Most improved Arsenal player? Start with Nasri.

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So I listen to many bloggers, some good, some odd and some just mind blowing, I often listen to people telling me who the most improved player is, without going to the dark side let me make a short list. Before some of you have a fit, SONG isn’t on the list because he did his improving last season and he can’t keep getting the accolade.





And the winner is…Nasri. How anybody could think anyone else should get that title is strange, but he for me has transformed himself culminating by the best performance from an Arsenal player this season since a few from Vermaelen, who can’t win it because he has been great from the off.

The Cesc performance against the spuds was awesome, but we come to expect that from our young talisman, but Nasri is coming good at the right time, as is Rosicky, Eboue and Diaby.

I was watching Toulalon and Lloris last night against the superstars of Madrid, hmmm, I’d take those two wouldn’t you?

Another improved player has to be Song, I agree, even though it hurts me to admit it, but he is a different player to what he was, he still has a long way to go and that’s why I would sign another defensive midfielder, one – so he can learn and two – because you need at least 2 players in each spot for cover and for competition. That player cannot be Denilson, so unless he does an Eboue in the next 2 months, we need to replace him.

One of the reasons we have this ‘most improved player’ thing every season is because they are getting older, by the time they start moving into their twenty’s they have grown, fully formed, are stronger and at last are ready to be Arsenal players, playing them so young is unfair, because they not only get stick for inept performances, they get horrendous injuries like Theo and Ramsey because their bodies aren’t yet ready.

So the most improved players on my list are all grown ups, I think we should look to bolster our squad with a few players of the right age, Denilson could make it next year, but why should we keep accommodating young players that may or may not make it, Senderos is a classic.

I know it’s tough spotting who will and who won’t, but with talent like Wilshere and JET coming through I don’t think we should keep persisting with players that we know won’t make it, we all knew Senderos wouldn’t, yet year in, year out he wasn’t replaced, now he’s slipped quietly out the door never to be seen again, unless of course Everton don’t want him.

Song won’t be going to Hull as he is suspended, so who will play? I suspect it will be Denilson, god help us, we need him to start proving his worth before it costs us the chance to win the title. I think he’s drinking in the last chance saloon.

Madrid are out and that has to be good news, I now want to avoid the chavs and mancs, not because they are any good, but because we seem to roll over when we play them, I also want to avoid Barca, Lyon and Bayern, the truth is I don’t want to play anyone and hope for a free pass all the way to the final!

We know that won’t happen so we should just enjoy it, one thing’s for sure, no one will want to play us!

Have a great day Grovers, two more to go, and we could be top of the league! Whoohoo!!!


Arsenal stun Porto / Injury worries / Great Dane delivers! Ratings + Review

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Sagna Sol Vermaelen Clichy

Diaby Song Nasri

Rosicky Bendtner Arshavin

The pre-match commentary was spent mainly slagging Arsenal off. Almunia was too nice to be a captain, nice enough to date the daughter of Graham Souness.

Wenger was mainly concerned about counter attacking, hence the inclusion of Song. Adams interestingly said the players had asked Wenger to do a little more research on the opposition, something I have called for him to do for years. The hope was Wenger had got it right tonight. Ruud said the media criticise because they want us to win. He hopes his suggestions are taken on board.

Cheers Ruud.

Bendtner mis-timed his first chance of the match, failing to get on the end of a superb Clichy cross.

Not to be outdone, Sagna crossed excellently to Arshavin at the back post, the quick reflexes of Helton denying him.

The atmosphere was electric.

Arshavin won a header from a long ball against a defender twice his height, he cushioned it back to Nasri who set him loose, the keeper saved his shot but Bends was there to tap in the open goal!

Up the other end, Arsenal allowed a corner to bounce dangerously in the box. An early warning.

Arsenal continued to knock it around nicely.

Just as I spied Nasri collapsing in a heap, Arshavin intercepted a poor Porto pass, he beat three men on the edge of the box, broke free, cut back to Nik who held his line in a way Ade could never and buried the cross. Amazing turnaround from the big Dane.

Song made a vital interception on the edge of the box. Nasri continued to pull the strings in a very Cesc like manner.

Clichy had his customary howler when he handled a high ball keeping it in play allowing the Hulk to waltz into the box and nearly threaten us.

Bendtner forced a good helton save late in the half with a fizzing low shot. The keeper made a super save from the header Diaby powered off from the corner.

A great first half, but a lot of sloppy play mixed in. We would have to settle down in the second half if we wanted to make sure this night fizzled out without any drama. Arshavin, Clichy and Campbell particularly needed to straighten out their howler Tourette’s.

Almost the first thing that happened in the second half was an edge of the box cock up… Rosicky played a weak pass, Song missed it, the Hulk fluffed his chance (A common theme from a man whose name gets people more excited than Denilson’s stats).

Rodriguez beat Sagna to head a corner to the far post where Nasri was on hand the clear.

Arsenal were looking very dodgy, the nervousness was spreading through the ground as well.

The game needed some magic.

Nasri had the ball outwide, outside the box. He took on three defenders, cut in, turned out, broke free of his players and banged it across the far post and scored one of the best goals the Emirates has seen. That’s the Nasri we signed, that’s the Nasri we’ve been hoping to see for the last two years.

Clichy cleared a corner, Arshavin picked it up, rans 40 yards… Eboue sprinted past him, the through ball was sublime, Eboue took it round the keeper and slotted into the empty net! 19 seconds end to end… magic.

Song continued to play sloppy passes, but Arsenal calmed down and started imposing their game again. Diaby was controlling the midfield with Nasri and it was a joy to watch.

A Chorus of ‘Tottenham are watching eastenders’ rang round the ground, superb!

Just as the game was ebbing away,  Eboue went down in the box, Penalty! Nik stepped up, the worlds eyes on him, he banged it low and hard into the bottom corner. The clown prince turned in a Great Dane performance!

A message was sent out to Europe, Hull and the Premiership. We’re in this to win it and with a little luck, you never know!


Whilst a 5-0 victory is something to cherish and savour, it would be irresponsible of me to ignore some extremely sloppy play and some poor defending. On another day, we could have been punished. If we want to win the Champions League, we have to concentrate for the full 90 minutes. Chelsea, Bayern, Madrid and Barca wont be so kind with our mistakes. Song, Clichy, Campbell and Arshavin were guilty tonight.

Now onto the good…

Arsenal turned over their first Euro deficit since the seventies, they proved they could handle the pressure and everyone delivered. We were clinical tonight, we worked hard for our win and we weren’t afraid to play. The belief the team showed was special to watch, the crowd finally sound like they are truly connecting with this team, you feel like heroes are developing in front of our eyes… I can’t wait for the next game! Being a Gooner feels pretty amazing right now!


Almunia: Some dodgy kicking and a few spilled shots, but overall, he did his job. 7

Sagna: Say what you like about his crossing, as a defender, he’s top notch. Tonight, he was very good. 7

Vermaelen: Superb. A rock. A legend in the making. He had a blinder tonight, shame about the yellow card.8

Campbell: A very sloppy first half from a very experienced player. He’ll sort that out though and he’ll be more critical of his game than anyone else. What can’t be denied is how he inspires the team. His encouragement of the youngsters and his team huddles are going down a dream! 6.5

Clichy: He played pretty well bar a crazy moment out wide where he let the Hulk in. 6.5

Song: I thought he had a good first half but he let himself down in the second half with some poor passing and bad decision making. He still did a top job closing down angles and breaking up play. He needed to be there tonight and the 5-0 score line proves that. Interestingly, Souness and co said Song was close to being the complete player, the only thing he lacked was the discipline to stay back (Like Gilberto did). 6.5

Nasri: His chance to shine, his chance to showcase his talent… and what a performance. I’ve been questioning him recently because he clearly has an abundance of talent that’s been going to waste… tonight he announced himself on the European scene with the performance we’ve all been waiting for. He was at the heart of everything; showed guts to play through an injury and showed incredible skill to get his goal. A world class performance. 9

Diaby: Honestly, that has to be the most professional performance I’ve seen from the young Frenchman. He passed fantastically, he was disciplined and he allowed Nasri to play the game he did. Don’t underestimate how important he was for us tonight. 7.5

Rosicky: Top game for our favourite Czech player. He plays so much better when he has a target man to play off. His tricky runs and unpredictable play cause alsorts of bother. I hope he’s not injured. 7

Arshavin: We saw the best and the worst of Arsh. His worst was the terribly shoddy passing and his extremely casual play. He needs to stop being so wasteful when he’s not attacking. His best was an inspirational performance up top. He set up the first two goals, bagged an additional assist and played a blinder for us. 8

Bendtner: I backed him 100% at the weekend and I was paid back treble! Nik scored 3 extremely important goals in a game that was worth £18million to the club. He had a terrible time in front of goal last weekend and tonight, he made amends. It wasn’t just the goals for me, it was having a striker who can nod on the long balls, hold up the ball and play with his back to goal. Not to mention how well he held the line for his second goal. He could be the proper centre forward we were looking for in January. He’s an intelligent footballer and he’ll be a top player for us. I hope the world noted how humble he was in the interview afterwards… he didn’t even know he was meant to keep the ball!

Thanks to Gambon for this comment:

Since returning from Birmingham, he has started 56 games for us. He has come on as a sub 57 times, so lets assume he averages 15 minutes when subbed on, this is 855 minutes.

Lets round that upp to 900 minutes, which is 10 games.

So that means 33 goals in 66 games, many of which he has played wide left & right.

1 in 2 Baby!



Eboue: You know I’ve always loved Eboue so I was pleased as punch to see him come on and score a goal. On a serious note, he’s had a great season so far and it was fantastic to see him come on, roll about when we needed him to, stay on his feet when he had to and score when we demanded it! He got the penalty as well! 7

Denilson: Pretty solid cameo appearance. I want to see him do well and get the fans back on side! 6

Theo: Was trying very hard to replicate his goal from the weekend to no avail! His pace was a menace though. 6

Lets keep em’ crossed Diaby, Nasri and Rosicky are all ok for Hull this weekend!

The big one arrives but who will play? I know what I’d do… Winning the Olympics is a clue!

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So this is it, our defining moment, but who will play? Well yesterday I dared to suggest a midfield of Rosicky, Nasri and Diaby, and outside of Cesc, our most skilful midfield, a few people suggested I was as mad as a March Hare not suggesting Song.

I am amazed that people would find that midfield not the best we have, Nasri can mix it and for me takes over from Cesc, Diaby can be the enforcer and Rosicky can start the attacks, yes Song has improved no end, but for this game I believe we need pace and skill over the ability to stop attacks, what Porto did last time was to by-pass the midfield and that makes Song redundant.

We need to keep the ball, not worry about winning it back should we lose it, tonight is about being positive and go on the attack from the off, we cannot afford to let them score, if we have to use a DM then sure, use Song, but please leave Denilson in the cafeteria, I reckon a front line of Theo, Bendtner and Arshavin will click tonight and I have Bendtner down with Theo to score more than one apiece.

This is not about leaving Song out, it’s about having the most creative midfield in football, besides, since the ACN, Song has not had the form he showed before.

However, we all know Wenger will play Sagna at the back and the midfield will be Denilson, Song and Nasri, that then leaves Eboue free to play up front on the right, so it will be his team or mine and I hope he is brave and goes for skill over his favourites.

My team


Eboue Campbell Vermaelen Clichy

Rosicky Nasri Diaby

Walcott Bendtner Arshavin

Wenger’s team


Sagna Campbell Vermaelen Clichy

Denilson Nasri Song

Eboue Bendtner Arshavin

I watched us destroy Burnley on Saturday, we weren’t far off, but we left it late, keep the nucleus of that team together and it will pay dividends, bring Song on once we are 3 up, don’t waste the opportunity because this Porto team are there for the taking.

It reminds me of the battle of Quebec, Montcalm, the French general was camped in at the fortress of Quebec, General James Wolfe was with his army waiting in the St. Lawrence river with no way past the big French guns, what did he do next? He slipped past them at night, scaled the impossible heights of Abraham and when dawn broke the British army was behind them and ready, the battle was over in double quick time, Wolfe raced to a 3 nil lead before Montcalm had a chance to deploy his counter defensive midfield ploy, the Brits trashed the French and won Canada, and to this day Canada is still a colony and that’s why Great Britain won the winter Olympics.

So the moral of the story is surprise, do something they don’t expect, be bold Arsene and the day is yours, oh and forget the fact you are French, tonight you are batting for Harry, for England and St. George, go forth and seize the moment (Napoleon) tonight we go through to the quarter finals and get revenge on the fornicators from the bridge.

Have a great day grovers, tonight could and should be memorable.

And don’t forget I’m not dissing Song, I’m saving him for a rainy day, and tonight isn’t one of them.

No predictions but we’ll score two more than they do!