Good morning everyone! I’m hungover like a dog, so please bear with me on this one. It might be a little flat, you know, like the Chelsea dressing room at the moment.
The big news is that Arsene Wenger doesn’t know anything about baseball. Me neither Arsene, as far as I’m aware, it’s rounders for men. I heard the other night they play 160 games a season. What a ridiculous number. I’d be bored senseless by the time that season ended. Anyway, Billy Beane likes stats. Arsene Wenger likes stats. They’re basically mutual stat lovers.
I sometimes struggle to believe Arsene loves stats, being that he’s ignored the biggest problem stat for years… we concede too many goals.
Today is the perfect chance to begin our run of clean sheets. It feels like we’re getting ever closer to a solid back 4. Individually, I’m pretty happy who we’ve got playing. I think we have a fantastic keeper and I’m starting to warm to Santos. Koscielny has slotted in at right back with no problem and I’m a fan of the Vermaelen and Mertesacker middle two. It’s just momentary lapses that are costing us. Things have tightened considerably and we’re giving teams less, we just need that final push of concentration to make it stick for 90minutes.
Wenger has been talking up Alex Song, he said…
“He looks to me also to be a creative player. He was a centre back, but him and Andre Santos are players who look like they could play in creative midfield.”
I hope Song isn’t reading that! I think one of the reasons he’s performing better this season is that in the main, he’d given up trying to be Cesc. You have moments of brilliance like the assist the other night, which you can be pleased about, but then you have the curse of over confidence with what he did in the 91st minute.
“You can talk and talk as a manager but either you play somebody or you don’t. That is the best way to show confidence in a player. In the last three years he has played a lot.”
It’s always odd who gets that confidence and who doesn’t. I’ll always be at a loss as to the reason Carlos Vela was never given a crack at the first team. He showed so much promise but never had the trust of the manager. There are lots of players we could have had at the club that were never given a fair crack at the whip. I guess it’s like general life, you have your favourites and you run with them.
One of my favourite players is Gervinho. He’s come in for some stick lately. His poor finishing and occasional flashes of selfish play seem to irk some sections of the fan base. I think he’s a top talent, I’d prefer to have him in the side over the first two seasons we had of Samir Nasri. I think he works hard, he opens space and I think he’s fairly efficient with the ball. He also has the natural gift of being able to go round players with the ball at his feet. Something Theo struggles with. For me, it’s just a case of waiting for the finishing penny to drop. Once it does, he’ll be producing impressive stats.
Freddie Ljungberg was the same when he joined Arsenal. His finishing was mostly terrible for the first season. He’d get into great positions, but he’d rarely hit the target. The next season, something clicked and he couldn’t stop scoring.
Fulham are coming to exploit our weakness for leaving space at the back…
‘They are playing with a lot of possession and of course they have a lot of talent in the team, but they still have to rotate at the back. Hopefully we can exploit the space we get.’
… the swines.
They certainly have players that can do that. Bobby Zamora is a very talented striker who can have flashes of brilliance. He’s not consistent but he’s a player that needs to be watched with a keen eye. Andy Johnson is a tricky customer, he’ll always be looking for a penalty and I’d imagine he’s licking his lips at the prospect of going over a flailing leg of Per Mertesacker. Then there is the American Clint Dempsey, a player we were rumoured to be in for last summer, he’s capable of the spectacular and he’s a very hard worker.
If we take our chances and keep our discipline in midfield, I’m sure we can conquer Fulham. These games are always potential banana skins for us, especially since the press have done a 360 on their opinion in the last week. They’re waiting to pounce with the ‘Same old Arsenal’ headline.
Enjoy the late kick off, I’ll be back tomorrow with a match post outlining what a lovely day I’ve just had!
See you in the comments…
P.S. If you’re out and about today… do make sure you pick up a copy of The Gooner, we’ve said a few words in there today which I’m sure you’d love to read in hard copy. Also, just in general, you should support the fanzine when you’re at the ground, it’s only a pound. It’s one of the few traditions left in football and it’s a quality read for the tube!