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Arsene Knows - most of the time

By Samuel Mowbray 


I am not claiming that I knew that Arsene knows when it comes down to one match but his genius in preparation for Saturday's game will, I hope, shame some of the so-called faithful and the pathetic going over that the press gave him in Saturday's papers.


For The Independent in their piece - 'Arsene Knows (or maybe he doesn't) - in their new sports section headed 'IS ARSENE'S HALO SLIPPING?' to conclude that there is a sadness in Arsenal's position in that 'the prospect of the game being the biggest clash in the land has gone' was just absurd.


What was an utterly thrilling 96 minutes of football will surely have been watched by one of the biggest global audiences for a club match and neither the Chavs or the Scousers can come anywhere near to commanding the anticipation, let alone drama, that unfolded in front of the crowd at the Emirates or the millions watching from Los Angeles to Beijing to Sydney...


'What price Ramsey scoring the winner', I wrote earlier in the week.


Well I merely got the wrong player. Samir Nasri, Sky's man of the match, whom I berated for not standing up in the blood and thunder of premiership games maybe read my piece. He was blood, thunder and lightning.


But probably Arsene had a quiet word with him because he, Nasri, seemed to understand the nature and significance of this match as if he were an Arsenal veteran. For me Denilson was my man of the match and who suddenly looked like a serious holding midfield player.


And stand up Abou Diaby. These three were just superb and the way that Wenger has nurtured Abou into his new position just tucked in behind the front man is an act of genius from, and let's stand up and say it, one of the great coaches of all time.


Oh, and front man? I hate to write this but if any of the 147 people who responded to my Bendtner piece a couple of months back would still like to stand up and make a case for him (in an intelligent way please), then do so. I will bow to Arsene's judgement on him a little bit longer but he was poor on Saturday. Poor because he made bad decisions.


Any striker will miss chances but when a sportsman makes wrong decisions - and as often as he does - and which he did more and more as the game unfurled, it's a sign that he or she will not make it to the highest level. And I fear that NB won't make it - much as I hate writing that.


So. Let's enjoy the moment. Let's enjoy finally a little bit of the rub of the green and the time when players like Denilson, Diaby and Nasri rose to the moment in the absence of all our injuries and suspension.


And let's enjoy it that Arsene knows. And that if he nevers wins us another trophy, he should be heralded and loved at every game.


It is no surprise that the two most important clubs in the premiership have the two longest serving managers and if I ever hear anyone abuse Wenger around me, I might get physical. And for those that know me, I am not that sort.


And, finally, what made my weekend even more deliciously satisfying was to learn in the Daily Mail that the man who unearthed Clichy, who was again superb, at Cannes was none other than...... Damien Comolli.


Wonderful! As my weekend has been. Bring on the kids on Tuesday.


I can't wait.

Reader Comments (8)

I watched NB over the weekend and I think he was poor but remember he is only 20 and has not played many games. I believe he will come good at some point - Arsene knows!!

November 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRich

You're being too harsh on Bendtner. You say he was poor, Arsene came out and commended him, said he had an 'outstanding' performance. He's a 20 year-old support striker playing up front on his own against 2 world class CBs. And he worked his socks off all game. So cut him some slack.

Look at it this way... how would a 20 year-old Eduardo, Adebayor or RVP fare in that same situation?

November 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBob

Agree with you on Denilson particularly. Tough-tackling and great positional discipline. Could turn into quite a player I reckon.

For the best Arsenal gloat, and more Monday morning banter, go to


November 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterUpForGrabsNow

Denilson a serious holding midfielder?? Have a read of Tony Cas in the TImes this morning outlining how many mistakes he made to let United in and you might change your mind. He was great going forward but awful at the back. Great to get a win but it only papers over the problem for now. Flamini still needs to be replaced...

November 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

Bendter was far better than people give him credit. I agree with wenger on this one, he was outstanding. sure he made a couple of bad decisions with a few minutes to go but by then he was very tired so he would have lost 10% of his concentration. he was being greedy but strikers are told to be greedy, its what makes them good strikers. he held the ball up really well and his control was very good throughout. he was playing the lone frontman role so took on a hell of a responsibility AND he hasn't played many games this season. he should be applauded not criticised.

November 10, 2008 | Unregistered Commentergazzap

People around me in the Yellow Quadrant were all of the same mind - "Imagine what we'd have been like with 11 proper players" in reference to another gilt-edged openig Bendtner had squandered....he is young, so maybe time will improve him, but he was POOR

November 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDan

GREAT RESULT,however if we are going to be taken as one of the contenders for honours this season or any other we must convert more of our goal chances created.NB is not the only player guilty of missing chances.before we can be truly confident in thinking we can win the league we have to be ruthless in front of goal,every chance we miss puts more pressure on the defence,and the more chances we miss gives poor oppostition every chance of a result against us.but may my god bless aw

November 10, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercambsgooner

Bendtner was good but panic during the last minutes due to the shadow of Spur's come back. It was so obvious. He needs more games.

November 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWong

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