Apparently the spam filter went into over drive yesterday and the abuse was aimed at me for taking on the greatest fans in Europe.
Is it just me or does every team outside the M25 have the ‘worlds greatest fans’? Celtic apparently have a following 15x larger than Arsenal blah blah blah… well, just to set the record straight, I think Denilson’s statistics carry more credibility than that pearler.
Arsenal managed 30,000 fans for a Youth cup final… Celtic couldn’t even muster 15,000 for an important league game last year because they lost in the cup the game before! The Celtic season ticket adverts flashing up on the hoardings weren’t lost on me either… Click here to read more about the greatest fans since Newcastle started losing.
Just for your information, the abuse stopped at 1622. Hmmm?
Arsenal announced before the kick off that they’d raised £818,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital. A staggering amount of money, congratulations Arsenal, congratulations Sky for making the link between the hospital having young people in it and Arsenal liking young players. Genius.
Sagna Verm JD Clichy
Theo JET Vela
The line up was youthful. JET, Wilshere, Frimpong and Vela were all given the chance to fire their way into Wenger’s first team plans this season. Wenger confirmed that Diaby is yet again injured and if the gossip is to be believed, he pulled up 10 minutes into his first training session back. What a joke. I know you can’t blame the players for having faulty genetics… but jeez, this guy is supposed to be a starter for us this year!
Frimpong started the first move of the game dispossessing Celtic within Minutes, Jack played Walcott in at the back post who found no one in the 6 yard box with his cross.
Arsenal were zipping the ball around at a staggering pace, they made their possession count when Jack played Theo into acres of space, the winger slotted across the face of goal (I’d say it was a cross) and Vela held his line perfectly to bundle the goal in off the post. A blistering opening 2 minutes.
Bar a shoddy pass, Frimpong picked up where he left off yesterday, breaking up play and keeping it simple. The last time a Brazilian went AWOL from pre-season Flamini took his chance to steal his first team place.
Vermaelen took the opportunity to show us he can shoot better than Kolo ever could when he let rip from 35 yards. The keeper could do no better than parry it, Walcott wasn’t tall enough to return the header goal bound.
The north of the border crew opened us up with a great through ball, lucky for us Murphy had been taking finishing lessons off future Arsenal Legend Mark Randall yesterday.
Celtic were showing signs of menace and if it weren’t for a superbly timed tackle by Clichy, we may have been in trouble. Arsenal’s midfield were causing bottlenecks which was causing confusion.
Rosicky did well out wide and saw JET’s run early, the giant Englishman went for the audacious chip but was denied by a block. Pretty much the only spark of excitement we saw from him today. Chance lost… I’d imagine he’ll be off to Blackpool.
Jack Wilshere had a deflected shot tipped over the bar. The Young Englishman then smashed a Rosicky corner on the volley at the Celtic goal. An amazing strike, so unlucky!
Sagna was played in at the edge of the 18 yard line and something more unusual than a £20million Arsenal signing happened… he fired it in the bottom right and put us 2-0 up! Superb stuff! It was a shame for the Celtic keeper, he was doing well up until that point.
The second half started with the introduction of Nasri and Chamakh. It took all of five minutes for the super slim Frenchman to slip a powerful shot under the Celtic keeper. Another Theo assist, another great bit of composure from a player rejected by France. Rumours are he had a bust up with Eboue after the match… I’ve heard that our Ivorian isn’t universally loved in the dressing room… he’s a bit of an irritant apparently.
Jack gave away a penalty when he took down a Celtic man in our box. The Greek embarrassingly flew his dead ball over the bar. Was it a bad penalty or was it Manuel’s close season dalliance into the dark arts of mind control that sent it over? Only Arsene will know. Jack will be pleased to have gotten away with that.
Big Al was forced into action minutes later and pulled off a great save. Our defence was taking a bettering and after we failed to react quickest to a dodgy deflection, we conceded our 2nd of the tournament. Disappointing that we couldn’t manage a clean sheet against the worst Celtic team for a decade. Worrying that conceding late has become a problem.
It got worse though, JD had to slice over the bar to snuff out more Celtic danger. He was then muscled off the ball which allowed them in with a header that Almunia had to scramble to tip over. Nervy stuff and very worrying.
Theo was played in by Arshavin late on, he had all the time in the world to pick out one of two players or shoot… he decided none of those options suited and passed it into empty space. This poor decision making continued for the remainder of the game. When the pressure is on, he loses his head and he is so far away from being a finisher I find it criminal people suggest he play through the middle.
Kozzer did his level best to undo all the good of yesterday when he slid over the ball allowing Celtic through on goal. Almunia to the rescue again.
Celtic breached our backline one more time catching Kozzer out of position, they played a simple ball across the box and banged it in for a second. Awful defending and a sure sign that we’ve regressed defensively since last season.
It really was a diabolical end to the Emirates Cup and a sure sign we need reinforcements. We simply cannot go into the season as it stands and expect to overhaul Chelsea.
Lifting the Emirates Cup, if I’m honest, felt a touch embarrassing. Why? Well, deep down, I know Wenger is going to label it silverware later on in the season when the pressure is on. You know, along with that 3rd place trophy we like to compete for.
Arsenal controlled the pace of the game but we showed a worrying tendency to switch off . My biggest fear about preseason is that it’s been geared around showing off our fantastic attacking football which we knew about already. The keepers haven’t really been tested nor has the defence. If we plan to use JD or Koscielny as leading men this year, we’ll be exposed. Neither is ready.
Wenger said that our players don’t have the mental ability to see out a game which is a startling admission 2 weeks before the start of a season but an accurate one. I’ve heard that he is fully aware of the fragilities in his squad. He’s not deluding himself that they are all world beaters. Well, if that’s the case, what’s going on? Why are you talking about your ‘top goalkeepers’? Why haven’t we sorted our centre backs? Weren’t we supposed to be set for the Emirates Cup?
The boss has ruled out purchasing a midfielder this window. I revealed a couple of weeks ago that we enquired after a top defensive midfielder. So that means Frimpong has done enough, which is fine. He looks like a £10million signing, he holds his own in the middle. I can’t name many DM’s who don’t make silly fouls and bad passes every now and then, so I’ll ignore the flaws. Ask a Scouser who holds a season their opinion on Mascharano…
Too many people on the web are resigning themselves to the fact Almunia isn’t actually that bad and he played well yesterday. Well, he is a professional goalkeeper, so games like that can happen. His problem is that he doesn’t have the mental strength to deal with high pressure games. That won’t change and a supposedly solid twenty minutes where he conceded two won’t convince me otherwise.
If the squad stays the same Wenger will be taking an ill-conceived gamble on the most pivotal season of the last ten years. His future, Cesc’s future and the reputation of our club as a big time player depends on the outcome of this year.
So far, it doesn’t feel like the club have accepted any of these realities… complacency is the elephant in the room and the only people who can see it are the fans…