Arsenal has been battling injuries all season long, but the Gunners having been doing well without one of their top two central defenders. But now they’ve lost their rock at the back for the rest of the season, and that could signal Arsenal’s downfall if you’re gambling online.
Thomas Vermaelen has been out since August because of an ailing Achilles, and the Belgian defender says he has no idea when he’ll be able to play again. That left Johan Djourou as Arsenal’s best central defender, and the Swiss has been brilliant this season under tough circumstances. But Djourou suffered a dislocated shoulder and will be out for the season, and the numbers show that Arsenal struggles at the back without him. To compound that, the Gunners have had to bring goalkeeper Jens Lehmann out of retirement in light of injuries to Wojciech Szczesny, Vito Mannone and Lukasz Fabianski, leaving Arsenal with only Manuel Almunia between the sticks. Much has been made about the time prior to Lehmann’s retirement, when he thought he was still capable of being the No.1 guy, but the Gunners were trying to bring along Almunia. Lehmann says that he doesn’t want to go through that again, and he and Almunia will have to come to some sort of agreement to make this work.
As we said, the Gunners are no strangers to injury, but to have these problems at the back at this time of year is potentially crippling. One positive way to spin it is that the Gunners only have to worry about the league title now as they’re out of the Champions League, FA Cup and Carling Cup, but they’re still chasing Manchester United in the Premier League, while trying to hold off Manchester City and Chelsea for second place. It’s going to be very interesting to see how manager Arsene Wenger handles this. Bacary Sagna will likely have to move into the middle, and there may be more time for Sebastian Squillaci, who has been less than impressive since moving to the Emirates. Finally, Laurent Koscielny has to put his disappointing play of the last couple of weeks behind him to give Arsenal a chance.
By the end of first half last night I was livid, worse if I could I would be screaming at the top of my lungs calling Mason all sort of names which I did in my head anyway. It had to be quiet my little Gooner was already asleep upstairs. Not only his fellow colleague linesman made the wrong call when Saha was miles offside and gave the goal he also failed to notice how Everton stopped us from playing at every opportunity.
Now there are some mixed conclusions that Saha’s goal was either Onside and Offside. Let me point this out because this is the most important rule of them all and Saha at the time of the pass was clearly Offside. If this rule meant anything the linesman he should have flagged him Offside simple as that. It doesn’t mean shit if Koscielny touched the ball in any way as it certainly wasn’t a back pass to the keeper. This is obviously my opinion on the matter yours may differ in many ways.
What made me cringe even more was the fact that his ignorance to fouls committed by Everton was beyond belief. Jack got yellow for something that would never stand a chance of getting a yellow, Cesc was held by Rodwell a foul given no card, this was a tactical foul and surely deserved a yellow. Walcott elbowed by Arteta not even a foul given, Rosicky fouls straight yellow, Heitinga holding onto RVP foul given but no card and finally Fellaini stamping on Walcott off the ball was just an icing on top. Not only he ignored these he also never gave any advantage of play, I sensed he had definitely something against us and it felt as if corruption had something to do with this as well. It’s not for the first time Mason’s decisions were truly incompetent for a Premier League referee, clearly there is massive problem with referees these days and something needs to be done about it sooner rather than later. We can talk about this all day if we want to, we all know nothing will change anytime soon, as usual it will be brushed under the carpet.
Enough about those twisted individuals, we didn’t really had a good first half did we now? Passing was a bit sloppy and our penetration was no way near good enough for our standards, it took us sometime to find our stride and before you know, we were one nil down. Even our Captain admitted it was not good enough:
“It was a very testing game because we started losing, we didn’t start the game well at all, I think we were very very sloppy, we were not up for it since first minute”
“At that stage we can pay for it but fortunately the team stepped up in the second half, we realised that if we kept playing like that we were going nowhere, I think we did very well”
There’s not a great deal you can add to what Cesc said, I agree with his honest view of the game especially first half we looked as we had too much respect for Everton and allowed to play in our back yard. It backfired but we came on top in the second half. Our attitude, desire and hard work paid off as we produced the goods required to stay in the title race.
It was very good to see Arshavin getting goal, even though he did not celebrate putting us on level terms he did make up for it when Koscielny completely unmarked put us in front with a very decent header, great cross by Van Persie by the way. Credit to the lads they did us proud in every way, they worked hard for this victory and deserve their praise for an outstanding comeback. Looks like our little Meerkat is back, we all know he’s capable of great things and there is no better time for him to come back to his best in the absence of Nasri for the next three weeks.
I’m hoping Alex Song is not too badly injured, Arsene in his Press Conference said he couldn’t walk and that is rather worrying, hopefully he will recover in time for another tough fixture up north. Walcott also joins the medical treatment room, he has a ankle problem and wonder why, we all saw what happened at the end of the game last night.
I’m not too sure what Fabregas said to the fourth official at half time but it’s about time Cesc got to their faces, everyone else does it every week, at least he doesn’t go stamping on the ground like a 5 year old Rooney! He’s our Captain and he has the right to complain and question incorrect decisions. Moyes can say all he likes, he obviously had nothing else to say to defend his players, he just made himself look like a right twat!
I was going to finish on the high however I have just come across some bad news, it looks like Fabby will be out for the rest of the season. He just got back from Germany where underwent medical consultation to his injured shoulder. These proved to be not good and it looks like he will definitely need to undergo surgery. With Wojtek our current number one it’s probably a good thing that Almunia stayed at the club.
Champions League tonight has finally arrived and I’m looking for a much improved performance from the team all around, if it was just a blip or whatever you want to call it, then tonight is perfect opportunity to lift the spirits ahead of the game on Sunday. We all know by now that Almunia got injured against WBA on Saturday when he made the penalty and didn’t make the trip to Serbia, below par performance from Diaby also didn’t include him in the squad, or maybe he is injured again, who knows Arsene didn’t say anything regarding him during his Press Conference. This means Lukasz Fabianski will feature in goal against Partizan Belgrade this evening with most of fans already grinding their teeth at the thought of the Pole between the sticks. I have my own doubts to be honest with you I’m Polish myself and it pains to say this but whenever Lukasz gets a chance he always manages to fuck it up big time, sometimes I wonder when will he learn to stop making such simple yet costly mistakes, so far he has not impressed me with his performances. Asrene obviously has confidence in him and said:
“I want him to show how good he is,” said Wenger. “He gets another opportunity to show how good he is.
“There is only one way to show confidence in a player and that is to put him on the pitch and give him his chance. I have confidence in him.
“As a manager you can give a chance to a player who is good enough – I believe in his talent.
“It is another big chance but you want a goalkeeper or any player to grab the chance when you get it.”
I agree with those points made above, however he made so many costly errors every time he got his chance I’m starting to think he must be running out of these now, how many more chances is Arsene willing to give him? Maybe I’m being too harsh on him, perhaps I’m a bit but that is because I want him to succeed in every way, I want him to show us he’s good enough and that he’s a talented keeper. To prove himself to the fans and show the others he’s a worthy Arsenal goalie. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and I sincerely hope he will have a good game tonight, come on Lukasz no fucking about this time please!
Wojtek Szczesny has also been included in the squad and I think this is due to his latest outburst, he clearly wants to play and if he doesn’t then he may be looking elsewhere to do just that. I was rather surprised he wasn’t sent out on loan, so it seems Wenger has got other plans for him this coming season. Wojtek had a really good spell at Brentford last season but this obviously doesn’t mean he will preform on the same level in the Premier League. I still think there is massive potential there and he should bide his time for now. If Almunia and Fabianski will keep on making blunders left, right and center I can guarantee we’ll see Wojtek in goal sooner rather than later.
Speaking about the keepers, one brave Partizan Belgrade keeper Vladimir Stojkovic thinks we are weak without Cesc Fabregas, speaking to The Sun he said:
“We’ve watched Arsenal’s last few matches and they really have changed,”
“They have problems in defence and in goal.
“But their biggest problem is the absence of Fabregas. He’s a basic element in their team and they miss him.
“So I would rather face Arsenal now than in two months’ time when he has recovered from his hamstring trouble.
“They are in a bad spell right now and we need to profit from this.”
One word of advice to you Vladimir, just watch that space between you and your posts tonight my friend you never know when Jack is going to hit you, just concentrate on your own team for now. Perhaps he’s right in a way but I refuse to take such nonsense from someone like him and I believe our squad is strong enough to beat Partizan on their home turf. Enough about keepers for now please, all I hear from last Saturday is keeper this, keeper that and it’s driving me up the wall.
Glad to hear Song wants to make amends and is looking to improve things from last weekend, we are probably going to see our left back Gibbs taking over from Clichy and I was really happy to hear that he made it in time. Don’t get me wrong here I think Clichy is a really talented left back but it seems he has not made any progress recently, on the other hand to me Gibbs is already on the same level if not in front already. A bit of competition can only be good for them both either way.
That’s about all you will get from me today. Let’s forget about what happened on Saturday and get behind the team even if it means supporting Fabianski in goal, after all he’s an Arsenal player right? Decent performance will only give him more confidence and if he has a point to prove tonight then I’m behind him all the way, same goes for the others an improvement is a must if we want to bring home three precious points. A win in Belgrade will put us on a high just as well before we meet the Chavs, if you would like to put your money where your mouth is then look at SkyBet 3-1 to The Arsenal at 16/1 not bad at all. Have a good evening everyone get behind the lads and enjoy the game.
Come on you Riproaring Almighty Reds…!!!
Football is a funny and cruel game isn’t it?
Midweek Euphoria had every Gooner on top of the world after stuffing Spuds 1:4 at Three Point Lane on Tuesday night. We probably fielded a stronger side than our neighbours but all the same they have thrown in some experienced players too. I’m not here to talk about the Carling Cup game because we have witnessed yet again truly awesome performance from our lads, I just wanted to remind everyone what it’s like being on top of the world and then four days later we throw it all away with such a abysmal performace.
Having Chelsea surrender points earlier against Citeh this was a perfect opportunity to put some pressure on the leaders, especially against WBA with no disrespect to them obviously. We all know Chavs dealt with them swiftly at home and I expected nothing less at The Emirates and boy was I wrong here.
Take nothing away from West Brom they were the better team on the day and they deserved to win the game no questions asked and hats off to them, they wanted it more than us, they were quicker, looked sharper, had more desire to win the ball at every opportunity they were simply 100% committed and honestly we got what we deserved as Arsene said himself:
We made it more difficult because we were not at our usual level. Not defensively, not offensively. Overall everything was difficult for us today – passing the ball, winning the ball back, winning the one against ones – and we got what we deserved which was zero points. We didn’t deserve more. The positive is that we did fight until the last minute but it was just not good enough at that level to get three points.
We started off well, however after about 20 minutes we already phased out, our passing was awful, our attacking was crap and defending even worse. We were lucky not to be at least three nil down at half time. Almunia made the penalty but he took responsibility for his own mistake and saved the spot kick and at that time I thought if we can hold on to half time then we can definitely improve in the second. Hold on what the hell am I talking about, we are playing at home in front of our fans we should be on top of them from the start, what the fuck is going on here? Those thought at the time were going through my head and I believe rightly so!
Second half was even worse I couldn’t bear to watch how ordinary we were and how badly the whole team looked on the pitch, there was no desire, no commitment, no urgency to show your own fans that the first half was just a little blip and it’s business as usual in the second. We made mistake after mistake after mistake, our defence was completely asleep for all the goals, Almunia had howler to his near post for the second as for the third well you can judge that one for your self, truly shocking defending full stop.
I don’t want to come down on individual mistakes here because the whole team didn’t preform at all apart from one player Samir Nasri, to me the lad worked his socks off and almost got us back on level terms. Eboue and Diaby should have been substituted at half time at least they had let’s be honest here a shit game and didn’t show any signs of improvement in the second half. I know it’s still early days and after a weekend were Man U only took a point for our good fortune it doesn’t look so bad, however if we are to carry on with minnow teams at home like the way we did on Saturday afternoon then believe me Carling Cup is all we can aim for this season!
Some players need wake up and smell the coffee, just because they play for Arsenal it’s not a matter of turning up for the game and underestimating the opposition, you need to give your 100% each game and show you are doing so on the pitch as loosing a game wouldn’t be so bad if it was clear enough for everyone to acknowledge you give your absolute everything on the filed.