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Diaby Stars As Arsenal Win : The Blackpool Player Ratings.

Surprise start by Lehmann who replaced the ill/injured(depending on who you believe) Almunia. Diaby, Eboue, Fabregas came in for Song, Theo & sagna. 2 goals in each half saw Arsenal run away with the 3 points. Below are the ratings.

Mad Jens7.5
Second First debut for the overly eccentric german. Handled himself well, came out and dealt with crosses, even composed enough to round an on rushing blackpool striker and a good save after Clichy faltered.

Eboue 7.5
Stunning finish from the much maligned overly loved fullback. Ran the wings well and put in one or two tackles and also caught out of position. Good day.

Squillaci 8
High rating because of that last ditch tackle that preceded the 3rd goal. With the game at 2-1 and Blackpool one shot away from levelling, he came through BIG. Probably his first ever tackle since joining Arsenal.

Koscielny7
Was comfortable against the threat of just one Blackpool forward. He was ok throughout and covered well for Clichy.

Clichy6
Would have gotten a 7, but the stupid lapse in concentration in the dying minutes of the game could have cost us. He seems to do it every season, remember City & B’ham a few years back.

Wilshere7
Solid going forward and defending, found himself on the wrong end of the oppositions tackling but his character shone through. Picked up a booking trying to prevent a counter.

Diaby8.5
I think the last time diaby got a rating this high must have been in a Fifa 11 video game. Started the game on fire, profiting from good build up play between Cesc, RVP, Arshavin. He was immense in the midfield and stupidly picked up a booking but showed considerable strength & grit in the second 45.

Fabregas8
Pass after pass, lob after lob, he lost me with his precision and decision making and the number of chances he created in the opening half alone. Set Theo on his way for the assist to RVP’s goal and Arsenal’s 3rd. Good outing.

Nasri7
Not his best game for Arsenal, but for the goalkeeper he would have gotten his name on the score sheet.

Arshavin6.5
Was more out of the game than in the game. Posed little threat but he defended well.

Van Persie7
On another day he could have scored 5. Poor refereeing coupled with profligate finishing cost him. Made amends after being offered a good assist by the speedy Theo

SUBSTITUTES

Walcott7
Came on with the game finely poised and he turned it on its head with his pace and laid on the winning goal for RVP after great play by Eboue, Cesc & Diaby.

GibbsN/A

RamseyN/A.

Man of the MatchAbou Diaby

Good to see us pick up a vital and necessary win. The gap is back to seven points with a game in hand.
From wherever you’re reading have a great day.

Escobar

Arsenal Vs Barcelona : Match Preview

The Champions league resumes with the knockout stage that sees us pitted against the best team in the world according to popular and widespread beliefs, Barcelona. But are they really that mighty? On paper and in La Liga they are, but we all know the champions league is a different ball game entirely.

No point crying over spilt milk as we could have avoided this fixture at this stage if only we had topped our group, but as Le Boss is always quick to point out “To be the best, you gotta beat the best”. I love our coach, if only I shared his enthusiasm at times.

Looking to banish memories of last years deflating loss and eventual exit at their hands the lads are rearing to go and confidence within the camp can’t be any higher and as if that’s not enough good news, we only have one major absentee through injury and that’s TV5. After disposing of Wolves without hitting top gear and watching Barca held by a brave Sporting Gijon side, you’d fancy our chances especially with Puyol set to miss the first leg.

When we were drawn against the Catalans last season, I stood alone in saying we won’t lose at the Emirates no matter the situation and final outcome and I’m glad to report that this season am not alone with those thoughts. For some reason, gooners worldwide are calm about this tie and I’ll tell you why.

    For starters, we’re not missing that many players and we don’t have anyone carrying knocks at the moment. Last season, we had Rvp out injured Fab and Arsh both half fit etc

    The team is stronger than it was at this stage last year and the emergence of key players like Jack wilshere, Samir Nasri and Johan Djourou has provided the fans with some cheer.

    If you think Messi is in form then RVP is form, banging in goals with his head, left leg and right leg.

I’ll get back to the 101 reasons why we can beat Barca but for now let’s look at team news ahead of the show down. Le Boss is most likely to stick to the same team that defeated Wolves at the weekend with the only real headache is whether to start Nasri(who has recovered from the hamstring injury earlier than expected) or play him from the bench. One enforced changed is the introduction of Eboue for Sagna with the latter suspended from the group stages. A healthy Arsenal squad will beat any team in the world any day to me.

Much attention has been paid to Paul Merson’s comments about the Arsenal players that would make the Barca team. I don’t have the exact comment but he implied that only Cesc, Nasri and RVP would enter the current Barca squad…….. as substitutes. Imagine that??? What rubbish. Is he trying to say Busquets is better than Song or Wilshere, or Maxwell and Adriano better than Clichy, or the trio of Iniesta-Xavi-Pedro beats that of Cesc-Nasri-Theo? In my own books, this is what a combined team of Arse-Barca would look like today and am sure most of you would agree.

    Valdes

    Alves Vermaelen Puyol Clichy

    Fabregas Song Xavi

    Messi RVP Villa

The bench would definately have more Arsenal players than Barca, a different formation would see Nasri and or Iniesta in the line up. But the matter on hand is how to stop barca, or how to make sure our game surpasses theirs. We need to take the game to them early, and focus on our own game rather than on individual battles, keeping possession for long spells during the game is also essential. This would make Barca chase the ball which they aren’t used to and we could capitalise on that. But this is easier said than done. Xavi would be looking to do what he does best and so too will Messi, but if we can keep one quiet then I foresee an advantage.

Personally I’d love to see Wilshere stick to Messi throughout the game, not necessarily as a man marking strategy but just to harry him each time he touches the ball, kinda like Tiote did Fabregas in the 2nd half of the 4-4 game at the Emirates. No matter the team that is sent out there, I expect nothing less than 100% from them, my only worry is the fact that Eboue gets to start, let’s just pray Barca continue their habit of repeatedly attacking from the right.

We will cause them problems as I expect Alves’ attacking instincts to be curbed and Pique won’t have it easy against the Red hot RVP, and with Wilshere and Song enforcing behind Fabregas our attacks would be devastating. Even they would need to be careful as to how they attack us knowing they have full backs not known for their defensive strengths and Walcott agaisnt Maxwell is already giving me goose pimples. Our defence needs to be on their toes, they’re used to playing against physical strikers and winning aerial balls and this might pose a problem as Barca forwards don’t require any of that and like to let their feet(which by the way are some of the quickest in world football) do the damage.

Irrespective of what happens come the end of 90 mins, football would be the winner as both teams have mastered the art of entertainment, winning or losing they’re always pleasing to watch and let’s hope we’re the one’s with the loudest noise come end of the game. I repeat I don’t see us losing at the Emirates, it won’t happen.

Possible Formation : Chezzer-Eboue-Kozzer-JD-Clichy-Song-Wilshere-Fabregas-Walcott-Arshavin-RVP.

Your thoughts?

Escobar

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Gunners Tame Wolves : The Player Ratings

Song

With the team that defeated Manure the previous week visiting the Emirates, the lads had to be on their toes to avoid any slip ups. Le Boss resisted the urge to rest anyone and sent out the team most likely to play Barcelona midweek. It was most likely to be a walk in the park. Below are our ratings.

Szczesny6
Slow afternoon for the Polish man who also kept a clean sheet for his country midweek. Wolves didn’t have a shot on target all evening so he wasn’t really bothered.

Sagna 7
Routine outing for the French full back who was also on International duty mid week. Didn’t show any sign of fatigue as he was on hand to provide width in attack when needed and also falling back needed.

Djourou 7.5
Almost scored a goal similar to that at Newcastle after an Arshavin free-kick. Calm at the back as his combination with Koscielny kept the wolves front men quiet throughout.

Koscielny7.5
Another good outing. Good to know we can keep a clean sheet. Looking forward to see who Le’Boss pairs with Vermaelen when he’s fully fit.

Clichy7
Played so much better defensively today as he was on hand to put in some crucial tackles when needed. Always shines when playing with weaker opponents. (Tongue out)

Wilshere8.5
The commentary team had nothing but praise for him. Lovely display from the young English man in the middle of the park. Stole the show from Fabregas today waltzing his way through the wolves defence & dishing out passes with so much ease. Taken off in the 76th minute to get some rest.

Song7.5
Did good in the middle of the park with the perfect blend of defence & attack. Good to have him back after the injury scare. Would be a huge plus for the team later this week.

Fabregas7.5
His combination with Wilshere is starting to look like a match made in heaven as both of them are capable to find that killer pass with only an inch of space. His magic touch would really be needed mid-week. Provided the assist that led to the first goal.

Walcott7.5
Switched wings with Arshavin early in the game. Was able to break out and dish the ball to RVP for his second goal. Commentators said the lines man couldn’t keep up with his speed to tell whether the pass was offside or not. Unfortunate not to get a goal.

Arshavin6
Missed a couple of sitters, was always looking to dish the ball out when needed. Not a bad outing for him. Substituted for Chamakh in the 71st minute.

Van Persie8.5* (MOTM) On hand to put the ball at the back of the net with the first real move. Sublime finish. Scored the second with a well taken shot after a routine counter attack from the team. Man of the match performance as he provided the only goals for the game.

SUBSTITUTES

Bendtner5
Made some rash decisions when he came on. Had some chances to dish the ball but went for glory

ChamakhN/A
DenilsonN/A

So 2-0 against Wolves Home & Away this season. We should have scored more goals as there were countless chances but all that mattered is that we got the 3points and the race is still on with Manure. Its Champs League football on Wednesday at the Emirates, we play defending champions Barcelona & that’s a match the whole world is looking forward to. Here’s hoping for the best *Fingers Crossed*

From wherever you’re reading this,
Have a good evening.

Faf

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