Arsenal Not Quite Through But Almost Donetsk

UEFA Champions League, Group H
Arsenal 5 – 1 Shaktar Donetsk

1 – 0 Song (19)
2 – 0 Nasri (42)
3 – 0 Fabregas (60 pen)
4 – 0 Wilshere (66)
5 – 0 Chamakh (69)
5 – 1 Eduardo (82)

The beauty of this competition is that each match can be treated as a one-off, erratic form at home can be cast to the winds and performance levels raised to achieve the necessary home win. That most opposition in the group phase play a style of football which suits Arsenal assists even more but should not detract from this comprehensive victory. Shaktar were quite simply overwhelmed.

On a record-breaking night, Arsenal sumptuously brushed the Ukranians aside. The passing was autumnal; crisp, the ball floating across the turf with the ease of leaves falling from trees. Shaktar had no response as Nasri shone throughout with Wilshere, Rosicky and the returning Fabregas prompting from midfield.

In the opening stages, Shaktar held their shape, disciplined in performing their defensive duties, setting the scene for an obdurate night where Arsenal would need to be aware of the counter-attacking threat. It lasted eighteen minutes. Pyatov fumbled a corner, Djourou poked, Song flicked sublimely into a defender, the ball rebounding off his ankle into the net.

Midway through the half, Pyatov made amends (almost) for his error. Chamakh flicked the ball to Nasri, the Frenchman’s ferocious drive parried to safety by the goalkeeper. Arsenal were in the ascendency and in the mood to put the match beyond the visitors reach.

That was not happen until the interval beckoned. Eboue and Song’s neat interchange of passes enabled the Cameroonean to feed the ball to Nasri. This time, subtlety prevailed as he ghosted past Srna before an emphatic finish gave the half-time scoreline a more reflective, and decisive, turn.

Fabianski had nothing of note to do in the first half, the type of match where a goalkeeper’s abilities are tested, inactivity requiring concentration to be kept. In the opening minute of the second half, the Pole confirmed his recent improved form by standing tall and then making an excellent save from Adriano.

It proved to be the wake-up call Arsenal needed as they turned the screw on Shaktar. On the hour, Djourou was wrestled to the ground by Adriano and as is the wont of referees in european competition, a penalty kick was awarded, quite rightly. If their English counterparts would apply the rules as rigorously, perhaps defenders would concentrate more on defending through ability than trying to gain entry into the WWF. Fabregas’ spot kick was perfect; high, hard and accurately into the top corner. Minutes later, his fitness proven for the evening, he made way for Denilson as Eduardo joined the party as well.

Three minutes later, Jack Wilshere proved the clamour for his inclusion in the starting line-up for England’s encounter with France next month is not without foundation. Picking up Chamakh’s knockdown, he advanced to the area, interplaying delightfully with Rosicky, creating space for himself before deftly lifting the ball over the advancing Pyatov into the net. The fifth followed swiftly. Nasri’s lofted pass over the defence found Chamakh in space, unmarked and undecided about whether he was onside. Not that it mattered; the Moroccan continued his impressive home scoring record by putting the ball into the net.

The final denouement came with Eduardo rifling home from close range, refusing to celebrate true to his word but when you are five down, a long way from home, there is not much to be happy about. Arsene noted post-match that they were happy for him also; whether that would have been the case if he had scored a point-saving or winning goal remains debatable.

The emphatic nature of the win means that along with Sporting Braga, the only way Shaktar can qualify in a higher placing from this group, is if Arsenal capitulate by four goals or more in the return fixture or the most likely they gain more points. That is going to be no easy task since the form displayed by Arsenal this season has been close to imperious in this competition.

There were many positives for Arsene to draw upon from the performance. Few can complain about anyone’s contributions. All of the players concentrated, presented few opportunities to the Ukranians and importantly, they held their shape defensively.

Wilshere, Song and Fabregas proved to be a formidable triumverate although once the second goal was scored, heads dropped in the opposition ranks. Even so, the hard work the trio put in, ably supported by Rosicky and Nasri in ensuring ascendency created the opportunity to push home that advantage.

Wilshere is taking some criticism for his unpunished poorly timed challenge. A break away from the limelight is going to do him no harm and also emphasise that he needs to improve on his tackling technique. Quite simply, the exuberance of youth needs to be tempered and channelled. That he will now not play again this month ought to focus his mind. If not, Wenger and his staff have some work to do.

Arsenal broke Real Madrid’s record for scoring in the first three games. That will please Wenger as the fluidity in attack is vital to this team and their style of play. Where plaudits should also be directed, and are not, is that the defence has only conceded two goals in three matches. Frankly, with the criticism that follows the back four domestically, this is something Wenger will find as pleasing. Yes, the opposition has not been as intense as that of the Premier League but it is a building block upon which to build.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on October 20, 2010, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 214 Comments.

  1. It was one of those lovely evenings. Great reception for EDS – hope cole and adebayor were watching – and beautiful footy.

  2. good game, great result; now to man city on sunday.
    COYG

  3. No mention of clichy who last night played his best game this season?faby did make a great save at some point.cant believe how alert djourou was,he is getting better every game.rosicky and nasri also shone.

  4. Yes, it was some performance, I think the best display this season.

    The Cesc, Song and Jack combination was nothing short of spectacular.

    Well done Djourou also, who continues to impress. And Fabianski, that flying punch stood out more than the save.

  5. Am I the only one who watched us go in at half time 2-0 having not really pushed that much? If we’d really stepped up a gear, I suspect we could have finished with more than 5!
    Credit due to Shaktar. They tried to play football and keep possession of the ball, even though it was only in their half. Great to see Eduardo’s fantastic finishing technique grace the Emirates pitch once more, and even more heart-warming to hear the crowd singing his name. A classy act from a classy team, for a classy player.
    City should be very afraid…

  6. For me it was Eboue’s performance that shone – tough in defence, fast to retrieve and stamp out any attack his side, and both threatening and exciting in attack. Chamakh also just looked a cut above Chamakh.

  7. oh .. and Denilson. He’s just good.

  8. Delia-----Block 112

    We were allowed to play Wengerball last night so thoroughly enjoyed the game. Rosicky was very impressive, particularly tracking back and putting in some good tackles, something Arshavin won’t do. I trust TR7 is up to playing on Sunday. Jack was great and I think will be missed during his enforced rest. The fans (we), showed our class last night in giving Eddy the reception he deserved. As always ,I am very proud to be a Gooner.
    COYRs

  9. Good points Firstlady.
    It impressed me to see Clichy pushing up for possession in their half right at the end of the game, chasing back to tackle… pushing passes around left, right and centre.
    Djourou also impressed me, as did Squillaci. Assured in possession, and very quick to close down and intercept.
    Was lovely to see Rosicky selling dummies all over the field, picking the right pass every time, and covering in defence a couple of times too. His tackling is absolutely spot on – well-timed and firm.

  10. “unpunished poorly timed challenge” – you’re not talking about when Jack trod on Hubschmann’s toe are you? That was punished for exactly what it was, a foul, and a soft one at that. Hubschmann threw himself away from the tackle like he’d been hit by Foreman, probably having watched MOTD on Saturday and thinking he’d get Wilshere sent-off. Andy Gray called it a ‘nasty, nasty challenge’. What absolute rot. He trod on someone’s toe in a game of football. Who hasn’t trod on someone’s toe playing football? It happens in every single game.

  11. It’s difficult to actually summarise each performance. Everyone wearing the red shirt last night did themselves, and their club, proud!

  12. LA, I was incensed by Andy Gray’s reaction to that. It wasn’t a bookable offence. Sure, Jack lunged in a bit late, but barely caught his toe. That was it. There were a few times when he looked like he was lining up another lunge and I thought to myself “mind yourself Jack!” but I think he’s already learned his lesson.

  13. If this team is in the mood, the goals will flow. I predicted 4 last night, but 5 will do!

    Clichy was excellent in every aspect of his game, reminded me of his earlier Arsenal performances which made us unfazed by Cashley Cole’s departing.

    Arshavin is worrying me, trying too much to impress when he should stick to what he does best. Simple passes, and running at people. He keeps trying outrageous flicks, long hopeful balls.. Wenger needs to have a word, or maybe hes worried about the options he has behind him.

  14. CG,
    Arshavin’s two first touches were hopeless punts upfield. I’m not sure what’s up at the moment, but I agree with what you say, he needs to stick to what he does best.

  15. Cesc obviously starting against City then.. couldn’t have proved better timing getting 60mins last night with Wilshire unavailable for 3 games.

    Diaby was rested, so too was Arshavin, Gibbs is there if need be, and we have still Vermaelen, Koscielny, Bendtner, Theo, Ramsey, RvP.. yet to come back into 1st team contention. Theo and Bendtner both looking very rusty in their bit part displays so far. Wenger has the options if need be for Sunday to freshen the team up.

  16. Limpar

    Even Wenger called it poorly timed last night in his press conference…

    YW

  17. eduardo was touched by the fans last night and he said will be watching the Arsenal games. He is an Arsenal fan now.

    i’ve been reading few articles online and the headlines from some local papers from Stoke and Birminhgam have labeled Arsenal as dirty tacklers after the Wilshere incident and I have to admit I’m delighted about that because now the so called hard men have statrted to think again when they try to kick us. Wilshere has added a bit of steel in midfield . He is not afraid to put his foot in, also Song looks more agressive than ever. It is a a sign that this team has matured and ready to battle. So far this season no team has beaten us physically blackburn tried and failed even Chelsea couldn’t do it this season we dominated them just couldn’t finish. More of the same please.

  18. 1LC,

    They don’t really think Arsenal are dirty. They’re just looking to muddy the waters and get space for their thuggery.

    I keep hearing Wilshere has added steel but I really seriously doubt that Wilshere makes more tackles or wins more duels or is more physical than Diaby, Ramsey or Denilson who featured last season.

    No I don’t believe that Wilshere being prone to rash challenges doesn’t add steel to us.

  19. I agree with Ole.

  20. Well AW has to carefully tailor what he says to the press to appear fair-minded. I’m calling it what it was which was a trodden-on toe. Yes it’s poorly timed in that he didn’t get the ball but it’s not the sort of thing that needs stamping out of his game. Even the best midfield tacklers will tread on many, many toes throughout their careers, it’s a natural by-product of making tackles, and it certainly wasn’t nasty.

  21. Well well well……†нє gunners are really impressive! Good to see El Capitan απϑ Walcott back in †нє mix. Manchester City is going to be a stern test but I believe we’ll scale through. I don’t need another 5-1 thumping, One-Nil to †нє Arsenal will be alright. We need to close †нє gap απϑ a victory will move us to 2nd spot because we’ve got a better goal difference than them….I was also ♓άƿƿy with †нє reception Ed got..good luck to him απϑ I hope he doesn’t haunt us in Donetsk

  22. I think teams like Blackburn, Stoke etc,… will always use these kind of the tactics against the big teams. Its not such a case of them highlighting Arsenal as a weak team anymore, this they are only now getting to grips with. Last season we showed great mental strength and character in some of our comebacks, and fighting attitude on the pitch. There is no evidence from last season, as well as this season to say that we haven’t got the steel.

    I agree with Ole too, Wilshire is doing the same job as Denilson, Song, Ramsey, etc etc are told to do when playing CM. IMO Wilshire is very determined, and shows the energy and anticipation of an 18yr old (which he is), hence a few late challenges. He will learn from them, and you can see he is a clever player.

    On another note, Denilson has looked good whenever I have seen him this season. A midfield of Denilson, Cesc, Diaby could well start at City ??? with Song rested perhaps?

  23. The Wilshere phenomena is very interesting. A young, extremely talented Englishman who learnt his craft at and plays for the anti-ethical English football club. The English football press, football establishment and anti-football clubs like Blackburn, Stoke , Birmingham (and to a lesser degree Bolton) are caught in a huge contradiction of their own making. How can they attack Arsenal FC and not attack one of their own without looking like complete tools? Well they have done so already with their completely hypocritical and misleading attempt to attack Arsene in his expose of unfair tackling by these clubs and their players.
    Literally tied down in Lilliputian knots.

    PS: Wenger and Arsenal FC have already been fully vindicated by refusing to buy our way to a championship and exposing financial doping in English football. Portsmouth, West Ham, L/pool and Man-IOU are now like any drug addict either suffering a total breakdown or now in recovery.

  24. Don’t know what Wneger is thinking for Denilson, maybe he’ll feature only in domestic cup games..or may be is he’s not doing particularly well in training.
    As I said before, I would be really really dissapointed if I was him

  25. I hope KOS will be back for the weekend, we need his solidity against that animal, named Carlos Tevez

  26. Front what I’ve seen Squillaci and Djourou have more than enough skill to take care of Tevez or anyone they throw at us for that matter!

    Our defensive personnel are much improve from last year! I was a bit worried when our first choice partnership was not on the field last season whereas this year I could not even say which combination is our first choice as they all look good and assured!

  27. Ole,
    Interesting story from the link you posted on the last thread re. Wenger/Chamack/diving.
    Maybe he’s so used to over dramatizing his falls (having been doing so over his whole career) that he can’t help himself anymore? I really hope not.

    Have to say he played very well yesterday though. His work rate is something few strikers have. I don’t know how he keeps going considering he’s played almost every game for us this season. Incredible stamina.

  28. I must agree on the comments about our much improved defense. It would be hard to pick a definite starting combination. I personally like Eboue at right back, IMO he brings some thing to the table that we lack with Sagna. Both are however excellent talents.

  29. One interesting observation from last night was seeing Eboué tell Squillaci where to position himself twice.

    This struck me because of Arsene’s comments from the post-game Press Conference. He noted that Squillaci is very communicative and talks a lot with the midfielders and other defenders.

    What do you make of this?

  30. I’m with you on that Jo. Eboue is more skilful on the ball, reads the game better, and is more likely to get a successful cross in. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy having Sagna there, but I actually think Eboue is better. Some might argue that Eboue is more attacking than Sagna, and leaves his defensive duties behind, but he’s actually a lot quicker, so can get back and cover.

  31. The only way Song could have taken his goal was by way of the rabona. He executed it brilliantly. After his deft finish against Bolton and his frequent dragbacks and sharp turns in midfield, to an Arsenal fan – it was no bolt from the blue. Alex Song is a player we have come to know as a skillful, all-round midfielder.

    ….for Jamie Redknapp though! Christ. He didn’t know what was happening. He looked visibily upset and shifted uneasily in his seat, grey in the face. He loosened his collar. “Well he’d ‘ave looked pretty stupid if he hadn’t scored there” he told us.

    How are these people on TV?

  32. I noticed the same thing Ole. Certainly once I can recall Eboue coming back to intercept a pass, whilst Seb was coming forward to pick it up. Eboue pushed Seb back so that it gave him the option for the pass. Worked very well, and it’s good to see that sort of communication going on. Plus, we all know Eboue speaks every language ever in existence, specialising in Korean 😉

  33. Jamie fucked me off royally last night, and it was good to see Ruud put him in his place re: Wilshere.

  34. Good points about the defence. I think Vermaelens absence has been a blessing in disguise, with Kosc, Squillaci, Djourou all getting minutes, and the two new boys settling in very quickly.

    I don’t know how Wenger picks between Eboue and Sagna too, he must flick a coin before every game to save the stress!!

  35. mj,

    It seems to me Arsene is taking it easy with Denilson. Denilson’s injury is similar to Gilberto’s all those years back and it took a long time to heal.. Maybe Denilson is still having problems with his back.

  36. Sagna is the best right back in England right now, especially defensively, also adds to our arial ability.
    Also, wenger said recently that Sagna will usually play more games than Eboue as the later gets games in MF as well.

  37. Maybe IndianGooner

    I have a slight slipped disc, and it bothered me when I played football for about a year or two after it happened. Touch wood it seems ok now, but back injuries are probably the hardest to heal, if they can be healed even. They just stay with you in most cases. Best way to get around it is by strengthening your back muscles, Denilson looks like he has bulked up a bit.

  38. CG

    I read that Wenger said that he rotate both of them at right back because they are both top class right backs but plays Sagna more often as Eboue can also play in midfield.

  39. gunnerluc and Ole,

    The back 5 communicate a lot these days unlike the last season. Also, whenever Squillaci plays, there is a calmness in the defence which was last season in the invincibles. I don’t know if it is just me but Squi brings something to defence which we haven’t had for some time..

  40. ChrisGoona,

    I know the feeling with the slipped disc. There was a time when I couldn’t sit for more than a hour let alone play.

  41. Ruud always puts Pinksnooze in is place, & it’s always fantastic seeing him do

  42. @IndianGooner: Squillaci, Kos and Djourou strike me first and foremost as defensive players who rarely forage upfield though there was one instance last night where Squillaci made a run upfield and stayed there though nothing came off it. But in comparison to Gallas, Toure and Verminator these guys are more “stay at home”. Maybe its the way they have been brought up, i don’t know, but its definitely helping us.

  43. Being a massive massive Eduardo fan, that was possibly the most perfect game of football I’ve ever had the privilege of watching.

    According to the infallible and ever reliable Wiki, here is a list of players who’ve performed the Rabona trick in competition:

    “Diego Maradona, Rivaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ángel Di María, Ricardo Quaresma, Ronaldinho, Roger Guerreiro, Alessandro Del Piero, Tony Adams, Harry Kewell, Juan Sebastián Verón, Aaron Mokoena, Pablo Aimar, David Villa, Geoff Thomas, Carlton Palmer, Eric Cantona, Morten Wieghorst, Mika Väyrynen, Diego, Titus Bramble, Clint Dempsey, Nani, Brian Kilcline, Martin Keown, Alberto Aquilani, Fabrizio Miccoli, Wesley Sneijder, Joe Cole, Efstathios Aloneftis, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Éver Banega.”

    I remember the Adams one, I think, vaguely. Keown? Sounds dubious.
    Carlton Palmer? No comment.

  44. I really hope so that’s the case, we could see the solidity & physicality (like Song) in his game this season, which was missing earlier. As Chris said he’s bulked up as well. I think he’s going to be back up for Song from now. The competition for the ‘pivot’ role is immense. We have 2 great options in Jacky & Diaby, with Aaron coming back , I don’t see Denilson playing that role any more. He’s our holding midfielder now, the new Gilberto.

  45. And here’s Samuel Eto’s warm up for tonights game:

    You can see why FC BBB felt the need to sell him at an insane loss.

    Inter 1 Arsenal 5

  46. Great game yesterday. Agree with those who say our defending is better then last year. Positioning and organization clearly improved. So far the improved technique has not shown up in the goals conceded column but I am confident we will end the year having a much better defensive performance. Mixed emotions about the Eduardo goal. Clean sheet would have been great but very happy for Eduardo. Truly a class person and footballer.

    Great game yesterday, hope we can carry that same confidence to the Eastlands. Draw would be a good result but we can win if we play the way we did yesterday. A win would set us up for a strong run with most of our walking wounded returning to the pitch.

  47. IndianGooner… Ouch, yeah i was out for a couple weeks on the sofa.. very painful.

    gunnerluc… Eboue has been playing more regularly at RB though than in recent seasons. This is because we have less need for him in midfield like last season where he played LM, LB, RM and CM !! Now we see a more rotated team selection with Eboue and Sagna, I don’t believe Wenger has had that luxury as much in the last couple seasons.

  48. The team looks more balanced this year than last with lot of quality options in all positions with the addition of Kos, Sqi and Cham. Also, other players have matured. The competition for places is getting better and the concept of “playing out of position” isn’t affecting any of the players so far.. Players are equally comfortable in most of the positions and can play there as if they have been playing there for their entire career. Classic example yesterday was Song playing on the right wing with Lil Jack and the Mozart keeping the center of field tight..

  49. As I said before the Chelsea game both Song and Denilson should start against mancity. Mancity will be playing their ugly football with a midfield of De Jong, Yaya and Barry. That’s what we need to neutralize.

  50. I agree with you Kenyan.

  51. Diaby’s directness and strenght could be useful as well against Man city. I wouldn’t want to be in Wenger’s shoes, he’s got some tough choices to make for this weekend so many players deserving a starting place!

  52. Couldn’t have said better:
    Fabianski – ‘If I had to concede I’m glad it was Eduardo’
    “I was a bit upset with the goal because I wanted to keep a clean sheet but that is part of football. I just have to live with that,” he told Arsenal.com.

    “Anyway, if someone had to score I’m glad it was Eduardo. That is what makes me a bit less sad. To be honest I was happy for Eduardo because he scored and got a great reception.

    “I remember when we played against Villarreal when Robert Pires played and the crowd were the same. I think it’s really nice because it shows the fans appreciate players like that.”

    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/-if-i-had-to-concede-i-m-glad-it-was-eduardo-

    I was torn between a fabianski clean sheet or an Edu goal. And when we wen’t 5-0 up, I’d decided for an Edu-special goal. I felt like if he scored a goal, the crowd would applause and the way the fans did it brought few tears..

  53. Great result last night. We always looked like we could step up a gear if needed as well.

    Everybody played well. Squillachi seems to have brought some organisation and communication to the defence; I think him and TV5 will be first choice when all are fit. And I think they will complement each other very very well.

  54. good post YW.

    top notch performance yesterday.

    Seeing Fabregas back in the side had me weak in the knees. My girlfriend is concerned about my feelings for him..

  55. Bill,

    😦

    well, girardi got burned overmanaging last night. sigh. dont really see a way back for the Yanks especially facing Lee again, but hey, as this team proved in game 1, you cant count us out. Hats off to your boys, you must be beaming. For whatever reason, I have no genuine malice for your team or players, unlike say, if we were playing TB or dare I even mention the words Boston.. So congrats, you guys have impressed me.

  56. The one thing about Djourou that concerns me is that for his size he does not dominate that much in the air. He failed to get to a fair few headers yesterday even though Shakktar are not the most imposing fowards. I think it is to do with his timing and positioning something that he can hopefully improve on. Kos on the other hand is just simply superb at reading the game- his anticipation and intervention is unbelieveable! I agree with those who Denilson looks good- he certainly stood his ground yesterday when challenged by two Shaktar players impressively and even though it was given for foul he came away with the ball. But I expect the midfield against City will Diaby, Cesc, Song, with Arshavin and NAsri supporting Chamakh.

  57. Kenyan @ 2:28

    I would argue that diaby is more needed to boss the midfield as he did so well against birmingham. denilson, for me, is more needed when we are under a barrage of good, technical midfielders (barca, for one).

  58. I have to say, I’m still envious about Word’s “icing on the cake” comment from last night. It succinctly encapsulates my feeling about Eddie’s goal, as well as the broader implications. I have to applaud all the home fans, they helped make Eddie’s homecoming a magically affair.

    For the first time in too long, Gooner nation were as one

  59. Please do something about this, I beg of you! Steven Gerrard is about to be voted the fourth best midfielder of all time:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/poll/2010/oct/19/greatest-football-xi-midfielders

  60. I can see a midfield of Denilson, Diaby and Cesc starting at City. Song could well start, but he did play 90mins last night.. Will have to wait and see I suppose. Diaby, Denilson, and Cesc all fresh options. Rosicky or Arshavin ? You would imagine Wenger starting AA as he only got a cameo role last night, with Nasri also starting. Nasri has been consistently amazing so far this season.

  61. gadget,

    “gooner nation were as one” good post.

    I think because fans, especially at home, have such an ability to impact the feeling and general atmosphere in a stadium, we have a duty to back the team to the hilt. It must mean so much to the players, after say, going down 2-1, to hear the fans singing for the arsenal. This is our responsibility, not as fans, but supporters.

  62. I agree iwth NJ.

    Denny is awesome against team that will actually play football, but Man City don’t play football – they’re not adventurous enough. They are going to try and hit us on the counter, so possession is probably a given. We need to drive clinically from the midfield (as well as launch a few well-struck efforts).

    Tevez will run about tirelessly, so our defence will need to keep an eye on him, but I think once we breach their 2 banks, the match is over.

    We gt the first goal, we win.

  63. I did my duty OOU, but as a gooner I think that list is shocking. How can they miss out the R. Pires? Disgraceful.

    And with the names that do appear, the only list Gerrard should get fourth or higher is ‘worst of’ one.

  64. I too voted. It’s criminal that so many people think that Gerrard is THAT good! Plus, a fair few of those players are more forwards than midfielders. Complete rubbish.

  65. Pires is a good call, Gadget. He burned as bright as any of the players on that list, but probably not for as long as Cruyff and the others. I think he’d definitely be among the greats if he’d arrived at Arsenal two or three years earlier. There’s absolutely no excuse for Brady’s absence though.

    Still, it’s good to see Vieira getting recognised.

  66. Will $iteh select a disenchanted Ade to start against his old club at home?
    Will Silva be given a rare start?

    As Denilson missed pre-season, it’s possible to speculate that he’s been eased back from injury. Stand out performance so far against Bolton, or the Sp*ds? Probably against the Sp*ds.

  67. Agree Avaris – you get to choose four midfielders and two strikers, when most of the best players of all time played somewhere between the two.

    Of course, there’s also a massive difference between choosing the four best midfielders of all time, and the best midfield. Strictly speaking, only one, perhaps two, of the four best midfielders would fit into the best midfield.

    This shouldn’t bother me so much.

  68. NJGooner:

    Agreed, Girardi left Burnett in the game 1 inning more then he should have. I thought you guys would absolutely kill Tommy Hunter last night. Derrick Holland was the real hero of the game for me. The Rangers have played great baseball. I am suprised at the composure and the confidence they have played with. After the game 1 meltdown I was just praying that we would not get swept. I am still not allowing myself to get too confident yet. You guys are still the YANKEES and I have certainly seen teams come back from 3 – 1 games down. If any team can do it you can. My fingers and toes remain crossed and my lucky hat will remain perched on top of my head. GO RANGERS.

  69. No Limpar is the most glaring oversight.

    Roy f*cking Keane?!

  70. ‘This shouldn’t bother me so much.’

    Absolutely, when is a Guardian poll.

  71. Finsbury, someone must’ve been at that wiki list. Keown? I’d like to see him try. But seeing as it’s a free for all we should get Alex Song up there.

    And Et’o is on fire at the moment.

  72. They’re compiling the shortlist for the greatest strikers… you can see why their midfield list is so wrong!

    I’m not even going to attempt a list on the greatest strikers. I’d be here all year trying to get it down to 40 let alone 4.

  73. No Christopher Wreh!!!!!!!! Unbelievable!!!!

  74. A competent, professional performance which only rarely touched the highest heights. Fine by me. I’m very pleased we conserved some energy for Sunday too.

    At 5-1, it was easy to be charitable after Eduardo’s goal, but the standing ovation was nonetheless heart-warming. He has always been a classy guy, and he deserved this equally classy response. It was a perfect ending to an almost perfect evening.

    http://thearmchairsportsfan.com/2010/10/19/eduardo-provides-the-perfect-end-to-arsenals-near-perfect-evening/

  75. Sunday’s game is very important. People are starting to take City serisou as title contenders now; a win for us would really set us a marker.

  76. Interesting fact: Chamakh has now scored in his last 6 champions league games. Not a bad streak. Additionally, all 6 were from open play.

  77. Chamack’s run of goals is another CL record. Three for Bordeaux, three for Arsenal.
    Here’s Eduardo’s goal:

    Not sure if Squillaci was that generous, perhaps just tired.Eduardo deceived him?
    Don’t the best players adapt to age, and injuries?
    (FC BBB’s treatment of Henry wasn’t the smartest move in that CL final?).I think the move was necessary, and I believe he’ll still have a few grand seasons before he retires. With JET & Sunnu knock-knock-knocking on the bench, it was the right decision.
    Loving Squillaci, his near post flicks and the rest. The D-Fence looks less ‘stoned’.
    Gallas vs. Eto should be interesting.

  78. Limestonegunner

    I agree with Gadget, that Denilson is better for holding possession against more technical sides. So on that basis, I suppose, I would go with Diaby to partner Cesc and Song. I do think we will miss Wilshere in a game like this, where we need to unlock a conservative and rugged defense from the midfield back and where speed and steel to quell the counterattack are needed. But we should manage fine.

    I agree with goonerandy that this is an important game to knock ManCity back and establish our superior credentials as the title contenders with Chelsea. Great preparation with a 5-1 victory without exhausting ourselves. Hopefully no hangover this time, as we should be up for it. I consider ManCity almost as evil as Chelsea in footballing terms. They haven’t yet managed to be successful at that game. Let’s keep them down. If there is an ideological battle to be fought, this is it: Oiligarchic doping vs. sustainable development, Catenaccio vs. Wengerball. Winning this game is also a moral victory.

  79. Team to bankrupt Money City;

    Fabianski

    Eboué–Toto–JD—Clichy

    Cesc—–Song——Diaby

    Theo–Chamakh—Nasri

    Bench: Szczesny, Gibbs, Denilson, Rosicky, Bendtner, Arshavin, Koscielny

  80. I agree Finsbury, his move away was mainly because of our change in system. Knowing his class, sooner or later he would have re-discovered his touch, but he was a total misfit in 4-3-3.

  81. Zama @ 2:11;

    “Squillaci, Kos and Djourou strike me first and foremost as defensive players who rarely forage upfield though there was one instance last night where Squillaci made a run upfield and stayed there though nothing came off it. But in comparison to Gallas, Toure and Verminator these guys are more “stay at home”. Maybe its the way they have been brought up, i don’t know, but its definitely helping us.”

    Great comment.

  82. I got goose bumps when the stadium announcer started with Eddddd… and the crowd followed with …uuuuardooooooo. It was nice to see Dudu hugging his Arsenal mates after the game. The guy is pure class.

  83. I’d like to see Rosicky in instead of Diaby.

    His effort at getting back (especially when he sees an advantage/numbers problem) and tackling might be the key to stifling some of City’s attempts to counter more so than Diaby.

  84. Bill I wouldnt call Djourou a stay behind defender- Djourou perhaps hasnt done this often but I recall his surges into midfield which at times ended in him loosing the ball and we get caught out on a break. When a defender is backpeddling the advantage always lies with the attacker as he has options to either pass or go for goal. Djourou did exactly that at some point yesterday and lost the ball- result he lost the ball and we were on the back foot. But overall covering of the defence yesterday was excellent- Nasri and Jack held positions very well and dropped back when needed. Song had his best game for a while yet. One lung busting track back was simply exhilarating and he got a clean tackle in too at the edge of the box. Arshavin though- as soon as he come on Glicy was over exposed. Arshavin simply does not put in a shift defensively!

  85. The problem is that when we play a “negative” team like mancity we will have little chance of playing wengerball. The 4-3-3 system works when you have a team which is also confident in their style of football. In Mourinho and Mancini we have managers who look at killing your game not outplaying you. A midfield with only one defensive midfielder will allow them to focus on slowing our flow.

  86. ———- Fabianski——–
    – Eboue – Squill – Djourou – Clichy
    —Cesc—-Song—-Diaby
    Nasri—Chamackh—Arshavin

    In my opinion this has to be the lineup. The only variance I can see is Denilson in for Song. I think this midfield is the most balanced we can put out. Getting a result from this Saturday’s game will be massive. Come on you Gunners!

  87. The problem is that when we play a “negative” team like mancity we will have little chance of playing wengerball. The 4-3-3 system works when you have a team which is also confident in their style of football. In Mourinho and Mancini we have managers who look at killing your game not outplaying you. A midfield with only one defensive midfielder will allow them to focus on slowing our flow. With only one striker and obviously Cesc it still doesn’t rule out Diaby, Nasri, Arshavin or Rosicky. I’d prefer Nasri and Diaby to start of the four.

  88. Denilson ——– Song
    Cesc
    Nasri————————- Arsha
    Chamakh

    This will let Song occasionally venture forward , & Denni cover the defence.

    Rosicky, Diaby & Theo to come on in the 2nd half as per the scoreline.

    But I have a feeling Wenger will play Diaby in place of Denilson for his drive & height, which I think he overrates sometimes.

  89. Runerbeaker @ 5:07PM:

    “I wouldnt call Djourou a stay behind defender- Djourou perhaps hasnt done this often but I recall his surges into midfield which at times ended in him loosing the ball and we get caught out on a break. When a defender is backpeddling the advantage always lies with the attacker as he has options to either pass or go for goal. Djourou did exactly that at some point yesterday and lost the ball- result he lost the ball and we were on the back foot. But overall covering of the defence yesterday was excellent- ”

    Don’t recall a particular play that JD got caught out, but overall agree completely with everything you said especially the concern about running backwards towards your own goal and being on the backfoot when our defenders get caught going forward. Fortunately seems like we are seeing much less of that this year. Despite being more cautious we are still scoring goals. Keeping our shape against Man City who have been very stingy with conceding goals will be critical. We will most likely need a clean sheet to get 3 points and may be even to get 1.

  90. Surprising Bill and Zama don’t realise that Gallas and Vermaelen breaking upfield was due to team tactics. In any case, going upfront doesn’t mean you’re a bad defender.

  91. So it seems Rooney wants to leave because he did not get assurances about the Man U squad being improved.

    Seems the shit is really hitting the fan at OT now.

  92. Denilson? Its over. Not good enough. Wilshere has finally ensured his departure.

  93. african fan,
    bet you’ve said that about eboue and/or song, too. just you wait and see, denny will prove you wrong.

  94. African fan – yawn – that’s sooo last season.

  95. I agree with steww!

    Thats was such a boring comment!

  96. Limestonegunner

    Especially since Denilson seems to be playing better this season, since he is healthy, has bulked up, and doesn’t have to play the classic DM role–he is a possession and intercepting player very usefully deployed, in my opinion, against mid-table PL teams with some pretensions toward technical play and in Europe. He is very useful for our squad.

  97. Looks like Howard is doing some “academic work” in Africa?

    Fuck off Howard.

  98. hold your expectations African Fan. I am sure Jack will have a dip in form as well. He’s only a kid, long way to go for him mate!

  99. Ole @ 6:08:

    Agree completely. It seems that in retrospect those may not have been the best tactics for us. Fortunately, looks like we have made some changes. I am confident that over the course of this year it will mean conceding fewer goals without really hurting the type of football we play or decreasing the number of goals we score.

  100. Limestonegunner

    Ole, have our team tactics changed this season when it comes to the back line? If so, then the issue is merely re-framed as a question of which set of tactics is likely to work better for Arsenal instead of a comparison of players. There still is a point about defense to discuss there, it seems.

  101. NOW it seems roon time is up at Manure..what a f*cking c*nt!!
    one difficult season for his club & he packs his bags???

  102. @ mj_gunner

    Agree. Who does Rooney think he is? What about what Man Ure has done for him? What about sticking with the club in good times and in bad? Still, I shall enjoy watching them unravel. This is the first act in a long-running tragi-comedy.
    And by the way, I hope you noticed Chelsea struggling to score at the weekend in the absence of Drogba and Lampard?

    ****
    Denilson for ever! I thought he was excellent yesterday.

  103. True, FG! I even see them dropping out of the top 4 , if he leaves in January.
    As for yesterdays matches, I work late so miss most of midweek matches.. but was following online texts.
    Agree about Chelsea, they’ll need a lot of luck over the next few months to sustain their challenge.

  104. Limestonegunner

    The question regarding ManU is can they maintain CL qualifying results in the PL after selling Rooney? If they use the sale money to pay off the Glazers’ PIK loans, I think not; and the club will decline under Glazer debt. It is perfectly healthy without that–it isn’t transfer spending that has crippled them. If they bring in enough in the sale of Rooney to restock or get good players and cash from Madrid, then it is possible. But they don’t have great quality young players already at the club or about to come up, to replace Rooney, Scholes, Giggs, Van der Saar, do they? Perhaps, serviceable talent but not Wilshere, Ramsey, Gibbs, Bendtner, Walcott quality or JET, Lansbury, Frimpong potential. They will have to learn to adjust to Arsenal style fiscal management and begin developing youth again. Is Fergie on a budget as good as Wenger? We are about to see. This is going to be interesting.

    With the Fair Play rules coming in, they have a chance to do what Arsenal has done the last several years–we’ll see if they can do it and what happens when Fergie leaves.

    In the meantime, the league will be a competition between us and the oiligarch financial dopers, City and Chelsea. If it is to be our time, that time has come. What purpose the sacrifice and patient development if we can’t take advantage when rivals crumble under their debt? Or will we too have to wait for the Fair Play rules to tame the wild spending of City and Chelsea? I would much rather win the league before those rules come in so we could actually say Wengerball proved superior even to the dopers. Now that would be satisfying.

  105. I loved Nasri’s little putting wedge assist for Chamakh. Of course Andy Gray didn’t have a single word to say about it, didn’t even notice it happen I don’t think, and instead chose to berate Chamakh for looking up to see if he was onside.

    We often find ourselves in that position, with the whole defence plus a couple of midfielders all bunched in tight and central in front of the goal. It reminds me of a basketball scenario – lots of static traffic in the way, and it requires something special to unlock. A clever bounce pass through the gap – or in this case, an alleyoop! Loved how Nasri measured it, hardly put anything into it and clipppp….. and then the backspin. Like Phil Mickelson or some such… wonderful. Even if it has got me in a terrible muddle with my sports metaphors….

  106. Andy Gray: “I cannae believe he’s dunnit. I cannae believe he’s looked across at the linesman. You never, NEVER look across at the linesman. If there’s kids watching at home: never, EVER look across at the linesman – just stick the ball in the back of the net. That’s all you should be thinking about.”

    Future England international watching excitedly at home on TV: “Dad, did you see that pass?!”

    Future England international’s Dad, sitting next to him on the sofa: “Shhhh! Son… listen to Gray. You hear Andy Gray? Never, NEVER EVER LOOK AT THE LINO!”

    “But, Dad… the pass…”

    “SHUTIT! LISTEN TO GRAY!! DON’T YOU GO LOOKING AT THAT FACKING LINESMAN OR ELSE!!!”

    “O-o-OK, Dad…”

  107. MEGALOLZ @ THE SPUDS

  108. @ Limpar

    ha ha

  109. Anyone else really quite like Benitez’s Inter right now?
    FORZA NEAZURRI!

  110. That’s what everyone -except for some Arsenal fans- fail to recognize. In this day in age it is not sustainable to live life on the credit card. Your debts will increase much faster and higher than your income, sooner or later you will fall.

    It needed an economy savvy Manger with a vision to realize it before every one else, and that was Wenger. The only way to do it was to expand to generate more income by building a bigger stadium, while in the same time staying away from reckless spending and build a vast younger squad that will last for generations.

    Yes, I know the same old story…We are not winning any titles, we don’t have 22 world stars (whatever that means), etc., etc. Well, I’d much rather see my club going up slowly but surely than rise quickly to it’s demise.

    Even the likes of Chelsea and Man City will have to stop and think about it at some point if they’re not getting any money back or profits. They may win a few title, but the entire concept is wrong. Do you construct a building to last a 100 years, or do you build it to last 20 then crumble on every ones head?

    You can’t tell me that “Abramovich” or “Sheik oils a lot” will continue to lose 100s of millions every year for the next 40 or 50 years…I’d say they can’t even for 10 years, regardless of what money they have banked. It is not sustainable because it’s not logical, it defies the common sense and at some point the Sheik who craps money bags will have to ask himself, why?

    So glad I’m an Arsenal fan, and so glad Arsene is an Arsenal fan too.

  111. ‘Arry for ‘ngland?

  112. hehe Limpar

  113. Limestonegunner

    Tottenham down 1-0, Gomes redcarded and penalty! Welcome to the CL spuds!

  114. They’re getting munched! Townsend is absolutely crestfallen.

  115. Inter 2-0 Spuds! Cudicini on for Modric after Gomes red card!

  116. Oh dear, poor ‘arry 2-0 and 10 men. hahahahahaha

  117. What an entertaining night’s viewing this promises to be. To cap it off, the commentator has just said, hopefully, “well they were 3-0 down in Switzerland.” Yeah. Against semi-professionals. Talk about clutching at straws.

  118. Spurs have to play ONE game against tough opposition and they just fall apart at the seams. What a team, what a squad! What did that van der Vaart guy say about Tottenum?

  119. Limestonegunner

    Inter goes up 2-0, Eto’o with penalty strike. Nice!

  120. And as I write, they go 3-0 down.

  121. Limestonegunner

    Utter humiliation 3-0!!!! Sorry, English media love-in for Tottenham in the CL comes with egg on faces.

  122. what eludes me G4E, is how can personalities like Red Nose miss such common sense.. I mean what was he thinking while splashing 31 million on Berbatov!

  123. 3-0 within 14 min, blow wow!!!

  124. Totts being humiliated… 3-0 down, keeper sent off, and it’s only been 15-20 minutes.

  125. Well, they are 3:0 down, aren’t they?

  126. ‘Are they Tottenham in disguise?’

  127. Can somebody save the Sp*ds? Isn’t there a way to forfeit a match under Fifa regulations? There is not much point for them to continue playing.

  128. Oh I guess everyone else is enjoying this as much as me 😀

  129. Mind you since Benitez is the Inter Milan manager, Spurs do have a chance.

  130. did he really sub Modric or am i misread??!! wasn’t he supposed to be their World Class signing, equivalent to Cesc!

  131. I quite like Modric actually. He’s wasted at sp*rs.

  132. well that’s a quite pretty goal from Messi.

  133. aaaargh – and I’m not at home can’t watch it.

  134. i can understand steww..

  135. They think they are dreaming, look at em, they cant believe it.

  136. There was an italian football expert on the Radio he said the san siro won’t be full tonight because its normally full only when Inter are playing a big team. He also said the Inter fans don’t know anything about Spurs . I don’t they will want to know anything about the Spuds anytime soon.

  137. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

  138. 4:0. Time to go back to the UEFA Cup, Sp*ds.

  139. Hahahahahahaa

  140. is spurs about to loose 4-0 and maybe more??

  141. It’s not even halftime. I wonder if Inter will get bored and just stop trying to score.

  142. they’ll still manage to finish 2nd in the group, Evil.

  143. What’s that tapping noise? Oh… the sound of thousands of sp*ds fans hurriedly deleting the Champions League ringtone from their mobile phones.

  144. @mj_gunner
    Probably, but only because Silvestre will make some sort of mistake in their return leg match against Bremen that will lead to a goal.

  145. 1LC

    they’re just as big as arsenal though.

    fucking bollocks

  146. how is Arry gona spin this.. *twitch* *ttttwitch* *twiiiitch* like a bulb that wants to go off *twitch*

  147. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    LimparAssist,

    Yeah Wavves are based in LA I think now. They just played this festival out here and they sounded terrible live but I do like some of that record. There’s a lot of cool stuff going on out here right now. Check out Abe Vigoda’s new album Crush. It’s ridiculous. Also be on the lookout for Warpaint’s new one in a week or so. They’re amazing.

  148. Good for them EVIL, will keep the kids engaged..

  149. 1 shot in 45 min?!?!

  150. god listening to the halftime report of the Manc game is just absurd. The pundits, and these are morons in the USA mind you, are like being sympathetic towards United. “well, they didnt create a ton in the final third, but they’re up a goal, passed and controlled the ball well, we cant expect a lot more than that” blah blah blah. Arsenal never get this benefit of the doubt in analysis.

    good thing we dont need those twats to help us claim the EPL and CL trophies!

  151. “what eludes me G4E, is how can personalities like Red Nose miss such common sense.. I mean what was he thinking while splashing 31 million on Berbatov!”

    Because he doesn’t care as much about the club’s money MJ, to him or his philosophy is probably like every other manager, you want trophies you pay for them with money you don’t have or pay ridiculous amounts in players like Berbatov, that’s beside the fact he will spend anything to keep building “his” glory…when he retires and the club crumbles, he will say…remember my days?

  152. Thanks for the tip, NJN. Always appreciate a good tip from you. Yeah, really like the Warpaint single on the radio over here at the moment, Undertow? Lovely sound. Check out a London duo called Summercamp, doing similarly lovely things. Singles to give a listen; Round the Moon, and Ghost train.

  153. Glad that Gallas is leading the line petty well for the Stubs or the Smuts (parasitic fungi of the Order Hotspurs, so called because they usually produce large quantities of black spores that resemble a Spud).

  154. According to BBC live text, no English club has lost by 5 goals or more in the Champions League. Sp*rs want to be in the record books, right?

  155. G4E, you are telling me that he’s gonna retire at the end of this season? Though I’d love to see that, but don’t think it’ll happen. It’d be a massive step!

  156. The commentators just mentioned our victory yesterday,Spurs last lost to us. Happy days

  157. Monkey boy scored for spuds. Bah

  158. Gotta admit, that was a very good goal!

  159. Bale is the only player in the Tottnum squad even close to Arsenal quality.

  160. Lennon fluffs another cross ball.
    Does this mean that he is lacking a ‘football brain’?
    Hopefully the Splundits at the beeb will have an answer.

  161. they gonna turn the game and win and it will be horrible to read about it to morrow. mark my words :S

  162. Inter are losing their disciple.

  163. MJ, I don’t think he will retire that easy. People with inflated egos like him will try to defy their expiry date and all the indications that say retire now before it’s too late because they’re deluded with grandeur.

  164. I read – ‘Could that be Spurs’ way back into the gane? The Spurs fans are singing: ‘We’re going to win 5-4!”’

  165. I think it’s a ducks brain you thinking about Finsbury.

  166. well said, I was about to to pick up the Ego thing

  167. This Inter young French guy really reminds me of the great Thierry Henry.

  168. Maria, I couldn’t confuse Pato with Lennon!
    (Pato’s playing well for AC Milan and Brazil according to reports, lots of goals.)

  169. who couthino?

  170. This Brazilian boy is a joy to watch. Hope he scores a couple tonight!!

  171. NJGooner:

    Good luck. Game about to start. I hope we can close you out today. See you tomorrow.

  172. Funny, people are saying we have an easy group as the reason we are scoring so many goals and today the big clubs are struggling with the weaker teams. Apart from Inter that is.

  173. I quite like Wavves now they’ve ditched the noise part and kept the pop stuff. The Best Coast cd’s fun too. Is Becca from Slow Club on the Abe Vigoda record Nasir?

  174. Lol personally everything I see Lennon, I think run along is run along ugly duckling, your chances of turning into a swann will forever be nought.

  175. No Biabiany

  176. Twente 1 up on Bremen. Drew with Inter. They look like the team to knock out the sp*ds for us.

  177. Inter need to find an answer to Bale’s pace down the left he looks like the only player giving Inter any problems the rest just useless.
    Coutinho looks like an Arsenal player his passing and through balls are fantastic. unfortunatelly he is playing for Rafa he needs Wenger to put him in the next level.

  178. Oh. Scrap that. 1-1. And the scorer was a tennis player.

  179. Twente 1- Bremen 1. Not good .

  180. The gloating jinx has struck again.

  181. Surely different to Mourinhio’s Inter. Quite different.

  182. That is why Rafa is a useless manager If I can see that bale was a threat how could he not see it, change tactics a bit and take him out of the game.

  183. Terrible second half display from inter.

  184. bale’s wasted at the spuds.

    Fucking hell, I had all of my taunts ready for my mates at uni tomorow…

  185. Shows if your left exposed as a keeper, chances you will be beaten more often than not. Julio Caesar BTW has been crap on both goals, so much for being “World Class”. I jinxed it by getting to excited. Welcome to Champions league football Sp*ds.

  186. Bale looked wrecked at the end there. Great performance, but surely it’s not very clever chasing a lost cause like that so hard before an early Saturday game.

  187. a 4-3 loss is even better than being hammered, in my opinion, as you start to believe and hope and then it still ends badly rather than being able to say “well, no one showed up to play and we were always going to lose after Gomes went off.” Now the spuds will hit the showers and ‘appy ‘arry will be thinking “if only” this and “if only” that. The loss will eat at them and they will ponder what might have been. If it had been 4-0 then they could have forgotten about it and moved on.

  188. Limestonegunner

    OneofUs, good point. My hope after the first half was merely that Inter hang on and that Tottenham exhaust themselves playing a man down so that they can have a hangover against a hungry Everton side.

  189. That, and inter will shackle bale at the lane and do ’em good and hard. It will be Inter out for revenge despite winning.

    That’s Bale to Barca in january anyway.

    The love in on itv continues. Can their tongue get any mone of harrys poo on it? CAN IT?

  190. shows that inter can be beaten even if they have a huge lead! either that or tottenham is one great team !

  191. The good thing about bale’s hat trick is that Rafa will get his tactic’s book out to deal with Bale because he tend to score the exact same goal everytime. he did score one of those goals against us last season.
    It looks like Inter and the Spuds will go through as the other lot in this group are uselss.

  192. Yes, 1 loose, same goal over and over. Unfortunate that Twente couldn’t hold onto a victory and spurned several gilt-edged chances in the closing ten minutes. They were also robbed of a draw, I think, at White Hart lane by some suspicious refereeing. I really think there is something very strange going on in the media and on the pitch to boost Tottenham. Very dodgy.

  193. God doesn’t Bale just look like a freak of nature?

  194. I don’t know what Bale’s going to be when he’s finished evolving but it’s a bit scary to watch.

  195. Bale looks like an albino version of the apes from the “Planet Of The Apes”.

    Rafa should be ashamed of himself. His team completely lost discipline and focus after half time. And we know for a fact that they can do a lot better than that. I hope the Italian press really have a go at him tomorrow. It’s not even a young side; they’re seasoned pros over there. After they let the spuds score the first goal he should have said something or done something to get his team to get their heads’ out of their asses. Honestly, his team can’t even be relied upon to preserve a 4 goal lead against a 10 man side. AT HOME, no less.

    Nearly completely ruined my evening.

  196. The normal evolutionary tree for Bale would be to evolve into a human in about 3 million years time.

  197. dupsffokcuf I think you’re doing Australopithecus Africanus a great disservice there.

  198. Shakhtar Donetsk defender Darijo Srna insists that Arsenal are better than Barcelona at the moment.

    The Ukrainian club travel to play the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium in a Champions League game between the two sides.

    Shakhtar have played Barca twice in the last two seasons – in the Champions League and the European Super Cup – and the defender believes that their current opponents are a cut above the Catalan crop.

    “They are a very quick squad whose offensive players are really strong and aggressive,” Srna told The Sun. “I would say they are performing even better than FC Barcelona now.

    “But we are also a good squad with strong players. Shakhtar always create lots of attacks but, perhaps, there will be less offensive action here in London

    At least they got one thing right.

  199. LOOOOOOOOOOL

    My sister said he looked like one of the monkeys on that Tetleys advert, which was out a while back.

  200. California Gooner

    Over here in California I’m not quite getting all the hatred Bale is receiving. Yes he’s a Spud; yes he looks like Alfred E. Newman (google that if you don’t know who it is); but what he did today was quite magnificent, and not really that flukish, it seems, either. Gris Gris, there is no way losing 4-0 would have been better for the Spuds. Bale’s hat-trick was definitely a psychological victory of sorts that will give them belief in the return leg. Anyhow — enough said. Maybe it’s all tongue in cheek and I’m missing something here.

  201. That’s a bewildering post, CG. I can’t think of anything to say in reply, other than, “But, he’s a spud”…which should probably be enough.

  202. @CG

    “Yes he’s a Spud”. That is enough for me to hate him.

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