Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What has happened to Andrei Arshavin?

By 1970’s Gooner

I was very excited when we finally signed Arshavin. We needed a player of his type. A winger who could run at defences at speed but with the experience and nous to out fox them and more importantly score the goals.

And he did not disappoint. He has until the start of this season been terrorizing defenders putting in some scintillating performances, notably against Liverpool.

But alas all this has somehow now filtered out. I noticed this decline in all the pre season games. He looked out of touch, out of pace and uninterested. And he has carried on almost like this in the league and Cup games.

The game at Leeds is the latest example. The Leeds grounds men are still trying to retrieve that ball he hit out of the ground…

I was wondering during the pre season. Is he loosing it? Is he getting too old? He is almost 30.

I am still wondering. But I have my doubts. Players these days go way beyond this age.

It is obvious that he is unsettled somehow. His wife may have decided that it is too cold in London….He may be longing to go back to Russia (his old club Zenit are showing interest) or even in Italy (Juventus have been mentioned). Who knows.

Wenger is stuck in two minds. He needs a fit and interested Arshavin even if Walcott has now improved greatly and starts games. You do after all need two players for each position and who else can play the role of a pure winger in Arsenal’s squad?

Rosicky? Bendtner? Vela? Eboue? No contest really when Arshavin is interested.

Yet to be given a chance to recover a large part of the large transfer fee (some say 17 m) splashed out a few years ago, for a player who is near 30, may be a temptingly sound financial transaction.

Wenger is sensibly opting for the first option hoping that when the January transfer window closes in 10 days or so Arshavin will realise that he is going nowhere until the summer.

And then he will revert to his scintillating best, released form the uncertainty of making a move now but more importantly to impress his future employers that he has still got it.

And Arsenal will get the best out of him in the run in for the title.


Saturday, January 01, 2011

Player analysis and ratings Vs Birmingham

By 1970’s Gooner

In the end it was a much easier win than any one could have imagined. As I wrote prior to the match we needed to score more than one goal and/or play Djourou. Both happened and it was a pleasure to be able to really enjoy an Arsenal game with both feet up without getting too nervous.

I feel so much secure when Djourou is in the starting eleven. I have been going on about him, I know, but I do really feel that he has been a revelation this year. He is big, tall and is defending very well. When Vermaelen returns they will be a perfect partnership which will provide the defensive security which can propel us to the title.

Fabiansky is slowly but surely becoming a pair of safe hands. His shot stopping has always been good but now he is learning to deal with the high balls and this is even more pleasing. Examples of both were in evidence against Brum. 8


Had a solid game combining with Walcott very well. His crosses however need improving as very few made it beyond the first defender. 6


A good defensive and attacking display today. He often got forward putting some very good crosses. 7


Excellent. See above. 9


Had a good game without mistakes. He is a no nonsense defender who is not afraid to boot the ball out to row Z if he has to and I like that. I think he will grow much better when he gets more used to the Premier League. 6


I keep saying to myself “he is only 19 today this boy”. He has blossomed so much its unbelievable. He is mature, skillful but also possesses that British grit and strength. This combination of attributes are pretty rare. Missed a sitter. 7


He is not yet at his top best from a long lay off but even his second best is pretty enough for most teams in this League. He was at the heart of everything good today and had a hand in all three goals. 9


He was dominant in the middle of the park battling it out with Bowyer and Co without too much trouble. He is immense in this Arsenal team providing that defensive cover that we need. And he gets forward too though today he kept more at his defensive duties.8


What a player he is turning out to be. Now he is maturing, he is 23, he is so much more effective. He knows when to pass and more importantly when to shoot. What a goal he scored today. By dropping his shoulders he put the defender off balance and then unleashed a shot to Foster’s right hand side. 9


He is a much more effective winger this season. He is able to pick his cut backs and his crosses well, something he was not that good at last season. He is also getting among the goals. His pace and trickery, which he has learned to use to good effect, troubled Birmingham’s defenders no end today. 7

Van Persie

He is getting back to match fitness now and the more he does that the more effective he becomes. He needs a few more games to get to his best but like Cesc even at his second best he is a very effective player.

He also combines well with Cesc and Nasri which adds to the overall team built up and performance. Chamakh is more of a front target man whereas van Persie often drops back to get involved in the play.

Scored the free kick (through the gap that Cesc left in the wall) but also missed a few sitters! He will get better as the season progresses which will help the team in the run in for the title. 8

Man of the Match: Cesc Fabregas