We are on our way and a gap is appearing, but what about Eboue?

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So we beat Sunderland, great stuff, we are back in the race, we have the easier run in, but we still have to put the points on the board, so what do we make of Eboue?

So the boss does his trademark smirk and says we were booing him a year ago and now we love him.

Okay, Eboue has indeed been a revelation at right back this last 2 games, but we always said he was a good right back, so what’s changed then? What is different since the Wigan game when he got booed off the pitch?

Well first of all we always said his best position was right back, not right wing, nothing’s changed there, when he got booed off, he was not playing right back, he was playing left wing and giving the ball away, I was at that game and the rumblings were beginning long before he got taken off, the rumblings were for Wenger and his crazy selection that day, Wenger subbed the sub and in my opinion cynically put Eboue there in the firing line. Yes he was woeful, but in my opinion poor old Eboue was just made the scapegoat.

Go back to my post the day after and read it! If you don’t believe me that is.

Now if Eboue plays that well in training and then plays rubbish on match days then he needs hitting hard with a cricket bat. That’s why they are paid so much, to play like he did on Saturday. Me, I would play him all the time at right back because this last two games, he has made the difference, credit where credit’s due, keep it up Eboue.

If I had to ask him a big favour though, it would be to stop the rolling around in pain rubbish, it’s the one thing that does stop him being as popular with us as he is with his team mates, stay on your feet mate, it’s not that hard.

I had a problem with a steward again, just when we said they were getting Ok, one comes out and treats me like a football hooligan, these guys need to remember who pays their wages, I let him know that, and hope he accepted it, he did look a tad shocked. Remember the days when they were just there to show you to your seat???

We’re good mates with 3 or 4 of them at Highbury, we even used to get them a beer and we knew each other by name.

Half time entertainment at the Grove

I read a letter that Paul, a Grover got from Arsenal regarding Club level next season, from next year we’ll all get a free programme, if we renew before the 8th of March, we’ll get a brass plate on out seats with our name on it, but hurry, there’s a waiting list, why do Arsenal continue to lie? If we had a waiting list, we wouldn’t be offered all these trinkets, Ivan, save your money, buy a few players that will see us competing on 4 fronts, that will see me renew, not a programme and a name plate. Bah, piffle!

A lot to think about before we play Stoke, but let’s enjoy the Sunderland win first, well played Eboue, keep it up and you could end up becoming a legend!

Have a great day Grovers, it will be a slow week I reckon!

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Messi lands at the Emirates / Arsenal beat the Crap Cats. Ratings and Review

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I don’t know whether it was the abundance of beer, or just the reality. I’m hoping I’ll get some clarity. But I’m sure I just witnessed the greatest right back performance of the season and it came from a player I dislike with full blooded passion.

Yesterday was all about Emmanuel Eboue. He showed the skill he probably demonstrates in training every day and put on a master class in attacking full backery. His mazy runs and tireless work rate were a wonder for the home crowd to watch. If he could do that every week, not only would he start as our right back, he’d be the best one in the country!

Sunderland lacked everything a Steve Bruce side normally has. They played like a team who believed in their own hype after a nice 10 game streak at the start of the year. A real lack of effort on their part combined with a sparky and resilient performance from Arsenal… well, the result was only going one way this afternoon.

The first goal came when Eboue burst into the box with a penetrative run, he jinked in and out turning three Sunderland defenders inside out, he shot across goal allowing Nik to nip in at the back post to tap into the empty net.

Nik Bendtner had a great chance to prove his value to the team today and I’m afraid he didn’t give us his best performance. His control isn’t crisp, the ball usually ends up off the ground disrupting his ability to do anything thing with pace. His lack of instinct for the goal is also worrying. We can talk about work rate till we’re blue in the face but banging them away has to come into the picture at some point. 2 occasions today sparked cause for concern. The first was when Nasri crossed into the box, Ferdinand mistimed the header, Nik didn’t even bother to anticipate this and missed out on a simple header. The second was when he was cut in with a pass from out on the left, he controlled the ball with his left foot instead of his right, then duffed his chance onto the bar. Chances like that should be creeping in and in big games, you’re only going to get one… worrying from the Dane.

There were the usual lapses in concentration at the back. Almunia had to make a tidy save when Bent got through one on one, then Kenwyne Jones beat the offside trap, surged into the box and luckily hooked his shot wide. Bruce said his star striker was worth £30mill. Seriously, it’s that type of talk that gets Premiership clubs into trouble!

The second half was all Arsenal in the main. Sunderland did scare the Arsenal back 4 a few times but Almunia was out to impress today and he wasn’t going to allow the ball the chance to get cosy with his net today!

Arsenal huffed and puffed, but Craig Gordon was in an equally defiant mood and pulled out some classy saves to keep his players team in it. He looks very similar to Ian Curtis of Joy Division… errily so!

Our reward came late in the half, Cesc was bundled over in the box, the ref pointed to the spot! Up stepped Cesc to bury a pin point penalty into the bottom right corner. He ran over to the faithful and did some impressive air punching.

The ref blew up and Arsenal had taken an important 3 points. 2 points behind United, 6 behind Chelsea… and we’re really back in the mixing pot again!

Ratings:

Almunia: A top performance from our keeper. It seems silly that I have to praise our keeper for making 3 or 4 good saves in a game, but I will, because normally one sneaks in. 7

Clichy: I still don’t think he’s playing very well. He’s developed Howler Syndrome and I heard he caught it after sharing a towel with Senderos. I hope he can shake it off because if he doesn’t, Gibbs will surely step in next season. 6

Vermaelen: Had a powerful day at the office. He was quicker to every ball than the Sunderland pair were and he led the back line with much aggression. 8

Silvestre: He didn’t have a Sol Campbell type performance, but he did ok. He dropped a clanger when he set a poor offside trap that Jones took advantage of… but that is the Frenchman for you. 6

Eboue: If he could cut out the theatrics, I’d really like him as a player. Today he let his football do the talking with a superbly constructive afternoon of free flowing attacking full back play. The Sunderland boys didn’t know how to handle him because he was literally unplayable. Superb assist, deserved a goal. 9

Cesc: Not his best game of the season. His passing was sloppy at times and he got caught in possession on occasions. Still… he won a penalty and buried it. 7

Song: I thought he had a very solid game today, breaking up play where he could, distributing with efficiency. 7.5

Aaron Ramsey: Showed straight away why he should always get the nod over Denilson. He made surging runs, crunching tackles and had a few shots. He’s what you call real young talent. Shame he’s Welsh… 7.5

Nasri: I felt we got more for our money today. He covered his full back today, he put himself about and he made some telling attacking contributions. I just wish he’d do it more consistently. 8

Bendtner: He scored the tap in for the goal, which has to be credited. Bar that, it was a pretty cart horse like game for the Danish hitman. He needs to start scoring goals more regularly and he needs to work in his touch and alround play. He also needs to give up his penchant for hitting the wing… he’s not Thierry. His performances seem to have dropped from last season, he’s only got a few games left to prove us wrong. 6

Theo: £60k a week to watch him run up blind alleys, cross to Song’s imaginary friend and generally do very little. Today he did look like scoring twice, something I haven’t seen him threaten to do for a while. However, for the hype surrounding him, he’s really not delivering. If he can fuse that pace with any sort of productivity, we’ll have a top player on our hands… at the moment, it doesn’t feel like we’re anywhere near that. 6

So all in all, an expected win and a solid performance. Roll on Stoke City!

P.S. If you have any spares to the Burnley game coming up, I have plenty of Grovers looking! Drop me an e-mail! Oh, and I’ve noticed it getting a little narkey in the comments section, lets keep it friendly… we’re all gooners and a multitude of opinion helps the blog go round.

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3 points in the bag today plus a bit of backlash for fat boy.

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I expect nothing other than a win today, why? Well because Sunderland just aren’t that good, in fact the last team they beat was in November and it was us, and we weren’t that good!

Although we lost against Porto, we were far the better team, if you take away the two howlers, and the paranoia of the manager, we were the better team, and the ref, although controversial, really wasn’t born on Mars.

Anyway, if we can’t beat this shower of doo-doo, we really are in trouble, still at least if we do lose, we can be sure that it won’t be our fault.

A quick word on Portsmouth and how they are looking to sell players to keep up or get a loan or have the EPL step in, what are they, a Bank? Why do the sporting world think they above the parapit? Why do they think it would be a disaster, save 25,000 Pompey fans who won’t get to see their team anymore, surely they could go and support Southampton or Brighton or even Plymouth, they are all from the seaside.

I think it’s sad because I do like them, but they were mis-managed by Harry and Storrie and they are now paying the price, why is anyone surprised, Harry went to Spurs and bought most of those players back at half the price, and you only have to listen to either of them being interviewed and you wouldn’t be surprised if you saw them both selling Jellied eels off a barrow in Rathbone street market at the weekend.

I would be more concerned with letting Corus steelworks close down, you have a whole town that relies on that company, a whole industry that has had it’s furnaces on since 1858 and this government allows them to close, without a whimper, however if it’s a Bank or a Premier league team, no expense is spared keeping them afloat and in gravy, how many times have they been reprieved for Christ’s sake?

How can you not know you owe £11mil in taxes? A bit careless that, and why on earth didn’t they sell players in the window, this demand didn’t drop out of the sky!

One day a genius will come along and say, I know why all these clubs are in such financial straights, (there has to be a reason, they haven’t all been managed by Harry and David O’Leary) the reason is, we pay such out of touch salaries to young kids that have done nothing, apart from getting lucky or meeting Arsene Wenger.

For Instance, Theo Walcott at his age earns more than the Prime Minister, the Governor of the Bank of England and The Chairman of Marks & Spencer. How on earth can that be right?

Multiply him by all the players in football and you have the answer, there, now that wasn’t rocket science was it!.

Anyway onto us and today, I expect the following team sheet.

Fabianski

Eboue Campbell Vermaelen Clichy

Song Cesc Diaby

Rosicky Bendtner Arshavin

He won’t drop Fabianski because he refuses to admit he isn’t world class, I think Fabianski is a great keeper, but like Senderos, he has a howler or two in there somewhere.

I would play Eboue at right back because at least he can cross a ball, and I expect to see Arshavin and Song back, I also expect an emphatic win because they aren’t that good and all will be roses in the garden again on Sunday, another papering over the cracks job in our quest for third place, the greatest of all achievements.

I’ll be there and cheering the boys on as usual, it will be cold though, so I may well be wearing my lucky Arsenal gloves, and you all know what happens when I do that!

Have a great game Grovers, we may close the gap today!

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