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A whole host of transfers and it could have been worse…

by on August 30, 2011

…we could be Spurs fans. A game of two halves. The first 60 and last 30. I wasn’t that disappointed with the performance for the first 60 or so minutes. Until they scored their 4th and Coquelin was brought off, I was actually thinking that some kind of miracle could bring us a result. A bit of a collapse afterwards. A shame really. Still, how would we recognise  the good times if we didn’t go through the bad?

Lowlights Press conference | Interviews: (RVP) (AW Arsenal Player) (AW BBC)

Match report

Regular readers (you crazy, crazy people) will know that I usually assess each players’ performances. I’ve tried for over a day to do that. I don’t think I’ve done it very well and it only really reflects on the first ‘half’ or the bit before our collapse. Nevertheless, here’s my ramblings.

Despite conceding eight goals, I wasn’t really that disappointed with Szczesny. He made a few saves, but he maybe could have done better with a few of the goals. The first one, Park’s goal and maybe Rooney’s second free-kick. Carl Jenkinson I kind of felt sorry for. For a 19 year-old, it’s a pretty hard match to play in, considering that a year before hand, he was playing for Eastbourne Borough against Mile Oak in the Sussex Senior Cup. Good persistence with the assist. A silly first booking, the second was just obvious inexperience.I thought Koscielny had an okay game. Ish. Should have been braver with the first goal, and the defence kind of fell apart for Nani’s goal. Having said that, he made a few good blocks and covered up a few slips from the defence.

A victim of his own inexperience.

Johan Djourou. What a few months it’s been. Great form last season up until his injury. After that, it seems a slow decline is all that he’s capable off. In my opinion, he has to improve if he’s to stay next season. Early to make a judgement, but it’s not like this was his first mistake. Armand Traore had a ‘mare. He can run fast, he’s not bad in the final third. He’s still more of a winger than a left-back in my opinion. Play him in cup games, pre-season etc. and it’s all well and good. Play him against top opposition like yesterday and you can see the problems. Quick getting forward, slower getting back, lapses of concentration. Looks like he’s off to QPR now anyway. More on that later.

A decent debut for young Coquelin

Francis Coquelin, a good debut. Considered him as my man of the match. He didn’t get it, but he was close. Tracked most of the runners from midfield, kept strong winning the ball back and he didn’t look bad in possession. Disappointed to see him go off. Been waiting a long time to see him play. He came of for Oxo with half an hour left. Oxo didn’t really do much with us basically collapsing around the same time he came on. He tried to show one or two sparks of brilliance, but couldn’t really do much. Hoping he’ll get more chances this season.

Aaron Ramsey and Tomas Rosicky. A  technically gifted midfield, but United pressed heavily and they lacked a bit of Wilshere steel. With Coquelin not being the most physically imposing holding midfielder, it was hard for them not to be bullied off of the ball. Theo had a decent game. He scored, which is always nice. He also gave away a penalty, playing a right-back. Tracked back alright, had a disagreement with Jenkers. Not an overly shabby performance, given the circumstances. He was replaces with ten minutes left for Henri Lansbury. Andrei Arshavin didn’t have the best of games. A few rash tackles, he was maybe lucky to stay on the pitch. Obviously if he was English or a centre-half he would have been commended, but because he’s Russian, short and not that popular then he should have been sent off. Had a chance to score. Didn’t.

When we still had hope...

RVP on a different day would have gone home with the match-ball. Very, very rare for him to not score from the spot. Had a volley saved with his right foot and scored from a similar attempt with his left. Weren’t easy chances, but with his quality it really should have been three. Came off for Chamakh. Like Lansbury it was meh.

My man of the match was….. the away support. Absolutely amazing support from those that travelled. Felt like a home match at times. Brilliant stuff.

Oh well, two weeks off. We’ll have to come back stronger for the Swans. With a few new faces.

Says it all really...

Match reaction

Obviously, there were quite a few angry reactions to the match. I’ve tried to gather a few of the more sensible and level-headed reactions for you.

Gunnerblog had a very good piece, analysing the problems in our defence behind each of their goals. As always, Arsenal Report’s match report is a fascinating read with pretty pictures. The point about the move away from the 4-2-3-1 is interesting, if slightly worrying.

As always, Goodplaya offers a pretty level-headed reaction to the match. If you didn’t watch the MOTD2 highlights, then you can still watch Lee Dixon’s analysis of our performance, if you have it in you.

According to the Mirror, Wenger gave one of his famous ‘silent’ team talks after the match. These are pretty much the stuff of legends and it’s not like these are new for him, even the Invincibles got the silent treatment once in a while. These next two weeks will be crucial, a chance to get away from the negativity. To regroup, refresh and come back fighting with a few new faces in the squad. Speaking of which…

Transfers and rumours

Where to begin??? It’ll have to be a whistle-stop tour. We’re signing the South Korean captain as Nicklas Bendtner looks set to leave. I know nothing about him, but one of the Korean boarders at school said he was good so he has to be. Right?

Park Chu-Young. That's him. Honest.

In terms of defenders, we’re still being heavily linked with Gary Cahill while the Mail reckons that we’re out of the race for Scott Dann. A lot of people think that we’ll see Gary Cahill coming in within the next few days, although rumours of a fall-out with Bolton could jeopardize that one. Chelsea’s Alex has also been linked, as he has been a few times. Armand Traore is pretty much off as I already mentioned.

Reports from Turkey, including from Fenerbache and NTV Sport say that we’ve signed Brazilian left-back Andre Santos. I’ve heard mixed reports about him, not having seen much of him myself. He’s apparently keeping Marcelo out of the team, so he can’t be that bad.  “Really good but quite cocky. Was roomies with Ronaldo at Corinthians.. Definitely prem top 5 standard. Amazing crossing” was how a Brazilian with good knowledge of football described him.

In terms of midfielders, the Eden Hazard deal is all but dead. Mario Gotze has apparently been bid for, with reports of Nicklas Bendtner going the other way as part of the deal. Around 30m euros has been mentioned. If not this summer, it could well be January or next summer when he comes in.

Yossi Benayoun. The one in white.

We’ve apparently enquired after Yossi Benayoun. I have to admit that I quite liked him when he was at Liverpool. He’s been a bit of a Joe Cole at Chelsea, but a good player in my opinion.

“Eljero Elia has been on Dutch TV tonight admitting Arsenal and HSV are in talks and he’d prefer a move to England” I was told by a Dutch friend. Having said that, another Dutch acquaintance of mine says that he didn’t actually say those things. All I can say is that these next few days will be very interesting. We’ll have to see what the news is on Thursday morning.

One final thing, reports from Germany seem to be suggesting that Per Mertesacker is/has/will sign a deal to play for Arsenal, reportedly around 9m euros. I’ve always thought him a decent player, if a bit slow. Having said that, he’s experienced, able to read the game and, provided the centre-half with whom he plays has pace then that shouldn’t be a problem. Indeed, L’ Equipe says that he signed on Monday night.

Bloody hell he's tall. 6'6"? He'll dwarf everyone surely?

If you were to ask me, Chu-Young and Santos are basically done deals and Mertesacker, an Arsenal fan because he has English relatives, is in talks at the moment. I can see another one or two signings on top of those.

Gunnerblog does quite well to round-up the rumours here.

News

Time for a bit of news then.The Carling Cup draw has given us Shrewsbury at home in the third round. Although they’re the club that made Joe Hart, that shouldn’t be overly taxing for us. One other thing, the ‘thanks‘ from the club. Good to see it, it’s the least they could do. They obviously read Nick’s posts. (Click here if you didn’t read his post from Monday!)

Massive congratulations to the Arsenal Ladies team. Their win over Liverpool means that they are in fact the first ever Women’s Super League champions. Ever. A feat that can never be repeated. Nice.

The good news carries on for the U-18s who started the season with a victory at Leeds with Zak Ansah scoring. Unfortunately, the U-16 side couldn’t mirror the feat, losing 3-1 to the same opponents. Speaking about the youngsters then, Callum Webb and Steven Smith have left the club to join Leicester City. On a less encouraging note, Joel Campbell has failed to win a work permit. A bit unfortunate, so he’ll probably have to spend a year out on loan and we’ll see whether the club think next summer would be a better time to appeal.

A bit of plugging then. We’ve just launched a newspaper. Online obviously. The SavageGooner daily is its name. It’s updated twice a day with the latest news and views on all things Arsenal. I heartily recommend saving it and checking it every now and then to stay on top of the news. Give it a read anyway.

Once again, be sure to give Nick’s rant on the loss to United a read, if you haven’t done so already. That’s about it for today then. 1838 words??!?! Bloody hell, that’s a long one! Well done if you rad the whole thing! As always, follow me on twitter @SavageGooner if you don’t already.

Be sure to comment, there’s a hell of a lot to talk about today! What did you think of the United match? Did you agree with my weird kind of review? Are you pleased with the level of activity and the players coming in?

Victoria Concordia Crescit – Victory Comes Through Harmony

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