Control, complete control.

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A quick post from me this morning…due to the nature of where I am…on the floor of a chums bar in Tottenham court road!

So yesterday marked an impressive return from the international break. Manchester City are no pushovers, but yesterday… Arsenal made them look like relegation fodder.

The only way I can describe the performance was total control… that has to go down as one of the best performances of the season in my book. Start to finish we dominated. Quality oozed throughout the team… the passing was crisp… the pace we were knocking the ball about was sharp and the creativity was unpredictable.

Arsenal lined up with a 4-5-1, with Arshavin out wide…and Cesc sitting in the hole. It was the first time this season Cesc has been given a role so attacking. I think it was partly due to the fact the coach has more trust in his players now… partly to make sure he wasn’t putting his main man in the firing line so early.

I thought Cesc was cute with his passing and sparky as usual. He looked bigger than he did the last time I saw him grace the Emirates and I thought he played like he’d been in the team for the last 10 games.

Arshavin played like he’d been with the club his whole life. Not only is he armed with Bobby Pires like ingenuity on the ball, he is also gifted with a bull like strength and the typical grit you associate with an Eastern Bloc citizen.

It didn’t take long for Arsenal to open up City. After Sagna was fouled by Robinho, Cesc delivered a pin point cross onto the waiting Adebayor’s head… The Togan duly buried it low and hard.

The second came early on in the second half. Fabregas laid on an inch perfect chip into the path of Ade, who either judged what the keeper was doing, took a touch round him… slotting it into the empty net… or he took a bad touch and finished due to some good luck. Either way… we scored two more than City.

So… the air of optimism is back at the home of football…we’ve transferred our form against weak teams, into good form against good teams. Now all that is left to do is win all our remaining fixtures and make this a season to remember!

Come on you reds!

Almunia: Made a couple of tidy saves. Distribution was first class all day. 7

Clichy: Solid game from our left back. He bombed forward with purpose and looked like he’d forgotten the problems of the last few weeks. 7

Gallas: I thought he dealt well with most that was thrown at him. I was unimpressed when he let City walk through as at one point… that was a bit of a worrying moment… but again, another clean sheet. 7

Toure: A great performance from our favourite African. Some top notch tackles and some exciting runs into the box. African’s clearly enjoy playing in the beaming sunshine… and it showed in Kolo’s performance today. 8

Sagna: First assist of the season… well, kind of… he set up the freekick? I thought he was back to his solid dependable best yesterday. He’s going to be very important for the run in. 7

Arshavin: He is our new wizard… he plays wherever he is needed… floats across the midfield like a butterfly and imposes his game on the opposition. What a signing…. what a player… shame he is cup tied. 8.5

Cesc: Top performance from our main man. The arrogant little Spaniard comes back into the team, thinking he’s all billy big bollocks and sets up two goals… who does he think he is? 9

Denilson: Made some poor passes early on… but more than made amends later on in the game. He was everywhere… pressuring City players and opening up the creative players to do what they do best. 8

Song: Quiet today… just gets on with winning the ball in the air and distributing it to the man next to him. Tidy with his passing and effective. 7

Theo: When he wasn’t on the floor complaining about and injury he was scaring the hell out of the City defence. There was more directness about his game today and he looked more of a threat than usual… lets hope he can stay fit more than five minutes! 7.5

Adebayor: Looked like he’d had a long hard look at himself and his game during his time out. He worked hard, he cut out the poor passing and he looked like he wanted to be a part of the team again. I was very impressed and who wouldn’t be happy with two goals? 8


A good day to play football

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So today we play Man city, for the first time we play football in two weeks and boy does it feel like we haven’t played since last season.

I honestly haven’t felt like this since a pre season game! It really makes me want to appreciate what we have left, because it gave me a taste of what we have to come in between May and August.

Yes before any smart arses tell me that by winning the European Champions league, the English premiership and the FA cup our summer break won’t seem so long, let me tell you all how difficult it has been to write 10 posts with no football news.

The only good thing about those summer months is the transfer speculation, the fact that we may sign an unknown African or a 13 year old French kid! Kidding but maybe next season we’ll start to see more of Coquelin, Ramsey and Wilshere, because those three I rate and one day they will all be stars.

On a really bizarre note I was out in a restaurant in rainy Spain last night and a man came up to me and apologised for giving me shit during the Liverpool game at the Grove, I was gobsmacked because he not only recognised me, he admitted he was wrong that day, well done mate, you are a good and honest person, you also have an amazing memory! All is forgiven, come on the blog and meet the real Arsenal fans, we are all top, top people, oh and I’m sorry I made an Arsenal speech to your table, although it was unnecessary I felt I had to do it, there were a few chavs there that needed educating!

On to today, this game is personal, Sparky Hughes has already said that he respects Cesc and that Cesc is one of the world’s best players, good man Sparky, but that won’t buy you jack shit, we will paralise you today, we will tear you a new orifice, today is revenge day, today we get to set the record straight and play the team that beat us on one of our worst days at the Eastlands.

Also today we have Adebayor available again, don’t get me wrong I don’t necessarily want him back, but it is good to have him as an option, like him or loath him, he does give us options, so do I expect to see him today? Yes I do, but I hope he comes on as an impact sub, I also hope we see Theo again, we know Cesc will be back and I expect to see him back to his best, he’s been away a long time, but he has also been rested, mentally and physically, so I expect, Arsenal fans expect and Cesc, England expect, go out their son and give it your best, you owe us, you owe the premiership and you owe the Arsenal.

5 nil to the good guys today my friends, I’m feeling good, sorry about the prediction, but for any doubting Thomas’s out there, you’ll thank me at 5pm tonight!


Are we in danger of a silent summer + City preview

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I think there is a serious danger… the question is, would you be happy about it? Let me explain…

Our preparation for last season was extremely disrupted, we lost top performers Hleb and Flamini… we released experienced heads, Lehmann and Gilberto… then we replaced them with untested kids. Our transfer policy last year was a PR disaster, we missed out on a trio of defensive midfielders (Alonso, Toure, Inler) and a striker (Kalou). We also had the on/off Adebayor saga…

The season started off relatively well… the AKB’s were crowing before the fat lady had even got out of her changing room and everything was tickety boo… then the collapse began. Our lack of experience shone through, we lost Cesc Fabregas to injury, Gallas lost the plot and Adebayor couldn’t recreate last seasons form… we started to drop points, we kick started Spurs’ season and by Christmas people were calling for the coaches head and recruits were demanded.

Through January we found solidity at the back… but lacked a creative edge… Crab football was our speciality along with the bore draw. Then £17million Arshavin arrived for a club record … since then, we haven’t looked back. Arsenal progressed in the FA Cup where we await a semi final trip to Wemberlee, we’re through to the quarter finals of the champions league where we take on the Yellow Submarines (Minus Senna woo hoo!)… and we’re even back in with the remotest chance of winning the league!

So, in the past month we’ve found solidity and creative flair… now our injured players are starting to make their way back into the team… and we look set for an exciting end to the year.

Arsene Wenger has even started to roll out the, ‘I told you so’ lines.

So what does this mean for the summer?

Well, if we do the impossible and keep all of our players… we have a pretty beastly squad.

Keepers:

Almunia, Fabianski

I think we’re all happy with these two. Despite the criticism levelled at Almunia, he is the best distributor in the Prem and he rarely makes a mistake. In fact, he is ranked as the second best Premiership goalkeeper according to Actim, the official statisticians of the Premiership. Fabianski has the potential to be a great… given time of course.

Defenders:

Gibbs, JD, Silvestre, Gallas, Toure, Sagna, Eboue, Traore, Nordveit, Senderos

Well, there’s plenty of cover there…. I think ten defenders is more than enough! Gallas is proving his class, Kolo has settled next to him and JD is able cover. Gibbs and Eboue are more than adequate back up for our two full backs and if push comes to shove, the others could do a job.

Midfielders:

Theo, Vela, Nasri, Cesc, Ramsey, Diaby, Denilson, Song, Wilshere, Arshavin, Coquelin

If anything… it looks like we’re oversubscribed in midfield… The DM role is up for debate, but I’ve been very impressed with Denilson in the second half of the season, he is a ball winner and he’s a tidy passer of the ball (Ranked as the 12th best player in the Prem by Actim this year… the boy is clearly doing something right). As for the creative players… well… we have them in abundance now… so we shouldn’t have too many crab days going forward.

Strikers:

Nik B, Adebayor, RvP, Simpson, Eduardo

Plenty of varied striking options as well… I’m not going to read too much into the lack of clinical finishing this year. Looking at the top ten scorers in the Prem this year, you’d have to say it’s been a bad year for strikers in general. ManU, Liverpool, Arsenal, Villa and Everton all have something in common… none of them have a striker with more than 10 goals in the Prem.

So if we’re going to strengthen, where do we do it? You might not agree that all of the above are good enough… but ask yourself this… who would Arsene sell?

No one…!

So… just to recap…

A full squad

+

17 games unbeaten (and counting)

+

Arsene Smugometer heading into overdrive

=

A summer of transfer inactivity

I’d still like to see a couple of quality players bought in… but if I put my Arsene Wenger spectacles on, I can’t see where he is realistically going to purchase. Having a big squad has never been his thing… and you know the saying… you can’t teach an old coach new tricks…

In other, more relevant news Theo, Cesc and Adebayor are back in the squad… but Van Persie, Eduardo and Diaby are out…

So how will we line up? Well I reckon..

Almunia

Sagna Toure Gallas Clichy

Theo Cesc Denilson Nasri

Bendtner Arshavin

I’ll be very disappointed if Ade gets straight back in the team… and I’m not quite sure how he’d play with Arshavin?

In other news, the coach reckons teams should be rewarded for goals scored. He’s dreamed up some sort of crazy assed new points system. I appreciate the sentiment, but it is kind of like Arnold Schwarzanegger suggesting lower taxes for people who can bench 400 pounds… I can’t see the league implementing a points system that would only benefit the rich clubs… after all, it costs little to purchase a Championship meat head to join a wall of 10 defenders… it does cost a few pence to buy a player who can give you 30 goals a season. So whilst an entertaining idea… ultimately a flawed one.

So, what do you think? Will we purchase? Does the league need to review the points system? What team will he play tomorrow?

Join the debate and the jokes in the comments section!


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