TGIF:Arsenal Interim financial results and Nasri will be a legend!

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.

My Revenge On Ben Foster

PGL: There has been a lot of debate surrounding Denilson of late, and I admit I had issues with him myself earlier in the season but now I think he’s making steady progress and his concentration is much better than it was. There a lot of a game missed when you watch on TV and I think this is contributing to the lack of appreciation of the Brazilian. It’s Denilson’s work off the ball that has been impressing me lately. The idea that he’s being judged on the fact that some stats show him moving the ball sideways is frankly one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen written about football. I’m not saying I love the guy and he’s the future, simply that some of the crap written about a young improving has been a bit over the top of late. I know I’ve had a couple of pops at him myself but I now admit its not the player but the pairing (Denilson and Song) that I have an issue with too.


“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: I think at full time we all thought the same thing, ‘lets hope we don’t regret not putting this tie to bed’. Bendy and Eboue both missed great chances (but hats off to Eboue he had an excellent game). Going to Italy is something Arsenal sides have always managed to do well so lets hope we can keep that up. The 1-0 lead means Roma have to come at us and all of our best performances this season have been against sides who do try to play football against us. I think if we pick up any more injuries AW may be going back on his decision that Cesc will not be back in the squad by then. If we lose one more he may be forced to bring him back quicker than expected.
FTK: The one player that I thought that I would never be hoping to return quite so quickly is Rosicky. his mobility will make a difference, the one saving grace was the fact that we did not concede an away goal. if we can keep a clean sheet, or score at least one away goal, which seems very likely upon the counter, then we will just aboutscrape through. Eboue’s contributionwas good, but for how much longer can we afford the luxury of having someone play so high up the field with such a poor return in goals? this is a luxury we can ill afford and it will eventually come back to haunt us, as Emmanuel’s “Post-quel” blog illustrated. Adebayor can’t be that far off either. We also forget the value of someone like Carlos Vela. if we recall the impact that Theo Walcott made in the Liverpool tie last season, then there is hope still!

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: I am hoping that le Boss decides to try Johan Djourou at DM in place of Song. But experimenting against Fulham might not be the right time. We have to win this game, and hope that the other results go our way. We cannot afford another draw. Andrey Arshavin will probably score, seeing his eye for goal. I agree about Nasri’s contribution, and we seem to fare better when he plays centrally. Which is again why we ought to consider Carlos Vela to provide us the pace down the flanks. Another player who may also make a difference upon his return is my old friend Adebayor. He needs to put in some good performances in order to keep Eduardo out of the side. But the performance for me Robin van Persie’s penalty! This goal against Roma was so important. RVP having been fouled should have allowed someone else to take the spot kick, but he stepped up and just like the Iceman Bergkamp (one FA Cup semi-final apart) slotted the penalty home with consumate ease.

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 giving the finger to our injuries jinx this season. I think Mourinho has fashioned voodoo dolls of all our players and is paying a witch doctor to stick pins in them in some backroom in Milan. It’s the only possible explanation! That or we’ve just been unlucky. I know you never have a fully fit squad but if we had all our players back, we’d have Song, Denilson, Diaby, Cesc, Arshavin, Eboue, Ramsey, Rosicky, Theo and Nasri to choose from… that’s a set of players who are capable of great things!!

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?

FTK: For me, I am thankful that Eduardo came back last week and proved that if you have the desire, then all things are possible. There was a distinct hangover from that euphoria visible in our performance that followed. We have to build on that tomorrow. Fulham are hopeless away, and if we cannot beat them handsomely, then Arsene Wenger will come in for brick bats from me in my next blog. He has to pick the side capable of playing our fast free flowing brand of football. His reliance upon his favoured experienced guard has been his biggest miscalculation this season.

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