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!

See you in the comments!

579 Responses to “A loss to be proud of? Hollywood Superstar appeal + Ratings and Review”

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  1. gazzap

    so team:
    Fabianski
    Sagna Gallas Verm Traore
    Cesc Song Den
    Nasri Eddie Arsh

    I dont expect Ramsey, Vela or Walcott to start but I hope Ramsey at least gets on as a sub.
    And that twat Diaby is fit again. oh joy.

  2. SharkeySure

    Clacko greatsoput re Roberto Carlos’ s free kick…..there’s a camera angle where you can see a kid who’s ten yds wideiof the goal ducking ‘out o the way’ of it. Incredible.

    Another good shout re Henry. I was right in front of that cracker he scored at the Valley…

  3. A

    not premier league material songthegreat?! overreacting much?! not sure whether he’s up to the level since his injury to start regularly for us, but he’s certainly a good player still, just needs a goal to get his confidence back

  4. gazzap

    I would quite like to see Arsh central again. It may be that even if Eddie starts, he plays on the left??
    Theo can stretch any team, but he still isn’t scoring goals or having a great first touch. But his pace alone is worth having. I only said those 3 wont start because they did 90 minutes last night but potentially any of them could.

  5. SongtheGreat

    well A we can discuss the younger players..and i may be stretched to give vela another shot..eduardo..not a chance..he isnt strong enough ..he isnt quick enough..and he never will be..he could do well in south america…Honduras f.ex or mexico where he would be a giant ….in size that is

  6. A

    Yeah gazzap, it’ll probably depend on how fresh theo looks in training on sat. If possible though he’d be very useful to have against liverpool, they’ve got a slow defence and he’d pull them all over the place and get in behind

  7. insidealbania

    I remember a few seasons ago that I used to get excited when we got a free kick in a dangerous area. Now I just wish they pass it back and retain possession. We must be the shittiest team in CL when it comes to converting free kicks.

  8. Franchise

    theo loves anfield he has to start for me

    theo arsh and vela upfront

    song nasri cesc midfield

    back 4

    toss of coin for the clowns

    8)

  9. Sabeel Indian Gunner

    Pedro Says:
    December 10, 2009 at 13:04
    Sabeel, we don’t host the site… and you seem to be the only one having access issues… are you sure it’s not your PC?

    ————-

    Pedro,

    seems like the problem is woth my office PC only,as i am able to access from home..
    i have an idea,let me check tomorrow..

  10. WB

    i was going through some liverpools forums,and found out they are worried by walcott,because acc to them insua is complete nuts and would be raped badly by walcott.

  11. SUGA3

    Franchise,

    problem is, who is dumb enough to buy them?

    like I said before, one who manages to flog’em should take Ivan’s place…

    or solve world’s other biggest problem like famine, cancer, etc…

  12. SharkeySure

    Sab. You’ll fiond your work PC doesn’t work at all tomorrow, well not with your logon anyway.

    Well that if your pass gets you into the building anyway.

    Kolkata Times headline on Saturday: ‘Local Gooner fired for overuse of F5 key’

  13. Ja_Gunner

    My team for Liverfool

    ……………Al(We know Wenger will pick him)..
    Sagna……Gallas……….Vermy…….Traore
    …………………Song……………….
    ….Cesc……………………..Den/Diaby….
    ..Nasri……………Arsh……………Eddy/Vela…

    Theo comes on for Nasri on 60…

    Arshy has to remain central…he is the best we have for that position..plus Arshy loves Anfield….

    I agree with Franchise that maybe Wenger should buy a 6ft 3 monster in summer and then let Vermy share the DM role with Song….

    Denilson Diaby Nasri share the box-box role..etc…

    Either that or keep Vermy at CB and get Yaya in….pep is not playing him as much and he is getting frustrated

  14. choy

    I think Theo should start, he’s always given them a good game at anfield.. and Arsh Central.. with Eddie on the left.

    STG.. pretty harsh about Eddie, its a miracle he’s even walking.. he just needs a couple of goals…

  15. Samir

    My team for Anfield;

    __________Almunia_____________
    Sagna–Gallas–Vermy–Clichy
    ___Fabregas–Song–Diaby/Ramsey____
    _Nasri/Walcott–Arshavin–Eduardo

  16. B.B.K.

    so they have wasted another contract on another average player,damn we really are going all out,trying to win a few trophy’s…

  17. Samir

    Our potential opponents;

    Bayern Munich
    CSKA Moscow
    Inter
    Lyon
    Milan
    Porto
    Stuttgart

    We could beat any of them really…

  18. leon

    i have often critized wenger for not playing vela often enough but i see is reasons nad i have seen enough vela and is claerly not ready yet in an ideal world he would goen loan to prem or champoinship team but because of visa he could come over for 2 years.thoe is not ready either i cant see him playing central striker at all herealy needs beef up in major major way.ramsey and merida are no suprise to me its only a matter of time before merida breaks through in my opinion and ramsey looks very composed has great vision. i feel all round the foundations are there but just need some experience and a good beefy striker

  19. SharkeySure

    SFO – no way am I gonna believe that. Buying Melo was gonna guarantee us success and he was gonna be fucking amazing in EVERY game – assists, tap ins, screamers, pin point goalkicks, penalty saves, the lot.

    Well thats what the WAC brigade told me anyway 😉

  20. A

    bbk vela isn’t lightweight at all, he’s pretty wide for his size, can more than hold his own. I’d be happy with him as the central forward, though he’s off form at the moment.

    Samir who said clichy is back, wenger would’ve mentioned it in the press conference if true surely?! he just said eduardo and diaby MIGHT be back. I wouldn’t expect to see either start

  21. leon

    a i totaly disagree vela is not off form its just does not have needed presence play central striker i feel he is better suited as a winger for now but a few years time i have no dought he will be ready just not yet the visa not aloowing him go on loan in the uk would have helped adapt to prem alot eisier. also feel bretna wont be back till jan maybe will force wenger hand i realy feel we need front man with real presence

  22. Samir

    A;

    Gael Clichy
    November 23
    “Clichy is not too far, I think two to three weeks,”

    Since the 23rd November it will be 1 day short of three weeks on Sunday. I’m sure he is fit by now anyway only a small back injury.

  23. A

    totally disagree leon, you see him playing for mexico against big scary south americans kicking the crap out of everyone and he holds his own playing up front, good at holding players off with his back to goal, he did so the whole game against hangeland last year against fulham.

    It has nothing to do with his strength, currently he’s lacking confidence and as a result his touch is off, you see it with his control, passing, and finishing, he just isn’t sharp at all and is really not relaxed. He needs a goal or two and he’ll be very good. After VP and Bendtner I’d have him sharing the central role now with Arshavin. Even when he’s not on form or confident he’s still been getting into goalscoring positions and rolling defenders

  24. SUGA3

    Leon,

    I’m with A on this one – Vela is just slightly off colour and also playing upfront on his own is not his game – he is the ideal ‘little’ for ‘little and large’ partnership, also fabulous on the left…

    whip your chequebook Arsene, we need a beast or three…

  25. A

    oh ok samir, he isn’t fit then. Wenger said the two players who could be back are diaby and eduardo, if there was even a chance of clichy returning im sure he would have mentioned it

  26. WB

    samir,how in this world can a arsenal player return from injury in initial expected time,plz add atleast another week to those 3 weeks

  27. Samir

    Ye suppose A…..

    I’m not at all worried about Liverpool, it’s just Torres that changes their games…….
    Vermy needs to prove a point in this game!

  28. leon

    sug and a there is no questioning he is a quality quality player that just needs time that all it is and all i am saying it would been alot for him to adapt to prem if he could gome loan in prem or championship but he clearly not his style to play loan striker he better as supporting striker or on the left and what is cleraly needed is player who is very good with airial attacks and all round trouble maker like drogba

  29. B.B.K.

    a v.p is bigger then him id be very worried if he couldn’t hold his own being the size v.p is,vela is small and will always get out muscled especially in the prem

  30. B.B.K.

    anyway i can’t see us winning a game against liverpool,united or chelsea this season who agrees?? forget the business about united not having a good record in those games last season,this season im just talking about these specific games

  31. Pat

    I don’t know about you guys, but I really rate Amauri. He has pace, finishing, strength, aerial ability, long distance shooting, etc and I always believed he was the best natural striker in Italy.

    I just don’t think he’s suited to that style of play. If we can get him at a good price, I’d love it.

  32. Pat

    Yes, that Amauri. I think he’d do really well with us. Serie A might be the hardest league for a striker. It is in my opinion.

    10 in 19 starts for Palermo
    15 in 34 games the season after
    13 in 32 starts for Juve
    4 in 14 this season

    I’d take a gamble if the price wasn’t too high. Gignac or Amauri for me.

    Hazrd will be something special in the future. Hope we get him

  33. Stu

    Havent watched this myself yet so dont know what its like. I bought him in pro evo and he is brilliant so im assuming its the same in reality. 🙄

  34. A

    choy I doubt Eduardo or Diaby would start straight away after injury. I reckon Denilson will start with Song, and Theo rather than Eduardo up top

  35. Stu

    Theo should play on the right because they have no fast left backs and if he played on the right Johnson wouldnt have too many problems dealing with him.

  36. A

    I dunno about that stu – theo playing on the left would stop johnson attacking too much, and if johnson did get forward theo would also have the pace to either cover him, or take advantage of the big space he leaves in behind him.

  37. bk

    I dont hate theo,i just think he is pure useless.Last night he was supose to be a leader??? he is just a 1 trick pony,which they even know in
    greece

  38. SUGA3

    thing is, Theo is quite talented, but I just don’t buy into all this hype 😉

    laying into Vela when TW was equally shit just pissed me off…

  39. SUGA3

    and I did not like the comparison to Reyes, who could be brilliant for us if it was not for certain team mates who treated him like crap…

    I just hope Carlos’ fate at Arse will be different…

    Andale! Andale! Arriba! Arriba!

    😆

  40. A

    yeah SUGA3, I’ve made the comparison with Reyes a fair bit, but on very much a positive level! Reyes if he hadn’t had the personal problems could’ve gone on to been an Arsenal great imo!

  41. rtist

    Vela is from Mexico: made of much stronger stuff than Reyes (who apparently was from Spain..think that’s in Europe). You need only realize how few Mexican nationals have ever played football in Europe or England: takes huge nuts to be 17-18 years old and do what this guy has done…to take such a leap. This guy may be spanish speaking..but any similarities to Reyes, Spain, etc. is a non-starter. He won’t go out with a whimper (like Reyes)I promise you that. And for those of you who constantly refer to him as a South American??..He’s Mexican and from Mexico: the distinction is important..ask any Mexican.

  42. SUGA3

    Reyes was treated like shit tho…

    I remember Henry openly publicly dissing him during goal celebration – shook JAR’s arm off his shoulder, treated him like a pleb…

    so it’s not exactly self induced personal problems – some ‘stars’ looked as if they felt better than the talented illiterate Spanish Gypsy…

  43. A

    Yeah SUGA3, Henry really didn’t like Reyes at all, it was a real pity the way his teammates treated him. Taken him ages to get back to his best, but good to hear that he’s found some form again back at Athletico Madrid

  44. SUGA3

    he did not look bad at RM either, given the limited chances…

    I really liked him, met him at the club once, generally nice fella 😉

  45. ReVELAtion

    Good post and a good performance from some of the kids in lue of loan moves in january.. I disagree about cruise though.. Whether it was nerves or lack of experience he was very poor and cannot see the “big ups” being directed his way.. he looked assured on the ball around about the halfway line but so do all of our players..

    To be fair to theo ( and i’m often not) he has only played 2 and a half hours of football and is still a far better bet than lennon in the long run for england.. I just get the feeling with theo it isn’t going to happen and certainly not if he is “expected” to take games by the scruff of the neck.. Without top qualioty players around him he looks very ordinary..

    Vela’s nerves got the better of him on such a grand stage as he is usually such a cool customer in front of goal.. The carling cup it weren’t and he was never really involved other than the 2 chances he had..

    Wilshire’s big bullox talk of “prem loan only” move looks a little overstated but he is one of our brightest talents still.. Gilbert impressed me outside the lapse in concentration for their goal as did bartley which was his 1st game in the first team.. Silvestre has been a big help for him and i will adhere to agree to arsene’s assessment that silvestre doesn’t get the plaudits he deserves in some aspects..

    Ramsey was fantastic and looks a top, top player in the making.. If Sir Fergie watched that game last night he’d have been rueing in missing out on such a talent. Merida had a good game also in my opinion.. A little rush of the blood to the head after his first yellow subsided which was a big positive at such a frustrating time for the younger players in the match..

    Fabianski still looks nothing more than a good prospect as his constant bombing off the line will get punsihed by teams and players with more nouce than olympiackos, who only needed a point at a maximum..

    Song also shone and the murmurs of discontent must surely be on the verge of silence..

    But unless we can start to grasp that performances only count for so much if you do not get the required result (a win none the less) then we will have to continue to being good looking also-rans..

    Graham Souness (yes, him) hit the nail on the head when he described what the difference between arsenal and title winning man utd and chelsea sides when he said “arsenal have to be at their fluent best and everything has to go right to beat teams with their type of play and their players”

    It may have been fun to watch the kids but it was really just like watching a mirror of us..

    The weekend game against liverpool is a very big game for us make no mistake, if you believe the hype.. Win well and we are certainly finishing top 3 and battling for the title, lose and we are battling liverpool, villa, city and spurs for a champions league spot..

    Phil Thompson said he expects liverpool to beat arsenal, no problems, using the same analogy for the poor run, game against united bullshit..

    The lack of a proper fit and inform striker is a massive concern though. We need better then Eduardo right now as he only works well in a 2 up top on the end of things. Using Arshavin there (who did score 4 there last season, but some are already getting carried away it seems) must surely be a stop gap before january.

    Can we outscore liverpool at anfield? I’m not so sure at the moment.. I’m getting tired of repeating our need for top, top class, experienced (Over 25), internationals in goal, up front and in the centre of midfield. Is Chamakc the answer in jan? I bloody well hope not.. We need to start punching our weight with signings because we surely do not need more unproven quality youngsters.

    Until we buy top quality internationals in these positions i can’t see us winning the title and a win against liverpool will do nothing more then assure me and a whole host of arsenal fans that our champions league spot is safe for another season, nothing more..

  46. ethangunner

    theo will come good ! he’s still young enough , and he looks hungry enough even if he still has control issues . once he has a bit of game we will see him win games for us soon enough ..

    and jack whilst poor , i cannot blame him ..
    he’s been touted as talented for over 2 years now but cant even get a free drink even after he’s fucked the bar attendant !

    once he’s settled im sure he will out preform them all !

    i could even believe he would exceed cesc’s level at some stage during his career ..

    vela is all nerves also !
    not enough pitch time AGAIN !

    very talented players being left out of the team for the mediocrity to TRY AND FLOURISH !

    this is wengers pride at its worst ..
    get ruthless , like you were with TH14 and PV04
    and they were your country men ! so diaby senderos denilson eboue AL even some of the long term injured should be looked at ,then moved on !

    if your going persist with project youth at least PICK THE RIGHT FUCKING PLAYERS to go forward with !

    pitch time is the only thing that will make them better ! so cut to the chase and play em !

    or lose em ….

  47. AA23

    Doing my usual lurking behind enemy lines and those dirt rotten scousers are pretty certain they are going to rip us to shreds with their head bender back up front and the fact that they
    “always do well agiainst the biggeh sides likkkkkkkkeeeeee”
    I am of the opposite opinion and can assure all grovers that the scousers are in for a good old fashioned cunting.

  48. Micky Did It 89

    I think its time we offered Rosicky a new improved contract. If you’re reading this Ros: “take it easy mate and don’t rush back”.