Saturday, 26 September 2009

Pondering preview

Well, it's been a pretty hectic few weeks, the fixtures have been coming pretty thick and fast, whole there certainly hasn't been a lack of controversy. I have been away on holiday in France so have been catching up with things since my return, luckily or maybe not so luckily i did see our defeat to Man City while abroad and the utterly pathetic behaviour of Emmanuel Adebayor, what an arrogant fool this man is, everything that has gone on since has shown what a fantastic move it was to get rid of this greedy waste of space.

Man City were strong at home last year and with their reinforcements not many sides are going to go there are get results, in this context our performance wasn't awful by any means, probably whoever got that key second goal at 1-1 was going to go on to enjoy a lot of chances on the break, we just got stung when the game was reaching breaking point. Adebayor's stamp was vindictive and cowardly, arguably he deserves a far longer ban than the three matches for this, in rugby he may well have got months for being so malicious.

The celebration run to our section of supporters was beneath contempt. The reaction since from various players including RVP shows quite clearly that Adebayor was a malignant presence in our dressing room, the guy is a chump, a self obsessed greedy half wit who was dragging our morale to rock bottom, a man who believed he deserved love whatever lack of respect he showed to the fans, a man who put minimal effort into a lot of big games just because he was more obsessed with his own ego. The man is a fool and his behaviour has reinforced what I have suspected about him for a long time, he will always be trouble, things may look rosy for him at City now but it is only a matter of time before his true colours show, leopards cannot change their spots.

Onto more positive things, I saw Gael Clichy give a very composed interview to the beeb's Martin Keown on footy focus today, his maturity and composure is impressive and is such a contrast to the bloated primadonna like self indulgence of others. The team may not be quite right yet in terms of balance, experience and defensive strength, but I don't think many people would argue that we look more together as a unit both in terms of performance and spirit thus far. The squad is stronger, we have more options, while despite losing two games, the manner of these defeats has not concerned me as much as the manner of some of our defeats early last season.

Fulham will be a big test, as many of us have noticed the three points against the small teams is just as important as three points against the big boys, after all Manure have won the league on this basis alone in recent years despite a poor record against the top clubs in several championship seasons. Fulham will press and harry us high up the pitch, this will make it vital that we defend solidly and do not concede the first goal, we will need to maintain our composure and wear them down with patient football. It will be a decent test of our defense, we will have to defend set pieces well and if we can take a win at the cottage then four wins from six is not a bad start at all. I would be tempted to start the solid Szczesny in goal, I have never been convinced by Mannone, while the midfield pick will be tricky, given the importance of retaining possession i would be keen to see the cunning of both Rosicky and Arshavin from the start. Come on you Gunners.


Rhinogooner said...

It's Szczesny for me as well. Though I would be astonished if Mr. Wenger picked him over Mannone. It's extremely rare that pecking order does not prevail with Mr. Wenger's choices.

Liverpool in the Carling Cup for our lads. I wonder what type of side Benitez might put out for that. They have a very decent youth team at Liverpool as well - though we spanked them last season. Tee hee.

I am happy to see our reserves/under 18's playing in the Carling Cup for us. However, I really feel we have to put out our strongest side for FA Cup matches. I would love to win this competition this season. We need some silverware for the boost it will give the mentality of our players to take it to the next level and push on for bigger trophies down the road.

Anyroad, onto today's match. Fulham at the Cottage. Bad memories and all that. I don't want to hear about revenge, I want to witness it. I really want to see our lads up for it today. Any type of win will do for us. Even a scrappy 1-0. I just want to see some grit and determination in the face of adversity and a defense that is difficult to break down.

I hoping to see a happier Cesc today. And the start of a goal scoring run for RVP and Arshavin would be nice as well.

Rhinogooner said...

HT and it's 0-0. Bruising encounter so far. Fulham shoulder barging us and throwing themselves into every challenge. They've looked useful in possession so far as well. Though it's left us some open space to exploit in my opinion. Yet, we haven't really taken advantage of it.

We seem to surge forward at times and then one of our players inexplicably slows down our attack which allows Fulham to get men back behind the ball.

Danny Murphy seems to be bossing things again. As an aside, does he look like Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lechter or is it just me?

Diaby exasperates me. He needs to stop playing like a ballerina and start playing like a bull. He needs to want to play like a bull and believe he can play play like a bull, instead of wanting to show what a tricky-slicky player he is. What a player he could be if he could adapt a bit more of a Vieira style grit and physicality.

As it is, he is getting pushed around by Murphy, Etuhu and Gera. I'm not sure what he offers to our line up more than Rosicky. Height and strength? Not in the display that I'm watching.

It goes without saying that the first goal will be very important in this match. It's worth mentioning Mannone, as he's made a few goal saving stops so far, including one incredible double save.

We need to regroup at HT and formulate a game plan for opening them up. Hodgson is a canny tactician though, so I'm sure he's diagnosing our weaknesses and strategizing too.

Set pieces look like they could yield something for us. But so far our deliveries have been pathetic. Cesc and RVP really need to sort this out. Hopefully, Arshavin will get a chance at a free kick or corner kick.

Rhinogooner said...

FT Arsenal 1-0 Fulham. First thing that needs to be said is: MOM has to go to Mannone. Beyond impressive. His saves won us the match. How did we keep a clean sheet? There were doubts about this boy (certainly I had no confidence in him), but he really put in a wonderful performance. Take your pick of the saves he made. For me, the header he saved from Zamora off the corner was stupendous.

Second thing that needs to be said is: Diaby is a liability. Look, I was a big fan of Diaby when he first came to Arsenal. I thought he was going to be a big player for us. Until his ankle was broken, he looked the bees knees. He's has failed to convince repeatedly since then, nevertheless, I maintained my support for him. But last season, I began to give up on him. And this season has seen him become diabolical in my opinion.

He doesn't want any part of defensive duties. He actually moves away from making tackles when he's the closest man. He has no intelligence and constantly gets beaten in the air and loses his mark when defending crosses and corners.

So many of Arsenal's youth players of the past deserved at least half of the opportunity he's been shown and didn't get it. So I'm at a loss to explain why Mr. Wenger persists with him. I'd rather see Frimpong or Coquelin given a chance, I'm that done with Diaby.

Third thing that needs to be said is: sweet goal by RVP and a neat assist from Fabregas. We should have had more, but so should have Fulham, so I'm not complaining. Besides, I said before the match - any win will do, even a scrappy 1-0. And it was a gritty performance from us, so I'm pleased to see it. Though my ticker and finger nails have suffered for it.

I have nothing more to say - for now ;-) I'm sure 1979, Ted or Obs will have a more insightful analysis to follow.

Ted said...

Good summary Rhino.

Great performance from Mannone, and overall the defenders did pretty well.

Song had a better game, but Diaby and Cesc were very average in midfield.

I don't want to sound like a broken record, but Cesc is playing nowhere near well enough at the moment.
Nikki B did ok in bits, as did Arshavin, but I thought we played best in the last period when Rosicky game on.

And Eboue for that matter.

Overall a well earned 3 points, I guess, but so nearly a draw. Thanks Vito!

Uncle Mike said...

Hard game to watch, but a win is a win, and three points is three points, and since the Cottagers held us to one of a possible six last season, I gladly take it.

Still, for all he's done to us in the last 12 months or so, I'd like to introduce Danny Murphy's Hopkinsesque cranium to the business end of a blunt instrument. I'm thinking a cricket bat.

It's too soon to call Mannone "the Godfather," but what a game in goal. It's still too soon to call van Persie "the Dutch Master," and besides the congregants of the Church of Bergkamp might have something to say about that, but he finally woke up. Now, if we can just get Arshavin to do the same. I've never seen him play worse.

Bring on Olympiacos, or however it's spelled in the transfer from the Greek alphabet to the Roman one.

I also caught some of Real Madrid (they were okay against a bad Tenerife team), Hamburg over Bayern Munich, a nice Sampdoria pulling the upset over Inter (Jose was not pleased), and Newcastle embarrassing Ipswich (Keano might be kicking his dog tonight). And somehow, Wigan beat Chelsea. Good day for football.

Anonymous said...

mannone was great. gallas had a really good game. the d was good.

we didn't have it together and Offense. a bit slugish. Rosicky did look good out there. Cesc was off most of the night.

but a win. and a Chelsea loss. nice.

actually, a good scrappy win, confidence wise - like the Standard Liege game. Good to see we win when we don't play our game. and nice to win on the road at Fulham, they really deserveda a point.



K man said...

Diaby is a waste of space and Cesc really needs to pull his socks up. I'm starting to wonder if he knows that Wenger will let him go to Spain in the summer and so he's mind is now somewhere else. I really hope not.

Mannone did very well but let's not go overboard. Almunia is still our no. 1.

The performances need to start picking up but Rosicky is a plus and Arshavin will get better with fitness. Theo and Almunia are nearly back so there are a few positives to take into a busy October.

Obsinho said...

On the cesc thing - he's trying to be the ball player in a 3 man midfield where one of the 3 is simply not good enough. He is then playing against 4 opponents aware that he has little protection so hit him hard and early.

He's not at his best, but I fear Wenger is asking too much of him. Also, he is still delivering when and where it counts.

Of greater worry/concern/annoyance is the form and involvement of Arsh. If he is as good as we think he is then we need to get more from him - playing wide left does not suit him. Maybe he needs to try to be more professional and adapt, or maybe Wenger needs to experiment with where he plays.

He's still a conundrum to me. Unlike Abou, who I now know is just not cut out to play for us in a 3 man midfield. If I know that, then Wenger knows that. So why the persistance?

Obsinho said...

Also, point of interest - I was in Mad-Chester this weekend and had lunch in the same place as Fergie.

Really wanted to go down on one knee and punch himin his Scottish bollocks. I love the tramp that did that more than my un-born (in fact yet to be conceived) son "Tony Martin Lee Nigel Obs". that boy will go far.....

Drew said...

A great performance from Mannone saved the team on Saturday. I can't agree with the 'good D' notion, as Mannone was forced into being the man of the match. I agree on Diaby; he sometimes has some incredible ability on the ball, but he doesn't commit to defense. In this 4-3-3, Denilson should be chosen over him every time, which is unfortunate, seeing as he will be out for two months with a back fracture.

Denilson is becoming more and more important to the team. When he went off against Man City, the midfield collapsed, and we were finished. It will be interesting to see if Rosicky can play that role; he would be a great for offense, but for defense? I hope we find out soon...

marcus said...

Excellent commentary re Ade, 1979. Even Cashley has shown us more class than Ade whenever our fans have abused him. According to Ade gooners brutally abused him all last season, something that is so far from reality it beggars belief. The players who REALLY got abused, and badly, last season were Eboue and Bendtner. Even Denilson got more abuse than Ade. The guy's a whinging egomaniac who shows zero respect to the manager who made him the player he is today. And you're right, he'll show his true colors to City soon enuf -- he's had problems at ALL his clubs and his national team.

Can't add too much to everything that's been said about Diaby -- such an exciting player to watch at his best but I see zero improvement from him in his persistent failings. It's a joke watching how easily opponents can dispossess him of the ball -- he's big and tall yet he makes Denilson look like Mike Tyson in that respect. I'm far more confident when Song & Denilson are in midfield than Song & Diaby. Unfortuantely Denilson's now out for 2 months.

I am actually more heartened by this 1-0 win at Fulham when we didn't play well than if we'd thrashed them with a higher scoreline and did play well. It's games like this that champions win.

And hats off to Vito! Never expected that performance from him -- and at such a crucial away game at a tough ground for us too.