Early Doors

When good results go bad

Early Doors

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Fourth-best team in Premier League beats fourth-best team in Serie A. Fans livid.

That seems to be the general emotion among Arsenal supporters following last night's 1-0 win against Udinese.

ED's Twitter feed was flooded with North London angst.

A colleague of ED's found himself describing Marouane Chamakh as a 'complete non-player' and expressed disbelief that Carl Jenkinson ('completely out of his depth') should not only find himself on the pitch, but out of position at left-back.

And this is one of the moderates - i.e. he didn't boo the Gunners off at the Emirates Cup.

ED is not saying those criticisms were unjustified; Chamakh was indeed rubbish, and you don't want to give a player his debut - on the wrong side of the pitch - in such an important game.

The absence of the suspended Robin van Persie was always going to be keenly felt, and the Jenkinson situation was the consequence of injuries first to Kieran Gibbs, then his replacement Johan Djourou, and who could have foreseen that, eh? Oh.

Wenger has always worked on the logic that if you sign a player, you think he's good. Jenkinson might be a 19-year-old with only eight games of League One football to his name, but Arsenal signed him so they might as well use him.

And most importantly of all, Arsenal won the match against good opponents, and are well-placed to make the group stage.

What would make Gooners think they would crush Udinese underfoot? ED saw it dismissively suggested before the match that Udinese should pose no threat whatsoever because they have sold Alexis Sanchez and Gokhan Inler.

Lost their two best players, you say? Where has ED heard that one before?

Reports of Serie A's death are greatly exaggerated. It may not be the force of old, but ED fails to understand why anyone would be surprised that Italy is still home to a handful of decent football teams.

And, just to prove Arsenal aren't the only English side to struggle at home in Europe - Manchester United's first three European games at Old Trafford last season were a 1-0 win against Bursaspor and draws with Valencia and Rangers. This just in: the Champions League is difficult.

But the Emirates was all so panicky, so anxious. The atmosphere was one of fear and loathing. Hardly the most supportive environment for Arsene Wenger to watch a new generation blossom. Angry fans: you're not helping.

Nor was the feeling of rudderlessness eased by Wenger's touchline ban, which meant he had to watch from the directors' box (which does a superb line in cakes if last night's pictures are anything to go by).

Wenger apparently attempted to breach the terms of his UEFA ban by calling down to the bench, but he couldn't even get that right.

The night was summed up nicely by footage of Bora Primorac trying to get Pat Rice on the phone while Wenger's assistant patrolled the technical area, oblivious (or, more likely, excitedly stretching his legs having been freed from the confines of the bench).

If UEFA take a dim view of those telephone antics, it could be a while before Wenger returns to the bench for a European game. And if the increasingly restless natives get their way, it could be never.

Wenger remains a brilliant coach, but his puritanical reluctance to spend lies at the heart of this. Stan Kroenke could make himself a hero by locking Wenger in a dungeon, tooling the Gunners up with £100m worth of talent, then restoring the Frenchman to his rightful place - next to Primorac in the posh seats.

QUOTE OF THE DAY 1: Cesc Fabregas 9am yesterday: "Once a gunner, always a gunner. Have a good day guys. ...what i love most in this world that is playing football. And the most important, best of luck tonight, ill be watching as usual."

QUOTE OF THE DAY 2: Cesc Fabregas 8pm yesterday: "Last training before el clasico tomorrow. Now relax and sleep early. Good night everybody!"

QUOTE OF THE DAY 3: "Just to make things clear i dont have a facebook so i never said i was leaving with bitterness the guy who said that use a fake account." Samir Nasri says a Facebook account saying he will leave Arsenal with "anger and bitterness" is nothing to do with him.

ED thinks Nasri could be forgiven some bitterness, having been subjected to chants of "Sami, you're a c***".

NOSTALGIA TRIP OF THE DAY: the Press Association's team line-ups feed, which named an Arsenal XI with Jens Lehmann and Emmanuel Eboue.

FOREIGN VIEW: Raul is clearly not a fan of pre-match plates of chicken - he has rejected Blackburn Rovers and opted to stay at Schalke.

"Raul has informed us that he wants to stay at Schalke and that we should turn down Blackburn Rovers' request," club manager Horst Heldt said in a brief statement.

"We have already done that and we are delighted that Raul will contribute to our success."

Raul, who joined Schalke last season after spending 16 years at Real Madrid, helped his new club win the German Cup and reach the Champions League semi-finals.

COMING UP: The second leg of the Spanish Supercopa sees Barcelona take on Real Madrid at the Camp Nou. For reasons passing understanding, it kicks off at 22:00 UK time - 23:00 local time. And there's live coverage of four Championship games from 19:45.

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