Right, we’ll start with the football and tonight we travel to Elland Road for the FA Cup 3rd round replay.
We got out of jail at the last minute in the first game and we’re going to have to see a performance much more like the one we saw at Upton Park on Saturday if we want to progress. At the weekend the team’s attitude was spot on, prompting more claims from our players that this was the ‘real’ Arsenal and how we’d turned a corner.
Frankly, those kinds of statements – after just one game – seem a bit premature given our capacity to revert to the most annoying version of ourselves at any moment. Robin van Persie, however, is honest enough, saying:
Those two cup games were not good enough, but against West Ham, everyone played really well and were fighting for each other, This game is vital because we have a big chance.
A win tonight and it’s a 4th round tie against Huddersfield next weekend. I expect changes to the side although perhaps not as many as we saw for the first game. I think Gibbs will play at left-back, we might see Chamakh and Arshavin come in, perhaps Bendtner and Denilson too, but to be honest I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the same midfield that started against West Ham started tonight. It was from there we built the platform for the win and as well as that there’s more creativity than any of the alternatives.
Despite the manager bigging-up Robin van Persie I don’t think he’s going to start. I wouldn’t mind seeing it but from what AW said about keeping him fresh, and bearing in mind his injury record, I think he’s going to start on the bench tonight, to be called upon if needed. Hopefully he won’t be required.
Again I’ll point to guys on the fringes who have to come in and do a job. The manager talks all the time about how he doesn’t have a first team, just good players, but there’s too much of a gulf between what appears to be our first choice XI and those outside of that. Those players have to show that they’re as good as the manager says they are. And let’s face it, for the most part we’re not talking about kids here. We’re talking experienced, mature international players who should be more than capable of doing the job tonight.
For me it all boils down to attitude. If we go out tonight and want this game then we’ll win it. We’re a better team than Leeds and although they’re at home with nothing to lose in a cup tie, we should win this. If we show the desire and spirit we did on Saturday, if we’re willing to scrap and fight, then I’m confident we can progress in this competition. We have to add consistency and show that performances like West Ham aren’t just a result of intense criticism after previous poor ones. That should be our level in every game, at the very least in terms of effort and hard work.
Anything less than that and Leeds are capable of taking advantage as we saw in the last game. They’re doing well in the Championship, we simply cannot underestimate them or, most importantly, over-estimate ourselves. That kind of hubris has cost us far too often and I do not want to see repeat of that tonight. Nevertheless, I’m confident that we can go there and get the right result tonight. I think it’ll be a bit tasty but then cup football often is.
If you’re working later or don’t have coverage of the game you can join me for the live blog from around 7.30 – check back later for another post on the blog with all the details.
Now, last night I published an interview with Denilson, carried out by my pals at Arsenal Brasil on January 5th (before the Leeds game). He seems to be nice lad, he spoke about coming to England at the age of 18, getting used to life in England, his career at Arsenal so far, his plans and ambitions for the future and he spoke honestly and intelligently.
The only time it got a little bit ‘controversial’ is when he was asked about the perceived lack of leadership on the pitch. He said:
I think that we lack leadership and without leadership we can’t move forward. You can walk forward a bit but then the same thing that’s happened will happen again. These things make us very sad but I don’t see a player at Arsenal who is a real leader. I can’t see a single one. Even if Fabregas is the captain, but he is not a leader to me.
He qualifies that by saying it’s more of a collective effort, and I think he’s trying to talk about the kind of ‘natural leader’, maybe in the Tony Adams mould, but he does go on to say the team needs a leader and he can’t see one within the current squad. Those comments are somewhat incongruous compared with the rest of the interview – which is interesting but in no way controversial.
He’s asked about the goalkeepers and that could easily have been a hot-potato but he handles it well. The leadership comments will draw a lot of attention however. Make of them what you will. I suppose they’re a bit ill-advised, one can only hope he’s not made himself clear, but he that doesn’t tally with the rest of what he says. He seems fairly sure of himself.
It’s a shame that he doesn’t see Cesc or van Persie or Vermaelen as leaders. Perhaps we might see one or two players take on more responsibility in that regard – and it ought to be pointed out that he too can do something about this leadership problem – but we’ll have to wait and see what happens. I don’t see it being a massive issue, anyway, I’ll let you make up your own minds after watching the video.
Now, despite the fact this video was produced by Arsenal Brasil and exclusive rights for the English translation were given to Arseblog, I woke up this morning to discover that on The Sun’s website they’ve claimed at as an exclusive of their own. I’m not linking to it but here’s a screenshot.
The Sun purchased the content without the knowledge of Arsenal Brasil, or Arseblog, from a 3rd party
Neither I, nor Arsenal Brasil, have any problem at all with people using part of the interview. In fact, we welcome it, but it’s only right to expect attribution of the source. We’re asking for nothing other than a few words.
“In an interview with Arsenal Brasil and carried on Arseblog, Denilson said ….” – not difficult, unless you’re trying to take credit for somebody else’s work.
I know how hard the guys at Arsenal Brasil have worked to arrange that interview, to film it, edit it, provide me (and in return you) with English subtitles. Charlie Wyett and The Sun [obtained the content via a 3rd party]. If I nicked something from another blog without a link back or at least saying where I got it from I would rightly be hauled over the coals for it. Just because it’s in the public domain does not mean it’s fair game.
This ignorance of how things work online is why Murdoch’s online efforts are so half-baked and unsuccessful. Compare and contrast to The Mirror who, despite also being a tabloid, understand there’s some etiquette involved. Ok, they give Robbie Savage a column but their writers, their Twitter accounts etc engage with their followers and readers. When necessary they credit the websites/blogs (at least in my experience) and while from an Arsenal perspective you might not always agree with guys like John Cross he’s always available and willing to talk – despite the fact that many interactions on Twitter lack basic manners.
So, The Sun will be getting an invoice from Arseblog and Arsenal Brasil for unauthorised reproduction of this content – in light of further information, they will not. If Murdoch wants people to pay for his content then I don’t think it’s unreasonable for me to expect him to pay for mine. Charlie Wyett will, I’m sure, be sent many messages on his Twitter but I would urge anyone doing so to remain polite and mannerly. Asking him to explain himself is fine, calling him a pilfering cunt might would not be accurate.
I will, of course, keep you up to date with this.
Update: And here’s why one fucker selling other people’s content without their knowledge makes a big difference. ESPN run the Denilson story and credit, yes, The Sun. As do IM Scouting. Football 365 run it with no attribution (corrected: they new credit Arseblog and Arsenal Brasil). Goal, supreme content scrapers themselves, credit The Sun.
Disappointing to see a number of Arsenal websites and blogs run the story with the incorrect attribution as well.
Nice one, Charlie.
In other quick news The Mirror reports that Arsene’s top centre-half target is Chris Samba while on the official site the boss says he’s had lots of offers of centre-halves but none of them are the right man. Yet. I think it goes back to what I was saying the other day. He can either buy a stopgap kind of player or decide one of the four centre-halves we have is expendable and make the kind of purchase that can add something to the squad in the medium-long term.
I suspect that’s what’s causing him to think more than finding a player who can do a job in the circumstances we find ourselves in. Let’s hope he makes a decision soon.
Right, that’s about that, a bit long this morning but there you go. Have a good day, catch you all later for the live blog.