International week again. Hmmmmm…. Another week of sitting watching and praying that none of our beloved squad come back injured Of course the big thing is when the players return our captain we be just about ready to take the field with them and the news that Theo’s injury wasn’t as bad as first feared is great news. Our forgotten man Tommy seems to be making progress now too and that other squad ghost, Silvestre, came through a reserve game unscathed, could it be things are coming good just at the right time? This week, long time Insider Maria joins us for another TGIF!
PGL: I missed TGIF last week and feel I missed out on a busy week! Cesc had a run in with Hull and we got Villa Real in the Champions League draw (“Arsenal going to Villa Real, Tottenham watching Emerdale”). Compared to all that action this week has been quite. One thing that was cemented this week was that Arshavin was a great buy. Although he wasn’t spectacular against Newcastle he took several tough tackles, he set up our first with and excellent delivery and even was organising the defence at a couple of corners. This man is obviously a leader… He leads by his actions. When clobbered he got up without any theatrics, he makes the correct decisions with the ball every time even under pressure and impressively for such a creative player he isn’t afraid to work.
For all of us who love playing arm chair manager and were screaming at the Le Boss to by a defensive player… a lessoned learned.
Maria: I just want to start with thanking the team for allowing me to join in this week’s TGIF I’ve loved this feature since it was created and am really excited about my guest spot today. I will begin by agreeing with PGL on Arshavin I have seen two instances in recent games that tell me he could be a future leader of the team. The first was against Hull when he refused to celebrate the first goal even when our captain for the night RVP came over to celebrate his assist with him. It’s clear from his body language he was saying that 1-1 isn’t good enough and that we needed to push on and score another goal to win. He has also taken to dictated positions to players at corners and free kicks something that our centre backs are reluctant to do especially Gallas. I don’t know if it’s because his Russian but he just has this steel about him both mentally and physically were mediocre just isn’t good enough. I do disagree on the leading by example though since I think he is much more vocal rather I think Eduardo is someone that is more fitted to that category.
Since we’re in middle of the international break I think I should mention that both Adebeyor and Eduardo two of our top strikers have been picked for their respective countries. While I don’t have a problem with this I think that Arsenal need to play hard ball with these countries especially given that they’re just coming back from injury. Like with Theo I think we need to try and keep our vulnerable players at the club through international breaks. I mean just imagine Rosicky came back and after playing one reserve game the Czech Rep. tried to include him in their squad. Crazy right?? I know its the age old club v country debate but I think that since every player that lays on our medical table seems to be out for months we need to be more economical with the truth when dealing with countries.
FTK: Great points Maria. I did notice that about Arshavin. But in reference to your poin t about Gallas, he is sometimes too vocal in the wrong way. I am sure that you approved of Mr Arsenal showing our team the way. I mean Tony Adams would just take the game by the scruff of the neck and force a change in the mentality. Mr Arsenal never knew how to lose!
As for PGL’s comments, I think that I would add that we need to understand what has changed in terms of our consistency. Looking at performances earlier in the season, our back four hardly played the same members for three games in a row. Add to that the fact that we resorted to medium to long ball passing instead of tight rapid one touch passes, the oppositions were able to regroup. Our attacks were pedestrian and the this loss of tempo is really inexcusable in young players. The 6-nil thrashing of Sheffield United by the kids is the only real Arsenal performance this season. High tempo, graceful skills and breathtaking counter attacks. Pure Wengeresque footie.
PGL: My heart sank when I read the responses to Josh’s article about Cesc’s return. Why are we still having the Denilson debate? Get off the lads back. He’s played more than any other player this season, trust into the spotlight at the heart of midfield of a side that began the side with issues. Maybe Newcastle wasn’t his best game but he played well in the previous four. It seems the lad needs to be outstanding to avoid any criticism. Come on, go bang a different drum and give the lad a break.
FTK’s pet Emirates gripe, the Flag ban, also raised its head. While I agree with Vic and FTK’s point that flags should be allowed in, I also understand why some could find it difficult. As one insider pointed out ‘it’s a sledge hammer to crack a nut’ solution but I’m not sure there is another. Maybe the club should nominate a game as an ‘International Arsenal Fan Day’ and allow us all to be drapped in flags for the day? Promote the diversity of the fanbase… just an idea.
Maria: Its got to be the away strip for me I refuse to wear those hideous colours eeewwww. It’s the ugliest thing I have seen in a long long time and I refused to be caught dead in it. I was beginning to think that because of this season’s sentimental theme that those boys at AFC had some ingenuity about them. I guess i was wrong, but I think they will get their just deserts in the kit sales. I can never forget the glittering gold strip….oh la la…. with my tan that year I think it was a stable part of my wardrobe. The double that year doesn’t hurt the old memory either…lol.
On the flags issue I say let everyone carry which ever flags they want. The stadium needs some drama and atmosphere if carrying national flags can provide that I say red crosses all around.
FTK: On the Flag’s issue I can understand the Club’s desire to prevent public disorder, but what I object to very vehemently is the way that some at Arsenal Football club forget that in the final analysis, they are EMPLOYEES of our club, not the over bearing dictators that some of the policies they create seems to suggest. To treat the paying fans as an accessory is a disgrace and is definitely not in the respectful Arsenal way.
They will have received a wake up call when finally reality dawned, and having to advertise tickets for the Emirates on general sale is just one early warning shot across their bows. You patronise Gooners at your peril, because they will take so much then actually vote with their feet. In this coming difficult economic climate, Gooners will have become more powerful, and their voices WILL be listened to. This is not a threat of anarchy, merely a suggestion that Fans Forums need to be listened to earnestly and acted upon.
As for the away kit. I gave a clue at the end of my Point for debate blog yesterday, and in the next two or three weeks Arsenalinsider will be EXCLUSIVELY revealing the r eal away shirt for 2009/10, and when you see it, I promise you will be surprised!!!
“I knew when I decided to go for a young team what would hit me,” he said. “I was prepared for that. I am pleased that I was not wrong but we have a long way to go and a lot to improve.”
PGL: So Mr. W seems a lot happier over the last few games with his young squad. Strange how this quote comes a week after he admitted Arshanvin’s experience has added a lot to the side! We all know one thing about our squad. They have room for improvement… I don’t think you could say the same about the Chelsea squad so no doubt they will have to buy in, Liverpool too. So where does that leave us for the next few seasons? Where we always fu*kin are! Finish ahead of United and you win the league! I think the ‘long way to go’ could be shortened by adding maybe two more experienced players during the summer but this season still holds promise!
Maria: On this I think Arsene needs to postpone all this my experiment went right since we HAVE’NT won anything yet and we are fighting for fourth not top spot in the league. I think by doing this he will just rejuvenate those that think that this season hasn’t been good enough with many pointing back to the Stoke and Fulham defeats to illustrate were his experiment has cost us points this season. However I do want to mention for all the defeats we have had with our injury prone inexperienced side we would be smack bang in the middle of the title race had we won 3 of our recent draws which Arsene has remedied by buying our dynamite Russian Andrey Arshavin.
FTK: Sometimes I despair with Arsene Wenger’s advisors. He is usually a very astute reader of situations. He knows when to comment and when he should remain silent. This pre end of season triumphalism is very un-Wenger like. Arsene Wenger has had the worst season since he arrived at Arsenal Football Club, surely an apology for the stress suffered by fans would have been more appropriate. I cannot believe that he intended it to sound as reported. Which essentially says I was RIGHT ner ner ner….! I believe that what he wanted to say, was
“Due to the financial restrictions, injuries and the failure to acquire my transfer targets over the summer, I was forced to rely on my youth, this was a gamble to some extent, and resulted in me getting a lot of negative comments. But I believed in the quality of these young players, and hoped that they would eventually prove everyone wrong. They have almost done that, we have not yet finished the job, but the end of season prospects seem a lot more positive now.”
That is more Wenger like in my opinion …lol! Now do you think that I should apply for the role of public relations advisor to the Press Office at the Arsenal?
PGL: My performance of the week goes to our custodian Mr. Almunia. His penalty save and overall presence in the box was great and really pleasing to see. If we are to progress in Europe we’ll need him to put in some massive performances.
Maria: Clichy has to be my guy. It was good to see the real Clichy back on the pitch against Newcastle with all the concentration on full back’s its clear that we need the Sagna and Clichy of last season to make a reappeared if we are to win anything this season. I don’t think there’s anything I enjoy more when watching Arsenal play than seeing Gael tearing down the left with the ball at his feet and me waiting for that train that’s never late…. his god awful cross into the box….loool
FTK: Well I am going to give the accolade to Andrey Arshavin. To have played those games with eight stitches in his foot, plus to get up after suffering a forearm smash from Steven Taylor of Newcastle United, just goes to confirm what he said when he finally arrived on the fateful night… “I AM GOONER!” Well Andrey, in the short time time that you have been at our club, you have shown that you are willing to lay down your body for the cause. Arshavin… I SALUTE YOU!
PGL: I’m giving the finger to Steven Tailor for try to decapitate our wonderful Russian. He threw an elbow as only a relegation threatened defender can. The type of tackle a prison 11 would have been proud off. How he stayed on the pitch was shocking. The media only highlight the tackles where someone gets seriously hurt but it was only pure luck that Arshavin’s jaw wasn’t broken yet he remained on the pitch.
Maria: I think I am going to have to go with Amaury Bischoff if the rumours are true. It maybe because Arsene’s a nice guy but Bischoff’s agent must be crazy if he thinks we’re just going to let him go after helping him turn his career around. I was going to give it to AC Milan but the cheek of this is just to much. Take this big fat middle finger Bischoff from me to you since Arsene is to much of a gentleman to do it.
FTK: Bischoff is another Diarra, over confident about his own ability. He is not world class, but he is a good utility midfielder. Arsene Wenger will just drop him from the scene and he can go wherever he wants, being a free agent. If he helps us win something, then it will have been a win win scenario.
My finger has to go the FA I’m afraid. If Arsenal had been reduced to nine men, and one of our players seen to act in the way that Wayne Rooney did at Fulham, then the media and the FA would be lining up to either deduct points or ban our player for ten games. Look at the way they are stringing out the alleged spitting incident against Fabregas. That should have been thrown out days ago, but no, they give Hull City more time to tell their lies.
Man United as Rafa Benitez said, get away with everything. The Respect Campaign is well and truly dead and buried, and at the weekend Rooney trampled all over it’s grave.
PGL: This week I’m very thankful that the side have remembered that the football is a piece of equipment that belongs on the deck, moving quickly between players and ultimately ending up in the onion sack. Those 0-0 draw almost destroyed my soul and the memories the George Graham Era flooded back not that I didn’t love Georges side, just that once you’ve tasted champagne, a cup of Bovril just doesn’t cut it.
Maria: This week I have to be thankful for a reasonable draw with Arsenal playing both second legs at home in the CL this year. I think that while Villareal will be a tough team to beat I think it doable over two legs with a mouth watering semi final against ManYoo awaiting. Ooooooohh I am getting giddy just thinking about it hopefully it will be a great advert for the English premier league. This semi-final can compensate for the FA Cup one which paved the way to their treble all those years ago. Now we have the opportunity to crush all their quadruple dreams lets hope the boys do us proud.
FTK: Believe it or not I am actually thankful to the Scouses for once, the 5-nil demolition of Aston Villa all but enabled us to secure that the final Champions League place. It is in our own hands, yes there is still some work to do, but lets get third place and stuff the Chavs!!!
PGL: Well I would like to thank our plucky Insider Maria for her excellent contributions this morning.
Thank Gooner it’s Friday.