Thursday, August 16, 2007

That was Sparta, but Repka is no King Leonidas.


The banner in Prague proclaimed ‘This is Sparta’, and while most of us laughed, the Spartans (of Prague admittedly) did make a concerted attempt to rough up our youngsters. Yet if Repka was their captain, or their king if we continue to follow this prolonged metaphor, he was hardly a Leonidas. And if he was, then Cesc was his Persian assassin. Ultimately we came out victorious in the physicality stakes in a tough game, something which was obviously great to see and which is a notable change from last season.

Credit to the players: not only have they come through another tough test, they did so with almost flying colours.

I’d love to say I’d seen more of the game, but thus far I’ve only seen the goals and some sporadic highlights, on top of the radio commentary. The reason? Setanta. It seems that to ensure a fair market place for the viewing of English football teams, the consumer, ultimately, must have to pay more.

So on top of the season ticket, the Sky subscription, and the Sky PPV matches, we now have Setanta scraping the last few remnants of change we have from our pockets. It’s nice to see that the British government have attempted to break up Sky’s monopoly on football –but how does that benefit the average football viewer? Not a lot, it would seem. Bring back the Stalinist monopoly I say.

The goals both came from surging runs from our full-backs. Clichy seems to be making goal-creating runs with wonderful alacrity at the moment, while Sagna has swiftly made a notably positive impact on the side. Cesc showed that he has the potential to contribute heavily to our goalscoring, while Hleb seems transformed in front of goal. Whether he can continue to play in a position which seems to isolate RvP remains to be seen, but hopefully the end product to his play will start to win over a few more of his doubters.

Jens showed his worth with a number of top-class saves, and Gallas had one of his best games in the shirt. A player who didn’t was Tomas Rosicky, and questions over his role in the team should surely start to be asked if he continues in this poor vein of form.

To be frank, I wondered where he would fit into the team when we bought him. He’s a central midfielder, a half-striker even, and Wenger is quite clearly wasting him out on the left. He doesn’t have the ability to cut open defences that Hleb has, and his goalscoring record remains average, at best. He really needs to step up a gear or two and quick.

Alex Song also seemed to give the ball away without almost deadly inefficiency once he entered the fray. He does have his backers, and I’ve tried to like the lad, but maybe Charlton was his level. He’s only ever looked out of his depth when I’ve seen him play for us.

We’re obviously not through yet, but being two away goals to the good sets up the second leg nicely. If that’s the new Sparta, the sequel won’t be coming out soon.

32 comments:

Goonerboy said...

I see that my rant against Setanta has led to a Setanta advert appearing at the top of the blog today.

How ironic.

Anonymous said...

Song was so poor, i just hope diaby & denilson r back soon

Anonymous said...

sparta theme continued :

sparta prague : " our tackles will block out your passes "

arsenal : " then we will score on the break "

Anonymous said...

how can you question Rosicky..even after admitting you barely saw the game...stupid cunt

Goonerboy said...

Because listening on the radio, and in discussions with other gooners, almost he was either a) barely mentioned or b) mentioned negatively.

gazzap said...

Billong. There's only Song Billong, there's only Song Billong, there's only Song Billong.

Anonymous said...

Always best to actually watch the game for yourself before writing an article and dedicating a column to it...its the same journalistic approach taken by most red top newspapers, pretty disgraceful....

Goonerboy said...

Oh Gazzap, there's always one.

Nick said...

Alex song should go on a loan to some other club. He'll play well where there is less expectation. Its not like we expect much from him.

Goonerboy said...

Extended highlights:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=h5FOj9JzLgQ&mode=related&search=

Christy Holly said...

Why was there a need to call this guy a stupid cunt? He is allowed his opinion. Even though he didnt see the game i have to agree, Rosicky is suffering, he is a top class player, why dont arsenal try a 4-3-3. van the man with rosicky and hleb behind him, and then a midfield of a fit again diaby, gilberto and fab 4? I think diaby and gilberto would provide plenty of cover. Lacks width? Lets not kid ourselves we dont score man from crosses, but do have two of the best full backs in the prem. Clichy is awesome!

Anonymous said...

Yes - very harsh with your abuse.

I watched the whole game and Rosicky was poor last night - he did not track his man back on numerous occasions.

I rate him very highly, but if you watched the game last night, you cannot argue that he played well.

On a seperate note - there are now no PPV games on Sky - Setanta replaces Prem Plus.

Therefore, it is more expensive - but if you only pay for the 9 months of the season - that is £90 as opposed to the £50 you paid for Prem Plus.

So it is more - but not outrageously so - and you do get other programs on Setanta.

Anonymous said...

The only thing of any credibility you have said is "Clichy is awesome!" everything else you have said is bollocks, have you not studied football or Wenger since he has been here? he has never once played a 4-3-3 system so why would he start now ? 4-3-3 would also crowd the central area and an expansive game like ours requires space, it already gets crowded through the centre anyway at the emirates and you wanna congest it more ...Prick...

Goonerboy said...

I didn't realise PPV was being replaced by Setanta.

It's not as bad as I thought then.

Anonymous said...

The comment about him being a cunt may have been harsh but I for one cannot understand a whole column dedicated to the game last night by some "joe" who saw "sporadic" highlights...maybe Rosicky was not great but at least I am well informed enough to make that judgement...then again I saw the game...

Anonymous said...

try this site goonerboy...www.sporadichighlights.com...should be enough to keep your little column going ...

Anonymous said...

does anyone know why all the streaming websites crashed just before KO?

I think Eboue's days are numbered. Sagna looks great, and when we have another fit striker, Hleb will prob drop back to the right, or maybe left and Rosicky on the bench, but I dont think Eboue will displace Sagna now.

I also think the reason AW is not rushing to buy wide players is because the Arsenal style is for the full backs to bomb forward at every opportunity, so it suits having Rosicky Hleb who can come inside and allow Clichy/Sagna to overlap

Anonymous said...

"Prague proclaimed ‘This is Sparta’, and while most of us laughed"


and I laughed at you for being so opinionated without even watching the game

what a glory hunter, shame on you

Goonerboy said...

Yeah, I'm a glory supporter.

I suppose going to every home game does that to a person, you muppet.

femster said...

Please Guys don't get fooled into thinking that perfomance was anything great. Once again we were lacking in defence, Sparta are not Barca and they seemed to cut through our defense with ease. Clichy while playing well was at fault for at least 2 clear-cut chances, I don't understand why we panic so much when the ball is in our box (maybe Lehmann!!).
But hey we won so we can't complain but don't all moan when we play like that then lose 'cause it could've happened!!

On the sky/setanta issue, remember although per-per-view was £50 per season after Dec you could pick it up for a cut price £25 which make Setanta just a rip off.

Anonymous said...

I had to give up my season ticket three years ago to come Australia. On the bright side, between Fox, ESPN and SBS, I've hardly missed a kick of Arsenal's games.

I can't agree with all the abuse, let's remember we all gooners!!
On the night I thought the worst performer was the ref, who constantly stopped play (for both sides) for innocuous challenges, but when we go away to Prague and return two nil up, whilst the scum are losing at home, then in my opinion - IT'S ALL GOOD MATE!!!!

Phatrick said...

I saw the game and to be honest - Rosicky was very poor. The worst performance I've seen of him. I really do think he can come good though. He's not had an extended run in the side and while most people expect a signing to bed in right away I think Rosicky will take some time to find his position and improve his finishing.

Sagna - fantastic signing, bet old Moaniho is looking on enviously as he scribbles Glen Johnson's name on the teamsheet for the weekend.

Clichy - Ashley who???

DesiGooner said...

a good scrappy game .. and we got a result in last half hour of play .. seems like the PHE (Post Henry Era) is bright after all ..

As far as highlights go, I try to put them up on my site as soon as they are available .. seems like youtube's deleting EPL highlights as soon as they come up .. so i have started using some sites like veoh and vimeo .. u can watch them on my blog ..

Anonymous said...

big deal you go to every home game...is that for the sporadic higlights they show at half time ??

Anonymous said...

Yes - but if you pay £25 after Xmas you have missed half the games - so whats the difference to paying £50 at the beginning?

Strange comment!

gazzap said...

rosicky might have had a quiet game but that does not make him a bad player. its only the 2nd game of the season and he was injured pre season plus this was his boyhood team he was up against. cut the man some slack.

I emailed the website that does live streaming of football and they said too many people were online at once so it shut down. just goes to show how many gooners are out there.

Anonymous said...

I can't see how 'Song was so poor'. He came on in the last few minutes and touched the ball only a handful of times. He gave the ball away a couple of times, yeah, but 4 or so touches of the ball are hardly a reasonable basis to declare his performance as 'so poor'. He might as well not be creditted with any performance, since he had almost nothing to do for the couple of minutes he was on.

Rosicky and Eboue were both atrocious yesterday. Rosicky was notably better in the second half whereas Eboue did practically nothing for the entire game. I expect much better from those players on Saturday should they both play. We need Ade back and I think pushing Hleb onto the left and either trying Rosicky on the right for a couple of games or dropping him for a couple of games might be the only way to get more out of him on the wing. Perhaps the fact that he doesn't have competition for his place is what's causing his problems, but like when Jens was dropped for a while ages ago he came back more focussed (for a while :D) and did better.

Goonerinbeds said...

To anonymous. You really are a self opinionated objectionable cunt. At least the bloke takes the time and effort to write an article to which you can agree or not. I also saw the game on Setanta (had no problems activating just 2 hours before kick-off) and agree Rosicky was a little off last night. Everybody else, apart from Eboue and Song were excellent. Got a good feeling about this season.

femster said...

Ermmm strange comment, well seeing as I only got the sky pay-per-view to watch Arsenal and would only get Setanta to watch Arsenal I don't see why I should have to pay £50 a season for the sake of it, and to make matters worse now for a season £90 and how many times are Arsenal on those channels??

Eduardo_Gold said...

This isn't a criticism but could you not watch the match at the pub if you dont have setanta? I went to my local to see it. Obviously if you coudn't get down to one thats understandable, if not for future reference, down the pub is your best bet.

Goonerboy said...

I couldn't find one near me that had it on, they all seemed to be showing other games, even though i'm in london.

I got frustrated and went home.

Anonymous said...

Agree Gazzap - It was a very emotional night for Rosicky and it seems like it got to him.

I wish I was perfect like some of you out there who are so critical of Arsenal players Hleb, Song, Rosicky, Senderos - it's not big and it's not clever. Only bullies pick on someone who can't defend himself and then rip his confidence to shreds. Shame on you. How can you call yourself supporters of AFC?