Whose in deep, deep trouble!? – Lay off Jack – The gamble nearly cost us!

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Sagna Gallas Vermaelen Silvestre
Ramsey Merida

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.

Defence 1

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.

Defence 2.

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

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I want to win every competition, all Arsenal fans do.

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That’s why we pay to watch. It’s not half price to watch the FA Cup is it?

Arsene Wenger has reassured supporters he can understand their love affair with the FA Cup, but insists the Gunners must not compromise their fight for the Premier League title.

I am a defensive midfielder for an advertising agency in London, an enforcer if you like, we try and win as many accounts as we can, we don’t focus on this one or that one, and we put our best people on every pitch (no pun intended) so why don’t Arsenal, why should we prioritise in order of importance, the fans don’t, one trophy would do.

I can never understand why paid athletes need a break, when we won the double in 1971 we played just 16 players in something like 68 games.

This brings us back to the Carling Cup argument, that one we throw away each year, I hate that, but we do, but to then have a list of importance for the rest, to me is disrespecting the fans.

Let’s go out today with the best team we have and try and win it from the off, play this like you would if it were the European Champions league, for me the FA Cup is second only to the league, many differ, many of you would prefer to win the Champions league and that’s why they are all important, because they all mean different things to different people.

For me FA Cup final day is the best day ever in football, I know, I’ve been to a bunch, I want that feeling again, and this year, so please don’t blow today Arsene, it means an awful lot to a shed load of gooners.

Here’s an interesting take from the Online Gooner and Wrighty7 has some strong views as well.

So who will we play today? here’s my guess if all are fit and available


Gilbert Senderos Sylvestre Cruise

Ramsey Song Diaby

Rosicky Watt Vela

It’s only a guess, but it’s an interesting one, and a team I would happily compromise on, the full backs are inexperienced as is the forward line, but the midfield is solid and experienced and we need a solid midfield to win this one.

Having Arshavin, Nasri and Eduardo on the bench will be our get out of jail card free, I would like to see JET and Wilshere play as well.

I think this will be the compromise that the fans would be happy with and a side I would love to watch in the Carling Cup as well, a bit of steel with a bit of youth.

I expect to win whoever he plays, we are on a roll and that will rub off throughout the squad.

I can’t wait for this afternoon, I would go as it’s quite close, but that would be asking for trouble, a rabid gooner at Upton Park, a bit like filling my car up whilst smoking a Cuban cigar.

Thing is I’ve done both! We won 2-1 the last time I went to West Ham, and I survived the Texaco fill up! I’d settle for that result again!

Yesterdays post really did attract a lot of people, our biggest of the week, if only we got paid in hits! It was 99.9% Arsenal fans but there were a dozen or so AKB’s frothing at the mouth suggesting I was comparing Arsenal to a Skoda. Let me explain, I was saying why buy a cheap car because it’s cheap, when you can afford to buy a better one. And if I was a Chelsea fan I wouldn’t be writing an Arsenal blog 365 days a year would I? Think about it. If you don’t like the way I write, read something else. Le Grove is not compulsory.

Alternatively read it twice and try going between the lines, you might find yourself agreeing this time.

I just read that Shitty are in for Paddy, Oi! hands off, Arsene if PV04 is available, go and get him, he wouldn’t disrupt Song’s progress and he would be perfect for the changing room, pretty please!

Have a great day Grovers, I’ll be on the blog throughout should you wish to exchange frank and forthright views during the game, but leave Genghis out of it.

P.S. Pedro has set up a facebook fanpage (Slightly different to the group page he has going already) and he’d be very appreciative if you’d click here and join up to it!

Why buy a Skoda if you can have a Ferrari?

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Arsene Wenger has had a pop at the chavs about the fact that they have balanced their books again thanks to a Russian billionaire.

Why would you buy a shit car when you could have a great one, if you have the money why not, who wouldn’t? I know I’d like to be buying the worlds best and not the worlds youngest. After all, who’s won the trophies, us or them?

I found this on a chav blog, I thought it summed it up, harsh but somewhat true.

Seriously Wenger, please – shut the feck up. Why bother to continue to give us sh!t all the time? I am sorry, but professional football is NOT about winning AND balancing the budget – not if you can afford it. If we have more money than you, if we want to buy more expensive players than you can, then so be it. You’re just jealous you can’t do the same.

I’m sorry, but they do have a point, and they pay a lot less to watch their team than we do, I think we should concentrate more on what we’re doing than on what others are, the reason we just signed Wellington from Brazil and Hartlepool missed out is because we are bigger, richer and more famous than them, the reason the Chavs have Drogba, Essien and Ballack is because they have more money than us, of that there is no doubt.

The reason they have Lampard, Joe Cole and Terry though has nothing to do with money, that has more to do with their scouting network, we could have had all three but we didn’t think they would be good enough for the Arsenal, now that is what we should be questioning, not why they are balancing the books.

This PS is for Baxter, we all hate the chavs, that’s why I never capitalise the word chav, to disrespect them, I really, really hate them and they are cheats, but what can we do about it?

Ok onto the FA Cup, I read that Senderos is staying and has a chance to play because he is trying to shake off a foot injury, he has played just two worthless cup games in 19 months and yet he’s injured, go figure?

I like Phil though and I hope he play on Sunday and shows the boss he’s worthy of a place, if not why keep him, it seems wildly extravagant to keep all these fringe players and in some cases extending their contracts, he knows who he wants so I can’t see the point in keeping the others, I wonder if Randall or Senderos could step in as our DM?

I’m not suggesting it, I’m just wondering if they could, we all wondered why Song was in there but he worked out, why not try another centre back in there?

One more day to go until we play in the FA Cup and exact revenge on the hopeless Hammers and today the doors to the FA are open and the transfers can begin.

Maybe today? Wenger did say that he wouldn’t wait until the end this time.

Have a great day Grovers, one more day of boredom then the games come thick and fast and we’ll soon be second in the league and closing in on top spot.