So no Keown, no defence then? It has to be you, djou-rou!

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That by the way was a song in the Jimmy Cagney film, the Roaring Twenty’s. It has to be you- ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh. And I loved Jimmy Cagney.

Tony Adams has said that, ‘I think Martin is feeling that sitting on the sofa at Match of the Day and Football Focus is the way forward’ Ooh that’s a bit bitchy! So if that’s the case then it means he won’t be joining us unless it’s as a part time defensive coach.

If that’s the case then what will happen with our woeful defence? Coming up to the big game this Saturday I’d like to think he plays his best options in there and that has to be Djourou and Gallas.

Why the boss is so ridiculously stubborn when it comes to Johan versus Song is beyond me, even a blind man who is president of the Alex Song fan club can see who is the better option.

We’ve never conceded when Djourou has played and against Fernabache he looked like he’s been there all season.

Wenger’s belligerence is beyond me, stubborn can be an admirable trait but stupidity isn’t. It’s a stupid trait. Play Johan in there and at least the rest of the team and 56,000 fans at the Grove will feel a tad more comfortable.

What to do with the midfield, me; if fit, I would go with Nasri Cesc Ramsey Theo and put Vela up top with Bendtner or Diaby up top Vela and use Bendtner as an impact sub.

I suspect Diaby will make up a five man midfield and he’ll play him in the hole. I would like to see Jack Wilshere get 20 minutes, he could be to us what Rooney was to Everton that fateful day when we lost our unbeaten record to the young Shrek like creature.

We are light on the ground with forwards so that’s a poke in the eye for all those who said in the summer, we don’t need to buy another forward, that includes me! It shows you how many players you need in a squad that’s in the Champions league these days.

Have a great day Grovers, tomorrow is the decider, well for us anyway.



Corporate Strike / Placing your hope in the unknown / Ratings + Review

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A mega super massive post for you guys today! We were going to do a double post… but it just confuses the good people of Le Grove! So we decided to treat you to one big one…

Geoff’s Warm up

Poor turnout from the Corporate Mob...

Poor turnout from the Corporate Mob...

This is a short post before Pedro’s match report but I wanted to share this with you. Last night we went to the game and our seats are in club level, paying as much as we do we get the luxury of our own bar, not a lot of queueing and plenty of places to sit, which in fairness is why we pay that much, it softens the blow.

We got into our area and to our horror we saw that most of it was roped off for people eating, that is for punters who paid substantially more on the night, this happens sometimes with the big matches and part of our area is closed to us, last night it was ALL fenced off and we were herded into a tiny area reminiscent of a tube train in rush hour.

What made it worse was the fenced off area was empty, as the pictures show, I was so incensed I went with my cousin and broke into the forbidden area. I was surrounded by overzealous waitresses telling me I was not allowed in, I barked ‘get a steward then’

Along came steward number 1055 her name was Angela, I have to say I could not have been approached by a more balanced, more charming lady if I had chosen her myself.

She said ‘I won’t eject you because I think you are right’ Angela you are a credit to Arsenal, you not only diffused the situation, you showed enormous common sense to something that greedy, greedy Arsenal did that not only made no sense, it was disrespectful to fans that had paid good money.

Angela’s boss then arrived and also agreed with her that it was senseless, he was saying it had something to do with the Champions league blah, blah.

If Arsenal are planning on doing that again, they should warn us beforehand or refund us, as it reduces our match day experience and I for one would have preferred to watch it on TV, I bet they didn’t have that problem in the directors box or Diamond club.

I then left the ground and hour after full time and had to queue for an HOUR to get on the train, so add that to the debacle of Club level and the result, so I had pretty much a shit day.

Great team selection though and Johan had a blinder, but it would be remiss of me to end on anything other than a positive not by thanking the common sense of an Arsenal steward, so thank you Angela.

Match Report

Here was the line up:

Fabianski

Toure Silvestre Djourou Clichy

Ramsey Denilson Fabregas Nasri

Van Persie Bendtner

My pre match thoughts:

Well… WOW… that is a brave old line up! Has Wenger been reading Le Grove ()?

No Sagna, no Diaby… how is this going to work? Cesc and Denilson in the middle together? What about Ramsey in the middle? Who would go forward… who would stay back? Kolo as right back… how would he play after the last disaster? Fabianski in goal… if he has a good game, will he keep his place?

My post match thoughts:

Well, what an anti climax?

We were all pretty excited about getting a decent response after the woeful performance on Saturday… we started brightly and missed a few chances and went in 0-0 at half time. Ramsey had a blinder, RvP was trying hard and Fener looked pretty poor.

The second half was completely different.

The boys looked well and truly lost. Confidence diminished and nobody seemed to take control of the game, nobody seemed to have any spark and what was worse for me… nobody seemed to have any urgency.

We just don’t have any players that can turn a game at the moment and I include Cesc in that criticism.

A lot of the Grovers were calling for Vela to come on… I wasn’t… why would I? I’ve seen him score a hat trick against a team I think my Grandma would humiliate. That doesn’t convince me he is ready to come on and change a game.

That though, is the state of our club at the moment. We know what we have isn’t good enough, so we take solace in the unknown… we hope and pray that Diaby, Vela, Ramsey and Wilshere will be good enough to kick start our season… when the deep seated reality is that they wont.

I can’t ever remember seeing an Arsene Wenger team looking so completely impotent? We spent most of the night whipping aimless balls into the defender at the front post box with no strikers to finish.

We passed it about nicely at times, but it seemed no one was really that interested in moving for the creative players… I don’t think Fener really felt under that much pressure after Robin spurned his chances.

The most frustrating thing for me was listening to Sky Sports News in the background… Man United were chasing a victory against Celtic and they had Rooney and Berbatov to come on… all I could hear was the commentator talking about how ManU were throwing the kitchen sink at Celtic to get the win… I wished Arsenal would do the same.

It’s amazing to me that the coach is complaining about refs again and more pathetically complaining that we lacked the physical resources.

‘You expect us to make chances in the last 20 minutes and this didn’t come because physically we didn’t have the resources.’

Now come on Arsene, we’re a few months into a season and you’re already pulling that little chestnut. Tired? How can Nik, RvP, Silvestre, JD, Nasri, Ramsey and Denilson be tired already… they’re not back from a long Euro’s (RvP maybe, but he was out for 9months)? We’re not even in December yet!.

Overall, it’s just another disappointing performance and I don’t really know what Arsene can do to turn this around? He doesn’t have the tools at his disposal this year. I’ve no doubt there will be more false horizons along the way, but just looking at tonight’s performance told me that we are certainly in for a long hard slog this year.

Ratings:

Fabianski: Wasn’t it nice to see a keeper come out of his 6 yards area and claim a 40 yard ball into the box. He hesitated when he should have come off his line for a one on one… but other than that, an assured performance. I fully expect to see Almunia back for the big one. 7

Clichy: Quietly got on with his job tonight without ever really sparkling. I can’t remember him doing to much with the ball going forward, but pairing up with a player who might as well have stayed on the bus didn’t help. 6

Silvestre: Dealt with the long balls well and looked comfortable next to JD. He went off late with a facial injury, but I am sure he’ll be fit for the Mancs. I’m just glad we have a defender who will put his head on the line to defend a high ball. 6.5

JD: Well, I thought he played well. He is big, mobile and good on the ball. He also dealt with the high balls. I am at a loss as to why it has taken so long for him to get a call up… 7

Toure: Did a much better job at right back compared to his last outing. He also went close with a well placed free kick. 6.5

Nasri: A major disappointment tonight. He was virtually anonymous. He lacked creativity, confidence and any sort of presence. Much like Hleb in his first season. He needs to shape up if he wants to start on a regular basis… because he has…errr… Eboue ready to take his place (Sigh…). 4

Denilson: He did a tidy job tonight… he kept Fener relatively quiet, but he isn’t the answer. He is too small and I don’t think the role he is being played in suits him. 6.5

Cesc: I hate to say it, but he is looking less and less interested as the season goes on. I remember last season Cesc would fight for every ball, he’d be screaming at refs, chasing down the opposition… and playing with desire. I’m not getting that vibe? Anyone else? 5

Ramsey: Well, the one glimmer of hope in the midfield tonight was Rambo. He tore about like an absolute lunatic in the first half. He was sparky, intelligent and speculative (<- sorry about that, but it works!). I loved his drive. I noted during the game that you can tell when a player is born and raised on British football… the good players have that combative edge that your rarely find in a continental player. Maybe that is what this team is lacking? A bit of British grit… the best teams always have a British backbone… Ray Parlour, Adams, Winterburn, Dixon, Seaman, Campbell… I don’t know… maybe I am clutching at straws. Ramsey just brought back good memories… 8

RVP: I thought he played ok tonight… he was getting a stupid amount of flak in the comments last night which I thought was unfair. He had a couple of chances that were inches away… they didn’t drop… so you have to say he was wasteful. However, I was impressed with his work rate and I always feel he has the club at heart… even when he does dumb things. He has to become more productive though… I love his skill and aggression… but if it amounts to nothing, it’s wasted. He’ll come good… as Jimmy Greaves once said, ‘At least he is in the right position to miss them’ (Geoff definitely didn’t mention that story on the train home once…). 5

Nik: I like him as a player, I like how selfless he is… but he isn’t taking his chances is he? If you want to stake your claim on the first team… you have to bang in a few goals and force the boss to pick you. I can hardly remember him having a shot last night?. That is disappointing. Hopefully he can bounce back against the Scum. 5

Subs:

Carlos Vela: The saviour for a lot of hopeful gooners… brought on after 60 minutes to change the game and to be honest, to little effect. He made a couple of nice runs… but he held onto the ball for too long. He is a long way off being the finished article, but it’s good that he is getting games and that Arsene thinks he is good enough to change a match. 6

Diaby: I love this guy, I just can’t get over how skilful a man who is 6ft 4 can be. He made nearly made the break through assist after a great piece of skill outside the box and his link up play was good. Like I’ve said before, where do you play him? Too good to sell, not good enough to displace Cesc. 6.5

Song: Managed to get his customary default appearance. 6

When I read through those player reviews… it doesn’t feel like there is too much wrong, bar a bit of experience and a bit of confidence. It is easy to point at the team and blame the strikers… but when you are not getting the service, it is hard…

I can’t really fault Wenger based on last nights team selection. It was the team we wanted to see, and it still didn’t work. He made his subs early and he made good choices (Rambo was ruined)… What you can fault is the size of the squad, but that ground has been covered every day for the last 4 months. Wenger has placed his faith in players who haven’t raised their game… you’ve got to feel a bit sorry for him? The question for me is does he admit his error in January?

We need to raise our game and raise it fast… for we entertain Premiership rivals Manchester United in our season decider… can we do it? I think so!

What do you think? Why not let us know with a comment… everyone is welcome!

P.S. We broke a 1000 comments again yesterday, which is a big slap in the face to those who think we heavily moderate… thanks for making this a great place to be Grovers!

Finally, there are a whole batch of tickets in Le Exchange, and a single to Man United up for a best offer price! Get buying Grovers!

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Wake up Arsene, this is the week you can make or break our season.

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Our season begins tonight and could end on Saturday unless the boss starts backing up his rhetoric with decisions.

He has backed his youth policy, yet every time he loses he either blames the fact they are young or whines about rough tackles, free kicks, corners and long throw ins.

You can’t have your cake and eat it mate so get on with it or get your cheque book out, it’s as simple as that.

In pre season we saw him buy the likes of Nasri, Coquelin, Ramsey and Bischoff, all but Bischoff played in pre-season and youngsters like Gibbs, Randall and Wilshere all played as did Diaby and Djourou, yet he doesn’t want to play them, they all did great and against top class opposition.

I have seen enough of Ramsey, Coquelin and Wilshere to want them in our regular squad and I have seen enough of Song to want him as far away from the Grove as money and flying time will take him.

One or two people stick by Song but they are a minority, unfortunately one of those is the manager.

He ignored his captain in our loss against Stoke and that for me is enough of a reason to drop him.

I also have to say Kolo is not the player he was, though he still wears the badge with pride, give him a rest and bring in Djourou tonight.

Play a midfield of Nasri, Ramsey, Cesc and Wilshere with Bendtner up top and Diaby tucked in, or a midfield of Nasri, Diaby, Cesc and Wilshere with Vela and Bendtner up top.

Defence should be Clichy, Gallas Djourou and Sagna with Eboue deputising or Silvestre for Gallas.

I would give Fabianski a run in goal to show Almunia that we won’t tolerate indifference between the sticks.

I’m told that Bischoff is not ready yet but I would sooner see Watt or Coquelin in midfield than Song.

Coquelin reminds me of Makelele, and that’s what we need in the midfield, a ball winner that’s not afraid to thread through a long ball or have a shot.

If you’re not going to use them Arsene, go and buy someone that will do the job and give us something at the end of the season.

We lost to Stoke because we were shit, not because they were any good, wake up and smell the roses, stop making excuses, play to win, play with youth but make it the right youth, Ramsey is twice the player that Song will ever be, that’s why the Mancs, the Scousers, and Everton tried to sign him, he proved how good he was against England when they fielded 8 premiership players, does anyone remember the Mancs going after Song? No course they can’t.

This is not an anti Song post, it’s a ‘we have the players, play them’ post.

We can go out tonight and stuff these Turks, qualify for the next round in Europe in style and get excited about the big one on Saturday, all I’m getting at the moment is groundhog day from last seasons FA cup.

Don’t allow that to happen, you can make the difference by getting off your stupid, stubborn high horse and putting it right.

Give the kids a chance, go after them tonight and tear them 11 new arseholes, then do the same to the Mancs, everyone in football will kick us now you invited them to, live with it and stop whining, this is Arsenal, our Arsenal, go and make us proud again.

5 nil the Arsenal if he picks the right team, and the right defence.

We’ll be singing Arsene, because we’re all Arsenal fans, we were before you got here and we will be long after you’ve gone, you are the manager that plays the greatest football I have ever seen, pick the right team and we can win this thing, after the spuds game I have never felt so bad, not since we lost to Ipswich in the FA cup final in 1978, against Stoke when you sent out that shocking team I wasn’t even upset, carry on doing that and you’ll lose me.

If you are concerned about the long term future of our club, then start winning stuff again otherwise the young kids starting out will be chavs or mancs and no one wants that, in ten years time we’ll never fill the ground, do you want that as your legacy?

We’re all behind you, don’t let us down, we are worth more than that.

Have a great day Grovers.


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