Orient: did we really learn anything?

By Tony Attwood

My answer is yes we did learn something.

First, and most important, we (as in those of us who didn’t get to the away version of this fixture) saw what an incredibly assured play Ignasi Miquel is at the centre of defence.

He signed for us aged 15 from UD Cornella in Spain and became a pro at 17, having previously played for Barcelona (being with them for five years).  So we can expect some more bleating from the bankrupt Spanish club any minute now about us stealing their youth products.

It is said that the original fee was £500,000 with another fee of the same price if we made some first team appearances, so more than likely our profit from last night’s match has just been stuffed into an envelope and sent to Spain.

When he first came across I am sure I saw a couple of comments about him being a midfielder, but as we have seen he is a centre half (who can play left back).   He also looks quite tall – no bad thing in the era when everyone and his dog wants to suggest all our centre halves are under 1 metre tall.

He has played for Spain’s youth teams, which make the release from Barca all the more strange, and there were reports that when we got him some team from Manchester with supporters all over Cornwall were also after him.

So why he left Barca Bankrupt is a bit of a mystery, but I am sure they will tell us in good time.

And we learned just how far Conor Henderson has come in the last year – Conor was making his first appearance on the pitch for the first team squad.

He’s 19, plays for Ireland (although the wholly uninformative IM Scouting site has him as English) and also played for the reserves last season.

And finally we learned that humour and inventiveness is alive and well in North London.   Football chants lose a lot of their charm and power when printed in black on white in the cold light of morning (compared with the very cold harsh lights of the stadium) but even so this little exercise is worth repeating in case you weren’t at the game.

People leaving the stadium early is an issue – and has over time been getting out of control.   The first approach at dealing with this through singing came with “Is there a fire drill?” as people get up to leave before the end.   That little ditty is still being sung, and it is interesting to see the look of concern on the faces of the stewards not in the know, when it comes up.

But last night we also had “Walk out, if you love Tottenham” and that really did get at quite a few people.  I don’t know if people who were going to walk out did in fact sit down again, but I saw a lot of bowed heads and people trying to get out more quickly.

(Incidentally speaking of getting out I was very concerned at Wembley.  We stayed, as we always do, to the final whistle, and then stood ready to make our way out.   It took seven minutes for us to be able to get into the concourse on the upper level, from whence we could find the steps down.    Seven minutes being stuck in the upper levels by our seats….   so what were we to have done in the event of an emergency?   Seven minutes cannot be acceptable for an emergency evacuation, and yet I could see no other way of getting out.

I am not saying Wembley Stadium is as prone to fire as the old Bradford City ground, but in the event of smoke (which is often the killer when it comes to such emergencies, rather than the fire) I would not care to be stuck in it for seven minutes – which would of course stretch to much longer if no one could see and panic set in.

If I go to Wembley again it will only be if I can get tickets much closer to the front of the upper tier.   The view of the pitch from on high is ok, but I really don’t trust the emergency evacuation arrangements.)

Anyway, back to the Orient, it was a jolly evening, and we can all now look forward to a game against one of the northern teams with a manager who seems to complain a lot about referees.   Now why does he do that?

38 Replies to “Orient: did we really learn anything?”

  1. Tony – Connor Henderson is English, but has an Irish connection – he has played for Ireland U19’s but that does not rule him out for England.

    from Arsenal.com

    Name Conor Henderson
    Born September 08, 1991 Sidcup
    Position Midfielder
    Squad Number 44
    Joined Arsenal July 01, 2008

  2. I think d next 3 games will be the most important for arsenal this season…we’ll be without Van Persie and Walcott for the most toughest matches in uefa and fa cup…hope the gunners do well!!

  3. I learned that Fergie is unsure of the integrity of Atkinson, whats the betting they get a really good ref for the Liverpool game who will be his stooge, he also faces a 4 game touch line ban and faces further action for failing to talk to the BBC.

    I also found out that B52 is very good when not playing out of position, but then I kind of new that anyway, I think we need vela back because he offers a different striking option, chamkh or B52 are too similar

  4. If we fail to win something this season, it will not be because we do not have the best first 11 in England and the World, but we have a poor second 11. Now that you said it, i suspect it is the same case with Cesc and even Nasri and Walcott. They get into playing games they should be watching in the bench just in case things were needing to be rescued. With good deputies RvP should not have started Carling Cup Finals with our game schedules. If it was me i would strive to have a strong team B. Meaning you get 3 RvPs and Three Cescs and Three Djoroue’s if we have to win the trophies. I would get rid of Rosicky, Denilson, Bendtner, Scillachi and Almunia. I would bring in Edin Hazard, Vertgotten, Gervinho, Pappis Cisse, and Filipe Melo, and Lloris. This means i will have four reliable strikers in RvP, Pappis Cisse, Chamakh and Gerhinho and a good rotational policy will make everyone happy and no one will be missed so much (like we do when RvP is Injured) if they get injured

    Sunderland is a serious worry. Winning that would be great. we may even be top table if we win our game in hand if Manures loose in Anfield. But i wonder if Wenger is seeing a DM role for Clichy. It may even be a test plan for Barca, especially now that Song is looking to be dipping in form. Clitchy is obviously more responsible ahead of defenders than say Diaby and Song who easily get lost in attack and Clichy has a better attack delivery (Rarely on that role have i seen him loose the ball and create panic defending for the team.) He delivers passes and can score too. And it will give Gibbs more matches he needs…and plant Miguel into the first team permanently. By the way Clichy too has aerial and muscle advantages to add. Diaby rarely uses his aerial potential.

  5. Im not sure we learned anything last night.
    The team just needs luck with injuries when it comes to the big games if we get the luck we get the trophies.

    We went 17 years without a trophy between 1953 and 1970 and thats 11 years longer than currently. There was also an 8 year gap between 1971 and 1979. Ive been an Arsenal supporter for 19 years now that we havent won a trophy and I wouldnt change thing. The highs way out weighed the lows. We are indeed lucky as supporters go we have witnessed some of the most exciting football seen at any club and picked up some trophys and great memories along the way.

    So lets just enjoy the last 8 of the Fa Cup, the premier league run in and whats left of the champions league come what may.Get behind them and support them no matter what happens.

  6. Totally agree RedGooner – I’ve been part of the Gooner family for 40 years and I’m loving it right now, even if we fall a bit short, because total domination is on the horizon.

    I’d also like to compliment Orient – their support was good and although they were well beaten, they actually played some reasonable stuff, as opposed to the Stoke/Blackburn method.

  7. Overall I thought last night was a very professional performance. What a difference having Diaby back in midfield made. I think we would have won the 1st game against Orient had he played. He brings such dynamism to our play. Having Diaby alongside them took the pressure off both Denilson and Rosicky, who both could just play their natural game and looked far better for it. Now we just need to get Ramsey re-integrated.

    Miquel looked very good again. Henderson looked like a very talented 19 year old making his debut. But with Miyaichi and Botelho both being left-footed attacking midfielders can anyone really see where Henderson will fit in?

    And by all accounts Bartley had another tremendous game for Rangers last night.

  8. Nice one Tony. I read article by YoungGungs Blog about Iggy saying yes to Arsenal and no to Barca (who wanted him back)and why (here is link not http://goo.gl/fb/tjZpL that was the link fromhis twitter message as I can’t get to the blog for some reason).

    I will now watch the match (I did watch it little last night but after waking up at 5 am I really had hard time keeping my eyes open past 10.30 pm…so I missed parts from 2nd half).

  9. Any idea when Ramsey will be back?

    The performance yesterday was very professional. No fuss. Go out. Stay Focussed. Score goals. Keep clean sheet. Job done. Diaby had one of the days when he was immense. If only he can get the inconsistencies out of his game then he can become a fantastic player.

    But this ultimately was just a run out. We were good but we were never really pressured. It was a profitable run out though, with both strikers getting goals and getting their confidence up. Now to carry the momentum into the Sunderland game. That is absolutely massive. Win and we’re 1 point behind. Lose or Draw… don’t want think about that.

  10. Ramsey should be available this weekend. I just heard late last week that Ramsey couldnt play last night because he had been on loan for the first match.

    It will be an interesting selection for Saturday. Sunderland have massive injury problems and have not been playing well at all. They have a huge home match on Tuesday so they may be keeping some players back for that as well. We may be able to rest a few players in preperation for Barca. Nothing huge, I was thinking maybe Squillaci and Djourou together in defens to give Kos extra time to heal, maybe Gibbs for Clichy, and Diaby for one our midfield (Song may need extra time to heal after his deadleg). I think whatever attack is planned for Barca should be played on Saturday to give them time to work together.

    I agree that Saturday is a must win but I think we can also rest a couple of players and still get that win.

  11. Paul C

    But has Ramsey been recalled from the loan? Or is he still with Cardiff?

    What huge match do Sunderland have? I can’t be bothered to find their schedules so why don’t you just tell me 🙂

    Those are good suggestions but I don’t think Arsene will make such changes. But you never know. He may well throw in Henderson or someone like that again.

  12. I have no medical knowledge but I said to Julian who came with me to the game, “he’s got concussion”, and lo and behold, clearly I ought to be sitting at the other side of the GPs desk next time I pop along for some of those rather interesting little pills with “z” in the name.

    He had no injury to any part of his body, no limp nothing, he just wasn’t quite there – concussion is the most likely explanation.

    If you have any medical queries, Dr Tony is here to sort you out.

  13. Shard – yes, Ramsey is back with us.

    I was wrong about Sunderland playing on Tuesday. I saw one report saying they played WHU on that night but just checked their fixtures and that isnt the case. My mistake.

    I certainly would not expect too many changes but just think you could give a couple of players extra time to recover from knocks. If Song or Koscielny, for instance, are anything less than 100%, I would rest them and make sure they are fit for Barca. If everyone is 100%, then yes, I could see us picking our strongest possible team.

  14. Tony – it certainly looked like concussion from the views that TV gave. There was no big tackle or anything like that but he seemed totally out of it. He had that glazed look in his eyes. Who knows how long that could take to recover. Concussions are strange things. Some people recover in 24 hours and others take months. In the US, Sidney Crosby (the best ice hockey player in the world, or one of them) got a concussion 8 weeks ago. At the time it looked like nothing but he hasnt played since and hasnt even started skating yet. Nobody knows if he will miss the rest of the season and playoffs, which go until mid-June.

  15. Shard – take a look at Arseanl.com, they just released AW’s injury news for this weekend. Ramsey in the squad. Koscielny doubtful but likely for Barca, Song and Cesc definately out. So it looks like something like I was saying, unintentionally. Diaby and Squillaci in, maybe Ramsey if AW wants to really put out a fresh look. How about Diaby, Wilshire and Ramsey in midfield?

  16. @Paul C, I believe Miyaichi is actually right-footed. However he is also very good with his left foot. That’s one of the reasons he is such an exciting player – capable of using both feet, great pace, great dribbling skills, good at crossing, etc.
    Can’t wait for him to line up for us.

  17. Johnny – ah, I assumed he was left because he has been playing on that side for Feyenord, has he not? And all the youtube stuff I have seen has him on the left scoring and putting in great crosses with his left foot. If he is right footed then he has an amazing left foot.

  18. You’re right about Wembley Tony – we were the same. You’re safe as long as you’re already on the main concourse, otherwise, forget it.

    I also, this time, refused to drink pints before the game as my experience in 2009 was that the Gents on the upper tier were completely incapable of coping with half Time demand. This was clearly a shared experience as when I emptied the bladder at the pizzeria in the O2 at Finchley Road prior to going, another Gooner agreed wholeheartedly!

    The most obvious reason for Miquel not to stay with Barca was that he looked at the prospects of 1st team action and concluded it might be a long time coming. He looked at Arsenal and thought he might have a better chance.

    My take on him was that his skills on the ball were superb, but perhaps he still needs to work on his aerial prowess. Shouldn’t be a problem as he’s a tall lad. My other impression is that he should keep exercising until late middle age or he might end up filling out significantly after retirement!

    The other obvious thing was that Bendtner can see a chance of a run in the side with RVP and Walcott out for 3 weeks. One hopes the step up in standard on Saturday will not shackle him unduly……

    The most likely reason for leaving early last night was that the game was already well won and it was bloody cold! Much colder than expected with much more wind that expected. We took a full half hour to warm up in the bar afterwards, which is as long as it’s been all winter.

    Don’t know if anyone else has been having problems with the Ticket Office at the arsenal.com website today – it’s really playing up for me and I can’t assign our second season ticket to the second ticket in the basket – it simply won’t open up the assign link. I have reported it but it doesn’t seem to be solving the problem. As the tickets go on general sale tomorrow at 9.30am, this is a right pain in the neck………..

  19. Paul, if you look at him when he runs with the ball in open space, he almost always touches the ball with his right foot. But yes, he does play on the left for Feyenoord, and he does often whip in crosses with his left foot. A real talent this kid is.

  20. Ryo has two feet as far as I could see last time I checked. 😉
    Serious now, Feyenoord who was having the darkest season any living fan can remember has come alive since Ryo started playing for them.
    And as, by accident, I can read some Dutch and see what Feyenoord fans are writing they credit Ryo for this. It is all Ryo before, in between and after (typical Flemish expression translated) meaning that they really say that it him alone who is turning their season around.
    Don’t forget they were in serious relegation trouble before he started. Still low in the league but on the way back.

  21. And I must say that I am watching him with open mouth and water coming out of that mouth… Still has to learn but let AW have him in his hands for one year and he could be reaching for the stars

  22. Who is this”nikkogunner” coming with the same old arguments again? Get rid of this and that player and bring in this and that. Apparently you are not familiar with what it takes to build and sustain a squad, neither do you know about balance in a squad.

    Have you seen any of your desired players, except on you-tube? I will take you serious if you tell me you have managed a team in a major league.

  23. @Paul C

    Ya I had a look at the official site. Seems like your prediction for the team may just be right, albeit through injuries.. Seeing Ramsey back again will be nice but I don’t know if we should put him in right from the start. It’s been a while since he’s played for us and we can’t afford a disjointed performance.

  24. @BYO
    I guess Tony’s spam filters have stopped working. :).
    How do people rate Arsenal’s chances against barca? We got Cesc,Song,RvP and Walcott out for the game.What trashy luck!

  25. @Mihir

    Cesc and Song both have a chance I think. Weirdly enough I think Song is more needed for that match. Especially because we carry a lead there and must protect it.

  26. Mihir,

    For me it is all about our defense against Barca. I think Cesc will be there, and would imagine Song as well. The only definates out so far are Theo and RvP (and TV5 obviously). Remember Barca will be missing Pique and it looks increasingly as if Puyol will be missing as well so their defense looks thin and an away goal or two could be had. So it will all come down to how many we concede. I think we have a great chance as long as Cesc plays, because his passing allows us to play on the counter so much quicker than when he is missing.

  27. I can’t remember where I read it but someone said that Barcelona have a rule that if they lose the ball, they must regain possession in 5 seconds.
    So if you noticed, they press really hard after losing possession, and this is where we were able to exploit them in the first leg. It took a lot of calm not to panic and lose the ball, but if we were able to dribble our way out of trouble, find an open man to pass the ball to, and break their press, then we sometimes found ourselves in a 3-on-3 or 3-on-2 attack deep in their half.
    The key to it though was to maintain possession throughout an all-out assault by Barcelona. So I agree with Paul in that we need to have Cesc in there to start or to help on the counter attacking, and actually having players like Cesc, Song, Nasri, and Arshavin may be more important than RVP or Theo for this match.
    I really wished we had a full squad, but we are in a much better situation than last season. Fingers crossed no one gets hurt on Saturday.

  28. I’ve watched a couple of Ryo’s games for Feyenoord and I’m still not sure which foot is his strongest… although I suspect it’s his right. What a talent! Ryodinho is going all the way to the top.

    About Miquel, Barcelona were the ones who rejected him when he was 12 years old. He considered stopping playing all together but joined lower-league Cornella and spent 4 years there before Arsenal took him aged 16. And apparently Barca tried to take him back and beat us to his signature, but he ignored their advances.

  29. @Johnny
    Absolutely, we need to have our most incisive passers to have a chance of breaking through Barcelona’s suffocating first wave of pressure. If you look at how we scored the second against Barca, it started when Bendtner managed to retain the ball deep in our half under pressure from SIX Barca players and pass it out to Wilshere.

  30. @Gooner80,

    Off topic, but I saw that a while back you had something that you wanted to ask me in a thread about the Toral transfer. I didn’t see it until you weren’t checking the thread anymore, but if you remind me what it was I’ll get back to you.


  31. @Mihir-
    I truly believe that the team will acquit itself well in Barcelona. Their recent performances does not instill fear in the 2-team league they play in- they labored mightily in their last 2 matches, and this year has no relationship to last year’s meeting. We showed at the Emirates how vulnerable their defense can be, and how you can make life difficult for them. AW has painstakingly built a team whose maturity is immense, they have shown no fear in any match-up.

    So yes, I expect a great match, but difficult. We will walk away with a draw/win. Remember, Bendtner will probably play in the central role, and does not lack any confidence.

  32. A query for you Dr.Tony ,is it true that celebrities (eg.Charlie Sheen ),managers (SAF)and football pundits suffer from a rare condition call Philarisis ?It is supposed to be the sudden rush of shit to the brain !In your limited practice have you come across any cases?It is also rumoured to be prevalent in a certain part of North London among the locals known as Spuds;but in their case it is mainly due to the inbreeding of cretins.If you don’t beleive me check out their manager ( a treasure trove of crap).

  33. lol nikkogunners
    you posted the exact same thing on another article a week back, cant remember on which site…but in response to the article, yes wembley has shite measures for fire breakouts and we did learn a lot of things yesterday.
    1 thing that is really killing me is the partnership between chamakh and bendtner…they never seem to want to pass to each other or set up each other…never seen them celebrate a goal together yet..

  34. @Nitesh

    What nonsense… If you choose to focus on such things then at least you can look more closely before bringing up such insinuations.. Have a look at all the goals from the previous game that either of them scored.

  35. With regards to Wembley and fire, When we built the place (“slow down son, wait for the overtime”). We was all waiting for the place to be flooded when the very first goal went in as most of the pipework is actually hung under the fans feet (under the stands) so we never thought a fire would be the problem, flooding yes. As for the toilet situation they decided on an equal split 50% male 50% female.

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