Arsenal take on resurgent Leeds… | Wenger leaves door open to superstar

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So we’re just a few hours away from opening our FA Cup campaign against a Leeds side hoping for promotion to the Premier League. We can laugh and joke about how easy this game will be, but we have to be honest with ourselves, this is going to be tough. The Northerners aren’t coming down to take a spanking, they’re coming down to turn us over much in the same way they did against United last year.

Complacency is a massive problem with the fringe players in our squad, so all the players need to be on red alert today. Going out the FA Cup in the first round will be hugely embarrassing for Wenger who is insistent everyone in his 25 man squad is top top class.


Eboue Squillaci JD Gibbs

Denilson Eastmond Rosicky

Arsh Nikki B Vela

I’d imagine that’s roughly how the team is going to line up. I’d like to see Aaron in the starting line up but he’s still short of match practice. I think our midfield will be terribly weak regardless. Eastmond for me is not a player I relish in the starting 11. He switches off and his passing is often poor when I’ve watched him.

I’m not sure he has the physicality at the moment especially against the hustle and bustle of a Championship side. That really is a pet peev of mine (yeah I said peev). If you’ve ever tried to put on muscle mass, the main obstacles are advice, time and the effort of doing it along side a job. If you’re a pro footballer and you’re light weight, how hard would it be to jump on a weight gain programme and manage it with the best coaches in the world?

Nik B has a great opportunity to shine today. He’s looked off the pace all season, so this will be a big chance for him to climb the pecking order again. He has to want to play as a striker this afternoon, all that dropping deep into midfield stuff is a nonsense. He needs to get into the box, use his height and work his way onto that score sheet.

If I was Arsene Wenger, I’d have Robin Van Persie out there today. He’s not scoring and he needs to be. A couple of goals against Leeds could kick start his year. Shame he’s made of glass…

It’ll be interesting to see how Carlos Vela plays. Apparently he’s a gem in training, he’s just not flavour of the month with Wenger. Seems odd considering he’s exactly the type of player Wenger normally goes crazy for. I guess 14 hookers in a hotel room is a bad career move these days. Times are changing…

Andrey Arshavin needs to recapture his early season form. He’s a wonderful player who has lost his way mentally over the past month. He’s playing for his future with us at the moment. I heard in the summer extra attention was being focused on his work rate in training and in games due to his lackadaisical nature.

Wenger’s admittance that he’s interested in Eden Hazard yesterday reinforced what I heard. It’s hard to see Wenger passing up the chance to offload a lazy 29 year and buy the best young player in France. That really would be an exciting move… though I’d be somewhat sad that we’d lose a true character and genius of the game in the process.

Players to watch out for from Leeds? Well, after watching them extensively this season, I’d say we’ll have to be careful of Beechio. He’s a fat striker who can be magnificent on his day. He has a shot on him and he will put himself about against our back 4 if given the chance. Leeds are coming to attack and will use their wide men to cause us problems. They’ve got two wide men who’ve got plenty of pace and trickery in Snodgrass and Gradel… so Kieron Gibbs and Eboue will have to be switched on today.

Leeds are not coming to defend according to Grayson,

“No, we won’t be doing that. We will try and play how we play on a regular basis. I want us to score goals. That is my philosophy.

It’s a great philosophy and one that we’ll hopefully punish with a glut of goals. We need 100% focus out there today for confidence going forward and for the chance of another piece of silverware. It’s an early kick off, so make sure you drink as much beer as you can on the train on the way in.

Enjoy the game Grovers, I’ll be back on tomorrow with a match report!

FA Cup day eh? There’s nothing quite like it…

P.S. One of my good pals works for premium Karaoke chain Lucky Voice. They’ve got a swanky cocktail bar in London’s Upper Street. I’ve had a chat with them and they’re currently offering anyone with an Arsenal ticket two hours private singing for free between Monday and Thursday. It really is one of my favourite bars in London, so I can’t reccomend it enough… it might also be a great way to appease your partners if they’re sick to the back teeth of Arsenal!  For more details, check out the Lucky Voice site.

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1,011 Responses to “Arsenal take on resurgent Leeds… | Wenger leaves door open to superstar”

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  1. A

    General all round play David, along with the very good play to create the attempt in the first half, pass for theo, nearly set up chamakh for a tap in, and generally linked up very well despite having absolutely no help from anyone around him.

  2. Pedro

    David, you seem to jump on a poor Bends performance with a little too much lust.

    He was played out of position again and he suffered.

    He’s a capable striker as he proved last season.

  3. chozzer

    Fuck me, those northern monkeys were loud and proud today.
    I wish we had more of them rather than the ‘for fucks sake, Bendtner’ crowd……..
    ………mind you, he was shit.

  4. David

    Yes he had a great moment A,

    Not sure about a great game.

    Even Denilson had a great moment when he dribbled past 2 or 3 men in midfield not sure about having a great game.

    Its interesting how we see the same games and watch something completely different.

    I might caught you some slack.

    But against Wigan atheletic?

    Bendy was piss poor.

    We might as well not bothered to pass to him because that set them up for a counter attack every time.

  5. A

    I thought Bendtner was the only positive from today’s game in an attacking sense – can’t believe how bad Arshavin was, really hope he has the mental strength to fight back as Bendtner and Eboue did when the fans were really getting on their backs. His body language today was similar to theirs when they had their difficult periods….

  6. A

    Wouldn’t say a great game at all David, but a good game bar the misses.

    Bendtner against Wigan was definitely my man of the match, goal and assist despite having to play with a very off form Arshavin, (apart from his goal and assist!) and generally the reserve team.

    Looking forward to Bendtner playing with Nasri, Cesc and Theo as an alternative for VP.

  7. David

    Come on Pedro,

    Where do you think Bendy played when Theo came on?

    3 years later and we’re still talking about how shite he is.

  8. chozzer

    I suppose as centre forward, he did look more like scoring than Chamakh.
    Just a shame he can’t shoot with his left foot or head the ball down from corners.

  9. A

    Didn’t take a lot back then Pedro, and that was when we were absolutely shitting ourselves, really tense and he was the favourite scapegoat – easy to take the tension out on him!

    Fans were an absolute disgrace that game, most angry I’ve ever been at fellow gooners, just an embarrassment to the club. Felt so ashamed that the mindless idiots were supporters of the same club

  10. Dial Square

    Referees appear to have suused Eboue out with his diving.Pedro those guys you put in touch,nice one proper Gooners.

  11. David


    Got no service whatsoever.


    No service from Arsh, Rosicky, Bendy, Denilson.

    None. Nada, Zero, Zilch,

  12. tommo

    nah incesc matey but your my no1 teamin prem until/if we get back there. From an outsiders point of view i don’t think u are that far off an absolutely great champion team, you need a keeper for starters, chesney had a great game and looks like he could become something special but as i said in an earlier post you need 2 quality keepers. you deffo need 1/2 centre halfs t.v out injured and djourou are awesome but your cover is weak a defensive midfielder is a must someone in the mould of viera and deffo need an out an out striker chamakh may come good but looks raw in the prem yet r.v.p. unlucky with his injuries vela looks quality aint had too much of a chance which is a shame as i see him and r.v.p doing well together, but all in all you have the talent just some of your players dont always turn up which i understand is annoying as fuck, down the years we have had way too many of them at E.R.!

  13. A

    Chamakh was put half through on goal once in the first half by Bendtner and he turned round yet again and came backwards, very strange….

    He did get close to scoring a couple to be fair, headers in the middle of the goal, one cross by bendtner nicked just in front of him and another although i can’t remember who crossed it, where there was the slightest touch so that it hit the back of his head

  14. A

    Pedro he was shocking in the last 20 mins when he could hardly run, he wasn’t at all bad before that – he was just the flavour of the month to be hated.

    Gooners have booed Eboue, Bendtner, Denilson, Almunia, Fabianski in the last few years – it REALLY doesn’t take a lot these days, and it’s very sad.

    Fans seem to need one player at all times to hate/blame

  15. Pedro

    A, we haven’t booed all those players. We’ve groaned… but Eboue was only player I’ve known to get a full on boo.

  16. A

    Seriously Pedro?!

    Chamakh was only gonna get a goal/chance if it was handed to him on a plate! Bendtner missed chances BECAUSE he created them with his movement and general play!

  17. A

    Pedro Bendtner was very much full on booed….

    The rest yeah groans and sarcastic cheers etc more than proper booing, still bad

  18. Pedro

    A Bendtner was given chances on a plate and failed to take them.

    He made one chance himself, the rest were running onto long balls.

  19. chozzer

    Haha, I thought you meant Eboue against Wigan a week and a half ago……..mind you he was shit then, too. 🙂

  20. A

    really is shocking.

    Yeah pedro – his movement to run onto the long ball (there was only one wasn’t there?) was the reason that happened, whereas chamakh didn’t get those chances.

    The movement at the two set pieces was very good to get onto, the way he attacked the ball and beat his marker etc

  21. David

    Walcott handed Bendy 2 tap-in opportunities.

    He failed to take them.

    One where he cried foul for a penalty the other was an amazing miss.

  22. tommo

    as a leeds fan i actually thought eboue did ok today except his diving which should have been a card but hey thats the way it goes. And as far as you guys scoring, the only players who looked like scoring today was song except the 1 arshavin chance then when walcott came on he looked lively too. bloody hell you guys watchin barca if you play like you did against us today they are gunna run riot!!!


    Any one with a brain knows Carling cups our ONLY hope. Cant wait until the day wenger leaves coz Arsenal will become interesting again. I feel like bill murray out of groundhog day. every season the same, style of play same,same prawn sandwich embarressing fans, same kikes pulling the strings. same results TROPHYLESS.

  24. A

    David it certainly wasn’t today now was it….

    Pedro he was booed at a game I was at – can’t for the life of me remember who it was against though. Not with the ferocity of Eboue, but he was booed when his name was announced on the bench, booed when he was subbed on, and booed after that when he touched the ball or messed up, even when he hadn’t actually messed up

  25. A

    Yep Pedro, absolutely terrible – apparently it was a Stevenage fan too?! Bit weird, surely it can’t have been his own fan?!

  26. tommo

    thank you david, i used to come on a bit ago vut then my gf took off with all my stuff and laptop an i had forgotten the name of the site so i aint been on for about 15 months or so, so today i actively searched you out as i enjoyed chattin to you guys! n which blogs of mine have you liked haha!

  27. David

    its got to be a barcodes fan,

    Nobody goes out an punches your own player after a win.

    Yeah A, im talking bout todays game!

  28. A

    Yeah Pedro, very odd. Unless it was a Newcastle fan posing as a Stevenage fan! But it was a Stevenage pitch invasion….

    Surely he’ll get caught, weird how the Stevenage manager played it down

  29. A

    “It’s not my business to deal with those matters. It’s in other people’s hands.

    “Look, Mark Roberts had his nose busted in the first half. Footballers take bangs, they take knocks. You can’t suggest that is the right way for a football match to end with those things going on but balls get thrown at people, players get kicked, tackles get made.

    “We’re not people who spend our lives griping about bangs and knocks. I don’t think it’s the way things should be conducted, but let’s leave it at that.”

    If I was a manager I’d be absolutely furious

  30. chozzer

    He did look like he had a red and white scarf round his neck.

    Tommo, it was our second team today…but they still could run riot.

  31. Pedro

    A, he knows that if it’s blown up in the media, Stevenage will get a massive fine and blow all their prize money.

  32. tommo

    hey chozzer i know it was i was just on about how you played matey but i hope you guys get through,any1 but scumchester, no seriously i like you guys footballing team! bit too much at times but still footballers tho.

  33. goonergerry

    Was a disappointing attacking performance-have a right to have expected more. That midfield combo was very average-I am not sure why they seem to cancel each other out-are they all too similar? Bendtner needs to work on his first touch-and his finishing-its not as if he didnt have chances. We are still not playing the right balls into Chamakh-if we play through the middle all the time we will never get the best out of him. Arshavin looks a shadow of the player he was last year-something is wrong.

  34. incesc


    so he got a knock back after asking for a shirt off of his hero so threw a massive sucker punch and ran off before the guy had hit the ground?

    what an arsehole and coward. hope he gets whats coming to him.

  35. Lurch LeRouge

    spiderman was shit, he was too typecast as a hunk – he plays a disturbed/flawed chartacter increasingly well imo.

  36. SlickBangGoal

    To those wanting Wenger out,,,

    The day he leaves will be a sad day, your talking like retards, your saying all these names will replace when they clearly won’t, if he does leave, I believe, a ex-player will be the way forward or Porto’s Manager; the new mourinho, but with no ego…

  37. SlickBangGoal

    Lurch: I’ve rated from his days at Livingston, but i believe, he must stay at Leeds if he wants to become a really good player

  38. A

    depends what you mean by rate lurch. I rated him more before today, thought his set pieces and general play was a bit off.

    He might make a premiership player one day though

  39. A

    Really don’t think it’s a big deal having to play the replay, another game for the likes of Bendtner, Chamakh, Denilson, Arshavin, Gibbs to try and get sharp, and three days less to wait between Arsenal matches. We’ll be more focussed and less over confident at their place too, and after today’s result.

    Still can’t believe we drew after playing them off the park like that

  40. incesc

    Still can’t believe we drew after playing them off the park like that

    such a wenger comment…

    they created great chances too, we should take note for barce

  41. A

    How’s that a Wenger comment?!

    Very different reaction to Wenger’s!

    We were against a championship side, and you could tell that from just watching the match, the number of chances we missed, gulf in quality etc. Although it kinda felt like the West Brom game, we just assumed we’d win, pretty poor.

    Stats wise

    Possession: Arsenal 63% Leeds 37%
    Attempts(on target): Arsenal 23(10) Leeds 6(2)
    Corners: Arsenal 11 Leeds 2

    First half apart from Arshavin the misses weren’t that bad, but it was good/lucky goalkeeping/defending that kept us out but as the game went on the chances got easier and the misses got worse.

    That game had nothing to do with us against Barca! We have the ability to cause them real problems defensively. Gotta be tight too but going forwards we’re a team to be feared

  42. incesc

    desperate to win it

    leeds 100 arsenal 2

    sportmanship (cheating and tactical fouling)

    Leeds 100 arsenal 25 (eboue)

    we need those stats vs barce…

  43. incesc

    leeds werent dirty but like keyser said we need to be cunts more. slow the game down, foul when we need to…

    if leeds can do it we can.

  44. A

    Alex Bruce was certainly dirty incesc, should’ve gotten a straight red twice for challenges on both arshavin then chamakh imo!! Bechio as well either elbows or dives every time.

    We don’t need to cheat to beat Barca at all, if we did that it’d be a very shallow victory and it’d undermine the entire thing for me.

    We CAN beat Barca, they have a soft centre just like us, VP, Nasri, Cesc can cut through them like a knife through butter and Theo will scare the pants off them again, especially as Abidal is a year older and slower!

  45. A

    We pissed all over Leeds as well, we can’t be anything like they were as Barca would never let us off the hook as we did to Leeds! They wouldn’t be playing their reserve team either!

  46. denis

    they have a soft midfield, but it’s obvious that their midfield is cleary better defensively. And they have Messi…
    The good thing is that we have a “new” Nasri. It could be the key of our sucess vs them

  47. reggie 57

    Should have been 5-0 but it wasnt!! thats what you get when you are too frightened to put your hand in your pocket to buy a quality striker and struggle along with shit like bendtner !! but hey-ho !!

  48. incesc

    we need to defend for our lives, stop messi by any means necessary and get a lucky pen against the run of play.


  49. Jules78

    I just reread the post and that was pretty much much spot on. Especially the bits on Vela, our fantastic 25 men squad (:-S( and the no room for complacency thing… I like our new Theo it’s like our boy’s slowly but surely turning unto a man, he’s going for it and if it wasnt for him and cesc we we would have lost that game.

  50. A

    Bendtner was pretty bad in front of goal but good all round imo….

    We certainly can’t afford to let Barca have even 1/4 the chances Leeds let us have! Gotta be tight in the midfield and strangle them, not let them play and certainly not allow the game to be played in our defensive third

  51. reggie 57

    Back-up player to robin ?which means he is first choice if you take van persie’s injury record into account!!

  52. Jules78

    Rvp is another love child of Wenger IMO. Super talented but arrogant and selfish in the way he plays. He looks like he feels he’s the dogs bullocks and thats not right compared to what he actually achieved. He needs to step up in the same way Nasri did otherwise we don’t need him.

  53. Jules78

    Haha NB IS a pony. hence I like him better as striker than on the wing. He’s here to nod the ball in and we can’t ask anything more from him. I bet you he’s worth 15M tho.

  54. Jules78

    Haha NB IS a pony. hence I like him better as striker than on the wing. He’s here to nod the ball in and we can’t ask anything more from him. I bet you he’s worth 15M tho.

  55. A

    Bendtner’s all round game is the reason he’s at the club. His intelligence/vision is his best attribute, not his goalscoring.

    He is best centrally imo but does a good job out wide, people just mistake him for a target man, when he’s much more than that

  56. Jules78

    A if his game is about vision and intelligence then he’s not good enough for the arsenal IMO some of our loanees are well ahead of him on that front.

  57. Jules78

    If his intelligence/vision were his best attributes he wouldn’t have left footed that volley into the stands he would have controlled that ball first but this sort of things just font occur to him.

  58. A

    Not a single one of the loanees are close to him Jules.

    The reason he’s at the club is his vision and intelligence. In terms of being a target man he’s average, if he wasn’t a special case with having other areas of his game then he’d be at a mid table prem club or plying his trade in germany.

    The pass for Theo for our penalty today is a prime example of what he offers us, as well as the attempt saved in the first half by the keeper after coming in from the right.

  59. A

    That’s finishing Jules, not to do with vision and intelligence. His finishing is very hit and miss, especially when he’s not had a run in the team

  60. Jules78

    I have to admit that play from the right surprised me. As for the loanees vision & intelligence Lansburry is head and shoulders ahead of him in that area. If we add Ramsey who’s just back from loan and JET Vela who will go on loan that makes it a clear cut 3. And again he should never have gone for that left foot volley on that long through ball he should have controlled it and applied his vision and intelligence which to me he lacks

  61. Jules78

    And thats not finishing. It’s about having the intelligence and vision not to hit that ball like a donkey on your weak foot keeping the ball in play with decent technique then look at passing the last defender or pass the ball back to someone running in

  62. A

    If you’re including midfielders then yeah Lansbury and Ramsey are Jules, but totally different positions and types of players….

    JET and Vela aren’t better than him in those regards by any means, that’s actually something that they both really need to develop, hence their upcoming loans….

    I don’t agree – he should’ve just stroked it past the keeper, it was a chance that if he was playing with confidence you would’ve expected him to have just knocked it into the back of the net. One of those things though. Nothing to do with vision and intelligence on the ball though, it was composure/confidence that let him down imo

  63. Jules78

    Not much to do with confidence IMO as to put that ball in youre talking world class technique a bit of luck and he’s missing the first You can be as be as confident as you wish thats not gonna be enough. Vision us about thinking ahead and if he thought just for a split micro sec that he would land that volley on target then he’s got no vision and very little intelligence

  64. A

    Jules the ball to Theo for the penalty illustrated perfectly his vision.

    Totally and utterly different to ability to put the ball in the back of the net, which with him is hit and miss, especially when he’s lacking confidence, as he doesn’t have amazing technique.

    Hleb had amazing vision and intelligence, but he would’ve done exactly what Bendtner did if presented with the same chance. They’re two things that are very different skill sets, and many players have one but not the other.

    It’s completely different whether you’re confident or not, anyone whose played football to any sort of an amateur level even will tell you that, especially in that sort of situation

  65. Jules78

    I really don’t think Hleb would have volleyed that ball on his left foot (im talking Arsenal Hleb not BC) It look like we won’t agree on bendtner’s skills A… Btw u just posted the 1000 comment of the day if I’m not mistaken 🙂

  66. A

    Hleb would’ve swung and sliced it off – he did so a fair bit when in that sort of situation if the ball came to him there, although if it wasn’t so clear cut he’d always go backwards of course

    go me then! It’ll be my penultimate comment too, bed time now.


  67. Keyser

    Gwaan people still up, it’s like old times.

    Watching the game now, was going to slate Bendtner after the game purely to let loose with the type of vitriol that’s expected of people on here, but we drew, so not too worried.

    That volley at the end Bendtner did the right thing, but it’s his weaker foot and you can tell he’s not comfortable on it, the balls running away from him and people tend to snatch at shots on their weaker foot so he ended up slicing it wide.

    It’s an 80 yard pass, and Bendtner has to curve his run back into the line of defence to stay onside, the balls coming over his shoulder and he’s running across himself so his balance is a bit off.

    If he lets it run the angle narrows and if he cuts back there’s plenty of defenders back, he has a small window of oppurunity and he didn’t quite get it right.

    It seems so simple on tv, but if you play football, compare how much different it is to make the same runs Bendtner did, or take the same shot, from either side.

    I’m nothing special, but my right side is dominant to my left and I can adjust and hit shots a lot better from that side even if I’m off balance.

    It’s why Van Persie has probably as good a technique as any striker in the world, even being soo diminantly left footed he’s worked himself a very good right footed shot.

    You can still tell he’s not comfortable on it because when he takes it the ball curves away from him, as you tend to cut across the ball more as Bendtner did.

  68. Jules78

    Well thats why he didn’t do the right thing hitting it on his left foot. Should have controlled it tho tempting. Control is often the key difference between average, good and great players. Look at Nasri. Platini was the same, he would somehow give himself the time to control the ball before shooting.

  69. OPG

    People will protect their favourite players no matter what I see, I doubt anyone would be against Denilson leaving in this window though afterall Wolfsburg have the Dzeko money..

  70. Keyser

    Jules78 – He’s playing off the last man, there weren’t many if any players in support, he was well within his rights as a striker to take the shot on.

    It didn’t come off, if he had tried to pull it down and control it he’d have the whole Leeds defence to work through and the moments gone anyway.

    That’s it with Bendtner he backs himself to score from that point, if he’s going to make it at Arsenal, he needs to think like that and it’s why he gets soo much stick, because he won’t play it safe, he’ll take the shot and if he scores the glory, if he misses the criticism.

    The way he’s going we’ll find out sooner of later if he’s good enough.

  71. Jules78

    Keyser – well we’ll find out sooner rather than later I think. I might be wrong but I think he’ll be sold. and hopefully not on the cheap. Btw not saying he wasnt within his rights to take it as it came just that as I see it there’s no way he’ll score that ever.

  72. Geoff

    Denilson is shite and continues to cost us, poor team selection by Wenger again, Squillaci and Eboue wouldn’t get in the Leeds side and Arshavin needs talking to, send Bendtner out on loan and keep Chezzer in goal, he is the better keeper by a mile.