09
Feb
09

Spuds 0-0 Arsenal; the Good, Bad, and the Eboue

What were they thinking?

Quote of the Day

For the second one, I touched him. I put my leg up because he had touched me before in front of the referee and he did not say anything. He kicked me when I tried to go forward and I put my leg up. The second card is normal, I accept it. But for me the referee was not good today. It was a goal. I don’t know why he did not give it. The referee said I touched Woodgate but I did not. I know have to control myself but I did not want to let Tottenham win. I just wanted to give my best. — Emmanuel Eboue points the finger at the ref for his failings.

Match Reports

ESPNSoccernet: Ten-man Arsenal battled to earn a point as the north London derby against Tottenham ended goalless at White Hart Lane.

Telegraph: Tottenham fail to break down 10-man Arsenal after Emmanuel Eboue sees red.

Player Ratings

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been wanting to start putting player ratings and a man of the match feature here and this seems like as good a game as any, doesn’t it? So, without any further fan fare here are your player ratings:

1 Manuel Almunia (G) — 8.5 and MotM — Best game I’ve ever seen from the future England number one. After a shaky start where he failed to command his box, he came alive and made several important saves and cleared his lines pretty well.  More than any other player he saved Arsenal a point yesterday.

10 William Gallas (CD-L) — 7.75 — Solid at the back, cleaning up after Denilson, Toure, and Song’s mistakes.

5 Kolo Toure (CD-R) — 5.5 — Made several critical mistakes that could have resulted in goals for Spuds. When Wenger says the team is young and still learning, I wonder how he explains 28 year old Kolo Toure stabbing at the ball? That’s a fundamental defensive mistake and he did it several times.

22 Gaël Clichy (LB) — 6.5 — Vastly frustrating player.  His ability to get forward is crucial to providing width on this Arsenal team, but he’s a major gamble at the back. Got skinned time and again by Lennon and Modric. The only reason he rates higher than Toure is that he made a crucial tackle on Modric that certainly saved a goal.

3 Bacary Sagna (RB) — 8 — Sagna, solid as a rock.

17 Alexandre Song Billong (CM-L) — 7 — Tale of two halves. At the start, he looked his normal “who cares?” self out there and was caught jogging back defensively several times. Then, after Eboue was sent off he really did a good job putting a physical stamp on the midfield and at times looked Palacios’ equal if not his better. This is the second time that he’s played on a 10 man Arsenal team and put in a good performance — are we missing something or does he just have two gears? And if he does have a second gear then why doesn’t he use it more often?

15 Denilson (CM-R) — 5.75 — Horrible game, overshadowed only by the fact that Eboue was sent off. Outplayed consistently by Palacios and several times failed to mark a man on defense, at least one time which should have resulted in a goal for Tottenham. One of the worst games I’ve seen from him.

8 Samir Nasri (LM) — 6 — Did he actually play?

27 Emmanuel Eboue (RM) — Golden Turd — A performance so bad that it actually disintegrated the fabric of space/time. If you’re still supporting Eboue after that performance, well then you’re a retard too. I’m as Arsenal as anyone and I understand the whole “support the team” thing, but being an Arsenal supporter is more than just blind loyalty. Arsenal stands for something and Eboue is the antithesis of everything that Arsenal stands for; he’s a cheat, he’s a liar, he’s a blamer, he’s a fake, and he’s a diver. If that weren’t enough, he’s also clearly mental. Even in his mea culpa he refuses to take responsibility for his actions and blames the ref. Yes, the ref was a joke, so fucking what? So, you get to kick Modric? I’d say he’s lost the plot but I don’t think he was ever on the plot.

11 Robin Van Persie (CF-L) — 7 — Put in a ton of hard work as the lone striker after Eboue lost his mind.

25 Emmanuel Adebayor (CF-R) — 6.5 — Hard to give a man bad marks if he’s stretchered off.

Subs

Nicklas Bendtner for Emmanuel Adebayor (39) — 6 — Not really his fault because he had to play midfield after Eboue was sent off.

Kieran Gibbs for Gaël Clichy (87) — NR — Didn’t play enought to get a rating.

The Good

Second consecutive clean sheet, 11 matches without a loss, 10 years wiuthout a loss to Spurs, and a tough fight back while down to 10 men for 50+ minutes. I’m proud of them for not just securing the point but for nearly nipping all three.

The Bad

I’m tired of watching former Arsenal central midfielders come in an boss the middle of the park. I’m also tired of talking about it. Congrats Wilson, you had a great game.

The Eboue

I really wish that the manager didn’t have to go up in front of the English press and defend his team, but Eboue made sure that was always going to be the case. The apoplectic reaction from the British press to Wenger’s statement that “he didn’t see it” was always going to happen and I almost wonder if Wenger didn’t do it on purpose: in order to draw some of the criticism off the team and on to him.

Eboue for his part must now live in infamy. There was a remarkable article about how after the booing incident he ran home, took the phone off the hook, and cried into his pillow until his three friends on the team (Ade, Toure, and Sagna) came over to his house to console him. It’s a remarkable admission by a professional athlete that really, the pressure of playing for Arsenal had gotten to him. As if to underline that point he went and cracked yesterday. In that moment of madness, he vindicated the boo boys and destroyed the faith that Wenger placed in him after the booing incident. After yesterday’s performance I will be utterly surprised if we ever see him in an Arsenal shirt again.

Conclusion

Eboue’s madness is both liberating and limiting. It’s limiting because Arshavin can’t possibly be ready to start a game, Vela clearly cannot cope with the physical demands of the EPL yet, and Denilson is not a wing player so choices are between an unfit player, a small player, and a slow player. Moreover, Arshavin is ineligible to play against Cardiff because he wasn’t on the roster for the first match. He’s also unable to play against Roma because he’s cup tied. So, like I’ve said, he’ll be getting his debut against Sunderland on the 21st, probably as a sub, and if I know Arsene, Andrey will get his first full start against Fulham on the 28th. So, it’s limiting because without Eboue and with all the reasons why Arshavin can’t play we’re going to see a lot of Denilson on the right wing.

That said, in some way, Eboue’s actions are liberating. Unless the boss has completely lost his marbles then he cannot play Eboue and that means that someone else must get the start on the right wing. Right? So, it’s liberating if only because this just bumps Vela up a bit in the pecking order or maybe Eduardo gets some time out there. I dunno, I just know that someone, anyone will get the start over Eboue from here on.

Right, well, we’ve got a whole week off from football with the next game falling on President’s day (Monday the 16th) and the boss clearly has his work cut out for him. Adebayor is out for three weeks, Eboue is out for the next match at the very least, and we’ve got all these “like a new signings” coming back into the squad.

Time to get down to business and never mind catching Villa, we have to catch Chelsea. Ultimately, I can think of no better end to this nightmare year than to claim 4th place from Chelsea and have them go into the tail-spin that everyone has been predicting for Arsenal for 4 years. Because unlike Arsenal, they do not have a sustainable team, fanbase, or even management and thus are actually vulnerable to serious turmoil should they miss the Champions League.

Come on you Gunners, do one over those Chelsea c*nts.


11 Responses to “Spuds 0-0 Arsenal; the Good, Bad, and the Eboue”


  1. February 9, 2009 at 7:43 am

    It’s time for Jack.

  2. 2 Travis
    February 9, 2009 at 7:51 am

    What about Wengers Rating. Smart enough to know Arshavin and Eduardo arent ready but dumb enough to keep Eboue on the pitch and drop Bendtner to midfield and probably the reason no other mid played well.

    I miss my Cesc life.<—bad pun

  3. 3 Tim
    February 9, 2009 at 8:07 am

    DAMN…

    I was going to rate Wenger and I forgot.

    I’d give him “Needs a New Prescription” it seems like he needs some new spectacles since he never sees anything his team does wrong, and he needs some new medicine to cure him of his Eboueism.

  4. 4 Tom
    February 9, 2009 at 8:20 am

    Let me start by saying that is a pleasure sharing my 2-cents with fellow gooners! However I want to cut to the chase and say that picking up on Eboue is weak and hypocritical. Our aim has gone astray and we are lost on labeling this player ( tree) as weak-link, however we are missing the whole forest (FA). WE WON’T WIN ANYTHING, AND I DO NO CARE IF WE REINCARNATE ALL OUR LEGENDS TOGETHER WITH THIS KIND OF REFEREEING. If we agree that what happened to Ade vs. L’pool fits the same pattern, then our aim should be guided to the forest ( FA). The way how a cabbal of referres there interpret the rules makes you sick. If Mike Dean illusionary foul vs Woodgate would be applied to all Gabby Agbolahor, then this season he would be an average scorer not a break-out artist. If you would apply the same rules for weak yellow cards, United and Chelsea, would be finishing their important games with eight players( they know how to mob and put pressure to the referee). The only difference is that their slang is clear for the referee, our comes sounding with the “yes we hate you french”accent. Unless we sort it out with FA that won’t take any more cr_p, then it will be business as usual, and the next one on our hate list will be Gallas and so forth…

    Finish your pathetic exercise in mental ma$turb@tion of wishing ( asking Wenger )have that player ( or what ever Sky pundits are feeding you for the day). Our weakest link is the proper pressure( on the some jingoes on the FA). This is the same team that scintillates us from coast to coast, so unless you are a chelski or citeh fan in disguise, do not take any more cr@p and support the team and it is coach. They are pulling the wool out of our eye in this board week in and week out, with our team being weak and certain players being out of favour with pathetic fans. How we can beat the world champions for fun when the refereeing is neutral at least and stumble with the pumpkin heads “flashing cards referees”. Please answer my question!
    How many games have United, L’pool, Chelsea and Villa have played with 10 players for the better part of game and have earned a draw. Do I need to remind you what happened last week Toffees vs L’pool? who won at last?

    So huddle up together and call, fax, email (I tried doesn’t work) produce smoke signals so the FA can understand that its best product ( I follow the games across the ocean at some incredible taxing times) it is getting the short end of the stick week in week out and HAVE ENOUGH!!!

    Unless they are planning to scoop with some other exciting play from( e.g. Bolton vs Wigan) than their product will suk! I hope FA will have a plan be if a lot of Arsenal fan start canceling their packages to Sky or Setanta because their product suks! Let me know what you think

  5. 5 paul
    February 9, 2009 at 8:29 am

    am i missing something fellas or did Bendtner not play up front all the time when he came on??? it was rvp who dropped into midfield second half. If you cant see that i dont think you can really justify rating the players!!! Anyway I actually agree with everything else you say.

  6. 6 Tim
    February 9, 2009 at 8:47 am

    Tom,

    Blaming the refs is lame and will win you nothing. Yes, the refs are biased against Arsenal; I’d go further and say the whole league is biased against foreigners (by which I mean people not born in one of the colonies). Just watch what Ashley Young and Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard get away with and you’ll see. It’s blatant the way refs, fans, announcers, etc. give them preferential treatment.

    The problem is that the more you complain about it, the more you look like the one with the problem. That’s not fair, but that’s how it is and you, me, Wenger, and the players need to get that through our thick skulls and stop expecting it to magically become fair. Life is not fair and sometimes you have to work extra hard to get the same place that others get by virtue of having the right passport. I’ve seen this in pretty much every sport: the top teams get away with a ton more crap than other teams. And you know what? That fact HELPED Arsenal during their unbeaten run. Patrick Vieira was a dirty player who could have been sent off in nearly every match I watched but because he played for Arsenal, and had EARNED the respect of refs, he got away with a lot.

    The point here is that early on, Vieira didn’t get away with a lot and was routinely singled out by the refs but he kept playing, persevered through the discrimination, and came out on top. That’s what champions do. Sitting around whingeing about the refs is what losers do.

    Finally, blindly supporting a team is also lame, if I see players who suck eggs, like Eboue, I’m going to call them out for it.

  7. 7 WC
    February 9, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Well that game wasn’t the result I hoped it to be. Although Eboue was a total moron, he had some kind of point because I can’t see how Woodgate’s clumsiness could have really been called a foul. That aside we really lacked a cutting edge in the final third. If RVP isn’t scoring it looks like no one is scoring which really speaks volumes about the quality, or lack thereof, of our attack right now. Eduardo is a pure finisher and we really need him to start playing again. Adebayor can’t seem to hit the broad side of a barn this season and it’s one of the reason we can’t turn draws into wins and gain ground on the 4 clubs above us. Chelsea is the most likely candidate for us to overtake but we only have 13 games to make up 5 points. The gap isn’t big but for every injury, draw or missed chance we get every week it’s another week lost where we can make this season alot less dicey. If we do not qualify for CL it could leave our players asking questions of the club – it’s not known whether there will be some mass exodus of Leeds-esque proportions but you can bank on us facing some real pressure if we begin to decline, especially with Villa and Everton on the rise in the past few seasons. We definitely need a central mid and that position has at least a 18-20M price tag right now. It should never take 2 players to fill 1 role. The Denilson/Song dynamic is a losing formula because they lack consistency and it should only be 1 player filling in the middle of the park to allow for another creative force. When the squad is at 100% and our creative midfielders are back, Wenger has got to sort out CM because he’ll have at his disposal the likes of Arshavin, Theo, Cesc, Rosicky and having 2 CMs leaves on of those game deciders on the bench, which is clearly a liability. CL is a must for us to continue our reputation as a club. We;ve fallen a bit from grace as we’ve gone from never finishing outside the top 2, to struggling to even finish 4th or 5th.

  8. February 9, 2009 at 9:04 am

    Chelsea just sacked Big Phil.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/c/chelsea/7879638.stm

    Fourth place REALLY up for grabs now…

  9. 9 Tim
    February 9, 2009 at 9:06 am

    “It’s up for grabs NOW!”

  10. 10 Rogo d gooner
    February 9, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Yes now we can definitely get 4th place


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