That’s no worm, that’s Silvestre


I’m just kind of tired today and besides, there isn’t much to say. Chelsea supporters are gloating, as they should, Arsenal supporters are feeling down, as they should, and Man U supporters are looking forward to winning the league against what must be seen as an easy Arsenal target.

I guess it could be worse. We could be Spurs fans, hailing a 0-0 draw against a strikerless Everton as an achievement. We could be Chelsea fans, gloating over a third place finish.

Hell, we could be Mikael Silvestre. Now that would be a nightmare. I mean just look at the man, to paraphrase an apt description of former Seattle SuperSonics center Jerome James, Silvestre is a part-time “man in a gorilla suit” and a full-time stiff.

But I have an inkling that Wenger sees some problems. I watched his post match press conference, and though you’ll see news headlines that say “Wenger a true believer” or some such, my interpretation is that he saw the problems:

  1. He rightly blames Silvestre for not bothering to go for the header… “I believe we must live in our job where the referee makes some decisions for you and some against. But defending consequently you should clear the ball on the cross.”
  2. He blames the midfield for Anelka’s second goal… “If you look at the second goal we could have done much better in midfield than at the back.”
  3. He recognizes that Arsenal’s defending is not up to snuff… “We conceded four at Liverpool, three against Man United and four today. We have to improve the way we defend.”
  4. And he recognizes the need for leadership from this team, especially in big games…  “what is very disappointing for us is in the games that mattered in the last three or four weeks we couldn’t win. That’s where we have to analyse.”

And he’s already talking about bringing in reinforcements, though, that could turn into talk of people being “like a new signing” as the summer wears on.

I can’t wait… Senderos is like a new signing! Traore, like a new signing! Rosicky! Eduardo!

I love the summer.

19 Responses to “That’s no worm, that’s Silvestre”

  1. 1 Gooner
    May 11, 2009 at 7:19 am

    I thought that for Anelka’s goal, Silvestre didn’t do anything wrong. He followed his man to ensure it wasnt a one on one, and then when he was Anelka was about to shoot, he tried to block it. The fact was it was an awesome shot. People blame Fabianski, but the ball looks as if it is going to his right, then swerves like a bitch to his left.

  2. 2 jd
    May 11, 2009 at 7:25 am

    Silvestre is a has-been. Why did Senderos & Troare go on loan? we’ve come short over the past three years at crucial stages. This squad needs big name players or the Gunners will end behind the TOP THREE again…
    To thinks that 4 seasons back – Arsenal were untouchable in England.

  3. 3 ryan
    May 11, 2009 at 7:38 am

    i like senderos and traore, but neither are big game players at all, so you’re contradicting yourself. whilst he might be past it, silvestre is more a big game player than senderos or traore so far and you can only have so many centrebacks in the squad at the same time. gibbs has been much better at lb than traore was last season too, where he had a number of poor performances. if you want better players, fine, but to cite senderos and traore doesn’t make any sense at all. if they both come back in the summer lets hope they both do better next year.

    the only signing arsenal need this summer is martin keown i’m afraid. defensive coach and our shitty defense can be fixed with the same personel.

  4. 4 Tim
    May 11, 2009 at 7:45 am

    You’re right, Ryan, Silvestre is a big game player, which is why his pathetic defense and even worse clearances led to 4 goals against Chelsea and Liverpool.

    His a big game player all right: he freaks out in big games.

  5. May 11, 2009 at 8:02 am

    Felt I should chime in here, but in addition to Arsene Wenger’s interview after Chelsea, he gave one before the game in which he talked about summer transfers. And what he said was very interesting to me, and shows that, as you could tell from this interview, he knows what our problems are and is looking at how to rectify them.

    He said last week about our transfer targets that he would be looking to bring in one or two players of good quality (same stuff he always says), but then he added that if they came they would be players with some experience and not younger players, because said he, and I quote, “We have enough of them.”

    Hmmm, sounds like he has finally seen what we’ve all seen for months and months: young players are fantastic, but their lack of experience means we will always fail in the big games like in the last few weeks. We have PLENTY of young players, now we need some experience, and it seems to me from Arsene’s comments that he now sees this as well.

  6. 6 caribkid
    May 11, 2009 at 10:34 am

    I am not totally convinced Arsene has seen the light. Last off-season he was forever talking about bringing in new players to add depth, and we got Ramsey, Nasri and an injured Bischoff. He then talked about bringing in experience and we got Silvestre.

    Couldn’t think about it a lot this weekend, as the youngest of my 3 children, and only son, graduated from Georgia State and we were all involved in 2 days of festivities. He and I did manage to sneak away and watch the game. However, our dilemma started to seep in late last night and I just got pissed off all over again.

    For me, our biggest acquisition in the off season will be Pat Rice’s replacement. If we get another Arsene “YES” man who offers nothing different we will continue to have problems even with new players added. It will be interesting to see if Gazidis and the Board gets involved in that decision making process or whether they will just rubber stamp Arsene’s choice.

    This Summer will certainly be an important crossroads in Arsenals future.

  7. 7 viva los gooners
    May 11, 2009 at 11:34 am

    I never really figured our why we bought Silvestre, what were we doing buying Manc cast-offs?

    The only thing I can think of is Arsene had some small change left over, realised he needed extra cover at the back with alleged experience, the window was closing, so he emptied out his pockets and took whatever was available. Why else would we buy an old, second rate defender, who was never up to much from the beginning. Surely he didn’t think he was getting another Gallas?

    The first twenty minutes of Sundays match was some of the best football we have played in a while, fast, inventive, decisive, even better than Barce, but why play RvP up front, with Cesc behind?

    I saw a list of players bought, by the ‘Big Four’, I think it was from the Daily Mail, and the amounts of money they had spent. Whether it was to illustrate the lack of buying by us I don’t know. But looking at the lists for Mancs, Chelski, and Liverpiddle, for 50% of their buys, I had to say who? Where are they now? Yes they have all made some good buys, and also very expensive howlers. I guess my point is that when managers, and their boards make these purchasing decisions, it’s done on the best information availabe at the time, or that’s the theory. But then all sorts of variables get thrown in, unexpected injuries, lack of fitness, players not fitting in, conflict of styles, and so on, and so on. So what seemed a brilliant deal, turns in to a dog.

    Again I will mention the overall financial position, we know that Liverpiddle were prevented from making purchases in the January window, because of financial constraints. Mancs are up to there necks in debt, and Chelski’s benefactor ain’t getting his cheque book out. Prudence may not be popular, and maybe doesn’t win trophies, but I would rather see us 4th, and in a position to win things, rather than wind up struggling to stay out of the Championship or worse. Dare I say Leeds Untied, and also remember Luton Town once played at top level?

    The lack of trophies is vastly disappointing for all of us, when our expectations are so high. There have been good performances, and abysmal performances, but if we are still challenging for top honours, and perhaps winning things, next year in 2 years, 5 years, 10 years then that can only be good for us all, and for Arsenal. Be thankful your not a trooper in the Toon Army!


  8. 8 WC
    May 11, 2009 at 11:54 am

    If Wenger FINALLY realizes that defense is poor then he cannot go buy some 17 year old in the summer for the centre of the defense. If he does, he is just senile and crazy. I expect him to splash some cash on a tried and true stopper otherwise he’s just lost it. Secondly he also needs to see the need for a hard man in the centre of the midfield. Song isn’t the finished product yet and Anelka’s goal illustrated the need for class in this position. Anelka really just waltzed down the middle of the park and unleashed a shot. A top class CM on the day would have locked down Anelka before he took a couple steps.

    I’m getting tired of defending Wenger to be honest and sooner or later if this keeps up I’ll be joining the doom and gloom club because really we’re the laughing stock of supposedly “top European clubs” no one is afraid of facing us and I think opponents are mostly being nice out of pity when they say “On the day Arsenal can score many goals against you”. We’ve conceded a ton of goals in the past month already and all against clubs above us – not even respectable scorelines. Hill-Wood says we have money to spend and Wenger says he’s unsure of funds so I don’t know who is right but we definitely need to be better and the manager needs to see that and make the necessary changes. For all of our beautiful football it achieves nothing. It’s time for more effective football.

  9. 9 Tim
    May 11, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    There’s plenty of money (£100m+) to spend, but it will come down to two things: Wenger’s desire to do so and his ability to find someone to fit the bill. For example, in center back, there really are no EPL experienced hard core center backs available apart from Hangelaand. I know people like Micah Richards, but Richards is a little bit shit and he would be exposed as a fraud the moment he stepped on the pitch to play for this Arsenal team, because one thing that Arsenal’s system does exceptionally well is expose their own defenders. Moreover, why would he leave Man City, who are going to spend eleventy billion $$$ on building Chelsea II: Middle-East Boogaloo?

    Second, I know that you dislike Song, WC, but you’re misreading that Anelka goal. Nasri was supposed to be tracking Anelka, he was the closest man, and he’d given up. Either that or he thought that Silvestre would put in a tackle/close space a bit and was waiting for the counter. Song was awesome against Chelsea, I almost feel like finding a broadcast of the game, recording it and showing you all the clips of him dispossessing Essien and Mikel: two of the world’s best CM.

    Which brings me to the real problem, something I pointed out earlier in the year, this is not a personnel problem as much as it is a system/tactics problem. Why was Nasri not defending? Two things: he probably thought it was Song’s job and Song was playing in an attack — because that’s how Wenger wants them to play.

    The thing most people don’t see is that this iteration of Wenger’s team demands that basically every player fills in at every other position. Normally, a team will do this in defense, but not as much in attack, but Wenger has every player attacking, carrying, moving forward, starting the attack, etc. And against a team like Chelsea , who are more patient, more experienced, they pick them apart.

    Look where Drogba and Ronaldo were fouled and scored: pretty much the exact same place on the pitch. Wenger plays a super high line which exposes defenders to one-on-ones, over the tops, and diagonal balls. Those result in fouls, corners, and the occasional Robbie Keane style goal. Other than Silvestre, these goals don’t come because the team is shit, they happen because of the tactics employed by Wenger.

    If Arsene brings in Hangelaand he’ll help out set piece defense (for one opponent anyway) but he’ll be hung out to dry worse than anyone when Arsenal do their high line ball-holdery bullshit. You think Hangelaand is going to run down Agbonlahor?

    The point is, Arsene needs to look at how we play and fix it. This constant attack type football is ok to watch but I’d rather grind out some wins. That’s the thing that people forget about the Invincibles; they played beautiful football and they ground out 1-0 wins.

    Wenger needs to get back to that, play a bit more balanced football.

  10. 10 WC
    May 11, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Tim I don’t dislike Song, as a matter of fact I think he’s one of very few players who give 110% on the pitch. However for all the praise heaped on him he’s simply not the answer right now. I give him maybe 2-3 years and then people will know his name but if we are to get any silverware next season he cannot cover the back four by himself for an entire season. He can play perhaps half the games or even the cup games but he doesn’t make the same difference to our midfield that Essien or Carrick does for Chelsea and United. To re-quote a cliche – we need to find another Vieira.

    On the point of defense – that’s why we have 2 central defenders. Toure is quick and fairly strong and really we need a Ferdinand/Vidic pairing. One is the brain and the other the brawn. As it stands we don’t have the brawn and a big no nonsense defender will do more than cancel out one team because let’s face it, there’s more terrible route 1 football teams than there are Man Uniteds or Barcelonas. We’ll be confident of clean sheets against any team ever coached by Sam Allardyce, Chelsea’s giant defenders and strikers will no longer haunt us on set pieces, Torres will no longer outmuscle and out-head our defenses, the Stokes, Hulls, Joey bartons, etc will no longer bully their way into a point or 3 against us.

    Wenger has forgotten who his players were in his most successful seasons – Petit, Campbell, Adams, Vieira, Dixon et al. Some of hem graceful players, all of them brutes when it comes to defending. We Arsenal fans hate the John Terrys, Dioufs, Kevin Nolans etc but I think we have some complex we don’t want to admit to that some days we wish they were playing for us.

  11. May 11, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Yes, WC, let’s get rid of that wimpy little runt Gallas. Good enough to win the world cup with France, but not good enought to play in defence for Arsenal.

    Tim, what are you smoking, mate? “There’s plenty of money (£100m+) to spend”…..which Setanta pundit whispered that in your pearl like ear?

    Also “This constant attack type football is ok to watch but I’d rather grind out some wins”….maybe you should become a Fulham fan? (or there are a host of others to choose from). Arsene wants attack type football because it’s GREAT to watch AND, of-course he wants to win. I want to be entertained. Unlike Americans for whom winning is all, it’s good to enjoy life and be entertained. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching this young team develop this year. If they start grinding out “boring Arsenal” 1-0 wins again, I’ll start watching someone else, like Barcelona, who can play. Are you old enough to remember the pre-Wenger days?

  12. May 11, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    No Setanta Pundit, I got it from the Arsenal Annual reports.


    They reported that they have £93m in cash reserves after last season. Given that they have earned roughly £30m a season in cash that they have put way (again the link above links DIRECTLY to their own report) over the last three years (I looked at every year) and they went further in the Champions League this year than last, AND they negotiated a bigger TV contract, I expect that that number will be around £110-120m in CASH RESERVES after this season is tallied up. Even if merch sales and pie sales and cell phone ring tone sales all went down.

    It’s one of the more eye opening facts out there.

    Arsenal have the money, but Wenger doesn’t want to spend it.

  13. May 11, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Don’t give me the “go become a such and such fan” that old warhorse is deader than sideways flares and supa fly collars.

    I find it odd that “Bergkamp’s the man” would say that he’d rather be a Barca fan than watch Arsenal win a trophy.

    Especially when the Bergkamp era was when Arsenal were famous for grinding out wins.

    …and winning trophies.

    What I believe is that we need a balance, that this team is not balancing grinding out wins and pretty, attacking football. Instead, Wenger is just doing one tactic over and over, I don’t think that’s beautiful or fun to watch. It’s not fun to fly to England, pay $100, and sit in the end zone watching teams sit back and invite Arsenal’s passing football garner a 0-0 draw. I would much rather watch a 1-0 win over that dross.

  14. 14 WC
    May 11, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    @Bergkamp’s The Man.

    Nicky Butt has a CL with Man Utd and Kleberson has a World Cup medal – let’s buy them too

    You sir are an idiot. You chastise 1-0 wins yet if we had 1-0 wins in those 5 goalless draws in a row we’d be top of the table . Funny thing about perspective isn’t it? For all the good football you want to play if we don’t win then you’re just disillusioned about our tactics or style. Wenger will always choose free-flowing football so that point is moot but we aren’t Barcelona, we cannot pull it off for 50 games a season and win. The fact that the 3 Barca forwards have more fouls than their defense shows that their team knows how to defend from the front – something that is necessary if you want to play attacking football. Ask Wayne Rooney about that, he’ll tell you. If playing totally free flowing football yields no rewards then it’s a flawed strategy – as exhibited by our 4 trophyless years. Hate Man Utd all you want but they were horrible for the first half of this season but grinding out 1-0 wins still in a very ugly way and where are they? Oh on another possible treble and where are we? Getting thumped twice in a week on our own ground. Like it or not, being able to win ugly is part of being a championship side – it doesn’t have to happen every week but it has to happen when it matters.

    If you’re going to stop supporting the team when they’re winning 1-0 and grinding results then quite frankly you’re just not in favour of the team. A win is a win and you have to take it when it comes.

  15. 15 caribkid
    May 11, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Tim, I stand with you 100%. Anyone who takes the time to look at the Annual and Semi-Annual Financial Reports will shut the F$$k up about Arsenal not having money. In fact, they are the only sports club in the WORLD with such cash reserves.

    Let me repeat this one more time. ARSENAL=HIGHEST CASH RESERVES of any sports club in the WORLD. If you don’t believe the Arsenal website then check out FORBES.

    For the USA supporters, that means they have more cash reserves than the Yankees, Cowboys, Patriots, Mets, Lakers, etc.

    Re: Song. I have a tape of the Chelsea game and watched it again today. Song was one of the few bright spots. When you have attacking fullbacks and AM’s, someone needs to drop back in defensive coverage. Watch Chelsea and Manure, Drogba, Anelka, Tevez, Rooney were at times defending in their own penalty box. Our defensive rotation is what stinks, not Song. Fabregas, Nasri, Walcott and Diaby totally lacked the organizational nous to provide adequate defensive cover.

    The current Arsenal team has no concept whatsoever of defensive rotation, unlike their predecessors.

    I would agree however, that we need another player capable of playing the DM position in case of injury or just plain keeping the rotation fresh.

    And, for all those Arsenal fans with short term memory loss, remember that Song only became our DM by default. Last season, Arsene said Song did not have the stamina to play DM. In fact, Song never practised or played DM in the off season. He was our backup CB. Only when Cesc got injured, and Diaby also injured, he was forced to move Denilson to AM, and Song got his chance at DM.

  16. 16 caribkid
    May 11, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    You go WC. 100% correct.

  17. May 12, 2009 at 4:38 am

    trading Silvestre will be like a new signing.

  18. May 12, 2009 at 4:41 am


    Travis the Septopus wanted to get a shirt that said “like a new signing” on the back but that exceeds the character limit.

  19. 19 Alex
    May 12, 2009 at 7:26 am

    This is kind of funny.


    I wonder if he realizes that one of the biggest the “weaknesses” in the team is him.

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