Stone Cold Friday: Keeping Your Eye On The Ball

Never one to be invisible in the cold moments, where’er ye go Darius is here to push it along…

In recent times I’ve formed a habit of taking a back seat after any Arsenal defeat and letting the waters run dry. Part of this is shaped and conditioned by my day job, which dictates that emotion has little place in decision-making, especially following key events that shape the direction of play. I work in the financial markets and more often than not, a disproportionate amount of noise follows certain key events. The markets run riot with volatility as speculators try to hedge their bets to make quick hay out of any sunshine or thunderstorm the events throw at them.

Experience teaches you that this distortion quickly passes and life does actually move on in a predictable direction once the noise and excitement dies down.

Whenever Arsenal loses or even draws a game they should have won, I get a sense of déjà vu as the noise-makers and doom-mongers sharpen their forked tongues and unleash the customary venomous tirade. They remind me of the twisted and demented father who wills on their child to fail so that they get the opportunity to tell the mother ”I told you so, this sprog is utterly useless”.

I get the sense that a lot of the myopic knee-jerk reaction that follows any Arsenal setback is symptomatic of a footballing ‘fast food, give it to me now‘ culture, where the loss of bragging rights and the humiliation of being taunted by rival fans throws perspective right out of the 8th floor window along with the baby and the bath tub.

What the two-legged tie with Barcelona taught us is that we have a benchmark to aspire to. The Catalans have been at it longer than we have, so it’s certainly no shame exiting the competition to the best club in the world at the moment.

The question for me is how we then bridge the distance between reality and the aspiration of being the best. The answer seems quite straightforward – to keep doing what we’re doing. We have to build on what we’ve achieved so far by grabbing the remaining 15 points in the EPL for starters. There’s no better place than at White Hart Lane to get back on the horse and ride.

New faces are almost certain at London Colney in the summer, with noises that estate agents in Hertfordshire are already clamouring for the signature of a certain Moroccan. A lot has been made about Arsenal’s alleged refusal to spend the big profits they wax lyrical about, to get new players. I would argue that this again is a distortion of the reality.

There was little, if any, movement in the January transfer market as players sought to fight for regular football at their existing clubs ahead of the World cup. There’s also the small matter of a reality check in the football world as the days of ’big money, cheque book’ management are well and truly over.

What people forget is that Arsenal has already invested a significant amount of money to shore up current player contracts and keep the core of this squad together for the future. Doing that is the first and most important task when building on what we’ve achieved. As and when the club finds suitable and affordable reinforcements, they will be added to the current squad, but not at the cost of bankrupting the club.

For those who are shouting for the head of Arsene Wenger to be put on a stick and publicly displayed outside Holloway Road tube station, the fact that at least 17 out of the current squad recently signed long term contracts makes it unlikely that Wenger is going anywhere in the foreseeable future.

This current Arsenal squad is on its way to being the greatest squad we have ever had. Many have said it on here, and it has been echoed by readers who have followed the Arsenal for over 50 years and have seen many a squad come and go. This is not the time to give up on this squad, especially for the sake of saving face and minimizing the taunting from rival fans when the team hits an obstacle in their development.

We will of course continue to hear screams about the need to get world class players into Arsenal. I would suggest though, that the Arsenal scouting infrastructure is better placed to make such decisions and implement them. We have to bear in mind that we will never be able to afford some players and the wages they demand, so a modicum of perspective as well as the ability to manage our expectations as fans is called for.

Besides, in Cesc Fabregas, we already have the 6th most valuable player in the world (according to transfermarkt.co.uk). That’s a good enough start considering we’ll never be able to afford the 5 in front of him (Messi, Ronaldo, Xavi, Iniesta and Kaka) who all play for either Barcelona or Real Madrid. And no; I didn’t leave Rooney out by mistake – the people who matter actually know that Fabregas is way more valuable and talented.

We all want Arsenal to do the best and I’m sure the players want to also do their best. It’s easy to forget that this is a journey and sometimes we have to take a pit stop and recharge our batteries for the journey ahead.

Barcelona has reminded us what we need to aim for in terms of excellence, and I’m confident the team will have learnt from that experience. My sense is that the quarter final tie of the Champions League this season was a watershed in the development of this team and even if you tried, it’s impossible to buy the experience they gained.

We’ve had a disproportionate amount of injuries through the season. The fact that we’re 3 points behind the pace with a shout at the EPL title speaks volumes of the strength and character of Arsenal.

Why walk when you can run, eh? ’til Tomorrow

Posted on April 9, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 202 Comments.

  1. BOOM!

  2. As a former inmate of Plantation House I can only applaud your analogy. We’ll get there, and with Wenger reading the market, the journey, however long or short, will be hugely entertaining

  3. Voice of reason in the hubbub of bulls**t as per usual. Excellent blog.

  4. If we can just learn from Barca how to work without the ball, then it will not have been in vain. We were beaten by the way they hunted in packs of twos and threes whenever we had possession. Our midfield never had a chance to get going.

    If we can do that to others in the EPL then its ours for sure, next year if not this.

  5. Excellent, Darius. After being at Barcelona for that mouth-opening display of football (after the first 20 minutes), I was considering writing an open letter of disgust about some of our short-sighted fans. Before the game, a group decided to serenade some of their fans with the sentiments that they could stick that f**king Messi up their f**king arse – hopefully not giving the impression that we all thought that way (Give that awesome Messi to the Arsenal – yes, indeed). Some also decided, after one of the sweetest goals one could ever see, to shower the opposing fans. I assume it was beer they used (maybe they wasted beer only because beer had already wasted them) and hope it hadn’t been filtered through kidneys (not even a mature enough practice to be called childish). And please stop believing all you read in the papers. “He’s no good – he’s only a physiotherapist.” “He should be good – he captained England AND married a girl singer.” “Arsene who?” Need I say more?

  6. Emmagunner have you been reading Le Grove?!

    :0)

    Well said Darius – it’s obvious but it also bears repeating that we got further this year than money-bags Chelsea and Real Mad. When you really think of the fees and the wages and the expectations how can that not make one smile??

    We could use a few fresh signings but as YW alluded midweek it’s more a matter of tweaks than wholesale change and ripping this collection of players apart.

    I for one love watching this squad develop – it’s an exciting journey. I hope Wilshere, JET and a few others can become as integral as Song has this season.

    Anyone read this marvellous article this morning?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/apr/09/manchester-united-david-villa

    In the words of Nelson Munt -Ha-ha.

  7. Correct dsqd. Like you I hope we return to what we were doing at the start of the season i.e. pressing teams further up the pitch.What a pity we stopped doing that. Perhaps that will give us the five victories we need to get.

  8. Fabregas is more valuable as a player – his transfer fee is therefore logically higher.

    That valuation, however, ignores the ‘marquee signing’ inflation, where far more is paid to prise a star from a reluctant seller.

    For instance Real Madrid – convinced Fabregas would only go to Spain with Barca – are more likely to offer an extortionately high amount for Rooney in such a situation. Thus his actual transfer fee (hypothetically) would be much bigger than any fee for Fabregas, should he go to Barca.

    All speculation of course – just an illustration of market value being distorted in football.

    There are plenty of precedents – Luis Figo, David Beckham. Is Zlatan Ibrahimovic worth so much more than Eto’o, or is he a signal of intent from Barca management?

  9. totally agree with you! with the amount of angry doom mongers and nay sayers out there. i feel almost ashamed to voice my opinion that we are ticking along nicley. with nothing more needed than the usual pre-season tweeks that any club needs to stay competitve.

    thankyou for letting me share it with likeminded people.

    p.s. don’t forget Barca won nothing between 1999-2005!!!! why because they were concentrating on a sustainable, long term, youth team structure…sound familiar?

  10. Darius a voice of sanity amidst the cesspit of johnny come latelys who have polluted the blogospher with their shortsighted vitriole. It doesnt take a genius to see this team is getting better every season and unlike the Mancs and Chavs who are going in reverse we are definitely on the up.

    Secondly in most seasons bar a few the team with the worls best player has generally one the cup with the big ears .Messi , Kaka, Ronaldo, The Fat Ronaldo, Zidane, Ronaldinho. Barca were arguably able to field thier 2 best players Xavi and Messi . Arsenal where without thier 3 best RVP,Cesc and Arshavin who I think would have made a difference because despite the Messi show, he is amazing by the way. We had opportunities to score and induce panic in their defence. A battling away performance by the team at the Nou Camp overall. Now to winning the EPL from under Chelseas nose.COYG!

  11. Nice blog. The media are still going on about how we have’nt won anything since 2005, but we really are very close now.
    As you said, the main thing is to keep the young core of this squad together (which Wenger has done) and to strengthen in a couple of positions, namely goalkeeper and central defense.
    We are a much better team than last season and have developed the much needed resilience and figthing spirits that was sometimes missing last season.

  12. Darius, the highest of fives.

  13. Tommo – agree with the sentiment but it should not be forgot Barcelona also spent hundreds of millions during that period.

    I’m not saying that is what The Arsenal should be doing but it is a pertinent fact whenever that comparison is made.

  14. I thought it was common knowledge that David Villa was coming to Arsenal? Just a question of when isn’t it?

  15. One nil to the Arsenal

    There needs to be big changes at the club

    Off the pitch a new number 2 to replace Pat Rice who is not a tacticion and is just a glorified coneman

    On the pitch: Number 1 priority is a Keeper.Both Almunia and Flappy have made awful errors this seaon.We need top qua;ity between the posts

    CH: With Campbell coming up to 36 and he cant play two games in a week and Silvestre who is shite.We need a new CH or maybe even 2 if Gallas leaves.Hangeland wouold be perfect

    DM:Song has been surperb this season but when he has been out we have been found wanting

    Striker: Eduardo is a shadow of the player he once was,Wenger has no faith in Vela umless its the CC and RVP is just injury prone.Bendtner is a good back up but not a starter.Chamakh is a start but we need one more striker

    And the whole plan falls apart if both Cesc and AA23 leave which looks more likely.7 weeks with the Barca boys in South Africa may turn his head and AA23 just doesnt seem interested

  16. Excellent Darius. I was wondering what you would post today after the week just gone and you’ve managed to live up to your standards.

    Jonny, it’s interesting that Arsenal were not even mentioned in that article. I think Valencia have missed the boat because the only club with the money to spend is manc c and it seems likely that Villa will be reluctant to go there, although maybe he can be pursuaded!

  17. One nil to the Arsenal, maybe you should apply for that number 2 position. I’m sure Arsene will find your insights enlightening.

  18. One nil to the Arsenal

    Frank

    David Villa will cost £40m and Wenger would not pay that for anyone even the magnificent Messi

  19. One nil to the Arsenal

    Passenal

    What does Pat Rice do?.He doesnt even talk to Wenger on the bench during games

  20. “p.s. don’t forget Barca won nothing between 1999-2005!!!! why because they were concentrating on a sustainable, long term, youth team structure…sound familiar?”

    Now why didn’t someone say this before? Invaluable information. Ta Tommo.

    We are in an invaluable position, we can even argue and jest and speculate about which of the 8-odd good looking players are coming through in the next season.

    I am looking forward to upcoming matches, and a few mouth-watering fixtures. “Judge me at the end of the season” says Mr. Wenger.

  21. Jonny.

    Manchester United can only pull the wool over people’s eyes for so long before the naked truth is revealed.

    They are not in a position any more to spend stupid money on players. For one, the banks and hedge funds they owe money to will not sanction such a high purchase of a perishable item that will depreciate, yet Manure owe them over £700mil.

    The only reason United had to let Tevez go is that they couldn’t afford his transfer fees. What is the logic of letting Tevez go and signing Owen on a free? Do they really think everyone is stupid?

    Even Abramovich is not going to let Chelsea sign players at stupid prices any more and in fact, he has made it clear that he feels the current crop haven’t provided all the value there is for his money. When an owner starts questioning whether players ar actually good enough or whether they’re just there to ‘eat’ his money, then they’re in trouble.

    Just to give you an idea of how ridiculous things are out there; there are players in Newcastle United who earn more than Cesc Fabregas earns in a week.

  22. Pat Rice is in charge of the chocolates that Arsene nibbles from time to time. What kind of idiot are you in fact One Nil to Arsenal. Are you the modern noughties kind or the old codger kind?

  23. Nice post as Usual Darius. Being a frugal man myself I love the Arsenal policy. Spending big for short term results is like a man who takes a loan to have a party. Note that even the Barcelona model isn’t too good. It’s unsustainable at best. Remember they sold Luis Figo to their biggest rival and the way the Spanish economy is heading they wouldn’t be able to sustain their model too long.
    One nil to the arsenal, I like you post. not that I agree with it, but that you raise issues. Always bored by the sort who live off dogma, even if it’s only football dogma!

  24. Zimpaul lay off one nil, a man’s got to have a sense of humour.

  25. If anything, I imagine that Cesc’s resolve to stay at Arsenal and play his own part in building a legendary team is stronger, not weaker, but I wouldn’t know. Who knows then? One guess.

  26. I think this entire Arsenal does not teach defence and Pat Rice is a showpiece view has been peddled by Myles Palmer. He mentions this once every couple of weeks.

    One Nil To Arsenal – Are you a regular ANR reader?

  27. Passenal – yes I thought the same. It would be highly out of character for Arsene to spend so big. The only way I can imagine it happening was if we traded a player to offset the cost – still I cannot imagine who that would be and Valencia need money badly so all-in-all unlikely.

    Furthermore, Chamahk seems to be a done deal so the 1st priority will surely be central defence where we need 2, maybe even 3, signings. All depends on Gallas.

    As I said earlier we have several midfielders coming through the ranks and players like Eboue who has had his best season at the club. I full expect Denilson & Diaby to have an amazing season next year – the improvement trajectory is there for all to see (apart from the vocal myopic).

    Still no word on Merida and what of Vela?? Surely he must start to feature next season.

    So that really just leaves the question of GK and whether to add another striker. With Wellington Silva starting from January 2011 I would say no – unless Wenger finds another cheap gem he will focus on defence. Still with Eduardo looking so forlorn he may feel a replacement is necessary.

    One question that interests me is will we start crossing the ball more now we have a striker who scores all of his goals with his bonce??

    Interesting times indeed.

    🙂

  28. Sorry Ken Gun, I got carried away. I need my daily dose of troll hunting or I get all fidgety.

    I really don’t know what Pat Rice, but I imagine Mr. Wenger has him by his side, always one notices, because he needs him.

  29. Jonny – I think we already cross the ball a fair bit, only we don’t have out and out wingers crossing them but our fullbacks.

  30. One nil to the Arsenal.

    I’m sure there will be additions to the squad in the summer, but you’ll be disappointed to know that your wholesale changes won’t happen.

    And what makes you think Hangeland will be perfect. If you were so cock sure, what the hell are you doing on the boards instead of applying for a job at London Colney. Clearly, your expertise is needed there. Wenger has had over 18 months to consider signing the Fulham defender and he hasn’t yet. What does that tell you?

    @Passonel, I probably would have struggled on Wed or yesterday, but the cold light of day helps. I think what Arsenal needs most is to ship out the dead wood from the supporters who are more like customers and get a new set who you know – support the team.

    If only we had a transfer window for supporters.

  31. Thanks Darius – I write occasionally for Untold, we have been bleating about these days of reckoning for a long, long time now. Its a beautiful thing watching it finally start to unravel.

    I think Liverpool are in the most trouble – if they miss out on 4th they are pretty much f*cked. Especially with the deadline to pay back the banks this summer, it is an extremely unenviable position. 🙂

    Keep up the good work – love your writing and your attitude.

  32. Our running into crosses are not the best, but man, that Clichy cross that Bendtner hit like a bullet and off the post (wrongly offside) was fantastic.

  33. We absolutely need a rigiorous transfer policy for supporters, it’s a massive oversight of the board. I know for a fact both Hull and Stoke are looking for supporters, and some of ours would look good in bumble bee outfits.

  34. Nice one Jonny. Like you I believe that Denilson is a great player. Hasn’t had the best of seasons I must admit but with the back injury I can’t blame him. At the beginning of the season he was being compared unfavorably with Anderson. And where is Anderson now?
    As for Diaby he is suffering the tall athletes problem. Their muscles take longer to develop than shorter players – except if you are Ruud Gullit or Usain Bolt. Once his through with the growing muscle pains he’ll become a legend.
    Zimpaul I have no doubt you’re a gentleman!

  35. Well said. So much of the last few years has been about the stadium/Highbury Square. That seems to have settled down now, leaving us with an amazing stadium, manageable debts that are the result of investment (not asset-stripping) and a team competing for the title. What’s not to like?

  36. Darius

    The “fast food” footballing culture is more than just instant gratification. The ease with which one is able to post an opinion read hundreds of pundits’ analysis has added the self-made-experts-at-all-things-about-football to the menu.

    We just have to be selective in what we pay attention to in order to remain sane.

  37. I know it’s old, but you know what ALWAYS cheers me up, this –

  38. I so agree with you Luke.

    I’m getting good at picking and choosing what I eat out of that menu. I also think some of the worst culprits pose as Arsenal bloggers.

    I’ll confess, when I started reading Arsenal blogs, I lapped up everything I could get. Boy, wasn’t that a waste of my life that I can’t get back…LOL!

    Also, I think what makes it all the more difficult is the contempt and disdain that these so called experts show towards Arsenal.

    I must admit that I derived some satisfaction watching the anguish and pain of the pundits and hacks after the Manure were dumped out of the CL by Bayern. The punks didn’t know what to do with themselves.

    For one, the entire establishment had shut on Bayern from a very high ground and totally disrespected the German team by assuming that Manure will walk all over them.

    After the final whistle, the damn fools were lost for words. Andy Townsend for example didn’t know whether to cry or groan on air as he painfully tried to read a new script that wasn’t part of the plot.

  39. I bet Arsene would love to sign David Villa, and the fact that not many can afford him now, I’m sure that price will be negotiable and maybe we can loan them a few youngsters who need games to sweeten the deal.

    It’s a shame about Merida, but the fact that he has still not signed his contract looks like he is on his way out. I think he is being impatient and has already missed out as he would have got more chances this season if he had committed himself to the club.

    Re the issue of pressing the opposition. That is actually very hard to sustain in the PL because of the physicality and some of the poor pitches. We saw from Colin Lewin’s article the impact of injuries on the squad as a whole as it leads to fatigue and further injuries for the rest. Pressing should only be used sparingly and appropriately in order to sustain player resources over a long hard season.

  40. Though their European form may waver, Barcelona and Real Madrid will always be in fine fettle, even after three years of La Crisis and with some La Liga players unpaid since 08-09.

    There’s a whole system in place that keeps the big two successful and everyone else down.

    I can’t see our transfer policy changing this summer. It’ll be very similar to the last two years. Why abandon a strategy that’s just starting to bear fruit?

  41. I bet David Villa would love to sign for Arsenal

  42. Er, not sure what happened there in that first paragraph. I think my trackpad selected some text while I was typing.

    “…fettle. Barcelona are dominant now, even after…”

  43. Not sure if this has been mentioned already but it really proves shows Sky Sports up for what it is. What a first class c*nt Richard Keys is.

    http://vodpod.com/watch/3389439-richard-keys-rubbishes-theo-walcott-by-mistake

  44. Passenal.

    It will be interesting to see if the market corrects itself and brings down the over-hyping of players transfer values down a notch.

    I personally think Valencia are pissing in the wind if they theink that they can extract blood from any stone by inflating Villa’s transfer value at his age.

    What even makes it more difficult is that the wages he may demand will make it easier for clubs to turn down such a move.

    What people forget that even after spending money on a big name player, you still have to fork out exhorbitant wages – and that’s just not the Arsenal style.

    For one, it’ll cause disharmony in the dressing room.

  45. Matty Boy, it will prove that we’re not paranoid after all, they really are out to get us!

  46. It shows them to be the biased amateurish bunch of f*ckwits we all knew they were. They have no excuses now and surely must sack old hairy palms Keys.

  47. Nice one Darius.

    Zimpaul, i hope you’re right about Cesc. I’ve been unsure about his decision for the last couple of years now. Will he leave because we havent won anything for a while or will he want to stay until we have a few trophies in the cabinet? It’ll be a very sad day if he does decide to leave…

    But with all of Barca’s diving, moaning and (the ever more predictable) taking turns in unofficially tapping him up, he might just get as pissed off with it as we are and tell them where to stick it… Only Cesc will know those answers, but i wish i did too!!

    Villa to Arsenal? Doubt that would happen now. If he was a couple of years younger maybe…

  48. Darius, I’m well aware of that, the transfer fee is only the tip of the iceberg as wages have to be factored in too. Those who bemoan the fact that the ‘profit’ from the sale of Toure and Adebayor has not been spent on shiny new replacements must think that Arsenal extended the contracts of 17 first team players with luncheon vouchers!

  49. One nil to the Arsenal

    To the people who are slagging me off.Our two back up CH’s were Campbell and Silvestre at the business end of the season.Just like Silvestre was last season

    Our back up to Bendtner is Eddy who has not been the same player since Brum 2008 and Vela

    That shows the lack of strength in the squad

    As for David Villa he will go to Real or Barca iafter the world cup

    Although Benzama will be available and Wenger has always been a big fan of his.

  50. Mattyboy – i dont have sound at work, what exactly happened there? It just looked like an advert to me…

  51. It’s all a little early for all this transfer speculation isn’t it guys? Fair enough, we may need one or 2 players but trying to name them etc (especially before a World Cup) seems a little premature. This’ll end up going on for the next 4 months!!

  52. I think that AW will have money available for David Villa. Transfer fee and wages. I think we will lose a player two.

    Bendtner/Chamakh, RvP/Villa will be our group of first choice forwards for next season.

    After this years problems in November he will not leave anything to chance.

  53. One nil to the Arsenal.

    I have the number for the HR office at Highbury house. Just call 020 7704 4000 and follow the arrows.

    They’re looking for new coaching staff seeing as Wenger and his team are utterly pathetic and can’t take this team any further. They can’t even string together a respectable defence considering that 3 out of the first 4 preffered centre halves are injured.

    Lets sign 6 new backup defenders this summer just in case we get any injuries next season.

    @Passenal. LOL! And here I was thinking they got Waitrose vouchers.

  54. Geo: After the ad is a recording of Sky commentary from Wednesday’s game. In the background Richard Keys can be heard telling Theo to ‘get up you stupid little boy’. towards the end he can be heard swearing at him and making a comment about his ‘daft pink boots’. Earlier in the clip he can be heard accusing someone of farting.

    It would all be rather more amusing if they were not our flagship broadcaster and were not so obviously biased towards our rivals. It’s unprofessional beyond belief and you can only imagine what goes on and what is said when the cameras and recording equipment is not rolling.

  55. Frank – you really think he’d go for him? It would be amazing but i can’t see it happening…

    I can’t wait for next wed. I was hoping we’d only have to wait a few days before seeing us getting back to winning ways. I would love to see Edu get a couple of goals although he’s looking like a damaged man now. It’s so gutting. He started to look like a truly clinical striker in the weeks leading up to Taylorgate.

  56. In a world cup year, player pricing normally goes up does it not? As usual i’m sure Arsene and his team know exactly who they want already.

    Passenal: ‘Those who bemoan the fact that the ‘profit’ from the sale of Toure and Adebayor has not been spent on shiny new replacements must think that Arsenal extended the contracts of 17 first team players with luncheon vouchers!’

    Excellent point which seems to go over the heads of the ‘spend money because we have it’ brigade. I can’t wait to see ‘one nill to the Arsenal’ on the Arsenal scouting staff. I think he should also apply to the BBC to be the next Mystic Meg as he seems to know the future of all the top players. A bit to much Championship Manager perhaps?

  57. matty boy – thanks for that. I’ve never liked Keys but i didnt think he’d come out with shite like that. What’s he getting so animated about it for anyway, he’s obviously a Manc fan.

  58. I am hopelessly addicted to your site YW, and yours Darius and i am heavily indebted to you both for my daily fix of sanity. i am already dreading the cold turkey thats just around the corner, the transfer gossip alone brings a tear to my eye, the usmanov brigade is probably gearing up for another assault on our noble club via their acolytes in the red tops, the shameful lack of ambition by our fans in covetting the domestic cups ( who in their right minds wants the fucking FA cup? i think no club in the top half of the premiership should be permitted to field any first team regular for this competition just to even it up in the spirit of true sportsmanship ), the fact the strategy the club has adopted in its ambition to be the best in the world really does escape some is beyond me. i have long struggled with the revulsion i felt at the truly grotesque sight of john terry and the rest of the financial doped mob lifting any cup or crying when they lose. the shear lack of self awareness is mind blowing, and yet some arsenal fans want to be them. Drogba leading the line? john terry our captain? the puking horror! ofcourse it is down to the horribly purilke agenda of the money men that this is the case, a sort of feed garbage , shit garbage sort of thingy.
    Any hoo i am thinking along the lines of running a counterpunchy campaign based on the real values that arsene and the board stand for, the old values, leading with the club motto, working our way through the scale of the ambition of the club, highlighting the players’ progress since signing, boardroom changes etc etc. enough there for a book but i am sure it will more than while away those long looooooong summer days otherwise it is summer hibernation boys, science has gone that far hasnt it……….. Gary lewin? GAARRYY LEWWWWIN?

  59. matty boy lol!

  60. I think so, Geo. I though it might happen in the mid-season transfer window. Colin Lewin’s interview nails it for me. World class players play too many games…and like top race horses you need to look after them. RvP will be so much more effective if we use him a little more sparingly. He may not get injured if he plays less, and if he does he needs to be interchanged with a top quality player. I can see RvP and a player like DV sharing games.

    We have been desperately unlucky this year with traumatic injuries but there were two departments where we had to leave too much to chance…..up front and the middle of the back. Sol helped out tremendously in the latter case, although I think AW will strengthen that area in the close season. Sol, Sylvestre and even William cannot go on for ever.

    But up front we are still short even with our talented youngsters. Love him as I do I think that Eduardo will want shot of the EPL and I don’t blame him. I don’t know about Carlos…doesn’t seem to be there yet.

    If not David Villa then someone of that quality.

  61. Keys is a Coventry City fan

  62. ugandangun – look forward to reading into your campaign.. be sure to post on here when you’re done eh? 😉

  63. Frank…he’s also a platinum idiot.

  64. I think Eduardo will come good again, he has shown great strength to come back and seeing what happened to Ramsey can’t have helped. He will shine once again and i can see him playing a big part next season as part of a front 3.

  65. Coventry. Hmmm.

    I agree with all of that Frank, although i dont share your optimism in obtaining Villa. Spot on about RvP, if he was playing 2 out of 3 matches rather than every time, we may even see a full season from the dutch beauty…

    Edu surely will want to go to a less robust league and get back to scoring ways. I’ll be surprised if Vela makes it as an Arsenal first-teamer to be honest. A couple of years ago he looked to have real potential but he hasnt played enough at the top level in what is normally a crucial time in development. I love both of them but circumstances have nudged them towards the exit (as much as it pains me to say it).

    Again though, this is based only on what i see on the pitch, so i’m probably way off the mark!

  66. I really hope you’re right matty boy, but the last 6 months hasn’t really inspired a lot of confidence in the little Crozillian…

  67. As well as a Coventry fan he’s also a hairy handed c**t. Speaking of c**ts, hairy handed or otherwise, anyone see that footage of Allardyce hugging Fergie at the races? and of course we know who Man Poo face on Sunday. Sigh.

  68. Yes Keys is an arsehole. Sky producers are pretty lousy are they not? Their coverage is awful and the structure of their programmes appalling.

  69. Harry.

    Brings a whole new meaning to a walrus kissing arse.

    Rooney Tunes being out for the game won’t make a slight difference unless Paul Robinson is in the mood to steal a seat on the plane to South Africa.

  70. C**t is a nasty word. Excuse my French. Delete said obscenity and choose your own.

  71. Unheralded success stories of the season include Eboue and Bentner, who has shown emarkably consistent improvement. In fact, RvP aside, if Bentner had been available throughout this season, we would be a few points to the good. It was his return that started a very satisfactory run of form in the team.

  72. Coot, cart, cort, ceet, cutt

  73. Cock juggler

  74. Geo: I really believe Eduardo will come back stronger next year. He has the Summer to rest and assuming we play 4-3-3 next season he could play an important part both linking play and putting the finishing touch on a 22 pass move!

    If we get Chamakh we will have three to choose from: Van Persie, Bendtner, Eduardo, Chamakh, AA, Theo and Vela. That is making me salivate, but I’m getting ahead of myself. We still have the Sp*ds to beat and a title to win!

    The future is bright; The future is red and white!!

    THE ARSENAL.

  75. Zim Paul – Absolutely agree. The problem for Arsenal this season was not just injuries, but the fact that thye came in pairs. Clichy and Gibbs, Cesc and Ramsey, Almunia and Fabianski (Although Manone did a decent job), and of course the clincher RVP and Bendtner.

  76. Harry Flowers

    Cock juggler. That’s a good ‘un. Mind you that’s just presented an awful mental image of the Walrus and Fergie. I’m scarred for life now.

  77. mb – hopefully he’ll want to stay on… His link play is second to none, but it’s his finishing that has gone out the window. Before the injury, that moment’s hesitation and composure that he had, (He would sit keepers down before choosing which side to pass it into) allowing him to slot home regularly doesn’t seem to be there any more. That is a mental hurdle that i hope he can hop over.

    ZimPaul – Spot on about NB. He’s really stepped it up now and has taken on the mantle as “our only out and out striker” in great fashion.

  78. very true keysersoze

  79. If we were to sell Sylvestre and Senderos, surely we could get Usain Bolt. He could shoot and run back so fast he would still be the first defender to break up a counter attack.

  80. Two of the most exciting players at Arsenal at the moment could well be our R&LBs Sagna and Clichy, less noticed because their heroics are all about defending. Clichy can become the world’s best LB without a doubt.

  81. I believe Wenger will be patient with Vela. He might give Eduardo another year too, but if Frank is right, then perhaps not. It would be a straight swap.

  82. Harry

    Many, many years ago I had a friend who swore very infrequently, but in times of extreme provocation used to say: “Credit where it’s due – he’s c**t”

    So all you need to say is “Credit where it’s due”.

  83. It’ll be a big, big game v Spurs. Essentially, both teams must win for their respective chases, but moreso Arsenal. I suspect we will see the re-bound from the CL disappointment, and its just not a good time to be playing Arsenal is it?

  84. I never use the word ‘coot’, it’s embarrassing to say in public and I’m not sure what it means. It might be ‘mississippi’ for ‘cute’, but naah, not really doesn’t add up.

  85. A coot is a black rail…unless you mean bandicoot which is a bow-legged black rail

  86. We haven’t been lucky with our strikers. When the league began RVP was chasing Drogba at number three on the Actim Index. I believe we’d be six points ahead of Chelsea had he been around all season. We were also unlucky with injuries to Nic and Theo. Even vela and Eduardo have had their moments on the bench. Yet our physio, Colin Lewin, says our injuries are not any worse than any of the other big teams in Europe. That either means that (1) Our squad doesn’t have enough quality players (2) Our squad is still too young (3) We are just unlucky.

  87. Darius

    I wonder whether it had actually occurred to the press (sorry, the rack) that ManU might lose to Bayern. I know they must have been aware of the possibility, but they’re so blinded by their own propaganda, they never really believed it.

    Presumably, even if they hadn’t written them before the match, by half-time on Wednesday they had already written their “ManU marches triumphantly on,” stories.

    To show the state of trauma they’re in, there’s a risible story in the Guardian today by Paul Hayward linking the fact of no EPL club in the CL semis with their inability to spend big this year compared with the last four seasons – an otherwise justifiable thesis totally demolished by his quoting Arsenal as one of the clubs to whom this applies.

  88. Harry Flowers

    Paul Hayward is a hack. He can write….but the content is usually risible. I saw that article..but the use of Arsenal to back up his theory meant it wasn’t even worth reading through to the end. Sadly there’s a percentage of people who will believe that crap though.

  89. dispicable cults

  90. Harry Flowers

    the lot of ’em

  91. Credit where it’s due.

  92. Darius:

    I agree that we are very close and we do not need wholesale changes. If we really add Chamakh I do not think we need any more attacking players. With RVP coming back and NB rapidly maturing we can have far the best strike force in the league. Hopefully AA will make a comeback and Samir will continue to develop and Theo will become more consistant. We have a chance to be truly awesome up front.

    Still a lot of ? in the back. We will never spend ourselves into financial ruin, but lets hope they do use the funds available to strengthen us at the back. We really do need at least 2 CB and I think a GK. You can argue about Almunia but I think a change might do some good for our dynamic and confidence. Will be an interesting summer.

    Lets get the last 15 points and see if we can win the league. Pasennall said the other night “winning begets winning”. That is the best analysis I have heard in a long time.

    Lets cream the spuds next week.

  93. Delia-----Block112

    What a great blog,sanity prevails. I’ve been watching our club for over 50 years, in good times and in bad . On Tuesday I said I wondered how much was left in the tank following the great efforts to get the 3 points against Wolves. We were a spent force at the Nou Camp without having to contend with the Lionel Messi show.
    Hopefully, the week’s break will have recharged the batteries and we can make a real show of demolishing the Spuds.
    Certainly we need some reinforcements to the side during the Summer Window and who knows
    AW may come up with another World Cup signing
    as he did with Gilberto!
    Oh for a world class keeper and the strengthening
    at CB. I expect Vela will put on a show for Mexico
    and hopefully we will make a large profit when he moves off to Spain !

  94. @Merlot.

    The fact that journalists still think the solution is ‘spending big’ and the fact that there is a chronic lack of understanding of the fundamentals that affect the business and economics of football is a sad indictment and true indicator of how blinded the establishment is.

    There’s still a hangover of the glory and Hollywood days of million pound spending skewed by the brazen attitude of Abramovich and the Abu Dhabi Investment Corporation.

    It’s like these journalists still think they’re watching a movie where football is in a bubble that’s immune to the laws of economics.

    The faster clubs get used to the idea of developing and coaching players through their academies, while strengthening the squads with a sprinkling of finished articles, the faster football will get back to reality.

    The solution in this country seems to b to always turn to the transfer market when things go wrong. Nobody wants to build things any more, regardless of whether they can afford an alternative or not.

    The culture of buying brand new shiny toys to try and solve every problem is endemic.

  95. Limpar and Ole:

    Yesterday we were wondering how our team could improve its defense without hurting our offense.

    Look back at our 07/08 team that should have won the title.

    The first 26 games of the year we scored 53 and conceded 17. We played brilliant offense and still were very efficient on defense conceding 0.65 goals/game.

    Starting with Birmingham when Eduardo was hurt , the last 12 games we conceded 14 goals. 1.2 goals/game effective costing us the title.

    For 26 games that 07/08 team played some of the best attacking football that the PL has seen and still was excellent at the back. I see no reason why this team can’t regain that same defensive “nous” and still play great attacking football.

  96. Bill.

    I have no doubt that Wenger will strengthen our defensive options. We missed Djourou this season, and in all honesty, it’s hard to see how you could have legislated for his injury or that of Gallas or even Song as a back up (Song in the last game of course).

    QoS asked a pertinent question on Wednesday – “how far do you go to have reserve players to cover for injuries?” How many players do you have sitting in place just in case?”

    I think Wenger’s view is that Djourou and TV are the long term defensive pairing, but this also depends on whether Gallas retires in the next 2 years at Arsenal.

    I wouldn’t blame Gallas for wanting to leave as any player his age would opt for one big last contract before they retire. I get the sense that at this stage, it’s less about what club a player is at and more about the retirement fund.

    With regards to goal keepers, I honestly think that Wenger will plug the hole until Tech 9 is ready. at 19, our young Pole is arguably short of experience but his loan spell with Brentford is paying off as he’s getting a lot of pitch time.

    Hopefully next season he can get another loan shout at a championship club and continue to build on his profile. IN a recent interview where Brentford staff were waxing lyrical about Tech 9 changing their fortunes in goal, he was confident that it’s only a matter of time until he gets the No. 1 shirt at Arsenal, and he wasn’t in this for the luxury of sitting on the bench…he wanted the No. 1 shirt.

  97. I think we will now take a huge step forward after playing Barca, our problem is not personnel but rather organisation. Refelecting on both games and the Barca players, anyone of our players could hold their own in their team and that includes our much maligned goalkeeper and CM. Where we were not up to scratch was in our defensive organisation and that has also been borne out in our clashes with ManU and Chelsea, in those cases we offensively outplayed them but consistently lose to Rooney and Drogba, we don’t seem to have a solution to known problems posed by other teams, other than playing our own game. we need to evolve a new mindset and strategies when we don’t hane the ball. Arsene has developed a team with real quality players. The job to be done now is with the defensive backroom staff and not agents.

  98. To me Goalkeeper is the most important position in the team. We dont have a keeper who commands his box and his distribution is dire.He must have cleared the ball stright out of play half a dozen times in the Camp Nou.And Flappianski is even worse

    We should be after a keeper like Lloris from Lyon.Who is the French keeper and has bags of CL experience.A bid of £12m would get him

    Almunia was only ever a good number 2 not in the class of Seaman or Lehmann

  99. Darius:

    Wish we could give Tech 9 a “grow up quick” card. He sounds like the real thing.

    Hopefully JD can come back at full strength. I hope we do not place a lot of eggs in that basket since none of us are sure how he will progress. Agree with you about WG. I certainly would not blame him for wanting to pad his retirement account. I think most of us would do the same.

  100. Zimpaul

    Not a good time to play the Arsenal.Are you joking?we are without Gallas,Cesc Arshavin and maybe Song.We will be missing 4 certain starters.Its a great time to play us

  101. It is debatable if the goalkeeper is the most important position in the team.

  102. Luke.

    Any article that is written by ‘Soccernet Staff’ and by someone who doesn’t have the balls to put his name on it should be filed right between shit and syphilis.

    ESPN are really pathetic and as bad as the Daily Fail. They don’t even have the guts to put names on articles so that we can shoot back.

  103. One of the most interesting things this summer will be seeing what happens to all our youngsters. I think I’m right in assuming that we’ve had an unprecedented amount of young players out on loan this season. And some have done incredibly well. The level of quality is higher than ever, I think.

    In the meantime a bunch of academy players have stepped up and established themselves in the reserves.

    So something’s got to give! At this rate we’ll have 20+ youngsters out on loan next season, even with the annual purge coming up.

  104. OOU.

    I take the view that the more the merrier. Wenger will of course pick the cream of the crop as the purge starts. However, the rest who will have been schooled the Arsenal way will all make careers elsewhere and that has to be a good thing for football.

    What is more interesting for me is the crop of English players who are growing together at Arsenal. Gibbs, Little Jack Willy, Bartley, JET, Eastmond, etc are all going to be great players for England once the current prima donnas move right along.

  105. Regardless of how this season pans out (of course I hope we win the title), you can’t deny this is a transitional season for us, and our moves in the summer transfer market will be indicative of Arsene’s brutal evaluation of the squad.

    I’m reluctant to name names but I do sense he’s losing patience with some of the more senior players.

  106. A good thing for football, and a good thing for Arsenal, seeing as they’ll most likely have sell-on clauses.

    For instance, I bet Connolly and Seb Larsson have them. The premiership and football league will be swarming with valuable former Arsenal players.

    And I agree about the more the merrier. It’s like what that Bill McDonough guy says, competition = getting fit together. Or Highlander, maybe: There can only be one! Except they won’t have to chop each other’s heads off.

    What’s remarkable about that set of guys you just named, Darius, is that there’s only a 2-3 year age difference between them. You have to imagine that there are more coming through behind them. For one, Chuks Aneke looks exceptional.

    It would be weird giving a sh*t about England.

  107. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Wow. What a prick Richard Keys is.

  108. Wright Gunner

    Spot on Darius

  109. Frank

    If you have 50k in credit card debts and you are paying interest on the debt, you make sure you pay down that debt as quickly as possible while still maintaining a decent life.

    You don’t buy an older car for 10k to keep adding to that debt and interest on that debt if the car you already have is working just fine and just needs some minor repairs.

    No way will Wenger buy Villa unless his price comes down from an unrealistic 40 million to a more realistic 12-15 million, which we all know it won’t.

    He’ll probably go to either Real or Barca, or may just stay at Valencia.

  110. Arsefoot

    Don’t be shy…it’s not like someone is asking you to pull out your tojjer. Go on – name them.

    OOU.

    Wenger was berated when he openly stated that he’s not going to be pressurized into buying over-priced English players who weren’t good enough for what he wanted. His solution was to develop his own and that crop of players is knicking hard on the door right now.

    I’m sure for example that Gibbs will be the England left back at the 2014 world cup if not the Euro 2012 in Ukraine and Poland. JET will be running the England midfield with Little Jack Willy providing the finesse and Theo terrorizing defenses and Eastmond doing his defensive midfield thing.

    I wouldn’t put it past Bartley to bully his way into the England defense by then.

    The fact that they’re already playing together as a unit will be explosive.

  111. Paulie Walnuts

    OOU / DS,

    I`m very much in agreement concerning the young talent at the club. It`s certainly going to be a tough decision for AW to decide how he`s going to use them next season.

    Even at good development rate how many would be seriously pushing for first team next season ? Two or three at a push I reckon – so the others would have to be either loaned out or endure another season in the reserves / Carling cup.

    From what I`ve seen Eastmond, Wilshere & JET are the likely lads, along with the Polish keeper Chesney

  112. ** knocking ** – what the fuck is knicking…LOL

  113. ** knocking **

    What the fuck is knicking…LOL

  114. I have no idea what David Villa will or will not cost or what his salary demand will be or what he will settle for. Neither do you, lagooner.

  115. Agreed Frank. I’m just saying where I think Arsene will draw the line based on his decisions in recent years. And he’s right to draw that line.

  116. Why do you think that Barca and/or Real will pay this magical figure of £40m which seems to have been snatched out of the air?

    David Villa is a wealthy man and he wants to play in the EPL. I would be surprised if he does not want to have a shot at living in London for a while too. After all I earn fuck all and I love it.

    He knows Cesc Fabregas and I would be very surprised if he does not know Arsene Wenger.

    Just watch, lagooner, just watch.

  117. Valencia might have a little say in this matter, Frank.
    He’s under contract until the 2013-2014 season.

    I don’t know whether Barca or Real will pay more than us for Villa, but if the price is higher than what Arsene will be willing to pay for a 28 year old, then both teams have shown a willingness to spend heavily for players they want.

    It’s more likely that Barca will sign him with the added benefit that he will be additional bait to lure Cesc in a couple of years. Not that Cesc will go, but I could understand that strategy from Barca as he and Cesc are close.

    I’ll be watching, but unless 1) he absolutely insists on coming to Arsenal 2) Valencia has no leverage in the transfer fee and 3) His price comes down to our range then he won’t be coming.

  118. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    There goes lagooner and his love of all things Barca again. What a party pooper. Since when has Barca been known to splash that kind of cash? We’re talking upwards of 80 million and you’re just going to sit there and say Barca are more likely to spend 80 plus million than we are to spend say 20-25 million? I know that’s not the number that’s being bandied about for Villa, but Wenger always has a different price. Plus, I don’t think Fab to Barca is going to happen for a few years if at all. I don’t think it’s as big a longshot as you’re making it out.

  119. Frank-here’s the deal. If Villa signs for Arsenal for over 15 million, I’ll pay for your and YW’s tickets for his first game with us.

    This is one case where I would happily be proved wrong, as he and Cesc have such a great understanding.

    No tickets for NJN, though. He didn’t even bother reading my post.

    “Since when has Barca been known to splash that kind of cash?” You might need to think way, way back to 2009, NJN. They paid 40 million + Eto’o for Ibrahimovic and Real just paid about 200 million for 3 players, so it’s not exactly wrong to say those teams are more likely to spend bigger money than us.

    I said that I didn’t think Cesc would leave us even if Villa was over there. You missed that too?

  120. by the way, NJN, the price rumoured (and that’s all it is as Frank rightly points out) was 40 million, not 80 million. Barca has spend 40 million just this past season on a player. Arsenal have never spent 20 million on a player.

    And in case you try to twist my words again, that’s not a proclamation of love for Barca, that’s just reality. I think Arsene has no peers in the transfer market and 100% support our transfer and wages approach. Try twisting that…

  121. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    That’s bogus, lagooner. I read every single word of your post. You stated it was more likely he would go with plans of luring Cesc. You did say not that Cesc would go, but you then said you could understand the idea of a 30/31 year old Villa luring Fab to Barca. Bottom line is, you dedicated far more words to the idea Cesc would go, but nice try pal. And I don’t care what they spent on Ibra, it was obvious to everyone who follows football they wanted Eto’o out at all costs.

  122. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    I’m combining the estimated cost of Cesc and Villa because you stated you could see them signing both. I’m estimating Villa would go for around around 30 and Fab has got to be 50 plus.

  123. Anyway as I said. I think that David Villa may well come to Arsenal in the Summer.

  124. I’ve been heralding Bendtner for well over a year now.

  125. Wrong again and again, NJN.

    I said “It’s more likely that Barca will sign him with the added benefit that he will be additional bait to lure Cesc in a couple of years”.

    Having Villa to lure Cesc is an added benefit to signing Villa not the reason to sign Villa itself. Your interpretation is pure nonsense. I said it was more likely he will go to Barca than Arsenal, and that an added benefit to signing Villa for Barca was it might help lure Cesc.

    You could argue that signing Villa might seal the deal for Arsenal keeping Cesc, but I just don’t see that Arsene will overspend in the same way as Barca would. In addition, Cesc and RVP were looking magical at the beginning of the season and Arsene will want to further develop that relationship in future years.

    And as for your last comment….I think there were other ways to get rid of Eto’o instead of spending 40 million on Ibrahimovic. There’s no escaping the reality that they spent at least 40 million on Ibrahimovic assuming there was zero value in Eto’o.

  126. Heralds just don’t get any respect nowadays.

  127. You go to all that touble to herald a player, and then people talk as if he’s never been heralded at all.

  128. Hard is the lot of a herald.

  129. NJN

    I’m so sorry for even mentioning the heretical notion that Barca are interested in Cesc. What could Barca ever have done or said to lead me to that conclusion?

  130. Actually, I think it’s more likely Villa goes to Real Madrid than Barca. He’s been coveted by them for a while, and would make sense for him to become part of a new win-nothing galacticos era.

  131. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    You’re just dodging the point. Why are you repeating yourself? I understood your post perfectly. You think Villa to Barca is more likely, and given Cesc and Villa’s friendship you could see Cesc joining him in a somewhere down the line. I said I think Villa to Arsenal is more likely and I don’t see Cesc joining them for a few years if at all. And I never said a thing about Arsene over spending. I stated Arsene usually gets different prices than the ones you read in the papers. And if Villa wants to play in the Prem and CL with Cesc I could see it happening. I wouldn’t bet money on it, but I could see it happening. Certainly sooner than Cesc joining Villa in Barca.

  132. Since we are in the spirit. How about the boss stealing Mark Schwartzer from Fulham to cover at GK until Tech 9 grows up. He has been awesome in goal for Fulham the last 2 years. The boss stole Sol from the spuds at one time and I am not against something like that happening again. Schwartzer is probably affordable and would be ready to move out of the way when our young keeper matures. I know that is a random thought. Transfer talk although useless is always fun.

  133. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Your 6:25 post is load of bollocks. So we trust newspaper stories over the actual words out of our own captain’s mouth now do we? I couldn’t care less about the Cesc to Barca rumors. I don’t care for the papers and their rubbish stories. Cesc has come out after every single one and said he’s an Arsenal player and they can essentially f*ck off. Those c*nts have been unsettling our players for years. There is no way in hell Cesc ends his Arsenal career like that. Our captain can’t go out like that.

  134. No NJN. I don’t think Cesc and Villa’s friendship will be the determining factor. I said Barca might think it will be an added benefit in getting Cesc, that’s all. I actually don’t think it will make a difference. If Cesc thinks it’s time to go to Barca, it will not be because of Villa.

  135. I used to know a bloke who loved heralding. Got himself the uniform and everything. A bell as well. Tricorn hat, long socks, buckles on his shoes, big stick…the works. Just used to turn up anywhere and shout the news, which he made up as he went along.

    You should try that, PZ, people might pay heed.

    Nic Bendtner you were saying?

  136. Heralds were revered in society once, used to have their own angel even, called Hark. Not anymore though. Things are certainly not what they used to be and thats a fact.

  137. I think all the speculation sorrounding Eduardo is wrong headed. He has been in and out of the squad and hasn’t had the chance to get in form. I believe that he’ll regain his touch next season and, with confidence and playing time under his belt, will return to being the same Eduardo we all saw glimpses of before he got assaulted. When I read comments to the tune of “well I don’t know about Eduardo anymore” they don’t seem to mesh with how desperate he seems to score. The fire is in his eyes is there for all to see.

  138. That’s just it, Frank. The traditional professions are no longer valued. Children these days don’t want to be heralds; and many heralds are giving their bells, hats, and buckles to charity shops and finding work as newspaper editors.

  139. Heralds in fact have a lot of transferable skills that are highly valued by employers. Many are discovering that they have all the abilities necessary for a successful career in journalism, politics, and the law.

  140. Poliziano.

    That might explain the incompetence on the Sky sports panels.

  141. Well I’m pleased they can find work. It is tough out there at the moment.

    Did you know that the Queen (of UK, Britain, Engla…etc etc etc), had her own personal herald called Herald? Or at least that is what she called him. It was actually Harold the herald…but she well…you know. Anyway rumour has it that he knew Lady Diana very well indeed and that is why she called her second child Herry..I mean Harry.

  142. It’s strange, isn’t it, how sometimes a child is born who bears no resemblance at all to anyone on his father’s side of the family.

    I suppose a geneticist could explain it.

  143. Apparently Wayne Bridge was making the very same observation a few days ago.

  144. I heard that John Terry was fuming as well when he found out that the child was the spit of Ray Wilkins.

  145. I read recently that Valencia don’t have the same financial worries that they previously had when talk of Villa leaving last arose. Is that likely to affect his value at all? If anyone can talk them into settling for a bit less it’s Arsene!

  146. Is every transfer always only about money?

  147. Well clearly that was fucking outrageous question. Sorry.

  148. AA23 on BBC1 right now!!

  149. and to anybody who thinks we will sign Villa..

    when was the last time Wenger intimated his liking for spending 25M + on a player who turns 30 next year?

  150. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Wasn’t AA23 originally rumored to cost about 25 million? He’s not too young himself.

  151. yes mate, he was rumoured to cost that much… however

    he was 27 and we hustled the russkis long and hard, remember the transfer went on and on and ariston?

    we paid 15 tops in the end.

  152. Well thanks for clearing that up, Stringvest.

  153. anybody who pays upwards of 25M for Villa now is crazy, his best years are behind him, he has peaked.

    he was nuts to not have joined a bigger club within the last 3 years.

    fair play for the loyalty to valencia.

  154. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Exactly.

  155. Well, I for one am looking forward to seeing him in an Arsenal shirt at last. As I said to Frank last transfer window, I expected him to have signed for us last summer.

    I expect that there was some kind of misunderstanding. Of course, I might be wrong and he failed to sign for us because of the low wit of many Arsenal fans.

    Heralds excepted.

  156. I remember you saying, Cb.

  157. Every chance Benzema, who is 23/24, may come on the market this summer.

    Now that would be a worthwile 25M spent.

    6/7 years of peak form ahead.

  158. Yes, about the time that we were commenting on Wenger’s signing of that young centre back after the scam he pulled on Fergusnose over that overpriced Fulham player.

    Such ascerbity.

  159. Benzema, Benzema, Benzema…everybody has been saying Benzema for months and months and months.

  160. It did seem that Arsene was tracking him. Nothing came of it though, has he played much since his very expensive move?

  161. Cb, disasterous move to Real.

    made around a 15 apps, many as a sub.

    scored 7 goals, which is not too bad considering.

    been injured in recent months, back in the squad for the classico tommorow night.

    He would be a wonderful addition to our squad.

  162. I don’t like the idea of signing a player who has been at the same club as the lesser Ronaldo.

  163. the problem is, red nose loves the kid.

    he was certain he had signed him last summer before RM stepped in.

    so if he was made available… but then again, aren’t manure bust?

  164. Looking for a place to source ‘Fenton Blues’, hens that lay eggs of many colours. I found this.

    http://www.cornishblues.co.uk/cornishblues2/About_us.html

    Just how sad is that. I always have had deep reservations about the Cornish, but this…

  165. Please fill a sister in….loool

  166. CB, they look very much like a bunch of the useless cocks you just disposed of.

  167. It’s amazing how all chavski fans always look like right winkers.

  168. ooohh. transfer wish list time…right let me see..

  169. Maria????

  170. Im sure bob can fill you in!!

  171. What happened to David Villa…..Frank??

  172. Weren’t you reading yesterday, Duke? Consolsbob is happily married. Has been for 20 years.

  173. Excuse me Duke!

  174. Duke WTF is wrong with you??

    Dirty filthy old man….go and get your kicks elsewhere…this is a ACLF…..

  175. Actually to be fair to my cocks dups, I have just made a Thai curry out of their breasts. I’m not sure what I could make out of chavs.

    I’ve never been a fan of offal.

  176. I’m just glad that pz is here to defend my honour.

  177. I had a dream in the January transfer window that we signed Benzema. Arsene seemed disappointed when he went to Madrid and expressed surprise as he did not know he was available. He has certainly been a long time admirer.

  178. Indeed he has, and to be fair.. he did not go for silly money either.

    Think it equated to around 27M quid.. which in the summer of 80M ronaldo and 60M kaka, was great business.

    I think le boss would have spent that much on him.

  179. apparently Benzema went for 35£ surprising both rednose and wenger, his sale helped fund the purchase of 6 players which intern helped Lyon to beat Madrid. Wenger is recorded to have followed his development since his early teens but its unlikely that Madrid would sell him so early in his spanish career, considering his age and potential..

  180. KS, that implies that someone sensible is in charge of RM! If Benzema is worth having, he would surely pick Arsene over the drunken Scotsman!

  181. Remember this the next time you are on a long haul flight.

  182. JASON!!!!
    HAHAHA! Lloris play for Lyon the best and richest club in France, french number one and one of the best young goalkeeper around.
    Look at the history of Lyon,i m very much doubt they will sell him to us for 12 M.You have to spend around 30 to 40 M to get him and i pretty sure we re not gone spend our budget on GK.

    I think if “Chesnay” is really that good,he will buy an experience ( past 30 yrs old a short term option) GK to give both our young polish GK time to develop on loan

  183. Well, well, it didn’t take Pulis to join with MacCarthey in defense of Henry and all those awful Arsenal players who stood up for Rosicky after he recived four stud wounds at the back of his calf. According to the Daily Star Pulis was so incensed to sggest the following:
    “It is something that is coming into the game and needs to be addressed. If the FA want to do something positive, it’s stopping people from surrounding referees.”
    Never heard a word from him when Chelsea and manU players surrounded refs in the past. Aahh the sound of hypocrisy.
    Butchers of one feather stick together.

  184. Well, well, it didn’t take Pulis long to join with MacCarthey in defense of Karl Henry and against all those awful Arsenal players who stood up for Rosicky after he recived four stud wounds at the back of his calf. According to the Daily Star Pulis was so incensed to suggest the following:
    “It is something that is coming into the game and needs to be addressed. If the FA want to do something positive, it’s stopping people from surrounding referees.”
    Never heard a word from him when Chelsea and manU players surrounded refs in the past. Aahh the sound of hypocrisy.
    Butchers of one feather stick together.

  185. gnarleygeorge9

    Before you howl me down because I am a regular @ Le Grove, may I say what a well written post this is. I thought you were just a bunch of “lefties” who saw fit to follow along with the Politburo, never bothering to question the Big Comrad. But I’ve changed my mind, for what its worth. Thank Pedro, he was the one to post the link.

    Anyway, I’m off now so save your slings & arrows, I won’t be reading them 😆

  186. Typically, a group of people of narrow dogmatic views imagine that people who are able to think freely are a ‘bunch of lefties’ run by a ‘politburo’. Thus was the McCarthy era rationalised in American public consciousness, and every writer, actor, poet who professed a love for books, for example, became a suspected communist ‘agent’.

    Anyway, yes, I trust this is just not a good time to be playing Arsenal because each of the lads will be singularly determined to atone for the manner in which the CL run ended (rather than the result). Just 5 to go and fire in the belly to make this season. Motivation is the least of Wenger’s problems. They will be fighting to get on the field, and at the opposition. Training should be fun too.

  187. As Darius has said, and I agree, the CL tie against Barca – both legs in their different ways – will become Arsenal’s watershed, and we won’t look back. The road ahead is much clearer. That is why Cesc is less likely to go anywhere, no matter what. That look of determination says it all.

  188. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Anyone implying Arsene Wenger is doing an unsatisfactory job and needs questioning/advice is a c*nt. But that’s just me.

  189. “I believe that anything done well in this world becomes art” Arsene Wenger.

  190. If anyone wants to be at the top of the world on Mt Everest, surely it is more satisfying to get there by climbing it yourself, then to be air dropped onto the summit?

    That will be the challenge for Wenger, Cesc and the entire team to stay with Arsenal to finish the project.

  191. YW, thanks for adding me on the blog roll, without That was thoughtful

    Darius, great post and I think a balanced perspective is very much needed in these times.

    Whatever issues with the squad should be best left till these five games run their course, come what may.

    This team has taken us on an absolute blinder of a ride this season, what with Ramsey @ stoke, Bendtner’s last-gasp goals amongst those many we’ve scored in the closing moments, coming back from the brink TWICE in the league..I’m proud to be a Gooner.

  192. ..without me requesting…

  193. ahem, we use the term ‘coot’ on this site Nasir, a black rail with funny legs that plays in a band.

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