Yes, We Need Experience, But…

By on January 4, 2010

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… we also need the kind of youthful exuberance and enthusiasm that was shown by Aaron Ramsey following his equalizer at Upton Park. The 19-year old ran straight into the 500 traveling Arsenal supporters followed by Carlos Vela to celebrate his superbly taken equalizer.

Slightly older players like van Persie and Eduardo enthusiastically celebrate goals but not like Ramsey today or, for that matter, Cesc. Now, that’s NOT a criticism… young players that have been at the club for a while have been forced to grow-up quickly under Arsene Wenger. And that is necessary. But it’s also nice to see goals celebrated in the manner of Freddie Ljungberg in his first few seasons at the club.

Now, on to the match… By the hour-mark, it certainly looked to be one of those days when Arsenal just fail to find a final ball to break down a 10-man defense. Arsene obviously set out to win the match having selected both Gallas and Vermaelen and saying after the match that “the FA Cup matters.”

However, the two youngsters, Wilshere and Merida, both had disappointing matches overall. Obviously, the substitutions of Nasri and Diaby in their place changed the match. They began to take control of the match like they hadn’t since the 20-minute mark.

Ramsey and Eduardo goals made the difference-both assisted by Carlos Vela, the latter two switching positions at half-time. For the first 15 minutes of the second-half, Vela failed to make anything happen when he had possession out wide on the left, and Eduardo continued to look largely ineffective.

But, thanks to the substitutions, the increased pressure from the middle allowed Vela more space and more options when he got the ball out wide and he took advantage of it, both by putting in a touchline cross and coming inside.

We all want to see Eduardo get some goals and get his confidence back and, after seeing the header live, I thought, “What a fantastic header!” But the more I see the replays from the reverse angle, the more it seems that Eduardo headed but it deflected a bit off Upson’s head as well.

That’s not to take anything away from a great goal. He did beat Upson to the ball and get a good head on it. I just hope he doesn’t realize there was even the slightest deflection so he can take the confidence he deserves from the goal. But, as Arsene said after the match, “In every game, he gets better.”

Alexandre Song did his usual job and, after the match, Arsene complemented the midfielder by saying, “In the system we play, he is just the ideal player to play in front of the defense.” But he also acknowledged that Arsenal “will have to find a new balance” when he leaves this coming week for the African Cup of Nations.

With the replacement of experience for youth, Song had more confidence to get forward and get an equalizer. He was at the heart of Arsenal’s best pre-goal move only being kept out in the end by the second of Green’s great double-save.

Recently, we’ve seen Arsene make some key, game-changing substitutions. I, generally, consider Wenger to be a bit conservative and slow with substitutions. To me, he has seemed to make substitutions far too late in a match to have any real consequence. It’s nice to see him being more proactive when it comes to making changes and it’s even nicer to reap the benefits.

Following the dropped points in our last visit to Upton Park, the result was especially satisfying. Arsenal are the kind of side that needs to exorcise their demons for confidence to be at its fullest and they did that by getting through at the ground where they had conceded a late 2-goal lead just over two months ago. The fourth-round draw has provided us with a trip to Stoke City in three weeks’ time.

In other team news looking forward to Wednesday’s match with Bolton, Wenger said that Arshavin “should be available on Wednesday night,” and

Denilson would face fitness tests on Monday and Tuesday. However, when asked about Walcott’s return from another rib injury, he just said, “I don’t know.” He went on to say that he hopes it will be less than a month.

Activity during this window seems likely, for when asked about the transfer window, Wenger said, “I have the money, I have the desire, but I have not the player.” Wenger has acknowledged that we are “short” in options up top and he looks relatively eager to bring someone in… if he can find the right player at the right price, of course.

Well, that’s it… I could talk about the boot to Diaby’s shoulder or the overall cunt-ness of Diamanti, but this piece is already long enough. On to Wednesday!!!


  1. Tom14

    January 4, 2010 at 9:16 am

    We don’t need experience, why would anyone say that?

  2. ArsenalStation

    January 4, 2010 at 9:20 am

    As you would have surely seen in the first two paragraphs, I am speaking of experience in the guise of slightly more mature players like van Persie and Arshavin and NOT about possible transfer activity.

  3. adrian

    January 4, 2010 at 9:55 am

    There has always been this dilemma for Arsene. When is he going to finally admit that a promising player will not make the grade and replace them? It is not a precise science and depends on a lot of issues. How long has Diaby promised to deliver as he is now? Patience is called for.

  4. Ted Harwood

    January 4, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    I’m not too worried about Eduardo. I think most strikers of his mold get by on a good deal of luck from time to time, deflections, weird bounces, things like that. The fact that he got himself in a position to win that header, sneaking inside a defender like Upson and getting his head on it says enough for me about his attitude and work (not that you were saying he’s not doing well, or anything like that). Either way, I’m just glad we won to keep our form up and also because I kind of love the FA Cup.

    • ArsenalStation

      January 4, 2010 at 9:49 pm

      I agree about the FA Cup, Ted. Even when I started, watching in the late 90s, you could tell that the tournament wasn’t quite what it had been-especially having read books about it and seen the old video clips. But it has seemed to have gone down in importance even more since then. I think many of the younger or more recent fans don’t appreciate the FA Cup fully. I also think that some American supporters don’t appreciate it for what it’s worth because they don’t know its history but also because, as a knock-out competition held during and separate from the league season, it is counter-intuitive to someone who grows up with American sports.

  5. Harrypotters Arsenal

    January 5, 2010 at 5:30 am

    Hey. I also noticed ramsy’s celebration &thoroughly enjoyed it, more than d goal if i do say so. It shows that he appreciates d away fans constant encouragement even when d players were strugglin. Its also moments like that that makes one who hasn’t been 2 any arsenal match (i live in Nigeria) green wit envy. Fans that live in england dont kno what they’ve got. I’v been saving for a year now with d hope that in 2yrs time i’l save enough 2 make my pilgrimage 2 d home of great football, arsenal. May d force b wit arsenal & the gunners who constantly stand by d team

  6. Microraptor

    January 5, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    We likely need cover for Song — and a proven striker too, preferably over 1.80 tall…

    I am a committed Wenger-ite but this is not all about making teenaged millionaires feel good about themselves. I watched the FA Cup Hammers game in France where I am on holiday and the bar was packed with Arsenal fans. Even guys in Wilshere branded tops were saying “take the kid off and bring on a man…”

    If the likes of Fran (stalling on his contract) Mereida or Jack the Lad get a bit upset and start thinking that they are not good enough yet, that’s too damn bad. Sadly, they are NOT good enough yet.

    I’d quite like to win things again — and if that means trampling over the egos of some of the current tween-aged squad, so be it. Arsenal have an academy — but they also have a First Team… the aim of the Academy is to produce Wunderkinder, the aim of the First Team is to win us silvery stuff.

  7. Vela

    April 12, 2010 at 6:05 am

    Arsene Wenger said Carlos Vela was left behind for Arsenal’s fateful trip to Barcelona because of ‘competition for places’.

    • ArsenalStation

      April 12, 2010 at 6:16 am

      That was obviously just a cover story. It never made any sense. I’m sure you’ve seen that he lost his passport and that is why he missed the trip to Spain.

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