Thursday 10 December 2009

Another Brilliant Defeat

Well, the kids did it again. Yet another sterling silver exhibition of passing football, yet another good performance from a team where the entire XI cost less than Darren Bent, and yet another defeat, this time 1-0 to Olympiacos.

Before the game, I was roundly of the opinion that anyone who was eligible and likely to play against Liverpool should not take the flight. And of the starting XI last night, only Alex Song is a genuine first XI player, so that gave games for real fringe players like Tom Cruise (did well and played well), Kerrea Gilbert (did fine), Kyle Bartley (fine again), and some more start time for the more well known kids, like Jack Wilshere (ok but weighed down by expectation), Merida (did well), and Rambo (a top performance).

In fact, the only disappointments for me were Carlos Vela, who could noy buy a goal at the moment for all the donkeys in Mexico. He really should have scored yesterday. And Theo, who probably was involved less in the game than anyone else. Including Fabianski. But Theo is just back from yet another injury, so I'll let him off.

But if you had to guess based on last night's performances who two of the players who were likely to be going to the World Cup, you would not have guessed Vela and Walcott.

But lets dwell on the positives briefly, because in many ways this performance from a bunch of unknown kids was no-worse than the first team. They played some terrific football. Rambo was terrific (Cesc cannot afford to be complacent), Merida looked very solid in midfield, the back 4 played with composure throughout, Fabianski made two or three excellent saves - almost playing as a sweeper at times.

And if Vela had taken either one of his solid gold chances, the kids would have left Athens with a very impressive draw and we would all be crowing about it this morning.

Meanwhile, at Anfield last night, the Scousers again defended badly and went down again to late goals. Whilst that bodes well for us on Sunday, Arsenal are now the team who can't attack, and I am sure that the Scousers will be delighted if we just piss around with the ball in midfield. Three days of shooting practice would not go amiss!


Anonymous said...

the youngsters played just like the first team. it was kinda funny.

though he didn't have much to do, I thought Fabianski had a good game, especially with the one on ones, and was commanding etc.

the youngsters looked good.


1979gooner said...


thought it was actually a very good performance, even though it was pretty, there was an end product, we did create some very good chances,

so on the positive it was unlike the style of defeat in the chelsea game, walcott really should have buried one of his excellent chances, vela should also have put at least one away and there were some other half chances,

agree that fabianski looked very good indeed,

i like the style of player that bartley is, he's commanding and very strong/physical, one of his tackles in the second half was absolutely thunderously brilliant, he did get sucked in for their goal but young centre backs will make mistakes,

gilbert and cruise were solid,

i thought that the best group of players were the midfield, merida and ramsey were the pick of the bunch, involved in everything and very industrious, wilshere did well and is slowly growing, he was much more prominent than against city, while song was solid as ever

the disappointments for me were vela and walcott,

vela worked very very hard but just needs a goal at the moment, the heart was there though,

theo was erratic, sometimes brilliant and sometimes infuriating, when he gets going he is so quick no one can catch him, it's just sometimes his touch and foresight let him down,

if we'd have had bendtner playing last night i'd suspect we'd have won

GlancingHeader said...

Morning, everyone.

I only saw the first half but am happy with Arsenal's performance. I am impressed by Bartley for his composure (he is a big kid too!) and Merida for his work rate and creativity. Ramsey shows he can play just like Cesc Fabregas.

Gilbert plays really well supporting the attack but Cruise didn't do as much. Maybe it was because the boss knew that Theo tends not to track back so Cruise has to stay put.

That is a proud display by a bunch of young kids. I like it!

GlancingHeader said...

Some thoughts on differences between pairs of players:

Ramsey and Cesc: Cesc has slightly better pace and better tackling ability and defensive positioning.

Song and Denilson: both are excellent at possesion and ball control but Song has a much better first pass after winning the ball. Song is physically bigger so his tackles have more bites but Denilson's tackles are very effective in winning back possession.

Obsinho said...

Thought the performance was quality overall with some exceptional and some sub-par.

Song was awesome - he is going to be absolutely top notch. Rambo is a better passer than Cesc, but at the moment not as good a footballer.

Theo is starting to worry me - too much hype gas raised expectations and I don't know if he can deliver.

Vela - fine. He missed chances but strikers do that, he had chances which is important.

Merida, Bartley and Fabianski all excelled.

We should have won, but hopefully losing won't diminish their sense of achievement.

marcus said...

Vela almost singlehandedly won the Gold Cup for Mexico (against their hated rivals, the USA). Vela was instrumental in saving Mexico's wc qualifying campaign. He is absolutely fantastic to watch when he plays for his national team. I really want to see him replicate that quality for Arsenal. Glad to read he renewed his contract with us.

Theo continues to concern me, I just don't see him progressing.

Ted said...

It sounds like we all generaly agree. Which is shocking. Surely you lot can disagree with me more than that?

Anyway, I agree about Vela more than anyone. At the moment, he is badly underperforming.

Uncle Mike said...

Let's be honest here: Arsenal did not have to take any points from this game, Olimpiacos (or however they prefer to spell their name in our alphabet) did, and holding the defending Greek champions to 1 goal in their own house is nothing for veterans to sneeze at, let alone kids who have little (in some cases no) experience playing in Europe. I think the kids should be commended.

But Vela worries me. If this were a North American sport, I'd ask to have him classified as "trade bait." But it doesn't work that way in this sport, does it?

Anyway, on to the Dirty Scousers. The Mugsmashers. The Filthy Pool. The Liverbirdbrains.

Say it with me: "A good ball by Dixon, finding Smith, for Thomas, charging through the midfield! Thomas! It's up for grabs now!"

Obsinho said...

Great song to hum to yourself this weekend (to the tune of "The Candyman" from the original Charlie & the chocolate factory. Not Christina Aguileira.

who can rob your houses?
Violate your Grans?
Sell cocaine from an ice-cream van?
The scouse-cunts can.


1979gooner said...

theo does worry me,

he has so much of some things but so little of some other very important things,

he does have time on his side but one does worry that there are some things that one can't learn,

the likes of cesc, ramsey, wilshere all have a natural feel for the game, they can read things, they know when to pass, when to move, when to take a touch,

i just worry that theo will never quite have that feel for the game and will always be a headless chicken of sorts,

however very fast headless chickens can still be top players!