Monthly Archives: November 2010

Arsenal Vs Wigan : The Player Ratings + Pick your MOTM

So as it was in the last round our first goal came via an own goal, fortunate? Or just reward for dominating play? I’ll go for the latter. The second was no gift as Vela who had a mixed match laid an assist for Nikky B. Let’s see how our boys fared.

Chezzer – 7
Quiet evening for the young pole, barely got his gloves dirty.

Eboue – 4
Sorry but he was very very poor and assuming he was up against a better plsyer it could have been worse. Despite that he lost the duel against Moses repeatedly.

Djorou – 7
Good game from the young CB and he rarely gave Boselli room to breathe. Doubt if he broke a sweat .

Kozzer – 7
Also had it easy tonight,so easy he could afford to bring the ball out of defence numerous times.

Gibbs – 7.5
Willing runner, energetic and showed good recovery each time Wigan broke. His forrays forward were at times mesmerising. Linked up well with Vela

Wilshere – 8
Call me biased but behind Nasri and probably Cham29 this has been our best player this season. His performance and role mirrored that of Milan great, Pirlo. Future Captain???

Denilson – 7
Assured performance alongside Jackie, gave away a few passes in the first half but overall a good performance.

Vela – 6.5
How do you contrive to miss 3 excellent chances?? Makes me remember the four one-on-one chances Bendtner had against Burnley 2 years ago. Well he got an assist so kudos.

Theo – 6.5
Not the special showing he promised but seeing as he started in midfield he did reasonably good and got an assist for the opener.

RVP – 8
Would you believe he had only played sparring roles this season before today? He held up play well, shared the ball well, neat flicks and deft touches and good delivery from setpieces. what more could you ask for? A goal? who cares he came through the games unscathed.
Star Man for me

Nikky B – 7
Largely anonymous after missing that sitter in the opening minute. Got into dangerous positions and at the same time he held on to the ball too much a la Diaby.

Subs:

Nasri – 5
Should hav scored his 10th of the season but rounded the keeper when a shot or chip would have done the deed.

Eastmond – N/A

Not a vintage performance but we did the deed. Semi-final draw awaits. Good to see RVP back. From wherever you are reading, hope you enjoyed the game? Do have a swell night.

Escobar says so

Arsenal Vs Wigan, The Pre-match Preview

With our recent home troubles one would wonder why I’m so optimistic at our chances of making the Semi-finals of the carling cup. Well even I can’t answer that to be honest because we are this evening facing a team that is in the same league as The Baggies or The Jordies.

However, I just have that feeling that the team would come out with a point to prove but then again its the same thing I said in the pre-match to our last home humiliation to the old enemy, who again showed their seeming come back prowess against Liverpool (okay maybe Liverpool’s shite but still)

Anyhoo, on to team news apparently RVP’s billed to make his 1st start for the club in about 12weeks which is fantastic actually, it enables the gaffer give a much needed rest to Chammy who has admitted that he is still trying to adapt to the physical nature of the Premier League.

What I’d like to see is the supporting cast and how they’ll play around him now as its going to have to be an almost different game plan than with Chammy. Eboue’s fit, AMAZINGLY!!!. Cesc isn’t but we all knew that already, TV5 still absent, Almunia as well…everybody else seems to be a-ok.

My guess is Scezney will have a run in the side,hopefully another good performance and a semi-final ticket shall follow. I shall miss the 1st half (curses!) Due to work but you don’t have to now do you?

Possible Line-Up Scezney-Eboue-Djorou-Kozzer-Gibbs-Wilshere-Denilson-Nasri-Theo-RVP-NikkyB

Arsenal 3:1 Wigan

From where ever you watch this,do have a blast.

Ita says so

And yes, I purposely failed to mention anything on the Barcelona game yesterday….I mean,what’s the point really?

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Villa Vs Arsenal : Player Ratings

Fabianski – 6
Nothing he could have done to prevent the first goal but should have done better in organising his defence for the 2nd as he was all over the place.

Sagna – 7
Solid and composed, dealt with the Ashley young and Warnock with relative ease. Good outing for the french man

Squillaci – 5
I don’t know what AW saw in him when he paid for him. Shaky performance characterised with his poor clearance that led to the first goal.

Kozzer – 5.5
Just heads above Squid, put in some strong tackles but lost Clark for the 2nd goal along with Song.

Clichy – 6.5
Should have a higher rating bar his hesitation in closing down Clark for the first goal. Solid performance.

Wilshere – 7
Good game and calm in possession, knowing when to hold the ball and when to release the ball, capped it with the winning goal(his first in the league for Arsenal)

Song – 6.5
Not as strong as should be as he allowed the young Brannan dominate play in the second half.

Rosicky – 7.5
Was he Fabregas in disguise?? Ran the show, played from left to right, tackled and assisted the goal. What more can you ask for from the stand in skipper? Renaissance???

Arshavin – 7.5
Wow!!! Energetic, hard-working and good strike for the opener. The real Arsha showed up today. Good game

Nasri – 7.5
Well taken goal and a good performance from the french man especially in the second half when he moved into the middle.

Chamakh – 8
As always a good performance, harried at the defence well, had a header saved then time his run to perfection to slot home the 3rd goal. Bendtner its going to be easier to pass through the eye of a needle than for you to replace him.

Subs:

Denilson – 5

Gibbs – 5

From Escobar, have a swell day

Arsenal : The Nearly Men or Champions???

“It should have been the week when Arsenal confirmed their title credentials and cruised into the knockout stage of the Champions League. Instead, after a confidence-sapping defeat by Tottenham and a European humbling in Braga, Arsene Wenger’s side are looking like nearly men again.”

This is how the Daily Mail put it and they couldn’t be any more correct and it got me thinking, ‘how long before we put an end to our short-comings’. Has topping the table or winning titles become a dizzying height that can only be talked about and not chased after?

Six barren years for one of Europe’s elite clubs is no longer something you can put on a smile for and make excuses such as ‘next season’ or ‘its a young squad’ or pointing fingers to injuries. With 2pts separating us from the top and one home win remaining to guarantee us safe passage to the knockout stage of the champs league with the quarter final match of the league cup against Wigan to come, all is not lost and changes need to be made to avoid another empty season. What needs to be corrected?

Defensive Frailties
A good house they say is built on a solid foundation, and when your foundation is as mediocre as a circus act (meant to ammuse) gone wrong then you have no business challenging for trophies or anything for that matter. Kozzer as I mentioned is turning into an expensive waste, positionally inept and inability to tackle alongside a steady(instead of commanding) Squid really isn’t helping matters as we’ve let in 7 goals in our last 3 games

TV5’s continued absence has seen Squid play more often as he was bought as back up. One must wonder why Djorou doesn’t start more often. Compared to the other memebers of the Big Four add Citeh and Spu*s and we have the worst defence.

You don’t buy relatively inexperienced players and expect them to bring stability to the defence of. A title chasing side. Something needs to be done if TV5 remains out and thank God the window is not far away.

Need For Older Heads
Alan Hansen once said “you can’t win anything with kids”, Fergie proved him wrong, but that was over 15 years ago. The odds of achieving such feat is near impossible, if only Wenger knew the meaning of that. No one is asking for a raft of changes but when the ‘Oldest head’ age wise is Rosicky who is hardly a starter and the ‘oldest’ influence wise at 23 is Fabregas you know something is wrong.

The talent is there(Ramsey,Wilshere and Song) and the hunger too, but sometimes you need a little something extra to carry you to glory and that little something is experience. Our centre boasted of Vieira, Parlour, Petite, Pires, Ljunberg, these were players who knew how to finish the job and close out a game, something missing from the current squad. Someone once referred to our dressing room environment as ‘modern and ultra polite’. Ouch!

You can say the Everton match shows we’re no pushovers and almost immediately the derby shows how soft and fragile we can be. Granted the squad depth is increasing but its not by quantity, its by quality, what’s the use of having average players on the bench?

Time to Spend
Year after year we record amazing profits and then experience a new sort of magic as it disappears with little or nothing used on the team. And the board members continue to smile to the bank. Granted we’ve been tying down important players to long contracts like the world is about to end but we all know contracts and player loyalties count for little these days.

This season could be our season as Utd have been less than spectacular and chelski been reduced to bare bones by injuries and with the right buys in January then we’ll definately win the league. I can bet my house on it that if we don’t buy, we won’t win the league or go far in the champs league. In my opinion, 3 signings and a change of formation away from home and occasionaly at home and we’re good to go.

A new defender, in the form of Cahill or Jagielka who have massive experience and not just any kind, but premiership experience. Just picture a defensive pairing of TV5 and Cahill/Jags. Talk about increased number of clean sheets.

A new defensive midfielder. You’re probably wondering what for? Song is developing into a class act and a box-to-box midfielder BUT he’s not your traditional DM and on numerous occasions his defensive qualities have been found wanting.

We need someone who can sit in front of the back four and won’t be in a hurry to join the attack at all times, a tall and tough tackling person would fit the bill. Mammadou Diarra anyone?? Or Moussa Sissoko. I prefer Yann M’Vila(the man who shackled Gerrard and co at Wembley).

This last one is highly unlikely, a new goalkeeper, I won’t mind if AW goes for Given in January as Schwarzer is no better than the current crop.

As much as Ita thinks Arsene is the problem, I agree but not completely. The greedy board, the quiet fans and the lacklustre performances from players all contribute to our recent failings.

Are we going to win the the league or are going to stick to the ‘nearly men’ tag. Let’s wait and see

From wherever you’re reading, have a swell day folks. Escobar says

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Don’t we just love the hard way?

Arsene

So we move from being the most in-form, record breaking team in the Champions League two weeks ago to a team whose qualification hangs in the balance…in just 3 weeks. Only in Arsenal eh?

Following the horrible result last weekend, one would expect a ground breaking performance from a team with lots of promise. Actually, we have not been good on our travels to Portugal, but one would expect a change in tide, consequential of the happenings the previous weekend. I’m really not in the mood to do anything, not even to write this post. I’m so sad because I can just see our season falling apart. You think I’m jumping the gun right?

The team that lined up was above average, Nikky B, Gibbs, Eboue, Djourou, and Wilshere didn’t take any part against the Spuds and they were given a chance to shine. They barely took it. I will not bore you with the details of what was an uneventful game (at least Arsenal wise), and if I told I know exactly what went wrong last night, I would be telling a lie. I can guess though.

The easiest thing to say is that the boys were down following that huge loss. But is that a reasonable explanation? I don’t think so. These men are professionals, paid very highly for their skills and services and should not blame anybody except themselves for a defeat. We need to develop a winning attitude even if things are not going too well. At no point did we look like scoring last night, but an Arsenal team is always liable to conceding goals. We conceded two last night and now we are in danger of not qualifying for the knock out phase.

Nikky B for all his noise did nothing worthy; his control is still poor, needs to work on his body balance. This is not a good way to account for all the talk about wanting to start every game. Wilshere performed admirably considering his age and the people around him. Djourou faired better than his partner at the back and when Theo wasn’t running down blind alleys, he was running into opponents. Pathetic performance from him.

To add salt to injury, Cesc tweaked his hamstring again and will now miss 2 to 3 weeks.

I still don’t know why we love doing things the hard way. We get an easy chance to do something, but instead we skip that chance and go the longer route. A win on Saturday would have seen us go top of the table, did we get it? Merely taking a half time lead against West Brom and Newcastle would have surely given us 3 points in each of those games. Did we manage that? A draw against Braga last night would have seen us qualify for the knock out stages. How did that go?

We have Villa next and yesterday’s game will be quickly forgotten if we can get a win over there. It should see us maintain our two point gap from the top, or better still move up should United or Chelsea drop points. I long for us to return to winning ways.

It’s been a bad week gooners, but it could have been worse!

Wait! Could it?

Let us know in the comments

From wherever you are reading, keep the faith.
Once a gooner, forever a gooner!

November Curse Continues : Braga Vs Arsenal, Player Ratings

 

Sigh! Disjointed performance, lack of penetration and poor team selection has cost of dear as we MUST win or draw to make the last sixteen(16) of the Champions League. Who takes the heat for this one? Wenger must for me(still waiting to hear the excuse for today’s showing), let’s see how the players fared.

Fabianski7
Nothing he could have done to prevent both goals on a quiet night for the young pole as he was left exposed by his defence

Eboue 6
Going forward he was average, defending he was poor. Stretchered off late in the game and it cost us as Braga capitalised

Squillaci5
This guy right here is not good enough to play for Arsenal. A perfect example of how experience doesn’t always cut it, you’re either good or not. He was caught high up the field for the 1st goal and hesitated in putting in a strong challenge to prevent the 2nd goal.

Djourou7
Lesser of two evils. Strong and dominant, fierce in tackles. Hard to believe he was dropped for the Derby. Should have been at the back when both goals happened

Gibbs6
Solid going forward and at the back. Very good display from the englishman who hardly put in a wrong foot. Should have prevented the 2nd goal.

Wilshere7
Sprayed the ball well, comfortable in possession and strong in tackles. Is he really 18?? He did well considering how poor his supporting cast were.

Fabregas5
Another night to forget for our captain, and I’ll have to blame this on the injury. Gave his all as usual.

Denilson5.5
Not as good as Song on a normal day, he did well until after the break, struggled to keep up as the game wore on and lost his man for the opening goal.

Rosicky5
Should he still be in Arsenal colours?? I’ll let you be the judge. Not good enough on a night when Arsenal needed inspiration.

Walcott5
Shaking my head. He toiled to no avail. One thing that baffles me is how ‘un dynamic’ (allow me please) his game is, kick and run, no penetration, and couldn’t get past a defender not up to Coca Cola Championship standard.

Bendtner4
Poor! Poor!! Poor!!! What a way to repay your manager after complaining about lack of first team action. Maybe now he’ll shut up. *flop of the game*

SUBS

Nasri5
Not enough time to make an impact.

Cham295
Made little impact. Should have started the game

Vela6
Should have won 2 penalties, instead he was booked for one and ignored for the other.

Hard to swallow, but after more than 9 years as a proper fan, am not surprised. The November curse continues…

Escobar is not happy

 

A game of two universes. So what next?

What went wrong?

After the first 45 minutes of the game against Spurs, I was already thinking of what the title of my post match thoughts would be. I was immersed in how I would praise Arsene as the best manager this club has ever known (that hasn’t changed mind you), how I would shower accolades on Cesc for a vintage midfield performance, commend Nasri for fighting spirit, Cham29 fir striking instincts as so on. My facebook status at half time suggested that we were almost there and all I needed was a repeat or near repeat of the previous 45 minutes. But what did I get?

The second 45 minutes was what pundits and cynics will term “typical Arsenal“. I looked up this word(s) in the dictionary of football and this is what I got:

Inability to kill off games after taking the lead, allowing the opposition back into the game. E.g Arsenal-Spurs (20th November, 2010).
See also: Arsenal-Spurs (31st October 2008), Birmingham-Arsenal (27th March 2010), West Ham-Arsenal (25th October, 2009)
“.

Spot on eh?

The disaster began when we lost the ball after taking a free kick, and Spurs launched a counter and the ball fell to Bale who finished nicely. Then Cesc had a moment of pure madness when he was penalised for a raised arm in the box, VDV struck the resulting penalty with aplomb. Then from a free kick, Kaboul headed past Fabianksi in between Cesc and Squillaci. Game won, Spurs had completed a magical comeback and won at our home for the first time in 17 years.

While I am not one to put blame on people, I think Wenger got a few things wrong. I still do not understand why He took off Nasri for an ineffective Rosicky. Nasri had everything to play for, a feud with Gallas was extra incentive, I doubt any other player in the squad will have the determination to score the goal did. It was evident form his celebration that he wanted to win badly and did everything to get the ball in the back of the net. He also brought on an unfit RVP for Cham29, and Walcott for Arshavin. Overall, his subs were ineffective and below par.

The defenders had a nightmare of a game, and Koscly in particular was found wanting many atimes. The Squilacci-Djourou combo showed great promise and I still don’t understand why they were not paired again. Cesc had a game to forget, Clichy and Sagna did little going forward and Song was awful in his positioning, thus giving VDV ample space to cause damage.

I did not realize the effect of this defeat until I tried surfing the web I discovered that I could not visit my usual football sites without being greeted with comments and views on the game. I was in deep pain and the only respite for me was Chelsea’s loss to Birmingham. In statistics though, you’ll learn that both events are independent and mutually exclusive!

My worry now is how we respond to this defeat, our 3rd at home in November. If this home run continues, we should expect 3 more defeats (Chelsea, United and L’pool). 6 home defeats and we DEFINITELY won’t win the league title. Are there any positives? Yes. Chelsea lost their 3rd league game in a row and we are still only 2 points adrift the top of the table.

The players have been in the press talking of how important it is to respond in the game against Braga. We need to do that in style, and even if we do beat them 10 zip, it still won’t remove the fact that we have no record to hold over the Spuds any longer. How sad?

Roll on Tuesday, I can’t wait for us to get a huge win so the ghosts of Saturday’s game can be partly exorcised. One thing is for sure though, the scar of that game will be on the mind of every gooner…except of course we in the league come May.

It’s a cold day in Accra today, very weird that is. I’m off to get some breakfast and prepare myself for a barrage from my Arsenal-hating pals. Not my best of times you bet.

From wherever you are reading, look for positives.
I’ll be doing the same all day.

Just the small matter of the North-London Derby!!!

So this weekend there are a few things at stake. There’s the chance to go top of the league, for a few hours (barring any more Chelski theatrics) that, for me, should be incentive enough as we’ve seen ourselves hash a number of such opportunities this season already. We also have, at stake, the opportunity to put those blithering hot-spuds back in their place for a few more months, a prospect that’s got every true Arsenal fan foaming at the mouth.
On the injury front, the squad seems to be pretty complete, Jackie picked up a back strain before the international break and  has been passed fit to start, our favourite waiter is to resume full training soon,yes I can see that look of despair on your face,its on mine too, but he faces a fight to wrestle the starting spot from ‘HappyAndski’. RVP played 45 mins for Holland as was agreed, and came through unscathed and so did everyone else. Rosicky and Arsh arrived a little late and may have to settle for places on the bench.

This match will be no easy test regardless it is taking place at the Emirates. This same Tottenham side were able to score three goals at the San-Siro and defeat the defending champions Inter Milan at White Hart Lane which is no easy feat whatsoever. Let’s take a look at our Arsenal side, we were the only team out of the original “top four” that got all 3 points last weekend,with Man.U & Liverpool dropping points and Chelski loosing 0-3 to Sunderland at Stamford Bridge (I still can’t get enough of the Gyan Skank). Fabianski is doing so much better than we all expected in goal

“I just feel happy to be playing regularly every three days. I’m enjoying that and I just want to keep working hard and keep playing as best as I can” Fabianski admitted to the club’s official website.

In defence, Djorou and Squillaci have been in good form in the absence of Koscielny as he is set to make a return after his 2 match ban. In mid field, Fabregas may have found his scoring boots with his impressive strike against Everton, Nasri still averaging 7.0 ratings since the start of the season, Song is slowly becoming a cult hero at the Emirates with his ability to score goals when needed, steal balls in the middle of the park & still co-ordinate the back four (I still think its something in the hair)

RVP has described Hot-Spuds as a top side,despite the fact that they are a few points worse off than last season, but I understand his point. We will have to be at the top of our game because they can hurt you from anywhere the wings,with that demon they call Bale, and then through the middle FAN-DE-FART,who RVP’s claimed tried to get the Gaffer to sign and then they can stab in the long balls with that Peter Crotch….oops I meant Crouch!!!!!. There’s also Modric to contend with,well when he’s not injured. Now since we do not know how to stiffle anyone’s game,we will be attempting to out play them…yes that will be the plan,luckily they actually think they can play us so they won’t try to stiffle our game either. Even luckier still is the fact that we are going up against a team that has not kept a clean sheet since the 1st day of the season…that makes me smile.

How we’ll play? I think we’ll do a 4-2-3-1 with Theo, Cesc and Nasri being our three, and Song and Denilson/Jackie, I don’t think RVP will start, not sure the gaffer’s seen enough of him yet but he did say he felt he was sharp in the Holland game. Our back 5 will be as the same,I personally, am looking forward to the battle between the two ugliest players that will be on the pitch, yes Sagna and Bale, apparently so is Sagna as he indicated in his interview for Arsenal.com. Song will have to stay back a little bit more than he seems to in this game cause there’s bags of pace in this side though, so for me I hope Denilson starts just incase Song doesn’t read this before he gets on the pitch,Little Jackie is more creative but I don’t have any doubt that his creativity won’t be missed,our three always tend to step up in our home derby games. And this is also Chamakh’s first North London Derby.

There’s the extra spice in this particular derby as ex skipper and player and bad boy Willi Gallas returns and as we all know is Nasri’s number 1 enemy as he revealed after Gallas left. knowing Nasri he’ll be doing everything possible to wind him up and hopefully Gallas feels the heat enough to do awn goal. in AW’s usual fashion he has pleaded with the fans not to boo him as he served the club well, i disagree Le Boss, i hope his every touch is booed.
It will be a bit to early for me to be drinking at E-bar by the time the games on…..so I’ll just be drinking at home. I think we’re going to smash them though pretty much like we did in the Carling Cup. Whichever way u can expect all the fire,drama and fantastic football that comes with a North-London derby, so please enjoy it from wherever you watch it.

From wherever you are reading, have fun.

Ita says so, Faf too

Did England really invent the beautiful game?

Samir:Man of Match

When the only big team that performed worse than you at the last FIFA World Cup beats you at home, then you know there is a problem. That was what was running through my mind as I watched England put out another rubbish display, this time against France…yes, the same France that had their football in turmoil as recent as 2 months ago.

Granted, England were missing some key players, Rooney, Lamps, Terry did not feature, but this is a national team for God sakes not club football. The hopes of a national team should not rest on 3 players that are not even in the best of form, not in a friendly game. England really struggled to cope with what a very young France side had on display and resorted to what they know how to do best.

And to think that history has it that this country invented the game. In virtually uncountable decades of playing the game, all this country can boast of is a World Cup won in 1966 courtesy of a Geoff Hurst goal that is still debatable till today. You could be forgiven to think that Brazil invented the game.

I thought to myself and I figured that England are not really good at any kind of football in particular. Look at Brazil for example, they have the Samba futbol as their trademark and you can bet no one plays it better. Italy are known for the catennacio, Holland for their pattern of total football, Germany for their efficient football. What is England really best at? Hoofing the ball I guess.

Yes, this works well against smaller teams, but against organized teams like the french side we saw yesterday, you do not stand a chance if you do not play proper footie. England looked lost and the experienced players did not lead well yesterday. Carroll, who got only his first game for the Three Lions yesterday looked like he had been in the team before Steven Gerrard!

On the Arsenal front though, a win for Sagna and a Man of Match performance from Nasri cancels out the fact that Walcott and Gibbs were on the losing side. And I also won my bet against Escobar.

Meanwhile, Cesc was also on the receiving end of a trashing from Portugal last night. I liken this to Sunderland’s defeat of Chelsea:one offs. RVP played 45mins last night and got an assist, while Cham29 was on the score sheet.

So it seems there are no fresh injury concerns from yesterday’s games which is great news. We can only hope for more good news when they return to training in preparation for the big match on Saturday.

I’m out of here!

From wherever you are reading, have fun.
9jabred says so!

Chamakh is Hot, RVP is Fit and Bendtner Whines. Striking Dilenma, Who would you start??


They are here again, the preposterous International friendlies, FIFA’s way of getting revenues for itself in the name of football. That said, it comes with its ups and downs. The downs being the risk of injuries to players and fatigue on returning to their parent clubs. And then again times like this gives me the opportunity to talk on some important things. This time we are taking a look at the striker situation at Arsenal. I have been waiting to write this piece ever since news broke of Robin Van Persie back in training.

Music to our ears right? Then came Bendtner’s rant, about wanting to leave and accessing his options if he didn’t get much playing which at first I thought was another misquote from the press until it was confirmed he did say it. Say what? This is someone who has seen strikers better than him leave the club, got a significant pay rise and a season later despite injuries and not being fully fit he goes out and says something like that. What a doughnut!!!

For the first time in a long while we actually have competition for places up front and in the middle of the park and the thought of having better squad depth than United and Chelski is nothing short of pure excitement. When Chamakh was signed in the summer I wondered how Arsene Wenger was going to play this out. The 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 only allows for only one proper striker flanked by two attacking midfielders or in front of three attacking midfielders meaning somebody will have to play the role of back up striker. Bummer!!! Like we needed any more disgruntled player(s) .

I for one welcome that, we need more competition for places especially as injuries have become a convenient excuse for us over time and if a player is not happy at playing second fiddle or getting subbed a lot he should pull his socks up and win a place in the starting XI. Let’s look at the options available to us and reasons why who should start and who should accept the role of back up.

ROBIN VAN PERSIE

Everyone’s favorite to lead the attack, the injury prone Dutch forward blessed with Van Basten like technique (a little exaggeration here) , quick feet, free kick specialist and a strong left foot. The 26 year old has come of age in recent times, and even though his career has been blighted by injuries, he still puts in a more than solid shift when called upon.

Highly talented and could easily walk into any of Europe’s elite clubs not only is he one of Holland’s key players, he is also vice captain at Arsenal which says a lot about his influence on younger players and the authority he commands in the dressing room. We all hope he could stay fit from now till seasons end to help with the title push. To be honest if he can’t do that, I would say we cash in on him now and buy someone like him that can stay fit and bang in the goals we need.

My Opinion : When fit, he’ll definitely start either upfront flanked by Arshavin and Theo or on the Left of a 4-3-3 formation with Chamakh in the middle and Theo on the right, or a 4-4-2 formation partnering Chamakh/Nikky B. Definite starter.

Chamakh
Less than 20 games in and yet some people are still not convinced about our Moroccan forward. Beats me myself. 8 goals and 6 assists so far, what more can you ask for? Considering the fact that its just his first season and as Arsene likes to point out “it takes 6 months for a new player to adjust” , Cham29 has done it in less than 3 months and yet some fans complain! Why not try put on boots and a jersey and replicate his form?

Granted, he drifts to the wings a lot but let’s not forget his high work rate which shows hunger and determination. Against Everton, he held up play beautifully and defended well at set pieces. He might not have Tevez’s work rate or speed, but he does his best which as of now is paying dividends and making him a fans favourite. If he was signed as back up, AW must have a rethink, now seeing as his 8 goals so far is just 8 shy of his overall tally for Bordeaux last season.

My Opinion :Should start in away and important games ahead of Nikky B due to his experience and goals tally so far, and the quiet way he goes about doing his work. In whatever formation he’ll be back-up to RVP unless in a 4-2-3-1 formation

Nicklas Bendtner
Ah! The cocky Dane who I like personally but has not lived up to his personal billing of a great striker as he called himself. Caught by the media with his pants down after a club party, argued and came to blows with former strike partner Adebarndoor and survived a car accident last year. Lotza issues eh? His goal tally may not be superb but its his knack for scoring crucial goals (Burnley and Hull anyone?). His confidence never wanes. He’s often complained about wanting to play as a centre forward and not on the wings, that looked likely to happen after the sale of Eduardo only for injuries to strike. In his and RVP’s absence, Cham29 has banged in goals and assists and is no longer looking like a back up. Instead of ranting and going to the press I think he should be fit first and work harder in training. Arsene’s response to his complains was that “he’s going nowhere and he’s an integral part of the squad. Now he has to prove it.

My Opinion : 3 goals so far this season doesn’t make him an automatic starter, he’s sure to find himself on the bench more than on the field but nonetheless he’s a great option from the bench and knowing AW, Nikky B will get his fair share of games this season.

Let’s pray all of our 16 players come out unscathed today and tomorrow; especially Gibbs and Theo who I’d be keeping an eye on at Wembley). By the way, 9jabred’s rooting for France tonight, he’s got this affinity for anything French simply because of Thierry Henry. Now, we’ve got Samir, Clichy and Sagna. Great lads eh?
Let’s see which of us is smiling at the end of the game.

Up next for us, is NOTHINGham HotSpuds. They have nothing, let’s show them what we have got.

That’s it for today, I’m off to a date.

From wherever you’re reading this have fun
Escobar’s gonna have a ball