Q&A reveals our new Defensive midfielder and Vela’s goal didn’t make the top eight.

by & filed under Uncategorized.

I didn’t go to the Q&A last night because I saw it as pointless, how can you have a Q&A if all the Q’s have to be approved and thought of beforehand, Jeez, even politicians throw open the floor.

What was interesting though was the bit where Arsene talked about developing young players, and how difficult it was, this is what he said.

‘I believe that I always wanted to develop the players I have. For example we have Diaby, we have Song, we have Denilson in this position, we have bought Aaron Ramsey – 18 years old – in this position, and nowJack Wilshere develops in this position’

So what he appears to be saying is all the above are defensive midfielders, well I thought Wilshere and Ramsey were going to be the long term Cesc replacements? If he sees them as DM’s then why do we need to keep Song, Denilson and Diaby? We need at least 2 world class players in each position, but 5? And before anyone starts to tell me I know not what I say (biblical I know) remember, I didn’t say it, he did and the above quote was straight off Arsenal.com.

Someone also needed to point out that of those players only Wilshere was what he had, the other 4 were bought, he seems to be suggesting only Ramsey was, minor point I know, but I thought I would mention it nonetheless.

Talking of biblical, I was watching the news yesterday at the gym and saw the Pope and his entourage speeding through Scotland with all the roads shut down, I was appalled that with all the cuts to services etc we are using tax payers money to fund a state visit of someone that was a member of the Hitler Youth, oh I forgot, he was forced.

This blog is non political and non religious, but why are we having to fund this visit at a time when we are cutting the sh*t out of services, it’s beyond me, we have 6 million Catholics in the UK, send them the bill, or better still, send the bill to the Pope.

I should keep quiet though, the Archbishop of Canterbury may well be doing a state visit to Italy next and no doubt their taxpayers will happily fund that little trip.

Onto Carlos Vela, I watched Sky Sports News this morning and they showed the best 8 goals of the week, Chamakh’s goal against Braga made it, but the 24 pass goal Carlos got against Bolton didn’t, how can that be? It’s the best goal I’ve seen in years, at least the best one since Robin’s against Charlton or Henry’s against the spuds or Dennis’s against Leicester, and he didn’t even make it.

At least he scored with one of the 14 hookers he hired this week, and before anyone says that one of them was a bloke, don’t, because he looked like a bird and in my book, that’s fair play, it’s not his fault.

A final word to Owen Coyle, now he has attacked Wenger as well as fat bung taking Sam, I hope we never send a player out on loan to him again, the nasty little odious ungrateful maggot sack.

Talking of fat Sam, can you imagine England if he got the job? Someone needs to send him to finishing school where he can be taught eating manners the dirt bag, he makes me physically sick when I watch him chewing with his big fat mouth open, he reminds me of John Prescott.

Have a great day grovers one more day until we get to see the Arsenal do Sunderland away, it’s time and we owe them.


Could this be the age of Jack Wilshere? Review and Ratings

by & filed under Uncategorized.

Give me bottle, vision, hardwork, attack mindedness and raw talent over 2.42 passes a second. Tonight, Jack Wilshere announced himself to Europe as the next big thing in a sublime performance by the real Arsenalistas!


Sagna Koscielny Squillaci Clichy

Song Fabregas Wilshere

Nasri Chamakh Arshavin

The team Wenger put out for Champions league new boys SC Braga was an exciting one. Clearly, the coach wanted to get Arsenal off to high scoring start and he entrusted Jack Wilshere over the more experienced Denilson. A sign the pecking order has shifted?

Fabregas was scythed down just outside the box within the first 3 minutes. The refs were from Luxembourg, something I didn’t factor in when making my point about foreign refs yesterday. Cesc had another shout for a spot kick moments later but it was clear he just mistimed his run after a lovely little Arshavin chip into his path.

Squillaci’s pace was tested down the other end and he came out on top. Braga was a team full of pace, our centre backs had to be on their toes if we were to get a clean sheet tonight.

Jack and Cesc linked in well with Jack chipping just wide.

We eventually won a penalty after Chamakh allowed the keeper to clatter him (From a Cesc through ball). Cesc stepped up and smashed it home for 1-0! His celebration was slightly muted, almost embarrassed! It was clear this team weren’t up to Arsenal speed.

Jack Wilshere’s directness and tunnel vision for attack was increasing the pace of our attacks to a blur at times. Cesc is clearly the master, but Jack looked every bit the man to be his understudy.

Arshavin was very sloppy misplacing the sort of passes you’d expect and £80k a week player to be making. What’s the point in getting upset though? After 30 odd minutes, he decided he quite fancied staying onside, accepted Cesc’s pass and banged the ball inside the keepers near post. I know what you’re thinking, who’d have guessed the Braga keeper could make it in LaLa Land and be a professional footballer?

Carlton or Felipe?

3 minutes later Arshavin chipped the ball to Chamakh, he chested it to Jack who backheeled it deftly back into the Moroccans path and he obliged by burying it into the bottom corner. Superb football by Arsenal!

The odds were 14/1 for Arsenal to win by six at half time. If I was one of those gambling types, I might have put a £1 down! The only thing I could criticise at half time was the crowd turn out… mind you, I’m sure people have valid excuses, times are tough!

Nasri lunged in with a two footed stamp on the foot of one of the Braga players. Naughty… I hope the physical contact police noted that one down.

Arshavin found himself in acres of space in the Braga box, he picked out Cesc who headed home for four! Another contribution from the Russian.

Cesc nearly landed his hattrick when he interlinked well with Arshavin. Only a flying goal line clearance prevented his chip finding its way in.

Arhavin picked up the ball on the edge of the box, slipped Vela in who…. you guessed it… chipped it over the keeper for 5! That boy has so many chips to his name he could get a sponsorship deal with McCain!

We knocked the ball around in second gear, Cesc found himself in space again, he laid Vela on who slotted it into the near post again. No chip this time. That made me sad. 6-0 though? My oh my!

In conclusion, I have to say… can we play you every week? We destroyed Braga who are no mugs. They defeated Sevilla and Celtic scoring 9 goals in the process. We took them apart and it was incredible to watch.

Defensively there wasn’t much to do, but that’s usually the case and we usually end up conceding. So a solid backline display. And a back line that’s beginning to look impressive.

It’s difficult to get too carried away, we often peak early in the year and Braga didn’t play well. The challenge for Arsenal this year is to avoid further injuries and to continue this streak of form when the cold weather sets in. We seem to have more steel so far this season, I said that last year, but I feel more so this year.We’re also looking far more clinical. Can we take it to the next level… can we consistently play at the highest level? Can we grind out a one nil against United or Chelsea?

Not a question for today.

Lets take it one game at a time, enjoy the victory and look forward to Sunderland at the weekend!

I’m off to the Q&A this evening… it’s going to be lovein.com after that performance!


Almunia – Commanded his area like a raging bull. Shame no one came into it all game! A sweet claim in the box late on gave him. 7

Sagna – Looks to have a bit of 2008 about his game at the moment. He’s not too bad going forward and he’s very solid defensively. 7

Kozzer – Looked assured at the back. Had to deal with a few high balls and had to manage the offside trap. Did everything well tonight. 7

Squillaci – Showed he had pace and demonstrated his experience by taking the lead at the back. 7

Clichy – Not his best performance, a little reckless at times and he nearly got us into trouble in the first half. He’s a touch calamitous? I hate to say it about a player I like… but he really is a bit of a disaster to watch sometimes. 6

Cesc – This summer I wasn’t fussed if Cesc went. No one is bigger than Arsenal. Tonight, it was apparent that no amount of money could replace his vision, movement, finishing, productivity or passing accuracy. Quite simply put, he is the best in the world in his position. He’s not worth £50million, he’s worth £80million. A superstar with a bad ass edge to him now he has that tattoo. He was the true star of the show, if JW can become half the player Cesc is now, we’ll be spoilt not only as a club, but as a nation. 10

Wilshere – A superb game from the young Englishman. He’s gone away to Bolton and come back a man. He played with hunger that would make Nasri jealous, he created, he linked and he nearly scored. His speed of thought impresses me, his willingness to bundle forward but also track back excites me and the fact he is still only 18 gets me into a bit of a state… footballistically of course! An excellent game. He’s going to be a helluva player… is he first choice back up for Diaby now? I hope so! 9

Song – He played well making some nice direct passes, however, when the commentator declares he’s not really a midfield anchor, you have to worry. He still irritates me with his erratic challenges and some of his odd passes. He’ll deal with teams like Braga, it’s the better teams I worry about. 6.5

Nasri – Well, someone had to keep things ticking over! Tonight it was Nasri, his passing was immaculate and he complimented the form players very well tonight! Great return to the team. 7.5

Arshavin – My boss told me that when he was at a big American corporation, no one cared what you did as long as you were delivering. Then he fired me. Jokes aside, I don’t care about Arshavin’s 56% first half pass completions stats, I don’t care that sometimes he looks a little lazy… because the man pulls it out of the bag. He scores, he assists… he’s magic. 8.5

Chamakh – I think it’s already settled. We all love him. He works tirelessly, he is fast, he runs into space, he can head the ball and he can win penalties. Oh, did I mention he’s not too bad at finishing either? The guys a steal, shame we didn’t have him last season. 8


Denilson – So glad he got on the pitch. Can’t wait to find out how many passes he made… Yawn. 6

Vela – Well what a turn out eh? Comes on for 20 odd minutes and bangs 2 goals in! I hope this is his break through season and he proves the doubters wrong. 8

The culture of acceptable brutality \ Braga and the facts!

by & filed under Uncategorized.

So I had the misfortune of watching Rangers versus United on my own in a Leicester bar last night. It really was painful stuff. Not as painful as watching Valencia’s ankle break under his own weight, but still pretty painful.

I’m starting to wonder about this leg snapping thing that appears to happen on a regular basis. Football like any sport appears to be getting faster and more dangerous. Formula one is the same. The difference is, as formula one gets faster, safety become more stringent. Footballers, at a guess, are probably about a stone heavier than they were back in the day. They are much quicker and they are much fitter.

During this transformation, the boots have gone from a tough leather, to a piece of light flimsy plastic no stronger than one of those garden bin bags. Shin pads used to come with ankle supports and full wrap around technology. Now the players seem to opt for mini cereal box sized protectors for speed and comfort.

Now, when do the authorities step in and suggest that players boots have to offer a certain amount of protection? How many more injuries do we have to watch before it is decided shin pads are not suitable in their current form? What about ankle protection?

I appreciate it’s about freedom of choice, but sometimes authorities are there to impose rules that protect players for the greater good.

Obviously that isn’t going to stop the rash tackles. Wenger rightly didn’t come out and moan about Diaby. He’s become a bit of a laughing-stock in the media for speaking out against bad tackles. I think the boss is right to keep quiet, lets ride it out and wait for a player like Rooney to suffer at the feet of Robinson or Karl Henry. Then we’ll see the full hypocrisy of the English press bleat into action about the subject.

My worry is that if that happens, the solution will be grossly out of proportion to the problem and we might end up losing some of the spark that makes our game so popular. For me, it’s all about the referees and changing their perceptions of what a bad challenge is. Taking a few suggestions from the comments the other day, here are a few ideas that could help revolutionise the way refereeing works

1) Put referees on performance related pay. They are graded on performance by a panel independent of the FA and the referees association and paid accordingly. Is £90k a fair salary when most players earn more than that in a month?

2) Bring in foreign referees. All refs are English at the moment and that isn’t representative of the current make up of the Premier League. I find it impossible to believe that there isn’t some sort of latent prejudice in some of the decisions.

3) Make referees accountable. It’s easy to make decisions and then not have to explain them after the game. They should have to partake in a mandatory press conference after each game to explain their decisions. It takes them out of the protective bubble.

4) A strict code of conduct should be drawn up regarding the way referees interact with players. It’s always going to be easier for an English player to strike up a relationship with an English referee. I don’t like the familiarity Chelsea and Man U players have… I’m sure it’s not healthy and I’m sure it’s not conducive to good decision making. You wouldn’t expect a fair decision if a judge was hanging out in a pub with a criminal before he presided over his trial.

The solution isn’t about increasing the length of punishment for players. Anyone who thinks players make bad challenges because they’re not worried about a 3 match ban is deluding themselves. In the same way the death penalty doesn’t deter people from murder, I don’t believe 10 match bans will deter thugs like Robinson. You’ll never stop red mist moments on the football pitch.

If we want to see real change, we’ve got to change the culture and the mindset of the FA and the referees. That probably starts with convincing the media we don’t appreciate planks like Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson standing up for brutality. It’s a long old slog, but we’ll get there in the end… I just hope it’s not at the expense of another high profile leg snap.

FC Braga

Arsenal had to advertise this game for general sale in the newspapers today. Turn out isn’t expected to be as high as usual. Wenger thinks it’s because Arsenal fans are spoilt with the Champions League, I think it’s because going to Arsenal is an almighty expense whoever you are. Perhaps if we’re struggling to flog tickets, we should entice fans by giving them a free soft drink and a pie when they buy a ticket? You know… give something back?

Anyway, we’ve got Squillaci and Kozzer at the back tonight. Koz makes his Champions League debut, Squillaci is an experienced pro and ex-fianlist with Monaco. Diaby won’t be available, so I’m half expecting to see Denilson make a return to the side, though I’d prefer to see Jack Wilshere in there. I’ve read a lot of hysteria about Denilson in the last week, I think people seem to forget that Denilson has never been a bad passer of the ball. His problem is mental attitude, pace and physique. If he improves in those areas, I think he’s a better player than Song.

Chamakh will continue up front and as far as I know, the team shouldn’t differ too much from the one that dismantled Bolton.

Tonight, we can’t be complacent. Braga (From Portugal if you were wondering) are making their debut in the Champions League, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to be a pushover. United played terribly last night because they didn’t take Rangers seriously. We can’t afford to drop points at home and it wouldn’t surprise me if we had the Rubin Kazan of the Champions League in our group! It’d all be a little too easy otherwise, wouldn’t it?

I expect us to fly at them in the first half and hopefully we can keep a clean sheet. It’s a steep learning curve for the new boy at the back, but I sense his confidence is growing with every game and he doesn’t seem to let mistakes get him down. Kind of like the defensive version of Adebayor… keep plugging away until you get it right (Ignore what happened when he got it right)!

That’s the great thing about our first team this year. We’ve got more of that winning attitude. Chamakh, Vermaelen, Kozzer, Jack, Sagna and Cesc are all people you’d want on your team if you were going into battle… hopefully that’ll rub off on some of the others and we can make a real go of it this year in the Champions League!

Enjoy the warmth as well… it won’t be long before a Wednesday night game require long johns and a half time cup of something hot (I know, the shame…).

Have a great evening Grovers!

Braga Factfile:

  • Braga signed 16 players this summer. Quim and George Lucas are my favourites.
  • They were the proud winners of the 2008 Inter Toto Cup
  • Their stadium is known as the Quarry
  • Their fans are known as the Arsenalistas due their kit switch in the 1920’s that was similar to Arsenal.
  • Their top scorer last year was Albert Ze Meyong with 11 goals

P.S. Congratulations to long time Grover Bud on the birth of his Baby daughter, Jessica-Rose! She’s probably already rocking an Arsenal kit!