Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ticket booked, an eye on Boro on Saturday

Arsenal have punched their ticket for the group stage of the Champions League (when it really gets fun).  Not that I'm breaking news here, but a draw away to Porto secures top spot. It doesn't really matter all that much for Arsenal right now. We're not at the level of quality where we can pick out our opponents and say, "Yes, please, I'd like one of those. Mm hmm, that'll do nicely, won't it?"

Given the form Arsenal have shown, a big hope still lies for us in the Champions League this spring. We get up for the big matches, no doubt about that, and these lads have shown a bit of spirit in the Champions League in the last couple years. Obviously there was the final in Paris, but we've just felt close - not five stars close, but, "Oooo, I like that, that's a big Cup, shiny too. I want it. Give it to us," close. We've been more comfortable than we were earlier this decade, that's for sure. That may be down to tactics more than anything else.

So, with the result not carrying all that much weight, it's nice to see a lightened squad making the trip. Many are staying home to nurse little niggles with the packed holiday fixtures coming up. We'll look for Bendtner for some work up front, and hopefully Vela will show himself outside of the Carling Cup.  I wouldn't mind seeing Vela out on the left wing with Bendtner alone up front. Perhaps a midfield supporting him, then, of Vela, Diaby, Ramsey, Eboue and Song providing a buffer in front of the defense. Diaby gets another run out. Fingers crossed (all we can do with some of these kids) for his health. He can truly be an important player for us. It'd be nice to see Ramsey get a start in Cesc's absence. I think it's rightly time for him to get a look in the side.

And then it's our headcase, Eboue. Emmanuel has taken quite a bit of stick in the last couple of days and rightly so. Richard Williams wrote a piece in The Guardian that had me feeling pretty awful for Eboue but the fact remains that he's been woeful and has carried a markedly poor attitude from week to week. I'm sure he's wonderful and all that. I wish no ill will toward him, and I have thought since his first splash in the side that he had something to bring to the table. Somewhere, though, he's lost that impetus. And I'm not talking merely about Saturday. So it's with caution that I offer my support for him to start trying to get things right today.


MulderBurns said...

Agree on the lineup - I'd like our traditional 4-5-1 European setup. Many are saying the game is meaningless, but I think it's important to finish 1st rather than 2nd. There are still loads of tough opponents either way, but I like having the 2nd match at home - and if for no other reason, avoid Barcelona as long as possible. We won't have Theo for the round of 16, most likely.

I too have mixed feelings on Eboue. He hadn't played in weeks, and should not have been out on the left. I thought for sure that Denilson was going to move to the left - Denilson seems much more flexible to be able to switch and play different spots.

A lot of the abuse comes from the fact that he's not a very 'likeable' player on the pitch. The diving, the crying, the whining, the questionable tackling, etc. If Fabregas, Clichy, Theo or Sagna came back after several weeks away, and showed rust, I guarantee they would not have been treated this way. Not sure there's another player on the squad that would be, except possibly Gallas.

In general, though, I don't like booing your own man. I understand there were tense moments Saturday, but's a tough situation.

Jamie said...


opinions on booing might be different if we pay 70 pound to see the shite that eboue delivered.

arseblog makes an awesome point in his response to some flack HE got, when he talks of how disapproval is shown.

when you see a player in the squad of one of the biggest clubs in the world act so lazy and disinterested, it's tough on the old peepers. opinions are not going to be provided as a "hard luck old boy, try harder next time"... cant hear that being vented from the stands.

paying $4.25 and seeing that crud that eboue brought to the table on saturday against wigan, drove me insane for a short while. i still raised my voice and uttered my disgust as the embarassing atrocity unfolded before me.

4.25 for a beer and good company, and i was... upset. 70 great british pounds - just to see it - now that takes the biscuit.

take my nan (please), she is shite at football, but she can move when told to move.

had eboue moved, he would have not been booed. tackling kolo was very much avoidable.

move eboue.

to turkey.