The big one arrives but who will play? I know what I’d do… Winning the Olympics is a clue!

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So this is it, our defining moment, but who will play? Well yesterday I dared to suggest a midfield of Rosicky, Nasri and Diaby, and outside of Cesc, our most skilful midfield, a few people suggested I was as mad as a March Hare not suggesting Song.

I am amazed that people would find that midfield not the best we have, Nasri can mix it and for me takes over from Cesc, Diaby can be the enforcer and Rosicky can start the attacks, yes Song has improved no end, but for this game I believe we need pace and skill over the ability to stop attacks, what Porto did last time was to by-pass the midfield and that makes Song redundant.

We need to keep the ball, not worry about winning it back should we lose it, tonight is about being positive and go on the attack from the off, we cannot afford to let them score, if we have to use a DM then sure, use Song, but please leave Denilson in the cafeteria, I reckon a front line of Theo, Bendtner and Arshavin will click tonight and I have Bendtner down with Theo to score more than one apiece.

This is not about leaving Song out, it’s about having the most creative midfield in football, besides, since the ACN, Song has not had the form he showed before.

However, we all know Wenger will play Sagna at the back and the midfield will be Denilson, Song and Nasri, that then leaves Eboue free to play up front on the right, so it will be his team or mine and I hope he is brave and goes for skill over his favourites.

My team


Eboue Campbell Vermaelen Clichy

Rosicky Nasri Diaby

Walcott Bendtner Arshavin

Wenger’s team


Sagna Campbell Vermaelen Clichy

Denilson Nasri Song

Eboue Bendtner Arshavin

I watched us destroy Burnley on Saturday, we weren’t far off, but we left it late, keep the nucleus of that team together and it will pay dividends, bring Song on once we are 3 up, don’t waste the opportunity because this Porto team are there for the taking.

It reminds me of the battle of Quebec, Montcalm, the French general was camped in at the fortress of Quebec, General James Wolfe was with his army waiting in the St. Lawrence river with no way past the big French guns, what did he do next? He slipped past them at night, scaled the impossible heights of Abraham and when dawn broke the British army was behind them and ready, the battle was over in double quick time, Wolfe raced to a 3 nil lead before Montcalm had a chance to deploy his counter defensive midfield ploy, the Brits trashed the French and won Canada, and to this day Canada is still a colony and that’s why Great Britain won the winter Olympics.

So the moral of the story is surprise, do something they don’t expect, be bold Arsene and the day is yours, oh and forget the fact you are French, tonight you are batting for Harry, for England and St. George, go forth and seize the moment (Napoleon) tonight we go through to the quarter finals and get revenge on the fornicators from the bridge.

Have a great day grovers, tonight could and should be memorable.

And don’t forget I’m not dissing Song, I’m saving him for a rainy day, and tonight isn’t one of them.

No predictions but we’ll score two more than they do!

1,315 Responses to “The big one arrives but who will play? I know what I’d do… Winning the Olympics is a clue!”

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  1. John A

    Great team Geoff. That team should rip them a new arsehole, but as you say, Wenger will probably play his love child Denilshit !


  2. Ramcesc

    Hi grovers,

    This is my first season as Arsenal fan. I just started watching Football. I am following Le grove for past 6 months.

    This is my First post. Hope Nikki scores today…

  3. Sabeel Indian Gunner

    Morning guys,


    Good Post,I think its gonna be a mix of ur midfield and wengers midfield,
    The midfield could be Song,Nasri,Diaby,which is okay,as long as Denilson isnt there…

    2 goals more than them,thats good enuf for us..

    C`mon Boys,tonite we take revenge for the stupid refreeing which cost us the game at porto..stupid second goal,and an own goal.who an forget that…

    we take revenge..

  4. gambon

    No way does Denilson start ahead of Abouuuuuuuuu!

    So Wenger was in paper quoted as saying “we are very young”

    Well i thought that was no longer an excuse Arsene? It always follows the same pattern, he says at the start of the season we can win everything, then at crunch time he starts preparing excuses.

    They might be young Arsene, but you pay them the same as triple league champions UTD, and 5 times more than the Porto squad so stop treating us like cunts.

    In the words of the judge from the Simpsons……Dont spit on my cupcake & tell me its frosting!

  5. Mark C

    Hi Geoff – I agree to a point that the midfield you have looks good and very attacking.

    The one thing we cant do is to conceed a goal.

    We also need something from the bench, so a Rosicky could change the game if we were a goal up and pressing for a second.

    I think we have got a great chance in this competition – just a bit concerned about Gallas as Campbell cant play twice in a week at his age (SIZE!!)

  6. ArsenalDK

    Wenger wouldn’t be playing denilson if he didn’t see something special in him would he? I mean.. Fabianski was droppet before you could say skafiskafnjak, after the first leg..

  7. Geoff

    Gambon, what a great line!

    Mark Porto just by-pass the midfield so having a stopper in there makes no sense to me, I prefer the old ‘we’ll score more than you’ Arsenal.

    Also Song, like Almunia, is prone to the customary howler, and that we can’t afford.

  8. Geoff

    IDK you could say the same about Almunia and Fabianski, he sees something in them that I don’t, I would get shot of all three of them.

  9. Sabeel Indian Gunner

    I Agree with Geoff,that Song hasnt been what he was before ACN..and porto bypassed us …

    Hence there is definitely a good call from Geoff,to have more attacking power in midfield…but it requires our defenders to be really at there best at portos counter

  10. sandeepgunners4life

    dont think wenger will play denilson or eboue .diaby in mid, along with either rosicky or walcott on the right.
    porto are shit travellers so wenger will go all out attack

  11. Chipo

    Anyone watch the Wigan game last night? DiamΓ© looked class. Maybe a nice signing for backup to Song (allowing us to get rid of Senor Crabby)

  12. Franchise

    Geoff u falling into my irony trap

    i fell into yours too.

    from your post I can conclude that you want Song to start as the Attacking midfielder

    And I can never understand why you hate us white folks

  13. Geoff

    Ha, ha Franchise, I double bluffed! The reason I hate trailer trash honkey’s is because you are all on benefits, it has nothing to do with the colour of your skin.

    Well maybe a little bit!

  14. Rocky7

    We have not overturned a deficit from the first leg in Europe since 1977/78 . Hope we break that tonight.

  15. Maqitlarge

    My team as thus. We don’t need a lump up top tonight. Save him and Eboue for Hull!

    Sags Verm Sol Clichy

    Diaby Nasri

    Walcott Rosicky

  16. Clacko the gooner

    Morning all.

    Nothing like a rousing Geoff speech to get the adrenaline going for tonight. I think we will do it but knowing us we will do it the hard way, go a goal down and then come back to win the day.

    Shame about Gallas being out for even longer now. Him and tommy V have been awesome together so hopefully this setack isn’t too long.

  17. bnsb

    Why did Birmingham choose Portsmouth striker Frederic?

    Portsmouth put up all their players for sale and said Piq Onne

  18. Clacko the gooner

    Mixture of my team with who i think wenger will play

    my choice is in brackets

    Sagna (eboue) Sol Verm Clichy
    Nasri Diaby Song (rosicky)
    Walcott Bendy Eduardo (Arsh)

  19. Rohan

    Sagna Sol Verm Clichy
    Nasri Diaby Song
    Walcott Bendtner Arshavin.

    That team is more than capable of winning.

  20. ethangunner

    good post

    We need to keep the ball, not worry about winning it back should we lose it, tonight is about being positive and go on the attack from the off, we cannot afford to let them score
    should be the work ethic EVERY game ..
    but i concur …

  21. gazzap

    Geoff, Song is fresh having not played on saturday. wenger will want to use that extra little boost since most of the players will be a bit tired.
    for the same reason, Sagna will probably play but I doubt Eboue will play in Theo’s place – he will be on the bench.
    Nasri Diaby and Song will surely be the midfield – which means no Denilson and thats good enough for me.

    If Arsh is fit then the front line is Theo, nik and Arsh. No place for Mr Rosicky, he is becoming our super sub.

  22. gazzap

    I read this morning that Gallas will be out for another month, thats bad news. Sol cant play 2 games a week and that means more Silvestre. Is Djourou fit yet?

  23. Arsenal Tom

    rohan… im with you 100% on that team mate, steady at the back with song and sag and the others can worry about attacking.

    porto got a 4-0 last time they came to town and a 3/4-0 the year before so they’ll probably be nervous… get an early goal and we’ll murder em

  24. gazzap

    Geoff, Playing without a DM is OK if all your midfielders break their neck to get behind the ball when we lose possession. Man U do it, but Arsenal players saunter about – thats why we need a dedicated DM to do that job, while the others can think about the next attack.

  25. Henry14

    Morning all!

    If Gallas is out for a month – it’s a concern.

    Sol won’t play 2 in a week and to be honest if we don’t win the league because of Silvestre and Wenger’s inability to buy a decent CH as back up – which every fucking fan, pundit and player can see we needed to do….

    Well i think he should refund his Β£6M salary back to the club!

  26. Arse&Nose

    Have to play Walcott, a European Ref will give him a big advantage and his runs will force the Porto defence deep.

  27. Franchise

    I always had a concern about the way we used Gallas earlier in the season

    he has burned out 3 seasons in a row at exactly the same point of the season

    And we are a team that believes in stats

    why do we keep doing this to our players?

  28. Clacko the gooner

    taig, i am a big fan of a penalty shootout… just not when we are involved. I am the sort of person that thinks in open play we have the best players in the world, yet none of them can take a penalty when it comes to it haha.

  29. Geoff

    Gazzap, if we play a DM then we lose a creative forward playing one, Nasri can track back well, as can Diaby and Rosicky, for me Song just plays in one position, has little imagination an it will be like losing a player.

    Above all though, he has lost his form.

  30. gazzap

    Franchise, absolutely, Gallas cannot last the whole season. Had wenger bought a proper defender in the summer, he would have been able to rest Gallas every few games. I dont think even wenger trusts silvestre anymore.

  31. Rohan

    we’re very good at taking penalties imo. Atleast not any worse than other teams. It needs to be noted that if you look at our teams we do have a lot of leaders in verm, rosicky, arshavin, gallas, vp and cesc the first 3 of whom are captains of their national teams. Even Almunia is pretty decent at saving penalties.

  32. Arsenal Tom

    song will play 100% even if its just to give someone else a breather!

    having him there gives more security to the other midfield 2

  33. Arsenal Tom

    wenger said he doesn’t like 2 leftys at CB, i think that was just another excuse to try and keep sylvestre out the team whenever possible.

    who would rather have playing bartley & verm or sylvestre & verm??

  34. Chipo

    We need to save Sol for the big games and leave Silvestre to face the shite teams like Burnley and Hull.

    If Song does not start tonight i will streak naked onto the pitch and dry-hump Eboue.

    That is how confident i am!

  35. Franchise

    we fill our squad with players the manager doesnt obviously trust then we are forced to rely on these lads when the trusted are out injured

  36. Arsenal Tom

    dont forget wenger went for smalling so i think he knows there could be a problem. shame he didnt have a 2nd target though

  37. Geoff

    I find it bizarre that aside from Vermaelen every one of our centre backs is over the age of 32, that to me is managerial madness.

  38. sandeepgunners4life

    luckily we are playing hull this weekend & if they play anything like they did at everton we could even afford to have fabianski in goal

  39. Franchise

    Atom Smalling is one for the future. He doesnt even play weekly for Fulham

    We dont manage our squad properly IMO

  40. Clacko the gooner

    Rohan i had a massive discussion with my old man about that the other day. Like you say on current form i don’t think rio or Terry are that much better. I would definately take Campbell ahead of leadass King anyday.

  41. Big Dave

    Silverstre worrys me, made a mistake their not having more back up now big phil has gone.
    hope sol can do hull away

  42. John A

    I now think that Eboue should be our 1st choice right back and not be alternated with Sagna unless he’s injured.

    He brings something different to our play, a full back who can attack, go round players and provide a decent final ball !

    He has come on in leaps and bounds since his horrific performances last season, so well done that man !

    He comes from Africa
    He’s better than Kaka

  43. Arsenal Tom

    Geoff i agree, but it shows he must have thought there was some kind of problem. the real problem is that if we needed another body in and it couldnt be smalling then it should have been someone else.

    Sabeel i think sol was done before the smalling business started

  44. gambon

    Shame about Gallas

    Unfortunately Wenger absolutely runs his players into the ground then offloads them.

    Look at Vieira, Henry, Pires, Ljungberg, Lauren – all played far too often and were physically gone by the time wenger moved them on.

    Cesc is now being treated the same way, at just 22 he has played over 300 games.

  45. Grimandi

    mMaking my way to Arsenal station at this very moment.

    Shit i’m too ealry for the kick off!

    i predict 4-1 Arsenal!!!!!

  46. Arsenal Tom

    fran… “one for the future” usually translates as “arsenal first team material” these days though mate πŸ˜‰

  47. Geoff

    Even when Djourou comes back he’ll take at least 7 or 8 games to get back, Wenger is the one that tells us that all the time, so I don’t buy that old chestnut.

  48. John A

    Guys, I don’t think Djourou is the answer and if Wenger thinks he is, then we are in big trouble. He’s very inconsistent. We need a solid reliable centre back like Subotic.

  49. Arsenal Tom

    gambon… could be worse, at least when he does go back to barca we can all laugh at them when they claim they were done over again like the henry deal

  50. Pedro

    Is Campbell 35 or 45?

    Who says he can’t handle 2 games in a week?

    Paulo Maldini was playing well into his late 30’s.

  51. Sabeel Indian Gunner

    Rumours flying around,we offering half of gallas salary…

    do the board think gallas is a fool,this is his last chance to secure himself more money..

    and is this the way to offer a longer contract,but halving the annual income,which he would earn in one year over two years,so that he gets 2 yr deal with same money as 1 yr deal…do they gallas is a fool..

  52. Rohan

    I don’t think that’s fair on Wenger. imo, the way Wenger blooded Fabregas and now Ramsey into the team has been hugely impressive. We blame Wenger with being too cautious with players returning from injury etc but you can’t have it both ways.
    Look at SAF and Rooney

  53. Franchise

    London its not primarily about signing players its the way they are used

    Silvestre only played like 5 times from August to January

    Senderos once now we seemed to have once again run Gallas to the ground

    up until end of January I believe we hadnt changed our CB partnership in the prem all season

  54. CHIPPY

    Yep totally agree on the centreback issue just goes to show how lucky we were for the first part of the season that Gallas And Verm stayed fit, We would have been well and truly fucked if Silvestre had played a larger portion of games.

  55. Pedro

    When Maldini was 36, he played 41 games for Milan… in the season they got to the Champions league final.

    Last season, in his 41st year… he played 31 games.

  56. Rohan

    I don’t think you can say with certainty that Subotic is better than Djourou. The standard of strikers in the German league isnt all that imo.

  57. Geoff

    I was still playing Premier League football when I was 38 and I never had a problem, too much is made of age.

  58. Henry14

    In fairness Gallas will get Β£50K – which is about right for a 33 year old of his ability.

    If he wants Β£90K IMO i would let him go and get in 2 more players on about that between them

  59. Pedro

    Henry14, the Italian league might be slower in the build up play, but they knock it about just as fast around the box.

    In the mid-2000’s, Italy had some pretty amazing players plying their trade there.

  60. Big Dave

    Have you seen Gallas car ? a pay cut shouldn’t harm him to much.

    Lucas or Denilson ? who’s worst.

    Torres is wasting his time their he should pack his bags and join the mighty gooners

  61. Pedro

    Sabeel, there is more risk with a 33 year old than a 26 year old. His best years are behind him and he can’t expect to command top dollar anymore.

    He’s got enough in the bank to tide him over.

  62. Arsenal Tom

    if sol gets through tonight and can play against hull, there wont be a problem as the next 2 games have a week in between them until the quarter finals

  63. Henry14

    Every game is so big now! I was saying to my mate on Sat that it’s just so good to be back in the mix at the end of the season!

    There is nothing worse than your season being over by December…..last year was awful.

    This is where we should be, it’s going to go down to the wire and every game is exciting.

  64. gnarleygeorge9

    I think Sol looks cherry ripe. He seems to have lost none of his passion for silverware, although I obviously wasn’t @ Highbury that day/night he left the stadium @ 1/2 time πŸ™‚ He must have lost it then.

  65. Geoff

    All this bollocks about Song not being good enough and Sol being too old and none of you commented on the fact that we didn’t win the Olympics as we gave Canada back years ago, same time as Australia, India and most of Africa.

    You’re all mugs and I’m going to the gym with my air biscuits.

  66. Sabeel Indian Gunner


    If we wanna have top quality,experience defenders in our team to help our young ones like Vermys,Djourous,bartleys it is great to have the risk of
    paying 80grand to gallas,keeping in mind the larger future context of helping young defenders too…

    Gallas has shown he can still play at top level for 2 more years..

  67. Nick

    Quality post your analogies were very fitting πŸ™‚ i agree we need to do the unexpected for a change not the obvious…and fran before you start i always say that we are too predictable for the oppo πŸ˜‰

    Again i would like to see nasri in the middle and eboue at right back if he dont start there then i dont want to see him walcott deserves to start ahead of him on merit for a change imo

  68. Rohan

    I have a feeling Nasri is going to put a top top performance. He seems to be peaking at just the right time. On Sat, granted against a weak team, Nasri showed what he can do.
    He is my favorite player at arsenal and I hope we see the best of him in the games to come.
    Cmon you Gooners!!

  69. Nick

    with the gallas situation see cambell for why you should keep quality players and what they offer see fishface for cheap imitations wenger is a clever man and should have lernt from the past although cambell was fucked up when he left and dont blame him for letting him leave πŸ™‚

    Gallas said after the he was dropped as captain he would remain at the club and be professional but leave when his contract finished and no convincing would see him stay because he felt he had been shown no respect and again in hindsight he was right ade was a cunt and the rest were bottlers just shouldn’t have said in public but if wenger wouldn’t listen what else can he do!!!

  70. London


    The comment was: “I find it bizarre that aside from Vermaelen every one of our centre backs is over the age of 32, that to me is managerial madness”.

    The fact that both Djourou and Senderos are still on the book make a mockery of this comment. Its Wenger bashing for the sake of it. I don’t understand how you live with it.

  71. daviddein

    Arsenal are set to ask defender William Gallas to take a substantial pay cut if he wants to continue manning the back-line for the north London club, The Times has reported.

    The Frenchman’s deal is set to expire this summer, and his representatives will reportedly meet with the club to negotiate over a deal to ensure the centre-half continues plying his trade at Ashburton Grove.

    The contract talks that took place earlier reportedly stalled briefly, as the two parties could not come to an agreement on the length of the new deal.

    Arsene Wenger’s policy is to hand out one year extensions to players over the age of 30. But Gallas, 32, is believed to have rejected any talk of it, pushing for a two-year deal instead.

    It is consequently claimed that the former Monaco boss is willing to consider the request of his former captain and grant him his wish, but on the condition he takes a huge pay-cut.

    According to the new terms, the defender’s wages will reportedly be halved – from Β£80,000 to Β£40,000 – to accommodate him on a two-year deal. But he would receive a Β£500,000 bonus should he remain under the care of ‘The Professor’ into the second year of the new deal, which is a clause that would come into effect when the 2011-12 season begins.

    Meanwhile, Roma, Olympique Marseille and Paris Saint-Germain are believed to be keenly monitoring the situation at north London, with a view to snapping up the centre-half should he become available.

  72. Nick

    london senderos is at everton and will leave officially in the summer jd has been out injured for both transfer windows and wenger knew for a long time so he is not available and we are relying on silvest an off form senderos and the kids as back up until we signed sol which was a good move but get off your soap box πŸ˜†