Sunday, February 04, 2007

Arsenal slightly hungover after too much Carling.

Yesterday's result perhaps emphasises that we shouldn't really hope for anything about fourth place this season. Yet I don't think we should fall into despondency about not winning the game; if anything I was fairly pleased that we've come through another difficult away day oop North without a defeat, a marked improvement on last year.

We no longer seem to be a team that gets 'out-muscled' in away matches. When we don't get results its now more likely that we were simply out-played on the day, or that certain players under-performed. And when that player is Cesc, we're bound to struggle, given that our entire team is moulded around his ability to dictate game with his passing. Despite not playing the full 120 minutes on Wednesday, Cecsc was notably off-colour and never really got into the game.

The team is missing Hleb as well. For all his running and effort, Flamini is not a right winger and his limitations in that position were exposed yesterday. He lacks the creative vision and flair to be the type of threat that Hleb provides and which Walcott was learning. There might have been a case for throwing Theo on for the last ten minutes yesterday, but Arsene's decision to bring on Denilson was probably correct, helping us remain solid and earn a draw.

Mike Riley must have some form of vendetta against us because the penalty was slightly absurd. On first viewing it does look like a penalty, but Riley, a 'top-level' referee should have known better. Yakubu has subsequently admitted, so I've heard, that Philippe made minimal to no-contact in the incident.

One-nil down, again, and one-player down, things did not look good, so I'm pleased we battled back to win the point. Of course, it would have been nicer if we'd have used our dominance to have won the game, but I'm confident that next season the team will fully click. It took Ferguson about three seasons to turn round United, and it may be the same for us.

At the moment, Adebayor's touch is still betraying a little too often and Tomas is not providing enough clinical through-balls from midfield. But both have decent work-rates and will improve.

A pressing issue that must be resolved is Jens contract. He is such an important figure to the club that he must stay on next year. I really don't think Almunia as what it takes to get anywhere near the level that Jens is currently at. We need to keep Jens so he can keep making crucial, world-class saves, such as his one from Viduka's low effort when the score was one-nil. We also need him for his reaction to the penalty: he imposes himself in games and shows all the passion I want to see from Arsenal players. To let him go due to the 'one-more-year' policy would be criminal.

The match showed that things are getting better, but slowly. A positive first step would be to tell Adey and Thierry to stop doing that dance every time they scored, or at least to create an alternative version involving the whole team. An Arsenal conga perhaps?


Anonymous said...

lehmann wont leave coz he is only being offered a year...I seem to remember a quote where he said next year he would go back to germany and then retire after the euro champs

so if thats true then he aint gonna want a 2 or 3 year contract if he plans to retire after one

Premiership goals and streams said...

goals and highlights are here
luckly i didnt saw the whole game,im hearing that it was boooring...

Anonymous said...

The thing with Tomas is that I think he is too anxious to make his mark at Arsenal. If he relaxed a bit it would be good. For example, he tries to pass forward all the time, when sometimes the best option is a sideways or even a backwards ball. He tries to force the balls into impossible situations. However, I love his workrate, and there is no doubt that he is a classy little player. The trio of cesc, Tom, Hleb are as good as Ronaldinho, Eto'o, Messi or Pirlo, Seedorf, Kaka (2 years ago) or any three combination players at any club. If they add goals to their repetoire, it would be perfect.

devvil said...

I would just like to see us get up to second this year and pass Chelski. I think that would be solid improvement for such a young side, and would help us next year by lowering our fixture load in not having to go through a qualification round for the CL. Then next year we can be back at the top of the League where we belong. Meanwhile, we can win the League Cup, FA Cup, and CL this year!!!

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean about 'the dance' but it does seem to be bringing us luck as we haven't lost since it's been on the scene. And didn't Ade recently say he would reveal the meaning behind it if we go on to win the Carling Cup?

Dong Zhou said...

Seemed a penalty to me though I do admit Senderoses fouls tend to be two footed efforts rather then to knock someone over.

I still think we can at least get third, could have won but we played well enough despite Cesc's bad day. As for Flamini, he may have played just to keep Downing quite and he did that.

Anonymous said...

I recommend you go view that game again and reapraise why our Cesc struggled.
I notice the performance of Henry was not even discussed. Is this because he scored a goal?
Working for a major telco, i am privy to a lot of games with different camera angles. I can tell you Henry's performance was dissapointing, as a captain and senior player.
Simply put he forces our midfield to play on the back foot. As just does not provide a consistent outlet or focus of our attack. He demands the ball so many times and just does not keep it. Gilberto, Cesc and Rosicky work tirelessly to get the ball and he looses it as soon as it gets to him.
Wenger was not pleased with Henry's performance at all, if we can read anything by the the way he spoke to Pat Rice or shook his head everytime Henry lost the ball.

I for one believe our Carling Cup would have won at Boro.
I off to the bookies to bet £100 Henry will not be with us next season.