When is Gilberto coming back?



By Myles Palmer

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Spurs 4 Arsenal 5

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Naybet 37

Henry 45

Lauren 55 (pen)

Vieira 60

Defoe 61

Ljungberg 69

King 74

Pires 81

Kanoute 88

THIS carnival of blunders was a sobering experience.

Especially for somebody who has predicted that Arsenal will win back-to-back titles.

Arsenal need the big man back. And I’m not talking about Sol.

Gilberto is needed. With Gilberto, they never concede four goals.

Arsenal really need Gilberto and Sol back for December, but that may not be possible.

HERE IT IS, blunder by blunder.

1-0 COLE MISTAKE. Carrick’s takes a free kick, King barges Vieira under the ball, and Naybet is left unmarked at the far post to slam in a low shot. Where was Cole? Where was anybody?

1-1 KING MISTAKE. Henry does well to control Lauren’s long ball into the box, King allows him to shovel in a shot as he sits down. Great opportunism by Thierry on a goal that is a bit like Lineker’s v West Germany in 1990

1-2 KING MISTAKE, PAMAROT MISTAKE.

King brushes the ball out of Robinson’s hands as he is about to kick it, then Pamarot makes a silly tackle on Ljungberg in the box.

Henry, again, does not take then penalty. Mr Cool of Cameroon slots it.

1-3 NAYBET MISTAKE. He allows Vieira to disposses him and sprint through to beat Robinson in style.Great goal.

2-3 TOURE MISTAKE. After Defoe leaves Lauren on his hands and knees, Toure, incredibly, moves away from him towards the right back position, leaving Defoe a clear avenue to advance into the box.

Defoe says, “Thanks very much!” He zips forward and whips a fierce shot into the top corner. Another great goal.

2-4 NAYBET MISTAKE. A lovely Arsenal move breaks down but Fabregas wins the ball back off the sloppy Naybet and finds Ljungberg with a clever reverse pass.Great goal again.

On the left, Freddie is better. He scored and won a penalty on the left side.

3-4 TOURE MISTAKE. Another Carrick free-kick. By the time Toure jumps, Kings header is already in the back of the net.

3-5 KING MISTAKE, PAMAROT MISTAKE.

Ljungberg crosses to Henry in the box and he holds off King, whose attempts to stop him are comically inept. Henry feeds Pires, a sub, who has been left unmarked by Pamarot, and Pires slips the ball under Robinson’s elbow.

4-5 HENRY MISTAKE. Henry has the ball five yards inside his own half, King is bearing down on him, but three yards away, he hits an awful crossfield ball to Ziegler, whose pass allows sub Kanoute to volley past Lehmann.

End of farce.

Last week I said Ledley King was “a marvellous centreback.”

But King and Naybet were appalling in this game.

Tottenham’s best player was Michael Brown, Arsenal’s best was Ljungberg.

And Lauren had a good game.

JOSE MOURINHO said that such scorelines are a joke.

I agree.

Mourinho is having a ball.

He’s never had so much attention, so much money, so much financial backing.

We are now 13 games into a 38-game marathon. And almost everybody thinks Chelsea will win the league.

For sure,loadsamoney Abramovich has moved the goal posts.

Mourinho has a strong method and a strong squad, so Chelsea is becoming like AC Milan in the early Nineties and Mourinho is starting to look like another Capello.

Football is about method, fundamentally, so a strong method is always good, even if you don’t have top international players.

Everton do OK with average players because their method is strong.

We shall see on the 12th.

Arsenal v Chelsea is on Sunday, December 12th.

WAYNE ROONEY is a supercool competitor

United won 3-1 at Newcastle with Rooney scoring the first goal and the third.

And Roo created mayhem in the box for the second goal, a penalty which Nastelrooy converted.

Shearer complained bitterly about Roo’s shove on centreback Andy O’Brien, just before he crossed and keeper Given brought down Scholes.

Shearer said he saw the push from 50 yards away but the ref missed it from 15.

It was a subtle, tiny push, measured to perfection, an instinctively crafty minor foul.

Rooney is a heavyweight talent whose centre of gravity is lower than a rhino’s.

He can bulldoze through tackles that would knock taller strikers over. And he can hold opponents off, while controlling the ball tightly and thinking two moves ahead.

LEAGUE LEADERS BARCELONA lost to Betis in Seville, by 2-1.

Barca couldn’t score in the first half, Betis defended well, and exploited a couple of breaks.

The finale was exciting and showed the mettle of Rijkaard’s team.

Deco, Eto’o, Larsson, ands Ronaldinho went in fiercely for every 50-50 ball after their attacks broke down.

Midfielder Marquez, once a centreback, was superb.

In adversity, Barca demonstrated maximum passion. If you are gonna lose, lose like that.

Next Saturday night, Barcelona play Real Madrid

Biggest club game of the season so far.

More of a contest than Arsenal v West Brom.

November 15th 2004