Nasri’s New Deal & Signs Of Momentum Building

Samir Nasri is claiming this morning’s headlines, The Guardian reporting that talks are under way to extend his contract until 2015, his current deal expiring in 2012. This is being tied into his improved form this season but is probably more based on Wenger’s comments last week noting that with contracts nowadays negotiations have to start two years before a deal ends to ensure that players do not have their heads turned by representations of others. Not that a contract means anything to players or clubs; a move can be engineered quite easily by both parties if it suits them.

Not that Nasri does not deserve his place in the side. On current form, the player most at threat when (or should that be if) Robin van Persie returns to full fitness would appear to be Andrey Arshavin. That is based on the assumption that Wenger believes van Persie is back to full fitness and f0rm. And that there are no other injuries, which is perhaps stretching the imagination too far. The observation is double-edged, referring to the Russian’s showings this season but also highlighting how quickly Marouanne Chamakh has settled into the team. Another effective display on Sunday was unrewarded with a goal but nonetheless appreciated by all.

Nasri though has flattered to deceive before, a run of several good games and then becoming ineffective, trying to take the weight of the team on his shoulders proved to be a heavy burden. This time around, he seems to have learned the lessons from last season and is relishing the responsibility. Indeed, he has not stepped back into the shadows following Cesc’s return to the side, instead maintaining his form and producing a diamond display at Eastlands. At the moment, the midfield is functioning efficiently, with Denilson’s inclusion in the side allowing Alex Song the chance to move forwards, rewarded with two goals in two games.

Song was one of the players who is coming in for praise for perceived improvements to his game. The dreaded word ‘maturity’ springs immediately to mind with all of the squad; you expect season-on-season improvements otherwise the player, like Randall, will be moved on, plateauing for more than half a season suggests that they have reached the peak of their abilities.

As Cesc observed, the measure of these improvements is not one game, not even half a dozen. It is the whole of the season. Trophies is a marker, a milestone for the squad but for the individuals, the performances overall are the measurement. Obviously, we all want them to win and that the results are being achieved in the last week with the ‘last choice’ centre back pairings speaks volumes compared to last season. Whilst Djourou has been showing the signs of his long lay-off, that the wins are happening shows harder work throughout the team in terms of defending.

That is going to put to the test in coming weeks with tough away games in Donetsk, Braga, Aston Villa and Everton mixed with Tottenham visiting The Emirates. A solid foundation has been built since the loss to West Brom and wins over Newcastle and West Ham create a momentum that can quickly develop into a formidable run of form. All of these games though are emminently winnable, especially as the next few weeks apparently sees all bar Vermaelen return to fitness; pressure on places in the starting line-up will genuinely exist throughout the squad.

Meanwhile – according to News International sources, I hasten to add – Cesc is learning Russian, responding to Arshavin’s native shout of ‘Give me the ball‘. So what did the our diminutive forward think of that?

I do not know, It happened on the spur of the moment: my words and his pass.

So is he or isn’t he (sounds like an advertising campaign)? I would have thought they would communicate in English, being the common language of the land although given his well-documented desires to play for Barcelona, it would be of little surprise to learn that Arshavin spoke Spanish.

’til Tomorrow

Posted on October 26, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 129 Comments.

  1. All bar Vermaelen 😦 Isn’t he supposed to be made of a metal endo-skeleton? 😦

  2. Morning guys.

  3. Delia-----Block 112

    I didn’t have Nasri printed on my new shirt for nothing. I think it’s called foresight!

  4. Diaby not in the Ballon D’or list.Ridiculous.I think he deserved a shout

  5. There’s absolutely no reason to rush Vermaelen back – let him heal properly and regain his match fitness in low key matches. Squallaci, Koscielny and Djourou will do just fine.

    I was laughing last night when listening to 5 live while driving home. The damn punks were unforgiving that Arsenal refused to let them use their rehearsed script of Man City’s mega bucks and big name players walking over the big teams of the EPL> Fucking idiots. Couldn’t even acknowledge that Arsenal’s superiority is what made City go down to 10 men in the first place. Couldn’t even acknowledge that Cesc, Song and Denilson run the midfield like a nonsense.

    It’s just sad when you constantly see the stupidity of assuming that because someone costs an arm and a leg in transfer fees then they must be top class.

    We don’t need new signings – we just need to do what we’re doing and for our players to keep relatively fit right through the season.

  6. Darius,
    In previous seasons, I’ve felt that we’ve perhaps been a little short here or there. This year though, I feel that so long as we avoid a ridiculous amount of injuries, Cesc and the team could well have their hands on some trophies at the end of this season. It’s an exciting time. And no, this isn’t just post-City excitement – this is genuine optimism that I’ve had since pre-season got started.

  7. Going on from the Dylan converstation yesterday:

    Masters of War
    Blind Willie McTell
    John Brown
    Maggies Farm
    Knockin on Heavens
    Tangled up in Blue

    Are some of my favorites. Loads more, but too many to list. The guy is a genius.

  8. Royal Gooner. I would be surprised if any French player deserves a nomination after the WC2010 debacle involving Anelka, refusal to train, etc. and the poor performances in the group games leading to their early elimination. Why should Diaby be in the Ballon D’or list?

  9. If we manage to keep most of our players fit our squad is probably the strongest in the lge.

  10. Indiangunner/Henristic, thanks for the heads up. I just wish I’d known sooner, it would have saved me plenty of anguish.I did learn my lesson the hard way though.

    Looking foward to tomorrow and a great win from our boys, we havent done a 6-0 win recently,one is due sooner rather than later and i hope tomorrow it happens.

    We cant sing enough praise to Nasri on his recent form, i hope he continues to do better to the end of the season and our title/CL/FA and carling cup as we are going to be challenging on all fronts, what with our depth in squad.


  11. We are going to win something this year, i can feel it. We’re not going to be hit as hard this year by injuries, and even if we are, our ‘second string’ team (particularly our defence) is much improved this year. I have far more confidence in Squillachi and Djourou than an ageing Sol and an ageing ex-manure alien-headed freak.

    With players like Jack coming into the team, Nasri stepping up to his potential, and Chamakh and Koscielny coming in, we’re looking stronger than ever. The other top teams are going to be shitting themselves when their injuries hit, looking at their second string teams – whereas we’ll still have selection headaches, even if we’ve got injuries… Lovely stuff.

  12. A big team has got to spoilt for choice. And we are getting to that level where we may not miss a player too much. No Vermaelen and the defence is performing. Cesc was out and the midfield was holding. RVP injured and the strikers are scoring. That’s what makes a good team. A large squad that handle the odd absence.

  13. Why do pundits over-use cliches such as “we are 2 players short of a winning team”? Latest is Mark Bright. It’s absolute nonsense and just reflect the fantasy football mentality of assembling rather than building a winning team.

  14. Luke,
    Royal Gooner was referring to Diaby’s talk a couple of weeks ago…

  15. Thanks avaris15. Perhaps it will be Diaby’s year next year. 🙂

  16. Luke,
    Don’t let yourself get wound up by it all.
    Do you think we have the personnel to challenge on all fronts this season? Next season? The one after?
    These guys are just paid to write their opinions, that’s all.
    Arsenal will do their talking on the pitch.
    Truth be told, it’s unbelievable that he’s encouraging us to become a Man City, yet we beat them pretty well at the weekend. Can’t he see that we’re doing things the right way?

  17. And yes, I’d love to see it. First, he needs to show the consistency needed to be a contender.
    At least they recognised that absolutely no English player deserved to be on the shortlist.

  18. Diaby has had so many chances.Its time to show him the boot and get a no nonsense midfielder.All he does is lose possession at crucial areas,which result in us getting caught on the counter.But knowing Wenger,Diaby would feature once he is back.

  19. I believe we are two players short.One world class goal keeper like Stekelenburg,one genuine winger.
    My suggestions would be
    Out:Diaby (Jan),Djourou(next summer).Denilson can come handy against some inferior teams.
    In:Stekelenburg,Hazard/Afellay and promote Nordveit.

  20. Crest – Diaby and Djourou out? Really? That is suprising.

    Geo –

    “I have far more confidence in Squillachi and Djourou than an ageing Sol and an ageing ex-manure alien-headed freak.”

    This, all day long.

  21. avaris15

    I dream of the day when Arsenal will be admired all over for the football that we play. There will be more and more teams emulating the way we play and calling themselves the Arsenal of Spain, Italy, Germany, etc., including our red and white strip.

  22. I love how Fàbregas completely eschews the overexcitement and half-cocked furore whipped up by the media after each result; the massive pendulum swings of opinion after winning or losing a game.

    He says he knows exactly what will be said of the team after a win (‘they’ve matured, toughened up’), and exactly what will be said after a defeat (‘they’re weak and young’) – and he just doesn’t buy into it. It’s a serene state of mind he’s built for himself – no doubt with AW’s help, and one that’s quickly recognisable in many of his team mates (and many on ACLF!). I think it’s very healthy for our game as it allows a player to express himself free of the fear of f*cking up. I think that’s massively important to us winning things.

    It’s something that you see lots of other footballers get sucked into. The apologetic nodding, agreeing with some know-nothing chump as he tells them why they’ve just lost a game, and how the title is slipping away from them – in a string of clichés. The England team springs immediately to mind. They spend so much of the game worrying about losing that they don’t leave any time to think about their next pass, and how to win the game. I am very glad of this Arsenal attitude, this fuck ‘em all, concentrate on our own game attitude. I think it could be very important.

  23. Djourou is shit.One half decent performance wouldnt change it.Whenever I see his name on the line up,I can sense a couple of goals against us.However,he is better than Silvestre.

  24. Arsene mustn,t overplay Nasri this season as he, Samir is a crucial player for Arsenal and needs to be rested regularly as it,s long season still ahead ,there are other good players who can come in for him whilst he,s rested ,Ramsey,Wilshere,Denilson,Lansbury ,Arshavin ,Diaby.

  25. Luke,
    I think we’re already establishing that sort of reputation. It’s easy for me to say being here in the UK, but I’m pretty sure there are supporters and players alike across the world that wish their team could play like Arsenal.

    It’s always great to see his calm level-headedness at the end of a game. He knows one result is only a grain of sand in the desert of football games he will ever play. But at the same time, you know that he’s enjoyed it – without him gloating about it or looking down at people. He (and indeed, most of the team) have absolutely got the English media sussed. They’re very modest, and it’s always good to see our players (English or foreign) talking more sense (and in better English) than their English counterparts… if you get what I mean. There’s always a sense of classiness about our player, on and off the pitch.

  26. Poll is talking nonsense. Wenger doesn’t have a psychological battle with referees to win. All he did was raising awareness. Is ex-referee Poll saying that the premiership referees are a bunch of spineless officials unable to carry out their duty that they have sworn to perform?

  27. Samuel,
    Don’t you feel that we have adequate cover in every position so that we are not weakened by having a “second string” player in their place?
    I agree with you that although we need Nasri to have a rest here and there. But don’t you feel comfortable in the knowledge that we’ve got the players you mention waiting to step in and show what they’ve got?

  28. Luke,
    That’s exactly what they are.

  29. Why is Graham Poll spouting sh1t about Arsenal being awarded a number of penalties and numerous players being sent off against us. He says that AW is winning the psychological battle with refs. Why does he not say that we hardly received any penalties last season after the Eduardo witch-hunt. As far as I can remember, the red-cards against us were deserved as were the penalties, even the “dodgy” Chamakh one. Rather than being due to AW’s mind games perhaps the stats are due to us being the most attacking team in the league and also the most fouled against.

  30. I like Djourou, he has everthing in his locker to be a top player. Strong, aggresive, fast. He does lack concentration at times though.

  31. Shit Crest…

    I suppose you thought Fabianski was shit too? Or how about Bendtner?

    It’s quite saddening to see such a supporter feel the need to unnecessarily insult one of our players. If Djourou was English you would be raving about his potential right?

  32. Minutes from Mission Control:

    “What shall we do with these petty plundits? The Townsends, the discreet sp*ds at the B**b. Can I kick them?” asks Little Jack, the Peacemaker.
    El Capitan, grizzled by a summers campaign in the (24 hour news cycle) trenches, reflects upon his own triumuphs (many) and mistakes (very few):

    “The answer my friends,
    is fuck ’em all”.

  33. Darius:

    “There’s absolutely no reason to rush Vermaelen back – let him heal properly and regain his match fitness in low key matches. Squallaci, Koscielny and Djourou will do just fine.”

    We are a far better team defensively with Vermaelen that without. So far this season our defensive form has been inconsistent to say the least – and while the clean sheet at eastlands was the first away clean sheet in 10 months – I feel it had more to do with Fabianski’s outstanding performance than anything Djourou did. The two Silva saves and stopping Ade’s header were truly top class saves – which just evermore highlights the impact a top keeper can have on our game. Imagine if such GK excellence was a norm as opposed to exception to our game?

    “We don’t need new signings – we just need to do what we’re doing and for our players to keep relatively fit right through the season.”

    A gentlemans bet with you good sir – I believe that Wenger will add 2 players in January. I think he’ll bring in a GK and another defensive addition.

    As for RvP replacing Arshavin – RVP has missed over 75% of league games since his arrival at this club some 6 years ago through injury. I think he’ll be wrapped in cotton wool and only played against technical teams with Chamahk/Bendy being used in the physical broils. While Arshavin fluctuates from the Sublime to the ridiculous at times – I think Wenger is right when talks about his overall effectiveness in providing assists and scoring. If anyone has to make way for RvP – It’ll be Chamahk and not Arshavin IMO.

    Sundays result was just great especially when we consider who we missed. Cesc, Nasri and Fabianski were just outstanding. I thought the maturity we showed in retaining possession and controlling the game was very encouraging.

    It was also refreshing to watch a match being refereed properly for a change.

  34. Apologies.It wasnt aimed at you.

  35. However,I agree that Diaby and Djourou are shit.How I wish we had better players.But Wenger has his own policies,and he wont compromise his ego even if its at the expense of our team’s success.

  36. Very funny… someone has stolen my name.. I wonder who it can be?

  37. Oh my! Was even that sad to nick my avatar!!! hahahahahahaaaa

  38. Who is this mug,who is posting in my name?

  39. Some people really have too much time on their hands.

  40. Fuck off Highbury crest

  41. goonerandy

    Or somebody who is defeated and cannot back their posts… I must have really annoyed him!

  42. I sort of agree with Joe re Vermaelen. We have 3 decent CB’s right now so easing him back into fitness will be best. Maybe a couple cup runouts will be enough with Vermaelen. When he is back, the CB 1st choice pairing is gonna be one big headache for Wenger.

  43. Hello AIC,

    Agree with the comments in relation to Poll and the number of penalties given against us last season.

    To my mind – the fact that were getting more protection this season is a shift in domestic refereeing policy for two reasons:

    (1) I think there’s now a tacit acceptance since the dismal world cup performance that if the national team are to progress in future – then the technical aspects of the game are to be promoted over the traditional physical attributes. IE – the national team will have a better chance at winning something if they learn to align their game alongside the spanish/brazilian style of play which is why the media fawn over emerging talents like Theo/Wilshire. In the past I have called for a more physical presence in the team but this was when we received no protection whatsoever from the establishment.

    (2) If Englands bid for the World Cup is to be successful – then the existing refereeing standards will also have to be more aligned with what is acceptable to the European and South American regimes which will most likely mean less physical interaction but more diving/cheating.

  44. Why anyone takes Poll’s comments seriously I don’t know. He was a poor ref at best and is now an even poorer punidt – if that’s what he is now… Why can’t we get Pierluigi Collina to give us his analysis?

  45. I have watched this game at least three times. It was a top class performance. So many of the players showed strength in this game. Cesc found it quite amusing that he was the man of the match particularly since he missed the penalty. That refusal to accept the opinions of the press demonstrates the maturity of our squad led by the captain.

  46. Dont worry guys England dont love the Arsenal but I heard from talk sports dutch correspondent on Fri that we are the favourites premiere league club of most of europe. Not chelsea or united.

    I see that people have convinced themselves that Wenger will buy in January. I say move on, he never said he was going to buy anyone. stop setting yourselves up for certain dissapointment. Frankly, You are free to continue but I would prefer not to hear about it when it doesnt go you way.

  47. I think TV5/Squillachi will the the preferred partnership. Kos and Djourou are both good players, but Squillachi is more of a leader and organiser. He should compliment TV5 very well I think.

    I am pretty happy with any combination from all 4 players though, and it is a long time since I have felt that.

  48. @ ChrisGoona (the real one)
    It was Darius who said no need to rush back Vermaelen. Joe was quoting him in order to disagree with him.

    Nice post, YW. Nasri deserves what will no doubt be a big fat contract extension.

  49. It’s amazing to think that we’ve picked not one, but two gems from nowhere. When we lost Toure, then Gallas, Silvestre and Sol, I think people were very worried about our defensive situation, but it’s turned completely around. Much like you goonerandy, it’s a long time since I felt so sure and confident about our centre backs.

  50. I too love the evidence of the players not setting too much store by what critics say. TW said that as well when Waddle and Hansen had a go at him, didn’t he?

    Very excited abotu tomorrow’s game – I know AW wants to put out a strong team, but given his praise for JET and Lansbury, is it too much to hope they will start, rather than be on the bench? The Newcastle game would suit them both, I think.

  51. And agree about the CBs – in fact the same could be said about the strength of the whole squad. No weak links anywhere.

  52. FunGunner,

    I dont JET will start tomorrow. We have 3 forwards (Theo, Big Nic & Vela) who are in serious need of minutes and tomorrows game up north will be perfect for them.. JET may come off bench for the final 20-30mins.

    I’m expecting Lansbury to start tho.. His performance at Lane deserves it..

  53. Thank FunGunner… sorry then Joe, I have to disagree!

    I hope Bendtner gets a run out tomorrow, Theo, and Lansbury also.

  54. It is ironic that after years of critisism for not having enough English players, the likes of Wilshere/JET/Gibbs/Theo will probably all be main players for Arsenal. And possibly the national side as well.

    Personally I could not care less where the players come from as long as they are good enough.

  55. Joe are insinuating we are divers/cheaters?You sound like a stoke fan in disguise

  56. What is all this about Arshavin teaching the players to speak Russian on the pitch? I cannot seem to find anything about it.

  57. Interesting times ahead- we now have quite a few English players coming up and as a squad we look alot more solid and better equipped not for the PL & CL but also FA&Carling. Overall we have had numerous first teamers out without seeing much of an impact on the team. The most impressive so far has to be Jack Wilshere- given his age and how he has perfomed he has been like a £30 mill plus signing for us. Most effective player- Chamak- everything seems to be happening through him. Nasri has taken the leadership mantle and with him in the side missng Cesc has not been that keenly felt. And of course Cesc- when he players even below par he is still influences all our games. When he is out we can now cope without him.
    Aside from Jet/Lansbury/Chucks/Afobe who appear to be certainties for the first team- we also have extremely talented and competent players in the like of Nordveit, Maiguel, Sunu, Watt(though he is not getting playing time at leads). And of course RAMBO- this is a super talented player!!!!!!! Another £30 mil plus player.

  58. I don’t really see a big difference in the refereeing recently to be honest. A few of the ref’s (like Clattenberg) are brave enough to make the big desicions, and some are not. A good example is a few pens have been given for holding in the box at set pieces.

    We have had players sent off against us simply because it was the correct desision. All very simple.

  59. Darius,

    Yes – I listened to Radio 5 Live last night with mounting rage. The gobshite Ian McGarry took great delight in pouring opprobrium on arsenal’s title challenge, citing last years failure from March; What he failed to mention of course were the injuries to all of our best players in that period. Then, the city result was dismissed as being irrelevant and what followed after that, when they were supposed to be talking about us and the northern mancs, was a sycophantic love in of the chavs, who to my reckoning have had 7 easy games bar Arsenal and Manchester City. For some reason praise was being heaped upon them for beating Wolves at the weekend, for reasons that I cannot fathom.

  60. The anti arsenal is not only happening in England I’m afraid. I was looking the match on French TV and before the match they said the question about this match was wether Man city could win with a clear margin or just a narrow win! During the game one of the commentator was desailly and he just kept going on how Arsenal were weak and once he was proved wrong he said that this win could not be seen as convincing because Man city was down to 10 men!

    As for the Carling cup tie for me the real question will be who will be named in defence. As we are still a bit short with Vermalen still out and Kocsielny’s fitness a question mark, will Wenger pick in the reserve team to make his CB partnership or will he rest one of Djourou or Squillaci and bring Koscielny back in the team?
    In attack, I agree that JET might find it hard to get a starting place with Vela, Bendtner and Walcott all needing some precious playing time.

  61. I have a bad feeling about tomorrow’s game.

  62. I don’t. We are in good form and seem very focused, we will be too good for them.

  63. I think tomorrow’s game is going to be tough but we’ll win by a decent margin by the end..

  64. Tomorrow will only be difficult if we have the wrong approch to the game. Newcastle are a decent side but will not be able to live with our movement and speed if we are on the ball. We need to be clinical and put them to the sword quickly.

  65. Morning/Afternoon All,

    good post YW! Samir’s rise to prominence is great to watch. Thinking back to some of the huge goals he scored early in his arsenal career (brace @ Old Trafford) it is nice to see him emerge into one of our talismanic figures in the side.

    And I’ll tell ya what, he’s Arsenal through and through. You doubt me? Watch a replay of his goal from Sunday and focus on his celebration. Pure jubilation — similar to my reaction and I’m sure yours!

  66. Agree that our defending has been better this year and like all of you I feel much better about our CB’s. Most important we are playing with more intelligence and organization in the back. Other then WBA our GK has also been much better. Despite the fact that we are currently in 6th position in the table in goals conceded, this year has a different feel then the last few years. I suspect 3 or 4 clubs will pass us as they go down the table and we go up. The “naivety” that characterized our performances of years past seems to be much less of an issue. Props to Wenger and staff. We still have issues with inconsistency and occasional lapses in concentration. Way to early to claim victory yet regarding Fabianski but perhaps he will become the GK that we have been lacking and will rescue us when we do make the occasional defensive mistake. Hopefully this weekends clean sheet will be a spring board to even better things to come.

    This squad has excellent depth and is technically the best in the PL. This squad however has a much better balance of strength and technique then previous squads. Still a long way to go and if we can avoid that trap of mental and physical let downs we have a great chance to win the league.

  67. Newcastle seems to be on a purple patch. The league cup seems to throw up sum mid-table side every season, probably due to the increased importance for those teams. Yes we are on a high ATM, but already I smell over-confidence on the path of fans (not to be confused with defiance, which is warranted). If that creeps into the side, or into Le Boss’s starting selection, we could as well see FAR to many changes to the side tomorrow. Now I firmly believe in the capability of our second string (incl. the likes of Gibbs, Nordvelt, Eastmond, Lansbury, and JET(oh how I love that kid!!)), I can’t help but feel that a communication gap will arise if the changes are wrung throughout the team. A left flank comprising of Gibbs and Vela, for example, is highly expected. and though the players are brilliant, I don’t remember the last time they played a match together. I fully expect a front three of Vela, B52, and Theo, but then I expect a midfield comprising of a solitary senior player (probably Denilson) and two youthful players. Make no mistake, nasri WILL get a rest, so will arshavin, Cesc and Song. If Koscielny starts, That will leave us with Rosicky Denilson and Djourou as the only people keeping their place in the starting line-up. that leaves the most probable line up tomorrow as :

    Hmm…start to wonder what the heck I was worried about.

  68. Oh dear, half term is upon and children are out to play. Nicking IDs is puerile and as such has already seen one person consigned to Spam from which they will not be released.


  69. Bill,

    my polite and deserving friend. I read your post yesterday, thank you for your kind words and I want to extend my most sincere congratulations to you and your Rangers. I didn’t want to post my response bc it was late in the day and I didnt want you to miss and think that I had ignored you.

    Honestly I must say, the loss was much easier to take knowing that you were on the other side. I’m certain I would’ve been more pissed off than just disappointed, so thank you!

    And honestly congrats. you guys deserved it. You beat us 4 times by 5+ runs. Thats no fluke in my book.

    Good luck, enjoy the WS.. and you thought “playoff” baseball was fun! I hope you get to go to a game!

    and you know what.. Go Rangers

  70. Limestonegunner

    Runebreaker, I thnk it is too early to declare that Nasri’s leadership has meant we haven’t missed
    Cesc too keenly this season. I am encouraged like you by Wilshere’s development and Nasri’s emergence. But our results suggest we haven’t proven our credentials without Cesc and that we do still rely on him–remember Sunderland and West Brom, two games I believe we were missing his leadership in. And the draw to Liverpool also looks like an opportunity missed when Cesc was out. I am glad he is back, since he tends to make players around him better.

  71. James pratting around again I see.

  72. Sixtay,

    the boss seems to have your concerns in mind as well. Just seen a video on the .com where he says 80% first team.

    The big question for me, one which I’ve tried posing with little response (***clears throat loudly***) is why would we bother taking fabianski out of goal? Unless we are going to field a much weakened defense (which I dont really see with boss supposing Koscielny will start) why not just leave the Pole in goal? He’s on the form of his life, why not? Now if he had a terrible game and his confidence was ruined, surely I’d eat my words.

    But given how is recent successes can be no doubt attributed to a consistent run in the team, why stop him now?

    There should be a disclaimer that comes with this post: I desperately want to see Tech 9 in action for us.

  73. does anyone else genuinely feel that Cesc should win Ballon D’Or?

    What did he finish with in all comps? Something like 19 goals and 15 assists? Something crazy like that.

    I consistently argue for him as one of the 3 best players in the world. And without a doubt the best midfielder. Not even a question there, for me at least.

  74. Bill – I agree about Fabianski. He still has a lot of work to do to prove himself, but he is doing all the right things at the moment to do so. For me, it is not about the good saves that he makes, they are a bonus. It is about looking steady and assured, making good desicions, and being generally error free.

  75. NJGooner:

    Thanks, I am absolutely stoked about going to the World Series games. I have tickets to all 3 home games. I wish it would just get started. The waiting is killing me.

    I have no doubt the Yankees will be back next year. New ownership and an energized fan base for my team and I suspect this will not be the last playoff series between the 2 teams.

  76. Chelsea’s December fixture list


    As long as we keep up with them till Late november, we could well be three points clear come January!!

  77. NJ – Cesc will not win that award until the team wins something I reckon. It should not be linked, but does seem to be. Although he did win the Word Cup he was not a starter in the team.

    In a few years he might. The whole award is stupid anyway; Henry never won it despite being the best footballer on the planet for 3 years running.

  78. Bill,

    great to hear! enjoy!!

    and yes, as tom petty says, the waiting is the hardest part (forgive me..)

    Lee vs Lincecum has me foaming at the mouth!

  79. Andy:

    Clearly the steady and assured is the critical point and I would take that every day over the occasional great save. The great saves are a bonus but over the course of a season can make a big difference. Fergie has many times talked about EVDS making game changing saves. Saving Silva’s early shot and not giving a rebound was truly a game changer and all credit to Fab for what he has done so far. Still a long way to go but may be this is what he has been doing on the training pitch for the last couple of years.

  80. I love NY..Tech9 also needs games, being as he is the current number two, i cant begrudge him tomorrow’s game.

  81. Sixtay at 2:32 pm,
    That’s because you are a Newcastle supporter!
    No overconfidence here, I think. The usual exuberance after a good win against tough opposition. Why wouldn’t Arsenal supporters be riding a bit of a high? The media and pundits and establishment never thought The Arsenal would win at Citeh so the fact of the matter only makes everything a little bit sweeter. You do get the sense that the victory represents a bit of a hump that the squad has gotten over, now it is up to the rest to maintain the momentum.
    Judging by the articles on Tech 9 will be starting. I think this is the correct decision. Fabianski will gain massive confidence from being “that” keeper now, the one who is rested mid-week because there is another big PL game on the weekend. He has stepped up a notch, now he needs to continue it.
    By the way, I was having a laugh reading an article about the upcoming CC game. The article suggested that Bendtner, Walcott, Gibbs, and Koscielny would all get playing time along with whatever “youngsters” Wenger selected. I laughed because the players mentioned are certainly not old players! This got me thinking, what is the oldest lineup Wenger could start with of the current first XI. It is as follows (players are in the positions they are listed in on :
    Sagna – Squillaci – Vermaelen – Clichy
    Eboue – Rosicky – Fabregas (barely older than Nasri)- Arshavin
    RVP – Chamakh

    Average age of this XI? 27.45 years! Now that is impressive.

  82. Bill – It probably is; I have said for a long time that he is more than likely great in training. It was under match conditions that he was making crazy desicions and horrendous errors. If he has cut that out of his game he may well become a very good keeper. Even when he does make a mistake (as all keepers do) as long as he gets back to current form it is not an issue.

  83. NJGooner:

    I assume NJ means New Jersey. Are you also a NY Giant fan? Even though I am from Texas, I did not grow up here and I have to admit to a long standing hatred of the Dallas Cowboys and I secretly am smiling about their troubles and enjoyed the game last night. Saw a great bill board on the freeway the other day. It said “Nolan please buy the Cowboys”.

  84. Gris Gris

  85. The key to putting ourselves in a good position to win the title is winning the next 3 games.

    We’re playing West Ham (H), Newcastle (H) and Wolves (A). In that period, Man Utd play Spurs and Man City. Chavs play Liverpool, Blackburn….

    It’s a real opportunity to go top.

    In November we play Everton (A), Spurs (H), Villa (A)…..

  86. First Lady –

    I like how you’ve simplified my name and avatar into simply I<3NY haha. I was more posing the question of should Fabianski be rested as he is on the form of his life. But I mostly agree with you, we cannot begrudge Tech 9 this game. I'm sure he will be foaming at the mouth to prove himself.

  87. In December all the teams have tough fixtures

  88. Newcastle have looked shaky at home and are unlikely to field a full strength team. Football throws up all sorts of results but we should really have no trouble beating Newcastle. I reckon we should win easily but if we approach the game with complacency then we will only have ourself to blame.

  89. Bill,

    Yes, NJ means “New Jersey” but alas I am not a Giants fan, at least primarily. My mother was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (where I currently am now) and my Grandfather is on the board of directors for the Green Bay Packers (he also has a Super Bowl ring!) and as such have been a life long Packer fan. I’m not sure if you watched, but I was actually at the very exciting Sunday night game against the Vikings!! But the Giants are my second team, given my geographic heritage, and screw the Cowboys.. so we’re on the same page there!

  90. @Ole Gunner: You are right…but (I dear say) chelsea seems to be faltering against tougher opposition. They lost to Man U (CS), were lucky to draw with aston villa, lost to Shitty, and only beat us after a freak first goal provided them the opportunity to shut up shop!

  91. With the Sunderland game meaning so much to them I wouldn’t be suprised to see the barcodes rest over half their first team. People like Tamas Kadar given a go instead of Coloccini. Nolan, Barton, Gutierrez rested for Guthrie, Smith and Lovenkrands. Carrol (*spits*) rested for Ameobi.

    Should be a good, open, entertaining game. I think we’ll win 6 – 0.

  92. LOL. It sounds optimistic Limpar, but if Newcastle do rest their main men, then I wouldn’t rule out such a thumping!! Eagerly awaiting.

  93. After the 80% comment from AW I really can’t guess the line-up… but that’s not going to stop me from saying:

    – – – – – – – – Sczesceny
    Nordveit Squillaci Koscielny Gibbs
    – – – – – – – – – – Denilson – – – – – — – – – –
    – – -Lansbury – – – — – – Diaby – – – – –
    Walcott – – – – – – – – – – – – – Rosicky
    – — – – – – – – -Bendtner

    Subs: Vela, JET, Song, Eboue, Djourou, Nasri, Fabianski

    Maybe starting with Nasri ahead of Lansbury right from the off – being as he’s such a leader at the moment.

  94. Gotta be optimistic, avaris15!

  95. LA,
    I have a feeling Vela will start tomorrow.. He had played a reserve game last week..

  96. I would go with:

  97. With Eastmond also fit, it can be anyone’s guess..

    I would go for
    Theo-Big Nic- Vela

  98. lets not underestimate Newcastle, they were brilliant against Chelsea in the last round. although Chavs were 2nd string, still they were palaying in front of their home crowd. I saw that game & I reckon Ameobi can prove to be quite a haandfull. Concentration in defence & we’ll sail through!

  99. So Vela was injured?

  100. I guess since his jumping on every one’s back!

  101. what the heck!

  102. Interesting lineups you are all putting forward. I wonder if the decision to include Koscielny will mean a more “serious” cb pairing alongside djourou instead of nordveit. I would be surprised to see Koscielny/Squillachi.

    Cham and Nasri definitely rested tomorrow.

    Is Diaby fit? was surprised not to see him at the weekend, but i thought denilson proved he was the man for the job.

    My guess

    ——————-Tech 9——————-



  103. Highbury crest, Man U would give their left bollock to have Johan Djourou as cover for CB instead of Evans, and you know it.

  104. A R S E N A L
    What more can you say?

  105. I wouldn’t want to see more than 3-4 regular players on the pitch tomorrow, even if that means we lose the game. The carling cup has been a platform for guys like Ramsey, Bendtner, Diaby, Denilson, Wilshere, Vela, to get some matches when they weren’t part of the first team. It’s something for them to look forward to while playing in the reserve matches. So let the young guns, have their go tomorrow, regardless of the outcome.Such matches means a lot more to the younger players, and to me at least we would be robbing them of their right to play in the only big competition they play whole season. And frankly, who gives a fuck about Carling Cup, let the boys have their day out.

    And it would be extremely stupid to lose some of the regular players, through injury tomorrow.

  106. Ateeb

    AW has said 80% first team tomorrow. So i think the youngsters we’re likely to see tomorrow include lansbury, tech 9, maybe nordveit in the starting lineup, along with JET on the bench.

  107. Nj,

    I hope Arsene wasn’t serious about it.

    Who are the youngsters that are fighting for a place in the team tomorrow? JET, Tech 9, Gibbs, Lansbury…..who else is there?

  108. AW has it right its better to give the 1st team squad players some game time against new castle at home, with our squad now bulging with players recovering from injuries.. and give the reserve youngsters a chance later in the competition in home games rather than risk an away loss like chelsea did with the toons.. With ramsey, verm and rvp still to recover having more cups to maintain match fitnees for the whole squad is essential..

  109. Whatever happened to “we’re going to play our kids no matter who the opposition” principles we’ve been following for the past few years? Or was that just a dummy, to take attention off our lack in squad depth in those years, which now seems to have been covered?

  110. You could see it that way Ateeb but because of the overwhelming injuries of the past seasons we now have more players of a high quality for each role than any club in the country.. players need to play games to be happy..

    from this season it should be harder for younger players to break into the main squad with more players covering each role..

  111. I’d rather see Wenger do what is best for Arsenal.

  112. You’re probably right KS, just that given our injury record, and competing in three other competitions, I would expect the regular players to get minutes on the pitch with ease. Theo and Bendtner perhaps need game time to find fitness and form, but apart from that everyone is getting their minutes, except maybe Denilson. Our depth in squad though seems to have improved vastly, and surely, the carling cup in the last few years played a great role in developing players, allowing them to slot in with relative ease when need be. Perhaps an easier opposition in the next round, and we may see order restored.

    Whats with this negative vibe against Vela in the blog sphere? He’s not even playing ffs. Is he the new Denilson/Song?

  113. Let’s all spare a thought for poor Frimpong, he’d have been a probably starter for tomorrow.

  114. Ive been noticing that also Ateeb, regarding Vela.
    Wenger said that Vela “Was back” in the interview so I am thinking he had a little injury or some issue.

    Vela is class!

  115. Geez, forgot about Frimpong Vince!!

    what a team!!!

  116. Paul N

    Perhaps it was punishment for his indiscretions whilst on international duty – after all, it was around the time that Jack was in the press for the wrong reasons and maybe AW felt he had to clamp down?


  117. Sixtay, no link I just looked at their birthdays and added up the ages and divided by 11.

    Ateeb, they are kids! It’s just that you are so used to seeing them that they seem like they are mature beyond their years.

  118. Never thought of that YW, that makes sense.

  119. This is a good vid of the reserve team vs west ham reserves

  120. thanks PaulN, really enjoyed it.. I know these are just highlights, but still I can make out that we must have completely dominated the game!

  121. Where is eastmond?manure are thru’ and am really beginning to hate their orbatan related to silvestre by any chance?

  122. Obertan’s terrifying, he has a cashew nut for a head. Looks a bit like something out Abe’s Odyssey if anyone ever played that. Our reserves are definitely a cut above Utds, they had to put Sinead O’Connor on just to beat Wolves.

  123. Good balanced article.
    Despite all the applauds Chelsea are getting, this guy in his article is saying that Chelsea with their 5 points lead they are in no better position in fact they should have done better considering they have played 6 0f the 9 games against the lower sides mostly at home and collected only 4 points from the harder games. I remember Chelsea struggling away from home last season and I’m expecting the same this season. They have only played 3 away games out of the 9 games so far while Arsenal played 4 away games including some tough places (Blackburn , Chelsea, Man City, Sunderland ,Liverpool) I’m quite delighted with the way things are going. look at this fixture list that awaits Chelsea in December (Everton Spuds, United, Arsenal ) people might look at the Arsenal fixture and think that is 3 points for Chelsea but I just have a feeling we are going thump them in this game. They were lucky we did not finish our chances but the one at the Emirates will be a different story. hopefully we will have RVP, Fabregas and Vermaelen in the side. it will make up for all the defeats against them.

  124. arsene’s always played sub players from the weekend in carling cup matches. people trying to say he’s changed his policy for the cc are wrong. it’s just that our subs have more experience now

  125. I think Robson has mentioned this a couple of times, but I will repeat it the best youngsters are on loan at the moment so Arsene has been forced to play more recognised names. It is also a great chance to win a trophy, since most of the top teams are out. I personally was very happy with the line-up we saw against the Spuds. Long may it continue and fingers crossed for tomorrow.

    Vela to score a hat-rick tomorrow.

    And no Vela isn’t the new Song his WAY WAY attractive to become ever become a scapegoat.

    (We all know guys like Joe, AIC and Bill secretly pine for his ‘chips’)

  126. Rather than fall into the trap of believing the media, actually add up how many changes were made from the prem team for the spuds cc game. Look at how many ‘first teamers’ were actually just back from injury and you see the policy has not changed one iota. The elephant in the room is that our squad is so deep and richly talented that even our cc team looks superb.

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