Hailing Gallas, van Persie and Hleb – disappointed with Diaby

Well, it’s Tuesday afternoon here in Brisbane and I just saw the highlights from Arsenal’s weekend win over Bolton for the first time. Yes, yes, I know; for a person who blogs about Arsenal on a daily basis that’s a pretty poor effort but as I said yesterday, I’ve been rather busy over the past few days so I’d appreciate it if you could cut me some slack. Cheers in advance.

Hleb’s reluctance to shoot paved the way for Arsenal’s final two goalsAnyway, I was absolutely blown away by the match. With prior knowledge of the final result of the game it was somewhat amusing watching the Arsenal boys go a goal down, then a man down, then another goal down before clawing their way back to the most unlikely of wins. Full credit has to go to William Gallas for calmly sidefooting home a chance that was far more difficult than it looked in the pouring rain as well as Robin van Persie for having the balls to take control of the penalty situation and get the desired result. It wasn’t the best penalty you’ll ever see but it hit the back of the net and in a game of such importance that is all that matters. 

Alexandr Hleb’s involvement in the final two goals should also be noted. So often Hleb’s reluctance to shoot elicits frustration from the Arsenal supporters but it was that same reluctance that paved the way not only for van Persie’s penalty but also his buddy Cesc Fabregas’ deflected winner. Criticise his shooting phobia all you like but there’s no denying that when he’s on form Hleb remains one of the few true game-breakers in the Arsenal side.

Despite the poor start, I thought Arsene Wenger’s decision to rest Emmanuel Adebayor and start Nicklas Bendtner was the right one, as was the move to push Kolo Toure to right-back in Bacary Sagna’s absence and restore Philippe Senderos to the centre of defence. When he came on with a half-hour to go Adebayor looked far sharper than he has looked over the past four games, a good sign that the big man will be raring to go when Arsenal play Liverpool at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night.

As for the defence, there really wasn’t much that could be done about the first goal whilst the second was more down to Mathieu Flamini’s mistake than anything else. There is little doubt in my mind that the back five that started against Bolton is the best combination that Wenger has at his disposal given the injury to Sagna, so taking that into account I will be hoping the manager sticks with the same line-up for Wednesday night’s Champions League clash.

Diaby should know betterSilly Diaby, Liverpool trilogy beckoning

Just a quick word on Abou Diaby and his tackle; I felt a red card was the right punishment. Given the injury that Diaby sustained from being on the receiving end of a similar tackle against Sunderland a few seasons back you’d think he would be one of the last people to challenge someone like that. As such, I’m a little disappointed with the Frenchman. Indeed, there was little difference between Diaby’s challenge and the one made by Birmingham City’s Martin Taylor that broke Eduardo da Silva’s leg and the Frenchman can count himself lucky that Gretar Steinsson was not seriously injured as a result of his lunge.

Individual performances and selections aside, this game and the final result was more about the character that the team showed than anything else. In the ten or so years that I’ve supported this side I cannot remember a time when Arsenal have come back from two goals and a man down and that speaks volumes about this side. Forget the little kinks in the armour, forget the problems with the size of the squad and forget the recent disappointments; this was a performance that sent out a clear message that Arsenal have not yet given up on the title yet. As a supporter of the club, that’s all one can really ask for.

Even if Arsenal don’t win the Premiership they are still remain a decent chance to win the Champions League and as I said earlier, the first leg of their quarter-final showdown with Liverpool kicks off on Wednesday night. It should be an absolutely cracking tie and one which I feel confident of Arsenal winning. Liverpool are in pretty good form at the moment and have an excellent recent history in the competition but I think Arsenal’s win over Bolton will give Wenger’s side the confidence boost they need to play the quality of football required to break down Rafa Benitez’s side.

Wednesday night’s game is a home leg so a win should be the aim, but it is worth remembering the Milan example that not conceding can be just as important. Interestingly, the manager has agreed. I’ll have team news and a full preview tomorrow so until then, have a good one.

What do you think?

Have your say on Arsenal’s win over Bolton or the Champions League tie against Liverpool by leaving a comment.



  1. No fault on the first goal? Toure was guilty of ball watching and allowing Taylor to get in front of him to the cross.

  2. It was a great comeback and am delighted with the desire and commitment of the lads. Especially fantastic to see Theo playing a important part though he is more effective as a sub(God forbid) but wud prefer he be in the starting 11’s. Ade as usual with RVP need more tiem together again and then will be sharper with their finishing.

  3. Diaby’s tackle was not as dangerous as Taylors. Although being a horrible tackle he didn’t come in with as much speed and power. However clearly a red card. Very clumpsy from our french prodigy!

  4. I Was supprised that after losing a striker with a broken leg and disocated ankle that anyone could think about doing such a thing. But definitely not as bad as taylors.
    SF, Dont worry mate, everyone is a bit busy ATM, Just great to have you back!!

  5. Hi guys,

    Really pleased to see arsenal win..it was a great comeback..i hope u guys can start winning on a regular basis to make the title race really interesting


  6. One thing you should take into consideration for Diabys tackle were the conditions on the day. The rain was pissing down and making it a lot harder to time the tackle well. It was a bit reckless but no way near as bad as taylors tackle.

  7. After all my huffing and puffing about Eboue and him being a red card waiting to happen Diaby gets a chance and what does he do? Gets a red card. Fortunately the boys showed heart and fought back well.

  8. What a good show of team spirit from the Arsenal.Letting us dream for another day.Its definitley not over till the fat lady sings. I think the shaky start owed everything to lack of confidence n the pouring rain n poor finishing from some decent chances.This result epitomises what this team is about, they have never given up. Good performances all round. Lets hope for a good game on Wednesday n as you say Spaish Fry a 0-0 draw is never a bad result.Go on u gooners.

  9. Point taken about Diaby’s tackle – I just think given the injury he sustained against Sunderland and Eduardo’s broken leg it was a particularly silly thing to do. Happy that the boys could fight back though!

    Adam – I’d argue that Steinsson’s cross was just too good to be stopped. Toure was not at fault for me.

  10. diaby was at fault for the 1st goal.. he wasn’t even trying to get close to that steinsson when he crossed the ball.. he was like pretending to run..

  11. yeah, can say that again: referee, as always, not fair at all .. in fact, if u watch the whole match, u will find that diaby just lost his discipline after being badged about a couple of times with the ref doing noithing about it .. we are just fortunate that he gave that blatant penalty .. I have seen arsenal repeatedly denied such obvious penalties lots of times …

    great win for the boys, especially against the bolton wrestlers .. hope that ensures we never play them again for say, another 50 years or something .. here is hoping.

  12. i agree that Toure was waiting for the ball to land on his head, also i think it was Diaby who just watched dude cross the ball! Diaby’s tackle was horrible but i think it was a mental lapse after loosing the ball but with no intention to “GET STUCK IN” like Taylor.

    Great WIN!!!

  13. Also if u remember when Diaby got injured it was at the end of the match and also the dude came flying in from no where. The situation is different but deserved a red card for sure, very silly and harsh tackle!

  14. Almunia
    Adebayor-Van Persie
    Arsenal 4-Liverpool 1

  15. Just after the substitution, Hleb came to life and that combined with energy and pace of the substitutes energized the squad.

    A few points on the Diaby foul and subsequent red card.
    I agree that is a fair red card. But if it was similar to Taylor’s challenge on Eduardo, why was the media defending Taylor and said it was harsh on him despite the outcome, and are quick to blast Diaby as a deserved red?!?! In my oppinion those two fouls were VERY different Here is why;

    Taylor Was Late, too late in fact that he caught Eduardo on the same leg that had already played the ball, planted on the ground and Eduardo’s weight has been completely transferred to it. Secondly, the ball was moving from his right to his left. If he wanted to block it, he should have gone where the ball was heading not where the ball was, being that late, and even just before contact, Taylor had his left leg under him which means he could have controlled his weight and changed the trajectory of his advanced leg. He also caught Eduardo almost midpoint on his lower leg.

    Diaby’s challenge: (PS: I am not condoning the foul. he went too close)

    He wasn’t late, He went in to block the ball he thought will be played inwards/his right, which was played to his left. Unfortunately, I believe he move a fraction further forward than he should have, probably in an attempt to compansate for slippery surface. A couple of things to note at impact; 1) The impact occurred at the same time the ball was being struck. 2) He caught the standing/supporting leg which in striking the ball in most cases tends to be more advanced than the ball. Also if the player was to play the ball inside/his left, he would have to pivot left around the position of the ball which would have placed his left foot a good few inches to even a foot short of Diaby’s foot. Since he had to play it to his right, he pivoted rightward which advanced his left foot further than Diaby anticipated. 3) At Impact, Diaby body was in air, not touching the ground which means he had little control over his trajectory.

    To test this, place a ball on the ground, draw 3 lines, starting on the ball position, one line straight ahead, and the other 2 about 45 degs each side of the straight line. Pretending to kick the ball to your left(diaby’s right),along the left line, with your right foot’s instep, without actually hitting it, mark the position of your left foot(ancle). Do the same with the other two lines and compare your foot position between the right pass and left pass. Depending on your height, it is more than a foot, in which case if Diaby had guessed right he would have blocked the ball and completely missed the player.

  16. Hleb, V.persie, fabregas, gallas – how many times have they saved arsenal, well they saved us again against Bolton and i am sure they will be meanacing vs. Liverpool and hopefully Ade and Theo starting upfront and on the wing, we can get a positive result.

  17. Its a shame that Theo Walcott’s contribution never gets a mention. After he came on he stretched Bolton with his pacey runs and opened up their defence. There is something very strange about M.utd this is definitely their year no injuries at all decisions go their way on top of that they get a great draw in the C.league.You look at Arsenal injury after injury non stop and all the decisions that went against us the Birmingham penalty the perfectly good goal disallowed against Boro the Chelsea’s goal that was offside. You look at that and think it is just not our year maybe our luck will come at a crucial game and will make up for all the bad luck we had this season. If we pull it off in the league or C.league it will taste the sweetest ever. Lets HOPE.

  18. Le Gunner – You make a good point about Walcott. The only reason I haven’t mentioned him is because I didn’t see the whole game and could only go off the highlights. If I’d said Theo had a good game I would’ve been making it up! 🙂


  20. My prediction is after i watch the game.i have being so bitter with arsenal but i must say i love my club and i support them 100% but they really have hurt me.
    How to win liverfool get in gerrads face

  21. I agree with the red card. I was disappointed to see an Arsenal player behave that way.
    Almunia makes me twitchy. What can I say? I just don’t trust him to be completely soild.

    I thought Walcott ripped into the team perfectly and Hleb was certainly switched on. The effort put in by everyone was impressive. I thought Senderos played very well and it’s good to see him starting.

    I will always love Arsenal and it’s so good to see them not give up. I want a tight, exciting finish.

    Good to have you back too.

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