2009/2010 Arsenal's top 5 targets; #5, the League Cup

I was thumbing through Perry Groves’ autobiography last night in a vain attempt to force myself to sleep despite the fact that my body was covered in a layer of lather brought on by nearly 100F temperatures, and I got to the part where Perry talks about winning the League Cup in his first season with Arsenal. I’m not suggesting that Perry Groves’ book is an especially effective somniferant, it’s a rather good read, written in his voice, and I recommend it to all Arsenal supporters. If you were a red level member last year, you got it for free as part of the complimentary 1989 tribute pack.

I digress.

The point is that Perry Groves talked about how Arsenal winning that League Cup was one of the key things that sparked them on to winning more trophies under George Graham. I think that this Arsenal team are at a similar crossroads and would similarly receive a huge boost if the club were to lay hands on this oft maligned trophy. Moreover, I think this is the squad who can do it.

We all know that Wenger is recently fond of using this tournament to highlight his youth team. It wasn’t always that way, but I think this year will prove no different than recent years. If Wenger sticks to recent patterns (and doesn’t delve deeper into the youth pool) players like Ramsey, Wilshere, Traore, Gibbs, Djourou, Vela, Walcott, and Bendtner are all poised to have a break out season and I think they will do it with the League Cup. Each of those players listed has gained valuable experience, either in playing in last year’s League Cup campaign and/or successful FA Youth Cup campaign and/or playing as starters for the first team in league matches.  For a lot of these kids last year’s loss to Burnley will stick in their craw and they will be targeting this cup heavily as a way to bring Arsenal glory and redeem themselves.

Funnily enough, the League Cup is only one of two honors that Wenger has yet to collect in his career, the other being the Champions League. He’s been to the finals in both of those cups and both times had them cruelly snatched from his hands at the last moment. Chelsea beat Arsenal in the League Cup in 2007, well, Howard Webb beat Arsenal in 2007 by erroneously sending off all the wrong players.  And of course, Barcelona beat Arsenal the year before in the Champions League final, despite the fact that Howard Webb didn’t referee the match.

The point is that Arsenal are young, their youth team is experienced, and the League Cup could provide just the boost that this young club needs on their way to winning many many trophies down the years. That’s why I’m targeting the League Cup as one of my top 5 goals for Arsenal this year. We’ll have to see if the boss thinks the same.

Transfer Snooze

Hey look, Kolo is having a physical at City today. As I said yesterday, I hope that Wenger doesn’t underestimate the supporter’s and player’s desire for signings, especially in midfield and gets out the checkbook and buys someone.

Opinion is divided as to whether Wenger is actually going to bring someone in and Arseblog wrote a teriffic piece today on why he thinks Wenger will not — he bought Vermaelen immediately, why would he wait this long to sign someone else?

That said, it looks like our midfield is super thin, I mean, Arsene brags on having 7 center backs, but if you don’t count Arshavin and if Eboue leaves, then Arsenal will have 7 midfielders — TOTAL. With Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey counted in that group. I know, I know, Arsene could play a whole bunch of other folks all over the pitch, hell, he could put Djourou in as a holding mid, or Senderos, etc, but still I have to say that even me, the starry eyed optimist, sees the official list of midfielders and thinks “harumph, that’s a bit odd isn’t it?”

Anyway, I’m sure Arsene will sort this out. If not, I hope he’s prepared for the criticism.

Game today

The final pre-season match will kick off today at 10am (PST) and I suspect we’ll see some Rosicky today and maybe Cesc as guys like Eduardo and Arshavin are given a bit of rest.

The match is available at Arsenal TV Online for those of you who are subscribers, and if you’re not a subscriber, well, your loss!

Anyway, got to take the dog to my friend’s air-conditioned house, it’s supposed to be another scorcher here today, so, see you all tomorrow!


  1. Tim – so right about midfield being thin.
    Arsenal are likely to replicate last year’s form if we are forced to field a midfield mix that includes Theo, Denilson, and Diaby.

    the game today is on line at: http://www.atdhe.net 1 pm EDT

  2. Nice piece, not much news today so it’s nice to see something different i.e. the league cup part.
    I don’t see Bendtner being part of that team this season, the only way I see that happening is if he buys Huntelaar, because I think Bendtner will be firmly established in the first team this season.
    If Arsene doesn’t invest in a new striker, I can easily see him keeping RVP, Eduardo and Bendtner fresh for the league, Fa cup and Champions league.
    I can see a strike partnership of Vela and Walcott for league cup games, or even one of the reserves in place of Walcott. I think he’ll give Walcott a run as a centre forward in the Carling cup seeing as Walcott is crying out to be played in that position.

    I see vela blazing a trail of goals this season, fresh from his brilliant display against the yanks, his confidence must be soaring, we already know he is strong enough to hold off and pass defenders. From his gold cup displays he’s also shown himself to be a game changing substitute. Seasons looking bright.

    1. Agreed Bongo, and we probably see Simpson and Barazite featured in the CC if they are not sent out on loan.

  3. Who are these 7 midfielders?

    Cesc, Nasri (inj), Rosicky, Denilson, Diaby, Walcott, Ramsey, Wiltshire, Song, Traore, (not including Arsharvin and Eboue)

    I know a lot of these guys are young but with only one addition of a Flamini esque player that would be a very good midfield to chose from.


    1. @Cal, I was referring to the mids listed on the dot com site:


      If we play a 4-3-3 we might get away with that few mids but even at 9 mids I think we look a bit thin.

      Of course everyone will point to Song as a midfielder and Traore, but I’d rather we had an established guy, like what Arshavin did for us when he came in.

      I mean, seriously, Lampard against Ramsey? Or Gerrard against Wilshere? Don’t get me wrong, I love those two players but I have a sense of foreboding when it comes to those two going head to head with the likes of Gerrard and Lampard.

  4. I understand people saying who is going to replace Adebayor and Toure but do we need to? Up front we can chose from Eduardo, Bendtner, RVP, Arshavin, Walcott, Vela. I really hope we play a front 3 next year with a deeper lying trio like Barca last year. I think we have the players suited to this rather than 4-4-2. Imagine RVP and Arshavin as wing forwards. We also have Barazite and Simpson in the background and I feel in this system we may find Diaby’s best role as a wing forward. I think Bendtner could really do really well this season with 20+ goals and plenty of assists. I think we should leave up front alone.

    In CD we can chose from Gallas, Vermaelen, Djorou, Song (also CM), Silvestre. I for one hope Djorou can get a go this year in a key rotating trio of him, Gallas and Vermaelen with the other 2 as back up. That is 5 possible central defenders. Do we need more? If another comes we would need to lose one of the others. Maybe Silvestre?

    The player we really need is a quality defensive midfielder. We have been looking at all the cheaper options who I am not sure are better than Song. We have all this money now. I say get De Rossi even if it costs £30m. Put him in the team in the deeper midfield trio with a combination of Cesc, Nasri, Rosicky, Denilson, Song, and possibly Ramsey and Wilshere at times and I think we have a title winning squad. No messing around just get him at any cost. The natural reaction to selling a player is to buy a replacement but I believe if you look at our available players all we need is that one player.

    P.s I have just copied and pasted this from another blog I recently commented in, if anyone notices it. I thought I would put it on here also as I like this blog from across the pond, and I think most who read this and comment are more objective and sensible gooners.

    1. With Ade gone and Bendtner not being a natural point striker, it’s almost certain we will have to utilize the 4-3-3, probably in an inverted V, in order to cater to our strengths.

      We will suffer defensively from this rotation as most of our MF’s and Forwards are not defensively inclined, but must rely on offensive pressure and a high defensive line to score goals. The major problem is that we will be unable to “park the bus” when needed, so will have to utilize offense to create team defense.

      In this scheme, it’s essential that Almunia provides greater control of the 18 yard box and actually play as an 11th field player. Something he had problems with last year.

  5. I hope we see a couple signings in the next two weeks so we can get new players acclimated to the game plan and to form some on-pitch relationships. I also hope the eboue sale does not materialize, we need a quality utility man.

    In other news, MLS all star game is tonight vs Everton. I’ll be watching to see Timmy in the net and to see if everton’s two new American signings get some PT.

    Have a good one gooners. Stay cool and in the AC, Tim.

    Guns Up!

  6. Tim- I think the midfield is actually stocked.

    CM – Fabregas, Diaby
    DM – Song, Denilson
    LM – Rosicky, Nasri (Vela)
    RM- Arshavin, Walcott, Eboue

    Quality in the dm position is the real worry and should be strengthened with proven quality. Denilson and Song, in particular, could be quality players in a couple seasons, but not yet. I think Wenger fancies Eboue and won’t sell him, so we should count him as part of the midfield. He is a useful utility player despite his sometimes-frustrating antics. But you’re right that Wenger will surely risk the wrath of the Gooner faithful if he doesn’t spend the 40M!

    1. @DC Gunner, it’s funny because a lot of folks would argue with each of those assignments!

      Diaby, mostly played on the wings.
      Denilson, seen by many as a replacement for Cesc.
      Song, the boss calls him a CB, despite the fact that he played him as a midfielder all last year.
      Arshavin, a #10 if I ever saw one, midfielders need to be able to tackle.
      Walcott, listed as a striker on the dot com because the boss sees him playing more centrally.

      Here’s how I see it:

      CM – Fab/Nasri/Rosicky/Denilson/Diaby/Wilshere
      DM – Denilson/Ramsey
      LM – Diaby/Rosicky/Arshavin/Nasri
      RM – Wilshere/Denilson/Nasri/Diaby/Eboue

      Yes, I am being cheeky… or am I?

      1. @Tim, Agreed, there are different combinations…. BUT thats my point, there are plenty of options in the middle of the park… so I don’t think we can call the midfield “thin”. Just a solid DM is required to improve the quality in that position!

        I’m frustrated, because I don’t understand how Wenger can be so blind and not realize that putting a quality DM like De Rossi or Diarra alongside Cesc, Arsh, Rosicky, and Nasri would give us the strongest midfield in European football.

      2. Point here Tim is that Rosicky, Diaby, Nasri, Wilshire, Arshavin can all play on either wing. To some extent, so can Eboue and Walcott. Arsene has also used Vela, RVP,Bendtner and Eduardo on the wings also.

        With the added versatility of Arshavin, Fab and Nasri who can all play as a forward it still comes down to DM being the biggest question mark, especially if Song is relegated to CB.

        Should be interesting to see the team shape during the Emirate’s Cup although we will be losing Eduardo, Arshavin and probably Vela to WC qualifying.

  7. we do need some new players, but understand the pressure that he is under to keep the squad happy also. 3 new signings means its gonna be harder for some players i.e denilson, ramsey and wiltshire to get in. moreover Arshavin hinted that he would want to play up front but we have plenty up there too. Wenger is just gonna have to tell the players to work harder in training and expect competition from new signings. its what the club needs.

  8. Midfield is stacked, surely, but those of us who groaned week after week at the pub whilst watching Denilson/Song at the very middle aren’t entirely sure we want to start this season where we left off there. We’ll be optimists regardless of who is next to Cesc to start off the year, but even Cesc wants an upgrade next to him.

    I’m of the mindset that Cesc won’t be at Arsenal beyond this season, regardless of how the squad fares this year. Anyone thinking the Barcelona move isn’t inevitable is in denial. What backs up this notion is Arsene’s aggressiveness in going after Ramsey, who’s clearly the heir apparent to Cesc as the midfield playmaker. This is why, I believe, it’s absolutely imperative we very soon (ideally before the start of this season) obtain this DM so as to not only bolster our squad this year, but also provide for some midfield continuity down the road when we lose our little Spaniard to the warmer climates of Barcelona.

    I don’t care about striker at this point (Ade’s departure was addition by subtraction), and I’m alright with the backline only (underscored) to the extent we upgrade the presence on the field next to Fabregas. DM is at the very top of the list today.

    1. @ArseChicago, If Arsenal win a minor trophy (League Cup/FA Cup) I think Cesc will stay another 2-3 years.

      Perversely, if Arsenal win the Champions League OR fail to win anything Cesc will leave next year having “accomplished a lot and leaving Arsenal a huge transfer” or “looking to accomplish something.”

      1. Actually the scenario you present initially, I think I can envision. My thinking was similar to your second point. If we fall way short of winning something this year, particularly if we add nothing personnel-wise from this day forward, I don’t think Cesc is going to fight his frustrations any longer. If we win the league or win the Champs League, I can see him saying that he can leave comfortably knowing that he helped Arsenal achieve its ultimate goals. We’ll see. We just have to be prepared for this, and I think we’ll look back to Ramsey’s signing and be thankful for Wenger’s forsight.

    2. @ArseChicago, If the team does not achieve some silverware this season, the restlessness with all our key players will surface again.

      I see Nasri a better replacement for Cesc than Ramsey, Diaby, or Denilson at this snapshot in time but you are right, Cesc could be a future casualty. In today’s game money and silverware are key to signing or losing key players.

      The next two weeks are critical for Arsenal. Does Arsene bolster the midfield with a quality addition? This was our achilles heel last year. Why wouldn’t Arsene have made a purchase immediately, like he did for Vermaelen?

      If we can replicate the ball movement/combination play of ’07/’08 & achieve silverware, None of our key players will seek greener pastures.

  9. Everyone keeps saying we need to buy a midfielder, but the names being tossed around (Cana, Inler, Matuidi) don’t exactly seem to be a step up from what we already have. If we could get Alonso from Liverpool, or Ya Ya from Barca or De Rossi (not ever gonna happen) then hell yes…but is some no-name you only know about from YouTube going to be better than what we have?

    If the right player was out there, Arsene would have bought him already (like Sagna and Eduardo…can anyone really say these guys were on the top of your wish list???). Arsene may pick up a good bargain on the last day of the window, but he certainly isn’t going to buy just because we have the money.

    I hope people will finally realize that Arsene actually had money all along, just didn’t see anyone he wanted to buy. He is building a team that will dominate for years…and while there may have been some pain over the last few years (and I blame Flamini for last season…I am convinced he lied to Wenger about wanting to stay)…the payoff will be worth it!!!

    1. If you blame Flamini for last year, then you, too, should be wanting a new midfielder next to Fabregas, right? Who cares if it’s a household name or not? As you mentioned, Wenger has this penchant for plucking guys from relative obscurity and having them flourish in the Arsenal system. I don’t know who is out there that Wenger thinks is an upgrade at midfield, but if he does think there is someone, I hope he’s aggressive in going after that person, regardless of whether or not we’ve all heard of him. Btw, I think Cana signed for Sunderland?? I could be wrong.

      1. @ArseChicago, I would love to argue about the merits of bringing in a Yaya, De Rossi, Diarra vs. Inler, Matuidi, Cana…….. but at this point, surely the 2nd tier DM’s, as you seem to be intimating the others are, would do a better job at DM than those we currently have…

        1. @DC Gunner, While I agree that Yaya, De Rossi and Diarra are very good DMs that may add a lot to our midfield; Cana, Matuidi and Inler will be pointless buys that do not in anyway improve what we have. In the case of Cana, bone crunching is not effective defending; we will only end up with ten men on the field every time. Why do you think no big team consider him? He ends up at Sunderland. Denilson is technically far better than Inler and Matuidi. Song is on a per with Inler. So you can bet Arsene will move swiftly, as he always does, as soon as any DMs out there prove that they are better than our lot. Remember that “A bird in hand is worth 10 Million in the bush.”

      2. @ArseChicago,

        Cana did sign for Sunderland…and doesn’t that tell you something? I completely agree that we need a midfield partner for Fabregas…I think Xavi Alonso would be the perfect player and I think Arsene should spend £30 million to bring him in. Unfortunately, I don’t think that is going to happen. Barring that, or some other true world class signing, I am not convinced that Song or Denilson are any worse than those second tier DMs. And, more importantly, it doesn’t seem Wenger thinks so either.

        Spending just to spend doesn’t get results. Look at Spurs…they outspend Arsenal every year and they don’t have a single player I would take over what we have now.

        I guess what it comes down to is that the kind of player we want and need is not very easy to find…or keep…but throwing money around is not going to solve the problem.

    2. A bigger problem here is how long does it take to build a winning team, and how do we build a winning team when we keep losing experienced players?

      At some point, we must stop building a winning team and instead, have a winning team.

    3. @East Ave Arse, Even if Flamini told Wenger that he wanted to stay (and unlike you, i think he meant it), the fuck-up is still on Wenger for selling Diarra without having Flamini tied down on a new contract. He should have taken action in January and either a) extended Flamini’s contract and sold Diarra or b) dumped Flamini to the reserves and given Diarra (a superior player anyway, personality aside) the pitch time he wanted.
      But as it stood, the choice between staying at a questionably ambitious Arsenal team where he hadn’t been appreciated at all except for the last year, or going to AC Milan (joke all you want about UEFA Cup etc., AC Milan is still a miles bigger club than Arsenal) for more money, can’t have been hard to make.

      1. @b, Diarra is a glory whore if you ask me. He was developing well at Chelsea but perhaps he convinced himself that he should be a superstar at aged 20. He moved to Pompey where he was getting regular game time but then engineered a move to Arsenal perhaps because h thought Pompey was beneath him. At Arsenal he was a small fish in a big pond so he chased after Madrid when they came calling. He’s a good player, don’t get me wrong, but he’s in his early 20s and already has been to 4 clubs in a couple seasons – not exactly a player I’d want at my club with a record like that.

      2. @b, ‘Big’ club or not, AC Milan sell their best player, get turned down in a bid for Dzeko, chintz out on the Cissohko deal ( he goes to Lyon for the same money and w/ the same teeth, make a cheapskate offer for Fabiano at 12m when he’s really worth at least 20m in this market and barely get 1 point on the USA tour. They are down 1-0 to Bayern Munich at the moment and they look like sh*t relying on Ronaldinho who is on the decline. Enjoy your season Flamini.

  10. cana is already at sunderland, inler looks fairly average. Although I feel we are usually not too amitious in the transfer market, Wenger has bought Arshavin which infact was. We could be in very a big suprise and we do have a warchest at our disposal thanks to city. It was a fairly strange thing to happen on the official website there yesterday about De Rossi, could it be a hint from an insider? unfortunatly yaya is now outta the picture as kolo has moved on, Alonso will now be focused soley on a move to Madrid. To be honest I reckon we will get a dm who was totally off the radar. As Wenger once said “I can suprise you sometimes”

    1. @IRISHGOONER, I’ve heard this De Rossi “rumour” if you want to call it that and to be honest if we do get a runner type CM like De Rossi is or Flamini was then we could play the 4-3-3 Christmas Tree formation with essentially 3 front attackers, an attacking winger and Cesc. It’s a very attacking formation but requires extra work from the offense to track back. Watching the Peace Cup, Juventus has been using this type of formation to great effect.

  11. Well I suppose it depends on how Wenger wants to do it this season. Caribkid pointed it out and I’ve given it thought before that we could go 4-3-3 which is almost what Wenger has been doing in pre-seasons with 2 CMs backing up a front 3 and a Cesc role. It would be a very effective formation with Nicky centrally, backed up by RVP and Arshavin and having Cesc sit deep behind them. Vela also seemed to prosper in this formation for Mexico in their 5-0 demolition of USA in the Gold Cup final. With Toure gone and possibly Eboue and Senderos going as well, our backline looks thin. I’d very much welcome another central defender at the very least and an established CM. One thing is certain is that Wenger needs to spend some of that 40M he has gotten to add depth because it’s a bit inconceivable that you lose 2 starting players, not replace them with like for like quality and experience and then talk about winning trophies.

  12. u all r right but let me tell u zat is right the lining for the next season is as follows
    cd-djouru,gallas,thomas v,alex s,cendros,
    F-bendtner,simpson,dudu so u gues our formation will be converted to 4-3-3 then

    sagna gallas djouru gael

    cesc alex rosicky

    andri bendt van

  13. Everyone knows that improved denilson+song will be like new signings. Did anyone catch yesterday unimpressive real madrid? 3-2 with a brace (headers) from Enrique vera, paraguayan flamini-esqe DM-MF. Sorry, I will keep banging the paraguayan playes drum until someone picks it up. Anyhow, Real Mad is a long way from a decent team. The same will apply to Citeh. They have players, but dont have a team. We DO have a team!

  14. At last, ESPN360 is now available and “FREE” if you are a Comcast customer.

    Just need to figure out now how to stream the video to my DVR.

  15. Another thing to keep in mind is that (as Arseblog cleverly exposes) AW maybe isnt sitting on top of 40M. Maybe Arshavin’s purchase was budgeted with Ade’s sale. Plus payments are usually made in installments. So I think that pressing to buy on the assumption that AW has that money available
    is not a good idea.

  16. To stir up some discussion: what would you think of Michael Bradley or Christian Poulson for a price in the neighborhood of 4mil? I agree if we sign a mid they need to be an aggressive, ball-winning rock, but I think they also need to be able to move forward and score goals. That is one of my main issues with Denilson.

    1. @615Gooner, Here’s the 411. Poulsen got bounce from Sevilla for more athletic, skillfull MFs in Keita and Romaric. Poulsen goes to the ‘retirement home’ league, Serie A where he plays for Juventus. Poulsen is now out at Juventus because they bring in a more athletic, skillfull DM in Melo. There are clues here about Poulsen that you don’t need a trail of bread crumbs to follow.

      The DM who can attack that Arsenal could consider is Romaric from Seville. He’s out of Beveren like Eboue where he scored a ton of goals. He would be ideal but the unfortunate thing is that he has a 30m euro buyout clause and once he plays for us, the Ivory Coast would add him to their ACN squad.

    1. @WC, This is my problem with Nicky – he’s over 6 ft tall and he’s way out on the wing when crosses come into the box. This is why I’ve advocated a goal poacher because it’s wasted opportunities to have a perfectly good ball stumble across the goal mouth with no one to latch onto the end of it.

  17. Toure was in the same Manchester taxi as Ade, but not at the same time!

    Suspect Le Boss has either not seen anyone he fancies, ie good enough, or is playing his cards close to his chest.

    I can see the 4-3-3 being the preferred line-up, but expect a lot more mobility and interchange to pull parked buses around. We also need more defending from the front, watch Barca. One of my criticism of Ade, was his standing next to an opponent who had the ball, and he would let him walk by without so much as a verbal challenge. If you can harry them at the back, meaningful forward play gets harder to put together.

    As for Gerrard and Lampard against Ramsey and Wilshere, neither of the first mentioned are getting any younger. Gerrard doesn’t like close attention, and Lampard can be pretty ineffective away from the front of the box. So maybe not such a mis-match.

    Maidenhead Utd 1 Arsenal Youth 7 (For difficult matches send out Islington Boys Club, and give the seniors a day off)

    (York Road, Maidenhead’s pitch is the oldest continuously used football ground in the world, I know you all needed that useless piece of information).


  18. Traore has been looking REALLY good in the games I’ve seen him in – where does Wenger find these amazing left sided players.

  19. We keep saying that players should know that the grass isnt always greener elsewhere. Maybe we as fans should take that in consideration and appreciate what we have, and stop glorifying rivals.

    1. @Travis The Septopus, But we’ll lose Song who is only 1 of our 2 current CMs, so if Denilson picks up a knock in that time we’re kind of screwed. We’d have to rely on Coquelin, who isn’t bad but still only a young player.

      1. @WC, Im just saying at least we dont lose A striker, a fullback and Song. I remember some years where the ACN decimated our line up and would throw me into anxiety attacks. All in all, in my opinion, we are pretty well set up for when the Africans go to decide which Team is Africa’s best. On the Side couldn’t they do that every 4 years?

  20. Still hate the white strip, looks too much like Tottenham.

    Traore looks very good and has tremendous speed.

    Fab playing DM in last 20 minutes of 1st half.

    Bendtner to RVP to Fab was great move with resultant goal.

    4-3-3 looks good.

    Bendter once again frustrating by missing the “ADE” type sitter.

      1. @Tim, Both Denilson and Song was playing in front of Fab for the last 20 minutes. Song started as DM.

    1. @CaribKid69, Also we need someone to lead the line. The formation is good but the personnel and positions of the players seem off. RVP is playing last striker but isn’t that good at it and Arshavin is not a spearhead striker either.

      1. @WC,

        Like I have said before, Ade was our only point striker. Would love to see Huntelaar acquired to fulfill that role when needed.

        As is, we need to play 4-3-3.

    1. @WC, Djourou is showing why he’s a sub and not a starter as his positioning is terrible when compared to Gallas. If he expects to be a top class defender he needs to become a smarter defender. Hannover could as well have scored 2 goals already in this second half because of the defense’s poor ability to read the game. The attack also looks stale.

      1. @WC, I agree on a couple of occasions in the 2nd half we were totally exposed, we can’t defend like that in the premiership, Torres would score a hat-trick, but wouldn’t score 4!

      2. @WC,

        It’s just a case of learning to play with your CB partner. Last year he established a pretty good relationship with Toure first, and then Gallas.

        When Vermaelen went off we had total confusion with Song, Djourou and Silvestre all playing CB for a few moments and Eboue had to dart back to cover the LB position.

        That’s what pre-season is all about.

        1. @CaribKid69, Well Vermaelen and Gallas seem to have already established a good rapport in the short time he’s been a Gunner. Djourou has been here for a while but I’ve noticed whenever he’s playing he has no real communication abilities.

      3. @WC, our defense is always going to be exposed when we lose the midfield and yes, Djourou needs more playing time to gain understanding.

        The 2nd half was deja vu of last season. Denilson and Ramsey – not sure they won any tackles or any 50/50 balls.

  21. Quick question, who is vice captain now that Touré is gone?
    I’m thinking he’ll rotate it but if he’s on the pitch Van Persie.

    1. RVP had the band on in the 2nd stanza and handed it over to Eduardo when he was substituted.

  22. Terrible 2nd half performance. No fluidity whatsoever as we moved to the dreaded 4-4-1-1 with Arshavin and RVP up front.

    1. @CaribKid69,
      Yeah Bendtner’s absence was keenly felt, RVP doesn’t have the temprement to the play lone striker role at all, he hates people man marking him.
      On the plus side though, Song was great all game and when he was forced to slot in to CB position he filled the role really well.

      Normally I will defend Eboué and while he’s good in the RB role he’s bad in midfield, he’s too rushed he plays the ball before he thinks about it and gives it away too much.

      Vermaelen played very well all match, I’m beginning to warm to him, he reads the game well and is great in the air.

      1. @Bongo, I wouldn’t mind keeping Eboue because he can cover so many positions, but if Fiorentina want to splash 9M on him I’d welcome that in order for Wenger to pick up some real

        Selling 3 players and pocketing 50M should see at least 2 players come in for some depth and added quality and competition for spots.

        1. @WC,

          Have you not learned by now that under Arsene, players leaving do not equate to players coming in? 🙂

        2. @WC, @ Carib – you’re right about Arsene’s past tendencies, BUT if the team can’t acquire silverware this year (EPL, FA, or CL) most believe that Arsenal will see key players move on next summer.

  23. Why oh why can’t I love a ‘normal’ club. Lyon sell Benzema for big dough and they are promptly spending it for replacement strikers Gomis and Guiza. Good strikers w/ singular moments or seasons who need consistency to step up to the next level.

    Oh well, such is my lot in life.

    Is it just me or does ‘happy’ Jack Wilshere show more attacking nous that Ramsey? Wenger may feel the same way when it becomes to time to replace Cesc.

    It was good that Vermaelen could walk off comfortably unlike Pino. Hopefully he’s ready to go on Sat/Sun.

    Obviously RVP got the license of that ‘truck’ that ran over his head when retaliated on Haggui. You knew a card was coming because that’s our boy RVP. He’s not captain material w/ that fuse cut short.

    If I scream ROMARIC loud enough do you think the SUN will have scheduled for a medical at Colney on Aug 3rd 😉

    The key for me against Atletic Madrid will be how our back line copes w/ Aquero and Forlan. Forlan has become a more dynamic player since his Man U foray and is always around the top in scoring in La Liga.

    I knew Hleb and Mourinho were not going to be happening as Hleb now wants to skip the ‘gelato’ and go for the’bratwurst’.

    Not so amazing how money sweeps away the story that Eto’o once said of Mourinho that he could never play for him because he talks to his players like they are sh*t. Eto’o now claims he never said that. Right.

    1. @ctpa, I’m not scared of Atletico – even with Aguerro and Forlan leading the attack. Sure they’re world class players but Ateltico’s defense is utter trash and their midfield is average. They’ve always flattered to deceive and they’re pretty much the Tottenham of La Liga, always second best to city rivals Real Madrid.

  24. Martin O’Niell says Man City can win the league. I guess w/ that proclamation of wisdom, we shouldn’t bother showing up.

  25. a lot of valid points about the composition of our current crop has been raised. it’s tough for me to imagine arsene buying anyone else this year. my guess he will put the money in the bank and buy in jan if he feels like he must. i think for the start of the season he is going to keep playing song in midfield to see how much he has improved from season to season. i think denilson is going to in that mix there as well – which will no doubt vex a lot of fans. the reason i say this is because 1) look at his summer buys from the past few seasons and he has really just bought one first team player for the past three years and 2) he has already said that he is no hurry to buy.

    i would have loved to see a new DM and a new CM come in because i, like a lot of other gunner fans, feel like song and denilson still have some ways to go in terms of development. however, i dont realistically see arsene buying anymore till jan. i can only hope that he proves me wrong.

  26. We no longer have here the the “Martins to Arsenal” rumors anymore as Martins is going to Wolfburg for a measly 9m.

    The Sun links us w/ another 17yo ( 17yo footballers are like rabbits) Brazilian named Zezinho. First off no youtube videos. That’s a big no-no right there. 2nd, he was linked w/ Liverpool in May but since Pool have no money, yours truly (w/ 39m in the bank) enters stage left.

  27. Today’s preseason, 1st half some nice chemistry and movement.

    If Song is injured we have no one in midfield who can tackle and win balls.

  28. I also hope Wenger doesn’t sell Eboue because, if he does, we will be in quite a mess if Sagna gets injured. I personally don’t think Gavin Hoyte is up to standards yet.

  29. Rosicky had a ‘minor’ injury in Barnet game. I ope he’s able to go on the week end.

    Wenger confirms he will not be buying a replacement Adebayor or Toure.

    Remember said Wenger would be lounging on the beach and thinking about what he needed to do to strengthen the squad. Little did we know that it by subtraction and you could say that Vermaelen is the Toure replacement.

    Wenger is a big Prozone stat guy. If your numbers are going down he will ship you out pronto.

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