Tuesday 14 April 2009

Villareal, PFA and other bits'n'bobs

There's no doubt that tomorrow's game against Villareal is a rather big one, certainly getting through to the semis of the champions league would be quite some achievement, having said that it will not be an easy game, far from it, Villareal are a very good side and have the ability to cause us problems. Marcos Senna's injury at the weekend is a massive blow to their hopes though, he is their key man and I really hope we can exploit his absence tomorrow night. Johan Djourou is definitely out, meaning Mikel Silvestre comes in, while Kieran Gibbs replaces the injured Clichy and Fabianski the injured Almunia, so our back five is hardly looking as formidable as it can, one sense we may need to score a few goals to progress. Arsene should plumb for 4-4-2, stick Walcott and Nasri on the flanks, RVP and Ade up top with Cesc and Song in the middle, the rest of the team picks itself.

I am sure very few of you missed Arsene Wenger's rather interesting interview with L'Equipe, the NOTW tried to spin it in their typical fashion, in fact not much of what he said was that unexpected. It's certainly no surprise to me that Arsene knew he was in trouble when Flamini left, he had expected him to stay, maybe some Gooners were shocked by Arsene's clear insight in this season's problems, I was not, it's pretty obvious that he's not going to tell the press exactly what he's thinking all the time, if he did he would undermine his team's confidence and that would be bad management. Meanwhile Andrei Arshavin has been letting secrets out about Theo's lightening fast fingers.

I have to comment on the truly pathetic nominations for the PFA player of the year award. One never expects the unsung heroes to be nominated but the selection of big names from the big clubs really beggars belief:

Rio Ferdinand (Man Utd)
Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
Ryan Giggs (Man Utd)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Man Utd
Edwin van der Sar (Man Utd)
Nemanja Vidic (Man Utd)

Arsene has provided us with his opinion, maybe it's more to do with footballers being a bunch of very stupid individuals on the whole. Bizarrely we have three Manu defenders and two Manu midfielders on the list. Ferdinand and Vidic are the two who probably deserve their places on the lost more than the others, Van der Saar has been very average, making several blunders, he just seems to be getting nominated for the run of clean sheets and not his actual performances. Giggs has only played just over half the games in the league and has hardly been as breathtaking as he once was, making his nomination very strange as well. In fact Chelsea have the best defensive record in the league having conceded one less than Manure in the league. Ronaldo has also not been in sparkling form, most of his goals have been from penalties and set pieces. There are many players who have had great seasons who deserve a place on the list ahead of these over hyped Manu players, one is the dominant Mascherano, how on earth he not on the list I do not know.

The list of young players nominated is also rubbish. Rafael is a defender that cannot defend and has only played a handful of league games, Evans again has only played 12 games in the league! Agbonlahor has talent but his goalscoring record is poor, Lennon is a headless chicken, a right footed Glenn Helder without the dreads. Ashley Young and Stephen Ireland are the only two who deserve their nominations for me. Just to court a bit more controversy here is my Premiership team of the season:

Sagna Ferdinand Vidic Cole
Ronaldo Mascherano Cahill Young


Obsinho said...

I commented a while back on the likely nominations, and how they would be "BIG" players from the BIG teams, rather than players deserving of recognition. And lo and behold......

Who is top scorer in the league (normally a shoe-in for a nomination) - Anelka. Who has the best defensive record (again a shoe-in) - Chelsea. Who has performed beyond expectations - Fulham/Everton/Villa (to some extent).

But no - we get Man U players and that is it. WHat about Hangeland, Barry, Carvalho (why Vidic and not him?), Lampard (not sure he's support my argument but how Giggs is nominated and he isn't I have no idea), Cahill, Arteta (awesome till he got injured) & I am sure there are more.

I mean, I am not even suggesting there should be Arsenal players (Almunia for keeper is a good call - did you see Reina & Cech last night?) but the nominations are so blind it is astonishing. Yes they are voted by the players, but the players are all spastics.

And Rafael Da Silva - fuck right off. He has scored one goal, and been dropped for Gary Neville. Whoop-de-fucking-do.

While I am on a rant, the bloody ITV commentary last night got on my tits the most it ever has done when Arsenal aren't being systematically rubbished. Can we stop just blowing our load at everything Liverpool have ever done and will ever do. They were so excited at the thought of Liverpool progressing, and you could hear the bubble burst when CHelsea scored.

Even at the end of the game, it was "Brave Liverpool", rather than "Well done Chelsea, battered them 7-5 on aggregate, that's fairly comprehensive".

I'll stop now.....

Ted said...

Good stuff from 1979 and Obs. I agree.

Starting with the game tonight, I have a small feeling that Wenger might not risk Gibbs tonight. If he takes that view, then either Eboue comes in (Sagna to left back, or Song drops to centre back (Silvestre to left back).

The latter choice would allow Arsene to play his favoured 4-5-1 formation, probably with Diaby coming back into midfield alongside Cesc and Denilson, with Nasri and Theo on the wings and Ade up top.

If that happens, then I am shitting my pants from the off, as I would go 4-4-2 as 1979 suggests.

Anyway, its all a bit tricky to second guess and we won't know until the players line up at 7:45.

The nominations for PFA player of the year are a total arsebag. However, the nominations perhaps also reflect what low esteem the rest of the players have for Chelsea and Liverpool. No Anelka, no Terry, no Lampard, no Torres, no Carragher.

The absences from Chelsea and Liverpool would seem amazing. But having watched the comedy of errors at stamford bridge last night, both Chelsea and Liverpool are teams that can be woeful one minute and sublime the next.

Also, for all those anti-senderos Gooners out there, Drogba made Carragher look shite last night. When he wants to play, the Drog is almost unstopable. Lets hope Ade was watching and will rise to the challenge.

Anyway, perhaps the consistent performances that Giggs has put in over the last 14 (?) years actually deserves some recognition? Frankly, Manure still look their best when Scholes plays.

If Ronaldo wins again then the PFA awards will have turned into a complete joke.

Obsinho said...

I think we should play Gibbs in at left back - playing people "out of position" is never the better decision. He is young, but then so is Messi. Crap point, well made I think.

Secondly, we should definitely go 4-4-2. Not a doubt in my mind that in a home game in the Champions League where we need to hold possession and, in reality, score at lest 1, this offers the most stability.

Cesc "in the hole" doesn't work, and Diaby "in the hole" works very rarely. RvP is fit, Ade is on great form, Theo looks fearless and Song is on the form of his short career. To not play to these strengths would be naive, and potentially sucicidal.

But Wenger consistently gets his tactics wrong, so I am bring some spare pants to the stadium.

Rhinogooner said...

Agreed lads, it has to be 4-4-2. 4-5-1 will just invite them onto us.

If Mr. Wenger goes with 4-5-1 it will seem like an admission of doubt in our defense. 4-4-2 takes more courage to play in this situation and Mr. Wenger should show that courage.

In addition, I would argue that 4-4-2 is the better defensive tactic as well, because if we go at them right from the off, it will put them on the back foot. And if we can take our chances from that early spell of pressure, we can end the contest.

Think of the first leg between Barca and Munich. Barca hammered them from the off and Munich never made a contest of it. Barca kept a clean sheet, but more than that, I don't recall Munich troubling Valdes the entire match.

We're strong at home as well. We could really send a message tonight if we dominate them like I know we are able to. Not taking anything away from Villareal though, they are a solid team that draws alot of matches away from home. But I think we could give them a hiding tonight if we set a high tempo early in the match.

By the way, any word on Eduardo's fitness?

Obsinho said...

Can't work out what is happening with Edaurdo (he is neither in nor out, a nit like Lindsay lohan then), but it appears that Gibbs will be starting.....


Good news if you ask me. The next big call will be 4-4-2 or not. It's fairly obvious what everyone thinks....

Obsinho said...

More links to the world-wide-web-of time-wasting-wonder;


Agrees that the PFA player nominations seem even more off the mark than normal. This is what comes from asking players with the mental capacity of a cheese bap to vote for something. I think they may have just gone with player's names they could spell.

Drew said...

Your team of the year is nearly spot on, minus the fact that Torres has missed half the year and that Cole is having an average year. While I believe Torres is in the top 3 center forwards in the world (Drogba and Eto'o being the other two), missing half the season won't get you in my team. Cole is a mistake as well. I'd take Fabio Aurellio over Cole because he's more of a threat going forward. Too bad Cole will be suspended against Barca, because Messi will expose him for what a liability he has become. Then again, Messi does that to every left back. Michael Essien to play left back against Barca?

1979gooner said...

bloody hell, too much to talk about, football is just so damn exciting...

liked ted's attempts to predict arsene's team, got me thinking and the more I think the more I realise how little I know,

I hope Gibbs plays as he's done well so far, still a big step up for him,

I'd definitely keep Song in the midfield as he's best there, playing people in their strongest positions is the way forward,

please 4-4-2, please please, I think Arsene has been hinting at this in this pre match comments,

Eduardo is almost fit I've heard, the big worry is Djourou's injury, fingers crossed it isn't too bad

have to say on the PFA suggestions:

Arteta - yes, very good memory you have, he should be in the centre of the midfield

I picked Torres as no one else has really done it for me, even though Torres has been injured on and off, Drogba is awesome however he hasn't been arsed this season (cue a hat trick saturday- double bluffing the gods there)

Arbeloa is decent, just a cheating wanker (even more so than Cole) and for that reason he can rot in the anonymity of not being in my team

Manager of the year?

Moyes or Hodgson for me, given Everton's injuries I'd say Moyes shaded it

Rhinogooner said...

Sagna is sickly. So Eboue is in at RB.

What are the odds of Toure getting injured tonight to completely rob us of our starting back 5?