Fabianski dropped / Benchmarking against the best / Justice time!

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I’m definitley not one for a conspiracy theories… Global warming is fact, there was no nonsense with those twin towers, the Americans definitely landed on the moon first and Fabianski certainly has a groin injury that may keep him out of the game with Stoke tomorrow…

Or does he?

Now, despite all the things Wenger has been doing wrong lately, I still like to think we see eye to eye on a few things. I’ve been telling the world for weeks that Fabianski is not a good goalkeeper and despite all the marvelous shot stopping he’s been doing, from a technical point of view, he’s been failing.

A goalkeepers job is at the maximum, only 20% shot stopping (Guide to Goalkeeping 2010). Most keepers can shot stop, unless you purchase them from a crap Spanish second division. You don’t generally get spotted unless you can make spectacular saves… but that’s not what pushes you onto a higher level.

Things that make a top class goalkeeper for me and Arsene are great distribution, the ability to claim crosses from set pieces and open play, communication and command of the area.

If the keeper isn’t confident and strong. The defence will wobble.

Now, I know people who don’t see goalkeeping in the same way me and Wenger do will naively tell you Fabianski has been amazing. Fact is, he hasn’t been. His kicking has been atrocious, you rarely see him shouting at his defence and it’s not unusual to see him bound out of his area and totally miss a cross. That puts everyone on edge and when you’ve got a defence like ours (more skitty than Amy Winhouse on day 3 of cold turkey), the last thing you need Flappy the seagull collecting balls in the box.

Wenger took him out of the first team line up, yet didn’t take him out of the squad against United. Very odd considering the severity of a groin injury. This weekend, it has been suggested Chesney will again take his place between the sticks. Is it a coincidence that a keeper who just showed a master class in penalty area dominance is going to get another chance to have a go against long ball specialists Stoke?

I think not…

Chesney shouts at his defence, he oozes the arrogance and self-confidence of Jens, he closes down players like Peter Schmeichel and he doesn’t facilitate spectacular goals like the other two. For me, he has it all… bar experience.

So please, if he has a great game tomorrow, don’t shed a tear for Fabianski, he’ll still get paid. This is the era of Chesney and hopefully it’s going to be a long and fruitful one.

In other news, Wenger said that Barcelona are the bench mark. Something Geoff and I said last season to great derision. If that’s the case, maybe Wenger will note that they have a great defence and a team that all work for each other. Samir Nasri flagged the same point in PHW’s paper

“We need to put our suits of lights away in the cupboard at times. We have to get down to working hard for the good of the team.

Damn straight Sammy. Flashy tricks and flicks are only acceptable if you’re spanking teams. Sometimes we need to think about other aspects of our game, you know, the boring bits. We need to become less shallow and dig in. Football is about winning, it’s not just about the spectacle and press plaudits.

Barca didn’t get where they are today by accident. Guardiola made Messi the best player in the world by teaching him how to be great off the ball. If we want to get to that level, Wenger needs to up his game in the transfer market and the players need to up their game in the mental department. If that happens, Madrid in the Champions League might not be such a daunting prospect.

It’s a massive game against Stoke this weekend. If we smash them, we’ll go back top and hopefully Chelsea will do the business against United and last weeks result won’t look so bad.

We know what to expect from Stoke, loads of long throws into the box, long balls all day and strong arm (and foot) tactics. The way you deal with tough guys in Sunday league is to give as good as you get. I don’t have any worries about the physical side tomorrow. The team just needs to make sure they all stand up for each other. We need to trust in our game,  be more direct and open them up with the same relish most of us attack a Terry’s christmas orange.

Tomorrow Grovers, we enact poetic justice for Rambo… again.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments… come join, it’s Christmas (Denilson to Werder) and it’s joke Friday!

TAXI! First joke... done.

P.S. Don’t focus too much energy on turd of the year Ryan Shawcross tomorrow? Yeah right… tear him a new one!

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846 Responses to “Fabianski dropped / Benchmarking against the best / Justice time!”

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  1. Geoff

    Good post pedro! I believe if we can get shot of Denilson although a miracle, it will help this team, bring in Hazard, he wants to come and he could be the winger we need, better than Lennon and SWP and up there with Ribery and Robben, a proper winger.
    And look at what the above give their teams.

    And leave Chezzer in, he will be a great and Flappy won’t, simple as that.

    Get shot of Bendtner and bring in Benzema for Clichy, Benzema could do an Henry.

  2. A

    Agree about Benzema Geoff – he would be a superb signing, although I reckon it’s very unlikely to happen, unless we were to get rid of VP AND Bend/Chamakh.

    I’d rather we kept Bendtner at the club than Chamakh, not because he’s better right now but because I see him becoming far better than Chamakh will be/is. Maybe loan out Bendtner?!

  3. Lurch LeRouge

    Fine post Pedro.

    coincidence that szczesny catches long balls into the box with paws teh size of Texas perhaps?

    Hopefully his poor distribution against the mancs had something to do with our unusually deep back 4….

    Hopefully Samirs barbed words were directed to our lackadaisical Russian!

    Future captain that man. French. Like a royal with cheese.

  4. A

    I’m sure it was a case of just being nervous Lurch, although to be fair he has had the odd miskick for the reserves. It’ll improve though….

  5. A

    I reckon he might go either in the summer AT or next summer…. Either way probably sold before his contract expires, I don’t see him getting a new one on the wages he’s on, unless he really steps it up

  6. A

    Yeah you’re probably right Geoff – I’d like to keep him long term but he needs games and I’m not sure he’ll get them with us.

    He won’t even make the bench at times if VP stays fit, although I’d rather he played than Chamakh in certain situations

  7. Lurch LeRouge

    Fair enough A. I recall seeing Sagna criticising his positioning at some point as well.

    I’m positive he’s the ticket. But let’s get another in Jan anyhow.

  8. A

    I’m happier with Fabianski than Szczesny atm Lurch but Szczesny should develop into a top top player and that’ll only happen with games, perhaps it’s time just to keep him in the side and keep the faith?

    If not and Fabianski comes back into the side when he’s fit again then he should go on loan imo, with Mannone and/or Almunia covering as back up, possibly with someone else brought in as well if one of them leaves

  9. Lurch LeRouge


    It’s best for all parties if big Al shifts IMO. It’s too big a mental hurdle to won over the faithful at this late stage.

  10. Geoff

    Lurch, that’s not news, that’s always been common knowledge at the training ground, but retirement not resignation.

  11. A

    Yeah I agree Lurch, although I don’t know who we’d get in to replace him, I’d imagine that we’d just have Mannone back with Fabianski and Szczesny, but I’d rather Sz went on loan

  12. Rocky7

    About time Chesney the wall got his run. Wenger is like a politician tho… Why all the bullshit ??? From what I see Chezzer thrives on challenges and his confidence ( and experiance) can only grow from a run. He is the real deal and can be our keeper for the next 10 years. With youth can come a fearlessness like which Rooney had when he was 17 and running rings round van bronkhurst at highbury….The wall is in the same mould. He may make a few mistakes but we gotta stick with this kid. Aw needs to sign an old sturdy near retirement goalkeeper that won’t mind keeping the bench warm and giving his knowledge to the lad. Alumnia and flappy both have to go this January. If they don’t they should watch the wall hard in training and see how strong they have to be and OWN there penalty areas for their next teams. I saw a link on news now earlier that says that alumnia is being eyed up by athletico Madrid and some other Spanish team for 1.5m not sure if we are paying them or whether they paying us ? But either way good business.

    I been saying since the start of the season chesney should be our no1 . Better late than never eh ……

    Up the gunners.

  13. Lurch LeRouge

    I know Geoff. But Myles mentioned it on ANR as fallout for the spud game. Something about Pat being furious regarding substitutions that AW ignored.

    So I think that’s what Dave’s referring to.

  14. A

    Yeah at least AT – I reckon we could get a good £15-£20 mil if we sold him in the summer, less next summer when his contract would be closer to expiry

  15. gazzap

    I reckon Fabi has done well and could be in the top 50 keepers in the world. but szczesny has the potential to be top 5 in the world. not right now, but in 3 years, he could be top 5. Fabi can only be top 50. For me, we have two decent keepers there but one of them could be great, and it is worth using that talent early. The earlier we play him the quicker he can get to the top. BUT PLEASE if Wojech makes a mistake please do not write him off. Like wenger, you do have to keep the faith in a good player even in a bad spell.

  16. Geoff

    Barca, then we’ll get hammered and maybe we can concentrate on the Carling Cup.

    At least win something this team is capable of winning.

  17. Franchise

    Why are the press taking such a piss out of the new Blackburn owners?

    Jeez every where you look ridiculous stories mocking them because they are billionaires who made their fortune selling poultry

    IMO its mostly racially motivated whether it be consciously or sub-conciously

    The guys might be clueless but I just think that it is quite daft that they keep making references to their chicken business


  18. Lurch LeRouge

    A beautiful DHSS fairy appeared one day to a destitute refugee claimant outside the Dover immigration offices.

    ‘My good man,’ the fairy said, ‘I’ve been told to grant you three wishes, since you just arrived in England with your wife and three children.’

    The man told the fairy. ‘Well, where I come from we don’t have good teeth, so I want new teeth, maybe a lot of gold in them.’ The fairy looked at the man’s almost toothless grin and — PING ! — he had a brand new shining set of gold teeth in his mouth!

    ‘What else?’ asked the fairy, ‘two more to go.’

    The refugee claimant now got bolder. ‘I need a big house with a three car garage in Wiltshire with eight bedrooms for my family and the rest of my refugee relatives who still live in my country. I want to bring them all over here..

    ‘ PING ! – In the distance there could be seen a beautiful mansion with a three car garage, a long driveway, a walkout patio with a BBQ , overlooking the river.

    ‘One more wish’, said the fairy, waving her wand. ‘Yes, one more wish.

    I want to be like an Englishman with designer clothes instead of manjams, and a baseball cap instead of this turban. And I want to have white skin like Brits..

    ‘ PING ! – The man was transformed, wearing worn out jeans, a Man U T-shirt and a baseball cap. He had his bad teeth back and the mansion had disappeared from the horizon..

    ‘What happened to my new teeth?’ he wailed. ‘Where is my new house?’

    The fairy said ‘Tough luck, Dick-head, Now that you are a Brit, you have to fend for yourself.’ And she disappeared!

  19. A

    Yeah Lurch they are beatable, but they could also potentially smash us. I’d rather get Schalke, know that we can relax a bit, and leave the big teams for later on….

  20. Man

    Good morning all

    I think Szczesny needs to work on his kicking and distribution.

    I really fancy us against Madrid. Apart from Barca I’d be comfortable with any of the other three. We sort of have the players just need to sort out the mentality and tactics.

  21. Franchise

    gambon lol

    IMO simple lack of respect because the dudes are from India

    I cant remember anyone being so disrespectful to Abrahamovich who has sacked 4 out of 5 managers that didnt deserve the boot

  22. gambon

    Barca would annihilate us
    Madrid would smash us
    Bayern would be an equal game
    We would beat Schalke

    Pretty obvious we need to get the Germans to go further

  23. gooner

    Geoff…totally agree with those personnel changes, Benzema could definitely do an Henry under Wenger guidance. Nicky B’s days are numbered. Also if Wolfsburg really want to pay £10mil for Denilson, id pay for his airfair

  24. gambon


    I do think the majority of these rich owners are fucking loonies, and not good for the game at all. Infact Abramovich may be the best of the lot.

  25. This is England

    Gambon dont egg people on re the chicken owners,i am sure they will shell out money for new players especially someone on the wing.

  26. Arse&Nose©

    From ANR:

    But there is good news. Something MEGA will happen soon.

    I wonder whether it will be in the papers tomorrow morning. I wonder how long something like this can be kept secret.

  27. Franchise

    classic there TIE. I bet they could do with a poacher in the box. I’m not sure they will be keen on foxes in the box though

  28. Lurch LeRouge

    I never was one for putting that Juicy rare bit of sirloin to one side A.

    Bite off more than we can chew and chew hard. Just not Barca hard. Yet.

  29. stelsarsenalelysium

    Arsenal Captain Cesc Fabregas Wants To Avoid Barcelona And Real Madrid In The UEFA Champions League

  30. gambon


    Apparantly they have a Poultry transfer fund.

    Big Sam must be spitting feathers.

    It would be a coup if they could bring in a top manager.

  31. Man

    Pelligrini’s Madrid did not suffer the kind of trashing Mourinho’s did. There are still defensive weaknesses in this Madrid side…As long as Marcelo and Ramos are playing we’ve got a good chance of going through.

  32. pantsR2long

    Top post Pedro!

    Give me Benzema and Hazard any day, though I’d prefer if the defense was sorted out first. We need a new LB and CDM in January, if we improved in those positions I’d be very happy.

  33. 78692


    0949 GMT: Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner could be sent on loan to Everton in January with a view to a permanent transfer. The Gunners are interested in Freiburg striker Papis Demba Cisse.
    Full story: Metro

    Lille winger Eden Hazard has hinted that he will shun the overtures of Real Madrid to join Arsenal at the end of the season. The 19-year-old has impressed with his performances this campaign and has revealed that he turned down the chance to join Chelsea for £12m last June.
    Full story: Daily Mail

    Arsenal midfielder Denilson is a £10m target for former England manager Steve McClaren, who is now is charge at Wolfsburg.
    Full story: caughtoffside.com

    Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger predicts his side will get Barcelona in Friday’s last 16 Champions League draw. “I know who we will get,” he said about the side who beat them in the 2006 final.
    Full story: The Guardian

    In a straight-talking address on English football, current Ipswich boss and Manchester United legend Roy Keane labelled Monday’s Premier League clash between his former club and rivals Arsenal as “rubbish”. Full story: Daily Mail

  34. Franchise

    The Venky’s obviously got the sacking of big sam wrong. word on the street is that he was sacked because his team gave away to too many fowls

    they were also incensed about the away defeat to United especially with amount of extra thyme on the cluck

  35. Big Dave

    Wenger is the only one to blame regaring us coming runners up so who we ever we get just swallow it and move on, if we get Barca then tough shit

  36. Man

    Mourinho needs the right players to play that way. I’m not sure he has that at Real or he trusts them enough. This was already a record breaking team before Mourinho took them over…lets have some perspective here

  37. Arsene Nose Best

    i love the thought of denilson fucking off to germany,everyone should write off the draw as we won’t be winning that comp.

  38. eduardo

    The Dr rang me and said ” Apologies, we have mixed up your wifes records, she either has Alzheimer or AIDS. I said ” what the fuck am I supposed to do?”
    He replied with ” I gonna put her on the wrong bus home, IF shes gets home, DONT FUCK HER!” lol

  39. Man

    I guess Fat Sam playing long ball tactics was him putting his eggs in one basket…so no surprise he was sacked, his chickens came home to roost!


  40. Franchise

    What a nasty fowl by Emerton, he kicked Robbie Fowler in the albumen 😀

    ill take my yellow

    Fuck Im worst than the press I was ranting about..

    Ive got an excuse yoke friday 😀

  41. Steven

    Wenger to blame for the repeated losses to the big teams which has left Arsenal players without confidence against the top teams.He uses wrong formations and lineups because he is very tactically naive. Watch Man City vs Man Utd, Chelsea vs Man Utd, etc.Games among the ‘big teams’ are ALWAYS TIGHT. Imagine how Chelsea played Barca away at the Nou Camp 2 seasons ago; it was ultra defensive with 10 players behind the ball!But it worked. The second leg was just slightly different from that.Then consider Mourinho vs Barca with the first leg at the San Siro a combination of ultra defensive formation plus swift counters.He won the game 3-1. The 2nd leg was total defensive formation of 10 ‘defenders’ against 11 attackers.It worked and that is all that matters!

    These games are always close, tightly and keenly contested and more of canceling out of each other than attacking play. The way we played Man. Utd last Monday(even though we lost to a fluke goal) was right and should be the way we should be playing ALL the big teams home and away.We should prefer to play out a dull, drab, defensively tough 0-0 draw than lose!

    Because we have lost to them on so many occasions in the last three seasons, the mentality that they are better has been formed in our players and a superiority mentality has been formed in them (example are the dumb comments from Evra before and after the match).

    To begin a process of change,and if we want to really learn the discipline of defending with concentration for 90 minutes, we need to learn how to defend, man-mark and cancel out waves and waves of attacks by the likes of Chelsea and Man Utd.It is when we have learnt how to defend against them that we can begin to step up to them face to face, man to man and devise a way to beat them by taking the few chances we create in such games.And it only this way that we can beat sides like West Brom ,Spurs and Newcastle who set up to defend deep and counter.

    Then there is the FORMATION and LINEUP (particular players and their specific roles) that can play out these draws. If you watched that Man Utd game, they had a pefect game plan that ensured that Nasri was never left alone to face Evra; Park was always there to help.Arshavin always had Nani and Rafael to deal with. Then in the middle, Fletcher,Carrick and Anderson ensured that we never had any space in the midfield. We must also come up with a formation plus lineup with specific instructions to stop teh opposition. Play Nasri in front of Clichy with same instructions to as Nani has in front of Rafael:NEVER ALLOW YOUR FULL BACK TO BE ISOLATED. Or play Vermaelen as LB with Nari ahead of him. Play Eboue in front of Sagna with same instruction and then have Song and Diaby sit in front of the Back Four with Fabregas playing head of them with the instruction for them to sit back and counter from deep. Play Chamakh up front alone. Keep the likes of Rosicky, Arshavin, RvP, Denilson, Jack and Vela out of such games unless injuries do not permit. You can bring players like Walcott, Arshavin and RvP FOR IMPACT as the closing periods to try and snatch something from the games. This is how to grind out results against the likes of Chelsea, Man Utd, Citeh, Barca, Real, etc. A 0-0 scoreline is much better than being walloped while trying to ‘play our own game’ and does more to help improve the mentality of the players in big games than the so called loose, ineffective and vulnerable Wengerball.

  42. incesc

    lets hope we keep it under 10, barce get a bit wound up when people say we play like them

    kozzer and squid vs messi