09
Mar
09

Song 3-0 Burnley; the Good, Bad, and Ugly

Match Reports

ESPNSoccernet: Arsenal cruised into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with a comfortable 3-0 win over Championship side Burnley at Emirates Stadium.

Setanta.com: Arsenal v. Burnley stats and ratings (linked for the fact they gave Eduardo the highest rating and all the comments are pro-Song!)

Telegraph: Try telling Eduardo the FA Cup has lost its romance. Even the swathes of empty seats at the Emirates Stadium could not detract from one of the season’s most emotive plot-lines: the road to Wembley has become a highway of healing for Eduardo.

Match Video

The Arsenalist has all the goals and highlights of Song v. Burnley — please click his sponsors or he will relapse.

Also, the Telegraph somehow put up a YouTube video of just Eduardo’s salsa/beach/stunner/cheeky goal it’s decent quality and I’m sure it will be taken down almost as soon as I link to it.

Falstaff of the Match

Eboue… no wait… Gallas… no wait… Song. Yes, it has to be Song. How well did he do? Pretty damn well actually. He hit 87% of his passes, had two assists, and even tracked back a couple times to make important saves.

It was a job well done and now he gets to take a couple weeks off.

Romeo and Ethel, the pirate’s daughter

Arsenal have now gone 17 in a row without a loss, have only allowed 1 goal in the last 8 matches, and scored 11 goals in those same 8; I think it’s safe to say that Arsenal are on a run.

More importantly, they are doing this without some of their biggest names, scrapping out 0-0 draws and banging in 3-0 wins is no mean feat when a team is missing key people like Cesc and Adebayor. In retrospect, some of us bloggers could have been a bit more circumspect in our criticism of the squad. They are gelling nicely and now that some key players like Eduardo and Theo are making their way back into the squad we are doing more than just holding on; Arsenal are scoring goals and finishing off their opponents with aplomb.

When Arsene signed Arshavin, most of us were clamoring to get a serious defensive midfielder and get rid of this on the job training program for Song and Denilson. But it turns out that creativity up front is exactly what Arsenal needed because that’s exactly what is opening opponents up, getting us out front, and from then on the game comes easy.

It was no surprise to me that Arshavin was the player who provided the ball for the opening goal. While he clearly lacks match fitness (fingers crossed this doesn’t lead to injury) this kid has vision, awareness, creativity, and the talent to put in the right ball. And though I think he’s leaning on his touch and creativity to make up for the fact that he’s running on one lung, it’s working and that’s all that matters. Arshavin, it turns out, was probably the perfect signing for this team.

This isn’t to take anything away from Carlos Vela! What a goal off that Arshavin pass! The youngster had blown a couple of chances in previous games and that goal was exactly what he needed to regain some confidence.

That said, I would expect a player like Vela to score audacious goals when he’s got a guy like Eduardo on the squad who is showing him the way. I mean, how does Eduardo even conceive to score a goal like yesterday’s stunner much less have the body control and touch to pull it off? Lots of people think that the reason Arsenal didn’t win the league last year was because we missed Eduardo. On the basis of yesterday’s goal, I’d have to agree.

And finally, Eboue (who’s name is no longer a curse) what can I say but good job, and keep up the hard work. After the match Arsene said “Usually when he (Eboue) gets in front of goal he loses his composure. I believe he needed that.” I would say that what makes Eboue frustrating is that he loses his composure all over the pitch, not just in front of goal. Maybe a goal is what he needed to gain some composure all over the pitch?

My own private Idaho

In the next round, Arsenal get to face Hull at home on the 17th, which if they win, sends us in to Wembley to face Chelsea for the semi-final.  We don’t want to look too far ahead, one game at a time and all that, but I am excited by the thought of this young team getting Cesc back and exacting some revenge on Chelsea for, I dunno, the Carling Cup final two years ago? Uhhh…. The fact that we beat them already this year? I dunno, but I want some revenge!

Also, if you’re planning a trip over to see Arsenal, check the fixtures list first, there’s a ton of matches coming up and some of the league play matches will be moved to accommodate the FA Cup and Champions League.

10 things I hate about Song

Slow, sideways passing, lazy, lacks vision, doesn’t close down opponents, lacks defensive awareness, one footed, can’t tackle, poor in the air, and not a team player.

Song has played 33 matches in all competitions for Arsenal this season and many of those matches have featured this player performing spectacularly poor. His performance in the North London derby will always be a black mark for me. Introduced in the 87th minute, in order to bolster the midfield, he instead lumbered around the pitch lost for two minutes as his marker (Jenas) dribbles around him and scores the goal that gave them belief. Fucking Jenas… outplayed by a polished turd like Jenas.

So, pardon me while I don’t jump on the bandwagon here quite yet. I’ve watched him very closely for 33 matches and while he’s had some decent performances, by and large he’s stunk the joint up and one good match against a Championship team that seemed to have given up after the first goal can’t erase the memory of 20 some odd real stinkers.

And yes, for the record, I am aware of the fact that he’s 1 inch taller than Denilson.

The Tempest

I’m only sorta kidding about the whole “now you get to take a couple weeks off thing.” It seems like every time I speak well of one of either Denilson or Song they come back in the next few matches and put in the kind of gormless performance that drives us all crazy. I’m really hoping this doesn’t happen because up next is Roma, in Rome, for the right to move on in the Champions League. Even if Totti, de Rossi, Perrotta, Cicinho, and Pizzaro are all out, Arsenal need a strong midfield pair to control the match.

I’m picking Diaby and Denilson as the strongest midfield pairing right now. In fact, I’m picking anyone plus Diaby as the strongest midfield pairing. Just look at the last 4 matches. Each time Diaby is either included from the start or introduced Arsenal look brighter on offense and stronger in defense. Against W.B.A. when he was introduced at half-time (and the Song/Denilson pair broken up) though they didn’t score, Arsenal looked real quality in attack and defense and went on to win 3-1.

That match happens on Wednesday and is currently not scheduled to be broadcast on ESPN here in the states, which means Setanta and Doyle’s.

Kickoff for that match is 12:45 PST and I’ll have a fuller match preview on Tuesday.

For now, we get to bask in the glory of a 3-0 win, Arsenal showing some real class, and several key Arsenal players coming back in to the squad providing fresh legs for what Wenger calls “the sprint” here at the end of the season. Arsenal are still alive in the Champions League, doing very well in the FA Cup, and just 3 points off 4th place Villa. So, despite some negative feelings hanging over about the team and our performances up till this point Arsenal are in a really good position to win a trophy for the first time in 4 years and silence many of us critics.

Hang on to your hats, kickers, it’s going to be a crazy run in.


17 Responses to “Song 3-0 Burnley; the Good, Bad, and Ugly”


  1. 1 WC
    March 9, 2009 at 9:12 am

    OK I can now categorize Song and Denilson – Cup players. I disagree that creativity was the only thing we needed in the January window because I still think we do need that one dominant CM. I’ll reiterate my point that I’ve made numerous times – we’re using 2 people to fill 1 role. While Denilson and Song may be admirable in their positions it also means that neither one on their own can do the job. They play well in CL and cup matches but once the experience of the league comes at them they seem to falter. This is even more evident when you talk about traditional teams with traditional tough tackling midfielders. Big teams allows us to play and vice versa but not all teams are like that and Song and Denilson are just not up to it most of the time. A league season is 38 games and of those 38 perhaps 20 of those will be against a team who will just brute force their way to a draw or win. We need a single person who can counteract that with good defensive positioning, tackling and creativity. Denilson and Song don’t seem mature enough to handle that full time right now. They may get there later in their careers but now is not their time to be the person(s) we rely on because the CM position has become one of the most important positions in the game in the last couple decades or so.

  2. 2 gooner sems
    March 9, 2009 at 10:49 am

    is the hull city game at the emirates or the kc?
    i think denilson and song are fit to be arsenal players because in time they will only get better as for the roma game eduardo i expect arsene to give him a start along side RVP but i dont think theo will start feeling confident c’mon arsenal

  3. 3 Bongo
    March 9, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    I think that, anyone that thinks aresnal need a defensive midfielder is looking at the wrong team, the last thing arsenal need is a defensive player, they are solid defensively, we need consistent scorers like eduardo back and the players with the vision to set them up with chances, like fab, arsh, nasri and RVP. Our defensive players have been doing great and if it wasn’t for the host of chances missed by our attacking players the table would look very different now.

    I’ve seen every single match this season in all competitions and while I agree Song has been poor and he turns an attacking team into a slow lumbering beast of sideways passes and back passes, he is quickly becoming a dominant force in midfield and at the back, if he can show the vision and passing he did against burnley consistently then we’re sorted. Denilson has done a fantastic job in the centre, I mean look who he had to replace, theres not many footballers today if any that could replace fabregas, but he has earned his place in the team. He is consistently improving, he never stops trying and works his ass off, you can’t teach a player that kind of commitment. He’s like a well disciplined Roy Keane and I believe he will be just as important to Arsenal in the future, as keane was to united.

    The FA Cup and Champions league trophy are coming to the Emirates, we’ll see who cares about premier league position then.

  4. 4 jazbo
    March 9, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Well done Song, MoM you may not be everyones cup of tea but if you show your true colours like when you went on loan to Charlton, then you may yet make it at Arsenal

  5. 5 barnaby
    March 9, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    I’ve no idea where this team ends up, but aspects of our play still a cause for concern. We’re still quite narrow, midfield very spotty at times, defense is holding but still prone to lapses. 98% of wengerisms are just nonsensical, but when he says in 2-3 years we will dominate all other teams with ease, i start to worry. These kids do face a lot of pressure, why heap any more on them? If wenger is still tracking inler among others is there something he’s not telling us, my guess is yes. If the new man Arshavin represents a quantum leap in the intelligence and quality of our play, what does that say about our squad? Leadership remains a question. I’m just one supporter but i can’t say with confidence anything about the team at the moment other than they appear to be a bit more stable.

  6. 6 njC
    March 9, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Song played well but is too slow to be effective in every game. He might be better suited to the Italian league but I will settle for him staying as good cover. I would rather see a livelier DM in the mold of Mascherano/Inler. Hopefully I´m wrong.

    What a difference playing 2 goalscoring strikers makes to the various nil nil contributions of Bendtner and Adebayor. I really hope they get sold and we buy a target man with a more innate finishing ability. Arsenal needs a more clinical approach and players like Eduardo and Walcott can provide that.

    It´s been a long time since I felt so good about watching the team play, just goes to show how spoilt we are under Wenger.

  7. March 9, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    I am also massively intrigued by the Daily Telegraph linking (and in fact this morning when I looked it was embedded, only became just a link around lunchtime over here) to the YouTube video. It’s still up at time of writing, by the way, so either they have run it past the lawyers and they reckon it is from a source that the FA and/or Setanta can’t touch (a guy I know said it seems to be from an Egyptian channel) or they’re pushing their luck. Either way, it’s a brave move; who knew that fans might want to see clips next to their match reports! I’m only surprised it took this long.

    Right, then, about those live Premiership streams…

  8. 8 Reece
    March 9, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    to the person who said song is too slow, gilberto isn’t any faster and excelled there. i believe the reason why song doesn’t perfom that well with denilson is because song plays further up the pitch and denilson tends to stay back when it should be the other way round. song generally can’t see a forward pass at all and only settles for short passes. If they switched we may see/hear a different song

  9. 9 WC
    March 9, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    @Bongo

    I don’t think you quite understand what a talented CM does. I’m done calling them defensive midfielders because they are more than that in today’s game. Carrick is the quintissential CM. He breaks up opposition play, can score and becomes a part of the play. While Song did that impressively against Burnley, where was that in the games against Hull, Fulham, Stoke et al? He can take on weaker opposition sure, but when you measure him against the rest of the league he’s still found wanting. We’re still poor against set pieces as exhibited by the 2 chances Burnley had from corners where Fabianski was catching some imaginary object and Caldwell hit a header off the post. A better team could have capitalized on those chances.

    Surely our finishing is better with Eddie back and RVP is having his best ever season but you can’t rely on a few for an entire season. When they go down with injuries you need the rest of the squad to pull their socks up. Five draws in a row and a fight for 4th place still shows that we’re missing certain elements in the team. Where is that same 20 goal Manu? I have no issues if we decided to ship him out to whereverland and buy someone who wants to play and can put games to bed. Part of Arsenal’s past dominance is also psychological. People expected to play Arsenal and lose. We’ve lost that swagger since The Invincibles were broken up and Wenger has done a rather slow job at re-building parts of the team. I don’t doubt he’ll get there eventually but all teams face that without going into a 5 year drought. Man Utd have lost their golden generation but Fergie still kept a roster that can be called title challengers. We’ve been written off for a long time now since and arguably still are simply because we’re not seen as squad experienced enough to know how to do what is necessary when we need to do it.

  10. 10 GoonerVance
    March 9, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Walcott is hardly a clinical finisher, and I don’t want him to be. For Arsenal, Walcott is the player who can create space with his speed and we need that against those 0-0-10 formations. Let him be the goal scorer for England. Vela is no master striker yet, he may be a master chipper tho. I think that’s the third goal he has scored this season where he chips it over the goalie, you’d think they’d learn not to come out. I think not enough credit has been given to Eboue and Bendtner for the improvements they’ve made over the past month.

  11. 11 T-Town Alex
    March 9, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    Come on people!… so much bitching and moaning. And all this after a 3-0 win. Relax a little.

  12. 12 Hamza
    March 9, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    respected sir, like i have been whining all season, denilson is exactly what we Dont need. he didnt start this game and see the result. No over passing quick fluid game. comfortable finishiing off the opponent. from where i see it song goes as out as soon as fabregas comes in thats the only change we need.

  13. 13 lee
    March 9, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    Denilson is 5’10” & Alex song is 6’1″ tall., 3 inches taller.
    Check Wikipedia.

  14. March 10, 2009 at 1:45 am

    All of you comments apart from “T-Town Alex” are so fucking pesimistic, are you real Gooners or fucking moaners???

    It was a GREAT display from Song pushing forward all the time and long it may continue, maybe he’s just getting in form now, maybe not let’s wait and see. I can not stand fans who moan and winge about their own players like this. We got a comfy 3-0 win and you still fucking moan, if it was 10-0 would you still moan?

    To start with Burnley is not a walkover like it seemed on Sunday, we played well and outplayed them with the talent of Arshavin, Vela, Eduardo, Song, Eboue and other players in the team, Gibbs showed great skill too, running down that flank and he’s only a kid. Diaby was the only player in my eyes that did not impress where as usualy he’s the one pushing and surging forward through the midfield.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but we fielded a weaker team in the Carling Cup and got spanked 2-0, now wasn’t Bedntner then the scape goat who missed sitters?

    Correct me if I’m wrong didn’t RVP missed a sitter aginst them on Sunday? A player with his profile should be scoring from these opportunities every time. However, these guys are human beings as well and every player misses chances and makes a mistake, we’re not fucking robots are we?? Song made no mistake in this game and you still have a go at him, shame on you!!!

    This team is getting better and better we have a good unbeaten run now and the other side looks bright with Fab4, Ade and Little Mozart coming back in. We’ll have a massive team to choose from with all the youngsters pushing in as well….and if someone tells me that VELA IS NOT TALLENTED< THEN PLEASE PLEASE GO BACK INTO HIBERNATION BECAUSE YOU OBVIOUSLY TALK USTTER SHIT!!! GOOD CHIPPER? THE WAY HE TRICKED THAT DEFENDER WAS PURE CLASS!!!

    SUPPORT YOU TEAM AS NORMAL SUPPORTERS DO, STOP MOANING AND WINGING YOU MIGHT AS WELL SUPPORT SCUM WHO ARE HOVERING JUST ABOVE RELEGATION ZONE AND THAT SHOULD GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO WINGE AND MOAN ABOUT!!!!

    UP THE GOONERS!!!!

  15. March 10, 2009 at 1:52 am

    Well said Arthur. Whilst I agree that everyone is entitled to their opinion, some people are just never happy with the performance of the team. And those people should piss off and support Bolton :P


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