New Season Countdown Continues/More Conversations With Dante

I couldn’t stand the sight of Clown No. 1 raising the Emirates Cup. I’m glad we won but the ceremony had an air of cheapness about it though. It felt like I was watching also-rans from a beauty contest bonding on a night of commiseration. The sad outing was led of course by the homeliest of them all, the unwelcomed poodle walker.

When I see that clown and his understudy, I think of the car bumper stickers that say ‘MY OTHER CAR IS A PORSCHE’. It wouldn’t be so bad if we had a world class No. 1 and those two clowns were just getting some air time to keep their voices fresh. My frustration mounts as we get closer to Liverpool away.

El Cunto asked why that guy is still at Arsenal. I wonder that everyday. Everyday!

He reminded me that my earliest disapproval of the clown didn’t come after failing to hold a lead with only 38 minutes remaining in the Champions League Final. I said he wasn’t good enough and had to go as far back as February 2005, after Man United went to Highbury and embarrassed us 4-2. In Barcelona, he could have made himself an Arsenal legend. He could have shown that being down a man doesn’t mean you have to lose the game. He could have shown some serious spine. He failed miserably.

Two near post goals does not make people remember you for anything but failure. Well, except those who argued with me that he was good enough for Arsenal and that we could win the league with him. And then there were those who said that the goals were not as bad as I was making them out to be. One prominent and very, very successful blogger argued that the goals were not scored at the near post.

That’s when I knew I’d better be more picky about whom I discuss matches with.

The season following the CL disaster, Clown No. 1 and Swiss Miss conspired to lose another final. Two in two seasons! I doubt many people have placed the level of blame on this guy that he deserves for stunting the growth and bashing the confidence of the young players. I state with no hesitation that had we won either or both of those finals – especially the League Cup Final vs. Chelsea because the kids got us there and many featured in the final – the level of belief and resulting thirst for more success could have made all the difference. Instead, we have a group still struggling for identity, a group short on focus and confidence, just like the most fraudulent of goalkeepers to ever wear the Arsenal top. As El Cunto so correctly pointed out, if your spine is weak, so is the rest of your team. We’ve had that motherfucker at our club for too long.

I seethe when I write anything beyond a few sentences about him. I better move on to another topic. Arsene, PLEASE do something.

I caught up with Dante earlier this week. I could sense the excitement and eagerness in waiting for the new season to start. I could also sense a bit more bite this time from the man who always looks cool but can spew venom with the best (or worst) of ‘em. By mid November, I expect him to be fully lathered and spitting fire.

Dante: We are 11 days away from the start of the season and I cannot wait! One trophy down four more to go (League, UCL, Milk Cup, FA Cup)!

Agent 86: [Thinking; I used to be just as optimistic in past seasons. I want the new season as much as anybody but not with that set of keepers we have right now.]

Yeah, man! It’ll be a very interesting season.

Dante: This is how I saw the Emirates Cup:

Wilshere and Fimpong are BEASTS!!! I know I have said it before but they both keep on impressing me. Yes, Wilshere made a mistake when he was obstructed by Fortune but it came to nothing.

Agent 86: I’m glad you brought up Wilshere. El Cunto has tagged Wilshere as a showboat. I don’t see it. The kid has poise and focus way beyond his years. Our colleague (he who shall remain nameless) at 1886 made a good point, ‘what Wilshere did was not uncommon for a young player in the early stages of his career and certainly Arsenal players [young and old] have been criticized for not hoofing the ball and trying to play their way out of danger’.

I’m not worried about Wilshere being a showboat at all. I’d need to see more than just a questionable example of what might not even be showboating before indicting him.

Dante: [With almost uncontrolled enthusiasm] But that VOLLEY!!!!! And the kid has an attitude. Love it!!! We need attitude in the squad.

Agent 86: We used to have attitude. We used to have swagger. You can’t quantify them but they make a big difference. Imagine what teams felt like when they saw Henry and Pires with Bergkamp standing not far away. We need to get that back. We have a few players who can get us there but only time will tell. I have to say I really like what I see in Frimpong. I know he’s still a pup but…

Dante: Frimpong does not let anyone have time on the ball. He doesn’t dribble much but hey, if he loses the ball he will get it back!

The first goal against AC Milan impressed me for a few reasons;
1. Gibbs shielded the ball extremely well while having a player draped over him then to send Arshavin off to the races, this was very good to see from the 20 year old left back.
2. Arshavin; what can I say? What a run! I don’t know what was better, watching that run and final ball to Chamakh or rewinding back to where Gattuso looks like he has been thrown out of a speeding Ferrari. PAAAAAHHH BOSS!!
3. Chamakh’s finish; well taken! He did the right thing and looked calm in front of goal.

Agent 86: [My turn to emote.] YES! Gibbs showed tenacity. Arshavin showed strength. Chamakh showed a good finisher’s cool. It was the first really telling highlight of the (pre) season for me. It was all there – industry, strength, and skill.

Dante: Issues I had with the games against both Celtic and Milan; in both games, we looked tired after about the 75th minute.

Agent 86: To be expected! They’ve been training really hard and some guys played in both Milan and Celtic matches back to back.

Dante: When Frimpong went off in the second half of the Milan game we lost our possession edge, similar to the way we do when Song is unable to play. Theo cannot cross to save his life! He is dangerous but anyone with that much speed is dangerous with or without the ball. Only positive I can take is that he must have got the same treatment about defending Arshavin did because I saw him next to the right back a few times when the ball was in our half.

Agent 86: On current evidence, I’m convinced Theo is not good enough. I don’t know if he’ll ever get there. He plays like a really good athlete who took up the game later than the other kids. He’s got some ability but like it or not, Chris Waddle made a good point about the football brain.

Some Blame Wenger for bad coaching where Theo is concerned. I don’t. I just feel he is what he is. Wenger coached Alex Song. He coached Robin. He coached Cesc. They haven’t turned out too badly. Theo does track back though. I’ve seen him do it regularly.

Dante: For Celtic’s second goal I have two different gripes. Djourou is not ready yet. I have faith he will be later on, but not to start the season with. I know Koscielny will partner The Verminator but no one else has been bought so I shudder to think of Djourou being thrown in early on in the season.

Agent 86: On Djourou; I refer you to what El Cunto posted Monday.

Dante: This passive and active offside **** has to stop. There was a Celtic player off side, being played offside by the whole back line. The ball was played into his general area he ran for it becoming active in the play then stopped, turned around and walked back. Flag never went up another Celtic player ran on and then poor marking after that did us in. What’s the point of playing offside when the passive player can pretend to go for the ball and stop, essentially dummying the defense????

The silly way to fix this is to make all passive offside players signal this by having to stop and re-tie their shoe lace on one shoe before joining the play. The easy way is to take this whole passive verbiage out!

My thoughts on Cesc are as follows:
I’m sick and tired of this!!

Agent 86: I have been for some time. I am disturbed by Barcelona’s latest that Wenger was ready to sign for them in 2001. Yeah, right! They’ve sunk to the depths of _pur_ with this almost signed bullshit.

Chat later, Agent 86

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Why is Almunia still at Arsenal?

A sad sight yesterday was watching Manuel Almunia lift the Emirates Cup for Arsenal. Sad because another season beckons with this back-up keeper starting as Arsenal’s number one.

To win anything, a team needs a strong spine. The goalkeeper is the starting point of that spine. If you have an average goalkeeper, you’re defence will not be filled with confidence. A back four that lacks confidence will leak goals.

With Fabianski as Arsenal’s number two, away games to Stoke City and Blackburn Rovers will turn into a crossing fest, leaving Arsenal with no points because they have goalkeepers who can’t punch or catch a cross.

Fabianski is the worst goalkeeper in the Premiership. Almunia is not far behind. With less than two weeks away until Arsenal travel to Liverpool for the season opener, there is no sign of any goalkeeper being signed by Wenger.

That’s disturbing.

Mark Schwarzer says he wants to play for Arsenal – well so do I and millions of other Gooners. The fact is Mark, you’re not good enough. You’re no better than what Arsenal already have. And at 38 you’re the “cougar” of goalies.

A lot of Gooners are more concerned about Cesc Fabregas joining Barcelona than a world class goalkeeper joining Arsenal. When I mention Almunia being Arsenal’s number one, they shrug their shoulders and say: “He’ll do.”

Having a goalkeeper who last season cost Arsenal 18 points, will not do. In fact, both Fabianski and Almunia need to be sold or loaned out.

Neither one belongs at Arsenal.

Other pieces of deadwood should also leave – Johan Djourou and Theo Walcott in other words.

Walcott hasn’t changed. He’s fast but has no end product. Someone said that he got two assists yesterday. His first assist was a shot that was so crap that it turned into a cross – if Vela didn’t have great instincts then Gooners would have been moaning about how shit Walcott is instead of celebrating a goal.

It’s been four and a half years since Walcott joined Arsenal and the man still can’t cross. He also has no moves to get past a player – other than speed – and his shots are off target most of the time.

Ryan Smith for Kansas City Wizards is just as good as Theo Walcott.

Johan Djourou is fast becoming Arsenal’s Titus Bramble. He’s been at Arsenal since 2002. Yet in eight years, he’s only played 46 times. True, he’s been on loan to Birmingham City and was injured for all of last season. So fans are willing to give him time. I, however, think that it’s time to sell him. The man will become a liability.

Wenger says that he’s looking for two more signings.

Let’s hope that a goalkeeper is one of them.

Keep It Arsenal

El Cunto

It Might As Well Be Me

General Dante sent me an email Friday listing the squad likely to face Barnet on Saturday. The first name caused a reaction that stopped me reading the rest of the list. The poodle walker’s name is one I haven’t written or uttered since some time in late April. Seeing him as one of the chosen keepers to face Barnet made my skin tingle but not in an, “ooh, that was nice please do it again” way. No! No way!

I felt like shutting down. I didn’t feel right. My frustration levels peaked. Desperation and an anger chipped away at me from inside like that damn woodpecker that woke me this morning.

It irritates me that we haven’t sent this guy on his way. I did not watch the first pre-season match. I refused to, thinking that the poodle-walking fraud would play. During and after the match however, I did get updates from one of my colleagues and later got news from the other that the clown didn’t play. Let’s hope he does not feature in any upcoming matches either.

Could we finally be on the verge of selling the cunt?

I would be happier than a pig in shit were that to be the case. The guy in the picture above will live the rest of his life not knowing I took his picture. He will not know that I would rather he played in goal than the poodle walker. At least I’d be able to laugh at this guy. The incumbent makes me want to cry.

Come on Arsene! Do your duty. This one’s a real and legitimate duty. It’s not the type that would have you starting fights at MLS matches. Improve the team with a move that will make me whole again. Buy a proper goalkeeper and an able, ambitious understudy to push him while Vito Mannone and Wojszczesny battle it out to be the third option, or better.

On another note; I have to say that it would not be easy for me to trust Cesc now if I were an Arsenal team-mate. How do I go into battle with a captain who yearns to be somewhere else? And I imagine that might have applied to Patrick as well all those years ago. I’ve spoken to people who feel that Wenger is to blame because he hasn’t matched the player’s ambitions. I wonder if it’s not about more than what Wenger has or has not done.

Another guy said that the Arsenal board are afraid of a confrontation. The player is under contract at Arsenal. We don’t need to seek a confrontation with anybody. We need to know that Cesc will give at least 100% to our efforts in trying to win trophies. End of…for now.

Chat later!

Reviewing the Defence

Manuel Almunia – I remember vividly after we had gone up 1-0 against Chelsea two years ago. Bacary Sagna had just scored his first goal for us off a corner. Then, a frequent visitor to the pub I go to said these words, “I feel safe with Almunia.” I’ve never felt safe with Manuel. Ever. At the start of the second half of the Barcelona first leg, he looked like he was going to vomit. Why did he look that way? He had just pulled off a string of saves and the score was incredibly 0-0. Well, soon after, he proved exactly what he is, a shot-stopper and nothing more. He looked the same way before the Roma penalty shootout from last year. Almunia didn’t save any penalties, they just missed. It would be foolish to suggest that Jens was flawless as the Arsenal No. 1, but at least he had the demeanor of a No. 1. Almunia was a project, one with very little hype or potential. Imagine if Amaury Bischoff ended up a member of our first choice XI and that’s essentially what Almunia is. A nightmare, and one that must be terminated soon.

Lukasz Fabianski – It is easy to call him a clown. That is easily justifiable. You might call him a bargain basement keeper as well, but here’s where I disagree a bit. I’ve documented before that Wenger thinks highly of Fabianski. He’s committed enough errors for Wenger to wave goodbye to him, but something tells me that’s not going to happen. The summer we signed Fabianski, we were linked to many keepers and Wenger chose him. He was signed for 3 million euros and a friendly match to be arranged later. At this point, if he turned it around, it would be amongst the most incredible turnarounds in Wenger’s history. I don’t want to see it even attempted next year. If we had a decent goalkeeper, and I stress the word “decent”, we would have won the Premier League. Unfortunately, that is on Arsene nearly as much as it is on Almunia and Fabianski.

Vito Mannone – He delivered a brilliant performance against Fulham and then showed his years in the subsequent performances. He’s raw. He signed a long-term extension, but he doesn’t impress me much. I give him credit for having the hunger, but he’s the most un-Italian goalkeeper I’ve seen. I’ve yet to make a definitive judgment on him.

Bacary Sagna – He’s steady. He’s never tipped as the man of the match. He’s rarely burned by players. He’s an adequate player who hasn’t reached the heights of his first year with us. I thought he might have been our player of the year that first season, but for whatever reason, he’s failed to find that form.

Emmanuel Eboue – Once a figure of hate, now he’s a lovable fixture. Let’s not mistake what he is though, he’s a useful squad player. He can be used to solidify a defense or as a blunt, direct weapon. On his day, he’s very effective at attacking teams with his forward momentum. When he’s left to think about what he should do with the ball though, he struggles. He’s a good guy to have around because the players love being around this guy. He’s a joy. Not essential to the team, but very useful.

Gael Clichy – I think he may be sold over the summer. Arsenal have three left backs waiting in the wings. He’s coming back from a back injury, and those types of injuries never really heal properly. When he came back, he was torched so often that Martin O’Neill called him a joke. Slowly though, he’s steadied out and he has been one of our best performers in the last month (which is not really much of a compliment). I can remember at least a handful of goals where he was the direct contributor to. I used to love this guy, but he no longer looks likely to eclipse Ashley Cole as a player. If we could get 10 million euros for him, that would be a good price.

Kieran Gibbs – Some are unsure of his ability to be our starting left-back. I need to see more, but when he was on the pitch this year, he seemed to neutralize the opposition’s right wing quite frequently. He’s a better crosser of the ball than Clichy. He has mental strength, seeing how the United Champions League fixture could have severely damaged his career. I like this kid.

Armand Traore – I admire his professionalism, but that doesn’t seem to translate to the football pitch. We can deal with errors, as long as we see real improvement and an attempt to get better. He has speed, a strong left foot, and not much else at this point. He’s flimsy and unless he watches some defensive tapes, he’s not going to make it with Arsenal. He could be sold to a French club and turn into the D-grade version of Marcelo.

Mikael Silvestre – I’m sure he’s a positive influence in that locker room. But that is as far as it goes. Every time he scores a goal, something disastrous seems to happen (look at the Tottenham 4-4 draw last year and the Wigan match this year). He needs a string of games to approach anything near his best form, and he doesn’t get that, so when he does play, he’s often exposed. The fact that every back pass he makes is lightly weighted frightens me. This was a gamble that truly did not pay off. He’s gone.

Sol Campbell – I was not a big fan of Sol Campbell after he walked out of our club. He has restored his legacy at Arsenal, but let’s be clear, he cannot be anything more than a 4th choice defender for this club. His mountain frame and surprisingly fast pace helps him out, but near the end of his run this term, I saw the chinks in his armor. One of these days, one of his last ditch tackles is going to result in a red card and a penalty. That’s a sign that a defender is desperate. He’ll be an awesome influence on our squad, and as a 4th choice defender, he’ll be of more value than Silvestre was.

Thomas Vermaelen – Tony Adams was wrong. Vermaelen was in every pundit’s team of the season list. Along with his defensive prowess, he chipped in with some beautiful goals. He’s angry when we concede. He’s professional when a ref approaches him. This is what you get when you pay 10 million euros for a player. This is what you get when you buy a defender who was the captain for Ajax at a young age. This is what you get when you scout a player for two years. Vermaelen could be a future captain for Arsenal.

Johan Djourou – An incomplete grade. It was revealed recently that Wenger told him that he let Kolo go so that Djourou could play. It’s been written that Djourou was a player who was supposed to be kept secret from the entire world, that’s how much Wenger rates him. He has the physical tools (not necessarily the strength), but it’s yet to be seen if Wenger’s faith is justified. He looks like he’ll get an opportunity though. One can only hope he’s not like his Swiss compatriot, Swiss Tony. Senderos looked the part, but he lacked the heart and the intelligence to be an elite defender.

William Gallas – It looks like he’ll no longer be an Arsenal player. That’s a shame because he produced some of his best form this year. At this point though, he is also an injury prone player (the same can easily be said of Robin van Persie though). He does not have any special attachment to Arsenal, and that’s not meant to sound like an insult. I mean this in the best possible way, William Gallas is a professional footballer. That may make it sound like I’m calling him a mercenary, but that’s not what he is. He truly did care about winning more than anything else. For those that suggest he didn’t play because he didn’t want to mess up a potential contract, look no further than the Barcelona first leg. He crocked himself because he wanted to play on the grand stage so badly. His loss was as big a reason in our failure as anybody else. I will miss him, but the team may not miss him. Nasri revealed today that five players at Arsenal don’t talk to Gallas. He didn’t mean to suggest that they hate him, it’s just a generational difference. Whether they know it or not, Gallas was one of the finest defenders to suit up for Arsenal during Wenger’s regime. It’s too bad that too often injuries and petty squabbles came to define much of his spell. I hope he recovers in time to make the World Cup squad and play well for France. I wish him well.

11 Reasons Why Arsenal Need a New Goalkeeper

Saturday, August 25th: Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal
Arsene Wenger was sent to the dug out. Robin van Persie had a legitimate goal ruled out for offside. Arshavin was denied a blatant penalty after being chopped by the miserable Fletcher. Diaby scored a ridiculous own goal and Rooney cheated by diving to win United a penalty. However, Almunia needlessly dived at Rooney – the England striker was going nowhere – and he duly took the bait by diving over him. Rooney then scored from the resulting 59th minute penalty and Arsenal’s flawless start to the season was wrecked. Thanks Manuel!

Sunday, October 25th: West Ham United 2-2 Arsenal
At half-time Arsenal were winning 2-0. They were cruising. Then in the 76th minute, Hines dived and won a free-kick. Diamanti’s shot was palmed towards goal instead away from goal by Mannone and onto Carlton Cole’s head. Four minutes later, Cole dived after barely being touched by Song and West Ham equalized. Mannone’s error brought West Ham back from the dead.

Sunday, November 29th: Arsenal 0-3 Chelsea
Chelsea destroy Arsenal and create an 11 point gap. This game was boys against men. The first Chelsea goal was poor defensively. The second goal was poor goalkeeping. Vermaelen’s own goal, just before half-time would have been averted if Almunia had commanded his penalty area. He didn’t. Instead, Ashley Cole swings in a low cross. Gallas misses it. The ball then hits the knee of an unsighted Vermaelen and spins into the top right hand corner. Almunia is nowhere. He should have claimed Cole’s cross but instead stayed rooted to his line like a frightened mouse. Thanks Almunia!

Saturday, January 9th: Arsenal 2-2 Everton
Rosicky salvages a point for Arsenal by scoring an injury time equalizer. Osman put Everton ahead with a header from a corner. Osman is 5 feet 6. Denilson equalized with a heavy deflection, but then Everton went ahead again when Steven Pienaar chipped the ball over a a pathetic crouching Almunia. Poor goalkeeping!

Sunday, January 24th: Stoke City 3-1 Arsenal FA Cup 4th Round
Two minutes in and Stoke win a throw-in inside the Arsenal half. Rory Delap launches one of his special throws which flies into the Arsenal penalty area. From the edge of the penalty area, Fuller sprints in and heads home an easy header. 1-0 Stoke. Standing on his heels waiting for the ball to reach him was Fabianski. I’m sure he never saw Fuller coming but instead of going to meet the ball, he instead waited for it. It was a costly mistake that got Stoke in the groove.

Sunday, January 31st: Arsenal 1-3 Manchester United
When a goalkeeper scores an own goal two things come to mind: (i) He was unlucky; (ii) he is a clown. With Manchester United’s first goal, Almunia was a clown. Nani gets the ball on the right hand side, deep into the Arsenal half. He then Cruyff turns two Arsenal players and chips a cross into the Arsenal penalty area, which Almunia somehow pushes into his own net. Appalling positioning, appalling decision making, and appalling goalkeeping.

Sunday, February 7th: Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal
The news of John Terry cheating with Wayne Bridge’s partner is all over the news. Chelsea’s first goal was from a corner. Almunia had no-one on the far post where Ivanavich headed to set up Chelsea’s first goal. The second goal was a Chelsea counter attack. Drogba went around Clichy and Vermaelen to shoot past Almunia. The ball was struck with a fair amount of pace from maybe ten meters but it was not unstoppable. It looked as though Almunia ducked underneath it. Coward goalkeeping.

Wednesday, February 17: FC Porto 2-1 Arsenal
This game was the worst goalkeeping performance by any Arsenal No.1. Fabianski scores an own goal by palming a nothing cross into his own net – he was under no pressure at all – 1-0. Then, he picks up a back pass but fails to organize his defence for the resulting free-kick, allowing Porto to re-take the lead. Porto will never score an easier goal.

Saturday, March 27th: Birmingham City 1-1 Arsenal
Arsenal are within seconds of a famous win at St Andrews. Joe Hart, the Birmingham goalkeeper, takes a free-kick from just outside his own penalty box. It lands near the Arsenal penalty area and isn’t dealt with by the Arsenal defence. Sagna lashes at the ball. It hits Kevin Phillips in the face and loops towards the Arsenal goal. Almunia slaps at the ball instead of tipping it over for a corner. The ball then agonizingly falls into the corner of the Arsenal goal with the pathetic Almunia scrambling back trying to claw the ball away. Another costly mistake.

Wednesday, March 31st: Arsenal 2-2 Barcelona
In the first half, Almunia produces world class saves and keeps Arsenal in the game. However, 30 seconds into the second half he shows Arsenal fans his other side – his crap side. Ibrahimovich takes a long ball, deep inside the Arsenal half. Almunia comes charging out of goal – for no reason – and is duly lobbed by the Swede. Ibrahimovich’s decision making is made easy for him by the poor positioning and decision making of Arsenal’s No.1. Fucking nightmare!

Sunday, April 18th: Wigan 3-2 Arsenal
There’s one minute of normal time left. Arsenal are winning 2-1. Wigan are asking questions and putting Arsenal under a lot of pressure. They are fighting relegation and win a corner. Fabianski is on his line. He comes to catch. He is under no real pressure. The ball lands in his hands. He fumbles and flaps the ball onto the head of Wigan centre-back Bramble who heads into the empty net.

2-2 and Arsenal’s title hopes are over thanks to Fabianski’s costly error.

Message to Arsene: Please sign a world class goalkeeper this summer.

Keep It Arsenal

Let’s All Laugh at Arsenal

Yesterday was meant to be a celebration of St. Totteringham’s Day. Instead, Gooners today are a laughing stock.

Before the game, Arsenal were firm favorites to win. Spurs were meant to be demoralized after losing to relegated and debt fucked Portsmouth in one of the biggest shocks of FA Cup semi-final history.

Spurs were also meant to be weak, having played extra time last Sunday on a Wembley sapping pitch with their two best midfielders out through injury and suspension.

Arsenal had no game last weekend. We had a week off.

Spurs included a 19 year old making his debut and had Cuntes Kaboul playing out of position. Their midfield was run by Tom Huddlestone – a man with a thunder shot and not much else.

On paper, this should have been three points to Arsenal. The Scum were there for the taking.

In the early stages, Arsenal looked more likely to score. From a corner, Campbell forced a clearance off the line. We looked in control. The pace of the game was frenetic. Then Spurs had their first real attack. A Pavlycunto shot that was bravely blocked by Vermaelen. Corner to Spurs and a roar from the Scum massive.

Enter Manuel Almunia.

The corner is whipped in to his box. Almunia elects to punch because catching a ball is not part of his game. I said “punch” but Almunia jabbed the ball. The ball drops to the edge of his penalty area. Almunia is in no-mans-land. The 19 year old debutant smashes home Almunia’s jab and Shite Hart Lane detonates.

The Gooner I’m watching the game with says you can’t blame Almunia’s punch. The co-commentator and ex-Yid, Paul Walsh concurred. Fine, Almunia’s “jab” wasn’t the reason for Spurs going one up, but the ball going through his arms, like water going through a sieve, was.

In big games, Almunia will fuck up.

He makes crucial saves – like he did in the second half when one on one with Modric – but he also makes crucial mistakes.

Inconsistent goalkeepers don’t belong at a club as big as Arsenal.

Wenger says his back-up Fabianski will one day be world class. Well, that day isn’t today and it’s unlikely to be any time soon. World class goalkeepers do exist and they’re available. Time to fucking buy one and spend whatever it takes to get one otherwise this time next year will be another case of deja fucking vu.

Sunderland spent 9 million pounds on Craig Gordon and he’s better than Almunia. We got Almunia from a club that had sent him out on loan because they didn’t rate him. Almunia was a not wanted, back-up keeper, offloaded on loan, by a lowly La Liga club to another lowly Spanish club – when Arsenal bought him for 500,000 pounds and 8 Rice Krispies treats.

Arsenal’s number one transfer target MUST be a goalkeeper. I can’t take any more jabs, failure to catch a high cross or poor positioning. I want a keeper that installs confidence in his defenders and organizes his back four just as good as Sol Campbell does.

Sol Campbell deserves a one year contract. The man carried Arsenal for the majority of the game and nearly scored twice. He put other Arsenal players to shame last night. Especially the midfield and attack.

There was no understanding between them. We looked like a team that had just met each other for the first time. I lost count the amount of times balls were played to no-one or passed to a Spurs player. It was poor.

Tactically, Wenger got it wrong. He played 4-3-3. His attack included a right-back and a central midfielder. This left Bendtner alone and placing himself in bizarre positions to receive the ball because he had no one to play off. Maybe Eduardo’s and Vela’s days are numbered but when you’re playing against the carthorse Michael Dawson and the crock Ledley King, you need to test them with at least two attackers and not a confused right-back or a Czech midfielder who looked like a fairy searching for his wand.

The other Arsenal player who put everyone to shame was Robin van Persie. Here’s a man who hasn’t played for over five months. Yet in his 20 minute performance, he had four strikes that produced top draw saves from Gomes. Van Persie’s introduction suddenly turned the 4-3-3 formation from impotence to potency. Arsenal now had two attackers and the threat of Walcott on the right. Our goal involved all three attackers with van Persie feeding Walcott who crossed for Bendtner to slide in. We now had Spurs on the ropes.

With another strike partner to play off, Bendtner suddenly came alive. His goal was his ninth in eleven appearances. He doesn’t have the class of van Persie but as a target man he can be very useful. Nevertheless, last night you could see why Wenger has signed Chamakh from Bordeaux.

My only major criticism of the players is their lack of passion or fight. This was summed up in injury time by Almunia. The clown has the ball in his hands. Time is running out. You would expect him to boot the ball into the Spurs half. Instead, he throws it to an Arsenal defender who is not expecting the ball and who is immediately under pressure from a Spurs player. Almunia did this three times. On one occasion, he threw the ball to Silvestre who, under pressure, passed the ball to Peter Crouch.

It was so bad, it was laughable.

The season is over.

It ended at White Hart Lane of all places.

The Scum love that fact.

Keep It Arsenal

Master Against Pupil

Last night was a strange game. At times, the game was a mismatch with Barcelona clearly the wearing the trousers. The game will mainly be remembered for the first 20 minutes and the last 20 minutes.

The first 20 minutes was a Barcelona gang rape. The only positive to take from that period of the game was the outstanding display by Manuel Almunia. This man alone kept Arsenal in the tie in the first half. He was brilliant. I felt like groveling to Almunia over my criticism of his mistake against Birmingham City. But at the start of the second half he showed me the “other” side of his game – making a dreadful error with his positioning for Barcelona’s first goal. It was shocking.

Saving penalties and shot stopping are all well and good, but keepers earn their corn from their positioning and dealing with crosses.

Almunia is not the complete package. He is like the photograph above – his game doesn’t match up.

But then Barcelona’s goalkeeper wasn’t much better. He will look at Theo Walcott’s goal with embarrassment. The combination play for Walcott’s goal was simple yet superb. So was the timing of Walcott’s run but his shot was average. It was put into the net by the forearm of Valdes. Ex- Arsenal and England midfielder David Platt said that Walcott shooting early probably helped him score, but Valdes deep down knows that he should have done better.

Walcott scored with just over 20 minutes left and completely changed the game. Arsenal were in ascendancy and took the game to Barcelona. From being dead and buried Arsenal produced heroics similar to that of the fictional character Edmond Dantes in the book “The Count of Monte Cunto” and escaped to find themselves even at 2-2.

Like any battle, there were casualties. Cesc and Gallas are out for the season, and Arshavin will probably miss the return leg in Barcelona.

However, there are some positives. Denilson looks more comfortable playing against a team with Barcelona’s style. Nasri will now be able to play in his preferred position – the one vacated by Cesc. Walcott’s pace really troubled Barcelona and stopped their attacks from the left hand side. Taking off Sagna and bringing on Walcott was a master substitution by Wenger. It has kept Arsenal in this tie.

The big question regarding the return leg is Sol Campbell. Will he start in the Camp Nou? Song is the only other option Wenger has. But with Cesc and Ramsey injured in midfield, Wenger may have no option but to play Sol as Song will be needed in midfield. One thing the Arsenal midfield did not do last night was close Barcelona down. What teams like Stoke City are very good at is closing opponents down and not giving them time on the ball. It could be argued that they are more effective when they don’t have the ball than when they do. Barcelona showed that they work just as hard when they don’t have the ball – denying the opposition time and space – but can be deadly when they do.

The next game is against Wolves. Mentally, this game is tough for Arsenal. From the highs of last night to the grit of the Premiership. It’s like going back to work after being on holiday in the Caribbean.

That’s why we need Sol.

Keep It Arsenal

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