Stone Cold Friday: Time For Arsenal Boys To Become Men

Are you a journalist? Are you ‘Doom’? Are you ‘Gloom’? Lost your faith? Losing belief? Do you think that taking Rochdale from League 2 to winning the Champions League on ‘Football Manager’ makes you better qualifed than Arsene? Ooooh, he doesn’t like you. He is Darius

‘Men vs. Boys’ is a tedious cliché. It is one that I will borrow from the lazy, sensationalist, headline-grabbing diatribes of sports journalists, who spend most of their time trying to shoehorn Arsenal into the also-rans pigeonhole, efforts which are wasted as it could not be more wide of the mark.

I admit that the article title is somewhat misleading if I’m then arguing that Arsenal are the ’nearly’ team, jam-packed with kids from the London Colney kindergarten. It is a myth that needs to be kicked into the long grass.

I’m taking a new course on “Presentation” and my tutor thought I could give articles cojones by trying out some sensationalism, hence the title. For the record, the notion that Arsenal is an inexperienced side which needs a few more years to become a championship-winning side is absolute nonsense.

Any statistical model out there will quickly illustrate that in their professional careers, the collective mileage Arsenal players have clocked in game time alone is obscene for their age. It totally ridicules any claim of youth equating to inexperience.

The key challenge for the last 5 years has undoubtedly been to keep the team competitive whilst carrying out an audacious rebuilding process that will stand Arsenal in good stead for decades to come. It hasn’t been a straightforward task by any means, nor was it supposed to be.

What is beyond dispute is that without the vision, patience and determination of Wenger and his staff at London Colney, Arsenal wouldn’t have remained on the current path of ascendency. It is a vision that has started to bear fruit. The majority of supporters, as well as observers from outside of the Arsenal fold, have begun to appreciate the method behind Arsenal’s and Wenger’s madness.

Of course, there is still a fair share of doubters with a myopic appreciation of the bigger picture. This lot will continue to scrape the barrel looking for any reason under the sun to moan and groan. Arsenal doesn’t hold the monopoly on having doom and gloom merchants but we should never let this tail wag the dog.

Wenger has already done his part by throwing down the gauntlet for his young team when he declared that this season, Arsenal will win a trophy. No pressure! I think there is a balance to be maintained between confidence and arrogance, and my sense is that Wenger would not make such a declaration without the belief that it was possible.

Unfortunately for the weak-spirited lot, titles and trophies don’t fall into our laps simply because we believe. The incumbents usually get accustomed to seeing the trophies neatly lined up on their display cabinets, rarely giving them up without a fight.

Arsenal has no divine right to win any game, let alone any title, but the journey this team has travelled in the last 5 years makes them well equipped to deal with this dog fight. The bitter truth is that until this team tastes its first silverware, until this team brings the inaugural trophy to Ashburton Grove, the players and supporters will continue to feel the pain of the vacuum in Arsenal’s trophy cabinet.

Wenger could not have put it better by stating that the only thing we have won thus far is credibility. This job has only just started. Topping the table at this point in the season has been a psychological boost for the Arsenal camp. The next 4 matches are going to be won in the mind and the players must show that they have matured mentally.

For me, the question in recent times hasn’t been about Arsenal’s physical and technical capability to win titles. I actually believe we have the most talented and technically gifted squad with a propensity to be anal about fitness. The last battle has been in the mind; showing the team had to believe that they possess the mental fortitude to last the distance whilst putting in the performances to get them there.

Key, for me, in all this is leadership. Captain Fabulous has already laid a marker down, leading by example. You cannot ask for more from the young Catalan. I still see a pivotal role for 3 other natural leaders in the team working alongside Cesc.

In defence, William Gallas is the most experienced practitioner we have. He has won titles and has the defensive nous to marshal the back line. Those who focus on the drama of his stint as captain ought to remove the pole stuck up their backside and let go.

The response in performance that Gallas has shown since he got relieved off the arm band is first class. Arsenal could not have asked for a more dedicated and professional athlete.

In midfield, Arsenal must draw on the experience and talent of Little Mozart. The Czech captain is a breath of fresh air and his uncanny ability to calm things down and add a creative edge to the team is vital for the team when games are tight. His last minute equalizer in the game against Everton and the rocket on Wednesday against Bolton are prime examples of what Tomas Rosicky brings to this team.

Up front, our pint-sized Russian national team captain provides an edge and unpredictability that many teams do not have and do not know how to deal with. Again, Andrey Arshavin’s individual skill and brilliance can unlock defences with more efficiency than a dodgy locksmith.

With the leadership provided by Cesc, Gallas, Rosicky and Arshavin, I believe the rest of the team will ooze confidence, maturity and determination. The skill and talent is already a given. Having reached the top of the league table just before the ‘fixtures of death‘, the team must now move to the next stage and hold their nerve.

The journey over the last 5 years has tested the patience of many an Arsenal fan. Now, more than ever, we have a reason to believe that the faith put in this young side is not misplaced. The team has shown admirable courage and fortitude thus far but the job is by no means over.

What has impressed me the most this season is their fighting spirit and ’never say die’ attitude. It was only 7 weeks ago that Arsenal were kicked into the long grass of the ‘also-ran’s’ wilderness.

It’s time for the Arsenal to step up to the plate and fight for what they believe in.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on January 22, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 230 Comments.

  1. Hey Darius.

  2. Another great friday write-up am beginning look forward to them….!!

  3. Also I would choose boys over men all day long. Manhood is overrated.

  4. I certainly have my voodoo dolls from South Africa pinned up one in blue and one dressed in red with little devil horns.

    They both get a poke before the weekend’s games.

  5. Very funny.

    (From the pervious post.)

  6. I see everyone is sleeping in wish I could do the same!!

  7. Really this is getting silly now I must stop………….

  8. Well said nothing to add except that the old adage of ‘dont put all your eggs in one basket’ is being laid to rest at the Arsenal. Now we say, ‘PUT ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET AND WATCH IT WITH YOUR LIFE!’ No retreat, no surrender guys; the fixtures of death are here, let’s dive in and give it the shot of our lives!

  9. Nice one…

  10. any truth in Dzenko rumors?

  11. Darius………..A++++

  12. http://www.thisisstaffordshire.co.uk/sport/Stoke-City-Fuller-ready-rough-Arsenal-stars-ensure-Stoke-victory/article-1743366-detail/article.html

    Is this guy for real???????

    “I have mesmerised defences sometimes. My confidence is still good and I know my luck will change soon.”

  13. I expect Song to be back for the game against the Mancs next week…..Cameroon will NOT beat Egypt they failed to do that twice in the last tournament and they don’t seem to have improved and Egypt with be keen to retain the crown especially since they won’t be heading to SA 2010.

    ………………..WE MISS YOU SONNNNNG……………

  14. For Sunday;

    Traore Vela Walcott

    Denilson Eastmond J.E.T

    Clichy Silvestre Campbell Bartley

    Fabianski

    Bench: Mannone, Arshavin, Eduardo, Fabregas,

  15. Anyhoo am off.

  16. OG

    Your selection is spot on except that Coquelin will play at RB instead of Bartley. Coq has played there a few times. I also think Eduardo will still play because Nik will be fit for Villa.

    Silvestre and Campbell can stifle their long-throw- ins game/ball over the top strategy. If JET excels, then I can see him coming in for Diaby against Villa.

  17. Another case of “heart” saying one thing and the “head” another.Will the second string “Carling Cup” side will not be able to match the physicality of Stoke?Will a side missing Diaby and Song be able to win at Villa.These decisive games will come thick and fast and with the current crop of injuries and absentees I have a horrible feeling that they will also come with an ever diminishing points tally!The Manager should have brought in re-inforcements during the Window-Flamini and Huntelaar on loan would have galvanised the Squad and readied it for the battles ahead.But that’s not going to happen so i’m hoping that the “faith” that Monsieur Wenger has in his back-up is correct and that he really “does know best”!We will soon see!!!

  18. Haven,

    I put Bartley in for height.

  19. Apparently Sol’s out with a slight neck strain… I think other than that, you may have the quad spot on Ole. It’s a bit of a risk as Stoke can gove us a hard time on their day but i’m still confident.

  20. Darius

    Good article, but you have to add Vermaelen to the 4 leaders you mentioned.

  21. fanatstic stuff darius..i just love this blog…yah i agree with lagooner..vermi went missing from that article

  22. Step up to the plate?!

    Of all the sports in the world Football needs to borrow the least from Baseball.

    Thanks for an excellent post.

  23. I’m looking forward to the Stoke game, I think we’ll play circles around them.

  24. I think eduardo might get another go up front, with vela on the left. Hopefully he’ll get some goals to boost his confidence and vela isn’t so good in the central role

  25. http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11670_5877650,00.html

    An interesting read – hopefully that’ll come into play and we’ll suddenly be reagrded and one of the best in the world! Our model is finally bearing fruit as Darius says, financially as well as on the pitch

  26. no-one around this morning?

  27. I’m so wonwey

  28. Spot on about Gallas.He is our leader.He has been there and done it and has the medals to show for it.He will be vital for the young team in the run in when the heat is turned on

  29. Things dont look too optimistic with the mounting injuries on our squad. We might have to sacrifice and rest some of our key players on Sunday coz we cant afford any more injuries with such tough fixtures ahead.In the meantime hope we dont get anymore injuries until some of the injured are back.Whichever team Wenger puts on Sunday as long as they do their best i’ll be happy.

  30. Top post darius, the constant shunning of nurtured talent, is fantastically ignorant. Do they think that messi, ronaldo, xavi and all the other ‘special boys’ were born at 21/22, look at the talent that has come through arsenal and arsene. It’s inevitable that, some of the current crop will be out and out world class players.

    Maria you are prolific today.

  31. Joel- No Flamoney please. A man you thought Arsenal were not big enough for him should not come back. And no Huntelaar either. we are leading scorers and we don’t rely on one man. all players have been told to get into scoring positions and have a pop so why bring in someone who may not fit into the system and become a distraction were the rest will feel they have to pass to him rather than have a go themselves. Why fix something that is not broken.

  32. @Maria. Still on that ‘lemonade’ from last week mi dear?

    Kush and Lagooner. vermelen for sure. You’ve already revised the article by simply just mentioning him.

    I guess I focussed on Gallas, Rosicky and Arshavin because they are our most experienced outfield players with the capability of grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck if and when we’ve had to. They’ve done it time and time again – and they also have the experience of captaining their respective countries – save for Gallas who I think is vice captain.

    Vemaelen also oozes leadership quality and Ajax are not mugs to have appointed him their captain, and he’s now also the Belgin captain.

    I’ll tell you something for sure – if I was a striker, I wouldn’t want to meet Vermaelen in a dark alley, let alone have occasion to look at the whites of his eyes during an attack at the Arsenal goal.

  33. Another perfect post – apart from, as has been said, you missed TV from your leaders list.

  34. I also think that Nasri’s a bit of a leader by example… he runs with real drive and gets stuck in which prompts the others to do the same, i love his guile and determination

  35. Almunia is also a leader.

  36. Song was asked who is the toughest in the squad he Said ” Vermaelen”. He is that extra bit we needed. He is technically very good I wouldn’t mind playing as a striker, that how good he is

  37. To call this team inexperienced or kids, is just laziness and using nothing other than sheep opinions. As you said we have a large core of over 25’s, National Captains and players that have at a young age played more international and champions league football than the vast majority of EPL players.

  38. Els, that label has been sticking around for at least a season too long now hasn’t it? This year particularly we’ve shown that we’re ‘men, not boys’

  39. You wonder when we’ll shake it off Arse Shavin. Even when we win a trophy it will be billed as wengers kids win a trophy or who said you can’t win with kids.

    After Wednesday you’d hope that we’d put that to bed, but when we pay like supposed ‘men’ we are just playing dirty. The very same tactics for another team are seen as real EPL grit.

  40. Almunia a leader!!! Do me a favour we have a great team but a poor keeper.

  41. I’ve just read the funniest explanation as to why Alan Wiley didn’t give a foul for the Gallas 50-50 challenge.

    Apparently, he was a bit confused and thought that it was the Bolton player who had committed the ‘hard tackle’. The first instinct was not to give a foul but By the time he realised, Bolton players were trying to hack down Fabregas in anger instead of defending properly and there was no way he could call play back.

    LMAO!

    Besides – if the FA even tried to charge Gallas, Arsenal’s new breed of no-nonsense lawyers would have turned up with the DVD of both games and Bolton would have ended up with at least 6 players suspended for more than 3 games each.

  42. Yeah totally agree and when a british player goes in hard (like gallas) it is described as an ‘honest’ tackle or ‘committed’. When it’s a black foreigner playing for arsenal, it’s ‘dirty’ and ‘malicious’.

    Similar to the diving controversy. When Gerrard does it, it’s described as ‘clever play’ or ‘he used his body well’ etc etc. It really does my head in. Pundits and reporters surely have a duty to be fair and not completely biased by their prejudices…

  43. Darius, that was what i loved about the goal the most, the fact they were so distracted by trying to foul fab and arsh that we somehow got through and scored. Justice!

  44. Their reputation for being utter cloggers didn’t help them there did it? Hahahaha

  45. Why are idiots saying we gonna throw the FA cup ‘again’ did we not make the semi’s last yr.

    are they the same people who have had cesc bags packed every summer for the last 4 yrs?

    Anways earlier on in the season i questioned this teams ability to come back when a goal or two behind – well im glad they’ve shoved that question right back down me throat!

    up da gooners!

  46. I spotted David Villa at the Arsenal Stadium during the Bolton game on Wednesday. He had dyed his hair and shaved off his moustache and beard and was wearing a fat suit and was answering to the name of Colin. But he certainly didn’t fool me. Also I noticed that after shaking hands with Owen ‘Braveheart?’ Coyle, AW headed straight for the tunnel. This can only mean one thing. Very exciting

  47. Owen Coyle retracts Gallas Comment

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/eng_prem/8474419.stm

    Looks like he still wants wilshere

  48. This could be Theo, Jack, Aaron, Craig, Carlos et al, on a boat – singing about WG, Manuel, AA, Mozart and our other ‘older guys’.

    Good work, Darius.

  49. Lovely stuff Limpar!

  50. David Villa’s mama was spotted in Waitrose on holloway doing the big shop just 2 hours ago.

  51. I thought i saw you at the game… I could see through your disguise as a hot girl with your finger in your mouth, doesn’t fool me Lionel.

  52. I don’t usually read it anymore but looked in on our dear friends over at le-grave earlier.

    Wished I hadn’t.

    Several posters are advocating a letter writing campaign deamnding new signings! Oh and Wenger has got a financial interest in the property business which is why he’s not buying new players.

    You couldn’t make stuff like that up! THis is when we are top of the league.

    To be fair its not coming from the site owners, but you do wonder whether some of these posters are fans from other clubs trying to wind people up!

  53. Crikey QoS AShavin putting the moves on you now.

  54. Its my new goal celebration arse shavin. Do you like it?

  55. He thinks he’s putting the moves on Lionel Messi though els…

  56. I am not surprised to be honest QoS! I haven’t read from that site for a while now because i fear for my blood pressure. I would like us to get someone in just to help out with our injury problems but i’m not too fussed if it doesnt happen. Campaigning like that at any time is a pretty poor show but when we’re top of the league is just ludicrous! The site owners probably post most of the comments themselves…

  57. I’m a smoooooth operator, Lionel will know that soon enough

  58. Haha you two guys! *Sigh*

  59. Any truth in the Dzeko rumours Darius??

  60. If they were, i’d eat your hat (if you’re a hatty kind of person)

  61. The whole diminutive Spanish male fetish goes along way to explaining the smooth posterior Arse Shavin…

  62. Men against boys is like the disappointment of reality vs the promise of potential.

  63. Good lord, are you old enough to be a Gram Parsons fan, LimparAssist? Should you not be listening to Drum and Brass and Rip and House Garages and that sort of stuff?

  64. Hahahaha! You’ve noticed then?

  65. I know it aint aimed at me but id guess NONE name

    I havn’t heard them like, what are they. Is it about how he can wiggle his ears and his tiddler in opposite directions, at the same time? Cos It’s NOT possible.

  66. Lionel Messi can do that

  67. You two need to get a room . PURE FILTH! 🙂

  68. Arse Shavin really ?!?!?!?!?!? damn that man. I’m frightened mine will fall of.

  69. Ok enough now, i’ve already mentioned my blood pressure…

  70. “…wonder whether some of these posters are fans from other clubs trying to wind people up!”

    I’m quite sure of it. There’s examples of it on here sometimes too. What is quite fun is that in order to blend in, these wind-up merchants have to repeatedly pledge allegience by agreeing with self-evident truths such as that Arsenal play the most beautiful football in the world, that we have the best manager in the world, and that we are about to achieve many great things – simply because if anybody were not in agreement with these things, then they would not be an Arsenal fan.

    Admitting these things, over and over again, must be quite painful for a Chav or a spud – who spend so much time pretending to be somebody else. It must kill them a little bit inside to say these things; the truth slowling revealing itself – how silly they are, for a) supporting a sh*t club with no history like Chelsea (or just a sh*t club like Tottenam), and b) for wasting so much of their life on an another club’s forum. When we win the league, I worry for these people… I actually do.

  71. Sounds like the mood your in fellah your on the wrong site!

  72. Me too Limpar, saying that i haven’t seen James, William etc for a while. He must have been banned from using the computer by his mum after she realised what a sad, poor excuse for a son that he is.

  73. In the first Bolton game, the second penalty incident, which saw Zat Knight bring down Cesc from behind, was given as a foul for Bolton.

    Does anyone know why Phil Dowd gave the foul against Cesc?

    Seemed like the worst piece of refereeing in a couple of months and nobody seems to have picked up on it.

  74. Sorry els, i blame QoS 🙂

  75. Arse Shavin I thought that.

  76. Ole, yeah that struck me as odd, not a mention, I have to be honest, I thought i’d seen it wrong when no one mentioned it.

  77. I fell for his ruse to begin with as well, and felt like a right tw*t when i was told about him after engaging with him as if he was someone i have any respect for.

  78. I was watching the match with no sound and i thought i’d missed something…

  79. I don’t think so, Limpar. We’ve had that one Spurs fan – Bog head, or whatever his name is. You’ll notice his criticisms of Arsenal are just more moderate versions of the comments of Howard, Joe, Solgooner, and the like.

  80. I do listen to a lot of Drum and Bass, Frank – you’ve clocked me. You can’t dance all night to alt country.

  81. From bad to worse! First we have QoS purring over some poor fellow’s smooth posterior. Then, when it seems the conversation could hardly sink deeper into the dirt, Limpar starts talking about Drum and Bass.

  82. NaMe.

    To answer your question about Dzeko signing for Arsenal – I have no cotton picking idea.

    It’s actually pointless trying to speculate anything until you hear it from Arsenal via the official website. I know journos and hacks and folks like Piles the Farmer want to be seen as the people in the know, but the truth is most if not all of them have no idea what Wenger will do.

    Wenger doesn’t play his cards close to his chest, he plays them from inside his chest.

    And with Ivan Gazidis, he has probably the most experienced negotiator in the transfer market. I say this because as Deputy Commissioner of the MLS for about 10 years, every single player transfre and contract passed through his desk.

    I don’t think Wenger and Gazidis do rumours. So my advice is that you should enjoy the football and not worry about transfer rumours until you see a new player holding an Arsenal shirt and flanked by Wenger and Gazidis at a press conference.

  83. David Dein is the most experienced negotiator in the transfer market…anyway we know that David Villa is coming because I saw him at the stadium.

  84. Wenger says:

    “I’ve just seen Bendtner in training. He looks like the tall powerful striker (the fans crave)”

  85. Mind you, at least drum and bass doesn’t have lyrics. Does it?

  86. Even the thickest of man utd supporting hacks would not suggest that Wenger should have falsely accused Eduardo of diving to earn credit for Arsenal.

  87. Nice, well balanced article once again Darius. Yogi, don’t think your efforts go unnoticed either. Keep it up the both of you

  88. And did he say who that tall powerful striker is, and when he would be signing him?

  89. news just in: ‘the next Batistuta’ from the depths of North Devon spotted with Wenger. His name is simply: ‘Mervin’

  90. So you are implying that people saw Bendner and mistook him for Dzeko because he has improved so much, Ole?

  91. players activator

  92. Kitchen Sink, that’s some impressive stuff! His commitment and determination probably had something to do with the injury problems he’s had…

  93. Looks like Campbell is fit – i’d heard that he had a neck problem but obviously not. Will be interesting to see how he gets on against a physical Stoke side

  94. EvilFiek,

    I think Wenger is afraid of rocking the squad, and might only bring someone on loan, and maybe not a “top top player”.

  95. I heard similar things this morning Ole, i think an extra body could help but it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t happen. Do you think it’s a striker that’s needed? i’m not too sure now…

  96. Journalists by nature are lying sacks of crap. Their motto is why let the facts get in the way of a good story. It is all about the template. This template is set up by the editors. If a story deviates from the template it is not reported.
    The hardest part is for the manager to blend 11 egos into functioning as a unit. All managers write down the goals for the season. These goals are given to the players. Each player is given goals that he is expect to achive during the season as well. The manager’s job is to get the team ready to perform at its best for each game. They force the players to focus on the task at hand. Tunnel vision is a must for a player if he is to succeed and achieve the goal. It is called Focus baby.
    Most Arsenal fans have a negative streak. This is like us Philadelphia Eagles fans. Our Eagles will always break our hearts. This is in our DNA. Asrenal fans are the same way. Side note my wife and I love the Philly fanatic Arsenal mascot.
    This is why I AM A CLOSET ARSENAL FAN. This Philly in English futebol team. In the end it is always one game at a time. Players need to live moment to moment. My old coach used to say take of the task at hand and the scoreboard will take care of itself. This means do my job and let the chips fall where they man. Thanks Spam bobby http://bobbygee.wordpress.com/

  97. Red Nose says he won’t accept any excuses from his team against Hull.

    Does that mean if they lose or drop points, he’ll resign?

  98. Would love that to be the case but sincerely doubt it

  99. Out of interest Ole, why go for a man u legend as part of your name?

  100. flying dutchman

    I’m relatively new to this blog so this may be a dumb question, but: are Yogi Warrior and Darius Stone the same person? I like both their blogs a lot!

  101. Different people dutchman but both produce great articles

  102. Ole’s not talking to me… 😦

  103. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
    RRRRRRRRRR
    SSSSSSSSSS
    EEEEEEEEEEEEE
    NNNNNNNNNNN
    AAAAAAAAA
    LLLLLLLLL

  104. Arsene nails it again:

    The problem in England is that the sensitivity of one media dictates what the whole country has to think and I raise big question marks over the competence and the objectivity of the guys who make these kind of decisions.”

    The entire sham controversy was fanned by the moron who commentated on the match and went over the top, ranting for a few minutes about the Gallas tackle.

    It’s amazing how many people are completely swayed by what they hear while they look at the pictures.

  105. William & Partner, they work on the run
    They kick if you’re quicker
    And butcher the young.
    Of two that got wasted tonight by our mob
    One needs a vicar
    And the other has no prayer

    Ten inch-deep studprints to the core of their shins
    But Wiley saw nothin’ – Tommy Gun got to him
    Five-hundred replays; still officials kept schtum
    Charge forgotten and suspension won’t come

    When you’ve begun to think like a gun
    Your rival’s career has already gone
    When you’ve begun to think like a gun
    Mortal fear will get the dogs on the run

    Blood on the goalposts and blood on the ball
    Blood in club level and the old marble halls
    Now pundits are howling as a fresh one’s interred
    Bleeding-hearts under duress ‘cos they’ll never learn

    We got a club doctor – he’s good with a knife
    Says anaesthetic’s a waste of his time
    His equipment is rusty ‘cos gangrene’s his style
    His patients don’t get back for a long, long time

    At the top of the table we’ll stamp out your squalls
    We’ll even throw pizza if you show some gall
    Watch out for young Samir, his methods are dire
    He’ll step on your foot, that wicked squire

    When you’ve begun to think like a gun
    Your rival’s career has already gone

  106. I watched the game with no sound and was just imagining what the commentators were saying – i take it they lived up to expectations

  107. Arse Shavin,

    I’ve had to explain that one many times.

    The Man Utd legend was called Ole Gunnar NOT Ole Gunner.

    But I did have a lot of respect and admiration for him as a player & person for reasons too long to go into.

    “Ole Gunner” is a play on many things;

    1. The similarity to a famous name.
    2. Ole Gunner means “Go Gunner!”
    3. Ole Gunner means “Old Gunner”
    4. My first name is Oliver.

    So it all seems very fitting to me as a screen name.

  108. Fair enough! I bet you get that all the time. My real name’s George Best (that’s 100% true) so i know how you feel!

  109. Super article, you guys and Tony Attwood are the absolute class of the blogosphere.

    Interesting selection questions for this weekend. I think Joel got it just about right in his guess, but would agree that Coq will probably play, perhaps at CM with Eastmond going to RB (where he played for the youth team).

    I really wish the journos would wait until the next four games are complete before coming out with all this “Arsenal for the League” stuff. It seems as if they are just setting everything up so that they can later say “Arsenal blew it and we always knew they would!!!”.

    Two wins, a draw and a loss from those four games and we are still in GREAT shape.

  110. Mike the Miller

    Ole

    He didnt rock the boat with the signing of AA23 did he?.The little Russian changed our season

    We are so close to glory.Lets splash the cash unlike in 08 to give us a better chance

  111. Mike the Miller,

    He could this time. Who leads the line is a big change in how a club plays.

    Don’t forget he’d also been after Arshavin for more than a year before he signed him, so he knew well how he’d fit.

  112. I’m sure this wasn’t intended (or perhaps it was), but Olé means “God”.

    I’ve heard that the Spanish use of Olé goes back to Moorish times. Those guys said “Allah” to express rapture at a performance, believing that the person doing something magnificent was in a state of grace. They believe they got a glimpse of the divine and said “Allah”, which gradually became “Olé”.

  113. Back up is all that’s needed (if that) and i think it would be harsh on Edu who’s just getting used to playing up front. It took RvP a while too and they’ve been here for years. It would take a new striker much longer as they would have all the other settling in processes to deal with too. Arsh was a bit of magic though and can see what you’re saying.

  114. I always like the thought of Chelsea fans shouting Olé when their team’s in control. If only they knew!

  115. I’m sure you get the gist, despite the obvious errors.

  116. When the morning dew reaches the horn of the antelope, the snakes will shed their skin

    Blessings

  117. Wonderful clip Kitchen sink. The mozart never shies away from a tackle. Since he came back from his injury everytime he goes for one i fear for him but its inspiring for one that has had such injury niggles in the past two years to show no fear and great commitment.

    Fabrigas is also good at such tackles. Looks like Campbell is back and will play in the stoke game.thats good news, is there a chance NikB will beo on the bench? I know its a tad too early for him but It would raise my spirits to no end.

  118. Superb isn’t he?

    Doubt NB will be back for this one, probably in time for Villa. Looking forward to seeing him again. Hopefully it wont take too long for him to get back into it.

  119. Suggested line up for the Stokes game:

    Vela Eduardo Theo

    JET Eastmond Denilson

    Clichy Sylvestre Campbell Le Coq.

    Fabianski

    Subs: Cesc, Bartley, Wilshere, Traore, Mannone, Frimpong and Watt

  120. I’d go with that Haven although i havent seen much of JET – do you think he can handle it?

  121. Wilshere is available for Sunday, but not Merida.

  122. Rip and House Garages…f**in hysterical stuff.

  123. Sorry, just listening to the press conference now.

  124. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA

    els that was hilarious!!!!! hahahaHAHA

    arse shavin tryin to get lucky on here!!

    hahahahah@1.21 pm that cracked me up man!!

  125. BTW that wasn’t supposed to be a link….

  126. hi abc. u moron

  127. I think the way to stamp out shirt-pulling is for referees to tell both sets of players that he’ll punish shirt pulling.

    This might just be the beginning of the end of Vidic’s career.

    Never seen him play one match in which he didn’t do it.

  128. f*ckin donut. yeah that’s right piss off now, ur a dunce and u know this.

  129. Top post Darius. I could not agree more that this team has reached the point where it will be mental more than technical. It has always been that way, I think, but sometimes you need to wander in the wilderness before you convince yourself you are capable of fighting your way out. You could see it after going down 0-2 to Bolton…nothing changed in the squad. They continued on as they had in full knowledge that they would win.

  130. Hey up zap, you don’t like abc then! Haha.

    I tell you I was blushing when Arse Shavin was doin his thang. I was taking notes!

    His moves are smoother than his arse. 🙂

  131. Tunday, the horn of the antelope is high, the skin of the snake lies low, we must learn to ride the back of the jackal before we try to fly

  132. ole,

    vidic’s future at man u is already in doubt.

    didnt they say his wife hates it in manchester?

  133. Very Very good article Darius, and I think it’s time for the rest of our fans to stand up and be counted or find the way to the long grass.

    I would understand it if the team is not giving %100 but they showed us that they are and we have to stand by them all the way and especially in the most difficult part of this season.

    Just as the team & the manager have a duty and work to do, we too have the same responsibility and all they are asking for is our support.

    I haven’t said this enough lately so here it is:

    We love you Arsenal…We do
    We love you Arsenal…We do
    AaaRrSenal…….We love YOU

  134. Just how coy was Wenger on the subject of smalling, is this just typical sensationalism junk?

    What was said in the conference?
    I’m working couldn’t watch.

    Did he mention the bolton shite?

  135. Yeah me too can someone tell me what he said…

  136. If Preston beat chelsea and we lose i’ll piss myself

  137. well that’s that straightend out then. Lets see if anybody argues with wenger now.

  138. Hypocrisy at it’s best…

    So funny from the Media and pundits who want to convict us for the same crime they defend so vehemently when it’s inflicted upon us?

  139. As I have been saying it is ridiculous to even contemplate us buying a striker. Everyone can see that AW was joshing, just pulling the presseses plonker..press plonkers…presses plonkers. Of course I was in on it all along. Tell you the truth it is relief to get it off my chest.

  140. I wouldn’t say it was completely ridiculous. I think a lot depended on Bendtner’s package healing well. Now that’s happened, I’m feeling very confident!

  141. I loved it when Wenger said” We gained credit with people who “Love” Arsenal” Meaning the rest can just f*ck off.

  142. hie zap u grover

  143. am i even on le grove no so fuck off

  144. i bet u r and guess what you get your a$$ kicked even on le groan

  145. is that so abc. fuckin idiot. u know nothin now get a life and some friends u muppet

  146. btw this is what team i would put out…

    —————–fabianski—-
    -coquelin-campbell-silvestre-cliche——
    ——-eastmond-denilson–traore–
    ——walcott—vela—-emmanuel-thomas–

    it’ll be weird innit having campbell and silvestre on the same side!

  147. cliche lol

  148. clichy….sorry the 1st line of this article is a subliminal message

  149. and team composition is more wierd btw

  150. innit innit

  151. init. doesnt look that weird to me m8 hav u got an iphone or something

  152. I thinks we should play billy barazite against the stokes

  153. he is hot chocolate

  154. I wish Wenger wouldn’t call it a “mistimed tackle”. It implies Davies had the ball, and Gallas was trying to take it from, rather than being the 50-50 that it was.

  155. innit mates

  156. and only an fucking idiot like zap can give the starting eleven against stoke without the subs.

  157. oh ffs .abc that’s the starting line-up u donut.

  158. …back under the motorway abc, internet cafe is closing soon

  159. interesting assumptings nolagunner i think too it was only a 50/50 but William should have done more to breaking his knees.

  160. give your subs too zap without that the team against stoke is incomplete…. i meam who will you give complete rest , etc..

  161. ok, so some absolute moron on another blog has suggested that the ‘babies’ conceded two stupid goals and the ‘experienced’ players rescued us.

    Of course, Clichy is the same age as Vermaelen and older than Gallas, but he doesn’t want that to get in the way of his current theory.

    I think it’s time some people realized that while our squad may be filled with young, talented players (sit down Campbell and Silvestre), our preferred first team (not including Almunia) actually has an average age of 26, and it’s higher when you include Almunia.

    *I think if everyone is healthy, the preferred first team in a crunch game would be Al, Sagna, Clichy, Vermaelen, Gallas, CLichy, Denilson, Song, Cesc, Rosicky, Arshavin, Van Persie with Diaby, Bendtner, Nasri and Walcott pushing hard.

  162. why are you arguing gunners mates you should make piss innit mates

  163. sorry-meant older than Fabregas!

  164. if u really really want to know here ya go..

    subs: Mannone, Bartley, Rosicky, Eduardo, Sunu, Frimpong, Watt

  165. yeah i bet u wanna make piss bilesh u constipated donut y don’t u find something else to say innit

  166. innit zap mate innit you donuts

  167. no i dont want to know your foolish ideas just wanna tell you how much of a fucking idiot you are

  168. sorry .abc can’t hear u.

    BTW the council have made u redundant they don’t need someone to clean Bilesh’s shit off the M25 anymore

  169. why are you hating upon each other when you shud be making piss and hating upon the tottenhams?

  170. zap mates i did not do the shit on the m25 innit

  171. fucking run out of ideas now havnt u abc u donut and u william also a donut

  172. zap bilesh wanna drink your piss oblige him

  173. william gallas is not the donuts he is very good player zap mates i think maybe you are tottenhams fan dick

  174. Hope we sign Colin.

  175. yeah i bet he does but since you seem quite keen on the topic i’ll hand the duty over to u ya donut.

    i wud crush you on fifa 10 William and u know this u donut

  176. Feck, there are some cretins about.

  177. abc you have very rude mentionings why are you not licking your gunners mates innit innit

  178. unfortunately manu can go top on sunday with a win vs hull

  179. innit perrygroves init mates

  180. fuck off bilesh.

  181. hey zap mates i am fucking your sister with my elephants item do not give me more rude mentionings or i will fuckrape you aswell

  182. you tottenham pig

  183. in arabic ”bilesh” means ”no need”

  184. what does zap means

  185. it’s not an arabic word u donut.

  186. Seriously, do we need this twaddle?

  187. no we don’t

  188. thats what happen when grover like zap come here

  189. something to pass the time- my sky tv subscription has run out u see ya donut. im so frikkin bored i’m actually chewing gum just coz it’s something to do.

  190. i think your last posts saids it all zap mates you are using insulting mentionings and really its just because you are bored peasant with aids. Up the gunners mates.

  191. Fucking hell…do we have a Norman Bates here?

  192. there are lots of profane mentionings here gunners mates just ignore them innit mates they are just suffered from boredoms. Thanks Frank mates

  193. Bye gunners mates

  194. Hmmm i was looking for some gunners chit chat, but don’t think i’ll bother reading back.

  195. btw 2 games r on itv tomorrow

  196. i said: sorry .abc can’t hear u.

    BTW the council have made u redundant they don’t need someone to clean Bilesh’s shit off the M25 anymore

    .abc replies:
    zap bilesh wanna drink your piss oblige him

    unfortunately els that’s the last 2 hours on aclf in a nutshell

  197. thats interestings zap mates but why dont you take your hate filled anti arsenal filth somewhere else for a change thanks

  198. zap, go back to le grove,you are making a fool of yourself.

  199. une deux trois…algeriaaa hehe

  200. one two three viva l`algerie.are you from egypt zap?

  201. morocco/algeria chamakh.

    i know, i swapped it one two three to une deux trois you see, it still rhymes that way.

  202. leila saida zap

  203. a3laykum salam.

    i’m not going to bed any time soon though

  204. cote divoire in the quarter finals….

  205. well thats me up to speed.

    Whats your prediction for the stoke game?
    I spotted your line up, coquelin at right back eh would help with resting Sagna, as theres no obvious replacement as far as I can see, and traore as part of a central 3. I’d say was experimental, but stranger things have happend. With the players you have there, It would tight defencewise.

    Id like to see

    – – – – – – – – – Fabianski

    Ayling – Campbell – Eastmond – Clichy

    – – – – Coq- – Denilson – – Jet

    Walcott – – – Eddy – – – Traore

    Subs- Mannone, Cesc, Wilshere, Sagna, Tomas, Sunu, Bartley

    Not to sure on the availability of Ayling, Sunu and Bartley though. Anybody enlighten me?

  206. I would think depending on Diaby’s injury, Eastmond may not be risked since no one else there for the PL.

    Do we know if Diaby is OK?

  207. g4e

    he is out for villa, aybe back for manu

  208. i like that team els.

  209. Ricardo Fuller on Arsenal ‘The Britannia is like a fortress and if we play to our strengths I don’t think Arsenal can deal with the aggressive play.

    “‘It’s been proved in the past that Chelsea and Bolton have roughed them up and tried to bully them.

    last week we were a little bit rough for those northners and what happened? they cried like babies, they sobbed and moaned to the media that Arsenal have assaulted their player and we were not kind to them for being ruthless and hit them hard.
    The media onslaught on Gallas went on for days. You just watch how many kicks our player will get at Stoke, the media will applaud them. But this is a different Arsenal now , kicking people is not a skill and just pure thuggery and if that what they want then we shall give it to them they just need to be men about it and stop moaning when they get it.

  210. hahaha 1loosecannon, very true…

  211. Thanks Zap

  212. Zap you don’t need Sky, they are scum they took everything from us, They will not get my money. They are ripping people off just like the BBC with their shit TV licence.

  213. G4E you may be right but if that was the case you’d never play Denilson or Rosicky. We still have a few people who could play, what with the massive depth we have!

    1 lc it couldn’t have worked better, it’s just fuel for wengers pre match speech. When will people realise we can handle anything now. First game of the season Everton tried the tough tactics, look what happend there!!!

    Anyone know about Ayling’s availability?

  214. els, I’m worried more about the defensive side of things. If you noticed when Diaby got injured, Wenger took him off, put Eastmond on, and pushed Denilson in a more attacking midfield role.

    I could be wrong, maybe because for some “footballing” reason I like that Eastmond guy 🙂

  215. pmsl, fatty and spaniard gimp got given a roasting today over on the daily moan.

  216. g4e eastmond does look like a real good balance of strength, height, skill and the lads quick. He’s a defensive minded diaby.

    You are right if he were to get injured then options for a player to soak up some of the play for our defenders would be seriously low, mind you I could watch TR throwing his slide tackles around all day 🙂
    But he’s not the man for that job.

  217. Tunday,

    Why were you posing a Bilesh earlier?

    I guess it was for the same reason that James poses as Red Trev, William, John, Charlie G or whatever takes his fancy? Might as well be Mungo, Mary and Midge for all the sense you children make.

    YW

  218. KS’s Clip at 2.14 is awesome, TR7 has to be FOR ME our best player. When he’s fit and on a role, he’s truly awesome. He has the lot. He must have some low centre of gravity, the speed he can go into and recover from slide tackles. If he gets injured so often it’s a matter of commitment and exhubrance.

    Have to say the music could have been a tad better, who ever created the clip.

    I am thrilled he’s around for another few years and hope he can put his injuries behind him.
    My mouth is watering at the thought of….

    – – – – – – – – – Song
    – – – – – Diaby – – – Cesc
    Rosicky – – – – RvP – – – – Arsh

    for next season. Think of the bench as well. I couldn’t fit Sami, Eddy or Deni in there, to name but a few.

    If Arsenal got a run with that Midfield and Attack for any decent period of time, it’d be… half a bar time.

  219. YW I actually thought James was Tunday.
    So when you say James is those people do you suggest he imitates or that he is just always all those people?

    Looking forward to your post YW.

  220. I wonder how long you can a convo with one’s self before you are declared insane?

    I feel sane, but I bet we all say tha… who said that!
    It was just me.
    Oh it’s you.
    Yeah.
    Hmph.
    What you doing?
    I’m talking to myself, up too late waiting for pdf’s to write looking for some gunner revelation.
    Like what.
    Erm I dunno, maybe RvP’s back from injury and THEY have cloned him.
    Who’s they?
    Y’know them, the voices.

    Yeah that’s enough now I need my bed.
    Probly wish I didn’t type all this now but I type real s.l.o.w. n it seems a shame that nobody should be subjected to this if i’m this bored.

    night

  221. Maria (from yesterday)

    I think you broke a record with 9 legitimate posts. Very disappointed you didn’t go for double figures, though…thanks for the Queen clip. Very funny.

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