Braga’s Brazilian counter-attacking analysed: Champions League Scouting – Arsenal vs. Braga

Os Arsenalistas are about to face their namesakes, in a clash which sees Europe’s most consistent Champions League Qualifiers, Arsenal, take on S. C. Braga in their first campaign.

The 2009-2010 league season was excellent for Braga. Under Domingos Paciência they led the Portuguese league for much of the season, losing out to Benfica in what was a two horse race. Finishing second was still an unprecedented achievement for a club generally considered inferior to the ‘Big Three’ – Benfica, Porto and Sporting Lisbon.


The 2009-10 Liga Table

Continue reading “Braga’s Brazilian counter-attacking analysed: Champions League Scouting – Arsenal vs. Braga”

The Eduardo Affair: Botched and inconsistent

The Eduardo Affair has been grabbing all the headlines recently, and now that the striker has been charged with a two game ban it looks like Arsenal are going to appeal against what the club calls an ‘arbitrary decision’. This is the best course of action in a totally unjust situation.

UEFA have set a precedent in doing this, that is that they will now have to take retrospective action on all such incidents, and punish them in a similar way. If this does not happen, then it will mean that Eduardo has been singled out for special treatment, in a totally unfair way.

So I would like Ryan Babel prosecuted for his dive in the 2008 Champions League QF at Anfield, which knocked us out of the competition, and Rooney prosecuted for that dive with at Old Trafford in 2005. Last year Ronaldo dived to get the freekick at Emirates in the Champions League Semi, which he then scored to put the game beyond hope of a come back.

At Old Trafford on Saturday we saw the sort of problems this decision causes, when Arshavin was denied one of the most blatant penalties I’ve seen in years.

In the second half Wayne Rooney was looking to go down over Almunia as the ball headed out of play. In principle there is no difference between what Rooney and Eduardo did, they were both looking to go down over the keeper. Rooney ran towards Alumnia and was already down on one knee before he touched Almunia.

UEFA have overturned a referee’s decision, and now they must be prepared to do that for every game. The referee didn’t see it as a dive, he saw a foul, and gave a penalty. He then stood by his decision after the game. UEFA looked at video evidence (which they refuse to use during games) and retrospectively said that he dived, and decieved the referee.

For deciving the ref Eduardo has been given a 2 match suspension, an offence which would have earned him only a yellow in the game. This doesn’t make sense and I hope that Arsenal pursue all options and take a stand over this.

UEFA refuse video evidence during games, there’s the whole 5 ref crap on trial in the Europa League this season instead, but they are happy to use it after the match to prosecute someone. Eduardo isn’t even a serial offender, I’ve never seen him dive before, unlike C.Ronaldo or Drogba.

Le Grove have started up ‘dive watch’ keeping track of all the dives which UEFA should be prosecuting players for over the next few months, have a look and add to the list, because it only helps our argument.

Tony Attwood also discusses the possibility making UEFA look stupid with their overreaction to the situation, in a nicely written piece.

What do you think about Eduardo’s treatment, are UEFA right to take a stand, or complete imbeciles?

A bad week ends, the Eduardo affair and Old Trafford

The dust is settling on what was a bad week for Arsenal Football Club. Firstly Eduardo was singled out for very harsh treatment by UEFA after a dive against Celtic. Then we go to Old Trafford, take the lead and outplay United, only to concede a silly penalty and score an own goal.

Eduardo has now been labelled as a diver and the way Man Utd fans treated him at OT was testimony to Wenger’s description of events as a ‘witch hunt’. Eduardo was booed as he warmed up and the fans made diving gestures to the player. God forbid he ever goes down in the box again, because the reaction will not be friendly and the pressure will be on the referee.

The United game was unlucky, we played well, Arshavin scored a cracker, but the team looked nervous. That nervousness led to Almunia conceding a needless penalty, where Rooney was already nearly grounded before Almunia touched him, and then led to Diaby’s crazy own goal. I thought Diaby was good for the most part of the game, so hopefully he can get over it.

I have to admit I was going crazy when we scored in the 95th minute, just like Wenger, and I felt the same frustration when I finally saw the offside flag below. The sending off of Wenger was farcical and he handled it impeccably. He deserves his apology. See the highlights of the game at Arsenalist.com

The game itself gives me hope, as we are still missing so many attacking players, and the team still played better than Utd. I think we can continue our good form in the coming games.

In terms of Eduardo Arsenal have submitted a 19 page document to UEFA in defence of the player. It seems though that UEFA already see him as guilty and he is going to get a two match ban no matter what. This is a dangerous precendent to set, and if they are to be fair then UEFA must take retrospective action on events in every game – something which they cannot physically do. Sam Wallace puts it nicely in this article in the Independent.

Finally today is transfer deadline day, and suprisingly there is nothing to report on the Arsenal front. I don’t think we’ll see any signings for the top four, but I wouldn’t mind Arsenal snapping up one or two last minute bargains.

What are your thoughts on the way Arsenal have been treated by officials in the last week?

What is Platini thinking? Get him out!

Michel Platini, President of UEFA has admitted he was a little harsh in criticizing Arsene Wenger over Arsenal’s youth policy.

Platini, who seems to have a long term hatred of English clubs, especially Arsenal had told the press:

“I am talking about football, he is talking about business. Please stop with Wenger and the others. All that interests Arsene is looking after number one,”

Referring to the Cluj’s CL win over Roma he said:

“That is what makes football beautiful. That is what people like Wenger do not want to see, minor teams beating major ones, because they only want their business,”

Click here to read that article at Reuters.

He was implying that Wenger cares little about football, or the players he manages, just winning, and only big teams winning.

I see no reason for these type of comments, it’s outrageous that Wenger should be targeted like this.

Of course Wenger wants Arsenal to win, but he cares just as much about football as a whole. What is Platini on about. The best teams in football normally do win, thats how it always has been – but everyone loves a good giant-killing, and I’m sure Wenger does too.

From the beginning of his time as UEFA President Platini seems to have been out to target the Premiership and Arsenal in paticular.

Wenger responded diplomatically:

“I am a supporter of good management of clubs, for financial equilibrium, and UEFA must equally support this idea. I am fighting for the future of the game and of football.”

Now Platini has come back and said this:

“I have been too harsh with Arsene,”

“I got told off by my daddy, who made him (Wenger) start his career (at Nancy).

“But when I speak about business, I mean I do not like him seeking 13 or 14-year-old kids. I cannot stand it.

“My plan is to work with the football family to fight for the kids’ education in order that the Arsenal people do not come and pick 13-year-old Bordeaux kids for example.”

This guy doesn’t know what he’s on about.

Firstly – what’s up with the ‘Daddy’ comment? Why be so petulant?

Secondly – there’s nothing wrong with signing up talented young players and giving them a chance to fulfil their dreams, in a great environment.

Thirdly – Clubs like Chelski are much worse – pumping young players full of hype – paying exorbitant sums and then leaving them to rot. At least our rejects do good – e.g. Sidwell (until he went to Chelsea), Bentley (England International & di*khead), Pennant – Liverpool First team.

Fabregas is a product of this system – he joined Arsenal at 15. He was talking about the Sheffield Utd game and his comments seem very relevant to this issue:

“Arsene doesn’t care how old they are and it is amazing. He is the best for doing that and is not scared to play anyone. I don’t think anyone else would be able to do it. That is why so many of our young players are so good and this is the policy of the club. I think it is fantastic.

“When you see the big teams buy all the best players, we all guess where the future players will come from? I think Arsenal is the club that gives the chance to the players to show how good they are.

“Maybe they won’t make it at Arsenal, but another team will see them play and they will have another opportunity to play in The Premier League straight away instead of going to the second division.”

(Read full Fabregas article here)

This is my point exactly, Fabregas knows Wenger’s methods work and he knows that a player who comes through the Arsenal ranks has more chance than any of making it big a top level club!

I just don’t get Platini. He should not be UEFA President, and he shouldn’t be allowed to target Wenger in this way. Just because he has been so successful with young players, and has brought a lot of French talent out of France.

Get him out I say.

Click here to watch the highlights of Arsenal beating Sheffield Utd 6 – 0 in the Carling Cup, and see what Fabregas is talking about!

Almunia Matures, Gallas Has Fun With Wenger

Almunia speaks here on how he is maturing into his role in the first team, he has come in and played well this year, looked solid, without really being tested too much. He is still adjusting and maturing as he hasn’t been playing first team football for us before. He reckons the team are playing amazingly well, but rightly says there is stil a long way to go.

“I like to compare myself to a wine which gets better with age. I hope that I can keep getting better when I am 31, 32. I do not know how long I will go on for.”

Hopefully he will keep maturing, but I don’t see him as the long term option for Arsenal unless something changes drastically. He’s obiviously worried about the threat of Lehmann saying:

“If I am thinking about January or February in the next game I could make a couple of mistakes and be back on the bench. Football is very cruel – and especially with goalkeepers. That is why it is such a difficult position to play.”

Well at least he has a bit of pressure to keep him on his toes, I’m sure Lehmann would quite like to see him slip up, but lets all pry that doesn’t happen. I like Almunia, so hopefully he can go on and continue to do well for us.

Willy Gallas really has fun talking to Arsene Wenger and he’s chuffed to bits that he got made captain (over Toure and Gilberto)..He tells SkySports

“Before, I used to keep to myself. But I like those new responsibilities. I really have fun with the talks I have with Arsene Wenger.”

He says the reason for his injuries last year were because he wasn’t properly settled, he is looking a lot better this year, I am starting to like him, especially for that goal against Man U, although he still can only make one pass.

Euro 2008 qualifiers gone, we can all get back to the good stuff. No teams from Britian or Ireland in the Euro, how about a Home Nations next summer? Not with McClaren thats for sure he’s out, click here..

Reuters look forward to the weekends games here. With “Arsenal look set to show England how its done“. Well yeah, cause we don’t just hoof the ball to a freakishly tall man..

Our women’s team has been knocked out of the UEFA Women’s Cup after losing 3-2 on aggregate to Lyon, so they won’t have the chance to retain the title this year. It was their first defeat in 21 months!! Click here for more..

Bendtner has scored twice in 5 days for Denmark, round up of his performances and the other internationals here at Arsenal.com

Hleb was taken off at half-time due to injury in the Belarus – Holland match last night, Gunnerblog says it’s likely he will miss Wigan on Saturday.

Clichy talks about the foreign quota rubbish which is boring now but he makes a good point we have heard before:

“The nationality is not the main important thing, it is just the quality you want your team to play.”

As well as that they also have reviews of our 5 loanees, including Vela and Djourou here!!

Thank You, and Goodbye!

David Beckham at Arsenal? Ade gets the 1,000th

ArseSpeak, my first blog launches today with this first post!

So, a quick overview of the news from the 14th of November before I go to bed..

There are reports that David Beckham may train with Arsenal for the Christmas period to keep his fitness up as the MLS season has now finished. Arsenal are one of a number of clubs rumoured to be allowing Beckham to train with them, we shall see what happens.

After Monday night’s 3-1 win at Reading we are sitting nicely at the top of the table going into the international break. I didn’t see the whole game, due to annoying problems with my computer while I was streaming it. It looked like we were playing good football, Adebayor’s disallowed goal definitely was not offside. in any case he scored our 1, 000th Premiership goal, his first for 8 games which he admits was starting to worry him. Wenger says on http://www.arsenal.com the victory showed we had the patience to keep going while Reading shut up shop. A little disappointing to concede the goal at the end but top of the league with a game in hand; I’m not complaining!

Stupid comments by Coppell about limiting foreign players playing in the Premiership. These just keep on coming.. Mourinho has also targeted Arsenal about this with some totally unfounded claims about Wenger’s transfer policy. Platini has also been sticking his nose in recently (nice to see his proposal for more cup winners in the CL getting kicked off the park by UEFA the other day). These people need to understand that limiting foreign players won’t make English players play better it will only lower the standard of the league. Wenger points out that between 1966 and 1996 there weren’t many foreigners and our national team performed worse than it has done since 1996.

On the upside Kitson speaks nicely about Arsenal, saying that we play excellent football and deserve a reward for it. Its nice to hear some praise for a team playing brilliant football instead of all the crap about foreigners.

The Ferguson abuse saga continues..Wenger has spoken out, saying that he could make some dossier on the crap that he gets at Old Trafford. Really this is one of the most stupid cases I have heard of. There is abuse at every football match directed at players/ staff, and I’m sure that Man City give just as much to Fergie and Man Yoo as he got at Arsenal.

So probably a quiet few days till Wigan at home, on the 24th. Hopefully this pesky international break won’t disrupt the side too much and I will be praying for no more injuries like Van Persie’s.

That’s all people, thanks for reading, see you tomorrow

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