Sunday, 21 August 2011

Liverpool review -Wenger to sign Kaka? -Vermaelen offered payrise -M'Vila bid made

A first home defeat of the season and I don't believe we deserved to lose at all. Whilst it was 11 v 11, we were holding our own. Granted, we weren't creating anything very threatening going forward, but we looked defensively pretty solid considering we had two teenagers in our back four.

For me the crunch moment for this game came in the eighth minute when Martin Atkinson booked Emmanuel Frimpong. This was a 19-year-old player making his Premier League debut and he was yellow carded for what?

He genuinely believed that when the ball went out it was an Arsenal throw. Jordan Henderson pushed Frimpong who stood his ground. Nothing happened after that. No fighting, no throwing of punches. But yet the referee, instead of pulling the teenager to one side and telling him to calm down, books him for nothing. Henderson who actually pushed Frimpong didn't get a talking to or booked. Shouldn't the referee have had something to say to him?

Fast forward to the 70th minute and Frimpong goes in for a 50/50 ball and loses out. He shouldn't have gone in recklessly like he did, especially because of the conditions, and deserved to get booked. The second yellow is followed by the red card and Frimpong is off on his debut and misses the Gunners trip to Old Trafford next weekend, while we're still without Alex Song who is still suspended.

I have to admit to being  impressed with Frimpong. I thought he did very well on his debut. In such an important role for this team he performed admirably. I'd also say the same of Carl Jenkinson who started in his preferred right back position, with Sagna switching to the left.

Following the 16th minute injury to Laurent Koscienly, I thought Ignasi Miquel looked solid in his first Premier League appearance also. He has clearly come on leaps and bounds to be preferred to Sebastien Squillaci in the squad. And alongside Thomas Vermaelen didn't look out of place.

Losing Laurent Koscielny to an early injury leaves us light for Wednesday night if he doesn't recover in time. Johan Djourou might be fit but we're now down to Vermaelen, Miquel and Squillaci at the back.

This Arsenal squad at the moment is threadbare of players. But what I did like about yesterday's team was their spirit and determination. They didn't give up. They performed as the crowd would want them to do. They gave everything to try and win the match but unfortunately against a Liverpool team with 11 men apposed to Arsenal's 10, it wasn't enough.

A word for Samir Nasri. He played well. Was committed and didn't stop running. The crowd were positive to his involvement. There was no signing of the chant we heard at Newcastle. The Independent on Sunday are reporting that talks between Nasri's agents and Manchester City have broken down because of a disagreement over who will pay them their cut of the deal. I'd imagine that they will find a resolution and I still expect Nasri to be sold.

And a word for my fellow Gooners. I thought we really got behind the team. They needed us and we were a 12th man for them. I think positive support during the 90 minutes of the match is crucial. There were some who vented their frustration with chants of "spend some effing money" after Liverpool scored their first but they were drowned out by those who wanted to support the team with cries of "Arsenal, Arsenal."

At the final whistle there were boos. But they were soon replaced by more positive arsenal chanting. It's weird that there appears to be a real devoid amongst Gooners. We all want the club to do well but show our support in different ways.

Post match Arsene Wenger said:
"Yes, I feel the result is very harsh on us. The decider was the sending off and as well the offside goal, it was the decider of the game."
The manager is in a tough position. He did not know we'd be without eight key players at such a important time of the season. We know he has money to spend but some of the youngster players on show yesterday will prove him right and become stars. However their form will be patchy and we do need serious investment in the team, especially because these young players need to be guided.

I really hope we see some movement. Hopefully it will be before Wednesday but if not, certainly before Sunday's trip to Old Trafford.

A round-up of some of the stories making the tabloids. The People suggest Arsene Wenger has been told we must sign a big name and Kaka is said to be top of that list. The Sunday Mirror say we'll firm up our interest in Yann M'Vila, the Rennes midfielder. And Canel+ are already reporting we've had a 20m euro bid for the France international turned down.

The People believe Juventus will make a bid to sign Andrey Arshavin. The Sunday Mirror report we're to open negotiations with Thomas Vermaelen to extend his contract.

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