Carling Cup Preview: Are Wigan-er Win This Competition?

Wigan may pitch up at The Emirates this evening but if they do, will anyone else with weather warnings being issued. Arsenal have told everyone to plan as if the match is going ahead and so we shall.

Tonight’s visitors are no strangers to Arsenal in this competition. Recent seasons have seen them win 2005/06’s semi-final and lose in the fourth round in 2008/09. Their record at Arsenal though is less impressive, having lost every visit, not having scored since February 2007s Premier League defeat.

Arsene is not taking the tie lightly and will field a side similarly strong to that which took the field in the impressive victories at Tottenham and Newcastle. He has several decisions within that to make though. Manuel Almunia has returned to full training and might consider this to be a stepping stone to regaining his place as Arsenal’s Number One.

However, Szczesney did nothing wrong at Newcastle once he had got over his initial nerves. It might be considered a slap in the face were he not to be selected for this fixture. Indeed, whilst Almunia needs the matches to regain sharpness, Szczesny merits inclusion. In the past, Wenger has used these fixtures to keep his goalkeeping No.2 in shape but at the moment, that position in the squad must be considered up for grabs.

Elsewhere tonight is the perfect opportunity to give Robin van Persie a start. Having warmed the bench recently and trained in the interim, the Dutchman needs a sharpner to be ready for the Premier and Champions League fixtures. Were that to happen, the front trio would not be out of place in either of the more senior competitions, presumably Bendtner and Walcott will start as well.

With those changes in mind, I would expect a line-up along the lines of:

Szczesny; Eboue, Djourou, Nordtveit, Gibbs; Denilson, Eastmond, Nasri; Walcott, Bendtner, van Persie

The more experienced members of the squad can be available on the bench. With Squillaci apparently suffering from knee-knack playing Djourou and Koscielny this evening makes little sense, the risk of injury should preclude the younger Frenchman’s involvement beyond a place on the bench.

Wenger observed that he was taking the tie seriously, that every competition was there to be won. Undoubtedly it is and looking at the remaining teams in this competition, the players Wenger has been using are more than a match for any of them if on top of their game.

It is the attitude which Arsene sought to emphasise:

I know their attitude is spot on, I know they have the quality

The win at Villa Park and more to the point, the overall performance, displayed the vastly overused hyperbole, of ‘character’. Mentally, the team were deflated by consecutive defeats but those cobwebs were shaken collectively and in fairness, the margin of victory should have been greater.

Whilst there is a media perception that the team is ‘brittle’, it is not necessarily the truth. Pulling defeat from the jaws of victory is not unique to Arsenal as Chelsea’s recent defeats prove. It is however, not fashionable to commend Arsenal and too many are ready to accept this as Gospel. Time for that to change.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ’til Tomorrow.

Posted on November 30, 2010, in Arsenal, Carling Cup, Football, Premier League, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 301 Comments.

  1. I agree with your post.

  2. People go on about deficiencies regarding our defence but when you look seriously below that negativityand compare our defence vis-a-vis the other teams which are considered as having better defences you realize that we aren’t doing too badly.

  3. Vela will play on the left, no room for brentner, kozer will start for def as wenger wants to win something, you wont see sammy starting but jack will. i expect as always an Arsenal win, into the semi. lookin forward to seeing rvp vela and walcott, jack supported by denny and easty, the best gk will play tonight so for me that has to be Szcenszzyszsz

  4. Cheers Yogi, good to have you back after yesterday’s post… What was up with that by the way?

    I really want to see Nordveit tonight. I haven’t seen enough of him to base an informed opinion. What do you guys think of the youngster? Playing style etc?

    Really looking forward to seeing Robin play too, hopefully he’ll bag a goal or 2 which should kick start his season (finally). A bit of Theo stylee goalscoring would be nice too…

    Sometimes (today included) i get more excited about Carling Cup matches than many other… Just love seeing the young gunners plying their trade.

    Come on boys, show them what Arsenal is all about…

  5. I hope to see a strong team but I also would like to see Miguel at least on the bench. He has been excellent for the reserves this season and looks like a real prospect. He has even been made reserve team captain this year!!

  6. Haven’t seen Miguel either Drew, so looking like another one to watch out then?

    I need to keep up with the youth football too really, but my better half thinks she watches enough football already… she’s obviously insane.

  7. Obviously!! Miquel is a real prospect he looks strong and quick and is tall. All that and he is only 18 and to be given the captaincy speaks volumes.

  8. I’m bemused about this latest Wikileaks exposure that Obama’s campaign was built around the “Yes, Wigan!” slogan. I always took him for a kind of Liverpool type myself, and possibly even Newcastle, but one expects statesmen to be officially neutral. I trust the British ‘austerity’ government will respond appropriately with a quietly stern word not to interfere in domestic the affairs. American governments just take things too far.

  9. Aaron Ramsey…. what a hero…. inspirational. Future Arsenal Captain.

    Welcome back, Yogi. Someone hacked into the mainframe and posted something silly about Championship Manager on here the other day… thought I’d let you know.

  10. Our squabbles aside, Barcelona’s win is a great boost to Arsenal. Our players will want to emulate this, and if possible exceed it in substance if not numbers … and yes, I am talking about Manchester United away.

  11. We could line up like this:
    goalie
    backs
    Walcott, Eastmond, Denilson, Vela
    RvP
    Bendy

  12. And his name was an unlikely sounding one if ever I heard Limpar; Graham Yates Pre-Villa. Never a trust a double barrelled name, nor the use of the middle name.

  13. Errr…..Eboue’s injured, how does he make ur team? Or am i mistaken?

  14. It’s basically boring posting brilliant insights and not a response in sight. Must I hold always the fort like this, single-handed. Is it fair?

  15. Black is black,
    And Eboue’s back.
    So says Sky.
    And they never lie.

  16. This is how I want us to line up against Manu
    Fabulanski
    Sagna Skilly Kos Clichy
    Nasri Rosicky Song Wilshere Arsh
    Chamakh/RvP

  17. Gr*t Update:

    November is almost over, and the snow has arrived in London. A gorgeous blizzard this morning. Found myself talking to a ‘tree surgeon’:
    “Bollard this bit, cap it there, sorry Highways are responsible for that part (of the tree!) not us…buy a new CB…”.

    The cool dude in the bright yellow coat, sweeping up the slush upon the hallowed approaches to TNHOF, frowned and said to his collegue,
    “Why haven’t they put down any Gr*t?”
    He may work for fiscal Sp*ds, but he is an Arsenal fan too. Unless there is much more snow this afternoon, unfortunate shirelings should be able to get away from the game without trouble. Citygrubbers can just slide home!

  18. This is the plan, then, spread the word …

    We win our next four matches, well.
    We are in the semis of CC, last 16 of CL, and top the EPL (probably).
    Whodathunkit.

  19. Out of curiosity, what does THNOF stand for?

  20. Thanks, Finsbury. This shireling will be there with baubles on.

    I was reading Pre-Villa like M’Vila, ZimP. But you’re right, hyphenated… and not to be trusted.

    Can we beat ’em… ‘Yes, Wigan!’

  21. That game yesterday was one of the best footballing performances I’ve seen in a while. Barca may be despicable cunts, but their football is from another planet. The speed of thought and passing, technique in tight spaces, flicks and dribbles,.. Jesus H Christ.
    They can’t play at that level too many times a season for sure, but they are the best team in the world.

    If Arsenal start playing like that… I’d probably die from giddiness

  22. Not sure what THNOF stands for, Aaditya, ….possibly The Harbour North Of Falmouth….not sure…. but I can tell you that TNHOF stands for The New Home Of Football… The Arsenal Stadium.

  23. er…whoops!

  24. We’ll see what the future holds for Manuel tonight m’thinks… I feel sorry for him, but i also feel his time’s up. He has had a heavily and harshly criticised Arsenal career but i’ve been behind him since Lehman was displaced. He’s done a good job and i will personally be sad to see him go, but now Fabster has proven that he’s got the balls to play well consistently, and Chesney’s going to be awesome in years to come. We’ll see what Wenger has planned for him…

    I’ve got a feeling that NB52 might go this year too, and possibly Vela. I think they’ve both got futures here, but it’s up to them to give it their all to make the decision for Wenger. They haven’t done that so far, hopefully for their sakes, they up their workrate and desire between now and the end of the season. Again i’d be sad to see them leave – but i suppose that’s the same for all Arsenal players…

  25. Oh. I spelt that acronym correctly. The cold has frozen what remains inside tiny football brain.

    Big Al seemed to be ‘first choice’ after the Legia Warsaw games, although it was said they’d both have a chance this season, something like that.
    I don’t think he made as many mistakes against West Brom as he was accused of making. Possibly offside, I liked the fourth goal by FC BBB. That beautiful shot from Villa (through Casillas’ legs?) running onto a pass at an acute-ish angle, was ‘straight at the (world’s best?)keeper’, as Trevor francis would say. And a multitude would regurgitate.

  26. Snowing really hard here. What’s the scene in N5?

  27. Hope Nordtveit plays tonight, I’d like to see what the boy can do.

  28. Me too Henristic, i only know what others have told me…

  29. Not many people about today… out making snowmen probably

  30. I think Almunia had two great seasons after shifting Jens, but last year did a lot of damage. The ManU CL tie in ’09 was the start of it for me. He put in a spectacular performance in the away leg to keep us in the tie, but then conceded a 35-yard Cronaldo free-kick at his near post at home.

    It carried on into last season – he’d do the hard stuff well, then make a silly mistake. It appeared to have more to do with concentration at crucial times than with reflexes and technique, which somehow made it more frustrating. Maybe it had/has something to do with stuff that was/is going on at Casa Almunia.

    Unlike Fabianski, the problem never appeared to be a question of confidence, just something in his makeup that crept in and still hasn’t gone away.

    I’m sort of blowing my own trumpet, although I wasn’t alone on here, but around springtime I was starting to suspect Fabianski would do a better job with a run of games.

    I’m not even sure if he should play tonight ahead of Szczesny, although I’ll understand if he is selected.

  31. I hope we play a strong side and go on to win the CC. We have the squad depth to do that this year.

    Szczesny
    Nordviet, Kos, JD, Gibbs
    Wilshere, Denilson
    Walcott, RVP, Vela
    NB52.

    Perhaps 4 2 3 1 formation. Would love to see Vela play today. Chamakh has been to good to lose his spot when RVP comes back, would like to see them both on the pitch at the same time. A formation like this could do that. When Cesc comes back he and Song could play together but Song would have to sit deeper and cut back on his forward runs. Not sure if this would work but fun to think about.

    Feel bad for Almunia. Other then the WBA game he was good this year but I suspect he has lost out.

  32. Almunia also kept us from being beaten more comprehensively by Barca than Real were… that would have been horrific. But i know what you’re saying OOU.

    I didnt think Fabianski would be better, but at the moment he’s doing a great job of proving me wrong, which is fine by me!

    But what i was saying is that i think (unfortunately) this is his last year for us. Shame he didn’t quite step up to Lehman’s level, consistently.

  33. El Classico was El wipeout. Madrid was made to look like a league 2 team. Barca was brilliant. The attacking football cut open Real at will and was really eye catching. I was more amazed at their defending. Real has bags of skill and pace and are perfectly built for a counter attacking style. Despite having very little pace at CB and playing a high line Barca never once got caught out. They never got behind the ball on the break after they went forward for a corner or set piece. No space opened between the CB and despite the fullbacks going forward there was never any space open on the flanks for Madrid. Ronaldo never got a chance to hit a long shot. Real did not create any real chances. How Barca does that is a mystery. I hated their arrogance last summer but they are really good.

  34. What do you think about Bendtner and Vela? Am i way off the mark there? (1.13pm post)

  35. However Almunia might possibly feel if he doesn’t play later on (is training, may still not be quite ready), he won’t be as upset as Casillas last night! Whatever happens, Almunia wrote himself into legend with that performance against FC BBB, even if there’s some (silly) debate about the two Barca goals.

    Light snow, at the moment, should be ok I hope. Last season, the gr*tless wonders from the municipalities had trouble was with settled stuff, ice, when a day or two old.

  36. I reckon it’s sort of make or break for them this season as well. It’s probably not good for a player in his early-twenties to be sitting on the bench. Of the two, I have a little more faith in Bendtner because we know he can score and set up goals with a run of games (whether he’ll get them is another matter though).

    Vela’s more annoying because we’ve only seen flashes of what he can do so far. The World Cup summed him up for me, he looked good early on, without making a massive impact, but then got injured.

    AW likes Vela though – didn’t he tell him he wasn’t going anywhere in the summer?

    On Almunia – wasn’t the Barcelona match typical though? He made all those great saves, but was caught a little for the first goal. I think it was Vermaelen who didn’t help him out much though.

  37. The Barcelona games still annoy me. We had so many players injured or half fit. And we got them when they were on fire. The Barcelona team that Inter faced was a shadow of the one that played us.

  38. Re the Barca goals – both of the FatArrogantPigovic goals were largely down to TV5 charging forward towards the midfielder, leaving a massive gap for old big nose to run into. Manuel was wrongly criticised for both i think. Saving 2 clear cut one-on-ones against ‘one of the best strikers in the world’ would have been superhuman.

    Who’d want to be a goalie eh???

    “The Barcelona team that Inter faced was a shadow of the one that played us.” that was the most frustrating thing for me too OOU.

  39. Geo:

    I think both can be very good players. I see more of a future at AFC for Vela. I do not expect AA here for more then 1 or 2 years and Vela seems like the perfect person to fill that slot. He is still very young and hopefully he will remain patient. NB52 seems more restless and as of today I do not see him moving ahead of Chamakh in the pecking order. Chamakh and RVP or Chamakh and Wellington Silva could be on the pitch at the same time but I doubt Chamakh and NB52. I do not see him staying here long term as the 2nd or 3rd striker.

  40. It is important that we go about our buisness as if this is a league match, i would suggest very little change in the line up, we must not do what we have done previously, too many changes and the side will not flow, only change the injured players and hopefully we get a good lead, and when the match is won feed in the subs.
    Start this game with 7 or 8 changes and well end up potless

  41. I agree completely about Vela and NB52 though. We’ll see what their attitudes are over the next 6 months i guess. Hopefully we’ll keep both…

  42. Interesting Bill… I think Arsh will be here for a couple more years at least, meaning not much room for Carlitos. And i think Wellington will be played in the wider roles, making it even trickier for Vela to get a game (although Wellington will probably be eased into things quite slowly). Vela will always prefer playing in a central striking role, and unless we go back to a 442, he’s going to have to be a very patient little hombre… Hopefully he will be.

    I agree that NB52’s going to have a very hard time displacing Chamakh, and his personality might get the better of him, making him look for pastures new…

  43. That’s a problem with us. We have so many people on the verge of coming real good that we possibly can not accommodate them all. So we will have to give them away eventually and then we might seem them come good — for other teams. Just imagine we sell Bendtner to Bayern and he becomes a 25+ goals a season striker for them. I would really love if there was a way for us to keep all our prospects that show promise.

  44. Have to agree with Zimpaul on the classico. Must be the biggest domestic match anywhere in the world and worth staying up for past midnight – +3 GMT here! On our match tonight I can only think of the weather. I hate the cold in the tropics. A European winter certainly isn’t to my fancy. All the same 5:0 to the gunners!

  45. The key to beating Barcelona is breaking their press. It’s much easier said than done though. Ways of doing it would include;

    1. pushing very high up the field so that if they win the ball you can press them in their own half. It’s a very risky strategy as they have pace upfront in abundance. Also they usually take the initiative in games & from then on it becomes really hard to peg them back. But if you had very pacy defenders all very good in duels you could risk it. You could maybe edge a game like that 5-4 against them :))

    2. playing the ball out very well through your own back four when you win it back. Why their pressing works is that they don’t allow your midfield to settle when they win the ball. If you could pass well through your centre backs and keeper, you could manage to stretch the pitch and play around their pressure.

    3. Press more intensely than they do.

    These are my ideas. I’d love to hear what you think ACLFers.

    Real Madrid are a work in progress and they’re a young (if expensively assembled) team. They are not as good as Barcelona. Even on paper.

    Mourinho couldn’t get away with his ultra-negative approach & had to adopt the approach expected of any manager of a big club. Now he gets pasted.

  46. Geo:

    I hope we keep both too. Myself I am a big Vela fan. I like Arshavin but I would like to see Carlos ease past him in the next couple years. I realize he likes to play centrally he has an accurate left boot on crosses just like Theo, Arshavin, Nasri there is no reason that he can not cut into the middle. Seems like a perfect left sided attacker.

    Evil: As time passes we will have more of these type of problems, but that is a good thing. Its inevitable that we will make a mistake or 2 and let the wrong person go so at least so far the boss has made excellent decisions in that regard so I am confident he will get the vast majority right. I do not know for sure but looking at the stats Fran Merida is not really impressing at Athletico.

  47. That’s fair enough Bill, he does have the attributes to play there for sure. It’s all about his attitude now though.

    I totally agree with Bill re Evil’s point. Most of the time, the determining factor in letting someone go for Wenger seems to be whether they are becoming more injury prone (Henry, Ljunberg, Vieira etc) or have the wrong attitude (Reyes, Bentley, Pennant etc). Other than that it’s just been greed that has seen quality players leave Arsenal, or combinations of the above.

  48. Evil,

    I guess that’s why AW doesn’t like the 25 rule.
    At the time, it was worth a chuckle, all the literate hacks writing about AFC not being able to fulfill their quota. Ateeb is right, apart from the odd occasion we shouldn’t waste time with the hackery here. But it was funny!

    That reminds me, YW, thanks for the review of the Panorama programme.
    Enjoy the game!

  49. Ole @ 2:56:

    Interesting thoughts. Sounds like your ideas would create a very exciting game. Much as I hated Barca this summer I do have to admire the way they play football and found myself cheering for them yesterday.

    Clearly Madrid is still a work in progress. Surprised to see one of Mourinho’s teams cut open that easily. Hope your right about him getting pasted. Always hated Madrid. Over the years they have done more to ruin the transfer market then any other team in world football.

  50. Actually Ole, watching Real Madrid was a bit like watching Blackburn play. A very expensively assembled Blackburn of course.

    If Fat Sam was given Β£100 Million they would play very like RM did last night. Oh, hang on , that would be the same as the current Blackburn side then.

    Another fortune wasted.

  51. Is the match still on, Emirates looks pretty snowed in from the pics on the official website.
    PS: I wish we could defend like Barca.

  52. lol consols. Snowy round your way? None here in Exeter. Everywhere but at the mo…

  53. Looking bad is it Firstlady?

  54. No Geo, no snow here on the Tamar. A bit warmer actually in terms of temp. but the wind is making it bitter.

    I didn’t know that you were Exeter based Geo or are you just slumming it on a visit?

  55. Barcelona without La Liga referees would be an interesting propositon. I don’t think they’d keep many cleansheets when the lightest of shoulder-barges doesn’t result in an automatic freekick and a yellow card for the defender. Their squad would be tested in the Premiership too, through injuries… and we’d see how Iniesta stands up to Phil Jones and Roger Johnson, Lee Cattermole, Andy Wilkinson and Paul Robinson… and how Carlos Puyol would get on marking Andy Carrol and Kevin Davies and Zigic and Chris Samba. I’d say there’s a very good chance they’d all piss themselves and f*ck off.

  56. @Limpar
    I agree. I have seen a couple of goals Barca conceded and they do look a bit fragile after standards. Not quite dissimilar to us … or is it maybe because standards are often so unpredictable and that our “weakness” from free kicks and some such is actually just a reflection of the fact that any team can concede easily from a dead ball situation because decisions have to be made in split seconds and losing focus for even a moment, something all teams do at times, can be punished easily?

  57. On a different topic. Is the match going to be shown anywhere in the world? Or, in different terms, is there any chance that there will be working streams later on?

  58. Hmmm, you must be one of the lucky ones then consols (depending how you look at it)…

    I was a Mid/East Devon bey throughout my childhood, (between Okehampton, Lanceston and Holsworthy – middle of no where!) then moved to Exeter where i’ve been ever since. Always get back out to the sticks though, runs through my veins…

  59. “2. playing the ball out very well through your own back four when you win it back. Why their pressing works is that they don’t allow your midfield to settle when they win the ball. If you could pass well through your centre backs and keeper, you could manage to stretch the pitch and play around their pressure.”

    Sounds best.

    I’m no tactician, but if you’ve got a left-sided player with marked pace or strength then you I think you automatically have a little advantage over their right side, as Alves has more licence to get forward than Abidal, and Pedro, Messi or whoever’s on their right side isn’t going to be much cop tracking back.

    Even better if you can get a CB to play long diagonal passes to him, which Koscielny is perfectly equipped to do.

    If JET develops he’ll be just the player to keep Alves occupied.

    So, focus most of your attacking play up the left side. But I also agree on pushing up and closing the space between defence and midfield to an almost suicidal degree, because I believe our defenders could match their forwards for pace. I also think a man would have to be assigned to Messi. In our team, I’d actually consider someone like Gibbs in a central midfield position to do that role.

    You also need loads and loads of pace in your midfield and attack, and they’ll need to show discipline not to be drawn back if Barcelona get the ball for any amount of time. Last night they committed SIX players forward – all ahead of Messi, Alves or whoever had the ball deep in Real’s half – for the first goal. That’s something that can surely be exploited.

    Target Puyol with pace and power. So if you’re going play it long, or in behind, make sure he’s the one who’s going to be tested.

    Erm, that’s all I’ve got. Apart from telling the players to make sure the ref knows they’ve been fouled when the Barca players are pressing (anywhere apart from the Camp Nou it’s known as hacking).

  60. I make Sam Allardyce look like Rinus Michels!!

  61. Should be able to find it on myp2p.eu Evil. Need Sopcast or something though…

    I’d love to see Barca in the prem. Like Limpar says, they would struggle a lot more. We aren’t as far behind as their league suggests…

  62. Mourinho set up RM differently against Barca from his past practice with Chelsea and Inter–a very attacking lineup that didn’t have the hard working, physical midfield needed to break up and disrupt Barcelona in midfield. He tried to play them as equals and it didn’t work out. Strange–he must feel the pressure with RM to “play good football” because I would have expected him to start Lassana Diarra. He didn’t have a forward willing to play right back, like Eto’o did. You aren’t going to see his highness Ronaldo tracking back and staying in his own half the whole game until released on counter attacks.

    This game showed his tactical limitations and, as Ole said, the fact that the RM side is young and in progress even if expensively assembled.

    I have to say that Barcelona played a magnificent game. What impressed me so much was how quickly they passed and moved with great understanding of one another and how incredible everyone’s control and touch was. Even Bousquets looked like a talented offensive player with great skill–from the holding role! As Bill mentioned, defensively they never looked confused or disorganized whenever RM did get the ball.

    I don’t know how they would fare in our league, but RM should be difficult for anyone and have done well in their CL group against Milan who are topping Serie A, and they have some decent defenders (Pepe, Carvalho)–and yet they looked helpless and hapless.

    We will probably be playing Barc or RM if we finish second in our group. On this viewing, I’d prefer RM and a chance to put Mourinho in his place after his recent comments. I do think we would do better against Barca this time around, though.

  63. Barca seemed rather terrified of Walcott’s pace. I would consider playing Denilson, Wilshere and Cesc in midfield. RvP, Chamakh, and Walcott up front.

    But not to get ahead of ourselves–CC is first.
    Scz
    Nord, Djo, Kos, Gibbs
    Walcott, Deni, Wilsh, Vela
    RvP, Bend
    4-4-2, we are at home and can adjust by bringing off one of Walcott, RvP, Bend, Vela for Eastmond or Rosicky in midfield if needed.

  64. Long term – invest in youth. Get them playing together as kids. Anyone seen the understanding that Aneke and Afobe share?

    If you can foster that kind of relationship across a team of talented youngsters then you’re on your way, providing they all develop together (which is unlikely, and partly shows how Barcelona have really struck gold here by having so many great players in one generation).

  65. Brokeback are undoubtedly very patient in possession; but when one of your tactics is to infuriate the opposition into making a lunge and conceding a freekick… well it doesn’t work in England because the ref would side with the lunger 9 times out of 10. Shielding the ball and falling over when you feel the breath of an opponent down the back of your neck is hardly worthy of some of the gushing bullshit we’ve heard on here today.

    I thought the goal that Finsbury mentioned earlier, when Villa stood Cassillas up like a bull and stabbed it through his legs was a decent goal.. but the rest of the performance was a bit… meh. Not for me. Always the percentage…… pass…… every….. time… ad infinitum. Yawn.

    OOU, Gibbs on Messi could be a masterstroke.

    I think the way to beat them is to be faster in the pass than them, more adventurous than them, and go into the game with a supreme confidence that when you expressive yourself you will out-think any defence and score goals against anyone. Fit first-team players would help, as would a run of form leading into it.

    We tried pressing harder than them in both legs and got promptly hamstrung by farcical yellow cards. With the right kind of referee I think that would have worked.

    I was astonished to see the Real Madrid players looking surprised by Barcelona’s possession to the point that when the ball did break for them they seemed to have completely forgotten how to control the ball and couldn’t give it back to Barcelona quick enough… you can partly put this down to youth… I guess… but really it just seems like Mourinho’s refusal to acknowledge that BB were bound to have possession and prepare his team to be patient.

  66. Oh dear… must be long post o’clock.

  67. Whenna youa expressive yourself, eh?

  68. consols – sorry meant mid/west deb’m…

  69. haha LA if only the rest of the world had the quality refereeing we have in England.. perhaps England may have won more by now..

  70. Ole Gunner @ 2:56 pm |

    Play pacey wingers like Theo & Eboue on the flanks to keep their fullbacks restricted. A lot of their attacks build up from those positions, esp from Alves who doesn’t actually need to defend, with the way they defend as a team.

  71. Is The Old Firehouse still in existence, Geo? On the road that runs between the prison and the highstreet, crossing the railway Used to love that place. Bottles of house red for a fiver… big wooden tables… candles melted in bottles…. Hobgoblin on tap…. good music… three floors of loveliness. Ahhh… take me back.

  72. OOU, thats exactly what I meant regarding Alves; & well said regarding testing their defence with pace & power. We were missing exactly that in the 2nd leg with 7 first teamers out.

  73. Schzezny
    Eboue Nordveit/Kos DJ Gibbs
    Denilson Eastmond
    Wilshere
    Bendy RVP Theo

    Subs – AA, SN, TR, MA, CV, BS

  74. Limpar – the Old Firehouse used to be a huge favourite and relatidvely unheard of. But that’s startk contrast to today… It’s full of students from 3pm until closing every day, you struggle to get a seat, and get to the bar. A real shame. Used to be my favourite pub in Exeter. Still have bands playing and good cheap food, but that’;s it’s only saving grace these days, i’m very sad to say.

    There are 2 new ish pubs called the Rusty Bike and the Fat Pig which are both great, if you like local wines/ales/ciders etc and amazing traditional food… highly recomend them if you’re in this neck of the woods…

  75. Was too good for it’s own good (well for my good), it’s doing amazingly now business-wise.

  76. As a Plymouth biy (boy to you foreigners) I never liked Exeter. Spent a fair bit of time there for conferences and the like. Far too fond of itself.

    Always good to get back to the the sea and Plymouth. No pretensions there.

    Funny place Holsworthy. I get some of my chickens from there at the market. Three pubs mind.

  77. Is this televised anywhere in the US? I can’t find it anywhere…Damn!

  78. Oooohh *sharp intake of breath* controversial πŸ˜‰

    I completely know what you mean consols! it’s quite a pretentious place, mainly because of all the rich students that have everything paid for by Mater and Pater… Exeter thinks it’s a lot more cultured than it is too, which is quite annoying considering the incredibly low diversity around here… Bristol is the nearest happening place by miles.

    I went to school in Holsworthy – funny is right… somewhere I avoid these days.

  79. The only time in the last couple of years that Barca really looked beatable was Inter and Chelsea 2 years ago in the CL. Both teams played tight deep defensive formations (parked the bus) and frustrated Barca. Chelsea only lost because of the away goal rule from a very late Iniesta goal in stoppage time of the 2nd leg. Inter frustrated them to the point that Barca gave up 3 counter attack goals in the 1st leg. I know how much everyone hates the idea of parking the bus but it is the only thing that actually has worked against them in real life. I don’t follow La Liga that closely but I have not seen much else stop them other then the odd game where they get take their foot off the gas against “lesser opposition”.

  80. Cheers, Geo. Will have to talk pubs another day… off to the game now. Or rather the pub… then the game. First to commence Operation Put As Many Clothes On As Possible. See you on the flipside.

    ARSENAL!

  81. Bill, what makes Barcelona good defensively is their possession game. The opponent can’t very well score on you if he’s chasing the ball. Likewise their pressing isn’t really a mystery. If a defender takes the ball away he only keeps it momentarily because the players who were about to receive the pass remain relatively close and are able to press. On top of that, the player who takes the ball away has strayed so far out of position that he usually doesn’t have too many options for a pass.

    I wouldn’t be so enthusiastic about Barcelona’s defensive solidity if I were you, though. Just three weeks ago they went to FC Kopenhagen and conceded two goals and ended the game in a draw. What Kopenhagen did was give them the ball and hit them on the counter. They didn’t get desperate and try to start an attack as soon as they got the ball back. They picked the right times to attack them and they succeeded. This is the same thing the Swiss did to Spain at the WC. They waited for Spain’s attacks to peter out at the edge of their penalty area, passed the ball out to the middle and the player who got the ball sent it to the wide men galloping down the wings.

  82. Shame that Geo. You could have bought me a pint.

  83. Bill: “I know how much everyone hates the idea of parking the bus but it is the only thing that actually has worked against them in real life. I don’t follow La Liga that closely but I have not seen much else stop them other then the odd game where they get take their foot off the gas against β€œlesser opposition.”

    Not really. If you can keep possession in the middle and keep Xavi quiet parking the bus isn’t necessary. For an example of that look at the second half of the game we played against them at home. After Denilson came in we stoped relying on counter attacks and we were able to build slowly from deeper. Also we had Theo down the right which kept their whole defense busy, thus taking Puyol and Pique out of the game. So it is possible to beat them at their own game. The thing that is required is for the manager to have some balls.

  84. Gainsbourg, the same is true of Rubin Kazan that has had success against Barca. All this proves is that there is just one successful way over the past two, three years to defeat Barca. RM didn’t play the way previous Mourinho teams have. We don’t play that way. So, if we play them in the CL, we will either have to play a new way that isn’t natural to our style (unlikely we would try that and that it would work for us) or we will have to go in guns a blazin and pressing ourselves. That’s why I suggested Denilson in midfield and Walcott forward. That’s what we’ll do and this time I really think we will be better, especially with players fit.

    The one thing I like about our play is that we can be skillfully direct–as we were in a couple of games after Newcastle and at Villa a few days ago. That could give anyone problems. As you point out, that even gave Barca some problems in the second half of that game.

  85. KS.
    My ideal refereeing standard would introduce some tech to reduce the number of weeds, and be halfway between (the non-WWF version of) the Engerleeesh and Spanish refereeing styles.

  86. G69:

    Their possession game is certainly the best in the world. In yesterdays game they had 65% of possession. Good counter attacking teams can still score plenty of goals with 35% of possession. Even when Real got the ball back they was never any space open for them to attack. Long balls did not work. Barca’s flanks were not exposed even when Alves came forward. Over the last few years they have been one of the least scored on teams in Europe and they have been easily the best in La Liga for several years. They conceded 1 goal in 3 games against Chelsea and ManU in the CL 2 years ago. You do have to give them credit where it is due.

    They have shown that they can take their foot off the gas pedal. Kopenhagen is a good example, I think they lost last year to Rubin Kazan at home in a CL game. I think they also lost a game earlier this year at home to a lower table side in La Liga. I’m sure its hard not to let a little complacency slip in when you have won as much as they have recently.

  87. Chelsea’s squad, at their strongest, could not muster a goal in 180 minutes against FC BBB.

  88. Wonderful that Barcelona. Did Jose appear just a tad bit humilitarianistic following the game? He does love himself though does he not.

  89. Limestone, that is why I was confident going into the Barca game. I knew that we had more speed and we could keep the ball just as good too. If any team is equipped to beat Barca at their own game it’s us. It’s just a shame that Wenger realized this after we went 2-0 down. Wenger made the same mistake Mourinho committed yesterday. All the emphasis went to stopping Messi and Alves’ overlapping runs. That, to me, is playing into their hands. Messi’s dangerous but he can’t do anything if Xavi is kept quiet.

  90. But they let in two at TNHOF! That’s two whole goals!
    Not one, but two. By a team that can’t counter?

    And it could’ve been the same again, if not more in the second game.

  91. Damn those Arsenal reserves are good. Looking forward to tonights game.
    COYG!

  92. Bill, they skewered Real Madrid because Mourinho payed Messi too much respect when it’s Xavi who really runs the show. When you look at what teams like Rubin Kazan and Copenhagen do to keep Barca quiet it is very similar. They both have the lone striker or whichever midfielder is furthest forward get into Xavi’s face. By doing that they force Barca to quicken the pace and not be able to pick out the killer pass. This is similar to what many teams do to us. That’s why Cesc has a free role and Wilshere or Denilson are tasked with keeping the game flowing at a high tempo.

  93. I absolutely hate those smug, delusional, hubristic twats at Barcelona.

  94. Imagine if Diaby woudlve played a simple pass to Walcott in the second leg.

    With many injured players we were simple mistakes away from doing much better.

    Forget damn blasted Barca anyway. RM was total crap!

  95. @G69
    You are spot on. Look how ineffective Messi is for his national side. Without the right players around him, he is a lesser player, as easy as that. So if you take out Xavi, you will definitely weaken them whole, while if you commit to many men on stopping Messi, you are going to create space that can be exposed.

  96. Exactly, Evil. Bill says they take their foot off the gas pedal but that’s just not true. Pay too much attention to Messi and you give Xavi time to pass it to Iniesta, Villa and Pedro. The way to stop them is in the middle of the park by giving Xavi a hard time, period. If you can keep service to Messi at a minimum he will come down to try to get the ball. The further away from goal he is the less he can hurt you. As simple as that.

  97. Some interesting pieces of art by current and former arsenal players!
    Lee Dixon was quite the artist..

    http://www.willowfoundation.org.uk/Sport1

    http://www.willowfoundation.org.uk/Sport2

  98. I really hope Barca get their arses handed to them by us a few years from now by Fabregas and Miquel.

  99. Well, I suppose when Arsenal are playing a quarter final tie, there’s only one proper topic for Arsenal supporters.

    Barcelona.

  100. haha bob

    it is funny to watch people come out with possible solutions but in truth theres no easy way about it, they can link up to such devastating effect beyond any other side in recent football history and have some genuine world beaters other than the finest football player in the world but thats part of why another contest against arsenal with hopefully less injuries is such a mouth watering prospect..

  101. I’m really only interested in Arsenal KS. My only interest in Bloody Barca is beating them if we come up against them. I might be a bit more acommodating to all these ‘theories’ then.

    Up The Arsenal!

  102. here here

  103. Interesting you should bring up Barcelona, CB. One way to stop them would be to tamper with the suspension on the Barca team coach, raising the gap between first step and pavement to one whole foot. For a normal person this would be a trifle, but for Messi and his minute proportions it’s like 50 Sagrada Familas. He’ll either refuse to leave the coach, or risk breaking his legs.

    Xavi’s favourite ultra-strong hairgel container should be drained and replaced with industrial-strength superglue. The odour and consistency would be roughly the same, but upon application his hands should become stuck to his scalp. He’d still be able play, but the impediment would bring him down to a Jermaine Jenas sort of level.

    As for Busquets I’d just kick him hard in the knackers.

  104. Does anyone know if any radio station is broadcasting audio commentary (UK or online)?

  105. Szczesny, Eboue, Koscielny, Djourou, Gibbs, Denilson, Wilshere, Walcott, Bendtner, Van Persie (c), Vela

  106. That’s “Familias”.

  107. What the hell? Van Persie in midfield?

  108. We playing a 4-2-4?

  109. yes bison most attacking line up I’ve seen in 4ever..

  110. 4-4-2 with Vela and Walcott wide perhaps?

  111. RVP KAMAAAN!!!

  112. ooooh I’m excited!

  113. Please footballing gods…..protect Robin van Persie.

  114. Line up reminds me of 1950’s football. Four attackers? Denilson and Wilshere will be overworked! Three quick goals then bring on Nasri and Eastmond.

  115. G69:

    If we get to play them again may be that will work. Will be interesting to see what happens. I hope we have our best players ready and it is a fair fight.

    Absolutely love the starting line up for this game. Should be fun. COYG.

  116. Arsenal are on 5 Live Sports Extra crafty.

  117. I don’t understand it but that seems one hell of a line up. Quite a surprise but you have to make due with what you have. In our case, four great attacking talents that are well rested. I believe the formation must represent what can only be described as parking the bus — in front of the opposition goal.

  118. Is this on tv anywhere in the US….shit! first game I have missed in years.

  119. RvP playing Cesc’s role maybe… And Big Nic up front with Theo and Vela on the wings…

    I’m looking forward for a 4-2 or a 5-3 win…

  120. From the RVP free kick one can only assume Msr Bentner closed his eyes and subsequently missed the header…….

  121. Yellow? Really?

  122. Kenyan,where are u watching?its not on any supersport channels.f uck!am stuck with manure whu.colney updates please

  123. firstlady
    0-0 but they r targeting eboue with every chance.
    http://www.firstrow.net/watch/39601/2/watch-arsenal-vs-wigan-athletic.html

  124. VP looking really good so far.

  125. carlos vela looking lively

  126. No flow to the game as yet.

  127. Firstlady,

    even I’m stuck with the ManUre game..

    West Ham dominating.. Had a goal disallowed for offside but score one beautiful just now…

  128. Wigan are growing in confidence.

  129. goodness vela one on one and he misses

  130. What a move. RVP incredible! Looked a sure goal, Vela missed by less than an inch.

  131. What a miss!!!!

  132. wow!

    beautiful play, right Idea by Vela, just a little off.

  133. Vella should have scored .
    One on one with the keeper, chips it wide of the post.

  134. eboue having a torrid time with moses

  135. Well….Van Persie looks really really good.

  136. If there wasn’t Cesc, VP would probably be the best playmaker in the league. That boy could walk into any team with his skills.

  137. wigan trying a physical approach i see

  138. RVP is the best player in our team for me. The guys overall ability is amazing.

  139. Eboue might get a break because Moses has gone down holding his knee.

  140. Basically, Moses runs into Walcott and is now kinda dead. No foul or anything.

  141. @evil yes but he’s rarely fit

  142. If you cant beat em foul em it seems

  143. Still, let’s hope Moses is not seriously injured. He looked bright and at 19, he might come good for Wigan, especially when they face Chelsea or ManU.

  144. Wicked pass from Vela, the kid looks really good!

  145. West Ham 2-0 up on ManUre.. Hope They don’t give away the lead like Villa did..

  146. Okay, should have been a peno.

  147. Wow, West Ham up 2.

    Hand blinkin ball!

  148. Nice cross by Denilson!

  149. man poo 2/0 down

  150. We are playing some wonderful stuff!

  151. Goal

  152. Own goal from Wigan from a corner.

  153. funny, I have never seen a goal that wasnt celebrated like that.

  154. own goal. Great corner.

  155. Fucking hell that was a goalkeeping parry by that Wigan defender.

    I too hope Moses is ok, he fell awkwardly looks like he may have broken his hand.

    1-0 up is that an OG?

  156. Did Own Goal transfer to us in the summer? Did not hear about that one in the news papers!

  157. Wow, 2 pens not given so far.

  158. Another own goal!!! Atleast we are in front..

  159. Walcott held the ball too long on that break.

  160. The game has come to some life. Wigan come close from a corner. We have a good break away.

  161. Evil at 8-29pm,
    Agree.. I have been wondering about this for the last couple of months..

    Sadly, OG’s older brothers Penalty got injured a month or so back.. He was having a good start to the season..

  162. omfg how good is Van Persie?

  163. Oh dear, Carlitos!

  164. Vela will score if he stays on, he is playing very well.

  165. Good that the fans are getting behind him though.

  166. Ok…that is just freaky telepathy from van persie…if he does that again he may well have to deal with military testing after the match

  167. Good first half. Team playing really well. Van Persie looks like he is from a different planet. Vela playing really good but has been let down a couple of times by his touch. Nothing to worry about, though. Even the best players go through that sometimes. Should’ve had two pens, though. All in all, satisfied and I think we can score another one or two in the second half.

  168. They should give the goal to van Persie….it went strait through.

  169. we’ve been less than convincing but i will take the 1-0 nonetheless

  170. Vela is rusty Dont blame him though. Half time has come at the wrong time for Arsenal. We were just warming up.

  171. far from i mean*

  172. For some reason I am much more comfortable that it’s 1-0 than 2-0..

  173. I hear you Deano. πŸ˜€

  174. Correction Walcott corner!

  175. It the result that counts, lets just get this out the way.
    And on to the league.

  176. I would say we do look convincing. We created plenty of chances (Vela alone had three, Bendtner had a really good one in the beginning) and Wigan only were really dangerous once.

  177. Well actually I have been quite convinced, some of the passing and movement has been quite nice to watch. The only thing that has let us down is Velas touch. The young man hasnt been playing much so i a not mad at him.

  178. like minded Evil, not sure what match Colney is watching. We should be out of sight by now.

  179. hopefully we can put it to bed in the 2nd and rest some key players, would like to see nordveit get a run.

  180. No disrespect there Colney.

  181. watching the same match as you Paul, i felt we weren’t really fluid in the first although we created some chances. towards the end of the half we began to pick things up.

  182. None taken Paul just an opinion πŸ™‚

  183. We look rusty but we are good for the lead.
    Simple as.

  184. It is no surprise that we haven’t been firing on all cylinders, many of the players have had limited amount of games or have not played many games in a row so it was always going to be a somewhat disjointed performance, however the players have many more gears to go up if needed. Hopefully they will settle down a little for the second half and we can get the victory needed to face West Ham πŸ˜‰

  185. Got you Colney!

    That control by Gibbs on the long pass from Vela ( i think) was a thing of beauty.

    I think we could be in for a big treat in the second half.

  186. are the semi-finals held at wembley? and is it a one off or home and away sort of thing?

  187. oh no

  188. Come on RVP!

  189. Yay, he stood up!

  190. hopefully he isnt concussed

  191. What on earth is it about the start of bloody second halfs?

  192. home & away at wembley LOL Colney πŸ˜›

  193. haha mj i meant a one off at wembley or home and away ? english isn’t my first language lol

  194. Great to see RvP wearing a number 10 btw. It looks so right.

  195. mine either πŸ™‚

  196. denilson showing good strength

  197. nzogbia looks really lively

  198. West Ham 3-0!!!!!

    ManUre’s unbeaten run should surely end today..

  199. crickey he’s quick that number 14! πŸ™‚

  200. Whu playing like the team that beat blackburn 7-1.they are 3 up.what’s happening in ours?another goal p’haps.

  201. 2 -0

  202. super goal…..

  203. Lovely move there.

  204. Be it attack or defence, Van Persie is a star. Nice second goal, yeah!

  205. Super Niklas Bendtner!

  206. Vela could have had a hat-trick

  207. B-52 scores from close range on a nice attack.

  208. Relieved to hear about the 2nd goal…

    And West Ham are 4-0 up!!! What the bloody hell is happening!!!

  209. Evil, lets give Vela some big ups too.

  210. man poo 4/0 down

  211. Van Persie is running the show.

  212. And we thought real were humiliated!4-0.people what is happening in our game?am nervous here.

  213. @Paul N
    I agree. Great cross and I am happy he got an assist. I hope he will still score in the game!

  214. Vela with good early cross.
    For B-52 slide home.

    Game, set and match.

  215. almost from vela

  216. pass was a little too far but great try!

  217. Vela has the same virus Bendtner had last season in that one game. Means, Vela will score loads of crucial goals in the coming weeks.

  218. geez, a handball given atlast!

  219. Wigan’s game plan has gone out the window.

  220. Oops.mimi is me.

  221. Van the man and jack off for Nassri and Eastmond.

  222. RVP off and he looked like MOTM imo. He will kick into gear just in time for ManU to suffer.

  223. vela cld have had a hattrick

  224. Did we get a pk?s’one mentioned a handball given.sounds like the boys are making us proud.

  225. “Van the man and jack off for Nassri and Eastmond.”

    I like Nasri and Eastmond, Skywatchingmug, but I think that’s going a bit far.

  226. vela a close second behind rvp for my motm

  227. @Firstlady
    Not a penalty, just a handball somewhere in the Wigan half. And yes, the boys are playing well. Wigan never really looked threatening in this half and we had loads of chances.

  228. So what is the formation and who is playing where?

  229. Poliziano lmao….razor wit sir.

  230. Poli you still got it then!!!

  231. Anything new?hillarious the comentator on manu game saying they have other priorities,thats why they played the kids.ffs fletcher n giggs are in there to mention afew.

  232. Pz, you are something else!

  233. fingers crossed for a clean sheet 😐

  234. Imagine if we actually converted HALF of our chances? We’d score 500 goals a season in the league alone…

  235. Another penalty for handball not given?? Its says so on BBC Live.
    “Arsenal have had a few penalty appeals for handball in the box tonight – and another one falls on deaf ears. This looks the best shout of the lot, too, as Theo Walcott’s goalbound shot looks to have been blocked by a Maynor Figueroa hand but referee Martin Atkinson, once again, is having none of it.”

    F**king Atkinson…

  236. Vela close 2nd behind RVP 4 MOM Colney? Your entitled to your opinion..RVP showed what a class player he is -great touch finesse…The result if of paramount importance tonight ….Walcott really disappointing has shown that he is lacks composure…speed merchant who blows hot n cold….

  237. Someones on the pitch they think it’s all over.

  238. Having watched whu when they played us and today,if they usually play like that all games i wonder how they are in the rel zone.updates on our game any one?

  239. @ firstlady
    nasri just had a ball cleared off the line

  240. now we have two fans on the pitch now.

  241. Fergie looks as red as his marvin.

  242. Sky which ones.

  243. well onto the next one…fulham @ home

  244. @Ras
    Moaning much? Vela played excellently and created a big amount of chances. He did not take his chances, that’s true, but that should not take away from his performance.
    Walcott was dangerous all the time, as well.

  245. West ham through.are we?

  246. well said Evil

  247. Good game, good performance. Made I think 7 or 8 changes and still never looked like losing. And now, as Colneyblog said, on to the next one!

  248. A R S E N A L

  249. How did the ref not give that foul on Nasri? He was almost next to him ffs. Nice to see a bit of snow in North London – it will be chaos in the city tomorrow

  250. The first one ran down the touch line from the red section and gave Wenger a hug.
    Then two more came on and Eboue helped to get them of the pitch.
    Some one say his best tackle all night.

  251. Agree G4E

  252. Ras, why don’t you quit talking shit about our players? Walcott’s just getting back from an injury you moron.

  253. Who do we play in the semi-final?

  254. Thanks guys for the updates.this win at home should bolster our confidence at the next home game.glad they kept a clean sheet.

  255. blackpool to beat united this weekend.

  256. Woooo!

    Good performances. Van Persie was fucking magic at times. On another day we would have scored 8 and had 2 penalties but as it happened a win, a clean sheet and through to the semi’s of the league cup! Nothing to complain about.

    Well done to West Ham, I’ve always thought that Grant was a good manager and by all accounts they destroyed a united team that included Fletcher, Anderson, Giggs and O’shea. As well as all their future generation.

    Onwards and upwards Gooners!

  257. Hey CBob…How are you old friend?

    Who are the other 4 teams? Any one knows

  258. Evil, whether you chances is exactly how you judge a striker, so it certainly does detract from his performances. To his credit, he didn’t hang his head, but kept working and set up the second goal. Great attitude and persistence, but not a particularly great game for him.

  259. Birmingham
    Aston Villa
    Ipswich
    West Brom

  260. @nolaboyd
    I think my command over the English language deserted me. What I meant by that sentence is that Vela should not suddenly be only judged by the chances his missed, but by his overall contribution to the team during the game which, in my dear opinion, was excellent.

  261. Thanks Poliziano…How are you too old friend? πŸ™‚

  262. Don’t know what you’re on about MDGunner – it’s been snowing in the City all day. No chaos that I came across…

  263. G4E

    arsenal
    west ham
    birmingham vs. villa dec 1st
    ipswich vs west brom dec 1st

  264. The fact is that Vela hasnt been playing regularly, its hard to expect the man to just get into the swing of things in one match.

    The young man was magic for me, I feel very proud of him.

  265. Evil you are entitled to your opinion…Vela played “Excellent” such words are used far to easily in my vocab…Vela was in the mix of things but has as in my opinion reconfirmed that in terms of being able to convert chances he’s yet to find any real consistency…Walcott plays in a position where he is supposed to get in dangerous positions,make assists n score..Sadly he was unable to convert any of a number of chances that came his way…We won n I’m happy with the overall performance..Screnc looks awesome in Goal…Wigan were never going to beat us tonight…I feel we should have scored 4-5 tonight….

  266. I think whu.

  267. Thanks Colneyblog…

  268. Very well, G4E. Looking forward to our first trophy of the season. What about you?

  269. @Ras
    So excellent is used far too easily, but awesome is not? πŸ˜‰ Not to detract from Szczesny performance, because he looked sure, but as far as I remember he was not even tested once properly.
    And well, Walcott got the assist for the first goal (and his deliveries from corners were quite good imo!), Vela the assist for the second goal. Plus both did create several chances for other team mates.

  270. The best statistic of the game is that Tech 9 didn’t even make one save.

  271. I’m with you man, I think there is a very good chance there.

  272. the game will start on ATVO in 3 minutes

  273. @Crafty Bison
    “No chaos that I came across…”
    That’s not what friends and family are telling me south of the river – badly delayed trains and a “graveyard of abandoned cars and buses” (from a friend who lives in the Croyden area). But whatever..

  274. wanted Vela to score. he was a bit unfortunate he needs a couple of games to get his finishing intincts back.

  275. I really like the idea of Van Persie in the “Cesc” role behind Chamakh in the absence of Cesc. That is one hell of a line up:
    Rosicky/Jack–Song—
    ———–RVP———-
    –Nasri-Cham-Arsha–

  276. Indeed there are some interesting combinations available to the boss. All of this and we have some very high quality players still injured and also in the process of regaining their form. I would be interested to know how many of you thought of Denilson’s game tonight. I confess to have trouble seeing the ability that many think this player has. His lack of defensive commitment stands out in my mind as one of his major weakness’. I think of him as having a tendency to give the ball up in dangerous situations.

  277. Just watched the game and I’m not sure what in hell did Vela do wrong in this game?

    Yes, maybe he didn’t take his chances so did Bendtner but both of them ended one with a goal and the other with an assist. That’s considering both are not playing regularly.

    Why not put things in prospective before criticizing?

  278. @Two Owls
    I agree that Denilson did give away the ball in a dangerous situation once close to our box, then won it back and then mistimed his pass to Wilshere, so it hit an opposition player in the face. On the other hand though, Wilshere did give the ball away once as well, directly after a corner i.e. when our defence was in the box, which lead to a threatening counter attack, which was then stopped by Denilson.
    But yes, it is sometimes difficult to see how exactly Denilson “influences” the game, because he is playing short passes mostly (though in this game, possibly because of the formation, he did play some nice through balls and even got in a very decent cross that unfortunately only found Vela who did get close nevertheless) and it looks like he is getting dispossessed (though he usually always gets a free kick from those situations. It only rarely happens, that it is not given). However, his real strength lies in what I believe to be his shadowing movement. You really have to pay attention to him and it can not be seen always on TV, but if you do keep a close eye on him, you will notice how his movement when we are on the back foot is always cutting off possible passing opportunities for the opposition. Wigan could not play through the centre at all because Denilson was always man marking anyone who would try to make a threatening run through the centre. Wigan basically only could go wide, which rendered their attacking opportunities almost useless because they lacked anyone who could play as a target man.

  279. Considering how little he has played this season I thought Vela was excellent tonight and very unlucky not to score from one of his chances. I cannot understand these people who are wishing him away from the club. He is only 21 FFS!

    It’s a shame we can’t get the CC crowd at the Emirates more often as the atmosphere tonight was noticeably better than the average league game despite the weather!

  280. Arsenal are the firs team to 14 semi-finals in this competition. Villa can join us tomorrow on that tally.

    BTW, Arsenal has never beaten Aston Villa in this competition. Villa won on each of three occasions the two sides were drawn together: 1985/86, 1993/94 and 1995/96.

    YW

  281. I agree Pass, great crowd tonight meet allot of great gooners!! Wonderful night, with the hammering away of that stupid ‘unbeaten’ record of the Mancs! Also is it me or do Arsenal possess the most diverse fans in the league? It’s fanastic to see people from all over the world coming to the ‘new’ home of football!

    Also am loving the support for Vela from the regulat ACLFers!! He was awesome tonight and deserved a goal. JET did well when he came on too.

    Oh and am with Bob on this one **** Barca! The quadruple is on!!!!!!

  282. YW,

    WTF happened yesterday? I thought I accidentally clicked on Le moan! Shocking stuff mate!! Was that AIC on in disguise??

  283. Records are there to be broken Yogi!

  284. NANA NANA NANA NANA NA NA NAAA!!

  285. I agree, Maria, great crowd last night.

    RvP would’ve got a standing ovation from me anyway… but that nearly converted pair of backheel assists (swoon) sealed it for everyone. Welcome back, Mr Arsenal.

  286. @Evil
    Yous summed up Denilson’s role correctly another thing that most people don’t notice a bout him is that he is always available for a pass. Even if he plays his passes sideways he is always an outlet for a pass if he is playing.

  287. Didnt get to see any of the game last night, not even highlights 😦 gonna have to check it this evening on atvol.

    Like the sound of those backheels… sounded interesting having RvP dropping into the hole.

    Clay – that’s the beauty of Denilson, fuck the sideways passes, he’s like clockwork in his recycling of play and keeping the flow going. Dont expect killer through balls from him, we’ve got plenty who can do that!

    I saw the manure match instead, and their 2nd string team is miles off ours. Everyone’s making excuses for them saying that they made nine changes… Hmmmm…

  288. We made 9 changes too. And Wigan are above West Ham in the league.

  289. That’s what i’m talkin about Limpar – if that isn’t proof of Wenger’s long term plan working, what is? Chavs were knocked out early too, playing their 2nd string team, can’t remember who against but they were shite.

  290. Cold in the Emirates last night?!

  291. New puntastic post up.

    YW

  292. LimparAssist | December 1, 2010 at 9:58 am |

    The Northern softies didn’t fancy it in the snow. They had Giggs, Fletcher the Scottish Maradona, O’Shea and Anderson on the pitch. It wasn’t too far off from some of the teams they’ve used in the league & Champions League this season.

    Once they went behind, they couldn’t be arsed-or should I say they couldn’t be manc-ed- to fight back on a cold Tuesday night down South.

  293. RVP played the Cesc role spectacularly. He was everywhere last night and truly immense. The 2nd goal was lovely to watch. Vela was class and he deserved a hat-trick for his work ethic. He and Gibbs were over-lapping like crazy, and these two will set the world aflame continuing as they do.

    I was really taken in by the Djourou Kos partnership. That was one smooth-arse defence. Djouro is some player and to be honest, he’ll probably become go on to be the best defender in the world. Lord knows the boy’s had an amazing education when you think of the players he’s shadowed.

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