Wilshere speaks sense about Chelsea defeat

The international break continues to crawl along at an excruciating rate, but with the news that Robert Pires is currently training with Arsene Wenger and Co in London, it’s now crawling along in a rather ducky manner.

Pires, part of The Invincibles and one of my all-time favourite players, is currently out of contract after leaving Villarreal and has followed the lead of guys like David Beckham and Sol Campbell in spending his spare time getting fit training with the Arsenal boys. While the likelihood of his little kick-about leading to a new contract with the club a-la Campbell is extremely low, judging from the pictures on the official website the boys very much enjoyed the company of the Arsenal legend.

Pires: Happy and sexy

It also dawned on me looking at the pictures just how tall Pires is. I often perceived him to be a relatively short guy – a product of his duck-like running style and complete lack of desire to ever head a football – but in the photos he positively towers over Carlos Vela and even gives Johan Djourou a run for his money.

One of the players not training with Pires this week, Jack Wilshere, has been talking about the loss to Chelsea and the impact it may have on our chances of winning the league.

“It’s still early days, we’re definitely still in it. I know we are seven points behind, but I think Chelsea will definitely drop points and we’ve just got to capitalise when they do. Hopefully there aren’t too many injuries [ahead for us] but if there are we’ve got a big squad and we can cope.”

“I don’t think that’s true [that Arsenal can’t beat Chelsea]. You saw we dominated the game for long periods but we just didn’t take our chances. A couple of games before that we scored six, so it was just one of those days. In football it’s what you do on the ball, but also make sure that when you haven’t got the ball that you defend well. Obviously Chelsea have got some good players and they showed that on the day.”

A lot has been said about Arsenal’s loss to Chelsea but I tend to think Wilshere has got things spot on here. Last year we pulled back 11 points on Chelsea at a later point in the season so at this stage, we are still well and truly in the running. But like he also says, if we are to win the big games that will allow us to pull back this early deficit we need to defend well without the ball.

Despite the pressure they were under Chelsea created too many clear opportunities too easily on the break and it is something that needs to be stamped out by our defence. Of course when you’re chasing a lead you are always more likely to be hit on the break, and Chelsea are one of the best teams out there at doing it, but a little more focus on defence could have served us well with the game poised at 1-0.

Just back on Wilshere for a moment, after playing 90 minutes for the England U21s against Romania he has the opportunity to get his first cap for the full national team this week. I wish him all the best if he gets on and hope it is the start of an illustrious international career for someone who is set to become a really fine player.

More tomorrow.

Have your say on Robert Pires or Jack Wilshere by leaving a comment.



  1. I read Wenger said that Pires was ‘sparkling’ in training with the Gooners. If he is fit he would make a great marquee player here in Oz in the A League and I would love to see him down under.
    As for the Chelsea game, it’s history now. Three points against Brum and then an away win against Man $ity and it won’t matter. The five points dropped v Sunderland and the Baggies are much harder to take.

  2. Chelsea pretty much let us have the ball in the middle third, utterly confident that we’d fanny around with it.. Which we did. Shame Wilshere didn’t notice that.

  3. As you rightly say Bobby Pires wasn’t the keenest to get his head on a ball however he still scored one of the best headed goals i’ve ever seen, this was against Chelsea in the Champs League QF 1st Leg @ Stamford Bridge in 2004 … he completely towered above John Terry … just a shame it didn’t lead to a victory for us in the overall tie!! 🙁

  4. When I first saw the blog title “AFCB” Andrew, at first I thought you were a fan of two teams – AFC stands for Arsenal FC, and FCB stands for FC Barcelona! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to suggest you support Barcelona. It’s just an observation from me I find it quite interesting! Good article above by the way.

    And @ Mr Reid, sir, please don’t use “WE” when you talked like that. It made me ashamed of calling myself a “Gooner” alongside fellow so-called Arsenal “supporter” like you.

  5. If what we call capitalizing when cheksi drop points is the type of performance against west brom(at home) then maybe wilshere needs to think again

  6. @ Terry – That’s a great thought, he’d be brilliant in Australia.

    @ kam – Really? I did know that. But a quick bit of researching shows me you’re right – against Hungary on August 11. Sorry about that.

    @ Richey Back – I remember that goal, it’s just a pity it didn’t get us through. Stupid Wayne Bridge.

    @ wing – I get lots of people asking me about the logo and have to explain it quite a bit. Historically the colours included are the colours of Arsenal – the current red and white, the blue and yellow away strip of years gone by and our original maroon colour. I personally like the AFCB logo because it’s different to the other Arsenal blog logos going around which are generally red, black and white with a cannon or something similar. In a world of competition you’ve gotta be different!

    Thanks for the comments all. Starting to get excited about the return of real football on the weekend.

  7. Robert Pires is still better than current French players in Arsenal.If he returns to Arsenal, he may bring a better result.A positive sign for Arsenal,unlike Silvestre.

  8. Bobby Pires was repeat was an exceptional player for Arsenal. If you had watched any of his recent games for Villareal you would not be suggesting that he could play in the Premier League.

    He never had any great pace and today would not be up to the physical challenge demanded by the high tempo game played by Arsenal.

  9. @ John – Pires might not have the pace but he brings the experience that will allow the guys to slow down when it is needed and he can also hold the ball. He doesnt have to be physical but i am sure no-one will bully him around and with his height and physique in the team, we might just command some respect their.

    @Weber – well done as usual. keep the posts going. i hope one day, i will be able to come to Austrialia which is like 36 hours or so from where i live in Naija (i hope).

    well done!

  10. Great post as usual.Andrew,d first time i got on this blog i fell in luv with it completely.i became a member of this arsenal family,now for a long time i’ve not read from spanish fry,he was the writer i first met on this blog and i liked him,i wept when he lost his dad.what’s up with him? Lastly as a nigerian i wish mikel obi is an arsenal player,since he joined chelsea he hardly plays for nigeria

  11. Yes, Andy I for one would argue that their are quite a few things Pires would be better than Nasri at, even at his age….tracking back for one…..being the big player for the big occasion another…..giving it to the spurs and understanding the rivalry another…..not going missing in action another……………………….and dont point to those two pen goals in the Carling cup mate, he still does alot more talking than walking.
    Pires is my second favourite player of all time, behind Bergkamp, I mean what an advert for attacking football the guy was when at his best…..a great mixture of south american and european style, he could shoot (that goal at anfield that I was lucky enough to see in the flesh), he could dribble, he could thread a pass and he could manage in tight space and deliver in big games, remember his goal on the epic 5-4 win at white heart lane where he shifted his feet to fool both robinson and pamarot…..breathtaking,then theres the time the spuds fan threw the ball a little too hard for bobbys liking and he caught it and bluff pegged it back….priceless. The guy is a genuine Arsenal legend……some of the current crop can only dream of following in his footsteps.
    All that said I still wouldnt have wrote happy and SEXY under his photo…..Have a likkle man crush Andy? Ha HA Ha HA……mine is Robert Downey Jnr…..ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  12. wilshere must be dreaming that arsenal is still in title hunt. To drop five out of six points against teams like sunderland and WBA (home) and crave for title aspirations is just wishful thinking .With a defence that is so generous in letting goals even against contenders for the drop only a mini miracle could end the trophy drought for sixth successive season. Teams with best best defensive record almost emerge victors in the final reckoning. The same is not in the case of arsenal defence built on blundering goalkeepers and two french fullbacks who will certainly not be regulars in Man U and chelsea.

  13. @ shambo – But look at the photooooo. It’s like he’s posing for a girlie magazine. Haha. Also, that is a great video.

    @ lb – Hey mate, Spanish Fry is me, I just changed to my real name. Thanks for all the kind words – particularly about my father – really appreciate it. I’m really glad you’re still enjoying the content on the blog after all this time.

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