Arsenal looked balanced | What a difference a Diaby makes | £30m Arsenal bid scepticism

by & filed under Match report.

Make no mistake about it, last night was probably the coldest night I’ve experienced at the Emirates in a while. A proper FA Cup tie under some pretty intense weather conditions. Well, I’d imagine they were less harsh if you were out on the pitch!

It was worth it though, I thoroughly enjoyed the performance and I especially enjoyed the balance of the side. Wenger changed things up from the weekend, opting to bring the out of favour Coquelin in from the cold to go… eerrr… out in the cold. He played him alongside Diaby with Jack Wilshere playing in the hole. Wenger shifted Cazorla out onto the left, banged contract rebel Theo out on the right and sat Giroud in the middle. I’m not sure what he was thinking, going experimental in an important game.

Wow, what a difference it made. The team looked fairly compact, it had a purpose and after the first half, it really felt its way into the game and started creating chances like we haven’t seen since the Newcastle game. Players moved for each other, the switched positions, they pressed and they defended with surprising discipline.

Coquelin must be a smart boy. He sees what we’re lacking. That’s a holding midfielder with the intelligence to sit back, pick up the ball and distribute with a bit of ambition. He did exactly that, once  he was past the half way line, he tended to check and sit deep. He was more than just a five yard pass which gave the middle of the park a more dynamic feel. What he has is the energy to tear around the pitch. Swansea are very good off the ball and they can be quite calorie sapping when they’re on the ball. The fact we kept them quiet most of the game is partly down to the work he put in. He has a lot to prove… was Wenger right to ignore the capped M’Vila?

Having Diaby back in the side is what really gives us a different flavour. His height and rangey legs make him a difficult customer to deal with. You can’t mark Diaby in the middle of the park in the same way you can Cazorla. He holds the ball up really well and he matches that with the ability to turn with ease when he has his back to goal. He just makes things difficult for the opposition. Whether that’s in the air or just getting in the way because of his size. He gives us more steal and he mixes up the attributes we boast through the centre. Trouble is, you can’t rely on him… so it’s wasted excitement.

Jack Wilshere was the hub of the team last night. His discipline has improved dramatically over the last few weeks. He knows when to fight, he knows when to calm down, he knows when to niggle at the opposition. He’s our bit of cultured nasty… because for all the bluster, he’s actually an incredibly talented footballer Generally, it takes two or three seasons for the goals and assists to really kick in. Jack is finding his way around the pitch at the moment, working out how to dominate games on his own… but the signs are already there that the goals will come. As time rolled on last night, many of us sensed the footballing gods were going to punish us with extra time… possibly late revenge for booing Eboue… then up stepped Santi who cut some space in the middle of the park, found Jack who controlled the ball, cut inside his defender and blasted his shot past the impressive Vorm.

The crowd went wild, Jack went wild, we all went home happy, even if two or three toes were lost to frost bite.

The only questionable performance of the evening came from Theo Walcott. He really did have a nightmare. One of those evenings where nothing dropped for him. One of those evenings you could usually describe as standard match for him. The timings of his runs were woefully off, his control recieving the ball and when running at full pace was lacking… I watched him run the ball out of play twice which was embarrassing for someone who is about to sign a three and half year deal which would indicate those nights were past him. He did come into the game a bit more as the second half wore on, I remember being very excited when  he hit the target at one point. Sometimes things don’t go for you… but as expected, that contract and his behaviour in holding the club to ransom has already manifested in ill favour for him. He’s earning big boy wages now, talk of being young won’t rub. He has to be on it every game or he’ll be getting grief from the stands. Not helpful, but as we’ve seen before, a greedy player never goes down well at The Grove.

I thought Giroud had another good game. He was just as bad in front of  goal as Theo (more on target from harder chances)… but he was more productive elsewhere. He’s a very  hardworker. The timings of his runs and his ability to get on the end of a fairly high percentage of balls in the box make him a very different striker to the type we’re used to. If he had the pace of Adebayor, he’d be a bit of a monster. Once he truly beds in, I think we’ll have a 20 goal a season striker on our hands. His freekick was the best I’ve seen any Arsenal player take in about 2 months. He lacks the class of a Robin or a Thierry, but for me, we have added variety to the front line. If we brought in someone with true class to compliment Theo and Giroud, we’d be in a very solid place depth wise up top.

Another two players I want to give credit to are Gibbs and Vermaelen. The Belgian had his best game in an Arsenal shirt of the season. He made some superb last ditch tackles and demonstrated some real fire last night. Gibbs, who has failed to really impress me this year put in a decent shift as well. His speed of thought and ability to read the game really stand out when you watch how many interceptions he makes during a game. He was mostly first to everything. His problem comes with positional sense when he’s not directly involved in play. He tends to switch off, which results in him losing the runs of people who should be watching. Last night though, I couldn’t fault him. He looked great.

I guess one aspect we can’t forget is that both teams knew a draw was going to be a problem. The second half lookced as though both managers had insisted the players take aim at winning within the ninety minutes. The game really opened up which played into our hands. The big question is whether we can take our second half form into the Chelsea game on Saturday and deliver it with a clinical edge. Chelsea are fragile at the moment, they dropped two points last night… they’re their for the taking. The clash of the two most inconsistent teams in the league… it could be a spectacular.

£30million man…

Big rumours on Twitter yesterday about a £30m bid for a player being lodged. The source is a well respected one, but the Tweet was removed later on… after it had gone viral obviously. Now, I don’t want to p*ss on anyone’s chips, but regardless of how good a source is, it can be agendarised. I can’t for the life of me think who we’d be looking to blow £30m on, but we can certainly afford to do it. I guess my main issue here, is it is way out of character and I’m struggling to think who Wenger would put that sort of cash on. Leaked information about us batting in the big leagues somewhat relieves the pressure on the manager even if nothing happens. He has a history of it… last season Wenger was talking about making Hazard’s dreams come true… the summer before he was telling us we could compete with Chelsea. If nothing comes of this rumour, half the fans will take it to mean we’ll be buying big this coming summer… obviously, the club would never plant ‘big spending’ seeds to shift season tickets would they?

Anyway, I’ll watch on and see what we’re planning on doing with this. It’s unlikely to be Cavani if City had a £55m bid rejected, it can’t be Fellaini as he has a £22m clause, Falcao won’t go for anything less than £50m… could it be someone like Neymar? Maybe Gotze? How about Schweinsteiger? Hulk? Higauin? Who knows… it’s an exciting thought, even if wrapped in a cover of scepticism.

Right… enjoy your day!

559 Responses to “Arsenal looked balanced | What a difference a Diaby makes | £30m Arsenal bid scepticism”

Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Cesc Appeal


    Point is you never what this idiot is going to do.

    Diaby plays 120 mins without injury he’ll probably green flag loaning out Coq…keep the useless shit Ramsey and then Diaby get’s broken again.

    Just rotten.

    Liverpool spent £60 Million on Carroll and Suarez after they lost Torres.

    We could spend £52 Million and get Fellaini and Cavani. What a couple of buys. That sends a real message.

  2. SDE

    Dan Ahern

    £30 million big signing..

    Wenga Wonga-“The Water Bottle Kicking Specialist”,renews a 5 year contract taking him to 2019…on £30 million +

    This is the exceptional qualidee signing,from the touchlines..
    Fooled yah..!!

  3. Dan Ahern

    Hahahah yeah I remember that story. What ever happened with that? Was it completely made up? Or if it happened, what was the purpose?

  4. Tomtom

    Even if we do sign Cavani we still have a shit defence and no wingers to supply him. What has happened Rosicky by the way? Did he just play well for a few games to get a new contract and then decide to go back to taking it easy and just picking up the pay cheque?

  5. Nasri's Mouth

    @cesc appeal

    Agreed, you can never guess what he’s going to do. My point is let’s not convert fiction into fact just to prove a point until there is at least some fact behind it.

    As for Liverpool spending £60m on suarez and Carroll, most people would say that £60m is far too much for Suarez.

    But yeah, I get and share your point. As fans what we want is to feel as though the club is being pushed forward on the pitch.
    Years ago, we all wanted our club to sign players even if we couldn’t afford them, now we just want to sign players we can afford

  6. SDE

    Nasri’s Mouth
    As for Bartley/Squillaci/Djourou, the obvious issue is wages. Bartley wasn’t on a big fat contract, so it was easier to move him on, nothing to do with who is the better player

    I disagree…It’s not whether Bartley was easier to move on..It was the fact that Wenga Wonga did not fancy him..

    The whole Djourou thing going on loan,is just a temporary measure for both parties to deflect away from the wage issue..

    OGL feebly attempting to address the wage bill,& Djourou pretending he needs first team football to resurrect his floundering & non-existent career..

    Don’t forget,Djourou will be back in a few months,to collect his testimonial cheque..

    A ‘lil nice love in going on there..
    & hopefully by OGL’s account,if we finish in the top 4,he’s hoping the fans would not mind too much -deliriously happy with CL football,too not give a hoot about Djourou’s testi..

    I sense a feeling,it’s all going to spectacularly backfire against OGL this season…Big time…

  7. Nasri's Mouth

    SDE: I disagree…It’s not whether Bartley was easier to move on..It was the fact that Wenga Wonga did not fancy him..

    Well, you’re welcome to your view. Bartley was earning less money, wanted to play 1st team football. Therefore he’d be easier to move on than the other two. But if that doesn’t fit your theory, go with yours instead

  8. GUNNER786


    And now Cavani..


  9. Toli83

    I’d personally love to see more of coq. Been banging this drum for ages, if he was given a run in dm we would see a flamini esque transformation…

    Very good player and our only proper dm….

  10. Dan Ahern

    Can somebody explain this?

    Bulent Tulun, Galatasaray’s director of sport: “Sneijder has to resolve a €2 million problem with Inter. There is an agreement between Galatasaray and the player’s entourage. Based on the clause we signed, until February 5 the player cannot join another club.”

    What? Is he implying Sneijder has to pay the Turks €2m if he goes elsewhere?

    And what the fuck is he talking about with Feb 5? Where the fuck is he going to move on Feb 4 anyway?

  11. Keyser

    JoppaRoad.cock. – Massive Cock on there.

    Joppa’ – More a niche site full of Joppa’s adventures with Brazilian Shemales.

    BogSpot/ – Joppa travels around England’s top bogs looking for someone to shit on his chest.

  12. Toli83

    Everyone needs to forget Cavani . It really isn’t happening…. Doesn’t anyone learn anything over the last 8’years.

    Coq needs a run of 7 or 8 games on the trot in his natural position and I reckon we will find it had to drop him. A very good player.

    Diaby should have a full time roll in the club shop or something.

  13. Keyser

    Joppa’sJalopy. – Kind of like Bangbus but with a proper shit car.

    JalebiJoppa.Cock – For those wanting a taste of India.

  14. salparadisenyc

    The whole situation with Sneijder is a very odd one.
    Morratti called his bluff and excepted first bid. .

    He’ll end up at Spurs and punish us, we in turn will fucking crucify Wenger for not signing him for the 7-8 million EURO asking.

  15. Keyser

    That last ones not a real big seller, apparently Joppa doesn’t know what ATM stands for, but Barclays’ bank have some very interesting shots of Joppa hanging around in a peephole bra.

  16. Dan Ahern

    Sal — Yeah, pretty funny. But I don’t get this 2m clause Tulun is talking about. Bizarre.

    Sneijder is very obviously stalling in the hopes that another team comes to his rescue. We should put in a derisory bid and offer him 80k pw. He’d probably try to force it through in the final days of the window.

  17. Keyser

    kwikfit – Bit of a misunderstanding there, Joppa thought it was a disguise and strapped it around his head. Like Wenger he wanders around looking through the peepholes.

  18. Gooner4life

    Fellow Gooners,
    Pedro is totally correct,Wenger has become a spin doctors as well as manager,coach,buying players,AFC Press manager, etc,etc.
    He makes geniune enquiries with players of the ilk of a Cavani to the club,the selling club publish this to the press,AFC fans get excited think its real, but hey ho AFC fans with a few brain cells know Wenger would never pay that sort of money!.Also, like pedro said usually this happens around the new season ticket release.Its becoming insulting to AFC fans.
    AFC fans deserve and now expect and rightly so players of this calibre becuase for the last 7yrs, 2 or 3 players of this level or top talented youngsters or mature to this level is all thats needed to compliment the team.
    Until, hill-wood retires, the board understand what it is to be a true AFC fan and what it means to be at a Top 4 prem club and top 8 club in the world.The board needs to think outside of the box regarding transfer funds.Players like cavani, the board should approach Usmanov for a loan to purchase the player NOT keep Usmanov at arms length or give a seat on the board.

  19. Colonel Mustard

    you know what gets me journalists are so F***kin lazy these days they buy this Cavani rumour especially that guy from the mail….robs his articles from L’Equipe and Twitter. Why dont hacks get out there and asks some pertinent questions instead of acting like they are “close ” to Arsenal like John Cross…

  20. luke

    anyone else worried about or CB situation? We have Verm,Koz,Per, then Squid. No song anymore, djourou gone. Miquel didnt even make bench for swansea. Uhhh?

  21. Toli83

    Well he better start wanted to see it every weekend and midweek if necessary.

    It’s no use to any one just viewing it sat all limp on the bench.

    Waste of everyone’s time.

    With coq powering through the middle, Wenger will be a happier man.

  22. Higz

    Yeah it seems like wenger went off the coq for some time, but after last night he’ll want to get as much coq as possible

  23. Toli83

    Thing is Wenger has had his hands full with Diaby for years and hasn’t really experienced any satisfaction .

    If he’s got coq staring at him in the face then why not give it a go, what’s the worst that can happen?

  24. Keyser

    Kwikfit – If you’re lucky enough to get some coq, don’t worry about us, just enjoy the experience and take it all in.

  25. sam

    for me any rumour that arsene wenger is bidding for 30 millions player is rubbish
    i am not even going to waste my time reading about cavani, fellaini or falcao.
    i am not convinced we will signed anyone this january

  26. sam

    hey wait!
    we already signed 2 midfielders coquelin and diaby, before the window closes we will sign a new striker theodore james walcott.

    thats 3 new signings

  27. Joppa Road

    Keyser January 17, 2013 22:50:14

    COQ IN

    LeMassiveCoq January 17, 2013 23:15:18

    Wenger loves LeMassiveCoq

    LOL. Who would of thought we could solve all Arsenal’s problems in one evening but we have. Pedro must be proud. I’ve heard he likes a bit of Coq too. (Obv really).

  28. gambon

    Wenger the fucking liar

    August 2012: “We have resources available so if it is not happening now it will happen in December”

    January 2013: “I prefer to do business in the summer and have identified players for then.”

  29. Gunner2301

    For anyAKBs out there can you name another top Club where a player has left citing the lack of ambition at the Club as the reason?

    I can’t think of one and when it happens year after year for 5 or 6 years you have to start to think there’s something in what these players are saying.


  30. Dan Ahern

    Hah, a good one from Martin Samuel:

    What’s the difference between financial and chemical doping, Martin? Czerwonadupa, Wembley.
    Well, one is a process for cheating by the consumption of performance-enhancing drugs, which is illegal, the other is a catchphrase made up by idiots to explain the process of investing in a business to enable it to grow. Glad to be of assistance.–DEBATE-How-dare-Manchester-United-Arsenal-try-deny-club-chance-success.html#ixzz2IHRrH9qe

  31. Twivil

    Keep Arteta and Cazorla out of CM and we may start passing and moving again. That is all the fans want to see. But the Swansea performance was only a start. Closing down was much better but still not good enough. We need a quality CD with pace who can come out and press (like Kompany does) and not get stranded every time. That and a top class finisher would do for now. Roll on 3rd or 4th place!

  32. Arsenal 1886-2006

    Put’s thing into perspective a bit, somebody who I shared some good and bad experiences with a couple of years back has died today, he was diagnosed with brain cancer on the 7th of Jan and has died tonight.
    R.I.P. Niall.

  33. Dan Ahern

    No seriously, this article is really good, you guys should have a read. Another Q/A:

    I am an Arsenal fan. Financial fair play will benefit Manchester United, not us, and make second the best we can hope for. If spending is only linked to revenue no-one can live with United. Maybe if Ivan Gazidis did his job properly instead of just preaching about financial austerity, while earning £2.1m a year, we might be able to challenge United without these new flawed regulations. Also, it is a bit rich of us to complain about Manchester City’s money but accept their inflated transfer fees. We’ve pocketed £70m from them since 2008, more than we’ve made from Emirates. Maybe City should be our shirt sponsors. KennyA87, London.

    I love letters like this, when a person is not swayed by club self-interest. The day after I wrote this piece I got a text from an international footballer, a legend at one of the four elite clubs mentioned, agreeing with the anti-FFP stance. On so many subjects, club allegiances shine through, so when someone goes against the grain, it stands out. You’re spot on, Kenny. Why sign up to be second fiddle to Manchester United? How dare Gazidis lecture on financial sobriety while drawing £2.1m for selling Arsenal’s best player every season? And if Arsenal don’t like Manchester City’s methods, don’t take Manchester City’s money. That would be more of a principled stand than some elite club coup. And now, the radicals.”


    This dude is on point.–DEBATE-How-dare-Manchester-United-Arsenal-try-deny-club-chance-success.html#ixzz2IHXerzYU

  34. Zacharse

    Someone probably misunderstood Wenger, we’ll be spending 30m on Theo in the next three seasons. Why in the hell would Arsene pay such out of control costs for a footballer when there are perfectly good players in Ligue 1

  35. JJ

    What’s all this Coq love about? He was ok last night. Nothing special.

    Too many passes to Song’s imaginary friend for my liking.

  36. Arsenal 1886-2006

    Joppa, Dan.
    The worse thing is that we have not spoken for 3 years, not on bad terms just differing views on something that bought a lot of us together.
    Somebody told me he was unwell today and tonight he has gone, lifes too short for falling out with people over something that was pretty trivial when I think of it now.

  37. Joppa Road

    Arsenal1886 – Nobody knows what is around the corner, good or bad. It is such a crazy world sometimes. Hindsight is great but unfortunately very few of us are that wise. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

  38. Zacharse

    Dan Ahern

    great article, university course length
    always love seeing shallow sanctimonious football fans with short term memories called out

  39. Thomas

    “On top of that, all the players who can strengthen us are cup-tied in the Champions League.”

    What a fucking cunt.

  40. Thomas

    Wenger was never going to spend. He’s defending himself early with comments like that so he won’t look like an idiot when the transfer window has closed.

  41. Dan Ahern

    Zacharse — Required reading, 50% of your grade.

    Thomas — On the contrary: I think the cup-tied remark does make him look stupid. Or at least pathetic. No fucking shit they’re cup-tied. Does that prevent them from playing in the league?? As if we’re gonna win the CL if only we get 1 non-cup-tied player…

  42. sam

    cavani rumours are not true coz le cheap didn’t even try to sign demba ba or strurridge for way less. he ignored them

  43. Dan Ahern

    1886 — Right on, we get lost in the stupid shit too often. But that’s also being human man. Don’t fault yourself for that. People grow together and apart all the time, it’s never down to one thing. Like you said, you weren’t on bad terms or anything, it’s not like you woke up thinking of how much you hated each other. I’m sure neither of you held it against the other.

    Really sorry for your loss though. It’s terrible when it’s out of the blue like that…. I don’t personally know you, but just from LG I have a good deal of respect for you. So I hope you’re dealing okay. I know all of us here are assholes in the main, but hey, if we can make ya feel any better we’ll do our best.

  44. ZeDarkest

    Errrr… Pedro, that description of the goal… What game were you watching exactly? I remember Jack taking the shot one time after a lay-off/poor touch from Giroud; who was found by Cazorla…

  45. Jeff

    Wenger’s primary objective is to get through the transfer window without buying anyone. Don’t forget fourth is still the objective and if he thinks there is even the slightest chance of doing it he will.

    I felt bored so I decided to click on the latest interview he gave (link above about 38 seconds in) and he’s actually playing with us. Do you know what he said this time: “Our banker lives next to me at the moment and he is ready if we find the right player”, while grinning all the way through it? From that one statement alone you can deduce that 99.9% of everything that Wenger says is humbug. The only truth, ladies and gentlemen, is what you see on the pitch and that is when it all comes gushing out like a bad discharge.

  46. Cesc Appeal

    ‘They are competing for the league so why should they sell?’

    The guy is such a hypocrite it’s unreal!

    We sold Nasri, Fabregas and Van Persie all star quality players. And I’m pretty sure we didn’t get DOUBLE their worth…for Fabregas we didn’t even get close to his worth.

    Wenger’s an idiot.

    And the clubs duping of all the fans is becoming sickening int heir vain attempt to cling onto power and money.

    Thankfully though most Arsenal fans saw through it this time, the vast majority in fact.

    He can’t pull the wool over their eyes anymore…there are of course still some.

    Yesterday Wenger said ‘I like Cavani, my banker lives next door so if we want to…’

    Today ‘we have no chance of getting him only if we pay double his worth.’

    Napoli told you that int he space of 24 hours did they.

    We could’ve got £50-60 Million for Fabregas…we sold him for £30 Million…so unless you’re admitting that everyone responsible for negotiation at the club is as useless as a turd in a suit…why can’t we do to others what clubs do to us?

  47. gambon



    I would have him as Chairman. His views on his best mate would be irrelevant, it wouldnt be his job to hire or fire the manager.

    Also, why would he say anything other than this? Arsene is his best mate, he isnt involved at the club in any way, why would he say “Arsenes past it, a new manager is needed”……it serves no-one.

    Dein loves Arsenal, and wants to see Arsenal succeed, thats more important than a silly soundbite protecting his friend.

  48. sam

    Grow up mistic,

    they are mates what do you think he will say about wenger.
    wenger dines with usmanov but he knows he will sacked when he will take over.
    mates don’t stab each other in the back in public

  49. sam

    david dein is an arsenal fan, if he was in charge he will not tolerate 8 years without trophy.
    probably win guardiola n force the old senile upstairs or sack him

  50. SJT

    I couldn’t help stumbling on this blog. People must have short memories or have just joined AFC since Wenger made us a team that everyone wanted to watch. People need a reality check……..the landscape has changed massively since we move to the Grove …..accept it……Oligarch rule….do you want to follow a team like that…… I know I don’t …yes Wenger has bought some shite ….but he is still well I credit compared to every other manager in European football. If you remember the 70s and 80s Arenal were a mid table club propped up Chapmans 1930’s wonders……….playing shite football in front of average of 30k loyal fans……………even GG’s goners were shite to watch ( apart from 88-89).Watching Arsenal now …whilst often painful is rarely less than pulse racing…win..lose or draw… Watching chavs n city……wot is the point? We are a proper club ….managed by a man who doesn’t give a shit about his own reputation but cares about the longevity of a club he clearly loves

  51. Ric

    Wenger said: “The way the team is structured, Diaby is an important part of the puzzle because he adds qualities we need in the middle of the park.

    Thats it guys, one of us might just have to commit ritual suicide with a “sell diaby FFS!” signs right outside his office before he even takes half a hint.