Chelsea slip, we march on, and the crucified return from the dead

By Walter Broeckx

Today was a day that some players have answered some critics they have been receiving for a while now.

I want to start with the player that left the field in tears just over one year ago. Eboue. After that he had is horror display at the Lane, not helped by the ref in anyway, and it seemed the end for that nice friendly and always smiling player.

But to show you that whenever you are  in big trouble and have a horrific time, you just have to dig in deep, work harder and the reward will come your way. Wenger backed him up after those difficult games and at the end of last season he showed some good things and even started scoring. And how did he came back this season?

This past weekend against West Ham he showed again what a  player he is. Started as right back and then because of the red card from Vermaelen and the introduction of Sagna he moved to the midfield and he made some great runs. He has turned a page and really became good. Lucky Wenger didn’t listen to the booing fans and the blogs that told him to get rid of him. Glad to have him in our team. Even if we should be in need for a goalkeeper, he just would do it and maybe even be successful.

Let’s talk about Almunia. He had his bad moments in the beginning of the season when he wasn’t focused. Later we found out that he had a terrible personal loss and this was one of the reasons his concentration level was not where it should have been. We can all hear some of the fans crying out to Wenger to buy a new goalkeeper. Wenger, you know that stubborn Frenchman, once again refused to let his player down. May I remember you that just before the Porto game Almunia had a broken finger, and he was playing with an injury for some weeks before.

I don’t know how a Spanish finger heels when it’s broken but Almunia came back after one game and still is in the team. And most of all, broken finger or not, he has not done much wrong since then. Au contraire, today’s penalty safe was what the same as the late Bendtner goal was in attack. This time it kept us ahead and the team felt confident with him after that. I know I have defended him before and you can imagine me being a bit satisfied with his performances of late.

And then we have Denilson. On some blogs the comments on him are so disgraceful at times it makes me sick. When some people come to his defence and show stats on how seldom he loses possession and how many good passes he gives, some answer with the remark that those statistics count for nothing and the only statistic that are vital are the goals he scored in how many games he plays.  Well let us take a look at that statistic and we will see that he has 21 starts this season and scored 6 goals. Now I would like to know how many midfielders that mostly play a more holding role have such number of goals after their name?

I know he is not a real holding midfielder like Song, he has a totally different style. He has less body so he has to defend on technique and not on power like Song can do. But he mostly plays in support and more holding back to let the other do the attacking and still he scored 6 goals and some real class goals as well.

And Song, another of those “not good enough to be an Arsenal player”. He got the most of the stick last season but with his performances this season he has shut the mouth of most of those ignorant people up. After the sending off it was 15 minutes waiting in tension what Wenger would do. Would he bring on Silvestre or would he change the position of some players. He chose the last option and from the moment I saw Song in defence I felt confident. He has played some great games there and I remembered him being outstanding 2 seasons back in the Carling Cup against Blackburn when we were a man down. So once again he showed what a versatile player he is and how good he has become in whatever position you play him.

And still I will read in the next day’s some people writing that those players should be sold or even given away. I say just leave them alone. They all are doing their best and they all are doing what they can and it is thanks to those 3 players that we won the game against West Ham. Just give credit when it is due and let us all get behind our players even more.

With the fighting spirit they showed, again,  today anything is possible. After the defeat against Chelsea I wrote on this blog that everything was still possible. Today we are very much in the title race and have put pressure on MIOU and Chelsea. Even when all the decisions go against us, our team shows grit and determination and display a over my dead body mentality. 7 games to go. Come on you Gunners! Come on you Gooners, get behind your Gunners!


Walter Broeckx is a leading member of the Arsenal Benelux Supporters Club

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27 Replies to “Chelsea slip, we march on, and the crucified return from the dead”

  1. Walter,

    Agreed on Denilson. Here is what Arshavin said of Denilson, ““Yes, he was the best in this game. Not because he scored early in the first half, but because he worked miracles in the second one. He kept on snatching the ball from West Ham players, he was everywhere, ahead of everybody like a “clockwork bunny”. Arshavin said

    “In my opinion, Denilson had a phenomenal game “

    I think this is a SPUDS trick….

  2. Another point on Denilson….

    He is compared to Song, Flamini, Gilberto…

    I think he should be compared to hisself. Wenger must have saw him shut down Gerrard in 2005 when he played DMF….

    Because after that he was selected and came to Arsenal.

  3. Hi all
    Agreed on Denilson. If he had just got that finish correct in the first half it would really have showcased his talent — and it would have been a very special goal. Next time!!!
    As usual coming back from injury takes a bit of time – but he certainly seemed to have move up a gear against West Porn.
    Hartwick89 are you going to do a catch up from your feb post on the run in? How have your predictions gone (are going)?
    I am looking forward to the next installment!

  4. Spot on Walter. Its time to stop all these ‘not fit to wear the shirt’ nonsense.. These players are class and will be there to prove everyone, who doubted them, wrong..

    Another point to prove Denilson;’s awesome performance yesterday: 73 passes ana all were successful. Not ONE pass went bad.. He is coming back to his form of last year and the final 12(if we make to the CL final) are gonna see the best of him and the rest of the squad… Keep the faith..

  5. I just want to leave a message concerning Eboue. For those of you who are still there until the end of the game will see Eboue stay on the pitch himself and give his shirt away to a young fan and clap everyone.

    What a fantastic response from a player that was almost down and out. Eboue MAXIMUM respect.

  6. Toby: I saw him do something similar at the end of the Stoke game. He seems to genuinely want to please the fans. A true gent, he’s never lost sight of where he came from.

  7. And to think I have seen Eboue play in Belgium with Beveren. Never would have thought that I would be supporting him in an Arsenal shirt …

    About the Denilson statistic: I only found read his statistic after I had send my article to Tony. Good, better, best… amazing.

  8. @Diaminedave,

    100% so far! Kidding D’accord…. let’s see missed 2x’s today picked draw for MU/Pool, A win Chavs/Burn… And, picked a draw Chavs/Citeh…. Still a long way to go… Tony still has it posted on the home page “Predictions for the rest of the season: the start of the new golden era.

  9. While I completely agree on what you said about Denilson, it is worth pointing out that he’s only scored 4 goals this season (Everton, Liege, Hull and, of course, West Ham) rather than 6. Still a pretty good goals total for a defensive midfielder though and all of them were top quality strikes

  10. A re-cap on Denilson career from carling “PEREIRA NEVES DENILSON
    Teenage Brazilian midfielder Denilson joined Arsenal from Sao Paulo in the summer of 2006, having already captained his country’s Under-19 side.
    Described by manager Arsene Wenger as “a little bit in between Tom€ Rosick€ and Gilberto”, Denilson will be looking to push for a place in the Gunners first-team over the next few seasons.
    He already has a few honours to his name, having been a part of the Sao Paulo side which won the 2005 Copa Libertadores and the 2005 FIFA Club World Cup. He also captained the Brazil U-19 side to the South American U-17 Championship in 2005.
    He made his debut for Arsenal FC in the Carling Cup tie against West Brom on 24 October 2006, playing 78 minutes in a 2-0 victory.
    He also featured in the Fourth Round tie against Everton and the impressive 6-3 victory over Liverpool at Anfield in the quarter-final.
    He continued his progress in 2007/08 and his impressive form earned him a new contract, making him a promising prospect for the future.

  11. Bammers05, I got the 6 goals from But as it is a bit late I will look in which games he scored and come back on this tomorrow.

  12. Bammers05 – off the top of my head he also scored against stoke when they knocked us out of the fa cup. I think 6 is correct

  13. Yeah that’s why I love this site. Other blogs say cr*p about selling this guy, buying this guy… It’s as if they know better then Wenger (ahem le-grove).

    On the point on le-grove, they’re so thick that they think Inter vs Arsenal will be the CL final. Come on, even if Arsenal beats Barca, Inter will be the semis, not final. One good example of how someone thinks they are better than Wenger when they know nary a thing about how football works…

  14. For all the crap saying Wenger dont know how to buy defenders.. I think its quite easily said that we have the best 2 buys of the season contender in the team.. And they both are defenders!

    About Den, after holding the midfield together last season without any experience guiding him, for almost the whole season.. in his first season.. its already show how immerse he is. Only the blinds choose not to see in favor for more money go out from the bank >.>

    I even earmarked him for the 3rd spot in CM position alongside Cesc and Sam/TRos in the beginning of the season. Then Sam got injured before season starts and get replaced by Song .. and then Den himself got injured later on >.<

    I'll be honest that I think that Abou was on his last chance this season tho. Glad he managed to prove himself.

  15. Have always liked Denilson,really pleased to see him score ANOTHER great goal and back it up with fine performance.
    Almunia also kept us in the race with a BRILLIANT penalty save!That should see him nicely through to the CL final at the end of the season.
    Keep it up lads!Almunia,Eboue,Diaby,Song,Denilson,Bendtner,Clichy,Walcott and even Sylvestre (ex-ManU,I somehow can’t seem to shrug that off) have all received unfair and overthetop critcism but are proving the detractors wrong.They are ALL our and Wenger’s lads,we must give them 100% trust so that they can deliver the goods.

  16. Entirely agree with you Walter and also point out all these players and Arsenal fans everywhere, owe a debt of gratitude to Wenger. A more caring and nurturing soul would be difficult to find anywhere. To stick by your young players when conventional wisdom said you shold have got rid of most of them seasons ago is i think the mark of a man you would follow to the ends of the earth. Quite apart from his rare financial good sense!

  17. Folks regarding Almunia…more than the penalty save….i think it was his save of Carlton Cole’s shot which was what kept us in the game.

    I think he just got his fingertips to it otherwise it was a certain goal. The ref missed it and did not give a corner…but check out Almunia celebrating when the ball hit the bar…he knew he had kept us in the game.

    Looking forward to the next game


  18. That’s why I love this site. True Arsenal supporters backing the team through the good AND the bad times. as Zack pointed out earlier there are some sites like ‘le grove’ (cough! spit!)who would quite happily sell every player who has a bad game. Hell they even sensor anyone who speak out againts their vitriolic bile as I found out after a recent blog. Thank god they only represent a small minority of fans.
    Keep up the good work chaps.
    Come on you goooners.

  19. According to Denilson scored 4 in the league, 1 in CL (Standard), 1 in Fa cup (Stoke).
    In the league it was Everton (wonderfull strike), free kick against Hull (wonderfull strike), Everton (deflected shot) and then West Ham (another great strike).

    So 6 goals I said, 6 goals it is and he had 21 starts this season so far.

  20. Folks,

    I’m past celebrating Denilson and all the others. We’ve been doing so in this blog and that’t what makes the blog different.

    What I am now celebrating is that Song can slot into TV’s place in the back4 and Denilson’s return to good form can ensure that Song is not missed in the midfield.

    Each next match is a step forward for the cup; nay, MUST BE A STEP FORWARD – even if the team must carry one another across the line.

  21. Walter too rgiht, I have had up to here with people giving the BOO to Denilson. I have argued with them called them twats beacuse that’s exactly what they are!

    Yes he has also improved this season even though he had few niggly injuries and only managed 21 starts this season. No one sees him run around like a headless chicken, he is still young he will come good and for those who want to boo him I suggest there is anothe club they can support just up the road if they are not happy!

  22. I guess the important thing with young players is to ensure that they learn from their mistakes, not to be humiliated and so make them again and again.

    If you look at Song, the making of him, actually, was coming on like an ‘I’m happy to get my appearance money as a sub’ cameo against the Spuds when it was 4-2. He let Jenas waltz past him without a care in the world, as if it didn’t matter, and the rest is history. Since then, he’s knuckled down, grown in confidence and authority and he gets better week by week. I can only assume M. Wenger explained to him the responsibilities of wearing an Arsenal shirt……..before picking him again, again and again to show him that he thought he was worthy of it. Don’t know what he actually did, but it worked….

    Ditto Eboue about getting sent off against the Spuds. He made two totally stupid mistakes, a lack of professionalism, not ability. Wenger didn’t transfer list him, he made him knuckle down and be more mature. The results are clear…….

    Denilson in my opinion is more of a player when Song is around than when not. He’s got the heart of a lion, really tackles hard within his stature, but it must be nice to know that this imposing lad next to you will be doing more of it than you are. He’s not necessarily going to be a Messi, but you need folks like him in your squad – you know what you get from him 30+ times a season. And each season it is getting better…….

    Diaby has an enormous box of tricks, which means that putting them together at the highest plateaus will see more mistakes and a greater pressure mentally to handle it on the days when things go wrong. Also a greater danger to equate one magnificent performance with week-in, week-out brilliance, which it’s not. He’s got pace, the ability to escape from tight corners, heading ability and tackling ability. The next 5 years will hopefully see him use it a lot. But right now we just want him to use it a lot at Birmingham.

    Despite saying that, I do think that there are times when it is justifiable for fans to let rip.

    1. If players on big wages are not trying – you are paying to watch them try 100% and hopefully win. You are not paying box office money for them to strut around like a lazy poseur or to tell the manager that they want a transfer.
    2. If players throw a match or the manager picks a team to throw a match. That’s mis-selling of tickets.
    3. If referees are being influenced by other managers, officials or owners. That’s corruption and fraud if it happens. And once referees are no longer seen to be impartial arbiters, then the whole concept of sport is dead. You’re then in the realms of international business, including bungs, commissions and planting trusties in organisations to rig contract tenders. The whole point of sport is the purity of competition played according to the rules. And if fans don’t want to uphold that, then one wonders what they do want to uphold………
    4. If managers let their petty feuds with a small group of players stop fans watching good players do their stuff. The fans expect highly paid managers and players to sort their differences out off the pitch and play for the buyers of tickets for 90 minutes. A season ticket is costed assuming a squad of players, not one depleted for non-sporting reasons (like injury, a need to rest to stop injury etc etc)…….
    5. The media wants to make up stories so has players dropped. That is fraud against fans…….

    Add any more you want to add………

    A few weeks ago, Arsenal were a combined 16pts behind the Man Utd+Chelsea positions. Now it is only 3pts. We are going in the right direction.

    Next weekend will be another big test. McLeish will want to impress his old gaffer and we all know that the Scotsman James McFadden is a good friend of Ferguson’s because Ferguson said it to the media two years ago before that fateful day, whilst Allardyce is up against his old friend. So it’s a big challenge for Arsenal to rise to. One they can and must rise to.

    All Arsenal can do is win and let the rest take its course. At the end of the day, it’s 11 against 11 at St Andrews. There may be some tough tackles. There may be some dubious refereeing decisions. There may be some bad luck.

    Arsenal must put that to one side and simply win the game.

    End of story.

  23. On the subject of the great improvement of both Eboue and Song it’s worth noting that the two other players with whom they formed a bit of a clique (Adebayor and Toure) have left the club. Coincidence? Maybe, but if it isn’t then Wenger has pulled off another masterstroke by making £40m in the transfer market and increased the value of the two remaining players (probably by a combined £20m) at a stroke.
    Once again, Arsene Knows Best

  24. Rhys – I think it’s fine for fans to have a burst of vitriol at any time, so long as they calm down afterwards and look at things more sensibly. A few weeks ago after the Porto game I had a go at Fabianski and even though I still think he played poorly, I have calmed down and no longer think he should be banished from the club. When we lose or play poorly, I think we SHOULD be mad and say bad things, however by the same token when the team plays well or wins we should also praise the players and say good things, and it is there that the difference lies between many on this board and some of the more negative Arsenal fans who are only now getting behind the team with 7 games to go in what has been a thoroughly entertaining season. I have followed the team since the mid-70’s and this has been one of the most pleasurable and exciting seasons I have witnessed and it stuns me that some fans are only now getting in on the act and seeing this. Sheer and utter blindness and stupidity in my opinion.

  25. Great article as usual Walter, and great responses too. Agree with almost all of it.

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