Thursday, 25 November 2010

Braga thoughts - How Wenger must replace Cesc - JET loan deal - Ramsey on his return - Denilson "sorry" - Djourou hopeful

Morning Gooners.

Sorry for no blog yesterday. Due to work commitments I was unable to watch Tuesday night's game - the first game I've not watched live this season - so felt unable to comment on our performance. 

So last night I watched the 90 minutes. I thought we looked solid in defence for the most part without creating many chances. With the lack of Braga's attacking threat we could have moved our own defence higher up the pitch to help squeeze the game and make more room for us to attack.

Our starting front three didn't look like they were going to score all night. Bendtner, despite all his talk, was woeful and you could see how much we missed Chamakh's industry. Walcott has yet to rediscover his early season form and seems to have regressed whilst for all Rosicky's hard work, he's not scored for decades.

Midfield wasn't much better with Denilson sloppy in possession and Wilshere anonymous for large periods of the game.  Fabregas worked hard but didn't have the team mates around him who were going to make the runs which his killer passes would have unlocked the Braga  defence for.

When Braga switched Matheus into the middle, that's when we were caused problems. I would have tasked Djourou with man marking him, because the Swiss has pace.

One thing Arsene Wenger has to look at is leaving Denilson on the halfway line at corners. If the young Brazilian has no pace, we're going to be caught out from many counter attacks, like we were for Matheus' opener.

I thought we didn't use Kieran Gibbs enough going forward. He had plenty of space in front of him to exploit but rarely used it.

And quite how the referee thought Carlos Vela dived in the area I will never know. I sat with my mouth open for at least two minutes after seeing our Mexican booked when it was a clear penalty. I was shocked.

It was very disappointing we lost, but not a surprise. We never seem to bounce back from defeats with a win in the next game. And with our shocking away form in Europe, I feel desperately sorry for all those who travelled to Portugal for the game.

As do the players.

Denilson said:
"It's very disappointing and I feel very bad and very sad about this. For the fans I should say sorry and for the last match [against Spurs] as well. 
"We have to win trophies this season because this is very important for us.
"I believe we will go through and qualify – you always have to believe that. We have one more game against Partizan at home and we have to be strong in this game."
Whilst Johan Djourou spoke in the mix zone after the game to waiting reporters. There are plenty of disaster headlines around, so watch out for them. 

Hardly tell the whole story of what he said, which was:
"Of course if Arsenal does not go to the knockout stages it's a disaster and I think that shouldn't happen and I don't even think that we're not going to qualify.
"We have to think positively even if Braga was negative we have to think that we'll qualify.
"We need to bounce back from this last week which has been a bit difficult for us, we've had two defeats so now it's important to bounce back with a win. We have the quality to do it it's just how much we want it."
I don't think there is much doubt the team will give their all against Partizan to qualify next month. We've got what it takes and Djourou is right, it would be a disaster if we didn't make it through. But we've got the whole season still ahead of us.

One player we'll obviously miss for our league game against Aston Villa on Saturday is Cesc Fabregas.

Arsenal are waiting for the results of a scan of the midfielder's hamstring. Lets hope it's not as bad as first feared. It's almost certain he'll miss the game at Villa Park.

Without Cesc in the team, I think the boss will have to move Samir Nasri into the captain's central position. The Frenchman has been our best player this season and I think we'll need him to pull the strings on Saturday.

Emmanuel Eboue could be missing for weeks according to the papers, with a medial knee ligament injury. Although we'll have to wait for the manager's update on both of those.

I believe the manager's press conference will happen today, as the game is the lunchtime kick off at Villa. So if it does happen, we should have more news on our injured players and who else is likely to be included in the squad.

One piece of more pleasant news to bring you is from Aaron Ramsey.

The midfielder made his come back against Wolves in a reserves game on Tuesday.

After his 45-minutes, he told Arsenal TV Online:
"I have another few reserve games planned then I'll fight for my place again.
"I am not going to jump back in, it is going to take a bit of time. But as soon as I feel I am match fit, I am going to try to get back into the starting XI.
"After you have been out for nine months, your muscles are still adapting to the hard training and games. Some players can get injuries which set them back a few weeks, but hopefully I can stay injury free."
Watching the game was Sheffield United manager Gary Speed, who appears to be interested in taking Jay Emmanuel Thomas on loan. It would be a good move for him if it did happen. He's fallen down the pecking order since the return of Robin Van Persie and Nicklas Bendtner, so going on loan at least for a month and getting some first team football would be good for him.

Then he can come back in January, ready for first team action and maybe a start in the FA Cup, depending on who we draw.

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