Laurent Sees A Red Card and Marouane Paints It Chamakh

Liverpool 1 – 1 Arsenal

1 – 0 N’Gog (’46)
1 – 1 Reina o.g. (’90)

Arsenal began their 2010/11 Premier League campaign with a well-earned point at a packed Anfield yesterday, on what turned out to be a sunny Sunday afternoon on Merseyside.

The watching 44,722 were not disappointed as an evenly-contested curtain raiser for the two famous old clubs offered up a little bit of everything.

Arsenal debutants Laurent Koscielny and Marouane Chamakh were at the heart of the action; Koscielny coming through his baptism of fire with a red card and an egg-shaped lump on his shin, and Chamakh through his with the assist for a last-gasp equalizer in the 90th minute. These were the defining moments of an entertaining game.

With and without the ball Arsenal were impressive from the off, with a somewhat rag-tag midfield of Diaby, Nasri and league debutant Jack Wilshere turning over possession in the attacking third time and again. Winning the ball back quickly is vital in a system that relies on possession and Arsenal pressurized and isolated Liverpool players, forcing them into mistakes.

The travelling support were in fine voice. Resplendent in shiny new away shirts, they were full of vim and vigour as they belted out a long and poignant rendition of “We’ve got Cesc Fabregas!”, across the fields of Anfield Road.

At the back, Arsenal organised their high-line very well, repeatedly catching N’Gog and Kuyt offside. The passing was crisp and penetrative right through the side and at corners the team set themselves up well, each man utilized for their strengths. Eboue was employed as an athletic first-line of defence on the edge of the six-yard box; a distracting and agile presence for any corner-taker to avoid.

In the 46th minute of the first half Joe Cole slid right through Koscielny as he cleared down the touchline. Arsenal fans winced, cursed and bit their knuckles collectively as one of three precious first team central defenders was stretchered away and down the tunnel. Cole, out to impress his new fans, had completely mistimed what was intended to be a sliding block.  

The shades of grey between recklessness and malice have been too well-trodden by Arsenal fans in recent times, but suffice to say – this tackle had none of the latter about it. It was however no surprise at all to see the red card held aloft.

Television replays showed a flex in Koscielny’s lower-leg that made it difficult not to think back to Stoke last February – as well as bringing the fragility of Arsenal’s squad at the position of centreback – painfully into focus. It was a surprise to see Koscielny remerge after half-time then, and even more of a surprise to see him exit with a red card of his own 45 minutes later, after receiving a soft pair of yellows in quick succession.

Manuel Almunia, made captain for the day by Arsène Wenger and dressed in an ill-advised seaweed green, had a mixed, if conspicuous day. The couple of fine saves he did make will be overshadowed by his perceived lack of strength at the near post as he failed to deny N’Gog’s 46th minute opener just moments after the restart. In truth, far more culpability must be placed at the sheepish feet of Andrey Arshavin and Jack Wilshere who conspired as one to gift N’Gog free passageway through the right hand channel of the Arsenal penalty box, buy him a 1st class ticket to Goal Town, gift-wrap the ball for him and wave him off at the harbour with hankies. The Frenchman was heard to shout over his shoulder at the hapless pair, “Merci! Au revoir!” before duly going on to crash the ball high into the top corner of the net. It was a terrible goal to concede, concentration seemingly left malingering around in the dressing room.

In Almunia’s defence you would have to say that if the same shot had flown past Petr Čech or Júlio César then we would perhaps be talking about an unstoppable pile-driver instead of a weak near post. It is all grist for the mill though, to those who have already made up their minds about Almunia.

After a prolonged period of rallying pressure from the 10 men of Liverpool, driven on by a typically direct Gerrard, it took the introduction of Tomáš Rosický and Theo Walcott around the 60 minute mark to bring Arsenal back to life.

The Czech captain was instrumental; constantly probing forward he lifted the tempo of the entire team and had Arsenal looking for the first time like a side with a man advantage. With ten minutes to go the side in yellow were buzzing.

Exchanging a sharp 1-2 with the busy Chamakh on the edge of a crowded area, Rosický threaded himself inexplicably between three red shirts and unleashed a shot destined for the top corner. It was a moment of mesmerizing class from the one we like to call Mozart, and it deserved a goal.

Five minutes later and Arsenal finally did have their equalizer, courtesy in part to Pepe Reina. New-boy Marouane Chamakh struck the post from the latest in a series of whipped Rosický crosses – Reina reacted quickest, only to fumble his catch and spill the ball into his own net. It was an unfortunate clanger to befall the man who had kept his side ahead for so long, but not so unfortunate that it should befall the man who stuck a Barcelona shirt over Cesc Fabregas’ head the other week.

In an age where ball technology hands the advantage to the attacker we shouldn’t laugh too heartily at moments like these because they will be happening to all of us, with more and more frequency. Sadly, the days of the impassable custodian are over.   

Still, it allowed The Arsenal to march on out of Anfield with a point in the bank, a spring in our step and heads rightly held high after an enjoyable, heart-racing draw in the sunshine, which ended up, pleasantly, feeling much more like a win.

’til the next time.

Posted on August 16, 2010, in Arsenal. Bookmark the permalink. 214 Comments.

  1. Decent result. Played fairly well without being too threatening.

    Koscielny looks like he will be a good buy, but how worrying was it when he went off? We had no real options at all, hopefully Arsene felt the same. Almunia simply reminded us why we need a new keeper; now so much the goal as it was a good finish, but he flaps at a number of crosses.

    All in all a good point though.

  2. I felt Al played better in the 2nd half than in the first.. He seemed to be very nervous in the first half but slowly regained confidence. Maybe the solid back 4 helped..

    The understanding between Kos & Verm was good considering this was their first real outing.

    In all a good start even though a win would have been better. But still the team fought well and the season ahead looks to be good one..

  3. I’ve read too many reports laying into Alnunia for the goal as he’s an easy target. Reality is, Ngog finish was an absolute rocket from 8-10 yards and almost impossible to stop…anyone care to remember the Batistuta and Giggs goals vs Seaman? I was much more concerned with his dealing of crosses.

    All in all a decent result against an ordinary Liverpool side, and although we really should have beaten them, we didn’t create enough to merit the win.

  4. We should have beaten Liverpool, but I’m willing to bet most of us would have taken 1 point before kickoff.

  5. and Reina therefore also reminded Liverpool they need a new keeper right? seeing their world cup winner (no less) concede a goal

  6. I think this result is a good one, and is only being taken out of context by a few people because of our numerical advantage in the second half.

    Our defensive performance gave me assurance of a solid season to look forward to, although we need some back up, maybe as early as this week as next weekend Koscielny will be out suspended and Djourou may not be back.

    Almunia pulled off two great saves, one off Johnson which appeared to have goal written on it, and another off a free kick towards the end struck by Gerrard if I am not mistaken. For the goal it may be too harsh to lay the entire blame on him, Jack Wilshire’s mis-control, Vermaelen’s slight sluggishness in getting back and blocking the shot and the quality of Ngog’s shot played their due part. But as always, any goal conceded at the first post has an air of evitability about it, and Almunia’s appraisal is influenced by the same. But I found another moment which was cause for more alarm. In the first half he went for a ball from a corner and completely misjudged it, luckily it fell into a crowd of players and did not give anyone in a red shirt to have a quick sniff and bulge an unprotected net. And no, he was not crowded out or blocked, he plain misjudged it.

    But as Reina showed later on, even the so called “best” also make mistakes. I would be happy with a better alternative, but frankly don’t believe the names bandied around are exactly that.

    Other than that Rosicky provided enough evidence that he will be a force to reckon with this season. With Song, Cesc and RVP back in full flow, this will be an exciting and hopefully rewarding season.

  7. And yes, forgot to add one more point. Walcott’s display of direct set piece prowess provides evidence of work done in pre season while England’s best were licking their world cup wounds.

  8. phew, a decent and reasoned article. The team can be tweaked in the areas we all know…GK and a commanding centre half. However, considering that with seconds to go in normal time we were 1-0 down………phew.

    I though Koscielny had a great game. His speed, anticpation and heading were excellent. Dodgy 2nd yellow. At least he gets only a 1 game suspension and he can recover from the awful, late tackle by Joke Hole.

    We were rusty in an around the box. We didn;t have anybody making enough dangerous runs so that Nasri could make that killer pass. We played circumspectly but moved the ball nicely. It would have been a travesty had we lost . Yet again we showed character to come back at the death.

    The players need to remember to remain 100% focused when they return from half time……..seen this happen a few times , where we come out at half time and give up stupid goal.

    Several positives and not any negative negatives. A better Goalie would be nice though. One who commands his box. However, after seeing Reina’s mistake, you know all Goalies fuck up occasionally……some of our supporters should give Big Al a break.

  9. Blimey! A post by Limpar with absolutely no ‘colouful’ language.

    A report full of resonance with the sports reporting of my youth, and excellent with it.

    Custodians indeed.

  10. Almunia played well in general… he flapped at 1 cross, which was probably his only fault of the game. You cannot say its Almunia’s fault for ngog’s rocket shot, if anything I agree with YW, Arsh and Wilshire messing about at the edge of our own area gave them a cheap goal. That is something our style of play has sometimes lead to. Wilshire will be reminded quietly to be very cautious in them areas, I think he was trying to flick it towards another CM rather casually.

    Overall a good performance, a very nervy one though as I thought it would have been awful to lose the game which we dominated in terms of possesion and play.

    A point at Anfield, dominating the play, CB’s looked steady throughout. Set-pieces need a bit more work, but we dealt with everything, 11 v 11 you could say we were better!

    My annoyance was not taking the game to them beginning of the second half. A 10man team can prove hard to beat though, as we all know!

  11. a very nervy one* .. I mean from my point of view, as I was dreading a defeat but always thought we could score. If we scored earlier we would have won the game.

  12. I think the fact that the shot was taken by Ngog and not Torres also clouded a few judgments.

  13. Yogi,

    great read – what goes arout, comes around Pepe Reina – maybe next time he will think about his off-field antics involving our captain… couldn’t have happened to a nicer man!! Karma!!

    I’d have taken a 1-1 before KO, and when they went down to ten men i feared the worst, look how we raise our game when we go down to ten..

    For me the worse player on the pitch was Arshavin, overweighted & overrated 😉

  14. Yogi has cornered a lot of the limelight deserved by Limpar.

  15. http://bit.ly/bhqtdH

    A great article by Jonothan Wilson on why 11 men doesn’t always mean an advantage. It depends on who and in what position the sending off is.

  16. Plenty of positives to take from the first game of the season, especially Kos, thought he was excellent, when one on one with Torres I feared the worst but he showed how mobile and composed he is. Looks like Arsene has pulled another rabbit out of the hat.

    Always pleasing to see Theo play so well when he came on.

    Shava looked out of sorts, hopefully he can get some sharpness back soon.

    Whilst we were by far the better team, a point away to a rejuviated pool team is acceptable.

  17. Good post….nice to see someone writing about the Arse with a bit of common sense

  18. @soze, great spot on Walcott set piece. This was the second I’ve seen him taken, the other in preseason, and both were well struck and tested the keeper.

    As you said obviously worked on in the off season, he is able to put a lot on bend on the freekicks.

    It has obviously been noted by the boss and the team, because you can tell he is the designated kicker in these areas.

  19. All in all, OK, but I was not too happy with the first half of the second half, and especially Arshavin’s role. He does not ‘do defence’ really, and seems a little out of it.

    Wilshere performed admirably aside from that silly mistake – you don’t attempt to pass the ball diagonally back towards your penalty area, even if you are Fabregas. He’ll learn.

    Big Al did fine, and the goal was not a keeper’s mistake, but a fine, fine shot.

    What gives me heart is that the late equaliser is exactly the stuff of champions-to-be, when let’s face it, first match, a little short all round v. a solid defence marshalled by players who know.

    Fair result too, considering who was missing, not just the cream of Cesc, RvP, Song, but options of Bendtner, Djourou, Ramsey, Denilson and one might even say ‘Arshavin’.

  20. Does anyone else think Kos’s signature move appears to be trying to nip in front of the striker and intercept the ball. I’ve noticed him do it a lot, and its great when he pulls it off, but i worry if it were to go wrong, esp if striker start to anticipate it it could leave us open.

    Still it was a fantastic debut from him, away at Anfield with the crowd booing you for 45 mins. ridiculous sending off tho, what a poor decision by the ref, who seemed top be giving a fair amount of home calls, esp in the 2nd half, tbh was surprised he didn’t blow for a foul on Pepe when we scored.

    it’s a shame we didnt get all 3 points, but going a goal down vs 10 is not a easy as all that to break them down, Pool defended really well.

  21. A tough opening encounter is exactly what we need anyway. Good!

  22. Limpar- great article. Well written, balanced and reasoned.
    I had a seasons worth of emotions in 90 minutes yesterday. It is just why we follow football; purring through the first half as we made them look like the away side, bewildered despair at their goal followed by growing frustration and ending with rising expectation, belief and relief.
    A bit like shagging really.

  23. Arshavin’s boyfriend Pyles claims that he is being misused.
    Blames Wenger for not playing him behind the striker hence Arshavin is not motivated.

    Funny that he neglected to mention that the same Arshavin scored 4 playing in that position.

    It was 11 v 10 until the red card evened things up.

  24. Great writeup, LA.

    Those first ten minutes in the second half were extremely frustrating. Liverpool kept winning ridiculous free kicks down the right. I thought the ref was OK, but it was as if he’d had doubts about the sending off, and was making it up to them.

    I muted the TV as usual, but decided I couldn’t do without the expert analysis at half-time. I was less sanguine about the second 45 the moment Paul Merson wrote off Ngog.

    Defensively we were very solid, but you could see that we were missing some big players further forward, and really, the Cole red card only served to galvanize Liverpool. 1-1 isn’t bad – I suppose that fixture is probably one of the season’s toughest.

  25. And if there’s one player without whom a team can continue to function as a unit, it’s Joe Cole, isn’t it?

  26. I agree about the Walcott special – it’s a great option to have. And that’s two he’s hit with deadly accuracy now. The first was against Milan, wasn’t it?

  27. Al did ok.Bt he drop crosses he shld av easily picked in the air.Dats not ok.We shldnt blame him for d goal bt give credit to ngog.It was well struck.
    Wilshere for me shld be introduced gradualy into games like Ramsy. He was lost yest and sloppy due to his youth. Arshavin didnt cover himself with glory either. Made me rem a pre season game he was either given the ball away or bein easily taken off it.A more experience TR7 shld have startd ahead of him.He wud get there. The future is bright.
    Nasri startd well bt i feel smetimes he shld pass less and take a shot.Hardworkin but if there’s no cesc he wud need sme1 like TR7 to share the load with.Rosicky please take shots please.He has it in him.Kosc was welcum to the EPL & for me he pass with flyin colours.Very composed & calm.Welcum K6.Diaby average.He’s nt meant for DM.Mayb i’m wrong but we can see a beta diaby up up front field.In all its the 1st game against a new liv’pool side who have a point to make with a new manager.But one thing that i luv yest is We got down dirty & grity.

  28. You know, I can’t help but imagine what kind of reception would Almunia have gotten if he was the conceded the goal that Reina did. That shows that no one is perfect and it would be good if people would just leave him alone.

    He made decent saves and he is a great keeper once his confident level is high.

  29. I was really intrigued to see what Walcott would produce running down the left on a few occasions. The one occasion he tried bending it top corner after a nice Rosicky pass, I thought he was going to pull off a Henry/Bergkamp special…!!

    There was another he got to the byline and put in a nice chip cross to the back post. I hope we see a bit more of Theo used all along the front line, and Vela too down the left when Arsh is having a bad game.

  30. The ShirtPrank Redemption

  31. By the way, is Nordveit injured? I am a little surprised he did not make the bench with Djourou out.

  32. The Shirt Prank Redemption

  33. Actually Wilshere’s performance reminded me a bit of Ramsey in 08-09; he didn’t seem to know what his teammates expected of him. It’s probably nothing that a little time won’t fix.

  34. Pro III

    I dont know how anyone can pick Diaby out for criticism… he didn’t put a foot wrong the whole game, and was everywhere. I thought the defence was never really under severe pressure, and the midfielders in front done well to protect them.

    I was too surprised about the Wilshire start, I thought Frimpong had more chance starting as a DM. But he did no way look ‘lost’ like you say.

    He was very calm on the ball, played some nice passes, and took the game to Liverpool tryng to burst into their final 3rd a few times. We have a real player on our hands. The one thing that he must control, is his tendancy to dive in recklessly, on another day he may have been sent off for that challenge on Mascharano I believe.

  35. Other than the mistake we all know of, did Wilshere play too badly? I thought he played the Denilson role in our usual Song, Denilson, Cesc midfield, which proabably means that he was not expected to do anything too flashy. And that he did, I don’t remember too many mispasses from him in midfield.

  36. Limpar – Great report. You are not merely a polemic. Three days in succession we have proof why ACLF is the one of the best Arsenal blogs; it is the quality of the contributors. Darius, Consols and now Limpar; I tip my hat (actually my dreads) to you and of course to Yogi.

    Unto the prophets of doom. Obviously those who have foolishly committed themselves to the view that Almunia is not good enough for Arsenal cannot easily admit they have been wrong. One sensational monger, Lady Arse blog, went so far as to say Al ducked at Ngog’s shot. But can’t they simply admit that Al saved us two points yesterday especially the finger tip saves from Gerrards last minute free-kick.

    Finally, why do Arsenal bloggers feel they must lecture to Arsene Wenger about the need for another central defender. AW has said he is in the market but getting the right player at the right price. Maybe you think it makes you look smart and gets all the gloom and doom crowd to moan and whinge on your blog. But it it is a cheap and unseemly way to get hits. ‘Holic I am looking straight at you.

  37. Fuck off Alan Hansan.

  38. Good write up LA. Impressed by how you know how to get out all those foreign language characters.

  39. Yes Muppet, I thought that too. I will be copying and pasting from this page myself!

  40. Yeah but he missed the à in Fàbregas. 😉

    I can’t believe someone is call for Rosiský to shoot more.

    Rosický’s introduction changed the team from blunt to penetrative. He was our most direct player and most of the pressure applied to the end of the game was through him.

  41. I don’t understand how nasri is higher in the pecking order compared to rosický.nasri is a neat player who doesn’t take risks but when mozart came on you could see how direct he was.our attacking unit lacked the guile and directness of rvp and cesc.we are also in dear need of a dribbler to open up teams since AA isn’t cutting it now.rosicky can do it but not from wide areas.

  42. Flint McCullough

    Typical entertaining & accurate report there, YW, thanks.

    My take was that apart from the opening 20mins of the 2nd half we were more or less in charge of the game. The fault that we really have to shake off is the lack of concentration evidenced after the break yesterday.

    It is disingenuous not to credit Ngog with an excellent bit of play to score their goal with a great strike, that I would guess more ‘keepers would have let in than saved. If it were our goal scored by RVP we would be applauding his brilliance. I think Ngog could become quite a player for L’pool.

    Having said that Almunia didn’t look the ‘keeper of 2 seasons ago & if he cannot recapture that his days are numbered.

    I have seen that young Jack has been getting some criticism but I thought he had an outstanding 1st half debut, losing his confidence and energy after the goal, the main culpability for which was shared by him & AA.

    Overall not a great game, some positives & negatives but certainly a satisfactory result in the great scheme of things.

  43. Diaby’s defensive outing gave me hope that he can fulfill the role denilson takes up since he and song may actually form a platform for our attacks.when teams park the bus diaby can make llegada runs from deep which can be hard to track and he is also a very difficult player to brush off the ball.AA though needs to step up if he wants to get more responsibility in the team.he exposes clichy alot hanging him out dry.when rosicky played with clichy he was the best lb in the league so despite what myles says AA should stop living off past glories.

  44. Nice write up Limpar, well done. As with all ACLF writers, it’s great to read an accurate, non sensationalist report.

    Unlike the total and utter, page filling bollocks produced by Kevin Garside in the Telegraph.

  45. Flint McCullough

    Sorry Limpar, I had not noticed that it was your article & not YWs, which is even more credit to your good self.

  46. Thanks LA/YW!

    A fun start to the season, fortunately no bad injuries, although I’m sure the ice bucket and liniment were high in demand after the game.

    I read reports that AA was playing with a ‘knock’. On another day, if the game wasn’t being chased, probably he’d have come off for a rest, instead of Diaby?

    I did not mean to sound critical of Nasri if anyone thought so when I described him as Rosický’s (:)) apprentice.
    For me, TR7 is up there with the best, the (Little) Mozart, or Master. And I hope and think that Nasri, who I guess is still developing (23?), will one day be as good. All players seem to improve at Arsenal under the current coaching regime.
    The metamorphosis in the confidence of the Romford Pele, is my favourite example.

    David Pleat, retired-Sp*d picker, on Nasri:

    “There was a masterclass on show at Anfield of how to play the central role behind a lone striker, but it was not delivered by the England midfielder.”

  47. Thanks for the write up, couldn’t see the game due to family visiting but managed to scrap some minutes here and there on Radio 5 live. I got the impression from them that a) arsenal was very poor and b) Chamakh was useless. Glad to read here that this wasn’t the case. Oh, well, after the embarrassing performance of the BBC punters at the world cup, I don’t hold much hope of getting any knowledgeable football reporting out of the BBC.

  48. Nice post Limpar.

    Wenger comments about the goal reflect my biggest positive about the game

    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/wenger-brave-chamakh-showed-his-worth

  49. @chris goona- i tink u shld ease up a bit and read carefuly before you attack. I said he{diaby} would do more damage upfront which we all know but was restricted due to those playing ahead of him and injuries. Did i particularly mentioned a particular thing he did. No. Did i blame him for the goal? So what particularly is the problem. No. The only thing that makes me vex is when he has turn a player inside out on the same spot only for him to cum bck at the same spot. Which he did yest. If i were to pick a player to play behind a striker i would pick him over arshavin. I dont know where you got you venom from.

  50. Hello all,

    great to be back from the summer hiatus. I was like a school boy on christmas yesterday morning.

    I thought the Kos was amazing, rarely did he look out of position and he and TV seem to be developing the foundation for a solid partnership.

    Thought Arsha looked out of it, although to me it didnt seem to be excessive casualness that we’ve all criticized him for before.

    Boy did RvP look good in that #10 shirt…

  51. or should I have said “boxing day”?

    you brits ill tell ya

  52. CHRIS GONNA

    Please ease up. When i mention diaby did i mention a particular thing he did? Mistime pass? Late takle? For me song+denilson+frimp are for dat DM. Bcos of injuries players likely fill in other roles. When diaby plays DM i just feels he’s to restricted. Everyone knows he can do more damage upfront. With liv’pool down to 10 men he can open up spaces with his dribbles.

    I called for TR7 to shoot more. Its not as if he cant. {i cant forget a champions league volley he scored}Arshavin can. Tr7 can. VP can. Verm can. Denilson is also in the mix. Before the save by reina he has space to shoot and everyone was waiting for a pass which the opposition closed down. Have we forgoten the 2nd game last season againt bolton when we’re 2 goals down…. that angled shot? Am not asking for someting extra ordinary.

  53. I’d have took a point. So i’m ok with it. There was a bit of aprehension is pushing too much forward it seemed to me. Second half was just slogging it out with a totally defensive team. Rosicky looked great when he came on. I think if we can get a team with Nasri and Rosicky both starting then we’ll be laughing this season. Sorry to say i’d take that over Arshavin.

    Was nice to see Theo with the responsibility of free kicks. I think Wenger is going to push him over the line into star status. Almunia was fine also.

    Kos and Cham both had difficult starts that in the long run will be beneficial.

    COYG!!

  54. Pls who can tell me what Chelsea played?

  55. Great match report and reflections Limpar…very enjoyable to read.

    Maybe we should ask Mrs. YW to keep YW’s embargo on his laptop for longer….LOL!

    The biggest positives for me yesterday was the patience that the team displayed. As much as many might complain that we weren’t penetrative, it’s hard to play against 2 banks of 4 at Anfield and we needed to show patience more than anything. Going gun-ho was not the answer and the patience paid off.

    The other positive was Mr. Koscielny. He was a class act yesterday.

    I laughed at the comments from Liverpool players when he came back onto the pitch after the break. I think Gerard and Carragher were a bit miffed that if Koscielny awas O to o continue playing – how come Joey Cole got sent off. Surely, only broken legs deserve red cards?

  56. Boxing Day is the day after Christmas Day, NJGooner. We open our presents on Christmas Day.

    You yanks, eh?

  57. Regarding Wilshere I think he seems to have lost his trait of trying to hard and doing to much to impress. Looked comfortable as CG said. Didn’t have a very effective game. But looked more comfortable, he’s definately a better player now from having a bit of game time under his belt

  58. Pro 3

    Diaby average

    I think many on here will tell you he had a very good game, where he dominated a Liverpool midfield that had Mascharano, Gerrard, and Cole.. 3 amazingly great players if you listen to a pundit.

    Yes, he can be dangerous going forward, but anybody who has seen Diaby at his best knows he is amazing coming from deep.. winning a challenge in his own half anf striding past 4 players to tee it off for someone in the final 3rd.

    He will be a valuable part of our midfield 3 this season, what makes him more valuable is he can play in a deeper or more advanced role.

  59. ProIII,

    I too, believe Diaby to be shit. We are brothers.

    Koscielny’s handball was a disgrace, he practically caught the ball, done some basketball tricks, eg, spinning the ball on his index finger, then tried to slam dunk it into the Liverpool players mouth.

    For me, it was a stone wall booking.

  60. Im only joking, was pretty harsh, for a game that wasnt dirty at all, having two players sent off was ridiculous

  61. 18 Circular Road,Presidential Estate,Portharcourt,River State Tel/Fax 084- 239611,08033097148

  62. ENCOURAGING SIGNS.

    Well I thought it was a decent day at the office. Apart from the obvious old problems, there were positives yesterday. The team looked more calm despite the match not being the usual blood and thunder anfield affair.

    OBSERVATIONS:

    1. Koscielny is good: I thought he was our best defender on the night. the quality most evident with him is his alertness and positional awareness, he never switched off like the others. He will improve the team but we do need another one because he is NOT the answer to our problem with aerial balls.

    2. Wilshere not ready: the lad needs another 6 months at bolton I reckon. He has what it takes but with cesc around he will need more game time.

    3. Almunia, still best bet: He had a very poor game in my opinion, but then this is the limit of his ability. he is still BETTER than flapianski though and that tells you all you need to know about our GK situation.

    4. Clichy problem: His old defects coming to the fore, played like a headless chicken, caught out of position too many times stretching our back line. I hope gibbs gets a chance soon. THe way gael rushed into headers around the centre circle and lost the duel leaving the left side exposed many a time was amateurish to say the least. His pace gets him out of trouble but a more defensively adept LB would do me.

    5. More desire needed: It was a rusty performance from the lads. I am not complaining about the quality, but the desire dropped frequently during the match and I would like to see more urgency while the games start to slip away from us.

    6. Good chamakh: He had a quiet game but is awkward and uncomfortable, thats tasty news.

    We still have time before the window, I saw some good signs yesterday, lets hope arsene get the right signings. Do that and we are in with a shout at the title.

    Cheers all!

  63. I think Wenger is going to push him over the line into star status.

    Couldn’t agree more els.

    How has your mood changed from before till after the game, you feel more positive ?

    I don’t know what quite to make of it yet personally, I was pretty optimistic before the game, and during the 1st half. We dominated play, let them have very few openings, but we didn’t do much either going forward. I was always sure we would score, even with us not creating much and the minutes running out, but I was very anxious on the prospect of losing the opening game. Wouldn’t be a nice way to start the season, despite it being a very tough 1st game.

    I am sure Liverpool won’t do as bad people thought they would, but I don’t think their fans should get too carried away either. They have a strong defence, and a hard team to break down, I just don’t feel they have quite enough in attack and on the bench to finish in the top 4 by the end of the season.

    Going back to Arsenal, Koscielny on the floor potentially having some real damage done really worried me. The fact that Nordveit wasn’t on the bench really means we must get a CB in fast, this is something every Arsenal fan can agree on.

    In attack we will come to life with Cesc and RvP getting into the action, Robin almost had immediate affects laying off a few very clever through balls. Rosicky looks sharp too, and Wilshire will be great to use off the bench. Defensively I won’t go as far as saying we are as good as Chelsea etc.. but it was quite a good defensive display from our lads. We looked solid overall and controlled a difficult game for most parts when it was 11 v 11.

  64. He flapped at 2 crosses…. 1st he did his superman impression and 2nd he took out one of our defenders head as the shot then went over luckily.

    Good shot stopper, poor command in the air, yes good saves and that Ngog shot was a rocket, we’ll never know if another keeper would have saved it, I know the 2 near post goals in the champ league final another keeper would have saved them.

    Almunia is fine enough and better than most but lets not delude ourselves that he isn’t technically flawed (as most keepers are in one way or other), his near post positioning is poor and always have been. Thats not a call to sell him or get someone else it’s just the way it is.

    We did fine first game in, some fitness issues, some complacency but overall a good performance given the size of the game for an opener.

    We should do well this season!

  65. It seems to me some people have made up their minds about Al and no matter what he does this season its a no win situation for him; he saves a shot and they call it routine, he gives one away and he his crap, the team defends badly and its him giving them the jitters… What about admitting he is a very decent keeper and Schwarszer is not better than him? Given is just another shot stopper and has always struggled with crosses the amount of goals citeh conceded last season adds credence to this fact. Btw if he was really that good, how come he is being displaced by a rookie?

  66. Two thoughts:

    Starting a teenager in CM away at Anfield (rather than, say, at home against a midtable with both Cesc and Song) was completely insane. Possibly the worst decision I’ve seen Wenger make, especially when he was more on the left and thus was paired with the defense-free Arshavin.

    Chamakh can WILL goals in. He has the physicality and mentality for it. Bentdner with better feet and speed. I look forward to that match where we put the two of them up front and just loft ball after ball in.

  67. Sorry els, sort of drifted off topic..

    Was meant to touch on Theo, and how he will be pushed further by Wenger to produce more. As much as everyone loves writing the guy off for all types of reasons, he is very talented. Maybe not so much with the ball with his general game play, but his quickness, dribbling, shooting, and running off the ball. Then you have his crossing which has improved a lot, and we have also seen a few very good free kicks from him. He gets a lot of bend on the ball like someone else said, and I think that is another technique he has in his locker that he can use with his shooting not only from set-pieces. On the left Henry was the master of cutting onto his right and curling it into the far corner. Theo can be very dangerous if we try him out on the left, switching over with Arshavin during the game.

    What do you think?

  68. nolagunnder

    Wilshire had a pretty good game against Liverpool. How you can call it Wenger’s worst decision is down to you have probably the worst judgement. Wilshire took the game to Liverpool, passed well, made a several good challenges, and never looked out of his league. He will be amazing if given the match time. You know that, so does every other Arsenal supporter. Are you just using it as an excuse to jump on Wenger’s back perhaps..?? Awww your still annoyed he signed a new contract 🙂

    Only 1 Arsene Wenger!!

  69. I do not feel that Almunia can be blamed for the goal. It was clear that Ngog hit the ball very hard and it swept past him before he had time to react.

    Refereeing inconsistancy was clearly shown yesterday, when Ngog was not booked for deliberately handballing, whilst Kos was booked and sent off when the ball hit his hand.

    The same applies for Gerrard’s stamp on, I think, Eboue’s foot. Whilst he then booked Wilshire for less.

    It seems that Gerrard, like Shearer years ago, can do what he likes and get away with things that other players will be punished for.

    It is disappointing to see their reluctance to shoot from outside the box. It is a problem that we have seen over the years and still has not been addressed.

    Finally, I wonder how Liverpool fans feel about their team spending an entire game, at home, defending, only looking for a break-away gaol.

    Even allowing for the imbalance of numbers in the 2nd half, we had a greater majority of possession throughout the 1st half, and they were the home team.

    It seemd to me that it was deliberate. I was expecting them to, at the very least, have a go at us from the whistle, but they seemed happy to let us control the ball the whole game.

  70. jjgsol

    Its why you gotta love Arsenal, even a Pool fan sitting next to me had nothing but respect, where for the majority Liverpool games last season he couldn’t bare to watch the screen it was that bad. He turned and asked me if I was happy about Wenger signing a contract, it made me laugh, then he said how he knows quite a few Arsenal fans who ain’t. Which he was quite bemused about as most fans outside our club would kill to have Wenger in charge!

    Our fans have really got to grow up, many look like complete twats to the footballing world.

  71. Limpar:

    Great job. I did not know how multitalented you really are.

    I said before the match that if we got a draw and playerd reasonably well on the defensive end I would be happy. So I am happy. In the context of a 38 game season a point at Anfield is a good result especially when we did not have Cesc, Song and RVP. Conceding only 1 and staying reasonably well organized through the match is encouraging.

    Chavs looked very good. They took their foot off the gas last year when they got ahead and it did not hurt them. However, no team can do that continually and not eventually get burned. Hopefully this will be the year that complacency sets in. Mancs play today but expect them to have renewed urgency after last year. Spuds looked good but Joe Hart was a great in goal. Liverpool does not look strong enough for a title challenge. Man City looked poor but they will take time to gel. Villa looked good but they always fade. Spuds, City and Liverpool fight for 4th.

    3 team race for the title. If we defend well for 38 games we can come out on top. We need to hammer Blackpool and keep a clean sheet next weekend.

  72. Actual football on the field seems to have driven away the doomers. The summer brings out the worst in them.

  73. CG

    I know what you mean, you get caught up in pre season. Everyone looks immense and you absolutely know it in your bones that you can hammer anyone.

    Then when the season starts, the real world kicks in. The best thing that can possibly said is that, we absolutely know his team will create and score goals. Yesterday was a struggle due to certain things though. But the defence that has previously been as you know less than perfect. Was tight for most of the game.

    It was a good game to get out of the way and a point isn’t bad. We would have almost been better if they kept cole on the pitch. They pretty much concentrated on defence from then on.

    There were plenty of positives and Kos was a major one. Cham despite not getting much luck worked his arse off, and it’s just a matter of time for him. If he’s getting Fab and RvP service he’ll be in double figures.

    Let’s hope that Kos’s cole clash was a blessing in disguise. Nasro spoke last week of the effect Barton had on him. Maybe Kos will see what people meen about the prem being tough and kick some ass. He looks composed, but i’m not sure he’s as tough or as physical as Vermo.

    I’m still excited and there’s plenty of positives to take from the game. Maybe some negatives, but if I’ve noticed them, then so has Arsene and they’ll be sorted in time.

  74. Bill

    I will take a win in any shape or form. Blackpool are an unknown outfit, like Liverpool under a new manager being the opening game of the season. Winning 4-0 at Wigan also means we can’t take them lightly.

    Obviously we should win most games at home, especially against the promoted teams. But it does not mean it will be an easy game.

  75. Chris:

    Agreed I will always take a win. No such thing as an easy game. Nonetheless we should have Cesc and RVP back. We should be the ones fired up for our home opener. No CL game in midweek to tire us. It would be great to see a really well played game on both ends to get our confidence up. First 1/2 of the season has most of the fixtures that really look tough for us so its time to put our foot on the gas and bring a little MO JO to the Emirates.

  76. Ahhh consols I see. My silly yank brain told me that you lot opened presents on boxing day. Well than I guess my statement makes sense! Whew!

    Sooooo the question most pressing on my mind is will djourou be fit for saturday

    btw limpar didn’t realize that was your post. Top notch.

  77. els

    Yea I think we have brought in 2 very good players. Koscielny may not be as tough as Vermaelen, but he is a great reader of the game, great in the air, and never really got caught out of position during the 90mins. Well apart from when a fresh Torres tried taking him on, but he showed his pace and made a good challenge.

    Chamakh played very well, got everyone involved in the play, and we remained very advanced positionally by pinning Liverpool right back in their half for much of the game. It has its draw backs, as we never really had anyone to get behind the defence, but this could well be down to Liverpool playing quite deep.

    Diaby was excellent for me, along with Kosc and Cham are my top 3 for the game.

  78. No worries it was all good stuff.

    Regarding theo, he’ll come good. It’s really good to see him getting more responsibility. I think his troubles are mainly psychological.

    He’ll start changing opinions soon.

  79. When are people going to shed the groupthink that we need to shoot more form outside the box.

    you’d think we never score from that distance when the fact is we scored the most from outside the box.

    It’s just the same with set pieces when Chelsea with all the 6-5 brutes let in more than us.

    Get the facts right not everything you hear from pundits is true.

  80. Bill

    Fair point, yeah I too hope we stick a few in and gain a bit of momentum for the following fixtures. I think we have Blackburn away after, so that will prove difficult. Its important for us to remain solid as a team this season, the first signs (90 mins versus Liverpool) are good.

  81. steww on August 16, 2010
    at 11:13 am

    Ill amen to that.

  82. wengerball

    I know, I hate it when fans say that. Denilson, Rosicky, Cesc, Robin, Nasri, Arsh, Verm.. proved them wrong on a number of occasions last season.

    We have quite a few who have excellent shooting abilities. I am sure we will see more this season. With Chamakh and Bendtner knocking a few long balls down to advancing midfielders as well we have a lot more to our attack than some may think.

  83. Not sure anyone else noticed this but last season when nasri was in the “fabregas” role, it’s not that he was playing to high up the pitch, but he wasn’t dropping back to demand the ball like fabregas does so well, eager to control the flow in the final 3rd. AW or someone has taken notice bc in preseason and yesterday he was playing more a la fabregas.

    Good… Very good (strokes white cat while in armchair)

  84. Good game yesterday collectively as a team, but individually was impressed by koscielny on his debut, rosicky, nasri and wilshere, though almunia made some saves, he still looked shaky in goal during set pieces, for chamakh, got into the game late on i guess needs time to adapt to the physicality and environment of the premier league.

    All in all good result at anfield and looking forward to next weeks premier league encounter with blackpool. May be, should be up a gear by then.

  85. Fair result. We didn’t do too badly, considering its only the first game of the season, away at Anfield, with VP, Cesc and Song not in the line-up, yada yada yada.

    Have to say I was surprised Wenger started Wilshere. What happened to slowly ‘blooding’ the youth? He’s great player but is too inexperienced to start such a game. Not a bad performance from him though considering.

    Clichy was poor I thought. Arsharvin hardly gave him adequate cover, but thats no excuse for mistiming interceptions/tackles, and being skinned so often.

    Arshavin had a game to forget. I can’t recall him doing anything telling. He should have been subbed instead of Eboue.

    Almunia didn’t do himself any favours by that performance. He definitely was not at fault for the goal but he flapped at 2 or 3 crosses and that’s one too many flaps. Not one of his better games at all, considering we were hardly under threat by liverpool.

    Our CBs were good I thought. Kos is really looking the bizness!

    All in all, I expect more from most of our boys, particularly, Nasri, Clichy, Arshavin and Almunia. There’s not doubt they can do better than what I saw yesterday and that is enough reason for hope that this season has promise.

  86. I was also surprised by how few chances we create, i.e. before Mozart and theo came on. The first half in particular were we had so much posession translated into so few chances. Given our attacking form in preseason, that came as a bit of a surprise. Its not like Liverpool were ultra defensive in the first half. They only started packing the bus after the red card

    Rosicky was very impressive when he came on. Theo too. Caused them all sort of problems. That goal attempt by Rosicky did deserve a goal like Limpar said in his post. It was a breathtaking move.

  87. Looking back, I was probably a little harsh on Almunia yesterday, it was a good strike to be fair.

    Although he didn’t look too confident when dealing with crosses, so maybe we can still improve in that position.

    One thing that has irritated me today is when pundits try to justify the Joe Cole tackle by saying that because he didn’t do any real damage, it didn’t justify a red.

    Since when has the resultant injury caused by a bad tackle have anything to do with the punishment?

    A reckless and dangerous tackle is exactly that, irrespective of the damage caused, and should be punished accordingly – in this case – a red card.

    A tackle, or foul, should be judged on just that alone, not the damage done, or the fact that someone ‘isn’t that type of player’.

    Back to the game – I think it could turn out to be a very good point.

    Liverpool will only get better with Torres returning to fitness, and Hodgson’s organisation, so quite glad to get that fixture out of the way.

    Koscielny was the stand out player for me, and Nasri.

  88. SomeRandomGunner

    I would tell that starting Wilshere is a big big mistake. Our midfield was not creative enough. Wilshere is 18 and a bit naive and bit more attacking than required for the “Denilson” role. He did a back heal in the first half it almost lead to the goal, and in the second half for the goal. But i think he would have gained invaluable experience should be a better player in next game.

    Koscielny is looking to be another signing of the season. He is already looking better than Vermalen to me. His recovery speed is just too good, once in first half he or somebody else made a mistake and he recovered much faster than defender i have seen. He also covers Vermalen’s back and does not do those forward runs. All in all he was my favorite player yesterday.

    Walcott’s Free kick was fabulous .

    I always have the feeling Rosicky makes our play faster by 120-125% , if there are 3 Rosicky’s it is impossible to defend against them 😀 .

    Cannot wait to see RVP start in the middle with Rosicky behind him.

    I was very confident of our defense after 15 mins. Very organized defense , Diaby was saving the defense well. I just want Rosicky ahead of Wilsheres of the world , no offense to Wilshere.

  89. Almunia probably not really at fault for the goal. When someone hits one that hard from that close you just have to hope it hits the GK because there is not time for reaction.

    Everything that can be said about our GK situation has been said about 10,000 times. I doubt that yesterday changed the minds of those on either side of the argument. 2 weeks left in the window.

  90. Strangely quiet on here today?

    What does that mean?

  91. Els, probably mean the people without Sky are keeping schtum..!!

    Regarding the Blackpool game who do people think will come in for Koss..?

  92. Delia-----Block 112

    Nice to read an almost unanimous collection of positive posts. Rosicky was great ,along side Nasri and Kos ,who I thought gave us all hope that the Defence will hold up better this Season.
    We still need CB reinforcements but am still confident that will be addressed before the deadline.
    Our little Russian friend was not at the races yet again but had been to St Petersburg in the heat on Weds so perhaps there may have been some excuse for his lack of effort.
    I hear Cesc picked up a chest infection on his travels , everything crossed that he makes it for Saturday, I’m looking forward to giving him a warm welcome back to the fold.
    All in all a positive start to the campaign with better things to come.
    COYR’s

  93. naga gunner nobody wants to read your ”observations”

  94. Off sky sports…
    http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11670_6315416,00.html

    Wenger has several promising young goalkeepers in his squad already, including 25-year-old Łukasz Fabiański, 22-year-old Vito Mannone and 20-year-old Wojciech Szczęsny.

    But Robson says Almunia is still the best of the bunch.

    “I think Arsenal can win the Premier League with Almunia in goal,” Robson continued.

    Nice article good to read.

  95. Again, again and again.. Keep almost possession but no end product and calamitous goalkeeping. When the phrase “same old Arsenal” will end? We will not win anything with double flop Almunia and Fabianski in the team.

  96. Supercod I think it could be a good fixture for Nord as long as he’s fit.

  97. supercod, probably song if he is fit..otherwise…urrm nortdveit??! i dont expect us to be doing much defending anyway (hope)

  98. I dont understand why there is such a shock Cole got a red card while Kos red card is totally ok.

  99. Dont forget that goalkeepers usually reach their best at 35, van der sar was at hisbest at 38 or 39, and almunia is only 32. Fabianski is 25 so thats for improvement a hell of a long time.

  100. Every one attacking Almunia but I don’t hear any one attacking Arshavin for the abysmal display yesterday? He was almost non-existent and we were playing 10 against 10 for most of the game.

    I can understand Eboue being upset when he got subbed, I would have taken Arshavin of and throw Eboue in his place.

    If we can give Arshavin the benefit if the doubt for this performance as the first game of the season, we should give the same benefit to Almunia.

    All in all a good result at Anfield and a difficult game out of the way early on, what’s more important is the next 5 or so league games.

  101. Thanks for all the kind comments about my write-up.

    Strange how Nasri’s performance seems to have divided opinion. I thought he was great. Don’t forget that he was up against a fresh 1st half Liverpool, whereas Rosicky’s dominant display came against tired legs. I would’ve loved to have seen where that volley was headed before it was blocked. He absolutely leathered that.

    I didn’t have time to mention it this morning but RVP’s cameo at the end is a massive fillip for all of Arsenalkind. The team looked like someone had plugged them into the mains as soon as he was on corners, knowing that they’re seconds away from a deadly delivery.

    With RVP and Rosicky crossing the ball like that, Chamakh, Kos, Vermaelen, Bendtner and Diaby are going to be quids in I reckon.

  102. Great write up LA as is the usual on ACLF.

    Really great stuff over the past few days.

    I thought the title was going to be “its a reina night in anfield” or something like that.

    els, dont worry, it will get very crowded around here “if” we lose.

    I am very excited about this season. When this team clicks, its going to be nuff problems for the rest of the PL.

    http://www.espn.co.uk/football/sport/story/39655.html?CMP=OTC-RSS

    I am wooried about Almunia, reading this article it seems as if he has lost confidence. Its been a whole offseason and it still seems as if he is still bothered. I am sure it cannot be easy to hear you own fans blast you at every opportunity. I am convinced that this is his problem and not a lack of talent!

    Blessings!

  103. Chamakh had a terrible game, until he forced Reina into that blunder. But It was his first game in the epl and against a big team at that and away! Anfield can be intimidating. Wenger made excuses for Arshavin but at this rate his days maybe numbered. Saw glimpses of TH in Walcott. This could be his season. Wilshere will probably curse the Ngog goal. But on track to being a big star. No need to go on loan, should be given a target of 20+ matches. I’m also glad we kept Cesc, we really missed him.

  104. I am sure we are in for a keeper in the market, otherwise wenger wouldn’t think twice about anouncing Al as our permanent no 1..

  105. I just watched the game again. Koscielny has raised the bar. His long passing is superb. As classy as any centre back I’ve seen at the Arsenal. Maybe even the best. This was perhaps why Joe Cole was so desperate to stop him distributing the ball.

  106. KenGun, why do you claim it is more that what Wenger stated?

  107. regarding Arshavin that is?

  108. I agree about Kos, Ole. He was very impressive He will have learnt a thig or two about English referrees too.

  109. Kos was that impressive huh? I didnt get to watch the game but I am glad to hear that he is the real deal.

    Our signings willbe the two best of the season.

    Arsene does it again and again!

  110. Paulie Walnuts

    I think it`s obvious that the media are looking to pin every goal we concede as a goalkeeping error. Almunia may have saved Wash`s shot yesterday but it was struck with some power so I wouldn`t call it an error at all.

    Arshavin certainly needs to up his game. He looked like he was playing for a transfer yesterday. Nobody should be undroppable.

    Finally, great to see RVP back. His little touch to TR7 which almost led to an equaliser was fantastic.

  111. Ole. I agree about Koscielny’s long passes.

    I was watching the youths last season and Bartley seems to also have that ability.

  112. Els at 5:12 pm – Robson’s SkySports piece on Almunia should be required reading for all supporters. Of course it will never satisfy the hysterical anti-Almunia crowd who are a dime-a-dozen on the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal blogs. (Just scan NewsNow for them.) Robson isn’t the only one who’s said it. Jens Lehman, who Al displaced, was very affirmative in his support for M.A.

    It is not that past goalies haven’t f*cked up over 90 minutes. Today the coverage is more incessant and the hysteria is encouraged by the sensationalist media plundits. Five years ago I could at best get two or three games per weekend. Between the highlights and the media covering up for their favorites you would believe goalies were perfection. Just this weekend Howard, Green and Kirland made comedic errors that led to goals, Kirkland in particular. Does that men they are all bad GKs?

    Frankly M.A. is my No. 1 and Scarlet I don’t give a damn!

  113. Paul N, I feel that Arshavin hasn’t met his potential. Remember when he scored his first goal for us – it was against Blackburn – that was pure class. I can remember that game as if it was yesterday. He has never reached those heights again. What pains me is that I know “it’s” in him but he can’t deliver. And it’s not the first time I’ve suggested as much.

  114. He’s my No.1 too shotta but i do think he has a problem now, wether or not the media and some ‘fans’ have created it.

    GWTW. Great film.

  115. Paulie, so you dont believe Arshavin wasnt physically ready as Wenger suggested?

    I am just trying to get an understanding as to why people think he just didnt care.

  116. whether, doh.

  117. Nordveit does too dupsffokcuf

    Excellent post Limpar – I am stunned by the quality of all the substitutes. Yogi better watch his back!

    It’s so nice to see a bit of positivity for a change. Els, the place would be overcrowded had we lost that game so just thank goodness it’s quiet!

    Poor Almunia can do no right. People who know what they are talking about think he is a good goal keeper. It seems to be the usual moaning Arsenal blogs who are stirring the pot to the point where his every move is under the microscope. I just hope we don’t live to regret this concerted attempt to undermine the confidence of a key player.

  118. Honestly, Silvestre aside, has Wenger made ANY bad signing in the past couple of years? Vermaelen, Nasri, Kos all seem like top buys. Arshavin can be word class..when he wants to.

    As for the Arsh criticism: he at least started to track back on ocassion. Once followed Johnson all the way to our box. He is slowly starting to improve.

    Big Al flapped at one cross, but looked fine otherwise. Still think he is our best bet. Can not see a keeper that would be a massive improvement around on the market.

    Verm and Kos look like a “top, top class” defence pairing. No irony intended. Complement each other very well. However Verm still did his occasional gung-ho run. Remember that he went away from the player he had to mark which forced Kos to drop into the gap — leaving one guy unmarked in our box. However it didnt have any kind of consequence.

    Clichy seemed a bit off. Did well going forward but he should have done better against Ngog and Johnson. However, I guess it was just one of those days for him and he will be back to form soon.

    Sagna alright.

    Diaby did well as DM. Very good defensively, his attacking runs were great at times. I still remember one run of his where he made Mascherano fall flat on his face several times in a row. Diabys performance is proof enough that we have more than enough to cover possible injuries to Song.

    Wilshere had a good debut.

  119. However KenGun, this is a new season and based on the one match you have formed an opinion for the season.

    For me, new season, new lease. If he looks the same after a few matches then I will form an opinion.

  120. Great post Limpar, I actually didn’t realize it wasn’t YW who wrote this one 🙂

  121. Kenyan Gunner, Arshavin was injured – he had a thigh problem and his participation in the Russia match on Weds was in doubt until the last minute. He therefore would not have practiced prior to that game then he plays, flies back from St Petersburg and straight into a tough game at Anfield. I would give him the benefit of the doubt on this occasion. Context is everything when analysing a player. Arsene has this context, some commenters on websites, like the so called expert plundits don’t.

  122. Bob,

    Agree. He, of course still has much to prove as a defender. But even in terms of clearances he was pretty good. Wasn’t a few times he put his head right through the ball and directed it to a team mate

  123. IMO esteemed Bob, Al is suffering from the pressure. Last year Wenger, described it as negative pressure, which I suspect can wear you down if you don’t have the required support. Negative pressure is normal for goalies but on a big team with huge expectations i.e. Arsenal, it is magnified. You make 5 great saves and keep out the opposition and you flap at one cross or fumble a deflection (e.g. Reina) and all your good work is cancelled. Look at Arsenal vs Barca at the Emirates. M.W. single-handedly keeps us in the game for the 1st half, preventing Barca from running-up a 4-0 game, and by the return game, where Messi has a magnificent game, and our defending is non-existent, M.A. is crucified mercilessly.

    I repeat, no goalkeeper is perfection over 90 minutes, there are too many uncertainties witth 22 players kicking a round ball. Our G.K., whoever he is, in this case M.A. needs our support. M.A., perhaps more than anybody else, kept us in 4th place in 08-09. He was good enough then, he will be good enough again.
    He derves our support instead of the incessant negative prressure.

  124. Fair even Paul N, but players like Vermaelen, Fabregas and RVP produce “it” again and again. Am I wrong to expect as much from AA? He surely talks the talk!

  125. “I would give him the benefit of the doubt on this occasion. Context is everything when analysing a player.”

    Totally agree Passenal.

    Another thing is, if you say that nothing is wrong then you saying that Arsene is a liar.

  126. No KenGun, I agree that we shouldve seen more from AA, he is a great talent

    Lets give him some time. I believe we will see some special things from him along with all of our team.

    I just sense something special in the air.

    ARSENAL!!!

  127. Shotta I agree regarding the pressure, Almunia said so himself if the article is to be believed.

    I feel for him, how can you really enjoy your game if you hear this constant negativity.

    Its just way too much and the “supporters”
    need to quit this crap. Likewise with Walcott, Denislon and Diaby.

    CUT IT OUT!1

  128. Arshavin showed good willingness to attack his wing early on. Unfortunately he lost out to Glen Johnson on a coupe of occasions, and to Gerrard too – both athletic, long-legged opponents in a flat race.

    I think Delia’s right and he was struggling a bit from LDN > St Petersburg > LDN -itis. Didn’t Arsene say he was carrying a little knock? Either way, I wouldn’t write him off yet. He’s had a good preseason and I get the feeling he’s desperate to impress.

    Really can’t wait til Blackpool now. Alex Song to step in at centreback for the afternoon? It’s exciting to think that with another full week of training under our belt how our squad will be looking by then. Could be pretty strong.

  129. good away point..

    was surprised wenger picked wilshere ahead of rosicky in a tough away game (probably wouldn’t have been the case if rosicky hadn’t played his midweek international), wilshere did his best but the team played with a hand-break on, as was seen last season when other mid-fielders were protecting ramsey. its a steep learning curve but he has the guide and talent.

    our play was also much slower as we lacked our most primary passers in midfield cesc, denilson
    and rosicky, who keep the machine ticking, as the mid-field consisted of three players who are primarily dribblers who can see a pass in nas, diaby and wilshere..

    our engine room should now be more balanced in the fixtures to come..

    fantastic display by the Mozart to aid the recovery

    tic toc..

    __Arsenal__

  130. Very cool new avatar btw, shotta.

    I’m on the new season/new look vibe too… just need to find one… it was going to be Diaby’s boot in John Terry’s face but I thought that might be too militant.

  131. it was delightful how we changed to a 4-4-2 with a midfield of arsha-rosicky-nasri-walcott; people who moan that we don’t have a so called ‘plan B’ can shut it now..

  132. I think that we will see a midfield with Rosicky Nasri and Song next week with Cesc coming on around the 70th minute…at least that is what I hope to see.

    Obviously if Cesc is fit enough he will be in there, but if not, I absolutely love that line up. I am just curious to see how Wenger handles fitting in Chamakh, RVP, Arshavin, and Walcott into the line up. Someone has to be left out…

    So many possibilites…can’t wait for the rest of the season!

  133. Vintage Rosicky, KS. Wonderful stuff. I had this serene feeling whenever he had the ball that he wouldn’t be tackled. And I don’t think he ever was! Magic player.

    Speaking of Aaron Ramsey… saw this the other day. Do you remember this game?

    http://www.youtube.com/user/CWD4CESC#p/a/u/1/29o4QlzRZGA

    Arsene had obviously said look Aaron, go out and impress me tonight. And boy does he impress! Epic, lung-busting performance. A real tour-de-force. Get well soon, matey. Can’t wait to come and watch you play again.

  134. I know you love him LA he’s well balanced but I’m still yet to see his defining touch that characterizes him and his style of play, other than that goal vs portsmouth.. of course time will tell and you’ll be there to tell me when..

  135. No, go for that one Limpar. Bloody spot on for the new season. Total football.

    shotta, I agree with you absolutely but whatever the cause, real damage has been done to his confidence and I don’t want our season used as therapy for Al. Sorry, it’s harsh and if no new keeper comes in then he stays No 1 and wearing the shirt will get my support.

    I think he’s gone though.

  136. Thanks for the link and the reminder of his performance in that game LimparAssist. We did well to sign him and it’s staggering how fast he was developing since joining us. I hope he can pick up where he left off. Just think of where he would be now if his development had not been stunted by that neanderthal.

  137. KS, did you not see some of his passes in that clip? That boy has tons of potential and Arsene is just the right coach to help him realise it.

  138. “The guy who plays on Sunday will be No 1

  139. Consolbob I think you may be right if the quotes attributed to him today are correct. He does seem short on confidence and that is the main commodity you need to be able to let the criticism roll off your back and keep going out there. Sadly we saw it with Senderos that for some no matter how talented, if they haven’t got the right mentality they will fall by the wayside in a top club although they may be fine away from the limelight. It would be a shame if that’s the case because he seems like a decent chap.

  140. Sorry… that’s half a post.

    Just saying… Manuel must be getting some mixed messages at the moment. One minute, the above… and the next we get, “I won’t come out on goalkeepers that are not at the club because it will have a negative effect on the goalkeepers that are going to be playing for us on Sunday..” (!!)

    Hardly the unreserved vote of confidence he’d be looking for!

  141. passenal great game he had there, he’s got plenty of potential as do all our players.. whats in his favor is he’s well rounded physically a good engine and good technically for his age.. what I’m seeking is hard to put a finger on its just that touch great players produce when their in tight situations.. For me the measure of a quality midfielder is what they can do under pressure.. I guess i’m yet to see that thing that gives him an “edge”

    LA I like the little turn at 2:18

  142. Limpar:

    Great post. You should do it more often. Do I sense a Rosicky man-crush. Socrates may be getting jealous. I won’t tell if you don’t.

  143. Socrates and I enjoy a wonderful modern, open relationship. I’m just only allowed to see other incredible footballers – so he’s fine with me and Rosicky.

  144. Limpar:

    LOL. Great stuff.

    Rosicky was really excellent yesterday. MOTM. Hope he is in the starting 11 next Sat.

  145. Limpar Assist: This was an absolutely wonderful post! I like your turn of phrase…”Sadly, the days of the impassable custodian are over.”

    Several interesting posts today including the article on playing football a man down and the article submitted on Almunia suggesting that Monsieur Wenger can win the league with him and without Given or Swartzer who are not as good as Big Al.

    A very lively Blog today and without a doubt does not have an equal in the Blogasphere, full stop!

  146. Limpar:

    BTW: I love what Rosicky’s new coiffeur has done.

  147. Sure its early days but if there’s any mug on this site who thinks we can win the title, they need their head examined. Its obvious that we are not anywhere near the finished article that is ready to pitch battle with the great sides. Wenger needs to announce his 3 year plan that will get us there if he is to carry all the clubs supporters with him i.e. when will our millions in profit switch to the team from paying off the loans.

    “Arsenal great David Seaman has dismissed the Gunners’ hopes of winning the title this season, but has urged fans to stay behind manager Arsene Wenger.
    Seaman believes the Londoners lack the consistency needed to challenge champions Chelsea and Manchester United.
    He said: ‘I’m desperate for Arsenal to do well, but they need to be more consistent. “

  148. I see Shaktar managed a 1 – 0 win at the weekend and are currently top of the league.

  149. Passenal, are you in the fantasy league? 🙂

  150. LimparAssist on August 16, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    I think that’s the problem, he’s looking for assurance and Arsene has made it clear that it is a world of competition. Arsene was probably hoping that would motivate Almunia to find his form again. The original enquiry about Schwarzer may have just been an insurance policy in case things didn’t work out. I don’t think Arsene expected Fulham to want so much for a 37 year old in the last year of his contract, nor did he expect PHW to flap his gums in the press and fuel this fire.

    Manuel was well motivated when he was competing to take over from Jens, but he does not seem to do so well when he is the target with young, hungry goal keepers snapping at his heels. I think he is still not over his recent bereavement and the impact seems to have robbed him of something. Maybe for him it’s hard to maintain that single minded focus you need to compete at that level after a devastating experience like that.

  151. No G4E, I’m rubbish at that sort of thing because I only ever want to buy Arsenal players and I don’t keep up with who’s injured/suspended etc to make my substitutions so I lose interest very quickly!

  152. Paulie Walnuts

    Paul N,

    On Arshavin – If he wasn`t 100% why start him when Rosicky, Walcott or even Vela were ready ?

    I`m not calling AW a liar but he knows how to protect players from what may be unfair criticism.

    Whatever, it`s a long season & I`m sure he`ll come good.

  153. I see Passenal, I never liked it either, it’s my first year to give it a try especially that it’s an ACLF one.

  154. Paulie Walnuts could it be because of Arshavin’s recent history at Liverpool? Maybe Arsene thought his presence may have put some doubt in the mind of the defenders as well as his unpredictability factor was worth the risk. It didn’t pan out, but had he left him out, no doubt it would have been the FA cup semi-final against chelski all over again in the minds of many.

    Rosicky is unlikely to play 2 games a week given his recent history, Walcott was probably planned to be an impact sub and Vela rarely plays when he has just returned from Mexico, so it’s hard to say they were ready. They may have been on the bench because of other shortages and as a last resort. Had others been fit, other than Walcott, I think Rosicky and Vela might well have been given a complete rest for all we know.

  155. I see no reason to doubt the manager & the team from the first game of the season. Maximum points from the next 5 games are more important than losing 2 points at Anfield.

  156. Very astute Passenal.

    Ditto the fantasy league thingy by the way.

  157. Just want to admire and highlight the pro almunia comments here today. More so today than there have been in a while. So what does that tell you.

    It turns out he’s not as evidently shite as people have convinced themselves.

    I would be disappointed if he was replaced, and therefore moved on. He is a very good keeper. As someone mentioned above he is only coming to his peak now. It’s obviously different for every keeper but, I think he’ll go from good to great now.

    Wenger said last week he’s not interested in given. And I hope he’s only interested in Schwarzer as backup. Perhaps he intends to send Fabi, Manone and szchzszhzzywyndi out on loan. I would love to think that the armband going to Almunia for the pool game was a statement of intent.

    Arshavin seems to be the kind of player that will be sluggish after a break. He was slow back from layoffs last season also. I hope this is the case anyway. I would have preferred Rosicky or Walcott to start myself but hey ho. I think Rosicky would be my first name on the team sheet every game though.

    One last thing LK and TV anyone what a couple of players they look to be.

  158. Let’s not talk fantasy football eh!!!

    I’m dead last. In my defence i’ve bought for the future, I got Cesc and RvP, as I thought it would be difficult to get the necessary cash to buy them later whilst always keeping 3 arsenal players in the squad.

    Anyway a few of the top teams in the ACLF don’t have any of our players so they are immediately disqualified in my eyes!!!!

    That might be sour grapes though.

  159. Does that also make those bloggers attempting to scare Goonerdom with their stories of Fabianski starting, nothing more then

    a) Idiots

    b) Hit seeking gimps?

    I leave everyone to make their own conclusions.

    ( I have nothing against Fabianski, but Almunia did lift the Ems cup…as Captain ).

  160. Paulie Walnuts

    Passenal,

    Arshavin – Fair comments (all of them) – I think AA had spoilt us at Anfield previously.

    On the keeper `situation` I don`t see anyone out there & possibly available miles better than what we have aqlready. Unlike most I`m not crazy about Shay Given as I don`t think he commands his box well enough & Schwarzer is Almunia with a Sydney accent. I also believe that the lack of a signing already shows AW isn`t sure either.

  161. ya els, I don’t understand how can an Arsenal fan not pick up an Arsenal player in his team?

    I have TV, Cesc, and RVP…the spine of Arsenal.

  162. How are the Mancs, I can’t be Arsed to look.

  163. 2-0

    Correction to my above post, using an expression that could be too vague…

    > B) Just seeking hits

  164. Finsbury on August 16, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    All of the above?

  165. Thanks Finsbury.

  166. Arsenals new keeper

    2-0 man u.Like Chelsea hit the ground running

  167. We hit the ground running last season, beating a better opponents – than newly promoted WBA and New Castle -(Everton) 6-1 and look what happened.

  168. Emperor Gooner

    United look good but then they are home and its Newcastle….We’re already done with a tough tough fixture and got a point….I dont think Chelsea or United can consider themselves to be at an advantage just because they’ve looked more impressive

    I believe we’ve got the right combination of players to this time around …Chamakh’s presence upfront is a real bonus and with Fab coming back , i think we’ll be unstoppable

  169. Almunia for England!!!

  170. And we were away in that game to G4E.

  171. not sure how long they going to be dependent on scholes in midfield

  172. That’s right dupsffokcuf, these first games are no clear indication of what happens in May.

  173. Almunia for Arsenal!!!

    LOL. Duke I couldn’t help it. LOL again.

  174. When you watch some of these challenges and tackles in slow motion its hard to believe that any player can avoid sprained ankles and broken legs. How anyone can make it through a season without significant injury is amazing.

  175. Anyone knows whether Sol is playing?

  176. no he ain’t, not match fit

  177. Giggs just scored. The over 30 policy of our club seems to be counter-productive. Good business may be, but it hurts the team on the pitch.

  178. nah Sol is down the gym trying to lose some weight. better late then never i suppose.

  179. I know the opposition isnt great but i have to admit United have been very impressive.They and Chelsea are still the benchmark we need to aim for.We need to take points off both of them this season

  180. Well we play a newly promo next week. Chelsea and United got them in first match of the season. Im sure if we met WBA we would score more than 1 goal too. Really. WBA and Newcastle is NOT Liverpool.

  181. agreed i 8 spuds

    Did anyone see bartons tash omg does he want to be hated even more?

  182. cheers Duke.

    Bill, to give our players who were over 30 one year contracts was a necessary policy that has saved our club from spiralling wages. During our transition period we just couldn’t afford to rely on those luxury players who only play half of our league games while pocketing big wages.

    Dennis Bergkamp accepted it. Others didn’t. Some left us before they reached 30. I think people here explained our self-sufficient policy well enough and often enough that even you should have understood it by now.

  183. The PL is not won at Chelsea and United. Thats max 12 points. We did great againts them recently and was nowhere in sight at the end of the season.

    I believe that mindset couldve been our demise in the big matches. Too pumped to beat the big teams and lost discipline.

  184. typeface:

    I understand completely the economics. My concern is that there should not be such a policy. It should be taken on a case by case basis for each player. To make a “policy” serves no purpose and just ties the hands of the club when there is a player we would really like to give a longer contract. Hopefully soon this seemingly hard and fast rule will be jettisoned.

  185. I wonder why DB took the yearly deals? he is better than all the players that have a problem with it.

  186. Paul N @ 10:17PM.

    I understand your point. However, if we are not mentally strong enough to avoid that trap then we have problems.

    Clearly we can win without taking points from our closest rivals but it really puts a big headwind in our face. We also almost always face one of those teams in the league and CL knock out competitions and if we can not get past them then we will probably not win those competitions.

  187. great form today passenal. even in esteemed company you rise above with top marks in vision, balanced logic and honesty. the cap is tipped.

  188. we could have and shoulve beaten united twice last season, if wed taken more chances at old trafford and diaby didnt make the own goal, we would have won there, and at the emirates if arshavin wasnt such a selfish git we could have been easily 2 up in the first 10 minutes, and who knows what would have happened then.

    Luck hasnt really been with us against chelsea and man u, hopefully it will be with us this time round ن شاء الله

  189. Pundits are as fickle as some of the fans before the ball was kicked they were saying man city will win the title. Chelsea hammered a poor West Brom they started saying they will run with the league then United hammered a poor New castle then they started saying its a 2 horse race. I can assure you if we hammer Blackpool they will say its only Blackpool. 1 game played and they are already in full swing with their Chelsea and United loving. Why bother playing till May, just toss the coin between united and the Chavs and we all can go and watch cricket or curling. Last season they said we will drop out of the top 4 proved them wrong and wiw did it without our key players. It’s really pathetic the way these so called experts destroy any enthusiasm in the game with their stupid and biased predictions. A lot can happen during a season and injuries play a big part and that is one area we did not have any luck with.

  190. November will be the most crucial month of the season, as it is the one where we pick up the worst injuries

  191. Zap,

    If me auntie had bollocks she’d be me uncle!!!!

  192. Первый тур АПЛ «Ливерпуль» 1:1 «Арсенал» На такие матчи не зовут, сами приходят. Поддержать свою команду на первом выезде дело чести. Именно по этому сегодня в Ливерпуле высадился огромный десант «канониров». После игры Андрей Аршавин отметил высокое качество наших болельщиков.
    arshavin.eu: Результат справедлив?
    А.А: Трудно сказать, наверное, нам повезло, ведь в концовке матча сравняли счёт. С одной стороны, ехали за победой. В первом тайме завладели инициативой, территориальным преимуществом С другой стороны не забили. Думаю, что в первом тайме не было стопроцентных голевых моментов, не у нас, не у них.

    arshavin.eu После удаления Джо Коула, хозяева поменяли рисунок игры.
    А.А: Дело не в этом удаление, просто не удалась комбинация, после которой, был забит гол, мяч удачно для них попал. Мы же не оставляли попыток, вскрыть оборону «Ливерпуля», но смогли сделать это лишь однажды. Наверное, не смогли подобрать ключ-золотой ключик к их воротам. Так что лишь наполовину открыли дверь.

  193. oops why didnt that translate? wait..

    The first round of the EPL. Liverpool 1:1 Arsenal. There is no need to invite people to attend such matches, they come anyway. It’s a matter of honor to support your team in the first match. That’s why a huge number of Gunners came to Liverpool. After the game, Andrey Arshavin pointed out the support of our fans.

    arshavin.eu: Do you think the result was fair?
    AA: It’s difficult to say; probably we were lucky, because we equalized by the end the match. On the one hand, we came to win. We took over the initiative and territorial advantage in the first half. On the other hand we didn’t manage to score. I think that neither we nor Liverpool had any one hundred percent chances to score in the first half.

    arshavin.eu: After Joe Cole was sent off the pitch, the hosts changed the pattern of the game.
    AA: It wasn’t about the sending-off, it’s just that the combination, after which the goal has been scored, didn’t turn out well and, fortunately for them, the ball went in. We did not leave attempts to crack the defense of Liverpool, but managed to do it only once. Probably we were unable to pick up the key – the golden key to their gate. So we just half-opened their door.

  194. DukeGoonem, yes and no.

    Yes, she would, and no, she wouldnt she would just be a strange aunt…no

  195. Zap,

    Who would you take…Schwarzer or Given? or would you stick with tweedle……..no im not slagging him off anymore…….Almunia?

  196. John Cross on twitter conviced we will sign schwarzer.And he was the one journalist who was adamant we wouldnt sign J Cole

  197. There wern’t many journalists adament though that we would sign j.cole, the closest we got was when a taxi driver told me he’s put his bollocks on him coming and that he’d sign a pre-whatever contract. There were just rumours

  198. I dont really care about the ‘keeper situation i think whats more important is we sort the defence out first, because the way we defend set pieces and corners doesnt exactly help the keepers, and the pressure we allow ourselfves from these set pieces would affect any keeper.

  199. Why and how Rosicky changed the game for Arsenal explained in 1 graphic http://bit.ly/docFUE

    Nasri simply wasn’t making enough forward passes into the opposition penalty area. As the video above shows and this graphic confirms, Rosicky started attack after attack and created chances in ways Sam hadn’t

  200. Interesting stuff Ole, so Nasri is one of the main offenders of our pretty sideways passing football!!

  201. if Rosicky is fit he has to play. always. he is one of our three amigos isnt he. him,cesc n rvp. a class above. that direct thread the ball through a needle passing. with them three on the pitch the opposition is in trouble.

  202. Ole Gunner the chalkboards dont make sense they say samir nasri for both of them..?

  203. Lets face it though, even with rosicky, we needed rvp to set him up and provide a target, and a man to take good corners. Rvp is just different class to everyone apart from cesc. They are just on space level maybe the rest on cloud level. Rosicky on his way there

  204. Rosicky is the top one. It’s a cock upfrom the Guardian site

  205. I disagree Zap, all three are in the same class. I take it the board with the most passes is Nasri’s. and most of them are sideways. the board with 36 passes are nearly all forward.

  206. be interesting to see Denilson’s next time he plays.

  207. Well Duke, our football is prettiest when we pass forward and cut teams apart at will like we do most times. That’s our pretty football.

  208. lets not beat about the bush. When the bus is parked we need to feed chamakh some high balls into the box that was the only way to rattle Liverpool, the pretty passing did not work. In the end it was a brave interception from Chamakh that led to the goal. If I can remember we only managed to go through the middle once when Rosicky had that chance the other chances came from crosses into the box. we have a player in Chamakh who in my opinion more dangerous in the air than any of those giants at the pottery. we need to capitalise on that more often when teams refuse to play football.

  209. marouane is immense with crosses when bentdner returns, we will have 2 natural players comfortable with crosses and scoring headers

  210. The trouble is does it show if there was anyone in a forward position for Nasri to pass to.

  211. When IS bentdner coming back anyway?

  212. unlike many who think Bendtner is a sub to Chamakh i’m thinking the opposite, I’m looking forward to seeing both of them on the pitch they will terrorise any defence with their aerial threat.

  213. i agree with dups

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