Today is the first of many ‘must wins’ – if we are to win the title.

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First of all I must comment on Eboue and his vast improvement this last few months, well Arsene is now saying he is becoming that player he knew was in there, great, at last so he’s what now? 26? Yet more proof that project youth only works in extremely rare situations, like Cesc, Messi and Rooney.

Most players in football only really come of age when they are 22 onwards, 26 maybe middle aged in Wenger’s book, but worldwide it the perfect age.

Players like Kaka, Zidane, Ronaldo and co only really come good when they get into their twenties, and that’s what is happening to Eboue.

What I don’t like is going through years of watching players learn at our expense and filling our team full of weak links in the hope that one day they will come good, I think you can afford to have one or two, but the bulk of them should be ready to go.

Arsenal are finally getting to the point where they are good to go, we have few weaknesses these days, bar maybe Denilson, but he’s still young enough to come good and Almunia, but he’s too old to come good.

I think sending Wilshere out on loan makes sense, when we get him back he’ll be ready to rock, Ramsey will come back a stronger player and hopefully Djourou will get fit in time to help out at the back when we need him most.

Until the likes of Djourou and Bartley grow monster heads I think we could do with one to look after our players, a Peter Story type, Cana would have done it, and yes I know he’s a DM, I don’t care where on the pitch we get one, but we don’t have one now. And we absolutely need one.

Robin is due back in April, which isn’t far away and he’s another that after so long was beginning to look world class.

So in all, this team are closing in on completeness and hopefully at the right time, I think Eboue offers that incisiveness we need on the right, though I would prefer to juggle him and Sagna and persevere with Theo as the winger.

We were out of the blocks against Porto and we need to do the same today, do that and we are top of the league, say we are top of the league.

Has a nice ring to it doesn’t it?

Have a great day Grovers, this is it! Oops, sorry Michael!

1,287 Responses to “Today is the first of many ‘must wins’ – if we are to win the title.”

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  1. Micky Did It 89

    My thoughts from earlier. So, I agree with Geoff over the Peter Storey type.

    Morning all.
    Yesterday I mentioned my wish list. Villa, Alonso and a GK. I have had a rethink, and realize that what we need is a hard-as-nails Mr Arsenal at the back for games such as these. I am reminded of a story that I think involved Norman Hunter. He was in the tunnel pre match, and went up to (I think) a flying Liverpool winger and quietly said: “Son, you even think about going past me this afternoon, and I will break your fucking legs”. Said scouser had a very quiet afternoon. Now I see this Mr Arsenal as the love child of Tony Adams, Stuart Pearse and Norman Hunter. In the tunnel he would approach his chosen Northerner and let him know that he goes anywhere near any of our poncy fragile skill merchants and it will be early bath time.
    How I miss Adams and Keown.

  2. Mark c

    Eboue has been great and he even seems committed.

    Let’s hope that rubs off on to other players.

    An early goal today arsenal and I will be happy.

  3. Pat

    Eboue has been a very good RB since Lauren got injured and he stepped in. He was right back of the tournament in the 05/06 CL and shut down Ronaldinho, who was POY that year!!

    Only thing that has improved is his offensive play, and in my opinion, his defensive abilities have actually gotten worse.

  4. Micky Did It 89

    Hate to stick a fly into anyone’s ointment so early in the day, but I look at our remaing fixtures, and those of Utd and Chelsea, and, here we go, I think a point today would not be a disaster. We are more suited to winning the rest. It therefore goes to say, that I believe that three points today, and we will win the league for definate.

  5. Micky Did It 89

    Right, off out to see if I caught the bastard mole last night who has been digging up my football pitch.

  6. ritesh

    Eboue is good as long as Walcott is bad… Once Walcott puts in a few decent shifts, my guess is Eboue will be slaughtered again. 😉

  7. sixx pac

    i think diaby is fast becoming one o the best mids in the game. His languish running style,though unorthodox, is very pleasing to the eye.

  8. ritesh

    If we attack them from the start, they will find it hard to come back. We need to push them back and NB will do the job.

    Only worry is the ref….Against Porto, we had a decent ref. Today its local lad Marriner.

  9. Gooby

    what we need to do is use arshavin’s and nasri’s skill to create chances and bendy to stay in the box and score.
    c’mon the gunners!

  10. hitman

    Its all about desire. There no doubt AFC players are talented. They just need the will to win which can get them through these last 9 games.
    We have the ability to win every single game.
    Win the next five against the rubbish teams and we should be top of leauge by mid April. Carry on winning and we may have it wrapped up with a game or two to spare.
    Drop points against the rubbish teams and we will be out of it. The next month is crucial. Hull West Ham B’ham Wolves Wigan are the key matches for me. Max 15 points from these games leaves Chelski & Utd playing catch up.

  11. Geoff

    Good to be a Goonah, how intelligent your comment is, you must have thought long and hard about that one, why don’t you go and read someone else’s post if you don’t like it?

    I really won’t lose any sleep over it.

  12. ritesh

    Yeah Gooby, but the attacking players could do their tricks because Song and Diaby were the rocks on midfield. Today we have no Song. Our Full backs need to be on their toes against Stephen Cunt and Thug Fagan.

  13. Geoff

    Sixx pac no we lost to Derby, Dean Saunders, and we drew with Wimbledon 2-2, I went home suicidal that night, I thought we’d blown it, I think West Ham lost 6-2 to Liverpool leaving us needing to win 2 nil at Anfield…

  14. ritesh

    You are right Hitman. In some matches, it was just like the players did not care. (Manure)

    I dont mind Arsenal losing as long as we try our best. We losts against the Chavs and I had no regret because our midgets did their best.

    With Diaby, Song, Shava, Nasri, Rosicky and Bendtner in our team though, We will be a handful for any team in our remaining fixtures.

  15. TonyS

    Away at filthy northern hovel? Check
    Disgusting, mis-shapen oppo manager? Check
    CL game in midweek? Check
    Opposition near the bottom of table? Check

    Everything is in place for us to screw up today. If we get 3pts even I will start to believe.

  16. Micky Did It 89

    TonyS: I agree. My predictions:
    1. A draw.
    2. The “sack Wenger” comments.
    3. We go on to win the league.

  17. skandibird

    Morning Geoff; at the game against Burnley last week, my ‘neighbour’ and I said ‘we could win this league you know’ and then we both laughed at the same time (out of happiness…) and also realised it could mean at the last game, home against Fulham, they (Fulham) would line up and applaud the team onto the pitch before the game – MY GOD!!! how exciting is that???
    To-days game v Hull IS important so a win would really really state the case and I have this funny feeling that this could be the year to win the PL, yes, I’m beginning to believe.

  18. patthegooner

    Massive game today

    This is the first of three that I worry about (Also Man Shitty H and the Spuds A).

    I worry about this one for all the wrong reasons. We are better than them in every single way, but it has been turned into a bit of a grudge match with all the bad blood that has been spilt in recent meetings…All of which are down to their bad losing perma tanned cunt of a manager.

    If we can win this one, then I really think we are favorites to win the PL.

  19. Gooby

    PTG

    i have that feeling too. but mancs will played mid-week and chavs will look to rest some key players for the inter game.

  20. TonyS

     Anyone know anything about boxing? I’m in Vegas at the tine of the Holyfield-Botha fight. Is it worth going bearing in mind those guys are both about 90 years old?

  21. vinnyjones

    Cesc needs to use the crap that was levelled at him after last years f.a cup tie and give the lads a pre match speech that will fire them up for a big performance.
    i really feel like the title is ours to lose, chelsea for mine will crumble before seasons end. too many middle aged chaps on their roster who will not want to injure themselves before the world cup and i think all the scandals have been an unwelcome disruption. as for the mancs, anyone who saw fergie`s press conference this morning could see it`s obvious they live and die on rooneys form/availability. i honestly thought he was gonna give the journo who bravely suggested they may falter if wayne were to be injured before seasons end, a good kicking.
    we seem to be getting stronger, and the last 3 performances seem to have instilled belief amongst the players. i hope we absolutely batter them as i think phil brown is a turd who will hopefully be flushed back to the lower leagues where he belongs.

  22. Gooby

    is it true that hilario is out for chavs? just saw that on myphysioroom.

    with cech still out, who’s left for them?

  23. Chris

    Hilario is out a 19 year old will be on the bench
    Campbell must play, Ebioue RB I think, Theo vs TR7 (if fit) is a tough call, I’d take Theo, probably.

    7 wins to have a chance – this has to be one of them

  24. vinnyjones

    nasri has been getting better with each match, and his confidence is high. would not be suprised to see him score a screamer from distance as he seems to fancy them.
    i just pray rocky is fit so denilson doesn`t start. much prefer him as a bench option. my biggest concern is almunia tbh, statistically he`s due for a shocker so it will be up to the rock and which ever veteran we roll out next to him to be at their best defensively.
    i dreamt last night that cesc came out on to the pitch at full time after a 7-0 stomping walked over to phil brown, dropped trou and proceeded to dump a steaming turd at his feet. i`m sure the boss would do a double take when it came time to shake hands. lol

  25. KM

    Will this be the most likely line-up?

    Eboue Campbell TV Clichy

    Nasri Denilson Diaby

    Theo Bendtner Arshavin

    We really need to get Eastmond involved because i dnt rate Denilson as a DM

  26. Big Raddy

    We can’t trust Eastmond in a game like today’s. Play him at home off the subs bench when we are 2 up.

    Denilson has far more experience and although I would like to see him “ply his trade” in Spain/Italy next season, I trust him enough to take a bite out of Hunt – which will be his task today.

    More important is Diaby’s role today.

  27. KM

    Big Raddy

    thats what i meant ….if we’r cruising get Eastmond on for Denilson. he needs the experience. Denilson woul d definately mroe at home in Spain

  28. patthegooner

    I would rather Eastmond than Denilson.

    Denilson could take a bite out of a chunky kit kat.

    Sure he pops up with the odd goal, but for 95% of the time it is like playing with 10 men. The guy is a liability and an accident waiting to happen.

    I would go

    Almunia
    Eboue, Campbell, Vermaelen, Clichy
    Diaby, Eastmond, Nasri
    Rosicky, Bendtner, Arshavin

  29. patthegooner

    Obviously that was supposed to say

    Denilson couldn’t take a bite out of a chunky kit kat.

    seriously though, he was woeful in that posistion whilst Alex was at the ANC, Whilst Eastmond has looked pretty good when asked to play in that role.

  30. patthegooner

    KM, I dont doubt it buddy. That was just the team I would go for.

    I reckon Wenger will go

    Almunia
    Eboue, Campbell, Vermaelen, Clichy
    Diaby, Denilson, Nasri
    Theo, Bendtner, Arshavin

  31. KM

    We need to give Eastmond as much time as possible imo. If not i’d like Wenger to buy another older/more tenacious DM to bring balance to our midfield when SONG is out

  32. Truth

    Morning all. Top post Geoff, our squad is looking very thin on the ground, we may have to go with Denilson in the middle, and Silvestre in defense which fills me with dread.

  33. KM

    This is very interesting – a must read.I agree with Quinn – The wage bills are crazy!!

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/mar/12/niall-quinn-sunderland-player-wages

    Niall Quinn, the Sunderland chairman, has called for the Premier League to restrain spending on players’ wages after revealing that his club made a £26m loss for the last financial year.

    Quinn said all the clubs should agree before the start of every season to spend an agreed, reasonable proportion of their income on wages, and that the Premier League centrally should have the power to impose sanctions, including points deductions and even expulsion, on clubs that serially overspend.

    “There should be some sort of disclosure of where your wages are at, prior to the year ahead,” Quinn said. “A percentage of how much you have coming in and what you are spending on wages. At least then every club is telling the chairman of the Premier League: ‘This is where we hope to be, this is our business plan,’ so nobody has gone off the wall on their own.

    “If it looks excessive, the Premier League chairman should have the power to say: we as a group are not happy, be careful, you are coming into a red area here. Maybe let clubs do it one year, but if you do it for the third year in the row, you are docked points and you are out of here.”

    Quinn also voiced support for Uefa’s Financial Fair Play initiative, which will be phased in for clubs in European competition from 2012-13, requiring them to break even, not make losses, over a financial year. He argued the controls should apply to Premier League clubs.

    “Wouldn’t it be better if it was put in beforehand and clubs had to work to that budget,” Quinn said of the break-even requirement, “rather than put in as a loss, and the owner had to put [in the money]? Do it before the case, not after you are in trouble.”

    Quinn’s arguments have added personal force given the scale of losses Sunderland will declare when the 2008-09 accounts are published imminently. The club expects to make a similar loss, a further £26m, over the current year to 31 July 2010. Those combined losses will be principally due to spending on signings such as Darren Bent and Michael Turner, and servicing an increased wage bill of £50m.

    Quinn said that the rise in spending is being bankrolled by the club’s owner, the US private equity magnate Ellis Short, who is now based in London. Short, Quinn said, has invested £77m in Sunderland. It is a measure of how inflated wages have become that for so massive an outlay by Short, Sunderland currently sit 13th in the Premier League.

    The club spent £64.6m on wages last year. As a proportion of the club’s income this was 78%, exactly the same percentage as that in the most recently published accounts at Portsmouth, who have been declared insolvent and gone into administration.

    Quinn argued that Sunderland’s position is much more secure because Short has put his money in for shares in the club, not as loans, and he is prepared to continue to invest for the club to progress.

    “Ellis has put a hell of a lot of money into the football club and the fans need to know he has an emotional attachment,” Quinn said. “He came here in the first place I think because he could not believe that this team was never out of the bottom five [last season], had not won a trophy since 1973 and hadn’t won one since before the war before that – and they were getting a bigger home crowd than Liverpool.

    “Ellis would not have come here if we had 18,000 fans every week. He is here because of the potential; he wants the asset to grow and he feels in five to ten years, that asset will be worth far more. He feels it will be good value in time.”

  34. KM

    This is really interesting :

    ‘Quinn also voiced support for Uefa’s Financial Fair Play initiative, which will be phased in for clubs in European competition from 2012-13, requiring them to break even, not make losses, over a financial year’

    What will happen to clubs like ManU, L’pool/ManCity?

  35. daviddein

    thinking that hull just got beaten 3 times only at their own turf this season,its gonna be a tough match for us..but im so confident our gunners can hammer ’em!!!

  36. Chris

    Stoke had a great home record –
    They’re a lot better than hull
    Arseanl is probably good enough to win even with Sylvestre, Denilson and Eboue but Sylvestre is the weak link of the three in the wrong position and if he can stand up Campbell will play

  37. Jules78

    Bendtner’s our key player for the remainder of the season IMO. Cesc, Nasri, Arshavin, Rosicky, TV, Teo (maybe) can all come up with these moments of individual brilliance that win close games but we don’t need Nik to be brilliant, just to do his job and burry the early golden chances that we too often miss.

  38. Jules78

    Denislon in the middle combined with Silvestre at the back is a disaster waiting to happen. I really hope Sol will play.

  39. goonermichael

    Is Rosicky injured?
    Halario is a great name. Like stupido or ridiculo or you’re having a laughio.

  40. Stu

    Fuckin quiet on here today. Why is that?

    Hull may have a good home record but so what. We beat them at their place last season and we are better now than we were then.We just need to take our chances. Im going for 3-1, Bendtner, Nasri and Eduardo?

  41. KM

    i love Arshavin’s interviews. the online interviews are mad because he gets asked all sorts of weird questions?!? 😉

  42. izham

    quote of the day..

    “Give it a few more weeks and they will put a camera in a footballer’s pants in order to get a story.”

    LOL

  43. Jon

    I predict a 3-0 win for the Arsenal. Rosicky, Arshavin and Nasri to net a goal each.

    But more importantly, a win would be vital. Hell, if it’s a 1-0 win, I’d be contented as well.

  44. danish gooner

    I wouldnt surprise me if Manure won all nine and got some serious help from refs along the way like at wigan a couple off seasons ago.

  45. tunde

    i’lld go with le boss and stick denilson in there rather than eastmond as i don’t think it is good idea to experiment yet again with another kid when we are fighting for the title,i dont think eastmond is ready as yet,see the bolton away game,so it’s a case of putting the devil i know and hoping he surprises me for once

  46. Jon

    Danish,
    It wouldn’t really surprise many. But it sure as hell would piss me off because if Man Utd wins because of stupid plays where they influence the refereeing and win by means of having a shit-load of luck, it sure as hell would not be justifiable!

  47. Tunde

    It is sure as hell united will not win all the 9games,problem is,i don’t think we will either! Hopefully we will pick more points than the other two and go ahead to nick the title by 2 pts margin…

  48. Tunde

    Stu turnbull is much better than hilarious albeit less experience,probably better than almunia,i recall watching him play for m’borough and wishing we had him as our 2nd keeper

  49. ReVELAtion

    fair enough.. It isn’t like we haven’t got 50 clones of him at the club already anyway..

    btw did any1 see the interview and video about wellington posted a few days back? HAd he had some sniff or was he fighting back the tears?

  50. izham

    true ritesh..shava is really a unique character,all his answers are out of the box..did u visit his website on questions and answers from fans??

    loved the one when he told a girl to get a scruffy drunkard for her ‘fiance’ and bring home to mom and dad..:)

  51. izham

    revelation,

    the battle for fourth is getting interesting by the minute..liverpool will finish 6th,so it’s either spuds or northern chavs..would have prefered if it was everton..

  52. Stu

    How big is Wellington Boots? Is he another midget or is he big enough to not get pushed around…havent seen him yet.

  53. ReVELAtion

    Looks a “proper” striker the kid… TBH keeping denilson is vital to his development at our club unless we can buy another experienced brazilian..

  54. Martin Hayes Never Missed

    Ha Ha Geoff, you brought back a few memories talking about Wimbledon 89…I was a psd off 13 year old that night…stood by the corner flag where the North bank met the East stand…

    I got loadsa grief at school from the plastic scousers saying we had no chance!

    3-1 today…

  55. Stu

    We should never have let Gilberto leave. He could have taken a coaching job, its obvious he didnt want to go either.

  56. Stu

    ESPN are showing 3 of our matches from now til the end of the season. Fucking hate those cunts…why did they have to cut my espn feed…ahh!!!!!

  57. ReVELAtion

    stu, it’s on epsn at 5.15.. You’ll have to catch it on a stream if not going to the game. Hoping to snag city tickets on the 24th.

    wellington doesn’t look a “physical threat” by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s not a tiny tim either.. I just think he looks a “pure centre forward” and we haven’t had one since wright & a young nicholas anelka..

  58. patthegooner

    Bit torn on the 4th place

    Obviously no Gooner would want the spuds to get it.

    I dont want the Northern Chavs to get it, as it will enable them to attract better players, and I hate teams buying success.

    But I like seeing Liverpool in turmoil.

    I think I will pray for a end of season push from Villa.

  59. Stu

    No chance of me going to the game Rev…being in a different country and all.

    Hope Wellington does a Pato for us and becomes world class in no time.

  60. Stu

    Villa get my vote too PTG.

    I dont want Spuds or the mancs getting it for the same reasons as you…as for Liverpool whether they get it or not i couldnt care less because either way they are fucked.

    I heard that if Rafa fails to get CL football then his contract is void..so for that reason i would like them to get 4th and have Rafa for another season at least.

  61. ReVELAtion

    I’d like to see it go to everton, but they’ve got no chance.. Pat, I couldn’t have put it better myself in regards to the gooner perspective on the current top 4 suitors.

  62. Martin Hayes Never Missed

    Villa get my vote too..

    you boys should move over here to Sweden..Spuds are on now then I have the choice of chelsea v west ham, birmingham v villa or stoke v everton…then the main course after hull v’s us!

    And the girls are hot too….

    c’mon Blackburn!!! Two more please…

  63. izham

    i bet if the scoucers don’t finish 4th,there’ll be other way or means for them to get into the CL..they’ll plead that europa cup champions deserve to be in the CL which of course the UEFA will not reject…

  64. Martin Hayes Never Missed

    Football coverage maybe Jay…but not alot else unless you have loads of snow and the beers tripled in price since I was last there :0)

  65. Stu

    Just went back to deadline day on Le Grove. The amount of comments and the comments themselves are hillarious. Everyone freaking out and its amazing how much opinion has chanced since then.