Thursday, October 21, 2010

Arsenal AGM plus Vermaelen out for the rest of the year?

When I head to the Emirates, it is rarely disappointing. Luckily, after shelling out quite a bit for taxies. planes. trains, tubes and hotel (on top of match ticket of course) I've had the extreme good fortune to only watch Arsenal lose once ( a few seasons ago to Villa - how bad was that?)

Night's like Tuesday's though are so rare that no price can really be put on them. No amount of discomfort either could detract from it (I had to sit through the entire match with a plastic back wrapped around my foot under a sock as I discovered I had a jolly large hole in my shoe and it was lashing down when I was heading from pub to pub collecting and meeting members of the Arsenal Twitter community.

If there were 60,016 people at the Emirates for the Champions League match against Shakhtar, then 60, 015 of them cheered as if Arsenal had scored a sixth when Eduardo slammed his volley home, this you already know. I was on the verge of tears and didn't want to stop applauding. Unfortunately, supporter number 60,016 brought me back to reality as the cheers died down by shouting 'now fucking break his leg.'

I can't remember the last time I was compelled to shout at a 'fellow' fan, I think it was on hearing some racist abuse falling from some inbreds mouth

But that was the only down side of an incredible evening. Who'd have thought we would have scored five against a team who had conceded zero in this year's Champions League before heading to Arsenal? It was a perfectly scripted evening - go five up, play a team who don't hack at you, then get Eduardo on, see him score and let the Arsenal crowd show him what he really meant to us all.

Well, all of us except the bloke mentioned above.

By now you've no doubt been over and over the match so there's no need for me to do it. I had every intention of blogging yesterday but was just not prepared for the level of knackerdness which struck me.

You all know my thoughts on Eduardo so it would feel like going over old ground, a ground it must be added that saddens me greatly, so let's not.

One other thing which has stuck in my mind has been the issue of Song, or rather Songinho. As Arsenal deploy two holding midfielders this season it is allowing the crazy-haired one to get forward more often, something, it has to be said, not many of us really thought he was built for. Song has built his reputation at Arsenal by being a wall. He is there to protect the back four and then give the ball to someone who can do something with it. Now, he is trying to be part of that creativity and with a goal (albeit from a corner) and an assist you could argue that he is producing at the top end of the pitch.

People were reporting it as his first goal of the season but if I'm not mistaken, he scored a delightful little chip against Bolton - a goal that people really should remember.

But that's not what Song is paid for. We want, could even argue need, him to be Song, not Songinho. We need him back there in front of the defence as he is by far the most effective at the role out of all the players deployed in that position recently.

Is this likely to be an ongoing theme of the season? It seems so. We are now 12 matches in to the season and he seems to be getting more adventurous rather than less.

Personally, I feel he should be fined every time he crosses the half-way line, but that's just me. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on what you think is going on with him. Has the hair-dye simply rotted his brain or is he acting on orders from higher up?

With all the media furore over the Rooney story, it struck me how Arsenal no longer have any players who would generate this sort of shock should they state they want to leave. At first I was saddened by this fact, but then, after talking to some people on Twitter it became clear that even though there are a lot of players at Arsenal who will probably want to stay with us for life we are lucky not to have one single player who could cause such havoc at the club. The only person at Arsenal I could come up with who would create comparable headlines should we suddenly hear he wanted to leave as soon as possible would be Wenger, and he wouldn't do that to the club he today described as 'being in my heart.'

Which brings us nicely on to today's AGM in which he was asked a question not unrelated to what I was just saying.

@DarrenArsenal1 asked him "will you be involved in succession review considering you have said it will be your last contract" to which Arsene replied (via @DarrenArsenal1):

"as long as I have the hunger you never know what will happen" which to me implies a willingness to sign another deal after this one runs down, health allowing off course.

Wenger also confirmed that we would be going for EVERY competition this season, although the Carling Cup would not see Cesc taking to the field, so we will not be risking players desperately needed in the Premier League and Champions League to win the kids cup. Sensible if you ask me, though I do have a feeling we will go hell for leather after the FA Cup and there is a sense that this could be our year in the Champions League. A cup clean sweep with the kids claiming the Carling Cup?

Let's hope so huh?

When talking about Cesc Wenger also said he was certain that Cesc would be with us for a few more years, that he loved Arsenal, if he didn't he would have left. I know some people are drawing comparisons to the whole Rooney story, but there is a very big difference. Barcelona is a club Cesc has never hid his admiration for. It is the club of his childhood, and the only other club he would leave Arsenal for. He is genuinely torn between the two loves of his life - his father and his first club and his second father and his second club. We understand that torment, and we should not hate him for it. Rooney on the other hand only has one love - himself, as has been demonstrated by the way he treated Everton, the way he is now treating United, and, more tellingly, the way he has treated his family.

There is no comparison.

The rest of the AGM focused on debt levels, injuries, and the like. You can get full summaries on

The other piece of news worthy of mention is that the Vermaelen injury is now classed as 'long term' with rumours circulating that he is out until next year at best, the season at worse. It is terrible news, but not as awful as it would have been last season. Once again, we are just one injury away from playing Alex Song in defence, but maybe giving his Songinho rampages up the pitch this wouldn't be all bad.

This is not about strength in depth before you all start- this is about awful luck with injuries.

Yet again.

You might be interested in reading this, confirming what we all already know - Wenger is the best manager in the world.

A look ahead to the mammoth match at the weekend tomorrow, until then, have some interetsing stuff from Twitter:

RT @OptaJoe: 38% - Arsenal have converted the highest percentage of chances into goals in the Champions League this season. Raining.
RT @Orbinho: Marouane Chamakh has scored three goals from just four shots on target in the Champions League this season.
RT @CaptainArsenal: Arsenal and QPR in talks over Jay Emmanuel-Thomas loan move - Daily Mail


REDgoon said...

There's a new injury report video where the boss says TV might need another three weeks. Lets hope it really is three weeks and not three months.

Deen said...

Re: Songinho

One would think that if Arsene had a problem with him playing higher up the pitch that he did in past seasons, then the problem would have been rectified at this point in the season. He's clearly playing per instructions. It seems as if Arsene is more interested in pressing the ball higher up the pitch and regaining possession long before the opposition can expose our defense.

I'm also a member of the school that would rather have him just sit and do a job, but Arsene knows best. So long as his midfield partners have the energy and discipline to cover for him when he gets caught up the field, I think Wenger will persist with Songinho. It would be nice to see more discipline in the bigger games though...

LadyArse said...

Wenger said today they had no idea how long he would be out for, last week it was 10 days, when he was first out one game. Very reliable sources talking about not back until the new year at earliest.

Whatever it is, this is not the first time our medical team have not been able to diagnose a problem or have misdaignosed one.

That isn't good enough.

LadyArse said...

@Deen very true, Arsene does know best, just at the minute Songinho is not good for my heart

Anonymous said...

achillies injuries are one of the worst. vermaelen may spring up one day and feel great and be ready to play within a week or he may take a while to get this injury sorted.

i dont think he'll be out till january but he wont be coming back on the 31st as physioroom says so.

JP said...

Songs upfield surges do infuriate me as it often leaves us with NO midfielders to break up the counter attack. If you consider the way that most teams tend to deploy 2 defensive minded midfielders, and Manchester City often start with three, the importance of Song sticking to defensive duties cannot be under estimated. Until this is rectified I think we will continue to concede goals. If he sticks to what he does best it gives us some much needed balance.

Anonymous said...

lady where were u located? I heard a guy who shouted "now break his leg", in the S section straight after the cheering, but the guy was joking, and apologised to fellow fans afterwards.

Game was immense.

Anonymous said...

lady where were u located? I heard a guy who shouted "now break his leg", in the S section straight after the cheering, but the guy was joking, and apologised to fellow fans afterwards.

Game was immense.

LadyArse said...

@Anon I was in the west stand, 91...the guy was in front of me too, but didn't apologise (not that I heard anyway) and my head spun in his direction like the exorcist...maybe there was more than one prick there than night :(


i believe for Songinho to work both wilshere and fabregas need to be on the pitch, as fab adds tht extra cover, swap fab with diaby and the midfield becomes much more exposed.

if we can play regularly with a trio of fab, jack and song we would smash teams week in week out

check out this article, the analysis is truly genius

Michael said...

Glad you had a good time shame about the shoe ! I was at Anfield 7 or 8 years ago (sitting in with the Pool fans) and some twat dropped his coffee down the back of my jeans and I had to watch the whole game with soggy pants - not good !

We shouldn't worry about Song getting forward and leaving the defence open to attack when we have the great LF between the sticks !

I don't know if it's me or not but do you think Cesc is his normal self ? When he scores he doesn't seem to be as happy as I've seen him in the past and I'm partial to a bit of badge kissing and he doesn't do that anymore. It might just be me though.

Anonymous said...

Re: Songinho

I can understand the problem that lots of people have with his attacking forays given how bad it was at the beginning however after watching it work the other day I think that in the long run it will make our team more dynamic and threatening.

When the ball is won in the middle of then the positions of the midfield players on both teams changes which players are in a better position to surge forward. If one of our midfield players are in a better position to move forward quickly but are under orders not to then a quick attack can break down as the attacking midfield players that started in a deeper or more crowded position have to make space for themselves.

Also with all three midfielders having the ability to attack there is an extra threat that is both different and relevant that the defenders have to be aware of and cover.

Of course this system requires three midfielders that are skillful positionally, defensively and offensively, all while having a high workrate. We are Arsenal we shouldn't have a problem asking for something extra in our midfield.