It’s hard to know what to make of todays game…
1) Man United didn’t come to play. Their only objective was not to lose… so they didn’t really come at us. I can’t remember how many shots they had, but it wasn’t many… and they hardly hit the target all game.
2) Arsenal didn’t have a vested interest in the outcome of the league. We wanted to win… but I don’t think any of them will lose sleep over ManU lifting the trophy.
So overall, I think we’ve got to be pleased with the result. We kept a clean sheet against one of the most potent attacking forces in world football with a pretty make shift defence. We’ve also have to congratulate the team for the football they played. We dominated possession and knocked it around in pretty triangles all game.
I thought there were some pretty good performances out there today. Song was moved in at centre back, although he was caught out a few times early on, I felt he grew with the game… he nearly managed to make an assist for the winner. The thing Song has which our other defenders don’t is the ability to attack headers.
Denilson was another player that impressed. People point to him being wasteful, but if you watch him closely he is a very tidy player. Sometimes he picks the wrong passes… but overall, he makes the right decision. Today he played with much more confidence than he has been and I felt he dealt with the dangers in the middle of the park very well.
Up front was a bit disastrous. Robin proved what I’ve been saying for a while… playing up front on your own is ridiculously hard. There are very few strikers in the world who are capable of it. People were giving him a lot of grief in the comments, which I felt was unfair. Ok, I agree he made a mistake in forgetting to put his football boots on… but overall, I was happy with his second half contribution. Next season Wenger has to start with 2 strikers… I think one striker is grossly unfair on whoever has to play the role and hugely ineffiencent.
Something I did like today was the rotational kicking of Evra…
Diaby —> Cesc —> Robin —> Nasri
No one likes to see a professional footballer getting kicked about… unless of course, they are a Manc.
Just a quick mention on Wenger. Seeing him in the press conference earlier today, combined with reading his outbursts at the press conference really humanised the whole situation for me.
I liken it to a turbulent relationship. If you’ve ever been with someone who constantly seeks assurances, you will know that you have to keep reminding them you care and that everything is ok. If you don’t give them the reaction they are looking for; maybe ignoring them… they will push and push and push until it all blows up… somtimes the love can tear the whole relationship apart…
I feel that’s where we’ve been with Arsenal this year. Most of us believed something was wrong at the start of the year, the coach didn’t react. He’s been giving us the same line all season… and last week it culminated in some ugly scenes at a badly timed Q&A. We wanted to know he cared, wanted to know he saw the same things as us… the club appeared to be falling apart and no one was listening.
I’ve read the reports, and I saw him before the game today… It’s apparent he still cares… he looked a broken man. I didn’t like seeing that, but I think he needed the reality check none the less.
I don’t think the coach quite realised how much we all love our club… I don’t think he realised how awful it is to wake up to a text message like, ‘Ebay’s website suddenly crashed last night due to sudden auction of 57,000 arsenal flags… each 1 waves for just 7 minutes’. My flag didn’t sell, but I was still charged the fee’s… is Wenger going to reimburse me that £1.46?
I don’t know how football fans react to each other in other parts of the world… but in the UK, if your team is hammered by United and you meekly retort by telling them you believe in the squad… you get laughed out the room … it’s not nice… and it’s not nice to think the coach is going to keep doing the same things for the next 2 years… it’s not nice to think the only person who can’t see the team isn’t good enough is the man running the show.
I hope the whole Q&A thing works out beneficially for both parties. I’m hoping the coach will now act appropriately and understand another 2 years of experimentation is unacceptable and I hope the fans will let him get on with his job this summer. He knows what to do, he said he has the money to buy… bar Adebayor… I don’t see anyone else leaving.
I’m excited about this close season already… I think all the business will be done early to ease ticket sales and the new players integration into the squad. It will also show the rest of the players our ambitions for the next season… hopefully convincing them to pen new deals.
Onwards and upwards Grovers… despite finishing 4th and without any silverware, there are definitely a lot of positives we can take into next year.
- Song and Denilson have looked much better. They’re not world beaters yet, but they are more than capable when playing in front of a decent defence.
- Robin Van Persie has stayed injury free for the best part of a year.
- Rambo, Wilshere and Vela will feature more next year.
- We’ll have the most exciting player in the premiership from the off.
- Robin (Contrary to NoTW today), Cesc and Walcott will all stay.
- We WONT have a repeat of last summer.
So… the season is over. The fans have had their rant, the manager has had his… We all know that it’s not been good enough. The coach, the board and the fans… we’re all united on that front and we’re all desperate to improve.
Now it’s time to put our trust in the club and see what is delivered.
The one thing we know already is that Adebayor is off… I think his sale will be interesting because I think we’ll only sell him to Chelsea if there is a part exchange involved. Would Mikel or Alex ease the worry of offloading Ade to a rival? It would me… If Milan want him, lets have Flamini or Pato in exchange. Or alternatively… why not use the Ade money to buy Tevez?
Plenty of options eh! Plenty to get excited about! Though it must be said, I am sad to see Ade leave… his career at Arsenal really has been like watching the slowest car crash since the MP’s expenses scandal. I refuse to accept the fans forced him out of the club, I know that is something people have already begun to trot out… the facts are, he put an end to his own career. He disrupted the start of our season, unsettled the squad… then failed to deliver on a supposed £110k a week contract. Not to mention his 2009 flirtations with Milan, his proclamations of greatness and the cherry on the cake… telling Arsene he needs to sign some decent players. Don’t fool yourself into believing the fans pushed him out if that is the story some outlets go with today. When has Arsene ever pushed out a player based on fan opinion?
We’ve got one game left of the season, I’m hoping for a carnival day out… the sun will be shining, we’ll spank Stoke, then head into the summer optimistic as usual! This year has sucked the joy out of football for a lot of people… but lets not forget… Wenger is a good manager, he knows how to spend money… and if his hand is forced, I’m sure he’ll come up with the goods. Lets do the faith thing one more year… because if we don’t… I’ll have crap summer… and with all the crap going on in the world… that is something I could do without!
We’re all Gooners, we all share the same love and this summer could be very special!
Fabianski: He commanded his box well today, his distribution was pretty solid and he was decisive when putting Tevez off for the main United chance of the day. 7
Gibbs: I can’t help but be impressed with him. He is 19 years old and taking care of Ronaldo like he was a Championship player. He had one hairy moment when he let Fletcher get insided of him, but bar that, a top game. Even more impressive when you consider his cock up in the last game. 8
Toure: A calmer performance from our eldest defender. He put in a few big tackles and made a couple of important interceptions. Geoff reckons he could play in midfield… providing the stamina issues were over exageratted, you have to wonder why he doesn’t get a chance? 7
Song: Started off pretty badly, giving the ball away and allowing his man to get goal side of him… but as the game went on, he improved and grew in confidence. Is this a long term option or an exercise in versatility? Who knows! 7.5
Sagna: It always comes back to the same thing with Sags… he can’t cross to save his life. His defending was average today, but he was part of a clean sheet unit. 6.5
Nasri: A good game from our dimunitive Frenchman. He was probably the busiest out of our midfield today, linking play, taking players on… firing crosses into the box. He is a quiet type of player, unspectacular…kind of how Hleb was. I think he’ll be valuable to us next year. I like the the cut of his jib… and the fact he seems to have lost a bit of that Christmas weight. 7.5
Diaby: Not his worst performance… his distribution was a lot less laboured today, he got the ball out of his feet quickly and linked in quite well with the others. The trouble with our midfield is they all seem to be very similar. Cesc, Nasri and Diaby all play the same type of balls and all fear shooting… that is why our 4-5-1 generally lacks punch… everyone has the same idea. 7
Arshavin: Bar one very exciting run where he took on 4 defenders at once, I thought it was a quiet day for the Russian. Maybe he wasn’t fully fit, maybe he isn’t superman and can’t play well every game? 6.5
Cesc: I didn’t think he had a great game today, his passing was off and the fact he only had one striker to feed added to his poor performance. I still feel he loves the club though… he never complains and he always gives it 110%. He is even starting to look a little bit nasty… who likes his tattoo? Super cool… or a bit try hard? 6
Robin: I’ve already given my opinion on him up the top. He needs a partner up front and he needs some decent boots. He’s remained injury free this year and he’s been pretty productive if you consider him in the second striker roll like I do. His stats match up nicely to what Bergkamp used to do for us year in year out. The only trouble is, whoever he’s played with hasn’t given the 30 goals Wright or Henry would. 6
Eboue: Loving the beard. 8.7
Have an amazing Sunday Grovers… make sure you vote in the poll I’ve whacked up in the side bar! —->