Report: Podolski breaks free, Ramsey surprises, Jack & Santi lead, Giroud rewarded.

Emirates-Stadium-opens-©-Hufton+Crow-990x465

A fantastic day to be a Gooner and we were treated to a classic Arsenal display.  Lukas Podolski was fantastic and led the way for Arsenal with a beautiful goal and three assists.  Interestingly enough, Arsenal have registered at least five goals in each of the last three Premier League games (prior to today’s match vs. West Ham) in which Lukas Podolski has scored in; and today was no different.

Throughout the entire match, Arsenal dominated possession and dictated the flow of the game.  It was necessary to come out of the gates strong and Arsenal were up to the task, immediately settling in as West Ham gave us plenty of time and space to knock the ball around.  Unfortunately, Arsenal were to concede first after an unnecessary challenge by Gibbs.  The subsequent free-kick led to a string of corners that eventually led to Collison scoring for West Ham.

However, Podolski immediately responded with a cracking finish from his left foot to bring Arsenal back into the game.  From that point on, we never looked back and came very close to scoring again with some beautiful build-up play.  Unfortunately Gibbs’ final pass was a little too far forward and Podolski missed the open net while lunging forward with his right foot.  The first half ended with two free kicks, one of which belonged to Cazorla who curled a beautiful shot around the wall, but was met with an even better diving save by Jaaskelainen.

As the second half loomed, the typical questions began to haunt the loyal Arsenal supporters.  Would we become complacent after showing good effort in the first 45 minutes?  How long would it take for us to settle into the second half?  Would this be another game where we dominated possession but had difficulty finishing our chances?

Those fears were quickly quelled as Theo started off the second half with a blazing run down the right flank.  Despite no one getting on the end of his cross, Podolski was able to gain possession off a poor clearance by a West Ham defender and sent a nice ball to Gibbs, whose shot was blocked and cleared out for a corner.  Off the ensuing Walcott corner, Giroud moved into open space at the near post and met the kick with a beautiful one-time finish into the back of the net.  Jaaskelainen stood in the net rather stunned, as he could not believe Giroud was allowed so much space.  This goal set off a flurry of action all in Arsenal’s favour; notably, when all three of Arsenal’s summer signings connected on a beautiful Santi ‘back-heel’ goal.  Instead of explaining it, here’s the video in case you missed it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jwyu6yn4Xko

Arsenal scored four goals in a brilliant start to the second half and Podolski found himself assisting three of them with beautiful balls to Walcott, Giroud and the aforementioned Santi goal.  Not to go unmentioned was Jack’s magnificent distribution to find Podolski and set him up for those eventual assists.

A big shout out to Ramsey as well, who proved me wrong and played well today as the deepest midfielder.  He looked more effective than he has been all season, with his playmaking from a deep position and his determination in defending.

The only unfortunate blemish on an otherwise amazing second half of football was an injury to Daniel Potts, which left him unconscious on the field and required him to receive immediate medical attention.  I wish Daniel all the best and hope he has a speedy recovery.  Compared to our last game vs. West Ham, it was evident that they were missing Diame’s presence in their midfield: their offense looked flat, they could not retain ball possession, and our midfield was able to boss them around all game.

Before I begin on the player ratings, I’d like to explain how I arrive at the number a player receives.  For me, a 7 represents that a player has sufficiently done what has been asked of him and not much more.  An 8 signifies that the player has contributed more than the average player, but that either his performance has room for improvement or I’ve seen better games from him lately.  A 9 or higher is reserved for outstanding performances and is usually accompanied by tangible statistics on the score sheet.  Ignore previous ratings from past articles, as I’ll look to be consistent from here on out in the new rating system.

Player Ratings:

Szczesny (7.0) – Once again, Szczesny gave us the stability we needed in goal and was never really tested.  He couldn’t have done anything more on Collison’s goal and dealt with all other potential dangers around the goal well.

Gibbs (7.5) – He played solid at both ends of the pitch, contributing with good challenges and runs down the left flank.  He conceded two unnecessary free kicks, one of which eventually led to a goal and I’d also like to see him improve his crossing.

Vermaelen (7.0) – He also played well in the first half and cleared the danger when Collison intercepted an errant Ramsey pass and tried to push West Ham forward.  Unfortunately, Ramsey clipped Vermaelen as they both went for a goal line clearance.  Hopefully he’ll be ok and he was taken off the field for precautionary reasons.  Difficult to rate him any higher, since he only played 45 minutes.

Mertesacker (7.5) – He had a couple errant passes in the first half that took away the momentum we were trying to build early in the game.  The BFG eventually settled down and cleared away all WHU approaches through the air in the 2nd half.  Solid and defensively reliable, he led the line to leave WHU in an offside position on numerous occasions.

Sagna (7.5) – Sagna defended wonderfully throughout most of the contest, and Ramsey fortunately covered his only lapse in defensive coverage.  Aside from that, he linked up well with Theo on the right and was involved in the offense from the right side.  He took the bulk of the defending down the right since Theo was often nowhere to be seen in his defensive assignments.

Ramsey (8.0) – While I did not find Ramsey to be outstanding, I was still very impressed with his overall performance today, compared to past appearances.  He started off with a questionable challenge on Noble and quite a few errant passes that led to quick West Ham counters.  Aside from the early blunders, he filled in admirably at the holding midfield role.  He was determined and dependable defensively (goal line clearance when the game was tied 1-1 is noteworthy), sprayed the ball all over the field and made nice simple passes in the final third.  The beginning just appeared to be him shaking off rust and he certainly built confidence as the match continued.  Hopefully he can build on this performance, and I think he more than justified another start at the holding midfield position for this weekend.

Wilshere (8.0) – Jack was great right from the start, driving our team forward, quickly challenge West Ham players when we lost possession and trying to play dangerous balls in the final third.  He made a smart pass to Podolski in the first half that brought us even, and several of his passes in the second half split West Ham’s defense and eventually led to more goals.  He also played some beautiful long passes to Theo when he was at full speed, but unfortunately the chances were not converted.  The downsides to his game included giving the ball away a few times and occasionally being indecisive on the edge of the opponent’s 18-yard box.  Despite playing further back in the midfield, he still had a big influence on the game and perhaps my rating is a bit low, but I’ve come to expect big things from our number 10.

Cazorla (8.0) – Santi gave our offense good shape today and he carried the ball forward more opposed to his typical quick, short passes.  He adds good variety to our attack since he’s not afraid to take a shot from distance, yet can also deliver some devastating through balls.  His back-heel finish was something to behold, and as stated earlier, he capped off a beautiful build up play between Giroud and Podolski.  He’s also very astute defensively and can strip the ball from the opposition because he thoroughly understands the direction they look to move the ball to.  However, Santi also fell victim to some errant passes and could have done more with a few opportunities he had at the edge of West Ham’s 18-yard box.

Podolski (9.5) – Prince Podolski started off the game working hard to deny West Ham a free kick; his incredible work rate continued until he was substituted in the 69th minute.  His overpowering finish in the 21st minute really gave Arsenal life, as we were down 1-0 after dominating most of the game until then.  Podolski got himself into all the right positions today and was the recipient of some beautiful passes from the midfield.  He rewarded the midfield’s work by producing equally nice passes to Theo and Giroud (both across the goal for relatively easy goals).  Podolski was definitely our best player on the pitch and he even did all the little things right today too – he contributed well defensively, had a surging run in the 1st half, was getting on the end of clearances by the West Ham defenders and was playing smart, yet dangerous passes in the final third.  The only minor faults in his game were trying to be too cute with passes in West Ham’s 18-yard box in the first half, and not finishing better on Gibbs’ pass (albeit it was slightly in front of him and on his right foot).

Giroud (9.0) – Every time Giroud steps out on the pitch, we can be confident that he will put in 100% effort and do anything to help his team win.  Though his finishing can be questionable and he often rushes his chances, you can never fault him since he’s contributing in some other way.  He won countless headers today and knocked the ball to his teammates, held the ball up well, linked up with Podolski on numerous occasions that led to Arsenal completely breaking down West Ham’s defense and he scored two goals.  His over the top chip pass to Podolski was fantastic and he’s starting to make those types of passes a regular part of his game.

The only shortcomings in his game today were passing in the 18-yard box a couple times when he should have shot the ball, and not clearing a corner far enough which eventually landed right in front of Collison, which he turned into a goal.  Aside from that, he was brilliant and I can certainly see why Bobby P has so much faith in him.

Walcott (7.5) – Despite scoring a goal and adding an assist off a corner kick, I felt Theo was a little wasteful with his chances today.  Jack sent Theo in twice on stretch passes where he was on near breakaways at full speed, and he failed to even get a shot on goal.  On a couple other occasions, Theo had open opportunities to put away goals in the opponent’s 18-yard box and also failed to convert.  If the contest had been tighter this would have been unacceptable, but fortunately we won by a large margin.  His defensive contributions left much to be desired and he was often waiting up field for the midfield to send him on breaks.

However, he did track back wonderfully at the end of the second half, going all the way across to the left side of the pitch to cover for Podolski and defend a West Ham counter. Theo also looked more confident with the ball at his feet today and dribbled around Reid and O’Brien several times in the first half.  His surging run down the flank got Arsenal into the right frame of mind in the second half and began the onslaught that we were all treated with.

Koscielny (7.0) – Much like Vermaelen, Kos only played 45 minutes and was never really tested.  He cleared the ball well when needed and helped the defensive line play West Ham’s forwards offside quite a few times.

Santos and Oxlade-Chamberlain (Incomplete) – Both were decent in their cameo appearances and moved the ball around quite well.  Both players lacked the final end product and each could have scored if they had been more composed with their finishing.  Still, they did not have enough game time or touches to accurately assess their games.

Overall, it was a fantastic match to witness and Arsenal were by far the better team by a wide margin.  The connection between our three new recruits today is very promising, and we started to look like the Arsenal of old; penetrating and breaking down defenses with precise passing and finishing off some fantastic link-up plays in the final third.  Ramsey’s work as the holding midfielder gives us more versatility in case of injuries and is perhaps a position that he can grow into (however it remains to be seen how he’d fare at that position against a better side). 

We must not fall prey to the continual inconsistency that has plagued us this year and not waste such an outstanding team effort in our next game.  For now, we can rest easy knowing we played some beautiful football today and got a much needed three points in style.

Written By: The Gooner

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99 Responses to Report: Podolski breaks free, Ramsey surprises, Jack & Santi lead, Giroud rewarded.

  1. Red Arse says:

    Morning, TA, and you Good Guys! 🙂

  2. davi says:

    I was glad to see Ramsey looking comfortable again, but to be honest, I don’t think he was really tested as a defensive midfielder. WHU basically played a fairly deep, flat midfield, so there wasn’t too much for Aaron to do defensively. I don’t want to sound negative because he did grow into the game and the unforced errors, which have crept into his game at times this season, dissipated as he gained confidence and I hope he carries it forward.
    This isn’t to say I don’t believe he could do the DM job on a more regular basis, but I think tougher tests will come, and I’d rather we brought in a more specialised DM to take over and compete with Arteta, who has shown he understands how to play that position. Still, it’s an interesting possibility for future games, and Brighton might offer an opportunity to have a 2nd look at Aaron in that role.

  3. VCC says:

    Morning Red Arse you fine fellow. Hope your well today.

    Good display by our boys last night. Still a way to go but surely a good base to start from.

  4. Red Arse says:

    Well done, indeed, TG, a first class Match Report, 🙂

    I did not see the game last night, but your excellent commentary gave me a very good idea of how the players responded, and the ratings highlighted the quality of their performances within that! 🙂

    Enjoyable!

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    Fine comment davi and all agreed. Let’s hope Aaron gets another go this weekend.

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning Redders! 🙂

  7. Englishmik says:

    Walcott deserves at least an 8. Put the fear of god into West Ham whenever he had the ball. This year he has really become of age. Well done Theo, glad you are staying.

  8. Red Arse says:

    Hi VCC, 🙂

    I heard AW’s post match interview, and when he was asked about Diame, he was very vague.

    As I recall, he said that we had Diaby and Rosicky coming back and that Ramsey was playing very well, but that if there was a ‘solution’ then maybe. That will be a “No” then! 🙂

    After seeing the score and reading TG’s report, perhaps we do not need anyone after all, but there will be tougher teams out there than West Ham, altho’ that is not to downplay a tremendous sounding game! 😀

    Off to buy a couple of papers to see what the meedja are saying.

    [That was an obnoxious ball boy last night, at the Swans v Chavs game, and he needs to be disciplined for being a time wasting idiot, but Hazard should never have got himself into that situation – and he was stupid too.]

  9. Red Arse says:

    Hiya, TA, 🙂

    Talk later!

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    Nicely put, Mik and agreed 🙂

  11. marcus says:

    Morning gooners!! What a wonderful display last night. If there’s one thing that’s clear it’s that when the team believes in themselves and are up for it, they are devastating. I mean wilshere, poldi, gibbs, santi and giroud combined last night in a manner reminiscent of the cesc, rosicky, flamini and hleb era. I have a few observations:
    First of all, i wonder why gibbs hasn’t been mentioned in the glowing review column. Last night his work rate both attacking and defensively was a KEY reason why poldi played so well. He would dispossess the opposition and in a split second ignite attacks. In the final third he would dribble past players, make menacing runs and combine well in the passing play. He was a joy to watch.
    Secondly, it is becoming obvious that wilshere is succeeding fabregas as the heart that makes arsenal tick. In the last like 5 games it’s been all him. Tackling to win possession, running at players, slicing the defense apart with his incisive passes, recently scoring. You name it, wilshere has been doing it. It doesn’t matter how badly the rest play, he still gives 1000%. I love that boy. Future arsenal and england legend.
    Thirdly, giroud needs an extended run in the side in order to gain that composure in front of goal. When he plays in high pressure games (like against chelsea), he seems to rush his decisions to frustrating effect, missing sitters. However when the pressure is off (see vs newcastle or west ham last night) he shows that he is a goal scorer, scoring more than once. This is all a state of mind and is easily fixable by giving him games and building his confidence to the point where he actually believes himself to be the teams point-man. At that point, the giroud that finished league 1 as top scorer will emerge. I do believe he has the capability.
    Another thing I have observed is that we are in dire need of squad rotation. Let me explain. There are some 4 players (arteta, cazorla, gibbs and poldi) who play every single game as long as they are fit. For some like gibbs and arteta it is because they lack able deputies. For some like cazorla it is because they are seemingly undroppable. Whatever the case, this has hurt the form of some of them (mainly arteta, cazorla and poldi). Look at how a rest (against chelsea) for poldi has revitalized him. Before his injury, arteta was not playing at his usual exceptional levels. Cazorla may have played well last night but this was not his scintillating best that made him a mainstay in the premier league teams of the week in the opening weeks of the season. They all need a rest to restore their energy levels in order to keep their performances at an optimum. This leads to my final point.
    Finally (and probably inevitably), transfers. We played well but new players are needed. And urgently! A midfield destroyer is needed badly. Diaby we know is 2-4 games away from an injury. A player like victor wanyama, etienne capoue or momo diame would bring a balance to the midfield that would make yesterday’s domination the norm. A left back and centre back are also needed. A left back because gibbs is the only one we have of acceptable quality (santos is pure crap). I strongly advocate for leighton baines. A centre back is needed as we are one short after selling djourou. I would have loved yanga-mbiwa but I’ve seen we’ve been linked with hummels who is also class. There’s actually a few options here. We also need a top class striker who would bring goals and confidence to the team. If possible (and wenger has intimated that it is due to availabilty of funds) i would go for either cavani, david villa or michu. With this done we would certainly finish in the top four, advance in the CL and even have a chance of winning the FA cup.

  12. I hope all you ‘well wishers’ don’t forget that Wenger is a hopeless manager.

    If he had put out a decent team with some decent tactics and some decent players we would have won 10:1. In fact it is his fault that we let them score that Wham goal.

    Let me see. Oh yeah, it was his fault too that Hazard kicked the ball boy.

    Clearly Gazideris and the Bored Directors cannot escape criticism, so I am working out what I can get them for.

    Arsene out. Gazbag out. TA out. VCC out. Everyone out.

  13. Red Arse says:

    TA,

    You are about to get a visit from Grumpy Bastard who thought he would just stop the celebrations by some fair minded grumpy bollix!! 😀

    I think he is a cousin of ‘you know who’!! 😀

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    hahaha Grumpy – why don’t you just say: OOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUT!!!!!!!!!

  15. Red Arse says:

    Great comment, marcus, and full of enthusiasm!! 🙂

    I am not sure that any transfers will happen this window, but like you, I was disappointed to lose out to Toon re. Mbwia.

  16. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTTTTTTTTTTT!

    Get Grumpy OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTTTTTTTT!

    Oh wait – that’s me!! 😀

  17. Red Arse says:

    Just as well not to tell Glicster to get them out — he would!! 🙂

  18. TotalArsenal says:

    hahaha RA 🙂

    That feels better, doesn’t it! 😛

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    I reckon it is already out, Redders, looking rather sorry for himself: piscoed off! 😛

  20. marcus says:

    RA,
    They actually will. Not necessarily those I’ve mentioned but didn’t wenger cut short the press conference last night to attend to transfers?

  21. Red Arse says:

    marcus, 🙂 Hope so!!

  22. Red Arse says:

    TA,

    Have you seen the latest Deloite’s Rich List?

    It is based on commercial revenues, match day income and broadcasting income.

    Deloitte Football Money League
    1. Real Madrid: 513m euros
    2. Barcelona: 483m euros
    3. Man Utd: 396m euros
    4. Bayern Munich: 368m euros
    5. Chelsea: 323m euros
    6. Arsenal: 290m euros
    7. Manchester City: 286m euros
    8. AC Milan: 257m euros
    9. Liverpool: 233m euros
    10. Juventus: 195m euros
    Source: Deloitte: 2011-12

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Marcus,

    How is life treating you in sunny (?) Kenya?

    Thanks for a very fine comment which captures many of the key issues regarding Arsenal at the moment. If you ever feel like writing a post for Bergkampesque then you are my guest, and I would be honoured!! 🙂

    Good of you to point out Gibbs performances. As a defender he still got to learn a few things, as you would expect at this stage of his career, but he has all the good qualities for a fine Arsenal career. He has drive and healthy aggression, and he reminds me more and more of a young Cashley. Early days, but signs are promising.

    Agreed on Giroud playing as much as possible, and on the need to rotate. When things are not going well it is hard to rotate as every game weighs so heavily, and I can uderstand why Arsene is not taking the risk at the moment: it is a fine balance to get right – not easy!

  24. marcus says:

    hey, i’d even settle for a DM and a striker. And we need to get rosicky back into the fold to share santi’s workload. I hope we annihilate brighton on saturday!

  25. marcus says:

    hi TA,
    Kenya is sunny and pleasant. I’d love to write a post…how do i join berkampesque though?

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi RA, the rich list is more or less as I expected. Now, if all those clubs would have to live of that income alone, it all would be a lot fairer; at least in the PL!

    We know that MC’s income stream is articificially enhanced by self-sponsoring, and that they made a loss of almost £100m last financial year (again, this figure was manipulated by self-sponsoring). The financial year before that it was £194m, so however ‘rich’ a club is, we should also take into account the amount of owners’ money that is pumped into the club ‘for free’ to get an accurate picture. Chelsea of course is no different, and MU still carry a heavy debt, and their bubble would burst if successes do not continue to come their way.

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    Marcus, their is no such thing as joining: everybody who makes a comment and loves the Arsenal is part of Bergkampesque! The best thing to do is email me a draft post at: bergkampesque@gmail.com

    You can do it per email, or attach a word document, whatever is easiest for you. I will then get back to you and discuss the post and when we should publish it. You could write about the stuff you just put in your comment, or what it is like to be a Gooner in Kenya and how you support the team over there, or why Victor Wanyama should be our beast of a DM (as you know him personally, you could tell us a bit more about him), etc etc.

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    TG 🙂

    Thanks for an excellent, in-depth report. I have not been able to watch the game properly yet, but I hope to do so today and will get back to you re your report.

    Thanks also for explaining how you rated the players this time round (and going forward). It all makes good sense to me.

    Football is a weird thing, isn’t it? On Sunday we were the ones who felt sorry for ourselves and the Chavs were on a high. Yesterday, we restored a bit of pride and the Chavs could not score a single goal, despite spending £80m+ since the summer on fire-power. Let’s hope we can keep this going now. 🙂

  29. glic says:

    Morning Serpent Socket`s 😆

    Thanks for a superb report TG.
    Just finished watching game and I cant say anything bad. I think the Potts injury stopped us in full flow even though we had an extra man advantage. Could have been a bigger win if not for that. Play like it from now on in and we have a chance, although in the next league game Liverpool will not give us such an easy stroll and will press us all over.

    Beautifull day for some ugly building work.
    laterz muvverz !. 🙂

  30. VCC says:

    Hummels any one?

  31. Ain't Got A Kalou says:

    Awesome post match report The Gooner, love how detailed and thhorough you are. This is exactly as I saw it and I’m glad to see there’s a cautious optimism given our ineptitude at being consistent. Still, tough to be negative after a beautiful game like that. Podolski and Giroud were outstanding and hope they can continue to score cause we need the goals.

  32. Red Arse says:

    Yes, please, Vickers, I will have two lumps! 🙂

  33. Red Arse says:

    I have just re-read the match report, TG, as is my way, and once again really admire the quality of your work.

    I have also seen the match highlights, since this morning, and I agree with the way you have analysed the game. 🙂

  34. Henrychan says:

    Hi all..
    Agree to all of you about Podolski.. He play very very charming lastnight..
    Now I am a little bit confidential for him in the LW..

    Hope we keep maintaining our winning spirit..
    Just a little bit worry.. Because most all the time.. After winning big.. We lose or draw in the other game..
    And because FA cup is very important to us.. We must not lose to Brighton..
    And offcourse Liverpool also.. Winning to Liverpool will mean a lot to our spirit..

    I like Stekelenberg.. And a swop for Manoone will be great..
    I like Gourcuff also.. If he or Holtby come.. It mean an advantage..
    And I still want Mvilla.. But Diameter or Wanyama or Mbiwa is also fine..

  35. marcus says:

    TA,
    Done. i have emailed you a post.

  36. The Gooner says:

    Afternoon all,

    How are you guys doing today?

    Thanks for all the fine comments, you guys are so kind and encouraging as always. I will be responding to each one of you shortly.

    VCC, you asked about updates on transfer rumours in the last article comment section so I will provide you with a small update:

    1) Arsenal have been linked with Mats Hummels as you stated and are reportedly in “negotiations” with him. The deal is supposedly worth £17.6 million. I have my reservations about being able to sign him (outside of it originally being reported by the unreliable caught offside) because moving from BD to Arsenal is a lateral move at best, considering Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manure have all been rumoured to be interested as well. If he was signed, he’d be massive for us and go a long way in tightening our back four. The addition of a world-class talent at a highly crucial position is always welcomed.

    2) Italian source, Tuttomercato, claims that Arsenal are interested in bringing Verona winger, Jorginho, to the Emirates. He’s a Brazilian currently plying his trade in Serie B and any move for a winger would likely confirm AW’s intentions to eventually play Theo through the middle full-time.

    3) Diame to Arsenal is off, as he’s pledged his future to WHU and claimed he wants to stay. He was never the top, top talent we needed, though it would have be nice to have more depth in our midfield, especially as cover in case of injury.

    4) Martin Skeletenburg of Roma has been made available and Arsenal are interested in reinforcing with veteran experience at the goalkeeper position. Napoli are rumoured to be moving for Mannone, so this would be a good insurance move. The current asking price for Skeletenburg is £5.5 million.

  37. The Gooner says:

    Henry,

    You are a little late on Yanga-Mbiwa and M’Vila my friend! Yanga-Mbiwa signed with Newcastle for £7 million and M’Vila signed for Rubin Kazan for £9.5 million. Quite frankly, I’m happy we never moved for M’Vila as I’m convinced he needs to mature and develop more before being Arsenal quality. As for Holtby, he signed a pre-contract agreement with the Spuds, so he’s likely off the market too (still possible to be sold during this TW but will be tough to convince him to come).

  38. The Gooner says:

    Hi Davi,

    All agreed on Ramsey. I was a little cautious on giving Ramsey an 8, but when you compare yesterday’s performance with past ones, it was a remarkable improvement. Let’s see if he can continue to play at that level against better teams before we judge his long-term capability at the holding role. Generally, with a holding midfielder, the less you notice them, the better. It also means that the focus is on the attacking players and that he’s doing his job defensively (which he did) and is likely making simple passes from the back.

  39. The Gooner says:

    Hi RA,

    Thank you very much for the kind words! Glad you enjoyed my report and that you finally got to see the highlights. It was an amazing game to see live as we were just dominant throughout and scored some beautiful goals.

    It’ll be interesting to see if AW moves for a midfielder or if he’s happy with his current contingent of Wilshere, Cazorla, Arteta, Coquelin, Ramsey, Diaby, Frimpong and Rosicky. Keep in mind that he plans to eventually play the Ox centrally too. However, a new DM would still do wonders for us and really give our current players healthy competition and hopefully prevent injuries with more rotation.

  40. The Gooner says:

    Englishmilk,

    I felt Theo deserved less than an 8, primarily because I’ve seen him play better and in past games he has finished when given the opportunity to. He wasted a ton of chances yesterday and was not disciplined defensively. You are right that he was a menace and created issues for WHU all night, but I’ve come to expect more from him. Very happy that he re-signed but he’s got to show me more since I know he’s more than capable of doing so.

  41. VCC says:

    Smashing report The Gooner. Bergkamesque is blessed with fine pre match and after match reports from Oz and The Gooner respectively. Enjoyable reads.

    I was particularly pleased for Ramsey last night. He has come in for some heavy flak, myself included, but he showed what he can do when playing in his correct position. Good for him.

    West Ham were poor last night, but you have to play whats in front of you. We must push on now and take advantage of the confidence that 5 goal haul must have given us.

    Next up Brighton should be winnable, but its the FA Cup so there are no gimme’s at this stage.

    Then there’s a matter of the Bin Dippers. This is a fixture that will test us more than Wet Spam. We must get three points in that one.

    Any more news on Hummels? or is it just web talk?

  42. The Gooner says:

    Marcus,

    Thank you for the long reply. Agreed on Giroud needing a good run of games to gain the mental strength in bigger games and on Wilshere being the new Fabregas and the heart of our offence.

    In reference to Gibbs’ performance, I would have rated him higher if it were not for his two boneheaded decisions to foul WHU players, one of which led to a free kick then a corner and the eventual goal. Fortunately, the other free kick he conceded just outside our 18-yard box at the end of the first half was saved by Szczesny. He had some fantastic link-ups with Podolski, Jack and Giroud and made some clean tackles as well and is blossoming into a fantastic LB in the mold of Ca$hley Cole. Still, I’d like to see him shoot more often and be more effective with his crossing.

    The rotation policy is something that I’ve been looking into and I’ve actually decided to write an article over the next few days about it. TA, let me know if you’d be interested in publishing such an article!

  43. The Gooner says:

    Hi TA,

    Thank you for the kind feedback :). Hope you get a chance to watch the match properly and share your thoughts about the game later!

    I love how unpredictable football can be, though I’d love to see Manure and Man $hitty lose more often than they do. Chel$ea getting eliminated from the Capital One Cup was fantastic and they don’t deserve to be in it after Hazard stupidly kicked a ball boy. They can spend all the money they want, but they won’t be winning any titles this year!

  44. The Gooner says:

    Glic,

    Thank you for the glowing compliments as always! All agreed with your short analysis and hopefully Arsenal will play well enough to get you to watch the games live on TV one of these days! Looking forward to your comedic comments later in the day :).

  45. The Gooner says:

    Cheers Ain’t Got a Kalou! I appreciate the response and vote of confidence, and agree that Giroud, Podolski and Santi could have finally clicked and started a beautiful partnership up front.

  46. The Gooner says:

    VCC,

    You are far too kind as always :), thank you very much!

    All agreed on Ramsey, we are both often quite harsh on him so it was nice to see him have a good performance and hopefully shake some rust off. It’s exactly as you said, West Ham were poor yesterday but we still need to win games like that by comfortable margins. As we’ve seen with Bradford City in the Capital One Cup, there are no easy games and Brighton will be another good test to see if we can start building some consistency.

    In terms of Hummels, despite the rumours of us being in “negotiations” and Wenger being in Germany this week, I’m not convinced until a more reliable source reports it to be true. Caughtoffside has an awful track record on reporting rumours and more or less churn out what people want to see. Of course we’d all love to see Hummels at Arsenal, but a move of that magnitude would likely never happen in January and there’s also the matter of what would happen with our current three CBs.

  47. marcus says:

    TG,
    Regarding gibbs, yes those two tackles were a bit rushed but its the enthusiasm i am praising. He was willling to get in there and defend his territory all night. How many times this season have we conceded because because our defenders switch off or escort opposing strikers into our box? I just feel he had the spirit that we are in DIRE need of if we are ever to step into the champions league again.

  48. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Marcus,

    Thanks for the post: I have emailed you back!:)

  49. The Gooner says:

    marcus,

    I certainly loved his enthusiasm and his endurance to run up and down the field throughout the entire game is admirable. I was just justifying why I gave him a slightly lower rating. I think if he can stay healthy, he’ll quickly become one of the best LBs in the EPL.

  50. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi TG 🙂

    Wow, I admire your thoroughness in responding to today’s comments. I am off to read them now.

  51. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi TG 🙂

    I was able to watch extended highlights this afternoon, and your report gets 10/10 in terms of accuracy.

    It is good to see a good game by Arsnenal and to put five in the net. Nice to see Ramsey do well in the deeper role, but I have no doubt he would struggle in this role if the opponents would be able to put a lot more pressure on him. Against Chelsea, I reckon he would have struggled significantly in that position. As far as I could see, he did not make any tackles and did not win much in the air, and those are key areas for a DM. However, he made the best of it and just like Arteta is a good reader of the game and positions himself well.

    I thought your observations re Theo were spot on. His drive in the second half, combined with the super-Pod’s desire on the other flank, was absolutely key to break open WH.

    Really good to see Pod, Cazorla and Theo all score and Pod and Theo bag assists. Really surprised that Cazorla once again missed out on the assists last night. In his position you would expect him to have more assists, but it looks like he prefers to shoot instead.

    Yes,TG I would love to publish a post about rotation at Arsenal. It would probably be Monday before I can publish it, though. Let me know what you think.

  52. Red Arse says:

    Fantastic responses, TG!! 🙂

    You are right about being cautious with some rumours circulated on other sites.

    Unlike BK, many other blogs post spurious reports to get fans to click on their sites as there is a monetary incentive – and the more hits – the more money. [Not that I am saying the site you mentioned were doing that]. 🙂

    Incidentally, VCC, aka Zimmer, was spot on, as usual, BK is blessed with some truly outstanding Post authors in you, Oz and TA himself, who has been the gold standard man for a long time. 😛

  53. TotalArsenal says:

    Hmmmm you are forgetting the best horse in the stables: your fine self Redders! 🙂

  54. Red Arse says:

    TA,

    I pinched these stats from my friend Daddy GIE, who pinched them from somewhere else!! 🙂

    Rambos defensive stats:

    Attempted Tackles 3
    Successful Tackles 3
    Fouls 1
    Interceptions 1
    Clearances 1 (Goal line clearance too but wiped out TV5 in the process)
    Headed clearances 1
    Blocks 1
    Aerial Duels 1
    Successful Aerial Duels 1

    More importantly:

    117 successful passes from 123
    107 received passes.

    As a team we made 543 successful passes, so Ramsey was involved in 41% of all our passes.

    O yee of little faith!! 😀

  55. Red Arse says:

    No! TA, I am not even close to your guys!!
    But thank you — that is why you are my friend!! 😛

  56. The Gooner says:

    Hi TA 🙂

    Thanks again for the kind words, class act as always!

    Glad we often see eye to eye on the matches and I agree with you on Ramsey’s long-term future likely not being at DM, but I chose to be positive after a rather decent performance from him yesterday. I really think Theo will be a great striker one day, but he most ignore his defensive assignments no matter where he is playing (Giroud even tracks back) and he must be more consistent in his finishing, especially when a man right on his back chasing him down.

    At the beginning of the season we saw Cazorla play deadly through balls more often and now he appears to have lost some confidence in his teammates and is taking matters into his own hands (beautiful pass on Theo’s goal vs. Chelsea though). He has started to spray balls to the wings more often (perhaps a strategy change by AW?) and seems to be more efficient when Arteta is in the line-up. In either case, I think we’d do well with converting on more of his chances because early on in the season he looked like a completely different player. He’s still a world-class talent, I just feel we need a world-class striker to put away the chances he creates.

    Monday or some time next week would be perfect to publish the article. By then, I’m hoping we have a new signing too!

  57. TotalArsenal says:

    Three tackles!! Okay, okay: not bad indeed.

    You know how much I defended Ramsey on AA last season, but this season I felt he is not making necessary further progress. I hope he’ll play again on Saturday and does well again!! 🙂

  58. The Gooner says:

    RA,

    Fantastic work on acquiring those statistics! Perhaps we can develop another Arteta in time? More congratulations are in order for Ramsey, as those statistics confirm that he played a very effective game in a position that he’s not accustomed to.

    People have to be wary of rumour sites as it often builds up high expectations and then those hopes quickly turn to spite and resentment when nothing happens. However, I’m confident we’ll have a couple new faces in our squad before the January TW closes, just hope they’re quality additions and not ones who will take a while to bed into the squad.

  59. TotalArsenal says:

    TG,

    Theo’s conversion rate will further improve, the longer he is played centrally. I did not think he wasted many clear-cut chances last night, and any player who scores and produces an assist has done well in my books. He is such a threat and makes space for others by using all his attributes. I reckon the combo of Theo and Giroud can grow into something special.

  60. TotalArsenal says:

    RA you are too humble! 😛

  61. The Gooner says:

    TA,

    They weren’t clear cut chances per se, but he should have done more with the opportunities he was given. I, too, think he’ll convert better with more time and experience at the striker position. I just want to ensure he doesn’t ignore his defensive responsibilities along the way.

    The latest rumours are linking us with a loan deal for Isaac Cuenca since he just returned from a 7-month injury layoff after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. He’s been a long-term target that I’ve always wanted to see Arsenal sign, as he has the pace, crossing ability, passing and sublime ball control/dribbling that you want to see from a winger. A loan with the possibility of a permanent move would be ideal, however Barca is generally reluctant to engage in those discussions. Still, successful loan moves often open up perspective for players and if they continue to be refused quality starting minutes when returned back from loan, they often request a transfer to the team that they were originally loaned to. If there is any truth to the rumour, he would be a top quality addition!

  62. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed on his defensive duties TG, but in general I believe he pulls his weight. But as I only saw an extensive summary, I am going to trust your analysis.

    Since the Reading game, he played in 9 games and scored six goals, and had at least three assists. I wonder how he compares to van Judas in terms of chance conversion….

  63. The Gooner says:

    Newcastle looks set to sign another Ligue 1 player, Moussa Sissoko of Toulouse, while Manure are set to sign Wilfried Zaha. What’s happening? Everyone’s strengthening but us!!

  64. Red Arse says:

    TG,

    Sissoko is the Toon’s 5th French player bought in this window to go with the other 3 already there!

    Pot calling the kettle black given pardew’s disgusting criticism of AW for doing the same thing, years ago, especially with our English core coming along nicely.

  65. TotalArsenal says:

    This one is for you TG: this piece of music symbolises perfectly how the transfer window goes for us Gooners 🙂

    – or maybe it will all end with a damp squib 😦

  66. glic says:

    Shows the difference between me and you Total, this is a piece of music which symbolises my feeling`s in the TW.

  67. The Gooner says:

    Haha TA, if that does not happen during our TW I will be very unhappy! Liverpool, Newcastle, Chel$ea and QPR have all made significant moves in attempt to improve their squads. This piece more closely resembles our TW thus far: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDvaqEQStCY

    Glic, look away…

    http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/12691/8431811/Reported-Manchester-City-target-Isco-set-to-sign-Malaga-contract-extension

  68. TotalArsenal says:

    Haha TG 😉 No breaking news but plenty of breaking wind! 🙄

  69. VCC says:

    This is more like it.

  70. The Gooner says:

    Richie, Herb and Terry haven’t been around today, wonder what they’re up to!

    VCC, if we ever sign anyone worthy of Psy’s Gangham Style in this TW, I will do the horse gallop!

  71. Mike says:

    I agree with most of your assessments but You know I actually do not really want Walcott to do much defending. Why? well one he is bad at tackling so challenges at best result in a missed tackle and someone else has to cover and at worst result in a free kick. SO I would much rather it just be said someone else has to cover that area and he do his job and spend his energy up front scoring goals. the extent of his defense should just be putting pressure on there full backs and just his presents upfront and his speed making it too dangerous for the oppositions full backs to get involved in the attack. What I say with Giroud, Podolski, Walcott and Wilshere is sometimes they should just put their foot through it first time instead of trying to play in a team mate or take on more touch. Sure they may have more missed shots but you know the old saying Every shot you DON’T take is a miss. SO many time all 4 of these players are around the 18 and you know they can strike a good shot so way not have a go.

    I also liked that Wenger bring in subs that made sense to me but I guess it is easy to stick to the plan when your winning much harder to make good subs when your behind and you really do not have any super subs on the bench.
    Over all good game but keeping it in perspective we have been able to put won of these games together a few times this season but what we have been unable to do is keep that form together when the opposition is a bit more in form themselves. the Hammers where poor yesterday and we punished them let’s hope Wenger closes a few deals this week and we can repeat this type of performance the rest of the season.

  72. glic says:

    Gangnam Style !. The nearest Vicky gets to that is….. GangBang Style at his dementia home, lucky for him he never remembers it, but constantly asks his nurse why he has a piercing painfull pooper ! . ( no connection to our Aussie PPP ! )

    Terry has been kidnapped, !. Police have said, ” If you have any leads, keep them to yourself ! “

  73. The Gooner says:

    Hahaha Glic, nice to see you’re able to replicate the humour on a daily basis!

  74. The Gooner says:

    Mike,

    Thank you very much for the reply.

    I completely understand why you wouldn’t want Theo defending (his poor tackling) and because you would rather reserve his energy on the offensive side of the ball, but then what does this effect have on Podolski and our other wingers? Are they all given the same luxury or does Theo get special treatment because he’s our current leading goal scorer? I think that as long as a player is on the pitch, AW demands them to play a team game and that includes for them to put in a full effort on both ends of the pitch. Theo does not have to create relentless pressure on the opposition, but just track back enough to pressure them into making a rushed decision or get in the way of a clear run at our back four.

    Agreed with Giroud, Podolski, Walcott and Wilshere as they each have moments of brilliance followed by hesitation. There have been several opportunities this season where each could have made another pass to an open man in the 18-yard box and others where they clearly should have shot. It’s probably a combination of inconsistency as a team (trying to do too much on their own when things aren’t going right) and the players still gaining familiarity with one another on the pitch.

    I too would love to see one new signing before we play Liverpool next Wednesday!

  75. alexgunners says:

    TG,

    Great post today.
    It is always more pleasant for us fans to comment on a win rather than a disappointing draw or a loss. Today as you put it was a classic Arsenal display. A team with drive and determination. It has been a while since we have seen a display of this sort. We did press from the start and we fell behind against the run of play, but instead of burying our heads in the sand, we came back with a vengeance.
    Podolski was everywhere today and it was great to see and if he can show this brilliance on a more regular basis, we have something to look forward to. His crosses, lay offs and vision was extraordinary today.

    Let’s not forget Jack and Giroud. Jack as usual is everywhere and his passes to find Podolski on the left were spot on. Giroud is a player that i enjoy watching more and more as each week goes by. He always gives 100% and his pass onto Pod was great for him to set up Santi. As we all know its not the first time he has lobbed defenders with an accurate pass which has lead to a goal.

    Rambo playing in a more familiar position allowed him to silence all the critics out there. He did what he had to do and worked hard throughout the game.

    Theo is having a stellar season by his usual standards, 16 goals in all competitions. If he continues this improvement i see him doing great things for The Gunners. I dont believe the hype that he will be the next TH14 but he will make his mark.

    I know that we are off the pace this year and we have to push for that 4th spot and make sure we do finish on top of the spuds. After displays like this one we have to hope that it will continue but we all know that we have been very inconsistant in out performances.

    Lets look at another set of figures. We lost the skunk to ManUre and we are lacking the fire power up front but lets look at out new signings and their contributions:
    POD – 10 goals in all competitions
    GIROUD – 9 goals in all competitions
    SANTI – 7 Goals in all competitions
    We have been criticized for our lack of fire power and we have been questioned as to where our goals will come from. The 3 new signings are showing that we can spread the goals amongst them. Of course these figures can be improved but it is a start considering we are rebuilding after the loss of a few money hungry bastards over the past couple of seasons.

    I am in no way saying that we are there but we do have the basis for a squad to challenge for honours, all we need is a couple of additions and a couple of others to step up.

    TG, well done once again on a great article

  76. The Gooner says:

    Alex,

    Appreciate the feedback mate, thank you very much!

    Your statistics were accurate before yesterday’s game, they’re even better now!

    Podolski – 11 goals in all competitions
    Giroud – 11 goals in all competitions
    Santi – 8 goals in all competitions

    However, your point stands and I completely agree that it’s a breath of fresh air to not entirely rely on one player to score all our goals. It would be fantastic if we could consistently score goals each game and them not all come in bunches though. For me, that is our biggest issue right now and where a world-class striker more or less becomes a necessity. Still, distributed scoring is healthy for the team and it shows we have great balance and are not powerless if one scorer goes down with an injury.

    Excellent analysis on the game and I’m glad you confirmed what I saw! I truly think we’re only 2-3 players away from becoming a true force and breaking back into the title contention conversation.

  77. Milo says:

    I saw Oxlade Chamberlain execute a very difficult skill in bringing a line drive of a pass down with his first touch. His passing was a little off at times, but I think with a run of matches, he’ll be right back in the reckoning. IF we rest Wilshere on the weekend, I would like to see him start in the midfield, along with Ramsey and whoever else is fit.

    I love Ramsey, always have, and I was unbelievably pleased with his understated yet commendable performance!!!

    As I was saying before, I think Chamberlain still has that touch of class about him, and will hopefully get a run of matches to show everyone that he will be great.

  78. The Gooner says:

    Hi Milo,

    Ox is a fantastic talent and I’d love to see him get a good run of games, he’s in my top 3 favourites for current Arsenal players! He has that determination and direct style that we often lack and can take on a defender without hesitation. I actually prefer him on the wing given his pace and am slightly confused as to why he wants to play in a center midfield role. Ox has the pace, shot, ball control, crossing and ability to play a deadly final ball; we’re all just waiting for him to put it all together on a consistent basis.

  79. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Alex, fantastic comment. If you ever feel like writing a post for Bergkampesque, just email me. 🙂

    We have started to score around 2.5 goals per game again: last time we did this was when Chamakh led the line in the first half of the 2010-2011 season. The big difference has been starting Theo in matches again (with or without Giroud). In the nine games since he was reinstalled in the first-11 squad – the away game against Reading – Arsenal have scored 23 times in 9 games. The Mancs have managed 20 in their last 9 games, and although it is still early, I reckon we will see a lot of goals coming from our strikeforce now. Key is to spread them out as effectively as possible, and of course our defence not making big mistakes.

  80. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Mike 🙂

    Fine comment and I agree with you AND TG with regards to Theo’s defensive duties. I would like us to play 4-4-2 and give Theo a free role, in which he does have to give extensive defensive cover, but can constantly look for space and be a huge threat.

    I don’t agree about the need for more shooting on goal. We have blown many chances by shooting too early and not looking for the better pass. I like Cazorla but the one thing I don’t rate is his constant shooting from often very difficult angles/distances. Yes some of them go in, but many good positions are often being wasted by him.

  81. alexgunners says:

    Hi TA,

    Thanks for the offer and i may take you up on that.

    The spread of goals is improving and i hope that it does continue. Consistency is the key and i believe that we will get there. Our scoring is not necessarily a problem it’s just that it is either a drought or a flood of goals. Once again, it is all about being able to perform consistently and that is how we will find ourselves fighting for trophies once again.
    To all, enjoy your day, ill be back later on

  82. TotalArsenal says:

    Enjoy your day, Alex!

  83. Milo says:

    I can see why he wants to play in midfield…remember pre-season??? He played in a HOLDING role against Koln. Now granted it was Koln, but he has the tactical capability to play in any midfield or forward position. He might not have the finishing ability to play as a central striker (yet), but anywhere else he can play, and play well. I know he has the pace to play out wide, but how many central midfield players have his pace and recovering ability, in the World, never mind the Premier League??? NONE!!! 😀 That is why he would be invaluable if he can fit his talents in to a central position.

  84. The Gooner says:

    Milo,

    His pace is exactly why I’d rather him play from a wide position. I feel it’s a waste to have such a fast player in the center of the park where it’s often more congested. He’s more than capable of playing there, but his skills suggest that he’s a natural fit for the wing. I think there’s a reason why players with incredible pace are not played through the middle and it’s not because players who are played out wide are incapable of playing centrally; managers choose to take advantage of pace and playmaking on the wings where there’s more space to maneuver in. For example, I’m convinced Hazard, who has incredible pace and ball control could play centrally but both RDM and Rafa have preferred him to play on the LW. Lucas (now on PSG) is another CAM who often gets played on the wing and has arguably better pace and ball control than the Ox. There are countless examples, but it’s nice that Ox is developing the versatility now so AW has flexibility in the future for his starting line-ups.

  85. TotalArsenal says:

    Right guys off to bedski!

    Gooner4eva49, Terry, if you are reading tonight, please tell us about the atmosphere in the ground last night.

    Tomorrow a fine post by a new writer: Marcus, from Kenya!

    He will wet your appetite even further for a beast of a DM! 🙂

  86. oz gunner says:

    Great great review TG. Bit late on the scene but I can’t fault any of it.
    Ramsey = star
    pod = star
    whole team = stars!!!
    I can’t wait til it all strings together on a consistent basis.

    As for the hummels rumours, that would be amazing! No other CB in the world I’d rather see playing for Arsenal (perhaps tied with Komapny).
    Bring on Liverpool!!!

    Once again great review, cheers!

  87. The Gooner says:

    Oz,

    Thank you for the kinds words!

    Fortunately, my post-match reports are never after your outstanding pre-game ones, or else no one would bother to read them!

    Hummels is also my #1 choice if we were to have any CB in the world right now. At 24 years old, he’s already a world-class talent and one of the best at his position. However, I read an interesting article explaining why investing such a large sum of money in our defence would be a mistake, since it would signify a change in our philosophy of free flowing, attacking football. It states that it’s not that our team doesn’t desperately need a solid CB like Hummels, but that the large investment would mean that we may be shifting to concentrate more on the defensive aspect of the game, rather than the offensive approach we have become known for. With that said, the article fails to realize that the Invincibles had an extremely reliable back four and that a stronger defence would allow our offence more freedom up the field.

    To conclude, I would be thrilled to add Hummels to our team since his height would help compensate for Arteta’s miniature presence at the back on aerial duels and he’s also way more mobile than Mertesacker, hopefully meaning less players getting behind us for break aways.

  88. oz gunner says:

    Pre-matches are nothing though TG, I think post matches are the hardest to do. I tried one once and failed miserably, I think I get to emotional during the game to take it all in. You and TA can watch it again and pick up things I could not. As others have said we are spoilt for choice on here. I’m looking to reading Marcus’ also.

    I’m not sure it’s really needed because I think Kozzer (fully confident) is a very very good CB (EPL team of the year last season on a lot of sites) but he hasn’t been able to form a strong partnership with Verm. They haven’t really had the chance to forge a strong bond though thanks to injuries to both parties. Hummels and Verm would be a bloody good pairing, both strong as ox’s and top quality CB’s. Spewing we didn’t grab vertonghen when he was available.

    It’d make a strong statement having a world class addition brought in at such a young age

  89. oz gunner says:

    @ GLIC

    I think you isco dream is over. Malaga are apparently close to a new deal which will change his buy-out clause to 35 million.

  90. oz gunner says:

    I know gouffran has gone to toon but I didn’t know he went for 1.67 million. How are Newcastle doing this? that, mbiwa, sissohko, a nancy boy all for a few pennies and an old pair of football boots. Amazing how no one brings up the comments Pardew made about Arsenal’s international team, when he’s just bought a Ligue 1 team!

  91. The Gooner says:

    Oz,

    You are far too kind. Not to toot my own horn, but I actually don’t have the luxury of watching the games again before I write and submit my reports to TA. I should probably do so, as it’d make the reports more thorough and as you say, I might miss out on minor details during the game. I’m just happy to be able to contribute to BK!

    Fair point on Koscielny being a more than capable CB, but he is certainly not a world-class talent. You’re absolutely right that he hasn’t gotten a good run of games to establish himself this season and even when he does, I found he’s often on the end of a few bone headed mistakes (Mata’s free kick this year that he should have cleared, quite a few own goals and his big blunder that led to BC winning the Carling Cup in ’11). I know that I can’t hold that against him since he frequently turns in great performances for Arsenal, but those plays stick out in my head when his name is mentioned. The partnership between Verm and Hummels would be outstanding on paper though. I’m quite happy that we didn’t sign Vertonghen as he prefers to play at CB (I thought we were trying to sign him a a LB) and his style of play is quite similar to Verm’s, meaning that we could have been often exposed at the back if both charged forward.

  92. The Gooner says:

    Oz, Sissoko and Gouffran both had expiring contracts and Pardew always has his eyes open for a bargain. Newcastle has become the new standard for buying players extremely cheap and selling them at a premium. Either that or they proclaim they want a premium for the player before realizing they had inserted a buy-out clause of less than £8 million.

  93. oz gunner says:

    He did make a few blunders in his first season and has done this season also. However, last season he took his game to another level and was very very consistent. His pace is very underrated also. I’ll never forget his game against Barcelona, he was brilliant that day.

    In regards to toon, you could say it hasn’t helped them given their place on the ladder, but they all have limited risk and high reward. It’s not fair, i want new toys!!!

  94. The Gooner says:

    It’s difficult to narrow down the cause of Koscielny’s defensive mistakes as it could have been inexperience (1st season), an inability to find form due to playing time (this season) or just an occasional weakness that is part of his game (not likely but you can’t completely rule it out). Either way, I’m happy that we have him and would prefer to eventually see him starting despite the BFG’s performances this year. Despite all the positives he brings to our team, I’m just never comfortable with his lack of pace and passive defending.

    Pardew does well with the resources he is given, however I believe the Toon will never be more than a mid-table club due to Ashley. The definition of a penny pincher that looks to sell their best players for a profit (similar to Arsenal the past few years but we were “financing a stadium”) and they don’t buy/develop world-class talents either. Ben Arfa, Ba, Cisse, Cabaye, Krul etc. are all good players, but are better complementary pieces than core building blocks.

    I would like some new toys too! I’m just wishing that we’ll make a new signing before next Wednesday and that he’ll make an appearance vs. Liverpool.

  95. The Gooner says:

    I’ve forgotten to mention this transfer rumour before since I don’t think Fiorentina will sell, but we’ve been linked to Stevan Jovetic, a second striker type who can carry a team on his own. He’s drawn comparisons to greats like Baggio and our very own, DB10 for his complete all-around game. He can create chances, finish, embarrass opponents on the dribble, has spine/backbone/guts, good pace, decent aerial ability, great on-field awareness and a sublime first touch. He’d likely cost £20-25 million, but to be able to acquire a player of his talent (can eventually blossom to a world-class level) at a marquee position at the tender age of 23 would be remarkable. Not trying to get your hopes up, so take the rumour with a grain of salt!

    Enjoy 🙂

  96. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post – New Post!

    Let’s talk midfield today! 🙂

  97. The Gooner says:

    TA, is it ok if I repost the Jovetic rumour? I know VCC, Glic and others will love it!

  98. The Gooner says:

    TA, just saw your post, cheers mate!

  99. TotalArsenal says:

    Same minds think alike TG 🙂

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