Vermaelen on the Defensive Unit

Ahead of the visit to St Andrews this weekend, it seems that Nicklas Bendtner may not be fit and Eduardo will lead the line. No doubt this will lead to some hilarious chants from the Birmingham fans about Martin Taylor’s infamous tackle. Bendtner is not confident in recovering in time from a twisted ankle which necessitated his withdrawal against West Ham. The Dane believes he should be back in training today or tomorrow which makes him ready in my book.

Defence is likely to see the biggest changes, Thomas Vermaelen’s absence means that Arsene is faced with Sol Campbell or Mikael Silvestre partnering Alex Song. The Cameroonian received support from Andrey Arshavin for his performances this season:

…he has done a good job for us this season. I hope, as we saw last game, that Alex [Song] will replace him and we will not have a big problem in defence.

It seems highly unlikely that the ageing duo would be the partnership that Arsene goes with. Birmingham has a decent home record this season and despite recent indifferent form, will not roll over and let Arsenal walk away with the points. Additionally, he has cover in midfield for Song to drop back into defence.

His biggest issue is whether or not Campbell can face two games in four days; the get-out clause is with Wolves being the immediate opponents after Barcelona, Song could quite comfortably drop back into defence, allowing Campbell to rest before the second leg. Vermaelen has respect for the old-timer, noting:

He speaks a lot on the pitch and for young players and a young team it is important to have somebody with a lot of experience who talks a lot on the pitch.

But then he had nothing but good things to say about William Gallas:

He is a great player for the team and for me. If he plays next to me it makes it easier for me.

A pity that Gallas is not playing this weekend as it would be good to lay the ghosts of 2008 totally to rest. His recovery is subject to conjecture, with Arsene rating him at 20% chance of playing whilst his doctor believes that Gallas is further down the road to playing than the manager. That said, I would trust Wenger more than any doctor, especially since the KNVB medical staff opined that van Persie would be available for the last round of international friendlies.

Vermaelen and Gallas were outstanding as a partnership and the Belgian’s contribution has been recognised outside of the club. I forget whether it was Paul Hayward or Patrick Barclay but last weekend they offered the opinion that Vermaelen ought to be Player of the Year and would be a sure thing for that award were it not for the fact that the media are blinded to everyone but Wayne Rooney this season.

The club’s internal award will be an interesting vote. Before his injury, I would have said van Persie would vie with Vermaelen and Cesc for that honour but now it is seemingly a straight two-horse race.

Anyway, match day is soon to be upon us, the fixtures coming thick and fast although the visit to White Hart Lane has been pushed back to April 14th which aids recuperation for those who need it and rest for those who are fit.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on March 25, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 251 Comments.

  1. Wenger said in his press conference earlier that Bendtner would have a late fitness test tomorrow but he is expected to start.

  2. What defensive pairing would you go with at the weekend YW?

    As much as I would like to say let Sol handle 2 games in 5 days (sat-wed), that might be short sighted in terms of the CL due to the freshness in the defensive realm Barca necessitate.

    Now, it might be equally shortsighted to think that Slyvestre, with minimum playing experience this year, and Song, who as solid as he looks slotting in, is not a full time center back is a viable option.

    I’m really not sure what AW will do on this one. I remember a few weeks ago you had a post that said Arsene will reveal favoring CL or EPL with his team selection, and i think that favoritism will be even more apparent based on his defensive pairing for saturday

  3. What’s up with Eduardo? We know how playing a half fit player can aggravate the injury. I would not risk Bendtner from the start on Saturday. I would start with Eduardo, and if things don’t turn out well would bring Bendtner on in the 2nd half. I think Bendtner would be crucial for the Barcelona game and it will be a big risk to risk injury to him on Saturday. Although the Birgingham game is important, I think we should be confident to beat them without Bendtner.

  4. i hope everyone here had a chance to check out untold’s analysis of the arshavin story… makes much more sense in that light ha

  5. and keysersoze i would start NB this weekend. his injury is over a knock he got on the ankle against west ham. if he’s fit, let him play

  6. 1). On the official website the boss said he will play Sol Campbell against Birmingham and not try to save him for Barca. AWESOME. Spot on Boss.

    2). According to the website contract talks with WG have been “suspended”. Sounds more and more like Flamini.

    Our defense has clearly improved in the last several games. We were excellent vs W-Ham. We have been much more organized and efficient in the back. Clichy has been better. Almunia has been better. The improvement seems to correspond to Sol Campbell playing in the back. Sol brings several things that I think we were missing.
    1) Muscle
    2) Better positional sense. We have not seen goals like the David Dunn goal in the Rovers game or the counter attacks of Citeh, Chelsea and United. The only really “ugly” goal I can think of recently is the one against Burnley with Silvestre/TV.
    3) Better command of the airspace in the box.
    4) Intangibles. Watching Sol celebrate those goals after the AR injury warmed my heart.

    I know that Sol is not a long term solution but I think our recent defensive improvement corresponding to Sol in the back is not completely coincidence. I think long term we will be a better team with someone in the Sol Campbell mold (big, strong, good in the air, stay at home) partnering with TV. 1 or 2 players can make a big difference. United’s championship run and their defensive dominance corresponds to Vidic and Van der Sar. If we could consistently play defense the way we have the last several games we could be unbeatable for many years.

    What do you guys think?

  7. Arsene said in his press conference that the Birmingham game is more important than Barcelona.

    But was he just saying that to keep his players focused?

    I would expect Silvestre to start alongside Song in defence at the weekend.

    The only other option would be to switch Sagna from right back to play alongside Song/Silvestre with Eboue at right back.

  8. melcfromfinsburypark

    Sol must be almost at the stage when he is up to having two games in 4 days, surely? So I would say Sol and song with Eduardo up front and NB on the becnh ready to come on with 20 to go if needed.

    Surely one has to add Song to the names of Cesc and TV for player of the season. He has been absolutely superb now since Jan 09 and this season he has been consistently excellent, game after game.

  9. wouldn’t it be brilliant if eduardo got a hatrick. give B52 some competition!

  10. I think arsene should bring in silvestre at the back to partner sol for the brum’s game.If the midfield does its work properly especially with song there we shouldn’t have much of a problem.My prediction 0-3.the league trophy is in sight——-

  11. Almunia
    Eboue Campbell Song Clichy

    Denilson

    Diaby Cesc

    Rosicky Walcott
    Bendy

    Nasri off the bench to rest Cesc if game is in the bag. Arshavin in for Walcott to sharpen up before Barca. Sagna on for Rosicky and Eboue pushed up to the wing. I know that Eduardo should get a look in to exorcise his demons but he should just let it go already!!! j/k

    I think the Brum game is going to be another Hull type of game with a dramatic conclusion. It won’t be easy.

  12. bill agreed about the defensive improvements.

    they’ve clearly improved organizationally, moving better as a defensive unit, especially defending on the wings.

  13. NJ Gooner

    I would go with Campbell and Song, knowing that there is a decent rest period before Barcelona and if the worst comes to the worst, Song can partner Vermaelen in the CL.

    YW

  14. Pires

    I’d rather it wasn’t! A comfortable three goal lead before the hour mark would be much more preferable!

    YW

  15. 20 quid says another barca fan runs up to Cesc with a barca jersey with his name on it…Ala henry 07

  16. NJGooner:

    I know that Sol is not the only reason we have improved but I think our improvement with him on the pitch is no coincidence. What do you think?

    I was absolutely stoked when I saw on the web site that the boss was going to go all out for the Birmingham game and play Sol and his best players this weekend and not hold back for Barca. We can deal with Barca after we take down Brum.

  17. Every game is a final from now on and Wenger knows this. It makes sense that we should play full strength sides not only to guarantee results but to create a winning rhythm throughout the team where everyone contributes in his own way. I personally think that the only team that has a team spirit anything as remotely as closely as ours is Utd and off course Barca. What we’ve been through this season I doubt any other team can recover from, like we have.

  18. Sixtay,

    We should have someone go give Messi an Arsenal shirt!

  19. “Surely one has to add Song to the names of Cesc and TV for player of the season”

    I agree – what absolutely clinched it for me was the way he stepped seamlessly into the CB role mid-game against WHam.

    ****

    Wenger said he hadn’t picked the team yet, but I think Sol will play at Birmingham because he is fit and he’s the best available after Gallas and TV. And now I am going to go out on a limb and say that I think Silvestre will partner him!

  20. Pires:

    Spot on!

    I think the game will be very tough. Birmingham has done well at home. We can not afford to drop any points. Mancs will probably not be drop many more this year. I suspect the Chavs will drop more then either us or the Mancs. Lets hope that we win out and the Chavs beat or tie Mancs and the Mancs drop points at Citeh.

  21. Eboue Campbell Song Clichy
    Denilson
    Cesc Diaby

    Nasri Bendtner Arshavin/Rosicky

    vs. Brum

    Sagna Campbell Vermaelen Clichy
    Song
    Cesc Diaby

    Nasri/Eboue Bendtner Arshavin

    Vs Barca

  22. I just want bloody Liverpool to snap out of it and beat Chelsea already. Their last game was so drab that I see the next one have draw written all over it. I think United will drop points, is Rooney injured (knee) btw? If he is then thats great news because he’s singlehandedly carrying them right now.

  23. Not feeling Walcott are you Bill?? I actually think he can pull off another Burnley performance against the Brum’s, his record against them is pretty impressive too.

  24. Paulie Walnuts

    Campbell has to play versus Brum & I`d prefer Song to partner him. They`ve got some pace up front & Silvestre certainly lacks a bit of that these days.

    I agree that if Bendtner is fit enough to train he should play.

    Tough game but those ghosts will be well & truly laid to rest I believe with Eduardo on the scoresheet in a win

  25. @ Piresaholic

    Yes, Rooney has a niggly knee, apparently. Not sure if he will be out of the next game, though .

    ***

    @ Bill, seeing as you are around…

    “I never would suggest that the boss has some “perverse” reason for not buying a player”

    Actually, you do suggest that – you typically roll out a list of players whom you would have bought, express your bafflement as to why Wenger did not buy any of them and bemoan his obstinacy or miserliness, as if there is no other possible or legitimate reason for not buying. If the word “perverse” bothers you, substitute “irrational”.

  26. Cesc is our player of the year by miles.He is our Rooney.

  27. @ Red Barmy

    Cesc’s one of them, but definitely Song and TV are up there with him. And if RvP and Gallas had stayed fit, they’d be in the reckoning, too.

  28. Silvetre has done well on the few occassions he has played this season and I would not be surprised, or even disappointed, to see him partner Song this weekend…Sol will be rested for the barca match.

  29. Interesting to see that no one is rating Arshy even thought he was our get out of jail card at various points in the season (Blackburn, Liverpool, Utd just to name a few).

  30. Song and Tweety to start v Brum

    Campbell and TV v Barca

    Campbell cant play 2 games in such a short period of time.And we need Song in midfield v Barca or we will get shredded

  31. Were going to get shredded regardless but we’re going to shred them more 😉

  32. FG

    Yes Song and TV have been great but Cesc like Rooney has been our talisman.18 goals from midfield

  33. Come think of it i’m absolutely sure we’re going to own Barca. I just have a sneaky feeling were going to keep a clean sheet at home and sneak that away goal at the camp nou to seal the deal.

  34. I doubt Rooney has a niggly knee or whatever it is they are saying,he had a niggly knee just before they played Ac.Its probably a tactic by the red nose to lull other teams into believing manu wont have Rooney who’s been carrying them along they past few wks.

    I would like us to play Sol and Song Saturday as that would be a solid defense against brum. For barca Verm/song. Hope Bendtner will be recovered by Saturday to atleast make an appearance as a sub and start against barca..he may well be our B-plan against them.

    good to hear the manager has his priorities right, in this case B’ghum.

  35. Pires:

    Would not be surprised if Theo played vs. Brum. Not my first choice but the boss will make that decision. If he does play I hope he rips Liam Ridgewell a new one on the left flank.

    Fun Gunner:

    Whatever!!

    I do not want to start again. Clearly the boss wants this team to succeed. You can not watch him celebrate our goals and not know how much he cares. He is a superb manager and his ability to keep us competitive with the type of budget he uses should always be considered legendary. That said even great men can occasionally make mistakes and IMO we have gotten too conservative in our transfer policies and that could hinder our progress. I do not think he is perverse or irrational. Everyone has their opinions and that is why blogs like this are so much fun and get all the hits that they do. There really is some middle ground between totally negative Miles Palmer/Le Grove and total AKB.

    I do enjoy debating stuff like this with you. I know I started it yesterday but lets save transfer policy debates until later.

  36. http://fourfourtwo.com/news/england/50531/default.aspx

    Armand Traore on transfer news linking hime to PSG.

  37. Bill,

    You really are a drain on this blog.

  38. Maria that story ran a couple of weeks ago. He even made a statement on the official website to say he is at Arsenal as long as he is wanted and that PSG used to be the club he dreamt of playing for when he was young..He’d still like to play for them some day in the far far away future.

    From Wenger’s comments looks like Gallas wont be available Wednesday. I was hoping he’d make it for Barca..ooh well

    I didnt know the transfer window was open this time of yr, this transfer stories are of no help right now.

  39. Bill,

    I just caught up late last night on your debate with Ole yesterday which was compulsive reading and top notch stuff from you both. Well done!

  40. Firstlady,

    I know, but I love the way he rebutted the story so fiercely.

  41. I rate AA very highly. I dont think that we have seen the best of him recently, but then we have only recently started playing with a centre-forward again. If we win the EPL this season and it is my opinion that we will, everyone will forget that we played for nearly half the season including many crucial games, without a recognised CF. The Mancs and the Chavs, with only a little chap up front whilst they play with a pair of fucking great lumpkins.

  42. “Bill,

    I just caught up late last night on your debate with Ole yesterday which was compulsive reading and top notch stuff from you both. Well done!”

    LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL

  43. Did you really just say that, Joe?

  44. Well reading their posts, they do blend into one on occasion.

  45. I suspect a difficult weekend fixture, but we will overcome. This is potentially the most vital game of the season to date, psychologically if not statistically. If we keep the pressure, it becomes so much harder for ManU and Chelsea knowing that Arsenal just keep coming. They will crack.

    AW will therefore play his strongest team without thinking too much about Barca, and so he should.

  46. I was at the West Ham match. While our defensive shape and collective resilience won out on the day, it must also be noted that this is singularly the worst Hammers team we have seen in years. Wolves even beat them 3-1 at home. I still think we have a propensity to concede and thus we make hard work of teams we should routinely roll over. But I do accept that there has been improvement and I just hope we can keep concentration levels high.

    I think Sol was always going to play against Birmingham. I would be very nervous of playing Sol against Barca. The Brum game suits Sol to a tee. If all comes to all and Gallas doesn’t make it for Barca, I think Song will play CB and Denilson in DCM.

  47. Oh there you are, ZimPaul. I was complimenting your virility only yesterday. Congratulations.

  48. Manu are in trouble as soon as Rooney has a single off day. And he will.

  49. You are such a miserable fucker, Joe. You really are.

  50. Did any jizz at the video of RVP training again??? I sure did.

  51. Well, thanks for that Frank. In our family we try to live a full and happy life. Thankyou. The little one is wonderful. I am pretty happy I must say.

  52. My friends grandfather from Brumagem was a peaky slasher back in the day. This did not mean that he had a tendency to contract cystitis. Rather it means that he was one of a bunch of supporters who had razor blades sewn into the peaks of their caps and they used them to slash the faces of away supporters. Nice people.

  53. Although sleep deprived! Oh well, I can sleep later.

  54. Is the little one a girl or a boy?

  55. Fallen asleep obviously

  56. Paulie Walnuts

    I can`t see Gallas being risked until Arsene is 100% sure of his fitness this time. He may make the away leg at Barca or even Wolves.

    AA has been enigmatic at times but he could be the difference for us in the run in.

    Had RVP been fit & Rooney / Drogba been injured they would have handed over the trophy to us already.

    Still, it`ll be more memorable winning it on the last day

  57. How come nobody seems bothered with the fact that arsenal’s poor goal difference might hurt us come may!! We need to start banging some in pronto!

  58. I think I’d have to agree with you YW, thanks for the response. Although, I think out of all this, what is most important is that Song plays DM against Barca. I think his role will be VERY crucial against them, and if he can have a big game defensively like we know he’s capable of we can hold them back.

    I agree with what some of you are saying about winning mentality, flow etc. If we are to play well against Barca we will need a win against Birhmingham. so.. id start sol and song at the back

  59. When you win the EPL by 4-6 points, GD is irrelevant. You are just looking for negatives, Sixtay.

    Interestingly it is the reason why the FA have skewed the EPL by docking 9 points from Portsmouth part way through the season. If they had a chance of staying in the EPL they would not have let in 5 goals yesterday.

    Still as I say…it doesn’t matter.

  60. @ ZimPaul

    Absolutely right. You will have plenty of time to sleep when you are old and he will only be a baby once.

  61. Ah!! Country mile ehh!!

  62. On the other hand you can look at it another way Frank. Portsmouth literally had nothing to lose but their dignity (which they did) so they might want to leave with a bang. As for the GD it’ll be utterly horrendous if we rue Bendy’s missed chances as we’ll never hear the end of it from the media or a certain Le Grove.

  63. @ Bill

    It seems to me that you have missed the point again. I am not berating you for negativity, neither am I accusing you of not supporting the manager. I am not claiming that AW never makes mistakes and I am certainly not trying to tell you what YOU would have done if you were manager.
    What I have been attempting to do is make you see what I understand to be the logical and practical implications of your approach, and also that your opinion and Wenger’s opinion are distinct.

    However, we have obviously got nowhere and there is no value or indeed fun to be had in carrying on. For now.

  64. Playing for pride? David James? Pride? Are you kidding? Why would a club that has had the dignity and the rest of its dignity ripped out of it by the football establishment play for pride. I would imagine the players would rather be anywhere but Fratton park at the moment. They are just going through the motions.

    Yes. Country mile. This Arsenal squad are the best we have had…ever. No other squad in the EPL would have dealt with the injuries we have had this season. But we just keep coming back.

  65. Come on Bolton and Aston Villa.

  66. We are like the Hydra – cut off one of our heads and another grows in its place.

    We are a juggernaut.

    Having said that….come on Bolton and Aston Villa, pleeease.

  67. I don’t think that Bolton have it in them to beat the Mancs. On the other hand Veeeeella need a result to get back into winning ways. They still have fourth spot in their sights. OK here it is. Villa to draw with Chelski….and then Chelski go on to beat the Mancs.

  68. A week on Saturday. We will be in control of our destiny.

  69. That’s what I’ve been banking on. Trouble is, the Chavs have looked so rubbish that I am now worrying that they can’t do it.

  70. Zarate, Zidan, Ikechukwu Uche, Gignac, Kessling, all players that, in a debate, would probably seem unlikely to improve our squad. Nobody would complain if we got them though.

    I really find it hard to believe that finding a world beater while not needing to pay though the roof for him is impossible.

  71. @ Sixtay

    Of course it’s not impossible, the proof being that AW has done it a few times. But he can’t control the timing, can he? We got AA in Jan 2009, but we couldn’t get him in the summer of 2008.

  72. Oh you just want to talk about buying players, Sixtay!

    Not interested. Sorry.

  73. Chamakh in and were dandy. Maybe another Verm signing at the back but we have Djourou coming back so were set.

  74. ZP congrats my brother!!!

  75. Wilshere will score a brace and take 2 points off the mancs with it, a certainty, call your bookie and put the house on it.

  76. Carvalho out for four weeks.

  77. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Bill,

    At this point, we have a pretty sound grasp on your views regarding our defense. And judging from the responses today and lack thereof, no one really cares to make this a daily debate. Do we really have to keep listening to the same broken record every day? Frankly, it’s starting to get old. And as for your claims that your just this moderate fan holding down this middle ground, well that’s just rubbish. Either you support the manager and his philosophy or you don’t. And judging by your daily summaries on our defense, you aren’t really a fan of the way this team plays. You are on record on this blog saying that you wished Arsene would just blow up the current squad and pour 300 million into new players. That’s about as extreme as it gets my friend. Let’s not act like no one around here has a memory.

  78. I like the prospect of Chamakh, have watched him in his last few games. He is not the finished item yet but with Wengers guidance he could be a really great addition to our squad.
    Im sorry Frank to compare this team to the invisibles is ridiculous. When there are a few trophies in the cabinet then you can make those claims. This team has the potential, but still have to deliver.

  79. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    doesn’t have a memory….. Weird.

  80. @Jo,

    I think Frank said the squad not just the 1st team. As a squad this is the best we have had.

  81. Frank i admire your optimism regarding the Mancs. I find that i stress about our results just a little bit more than those of rudolph’s squad, but just barely. The fact that we dont control our own destiny leaves me at the point of desperation prior to viewing united’s results.

  82. Err, but we do control our own destiny. I can bet both the Chavs and the Manc are going to drop points. Atleast 4-7 points each. We will have our chances to overtake them, and keep our position.

  83. If Sol plays against Birmingham, it means that Gallas will be back for Barcelona.

    If Sol doesn’t play, Gallas is likely out and Sol will be with TV against Barcelona and Song and Silvestre will line up against Barcelona.

    My money is on Sol playing versus Birmingham and Arsene will take the chance that Gallas is back in time.

  84. Ateeb, needing other teams to drop points isnt being in control of our own destiny you plank

  85. Oh, so we’re never in control of our own destiny? Not even in the start of the season, because we surely NEED others to drop points over the course of the 38 games.

    The only thing we NEED to do is win our games in hand, even drawing one or two still might fetch us the title. We don’t NEED them to drop points, they’re going to do it anyways, regardless of our NEEDs.

  86. Oh there you go, Chelsea now with Carvalho. That makes Ivanovic, Ashley Cole, Bosingwa, and him on the sidelines. Good luck, against Villa and the Manc, with a defence of Terry, Alex, Jerkoff, and Belleti?

  87. By the way, nice post YW.

    In fairness, it really should be a 4 man race for Arsenal player of the year. TV has exceeded all expectations, but based on performance alone rather than exceeding expectations, the four candidates should be Fabregas (25 games), Vermaelen (31 games), Gallas (26 games) and Song (22 games).

    RVP would almost certainly be up there too if not for the injury.

    Each one of those 4 would be a worthy winner.

    5 Thomas Vermaelen 31 0 7 35 13 1 27 31 3 1
    10 William Gallas 26 0 3 17 7 0 14 12 2 0
    4 Cesc Fábregas 25 1 15 85 31 13 32 48 5 0
    23 Andrei Arshavin 24 3 9 80 27 1 36 27 2 0
    3 Bacary Sagna 24 4 0 6 0 1 16 32 3 0
    17 Alexandre Song Billong 22 1 1 12 3 1 54 34 8 0
    2 Abou Diaby 20 3 6 33 12 3 38 37 1 0

  88. oops-forgot to delete my roster stats!

  89. Ateeb, in footballing terms, when you say a teams in control of there own destiny it means they can achieve there goal regardless of what any other team does. You sound dumb, be quiet please.

  90. I agree with you JO-this squad doesn’t compare to the Invincibles. I agree with Frank that it’s the deepest squad we’ve ever had, but the Top 10 players in the Invincibles were a class above our current Top 10,and would have rolled over these Man United and Chelsea teams.

  91. @ lagooner

    “but the Top 10 players in the Invincibles were a class above our current Top 10,and would have rolled over these Man United and Chelsea teams.”

    I disagree, had RVP been fit I believe we would not have lost to these games this year. Or any centre-forward striker that was on form.

    Why do you think this team is inferior to the invincibles?

  92. Well angel, we’ve been doing quite well without having a control over our own destiny since september, when we dropped behind, and needed others to drop points, footballingly speaking.
    So the card of “own destiny” has been switching between Manu and Chelsea so far, this season? Kind of a useless thing if you ask me, since we’re going to win the league anyways, not having been in control of our destiny the whole season.
    And sit nicely just a step behind.

    “when you say a teams in control of there own destiny it means they can achieve there goal regardless of what any other team does”

    That’s just stupid logic. To me in football, what other teams do to you or other teams is very crucial.

    However if you drop the footballing term, and bring on “Mathematical terms” than your fear of Arsenal losing could hold some weight. But that too doesn’t matter, because even mathematically we’re going to drop less points than the others, and win the title.

  93. Fun Gunner:

    Obviously I do not understand your point. We have been going around in circles and like you I think it has lost its interest.

    NJN:

    Your right it does get boring after a while. No one on this blog myself included are going to change their minds. I probably should not have gotten started yesterday. I do feel as strongly about our defense and its affect on our trophy cabinet as you feel about all the “doomers” and pundits you talk about daily. To each his own.

    If you can go back in the archives and find any post where I said that we should blow up the team and spend 300M on new players then I will gladly eat my words.

  94. Maria,
    “but the Top 10 players in the Invincibles were a class above our current Top 10,and would have rolled over these Man United and Chelsea teams.”

    I agree to a certain extent, your reply on the above statment. But one could argue that the top 10 players of other teams in the league, were a class below than their present counterparts. Would be interesting to see, if the invincibles would have held the unbeaten run in the current scenario, where the top 7 teams are able to beat each other. This debate over comparing the present squad over the previous, is fruitless at best. Anyone with a footballing brain, can see this squad is technically one of the most gifted individuals that make a superb collective unit. Who might achieve more than any other arsenal squad, in history over the next few seasons.

  95. just wanted to say i would def throw song’s name in there for player of the year….has been sensational & silenced every person who wanted us to add some ‘presence’ to our midfield…kudos to him..& then to wenger.

  96. lagooner, the top ten players are not a squad they are part of a team. The point Frank makes is the ‘squad’ as a whole has better player than the Invincibles.

  97. How much you looking to spend, Bill?

  98. Ateeb, what you say is dumb, be quiet.

  99. Paulie Walnuts

    The Invincibles were a great side but they lost to a much poorer version of Chelsea in the CL & to Man Ure in an FA Cup semi-final.

    What they did have was real mental strength & a formidable will to win – something this current side also have in abundance & which we are about to see even more of in the next two months.

    All in all , two fantastic & completely different in personnel, Arsenal teams (apart from Sol) within six seasons.

  100. Maria

    I think this team has a large number of very good International quality players, but not many truly consistent World Class players. I think this is why we’ve maintained our title challenge because we have more very good players than ever before, and they can compensate for our injury list against most teams.

    The Invincibles were very lucky with injuries, and I think with the same injuries they would have struggled more than they did.

    I might be wrong in a couple of places, but I think most fans would consider the following to be our best players:

    Fabregas, Gallas, Vermaelen, Arshavin, Diaby, Van Persie, Sagna, Song, Nasri, Bendtner (with arguments that could be made for Clichy, Rosicky, Denilson, Campbell, Gibbs, Almunia, Walcott and Eboue-hence the depth)

    The Invincibles had:

    Bergkamp, Henry, Vieira, Ljunberg, Pires, Gilberto, A.Cole, Lehmann, Lauren, Campbell (with arguments that could be made for Keown, Toure, Edu, Kanu and Wiltord)

    Now, for sake of argument, what would be the combined First XI from these two squads, if all players were healthy? (someone should ask Arsene that question at a shareholders meeting!)

    My guess would be:

    Lehmann, Sagna, A.Cole, Campbell (2004), Vermaelen, Vieira, Gilberto, Fabregas, Pires, Bergkamp, Henry

    Subs from: Almunia, Lauren, Clichy, Gallas, Song, Arshavin, Van Persie, Ljunberg, Diaby and Parlour, Walcott (for late game impact)

    So take these 22 players, and you end up with:

    1st XI:

    Invincibles: 8
    Current: 3

    2nd XI:

    Invincibles: 3
    Current: 8

    In conclusion, the Invincibles simply had more great players than our current team but we now have a deeper squad.

  101. btw, I used ‘I think’ 4 times-apologies but you got me ‘thinking’ on that one!

  102. dupsffokcuf

    Have to disagree with you. The squad is also dictated by how good your best players are not just how many good players you have.

    If Barcelona could add 3 very good players in exchange for Messi, they might have a deeper squad but not a better one.

  103. The criteria that I’m going to choose to compare the present squad with the invincibles, is a better one that Lagooner is using. Wihtout going into too much details, I have the made up my 1st X1:

    Fabianski(2015), Sagna, Clichy(2013), Vermaelen, Viera, Cesc, Nasri(2011), RVP(2011), and Berghkamp.

    I am sorry to leave Henry as a sub, but the above group form a better collective unit.

    Invincibles: 2
    Current: 9

    On a side not. That’s a really stupid argument Lagooner, you’re comparing the end product of every invincible team player, with a squad that is developing. Would Henry, Gilberto and Pires, of their respective first seasons, replace a firing RVP, Song and Arshavin/Nasri of now? Offcourse not. Such a comparison could only make sense when comparisons are drawn after around 10-15 years from now, when the current crop has exceeded their full potential and time.

  104. Ateeb your missing the point. so i will take time to explain it to you because your informed support the rest of the campaign relies on you understanding this.

    If we win out, it is not a guarantee that we will win the title. basically, no matter how much we do in our last 7 EPL games, if Manutd/Chelsea dont drop points, than we CANNOT win the title.

    So therefore, Arsenal, in terms of their ability to hoist the EPL title, will need mancs/chavs to drop points.

    Given your tone, I dont think you understand how important it is for said mancs and chavs to drop points. you speak of it as if it is a guarantee, and it is most certainly not. i said in a post earlier how anxious i get before looking at manc/chav results at this point in the season… thats because we dont control our destiny.

    let me know if you need this clarified more, i think i should be able to find a good picture book with big words to explain it

  105. @ Ateeb

    Angel’s logic is completely sound. It’s just arithmetic. We would be in control of our destiny if we knew we could win purely on our own efforts, regardless of how well others did. We are third. If either one of ManU or Chelsea win all their games, they will definitely win the league. You can’t say that about us. We could win every game and still come second. I expect Chelsea and ManU to drop points, but we can’t control that, and they have to drop those points for us to get ahead.

    The reason we have come back into contention is that our rivals have slipped up AS WELL AS us doing well.

    ***
    @ lagooner

    “we’ve maintained our title challenge because we have more very good players than ever before, and they can compensate for our injury list against most teams.”
    Isn’t that the same as saying that the current squad is better?
    I would say that your squad is as good as your least good player.
    Plus I have to agree with Ateeb about taking age into account. The Invincibles were in their prime. Some of the stars of our team are a couple of years off that.

  106. and this debate over the invincibles/current squad is a little absurd no?

    apples to oranges anyone?

    i think all that can be said is that if we were to win the EPL this year, it would rank alongside such a major accomplishment as completing a whole campaign undefeated

  107. I see your back at your old games Nasir, twisting people’s words, or even attributing statements to them that they never said. You really are a cock.

    The invincibles won the league twice. This team will win it more than that, until then though they can’t measure up on the most important measure. That won’t last long though.

  108. Ateeb

    I think you just made yourself look a little silly there.

    First, this is just a diverting conversation and not to be taken at all seriously, so let’s not start frothing at the mouth over this.

    Second, by your reckoning, I should put Wilshire and Wellington in the squad because they both might end up being great players. That’s pretty ridiculous because the whole discussion is around how the sides compare as they are now, and not how the current players might develop.

    Leaving out Henry is the icing on the cake of your post.

  109. I agree with Ateeb and Paulie Walnuts. You cannot compare teams from different eras. The invincibles were great for their time, but their only real competition then was the mancs. The PL has become much more competitive and this team is so young most, including our best players are not yet at their peak. When they are the same age as the invincibles, if they stay together, who’s to say they won’t be re-writing Arsenal history in a way the invincibles could not dream of, including success in Europe, which for all their brilliance was beyond them.

  110. Fair point, NJGooner.
    It’s not as if we can directly compare them scientifically and give them marks out of ten.

  111. FunGunner-I go back to my point about Messi. The Invincibles had Henry, Bergkamp, Vieria, Pires and Campbell in his prime.

    Where I agree is that over the course of the season, the Invincibles might have struggled if faced with the injuries our current squad had faced.

    But ultimately there’s no substitute for greatness, which is why I would still put my money on the Invincibles over the course of a season or an individual match. I also think their record proves that point also.

  112. NJ Gooner

    I hear what you are saying. I love this current squad, and it will only improve over time.

    While you can’t compare squads from different eras, it’s still hard to overlook the fact that there were at least 6 players in that squad that could arguably qualify in our 25 greatest players ever.

    However, I agree that winning the league this season would put this side right up there on the achievement scale. When you look at the quality of the teams in the league, it’s been a magnificent accomplishment (although I would still have fancied my chances more with the Invincibles! Sorry, couldn’t resist…)

  113. This squad are better than the invincibles. They will prove it to you. Whilst they are doing that we just have to sit and watch. I for one will thoroughly enjoy that process…and I know that I am right.

  114. Frank-I appreciate your degree of certainty on this, but as I said earlier, a deeper squad isn’t by default a better one.

  115. I said nothing about deeper squad. I said better squad.

  116. Thanks lagooner,ateeb,paulie etc

    Personally I have just has this same argument witha fellow Gooner on weather the 07/08 team with hleb,Cesc,flamoney and ade was better and they deserves a league title more than the 09/10.

    As you can imagine it went on for awhile!!

  117. @ lagooner

    We’ll have to wait and see what their achievements are, and how they develop. Perhaps we will be looking back in five years’ time, thanking our stars that we have been privileged to watch the two greatest teams of their respective eras.

    “Where I agree is that over the course of the season, the Invincibles might have struggled if faced with the injuries our current squad had faced.”
    In other words, you DO think this squad – not this team, this squad – is better, no? I suspect when you say the current squad is deeper but not better, you mean that this squad is stronger but the first 11 is weaker.

    A squad is as good as the least good player. If Messi was injured for half the season, his understudy would have to play.

    @ Maria
    I’d say, barring extreme and exceptional circumstances, whichever team wins the league deserves it. But by God our lot deserve something, even if it isn’t the league title.

  118. Player for player all over the pitch I see better players in the current squad. The only doubts I have are about DB10. I don’t think any in the world can match DB10 on his day. As for TH14…..I think we have players that will be up there with him though. People forget that TH14 could be brilliant but he could also disappear for games on end.

    This squad are brilliant and are beginning to turn in performance after perfoemance. Just that Arsenal supporters in general are just as slow as the press and media at realising it.

  119. I agree FG on this point. But I still believe we should have won the league in the 07/08.

  120. Frank-I know you said better squad. That’s where we disagree. I believe that the squad is deeper (for example players 15-25) and that has really helped us with all the injuries. But I would still take the squad that has Henry, Bergkamp, Campbell (at his peak), Pires, Ljunberg and A.Cole in it.

  121. @ Maria

    It was so agonisingly close, wasn’t it?

  122. @ lagooner

    Would you have taken that squad if all those star players had been injured all season?

  123. I think Ateebs one of them people who be controversial for the sake of it, to try and sound intelligent. There too dumb to realise how dumb they sound.

    Also, its impossible to compare players from different times playing against completely different teams.

  124. Yes I know you would, lagooner. That is my point. I wouldn’t take the Invincibles. Technically this squad are better and will get even better still. With a prevailing wind most of them will be with us in five or six years time. The peaks that they are set to reach are far, far higher.

  125. I think at AW reckons this squad are much better too. First eleven, if there is such a thing, and down and across.

  126. Angel, FG, NJ,

    You missed the point I was trying to make completely. It doesn’t take a f*cking genius to figure out that how the arithematics of the table goes. Grade 3 students can figure out that if things remain the same, we would end up not winning the title. The point I was trying to make is that the whole concept of ” having control of our destiny” is utter non sense. You’re speaking of mathematical impossibilities and equating it to that concept, to paint a gloomy picture which all supporters should be anxious of. I on the other hand would rather use mathematical possibities to paint a better picture, in which we can win the title, and others would drop points because arithematically thats possible too. And given the history of the season so far, the chances are that other teams would surely drop points. Quite certain that they will.The issue isn’t about about the arithematics or possibilities, because one can choose whatever way to suit him/her self. It’s about using a phrase that by it’s distinction is of a gloomy nature, because of the certain position of ours in the league at this moment in time. The changing of cards of destiny between chelsea and Manc is a case in point, over the course of the season. It’s a ridiculous concept that cant surely lead to any constructive debate and nor raise any positive feelings between the supporters or players.

  127. You are a star, Ateeb

  128. @ FG

    It really was.

  129. I agree with you frank @7:35. There is just too much potential in the current squad, that only a fool can overlook. Nasri’s goal against Porto, was a sign of things to come from him. Whose to say, that if Theo can put in a good consistent run, he cant be better than Ljunberg or Pires? When it comes to technique few can match what Diaby is starting to exhibit week in week out. Only a fool would claim with certainty that he will never be better than Viera. No point in brining up RVP credentials, he would be fighting for player of the year, the first season he manages to complete uninjured.

  130. The conversation, as pointless as it is, was still not about potential, and about the squad as it is now.

    I’ll concede that in 10 years time, the collective achievements of this squad may exceed those of the Invincibles. But the Nasri of 2012 and the Wilshire of 2016 are not playing now!

    Frank-if you are saying that the current first team is stronger than the Invincibles first team, that’s fine. I believe you’re wrong but not by much. Still, that’s your opinion.

  131. Come on Bolton…..come on Wilshere……

  132. Ateeb.

    If it’s a comparison of potential, I’m on board. I was comparing the squad as it plays now with the Invincibles. As they are now, I’m certain the Invincibles would prevail and they would walk the league. Being injury-prone is also not always a coincidence. That has something to do with players not being fully developed, and the Invincibles were mostly all around their peak, and less prone to injuries.

  133. Henry, Vieria and DB10 are the only three world-class that will stand the test of time.

  134. Fuck me you are a true idiot Ateeb,, Seriously .

  135. Im sorry Maria but Freddy, Ashly cole( as much as I hate him) Pires, not world class,, are you serious?

  136. Some of you folks on here are having a laugh!

  137. Hey folks,

    In case you havent done already, Vote for your favorite Saturday lineup here

    http://socceropera.blogspot.com/

    thanks

  138. Yea Ateeb, seriously I have no idea what you are arguing about, our fate is not in our hands. Even if we win all our games we will not be champions. We need others to drop points, alas, we are not in control of our destinies. We can help to change this bye winning all our games. But we have no control over what the other teams performances are for the rest of the season.

  139. FO James!!!

  140. You fuck off maria,, I am not james and you are a classless fool..

  141. @ Ateeb

    Nobody missed the point. We need positivity to help our team win all our remaining games, but positivity will not change the fact that we currently have 67 points and rely on our rivals dropping points.

    Let’s hope Frank is right: “A week on Saturday. We will be in control of our destiny.”

    ****

    @ lagooner

    So would you take the 2004 squad, shorn of the players you mentioned?

  142. Why would anybody reply to ‘FO James’ if they were not James?

  143. Because I read this blog dupsffokcuf, and every time some one comes on here and says some thing the regulars dont like they use the FO James slurr..
    To say Pires, cole are not world class( or were ) is ridiculous,,, never mind freddy,,

  144. Funnily enough, it’s Invincibles night on ATVO. That was a great team, no doubt.

  145. @ Passenal

    I watched the first match – Arse 2-1 Leicester. They were so assured and commanding. It was like there wasn’t another team on the pitch!

  146. @ Mark

    DB10, Henry and Vieira were the best three players, though, wouldn’t you say, Mark?

  147. “That was a great team, no doubt.”

    Yes it was, Passenal. That should be a source of pleasure for Arsenal fans, but for some it is instead a reason to cavil at the current team. These people are like a perversion of the philosopher’s stone, able to make base metals from gold.

  148. Ateeb, Sorry for the delay, I had to pop out for an hour. I just wanted to say that your post @ 8.16 was the biggest load of horse shit i’ve ever read, well done, you’ve managed to break boundarys of pointless conversations, which is alot harder to do then people think, have you ever thought of going into politics?

  149. Fun Gunner

    We have not been shorn of our Top 6 players this year. How is that a comparison?

  150. I agree Poliziano, some can’t just appreciate them as a good team for their time without using them as a stick with which to beat the current team. They were fantastic then, and I would never denigrate their achievements, but this team has the potential to do as well if not better and I am eagerly awaiting their chapter in the Arsenal history books.

  151. Which parts of Ateeb’s post didn’t you understand, Angel?

  152. uh-oh, I see the pompous one returned….

    I doubt whether I was being referred to as someone looking for a reason to cavil at the current team. In case it was a cheap shot, it’s clear that all we’re doing here is comparing degrees of greatness, not deriding our current team through the comparison with the Invincibles.

  153. I agree with Pz.

  154. Fuck Off James 🙂

  155. I think I made my opinion quite clear. This squad is better than the Invincibles…..NOW. But for several extremely serious injuries I doubt whether that fact would be in doubt. I am not maligning the Invincibles, they were the best there was at the time. But they were not as good as this team/squad/unit/group is….NOW.

  156. Ateeb, not only did your response not make any sense, but everyone who read it got a little bit dumber.

    It’s clear that you didn’t REALLY understand what the phrase “control your own destiny” means given that absolutely belligerent and illogical blob of words some call a “comment”. You will receive no points and may god have mercy on your soul.

  157. Interestingly none of the Invincibles had their lower leg snapped into a second joint. Three of this squad have endured that very serious injury…and yet still they come back. Aaron will return, of that there is no doubt at all. This squad are tougher than the Invincibles. They have had to be.

  158. I wish awaydays were as easy as in spain. It really is poor, how you just know barca or real will turn over their opponents, no matter where they travel. They dont have segregation for away fans, getafe v real madrid just highlights why the epl simple is the best league in the world, by far

  159. “You will receive no points and may god have mercy on your soul.”

    LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL

    WTF?

    Seriously…..

  160. ‘Control your own destiny’ is just a turn of phrase.

    Ateeb is fine.

  161. Well, lets see what the squad will achieve this season.

    Im trying to convince myself not to be depressed if we dont win the EPL, we have had so many problems i should be proud of what the team has achieved. But deep down i’d be truly pissed off if the trophy went to stamford bridge or old trafford

  162. Now KAMAN Arsenal.

    Arsenal, Arsenal, Arsenal…Arsenal, Arsenal, Arsenaaa-aal Arsenal, Arsenal Arsenal….Arsenal…….ARSENAL..

  163. Well if we win every game from now, we can only come second or first.

  164. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Bill knows he made that comment, arsenehollis. I’ll bust it out when I have the time for you chumps, don’t you worry.

  165. I think we have to look at Citeh, Tottenham and Wigan.

    We have to hope Citeh make 4th place and are fairly comfortable, spuds..they will be tired after fa cup semi, and lets hope wigan are free of danger

  166. I have to laugh at some of the memories that we have of this squad already. That fantastic volley by RvP? The like of which no-one has ever seen before or since, served up by Eboue of course. Myles Palmer said it was an accident.
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAH….Haaaaaaaarrrrhhhhh…pfffftttttt…uuuurrrggghh…….aw fucking deah….HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHHHHAAAh…

    What a prick

  167. I have to laugh at some of the memories that we have of this squad already. That fantastic volley by RvP? The like of which no-one has ever seen before or since, served up by Eboue of course. The hack dwarf said it was an accident.

    What a prick

  168. Zap, whatever happens, we can only be proud of this squad given the obstacles we have had to overcome.

  169. The aresholes who booed their way through the Fulham game, at Alex Song. Shouting and jeering and telling us all he was never going to make it. Probaly the best free-kick ever taken in that game too. Another accident of course.

  170. The dickheads who booed Eboue when he came back from injury to play,very unusually, on the left.They started booing whilst he was playing really well and used the effect it had on him to justify there subsequent booing, when not surprisingly he was emotionally on his knees.

    Cunts.

  171. Our old pitch looks soooooooooo small. Know wonder all the players look like giants even guys like Duff!! While the likes of Lampard it’s a given.

  172. Amazingly they now try to justify their actions by claiming that his elevation to almost superstar status is down to them booing him.

    Unbelievable.

  173. What a beautifully graceful man Pires was, even on a football pitch.

  174. WG was so angry, frustated and downright passionate about the injustice of the Bromwicham game when Eduardo had his leg snapped….and the ‘fans’ claimed he was sulking.

    oh dear oh dear oh dear

    Of course he is now everyone’s hero…and rightly so.

  175. That’s a good point about the pitch. How would the invincibles have fared on the emirates pitch? It’s relatively easy to make those quick counter attacks on the small Highbury pitch as opposed to the expanses of the Emirates pitch.

  176. Shaggability is not an attribute available to me in my assessment of the squad, Maria. Not of the men’s team anyway.

  177. Incidentally I think that Robert Pires ran like Buster Keaton.

  178. The true changing of the guard. The day the old gave way to the new was the day RvP came on to score the equaliser against the Mancs. Broke his foot doing it and energised TH into scoring the winner.

  179. …or was it when Cesc as a little boy left PV on his arse?

  180. Frank, I agree, the behaviour of some of our “fans” recently has been a disgrace. Sadly the glory hunters are now out in force and when we win some of us who were there in the hard times will be left out in the cold.

  181. …or maybe it was when Armand Traore got caught carrying a knuckle-duster into Shite Hart Lane. He loves this club. Will end up at PSG but not before he has become a legend at Arsenal.

  182. Would Vieria get up and down the Emirates pitch at the same rate? Would we had seen less of his famous box to box runs? Or less of his crunching challenges ……

    We shall never know P…..

  183. Would anyone disagree that this could be Arsene’s strongest side if everyone was fit?

  184. I’d just like to take a second to commend NJGooner on his tremendous bit of dooming in his post at 6:56. Keep the negative vibes flowing, my friend.

    All the best,

    Doom&Gloom HQ

  185. …or maybe it was the day that Samir Nasri expained to Joey Barton how switchblades are used in Marseille. Beautifully supported by Gael Clichy who made Barton look like a fool.

  186. I think there are 20 players in our first eleven, Mean Lean. maybe more. That is why we have been able to bounce back.

    We will dominate football for many years with this squad.

  187. I’d just like to take a second to commend NJGooner on his fantastic comment @ 6:56. You are now officially a Doom&Gloomer. Welcome to the herd.

    All the best,

    D&G HQ

  188. Maybe it was the day that the old boys of Chelski had to resort to spoiling tactics to stop our youngsters embarassing them in the eggcup final. What a goal by Theo. You are world-class, son. They just haven’t noticed yet.

  189. …maybe it was as recent as the oh so deft soft featherlight touch by RvP perfectly guided to his mate Cesc to slot in.

  190. LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL

  191. I’d just like to take a second to commend NJGooner on his fine bit of dooming at 6:56. You are now officially a Doom&Gloomer. Welcome to the herd.

    All the best,

    D&G HQ

  192. Little signs. Clues, Treasures. There for us all to see.

  193. @ lagooner
    Maybe not quite as many as 6 key players, but several at a time. But the reason I asked was that you can’t guarantee that the top players will stay fit and you said the 15-25 players of 2004 were worse.

    ***
    @ Frank
    As soon as they win that first trophy, they will start to get the credit they deserve, even if it’s retrospectively. If there’s one thing that hacks and glory-hunters respect, it’s trophies.

    ***
    @ Maria
    I always had a bit of a thing for Pires. And Henry. They just had something. Still do.

    ***
    @ Mean Lean
    It would depend on the game to some extent. I’ve always said that I don’t think we have a first 11 as such, but 4-5 players who will always start if fit, and most of the other places decided on current form or on a “horses for courses” basis.

  194. Nj,

    The point I made still eludes you. I am surprised you haven’t shot yourself between the legs so far, for finding the team not having control over their destiny, whatever the fuck that’s suppose to mean. You can choose whatever the fucking phrase you want to suit the way you want to look forward to the season. Anxious about not having control over the destiny is ridiculous to me. I am sure, given we were on top of the league right now, you’d still be moaning about how the control over the destiny is not as tight as possible, given how it’s mathematically possible for us to drop points. Hence no gurantees over winning the league even then. You and Angel, can both worry about lacking control, while I’ll watch us move to the top of the league, while the rest of the teams will start dropping points. Only an idiot can get dumber reading another’s comment.

  195. We all got dumber reading yours Ateeb! I guess when a idiot posts smart people get dumber..The opposite and equal effect of idiots getting dumber?

  196. “Maybe it was the day that the old boys of Chelski had to resort to spoiling tactics to stop our youngsters embarassing them in the eggcup final. What a goal by Theo. You are world-class, son. They just haven’t noticed yet.”

    I agree. I cannot forget that day, we were magnificent for 75 minutes until the Terry incident and the departure of Diaby. I knew then it was only a matter of time until we mature into that unstoppable force. We are so close, I can almost taste it!

  197. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    I miss the old ACLF. NJGooner would have been called a doomer for his 6:56 post on the old ACLF. That was Franchise-esque. I can’t believe the lambasting Ateeb took for such a positive comment.

  198. Hundreds of incidences of extraordinary, complex passing sequences. Game in game out. Enthralling, exciting and unsurpassed. So beautiful and yet so many hardly notice. The West Ham game last week. Arsenal went off the boil after the first goal they said. Have they not eyes to see. The passing and movement before and after that goal were utterly unbelievable. Each sequence a tiny bubble of perfection.

    I salute this squad. It is the best Arsenal squad I have ever seen…and you can read into that whatever you wish. I just don’t fucking care.

    ….Arsenal….

  199. 1 loose cannon

    Zap -I agree la liga is shit you take out Madrid and Barcelona the rest is just shite. everytime I watch Madrid or Barcelona they just walk over their opponents with ease If Barcelona had to Travel to places like Stoke that Messi will come back messed up and bruised he will not be able to walk for weeks, its a lot harder in the premiership. Next season its going to be even harder, Man city with their cash, the Spuds have their tail up then Villa, Everton it is really tough. the amazing thing is we are up there at the top fighting it out with very little money to spend. The more I think about it the more I think Wenger is a genius.

  200. Arsene has said this is the best group of players he has worked with, which should tell us something.

    I think people often expect the next champions to look like the last ones, so they don’t recognise them at first. When someone makes a successful film, everyone copies their style until someone else breaks the mould and does something different. Which everyone else then copies. The Invincibles were like buccaneers or musketeers, the Unstoppables are more like a crack SAS unit.

  201. Whatever frank, we all know you are a wanker,

  202. Excellent, FG.

  203. Fuck off JO

  204. @ NJ-N

    Huh? Why was NJGooner’s post dooming? Let’s not get all hung up on a phrase. All it means essentially is that we need other teams to drop points. Where’s the doom in that?

  205. Thank you, Passenal. You are indeed a lady.

  206. Btw way. I don’t think you need worry about AA, Passenal. I have a feeling that his best is yet to come in the next few games….with a little help from his friends. Sorry, YW, that last bit was more your style.

  207. Night shift beckons.

  208. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Why couldn’t Ateeb express his confidence in the other teams dropping points? I mean, it’s an Arsenal blog, isn’t it? NJGooner was getting hung up on the fact that Ateeb was “guaranteeing” the others would drop points, and just went to the other extreme saying it was no guarantee they would. Bottom line is, he was looking at the worst case scenario. That’s dooming, imo. You say tomatoe, I say tomato. : )

  209. @Frank
    True! AA has promised us a game where he scores 5 goals. Maybe he can deliver away at the Spud’s place?

  210. You are a star, NJN

  211. Oh yes. I can see it now, Evilfiek.

  212. Just caught up all this destiny crap and decided to believe in fate. It’s much simpler.

  213. I used to live in the Bromwhicham area for a while. Steeped in history. Thousands of years. Most of it fascinating. But this pottery stuff. Homo sapiens seem to have been fixated with fucking pots down the ages. It will probably be the end of us I should think.

  214. Funny AA pic!!

  215. …sorry Bromwicham. Only people from Alum Rock add an aitch. Or haitch as they would call it.

  216. Nice example of Soviet industrial art in the background, Maria.

  217. I agree, AA has the ability, but I am still waiting for that moment, when he convinces me that he is more than just a flash in the pan and can be relied on to produce on a consistent basis.

  218. @ Ateeb

    I do understand what you are saying – and if we were in this position with 20 games to go, there would be plenty of time. But there are only seven games to go and ManU are in the driving seat.

    @ NJ-N

    I believe our team will do what they need to do and I expect NJ Gooner believes, too. But no-one, not Ateeb, not AW, not anyone, can guarantee that the others will drop points, except for when they play each other. You are seeing this as a lack of faith in the team, am I right? But actually it’s not a lack of faith because the results we are relying on are not down to our team. It’s not believing that Manure and Chavski can’t possibly lose, either – it’s saying that it is possible that they will win all their games and it is agonising that we can’t affect whether they do or not. As Arsene would probably say “We don’t master the situation.”

    Anyway, I am off to bed now. Good night, all.

  219. NJN,

    Trolls have as the season has improved have been better able to disguise themselves.

  220. Me too Passenal.

  221. 1 loose cannon

    Who is the kid on the right ? Crouchy?

  222. It’s always made me sad, that ‘fans’ agreed with the AA style misinformation,

    that Gallas was ‘Sulking’ that day.

    It’s a shame if he’s not ready for the Bullring,
    but I’ve learnt not to doubt this squad!
    The evidence is quite compelling.

  223. If you took out Lauren and replaced him with Sagna, the invincibles were one of the best sides ever in English football.

    I used to be very critical of Arsene because I felt that side should have won the league every year from 98 to 2004. They were much better than Man United. But I later realised that our league makes it easier for Man United to win the league…in many unspoken ways.

    The thing though is that the invincibles didn’t have the all-round quality of this present squad. Beyond the first 15 players in the invincibles squad we dropped very quickly into Stepanovs territory.

    In this current squad there is not one single average player. They are all above average.

    We’ve had a lot of top footballers over the decades at the Arsenal, but we’ve never had this much quality all round. Not nearly.

    We have 10 footballers playing for our reserves who could have been in the Invincibles squad. If Jeffers, Aliadiere, Quincy, Stepanovs, Hoyte were in the squad then, then Sunu, Coquelin, Nordtveit, Wilshere, Eastmond, Barazite, Lansbury, Jay Emmanuel Thomas, Szsesny would surely have been too. They’re much better than the Jeffers’ of this world.

    This squad can actually be one of the best ever in the Premier League. The question is whether they will realise their potential before impatience, stupid fans, a hostile media and other realities derail them.

    The one thing I’d bet my left testicle on is that at some point they will win a trophy. The question is when.

  224. …NJN…. you are a star….,

    Ateeb…. you are the dumbest person able to use a computer

  225. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    I certainly read it as a lack of faith, FG. Maybe I’m being harsh. But I firmly believe the others will be dropping points, and that bodes well for the mighty Arsenal. Who wants to sit around and have a second place party right now? Get behind the team and whatever happens, happens. And with that I’m off for a curry. G’night, FG.

  226. 1 loose cannon

    FunGunner- this game against Barcelona will be like Ali’s fight V Sonny Liston. Liston was a champ with an impressive record even Henry Cooper refused to get into the ring with him as he thought he had no chance then came along a young ALi no one gave him a chance but he took him on and as they say the rest is history. This team will be one of the greatest football teams and this is Wenger’s vision, he wants to write his name in the history of football. With the previous teams they came short on the European stage but this team is made to conquer Europe and this Barcelona game might be the beginning of something very special. If its not Wenger will continue tweaking until he gets it absolutely right.

  227. I am surpirsed that people here, these days, have more faith in Manc having a 7 game winning streak than us. Actually I am astounded that my opinion of them dropping points was considered nothing short of blasphemy. What evidence has the Manc provided of capabailities to go on such a streak? Have you people been following their scrappy wins? If only people could back OUR team with the same vigour and belief. I hope none of our players hold such admiration or fear of the Manc.

    However given how the season has progressed, I can still gurantee that they would drop points. They’re simply not good enough. The only team capable right now of a 7 game winning streak is Arsenal. Manc have a slight advantage at the moment, but that has more to do with the bigger oppositions that we’ve already faced this season. There run in, is most difficult than the other two. Without the arsenal bias, one can suggest that no one is in the driving seat right now, a point separates the teams, and 7 games are just too many for the table to remain the same. Not going to happen. The momentum is more with us than any other team, the black horse that no one saw coming. We’re not relying on just one player to grab us the win, unlike the other two. And that is where we can hope we will pick up more points than them.

  228. lol Maria @ 11:45 pm. IS that really AA? If it is, than nice job finding it.

    I see we all have our cystal balls out today, predicting others to drop points.

    Keep the faith and unite people!!

  229. Mean Lean at 10:51 pm

    I think you have it on the money, with the only one in question being Bendtner, Rosicky, Eboue or Walcott could all compete with Nasri for the attacking right-hand side in the 4-3-3. Depending on the opposition, Eboue at RB has worked well too.

    Still, if your team was fit for Barcelona, that’s as good a line-up as any we could put out.

  230. Ateeb:

    Both Arsenal and Man United can win every game remaining. Arsenal because we are on a great streak, confidence is high (and will be higher still with a couple of good results against Barcelona), and the trend is on players returning to fitness rather than falling like flies. Chelsea are decimated right now, and without A.Cole, Ivanovic and now Carvalho, things look tough for them.

    Man United have the benefit of their tough games being at home and their easier games being away. They are confident also. Still, Man U. are a Rooney injury away from becoming more vulnerable in the big games.

  231. Ole Gunner:

    Thanks for talking sense. I’ve been saying all along that our current squad is deeper than the Invincibles (15th player down) but the Invincibles had more great players than this team currently has.

    This team can do great things. I truly hope that Ramsey returns to full capacity, because in the event Cesc does return to Spain, it would be a seamless transition from Song-Diaby-Cesc to Song-Diaby-Ramsey.

    Arsene is really creating a dynasty, and even the billionaires will struggle to compete.

  232. To be honest, as good as the invincibles were they never did anything great in Europe. When we were winning the league fairly frequently everyone said that Europe was Wenger’s failing.

    Our “youth project” has been way more successful in Europe than our “invincibles” ever were.

  233. I’m pretty confident Chelsea will drop points now that Carvalho is out for a month, along with Essien, Ferriera, and Ivanovic. I think Cole is out as well, so with the 12 million pound teenage sensation Mikel providing cover, I’d be expecting a rather average defence.

    The down side is that they look pretty unlikely to beat the Mancs

  234. Hi Frank, I had baby duties. My time is limited. It’s a boy. 6 days old today! It’s a team effort here, like Arsenal.

    Thanks Paul N! How you doing with your little girl?
    Thanks FunG. Yes, I can sleep sometime later.

    Ateeb is completely logical and miles ahead of most fairweather types on this site.

    This is the not only the best Arsenal squad of the last 30 years, it is also the most interesting and versatile, and has the greatest potential. This is not to belittle the great invincibles, but that squad was a product of its time; and compared to the current vintage it looks a little one-dimensional.

    The invincibles were faster, had a shit-hot defence, had Thierry, arguably the greatest striker ever to grace the game in England. Pires was pure magic, Vieira towering, and of course Bergkamp the complete player. That squad was the supreme master of the counter-attack. The current squad, unbelievably, has more innovation about it.

    Defences have seen huge improvement in English football, and compared to today, yesteryear’s defences look naive. This squad has had to find means to goals against superb defences playing 8 or 9 behind the ball. Today’s squad would have mesmerised defences of the past. They would have looked like ‘something from the future’.

    One only has to look at 3 ‘typical’ players of today: Song, Diaby and Eboue – each of whom would have been automatic in the Invincibles side – to see how much more versatile and ‘complete’ the current squad is. I select these examples to show how today’s players must be able to attack, defend, pass, move, position, hold, dribble, head, shoot, all with superb fitness and alertness.

    But players are not comparable. Comparisons are ‘odious’ as the saying goes. Like great meals, or music compositions, or pieces of theatre – how does one possibly compare the ‘ingredients’. One looks at the ‘whole’. The passing and movement of the current Arsenal vintage has only one peer in modern football, naturally Barca. The difference is, we are at the beginning of our journey.

    Oh well, it’s 5.30am I’ve been up for an hour while my little boy and his Mom are both sleeping. Rare.

  235. Well done ZimPaul. I got an 8 month old, so known exactly what you mean.

  236. ZimPaul,

    So who would Song, Diaby and Eboue replace in the Invincibles side?

    Song and Gilberto is a toss-up. Eboue and Lauren is a toss-up depending on needs and Diaby would not get in ahead of Vieira nor Pires and Ljunberg out wide. Certainly none of them would be automatics.

    It’s almost as if the whole world has gone mad, and I’m not even the nostalgic type. After all, it’s only 6 years ago!!!

  237. Of such debates, forums are made of.

    In my opinion, it is a futile exercise to compare the legends of one generation with another and conclude who/which is the greater. Pele v Maradona? Invincibles v Arsenal 2010? Fabregas v Vieira? van Persie v Bergkamp? Wenger v ____ (I’m not so steeped in Arsenal history to cite an example.)

    I would simply appreciate the privilege of having witnessed The Invincibles at their peak and the evolution of our current team, from whom more can be expected.

    I have been entertained immensely by the art and artistry displayed by both teams in scoring almost the perfect goal, the invention of flicks and backheels, the precision of the passes, the speed of the counter attacks ending in a Henry/Arshavin goal, the incomparable Bergkamp goal against Newcastle, etc.

    Why can’t we be happy with the team we have, as well as the great team of the past. They will never share the same pitch on opposite sides to settle the score on who is better.

    Enjoy the journey. While the destination is to win a trophy, it is the journey with that makes supporting Arsenal so interesting.

  238. Luke,

    I think you just made the perfect closing statement to bring an end to this discussion.

    Let’s get focused on the next few games now!

  239. lagooner 🙂

  240. Frank:

    “Maybe it was the day that the old boys of Chelski had to resort to spoiling tactics to stop our youngsters embarassing them in the eggcup final. What a goal by Theo. You are world-class, son. They just haven’t noticed yet.”

    Diaby was masterful in that game. That’s when I knew he was going to be a huge player for Arsenal.

  241. I think that if Rooney can’t play the entire match against Bolton the Mancs will drop points and we’ll be at least level with them ahead of their game with Chelsea.

  242. Perhaps Wilshere will help win the title for Arsenal by scoring against the Mancs? 😉

  243. I agree with, ZimPaul. Sleep well.

  244. Luke and Zim Paul:

    Excellent stuff.

  245. hey there. i apologize if im a tad irrelevant but if you’re are trying to find a way to make cash on the net I recommend CashClown. Take care.

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