A Tribute to Eboue’s Hand (artist formerly known as)

Arsenal stand at a crossroads tonight heading into tonight’s crunch second-leg decider against Liverpool at Fortress Anfield™, with our season gone all Zimbabwean on us since my continued cyber-absence. I guess we’ve all learned now that Mr Jammathon is a plastic fan who is really a closet Chelsea-supporter (what can I say, Zombie managers just do it for me), but such is life.

I cannot promise this post will be followed by regular posting. We’ve pretty much ascertained that when I say I’ll post tomorrow (I’m sure I will, seeing as I’ll have a match to report on), I will get distracted by another of life’s callings. Needless to say, there have been many mitigating factors contributing to my not blogging.

These include university, family-matters, love-matters (head over heels, if we’re to be candid and if she’s reading this) as well as a few internships I’ve been sorting out with media agencies. Overriding all that, it’s been a mix of two things – ThirdGen attempting to bite off more than it can chew in the things it tried to put up on the blog; and the topic of today’s discussion: The spectre of the Arsenal-‘fan’ that has made me more than hesitant for the past few weeks to get even near the blogging tools. Heck, I didn’t even realise that WordPress have changed their layout, that’s how ‘absent’ I have been.

Yes, that Arsenal ‘fan’ that I am so bloody sick of. I’m going to sit here and lump you all into the basket. The fans who boo our own team off of their own ground, the fans who make Cesc Fabregas prefer the away support, the fans who insist on leaving those bright, shiny red Emirates’ chairs so lovingly exposed for the cameras to pick up on…

…how many times do I have to still hear that certain players are not good enough anymore? If I were to lay down my opinion here and now, I would say that there are a handful of players with no Arsenal future – through a mix of bad luck and age, Gilberto and Jens Lehmann should be leaving us come the end of the season, which is sad – Gilberto remains a gentleman with excellent conduct and sense of sportsmanship who was ousted from the side not by internal politics (as far as we know) but by Flamini’s newfound brilliance.

Jens Lehmann will forever remain a hero after his penalty save against Riquelme all those years ago, and inspite of the nasties he had to say about Almunia, will also have to leave like Gilberto – an understudy now succeeding the old incumbent.

But when it comes to the likes of Justin Hoyte, Emmanuel Eboue and (strangely) Johann Djourou, Arsenal is not going to be their happy hunting ground. Justin and Johann are lovely young men who have a gift for the game but are either not quite at the right echelon for Arsenal and/or have too many able bodies in front of them in the queue for their position.

Emmanuel is both, yet is at the front of the queue. Do not get me wrong – Eboue is an embarrassment to the side and must, must, must be shipped out at all costs – but he links interestingly into another critique I have of Arsenal’s ‘fans’.

The fans’ reviews of the recent draws with Liverpool at the Emirates saw criticisms leveled at all and sundry, it seemed. I put the limelight on two players here: Gilberto and Eboue. The latter, no blogger has yet to say, actually played well last Wednesday night. He plays well in a particular way, almost everytime he actually decides to play well – he’ll link up play, show some strength in possession around the halfway line, and then….!bam! – a dive, seemingly out of nowhere, will crop up. The team loses rhythm for a few minutes, he loses whatever rhythm he ever had, and down the drain we go.

With Gilberto – the man was a machine on Saturday. Not just in one half, in both halves. His passing was to the man, unlike previous matches where his radar has simply not functioned. He covered as best he could in front of a very leaky defence, and generally he did what his job description demanded.

Neither player blew us away with mindboggling skill or nous in their tactical placement, but they did a job (up to a point with the Ivorian). Yet again, Arsenal ‘fans’ bemoaned their very presence on the pitch in spite of their not-that-badness at the time. We’ve been ideologised into expecting better than what’s actually possible – Nietzsche would have you all for breakfast.

To the players who have outdone themselves this season – I look at Adebayor, I look at Senderos, I look at Hleb, I look at Gallas – these four players will never ever, ever please a whole host of Arsenal ‘fans’ out there irrespective of what they do. Hleb has been sensational for most of this season, but the minute he hits a low ebb of form, the knives come thrusting out in the hope he’ll be shipped off to whatever dustbin club we can find.

Senderos, despite a clean sheet at the San Siro, some lovely consistency and towering authority, is still seen (unjustifiably) as ‘I still cant help but feel Phillipe has one mistake in him per game’ – we apparently need yet another centreback to replace this bumbling fool, when the truth views Kolo Toure as the current ‘one-mistake-per-game quota enforcer.

Adebayor – I will always be a fan of yours after this season. Others will complain and moan about how hopeless you supposedly are even after scoring a minute after the very words leave the troll’s mouth. But you just cant seem to please everyone, can you? Too much of an (imagined) ego – a certain Thierry (read, almost every striker out there) has/had one of these, which is the billing for a top striker. Horrible first touch – inconsistent, more like, and the poor kid is only 23. Should be scoring three goals a match with our service – not when you have ten players behind the ball sitting against you. Why I even bothered answering that last one is beyond me.

Finally, William Gallas – the captain who wears his heart on his sleeve (HUGE plus, given he just came from Chelsea), the captain who had his contemplative moment with an advertising hoarding and St Andrew’s centre circle, the captain who is going through a lower patch than usual but who STILL improved this team so much at the beginning of the season with his kick-up-the-backside approach that we would not be anywhere near where we are at this point…is not captain material. All because of one little strop. Sure, he didnt fire the players up against Chelsea – it doesn’t work everytime. Sure, he had a cry at Birmingham, but I saw this as an incredibly good thing, unlike what the Telegraph has duped the rest of the country into thinking. Sure, he can be a bit of a tosser, but then most star performers are. He’s our captain. He’s one of the crucial reasons why we’re as high up the ladder as we are. Stick by him, you so-called ‘fans’.

The article, as you have already guessed, is a trademark rant dedicated to my favourite commentor on the blog, The Artist Formerly Known as Eboue’s Hand. I wish more fans could be like this fella – measured, bigger-picture, critical and yet supportive. Like our away support. They are the true fans. They’re the ones why Anfield is actually less daunting than the Emirates (to our own players!!!).

The match on Tuesday evening is winnable. Anfield is Anfield, yes. I hope Drakie is reading this, as we’ve had fervent arguments about the Anfield-effect. Liverpool know exactly what they have to do to go through. Thankfully, so do we, though we only know because of how talcum our defence is at the moment. We have to outscore Liverpool tomorrow, which is not as impossible task as it looks.

When the match comes around, we’ll all be writhing with tension, nerves and the faintest of hopes for the ultimate of ecstacies. I remain convinced that this team, with its demonstrated mental toughness, can blot Anfield out of their mind. If that’s the case, it can only come down to who gets their tactics and application right on the night.

Which team will it be? Smart people put their money where Liverpool sit.

I have my heart on my sleeve here. Tired as they might be, I am hoping for a Fabregas-Flamini-Hleb inspired tout at this one. Adebayor to nick the vital goal? Senderos to keep a clean sheet?

We might all be very dissapointed after this match. Maybe, just maybe, after writing ourselves off enough – we’ll just come through with a level of elation we haven’t felt since the San Siro.

Arsenal FC – prove your true fanatics right, few and far between they may be.

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17 Comments

Filed under Arsenal, Blogging, Champions League, English Premier League, Features

17 responses to “A Tribute to Eboue’s Hand (artist formerly known as)

  1. Mark

    There are some people in life who see a glass half empty and others who see the same glass as half full. That is life and why people have different opinions.

    I think we have done well this season, but would love for us to win something.

    We can win tomorrow, night, I believe we will as well.

    Players come and go, but the club and team are always there.

    I think you make some good points but if someone wants to moan let them moan.

    Just to let you know your league table has not been updated, how I wish that was the case today.

  2. El Tommo

    try writing less u might get someone to read it – i can’t be bothered with all that BS

  3. A

    Very good article, the only problem I have is your analysis of Gilberto on saturday. Defensively he was good, and helped out a tired flamini. On the ball he was still very poor, and he must have had a less than 30% pass completion rate when in the opposition half. Even in our own half he dropped deeper and deeper to pick the ball up, often level with our own defenders, and just passing it across the defense passes frequently went astray meaning defenders had to run after the ball to collect it. We may need Eboue’s direct running to open Liverpool’s defense. Fabregas and Hleb are exhausted, though hopefully the latter will be a bit fresher from his rest on saturday. We may have to rely on another set piece to get the all important goal.

  4. JamJam

    people like you make football boring!

  5. Rob

    We could beat the scousers but the problem is our squad have reached the end of their endurance because it is so thin! Lately, anyone except AW can see that the players have nothing left in them. I was surprised he played Flamini and Fabregas as long as he did on Saturday when both looked like they would drop at any time. Our season went pearshaped when we donated the FA 4th final to Man U.

  6. mike

    you expect a man who has struggled for the past 8 games is it, to score the winner, your problem is trying to be mr nice,mr reasonable , mr ballance and put down any arsenal fan who has their eyes open and understand that just because you happen to be a nice chasp doesnt mean to say that you cannot be critisised. I happen to agree with most of what you have to say unfortunatly you fail to see that you are over compensating by getting so obviously angry.Wenger got it wrong again against liverpool, the same way he got it wrong against man utd in the f.a cup, pretty much the same team, hoyte, triorre, gilberto, now that may be a few players to satisfy yopu but not me they are not good enough for a team that says it wants to dominate , and while im at it niether is the flamster, as good as hes been, just like at left back a couple of seasons ago, he is not tallented enough, can you see him being first choice at Man utd, chelsea, liverpool, madrid (either), barca, inter, no. he might just get into the juve squad. but he does for arsenal. WE got a lot that try but a lot that just are not good enough, but you insist on closing yours eyes because we are not supposed to say , hey thats not good enough. for me we are all arsenal fans. i suggest, and i may be wrong cause im only going on what you have to say,that closing your eyes to a problem dont let them go away. So stop having a go at the fans for the likes of aboo boo, abby, gilberto, ect cause we love this club as much as you do, and we have a voive as much as you do as well, a voice which you obviously find difficult to understand, or maybe you just happen to think the same. Come on you reds

  7. Trennon

    Most Arsenal fans it seems are only happy reading the negative BS that is floating around the internet these past few weeks. I enjoyed reading your article. I too am extremely proud of what this team has done this season. I remember listening to all the Spurs hype before the season started and I will admit that after they spent millions I started to doubt our chances. 5th, 6th if we are lucky! Well look at us now! And who knows? Win our next 2 and we will start to believe again. Mark my words, we will believe! Go Gunneres Go!!!!!!

  8. Trennon

    Mike I agree and commend you for your comments. We do have the right to critisize. When we spend money on a shirt as small as it is, we are investing money into the club we love. We are also investing our health. God know I have probably lost a few months of my life these last few weeks. I think the problem is not the critisism but hate. Yes a lot of Arsenal comments I have read lately reak of hate towards our boys. I dont care what I think of him but when he pulls on the red and white he is given a new opportunity to shine for us. Support the team not the result!
    BTW! Flamini not good enough? If Cesc, Ade and Hleb had his energy we would be winning more.

  9. Scooch

    Good article.

    I’ve said on a few blogs recently that some of the so called “fans” of Arsenal are what comes from our team being so successful and becoming a world class club.

    Most of the fans that demand silverware, whether league title, Champs League or FA cup can’t have been fans for very long. There seems to be a lot of people who expect us to win something every year. This becomes harder what with the Premiership competition becoming harder. And when you take into account the spending power of the other “top 3” clubs…. We’re guaranteed nothing.

    As long as we play the great football that Wenger has us playing then the silverware will eventually come.

    Moving on to tomorrow…. I think we’ll get through. Everyone in the media will have you think that going to Anfield and getting a result is impossible. Is it anymore impossible that winning in the San Siro? Or the Bernabeu? No I don’t think it is.

    Our team are knackered. I almost wish that United would’ve won yesterday (well not really, but you know what I mean!) as then the title would’ve been pretty much gone and we could concentrate on winning the CL.

    My other problem is that what with the Euro Champs coming up at the end of the season players like Cesc, Flam, Gallas et al aren’t gonna get a decent rest before next season.

    Sorry for the long post there El Tommo, I’m sure you have more exciting things to read about, Twat!!!

  10. Scooch

    Mike???

    Flamini not good enough???

    Are you tripping???

    Him, Cesc and Hleb have been our best players this season. And I’d be surprised if he’s not in the “all star” team at the end of the season.

    And whereas you definitely have the right to criticise players, what you have to remember is that no team is unbeatable (yeah ok, apart from that team, but even they lost after 49 games). Your time would be much better spent cheering the team on and discussing our problems than shouting about how AW gets it constantly wrong!!!

    Saying that….How did Wenger get it wrong on saturday? Yes Traore and Hoyte aren’t the greatest players in the world, but what was he gonna do???

    The one thing that saturday did show is that the depth of our squad probably hasn’t come on this season. Players like Hoyte and Traore have stayed at the same level as last seaosn and not progressed as much as we’d all hoped.

  11. P k

    Although a little wordy, some of the stuff you’ve mentioned is so close to the truth it’s unreal. This has caused me to actually post a reply to a blog.

    Eboue’s has complete ON and complete OFF games, although still fails to be a goalscoring winger.

    Gilberto, although has been dire in past games this season, had an amazing game on Sat.

    Senderos, pretty solid at the back, his current form is very good and doesn’t deserve any slating he currently gets.

    Adebayor, the ego did really get the better of him after his scoring run. Started demanding everything go through him, whinging to other players about service when sometimes it was his own fault (his first touch), etc. But in recent games he’s started going back to his old self, working extremely hard for the team in the opposition’s half of the field. He’s even been crossing the ball in quite a lot in the past few games?

    Gallas, I also saw the whole ‘sulking-on-pitch’ thing as a positive thing. Ridiculing other players on the pitch was inexcusable, but I’m the whole thing has made him realise he needs to be stronger emotionally as a captain.

    Hleb, awesome season but does really need to take his scoring opportunities when he gets them. Still has a habit of passing the ball to play someone else in when he is in the perfect scoring position. On Sat, I recall one chance, towards the end(?) where he took it to his left from a cross, when one on one with Reina.

    The other players:

    Almunia – awesome form lately.
    Clichy – the difference between Traore (who had a good game by all accounts) was like night and day. Crossing was 10x better.
    Fabregas – some usual very high standard passing, but the odd dodgy ball is occuring.
    Flamini – obviously top stuff from him in recent games
    Van Persie – quite obviously NOT match fit
    Bendtner – what on earth was he doing with that back heel (or whatever it is), else had a really good game on Sat, getting into good positions with some good passing. Think he and Adebayor should start tomorrow
    Walcott – Awesome recent form, not sure why the rest of the team seemed to have against passing to him on Wednesday? He made good space for himself and was constantly calling for the ball, yet the other players just seemed to ignore him and play an illogical ball that resulted in a loss of possession. A truely good winger who should be starting every game. Pace, ability and goalscoring.

    Saturday was a game we should have won. The time Gerrard and Torres were on, they still posed a threat and had some half chances, but it just seemd like the players had tactically sorted Liverpool’s little system (of Gerrard and Torres) out.

    Tomorrow will be a tough game but Arsenal always seem to come out on the crunch games. It’s just the REALLY crunch games that’s the question :p

  12. Dave

    YESSSSS……sell Eboué, PLEASE!!!
    The other thing that this season has shown us is that the squad isn´t big, or strong enough. Whenever you look at our substitute´s bench you don´t see any match-winner there; no-one who can turn the game around. Whereas Man Utd and Chelsea have benches packed with genuine first-team players.
    We have, supposedly, in excess of 70 million pounds in the transfer kitty and even though Arsène doesn`t like spending money on players or their wages surely we can afford 3 or 4 good ´uns for that money?

  13. Hansen

    Great article.

    Contrary to what that dickhead of a man JamJam commented previously, this kind of article just makes me and a lot of other people love arsenal and football even more. We can do this, our boys may not seem to be ‘good enough’ to so many people who think they are apparently more qualified than Wenger, sure everyone’s entitled to their own opinions but right now it is the boss’s word that counts most. Wenger, to my delight, has proved us wrong so many times before, let’s hope he does it again tomorrow. We can win this thing, we can beat Liverpool, and we will have a successful season.

    Come on you red and whites!!!!!

  14. GIDEON mpagi

    U GUYS U HAVE MADE ME LOVE THE TEAM THE MORE.WE HAVE ACHIEVED ALOT THAN ANY ONE THOUGHT WE WOULD.IN UGANDA WERE I LIVE,MAN U FOOLS HAVE SHOUTED ALOT BUT PLIZ I OPE OUR BOYS SILENCE THEM 2MORO AND ON DA WIK END.LONG LIVE ARSENAL!!!! we shall eva stay royal 2 u coz u have always made us proud of u.

  15. Agree with you on most of it mate and glad to have you back. I’ve been supporting Gallas and Ade on my blog as well through all of the bashing. Eboue really is crap though. Not blaming him for all of our poor results by any means but I feel Walcott has to be a better option at this point.

    Players of the Season for me are Adebayor, Sagna, and Flamini. Let’s hope we pull it off tonight. Up the Gunners!

  16. the artist formerly known as eboue's hand

    oh man I can’t believe a post was dedicated to me! Cheers Jammathon, you speaketh the truth as always. Just moping round the various blogs at a stupidly late hour trying to find something to make me feel even a little better after what I’ve just watched and you’ve managed to do it. Not by feeding my ego, just by making sense as usual. To those who think there are too many nasty things like ‘words’ on this blog I suggest you subscribe to Junior Gunners magazine, it should have lots of lovely pictures for you, perhaps even a colour-in one of the Gunnersaurus!
    So Jammathon, keep trying to post whenever you get the chance and good luck with the other stuff that’s keeping you busy.

    Wonder if we could rig any online polls to get Bacary Sagna voted Man of the Year…?

  17. garth

    great article,

    don’t be put off my a minority of morons,

    I’ve been banned from a certain blog for politely suggesting that their slagging off of certain players and the manager was a bit ott,

    we would be better off without the kind of fan that boos his own players, that doesn’t support the team properly, they should go and support Chelsea,

    keep it up,

    1979gooner, anotherarsenalblog.blogspot.com