Arsenal 3-0 Rangers; the ZOMG, ZOMFG, BARRRBLEFARRABLE

Match Report, Match Video

ZOMG

With a goal in the second minute, Jack Wilshere sealed his fate, from now on he will be the most hyped man in England. Expect billboards with him in an England shirt, pictures of him lounging on a throne, his crown slightly off kilter as he fondles two beautiful English lasses.

That he then went on to cap his performance with a second goal, and a goal of undeniable quality, only served to underline the headlines that were to come: Wilshere Could Play For Capello.

Arsene warns us not to heap too much pressure on Wilshere, but the fact is that’s going to be damn hard when the lad puts in performances like that. For example, the most effective weapon Wenger has to combat those expectations is to keep him playing regularly in the reserves with occasional appearances in the league. But when a player is that good, I think that’s impossible to do because what you don’t want to do is keep his chances so limited that he thinks the club are ruining his career.

Unfortunately, that’s going to be down to Arsene managing the hype from here on out. Jack’s already being tabbed for next year’s World Cup squad, which, unless he establishes himself in the first team as a regular, is just a stupidly premature suggestion. But the problem is if the boy takes that hype on board and starts thinking “I should be in the World Cup squad” you can see what kind of trouble that could lead to when the boss doesn’t play him regularly. As Wenger puts it:

The only problem is that in England, with the impatience of the English people, we need to keep the right pace with his progress.

That said, when asked whether Jack could play the whole Premier League season, Wenger answered “certainly not.” So, I think the boss will be playing him here and there, most likely as a sub and will manage the hype as best he can. Oh well, that’s one of the problems when you manage a bunch of kids, I guess.

The other performance that I want to highlight was that of Eduardo. After the match, and after about 200 questions about Jackie and Paddy, Arsene Wenger said that he feels like Eduardo and Rosicky are 100% healthy and ready for the season. Eduardo only scored one goal but it was the kind of goal that only a top drawer finisher can make. He takes a perfectly placed through ball, faces the keeper and drifting to his right, hits a left footed curler around the keeper, off the far post and into the net. I can’t stress enough how important Eduardo is to this team. He’s a better finisher than the highly overrated Klaas Jan Huntelaar, he can dribble, he can play wide left, and he can set others up. In fact, the only thing holding this guy back from scoring 20+ goals this season is the fact that there are 5 other guys who all want to play in that spot. It’s the type of selection nightmare that I think most Arsenal supporters would love to see in midfield and defense.

ZOMFG

The defense looked a bit shaky again, especially in the second half, but I think that’s to be expected when you’re playing a makeshift back four. Moreover, our two defensive coordinators (Gallas and Vermaelen) were both out at that point. Gallas was out because the boss didn’t want to overplay him and Vermaelen was out because he has some tightness in his hamstring.

Of course, 93% of us (as Amy Lawrence points out) would point to this makeshift back four and say that it’s ample evidence that Arsenal need a defensive signing.

I’m not sure yet. We’ve got two more weeks of drills and like I’ve said, most of the mistakes have been down to poor communication rather than lack of fundamentals.

We also have an unknown situation with Senderos. Last week, Arseblog reported that Sendy was being Sent to Everton. Many people speculated that this was the replacement for Lescott — which is odd, isn’t it? Does David Moyes value them similarly? Why don’t many Arsenal fans see him the same way? Because someone scored a goal on him? Anyway, where was, I? Oh yeah, Senderos to Everton. The problem is that the Lescott to City deal looks to be off because Everton want £30m and City have only offered £20. Which could explain why the Senderos deal has dried up.

Let’s assume for a second that Senderos is gone. That leaves Vermaelen, Gallas, and Djourou as our first choice CBs and Song and Gerry as our backups.  Even I, the wide eyed optimist, see that as a bit of a problem. Hopefully, Arsene does too. Otherwise, Arsenal could very well turn into the Dallas Mavericks of the EPL, playing games to 4-4 draws and 5-3 wins.

We’ll have to wait and see.

BARRRRBLEFARRRRRBLE

Did anyone else watch the match on GolTV? Their coverage and their announcers were perhaps the worst announcers I have ever tried not to listen to.

First of all, there was the constant, nails on chalkboard, sound of the color commentator calling FranCESC Fabregas, CHESK. CHESK. CHESK. There’s no H in his name, asshole. It’s not Chesk, it’s never been Chesk, and it never will be Chesk. I think that what he was trying to do was pronounce Cesc’s name the way he thinks it’s pronounced in Spanish because he was doing that with all the players (pronouncing their names in their native tongue). It’s an annoying thing that American announcers do and normally I’m ok with it, but really? CHESK?

Second, they kept cutting away to advertisements for upcoming games, reducing the game we were watching to a small box in the upper-left corner. I don’t care what’s happening in the Peace Cup you fucktards, I WANT TO SEE WHAT’S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW.

And then, they had some advertisement for some pundit show that they put on that would come up every 5 minutes and block out the bottom half of the screen. Seriously, what is wrong with you? I could sort of understand it if they were getting paid to advertise something, but they are advertising their own shows! If you really think I’m going to watch Los Proffesionnales or whatever after you’ve ruined the coverage of the show that I wanted to watch you’re sorely mistaken.

And finally, my biggest gripe is that the announcers were lazy and stupid. They clearly were handed the cliffs notes on Arsenal and made sure they hit every point. “Total Football,” “like a new signing,” “Cheapskate Arsenal,” how we were going to have a hard time “cracking the top 5” (as if we’re 10th place Tottenham or some shit) and then they even cracked a joke about how maybe Wenger should open a day care!

But the one that clued me in to the fact that they were just being handed this crap and talking out their ass was the fact that they kept mentioning that Arsenal only have one Englishman on the pitch. GolTV, a Spanish language, American based outfit cares how many Englishmen Arsenal fielded in a pre-season friendly? REALLY?

I mean, I understand that Fabio Capello was at the game, but any commentator worth his weight knows that he was there not for Jackie, but to watch future England Number One, Manny Pickledickle.

Yes, Travis and I renamed Almunia, we think with a proper English surname he could be accepted by England when he finally breaks down and gets his passport.  We chose Pickledickle because, well, why not? No one would believe he made that name up!

Anyway, GolTV was a nightmare and I hope I never have to watch another match on that channel as long as I live.

Conclusion

Whelp, this is the week. There will be a week of practice and the manager will have plenty of time to buy and sell and reshape his squad, if that is his want. He’s playing his cards close to his CHESK, though the Chamakh story seems to be generating a lot of heat. The player is now publicly engineering a move to Arsenal, angrily lashing out at Bordeaux who are reportedly asking £15m for a player in the last year of his contract. Arsenal have supposedly offered £5m and I think that’s a fair price for a player who Wenger’s probably going to convert to Center Back anyway.

The other transfer story with legs is Patrick Vieira supposedly returning to Arsenal. From the interviews it’s pretty clear that Wenger is putting a lot of thought into the impact that this player would have on his team, and I don’t mean that in just the positive way. Again, we’ll have to see.

If there’s a signing today, I’ll make another post. If not, well you’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

See you then!

60 Comments on Arsenal 3-0 Rangers; the ZOMG, ZOMFG, BARRRBLEFARRABLE

  1. You think Wilshere is good… wait till you see Chuks Aneke, i watched him play last week at Colney, the kid is special- as good as when i saw cesc playing as a 15 year old or Jack 2 years ago, Chuks happens to be 6’4″ as well though.

    I agree about the defence. In the second half we had Traore (3rd or 4th choice left back), Slivestre (4th choice CB), Song (a DM really but 4th or 5th choice CB) and Eboue (back up Right back and can’t defend at all) playing against the Scottish Champions.

    I don’t think we need Chamakh… i’m sure he’s a fine player but i just don’t see where he fits in.

    I would take Vieira back in a heartbeat.

      • @ArseChicago, He is a forward. His parents are originally from Nigeria. They are related to one Peter Anieke (perhaps his grandfather, not clear though), who was a Nigerian international in the late 60s – 70s. That’s all that I know. But I tell you, that boy is blooming marvellous. I hope that Wenger can nurture him to perfection. I have seen so many laid to waste after such exciting starts.

        • @LRV, He’s played at centrehalf, midfield, on the wing and upfront that’s how talented he his but his future will be in centre midfield… he will become a true box-to-box midfielder. He does it all, wins defensive headers and tackles, skillful, scores goals with an awesome right foot and out muscles every other midfielder.

          Arsene said “he has nothing more to learn technically” when Aneke was 14… he just needs to develop physically and mentally, both of which come with age.

          His parents are nigerian but he’s grown up in north london. He’s an England youth international and should star for the youth team in the under 18s league and youth cup this season.

  2. Did anyone else notice that Aluminia seemed a great deal more mobile that he was last year? It was nice to see him being more aggressive and coming off his line from time to time. I think this will really help the back 4 if he doesn’t sit on his line playing the victim role.

    • Yup, apart from a few “stick on the Line” from corners, both his command of the area and distribution was much better.

      Hopes he continues to improve in that area because he is a good shot stopper.

  3. Please tell me you heard the announcer during the Atletico Madrid game yelling “Vela! Vela! Vela!” repeatedly when Fran Merida had the ball. I almost gagged.

    The sheer ignorance of the commentators was staggering. You know you’re doing poorly when I start wishing the match was on FSC instead.

  4. Tim, good post. And yes, the announcers were god awful and they elicited many an angry shout from the pub crowd this weekend. Seriously, these are the folks you’d have doing a women’s NCAA softball game. Crazy.

    Anyway, according to ESPN.com, Lescott is being held out of Everton’s next game (which I’m assuming is today or tomorrow?) and so that means the moves of him and Senderos is very much alive. I agree with you regarding the state of our centre backs. Just not feeling that great about Gallas/Djourou going into the opening match at Goodison Park. Song had a good game yesterday at DM and so I do think Arsene wants to keep him in that role. Just not sure who we can bring in at this point of the offseason to start right away next to Gallas in the season opener.

    Transfers this week? Sounds like Chamakh is going to scream and cry his way out of Bordeaux and into the Emirates. Given that Arsene seems to be favoring a 4231 formation early on, meaning Bendtner gets pushed wider to the outside (which I can’t say is ideal for him), it’d make more sense to bring in Chamakh than Huntelaar given the respective mobility of each player. Honestly, Huntelaar is an improvement on Bendtner, but I think Wenger truly believes in Bendtner and doesn’t view 20MM pounds to be worth spending for a marginal upgrade over him. Much better to spend half of that amount to get a backup to Nicky B who can move with a heck of a lot more pace when pushed out to the right.

    We’ve got one more friendly this coming weekend, so I have to believe Le Boss wants to get any transfer in this week to at least get the player(s) coming in one meaningless game before the real deal starts. At this point, I see Eboue staying, I see a DM move not happening, I see Chamakh coming in, I see a centre back coming in. Have to believe this promises to be a busy, busy week.

    • @ArseChicago, I would not appreciate Chamakh doing to Bordeaux what Ade did to us. I’ll rather he keeps quiet and let Arsene handle the situation as best he can.

  5. Shame about the GolTV; you deserve better. I am so excited, I better not comment in case I go over the top. No, not just because of our attacking showpiece, but most because our team (my dear football team – sorry!) shut the doom & gloomers up in a fantastic way. Yes, we are by no means as perfect as we can be; but who is? No premiership opponent is either. And yes, it is only Rangers. They are the Scotish champions, and in the Champions League, in case anyone forgets. But then, you can only beat what’s in front of you.

    By the way, Tim – When are you going to conclude your countdown (or should I say countup) of – Top 5 targets for 2009/10? You stopped at #4. There are #3, #2 and #1 to go.

  6. Yeah, the announcers were retarded. I’ve just got back to London after 7 years of LA, this site (and the bullshit goltv coverage via veetle) really takes me back to getting up at stupid o’clock to watch the boys. Funny thing is, the Brits are going to get some ESPN action this year, oh I can’t wait, especially if we get that arsehole from the Champions League commentary (Tommy something, maybe?). I especially liked the part when they ascerted their doubt of us getting in the top five, muppets. Anyway, great blog man, keep up the good work and here’s praying we sign a defender and some balls in midfield.

    • Tommy Smith, you mean? He’s absolutely atrocious and an Arsenal hater. I’m thankful we have one more year of Setanta in the states. Maybe by next year Tommy Smith will go back to being an annoying leprechaun, which he surely was prior to being the token “accent” on espn’s soccer team.

  7. I actually used a stream from sky sports UK because i tried with the Gol TV feed and commentators. But i couldn’t last more than a couple minutes. It actually made me wish for Tommy Smythe and i never thought that would happen. I have a feeling that Haangleand will come through before the end of the season. Even if he is cup-tied this season, i think he is needed especially if Senderos is off to Everton. I really don’t know what Wenger sees in Silvestre unless he is good for the younger players in the locker room.

    Still looking for any Dallas TX Gooners, to see which pub you watch the games @

  8. Yeah, that’s the guy..”manchester utd are the greatest team in the whole universe”, prick. It was funny watching Andy Gray and that American soccerette cuss him out during the World Cup. Unless we are very lucky with injuries we definitely need some more cover at the back, Haangeland would be great, it’s no coincidence Fulham did so well with him in the side. Strangely, I really don’t want Eboue to leave now, we would be in trouble if Sagna get’s crocked.

  9. I’m so glad I don’t have to put up with American presentations of “soccer”, I’ve endured a couple when a match hasn’t been televised and i’ve had to find a stream online.

    It’s pathetic, I mean American sports are designed for the ridiculous amount of advertising that they have to do, but in football there are no scheduled stops and breaking up the coverage to advertize something is abhorrant to me and I take note of what they advertise and make sure I never buy those products. One such match I watched, during the second half Arsenal were playing right to left and most of the attacking play was down the left and a fecking scrolling banner on the bottom would block the action advertizing the next match being shown.

    No offense Tim but yanks don’t make very good comentators either (when it comes to English football). A basic knowledge of the sport you’re talking about is essential.

    I’m delighted with the performance against rangers, I think Merida had a great game too.

    • @Bongo, With all due respect to advertising, the ‘Big 4’ sports in the US, football, hockey, baseball and basketball, do not resort to selling space on their kits for millions of dollars per year. And not all english announcers are as good as you say. I’ve witnessed more than a fair share of englishmen who almost seem annoyed that they have to cover a game. The US announcers are getting there, evidenced by the US-Spain Confed Cup came. Quality calling of the game on that one.

  10. Yeah the idiots commenting on GOL TV this weekend were clueless but honestly they do have one or two good ones as well. Ray Hudson is a living legend as far as footy commentry goes and I love hearing him during the La Liga games. The most annoying thing is when the screen gets smaller and a program ad comes up. Like you said, it makes absolutely no sense. I have wondered about quite a lot when i got Gol Tv last year and my only conclusion is the guy in charge is a total moron.

    In other news – WILSHERE! WILSHERE! WILSHERE!

  11. every preseason people seem to think we’re going to lose our status, I was kind of piss when the commentators mention us losing our top 5 status…they were just regurgitating what is most of the other papers…football is played on the pitch, Man City or anyone else has to fight for their position…I feel everyone is at risk with the big spenders city, not just Arsenal

  12. In regards to the back 4, here is a story generating some legs. Neven Subotic. A name known well by an USMNT fans out there. Subotic moved to the US at an early age and played for all the US under-whatever teams, but was never called up by Bruce Arena and Sunil Gulati, became bitter and instead plays for Serbia, where he was born. He currently plays for Brossia Dortmund and is one of the best defenders in the Bundesliga. Can play any position along the back 4, but is strongest in the center. Did I mention he is 6’4″ and is strong in the air as well as quick? 12-14 million could be enough to pry him away.

  13. I’m not going to make a blog until I see it on the dot com, but L’Equipe is a good source and they are reporting that Senderos is in Liverpool for a physical with Everton.

    You can follow news like that on my Twitter account.

  14. My, my, my. I guess I must reconsider my praise of Gol TV’s presenters. I’m just so use to them from doing SA games and La Liga.

    I thought Walter Smith’s post match comments were very dire if you’re a fan of the SPL and had visions of Celtic and Rangers going to The EPL. I personally would not want the EPL tainted by the sectarianism that would accompany those teams.

    Chamakh is siging a refrain we’ve heard before. “I’ve been a loyal trooper for X club now give me my freedom for my dream move”. Player has a point but so do Bordeaux. We’ve offered 5m and they think their player is better than Gomis who just went to Lyon for 15m. We would like the player but we don’t ‘need’ the player. That and given the player only has a yr left on his contract should put us in a good negotiating position. Chamakh though is annoying me already and he hasn’t even gotten off the boat. Chill. Sunderland have moved on and are wrapping up D.(ICMTH) Bent according to Skysports.

    I ‘ve always thought: why can’t Arsenal find our version of Vidic (not the Vidic who got torn apart by Torres) on some litte Serbian team and he didn’t cost us an arm and a leg. Even though it’s Arsenal’s money, I still want to spend it wisely. Now comes the in Press Magazin:

    http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=sr&u=http://www.pressonline.rs/page/stories/sr.html%3FsectionId%3D63&ei=rQp3SufpN8yLtgfOkdGWCQ&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dpress%2Bmagazin%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26hs%3Dtlf

    Is he the one? I don’t know Morpheus, only The Oracle (Wenger) knows for sure.

  15. I see you point but don’t bitch about TV stations getting the names of the players wrong when I have problems with accronyms and text speak?? ZOMG ZOFG BARRRBLEFARRABLE?? God may have created the good old USA The English gave it a language please don’t destroy it. Up the gunners and best regards.

  16. Emirates Cup done and dusted–12 days to the season!

    Good blog Tim and I am in agreement with most of what you say and you (and in the comments) have hit all the major points regarding (Happy) Jack (Wilshere) and the GolTV idjuts. (How did they make it to Sevilla to call the Peace cup final?) One of the pleasures for us Yanks is hearing the generally solid English commentators (Martin Tyler) and slowly working those words and phrases into our own vocabularies. Too bad most of them hate Arsenal (with the French accent–BTW who won the shirts?)

    Dudu and Rosicky seem healthy and just like….(I can’t even bring myself to say it….) but I read elsewhere that AW is gonna bring them along slower rather than faster (i.e. on the sub bench) so it appears we’ll go into the difficult early games with a front line of Arshavin-RVP-Bendtner (Vela and Theo needing time to recover from their big summers?). I wish I had more confidence in that line and I might if they show that they can play with more positional fluidity and cover for one another. Arshavin is the obvious superstar, but nobody seems really suited for that center forward spot (RVP too frail and tempermental–Bendtner not quick enough). With Barca switching Eto’o for Ibrahimovic maybe they’re copying us, rather than visa versa as Amy Lawrence would have us believe.

    Defensively, it seemed a real shame that TV5 (Vermalaen) didn’t get to partner up on the home pitch with his boys but I thought Song did well back there. Unlike the Arseblogger I don’t worry about making him switch between DM & CB. We’re assuming TV5 will slot right in, which might be a big ask. Meanwhile, Clichy looks rusty and I’ve always had my worries about him. Eboue for Sagna is fine against SPL/Championship wingers but otherwise….

    Which brings us to the question who will partner Cesc across the middle. First half Saturday I counted six times where Denilson telegraphed forward (ground) passes through the middle that were easily intercepted. I think I prefer him only passing sideways or back if he must play. (And maybe someone can tell me why he must?) We still need someone with a good motor, positional sense and the ability to tackle or rise up and win a ball or two…sort of like Flamini. Song is getting there, but I find the other young options (Denilson, Nasri, Merida, Diaby)lacking in these respects. Maybe it’s a chance for Eboue to finally turn good. If the season were to open now I’d opt for a midfield three of Cesc, Song and Rosicky or Wilshere. (TR7, to me, looks like a tougher Iniesta…and that makes me happy…and hopeful that he stays healthy.)

    To complete the whole run-down…Aluminum boy looked very good. Where’s Fab? (ianski, that is) and I think I might prefer the vowel-less Pole to Vito on the bench after watching the past couple of games.

    Definitely a week where some stuff ought to happen–boys going out on loan, new signings, etc., fun, fun, fun…

    • I tend to agree with you regarding RvP. As much as he’s beloved by all of us, he’s probably too frail to be the lone striker in a 4231 formation. And in a 442, I don’t think he could be our #1 option. That’s why I had these quickly dashed hopes of landing Karim Benzema this offseason. Then again, labels like “#1 striking option” or “lone striker” might not matter if we have Arshavin, Dudu and Rosicky on an attack wave. You just hope we can get people enough shots this year.

      To your question about Cesc’s partner, I think if we tend towards the 4231, it seems to me that Wenger would keep Song next to Cesc in that ‘2’, with Cesc certainly moving forward more. We’ll see.

  17. Seems certain Senderos is leaving and I’m not sure it’s the right decision. Tony Adams was a donkey when he first started playing in the first team and I seem to remember Freddie leaving John Terry on his arse in an FA cup final. If Sylvester ends up playing 15-20 games next year we will struggle and iF Eboue leaves we are going to need some cover at right back as well.

  18. Tim you say that the shaky defensive performance was down to poor communitcation and then seem to imply that some drills and time will cure that but this communication problem has been going on since last season. Everytime Djourou is one half of the central defense it’s as if there is a vow of silence. Gallas and Djourou are really a poor pairing because neither of them are leaders. Gallas was Terry’s lackey at Chelsea and Djourou plays second fiddle to pretty much every partner. Vermaelen has only been in the team for a couple months but he looks the business and the defense looks stable when he’s there coordinating. The game showed me that we’re lacking depth in character in defense and with Senderos most likely moving on, we’ll miss physical depth as well. We certainly need another Campbell or Tony Adams persona who can direct the backline when someone like Vermaelen is unvailable.

    Wenger’s hand has been forced and he’ll have to buy another central defender if/when Senderos does go to Merseyside.

    I’ve said it millions of times, we have alot of strikers but mostly the same type of strikers. We scored 2 goals in the opening 10 minutes and then couldn’t get half a sniff for another hour or so. Rangers played containment for a while and we needed a spearhead to change the dynamic of the game and play a different game than the one-touch version. Love it or hate it, some times route 1 direct football is an effective strategy and a viable alternate game plan.

    • @WC, I think you’re being too hard on Djourou. I counted his starts in all competitions last year (25 of them) and his record is 17-5-3. Moreover, the team kept 13 clean sheets in that time and conceded 12 goals. Less than 1/2 a goal a match.

      He’s hardly part of some shaky defense.

      Now, when I did the same for Silvestre last year the stats were damning. That guy started or played in nearly every loss and the goals per game numbers were big. I could locate the post, it’s a hell of a rant, but really for my money, if anyone comes in for criticism it’s Silvestre. He had a nightmare season last year.

  19. This apparent done deal for Senderos tells me one of two things:
    1) Djourou will be a backup at centre back most of this season, and thus the need to keep two 6’4″ centre backs on the bench is not there; or
    2) Wenger will start off the season with Djourou starting, but rates Senderos so low as to prefer having Silvestre (or an imminently purchased tall centre back not named Senderos) as the choice after Vermaelen to replace Gallas/Djourou in case of injury or substitution.

    Let’s hope Big Phil doesn’t shut us down in the opener.

      • I suppose, but the money we’re talking here, particularly when considering our transfer inactivity this offseason, doesn’t seem to compensate us enough for diluting our depth at centre back.

        I would’ve made the same argument when comparing Toure and Gallas, suggesting that Toure/Vermaelen or Gallas/Vermaelen wouldn’t have been terribly different for us, despite the clear valuation differences out there in the transfer mkt between Toure and Gallas. That sale had more to do, apparently, with Kolo wanting out.

  20. Have anyone read Rangers’ Whittaker’s opinions on our team? something along the line “They seemed to play with 12 men at times.” Hehe, we were that good yesterday. The future is bright.

  21. Glad to hear WC saying that Vermaelen is the natural defensive leader we need. It seems to me that AW values recovery speed over size at the CB position. Of course Sendy & Gerry don’t really have that sort of thing (and thus are equally poor choices) so I support the “good business” hypothesis. It would seem that we could use another body back there….Luke Ayling sounds like a strong prospect and he’s the right age (18 on 8/25/09)….

    • @17highburyterrace, Well as I said if Gallas or Vermaelen aren’t playing then the defense goes down the crapper because neither Silvestre or Djourou can organize a defense. It has never been their responsbility in their careers to date so they simply don’t have the communication skills to demand organization in the back four.

      We were caught out on over the top balls…………..again. I’m not sure when we’ll learn to read the game and anticipate these kinds of things. Rangers represent the kind of physicality we’ll see from a Drogba or Rooney and it is vital that every central defender learn to cope with opposition power with power of their own.

  22. Continuing the discussion of Central Defenders….

    Does anyone have any stats on the CBs and their headed goals/minute? It would seem to me that if a CB can score from a set piece, he can defend them as well. (You know, read the flight of the ball and get up for a header…) Among the CBs we’ve had lately Gallas seems the best, despite being pretty small. I was impressed by Song last season in that it finally seemed like he was varying his pace a bit–or at least speeding up to make plays on the ball. If he could get a headed goal or two (or more) from set pieces he would force his way into the starting VI.

    • @17highburyterrace, Well I don’t really want some superstar central defender because that’s a selection nightmare for any manager. Really I’d like to see a David Wheater who has some experience but is young and willing to be patient in development. I blast Senderos because he was trying so hard to be a starter but is just sub material. We need another like him who isn’t world class but solid – as I’ve said before we need our own John O’ Sheas and Darren Fletchers, who are better than most of the players in a non-big four club but not quite there yet for a starting berth in a big four club. Losing Senderos and Toure surely must signal to Wenger that there has been a loss in depth in the backline.

    • @17highburyterrace, The Starting 6? Also heading goals and heading to defend are actually more different thanmost realise. First there is the approach angle. Toward goal and focused on the ball for the attack, and usually back to goal, riunning with an attacker usually backpedaling or sideways to track with focus split between opposing attackers and the ball on defence. Attacking the goal is to drive the ball low by getting higher on the ball which is the opposite for defending.

      • @Travis The Septopus, Uh yeah, got a little fancy with the roman numerals…

        And, I think you’re right about the subtleties of getting one’s head on the ball…but the ability to work tight spaces, gather oneself and get to a ball–to clear or to head onto goal, seem clearly superior in some players than in others, and obviously it’s not all about size. It’s just such an advantage to feel that if there’s a corner (at either end) we’ve got the superior squad. By fielding so many little attackers and MFs, we’ve got to be looking at players who live for set plays. In a lot of ways this could be the difference between challenging for the title or just hoping to maintain….Losing Ade and Kolo cannot help in this category.

  23. Another American Gooner here…GolTV was horrible…my Gooner girlfriend and I were physically wincing every time the stupid announcer would say Chesk…how the hell can you even pretend to know anything about English (or European or even World Cup) football and not know his fucking name is Cesc…no H!!!! Wasn’t his Spanish WC nam “Sesc”???

    Then on top of that, they had no idea how the offside rule worked…they were clueless.

    BTW, who was sitting in the stands behind Chesk toward the end of the game? I may have been drunk, but it looked like Xabi Alonso…or maybe that was just wishful thinking.

  24. Finishing in 2nd, 3rd, or 4th is not OUR goal.

    A championship calibre team must have a solid defense with depth. How many examples does Arsene need other than the Spurs and Liverpool draws!

    The Ranger and Atletico matches gave us a glimpse of our attacking potential: Cesc, Arshavin, Eduardo, Rosicky, and Wilshere; then consider RvP, Vela, Bendtner, and Theo.

    All this speculation of another striker, well its NOT WHAT WE NEED to start the season. Its like planning to drive from Pittsburgh to Portland. You load up your car, knowing the back 2 tires are fitted with those small 50 mile spares and wonder will they make the long journey (we all know they won’t)…….and the week before, instead of replacing the spares, you decided to buy new chrome rims.

    If we add any defenders, they must be better than those currently on the roster.
    We need another right back, but someone better than Sagna……not Eboue.

    Just as Song struggled to win recognition, Djourou needs playing time.
    Silvestre is a desperate option at CB.

    • @arsesession, I’m not entirely sure where you’re going to find a right back better than Sagna. In my eyes, he’s one of the best in the EPL right now. Composed, skilled, quick and a good crosser.

      • @WC, sorry for the lack of clarity…..my point was that Eboue as a back up is a drop off of talent level.

        HELP……for ANYONE!
        Over the last 2 seasons, how many balls have Sagna and Clichy crossed that resulted in goals?

        Does anyone see this type of scoring threat from Arsenal in ’09/’10?

        • @arsesession, NO…those guys do not cross the ball well. I have hope for Sagna, Clichy less.

          However, 2 of our five goals this weekend were from “lifted” balls from midfielders (Cesc to Arshavin and Ramsey to Wilshere). With all the highly skilled, “head-up” players in attack and MF I’m hopeful for lots of these sorts of goals…

      • @WC, Agree about Sagna–you won’t find a better right back anywhere. I can’t even recall when he’s put a foot wrong on the defensive end. Going forward he’s got room for improvement, but he’s got the best engine on the team. Losing him late season in ’07 really hurt.

        And Eboue isn’t the worst as a squad player….the boos seem to have made him work a little harder and the diving is a little more, uh, under control. (And isn’t cheating the biggest sign of “desire,” anyway?) I remember hearing about Eboue, “Except for his first touch and his last touch, he’s really not that bad,” and it’s always stuck with me.

  25. Nice post Tim, really cheered me up after my first day back at work after the last two weeks sitting by a pool in Southern France drinking wine and remarking on how blue the sky is.

    *sigh*

    Also, those GolTV guys crack me up; they sound just like the ‘Boston Goals’ guys from SoccerAM (never the same once Lovejoy left, even if he is a terrible Chelski gobshite), an example of which can be found here:

    http://tinyurl.com/m9kndm

  26. http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://www.football.ch/&ei=1Uh3Soz7BaKltgeNzOGWCQ&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=4&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3DSwitzerland%2Bfootball%2Bassociation%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26hs%3DXuj

    Adios Senderos.

    I am confident that Wenger will be bringing in another defender. The Neven Subotic rumor would fit our profile. Young, already w/ a good defensive rep, good in the air and a relative unknown (to me) outside of the Bundesliga. He is also the partner of Vidic in the Serbian national team set up.

  27. 1. Eboue is probably the best non-starting RB in the EPL. No, he is not Sagna, but then again, who is.

    2. As a self proclaimed “Denilson Hater”, sorry, he does not do it for me. Nice chap, love him to death, but he just doesn’t do any one thing good enough for him to excite me. Like I have always maintained, heart of a lion in a Tortoise body.

    3. We obviously need another rugged CB. Blast Sendy all you want, but very few forwards has exposed his weaknesses and I would much rather see him than Jerry in the lineup at CB. Jerry at CB is a disaster waiting to happen.

    4. I love Song at DM but we need someone else of his ilk or better to challenge him for the position. Alas, Arsene thinks Diaby, Ramsey and Denilson will fill the gaps rather nicely.

    5. I could live without another forward if Arsene decides to feature Vela, but we are still without a hold-up front man who can play as a lone striker when needed on a situational nasis.

    Long live the “Midgets” and may we not have to defend many set pieces or score from high crosses.

  28. Everton confirm that they are in negotiation w/ Arsenal over Senderos but they emphatically claim not as a Lescott replacement.
    Senderos is cover for Jagielka who won’t be back until Nov. at the earliest. Lescott has done everything except hand in the transfer paper.

    Chamakh’s transfer is on ‘hold’ as Wenger calls Triaud’s bluff. Unless the player extends, he will be free in 5 mo. “Check” to you Triaud.

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