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!


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.


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.


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!


Bob Wilson speaks… the referee’s an idiot, oh, there’s a surprise.

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Don’t expect a positive post today, I have spent the last 24hours getting the urine ripped out of me, not for the calamitous display, but by the post match rantings of a manager in denial. Then late last night I read the further rantings of propaganda minister Joseph Wilson, singing his masters tune again.

I have to say, I loved Bob Wilson, I used to watch him from the terraces and I’ve been in them all, I sat in the schoolboy enclosure, the North bank, East upper, South and all over the West, I started out in the directors box and ended up with a box, so I’ve been all over the wonderful ground that was Highbury, in fact when I first went, Bob Wilson was the keeper.

You see I’ve done something that neither Arsene Wenger or Bob Wilson and the board has never, ever done, I’ve actually paid for my ticket. Think about that before you spit your cornflakes out.

So I’ve seen him, Barnet, Rimmer, Jennings, Lukic, Seaman, Manninger, Wright, Lehman and I even remember Shaban, I probably spelled them all wrong and I’ve probably missed some out, but I have never seen any as bad as Almunia and on Wednesday, Fabianski.

Wenger said before the game that at 23, even Seaman made mistakes, well we know that Arsene, and that’s why George didn’t sign him until he was almost 30, is the penny dropping?

He followed that up with Bendtner is the age now when strikers come good, what? no player really comes good until his body has finished growing and experience sets in, most players come good in their mid to late twenties, there are exceptions of course, but not often, and certainly not in Bendtner or Denilson’s case.

Now Bob quite rightly says Fabianski will get over it and come good, but to say it wasn’t his fault is quite frankly, laughable. To call the ref an idiot is just being a bigger idiot in my book. In fact it’s being a complete fool.

Bob Stayed at Arsenal his whole career, and that was fantastic, Bob, I loved you, to go through the personal tragedy you have must have been heartbreaking, I have myself given a bunch of money to Willow, a great cause.

However your sucking up to Arsene Wenger borders on sick making and worries me. I have seen two clips of Thierry Henry scoring goals from taking them quickly in the last 24hrs, Wenger was the manager, it was alright then was it? I don’t remember you calling those refs idiots.

You also became apoplectic when some shareholder had the temerity to suggest Wenger had signed a geriatric in Silvestre, you couldn’t believe it, well it seems to me that shareholder was right on the money, because outside of Almunia and Denilson, he is our worst player.

Bob I think you should stop kissing the backside of the manager as it is becoming embarrassing now.

Arsene blows enough smoke up his own orafiice, you don’t need to blow anymore.

In fact the only person this week that said anything that made sense was Cesc, when he said they were schoolboy errors, the manager didn’t like that either, so expect to see him go in the summer.

How bad has it got when I look forward to seeing Eboue come on, how bad has it got when he looked good compared to the others, how bad is it that Sol Campbell was man of the match?

Don’t mis-understand that last commment, check my posts, I wanted Sol back, and by coming back he has now become a true Arsenal legend, the ghost of Tottenham past has now long gone. The reason I wanted him back was because his is a big lump, a proper strong centreback, and he has experience, and the day Wenger realises that, then that will be the day we start to win things again.

Right now we are in the middle of a mad professors experiment that only he, Bob Wilson and the board of directors can see will pay dividends. Not real ones of course, just sneaky unpublished backhanders. Me, I think we are crap.

I have no doubt that we’ll beat Sunderland, we may even beat Porto in the return leg, but if this team win anything this season, I will be truly amazed.

We now seem to be being run by the three monkeys, they see nothing, they hear nothing and they say nothing that make any sense and thats really isn’t a good way to run a football club.

It’s time for a change, whether that means the players or the manager, I don’t care anymore, Bob and Arsene, you are not the club, we are, give it back to us.

I am not anti-Arsene, I am pro Arsenal and all I can see, is us disrespecting two domestic trophies and fielding a team of babies that only he can see is good. Screw finishing third, I want to be competing, like we used to. In the old days Bob, remember.

Have a great day Grovers, football’s coming home tomorrow.