PGL: Ok, this week it’s just FTK and yours truly as ArseneHollis is out of Computer contact. The theme is about being Consistently inconsistent. That’s the way the season is going for us, it’s just impossible to know, before each game, which Arsenal is going to turn up. That said, I know that’s an over simplification of what’s happening at the moment. We are simply finding it really tough to break teams downs when the go out with the intention of not conceding but when teams come out a bit like Roma did, we look can produce some great moments.
PGL: I guess the big issue this week is trying to pin down the reasons for the way our season is panning out. 5th is beginning to look like where we’ll finish. Villa going out to CSKA Moscow last night means they will be able to concentrate on the league. All we can do is try to win our games and hope they will run out of steam over the last 6-7 games. Going back to the first weeks of the season I recall many of us being hopeful more than confident. I think the fact remains that a squad that wasn’t good enough to win the league last season, was weakened further, by the departure of some key players. But that doesn’t tell the whole story… we’ve had Ade’s pre-season money grabbing antics, Gallasgate and, of course, injuries have played a huge part in our season (Diaby is out of the Fulham game! FFS), so we need to put a bit of perspective on our performances. We’ve got a small squad ravaged by injuries yet we’re still 5th, still in the Cup and take a one goal lead to Roma in two weeks, is that really all that bad everything things considered?
FTK: Well if that lot were not enough to feel depressed about, there is also the none too small matter of the financial results for six months that have been released. Vic Crescit will be leading with this in his blog later, so I’ll keep my contribution short and to the point. the Estates side of Arsenal Football Club is now beginning to feel the credit crunch bite as potential buyers for the flats at Highbury Square fail to secure mortagages. this means that every unsold unit will effectively increase the debts and prove too over priced to move on. The Club are trying to raise more finance with the banks to cover the costs of releasing the final group of units. We are reassured by Sir Peter Hill-Wood that the Football side of the Club is insulated from any losses incurred in the estates division, however it means that the injection of funds that we had envisaged to propel us up alongside the big spenders above us will not now materialise. Ivan Gazidis is on ATVO (a free interview) giving an upbeat assessment based upon the headline figures which show profits up. This being due to mainly to increased broadcasting revenues. He also mentions the strength of 47,000 fans on the waiting list. But how many of those fans would still part with a thousand pounds in this economic climate to see Arsenal play in the Europa Cup? Sir Hill-Wood talks of
“Clearly there are some significant challenges ahead of us, both on and off the pitch, over the closing months of this financial year and beyond. We are closely monitoring the position with a view to ensuring, as we always have done, that the Group is on a robust footing and ready to respond to any challenges this exceptional economic climate may bring.”
This code for saying, hold onto to your hats, cos the ride is about to get bumpy. Having said that, Arsenal’s self financing status and refusal to live beyond it’s means will protect the club from major financial upheavals. So inconsistency in this year of all years as the Corporate and Club and Diamond renewals fall due looks like bloody bad timing. If ever we needed Arsene Wenger to deliver, its now! We either have to win the Champions League or finish fourth, which ever we find easier.
FTK: My blog which followed Le Boss’s comments about Denilson’s important role against Roma, was used by the pro and anti Denilson camps alike to illustrate their main points. In essence Denilson proved his critics wrong mainly because of having an in form Diaby along side, who you have rightly pointed out, has now picked up a calf injury. If Song does not improve, I can see Djourou being drafted into this position in due course. Denilson was released from having to track back as much and made some incisive passes forward. Song only made two passes forward when he came on, and contributes heavily to the negative side of our defensive midfield. Add to that his lack of pace, then we can see why the Song-Denilson pairing has stuttered so much. Diaby had superior close ball control, and his changes of pace were electrifying. just what we needed.
“I am happy with the performance but there was room to score more goals tonight,” said the Frenchman. “That is a regret we have. From Tuesday night we know that we can create chances and you never know what the right result is in this competition. One of the positives was that we didn’t concede a goal. We are in a position where we can’t just defend, we want to attack and score goals [in Rome]. The next game will of course be an interesting one because they will throw a lot more forward. We have three more games between that tie and the next leg. At the speed we are losing players it might be a difficulty for us.”
PGL: Nasri was fantastic against Roma. MOTM by a long way. He made the right decisions in advanced positions, looked to move the ball quickly, wasn’t afraid to shoot… This is what he was bought for and more performances like that one and he’ll truly be a Gooner legend. I couldn’t believe he wasn’t brought into the middle for the game against Sunderland let’s hope we see him in there against Fulham cause with Diaby out we’ll need his creativity beside Song and Denilson’s more defensively minded efforts.
FTK: For once I am giving Arsenal Football Club’s ban on International Flags the finger. Following RedSection’s protest with the St Georges flags. the club have got it so wrong. The policy has no real basis. What harm can there be in waving an English flag at an English football club? It is the kind of patronising bunkum that gave us “The wonder of you” as a club anthem. The politically correct side of the club that has the antisocial text messaging service is symptomatic of the same pathetic attitudes. They want atmosphere at the Emirates, not passive zombies watching the moon rise… these influences at the club are responsible for trying to suffocate the voices and feelings of traditional fans, whilst those fair weather prawn sandwich brigades who they support, will soon show their mercenary tendencies by not renewing their tickets.
PGL: I’m thankful that we didn’t concede against Roma. At this point I have to bow my head and admit I never ever thought that Gallas would produce the form he has over the last few weeks. He had truly been exceptional and himself and Toure seem to have put to bed any disagreement they had. But credit to the rest of the back four who seem to be really on there game now and if they can continue that sort of form we should be through to the next round of the CL and FA cup and with a good draw maybe the idea that winning the CL to get back in next year doesn’t seem all that ridiculous does it?