Everton v Arsenal, Mannone at Hull, and Nik’s ego

Apologies, apologies, apologies for the lack of blogging yesterday, I had a ‘family thing’ which went on far longer than I thought. Then I returned home, updated my iTunes and lost my internet connection. It’s still not resolved so this is likely to be a quick blog as I’ve had little chance to read anything anywhere online.


Everton. 6-1 last season. Anyone predicting that this year? Didn’t think so. Going on form, we are currently playing better away from home than in our own backyard but that doesn’t make this match that much easier. Sure, the shackles and pressure of the home support have been removed, but we will be coming up against a solid Everton side who will feel they have more than a point or two to prove after last year’s drubbing on the opening day.

Team news is such that we have Gibbs back from injury and have lost no-one. I fear I may be tempting fate but it could be said that the  Ashburton Grove ninja has been exterminated as we have managed to go from match to match to match without losing single player to injury.

It is quite a feat.

Speaking in his press conference yesterday about Van Persie’s call-up Wenger said he would see how he gets on this weekend so that hints that he will be involved in some manner. I’d be very surprised if it was in any way that didn’t involve sitting on his arse.

I see us lining up like this:


Sagna Squillaci Djourou Clichy


Nasri Fabregas

Walcott Arshavin


Wilshere was taken off midweek while Sami started from the bench so I can see some rotation there (I may be wrong), but if we start Sami in the middle that frees up a place on the right. With TR7 starting against Wolves and Theo being on the bench there is the chance to freshen things up there. Arshavin did enough to retain his place, but I suppose there is the chance that he could be ‘rested’ given how easily he gets knackered.

Despite his alleged comments about demanding more starts or he’ll leave, I fully expect Bendtner to be on the bench. I’m dubious about the comments attributed to him, not least because he has been carrying an injury for the best part of a year, has only just returned and is not back to match fitness. It would seem strange for a player who was injured for a large part of the season to date to be making demands of this sort.

On the other hand, Nik’s ego makes this sort of thing easy for people to believe.

I’m going to wait and see how this one develops before making a ‘statement’ – either he did say or he didn’t, I think it’s wise to find out which before making judgements.

In loanee news, Mannone got his first start for Hull last night and made a number of superb saves. Then he had his proper ‘Arsenal’ keeper moment, fumbling not once, but twice, directly on to the toes of two different Preston North End players. How it managed to rebound of both of them, hit a Hull player and end up safely in Mannone’s hands I’m not quite sure, but he looked like he was going to get a kicking from the Hull players as they visibly displayed their disgust with the young keeper, even though they had not conceded. He seemed to receive no praise when he later made another decent save at his near post and in general it simply reinforced my belief that Hull are a team of cnuts and we shouldn’t send our players anywhere near them.

Preston did finish having 16 shots, nine of which were on target and Mannone managed to keep a clean sheet. Not a bad evening at all wouldn’t you say? He even got a ‘Mannone saves’ montage in the post-match analysis.

I’ve said he’s way down the pecking order at Arsenal (well, third, he can fight it out with the Spanish waiter) but he looks more mature this season, he’s bulked up or had a growth spurt,  and the football he’s getting will do him no harm whatsoever. The only problem is, will he be content to be a number 3? Will he be good enough to be the number 3? Both questions, for me, are still a long way from being answered.

And that’s it for today. I’ve no idea how the match will go tomorrow other than to say, as always, anything less than full commitment from the entire team and we will be in trouble,

Luckily, away from home, that doesn’t seem to be an issue.


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  • Andrew Hinds

    koscielny is suspended

    • Anonymous

      ffs lol I know that, I was just on auto pilot…cheers for the heads up

  • Bala

    Its good that all of our keepers are playing well(at the moment) but I think Arsene will sell Almunia in the summer and promote Mannone to number 3 and if he is not contend with it then Arsene might look at James Shea

  • TigersTigers

    Still bitter about the 2-1. Sad sack.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, that’s what it is….

      You keep telling yourself that

  • http://arsenal.theoffside.com Sairax

    I hope Cesc feels better soon. A half-fit Cesc does us no good but a fit one makes us a real force. I’m so afraid he’s going to get re-injured or something, but hopefully he’ll have a good game tomorrow.

    Come on Arsenal!

    • Anonymous

      Agree, but still, a half-fit Cesc is better than most midifelders in the league lol

  • Anonymous

    Looking at the possible Everton line-up they are not a big team especially as Fellaini is suspended, so hopefully we’ll be able to cope with any aerial threat they might have. Will have to keep an eye on Cahill though.

    With the Spuds up next week it would be great to get a win tomorrow and keep the confidence high.

    Slightly off topic I read that Everton admitted we put a bid in for Jagielka in the region of £10m a while ago. I know AW has his valuation but there is no way they would accept a bid that low especially as they got an over priced £24m for Lescott the whole thing seemed doomed to failure from the start. One player who continues to impress me is Birmingham’s Roger Johnson £10m might be able to secure him might have to up it a bit though. Think he would be a stella signing for us but don’t think AW will go for him.

    • Anonymous

      Do you think Johnson could make another step-up?

      • Anonymous

        100% just think he’s a really solid defender. They kept loads of clean sheets last year and a few so far this season. He has no CL experience but don’t think Kos did either and I have to say I’d have him over Djourou every day of the week. He also seems to be a leader to me someone who can take charge at the back and give people a rollicking if needed.

  • Prowling Prague Tiger

    Condescending (as uaual) sad southern sh*t.

    • Anonymous

      Feeling a little inadequate are we? It’s an Arsenal blog, what did you expect? That it was going to be a Hull love-in?

  • CD24

    Another poorly written blog…

    • Anonymous

      then why do you keep reading?

  • Tigerned371

    We Hull fans where very pleased with his performance actually and believe Duke will have a hard time getting his place back. The reason he didnt get any appreciation from his great save was that it needed a slowmotion close up replay to even see it. Now stop whining and giving your club a bad name, its bad enough with your whiney manager!

    • Anonymous

      LMAO at a Hull fan calling Arsenal/Arsene whingey, wasn’t it your lot who made up stories about Cesc that you couldn’t back up and complained that he had ‘disrespected’ you by appearing on the pitch post-match in civvies? Shame on him!

      Besides, I wasn’t talking about the Hull fans, I was talking about the players.

  • TigerD

    I’m with tiger, the crap written about mannone not been appreciated at hull is utter utter bollox

    • Anonymous

      Again, I wasn’t talking about the fans, check back over the VT, see the disgust some of your players showed towards him.

      I’m not saying the appreciation from the players won’t come, but there wasn’t much to see on the pitch during his first match.