Arsenal Battered And Beaten In Nou Camp

Champions League Quarter Final, 2nd Leg
Barcelona 4 – 1 Arsenal
(Barcelona win 6 – 3 on aggregate)

0 – 1 Bendtner (18)
1 – 1 Messi (21)
2 – 1 Messi (37)
3 – 1 Messi (42)
4 – 1 Messi (87)

Another season’s European dream is in tatters, hearts shattered as Arsenal were out-passed, out-run, out-thought and outplayed. Having failed to live up to the hype in the first leg, Lionel Messi returned with a vengeance, his first half hat-trick battering Arsenal into submission. There were individual performances on the Arsenal side which were below par but overall, the better side won. As easy as it is to point to the Argentinean international as being the difference between the two sides, the rest of the Barcelona team put in a considerable amount of hard work to enable that difference to be made.

Over the two legs, the disappointment is that Arsenal did not play anywhere near their best save for the thirty minutes in the first leg. For that, Barcelona take credit, their speed of passing and retention of possession, combined with the pressure applied when chasing the ball prevented Arsenal from hitting their heights. The absence of injured players is no excuse, no matter their importance to the side. The squad should be deep enough to deal with this and comparably, Barcelona had injuries to similarly key players.

The opening exchanges were not as one-sided as the first leg but it was still Barcelona who enjoyed the majority of possession, Messi bringing a save from Almunia before dropping a shot onto the top of the net. It was apparent that Arsenal would spend the evening absorbing pressure and hitting on the break. Which is exactly what happened with the first quarter of an hour barely over.

Diaby won the ball in midfield, freed Walcott who used his pace to sprint into the area, unselfishly crossing to Bendtner, the Dane reacting quickest to the rebound after Valdes blocked his initial effort. The lead, the chance to put doubts into the hosts minds, prove everyone wrong about this squad.

To achieve that it was necessary to hold onto the lead. Arsenal did but for barely two minutes. Barcelona applied the pressure, Nasri deflected the ball into Silvestre, slightly wrong-footed as he intercepted, merely diverting it back to Messi who struck from the edge of the area into the top corner; an outstanding finish.

The second came as Arsenal tried to regroup. Abidal was played in behind the defence, his cross intercepted by Silvestre but his weak clearance only reached Messi – the finish punishing the ineffective defensive work in the build-up.  The third, and Messi’s hat-trick, was not unexpected. The defence held a high line in their own half, Clichy not quite as far forward as he should have been, Messi played through and sprinted clear, finishing in the same manner as Carlos Vela has in the Carling Cup over the past couple of seasons. For a club well-versed with tight defending, it was a poor goal to concede.

In the second half, Barcelona seemed content to sit back, understandably with the tie in their control. Rosicky’s first time effort which flew high and wide whilst Bendtner hit the post, only to flagged offside. Pedro lifted the ball over the onrushing Almunia and wide of the goal whilst Clichy shot over when Eduardo was perhaps better placed. In the end, the fourth came as Messi weaved his way across the Arsenal area, Almunia blocked but was beaten as Messi drilled through his legs.

For Wenger, he has just over a week to work on the fitness of those who are absent. With the rest of the squad, it will be regrouping mentally. Last night would have damaged confidence, perhaps leading to questions about just how good the squad is, a crisis of faith perhaps. It showed how far they have to travel in order to become the best in Europe; that is a longer term concern. Immediately though wounded pride needs to be nutured ahead of the trip to White Hart Lane.

Question marks over the performances in the big matches will tax Arsene’s mind as he looks to strengthen the squad in the summer. As unpleasant as the thought is, we have woefully underachieved against our ‘peers’ this season. No one player or position is at fault. The lack of depth in central defence will no doubt be an area he looks to resolve, the absence of Gallas, Djourou, Song and Campbell last night proved too big a hole to plug. Now though is not the time for knee-jerk reaction.

Despite the obvious negatives, there were some positives to take forward. Clichy was excellent and his contest with Alves should have been the example followed by all. Likewise Almunia, despite conceding four, performed well. It hints that the ability is there, concentration and consistency need to follow. Sagna and Vermaelen played decently, shouldering their duties consistently throughout the evening, although the former was exposed for the second. Denilson’s critics were made to review their position, the Brazilian working hard to close down space.

Others can do better and will do but the upshot is that the list of potential trophies this season reduced to one. Focus returns to that now. Despite that though, there have been tangible improvements this season, the basis upon which to build for the remainder of this campaign and the future.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on April 7, 2010, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 612 Comments.

  1. 1st?

  2. It has been said countless times but there is no shame in losing to a very good side who have the best player in the world.

    We had five first team players out, five key players so for me we didn’t ever really watch the Arsenal vs Barcelona tie that we wanted to.

    I would expect Barcelona to say the same if they had Xavi, Messi and Iniesta missing for most of the tie.

    We still have a little way to becoming the best in the world but I have no doubts that we will get there with our manager at the helm.

    Good fight lads, it wasn’t enough this time.

    But by gee, is that little number 10 bloody good. Not as good as Rooney though of course *ahem*

  3. Well said Yogi!

    I hope we can learn from this battering, move on and give our best for the rest of the season.

    I thought the performance was better in the Nou Camp than at the Emirates.

    Still think our players have a lot to learn from last night if they want to be the best.

  4. We lost because we did not close them down effectively as a team. It is as simple as that.

    We had too many important players missing for a game of this magnitude and Barca were simply better than us. Onwards and upwards though, we still have a good shot at the league.

  5. I have read with keen interest comments on various sites and people always tend to take extreme positions, either by calling Barca diving cheats or simply calling our Youth Project a failure that should be abandoned with the speed of light.

    Its easy to jump on any of these band wagons and either be blinded by the quest for “Bragging Rights” without the thoughts of the club’s future or take the simplistic approach of blaming the Ref and the Diving Barca. Am not one to be ungracious in defeat, we were beaten over two legs by a better team and Arsene himself acknowledged that and stated quite obviously that Barca’s youth set up is 10 years ahead of ours. Barca has taken a different route to ours by investing in Youth and Spending Heavily too; Zlatan, Alves, Toure, Henry, Eto, Keita and a number of others. We have decided to take a different route which I truly believe in and am sure will dominate the World in a couple of years if they are kept together.

    Injuries have been more cruel to us, more than any other team in the last few years and a solution needs to be found.

    Supporting AFC is not for the faint hearted as we will continue to suffer defeats such as last night’s until the boys mature.

    Let’s get behind our team irrespective of what we may think of them. The EPL is still there for the taking.

    It would be nice if we could adopt Barca’s work ethic and the way they pressed and earned the right to play by always trying to retrieve the ball.

    We are The ARSENAL!!!!!!

  6. Ooh ahh Ray Parlour

    The same things being said today are the same things that were being said 12 mths ago when Man Utd spanked us.In Europe we play like novices.Wenger just doesnt seem to have the tactics when we play really top class teams.In Europe the lessons are not being learned

    Sylvestre was shit when we signed him.So what happens when we play the best team in the world???

    We need 4 top quality signings by the start of next season.A goalkeeper,a CB a midfielder and a striker

    And god help us if Cesc goes

    We had two top quality CB’s but no back up.

  7. I am not disappointed as I was last year when we were kicked out in the semi finals. This time the task was simply too hard for our boys, but despite everything, they performed well. In the end the difference was Messi — we had him under control in the first leg, but couldn’t manage that in the second and he made us pay.

    I am proud of our players.

  8. That has to be the longest night ive had in a while…
    that being said i was proud of the boyz today, we were better than we were at the emirates, we did not fear.

    like wenger said, we have to pick ourselves and batter the spurs this weekend

    ps. messi is not human

  9. YG

    There are at least a dozen keepers in the premiership better than Almunia.He is not good enough.

    As for Walcott when is this over-hyped player going to start delivering.And to those who keep saying he is only young.He is the same age as Messi

  10. Any chance we can press the fast forward button on Wellington’s progress.

    How about a 24 year old version with Premier League experience and who is fully developed physically?

    While we are at it the same button can be pressed for Wilshere and Ramsey. While we are at it


    Have I forgotten anyone?

    The future is still well and truly Arsenal.

  11. And some players simply peak later than others, Kenny.

    As for Walcott, in my opinion he did his job. He provided the assist for our first goal, was in good positions quite a few times (even though he didn’t always get the ball) and made decent runs.

  12. It is one of those very few occasions that it did not hurt that much losing. Sure it hurts some, but overall, we didi not deserve to win.

    But what it did show up was we have been hoodwinking ourselves in the past seasons where we felt sick for losing in the ECL or BPL because of the perceived unfairness we got – either unfair decisions or untimely injuries. In reality, we have never been up to it. Year in year out, we consoled ourselves that we have a young team, and that it will come good. Sure, it still can this season, but odds are stacked against us.

    AW sold us the future for the past five seasons and we believed him. It was a good ride, but it has caught up with us now, esp when our own galacticos like TH, Sol, PV, DB, Ljungberg, Pires left in quick succession and was never replaced.

    We boast a young team, average age about 22 or 23. But I am afraid in five years’ time, the average age will remain the same as AW brings in younger players and older ones go. Once again we will be found wanting.

    So the solution would be to ensure the current crop of future galacticos like Cesc, Walcott, Nasri, Diaby, Song, TV, Sagna, Clichy, Bendtner and RvP remain together for the next five to seven years. Whether this can be done remains to be seen, but I doubt it. So once again we will miss out again at the end.

  13. Almunia performed well?!!

    He made a great save to deny Messi early on, but he conceded 4 and his distribution was absolutely woeful. Never mind him being probably close to the worst captain i’ve ever seen.

    Maybe in the context of Almunia he had a good game, but in the context of every other top keeper around? No chance.

  14. we got well and truly schooled last night.

    noticed how their 2 centre backs always made themselves available for the pass and on occassion would even hug the touch line to widen an already wide pitch (sometimes last night it was like we were scared of the ball at the back so almunia was forced to punt). add to that how well they pressed us in our own half!! forget messi’s individual brilliance, when they had the ball and off the ball when they lost it – was a schooling session. and i hope we learnt our lesson.

    i was humbled so cant imagine what the players felt like on the end of that lesson

  15. Barca have 8 players that they pay more than $5.5 million – that’s 8 more than us and more than any othr team in world football. With numbers like that they better beat us every time!

  16. notice how barca press and close down when they are not with the ball? thats one thing we should learn for sure

  17. barca won sod all for 6 years

  18. What a battering? Seems like every time your team plays a decent team, you simply get hammered.
    Your excuses are that you had injuries, ahhhhh, what a shame, but guess what? You guys didn’t invent injuries, they have been in our game for as long as the game itself, so stop with your whining, that is football.

    And for those who said Messi was the difference, are you having a luagh? did you watch the match or did you “not see it”. You were beaten in every area of the pitch, the scoreline flattered arsenal!

  19. Yogi:

    Well said. Thanks for not complaining about referees and the other team diving and whining about the whole world is against us. Even if it is true it only makes us look like whiners when we constantly complain about it and it does no good. As you said we were outplayed by a better team.

    Our inability to stop the other team from scoring is again our downfall. We scored 3 goals against the team that is statistically the best defense in Europe. That is good offensive production. 3 goals in a 2 leg tie should be enough to win. However we conceded 6 goals and could have conceded 10 if not for Almunia in the 1st game. This year we have conceded 21 goals in 7 games vs Barca, Chelsea, ManU and City. I love watching Wengerball, but somehow, conceding far fewer goals has got to be incorporated into Wengerball.

    I hope we learn from watching Barca’s pressure tactics. They play good defense and still play excellent offensive football. I hope AW is true to his statement and strengthens the squad this summer. We have only had 1 significant defensive injury this year yet we had to start Silvestre at CB. Hopefully that will not happen again.

    If we win these last 5 games and get alot of luck with Chelsea and Mancs dropping points we can still win the league so lets get off the deck and win the last 5 games. Lets make mashed potatoes out of the spuds next week. Chelsea got off the deck after losing to Inter and we can too.

  20. Flattered us? I can’t remember any other Barca player having shots on target but Messi. And, in fact, the shot on goal ratio was “just” 2 to 1 for Barca.

  21. Wenger has finaly admitted that his young players are not good enough to win trophies

  22. “The absence of injured players is no excuse, no matter their importance to the side.”

    That doesn’t even make sense. At the very top level, it’s your world class players that make the difference. Not having them means you can’t make that difference. What happens on that break at 1-1 if it’s Cesc choosing between RvP and Walcott?

    Our two truly world class players are Cesc an RvP, and Arshavin is close, and would be if he tracked back. They are game changers. A similar lineup for Barca would have had Puyols in, Busquets out, Xavi out, Messi out, and Ibra out (which he was for this leg), but Iniesta in. I’d have taken my chances with that. Remember, that accounts for ALL their goals in the tie.

    For Arsenal to win against state and oligarch sponsored clubs, we need to have a little luck because we can’t absorb bad contracts and overpay for cover players. We haven’t been lucky at all this year, but I still think we will win the EPL if we don’t drop points. I think Chelsea has two away draws in them, and United has one. It would be a remarkable achievement.

  23. As a neutral I thought you guys were shown up. It’s all very well blaming injuries (Barca had 4 first teamers out too), without Cesc, you guys lack a leader and a midfield general.

    I admire Wenger for trying to copy the Barca model but many players are not the same quality and lacked composure and discipline in such a big game.

    Still I am sure you will be comforted by the fact that at some future point in time, this Arsenal team will be able to beat anyone.

  24. Yes it flattered you. Who said anything about shots at goal, you were outplayed from one end of the pitch to the other! The last 20 minutes of the first leg only happened because Barca switched off as it was so easy for them.

  25. Nou Camp Gooner

    Arsenal and Barca are both great teams when they have the ball but Barca are great when they dont have the ball.They close the ball down every player including the incredible Messi works his socks off.That is something we need to learn.Just look how far Song Denilson and Diaby stood off Barca when they had the ball over the two games.

    Some deluded Gooners still think Arsenal play the best football in the world,we dont Barca do

    The only Arsenal player who came out of last nights game with any credit was Clichy

  26. Like a phynx that rises from its own ashes, we can pick up VITAL LESSONS from the two matches against the WORLD’S best team and player.

    One, our marking and general workrate is still very poor and uncoordinated.We must learn how to press for the ball as individuals and as a team without losing our shape and formation;its the other leg that has been missing from our supposed passing game. Learning this is more important NOW than even beating Barca in their own home ground. The amount of work put in by the likes of Xavi, Busquets, Pedro, Keita and even Messi to press for the ball even in our own half was incredible.

    This is the reason why the two legs between them and Chelsea were draws;Wenger must humbly apply the lessons he has been taught by Pep and admit that not just Messi but the whole team were phenomenal last night

    They showed that a week ago at the Emirates, they actually did step off the pedal before the end of the game and that game us room to play and draw;last night they didn’t repeat such an error, knowing how quickly we moved the ball.

    The most important issue is, DID WE LEARN FROM THE DEFEAT? Will the defeat better us as a team? This is left to be seen…

  27. By: Notagoon on April 7, 2010
    at 2:56 pm

    what a twat – you getting a little thrill now

    at least we made the quarter finals, at least we still have something to play for and were all proud to be gunners!

    unless ur a man poo fan – what u got to shout about?

  28. “The absence of injured players is no excuse, no matter their importance to the side. The squad should be deep enough to deal with this and comparably, Barcelona had injuries to similarly key players.”

    “the absence of Gallas, Djourou, Song and Campbell last night proved too big a hole to plug. Now though is not the time for knee-jerk reaction.”

    Is that in and of itself not squad depth? Also those two comments seem contradictory.

    Yogi, you say other Barca players played well (which they did) but do you really believe the outcome of last night wouldve been the same without Messi, even though they missed some of their players?

    I am a bit confused, help me out.

  29. Chipo

    Couldnt agree more.How can a keeper who lets in 4 goals have a good game how many saves did he make?.Everytime the ball was passed back to him he kicked it out of play

    And for the life of me why when we need leadership on the pitch does Wenger make Almunia captain??????????

  30. Firstly excellent blog.

    However I think having a fit Gallas, Song, Fabregas, Arshavin and Van Persie over the two legs would have made for an improved performance; even changed the outcome. Barcelona would have faced a greater attacking threat and in turn would be more cautious in their style. Look at how they panicked around Walcott – I counted 2-3 players around him every time he got the ball last night. They wouldnt have been able to do that to Van Persie, Fabregas and Arshavin…

    We have been incredibly unlucky with injuries for the past few years and I’m sure the club must be looking at this area to figure out what the hell is going wrong. Is it the training methods, is it fatigue or are our players really made of glass? If its the later we need to lighten the load, get rid of the dead wood and replace them – regardless of their ability or whether they are a fan favourite.

    In addition what Barcelona showed me, in particular at the Emirates, is that its not all about ability. The work ethic of that team is second to none. Imagine an Arsenal side that not only played attractive football but also worked as hard as the Fulhams, Wolves…Barcelonas of this World.

    If I was Wenger I would drum this into the players and they will be unstoppable.

    I don’t really want to talk about new signings post barcelona but I truly believe (sounds like Le Boss) that by adding one or two experienced, hard working signings – in particular a top class centre back (to replace Sylvestre and Gallas) and an out and out winger who can put in decent crosses – is all thats needed to turn this side into winners.

    Almunia is ok and I fully expect Szeszney to come in as number two next season. I’m sure Chamakh has already signed and will be announced once Bordeaux are out of the CL.

    Keep the faith.

  31. I think there are quite enough gushing, fawning types around here today, blowing smoke up Messi’s arse and polishing their Barcelona striped hard-ons – so I thought I’d redress the balance and talk about the piss-poor refereeing.

    Of course those fouls that weren’t fouls did not lose us the game, but they were a factor. When the whistle is blown and a freekick given every time you make the slightest contact with another player, this largely negates the effectiveness of any ‘pressing’ you might do. The same ‘pressing’ that some of you seem to think is the sole preserve of Barcelona football club.

    If you think this Arsenal team don’t press to win possession – you’re not really paying attention.

    Maybe that’s whining, if so, don’t care.

    See you at the Lane, James.

  32. Harry Flowers

    “As for Walcott when is this over-hyped player going to start delivering.And to those who keep saying he is only young.He is the same age as Messi”

    For fucks sake. What is it with this pointless comparing of Theo’s age with Messi. Messi is the kind of talent that comes along very rarely….age has nothing to do with it. Theo has had a lot of injuries probs this season which have set him back. He’s STILL a very young player…and he will improve. He’s scored an important goal in the first case you forgot. He’ll never be Messi though. Few, if any, players have that much natural ability. Comparing their ages is futile and pointless and proves nothing. If you have nothing constructive to say….don’t say anything at all.

  33. Steven they played well but to say that the real difference maker was not messi is would be naive.

    You can go throughout history and you will find that there has always been certian individuals that are a class above the rest. though they are on a good team, they have the ability to me magic on an occasion.

  34. ”The absence of injured players is no excuse, no matter their importance to the side. The squad should be deep enough to deal with this and comparably, Barcelona had injuries to similarly key players.”

    This is utter bullshit, our two most talented strikers, two best midfielders and our best defender were out, as well as the two back-ups for him Campbell and Djourou. We were a couple of injuries away from fielding a Carling Cup side. It would be the equivalent of Barcelona having Messi, Ibrahimovic, Xavi, Keita, Puyol, Milito and Marquez all out. How you can say it’s no excuse is beyond me.

  35. Paul N

    Barca were missing Iniesta(for both legs)Puyol,Piquet and Ibrahimovic.All who would walk into our team.Dont you think they were weakened last night

    For too long we have been hiding behind the excuse of injuries.Last night Barc were not at full strength and spanked us

  36. Paul N

    Look at the absences:

    Gallas / Song / RvP / Cesc

    Piquet / Puyol / Iniesta / Ibrahimovic

    Key players for both sides. They adapted to their absences far better than we did. Quite simply, they were better than us. Injuries are not an excuse nor are they a reason.


  37. For all the credit being thrown Clichy’s way, which I wholeheartedly agree with, I thought Bendtner shined alongside him lasy night, yet seems to have been overlooked in alot of post match analysis. He worked so hard, and would’ve surely had a second goal were it not for a dodgy offside call.

    I think the fact that we were so well beaten will actually help us get over it quickly. Nothing to feel sorry for ourselves about, just simply out-played by a better team.

  38. What is a phynx?

  39. Harry Flowers, the cunt without a spacebar I wouldn’t bother with. Not an Arsenal fan.

  40. Have to say I disagree with you YW. Those players are absolutely key for us. Even our standins are knacked.

  41. Yogi,

    Great blog – balanced and truthful to the bone.


    Nice analysis again. Your so right – 3 goals should be enough to decide a tie of this magnitude if only we could learn to tighten up and concede less.

  42. Sometimes good players play well.

    I think AA scored four goals against a Liverpool defence that won in the Camp Gnu in ’07.

    An enthralling ego-fest between AA and Messi on Wednesday is one thing the injuries deprived us all of.

    Theo was not given growth hormones at a young age like Messi. He also had a decent game.

    The comment that really gave Bibin away was his dig at those he accused of besmirching Xavi.
    Anyone who cares to trawl through the archives here will find the opposite to be true.
    However, I do accept, Xavi is much better at falling over then Fabregas. Fabregas can’t even fall over when he’s got a broken leg.

    These dark arts will help Barca against Inter,
    I wonder how many penalties there’ll be in that tie?

  43. While Messi was outstanding and we did have injuries to key players, what really struck me was Barca’s overall defensive structure and the incredible workrate of all their players in pressuring and winning the ball. Offhand, I can’t remember many moments when an Arsenal player wasn’t outnumbered, being chased or funneled into a trap. Their defensive organisation was outstanding and you can talk all you want about their skill while in possession, but what makes them such a difficult team to play against is their defensive organisation and workrate.

    Arsenal, on the other hand, were defensively naive and I never got a good idea of what they wanted to do. Sometimes they pressured high, at other times they allowed Barca to walk the ball out from the back. The pressure they did apply was too often by a single player without support from other defenders, which against players like Xavi is pretty useless. Perhaps Barca were simply too aware and and their tempo too high to allow the Arsenal players to reorganise but the difference was striking.

    It’s a big ask to try to win at the Camp Nou without the first four players you’d put on the team sheet but it was distressing to see that Barca’s players had actually run more than ours. I can accept a talent gap but the seeming lack of defensive awareness and desire was poor.

  44. If only RVP was fit!!!!!

    Dont make me laugh.When has RVP been fit for the WHOLE season

    Get real.Having an injury prone player like RVP means you will be lucky to get 15-20 games out of him every season.

  45. the barcalona players were better than ours.

    Arsenal are quite a bit behind.

    Cesc our best passer of the ball is a product of their youth system that has produced xavi, inesta, 2 great passers of the ball and also messi.

    Jack wilshire looks to be the star pupil of our academy so maybe theres hope but barca seem to roll them off a production line.

    pedro keeping henry on the bench and bojan looks good.

    Yeah they spend stupid amounts of cash but that academy must save them millions£

  46. Bob

    Hysterical reaction does not disguise the fact that we were not good enough over the two legs.

    “We were a couple of injuries away from fielding a Carling Cup side”

    So it wasn’t a Carling Cup side then. Of those who took the pitch, Silvestre, Denilson, Rosicky and Bendtner would have dropped out if everyone was fit.

    Two current internationals, one former international and one who has represented his country before. These are not inexperienced players.

    Stop looking for excuses and accept we weren’t good enough.


  47. But those are not their most influential players.

    They also did shake defensivley, the problem was that we did not take our chances, along with a false offside goal

    Lets make some sense of this, we are missing AA, RVP and Cesc – undoubtedly 3 of our most infuential offensive players.

    We are missing Gallas, Song and Campbell – 3 of our best defensive players. We have Gallas out and we have to revert to Silvestre, did they have to do that?

    We are talking about all of our most influential players here so I dont agree with the comparison and still I say take Messi out of lasts night game and the result would be different.

  48. Great post YG

    Well said about the injuries.Two many people are using the injuries as an excuse for the defeat.Dont these fools know that Barca were without 4 first choice starters.Iniesta who finished 2nd in the world player of the year behind Messi only played 5 mins.They were without BOTH their CB’s

    C’mon Gooners stop using injuries as an excuse.

  49. ‘Look at the absences:

    Gallas / Song / RvP / Cesc

    Piquet / Puyol / Iniesta / Ibrahimovic’

    Firstly I would take our four over theirs any day, secondly what about AA?

    We don’t need to make excuses but i’d like to think things might have been different if we didn’t have so many key injuries, to dismiss this outright is madness.

  50. Frank

    Injuries should be ignored! The arguments can never be won – would the aggregate score have been closer? Perhaps but you cannot say.

    The players who took the pitch were the ones who counted. I am not saying the entire squad is not good enough to win the ECL.

    Strengthening happens each summer. Some will go in that instance. Most likely 2 of the 3 centre backs who are out of contract will leave, if not all of them.


  51. As far as Ibrahimovic, he is not looked upon as one of Barca’s most influential players, he is just a player who they paid of lot for off of past exploits.
    From what I have read most Barca fans think they paid way to much and regret it. The player they sold in Eto’o was influential and a great player.

  52. Paul N

    Is this the same AA who has been slagged off by the majority of Gooners for not pulling his weight this season?

    Next season he will be gone

  53. I think the difference in the game was actually quite simple. Without Alex Song…Messi ran free.

  54. That’s fine, Ted. But I wouldn’t bring up injuries if we were missing Rosicky, Gallas (but not Djourou or Campbell), Song and Bendtner. Because our attacking axis runs through Cesc and RvP. Give us Cesc, Rvp and Arshavin, then take Xavi and Messi (counts for 2) out.

    It’s not just the number of first team players…it’s the design of the team’s offense.

  55. Excellent post Yogi. You are right, the absence of injured players is no excuse. We were soundly beaten by a better team.
    The point that Bob and others are missing is that a top team will always suffer injuries and a team that really wants to win things has to have a enough strength in depth and resilience to overcome this.
    We can’t keep blaming each heavy defeat on “injuries” as players will always be injured.
    Barcelona had their two first choice central defenders out and one of their top strikers out last night.

  56. Injuries are not an excuse at all. Just a plain fact about the game. You can’t ignore them.

  57. Totally wrong, axis. Song is our most easily replaced player against a side like Barca. Denilson is a better ball interceptor. Had Song been healthy, I would have wanted Denilson ahead of Diaby.

  58. He is not missing that point at all, BigM. He just totally disagrees with you, as do I.

  59. Thank you Frank

  60. theBigM, would you kindly stop putting the word ‘injuries’ in quotation marks please? By doing that it seems to me you imply that our injured players are neither here nor there. I don’t think Aaron Ramsey would appreciate his double leg-break being referred to as an “injury” in such a belittling way, and to be quite honest, it’s starting to fuck me off.

  61. Well Yogi lets hope we dont have 3 players get injured who play the same position.

    Arsene said, if you asked me before the game if he would want Cesc to play he would say yes.

    Also, squad depth is one thing but you usually cannot just replace your best player in the team, that just doesnt happen much and I dont care what team you are talking about.

    Barca would not be as good if Messi was injured and why that doesnt give us any perspective is beyong me but such is life!

  62. nola…I disagree.

  63. In point of fact our injury list is
    RvP, Cesc, Ramsey, Gallas, Djourou, Arshavin, Song. I would also argue that Eduardo is not mentally fit and Tomas Rosicky is only partially fit. I would also add that Barcelona ensured that our play maker, Samir Nasri, was only half fit for most of the game. With our squad that alters the balance of the side completely….that is entirely germaine to our performance. The fact that Barcelona have adequate backups is neither here nor there.

  64. In the 1st leg at home we had Song Gallas and Cesc and Barcelona pissed on us for 70 mins.The injuries made no difference

    When will some Gooners give Barcelona the credit they deserve.Over the two games the football they played was unbeliveable.Football how it should be played.A pleasure to watch

  65. Peter, he hasnt pulled his weight but he has a way of being great in big games. If you give him an inch he will score, usually.

    Funny thing is, Arsenal situation is being used a something to beat Arsenal with but the fact is that only Arsenal could deal with the kind of injuries we have had to so many key players and still be in with a shout.

    What a team!!!

  66. “If only RVP was fit!!!!! Dont make me laugh.When has RVP been fit for the WHOLE season.”

    RvP appeared in a total of 60 matches in all competitions last year (incl. 42 for Arsenal, and 28 in EPL), and is the reason we’re in the CL this year at all.

  67. Whoops Ms Greer would probably not like to see her name mentioned in a football conversation.

  68. You are entitled to your opinion, some football fans need to follow the example of mr Wenger and learn how to lose with dignity.

  69. I thought the pitch was very poor last night and come to think of it, the floodlights seemed a lot dimmer than those used in the Premier League.

  70. Why don’t you go onto a Barcelona site and contribute your credits to them, Gooner Ted, if you think they are deprived of plaudits. Poor old really is a fucking shame. No-one seems to like them. Not fair.

  71. Theo’s studs seemed very short to me.

  72. No we don’t need to lose with dignity, BigM. Where did you get that load of old bollocks from.

  73. Naaa- we should have done better – Barca were not that good with one exception called Messi – but the best Barca player was our defense. Overhyped reactions, really.

    Had that stupid linesman not robbed Bendtner in the 33’rd minute at 1-1 then we would have been up 1-2

  74. Ted, you’re such an ass. We had a healthy Song, Gallas and Cesc for those 70 mins?

    Barca was fantastic…breathtaking over the two legs. Messi is the most outstanding player I have watched in decades, maybe ever. No one is taking anything away from them. I just wish we could have played them with a full strength team, bc we are pretty damn mesmerizing ourselves.

  75. Harry Flowers

    I find it astonishing that people can actually say the injuries we are currently suffering had little, or no effect on the outcome last night. It’s utterly baffling. We have a decimated squad. No-one could possibly predict that we would have THAT many players injured. Players will always be injured…..but very rarely that many important ones at the same time. So “strength in depth” is bollocks, frankly.

    I’m not going to read anymore of these comments. It’s winding me up.

    Onward. Here’s to smashing the Spuds.


  76. Great, great post YW. I was looking forward to it the whole day.

    It’s a tough result to take, the kind that hits you right at the core as an Arsenal fan and wonder if we’re REALLY not the best team in the world right now.

    Seriously though, I’m pretty sure last night’s Barca performance was the greatest I’ve seen, both from defensively with their “full-court press” and offensively – Messi being the prerogative of course but recall how we tried to regain possession in the closing stages and they basically played us in with their triangular passing.

    We’ve just got to take it from here and focus 100% on the league now, and save the personnel restructuring speculation for the post season.

  77. “that a top team will always suffer injuries and a team that really wants to win things has to have a enough strength in depth and resilience to overcome this.”

    TheBigM – please show us one team that has as many injuries as Arsenal since all teams have these injury problems.

    Do all teams have 3 players legs broken in 4 years? All teams have their best striker out for almost the whole season. Sure all teams go through this and not only that the team with the most injuries usually wins the CL and their league.

    Rooney is out and United are looking to fail, are they not a top team with much more resources that us? What about Gerrard or Torres out of liverpool? What about Drogba and Terry out of Chelsea?

    Your comment is absurd to say the least.

  78. I am not sure about the condition of pitches in Spain but I am sure that the Barca style of playing will not work in the winter months in most of the pitches up north in EPL. Hence are English clubs handicapped by this, having to develop a playing style to suit the different quality of pitches in EPL?

  79. Harry

    Surely concentrating on the players on the pitch is the key to it all? Injured players do not participate. They allow a ‘what if’ scenario but nothing more.


  80. Take out any teams best striker, best midfielder and captain, their most experienced match winner and their best defender amongst others and it wouldn’t matter. They should have the squad to cope.

  81. Thanks Yogi for participating and keeping a realistic view of what happened.

    Injuries certainly hurt us but to be honest our defense cost us the tie. We scored 3 goals which should have been enough to win. The injuries did not really change the rate that we concede goals. We have had a terrible year with injuries to our attacking players. However, we have been incredibly lucky with injuries to our defensive players. Even when we had our first choice defensive players on the pitch we conceded way to many goals. United, City and Chelsea this year. Even when WG and Song were fit we still conceded 3 goals/game.

    It may have been closer if all of our players were fit but ultimately it is unlikely that we could have held them and you can not win if you do not hold your opponent.

  82. The ball was almost too round.

  83. Paul

    RvP has been out all season – we’ve coped. Gallas and Cesc have been missing at other times – we’ve coped. At times, they have all been out together – we’ve coped. Until last night when the performance by those who played was not collectively or in some cases, individually, good enough to win.

    For last night, that is all that matters. No-one can say with any degree of certainty that we would have had a positive result had all players been fully fit. If some want to find a modicum of solace in that issue, fine by me. I don’t because the defeat hurts like hell.


  84. Agree,nolagunner .i though denilson was excellent,our only midfield who could wear barca color last night and last week.Never panic,always try to find the best and most safe past(loosing ball is the last thing you want against this Barca) trying to slow down their game.
    Diaby was at his worst best for the two match.Loosing ball after ball,and over doing.He try ,but his lack on intelligence(not mental but football wise.Shame he has the talent))was all for us to see against a much clever side.

  85. Lose with Dignity? Barca won the game and you cannot take that away. Why is it not dignified if I point out that we were extremely handicapped?

    Now to say that we surely would have won the match would be arrogant but wouldnt you like to see what would have happened if we were not so depleted?

  86. Harry Flowers


    I understand what your saying. You can only play with the cards you’ve been dealt though…. we have a lot of injuries at one time. A lot. That had an two ways about it. We were playing Barcelona not Burnley. That’s not an “excuse”’s a fact.

  87. just my two-penneth, but clichy was not very good last night, shooting on 2 occasons when a halkf decent cross might have led to chances/goals! I dont feel too bad though, as we lost to a much better team….no ref deicsions or anything to lose sleep over.

  88. Yes, our injuries might have affected the outcome, as many other things could have: the ref, the pitch, Barcelona’s injuries, the weather, etc, etc.
    BUT, would people stop going on about how unlucky we are with injuries each time we get beaten by a better team, its pathetic.
    We fought well enough, showed character and came out of the tie with dignity.

  89. Axis,

    Agreed. Messi also seemed to find more space after Denilson’s ‘yellow’.

    Ah well.

    Sol’s return to the muddy bogs and toxic dumps of the Lea Valley should provide some entertainment.

  90. Yogi, just concentrating on the players on the pitch is myopic. This is not controversial in any team sport. It is a regular statement from every coach/manager.

    “If we stay healthy…”
    “If we are lucky with injuries…”

    And that’s before the games are played, not excuse making afterward. Everyone KNOWS that the differences between top clubs is small enough that injuries play a role, both in quantity and quality. I can’t believe you think this is irrelevant to the discussion.

  91. “It may have been closer if all of our players were fit but ultimately it is unlikely that we could have held them and you can not win if you do not hold your opponent.”

    Wow. WTF?

    Can Joe translate please?

  92. No-one has discussed luck, BigM. You just introduced that yourself. Injuries are not being offered as an excuse. We are trying to assess the quality of a full Arsenal side and measure that against Barcelona. Perhaps several objectives have become intertwined. Still disagree with you and YW though.

  93. Is the KICKING not relevant to any conversations about injuries?


    Anybody there………………………….???

    Did Eduardo not have a second op in the summer? Not just ‘mental’, needs more time.

  94. You are right Yogi – we need to face facts and accept we were comprehensively beaten by a better side, and it is very hard to argue they were not 3 goals better than us over the 2 games.

    We gave them too much space to play in midfield in the first game, and although there was a slight improvement, we didn’t really learn our lesson in the second game.

    There are a couple of area’s in which we need to improve, but drastic surgery is not required.

  95. Yogi, We have coped but not against the likes but not againts Barca, its a different story totally.

    When you play the best you need your best, atleast most of your best.

    Thats common throughout football.

  96. three thoughts:

    one: we are a very good side but not not a world class side and need to take the FA Cup more seriously in future.

    two: we were beaten by a world class side at the top of their game- no great shame in that.

    three: we need to keep our best players together but let several fringe players move on. even if they lost their edge in accidents playing for us.

  97. Just make sure the gunners are not battered into sunmission the next time in a huge game. After taking the lead the gunners allowed barca to equalise.
    That shows the concentration level of the is low. AW shd drill into the players attacking and defending is anteam effort.
    You look at Everton/Av . They have players who chase the ball.

  98. TheBigM – please show us one team that has as many injuries as Arsenal since all teams have these injury problems.

    Off the top of head I can think of Everton, who had horrendous injury problems at the start of the season (no strikers) and Man Utd who were without all of their first choice defense for a few games and were reduced to playing Darren Fletcher at centre back.

    Other teams do suffer injuries too

  99. Nolagunner

    Myopic? Fuck me! How is concentrating on those who can physically influence a performance or a result myopic?


  100. People are pointing to the players we had out as a reason why we could have done better against barca- i agree to some extent we could have done better but have to point out we have lost to lesser teams with a stronger side (man city away) against sunderland we missed only van persie

  101. Here are the facts:

    We weren’t even close to fielding a full strength squad.

    The injuries hurt us.

    They were better than us.

    It’s a shame the with all of his talent, Messi is such a diving cunt.

    Let’s move on, shall we?

  102. Surely by that token we do need drastic surgery, Matt. Since you guys believe that our injured players are irrelevant then we need to replace everyone in order to be as good as darling Barcelona. No point Cesc, RvP, AA, Gallas, Djourou, Song, Ramsey etc coming back in because they will make no difference.

    If we were talking about the Mancs here I suspect some of you would react differently. In fact I suspect some of you are Barcelona supporters. Personally I detest them.

  103. I think you are being deliberately obtuse in that response, YW.

  104. Actually, thats common throughout any team sport.

  105. Looking at Everton & Aston Villa,
    it seems like they have players who have been chasing AFC all season long.

  106. Hey Fin…agreed regarding Deni.

    Alright, this has devolved rather quickly.

    The most important thing that happened in my opinion is that we started brightly, which I took to mean that we were not intimidated. We have been in big matches but it seems there has been some maturity in this phase of the game. I hope it means that the boys have developed more poise.

  107. Harry Flowers

    “That shows the concentration level of the is low. AW shd drill into the players attacking and defending is anteam effort.”

    What kind of drill should he use Striker? a Black & decker?

  108. You just want to talk about the Sp*rs game don’t you, Jim? We’ll get to that…

  109. “you can not win if you do not hold your opponent.”

    I got it!

    Like Bruno on Tyson?

    ( Boxing ceased to be a Sport some time after the original Boxer Rebellion )

  110. Thanks for making my point BigM.

    “Off the top of head I can think of Everton, who had horrendous injury problems at the start of the season (no strikers) and Man Utd who were without all of their first choice defense for a few games and were reduced to playing Darren Fletcher at centre back.”

    All these teams STRUGGLED when they were missing these players and we are not talking about playing against Barca here.

    Man United wouldnt even come close to beating Barca if they missed their central defenders and Rooney.

    Again, perspective.

  111. If we had had RvP, Cesc, Arsh and Gallas…and we beat a Barca side missing Xavi, Messi and Puyols…let’s just say I would dial back my trash talking about how much better we were than Barca.

    That said, I’d estimate that if both sides are full strength Barca wins more often than not. They are better than us. Some of these reasons are under our control, some are not.

    1) They defend better as a team. We can learn from this. Both from the front and at the back. The organization was so impressive.

    2) They have Messi. When we had Henry in his prime, we just had Henry in his prime, and that was that. Messi is a step above even that. He has Arshavin’s ungodly dribbling and no backlift shot with Cesc’s passing and tenacity.

    3) They play in Spain. We have to put together a team that can compete both in the EPL and the CL. It’s astonishing how different the reffing standards are, and Spanish and UEFA reffing is almost identical. It’s a very different game, and they don’t have to adjust their style. Barca would never last an EPL season.


  112. Good point Paul N.

  113. Frank,

    I didn’t say the injured players were irrelevant, of course they had a major bearing on the game, and i am sure it would of been closer had we had a full squad to choose from.

    I am no big fan of Barca, but i still would find it hard to argue that they weren’t at least 3 goals better than us over the 2 legs, wouldn’t you?

  114. And well made.

  115. Finsbury:

    Even when we had our best defensive players fit we still conceded 3 goals/game against United, Chelsea and City. Those teams are not as good as Barca. Even if we had our best players would we have conceded less goals and given ourselves a chance? Even with Cesc, RVP, AA, WG and Song you have no chance to win when you concede 3 goals/game.

  116. Surely by that token we do need drastic surgery, Matt. Since you guys believe that our injured players are irrelevant then we need to replace everyone in order to be as good as darling Barcelona.

    Frank – No one is saying that the injured players are irrelevant, but that is not the reason we lost. We lost because of their performance over the two legs was better than ours and Cesc, Gallas and AA all played a part in the first leg.
    They also had players injured, so what would have happened if they were at full strength?

  117. Yogi – I understand with your point that Barca comfortably beat our side last night. Ultimately thats all that mattered.

    I do think our injuries affected us more than their injuries affected them though, I just wish we’d have got to see their best against our best. Barcenal is a rare event, to be deprived of seeing both first teams go toe to toe seems unfair on those of us watching.

    One important point i didn’t see in your review was the break at 1-nil where Diaby decided to ignore a flying Walcott instead of putting him one on one with the keeper. That was the true turning point of the game. At 2-0 up, i think we’d have gone on to win.

    At that exact moment i knew we were going to lose.

  118. Harry Flowers

    “..Cesc, Gallas and AA all played a part in the first leg.”

    AA played hardly any part in the first leg. Gallas had little more. And none of those played any part last night. The argument doesn’t add up.

  119. Frank

    Who many injuries did we have when Chelski and Manure battered us at home this season

    Maybe someone should be asking questions about are training methods and our medical facilities.Which we seem to pick up more knocks that other teams

  120. There is a hole in my fucking bucket. Yes they beat us and were superior. I happen to believe that that is becuase of injuries to our key players. The alternative is appalling. As I tried to describe on the scratchpad.

  121. Paul

    But we have to cope. The whole point of the squad system is to cope.

    More important than though is the below-par performance.


  122. I don’t know Gooner Ted. I know that RvP and Djourou were not available. Who else? You do the research and get back to us.

  123. Harry Flowers

    “Maybe someone should be asking questions about are training methods and our medical facilities.Which we seem to pick up more knocks that other teams”

    We certainly seem to attract more fouls than other teams…hence a lot of the injuries.

  124. Bill

    Those players you listed didn’t all even play against Chelsea.

    ALL the games you mention were ‘close’,
    even the Chav games.
    Most Chavs you’ll speak to will say the same.

    “Give ourselves a chance?”

    Well, I thought that the title race wasn’t over yet.

    Obviously, it is for some, and has been for some time.

  125. “Who” many injuries did we have when Man U couldn’t score an open play goal against us at OT?

  126. There is an interesting point lurking here….its about how strong do you have your squad?

    Is the true goal to be able to withstand the loss of two key players, of three, of eleven??!?

    Its crisis planning and chaos theory all rolled into one…preparing for different permuatations of injured Personnel?

    On that basis, you’d have to suggest we lack sufficient depth in the striking department.

  127. The Big M

    No, drastic surgery is not required. Here’s my rundown of where experienced squad players are needed, giving the younger members of the squad time to be developed:

    Goalkeeper – Almunia would be a good No.2
    Centre Back – Gallas, Campbell & Silvestre all out of contract. Djourou may recover and continue to improve but if 2 or more go, we will be short
    Forward – RvP’s injury this time is different to previous muscular injuries. It is not a symptom of anything more sinister than him making a poorly timed challenge in a meaningless friendly.


  128. Don’t ‘hold on’ on to your Defence too dearly Bill.

    We have all read of your desire to spend €500BN on a CGI generated dream team.

  129. Charlie,Charlie

    Everyone is misssing the point.Over the two legs Wenger was completley out-coached by Guardiola just like Sir Alex was in the final last season.He has been a manager for less than 20 months

  130. Yes, Yogi, MYOPIC. While I was watching the match, I concentrated on the players on the pitch. Barcelona had better players on the pitch last night. Our players played up to their potential, and I’m very proud of them, but they were beaten by much better players playing their natural positions. Done and done.

    When assessing the match afterwards, and what it means with respect to the Arsenal, how the hell can you stop there? What can we learn from it?
    Well, to break Barca’s press, you need composed passers who move well without the ball. So we need to get some of those. I’d suggest players you might have heard of: Robin van Persie, our best passing forward, Cesc Fabregas, our best passing midfielder, and William Gallas, our best passing defender.

    We also need to have some idea of where the goals might come from. I think we should find some really special playmakers who can score, like Fabregas, RvP and Arshavin. I’d like some cover there for one of them, like Nasri.

  131. Finsbury

    I don’t recall the home games being particularly close against United or Chelsea although it’s a bit hazy and why inflict more mental anguish on top of last night.

    The away games? I don’t think we should have lost either.


  132. Charlie,Charlie

    How strong is our squad?

    We brought on Eboue and Eduardo as subs Barca brought on Ya Ya and Iniesta.I rest my case M’lud

  133. Guardiola disagrees with you about the importance of his players, Charlie.

    RvP did not make a challenge to get injured, he got scythed down while trying to score.

  134. Speaking of CGI, I have some ideas for next season’s kit…to follow.

    Boba Fett, eat your heart out.

    Definitely no ****ing SPUD kit/colours.

    In the Camp Gnu,
    to be dressed as Sp*ds…

  135. Yogi, no team could cope with what we had missing and beat the best. Its is possible yes but the probabilty is low.

    Also as QoS said Diaby missed a golden opportunity to unleash Walcott again and also was when NB was away on goal and called offside. if we go up 2 who knows.

    If I didnt watch the match for myself, i would believe that we didnt have any chances apart from the goal and thats not true. It was not as comprehensive to me as many feel.

    It could be bias, but not necessarily.

  136. As much as i would love to believe otherwise barca are Worldclub champions, Champions of Europe and kings of spain and have the ballon ‘d oure or whatever winner in the form of his life at this moment.

    Arsenal are top 4/8 in europe and we were 4th best in england (currently 3rd, hopefully be 1st).

    Credit where credit is due barca are the better team.

    And that their academy produced our best player

  137. Charlie,Charlie,Charlie. I think your analysis is a little lacking in any depth…but just for sport, please explain the outcoached remark.

  138. Charlie, Charlie

    Tosh, dear boy. There was no outcoaching. If anything, Wenger taught Guardiola a lesson in using substitutes in the first leg.

    Philosophy-wise, Guardiola showed that Barcelona are further down the road than Wenger but that is because they have been playing in their style for a few years longer, adapting the philosophy from when he was a player through to now being a coach.

    Ferguson certainly did not outcoach. His players outperformed for 30 minutes in the first half of the 2nd leg and that was last year gone.


  139. I am totally sick of the notion that Cesc is a Barcelona product.

    He joined Arsenal at 15. Was he the finished article then? Was he fuck!

    His true development began at Arsenal. Cesc Fabregas is an Arsenal product and pretty soon i’m going to start twatting people who claim otherwise.

  140. Blimey, that’s some jip there.

  141. Paul N – All these teams STRUGGLED when they were missing these players and we are not talking about playing against Barca here.

    We wern’t missing our entire defence or all our strikers were we? In the first leg we started with our full strength defence and we were only missing AA from the forwards (if you discount RVP who is on the long-term injury list) last night.
    We had key players missing in the second leg, without doubt, but the squad should be able to cope with this.
    We didn’t lose because of injuries

  142. YW,

    Oh yeah, the home game against MAnU was a disaster.
    I’ll have to disagree on the Chelsea home game, a few silly errors, players returning from injury handed the advantage to Chelsea I felt. I might be confused with the Away game, sorry if that’s the case.

    It’s been a long season.

  143. Nolagunner

    How do the injured players help us right now? They cannot influence the game now! The season at hand is where all focus should be.

    Once May 9th is out of the way, then look to strengthen (from our point of view – AW will no doubt already be working on his list of targets or hopefully have IG making contact) and that takes into account the injured, their schedule for returning and what impact missing all / part of the current campaign.

    If this defeat had happened in August then by all means look to the future, look to what can evolve. With 5 games to go, that view takes a distant 2nd place to putting right the wrongs of performances with issues which can be immediately and effectively impacted.

    So actually, yes, Myopic is correct. At this stage of the season, myopia is a fundamental requirement.


  144. Bill, I don’t think you can call having injuries to our first and second choice goalkeepers simultaneously, our first and second and third choice centrebacks simultaneously, our first and second choice left-backs simultaneously, and both our first choice defensive midfielders independantly: “incredibly lucky with injuries to our defensive players” this year.

  145. The injuries certainly were a factor Frank, no denying that.

  146. By: Queen of Suburbia on April 7, 2010
    at 4:38 pm

    They start them early these days as young as 8 and some coaches say that if these years are missed gaining the basics then it may be too late for them to reach the elite.

    No Cesc was far from the finished article and we have developed him further but he was a barca product of the accademy as he spent 6 yrs there. the point of stating cesc origins was to highlight the academy that he came from and that we are trying emulate. Obviously wengers guidance has shaped the palyer we have now but you cant deny where the kid started

  147. If my auntie had bollocks she’d be my uncle. What’s the point of the what ifs? It didn’t work out for us on the night. Barcelona are tapping up cnuts end of.
    Let’s carry the venom where it really matters, no heart lane.

  148. BigM, what on earth are you talking about? are you just trying to win an arguement to say you won?

    You make a point that proves what I was trying to say and then you are trying to twist the point you proved?

    We were missing our most influential players all over the field, Barca were not!!!

    “We had key players missing in the second leg, without doubt, but the squad should be able to cope with this.
    We didn’t lose because of injuries”

    Now you dont know that do you? that is only an opinion that couldve been proven a fact if we had most of our best players last night.

    Again, name me one team that could cope with playing the best without most of their best.

    Barca, huh? not even.

    Anyway, to me this is plain common sense.

    I am done


  149. A week is a long time in football, and even if we don’t go on to win the title, wouldn’tit be just peachy to beat the yids at the shithole and stop them getting 4th?

  150. “More important than though is the below-par performance.”

    By whom? The player I thought truly below par was Rosicky. I had high hopes for him in that match.

    Diaby did sort of what I expected…he’s much more valuable in the EPL because of his power, but he is horrendous on the break. Not a good passer, and Barca’s game moves too fast for him. I’m with QoS that when he botched that break, I had a horrible feeling about the match.

    Up to that point, I thought we played fine. Then Sagna got exposed for the 2nd goal, but was otherwise solid.

  151. what was the point of mentioning that geeGunner?

    We have great young players coming up dont we?

  152. geegunner

    Cesc was therefore not a product of the Barcelona Academy. To say he was negates the positive impact Wenger has had. Indeed, had he remained there, the likelihood is that he would probably not be playing in the first team every week.


  153. Yes Matt, after the embarrassment of being made to play like Stoke or Hull, let’s show those sp*d SCUM the real gulf in class.

  154. Well, it seems to me that the squad has coped so far this season until last night. Then we were beaten. Too many players not fit who would otherwise have played, particularly the creative talents that we need to play our style of football. A couple more being played out od position.

    We did not succeed with in that situation against a team at the top of their game. However, to suggest that this shows that our squad is somehow not good enough to win something strikes me as ridiculous.

    As for running around more, I’ve been waiting for the first posts suggesting that we resign Flamini.

    Sometimes the debate on here just does not move on.

  155. Arsenal 2 Barca 2
    Barca 4 Arsenal 1
    Manure 2 Arsenal 1
    Arsenal 1 Manure 3
    Arsenal 1 Man City 4
    Arsenal 0 Chelsea 3
    Chelsea 2 Arsenal 0

    Sometimes you just need to spell it out Bill.

    And most of the league games we had a full compliment of players – apart from RvP of course.

    As Bill says – 20 goals conceded in 7 games – an average of 3 a game almost.

    Nothing else need be said.
    There are NO excuses.

    We have serious problems in defense.

  156. nola, other than the break where he singlehandedly won possession, strode forward and broke the Barca defence with a perfectly weighted pass for Theo to tee-up our goal?

    Yes, he should’ve played Theo in again a few minutes later, but he didn’t. To say that Diaby is horrendous on the break is just plain wrong. He has scored and contributed to many breakaway goals for Arsenal.

  157. Consolsbob

    Anyone who suggests re-signing Flamini is going to get told to ‘Fuck Off’ by me.


  158. The point is that the squad could not cope Big M.

    So here’s what we know.

    If we have our
    first choice Centre forward,
    our first choice left “winger”
    Our first choice creative midfield player
    Our third choice creative midfield player
    Our first choice defensive midfield player
    Our first choice centre back
    Our third choice centre back
    Our fourth choice centre back

    All out injured – the squad is not deep enough.

    Should we be prepared for that eventuality? If so how far do you go, before you feel all eventualities are covered?

  159. Yes yes!! Re sign Flamini!

    I’m sure that the “New Gattuso” by now has realized the old Gattuso wasn’t done yet.

  160. Commonsense

    You were warned. Fuck off.


  161. By: Paul N on April 7, 2010
    at 4:52 pm

    the point of mention it is to show that barca are a club we are trying to emulate in some of the way the do things and not to assume that we are the same or better than barca at the moment.

    like ramsey is the product of the cardiff city youth system. we may have bought them young and developed them further but at some point they were registered players on the clubs academy books. in the case of cesc he signed pro forms with us but he still started as a barca player and those early developmental yrs were spent at barca.

  162. It’s all a question of degree. Barca were great, but not ‘god-like’. We can’t be the same team that thrashed Porto 5-0 (who are not europe’s worst, are they), and then is not fit to tie Xabi’s laces; who is 3 pts adrift in the EPL (surely not the worst league in europe) and cannot perform v Barca at all. All in all, it was a good lesson. there were some extenuating circumstances. Barca played fantastically. Messi scored 4, which is not every match. Enough of the tears and wails and gnashing of teeth. We are what we are. Good. Getting better. Exciting. Some problems and scattered afternoon thunder showers.

  163. Full compliment of players?

  164. Aww hell, get Hleb back too!

  165. I think Diaby has been one of our best players this season.

  166. Commonsense

    If that’s the solution, bring back Frank McLintock…


  167. well geeGunner, why dont we go before the player got to the academy? Maybe his dad was his first coach so thats who should get all the credit.

    its was an unecessary statement.

  168. Ted Drake would have seen them off.

  169. Diaby is a monster player for us now, and he will only continue to improve.

    As will ….. too long a list.

    Happy times, the title charge continues at the Lane next week.

  170. McClintock and Drake!!

    It’s patently obvious… shame on Arsene for not making this happen.

  171. Charlie,Charlie


    That says it all

    Diaby is a one good game in five player.And that game is always against poor opponents when has he played well against Man u or Chelsea?????

  172. You don’t look quite old enough to of seen Ted Drake QoS……. 🙂

  173. If we played as far below our potential as we did last night, we would have lost regardless of who was in the team, even though, other things being equal, we would have had a better chance of winning if all our players had been fit. We would expect the players we put out last night to beat 9 out of 10 teams in the Premier League; and yet those same teams would expect to avoid being turned over 4-1 by Barcelona on the majority of occasions. Clichy has been singled out as having been at his best last night, and he was the equal of his counterparts from Barcelona. Clichy, however, was not chosen by the cognoscenti as one of our four or five best players (although he would have been two seasons ago). He is just another run of the mill Arsenal player, and all the others should have been able to do as well. Had they done so, we would have given Barcelona a stern test, and might well have won. The Barcelona side of last night had its weaknesses at the back, but we never exploited them.

  174. charlie, charlie

    did you not watch the game at the bridge?

    abou had the lot of them on the hop

  175. By: Paul N on April 7, 2010
    at 5:04 pm

    I was trying to put things into perspective and give credit where credit was due. As barca was the better team on the night. my point about cesc was to highlight that they have a production line that has develpoed so many of their class players and also 2 of ours.

    sorry if it offended you.

  176. I can’t remember every individual’s performance’s against every team Charlie, so couldn’t tell you.

    There are very few players who play well in every single game.

    Even those who cannot be spoken badly about – Cesc and Arshavin, don’t play well from time to time.

  177. I’m concerned by the manner of the defeat. No attitude or leadership on the pitch. Almunia must go now!

    Second I don’t blame the players but the manager in the main. Unfortunately, arsene remains tactically inept and does not have a decent no2 to springboard from. Arsenal won’t ever the the CL under Wenger, i’m pretty sure of that.

    We need to get rid of Gallas. I’m actually a believer that Gallas has done well this yr but does not compliment Verm that well. We need someone tall and strong there like Lucio of Inter, or a Rio type stature.

    Rosiky should be sold, Theo needs proper coaching… he’s playing way too deep and needs to learn to mix up his game better. He also needs to learn to get the left back booked early so he can run riot thereafter.

    Diaby, I maintain is the real star in this team. However, he doing work he is not gifted to do. Yesterday all he needed was a platform. Cesc shld revert back to his old role playing deeper and diaby should play further forward in bg games.

    Last there is no excuse to start Silvestre. Everyone could see that Sagna had to start at CB and Eboue RB!!! FFS! Not good enough Arsene and its your fault cos everyone and his dog has been banging on the door for more signings to beef up the squad. To only have 2 decent and fit CBS all season (which are still the wrong combo) is disgraceful…rant over

  178. Diaby has done a lot just by staying healthy as much as he has this campaign.

    He set out to become stronger and more durable and he has accomplished that goal.

  179. I was just thinking. When the wolves fielded a weaker side most of us said it was not good. Now we didnt expect the Wolves to beat United even with their first team but in essence if we say injuries shouldnt matter we are saying that the second string Wolves players shouldve been able to battle United and cope in the same way as the first choice players.

    You see it doesnt matter whether the player is injured or being “rested” by the coach. Regardless he is still not on the field.

    This obviously makes no sense but yet it does if injuries shouldnt be an “excuse”.

  180. geeGunner, I am not offended but our team is getting no credit.

  181. QOS- I agree, it’s almost impossible to have a strong enough squad to cover every eventuality.
    But, in the case of our first choice centre forward, and third choice centre back we have had ample time to make provision for their absence.
    Also, are Sol and Slvestre really adequete cover for a team that wants to win the CL and EPL?
    Sol has been great, but he was always going to limited in terms of match fitness and number of games, this is why we were forced to play the ageing Sylvestre last night. Is this adequate cover?
    I don’t buy the Song as central defender argument either, he was found out in the home leg against Barca.
    Barcelona were better than us

  182. Where do you stand on the matter of Flamini, Wolster?

  183. Matt

    Careful, you are straying down the path of asking the question which should never be asked of a lady…


  184. Joe, I don’t see how clumping together our worst results of the season into one indiscernible glob proves anything at all. You over-simplify individual, nuanced games of football into a black and white scoreline. You sounds like a bookmaker, not a football fan.

    When we conceded big against Barca, Utd, Chelsea and City we were caught on the break giving our all to chase down a lead. It does not matter whether we lost 1-0 or 3-0 – I’d rather my team fight til the end to score than sit back and limit damage.

    What matters is that we’ve won enough games to put us within touching distance of finishing at the top of the pile this season, as League Champions.

    Pardon me for saying so but you seem to be a rather joyless individual for someone who supports one of the best teams in world football.

  185. If Fabregas is a product of the Barcelona academy, why are they so eager to get him back? Why don’t they just pick another fruit from that fecund tree, one that has had longer to ripen?

    In my opinion, great players are made by themselves, not by academies. When Roger Federer was recently asked the secret of his success, he replied, “There’s no question about it, I’m definitely a very talented player. There’s no secret.” I think the best players in every sport could say much the same.

  186. I don’t know that its impossible Big M…Barca seemed to have been able to cope without

    their first choice forward
    first choice creative midfield player
    first and second choice centre backs

    Mourinho’s plan at Chelsea was to have two world class players in every position…clearly he’d thought about that conundrum.

    Its really a question of how much planning you are prepared to do, I’m pretty sure if I spent some time on it, i could model it and come up with a strategic framework but i try not to do work that no-ones paying me for!

    I’d agree we lacked adequate cover at CF and CB last night. Especially CF, Eduardo really does seem to be struggling. CB i’m not so sure, you seem to be saying that our 5th choice centre back is not good enough? Maybe you also think our 4th choice is not good enough as well? I suppose that good be right…I think the cover was meant to be Djourou and Song not Silvestre and Campbell.

  187. It’s about time YW hands out some “F*ck Offs”

  188. Joe @4:55

    Thanks: sometimes when you type too fast a statement that makes perfect sense to you is not that clearly written.

    This team has incredible potential. I do not know how we can do it, but somehow we have to figure out how to stop the other teams from scoring. I love watching Wengerball but and really believe we can still play good football and concede fewer goals. I agree with Yogi @ 4:30. We need new CB and GK. However, I still believe that the key is an organization wide change in the way we think about defense. Obviously that is a vague statement and this discussion is better left for another time. Maybe hiring a defensive coach would help. The boss already has too much on his plate.

  189. Joe,

    Your selective editing as well as your ability to selectively answer questions you raise is self explanatory:

    Results for 08/09, in chronological order in all ‘Big Games’.

    Manchester United 2 – 1
    Manchester City 0 – 3
    Chelsea 2 – 1
    Liverpool 1 – 1
    Roma 1 – 0
    Roma 0 – 1
    Manchester City 2 – 0
    Villarreal 1 – 1
    Villarreal 3 – 0

    Chelsea 1 – 2
    Liverpool 4 – 4
    Manchester United 0 – 1
    Manchester United 1 – 3
    Chelsea 1 – 4
    Manchester United 0 – 0

    And the point you are attempting to make is…?

  190. LimparAssist,

    I actually think Joe is full of joy, the joy of having the opportunity to saying “I told you so” though he hasnt used those words.

    In all of that, no mention that we are still positioned for silverware.

    Wigan Athletic 3 – 1 Chelsea
    Aston Villa 2 – 1
    Manchester City 2 – 1 Chelsea
    Everton 2 – 1 Chelsea
    Internazionale 2 – 1 Chelsea
    Chelsea 2 – 4 Manchester City

    Burnley 1 – 0 Manchester United
    Liverpool 2 – 0 Manchester United
    Chelsea 1 – 0 Manchester United
    Manchester United 0 – 1 Besiktas
    Manchester United 0 – 1 Aston Villa
    Fulham 3 – 0 Manchester United
    Manchester United 0 – 1 Leeds United
    Manchester City 2 – 1 Manchester United
    Everton 3 – 1 Manchester United
    Bayern Munich 2 – 1

    Just wanted to help Joe out, pointing out losses and all that.

  191. By: Poliziano on April 7, 2010
    at 5:23 pm

    1. the success rate that kids coming outta academies goin on to have a career in football never mind a ‘great career’ is very small

    2. cause he is that good. not every player that comes out the academy is a gem – dos santos

    2. they played buskets or whatever his name is in midfield with xavi and inesta as late sub

    ashley cole is a product of arsenal academy just like henry lansbury, jack wilshire who hopefully will become great players in thier own right.

    so, in the same way cesc fabregass was a registered player in the barca academy at the start of his footballing career. what is so wrong in pointing that out?

    ive spent to long explaining my comments
    anyway fcuk barca academy i am more interested in arsenal and beating the spuds

  192. I laugh at those people who try to insinuate that there’s a huge gulf in class between us and Barcelona. We lost. I get it. But saying that Wenger got outcoached and that we were just a stroll for Barcelona is quite stupid in my opinion. We live to fight another day but with more experience and maturity on our side.

  193. Does the name Pat Rice mean anything to you, Bill? How about Boro Primorac?

  194. “I still believe that the key is an organization wide change in the way we think about defense. Obviously that is a vague statement”

    Yes, that’s the problem Bill.

    It’s so vague, I have no idea what you are talking about.

    Please explain.

  195. Also, Bill, we are not an ‘organization’, we are a football club – a great family football club. Please stop making us sound like some nauseating striplit boardroom conglomerate.

  196. Ashley Cole didn’t leave Arsenal at 15 though did he geegunner?

    Its the insinuation that Barca were responsible for forging Fabregas into the world beater he is today that i object to. Virtually every time Fabregas is mentioned in the media some twunt either follows or preceeds it with Barca Academy Graduate.

    He graduated from the Arsenal Football Club Academy. Many many players are good at 15 – what happens from then on determines whether they go on to make it.

  197. Bill, the key to having a good defence when playing this formation is an attack that pins back the opposition. Thus far this year we have conceded against lesser teams because we haven’t dominated them offensively as we should have. Something which I’m completely sure we’ll rectify next season. Don’t forget that this is the first time we’ve seen a 4-3-3 under Wenger’s tenure. This is a learning curve for him as much as it is for the players.

  198. By: Queen of Suburbia on April 7, 2010
    at 5:47 pm

    i agree with you – in fact a player never stops learning and its the job of managers and coaches to get the best outta players at what ever age.
    Wenger obviously adds to a players development and even T adams and crew learnt new lessons from le prof at a late age.
    Calling cesc a product of barca to me just means his early development and fundemental basics were learned at barca. Thats what academies are therefore right?

    Just like rooney for me is a product of the everton academy. fergie obviously has developed him further to what he is but the fundemental basics were taught by everton academy. to be an academy player you must have played in a academy right?

  199. I don’t think Barca’s defense or team is unbeatable, but most of their defending was done from the attack & midfield lines, therefore with the ability to keep the ball their defense is hardly under pressure.

    Yesterday, you can see Bendtner running around but no real pressure, same with our midfield, even when we had the ball we lost it so quickly due to them pressing hard and quick with more than one player. The difference between us and them yesterday, is they had the fresh bodies to replace their missing players. In fact, they had more than they needed….They didn’t even have to bother Thierry Henry.

    Overall, they did defend much better than us as a unit. Sometimes, it’s not what you do with the ball when you have it, it’s what you do when you don’t have it.

    Maybe we are tired and the injuries are mounting quicker because we are tired. With the way we play, a lot of running, a small squad is not going to last long competing in 4 or 5 competitions.

    Example of that is Aston Villa, they have a small squad and for the last two seasons they crumbled in the last few games. I’m not comparing A.Villa as a club, but the circumstances of having a small squad that gets tired or have a lot of injuries in the final stages.

    I think we need a new CB to pair with Vermaelen. Even if Gallas stay and Djourou is fit again, we still need that CB. We will also need that extra Striker who doesn’t know how to do anything else but score goals.

    We are not far off…Just couple more good bodies to fill the gaps when you have 3 or 4 players out in the last few games of the season.

  200. People can say that Cesc is a product of the Barcelona academy all they want. The fact is that he left Barcelona because he knew he wouldn’t get a chance to play as much as he could at Arsenal. Anyone who thinks that Wenger’s trust in his abilities haven’t been pivotal to his development are having a laugh.

  201. Gunner4Ever….who should the couple more good bodies be?

  202. i dont know why people are so defensive when someone says that farbregas used to play for another academy.

    to say that barca taught him all he knows is a lie – to also say that he learned everything under wenger is a lie. We developed him to the worldclass player he is now bit he started somewhere.

  203. CommonSense

    It’s not up to me to pick players, it’s not my job and we have a manager who is more than capable of getting some good players.

    A specific player may look good to you, but to an expert eye -Like Wenger’s- he may be a lemon.

  204. Many very frustrated Arsenal supporters, many very relieved Barca supporters.

    Of course it hurts like hell, but what did we learn?

    Well, we learned that pressing is important – but high-risk because of its susceptibility to counter-attack (which almost gave us two goals before Barca left the starting blocks). I think we knew that already, but playing against so many opponents who stand off us, we don’t get enough chance to practise it.

    We learned that, although success depends on the whole team, one outstanding player’s contribution can be decisive. We know that, because we’ve been on both ends of it (eg Cesc v Aston Villa).

    We learned that it doesn’t matter whether players are bought for pots of money or raised from the good earth: what matters is their skill, their flair, their vision, their energy and their understanding of the team ethic. We’ve lived and breathed that since Arsene took over.

    We learned that the style of football which we play is the one which is capable of producing the best football on the planet – and ideally individuals need to have been brought up together in that style. If we didn’t already know that, Barca confirmed it for us.

    And we learned that we aren’t there yet. If we’re honest, we knew that as well.

    What we didn’t find out is how far away we are. And that’s where the injuries count. If our most accomplished players had been fit and on the field – win, lose or draw – we would have a better idea of how near we are to the Holy Grail.

    For me, we’ve seen enough this season to know we’re mighty close. (Others might disagree!)

    So let’s press ahead confidently. The long term prospect is joyful. And in the short term let’s hope for the little bit of luck which needs to be added to all of the above to win us the EPL.

  205. People are defensive geeGunner because some use the fact that Cesc came to us at sixteen to point out that our academy is shit. Which in turn implies that everything barcelona touches turns to gold thus proving their infallibility.

  206. My question is: Who the hell cares which academy Fabregas is from?

    We got him when he was 16, and there was a lot to learn from there. In Barca, he may have learned the basics, but Arsenal taught him how to become the world class player that he is now. Not only that, but we are teaching him how to lead a big club in the most difficult of circumstances. I don’t think Barca would’ve given him that kind of education at that early age.

    Barca put him in their school because they thought he was good, we took him out and put him in a private school because we thought he was special.

  207. Naah. Fabregas was ten years old when he joined Barcelona. He had already learned the “fundamental basics”. That’s why Barcelona signed him.

  208. “Here are the facts:

    We weren’t even close to fielding a full strength squad.

    The injuries hurt us.

    They were better than us.

    It’s a shame the with all of his talent, Messi is such a diving cunt.

    Let’s move on, shall we?”

    Hear, hear! This is the most sensible thing I’ve read on here today.

  209. @ Mean Lean , top of the thread;

    The most frustrating thing about Arsenal in the last 3 seasons is that in the big games we’ve never had a full side to pick from.

    We literally don’t know how strong Arsenal really is. It is very very frustrating.

    The entire game yesterday, I was thinking what it would be like if Barca had to deal with a full-strength Arsenal side.

    That would not mean I don’t recognise that Barcelona is a supreme machine that would roll over all in its path.

    They will win the league and Champions League double again this season.

    It’s one of the best European sides ever.

    Having said that, Messi is so much of their strength. He’s the one who creates so much space for everyone else.

    Look at his first and 4th goals last night. He doesn’t need time or space to score, he just needs to be facing goal with a glimpse of the goal, and he brings on his magic.

    The next time somebody mentions Wayne Rooney in the same breath as Lionel Messi, I’m going to resort to violence. They’re not in the same league.

  210. The thread has moved on, but I’m sticking to my Defence!

    The following is not a vague opinion about Defence.

    Those still in pain, may want to skip on to the next comment.

    Looking at three goals that Barca scored, the goals in the first leg, and their third last night:

    Gallas & TV5 have been playing like one of the most original CB pairings ever.
    Every time one of them does a Beckenbauer, they can rely on another player to drop back and cover. A few problems as they ironed out the kinks, but I’ve enjoyed what they’ve been trying to do.

    In the Liverpool home game, we saw a glimpse of the future, at times Song & Diaby both at CB, from open play! A very disciplined, ‘cagey’, as you would say, ‘defensive’ performance, when a bearable number were injured or crocked, or returning to form.
    It helped that Liverpool were, er, very , erm, Defensive.
    This is how this AFC team will play against teams that come to ‘park the bus’, i.e. most games.

    1st leg:
    Both goals identical, almost. TV5 steps up, Song hesitates to go across where Gallas would know his DM’s would have covered for him. Simple.

    2nd leg, Barca 3rd Goal:
    Which CB stepped out? Did they or am I hallucinating? Was it MS? Why? An individual error, without Song, with Diaby ‘engaged’, ’twas always a little risky.

    As Frank pointed out for all who were listening (or actually been watching), it was TV5’s responsibility to make Song’s life a little easier in the 1st leg as it would have been a little tough to replicate Gallas’ form at CB midway through a game against Barca for anyone.

    The point:

    AFC are developing a different way of playing to Barca, similar, not the same. As said by many above, Barca play in a league where they are protected, with a different style. So it could never be the same.

    Anyone brave enough to ask OleG what his reaction was to the news of MS playing last night? On second thoughts, don’t!

    Having CB’s who aren’t ‘green’, with each other or their DM’s/CM’s, is a little important for this system, IMO.


    Therefore, loosing Sol who demonstrated his ease with the CB system when he twined half the Wolves team (hilarious!), or Song (he’d have played fine at CB with some prep) was a little bit of a problem. Alas, Johan Djourou, he’s quite a good defender you know. Just ask our friend McLeish who wanted to keep him,
    doesn’t he know anything about ‘Defending’?

    There you go,
    of course the above could all be complete rubbish.
    But there’s no need to have to be so vague when giving an opinion,
    is there?

    Unless, ahem,
    there is something missing,
    between the lines, so to speak.

    Am I being a little too vague?

  211. I can’t wait till Silvestre is gone. Then we’ll be done with the pretence that we can count on him.

  212. I care Gunner4Ever because its yet another stick used to beat Arsenal with.

    “project youth has failed, the only success was really a Barca product”

    Lies allowed to go unchecked become facts, witness the Walcott £60k a week, the Wenger gets a bonus for not spending money and the Arsenal wage bill is the highest in the Premiership as examples.

  213. As great a side as Barcelona are- and they are one of the best clubsides in decades, Messi is much of their potency

  214. @ consolsbob.

    To be honest Flamini had a good last season with us but didnt rate him either. Technically not good enough and that is why he’s warming the bench at Barca. the guy would not even get into Man City team let alone Spurs.

    Flam and Cesc in CM in a 442 is still too weak. I would prefer him to Denilson in the 433 simply cos he had fighting spirit…a bit like Fletcher for Man U!

  215. Ah the old nature/nurture argument reworked into something long, tedious and pointless.

    I reckon it was ALL down to Fabregas’ parents and their marvellous chromosomes – nobody taught him nuthin wot he didn’t already have after that.

    Who cares?

    QoS – are you a real queen?


  216. Wolster – I agree though I don’t think you meant Barca!

  217. I find myself still questioning the logic of allowing Senderos to go on loan when Silvestre is clearly nowhere near as good a player!

    Even with bags of Champs league experience it was clear from day 1 that he was way past it.

    Picking up Manures sloppy seconds is embarrassing anyway!

  218. I’m sorry QoS, I didn’t mean it this way and the rest of my comment indicates that we benefited Fabregas much much more than Barca’s academy. For all I know Fabregas, if stayed at Barca, no one would ever know he even existed.

    It is important to stand to the false accusations about our academy but sometimes it’s obvious people who are saying that are just jealous idiots because we have tons of players coming up plus the ones we already have playing.

  219. OleG at at 6:41 pm

    Well, if it’s any consolation, it’s Gary Neville up against Frank Ribery soon.

    : )

  220. Having a successful youth system isn’t about creating good players. It’s about recognising good players before others do, and then trying not to ruin them.

  221. And Robben!

  222. Well done, Finsbury. Proper football analysis, not just spitting numbers out like a ticker-tape machine.

  223. So Rooney’s playing on ligament damage? This is could be fun!

  224. Way to miss the point Jonny.

  225. I am an arsenal fan in Ghana. Like everyone I was disappointed at the result and I’m not moaning about it.

    Barcelona is the standard. We are short right now but with patience we can build towards that standard. Arsene’s job is not complete yet. We have ingrain the methods being developed into a culture.

    At some point in the future a different manager will come in, just as Pep at Barca, to build upon. The underlying character won’t change. Resolve and tactics may.

    Patience Gunners. We are on a journey that has no end and there will be many downs and also a lot of ups.

  226. Arsenal currently 4th ranked team in Europe (behind Barca, MU and Chelski – UEFA co-efficients) they’ve been steadily rising from 38th when AW took over. Chelski clearly have peaked and are in decline, MU unlikely to improve before declining so I’d rather be in Arsenal’s shoes then the other Eng clubs.

    The fact is that with their 5 best players injured they lost. With 4 of those players available last week (with some fitness issues) they drew. Hardly a crisis. And Barca had to resort to the worst of Spanish cynicism re their diving and play acting antics – distinctly unclassy.

    Good to see AW not over-reacting to the typical and disrespectful questions he received – we will see incremental improvements to the squad as ever. I suspect the main concern he will have is over why Arsenal were dominated home and away in possession, a game he prides his teams on. That and how to deal with the appalling lack of protection the bent/hopeless English refs afford his team.

  227. Cheers LA,

    If Graham Taylor can manage England (after Bobby Robson FFS! Have the FA no shame?), how hard can it be to explain what you mean by ‘Defence’?

    I take that back. Graham Taylor sounds like a lovely man. But…Carlton Palmer…?

    Holy ****.

    That’s it!

    The midfield ‘Destroyer’ we need…

    Right, I’m off to the cloning lab.

    See you lot later.

  228. I must say that i am almost split in half as a result of the clash between my two lifetime favourite teams.. Only favor Barcelona more because it where i live and im Spanish, but i have been a fan of Arsenal for a little over two decades. Another proof of this, is the fact that i know of this site, only real Arsenal fans come here..

    What we saw was but a fraction of what this should have been. Full squads head on would have been unreal. It could have gone any way.

    Messi, a genius no doubt and probably the greatest of all time, but a little selfish imho..

    When Messi scored it instantly reminded me of that Vela goal in the Carling cup… In fact, i would have liked to have seen Vela play.. He is more familiar to that league than anyone except for Cesc.. It remains a mistery to me why Wenger wont use him…When Carlos played for Osasuna in la Liga and came to play against Barca, he was absolutely amazing to watch and gave us lots of scares lol…months later hes at Arsenal, but does not play, too bad.. Hes more than ready.

    Arsenal showed courage, but faced a Barcelona that is simply at its best, even when incomplete.

  229. Which academy taught Zidane this:

  230. Finsbury,

    Neville’s grandmother wrote Red Nose not to submit him to that level of torture, and it seems Ferguson has granted her wish.

    Da Silva will face Ribery.

  231. Is it really Zidane? Perhaps not. Still, he seems to have learned the basics.

  232. All of those skills are useless against a Barca team that presses high up the pitch though PZ.

  233. YW might have taken it a little too far by saying injuries have nothing to do with it. If Messi was out, the result would likely have been different.

    The reality is that if all our players were fit and all Barcelona’s players were fit, they would be favourites. They are simply the best team in the world right now, and Messi is a big part of that.

    Everyone saw how Barca walked over Man United in the final last year, and that was with a makeshift back four. This was a Man U team that beat us 3-1 at the Emirates in the 2nd leg when our line-up had most of our key players available (Almunia, Toure, Sagna, Song, Nasri, Adebayor, Fabregas, Van Persie).

    The truth is that we have a couple of great players and a number of very good ones. We have a squad that we should all be proud of and one of the finest managers in the game.

    To lose to Barcelona is no disgrace, but the sooner some people understand we might simply just not be as good as them (as it seems Wenger and the players have accepted) then we can focus our support towards pushing the team to a very possible Premier League win.

    By the way, it worked out perfectly for Thierry. A brief cameo in the 2-2 draw and not a minute played in yesterday’s victory. His stock stayed as high as ever with his old team, which is about the only meaningful consolation to be found from yesterday’s game (aside from Clichy’s lung-busting performance and Bendtner’s growth in confidence)

  234. All those poor twats on Sky were worried Rooney would be out for the WC.

    He may be after tonight, if he makes his ankle injury worse.

  235. Pz, you are right. Its as if people think Barca just pick any youth of the streets of spain and turn them into world class players. They look for talented individuals.

  236. Damn.

    That’s my evening ruined.

    Zidane videos? Pah!
    I’m off to find the next Carlton Palmer.

    Nature, nurture or torture?

  237. ALL,

    Thanks for this blog and all your comments. It’s helped me no end after last night. We will be back better than ever and I think the circumstances (including Barca and Messi’s excellence and our injuries etc) leave a lot of scope for a graceful but positive acceptance.

    Now to the Premiership. Onwards and upwards


  238. Finsbury, I can’t tell you how much I admired that post.

    Top class.

    Passenal, I can’t tell you how much I admired that post.

    Top class.

    Absolutely sincerely, and theres the rub when it comes to football debate.

    A thank you too, to Wolster who confirmed both my expectations and fears.

  239. I seem to recall last seasons beating in the semi final 2nd leg differently lagooner. Were we not missing most of the back four plus Rosicky Eduardo Arshavin?

  240. Finsbury @6:40

    In the end it only matters that we did concede too many goals. We scored 3 including an away goal which should have been enough goals for us to progress.

    I have made all my arguments on this blog many times in the past and starting over is not worth our time. If you really believe that this team has defended well enought to start refilling our trophy cabinet after watching us concede 6 to Barca and 10 this year against United and Chelsea then we obviously will not agree no matter how many posts we make.

  241. Seen that video before and it’s not Zidane. It was shot pretty recently, not 30 years ago…

  242. Credit to Barcelona for their brilliant play. They won the ball back very easily. But I was annoyed with their post foul theatrics.
    We were beaten at our own game. Yes, our defense made some mistakes. But we will be inviting more mistakes if we don’t keep possession of the ball. I thought our first touches were poor yesterday. We also need to develop Barca’s work rate. We should stick to our current crop of talented players because they have learned the Arsenal way. They can only get better with experience and training.

  243. So injuries don’t matter and top teams should be able to do without their best players, yet manu are willing to risk Rooney’s future career and world cup chance by playing him on one leg?

  244. QOS

    Our back four was Sagna (1st choice) Toure (1st choice) Djourou and Gibbs. Not a bad back-four, although as you’ll remember it was an unfortunate slip from Gibbs.

    But it further proves my point that Barca humiliated Man United with a severely weakened defence.

    I’m not saying we haven’t been desperately unlucky with injuries, and the one game we could have exploited Iniesta, Pique, Puyol and Ibrahimovic being out we had worse injuries of our own.

    That doesn’t conflict with the point that with both teams fully fit, Barcelona would have been favourites, and with good reason.

  245. Of course for Zindane to have made it in English football, then he would have needed to attend Stoke City’s Academy.

  246. WTF

    Rooney starts tonight 😮

  247. Like this, I mean.

  248. Passenal, I think that says more than any other comment that has made regarding our terrible injuries.

    Its is just not rational to say that teams should always be able to cope with injuries no matter who is injured or how many players are injured regardless of who they are playing against.

  249. The point most Arsenal and non-Arsenal fans are missing is that we’re still in a Golden Age with Wenger, despite the lack of trophies.

    He’s delivering Champions League football every year (in a beautiful, spanking new stadium no less) and getting us through to big, big games in the QF and beyond. The consistency is remarkable.

    As a fan, you really can’t expect more than for the team to pucnh above its weight year after year, and in the case of the new stadium, our club has also started to level the playing field in the most sporting way possible.

  250. Here’s to a Man United defeat and Rooney being out until the end of the season. Have to hand it to him though. Like our Cesc, he’s one tough SOB.

  251. lagooner, we shouldve exploited them because we had many chances. Our final ball was missing and we were not controlled when we had a decent shot, even Rosicky which was surprising.

    Its not as if they were great defensively, they were there to be scored on.

    Again, please remember NB was called offside and when Walcott was free and Diaby held the ball.

  252. Paul N

    I’ve said all that yesterday, so I agree with you. Despite the imbalance, we still had chances to win early on.

    But we’ve seen the same dynamic when we play teams that are not as good as us in the league. Man U, Chelsea and ourselves have all lost or drawn games this season we should have won. Having a chance to win it doesn’t mean that they’re not a better team than us.

    At the same time, I also think that Chelsea and Man United aren’t better than us despite our losses to them this season. It was the manner of Barca’s victory not the victory itself that makes them better than us and also why they are the world’s best team.

  253. Against, Paul, scored against.

    Let it go now. Spuds on Saturday, that matters.

  254. Agreed Consolbob, although Spurs is on Wednesday.

    We’ll be a week rested and they will have a weekend F.A Cup game.

  255. I really do not care about Barca, unless they play manu in the final, in which case I shall become a supporter for a couple of hours, they are gone from my mind.

    I do look forward to our next encounter with them though, and there will be one. If not next season then very soon.

  256. Oh yes. Well spotted la.

  257. Scored against, ok Mr Bob.

    How is life?

  258. I agree on all counts Cbob @7.47 p.m.

  259. Bayern?

  260. Have the Bayern defence stayed at home?

  261. Wow – I missed this thread but from what I read there was some great observations made….with a lot of conviction. This is ACLF at its best – some fierce supporters of Arsenal FC emphasizing the positives with the usual bullshitters who consistently try to undermine the club, the manager and players. Yes, yesterday we were beaten by a better team (and by some rotten luck) but there is a lot to build on to make us better. You guys have given me a lot to think about.

    Back to work.

  262. Did Bayern show up for the game?

  263. Very good Paul, thank you, although I spent my afternoon doing one of my least favourite jobs of gutting and jointing surplus cockerels. No pun intended.

    I’ve asked this before and I’ll ask it again. Do teams actually bother to defend against manu? So many of their goals are soft.

  264. I hear you Mr. Bob. Glad you are ok, apart from your job today.

  265. I think it’s the ‘mystique’ of champions Cbob – success begets success. Other teams fear the reputation and miss the fact that the team is vulnerable if only they would go for it.

  266. QoS I think my sarcasm is always difficult to convey – I get the point and agreed with you but it was rather tedious.

    CBob – I know what you mean, but it’s even worse than that; what is going on with the number of own goals they get?!

    I think their 2nd top scorer this season is ‘other teams’, its like having your top scorer in a test match under the column ‘extras’ (and winning).

  267. You’ve really been on this issue today Paul. I admire your arguments and persistence. We can’t win ’em all.

    My bet would be that we’ll win enough.

  268. just got back from Spain….god there were some weirdos on here last sense of humour. I’ve had enough of people like that

    Que Sera as far as the game goes; but we all had a great time.

    Now bring ’em on next weds!

  269. shotta gunna – rotten luck, my arse…

    we were comprehensively beaten, did not turn up for the secodn half at all…

    Not. Good. Enough.

  270. You have a point Passenal, but the shoddy defending tonight from Bayern? I hear the commentators comparing Rooney with Messi and manu with Barca, well, how can you not make such comparisons, they are so obvious!!? Did you see the goals though?

    Actually Jonny, isn’t that exactly how the Aussies beat us in Harmisons’s first series?

  271. Well if it’s not that, maybe someone is getting paid under the table.

  272. Bayern are bloody awful tonight.

  273. Game on!

  274. Ha-ha Cbob. Very good. Harmison drives me nuts.

    Ooooh and Go Olich!

  275. I can see the agument for referees being influenced to favour certain clubs. I can’t comprehend a situation where one club, or even bent bookmakers, can influence a whole competition by corrupt means.

    If they could, then football is dead.

    Luck maybe? I mean, manu are not that good.

  276. SUGA3 – we were unlucky and the ref was giving them everything and us nothing.

    They were also better than us by a mile.

    The two are not mutually exclusive.

    As for not trying in the second half, for the most, I thought the boys worked their socks off.

    Clichy was outstanding.

  277. Bob, luck and good finishing, when you are in the positions that the luck brings.

  278. Chamakh scored too.

  279. I hate Man United.

    Agree with Passenal at 8:11

  280. Chamakh scored again

  281. Chamakh scored with his foot this time. Last time someon said he scores 80% of his goals with his head. Anyone watching that game? How does he look?

  282. oops, beat me to it G4E

  283. I actually heard Dominic Cork, last wek, say that we shouldn’t give up on Harmison just yet.

    I gave up on him years ago. I watched him closely in South Africa a few years ago. Enough.

  284. If we were to sign Chamakh, and he is so good with his head, as the stats suggest, would we then sign a winger?

  285. Rooney is fucked again, you can tell a mile off, the silly bugger has turned the same ankle again and is limping around pretending he is ok so as not to come off.

    United could be out here, Bayern must surely get another away goal in the 2nd half.

  286. Thanks Mr. Bob, just want our team to get the credit due to them inspite of.

  287. and yes we will win many!!!

  288. Second half is going to be fun. This is rope-a-dope from Bayern.

    Rooney was’t pressing at all. I’d be surprised if he comes back out.

  289. Let’s hope so, Big Al.

    Mind you, ITV say they will need Rooney in the second half and who could gainsay those experts?

  290. What about the Kid Eden Hazard Mr. Bob. Very skilfull young man and I have heard that he wants to either go to RM or Arsenal.

  291. Rooney wants to emulate Fabregas when he played the rest of the Barca game injured so he can fight with his team.

    Rooney is a: Copy Monkey

  292. Hazard is a little wing wizard, twice the player nani and valencia are put together.

  293. yes he is an exceptional player

  294. Da Silva off.

    This is great!

  295. red card the dirty manc fucks 😆

  296. down to ten men, what a stupid boy.

  297. red for silva

  298. what a mug moping off the pitch like that

  299. nine men with rooney still on

  300. Very interesting that.

    A copy of the Eboue incident last night. For us, Eboue was booked and a free kick to barca. Tonight, a booking for the manc and a free kick for Bayern.

    A complete reversal.

  301. Very true, CB.

  302. I don’t know the player Paul. Where is he now?

  303. True Mr. Bob, confusing isnt it?

  304. Jonny,

    no, we were not unlucky, Our Glorious Leader got it wrong, simple as…

    and I am not talking about last night, however, there are a few things I’d have done differently, simple as…

  305. Refereeing seems to be a lottery at best these days.

    At best? Who knows?

    Rooney is such a hero, isn’t he?

  306. He plays in France for Lille it seems.

  307. anyone seen the arsenal team??? apparantly they still havn’t been found!!!!!

  308. this is a fabulous game of football

    perfectly poised

  309. Ah, I have been watching a bit of their game. I’ll pay closer attention.

  310. CBob – Yeah I gave up on Harmison a long time ago – he’s got no fire in his belly – no real inner steel.

    Article on Hazard from last year. There were good rumours from Belgium that Wenger has already been to meet his parents but regardless the price of the player will most likely see us ruled out.

  311. Sounds to me as though you’d be much happier over on Le Grove, SUGA3.

  312. “and I am not talking about last night, however, there are a few things I’d have done differently, simple as…”

    What are you waiting for? Now’s you chance to show us your master plan. Get finger painting, son.

  313. SUGA – you are aware that Arsenal are 5 games away from winning the league?

    or you following another team these days?

  314. Anyone got some Pritt Stick for Suga3?

  315. woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

  316. Yeeess!


  318. Jonny,

    I am one of regulars on there, it’s no secret – but we are all Gooners in the end, no?

    it’s not about some bullshit ‘differences’, it’s the Arsenal FC we are talking about and please face the facts: we have been exposed against a quality team once again and unless we invest in the summer, we will be back to square one…

  319. SUGA – you only sing when your winning.

    end of.

  320. Jonny, If he wants to come we will be ok, I think we can splash a little cash if need be.

  321. can see how their dealing with Ribery.

  322. ideal way to play 10 men

    stretch the norven monkeys all over the place.

  323. Suga3, why worry about what will happen in the summer. What happens, happens.

  324. Well, ManU has got the much easier draw and they can’t do it. What does that tell us about them? Especially in comparison to us?

  325. Wenger did say he would spend in the summer anyhow and he is the best finding the right players.

    I trust Wenger much more that Suga3!

  326. SH,

    5 games away from winning the league? for what it’s worth, I think we will come second, but I knew that at the beginning of this season – I said it would be between us and Chelsea with us coming JUST short…

    if we beat Spuds at the Shite Fart Lane, we still have Shitty to negotiate, remember? are you CONFIDENT about getting a result against them? I am not talking blind faith here, I am talking rational confidence…

  327. EF, they will be saying, “If Rooney wasnt injured”.

  328. At home against Man City? What drugs are you taking that you expect them to have a serious chance?

  329. I an very confident against city at home.

    You should be aswell.

    Spuds away is the hardest game we have left.

    Get 3 points there, and the title is ours.

  330. It’ll be a shame if the Mancs do go out tonight, there’s no way they’d beat Inter or Barca in the final and it’d be good for us for them to have a few extra games to muddy up their last few league fixtures. That Robben goal was a beauty though, a worthy match-winner if that turns out to be the case.

  331. 3 points at the stain will also make it St Totts Day. How nice

  332. SH,

    no mate, I am a die-hard Gooner, I just don’t like a few things that are happening at this club at the moment…

    what was the point of clearing that much debt and leaving the squad underinvested? are you happy about what you saw against Barca (both legs), Chelsea (both games) and Manure (both games)? if you are, you are clearly easily pleased…

  333. We went out against the best team in the world, the reigning champions of Europe.

    ManU is going to go out against a team that didn’t even win the German league last year.

  334. “EF, they will be saying, “If Rooney wasnt injured”.

    Plus the emphasis on “10 man Utd”

  335. SUGA – were you the type of kid that wanted all the sweets? right here, right now?

    then spent the rest of the day puking up while all the other kids played outside?

  336. Some of the doomers on here have no concept of accounting, running a budget, balancing the books.. bet they are all maxed out on their credit cards.
    Could do with William on here for a bit of light relief after the past 2 days….and you know that to be true.
    Zap you are a donut.

  337. SUGA3, did you watch a different game to me at OT. We outplayed the mancs and only a non pen on AA and a non pen (given) on fattie gave them the win.

  338. the very same drugs that made me see them shitting all over us in the reverse fixture – was I hallucinating?

    and we had more first teamers to choose from back then too…

    and they have more firepower upfront than we can handle: Tevez, Ade, Bellamy – I would have each and every one of them in a snap…

  339. 4-4 aggregate at ManU, three minutes of injury time and they are out

  340. Paul – I have no problem with that at all – I’m just judging by the fact that all the big (bank-rolled) clubs know about him now. He’d probably be £25M + and Wenger has never spent that much before – so it seems unlikely.

    Hooray Bayern!

  341. Lovely!

  342. YES!


  343. SH,

    that is just stupid – no, I am one of the reasonable ones, but this is getting ridiculous: to use your analogy, we are not getting any sweets at all, are we?

    wake up and smell the coffee – we are second rate at the moment, which I have to admit is nothing short of miracle, given that our spending is 10th rate…

  344. Are the mancs out? That cheers me up no end!

  345. ManU out – wonder if dave is on their blog?

  346. So Arsene gets berated when he walks off and doesn’t shake the hand of the opposing manager, will the same happen to Ferguson? Probably not.

  347. What will Skysports do now that their darlings are out of the CL?

  348. loverly

    dups: Theyve begun the major bumsucking of barcelona already mate

  349. Lets hope for the best jonny. I just have a feeling we may spend a little more this off season.

    I am glad United have gone out, who needs to hear all their crap about being the only UK team in the CL.

    That kid was very stupid to get sent of though.

  350. SUGA3, anyone who would take Ade in a snap ain’t no Gooner at all.

    I rate Bellamy but couldn’t stand him in the team either.

    Tevez is brilliant but signing him would have broken our wage structure 10x over.

    You clearly don’t understand how this club works – or maybe you just don’t care. Either way you do not know as much about everything as you think you do.

    Get real.

  351. SUGA – i smell the coffee, shame you don’t.

    must be a living nightmare being around such a negative person as you.. do you never have anything positive to say?

    must be a dark world you live in… oh of course, you believe its reasonable to berate a team fighitng for the title.

    who do you support again? don’t fucking lie to me again and say Arsenal.

  352. Yes they are Passenal.

  353. Yes I am hopeful of that too Paul – a couple of marquee signings would be great for the team.

    As for Raphael he got a second booking for cynically tugging someone back whilst they were on a break – something the ref was more than happy to allow against Theo last night.

    No consistency…

  354. fergie fuming 😆 cracking interivew, full to the brim with hypocrisy

  355. The problem with that kid is that he is used to playing in the WWF, sorry the PL. He thought that would just be a warning.

  356. I think it’s time to reconsider the away goals rule, and the rule that says a player must be sent off if he gets two yellow cards. It’s ridiculous to have a great team like man utd knocked out of the Champions League over a couple of technicalities.

  357. Man poo were 1 nil up in the first leg; 3 nil up in the 2nd leg and they were knocked out.

    Can you imagine if that were Arsenal? Can you imagine the hysteria that’d follow?

    3 nil, and you fucked it up, 3 nil, and you fucked it up!

  358. What other reason could SAF have for not shaking hands other than being a bad loser? I’m sure the Bayern manager did not spend the whole game goading him on the touchline. But he won’t be called on it, neither will he face the spanish inquisition about his decision to play Rooney, like Arsene had to do when he was accused of playing Fabregas with a broken leg.

  359. What a relief…So we don’t have to hear so much about how Chel$cum and the Mancys are just awesome. All are out of the CL league, at least we were knocked out by Barca the supposed best team in the world. What excuse do they have?

  360. 3 losses in a week for the mancs. Must be a crisis up norf

  361. SUGA3, you talk shite mate you donkey

  362. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    SUGA3 can f*ck off. We’re going to smash City a new one. He talks as if City are better than us. Last I checked, we’re 3 points off the top sitting comfortably in a CL spot. And where are City? Battling it out with the Sp*ds for 4th. Sounds like some new hobbies may be in order for SUGA3.

  363. Jonny,

    get real? me?

    maybe I should have been more precise: take names out of the equation, would you rather have Ade or Bendy? Theo or Tevez?

    and please, focus on the quality of the players, not names…

    ‘You clearly don’t understand how this club works’ – why don’t you ‘enlighten’ me then? try reasonable arguments, it’s not that hard…

    wage structure? we have plenty of players that don’t deserve ha;f of what they’re getting paid, we have gargantuan squad yet we cannot field a right footed CB, so we move TV from the left to accommodate Silvestre who should not be anywhere near this team – some masterstroke that was…

  364. I avoid watching the mancs whenever I can so I rely on the comments here to know what’s going on. Maybe their luck has finally run out?

  365. Fergie said “typical germans” what a disrespectful comment, what does that mean?

  366. Typical racist I’d say, but the English media will just lap it up as they secretly agree with him

  367. regarding the Bayern players hounding the ref that is, as if United players dont hound the ref to get people sent off.

  368. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Wow, Fergie has got to be one of the biggest c*nts on the face of the earth. What a despicable old fart he is.

  369. SH,

    I see, here’s how you conduct a reasonable argument – you don’t have anything to counter logic so you will resort to personal attacks – what a boring twat you are…

    Nasir, Zap,


  370. SUGA3, arsenal is still a developing team you giraffe, dont you get that. Its a miracle were at the heights we’re at. We havnt ruined our reputation either, ive talked to a lot of barca fans recently and all of them respect arsenal now. Everyon knows we had a weak team. Yet we battled so hard, we took the lead in the nou camp.

    Its a working progress, whatever happens now is just a bonus, when these players have matured, wellington da silva emerges alongside one or two top signings, we will dominate.

    We should be feeling proud.

    Proud of a team from a tiny part of north london that conquers and travels europe.

    We are arsenal


  371. Dups @

    IIRC AA scored without there having been a break in play at OT so not a convincing argument. Oh, and it was a penalty to United, re-read the comments on that match review to find out why.

    Jonny @ 9.41

    I wouldn’t take Adebayor back – too disruptive an influence.


  372. Why are you moaning at ferguson? We shud all be laughing!!!!

    All together now….

    ha, ha, ha, ha, ahahahahahahahahhahahahhaah

  373. What a disgrace Slur Alex is!

    Truth is, it was “typical Germans”. The Germans know that English sides come out swinging, get knackered and can be picked off at ease in the second half.

    That’s the footballing history of England vs Germany.

  374. stringfellow hawke we ve had our differences but well said mate, suga3 youre a tard. Run home you prick

  375. and one more thing: I am not berating this team, I am just being realistic – like I said, to be where we are is nothing short of commendable, all things considered…

    it is the gung-ho attitude and the fact that some players believe they are better than they really are that will be our undoing (reason why we will come short) – now look back and think of points stupidly dropped: all avoidable, no?

  376. What was the score in the Bordeaux/Lyon game?

  377. Zap,

    blog hardman, are we?

    what a tool…

  378. Stringfellow

    You have some serious anger management issues to deal with.


  379. Well that result has put the smile back on my face!
    Bayern really deserved to go through. They play some good football overall. What a horrible, graceless old man Ferguson is. Some things never change.

  380. Passenal

    Bordeaux won 1 – 0 on the night but lost 2 – 3 on aggregate.


  381. @YW
    I was referring to the Fletcher assault on AA at OT which was waved away by the ref.

  382. “take names out of the equation, would you rather have Ade or Bendy? Theo or Tevez?”

    Pointless questions – we cannot afford either of those players exorbitant wages. That is not Wenger’s fault it is the reality of the distorted world of bank rolled clubs.

    You seem to have a problem dealing with this unlike the great majority of thinking fans on this site.

    As I said before why not go and peddle your misery and Wenger slagging on Le grove – they love it.

    Hang on! Lads, why am I arguing with plankton??

  383. Sugababy were hardly second rate!

    Were consistantly year in year out one of the top eight teams in europe.

    Fantastic players at the club

    A sumpytious pleasure palace in which to watch them do their stuff on a weekly basis.

    In 18 months time arguably the richest club in world football (when the loans are paid etc…)

    Get real mate, if you think this is second rate you obviously werent born or watching us throughout the 80’s…..

    We used to celebrate avoiding defeat for three games on the trot and hold street parties if we scored more than once in a game!

  384. SUGA3 same can be said abt you bruv look at your face in the picture you arrogant reindeer

  385. Suga @ 9.57

    After the word ‘blog’ remove every word until you get to ‘tool’….


  386. hahahahah well said jonny

  387. Bayern were on top from the moment they scored their first goal. Rafael was sent off because he had to cheat to try to prevent the inevitable consequence of pressure from Bayern. It certainly didn’t change the game.

  388. total kudos goes out to Jonny.

    nicely done.

  389. 1 loose cannon

    when the draw was made the arogance of the media handed Manure a place in the final just like that and direspected B.Munich a great european club. Townsend looked gutted.I’m glad. I can’t see Barcelona going past Morinho’s double decker bus. B.Munich V Inter for the final.

  390. mass suicide pact is planned on a certain miserable so-called goon blog…

    if we win the league 😆

    alert the relevant authorites….. actually no, don’t bother.

  391. Why do people bother to respond to these people who we never see when the team is doing well? They are most likely supporters of one of our rivals who come on here to stir up and revel in the misery. It we manage to remain upbeat despite set backs, like adults do, it takes away their power to unsettle us. Why play into their hands and entertain them? They are not even brave enough to admit what they are up to with their pretense of being supporters. That is what the internet is all about for some people with empty lives, you can pretend to be whoever you want to be behind the anonymity of your computer screen. At least William and Dave and their many alter egos make no pretence of why they are here.

  392. So Fergie gambled by putting a young pony RB to face Ribery instead of his old donkey (Nevil) it backfired, and the young pony got sent off…what would that make Fergie to be: A Jack Ass?

  393. Jonny,

    er, yes we can – getting shot of legions of youngsters on stupid wages would be a start…

    plankton? I will not even dignify that with a comment…

  394. SUGA3, same can be said abt you bruv look at your face in the picture you arrogant reindeer

  395. SUGA3, same can be said about you bruv look at your face in the picture you arrogant reindeer

  396. 2 very good semis to look forward to…

    wenger’s protege, puel, can hopefully go all the way and lift big ears.

  397. Arrogant piece of sh*ts. Am glad they believed the the Hype of a Barca/ Manure finals. These deluded journos have certainly outdone themselves this time around. Sir red nose suggesting teh Germans played to get his player sent of by crowding the Ref. How many times have we seen the Manics and Chelski Player do stuff like that, now he finally realises it wrong. What a whinger but don’t expect the press to point that out. Afterall only Arsene is capable of such acts after a loss.

  398. Zap,

    no need to repeat, everyone has seen what a comedian you are…


  400. SUGA3, problem with the laptop you sheep, ignore that, you can go back to le-grove now. bye bye suga3 bye

  401. “Regarding the Bayern players hounding the ref that is, as if United players dont hound the ref to get people sent off.”

    Almost fell off my chair when I heard the commentators say that Bayern influenced the referee and that’s why the second yellow was given to Rafael. Excuse me? Have you cunts ever seen Chelsea play at all?

    Give it up to Valencia. He took to diving and play acting like a fish to water. Way to go you!!!!

  402. Thanks Yogi @ 9.58 p.m. And what are you doing posting so much today? Have the family allowed you a day off?

  403. what a sad bunch some of you are – what would you chat shit about if there was no LG? get a life…


    we would celebrate the title as loud as you would, maybe even louder…

    it is wrong to think that LG is anti-AW for the sake of it, more about seeing certain shortcomings…

  404. Passenal,

    Did Fergie not shake hands with Van Gaal?

  405. Wow we are bein stretched to tha max, this is the team i would play v spurs.

    Sagna Campbell Vermaelen Cliche
    Denilson Rosicky Diaby
    Eboue Bentdner Nasri

    (walcott on the bench)

  406. 1 loose cannon

    Berbatov 30 millions? what a joke. Rooney can’t walk he starts and then playing a rookie Rafael on a big night. Alex Fengus is a genius ha ha ha.

  407. zip it Zap…


  408. of course you would celebrate it…

    like i said earlier, you only sing when you are winning.

  409. Come on you rip roaring reds!

  410. We dont need le-grove representatives on here,

  411. Obviously, if you play the new Footie Manager, it’s easy to see the solution for all of Arsenal’s problems. “I’ll just buy Akinfeev, this brazilian nobody heard about and Messi and then I am going to win everything!”

    Too bad real life doesn’t work the same way Footie Manager does..

  412. “Sometimes I think they [the Arsenal fans] have booed players in the past when it was not fair, and maybe they have realised themselves – that they have been too harsh at times.

    “Perhaps they tried to use a new mentality and personally I think that’s the right way to do it. It’s always easy to complain, and to blame people, but at the end of the day you have to make it work, accept what happens and try to be positive.

    “That’s the right attitude to have.”

    I agree Nik

  413. Passenal

    Free pass so long as I don’t interrupt a stressed Mrs YW whilst she catches up on some mindless TV…


  414. Why do we think Fergie started Rooney, what was the mindset behind starting your best player even though he is injured?

  415. Ole G @ 10.11 p.m. I was responding to Yogi’s comment as I did not see it myself.

  416. Zap,

    I am not representing LG, just myself…

    and unlike you, I don’t make myself look like an inbred…

  417. So Suga, we get rid of the ‘overpaid’ youngsters (who are the clubs future) and use the money to pay massive transfer fees for established players, pay them massive wages and in so doing break the ceiling of the existing wage structure. Then our existing first team players demand increases, when it is time for contract renewal, because they want something near parity with the big signings.
    Then we find that that our big signings want increases that we cannot hope to match against the likes of Chelsea et al.
    We end up with an ageing team full of unlikeable mercenaries and no youth team project to replace them.
    Chelsea have already proven that this model is unsustainable (in terns of financial return) and Liverpool are in the process of proving the dangers of trying.

    I was wrong you’re a genius.

  418. Well, enjoy your day of freedom Yogi!

  419. You guys are giving me a good laugh at the end of my work day.


    I needed it after today..

  420. Ole / Passenal

    van Gaal was too busy congratulating his staff and the subs bench to rush down and kiss Ferguson’s feet so rather than waiting, SAF walked off.


  421. No; it is wrong to think that we are anti-LG for the sake of it, more about seeing certain shortcomings…

  422. that was good jonny, you are givin Suga3 a beatin!

  423. that’s putting it very, very politely Paul N 😉

  424. Jonny,

    Project Youth:

    the squad of players where you see a collection of youngsters from all over the globe with no affiliation with the club, teenagers who have too much too soon (which breeds the wrong kind of arrogance and fuck all fight). And what is the success rate exactly?

    besides, compare wage bills: ours, Manure’s and Chelsea’s – not a lot between, is there?

    Paul N,

    beating? you’re having a laugh – soon he will roll out the heavy cannon of ‘doing a Leeds’, ffs…

  425. @SUGA3
    So how much does, say Whilshere earn a week? Or Ramsey? Or Denilson? Or Wellington Silva? Since you know that they earn too much too soon, I bet you can enlighten me on that.

  426. “besides, compare wage bills: ours, Manure’s and Chelsea’s – not a lot between, is there?”

    Um, yes there is.

  427. 1 loose cannon

    We have a long week to rest hopefully some players will be back possibly Song and we will be ready to mash some spuds. They are playing on Sunday and will only have 2 days to rest If we spank them it will make for last night’s heartbreak

  428. on top of that, there is a MASSIVE space between spending zilch and going OTT with it, no?

    you must be very narrow minded if you only see these two options – I am not saying ‘Spend a billion’, I am saying ‘Buy 2-3 more players to make us properly competitive’


    yes, mathematically we have a chance, but is it of our own making? is it fuck – the table doesn’t lie, look beyond games played and points, goals scored and conceded is the particularly interesting stat…

  429. so SUGA, are you suggesting the rest of the league rolled over and let us accumulate all these points?

    please explain.. this should be (more) fun

  430. Well the PL is everything now. UTD only a point ahead of us will make it interesting. My head says Chelsea but my heart says the Arsenal. Think UTD will finish 3rd in any event

  431. well, it’s enough for me to know that JET can afford a fucking McLaren, which he can use to do a little GTA style police chase – he hardly kicked a ball for the first team, has he?


    so, what is the difference? numbers please…

  432. Hope Chamakh comes and scores as many for us in next yrs CL quarters as he did this year.

    Anyone worried that we might sell Arshavin? I think his weekly wage is highest on the team.

    Very happy that no one on the blog today started complaining about the ref, Barca diving or coming up with EUFA conspiracy theories. Ref was not great but moaning about never really helps. Conspiracy theorist and ref complaining just make us seem like bad loosers and excuse makers. Lets let Fergie corner the market on that.

    With a little help from United and Chelsea we can still win the league. Lets make mashed potatoes out of the spuds next Wed.

  433. SH,

    no, it’s because of our two rivals indifferent form against ‘weaker’ teams…

    yet, they shat all over us at Emirates, no?

  434. LOL, wrong on the JET story. The car he was driving he could easily afford on bog standard young pro wages.

    I was waiting for you to trot that one out.

  435. but, united got caned by the bigger sides last season ans won the league

    are you saying they won that by default?

  436. You can’t take the wage bill in isolation – you have to look at it and include the money spent on transfers and then look at actual profit.

    Our highest wages are dwarfed by those at Man City, Chelsea and Real Mad. We are a club making money when everyone else is scrabbling to figure how to pay the interest on their loans.

    This is the best run football club in the world and Wenger is largely to thank for that.

    You are just too impatient to understand that you cannot build an empire in a year. All you care about is buying victory – I’d rather take the disappointments and laugh longer and harder in the years to come.

  437. and again, you just dodge the main point of my post – look at the goals scored and conceded (especially the latter)…

    OGL identified it as a problem and he did too little to address this – no defensive backup and poor keepers…

    IF we win the league, I will admit that sun shines out of Arsene’s rectum, simple as – why? no team won anything with keepers as poor as we have…

    VdS single handedly won a few trophies for Manure, no?

  438. I wonder who chooses what play should de replayed. i saw the game on ITV and Bastin Schweinsteiger fell on the edge of the box and I was sure it was a foul and was screaming for a replay the commentators too surprisingly admitted it was a foul but the replay never came. Enter Valencia’s dive that was giving as a foul with several convenient camera angles that portrayed it so.

  439. I told you, he’s revealed his true colours – Surrey manc

  440. I’m gonna go to bed – it’s no fun arguing with fellow Gooners really.

    The sad thing is you’ll no doubt be back on here to say I told you so – should we lose to Man City.

    What a rubbish position to put yourself in – there is a bigger picture here and supporters like you would do well to try to look at it rather than throwing your toys.

    Failing that just stick to Le Grove – you clearly prefer it there and you must know you aren’t going to deter us with your half-baked opinions, so really you are just trolling.

    That’s just SAD.

    Night all!

  441. VDS single handedly? err no, he nearly cost them last season when he got raped by torres and utd got spanked 4-1 by pool, at OT.

    I’m sure there fans could not give a stuff about that game.. they won the league at the end of the day.

    So can we, so forget all the negative crap, get fully behind the team for 5 more games.

    Then start the negativity during pre-season.

  442. Bill,

    There you go again. obsession with transfers and new players.

    Surprising fact: Bendtner scored more goals in the Champions League this season than Chamakh.

    When will you people realise that Arsenal’s best hopes are the players who actually play for us. Transfer fantasies are always so cruelly punctured.

  443. If a GK can single handedly win trophies for you, why bother with the other 10 players? You’d certainly save a bit on the massive wage bill!

  444. OneofUs,

    it’s not just about what car he drove, it’s the general attitude of the player – wrong kind of arrogance, we had a few of those already, no?

    Bentley, Pennant just to name two – especially the latter, I have heard stories about what an arrogant cunt he was, look where he is now…


    quite conveniently, you have left out the most successful of these clubs…

  445. Hah – you are a fucking Manc!

  446. Jonny,

    trolling, am I? no mate, I am not on a mission here and until now I didn’t know I was ‘arguing’ with a fellow Gooner…

    and trust me, I want nothing more than to be proven wrong…

  447. i told you he wasn’t arsenal, fucking obvious.

    go have a wank over on that republik of man blog.

  448. The Mancys are out…that’s all what matters to me really.

  449. Hah – you are a fucking mug!

    seems like you like to employ the following theory:

    ‘if the facts don’t suit my theory, the worse it is for the facts’

  450. Jonny – why sugar coat it? We are anti-lg for what it stands for. Brainless, plastic fans who are anti-Wenger because he stands for sustainable, long-term success. Not the chauvinistic, dishonest short-termism of the two buffoons and his posse of mindless, hare-brained posters who would blow up the club for- short-term glory. They would welcome Mourinho to Arsenal in a heartbeat so he would splurge money on name-brand players who play boring, mindnumbing football in the interest of winning so as to placate the twunts who l-g represent. I am against everything they stand for.

    Fuck it – Iam happy to see Manure bite the dust. Guys I cam still at work but based on your reports Slur Alex really showed his true colors with his little German-baiting. Talk about class or lack of it.

  451. Ole:

    Point well taken. NB has been excellent since his return and he will only get better.

    Do you worry about Arshavin get sold? Nasir raised the question some time last week. I really hope we keep this team together.

  452. apart from glorifying your club, united, what else you doing over on an arsenal blog?

  453. SH,

    you have no right to tell me I am not an Arsenal supporter you fucking tosser…

    you sad, little man – sucking up to anyone who gives you a bit of attention, fucking Billy-no-mates…

  454. 😆 release it, go on sunshine let it all out.

  455. Bummer about the difference in wage bills, no?

    The rest is flimsy stuff, SUGA3. Hearsay and tabloid stories…It sounds like you’re ready to believe the worst about our players without knowing the facts.

    Hardly surprising.

    Talented young footballers all over come into a fair amount of money and often make mistakes. That’s understandable. Most important is how they respond.

    Since he was arrested JET’s played for our first team, and lit up the Championship on loan. It looks like he’s working hard from where I’m sitting.

    OK, that’s it from me.

  456. SUGA – geoff says dinner is ready.. go run poodle boy.

  457. I don’t actually know what your point is Man Utd have spent themselves into the ground trying to keep up with Chelsea, and having sold to the Glazers they are now utterly screwed.

    We are pursuing a sensible financial model which has yet to yield the results we want but we are still up there competing with the very best and the clubs future is secure.

    Making big signings does not always work look at Andersen, Hargreaves, Berbatov – a huge waste of money of the likes that would be disastrous for our club.

    At least I have a theory – you don’t even have a fucking clue and you wouldn’t recognise a fact if bit you on your manky ass.

    Gah! Plankton.

  458. another fine job, SUGA

    united, united 😆

    sorry about tonight, but bayern were the better team.

  459. Jonny thanks for taking the time to explain what most of us are ready to type out and don’t have to thanks to you.

    Suga, our over payed, over hyped youngsters made it to the QF’s ahead of Chelsea and are sitting pretty at the top of the table while the big spenders like Liverpool, Spurs and City have no chance at catching us. Face it, anyone doing what we’re doing, on the cheap no less, wouldn’t be where we are. We are one point behind MU, mind you, who have made four signings that are equal to what our whole first 11 costs. Yet they lose Rooney and get dumped out of the CL and get schooled at home by Chelsea to drop to second place. With people like you it boils down to criticizing first and foremost. Nevermind that this team is on the ascent and these youngsters you criticize now will be the ones you cheer on later on.

  460. no, it’s not a ‘bummer’…

    Manure – £120M
    Arsenal – £100M

    and we cleared a large chunk of debt, which we didn’t have to do, did we?

    but hey, let’s build more flats & offices – ringfenced, my ring…

  461. 1 loose cannon

    Suga3- You are getting desperate, you are digging into some old dry shit. Pennat and Bentley don’t play for Arsenal. Just let go, its pointless going on about irrelevant information

  462. Thanks Gains – well said yerself.

    Stringfellow – LOL at poodleboy!

  463. SH,

    not going into a hardman mode, but you would think twice before saying it to my face, trust me…


  464. “Bentley, Pennant just to name two – especially the latter, I have heard stories about what an arrogant cunt he was, look where he is now…”

    Suga, just an observation. But do you notice that none of these pre-madonnas are the rootless, foreign youngsters. They all happen to be spoiled little English kids. So what was that about these foreigners again?

  465. SUGA – have i got to you (much) 😆

  466. “Manure – £120M
    Arsenal – £100M”

    Admit you’ve been reading the FT again in your kennel again haven’t you?

  467. SH,

    no mate, you are just unable to conduct a civil discussion, whoever does not agree with you must be a Manc/Chav/Spud (delete as appropriate)…

    feeling safe enough behind the computer to go out insulting people? nice going, son…

  468. says you, go back and read your last few rantings.. you even tried to offer me out 😆

    that is the lowest of the low, you lost it tonight fella.

    and it’s been great sport reading you lose it.

  469. I think a round of Fuck Off Sugas are in order. So let me be the first one.

    FUCK OFF SUGA!!!!!!

  470. Jonny,

    well, I thought you were capable of maintaining certain level of discussion…

    so that’s how it feels to be proven wrong?

    jog on…


  471. to be fair SUGA, you are probably a pussy like your boyfriend

    i offered to meet him and the ugly one at the Emirates…

    i was then banned 😆

  472. I’m pretty confident your bark is worse than your shite.

    I was going to bed but it’s more fun rinsing you.

  473. SUGA – 3 nil … and you fucked it up, 3 nil….


  474. rinsing me? don’t flatter yourself…


    you haven’t been banned for threats of physical violence but for being a twat, capisce?

  475. SUGA – you are a noobie to the scene, i was banned for making them look a pair of silly twats who contradict themselves.

    i caught them out time and time again, they prefer lap dogs… who agree with them

    i hear you are well liked by them 😆

  476. Nice point/comment by somebody called Matters on the Sun

    “Yes, that was typical german from Ribery, Robben, van Bommel, van Buyten, Demichelis, Olic, Pranjic, Altintop – not to forget the teutonic coach van Gaal :-)BTW: Are Vidics fouls typical english?”

  477. SH,

    it’s called ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘diversity of opinions’…

    stop chatting shit, I was reading the thread when you got banned and as usual, you were acting like the cunt you are…

  478. freedom of speech?

    is that not what hitler and mussolini preached?

    suga, head down, follow the leader, good lad.

  479. about an hour ago you moaned about being called names

    i have rattled you so fucking badly, you have called me a cunt, tosser etc etc

    come one, put up some effort manc, this is getting pathetically easy now.

  480. you are not only dumb but also uneducated…

    think you’re funny? think again…

  481. Bill,

    It depends on which Arshavin. If it’s the 2008 Arshavin who was unplayable in the UEFA Cup and Euro 2008, then I hope we keep him.

    If it’s the version that slags team mates off in the media, can’t concentrate on his job and low work rate, I still hope we keep him but less wholeheartedly.

    What we absolutely need is that kind of player, but one who is always clued on, and switched on with very sure shooting ability. it’s one thing we lack in key games.

  482. dumb but also uneducated

    so, you call me names, then say i have no friends, then you offer me out.. now you call me dumb

    you are doing well, what’s next manc?

  483. I called you a cunt and a tosser after you called me:

    – a Manc
    – a poodle boy
    – a poof (sort of)

    it was you who insulted me first, don’t expect anything else…


  485. 😆 is it playtime already?

  486. Hitler/Mussolini with conjunction with freedom of speech jokes are in poor taste or root from lack of elementary education…

  487. i guess you missed the ironic twist.

    not really a surprise is it? not much actually sinks in that end, does it?

  488. if it’s the ironic twist, here’s one for you:

    Hitler was sending out teenagers to take the last stand – sounds familiar?

  489. SUGA3….trust me…people would be taking u a lot more seriously if you din’t have that c#$tish looking picture up mate…

  490. Oh please, that really is stooping low.

    Come on, even you can do better than that.

  491. well, I can do without you taking me seriously, really…

    I have enough people who do as it is, thank you very much 😆

  492. all mancs look like cunts, arseman

  493. see? it was in poor taste, no?

    look, you have got me all wrong: I am saying that we should be thankful to AW for being where we are, all things considered…

    however, with the means at our disposal, we could and should do better, we are not too far off and that is what hurts the most…

  494. Suga3 – As i understand it, our wage bill as published includes coaches scouts admin staff etc, but other teams bills do not?

    I think that is where the confusion and mythology has sprung from.

  495. if you know we are not too far off… why complain so much?

    if we were a million miles off, fair enough.. but as you have admitted yourself we are close.. what is the issue?

  496. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Dups at 11:17 hah.

    What a cringer this thread turned into.

  497. the issue is that we should make that leap 😉


    OK, we spend on scouts – why could they not come up with anyone better than Sly?

    admin staff – this is marginal amount, coaches may cost a few bob though…

    but where is the defensive coach? bring back Keown!

  498. I dont…dont worry…uve really set yourself up for a laugh with that picture…good job:)…and really thanks for your perspective…id honestly forgotten how retarded people can be…

  499. Emperor Gooner

    hahahaha..fukn mancs got owned again..they are a bloody joke ….3 defeats now n they got blackburn away , city away , spurs home…fungus must be shittin his pants!!

  500. Keown coached THAT CL 2006 defence and it had Senderos (who I rate, btw) in it…

    sure, there was also a few years younger Sol, but…

  501. keown was never a defensive coach, its a myth you have bought in to.

  502. Battyman,

    stop talking out of your arse, will ya?

  503. SH,

    come on mate, what next? is the Earth flat as well?

    what was he doing at the club during that time then? deputising for the tea lady?

  504. keown was back at arsenal during the 05/06 season to help complete his coaching badges.

    he never actually coached the defenders or anybvody else for that matter.

    it was a myth that was dispelled by wenger or keown or somebody else connected to the club.

  505. SUGA3 from calling us 2nd rate and then saying we arn’t too far off seems hypocritical to me…i sincerely suggest you get your thoughts together (and read all the comments you’ve made in the past hour). You’re opinions are like a pendulum mate…trying to earn a little respect back are we?

  506. To be honest Suga3 I was just addressing the issue to clear up any confusion.

    Its not comparing apples with apples is the point I guess.

    Logically speaking though, our wage bill can’t be especially high, we know our top earners are on around £80k per week…Fab & Ash possibly Gallas? Then there are tiers below that…you could pick any other club in the top 6 and they all have players on considerably more…John Terry £160k reportedly, Torres and Gerrard at Liverpool, Rooney, Berbatov at Untied etc etc…

    We don’t appear to have a significantly higher number of players on staff than any other club…so the 2nd highest wage bill rumour MUST be just total mythology.

    As for your points about scouts, not really sure what you want me to do? Are you saying that all our scouts are a complete waste of money because we signed Silvestre?

  507. well, it must have been his divine presence then!

    even if he was not officially employed as a defensive coach, he must have participated in training and helped to iron out certain weaknesses IMO…

    I respect AW, I think his floor is my ceiling (well, so far), but he is not a great tactician and thinks defence, goalkeeper and role of a captain are ‘overrated’ – surely, we could do with MK dealing with the Back 5 and it would definitely be beneficial for the team…

  508. Just a question but what does Martin Keown know that Sol Campbell doesn’t?

  509. stringfellow Hawke…im glad to see someone backing their arguments with facts and commonsense…its refreshing considering the garbage thats being spewed out by some.

  510. well according to him/wenger, he had zero involvment.

    so you better scratch that one off your list and go back to le groan and find more bullshit to pass off as fact.

  511. Arseman,

    I can do without your respect, thank you 😉

    it’s not ‘pendulum’ – try logic:

    – second rate
    – not too far off

    do these two contradict? no, they don’t. it just shows how fine the margins are, that’s all…


    these scouts come up with dozens of youngsters who we sweep up like people were to stop fucking (excuse me French) – it has gone so far that we buy a player, loan him out, then we bring him to London and don’t play him – Vela, anyone?

    you will say that it does not cost a lot, I will say every million is made of pennies…

  512. QoS,

    some people make good teachers, some don’t, that’s all…

  513. Are we sure that the scouts are dictating to Wenger to buy young players, or are they suppose to look out for what he wants?

  514. Do you think then that the Academy doesn’t make money Suga3?

    Again, i’m sorry if i’m being thick, but i don’t understand what your point is? We should get rid of our scouts? We should get better scouts? Its not clear?

    Regarding Vela, he’s been introduced slowly into the team as you’d expect him to be but his opportunities have been a bit limited due to his jet-lag/injury issues. He’s clearly a talent judging by the cameos we’ve seen, surely worth taking a punt on?

  515. Young players may still cost millions, but certainly not 20 & 30 millions that sellers ask for now for a slightly good player

  516. SUGA3….its clear to see that your thoughts and principles of club management are better suited to a club other than Arsenal…your shortsightedness can be spotted by a blind man….when will you realize that “we really arnt too far off” and be happy with our club and wengers vision unfolding in front of your very eyes????

  517. QoS,

    I am a massive fan of Vela – why was he not even on the plane to Barcelona? surely, he would do better than Rosicky…

    Vela pisses all over teams for Mexico, why does he not get any playing time for us? why not play him in the ressies to keep him fresh?

  518. On the Campbell/Keown issue Suga3, that seems like a pretty weak argument.

    You don’t actually know the two players personally so you are only guessing as to which one would make a good teacher and which one wouldn’t?

    Certainly from what i’ve seen of Sol, he’s our most vocal player on the pitch organising the team around him very effectively. An asset in my opinion so it leads me to question what Martin Keown would bring to the defensive organisation that Sol (who is arguably the better player) wouldn’t?

  519. he lost his passport according to one blog, and that was the reason for his omission.

  520. AM,

    Arsenal will be here long after Arsene is gone and it’s not like any successor will continue doing things the same way…

    we don’t have enough top quality players to rotate and prevent fatigue and injuries…

    three times this season Cesc was asked to play half fit (Pompey, Villa, Barca) and it resulted in long term injuries each and every time, no?

  521. I haven’t seen anybody ask Wenger why Vela was not on the plane Suga3 so it’d be daft of me to speculate. For all i know he could be injured, there seems to be a lot of that about at the moment!

  522. SH,

    you wouldn’t think they have to get through passport control like mere mortals, would you?

  523. I finally think I have sobered up after the trip to Barca; I still don’t get the bloggers on this site.

  524. they don’t just get a bye.. they may not have to queue like mere mortals, but i’m sure everthing needs checking at some point.

  525. There is without question a period of adaptation to go through numberten!

  526. Pretty daft if he had lost his passport! Shame he couldn’t manage that before the odd Mexico game!

  527. need to get some perspective…all teams risk their big game players like united tonight….we have Nasri as backup and hes stepped up admirably whenever called upon…u cant deny that….and as for squad size and rotation…how many players will be enough?

  528. Jose’s plan at Chelsea was to have two world class players in every position Arseman.

    I suspect if he’d managed that, he’d have had other negative externalities. Especially keeping them all happy!

  529. Arseman,

    it’s quality, not quantity – there is a place for bleeding youngsters, it’s called reserves…

    there are quite a few passengers in this squad – I won’t say any names, but…

  530. Emperor Gooner

    lol..have alook at the manc scum website…they’ve changed “typical germans” to ” they’re like that”…..hahaha

  531. you don’t need 22 world class players, you can have a few less that will be more versatile…

    at this point, we have a bunch of attacking midfielders, hardly any CBs and one fit striker…

    plus, no wide players and no goalkeeper…

  532. Vela was involved in training with the CL squad on the 5th of april…

  533. I asked this question earlier – I wonder how much risk modelling goes on at a club?

    I think its possible to build a computor model that says if x is injured then we can bring in Y but Y is insufficient is A and B are injured also… possible but i’m not sure its done, you’d certainly need a pretty powerful computor to factor in all the possible events.

    I’d suggest that the modeller would have looked at the scenario that unfolded last night as regards injurys and said “nah – too far fetched, that’d never happen!”

  534. I suggest to Jackass Ferguson to never cross the German border any time soon.

  535. Exactly QOS, but one also needs to understand that we too will soon have 2-3 world class players in every position..but the great thing is wenger wont have any negative externalities to face as hes brought up the squad together as equals..we are a work in progress…we don’t take short cuts…we’re keeping everything into perspective and building from the ground up…thats what make us stand out form everyone else….its something that goes unappreciated by many

  536. QoS,

    it’s called Murphy’s Law: if it can go wrong, it will go wrong…

    still, the sides were more or less proportional, if only we had AA on fire, it would be evens…

  537. We’ve got 5 centre backs plus Senderos on the books Suga3, the possibility of having to play number 2 and number 5 together in the most important game of the season is very small. The “black swan” event happened so its not impossible but at the point that we could have prevented it – the Jan transfer window, it wasn’t know about Gallas, he signed Sol, who has done very well and tried to sign Smalling, so its not the dereliction of duty some would suggest.

  538. SUGA3…versatility you say? how many other teams can match the number of versatile players we have. Eboue, Diaby, song, sagna can play 3 different positions without breaking a sweat…to name a few

  539. Anyway i’m off to bed now. Night all, my weeks been rescued a bit by United’s epic fail tonight.

  540. QoS,

    ‘tried to sign Smalling’ is ‘failed to sign Smalling’ in my book – not that I was that keen on spending £10M+ on some unproven CB, but there were many other fish in the sea…

    Cetin, just to name one…

  541. Oh and Murphy’s Law is scientifically unproven.

    The probability of something going wrong if it can go wrong is minute. You’re more likely to win the lottery.

  542. nite QoS 😉

    I am off as well – Arsenal! (not ManYoo)


  543. scientifically? no.

    practically? yes.

  544. You missed the main point there Suga3.

    It was that there was only a tiny tiny chance that we’d be forced to play our 2nd and 5th choice both left footers together in the toughtest game of the season.

    Despite that, the club did take steps to minimise that risk by bringing in Campbell. That smacks of a pretty well run club. I think you are being unduly harsh.

  545. by bringing in Sulzeer, AW dodged a massive bullet, I have to give him that 😉

    and yes, the probability of the above happening was minor, however, Kyle Bartley would have done better than Sly 😦

  546. QOS….great point..loving the probabilities…

  547. As much as I really admire Barcelona I happen to prefer Arsenal, which in reality is a much deeper, more profound footballing project, with massive implications – simply because it is not building a team solely by buying. If we were a buying team we would have had Rooney or Ronaldo or maybe Messi and we would be a different kind of team.

    A 6-3 thrashing by a superb, disciplined and motivated Barcelona is no bad thing for us at this stage, because it simply says to our talented young players – this is the level, get used to it.

    Only those who have no desire to compete at this level will not benefit. It is a humbling experience.

  548. I agree with both Jbh and Passenal’s post:

    “The fact is that with their 5 best players injured they lost. With 4 of those players available last week (with some fitness issues) they drew. Hardly a crisis. And Barca had to resort to the worst of Spanish cynicism re their diving and play acting antics – distinctly unclassy. ”

    I lost all my admiration that I had for Barca after the match. For all their class, they have a bunch of diving cu*ts and play actors, that includes the likes of Xavi, Messi, Pedro, Biscuits(FUCK HIM), e.t.c. If they really have that much class they shouldn’t resort to play acting. They should be glad that they didn’t face a fully fit squad, that had 4 of our best players missing. You can have whatever the opinion, but Nasri is a league beyond in that CM position. The same goes for RVP and Bendtner. I am astounded by the accusation that injuries are no excuse. Agreed but as Frank said, its a fact. People comparing Barca’s injured players out with ours is foolish. We don’t have that much money to afford world class players on the bench, period. The only criticism the team deserves is that they didn’t play as well as they could have, e.g Rosicky was awful, he didn’t even show a glimpse of what he’s capable of. And that summed up our night, we didn’t play well. But to suggest that there is a gulf of class between us and them, is far away from truth,

  549. Finsbury –

    I just wanted to pop in briefly this morning to thank you for clearing up our defensive problems for me.

    I understand now.

    So Gallas and Vermy have been playing like “one of the most original CB pairings ever”? Really? Well how come we concede so much then? Maybe you could clear that up for me?

    And your next little point – that Song failed to track back where Gallas would normally have understood his DCM to cover for him. Does the fact that we had to bring Song back in Centre defense tell you anything at all? As you say “Having CB’s who aren’t ‘green’, with each other or their DM’s/CM’s, is a little important for this system, IMO.”

    Well thanks for that none too vague insight.

    “Simple” indeed, isn’t it Finsbury!

    The fact that you bring this up in April when I’ve been roaring about it for the last 2 years is another startling observation on your part.

    Limps –

    Apologies mate for my melancholy demeanor of late. I was just a little disappointed having been spanked in the third biggest match in the history of the club. And the fact that we don’t seem to have learned very much over the past few years doesn’t really fill me with glee either if I’m being totally honest.

    Were you expecting trumpets and rose petals mate?

    Anyway – if there was one little thing that salvaged my week somewhat, (apart from Finsbury’s analysis of our defense), it was the sight of old red nose blustering about the “typical Jerries” for cheating to get poor young da silva sent off. No mention of their 3 goal lead ffs.

    A bit like pointing at the paperclips on the floor when there’s an elephant shitting on the carpet..!


    “People comparing Barca’s injured players out with ours is foolish. We don’t have that much money to afford world class players on the bench, period.”
    If we were to compare purses, then Real Madrid would have won the tournament before it started. Just because Wenger wasn’t stupid enough to spend 60m on Ibra and give away a better player in the process, doesn’t mean we should be measured on financial strength accordingly.

    In any given football match – its 11 players against 11 whether were playing wolves or Barcelona. To start talking about injuries, finances, referees…….you bring in the “what If” element and then it just becomes a debate without parameters where only your imagination is the limit.

  550. I wanted to draw you fellas into the debate here;

    It’s about Cesc v Xavi, who is the better player.

    I think Cesc is a better passer of the ball than Xavi. People laugh in my face when I say it but here’s my reasoning:

    Let me start by saying your stats do NOT show that Cesc is better than Xavi. It shows that Cesc is a better goalscorer, and his passing is more productive than Xavi’s. No more.

    Being a better player also includes things like courage, tactical knowledge, defensive contribution, stamina, fitness, consistency and 100 other variables. Stats can never prove one player is better than the other, only that one has done any measured thing better than the other.

    Having said that, there is no doubt that for club and country, Cesc Fabregas’s passing is every bit as accurate as Xavi’s whereas, Cesc’s passing is much more productive. It’s not only assists, it’s also the number of chances created.

    Also, when you factor in age as you have done, the relative strength of the team, Cesc seems a better passing talent than Xavi. That’s an objective fact.

    Even when you include more subjective judgements like the variety of the passing, I still think Cesc is better all-round at passing, because he can lay it long, short, fast, slow, chipped, spun, whatever.

    Also, look at the stats for the amount of ground covered per game and it seems Cesc has a better work rate than Xavi.

    There are other unmeasurables though; things like how efficiently he uses space and makes space for himself….

    Maybe Xavi is better in that. We don’t know that he is. Nobody has measured it.

    I don’t know if Xavi contributes more defensively, in terms of tackles won, interceptions and the like.

    What I am absolutely convinced of is that Cesc is a better passer of the ball than Xavi, a conviction founded on how much more productive his passing is.

    Having said all that, I want to say that we should not underestimate the fact that Xavi is the Captain of the best side of the world, a very important member of that team, and also Captain and very important part of one of the world’s best national teams-Spain.

  551. I agree with QoS and Ateeb

  552. ….and Passenal

  553. ‘In any given football match – its 11 players against 11 whether were playing wolves or Barcelona. To start talking about injuries, finances, referees…….you bring in the “what If” element and then it just becomes a debate without parameters where only your imagination is the limit’.

    ….has to be one of the most ill-thought out pieces of rubbish I have read on this blog for a very long time.

  554. Mathematics, I believe, is out of fashion at the moment, especially in England, so I am ready to accept that it might be hard to find a statistician with sufficient foresight to realise that any one of the 30 players in Arsenal’s first-team squad might be required to actually play for Arsenal. I should have thought, however, that when the statistician saw Silvestre’s piscine face staring back at him from the Arsenal substitutes bench on a regular basis, the idea might over time begin to crystallise in his mind that here was a man who might one day appear in the Arsenal defense. In fact, even those who have not been trained at a leading statistical academy considered the probability of Silvestre being called upon in an important match to be sufficiently high for it to be a cause of fear since the start of the season.

    I would suggest that we all knew that we had fewer options at centre-back that at most other positions. Nevertheless, Silvestre was not especially to blame for the result on Tuesday. Even Ole has not sought to place the blame solely on his shoulders. He did about as well as he was able to do. If everyone else in the team had done the same, we might have had a different result.

  555. Joe,

    Gallas and Vermaelen have been outstanding this season. That applies individually and as a partnership. Incontrovertible.

  556. I agree with Ateeb on the injury ‘reasons’ and I think the injuries were not in fact in ‘equal measure’ as YW suggests, but it is still a moot point, that is football. I am not sure Barca could win without Messi. But we were outplayed. Had we won I’m not sure this would have changed.

    I do not agree that the main attribute of Barca is diving and cheating because they play extremely well as a team, that is their main strength.

    I agree with other posters that our defence is our achiles heel, and the EPL stats bear this out. On the other hand it should not be over-stated. Ourattacking play is perhaps ‘second to one’.

  557. Pz,

    I would agree with that statement.
    I also think it was expecting too much from Bendtner to shoulder the entire responsibility up front given RvPs absence and Eduardo’s struggling form. At least Nicky stood up to the plate.


    While I do accept that both Gallas and Vermy have played well its also an absolute fact that we have conceded far too easily.

  558. Poliziano,

    That’s what David Frum calls the soft bigotry of low expectations.

    Silvestre did as well as he could which was spectacularly inadequate.

    There’s a mimimum level of performance needed for Arsenal players. He reached that level against Wolves, but not against Barcelona.

    5 more games and we’re through with him

  559. I agree with many of the points above, and think some fans let their emotions cloud common sense after such big games. I even read one post somewhere which simply said “Arsenal should go all out and buy Messi”…if only football was that simple!

    I for one LOVE supporting Arsenal, and feel so lucky to be a fan during such a wonderful age Wenger has brought to this club. I think if it was not for the Sugar Daddy culture of Chelsea, Man City, etc, then we would have been neck and neck with United season after season over the past 6 years.

    Sadly the big money and heavy investment for much of the Premiership has provided stronger opposition to Arsene than he might have expected. But standing strong to good ethics Wenger and Arsenal have refused to join this culture, where Ferguson and United have, in purchases season after season; £30 Berbs, £30 Nani & Anderson, £25 Hargreaves, £20 Carrick, etc. Evedently this has provided United with an edge over the Gunners for 5 seasons, but only an edge, as if luck would have glanced over our way more often then things could have been different – Eduardo injury, Diaby own goal, CL final, RVP recent injury, we can all name incidents which changed the course of things.

    However I have one pain which sites alongside the Wenger game plan, one which becomes more of a reality season after season……

    If we intend to build a great team from youth, and we stand against big spending, then it is vital to retain the services season after season of this growing crop of talent. Logic would say those who do not make the grade are used to generate revenue, rather than those who do show great talent. As a business, why do we need to sell players for £20-30m if we are not going to spend that money on new players – GREED is the only answer!

    Therefore Wenger needs to sit down with the whole team and commit his future for 5 years, and gain commitment from all the squad, most of which are under 26, that they all promise to stick to the course for a minimum of 5 years – those that can’t, we may as well sell this summer and work with those who can. Otherwise we will constantly loose the best players and we will never reach that golden age of our team, the likes of Fabregas, Nasri, TV, Cliche, Walcott, Diaby, Song, maybe tempted when they reach their heights to follow Hleb, Ade, Toure, Flamini out of Arsenal….and we will be left with an ongoing merrygoround of how one day this team will mature!!!

  560. Joe,

    Yes we have conceded too many goals, often from innocuous positions, like the 2 goals Ibrahimovic scored.

    But there’s a whole lot more to it than the centre back partnership.

    People say they’re too small, yet they’re only 1 inch shorter as a pair than Terry and Carvalho.

  561. Do I feel people giving up on this season already? Not on your fat nellies.

    We’re still in this, and you better still believe supremely

  562. nice long post on stats xavi and cesc Ole you’ve made some progress..

  563. KS,

    Oh, thanks. It’s all thanks to your sweet coaching.

  564. I can’t be bothered to defend Silvestre. We all know he is not a great player. That, in any case, is beside the point. We didn’t lose just because of Silvestre. Barcelona also had their weaknesses in defense. Perhaps those weaknesses were not as “spectacular” as ours, but they had more of them.

  565. lol everything you want to change about yourself is your power..

  566. Ole,

    Agreed. Their height was never an issue for me.

    I accept that defensive discipline is collectively the responsibility of the team as a whole and that total culpability may not squarely lie on their (Gallas/Vermy) shoulders – but it is their primary responsibility and goals conceded is a key measurement by which any defense is objectively measured.

    I also agree that the league is by no means over – not by a long shot but its just a pity were dependent on others.

  567. “In any given football match – its 11 players against 11 whether were playing wolves or Barcelona. To start talking about injuries, finances, referees…….you bring in the “what If” element and then it just becomes a debate without parameters where only your imagination is the limit.”

    Just scrolling down the comments and this stood out. I’m sorry but that is a patently absurd and illogical statement. For god’s sake.

    Time to move on methinks. For now. Focus on the S***s game.

  568. What really pisses me off about Silvestre is that we have had to rely on him in two of the biggest games in the clubs history.
    Last year we played with Djourou, Gibbs and Silvestre if memory serves me correctly. This year with Gibbs and Djourou injured, we still had to depend on Silvestre and that was only after Wenger chose to disrupt our midfield by bringing song back in the first leg rather than rely on Sol/Silvestre. Why have back up centre halves if you can’t rely on them?

  569. Pz

    Quite attracted by the idea of using statistical prediction to decide what cover we need in the squad.

    Perhaps another simple statistical technique might be helpful. We could distribute a questionnaire to other EPL clubs asking them to nominate the players in our squad whose legs they expect to break next season.

  570. OG – Your position on Sly is well known but I fear it is unbecoming of you to slag him because he was our 5th choice central defender (behind Gallas, Song, Campbell and the long injured Djourou) and was required to do a job vs Barca. I saw the game on a delayed basis and Sly could hardly be blamed for the goals scored by Messi although the two commentators, Andy Grey and some other chap) did their best to make him the scapegoat. Beyond the usual pundits, it is the kind of scapegoating that let us fall into the trap of Bill and Joe who simplistically blame our failings on the lack of 3 or 4 world class defenders. Their beloved Barca hardly has 4 world class central defenders do they?

  571. “In any given football match – its 11 players against 11 whether were playing wolves or Barcelona. To start talking about injuries, finances, referees…….you bring in the “what If” element and then it just becomes a debate without parameters where only your imagination is the limit.”

    that makes no sense.

  572. Just on cue – I noticed Joe’s new rant about Silvestre, i.e. that we “had to rely on him for two of the biggest games in club history.” Apart from over-dramatizing the importance of these games, Joe’s bogus thesis is that the club should never have to rely on back-ups especially in big games. This is the rod he and the anti-Wenger mob have been using to pound the manager and to bang on about the need for not signing 1 or more world class defenders to back up Vermalean and Gallas. Back to the thesis: Didn’t their beloved Barca rely on back-up defenders last Tuesday? Is Marquez and the other chap world class? Go back further, in an arguably more important match, last year’s final, didn’t they have to rely on back-up defender Silvinho (long past his prime) at left-back, Abidal in central defence, and Puyol at right back? Didn’t they look exposed for the 1st 15 minutes or so until they got a grip on the game and then their defenders didn’t look so shabby after all?
    I don’t care about Joe, he is at heart a doomer and gloomer who would rather blow-up the club by burning cash on two or more world-class players in every position. I care about those of us who fall for the seductive option of blaming our defenders, and Silvestre in particular, for our defeat.

  573. Joe: in general your comments make me disheartened and slightly depressed. I understand the point you make about us conceding too many goals but please stop looking for easy solutions such as blaming one man for our defeat, it’s not as simple as that. If we had Keown and Adams out there on Wednesday we still might have conceded the same amount of goals we will never know. Surely Arsene is more aware of the teams deficiencies than us so trust him to sort it. Get your chin up and you’re hands out you’re pockets and support the team in a more positive and constructive way please. It will benefit us, them and YOU. And that goes for a few others on here too.

  574. Joe,


  575. suga you are the type of ‘fan’ that if we forbid ever god relegated would fuck off and not support the team!! we are Arsenal regardless who plays for us!! how can you moan when theres 80plus other league teams who would give their right bollix to be were we are u plank!! champ league footy every season and competeing at the very top of the league without spending money we dont have in the best stadium in britain and you moan fuck off u twat!!

  576. matty boy, in an earlier comment you said –

    “We don’t need to make excuses but i’d like to think things might have been different if we didn’t have so many key injuries, to dismiss this outright is madness.”

    Now you say “If we had Keown and Adams out there on Wednesday we still might have conceded the same amount of goals we will never know.”. Don’t you think there is a conflict?

  577. I would rather get my enjoyment out of laughing at Man U’s exit from the champions league, fergie’s whining at the referee and the typical german behaviour, van der sar’s supporting fergie in the whining chorus, etc. They must be completely shattered. 😀

  578. Joe, not your demeanour of late – you’ve always struck me as a miserablist.

  579. On the subject of Man Poo. Fergie’s offhand racist comment was shameful…..which I don’t think anyone in the media has even bothered to highlight.

  580. matty boy, in an earlier comment you said –

    “We don’t need to make excuses but i’d like to think things might have been different if we didn’t have so many key injuries, to dismiss this outright is madness.”

    Now you say “If we had Keown and Adams out there on Wednesday we still might have conceded the same amount of goals we will never know.”. Don’t you think there is a conflict?

    No he’s saying it MAY have made a difference. Which is the whole point.

  581. Keysersoze – do you think there is a conflict? Maybe, but they are two separate points. I would like to think things would be different if we didn’t have so many injuries but i don’t think Silvestre is to blame for all our failings on Wednesday.

    At the end of the day it’s all if’s and but’s.

  582. But there is a conflict when in one case you argue your point by based on one outcome of the “may” clause, and in another case you argue based on another outcome of the “may” cause. I am not saying that the statements are conflicting per se.

  583. shotta-gunna,

    He was at fault on two of the 4 goals. He played so badly that Wenger felt it was better to have Sagna at centre back ahead of him.

    The first goal was his fault. The second was partially his fault because he got sucked into the near post that was already covered by Vermaelen, sucking Clichy further inwards which allowed Messi space at the far post.

    The third goal was Vermaelen’s fault. If you had a good defender behind him, you’d hope he’d have read the headed ball that put Messi through. Not Silvestre. Denilson and Clichy reacted quicker than him.

    He’s Arsene’s worst signing ever IMO.

    What riles me about him is that despite all his experience, maturity and trophies won, in the big games he looks like a lost fawn. Even the less experienced Sagna looks more assured than him.

    That’s how I see it.

  584. It is just stupid to assume that only sylvestre is to be blamed for all our failings. I personally think no one is to be blamed as such, it is just that Messi, who is already the based player in the world right now, probably had one of his best days on the field. It is difficult to counter this combination at the best of times.

  585. I wonder what the players make of it all?

    I imagine there will be a great determination to see this season out successfully, huge effort.

  586. Sorry Ole, don’t agree with your regarding the first goal. The ball took a sharp deflection and then hit his leg at lose range. I don’t think it would have been easy for anyone let alone sylvestre to control the ball. You may argue that he could have closed down Messi better, but we are talking about Messi here, who inspite of our club loyalties, have to admit is a genius player. He closed down Messi, but messi used a very slight opening to get the shot through. With a player of Messi’s qualities, you are dealing with very fine margins that can be punished.

  587. Joe,

    Defending is the whole team’s responsibility.

  588. Keysersoze,

    He had to clear the ball, not to control it. He did not. Lack of concentration.

    We’ve seen him make the same mistake countless times, in his career. That was a typical Silvestre error.

    By the way his part in the 2nd goal is similar to his part in O’Shea’s goal in the semi-finals last season. Just like last season, he gets sucked into defending a zone that’s already covered.

  589. Kyersoze @ 12:32 pm – My observation exactly on the 1st goal. On the 2nd I have to go look again and I may be forced to agree with OG. However I am not here to defend Sly (he may or may not have been the worst of all four defenders). I don’t think our defeat was due to his defensive failings. We simply couldn’t get a grip further up the field as a result we had too many instances of Messi in particular running at our defence in dangerous positions. This was unlike game #1 at the Emirates. I don’t care how good our defenders were, a player of Messi’s caliber was in a position to hurt us.

  590. Frank @ 10.25

    >….has to be one of the most ill-thought out pieces of rubbish I have read on this blog for a very long time.

    Until you read today’s post. Which is now up by the way.


  591. Something tells me that this is going to go on and on, fruitlessly. I have to go to work and I doubt I will be able to post, but I will check in.

  592. Shotta: “Back to the thesis: Didn’t their beloved Barca rely on back-up defenders last Tuesday? ”

    Yeah, but Barca’s back-up defenders concede less than we do. Not just in that game, but in general over the past few seasons

    We should have better ‘backup’ than Silvestre, especially when the 4th backup Sol, can’t play more than a game per week!

  593. Shotta,

    As usual – the absolute plint of any of your argument is to label someone as a doomer and gloomer. Another “memo from the battlefield” in your ridiculous war against D&G from the vagaries of your imagination.

    You berk – you’ve never even been to the Emirates have you, yet all you try to do is have a go at genuine fans who generally know what they’re talking about and can easily tell just how poor Silvestre really is ..!! You tried the same with Hollis on this site not too long ago and he mopped the floor with you since – and people like Consolsbob were sucked into thinking that it was Hollis’ fault.

    And for the record – I have never advocated the extravagant spending of money as a solution nor have I “scapegoated” anyone.

    You should take some time out and listen for a change. You might actually learn something, you mug.

  594. Why would you, Joe think you’re more genuine a fan than shotta? it’s a cheap shot.

  595. Joe, that is just demeaning. Many of us are not from England. Do you think it is practical for us to go to the stadium? Do you think we don’t go to the stadium by choice rather than by some compulsion?

    And what do you mean genuine fan? You need to be from England to be a genuine fan? Have a look around you, the world has changed.

  596. I don’t understand why you fans (am trying to avoid the word Arsene brigade) are so blind that you can’t see the main problem. I read some of u talking about investing in the youth and my question is how many of them have stayed? Fran Merida for example is off this summer for spanish side…
    Wenger is doing business rather than football. His main target is to groom this boys, after sometime sell them and not to see them.
    Everything about Wenger is a failure apart from the financial part of the game. His youth system is a failure because none of them except Ashley Cole has ever made it big time in the game.

    I’d go on and on and on but there’s no point wasting my time here coz i hate when the truth can’t be told all in the name of blind loyalty.

  597. I don’t understand why you fans (am trying to avoid the word Arsene brigade) are so blind that you can’t see the main problem. I read some of u talking about investing in the youth and my question is how many of them have stayed? Fran Merida for example is off this summer for spanish side…
    Wenger is doing business rather than football. His main target is to groom these boys, after sometime sell them for profit.
    Everything about Wenger is a failure apart from the financial part of the game. His youth system is a failure because none of them except Ashley Cole has ever made it big time in the game.

    Do me all a favour, to know the real truth about Wenger’s policy, go back to his previous clubs Nantes and Monaco, you will see the link of what he did then and what he’s doing now and the failure both clubs achieve and the same failure AFC is into now.

    For the sake of time, let me remind y’all… have no issues with his policy, but i’ve seen 2 clubs coached by wenger, the same thing is repeating itself over n over again. when he got his first job in nantes the first 2 season he worked with what he had, then this concept of younger and cheaper started and nantes got relegated! some fans can never forgive him.

    His brand of football is eye candy but his refusal to accept criticism and inability to adapt to the tide was/still is his undoing. when he came to monaco and changed the style and won things with the bulk of the players he met, but the moment project wenger started, cheaper younger faster, they started having strange injuries here and there truck load of excuses and all our quality players being sold.

    I’d go on and on and on but there’s no point wasting my time here coz i hate when the truth can’t be told all in the name of blind loyalty.

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