Friday, April 14, 2006

More on Portsmouth; Del Piero/Torres/Mourinho/Bergkamp/ finances.

Well, I was going to do a massive post on the Pmouth debacle, but I think Myles's article on ANR pretty much hit the nail, repeatedly, on the head.

What was Arsene thinking? The team he sent out was weaker than the one we played against Wigan in the Carling Cup 2nd leg!

If Song is offered a full time contract this summer I'll be amazed. He really has not looked even Premiership quality on the occasions I've seen him play. I don't think he is completely devoid of talent. He did show a few nice touches and passes in the game, but not enough to warrant his position. Myles was right: there are times when you rest people in the season - but not that many in one go. Considering how disjointed the team was, we actually played ok in the first half, and should have won the game. Missed opportunities cost us. Again!

Good to see Adebayor has had some sympathy. He's clearly a confidence player, and one who is still fine tuning his game. The four goals he's scored for us this season could/would not have been scored by any other member of the squad and Henry has almost immediately said he loves playing with him - something of a rarity. What surprised me most about him on Weds was the poorness of his first touch. The other times I've seen him, I was very impressed with his close control, and his ability to hold up play by skillfully controlling and distributing the ball. He was really off the pace on Weds, and seemed to struggle throughout. This happens to players at the point of development of Adey. He shows so much potential, though, that we have to get behind him: I think our suport could be critical in whether he makes it or not. Remember Tel initially, remember Pires initially, remember bloody Bergkamp initially!! I ahve been unimpressed, at times, with people's lust to castigate our players - I've flagged up the unfairness in doing this to Hleb, and I'm going to do the same with Adey. Adey settled in very quickly and had one bad game. He will improve. Gunnerblog on Arseblog [multi-blog link!!] has suggested that to miss two sitters in one game smacks of a lack of quality. I don't think so - unless he repeatedly does so. We should be thankful as to how good he's been so far, and recognise that the second miss probably stemmed from lack of confidence from the first. Also, when he went off, we were even more at sea, as the options he gives us in how to build attacks were removed. I'm a fan of v. persie but he simply doesn't bring enough to the team at the moment apart from his goals.

The other thing that surprised me yesterday was the mute response to Sol's performance. I thought he was excellent: he looked trim, and ready for a scrap, and clearly didn't even want to go off when he'd had his nose broken. He was solid at the back and while he gave away the freekick from which Pmouth scored, he could hardly be blamed for Diaby's inability to cover Lualua. I'm dissapointed that Sol will now be out again for a bit. He certainly looked good enough to be an asset for the rest of the season, and also that he could do some form of job for England in the summer. Also, I have a growing suspicion that this will be Sol's last season at the club, and he deserves better than to leave the club under a cloud.

In other news we've been linked to Torres, again, who's now been personally recommended by Reyes. Torres is a great player, but could he do it in the Premiership? I do wonder if he'll be another year long acclimatisation deal, and then him and Jose will both pack off to Real when they get fed up. Personally, I'd be surprised to see him arrive if Tel stays. Although I am finding his complete disinclination to join Spurs, depsite their painfully obvious desire to get him, most amusing.

Clubcall has us linked to Del Piero [don't think so]; Mourinho partially apologises over voyeur-gate [is that hell freezing over!!]; and the first match at Ashburton has been confirmed, pretty much, as Dennis's testimonial.

Finally, good to see we our continuing our financial prudent ways. I know everyone keeps trying to reassure me, but I still wake up in the middle of the night with nightmares of us becoming the new Leeds/Dortmund.



Jenks said...

Once someone has slagged off a player there is a tendency for everyone else to repeat it automatically as god-given truth. This is happening to Song. On Wednesday he had a much better game than 'the new Vieira'. He started nervously but particularly in the second half he won a lot of ball and didn't give much away. Diaby on the other hand was all over the place constantly giving the ball to Portsmouth players and he was responsible for their goal.I don't know if Song will make it but this was his first start and in my book he did OK.

Anonymous said...

I think its because of Song that Diaby didnt play well. Diaby needs 'A Gilberto' and Song just isnt in the same class.

Goonerboy said...

I tried to be a bit more balanced re: Song than other sites I've seen. He worked hard and was by no means awful. I think it was a mistake to put both him and Diaby together in the centre though. Song and Gilberto would have been interesting. I'd still be surprised if Arsene offered hima full tim deal.

Anonymous said...

Good call on Adebayor, his finishing has been better than Henry's initially. I'm confused by the blanket slating of Song. I was at the match and thought he did o.k, nothing spectacular. Am i to take it Sky criticised him? Usually people just parrot Sky's opinions as their own (including the F.A).

Goonerboy said...

I watched the game in a pub in Islington, where they refused to turn the music off, so i didn't hear the commentary.

I really like Arseblog, but it worried me a bit that he criticised Song and Adebayor after admitting he hadn't even seen the game.

I think, unfortunately, every team needs a whipping boy. Now Gilberto and Hleb are playing better,and Sol's back, for some reason people are searching for a fall guy. Ade certainly didn't play well on Weds, but he doesn't deserve all this abuse either. As for Song, I'll be very interested to see if he gets a contract in the summer. He hasn't really had enough of an opportunity to show whether he's good enough or not, but I have a feeling Arsene has more faith in him than most of us.

Anonymous said...

Actually Sky (Prem Plus) hardly mentioned Song other than when George Graham said he was another product of the Arsenal Youth Academy. (He isn't!)

lc said...

I think you can't juge Song on that game alone. That was the first time he was mad first team choice. It's too harsh on him. I can only blame Arsene Wenger who coaches a team that their away performance is poor all the times.
We seem to be unable to come back every time we concede a goal. That's where leadership comes to play on the pitch. Therry Henry had some part of the blame even if he did score a goal. He is the captain; but he seems to be too moody to the limit of boolying his team mates for missing goals. We all understand the major frustration when Adebayor missed all these chances. As the team leader, as Portsmouth equalize; he should have had been lifting the team spirit by acting positively, encouraging them to get forward and rise the pression on Portsmouth.
I think technically, we have a very good team, but on psychological level, the coaching is poor. The players seem to give up as we concede a goal and that, it's only the coach who can help them. That's why playing a team of more 60% of the players are too young is a cause of concern.

Black said...

mate before you slag arsene of for mental coaching. Rmember that before this seasion arsenal have been traditionaly better away than at home, just thought youd like toknow. If you dont belive go check opta index and i think you have a nice suprise

Anonymous said...

Why the surprise that Wenger put out a weak side? Who else was available who'd have done better in central midfield? Cesc is carrying an injury and was exhausted (and underperforming) after 10 minutes against ManU. Gilberto is also looking quiet tired. In case it's escaped your attention, we've got West Brom on Saturday, then Villarreal, then Spurs, then Villarreal. Remember two or three years ago when we went out to Chelsea in the quarter finals, principally because we'd played too many games in a short space of time and our key players were knackered. I really regret that tired, dejected performance with Henry coming off after 70 minutes having been barely able to move. It was a year when we could, should, have gone all the way, given the way we'd been playing and with only Monaco and Porto to beat. This year, unless Wenger puts out a really weakened side for the West Brom tie on Saturday, I can see us losing to Villarreal in just the same way. We may be better than them, but they're going to be massively fresher, having put their weekend tie back to Friday and having rested their four most significant players for over two weeks so as to be injury-free and ready for us. They evidently know exactly how they're most likely to beat - the same way an exhausted Milan were beatable last year by the much fresher Liverpool. And they're right. By the second leg, after the Spurs tie, we'll be needing wheelchairs.

Yup, Sol played OK against Portsmouth but isn't it just bloody typical that he's now unavailable yet again when we need him the most. Same goes for Ashley. Every time I check the injury list his return date has moved back another three weeks. Since he's probably leaving anyway I don't see why we are still mollycoddling him - for the benefit of Chelsea? of Real? Why can't he play a few Premiership games and let Flam put his feet up for once?

Goonerboy said...

anon. 9.29 - you can't really blame Sol for getting his nose broken can you. As for Ash - will we see him again in an Arsenal shirt? discuss.

And Black: I know about Arsenal's away from before this season; that's why it's so hard to take this year. We used to be stronger away from home than at Highbury. We have no chance whatsoever at winning the title next year if we can't pick up even draws away.

Also, nice to see United living up to all my expectations tonight: they always, always raise their game for big teams, yet drop points to the like of Sunderland.

Anonymous said...

Re the Bergkamp testimonial - when I transferred my season ticket to the new stadium, the chap who was sorting it out was very excited about Arsenal (all-time) vs Ajax (all-time) as the first game there. Have to say that I was disappointed. For Denis' testimonial it should have been Arsenal vs Holland, if only so that sketch from The Fast Show could be played on the Jumbotrons.... Matt

Anonymous said...

No, of course I don't blame Sol for breaking his nose, but he could perhaps - I understand he was given the choice? - have postponed having surgery till after the weekend and so been available to us today when we desperately needed him. In a couple of weeks, when he's fully recovered, he'll doubtless be expecting to play so as to develop his match-fitness for England. But by that time it will be a bit late - from the Arsenal perspective - as we'll be probably be out of the Champions League anyway. His priority is clearly his England place rather than the needs of his club, so, yes, I blame him for that.

As for Ashley, don't get me wrong, he's been my favourite player for years, and I think Arsenal have treated him pretty shabbily; I also think he'd actually like to stay, but forces - his pride, his agent, Arsene - are conspiring against it. With Clichy, Flamini and the new kids - Ryan Garry? Traore? - competing for his place next season, the chances are Arsene will choose to cash in. Will we see him again in an Arsenal shirt? Oh sure, for the games against Wigan and Sunderland as, like Sol, he'll want to be ready for England. I'm not suggesting he's not really injured at present - at least I don't think I am - but if he's fit enough to be back in training, which I gather he is, I'd play him now, whatever the risk of exacerbating the injury, because it's NOW, not the last two games of the season, that we need to rest Flam. Isn't there a chance the agent will be losing his licence? Not sure whether than will make any difference?

Goonerboy said...

I think losing Ash would be a crying shame, because he was an Arsenal captain in the making. His agent is on the verge of losing his license - rightly so - but it probably won't make any difference.

With Flamini's form, and the other youngsters I can see Arsene cashing in. I really hope he stays, but I alos think Arsene doesn't really approve of his lifestyle either. A little too bling for his liking.