Stone Cold Friday: Is Arsenal’s Hill Of Beans Becoming A Mountain?

I’m curious. When you send huge quantities of spam emails, surely the idea is to entice someone into your web to be able to rip them off. Thus, marketing a product would play to it’s strongest points. So why, dear people, are those who try to flog me Viagra – 2 kids already, quite happy with that BTW – lowering their discounts as the night gets older? Surely they should be increasing or at the very least, holding firm? Anyway, Darius is on the case. No, not that one. This one…

I have a sequence of rituals I perform before every Arsenal game. It’s a habit I acquired from way back in high school when I was convinced that our First team school rugby squad was bewitched. Believe me, we had some insalubrious characters that would give the Mystic Meg’s and the Odome Browns (Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost – anyone?) a run for their money.

After the last training session before the game, I would take a shower in every cubicle. Shower rooms in boarding schools weren’t anything to write home about, and I suspect being anal about this ritual made me overcome the health and safety concerns of the dodgy shower cubicles.

If you asked me now why I did it, I honestly have no cotton-picking idea – but I’ll tell you what, the damn thing worked. Every time I was picked for the team and I did the shower routine, we won the rugby match the next day.

In recent times, I’ve found myself doing the following before Arsenal games:

  1. Switching off any device that has pre-match punditry to avoid any negative energy
  2. Checking and double checking whether my beer or wine is chilled to the right temperature. I take beer during afternoon games and white wine for games at night – I’ve been accused of being a borderline alcoholic at times, but there’s absolutely no evidence to justify this accusation.
  3. I take off my home Arsenal shirt, turn it inside out, and then turn it back again before putting it on. I know, I know – it’s like dressing up for a phone call – but it makes me feel good.
  4. I tap the door frame of the living room with all my fingers at the same time – making sure to do it 5 times and only 5 times.
  5. Exactly one minute to kick off – I switch on the telly, the radio or ATVO (whichever I’m watching or listening to on the day) and sit to toast the team before taking my first sip of the beer or wine at kick off.

On Wednesday, for one reason or another, I missed at least 3 of those rituals. Earlier on in the day, I’d jinxed Wookash by doing an exclusive piece on my blog about his high profile howlers.

Imagine the shock on me when in the 11th minute Wookash became the 2nd Arsenal goal keeper in as many weeks to get their name on the score sheet.

I’m one of those people who believe that doing something once is a mistake, twice is a coincidence and third time around – it’s just bang out of order. So this is why I pose the question for us to debate today.

Do Arsenal’s Keystone Cop moments simply amount to a hill of beans or are they becoming a mountain of distractions? Whilst scraping me off the ceiling last night, my wife injected a huge dose of reality in my system by posing a few very interesting questions.

”Who are you actually pissed off with? Is it the referee, Fabianski, Campbell, Nasri or Clichy for giving the Porto winger the keys to the left flank of the Dragão? Or is it Wenger for being courageous enough to give the young players he believes in the opportunity that any footballer would kill for?”

I actually concluded I was simply just expressing the raw emotion and frustration that is normal when the rub of the green doesn’t go our way.

I’m lucky that Flint, one of my most loyal followers on Stone Cold Arsenal has had the privilege of being an Arsenal supporter for over 50 years. I tell you – Flint’s experience and sense of perspective is invaluable and could well benefit our core of plastic ’Johnny come lately’ customers who suggest that they’re ardent supporters.

Here’s a bit of insight and perspective into Arsenal’s goal keeping tribulations from Flint:

Bob Wilson, in fact, is a good illustration of why we need to remain patient with our project, certainly in the ‘keeper situation. Unfortunately it is not a position where you can afford much.

Arsenal had always had 2 long term goalkeepers from 1946 to 1961, in George Swindon & still my favourite Jack Kelsey. Jack had his career ended by injury c1961 & we then had several occasionally brilliant but mostly unreliable ‘keepers. including Bob, until Fingers Furnell came from Liverpool to be a little bit more reliable but I would not put him in even Almunia’s class.

Bob had a spell of about 4 games, starting brilliantly against Forest & ending looking like the amateur he still was against Chelsea. He disappeared for 5/6 seasons to reappear after Fingers made a mistake too many. He was totally different & was superb, particularly in 70/71, until he retired c1974.

What I am saying is that perhaps it is too early for Fabianski. We have not produced a permanent ‘keeper through the youth system since Jack Kelsey. I know from his book that he got off to a very poor start, in the 1st team, but made it whilst still very young, a couple of seasons later. Same with Jennings at Tottenham, he had an awful start there.

Jack was, in my opinion better than Seaman, so you have to be a great to make it so young. Fabianski has a way to go but for me Sczezsny has the look of an early achiever.

On a side note, I see Given did no better than Fabianski against the Delap throw, in the recent 2 matches. It ain’t so easy.

My opinion is that the individual errors and lapses of judgement are just a hill of beans that don’t amount to anything but a learning process. Unfortunately for Arsenal, we’re at a higher risk because of the club’s courage to stand by their players and give them opportunities to prove their worth, despite some inevitable mistakes that will lead to goals and lost points.

What was telling for me on this issue was Wenger’s response to being asked about not purchasing a striker. Wenger used Nicklas Bendtner (who was present with him at that press conference) as an example.

The manager’s view was that having taken Bendtner in at the age of 15, and investing in him for 7 years, it doesn’t make sense to turn around and drop the player because of misguided pressure from outside to buy as a knee jerk solution to every problem.

Wenger’s unwavering faith in his charges is as commendable as his courage in facing the adversity that comes their way when they go through a difficult patch. It is this courage and support that will stop the hill of beans that are the growing pains of any development process becoming an insurmountable mountain.

The more relevant question is whether some Arsenal supporters (or customers) have the spine to stand the heat of the real-time education the youngsters are having. I’m sure there are those who’d prefer that Arsenal throw the baby, the bath water and the whole bathroom down Holloway Road.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on February 19, 2010, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 304 Comments.

  1. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Another banger, Darius. Also, mad respect to Flint for staying loyal.

  2. Why is it when people speak out about what’s going on they are ”NOT PROPER SUPPORTERS”? it makes me sick that people like you will just sit there and take the hammering’s we have received on the chin.Now to me that is not true support,you should be very worried about the way we are going.

  3. The question fans have for Wenger is how long? If apparently 5 years isnt enough time to complete this youth project, how much longer do we have to wait?

  4. James de la Haye

    What a load of Ballacks!

    Arsene Wenger will NEVER win another trophy with Arsenal because he’s unbelievably deluded.

    If you’re not good enough in ANY business, you get shipped out. It’s ruthless, but it works.

    Man U do it, Arsenal don’t. That’s why the worst-ever Premiership champions (2009 vintage) keep on winning. Their manager is ruthless.

    P.S. The 2010 title winners will inherit the crown of worst-ever Premiership champions – especially if it’s us. We’re NOT FUCKING good enough!!!!!!!

    Comprendez?

  5. Spit yo game. Do you even take the time to read my posts and consider the criticism that I offer? I can’t speak for others, but I think you’re way off base to suggest that I don’t have something to say about our drama on the pitch.

    Perhaps the difference between you and me is that I have a higher tolerance level and I’m happy to have a look at the bigger picture.

    Why don’t you put forward a coherent gripe that you have and outline why your not the doomer folks say you are, and we can have a mature debate about the issues. I promise I’ll be nice.

  6. It’s all doom because there is no light at the end of the tunnel m8ty

  7. phatosas.

    What are you going to do with yourself when the next manager you want to take over takes another 5 years? Are we going to appoint a 3rd manager and try again?

  8. my superstitious habit is to never watch the kick off. Covering eyes, or turning my back. weird. I don’t know why.

  9. How you can tolerate the hammering we have taken recently is beyond me,prehaps you are a saint and can see the light…

  10. Spit yo game – that’s just too easy.

    Why don’t you do this – list 5 reasons why you feel there’s no light at the end of the tunnel and I’ll list 5 why I think that there’s infact a light at the end of the tunnel and its not an oncoming train.

    C’mon then….make your case.

  11. I don’t have a problem tolerating any amount of adversity thrown my way. It’s the stuff life is made of.

    Could it be that your problem is more to do with the humiliation you face from your Manc and Chav friends? If that’s the case, and I’m happy to stand corrected, I would suggest that you have bigger issues than Arsenal can offer solutions for.

    For the record, we weren’t hammered by anything in the last match – we simply lost the game – and we beat Liverpool in the match before that.

    So pray tell, what is it about losing that really gives you so much grief?

  12. Hello Darius,

    Good to hear you again. Hope all is well with you. You know i respect the time and effort you take in your analysis. I disagree on two points:

    Our defensive play has been shambolic for a number of years now. I really wish it was a learning curve – but its not. To me – its a serious fault in the coaching. If anything its worse we seem to be getting.

    With respect to the belief that the Wenger has in the squad, some to my mind is very misguided. As a matter of opinion: Considering that we’ve had bendtner for 6/7 years is much the same as having Theo for 4 years and having RvP for 6 years. RvP has been injured for 5/6 seasons, Theo has as yet to do anything, and Bendy imho – will never make the grade as a first team striker. Just my thoughts. Of course the manager has to believe – but a point in time comes when its time to cut the thread. Saha is a superb player that we allegedly tried to sign. Fergie got shut of him after 4 years. Too injury prone and just didn’t deliver. How long do you think his patience with Berby will last?

    Wenger is far too patient and nice for his own good. Just look at Clichy for example. Tell me what precisely Gael Clichy has to do to get dropped? He’s been terrible for the last two years. As an attacking full back – his defense is poor and he still can’t even cross a ball. Honestly whats the point in having him there at all? And I’m genuinely not trying to have a go at a player that I deeply respect – but I’m just being honest. At the moment I would have Gibbs or Traore every day of the week ahead of him.

  13. 1-the managers methods
    2-5 years without any silverware,supposed to be a big club,big clubs don’t go that long without.
    3-personell ie playing staff
    4-other teams catching us up,makinng it harder for us to achieve due to point number 1
    5-pat rice…

  14. @spit yo game

    You have to be kidding me man, we’re talking about 5 years, how long have you supported Arsenal? I know I have since 1991 and I was born in ’86. I’m a yank too, wonder if I’m not a supporter in your eyes, but you CERTAINLY are not in mine.

    Maybe you haven’t noticed but we have been one of the most successful clubs in the world for years and that is in no small part due to the influence of Wenger. We have kept our heads above water in an incredibly tumultuous financial climate AND moved into a new stadium.

    Its not a question of “questioning whats been going on,” it the blatant lack of respect for our players and our manager that really makes me see red. You’re talking about being worried as if we aren’t in 3rd place in the league and still in with a shout in the Champions League.

    Such a true fan as yourself will probably also recognize that we were missing 5, count ’em 5, starters yesterday; Almunia, Gallas, Song, Arshavin and van Persie.

    If ALL you care about at the end of the day is what just happened you should probably go support Barcelona and take your sh*t blog postings with you.

  15. P'TangYangKipperBang

    spit yo game – What do you mean “tolerate”? Is it your right as an individual that you can demand what Arsenal football club does? Like sack their most successful manager in their history in the middle of an ambitious and fascinating project. Have a re-think and gain some perspective my friend. Victoria Concordia Crescit remember?

  16. Well what makes me see red is the shite players we have at our club now,all this success wenger has brought has vanished along with the best wenger team he had 03-04 even they underachieved on the big stage.What do we have now to look forward to almunia,fabianski,mannone,denilson,song,bendtner,ffrom what we had to what got now is nothing short of disgusting really.

  17. @ spit

    Song is a fucking monster, and I’m very excited to have him in the side. I like Bendtner too. The 3 crap goalkeepers can all fuck off, as can the dribbling spastic Denilson.

  18. you like bendtner why?as for song he might of improved from where he was a couple years ago but i.m.o won’t be good enough,he still clueless when it comes to knowing what to do as alot of the current lot are.

  19. 6) We sell players when they come good or get impatient with the ‘youth project’, rendering the youth project ultimately futile in terms of winning

    7) Unsound defensive coaching

    8) Overpaid youngsters who think they’ve ‘made it’ already when they haven’t won shyte all.

    9) Club management prioritizing club’s already extremely healthy financial position over what’s happening on the pitch.

    10) Supporters pay such high prices to watch amateur theatrics.

    11) Wenger’s post game excuses belie a man accountable to no one, certainly not his own common sense.

    12) Taken a fine club to the top with judicious buying of youth and experience, and turned it on it’s head by over emphasizing youth, in effect transforming a football club into a private experiment.

    13) By refusing to buy needed quality and experience we are throwing away season after season.

    14) Should cut ticket prices in half if we are expected to tolerate this any longer.

    15) blames referees when they reveal managerial shortcomings.

  20. Genius, Darius! Top post, thanks for keeping it real.

  21. Hey Joe. Been a long time – if you don’t mind, let me indulge Spit yo game first, I’ll get back to you shortly.

    Spit yo game, you say:

    1-the managers methods

    You’re going to have to do a bit better than this ambiguity to dent the fact that Wenger is the second most successful manager in the EPL. In my humble opinion, you’re going to struggle to find a head of steam to support the argument that Wenger is a sub-standard manager who no longer has the ability to lead a top flight team.

    Wengerball of course is just a myth and Arsenal’s brand of football is not appreciated by anyone in the world. There’s no place for it in football – at least that’s what you’re saying here.

    Let’s drill down into the specifics you feel makes Wenger a tactical failure. No need to be shy. Do you feel he’s not capable of organizing a team? Do you feel the system of play he has selected doesn’t do the job? Do you feel that the team don’t train well enough? What is it about his methods that you don’t like and perhaps we could have a more useful debate.

    As a counter argument (I promised you 5 of my own) – Arsenal’s training and development methods and our academy structure is renowned to be one of the best in the world. In fact, we’re light years ahead of many clubs and they’re only just looking at how they can emulate us – and that includes Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City.

    I’ve covered this question before when I made the case that where Arsenal leads, others follow.

    2-5 years without any silverware,supposed to be a big club,big clubs don’t go that long without.

    It’s a good thing then you aren’t a Liverpool fan. I suppose this argument depends on whether you see trophies as the only measure of success. I’ll admit, it’ll be good when we win a trophy, and I’m confident that will come in time.

    My take is that there’s a lot of intellectual masturbation taking place in the media to suggest that not winning a trophy in 5 years is a dooms day scenario. Actually, it isn’t.

    Arsenal has gone through long spells in the 60s, 70s 80s and 90s without a trophy. We didn’t fall apart.

    You still haven’t answered my earlier question about what it is about these defeats. I proposed that it was the humiliation of facing your Chav and Manc friends that is the over-riding issue here and this is what you have a problem with – not necessarily that Arsenal hasn’t won a trophy in that time.

    A question, would you be happy if we won the Carling cup? Because I’m sure we can pull it off if we fielded a team as strong as Manure or Chelsea.

    3-personell ie playing staff

    I guess this one is about buying big name players. The answer is simple, we can’t afford it and the faster you get used to that idea, the better you’ll sleep. There is the option of supporting another club with the money to buy better personnel.

    Also, consider this – not many people realise that when you buy a player, you also have to take into account the cost of that players contract. So for example, if a player cost £10 million and is on a 4 year contract of £40,000 a week (let’s keep it flat to make the calculation easier)…then the true cost of that player is actually £18, 320,000.

    Where do you think that extra £8.32 million comes from? Of course the papers will tell you that there’s £35 million from the sale of Adebayor and Toure burning a hole in Wenger’s pocket and the bastard is too stubborn to spend it.

    We haven’t even talked about the cost of the 16 contracts that have been extended since May last year.

    My point is this – Arsenal have never been and never will be the type of club that spends £40 million on a player. If Edson Arentes do Nascimento was still in circulation, I’d lobby Wenger to buy him – but the dude is 68 and can’t hack it in the EPL any more – but he would have been worth £40 mil.

    Perhaps it’s your expectations that you need to manage.

    4-other teams catching us up,makinng it harder for us to achieve due to point number 1

    And so your suggestion is that we spend more money that we don’t have to run away from them??? I don’t get this one.

    Apart from Blackburn, Chelsea and Manure, no other club has won the EPL alongside Arsenal. Jack Walker like Abramovich spent his own money to buy the EPL for Blackburn Rovers. Chelsea hasn’t won it for 3 years running yet they spent £700 million to run away from the other clubs as you put it.

    5. Pat Rice.

    Now you’re just being vindictive. What has poor old Pat done to become the fall guy?

    Here’s my 5 reasons why there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

    1. Arsenal is the 3rd biggest football club in the world. That in itself is an achievement and a counter to your 2nd point that we’re not a big club.
    2. The club is actually solvent and has a future – giving you the ability to keep moaning and groaning for the next however many more years to come. TDon’t tke that privilige for granted – ask Pompey fans.
    3. Wengerball – believe me – it’s a beauty.
    4. We’re 6 points off the leaders in the EPL. For a club that was written off by all and sundry pre-season not to even be in the top 4 – that’s a hell of an achievement.
    5. We’re loved by millions of fans in Europe, Africa, Asia, North and South America.

    But I still ask again, please tell us what is it in particular that makes it hard for you to be tolerant.

  22. This is the most entertaining side we’ve produced in a long time. They rarely fail to crack me up.
    We’ve got a star studded cast.
    Fabianski & Almunia as Laurel & Hardy.
    Sagna as Dracula (anti-cross).
    Clichy as The Phantom.
    Gallas as Oscar the Grouch.
    Diaby as Dr Jekyll.
    Song as Swamp Thing.
    Rosicky as Gingerbread Man.
    Van Persie as Bubble Boy.
    Nasri as Cat Woman.
    Walcott as Forest Gump.
    Denilson as Frodo Baggins.

    Just imagine you’re watching a movie instead of a football match, you’ll feel much better when it’s over.

  23. what a stupid set of comments, especially the last one.

    The team is so funny that they are only 6 points of away from the top of the PL and with a great chance to advance in the CL.

    Ha ha ha ha ha!!

  24. Great Darius…. excellent… really appreciate…

  25. Cheers Darius. You have earned more of my esteem by your willingness to argue with the mindless, retards that simply rant and wail without any regard for reality. To quote a great man:
    “1. Arsenal is the 3rd biggest football club in the world. That in itself is a (major) achievement
    “2. The club is actually solvent and has a future – giving you the ability to keep moaning and groaning for the next however many more years to come. Don’t take that privilige for granted – ask Pompey fans.”

    Wake up doomers! Arsenal under current ownership and Wenger’s management, is never going to splash the clash on a world-class keeper. Give up your season tickets now. Go support another club. It is not going to happen. Capice!

    I will paraphrase and massage something I posted earlier elsewhere. To splash major cash on a world class keeper is completely in contradiction with the current recession and the gloomy economic climate. IMO, there has been a paradigm change in football economics. I am convinced that we are in a deflationary era and we are still in the early stages. Any club which is crazy to spend 20 million on a world class keeper and commmit to paying him a conservative 50,000 per week is rolling the dice with their future. Over a four year contract thisworks out to a total cost of 30.4 million pounds Even Arsenal with its substantial cash-in-hand cannot engage in this madness. Wildy repeating the cliche that a goalkeeper will save the club six (6) points or whatever number misses the point entirely. We are talking saving the future of most clubs. With the exception of Oil City and KGB-Fulham, professional football clubs must ensure their long term survival by patiently growing from within. Arsene Wenger knows this better than the fools and knaves bellowing at the top of their voices in the press and on the internet. Those who truly love this club and the football values that it represents need to get with the program and hunker down for the ride.

  26. Darius, Dariuuuuuus
    He’s got 5 reasons,
    Why this could yet be our season
    Quit this debate Spit yo Game
    Cos Darius just makes you look Lame
    HEY!!

    I agree with the pre game superstitions. Just MAD they are. And unhealthy. I wrote about mine AGES ago

    http://bigfourza.wordpress.com/2009/04/13/unsung-heroes/

  27. “After the last training session before the game, I would take a shower in every cubicle. Shower rooms in boarding schools weren’t anything to write home about, and I suspect being anal about this ritual made me overcome the health and safety concerns of the dodgy shower cubicles.”

    Are you gay?

  28. Darius Stone,
    5 years into the youth project, we shouldnt be talking of more patience with another young player messing up. I can see the big picture and at best Fabiaski would be a decent goalkeeper, however a world class goalkeeper at his prime is not too expensive. I can even remember Wenger signing Lehman for next to nothing some years ago. If really the youth project is about finances, I dont see how you can justify grooming a goalkeeper as such enormous sacrifice to the team. If we keep grooming one player after another without having a settled team, we would never win because there would always be one player to f**k up.

  29. @YW
    Great piece as usual
    I wil be taking on the pre game, mine’s not too disimilar
    I think fabianski has all the makings of a world class keeper. and to get rid of the guy now would be more of a mistake than what spurs did when thought jennings was past it and sold him to us.
    Good morning johnny’s
    5 years with out the league you might try 18 and then see if you got what it take to be gooner.
    RSD

  30. I’m a Colombian Arsenal fan since 2000’s. Basically since after Arsene took over. I became a fan based on the beautiful way they play, reminding me of South American style and passion.

    Dennis was the master, Seaman was the wall and Henry was the assassin. Beautiful days.

    Basically to be an Arsenal fan, especially now, is a lesson in frustration and patience. But will I support another EPL team? Never.
    I’m willing to wait for a trophy and glory. Rome was not built in a day.

    I laugh at my Chelski friends because they always rub the league in my face, but then when I say money can buy the title instead of style, they usually shut up.

    To quote an ancient proverb: The ox is slow, but the earth is patient.

    Yes, Wenger is stubborn, but he has been the sole reason why Arsenal are not going bust much like other clubs. I respect him, and support him, even after painful defeats. Why? Because sooner or later, this team will come good.

    Whenever I read these nay/doomsayers, I always look at the Portsmouth fans, those who stuck through thick and thin, week in, week out, supporting their club to the very end. THOSE are true fans. Learn something from them instead of rail, moan and complain.

    I love Arsenal. I don’t care if we don’t win the league for another 5 years ( it would be nice to, but we will eventually dominate again). I’ll support them week in, week out to the very end. Can you say the same?

  31. Shpena
    great proverb
    Long may those beautiful days continue.
    peas and lurve from N5

  32. spit yo game,you sound like the grumpy old man from the opening scene of Fever pitch,chill Winston!ffs
    unless your real name is Nostradamus,you dont know whats gonna happen from now till the end of the season.So lets just say,hypothetically,that we,Arsenal,do go on to win the league or even the champions league.You gonna stand there in the pub complaining,saying Wengers still a cunt!…NO you will jumping around the pub going fucking mental like all the rest of us.I can feel your frustrations but look at the bigger picture and dont be misguided or blinded by the red top sensationalism all the time

  33. The defeats to Manchester and Chelsea were hard to take. But it reminded me of the season before last when we whipped Manchester home and away as they rode to their title.

    They whipped us home and away – fair play to them, they were the better team then. But this league is not about two teams. Its your course after 38 games that matter.

    As Frank says: By a country mile. By a country mile, People.

  34. Just finished rewatching the Porto game and two things stuck out for me. Diaby gave the ball away a lot in the second half, odd that noone slags him off yet Denilson was his usual self making near-telepathic interceptions on the edge of our box (see the last ten minutes for about a million examples) and gets nothing but grief. Also SuperNic52’s link play up front is wonderful and the prospect of him, Edu (whose link play is perhaps even better) and Arsh all fit and playing together makes me salivate. That’s before you think about the return of RVP. Also Clichy had a good game and even put in a couple of dangerous crosses second half, no doubt the “fans” had switched off after the second Fabianski mishap.

  35. Also can we give Barca a partial refund and get our Hleb back? I’d love to see him in the team we have now with his glued-to-the-feet dribbling and through balls via gaps that didn’t seem to exist. I think i’m alone on that one as a lot of people seem to view him with the same contempt Flamini got for leaving us.

  36. From the past run of games I think we’ll have to wait a while until we pick up any trophies.

    We have lost our way a bit and have no real leadership to push us on.

    cesc is a fantastic player and leads by example. but I think he is too inexperienced to unite the team when things don’t go to plan.

    i thought sol could of done this on wed night but this didn’t happen.

    The game should of been perfect for our style of play. but we did not take advantage of a winnable stage and now we are chasing a win in the second leg.

    there always seems to be an excuse for losing, be it refs, bobbly pitches, negative styles of play or rough tactics. we dont rise to the occasion of the big stage and if we cannot do this we are not strong enough.

    I think buying arsharvin has helped strengten our
    midfield but now we need to carry on with the building proccess.

    waiting for our youth policy to learn by losing will cost us. how do they now how to pick up their game if this is allowed to happen when the manager protects them with spin.

    I am a wenger fan and I hope he sticks around but without a change in policy I think he may be pushed out of the door.

  37. Yogi. What a great article. Thank you.

  38. Inspired post as always Darius.A bastion of balanced logic in a cesspit of crap thinking. Wenger has propelled this club and its standing in world football stratoapheric levels. Suddenly because there have been no trinkets to adorn the cabinet the brainless are spewing their vitriole in force. Business is also about sustainability and realistic long term planning Spit yo game. When FIFA and EPl introduce regulations about clubs not spending more than their turnover the wisdom of Wenger will be appreciated.

    5 reasons why Wenger should stay

    1. He has helped keep the club solvent whilst our glittering new stadium is paid off
    2. He has consistently shown you can unearth real diamonds through, extensive scouting networks nurturing and identifying talent early on, shrewd buisness and not being railroded into buying overpriced players.30million for Shevkenko and Berbatov anyone.
    3. Wenger cannot be accused of destroying talent like Chelsea. Their win at all cost now mentality by spending gazzillions will bite them in the arse soon enough. No youth coming through the ranks.Even Fergie is developing youth now.
    4. Arsenal continue to produce a conveyor belt’of talent every year who challenge for everything.
    5. Chelsea and Man U are a little like the playground bully. They take advantage of your age and smaller stature and take everything out on you whilst they can but one day you are going to get bigger than them and batter them,

  39. BR, the article was written by Darius.

    Darius, your wife asks some great questions!

  40. Thanks Darius. You said something genius today. The difference really is between supporters and customers. Customers think they paid for a trohpy and wonder why it hasn’t been delivered. Supporters support the team, fair-weather or not.

    Currently managing a team 3rd in arguably the toughest league in the world, never finished outside top 4, admired the world over, record breaking achievements (for an english side) in CL appearances. What manager am I referring to?
    The consistency is incredible.

  41. Shpena, fantastic post! I am Zimbabwean, and i think the same way.

  42. Darius,

    You’re pre-match rtituals are very interesting brother, but tell me, how do fit all that in and still have time to ‘Sand de Floor’

  43. Hey, Spit yo game and co…there is a blog for the people that like calling our own players C**ts at home games, slag off Wenger, want a trophy, hate Denilson etc…its called Le Grove…the Online Gooner is not far off that either. How about you take yourselves over there and then we can have a distinct line between the people who have unconditional support for the club they love and your guys, for whom all it seems to be about is bragging rights.

    It would also be nice that all you guys (ok, maybe not you, but those like you) get penned together at Ashburton so Denilson/ Bendy/ Nasri etc, etc know that I am cheering for them…and you guys are the ones destroying their confidence.

  44. You summarise weekly at least one vital component of what makes our club a great one and why we are fortunate to support it.

    Unfortunately, you also seem to inspire the idiots amongst us. I use ‘us’ in it’s loosest meaning.

    It seems that for every Flint who posts there are a dozen others who are the antithesis of the support and intelligence tha he shows.

    I do not believe that that proportion of wit to stupidity can be true across the whole host of Arsenal fans.

    It must be the blogosphere. Who would listen to these idiots in real life? Where would they get their platform?

  45. Article & responses on point as always D. Stone. Kudos

    Disagree with the AW-must-change-policy proponents. Truth is all that’s needed is a little tweak here & some tinkering there.

    Buying AA is a great example of Wengerbiz & with Chamakh joining us next season (fingers crossed), long may it continue.

    5 years of development should crystallize into a supremely devastating squad NEXT season.

    We’ve all been so spoilt since AW came thru and the ability to delay gratification is what really separates the supporters from the customers.

    Of our 4 goalies who are the keepers?
    Most pertinently WHEN does AW make THE decision?

    My guess is not till season’s end.
    So people, deal with it.
    I’ve learnt to

    Team vs Sunderland anyone?

  46. If you gave AW 700 million pounds to spend on a team he’d be winning 4-6 trophies every year UNFAILINGLY!

    Chelsea, like the bloated children of the illicitly wealthy, are serial under-achievers.

  47. If anyone is still interested in the debate about the free kick in Wednesday’s game, (I/m thinking of you in particular, Paul N) try the link below for a Referee’s take on the matter. Of course, Walter is also an Arsenal supporter but he makes his points clearly and concisely.

    http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/2010/02/the-porto-free-kick-the-referees-point-of-view/

  48. Thanks Darius, I am Flint2 – Jack Kelsey was brilliant – and how else can we grow our own keepers other than by giving them experience which means letting them learn by their mistakes. this is one of Wenger’s many strengths.

    An excellent post and not only that you have the patience to give a detailed reply to the complete and thoughtless rubbish written by those such as SYG whose comments normally stop me from reading any lower than the end of your article.

    Keep it up,

    DTC

  49. In fact Bob, have you seen footage of Wengers press conference?

    He’s just called the referee either “dishonest or incompetent…..I prefer incompetent” citing the very same technical points that Walter has made on untold arsenal..!

  50. Jennings Lukic Seaman and Lehmann were all experienced keepers when we signed them.Goalkeeper is not a position you can learn the job by playing in the first team.Look what happened to Alex Manninger

    Flapianski is by far the worse keeper i have seen in my 42 years of watching Arsenal.He reminds me of Malcolm Webster and Geoff Barnett in the early 70’s

  51. Great article DS. Thanks. Also, some excellent points in reply to some ill-thought out comments.

    As you say Aman – Wenger would have won everything for years had we that cash and an irresponsible spending ethos at our club.

    However, the victories would be much more hollow and the satisfaction would be tiny in proportion to winning something with our model. Imagine what it would do to our players to win something huge like the EPL or CL… So many of our players need confidence, but once they have it and are more sure of themselves, will be devastating players.

    As DS says many times, our ‘fans’ need to manage their expectations.

  52. I miss my arsenal….
    cant wait to see us on the pitch again….

    Some fans/supporters/customers living in n around london dont know what theyhave.

    They get to BE at emirates stadium on match days and see one of the best teams in europe in action.

    And yet…when im watching us play on the telly…i fail to understand why most of the crowd is so quiet and unenthusiastic.
    if only those people were living half way across the world like me.

    theyd understand what it means to have that privilege of being IN the stadium and screaming their lungs out in support for their team.

  53. Customer and supporters indeed ZimPaul. One must ask him/herself…is a work of art and beauty ever finished? Not for a perfectionist like the Professor.

    We have to factor in the unexpected depatures of players Wenger thought would do us good like Hleb, @debayor, Reyes and co. Surely these departures have set us back in terms of development.

    A few blips aside, I am really happy with where we are. Trophy or no trophy.

  54. Arseman – word.

  55. Forget whether the free kick was legal or not.The question that needs to be asked is why did Fabianski pick the fucking ball up.Does he not know the laws?And why when the free kick was given did he not throw the ball away and take a yellow card
    These two things make you ask does he have the skills of concentratin.You can bet any money that if Mad Jens had been in goal Porto would not have taken a quick free kick

    Why has Wenger got a blind spot when it comes to keepers?

  56. in terms of pre-match…I avoid alcohol and arguments with the missus at all costs!! lol

    Case in point…

    -we lost to Man City (as they were known back then) a couple of seasons ago…I was drunk.
    -We lost to United (4-0) in the F.A Cup…I was drunk
    – Sunderland away (this season) – I was drunk
    – v Porto mid week – I wish I ws drunk. lol

    I know it sounds like a load of bollix but it’s true.

  57. There is no doubt that Arsenal are a big club. Its silly to think otherwise. It’s precisely for that reason why we have a lot of fans unhappy with our trophy drought. I don’t think spurs fans will be moaning about not winning trophies.

    It’s also true that we’re in a very very healthy financial situation looking to the future, with new stadium, serviceable debts etc. Every fan in his right mind will be proud of these feats.

    However the point of all the clubs wealth, is to achieve success on the pitch. We’re a football club afterall. AW’s youth policy wasn’t just to provide entertaining football but to win ass well. He said as much at the beginning of the season when he said our kinds have grown up and this season should be the season when they’re expected to start delivering. Youth, injuries or lack of experience could no longer be an excuse he said.

    Up till January, I like many people on here actually believed that. I really did believe we were gonna win something this year. I know its to early to call, but my confidence in our ability to win has waned quite a bit since january.

    My biggest worry has been our poor defending and the tendency to gift goals to the opposition.

    Ole said these two are not connected but I beg to differ. We’re conceeding too many goals because we’re defending poorly. It may sound simplistic, but its true imo. The flip side also holds. Up till January we were the highest scorers, because we had the best attack. Simplistic? Maybe, but also true nonetheless. Heck we were all boasting about that weren’t we?

  58. On the superstitions thing, I dont ever wear an arsenal shirt while watching a match any more as there was a phase when we lost every time i did… I dont ever sit back all relaxed either as i feel that i’m giving off the wrong energy – as if it makes a difference!

  59. I hear you Arseman. I feel the same. Goonerholic posted a vid on his blog a couple of days ago about a fan (bless him) who made a documentary about the Liverpool match. That brought tears to my eyes as it’s the closest i’ve been to the real thing.
    If only I could be at the Emirates.

  60. We’ve also not been scoring that regularly of late. I hope that’s more to do with the sort of opposition we’ve had to play in the last 6-7 games. Here’s to hoping we get back to serious goal scoring at Sunderland.

  61. “Goalkeeper is not a position you can learn the job by playing in the first team.Look what happened to Alex Manninger.”

    We both know that isn’t true. How would any player become a goalkeeper in the first place?!

    The best goalkeepers around right now all hit the first team at a young age – Cech, Casillas, Victor Valdes (don’t laugh: he’s quality), Buffon, Akinfeev.

    I don’t include Given because he’s poison for the defenders in front of him: Boumsong shut down Kaka, Higuain and Cronaldo on Tuesday night, something he’d never have been able to do with Given behind him.

    Alex Manninger is a good reference point when it comes to Fabianski at the moment, though – perfect level of ability, but issues with temperament.

    Someone mentioned that we should discard GKs when they make mistakes, like ManU did with Taibi, and are doing right now with Foster. That policy’s OK if you’ve got millions of pounds spare to make it work.

    So, say Fabianski never gets another game for Arsenal: We’d have to sell him much less than he’s actually worth, and buy an expensive replacement. But what do we do if the new player also makes mistakes? Buy another one?

  62. I was speaking to my Dad who’s in Ireland (surrounded my Manure & Pool fans) after the Porto game and i was in an incredibly negative mood. He brought me down to earth though by reminding me that, no matter what the result is, no matter what defensive mistakes are made, Arsenal go out to play for the beauty and enjoyment of the game – no matter how big the stage is.

    No other team in the world can say that apart from maybe Barca or even Villareal until their manager left.

    The beauty of Arsenal is that we sacrifice the odd goal or even the odd game for the sexual football we play, then you look at teams like Bolton or Stoke who are at the opposite end of the scale… They will win games in such a horrible style, by exploiting certain rules, long throw ins and set peices. Surely that can’t be anywhere near as satisfying as winning in the style we do, by making some of the best defences in the world look like amateurs (at times).

    We still have one of the (if not THE) youngest average age in the EPL. Probably the youngest out of the remaining CL teams. They aren’t inexperienced any more but they are still young. In 2-3 years they will be reaching their potential and that is very mouth-watering.

  63. Can’t believe some people want Wenger out. Crazy stuff.

    He is the right man for the job and has a vision of how he will achieve it.

  64. Arse Shavin – Ive been wearing my 02/03 away shirt for our away matches even at work under my suit…lol

    c1gooner….if only we were at the emirates…wed bring the house down

  65. No one can deny between 96 and 04 Wenger was a great manager.But since then he has failed.

    To go from the greatest team in English football the Invicibles to 5 trophyless seasons beggars belief

    But what about the glourious football.Yeah outplay teams for 80% of a game then a Goalkeeping or Defensive error and the game is drawn or lost.Its no good having a team that plays the best attacking football when you have a clown in goal and two full backs who cannot defended.
    Football is about winning.Are you telling me if we won every game 1-0 fans would be happy,

  66. Well said Darius great Article.

    I like you remember fingers Furnell and the young schoolmaster Wilson. And what about Ian McKechnie and Jack McClelland both keepers from that era that many have never heard of. then there’s the full backs Mcgill and Mccullouch would we rather watch them than Sagna and Clichy?.
    No of course not. Arsenal is a work in progress and the young men at present wearing the shirt are light years away from many that have gone before. But that is not to say that they too didn’t have their part to play in the making of the legend that is Arsenal.
    But far and away the biggest contribution has been played by Mr Wenger the professor with his Wengerball ethic and an economic grasp far beyond that of many managers has put the club in a position that will surely lead to the continual success in the years to come. Unlike many of the current challengers who walk the financial tightrope that will eventually break and send them and their, in many cases undeserving loyal supporters into the obscurity that EUFA politicians are preparing for them.

    Whilst on this subject, if EUFA do allow Portsmouth to hold a fire sale, what about David James as the voice of experience to muster the current defence and earn his world cup place by winning the championship.

    I doubt somehow however that he would be allowed into the champions league squad. LOL

  67. OneofUs

    Wenger bombed out Richard Wright after one season after we won the Double so your arguement about Flapianski is flawed.Regardless of age if a keeper is shite they should be shown the door

  68. Nice one, Darius.

    Consolsbob, “I do not believe that that proportion of wit to stupidity can be true across the whole host of Arsenal fans.

    It must be the blogosphere. Who would listen to these idiots in real life? Where would they get their platform?”

    – I was thinking the very same thing myself. Well, actually I thought to myself; why is it that Arsenal attract such an embarrassment of c*nt fans?
    But you’re right, it is only online. I’ve never met anyone at a game so full of shit as some of these. There are lot’s of whingeing minnies on matchdays, don’t get me wrong. But most of the whining is born of a self-deprecating sort of humour, and always tempered by the shared adoration of the football we play. I challenge anyone to take a WENGER OUT sandwich board to the next home game. See how quickly you get it broken over your bonce.

  69. LOL Limpar, now that would be a sight to behold.

  70. Yusef, Jens Seaman, Mark, Paddy – What’s wrong with sticking to one username. It gets frustrating. Especially when people just want to have a conversation.

    What you’re doing is spamming. Pretty low really.

  71. Limpar…very true….
    Id like certain people to try spewing the bullshit they spew on this blog out on the streets….

  72. I’m a big fan of Fabianski, I know he’ll get right back up on the horse next game he plays – maybe this weekend – but you’ve got to laugh…

    http://newsarse.com/2010/02/18/no-more-competition-winners-in-goal-declares-wenger/

  73. Totally pathetic reaction from the doomers.

    We go to a good european side (much better than AC Milan by the way), and we don’t get the rub of the green.

    So we lose. Get over it. It’s 2 legs.

    Every time we lose a game, it’s not the time to write a polemic and rake over every f*cking bad piece of play and ponder what it means for the future – FFS.

    If we do that, we are into crisis management.

    WE ARE THIRD IN THE TABLE FFS.

    We have a SUPERB squad.

    WHAT IS THE PROBLEM ?

    Seriously, some people need to take a huge reality check.

    And James, Howard, Arse21, William or whatever you call yourself – FUCK OFF.

  74. Win or loose Arseman, win or loose. I will make it to the Emirates someday.

  75. fo sho…ive been saving up….next year for me!!!!! hopefully it’ll be sooner rather than later for u too!

  76. Muppet, cool your jets partner, I dont want to have to spank you in front of all these people like last time.

    Porto shall be stripped naked and lashed with red & white football scarves at the Emirates and you know this

  77. Big Al are “Yusef, Jens Seaman, Mark, Paddy ” one and the same person then?

  78. Can posters spend less time talking about other fans online behavior and more time talking about the actual football? It’s not like these so called D&Gers have any influence on how the team performs…

    It annoying to see how much attention they get on here.

  79. Hey, do we know if Fabianski passed his drugs test?

  80. c1gooner, I shall pay for you dog, you have tugged on my heart strings. I imagine you in a little shack, wrapped in a thin sheet, listening to Arsenal games on a stolen radio. I shall pay for you dog, all I ask for in return is an apology and thats the truth baby

  81. Lehmann was 34 when we signed him.Whats all this bollox about playing a young keeper to gain him experience?

    If Wenger can sign a 34 year old international keeper in 2003 why cant he now?

    A lack of a quality keeper is holding us back from achieving success

    Watching Almunia and Fabianski in goal is like being in a car driving over a cliff

  82. I’ve said that before Henristic.. They get way too much air time on here. That’s all some people talk about… They do have an effect though when their booing players etc at games.

    Apparently almunia’s going to play through the pain against Sunderland and we’ll have Song back too. Not sure about Arsh, and Diaby’s out with a crocked knee.

    Time to get back to winning ways me thinks

  83. Haha – I know I’m not one to talk, and I’ve been going on about it for ages, but it’s my pet peeve on here, Dups, aka Steve.

    Remember Peter Storey’s Budgie? It’s him. He’s been spamming this site for a year now.

    Disappears every time you call him out on it as well.

  84. There he goes again with “Gerry Hatrick”.

  85. Nice to see Boby Pires (legend) come out saying Barca face an uphill battle to sign Cesc.

  86. Henristic, does this constitute actual football talk…

    “AW’s youth policy wasn’t just to provide entertaining football but to win ass well.”

    He’s a happily married man, Henrisitic. That’s just slanderous.

  87. Come on now dogs, I think Almunia could cut the mustard with hard work but Fabianski could be a real problem in our push for the title, you cant be gifting goals at this stage and you know this, on the other hand I loved Fabianski in Stephen Kings ‘IT’, i’m not too proud to admit I was scared shitless

  88. What am I apologising for William? I’d rather pay for myself than you very much. At least i don’t crawl out from under a bridge m8.

    Oh and all the best Arseman. BTW, which part of the worl are you in?

  89. I think i made the point yesterday – if you wrote a goalkeeper off after a few mistakes, there wouldn’t be any left.

    Wednesday has gone – we lost narrowly, and can still easily progress into the next round.

    For all those still moaning – get over it, or do one.

    Should we win tomorrow and other results go our way, things will be looking good.

  90. hahaha Limpar

  91. c1gooner, I shall tell you when you have to apologise, you got that partner? As im paying for you, would you mind making me a cup of hot chocolate please cus?

  92. Big Al I had a feeling it was PSB al along. He/she must be one sad individual changing ID’s more times than their underwear.

  93. Matt – agreed. It was a blip but it was difficult to take at the time when it was down to such soft goals. I’m over it now, and we move on to nail Sunderland tomorrow!

  94. Matt, you are so correct kane lochster, where the bud at fool?

    You know Porto will be thrashed at the emirates dog, Bendtners got unfinished business with the Hulk, that big, green, mumble-mouthed mother f~cker aint doing Jacdk on bendys watch and you know this G.

  95. You love your gangsta films dont you William? I hear a lot of quotes either from Bad Boyz, Menace 2 Society or old skool hip hop tracks. As much as you constantly talk shite, rarely relating to football, you do make me chuckle at times.

    Do you ever talk rationally about arsenal? Would be good to hear what you actually think rather than putting on this comedy act all the time…

  96. Haha, yeah, far more times, Dups!

    I don’t know why it bothers me so much…maybe because it’s so cynical. And it does abuse the platform here.

    People often reply to his comments, but they’ll never hear from him again. He’ll just post the same comment over and over with different IDs.

  97. Limpar: “He’s a happily married man, Henrisitic. That’s just slanderous.”

    Lol. So was Tiger Woods, no?

  98. Jens Seaman? LOL

    Fine combination they would make as one keeper.

    If you look closely enough, you will see that the team is gradually building up to a world beaters again.

    Never can decisions about a player be made over a few games else manone should be our no 1 now after his prerformance versus fulham!

    Young players gain consistency over time and more games and that is especially true for keepers!

  99. Good points and Wenger has been proved right in playing the waiting game with players like Song and now Diaby. However, the best keeper to have played for him at Arsenal was Seaman and Wenger inherited him from George Graham. Those that have followed Seaman have been shot stoppers and no more, whereas a truly top class keeper needs to command his area. Our manager should be looking for more from his goalkeepers, and, I would suggest, having a long hard look at his goalkeeping coach. Almunia is not a top keeper. Fabianski’s confidence may now be irreparably shattered and Mannone has yet to show anything that indicates he’ll make it at the highest level. We really do need to sign someone else while we’re waiting for Szczesny to mature.

  100. Arse Shavin, I’m sorry but I cant do nuttin for ya man, only last night I was running for my life, running from my wife. It was messed up G.

    Seriously this is the way we talk under the bridge on the Holloway rd partner, street lifes tough dog, Ya wanna check ya homies, ya better check yo self, cos when you dis Clichy you dis yourself, mother f~cker and you know this.

    Would you like a cup of Tea? I’ll get c1gooner to make it, he owes me

  101. Did anyone notice how the ref started pointing towards the center circle and gave a goal before Porto actually scored!!

  102. I don’t believe the behaviour of modern followers of football in general or Arsenal in particular can be explained by the idea that supporters have been replaced by customers. An article to which someone here provided a link a week or two ago gave the example of the cinema, attendees at which supposedly complain loudly when the film they have seen is poor. I can’t claim to have been to the cinema many times; but I have nevertheless seen some poor films without ever witnessing criticism rising to more than a scarcely perceptible murmur. I have been to the theatre rather more often. The custom there, when a performance is poor, is to give a polite round of applause anyway, howsoever there might be some satirical observations made afterwards. Customers, when the product they purchase is substandard, will perhaps complain once or twice, but very soon they will simply go elsewhere. If a baker keeps producing bread that is not to one’s taste, will one carry on buying there regardless, at the same time ridiculing those customers who find the bread more palatable? If one finds a particular make of car to be uncomfortable, will one nevertheless buy the same car year after year, all the while complaining bitterly? Will one hang around on forums discussing that manufacturer, waiting to shout down anyone who expresses satisfaction with the car? The continued consumption of a product that has long ceased to please is not the behaviour of the customer. It is the behaviour of the supporter grown decadent.

  103. Duke,

    That signal means an in-direct free kick dog.

  104. great post pz.

  105. …Everyones still trying to read Polizianos post.

    Googles just had 10’000 hits on the definition of ‘Decadent’

  106. Same old, same old. Many ‘supporters’ just don’t enjoy football. The bottom line is you go to a football match to watch your team play anything else is a bonus. Maybe they don’t have eyes to see, who knows?

  107. Interesting points Poliziano.

    @Limpar Assist – LOL about that Sandwich board. I’d love to see that person negotiate Holloway road before his arse being wrapped in that sandwich board and put on the shelf at Waitrose.

    @Consolsbob.

    “I do not believe that that proportion of wit to stupidity can be true across the whole host of Arsenal fans.”

    My friend – the law of averages suggests that we’ll have our proportion of stupidity in the fan base.

    The blogosphere of course gives them a chance to get their ugly side out and you know what they say – never under-estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers.

  108. I wonder if pompey get permission to seel players outisde the windown it would be worth a cheeky bid for David James?

    I am not a massive fan to be honest, but he is more reliable that Almunia.

  109. Or even sell them. Seeling them would be no use.

  110. If you have to go to google to find out what Decadent means then I don’t really want to discuss football with you. It is a superior brand of toothpaste used by people with dentures.

  111. They’re showing talkies at the cinema these days, PZ. Well worth a visit!

  112. David fucking James????? Are you insane?

  113. I cant stand over-analyzing, and you know this

  114. lol Frank

  115. Last time i saw David James play, he looked half the flappy man he used to be…

  116. Frank-dog, what does Decadent mean?

  117. ‘Supporters grown decadent’ is absolutely right, Poliziano. Bravo.

  118. Howdy RSD.

  119. Just a thought. Like I said, I am not really a fan. But he is better than Almunia, and because of his age would be a stop gap so would not block the progress of the two Poles. Plus he has an incentive to perform with the world cup coming up.

  120. Does anyone know the extent of Diaby’s injury yet?

  121. what do you hear?
    What do you know? AS
    AW speaks some sense dont he.
    Seams to have forgotten henry v pensioners
    but maybe he didn’t see it. 😉

  122. im sure there was another henry quick free kick
    but for the life of me i cant nb it

  123. David James is absolutely not a better keepr than Almunia.

  124. Medial knee ligament apparently, just not sure how long he’s out for… (if that’s what you were asking RSD?) a bit confused…

  125. David James is Decadent

  126. David Jamkes is Decaying

  127. Jamkes? you know what i mean.

  128. supporters have always been decadent.

  129. just a greeting is all AS
    MKL for diaby prob Grade 1 would say 10-20 days
    apparently he woke up with it on thurs
    so cant be that bad

  130. My lunch tastes a bit decadent

  131. Frank – OK.

  132. Ligament damage is notoriously difficult to assess. Simply because the tissue does not have a good blood supply and does not heal easily. Medial ligament damage is generally much less serious than cruciate ligament damage, taking anything from a week to three months depending on the severity of the tear. Cruciate ligament damage can take up to a year to repair even after surgery. The fact that Abou is not having surgery is a good sign, but I would think he will be out for a minimum of two-three weeks.

  133. Lol, cheers rsd

    Hmmm, how many times does Diaby have to watch on the sidelines for weeks at a time? Must be so frustrating for him…

  134. calamety james god no
    if we’re after a keeper lets pray he’s french
    frey or Lloris.
    but i doubt it

  135. Cheers Frank, good to have some medical info! Glad he doesn’t have to go under the knife… Speaking of which, anyone know (roughly) when Gibbs will be back? They’re saying RvP back at the end of April now…

  136. I have snapped my Critiate Ligaments, and in doing so ruptured my medial ligaments as well. They tend to run down the side of the knee and really limit the mobilty of the whole area. It should not be too serious, but would imagine a few weeks out.

  137. Next season for Kieran, Arse Shavin

  138. 1 against Villa and one against Chelsea RSD.

  139. Snapping a cruciate ligament is very, very serious indeed and requires surgery and a very long period of rehabilitation.

  140. after a lengthy lay offs
    no-one is getting a good run in the team.
    theo, sicky, diaby.
    lucky we have a decent squad
    like we were saying yesterday the domestic cup
    has produced a hell of a secnd string

  141. thanks matt is there a link for youtube on the villa one i nb the ref running backwards at hell of a pace to get out of the “active zone”

  142. I bet RvP is fit just in time for the World Cup. May not be a bad thing, after such a long time out the games may help him regain his match fitness so he can hit the new season running.

  143. Frank – You are not wrong. After my op I was out for the best part of a year.

  144. Frank-dog you are like the Ligament Fairy

  145. I agree with you, goonerandy. I would not be at all surprised if he pops up for the last couple of EPL games…and who knows the Euro thingy semis and final. It would be great to see him as one of the real stars of the WC.

  146. that would be nice GA
    but know his and our luck he prob
    get injured in the last game

    right have to spin the dog
    catch you guys up the next time
    Always a pleasure

  147. realsocialdad,

    the other free kick was at villa park same sort of thing as against the chavs

  148. oh matt already said..

  149. Darius & Yogi – I want to make a complaint.

    My productivity at work has slipped dramatically since getting involved in your comments section. My boss has been asking me for reasons and claiming that debating Arsenal is a valid reason for such slippage does not really cut the mustard.

    A letter of apology from you, detailing why this is the best blog and comment section out there, would go some way to substantiating my excuses. 😉

  150. I was wondering how many people here are subtly commenting while at work? I know it takes up a lot of my day!

  151. How a mauling of Sunderland would be well received…

  152. Arse

    I am subtly commenting on the fact that I subtly comment at work!

  153. haha remi 🙂

  154. AHHHHH INJURIES!!!!!!

    HAVE I DEFIED YOU STARS????

  155. darius/Arse Arshavin my ritual is to wear an Arsenal shirt just before the game and never the same one in consecutive games. Did that in our last bad form (d/l/l) and see what happened. I had a pal coming from the Uk last wk bring me two new shirts as i believed the older ones had run their course.

    I never ever shake hands with manure fans before the game. I broke that rule and it seems its contributed. seriously!!

    Still sour after the loss and particularly at that freaking ref and to add to it Diaby is injured. I noticed he got into dangerous tackles a few times and my worry was he’d either get injured or carded. the former happened. Hopefully he wont be out for too long.

    Arseman/gonnerc1 I’d give my right arm to be at the emirates.

  156. injuries shminjuries. We’re all used to it now! Somewhere, someone defied the stars quite a while ago it seems…

  157. Arse Shavin

    The only excuse I can think of is that you buy your boss a ticket to the Emirates and let him or her enjoy Wengerball.

    They’ll then understand the loss of productivity.

  158. a question pertaining to portsmouth.

    will they get kicked out of the premiership?

    and if they do, will we lost the 6 points we got against them? that would be ridiculous.

  159. Maybe that’s where i was going wrong Firstlady. I’d worn the same one consecutively, maybe it’s time to get a new one, prob farily cheap now too… I dont think i could shake the hand of a man u fan at all, much repect to you for bearing that pain!

  160. Firstlady.

    Diaby also got carded in the game – but I was more surprised that Porto only got 4 yellow cards.

  161. That’s a good shout Darius! She’s a Chelsea fan so i’m sure she could do with some education into the beautiful football that is the Arsenal. I’ll bring it up at our next meeting 🙂

  162. Has anyone found Wengers plot again then??he has only just got it back!!

  163. DS – they were taking turns to kick Cesc in a ruthlessly efficient manner. The boss even said before that they would be doing their utmost to ‘stop’ cesc. It worked though as he didnt have much of a chance to create any magic…

  164. ‘Their’ boss that is

  165. I heard it on le groanvine that he’s lost the plot on many occasions… He must be pretty good at finding it again by now.

  166. No7 – If any is taken against Portsmouth, it is doubtful that any of their results outsomes will be changed/affected/reversed.

  167. Goonerandy – do you still suffer from that horrific injury? I ruptured a ligament in my thumb (not quite as bad i know) but that happened about 5 years ago and it still gives me jip at times. It gets knocked in matches quite often though, i have to wear a vermaelen style bandage.

  168. I still don’t get why Fab gets all the blame…Sol should *never* have touched that ball.

    We only have one problem, and it’s injuries.

    Almunia
    (Fabianski)

    Sagna-Gallas-Vermaelen-Clichy
    (Eboue-Campbell-Djourou-Gibbs)

    Song-Diaby-Fabregas
    (Denilson-Nasri-Ramsey)

    Rosicky-RVP-Arshavin
    (Walcott-Bendtner-Eduardo)

    Our starting 11 is second to no one. We have quality depth at every position. I’ll take that team, given even moderate health, every single year.

  169. David James is finished

    I don`t want RVP within a thousand miles of the World Cup. Why would he want to play for those a&seholes again after the way they `treated` him ?

    I used to wear the same pair of red underpants to home games in the `80s but had a ceremonial burning of them following a terrible FA Cup defeat by Watford. Nasty

  170. Arse Shavin – Yeah I do. My surgeon told my the actual ACL is actually stonger than before as hey used my hamstring to rebuild the knee. But the damage that happened around the area still can be sore after games.

    Nola – He gets the blame because he gave the ball back and turned around. Sol did not mean to pass it back, and I can understand Fabianski picking the ball up as it was instinctive. He will learn from it though as I would wager that Arsene has had a word in his ear about it.

  171. Sol shouldnt have touched the ball but Fab should have booted it out of play if there was any doubt. You learn that at the age of 5… Fab shouldnt have given the ball back to the ref and turned his back on the ball. That’s why he’s being blamed. It was a strange goal that should have been avoided.

  172. Sounds like they did a good job. I would hate to have had an injury like that 50 years ago… Might have not ever recovered

  173. Grandy-he obviously cant be blamed for giving it back. I remember the ref asking for it. you cant even blame him for turning his back, personally i was expecting a wall which didnt happen, I am sure he was too. The only blame is he held a back pass which honestly I didnt see until after numerous replays.and even after that it looked more like the ball hit Sol than the other way round.

    Arshavin as I said am never shaking hands with them again, another thing I am better off not watching their games (every time I watch they win no matter how bad they were, bar the barca final, come to think of it every game they have lost/drawn this season I didnt watch).

    I am starting a new ritual soon, this will be purposely to counter all the freak goals/mistakes that only seem to happen to us.

    Darius I missed seeing him get booked. After all the cruel /nasty things “nilichanganyikiwa”.

  174. Firstlady – I do disagree with that, but have been through all of this yesterday. Anyway, it is only my opinion and is neither right or wrong.

  175. Sounds good Firstlady. They seem to win every time i watch them too. Let us know how the new ritual worked for you after the sunderland game 🙂

  176. I sometimes feel a bit silly with my superstitions but it turns out that there are a lot of superstitious people about with far stranger rituals – that’s you DS!

  177. I don’t have superstitions but it really was true that every time I couldnt watch or follow an Arsenal game, whether at stadium, on TV or on radio, we lost.

    I think it was the West Ham game that finally ended that run after over 9 years.

  178. Arse I have also been caught afew times doing stuff Arsenal, and my boss being manu (who cant even name their first 11) doesnt really understand. Thats me done, gotta go embark on that ritual I talked about for tomorrow. Bye everyone.

  179. LOL Firstlady. Kutupa mbao ni sawa.

    The only time I watch the manure btw is when they play Arsenal. I cannot begin to tell you how I can’t stand both them and the Chavs.

    I can live with Liverpool and have no qualms with them except when we play them.

  180. Arse Shavin

    Believe me – there’s thousands of closet superstitioners, many of them stranger than I am.

    The Arsenal team is superstitious. Ever noticed that at the Emirates, we always start the game playing left to right if you’re looking at it from the dugout/boxes side? The team must believe finishing the game by attacking the left goal is good fortune.

    So does lLiverool who always finish playing towards the Cop and Manure towards the Strettford end and Villa towards the Holt end.

    We’re all superstitious beings.

  181. Ole – so you are somewhat a lucky charm?!

    Cheers Firstlady, maybe we need to be even subtler… Will be interested to hear what your new-fangled ritual will be!

    DS – I can’t stand either of them, but here are times when i have the choice of watching ‘america’s next big brother on ice factor’ with my girlfirend or watching football (even if it means watching Manu & Chelsk win), I will choose watching those scum bags every time…

  182. Hadn’t noticed those club’s superstitions… Good to know though! Cheers

  183. Darius,

    Are you still getting trouble from them boys in the skeleton outfits? Let Yogi or me know if you are ok?

  184. Feb 8 in Sky Sports Lee Dixon wrote the following:
    During my time at Arsenal I am not saying that we, as a back four, did not get coached – we had been coached earlier and we knew each other well – but basically Wenger just let us get on with it.
    Yet I am not sure who works with the defenders now. There is something really wrong with their organisation because, if they cannot defend breakaways – and they haven’t done so at all recently – then surely they should be doing something about it.

    I had an online discussion with “The Brain” on Feb 10 in ACLF

    4:26PM Bill comments:
    “On the positive side over the long term, I think we could play good defense but we need to do something different with the way we train our defense.”

    “The Brain” replied at 4:30
    “Bill: That might not happen as we don’t really concentrate on defensive drills as such. They are given advice etc. and through process of understanding, they get better.”

    In an article in Arsenal column the following qoute from the boss:
    said Wenger during the disappointing campaign last season. “It’s always easier to correct what doesn’t work defensively; if you don’t create chances you are always more worried.”

    This year we have conceded 17 goals in 6 games vs ManU, Chelsea, City.

    We played the first ½ of the year remarkably short at CB despite making a big profit in the transfer market in the summer.

    Look at the number of goals we have conceded in the last 5 yrs and compare to ManU and Chelsea.

    Barcelona has conceded only 13 goals this year playing the 433. Despite their beautiful offense they are committed to great defense.

    Watch the way we have played this year. Compare our defensive organization to United and Chelsea. Someone asked after the Porto game: “How come things like this never happen to Manure?” That is really the million dollar question.

    Draw your own conclusions. Do you think our team is committed enough to playing good defense? Do you really think we can win without a much greater organization wide commitment to playing good defense?

  185. Bill, someone rubbished those claims on here yesterday or the day before when i mentioned that same conversation. Dont know how much truth there is to it (re lack of defensive drills) but we do need to work on our defence for sure. I still think we can win with these frailties but even if we don’t, refer to my comment at 10.59am.

    It’s all about our insistance on playing with our style and creativity, and as much as losing is really shit, i admire them for sticking to that philosophy and that level of enjoyment they give to eachother as players and us as supporters.

  186. Darius, re superstition.
    The telivision has to be at level 13, all the Arsenal brickabrack has to be out, eg jewelry, lighter, backy tin (highbury pic) scarf, Arsenal tea shirt (on me back) i also light a smoke at the same time the ref blows for start of 1st and 2nd half.

  187. Great midfield work there by mullet boy for the first goal.

  188. Bill, re your last para, do you think that age has something to do with it. We are the team in this countrey that is highlighted as being all out attack, i think the younger players in the squad like that reputation, naturaly. However we must play as a team and that requires discipline and concentration. Do you think we put too much on attack or could we go back to 442, my personal favourite

  189. That’s a fairly substantial ritual boomer! Good, committed work 🙂

    That’s beautiful Ole

  190. Bill – how you doing my friend.

    In fairness, If Barcelona were playing in the EPL, they’ll have conceded a hell of a lot more goals.

    My sense is that Wengerball is driven by a hierarchy of priorities. Firstly, it’s based on the ethos of attacking and flowing football as the primary attribute – essentially, the desire to score more goals than the opponent.

    If I anaylyze the goals that we’ve conceded in recent times – I’m more inclined to think that they are a result of individual (sometimes cumulative lapses) that have little to do with the quality of defensive drilling that ARsenal employ.

    If you take the Porto game for example, there’s very little the coaching staf could do to legislate for the two goals we conceded.

    I wouldn’t go as far as suggested that ii was Wookash’s or Campbell’s intention to get us in those fixes – they were bad individual errors – some may argue one too many.

    The flip side of the coin is that if the ref gave the penalty for the tackle against Rosicky, if the ref considered that the ball hit Campbell and it was an inadvertent back pass, if the ref allowed us to defend the free kick, if the referee yellow carded Porto’s rotational fowlers and gave them less of an incentive to keep fouling Cesc, if Helton didn’t make very good saves and we put our chances away, if we had our 5 preferred starters available, etc etc – we would be having a different conversation.

    I accept that not having the rub of the green is disappointing, but I think you can’t legislate on some things e.g. the sequence of events that I’ve just described above. They have little if anything to do with how we drill our defense.

  191. Boomer – We need proper wide players for 442 to work imo. It also relies on our wide players tracking back more. The 433 means the 2 cms help out tracking wingers back as well as the 2 wide players of the front 3. The formation works, it just needs everyone to press more from the front.

    The Porto game was a freak occurance, if something like that happened again in the next year i’ll be very surprised.

  192. “our core of plastic ’Johnny come lately’ customers who suggest that they’re ardent supporters.”

    Shotta are you listening?

  193. Oofus, check out a tune called ‘1ofus’ by a producer called Slugabed, if you’re at a loose end, but well-equipped in the audio department. I think it should be your theme tune. I’m not about to post it here because it shan’t be to everybody’s taste. In fact, it will hardly be to anybody’s taste, but still – I like it.

  194. I agree with arsenehollis re: shotta

  195. Sounds a bit like Four Tet. Good thing, obviously.

  196. Funny you should say that, listening to his new album right now. Once interviewed Kieran Hebden for uni paper, he was excellently easy-going. His rider consisted of bakewell tarts and evian bottled water though – so not very rock n roll.

  197. Hey, Arse Shavin

    I didn’t rubbish what you were daying, sorry, sometimes I’m not very clear.

    But I said I thought the Brain was specific with what he was saying.

    i.e. He didn’t say that they don’t practice defending, and that consequently the defence has got worse over the last several seasons, which is what Bill has been saying.

    i.e. Unless Gallas, TV5, Sagna & Clichy take an early holiday there’s no way our ‘defence’ will produce a worse performance then in the 02/03 season, for example.

    Phew!

  198. daying-saying.

  199. “It’s all about our insistance on playing with our style and creativity, and as much as losing is really shit, I admire them for sticking to that philosophy and that level of enjoyment they give to eachother as players and us as supporters.”

    I completely agree with that Arsh Shavin.

  200. Bill,

    Another great post. I have to say your post yesterday was the post of the year as far as I was concerned.

    I have been preaching the very same thing on this blog for the past 2 years now.

    The reality is some people just don’t want to know the truth or the facts.

    Some people only accentuate the positive, back clapping each other at the start of the season about the number of goals we were scoring.

    People just want to discuss the beautiful game that we play. But without a defense – it all counts for nothing.

    And its not all about winning trophies. Its about being true to yourself and making the most of the talent on hand. Just look at the body language of Cesc, AA, Song, Gallas when they slump off the field in defeat when they absolutely know they should have won.

    Chelski are a seasoned team – and have some very talented players. But I have absolutely no doubt that Manure are not as good as this current side. But they have still spanked us 5-2 over both legs this season.

    Instead, people find the usual excuses: The referee was a disgrace, all the injuries we suffer and my favourite – the players are still so young.

    The club is run properly – we live within our means and the business plan is successful with the new stadium and youth development.

    Not only that, we have the best manager in the world. No-one else could have done what Wenger has done here and his vision as to how the game should be player is inspiring.

    But we’re not capitalising on all that good work. These players are great – but they do not know how to defend properly.

    Its a coaching problem. And no-one seems to want to acknowledge that maybe Wenger has been wrong in this. That maybe the “lets be patient, leave it to the players and it will eventually come right” approach is off the mark.

    We make the same mistakes. We never learn. It hasn’t got better – in fact if anything, its got worse if Bills analysis yesterday is anything to go by!

    And until we accept and address the problem – not only will we win phuck all again this year – but we’ll loose the players that have been central to the teams development.

  201. Excellent stuff, Darius, and I completely agree with your take about trophies not being the sole measure of success (in your response to Spit Yo Game).

    (How you doing, by the way, Spit?)

  202. Ok that makes it more clear Finsbury, i’m sorry for making you explain it again, i know that can be annoying! It’s easy to be misinterpreted through text though…

    It would be good if we could get more access to vids of their training sessions though. I have only seen little bits and they seem to often play 5 a side in congested spaces, which is evident in matches…

    Any predictions for lineups tomorrow?

  203. Arsh Shavin,

    I’d recommend listening to the Guardian Football podcast from yesterday. Sorry for the plug YW/DS.

    The amiable sounding journalist/hack Paul Doyle reveals in a snippet early on that he has over the season had a simple conversatation with AW. at the beginning of the season and after the run of recent games he asked the same question
    (and got the same answer)

    “What are your team’s weakness’?”

    AW’s answers to Paul Doyle are a little bit more enlightening then saying that:

    “my defence has got worse.”

    I can’t be bothered to answer the iZombies above by digging out the exact quotes, but it was cool.

  204. Yes, it’s very easy to be misinterpreted through text!

    Line ups?
    I’m pretending Diaby is still OK.

  205. “People just want to discuss the beautiful game that we play. But without a defense – it all counts for nothing.” Disagree with that Joe.

    For one, we haven’t got the worst defence in the world that’s for sure. And seeing football played like that will always count for something. It inspires young kids to play in that style, it shows people who dont appreciate football that it can be pure artistry, and personally, it fills me with joy watching us attacking until the end no matter what.

  206. Finsbury – I’ll check that out, cheers.

    Wenger knows so they must be working on it. It’s great that he has the confidence to go out with a ‘we’ll score more than you’ attitude. It makes our games exciting every time (even if it’s an uncomfortable, sickening excitement at times..)

  207. Not sure i agree with the true supporter taunt there..
    Its like if i have someone in my freind circle who is commiting a crime or doing drugs or generally going the wrong path… And if as a freind i tell him its wrong and pint out where he is going wrong and what he should do to get back on track…Is it not because i care..?
    How is that any different in the case of a football club… if you think the club you support is going downhill each season… and you are unhappy about it and express your unhappiness to the club heirarchy etc… how does that not make u a true supporter… you do so because you care right?

  208. Well gopal that would have to be true in the first place. Arsenal is not going downhill at all so obviously the criticisms dont make sense.

    Last year around this time, how many points off 1st place were we?

  209. No Dr John version on youtube.

  210. excellent article darius. viva wengerball, viva arsenal. we have been through MUCH WORSE times than this. one thing that did spring to mind this last month, however; rooney! chubby, ugly scouse chav, but really, worth every penny. sometimes, speculate to accumulate is a very worthwhile policy. who knew he would be that good?
    i love the arsenal, my eldest boy, 22, born an arsenal fan gets all doom and gloom!! shut up. my grandad, arsenal for life would have loved to have seen all the “rubbish” we’ve churned out of late. patience grasshoppers, we’ve NEVER EVER HAD IT SO GOOD. take a stroll up to N17 and have a look at how they’ve done it since color tv was invented. FFS

  211. I think it’s a philosophical problem for you Joe and Bill.

    Which is fair enough.

  212. For me it is about going to the football and knowing you are really going to enjoy it. Nothing beats it.

  213. I agree with Arsh Shavin as well.

    It’s one of the reasons why it’s hard to empathise with the moaners right now. Bouts of defensive naivety invite ridicule, but I’d rather deal with the odd slip from an entertaining team than 90 minutes of George Graham-style boredom every week, regardless of the trophy situation.

    So I don’t have much to complain about at the moment. And yes, I believe the last 5 years have been part of the golden age.

    Limpar,

    That’s neat. He’s one of those laptop guys. That’s got to be the most un-rock ‘n’ roll kind of musician there is!

  214. Finsbury:

    I’ve listened to that. Paul Doyle expands on Wengers comments that his team is “not mentally weak but instead mentally immature” that they tend to let big games get away from them and that this will not be resolved until they win a trophy.

    I can accept that point. And Im quite prepared to be wrong Finsbury and will readily bow to a more rational explanation. But this explanation is by no means a more enlightening analysis of where the team has gone wrong.

    It still comes down the defense to state what is simply obvious.

  215. For me, its about cupping my balls with one hand and waving the other hand in the air frantically, urging our team forward, nothing beats it dogs

  216. I’m just not really interested in the opinions of the majority of people when it comes to Arsenal or the games we play.

  217. I know that I am not going to convince anyone by arguing on-line. I have been on this blog for several months soap-boxing about defense. Draw your own conclusions about our defense, I doubt anyone will change your mind or mine.

    I think Wenger is and offensive manager and would like to win by outscoring the other team. I think he has always had a laissez-faire attitude about defense. It worked because he inherited a great defense. When Adams/Seaman moved on he still had Viera, Petit, Lehmann, Ashley Cole and he stole Sol from the Spuds and had leftover defensive nous from Adams and Company. With AW’s offensive genius defensive laissez-faire worked again.

    The last 5 -6 years the team has needed a lot more attention to details and organization and preparation on defense. Laissez-faire stopped working and probably will never be adequate.

    I love to play beautiful football, but I would much rather win. Winning would validate everything that AW has worked so hard for.

    IMO this team has incredible potential and can win many trophies but it will not happen without an organization wide change in tactics and attitudes regarding our defense. We really can stay true to our offensive roots and still play good defensive football. We can have it both ways, but the boss has to lead us there. No matter what it takes I want to see us have parades through London and thumb our noses at the Chavs.

  218. Arse Shavin:

    “For one, we haven’t got the worst defence in the world that’s for sure. And seeing football played like that will always count for something. It inspires young kids to play in that style….”

    I wholly accept that point. From my perspective – I just dont think Wenger will get the kudos he deserves unless this team succeeds. In fact – I would argue that its even more important from a football perspective in general. If Wenger can win trophies with a self-sustaining team and model – it will prove to the world wide football fraternity that its not just all about money..!!

  219. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    When I did a tour of the Emirates the guy who led us on the tour gave us a few tidbits about Wenger and some customs he brought with him to England from Japan. The home locker room at the Emirates is rounded with the players situated superstitiously, while the away one is your typical square room. It was something to do with the sharp angles being bad luck in Japan or something… my memory isn’t the greatest.

  220. Darius:

    Barcelona conceded 1 goal vs Chavs and Manc in 3 games in last yrs CL. The invincibles had the best defense in the league. You can have it both ways.

  221. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    OOU at 3:17, lol.

  222. Joe.

    We’re 6 points behind the league leaders with 12 games to go and still in the Champions league.

    What more do you want Wenger to do?

    I agree with Ole Gunner about the philosophical issue when it comes to your approach and that of Bill.

    I guess it boils down to how patient you are in accepting that the time is taking longer than you thought to mature. Maybe its your expectation that you need to manage.

    All things considering, we’re in a fairly decent position.

  223. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Os Mutantes are the shit, too.

  224. Are Bill and Joe the same person??

  225. I’m sending Wenger a list of drills for the players to perform on the training gound. Step ups, pivots, and shoulder dropping just don’t cut it any more.

    Drill number one.
    Hit a piss poor cross along the ground straight to the goalkeeper. He has to remember to hold on to the ball rather than deflect it into his own net. Repeat 20 times each day.

    Drill number two.
    Pass the ball back to the goalkeeper. The goalkeeper has to remember not to pick it up. Repeat 20 times each day.

    Drill number three.
    Place the ball inside the penalty area. Defenders have to run up to the ball and do anything with it except pass it back to the goalkeeper. Repeat 20 times each day.

    These three drills alone should significantly reduce the number of goals we concede, but I would like help in thinking of 7 equally good ones to add to the list.

  226. Can I kindly request that Vela sits this one out Pz?

  227. Okay, Maria. The drills are mainly for defenders and goalkeepers.

  228. Joe.

    Correct.

    It is not an enlightening comment about where the team ‘has gone wrong’, as you say.

    Therefore it will not enlighten you about this ‘problem’.

    I never implied PD talked about a ‘poor defence’ in that snippet.

    I said it was more interesting then listening to vague generalisations.

    It’s there, online, for anyone to listen to.

    I’ve nothing to add.

  229. I don’t find the yak flatulologist’s approach even slightly philosophical.

  230. Not strikers that don’t score??………phewww……good to see their off the hit list for awhile.

  231. Nasir Jones-Nasri

  232. Darius,

    I’ll tell you what I want Wenger to do –

    I want him to be the best he can possibly be.

    I want him to sort out the defense and give this wonderful team the proper platform to express itself fully. Even if that means acknowledging, (what I consider to be absolutely obvious at this stage) that his coaching methods in defense are ineffective and even if that means bringing in a defensive coach.

    I want him to get the world wide acknowledgment I think he’s capable of getting by not only winning the CL, but doing it with a team that has been organically cultivated in a self sustaining model.

    I would love to see this club to be the first club in London to win the CL.

    Wenger is here 13 years. Theres limited time left for him to “put the icing” on his most wonderful career. That Icing is winning the European Cup Darius. We currently have a team capable of doing that if the defense is corrected. But just how many more opportunities can we afford to spurn before lynchpin players like Fabregas leave?

  233. Why all the sudden concern for Wenger by the doomers me wonders……

  234. Good lord, ‘this town is full of battered wives’?, not a great line to go wooing with, Nasir.

  235. Yeah, Go-betweens! 16 Lovers Lane and Liberty Belle are great.

    Love Os Mutantes as well.

  236. Oh stop wittering on, Joe, for fucks sake.

  237. Joe:

    “I just dont think Wenger will get the kudos he deserves unless this team succeeds. In fact – I would argue that its even more important from a football perspective in general. If Wenger can win trophies with a self-sustaining team and model – it will prove to the world wide football fraternity that its not just all about money..!!”

    And i agree with that point. But it requires just a little more patience. The lads will soon be coming into their peak the way RvP has this season (until that tackle obviously), and we’ll have an awesome, winning team that will have developed together. That’ll be the time when we become the dominating force in football and Wenger’s kudos will be through the roof!

  238. Well heellloooo, my lovely. What gorgeous hair you have and what beautiful eyes. Fancy a stroll this fine evening? I hear this town is full of battered wives…’

  239. I’d assumed all our players are organic produce. Are you saying we have battery players in the squad?

  240. Darius@3.22pm

    Why do you think Barcelona will concede a lot more in the EPL? Under Guardiola, I’ve been very impressed with the way they defended in packs. We saw glimpses of that kind of play at AFC at the beginning of the season.

    I hate to compare us with other teams, but Barca adopted the 433 before us and have been successful with it so it makes some sense to compare.

    You’re right, a lot of our goals have been due to individual mistakes. When mistakes are repeated again and again, you have to question the quality of personnel making said mistakes.

    A lot of our goals have also been to poor defending during counterattacks. That is clearly a coaching can address.

  241. Maria, why are you calling Joe a doomer? He’s been writing a lot of twell hought out, sensible posts

  242. Sun’s over the yardarm, eh Henristic? Good man.

  243. Our goals conceded column baffles me. It’s so extreme you really wonder how it could be possible.

    Our defence was palpably worse last season, yes it seems likely we’ll end up conceding more goals this season.

    We concede very few chances. Only Chelsea concedes fewer chances than we do. Some say it’s down to goalkeeping, but it’s more than that. At Sunderland, Bent scored from what wasn’t even a clear chance. There was the goal conceded to Burnley from 3 shots on target. I could go on.

    This is an important measure of defending as well. How many times we allow the opponent a sniff of our goal.

    Arseblog today pointed to the fact that it’s mostly down to individual mistakes. And it’s not as often the keepers as people make out.

    However, we do have defensive problems, no doubt about it.

    But I also remember a period around this time last year when we became very tight defensively, even setting a Premier League record for clean sheets at home, and that was when we had a tough period, and had 4 successive goalless draws.

    My point is that it is more important for this team to play to its strengths, and to focus on removing the factors that make us sometimes unable to impose our game, or turn around bad runs.

    I personally (philosophically) have no problem with outscoring the opposition.

    The league is ALWAYS won by either the team that has the best defence or the best attack. I don’t think there’s any problem with choosing to have the best attack.

    Which does not mean we don’t have to cut out the comedy defending, because we do.

  244. Joe.

    Wenger is a big boy and he can take care of himself.

    I would suggest that the assumption that Wenger doesn’t want to win with this squad and do everything you say on the list is a flawed assumption.

    It’s roast leg of lamb for dinner…hey hey….gasto go.

  245. The doomers are writing sensible posts and the non doomers like Poliz are trolling. ACLF has gone nuts!

  246. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Frank at 5 13 bwahahahah!

  247. Yogi I will give you 5 reasons.

    1 defense. Ie Set pieces
    2 Tactical substitutions
    3 Persevering with ;ow quality players
    4 Throwing tournaments
    5 Injury raveged players year in year out

  248. oppps should have been to Darius

  249. No one has an answer for any of these other than the common denominator is Msr Wenger

  250. We concede very few chances. Only Chelsea concedes fewer chances than we do.

    That is interesting, do you have stats to back it up?
    My feeling is different. I’ve always thought we gift too many chances to the opposition. Almost any fast, decent winger is able to put crosses in the box past our fullbacks. And sometimes when we fail to clear decisively enough, I always fear we’re going to concede. I don’t get to watch other teams often though so you may well be right.

  251. no one on here now Im Stu from pheonix Arizona.
    BornAND BREAD lONDONER AND aRSENAL BAND WAGGONER SINCE 70/71

  252. tIME HERE IS 10 47 am sorry caps on

  253. Arse Shavin:

    I would love to think this team will suddenly develop together and play great defense the rest of the year and win the EPL. I will gladly eat humble pie all day if that happens.

    However, our defense is not inexperienced. WG, MA, BS and GC etc. are probably not going to get better at this point in their careers. We have been patient for 5 yrs and this year the defense appears worse.

    Either our players are inadequate to compete defensively on the level we hope for, or we are doing something wrong in the way we prepare them. There are no other possible explanations.

    I am not negative about this teams potential. If we sort out these defensive problems we can win.

  254. I didnt say this year Bill, maybe a couple or even 3 years… You are completely right about our defence being experienced. But even if our defence gets a bit worse over that time, our young attacking players will be the footballing beasts i referred to earlier. And we will score more than our opponents almost every time, i reckon anyway! 🙂

  255. Wenger is right to try and make his team more effective. He wants to play a pleasing, attacking way – but it’s also wrong to say he doesn’t care much about the defending side. The side does do group and team defence tactics.

    The thing he talks about are getting distances right and pressurising but is probably not Arrigo Sacchi or Benitez like, or probably like most other managers who obsessively practice defensive drills.

    We have become progressively worse both offensively and defensively than at the start of the season. Is is that vital cogs are missing, the team less effective? Could Wenger be more bureaucratic? but the definition of the word says it all – it stifles initiative.

  256. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Either our players are inadequate to compete defensively on the level we hope for, or we are doing something wrong in the way we prepare them. There are no other possible explanations.

    Bill,

    It’s really quite simple actually. Our manager plays ATTACKING football. If you haven’t noticed we try to outscore other teams. That’s Arsenal’s MO under Wenger. You seem to have this idea that we can do both, without sacrificing our attacking game. I don’t buy that. I’ll take all out attacking football over the boring 1-0 to the Arsenal every day of the week.

  257. ‘I’ll take all out attacking football over the boring 1-0 to the Arsenal every day of the week.’

    NJN true dat

  258. Bill,

    I have to say I think you over-exaggerate our defensive issues.

    We have 9 clean sheets to Chelsea’s 12 – and the fixtures we’ve played so far are more difficult than those Chelsea have had.

    The goals conceded column has been skewed somewhat by us shipping gluts to Utd, Chelsea and City. These horrible little clusterf*cks were born of our over-zealousness to draw level and beat sides that we’re hellbent on proving ourselves against. Having exactly zero defenders in your own half when playing Utd – can certainly draw deserved accusations of defensive naivety. But you’ve got to look at these situations in isolation.

    Noone’s defence is watertight this season – every team is scoring against everybody else’s defence. And it’s better to watch because of it. Fortunately Arsenal score many more goals than most other teams which is why we are 3rd in the league and pushing the leaders. Unlike, say Villa or Birmingham who have conceded very few goals – but cannot touch us in the league.

  259. Do sailor’s drink all day or should the expression really be under the yard-arm rather than over it?

  260. I agree with LimparAssist. Except on the yard-arm matter.

  261. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Nice post, LA.

  262. See y’all later, been a pleasure

  263. Perhaps the issue about trolling is not trolling per se but rather the quality of the trolling. Good trolling is an art form. Probably.

  264. We’ve conceded less chances overall – that shows good attacking play one one hand – but the chances conceded are usually of a higher quality. Recently however, the team has gotten worse defensively and not coincidentally in attack.

    People focusing on mistakes are only looking at half the story – why is Clichy being beaten more often? Is it the lack of cover that’s making him uncertain? Why? Because the team is not closer quick enough or on other moments he is not tighter on the winger.

    What Wenger wants is better deliberation on distances, pressuring to get tighter and compact.

  265. Interesting point about yard-arms, Frank. Just something my late Grandad used to say. And he drank a lot, so maybe that’s the point. Speaking of which, I’m off to raise some hell. Have a good one you lot, my money’s on the Bendy-bus bagging a brace tomorrow. ARSENAL!

    Oofus, strongly reccommend new Fourtet album.

  266. PZ, sorry, I wasn’t trying to imitate a Yak.

    Although, a yaks pat can produce some fine home cooking in my experience. Helps if you’re high up in the Himalayas, far from the maddening crowd.

  267. Four Tet? Probably hip stop, ticnoc, cringe? That sort of stuff, I should imagine knowing LimparAssist. I like keep up with modern music.

  268. Sad to see the repulsive Myles Palmer’s verbal diaria remains untreated, his grammatical incontinence as tragic as it is pathetic. Spare a moment to pity a man whose arrogance is only outweighed by his self delusion.

    Pity too his children who also have there lives exposed and broadcast among the vitriol and vomit the poor man regards as criticism.

  269. evening all
    @ brain it seems all people want to do is talk about our mistakes
    if you look at some of the saves and the catches fabianski made in the game he really look solid.
    What huge hands he has!
    Some of the crosses you would think he cover his gloves in tar.

  270. @dandan we should write one those open letters to myles and the rest of the online team

  271. Limparassist at 6:02:

    That is an excellent point. We have a relatively easy run in and hopefully our defense will shore up and will give us a fighting chance. We do not seem to degenerate against the teams lower in the table.

    My concern is the long term trend I mentioned yesterday and the fact that we have those clusterf*cks in the games we really need to win. Are the players not handling the high pressure situations or are the tactics we use in those games too aggressive and getting us in trouble. Probably some of both.

  272. another great post Darius! also thanks for talking some sense to spit yo and the other naysayers.
    the mental mistakes are hard to take but we must be patient with this team because there is so much talent that it scares me sometimes. just need some luck with fitness and to cut out the OG’s.

    also, i’d much rather just hold on to Bendtner than pay 30 million lbs for a bulgarian to warm the bench. spending money will not solve all of our problems.

  273. NJN at 5:57

    I agree that we play attacking football which is fun to watch. However, ManU and Chelsea have both scored as many goals as us this yr and still play good defense. It can be done. I doubt that you or anyone else would be unhappy if we scored a few less goals and tightened up our defense and won the league. Barca scored more then 100 goals last year and still conceded the fewest. The invincibles were a great offensive side and still conceded the fewest.

    I do advocate turning into Bolton under Fat Sam, History clearly shows that you can not win without playing great defense.

    The other point to make is that playing good defense will probably help our offense.

    Chavs and mancs both know they can score on us without sending men forward so they can stay organized and sit back and wait for our defensive implosion. If they had to work for a goal they might get stretched and lose some of their organization making it easier for us to score.

    If our defense was better at pressuring and taking possession in dangerous areas we could attack before the other team got organized again making easier to score.

  274. “I believe he is incompetent or dishonest, so I prefer to believe he is not competent.”

    Quote of the day from AW

  275. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Wow, Le Groan is extra trashy today. Calling out Bob Wilson for supporting our manager. Laughable.

  276. defences do win league’s bill
    im guess its a typo when you said “I do advocate turning into Bolton under Fat Sam”
    and i do hope we stop can find a balance between what we saw on wed and what we saw v manu
    of the back line pressing.
    As for why the front line has stopped press as much i remember we did at the start of the season i think we might just of got used to sight of it.
    much like when people say sanga has gone backwards since his first season.
    i think he’s just as good as when we that season if not better just cos no one is getting on the end of his crosses is prob due to there being only one up front and also that there’s less space for him to run in this season. imho

  277. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    I think you’re blowing this whole thing out of proportion, Bill. Something must have been said to our defense in training because as evidenced by our draw against Villa and our victory over Liverpool we indeed tightened up and played much better defense. We were undone by two goalkeeping howlers Wednesday and all of the sudden we’re in a defensive crisis? I don’t get it.

  278. NJN

    We do play good defense sometimes but I think the overall short and long term trend is not positive. This year has been filled with real stinkers. Not just Wednesday. Even the boss said after last year that defense was the difference between us and the Mancs. I agree completely with him on this point.

    Realsocialdad:

    Your right: sorry for the typo. I forgot the word not.

  279. Jens Seaman and others who keep moaning about how we fell from grace since the Invincibles and asking what happened?

    10 things that have happened:

    1. Abramovich happened
    2. Our once in a generation back four retired
    3. Ownership changes and increased spending happened (as well as massive debt) happened at Man U and Liverpool
    4. Spurs have spent like drunker sailors in a brothel
    5. Man City spent over 250 million in one year and are still behind us.
    6. Rooney and Ronaldo happened.
    7. A sparkling new stadium at the Emirates which will result in a massive long-term boost in game day revenues happened
    8. Sorry, but Drogba definitely happened.
    9. Great players either left or retired post-prime (Henry, Bergkamp, Gilberto, Freddie, Pires, Adams, Keown) and some left for the money or hoped for glory (Cashley, Flamini, Hleb, Adebayor etc)
    10. And through all this, one player returned nearly 4 years after leaving us and looks almost as good as the day he departed.

  280. Correction-our back four all departed (Sol, Keown, Cashley and Lauren) not retired.

  281. One more thing. I think it’s fair to say that Arsenal and Andy Murray are pretty much in the same boat

    Arsenal are a perennial contender for the Champions League and always in the top 4 in the Premier League. However because they haven’t one one of the major trophies, Arsene is being considered a failure in some quarters. Murray is being hailed as our new superstar. Go figure.

  282. @la
    maybe cos you cant drop murrays back hand

  283. I agree with Passenal.

  284. Bill,

    Can you please stop saying “play good defense”?

    Man United have conceded a lot of goals this season, and they’ve played easier fixtures so far. Fewer than we’ve conceded, but significantly more than at same point last couple of seasons.

  285. I keep telling you….defending is relative. You can make a case that no team has really defended particularly well this season. That’s why there’s a record number of goals scored in the league.

  286. very true og
    only team that has a gd defence is villa
    and thats saying something
    but bill loves that drum
    is almunia gona be assesed on the morrow? anyone know?

  287. I hope we win by atleast 5 goals tomorrow!!!

    I think both Arsenal and I need to wrk off some fustration!!!

  288. That we have conceded a regrettable number of goals this season is no mystery. Everyone knows that Almunia went through a period of poor form (probably for personal reasons). In addition, when Clichy returned to training after his injury, Traore, who until then had played well, began to underperform. Clichy was reintroduced to the side before he was fully fit, and therefore struggled for a few games – although it must be recognised that he has nevertheless got through an incredible amount of work for the team. By picking on occasional errors, his contribution to the defense is often overlooked. As someone else has already mentioned, we have sometimes been over eager to score (especially after conceding), and have then been vulnerable to counter-attacks. The philosophical genius of a Bill or a Joe is not necessary to recognise that fact. Bill thinks the danger of the breakaway can be neutralised by performing the correct drills on the training ground. I’m intrigued to know what drills he has in mind. The truth is, the only way to defend against breakaways is to prevent them from happening, and that can only be by avoiding giving the ball away in dangerous situations. That is the responsibility of the whole team, not just the defense.

  289. Some people have a superstitious faith in the efficacy of training-ground drills. Managers are among the worst culprits. Perhaps these superstitions are part of the worthless qualifications they apparently require to practise. Whenever a goal is conceded from a set-piece, it is described as particularly disappointing – as if such a thing would be impossible if only the players would follow the instructions they had learned in training. At the same time, the managers will have their players diving and cheating in every possible way in an attempt to win those very set pieces that they believe can so easily be defended.

  290. poliziano that should stop bill the drum
    but i doubt it
    guess the best way to stop break away goals is to fucking score when we’re attacking

    Was impressed by theo tracking back in the pensioners game
    he has been work on something atleast.

    what is people gripe with clichy he’s a good defender who stays on his feet. His biggest problem is having either AA or nasri infront of him the former being not the greatest at tracking back he is learning tho in liverpool game he even made a tackle on the edge of our box.

  291. RSD one of the problems with the 433 system seems to be the lack of support for our left and right backs when they go forward.

    It is no good blaming Clichy or Sagna if nobody covers for them when they are in an advanced position and we lose the ball.

    Our front 6 players change positions continuously so it is difficult for us to know who should be covering for LB or RB. Just my opinion but that is what I see.

  292. @Passenal.

    Great quote from Wenger. One most definitely to end the evening with.

    Good night folks – and I’m sure we’ll continue with the drama up in here tomorrow.

  293. @Dupsffokcuf

    when clichy or sanga go forward you would hope that one of the 1 of the midfield would be covering the space left by him, if not a the back should shift along.
    would say song & denilson don’t change there respective postions constantly. imho

    i wasn’t blaming either Fb for counters.

    Was saying that i felt they where exposed by the wingers not tracking back.

    I know andy gray like to dazzle people with his formations but the game is more fluid than that and your job changes at different times of the game. (with ball, without, winning, chasing)

    As for the so called 433 i love it and harks back to the true glory days of football.
    Ajax & brazil 70’s
    and hungary 50’s
    some times i feel we play the classic 424
    you would hope that the team will emulate
    any of them especially the later 6 years unbeaten.

  294. My father always told don’t cut your nose to spite your face. This means we will have hard times. We will do dumb and stupid things but in the end cutting your nose will hurt you more than it will me. Crazy things happen in sports. I know I have done my share of dumb stuff in front of throngs of folks. With that said- I am pissed at Clichy for giving him a free run up the left flank. For Fabianski miss playing the ball. Need I go on. The sad fact is this. We came into the Porto missing our best players. This showed it’s ugly head. Thank God for a 2-1 score. It could have been worse 5-0 or something like that. All we have to do is shiut em out and win 2-0 or even 1-0. http://defutebol.net

  295. Darius – you probably wont read this but got to say great writing. Hats off to FLint as well.
    Has to be said I have just moved down to Stroud and every game I have watched since coming down here has been decidedly dodgy!!

    Should I move back to LOndon?

  296. Good to be a GOONAH!!

    And we beat Everton 1-6 at Goodison.

    United are winners? HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA

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