lose our shape and defensive discipline late in the game, but 3 of our first choice defence were missing at the time. Celtic being further ahead in their preparations were fitter and able to exploit that as our two 18 year olds in the midfield were looking tired after playing two 90 minute games in 2 days.

    JET does not have the mobility and touch of Chamakh, but he’ll get there with hard work.

    There was lots of good work and positive movement from Theo, which resulted in 2 of our 3 goals and could have been more on another day.

    I know it’s childish, but the highlight of the day for me was the jeering of the pantomime villan in the first game. It really started to bother him and at one point he gave an exasperated ‘if looks could kill’ look at the crowd. I thought it was hilarious!

  134. P.S. how on earth was JW MOTM? He needs to learn to stay on his feet when tackling. I know some of us are desperate for home grown success, but let’s not do to him what has been done to Theo i.e. over hype his early performances and then try to destroy him when he fails to live up to the unrealistic expectations created.

  135. Hahaha, Shotta. Leave that to the experts.

    Hint: Change your name and Email Id.

  136. I’ve just seen Arsene’s post match comments, now I understand why JET did not look so dynamic today. It’s also interesting that Arsene was considering another midfield purchase. The d**mers won’t be happy that JW and EF have convinced him otherwise!

  137. I think Pedro was being sarcastic.

  138. Played very well, especially in the first half. Almunina was our MotM I think, he had a very good game.

    Same old worries though; our lack of ability to close a game our is of concern. The last 20mins our back 4 got exposed on a number of occasions.

  139. The drop in the last 20 minutes was due to physical tiredness. Didn’t you read the press conference notes ? Wenger said:

    “I believe it was similar for 70 minutes, we played very well. In the last 20 we collapsed a bit physically and you could see that not everybody had the 90 minutes in their legs. But I’m pleased with the two days because we had good opponents – teams who did not give up. I have seen what I wanted to see; the two new players can fit in well and I am pleased with the fact that the young players who played in the two games have done really well. You will be pleased with the fact that they are English, so we are all happy!”

  140. Yeah, it is a fair one. After all it was a pre-season friendly. But at 3-0 against shite like Celtic the game should be over.

    Still, it is a good start to the season. We saw the best and worst of the team today, so Arsene knows what needs sorting out before the season starts.

  141. “Played very well, especially in the first half. Almunina was our MotM I think, he had a very good game.”

    Credit where it’s due, I actually agree with you there.

    I will not criticise our late defensive performance too much since it did not feature the bulk of our first choice defence. A centre back would only be changed mid game in extremis if it was a competitive match. Kos did not have enough time to get into the pace of the game, which is probably why he missed that tackle. I think it was also a useful reminder to those who think Gibbs is ready to replace Clichy and that Eboue should play in preference to Sagna. Obviously, that is not the case.

  142. Muppet,

    Is there much doubt that’s what happened? Frimpong and Jack were really tired and yu could some of the older players struggling too.

  143. The other benefit of this weekend was watching the Lyon players who have been linked with us. Lloris, is not worth £20m, Makoun – poor passer, Braind, nothing special. Toulalan, meh, Pjanic? And Gomis, was all effort and no end product.

  144. Only just watched the match (family mparty all day) and it was great entertainment. MA shuts up all his critics and Theo was superb. So direct and aggressive. Of course he wasn’t the only youngster to play well. Shame Arshavin was still on the beach!

  145. Delia-----Block 112

    Just got in from the match . TR7 in the first half and Nasri in the second stood out. The youthful CMF looked really tired in the final quarter and the central defence looked fragile after TV5 departed the scene. Theo brought the crowd to life with his runs but some of his crosses lacked direction.
    Chamakh was less effective when he came on today than yesterday but showed some nice touches .He does hold up the ball well and looks a real team player.
    All in all quite promising , a most enjoyable match to watch , with plenty of good passing and movement from the boys. With two week to go AW still has time to fine tune the squad before the trip to Anfield.

  146. I like Jack, but I am not really happy with his play at times. Not his offensive play, that is great, but defensively… I really hope AW can iron some of his behaviour out. And please, don’t send him to Bolton again. Experience is nice, but I am not sure if the damage that is done after 1 1/2 year of Bolton can still be repaired

  147. Btw. Arsene’s post match interview is great, as usual.

    Some of my favourite quotes:

    “On Per Mertesacker…
    “I would not like to come out on names because it raises the price straight away by 50 per cent.””

    “On if he is still in the market for a centre back…
    “We still need a centre half of course. We are still short number wise. Just number wise. [We need] at least one.””

    “On whether the players who played in midfield have changed his thinking ahead of the new season…
    “A little bit because at the start of the season I was not convinced that Wilshere and Frimpong could be central midfielders, defensively. There is a little bit more competition than we expected there to be. We were considering even maybe going on the market for a midfielder. We will not do that now.””

    Especially the latter two.

  148. Evil Fiek, I agree with you. His tackling is poor and in a competitive game he would easily pick up 2 yellow cards and get sent off. He is promising but has a lot of work to do and too many people are getting way ahead of themselves. The same with Gibbs and Frimpong. All very promising, but nowhere near ready for regular action or to replace the experienced players ahead of them.

    The last part of today’s game I was really thinking we missed Denilson in respect of his calm reading of the game, ability to intercept without over-committing and to retain possession by keeping it simple and keeping the ball moving. The youngsters will learn this in time, but today their over-enthusiasm was telling in exposing us to the counter-attack.

  149. Bradys right foot

    Looking forwrd to this year,we may well go into the season with what we have. Wenger will buy a centre half if he can get one of his targets if their not availible we may go into the season with what we have. I’m not against signing Mertesacker and like the look of Kosser but don’t see Shwarzer as an improvement on big Al.

  150. Almunia is nowhere near as bad as some are trying to suggest. I think Arsene just wants to shake him out of his stupor by making him feel the pressure of competition and the threat of a new purchase if he doesn’t shape up.

  151. Nasir Jones-Nasri



  152. Totally agree about shortfalls and the need to downplay the hype when it comes to JW and EF, but they both just played two whole (almost for EF), surprisingly competitive games in two days on the back of a gruelling training camp.

    If AW’s keeping them then that suggests that he thinks they’re ready for regular action. It doesn’t mean they’ll be getting past the bench at the moment though.

    In the meantime we won’t know what they can do until they get their chance to play in real games.

    It’s a bit of a weird one – the people who demand first-class players in every position also want an 18 year-old providing the ammo for the strikers every week.

  153. And I’m pretty sure that when EF gets his chance he’ll have one of Song, Diaby or Denilson alongside him, while JW would be backed up by two from those three.

    Both of the young guys shouldered a lot more responsibility this weekend than they’ll have to when their opportunity comes.

  154. OOU, I don’t mean to downplay their contribution, they were both good under the circumstances. I just think there needs to be a bit more balance in the analysis. It’s not so much on here, but elsewhere on the internet where some people are going way over the top in both their evaluation of this weekend’s performances and extrapolation of their potential in a more competitive PL game. The thing with young players is their inconsistency and this is not being taken into account in this belief that good performances in pre-season friendlies means that they are ready for the rough and tumble of the real thing.

  155. idiots over at le grove need to be slapped 18 times each, w*nnkers make me sick. Makes me very happy to think they have no influence on our club.

    oh yeah and i love the thing that surrounds the pitch is redd and the clock is back.. who didnt like it??!! i think its great to have it back, in 2007 in the first year i really wasnt liking all the concrete, but it really does feel like home now. Saw it on the plane yesterday as i passed london going to heathrow. Looked amazing. pride of london.

  156. hhahahah man shitty, man united, chelsea, liverpool, villa ALL lost in the laast few days..

  157. 1 loose cannon

    Passenal I agree with you on the young guns but Gibbs is ready in my opinion, since that slip against united in C.l he hardly made any mistakes. Experienced players make tons of mistakes too

  158. The simple fact is the young players we saw in the 2 games are not ready for 1st team action yet. They could be called upon when there are other senior (a bit older, like 21 or 22 haha) players around them. It also puts pressure on the top players knowing these you guns are hungry for their chance.

  159. Passenal:

    “A centre back would only be changed mid game in extremis if it was a competitive match. Kos did not have enough time to get into the pace of the game, which is probably why he missed that tackle. I think it was also a useful reminder to those who think Gibbs is ready to replace Clichy and that Eboue should play in preference to Sagna. Obviously, that is not the case.”

    Personally, I think Eboue should be our starting RB when we play the lower table sides who park the bus. Say what you will about him, but he gives the side an attacking edge which Sagna simply can not provide. He’s not too shabby as a defender either.

  160. G69, but can he score a long range left-footed goal like Sagna. 🙂

  161. I fully expect Sagna to contribute 10 – 15 goals a season after yesterday.
    Of course I understand Passenal’s point about the over reaction to the promise of youth, but we can still enjoy some remarkable performances and keep a sense of perspective.
    I mean Li’l Jacks volley from the corner that nearly broke the bar was remarkable.

  162. Oh and where the CB is concerned I think Kos was bought to be first choice and a squad player is all AW is in the market for. He stressed just for numbers didn’t he? So a MS type signing is all I expect.

  163. I think the point I was making about the defence is that both Gibbs and Eboue left the team badly exposed for the second Celtic goal. The good news is that Eboue was very upset at the end of the game – I saw several of his team mates trying to consol him. I hope he was upset with himself for neglecting his defensive duties. He was definitely not his usual happy go lucky self at the end of the game.

  164. why do you write in your title milan are pato poopers ?
    i don’t get it

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