Mario Götze the key to Robin signing on – Has the penny dropped for Wenger – Spurs… you gotta laugh!

by & filed under News Review.

Stoke and Chris Foy were in the festive mood yesterday, both combined to rob our North London neighbours of three points in hilarious, controversial and unfair circumstances. What a great late gift! I happened to watch the game, hoping for a minor Christmas miracle and boy did we get one. Spurs gave Stoke two first half goals that both started from those nasty throw ins plus one which was helped along by a Petert Crouch handball.

In the second half, Spurs upped the tempo, they won a penalty, which Ade scored. From there on in, I thought there was no way Stoke would hold out, our North London neighbours were relentless. However, with a little bit of luck, an onside goal ruled offside, three nailed on Stoke handballs in the box, some fantastic Sorensen saves, a Kaboul sending off and god damn terrible refereeing, Stoke held out for a beautiful win!

Amazing. That still puts us 2 points away from them with Spurs having a game in hand, but we’re in touching distance of the top 4. We just have to keep playing the underdog, keep sneaking those wins and keep climbing the table. Regardless of the form we’re showing, top four would still be massive and it still looks like it’ll be really tough. My gut feeling this year is that Chelsea are going to have a struggle on their hands with Spurs and us for that final Champions League place. I might be totally wrong there, but they have big problems. Picking on Gary Neville for telling the truth shows just how much pressure Villa-Boas is under. Keep it up Neville, it makes a change to hear an actual opinion from a pundit.

I read in The Sunday Times that Manchester United are a team on the decline and the writer intimated that Wayne Roooney was right to question the clubs ambition last season. Unbelievable! It basically stated the in the mess they’re in (I know, United in a mess) because they don’t have the spending power of the clubs around them. Interesting how quick the knives sharpen, especially after the success they had last year and how over the topic lavish the praise for them was at the start of the year. ‘Team of a generation’ being replaced by ‘club that fails to attract top talent’ is very laughable.

Still, that’s not our concern. What we need to concentrate on is our match up against the blue half of City next Sunday. They’re not quite on a different planet at the moment. One man is, David Silva. They’re playing great football, but we saw Napoli teach them a lesson in the quick passing game twice. We’re in the right sort of form to play football against them, really, the game couldn’t have come at a better time. If we can stretch them up top and maintain a disciplined game at the back, we’ve got every chance of nicking some points there. My biggest concern is at right back. Mancini is a tactical master, he’ll know that JD isn’t very mobile and he’ll be keen to exploit that side of the pitch with pace and trickery. I’d imagine Adam Johnson will get the nod and I’d imagine they’ll focus plenty of energy in exploiting that side of the pitch.

Alex Song and Mikel Arteta will have a hugely important role to play. How do you contain David Silva? The player of no fixed abode. Well, if training with Cesc for 5 years doesn’t give you a bit of practice, then I’m not sure what will! Arteta is an experienced head and I’m sure he’ll be keen to boss a game against the leagues team of the moment. Ultimate concentration will be the theme of the day and making the correct decision about whether to maraud forward or sit will be the difference. You don’t want to fear City to the point of containing the teams game, but at the same time, City don’t need a second invite and they’ll kill you if you give them the chance.

It’s interesting in the assist chart that Songinho has popped up with 5 this season. That’s one less than Gervinho who was the assist machine we bought from Lille. People calling for Song to be promoted to chief creator are mad in my opinion. He’s a good defensive player. Having a good defensive midfielder who can help out with the creative side is a pretty powerful asset. When Jack comes back, we’ll have a potent midfield full of bite and aggression as well as pretty tasty attacking set up.

I have a good vibe about the game. I fear playing United more than I do City. Maybe that’s misplaced, I just don’t think the year can be that cut and shut for nouveau riche of Manchester.

In other news, Arsene Wenger has ruled out moves for Thierry Henry and Nic Anelka…

“As for Nicolas Anelka and Thierry Henry, I would say ‘No’.

“I am told Anelka has signed for a club in Shanghai and Henry goes to a training camp with New York Red Bulls on 15th January.

“We will lose players like Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho to the Africa Cup of Nations, but we have players like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Andrey Arshavin and Ju Young Park to come in.’

I can see why he’d rule out Nic Anelka, the guy is a massive sulk and he’s hardly been putting in a shift at Chelsea, however, I can’t see why he wouldn’t take a punt on Henry? He still took us a part in preseason and he’s still ripping it up in training according to Keown and we know full well he’s a better player at 34 than Park or Chamakh will ever be. The Moroccan reckons he’ll weigh up his options at the end of the season. I do hope if the worst happens and Robin goes, that doesn’t persuade Wenger to hold in to him!

Madrid are causing us problems. According to the John Cross, Yann M’Villa is interesting them at £30million. They only have about 8 defensive midfielders, so obviously they need one interesting us. They’re also sniffing around Robin. Mourinho tried to sign the Dutchman when he was at Chelsea and he came back in for him when he was at Inter. Hopefully he won’t get him this time. If he does come in for him, I’d be very tempted to ask them for Higauin or Benezema in exchange. You can’t keep those three happy in the same squad.

The article was tempered by saying Robin might be tempted to stay if Wenger goes out and bolsters in the January and in the summer. Could the penny finally have dropped for Wenger?

1) If you don’t give top class players top class team mates they go.

2) Experienced players bring you an edge even the best kids can’t

3) Buying in top quality works

If Wenger has learnt and he goes out and brings in a top class striker, a defender and a creator like Gotze, we’re very close to having a seriously competitive mix of players. It’s a big if though… seeing is believing, not long to go before we’ll know!

It was interesting to read Wenger citing maturity for Robin’s ascendancy into world-class this season. I’d say it’s more down to staying fit, something he’s rarely managed during his sizable stay. Let’s hope he can continue his healthy run for the rest of the year!

That’s me done for Monday, have a ripping day and do let me know if you need my home address for Christmas donations.

Follow @LeGrove

P.S. It’s the AST Christmas do tonight, it’s in the WM Club, so I can afford a glass of tapwater and a bread roll before I m0ve on. I hope to see a few of you down there, I’ll report all the goss in the morning!

502 Responses to “Mario Götze the key to Robin signing on – Has the penny dropped for Wenger – Spurs… you gotta laugh!”

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  1. Keyser

    frenchie – I know Djourou’s a problem, but I think that’s more down to him being a centre-back being played out of position rather than his inability to link up with Walcott.

    Djourou’s supposed to defend first attack later, solely on the Everton game if Walcott plays a better ball if Ramsey or Gervinho are more aware of Hibbert, or each other, are more pro-active, Everton have to change tact, they have to push forward, that automatically leaves space for Walcott.

    The Carling Cup game with Coquelin and Frimpong their midfield rarely got time to pick passes, Benayoun also worked his ass off covering Johnson against Miquel.

    Compare that to Olympiakos and Chamberlain did fuck all defensively and if our defence is left exposed like that than we’re screwed anyway.

    The better teams allow one-on-one situations as few times as possible.

  2. Keyser

    Lurch – What game was that, I remember you saying that before and I thought there was a particular reason for that, although it probably helps that Koscielny was originally a right back to begin with.

    We’re going to have be spot on allover the place. Last year we had everyone in midfield booked in the first half dunno if we can get away with that this year.

  3. frenchie


    i think djourou has his place on the side, but not against city. look how the spritely mcaleny took him on at the end of the match; his premier league debut and he burnt him for a cracking shot that was within inches of touching net. that is the type of activity we are to expect when silva, balotelli and aguero are on the pitch together. of that trio, only aguero was on the side against le coq and frimpong. you add yaya to the mix and there is a different feel to city than carling cup side. i cannot see anything good coming from his place in the starting xi come sunday. against stoke, sure. not city.

  4. Keyser

    frenchie – Do you mean the Gueye shot ? Or however you say it. Because Djourou makes the clearance up field under pressure by the touchline, follows the closest Everton player, Mertesacker loses a header to Fellaini and that’s where the space comes from.

    McAleny should have been tracked by a midfielder or there should be better pressure up field.

  5. Keyser

    Against Citeh without Sagna and Gibbs, the pressure has to start from the front, if we leave them the space we left Everton in front of and around the defence they will pick the defence apart regardless.

  6. frenchie

    the only other thing i remember about mcaleny, well, aside from his diminutive stature (no offence, dale), is mert clobbering him on the edge of the box. webb plays the advantage.

  7. Lurch

    saw it over the course of a couple of games Keyser, I’m a fan of Kozzers so pay pretty close attention, it was an observation I aired after Fulham I think.

    Vermaelen channels 60% of his outlet through RB even if Song & Arteta are available, I can only imagine its down to Theo’s threat, but it reflects the confidence he has on Kozzers ability to not turnover possession or at least recover should he do so.

  8. Lurch

    we saw it V the Chavs when Song got cornered and was reluctant to play to JD until it was too late and they scored as a result, I put that 75% down to JD rather than Song.

    JD’s not bad in the tackle or positionally, but he’s slow in the mind and can’t hack pressure.

    there were plenty of examples V Everton as well, passing the ball in the 6 yard box under little pressure.

    not ready i’m afraid.

  9. frenchie

    i would actually go 80% jd, lurch. he did not move, he did not provide any outlet, just stood there dumbfounded. his game is the air, not the grass.

  10. Arsene's Nurse

    @ IvoryGoonz – well done mate, you’ve discovered the interweb, youtubz and how to link video to a blog.

    Now swing your head violently sideways and shout, “mlaaaar”. That will dislodge your head-dobber and the nurse will kindly wheel you away from the internet upon hearing your cry for help.

  11. Keyser

    frenchie – Mert didn’t clatter him really, he’s like 2 feet taller than him and McAleny backed in, Mert didn’t get a strong enough header, he headed it straight into the path of Gueye and that’s when he took his shot.

    I just think as a team you can always do better, and people single out players because it’s easier, if we’re leaving Djourou one-on-one than we’re going to concede, the only player I’d trust at right back against anyone is Sagna.

  12. frenchie


    i agree: but webb did not.

    i am not singling out djourou for the ills of arsenal, but i am saying that tactically he would not be my first choice on the right against city.

  13. Keyser

    I’m not saying he’s the answer just that we don’t have any right-backs at the moment and he’s trying to do a job really.

    Also his distribution isn’t the best, but then neither is Koscielny’s compared to Vermaelen we as a team need toa djust to others weaknesses and strengths.

    It’s the single thing that annoyed me against Olympiakos, as a player if we’re struggling you should want to help out as you can, and certain players didn’t.

  14. Keyser

    Also it was ridiculous the criticism Ramsey got, the way Song put spin on the ball was like Nadal with a forehand, or maybe a delicate lob from Federer.

    Think I might watch the Chelsea game if I can find my password for the ArsenalPlayer thing.

  15. Marko

    Yaya’s gotta get a ban for the weekend. Also it’s good Clichy is banned for the weekend cause now Theo can hopefully tear Kolarov a new one

  16. Bade

    Oh ! yet another great morning

    Stoned again that I couldn’t keep up until the end of it, but happy that the northern chavs lost and Clichy is suspended….

    Pity we miss another adequate CB/LB to field….

  17. Bade

    With $ity’s 442, we can feel more comfortable fielding either of Arteta or Coquelin in DM and shifting Song to CB….

    We just can’t let JD deal with Silva, he will tear him apart

  18. Robert

    So, santos out for 3 months after flying to brazil for surgery.

    Brazil? I am unsure if their quality of orthopaedic surgeons equals the uk or us. Just saying…

    Imagine how fat he will be after spending three months with his feet up in the homeland.

  19. Bade


    Don’t be a plunk now, your both first choice fullback are our for long spells, you can’t count on their understudies, Jenko and Gibbs are still lacking vital bite and more injury prone than their mentors

    Go on and bring in a CB that can plat Lb also, so we could have 2 options on the two back sides, until Santos and Sagna is back to full fitness

  20. alan b'stard M P

    Hodgson says:
    December 12, 2011 at 09:49

    ” My friend was on a plane yesterday with Alan Smith who had been working for sky on the Sunderland game and he was telling him that RVP is a done deal to Real Madrid hope its not true ”

    If that is true then we may have Benzema