We beat the Mancs with no forward line, how does that feel Fergie?

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So now the euphoria has subsided I still feel like a dog with two dicks, why? well mostly because I work with a Manc, he’s welsh really but he supports them for the same reason that every other Manc does, they spend loads, are successful, and he lives nowhere near Manchester, well he’s going to get both barrel’s this morning.

I watched the biased BBC highlights and they left out the big penalty shout and many of our chances, so no change there, but with an average age of 7 and all of our first choice forwards missing and against their top and uninjured side, we done them big time, it was only Wenger sending on the subs that even allowed them a goal that made the scoreline look close, not to mention the customary 6 minutes of injury time and the worst refereeing I have ever witnessed and they still lost to our academy team.

Arsenal, you now have to do that against the shit sides, like Hull, Chelsea and the Scousers. Then and only then will we win the league.

I thought Denilson has a cracking game as did Diaby, I’m still at a loss to see what Djourou needs to do to get a game, even as a sub, but time will tell there, so Denilson keep it up, we now know you can play well.

I expect our kids to go out of the Carling tomorrow as Wigan are a strong team, but we have home advantage, Jack Wilshere and Carlos Vela, so who knows. The fact we beat red nose and his team of thugs sends out a message, what does Rooney need to do to get red carded? Or even the odd yellow? He took Theo out when he was nowhere near the ball and didn’t even get talked to, still that’s Howard Webb for you, muppet.

Nothing will take away the feeling I have right now and this should take me nicely up to the villa game, and the way they and City are playing I expect 6 points from those two. We could have this sewn up by Christmas!

Something has happened to the stewards as they are now leaving us alone, I haven’t been told off for singing, standing up or banging the sign now for three games, way to go stewards!

Ok so today we’ll start debating the Wigan game and who plays, but a word on Nikki before I sign off, I know he has his critics, he could have had a hatrick, but at least he was in position to miss, they’ll come, at least he wasn’t continually offside.

Finally did anyone notice we had a back four that were all French, plus Diaby and Nasri, should I worry or be grateful? what do you think Grovers?

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Rule 1: Never play football against Arsenal. Review and Player Ratings

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Well it’s true isn’t it? If you want to beat Arsenal… don’t try and play football, because 99% of the time you’ll get beaten.

I’ve been saying all week that I thought Arsene and his boys were going to shock ManU. Arsene Wenger is just too good a coach to go for any sort of stretch without a victory. After the Fener game, I had a few reservations about where the goals would come from today. Nik has been out of sorts and Arsenal were running low on confidence. I was also having sleepless nights over Berbatov, Rooney and Ronaldo against our shaky defence… oh, and I had worries over that diabolical excuse for a ref, Howard Webb (justified).

The game began at pace, it was pretty gung-ho from both teams. Arsenal deployed Nik up front on his own and he went painfully close twice after Clichy floated a peachy cross into him, and he failed to get on the end of another similar chance. Then Wayne Rooney picked the ball up just outside our box, hit it low and hard at Almunia’s far post… Almunia parried and Berbatov slotted home. Thankfully the flag was up… A few nerves were jangled, but the clean sheet was still in tact.

Arsenal began to get into their stride, EVDS weakly punched a Cesc Fabregas freekick only for Diaby to shoot wide… and then came the moment we were hoping for. The ball was whipped into the box, cleared out by Berbatov to the edge of the box where Nasri pounced maneuvering his body to fire a shot from under his feet… the ball clipped off of Neville and hit the back of the net for our first of the day.

Manchester had their chances as well… Rooney doing well on a few occasions to keep his Premiership tally at 99. I think the 5 minutes after the goal, United registered 72% of the possession.

Diaby managed to break free of his marker and was chopped down from behind… Webb deemed it to be a dive though. What a poor ref this guy is… why does he always get the biggest games?

The important thing was that we managed to go into the second half without conceding.

So, the half time question were this. Could our defence hold out? Could we get another to secure the win?

The second half began at a similar pace to the first. Everyone in the team was mucking in. We hussled, we fought for every ball and every single player on the pitch showed the sort of desire Arsenal fans demand. Cesc Fabregas turned and passed to Nasri who jinked inside his marker and fired past the keeper from about 20 yards with a belter of a shot! What a goal! The boy was on fire!

2-0 up should have felt comfortable, but after the Spurs capitulation, no one felt safe. United continued to show profligacy in front of goal. Rooney and Ronaldo were out of sorts and failing to hit the target on numerous occasions. United’s best chance fell to Ronaldo who fizzed the ball across goal missing. Almunia pulled out a few good saves and his body on the line for a 50-50… which he won, but subsequently injured himself. Fabianski came on to replace him.

My one complaint about the match was the substitutions. Song was brought on to sit with Denilson, then Diaby was taken off and replaced by Kolo. Why do we continue to do this when we have teams on the back foot? It invites the opposition on and usually results in us conceding a goal… and sure enough it did. The ball was played into the Arsenal box, it was headed out to the edge of the box and despite us having 2 holding midfielders on the pitch… plus Kolo… Rafael managed to volley past Fabianski.

Oh dear… we’ve been here before.

Tevez was brought on to replace Rooney and the last 5 minutes felt like an eternity… then the 4th official put the board up and showed 6 minutes! Is it just me, or is it always 6 minutes when it is ManU? What a joke…

What was nice to see is that the players were actually trying to kill the game by knocking it around. We didn’t manage to do a convincing job of it, but you have to put that down to nerves. Finally the ref blew up and it was over… 3 points in the bag, and Arsenal very much back in the title race!

Player Ratings:

Almunia: I thought he had a top game today. He made a couple of tidy saves and I was impressed with his save at the feet of <insert players name because I don’t recall>. It showed bravery and he looked gutted to have to go off. 7

Clichy: Floated a couple of top quality crosses into the box today and did a great job of keeping Ronaldo quiet. He also did an amazing job of not scoring an own goal from an early corner! I thought he had an excellent game as usual and I am sure he will take a lot of confidence from today. 8

Silvestre: Playing against your old club of 9 years must be hard, but I thought Silvestre had a great game. He was strong in the air and tough in the challenge. He was unlucky not to get a goal as well. I think today was his best for the club so far. 8

Gallas: Another great game for the captain. He seems to enjoy playing next to Silvestre rather than Kolo. The captain was getting forward today and also did a good job of keeping a lot of world class talent quiet. 8

Sagna: There has been a lot of criticism of Sagna this season, some of it quite unjust. Today he proved why he is one of the best full backs in the world with a gritty, tough performance. 8

Diaby: Top game from the young frenchman. He seems to thrive in a 4-5-1. He is great with the ball at his feet, he can turn like the best and he is a real threat going forward. I also thought he did quite well from a defensive point of view. It’s great to have a bit of height in midfield. I’d love to see more of him in a 4-4-2. 8

Cesc: He certainly was up for it today. He battled for everything from start to finish. I was really impressed with his strength and I felt he was also trying his best to slow down the play in the final 15minutes. He also set Nasri’s second. Maybe todays performance will convince him that we can compete this season and he can start returning to form. 8.5

Denilson: Arguably his best performance in the red and white of Arsenal. He was a little terrier out there today. His passing was spot in, his energy levels were a lot higher than normal and he looked extremely comfortable on the ball. Could today be the turning point in his season? Can he do that against the poorer more physical teams? I hope so! 9

Nasri: After going missing in action in midweek, Nasri seemed to find his spark again today. He was great to watch on the ball… his weaving runs flumoxing the United defence at times. He also managed to get two goals which you can pretty much guarantee Hleb wouldn’t have got… and that is the big difference for me. With Hleb in the team you’d get nice link up play… which would count for nothing if the strikers weren’t on song. Now we are scoring from midfield, the pressure has been relieved. I think Nasri will be a bigger asset to the us the further into the year we get. It’s a bit early to make Pires comparisons, but here’s hoping! 9

Walcott: Ok… so he didn’t have an overly productive game today, but the key point to note about Walcott is that having him in the team offers you a fear factor. A poor Walcott is more value to the team than an on form Eboue because teams hate to play against pace. It prevents the full backs bombing forward if they know that they may have to catch one of the fastest players in Europe. So a quiet day for Theo, but having in the team definitely contributed to our win. 6.5

Nik: He missed a few great chances today, but what good strikers don’t? The point is that he was there to miss them and overall he had quite a solid game. He is superb on the ball and he held it up really well… he just needs a goal to really kick start his season. I thought that for a 20 year old, playing for the first time up front on his own, he did a great job. Sometimes playing the loan striker can make you look poor… becuase you are doing a job for the team, not yourself. I thought he did well today… and I think he is going to be a top player for years to come. Give him some time guys and you will see how good he can be. 7

Subs:

Fabianski: Did ok with a couple of long balls, had no chance for the goal. 6

Song: Not sure why Wenger felt the need to throw him on… he didn’t really do much for the team. 6

Kolo: Came on and gave us some extra energy towards the end. 6

Conclusion:

So… our season could be back on track. We’ve lost 3 games to weak opposition, but if we can win our next 4 games, we could be in a pretty healthy position. If our bad patch is finished and we can have a good December, there is a tiny bit of hope

The big question that needs to be asked is can this team transfer todays form into the minor games? It is ok motivating yourself for the big games, but if you can’t be assed against Stoke… what is the point?

By the way, I thought the fans were in fine voice all game… well played to everyone at the Grove! I’d also like to thank everyone in the Lion and Lobster in Brighton for making sure the only Spurs fan in the bar sat next to me!

I quote,

Spud: ‘We’ve got a new 60,000 seater stadium being built’

Pedro: ‘Oh really, how will you afford it?’

Spud: ‘We’ll afford it mate, don’t you worry about that… the fans will have a whip round.’

Only a Spud, eh? He wasn’t even joking! Still, it is great to sit with a Spud watching your team put on a master class… today was a superb spectacle… a billion people will feel they had VFM.

So… Can we do something this year?

Let us know in the comments section!

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1 billion watching today, so Arsene, show the world you’re right.

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Arsene Wenger has come in for fierce criticism this week for his comments about Stoke, their tactics and their tackles, but they won and we lost, I watched Arsenal TV last night and they thought Ade’s tackle was worse than all the Stoke ones, the only thing that was wrong with the Stoke game was your team selection boss, so get over it an move on.

The boss also had this to say ‘I don’t believe I will buy in January, I trust my players strengths and intelligence – it’s now up to them to show it’ – so that’s it for the season, he’s said no one’s coming in so this team is it, he can’t complain about inexperience or depth of squad or injuries, he has the opportunity to strengthen and he’s said no, so we need to hope this team grows up in a hurry and we need to get behind them today.

Wednesday’s team was more like it, and although we didn’t win, I thought we looked more solid, Johan and Ramsey in, looked good and more of a fit, Nasri had a bad game and Cesc wasn’t on fire but if Robin had had some luck and Fernabache didn’t play like a girls team with 11 behind the ball it would have been different.

Today we see the return of the Mancs 12th man referee Webb.

He gave them a penalty against us last season when we lost 2-1 and he gave them a scandalous free kick for their winner after evra dived.

He gave a pen to Middlesbrough when we lost 2-1.

He gave a penalty to blackburn at the Grove and although we won 6-2 the pen made it 1-0 to them.

He was ref that sent Kolo off in the Carling Cup final.

He was the linesman who got Sol sent of against the Mancs in 2003.

These facts were supplied by fellow Grover Alan so thanks a lot my friend, an interesting read.

I think if we run at them and shut them down (do a Stoke, Fulham and Hull) combine that with our passing game and add the finishing skills of Nasri, Theo, Diaby, Bendtner and Ramsey, I think we can stuff them, I really do, if we don’t do the above though, we could get stuffed.

So let us the fans be our 12th man, let’s stay in our seats until the end, get back in them for the start and sing our bollocks off (same for the girls but obviously forget the testi reference) let our team know we love them and are behind them and I think you’ll see the Arsenal we all love, hopefully there will be the added bonus of seeing shrek get sent off for gobbing off, but don’t hold your breath.

Arsene you do your bit, don’t pick Song, play Djourou, make substitutions early if we need them and none if we don’t.

We’re with you Arsene and we’re behind our team, we’ll show you today, get Nasri fired up, let Theo loose, give Ramsey the nod and unleash hell!

Fabianski

Sagna Djourou Gallas Clichy

Theo Cesc Ramsey Nasri

Diaby

Bendtner

Vela on as sub.

My team would attack them from the off, if I wanted to be more cautious I would drop Diaby back into midfield or put Kolo in as the holding player.

3-1 Arsenal Grovers, I won’t be around today and nor will Pedro, so you’ll need to be alert to trouble, don’t forget it’s the weekend.