Sagna Gallas Vermaelen Silvestre
Wilshere Eddy Vela
Initial thoughts of me and Geoff were good. The team was filled with the exciting kids, we had our future number one in goal and shockingly, Gallas and the Verminator started. So much for all the muppets that came out before the game digging out Geoff for wanting to risk the first teamers. Those two are by far the most important pairing we have if we want to win the league this year and Wenger played them.
The game started in similar fashion to the game against Pompey, except it didn’t really pick up. We had chances, but so did West Ham. Arguably, West Ham had the better of the first half. Song had a mare, misplacing passes, slipping over and fouling unnecessarily. Eduardo’s finishing was abject, Merida was very peripheral and old Jacky boy was having torrid time.
Before we get too far into this match report, lets put the Jack Wilshere performance in perspective. He’s played hardly any games this season, he’s only 18 years old and he was launched into the deepend against a very physical and hungry West Ham side. Lets not rip genuine talent a new asshole because he had a poor game or try and accuse me of nationalism for defending an English kid. He had a poor game, but he’ll go to Burnley, toughen up and come back a man… mark my words.
As the half drew to a close, Arsenal had 3 more shots on target than West Ham, not particularly troubling for Green. Fabianski pulled off a top save when he tipped Stanislavs looping shot wide. As the ticker hit 45 minutes, Diamanti beat the offside trap Silvestre had tried to set, raced through and slotted it past Fabianski who did well to even get a hand to it.
Blaming Fabianski for the goal shows a lack of understanding of goalkeeping. He did very well to get down to stand a chance of saving that. People are too quick to apportion a scape goat sometimes, the keeper certainly wasn’t one in this case.
The second half began and to be honest it was just as painful as the first. There seemed a sea of claret shirts every time we bombed forward and very little spark to match it… down the other end, it was all very last ditch. Vermaelen and Gallas having to work hard for their pound notes.
The clock reached 64 minutes and finally Wenger rang in the changes… on came Diaby and Nasri, off went the ineffective Merida and Wilshere. Things started to look better straight away. Those two allowed Rambo to become far more effective, they also gave Vela far more freedom down the left. Who’d have thought 6 months ago we’d be cheering Diaby on to save our bacon!? Diaby the saviour… it has a nice ring to it!
We created a few good chances, Diaby unlucky to find Rob Green’s chest from a one on one, Song unluckier to find his hand for the double save.
Then the break through came, Song slipped the ball to Vela, who mispassed to Rambo, the ball came back to him and on the second attempt he found and onside Rambo who blasted it perfectly past the oncoming keeper.
I can promise you, you’ve never heard a louder cheer from me and Geoff… Geoff’s wife came in and told us to sit down and shut up. We duly obliged, just like being at the ground.
Arsenal had to win this. There would be no point in resting players if we’d have to replay the game. The team knew this and a few minutes later Vela whipped the ball into man mountain Eduardo, who cushioned his header over Rob Green into the top corner! Arsenal were through… cheerio West Ham!
Wenger’s impeccable record of never going out in the 3rd round was maintained!
So, in conclusion, a great result. However, I wouldn’t want to play a team that make shift in the next round. Give the players who are ready a game, but bundling them all in for one game almost seems counter productive. Jack Wilshere isn’t going to feel great about that performance, nor is Merida. Geoff suggested a better option would be to play the more senior players to get the lead, then bring on the young kids later on. Also, wouldn’t it be beneficial for the likes of Wilshere and co to get more of a game when we’re storming a crap team?
It’s also quite apparent that we need a striker who has the ability to hold the ball up and offer a physical presence. Wenger has started with the ‘I can’t find the players’ rubbish again. Don’t believe his tosh, if he can’t find a striker better than the Arshavin, he needs to sack his scouting network because they’re not doing a good enough job. Gignac, Adriano, Saha, Carlton Cole, Dzeko, Kiesling… the list goes on. I’m sure he’s bluffing as Chamakh has been quoted as saying Arsenal are pressurising him to join now. I’m more worried about the hideous lack of cover for an unfit Denilson and the lack of anyone Wenger trusts at centre back. Senderos is so far down the pecking order he’s paying for tickets to get into home games. If you ask me, despite the results, to launch a proper challenge of three trophies, we are 3 players short as of now unless we have an amazing run of zero injuries.
Also, a word for the away fans. Superb vocal performance. I got tickets for my brother to the game, he said he was embarrassed by how much the hammers talked up the Upton Park boiling cauldron when in reality it was more of a simmering puddle.
So, three trophies still to play for, Stoke in the next round!!!
Fabianski: He pulled off a couple of very clever saves and commanded his box just like Almunia should do. 7
Sagna: His crossing was dreadful as always but I guess asking someone with a lack of natural crossing ability to find a striker sub 6ft is a bit of a stretch. Some top defending today. 7.5
Gallas: A great game today. Good in ever aspect especially his recovery tackles. 7
Vermaelen: He’s been a star performer so far this season and 2010 looks like it’s going to be more of the same. Super game from a player you see getting forward as much as you do defending. 8
Silvestre: Too old to be playing left back regularly. His pace really exposed him and lets be honest, he was never a great reader of the game. He was at fault for their goal. 5
Song: Not exactly the best way to sign off performance wise. Unneccessary fouls in dangerous positions and some very shoddy passing from a player who has been consistently good on that front this year. Good pass in the build up to Rambo’s goal. 6
Ramsey: Man of the match from ITV, I wasn’t so sure until I started writing about his game. He got around the pitch a lot in the first half without ever really creating too much, the second half he was much better and when the subs came on he exploded into life. A great left footed goal to continue his successful run in the first team. The boys gonna be a player and a half! 8.25
Merida: Not his best game for the club. He had a few shots, but he wasn’t really involved in the game as much as you’d expect. Mind you, the same issue as Jack, not enough time on the pitch. Still, no excuse for failing to hit a corner past the front post, is there? 6
Wilshere : A very poor game from Jacky boy. Playing away is tough for any young player, being singled out for rough treatment by an opposing manager makes things even harder. He’ll bounce back after a successful man-up period away from the club. 4
Eddy: His main use is finishing. That’s been very off lately, but he showed his class late on with a very stylish header against a defender much bigger than him. Any hopes of Upson returning were cruelly dashed! 6.5
Vela: Considering he was near enough man marked by West Hams best player (Behrami), I thought he did a very good job. His cross to Eduardo was superb and his determination to put Rambo through was fantastic to see. He’s not afraid to put it about and given a run of games, I’m sure he’d reward the manager. The first real sign of fight I’ve seen from him this year. 7.5
Diaby: The man had a mission… to put Arsenal through with hardwork and good passing. Mission accomplished. 7.5
Nasri: Great cameo appearance, not quite as good as Diaby’s but having him on the pitch put some of the other players at ease. 7
P.S. If you haven’t joined up to the Le Grove fan page, I’m going to tell everyone you support Spurs.
Oh, and before I go. I know we moan at Arsene for whinging in interviews, but at least the man comes out for them… everytime, on time. Ol’ red nose couldn’t even be assed to show respect to the ITV viewers to explain his teams woeful ineptitude… then when he did come out he had the cheek to say 5 minutes additional time was a disgrace. Will he get pilloried in the media today… very doubtful. On the Manc front, lets all laugh at them some more. They’re in so much shit they’re trying to arrange a £600m bond issue (Here).
Here’s how the other side blog and what they thought (Click).
Oh, many thanks for contributing to a wonderful day in the comments yesterday. 1500+ blog posts of pure football ramblings. Grovers, you’re the damn best…
…now join the fanpage