Gallas And Campbell – Arsene’s Age Old Problem

This weekend will be an interesting one for Chelsea and Manchester United. Arsenal could be top by the time the pair kick-off on Sunday, United will be totally unsure as to which Liverpool side will turn up – I’m not even sure Benitez would be able to say. One that is demotivated by their exit from the Europa League or one that is totally motivated by a win over Lille and the requirement for three points to keep their faint hopes of European football for next season alive.

Quite how Chelsea react is another matter; it was a crushing defeat last night. Penalties denied but temperamentally, they were found wanting, not just in Drogba’s sending off but also their post-match comments. The Champions League is a competition which has become something of a Holy Grail for them, vindication in their minds of the ‘investment’ policy of their owner; every failure at no matter what stage, chips away at their sense of self-worth. Add into that mix the table being topped by a team whom they have comprehensively beaten twice this season and questions must arise in their mind about whether they can win the title or not. Unfortunately, if you had to choose two opponents to play in your next two games, Blackburn and Portsmouth would be fairly high up that list.

Arsene’s mind may be wandering this week in the absence of a match, concentrating on summer transfer activity if all of the reports are to be believed. He’s apparently got his Chamakh for nothing, a ‘wonderkid’ from Ajax and still to sort out William Gallas before he even starts fending off the interest from Barcelona and Real Madrid in Cesc.

The situation around Gallas – and by extension, Sol Campbell – goes to the core of Wenger’s philosophy about the squad. He has struck a balance between youth and experience, a number of the younger members of the squad are now experienced thanks to his policy of investing and believing in them.

Gallas has been outstanding this season, his partnership with Vermaelen is probably the most consistent in the Premier League. Their styles compliment each other and they are outright defenders, not converted midfielders, who have excellent positional sense. It is apparent that they trust each other on the pitch, more than Gallas did with Toure, and have confidence that each is more than capable of doing their job.

Yet Gallas is of the ‘age’. The age where Wenger is not prepared to commit more than a year at a time on a rolling basis. An age where the player realises that his career is starting to head down the hill to retirement. He may view this as his last chance to sign a contract which earns him a big pay day. Whether that is with Arsenal on an annual basis or with someone else for a longer term is another matter. Wenger obviously thinks he has much to contribute, rumours of a two-year deal would seem to indicate that.

In general terms, Wenger has pretty much been spot on with the older players. Bergkamp contributed much during his time of rolling deals; others have left and found the grass not to be greener. Two who highlight the issue most keenly are Pires and Gilberto Silva. Both have had prolonged careers after leaving, Pires injury-interrupted spell in Spain should not disguise the fact that he remained an influential player. Did Wenger let him go too soon? A subjective matter but I would suggest, yes, is the answer. Likewise Gilberto’s departure proved costly when combined with Diarra and Flamini going, allied to injuries elsewhere. Hindsight is a wonderful thing upon which to base analysis.

There is depth a centre back, with loan experience gained and injury recovery taking place. However, the knowledge that Campbell and Gallas have is not easily replaced. Should Wenger let them both go? Would either or both be happy with a bit-part role, focussing primarily on nuturing future generations. For Campbell, the answer would presumably be more readily, yes. He is at the tail end of his career, one more season in the top flight at most. He has made no secret of his desire to coach so perhaps that is part of Wenger’s thinking.

Gallas seems unlikely to be happy with that. He has several seasons left in him and has proven this year that he is more than capable of delivering high quality performances on a consistent basis. Should Arsene rethink his strategy in this area or review on a case-by-case basis. I hope that his thinking is not clouding by the current vogue term in football, resale value. It is negligible for over-30s; this should not enter the equation at Arsenal because the club is financially secure enough to place a higher value on experience than any monetary estimate.

I suspect it unlikely that both with retained. Djourou’s form upon his return to fitness is the unknown in this but his promise was such that high hopes should be realised. Others such as Nordtvedt, having been in the Bundesliga for a season, could start to feature as well next season. More will become apparent over the summer months.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on March 17, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 162 Comments.

  1. Nice one Yogi

    I think we need to keep hold of Gallas. As you say, his know-how will be very difficult to replace. He seems to be liking it here at the moment and it would be a mistake imo if he were to move on. I think arsene needs to offer him a 2 year deal. He’s still go the pace and his experience will be hugely beneficial. Alien Head needs to go, allowing an injury-free (fingers crossed) Johan to step up. Would quite like Bartley to start getting some games too…

    West Ham at the weekend. Great time to play them, with us in form and them looking ever more fragile. I would quite like cesc to be rested again but it looks like he’ll be back (not the worst thing in the world i know).

    I think Arsh is going to start banging them in now. He thinks he’s had a poor season but it’s been relatively good imo. He set the standards high in his first season, and it’s great to hear that he only wants to improve.

    For a while i thought he was getting pissed off at arsenal, but after seeing a few of his interviews, it seems that he’s loving it here and a lot of the quotes in the press have been mis translated and taken out of context, headlines dictating how you’re meant to read into his comments. I really like the guy and he’s always laughing and joking around.

  2. 1 loose cannon

    I can’t believe Chelsea fans still blaming the ref. They were shocking last night. Did Drogba play at all?

  3. 1 loose cannon

    The FA has decided not to take action against Gerard’s violent conduct not that I’m surprised but this time I’m quite happy with their bias as we need a full strength liverpool to do a job on the Mancs. I ‘m expecting Chelsea to drop a minimum of 6 points and United a possible 4 so a 100% result till the end for us could win us the title.

  4. Can’t we clone TV5? Tsk, medical science has let us down.

  5. Why wouldn’t both be retained? We need four at the back, and Silvestre’s two year term will have finished, non? Bartley and Nordtveit fit in comfortably as cover.

    Season after next, Campbell becomes defensive coach, JD and Vermaelen become first choice, Gallas is cover and both Bartley and Havard move into the first team… That should work, I think.

  6. I agree with that godof86. Sounds good.

  7. Nice blog yogi as usual.
    I also think that Wenger should give a good two year deal to Gallas. Djourou is probably a worthy replacement but he will need to have a few games with Vermalen first and being Gallas’ understudy for at least a year is the perfect way to insure Johan fits the bill. Gallas brings a lot of experience and I think he can be as influencial as he has been this year for another year and a half.

    As for Campbell it depends a lot on what Wenger is planing for Kyle Bartley, Nordveit and co. If he plans to give them some time in the squad and a real chance to prove their worth I would probably let Sylvestre and Campbell go. Or just offer Campbell a pay as you play deal or an adviser role so he can be a mentor to our young defenders.

    I watched the Porto game on the Swiss TV and Johan was a commentator and he spoke of the importance of Campbell in training and in the dressing room. He said he brought a lot of experience and belief. into the team saying that he was a role model for a lot of young defenders.

  8. Gallas is our best defender. I hope we keep him.

  9. great result last night,jose got 1 over on abramovich and i loved i have to say,ballack lampard and drogba were all passengers last night,roll on that draw friday and with a bit of luck we might get a fairly do-able route to the final,stuttgart to cause a shock 2nite aswell,happy st patricks day,dont drink to much!!!!!!!!!

  10. DB10 and the old back four were all happy to take rolling deals, and in each case it worked.

    Any player who doesn’t accept Wenger’s policy is indeed just looking for a pay day.

    Wenger has principles, which he will stick to.

  11. I would give Gallas a 2 year deal and if Campbell still looks good at the end of the season put him on a rolling 1 year contract. That gives us WG, TV and SC as an experienced top level trio and then we can see if Djorou can come back from injury and make it. With youngsters like Nordveit and bartley pushing for a few first team appearances we may not need to buy another CD as many think we should.

  12. Campbell has shocked me this season, his positionong is superb and i believe his tackling is the best ive seen from anyone in the top flight. The team can only learn from another year. Gallas has been phenominal this year, but is it for the shop window ? Wouldnt like him to go as were finally seeing the player he should have been 2 years ago.

  13. i would keep both gallas and sol, and let silvestre go.

    but i am not sure if gallas would stay.

    pires didnt stay because he wanted to play. the difference here is that gallas would probably still be first-choice next season.

    but probably not, the season after that.

    so i guess for him, it is about whether he wants to spend one season playing, but also wondering what will happen, or just pack and go somewhere right away, since he prob would have to anyway.

    uncertainty is something we all don’t like. i am sure that applies to gallas as well.

  14. Its St. Patrick’s already?? Lol.

    Sol is the last of Lès Invinciblé, please, please, please don’t let him go!

  15. We will be 4 points clear if we win all our games, maybe 6

  16. Also Blackburn away is a very tough game (incidentally the tp 3 all have to go there)

  17. Anyway, what does it say about fish-head that a really aged Sol ,who was in fact without a club, can come in and perform tons better than him?? I wish we had Sol last year for that FA Cup Semi, talk about spilt milk!

  18. birmingham away is tough as well. they are unbeaten there in 6mths. we have to repeat the feat at stoke.

  19. That will be a toughy no7. But if there’s a time to play them it’s now. Almost all of our games will be tricky from now on as team are fighting for survival, european spots etc. We’re gonna have to give it our all until the end, starting with West Ham.

  20. We’ve got a bigger incentive than most though at this point. The title is in sight and our lads are up for it more than they’ve ever been. I’m really excited about this season’s finale!

  21. I believe the development of Djourou is the key as he is the long term prime candidate to partner Vermaelen with Bartley and Nordveit as understudies.

    I don’t think there’s an issue with Sol Campbell’s retention. He has already accepted, and will continue to accept a play as you go deal structured within the season.

    If anything changes, it will be that Sol feels it’s time to retire from football, but even then, he may want to play a role in coaching. It’s very likely this could happen with Arsenal, if Wenger’s willingness to take him back to the squad is an indicator of the respect Campbell commands.

    With Gallas, I wouldn’t want to blame him for wanting a final pay day – anyone of us would take a final pay day when we’re coming to the twilight of our careers. The issue seems to be the acceptance of a sliding scale in wages in return for a longer term contract – which seems a fair barter between club and player.

    Gallas is enjoying top quality football at a top club and I would suspect that any decision to leave Arsenal will be very tough on him, and the signs are that he will want to stay – especially after investing the last 3 years in supporting the development of this team.

    Silvestre I would be happy to see leave at the end of his contract – especially since Djourou, Bartley and Nordveit are knocking on the door and Campbell will provide cover if needed.

    All in all though – I don’t think we have cause for concern over defensive matters in the next few years.

  22. Yes, absolutely true. People saying that our run in is easier… well, only on paper. In reality, we are playing soccer against top flight teams and every little mistake can get punished.

  23. Hi Yogi!did you see yesterday’s game as one of men (inter) against boys?finally i think that gallas & sol will stay but silvestre will be released n johan will step up

  24. Although it’s been a frustrating few years seeing our inexperienced teams falling short, we’re beginning now to reap the benefits. I looked through a few Chavski websites after their defeat and one common thread was their frustration at how so few young players have been brought through in recent years. They have a team all aging together, and no-one coming up behind. My heart bleeds. Not.

  25. Sturridge is their youth project. Mouth-watering stuff.

  26. Patesc

    Inter gave Chelsea a lesson in football. Defending well, play to the referee’s whistle, don’t retaliate, take your chance when it comes. They stopped Chelsea playing, Mourinho out-thought Ancelotti and his players followed their orders to the letter.

    I don’t subscribe to the thought that Arsenal should be scared of anyone left in the draw. Everyone wants an easy route to the final but should we be scared of anyone? No.

    Each side left in the draw is capable of putting together 2 performances to get through the QF. If all of the injured players come back, there is no reason to fear anyone. Even if they don’t, I believe this squad has enough quality to win the competition.

    YW

  27. I dont think it’s a question of being ‘scared’ of anyone in the competition. If a team was scared going into a game at this level, they dont deserve to be there. It’s only natural to want to play teams with lower quality as it makes winning the competition more likely. We’re going to win this year, beating Barca on the way!

  28. I actually suspect that the other teams are very afraid of drawing Arsenal in the quarter final because they all have been watching the resurrection of this team and they will be nervous about facing Arsenal.

    Unleashing 5 goals against Porto with panache and arrogance made everyone in Europe stand up and take notice.

    The draw will bring whoever it brings and it’s another cup final in our series to title glory.

    We can win all our remaining 13 games (5 in the CL) – and we just need to knuckle down and get on with the job.

    None of the games will be easy, but in the same token, all of the teams we face will be wary of Arsenal’s firepower and resolve.

  29. there’s no need to want to avoid any team coz the bigger the challenge the sweeter the victory.bring any team and they will also be afraid of the great arsenal.By the way yogi any news on v. persie’s return?how i long for him to be fit to face the spuds as he is always fired up for the derby.

  30. i am scared of the referee.

  31. The worst draw we could get would be Manure. That said, you have to beat the best to be the best. Fergie seems to be able to set his team up very effectively against us.

    We can beat anybody (including Manure) if we are on our game.

  32. I really hope we can keep Gallas. We should keep the same squad we have today and maybe spice it up a bit with a signing or 2 so we will have a deeper squad… 🙂

  33. if a one year contract was good enough for Dennis the it is good enough for anyone as he was different class

  34. It’s St Practice Day down at London Colney…

  35. It is always important to have young players ready to replace the the older ones. Chelsea lost. Man U will have a hard time with Liverpool. The Reds have their number.
    We have some good players waiting in the wings. Campbell was brought in due to injuries. This weekends matches are huge. We need a W. Lets hope Man U and Chelsea both lose. http://defutebol.net

  36. dennis bergkamp is class, on and off the pitch.

    i admire gallas’ commitment. even after birmingham, i didnt turn on him, because i could see his desire. in the 08/09 season, i felt that he was always the one fighting till the end. what i remember of that season was gallas popping up at the other end trying to score in the last 10 minutes.

    but i would accept it if he puts himself above the club.

  37. I like Mikael Sylvestre and I appreciate him providing back up at centre-half and left back. I think that he and Sol between them can teach the youngsters a bit about defending in the modern game and most importantly dealing with big occasions. Of course he won’t get many games next season, but then neither will Sol. There is a lot of merit in players of that age sticking around to learn their coaching trade, especially at Arsenal. However I think that both will go.

    On the other hand WG has got another season or two in him, and I would not mind betting that he would like to finish his career in France. 50/50 on William staying.

  38. We are going to have to be very, very careful of referees in both competitions. Especially the Euro thingy. Many of them are at best useless and at worst, corrupt.

  39. Darius, did you know that if a man can catch a fly between two chopsticks, he can accomplish anything. Did you know that?

  40. if arsene wants sol to stay, would sol go?

  41. Well Sol’s history on the stay or go issue is not good is it, no7. He is playing well at the moment and I am grateful to him for that, but trust him? Nope.

  42. Arsene you’ve got to let me know…

    (Guitar riff)

    Should Sol stay or should Sol go….

    (Guitar riff)

  43. What does guitar riff mean?

  44. i am not sure if the refs in europe are any worse than those in england.

    the one in the second leg against porto did his job, i thought.

    well i don’t know, but if sol were to give careful thought to the matter, he should stay if he is offered a deal.

    i think gallas said he would want to try another league before he retires. if hes serious about that, then i guess it is now or never. especially if he wants to retire in france.

  45. I thought that the ref in the return Porto leg was just about competent. The fact that his decisions were balanced helped and of course the fact that we won mitigates any concerns. Of course the first leg ref was a fucking nightmare. I don’t think that European refs are worse than English refs. I think that very few top level refs are competent.

  46. well, refs are just people who want to be involved in football, though they can’t play.

  47. I’d rather have ‘too much’ protection from a (euro) ref than not enough from an english one who allow legs to be broken

  48. women’s champs league today. the rest of the fixtures.

    such a shame we went out to duisburg.

    i was hoping to have both us and the ladies in madrid in may. THAT would be something.

  49. duisburg…reminds me of herr lip

  50. Not good enough though is it? We should have thoroughly proefessional refs, preferably ex-reasonable level footballers. They should be very fit (in the athletic sense, PZ) and very well remunerated. Equally if they fuck up they get shipped out.

    I am reliably informed it refers to either the Rekyavik or Rome International Film Festivals, which presumably have featured films about or involving guitars? Can’t be fucking right surely??

  51. Well, we might recall that for various reasons central defenders have both a longer time span than other outfield players (30-32-ish), and also normally mature later (25-27 yrs). It is very rare to find an excellent defender of say 22-23.

    I would like to think it is certain that Gallas will be offered and accept one further season, but not 2 seasons, and that might be the issue.

    Sol will stay in my opinion on the same basis and is likely to accept. Both will get fewer games, Sol especially, but will be in the mix throughout. Djourou may become Vermaelen’s consistent partner by the second half of the season, and that will be the 4 central defenders we need for next season. Wenger may buy another defender.

  52. djourou will need time to get into the swing of things. so hopefully gallas will stay.

  53. Even though it’s lowly Blackburn and Portsmouth Away next for Chelsea, Yogi – I very much see them dropping points soon. *gleefully rubs his hands together*

    They were utterly awful last night. Lampard in particular, who’s been shit all season, was completely anonymous. One of many Chelsea players that need putting out to pasture now. The way he gave the ball away for the goal and then jogged quietly away from the scene of the crime would have seen Denilson get slaughtered by all and sundry at the Emirates, and across the blogplains of bigoted idiots.

    Speaking of shit, bigoted fans – the Chelsea lot have totally turned on Ballack now, he’s berrated and abused at the drop of a hat. He’s never been their favourite son, but now he’s like some pantomime Kaiser character (not that the Kaiser would ever appear in any respectable panto). I guess CFC’s old NF links stil run deep.

    Poor form from key players + a manager that seems to think Joe Cole can play in central midfield and Malouda’s best position is left-back – makes me think it’s all about to go tits-up under the Bridge. Stay-tuned for total and hilarious Chelsea meltdown.

    PS. Terry ran some Chelsea steward down outside the ground yesterday, broke his leg and sped off in his silly 4×4. He was later breathalysed.

    Heheheh.

  54. Also, Dowie for Hull! What an inspiring appointment.

    Good luck Dowster! (under breath) FAIL. FAIL. FAIL.

  55. CFC put out a statement that JT was only doing 1-2 mph. What a bunch of c*nts they all are.

  56. According to the Marca article John terry accelerated at the throng to make them scatter.

  57. Nice article.

    Did we make a bid for Chris Smalling from Fulham before he went to Man U or was that just media hearsay? With young CB’s in our midst like djourou, TV, bartley etc seemed a strange story.

    Will be interesting to see what our main CB pairing will be next season, personally i hope it’s still TV and Gallas.

  58. Who’s better, John Terry or Jan Terri?

  59. Can’t be anywhere in Europe, Frank, because most riffs are either useless or corrupt.

  60. STRANGE NEWS hull sack orange light ball for getting them in relegation fight and hire Downie….most hilarious decision ever by a club board ever .goodbye Hull,hope you never comeback

    i really hope we keep Gallas as we don’t know how Djourou will comeback ,probably need few month to get back in match fitness with the usual small stepback with long term injury.A young CB is on the shopping list i suppose

  61. Rumour has it that Wayne Bridge had an hernia operation. I heard that he had been earning some pocket money fixing dodgy accelerators on 4x4s.

  62. JT is always good for a bit of comedy i think!

  63. I wonder if JT knows the fellow in this story:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/north_east/8570398.stm

  64. There’s rumour going around that John Terry’s got a captain’s armband tattoo. I’d love it to be true, but we probably won’t see it until he next has something to celebrate. I guess we’ll have to wait for the 2010 Daddy of the Year ceremony.

  65. You’d have thought anyone that doesn’t have the brain of a single cell amoeba would try to stay clear of any controversy at this point. Terry’s showing the world what a complete and utter cunt he is.

  66. lol OneOfUs

  67. and before you ask, yes they definitely have bains. Fact.

  68. We are tha feckin aaarsnall

  69. WHERE THE FUCK
    WHERE THE FUCK
    WHERE THE FUCKIN ELL IS DAVE?

    I really wanna laugh in his effing face i wana go to his face an go

    aahahahahahahahaaaaaaahahahahahahahahhhhhhhhhhhahhhaaaahahahahah

  70. I think Hull have made a wise decision in sacking the orange bellend and appointing Iain Dowie. He’s definitely the man to keep their premier league dreams alive. Oh yes.

    Helluva funny week so far and it just keeps getting better!

  71. Zap you want to sit on his face you donut

  72. Zap – i dont think Dave would dare to comment on here this week!! I would love to do the same.

    Dowie is a true mangerial master. With him at the helm, there’s nothing Hull can’t do. Apart from win. Ever again…

  73. You not Welshdave any more James?

  74. “There was no intent.”

    Notice the banner in that dump of a stadium?

    ‘JT: Captain, Leader, Legend’

    Can someone please confirm, was it JT who played Eto onside? Alex was having a little wonder upfield all by himself, unless I’ve got the two mixed up.

    That would explain why the p(l)undits blamed, Alex.
    I thought they were hallucinating, is not ‘The Legend’ the Chav$ left sided CB?

  75. I thought it was jerkoff to be honest. Was too busy celebrating so i could be wrong

  76. It should show like this:

    ‘JT: Cunt, Lethal, Letch’

  77. Aaaah. Thank you, Merlot. A riff is what those posh twat military types on the FA Board call a ref. I see now.

    So what exactly is a guitar riff? Why do you need refs for guitars?

  78. haha frank

  79. I think Gallas will leave. Arsene is prepared to offer one year contract on current wages only and two years contract at 40% lower. So I can see him going to Roma where they are prepared to offer higher wages and longer contract. We have Djourou and Bartley will be coming through next season while I believe Sol will get one year extention in place of Fish Head. So we are covered.

  80. It stops them from fretting.

  81. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    F*ck off Barbados you two faced prick.

  82. You stringing me along?

  83. JT and his family always reminded me of characters out of a Guy Ritchie flick. The seedy underbelly of London and all that.

    I’d be tempted to feel a bit of sympathy for Terry, saddled as he is with an embarrassing family like that.. but then he’s a classless oaf as well so, meh.

  84. If this exchange goes on, we’re going to need a riff.

  85. Terry is a chav plain and simple.

    He comes from a part of London ( Essex to be fair ) that breeds scum like him daily.

    Vermin.

  86. “Arsene is prepared to offer one year contract on current wages only and two years contract at 40% lower.”

    I suppose Arsene visited you in a dream to explain that to you Howard.

  87. Wow, wow, pedalling backwards now are we! You’ve got some neck. Lets get a riff then.

  88. Trouble is, they’re all useless or corrupt.

  89. We are tha feckin Arsnall

  90. i expect this line-up if cesc doesnt play..

    —————Almunia
    Sagna Campbell Verm Cliche
    Song Fabregas Nasri
    Diaby Bentdner Arshavin

  91. Arsenal Arsenal Arsenal…Arsenal ArseNAL Arsenaaa-aaal Arsenal Arsenal Arsenal…Arsenal……ARSENAL

  92. Yes. Lets not cause a rift. I think we have certainly established that riffs cannot be trusted. Do we know which riff is riffing the game at the weekend?

  93. Frank:

    “I like Mikael Sylvestre and I appreciate him providing back up at centre-half and left back. I think that he and Sol between them can teach the youngsters a bit about defending in the modern game and most importantly dealing with big occasions.”

    I’m all for these experienced players being part of the squad. Any time I’ve heard our youngsters talk about Sol or Silvestre they seem to hold them in high esteem. And having players who have been there and done that is good for keeping our youngsters in line.

    When Niklas scored one of his goals against Porto Campbell and him clebrated rather knowingly. I wouldn’t doubt that after the Burnley game Sol pulled him aside and had a few words with him. These two oldies are leaders. That’s probably why Wenger brought them in.

  94. Isn’t it a crime to break someone’s leg with your car and then just drive off? Perhaps the law doesn’t apply to England fooball players.

  95. These are the teams MU and Chelsea will have to play before facing eachother:

    Chelsea = Blackburn away, Pompey away (midweek) and Villa at home.

    MU = Liverpool home and Bolton away.

    I expect Chelsea to drop at least four points and MU to drop at least two points before they face each other.

  96. Just a quick thought on the losses to chelsea and Real Madrid. What an absolute vindication those two defeats where to the Arsenal philosophy and everything Arsene is working towards. Money cant buy you success at the drop of a cheque book. I grin with great glee at those defeats because it is those very teams corrupt the beautiful game, and are the supposed to be point of reference that many Arsenal critics point towards. Long term planning, independent financial stability, cultured talent, aesthetics via technical skill and sublime ability. but quite simply a long term, honest, realistic vision. Chelsea’s defeat was the apitomy of everything Arsenal are not. Old, no youth depth, quick fix. Very few clubs have such a clear focussed vision and for me fail or succeed that in itself that should be making fans ferociously loyal. Allez on avance!

  97. Problem with the Met is,

    they’re all useless or corrupt.

    Alex it was then: So I guess it’s safe to say, a well ‘drilled’, slightly gaseous (ruptured piplines?) Chav defence.
    Led by Marshall Terry.

  98. We Are Tha Feckin Arsnallllllllllll

    Who’s watching the Bordeux vs Olimpiacos match, let’s see what chamakh’s all about..

    k.o 7.45

  99. Paulie Walnuts

    Poliziano,

    Laws on or off the pitch don`t apply to England capatains. We all know that.

    My favourite let off was Alan Shearer`s attempt at `keepy-uppy` with Neil Lennon`s head.

  100. a fungus-coated right hand

    Poliziano,

    If an Arsenal player had run someone over with their car, breaking their leg, and then driven off they would have been straight-off crucified by the press, most likely in a public ceremony on Fleet St. I don’t know what the crime is called in Britain but here in the States it is called hit-and-run driving and your license is taken away and you are put it jail (gaol if you prefer).

  101. chamakh starts….

  102. a fungus-coated right hand

    Perhaps even more shocking is the Chelsea FC contradiction of the facts reported by the police:

    Chelsea: The man’s leg was bruised.
    Police: The man’s leg was broken.

    Chelsea: The man was driving between 1-2 mph.
    Greek Chorus: Faster than that I’m afraid to break somebody’s leg!

  103. I don’t understand how you could run someone over and not notice. Pretty sure Terry was aware it happened.

  104. Riffs…the Met…the Met…riffs…..riffMet…metriff..

    Fucking hell, Finsbury, you have a point there. Useless or corrupt. Do Met seniors sit on the FA Board. Are the Met involved in the Riffs Association?

  105. Can someone please tell me why bordeux wear red? I thought their colours were blue??

  106. Still strange to see Mad Jens and Thierry in Barca colors.

  107. Mad Jens in Stuttgart colors, that is.

  108. Wow… another spectacular goal by Messi.

  109. Messi! What a wicked left foot!

  110. I saw him dribbling into traffic and figured the move was petering out, but then bam, goal. Unbelievable talent.

  111. That low center of gravity makes it difficult for defenders.

  112. thats an amazing goal

    bordeux are winning 1-0 aswell

  113. And a great pass in from the little guy to set up the second. I love watching Barca.

  114. 2-0 Barca. They are torturing the right back for the right back. It is going very bad for Stuttgart.

  115. they remind me of a team that play in red and white in north london..

    WE ARE ARSENAL….

  116. I agree with Zap.

  117. This game is not all-together-unlike our game against Porto… back at home missing a few key players but with a point to prove. Wouldn’t be surprised to see this end 4 or 5 nil the way Barca are playing.

  118. I believe the police are investigating ‘El Supremo’. They did go to his house and breathalyse him.

    Chelsea have such class, don’t they?

  119. And again. 3-0 Barca (Messi)

  120. Yogi, this post today was of the very highest quality.

    So many interesting things about the football team to contemplate these days. The gradual emergence of Bendtner as a top class striker, has been a joy to watch this season. As well, Walcott is showing his annoyance at the fools in the league that attempt to kick him out of games. This young man will be a first choice striker for England in the not to distant future. He will develop his ball handling skills as he begins to realize that speed is not the only way to beat defenders.

  121. ooh its a good game between bordeux and olimpiacos….

  122. Haha these idiots on Sky are so stupid.

    Seriously how many times can you inject Rooney into the conversation when talking about Barcelona vs. Stuttgart!?!? I think they’ve got a severe man-crush.

  123. Chamakh sends Bordeux through

  124. nice header

  125. Barca 4-0 Stuttgart (5-1)
    Bordeux 2-1 Olimpiacos (3-1)

  126. 1 loose cannon

    The only answer to Barcelona is Arsenal. If it is 11 v11 unlike last time we played them, then we can match them in every depatment, Stutgart had 0 shots on target Porto gave us a game and we beat them well. Stutgart were abysmal so I’m certainly not going to read anything into this game, Messi had all the time in the world to pick his goals. So i would like us to meet Barcelona I just feel very confident we can beat them well, no problem. Vermaelen would not give Messi a sniff.

  127. I hope we get Bordeux

  128. Remonstrate, apparently folks like Florentino Perez and Roman Abrahamovic never learn. Look at Real Madrid for example. Eventhough the galacticos era ended in unmitigated failure, their supporters welcomed Florentino Perez back with open arms. But who do they blame for their failure? Not the players or the president. They blame the manager. They blame him because it should be clear to all that putting 11 super stars on the pitch should bring immediate success. This mentality is the reason why Chelsea has had five managers in as many years.

  129. 1 loose cannon

    Zap we can beat Barcelona , with Bordeaux you really don’t know what to expect and they have some giants players they are a bit like Stoke of europe I don’t mean it rubbish as Stoke they can play good football but also use height brilliantly. Historically we have done well against top european teams but come unstuck against the unkowns and the english teams.

  130. then bring on barca…or anyone

    kamannnnnnn

  131. Let fate decide. Whoever we get, we get and we will deal with it.

  132. Im with 1LC,

    After watching barca tonight I would not mind drawing them at all.

    I think above all it would be a great match and we’d have a great chance of progression.

    You cant prefer opponenets, to deserve to win this competition you have to rise to the challenge of whoevers put in front of you.

    I have enormous respect for the way barca conduct themselves and play. Even if the politics behind the scenes can be a little tasteless and tactless.

    I believe in our team and I hope we get a big team next round.

    Stuttgart were not as good as FC Porto in my opinion.

  133. Well whatever happens, I would rather win the league..

    Come On Arsenal

  134. Arsenal vs West Ham

  135. 1 loose cannon

    Zap now you talking . West ham is the most important game ahead and that all the players need to think about.

  136. hard to see Terry get locked up, I would be laughing for days if it happened!

    Really hope Gallas stays another year at least, hes been a great player for us, probably our only experienced player who has seen the lads mature. We can all see he has the legs to go on, half the time hes up the other end of the pitch!

    Sol has been good backup also, Id be surprised if Silvestre is around much longer now. Sol came in because Wenger knows Silvestre is done and cant offer much more. Sols experience will be vital in the run in, plus the fact hes English may help us with a few referees.

    Barca played well, but if they are starved of the ball they wont look so good.

  137. Sol is living on reputation. Whilst he has something to offer the team, he has also made mistakes that he has been allowed to get away with compared to Silvestre. We need Gallas back ASAP and I would be amazed if Sol is offered an extension beyond this season.

  138. I agree with Passenal

  139. while i have confidence that should we draw barca, we have the ability to beat them if we show up, i won’t go so far as to say i want barca as our next opponents.

    that reeks abit of misguided optimism.

    barca will definitely not reach the heights of last season, because everyone knows what they can do.

    but it doesnt mean we should explicitly say we want them in the next round.

    it is abit like arrogance on our part.

    i prefer us to keep our feet on the ground.

  140. i stick to my original opinion: i prefer bordeaux or lyon.

    french teams are more pleasant to play against. less of the drudgery that inter and man u dish out.

  141. I agree with no7. Well put.

  142. Just read this:

    “but if you told me there were two roads to a pot of gold (staying on the Irish theme for a moment), and one of them was a bit boggy and heavy with some puddles, and the other was made from septic donkey shite with puddles so deep laser-eyed water sheringhams could launch attacks at you while Phil Collins serenaded you with Amy Winhouse songs the whole way there, then I would pick the first road”

    Is that what you meant no7? 🙂

  143. The media reckon Abramovich is ready to throw £100M at his problem child.

  144. I think we will get United.Sods Law. Remember Chelsea v Barca and Chelsea v Liverpool. It seemed to happen all the time.But this time I dont think Wenger or the players will let lightning strike twice.Rooney is awesome but he aint Messi. In fact I would like to beat them with a counter attack goal scored by Theo of the type we are continually subjected to endless replays of on Sky sports HD. F@ckers! When weve dispened with them bring on Inter and Barca.COYG

  145. the Wenger curse strikes again….

    Roberto Mancini has moved to reassure Kolo Toure that he is still central to the Manchester City boss’s plans.

    Since the new year the club captain has made only five appearances because of the Africa Cup of Nations and a knee injury.

    He is fit again now, but has been unable to force his way back into the side with Joleon Lescott and Vincent Kompany playing at centre half.

    But Mancini said the former Arsenal man was still a key part of the club’s push for fourth place.
    Click here to find out more!

    “He is ok now and still very important for us,” the City boss said.

  146. We should play Inter First, Then Manchester… then a final with Barca…

    After that ALL in Europe will be Eternally scared of drawing this team… But in that we have even thought of it, it will never happen…

  147. I just did a mock draw;

    Inter v CSKA
    Bordeaux v Barca
    Lyon v Bayern
    Arsenal v Man Utd

  148. Guys check this out; please let me know what you think of it..cheers

    http://socceropera.blogspot.com/

  149. I don’t want to meet Man Utd in Q-F.

  150. My only preference with regards to Man Utd is to eliminate them if and when we face them.

  151. My preference is to stab them in the heart a second time in the final on 22nd May after we have pipped them for the premier league title. 😀

  152. Why does it matter when we play them?

  153. It’s beyond our control anyway. We’re just fantasizing.

  154. I know. Just trying to understand why so many people say “I’d rather we got Man United in the final”.

  155. 1. As regards the defense, I think that Silvestre needs to be gone asap. We should retain Gallas – if it requires a 2-year contract, so be it. He should probably be our starter next year along with TV, with Djourou and Campbell as backup and Song as emergency backup. Djourou should be getting a regular run-out next year to make sure he’s up to par, and Arsene should keep Nord out on loan to continue gaining experience. The following year (so 2 years out) we should probably move Campbell to coaching, try to keep Gallas as backup, start JD and TV, and bring back Nord as the 4th CB.

    2. As regards this year’s CL, I don’t see as how it matter who Arsenal draw. If they play with confidence, concentration and purpose they will win. If they lose focus, they may lose. each of the potential opposition is dangerous. Clearly, I think it would be easier if we avoided both manure and barca, but such luck seems unlikely somehow, and both teams can be beaten just like any other team, despite their talent and reputations.

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