Arsenal do a Take That and show a little patience

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So another victory, the ninth in a row I think? The team can do no wrong at the moment. It wasn’t the greatest performance, but it was hard fought, ground out victory. Someone just told me that Arsenal are the first British team to win there? This was the sort of performance we couldn’t buy in Europe 5 years ago; we looked comfortable and confident of getting a goal . It was a game of patience and we were duly rewarded.

Some people will bemoan the performance as it lacked its normal slickness and creative flair, but not me. You can’t play total football all the time, and playing away in Romania on a damp night in a miserable, quarter filled stadium is hardly be inspiring, is it?

3 points has done us nicely and we are now sitting pretty at the top of our group and looking good for qualification. Gone are the days of playing catch up I hope!

I wont give a full player review, well at least that’s the plan! I’ll give a break down of some key performers below, much in the same way I reviewed the West Ham game:

Big Al:

Again, no complaints from our new number one. He was solid again. There was one dodgy moment when Clichy nearly nodded a back past round him, but the big Spanish man got down quickly and saved well. I couldn’t work out who was at fault for that one? Big Al’s kicking was good , he dealt with some powerful back passes very well

Kolo:

Mopped up like he was working the kitchens at McDonald’s. I can’t praise this man enough, he is by far the most underrated defender in the Prem, maybe even the universe? He is quick, strong and good in the air. He did particularly well when Big Al cleared a long ball with his head, and Dica half volleyed it back at goal. I had deja vu when he hit that!

Senderos:

A solid game at the back from Phil. His passing was good, he marshalled the defence well and he didn’t have any dodgy moments. I didn’t get to see the replay when the worst finisher in the world broke free, so I couldn’t tell whether that was a defensive issue or a lino issue? Overall, the defence held the line well all night.

Clichy:

His passing was a touch off tonight and I thought he could have done better with his crossing. We all have off days though. He definitely scored a goal in the first half, how fucking blind was the commentator? The keeper didn’t keep it out at all! Why didn’t Ade protest? Water under the bridge I guess?

Sagna:

Solid. How often could you say that about our right back last year? I love him.

Eboue:

I was one of those who suggested he would be employed as a winger this year, I thought it would work. Based on last nights performance I would say that I was wrong to assume that. He was pretty crap, he dithered on the ball and wasn’t particularly penetrative with his runs. Still, he is new to the position and I have high hopes for him.

Hleb:

He seemed to have shaken off that knee injury, I guess that’s what happens when you have rubber legs. He was tricky again last night, and I thought his passing was good. He always causes a problem for the opposition. I guess its hard to know what somebody’s about to do when the player himself doesn’t know!

The Flamster:

A gritty performance from the French hard man. He was all over the place, getting stuck in, making some great passes and having a few shots. Did anyone see that lovely back heel he played in the second half? It was sublime! He was my man of the match.

Cesc:

Missed an absolute sitter in the first half! I am getting sick and tired of this man’s poor finishing. He didn’t even get a goal today? Jokes aside, it was a quieter Cesc performance, but after his early season form, we can forgive him! He played a great dummy for the goal…

RVP:

I thought Robin had a good game. He was a lot more involved in our play today. I love the way he defends from the front, and I like the fact he is a little dirty! After 2 years under St. Henry, I like to see a bit of filth from our players! The goal was never in doubt was it? A powerful shot smashed into the top corner! I wonder if Robin was bullied by a Mitre Delta football as a youngster? He seems to take a lot of aggression out on the ball! Can you imagine Robin placing a shot?

Ade Ade Ade:

I don’t know where to go with this? Lets be honest, he was pretty shite for a majority of the game. His shooting was rubbish and his passing was pretty poor. The thing is, how can you slate a man who works as hard as he does? The man never gives up and that’s why I love him in the team. He worked and worked and worked, then he got his break. He ran down the wing, cut in, missed his pass to Cesc and was rewarded by RVP’s good positioning! BANG! GOAL!

You could tell the rest of the player appreciate his game play just by the celebrations.

Well done Ade. Good things come to those who work.

Wenger applauded the teams patience after the game, saying that it showed a new found maturity and I think everyone will agree with that.

There are some more stories on Jabba today. I think David Dein better watch his back if these comments are anything to go by! He also want dividends. He is worth £2.8 billion, and he wants dividends? Fuck me, how much money does that man need! Here is a business tip Jabba. Go and buy a catering firm, use them a your sole provider of food and you will reep higher dividends than you would at Arsenal. You will actually profit from you own greed?

How mature.

Finally, has anyone else noticed how the press have already started printing stories about Arsenal going on another invincible season. It won’t happen. Every Arsenal fan knows they are building us up so they can shoot us back down.

Lets just enjoy another victory and look forward to smashing Sunderland on Sunday!


Champion league preview, the tea lady + knowing where your bread is buttered!

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How are we this morning fellow Grovers? Me? Oh I’m fine, and looking forward to the first away match of the Champions league. I would have liked to have gone; I hear Romania has all the culture a young man with dreams could wish for, maybe next year?

Before I get started on tonight’s game, I just want to mention something that really grates me and it’s nothing to do with Arsenal. I will never have an ounce of sympathy for the BFW (Big Fat Walrus), but I feel a little bit for the Newcastle fans in general. They have to put up with a having a shite team a majority all of the time and the only joy they get is the fact that they always seem to have a great striker on their books.

Michael Owen signed for £10 million; not because he wanted to live in the Tyneside sun, but because Newcastle were the only team dumb enough to put a player who plays 10 games a year on an astronomical contract, give him a low buy out clause, oh, and no one else wanted the crock.

What grates me is that he gets injured playing for England and spends the whole season out injured. Then he finally comes back for two games; then plays for England and gets injured one game later. You would think he would concentrate on getting back to fitness and repaying his employees faith and patience in him. Not the case apparently, I have just read he will be back in time to play for England… before he plays for Newcastle.

If I was a Newcastle fan I would be pretty pissed off because as an Arsenal fan I know how it feels having been on the receiving end of French and Brazilian coaches logic. I appreciate he loves playing for his country, but as a Geordie, I would be pretty miffed that my season ticket was paying his wages and the only time I get to see him playing is when it’s for England.

Anyway onto things glorious and Arsenal like.

I would like to give you a breakdown of the players to watch out for, but I’m sure some of the other sites will do a better job than me.

I can however give you an update of the injuries list, which appears to have grown from an insignificant black head, to a full blown acne spot. Sorry for the crude analogy, but its how I feel…

Le List:

Adebayor (Thigh)
The Flamster (Groin)
Diaby (Groin)
Lehmann (Dropped Elbow)
Rosicky (Hamstring)
Eduardo (Groin)
Song (Calf)
Hleb (Late fitness test)

I’d put Gallas on there, but that man is President of the list and demands a separate mention. He is out indefinitely; just picking up his £90k a week and playing fruit machines apparently.

I don’t know too much about Romania or Steaua Bucharest. What I do know is that the lady who makes my sausage sandwich in the morning is Romanian and she’s been giving me shit all week about putting one right up us.


“Your team are pussies and don’t like it up them”,

She said to me in broken English this morning.


“I beg to differ”,

I retorted in a stern but controlled manner.

She also told me Steauea Bucharest have been having something of a crisis lately, but they did win their last two games after Hagi left the managerial post. She said he was a good player, but as a manager he lacked tactical noose.

Obviously we can’t afford to be complacent; we all know the perils of assuming a victory in Europe’s premier competition but you would think this team has enough experience and form to win this one. If we do win, it will set us up nicely for Qualification having already defeated the group’s strongest team. Oh, and in case you were wondering; Mirel Radio and Sorin Ghionea are still out with knee ligament issues, you may as well not tune in eh?

Yesterday’s blog sites all seemed to centre on the Senderos theme and what to do about his form. Most of the blogs were well balanced with their views; it does seem that everyone is of a similar opinion.

We want him to do well, but how long do we have to wait?

Hopefully he’ll lay his mental demons to rest tonight with a hat trick and a clean sheet! Come on big Phil, show us what you’re made of!

In other news, Manc supporting Jabba Kenyon has been telling everyone that he wants to invest in the best club in the world to improve the popularity of the game in Russia. However this article indicates we weren’t his first choice. This guy just can’t make up his mind who he likes best. I bet he is one of those chaps you get talking to down the pub who claims he doesn’t support a team, he supports football, I hate those fence sitting wankers.

Anyway, not being one to fence sit, I’m going to put my balls on the line and predict comfortable victory.

I know this for sure though ; if we win Mrs tea lady, I’m keeping my eye on you when you make my sausage sandwich!

No sneezers for me thank you very much!

Have a Grovetastic evening! Come on you Gooners!


First class Flamini, thoughts on Senderos + news round up

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When is it time to say a player is not good enough to wear the red and white of Arsenal?

Plenty of Arsenal players over the years have caused divided opinion over their suitability. The Grimster, Gilberto, Flamini, Baptista, Hleb, Cygan, Stepanovs, Boa Morte, Manninger, Reyes and Lehmann to name but few.

As fans, we can be a fickle bunch. I remember constantly defending Flamini for the first few season’s of his career as I believed his tenacity and work rate to be his over riding quality. Others felt he was no better than a Bentlely or a Muamba. Every team needs a Ray Parlour type, no matter what country they come from.

Last season I took an immediate disliking to the Beast; I felt his touch was sub standard and his play cumbersome. A lot of Arsenal fans were still calling for him to be given more of a chance, even past February. Perhaps the Beast was given more of a chance with the fans because how can a player called the Beast not be a success? How disappointed we all were! Mind you, he is banging them in for Madrid this year!

There are many players who have come along and surprised us. Who would have thought Robert Pires, a lightweight, off passing midfielder with questionable hunger would turn out to be probably the greatest winger ever to wear an Arsenal shirt after the first few months of his career?

Who would have guessed a misfiring Freddie Ljungberg could become one of the most prolific players in the Premiership and skin John Terry in an F.A Cup final to score a wonder goal?

Not many of us I bet!

This is where the difficulty comes when making a fans judgement on Senderos. I wouldn’t ever go against Wengers judgement, because 90% of the time he knows best (For £4.5 million a year you would hope so!). It doesn’t mean I can’t question it though?

If there is a player that Arsenal fans want to see come good more than Senderos, I don’t know about him (Maybe Theo? I don’t think panic has set in with him yet.). He reminds us of a young Tony Adams. He has a big heart, he will put his body on the line and he is normally great in the air.

What infuriates us about big Phil is that his lack of form is not down to ability. We all know he can keep clean sheets against the best. It takes two centre backs to keep 8 clean sheets on the way to a Champions League final, and from what I can remember he had some immense games. He was many fans first choice that season to partner Kolo at the back after Campbells meltdown. So what went wrong?

Well it might be way to simple to pinpoint the Chelsea games, but it seems everything went down hill from there. He was taken apart twice in a season by the best striker in the world at the time, no shame in that you would think? Well it seems it has taken its toll psychologically with the lad.

This season he has looked shaky, nervous and extremely low in confidence. I can’t help but worry something bad is going to happen that could potentially destroy him.

Cast your mind back a few years, does anyone remember Igor Stepanovs? A similar type player who had potential and was looking good until he was destroyed by Manchester united in a 6-1 hammering at Old Trafford. He was never seen again after that performance. Or last season, an underperforming Sol Campbell against West ham? He made two uncharacteristic errors in the first half and fled to the coast!

Do we have to destroy him as a player before we realise he is not good enough? Do we have to lose 3 points before we realise he is not good enough? It is only good goal keeping and some great cover play from the rest of the defence which has kept us from suffering from the form of Senderos.

I am not questioning the wisdom Arsene Wenger, he knows what he is doing but from a fans perspective I think he made an odd decision in loaning out Djourou, arguably our third choice centre back last year after some assured performances. I understand the logic as perhaps Wenger forgot Gallas is more injury prone than Kieron Dyer, but my view, along with many others was that Senderos should have gone out on loan until Christmas.

In a less pressurised environment, Big Phil could have rebuilt his confidence and been fresh coming back after Christmas. I understand that loaning him out could have been quite insulting, but he is a professional football, he would have gotten over it.

I still have no idea what Wenger is going to do with Senderos, I just hope the end result isn’t a destroyed Senderos who ends up never recovering his confidence. Without doubt though, the Arsenal fans will all get behind him all the way for the next couple of weeks, and I hope he comes good and we start to see a return to form of a young player we are all desperate to come good.

In other news, Wenger had some words of praise for the in form Flamster as does Sun reporter, Steven Howard. Its great that a player I consider a real gooner getting the praise he fully deserves after a fantastic start to the season.

Edelman speaks out on the subject of ex Manc fan Usmanov, telling the fans that he wont be taking over anytime soon and doubts he is even interested in running the club. He also gets in a cheeky dig about Chelsea; kick a club when there down why don’t you!

In other non-Arsenal related news. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has thrown his weight behind Avram Grant, telling Chelsea players he is the long term future. The only thing that could make my day better is Martin Jol getting a new 10 year sack proof contract.

Steaua Bucharest match preview tomorrow. Till tomorrow Grovers!