Sunday 3 August 2008

Madrid demolished

A much stronger Arsenal side lined up against a pretty decent Real Madrid side, few neutrals would have predicted the one sided nature of the encounter. The deadlock was not broken in the first half, Adebayor missed one particularly good chance, and there was some lovely interplay between RVP and Adebayor at times, one great move leading to a good low shot from Theo Walcott that was well saved by Jerzy Dudek.

The goal came in the second half, an idiotic challenge from Salgado on RVP left Clattenberg no choice but to point to the spot, then Adebayor slotted a very nice penalty past Dudek, one nil it was and so it stayed. Adebayor almost added a second following some rather fine jinking dribbling, there was a typically brilliant substitute appearance from Jack Wilshere.

Denilson had an outstanding game again, he obviously wasn't affected by some rather moronic calls on certain Internet sites for him to be farmed out on loan because they think he isn't up to playing for the first team. Diaby was decent, Walcott intermittently excellent and Nasri neat and tidy. Adebayor showed just how hard he would be to replace if he did leave, and maybe the fact that a few of us are slightly unhappy with his antics mighty actually give him a bit of a motivational kick up the back side.

It's rather amusing to read just how seriously some people are taking certain pre season results, as if they matter far more than the actual performance. I hardly think not winning the Emirates cups matters, it's about as important as winning the groundsman of the year trophy, actually it's not quite that important. The signs are very encouraging for me, the squad is looking very strong, remember the side that played against Juve was a complete reserve eleven. Despite what some say, I think we can get over the mighty set back of not winning the Emirates cup, it will be tough but we can do it.


Ted said...

Denilson has impressed over these two games and is probably ahead of Diaby, for me, in the pecking order to play alongside Cesc in the center.

I see there are more rumours linking us to Xabi Alonso this morning, perhaps on the back of Barry's move to Liverpool being back on.

I have said it before and I will say it again. Xabi Alonso is not what we need. Yes, he is a good passer, but he is not a good holding midfielder who spots the danger and gives it a good dose of the right boot.

Signing Xabi Alonso will also probably mean that we will not be able to keep Denilson and Diaby happy, as they will not play enough games. Same goes for Alex Song and possibly also Aaron Ramsey, although its doubtful how much he would play this season anyway. But what about next season?

K man said...

Spot on.

Alonso is a good player but I don't see how you play him and Fabregas together without another holding midfielder. Then who are we dropping - Nasri, Walcott?

Denilson has looked good pre-season but again I struggle to see him playing alongside Fab. I think he will be on the bench and will rotate with Fab so there are no burn out issues.

Diaby does not fill me with confidence - he is good at winning the ball but then tries to do too much with it - unlike Flamini and Gilberto who would simply pass it to Fab asap.

I would actually prefer Barry to Alonso as he is good at dead balls and has a decent left peg.

I assume we have all given up on signing the tough nut centre back we have been craving all summer??

Most amusing moment in this weekend's tabloids - Senderos to Newcastle for either £10mn or £7mn + Given - what on earth must Given be thinking???? Genius!

1979gooner said...

I agree with ted.

I don't like Alonso as a player, having said that, I am not keen on Barry either.

Neither is what we need for many reasons.

I suspect the Alonso rumours are tabloid turkey.

Ted said...

The telegraph reports today that AW is actually still after Barry, rather than Alonso. In view of O'Neill's earlier comments that Arsenal had made enquiries about Barry, I wonder if this not the more likely story.

If we have to sign one of the two, I would probably go for Barry.

But the whole situation is really like a choice between being kicked in the head or punched in the nuts.

Obsinho said...

I would take Alonso, I think.

I have never agreed with Scousers saying "he's the best passer in the league", but technically he is solid.

I also think that signing someone to sit next to Fab and say "I'll nobble this guy, then you do something magic" also limits Fab to some extent. We all know he is a more complete midfielder than some Totti-esque luxury stroller.

"Older" Vieira didn't work next to Fab, and to some extent neither did Gilberto. Flam last season did, and I think he played a more complete role than a simple breaker up of play. He was much more attack minded than I had seen him before.

And thus, I think that a player like Alonso may work well. Someone who deovetails into Fab's own game, who understands how a midfield works, who likes having the ball and actually works quite hard.

It could be quite awesome.

Barry however, is a shit-kicker.

K man said...

nasri alonso fabregas walcott

who exactly is going to make the tackles in front of our none too solid back 4??

1979gooner said...

I don't rate Alonso, especially defensively.

He's slow, beaten easily one on one, and frequently resorts to cynical fouls because of his defensive incompetence.

As things stand, I'd be happy with Denilson.

Obsinho said...

Fabregas likes to tackle. As i said he is a more complete player.

I think signing an "enforcer" is old school (Vieira, Keane were the start of the movement to more complete midfielders).

Defending isn't the job of a back 4 plus a DM, it is the job of a team to be defensively aware, to watch movement on the pitch of their team mates.

I still think that an Alonso Fabregas middle two are clever enough footballers to work in tandem, allowing a more flexible way of playing. Alternating between who attacks and defends, much as wingers swap wings.

Just a theory.

Obsinho said...

Also, I don't think there are many out and out holding midfielders out there.

Maybe Mascherano. Maybe Essien, if you restrict the way he plays (which is foolish as he has such an expansive game). Madrid Diarra is cack - very poor last season. Makele, fair enough, but he's older than Kanu actually is.

Denilson is alright. Not ready now. Diaby hasn't changed at all - he is too slow on the ball. Alonso would free the burden on Fab.

Barry would offer nothing.

1979gooner said...

Not sure I agree with you on all your points.

You're spot on as regards the 'defensive midfielder', the modern game does demand an all round game, having said that you do not someone in there who can get their foot in from time to time.

Essien is not defensive, he's very much an all rounder.

I must admit that I haven't seen a massive amount of Alonso, only the big games and champions league.

However I do not rate him and would be pissed off if we signed him.

I'd rather play Denilson, who in my opinion is more mobile, pretty solid defensively and very good with the ball.

Obsinho said...

My point is that Essien isn't a DM, but will often get labelled as one.

Alonso is currently a better player than Denilson. That i'd suggest is undeniable. Denilson at 26 has the potential to be better. but he is not as good as Fabregas at 19, and I think it would be detremental to Fab (and therefore the team) to play him as first choice.

If we sign Alonso, use him for a season as first choice, then as a sub next season, we can easily still seel him on to a La Liga outfit for at least £15m in 2-3 years. His value will not fall.

I don't see that he is a gamble.

K man said...

Obsinho makes some good points but I am concerned, given the fragility of our centre backs last year, that we do need a good tackler. Fab can make a tackle but it's not his bread and butter.

We already have Fab, Denilson, Ramsey, Diaby, Song and Bischoff who can play centre mid. Am I the only one who thinks centre back is more of an issue - what happens if Gallas gets crunched first game?? We're down to playing either of the Swiss muppets and a malaria weakened Toure...

Big Phil or Big Johan? As Ted would say, that's really like a choice between being kicked in the head or punched in the nuts (surely, punched in the head and kicked in the nuts??)!

1979gooner said...


I forgot Song who is a fantastic player, he may well come into the reckoning.

On Alonso, I think we just have a difference of opinion on how good he is, I just don't think he's very good.

Senderos and Djorou are very decent players to have as third and fourth choice.

If we bring someone in at centre back, you are not going to get someone in who is better than either of these two and who is happy to warm the bench.

Ted said...

Obsinho is correct that defending is a team job, and not down to a few individuals, but the modern game absolutely needs an enforcer in midfield. Its just that the game has got faster so Vinny Jones and Dennis Wise types are rarer than they used to be.

I cannot think of a single successful team in world football who has not played with a guy in midfield whose job is to get in the way, break down attacks, not dwell in possession and keep the ball moving. The examples are endless.

Alonso is not that man. He is a midfield stroller.

Lastly, the fact that Liverpool are happy to let him go when, at 26, he should be in his pomp, and have done little but try to replace him since they signed him (Mascherano, Lucas, Sissoko, now Barry) tells you everything you need to know.


Obsinho said...

The fact that Liverpool are willing to let him go could aslo be because Benitez is one of the biggest chumps in the game.

I am not a huge Alonso fan, but see him as a better player AT THE MOMENT than anything we currently have. And I rate him higher than barry, who got lucky cos McLaren started playing him in a terrible England side.