Flamini Out For Three Weeks As Lehmann Rants

Bad injury news today: Flamini will be out for about three weeks Wenger says here.


This is a blow for us. Flamini has been a revelation for us this season and we will miss him. Le Boss says Gilberto will come in. I was hoping Flamini wouldn’t be out long, but it seems Gilberto is going to get his chance. Wenger said:

“It is a big blow but Gilberto has a lot of quality and experience. He will come in. He can help the team recover and focus. Robin van Persie is available. He had two good sessions yesterday and today. He looks to be OK and we’ll see how we go from here. But Bacary Sagna is out.”

So it looks like RVP will start on Sunday, pity about Sagna.

I really think Walcott has warranted a starting place too. He has been really good all season and his inspirational run in midweek really was a big boost for his chances in the first team. His team mates have been praising him here. Kolo says:

“Theo’s run was fantastic, with a great pass at the end. He is a good player and is improving every time. I think he is going to be one of the best players in England.”

Willy Gallas is pretty low after the Liverpool result. Not exactly what you want to hear from the captain before you go into a big game on Sunday. I hope he changes his attitude sooner rather than later. there were doubts about him being captain, maybe these are showing through now we are at a low point in the season. A captian needs to be a leader. Come on Willy..

Lehmann is ranting on about how he would have kept us in the Champions League. Jens is a bit temperamental and after a season fuming on the bench that was probably too much for him. Maybe he was hoping Manuel wouldn’t save the pen. I don’t think it would have made much of a difference anyway, he needs to shut up, pretty soon!

Henry Winter writes here, about how we have to learn to win ‘ugly’. We have heard this before to be honest but it still makes an interesting read.. He also thinks we should have strengthened the squad and I agree to be honest.

Fergie says Manchester United are ready for Arsenal. Ok ok Fergie, blah blah blah.

Alright thanks guys, thats it today!

Arsenal Out Of The Champions League and Highlights

Two injust decisions cost Arsenal a place in the Semis. First Kuyt’s blatant foul on Hleb in the 1st Leg – Definitely a penalty –  not given.

In the 2nd Leg after a wonderful Arsenal goal – Arsenal had just pulled back to 3-3 on agg. (in front on away goals) Toure brushes Babel in front of the Kop, given! Liverpool go on to win the game. The highlights: click here

Match Report:

Liverpool

Hyypia 30
Torres 69
Gerrard 86 (pen)
Babel 90

5-3 agg.

4-2
(1-1)

Arsenal

Diaby 13
Adebayor 84

We started the match very well, good passing play really put Liverpool on the back foot. We had a few close chances where Liverpool managed to escape.

Diaby got his goal after 13 minutes, he took one touch on Hleb’s pass down the side of the penalty area and then placed the ball between Reina and the near post, Reina got a slight touch but it was in.

I thought then that we could do this and by all means we could have.

We then dominated the match, until the 30th minute when Liverpool got a corner, Senderos lost Hyypia who headered towards the post, over Fabregas’ head.

Liverpool back in it.

10 minutes Flamini went off after a knock to the ankle, on came Gilberto, I wasn’t thinking positivily about this! It looks worrying.

Anyway 1st half ended 1-1, Liverpool started the second half closing every ball down, not giving us any time to settle on the ball.

Then a lull in Liverpool’s play and we were attacking, a long ball forward by them was flicked on by Crouch to Torres, who turned and shot from just inside the corner of the penalty area, his shot went into the opposite top corner. Senderos shouldn’t have given him the room.

2-1 Liverpool (3-2 agg.)

Minutes later an attacking change. Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie on. Abou Diaby and Emmanuel Eboue off.

Adebayor came close later, put through by a pass by Hleb, which had slipped trough the Liverpool back line. It caught him by suprise and he sliced it wide. Horrible to watch this missed chance.

Then with just a few minutes to go Theo sets off on a wonderful run. In my head all I could hear was “its up for grabs nowwww!!” as he skipped past four Liverpool players, ran the length of the field before squaring the ball for Adebayor to slot home. Ecstasy!

Then the worst thing that could have happened did…

Within 90 seconds Toure had a penalty harshly awarded against him as Babel fell in the area.

Gerrard slots it away and I know there’s no way back, our moment of magic was over. Theo’s wonderful assist cancelled out.

We pushed forward trying for an 3rd, at a free kick we left it exposed at the back, Ryan Babel broke, held off Cesc’s challenge and put the ball past Manuel.

Game over.

It was sad to see, we had come so close, but victory was snatched away from us. Even Gerrard admitted afterwards that Liverpool were ‘passed off the park’ by Arsenal, and hinted that they were lucky to win.

If it hadn’t been for the penalty I’m so sure we would have won, but it sums up our season, defensive errors have cost us everything this year.

It was commented here on my preview about the line up, and it didn’t work for us.

  • Top marks for Walcott, Adebayor, Hleb
  • Diaby, good, Flamini, good, Clichy good.
  • Fabregas looked tired.
  • Almunia performed pretty good, went the right way for the penalty, the goals weren’t his fault.
  • Eboue proved that he can’t play in the final 3rd of the field, he is not a right winger
  • Van Persie looked lost.
  • Toure has made a few mistakes but was alright.
  • Senderos was also ok, but at fault occasionally.
  • Gilberto was variable as well, sometimes good touches, sometimes poor.

Click here for Wenger’s comments:

“I felt the game was over at 2-2. Then there was a dodgy penalty and we started to lose concentration.”

World of Arsenal is devasted too – click here..

Manchester United on Sunday at Old Trafford.

Arsenal 1 – 1 Liverpool Reaction

World of Arsenal has a good match report here

It seems like we should have won. 1-1 is not an awful result, but the away goal most definitely gives Liverpool the advantage going into the Second leg at Anfield.

I watched the highlights on the net, click here to see them.

Goals: Adebayor ’23, Kuyt ’26

It seems that we dominated much of the match. Hleb had a good appeal for a penalty denied, and Bendtner blocked Cesc’s shot on the line by accident, but was offside anyway. It’s frustrating that when we play well at home we still draw, and the goal we conceded was pretty weak, Flamini lost the ball, there were a few weak challenges on Gerrard, who managed to get a cross in to Kuyt who bundled it over the line.

Wenger:

“The whole second half we played in one half. I cannot fault the players. We were unlucky under a few circumstances…If you look at the amount of possession we had tonight compared to Liverpool, it is frightening”

Disappointingly Van Persie went off with a thigh strain, Wenger says it was a precaution against a recurrence of his previous injury. Robin really is quite injury prone at the moment. I just hope he gets it fixed. Theo came on for him and did well, he really is starting to make a good claim for a starting position, he has a good impact whenever he comes on for us.

We are still in a good position to go through, this is a mental test for us as Wenger said. Now we face Liverpool on Saturday at home in the Premiership, I think the way this game goes could influence the 2nd leg of the Quarter Final. We definitely have the talent to do well in the next 2 games against the Scousers, but how the games actually go is another matter!

In Wenger’s words:

“Its a little bit a survival battle, you know? The one who is still good after three games is the one who is the better team.”

Arsenal

Foreigners Restricted in the Premier League? Money Motivation

Talk from Platini here today about the amount of foreign players used for Arsenal and Man Utd:

“I am totally against this philosophy and I am a firm believer that we need to take care of the identity of the club.”

This is something we have heard from him before, I said all I had to say on this yesterday. Gerrard is also worrying about the foreigners in the Premiership and their effect on the England team’s performance. This is so uttlery stupid but as Arseblog says it will grow and worsen depending on England’s performance in Euro 2008, if they fail to qualify then there will be a storm of media articles about limiting foreign players. For Christ’s sake even Gordon Brown is having a look at it now, the stupid thing is that restrictions may go against EU law, and in any case it would lower the quality of the League and not necessarily make English players better.. They need to get a grip, a meritocracy is the way forward.

Mixed news now, Cesc saying he is not motivated by money, and doesn’t want a move away from the Gunners, see the Telegraph article here.

He says:

“Being a Gunner is very special, something I am proud of. This is a really small club on the inside, like a family, but it’s huge on the outside.”

He’s been a major factor in our great form this season, his 11 goals and passing ability are a centrepoint of the team. The Spanish press are always sprouting these stupid rumours about him and fair play to him he always shows his Arsenal colours. Incidentally suspended for the next game against Wigan.

Another central midfielder speaking about transfers is Diaby, he is thinking about a move away as soon as January if he doesn’t get games:

“I need playing time. I thought that I would continue [to play] after I scored (against Derby County) but it did not happen.”

I would be very sad to see him leave, it is a problem for Arsene that we have so many good central midfielders in the squad, a good problem, but still Diaby has shown a lot of promise. With Flamini keeping even Gilberto out of the team Diaby doesn’t have much of a chance and you can take your pick from Denilson, Diarra, and Song who also want to play there.. Diaby has played on the left for us a few times but that isn’t his natural position. I would rather lose Song and Diarra to keep Diaby, after all he knocked John Terry out..

Germany coach Joachim Lowe wants Lehmann to be playing first team football before Euro 2008, he said he is going to have a serious chat with Lehmann about the situation, although he is backing him to play in the tournament.

Also Milan manager Carlo Ancelotti has doubted whether Arsenal are good enough to win the Champions League:

“It’s necessary to know how to handle the pressure and tension in the best way. I am not sure they are trained for this.”

This is a concern, obviously with a young side we may not have the experience to hold up under pressure but this season has shown a new resilience in the squad which was missing last season. We shall have to see how we hold up come spring, I don’t want to comment this early, but I do think the squad is much matured this season and have learned from the mistakes last year.