Soft centre / Sold out (almost) / Player Ratings

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Morning Grovers!

I had the pleasure of being at the Emirates for the first game of the season, and what a pleasant day it was! The sun was shining, the old lady behind me had renewed her ticket (Nothing funnier than hearing a 70 year old lady call Ade a ‘soppy cunt’) and Arsenal recorded their first victory of the season with a heavily depleted squad.

So, two things to clear up before we get started.

Firstly, according to reports (Telegraph), Arsenal have sold 92% of the Highbury Square flats. So when Geoff said a few months ago that the maths didn’t add up with the finances, and a lot of people claimed it was becuase we’d lost money on the flats, those people were wrong… No one really knows why Edelman left, and if this story is true… it shows that certain sites\people are not as in the know as they’d like to think.

Secondly, Arsenal may have reported a 60,021 fill, but I can tell you now that the stadium had gaps all around yesterday, Corporate and normal seats. I don’t know whether that was holiday or traffic issues… but it is going to be interesting to see if that trend continues. Arsenal wont care at the moment… the money has already been taken, but it is something to bare in mind if we have a poor season.

Onto Football.

The team lined up like this:


Sagna JD Gallas Clichy

Theo Eboue Denilson Nasri

Adebayor Nikki

Not a bad team considering the Rosicklist.

The game got off to a storming start, the ball was knocked around a lot more comfortably than against Twente in the week. To be honest, WBA looked about as effective Derby did last year… Scott Carson was the only player I knew… and to be honest, despite some praise, I think thought they were rubbish.

Nasri slotted the ball home early doors and after that, we cruised the rest of the game.

I’ll give you a player rating today because any sort of in depth analysis will just be wasting your time!

Almunia: Not his best game in an Arsenal Jersey. He made a superb save early doors when a WBA player fired accross the face of goal, but his kicking was pretty erratic today and he’ll get punished against a better team if he doesn’t address that. 6

Clichy: Love the guy… Jamie Redknapp said he is the best left back in the world… and I am going to agree. He didn’t play out of his skin today, but he didn’t need to… he done his job. 7

Djourou: I really rate him, I thought in his first year at the Emirates (Can’t believe it’s our third year!) he was better than Senderos and after today, I know he is. He compliments Gallas really well and he is so calm on the ball. A few more games like that and Big Phil will be panicking! 7

Gallas: A really reassuring performance today… he sat off JD and cleared up like a true pro. I wish he’d tuck his shirt in, but whatever… he was good today against lumbering physical opposition. 7.5

Sagna: Solid performance, no sign of ‘secondseasonitis‘. 7

Nasri: Ok, I don’t want to go over board here, but I really think this guy is special. If you’ve yet to see him play, imagine Hleb with gusto and tenacity… oh and the ability to shoot. He popped up in the right position today to slot home, and on a few occasions he tried a shot (Madness… sheer madness). He floats out left, then right and always wants the ball. He has seamlessly taken over from Hleb… well, that was taking things to far… lets see where we stand after 10 games. 8

Denilson: Ok, so we all know I am not his biggest fan. I still don’t get what his game is all about , but today he went some way towards showing me what he wants to be all about. He rotated the holding role with Eboue, he was pretty strong in the tackle and he showed the necessary tight control needed to hold down that role. For me he looked good against a crap team… will he fair so well against the Mancs or the Chavs? I don’t think so… we need some experience and physical prowess in the middle and Denilson is not the man yet. 7

Eboue: HOLD THE BACK PAGE! Eboue played well! Ok, he didn’t set the world alight, but he did everything well today. He was direct, strong and effective! I had a debate with Geoff over his credentials in the middle of the park… my argument is that he is a good defender, but not good enough to be the last line… so centre midfield could be just right for him. He has stamina, pace and aggression. Remember, Flamini was a dog average player… then he found his feet in quite a simple position. Tackle… pass to Cesc… 7.5

Theo: Ok Theo, you might be English, but on this blog that counts for nothing. Today you went back to your old ways… dithering, running up blind alleys and making poor decisions. This is your year Theo, you have to prove the doubters wrong… and today was not a shining example of proving people wrong. I hear a boy who goes by the name of Jack Wilshire is pretty effective, something to think about, eh? 5

Adebayor: Pretty ineffective really… he didn’t work for the team and he didn’t really cause too many problems. The crowd at one point… I think… booed him. He tried that RvP sweep, and he failed miserably and a large portion of the crowd booed. Maybe they were jeering somone else? Anyway, the fact is, he wasn’t very good… lets hope Arsene Wenger didn’t just make the biggest mistake of his career by giving him an £80k a week contract. 6

Nikki B: He didn’t do much today. He does like to drop deep to help the team and he likes to bring other players into the game, but overall… a bad day for Nik. I, like many gooners have high hopes for him this year… so expect improvements. 6


A win is a win is a win. 3 points on the board is more than our £60million friends down the road have… apparently they were rubbish and so was Bentley… it’s not funny guys, those Spuds genuinely had hope this year… mwhahaha!

Take the win Grovers, take the plus points and hope that the negatives take care of themselves!

Happy Sunday!

385 Responses to “Soft centre / Sold out (almost) / Player Ratings”

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  1. finestcuts

    I think he is a very interesting prospect El Tel especially as he was given the armband for his former team and can play in two positions, he’s just been unlucky with injuries. Other than his CV I know nothing about the man but he sounds like a good deal, I’ll leave the technical assessment to the Arsenal pros.

  2. patthegooner


    Agree with that, as a Captain he should have patting Djorou on the back for the clearance off the line. In all honestly I have never really been a fan of Gallas. Overrated IMO. Djorou on the other hand is looking like being quite special. He could be the Flaminiesque revelation of this season.

    El Tel problem is Almunia has the No.1 shirt now so it wont happen. However if Almunia gets injured I think Fabianski will get the jersey and keep it on merit. It will be interesting to see what happens if Almunia drops some howlers though. I think Fabianski could be right up there with the Cech’s,Buffons, Casillas, and Manningers of this world.

  3. El Tel


    Yes Fab 2 looks very promising mate. I saw the Gallas incident slightly differently and maybe he wanted Djoroue to stop the guy getting a shot in. Djoroue was probably out of position but he did well to save our keepers bacon on the line.

  4. finestcuts

    Choy, they’ve randomly put you into a league with a bunch of other teams.

    For example say you are in my league. We have a virtual match.
    You get 20 points, I get 15. You’ve won the match.
    The league table is calculated by wins, draws and losses.
    If you have the same number of wins / draws as another team it is on points difference.

    So say this week you beat me by 5 points. But another team beat their opponent by 6 points, they end up above you in the table.

  5. finestcuts

    Choy, they’ve randomly put you into a league with a bunch of other teams.

    For example say you are in my league. We have a virtual match.
    You get 20 points, I get 15. You’ve won the match.
    The league table is calculated by wins, draws and lossess.
    If you have the same number of wins/draws as another team it is on points difference.

    So say this week you beat me by 5 points. But another team beat their opponent by 6 points, they end up above you in the table.

  6. treze13

    Djourou stood up to Gallas though my respect for im went up a few levels when i saw that even almunia looked fired up could it be we are showing some back bone and to Ade THAT is how you criticise a team mate not fking headbutt him you twat

  7. El Tel

    The thing with Gallas is that if we compare him to greats like Adams,Keown, O’Leary, Bould, Campbell then yes he isn’t that good but in todays game he is better than most other Teams CB’s If we could find the ideal person to partner him then things might get a whole lot better.

  8. choy

    hmmm.. ok.. thanks finest… at least i’m top 100 on the fantasy grove!!!!

    the peroni and cap looks far far away!!!

  9. finestcuts

    When Almunia was having a good run, Wenger didn’t drop him because he said he’d earnt his place, I hope the same applies to Djourou.

  10. El Tel

    Nothing like a bit of spirit amongst the guys Treze you are right mate. well done JD. If TA had done the bitching we would be supporting him.

    I am not a Gallas lover but we should give him our support, the media tossers tried doing him in, we shouldn’t help them do it.

  11. El Tel


    This is the reason I am not Wengers No.1 supporter. The Man does some wonderful things then undoes it all by changing players who are on the up to put in the ones he sees as his favourites.

  12. david

    Djourou didn’t hold the line for the offside and Gallas done exactly the same as Adams or Keown would have done and b****d him…

  13. treze13

    i like gallas i think chelski got completely ripped off in that deal so just for that i like him but he is a good player it’s funny how one game (birmingham away) can change how people view, i think it was totally unfair how much criticism he got that was a tough game for the whole team with what happened to eduardo and the late pen, fair enough he over reacted WAAAY too much but i still think it was a bit harsh

  14. patthegooner

    I know, is he a regular blogger or just someone that has jumped in?

    So where did it go wrong Pedro, will you be using your wildcard this week?

    Have noticed a lot of us kept Bentley in

  15. Pedro

    224! That is good going…

    We are 121st for average points in the world!

    Out of 100,000. that is not half bad!

    Le Grovers know best eh?

  16. finestcuts

    We’d all do things our own way El Tel, all of us….but we can make it this year, but Scolari Chelsea are a big big threat….they played some wonderful football today, he knows how to get the best out of his team. Deco is a masterstroke of a signing he fits perfectly into their team.

  17. patthegooner

    That is fair enough David but unlike a lot of the other defenders he made up for his mistake. I think Gallas made some mistakes in that game too that Djorou tidied up, so to criticise I think you need to be well on top of your own game first, and that is why I am not convinced by Gallas as Captain.

  18. finestcuts

    Well we’re all into our football here, we talk football here all the time.
    Other leagues are probably full of the “people at work” etc.

    Where does it say our average is 224th?

  19. El Tel

    Theo was very average yesterday and I argue with mates at the ground who think he is the bollocks because he is English. I feel embarassed when the crowd sing Theo Theo because he is English.

    I think he is a decent guy and could make a super striker like Owen but he is not a winger and this is another thing that annoys me with Wenger. Wenger must see that Theo hasn’t got any tricks can’t track back and only does damage with pace. How can Wenger slag off Modric when he bums up Theo who still looks 12 years old.

    If AW is magic he will teach Theo a few tricks in training and not waste a man on the park in competitive play.

    I bet Theo felt great when Kolo came on in his position. AW probably said I wanted to shore things up, yet more bollocks as the games we lost last year were lost when he tried shoring things up in the final 20 mins. We were at home and should have put Vela or Jack on to take them to pieces.

  20. david

    When Gallas f**s up then it’s time for Djourou and Almunia to give Gallas some strap..
    But it’s a good learning curve it’s all a bit nicey nicey we need a few winners..

  21. patthegooner

    I think Theo is low on confidence and as I said back in January, I still think that he would really benefit from a loan period.

    You only have to think back to that Cameo at liverpool to realise he has something, it is just what is the best way to get it out of him.

    I dont think he would be getting the patience of the crowd if he wasn’t English.

  22. El Tel


    I agree with the Scolari thing mate he has been very positive for them. I still wouldn’t swap Deco for Nasri as Deco will be either brilliant or totally shit. Wait till it gets cold here and Deco is playing on Tyneside or Merseyside. He is quality I agree but lets not get to carried away with him. Lets see deco at Mancscum get knee capped by scholes.

    I think we have a great chance this year as its only the other 3 contenders we should have to beat.

  23. finestcuts

    I agree David but that would be classed as mutinous behaviour, because Gallas is boss on the pitch, he’s the one who barks the orders.

  24. El Tel


    I don’t think Theo is shit but he should play up the middle not right midfield. All the good things he has done for us and young England has been down the middle.

  25. El Tel

    Spot on David

    I think Gallas will be able to take it as he also sees us as being to nice. He has said a few times before that we should get ugly to win. I don’t think he just means kicking people.

    Go through the side and you will see to many nice guys and very few arseholes. The Mancs are full of arseholes and the Chavs skipper is the biggest arsehole there is.

  26. patthegooner

    Agree with that El Tel

    I guess we are in a bit of a catch 22 though

    At the moment if Theo is not playing RM it means that Eboue is. I am hoping that once Rosicky gets fit we are playing him and Nasri in the wide roles. I think that will be the closest we have had to Pires and Ljungberg in their prime.

  27. david

    Finest… That is for Wenger to sort out he created the difference in age and experience, it has got to be give and take (no headbutting)…

  28. Pedro

    I don’t see the problem… If I fuck up at work and then rescue it by accident, I still get a bollocking for the fuck up (I don’t fuck up chaps… haha!). That is what the captain is supposed to do… we don’t want saint Henry hugging everyone again do we?

    El Tel, I am with you on the deco thing… see how he feels about Bolton in November.

  29. finestcuts

    I’m quite happy with our bit of business with Nasri….just this new chap to be unveiled and we can compete…..our raw speed and technical skills willl be Chelseas biggest challenge, and we can beat them, Chelsea tried to slow the game down near the end against Portsmouth, no chance against us….
    with us wizzing around we’ll keep Chelsea very very busy, we won’t be so simple to close down.

  30. El Tel

    Almunia. Soft touch
    Sagna. Hard
    Gallas. Hard
    Kolo. soft to semi
    Clichy semi

    Fab1. Tough
    Eboue. Stupid
    Theo. Softer than Andrex
    Nasri Tough.

    Ade To thick to be soft he is like a piece of granite.
    RVP. Porcelain.

    Sicky. Tough when fit.
    Big Phil. Semi.
    Eduardo. Made of Steel.
    Bendtner. Hard and Soft depending on his mood.
    Djoroue. Semi
    Diaby. Porcelain
    Dennilson. Tough

  31. finestcuts

    Nasri’s age is deceptive, he’s been a pro since he was 16, he’s a got a good first touch, he isn’t scared of taking a shot at goal, provides excellent through balls, creates space, superb close control, great set pieces, I really like what I see.

  32. El Tel

    Spot on finest re Chavs.


    How about playing RVP wide and letting Theo and either Ade or Bendy partner him or give Vela a chance mate he played on the wing in Spain last year. Nasri can play either flank I reckon so there are choices. Unfortunately AW loves Booooeeeee

  33. El Tel


    Agree with the Nasri comment. That pass he laid on to Ade that created the 1 on 1 was fantastic mate. He was always in space and I saw him lose the ball just once. On the edge of their box while trying to nutmeg the defender. Class act.

  34. El Tel

    Lets hope that cunt Scholes is injured when we play them, then he won’t be able to butcher Samir and get away with the Scholes can’t tackle shit. If you can’t tackle then don’t do it then.

    How about the Arseanl get most yellows for swearing last year. Seeing as the media see it that none of our boys are English and they probably think the boys don’t talk English, why do they put these Stats up. Do they not watch Fat bollocks every game cunting the refs. He should have more Reds for swearing than all the other Teams put together. Fucking hypocrites.

  35. jlp

    great post
    agreed with every players rating and commentary except the referral of eboue for cm holding role
    IMO eboue in holding role is a race horse in a arabian horses position
    he is meant to marshall those flanks(which sadly he may never do again) thats his game speed he is not a show pony and his passing can be …well ..we all have seen it haven’t we and i would rather him make horrible crosses than a bad backpass to the defense or cesc and leave everyone caught out
    plus he shoots with both eyes closed which is what it is
    but he was good yesterday so more of that and who knows

  36. ethangunner

    Theo will come good ..

    he was on as a striker and failed in the pre season ..
    pretty shattering for the lad ..

    i back him to get up there and turn it around !
    he was one of our better players last season .. i do expect more from him this season … he probably just hit the piss in the off season like any young lad.. getting maggoted every 2nd night ! Brit players just take a little longer to warm up and get the alcohol out of there bodies 🙂

    He still is young too ! I would be more concerned about our scoring guru’s ! Because without goals in the back of the net 3 points will go begging every week! No point to complain about theo when ade -RVP- nik are tripping over there own feet FFS !

    cant count on nasri or the midfield to score every week or we might as well
    just put on midfielders !

  37. Charlie

    Nasri… Nasri what a debut. Mr. Wenger is odds on again to get the star spotter award this season.
    Imagine, an attacking midfield of Nasri and Rosicky on the flanks with Fabergas pulling the strings and Van Persie linking up. ADe battering and occuppying both CBs. Sumptous.
    Eboue, could he be the Flamini of this season?????? Whoa……

  38. Evo in Oz

    gday all, back from cold and wet Melbourne to sunny and a little bit warmer Sydney after getting on the sauce on with a few old mates to watch the game and talk shite all weekend!

    Glory days and a good solid 1-nil!

  39. Evo in Oz

    im happy for him to come Gnarley.

    what do you make of Rafa’s last sentence?

    “Don’t forget we will need eight British players – and the left-footer we were talking about can play in three positions too.”

  40. gnarleygeorge9


    Not sure about the word British or is it 8 English players. You never know. One minute its Great Britain, then its England, or even United Kingdom. I know if it was Australasia like we used to compete @ the Olympics 100 years ago (with the Kiwis) we’d be 3 rd on the medal tally 😆

  41. gnarleygeorge9


    Howd ya go in Fantasy Grove? I wish there was a way of finding out who was actually starting games coz it can cost vital points.

  42. Geoff

    Gnarley, if your sister had bollocks, she’d be your brother!

    Anyway, I don’t see the point of them selling Alonso and getting Barry, they’re the same player, very strange.

    The home grown player thing makes most of our kids like Cesc and Merida home grown, so fuck knows what he means.

  43. gnarleygeorge9

    Afternoon/Morning Geoff 🙂

    Its appears the fans are getting to Ade. Mr Wenger is asking the fans to get behind Ade.

  44. Geoff

    Gnarley it means that if New Zealand had combined with Australia in the Olympics you would have won…but they didn’t, the analogy, if your sisters had bollocks, they’d be your brothers!, they haven”t, so they’re not!

  45. gnarleygeorge9


    Sort of like if Spurs had a decent team they’d win the league but they never do so they don’t ever 💡 ?