Exclusive Diaby interview + Goals, Goals, Goals!

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Morning Grovers, it’s my first post in a while… and it’s a bleary eyed one… many beers were consumed last night and I wont lie… mainly because if I was going to sit and watch us grind out an unconvincing 1-0 win… I was going to do it off my face on cold, refreshing Peroni.

I rolled into the ground to hear the name I’d been waiting to hear for a year… Eduardooooooo! The roar that went out for him was passionate… it was great to see the Crozilian back in the team after such a horrific injury. It was also great to see a proper wide man playing in a wide position. Carlos Vela was treated to a rare start.

Fabianski

Sagna Toure Gallas Gibbs

Vela Song Denilson Nasri

Eduardo Nik B

As soon as the game kicked off, you knew Arsenal weren’t going to be beaten. There seemed to be renewed belief round the stadium last night, like maybe tonight could be the spring board for our season… and it didn’t take long for that belief to be rewarded. Eduardo played in Carlos Vela, turned out into the box… Carlos chipped a sublime cross onto the head of Eduardo who buried it high into the left corner of the net… Everyone went ballistic! Fantastic… Eddy was back, and that goal meant a lot to the striker who’d been out for 51 weeks.

The next goal didn’t take long either… Arsenal were carving out chances like attacking play was going out of fashion. Someone put something in the players water bottles and it wasn’t crab juice…

Our next goal came from a corner… Nik B rose like a jumping gazel (Why does it have to be a salmon?) to direct a glancing header past the hapless Cardiff keeper.

2-0 up and cruising… how many times have we been able to boast that this season?

Nik B was worked extremely hard for the team… but as usual, he had to do something silly. Vela powered a shot across the keeper who parried it… all Nik had to do was slot the ball in the empty net, but he somehow managed to hit the post and miss the rebound. When the replay went up, the gasps were almost as loud as the earlier Eduardo cheers! Read here to get the low down on Niks comments from yesterday…

The second half started… more beer had been consumed… and due to the emptiness of the stadium… I spotted a rarity… An Arsenal player sitting 4 rows up…

Beer + Excitement = embarrassing moment when grown man decides he would like to go and sit next to player.

So off I went… I asked Diaby how he was, he said

‘Fine’

Then I asked if he spoke English?

‘Yes my English is very good’

Then his agent asked me to stop talking to him, to which I replied…

‘No way, Diaby is my hero and I’ll give him a bad write up if you don’t let me talk to him…’

To which the agent said,

‘You sit next to him then.’

So I did… I asked him where he sees himself playing for the team… he said in France he loved to play in hole as a second striker. He wouldn’t budge on who he liked and disliked and he said he was definitely enjoying life in England and he’d be here next season. At this point I decided that my 10 minute interrogation of him was probably a bit annoying… so I left him alone… leaving a stray hand on his leg for reassurance.

Anyway… then I looked up, Eduardo had been cynically bought down in the box, the ref blew up and pointed to the spot… cue an Eduardo net buster of a penalty! Superb… what a way to make your comeback!

Eduardo went off to a standing ovation and was replaced by RvP… a man who I can honestly say looked hungrier than ever to get on the score sheet. Finally that opportunity came when Nik B rolled in a beautifully weighted pass which Robin slotted home convincingly. He fist pumped at the crowd and we were all pleased we could go home with a smile on our face.

I can confirm Diaby did leave with 7 minutes to spare… bloody club level plastics

Ratings:

Fabianski: Solid game from our slightly hyperactive number 2. He didn’t really have much to do bar sweeping up any loose balls that landed in our half (Literally in our half… he’s like one of those jack russel’s that sees a ball and must chase it down). 7

Gibbs: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if Arsenal were a factory, we could boast the finest left back production line in the world. Once again Arsene has another potential gem on his hands. Gibbs is composed on the ball, a dream going forward and full of pace. His defending is sometimes a bit of… but he has many years on his side. 7

Toure: Funny game from Kolo… he was tearing about all over the place last night, and he dropped a few clangers… but he is Kolo, and I love him. 6

Gallas: Another assured performance from a man who, for the first time is looking like a £90k a week defender. 7

Sagna: Managed to play a nice cross into the box. Quiet night for the Frenchman. 7

Vela: What we’ve been waiting for… a creative pacey wide man who can spark a midfield into action. I thought he had a tidy game last night without being exceptional. I think he banished any presumptions about strength by putting in a few good tackles… for me, he needs to be given a fair crack at the whip… because he is miles better than the unproductive Ivorian I care not to mention. 8

Song: Another solid game from the Cameronian. Nothing spectacular… but improving. 6

Denilson: I thought he had a top game in the middle of the park. He was tenacious and had a renewed vigour about his game. I honestly think he’ll become a good player for the club and I think a lot of the criticism of him has been unfair this year. 7.5

Nasri: Another good performance from our floating Frenchman. He glides across the pitch wherever he senses he can cause problems. If he can add a decent final ball to his game, we’ll soon start getting a bit of value for money from him. 7.5

Eduardo: It’s nice having a striker with really terrific movement. Eduardo knows where to be to get on the score sheet… and he seems to live for the goals unlike some of our other strikers. I expect to see a more involved Eduardo this year (In the team effort) and I expect to see him starting more often than not. RvP and Eduardo could be a pretty special partnership… and it’s probably one of the few we haven’t really seen. 9

Nik B: You can’t fault the lad for effort. He works his socks off for the team and he is starting to throw his weight about up front. He knocked in a good header and he went close on a few other occasions. I really think he’ll come good this season in a Flamini-esque kind of way. One goal, one assist… who’s complaining? 8

Conclusion

A convincing win and two easy games to make it to the exciting rounds of the FA Cup! Our football seemed to click into gear last night, so lets kick on from this and make something happen this year!

Have a great day Grovers!


823 Responses to “Exclusive Diaby interview + Goals, Goals, Goals!”

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  1. maqitlarge

    I thought Bish showed some nice touches and a willingness to move the ball quickly.
    I remember one clever 1st time pass that impressed

  2. kelsey

    For Eboue read Senderos,the new love child of Dr.Wengerla.If you are reading this boss,don’t tamper with the team,except give AA a feauture on saturday,and keep Ade on the bench,where at least he can’t be offside.

  3. Arsenal Tom

    Arsenal skipper 10 days away from return

    Cesc Fabregas’ rehabilitation seems to be going so well that he could return to training in 10 days.

    He said: “Over the last couple of weeks I have been going up into the mountains to work and it’s been hard but good for my muscles.

    “I’m really happy with how it’s going, it’s looking good and hopefully in 10 days I can start to train with the ball, so it’s going a bit quicker than I thought.

    “I can’t wait until I can touch the ball again, because it’s about eight weeks since I’ve kicked a ball and I think that’s the longest time of my whole life!

    “From this week, I will be back at the club, in the dressing room and around my team-mates, and I will see them going out to training, travelling to the games and that will make me jealous.

    “It will give me more desire to get fit as quickly as possible so I can be in the team again.

    “Over the last few weeks I have only thought of my injury, but now it’s time for me to come back to the team. I am the captain and I have responsibilities. I have to be next to my team-mates even if I’m not playing.”

  4. MM

    Thanks Tom. Trying to book a holiday with my girlfriend. she really doesn’t understand that holidays are really just for the end of the season. still think there is an international weekend at the end of March.

  5. irishgunner

    Pedro – I’m a woman and I book holidays TO football games 🙂

    Rearrange that to “some women are selfish like that” 😆

    When will tickets be available for the Burnley game til I try and get me one??

  6. A

    nice match report pedro, agree with everything there though i would’ve given kolo a 7.5. Was the one game in recent memory Kolo looked back to normal, and for me was better than gallas.

    Really looking forward to saturday now, just really annoyed i wasn’t at the emirates last night!

  7. A

    you’re a woman irish?? how did i miss that?! Guess just assume everyone on here is male, i blame the inherent sexism in british society when it comes to sport

  8. MM

    Still shouldn’t complane to much get to go to most games with out to much fuss.

    RVP warmed up with the starting line up last night, at one point i thought we were going with a 4-3-3.

  9. gooner-pak

    actually pedro my freind went there…and not a football fan…i’ve asked him to collect few things from arsenal shop and send it when d\some one is comin here to pak
    n e way is there any football club there??

  10. Pedro

    Yeah, Coventry City… they used to be in the Prem way back when… boasting stars such as Robbie Keane, Darren Huckerby and John Aloisi.

  11. Kev

    was bendtner the worst miss i ever seen? yeah but i expect it from him

    i was close with the eduardo hat trick, great to have him back

    you see nasri pushed out to right mid, it means arshavin is playing left mid for us

  12. Ja_Gunner

    For Sunderland

    …………Al………..

    Sagna….Djourou…Kolo…..Clichy

    Nasri….Den…..Song……Arshavin

    ………RVP……..Nick B……..

    Eddy and company to come after 60 mins or so.

    For Roma

    …………Al………………

    Djourou…Kolo….Gallas…Clichy

    Nasri…..Den…Song/Diaby…Vela

    ………RVP…………………
    ………………Eddy………..

    We just need to concentrate on keeping a clean sheet against ROma at home.

    If we do this then Roma must attack at home because they would have to win the game outright to advance.
    If there is a scoring draw, then we would go through.

  13. irishgunner

    “The Irish team doctor Dr Gary O’Driscoll completed his last game with Ireland in Rome over the weekend after six years, as he is taking up an offer to work as team doctor with Arsenal. He will be on duty at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday when Arsene Wenger’s team host Sunderland.”

    Plenty of experience judging by the match on against Italy, there were some bruised faces. Paddy Wallace got an awful doing.

  14. Steve

    How strange will it be for him dealing with pampered footballers after the Ireland rugby team??

    I bet he will think he has dropped in on a shirt lifters convention on his first day.

  15. Angry Loner

    Hey ho!

    Just thought I’d pop along to make sure there was a decent level of positivity on here!!! As there should be after that emotional game last nite! 😀

  16. Darren

    wat was that song a small number of arsenal fans were singing last night to the tune of ..oh when the saints go marching in?

  17. Big Dave

    Ja

    Cant see wenger starting with AA yet, he will be on the bench to come on at a later

    Lick your lips guys/girls

    Walcott
    Cesc
    Arshavin
    Edi
    Rosicky (end march)
    Adi

    All to be playing soon, thier is a god after all

  18. charybdis1966

    Kelsey at 12.19, Ade is out for at least another fortnight so he won’t even have to be on the bench for a while yet so smile!
    Gooner-Pak, if you want your mate to pick up some Arsenal stuff, the only 3 actual Arsenal shops are in London, 2 near the stadium and the other in St Alban’s, which is to the north of London, however Coventry is at least 100 miles from London. However he should still be able to get some Arsenal stuff although the choice won’t be as good as from the 3 official shops in London/St Albans.

  19. nick

    Afternoon all,blinding game last night well happy for eduardo and the main man nikki b thought he done well even with that miss.just hope eboue dontb get back in the side sat vela showed he is more then capable.

  20. Steve

    I feel so bouyant all of a sudden. I had a happy hangover this morning and things felt good. Just had a few beers and i’m really positive now. Please Arsene give us width this weekend. i’ll finally look forward to trudging over there to be ripped of by my beloved club. Vela is the answer. Don’t try putting square pegs in round holes again.

  21. Steve

    maq, right next to the Arsenal Tavern on Blackstock Road. I think BR, myself, Geoff and Pedro will all be there this weekend if you can make it.

  22. nick

    steve ive said that time and again look what happens when we have a bit of width last night watched on telly and we looked good all over the pitch even song never stood out like he usually does (in a bad way)

  23. Steve

    irish, I can do accents. Have been known within the inner circle to do a great Clouseau if thats what floats your boat.

  24. irishgunner

    “Former Manchester United goalkeeper, Massimo Taibi has told Goal.com that he feels Roma have the best chance out of all the Italian side of progressing in the Champions League. The shot-stopper is concerned abut the fate of Juventus and Inter.”

    ha ha ha please please say this plum will be in goal for Roma 😆

  25. maqitlarge

    Cheers Steve. Would love to get in there to meet some Grovers! Will have to drag my bros out of the Pins first.

    Is it a boozer?

  26. Gunner8

    Actually what cracked me up last night was that the guy on my left and on my right were slagging off Bendtner while i was bigging him up and then he scored, noice… …and they still don’t like him! I mean the guy really polarizes opinion

  27. Steve

    nick, i’ll say it quietly as not to offend but i was at WHL and last night and the general consensus has been much better. Shhhh don’t tell anyone.

  28. charybdis1966

    Steve, I’ll be at the S + B also on Saturday – I’ve seen Geoff, Pedro and Bud already so I should be able to pick out the Grove crowd.

  29. Steve

    a boozer for us mate, an eaterie for the more refined. Same price for a Peroni in there as the Tavern and much nicer clientel.

  30. maqitlarge

    I’m in the give Nick some more time to mature camp!

    I’m also in the Song is guff camp

    as well as it doens’t metter when we can score more goals camp

  31. Angry Loner

    Do not even mention Eboue starting Saturday… or ever the fuck again please! I can cope with any of the other scapegoats we currently have. But for me, there is NO reason to play him, not while Vela, Arshavin, Nasri are available & Theo and Rosicky are returning!

  32. Steve

    The offie has closed down Gunner8. The one opposite won’t open beer.

    There is another a couple of minutes up Blackstock Road though.

  33. Angry Loner

    and a couple of red cards, few injuries to both teams and some sort of controversy as well wouldnt go a miss either…

  34. peachesgooner

    cheeky – how did you do that? If I post too quickly wordstar tells me off – tells me to slow down – must be a bloke in there lol

  35. Steve

    Easy peaches.

    Don’t boo me irish, i’ll cry and tell my collegues how nasty you are.

    I hope you outed the fella that was gone in 60 seconds btw.

  36. Darren

    this is too funny!!! haha HLEB!!!

    http://www.setanta.com//uk/Articles/Football/2009/02/17/Liga-Toures-agent-on-Hleb/gnid-40670/

    Yaya Toure’s agent has urged Barcelona to offer his client a new deal, while also poking fun at Alexander Hleb.

    Dimitry Seluk has said that if Barca do not offer their key players new deals, they will have to rely on Hleb, who is yet to prove himself at Camp Nou.

    The representative has slammed the Blaugranas’ contract policy, while African goal-machine Samuel Eto’o is out of contract in 2010.

    He told RAC1: “They are waiting to extend Eto’o’s contract, to extend Toure’s contract. All they do is wait.

    “What’s going on in here? The players are going to leave. And then, who’s going to play? Hleb?

    “The longer they wait, the more expensive the players will be. Eto’o just has to wait for someone to offer him a better deal.”

    Seluk has compared Eto’o’s strategy, with the player speaking continuously about his future in the press to put them under pressure, and Toure’s, who is more discreet in the media.

    He said: “These are two ways to act. Toure is a very relaxed person and he prefers to wait. Eto’o has made an interview, but not Toure.

    “But none of them have obtained better contracts.”

  37. Pedro

    Afternoon everyone!

    Eboue starting on Sat would just be plain out of order… Surely Wenger wouldn’t reward a top performance from Vela with the Bench?

  38. Steve

    Andy Reid would be better placed having a pie eating contest with Nasri and Toure. They could have Mido as a guest judge.

  39. irishgunner

    He won’t play Eboue, he won’t he won’t he won’t!!! Play Vela for 60mins and then bring on Arshavin or play Nasri for the hour and then play Arshavin for the rest either way he should play Arshavin

  40. charybdis1966

    Was it Dan Smith who shattered Diaby’s ankle the 06-07 season when we played Sunderland? I wonder if he’ll be there on Saturday. If so he deserves all the boos going at the Grove.
    A friend of mine was saying he expected nothing of note from Eduardo till next season, how negative was that comment? He also said we wouldn’t sign Arshavin either – no, it’s not Jimbo I’m talking about.

    PS – is it still the done thing to say “How YOU doing?” to Irish?

  41. Steve

    Just had the manger’s e-mail. It seems that it isn’t just the fans that hold Eddie in such high asteem:

    Dear Supporter,

    Eduardo made a great comeback on Monday night against Cardiff and I am not surprised he played well and scored twice.

    I didn’t play him as a reward for his excellent work; it was because in training over the past few weeks he has done extremely well. He made a big step forward two weeks ago when he found sharpness in front of goal and in his runs and he got rid of his apprehension in the tackles.

    Of course it is nearly 12 months out for him and he has been extremely strong mentally during that time. I could never see one minute of doubt in his mind or one minute where he said ‘no, I don’t want to do it’. He always wanted more and this guy is small but has the mental strength of a mountain.

    He is intelligent, talented and he understands what is happening quickly. He responds very quickly to every situation. That is why he is a striker. He is a quiet boy. He is very, very quiet – he is focused but of course he was very happy on Monday night.

    Eduardo celebrated his second goal with our fitness coach Tony Colbert because I think Tony has spent more time with Eduardo than with his wife. So perhaps he deserves that kind of hug. The physios and doctors have done a tremendous job with him.

    Of course everybody’s happy for Eduardo but I believe it was a good team performance against Cardiff. We were dynamic, convincing and mobile. We played the kind of football we love to play and it is good to see us play with the handbrake off. We are now consistent, we are stable defensively, and we added tonight our drive going forward.

    Cardiff gave us a hard time at Ninian Park but I felt on Monday that the speed of our passing gave them a big problem. It is easier to play our kind of football at Emirates Stadium than it was at Ninian Park.

    Something in the Cardiff team, when we played them over there, made me think they have real belief and real quality. I didn’t see any weak position in their team, where you think they aren’t good enough. But on Monday they were dominated and they had to chase the game after we scored which was much more difficult for them.

    We are very consistent and we are on a very strong run. We promised ourselves we would give everything until the last day of the season and, although Man United look untouchable at the moment, we will not give up. Our basic target is to get in the Champions League which means the league is our priority.

    Thanks for your support.

  42. A

    can’t imagine eduardo will be up to starting 2 games in 5 days, it’ll probably be bendtner and vp, who linked up very well in the time they had last night!

    I was really looking forward to arshavin’s debut, now i’m not too fussed whether he starts, or whether vela starts there!

  43. Steve

    I think it’s difficult to play Eddie and RVP together irish becase they make identical runs and both are predominantly left footed. In saying that RVP keeps banging them in with his right peg of late.

  44. Michael "Master" P

    dont know about you Irish, but i was loving every minute last night – we had some positive vibes around THOF last night – i KNEW it would be a drubbing – just what we needed to inject some passion and belief in the team………..DUUUUUUUDUUUU!!!!!!!!!!

  45. irishgunner

    Cesc will be back kicking a ball in training in 10 days. I reckon he’ll be back and flying high for the return leg against Roma.

    Fully fit??? Who the hell do you leave out Rosicky/Arshavin/Nasri

    agh options I’m starting to remember what those are 😀

  46. charybdis1966

    I’m super-duper Irish.
    Full of the joys of spring now the ice has gone and our beloved team has started to score again.

    I can’t wait for Saturday – as I said the other day Saturday will be a hectic day: Off to the Grove, get pissed with Pedro + the crew, watch us tear the Black cats another rectal passage and then off to Wembley and have my head blown off by Judas Priest. Chamone !

  47. Steve

    I’d pick:

    Almunia

    Sagna Clichy
    Gallas Toure

    Nasri Cesc
    Rosicky Walcott

    Nikki RVP

    Subs.Ramsey, Djourou, Vela, Adebayor, Eduardo

  48. Paulinho

    I would go for:

    ——-Almunia———-

    Sagna—Gallas—-Toure—–Clichy

    ——–Song—-Fabregas——–

    —Arshavin—Nasri—–Vela/Eduardo

    ———RVP—————

  49. irishgunner

    Chary – brilliant – you have one day planned there although you’ll probably have a sore head on Sunday but who gives a damn it’ll be worth it.

    I plan on making the Burnley game my last trip of the year if I can get me some tickets. When will the date be settled anyone know so I can book flights??

  50. benno

    Pedro, gotta be:

    Gk: Almunia
    Rb: Sagna
    Lb: Clichy
    Cb: Gallas
    Cb: Djourou
    Rm: Nasri
    Lm: Arshavin
    Cm: Cesc
    Cm: Denilson
    St: RVP
    St: Eduardo

    As much as i’d love a midfield of Arshavin Cesc Nasri Rosciky, i think we need that slighly more defensive player in center mid

  51. Steve

    Yeah, I thought that Paulinho. Was being a bit dreamteamish to be honest. It’d never work, be a fuck load of fun though.

  52. Paulinho

    It might work Steve. I would rather play that attack minded players in the middle than two defensive players. That’s what has led to us being so laclustre in first halves recently imo.

    Didn’t United start Giggs and Fletcher centrally against Chelsea? That worked okay.

  53. charybdis1966

    Even though I’ll miss the first of the 3 groups on the bill at Wembley I’m not leaving the Grove early.
    The Arse is the priority- plus I was never much of a fan of the first group(Testament) so I’m not busting a gut for them.

    Still Irish, I’ll be doing the weekly shopping in a daze on Sunday and with partial hearing. In answer to your question about the Burnley game it’s on Saturday the 7th of March(3 pm), according to the BBC.

  54. Matt

    That’s going to be a nice problem to have Pedro!!

    The only weak point of the team i can see is CM, Oh, how i wish we had got Alonso in the summer.

    Anyway – for me –

    Almunia

    Saggy JD Gallas Clichy

    Nasri Cesc Denilson Rosicky

    RVP Eduardo

    I haven’t mentioned Arshavin as i haven’t seen him play for us yet…

    And, on his day, i think Rosicky is world class. 😉

  55. Angry Loner

    Fabianksi
    Sagna – Gallas – Djourou – Clichy
    Nasri – Cesc – Rosicky – Arshy
    – RvP – Ade =

    Paulinho; You’ll say not defensive enough! I say; stuff that! Cesc is intelligent enough to sit back and let the others do their thang and if the chance presents itself, he can have a pop or 2 too!

  56. Paulinho

    That is where the Cesc conundrum is Angry. In that system you would him to play in a Xavi-like fashion, prompting from deep. However, Cesc likes to run beyond as well so we would be limiting him.

    I think Cesc should stop trying to add goals to his game like everyone says and concentrate on the defensive side. Then we could play him with Nasri or Rosicky centrally!

  57. Angry Loner

    Paulinho;

    Yeah, we would be limiting him a bit, asking him to play deep. BUT its Rosicky next to him, not Denilson or Song! I can live with that till we sign a new player in the summer!

  58. irishgunner

    Chary – Nice one thanks. Time to get some flights and this time accomadation – this time I think I’ll make a weekend of it, normally come and go the same day but perhaps I’ll spend a day or two in London.

    MP – Yep another home shirt but what can you do, has to be done 😀

  59. Paulinho

    I think Vela needs to be a first teamer from now on. He’s very impressive and gets to balls he has no right in getting. Same with Eduardo as well actually.

    Makes you realise what a lazy git Ade really is!

  60. charybdis1966

    Team wise for Saturday I’d start: Fab2, Clichy, Djourou, Gallas, Sagna, Nasri, Vela, Denilson, Toure, RvP, Bendtner, with Arsh coming on for Vela and Eduardo for RvP. But I think Wenger will go for Almunia instead of Fab2 and Song for Toure who he’d push into defence instead of Djourou.

    I know Toure in mid is a bit radical but I’ve got to be a bit different somewhere.