I feel more comfortable with Song and Silvestre than Toure and Gallas + Arsenal-Fenerbache preview

Hello again. The weather here has been marvellous today but just as I sit down to write to you the wind has picked up, there’s some menacing clouds in the sky and I just heard some thunder. Now rain. Eek. Let’s just hope it’s not a bad sign for tonight’s game.

That game of course is the Champions League clash against Fenerbache. Arsenal currently sit top of the group on four points from two games with the Istanbul club bottom with just a solitary point, but those figures will make little difference once the ball is kicked off and firey atmosphere inthe Sukru Saracoglu stadium takes hold. 

Both Robin van Persie as well as Arsene Wenger have had things to say about the type of reception Arsenal will receive in Turkey. However, both also make it very clear that our boys are ready for the challenge and will not be as affected by the crowd as many people are predicting. The manager in particular had this to say:

“I have been involved in many games in Turkey. What is important is that you always have on the pitch the potential to quieten the supporters. That is down to how well you play and how much personality you show, and this is down to us – so I do not think it will be a problem.”

They’re optimistic words and I do hope he is right but I for one will take a point tonight – especially considering the mini-injury crisis that the current squad is facing. Kolo Toure, Bacary Sagna and captain William Gallas will all be unavailable while Nicklas Bendtner, Samir Nasri and Johan Djourou have all been past fit.

However, despite the recovery of the Swiss centre-back from concussion Wenger has made it perfectly clear that that the back four which finished the game against Everton will start against Fenerbache. He has also hinted at the importance of the role that new signing Mikael Silvestre will play in the match in the absence of any other experienced colleagues. In his own words:

“He has experience. He is a very professional guy and I am confident he will be the guide of the back four tomorrow. We cannot afford to lose any more defenders, that is for sure. Johan Djourou has come back from injury but we will start with the defence that finished the game against Everton.”

For those that didn’t catch the Everton game that means that Silvestre will be supported by Alex Song in the middle, with Emmanuel Eboue and Gael Clichy taking up the right and left full-back positions. It’s a rag-tag line-up by anyone’s standards – especially given the lack of playing time afforded to Silvestre and Song this season – but for some reason I’m not overly worried and I get the feeling that the pair have the potential to work quite well together. Better than Gallas and Toure anyway, methinks.

Ahead of the defence I’d put money on Wenger playing a five-man midfield in support of lone wolf Emmanuel Adebayor up top. We should see Theo Walcott and Samir Nasri take up the wing positions, Denilson and Cesc Fabregas the central midfield slots and perhaps a first start this season for Abou Diaby in the holding role in front of the defence. Alternatively Denilson might play there with Diaby further forward or van Persie on the left with Nasri more central but if I was the manager I’d be going with the first option.

As I said earlier, I’d be happy with a point from this match. Three would be ideal of course, but Turkey is a notoriously difficult place to play football and if Arsenal can manage to get something out of this game then it will be a job well done. Let’s hope the boys can get out there and do the business.

A couple of quick tidbits before I go today.

Firstly I just want to remind everyone again about the Arsenal Shirt competition that is currently being run on the blog. You can read all the details in the original competition post here, but I will remind everyone that only subscribers of the blog are eligible to win the Arsenal home kit kindly donated to the blog by SoccerPro. So if you’re yet to subscribe to the blog’s mailing list go here to do so.

Secondly I want to turn your attention to a great article by Tim Vickery on Inter Milan’s Brazilian striker Adriano. It’s a great read about Adriano’s recent troubles as a player struggling with depression and gives a good insight into the struggles a modern-day footballer can face. As someone who works in Mental Health every day (me, by the way, not Adriano) I always enjoy good articles published on the topic and ones relating to football and depression are few and far between. It’s something that needs to be made more aware in our society and I sincerely hope you can get something out of Adriano’s story.

Anyway, that’s it. Have a lovely day and enjoy getting behind the Arsenal boys tonight. Woo!

Have your say on Arsenal v Fenerbache, team selections or Adriano by leaving a comment.



  1. Team against Fenerbahche:

    Eboue-son Silly Djourou Clichy

    Walcott(king) Diaby Nasri



    This is not the best formation for Arsenal to play many games. But today we play against a team who give everything in their home turf. They deserve respect from last season when they won aganist Sevilla, Inter and Chelsea at Istanbul. They are under pressure to win this game so they will attack. We need to have a defensive balance to stop them. Song is just guarding defensive. With walcott and nasri on the wings and Cesc releasing perfect through balls we can score. This season they have struggled with their defensive combination same like us. So we have to take advantage of their defense and score few goals. Our defense should perform better and we have to take our chances to score cause there will be very few chances. Ade is not in my team because we cannot afford missing shitters against this team in their ground. In case if we go down 0-1 before halftime we can bring Ade for Song and be more offensive. Many people are predicting for a high-scoring draw but I believe we can win if we defense well and take our chances.
    It will be a great match to watch and can’t wait for it: 12 more hours”””””
    P.S. Voting for CESC CAPTAINCY.. Come on Wenger-son!!!!

  2. as to to me Arsen Wenger has to add some experience to the team especially in the central defence otherwise it is challenging to win premier league in the presence of such strong teams like Chelsea and Manchester united.

  3. Spanishfry mate: We need to play for three points. I will be disappointed with a point given the form of Fenerbahche at the moment. They have 3 wins from seven games. They were also outplayed by Kayserispor at home two games before. Last game they won was 3-2. This means their defense is like ours. With our attacking force of Cesc, Walcott, Nasri, RVP/Ade we should be able to score at least 2 goals. Since this game is like a must win for them it will suit our style of play. Arsenal team always struggle against defensive teams and explode against teams willing to attack. You stated that we have a mini-injury crisis but I don’t think that’s gonna matter. Gallas/Toure combination is better being injured out than being in the pitch. Sagna is the only missing but Eboue is a solid cover for him.
    Since our team is mentally fragile and low in confidence, an away victory against a tough side will always help. Topping the group is also vital. I already said if we defense well and take our chances we will win this match.

    I watched them winning against Anderlecht, Inter Milan, PSV Eindhoven, CSKA Moscow and Chelsea convincingly last season. But they are not like the team from last season under Zico’s guidance who I think is a top manager. I think some key players are missing from there side too. Guiza is a pure goal-poacher so Silly/Song need to be careful.

    Come on Gunners!!!!!

  4. I hope we win today.They are weak in defence especially when they play against fast opponents ,there defenders are very slow,which should be an advantage 4 theo and nasri.But there attack and midfield worries me they have good players like emre,kazim,alex,david, r.carlos,guiza.Guiza and alex are d guys 2 watch out 4.Guiza is one of d most dangerous strikers in europe he his very good at taking chances and any mistake 4rm our players can cost us a lot.Arsenal 3-1 (nasri,theo,adebayor-guiza) .

  5. Haha…
    Now everyone seems more comfortable with Silvestre/Song than Gallas/Toure. This proves how much we suffered from our first choice CB’S. As for me, the best combination will be Silly/Gallas or Silly/Toure for this season. Next season, either Wenger buy someone or stay with Djourou/Toure.


  7. RVP keeps talking in the papers about what its like to play there but I dont think he will even be on the pitch. I agree that it should be 4-5-1 with both Den and diaby in midfield with Cesc, and Theo and Nasri as the wide men and Ade up top. Feel sorry for Djourou. he was injured at precisely the wrong time and now Song and Silvestre have got the jump on him. completely agree that they look more solid than Toure and Gallas, who I sincerely believe are our worst defensive combination of those 5 players.

    I know Fener are on poor form but you cannot take these games lightly. the atmosphere will mean they will play like its the FA cup final. we can beat them but it will require hard work and a cool head.

  8. I must say Silvestre did impress me with his decision in the Everton game. Alex Song is certainly a ‘central’ player, whether that be center half, or defensive midfield. Hopefully we will get the 3 tomorrow morning…

  9. Why the hell Almunia is captain for today’s game. Wenger is a stupid old grandpa.

    I think Eboue-son is better to be a captain, at least he makes us laugh. If eboue is captain all the players must dance like him after scoring. Almunia-faulty-englishmen being captian has no meaning. Having a grey faget hair do not qualify him to get armband. Come on Wenger! Why not Cesc???

  10. SF: I agree with you with regard to Sylvestre and Song. I believe Sylvester should replace Gallas permenently, whether that will happen or not that is another matter.

    A 4-4-1-1 is a recipe for disaster if we happen to go behind. We don’t score alot of goals with that formation so I will prefer 4-4-2.

    Also, AW is a stats man. By all stats, Denilson has been the best in MF so far and I would be greatly supprised if he is to be dropped in favour of Diaby. There is one aspect of the game people tend to look at it wrongly. Tackling. People see and think tough/strong tacklers are just what the doctor prescribed. What they are ignoring is the fact that if a player is so good as to do everything right, they may NEVER have to tackle anyone in their lives. Tackling is a Last-ditch/last resort kind of desperate act when things are not going well.Why they are not going well you may ask?, because someone didn’t anticipate enough, or read the game well enough, or have what it takes to cleanly get the ball from opponent any other way. If you tacle all the time, it just highlight the fact that you are poor in those other areas. Since people’s hearts could be in their mouths when things are going bad, and everyone is paying attention, a successful tackle brings relief, hence people “like” it.

    I would prefer not to have to tackle any day just as I would prefer not to have to see the best doctor in the world for treatment.

  11. I will be watching the game, my step-dad is turkish and a Galatasaray supporter and he has warned me about the crowd in Turkey, I reckon a result is possible, but we have to play our stuff!!! c’mon lads!

  12. Best performance all season put in today. Diaby impressed me, last few seasons, he dribbles too much and get himself into trouble, i think he showed this game that he has matured and doesn’t try to take on the whole team. He had his moments but overall i think he was player of the game. A very Vieira like performance, he was all over the place. THEO!!!!! I swear if Wenger sits him out against West ham, now that Theo looks confident on the ball and had an eye for goal at the moment, i will fly from Italy to England and ave a go at Mr. Wenger. Theo needs to start every game when he’s playing like this.

    Two gaols allowed, i think the first one was very unfortunate for Silvestre, i don’t think he knew much about it until it hit his foot and then it was already too late. The second goal, Almunia made a mistake (should have never came that far off his line) after have a very good game, due to Fene’s horrible finishing (Ade would fit in well there). Ramsey had a brilliant finish as well and Cesc picked this team apart with his spot on passes. BRAVO ARSENAL!!

  13. Great game, great finishing, But signs that we are passing it into the net are reappearing, Eboue should of shot but passed to Denilson and vice versa for Adebayor to Fabregas. Not a solid defence, dont know how many times Guiza ran through us, we were very fortunate that Manuel Almunia had his best performace this season. Abou Diaby HAS to start now, he has proved he was missed, he scored, passed well and MOTM for me. Theo took his goal well, great finish, great confidence in the young lad. Splendid strike from Ramsey, so pleased to see him score. Still wondering when Clichy will score, hoping soon, he deserves it!! Great volley from Song too. Overall well done Gunners. Theo, Abou, Cesc, Alexandre and Samir, all start against the hammers, all had great games :D:D

  14. I dont think any of us expected that result….fantastic play from the whole team….i thought about picking apart the performance but how many times do we get to revel in a such a victory away from home in the champs league…..All i can say is Almunia was well worth the captaincy….the OG was not Silves fault…Theo, Diaby, Cesc, Song, Nasri, Denilson, Eboue and even Ade impressed me completely….lets carry that performance throught to the hammers match!! Get in you reds!

  15. There’s this advert running on Arsenal TV in which they show the Henry wonder goal against the Tiny Totts, wherein he runs more than half the length of the pitch, beats the entire Tiny defence and scores, and then runs all the way back to go on his knees in front of the Tiny supporters who are calling him a wanker.

    After that he talks about the goal, and how he felt – its a good interview.

    I watched the second half of Basle vs BarcaBlackSheep last night, there not being much else on, and there was the self same TH14, playing as always these days as a substitute. And it is fair to say he is nothing like the man he was.

    There are moments of course – but mostly they are reflections of what the great man could do – as if some new player had inhabited his body. A new player who knows he has to sit on the left wing, who knows the body language – so instantly recognisable – but who doesn’t have that amazing ability either to score or to lay the ball off to others.

    There was one other thing. Basle, at home, got thumped 0-5. You might expect the ground to be half empty by the end – but no. Everyone stayed, waving the flags, jumping up and down, just supporting the team. They were utterly out of their depth, but none the less the crowd still said, “yes, this is our team.”

    That was a joy to watch. But to see our Thierry… that was sad. He is not a bad player – not at all. Most clubs would want him in the team if available. But when compared to the genius we had the honour of watching, it is sad to see this.

    I never felt with with Bergkamp. Somehow, playing under Wenger, even though he lost lots of his touches and speed towards the end, he could still on occasion (usually the right occasion) pull the rabbit out of the whatnot. That’s what Thierry seems to have lost.

    Incidentally Hleb was playing too, and he also looked rather a shadow. All those tricky dribbles – they seem to have gone out of his game. Funny how players change when they leave us.

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