Blades Overwhelmed By Sharp Kids


1 – 0 Bendtner (30)
2 – 0 Bendtner (41)
3 – 0 Vela (43)
4 – 0 Vela (49)
5 – 0 Wilshere (56)
6 – 0 Vela (86)

A not unexpected result, Arsenal winning at home in the Carling Cup but a truly unexpected scoreline. Any concerns about the youthfulness of the starting line-up were washed away by half-time, Sheffield United taken apart, dismantled and as the gulf between the Premier League’s elite and the rest was brutally exposed by the pace and passing of the hosts, it was a case of ‘men against boys’. Except that physical age and development had nothing to do with it.

Pure and simple, technique undid the visitors. United might be sitting in the lower reaches of The Championship but they had little to combat the abilities of the likes of Vela, Wilshere and co in attack, with little in defence to unduly trouble a makeshift back four of Hoyte, Song, Djourou and Gibbs.

A night of firsts by all accounts. Bendtner scored more than once in a senior match for Arsenal – something that I find hard to believe but somehow willing to accept. The first, a curled effort from twenty yards, showed great vision and technique to control the shot and keep it low, whilst putting it beyond the reach of Kenny, opened the scoring on the half-hour mark. Eleven minutes later, Ramsey’s run took him into the box and seemingly away from goal before a backheel conjured the opening for the Dane to expose a frail United offside trap and score under the ‘keeper’s body, effectively ending the tie. That did happen two minutes later when Vela broke from the right to curl a shot into the far corner, his first goal in his first senior start.

Seats were barely filled for the start of the second half when Vela scored what will probably be the individual goal of the season. Chesting a long ball over a defender, he turned and sprinted into the area, waited for Kenny to lower his body ready to dive and then impudently chipped the ball over the keeper. In moments like that, you understand why Arsene went to the extraordinary lengths of having him in Spain for a couple of seasons in order to obtain his work permits. Jack Wilshere then added his first goal for the club, a fierce drive from the edge of the area. Little wonder that Arsene looked so please with the performance. The rout was completed as Vela broke through and finished in similar fashion to his opener, completing his hat-trick and no doubt raising expectations along the way.

It was an evening to enjoy. The pressure associated with more senior tournaments was not there; it does not mean the desire and will-to-win was any less but the atmosphere somewhat less intense than your usual Saturday. A night to remember the basic joys of watching football before the money came in and exploited the sport’s naivete even though the surroundings remind you of the positives that the aforesaid money can bring to the game.

Which is the sort of thing that you would expect Michel Platini to enjoy. Indeed, you would have thought that he and Wenger would be natural allies, wanting to see the game properly run and played the ‘right’ way. It seems to be an alternative route that they are taking for the leader of the game detests big clubs despite having played for one of the biggest in the game during his career, and having been a foreign player to boot, his two pet hates exposed the hypocrisy of his current stances. It is difficult to criticise the words Platini reportedly has said in that they are extracts from an interview, published today, so translatory differences may well ensue.

One thing apparent, is that Platini does not take kindly to Wenger’s comments on the money in the game and assistance for referees. The former is something that all of UEFA regularly bleat on about so why the criticism of Wenger? The latter is not surprisingly a root cause of difference, it attacks the root of FIFA and UEFA’s belief in the infallibility of officals. Fundamentally though, any time Wenger raises a point on the way the game is run, Platini’s paranoia kicks in, fearful that his shallow platform for running the game will be finally exposed as devoid of any flair or originality, traits that marked is playing career. They also expose his organisations inability to run football properly, not fit for purpose.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on September 24, 2008, in Arsenal, Carling Cup, Football, Premier League, Soccer and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 133 Comments.

  1. Nice review YW, and good points about Platini, I agree you would think he would be delighted by the football we play – if we were a Ligue 1 side no doubt he would be.

  2. I own up to having been proven comprehensively wrong. I thought the kids would struggle and Sheffield would kick them. Instead it wasn’t even a contest.

  3. Ramsey looks a class act!! even better that he chose us over the mancs!! if/when febregas goes in the future we will have a ready made replacement!

  4. Good post Yogi!!

    First of all well done to the boys! I was apprehensive last night but they outdid themselves. A fine performance!

    You are spot on about platini. The hypocricy is quite incredible, but I find it AMUSING now. This is not the first time he has ranted about our policies.

    Seeing him and blatter holding the biggest posts in football, I cannot help but marvel at the beautiful game’s tendency to attract rank idiots. we have another in the form of jack warner.

    Every rose has its thorn I guess..

    Though vela was MOTM last night, my salutations to my man, BENTNER!! I have always believed in him and he is going to be awesome for us this season!

    Greetings all!!

  5. Nice post Yogi. I certainly agree that last night was an evening to enjoy – the fluidity and energy was quite invigorating.

    I must admit to having been a little nervous for the first half hour, as I feared we might get stung on the break and end up a goal down. Bendtner showed his class and experience (!) by opening things up though – he seems to be taking real delight from games at the moment, and the crowds seem to be starting to get behind him.

    It’s almost unfair to single out particular players for their performance, as everyone shone.

    A pleasant surprise was how effective we were defensively (bar one or two small but forgivable errors). Granted Sheffield were not exactly the classiest of opponents, but our defending was intelligent, co-ordinated and gutsy when needed. The lads didn’t seem afraid to win the ball back, and there were some good clearances.

    Who needs to spend millions in the transfer market when we have so much great ‘homegrown’ talent coming through.

  6. I bet this result makes alot of people and arsenal supporters feel a little bit stupid for doubting why wenger didnt go out and buy a million players like some were suggesting.

    We have so many excellent young players coming through… why podlock that door by bringing in experienced players who cant play the Arsenal way like our kids… absolutely amazing stuff, keep him the good work Wenger. True legend!

  7. Platini can kiss my arsenal

  8. An absolute pleasure to be there last night. As you say Yogi, it was a true reminder of how fun football can be and right now I think a lot of people forget about that.

    Highlights have to be Vela’s 2nd, absolute stunning chest/shoulder trap that took him past Morgan and then the Robbie Fowler-esque dink over Kenny and also Ramsey’s backheel assist for Bendtner’s 2nd. I’d love to know if he has seen Pires’s backheel to Henry against Valencia (01/02 i think) because it was practically identical.

    Overall I thought Gibbs, Ramsey, Wilshere and Vela were all extremely impressive. Another home draw would be a suitable reward.

    On another topic, once again a player has suffered a serious injury from a dangerous challenge. I wonder what Lawro & Co have to say about this one?

  9. Once again, Wenger has proved the doubters wrong. When will all and sundry acknowledge the unrivalled genius of the man. Arise, Sir Wenger.

    I was at the game last night and for the most part stood there with my lower jaw on the floor. The golas are grat, Vela’s no.2 in particular but the entire game was packed with exquisite football.

    My mate and I discussed it and we both agree that the team last night would give the first team a thorough examination. Can’t wait for the next CC game.

    Bring on the spu*s!!!

  10. I hope these kids can progress to playing on a cold night in Wigan on a horrible pitch against a well organised team. I want them to be able to keep that spark of youth where they fear nothing, just play football.
    Lets hope wenger can bring some of them through and give them more games in the prem, because they deserve it.

  11. It looks like some of these youngsters are ready to make the step-up to the first team. Vela looks like an exciting talent – what Reyes should have been. ManU could soon regret that they didn’t sign up Ramsey. I am happy that Djourou signed a new deal and with Phil gone he should be more chance to play.

    Both teams are playing with real confidence and style and have exceeded my expectations if I’m being honest.

  12. Peter Storey"s Budgie

    chris GOONA

    Last nights performance was brilliant but Wenger will be judged on winning a trophy this season not a 6-0 win in september.

    To me Vela is a natural finisher and given a run in the side i could see him getting 25 plus goals this season with the amount of chances we create

  13. PSB,

    I agree that Vela looks like a natural goalscorer and its easy to see why Wenger sees him as a striker.

    Agree that a trophy is needed but in the meantime lets just enjoy the football.

  14. I though pogatez’s tackle was hard but fair, i think he just got the ball first then caught him with his trailing studs!! that man u player is a big jessi for needing oxygen!!

  15. and michel platini is just jaloux!!!

  16. I bet Arsene went to bed last night with a great big smile on his face. I know I did!
    What was so pleasing was the focus on winning, right from the start. They applied themselves. The first half an hour could have gone either way, but the kids competed, they earned the right to play, as the cliche goes. They were so purposeful. That attitude goes right through the first team squad and reserves.

    Vela’s second goal was my highlight too, but it really was an outstanding team performance. I now understand why Wenger rates Randall so highly. It suits Djourou and Ramsey to be the leaders rather than the young players. They both looked so confident. And props to Gavin Hoyte – another one who surprised me!
    That starting line-up is wonderfully balanced and I would be happy to see most of it starting in the FA Cup as well.

  17. The thing that I like most about Vela is the enormous smile he has on his face every time he is on the pitch for the Gunners. It is that kind of enthusiasm for the game and the club that is infectious and will transmit to all the other players around him.

    Add to that his work rate and his fantastic finishing and you have a brilliant asset for the club.

    When we watch these players we have to understand that they could save the club having to spend the stupid money that lesser clubs do.

    We have a team here of potential world beaters for years to come.

    I feel vindicated in all of my support for this team which I know was shared by most people on here but not by stupid prats elsewhere. I wonder if they still want Wenger sacked?

    BRING IT ON!!!!

  18. I think that the real victim in this is Poor Pogatetz. He is distraught with what people have been writing about him. He is a good boy and would never hurt anyone. He even helps old ladies cross the road with their shopping. He could have been hurt by that nasty Brazilian’s leg. Maybe he can ask Martin Taylor for the number of a good counsellor.

  19. PSB… you say Wenger will be judged on winning a trophy>?? i dont get ur mentality. Lets say we lose in the Carling Cup final, the Champs League Final.. and finish runners up to Chelsea by 1 point in the league. How would you judge Wenger after that when the season finishes.. I bet 10000% you will say we should have bought some1 in January or in the summer and we would have definately won the league. Try and be a supporter for once and keeep ur mouth sshttum.. Wenger is one of the greatest managers in the history of football for what he has done with Arsenal and developing players into Legends.. who are u exactly to comment on him like that??

  20. The whole team were superb…but Randall was my MOTM.

  21. PSB, chris,

    Let’s not get into this. We have just won 6-0 and are top of the league!

    Every top manager is judged by trophies, not entirely but that’s the truth. AW has to be judged also on the quality of the football and his ability to produce teams on a relative shoe-string by developing players.

    The Prem or CL is the ultimate validation of his methods and team though but not the sole criteria for success.

  22. From Alan Hansen’s latest column:

    “Arsene Wenger and Kolo Toure have both been outspoken in their condemnation of Bolton’s Kevin Davies following a challenge on Gael Clichy at the weekend. Now everyone has a right to their opinion but for me Davies made contact with the ball and the challenge was a fair old fashioned one.”

    Is “old fashioned” some kind of quality now? A technique that only some players can master and should be admired?

    I cannot believe part of my license fee goes towards this kind of drivel.

  23. Peter Storey"s Budgie

    chris GOONA

    Myself and a lot of other Gooners were calling for Wenger to sign a CH and we still are.We still have a weakness when balls are played into the box from set pieces and corners.Gallas is a weak link.And that is the truth

    I am only repeating what Arsenal legends like Frank McLintock,Paul Merson,Perry Groves and Kenny Samson have all said recently we have to win a trophy this season

  24. Good review, YW.

    Thoroughly impressed by the kids yesterday (had to make do with a re-run on ATVO). Although they did take some 15 mins to get into the groove, I thought everybody did well. Great passing and movement. Ramsey (2 assists) and Randall bossed the midfield, distributing the ball well, Wilshere’s bravery and balance was a joy to behold, as was Bendtner and of course Vela’s finishing. Djourou did very well at the back, I thought.

  25. PSB

    what if we dont? are you saying we should sack wenger then?

  26. I enjoyed last night’s victory as well as anyone on this blog….especially since it has silenced the anti -Wenger “spend-spend-spend” crowd, for now. With few notable exceptions, most have failed to make a clean breast of things and apologize for the invective and drivel starting pre-season and rising to a crescendo after the Fulham game. We are lucky to have a manager with not only strength of convictions but a proven track record to boot. No wonder the team are so happy to play for him. As reported last weekend of the so-called expose of Wenger’s team talk, let us remain grounded and humble in the face of our success. After all, this is only Sheffield Utd currently languishing in the lower reaches of the Championship.

  27. PSB,

    Legends they might be but would you want Perry Groves or Paul Merson managing Arsenal, i dont think so.

  28. Guys, guys,

    Why the arguments. Many people (myself included) wanted a CB and CM. Wenger also thought this way as he bought Silvestre and tried to get someone in midfield. This isn’t controversial so why the arguments?

  29. Has anyone got any update on dudu?

    Wasnt he supposed to return by the end of september?

  30. Sheffield United was piss poor.

    I am in no way trying to diminish the performance of the kids last night as they were wonderful.

    What we must realise is that as much as we were good Sheffield was poor, not just poor but shit.

    No doubt the way we played we would be able to beat nearly any team in any league. But at times it was a joke how bad the opposition was.

  31. well a team like sheff is going to lose belief after going 1-0 down, so by 2-0 they may as well have been back in sheffield.

    who still wants a CB now after seeing Djourou recently? the guy is simply a top defender. better than Vidic? possibly one day yes. he just needs to be in the team. he cant win us games sitting on the bench.
    as for a DM, well we have Song, Denilson as well as several youngsters. Wenger cant possibly keep buying players as these young players would never develop into the stars they are destined to become.
    remember we are Arsenal, not Chelsea, thank God.

  32. gazzup,

    The way Djourou has played I am wondering about Gallas’s place in the team. Its more complicated since he is captain but I would like to see Djourou given a chance.

  33. hello everyone,
    now with immense competion for the strikers place ,bendtner and vela doing very well and eduardo on the waiting list, and most importantly adebayor missing easy goals this season also though his passing has been immaculate i personally dont think that he gives us the surity upfront at the critical moments.
    also i think that fa should make some hard rules for wrong tackles.
    and as i live in inda i i dont get to see much of arsenal except bpl an ucl . plz sumone give some address of streaming sites or the torrentz.

  34. Peter Storey"s Budgie


    I agree with you about Djourou..But the point i keep making is Wenger will not drop Gallas his choice as captain.So we will continue to be weak at CB

  35. When Wenger wins something with our current team, it’ll be so sweet, and would constitute a revolution in football, at least in England.

  36. PSB,

    He could drop Toure, he hasnt looked the same player since he came back from ACN. Djourou and Gallas looked like they had a lot of potential at the beginning of the season.

  37. PSB

    I dont think Wenger can drop Gallas.. he is our captain and it will cause alot of contraversy amongst the players, and unwanted negative public attention. We need stability, why cant fans like you see that. We are building something here yet you keep pointing your finger??!! Constructive critisicm i dont mind.. but Gallas is a World class defender who most teams would welcome him with a big smile on their face. He is our most experienced player, internationally and club wise.. i think he is doing an alright job esepcially after all the negative reports around him this summer. Imagine we clinched the league last season and he didnt have that nervous breakdown – fans like you would not be pointing your fingers at him right now every time a goal goes in.

    Everyone makes mistakes in football.. its how the game works, but the most important aspect is how u deal with them. We are improving from last season, what more can you ask for… Also i think Djourou will get alot more playing time, in place of Toure or Gallas.. but i dont think Wenger is going to shaft any1 out of the team just like that to appease fans.

  38. Alex Ice cream

    Agree on Djourou. The lad played well before his place being given to Toure. He adds balance to the Centre half partnership dynamics.

    He is tall and comfortable in the air, does not lack pace as a result and due to his age is more likely to being able to adapt to an older partner who likes to play it a certain way.

    I’m not sure Gallas as captain can be under threat and as unfair as that may be, that leaves Kolo under threat. Either way, at least there will not be a host of game time minutes wasted on Sendy!


    If we buy players, what happens to the talent in waiting?

    Obvious answer, always has been! Shame some don’t see it that way!

  39. Good afternoon everyone.

    Great result yesterday.

    Vela’s 2nd goal was special…reminded me a bit of Davor Suker’s chip over Schiemichael, way back when.

    It makes a nice change to see the LMA defending Arsene over Platini’s alleged comments.

    It’s just a pity that the LMA didn’t also rush to defend Arsene when he was being crucified by the sports press & broadcasting media for allegedly ruining English football when the national team failed to qualify for Euro 2008.

  40. Don’t forget that Gallas comes through in the clutch with massive goals for this club. Even if his goals make up for gaffes that is more of a contribution than Toure makes on the scoresheet. Toure has not looked like himself for a long time now.

    As for the kids! They looked great. Vela’s 2’nd goal pure class. These kids can go far in the CC. They are a bit lightweight so a big, strong team may have success knocking them about and that will be the true test of their resolve but for at least one night we can all be happy knowing that the youth movement is still special at Arsenal.

  41. It seems everyone is afraid of gallas..

    I dont understand why we talk as if he is undroppable because he is experienced and is the captain. He hasnt exactly covered himself in glory as a captain so far, and if somehow djouru or anybody plays better than him at some point, why should there be such hesitation about dropping him.

    I cannot believe we are in such apprehension that he will throw a tantrum if he is dropped.

    Has gallas become bigger than the club now?

  42. Wengerball, I was at the game and I think you are doing Sheffield a disservice. For 30 minutes they kept things under control with their 5 man midfield, but lacked sharpness up front to create much. Once we scored the first goal, the youngsters visibly relaxed and from then on really showed their quality. Sheffield were made to look old and tired by the zip and creativity of our team. They tried to snatch the initiative after the break by upping the tempo of their game, but by the time the 4th goal went in, they had lost all confidence. Arsenal’s performance made them look poor, but credit to Sheffield they did not resort to Bolton style tactics out of frustration when the game was not going their way. For that alone, they deserve more respect than your comments give them.

  43. I don’t see where this problem with Gallas has emerged from? He is unlikely to be dropped at the moment because he is playing well. As for the future, he presumably is like the others in that form decides inclusion or exclusion – aside from injury – in the starting XI. If he played poorly on a continual basis, the manager is not going to jeopardise a team for the sake of one ego.

    Why does there always have to be someone ‘bigger than the club’?


  44. Danny,

    If the talent coming through can do the job required then there is no need to buy. If not then someone will have to be bought.

    Wenger lost faith with Senderos for example, got rid and brought in Silvestre as a stop-gap and promoted Djourou.

    If Denilson and Song can do the CM role then we should be ok but Wenger himself tried to get someone else here so he thinks we could do with someone.

  45. Yogi!

    I feel that he should conduct himself much better than he did last season. I am a bit worried about whether he has learnt any lesson, after seeing him lose composure and going after djouru at west brom. I have reluctantly backed him at the start of the season and he needs to SHOW that he has learnt his lesson!!

    Alex ice cream!!

    @ 2:17 pm, agree with you!

  46. The younsters were and are amazing players. I do believe that Vela could possibly be the best or one of the best players in the world. Vela is quite simply ready and not going to get ready. I guess Wenger thinks he needs time to learn the PL and the Arsenal way. Well, it really doesnt seem like he needs anymore time, to me at least.

    Its amazing to see that a younster like Walcott is seen as a senior for the CC squad, now this should make anyone who ever doubted Wenger to see what a wonderful job he doing with these youngsters. Not only is he bringing the best young players to the club but they are being trained properly and he knows how to bring them along without all the pressure. walcott has been released on the PL and CL just at the right time, genius!

    Its nice to see a lot of the positives about the present Arsenal team, faith is rising. What up AIC?

    I will not say that our oposition was so poor as Liverpool struggled to win. So lets give the youth all the credit due them.

    God Bless!

  47. Alec Ice Cream

    I agree Wenger wanted some1 else in to take the pressure off the likes off Denilson who to an extent is forced to perform right now in an unfair way. Its good for him, but as fans and supporters we tend to criticise our players quite alot and it can damage confidence if a player like Denilson fails to perform on the big stage. I love the way Wenger has been bringing through the younger generation who have been trained especially to play the Arsenal way. Sheffield Utd result shows that all his work and the clubs work is going to good use.

    Gallas is practically undroppable YW.. its the same with Cesc… if they are fit they play. Its the same with John Terry at Chelsea, Ferdinand at Man Utd, and Gerrard at Liverpool. Unless they are feeling tired or carrying knocks that are serious enough to stop them playing then… Gallas is on the team sheet no matter what. Its all about saving face as well… dropping our captain dont look good, and i dont expect Wenger to do that just now. When the time comes when Wenger feels Gallas is not taking this team no where he will tell him personally, but it is far from that at this point.

  48. Naga

    U are basing your views like the newspapers have regarding Gallas.. come back down to earth and realise Gallas had a little tantrum in a very dramatic game.. stop being a drama queen and support the team.

  49. ha ha ha…

    chris GOONA..

    My man, I concede you brought me down to earth there.. The “drama queen” statement was priceless, even though it was at my expense! LOL

    I still think he needs to dicipline himself more, but lets leave it at that and back him atleast till january…

    Anyone know if song is in contention for hull and is gibbs playing or has clichy recovered?


  50. Alex Ice Cream,

    The actual question at end of the post was not directed at yourself, but I actually have no issue with buying for a clear purpose. Which is what Wenger himself spoke of, as has yourself.

    Problem is the players that would have fit that purpose were not available or priced far above market value. On that basis, no signings were made and to see this as Wenger’s fault is churlish folly. The reality is he protects the club’s best interests and has created such an impressive infrastucture at youth level, that this problem may be sidestepped. As such, we have not been held to ransom and the prices quoted for Barry and Alonso were exactly that.

    So as a mananger he has had the foresight to build solutions to the Club’s current financial position. For that, I and many others will be forever thankful.

  51. Exactly Danny,

    Arsene is to be commended for what he has done. I actually do not believe that Arsene thought we “needed” a player but rather that it would have been good to have another DM. As you have said it didnt happen for various reasons but in retrospect it doesnt seem like we needed that player at all.

    I just hope and pray that we do not have to hear all the crying and complaining during the next transfer period! We have what we need inhouse.


  52. california gooner

    There is an interesting article on Arsenal-Mania titled “Arsenal come out good from their travels” that makes an interesting argument on how Denilson affects the team. The short argument is that his superior passing gets the ball to Eboue and Walcott faster and in space, allowing them room to run at Defenders, and that his long passes give Ade the ball in good space– creating a chain of positive outcomes.

    In fact, Denilson’s role in the team and its recent rich play is something we haven’t really figured out yet. In my own mind I have been trying out an analogy with Barcelona’s midfield duo. It seems like Cesc is playing more like Xavi, running the midfield as the playmaker and make an occasional run into more dangerous places, while Denilson is playing like Iniesta, not a playmaker, but making plays all over the field. Anyhow, I recommend giving the Arsenal-Mania piece a read.

    As for the game, I didn’t get to see it (it comes on at noon here and I was working), but the highlights were amazing. Was SU that bad or are Vela, Bendtner and co that good? It seems like Bendtner and Vela have a great understanding with each other.

  53. Danny, Paul N,

    Agreed. Alonso and Barry were way overpriced and cup tied. AW couldn’t get Inler and there was noone else. Veloso was talked about but £20m is crazy money.

    Le Boss tried to get someone but it didn’t work out. This M’Bia has been talked about as well but I can’t see us getting anyone untile the summer unless a bargain/relative unknown crops up.

  54. Paul N said:
    “I actually do not believe that Arsene thought we “needed” a player but rather that it would have been good to have another DM.”

    I agree. I think Wenger was looking for an insurance buy. Look at how different all the midfielders with whom we were reliably linked are. He was obviously not after a DCM specifically, just a top-class CM. Surely if he had felt we couldn’t compete without a new signing in that area, he would have stumped the extra £2m or £4m or whatever to bag Alonso? We know that money was not a problem.

  55. @californiagooner
    “There is an interesting article on Arsenal-Mania titled “Arsenal come out good from their travels” that makes an interesting argument on how Denilson affects the team. The short argument is that his superior passing gets the ball to Eboue and Walcott faster and in space, allowing them room to run at Defenders, and that his long passes give Ade the ball in good space– creating a chain of positive outcomes. ”

    Sounds v interesting, I will have a read. I posted a similar theory in embryonic form on Untold Arsenal the other day.

  56. california gooner!

    In my opinion, song has to be ahead of denilson. The defensive balance that song gives to our team is crucial as flamini isnt here. Denilson is decent but it is fair to say he is not a DM. I think he can only be back up for cesc.

    I would also be interested in having cesc and ramsey in CM and see how that works out!!

  57. @Naga gunner.
    Read the article. It explains very well how Denilson helps the team attack more quickly and directly.

  58. california gooner

    Naga gunner, I disagree. Denilson, Song and Cesc do different things. Denilson hasn’t been a very good back up for Cesc (so far), but has been awesome playing along side him. Anyhow, read the article and see if it gives you an insight. Flamini brought defensive aggression; Denilson brings quick, accurate passing.

  59. YW excellent summary

    Wow what a performance by the youngsters. All credit to them. I am enjoying all these and then some.

    But as some have stated here and I do not mean to pour cold water on our euphoria, we have not met a decent team just yet. Liverpool’s failings at Stoke does not diminish this fact. But that a said I like our maturity in the Blackburn and Bolton games. Perhaps, I do mean it perhaps the team is mature enough not to need an experience DM. I still beg to differ with some of you on the CB/CH basis the evidence provided so far in both the Blackburn and Bolton games. Blackburn failed to punish us but Bolton did for our this particular failing there. Toure was at fault for that one but he compensated later in great tackles.

    I still stand my call that we still need for a tall dominating experience CB or Djourou to be given more games in the EPL with either Gallas or Toure for a much better blend.

    Denilson have certainly step up to dominate with the skills that we all know he has. Now that his confidence is high may be Flamini can slowly be properly replaced so to speak by a far more skillful player.

    We have not seen how the team cope with the absence of Cesc yet so the that test is not cleared yet.

    Le Professor must be enjoying his experiment so far. As an Arsenal fan I am praying hard that come June we see the fruition of his gamble.
    Now all we can say is so far so good and long may it continue.

    Up The Arse!!!! Come you Gunners!!!

  60. FunGunner/

    Could you post the link then.

    california gooner..

    You have a point, but I think we looked a bit thin and disjointed suddenly, as soon as song came off againt kiev it was I think… but denilson is playing well, it must be said!

  61. On the subject of attacking quickly, did anyone else think that the kids youthful exuberance – plus outstanding touch and first time passing – led to faster attacking moves than we see from the first team. Perhaps it was just SU’s incompetence at playing offside (plus the fact that there wasnt an Adebayor lurking offside each time we moved forward…..)

  62. california gooner

    Sure Naga. I hope it doesn’t mess up the board’s formatting…I have to go to work, but will look forward to hearing people’s thoughts on this.

  63. Peter Storey"s Budgie


    Did you not see the goals at Fulham and Bolton? Gallas fell asleep when both corners came in.Thats the problem with Gallas

  64. How is that Arsenal havent played anyone as yet while others aside from Cheslea have struggled to beat most of whom they have played? If it has not been recognizzed but these are teams who have beat us, and yes they are PL teams whom we have beaten in fine style mind you. Is it me or is it not true that we have not succomb to the physical type of play? If we cannot see that this team is on point then something is wrong with how we are seeing things. This side can win any and every competition.

    As far as Denilson, it makes sense that Arsenal will be able to unlock defenses with a little more ease for the reasons that have already been stated. Denilson is more offensive than Flamini, thank God that he is a fighter also. Add Song, ramsey to this equation, WOW!!!

    I just love the Gunners! Its a sight for sore eyes, the way this team plays.

  65. Peter Storey’s Blather,

    The Bolton goal was not down to Gallas ! Toure was the guy with Davies.

    Looking at the stats:


    Played: 5
    Goals Scored: 11
    Goals Against: 2

    Manchester United:

    Played: 4
    Goals Scored: 4
    Goals Against: 4


    Played: 5
    Goals Scored: 5
    Goals Against: 2


    Played: 5
    Goals Scored: 10
    Goals Against: 3

    Looking at the stats above, we currently have the best scoring record, and equal the best defence.

    What’s your point ? Other than a Gallas witchhunt ?

    We have conceded just 2 goals in 5 games for christ’s sake.

    Why don’t you go and take some anti-depressants because if you are this pessimistic about being top of the table and thrashing Sheffield Utd with a bunch of kids then god help you.

  66. california, is that article by Joel Che? I read his articles on arsenal-mania all the time. For my money, he’s the best writer on any Arsenal blog for long, detailed analyses of what is happening with our team as it develops. He offers ideas that I don’t see anywhere else.

    Re Sheff Utd, look it’s easy to just dismiss them as poor but they were a full strength championship side with some PL veterans (like Beattie) and hardened players who’ve played the game for many years. No, they’re not Chelsea but neither can you just dismiss what the kids achieved as meaningless.

    “ManU could soon regret that they didn’t sign up Ramsey.”

    I recall reading some MU fans trashing Ramsey for his choice, ridiculing Arsenal as a good club for him. But MU’s offer was for Ramsey to go back on loan to Cardiff. Instead, he’s now played in CL and PL games and is a regular member of the CC squad. He’s learning on the big stage, making mistakes, having bad games sometimes–but on the big stage playing against top players. Kid made the right choice.

    Nice defense of AW against Platini’s attacks by the League Managers Association:

    You can also watch 2 videos on that site relating to last week’s special dinner event at Wembley dedicated to Wenger and Ferguson.

    Chris Goona: “Constructive critisicm i dont mind”

    I don’t think that’s the case, I think you mind ANY criticism at all, end of.

    In the last few days, I’ve seen on this site among some posters a kind of Stalinism creeping in and I’m getting sick of it. I’ve railed before about the D&G merchants and have often attacked some of the stronger critics on this site, but I never believed that all criticism is exactly the same and should be entirely shouted down in such an authoritarian manner.

    I haven’t liked a lot of PSB’s posts but it is perfectly legitimate for him to argue that we need a commanding CB. “Legitimate” doesn’t necessarily mean I agree or disagree with him, it just means it’s a perfecly reasonable opinion and he shouldn’t be told to shut up when he says it.

    I detest the idiots who populate other blogs with their often vicious, insulting posts about the manager, the players, the Board and club, and their lazy, knee-jerk, often contradictory opinions. However, if someone posts a cogent, well thought out argument criticizing the weaknesses of the team and the manager….. if he even says “while I recognize what Wenger has done for this club, maybe he’s taken it as far as he can and we need someone new to take it to the next level”…. then he’s someone I can debate with intelligently. I won’t agree with him on that last point but he should feel free to say what he thinks. He shouldn’t be told to shut up.

    The creeping Stalinism I’ve noticed recently here among a few posters has come with the good results we’ve had recently.

    Now, it’s true our recent results have made me feel more positive than I had been after the transfer window had closed. What has angered me in the press lately is that there’s been no recognition of the fact that Arsenal have had THREE successive and tough away games on difficult grounds and have returned with very good results. That’s no mean feat by any measure. Someone correct me, but was that the first time we DIDN’T lose in the Ukraine?

    Some pundits and rival fans keep pointing out that we haven’t faced any top teams — true enuf but it’s wrong to just dismiss the tough challenge of those 3 successive away games.

    On the other hand, those 3 away games occurred during a period of good weather. And I still have my doubts about how this team will perform when we come up against the likes of Chelsea, Villa, Pool and MU (esp. in the away games). I’m not saying we’ll lose those games, I’m saying I don’t have a lot of confidence that we can win them.

    And sorry if it upsets you all but the emotional pain of last season is still too fresh for me. I well remember last season around this time how Arsenal fans and the press were all applauding our performances in all competitions, we were getting great press and fans were feeling very optimistic and excited. We were at the top of the league and stayed there for months.

    Only to suffer huge disappointment (for a 2nd successive season) in the March-April period. Some of you talk as if our recent results have already proven as absolute fact that we’re trophy-bound. Well, no, sorry, they don’t. They do prove that we are stronger than many of us thought, which is fantastic. And that’s all it proves.

    I’ve loved watching Eboue and Denilson blossom. I’ve also been fascinated to see how differently we’re playing this season. Cesc seems to have changed his role a bit, the midfield has become a different animal by necessity.

    BTW, the doubters and critics on this blog are (unlike on other blogs), to a person, all HAPPY to see ourselves proven wrong. Nothing would make me (and I’m sure AIC and solgooner) happier than to see us lift a trophy this season. Neither have I those doubters demand Wenger’s head. I WANT to see my doubts laid to rest. What I’ve seen so far gives me hope but I also know it’s far too early to make any definite conclusions.

    A final point: I’d never want to see this blog become like Le Grove but neither do I want to see it become like some appendage to the official site. I don’t like mindless negative bile but neither do I like mindless, tail-wagging deification either.

  67. Im not fan of Gallas at times as I dont think he has commanded the team enough when we were down (just my opinon) but I think to give him stick at this point is a bit harsh, the whole team is playing well and there will never be and has never been a season in history when players will and have not made mistakes. This doesnt make them bad players at all, just human. No doubt in my mind that Gallas is a world class player, even if not captian.

  68. My opinion is that Song should play if Toure and Gallas are the centre backs but Denilson should play if Djourou is brought in at the back (preferred option). Otherwise a Denilson, Toure, Gallas trio is too easy to drive straight through the middle of and also not commanding on set pieces.

    Muppet, clearly we have not played the top teams yet as other top 4 teams have. We are playing some great offensive football as well so that helps the defence. things may not always be so great going forward so at those times you need a solid base. I still dont think with the forementioned trio we are particularly good defensively, so either Song (DM) or Djourou (CB) needs to be in the team.

  69. Muppet, Davies actually pushed down Toure as he was trying to head the ball away so I can’t blame Kolo. I do think Gallas was at least partly to blame for the Bolton goal because he seemed to be ball watching.

    I have to admit right now I’m not sure what I think about our defense, I can see valid arguments for and against. I was at one point firmly of PSB’s opinion but lately, having re-watched some of our recent games, I’m beginning to waver.

    I think I see more clearly now that AW DOES indeed see the weaknesses in the Gallas-Kolo pairing BUT he chooses to sacrifice the risks it brings in favor of his more important goal of intensifying our attack play. This may not be news to some of you and it’s not exactly news to me, it’s just that it’s something that’s become much more defined to me in our recent games, esp. after having re-watched them.

    AW may think Gallas’ and Kolo’s contributions to our build-up attack play is far more important than having a 6’5″ clogger lumping balls up the field and being able to head the ball. A tall, strong defender will slow things up for us and hurt the most basic part of our play. AW’s priorities lie in the attack phase of our play and for that he believes that smaller, more mobile defenders are preferable — even if it means we risk vulnerability with high balls.

    It’s still a risky approach — and it relies on our attack play becoming very strong, clinical, efficient, unpredictable. Which is what I’ve been seeing in our recent games, esp. in the midfield. I just wish that our two small, mobile CBs weren’t so similar in their styles and approach toward getting the ball.

  70. NYmarcus!

    Well said, mate…

    whatever the stress or ecstacy of supporting arsenal, we all need to be PROUD of supporting this great club, and whatever is said, the fun of watching football should not be lost, it brings people together and healthy banter among fans is one of the joys of it.

    And after all, its only a GAME!


  71. Nice post Yogi’s, and couldn’t agree more on the idiotic Platini.

    Some say this big win was because SU was sh*t, but we could’ve been too! Instead those teenagers went out there to prove themselves, and OH MY GOD they all did.

    It would be wonderful to see Arsenal 1st team playing this 2nd team. What kind of amazing football we would show the world in a game like that?

    I thought Vela was amazing, I was also impressed with Randall who made some good tackles in midfield.

    I was happy last night that Man Ure had to almost play their entire first team which will help in the wear & tear of their players.

    Hey dude talking sh*t about Ade @12:53
    ** get a life. **

  72. Bolton’s goal is on Gallas. The guy holding Toure down (Steinsson) was Toure’s man. That goal is actually on the ref, as Davies jumped on Almunia to get the corner to begin with.

    Clearly, the weakness of the Gallas/Toure combo is the aerial cross. But to say that there is such a weakness does not mean we have a better option. They are excellent outlet passers, with great CB speed. Gallas scores HUGE goals for us. Having central defenders who can score with their feet is just massive when pressing for late goals, because no one is marking them.

    That said, I want to see Djourou get more games. There are plenty to go around.

  73. Here here NY Marcus,

    This is the best Arsenal blog around BECAUSE of posts from the likes of Alex IC, Flint, PSB, Mia et al.

  74. NYMarcus,

    Well argued. I remember the attacking points being made by Stewart Robson on ATVO. If we have a clogger it slows things up etc…

    I take your point about the Bolton game. The problem is that any kind of incident where Gallas is not directly to blame somehow now gets attributed him and serves to confirm people’s prejudices. Gallas is to blame for poor defence, Gallas is to blame for poor leadership, Gallas is to blame for every goal etc etc… We had the Senderos bandwagon, now it’s Gallas – who will it be next ?

  75. @NYmarcus
    “And sorry if it upsets you all but the emotional pain of last season is still too fresh for me. I well remember last season around this time how Arsenal fans and the press were all applauding our performances in all competitions, we were getting great press and fans were feeling very optimistic and excited. We were at the top of the league and stayed there for months.
    Only to suffer huge disappointment (for a 2nd successive season) in the March-April period. Some of you talk as if our recent results have already proven as absolute fact that we’re trophy-bound. Well, no, sorry, they don’t. They do prove that we are stronger than many of us thought, which is fantastic. And that’s all it proves.”

    While I absolutely agree that we don’t want to turn into the Chinese Communist Party,
    “re-educating” fans who have views that do not toe the party line, I have to take issue with you on some of the points in your post.
    I personally never thought that you would NOT be happy to have your worries proved baseless, but whatever makes you think no-one else felt the pain? Have you read Sense and Sensibility? Think Elinor and Marianne. Those who shout loudest are not necessarily those who feel most deeply.

    Unlike you, I don’t get the sense that happy posters on this blog are saying trophies are all wrapped up for the season. We were watching last season too and we know what happened. We’re just enjoying the good results. Surely we can be allowed to do that, for 24 hours at least? Even if some people do get a bit carried away in the short term, does it do any harm? I don’t think so. There will be pain, of that there is no doubt, so why not enjoy the good times while they are here? You don’t hold back from loving your kids and being proud of them for doing well in their exams, because they might total your car/throw up in the hall/become Goths later that week. I think that’s why some people who voice their fears might get told to “shut up” – it’s their timing.

  76. On the defence, I think it is fair to say that in open play we have looked very decent. And in open play Gallas and Sagna are our best defenders in my opinion.

    As usual on set pieces we look vulnerable. Almunia doesn’t dominate as much as Lehman used to and the marking isn’t fantastic. I also wonder though about our match ups on man to man marking. To my mind Davies is Bolton’s biggest threat in the air and Bendtner should have been marking him – he’s tall and got a good leap and shouldnt get outmuscled. I have noticed several times already this season that this kind of thing seems to be happening and i think it could need addressing.

  77. NY Marcus, its funny but the same reasons hat casue you concern are the ones that give me hope. You say that this happened last year as far as us playing well early but ypu are still emotionally hurt over the dissapointment of falling short. Funny but what I see in this is that the team will be more resilient and will have learned a lesson from what took place last year. You see, to me their is no doubt that they will be mentally prepeared for adversity, as you have stated they have won three away matches were they have had to fight. Its all uphill to me, but no journey, no matter the prize at the end is without problems.

    Was it games during bad weather that was our problem or was it just a mental let down after the Birminghamn situation? Was the latter to me, so with mental strenght we will ba way ahead of our progression from last season.

    I think?

  78. I think this Stewart “freaking” Robson should be banned for life from entering AFC let alone comment on our games.

    I was so mad at his comments moaning that SU is not kicking us around, and that this is the only why teams should play us…WTF is he? Is he a former Spuds player? I really want to know, I never heard of him as a player. Can any one shed some light on this bastard’s background

  79. FunGunner, fair enuf, I too don’t like it when others rain on the parade, of just enjoying the moment. It’s annoying when people do that, and I’ve criticized other on other blogs for doing just that.

    I was just referring to 2 or 3 posters in the last week or two who keep scolding the doubters in a gloating fashion, talking as if any doubts we’ve had were all baseless and unreasonable, crowing like the team is headed to the title already, as if all the criticisms and doubts have been conclusively shot down in the space of a couple of a couple of weeks. That’s just my perception of a handful (or less than a handful) of posters here lately.

    Muppet, agreed, I don’t like scapegoating Gallas (or any individual player) for every failure either.

  80. Eboue’s friend, excellent point rgarding set peices and as stating that Bendtner should defend the bigger players, Ade also, you think?. I was thinking the same thing, that set peices area team effort and we should defend them sensibly. Just because Tour and Gallas are the central defenders it doenst me that they are completely responsible for the defensive frailty in this area. The team needs to be more agressive in on these set plays, each player needs to take responsibilty and it should be better.

  81. Gunner4Ever – it was Perry Groves not Stewart Robson who said that and he was just making an observation that SU were not employing the type of tried and trusted tactics one would expect from a limited championship team.

  82. G4E:
    Stewart Robson admitted on Arsenal TV that he was not an Arsenal fan.
    If you want more info on him click on my name.

  83. Thanks for the clarification Passenal, it just sounded to me that he was upset SU is not kicking us around….and that to means that both of them should not be allowed to comment for us 🙂

    Thank you for the info Steve, if he’s not an Arsenal fan, what the hell is he doing on our website & Arsenal TV. We should get enough signatures to kick him out. Is that possible? Probably not.

  84. Well, we didn’t quite manage 24 hours of enjoying the performance of the youngsters before the usual armchair experts revert to their favourite target of the first team defence. Good luck with your ongoing delusions that you know better than the manager. I’ll just leave him to do his job, while I focus on doing mine.

    Eboue’s friend – last time Bendtner helped out defensively he scored an own goal. He is a forward and should concentrate on scoring goals at the right end of the pitch.

  85. Passenal, Forwards (Bendtner) shouldnt defend on set plays? If it is about the team as a whole, he needs to do whatever it takes to ensure victory. Each player should know how to do a little of everything, even play goalie if possible, (to me). I sure do not have a problem with Gallas scoring goals as a defender, do you? or should he just focus on defending?


    ^Last night’s game. It’s missing the first 13 minutes for some reason, but other than that it has everything right until the end. Good quality.

  87. One of the best attributes Ade has is his defending from set plays. He seems to get his bonce on plenty & is a big asset.

    I agree with Paul N that it`s a team thing & not just down to Gallas & Toure.

    Sometimes our man marking seems very strange with opponents danger men being marked by Sagna, Cesc or even Clichy !

  88. I agree with Blackstock @7:40 pm 🙂

  89. Agree with Gunner4ever. No disagreements about that at all. Good post.

  90. From the Knowledge column in today’s Guardian:

    Q: “Is there any relationship (over a number of seasons) between teams in the ‘Big Four’ winning games against each other and their final places in the league table?” …

    Taking the 2002-03 season as the dawn of the Big Four era (with nods to Newcastle and Everton who broke into the elite group in 2003 and 2005 respectively), here are the standings:

    PREMIER LEAGUE: Man U 83pts, Arsenal 78, Chelsea 67, Liverpool 64
    BIG FOUR LEAGUE: Man U 14pts, Arsenal 7, Liverpool 5, Chelsea 5

    PREMIER LEAGUE: Arsenal 90pts, Chelsea 79, Man U 75, Liverpool 60
    BIG FOUR LEAGUE: Arsenal 14pts, Chelsea 7, Man U 6, Liverpool 6

    PREMIER LEAGUE: Chelsea 95pts, Arsenal 83, Man U 77, Liverpool 58
    BIG FOUR LEAGUE: Chelsea 14pts, Man U 12, Arsenal 5, Liverpool 3

    PREMIER LEAGUE: Chelsea 91pts, Man U 83, Liverpool 82, Arsenal 67
    BIG FOUR LEAGUE: Chelsea 15pts, Man U 11, Liverpool 4, Arsenal 4

    PREMIER LEAGUE: Man U 89pts, Chelsea 83, Liverpool 68, Arsenal 68
    BIG FOUR LEAGUE: Arsenal 14pts, Man U 11, Liverpool 6, Chelsea 5

    PREMIER LEAGUE: Man U 87pts, Chelsea 85, Arsenal 83, Liverpool 76
    BIG FOUR LEAGUE: Man U 13pts, Chelsea 10, Arsenal 6, Liverpool 4

    Pick the bones out of that. Well, it seems clear that the games between the Big Four do matter. In three of the last six seasons, the Big Four mini-league is the exact match of the final Premier League table, and in five of the six seasons the winner of the mini-league has gone on to take the title.

    The only anomaly comes in 2006-07 when Arsenal romped to the mini-league title but finished fourth in the real thing. Arsène Wenger’s side’s success at Old Trafford and victories over Liverpool and United at the Emirates were offset by the points dropped against West Ham, Middlesbrough and co.

    And no side has won the title having finished lower than second in the head-to-head contest. The overall theme is fairly emphatic, therefore – win the Big Four clashes to win the Premier League title. Looks like Liverpool are a good bet for the championship this year, then.

  91. From the Knowledge column in today’s Guardian:

    Q: “Is there any relationship (over a number of seasons) between teams in the ‘Big Four’ winning games against each other and their final places in the league table?” …

    Taking the 2002-03 season as the dawn of the Big Four era (with nods to Newcastle and Everton who broke into the elite group in 2003 and 2005 respectively), here are the standings:

    PREMIER LEAGUE: Man U 83pts, Arsenal 78, Chelsea 67, Liverpool 64
    BIG FOUR LEAGUE: Man U 14pts, Arsenal 7, Liverpool 5, Chelsea 5

    PREMIER LEAGUE: Arsenal 90pts, Chelsea 79, Man U 75, Liverpool 60
    BIG FOUR LEAGUE: Arsenal 14pts, Chelsea 7, Man U 6, Liverpool 6

    PREMIER LEAGUE: Chelsea 95pts, Arsenal 83, Man U 77, Liverpool 58
    BIG FOUR LEAGUE: Chelsea 14pts, Man U 12, Arsenal 5, Liverpool 3

    PREMIER LEAGUE: Chelsea 91pts, Man U 83, Liverpool 82, Arsenal 67
    BIG FOUR LEAGUE: Chelsea 15pts, Man U 11, Liverpool 4, Arsenal 4

    PREMIER LEAGUE: Man U 89pts, Chelsea 83, Liverpool 68, Arsenal 68
    BIG FOUR LEAGUE: Arsenal 14pts, Man U 11, Liverpool 6, Chelsea 5

    PREMIER LEAGUE: Man U 87pts, Chelsea 85, Arsenal 83, Liverpool 76
    BIG FOUR LEAGUE: Man U 13pts, Chelsea 10, Arsenal 6, Liverpool 4

    Pick the bones out of that. Well, it seems clear that the games between the Big Four do matter. In three of the last six seasons, the Big Four mini-league is the exact match of the final Premier League table, and in five of the six seasons the winner of the mini-league has gone on to take the title.

    The only anomaly comes in 2006-07 when Arsenal romped to the mini-league title but finished fourth in the real thing. Arsène Wenger’s side’s success at Old Trafford and victories over Liverpool and United at the Emirates were offset by the points dropped against West Ham, Middlesbrough and co.

    And no side has won the title having finished lower than second in the head-to-head contest. The overall theme is fairly emphatic, therefore – win the Big Four clashes to win the Premier League title. Looks like Liverpool are a good bet for the championship this year, then.

  92. Gunner4Ever,

    Actuall, Stewart Robson is an interesting guy. I don’t know quite what has been said here to upset people, but if you hear him talking he is a long way from the pundits you hear on MOTD and in the press. He is a UEFA certified coach and all the things I’ve heard from him have been objective and usually, where Arsenal are concerned, extremely knowledgeable.

  93. NYMarcus,

    Good emotional plea for respect! Liked it, agreed with much of it in fact! Bit long maybe. Just kidding.

    I think the thing is, the club means so much to each of us. When we argue we argue hard.

    This Stalinism comparison may be a bit harsh, but I would always fight for a united front and most certainly to give the manager our full backing. That would be nearly all managers for the good of the club but the greatest in our history, well that’s 100% backing. If we want to over egg the comparisons a bit, he is the kind of man, having seen what he stands for, his integrity, his previous results and how he made the club the club it is today, I and many others would line up beside him for a battle!

    He is a living Arsenal legend, but that, is to understate what he is right now, which is simply the best manager for the club.

    His vision!…So many of us can see it, we don’t want to see it put off track by a vocal minority, rocking the stability of the club with their constant self-destructive questioning of decisions.

    He wanted to make a signing or two, he couldn’t get it done, good thing he’s built some squad.

    I know we all love the club, but if you love the man, just back him to get the job done, trust him to get it right and he can return us to a place only he has ever taken us to before.

    If we are top, just love it! Why do you have to always wait for us to fall. I was there too, last season you know.

    What strikes me about yourself, Alex Ice Cream and SolGooner, is that if their were some United or Chelsea fans in the room, I bet you wouldn’t take any crap! You’d probably back the vision then. I would probably understand you more then.

    Maybe, I’m just used to having some Scum to argue with!

  94. NYMarcus,

    The most interesting thing about your post is that if we had achieved just a 3 point swing last year, from the top 4 games, then the title would ours.

    Ifs, buts and maybes…. sigh.

  95. I am quite happy to gloat when the miserable ne’er do well doubting know better than the pros Arsenal hating Arsenal fans disappear from the blogosphere after a few great results. I don’t like them and I wish they didn’t support our club.

  96. Good post Danny. Unfortunately behind the internet firewall, there is no way to confirm if you are truly an Arsenal fan or just a fake one. To be honest, some of the constant attack on specific players is just beyond my basic understanding of “Support” & “Supporter”.

    To say that I never criticized an Arsenal player, or questioned the manager’s decision in selecting the Captain two times in a raw (TH14 & WG10) I would be lying through my teeth. What pisses me off is you can’t really go on demeaning a specific player every single minute of every single day and don’t expect to be attacked in return for it.

    Can you confirm %100 that I’m an Arsenal fan? If you say yes, I can say I’m %100 sure you based your decision on my overall positive posts of the club. try to make that same decision for someone who constantly post negative comments about the club, manager, and some players….I find it hard to be %100 sure that they’re real Arsenal fans.

    I know it’s not fair to judge someone’s loyalty on this blog just by their posts, but that’s all we have.


  97. Danny,

    I neither sol, NYmarcus, not I are as faithless as you like to point out. We have argued long and with passion about what we perceive to be areas that can be improved.

    It does not mean that we want Wenger out. It does not mean that we do not feel that Wenger is the best man for the job. It does not mean that we don’t enjoy watching Arsenal. It does not mean that we have no faith.

    AW even tried to/did strengthen the positions that we went on about for so long so surely this means that there was merit in our arguments. I have admitted that on reflection some of my posts were negative but I don’t think that this was the norm.

    The argument that “you think you know better than AW” can be used against any disagreement with the manager. For AW to be always right he would have to be perfect and he isn’t. Many people didn’t think too much of certain players and were proved correct over the course of time. It doesn’t mean that we think we know more but the acceptance that sometimes some fans can be right and the manager wrong. I admit that AW usually gets it right but it was plain to see that we ran out of legs last season and some of us feared a repeat.

    We have started well but as NYmarcus says the real tests will come from March onwards.

    For now I am happy to debate whilst enjoying us destroy the likes of Bolton, Bburn and Sheff U.

  98. Alex Ice Cream,

    How is it I also felt, we needed to add either a strong centre-half or a new defensive midfielder, but that I am not defined by that preference?

    That is the large difference between you and I?


  99. Looks like Portsmouth are in for another drubbing.
    0-4 to Chelski

  100. I really don’t get this “united front” idea, this sweeping generalization of anyone who admits to any doubts as “Arsenal-hating”, this belief that because you criticize a player on a blog it means that you’re damaging his performance on the pitch. As if Ade reads my posts!

    I really don’t get this broad brush people use against any criticism at all — I find totalitarian attitudes like Danny’s, Passenal’s and steww’s disturbing. Everyone must be in united lockstep like some kind of robotic, unthinking mass army. If things were run their way, Arsenal blogs would be mindnumblingly boring and scarily conformist.

    Well I have absolutely ZERO respect and tolerance for that, it’s absolute bullshit and deserves no understanding AT ALL.

  101. Relax NYMarcus,

    I was talking about other posters (like the le grove clan) and saying that yourself, SolGooner and Alex Ice Cream have opinions that are different but that I feel closer to understanding you and your motivations. Not completely but I can live with that and enjoy the debate.

  102. Danny,

    I find it sad that you define me by that preference.

    I certainly would not be arrogant enough to define anyone by something like that.

    I am unsure about what you meant by “the difference between you and I” Please explain.

  103. NYmarcus,

    How ironic that we have found so much common ground after the heated debates of the past!

  104. Danny,

    I think I speak for NY and Sol (in absentia) to say that our motivations are simple. We want Arsenal to win the Prem and CL and play the best football.

    Our disagreements with AW are based on concern not on a desire to see AW out.

    We love AFC and have done for years. Sol has been a supporter for years and years as have I and NYmarcus.

    I like to think that our motivations are obvious.

  105. That’s what I mean Alex Ice Cream,

    Pre-season you ended up as the fella that felt Wenger shoud have made certain signings.

    But I felt the same, but first and foremost I love what we have.

    I didn’t demand those signings, saying we would struggle without them! Despite being happy to greet a couple of them.

    When transfer deadline passed, I was dissappointed but did not feel I would be served by going over it, So I again took stock and thought, we were 4 points off last season, we can find 4 points!

    I’m not having a go, fair plays! If you think I’m being arrogant, I’m sorry. It’s just if you are often negative, it does become your identity. I agree you’ve addressed this and also your entitled to feel that way.

    It’s just we don’t actually differ in those opinions, but I support the current board and management. As a loyal supporter I sometimes have to accept things we not always be to my liking, but still put my overall trust with them.

  106. Alex agee with post 9:38.

    Never have not done.

  107. Danny,

    I take your point. I am very passionate about Arsenal and I make points forcefully; sometimes too forcefully. AW made 1 of the signings and tried to make the other. I just feared a collapse like last season and wanted the insurance of a couple of more experienced players.

    I was writing so much on this blog at one point that people probably “defined” me in a number of ways. Your writing often reflects your mood and I wrote some massive blogs here day after day so it natural that there were different moods.

    My attitude changed after the window shut also and I could just concentrate on football.

    I don’t doubt your motivations at all. In fact I think that with very few exceptions everyone on this blog is a dedicated Arsenal fan. Even in the most heated arguments (usually with NYmarcus!) I did not think that anyone was anything other than committed to the cause in their own way. You don’t spend as long on here otherwise!

  108. Ok, not sure if we are talking about the same type of bloggers here?

    Type A (Good One)

    If you can’t challenge the people in charge and constructively criticize them, we will never improve. You have to call on a player or a manager if they were not up to the standard, you have to demand improvement with the understanding that improvements don’t happen using overnight express delivery.

    Type B (not Recommended, it’s not healthy)

    Constant moaners, doom mongers, player targeted unwarranted criticism for no reason other than personal dislike, always finding reasons to be pessimistic or unhappy.

    It is so easy to destruct something than to build it. I truly believe negativity can affect people easily, Adebayor doesn’t have time to read our comments (he’s probably having fun spending his $80K/week somewhere) but fans do read it, and then go boo players in the stadium, then the moral of the team goes down and so on.

    Being well balanced is always the best, being overly optimistic or pessimistic doesn’t get you anywhere.

  109. Agree again!

    In a way I’m glad you found it “sad” that I would define you like that.

    And I have no problems with Sol Gooner or NYMarcus. I would hope we’ve clashed a few times, but without ever being personal.

    In my opinion, this pre-season, was the worse yet for negativity under Arsene Wenger. There are obvious reasons, fair enough, but if I feel more concerned than ever, with Wenger criticism, criticism of our top-scorer and booing at the Emirates, it is because I feel it has gone too far.

    And of course, because I believe we are in the best hands possible!

  110. G4E,

    Really good post. Type B, beware, when we’re back on top of the world……

    ……we’re calling you out!

  111. Actually I think NY Marcus and AIC are rather objective in their concerns. Its really Ok to disagree with Wenger at times. AIC has been seeing the light of late – cool dude, to me – we have had a few battles and I think he is seeing things more in the positive way – hee hee!!!

    AIC, I must say while i could understand many of what you said though I didnt agree much pre season but your homeboy Solgooners comments need some sandpapering at times, no disrespect!

  112. @Alex Ice Cream
    “AW even tried to/did strengthen the positions that we went on about for so long so surely this means that there was merit in our arguments.”

    I’m not sure that you can claim to have been vindicated – we could ALL see what the weaknesses were, and Wenger spelled it out. As I recall, you were arguing for Wenger to adopt particular solutions – buying a big CH and a CDM. Wenger addressed the problems in the way he thought fit. In an interview Wenger gave on Inside Sport, he was asked what the hardest thing about his job was. He said it was discovering the root cause of a problem. In other words, the obvious solution is not necessarily the correct one.

    You wanted a Vdic-style CB, but Wenger bought Silvestre – same type as Gallas/Toure/Djourou. And even that purchase of a defender was just because he found out Silvestre was available and a bargain. Every player we were credibly linked with was a midfielder.
    You wanted Wenger to buy a specialist DM, to replace Flamini. He was looking for a CM, but NOT specifically a DM. He talked about using Diaby, who is not a DM. In the end, he bought no-one and gave Denilson a go. (You should read that Arsenal-Mania article – it’s quite interesting.)

    I don’t know exactly what Wenger’s done, but so far, it would appear to be working. Long may it continue.

  113. Danny,

    Booing is never acceptable apart from booing opposition players! One of the reasons I feel I can vent my spleen sometimes on the blogs is that it can’t harm the players

  114. Paul N,

    I admit that I have lightened up a bit. I hate the pre-season period and I suffered from football withdrawal symptoms. I will still disagree with Arsene if necessary but I admit that watching us smash dirty Bolton and Blackburn and seeing the “kids” disect Sheff U has brightened my mood.

  115. Did anyone think that Ramsey’s through balls from deep positions last night were reminiscent of Dennis Bergkamp?

  116. One good thing about Le Grove

    It got a fair few randoms off here!!!

    Alex Ice Cream,

    I would argue it could harm our players, if a mindless minority, join forces to vent on the net, they could see that there are enough to join forces to boo in the first place.

    The other thing is, I’m just reading Perry Grove auto-biography and he speaks of reading the fanzines and having an idea how the fans felt, the distance may be wider, but I’m certain some players will look on the net from time to time. They all read the papers!

    Will all use the net, they’re no different, they’ve got Facebook pages too.

  117. Yep Alex, its been quite a pleasure so far. Lets hope that this will continue, I believe it will!!

    Big Ups!!

  118. Wow big comparison,

    Ramsey’s best game for the club and have to say was not sure after Wenger suggested he is more of a central Midfied player than a winger ( if they were his quotes – found them a bit unWengerlike ) but last night he looked a star in the making.

    Well excited, not sure who I would compare him too yet! Look forward to working it out!

  119. Danny,

    There are very few players who play those early through balls through the middle from deep positions. Dennis was the best example and some of Ramsey’s passing reminded me of the immortal Bergkamp.

  120. Bloody Hell Alex,

    I’ve not seen enough to say, I can see he likes a through ball, but I’d have to have seen the full 90!

    That’s big, very big. Mind you, can he pick a ball out of the sky on his big toe with minimum of effort shift it onto his other boot to place in to the top corner before giving the defender time to draw a breathe let alone balance his feet.

    I suggest not.

    The lad looks a clever player, strong yet skilled, dangerous around the box or simply with his head in the air. Could be made for the English game and our version of it!

  121. Sometimes reading Arsenal blogs seems akin to a type of bipolar disorder, we seem to be in the manic phase right now!

    I’m delighted about the current state of affairs and equally delighted to see some backtracking amongst the more negative supporters.

    I still believe that in this age of blogging and Sly Sports, frustrations with certain players and unrealistic demands for splashing out on star signings, creates a ripple effect that reverberates around and sometimes eventually surfaces in the stadium, where players are confronted with groans and even booing. I was seriously concerned for Theo for a while, I felt that maybe his confidence would be knocked and this would delay his development.

    Unfortunately I don’t think there is a massive amount that we can do about these trends, other than for those of us that are blessed with brains to try not to get sucked in and adding too much fuel to the fire. It can be easy to demonise a player through frustration, I have to give Eboue immense credit for his strength of character and resolve. Even I am beginning to doubt my doubts over him!

  122. Ian Dolent,

    Well said, a point I was clearly struggling to make.

  123. Danny,

    I am not saying he is the new Dennis but that he sees that early pass through the middle much like Bergkamp. Its only 1 game and but those passes brought back some memories.

  124. Alex Ice Cream:

    Nice to see you are changing your stance on the club, team and AW. Just as a reminder here is a quote from you a few weeks back.

    ” WHAT THE F*** DOES THIS MEAN! How on earth can you predict this. Oh yeah, Arsene’s new law of football – going in away 0-0 means you will win the game. This is complete bollox. Why was this your biggest regret AW? I regret that you have shown yourself incapable of building a squad (for whatever reason) in the last 4 years that can challenge consistently. I regret that we had the best team in the League which played the best football in the world with some of the greatest ever players and now we have a midfield of Eboue, Denilson and Walcott. That is my biggest regret.”

  125. Ian Dolent:
    I agree with you totally.
    I once said Eboue is a rediculously talented footballer and got flamed..

    Eboue’s, Song’s, Senderos’ & Almunia’s have been onn the recieving end of some serious flack. If any of them were English they would play for England.

  126. “Passenal, Forwards (Bendtner) shouldnt defend on set plays? If it is about the team as a whole, he needs to do whatever it takes to ensure victory. Each player should know how to do a little of everything, even play goalie if possible, (to me). I sure do not have a problem with Gallas scoring goals as a defender, do you? or should he just focus on defending?”

    Paul N – the post I responded to suggested Bendtner should defend instead of Gallas or Toure because he has the height. My point is that all players should contribute to the overall effort, but not being a specialist defender, I would not be depending on a forward to defend set plays or why have defenders on the pitch at all? It’s great that Gallas can chip in with key goals at times, but that is not his primary job on the pitch. We haven’t quite perfected that level of total football where centre backs and forwards are interchangeable.

  127. Hi guys

    Just as we should have some immunity to the criticisms, we should keep our feet on the ground amidst the over-exuberant write ups in the various online sports pages about Arsenal Seniors and Arsenal Babes. Those vultures are waiting for the next banana slip to murder us again.

    Let’s beat Stellios and Hull City next.

  128. I’m sure this has been debated before. Wenger recently mentioned in passing that the season will be only 20 games old in January this year. And that most teams will have enough time to strengthen themselves in preparation for a gruelling summer.

    Is he by (buy?) any chance referring to some Arsenal purchases in this summer? Its all great to have youngsters performing, but summer requires experience as we found out much to our chagrin in the last season

  129. William,

    Fair point. I have no issue with you quoting my words back to me. I know I wrote them!

    We have failed to build a squad in the last 4 years that can challenge consistently though but there were reasons for this – break up of the invincibles, finance, and waiting for the younger players to mature. Last year was a big improvement though and I didn’t focus on this enough in the blog that you quoted , so fair enough.

    Eboue has surprised me this season I’ll admit. Walcott has improved also even though I still think of him as a wide striker like Overmars. Denilson has done well also but these 3 together in midfied may be unabalanced for some games. They still have some way to match the great midfield’s of the past, or even last season though which is the point I was making. They are improving rapidly however.

    Let’s see how they develop. Its too early to write anyone off or say that we’ll win the Prem.

  130. Ian Dolent,

    Just to add to the growing legions of supporters of the clarity and content of your posting. Said it all… said it well

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