Arsene Gets All Cesc-y & Return To Sender-os

Cesc is a player who is an exceptional talent but part of the exceptional talent is that he is never happy with what he is delivering. There is a lot more to come from him because these players always get better.
– Arsene Wenger on Cesc

Cesc Fabregas return to the Arsenal side this weekend has been confirmed by Arsene , the captain back into a midfield replacing the injured Denilson.

Wenger has been praising the improvement in Fabregas’ game this season:

I believe he is more mature and he has gained a fraction of physical power. He’s 22 and that’s when you really become a man. Cesc hasn’t worked especially on his finishing.

I believe it’s just his calm in front of goal. He always had chances and, in some games, he missed three or four because he always wanted to finish with power. Now, he finishes with calm. He places the ball and suddenly he scores goals.

It is a return to the form that Fabregas displayed in 2007/08. Last season too much rested on his shoulders; too many of the midfield duties relied on his diligence, passion for winning and tenacity in the tackle. With a more defensively-minded player alongside him, the Spaniard has thrived.

However, it is not just this aspect which has ‘freed’ him. Attacking responsibilities are distributed through a number of players. If Cesc is marginalised, Arshavin, Nasri or Rosicky can be effective in that role.

Cesc is still crucial to the side though. His captaincy is more from the Bobby Moore school, leading by example, handing out a rocket if needed, inspiring through actions rather than the typically British mould, very vocal and inspiring through choice words more often than not. It is not ruling by fear but a certain amount of bullying is involved.

The experience of 2007/08 will stand this team in good stead this season. Falling away so badly having been in control for long spells of the season is a lesson that they will not wish to repeat. This time, 3 points behind the leaders is a good position to be in, capable of capitalising on any mistakes which may be made by those ahead.

Key to it will be keeping the squad fit. Injuries have been pretty horrendous this season yet the team has not been dropped from the title race. That perhaps says more about the inconsistency of others as much as it does the tenacity of Arsenal, the desire to recover quickly from setbacks.

However, at some point, a team is going to be consistent and put together an unbeaten run which will put them into a very good position to wrest the title from Manchester United. If Arsenal are not that team, they must match it to keep within striking distance. The fixtures against teams lower down the table are key to this; the top four clashes are showing that taking points from each other is the order of the day. A defeat in those fixtures does not mean the end of the season as it may have done in the past. It is not helpful but not disasterous.

Wenger has signed Sol Campbell to strengthen the squad, a divertissement to the events on the pitch. It has not been entirely welcomed, some viewing it as further evidence of the collapsing financial situation in football. The truth is that Wenger is not in a position to sign a world-class centre back since it will break up a good working partnership in Gallas and Vermaelen, an area where the manager has identified that consistency of selection is essential.

It also provides cover when Philippe Senderos leaves. The Swiss international has made no secret of his desire to go, needing regular first team football to ensure that his aim of playing at this summer’s World Cup finals is not adversely affected.

Rumours have linked him with everyone from Everton to Bayern Munich but no apparent firm offers have been received. With his contract ending this summer, little surprise there since it is the same situation that Marouane Chamakh faces – why would anyone pay for him now, knowing that he will cost nothing once the season is over.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on January 16, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 196 Comments.

  1. In all my life, playing with my mates, playing at school, playing at various levels, on the beach while on holiday, never as a professional….there were always people running about shouting at people. I never once felt inspired by one of them. But it seems lots of pros are inspired by that sort. Maybe that’s why they are or were pros.

  2. Ole gunner. When I played in school and in the neighbourhood patched up leagues, I’d usually shout back at any bastard who shouted at me….LOL!

    But we had a very good captain in our school championship team. A resolute and talented central defender who led by example and gave you no choice but to follow his lead and fight for everything.

    I doubt if Ken would have convinced anyone by shouting and barking orders – he was never that sort of person.

  3. Great post as usual. Lets hope d boys do the job at the weekend. Here is to hoping that those ahead drop points.

  4. I was wondering what happens at the end of this season when the contract of Sol ends and probably Senderos playing for a different team rather than waiting for some action. Will AW choose to renew the contract of Sol’s for one more year which would be a huge gamble or buy a new defender, ‘coz I don’t any of the kids stepping up in that position for us. In that case why not buy a decent defender now, and keep him ready for the eventuality?

  5. Sobhan.

    We already have a decent backup central defender. He wears the no. 20 shirt and goes by the name Johan Djourou.

  6. Johan Djourou, Havard Nordveit and Kyle Bartley.

  7. Darius

    I had counted his presence for next season as the no.3 in that position. Giving the fact, that Gallas n Silvestre both are at the wrong side of 30 and with our club policy, how far do u think these two will carry our back line. AW himself has come out with the statement of needing at least 4 center halves and given his reluctance to put Silvestre is any half-important match, I doubt.

  8. Ignasi Miquel

  9. We also have Kyle Bartley and Harvard Nordveit waiting in the wings.

  10. I agree with Spike

  11. I am still expecting a sendross/saha swap of some kind this window.

  12. Agreed Djourou will come in above Campbell, but I understood he will be out almost the whole season, while Sol will only be here til the summer.

    How long Gallas can last us an interesting point, hopefully Johan will be ready to step up once the time comes.

    Where is nordvelt? Is he playing with our reserves or out in loan? It’s very difficult to tell if a good 18yo CB will ever make the grade, at least with creative players you can see all the important attributes at a younger age.

  13. true (Havard Nordtveit ( Nurnberg – On loan)).
    And regarding Kyle Bartley, if Wenger had any intention of keeping him in the first team next season, he would have played a few Carling cup ties, I suppose.

  14. Sobhan.

    As Spike has also mention, Nordveit and Bartley are backups.

    The thing is this though, we’re not likely to find a decent centre half willing to warm the bench this side of a world cup. Everybody decent who’s country is in the world cup finals wants to play regularly. Sol’s signing makes sense because it provides an experienced short-term option to tide us until Djourou is fully fit again and that’s likely to be next season.

    Wenger may well sign another defender in the summer, but what’s the point of speculating about that now – it’s still too early to start the Wenger must sign a defender now mantra. Gallas is nowhere near his sell by date by any means so we’re likely to see the Gallas Verminator partnership for at least another season if not more.

    Also, in the same way Gibbs and Traore have stepped up to the plate, don’t write off Bartley and Nordveit who are very promising prospects knockign on the door.

    Nordveit is getting good mileage and experience at Nuremberg and Bartley can only improve by working and training everyday with Gallas, Vermaelen, Cambell, Djourou etc.

  15. And on the issue of Arsenal defenders being over 30, or the wrong side of 30 as you say it – Arsenal has actually won 2 double titles under Wenger with defenders who were all older than Gallas.

  16. Nurnberg. Havard Nordveit is on loan untill the end of the season.

  17. FC Nurnberg are sitting in the relegation zone in the Bundesliga at the moment, so Havard is probably gaining a lot of experience.However the only experienced centre-half at the club is Andreas Wolf and he is 27. Michael Kammermeyer is 24 and Dominc Maroh is 22. There is a well thought of Australian player, Michael Spiranovic coming through.

    Interestingly of the 13 games he has played for the club most have been as a central midfield player.

  18. Actually he has played 12 league games out of 17 which is just the sort of playing time he needs.

  19. Right that’s it, I have decided to adopt Havard Nordveit as a player to watch out for for the rest of season. That makes 37 players on my list now.

  20. Wenger has high hopes for Djourou that is why he sign Campbell on a short time. Djourou will be back next season and continue his progress he will eventually partner Vermallaen when Gallas retires.

  21. 1 loose cannon, I’m afraid Djourou is glass dude, he may be class but he’s also glass, we will never be able to rely on him im afraid, when he sprints his legs fall apart and you know this

  22. KAMaaaaaaaaaaaN!

  23. I love spurs.

  24. Trying to destoy YW’s site again, James? Why would you want to do that?

  25. Doesn’t KAMaaaaaaaN play for the Cameroon?

  26. Why would you not spend time on a spuds site then?

  27. KAMAAAAN!!!

    YOU – YOU – YOU

    ‘_aRSHENAl_’

  28. Frank I just wanna talk football, its other people who stray off the path

  29. You don’t talk football

  30. whats the need to buy chamakh or any striker now when he will be free in summer…..
    because if nb52 gets injured again or goes out of form ( a la dudu) then we have a front three whose average height will just beat the corner flag..
    i guess players are not bought as showpieces, buy them when they are cheap, they are bought to play in the team…

  31. I talk crap.

  32. I do talk football, but when I say something serious people laugh it off, call me a troll, and shout abuse at me, like you will probably do in your next post

  33. ..you don’t talk football

  34. I like being called a troll.

  35. I do, Liverpool are crap

  36. Why do you like being called a troll?

  37. You know what they say about Immitation…..

  38. No I don’t..what do they say?

  39. liverpool V Stoke. Absolute shite, Wasted 45 min watching rubbish

  40. Well Frank, they its the sincerest form of flattery

  41. I agree with Frank

  42. Frank- You’ve got your man. The other Frank

  43. I guess it depends upon who and what you are imitating

  44. James I like that..

  45. I agree with Spike

  46. Frank i’m glad your here actually, theres something I wanted to talk to you about. Gadget and Ole Gunner have beeen going on Le Grove on the sly. I’m not happy about it and think you may need to sentence them to some lashings, I was thinking 5 each, as an example

  47. franck is the gendarme of this blog.

  48. Why should people not visit any blogsite they wish? You do don’t you?

  49. Monsieur Chamakh are you going to Liverpool?

  50. you’re right chamakh Frank finds his best form in the trenches..

  51. Frank, yes but not Le Grove, give me some credit

  52. How much money do you need to leave?

  53. At least Yogis a talented writer, i’m sure he could turn his pen to other subjects and do well, i mean that as well

  54. I’m worthless.

  55. 1 loose canon,

    i`m going to arsenal on a free at the end of this season

  56. James you not so bad when you use that Ragga accent..

  57. You think you can cut it in the premiership? maybe you are better off at Liverpool.

  58. but in fairness to franck,he should have been voted best arsenal fan of the last season,he kept lifting the moral of the fans until the end,so well done franck.

  59. if wenger thinks i can cut it then i will,in arsene we trust mate.

  60. i want liverpool to beat stoke

  61. Yeah, I like it better when james is William too.

  62. They are both shit. I want leverpool to win and finish 4th I don’t want the suckers next door nor Manciny in the champions league.

  63. Spike- He changes colour aswell

  64. Seems you have a fanbase, James/William etc

  65. Unfortunately I must dash now, I am missing you all already, ciao darlings

  66. shape shifters have been with us forever..

  67. shit shovellers too

  68. true..

  69. off to find a decent spurs forum.

  70. Wont expect you back then… Shame that.

  71. Stoke0-liverpool 1. Stoke is a typical example of how to play bad football.

  72. Good stuff, Yogi.

    Ole, anybody running about shouting at people in a game of beach football is a wanker.

  73. Stoke1 Liverpool1

  74. My guess is that Gallas will be replaced by a new signing; but it won’t happen this summer. Having said that, Gallas’s longevity could work to Djourou’s advantage. If Gallas leaves this summer, Djourou will have no chance of taking his place. If Gallas stays, Djourou will have another season to show he deserves to be a first choice centre back. He has to be ready to grasp this gift of fortune.

  75. i think willy g signs a 2, maybe 3 year extension within weeks.

    he seems happier now at the arse… kolo and him clearly never saw eye to eye.

    vermy seems to get on well with him, they have defo got a great partnership… why would he leave now?

  76. Well I hope gallas signs a new deal, for 2 years at least. Then next season, we have Gallas, Vermealen, Djourou and Nordveit as our 4 top class CBs. And the likes of Bartley & Ayling can go out on loan to gain 1st team experience. Fantastic!

  77. Thats after we have won the league this season, of course.

  78. Of course.

  79. Sunderland have capitulated absolutely…

  80. This is very good news. Fabregas is a key to Arsenal winning the title. You are so right for this gives the Gunners more options. The more options you have the better it is. Chelsea is killing Sunderland 4-0. A win is a must against Bolton on Sunday. Man U is struggling against Burnley. On what great day it is. Thanks http://bobbygee.wordpress.com/

  81. any links???

  82. Opps wrong day…lol

    Crazy night….

  83. Crazy girl…

  84. LOL Maria. Talk about having an off day.

  85. I wonder if her real name is Mandy.

  86. Ah, Mandy. Lost girl of my youth.

  87. Mandy? Never heard of her.

  88. Crazy like a Fox girl!

  89. Miserable day so far. Good luck Everton I say.

  90. to be fair, spuds getting only a point off hull at home.. has made the day more palatable.

  91. I am delighted to see Campbell.Now I expect another geriatric and a 14 year old French kid to come in,who would save our season.

  92. I do not quite understand why it is that there can be no critical analysis of a football team without being associated with some kind of vermin. Not everything is coming up daisies at Arsenal.

    James made a simple remark that referred to Djouru as being a bit on the delicate side. Hence, it would be folly to rely on him as having a regular input into the first team. That I am afraid is the truth whether some of you like it or not.

    As well, there is no doubt that Van Persie is another of those…shall we say delicate chaps who rarely spends time on the football pitch. I would wish it were otherwise but the fact remains Van Persie is rarely available to play football for Arsenal. I do not consider that observation a revelation. It is merely a statement of fact! We own his services but we only see him for a few games each season. What a shame for such a talent. Unfortunately, there are others in this squad who have limited resilience.

  93. What a fucking misery you are, Two Owls. Bit stupid too.

  94. Since joining us in 2004, RvP has played an average of 35 games per season.

  95. Tell you what, watching Everton puts our result into perspective. they ain’t a half bad team.

  96. If I hit you over the head with a baseball bat, Two Owls, and cracked your skull. No-one would doubt that the injuries you sustained were as a direct result of my action. When you came out of hospital if Poliziano then wacked you across the shins and broke your tibia and fibula. No-one would doubt that your injuries were sustained by his action. Once you had recovered from your broken leg, if Passenal waited at the top of the steps you frequently used to get to the office and when you got to the top she shoved you down the stairs no-one would doubt that the torn ligaments and tendons you sustained were as a direct result of her action. The question is this…at what point would you expect people to start accusing you of being injury prone and possibly made of glass?

  97. Two Owls – the one you refer to in your second paragraph above is a troll. Quoting him doesn’t advance any argument, sadly.

  98. Two owls.

    Do you just bitch about everything, or do you suffer from an acute bout of defensive pessimism that makes you look at everything negatively.

    How does RVP’s ankle being broken by a hefty tackle make it his fault? Have you considered that our opponents are so outplayed by Arsenal that their only resort is to stop us by any means necessary? Maybe it’s a compliment that they want to take us out because they can’t cope – ala Liam Ridgewell takeing out Walcott.

    How are Arsenal different from other teams who have players with injuries that affect them through the season – Torez for Liverpool for example.

    Nobody is hsying away from debate. In fact, sober debate about any aspect of Arsenal is welcome. There’s a difference between finding a balance of criticism and support and what doom and gloom is about which is bitching about everything they find.

  99. Those comments my friend are ridiculous and irrelevant. I am not a professional football player. However, if I were to complete a surgical procedure on your cranium and found no grey matter, this would not be a surprise to me!

  100. Man city are 2 nil down at half time.

    Good ole Everton.

  101. nasirjonesnasri

    Fuck off back to Le Moan, Jaguar.

    And Two Owls, we are definitely aware James is a bit simple. He brings zero to the table outside of slagging players and masquerading as some sort of racist cross between Macho Man Randy Savage and Ali G. If he wants to act like a juvenile troll he’s going to get treated like a juvenile troll.

  102. Maybe the people who were slating us after last week’s game against Everton might get some perspective from that Darius?

  103. I am not your friend, Two Owls.

  104. i see zaki is on his way to hull… now there is a player who could have maybe done us for a few months?

  105. two owls is my best mate at le grove.

  106. james… link my blog over on le moan

    😆 fatty and spaniard will go spare.

  107. Passenal.

    I’m convinced that one of the reasons we have a fantastic chance to win the league this year is that after the game on the weekend of Feb 20-21st, we have a home stretch that is very tantalizing. We will have played most if not all the difficult games, and it’s a chance to rack up the big Mo as we hit the end of the season.

    Chelsea and Manure will drop points and it will be to teams like Villa, Everton, etc.

    Unfortunately this weekend, the news cycle will be about Chelsea’s re-coronation as the champions after battering Sunderland. Thinking of it, maybe it’ll favour Arsenal because it suits us to stick under the radar for now and quietly go about our business.

  108. Darius, I am aware of the obvious issues such as broken ankles etc. As well, I enjoy your articles. However, there are perhaps a great too many football players at Arsenal who are spending the greater part of their careers on the injury table. This is not doom and gloom or as you suggest defensive pessimism. It is a simple statement of fact which cannot be ignored. In fact, I think the better psychological defense mechanism is denial and that might be applied to some who are not smelling the coffee so to speak.

  109. The reason we will win the league this season is precisely because of the games before 20-21 Feb. Including the game against Chelski.

  110. Well Darius, it looks like the pensioners have had a little breather so they’ve got their second wind. Whether it’s enough to last them the rest of the season only time will tell.

  111. The reason they get injured is that they put their bodies on the line. Players who don’t get injured don’t do that. We call it commitment. Quite an important attribute.

  112. I love this squad. Best one I have ever seen. Total commitment.

  113. We’ve gone over this ” Arsenal players are too injury prone” discussion. The injury list of other teams suggest we are no different. And RVP is a genius.

    And Stringfellow Hawk, you should name your blog to anti-le-grove. Your posts seem directly aimed at them. Keep it up.

  114. I agree with Ateeb

  115. The Pensioners are getting above their station. I think we’ll take them apart when we visit the Geriatrics Ward in February.

  116. Two owls.

    I doubt the folks with a sunny disposition about Arsenal deny the fact that we are ravaged with injuries. That has never been in dispute. It’s all the more remarkable that we are where we are and that shows the sheer strength and depth of our squad – a squad that Frank here swears is the best he has seen at Arsenal. And believe me, Frank and his horse Lady Nina have been around the block (with Mandy I might add) many times and he has seen many an Arsenal squad.

    If you’re then suggesting that Wenger and the staff at London Colney are negligent by signing players who break when pushed, then that’s an argument full of holes. We don’t accumulate the injuries intentionally. There are schools of thought that suggest that 2 aspects may contribute to the environment that makes our players collect more injuries.

    Firstly, our style and pace of play puts the players bodies under a lot of pressure and that’s just the way the cookie crumbles if we want to see Wengerball.

    The second and related point is that between 17 and 22-23 yrs of age, the players bodies are growing and settling down and that is a factor that affects their conditioning.

    Either way, I’d rather have that situation managed by having a capable squad rather than not enjoy our football.

    So my question is – instead of bitching about something we don’t have control over, isn’t it more useful focussing and debating on the squad we have in place? What is the point of waxing lyrical about a squad strength and depth and not use it?

    If you want to focus on the assertion that Wenger and his team are negligent in signing the players that you allege are weak, then you’re really scraping the barrel.

  117. So what is the excuse for all man u’s injuries? And when we played Everton last week they had almost as many players out as we did.

  118. darius

    so we should not blame our lack of success
    ( ie in terms of silverware ) on injuries because

    firstly apparently every team on planet has same amount of injuries

    2ndly injuries are part n parcel of our playing style so why say that fab denilson etc were injured thats why we didnt played that well ( except of course in case of vanpersie and dudu , who got their injuries under acrimonious circumstances )

  119. .abc you’re simple like your name.

  120. Agreed Passenal, same goes for Chelsea and Pool. Chelsea though can afford a bigger squad, but when they have key player’s out they suffer. While pool can’t seem to win without Torres or Gerrard in the team.

    I just sort of miss watching the players, who are out injured. Rosicky had been topping that list for a couple of seasons, but RVP has taken over, too much class. And that’s how far as one should go as a supporter, rather than slating their fitness e.t.c.

    Anyhoo f**k U, two owls.

  121. We must win the next two games. If we do, we will be top of the league. No looking back from there. If we falter we are off the pace and back in with the pack.

    Cesc, Diaby, Nasri, will be too much for them to contain. 3-1 and 4 nil is my bet.

  122. I think that the injury list is part of a wider conspiracy at arsenal football club. The players are deliberately injured so we can bring in younger players i.e. the Wenger love children like Denilson and Song, and to give the medical teams something to do, as they would otherwise be bored.

    There is also a secret cabal with other top premiership teams that ensures that arsenal’s best players are deliberately injured in order to ensure they have no chance of winning the league. For each injured player, a payment goes into a secret swiss bank account of the directors. It is a little known fact.

  123. You’re reading too much of Dan Brown again, Muppet. Give it a rest.

  124. Ah, that reminds me, do you think the masons could be behind this ?

  125. If they have been freed, then yes, they could surely be behind this.

  126. How did your stint go on Le Groan Atteb, was it short and sweet ?

  127. I have been listening to the Everton/Man City game on the radio and I think that we can be pleased that we will not be meeting Everton in the league again this season.

    I wonder if people like Two Owls are doing Usmanov’s work in trying to undermine support for the club. They claim to be supporters but Arsenal can never do anything right.

    I am off to have a drink with a friend who supports the Spuds and was at their game today. He could be moaning about his team’s players but instead he was complimenting Hull’s goalie.

    Let’s get behind the team. If we beat Bolton tomorrow and Wednesday we will win the league comfortably.

  128. Like always. What about you? Caught any trolls of late? How’s our scalp collection going on?

  129. .abc, are you being deliberately obtuse? Darius was explaining why it’s simplistic to blame the players for getting injured. However to answer your silverware point, injuries do make a difference to whether you are able to play your best team and therefore increase your chances of winning. The squad has done well under the circumstances, but a fully fit Arsenal squad would wipe the floor with all the other teams in the PL.

  130. Bernard, that is the sensible approach to take. Football is unpredictable and sometimes timing can make a huge difference. You also have to give credit to the opposition who are not just there to make up the numbers.

  131. Well Ateeb, no need for a collection. For me, the funniest thing has been the emergence of Song as a now recognised world class DM on Le Groan. This was a player previously villified who had no chance of making it in the big time. Last night on the AVTO phone in, caller after caller came on, admitting that they had to eat their words from the low point of last year’s sequence of 4 score draws, to the turnaround of today. The only question mark of the D&G clan is Denilson, which is a bit disgraceful methinks.

  132. Haha, that’s nothing new, Muppet. They’ve had to take many of their prophecies back this season already. RVP was never good enough to play as a lone striker. And neither were Diaby, Eboue, Song and Denilson. Denilson was being slated, even when he was out injured for months. Strange one that. And I’m sure they’ve also realized that the the likes of Song, Denilson, Nasri, are way ahead at the moment from Wilshere, Ramsey and Co.

    Has Diaby been consistent enough to be consistently applauded, yer?

  133. Nurnberg are away to Schalke tomorrow. Although they are currently sitting in fourth position Schalke are real title contenders in the Bundesliga. FC Nurnberg have lost their last four games and are staring down the relegation barrel. I don’t know if Havard is playing.

  134. I think there seems to be some grudging acceptance in some quarters Ateeb. The previous criticism was that he was not intelligent. The criticism after that is that he was not consistent, as you alluded to in your question. Andy Dunn, a hack from the News of The Screws was slagging off Diaby last week, saying that he only produced 2 good moments in the game.

    The common denominator as always, is targeting players who have had very serious injuries in the past, or are under development and struggling to find forum. The problem with Diaby is that he has never had any more than a 20 game run, which happened last season. If he manages that this season he will shock a lot of people, because he is a powerhouse.

  135. fatty and spaniard over on the anti-arsenal blog are nicely summed up in my lastest post on my blog.

    i will continue to rip morons like them a new arse hole

    hillarious reading arseblogger tearing them apart a few days back

    the most hated pair of so called gooners out there

    i fear they may get themselves hurt down at the emirates.. if they reveal themselves.

  136. Abou Diaby is just on the verge of taking the footballing world by storm…and he will have achieved it through very, very hard work and commitment.

  137. Havard Nordtveit is a class player Frank. I was lucky enough to see him in the season opener against Barnet 2 years ago. I think he is something like 1.88 tall, or even taller, and clearly, being played as a midfielder means that he is comfortable on the ball. He will be a great option for us next season.

  138. Well said, Moopay.

  139. diaby is 22/23

    now at the same age as when pv4 stormed the world

    pv4 never had to endure a similar near career threatnening injury at 19.

    diaby will be a sensational player for us, i recall wenger more or less suggesting a young diaby, when compared to the recently departed pv4, had much more potential due to his abilty on the ball.

  140. Everton have finished in fifth place for the last two seasons, have they not? It can therefore hardly be a surprise if they turn out to be a good team. They had an awful start to this season (as I believe they did last season), but they are slowly working their way up.

    Having said that, I wouldn’t be afraid to play them again.

  141. arseneholis,

    I didn’t realise that. We could go top of the league. My original prediction was that we’d be top of the league by mid-January.

    Come on you fearsome gunners!!

  142. we go top if we take 6pts off bolton and achieve a +4 goal difference over the 2 games.

  143. Any doomer scalps lately? Ateeb, they are very slippery and wily these days given the clear growth and development of the squad over the past year. It is not easy to bash Song or Diaby and still retain a shred of credibility. But they are still around, just wolves in sheep’s clothing praising AW and the team but ready to stick the dagger in the back when we have a setback, no matter how minor.

  144. PZ,

    I just saw the 2nd half on ESPN. Everton were very good. A brilliant example of a team with a limited budget, coming through some earlier adversity, by virtue of hard work. I think there was some hysteria surrounding David Moyes a few months ago. What a load of tosh that was.

  145. Muppet. What baffles me is the fact that doomers spend so much energy bashing our players, they’re incapable of recognizing what success looks like any more.

    If Le Groan was around when players like Vieira started at Arsenal (pretty much at the same age Diaby et al are), he would have probably tried to top himself because of the bang out of order attacks that he would have read on that site.

    I guess it’s easier to criticise than have an intelligent conversation about issues.

    Just thinking of the next few years at Arsenal with Diaby, Cesc, Song, Denilson, Ramsey, Nasri, Wilshere, JET, The Coq and Eastmond running the Arsenal midfield, I just get a hard on.

    In yesterday’s post, I covered a profile of Abou Diaby. I strongly believe that this run of games he’s getting will make it hard to dislodge him from the first team.

  146. cesc, diaby and song ARE the midfield now… when fully fit and available they have to be played together.

    perfect balance to them.

  147. Darius,

    I don’t think it’s the case that Diaby is somebody to dislodge, I think it’s the case that in Wenger’s mind, he has always seen him as a first team player. Apparently, he is highly rated in France, much more so than here (obviously, given our mancs and chav orientated hacks), and as you say, I think it’s only matter of time where he will be acknowledged to be a truly world class attacking midfielder. He just needs some luck with injuries.

    Le Groan likes to think of themselves as the the purveyors of good taste and connosieurs of world class players. Well, they got it wrong on Diaby, they’ve got it wrong on Denilson, and they certainly got it wrong on Song.

  148. Who would want to be Arsene Wenger? Imagine having to choose a midfield from Nasri, Denilson, Walcott, Eboue, Diaby, Cesc, TR7, Song and Ramsay. Hell I’ve not even mentioned those coming through, I may have even missed someone such is our embarrassment of riches.
    Imagine how Benitez must weep when he looks at a list like that.

  149. The Diaby issue has always been a funny one. He’s been quite frsutrating in the last 2 years with his tendency to dally on the ball and dribble into dead ends.

    But his talent could never have been in doubt without the pervesion of ‘doomers’ or whatever they’re called.

    How many players in the EPL can we say this about; 6 ft 3, fast, powerful, can head, can dribble, can tackle, has endless stamina, and can finish with either foot?

    The boy has everything that would make a world class player. It’s just a matter of time.

    The extent of the frustration with him so frequently ignored what he did do right. So he gives the ball away 3 times, but wins the ball 15 times, and creates a couple of chances, and you think all that matters was the 3 times he game the ball away?

  150. Muppet, I guess there truly is a reason why Wenger is the manager and us mere mortals are just bloggers and debators.

    We can only hope the voices of reason continue to triumph.

  151. We have 10 good outfield players and a duff keeper

  152. I agree with Steww and Ole.

    On the point of younger players coming through, as mentioned by Darius, the point has been totally missed by the D&G clan.

    They believe that the purpose of the academy and the development programme is to find a diamond, like a Cesc Fabregas. The argument goes that as the academy will only produce 1 Cesc Fabregas every 5 years, it won’t work, other more experienced players will still need to be signed.

    As Tom Watts said last night on AVTO, this is complete tosh. The purpose of the academy, and player development is to produce a dynasty that will dominate for 5 to 10 years. Arsenal have had some good success in spurts, but no domination, and what we want to achieve is a situation where you have a number of players graduating from the academy who can form the nucleus of a team that will dominate.

    For this reason, the ambition, and the evidence of some of the younger players coming through (JET, Coquelin, Kieran Gibbs, Wilshere, Ramsey, Nordtveit, Vela, Traore, Eastmond, Frimpong, Sczeney) there is no better time to be an arsenal supporter.

  153. Actually we have about 42 very good outfield players some of whom are world class and at least four top-class keepers.

  154. What a star you are, Moopay

  155. I feel soooo sick. My chosen drink of lemonade must have been something all togather something else.

  156. What do you guys make of Stewart Robson ex-player who now works on ArsenalOnline. I have now taken a liking to her.

  157. oppppppps.

    Here I go again.

    *him.

  158. Maria. Are you asking if he’s shaggable or if he’s a decent pundit/hack?

    And are you sure it’s lemonade you ordered or cool-ade? LOL.

  159. DS,

    My reputation proceeds me. While I like his east-end done good dress style, he is faaaaaaaar from shaggable!!

    I do like his even-toned manner it used to annoy me since I wanted a more passion and bias but now I am beginning to like him.

  160. So he’s growing on you, huh?

    He’s a difficult one to suss out. On ATVO he is pro-Arsenal, but when on commercial radio, its hard to tell which side of the bread he’s buttering. I guess he has to make sure he gets a cheque so he needs to tow the line or at least be seen to do so.

    I was made to understand that he’s done his coaching badges so you kinda ask why he doesn’t want to try his hand at coaching or management.

  161. I doubt the academy will obviate the need for new signings.

  162. I like Stewart Robson. Hypercritical (like me), he can be very blind to the strengths of players he doesn’t like (like Denilson). But generally he talks sense.

  163. It’s a mistake to see the academy as a production line for manufacturing great players.

  164. Ole gunner.

    My wife was watching ACN matches and she asked me who the commentating summarizer was because he knew the players well and was talking a lot of sense and sounded like he knew the game well. It was Stewart Robson.

  165. To become a great player personal qualities are required that cannot be introduced by an academy.

  166. I caught onto that Ole. He is the only player his made jokes about.

  167. An academy can also enforce a uniformity that can have an effect similar to inbreeding in a society.

  168. LOL Pz. You need to get another beer.

  169. I agree with your assessment of Stewart Robson Ole.

    Darius, I think the fact that he has his coaching badges makes him a better commentator as he understands what is going on on the pitch.

    Poliziano, you’re right, the academy may not necessarily produce great players, but if it can at least produce the core of the squad to be supplemented by external purchases it will be worthwhile. It should also generate revenue from those who don’t make it and get moved on with sell on clauses in their contracts.

  170. Arsenal is notable for the diversity of its players. Many of them are very hard to classify. A single academy is unlikely to produce this diversity.

  171. The point is that we have a massive conveyor belt of exceptional talent. Statistically there will be 5,6 great players in there right now.

  172. Which statistics are those, Ole?

  173. I’m not sure I agree that the academy/ development programme cannot produce great players. Why not ? We already have Bendtner, Fabregas, Kieran Gibbs.

    Manchester United achieved domination in the 90s through the Neville brothers, Giggs, Scholes and Beckham. Why can’t we do the same ?

    As for the comments about uniformity PZ.. what do you mean ? Sure, diversity is good, but the whole idea of the academy is to produce players in every position, comfortable on the ball, schooled in the arsenal way.

    Or are you pulling our legs ?

  174. Poliziano,

    Just a rule of thumb. In every group of 50 good anything (players, students, stones….) 5 will be distinguished.

  175. 5 good stones out of 50 ? There’s a thought….

  176. Just like in a tennis academy 5 out of 50 good young players will go on to successful careers teaching tennis to children.

  177. No reply. PZ is listening to Mahler’s violin concerto in F Sharp minor, whilst quaffing some glenfiddich.

  178. I’m not joking, Muppet. I predict that the Arsenal team will continue to consist predominantly of players whose crucial years of development were spent away from Arsenal.

  179. Well PZ, I can see your logic. The talent pool worldwide is much larger than in house. It’s the same argument with english players and the premiership. People talk about english players and non english players, but the reality of a manager choosing from a pool of worldwide talent is that they are choosing a player from over 100 football playing nations, and the likelihood is that they will be better than an english player.

    I still believe in the academy system. I think that it can bring advantages for the team, as opposed to necessarily producing the best individuals. Because all the players would have grown up together, the spirit will be greater.

  180. I completely agree that the academy brings advantages to Arsenal, and I believe it can develop great players from time to time. It also generates income from the sale of players not good enough for Arsenal; it produces players who can function as excellent reserves; and it supplies a quantity of good players with whom other young players brought from outside can train and develop.

  181. At Le Groan, you’re not world class unless you cost at least 17 million.

  182. That means Arshavin is not world class by their standard since he reportedly cost less than that.

  183. Rats. I thought that’s how much we got him for. Just another piece of awesome business from Le Professor. The man is a living legend.

  184. start the campaign against the anti arsenal blogs

    there time is up

  185. Frank, you deserve something better!

    Kitchen Sink: what is a Ragga accent?

  186. JESUS GUNNER GET U

    fuck u doomer cunts !

  187. Morning All, can’t wait for the game later.

    With all the teams beneath us dropping points and none above, it is a big day and a chance to show that we belong in the top group.

    Aside from the new manager, there isn’t a huge amount of talent at Bolton. We should take 6 points in the next 3 days and by enough to put us top.

    Interesting that Chelsea after a long rest came out very strong. Perhaps the grind of 3 games a week catches up with old legs? They didn’t look that good a month ago.

    I am looking forward to seeing Wenger try and work in some younger and fringe players wednesday and Sunday, I think he will if the team win today. JET, Vela, Campbell, Walcott could all feature against Stoke.

  188. Just scanning the sports news channels today, I thought I’d mistakenly subscried to Chelsea TV.

  189. Morning Darius, don’t read the stuff myself, ill informed, biased and written to someone else’s agenda. I am fighting back just to show how easy it it. On my Saturday afternoon show we do a year in revue, moving forward one year each week. I do news and sport the other guy does cultural stuff. Last week was 1961 this week 1962. I know what you’re thinking – big years for the Spuds non? Nope, if you listened to my show last week you’d have learned that arsenal finished above Chelsea in the league and this week that Rotherham lost in the league cup final.
    It’s just a bit of fun but it’s exactly how the real media work. selective and utterly blinkered.

  190. Having looked at the fixtures, the next 4 games seem particularly important. We need to get through in the cup, but probably without playing our best side. We need to get our players back fit and with some match practice. Bendtner, Clichy, Walcott, Denilson, Campbell, Rosicky, could all be pushing for places, that would be a massive boost. We need to get through these games though and win with the players available now. If we can get 9 points in the league, with 2 of 3 away, we can go into the next 3, with 2 at home, without negative pressure. It would set us up to pull away with good results in the games with the other two title chasing sides.

  191. “Just scanning the sports news channels today, I thought I’d mistakenly subscried to Chelsea TV.”

    I didn’t watch MOTD but caught a little promo by Lineker suggesting people tune in later to see the best attacking display ever or words to that effect!

    Arseneholis, I would not get ahead of myself like that. It’s one game at a time otherwise if there is any slip up the disappointment is higher.

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