Nasri Decision Highlights Squad Improvement

The media coverage of the visit of Barcelona has pushed Saturday’s victory so far into the background that it feels as though it is a pinpoint on a distant horizon. Occupying minds is the return of Samir Nasri – or possible return – on Wednesday night, about four days ahead of schedule for those who took Arsène’s 21 days quite literally.

Wenger observed over the weekend that Nasri is in serious contention for the squad, tests today and tomorrow determining if he will be involved, and if he is, to what extent,

He has tests, one tomorrow and one on Tuesday. I will not take a crazy gamble but physically he has worked very hard; physically he is ready. It is just if there is a risk of a setback or not.

Arsène is more cautious this season with injuries and return schedules. Previously, key players have been rushed back with little room for manoeuvre. It is an indication of the strength in depth in the squad that whilst Nasri’s absence is detrimental, it is not a situation where all and sundry are lying around, thrashing the ground with cries of, “Woe! Woe! And thrice Woe!“.

The improvement in that aspect of the playing staff is highlighted that Arsène was able to, publicly, take a longer term view,

we have the Carling Cup final [soon]… we have so many big games it is important not to be stupid as well.

A different viewpoint from the Chelsea final of a couple of years ago when it was all about rewarding the younger players who had got the club there; now it is about winning the upcoming games. Arsène has been consistent in his approach this season, rewarded with patience over Robin van Persie’s fitness by some outstanding form by the player.

With the upcoming games, Arsène needs that to continue. Everyone seems to be chipping in; Arshavin was berated for a month as his confidence dropped. With his form returning, the absence of Nasri is lessened somewhat.

The all-round consistency of performance has come at the right time. The domestic cup blips have arisen through an unbalanced and disinterested side playing. That has been rectified when a stronger XI has played in replays or second legs.

Premier League form is a better indicator of how the side has been performing, the consistency of selection is key to assessing form. Since losing at Old Trafford, six games have been won and three drawn. That is evidence of the confidence, especially since that run includes matches which have been tricky, if not outright difficult, in recent seasons.

Wenger need not rush Nasri back. This encounter with Barcelona will see Arsenal at full strength, a marked improvement on the last meeting. Fine words are being spoken by the players about their chances; turning up and delivering victory over the two legs is all that matters.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on February 14, 2011, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 153 Comments.

  1. Can’t wait for Wednesday!!!!!

  2. Gunner From Nigeria

    Anything can happen. Football is not mathematics.

  3. It’s official! it’s no longer known as an overhead or bicycle kick now, it’s now known as a Wayne Rooney kick!!

  4. The writing’s on the wall
    It won’t go away
    It’s an Omen
    You just gotta
    Beat the Barca

  5. Goddamn youtube!

    Let’s try:

  6. cant wait for wednesday either.this time around we get to play barca with our full squad which makes it more nail biting.would be happier to go out of the cl with a less margin of goals so as to focus on the pl.

  7. If Utd had signed Ryo we would have had backpage splashes about shrewd old Fergie building for the future. But because this doesn’t fit with the standard ‘Wenger too tight to buy’ narrative the hacks are so fond of selling papers on… not a peep.

  8. Anyone out there noticed that Ref Dowd didn’t have a premier game this weekend? – I wonder why? Oh and Arsenal won with no contentious decisions, well not really!

  9. Sagna’s absence z a blow bt the team z nw in a much better shape to face Barca than it waz last season.Thnk the players r growin in belief n that’s a good thng.I hav heard RVP10 a couple of tymz say it all starts wit the belief.

  10. duke,
    the word “Wonder” should be included in the new name..

    LA,
    The papers were full of praise for Red Nose when ManUre signed Hernandez as the next best thing…

    Ryo seems to be typical Arsene signing and the way he has been accepted by the Feyernood supporters has made impatient.. I’m eagerly waiting for the day he’ll make his debut in the red and white of Arsenal..

  11. Baptism of fire 4barcelona.we r bhind u da gunners

  12. Delia---Block 112

    I can’t wait for Wednesday either. The FA’s reminder to clubs concerning player’s comments on Twitter, Facebook and the like interest me . I am convinced that the Ref’s Union have closed ranks and we ,AFC, are suffering as a result of the comments made by the players following the shocking refereeing decisions at the Everton and Newcastle games. I saw on Saturday that Mr Foy was reluctant to hand out cards or give decisions in our favour and I suspect this trend will continue.
    This may not be a popular proposition but if AW has not already done so, he should be magnanimous and offer the club’s regrets for any questioning of the referees’ integrity and competence to “our friend” ,now head of their association. .After all eating a little humble pie might well help the cause and a written apology never goes amiss in my view.
    We can do it on Wednesday!
    As always COYRs.

  13. Hey fellow gooners, gleamer of hope! just relax and watch arsenal bambuzz the CATs who in a way cannot do it in europe this time because EU law does not recognize the power they have in Spain. In a matter of fact, it is no coincident that they are always dipped in form in their domestic responsibilities before any european game. Someone may be detoxing and that takes a week or thereabout or the big wistle may go off ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ahaaaaaaaaaaa. On the other hand arsenal have come of age. Its no fluke that we distroyed chelsea and the likes of man city had to park 400 million pounds bus on their post in utmost fear. All hail AW, he has found the formula again. Forget what happened at newcastle that was just FA arrangemrnt.They are finding it difficult to come to terms with the fact that someone can win their league without multi-millions and God of justise prevailed and will continue to do so as long as they continue to cheat arsenal. I predict we are winning three truphies this season or more if we can manage the ingury front perfectly. Note my name all readers and send me my compliments at the end of the season. God bless all arsenal fans and AW specially.

  14. LA, great video, great take and finish from the lad. There is a mention on the Sky Sports site. http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11906_6751467,00.html

  15. Exactly, IG. There was even a song and dance about Bebe, who can’t even make their reserves. Fuck em. Better to be under the radar.

    The team pretty much picks itself for Wednesday, doesn’t it? As you were from Saturday – save Eboue in for Bac? Any variations on that? Our bench is going to look very strong with Denilson and Diaby both in there… even more so if Nasri somehow makes it.

    I know it’s early but… COME ON ARSENAL!

  16. Oh, cool. Well done, Edwin Chong.

  17. I didn’t see the game at the weeken, but I did catch the highlights. I am glad Arsene picked our strongest starting 11. There is a lot to be said for momentum in football. It was a good result, and our 2nd goal really was top class. Best goal of the day in any of the games (including Rooneys excellent effort).

    I really think we will get a result on Wednesday. Barca have some good players for sure…….but so do we.

  18. Goonerandy, try to catch the whole match if you can. It was a thing of beauty. Wilshere was the best I’ve ever seen him, absolutely ran the game. He’s so selfless too, a couple of times he could have gone for goal, but laid it off instead.

    An amazing performance, well worth watching again.

  19. bloody el vip alfred your spelling is worse then mine.

  20. I don’t know Delia, the FA and the referees have been throwing their bloated corpulence around in a way which smacks of the arrogance of mammon. While part of me agree you should always know who holds the power and act somewhat accordingly, another part of me thinks when the hand doth strike too quick, let a molten iron take the blow.

    And I agree with GA, our second was a thing of beauty, like a cat subdueing a mouse: ping, ping ping, dribble, ping, boom.

    The contrast between Saturday and our performance at Wolves: both victories gained in different ways. We’re no one-trick ponies, we’re versatile, and versatillity leads to unstoppability

  21. Who’s excited for Wednesday?

    We’re gonna do ’em.

  22. I’m not really too bothered about Wednesday, it’ll be alright I suppose.

    Who we playing again?

  23. Well Delia might have a point but, no, fuck ’em.

  24. Actually YW I have been wailing and gnashing since Nasri was injured. Apart from that you are spot on.

  25. Barca, els. They’re a bit like Rangers in that they’re part of a 2 horse race season after season. They pretty much split the €600 million La Liga TV revenues with the other horse each year – in that the bottom teams get around 19 times less money than they do. In England not even the winners get more than twice the money the bottom teams get. Mes Que Un Hegemony.

    Last year third placed Valencia finished 28 points behind Rangers… er, sorry, Barca – with Seville in 4th another 8 pts off that. La Liga is a joke.

    Despite that financial disparity Brokeback Rangers are currently €329 million in debt. It can’t last forever… in fact… I think the bubble bursts on Wednesday night.

  26. Been lots of good feedback from our loanees after the weekend. bartley, ryo, lansbury, ramsey all warming the cockles whilst even the indiffernet start from JET has gained some vocal backers.

    Really is hard work being a gooner sometimes… trying not to be too sanctimonious that is.

  27. Let’s break that bubble Limpar. We have a lot of players well used to breaking things…..mostly limbs.

  28. I’m with you on that, consolsbob. There are times when it is politic to kiss up, but I don’t think this is one of them. The refs know they are in the spotlight because of the BBC picking up on referees’ shortcomings, and even if they don’t care about us they will not want their professionalism or integrity doubted in the wider football world.

    £329 million in debt? Pffft. Farcelona. A mess of a club.

  29. Got goosepimples about wednesday already… really hope xavi gets to eat his words but I will be a proud enough man if the team can just go out there and play with complete confidence.

  30. Nasri, I predict, will be on the bench. I thought he might be after being back in training last week. I do agree it’s best not to rush him back, but if he’s fit make sure he’s included!

  31. Written apology????

  32. Nice one limpar!

    I have a really good feeling about wednesday, we have an almost full squad. RVP is walking on water, Wilshere seems fired up so we can expect a great performance from him, Cesc will show them what they are missing, Walcott the most dangerous player of last season encounter, dixit Guardiola himself, has taken another dimention this year. And last but not least our back five has a point to prove, as keeping the so called “best team in the world” will shut up all the critics who keep repeating we have a dodgy defence.

    On Nasri even if completly fit, I would stick with the same XI as saturday with just Magic Eboue in place of the suspended Sagna as Arshavin is getting back to his best and is due a goal fest! And Narsi can be a super sub killing barca’s tired defence on the hour!

    Come on you Gunners! The world will be looking towards North London and it is time to show them the team is ready to deliver!

  33. *keeping the so called “best team in thwe world” quiet

  34. They don’t have the wit to receive a written apology. Fuckers will just snigger because they think they have us by the short and curlies and then forward it to the Written Apologies Investigation Committee. Dock us points for sending it I should imagine.

  35. That rings a bell. Still…. I can’t seem to place them. They sound like a nice bunch though.

    They’re not that bunch with the fucker with girls hair and a face only a blind mother could love in defence are they?

  36. Sorry that was for Limpar.

  37. “Mes Que Un Hegemony”

    Standing ovation for that one

  38. There’s no doubt that B*rca is our biggest test of the season so far. But they’re not invincible. They’ve just had their winning streak ended by a plucky Sporting Gijon and, believe it or not, they’re far more scared of us than we are of them.

    Although it would be nice, we don’t need luck to beat them. Although it would be nice, we don’t need them to be off-form to beat them. And although it would be nice we don’t need impartial and competent officials to beat them.

    We also don’t need SN8 if playing him is any risk whatsoever.

    Nasri we need at Wembley, at the Camp Nou, and fully fit for our remaining 12 PL matches especially the one against ManU.

    For Wednesday I have every faith in AA23. He’s been getting better and better by the match and will be up for this. In last season’s home tie he didn’t even last 30 minutes before being replaced by Eboue, and like many of our in-form players, he didn’t play in the away leg. He’ll have something to prove.

    In fact, when you see how banged-up we were last year – especially in defence – the 6-3 aggregate was pretty damned impressive.

    So, a fully fit ‘Team A’ would be nice, but we also have depth.

    Just nothing too stupid, eh? No Lehmann-esque moments of self-destruction. And mean-spirited though this may sound, if anyone’s going to go down swinging, then for God’s sake make sure you take Lionel Messi with you.

    Should be fun.

  39. Will be interesting to see if barca try to target eboue down the left and thus spring the trap of theo ‘son of hermes’ walcott…

    Unfortunately Guardiola isn’t that stupid, in fact it really is quite frustrating that he not more unlikeable. Can anybody shed any light on any egotistical or tactical weakness we can expliot?

  40. Agree that no need to risk Nasri as Arshavin coming back to form, also will be keen to impress as (if my memory serves me correctly) he was linked with Barca before signing for us. May even have said they were the club he dreamed of playing for – should give him extra motivation to prove that they should have stumped up the cash for his services? That said if your not motivated by playing against the best players/team in the world in front of a world wide audience you may be in the wrong profession

  41. All I hope is for a decent ref….

    I know the boys will up for it as they are the underdogs and Farca will be under pressure to get a result and justify their “best club in the world” tag..

  42. For me the key to beat barca, is to isolate Messi. Trying to block him once he got the ball is really hard but preventing him from getting the ball is easier. He gets the ball mainly from Xavi and Dani Alves.
    If the team can block the passes from Xavi and preventing Dani Alves from surging forward that would negate their main threat. The whole team is dangerous but if you can frustrate Messi and Xavi their potency and confidence will be diminished.

  43. Pep Guardiola still tucks his jumper into his trousers though even with a shirt and tie underneath. Leaves an unsightly bulge. So he is fallible.

  44. I heard a rumour that he picks his nose and eats it too. Can anyone confirm?

  45. Does that leave a wedgy Frank ?

  46. And he tucks his trousers into his socks. I thinks it’s supposedly a ‘nod’ to his homies on lockdown muther.

    Geo he picks Puyol’s also. But that’s unavoidable really. It’s everywhere.

  47. Ah, thought so els. I didn’t want to mention it, as it was from a very unreliable source. wouldn’t want to taint someone’s image unnecessarily of course… I heard Messi also plaits Puyol’s hair in his spare time. How sweet.

  48. The trick to beating Barca is starving them of possession and having them run around like maniacs. There’s only one team remotely capable of doing this, and unfortunately for Barca, it’s the team they’re playing on Wednesday.

  49. thank you frank! As a metaphor does this mean that mascherano is the unsightly bulge and we need to flatten him to get between the sticks??

    luc – I wonder if we will see the rough 442 shape that seemed to pop up when everton did well to keep the ball from us? I’m not sure if song and wilshere alone will be enough… the room for error is too much.

  50. How can it be known as a Wayne Rooney kick? In civilized countries its long been known as a “brasse” or a braziliak kick after the magnificent brazlian players. How can you name an alrady well known brazilian trade mark after Wayne Rooney just because he managed to do it once in his career?

  51. Indeed Donute. I remember after Rivaldo pulled it off against the Mancs, Andy Cole didn’t stop attempting at least one a game. I think it took him the better part of a season before he actually scored one.

  52. I thought a Wayne Rooney kick was the act of navigating to a website with content of Ape on grandma action?

    As in…

    “Oh my god what are you doing.

    No no get out, don’t look at me switch the lights off! I’m sorry I was just getting a Wayne Rooney kick, I need help.

    You should be fucking locked up”

  53. donute
    In France it is already called a papinade named after Jean Pierre Papin who was renowed for this king of acrobatical volleys.

  54. Maschefuckingrano? Is HE playing? There you are then, we have it in the bag.

  55. I think it should be named: “the Geo-kick”. I scored one once…

  56. It’s like calling a long range power strike “the Kranjcar”.

    You could legitimately call cunts “a Bentley” or a “a Barton” though I suppose..

  57. What infuriates me about Barca is that when they don’t have the ball they are all over you in packs, snapping at your heels. When they do have the ball and you so much as touch them, they’ll go down like they’ve been shot. Its not just Sergio “Peek a Boo” Biscuits who does it, the entire team has perfected that “art”. Also their tactics of intimidating refs just makes my blood boil. So the need for a good ref who will not get conned is paramount (Can’t see many of those around)

  58. Barca are excellent off the ball.

    If we match their workrate in that respect it will be a very fast game.

    2-0 (RvP & Song)

  59. I like your style GA! I might have a punt on Song to score one for sure!

  60. Did not have a chance to comment on the game Saturday. Great game, great decision by the boss to pick our best team amd not worry about Barca until Sunday.

    I have tried not to get overly excited about Barca but that is impossible. In the past 3 years the only way to defeat them in CL matches is with strong defending. ManU beat them 1 – 0. Chelsea came within 3 minutes of winning 1 – 0 and Inter was excellent against them last year. That said, that type of game is not our style so we just have to play our game and trust that that Djourou and Co. can continue with their great run of form. However it turns out it should be a fabulous tie and I really believe if we stay organized and agressive but smart we can pull off a fantastic result.

  61. The best way for us to beat them is to keep the ball. That is the best way of defending.

  62. I predict a Wilshere ‘Geo-kick’ to wrap up a 3-0 victory. Then we can shove it right up their ‘Busquets’.

  63. All the while they don’t have the ball, they can’t score…

    …unless we score an own goal.

  64. One tactic which worked for us for our goal in the Camp Nou last year was to play on the fact that their full-backs push on so much. While it is obviously a strength of theirs it can also be a weakness if we can win the ball and set Walcott and Arshavin away in behind Maxwell and Alves respectively. Walcott especially needs to be on his bike as soon as win the ball back as if he gets a couple of yards anyone short of Usain Bolt isn’t going to catch him.

    I agree with others above that possession is key, we play a much faster game in general in England and Barcelona have most of the ball in their games in Spain. If we can achieve parity in possession and play to a quick tempo I think it will suit us. I’m not saying that the Barcelona players are unfit, but if you’re not used to playing at that pace week in week out it will tell in the end.

  65. I think they will underestimate us. We have a far superior team available for Wed than we did last time out. Possession, and a fast, high tempo pressing game will be the ingredients needed to defend. If we can play attacking footie like on Sat, we’ll have all the ingredients we need to score. Even without Samir.

  66. Neither team are used to not having the ball for long spells, but both teams are equally used to dominating posession. One of them is going to be out of their comfort zone either way. Last time it was us, now it is their turn.

  67. All of this talk of Arsenal not being as interested in the ECL as the EPL and that it would not be a disaster to go out to Barcelona is rubbish. This is the tie we have been waiting for. We want to show the world that actually Barcelona may not be the best team in the world. Arsenal’s best first team is at least as good. In short we want revenge….and I think we will have it.

    …..Arsenal……

  68. I agree with Frank.

  69. Borges Spinelli aka Thierry Bergkamp-Wright

    Friends, Gooners, countrymen/women, lend me your ears; I bring forth with me the good news of our impending victory over the Campeones de Cataluña. Behold! The meetings of the nobles is indeed a dark omen. But we shall overcome them. For it is written in the stars, and revealed to me, that on the 16th day, of the 2nd month of February, in the year of 20 11; a cultured team from the north of London, shall overcome the mighty inquisitors from Barcelona.

    Whiles they behold a greater than themselves, and therefore are they very dangerous. I rather tell thee what is to be feared than what I fear, for always WE ARE THE ARSENAL. Set honor in one eye and losing i’ the other and i will look both indifferently. For i love the name of honor more than i fear losing. May your eyes be a testament to the illustrious coming of age of THE ARSENAL.

    Yours Truly.

  70. You can have you Geo-kick and bicycle kicks.

    The greatest goal ever scored according to the Gadget’s guide to the Multi-verse (which was writen just before entrophy defeats matter) is to be scored in Universe 9DB-ALpha-TH1TW4 around 15 years from now.

    “Duun Jaa (son of Tony) scores for Nagoya Grampus with a most acrobatic shot. Having seemingly run too far ahead of an incoming ball, he pirouettes in the air, body parallel to the ground he controls the ball with his leaping leg, flicks it up and forward to what would have been head-height, while he’s now 180 to his starting position (his head inches from the ground), he strikes the ball with his other foot, top corner, Duun lands not on his back but on his feet with a gymnast’s finish.”

    It also says the author’s word do not do the move any justice and if you get the chance for multiversal time travel, seeing this goal is a must.

    As it stands, this is the best bicycle kick we’ll see in our universe:

    lame.

  71. Spooky BSaTBY that’s word for word what I just said to my dad on the phone.

  72. I love the keeper in that clip Gadget. Haha. Was that me in goal.

    Still he was in the box there.

  73. Borges Spinelli aka Thierry Bergkamp-Wright

    Haha Els! A little Shakespeare to rouse the cavalry and silence the doomers is the way of ACLF’s aficionados. 🙂

  74. I am roused matey! COYG!

  75. I tell you what’s not lame; did anyone watch the video after? Good lord, I was mesmerised!

    Anyway, I thought volley’s were allowed in the box els? If not, I’ll have to regretfully tell the boys we’ve been swindling our way through 5-a-side for years… and long may it continue!

    Bicycle wine indeed!

  76. I’m on a youtube high:

    This is how I hope the Arsenal Barca match will play out:

  77. I’ve never used ‘lol’ before gadget but loooooooooooooooooool. Ahaha. God I hoped that’s how it was going to pan out, but I didn’t dare get my hopes up.

  78. Volleys in the box? That’s revolutionary.

  79. mj what kind of a story is that? At the end of the article he himself shoots it out of the water.

  80. Well, that’s it. Consolslel packed off to Crete for a fortnight to visit No. 4 Grandson.

    Any volunteers to dig a few French drains? All the cider you can drink and eggs that you can eat and I’ll throw in a pasty for the Arsenal match.

    Bloody hard work.

  81. Sounds good bob. I wish I could make it.

    What are French drains. Is this some kind of euphemism? And did I just almost agree to something ‘experimental’?

  82. I have just watched the ‘goal’ that everyone is enthusing about. The Rooney one. I think it is awful. Football at its best is about art. This just looks like a fat bloke falling off a chair.

  83. French drains are a bit like English drains only with, surprisingly perhaps, more grit.

  84. The french and grit Pah! je ne pense pas alors.

    Frank MOtD needs you.

  85. aparently the sun is running with the “where was you when Rooney shinned it in off a deflected cross” fukin media, i aint met one person yet who thinks the goal was extra special only the media are selling it as the best goal ever scored ever. and how many times can ssn show it! Sinclairs was far better.

  86. It’s a fucking joke isn’t it. I’ve scored better goals.

    I can think of loads of better goals.

    It’s as if he’s an english, man utd player who’s been having a shite season and the media are being used to raise the player and the club. Isn’t it.

  87. I’ts an injustice to all before to say thats the best goal scored at old trafford.

  88. Seriously, who gives a fuck.

    Fat bloke falling off a chair is all I can see now.

  89. Just a quick comment on the arca game, i agree with bill about defending. we all know the route to the final in 06 was built on a 4-5 -1 formation and we were slagged off by madrid and villareal for our negative tactics but it worked, i feel we need to do the same this time but i know it wont happen, saying that a slug fest will seeus doing better with more first teamers about.

  90. Well thats the way for me, DG. Technical against technical, art against art, winner takes all.

  91. No diving, no broken legs, no shit refereeing. Just technique, skill, pace, vision. Football at its artistic best.

  92. Was actually suprised at the lack of parroting on ‘dabestesteva’ by work colleagues, most were pretty understated. Didn’t even get a chance to show off the ade villereal goal… Maybe the influence of the media does have its limits? Conspirisists take note.

    Still, could have done with that chair imagery earlier this morning…


    Looking forward to seeing drogba sulking on the bench tonight.

  93. RVP……….Click Click Click
    RVP……….Click Click Click
    RVP……….Click Click Click

  94. Gadget @ 3:45pm,

    Hilarious and hopefully prophetic! I have a really good feeling about the fixture and timing of it.

    Even better, if Chelski are held tonight clear blue water and even bluer skies would appear to be opening up before us.

    COYG

  95. Thank you KS, thought noone would mention it. Probably the best football player I’ve ever seen, and the second most important and influential ever from Brazil. Forever Ronaldo. And we’ll beat his former team.

  96. A bit long….but awesomeness!

  97. g4e – that is a heck of a thing! What a gig.

  98. He has a few niece pieces on YouTube Steww

  99. G4E,

    That was brilliant, it perfectly fits the film. one of Production IG’s most awe inspiring anime.

  100. “We don’t have to worry too much about them. We have to play with no fear. Last season in the first half (of the first leg) we respected them too much. We just have to play our game.” – Cesc Fàbregas

    I like this positive mental attitude being exhibited.

    My prediction: Arsenal 2 x Barcelona 1

  101. I think hegemony in Catalan is hegemonia.

  102. I totally agree JD

  103. goonerandy with a nice shout–2-0 with Song to score. I think he’s onto something there.

    This is going to be a great game and the pressure is off us, as there is no shame losing to a team of this quality. Arsenal will do us proud. It won’t be a shock to any of us, I think, if we get a victory but it will shock the collective punditocracy.

  104. @Limestonegunner

    It means the same in portugues, and nope, they hold none over Arsenal.

  105. Busquets is a dirty player and a diver. His behavior really marred the match in our last meeting (the Emirates leg, I believe). I hope we don’t see any more of his antics or a ref falling for it.

  106. I dont know but I would love to see some crosses targetting Chamakh in the goalie area. I think he would give Barca fits.

    Have a funny feeling about this match, very funny feeling.

    ARSENAL!!!!

    Its good to see many people not getting brainwashed by the media frenzy re: Rooneys fluke.

  107. if eboues at his best then i hope the ref does fall for it, or is at least consistent in his decisions.. 😉

    nice point yogi…we are very strong in certain positions..nasris arguabley been our best player this season, yet hes had two spells in the physio room this season and we are still fighting on all four fronts

    we have so many class players now…

  108. I think they will line-up:

    Valdés; Alves, Piqué, Abidal, Maxwell; Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta; Pedro, Messi, Villa

    Abidal will probably replace Milito who played instead of Puyol.

    The line-up above is pretty much the same, with the exception Puyol missing, which tore Real Madrid apart.

  109. i think nasri will play..
    i dunno, but i gotta feeling hes been fit a while, at least a week and AW’s been doing one of the old jedi mind tricks..
    15 mins before kick off squad gets announced, nasris in and the fans goes nuts…home game, crowd up for it, players up for it, best team apart from bac and off we go…

    but if not then arshavin will step up..

    weve got a good chance, barca looked tired v gijon…maybe theyve hit a ‘mini slump’ at a crucial time..??

    i would like to think 3-0…then if we score at their gaff its defo over..but il settle for 2-1…

  110. Le-Grove finally realizing they can use their popularity for good…

  111. NJ, two good positive posts the last two days on that site. What will Muppet do if this keeps up?! Luckily for him, the comments section over there still exists! Good time for Arsenal supporters to come together and push the team forward. Man how I wish I could attend this game!

    I just hope folks are chanting “Hands off Cesc Fabregas” as we keep a 2-0 lead going to the Nou Camp.

    Just imagine how much a win at home would do for our league campaign! We’ll be flying.

  112. Looks like Muppet will be another statistic in the coalition cutbacks.

  113. Nasrinho is the bullet of our esquadrão.

  114. Anelka, Torres and Drogba all on the same pitch. Are the chavs serious ?

  115. The Fulham fans are singing “What a waste of money” – LMAO

  116. torres is garbage…lost his sparkle..
    luiz looks a good player though

  117. ”No diving, no broken legs, no shit refereeing. Just technique, skill, pace, vision. Football at its artistic best.”

    Barce-loan-us are amongst the best in the world in that art called DIVING, Frank…

  118. Not much activity in here today, eh?

  119. torres looks his usual isolated self. Luiz looks like a class act tho, he has brought the ball out of the back a few times already and he’s played a few balls over the top to Torres, who proceded to take many a shitty touch and blow the chance.

  120. Also that Ian and Steve Mcmanana are coming off as total wanks again. They just criticized Fulham for defending deep and playing for a point. Against Chelsea. man city does it and it is a great strategy.

  121. I saw tonight why Sidwell is not a premier league player. I also noted that Dembele attended the same school as Adebayor. Oh and Hangeland obviously is comfortable with his new contract.

  122. thats a great result for us..
    chelsea have fixtures v city and the mancs coming up next…we need them to take 6 points from those fixtures but they now are no threat to us if they do..8 points daylight…
    within the space of a couple of games they could have put themselves and city out of the race… 😉 we just need them to do manu as well.. twice 😉 then when we do manu its game set and match

  123. ray wilkin – ‘chelsea can win the pl for arsenal’ lmfao, roflmfoa…
    hahahahahahaha….wait i cant breath….start again…hahahahahahahahahaha
    what a dick…brilliant…
    we dont need to win any more points guys…chelsea will win all our games for us…

  124. agree with you jon jon.also think nasri could start as he seems to have been fit for a while.chelsea seem a sorry sight and am not counting on them beating manure.like somebody rightly said,think its payback time on wednesday.

  125. “we dont need to win any more points guys…chelsea will win all our games for us…”very funny jon jon.lmao…

  126. weve got to face facts and accept that barca are the best team in europe right now..i think we all know this…
    but..
    last year our squad was a tad decimated, as well as nowhere near as good this year..
    also…i think we all know that barca played some of the best stuff anyones ever seen on a football pitch in the first half, although they didnt score during that period it knocked the stuffing out of us and set the tone…its highly unlikely they will reach the heights of that performance again..
    another also…is that they have just put a run together of 16 wins on the trot (until this weekend)..they use the same players every game pretty much and the way they press im assuming that type of effort is going to take alot out of them..im sort of hoping they are knackered and are going to go thru a little ‘cooling period’ for the next few games..
    now, if we can turn up, play as we all know we can, and hope to christ rvp continues his form, we’ll rip them apart..
    it’ll be tough, but we can do it….

  127. If only Chelsea showd a hint of patience with Sturridge, could have saved themselves from getting robbed by the scousers.

  128. Ha ha ha ha – I’ve just seen the Chelsea result. £75 million well spent.
    Only downside is that Sp*rs are now in fourth.

  129. sturridge is a good little player
    the same happened to him at city…money men came in, killed his career..
    its double standards by the fa..
    whats the point of all this crap about grass roots level and wanting to develop the youngsters when they are letting the silly pricks with a bit of dosh spend it like theirs no tomorrow…
    they are killing the academies…we could develop some of the best kids yet they will never get the chance…..

  130. I hope Chelsea get that front line in order by the time they face United. Even if they draw twice against them it will benefit us.

    Where’s that Barcelona wanker from last season to give us his take?

  131. lol fun
    although it looks bad now. that will also set us in good stead
    chelsea look ropey, but there is no way in hell that they will accept spending all that money just to finish fourth…they wont accept finishing behind spurs or city and they will go all out now to win those big games..
    theyve got to play all the teams above them, apart from us and if the chelsea juggernaught gets going it will only work in our favor

  132. As a matter of interest, what happened to that whole Papal visit thing?

    Having watched a number of barca games this season, our passing game is on a par with theirs, they lose the ball just as often as we do.

    (there was one passing movement vs wolves that didn’t result in a goal that was absolutely beyond anything I’ve seen this season, and I include barca in that).

    The difference is they are far more aggressive in pressing to get it back, which they do in packs.

    Despite the media hype, they are not unbeatable.

    I think if we aren’t over-awed and play our game coupled with strong pressing when not in possession, I think we can take them.

    My first prize would be a clean sheet at THOF.

    I don’t see the argument that playing at home in the second leg is always an advantage.

    If we keep a clean sheet at home, then any goal we score at camp nou makes it more difficult for them, so that’s why I’d like us to keep them out at home.

    I can see us taking this 1-0 with 1-1 or them winning 2-1 in the second leg.

    I suspect this game is going to be a lot tighter than many are expecting.

  133. Just an observation, has anyone else noticed how dramatically Walcott’s first touch has improved?

    I saw him receive several awkward balls and kill them right at his feet, both in the air and on the ground. Many of them with an opponent right on his back.

    He might be learning certain basic skills at quite a late stage, but he definitely is still managing to learn some of those skills very successfully that we have always been led to believe have to be ingrained before the age of 11.

    I used to believe that Walcott was a very useful but very specific weapon to be unleashed in specific circumstances.

    I’m being forced to review that opinion.

  134. I agree Mike and his off the ball running and link up play with RVP is also very good.

    Dupsffokcuf, I thought the article was okay until I got to the bit about our central defenders then he lost me because he has clearly not been watching our team play.

  135. Dupsffokcuf,

    A good article by the current standards of journalism. Another source for good AFC reporting on a more consistent basis seems to be the Irish Times. Today’s piece is typical:

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sport/2011/0215/1224289830228.html

  136. Oh well,

    The forst part of my hope (Chelski held) came true last night. Now to the second and more challenging part: a victory over Barca!

    We will have Nasri available and our strongest (notable exception of TV5 and Bacary) available. Whether Samir starts or not, we have the team/squad to win this fixture and it might be worth considering just how significant this fact is when you recall that Barca are now largely referred to as “the best team in the World.”

    I look forward to tomorrow’s discussions.

  137. Chelsea look poor i think they need to spend some money.

  138. Looking ahead,

    If we do the business tomorrow, I’d hope we take the chance to rest key parts of the team on Sunday. With Stoke the following Tuesday, we’ll need a strong and rested team for those cloggers and Orient seem as good a chance as any to recuperate and take that risk.

    But I’m looking too far ahead!! Barca next.

  139. The Stoke game has been moved to Wednesday which gives us an extra 24 hours to recuperate. Personally I’d like us to start with a strong team at Orient and make substitutions if, and when, we’re well ahead. The best way to ensure we win something this season must be to try to win everything. Up the arse.

  140. Almunia

    Eboue Squillachi Kos Gibbs

    Song Wilshere Denilson

    Bendtner Chamakh AA

    Should be easily enough to win on Sunday. If Nasri needs games he could also feature.

  141. Agree, MikeSA – in this is situation, a clean sheet is vital. Puts the pressure on them for the away leg.

    “The difference is they are far more aggressive in pressing to get it back, which they do in packs.”
    Yup.
    ***
    Sam Wallace is a tool. After Gerrard was filmed hitting someone in a bar, he wrote an exculpatory hagiography of the man. After Cesc was accused of spitting, he wrote an article which just stopped short of defamation, about Cesc’s “dark” side.

  142. @ Bernard

    The key players will have worked especially hard against Barca and will be to do the same against Stoke, so I would prefer AW to give them a rest against Leyton Orient. Our “second” team plus Nasri is a very strong team. They are now used to the pressure of playing a team with absolutely nothign to lose, have more match fitness, plus last time out they won, so I think they will have more confidence. Leyton Orient are a mid-table League One team. If we show them proper respect, we will win. It’s such a pity that Diaby can’t play that one, isn’t it?

  143. “will have to do the same against Stoke”.

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