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The Goon blog

Archive for September, 2009

Arsenal batter down the Greek barn door 5

Posted on September 30, 2009 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

Yesterday I asked for the team to show how good they can be, and they did. The 2-0 scoreline does Olympiakos a favour, they were under the cosh for 99% of the game and the movement, speed and creativity you get from Arsenal at their very best lit up Ashburton Grove last night. The 60 odd thousand people in the stadium got a real glimpse of football at its most beautiful.

On the other side they got a glimpse of football at its most fustrating.

Olympiakos, managed by a Brazillian, conspired to keep as many men between the ball and their net, and for the majority of the game it worked. If it wasn’t for their keeper it would have been a cricket score, he put in one of the best goalkeeping displays I have seen for a very long time, it was similar to Almunia’s display in the Champions League away at Old Trafford last season.

I was starting to get twitchy, for all the beautiful football I would have given anything for a goal and when it came it was a massive relief. It was an acid test, can Arsenal now get three points from a game where the other team parks the bus in front of the goal? The answer it seems is yes.

Eduardo, who I thought should have started in a game like this, was fed the ball by Cesc within minutes of arriving on the pitch, he produced a lovely little pull-back for van Persie to slot home and get a goal he really, really deserved. His celebration showed the team-spirit that is in the squad this season, he didn’t race away lapping up all the applause from the crowd, he wanted his team-mates to celebrate with him.

Eduardo is one of those players that can produce something that can win the game, yes Arshavin and van Persie are capable of that but neither of those possess the natural predatory instincts that Eduardo has. He will be important this season, very important.

The second goal was a thing of beauty, after some lovely passing the ball was slid across the box to the offside Arshavin to back-heel home, it was a deserved reward for him after a frustrating game, he was sublime in phases and towards the end of the game was running around like he was getting chased by a swarm of wasps. In a mood like that nobody can touch him. At one stage earlier in the game he seemed to get a bit of a bollocking from the boss on the touchline but when a game opens up, there are not many finer exponents of a situation like that than Arshavin. It shows why he is one of the worlds best footballers.

It was a fitting way to end the scoring, none of the goals came from scrappy goal-mouth scrambles it was pure football, the type Zico would be proud of, sadly he seemed to be a little bit angry with the French officials, accusing UEFA of being pro-Arsenal.

There were welcome returns to form for Cesc and Clichy who despite having the odd wobbly moment was sublime in others, his interceptions were brilliant and he attacked with the kind of force we saw a few seasons ago. Cesc was everywhere, he had numerous attempts on goal and on another day would have got himself on the score-sheet more than once, the woodwork denied him what would have been a quite stunning goal. It was good to see him back, a relief.

Praise must go to Emmanuel Eboue who is probably playing some of his best football in an Arsenal shirt, you can see why Wenger sometimes goes with him instead of Sagna to offer an extra bit going forward and in the final third Eboue can come up with the down right awful, and some down right excellence, there was some of the latter last night.

The concentration the center-back pairing showed was impressive, along with Vito Mannone who was a passenger for much of the game, when called upon he did his job well and made one good save. Sadly for him it seems Almunia may well be back at the weekend and hopefully Mannone has given him a kick up the arse.

It was a great performance from the lads last night and so far this season we have shown that we have the class, grit, and determination to get us through the toughest of games. Yes, have have lost two league games already but there will be no team this season that goes to Citeh, Everton and United and comes out with more than 6 points. We got 3 from those games, thats 3 very tricky games out the way.

Bring on the weekend. More tomorrow.


We ground out the win at the weekend, now for the convincing performance 7

Posted on September 29, 2009 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

Apologies for my absence over the past few days, my server has been somewhat temperamental.

It is a bit late to tell you about the game on Saturday night but you can see my summary here on my Sunday column:

Yesterdays win was fantastic in my book, we were made to show a few characteristics that have been beyond the side in the last few seasons. It was one of those days that we had to really dig in and grind out a result, it was a chance to close the gap on Chelsea and a chance that we couldn’t afford to miss.

If you take stock now, our start to the season has not been a bad one at all, we have been to Everton, United and City and got 3 points out of it – its not form that would set the world alight but many teams will go to those three places and get nothing.

Read the whole thing here.

Tonight we take on Olympiakos at the Grove and they are a decent side so its not going to be the rollover some people seem to think it will be, Olof Mellberg and Enzo Maresca are players I rate pretty highly and we all remember when Mellberg scored the first ever competitive goal at the Grove.

NB's car

Pic from The Sun

We have yet more absentees for this game, Bendtner has had a very lucky escape from a car crash but will miss the game after not training as a precaution, Walcott is still not back and Denilson has been ruled out for two months with a broken bone in his back. He is the third player in the last six months to have damaged their back with Clichy having what sounds like an almost identical injury at the end of last season, Walcott has had back problems too. Is it something someone should be looking at in the training routines?

Tonight is a chance to show how good the team can be, we saw the ugly side of the team on Saturday and we battled out a win, now is time for the convincing win to back it up. We have to win all our home games in the Champions League, and all our home games in all competitions, if we are going to win something this season.

I would like to see Eduardo given a start down the middle tonight, its games like this when he can grab some important goals to get the game over and done with without much hassle, Arshavin will probably start on the left again and there is a chance Eboue could slot in on the right, van Persie could get a rest and be introduced in the second half.

In midfield I hope to God we don’t see Diaby again, though I fear we will. I said last season I wouldn’t give a toss if he was sold on and I stick by that, he is giving more of the ridiculous that sublime at the moment, he unbalances the whole of the midfield when he is playing. If Wenger wants a tall player in the middle of the park why doesn’t he just buy Peter Crouch and stand him in the middle of the pitch? Thats all Diaby offers at present.

I’m looking forward to this game but a win is far from a certainty, I don’t think we will lose the game but a draw is a possibility, another clean sheet would keep Mannone’s confidence up and the confidence of the defence as a whole.We might see Carlos Vela tonight as well, he needs to start performing and pressing for a starting birth.

More tomorrow.


Technical issues Comments Off

Posted on September 28, 2009 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

Over the past few days the blog has had a few technical issues, I don’t know what they were or why they happened but it looks like everything is working again.

The blog will resume as normal tomorrow.


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