Tottenham On The Horizon, The Past Is Behind Us.

Woe, woe and thrice woe” comes the cry from the English media. for the first time in the seven seasons, no English team will participate in the Champions League semi-finals. The Premier League is no longer King of Europe, the upstarts from the Iberian Peninsula have usurped the crown. What is wrong the with the national game, why have English clubs performed so badly this season?

Liverpool’s inability to progress beyond the group stage reflected their own domestic form, no surprise that they were eliminated at the first hurdle. Chelsea met a half-decent Internazionale and were undone by their own poor defending in the San Siro and dubious refereeing in the second leg combined with the consumate away performance by the Italians. Manchester United, the most ambitious of clubs we are told, were undone by ill-discipline, a half-decent Bayern side and a lack of ambition in the transfer market following the departure of their key player in the summer. Failure to replace Ronaldo has been very costly, intensifying the costly nature of their ownership model. The Emporer’s New Clothes indeed.

And what of Arsenal? Beaten by the current exceptional team, the heir apparent to Real Madrid, Ajax, Bayern, Liverpool and AC Milan. Barcelona seem set to follow in their path, retaining the trophy this season, at least. A sedulous media would look more historically at Euorpean club football. The cyclical nature of the European club competitions means that a style of football will dominate for a spell and then be adapted. All Barcelona has done is take the 1930s Austrian tactics, upgraded by the Hungarians in the 1950s, Real Madrid in the 1950s / 60s, Ajax & the Dutch national teams, Milan over a decade later, pick the best bits and work them from the lowest levels of their club upwards.

There is nothing new in doing this; others have done so in the past and will do so in the future. The club which immediately replaces Barcelona will be one that has put the preparations in place already. Arsenal are in a good position to be that team. The first team squad must be strengthened in the summer, contracts ending, players will leave or simply be replaced by someone better. Add in another one or two and this squad will be a long stride along that path. This season they have shown it. Weaknesses are apparent and they must be eradicated. That is not a blithe dismissal of them, simply a fact.

Any club which believes they are the finished product and cannot be improved is in for a nasty surprise; football clubs adapt quickly at the highest level but the ones which have longevity are those where the youth system prospers. Not many English clubs can say that theirs does. Arsenal is one of them.

This season has seen ‘physical’ sides overcome. It was a weakness of previous campaigns and has been rectified. Repeating the feat next season is imperative. The matches against close rivals have been an anomaly. I cannot recall the last time that an Arsenal side lost all of their encounters with the two sides immediately above them. Add in the defeat at Eastlands and not one point has been taken from the top four. Arguably, some should have been and immaturity combined with individual mistakes contributed immensely to those circumstances. A return to winning ways, at home at least, will add nine points to the total achieved.

Focus has immediately turned to White Hart Lane following defeat in the Camp Nou on Tuesday. Manuel Almunia offered:

Tottenham are playing for a Champions League place as well so it will be a very tough game…Tottenham are doing well, they play good football and they score a lot of goals. They are a great team and it will be difficult to beat them. But at least we are in the League, fighting for the top. That’s what we want, to fight in the last few games, otherwise we will be very disappointed.

It is an intriguing fortnight. Three points off the pace, with an inferior goal difference, leaves Arsenal hoping for others to slip. In the next ten days, Chelsea host Bolton and visit Tottenham whilst United visit Blackburn and Manchester City. The required four points could conceivably materialise in that space of time although the most realistic is that the gap closes to a single point by the end of it.

This assumes Arsenal win both of their games. Had Tottenham taken place this weekend, I would be concerned about the impact of the defeat in Barcelona on the players. A seven day break gives the squad chance to recover, physically and mentally, immediately addressing failings. Alex Song is still rated doubtful by Arsene although Physio Room still has him down to return at White Hart Lane, albeit with an indicative date. Mind you, given that Robin van Persie is out with a ‘sprained ankle‘, some caution should perhaps be applied.

Quiet time and a much needed rest for the players, a chance to regroup and to focus on the now. The future? Well, that seems to be in good hands if the past is anything to go by.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on April 8, 2010, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 204 Comments.

  1. Charlie,Charlie

    Almunia should be one of the first players replaced in the summer,yet he was the captain in the Camp Nou!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Almunia was brilliant throughout the quarter final tie against Barcelona

  3. One nil to the Arsenal

    YW

    You say add one or two to this squad.Campbell and Silvestre will go.Cesc and Gallas possible.We have players RVP Rosicky and Eduardo whose fitness will always be a problem.Two keepers Average Al and Flappy who are not good enough.We will need more than one or two additions

  4. One nil to the Arsenal

    Almunia was not brilliant in the Nou Camp beaten 4 times and his distribution abysmal

  5. shotta-gunna,

    I don’t think we lost only because of Silvestre. I however think we’d have done better with Djourou, Campbell, Song or Gallas & not Silvestre partnering Vermaelen.

    It doesn’t matter anyway. 5 more games and we’ll never have to see him again, except when he comes to play for Burnley against us.

    We lost because we faced a team at the peak of its powers which is better than ours. No more no less.

  6. 1-0

    What I actually said was:

    The first team squad must be strengthened in the summer, contracts ending, players will leave or simply be replaced by someone better. Add in another one or two and this squad will be a long stride along that path. This season they have shown it.

    One or two is a colloquailism for replacing leavers and add in 1 or 2 more for competition / cover.

    YW

  7. Nice one Yogi.

    A bit surprising that you highlight transfer needs and players to be replaced. Dangerous territory on ACLF!! Wouldn’t want to be thought of as a ‘doomer’ eh?!

    Playing against this Barca team does however show that there is a clear gulf in overall ability. We have a great spine and a few quality players, but we have been shown by the best that we need a whole squad of top quality players.

    Looking at our players, we have an amazing squad already but the workrate doesn’t always seem to be there. We snap into it when the chips are down, but it seems to always take an ‘incident’ to get us looking 100% up for it…

    Maybe Silent Stan will take over this year and press for some bigger signings this year…. But how would that impact on our younger players coming through? A very tricky balance – hopefully we can get it right…

    COYG! Let’s hammer the spuds!!

  8. Ole – I agree, with Johan or Sol, it might have been different. Silvestre’s pass to messi on the edge of the box was just one reason why i’ll be glad to see the back of him…

  9. Geo,

    I disagree with this statement you made; “Maybe Silent Stan will take over this year and press for some bigger signings this year”.

    I disagree with the premise of it.

  10. Spurs fan, hope you don’t mind my contribution. I think Arse are beating themselves up a bit too much on this. You were dead and gone after 65 mins at the Emirates (2-0 down, Cesc F limping)but your heads didn’t drop and you stuck to your principles of playing football and NOT hoofing it. I think Arse can and will be challenging again next season domestically and in Europe, as your football deserves.

  11. I agree with Geo’s comment @ 1.01.

    I believe the gulf in ability between us and Barca is partly down to them having the best player in the world and us being a year or so behind them in terms of talent coming of age. We are not as far behind them as the scoreline suggested on Wednesday. I hope we continue along the same lines next season and make any signings without the backing of a sugar Daddy. That is one way we are way ahead of any top club in Europe and we should be proud of that.

  12. Stationers Gooner

    Cesc will stay, he will honour his contract and will remain until 2014 – I really believe it and also he has said it many times so let us forget this media induced rumor! Plus Barca do not need him now…

    Gallas, Silvestre(Please!) and Senderos (OMG) will go, I believe Campbell may stay on and would be ideal as a coach of some kind for the future.

    Chamakh is almost here – good start but we could have had him last year…I believe money has something to do with that?

    A world class goalkeeper would be nice but I just cannot see it unless Arsene surprises us – I hope so. I believe he will buy a Centreback and promote promising youngsters into the defense as replacements.

    We are due some luck and respite from injuries so next season we should begin as we mean to win and just keep going. It is about time we win the Champions League as we are mentally mature enough now.

    Personally I feel we have done well this year, the youth have grown up and are not bullied anymore, we can score late goals and do not give up and we played the best out there and did well given our injuries and the future will get better.

    To finish at least third relatively comfortably is a good sign given that almost everything went against us. At the start of the season no one gave us a chance!

    PS I am as passionate as the most crazy Arsenal fan but also I can see that the future bodes well for us.

  13. If you haven’t had the chance, do read this article from the club physio;

    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/lewin-the-reasons-for-our-injury-problems

  14. I am quietly confident about the spurs game. Spurs don’t have a good record against us under Wenger’s reign, I think it comes down to belief and confidence, ability to handle the pressure. They are a decent side but I am generally confident when playing agsinst them. Add to it that our players will be better rested, I think we will win it.

    The one we have to really really watch out for is City in my opinion/

  15. Thanks for the link Ole.

  16. Great post as always
    I think if we beat the Spuds we make it less likely that Chelsea will. The mugs down the line won’t want to lose two home games in a row with two away games in Manchester to follow.

    Hopefully Portsmouth will take it out of them.

    Sol should return otherwise it’s the same team that went to Barca it seams. Plus Carlos of course, providing he can find his boots. Ha ha.

    If we win this I expect the Chelsea game to be a draw. If we draw I expect Chelsea to win.

    I also think Man Poo will draw at Blackburn on Sunday.

    2nd is a good finish all considered. However, the title is still up for grabs.

    COME ON THE GUNNERS

  17. iam pissed off but the good thing is that mansister united yesterday went down to fc hollywood!we will recover at white hurt lane.remember the spuds are playing pompey on sunday and we have 7 full days to relax!

  18. Nice article, YW

    Thanks for pointing out the Colin Lewin interview, OG.

    That was the best bit of reportage I have seen for many a year.

    I hope also that it gives the lie to those who believe that our injuries are no worse than others and do not damage our ability to compete.

    Excellent

  19. In my humble opinion Bayern Munich will win the Eurothingy this year.

  20. I we need very good center back like Gary Cahill (Bolton) Mike Turner (Sunderland) or Roger Johnson (Birmingham City) also Chamakh is coming so it’s gonna be very good next season

  21. Aaditya – Regarding Almunia I agree with you. My only gripe is why does he need to hoof the ball up from goalkicks and fre kicks in the box? I mean, ffs, even van der sar was playing a pass to the defender yesterday.

  22. I think Bill and Joe blow our defensive problems out of all proportion.

    At Home we have kept 9 Clean Sheets already, second only to Utd on 10.
    Away from home we have conceded just 19 goals, putting us joint 2nd by that measure.
    Surprisingly Tottenham Hotspur have conceded the fewest goals at home. Pleasingly though, their 58 goals scored to our 75, illustrates how much more emphasis we put on attack, and how toothless and ‘orrible they all are.

    We have conceded more penalties and been given many less than our title rivals. We have also scored 4 own goals and been gifted with many less than they have.

    Interestingly we have conceded less goals from set pieces than our title rivals Chelsea.

    It’s very easy to point to our Goals Conceded column and start clucking and grizzling. After all we have conceded 4 more goals overall, than our main title rivals Chelsea.

    You can also get your knickers in a twist about our record against the Big 4, but we lost just one more of these match-ups than Utd did.

    It is important to look at these games in isolation however, as these defeats are what rankles most with the disaffected Arsenal fan, and with the more stoic amongst us too. They skew our precious Goals Conceded column; by shipping 3 goals to Chelsea, 3 to Utd and 4 to City. Look at the instances in which we concede in these 3 games, and the game on Tuesday night too – and you will see that over half of them are conceded when committing too many men too high up the pitch in search of a goal.

    Personally I wouldn’t sacrifice this attacking hunger for the world. It’s the football that’s led us to score far more goals from open play than any other team in the league.

    It’s been a tough week. We’ve been knocked out the Champions League by the holders. But we are THE form side in the Premier League right now, the title race is well and truly on, and 3 Point Lane beckons.

    …Arsenal

  23. Excellent, LimparAssist

  24. LimparAssist,

    Very well put. We all know we do give games away and we can and must improve in that area.

    Chelsea has become more expansive this season, as have Man Utd, scoring many more goals than recently.

    Result? They’re conceding more.

    Goals conceded doesn’t tell you everything. Many were deceived by that metric into thinking Aston villa have the best defence in the league until they shipped 7 at Chelski.

  25. I thought Colin’s comments in that interview can be interpreted in many controversial ways. It’s tabloid gold.

  26. Fuck the tabloids

  27. It is a sad state of affairs when a spuds supporter needs to remind some of you so-called Arsenal supporters that the sky is not falling. John H, sorry but there’s no accounting for taste, I seriously thank you for stating the obvious. Many on here repeatedly do it but the thick idiots still don’t get it. You know who you are…

    The quote I would take from Lewin’s interview is this: “Statistically we run the furthest in the Premier League. We also have the highest number of sprints compared to the other Premier League teams.”

    Couple that with the number of games, the international exposure, and it is easy to see how one single injury starts a vicious cycle of more pressure and less recovery on the replacement, who goes off on international duty, who gets injured, which puts more pressure/less recovery on the replacement…

    A nice week to recharge the mental batteries. I am in no doubt that everyone will be up for the Derby. If you are not you have no business playing for the club.

    As for the UCL, what a wonder strike by Robben…how fun to see Shrek limping off and almost in tears. How like that knob Ferguson to claim “typical Germans.” I am surprised that a Scotsman would resort to that sort of rubbish…it is what I expect from English tabloids…resorting to xenophobic statements to distract everyone from the real issues at hand.

    I would naturally prefer Arsenal in the semifinals of the UCL. I am gutted we are not. After I sideline that particular bit of disappointment I am happy there are no EPL teams in the semifinals. It is time for the focus to shift so that the anglo-centric media in GB are reminded that the rest of Europe can play good football.

    Victoria Concordia Crescit

  28. Nice work Yogi. All very true.

    Brilliant facts, well put, Limpar Assist – it’s always nice to have something meaty you can hang on to and that you just CAN’T argue with: like a nice, full set of boobs.

    Actually…on reflection I imagine the D&Gs would even find a way to argue with a near perfect rack. Insisting the left nork was slightly less good in bed and demanding an immediate transfer for ones with bigger areolae…

    think I’ll stop this analogy now!

    John H – always nice to hear balanced, objective opinion from a Spurs fan. Makes me wonder who do you talk to when you are at WHL though?

    😀

  29. Wenger says he’ll buy big next season. Of course big is relative. He will probably have to replace Clichy. The way he played against Barca was a message to Real Madrid. He was saying: “Come get me!” And if it is true that Barca will offer 50 million pounds for Cesc expect him to go. As much as I love Cesc I’d let him go for 50m. When somebody offers you stupid money- like Real Madrid was doing last year – it makes sense to cash in. And Cesc loves barca anyway – remember he accompanied them team to Uzbekistan. So for Clichy and Fabregas expect something in the region of 70 million pounds. No use to have three old men in Campbell, Gallas and Silvestre. Only one is necessary. Probably bring in Hangeland and hope that Djourou recovers his form. And then Nordtviet and Bartley can also provide cover. Another big striker upfront would be interesting. Personally I’d prefer Carlton Cole – and we have first option on him anyway. Maybe Chamakh as well. And begin slotting Theo in the centre. As for the midfield Diaby, Nasri and Denilson can cover for Fabregas. They might not be as good as him but will prosper as Rooney did when Ronaldo left. And we need to quicken the development of Wilshere ,Ramsey and Lansbury. No reason why Boban Krkic should be playing for Barca while Lansbury and Wilshere are on loan. It’s not that he is better than them – in fact I’d swear that Wilshere is much better than Bojan – it’s just that Barca are more proactive with their young players. The future of any team lies in having a strong domestic backbone. Look at Barca even Messi is virtually Spanish!

  30. kenyan gunner,

    Where did Wenger say he will buy ‘big’ next season?

  31. Kenyan gonner…..Fab and clichy aint goin nowhere

  32. Geo

    Not close to doom at all. History tells us that if you do not strengthen a squad, you are doomed to fail. Arguably that was George Graham’s biggest mistake as Arsenal manager. In 1991, he had a squad with the meanest defence and the spriteliest attack at the time.

    He strengthened by buying Ian Wright in September ’91 and Andy Linighan(!). The squad dropped away horribly in the following season through lack of freshness and Graham descended into mindnumbing football.

    YW

  33. In all seriousness i think losing so comprehensively to Barcelona is a positive thing for Arsenal in the long term.

    Why? because the manager and the players knows exactly what is needed to become the best. Even though we have also lost to Man U and Chelsea this season, there is a feeling, rightly or wrongly, that we are not far behind these two teams.

    We will comfortably beat Tottenham next week. The players will not be too disappoited after the Barca match, but I really believe that chastening experiance will focus the team.

    As for next season and bringing in new players this is very tricky. Consider that if Wenger doesn’t sign a new contract in the summer, would the board sanction a major spree by Wenger? That’s offcoarse if the manager was thinking of a spree! Personally, I think Wenger knows whether he extends his contract or not, that this youth project is coming to an end. If he signs on, then expect some quality players to come in this summer, otherwise, maybe one or two squad player additions and he will leave next season.

  34. Jeff, Clichy’s probably off. No way he’ll accept to play second fiddle to Gibbs who is already being rated as “had he been fit” an English international. And remember that he said the first reason he didn’t go to Real Madrid was because he feared being side lined as van Nis, Robben, etc. That’s was showing a lack of confidence. His confidence has grown over the last year. He also claimed that he loved Arsenal. Loving a club doesn’t mean you can’t leave it, ask Liam Brady or Thierry Henry! And remember Real Madrid offers stupid money. Football is a short career even for Gael Clichy!

  35. Alex Ice Cream

    Yogi,

    Linighan was bought in the summer of 1990 along with Limpar and Seaman.

    I agree that you need to buy players though. We could do with a keeper a centre back, a defensive midfielder and a striker who are good enough to start. We would then be in a better postition to not be as bothered by injuries.

  36. replace Clichy? what are you talking about there KenGun? no more speculation please.

  37. I love the timing of this fixture with the Spuds.
    Seven days to rest for our clash with our North London rivals.
    Nothing like a derby to get our players remotivated for the championship challenge.
    COYG!

  38. I don’t know what was typically German about Bayern Munich’s performance last night. They didn’t march the man utd players off to a death camp. Nor was German efficiency particularly evident. I thought they were rather sloppy a lot of the time. Even after man utd went down to 10 men, Bayern gave them a few chances. They also missed opportunities of their own.

  39. Analysis Paul N, analysis. Don’t fear analysis. You could only be wrong and we all learn from our mistakes!

  40. Frank

    The thing that puts to bed the lie about us not having more injuries is this:

    Since August 2002, Arsenal has suffered 138 more injuries than Chelsea to first team squad members. In the same period, Arsenal has suffered 86 more injuries than Manchester United.

    To put it into more context, the number of injuries in recent season is:

    2009/10 AFC 79; MUFC 55; CFC 52
    2008/09 AFC 74; MUFC 62; CFC 46
    2007/08 AFC 60; MUFC 53; CFC 42

    YW

  41. Hey anyone know what manutd’s equivalent of ACLF is called? I’d like to peek into it!

  42. It’s called ACLF as well, kenyan gunner; but in their case it stands for A C*** Load o’ F***ers.

  43. Yogi

    Excellent post.

    You capture the spirit of optimism that we all have and this team deserves. However, you also have the dose of realism that sometimes gets lost in the group think of this blog. You write the best blog in the vast Arsenal blogosphere.

    I said this late last night. I was very happy that no one blamed the ref or came up with strange EUFA conspiracy theories to explain the result. Lets let the Mancs and Fergie corner the market on being poor loosers.

  44. poliziano does that mean you have no idea?

  45. I also forgot to mention that I’d love us to buy Felipe Melo. A real talented hardman!

  46. kenyan, there are nowhere near the amount Manc blogs compared to Arsenal blogs. Republik of Mancunia is one of the most well known.

    http://therepublikofmancunia.com/

  47. Where do KenGun and GunnerYoung arrive at these wild imaginings? Jeez – It is not yet off-season and the transfer prattle has commenced.

    Quite frankly, this is the trap set by Bill and Joe in there relentless campaign to somehow convince us that all our problems begin and end with our defenders. Add a an element of truth, namely that Sol and Sly are well past their prime and Gallas is out of contract, we have a recipe for the spend-spend crowd to speculate about defenders in much the same way as they advocated for midfield disasters like Cana, Melo et al last summer.

    YW – you have opened a can of worms.

  48. Kenyan

    Not sure that there is one – it’s a pretty unique site.

    Ahem..cough

    YW

  49. kenyan, have you seen Juve this season? Abysmal, and Melo has been pretty much the worst of the lot, even voted so by the fans.

    Of course, he could be good at Arsenal, but never worth the cost compared to other, younger players, like the younger Brazilian Arsenal have.

  50. Sorry, kenyan gunner. Try

    http://redfaceddevils.wordpress.com

  51. I wonder if the Kicking and the BROKEN LEGS and ‘BRUISED BONES’ have anything to do with AFC’s injury record?

    Some comments were berating TR7’s game on Wednesday. At the same time as berating the ‘Youth Project’. Which is in poor taste, and judgement.

    Ramsey would have played in two of three games in the last seven days, with TR7 only playing in one, for obvious reasons. But, probably, Aaron Ramsey couldn’t even bare to watch the games, as he would have known he’d have been playing.

    Or is that too ‘realistic’ an understanding of AFC’s footballers?

  52. kenyangunner,

    Can you please back up your claim that Wenger has said he will “spend big” next season, or are you just fanning the flames of smouldering tabloid rubbish.

    we’re not gullible here…..

  53. If you say so KenGun!

  54. Arsene did say that we need to add something but how big he did not say.

  55. Limpar:

    You make several excellent points. All of us including me sometimes get overly dogmatic when we try to make our points. Nonetheless I do not see how we can ignore the lessons history has taught us about the importance of team defense. . The fact that we are 6th in the table in goals conceded does not mean that we can not win the league but it puts a huge headwind in our face. Even if you forget the stats how can you not be concerned when we gave up 6 goals in 2 games in the CL. Even with all of our players healthy we could not realistically expect to win when we concede 6

    MAYBE the defense is not as bad as I sometimes try to portray. No doubt, we need to strengthen at back next summer. However, much more important we need to committ to conceding fewer goals and defending much better as a team if we ever want to realize the potential we all see. IMO thats the bottom line.

  56. There’s an erroneous believe expounded by AIC, Bill, Joe and a couple of others that it’s numbers we need.

    Wrong. Maybe we even have 2 more than we need.

    It’s quality that is needed.

    And that quality is so hard to find. Celebrations about acquiring Chamakh ignores the probability that Bendtner is as good (if not better) as he is.

    Without the ability to break the bank, acquring that will follow any of 3 patterns;

    1. Get them young & develop them.
    2. Buy them in one-off deals e.g. Gallas
    3. Find quality by being meticulous.

    None of those 3 options available to us is easy.

    Having said that, even I think we’re due one large buy. It’s been 8, 9 years since we splashed the cash. I am assuming we can afford it as well.

  57. http://www.bayerneted.com is a new man utd blog, but it is gaining in popularity.

  58. If we have a greater number of injuries, how do we deal with it? How many players realistically can we have in the squad as cover?

    Also, if teams come out to kick us, how can we deal with that as the PL and FA will do nothing. Do we start to kick back?

    The injury situation seems very difficult, as to how to handle it.

  59. Well, well thankyou Mr. Spud for coming on ACLF and saying the simplest common sense thing. As it happens my elder brother supports Tottenham HS (I know, I know, I am not responsible for this sorry business).

    Clichy ain’t going nowhere. In fact Gibbs might well find himself edging towards midfield as he matures.

    What else? Oh, the past is not the past, I think I’ve got the answer re: Barca performance (look it’s been preying on my mind). It’s so obvious, and the truth usually is. simply, Arsenal played well below par, Barca on the other hand played above par, and the gulf suddenly appeared shocking. It is not there. Really. The clue is in the open attacking play where our passes do normally find their mark, and somehow in these matches the critical last pass, shot, went astray too often. The point will be ‘why’, but then maybe there is no answer, shit happens sometimes.

    And so in my mail box a poem appears. I’m not sure it’s very good, but it’s not bad either, and here’s hoping it cheers us all up. It’s written by a Zimbabwean living in exile in London and hating the dark winters.

    WINTER’S THIEF HAS FLED

    Winter’s thief has fled and sped by the returning sun
    Is spurned now that the trusted warm has come
    To welcome home the son to his prodigal skin
    Which had all but forgotten and numb
    Not known the flame could, dead wood undone,
    Make young again the tongue of sap uprising
    To sing such summer songs; the springing long
    Unfurling, uncurling and dream twisting one
    Of scent and sense and full flung with fun
    Find hope again, the re-wrung refrain
    Of now-new and nigh blue sky unfurling
    On high with flags of green dreaming
    The seeds steaming, stems seething, sap sending
    Seeming the seamless scene
    So flowering and so flowing serene…

  60. Historically Mr. Wenger has added two exceptional signings every new season. And so he shall again. Can’t wait to see what presents he brings later this year.

  61. Bill, I think the premise is that we most probably not have let in six goals if we were fully fit. I believe for sure we wouldve taken more advantage of Barca’s defense as they are only good at the pressing defense but once you get behind that they can be scored on. Quite easily it seemed, if we were more composed that is.

  62. Maybe I should have said ‘Spurs fan’ John H and not Mr. Spud. Oh, well. Same message.

  63. Bill,

    You still don’t get it IMO.

    It is hard to get the balance between attack and defence.

    If I gave a quid to everyone I’ve heard say this week that “Barcelona are great because they not only attack very well, they are very good at getting the ball back” I’d give away a million in an hour.

    It is exceptional to get that balance spectacularly right. Many great great teams were not both spectacular defensively and offensively.

    As I pointed out, Barcelona lost the thrust & supreme incisiveness that won them everything last season, to have the clean sheets of this season.

    Last season’s Barcelona conceded more than Arsenal in the same season.

    Chelsea have scored the most goals they’ve ever scored this season, and they’ve conceded the most goals in the more glorious part of their history.

    There is a risk that Arsenal can, in search of defensive solidity lose offensive ability. We expect that both can be done, but we have to be realistic enough to realise that the minimum you need to win trophies is; a good defence or a brilliant attack. Or a brilliant defence and a good attack.

    Rare is to find a team with both.

    You, philosophically think that the only way that wins is a brilliant defence, and I think that’s just erroneous.

  64. Yogi’s stats on injuries are shocking! I mean it.

  65. Warning. Reading ManU blogs WILL harm your mental health.

  66. “It’s so obvious, and the truth usually is. simply, Arsenal played well below par, Barca on the other hand played above par, and the gulf suddenly appeared shocking. It is not there. Really.”

    I agree, especially about Arsenal. I haven’t watched Barcelona very often, so I can’t say how their play on Tuesday compared with their normal performances.

  67. Rosicky had a poor outing when we absolutely needed him at his brilliant best. He led the attack and the spirit against wolves. I think he was knackered.

  68. Mr. guardiola was equally shocked at how well Barca played, out of their skins as they say. These things happen. Even amateur footballers have that one in a blue moon match where nothing goes wrong. I know I did. Maybe next round people will wonder ‘where is Barcelona’?

  69. Those stats are shocking, YW. Or at least what they show is shocking. I can’t believe that some lazy hack hasn’t made a big issue of this.

    I don’t think that AW is going anywhere in the next few seasons. He is about to prove to the world that you can run a successful football sustainably and get results. We are so close it will be a crime if we don’t win the EPL this year.

  70. Chelsea have a very, very tricky encounter away with Liverpool late in the season. It may be that Liverpool MUST win to keep 6th, or need to win to have any chance of 4th. Either way.

    ManU have an equally difficult outing to ManC, for similar reasons which I believe they will lose or draw, and their former player will see to that.

  71. I think too many people are losing perspective… Yes we were outclassed by Barcelona, but considering the players we were missing, and considering that Messi was having the game of his life, the gap in class is nowhere near what the scoreline might have implied. Convenient excuses, but very reasonable ones.

    It is not time to press the panic button and scream about buying this player or that player, we’ve still got a league to win.

    Now, I’m gonna go back to laughing at ManIOU.

  72. Hey Yogi, cheers. I was only joking about ‘dooming’. I know that’s not your bag 🙂

    I was just saying that this topic is usually frowned upon by some commenters here, dismissing discussions around the need for buying as ‘dooming’.

    Ole @ 1.10pm – fair enough. I disagree with the premise too, but it’s looking like more of a possibility now IMO. He bought up even more shares recently and i think another season without silverware may cause this to happen… I may be completely wrong, and i hope i am!

  73. It would be rather nice if Chelski pick up a draw before the Liverpool game.

    …and we really do owe the Spuds and Citeh a stuffing each.

  74. AAAAARRRRRSSSSEENALLLLLLLLLLLL

  75. Ole:

    No No No. If you look at the stats from the tables that I have regurgitated over and over again you will see that the teams that win almost always have the best defense but they also usually have the best offense. You need to be the best in your league on both sides of the pitch to win.

    We have already got great offense, that does not need to change. The thing that has held us back is our defense. The teams that win trophies always figure out a way to have the 1st or 2nd best defense in their league and still score more goals then the other teams. WHY CAN’T WE DO THE SAME???

    I do not want to see us turn into a defensive team who play boring football and are mid table in goal scored. That will never fill up our trophy case. We can and must continue to play attacking football and score lots goals. However we have to defend better as a team and concede less goals. History is crystal clear on that point.

  76. Poliz that second Manu blog name was hilarious. I shed tears laughing over it.

    Kenyan gunner, Fabrigas, clichy arent going anywhere!!!!!atleast not in the next 2yrs.

  77. ZimPaul @3:44,

    I can’t imagine the emotions Aaron must’ve gone through, he was the player who had been promoted to come through this season…and he would’ve rotated with TR7 in the last few games, against Barca & Wolves.
    Difficult for TR7 as well, knowing his ‘strength’ after two years out, isn’t quite back (two intense games in four days), but he’s getting there…
    When you compare his recovery to the younger Hargreaves who also has tendonitis, every game is a boon.

    Hopefully, Aaron is well, & by all account’s he is on the way to a good recovery.

    It’s a bright Spring day here in London.
    Thanks for the poem!

  78. Geo,

    I hope we don’t get an owner sitting in St. Louis telling the people who run the club what to do. Never. It won’t be healthy.

    Also I hope he doesn’t take over the club.

    Since we’re wishing for the future, I hope our financial position would leave us enough surplus cash to have more leeway in who we buy within our budget.

    Bill,

    Many many teams have won the league without being best in goals conceded.

    And then you ignore the point that by tweaking the balance you can lose your strengths.

  79. taeryn I am with you on enjoying their loss. Waren’t we called naive and we were told that we lacked mental strength after losing our 2-0 lead against Westham. I wonder what the pundits would call yesterday’s case.

  80. You have come again with this unreliable stats of yours.If i may ask,what makes you believe Arsenal will not drop points? What makes you think its only Man u and Chelsea that will drop points,and Arsenal will not(irrespective of whom they play)? If anyone had told you Arsenal will drop points against Birmigham,would you have believed it? This is a game of football were the unthinkeable can happen.It is only on this site that i see all these shits.Everytime mathematics and statistics.Other top four clubs talk about the match to be played,and how it can be executed to gain a favourable result but u are here killing urself with statistics.Where was this ur stats when you were spanked by messilona(not even Barca)? Rubbish!! wait until u drop yet another point;then ur eyes will be opened.

  81. Agreed Ole, here’s hoping things don’t go that way. Our financial position is very solid, giving us the option to buy. But as you mentioned in a previous post, we only need 1 or 2 top quality players.

    This squad isn’t quite world-beating yet, but every year they’re getting closer and with one more Arshavin style signing (i mean experienced and top quality), then we’ll be winning trophies, i’m sure.

  82. Zimpaul @ 3.41

    I’d have thought you had to be mental to read them in the first place…

    YW

  83. Spurs supporter here.I think the injuries Arsenal had paid the price,against a Barcellona inspired by the world class Messi.What could one do against such a force.Maybe if Fabregas and Song were fit,it would have been more even.

    Hope we watch a classic derby next Wednesday.

  84. Ole:

    We can do a better job of defending and still score lots of goals. We might even score more goals.

    We have a chance to win the league this year but overall the balance we have used has not brought us any titles so maybe its time to try to commit to better team defense and assume that the boss will figure out a way for us to keep our offensive flair and score goals. Lots of other teams have done it so why not us?

  85. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Listen to LimparAssist at 1:47.

    Quality post, my friend.

  86. Intriguingly Djourou spent alot of his time in fair Brum playing in the ‘D**M’ position.

    Another roving CB?
    What has AW been up to?

    The club will not change it’s style of play.
    AW is not leaving.

  87. What’s a Spurs supporter doing on an Arsenal blog….

  88. Good one Yogi on ACLF being unique but I do remember you interviewing some fellow who you said writes the Liverpudian equivalent!

  89. Of the earlier reported injuries, the breakout between muscular and non-muscular injuries per season is:

    2009/10 50.6% v 49.4%
    2008/09 55.4% v 44.6%
    2007/08 70.0% v 30.0%

    Which rather undermines the belief that there is something wrong with the training regime at the club otherwise muscular injuries would be a lot higher in the past two seasons.

    Also, it reinforces the view that Arsenal are targetted by other sides with non-muscular injuries, ie joint and leg knack significantly increasing in the past two seasons.

    YW

  90. Ole Gunner I hope Paul N has answered your question. But as I said big is relative. The 3m we spent on Sagna is worth more than the 30m Fergurson spent on Berberwawa!

  91. Firstlady never say never. I was in a daze when we lost Henry! But good to see that nobody is challenging my belief that Jack is better than Boban!

  92. Bill, the point is, as Ole has been saying, you can’t be both Italy and Brazil at the same time. We score so many goals because we play the most expansive football in the league. This means committing men forward, playing a high line, playing with wingbacks like wingers, taking risks. We score many, many goals with this joyful, swashbuckling approach – but we also become vulnerable to the counterattack and concede goals because of it too. You can’t have your cake and sit back like Little Miss Muffet eating it too. Even with Bobby Moore and Franz Beckenbauer as our centrebacks we’d concede playing this system.

    I found your comment the other day that we must find a ‘new defensive coach’ pretty disrespectful. We have three great, great defensive coaches in Boro Primorac, Pat Rice and Arsene Wenger. All three were professional defenders and two were great ones.

    For me, watching Arsenal defend this season has been almost as enjoyable as watching them attack. If you can’t appreciate Thomas Vermaelen, Gael Clichy, William Gallas and Bac Sagna at their heroic best – then you really don’t know ‘defence’. The times we have been caught out on the hop are massively outweighed by the scores of scarcely believable last-ditch challenges, blocks and recoveries we’ve wowed the terraces with. Cannot fault the courage, skill and commitment of our backline.

    When you watch Arsenal play do you see how one effects the other? How our high defence gives us extra attacking options and men over against teams that sit back?

    If you take that away in favour of a tighter, deeper defensive line, you do it at the expense of our attack.

    How do you propose we ‘score more goals’ and ‘concede less goals’ at the same time – it sounds groundbreaking, please share!

  93. Cheers, NJN. Are Mumford & Sons getting any air time across the pond? They might be a tad overproduced for your liking, not sure, but I’m quite enjoying the new album.

    ZimPaul, your poem might as well have been titled ‘Beer Garden Weather’ – it’s really got me in the mood to go and catch the last of the sunshine.

  94. Limpar:

    Go back to the last 6 years in our league. United lead the league in scoring 2 of the last 3 years and still had the best defense in 2 of those years and the 2nd best defense in the other year. The invincibles had the best offense and the best defense in the league. Chelsea in 05/06 had the best offense and defense. In 04/05 Chelsea had by far the best defense but still 2nd best offense. How did those teams play great offense and still not be vulnerable to the counterattack? I do not know, but if they can do it why can’t we?

  95. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Haven’t heard of them, LA. But I’ve sort of been out of the new music loop lately. I’ll check em out.

  96. Yogi:

    Great stuff regarding injuries. I wish the English FA would get their heads out of their collectives butts. People watch the beautiful game to see great football, not to see players lying on the pitch in pain from a stupid challenge. In US football they made several rule changes to protect the quarterbacks because no one wanted to watch a game on TV or come to a game if Peyton Manning or Tom Brady was injured. The game and its money making machines would be better served if they did something to keep the best players off the training tables and on the pitch.

  97. Kenyan Gunner,

    So I take it you have nothing to back up your tabloid rubbish?

  98. anyway here caught the Lyon-Bordeaux match? Chamakh looked good. Lloris? Fantastic. Yeah they play for different teams but can’t we work out a bundle deal of some sort? I’m should they could, being “typically French”?

    Anyone else mad at UEFA for letting Fergie off on those scandalous remarks?? I mean, seriously it didn’t even really make sense.

  99. Has anyone else noticed that Man United’s transfer strategy is now mirroring Lord Wenger?

    They’ve gone and signed some Mexican kid…..the next best thing out of Mexico after Carlos Vela.

    They’re essentially now signing kids.

  100. Alex Ice Cream

    Ole,

    I said that the players must be good enough to start. We could also do with extra players who are ready now – not in 4 years time.

    If numbers is your issue then why don’t we get rid of a number of players who are not good enough, or not ready.

    Chamakh may or may not be better than Bendtner but he is a better centre forward than Vela, Theo or Eddy. Hugo Lloris is a better keeper than Almunia although playing for Arsenal has made mugs of good goalkeepers before. Felipe Melo is better than Denilson. Anyone is better than Silvestre and Sol may not last another season.

    As you said we haven’t spent big money in ages and its time we did.

    The money is there – we used 130m to reduce debts last year.

  101. Chamakh is not better than Vela or Theo, but more experienced than Vela or Theo.

    Definitely not better than Eduardo at his best, plus they’re two completely different players.

    I think you have to know the difference between buying a good player then changing how you play to suit him…Or buying a player that will fit into your style of play.

  102. AIC is back to his old tricks.

  103. Ole Gunnar tabloid rubbish? What happened to respect for the fourth estate. Some people say that blogging is rubbish! But everything is relative I suppose. And be polite, it’s nice!

  104. …..In old days men had the rack. Now they have the press. That is an improvement certainly. But still it is very bad, and wrong, and demoralizing. Somebody — was it Burke? — called journalism the fourth estate. That was true at the time no doubt. But at the present moment it is the only estate. It has eaten up the other three. The Lords Temporal say nothing, the Lords Spiritual have nothing to say, and the House of Commons has nothing to say and says it. We are dominated by Journalism….

  105. Oscar Wilde..

    …..In old days men had the rack. Now they have the press. That is an improvement certainly. But still it is very bad, and wrong, and demoralizing. Somebody — was it Burke? — called journalism the fourth estate. That was true at the time no doubt. But at the present moment it is the only estate. It has eaten up the other three. The Lords Temporal say nothing, the Lords Spiritual have nothing to say, and the House of Commons has nothing to say and says it. We are dominated by Hackery, Bloggery and Buggery….

  106. Which is the real one?

  107. Exactly Ole G…they will all have to start signing kids, by the time they’re building, we will be far ahead of them for years. What vision this man has, most people are short sighted and always looking under their feet not ahead.

  108. Limps,

    Just to take you up on some of your points:

    You’ve tried to use the fact that we’ve conceded so many goals against Chelski/Manure/Citeh as a basis for our goals conceded column being skewed. Even a miserable person like me thinks that’s hilarious because the very same argument could be made in converse – ie that when we come up against the stronger teams we are far more porous!

    The point you make on the penalties is very valid (something I believe is all down to the Eduardo fiasco btw) – but it still doesn’t detract from the fact that we concede easily.

    The very same argument you make on set pieces can also be easily reversed; Chelsea have been very poor on set pieces this season (which explains the slippage) but that doesn’t mean we have to be as well.! And how many seasons has it been now since we were able to defend set pieces with any degree of comfort?

    And since when does “loosing just one more game than UTD” against the top four excuse the fact that (a) we’ve still manage to ship so many goals and (b) loose so many points?

    All it proves is that when this team has come up against any team of substance this season, they have failed EMPHATICALLY.

    Nobody, but nobody wants to change from an expansive game and end up playing like George Graham or Mourinho. But there’s absolutely no point in creating a genuinely brilliant attacking force, only to shoot ourselves in the foot at the other end.

    “We score so many goals because we play the most expansive football in the league” – Do we really Limps? When did you check out the goals scored column? We’re third!

    “You can’t have your cake and sit back like Little Miss Muffet eating it too.” Yes you can if you bothered to look at bills analysis.

    Your analysis is largely toothless.

    The bottom line, to coin one of Finsbury’s concepts – is “simple” – we’ve conceded far too many goals and the ultimate cost of that is points and competitiveness.

    We should have had the league wrapped up a long time ago, as it is we’re dependent on the likes of Liverpool (ffs..!!) to do us a favour, while we struggle to roll over Birminghams and Wolves of this world.

    Ole –

    Bill has already gone into huge detail explaining Arsenal performances over the past 6 years, showing our goals conceded and contrasting it against the league champions not only in England, but across Europe. Where there may very well be the occasional exception – he has clearly proved to my mind that normally the champions not only score the most, but also concede the least (or come within the top 3 in that category).

    I accept the point you make in that changing to 4-3-3 and becoming more expansive may very well mean conceding more goals. But we still conceded far too may goals when we played 4-4-2 and 4-5-1.

    In some places we certainly short players – but its also a coaching and discipline problem.

  109. Could someone paraphrase that comment? It is too fucking long for me.

  110. Melo’s an interesting one. People often go as far as comparing him to Marcos Senna.

    They always say, “Senna’s a decent player, whereas Felipe Melo’s just awful.”

  111. Hear hear for Frank! Unfortunately Lord Burke didn’t live in the information age. I love the blogsphere because not only do we receive the news but are part of it!

  112. Joe,

    Good to see you sticking to your Defence.
    That’s the spirit!

    So, you felt Song was at fault, even though TV5 was responsible, if anyone.
    Which is the opposite of what I wrote yesterday at 6.40 pm.

    I also said, with some pre-game prep for the second leg, Song would’ve been fine.
    As you no doubt recall Joe, Song’s most impressive early games for AFC were from CB. When he decided to go charging through the entire opposition one day, from CB, it became quite clear we had a Player.

    If it suits your agenda to selectively choose quotes, yet again, well, that’s up to you.

    Why do your essays about defence entail no conversation about actual defending?

    Simple.

    I should add, I didn’t mean to imply MS was awful, or that OleG has an unhealthy hatred!

    He wasn’t as ‘poor’ as Gary Neville, or, heh, Da Silva.
    Playing Da Silva against Ribery was almost an act as masochistic as someone else’s suggestion of playing Bartley against Barca (wtf?).

    Slur Alex LongRedNose needs to flash his wad again methinks. Maybe he could do with some advice Joe? Any recommendations?

    Kind regards,

    Finsbury.

  113. Gash….AIC has left me speechless.

    Get rid of your young exceptional seedlings, and buy some really mature plants. One can only get better and the other has probably peaked. Bet the farm as wellas we are immune from bad times.

    Consols – I left the farm years ago, maybe this new fandangled, genetically modified farming is really different from the one I knew.

  114. AIC,

    First of all let me correct certain claims;

    Denilson is better and more experienced (the kind of experience that counts) than Felipe Melo despite being 3 years younger.

    Eduardo at his best is a better goalscorer than Chamakh.

    Then let me correct the claim that all we need is players ready now, not in 4 years time? Ready for what? To be squad players like Vela? Or to be bought for £32M and have no more impact than Vela?

    Messi is better than Arshavin…..let’s get Messi then? Better still, I can be as facetious as you were comparing chamakh to Eduardo and say Messi is better than Vermaelen, out with Vermaelen, in with Messi then?

    Can’t you do better than that?

    The point on the debt showed why I don’t want to cohabitate the strange planet you live on. Instead of write down debt and stabilise the club’s long term financial situation, buying players to make you happy today has a higher priority in your mind. Not very wise.

  115. shotta,

    You really cut to the quick with that seedling analogy.

    Something we get intuitively has never been clearer than with that analogy. It’s something no farmer will ever do, or anyone whoever has to nurture anything and keep it going.

    Much respect.

  116. What you’ll also notice though, Bill, is that far less goals were scored in those seasons overall. For example with 5 games to go this year we’ve already scored more than United did in winning it last season.

    Not really interested in the past 6 seasons though, I’m interested in this one – football changes quickly. Every team is scoring more freely this year, every defence is conceding more.

  117. I like the farm analogy too, SG.

  118. Balls…

    It is all about balls…

  119. That dink over Almunia by Messi. In my day it would have been like kicking the fucking doorstep. Balls you see..

  120. God you’re tragic, Joe. You’re like Eeyore, only less likeable.

    You place your emphasis on the fact that we’ve shipped sooo many goals, and lost sooo many points, and FAILED EMPHATICALLY.

    I put my emphasis on the fact that we are 3 points off the top of the league with 5 games to go and we’ve done it playing magical football.

  121. What a star you are, LimparAssist. Couldn’t agree more.

  122. Joe,

    The champions are always the team with the highest number of points. To win the league you have to be a team that can go and win 8 games in a row, and do it several times in a season. That’s us.

    I have looked at Bill’s stats. Before he posted it here I’d looked at them myself over the years so I am familiar with what the stats say.

    It shifts. Sometimes (Case A) it is true that the team that wins usually has the best Goals scored….when teams win based on their goalscoring. Then a more defensive team comes, or a few of them come and then it changes again and then the stats then show that the least goals conceded wins (Case B). Case A was 90s and noughties. Case B is recently.

    In fact, the most consistent stat is that the team with the highest goals difference usually wins it. It’s true in every league everywhere for most times.

    It shows neither scoring the most goals nor conceding the league itself predicts where you finish.

    It’s common sense too. Goals scored or goals conceded only suggests something about the relative strength of your team. it is not he strength of your team itself. It’s a proxy at best, a clue perhaps. If you took the measurement too seriously you’d be misled into thinking Aston villa have the best defence in the league which we all know is not true. A bad defensive period, or a few games can skew your goals conceded.

    I disagree that we have a coaching problem. Personally I think it’s the formation and a few players who dont pull their weight. The same coaches coached the same set of players to a Premier League record for clean sheets last season. Unfortunately a lot of the clean sheets coincided with no goals scored. That to me shows that it’s a factor of team shape.

    As I’ve said many times, I think we need to improve our intensity in tackling and marking, and our determination in duels. We need to see more heroic defending and throwing bodies at the line (like Chelsea do). I see a lot of scope for improvement.
    I just think you’re wrong to think philosophically as you do that we have to be a defensive team to win trophies.

    Kenyan gunner,

    It’s the internet, so I dont have to suffer anyone quoting tabloid rubbish as truth.

  123. I’m not going to go into why I think we conceded breakaway goals to the Mancs and Chelsea again because it’s sunny and the beer garden beckons, but suffice to say it runs deeper than ‘Better team = Arsenal porous’.

    Rather than looking at the goals conceded column, try looking at actual events on the field of play. There are many subtleties you might enjoy.

    There are thousands of fans of smaller football clubs than ours that would wring your neck for being so unappreciative.

    Pearls before swine as Bob would say.

  124. Well shotta, I had occasion to visit a ‘supermarket’ t’other day. I needed some Margarine for cooking and some stuff for visiting grandchildren.

    It would be fair to say that the section devoted to stuff that you can buy to actually cook with, as opposed to just cook, was tiny. Really very tiny.

    To use your analogy, do we plant seeds, bring them on, plant them out and train them into healthy fruit bearing plants, or, just buy a cauliflower from Tesco’s grown at MegaCaulyFarms(Kenya).com?

    Have hens, feed them, eat their eggs, or’ just buy them from Tesco’s who egt them from HappyHens MegaSheds.com.

    Grow apples, press them, make cider and drink it, or, buy alcopops from Tesco’s supplied by CheapChemicalPissSold at OutrageousPrices forUndiscerningTwats.com.

    Me? Well I actually frightened off 2 Jehovah’s Witnesses yesterday afternoon who happenned to call as i was dealing with some surpls cockerels. They didn’t stay long.

    Win Win, I call that.

    God Bless the Sun and Arsene Wenger.

  125. That is, of course, the sun in the sky and not the one that chavs read.

  126. Very wise old man, I think you’re the only one here than Wenger wouldn’t mind having a healthy dinner and a sip of Cider with…And maybe you can talk to him about AIC condition then…..I mean concerns.

  127. Lost the power to communicate G4E? Too much Coors Light?

  128. Let the fools be hating
    Lest their disbelief forsake thee
    Peace be to you if it’s worth the waiting!
    We HAVE come good this season
    5 more games to go
    RVP, Gibbs & Djourou to make a late show
    Its been my favourite season ever because
    The lessons I’m learning about the process of creating
    A GREAT team that crystallizes as we speak
    Is beyond compare.

    Missing the spine of our team
    We showed HEART
    Never giving up
    Through thick & thin!

    twas a painful loss but hey
    this builds CHARACTER
    I love ARSENAL
    Yes
    I love this club

    RASERS!

  129. I don’t even drink at all CBob…Maybe I should? 🙂

  130. Oh and I love you guys, the real RASERS of ACLF!

  131. WE MARCH ON!

  132. Do you know G4E, I quite miss AIC in some ways. I mean, you know that he is genuine at least. Some of the posters on here now though, very strange people.

  133. “Some of the posters on here now though, very strange people.”

    They’re town folk, Consolsbob.

  134. I can understand and agree to that CBob. I think recently some people come on here and intentionally act like morons just to get the attention. Especially that we don’t accept anything bad said about our club or players.

    I still think AIC is a condition rather than anything else though 🙂

  135. I don’t agree the stats goals scored and conceded (apart from the final points in the table) amount to eventual winner of the league. Especially if Arsenal win it this season, they will surely buck the trend of being the best attackers or defenders.

    They are spectacularly good at the first you would say, but the two inter-relate so I wouldn’t so as to say we should seperate them. We have great defenders and I’m sure if we defended deep we could easily let in less and counter the opposition dynamically.

    There is just a fine balance to reach and the rest is complementary as they say.

  136. That would go a long way to explaining a lot, pz.
    Should have known really.

    Yes, G4E, I agree but the ones that are really dull are those who pretend to actually know something or have something worthwhile to say.

    Obviously, I don’t mean those who, well, actually do know something or have something worthwhile to say. For today i would include Limpar and Ole for example. There are others.

    As for the first catagory well, no names, no pack drill.

  137. The Brain now, is a case in point. Obviously a very clever chap. Always worth a read.

  138. Nik Bendtner is player of the month for March on the official website. Arsenal supporters have come a long way. Cesc second and Samir Nasri third. I can’t disagree with any of those.

  139. Conrad Gustin

    We were very sloppy in defense, very very sloppy. denilson was sloppy and sylvestre and clichy were sloppy. It was a sloppy performance all round I think you’ll agree. Walcott was sloppy most of the game and why he didnt shoot when he was through i dont know. If we are to push on we need to cut out the sloppiness in our game, starting with the next game, no more sloppy passes or sloppy defending, I think you’ll agree.

  140. Some of the posters on here now though, very strange people.

    I think people like AIC are just people we disagree with. I wish he’d show up when things go well but that’s another matter.

    Joe & Bill are fixated with “defense” and are offended by all that offending (offensing?) Wenger has the Arsenal team doing.

    We’re quite lucky here we don’t have Myles Palmer nation, or too many of the guys born in the 60s who just want the 1980s/early 90s back. It’s not about football for them. It’s lost youth. Happens to the best of us.

    I’d be off if we got too many of the chav impersonators; i.e. WENGER OUT, fook me, Not good enuff, we have to beat Barcelona or we’re the worst team ever.

    If I’m rambling and I’ve lost sight of my first point it’s because I had a really strong ale.

    Vela i

  141. Conrad Gustin

    I just read a Barcelona blog, it was sickening, they show us no respect, bastards

  142. Sloppy posting Ole, probably caused by a sloppy drink habit combined with a sloppy thought process and sloppy use of English. Defending is the word you want.

    I think you’ll agree.

    Just sloppy really.

    No names, no pack drills though.

  143. Conrad Gustin,

    If we’d just hammered them, I’d be showing them no respect too.

    The great thing about football is there will be time to set things right, or at least to hope the day will come that we hammer them 4-1.

    All it might take is a Messi long term injury for a start.

  144. I was sloppy there in my reading of your sloppy post, Ole.

    The word, of course, is ‘attacking’.

  145. Consols – Apparently you eat your chickens as well and then buy your eggs at Tesco’s.

    I am playing very loose with my metaphor here based on your disclosure that “I was dealing with some surplus cockerels.”

    I still am trying to figure out AIC’s condition. Sometimes I am happy with the guy and to pronounce him fit but most other times I simply want him confined.

  146. That is the condition Shotta G 🙂 You never know which AIC will turn up after a defeat or a draw.

    There is no problems with winning since he doesn’t turn up at all.

  147. Conrad Gustin

    My bum just produced some sloppy ‘matter’.
    What should I do?

  148. No shotta. I eat cockerels. I find that that has little effect on my supply of eggs.

    If I seem a little verbose this evening or am making less sense, or perhaps more, than usual, it is because it is a sunny day and our 20th wedding anniversary. Therefore I have been imbibing for a while now.

    I intend to continue a while longer.

  149. Move quickly away from any oither human, Gustin.

  150. Conrad Gustin

    ‘Imbibing’ – Is that a new slang term for playing with oneself?

  151. Consols,

    Blame Bill 🙂

    He’s thoroughly confused him with all that talk of offense and defense.

  152. He’s confused me NOT him….

  153. Don’t post it on this blog, Conrad, as you did at 7:20.

  154. Congrats Bob! 20 years already, and you’re in for life.

  155. Kayzersose:

    “Aaditya – Regarding Almunia I agree with you. My only gripe is why does he need to hoof the ball up from goalkicks and fre kicks in the box? I mean, ffs, even van der sar was playing a pass to the defender yesterday.”

    Did Van der Sar pass it to defenders while they were under pressure you donut? Almunia had to kick it out because he had no outlet.

  156. Congrats Mr. Bob!!

  157. Van Der Sar didn’t prevent his club from being knocked out of the CL…what good is he?

    With the same weird logic of some fans, there is no difference between him and Almunia.

  158. Too many foreign craps in the manu side.

  159. We are a team on the rise, plain and simple. Some folk analyze so much that they can scarcely see the crazy wealth of talent that is already at the club.

    ARSENAL!!!

  160. Gainsborough69 @ 8:06pm – I wouldn’t go far as to call Kayzersoze a “donut”as more often than not he makes sensible posts but missed the opportunity. But I was going to make the same point myself. One instance in Tuesday’s match I saw Almunia roll out the ball to one of his fullbacks, as his critics demand, and in a flash the full back was surrounded by 2 or 3 Barca players causing the ball to run outside for a Barca throw-in. It might have led to a goal eventually, I am not sur, (my memory is not what it used to be). I made a mental note for all the armchair goal-keeping coaches who demand that Al not kick the ball long and high.

  161. Jeez my post above looks like I have been cider-drinking with Consols. No doubt, congratulations are due to the Missus for putting up with you!

  162. off topic, but I learned today that a player on our local club KC Wizards is a product of the Arsenal youth system. What can any of you tell me about Ryan Smith?

  163. Isn’t Ryan Smith is the one that had so much troubles with injuries?

    not really sure.

  164. KansasG

    Go to Arsenal.com and type his name in the site search engine, you’ll find a lot of articles about him.

  165. Ah…the boys are out to play…Frank, Shotta, Poli, Cons, G4E, OG…

    Best session in a while…

  166. …and Happy Anniversary Consolsbob!!

  167. I have had thirty three wedding anniversaries.

  168. …well congrats to you too Frank!

  169. I am not sure that thirty three wedding anniversaries between seven wives is worthy of congratulations, axis. Not in the way you probably mean, but thanks anyway.

  170. Ahhh….well points for persistence or something.

  171. Well, I have to confess that I was not pure when I wed consolslel myself.

    In fact, I had ‘known’ other women. Some, for some time.

  172. .. and a few for a shorter time.

  173. Be very careful now, Cb.

  174. ..of course, that all stopped when I met consolslel.

  175. Sorry that was me…

  176. Who was?

  177. Ah, I see.

  178. I can’t get the hang of this fucking blogging stuff. I am trying to do a London thing and then I don’t log out and you end up posting with the fucking name of the fucking site you fucking set up to do something fucking different. Bastard fucking thing.

    Consolslel is not reading this is she, Cb?

  179. I see that the key point that everyone has picked up from Colin Lewin is that Cesc will make South Africa. Well whoop-di-do.

  180. great post as usual Yogi.this team is almost there ,1 or 2 players will come in the summer and we will be even stronger

  181. Of course she is. We have no secrets. Really.

  182. Well I have found that the secret of success with all seven of my wives is that it is best to have secrets. If it wasn’t for secrets I would not have had seven wives.

  183. Does have seven wives is the same like having seven lives?

  184. Does having seven wives is the same like having seven lives?

  185. Gunner4Ever

    thanks for the tip, but I was hoping to get some insight on Ryan from this esteemed group. I know that he’s done stints at Millwall, Crystal Palace and Leicester. Just wondering why he never settled at any of these clubs. It’s not every day that an MLS club lands a player trained by Arsenal.

  186. Anybody catch Fat Sam and Red Nose together today at the races on BBC1?

    The Big Con for Sunday is ON.

  187. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    I see Roy Hodgson’s Fulham side in the last 4 of the Europa league. What a classy manager Roy Hodgson is.

  188. Discussions about next year’s team are a little premature when we still have so much on the line, but what the hell:

    This is based on 4-3-3, but also going by the attributed positions for the players on Arsenal.com.

    1) Goalkeeper
    Almunia-Fabianski-Szczesny

    Add: One new experienced GK
    Subtract: Mannone (at least on loan)

    2) Defence
    Sagna-Eboue-Clichy-Gibbs-Vermaelen-Djourou- Gallas-Campbell-Traore

    Add: One new CB
    Subtract: Silvestre

    Midfield
    Song-Denilson-Cesc-Ramsey-Diaby-Nasri-Rosicky-Arshavin-Wilshere

    Add: None
    Subtract: None

    Forward
    Bendtner-Van Persie-Eduardo-Vela-Walcott

    Add: Chamakh
    Subtract: None

    In total then, we would be looking at 3 additions (GK, CB and CF), one of which looks certain to be headed our way.

    Silvestre, Senderos, Merida (not by choice) and maybe Mannone to move on

    Also, we would expect 3-4 reserves make a strong push for more first-team actions again (Eastmond, JET, Nortveit and Bartley look to be ahead of the pack right now)

    3 quality in and 4 fringe out looks about right to me for next season.COYG!!!!!!!!!!

  189. Congrats Bobo! I mean CBobo and CLel.

    You too Frank.

  190. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    That’s some feat, consolsbob and Frank. Here’s to many more.

  191. Lagooner interesting squad. But I’d add Henri Lansbury to the midfield. I think he’s good enough on his own merit but also possibly a replacement as well for Fran Merida who you omitted!

  192. Good point, kenyan gunner. I can see Lansbury challenging along with the other 4 that I mentioned, but I’m not sure if he won’t get crowded out with the midfield depth we already have.

    Eastmond is a logical back-up to Song and Denilson in the holding role or even as an emergency defender, so if any single player would make the breakthrough from the reserves my vote is for him.

  193. By the way, love this posting on F365 comments section

    Hey, It’s Not Too Bad Being A Gooner

    “You know, if during the bleak summer of 96, when everyone but Arsenal fans were on a post-Euro high, English clubs were starting sign top foreign players and all we managed was bring back John Lukic and all we had to look forward to was another season under Bruce Rioch, you had told me how the next decade and a half would pan out I would said “oi, matey you’re crazy”.

    Think, about it. Doubles, Cups, Invicibles, how many years straight in the CL? Quarters, semis and finals. Some of the best players in the world before our eyes week in, week out. Beautiful football admired the world over. A world-class stadium in the borough of Islington. And best of all in all that time the scum have beaten us only once in the League and once in the CC”.

    Life ain’t so bad…
    MK Down Under

  194. Of course, he does forget Bergkamp and our vaunted defensive line were already in place under Rioch, but I do like the sense of perspective…

  195. I think Fabianski might become # 1 next year, or that must have been the plan. It’s either that or we will sell him, but it depends entirely on keepers available out there.

    More importantly, a back-up CB to Gallas is likely, I assume Gallas will stay and fewer games. Sol will stick around, and Sylvestre doesn’t matter, he was only ever a stop-gap.

    Is Chamakh confirmed?

    Other than that, we are already in a strong position with Ramsey and Eastmond, Merida and Barazite and of course Gibbs all likely to come through the system.

  196. I have no secrets from my wife; although I think I might she knows I don’t.

  197. Gainsborough – You definitely have a point there, the Arsenal players were being closed down very fast against Barca. But even against run of the mill and sub run of the mill teams in the premiership against whom retaiing possession is not as difficult, I feel we kick the ball upfield from goalkicks a lot. On the contrary from free kicks in the middle of the park we almost always pass it short. Even when the goalkeeper has the ball from open play, we often look for a quick throw, only from goalkicks we take the other approach almost all the time. I think in our predominantly possession based game the long goalkicks should not be used as often as we use it. Yes, for exceptional scenarios like Barca, or when we are chasing the game in the last moments we have to use it all the time. But at other times in the match, maybe we can approach goalkicks a little differently

  198. Skywatchingmug

    Well what can you say!

  199. Skywatchingmug

    Got found out by the scum.

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