‘SONG, you are NOT CESC FABREGAS!’ – Arsenal 125th Birthday ratings and review.

by & filed under News Review.

Errr sorry Arsenal, it was late and that's all they had...

Amid the fanfare and celebration a very important football game was being played yesterday. We were host to Everton which seemed to be forgotten after an hour an a half of legends wandering around the pitch. Having your birthday party before work probably isn’t the sharpist move!

We lined up as expected. Thomas Vermaelen slipped into left back and we lined up with 4 centre backs in our back 4 which was pretty special. It didn’t take long into the game for Vermaelen to show us he was going to be comfortable dealing with whatever position he was asked to play. He nipped and hustled whoever came into his area with the same tenacity he always does.

The first chance for us came when Aaron Ramsey was played in with a tasty cross from outwide, the Welshman missed and Gervinho showed a total lack of anticipation and bundled the ball wide.

Phil Neville was booked after 24minutes for lumping over Theo. I could swear he does things like that against us just for the pantomime effect. Odious little ferret that he is…

Aaron Ramsey, who is on a bit of a Gervinho type run in front of goal nearly broke the dead lock when he made space for himself in the box with a clever pirouette, his chipped shot only managed to graze the roof of the net. Gervinho, not one for being shown up at missing chances powered through into the box one on one and blasted his shot at the legs of Tim Howard. It was starting to feel like one of those afternoons. Chances were hard to come by and Everton were doing a good job of nullifying our threat.

The atmosphere was pretty flat as well. The same way it gets if you have a birthday party at work that you start at four o’clock. It was like the crowd were spent, waiting for their second wind.

Phil Neville reminded us that Everton could score when he smashed a shot that narrowly went over the bar. Things were getting so bad for us that Song had taken on the role of lead creative. He was making a bit of a hash of it if I’m honest, the guy in front yelled, ‘Song YOU ARE NOT CESC‘, moments later the man from Cameroon found space in midfield, looked up, floated a sublime ball into Robin who banged it across goal with a volley, the ball hit the post and went in!

WHAT. A. GOAL.

That my friends was worth the 6.5% right there. The crowd roared into party mode. Back slapping, high fiving and laddish headlocks with the old lady next to me were on the menu. What a relief!

The game still wasn’t won, Everton had a few good chances of their own, Saha breaking free of JD nearly scored when it was just him and the keeper. Lucky for us, his shooting boots were left back in Merseyside (I’m telling you Louis, they won’t be there when you get back!).

The referee took an absolute age to blow for the final whistle, when he did, it was like we’d scored a second. The goal was so good, many people in the crowd stayed on to see the goal again!

Three points on the board, up to fourth in the league, and the mighty reds March on. Happy Birthday Arsenal, I hope Robin’s gift made your day as much as it did the rest of us!

Conclusion

The performance was a flat scrappy one that was far from a pleasure to watch. The urgency didn’t feel like it was there today in a game that was really a bit of a midfield battle. Ramsey struggled to deal with Fellaini and I thought the front three of Arsenal had a very indifferent afternoon. Theo was far from being at the races. He was at his frustrating worst. His control was off the boil and his decision-making was shoddy. Gervinho had a bright opening twenty but he badly faded with the game. Even the mighty Robin was off colour, he was greedy at times and he didn’t play to the ridiculously high benchmark we’ve set for him as a standard for most of the game.

Credit to Everton, they are excellent battlers and they can play the game as well. I thought they gave as good as they got in midfield, the main thing lacking for them yesterday was an outlet and that bit of spark. They limited our chances well and on another day, may have come away with a point. Robin was the difference yesterday and I’m grateful for that!

Now all we have to hope for is that Spurs lose today against Stoke and that Chelsea and Manchester City draw. Actually, I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’d actually quite like to see City drop some points, even if it does mean a mini Chavski resurgence!

P.S. For further reading, check out Ivan Gazidis, Ken Friar, Liam Brady and land mine rats. Oh, and our Tumblr that has loads of Arsenal match day pictures for your consumption.

Follow @LeGrove

Ratings

Chesney – Didn’t have a whole heap to do, but did do well with crosses into the box. Kissed to boot of Robin at the end. Steady on the man love there! 7

JD – Had a good first 70 minutes but after that, mistakes crept in. Not understandable mistakes, I’m talking fundamental basics like losing his man or misplacing 5 yard passes. 6.5

Koscielny – Another solid game for the Frenchman. He slotted into the middle next to Mertesacker without anyone noticing he’d been right back for a few weeks.  7.5

Mertesacker – Had a very good game. He read their crosses well and his anticipation levels were at their best. 7.5

Vermaelen – Moved over to an alien position and dealt with it perfectly. A consummate professional. 7.5

Song – Had a bit of a mixed bag in midfield yesterday. He felt had to force some creativity and did in the end with a superb pass to Robin for the winner. He who dares Rodney… 7

Arteta – Must have been tough playing at his old club, but he mixed it like he always does and kept things ticking over. 7

Ramsey – Not his best game. He worked hard but his passing wasn’t as penetrative as usual and quite a few of his runs ended in conceded possession. 6

Gervinho – Good opening twenty, went missing at the end. A bit disappointing. Couldn’t help wonder if he was tired? 6

Theo – Not his best game for us. His thinking was half a second behind where it has been and he didn’t create too much for Robin. 5.5

Robin – Greedy at times, but not given world-class service. The cross from Song was great, but lets not kid ourselves, it would not have been a scoring opportunity for any other striker in the league. A great finish and his march to Thierry and Shearer’s record goes on. 7.75

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518 Responses to “‘SONG, you are NOT CESC FABREGAS!’ – Arsenal 125th Birthday ratings and review.”

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  1. SUGA3

    it was just an example, D******n at least showed some promise, whereas Park is just pap, the only reason for signing him was willingness to boost the presence in the Asian markets…

    the mythical ‘support’ does not turn bang average players into world beaters, unless it is some gash cheesy Yank movie!

  2. goonermart

    i remember watching Vieira’s 1st game for Arsenal, he looked awesome. Knew straight away he would make it and go on to be a top quality player.

  3. albo

    goonermart – we play 1 striker. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we have quite a good one ahead of him!

    It’s not exactly controversial to suggest that players new to the league will need time to acclimatise. And anyone playing the same position as RvP has even less chance for gametime for obvious reasons. I’m not saying he’s the greatest player ever. Just seems a bit symptomatic of the modern Arsenal fan to declare a player a flop after about 4 appearances!

    Gambon – stop being a child. You yourself bang on about the importance of commercial revenue and use the current shirt deal as a stick to beat the board with. Don’t change the goalposts now and pretend it won’t make a difference when we improve it!

  4. albo

    Pedro – yeah its been a mixed bag. Great atmosphere yesterday of course. Thought it was pretty appalling for much of the Fulham game.

    You take my point that declaring a player new to the league a flop after 4 appearances is a little unsupportive though right?!

  5. SUGA3

    albo,

    you know that’s bollocks, one should be eager to impress in the new place of work, just look at AA at the beginning of his career here, not like he did not have to acclimatise, is it?

    there is more of a difference between Russia and England than France and the French club in England too!

    it’s not ‘symptomatic’, I have just seen his overall game when at the ground and there was nothing to write home about, he is average, that’s it…

    don’t take the internationals as a benchmark either, Asia is not exactly blessed with abundance of great teams either!

  6. albo

    SUG – for the record I have no clue about whether Park will make it. I simply make 2 points:
    1) Its a little to early to tell after 4 appearances
    2) Your initial point using him as an example of our continued failures in the transfer market is still a bit unfair given that the new signings have as a whole actually been pretty successful

  7. albo

    Sug – totally disagree. For every player that hits the ground running you can name an example of a player who took time to acclimatise.

    You’re not seriously arguing that moving to the PL isn’t a step up? Or that players should be given no time to get used to it?

  8. SUGA3

    albo,

    seriously mate, I really wanted him to make it, because it is only good for the club and I think I saw enough to have the idea why he does not get selected…

    the only thing I said was that we have signed another shit player, which is another moment of Wenger trying to be ‘smart’, which will come back to bite us on the arse, as per usual…

  9. SUGA3

    all I am saying is that if this is him trying to impress, then FSM help us all…

    you can’t develop pace or train aerial ability at his age, there is something you can do about strength, but it’s a lengthy process, ergo he is a flop, as we need a ‘here and now’ kind of player…

  10. albo

    For the record, my feeling on Park was that he’s looked a bit physically off the pace but has a good instinct for goal. I felt by next season he might have caught up on the physical side of the game. Especially as Korean players have such a reputation for hard work and for keeping running all match etc.

    Totally take your point about the national service being a huge issue in that ‘next season player’ context. Hadn’t considered that…

    But anyway, perfectly happy to give him time before reaching a conclusion…

  11. SUGA3

    same here, but I am to be convinced here ater giving Chamakh the benefit of the doubt last season, which has not worked out too well in the end, has it?

    I am off to bed, catch you later Grovers!

    LOL at Spuds!!!

  12. albo

    Poor old Chamakh. What the hell happened to him!

    But on the flip side, giving Koscielny the benefit of the doubt is working out slightly better. That’s the nature of the tranfer market I suppose…

  13. gambon

    When Demba Ba was available cheap, and with players like Gameiro and Falcao available this summer, signing park was a disaster, and as Suga said, wenger trying to show everyone how great he is.

  14. Gooby

    SUGA3

    Park’s abilities have nothing to do with monco being relegated. WHU got relegated it doesn’t make scott parker shit does it?

    I don’t judge players based on 3-4 appearances it’s unfair and inaccurate imho. It’s all down to park now.

  15. SUGA3

    just my final tuppence on the striker issue:

    come to think of it, Wenger has in fact signed two brilliant (Henry, RvP) and one decent (Ade) striker throughout his time here, the rest of his signings were and some still are pretty poor…

    Lurch,

    some fan of European gangster movies you are!

    really off now 😉

  16. Pedro

    Albo, I agree… but I’d say the manager has been pretty unsupportive… he’s hardly had a game. For a player only here two seasons, that’s a pretty poor show.

  17. Keyser

    Demba Ba’s knees supposed to be a ticking time-bomb, fuck knows what Pulis was on.

    Gameiro’s alright would have the same problems adjusting though probably more dynamic, Falcao went for what 38 million ? He’s not worth anywhere near that.

    The signing is exactly what it is, a 3 million pound signing from a relegated Monaco side that has a short term future because of military service.

    Signed because Wenger acted too late in thet ransfer window to buy anyone more prominent, because we lacked numbers up front with Bendtner and Vela out on loan, who’s experienced and may or may not work, but for a last ditch signing is decent.

    It isn’t Wenger trying to show people how great he is more a sign of how late Wenger left it in the window and a reaction to an 8-2 defeat.

  18. Lurch

    they’re the best suga3, usually based on history and no shit cliche’s…

    nite. lulz @ sp*rs in their lavender toilet paper wrapper kit.

  19. SUGA3

    Gooby,

    a regular for Monaco, his overall return in three consecutive seasons in all comps was 5 in 35, 9 in 33 and 12 in 35…

    now you tell me if he is good enough for us or not…

  20. Keyser

    Heh, I feel for people, the last few days it’s been like people are now genuinely confused about the team, the players and where we’re going this year, we’ve lost 8-2, we’ve battled relegation and yet we’re now 4th.

    Ramsey’s shit, Gervino’s shit, someone has to be shit..

  21. Keyser

    “Everyone knew Park was signing before we played UTD. Nice try.”

    When did he sign fatboy, we needed a striker, the United game made it even more desperate.

  22. Gooby

    and he’s not bad in the air. fact 🙂

    We won’t rely too much on him if robin stays fit and in case we need him i think he can do a job that is all. only time will tell.

    night

  23. albo

    I think Anelka was a pretty decent signing. Remember him?

    Re Keyser’s point – the whole of that post was totally valid and full of good points. Classic Gambon to pick one tiny hole and act as if he’s demolished the entire argument

  24. SUGA3

    he is shit in the air, did not win a single header he went for when we played Bolton, even though he is 6 foot tall!

    as for the point regarding the fact of signing the players so late, who was at fault? come on, don’t be shy…

  25. albo

    Pedro says:
    December 11, 2011 at 23:41
    Albo, I agree… but I’d say the manager has been pretty unsupportive… he’s hardly had a game. For a player only here two seasons, that’s a pretty poor show.
    —————————————————

    Yeah, agreed. Maybe he’s just not been quite as good as he hoped in training. Fingers crossed he comes good. Like SUG, I had hopes for him as a hard working dynamo type player. One of those attackers who contributes a lot to the defence by hustling everything from the front – the kind we’re sorely lacked in the past few seasons…

    Despite my defending him just now, I desperately hope we buy a striker in January!

  26. Keyser

    “and was it really worth pissing off Lille for the sake of signing him?

    still unconvinced…”

    The shitter he is, the less Lille will be pissed off, also of course you’re unconvinced he hasn’t played and we’ve got Van Persie trying to decade long records up front.

  27. albo

    SUG – read the post. Keyser made it very clear that he felt Wenger was at fault for leaving it too late. Its called offering a balanced opinion!

    Trouble is on here, you pigeonhole people as ‘AKBs’ and ‘realists’ and all that nonsense so you often don’t realise when people are agreeing with you cos you’re so busy trying to score points off them!

  28. Keyser

    Erm, the Bolton game ? heh.

    “as for the point regarding the fact of signing the players so late, who was at fault? come on, don’t be shy…”

    That’s part of the point, I’ve already mentioned it, read back gambon even failed trying to highlight it.

    Also how did you have such high expectations ? Because you believe in how clever Wenger is ?!

  29. albo

    In fairness SUG, you’re talking as if you’re a huge authority, but you’ve still only seen him play twice for a team and in a league he’d been at for about 5 minutes.

    The only really sensible thing to say on the matter is that time will tell…

  30. Keyser

    The simple reason he hasn’t played is because we play with one pivotal striker in Van Persie, who we’ve spent 7 years cultivating as a player and 2-3 years finding a position suited to him within the team.

    Obviously Park isn’t going to slot in right away because as it is, we’ve had a shocking start to the season, almost every game is must win and Gervinho and Walcott are first choice, Park’s had no pre-season with us, we don’t have a settled team anyway and we’ve got a team with no fit fullbacks at all.

  31. SUGA3

    Keyser,

    it’s because I still somehow believe that Wenger is professional enough to do his best to make the things tick and the situation was fucking desperate!

    if I did not have that little spark of belief, I’d make gambon blush, trust me 😆

    albo,

    I have watched him really closely, which is only natural and if I was the scout, the message back to OGL would be ‘forgeddaboutit’, simples…

    the only thing he managed was one goal against Bolton where Cahill had a mare, could not get a sniff against fucking Shrewsbury!

    it’s not ‘huge’ authority, but it’s more than most on here are able to tell, no?

  32. Keyser

    I think I’ve come on too late to start my patronising diatribes, though at the same time maybe that’s best.

    Scared about the Man Citeh game, must hope for the usual 24 man brawl for tomorrow, managers and all.

  33. Keyser

    Heh, So you acknowledge the goal now at least, calm, cool collected finish, hmm wonder whether we need that sort of finishing in the team ?!

    Come on Shrewsbury ? That was his first game wasn’t it. We barely have a settled first team let alone the teams we put out in the Carling Cup.

    There’ll be plenty of time to doom after the Citeh game, though you never know.

  34. Keyser

    What else have I missed out on ? Was out Saturday but read back the comments during the game, I suppose there’s still that nervous tension about when we’ll fall apart again, but the goal was just sheer quality.

    Before Pedro calls me african and starts talking about apartheid, Song’s pass was pure quality, if you watch it from the angle that has both him and Van Persie face on, the curl and touch he puts on the ball is perfect, Van Persie had time to take it down and bury it.

    It might be overkill on his part, and he could have probably made it soo much easier on himself but to hit it that sweetly with such direction is the artist in him.

    Also made me wonder why the goal looks better when it hits the top corners rather than the bottom ?!

    Onto El Classico, I didn’t really care who won, my positive thoughts are reserved for Arsenal right now. I’d rather Barcelona won, but the leagues pretty pathetic as a whole, it’d have been annoying to hear how Mourinho with a ragtag bunch of misfits had managed to outwit and outcoach the greatest team in history.

  35. OPG

    Everton linked with Thierry they could do with a Bendtner even, Moyes is bad enough subbing off Saha for Distin okay he’s frustrating but still.

  36. Bade

    Hope to see the chavs tearing the petrol babes a new one tonight.

    I don’t care they’re challenging us for 4th ….. I do want $ity to lose ground

  37. Bade

    One thing I’m certain off, we won’t finish the league beneath Spuds, but above them.

    So as long as they’re above of us, I know things will be turned upside down …. I’d like us to finish in the top 4 alongside Chavs and both Mancs, rather than Spuds.

  38. The BearMan

    Man one can tell u received n invitation to de party, or was it de birthday cake, for u were able to make us relive this special party occasion. Fantastic!

    Being in such a great mood after the weekend, I am going to shop for two Arsenal cards for my Spuds neighbours and deliver it late on Christmas Eve before they have time to consider posting their junk through my letter box.

  39. solomon

    i agree with the player rating.
    RVP-he is always z best
    theo and gervinho let’s give them some time and they w’ll show who they are.
    GUNNERS FOREVER.

  40. Leedsgunner

    Well done Gunners, grinding out wins, that’s what it is all about… given our predicament re lack of recognised full backs, I would gladly take a draw against City but it would be so sweet if we got a win… ironic really that Clichy and Eboue could be pretty handy just about now… oh well, as long as it is not a replay of the massacre at the other place in Manchester — that would be a good start.