Monday, March 12, 2012

Verminated: 14 Thoughts on Arsenal 2 Newcastle 1

Football, bloody hell, etc. etc. After a really crappy January, and two painful cup defeats, we have now decided to exclusively win games from losing positions. It's a lot of fun, but I'm not sure it's good for my heart. Anyway, thoughts as follows:

* The Newcastle goal is a catalogue of defensive errors from Arsenal. Vermaelen was sloppy in possession, gifting the ball to Newcastle. Gibbs was pushed forward and left space behind himself. Ben Arfa could thus pick up the ball, skip inside with skill, and take his chance neatly. He's a good player, and it's easy to forget just how close we were to signing him in the summer of 2008 (we ended up with Nasri instead). If I was being hypercritical, I don't think Szczesny should be beaten at his near post. But the shot came in quickly and was well placed. 

* The Newcastle goal celebration was rubbish. They deserved to lose for that alone. 

* On balance, I didn't really think that we deserved to be behind. Newcastle has been OK in the opening stages, but they were far from dominant. So when we equalized seconds after the Newcastle goal, I thought it was fair. 

* RvP's goal was world-class. His first two touches were Bergkamp-esque, and his finish was superb. It's getting to the stage now where we expect him to score in every game, which is almost absurd. 

* Is RvP as good as Bergkamp? No - not yet. He's been at a world class level for about a year and a half now. Another 3 or so years at this level and maybe we can talk about Robin being at Dennis's level. Dennis wasn't just brilliant because of his ability, but because he produced it for such a long period of time at Arsenal, and because he won a barrel-full of trophies in the process. Regardless of his current form, Robin hasn't done this yet. 

* Theo came up with another assist tonight. He now has four in the league, the joint fourth highest in the Prem. He also came up with a lot of other great moments in the match, with 5 key passes. I still think it's worrying that he struggles to control the ball at times, and that his decision making can be poor. One also wonders how many assists he would have were he not playing with RvP. But he is, and our best player loves playing with him. If he keeps up this form until the end of the season, he will have earned a contract extension.

* Arteta ran the game. Twice as many passes as any Newcastle player, and 20 more than the second highest player in the Arsenal squad. All 6 of his long balls were accurate, as were 2 of his crosses, and he came up with 4 key passes. He is a pass master, and we play better with him pulling the strings.

* Gervinho's performance was a bit odd. I don't really think that he did much after coming on, and he mis-kicked the ball when presented with a golden opportunity to score. But I think he does worry defences, and I hope he finishes the season well. 

* Rosicky showed why he's earned a new deal. Personally, I would like to see Ramsey get more minutes as he is the future of the club. But I'm glad that we're keeping players like Tomas. He seems to have really upped his game in the last few months. Here's hoping he can have a golden last few years at Arsenal after all those months that he was out injured. 

* We completely bossed the game in the second half. Newcastle seemed to completely draw back into their shell, and didn't really create any chances of note. The only question was whether we could break down Newcastle's defence, and with every chance we spurned the draw seemed ever nearer. But credit to the team - they didn't give up, and they kept pushing for the win deep into stoppage time.

* With Newcastle playing so deep, we started employing a manoeuvre which can often wreak havoc - marauding centre backs. Vermaelen and Koscielny began to push forward, either with or without the ball, with Song rotating into defence. Newcastle couldn't work out how to track LK and TV's runs, and you could see before the goal was scored that they were struggling with our attacking CBs.

* What to say about Thomas Vermaelen? He is a true competitor. Players who don't have that drive and desire don't score the goal that he got today. I still think LK is a superior defender, and TV was partially at fault for the opening goal. But the Verminator seems to me exactly the type of player who could score the winning goal in a cup final of some sort. I'm glad he's at the club.

* Howard Webb (rightly) comes in for a lot of stick, but at least he diligently added on at least some of the time that Newcastle wasted. Another ref might have blown up at 94 mins and we would have ended the game with only a point. It's been part of a nice trend in recent weeks - cheats haven't prospered. Whether it be Bale or Suarez diving, or Krul timewasting, we've had the last laugh in all three instances. Karma, bitches.

* "Mind the Gap"? It's now only 1 point. We have a very tough away match at Everton next week, whereas Spurs have Stoke at home, so it may yet be a few weeks before we pass them. But they seem in real difficulties at the moment, and we now have huge momentum behind us. Five wins in a row, and the last four have all come from losing positions. That is mental strength. Maybe we might just be having a good end to the season. 


vancouver gunner said...

Ramsey is shittttt!!! I still can't believe people are still supporting him . He is no future. The future is Wilshere, Coquelin, Frimpong, Aneke, Lansbury, Oxlade, Miyacchi.

Whst is this infactuation with Ramsey!!!Fucc!! the reason our season has been a mess is mostly because of Ramsey in the middle. We has given him more than quadriple the chance that was given to Carlos Vela and we still want to continue to experiment with him. Vela was never given any chance at Arsenal (probably cause he isn't Brit)that aside we have many talented British players in our team and Ramsey is only going to block their progress. I don't even want Ramsey on the bench. He's on par with Denilson (frankly I think worse) and I want him sold asap. If we don't and persist with him, the frustration of being an Arsenal fan will continue next season. Chamack too should follow him out too... Our starting lineup in a 433 next year should be RVP, Miyachi, Oxlade, Rosicky, Wilshere, Song, Sagna,Santos(or Gibbs, Verminator, Kos ams Sczney. Barring injuries to any of this starting elevenm we'll end our trophy drought. If Ramsey is anywhere on the bench or worse in the starting eleven, lets just forget about ending out drought. Please as Arsenal fans, lets stop been too in love or sentimental about a player. I like Ramsey as a man and I supported him in thr beginning of the season but I can clearly see that he is not our type of player. We have no time to experiment or wait for him!!I can feel the excitement of Miyachi, Wilshere, and the OX...with Ramsey, I've never felt any thrill with him.

Trennon said...

I don't know. Stoke are having a decent season and with the spuds at their lowest in confidence who knows? This weekend will be huge for Arsenal though. Everton away will be difficult, but if we play like we are then we can win that and especially with Chelsea playing City. This could be the weekend we consolidate top 4 and open up a 5 to 6 point lead over the chavs. Rosicky deserves to start ahead of Ramsey, just as the Ox deserves to start ahead of Gervinho. I think though, watching Bolton these last couple of weeks that Wenger make a mistake in letting Ryo go out on loan. That kid on our left would have been amazing! He is gonna be a superstar for us.

vancouver gunner said...

Nice written post though!

Anonymous said...

I don't feel anywhere near as strongly about Ramsey as Mr Vancouver up there ^^ but I do think the difference between him and Rosicky is the speed of play. Ramsey is slower of thought and action than Tomas and it was evident last night when he came on.

I also have a big problem with Gervinho. He fills me with literally ZERO confidence when he is in the box or approaching it. At least with Theo, something may or may not happen; with Gerv you just know that it won't happen.


Fanalistas said...

Hi Goonerboy

What a great blog - there's some fantastic stuff here! We would love it if you would also post your articles to With our blog import tool we can automatically import your articles to your fanalistas profile and link back to your blog giving your work exposure to our growing online community.

I have no doubt that your Arsenal coverage would get a lot of reads with us. If you are interested, please email me at so I can tell you more about our site and get an account set up for you.

I look forward hearing from you

Like us on facebook to enter our draw for an iPad 3
Follow us on twitter @fanalistas