He may buy, Cesc says he’s going and Owen says he’ll play football tonight.

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Interesting day today, the boss says he may buy, Arsene, replace ‘may’ with ‘will’ we are on their shoulders but we could easily slip back to 8th, by your own admission.

Yes the bollocking turned it around, but it was far from convincing, Liverpool were more shit than we were good, we got away with it and the one player that dug us out of the do-do was the one player you paid a lot of money for. So that really illustrates what buying class players achieves. We need players, we lost Robin, Ade and Bendtner, Theo, Eduardo and Rosicky look fragile, as do all our left backs, and we never replaced Djourou, so in theory that is four or five players short of last season. We are skating on thin ice, so I say get rid of the fringe players like Senderos, Randall and Simpson and buy some class.

That’s no reflection on those players, I like them, but it’s clear they have no future with us, and I think it would be fairer to let them go.

I read that we were in for Van der Vaart and Steven Defour, good call, midfield covered, all we now need is a striker a centre back and a keeper, get the right players in and we can take the league.

If you believe the current crop is good enough then it doesn’t matter about players being cup tied. Does it! That way we’ll have enough cover for all eventualities.

Cesc has told Marca he intends playing for Catalunia, if that’s true then I believe he will go, Ramsey is good cover should something happen, and I wouldn’t want to have an unhappy Cesc, he is very average when he’s unhappy.

Tonight I expect a full squad with maybe Eboue in for Sagna, I think Diaby will get the nod over Denilson and frankly after Sunday, I would give Eboue the nod over Denilson, but don’t hold your breath.

We really need to win tonight as Villa are proving to be the bit you can’t shake off your shoe, if Burnley come out to play, we should easily beat them, they keep talking about how they beat us last time at their gaff, but they forget, that was our youth team, start out like we mean it, shut them down, everytime a team shuts us down, they stop us playing, Coyle will know that and they’ll be up for it, time to show our credentials, beat them, we have Hull, beat them it’s Villa and then Pompey away, by the start of January we could be top, or we could be 8th, it’s your call Arsenal, how much do you want it?

One thing is for sure, we won’t do it with the keeper we have, once again he was at fault, you can see how the defence are nervous everytime the other team gets near our area, we can all see it boss, why on earth can’t you? Let Fabianski loose, at least he commands his area, he is a great shot stopper, and he makes himself big like Given. …Given, £8million, if only…

I think we’ll beat them and I think we’ll go through the year winning. First stop Burnley, come on Arsenal and come on Arsene, time to get the cheque book out.

I hear from many of you that another blog chose to write a post about us again, guys thanks, but you are supposed to be writing about Arsenal not us, we appreciate the hero worship and we know you had a record 50 comments as a result, but the whole point of blogging about Arsenal is to talk about Arsenal. Thanks for the thoughts though. I didn’t read it by the way, so you’re wasting your time if you want me to name you, I won’t.

If anyone wants to put their tickets for Villa on Le Exchange, please do, we still have some Hull ones left.

Have a great day and a better night, destiny draws ever closer and at last we can go into the Christmas fixtures in contention, come on Arsenal!

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Denilsons stats are so last year / £25million dud avoided / Worst player awards!

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The not so coveted Golden Bin award was unveiled in Italy yesterday. It’s the opposite of the Balon D’or. The Italians unveiled the least impressive signings of the year.

The Golden Bin

1. Felipe Melo (Juventus) – 22,87 % [4.289 votes]
2. Ricardo Quaresma (Inter) – 20,63 % [3.868]
3. Tiago Mendes (Juventus) – 9,99 % [1.873]
4. Dida (Milan) – 9,56 % [1.792]
5. Amantino Mancini (Inter) – 9,39 % [1.760]
6. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Milan) – 6,84 % [1.283]
7. Ronaldinho (Milan) – 6,07 % [1.139]
8. Christian Poulsen (Juventus) – 6,06 % [1.137]
9. Juan Pablo Carrizo (Lazio) – 4,37 % [819]
10. Julio Baptista (Roma) – 4,22 % [792]

It’s interesting to note that there are a number of players on that list that I would have liked to have seen at the Grove. Julio Baptista is continuing to flop wherever he goes, Quaresma is still failing to fufill his Christiano hyped potential, Huntelaar is continuing the bomb and even the mighty Ronaldinho is receiving little love. The key name on that list has to be Felipe Melo. The ex-Arsenal target from the summer has failed to impress since his whopping £25million transfer to Juventus. Maybe we’ve dodged a bullet, maybe he is being unfairly singled out by fans of a club failing under inexperienced management. Either way, it’s interesting reading.

Like goalkeepers, defensive midfielders seem to be taking a hammering all over the world this year. Lassana Diarra was pilloried earlier in the season after some drab Madrid results, Yaya Toure has been relegated to the bench in Catalonia, Gareth Barry has been getting bad press up north and even that dirty little Argie from Liverpool has been getting stick from the bindipping faithful.

I think the only defensive midfielders that have received glowing press this season are Essien and Fletcher. Essien because he is undoubtedly the best in the business and Fletcher because he is a thuggish Brit and it’s trendy in the media to back that type of player.

Song and Denilson don’t really do it for me. I like Denilson for his ability to read the game, but he lacks pace and power. I like Song because he works hard and gets in the way, but his lack of speed is frightening and his knack of switching off worries me. Maybe I’m being too harsh, maybe the grass isn’t always greener… I just think we could do with having a Flamini-esque player in the middle.

Talking of disappointments, how about we have a quick vote on the most disappointing Premiership signing of the year? I’ve got some good names in there, but if there are any I’ve missed, let me know. Carlos Tevez, £47million, well, could be worth a vote…!


Results will be announced shortly!

So, onto stats, the ones we love to hate!

The best midfielder in the Premiership so far this season?

Fabregas

The best defender in the Premiership this season?

Vermaelen

Players from Arsenal in the top 100 players?

  • Fabregas (2nd)
  • Robin (10th)
  • Vermaelen (11th)
  • Gallas (27th)
  • Sagna (45th)
  • Arshavin (56th)
  • Diaby (96th

So what does that tell you? I’ll tell you what it tells you. It says that we underrate what Diaby does for the team. It tells us that Denilson stopped sleeping with the editor over at Actim and maybe, just maybe, the omittance of Song is a telling one. Make of that what you will, all I’m saying is the Song Sceptics could use science to back their case…

I guess what it really tells you is that statistics are in the eye of the beholder. If I present figures to people in business, but don’t show them the workings, I get told where the door is… Actim are using closed book science to tell us Jody Craddock is better than Andre Arshavin.

A lot of the amateur statisticians having been sharing numbers garnered from the Guardian chalkboards. I have my doubts there as well. The integrity of the data is often flawed as I’ve counted misplaced passes of a player during a game, referred back to the data and it’s incorrect. Arsenal are arguably the busiest of passers in the league and I’ve never see a player get past 60, yet actim have Essien down as making 92 passes in a game against Blackburn earlier in the year…

I’d never dismiss statistics, however, I’d always throw caution to the wind. A number can’t tell you how good the pass was, how inept the shots on target were or whether an interception occurred because another player hussled a player for 30 yards and his team mate picked up the ball. I guess that’s why we read match reviews and don’t just refer to a spreadsheet after a game.

Artist impression of a web statto

In other news, Theo Walcott reckons Arsenal are no pushovers, well, you are Theo, you spent a lot of time on your ass the other night. Beating the Scousers was fantastic but we must not get too ahead of ourselves… premature gloatation is a dangerous thing. I must say I am more worried about the impending games against Hull and Burnley. If Arsenal couldn’t motivate themselves for the first half at Anfield, how are they going to feel about playing away at Burnley or Hull? These are the testing games that really win you the league and we’ve been doing a blinding job dealing with them compared to seasons past… lets hope Liverpool is a lesson learnt for our young team of title pretenders.

Johann Cruyft has called up Cesc Fabregas to play for Catalonia in an up and coming friendly. Arsene has said no already and FIFA have no say in the matter. So really, it’s a bit like me calling Cesc up for my Sunday league team and expecting a response. Am I the only one who can’t help but think this is some sort of Barcelona unsettling tactic? I can picture the headlines already:

Cesc Fabregas determined to leave after Catalonia snub

In transfer news, Ajax right back Gregory Van Der Wiel has asked RvP to put a good word in for him so he can get a move over here. Well, if it works out as well as the last Ajax signing, I’d be all for it! However, it seems unlikely considering we have two pretty decent players in that position already (I gagged a bit when I wrote that…). The exciting news is that Senderos might be off to Bayern Munich. Rumours have it that we’re willing to part for a whopping 1.5million. I hope he gets his move, he’s certainly not getting the love he used to from Le Boss!

I’m off to lay down in a darkened room… 2 posts from me in two days! I’m knackered, more thoughts from Geoff tomorrow morning!

See you in the comments!

P.S. I just read a report that BA are planning to strike for 12 days over Christmas costing up to a million people their well earned holidays. How out of touch are these union leaders? It’s a recession, you’re working for a company that lost £300million in the first 6 months of the year and we’re living in a country with 2million out of work. Not to mention you apparently earn double what Virgin staff take home. There is no excuse for ruining a special time of the year for thousands of underserving people, you’ll get zero support from the public.


A b*llocking of cataclysmic proportions should do the job… Ratings and Review

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Make no bones about it, this game was, like Geoff said, more important than the Chelsea game. Lose and we’d have found ourselves in the same position we were before the weekend started, but we could have given Liverpool the impetus to kick start their season. Win and we’d close the gap on the Manchester United and Chelsea and put ourselves firmly back in the title race.

Could Arsenal show the needed hunger? Could they score points of a top four rival for the first time this season? Could they handle the pressure?

The team lined up as expected.

Almunia

Sagna Gallas Verminator Traore

Cesc Song Denilson

Nasri Arshavin Walcott

Arsenal lost the ball almost as soon as we kicked of. The opening 15 minutes was a cocktail of bad passing and poor play.

The first real chance Liverpool had was on the break… Gerrard slipped in Torres who left Song for dead, luckily for us the Spaniard had left his shooting boots in the office.

Moments later, he glided past Traore on the edge of our area, passed to Gerrard, who took an uncharacteristic heavy touch, followed with a clumsy challenge from Gallas which in fairness, was a nailed on penalty. Looks like the ref read the Grovers concerns about Stevie G landing a penalty against us!

Arsenal had their first chance of the game from a set piece. Vermaelen connected with an Arshavin freekick and headed over.

The first goal went in Liverpools favour. Stevie G fired a freekick into the box, Song lost Aurelio who did enough to force Almunia to flap and parry the ball to Kuyt who toe poked it through a sea of Arsenal players into the back of the net.

Arsenal had their far share of the ball in the first half. Sloppy play from key players and good tactics from Rafa were key to the our ineptness. Mascharano and Aurelio were doing a good job stifling our midfield.

As a fan, I did feel like there was a lack of urgency. No one seemed particularly bothered about taking the game to the scousers. I thought we were over powered in the middle and up front. Our team lacked power in comparison.

This team needed a bit of grit, someone to gee them up… someone to take a stand.

Cue Mr Wenger and the half time bollocking that kick started our year.

Arsenal came out a different team. We played with more purpose and fire. We pressed Liverpool from the front. If we couldn’t out power them, we’d out play them.

Song started the move to the goal. It was a nice 4 pass move that concluded with a superb own goal by £17million wonder signing, Glen Johnson.

Glen showed his value moments later when Fabregas picked out Arshavin at the back post, the diminutive forward cut inside Johnson and fired in a peach of shot into the top left hand corner. Reina left hapless. Arshavin ecstatic as he headed over to celebrate with Wenger.

Liverpool resorted to bully boy tactics, Gerrard and Kuyt doing their best to injure Denilson and Nasri. Typical really.

Arsenal soaked up the odd smattering of Liverpool pressure, but to be honest, Liverpool had nothing. A team devoid of ideas. There were two bum notes in the second half, the first being the curse of the left back. Traore hobbled off with a suspected hamstring problem. The second being the thigh injury Arshavin looked like he’d picked up.

Arsenal took the victory with a super two goal turnaround. The performance wasn’t amazing, but that’s irrelevant. Give me a ground out result against Liverpool over a superb spectacle of play with no result against United. For the first time in a long time, we took advantage of others poor results. That’s a very good sign, we dealt well with the pressure and we caught up with the league leaders. Hey, we may have contributed to a possible Rafa sacking!

Some mentioned in the comments that people were going overboard at half time in the comments, well, if it’s ok for Wenger to, I think it’s alright for the fans to! My hat goes off to the coach for turning the game around. It’s about time someone within the club iterated the meaning of playing in the red and white of Arsenal.

‘The boss screamed at us like I’d never heard before’

He said Arsenal lost the 50-50′s in the first half and he was right. Those types of challenges are about hunger… if your team can’t show hunger for the club, how can a Premiership challenge be mounted? The second half will give the team renewed hope for trophies this year… lets all start getting excited again and keep you fingers crossed that the injury to Arshavin isn’t that bad!

Santa is a Gooner, Santa is a Gooner, da da daaaaah da da!

Ratings:

Almunia: A poor performance for the consistently inconsistent Spaniard. He flapped for the Liverpool goal and his kicking was erratic. 5

Sagna: I thought he had a pretty solid game defensively and some of his crosses were very good.7

Gallas: On another day, he’d have conceded two penalties. A bit of a messy performance, but overall, I’ll take it! 6.5

Verminator: Strong play from the Belgian. He worked hard and kept Torres relatively quiet. 7

Traore: Caught napping on a few occasions and clearly lacks experience. I like his as a player, he’s powerful and he’s got a lot of desire. 6.5

Cesc: Instrumental in the turn around. First half I’d have given him a 3, second half I’d have given him an 8. His back post pass to Arshavin was world-class. 7.5

Song: I thought Song was the best player on the pitch today. His passing was a little dodgy in the first half, but overall he was the most consistent performer of the day. He made some great interception and he reduced Liverpool to zero chances in the second half. For those who don’t like his fouling, I hope you took not of what Mascharano does all game. 8

Denilson: Largely anonymous today. I struggle to see what he adds to our midfield. He’s very weak and he’s not much cop going forward. Still, he was part of a winning team, so credit where credit is due. 6

Nasri: A much better performance second and half and some flashes of brilliance. He set up the first goal with a tricky pass. I think he disappears for large parts of the game… if he wants to get better, he’s going to have to want the ball more. 7

Arshavin: Quiet in the first half, but hard-working. Then he did what no other player could do in that side. Created something out of nothing. He is a genius of a player and it was nice to see him run over to the coach, he’s not thinking about leaving any time soon. 7.5

Walcott: Ahhh Theo, what are we going to do with you? He was pretty hopeless today, causing minimal problems for Liverpool. He has very little skill out wide and he makes it pretty easy for experienced defenders to mark him out of games. Disappointing. When are you going to start showing us some value? 5

P.S. I have 5 Burnley tickets going and 2 Hull, e-mail me today if you’d like them! Oh and have a look at these two articles to warm the the cockles of your heart this morning, here and here!

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