What The Hell Is Going On?

It’s not a good week for Arsenal fans.

As you would have heard by now, Italian defender Fabio Cannavaro pipped Thierry Henry to the European Player of the Year Award, and even stranger Buffon was ahead of him in second place!

It’s sad that Henry hasn’t really been recognised as the best player over the last few seasons, being behind Ronaldinho in the World Player awards – which Titi should have won easily 3 seasons ago.

With a bit of luck Thierry could have won both the World Cup and Champions League this year and surely would have won the Ballon d’Or in the process.

Henry is a truly unique player – who has a phenomenal scoring rate and an equally impressive assist record. No-one can touch him in those departments and with his skill and tricks he is a very special player.

But we all know that.

And to the game against Bolton on Saturday.

Arsenal AGAIN conceded the first goal – the 11th time this season. If you do that you can’t win the league or have success in Europe.

But why the hell is this happening?

You just expect Arsenal to go a goal down in the first 25 minutes and after that if Arsenal aren’t in top gear they won’t get anything from the game.

If Gallas was playing would it have made any difference?

Probably not.

We effectively have two wingers in the full back positions and while Clichy and Eboue are fantastic going forward, they just don’t seem to be experienced enough to defend well.

For Anelka’s first goal, Eboue let him get onto his right foot!

Surely you should try and force the player wide onto his weaker foot? I’m sure Anelka can’t slam the ball into the net from 30 yards on his left foot. And the worst thing was that forcing Anelka wide would have really reduced his options because he was up on his own – the best we probably would have got is a throw or a corner.

Constantly conceding the first goal is a big problem and I hate to say it but is it because we don’t have a leader at the back like Sol Campbell?

Sol might have been a bit mad but he could organise a defence, as could Keown and Adams before him. But who takes the responsibility now?

When Lauren returns from his long term injury that should hopefully help stop giving away stupid goals but that might be a couple of months away.

If you compare the defence of Dixon, Winterburn, Adams & Bould to Eboue, Clichy, Toure & Gallas it shows no matter how much power, skill and pace you have it can never substitute experience and defensive ability.

Comeback Kings Lead The Way By Prince Theo!

Theo Walcott’s Introduction Was Electric…

There was a sense of ‘Deja Vu’ when Hamburg’s Rafael van der Vaart scored the opening goal after only 4 minutes but a clever tactical change from Arsene in the second half over-turned the deficit and Arsenal came out 3-1 winners.

Even though they left it a bit late!

Arsenal were average in the first half, seemingly without any confidence after several poor results at the Emirates this season.

Flamini replaced Gilberto in the holding midfield role, Freddie started his first game after coming back from injury and Senderos replaced Gallas in the middle.

Great credit to Arsenal though after going a goal down – they attacked, attacked and attacked and they got what they deserved 5 minutes after the break.

Cesc played in Van Persie with the perfect pass and the Dutchman comfortably slotted the ball home into the near post with his weaker foot. Was this going to be yet another 1-1 draw at the Emirates?

With Van Persie switching to the right at half-time Arsenal had better of the play and created more opportunities, but it wasn’t until the introduction of the super-sub Theo Walcott with 15 minutes to go when Arsenal looked much more dangerous.

Walcott may have only played 15 minutes but his impact was fantastic.

His sheer pace was frightening and his willingness to run behind the Hamburg defence caused all kinds of problems. He started the first couple of minutes on the left-hand side for the substituted Freddie but once he switched to the right his partnership with Eboue was electric.

Theo’s first major contribution was to slide in Eboue just inside the penalty area. Then the right-back dropped his shoulder, gave a brilliant burst of pace and smashed the ball low under the Hamburg keeper.

Arsenal had finally come back!

It was a superb goal and for some reason reminded me of the winning goal Belletti scored for Barcelona against us in the Champions League Final last season – that goal also made the game 2-1.

Finally Hamburg had to commit men forward, and just before the 90 minutes were up Theo was released down the right wing and played a well-controlled cross to Julio Baptista in the centre to score a cool header and finish the game 3-1.

Is the Emirates curse broken?

Who knows, but Arsenal are scoring goals again!

Firing Blanks Leaves Gunners In The Cold…

Chance After Chance After Chance…

With Arsenal cruising against Liverpool last week and putting themselves right into the title race you would have thought we would have made light work of Newcastle United yesterday who before the game were in the relegation zone.

But when Kieron Dyer slotted in the opening goal on 30 minutes you just knew the curse of the Emirates was going to strike again. How many sloppy goals do Arsenal want to concede this season?

It’s no good saying we had most of the ball and had more chances – if we can’t put the ball into the net then we won’t win games.

The major problem we have is that teams know they can get a decent result against Arsenal at the Emirates if they just defend deep and are well organised.

The fact of the matter is while we have one of the lowest goals against figures in the entire league, because we give away the first goal and fail to overturn the deficit each goal we concede – on average – is costing us 2 points each time!

Only teams like Liverpool and Manchester United will come at us and that is where we have had the most success. But any other team in the league – including Chelski – will look to catch us on the break.

Now there are a few reasons why we didn’t get the win yesterday. Thierry had played 90 minutes midweek for France and was rested at the start of the match against Newcastle, and the fact we gave away another soft goal didn’t help.

Is there a problem with Arsenal’s finishing?

I know Shay Given had an ‘inspired’ game but this happens far too much with opposing goalkeepers who play against Arsenal – could it be our finishing is just not good enough?

Too many times this season we have failed to score when we should, especially against teams like Everton, CSKA, West Ham United, Boro, Villa – the list goes on!

I’m not sure what our problem is but I know our title hopes are left in tatters…

Arsene’s Wenger Boys Back In The Race…

It’s been a difficult couple of weeks for Arsenal – with the West Ham debacle and draws against Everton and CSKA Moscow. But Arsenal beat another one of their ‘top 4′ rivals with a convincing display against a Liverpool team who look lost away from home.

Arsenal controlled the game for most of the 90 minutes and 3 unlikely goalscorers – Flamini, Toure and Gallas gave the Gunners a well deserved win.

We may have dropped points against teams like Everton, Villa, Boro and West Ham but winning against teams like Liverpool and Manchester United will prove to be vital if Arsenal are to make a realistic challenge for the Premiership this season.

It threatened to be one of those days with Arsenal, having much of the ball but no end product – until Flamini finished off a typical Arsenal goal created by Hleb and Fabregas. The release of frustration was for all to see once the opening goal went in as Flamini ran into the crowd (and got a booking in the process) and Thierry smashed the ball into the air and went beserk.

Finally the goals were coming.

The second half was all Arsenal and the awesome Kolo Toure ran through the centre and finished off a smart through-ball from Van Persie who finally looks like he’s settled into this Arsenal team.

Then with 10 minutes remaining Gallas took full advantage of Liverpool’s famous ‘zonal defending’ from set pieces and headed in the third from only 6 yards out.

The partnership of Toure and Gallas in the middle looks fantastic and the post-match interview showed the bond these two talented individuals have.

Is there a better defensive partnership?

Eboue had a brilliant game, making run after run down the right and Clichy on the left was exactly the same. If these two plus Kolo and Gallas can stay away from injury this season then Arsenal will have a great season.

Gilberto once again had a great game and stopped many Liverpool attacks with his interceptions and positioning.

Fabregas looked a little off the pace today – maybe it was playing with the more defensive Flamini as opposed to Rosicky or Freddie in the middle or maybe it was the number of games without a rest.

Henry looked more up for the game than he did against West Ham and made some decent openings and did well for a guy playing upfront on his own.

Today Arsenal just about got themselves back into the Premiership race and made sure Liverpool are now totally out of it. Arsenal just have to make sure they reach similar consistancy levels of Chelski and Man United and ensure it will be tight at the top.

Arsenal faced a must-win game against Liverpool and passed with flying colours!

Roy Keane Blasts ‘Conmen’ Who Ruin The Game!

After the Upton Park incident which was blown totally out of proportion football – and Arsenal fans in particular – needed a laugh and good old Roy Keane didn’t disappoint today.

He’s gone and blasted the Premiership because of ‘conmen’ who dive and try to deceive the referee:

“I see lads I’ve played with dive, and going down like they’ve been shot. It drives me crazy.

“I’m glad I’m not playing in the Premiership anymore.

“Trying to get another player sent off is cheating. And a lot of players are trying to put one over on the referee.”

Not like Roy Keane would ever do that eh? Especially in the Premiership!

Well take a look at this video of Roy Keane in his United days… [video]