Everyone writes us off, except Patrick Vieira


As usual, with any lull in actual football there comes a flurry of activity in the press. For the last three years each of these spells has been primarily negative for Arsenal and this one is no different.

What I can’t understand is why the headlines never match the quotes, like this one from ESPN: “Rio rules Arsenal out of race for title

Reading that headline I fully expect a ganja induced tirade about how Arsenal lack the quality, need to spend big, and are going to drop out of the top four and fire Arsene Wenger. Instead the quote is:

It is not beyond Arsenal but it is my personal opinion that it will be between the other three this season.

So which is it? Are we written off or not?

Or this gem from the Guardian: “No one scared of Arsenal any more, says Vieira.” Wait a minute, that’s not what he said, he actually said:

One of the problems for Arsenal as well is that they are conceding too many goals. I think that teams now play against Arsenal knowing that they can score so that can be a little bit psychological.

Far cry from “No one scared of Arsenal any more.” Every team that faces Arsenal know that they are in for a good fight. Sure, there are teams that have taken points and as Zola pointed out yesterday, that’s more down to clubs figuring out how to play them. Please note that Zola points to all of the “big four” as teams who clubs have figured out, not just Arsenal.

I really like what Patrick Vieira actually had to say about our young team as it comes from the outside and flies in the face of the conventional wisdom I read every morning. Basically, he urges the fans to have patience, support these Young Ones, and appreciate the talent we have because we probably aren’t getting anyone new. Read it for yourself, it’s pretty good stuff.

I especially like his estimation of Denilson. This young Brazilian is often the butt of criticism with places like Arseblog now offhandedly calling him out for not being a quality player. But Vieira, who’s opinion about Holding Midfielders I hold in the highest of esteem, sees it otherwise

When you look at the talent of Flamini and the talent of the new Brazilian guy [in midfield], Denilson, it’s not the difference. He is really talented but maybe he needs more time to express himself. He needs to learn more because the more you play, the better you will be.

Denilson has put in some very good performances and some poor ones as well, but there’s no denying the talent or commitment of the player. He lacks the pace of a real wing player and yet when asked to do it, he’d play anywhere on the pitch. The only thing he’s lacking is that last little bit of killer instinct on both ends of the pitch, well, that and the size that Song brings.

But more importantly is that the team doesn’t seem to be playing as a unit right now and that exposes the frailties of every player on the pitch; with me even calling out Cesc.

But I’m thinking that it’s our long term injuries and some misfortune at the outset has cause this team to get mixed up in ways that is not conducive to team play. Think about it, the entire squad of Wing players are currently injured; Nasri, Theo, Eboue, and Rosicky have all had various long and short term injuries. Sure, Wenger should have seen that Rosicky would be out for a large portion of the season and that Eboue might not be up to snuff but still you can’t expect all four of them to go down. And so, we end up with Diaby and Denilson on the wings. All credit to them for trying but that is clearly not their best position. This throwing players in to unfamiliar roles makes it very difficult for the team to gel and also undermines their individual belief.

Given all that, it’s no wonder the team are struggling, but do they lack the quality to win the league? Really?

Dudu to Play

It’s now being confirmed that Dudu will play tonight. Hopes are high, but let’s be realistic, he was moments away from losing his leg after Martin Taylor’s horrific tackle. Let’s all wish Eduardo the best of luck and give him some room to breathe, he may never be the same again and we all need to accept that.

Other injury news has Theo coming back in February and Rosicky is seeing yet another specialist though there is no time-line shift on his return with “March” as his supposed target. No surprises there.

Also, you may have missed this story but Arsenal signed a big name defender to a long term contract yesterday: Hoyte the Younger.

Right, that’s it, I have to brave the treacherous ice covered streets of my city and go to work.

8 Responses to “Everyone writes us off, except Patrick Vieira”

  1. 1 IBRAHIM
    December 16, 2008 at 8:08 am

    Diaby is gret in central midfield so why does he always play left-mid,Eboue is awesome @ right-back,seasons ago he was the best right-back in the premiership but is now getting boood frm his own fans. Of course if a right-back comin back frm injury gets played left-mid of course he’s gonna struggle. Wengers decisions lately have confused me along with his endless excuses,clearly Denilson and Song are NOT GOOD ENOUGH to start for a team like asrenal(would any even get into spurs?),’NO’. if wenger really knows his players he would have realised this long-time ago.

  2. 2 Kulastu
    December 16, 2008 at 8:27 am

    NO IBRAHIM I’m afriad Diaby is not great in Central Mid-field. AD2 is the most frustrating player in the whole squad for me. It is quite obvious that he has sensational talent but he is very very lazy! He does not have the right attitude for me. When asked at the start of the season if he was looking forward to playing with Cesc in the flamini role he responded by saying that he was the same type of player as Cesc and the 2 of them together would not work. this really annoyed me, I know it is painfully obvious that he is not a defensive midfielder but surely if you wanna play you willplay anywhere, especially if you are trying to break into the team. The other problem I have with AD2 is the fact that when he beats a player he seems intent on trying to tkae them on a 2nd and 3rd time. He has so much talent but completely wastes it in my opion. Denilsono is one talented footballer too and much more suited to playing with Cesc altho I do also think thye are a bit too similar. I’m actually more than happy with AS17 in the defensive midfield role but I would love Arsene to give KT5 a go there. I love Kolo and honestly believe Le Boss should give him a go in the middle of the park. Anyone else agree with at least trying it for a few games?

  3. 3 T-town Alex
    December 16, 2008 at 9:44 am

    Diaby is talented. But he is either lazy or slow or both. I am not sure.
    Eboue and Denilson are both players that EVERY team would love to have, trust me on this. But you have to play them in a position that suits them. Eboue is one of the players that plays his heart out every week. So is Denilson. Both have some confidence issues partly because they play in all kinds of positions to cover team injuries, and their struggles are increased by the stupidity of fans and media. This team doesn’t need talent, it is just that the extend of injuries has cut the team very thin. It could use emergency signings in January but not because we lack talent. Only because of so many injuries. If we wait too long, the season may be over.
    The one problem I will fix however (in the coaching department) is to inject some more killer instinct & ruthless finishing (i.e. less passing for the sake of passing) Passing is a means to achieve a goal, not a goal in itself. They seem to have forgotten this.

  4. 4 Connolly's agent
    December 16, 2008 at 11:28 am

    I think the frsutrating thing is that good prospects like Vela and Ramsey, who could hold their own in a senior match, are on the bench while Wenger fields four central midfielders. That, and that our four central midfielders are good enough (yet, maybe) to do the job. We need players, and we needed them in August.

  5. December 16, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    I really have a hard time understanding why Vela can’t get a game.

    Let’s say, ok, the boss doesn’t want to start him because he’s too young. Fine, but why not bring him on in the 70th minute of a game where we need a bit more attacking and a bit more pace? That’s what we did with Walcott. It didn’t work very well as he never really opened a game up but if we’re giving these guys “experience” then why hold Vela back?

    Ramsey I understand: he’s Fabregas’ understudy and maybe next year he can start subbing in some games for Cesc. But what we don’t want is to have him play wide, that’s what’s messing Denilson and Diaby up right now. I couldn’t stand to see the backlash against this kid if Wenger consistently put him in the wings, where he does not belong and where he will not really shine.

    And Wilshere, well, obviously a tremendous talent, pacy, can play the wings, fearless, etc. the only problem is that he is 16. I’d really rather Wenger not fuck up his entire career because he refused to buy solid backups on the wings. Wilshere needs another year in the reserves and then we start playing him more, probably anywhere on the pitch.

    Also, I’d like to see Merida gets some chances and Simpson should play over Bendtner at this point (except I think Wenger is trying to raise Bendtner’s value by playing him).

    Maybe I need to buy the Arsenal branded Football Manager!

  6. 6 CaribKid
    December 16, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    Like many others, I’m amazed that Vela has not gotten more playing time period, and even more confused that he has not been utilized on the wing, even as a sub, with the injuries we have had to Walcott, Rosicky and Nasri and the departure of Hleib.

    Why play him successfully as a winger for 2 1/2 years in Spain and then sit his ass on the bench when all our pacey wingers are injured. Can’t figure that one out.

    I am also amazed that we have put Ramsey and Wilshire on the first team but have given them limited opportunities to play outside of the CC. At this stage of their careers these youngsters need to be playing in competitive games on a weekly basis to hone their match skills and temperament, even if it’s with the Reserves or on loan.

    To ask them to come on as subs in an EPL game and make a meaningful contribution is asking way too much and could effectively destroy their careers.

  7. 7 Matt
    December 16, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    So, like, is soccernet.com asking every has been on the planet what their thoughts are on Arsenal?

    Who the fuck cares what Martin Jol thinks?

    Looking forward to tomorrow’s post, Timothy.

  8. December 16, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    Arsenal is so in the the premiership as well as the UEFA cup.
    and nice blog timmy!

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