Posts Tagged ‘Diaby

30
Dec
08

Best/Worst of 2008 #4; Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham

pardon me for being frank, but this picture makes me want to puke my guts up

When Arsenal hosted Tottenham on the 29th of October it was a tale of two seasons. For Spurs, theirs was a season of high expectations, quickly followed by failure and derision that had culminated in the firing of Juande Ramos and appointment of Harry Redknapp. For Arsenal, despite a couple of blips against Fulham and Hull, hopes were still very high for the senior team and the world was delighting over the exploits of Wenger’s youth team. It took just 90 minutes for Tottenham to expose Arsenal’s frailties in the game that shook Arsenal’s 2008/2009 season.

It started about as bad as a game could. David Bentley, a failure of Arsenal’s academy and constant press loudmouth scored the goal of his lifetime. I mean that in the most derisive sense possible because it wasn’t as much a great goal as it was an utter failure on the part of Arsenal’s defense. From the failed clearance to the fact that Almunia was caught out in no-man’s land Arsenal failed completely. To his rat-faced credit, Bentley did strike the ball well but had any component of the Arsenal team had their head in the game it would have been a wasted shot. Unfortunately Arsenal losing their heads has since become a familiar theme.

But the worst part, the part that stings the most is the knowledge that no lead is safe in the hands of this Arsenal team and Spurs amazing comeback proved that to the world. Up 4-2 and seemingly cruising, Arsene hauled off Walcott, van Persie, and Nasri and put on Eboue, Diaby, and Song — you know, to shore up the defense.

Within one minute of the final sub Tottenham scored twice and shredded the once great Arsenal defense. Of course, the final scoreline is not all the fault of the three subs but it’s no coincidence that those three players are singled out for the most fan derision. It seems like those three are most likely to be on the pitch when some once in a lifetime defensive frailty is exposed.

Letting Tottenham back from a 4-2 lead and exposing our supposed defensive players for the quality they truly are would be a huge enough pivot point of the season yet this game had one more surprise in store for us. Several weeks later, in what is easily the biggest fallout from this game, William ‘Cappy’ Gallas decided to let the whole world know, via the French press, that there was a huge dressing room bust up at half time of that game. Gallas threw in some stuff about disrespectful players and people who think they’ve already arrived when they haven’t done as much as his Greatness, and how when he was a kid he had to kick the ball up hill, in the snow, both ways. Oh yeah, and they should all GET OFF HIS LAWN!

Wenger was left with no choice but to strip Gallas of his captaincy. Cesc was the obvious choice and was quickly appointed. Yet, the problem is that despite a brief upturn there still seems to be some unrest at the club over who leads the team and how they do it. Now with Cesc out for four months with an injury the leadership gap at the club is more glaring than ever.

Defensive woes, a leadership gap, and Diaby, Eboue, and Song exposed for their lack of polish. It didn’t all happen at once, but I can think of no better game that highlights those three stories of 2008 than the 4-4 draw against Tottenham.

Transfer News

Reports have hotted up around supposed Arsenal transfer targets Shay Given and Andrei Arshavin. This morning the Telegraph (who are fairly reliable — for an English newspaper) is reporting that Arsenal have offered £8m for the Newcastle #1. He supposedly wants £60,000 a week in salary but I don’t think that would be too much given Arsenal’s bizarre salary structure. Rumor has it that Spuds and Citeh are also interested in Given, Spuds because their world class keeper is on his way back to PSV and Citeh because everyone on the planet is linked to Citeh.

Meanwhile, multiple sources are reporting that Wenger is “mulling over” a bid for Arshavin. I’d rather he mulled a bid for someone like reported Real Madrid target Antonio Valencia from Wigan. The price tag has to be better and we don’t have to do business with those unseemly racists at Gazprom.

Bad news for the people who wanted Arsene to call up Arteta from Everton, it seems like they are reluctant to let their best players leave for some reason. We all knew that was going to happen, really. Everton would be fools to let Arteta go and unless Arsenal did something like unsettle the player and force their hand (which supposedly we don’t do) I can’t see Arteta joining us for less than something like £20m. More?

Worse though is that that article indicates Mark Hughes is in the market for pretty much the exact same players that Arsenal are in the market for: Premiership tested players. This means that Arsenal are likely to end up in a  bidding war with Citeh over at least one if not more than one player.

This is strongly reminiscent of when Abramovich stormed in to the league and basically just waited for Arsenal to make a bid and doubled it. Remember that year? I do, it was a nightmare.

Part 3 of the year in review tomorrow and I’m sure there will be more transfer rumors. See you then.

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12
Sep
08

Blackburn v. Arsenal — preview

Arsene Wenger spoke to the media ahead of Saturday’s trip to Ewood park and the questions were mostly transfer market with a chance of Theo and a smattering of match preview. But, before I get into all that, tomorrow is the very first 7am kickoff of the season! That’s 7am local time and since the only channel in the States that is offering the match is Setanta, I will be posted at Doyle’s (link on the right) tomorrow morning. See you there if you’re one of the locals — or if you’re in town!

Wenger on Supermaket Forces

Wenger and I are of the same mind on this one. How is it that City can come out and say that they will be offering £135m to Ronaldo in January without their being some kind of inquest by the FA? How is that not tampering with the player? And before you non-Arsenal readers (I have a few) point out, as the press did a while ago, that Wenger mentioned Barry and that somehow that’s the same thing. It’s not. You’re full of it. What Man U did with Berbatov and what City are trying to do right now with every player in the league is despicable. Arsene Wenger mentioning that Barry is a good player is a world apart from City saying that they will make a £135m bin, in January, for Ronaldo. The boss, as always put it best:

Football is not a supermarket, we have to all understand that. You cannot come out and say ‘we pay £250,000-a-week to Ronaldo and £135million’, when the player has a six-year contract with Manchester United. It is not possible or acceptable. 

Why bother have contracts at all?

His broader point though is even more important, and that is that there’s a destabilizing effect that money like ADUG is tossing around has on all aspects of the game. Already rumors are flying that Wenger will have to up Walcott’s salary to keep the flies off him next season. That right there is the epitome of destabilization: the kid scored one hat trick in one international game and the next day there’s talk of having to work a new contract to keep him at Arsenal.  

You only need to look as far as City’s new signing, Robinho, and his confusion over what team he really signed for in order to see the end product of this destabilization.

Injury Report

More than just about any other day this year, tomorrow’s team is going to be a mystery. First, the promised debut of new signing Silvestre may have to wait until Wendesday and I won’t be surprised if the guy gets moved back another few days on Tuesday as well — not that this is a pattern with this player or anything. 

Also doubtful is Samir Nasri, who may have some kind of knee injury. The club is being vague, only saying that whatever it was that kept him out of the France match may rule him out for tomorrow.

Rosicky was slated to return this month and was, by all reports, doing splendidly in his recovery. Then Czech coach Petr Rada spilled the beans and told the world that Rosicky’s knee failed him again. I will be shocked if we ever again see this player on the pitch in an Arsenal uniform.

Obviously, Eduardo cannot play yet, but Diaby might get a start tomorrow and in his favored central midfield role. I’m really interested to see 1) how Diaby handles the role; can he tackle without being reckless? can he hold back his attacking instincts? does he have that sort of “spider sense” that the defensive midfielder needs? and 2) will he play the whole 90 minutes without injury?

Which just leaves “rotation” as the reason that a lot of players will or will not see action tomorrow. Fabregas is fresh, having only played a 1/4 of an hour on Wednesday, so I fully expect him to anchor the midfield. Depending on the fitness of Nasri, Theo could (and should) be left out of the squad tomorrow so that he can be fresh for Wendesday.

This means that I fully expect Eboue on the right side of midfield and if Arsenal.com’s “Key Battles” is any indication then both Gallas and Sagna will start in defense.

The other two defensive positions are up to the fitness of Silvestre, which means that Toure and Clichy will almost certainly play.

Up front we will see Adebayor (since he didn’t play for fear of death) and his partner will likely be RvP to start with Bendtner coming off the bench; Vela is out because it took too long for him to return from the Americas.

Given all of this, don’t be surprised to see a very strange lineup tomorrow.

The Opponents

Blackburn have proven to be a tough opponent even if Arsenal have run rough shod over them in the last handfull of matches (knock on wood) and I expect that new boss Paul Ince will have them up for the challenge tomorrow. Given the number of players Arsenal had out on Internationals and the fact that they haven’t had a practice together in a week and a half, I am nervous about this game. Arsenal haven’t had a chance to really gell yet and this latest international “break” could set that back a little. Plus, all the injuries and just plain tired legs… ugh.

Meanwhile Blackburn are coming off a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of West Ham and have had a week and a half to prepare for this game. They should be fresh and focused and Arsenal will be tired and distracted, so I’m going to say that a draw would be a good result for Arsenal, a win would be more than we should expect and a loss is not unreasonable.

We’ll see!

11
Sep
08

Oh Christ… Appiah update

It was as if Arsene Wenger heard a thousand happy Arsenal fans and reached out with one fell swoop to silence them.  Because today the boss stated that Stepen Appiah is NOT heading to Arsenal. The manager said the guy is “not on our radar” or some such.

Diaby and Denilson will just have to do.

Please form an orderly queue below to register your complaints.

Update: the dauntless press are reporting that Arsenal are also in the hunt for the 5’6″, 86 year old Herta Berlin failure and bizarro last minute goal scorer Miniero. Thank god for free agents or the press would have to link midfielders who aren’t coming to Arsenal exclusively to the January transfer window.

23
May
08

2 down 1 to go

Arsenal have revealed that they now have not one, but TWO! summer signings to report.

First, Carlos Vela was given a work permit and will be getting some first team action. The boss had the following to say about the kid

Vela will be involved with the first-team next season. He has played the whole season at Osasuna on the left wing and he had to work hard there. But for me it is not his position, he is a central striker, an Eduardo type. He is a great young player.

Which I take to mean that he will try to fill Eduardo’s shoes while Dudu is out rehabbing the leg that became broken (how’s that for passive voice?). I’m treating this as one of the “two to three” signings that Arsene promised. Wooo hoo! One down, two to go!

Arsenal’s second signing is none other than Vassiriki Diaby! No, he’s not Diaby’s brother (bet you didn’t know that Diaby’s real first name is Vassiriki) it’s Diaby, the player formerly known as Abou Diaby and Stewart Robson figures he will fill Flamini’s shoes.

Some worry that he takes too much time on the ball and can get caught, but I remember him from last year in that role and I thought he was ideal. He breaks up attacks with his ability to get across the field and get tackles in, but he has also got good ability on the ball. His ball manipulation allows him to change the point of attack

Other people question Diaby’s toughness but I think he’s tough enough; he got a straight red card against some dude with 8 vowels in his name and it was a Vieira type tackle. I know the comparison to Vieira is old hat to some of you and some of you are probably sick to death of hearing it. Even more of you are doubtful he can do the job. My argument goes like this: Diaby has the size and range to do the job that Vieira did roaming the midfield, but he also has the ball skills of Diarra, the speed of Adebayor, and the scoring nose of Pires. What he clearly lacks is that “defensive spidey sense” that a great holding midfielder has, the engine that someone like Gattuso has, and his tackling can be very sloppy at times. And so at times he seems lazy, slow to react and rash in the challenge. Can Wenger teach him those skills? We’ll see.

So, welcome Arsenal’s second signing, Vassiriki Abou Diaby.

In the “Transfer out” section, Hleb’s agent has been talking to every team under the sun. Hleb’s agent has now revealed that he’s had talks with Real Madrid, Milan, and anyone else who will listen. Good for him. When will these teams contact ARSENAL? After all, Arsenal are the ones who hold his contract and the decision as to where the player will play next season is entirely up to them. Pick up the phone Real. Call Arsenal.

Oh wait… Maybe they have been calling but can’t get through. I guess the phones are down. Well, then SEND A COURIER!

Finally, Marco van Basten may bend the rules this summer and play Robin van Persie. I guess they have a rule against playing “injury prone” players but Van Persie is so special that he’s willing to make an exception. Ugh. Robin was able to start just 7 Premier League games and is still struggling with a thigh problem. Please don’t play him. Please?

Oh yeah, if you want a good laugh, check this out. Turns out Terry had to take that penalty because Le Sulk refused to do it. He didn’t feel like he’d been part of the game yet. Of course two shots later, he felt part enough to take the penalty… and it was a poor attempt at that. I doubt Anelka will be at Chelsea next year. Especially now that they’ve discovered his yellow streak and that he’s complaining about his role.

Why can’t footballers just play football? Christ.




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