Arsenal News Blog

fact and opinion intertwined

No blog yesterday, a blog today though

Posted by James Dall on 23, December 2006

My sincerest apologies about the lack of blog yesterday. I was caught in the Christmas rush and had very little time. Plus when I got back late in the evening to see any particular news I had miss out on, there was very little.

I shall get straight into a little round up –

Firstly apparently we made an offer for Stephen Appiah over the Summer, he said –

Among them were clubs as important as Barcelona and Arsenal. Barca and Arsenal made me very attractive offers.

From what I have seen of him, he is a cracking player, I think it is a little bit strange we went for a central midfield player though, I suppose at the time Baptista was not on the cards. But hey we did not get him and no point dwelling on it too much now.

Clichy has called for the team to stop using their age as an excuse. I mature attitude and one I respect –

We do not need to hide behind the age of the team. We are young, we know that.

We are all conscious of how young some of the team are and how much potential they have, I can see the improvement but it is not half frustrating watching your team drop so many points – we are almost waiting for this magical transformation. 3 points today would ease our disappointment at so many points dropped.

Hleb chats about how much he is loving English football now, and how he has adapted to it. There is no doubting that different players take different amounts of time to get used to the high tempo and physical game. Hleb in the first season had flashes of class but this season I think he has been one of our most consistent players, up there with Toure and Fabregas. I remember when we signed him I watched vidoes of him in the German league where he would dribble around one hundred players and then score, clearly the German league is way off what we are used to. Hats off to him though, I love his work ethic and his superb control.

There is a little comment from Gallas about how Arsene is annoyed with the players for conceding sloppy goals. As mentioned before he has tended to vent his frustration  on the officials recently, or other managers rather than his players. Well of course I do not know what goes on in the dressing room and I presume that at half time after some slow poor displays he gives them a proper telling off.

After Lord Steven’s report, Wenger has declared –

I came to the conclusion that it is quite positive for the game.

Obviously it is good for the game, but it is apparent to me that Wenger would be less positive if he had been one of the ones who had been caught out. But it is reassuring our transfers are above board and long may it continue. He also speaks here about how Champions League football this season is compulsory. We are a massive club, with a new stadium and we are a year on with these players so if we did not finish top four this season, it would be a disaster, and he is right to acknowledge that. I would be pleased with 3rd this season if I am honest. It would show an improvement on the last and we would not have to go through the effort of the extra Champions League qualifying games. A little more from Arsene here, where he speaks about how Theo is now ready for England and what a massive year 2007 could be for him. He has started to figure a  lot more recently, something I think we all approve of. When he picks up the ball compared to when Freddie does, you actually feel he is going to take a player out of the game by beating them.

Finally the Arsenal team news for today – Players that are out are – Eboue, Freddie,  Gallas, Diaby and Theirry. Rosicky is back and I expect Lauren to be on the bench. Flamini had a knock but has recovered. Ok the debate is 4-4-2 vs 4-5-1 as usual, we are home and need to be positive and score early, it has to be 4-4-2. The starting line up should be this in my opinion –

Lehman, Hoyte, Toure, Djourou, Clichy, Hleb, Gilberto, Fabregas, Rosicky, van Persie, Adebayor.

Obviously Adebayor to play up to with van Persie, Theo to come on in the second half. If Rosicky is lacking a bit of match fitness I would expect Theo to start. I am worried we will play 4-5-1 with a midfield of Hleb, Gilberto, Fabregas, Flamini, van Persie – I would be gutted at this unless we won 8-0. Enjoy you Saturday, COME ON ARSENAL.

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