AZ thoughts/App review

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Points dropped, not a big deal

I was very close to lauding Alex Song to the heavens last night when he dropped his guard – as to be honest did the rest of the Arsenal defence – in the 93rd minute, enabling AZ Alkmaar to equalise.

He did have a terrific game, but he’s not the polished gem we would yet have him to be, even though his improvement has been spectacular. It’s easy to forget how metronomically average he had been before the middle of last season – when he took a magic potion – so I’d rather big him up than little him down.

And he was hardly the only culprit. Sagna today admitted that “tonight we switched off because we thought maybe that the game was over and they scored a nice goal.”

“With injury time, we have to concentrate 95 minutes these days”, he added, though of course that’s not quite correct – at Man Utd it’s 97 minutes.

Dropping two points once the game is meant to be over is annoying, but it’s not the end of the world. We’re still well placed, and if anything, it’s a reminder (as if one was needed) that the very worst thing we can do right now is get carried away.

Seven wins in a row has the habit of doing that. Yes, we’ve done well, but the ramshackle defending in our penalty area at the death last night should sharpen the mind.

Of course, we’re still talking about injuries too. Walcott is now out for a while – it’s been a seasonus horribilus for him – and Rosicky, Bendtner, Eduardo etc were all missing too. It’s one of the themes of the modern Arsenal era. What are the odds of having all our players fit, even for a slither of time, this season? It’s seemingly a mathematical and scientific impossibility.

On the bright side, Samir Nasri made a comeback for the reserves last night, (alongside Wookash) and he’s another attacking option – though perhaps not yet ready to be thrown into action. It says a lot for how Rosicky has started the season that Nasri has not really been missed, but the added competition for places is crucial.

As for the goalkeeping situation, well I’m as intrigued as the rest of you. Was it simply a loss of form, or was there more to it?

I have a theory: Almunia must have applied for his British passport. As soon as he became a British citizen, Wenger probably thought he’d go out on the lash and wrap his motor round a lamp post, so he dropped him.

Or maybe not.

It’s certainly an intriguing situation though – Mannone has shown oodles of promise, but he’s still so raw. Fabianski cannot be guaranteed a shot at it. What price a dip into the transfer market in January?

Arsenal app

The folks over at Arsenal asked me if I would be prepared to give their new iPhone app an honest review. So as an man who likes iPhones, apps and Arsenal – I agreed.

They’ve gone big on it, haven’t they? There were ads in the urinals at Arsenal on Saturday, and it was given pride of place in the app store for a while after it was launched.

The first thing I am compelled to bring up is the £2.99 cost. So what do you get for the money?

Well on an iPhone, the main Arsenal website has always been of a slow loader, so for that alone then the cut-down news, fixtures and squad biogs are a definite improvement.

Perhaps its best current feature is video highlights – good quality match highlights, and free (ie not attached to a separate Arsenal TV Online subscription), though not as lengthy as the highlights you get online. There are also stills galleries – again, decent quality.

That’s pretty much what your money gets you at the moment – nicely cut-down iPhone-ised key sections (news, fixtures, table, gallery, squad and match highlights/other video news), plus a bunch of additional links that just go straight to the main Arsenal website.

What I’d like to see (apart from better O2 or wifi coverage at the ground – but that’s another matter) is more emphasis on the live coverage, such as match stats, audio and the Arsenal TV stuff for subscribers. Interestingly, that’s apparently “coming soon…” – I’m told there’s more to come.

So a decent first release, I would say, with a nod in the direction of the video highlights in particular.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.