Spyin' Kop: Arsenal at the Emirates (12th November, 2006)

Posted by WorldChampions on November 9, 2006, 04:25:43 PM

With both Arsenal and Liverpool going well in the Champions League and having qualified for the quarter-finals of the League Cup this week, the serious business of the Premiership comes into focus this Sunday with our first meeting at the new Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal v Liverpool
Sunday November 12th
Emirates Stadium, London
Kick Off: 4pm
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Newcastle)

After a poor start to the season with the Gunners failing to win any of their first three matches, Wenger's team went on a winning streak in the League which only came to an end in a surprising 1-1 home draw with Everton. This was quickly followed by Sunday's shock defeat at Upton Park. The much publicised touchline spat between Wenger and Pardew following Harewood's late winner has dominated the headlines this week, even if the normally erudite Frenchman has refused to all comment on the issue.

Despite the controversy and recent poor results, Arsenal are defending an unbeaten home League record at the new stadium, and boss Arsene Wenger has not seen his side suffer back-to-back Premiership defeats in over nine months.

The last five League games between the sides have been won by the home club. The Gunners won 2-1 in the most recent match when a dreadful late backpass by Gerrard allowed Thierry Henry to score the winner, and his second, in our final visit to Highbury.

The Reds notched a fifth successive win and a third clean sheet in a row in all competitions with Wednesday's 1-0 victory at Birmingham in the Carling Cup, with Daniel Agger smashing home the only goal from close range. However our form away from home in the Premiership this season has been dreadful. We've managed just one point out of a possible 15, with that coming from an opening day 1-1 draw at newly promoted Sheffield United. We haven't scored in four games on the road since, losing at Everton, Chelsea, Bolton and Manchester United.

Our last away win against Arsenal was on 13 February 2000, when Titi Camara was on target in the 0-1 triumph.

We've taken a trip over to Arsenal Mania to ask some of their fans for their thoughts ahead of the game.

How has the season been shaping up so far?

Allyboy: Been a bit of a roller coaster so far, we started off slowly, then had an Old Trafford victory inspired good run of form, but the wheels have gone off the wagon a tad recently. It has shown what a lot of us suspected that at our best we are as good as anyone, but lack the experience and consistancy to win the league

Drthorne1: It's been a tale of up's and downs but show's promise to be a happy ending

Seabass: It could be better. We had a tough start, and we're now trying to come out of a scoring slump, but I think we'll turn it around before long. We had a good run of wins that showed what we're capable of, so I think the future is bright.

What did you expect coming into the season after a great run in the Champions League? And a few months in have they changed?

Allyboy: 3rd place and good cup runs. Nothing has changed.

Drthorne1: If you were to offer me 3rd in the league before the season began the i would have bitten your arm off, I think were getting stronger and next year we should challenge for top honours

Seabass: I expected great quality in the team, but not the necessary consistency of a team like Chelsea. I can't say I'm shocked by some of our results, but it's certainly been a disappointment. The performances against CSKA Moscow were pretty depressing, as I was hoping to have been qualified for the knockout rounds of the CL by now, but we've still got a great shot to qualify. I still expect a decent run in all the cups, and at least a top 4 finish in the league.

Do you have a particular memory of any previous meeting between our clubs? Say something that happened to you that day or a decision you disagreed with?

Allyboy: My first trip to Anfield in November 2004 and seeing the best and worst of Liverpool's fans that day. For 90 minutes your fans were silent and a total disappoint to what I had heard about your atmosphere. Then Mellor scored in the last minute and I have never heard a crowd as noisy. Having 40,000 scousers singing "You will never walk alone" at full volume at the end was an amazing (but depressing) experience. Of course there was an accident on the M6 which meant I didn't get home to 3am as well!

Tony Montana: Arsenal 4 - Liverpool 2 in the 2003/04 season at Highbury. I couldn't go to the game but the relief, joy and drive we showed that day was great. Out of the FA Cup and CL we thought we would muck the whole season up but Thierry Henry showed why he was the best player in the world at that time.

Seabass: Gerrard's back-pass last season sticks out in my mind, as it was so recent and I was watching the game with my friend who's a die-hard Liverpool fan. Other than that, one of my most prominent Arsenal/Liverpool memories is the couple of games we played against each other within a few weeks of each other around Christmas '01 I think. Freddie Ljungberg scored the exact same goal in each game, and in one we won 2-1 with 10 men. That was a big game.

Drthorne1: I remember a very famous incident that involved the Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler, he went down in the Arsenal area and told the ref that he tripped and not to give a penalty, Well played Robbie (Even though the penalty was given anyway, was it Graham Poll ??)

Are you settling into the new stadium well? Any major gripes? What's the atmosphere like?

Allyboy: Everyone, the team included is taking time to adapt to it. It is a magnificant venue but its not home yet. Atmopshere is pretty rubbish in general, but there have been hints it could be rocking for big matches........ if we are winning them!!

Drthorne1: It’s going to take time for the Fans to really feel at home and allot of the stewards seem to have to gone to a Gestapo training academy but apart from that its a wonderful new home.

Seabass: Haven't been

How are the new summer singings settling in?

Tony Montana: I think all in all they have settled in quite nicely. I feel that Rosicky has learnt our style of play very well and there seems to be a good understanding between him and the other players as if he has been playing at Arsenal for a couple of years already unlike Reyes. His main problem, however, is his composure in front of goal. He should have scored against the Hammers and that miss against CSKA was ridiculous. William Gallas has been excellent for us and he obviously loves playing for a proper club with proper fans as his celebration showed at the end of the game against the Mancs earlier this season. We haven't seen much of Baptista but he should help us with the physicality when it is needed.

Allyboy: Rosicky (barring missing open goals!) has settled in like he has always been here, he is a fine addition to the team. Gallas often looks lazy but his performances are generally good. Baptista has barely played yet, but we expect a lot from him having chased him for over a year!

Drthorne1: Rosicky and Gallas have been great buy's for us and they will only improve as the season goes on.

Seabass: Rosicky and Gallas settled immediately, and I expect them to keep improving with the rest of the team. I'm looking forward to seeing Baptista get a good run of games, as we've not had much of a chance to see him so far.

Much was made about Theo Walcott's inclusion in the England World Cup squad, what did you make of it and how good do you think he really is?

Allyboy: He should not have gone, but the stick the kid got for it was ridiculous. Blame numptey Sven not Theo! He is clearly talented but is a lot rawer than we might have hoped. He is still an outstanding prospect though.

Drthorne1: I think it was a huge gamble that could've paid off, but Sven is a donut and I don't want to think about the world cup because it makes me angry.

Tony Montana: I think he can hold his own in a Premier League game but Wayne Rooney he is not. He's a bit small and still visibly looks like a kid. I think he sometimes lacks the strength needed for the top flight or first team football but he still looks quality. In the England u-17s (or u-18s or u-19s-can't remember) he was fantastic against Germany, scoring a great goal. But maybe that's his level at the moment. And ultimately that's why I think he shouldn't have gone to the world cup. We took only four strikers and one of them had no real experience at that level whatsoever. He was Theo Walcott. I think Eriksson was trying to get rid of the criticism that he is boring, too safe and uninventive and so he brought in Walcott. It's obvious that he didn't believe in him because he would have played him. I also hope Walcott doesn't become in love with himself.

There are people trying to make him look like some kind of stud and quite frankly, he's just a 17 year old boy.

Seabass: I think it was a gamble by Sven, but ultimately, he didn't have the guts to play him, which is a shame. However, I think it was a good experience for Walcott, which will serve him well in the future. In my opinion, he's the real deal, and could very well be England's most important player by the next World Cup, or maybe Euro 2012.

What did you make of the goings on of last weekend's match against West Ham, the coin throwing, Wenger throwing his toys out of the pram etc?

Allyboy: Storm in a tea cup, the FA should concentrate on Jensen and Van Persie being hit by coins rather than pandering to Sky Sports need for sensationalism!

Tony Montana: I think Wenger's reaction to the game was wrong. Full stop. That is, unless Pardew said something out of order. Nothing, however, is confirmed about that. He should have shaken hands with Pardew especially because he himself said that he would always shake the opponents hand when Mourinho refused to so so at Highbury last year. The pushing and shoving was actually the pressure getting to Wenger. He knows our title hopes are either gone or very slim now given the Mancs's form and Chelsea hardly ever slipping up. Wenger is a bad winner but then again at least he's showing passion. He's just showing it in the wrong way.He was also probably fustrated about some of the decisions not going is way like the Hleb incident in the second half.

Correct me if i'm wrong but Sky Sports are also acting like c**nts. They are probably repeating the incident on Sky Sports news again and again just to make sure that the FA will act (and they have) yet they don't mention the coin throwing incident at Van Persie...again and again. Pathetic.

Drthorne1: It was nothing, Wenger should come and have a night out with me in Rotherham it will be Chairs and tables that he needs to watch out for not coins.

Seabass: Much ado about nothing. Of course, the coin-throwing should be looked into, but the spat between Wenger and Pardew was an overflow of emotion, nothing more. I think everyone involved just wants to forget it and move on.

Where do you expect Arsenal and Liverpool to finish in the Premier League?

Allyboy: Arsenal 3rd, Liverpool 4th. Probably not much in it.

Seabass: My best guess would be Arsenal in 3rd and Liverpool in 4th, but it wouldn't surprise me to see those positions reversed. Either team might be capable of pulling off 2nd, but it'll be tough.

Drthorne1: Arsenal 3rd, Liverpool 4th. But its going to be close

Tony Montana: I think we will both finish in the top four, or at least I hope Arsenal do. I can't see either side winning the league.

Which Liverpool player will you fear the most?

Tony Montana: Steven Gerrard

Allyboy: Anyone who can score from set pieces as we can't defend them for toffee. So most of your team then!

Drthorne1: Robbie Fowler because that B**** always scores against us.

Seabass: Stevie G. without a doubt. The day that the England manager realizes the team should be built around him will be the day that England finally turns the corner. Hopefully, it won't be too late. The guy is capable of brilliance at any point, and those players are always the most dangerous.

And last but not least any predictions for Sunday?

Allyboy: 1-1.

Drthorne1: Yeah me drinking far to much and beer and going home with a 76 year old called Edith.. Oh you mean the football err 3-0.

Seabass: I'd guess 2-1 Arsenal. It should be a fairly tight game, but there are plenty of talented players who can turn a game on their own.

Tony Montana: I reckon we will draw, probably 1-1. We are lacking some fire power up front and we won't score more than one unless Liverpool really open up.

Special thanks to everyone at Arsenal Mania for their help, in particular Seabass, Allyboy, Drthorne1 and Tony Montana. Lots of good answers. Was just a shame I couldn't fit them all in.

Check out the thread on their forum if you fancy reading all the replies.

© Worldchamps 2006

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