Arsenal On Right Track As The Derail Orient FA Cup Express

FA Cup 5th Round Replay
Arsenal 5 – 0 Leyton Orient

1 – 0 Chamakh (7)
2 – 0 Bendtner (30)
3 – 0 Bendtner (43)
4 – 0 Bendtner (62 pen)
5 – 0 Clichy (75)

Arsenal progressed to an FA Cup quarter-final meeting with Manchester United, cruising past a Leyton Orient side whose dedication to trying to play football in the correct manner put most of the Premier League to shame. That they were on the receiving end of a five goal hiding is probably the best indicator why few other teams try to play this way at The Emirates.

Nicklas Bendtner garners most attention with a thirty minute hat-trick on a night of surprising scorers, Marouane Chamakh grabbing his first goal since November whilst Gael Clichy found the first time since Noah came up with the blueprints for the Ark.

On the back of the defeat at Wembley, Russell Slade feared a backlash. From the kick-off it was apparent that this Arsenal XI were in no mood to succumb to another cup shock inside three days. Abou Diaby returned to the line-up and was sparky early in the match but it was a much-maligned Rosický who provided the impetus for the breakthrough, seizing on a loose pass, surging into the area where Chamakh pass the cross into the net.

Instead of opening the floodgates, that led to a period of Arsenal sitting back, content to pass the ball and absorb any counter-attacks which Orient may progress. Probing the visitor’s defence, the second arrived with half an hour played. Diaby foraged on the left side of the Orient penalty area before finding Gibbs whose cross was turned into the net by Bendtner, soaring high to head the ball back in the direction from which it came leaving Jones grasping at air.

It was all very comfortable for Arsenal and just before the half-time whistle blew, it became a procession. Orient dithered and Rosický intervened. The ball broke to Bendtner, who cut in and curled his effort beyond the despairing dive of Jones and into the bottom corner. Three goals to the good and it was all too easy.

The second half brought little respite for the visitors. Denilson stung the hands and chest of Jones before Diaby provided a glimpse of the sublime skills he possesses, a one-two with Chamakh followed by some twinkling toes through the Orient defence before skewing his shot narrowly wide.

The fourth was soon to follow. Gibbs broke on the left and inside the area was unneccesarily tugged to the ground by Whing. Bendtner claimed afterwards that he was on penalty duty anyway but this one was his and he duly drilled the ball into the net for his hat-trick.

It was to be his last contribution of note as Arsène withdrew the dane five minutes later, a signal for his team selection on Saturday perchance? Rosický had been withdrawn following a blow to the head which had left him dazed and confused whilst Diaby’s return to fitness is being taken as gingerly as those of others in the squad, lasting little more than an hour.

It left the finishing line-up looking somewhat stronger in midfield than the beginning, Nasri and Wilshere entering the fray. Was that an unnecessary risk on the part of the manager or simply an indication of the toll that the recent run of fixtures has taken on the squad’s fitness? The latter more likely but a more typically English team might well have left the move dropping into the former’s category.

The fifth goal was a collector’s item, Gaël Clichy’s shot drilled low and into the corner with fifteen minutes to go. It topped off the evening with the strike a signal of a/be-musement that the full back had scored.

Post match Arsène was pleased with the win following the Carling Cup final defeat but was more intent on focussing the players onto Sunderland. Whilst he denied Bendtner was likely to start against Sunderland, it would be a surprise if he did not,

It puts him in contention to play against Sunderland. That for us, is a vital game.

The last sentence is the key. It is all very well us getting excited about next week’s encounter in Catalunya but a win on Saturday is equally important. With United travelling to Liverpool on Sunday, for them to know Arsenal are a point behind puts pressure on them that has not been necessarily there before.

Whilst Liverpool are not the force of previous seasons, Dalglish has turned their results around to bring the club to sixth in the table with a decent home record the driving force. Dropped points put Arsenal in a strong position to overhaul United in the coming week.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on March 3, 2011, in Arsenal, FA Cup, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 163 Comments.

  1. Strongest team for Saturday please. Forget the Barca game until Sunday morning.

  2. Great result, Bendtner will be filled by even more confidence and I can see him being decisive in the next few matches! Rosicky looked class and showing once again that every time a player is deemed not good enough by some quarters, the response is made on the pitch. I hope Diaby gets another 60-70 min against Sunderland so he can be completely match fit for Barca as I feel his strength, technique and directness could be too much for barca.

  3. And good to have chamakh scoring again!

  4. I thought the enitre team played well yesterday. Great movement all-round, but Chamakh does look low on confidence at the mo. A run of games would be a good thing for him.

    It was great to see the team smile too.

  5. Morning all.

    I thought Diaby was excellent last night, so good to see him back. Let’s hope he can stay fit for a while longer.… Congrats to NB52 for his hattrick, a very well taken one at that. A great header, a great finish and a great penalty. Great.

    Rosicky looked more like himself, and Chamakh was much sharper than i’ve seen for a while. Eboue was worryingly niaive in defence though I must admit, it’ll be a relief to have Sanga available for the Nou Camp.

    An excellent response, much needed goals from our back up strikers, a good performance from some who have needed to get back into form, basically it all went as well as it could have really.

    I thought Miquel looked very good again, and liked the way he was ordering the defence around. Lovely stuff.

    Henderson did very well for a debut, and looks like (another!) one that could be good in a couple of years…

    I agree with goonerandy – strongest team against Sunderland. The league is there to fight fior all the way now.

  6. I couldn’t go last night as I was ill, I only saw the goals. Good that the likes of Bendtner and Chamakh got some goals again, we’ll need them in the coming games. Great to hear the likes of Miquel and Henderson getting games, that will do them a power of good.

    I agree with the strongest team for Saturday, from now on it has to be for all the games. We’re only a couple of games from the FA Cup final as well and we won’t want to go down to a heavy defeat at Old Trafford like a couple of seasons ago.

  7. And it was also good to see the Emirates faithful actually influencing some of the referee’s decisions… I hate it when it happens against us like every OT game, but it’s something that helps win teams titles, and the crowd definitely helped the referee make some decisions last night. Can’t think of the specifics, and they wouldn’t have changed the outcome, but it was the first time i’ve really noticed it benefitting us at the Emirates. So nice one Gooners! Let’s make those noises when Utd come to our fortress!

  8. The fact that Henderson’s not mentioned in the post is testament to how seamlessly he slotted into the side. Granted it was against ‘lesser’ opposition but the boy did very well not to look out of place.

  9. How I wish we took the fight to Brum last Sunday the way we did against Orient last night; the pace and commitment I saw from the players was simply amazing!

  10. In a way Steven, the result against Brum may be just what we needed to be fired up for every game til the end of the season. I was gutted at the time, but I think we could have easily become complacent after winning that… who knows. Either way the CC should be looked at as a mistake that should serve to galvanise the team for the challenge ahead.

  11. Very good result.

    Agree with all the comments on Diaby – I really hope he starts at the Camp Nou as well. Miquel did really well, too – not faultless but he doesn’t get fazed and he concentrates for the whole game. Very mature. Tomas Rosicky should feel really confident about filling in for Cesc again after that performance.

    Also, anyone else think we had better balance with Henderson in instead of AA? Obviously there is no comparison in terms of ability, but I think he worked better in the side as a whole.

    Strongest available team on Saturday, but we can’t play the strongest team for every match until the end of the season. There will be rotation for the FA Cup, certainly. The good news is that the “second string” are playing themselves back into form, so the gap will be narrower. This is their secodn win and the most assured that they have looked.

  12. Vince

    Henderson was going to be mentioned in the post but Firefox decided to have a major fuck-up hissy fit and I decided to hit publish before ’twas all lost.


  13. Good professional win last night.

    I agree with others that Diaby was very good. Sometimes when he burst from midfield he is excellent. I have no idea why he stops and turns around when he gets to the edge of the area though.

  14. You can go with that reason if you want YW, but i’m sticking with “it was ‘cos he slotted in so well”! From what we’re hearing media-wise, it seems like Cesc thinks he’s ok to play on Saturday but Wenger’s saying no chance. I wonder if following on from a strong win without him yesterday, Wenger’s trying to show the rest of the squad that they’re capable of performing whether Fabregas is on the pitch or not.

  15. Not sure if I can agree: at Emirates, is our strongest team needed to beat Sunderland?

    Some will say that you shouldn’t take the risk in not fielding your strongest, but then again fielding our strongest doesn;t guarantee anything. Personally, i feel a mixed -team should be enough to overcome the black cats, but whatever.

    It’s largly irrelevant though cause I’d imagine the line up I’d probably go with is:

    sagna -kos – dj-clichy

    I think I liek arguinng for the sake of it, or at least when a tone miffles me (that my excuse anyway)

  16. Great win though my interest was on Henderson. He kept it decent.

  17. Denilson was also on fire, his forward runs especially in the first half were a sight to behold. Stayed back after the subs were introduced but i understand why, he really is due a goal from one of his long range shots in the near future.

    I was most impressed with Rosicky, Diaby, Miquel and Denilson not necessarily in that order.That boy henderson can take free kicks, i think we may have another freekick specialist on the books.

    I notice the likes of Naga, Joe and the other fella haven’t made an appearance today and may this long continue.

  18. I think that’s a perfectly reasonable point to make, Gadget. Advantages would be that the changed players will slot in more smoothly and we could give game time to those who really need it (eg Ramsey and Diaby) while still resting some players.

  19. We can’t afford to slip up in the lge. And the lge is more imortant than the CL IMO.

    Hopefully Cesc will sit this one out as he has been carrying an injury, but him aside we should play our strongest 11.

  20. Oh belt up will you Gadget, you’re talking absolute nonsense you complete and utter nincompoop. You’re post miffled me immensely, to the extent that I am ever so mildly upset, now have at you!

    Actually, I think that’s def the team that’ll play on Sat. Quite strong considering we’re missing our best striker, midfielder and (debatably now) our best CB.

  21. When is Ramsey back?

  22. Now

  23. How much longer is Diaby going to tease us?

    The guy has so much talent he just can’t seem to get a good injury free run. I really hope he can stay fit until the end of the season, we need players like him to achieve our goals.

  24. Just what the doctor ordered, really. The importance of the early goal cannot be underestimated – not just for settling the nerves of players and fans alike, but for the critical confidence boost it gives Chamakh, who will have an important role to play in the next few weeks in van Persie’s absence.

    It’s a small first step on the road to redemption, but as the boss said Saturday is just as crucial if we are to keep the pressure on United.

  25. @ YW.
    Well written as per usual… Glad this type of response was gotten and the replay proved a good match for achieving match fitness

    Pls not though, should “the” in your title not be “they” ?

  26. Damnit!!!To type all that and for it not to appear no way am retyping it!

    On Saturday we should play a team that can beat Sunderland, what is our strongest team? i thought we played close to one against the blues on Sunday and we still lost.

  27. Fun, I noticed Henderson tended to stay closer to the left when the play was on the opposing side, while Arshavin tends to drift towards the centre in order to influence play. It’s easy to see where balance can be lost, however, this space vacated by Arshavin could potentially be exploited by Clichy or someone else. The only problem then is we could be hit on the counter which is hwta happened a lot last year.

  28. good point, Firstlady.

  29. Kieran Gibbs had a great game. Set up a penalty and hit a good cross for bendtner.

  30. As per normal YW a very good read,J’adore the reference to Noah and the Ark and Clichy scoring…

  31. Oi Geo, shut it!!!!!!!!!!11111!!!!!!!!

    My pimp hand is the strongest!

  32. I think C’bob called the substitutions right in the comments last night.
    Giving some vital personnel the chance to wash Wembley out of their hair with a run out in a walk over.
    Don’t care who he picks Saturday the whole squad is good enough.

  33. not = note… one character missing again. LOL

  34. Yogi, why did my comment get lost??

  35. hahaha! Yeah but, no but, my dad’s bigger than yours, and you aint coming to my birthday party now anyway. So there. ;-p

    Good news about Rambo, and I agree with Toby, Gibbs was looking very dangerous. Loved the jinking run into the box.

  36. Ignasi Miquel is a joy to watch. His boundless energy and enthusiasm is a great foil for Squillaci’s steadying anchor role. Both played very well. Having Miquel in the side is great fun… leaping about one minute winning headers with feet to spare against great lumps… the next spraying Riquelme style cross balls out to his mate Conor Henderson. Running on the ball is quality too. I reckon he could play trequartista for a lot of teams – his technique’s that good. Not even kidding.

  37. If we’re still in three competitions to the end of the season, and Diaby stays fit, I’d use him for PL and FA Cup games and rest him in Europe. Don’t ask me to explain it properly, I just think he’s especially potent against packed defences.

    And to me that first leg against Barcelona last year did kind of hit his confidence. He was unstoppable before that match, but looked completely sapped after. I suppose you could say the same for much of the team though.

  38. Like that article Limpar 🙂

    Who needs to spend 25mil on a floppy haired CB, when we’ve got our very own…? How is, along with Djourou’s rise to top class status, this possible? I thought we didn’t coach defence at Arsenal…

  39. Firstlady

    It’s there or at least I can see it…or is it a different one, in which case, NFI?


  40. @ gadget
    Yes, that was what I meant – if we have the new-style AA it’s fine, but not with the AA who resurfaced on Sunday.

    @ stew
    The whole squad IS good enough, but they’re not equally match fit, even now. It’s a question of whether you play those who are a bit tired, but in the groove, or those who are fresher, but not quite in the groove.

  41. If Diaby has a good game against Barca he really could be the difference. He offers us something extra to what our game normally delivers.

  42. Agreed GA but like yourself I become very frustrated seeing him make the kinds of super run he made last nite only to turn the other way once he reached the 18 yard box.

  43. JD Gooner, but if a pass wasn’t on and there were too many defenders he is doing his job by turning back and keeping possession. When it was on he raced through them didn’t he?

  44. Apparantly at one point, Diaby had made over 60 passes at 100% completion. Can’t get much better for your first game back in a while. And the dribbling reminded me of what we’ve missed in his absence. I’m a massive fan of his I must say…

  45. That’s what i was gonna say steww…

  46. @ Geo
    We may not coach defence at Arsenal, BUT we do have the Defense Fairy who flies in when the moon is full to sprinkle twinkly magic “defensing” dust on our CBs – so much easier and quicker than doing defensive drills or any of that nonsense.

  47. I saw flashes of Van Persie when Henderson received the ball while playing on the right. I was very impessed. I thought he was a central/creative midfielder since Arsene played him there in the pre-season.

    I liked the look of Miquel as well. He has the makings of a great defender. He seems calm, decisive and composed. Seems to be improving with every game.

  48. Steww – What we mean is that he really does get himself into great positions when running from deep midfield, only to slow the move right down when he gets near the area. I really like him, but just wish he would maybe shoot more often when he gets himself into these positions. If you are on the edge of the area with defenders backing off have a pop. The guy has a good shot on him as well, so you can only assume it is a slight lack on confidence at th moment.

  49. Good atmosphere at the ground last night I thought. A nice air of defiance. Fuck ’em all, as we say in these parts. (There’s even a song that went up in the North Bank last night that I hadn’t heard:

    West Ham, Tottnum, Liverpool
    Cos we are The Arsenal, We are the best
    We are The Arsenal
    So Fuck all the rest)

    Great roar went up for Koscielny when his name was read out on the bench, and Woijiech too. Perfect.

    Far too many empty seats though. Gazidis needs to put last minute reallocation of tickets to the top of his pile over the summer.

  50. Again, if the shot or pass isn’t on his job is to keep possession. We might hope the shot is on, he knows if it is. You really think he stops and turns back if a pass or shot is on? Really? If so why?

  51. You’re probably right, GA. Maybe I just haven’t been able to shake the trauma of that first half last year. It was like one of those nature shows where big loping animals get taken down by swarms of ants (does that happen?). It’s probably nonsense, but I want fewer lopers and more compact, busy Denilson, JW types.

  52. …just for that Barcelona match of course.

    And those ants are a bunch of foulers as well!

  53. Steww – I did say i thought maybe he lacked a bit of confidence there. Thats all. I really like Diaby.

    I am just commenting that a few times he burst past a few players, got himself close to their area on turn round and pass backwards. I accept that sometimes it is “not on”, but there was a couple of occasions last night when it was. I have noticed him do this in games before as well. If somebody like RvP was in that position you could put your house on him getting a shot away.

    Anyway, I am not slating the guy, just mentioning something I have noticed.

  54. OOU – Heh, you are right about the 1st half of last years game. It was a bit of a footballing lesson eh?

  55. I don’t know, GA, I think it was more a lesson in gamesmanship, winning free-kicks and disguising fouls.

  56. Almunia captain! WTF! Very strange, very Arsene!

  57. Fun, it occurs to me that we when AA drifts inwards, we could adopt the mindset in conjunction to our fluidity where Jack moves further out left as opposed to Clichy moving forward. Song could then occupy the centre area, while Arshavin and the attacking mid could roam the areas in and out side the box

  58. I quite liked having Clichy and Gibbs running them ragged down the left. Another nice option to have. Clichy looked so up for it when he came on, chasing back all the way to right back at one point, albeit to foul the player, but great desire nonetheless.

  59. I know what you’re saying GA, but that’s something i like about him, very unpredictable. When he’s certain that there’s space to shoot, he unleashes that powerfull right boot, that’s for sure. Shame his finish didn’t match up to that lovely run into the box… I’m so pleased that he’s back, more than I expected. Can’t wait to see Ramsey again too!

  60. OOU – I thought Barca were outstanding in the 1st half of last years game at the Emirates. I really was worried about us getting hammered. It made our comeback all the sweeter though eh?

  61. OOU – Like I said, I really rate Diaby. At the start of the season I thought he should be one of the first names on the team sheet. The emergence of Wilshere has made that less sure, but he is an exceptional player nonetheless. His ability to wriggle out of tight situations is mind boggling at times.

  62. Sorry, I meant Geo for my last post.

  63. Sorry, my last post should have have been for Geo.

  64. Not saying you don’t rate him at all GA… That’s the beauty of this team, we have so many options in midfield, all of them offer something slightly different. Great to be a Gooner. I play with a few guys from Ivory Coast in 5 a side and sometimes Saturdays, and 2 of them in particular have a very similar style to Diaby, and at our level it confuses the hell out of the lumpy defenders, but yes, they could definitely shoot much more often!

  65. Arsene should just paint John Terry’s face on the match ball. He had no hesitation in booting his boot into that. And rightly so.

  66. That’s a good shout… Have you got Arsene’s twitter address?

  67. A great result for our confidence and for the road ahead. I think we now need to pick a “winning” team for Sunderland rather than the “strongest”. Meaning?

    Arsene has to consider the state of health (exhaustion, niggles etc) of each of the available players and prioritise where their strengths will be most vital (be that at the Nou camp, Old Trafford or Scum Hart Lane). The sacrifices must be a nightmare to manage but clearly momentum needs to not only be built but also sustained and therefore a “winning” side must be the dilemma for Arsene this weekend and beyond.

    I hope that fact controls any vitriol that might accompany selections that those of us looking in might not have made ‘in an ideal world’ – from which the view is always clearer.

  68. I love the lopers, Geo, here’s a classic one:

    Obviously I’m not making comparisons – I just wanted to post a great video. And there were some great performance videos of Diaby around, but it looks like they’ve all been taken down.

  69. Ebooooué (Woah-oh!)
    Ebooooué (Woah-oh!)
    He’s from the Ivory Coast
    He likes a Sunday roast
    Ebooooué (Woah-oh!)

  70. I would go for:

    Sagna-JD-Kozza- Gael Carlos

    Song- Wilshere-Cesc


    If Cesc isn’t fit, replace him with Nasri and put AA on the wing.

  71. That is a great vid OOU, nice one. Shame about the Diaby vids, maybe some doomer fundamentalist has removed all evidence of his sublime skills…

  72. I don’t think Cesc would/should be risked, and Diaby would be wasted as part of a front 3. Arsene has tried him there before and he was completely ineffective. His main attribute is driving froward from deep. Plus he gives us physical presence in the centre.

  73. I agree 100% with that GA.

  74. Yes Maria! I once suggested Diaby play on the Wing, but it wasn’t well met. I think if that were to happen, he’d need to feel free to shoot.

  75. AA and Nasri on wings, Diaby, Jack and Song for the middle. that’d be my choice…

  76. Diaby did play wide (in a four) when he first came into the team, but always looked a bit lost, he’s obviously a central midfielder. Playing with the three in there gives him more opportunity to play and suits his attacking skills with cover in the shape of Song/Wilshere/Denilson filling in behind him when he surges forward. As I’ve said before I have long been a fan, if he could get an injury free run then he could be a major player from now until the end of the season, along with Ramsey coming back of course.

  77. Diaby when played beyond the striker is lethal – remember that away game to Fenerbahce 5-2 it ended I think and on that day….Diaby was everything he could be and more.

    My favourite player not to realise his potential yet. Can’t wait to see to see outcome when he does.

  78. You know, with some players I kind of have an idea where the hate might come from, even though I disagree with it.

    I just don’t see the problem with Diaby though; his performances in the league last season were consistently impressive. And they were acknowledged by the French national team, and he was one of few players to emerge from the WC unsullied.

    Maybe it’s his languid gait; it might make people think that he’s not bothered.

  79. I’m always happy to emerge from the WC unsullied. Especially a public one.

  80. I think that’s the reason OOU. He doesn’t look like he’s up for it even when printing at full speed…! He takes 1 stride to every 5 or Arshavin’s! Deceptive player. Great stuff.

    The injury thing makes a big difference to people’s option of him too. Like RvP, if he wasn’t injury prone, he would be rated as one of the, if not The best striker in the world I think. But you still get supposed Arsenal blogs/writers talking about getting rid of him because of his injury problems..! Talk about lack of respect for the man’s ability. I’d rather have an RvP and a Diaby for a few months of a season than not at all… Any day.

  81. hahahaha!

  82. i saw a rumour we are after another barca trainee… victor varquez (sp)

    Could be that the plan is t bring catalunya to cesc so he would have no more cause to home sick especially with so many with barca DNA no less!

  83. Geo – Although I rate RvP as an excellent player, I can understanbd people’s calls for him to be sold in some respects (I personally don’t subscirbe to the view). He is our main striker, but he simply can’t be relied upon to stay fit for a full season. Every player gets injuries obviously, but he misses big chuncks of every season.

    Obviously the squad (and especially as we only play with 1 main striker) only really has 1 “main man” up front and he is it. I can undstand the thnking hat it would be benificial to have a “main man” who is not injured as often. Bendtner and Chamakh are good players, but nowhere near he threat that a fully fit RvP poses.

  84. Wishing this young’un all the best for the future is for sure

  85. RVP has missed approc 40% of our league games over the course of his career with us.

    about 150 games played
    60 goals scored

    none too shabby

    but then you read hes been with us 7 years!

  86. Goddammit! How in hell do you embed nowadays?

  87. As someone else said the other day, we need to expect for them not to play, and when they do it’s an absolutely massive bonus. I personally don’t rely on RvP playing a whole season, because I never expect him to. But that’s not a reason to sell him. It might be a reason to get someone more reliable/prolific than Cham or NB (controversial i know) who will play most of the season, but not to sell one of our best players.

  88. Borges Spinelli

    Morning All,

    Excellent post-match analysis, YW. Same goes for my fellow ACLF devotees.

    Our team did us proud, once again. Strong team performance

    Henderson & Miquel played extremely well for a debutant and a sophomore player, respectively. As all the respondents have noted. Senhor Denilson grabbed the game by the scruff of its neck, in a manner I’d like to see more of. And, oh my, what sublime feet Diaby & Rosicky have! Nasri, the world is already aware of his abilities. But Rosicky and Diaby reminded those of us, who had forgotten, just how good they are on their day. I can’t commend them enough for their gallant efforts on the pitch last night.

    To answer the question of playing our strongest line-up against Sunderland. I would play 7/8 automatic starters supplemented by 3/4 fringe players, such as: Denilson, Eboue/Gibbs, Squillaci/Ramsey. Barcelona did that just before they played us at the Emirates, and the El Classico other big Champions. So why shouldn’t we, who are competing on 3 fronts, utilize our manpower accordingly, too?

  89. Deise – I bet his goal per game ratio over the last 2-3 years is even more impressive though… can you dig that stat out?

  90. Gadget, I just copy the URL from the top. Seems to work most times.

    Four games in and you can buy his shirt in Japan:宮市%20亮&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wf

  91. great post, great comments. perfect tonic following sunday.

    GA — last night at the beginning of the match my brother told me he was over RvP. I promptly told him to shut the fuck up, and I’m not saying that you are “over” him as well, but I’m glad the matter got brought up at the Home of Football Dialogue. His injury record is very suspect, but surely you nor I cannot attribute every one of his spells on the sidelines to his injury prone-ness. Sure, there have been times when he has appeared frustratingly brittle, his brief appearance against, I wanna say Blackburn, earlier in the season for example.

    But take the whole of 09/10 season. He was in fantastic form through November, then BAM! some careless Italian goon in a pointless international friendly just ends his season for all intents and purposes.

    I just think its important for us to realize what a serious distinction there is in his situation, and that part of our collective contempt for his injury record stems from him, in our broad view, his “NEVER” being available. His injury last year could’ve happened to even the most grizzled of English ‘ard men (Roger Johnson anyone? My god the dude’s leg was practically disconnected by the end of Sunday) and it’s important to really take that into account when assessing his injury record.

  92. I do not think that RVP can be replaced. He is prolific in his scoring and in his providing, a mix you find only in very few strikers. Look at his stats in the past few years. Ever since he came of age and stepped out of Henry’s shadow he has been a striker with a ratio of 0,5 or better in his goal scoring. And add his regular assists into that. He is an absolute gem of a player and if someone kicks him and he is injured for half the season, that’s the way things go. But selling him? Never ever. That boy is Arsenal and he should stay with us till the end of his career. Full stop.

  93. RVPs best season was 2008-2009 but his goals to starts ratio has been increasing year on year since then

    2008-2009 started 24 league games scored 11 league goals (20 in all comps from 38 starts)

    2009-2010 started 14 league games scored 9 goals (10 from 18 starts)

    this season started 9 league games scored 10 goals (14 from 14 starts)

    Quite remarkable really. But you just cant have him as your main striker due to his injuries.

    Start + Sub

    102+44 58

    32+12 15 1

    FA cup
    10+5 8

    league cup
    10+1 6

    154+64 87

    if that was 4 seasons worth it would be remarkable BUT its 7 seasons

  94. Ah, Maria’s back.

    It really wasn’t your fault you know.

  95. Well, I agree he should be kept. I still keep convincnig myself his injuries are behind him, only for him to consistantly prove me wrong. He cannot be relied upon though, and I don’t feel that neither Bendtner or Chamakh carry anywhere like the same threat.

  96. oops kinda messed up the stats layout

    Start + Sub Goals

    102+44 58 goals

    32+12 15 goals

    FA cup
    10+5 8 goals

    league cup
    10+1 6 goals

    154+64 87 goals


    WHam confirmed as Olympic stadium tenant.

  98. Thanks for that Deise. Well that’s an amazing record, and that’s not even showing his assists! Very tricky situation though as he wont play a whole season, can almost guarantee that. But what do you do? Rely on NB & Chamakh when robin’s injured? Has worked quite well this year. Or do we get a more prolific striker for Robin to battle with for a starting berth?

    Evil that’s spot on. Never, ever sell him.

  99. Borges Spinelli

    Diaby’s magic could make the extra difference against Barça. His direct play could help unlock their defense. Depending on the level Fábregas’ fitness level. I’d start the duo in the centre with young Wilshere. Failing that, Song, Diaby and Wilshere will link perfectly with Arshavin, Nasri and Bendtner. Injuries permitting, and God on our side, Camp Nou will witness our collective magnificence.

  100. Someone said it was a good professional win and that sums it up the best. Hard to get overly excited about beating up on a league 1 team but still a lot of fun to watch. Along with the United loss it was excellent tonic for the weekend.

    Agree with GA regarding playing our strongest team against Sunderland. With a game still to come against United and a 1 point gap if we win the game in hand, we can now win the league without help from anyone else. United going to Anfield without Vidic and an unfit Ferdinand is a recipe for more dropped points so I say we completely block the CL from our minds until Sunday. Agree with everyone who rate Diaby. When he is on form I enjoy watching him as much as anyone on our squad. Just wish he could somehow stay healthy. I would love to see us try a central midfield of Song/Diaby/Wilshere when Cesc is out. Wilshere while no Cesc certainly can pick out a pass and I would like to see him getting further forward. No one can do what Cesc does and IMO it would be better if we spread out the “playmaking” duties and may be a little more direct and not necessarily dominate ball possession as much and look to counter attack more when he is out.

  101. I wouldn’t sell RVP. He a class act.
    But we don’t have any one striker at the club that comes near his ability.
    His injuries means that the other strikers will most likely play a large number of games.
    However as they are not (yet?) at RVPs level of ability or consistency it sets us back big time when RVP is out.

    Therefore as i see it, we need either B52 to really sort his consistency out. Hes 23 now so this is the time to cement your position in a team. While i like Chamakh, RVP he aint and B52 has more strings to his bow as it were.


    We need to buy a striker of an age with RVP to replace/contend with RVP for the main striker position.


    Play Theo centrally more often. (If his injuries dont scupper that too?)

  102. I wonder if JET could be an understudy to RvP?

    I don’t see Theo playing centrally in this formation. Whoever plays there needs to be able to hold the ball, and drop deep to link play. Theo would be no good at that, especially with his 1st touch. Theo would be well suited to a central role in a 442, but not a 433/451. In theory his current role on the right of a 433 should be perfect for him.

  103. They are the options basically Deise you’re right…. who know’s what’s best? oh yeah…

  104. That’s a good shout too GA.

  105. He seems to tick all the boxes. Big and strong with some pace, good technically with an eye for goal. We will see I suppose.

  106. JET could *definitely* be understudy for RvP, I think. That is who he resembles, footballistically speaking.

  107. “footballistically speaking” lol – yeah it’s true… did you see his goal the other day? Sorry can’t link it – at work.

  108. Question Diese, but who can do what RVP does? I’m hesistant to say RVP is complete unique, but it seems to me that few fit the mold as well. Villa would work well perhaps, but then again through fault of my own perhaps, i’m yet to see him score the volleys like RVP.

    While I am a bit of a fan of Drogba, I think the talents we have here are fine enough.

  109. I think Bedntner could do a fine job as understudy to Van Persie, for me he’s a better all-round footballer than Chamakh, can score a greater variety of goals and nothing seems to dent his confidence. He’s suffering from being versatile enough to do a job in the wide positions. It’s obvious that we need all three at least though, Chamakh did a good job when the other two were out earlier in the season. I’d like to see Bendtner as the first choice to play centrally when Van Persie is out.

  110. Oh RVP is a supreme talent no doubt, and a lot of what he can do, not many can. But for someone who could play where he plays and most likely get cover his goals tally – Karim Benzema would be my choice right now.

  111. Gadget – I actually think RvP IS a unique talent. Villa has more speed but less technique, Drogba has more strength but less technique… RvP is almost impossible to re-create (i think he’s like a mixture of DB10 & TH14), and so far Chammers and Bendy have been fine cover. The league position says it all. My original point in all this though, was that people need to lower expectations on relying on him being fit all season. Him being in the team is a bonus – a big one at that.

  112. Gadget – You are right of course, RvP is farily unique. I can’t think of many like him. That lad at Anderlecht who is being billed as “the new Drogba” looks like he would be a good investment, but the price will be sky high so that rules us out.

  113. “He’s suffering from being versatile enough to do a job in the wide positions.” That’s a very good way of putting it Block. Very true.

  114. What do you guys think of the Chamack song??

  115. I think Diaby will be an absolute monster of a player for us once he gets a solid run of games. Nasri and Diaby together will go on to dominate the French midfield and provide them with the new energy they need to move forward on the international stage.

    For me it is not even a question for the midfield on Saturday. I say it will be:
    Back 5

    But, then again, I will probably be totally surprised with what side Wenger ends up putting out.

  116. I have never seen a player quite like Van Persie…that is why it is so heartbreaking to see him getting these freak injuries all the time. He is impossible to defend against. If the defence makes him the main focus then he turns provider and sets up all of our other attacking threats with passing skills that are Bergkamp-esque…hard to find many players on the planet that have those talents.

  117. With Cesc and RVP in the side together we cannot be stopped. We just see it happen so rarely that they actually play in a run of games together.

  118. @ Geo
    Yes, I did see JET’s goal – you mean the one against Hull City? I say that JET resembles RvP because of a) his outrageous skill b) improvisation c) intelligence d) link-up play e) inspirational leadership. I can see him in the “false nine” position in the future.

    That looks like a good line-up to me, viceologist, providing Song and Kos get over their injuries.

  119. FunGunner

    If Song needs to be rested then Denilson would slot right in no problem. Either way, the combination of Wilshere and Diaby together will be tough for the opposition to cope with.

  120. When is Vermaelen due back again?

  121. @ YW, you should correct that heading…

  122. what a way to celebrate conceding a pen to lose a game – way to go smalling 🙂

  123. @Deise, Benzema never seems to look confident to me, that could of course be a problem he has specifically at Real Madrid. There’s no doubting his talent, I have no idea why Mourinho went to war with the Madrid hierarchy to get Adebayor when they already have Benzema.

  124. Vermaelen’s been gone so long I have completely forgot about his talents. The thought of him and Djourou back there playing together is awesome. I think they will be an ideal partnership. And, the Kos will be able to fit in and cover for either of them…will be nice once they are all fit and ready to go.

  125. Block4 – i reckon Le Boss would get the best from Benzema and he would be awesome for us

  126. Deise

    Do you really think we would ever give up the kind of cash that Real would not doubt expect for someone like Benzema. I just don’t see it being an actual possibility. I do think he would slot in really well if we had him though.

  127. @Block4 – because Higuain had a long term injury, & we all know that spoilt cunt would not take a chance of playing a game without a CF..

  128. @mj_gunner, he could easily have pushed Ronaldo forward and played Kaka or Ozil in behind, it would be much better than that self-important pile of shite.

    @Deise, I’m sure he would. There are rumours he’ll be on his way this Summer, it will be interesting to see if we’re in the market then.

  129. YW, Very surprised no mention of the much-maligned Denilson in your post (and only three comments about him from the masses). His contribution in m/f was massive, he never stopped running and seemed to be involved in all that was going on. Like Rosicky’s impressive workrate, the good should be acknowledged. Too often it’s the other way.

  130. Nicky

    As I mentioned to Vince earlier, Firefox threw a hissy-fit and I decided to post what I had rather than expand and lose everything.


  131. flying dutchman

    Who should play in Van Persie’s place?

    There is only one option for me: Nick Bendtner.

    Bendtner for me is a world class striker. Not for the future, no, he already is. Trouble is only few people realize this. But after Tuesday everybody will.

  132. Bacon face has been charged by the FA.

  133. So looks like Song is out for the next 2 games as well..
    WHY! :’-(

  134. Nice win yesterday, just what we needed to cleanse our system off Sunday’s game. Was particularly impressed with Diaby. If he manages to stay fit, then he’ll be very important for us in coming games.

  135. Limestonegunner

    I think Chamakh is getting short shrift in comments today. He has had a bad run of form, but everyone seems to forget what he was capable of in the first three and a half months of the season. He has become a bit gun-shy in the box, but that is partly confidence and not playing so much recently–this goal will be good for him too. He has played only a few months in the PL and his trial by fire took a great deal out of him.

    In the stretch run he will remind everyone why we were singing his praises in September and October, and next year you can expect him to be even more effective if given the chance.

    None of this is meant to take anything away from Bendtner’s recent accomplishments. But he’s also had some ineffective games recently too. His hattrick against Orient shouldn’t mean that we forget how well Chamakh links up with Nasri, Wilshere, Arshavin, and Walcott. Frankly he is quite important to how we play when Fabregas is out because of his work rate and link up play. Plus he can win penalties with his movement in the box.

  136. B52 isnt a world class striker.a top team wouldn’t allow him the margin of error he got last night. Rvp is a dif specie.too good to be true.guess thats why he gets injured often to remind us no mortal is perfect

  137. I was in splits after reading this from our very dear Jamie Redknapp –
    ”But, like my dad, Sir Alex Ferguson only knows how to play one way; he is always thinking of how he can win, how he can nick a game, never how they can get away without getting beat – that is why he is the best manager the Premier League has seen.”

  138. Margin of error for Bendy? We had 5 shots on goal and scored 5. He was not wasteful or anything.

  139. Who in the world is close to RvP in what he does? The way he plays and the job he has in our team. its hard to find a replacement for that. Even if we wanted to. Even if we had 80M to spend i still think it would be hard to find a player that is as good as RvP at his best with his uniqe qualities.

  140. @Mj yeh Jamie Redknapp just about sums up what is wrong with the english sports press. Everybody is the father or uncle or kid or brother in law or old player or old manager of everybody els. Which means it is rather hard for them all to give an objective analyze of anything. Mostly its based upon feelings and human relations between eachother. The english press is inbreeds. therein lies the problem. To put it in a different way. The English football press today is a self recruiting elite. With little social mobility if you like. You will never get any good journalism out of that.

  141. I am mighty relieved that thomas is okay for saturday. Him,jack and abou have been temendous when they have played together.I just hope sunderland dont park the bus.
    Young jack is making quite a name for himself here in Zambia …so much that ManYoo fans here are so green with envy. They are wondering how such an incredibly gifted Englishman is playing for us and not them. Out of curiousity,how much would he go for if(god forbid) he became a transfer target ?

  142. @poodle
    I think you are absolutely correct. If you look at the market prices, a Carroll costs you 35 million and a Torres 50 … and neither of them is exactly RVP quality because RVP is not only scoring for fun but also very good at playing for the team, from the work he does off the ball to pressurise opponents early to his passing ability which is special among strikers. RVP can not be replaced and we can not buy a striker of his quality to compete with him because, right now at this point in time there is simply not this kind of striker around.
    As for our other options, I think Chamakh has proven early why he is a very good striker and able to support the time and provide the goals when RVP is not available. After a furious start he is now a bit in the settling-in period because he powered himself out in the first half of the season and needs to get used to the tempo and the intensity (and obviously the shedule) of the Premier League. As for Bendtner, I think his scoring record speaks for him, even though he has been reduced to odd starts and mostly used as a substitute he has still managed to score a nice amount of goals. If asked upon I think he could easily put together another run like he did last season where he scored like 8 in 12 or something. We are right now seeing a Bendtner who is not fully integrated in the team and so some things are still off. After a couple of games he will have the needed consistency and he can make a first step in the correct direction on Saturday. Expect him to score.

    Plus, we still have Vela coming back. So no, no new striker for us in the near feature unless something unexpected happens.

  143. Oh no not Kolo why wld he want to use drugs? I hope this isn’t true and is just a false positive.

  144. I think Vela will go in the summer…..
    Can’t see him hanging about for another season on the sidelines and odd cameos in the FA cup or dead rubbers in the CL.

  145. Colney

    Rumour has it that he’s taken a dietary supplement which has contained an illicit substance. A Hamilton player used a dietary supplement which contained a banned substance, leading to a 4 week ban for said offender.


  146. Remi

    I don’t – I think Vela will stay and become a regular next season.


  147. I’m suprised that the clubs doctor isn’t consulted, (so they can check the list of substences) when players take these supplements.

  148. YW,
    I would like that very much but I can’t see it myself, with RVP, Chamakh, and Bendy all before him in the pecking order plus JET coming back it may be hard.

    But hes scored two in two for WBA so Arsene must be taking notice!

  149. Personally I’m not convinced that JET will make the grade. Good things in the Championship do not necessarily mean that EPL stardom beckons.

    Vela though is delivering, as Jack did at Bolton. JET may well be off to an EPL club next season.


  150. I agree with Yogi – Vela will be back and will get his chance with Arsenal next season.

  151. Is Sandro really that much better than Denilson? Since he is in the Brazil national team i mean. I never thought of sandro as that good really.

  152. I agree with Passenal.

  153. Speaking of Denilson, Martin Tyler had some mean things to say about him. Direct quote from Tyler during his broadcast,…

    “I have some friends who are Arsenal season ticket holders and they are not too pleased with Denilson. The Brazilian had a big reputation as a youth player but he is nothing but a stop gap midfielder for Arsenal. Then again you can’t question the judgment of the supporters who see him weak in weak out.”

  154. should read week in week out*

  155. Denilson does not play ‘week in week out’ so how supporters can judge him compared to a manager with Arsene’s experience and close up knowledge of the player’s ability is a mystery to me.

  156. What’s important is what Wenger thinks about Denilson. Everyone saying negative things about him can fuck right off.

  157. Sandro, Lucas and Hernanes all played for a while in Brazil before coming over to Europe and Denilson didn’t. This is why these players, eventhough Denilson is better than them, get called up to the NT all the time and he doesn’t.

  158. Passenal, not to mention that he’s just now recovering from his back injury.

  159. I see W. Ham have won the new stadium. Best of luck to them. Apparently the reason they won was because they agreed to retain the athletic track , presumably so that W. Ham fans can have something to look at when they are getting their asses kicked. Ironic then that in the very article announcing they have won there is a CGI of what the new ground will look like, notice anything missing?

  160. When you were young and heart was open book you used to say, it’s Friday and the new post is here. Hmmm, you can see why Paul McCartney’s lyrics caught on and a tad of work still needs to be done on mine. Hey ho, read today’s post whilst I hone my craft…

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