There Are Some Positives? Wenger, Adebayor, Toure

Morning all,

Thursday, and I’m still really pissed off about the Liverpool result, and the way that wonder run from Walcott counted for nothing!

Clichy thought it was ridiculous..

I guess that’s just football. The reaction has been a little extreme from some fans.

There’s no way Wenger should go, and the players we have are very good, we just need a few more, that’s all.

I’ve read a lot about people calling for Wenger’s head, saying we should get rid of the team etc etc etc, what a load of crap.

Look, at the beginning of the season we were all saying that following from last year this year would probably be similar, the final phase of the ‘transition’. It’s been better than we would have hoped then, just not as good as it was looking a few weeks ago!

Lets look at it this way:

  1. The team has performed amazingly and we have been much more successful than many critics suspected.
  2. We are only 6 points behind Man Utd in the League so maybe we should push on and try and be optimistic!
  3. We know we are good enough to challenge for everything next year.

Wenger:

“We cannot lose our belief now – let’s not forget we played a very good game at Anfield. And if there is a lesson, it must be that we have to concentrate to the very end.”

Good words Arsene. We did play well, and the players know that, but I think they are probably pretty down right now.

Adebayor knows Wenger can put them on the right track:

“He has more experience than anyone here, and he knows the words to use so that we can come back on the pitch, be more successful and want it more.

Toure:

“We still have the chance for the Premier League and we will try to take it. We know it is not over – we just have to look at the next game and try to win.”

Exactly Kolo!

Injury News

Flamini is probably going to miss the Man U game after the ankle injury he picked up, but I don’t think it’s serious.

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.

Middlesbrough loss means a low Monday for the Arsenal

A disappointing result yesterday, we lost 2-1 to Middlesbrough. I listened to the match on the radio in the car. From the sound of it we were pretty unfocused and they were much sharper.

We created little all day and their early penalty gave them the confidence to go on and get the win. Rosicky’s last minute goal was a mere consolation. It’s bad, and depressing, our unbeaten record is gone, but we are still top of the league by a point. Wenger took the defeat well and it looks like we might be able to put it behind us.

We need to forget about the bad result now and think ahead. Steaua Bucharest is our game on Wednesday in the Champions League, Wenger will most likely field a weakened side, fingers crossed we get top place in the group, but we are through anyway.

Looking to the next League game, we have Chelsea in the so-called ‘Grand Slam Sunday’ as it has been dubbed by the media. I hope that a few of the injured quartet: RVP, Flamini, Fabregas and Hleb are back. We have had a tough week without them, drawing and then losing in the North East. The backup we have is decent but not good enough, Gilberto has been quite poor in the games he has had, but Diarra has looked promising.

In any case they will all really need to be up for it against a Chelsea side which has been quietly progressing under Avram Grant, we really need to maintain our position at the top, and a Liverpool win or draw with Man Utd would be great too!

Arsene’s Anger! Injuries & Transfers

So lets get it started:

Robin Van Persie has returned to full training, and will make the team on Saturday, not sure whether he will start. After 6 weeks out with a ligament injury it will be nice to have him back. Click here for more.

In all probability Flamini is going to miss the Wigan game through injury (not very sure what is going on here though!), ArsenalPies has an article here, Diaby is also injured. This leaves us without Flamini or Fabregas, never fear, we still have Hleb, Gilberto, Diarra, Denilson, and Song.. I’m sure Gilberto and Diarra will be salivating at Flamini’s misfortune, while Diaby curses in front of the telly at his bad luck.

Arsene has had a moan about the Ivory Coast’s “stubbornness” in calling up players for international tournaments. Toure and Eboue will both be called up over the winter for the African Cup of Nations. In 2006 both Toure and Eboue had to be pulled out of the FA Cup tie against Cardiff because they were called up for the maximum period, 15 days before their match! Just to go and sit in a hotel room! Wenger is really hacked off! Read here at the Beeb..

“They are so stubborn that there is no point in even speaking to them.” Arsene Wenger on the Ivory Coast FA..

Transfer rumours..

More sources are backing up the story that we are monitoring the Modric situation, with an eye to sign him, Chelsea are also moving in for a possible £30mill bid according to SkySports. The Telegraph says here he wants to move maybe this winter.

Apprently we are interseted in signing Martin Caceres, according to himself, as well as Juve and Real… The 19-yr old Uruguayan is a promising defender playing for Villareal (on loan at Recreativo). He has been compared to Montero in the Telegraph, click here. Seems a bit of speculation here.

Arsene has said he will not buy anyone unless they are exceptionally good, i.e. no buying for buying’s sake ! But will strengthen one area. Firstly on Caceres this is a rumour and I’m skeptical about it. Caceres would be a good signing for defence which isn’t so well covered especially as Toure and Eboue are both off to the African Cup of Nations this winter.

Luka Modric is seen as a great talent and obviously really wants to come to the Premiership, but we rarely sign players we are linked with in this way and I can see Chelsea snapping him up quite easily, only to assign him to the reserves.

Also on Agbonlahor, he has come out to say that, yes, the rumours about his move to Arsenal were pure speculation.

UPDATE: Seeing as the Mputu post is proving so popular I thought I’d do a bit more coverage on the guy.
Tresor Mputu, 21 years old, Congo striker with 3 goals in 12 caps for his country.

He has played for TP Mazembe since 2004, a prolific goalscorer. See one on YouTube click here check out the goalkeeper’s celebration.

He Scored twice during the 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign. He started the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations well, scoring a goal against Togo, but he was sent off against Angola and was suspended for the rest of the tournament.<

His manager says he is the best young African striker.

He's currently on a 10 day trial at Arsenal, his agent says the transfer is 70% done.

Walcott on wanting to bring his Under-21 form back to Arsenal here.

Also Jol has rejected an offer from Birmingham City for him..

Plus Win a copy of The Arsenal Miscellany signed by Frank McLintock! on Arsenal-Mania.