Arsenal after Valencia setback

By Myles Palmer

LEEDS beat Deportivo, as I predicted.

MAN UTD lost twice to Bayern, as I predicted.

VALENCIA got that second half goal, as I feared.

LIVERPOOL beat Barcelona 1-0 with a penalty after a silly Kluivert handball.I always thought that if Liverpool could beat Arsenal 4-0 they could beat Barca.

I enjoyed last night’s Liverpool-Barcelona battle.The first half seemed to last 15 minutes and half time seemed to last 45 minutes – thanks to Gary,Alan andMark !

So this Online Pundit of the Week is giving himself 3.5 out of 4 on his Euro-predictions.

Valencia away was like Bayern away : Canizares was NOT TESTED just as Kahn was NOT TESTED.

Friends who were in the Mestalla have phoned and e-mailed. Everyone thinks Kanu should have started. Everyone thinks Wiltord and Henry cannot play together.

Did he leave Kanu out because he had had a poor season?Because he knows Kanu will not be at Arsenal next season? Because he has done nothing since his agent’s outburst, saying he should be in the team? Because Kanu missed an early chance and two headers against Middlesbrough?

Seaman on the goal? In 1994 he would have caught that header with one hand. In 1996 he would have been there waiting for it. In 1998 he would have read it and pushed it round the post. He’s 37 and six four and he doesn’t get down as quickly as he did. Simple as that.

Losing to Valencia is a setback, nothing more.They have to learn from it and move on.

Arsenal scraped into the last eight of the Champions League and were not good enough to go further.But they are improving, even if they did only draw 1-1 with Lyon at Highbury.

They can give anybody a game but they can’t beat anybody in the top five. They’ve been two players short all season : Edu and a centre forward.

Wiltord is a useful player but not a £12.5 million striker. Where is Tomas, the striker who can head the ball?

Does he have a dodgy passport? I think we should be told.

What is Wenger’s future? Will he commit to Arsenal beyond 2002?If not, how can he sign new players on four year contracts if he will not be here himself?

I’m reliably informed the club are talking to big-hearted Darren Purse of Birmingham.

A Walthamstow boy, a good centreback. At last Wenger is going to sign an English player, I hope.Arsenal need a lot more of the Ashley Cole spirit.

Vieira’s comments about new players being needed? Roy Keane admits, “This team isn’t good enough”. I’m sure both players are speaking with His Masters Voice. Both are saying things that Arsene and Fergie cannot say in public.

Second place will be achieved.

Cardiff? They won’t beat Liverpool playing as wastefully they did against Spurs in the semi.

And they certainly won’t beat Liverpool playing as dimly as they did in Valencia. If Bergkamp is fit and plays at 95% of his best form, Arsenal have a fair chance. If he’s not playing, forget it.

19th April 2001.