News From The Grove

Hull Aftermath And Porto Preparation

Posted in Arsenal by Our Correspondent on September 30, 2008

I believe I’m over my post Hull depression. It was really very hard to take. Especially when we had the chance to remain on top of the table. And when we knew that Manyoo and Chelski would always get referees’ decisions in their favour. Hull, playing for the first time in the Premier League, that too in Emirates Stadium, we should have won the game in the first half itself. Instead, we lost.

There have been reactions from all quarters, including Arsene Wenger, who said that the defeat left him physically sick. According to him, the team lacked focus and possibly took it easy and thought that just turning up for the match would give us the three points. Didn’t happen and we dropped three points and places.

In a surprising statement, Kolo Toure said that he was scared to face Hull City. He said:

“Against Man United everybody thinks it’s going to be a tight game but when you play against Hull it’s harder because you are expected to win and score in the first minute. But it doesn’t happen like that. I was scared against Hull because there are no easy games. We are professional players and when we go out we want to play well and win.”
Scared? Point taken that there are no easy games in the Premier League. But being a professional with many years of top flight experience, I’m not sure why Toure was scared.

Moving on, the boss has promised that he will make changes in the team that would face Porto later tonight. But he insists that the changes are not punishment. He says:

“Punishment? No, you know sometimes you make changes because you consider the other team, you consider the balance of your team, sometimes because one player is not at his best.”

I’d like to see Wenger punish those who didn’t perform. Not for lack of skill but for lack of will we lost that match. And I’d like him to take the decision of dropping William Gallas. He, more than anyone, has taken his place in the team for granted. Possibly a Vela – Bendtner or Vela – Adebayor partnership upfront and Nasri on the left, who incidentally is fit to play. Cesc Fabregas has been out for form till now and it is about time he regains it. The crunch time in the league is coming soon. Now is the time to race ahead and post December we must consolidate our position. We can’t afford to slip up like we did last season. The players know this too. If only they implement it on the pitch and consistently show their consistency.

Image Courtesy 1000



Posted in Arsenal by Our Correspondent on September 27, 2008

It is a disaster. Period. Arsenal suffered their second defeat in 60 games at the Emirates Stadium. This was the first League meeting between the two sides for 93 years. What was predicted as a sound trashing of the new boys, turned out to be a lesson in efficiency and never-say-die attitude for the Gunners. I’m too disappointed/ depressed to write a big match report and review. Here’s a quick round-up of what happened:

The boss made two changes to the team that beat Bolton last week, with Theo Walcott and Van Persie coming in place of Alex Song and Nicklas Bendtner respectively. We started the game very slowly and it took us a good 20 minute to find our rhythm. An Adebayor header was disallowed by the referee as he was adjudged to have climbed on McShane before heading the ball in. Fabregas had a quite game, which reflected on our performance. Our defence must improve considerably, as it was Gallas’ mistake that led to the winner scored by them. Today’s loss means we drop down to 4th place. Next we play FC Porto in a UEFA Champions League First Round tie. Hoping for a much better display by the team. C’monn you Reddss!!

Platini Gets Scolded By His Father, Clichy And Silvestre Ready

Posted in Arsenal by Our Correspondent on September 26, 2008

Tomorrow we play Hull City, who have done quite well for themselves so far. Eight points from five games for a team that is playing in the Premier League for the very first time, it is a remarkable achievement. They are a good side and in Phil Brown, they have a very good manager. However, given our form of late, the game shouldn’t be too tough for us. The Tigers will come with a different strategy to the Grove and try and crowd the midfield and hurry on to our players in order to give them less time to play the passing game. We should be able to take care of that, however, we must ensure that we don’t concede first. Easy as it may seem, but I have a feeling that if we concede first, they are going to make it very very difficult for us. The boss thinks that our defence has been very good so far. It is true that we have conceded just 3 goals so far, against Fulham, Bolton and Dynamo Kyiv, But I feel that we have been lucky. Kevin Davies was winning the long balls ahead of Gallas and Toure in the game against Bolton and that is where we are the most vulnerable. Credit to Almunia for keeping the clean sheets because many a times the Toure-Gallas wall was breached. Lesser sides couldn’t capitalise maybe, but the top teams will definitely punish us, make no mistake about it. The good thing is that our attack has improved tremendously. Last season there weren’t many goals coming from the midfield, except for Fabregas. This season, we already have 3 from Adebayor, 3 from Robin van Persie, 2 from Denilson, and 1 each from Bendtner, Eboue and Nasri. Which means, we are not too dependent on any single player to get us the goals. Which is good news.

Moving on, Gael Clichy is fit to face Hull, after recovering from that sick tackle by Davies. However, Samir Nasri is not available, as he has failed to recover from the knee problem. Also ready for the first time is Silvestre. Song should be available as well, as there were reports that he has recovered from his hip injury. Given the awesome partnership displayed by Carlos Vela and Nicklas Bendtner, there is a possibility that the boss might start with the same pairing upfront. Nicklas Bendtner, who was one of the older players to play in that match against Sheffield United, says that there is more to come from him. He says:

“This season I want to push on, to play more regularly and show people what I really can do, because so far what people have seen is far from everything.”

I have said before that I like this guy’s confidence, which sometimes people mistake as arrogance. He is very sure about his own abilities and says that openly. If he thinks he is better than you, he will tell you straight on your face. It’s this confidence that the boss likes in him. Bendtner, when he was a reserve player, once went up to Wenger and told him that he is good enough to play in the first team and if he doesn’t get to start, he should at least be amongst the substitutes. Walking up to Arsene Wenger and telling him that, no matter who you are, takes courage. And this fellow has lots of it, along with a steady head on his shoulders.

Another young but very mature fellow is Cesc Fabregas. Following the drubbing of Sheffied Utd by a very young Arsenal team, Fabregas said that it was a warning for him, and he cannot afford to take his place in Arsenal’s midfield for granted. That, coming from a player who is considered one of the best midfielders in the world, tells you two things. One, the quality of our reserve team and two, Fabregas never gets ahead of himself. He says:

“Sometimes when the players are so young you can feel your place is too secure and so it’s fantastic to have some kind of competition, that they wake you up a little and they can make you a better player.”

How very true. If you have competition, someone constantly breathing down your neck, then you work that extra bid, go that extra mile, which in turn shows in your performance on the pitch. And it’s that kind of a performance that we hope from the team when we take on Hull tomorrow. Hoping for a goal fest. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Before ending today’s post, here is a funny story. Yesterday I told you about Platini’s comments, where he said that Wenger is more concerned about the business side of football than helping develop the game. Wenger wasn’t happy with his comments, nor was the LMA. Now, Platini’s father has scolded him, saying that what he said was stupid and that he should get his head checked. My advise to Platini is that he should seriously listen to his father and take his friend Bald Blatter to see a shrink. Before it is too late.

More tomorrow..

Arsenal 6 – 0 Sheffield Utd, Michel Platini Has Lost It

Posted in Arsenal by Our Correspondent on September 24, 2008

First watch the video of Arsenal vs Sheffield United Carling Cup tie that Arsenal’s young team won 6-0. Now some facts. The average age of the Arsenal team that took on Sheffield Utd was 19. The oldest player on the pitch was 23 year old Lukas Fabianski. 19 year old Carlos Alberto Vela scored a hattrick. 16 year old Jack Wilshere became the second youngest goal scorer for Arsenal. Sheffield Utd had such experienced players as Gary Speed and Paddy Kenny.

Fielding a young side in the Carling Cup has been a policy of Arsene Wenger for quite sometime now. And we have been successful in reaching the later stages of this tournament quite consistently. Four out of last five seasons we have reached the semis or beyond. We routed Liverpool 6-2 at Anfield. But never have so many people sat up and taken notice of this young breed of players. They always knew that Arsenal develop young players. But they are now scared of the products that this football factory is churning out. Even the detractors of Arsenal and Arsene Wenger must have noticed that there were a number of English boys in the team who tore Kevin Blackwell’s team apart.

Wenger believes in this team and believes that this bunch of young players can go all the way. He said:

“We want to win the trophy with this team. [I won’t change the team] Tottenham or not Tottenham or anybody else. I believe the only pressure you have is when you go through the rounds and get to the semi-final. Suddenly everybody is starting to say OK, and now you have to change all the players. “You let them play how they played tonight and suddenly you say ‘sorry you don’t play anymore’. For me that is not serious, no matter how far we go we have to stick to our policy.”

With Arsenal sitting on top of the table, the youngsters showing how good they are, Eduardo and Rosicky on their way back to the first team, it looks pretty good for the team at the minute. The way the team plays, the attitude, the team spirit, all instilled in them by Arsene Wenger, as seen by the ‘secret document’ discovered in a hotel. Speaking of which, Wenger declared that we are proud of our Bolton prep-talk. And why wouldn’t we be? There is nothing wrong in what Arsene said/says to the team. And the results are to be seen. We went one down and still managed to wallop them.

We play beautiful football, we play effective football and people like to watch us because we play entertaining football. That is why our club and our manager are respected world over. Because he has contributed a lot for the development of the players and the game of football as a whole. Everybody accepts that, except a certain Michel Platini. The UEFA boss has alleged that Wenger is more concerned about business than developing football. In an interview, Platini was asked about the introduction of video technology in the game. To which he replied:

“I like to talk about football, him (Wenger) about business. We must stop with Wenger and all that. “It would make me happy that Arsene Wenger never sees it.”

Citing the example of the recent victory of Romania’s CFR Cluj over AS Roma, he continued:

“That is what makes football so great. It is what people like Wenger do not want, little clubs beating the big clubs, because they want their business.”

Wenger didn’t like these comments and nor did the League Managers’ Association. LMA Chairman Howard Wilkinson said:

“Platini has made serious and personal comments about one of football’s greatest ever managers, who is also counted among our most respected member.”

Why did Platini say those things? Because, him and Sepp Blatter are two morons that need to wake up to reality. Rather than making and supporting rules that are good for football, for example goal line technology, they go on harping about meaningless ‘home grown’ and ‘6+ 5’ rules, which are in direct contrast to the European Union laws. And besides, how is the introduction of goal line technology against small teams like CFR Cluj and how is it good for business? Platini accuses Wenger of doing little for football. Wonder what he has done for football himself? Yes, nothing is the answer. Him and Blatter have somehow got their chair and every once in a while, these two meet in some secret dark hole, get high on some crack and give some ridiculous statements to the press. And the bald one goes to South Africa to do a stupid little jig.

It’s time the national associations wake up and see what these two are really upto and ensure that these maniacs are thrown out. Because they are harming the game of football with their crazy demented ideas.

More tomorrow…

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