Thursday, August 24, 2006

An unconvincing performance sees us through

I thought we looked worryingly poor last night. Again, the lack of a common wavelength in the team was, at times, palpable, and against better opposition this would have been costly.

Dynamo's goal was a painful comedy of errors from our point of view. Eboue was exposed twice after Hleb had lost the ball in an attempt at a mazy run. Almunia's attemtped save was pathetic, and the three goal lead began to look less than impregnable. Credit can be given to the boys, though, for not panicking. I think the fact that Dynamo were barely a premiership quality side helped matters, as we subdued them for most of the first half. The only real bright spot in our performance was RvP. He certainly has some blinding tricks in his bag, but I continue to worry if he has that extra 10% that can make him into a consistently great player. I think his team-play has improved though.

I wrote after the first leg that the team sometimes looks better when Henry doesn't play, as it can bring out the best in some players, forcing them to up their game and take more responsibility for winning the game. This wasn't the case yesterday. No-one really wanted to take responsibility, it seemed, and again a lack of attempts on goal seemed to be a problem. We also missed the calming influence and experience of Gilberto; Flamini is not good enough to take his place, and I'm beginning to seriously doubt whether he has enough in him to play for us in midfield. Similar questions could be asked about Justin Hoyte - although it might be worth actually giving him a game at his favoured r-b position before we all write him off. Fabregas and Hleb both looked off the pace, Adebayor had one of his 'barn door' moments [which we can only hope will become fewer and fewer], and it was largely left to Freddie to push us towards getting something from the game. Hopefully Freddie's goal is a sign he knows where the goal is this season, but I'm not too sure.

It took Thierry, Gilbs and Theo to really liven things up and make it look like we could actually win the game. Theo has now played 27 minutes of football for Arsenal and got two assists. Not bad - maybe he should send the video to Steven Gerrard. We needed the combination of experience and excitement that these three players brought to see us through the last twenty minutes or so, and to lift our game to the point where we actually snatched a winner in the last minute.

The question will inevitably be asked as to whether Theo deserves more pitch time. At the moment it's hard to say no, but I really think that these substitute cameos are his best form of development for now. Please don't rush or over-hype him. I should imagine he'll have to wait for the Carling cup before he gets a start, but that might be enough for this season. Having said that, we may need him to push for a place in the top four, given the medicore performances we've put in thusfar.

Elsewhere in the Premiership... ManU looked utterly dominant against Charlton. I know the season is only two years old, but they're playing flying attacking football. Instead of replacing Van Nistelrooy I think Fergie is trying to get his wingers to get more goals, and hope Saha can fulfill his undoubted promise - a ploy which seems to be paying dividends. If they can keep those performances up, I think not only will Fergie's sale of RVN be justified, but ManU could definitely push for the title.

Especially if Mourinho continues to pick bizzare formations, with midfields consisting of makelele, Lampard and Essien, who, I imagine, were meant to stand on eachothers heads and play on top of each other. Coupled with an attacking threesome of Sheva, Drogba, and Kalou, there was no width to the side. Cudicini was also terrible in goals. One can only hope that the pressure of having a squad with so many top names may lead to more bizzare formations and poor performances like yesterday.


Anonymous said...

don't you worry bout a thanggggg...

we'll be fine - united have had a couple of easy games.

chelsea will find it hard to win three on the trot.

and once billy gallas and franck ribery sign and we're in a position where the french legion is re-built, we will once again by da indomitable gooners.

Anonymous said...

RVP best games has being with Thierry Henry. The champions league game when he scored a fantastic goal during the group stages last season. The game he played in the premiership against Chelsea when he was disallowed a clear goal.

The game against Blackburn when he scored an absolute crazy goal. I want to see both of them start together against Man City but I doubt that will happen, then again I am not Arsene...

SgGooner said...

Last night's game shouldn't be judged purely for its entertainment merits - or the lack of. We got the job done and that's most important. And it's also worth noting that the lads know how to win dirty. I'm just thankful no one got injured.

Next up, City. Let's keep the momentum going.

Anonymous said...

We were pretty poor last night, but I think it's unwise to draw any conclusions from a game like that. Dynamo (not actually that bad a side, great travelling fans too) were never going to score four goals against us, and even at one-nil down we had no real incentive to up the tempo. I do agree that Flamini looks too lightweight when he starts in midfield, especially when he's partnered with Cesc. He's still an important squad player, but it'll be good to have Diaby back. Hoyte is defensively sound and well worth persevering with. We shouldn't criticise him for not adding much to the attack, it's just not his game. I'd be a bit disappointed if we were to sign Gallas, Djourou and Hoyte have shown enough for me to justify being third and fourth choice centre-backs. Ribery is just fantasy, doesn't that guy know he's cup-tied now ? Last of all - Theo's going to be great this year. Come on you Gooners...

Anonymous said...

What are you on about with Ribery??? He's not gona come here until earliest next season. Torres is our man if Reyes leaves, or so is the story of the day. Completely agree with the chelsea coments, please give them ashley in a straight swap for Gallas and then they'll have his money grabing personality to deal with as well as four top class center midfielders all rightly wanting first team action, and two wingers (Robben and Cole) who will also want to play, plus their strikers.

The way I see it they should play Cashley as there only defender, and then play the other nine mentioned above (strikers being Kalou, Sheva, and Drogba) and see how well they do. Then at least all of there top players would start.

What does everyone think of the Torres rumour

Anonymous said...

RvP was really the only bright spot from last night's game.

We look lost on the bigger pitch, quite frankly. It doesn't help that both Hleb and Freddie spent most of the game thinking they were playing centre mid, added to the fact that both Adebayor and RvP kept dropping short. There were far to many players in the centre and no one to release out wide or up front, which made it very difficult for Fabregas to assert himself on the game.

The passing, even over distances of ten yards or less, was absolutely shocking.

Van Persie looked sharp again and was unlucky not to score. Adebayor missed a sitter (as did Freddie in the first half) and generally we looked out of ideas and guilty of over elaboration again. It's a little worrying.

Still, first competitive win at the Emirates. We're going to need to grow into the place.

Anonymous said...

The Torres stuff is classic tabloid shite. So is the Reyes to Athletico story - didn't people see the quotes from Arsene about Reyes the other day ? He's staying, let's do ourselves a favour and stop dignifying this shite by discussing it. Sufficive to say that Reyes would hardly be interested in moving to a mediocre Spanish side who aren't even in the Champions League. The fact remains that nobody has made a bid for him. Let's give it up, he's still an important player for us this year.

Goonerboy said...

I forgot to add that I was worried that Hleb seemed to give up trying to play on the right yesterday, and instead just drifted inside into the middle where he prefers to play. I thought it showed a lack of discipline.

I think we may not add to the squad before the transfer window shuts. Apart from, maybe, that Illiasu guy.

Gelbs said...

In fact, the more I think about it, there are 7 players in Arsenal’s squad which are either just good average, or underperformers/inconsistent. May be early days, but even so. They are; Hleb, Adebayor, Reyes, Flamini, Song, Cygan, Aliadiere. 8 if you include Hoyte. But in all fairness he deserves a chance and is playing out of position and not his favoured right back slot. That is alot of players and 3 or which or regular starters at times.
As for Arsenal needing to get use to the pitch, that is true sure. But I read that Arsenal’s training pitchs were being re-sized to that of the Emirates. So if that is only recent, is it poor management and training as Arsenal should of been training on the new stadium pitch sizes months ago and becoming use to it ready for the future?! And Arsenal have played on big pitches before and performed well. Look at Europe and domestically. So in other words, like players still coming back to full fitness and sharpness etc after the World Cup, along with Arsenal settling into the new stadium remains somewhat true, it is in my book, an excuse overall because Arsenal despite being 3 games into the season, should be playing slightly better. And if players are yet not ready, than more full Wenger for not strengthening already. You prepare for these situations well in advance. Don’t moan about somethings when they remain self-inflicted.

DB10 said...

I agree with the second post and that is that I'd love to see van persie start with henry.

To me he's a more complete player than Ade, and even though he sometimes shoots when he should pass, usually with Arsenal we pass rather than shoot. So at least it's a nice change to have someone who's prepared to have a go (even from ridiculous angles!)

I like Ade, and he does have some skill, but his really good games are appear to be few and far between.

Anyway, onwards and upwards .... up the gunners.

gazzap said...

Djourou has a good game (no-one has mentioned him).

you cant really draw too many conclusions from last nights game. AW would never start with that 11 in the premiership. Gilberto and Henry would always play. But Hleb was too narrow and ade and RVP were too deep (as already said). Only Henry and Walcott opened that game up and used the space out wide and up front. Their pace also worried Zagreb.
Whe Rosicky is fit things will improve. I would play freddie and Rosicky on the wings to start with and walcott to come on for whoever is not playing so well.

I have said it before that I'd always start RVP with Henry at home but Ade with Henry away. A big man who can hold the ball up is what you need away from home. I hope we take Bendtner back in January if need be. he has looked better than Ade this season.

Anonymous said...

RvP is clearly a better player than Adebayor at the moment, but he's never looked convincing in partnership with TH. On the basis of last season Adebayor looks the better regular option. RvP has always looked at his best coming off the bench, although I'd like to see him tried in the wide positions he played in for Holland in the WC. He's clearly too good a player to leave out of the side in the long term.

Anonymous said...

Gazzap's right about Djourou, he's the main reason why we don't need Gallas...

gazzap said...

central defence is OK barring injuries. central midfield needs more backup. when Gilberto is out, we are all over the shop. Flamini and Song are not the solution.

Deise Gooner said...

Central Defence needs some experience. 1 player would do it, either Galas or Kaladze. Flamini tries his best and runs his heart out but doesnt offer enough to merit a starting place. VanP is more dangerous player, Ade would make a good impact sub to change it up. VanP for right midfield with Rosicky playing the bergkamp role, amyone? It could work. VanP would be more direct that Hleb on the right and Rosicky has the skils to replace DB10

Deise Gooner said...

The Arsenals CL group
Group G
CSKA Moscow
Not too bad really. Should top that.