Category Archives: Song

Robin’s Reluctant Retreat?

After some Biblical esqe rainfall early on in the day I now find myself sitting out my back garden enjoying a bottle of Wychwood Alcoholic Ginger Beer and I must say its very good. The weather in Ireland is really as unpredictable as the summer going on’s at a Premiership football club. During a week in which we have basically signed a member of perhaps the greatest international side ever seen and have entered into negotiations for the lynchpin of the initial Dortmund Bundesliga winning team our Captain has reportedly rethought his position and views of his current club.

Yesterday myself and the Reverend had a conversation regarding many things Arsenal, one topic I broached was the position of Van Persie and his ‘statement’ given the recent  transfer activity at the club, my feeling being that he has been made to look rather foolish about the clubs supposed lack of ambition.Rumour abounds today that he is giving serious thought to his previous stance and is willing to re-enter negotiations with the club. Is this because of our activities in the market thus far coupled with a move supposedly underway which I will hopefully have more on tomorrow or as the cynics among us suggest, a reaction to the lack of genuine interest in the Lying Dutchman. Since the club dismissed the UNited bid out of hand there has been no formal offers made to the club. Much has been made in papers of a supposed bid from the Old Lady of Turin but with allegations hanging over their coach I’m not too sure of the validity of the offer.

Personally I will stick to the stance I made when the Statement was first issued, he should be sold. The public questioning of the ambition and policy of the club should not be tolerated by any club. If he stays, somehow manages another injury free season and scores goals i will still appreciate his talents but I wont want him at the club.I was at the Emirates cup a couple of years ago with Mrs Gooner for Cuntabayor’s first game in the red and white after his contract issued and the reception was less than polite, sometime I feel Van Persie can expect if he stays at the club.

The other big issue surrounding potential departures at the club involves Barcelona interest in Alex Song. Apparently the Catalan club have been sniffing around and while I presume he has no Barcelona DNA flowing through his veins the interest seems genuine. I feel that if the club receives an offer that they feel is acceptable he will be on his way. His contract runs until 2015 so we are under no pressure to sell. However the emergence of Le Coq coupled with the feeling at the club that Diaby has finally sorted out his injury problems could mean that we won’t be seeing the No 17 in the centre of the pitch next season. While some people may bemoan his sale we aren’t exactly short of midfield options: Arteta, Cazorla, Coquelin, Diaby, Frimpong, Oxlade, Ramsey, Rosicky & Wilshere will all be vying for the 3 midfield places providing we are still playing a 433, many people feel we will revert to a 442 next season to accommodate our new signings. While I know some people feel we are light in people who will shoulder the defensive responsibilities of the team I don’t feel Song does this job particularly well. I imagine it is his role within the team despite what people feel Arteta does for us and I imagine Le Boss has scouted more than one or two players capable of doing a job for us.

Thats yer lot to chew over and berate me for today, hopefully I will be back tomorrow with some defensive news.

Follow me on twitter @wicklowgooner

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Filed under Arsenal, gooner news, Song, Van Persie

Young French Star To Contend With Song

But maybe not the one that you think of. The Boss has seemed to cool to the idea of signing M’Vila as talk of his discipline problems on and off the pitch have painted him in an ever so un-flattering light. Likewise talks of a move for Toulouse Captain Etienne Capoue seem to have eased off as it seems that a price talk of roughly £10 million pounds has put us off, not because we are unwilling to spend the money but the simple fact that there is still some questions on the ability and potential of the player for that kind of outlay.

So now we will turn our attention to a player who broke through at the club last season to such a degree that the club saw fit to sign him to a new contract rumoured to keep him at the club until the summer of 2016, Ladies & Gentle Gooners Francis Coquelin. Originally signed by the club in 2008 after impressing while on trial the Frenchman made his breakthrough last season first coming to the attention of many Gooners in the crushing early season defeat at the hands of Manure, one of the few players to emerge from the game with any credit. He went on to make 17 appearances for the first team last season impressing many Gooners including myself, I was present at the Blackburn game and was impressed by his skill on the ball and surprising turn of pace.

One of the main reasons he is viewed as the man to rival Song in midfield is due to his performances for Lorient while on loan at the club in 2010. Signed by Christian Gourcoff (speaking of which, could you have a quiet word in the ear of your immensely talented creative midfielder sons ear about how great a club The Arse is) due to his knowledge of the French game and Coquelin’s impressive form for the French under-age international team, Le Coq impressed all and sundry at the club. So  much so that Monsiuer Gourcoff looked to loan Le Coq for the entirety of last season, a request that was thankfully turned down. It was his impressive displays for Lorient that convinced Le Boss that he was ready for first team action last season.

I’m sure watching Alex Song last season we were all aware of two things

(1) he has become quite adept at pushing forward, his assist stats show us as much

(2) he isn’t always as defensively disciplined as he perhaps ought to be

This is where the idea that a defensive minded signing is a necessity seems to have some from, the constant press links with M’Vila seems to have distracted people that we already had a player capable of providing competition for Alex. Perhaps in a similar fashion to Flamini where he filled in at various positions people have forgotten that Francis is in fact a defensive midfielder. Hopefully he will have a season similar to Flamini’s last at the club, minus the overall twatishness of course. If he comes close to that kind of form than I feel we will be more than covered in that position.

While Frimmy also impressed last season prior to his loan and subsequent injury I think we will see him go out on loan to gain experience again, perhaps returning to Wolves. Eastmond has been also known to play in the midfield and despite featuring in the pre season tour to Asia I don’t expect Eastmond to feature for the first bar maybe a League Cup game. He is still to slight in frame and lacking in ability to really make an impact at the highest level.

While people may question my championing of Le Coq for this season bare one thing in mind, the £10 -£15 million saved on M’Vila or Capoue can be put towards a move for Cazorla or further reinforcing in other areas.

That’s enough of thoughts spilling forward from my head

Have a good weekend everyone

Follow me on twitter @wicklowgooner

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Filed under Arsenal, Frimpong, General Musings, Song

M’Vila to Arsenal – Do we need him?

Former Chelsea defender and French World Cup winner Marcel Desailly has been talking to the press recently about his fellow countryman Yann M’Vila. More specifically he has been talking about a move to either Arsenal or Manchester United urging the respective chairmen to do whatever it takes to sign the 22-year-old defensive midfielder.

We have to ask ourselves, however, if we really need to sign him?

At the current moment we play with a 3 man midfield with one player operating as the attacking and creative playmaker while the other two alternate between sitting deep for cover and supporting further forward.  In this post we will have a look at out various options and need for any further players. At the minute the Boss has a pool of 8 players to choose from when fit to play for 3 positions.

Jack Wilshere – Perhaps the only player  to start when fit. Whether he plays as one of the deeper lying two a lá last season or in the more attacking role of his youth team days remains to be seen.

Mikel Arteta – The experienced Spaniard has been a model of consistency so far this season. While not enjoying the free role as the main creative force of his days at Everton he has established himself as an essential part of the first choice 11 since his move.

Aaron Ramsey – Tasked with replacing Cesc at the start of the season. Started brightly but has looked tired since Xmas in what has essentially been his first full season in the Prem. Has played on the left side of the front three recently but doesn’t look comfortable on the wing and tends to drift infield.

Alex Song – often deployed as the as the main defensive player of the three although his assist statistics would suggest otherwise. Strong with an ability to pick a pass he provides the only real physicality in our midfield.

Tomas Rosicky – a player who many might have envisaged departing the club in the summer. His recent resurgence in displaying the ability we all knew he had when he first joined the club has been one of the highlights of our season. Deceptive turn of pace and excellent dribbling ability have seen him claim and retain Ramsey’s place in midfield in recent months.

Abou Diaby – highly talented but often injured Frenchman. Wenger is a huge fan along with French manger Laurent Blanc who has played him on the rare occasions this season he has been fit. For those who would perhaps write him off we must remember our current Dutch superstar had many injury problems in the first few years of his career with the Gooners but has stayed fit for the last 18 months.

Francis Coquelin – Le Coq has made his breakthrough this season after impressing on loan at Lorient last season. Comfortable on the ball and tough in the tackle he is a more than able replacement for either of the defensively responsible midfielders. Is also capable of filling in at full back which is a plus.

Emmanuel Frimpong – Mr Dench. Tough, tough tackling midfielder with a rugby player build, the young Ghanaian played at the start of the season before being sent to Wolves on loan to gain experience. Suffered his second cruciate injury of his young career while at the Molineux but will hopefully make a full recovery.

Alex Chamberlain – Although he has played predominantly as a winger in his first season at the Emirates the Boss has stated that he views his future as a central midfielder. Perhaps the most exciting attacker England have seen in recent years.

A player whom I haven’t mentioned is Conor Henderson. The young Republic of Ireland international has recently returned from an injury suffered in the pre-season game against Cologne. Was expected to feature in the first team plans this season but for his injury.

With all these options available would the money available to the manager be better spent elsewhere i.e defence? I will leave that up to the members of the republic.



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Filed under Arteta, Diaby, Frimpong, General Musings, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Rosicky, Song, Transfer Bollocks, Wilshere

Arsenal 3 – Villa 0: our winning form continues…

Arsenal secured a seventh consecutive victory yesterday with a 3-0 result against Aston Villa, and by doing so gained a three point cushion over fourth place Sp**s who were unable to score against the nouveau riche Chavs at the Bridge. It was a scoreline predicted by Nigel Winterburn on Arsenal Player just before kick off, and it turned out that his optimism was fully justified. Koscielny was unable to start having woken up on Saturday morning with a knee problem and he was replaced by Johan Djourou, who found himself at the receiving end of a non-malicious elbow from Emile Heskey moments after the game kicked off.

Thereafter Arsenal started to apply the pressure, and the first half was characterised by the sort of focus and urgency displayed by the team in the first twenty minutes against Everton in mid-week. Gervinho started in place of Ramsey and put in a very good performance, supporting Kieran Gibbs and tracking back to defend effectively whenever the left back made forward runs. It was such forward movement from Gibbs that brought him his first Premier League goal, as he surged between statuesque Villa defenders and fired off a shot from close range. It was an effort that Given should probably have stopped, but Gibbs couldn’t have cared less.

Arsenal’s second was tucked away expertly by Walcott, who showed superb control after Alex Song’s magnificent lofted pass picked him out behind the Villa defence. A powerful effort by Arteta from twenty yards might have put us up by three, and RVP was unlucky to have a close range chance denied by an excellent instinctive goalline header by Warnock.

Villa offered very little in reply; Albrighton looked to counter attack on a couple of occasions but was unable to keep a cool head when it mattered. Emile Heskey confined himself to giving Djourou a hard time, harassing him at every opportunity, which proved ultimately fruitless.

The second half saw us apply some of Arsene’s infamous handbrake. Concentration levels dropped and possession was conceded by a few soft passes and an annoying tendency to over-elaborate. Such were Villa’s limitations, however, that they failed to punish us. Heskey was replaced by Weimann, and the energetic young Austrian proved tricky in and around our penalty area. When Villa did work the ball into dangerous positions, however, no-one was able to get into position to make the seize the opportunity and in the main we defended with focus and efficiency.

The Ox came on for Walcott on the right hand side and demonstrated his searing pace by absolutely skinning the opposition defence with a couple of runs. Ramsey replaced Gervinho and got into shooting positions around the edge of their area, and Andre Santos returned to first team action, only to give the ball away with his first touch – if Villa had been clinical in attack they would have punished us immediately.

Stephen Ireland should have counted himself very lucky to have remained on the pitch – a two footed lunge at Song should have resulted in a straight red, and if referee Dowd had seen it from a different angle he may have acted appropriately. Only a few minutes later, Ireland tripped Rosicky (if I remember correctly) outside the Villa box, and if Dowd had already cautioned him, it would have earned him a yellow. But he’s an odd performer, Ireland, capable of rank stupidity and at other times great skill, and he then went on to make a superb tackle on the Ox in his own penalty area which drew loud appeals for a penalty, which Phil Dowd wisely ignored.

The final significant act of the game came in injury time, following a foul on Song about 25 yards out. Arteta lined up the free kick, and just to confound the expectations of all those Twittering Gooners who were bemoaning his previous effort, he smashed a perfect strike past Given into the corner of the net. It was a superb strike, but it almost seemed too good for the match situation, two goals to the good in injury time against limited opponents; it would have been sweeter if it had been a match winner against Stoke or City, but I’m being churlish. Arteta certainly deserved the goal, and the scoreline was a fair reflection of the game.

We’re off to Loftus Road next weekend, while Sp**s face Swansea at the Lane.  On their current form, Twitcher’s side might find that fixture a real struggle. We should be looking at another three points against Rangers, but as they showed against Liverpool the other night, we cannot afford to take anything for granted. We were greatly superior to Villa yesterday, but a more dangerous opponent might have taken advantage of our lack of focus and intensity in the second half.

In the meantime, however, I’m off to enjoy that free kick again…enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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Filed under Djourou, Gibbs, Match Day Postmortem, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Rosicky, Song, Van Persie, Walcott, Wenger

Newcastle 0 – Arsenal 0: picking up where we left off?

As I’m sure you’re aware, the season began today with a no-score draw at St James Park, an unsatisfying result from a game that appeared to follow a very familiar pattern. We dominated possession and passed the ball a great deal, but failed to create a lot of scoring opportunities. The opposition tried to keep their shape and close us down; when they did have possession they looked fairly impotent. It’s going to be a long, long season for Toon supporters, but that’s their problem.

There were some positives. Gervinho started and became the focus of much of our attacking play. He caused Newcastle problems on both flanks, and when he develops a better understanding with his teammates I should think he’ll get plenty of assists. Of course the first thing he’ll have to understand is that when he gets the ball into good wide positions he’s going to have find Van Persie, because there’s not likely to be many other attacking teammates in the box to aim at.

The downside – apart from our inability to score – was obviously Gervinho’s red card. If there was any clearer demonstration why Joey Barton should not be an Arsenal player, this was it. Having reacted aggressively to Gervinho’s fall  in the Newcastle area (by picking him up off the deck by his shirt), he then dropped as if he’d been shot when Gervinho stupidly slapped his cheek, and told the ref he’d been punched. I’m not defending Gervinho – if you put your hand into another players’ face you’re likely to be dismissed. But Barton showed the football world once again why he fully deserves his reputation as a cunt and I do not understand why anyone would to see him in an Arsenal shirt. Song was lucky to stay on the pitch after he deliberately trod on Barton’s ankle in the first half. Was this why Barton contrived to get Gervinho sent off in the second? I wouldn’t be at all surprised. Anyhow, Gervinho gets an automatic ban for a straight red. Ironically Newcastle didn’t look any more likely to score with the man advantage.

Defensively we looked pretty good, I felt – but as mentioned above, Newcastle didn’t create and didn’t really pressure us. But Chesney dealt with things pretty decisively – he didn’t get flustered and looked confident. Vermaelen and Koscielny played well as the preferred options at centre-half. Frimmers made his debut as a late sub and was fine. Arshavin was, I felt, largely ineffective and gave away possession too often, though he did provide an excellent chip to put RvP through on goal. Rosicky was industrious without being incisive. Song was both solid and lucky, as mentioned above. RvP didn’t get much to work with.

The other notable point from the game was the behaviour of the away fans. “Spend our fucking money” was the clear message from the travelling Gooners, and rightly so. AW is quoted on the club website as saying:

“Everybody looks for centre backs in the whole world…People with unlimited resources look for a centre back… We have specialised people to work everywhere but we are not in a supermarket where you go to a shelf and you ask where are the centre backs or the strikers.”

These are not the sort of observations that are likely to appease those Gooners who are already deeply frustrated by the club’s inability to address the weaknesses in our squad. He goes on to say:

“If a player is interesting the top clubs, he has a fantastic value. If there is no interest from these clubs he is £3-7million…The same player can be worth £30-50million and £3-7million. There is no logic in the market any more. In football it is very difficult to set the price for the players.”

It sounds to me as though he is addressing the Cesc issue indirectly here, by attempting to justify to supporters why Fabregas is being sold to Barca for less than his market value. I believe he’s also offering an explanation as to why he is seemingly unable to countenance buying a centre-half, being unable to match the valuations of the selling club/s. It’s worth noting, perhaps, that Gary Cahill scored for Bolton today, which will certainly not do anything to weaken Bolton’s bargaining position should Arsenal bid for him. Which we won’t, I daresay.

Not to worry, it’s only Udinese next in a crucial CL tie…

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Filed under Frimpong, Gervinho, Match Day Postmortem, Rosicky, Song, Szcesny, Vermaelen