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Tuesday 1 March 2011

Time To Prove Their Balls Have Dropped & That The Gunners Are Not About To Drop Any More?

I'm just glad I wrote Monday's diary missive in advance of listening to Alan Davies' latest episode of The Tuesday Club podcast (highly recommended & amusing aid for getting Sunday's anguish out of one's system), as otherwise I would've felt that it sounded as if I'd only regurgitated some of their opinions, word for word.

Alan Davies did however point out the relatively poor performance of Alex Song, which I neglected to mention, as I was expecting Alex to be one of our most influential players on Sunday and was particularly disappointed by the way in which the game just seemed to pass him by.

However, on reflection, I was only commenting at Leyton Orient the other week, that I was surprised to see Song starting in our FA Cup encounter, as in light of Alex's energetic style, if there was one player who I felt might have deserved a breather against the O's it was him. I don't have a programme to hand to check his appearances, but ever since we've commenced the recent hectic schedule, I've had the sense that Song is the one player who, when fit, seems to have played game in, game out, without Arsene considering it necessary to give Alex a rest, when he's rotated the majority of other players.

Maybe someone who's got the stats in their head will correct me, but if this isn't a misapprehension, then perhaps we should be cutting Song a little slack because it could just be that his disappointing display on Sunday was due to the fact that he's simply running on empty?

Amazing second half to the match at Stamford Bridge. I know he was somewhat to blame for Wayne Rooney's opener, but at a fraction of the cost of Torres, sadly I can't help but marvel that David Luiz looks a blinding purchase. With Utd at 0-1 up at the beginning of the second half, I was about to comment quite how solid their back four looked, even in the absence of Ferdinand. That was until seemingly someone stuck a rocket up Chelsea's backside.

Nevertheless, even in light of the subsequent pressure the Blues brought to bear, I still have the sense that even when Chelsea were at their most potent, Utd looked so much more composed than we tend to do in similar circumstances. I just pray that the Blues continue with their inconsistent (complacent?) form, as based on Chelsea's performance in tonight's game alone, I'm wondering if we should be celebrating their victory quite so enthusiastically because if they continue in a similar vein, we might have been better off with a draw?

Still, at least there was plenty of comfort in knowing how pissed off our Spurs pals will be with having been leapfrogged into 5th place. While I was teasing my Spurs mates, I made sure to remind them that this was poetic justice for all those times in the recent past, when I've given them stick for supporting Chelsea and all their Nazi neanderthals, when it suited them to see the Kings Road mercenaries mullah the Gunners.

I also reminded them that at this rate, they'll soon be leapfrogged by the Mickey Mousers as well and that they'd better win the Champs League, if they ever want a sniff of competing in the tournament in the future. Apparently, if they can't qualify in 4th, they'd be happier finishing completely out of the running, rather than having to compete in the Europa Cup! Naturally I assured them "ask and so shall ye receive" :-)

Meanwhile it's down to us now to consolidate tonight's wonderful result (with the cherry on top being the red card which ensures Vidic missed the trip to Anfield) by beating Sunderland on Saturday and I'm sure I'm not alone in my inescapable pessimism about the prospects of us blowing it against Steve Bruce's mob, as we've invariably tended to do, whenever we've been afforded an opportunity to capitalize on the competition's slip ups.

Hopefully we'll see Chelsea revert to their recent complacent form soon enough, especially if Cashley Hole is the arbiter of the Blues attitude, as with Malouda playing on his flank, it seems to give the cnut license to take his foot off the gas (mind you, no surprise if poor Cashley's become a bit shot shy!). Nevertheless based on the second half alone, my abiding sense was that both Chelsea and Man Utd's squads appear that much more formidable than our own.

Sure I appreciate that with our average age of 23, we are a work in progress and perhaps the eventual return of Tommy the Tank will afford us something of the solidity and composure at the back that still appears to be our biggest disadvantage. You never know, the Terminator might even to lend us the leadership capabilities, which we so obviously lack when our backs are up against the wall. But with the reports that we'll be travelling to Catalunya without the injured RVP, for my money, this is only more grist to the mill of what might yet prove to be the most significant disparity between the Gunners and our immediate competition.

When you see Ancelotti having the ability to turn to Doddier Drigba when the Blues were 0-1 down and Fergie throwing on the likes of Berbatov and Giggs to try and rescue a result, I can't help but make comparisons with the relatively blunt instruments at Arsene's disposal to spearhead an Arsenal recovery.

Perhaps Nicky Bendtner will yet prove himself to be anywhere near as brilliant as he is inside his own over-sized head. Yet no matter what the Dane does to make me eat my words, with the weight he must be carrying considering the size of his ego, can anyone seriously see the lumbering striker ever possessing the sort of grace of movement seen from RVP (or the likes of Berbatov and Giggs) of the sort the marks out the world's greatest marksmen? Or the pace and power of the likes of Drogba, the sort that has centre-backs looking at the opposition team sheet and conjuring up a niggle, rather than being embarrassed by the prospect of a 90 minute wrestle with the world's best?

Even if it's true that Marouanne's loss of form is merely due to the fact that his head's not right, while allegedly his lawyers do everything in their power to prevent him becoming the latest laughing stock as a result of a purported salacious scandal involving 3 Swedish birds, a Las Vegas Hotel room and nothing but a rubber raincoat covering the lad's embarrassment, as much respect as I might have for the Moroccan's work rate and his potential to provide AW with some much needed variation, it's hard to see Chamakh standing on the touchline as the Gunner's very own Superman, coming off the bench faster than a speeding bullet to save the day.

But I don't want to get too morose, as I'd better leave something to moan about should we not be able to live up to the massive weight of expectation that's bound to accrue in the media when Saturday comes. And you never know, the mighty Gunners might just be about to prove that our time has come?

Come on you rip, roaring Reds, it's in your own hands...all you gotta do now is prove yourselves worthy of making the cricket team by not dropping the ball

Big Love

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Anonymous said...

Once again I see Arsenal supporters becoming more like Spurs supporters. I watched the Chelski ManU game in a pub full of gooners all supporting the team in blue, it was very funny.

The ball was dropped on Sunday at Wembley and it won't be picked up in time for the Nou Camp on Tuesday or even for the FA Cup game at Old Trafford.

Let's face it, the French Man has been 'building' a team for SIX years now and hasn't achieved the success that the twitching one has done in two.

Sad but true :)

Anonymous said...

"no matter what the Dane does to make me eat my words..."

While I certainly don't disagree with your points made about the big Dane, I do hope he'll build on the 3 he put away against Orient in today's game (not to mention Tuesday), and that you'll be left with a belly full!

As regards Song, he has looked somewhat fatigued for a while now and I worry less about his being available for Tuesday than I do the remaining league fixtures. Perhaps it's exposing my naivety here but I feel that Diaby (without having to worry about a Barton/Bowyer type with sights set on clattering his frail bones) might be better suited to a game with the Catalan pass masters than is Song. Then again, their quickness could certainly expose his oft dodgy tackling...

Anyway, let's hope the lads are better able to refrain from the distraction of the pending showdown than am I, and are ready to turn up the pressure on Fergie's bunch.

Take it easy,