A loss to be proud of? Hollywood Superstar appeal + Ratings and Review

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Missing: Sloth. Last seen playing up front for Athens based Greek team. If found, please return to Hollywood.

Last night, Arsene Wenger took the Carling cup to a grander stage… Europe. The game was irrelevant to Arsenal but still held much importance to the yet unqualified Greeks. The team line up was unfamiliar to anyone without ATVO.

L Fabianski

K Gilbert Bartley Silvestre Cruise

Mérida Song Ramsey

Walcott Vela Wilshere

Alex Song took up the more familiar position as the man in the middle and Silvestre returned as centre back and captain for the night. This was the youngest team ever to be fielded in the Champions league. All eyes were focused on what Bartley could do in the middle of defence, how the famous actor could perform at full back and whether Carlos Vela could deliver us some hope up front.

Well, I’m happy to report that in the main, we were not disappointed.

Tom Cruise looked more than capable filling in at left back. He was assured on the ball, he played in a powerful manner and I was very impressed with his maturity considering how young he is. Kyle Bartley, although far too slight to start consistently in the Premiership had the presence of a seasoned pro at the back. He is 6ft 3 and he uses his height to full advantage. He is good in the air, comfortable with the ball at his feet and more than capable of smashing the ball out the stadium if the need arises. Kerrea Gilbert at the grand old age of 22 was partly responsible for switching off for the Olympiacos goal in the second half, but other than that, I thought he was ok.

Onto the midfield. Theo Walcott displayed the sublime and the, well, not so sublime. I’m not his biggest fan, I think for the money he’s on he should be running games like the one last night. However, truth be told he was largely ineffective with the ball at his feet and his finishing was poor. He did manage to cause ruffle some feathers, but mainly down to his natural gift, pace. He’s a formula one car that’s being navigated using a sail.

Song had a super game in the middle of the park. His passing was immaculate in the main and he did his level best to break up play. No easy task in a hugely inexperienced team. There were some truly magical moments of skill from the big man, so a big thumbs up from me.

The star of the midfield was Rambo. This is a player who is destined for great things, a player who can be bigger than Charlotte Church, nay, bigger than Tom Jones! His skill on the ball is controlled, his ability to drive past players in the middle with pace and power is a joy to watch and his growing stature on the pitch must be giving Wenger cold sweats at night. Yep, the boss is going to have to start considering him ahead of his love children. Rambo was man of the match for me last night, converting that type of form onto the Premiership stage is his biggest challenge… which I’m sure he’ll over come shortly.

Up top Fran Merida looked a class act as usual. His control and eye for a neat pass reminds me of Cesc. His additional pace and penchant for a shot leads me to wonder how good he could be for us. Jack Wilshere didn’t have his best game in the red and white and I sometimes felt like his body was letting him down. He has the brain of an Premiership superstar, sadly not the physical presence yet. Letting him leave on loan fills me with dread… however, a toughening up at half decent club might do him some good! Maybe Everton?

Carlos Vela did his level best to get in all manner of good positions last night, his finishing letting him down. The most notable miss was midway through the second half. Rambo cut the ball back to him in acres of space, only for Carlos to fire into the legs of Nikopolodiakashmanish. He’s going to have to sharpen up quickly if he wants a shot at the big time. I sense Arsene isn’t the biggest fan of Mexican, so he’ll have to work double hard to impress.

Last but not least, a word for the keeper. Fabianski showed why he should be number one last night. He came bounding out of his area for almost every ball that dared enter his box, he was off his line at lightning pace to deny the Greeks on a couple of occasions and his hands were safer than an empty match box. Given half a season, Fabianski could be the answer to all of our goalkeeping dreams. Will Almunia have to sustain an injury for us to realise this dream? Probably…

Conclusion:

A very good run out in a very unimportant game. Lothar Matthaus can harp on about how we disrespected the competition all he likes. Our injury list is justification enough that we didn’t need to field a first team and as far as I’m concerned, teams should put maximum effort into winning their group early… then this wouldn’t happen. Apparently this is the 5th season we’ve won the group before the last game. We’ve now got two weeks until the draw (18th), and to be honest, there’s not point in worrying about who we’ll get. We’ll have to face all the big boys on our way to the final. Madrid would be nice early doors, I’d like to beat Inter at some point… the only teams I don’t want to face are the English ones!

On the playing front, I was very impressed. Some food for thought for the coach. The only thing I’ll say that’s slightly negative is that the Champions League is more suited to our kids development. It’s technical and far less physical. Transferring that form to the homeland is a much more brutal kettle of fish. Still, lets enjoy the talent coming through, salivate over our impressive English core and keep them crossed some of the foreign boys will get their chance to shine in the Premiership!

Ratings:

L Fabianski 7.5

K Gilbert 6

Bartley 7.5

Silvestre 7

Cruise 8

T Walcott 6.5

A Song 8

A Ramsey 9

J Wilshere 6.5

F Mérida 7

C Vela 7

P.S. Make sure you check out Young Guns this morning… they’re sure to have an opinion on the game!

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See you in the comments!

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Jecko’s the one for me and now he’s available, lets have it!

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Meet Jecko

Edin Dzeko, pronounced ‘Jecko’ was on display last night in a shit game for Wolfsburg against a second string ManU. The team performance really was dreadful, but of course, because miserable muppet Michael Owen gets a goal hanging hatrick, there are now calls this morning for his inclusion in the world cup squad, piffle, he really would be a liability and like Beckham he would be stopping someone else that really deserved it making the squad.

With 3 or even 4 players way better than Beckham such as Lennon, Phillips, Milner and our very own Theo. Owen has Defoe, Agbonlahor, Rooney, Heskey, Cole, Bent and even Crouch ahead of him.

Anyway I saw enough from Dzeko last night with his movement to make me lick my lips with anticipation at what he’d be like in a team with the service we can provide. Add to that his aerial finishing, he could be the complete package. He made the goal look like the headed version of a tap in, and it really wasn’t.

Go and sign him Arsene, yes I know there is a slight possibility that they may qualify if Moscow get banned, but that’s like Ireland getting in the World Cup, remote, and I saw enough of Wolfsburg for them to realise they are going nowhere. So he’ll want it as well.

The Chavs proved how invincible they really are by managing to secure a draw at home against some pub team from Cyprus, and this is after they got done by a team of Arsenal rejects on Saturday, so Arsene, buy Dzeko, it’s not over yet.

Tonight we have 10 teenagers playing against Olympiakos, Bartley will debut and I’m keen to see if he can step up, if he can great, if he looks lost, time to buy a ready made for the long haul in.

I don’t know what to think about tonight except I’m really looking forward to it, I liked watching our kids last year in the youth cup, and I enjoyed watching us beat Liverpool this year in the Carling, but I hated the Man City game, so which team will we see tonight eh?

Either way it doesn’t matter, so enjoy yourself, and dependent on Pedro’s social life, he may be posting a match report tomorrow.

Have a great day Grovers, tonight our young Spartans make their stand somewhere in Greece against a much bigger, much stronger army, heard that somewhere before???


Zamora doesn’t like the blog bullies, live with it son, it’s our only voice.

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I thought it quite amusing that when Bobby Zamora threw a wobbly after he scored at the weekend, he blamed the blogs for digging him out, well whilst I have no idea what they said, he has to understand that if us fans, who ultimately pay his wages, have a dig, it’s because we are fed up watching highly paid footballers not doing the business and it’s the only way we get a chance to have a say. It’s our voice.

I’m glad it came up because it shows we are read by them, he wouldn’t complain if they wrote great things though would he? And it does prove my point that the players and the management do read the blogs.

Well done for letting us know, we appreciate you acknowledge our hard work. Perhaps you should question your own performances from time to time.

Check out Wrighty7’s view on diving England players if you get the chance.

Onto Arsenal, we are fielding a young team tomorrow in a match that doesn’t matter, save seeing our beloved team in action, they get a second chance to show how good they are and I hope they play well. I really hope they win as I would like to think Standard Leige still feel they have a chance.

We are being linked with many players in the window and Dzeko, Chamakh and Bojin are on the list, as long as we buy someone I will be happy, I would be happier if we went for a keeper, a defender and a defensive midfielder, but I can’t see that happening somehow.

Bojin is an interesting one as many of you see him as too small, I see him as a Barca player and it would be nice to nick one of theirs for once, my first choice though would be Dzeko as he is a proven goal scorer and we have needed one of them since Henry went. Though Cesc would be delighted if we signed Bojin.

Talking of Cesc, he says we need a different type of striker, he says a Drogba would make all the difference, the only one like Drogba out there, apart from Drogba of course, is Dzeko, maybe we’ll all get a nice Christmas present from the boss, who knows eh?

I watched QPR last night and I’m not sure we’ll be recalling Simpson, I like him a lot, but he is the same sort of size as what we have and I think we need some height in there, the good thing is we will always need striker because we always get injuries, so whoever we get, we’ll use.

I’m not at all fussed about them being cup tied, because they would only be affected by one competition, we are still in three and the chances of winning the ECL is remote, I’m not saying we won’t, I’m just saying our priorities should be domestic, if we went all the way, they would get plenty of games and teams like Bordeaux and Wolfsburg stand no chance of winning it, so I couldn’t see that as an obstacle for them joining us.

Interesting times, I just hope we don’t sign another kid that has potential, if Wenger has learned anything with Arshavin and Vermaelen, it’s signing a grown up helps the team, screw the future, as Arshavin says, we have enough youngsters for that already.

Enjoy today Grovers, tomorrow we get to see the future…again!

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