Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Player Ratings Vs Man Utd

By 1970’s Gooner

Almunia: Poor today and a continuous liability 2

Sagna : Steady as you go but nothing more. At least he is consistent. 5

Clichy: Decision making not his forte 3

Gallas: Tried his best, as usual 6

Vermaelen: And we thought his inclusion would have given us the edge. Strong performance and a goal, again 7

Denilson: A kid among men 3

Fabregas: Tried but surrounded by mediocrity, 6

Song: A solid performance, 5

Nasri: Ineffective and often failed to track back, 4

Rosicky: Uninterested? 3

Arshavin: Eager but selfish, 4

Eboue: Made a difference going forward, 6

Walcott: Used his pace to good effect but not enough time to have an impact, 5

Bendtner: Out of touch, needs games 4

Almunia, Clichy, Arshavin more guilty than others

By 1970’s Gooner

Once again Arsenal were found wanting when it came down to facing the big guns. First it was Chelsea at the Emirates with that 3-0 drubbing and now it is Manchester United with another three goals conceded.

This was a horrid performance where all Arsenal players were way below par.

Some much more than others.

Firstly Almunia let the team down again, as he did last season, letting in Ronaldo’s free kick at the near post in that home defeat in the Champions League.

He was not positioned right for Nani’s cross and had to back pedal to reach it but was unaware of his positioning and instead of tipping the ball over the bar he tipped in.

Amateur staff…

Then it was Clichy, again.

He was under a lot of pressure from Nani all afternoon just as he was against Young at Aston Villa.

He seems to need a lot more games to reach match fitness levels and United having seen his performance in Birmingham targeted him.

But Nasri is to blame as well, for he did not give the young full back enough cover all throughout the game. He was more often than not nowhere to be seen when defensive duties beckoned.

And when he did offer assistance it was of the token kind as evidenced by his wrong positioning next to Clichy rather than behind him allowing Nani to dance through them for his goal.

Amateur staff…

On the other side of the pitch Arshavin was just as guilty but of a different charge: Selfishness

Fabregas had put him in some advantageous positions during the first fifteen minutes and Arshavin did wriggle himself in on goal several times.

But when he needed to just be aware of his team mates in the box, where a short pass would have put them in on goal, he opted to go for goal himself.

Goals change games and as Arshavin failed to score or create one for Arsenal Nani was encouraged to weave some magic and as a result Almunia gifted the opponents one instead!

And then as Gallas and Vermaelen went forward for a set piece United scored from the break.

Rooney was the ONLY Manchester United player to be in Arsenal’s box surrounded by four players!

And this was because Clichy and Denilson who were tracking back failed to realise that an opponent was running free in the box.

Amateur staff…

And as for their third goal, what a shambles.

Clichy opted to do nothing than attack the player that was running in free on goal. And that is what Park did!

Amateur staff…

We need to regroup against Chelsea.

Arsene Wenger needs to drop Almunia, bring a focal point in the attack (Bendtner) which was once again desperately missing today and introduce some width.

Rosicky and Nasri, the two wide players, did no really play wide today and disappointed once again. When Walcott and Eboue came on Arsenal became more dangerous on the right hand side and looked threatening.

Something that Arsenal failed to do for the first 75 minutes.

We can beat Chelsea next Sunday. I firmly believe this…

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Three reasons why Arsenal will be quite a different proposition against Man United

By 1970’s Gooner

There are three strong reasons why Arsenal will prove to be more than a match for Manchester United next Sunday at the Emirates.

1. A defensive midfield player was missing against Aston Villa

The absence of Alex Song who was away at the Africa Cup of Nations meant that Arsenal’s midfield lacked his strong and powerful presence.

I like Ramsey but along with Denilson they were too meek to be able to control and dominate that midfield area. This meant that the Arsenal forwards as well as Fabregas were not provided the service that they usually get. Both players were also not able to provide an attacking threat.

The probable inclusion of Song for next Sunday’s game will be quite a different proposition.

His ball winning skills for a start will be an added boost that was so desperately missing against Villa.

But what he has added to his game is the ability to turn and go forward with the ball after he has won it.

This is quite important as he takes players out and drives the whole team further up the field taking the game straight into the dangerous areas.

2. Bendtner will add height, strength and more variety up front

Eduardo is out but the big Dane is in. I am glad that Bendtner is back. And I am glad he is replacing Eduardo who has been improving lately but not fast enough nor to the quality level that is required.

Eduardo would I think have been the one to make way even if he were fit.

So we will not only gain height and strength up front we will also be able to add variety to the attacks.

The long high ball that Wenger wrongly accused Villa of playing will now be a viable option for Arsenal. This was so evident against Villa when Bendtner came on. The Arsenal players were able to play high to him and the ball suddenly started spending more time in the opponent’s half.

Before that Almunia’s clearances and Sagna’s crosses were coming straight back into our half putting our (young) midfielders and defenders under more frequent and unnecessary pressure.

Bendtner showed against Villa that he could hold the ball under pressure and bring other players into the game.

This is so important as Arsenal’s style of play demands that all its forwards and offensive midfielders join the attacks. But in a 4 3 3 system they need time to get there. Eduardo wasn’t able to provide it.

3. Manchester United’s defence will be poorer for Ferdinand’s absence

Enough about Arsenal’s strengths. I feel that a weakness for Manchester United will be their defence.

The absence of Ferdinand will take a lot of their defensive prowess away and the right back position has also been a problem for them having to rely on the young and inexperienced Da Silva. I can see Arshavin running rings around him.

However it looks that Sol Campell may start against United (unless Wenger decides to play Song there) and Rooney may well run rings around him! And of course Van De Sar is a better goalkeeper than Almunia.

So all in all both defences will have their weaknesses for this particular game but Ferdinand’s absence will I think make it a more level playing field.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Arsenal’s vast room for improvement augurs well for the Premier League title

By 1970’s Gooner

When Arsene Wenger sold Patrick Vieira every single pundit wrote Arsenal’s chances for honours off.

Cesc and the rest got to the Champions League Final.

When Arsene Wenger moved Thiery Henry on every single pundit dismissed Arsenal’s chances again.

Yet Cesc and the rest topped the League in the first few months of that season and if it wasn’t for Eduardo’s horrific injury would have gone on to seriously challenge for the title.

This goes to show that this bunch of players that Arsene has put together have the capability to make up for the loss of significant players and still produce scintillating and high quality football.

This trend is being repeated again this season where this squad has had to put up with key players missing and still came up trumps. The run of recent results have so eloquently proved everyone wrong.

Players missing include:

- Arsenal’s top scorer (when he got injured) Robin van Persie and his young but very promising understudy Nicklas Bendtner.

Arsenal have relied on the diminutive Andrei Arshavin who never played centre forward before and on Eduardo who is still trying to find his feet after being out of action for so long.

- First team choice left back Gael Clichy and also his understudy Kieran Gibbs.

Arsenal had to make do with the third choice left back Armand Traore.

- First team choice goalkeeper Manuel Almunia as well as his understudy Lukasz Fabianski.

In stepped the third choice rooky keeper Vito Mannone.

- Fantastic midfielder Alex Song away on Africa Nations Cup duty.

He has been replaced by Denilson and when not available, youngster Aaron Ramsey as well as rooky midfielder Creig Eastmond who made his full League debut only last week away to Bolton of all places.

- Samir Nasri and Theo Walcott have been away injured for most of the season so far.

Arsenal found the resources to replace them with Eduardo and Rosicky.

Yet despite all these players missing Arsenal are now sitting top of the League (albeit with a game played more than Chelsea).

The conclusion that can be drawn is that there is still quite a substantial room for even more improvement in this team. And I believe that when this happens Arsenal will be unstoppable.

Let’s look into how this can come about.

Bendtner’s return

When Bendtner comes back Arsenal will gain a double benefit. A player that will play in his natural position who will add height and strength up front. This will give Arsenal the variety that has been missing in its forward play.

Up to now the ball has been played to the forward’s feet on the ground by building form the back. This is Arsenal’s usual way of playing of course.

But Bendtner’s height and strength will provide another option. It will also add height when defending corners and dead ball situations.

The other benefit will be the release of Arshavin and Eduardo to play in their natural positions. The effect of this should not be underestimated as these players will become more efficient and also provide Wenger with more options.

Bendtner is penciled in for the game at Aston Villa next week…

Clichy’s return

Granted he was rather rusty against Bolton and should be partly blamed for the first goal conceded.

Yet we all know Gael’s quality and what he brings to this team. Now he is back the defence will be that much more solid. And we will need that with the difficult games coming up.

Can’t wait for Alex Song

If Cameroon go all the way in the Africa Nations Cup then he Song will not be back till mid February. Yet when he does come back Arsenal’s performances and defensive midfield capability for the latter part of the season will be so much more on solid ground.

Theo back on track

Walcott’s comeback (and eventually Nasri’s return in two weeks) will add more options for Wenger in the wide midfield positions as well as provide a much needed rest for Eduardo, Rosicky and even Arshavin who is carrying an injury.

Theo’s return in particular will add pace in the forward positions which has been missing of late.

Now all Arsenal have to do is stay top or in touch with the top after the completion of the next four games: Aston Villa away, Manchester United home, Chelsea away and Liverpool home.

It’s a tall order by all accounts but if it can be achieved then we will be well on our way for the Premier League title.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Arshavin: “Cesc was the conductor”

By Aries

Andrei Arshavin has hailed once again Fabregas’s fantastic performance against Bolton at the Reebok after Arsenal’s 2-0 victory. He described Fabregas as a conductor.

“Cesc was back in operation. He competently conducted the team and managed to score a goal” he said on his personal web site.

He also thought that it was Arsenal’s team performance that carried them through to final victory but that the pitch didn’t help.

“Today we played quite a hard match. These victories are needed, they are important for the team. I think that today we won thanks to a team game for Arsenal. We tried to combine, but the field was difficult. It interfered with our play”

Arshavin also admitted that his defensive performance was not up to scratch.

“We changed the scheme of the game today. My task was to play left field. I was not able to fully help out in the defense but thanks to the guys who corrected my flaws”

What is important now to Andrei is to win the next game against Bolton which will set the team up nicely for the crucial next four games which include Aston Villa, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool.

“But the task is not yet complete, because in the matches against Bolton we want to have 6 points.

If after two days we will be able once again to beat this team, we'll have a good chance on the eve of crucial four matches for Arsenal” he said.

How did Eastmond do? Player Analysis and Ratings Vs Bolton

By 1970’s Gooner

Bolton tried to muscle Arsenal out of the game but they only found some joy in the opening 10 minutes of each half.

Other than that they failed miserably as they allowed too much space in the middle of the park for Arsenal’s most dangerous player.

Time and time again Fabregas was given space and time to receive and turn with the ball and when that happens you are really dicing with death. And that is what was so exquisitely dished out in football terms.

Fabregas ran the show with all that Arsenal created originating through him. The first goal came after a quick one two with Eduardo and as soon as you could say Cesc Fabregas the ball was in the back of the net.

For the second he ran out of defence with the ball and when put under pressure passed it to the on coming Fran Merida. A few passes and who was on the ball again?

Cesc ran with it deep in the Bolton area and released Eduardo who put in a cross for the ball to fall to Fran Merida on the other side. It was a clinical finish which may have turned Merida's Arsenal career for the better. 9

I liked Fran Merida’s performance. He never wasted a pass with that sweet left foot of his, showed a lot of self confidence against the hard tacklers of Bolton and took his goal very well. 8

There were a few passengers today and it’s just as well some of our players are coming back into fitness.

Traore had another awful performance often caught out of position with his man way beyond him. His passing was way below acceptable levels for a professional footballer. 4

The other passengers were Arshavin, Eduardo and to a lesser extend Eastmond.

Arshavin was played on the wing for most of the encounter today but he still drifted in and out of the game. His passing was awful as he looked to first time passes which never came off often putting the rest of his team mates under pressure. 5

Eduardo is still trying to find his way. He again looked off the pace especially when Fabregas put him clean through but couldn’t get to the ball before Jaskerlainen.

He is looking slightly better with each game and there is therefore the hope that with more games he will get back to his best. 6

Eastmond I liked today. I thought he will be a useful Arsenal player back to the days when Arsenal TV used to screen the Arsenal reserves games live (alas no more, with no real explanation given to us subscribers…).

He had a fine debut, winning the ball and passing it sensibly to a team mate. He also nearly scored!

He did however get caught out a few times thinking he had more time than he actually did. His passing was also on some occasions not up to scratch allowing the opposition to mount attacks when they really had no right to do so.

But, I can hear you saying, this was his first Premier League game for Christ’s sake!

Yes, I agree, but it still doesn’t detract from the fact that the rest of the more experienced players had to carry him through on occasion. Just as they did with Traore. 6

I am still not very confident about Almunia.

He was great coming out and getting the high balls from corners relieving the pressure from his defence. He was also alert enough to pounce on the ball when Klasnic was through on goal having tricked a confused Gallas.

He did however drop a ball for a corner when not under any sort of pressure. 6

The only thing you can say about Sagna is that he is a very good defender but his forward play and especially his crosses leave a lot to be desired.7

A wonderfully strong performance by Vermaelen today. Matched Kevin Foul Davies all the way and was, along with Gallas, the main reason that it was a clean sheet today. 8

Apart from that moment when Klasnic got round him Gallas didn’t put a foot wrong. 7

Diaby played a little bit more defensively today so that he could help Eastmond out. He did this very well and also got forward enough to support the attacks.

He is growing into a mature player for Arsenal now and if he stays fit will play a big role in the run in for the title. 7

I am very glad and relieved that Rosicky is back and to the high level we were used to before he got injured. He is an experienced player who knows when to pass and when to hold. When to shoot and when not to… 7

Almunia 6
Sagna 7
Traore 4
Gallas 7
Vermaelen 8
Fabregas 9
Diaby 7
Eastmond 6
Eduardo 6
Arshavin 5
Rosicky 7
Merida 8

Man of the Match: Cesc Fabregas

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Arshavin sheds light on Denilson’s mystery injury and admits Everton imposed their game

By Aries

Andrei Arshavin has been speaking about the Everton game stating that one cannot blame the severe whether conditions for Arsenal’s off form performance.

“To be honest, to be on the field was not very pleasant for the players of Arsenal and the opponent. Strong wind and snow always blowing in our faces. Unusual for a game at the Emirates.

On the other hand football is played in any weather, so this complaint is certainly not how we should explain the reason that we did not beat Everton” he said on his personal site.

The reason can be found in how Everton played he thought:

“Everton managed to impose their game, especially in the first half. They wisely blocked the wings and let us turn to the center of the field.

The fact that after the first half of the game, the score was 1-1, I think it was lucky for us”.

On Denilson’s injury he believed that it was a relapse of his back injury.

“He had a back injury. During the game he suffered a relapse. How seriously? I do not know. In any case we have another injured player”.

Indeed. And it is how Arsenal cope with all these absent players in the next few games that may go a long way in determining the fate of this campaign.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Arsenal freeze in the snow. Player Analysis and Ratings Vs Everton

By 1970’s Gooner

It was the first game without Song and against decent opposition who recognised that Arsenal’s key weaknesses were in midfield and at left back.

Everton’s tactics were spot on. They did not show respect and took the game to Arsenal by pressing up field whenever Gallas and Vermaelen had the ball.

Poor people couldn’t find an outlet to pass to as there was no Song who is very good at shielding the ball, turning and passing forward.

There was of course no Fabregas who in his own clever way can take the ball and go forward with it.

And there was no tall centre forward to offer the long ball outlet either.

There was instead Ramsey, Denilson and Diaby. Ramsey has been hyped up recently as the next Fabregas but of course he is not. He was outplayed today and failed in his playmaking duties.

Denilson is Denilson and Diaby failed to take hold of the game (apart from his assist for the late equaliser).

So whenever the ball eventually found one of our midfielders they were quickly pressured by Everton’s midfield which was augmented by Cahill dropping back to add assistance.

As Arsenal’s midfield lacked creativity so did the forwards.

Eduardo although a little bit better today still looked out of place, Arshavin was trying his best but had no support to play with and Nasri kept coming inside to help with the playmaking.

In my opinion Ramsey should have been rested today and Nasri brought into the middle to add some creativity. As Rosicky was not 100% ready Vela, who had a decent game at West Ham, should have started on the wing.


Keeps making mistakes like when he came out for a cross which eluded him only for the header to be cleared by Gallas in front of goal. Or when he came out of his goal unnecessarily in the second half knocking poor Traore out.

And for their second goal he could have stayed on his feet for longer instead of going to ground thus offering the opportunity to Pienar to chip him. 5


Had a decent game and got forward a lot in the second half. His performances are at least consistent. 6


Had one of his worst games. Donavan had the better of him and generally he couldn’t take the correct positions and often found himself on the back foot. 4


Another steady performance. God knows what will happen if he gets injured or suspened. Silvestre is a liability and Senderos hasn’t played at all yet! 6


Another strong performance. He stationed himself in the opponent’s area late in the game to try and get the equaliser. He wasn’t really to blame for Everton’s first goal as Osman ran unchallenged into the area. Someone from the midfield or the front players should have picked his run up. 6


He played his usual game, retrieving and passing. He was however outmuscled on occasion. The good thing about him is that he is getting amongst the goals and this is a good sign for the future. 6


Too much is expected of him and the poor lad is still learning the game. Everton’s tight pressing in midfield did not allow him to perform as well as he can. 5


He should have taken the game by the horns today but he didn’t really. His only good moment was the vital equaliser he created. Otherwise he was outplayed in midfield loosing the ball too often. 5


The only creative player on the pitch and he did try to make things happen by coming inside. 6


I have to partly fault him for his wrong pass to an opponent which led to Everton’s second goal. The correct pass should have been to Sagna on the right who was free but he chose otherwise.

However he was there to score the equaliser and I think his quality and experience will be vital in the coming games. 6


Was fairly inefficient today but had no support really. 5


Getting better but still not good enough. The problem is that he is not a winger and as Nasri likes to come inside the pitch gets narrow for Arsenal.

This is mitigated by the full backs coming forward but this is dangerous as too many men are committed up field and there is bunching up in the opponent’s area. 5

With Manchester United dropping points the bitter pill of our draw is a little bit easier to swallow.

If we can hang in there with the leaders until Song, Fabregas and Bendtner return along with a new signing (hopefully) then we have a chance.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Hold your horses. Lacina Traore transfer hits a snag.

By Aries

Everyone is getting very excited about the possibility of a 6 ft 8 in front man who ticks all the boxes (like being unknown, young and cheap) that would make him an Arsene Wenger transfer target.

Yet what has been overlooked is the stringent work permit regulations in England which require the player to have been a regular with his national side in 75% of the games in the previous two years.

Well, Lacina Traore has not yet been called up for the Ivory Coast! He is though very near it.

“The Côte d'Ivoire coach already told me about the national side. So far, there are many forwards ahead of me but he promised that I am next to follow” he said to the Romanian media.

It has now been revealed by agent Daniel Stanciu that although Arsenal have watched Lacina twice, a permanent transfer cannot take place.

"I have a very good relationship with the people at Arsenal. They saw Traore in two matches. From what I know, Traore's transfer cannot not be made in England.

He has not played in 75% of national games in the last two years which he needs so that he can play in the Premier League, "said Daniel Stanciu to GSP TV.

However he has revealed that Arsenal are interested in signing Traore on a permanent basis and then loaning him back to Cluj.

The search continues…..

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

“Arsenal have contacted us for Lacina Traore” Cluj President

By Aries

It seems that Arsene Wenger is closer to making that January window transfer of a much needed forward than he has led us to believe.

And true to fashion he seems to be gunning for a relatively unknown Ivorian striker who is only 19, stands at 6ft 8 in and plays for Romanian side CRF Cluj.

How do we now? Cluj’s president Iuliu Muresan himself has said so, to Romanian sports paper “Prosport”

“We had a first contact with Arsenal, but have not yet received any concrete offer.

Four million Euros is close to the amount we require to release the player.

Traore will leave when we receive an offer close to its value"

Traore himself has also spoken to the Romanian media expressing his amazement of Arsenal’s interest.

“It would be like a dream to play in a team like Arsenal, but I do not want to think about that because there is nothing concrete yet and I do not want to raise my hopes too much”

Sensible lad really.

Lacina Traore

Born: August 20, 1990 (age 19) in Abidjan (Cote d'Ivoire)
Height: 6'8"
Position: Striker but can play as a midfielder
League Clubs
2007-08: Stade d'Abidjan - 10 games, 4 goals
2008-10: CFR Cluj - 18 games, 5 goals

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Player Analysis and Ratings Vs West Ham

By 1970’s Gooner

It looked like Wenger’s starting team selection was going to back fire on him until class and experience was introduced in the second half. Nasri and especially Diaby put some steel, ball winning and skill in the midfield and everything turned round.

Three Arsenal players were underperforming and when Wilshere and Merida were substituted the whole balance of the team was suddenly re jigged into almost perfection.

The other player who I cannot for the life of me understand why Wenger insists on playing him is Silvestre. I have said it here before and I say it again. The man is a liability at centre back and at left back.

He is so slow it’s unbelievable. Admittedly it was Gallas who was a little bit slow coming out of defence that played Diamanti, the West Ham scorer, on but Silvestre should have been looking at the line across the defence before he stupidly stepped up to try and play for offside.


Looked strong and assured throughout but I have to fault him a little bit for the goal. He could have pushed the ball sideways when he got a touch but it went through his hand instead. 6


I was surprised to see Sagna start the game. Eboue is away at the ACN and an injury to Sagna (or even fatigue) will leave us exposed in the right back position.

Nevertheless he did well getting forward quite a lot with better success with his crosses this time. 7


See above. 5


Carried on with his very good performances this season. 7


Same as Gallas. 7


I was disappointed with Fran tonight. He has played a lot better. His tackling, passing, corner taking and overall play left a lot to be desired. 4


He was almost singlehandedly bossing the midfield. Winning the ball and also distributing it. He will be difficult to replace now he is off to the ACN. 8


Had a much better second half than first. In the first his passing and winning of the ball was lacking but improved in the second when Arsenal became more direct. He got into more forward positions culminating with the all important goal he scored. 7


Was never really in the game much. He played on the right wing and hardly managed to get past his player. I think his best position is in central midfield. 5


He was disappointing in the first half but improved in the second when Arsenal took the game to West Ham with most of the game being played in their half of the pitch. Eduardo being a box player thrived on this.

He also benefitted from Vela’s switch to the left wing which provided him with a better service culminating to his magnificently taken goal.

Let’s hope that Eduardo’s confidence takes a major boost from this game. 8


He looks to me a left winger than a centre forward and he proved it again tonight. He was so much more dangerous on the wing taking his opponents on and putting in some wicked crosses. He had a good game tonight. 7


Brought some needed nous and trickery into the midfield that was so clearly lacking. 7


Turned the game upside down with his entrance. His tackling, directness with the ball when going forward and strength was exactly what was missing and he didn’t let us down.

What a player he is turning out to be. He will be crucial to how Arsenal’s season evolves now that Song will be absent. 9

Man of the Match: Diaby