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Posted by Sam Limbert on 12/13/2011

It seemed fitting that, on a day where Arsenal were celebrating the amazing history and heritage of the club, the final score against Everton was a score line that has become synonymous with the Arsenal. I doubt that there have been many 1-0 wins down the 125 years of Arsenal Football Club that were won by such a sweet volley.

With three true legends of the club deservedly honoured and immortalised outside the stadium, the modern day icon and legend of the current team continued to do his best to lead this new and developing team to make history of their own. As a squad, the current team aren’t nearly as good some of the ones represented by the legends at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, however they’re nowhere near as bad as we all feared they would be at the start of the season.

A classic 1-0 win now looks even more valuable after the footballing weekend, with Tottenham and Manchester City’s defeats opening up the top four again. Chelsea’s win against City knocked us back out of the top four after we temporarily held the position, however it did signal the end of the last team’s unbeaten start to the season, so we can all breathe easy about still being the only Invincibles.

It seemed that the match itself on Saturday was a slight anti-climax following the 125 anniversary celebrations, however the moment that won the game did match the occasion. Robin van Persie’s volley was superb. You could add any superlative in about the goal. The pass from Song was excellent, but he could never have expected van Persie to dispatch the ball the way he did. The finish from van Persie typified how confident he is about his game at the moment. Even after an indifferent first half, van Persie instinctively knew what he was going to do with the chipped pass from Song. Some of the greatest volleys can be slight shinners, but van Persie’s was a perfect strike off the sweet spot of his boot. If you could make the perfect left foot volley, I think it would look a bit like Robin van Persie’s against Everton.

The goal did raise the same question that Arsenal fans have been facing all season. What happens when Robin van Persie gets injured? Honestly, I thought we’d have seen both Marouane Chamakh and Ju-Young Park make that question less of a concern by now. However both have looked so far short of what we need as a back-up to van Persie. You could argue that we’re being overly harsh on Chamakh and Park because of the high level set by Robin van Persie, and any comparison with our captain is a long way off the mark. Although both Chamakh and Park haven’t looked like good strikers for teams lower down in the Premier League, let alone a team chasing the Champions League. With Chamakh also going off to the African Cup of Nations in January, it is the one area of the team we have to strengthen in.

The other position that might see an addition is full-back. The news of Andre Santos being out for three months is a big blow as he was just settling into the pace of the Premier League, and was improving with every game. He was also giving our attack an extra dimension with charging runs forward from full back. With Bacary Sagna and Carl Jenkinson not near a return at right back, and Kieran Gibbs suffering from yet another injury on his lengthy list of problems, we currently have all four full backs out with significant injuries. It isn’t just a case of making do for a couple of games, this problem could go on for a few months. We’re arguably more defensively solid with four centre backs in defence, however we noticeably suffer going forward. It’s a shame that our best centre back has to play at left back, however he’s by far our best option there. Ignasi Miquel is another good option, and might get some game time during the busy festive period if we choose to push Vermaelen back into the centre, and have Koscielny fill in at right back.

Apart from the striker problem and the injuries at the back, everything is still improving. Everton may have made their usual slow start to the season, but they’re always a difficult team to beat, so staying strong at the back and claiming the three points was massive, and it put pressure on those around us.

It’s worth saying that the Arsenal 125 celebrations were very well done by the club, and emphasised the class that we all associate with Arsenal Football Club.

We now get a week off ahead of entering the hectic festive period with a trip to Manchester. In my last blog, I said we’d be motivated as a team to end Manchester City’s hopes of going through the season unbeaten, however that’s no longer necessary after Chelsea’s win meant that Monday was Invincibles Day. That result gives hope to the rest of the league that City are catchable, and beatable.

One of the big advantages for us on Sunday will be the absence of Gael Clichy through suspension. The Frenchman is probably one of the few full backs in the league that could match Theo Walcott for pace. With Kolarov also injured, City are also short at full back, so we should definitely look to exploit that with the pace of Walcott and Gervinho.

I imagine Manchester City will also focus on our full backs as weaknesses, and will look to run at Per Mertesacker. Alex Song will have to be at his best to stop players like Aguero floating around the main striker and being able to target Mertesacker.

It’ll be a massive challenge to go to Manchester City and win, but the belief in this team is getting better every week, and I genuinely think we have a chance of getting a result. Carving out clear cut opportunities could be hard, but as we’ve seen, Robin van Persie only needs to sniff the goal and he can find it. We might not have much in reserve behind the Dutchman, however it’s hard to complain when you’ve got the best striker in the league up front. Here’s to him leading the team to glory as we start another 125 years of our great club.

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Comments

Posted by Vijay on 12/13/2011

hope we win against city.

Posted by Sean on 12/13/2011

I've watched RVP's volley again and again and am astounded at the technique, grace and power in that moment of brilliance. The fact that it hit the post and went in made it even sweeter. He was definitely aiming for that spot.

1-0 to the Arsenal and I'll take that same scoreline too next week.

Posted by stuckyk on 12/13/2011

RVP is the best striker in England, and even though the game vs. Everton was not his best, he still made the difference. I am nervous for him and the team as they begin a difficult Dec. and Jan. but if they can continue to hang around the top 4, then they should be just fine going into Feb. Hopefully with no fresh injuries. GO ARSENAL!

Posted by louis on 12/13/2011

niceky written mate!

i've been mulling over the decision to play santos(and tv) that day, seems now that bad decision comes to haunt us.

Any idea when gibbs who return? I think we might need another utility man at the back in the shortrun, one more injury at the back and our defence will be shattered

Posted by Raza on 12/13/2011

Succinct analysis Sam. Everton are always hard to beat, and they have a good team, so this is a welcome result.

I honestly cant see Arsenal beating City; I think there is too significant a gap in quality, though Theo should prove to be a formidable threat. I really hope that Wenger sees sense and goes into the market for a couple of offensive additions and at least one full back, but if the last years have shown us anything, he will dilly dally as usual and end up making the same usual excuses. I am a huge fan of Wenger, but honestly, he just creates his own problems, and a lack of cover is going to be our downfall this season again.

Posted by Kabajo Nsubuga on 12/13/2011

Well said gooner!

Posted by Ruixlow on 12/13/2011

Hi, Sam. Great post that gave recognition to the legends and the current players for giving our 125th-yr celebrations a memorable ending. I have some observations:
1) RVP has become talismanic not just for his 'ridiculous' form but also for being a great leader that gels the team. The way he ran over to the bench to celebrate his goal with the substitutes gave recognition to them and showed a great team spirit runs in this current squad. Ironically, Chelsea was accused of orchestrating such goal celebrations to display 'unity'.
2) Closing matches out may still be a problem area when Szcesny had significantly more work to do in the last 10 min. We almost gave Everton a Rooney moment in McAleny's chance for debut goal that went inches wide.
3) The full-back situation reminds me of how Flamini once filled in at left back and excelled when Ashley Cole and Clichy were both injured. Is there a chance Coquelin or Frimpong might fit in to help us going forward? It gives them game time too.

Sam Limbert: Thanks for your comment, I think Coquelin could fill in at RB, but I think both he and Frimpong want to be known as midfielders.

Posted by Pearson on 12/13/2011

Chavspittle 2 Mancini 1
There's only one INVINCIBLES. There's only one INVINCIBLES. (sing ad infinitum)
Even Diners Club can't buy imortality

Posted by Pearson on 12/13/2011

There's only one INVINCIBLES.
Thanks to Gael Clichy for ensuring that Arsenal's magnificent record stays intact.

Posted by titansgunner12thman on 12/13/2011

Good, good win for the Arsenal. Injuries are starting to concern me,though. I think the back for would be best served by playing Miguel on the right. I just don't trust Djourou.
We need to get someone else scoring. This would be a good week for Gervinho to get back into scoring form.

We have no need to fear City. I think City are still an easier matchup for the Arsenal than United. 2-1 to the Arsenal this week.

Posted by Kunle on 12/13/2011

I'm so concerned about the defence i must confesse.What if any one of them gets injured now? Squillachi will have to come in & we are certainly going to struggle defensively. Another option is pushing Song to the back but we are going to miss his service in the middle(Like we did against Spurs) What this team don't need at the moment is any distruption to their momentum via injury.But i'm scared that could be a possiblity, or what do you Think Sam?

Sam Limbert: Thanks for your comment. If we get another injury, I think Miquel or Squillaci will come in. We don't really want to upset the balance of the midfield at the moment as they're playing well.

Posted by MAYOWA on 12/13/2011

Nice one Sam, I was very happy with last night result and unhappy with the sad news of Santos. With Man city losing yesterday,it has thrown the league open again. I have that confidence Arsenal will surely get a result at Etihad. What they need is just composure and discipline. Wenger should please shop for a left back and a striker because we are short in that department. Gunners for life

Posted by Welanga on 12/13/2011

You are spot on Sam,
I feel that we have a solid midfield with Song, Arteta and Ramsey, though Ramsey has not been his best after losing his National Coach. I feel that if need be Rosicky can fit in well there, I love his runs and ball distribution.

On attack we are short or one or two goals every week when we look at many chances we create every week, but others like Gervinho are being Wengerly polished and will start scoring many goes very soon.

ManCity we will beat or draw. This year that started bad is the year that we will lift atleast one trophy, I dream it, I feel it, I know it, I am sure of it and I love it.

Posted by KENNETH on 12/13/2011

hmm!! it was a big relieve to see our darling team beat hard fought everton. it was not the best of game but a valuable point.
now we need to concerate on our strength in order to exploit the weakness of man city come sunday.
Theo and Gervinoh will need to be at their best to get back kompany & co.
i am sure prof wenger will work on that. as for our injuries worries, i hope prof wenger will be a little open minded to go into the market and buy players to close that gap(there is nothing wrong in having extra defender). i always appreciate your blog. do have a nice day ahead.

Posted by Ed on 12/13/2011

I'd like to see us buy a striker in January, but I don't see us buying another fullback. Maybe we could get one on loan for the second half of the season?
Chelsea's victory against City is, I think, a great sign. City have been less and less impressive in recent weeks, and we have to hope that they're suffering as United did a few weeks ago and as Chelsea did last season. What with Tottenham's defeat the other day and Newcastle and Liverpool slipping in unexpected defeats, a victory at City could really make a massive difference to our season.

Posted by Paul Kariba on 12/13/2011

Great article Sam as usual. What do you make of the reports that Podolski is on Wengers radar. I recently watched the Bundesliga and he seems to be carrying Cologne single handedly as far as their attacks are concerned. Plus he is not afraid to unleash one from outside the box and my does he have a mean shot on him. I think he would be a great buy seeing the lethargy epitomised by Chamakh these days.

Sam Limbert: Thanks fo your comment. I think Podolski would be a good signing, and a big improvement on Chamakh and Park.

Posted by Anonymous on 12/13/2011

and i want Peter Drury to be the commentator for the Mancity Arsenal game... He seems to be given commentary jobs only on fast games. e.g. Swansea Manutd, Chelsea Arsenal..

Van the man!!! ARSENAL ALL THE WAY!! iLike Gunners..

Posted by Gunner Gang Ho on 12/13/2011

A point at Man City will be good enough if Mancini takes cautious approach....but if its an open game like we had seen in Stamford Bridge, I would put my money on Arsenal

Posted by Cliff Holdorff on 12/13/2011

I have watched the RVP volley replay 25 times and have also set it as my browser home page.

Posted by Nick on 12/13/2011

Great read, I think park needs more game time, especially considering his lack of time in EPL.

But, in Wenger we trust.

Posted by srikanth on 12/13/2011

Nice Article Sam, I love reading your blog, i was waiting for this article, was constantly checking out soccernet, I really hope we beat City just because of what Nasri did and hope our injuries at the back do get sorted out soon, but for some reason I have developed a belief about this Arsenal team that they can win no matter who is injured, I didnt have this kind of belief for the past couple of seasons, there is something different about this team dont know how to put it in words but i guess its the maturity. I hope they continue to develop at the same rate and who knows we might have a shot at the title and even the Champions League.

Posted by Peter Mhlanga on 12/13/2011

Hi, Sam

Gooner from sunny South Africa here. Thanks once again for your spot-on analysis of my team. As I said before on my previous comments on your column, I've been unable to watch my beautiful Gooners play live. Good news is that I have reconnected now and been watching our latest games starting with the Wigan game. Boy, have I missed watching Arsenal play! I swear I will never allow my services to be disconnected again. The last time I watched Arsenal play was during the days of Cesc(my favourite Gunner of all time by the way)

Concerning ManCity, I feel we will beat them easily. My reasons are two-fold: They are playing at home and won't park the bus like they usually do against us. Secondly, I believe no team in the world would hang with Arsenal(bar Barca)playing attacking football, and I have a feeling Mancini will attack, which is where we will destroy them. I see another Chelsea 3 Arsenal 5 scoreline. Am I right? Would welcome your thoughts. Thanks.

Sam Limbert: Thanks for your comment. I think we will attack them in a way they haven't faced at home this season. They'll probably look to keep things tight, but if it's an open game then we've got a great chance of a good result.

Posted by Kunle on 12/13/2011

If u ask me, City's game is a game we can't afford to lose. Many things could go wrong if we lose and many could also go right if we win.We lose that game, and we can find ourselves well down the table if liverpool, chelsea and newcastle win.if we win,then city would have been pegged back by 6 points in two weeks which would have been a massive ground for arsenal to cover in two weeks.a win ll certainly have me put my money on arsenal to nick the league come May and i'm sure that will enter the record book, for a team that come from 17th to win the league.I BELIEVE WE CAN

Posted by Patrick on 12/13/2011

I hope that alex Song begins to get the praise he deserves. Besides RVP and Vermaelen, I think Song is our 3rd most important player. He sprays passes well, is dogged defensively, and never seems to tire. He does not get talked about enough.

Posted by david fitch on 12/13/2011

Not much to say about the game with Everton one moment of magic and three points gained,the downside is still the amount of chances wasted Arsenal create chances but finish very few against better teams will be costly.The next game is City the defense will be tested with the firepower they have up front so any chance they get will have to be taken I presume they will put two on R.V.P allowing more room for Walcott&co so they must convert into goals the chances they get if not cannot seeing them getting any points what effect it will have on the team?

Posted by chuckles on 12/13/2011

Hiya Sam, couple of things- weren't Huddersfield an 'invincible' team way way back in the last century? Also, I thought it was a bit soon to 'immortalise' Henry & Adams (not that they aren't great Gunners) but what about the team of the 30's, Cliff Bastin & Ted Drake, and there have been other great players through the years.

Our defence is an issue, an Arsenal with Djourou & Squilacci is a terrifying prospect, I hope AW plays Miquel on the left and Koscielny on the right. I'd also like to see him introduce Miyaichi, I feel Chamakh has had his chance and not taken it.

Great article Sam.

Posted by danny on 12/13/2011

I think if we bring another striker and get some of our players back we can do even better the second half of the season just look at the schedule

Posted by Femi on 12/13/2011

Arsenal presently rests on 3 pillars: RVP, Song and Vermaleen. Reliable, consistent and delivers, these guys. One way or the other, these guys must be kept happy, improved contracts.

Posted by youngGun16 on 12/13/2011

Great result by the arsenal and a fantastic tribute. As for the striker comment, i do feel we need another striker in case you know what happens (who doesn't). Lukas Podolski is a good player and I would welcome him at Arsenal, but do you think that we should sign a premier league striker. there are a couple that I think would be interested in joining Arsenal.. for example (you might think I'm crazy) Demba Ba

Posted by Glenn on 12/13/2011

goal of the year 2011/12, two........
Walcott v's Chelsea, RVP V'S Everton. say no more.

Posted by Sanjin on 12/13/2011

I have to agree with Patrick about Song. He has become a top class player and his assist to RVP epitomizes that. Hopefully Song can stay fit as he can slot into a number of positions.

I'm welcoming Christmas rotation as it is necessary to do it and surely it is tiring for our center midfield trio to keep playing game after game.

Great game against a tough Everton side with RVP scoring but again, I am looking forward to mixing up the front line as well. Park needs games and I hope he gets them in FA cup and the league.

God forbid Robin gets hurt TODAY, how would you mix up the front three Sam? Knowing that Chamakh is drained of confidence, what system would you play and who would lead your line?

Posted by j on 12/13/2011

Yeah, Park has played exactly alot of games to show that he is "so far short of what we need as a backup" - please don't mock up your well written article with your own biased opinion.

Posted by Kevin on 12/13/2011

The growth of this team has been amazing. Has truly been a joy to watch this year. I would add one more name to the list of players we can't afford to lose, Szczesny. He, more then anyone else has helped settle our back 4. There is confidence amongst the defenders in who stands behind them, which is huge. And after watching that final CL game with both Fabianski and Mannone in goal... we lose our GK and we are back to the same arguments we have had for the past several years. Song might be the only of the 4 we could currently afford to lose, given the lack of available defenders to replace Verms. All teams have that player, tho. City's is Silva, despite their deep team. All I know is I'm excited about playing City this weekend, and I haven't been able to say that as an Arsenal fan for a while when it comes to big teams.

Posted by emmanuel adegoke on 12/13/2011

nice article sam......i always enjoy reading your articles.
the rvp volley is the perfect gift for arsenal's 125th anniversary celebration.
sam i think you are a mouthpiece for the fans to wenger,please you can help us tell him we really want to see him buy in january...even if he doesnt get a left back, i think he should get a striker........and poldoski is just okay.also wenger seems to be sluggish in the market.this time he should waste no time in getting his man.
a few weeks ago,wenger said his dream buy is neymar............we all know the transfer policy of arsenal and wenger might not want to spend and get neymar...but we also know wenger likes to give us surprises just like he did on transfer deadline day....he can surprise the whole world and spend big on neymar.he would surely get neymar if he is serious about actualizing his dream buy(that is seeing neymar play for arsenal).please sam, help me air my views to Mr. wenger..i am sure i and the gunners faithful wld b greatful

Posted by Ray on 12/13/2011

In my opinion, this is one of the best times to take on City. They have just been dumped in the Champions League, lost to Chelsea and surely they are now lower in morale and more doubtful than any point since the start of the season. They are no longer unbeatable and Arsenal must sure exploit them to our advantage. If we can find our away form like last season's, surely this match will result in a win or a draw at least.

One point to note is that we play all the other six opponents bar Liverpool (top 7 now) at home after City's match. If we maintain our solid home form so far against these top teams and get good results from them, then the title is surely within grasp and good times will return.

Posted by Omar A on 12/13/2011

"I doubt that there have been many 1-0 wins down the 125 years of Arsenal Football Club that were won by such a sweet volley."

How about the Henry volley in the 1-0 Highbury victory over Man Utd? Better than RvP's, I'd say! :)

Posted by Ebony on 12/13/2011

One of the good things, if one can call it that, about using centre backs as full backs is that our back 4 sits that much slightly deeper than when we have the conventional full backs on. The reward is that opposing teams, especially those who are looking to win rather than just avoid defeat, tend to push that bit more forward, leaving space at the back for Walcott and Gervinho to stretch their pacy legs. Hopefully that happens at City on Sunday

Posted by JoolzyBergkamp on 12/13/2011

Good article Sam.

What do you think of Jan Vertonghen of Ajax, Vermaelen's old CB partner and who can also play LB and CDM, as a transfer target in January? I realize that he is cup-tied, but that would still add to the depth of our squad-- we do need to rotate as it could be another 60-game season.

Adding Podolski as well would sure shore up the striker issues, no?

Sam Limbert: Thanks for your comment. Vertonghen is a good player, but is generally a CB so might struggle to get in the side when Santos is fit again. Podolski, yes. I think he'd be a good signing.

Posted by Sam, Jakarta on 12/13/2011

Let's always remember a hard fact: our current Arsenal squad is not good enough to win a trophy this season and many seasons to come. So,we need lots of luck to win. RVP's winner against Everton is stunning indeed. But there must have been some element of luck involved. A footballer shooting with a foot in football is not like a sniper shooting with a rifle. That's why all strikers, including RVP, miss the target so many times!

Arsenal's better way to win is by improving its squad. Strengthen the current squad by recruiting a better stopper, a better center back than Vermaelen, a better midfielder than Song, a better winger than Walcott and a better striker than RVP.

With lots of luck, we will win at City. Without luck, like in Carling Cup, we will lose.

Posted by Sa'id Abdul-Rahman on 12/14/2011

The turn around shown by these guys since the 8-2 reverse at Man U is testament to their commitment and resolve. It also shows that AW is a terrific man manager and motivator of his team. He really gets the best out of the talent he's got. Arsenal has always been and will continue to be a great club, BUT the game has changed and I think we need to move a little (not too much) away from the hardline no serious spending stance. We need a more competitive wage structure and a pop in the market for three REALLY TOP players. Current circumstances remind me of Everton: brilliant management without financial backing. We swooped in and took Arteta the same way MAN C took Nasri, Toure, Clichy and Barcelona took Cesc. Add to that the fact that they were only the latest three to leave that way and there's an obvious problem. We have to hold on to our best and attract the best from others. All the top teams do that. All the players we've lost recently have gone to top teams and been successful.

Posted by Samuel on 12/14/2011

I honestly feel Arsene should play Benayoun against City.

He's got experience and he is blessed with moments of ingenuity, as seen in the UCL.

With the City game being tight, we need experience, ingenuity and a cool head to overcome City.

Posted by Damiwale on 12/14/2011

Sam,

thanks for a nice article, one thing that hasn't been talked recently is the emrgence of Ramsey, though his finishing and final ball leave something to be desired, his workrate and commitment cannot be questioned, in fact he's consistently been in the box ona number of crosses, with time and composure he'll be deadly. I'm also impressed at his recovery from a broken leg. I think playing away at ManC will be an advantage, underdogs with nothing to lose, I think we'll spring a few surprises.

Gunner for life.

Posted by James Ee on 12/14/2011

let's bring in kevin grosskeutz or mario gotze !! djourou, squillaci and chamakh's time are up.

Posted by Haiqal on 12/14/2011

Sam from Jakarta, i guess you have no footballing brain or simply not an Arsenal fan to be saying that. i strongly believe my darling Arsenal will win trophies this season not only because they have a wonderful team but the fighting spirit, the togetherness & the confidence they have within the team which is being formed through the rough patch they gone through together as a team.

to be trashed 8-2 to Man U to qualifying for the final 16 in CL speaks how much they have grown together and how the new players have gelled.

Gunners forever through thick and thin. even if we dont win anything, at least i will enjoy watching them play the beautiful football that makes me fall for them and a DIEHARD Arsenal fan.

i agree that we need another striker but in terms of loan as we know that we still do have bentdner coming back next season. and Chamakh, its not that he isnt good but if he can perform like how he did when he first came, what makes you think he cant perform the same way again?

Posted by Justezma on 12/14/2011

Nice post Sam. RVP is on fire rite now and although I have to admit the volley was nice, I still love (and prefer) his volley from the 06/07 season against Charlton (Youtube "robin van persie volley vs charlton" to enjoy it once more :)) cos it takes my breath away EVERY time. The only goals that really send shivers down ma spine like dat volley against Charlton are Henry's flick & shot vs Man U and Bergkamp (whom I miss so much :(() vs Newcastle. RVP is shaping up to b an 'epic" player for us. But it's interesting to note that he's peaking towards the tail-end of his career. Am glad that Wenger kept him even through most of his injuries cos I no he would have been dropped @ any other club. Jus have 2 hope & pray he stays fit through the end of the season. Can u imagine wot his goal tally would be like if he did? Scary...

As a side note, I feel that other players have 2 help RVP lift the goal-scoring burden though, cos even Henry had Bergkamp, Pires & Ljungburg for support.

Posted by Mothusi Madikwe on 12/14/2011

guys i can assure you Arsenal defence looks solid that last season. Vermaelen on the left, Martasacker and Konscielny centre and Djourou on the right even though he does not go forward. guys you should look at this young boy Coquelin he is so special im telling he is going to be the player to watch in some months to come. For striker Podolski is the right man to help RVP.

Posted by yonatan on 12/14/2011

arsenal wins city 2-1 by goals of van & walcot i am sure city goal scored by dzeko

Posted by Louis on 12/14/2011

If anyone knows Wenger, please tell him to make a bid for Lukas Podolski, his form and goal-scoring is amazing atm and he would be a super replacement for RVP, maybe Wenger could even manage to get them both to play if he switches to a 4-4-2 or a 4-4-1-1/4-2-3-1

Posted by VINCENT on 12/14/2011

On Sunday its only a win. to prove Man city money isn't anything. GO ARSENAL GO,Big up SAM thanks for nice comments

Posted by osimund dyegura on 12/14/2011

i also am a bg fun of arsenal and at some point of wenger, bt what scares me is that wenger do cleate problems for himself, we are going into january transfer market short of cover at full back but i dont see him going for an experienced full back to help the team. The intensity of the english premier league is known. Buying a league 2 side player is the one that cost us. I dont see arsenal competing to beat the likes city or barcelona unless ideal signing is made lyk podolsiky, hazard, cahil, gotze, and ofcourse neymar. If croenke bought arsenal aiming at getting funds out it he is wrong. Football is a game not ideal busnes for croenke

Posted by creflo on 12/14/2011

We W̶̲̥̅̊i̶̲̥̅ll surely defeat man city,just vermaleen play left back
Djourou play right back
Miguel W̶̲̥̅̊i̶̲̥̅ll be too weak for micah richards and rosicky in place of ramsey pls in midfield.

Posted by smartbizzie on 12/14/2011

Nice work Sam
Let's start like this;
What is the possibility of havin Podolski or a new recruitment come january
(% pls)
That volley against everton is indeed stunnin thou quite risky...
How about ARSENAL winning the league (% pls)

Posted by Skydog on 12/14/2011

Arsenal has improved in their team work. I am happy to see walcott and gervinho sprint back to defend. To defend as a team is the main reason behind Arsenal improvement. It release the preasure at the back and limit the chance of the opponent. Koscielny and vermaleen will form a better center back against Mancity. They are fast runner and can cope with Mancity fast pace in counter attack. Too bad our left and right back are injured and both of our fastest central defender have to play at that role. We should not play open game with Mancity. Their striking force can take chances better than Arsenal. I would like to see Arsenal play counter attack instead of over commit in offensive play. Miss pass and lose ball at mid field will be fatal. Mancity like to play counter attack football. Our left and right back must be wary when they move forward. I would like to see a win or draw against Mancity. If a red card is given to Baletoli and he should take out his jersey to show "Why Always me?"

Posted by titansgunners12thman on 12/14/2011

Femi said it best and it is worth noting: Our Spine is solid and it's been a long time coming. RVP is rock solid in the back, Song is playing like one of the best linkup men in the world in the midfield, and RVP is the best striker in the world at the moment.
We still need a couple of signings, and I think realistically we won't win the title, but we have a good core group.

Posted by pomilejerry on 12/14/2011

Tho most pple wud say that my team is a one man team, i do beg to differ cuz if alex song neva gave dat lofted pass to VAN PERSIE, i guess dat he wudnt av scored such a sensational goal. I would like Arsene Wenger to try Walcott on d left n put chamberlain on d right cuz of Gervinho who's going to CAN 2012.

Posted by John Zoro on 12/14/2011

Excellent write-up Sam,

I agree with the majority of comments made by all.

We must maintain the focus and resilience to be able to see off City.

Sure, I support that the club invests in a quality striker, midfielder and a Defender.

Sam, who would you propose for the midfield area?

Sam Limbert: Thanks for your comment. Honestly, I don't think we need to strengthen in the midfield at the moment, especially with Jack Wilshere still to come back.

Posted by Philip on 12/14/2011

Great article.

Nasri, Cesc
Everyone Plays Defense

Song, Vermalen
Everyone Plays Offense

Posted by blave on 12/15/2011

What a magnificent pass and goal! Important win to keep the momentum ahead of the big match this weekend. A win will bring us within 6 points of City, erode their morale and belief further and given the rest of the competition anything is possible.

Losing Vidic is a huge blow for a ManU team that was only squeaking out narrow results with him in the side. We've already beaten Chelsea at the Bridge and we all know Spurs will finish below Arsenal in the end.

I think the Carling Cup match and City's recent struggles will give Arsenal confidence. Arsenal's attack will cause City problems. Only real concern for the weekend is the defense being short of fullbacks given City is undeniably a stronger attacking team this year. Let's hope for a strong showing from the team, especially the back line and a result that puts Arsenal right back in the title discussion!

Posted by James on 12/15/2011

Couldnt we have song fill in at CB.. I know that hes our best creative option at the moment but if we need it i think we could slip him in there and give coquelin or frimpong the start at midfield

Posted by egbert on 12/15/2011

really do wish the team well on sunday,looking forward for the game.winning against city will surely make my week

Posted by Ethan on 12/15/2011

Hi Sam and all,I think our first team defence would be good enough for man city if our wingers keep them busy on the flanks.Man city is dangerous on the runs.vermalen should know very well.Rather than throwing an useless tackle,he should have run back for more coverage.Think both sides will have a cautious approach,especially man city.mancini will put 6 players on their half if needed.
I believe referee will play a big part after claims from man city.so our guys have to be more careful, especially song.song has to be consistent to become a top player.
The 2nd team is the most important at this moment.Dropping points in the 3 matches may put us in tough position for title.we have quality players.it's time for them to step out and show their worth.if not,AW should really consider early purchase(s) to mount a title challenge.Go gooners!

Posted by Leo on 12/15/2011

A win against city and I feel we could start looking at challenging for the title again. How can you not when you have the current premier league top scorer in your team?

Posted by gunner138098 on 12/15/2011

great read Sam!u r the best when it comes to speaking Our minds!do you suppose we could play Coquelin in place of Djorrou at RB?is there any chance that Wenger might sign Podolski cos everyone's sooooo excited!!

Sam Limbert: Thanks for your comment. I think Coquelin could play at RB, but I think he'd prefer to be known as a CM.

Posted by Phiko Qwalela on 12/15/2011

Hi Sam,I've a few concerns on the Man City match on Sunday chief among them is that Arsenal will lack a dimension to their attacking creativity. This is because we'll play with 4 CB's.Our fullbacks normally join in the attack providing an extra outlet(man) on the wings.Having witnessed Santos' creative input I fear we might be a little predictable.Also I think Walcott is the man we really need to hit form as he did last year against blackpool at home.I would appreciate your feedback.

Sam Limbert: Thanks for your comment. We definitely lose out when attacking by not having any regular full backs, although I think Vermaelen is still good going forward.

Posted by Waitress on 12/15/2011

I definitely agree that RVP, Song and Vermaelen have been massively important, but would also say that Gervinho, Arteta, Santos and (especially lately) Mertesacker have been major factors in the success of this season's squad. Yossi, too, has been a solid backup, when he gets a little playing time.

I think we have a definite chance to beat Man City this weekend; this will be a real test for the Gunners, since we haven't lost an EPL game in months. Judging by our performance against Chelsea, we've got a chance to make it happen.

Posted by Prakash on 12/16/2011

Why not opt for DEMBA BA?? jus temme that alone..

Posted by dobson on 12/16/2011

I am happy we went past Everton cos i had said last wk that it could be a tricky one,i am also happy Jakarta got a response and i would go further to say that the Man U team that won the title last season was not as good as our team last season player for player,we lost and they won cos of belief,this Arsenal team is the most matured team we have had since we got to the UCL finals so yes we might win something this season and my eyes are actually on the UCL if we can avoid Barca and Real in the quarters,thats why i want us to bid for Podolski and Cahill who are not cup tied and then we would have Jack back who can then give Ramsey a rest.Yes we have given Song enough credit i agree but we must recognise that Song has been allowed to be that creative cos of Arteta,previously if Song went forward,Cesc and Jack/Nasri were always upfront so we always got hit on counters so am sure AW would have made him more alive to his holding role but now when he goes Arteta sits there and so he can be

Posted by dobson on 12/16/2011

offensive,i agree totally that we now have a solid spine from our GK thru our CBs to our CM to our striker,defensively Theo and Gerv have also been awesome,we lost many titles in previous seasons cos we had average goalkeepers and AW didnt address the problem early,so we hope he doesnt do the same with our striking position NOW.I also think going to City without our fullbacks is not so bad cos we wont be caught on counter since our back4 would almost be stationary and with RVP form we should be able to nick something,City would also be cautious in this game cos they know we are on a run and are deadly offensively so i see Milner,Yaya and Barry in their lineup with Silva the only flair and then Aguero,Dzeko & Balotelli left to battle for the 2slots upfront,player for player in the first eleven of both teams we are at par if not better,its on the bench that we are miles apart from them so i do agree this is the best time to play City not cos they just lost but cos we still have a top 11

Posted by niran on 12/16/2011

Sam great analysis...but i think we nid another striker and if the nid b chamak should go..again i am worried by our defence line and i think we can add 2 or 3 players to our present team...in the defence and the attack/wingers...ashavin has been performing badly of late...we are now in good position but can make it better by few addition..up gunners

Posted by Zachary on 12/16/2011

what's this im reading bout song playing CB, guys c'mon stop this nonsense, Mertersacker is Great, Koscielny is Great, Verminator is Great, Djourou is lil suspect but ok to be hid out wide n away from adam johnson. Our defense is fine and all are great headers so no set piece goals. Only prob i see is Ramsey who gives away the ball too much, doesn't have pace and needs to back up RVP more with storming runs into d box. But AW will be cautious so he will play. Only addition we need is a striker (Podolski) cuz Gervinho can't shoot and Walcott has been unlucky lately in front goal. Chamak an Arshavin needs to be sold ASAP, bring back Vela and sell Bedtner and buy Gotze/Hazard. Let's not waste time fantasizing about Neymar ok just raise wages to Song and the necessary. In Arsene we trust tho despite my views. we may not win but we will never fall short of World Class. I have a humble faith in this team now and i believe we will win sumthing. We need Podolski more than any other signing!

Posted by Sam, Jakarta on 12/20/2011

I wrote that without lots of luck we would lose at City...Sad to say I was right.

Though at times Arsenal are fun to watch we must admit they are only good at probing - passing the ball around midfield but lack of penetration. No cutting edge. Too frequent indecision to shoot to score.

I still believe with current squad there will be no trophy for Arsenal this season and many seasons to come.

Sad... very sad.

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About
David Young Sam Limbert: My retirement as a football player came at the age of 14 due to being rubbish, it's fair to say I was more Kaba Diawara than Thierry Henry, so I turned my focus to writing about the game. I'm a lifelong Arsenal fan and have been lucky enough to watch the team across England and Europe. My favourite Gunner of all time is Dennis Bergkamp, and the 2004 Invincibles is the greatest side I've ever seen in English football. I try to be positive about the Arsenal as it's the hope that keeps us going! Follow me on twitter @SamsMatchReport.

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