Nasri Gets To The Heart Of The Matter

Samir Nasri’s interview in this month’s Arsenal magazine has been widely reported, decrying the lack of credit that Arsenal has been given this season. He duly noted why:

The work we do is not getting the credit it deserves because we are not winning silverware

The media position is pretty much summed up in Alan Hansen’s ubiquitous quote, “You win nothing with kids“, proven horribly wrong the very season he uttered them. It is a regular denunciation of the current squad often accompanied by the caveat that Arsenal is the side that every neutral would pay money to go and see.

Nasri inadvertantly highlights the side of football which has been lost in the Premier League years; namely enjoying football as a sport, wanting your club to win matches, moaning when they don’t. That has been submerged in abuse over a lack of trophies. Those who have only come to football since 1992 know no better; the ethos of the game changed when Sky invested their billions into the top clubs. In itself, that was not entirely bad; would we have seen the likes of Henry, Bergkamp, Overmars, Pires without those funds to pay them? Would the Academy have thrived without it? For certain, The Emirates would never have been built.

It is a no-win situation. Arsene recently observed that once the squad win something, they will take a step onto another level which is entirely correct. The confidence bred from lifting the trophy would be good but it has to be a trophy won by the first team for any true benefit to be felt. The Carling Cup won by the reserve and youth players would be fantastic for them but where would the boost for Fabregas, Nasri, Bendtner come from? They would not have been in the winning team and have played no part en route to the final.

You might argue that it could act as a invigorator, make them want to win the title or Champions League even more, to prove that they are winners also. There is a point to that yet that would be the only benefit because unless the youngsters are imported into the first team, the situation for the starting XI remains unchanged.

Something else that will remain the same is Arsene’s attitude to the tournament. He recently observed that some people might be happy with winning the Carling Cup and nothing else in a season, he would not be, considering the campaign a failure. The view of the FA is sending their cup competition the same way, serious consideration being given to moving the matches to midweek with the final being the only Saturday kick-off. Another trophy which Arsenal will be using for reserve and youth players, you do not need to be Mystic Meg to have a clear view of the headlines which will be written.

Ultimately though I would argue that this is exactly what Wenger should have been doing for some time anyway, not just in the early rounds but all of the way through. The time when the FA Cup kicks in follows the busiest part of the season. Arsenal lose a number of key players every season around this time and giving the youngsters more experience,  so that they can come in and produce a performance which is better than a number of the squad members gave on Sunday.

It is also a more rewarding experience for the supporters – bear with me on this those who are only interested in what trophy is won; trust me, there is more to football than that. Part of the pleasure of winning a trophy is seeing the team develop, a long-term view which some find the very antithesis of their footballing view. They want it now and if it does not happen, employ Viv Nicholson as your financier.

That does not mean that those of us who take a longer-term view do not want to win trophies, far from it. This season has shown how painful it can be when expectations are raised and then obliterated in a lacklustre 180 minutes. Questions are still asked but realistic solutions sought – we all know the squad needs investing but we all know that there is not £100m to spend so why torture yourself when Arsène does not sign David Villa, Messi or whomever is the latest whim in the media. There is nothing wrong in wanting world-class players at Arsenal; just remember some of them are already here.

Investments carry the warning that past performance is no indicator of the future; neither is Arsène’s transfer dealings. The manager will buy those whom he believes will improve the squad, not merely keep it standing still. No matter what you feel right now, this season has been an improvement on the last. More is needed to deliver the trophies that everyone wants; time may be required to win them in a sustained manner.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on April 21, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 380 Comments.

  1. So you saying he is not going to sign David Villa?

  2. 1st!

  3. No! SECOND!

  4. Nice to read such level-headed thinking. Thanks.

  5. AW himself could have written this… by supporting the youth experiment with the cups, I feel you are trampling on decades of glorious history that Arsenal have experienced in those competitions. George, Sunderland, Nicholas, Linighan, Morrow, these are goalscorers who live forever in the minds of Arsenal fans. These are precious moments, the spoils that fans have held onto and remembered for years, long before the Wenger era. Success breeds success, the feeling of lifting a trophy galvanises a team and makes them hunger for more. And it lifts the fans in a way nothing else could. It really is too much to suggest that it is right to devalue these competitions in the way we have done, when in actual fact had we focussed on one of them, it might have been the catalyst to transform our boys into men.

  6. I’m fed up of the media writing how many years we have gone trophy-less whenever our name is mentioned as if that is the only reason for our existence. To me winning a trophy is a pleasure, a bonus that i cherish and celebrate as if it’s our last. If Arsenal never win another trophy i have my memories and will never stop supporting the team. The fact that we are challenging year on year and have a bright future makes it all the more exciting.

  7. We will not win a trophy while Almunia and Flappyanski are our number 1 and 2 keepers.Surely Wenger can see that

  8. zzzzzzzzz

  9. From the thread yesterday, Consols had a hearty rant about the glorification of football glory (trophies) like never before.

    I agree completely. But I can’t ignore the fact that the longer we don’t win anything the more it becomes a problem & the more it becomes in itself an impediment.

    We’ve been competitive throughout Arsene’s era. The only way to definitively show progress at this point is to win something. It’s the way of the world.

    It’s so funny that if Arsene had lower standards, and did not try to compete in the biggest competitions; league and Eurothingy, we might actually finish 6th, win the Carling Cup & UEFA Cup, and there will be parades.

    But we won’t be better off.

    At the same time, always competing at the highest level is not itself a prize.

    Nasri is right, until we win something, this team, this squad, these players, this manager, this board, these fans won’t get the respect they deserve.

  10. Both Man Utd and Chelski have both not been afraid to take the Carling Cup seriously and play strong teams.

    As BooBoo says success breds success.In 1987 George’s young team won the league cup.Two years later came Anfield

    Playing young players at Man City and Stoke who get well beaten does them no good at all

  11. Interesting points as always YW.

    Previous title winning campaigns have always been built following an influx of transfers the previous summer. This goes back to the Graham days as well as the Wenger years.

    Those players bought didn’t necessarily feature that much, but the signings themselves have definitely provided an impetus.

    The trouble we have had over the last 5 years is that every summer we have sold more 1st team players than we’ve bought, but supplemented the numbers with the younger squad members.

    If purse strings have been loosened, I’d be happier to have 3 or 4 extra players who can immediately fit in as squad members rather than 1 who fits straight into the team (except for a goalkeeper, which we badly need a no 1).

    Competition for places is what we need. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that concentration and urgency levels are low right now, seeing whoever plays knows there is nobody left in the squad to replace them

  12. Ole Gunner – I take your point entirely especially about winning the Carling Cup and Uefa and not being better off. However don’t you think it’s rather sad that a team can only get the respect it deserves by winning a trophy? Fulham for instance have achieved massively this season and I respect what they have done regardless of whether they win a trophy.

  13. I think we do get credit for the way the team plays (bar the last couple of weak performances). Even James Lawton of The Independent is a fan of Wenger’s idealism and football philosophy. Neutrals would want us to win the premiership if they are not supporting any of the other top 4 teams. Managers like Wigan’s Martinez, Fulham’s Hodgeson, West Ham’s Zola are gentleman managers who speak well of us. We shouldn’t crave for recognition and credit outsde of the club and supporters. We just want Arsenal to play well and be a credit to the club.

  14. We should use the Carling Cup as a 1st team tournament and the FA Cup as a reserve/youth team competition, rather than the other way round.

    It’s all over by February/March

  15. Bradys right foot

    The verbage passed as reasoned comment regarding Arsenal and Wenger is utterly depressing and the latest volume has been inspired by last nights European result. The same clowns who underestimated an Inter team who between them share somewhere in the region of 600-700 international caps for some of the best teams in the world are now pointing the finger at Wenger. Inter are a top team with a top manager and invested heavily in the market in the last two years, the underappreciation of the Inter playing staff is simply the media narrative that Sky and others have built in exultation of Mourihno, he’s not actually managing West Brom.

    We finished on 72 points and 4th last season and are currently sitting on 71 points with a few games to play. We will have a higher points total and finish 3rd this season, considering our injuries its not unreasnoble to suggest we have made progress. Face the doomers head on troops, smyte the cynics and expose the liars, we are the Arsenal.

  16. Limestonegunner

    There may not be 100million, but it seems there could be nearly 50 million including last year’s player sales and this year’s departures and profits. That is quite a lot and frankly the team could use some experienced quality players.

    I think the FA cup is a terrific competition with a glorious history. I wish the FA could find a way to make the prize money much greater so that teams would make it a higher priority, particularly our own. For all the high minded ideals associated with Arsenal under Wenger, since the stadium, it is clearly the money that motivates very substantially the honors we are prioritizing. His teams have won the cup in the past, but he has devalued it since, which is perhaps necessary, but certainly a shame.

  17. Which of our injured players would you have brought on in those competitions, Ted?

    I couldn’t agree with you less. All the signs are that to be really, really successful in the current EPL you need at least two first teams. Might get away with one and half in La Liga but not the EPL.

    Btw …Gary Sprake and Bruce Grobelaar both won trophies with their respective teams. Both demonstrated a degree of inconsistency in their careers.

  18. One of your best in recent memory for me, YW. Lots to sink our teeth into. Cheers.

  19. Limestone

    The FA do not appear to share your view about the FA Cup with midweek games, no replays, semi-finals not at Wembley all on the table for serious consideration.

    YW

  20. I agree with Bradys right foot .

  21. Limestonegunner

    I agree that this summer adding a few very good players, rather than simply replacing those departing or selling young players is necessary. If we can accommodate them in the squad and afford the extra wages, it would allow us to compete properly in three competitions and increase our chances of success. We seem to suffer routinely from lots of injuries so we ought to prepare this year to break the trophy duck. That might start a cycle of winning and inculcating a culture of accomplishment rather than a complacent self satisfaction in the aesthetics of our play. We could continue to play beautiful football, develop some young players, and win.

    Certainly our competitors won’t be standing still.

  22. Money is such an important factor in football that teams will take trophies more seriously depending on the prize money available. The fact that the most prestigious trophies offer the most money is natural. There is a clear hierarchy in the trophies up for grabs and this needs to be balanced out somehow for teams to take the Carling and to a lesser extent the FA cup more seriously.

  23. Limestonegunner

    Note I am not saying we have a complacent self satisfied team, but it is a danger the longer we go without achieving the goals set for the team.

  24. We should have a big enough squad that we can field competative sides in the cups whilst resting the first team.

    We need to accept our injury record and plan for it. If at the end of a season someone is pissy about lack of playing time, then flog the cunt.

    Bringing through players is brilliant and teh Carling cup games are some of my favourites each year, but sending raw 18 year olds to get slaugtered by a top prem side packed with internationals. Surrender is not development.

    I am all in favour of playing a shadow side in both cups, but our squad needs to be bigger. The reality is, a cup final is a great thing for fans to look forward to and winning it is a real pot, if lesser.

    Some of our players tend to look very relaxed when they do not have the pressure of experienced players ahead of them in the squad, or on the pitch.

    A blend of experienced squad players and top youth is the way to go. For that, accepting injuries we need to invest a bit.

    We have seen how good Campbell has been and his leadership in the team. If we are smart, we can spend on some players and pick up a few cheap – not every player in the squad needs to be waiting for 3 years time.

    Look at Pedro at Barca 22, brilliant 20 goals already this year. He only started playing now and has overtaken Henry. Having quality ahead of him didn’t ‘kill him’ and he played when he was ready.

  25. Good article, level-headed and largely truthful. Although, I’d prefer us to stick to first team players in the FA cup, as this season has proved it is such a fantastic competition and one that holds such fond memories for us gooners.

    I agree about this season, although after the weekend I’ve had my relatively happy acceptance of our falling short knocked out of me somewhat. I just hope we can hammer home with three fine wins now, then everything would look much rosier going into the summer.

  26. Semi’s should never be at Wembley – it erodes the mystique of the stadium. Plus it is a shit hole and a pain to get to and the pitch is not fit to play on.

  27. Limestonegunner

    YW,
    if the FA are considering format changes at least they are recognizing its loss in status and attempting to renovate the competition. Tradition doesn’t mean something frozen; all traditions have to evolve and change to maintain their relevance. I don’t know what I think about the the specific proposals being considered, but without making the prize money greater though, would Arsenal show more committment to it?

  28. Limestonegunner

    Obviously I agree with points made by Arsenehollis. And also, Wembley pitch is a danger to the game. Perhaps they can lay a new pitch just for the final.

  29. Yep – you definitely need two first teams to compete at home and in Europe.

    When Barca spanked us, they were missing or left out: Puyol, Pique, Iniesta, Henry, Ibra, Yaya Toure.

    They played with Bojan, Pedro, Messi up front – all home grown and under 22. Busquets and Xavi in midfield, academy products. Replacing Puyol and Pique – both from the academy, they had Marquez and Militto, top quality.

    Alongside the local boys they had Alves and Keita who tehy paid 40+ mil for form Seville. Abidal who cost a chunk from Lyon. Both CB’s they bought for decent money.

    They showed us that our brilliant youth has a way to go. They also showed that you need to combine that with some quality here and there and a really deep squad to cover any eventuality.

    If we add 4/5 good players, send a few out on loan, but don’t sell and promote thos ekids who are READY, not just waiting, then we can do teh same as them next year.

  30. And_Arsn_Said....

    Time for a wider perspective and balance to counter the D&G’s, see this site, all gooners must read:

    http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/2010/04/has-wenger-and-his-youth-project-utterly-failed/

  31. The FA don’t care about their Cup.

    If they did they would never have ended the need to actually win a football match to progress. Nor would they have semis at Wembley.

    Some of my best memories of the Cup were rounds that needed replays, sometimes several, before a team progressed. that was exciting stuff. Tension growing over weeks. Fantastic.

    The Cup has been sacrificed by them for the interests of the EPL and their financial mismanagement. The police haven’t helped with their insistence on replays taking place too long after the drawn tie. Memories fade.

    It seems odd to blame Arsenal, or any other club, for failing to take the competition as seriously as it once was when the FA have downgraded it over the last decade or so. As Flint said yesterday, once it became a qualifying competition for another it became less important in itself. Not a Final, more a qualifier.

    I write as someone who have always loved the Cup above all else. Those days at Wembley in the sun. Bloody brilliant.

    We will win the Cup again but it wil never be the same as those meories conjured up by Charlie, Alan Sunderland et al.

  32. Alex Ice Cream

    Unfortunately when you are a big club respect without trophies will always be harder to come by. It is not enough these days for a club of our stature to trophyless for 5 years and this will inevitably manifest itself in criticism of players and manager. I don’t think that we have a right to win trophies every year but we should be competitive and should have won trophies in this time period. Wenger set the standards and now they must be maintained. Unfortunately this has not happened.

    I was very disappointed with Nasri’s comments, why? These comments come across as the whining of a loser. The best way to get respect is to be successful which for a club like Arsenal means trophies, not every year but trophies nonetheless. Instead of wanting to prove people wrong by winning he comes out with this loser’s speech about not getting enough respect. Respect for what? Losing to sh1te like Wigan in injury time? Its not good enough and perhaps symptomatic of the mentality of the team the moment: content to be also-rans and sulk when things do not do their way or people have the temerity to say that they are not good enough. If you want respect Samir you have to earn it. Who are you anyway, what have you achieved in football? You have barely done anything and in 2 seasons with us you have shown glimpses of great skill, scored a few important goals and that’s it. Grow up or f*** off which is what other players need to hear as well. Losing is not an achievement.

    Until Wigan, I would have said that we have had a decent season (especially with all the injuries but that’s another topic). Wigan and Spurs however revealed that this team does not have the mentality to win big games. After 5 years its not good enough. We should have had enough to beat both of these teams but we didn’t. As soon as a crunch game arrives whether it is against ManU or Chelsea or at the end of the season when it matters such as when we are in with a shout of the league we fold.

    This team does not have the mentality to win. The manager has failed to instil this into his precious kids.

  33. I hate it when fans start bandying around sums that are available to be spent. It never works like that, especially at Arsenal. When will people reconcile themselves with that fact?

    It’s not a Harry Redknapp operation where he gets £30M and spends every penny of it, for the sake of spending.

  34. The trouble we have had over the last 5 years is that every summer we have sold more 1st team players than we’ve bought, but supplemented the numbers with the younger squad members.

    That’s not true. If by any means it were true we shouldn’t now have a squad as big as any in the Premier League.

    Stop believing nonsense because you want to see big money transfers.

  35. Ole – what would you like to see done over the Summer with the squad?

    I think we need to add. We shouldn’t sell, we need the depth. Some players should go on loan until December at least: Fabianski, Gibbs maybe, Bartley, Coquellin, Watt, Vela, Eduardo.

    If we can add cheaply then great, but we need more strength in depth, the injuries kill us, so assume it will happen again.

    Another striker, winger, Defensive midfield player, a Goalie, and 2 centre backs is my wish list.

    We are getting, so they say, chamakh for free. So it may not cost a bomb to add 6 players.

  36. Some of our fans don’t have the mentality to appreciate what we have, to look forward to the future or support their football club properly; win lose or draw. We compete for trophies every year and play great attacking football, we have the best Manager our club has seen and one of the best midfielders and best attackers in Europe playing for us. We are potentially on the cusp of greatness. Surely we as fans should be enjoying ourselves not bitching constantly about where it is all going wrong. Losing games is a part of football, deal with it!

  37. Careful AIC, your carefully nurtured reasonable facade slipped in your last paragraph.

    Just another Arsene hater.

  38. Alex Ice Cream…..your vile negative disregerd for all that is good about this club is sad.

    Mistakes were made this season. We were only comprehensivley defeated in one of the big games the others were unlucky and may have gone either way. There is a fine line. Reinforcements will be bought in….changes will be made…but they will not be drastic. And if your to blind to see that quality this squad holds and are calling for changes wholesale, then you realy know nothing about football. Full Stop.

  39. arseneholis,

    Barcelona have a smaller squad than we do. And on, balance in the 2 games we had more players missing than we had.

    You can highlight Maxwell, and I can highlight Bendtner at the same age.

    What Barcelona did not have was Messi missing for 60% of the season.

    Stop making excuses and face the reality that injuries do affect teams.

    The problem with having an even bigger squad to cover injuries is that there’s no magical point where you’re suddenly protected.

    If you had 10 centre halves and they were all injured, then you’d be in the same position.

    You can’t deny the effect of injuries by calling for more squad members. Maybe that might actually work, and we’d have better choices in an injury crisis, it doesn’t negate the fact that we have suffered from injury in the last couple of seasons.

  40. Are you a bit of a spiteful little bastard in real life, AIC? Just asking.

  41. Alex Ice Cream

    consols,

    Are you saying that Wenger has instilled a winning mentality?

  42. Alex Ice Cream

    Frank,

    You are a spiteful basstad full stop.

  43. Alex Ice Cream

    Ole,

    Do you think that making players play with injuries or making them play too many games is part of the injury problem?

  44. Ole, to expand on your point about redknapp. If I were a Spurs fan would be very worried indeed if they didnt make top 4 this season considering the money spent. The consequences could potentialy be catostropic for the club.Especialy when the competition will be much more potent next season.

    Arnet we luck eh?

  45. Let me say, No money, No money, No money. What should he buy players with, his looks? Arsenal has no money, with the development of the Stadium.

  46. It is just that you are grizzling about someone you think is grizzling. Sort of grizzling squared.

    I bet they were queueing up to be your mate at school.

  47. Tell him to read Gary Lewin’s comments, OG. Go on.

  48. Arseneholis,

    What would I like to see done with the Squad? If I were manager (I’m not worthy to clean Arsene’s boots) I’d;

    1. Tell Silvestre never to set foot in North London ever again.
    2. Bring in an experienced solid international centre back who can pass the ball and head the ball who’s 25-27 yrs old who we can build the defence around. Unfortunately for Djourou he missed his chance to be that this season and he’d have to fight for his place now.
    3. Keep Gallas & Campbell.
    4. Get an exceptional player who can turn games by himself who is hardly injured. We all thought Arshavin was that player but he’s cast doubts over that this season with his performances, attitudes and comments.
    5. Send Mannone on loan & bring in someone around Almunia’s age who Almunia will either have to push for a place in the side, or who will have to push Almunia for a place in the side. Fabianski should be Number 3.
    6. I’d give Jay Simpson a chance.
    7. I’d seriously analyse the impediments in our play or otherwise that don’t allow us to make the best use of Rosicky, Nasri & Diaby who are not playing to their ability half of the time.
    8. I’d get rid of the 4-3-3. It’s been good to add it to our portfolio of formations. I’d go back to 4-4-2 as revitalised by Arsene…..centre forward, half striker behind/beside him, 2 wide men who can cut in, or go wide, 2 central midfielders acting as double pivots, taking turns to go forward or hold as needed, 2 full backs who provide the true width, and two ball playing centre backs.
    9. I would make sure that our keepers face the same intensity on crosses and high balls in training as in EPL games.
    10. I’d get the full backs to work on allowing fewer crosses. We allow far too many.
    11. I’d make messrs Arshavin, Nasri, Rosicky, Walcott, Eduardo aware that they have to put in a very high standard of defensive work. These players do not do nearly enough, consistently enough.
    12. I’d look for ways to fix our mental issue of freezing in big games. If you consider the strength of our squad, we should have won more games against Man poo & Chelski etc.

  49. Ole – I am doing exactly the opposit of what you suggest.

    Injuries do affect teams, that is my point. It has screwed us up in a big way this year. It has done for several years.

    Having a bigger squad does help, but it is no guarantee.

    Not sure how you figure our squad to be bigger than Barca’s – that is a joke, plus they have quality in reserve that we don’t.

    There best 11 would leave out Henry, Keita, Toure, Marquez, Millito, Maxwell, Bojan. Plus, their first team has players that would walk into our team: Messi, Xavi, Pique, Puyol, Iniesta, Alves.

    We need more in the squad, it is obvious, especially in defence. If we want to win one of the two trophies wenger values, then we must beat the best and we have shown that we aren’t there yet.

    Injuries hurt us, but leaking goals killed us this year and that started in Manchester when eveybody was their, RVP to.

  50. I doubt there will be many additions to midfield but I would like to se an out an out winger to whip in some balls for chamakh who is very handy with head. We play a lot of people out of postion on the wings and to see someone as straight forward as valencia make so many goals for united you cant help but compare our slighty poor crossing from wide positions. David silva would be perfect for us but we know arsene hates getting involved in bidding wars.

  51. AIC,

    The one positive aspect of injuries is that no one player in Arsenal has played as many games as the key players in other teams.

    Terry has played every game he was fit for which is most of their games. Ditto Rooney & Fletcher. Anelka’s another. Lampard.

    So I’m not sure what you mean by making players play too many games

  52. AIC hasnt got everything wrong – winning mentality requires one to have single minded focus and not seek empty consolations. Yes, we have done well for most of the season and I am very happy with the progress, but I want the players to feel a bit disappointed about what they have thrown away.

    THFC didnt play particularly well and we had the ball most of the time, but we failed to make anything of it. Sending RvP with only 10 mins left on the clock was another puzzle from the Wigan game. The disappointment comes from wrong strategy and wrong execution at such a crunch time.

    I dont particularly care for trophies, but I do like to see the will to win. Fabregas and Sol Campbell have shown that they can take the games by the scruff of the neck. The sheer willpower they have shown in some games needs to be replicated by players like Diaby, Arshavin and Walcott.

    Having said all this, the weakest link in our armor has to be the goalkeepers whose mistakes have cost us games. Without their mistakes, we would be at the top of the league – no doubt.

  53. Personally I’m not asking Wenger to go out and splash a preposterous figure of £100n on new players.
    I have never expected him to spend anywhere near the kind of money that only Man City and Real seem to have no problem spending.
    However, there’s a middle ground I believe.
    Just look at what £10 and £15m can get you in players like Vermaelen and Arshavin, respectively. I think it’s clear those were exceptionally good deals. But it’s what Wenger’s good at.

    In my mind there is no question that the squad need some much needed reinforcement. Again, I’m not asking the club to spend £35m on David Villa, Sylva and the likes, just a couple of smart buys.
    Don’t ask me who exactly, only Arsene has that kind of scouting network and knows the market inside out. It’s not to say that it’s easy by any means, but it’s been done by him at the club on many occasions.

    I think the goalkeeper position is the most urgent one and i’d be more than happy to see us spend 8-£10m for a quality number one.

  54. I think we need to redevelop Highbury and turn the Em*rites into flats. That’s where it all went wrong for me.

  55. arseneholis,

    Barca famously have a squad of 20. Look on their website and see it confirmed.

    Pique won’t walk into our team. Are you dreaming?

  56. Too true Matty Boy

  57. Carlitos,

    I’m tempted to think it might be a big signing we need. One big signing who can make a big difference. Arsene’s famous, ‘super, super player’.

  58. Whilst i have my rose tinted specs on, if Gallas leaves, would Kolo Toure walk into to our team? I miss Kolo and his floppy dog ears.

  59. A Gooner among others

    Ole Gunner,

    I’d also like to go back to 4-4-2, but that puts Diaby and Denilson on the bench.
    It’s a shame we can’t play with Fabregas and Diaby.

  60. Ole – but it is top quality.

    We had Vela and eduardo who weren’t ready to play for Arsenal this year. Silvestre speaks for itself. We had to get Campbell in Jan. Both our goalies have been below the level we need this year. Clichy struggked and our back-ups were very raw.

    Pique is, for me, the best defender in the world.

  61. Wenger has instilled a winning attitude without a doubt. That’s why we win most of our games.

    In Jan-Feb we were actually being criticised for trying to win every single game…..isn’t that what the criticism was then?

  62. good list ole.

    It’s an interesting one with the formation as we have so many jack of all trades types it is tempting to think we can allow some free form 433 to work effectively as we did at the beginning of the season.

    However this system requires a high work rate and a very intuitive understanding between players. With have been unlucky with injuries that we can’t get a good run with a similar starting lineup to really develop our understanding to levels of excellence which a team like barca have demonstrated. I’m sure our players are capable but maybe we need to work on players off the ball slipping into space more intuitively. How do you teach spatial awareness though?

    A 442 system worked very well when RVP came on to support NB against spurs. It gives us a stronger foundation yet doesn’t seem to inhibit us creatively.

    It would useful if we could adapt our formation more across the season rather than relying one style which we seem to have done this year.

  63. We could spend big on a goalie and if we get it right they can play for a decade.

    If Wenger is too scared to spend it would be strange, he is the best at it.

    Although, Van Der Sar cost nothing and has been excellent for the manc scum.

    There is quality out there if the manager wants, in all positions.

  64. We need to tackle. We defend by waiting for the other team to make a mistake in midfield, rather than winning the ball back.

    If we gave teams as little time on the ball as they do us, we would win through our superior technique. Instead, we stand off, shadow them until the box, and let sides pass. We get chased and hassled all over.

    This is why our away record is so poor, we have lost almost as many as we have won, as we cannot defend and away we get less time on the ball.

    This is all relative, we are a top 8 side in Europe, but this season has shown some fundamental flaws that have stopped us being number 1.

  65. arseneholis,

    Take out Messi and Barca’s squad is not much better than ours. I’d honestly take Gallas & Vermaelen over any two of Puyol, Marquez, Milito & Pique. Of the 4 the only one I’d take is Puyol.

    Clichy is better than Abidal, and Eboue and Sagna are adequate, if not necessarily as good as Alvez.

    The likes of Maxwell, Busquets, Pedrito right now seem to be rated ahead of the likes of Henry and maybe even Ibrahimovic. Keita often plays ahead of Yaya Toure….Not sure if you’re correct about what’s their best 11.

    Vittor Valdez is no better than Almunia, and their 2nd keeper is not even an international.

    I think it’s greengrassitis at play here my good man.

  66. 1 loose cannon

    Ole regarding the formation, We should not get rid of the 4-3-3 its very good against the lower sides but it proved not good against the top sides I think it ok to change formations depending on the opposition. Wenger is a proud man and he does not resort to dirty tactics things like marking a player or instruct his players to kick the opposition. 4 5-1 should be back on the menu because sometimes you just can’t take everybody on with pure football. Wenger knows the dark art of football but it goes against his principals. Adams, Keown , Viera these players had it in them without the manager telling them to get nasty on the pitch.

    Chamakh will be good only if we deliver some good crosses to him. He is a monster in the air and we have to make use of that. I saw him scoring a header against Olympiacos and It was one of the ferocious headers I have ever seen it was more powerful than the foot. Fabregas and RVP are very good crosses of the ball and I can see them delivering some beauties to him.

  67. Arseneholis,
    I agree with you but will love to add the following:
    1. We have bought too many similar players sleeky, technically-gifted, smallish. Time to go for players with height, raw grit and endless workrate. Use Essien or Song as a template be they defenders or midfielders or strikers.

    2. Time to add some strength and physical tenacity to our players. The likes of Fabregas, Denilson, Vela, Bendtner, Eduardo, Nasri, Ramsey, Arshavin and even younger ones like Eastmond, Coquelin,etc, need to bulk up over the summer against next season. Enough of moaning about physical sides like Stoke City/Hull City and prepare the players to withstand the ‘assault’ posed by these teams.

    3. Time to try varying our formation for different teams and matches. What about a 4-3-1-2 that places Diaby, Song and Djourou (he was converted from DM to CB but should have been made a versatile option for both positions) as DMs behind Cesc(1) with Arshavin and RvP ahead of him? Our ‘naive dedication’ to just one formation has made us too predictable and easy to play against.

    4. Time for ALL our ‘stars’ to learn how to DEFEND! We need to teach each how to man-mark or zone-mark and then teach them to do it as a team! How many matches have we lost this season due to lax marking and lack of proper tackling skills and the will to do it?

    5. Time to start being more creative, direct and more adventurous in our attacking play. The 1001-passes-leading-nowhere must be varied with direct crosses into the box when Chamakh arrives. The Invincibles used to employ/enjoy creative and unexpected darting runs into the box followed by a flick or a long-range pass for the runner to finish. Fab4 must do it more and others like Nasri and Diaby must start doing it consistently.

    I hope we finish well this season but I look forward to a better next season.

  68. AIC,

    The points you raised, as usual, make sense to me.

    Ole, Hollis,

    Good points too.

    I feel the single most important point is the attitude/mindset. Only some players have the right attitude and they end up carrying the passengers that don’t.

    Arsenal are technically a far better team than Inter Milan. But Inter skinned an arguably superior Barca team last night because they worked all night and imposed themselves. Did you see Lucio pumping his fists after blocking Pique’s effort in the last 5 mins? Thats motivation and attitude.

    Unless theres a major shift in attitude – we’re going nowhere. And cut loose the chaff – even if they’re talented players…honest workhorses and not lazy thoroughbreds. The manager and the fans deserve more.

  69. For two year Ole Barca have had a second gear that no side in Europe in could match. When they have needed they can raise their game to an untouchable level. I see a lot of them out here in Spain and it is impressive.

    As a team, not individual pieces, they have something that we do not right now. We need a collective mindset and cohesion that is missing, if quite possible with what we have.

    I expect Barca to murder Inter, but we will see, Lucio is a good player and he might be the difference.

    Iniesta is on another planet, only Messi is better. Xavi is special and Puyol, Pique is very, very tough. Just look at the number of goals conceded dude. That is with Abidal on the pitch, who is shit.

    Anyway, as it stands they are the bench mark and tehy showed that we need to go some way still to be there. At home, I think we will be fine next year. Signings might shake things up, but we are the best team, the injuries bit though and we dribbled goals. Tighten up at the back and we will walk the league.

  70. arseneholis, i think your so right, how many of our players would walk into barcas. I hear what nasri is saying, that for the money we spend and still ghet into top four year in and out we should get some credit, just li9ke fat sam always did for just managing to keep bolton in the prem, i agree with him on that, but if one takes it as give us credit for finishing in the top four and not actualy winning anything then that for me is loser talk. It isnt everything to finish first, course not, most of us in life never win f… all, so to all of those who are genuenly happy and contyent about not winning a trophy, fair shout. But as aic says its hard to be credited/respected and taken seriously unless you do

  71. Song is not technically gifted?
    I’ll let the big man speak for himself:

    How many fouls in the above clip?

    Look at him ‘Get In!’ With his, erm, feet.
    Whilst playing Football.

    Steven for Head Coach!

  72. Ole to compare our squad to Barcas is disrespectful to Barca, you are saying that a team that has won nothing for the last 5 years is a s good as the best team on the planet at the moment. Deluded my son, in the extreme!

  73. Ah the AIC/Joe twins are on together…again.

  74. Alex Ice Cream

    Joe,

    Agreed about attitude but I think a change of playing approach is needed. Look at what Mourinho did yesterday against a so-called superior team. Its called tactics, changing your approach to give you the best chance of winning. We play the same way against Wigan as we do Barca which was great when you had all-time greats in your team like Pires, Vieira, Henry, Bergkamp, Adams (I could go on) but this team is not good enough to use this approach against the best teams who have worked out ways to beat us.

    Its well-known that we can struggle to open up teams who stop us playing through the middle. Our crossing is not good enough, especially fromm the fullbacks and we don’t break at pace like we used to. Set-pieces are a perennial weakness yet goals scored from them count just as much.

    Worse are our numerous weaknesses in defence – individual errors, poor keeping, lack of tracking from midfield, attackers not tracking back. We can usually score but even if we do we are wide open at the back. This is to do with team structure as well as personnel.

    Brian Clough used the same approach and initially it was very successful. Teams then adapted to it and found ways to stop or at least partially stop this. After the second EC Clough won f*** all with this approach.

  75. O fuck off frank you tosser!

  76. Alex Ice Cream

    Bangchetty,

    Well said.

    Idiots like Frank who think we will magically win things with the same approach are part of the problem.

    This acceptance of mediocrity is one of the major reasons that we have won nothing for 5 years and we manage to throw our season away in the space of a couple of weeks when the matches really matter at the end of the season.

  77. Let me in

  78. Bangchetty,

    I assume English is your native language, and that’s why I’m shocked you’re incapable of reading simple comments and comprehending them.

    Or maybe you’re just an outright jackass.

    Idiot

  79. Yes Yes Ya’ll, and you dont stop

  80. AIC,

    Your attitude is mediocre. Funny that you talk of the acceptance of mediocrity.

  81. Alex Ice Cream

    Ole,

    Even if I accept you man for man assessment (which I don’t) then you are missing a key ingredient: the winning mentality.

    We simply do not have this and even if man for man we were equivalent to say Barca (which we are not) we would lose to them as we don’t have what it takes mentally to win the big games.

    Technically we have some great players but mentally we are weak when it really matters.

  82. AIC,

    What’s my man assessment?

  83. O i read your comments Ole, a few time over, Perhaps your have Alzheimer’s and forget what you wrote every 5 minutes,, I love this team, but they do not stand shoulder to shoulder with the current barca team, they could and hopefully will, but not right now.
    And to answer you question i am a outright jackass,, who gives a fuck, i dont.

  84. Alex Ice Cream

    Ole,

    Wanting to be the best is mediocre?

    You are a loser. I thought more of you but it looks like you are just another mug content to pay their money for a team that unless changed will win nothing.

  85. Have you guys ever stopped and realised that you have the same arguments over and over and over again??

  86. Alex Ice Cream

    Ole,

    Man for man. Who isn’t reading posts now?

  87. What point you people coming on here if you prefer to make up what people are actually saying?

    I say;

    “Take out Messi and Barca’s squad is not much better than ours”.

    And that to you means we’re better than Messi?

    Can you read?

  88. Alex Ice Cream

    Ole,

    Sorry I should have said man for boy assessment.

  89. AIC,

    You dare call me a loser. What have you achieved in your life to throw that around?

  90. They call these people D&Gers when what they really are is stupid.

  91. Think as marmite….

  92. Ole, AIC was Stevenage Egg & Spoon race champion three years running, what have you ever done?

  93. Thick as pig shit comes to mind Ole ! You must be to start questioning peoples life achievements on a blog, childish and immature comes to mind too!

  94. Alex Ice Cream

    Why call my attitude mediocre? I just went one stage further and called you a loser.

    Anyone who thinks that wanting to win and be the best is mediocre is at best confused and at worst a loser. I went for the latter

    What is your attitude, loser? Why is my attitude mediocre.

  95. William,
    Seen as thought we comparing life achievements I once won a yo-yo competition ! unfortunately i dropped the egg and used the spoon to compare cock sizes with the rest of the yo- yo team,,

  96. I don’t think winning is overestimated, teams do get the deserved credit even if they have not won anything. Case in point – Holland circa 70’s, Holland ’98, Brazil, France circa early-mid 80’s, I don’t think there is any football afficionado who do not give these teams their due because they did not win. On the other hand, if you look at winning teams like Greece circa ’04 you get the opposite side of the picture. But in the short term the emphais will be on the winners, only when people look back at teams from 2 decades back they remember the truly great ones who left an impact on the mind, because tehy are few and far between, rather than just winners, who are there every year.

    So Wenger’s philosophy and this team will get its due in 10 years time when people look back at this phase in football history.

  97. Bangchetty,

    You can’t even read a comment and understand what it says, why would I bother with you?

    AIC,

    I think your attitude is mediocre. Very much so.

    You call people idiots for thinking an approach that’s the 2nd most successful in the Premier League era, achieved with little treasure can win things.

    That sounds to me very mediocre thinking. Objectively. It’s not personal.

  98. Yes Ole , and you feel the need to question peoples life achievements,, you are obviously lacking in this department,,, I wish you wouldn’t bother me but you do!

  99. Alex Ice Cream

    Ole,

    OK I take back the insult if you took it personally.

    This approach needs to be changed to make it successful again. We need to invest in the sqaud and change some of the ways that we approach games. The results speak for themselves. We have managed to pay off a big chunk of the debt which is great, we have tried to win things with this set up but it hasn’t worked so we need to change.

    We have not been successful enough on the pitch in the last 5 years. Its not that we haven’t achieved anything as we have but not enough to win. We have ben successful with the stadium and reducing debt. Its time to add trophies to this.

  100. Go sob into the sea Bangchetty…..

  101. Whats that going to do Ole,, Im just curious, has this worked for you in the past?
    Or is it one of your life achievements?

  102. AIC,

    This team will win something. Worse teams have won trophies in the time we’ve not won.

    I think you should be able to see that.

    Come to think of it, I’ve never heard you say what a winning approach would be and how it would guarantee that we win?

  103. If you into that sort of thing Ole you should try farting into the wind, now thats a life achievement!

  104. Alex Ice Cream

    Ole,

    Bringing in players who have experience of winning would help. If we had kept more of the Invincibles maybe this would be less of a problme now. Its no guarantee but I find it hard to believe that a team that capitulated like ours did last week will win anything without changes to personnel.

  105. I always used to wonder why there were so many people who buy tabloids…..but the rate at which people would go on the internet, read a comment, and completely fail to comprehend what it says, while arguing against what it doesn’t say…it shows why there are so many fools who’d pay to be fed outrageous & stupid lies.

  106. Ole @ 11:17 and 12:42

    I think both of those comments are excellent and spot on. Playing good football and not worrying about trophies is great for our kids church league but not for professionals. What Nasri said resonates with Arsenal fans but unfortunately comes across to the rest of the world as whining and excuse making. This team and its manager deserve respect but will not get any until we win again. A little off the subject but I really hope we stop talking about needing protection from refs and stop whining about anti-football and long balls. We could get away with that if we had 3 EPL trophies on the trot. Even if what we say is true it still comes across as “poor looser mentality”.

    Your list is great. Dropping the 433 is brilliant. Buying a true difference making impact player is also brilliant. However, we really need to reload in the back and at GK so will there be enough money to add that impact player? I hope so.

    The only thing I would add is I think our entire organization has consciously or subconsciously lost track of the importance of defending. Our great offensive displays at the start of the year made us think we could win by simply outscoring the other team. We have argued about this before but over the course of a long season you can not win just by outscoring your opponents. Assuming WG will be gone we need 2 CB like you described in #2, an impact GK and everyone on the squad needs to hear your #11

  107. AIC,

    Why has that not worked for; Liverpool, Man City, Real Madrid, Juventus…..just asking. How’s that such a magic bullet?

    “Its no guarantee but I find it hard to believe that a team that capitulated like ours did last week will win anything without changes to personnel”.

    Wait a minute, did Man yoo not lose in the CL quarters despite having led in each leg, and having been 3-nil up in the second leg? Did that happen? Did they not win the last 3 league titles & could they not still win this one? Not logical.

    Lastly. do you really mean you don’t realise we absolutely had to break up the invincibles especially after how poorly they did in the league in 05 & 06?

    Bangchetty,

    Go fuck yourself. Fuck right off.

  108. Alex Ice Cream

    Ole,

    Yes, worse teams have won. Doesn’t that worry you?

    Doesn’t that make you question why?

  109. Speaking of D-Fence, & the infamous Holy Grail, the Tale of the D**M of Lorik Cana

    [Except, as Song’s matured, the arguments have morphed from seeking a D**M to simply giving off much D-Fence]:

    People are now waking up to the fact that the Wembley pitch is ‘dangerous’.

    But aren’t willing to ask how the FA can spend nearly 1BN on a football stadium, that doesn’t have a pitch!

    I think the new Wembley is the best thing to happen to the FA.

    It might spell their D**M.

  110. This trophy talk is really annoying. Theres something I read a few days ago that just makes me feel proud to be an Arsenal fan, even after suffering quite a humiliating defeat. That is.. those that laugh and mock you in the face of failure, are the ones that have already truly failed. It wasn’t in them exact words.. but I just get this feeling and I have always had, that many many people around the country actually laugh at us when we lose, I do it sometimes with Chelsea and United, mainly because it gives us a chance of overtaking them. With United I hold respect, but i think everyone wishes the success they had was with their own club, and with Chelsea I actually hold pure hate because of the money, and because Chelsea were nothing before a Russian owner came along – it aint right. But for those who just laugh AT US for the sake of it, and there are MANY, it shows how far ahead of everyone we are, we have a fantastic youth setup, training facilities, management, well behaved playing staff, and club which policies and ethics have stood firm throughout many changes in society. These people hate us for how GOOD we are, for the amazing football that we are blessed with, and for having a smart manager who knows what hes doing. So stay positive Gooners.. it could be worse!

  111. Bill,

    Barcelona won every trophy in the history of th world by outscoring opponents. The only way you win football matches is by outscoring opponents. In the 90s nobody even questioned the idea that you could win trophies by outscoring everyone else. That’s what the teams that won trophies then did…

    But hey, I’m tired of this one philosophical argument (that’s what it is).

  112. “Have you guys ever stopped and realised that you have the same arguments over and over and over again??”

    Not really, William. They say the same thing again and again. That’s not the same as an argument.

    One of my favourites is that players need to “bulk up”. Football players never bulk up, not if by bulking up one means adding muscle. It was claimed that Diaby was bulking up last summer, but it turned out he was just growing his facial hair. Some players appear to bulk up in the later part of their career. That is because every summer they put on more fat than they are able to lose during pre-season training. Over time, the weight gain becomes noticeable. I doubt this extra weight does anything to improve their performance.

  113. Ole, What about George Graham’s Arsenal, that was the same defence that massively helped win wenger a few as well wasn’t it?

    Ole sometimes I think you might be slightly insane

  114. “Ole,

    Yes, worse teams have won. Doesn’t that worry you?

    Doesn’t that make you question why?”

    On the opposite side of the coin, Portsmouth and Spuds have won more than us in the last 5 seasons. Would you rather be them than us?

  115. AIC,

    Does luck play any part in determining life’s outcomes?

    We’ve had experienced squads that won nothing that you’re lumping into those 5 years!

    If you wanted to properly hang this squad you’d count from after Henry left in 07……in which period, they’ve not done well in the cups but been in the title race 2 of 3 times.

    Does it not take 3 years to get a university degree? Does it not take years of preparation to develop into just about anything?

    Is it not that we’ve had to develop a winning squad, being unable to buy 1? Is it unreasonable to expect a developing squad to be the best at the start of its development?

  116. AIC

    This approach needs to be changed to make it successful again.

    content to pay their money for a team that unless changed will win nothing.

    No offense AIC but your opinion is utter crap, Wenger will make the necessary changes where he feels right. He won’t make many, he won’t drop all the players that he has fought day in day out for. These players have had a successful season, you predicted no champions league, no title challenge.. why dont u fack off u mug.

  117. We play amazing football but not winning football.The Invincibles did.They would have a game won in the first 15 mins and would not be hanging on trying to hold a 2-0 lead against shit like West Ham and Wigan.

    The two games at home v Man utd And Chelsea were a real lesson.They both sat back and hit us on the break..In them two cames our full backs where caught in their half when they scored.It was too easy

  118. Content to be also-rans, AIC? Do you honestly believe that a team could come as close to winning the league as we were this year by being ‘content to be also-rans?’ That is a nonsense.

    It is also, IMO, hugely disrespectful to the manager, to the players, to all the other teams in our division, and to all the supporters of those clubs. It’s a supremely arrogant thing to say.

    Have you ever worked in football? I’m finding it hard to imagine what qualifies you to speak so damningly about a squad of players who have fought so hard to win, and to entertain their fans all season long.

  119. Ole:

    I do not know if I agree that it is philosophical vs. pragmeatic. However, it does get tiring, takes a lot of time and gets us no where to keep up the argument.

  120. Last season when we played Chelski in the FA Cup, we had the entire back 5 missing, plus RVP & Adebaywhore rushed back. They’d been full strength for a few weeks going.

    Why couldn’t it have been the other way round? They weakened, we at full strength? Wouldn’t that have increased our chance of winning a trophy last season?

  121. Poliziano, A year ago I would of agreed with you on that, but this year for spurs Defoe and Bale are noticeably better footballers for working hard in the gym over the summer

  122. Ole,

    Well said. This team was very close to success this season, it has still been a good season in my eyes too, although I expected more. When you have a squad full of International stars like we have we have every right too. We just have not had the privilege of having a full squad at any point this season, I don’t want to keep bringing that up as an excuse, because we know that will always happen while the referees give us no protection what so ever.

    We have competed with Chelsea and United, two teams who have spent fortunes, teams who have lost stupid amounts of money through transfers or debt, teams who have many fans who are supporters only because of their glory, and teams who have rolled over allowing the ownership of the club fall elsewhere. No trophy, but we have a lot to be proud of.

  123. Seems to me that people know fuck all about football. Everyone stated that Barcelona were the best team ever as result of the first 18 minutes of the first game against us.

    Thing is during that time they didn’t get behind our defence. It was patently obvious in that game that if you keep Messi quiet they tend not to be very productive and Alex Song did just that. Jose Mourinho saw that and emulated it.

    Sadly our depleted side lost yet another key defender at a key time in that match and that handed them two soft goals. BUT Barcelona still passed the ball around like true champions and…conceded two goals. Two goals to a depleted side. Mourinho spotted that too.

    The next game an even more depleted Arsenal side were unable to put anyone on Messi and of course he duly delivered. Not before that totally depleted Arsenal side put one past them though…and nearly two. Mourinho noticed all that too.

    He learned that to beat Barcelona you need your best side out there. Doesn’t matter how many spares Barcelona have…the fact is to beat them you have to have your best side.

    He learned that you stop Messi and they are still good but very beatable.

    He learned that if you push their defenders they crack.

    …and he learned all that from a depleted Arsenal side.

  124. I also find that comment/line of thought mindboggling. Does me head in.

    Really? There are people who think Wenger who’s won titles would rather finish 3rd, play nice football & whatever ghastly act the team is accused of?

    The criticism of Wenger has never been whole. It’s always been trying to have it both ways.

    If the team is mediocre, then he’s getting more out of them than he has a right to. Both can not be true.

    He’s accused of a lack of ambition, when it’s actually that he demonstrates REAL ambition. To try to win, playing well, within budgets, working hard. That’s harder than spending £400M and buying 2 league titles and a couple of FA Cups! That’s more ambitious!

  125. Poliziano:

    The idea of individual players bulking up is probably not the best way to make the point but I think that adding some overall team strength would probably help us as long as they keep acertain level of technical competence. Someone who is a good player but is considered an “enforcer” such as Viera, Roy Keane or Essien would help our club IMO.

  126. You guys are asking the wrong questions to AIC.

    AIC,

    Are you going to stick around this blog during the summers as well?

  127. Frank

    Agree fully

    The hold the ball very well, play it around for lengthy periods of the game, like we NORMALLY do with a near enough full team out there. Messi was simply the difference, he was the only spark in their team that could turn the possession into a goal.

    I just felt the cheapness of which we gave them the goals at the Emirates, and the timing of their 1st at the Nou Camp were shambolic. They need to learn from them instances and learn fast, for me the players have the quality, and our reserve players will be EVEN better equipped next season with all their playing time. They just need to mature and learn to just hold out a game, against Barcelona in both legs we handed them possssion. Yet I still feel we could have coped better, and could have scored more. We had them shaking at 1-0 up at their place, an opportunity we let slip far too quickly.

    Is all this down to experience, is losing to Wigan after being 2-0 up a lack of experience. I cannot say I can judge them based on the portion of players we had missing. Our makeshift defence has been tested, and tested far too much. We have found a true inspiration in Sol, a stunning player in Nasri, Theo has shown glimpses of a return to form, Song has emerged as an excellent CM, Diaby for several games running was absolutely a joy to watch after all his criticism left many fans he was on his way out… It just a huge huge shame we didnt take the 3 points at Wigan, and also the defeat to Spurs was also a huge shame.

    Our lack ran out, our injured players took its toll, and the replacements stopped performing. Considering the circumstances and we all feel we have under achieved. That i feel is positive.

  128. Roy Keane was a very similar size to Denilson, and probably not as strong. His effective was based on the leniency with which referees traditionally treat Ferguson’s teams, which enabled Keane to make use of his natural viciousness. If we ever sign a player like Roy Keane, I will stop watching football.

  129. Mido & McCarthy for west ham have bulked up, Mido’s a hippo in the box but McCarthy’s just a fat shit

  130. I really hope that Wenger makes as little changes as possible this summer. The over reaction from many people and Arsenal blogs should be ignored, YW well done for keeping things into perspective.

    Arsenal will start next season with a full squad, with Van Persie, with Cesc, with Vermaelen, Nasri, and whoever else Wenger brings, we will have such a great start to the season everyone will surrender defeat by Christmas.. I can see it now

  131. Brazilian Ronaldo bulked up too.. dont think anyone saw that as a good thing

  132. Barcelona are really, really good.

    Just look at what they have won, how they play, their league record, the performances in big games.

    This isn’t about Arsenal vs Barca, if you can’t see how good that side are you haven’t a clue.

    Iniesta, Messi, Xavi, Pique would all play in a world 11, they defend well, attack even better, and can raise there game when they need.

    If they do the double again, they will be the first team since Milan in the early 90’s. They are close to writing history, you can’t ignore that.

  133. arseneholis,

    We’ve seen Pique play for Man poo. He was slow, ponderous, cumbersome…..mistake prone. He couldn’t even get a game.

    He goes to Barcelona, a team that has the ball so often & wins it back before teams can construct attacks and he fits right in because he was brought up there.

    A world 11? I’m sorry, I’d count 20 centre backs ahead of Gerard Pique. Maybe more.

  134. What these idiotic ‘no silverware, no ambition, play the first team in the johnson paint trophy’ twats keep forgetting is that until 89 we went 18 years without winning the league and 17 years without winning anything else. Do you think we didn’t want to win anything then? FFS you lot, be thankful for what we’ve got and accept the fact that we can’t win every year. Mostly the reason all these horrible scummy teams have been spending the millions is to get to the level that the Arsenal have consistently been at under Wenger, and mostly have not achieved anywhere near that.
    So STFU and be patient.

  135. I think patience is the minimum we should give AW for the glory, success and improvement he has heaped on our club.

  136. PZ:

    Obviously touched a nerve, sorry. I did follow football that closely in the Roy Keane’s day. Still think Arsenal would benifit from adding to its overall team strength. Perhaps Song or Diaby in the midfield can add some “toughness” and adding some bigger CB’s as long as they can pass and head the ball as Ole pointed out.

  137. Alex Ice Cream

    There is no magic bullet as you say but we need a keeper, a striker, a centre back and a defensive mid.

    Alumia is not good enough, Fabianski may be in a few years but we cannot wait that long. Sh1tvestre will go so we need someone else, RvPs injury highlighted the need for a striker and Denilson is not ready to partner Cesc. These players must be ready now and have experience of winning big games.

    We need to supplement what we have not rip everything up. ManU have won sh1tload lately so what if they lost in the CL. At least they lost to a better side than Sperz or Wigan. I don’t see your point here.

    The Invincibles were poor in the league in 06 but finished 2nd in 05, albeit a distant second.

    Pires should never have been allowed to leave and with hindsight nor should Sol or Jens. These players could have passed winning knowledge to other like Giggs and Scholes do for United.

  138. Frank – you accuse people of knowing fuck all about football yet base your entire counter argumument about barca being the best team in world on the basis that we scored 2 goals against them in 180mins and the fact inter beat them once after a 24 bus trip…

    slightly rose tinted IMO

    so stop messi and beat barca hey? is there only one man in club football who has thought of trying this before I wonder?

    thin ice indeed

  139. Alex Ice Cream

    chris,

    Wigan and Spurs changed my opinion of the season. Before that I thought that we had done well despite injuries but the reality is different.

    I never said we wouldn’t get CL

  140. The example of Ronaldo is interesting, and indicates how much more important skill is than physical condition in football. In the last world cup, he seemed to be 5 or 10 kgs overweight, yet he still managed to score three goals. I’m not suggesting we should let our players turn into Roopards, but I don’t believe the physical condition should be a concern.

  141. Bang on it, Rinseout.

    And if we’re going to start drawing comparisons with FC Barcelona we’d do well to bare in mind the 14 year long stretch they suffered without a league title, directly after they built the Camp Gnu, 1960 – ’74. Ring any bells? The fact is, we’re challenging harder than they were then, and I think you know who that’s down to.

  142. AIC,

    The invincibles let a 6 point lead slide and finished 12 points behind in 2005 (not sure of the exact numbers, no time to check so don’t pick on that).

    We were battered in the Champions League that season…..

    Well, all teams need new players. The most egregious thing about the football media is they always talk as if only Arsenal needs players.

    Man yoo need 2 strikers, at least 1 centre half, a back up left back, and proper central midfielders.

    Chelski need 6 players younger than 23 to get the age balance in their squad right.

    Of course we need to strengthen.

    But let’s disabuse ourselves of the notion that improvement only comes from buying. Wenger has proven that this season, where we’ve actually become better without buying.

  143. Barca’s best side is no better than Arsenal’s best side, word. You just got the bus trip excuse off newsnow. The amount you run in a game depends upon many factors. Barca did not lose because they did not run. They lost becuase they left themselves exposed at the back. Their other problem is that the pressing game is very inefficient. When they tried it against Arsenal they got knackered in the last twenty minutes. The pressing game is fashionable for a week or two…but it leaves you horribly exposed if it fails. As it did last night. Arsenal’s best eleven also run but they stretch the game more.

  144. Pz

    Roy Keane was pound for pound the finest football player of his generation and he has the league titles and European Cup medals to prove it. The entire Manure team that he captained was built around him. His “viciousness” was his abject refusal to loose any game. Ferguson has long gone on record as saying that he was the finest player he ever managed – but I guess, what does he know compared to you Pz?

    I mean, you can recite Milton right?

    AIC,

    Agreed.

    I’d certainly advocate a change in playing approach against the bigger teams but I’m just not so sure Wenger is as streetwise as some of his peers tactically. He takes a more academic approach adapting high art vision. While this is entertaining on the eye, creative ability up front must be balanced by a mean and aggressive defensive attitude by the team as a whole to win anything.

    At the start of the season the attitude was right. We close down teams high up the field and scored for fun. But this lapsed and our defence has suffered even more. The truth is we struggle to beat even the lesser teams we should roll over easily. No one fears us. For me, I’d like to see a specialist defensive coach brought in. Someone like Keown (again), who the other night was highlighting the philosophy at Barca where if you loose the ball during training you have a 5 second to gap to win it back. That attitude is not here – and I don’t think Wenger is confrontational enough to instill it.

    I have never been happy with Almunia and for me, he’s been a problem since 2006. I don’t advocate spending money needlessly, but if memory serves me right, we broke the transfer record to sign Seaman. We had 12 years of goalkeeping excellence and there was never a problem. It’s the most important position on the field and the one we need to plug most. Almunia is a good shot stopper, but he can’t catch high crosses, his decision making is poor and its patently clear that he doesn’t command his box. He has cost us points time again. If he can’t be no 1, he should never be a number 2 and as such he should just go. I would buy someone like Lloris and have both poles as backups.

    Chamahk will come in to replace Ade (eventually). I think Edin Hazard is also possibility. If Eduardo goes then we could even be looking at another striker.

    I can’t see Gallas staying, especially if he’s being offered a 3 year deal elsewhere – so at least one other top flight CB with possibly bartley/Nordveit/ or an other replacing Sol/Silvestre.

    Since 2006 we’ve bought Sagna and sold Kolo. If we now loose Gallas and Almunia – that will be an 80% change in the space of 4 years to our defense with only Clichy holding firm. That’s a lot of change so it’ll be a big challenge to get a solid back four in place for next season so I expect Wenger to move quickly.

  145. Brilliant blog. I no longer listen to the “pundits” on SKY and Beebs because the only thing that counts for those chav-like creatures is trophies and as you so well put it – that is not all there is to supporting the best club. well said.

  146. I would imagine that FCB had a few arrogant, spoilt types on their terraces at the time, (or ‘fans grown decadent’ to coin a Pzism) bitching and moaning and doing everyone’s nut for those 14 years, rather than watching the football and supporting the team.

    Back then though the wider world were spared those insufferable horse’s arses as there wasn’t any internet to act as a megaphone and resonate their vapid mix of bollocks and bitterness all over the shop.

    It would only have been those very near to them on the shiny new terraces who stood to be vexed. But then any ridiculous misplaced dissatisfaction displayed in that scenario, could be easily silenced.

  147. You go back too far, Limpar.

    Barca won f*ck all between 1999 & 2004. They won a big fat nothing while they set up the youth system we see now. Players like Xavi & Iniesta were already there then, as well as Puyol, Valdez and a couple of the most experienced players.

  148. Frank, also, Almunia is the greatest keeper on the planet

  149. Am I being moderated Yogi?

  150. I agree with Limpar. Why is everyone suddenly on Barcelona’s dick? Just cos they beat us (that tie was their 2-legged cup final btw) people have to say they’re brilliant to make themselves feel better? Fuck that you bunch of whimpering girls blouses! Circumstances won the tie for them, not us being a worse team. I hope we get them next year so we can show them what football is all about.

  151. Pz

    Roy Keane was the finest player of his generation and he has the league titles and European cup medals to prove it. That entire Man Utd team was built around him. His “viciousness” was his abject refusal to accept defeat and Ferguson has long been on record that he was the finest player he ever managed.

    But I guess what would old red nose know either Pz ?

    I mean – you can recite Milton right..!!

  152. Rinseout, you know that dog

  153. AIC,

    Agreed.

    I’d certainly advocate a change in playing approach against the bigger teams but I’m just no so sure Wenger is as streetwise as some of his peers tactically. He takes a more academic approach adapting high art vision. While this is entertaining on the eye, creative ability up front must be balanced by a mean and aggressive defensive attitude by the team as a whole to win anything.

    At the start of the season the attitude was right. We close down teams high up the field and scored for fun. But this lapsed and our defence has suffered even more. The truth is we struggle to beat even the lesser teams we should roll over easily. No one fears us. For me, I’d like to see a specialist defensive coach brought in. Someone like Keown, who the other night was highlighting the philosophy at Barca where if you loose the ball during training you have a 5 second to gap to win it back. That attitude is not here – and I don’t think Wenger is confrontational enough to instill it.

    I have never been happy with Almunia and for me, he’s been a problem since 2006. I don’t advocate spending money needlessly, but if memory serves me right, we broke the transfer record to sign Seaman. We had 12 years of goalkeeping excellence and there was never a problem. It’s the most important position on the field and the one we need to plug most. Almunia is a good shot stopper, but he can’t catch high crosses, his decision making is poor and its patently clear that he doesn’t command his box. He has cost us points time again. If he can’t be no 1, he should never be a number 2 and as such he should just go. I would buy someone like Lloris and have both poles as backups.

    Chamahk will come in to replace Ade (eventually). I think Edin Hazard is also possibility. And if Eduardo goes then we could even be looking at another striker.

    I can’t see Gallas staying, especially if he’s being offered a 3 year deal elsewhere – so at least one other top flight CB with possibly bartley/Nordveit/an other replacing Sol/Silvestre.

  154. Very true Limpar.

    As we have discussed here before it is the internet and dedicated ‘sports’ channels that have changed people’s perceptions.

    Before that, an incident occuured during a game, we won, we lost then we went down the pub and celebrated, debated, moaned and went home, only to return for the next match a fortnight later-unless you went to all the away games of course.

    In the interim you didn’t spend your time watching the like of Richard Keyes on the box and reading the thoughts of AIC and Joe on the internet.

    Seriously vexatious.

  155. Joe,

    Keane or Vieira for you?

  156. Frank – I think you are looking too much at individuals and not understanding how barca interplay and move the ball as a team. Either way they are better anyway.

    Time and again we run out of ideas in the final third and please, dont give me that ‘park the bus’ expression you got off newsnow… 😉 Sometimes individual brilliance makes the difference, we have surely lacked that.

    Of course we are completely different with RVP and everyone fit but when do you ever hope to play our best team every game all season?

    barca play very high up the pitch so they have a good number of players in the opposition half at most times. Obviously catching their high back line out minus their out of position full backs is very beneficial… was that your point?

    as for you undermining the value of running (trying) and pressing the game, well I dont where to start… your distracting one illogical point with another worse one.

    Anyway I dont want to argue I’m just saying we could definitely take a leaf out of barcas book because they are, as a team, far better than us – IMO

  157. Fucking hell, have you no pride at all, Joe?

  158. I don’t need to give you ‘park the bus’, word. Just look at the goalscoring stats at the point RvP got injured.

  159. Rinseout:

    The idea that circumstances beat us in the Barca tie is not realistic. Everyone here believes this team has incredible talent. However, it has not lived up to that potential. RVP’s injury was a huge blow but this team has not performed well in any of the “big games” that is has had this year. We were intact except for RVP vs. Chelsea in October and we were soundly beaten.

    You could argue that perhaps our talent can match up with Barca when all of our players are healthy but the big game mental meltdowns have killed us for the last 1.5 years. On paper our players might match up with Barca and on paper we are better then United and maybe Chelsea. However, at this time we are not as good of a team.

  160. RVP is world class for sure. Looking at videos of chamakh also today and I really like his link play, technique and movement round the pitch.

    Together they could become quite the force.

  161. You really are a queer fucker, Joe.

  162. Thanks Rinseout…

  163. I am going back to being an Arsenal supporter again since some of you are having trouble getting past the media perception of Barcelona…and in Joe’s case the Mancs.

    ….Arsenal……

  164. I absolutely refuse to read a blog with such a title as I’m sure that I would disagree with it.

    http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/2010/04/has-wenger-and-his-youth-project-utterly-failed/

  165. Ole, I’d have to go with McGoldrick

  166. Bill, you said;

    this team has not performed well in any of the “big games”

    Technically that’s not true. We battered Chelsea at Stamford Bridge & Man yoo at OT. We lost…despite playing quite well.

  167. Fuck off William

  168. all sport is about winning, so i don’t understand how fans find it acceptable that their team don’t try and win everything they play in. it is absurd why bother even entering the tournaments in the beginning? Especially as the premier league and champions league are so hard to win and no disgrace in not winning. if it is good enough for chelsea and man utd why isn’t it for us?

  169. Ole, so you’re basically saying we lost all the big games?

  170. Bill what’s your point then? Are you saying we bottle the big games? We turned up with fire in our bellies but were unlucky at ManU and Chelsea.

    Luke, that’s a good article with an ironic title.

  171. Respecting a quality team does not equal sucking cock. Humility goes a long way in life.

  172. Luke, what have you learnt from this? Never judge a blog by its title, ok? And remember to dance in the street as much as possible, not naked, with clothes on.

  173. word, presumably you’re on about barca? Do they respect us when their management and players tap our captain up every 5 minutes. Fuck em.

  174. Alex Ice Cream

    “Barca’s best side is no better than Arsenal’s best side, word.”

    Frank, that is delusion of the highest order.

  175. we need to play 4 4 2 next year with rvp behind chamakh to get the best out of both of them

  176. ‘Respecting a quality team does not equal sucking cock.’

    I bloody hope not

  177. Because it’s a tradeoff….develop your youngsters by giving them a real competition to play in without pressure…to prove themselves….

    Or win a stupid, superfluous competition that’s more trouble than it’s worth?

  178. True:

    I will give you that we played better at OT but who really cares. we still lost. At 12:42 your point #12 said the same thing I just said. Sometimes we argue just for the sake of making an argument.

    Your point #12 also says the same thing I am saying. This team has excellent players and great potential, but at this time our results on the pitch have not shown that potential and AT THIS TIME we are clearly not as good of a TEAM as the rivals we need to beat to gain the respect we deserve.

  179. Alex Ice Cream

    Bill,

    Well said.

    We are not ignoring the achievements but this team needs to go 1 step further and win the CL or Prem.

  180. Bill,

    ‘Sometimes we argue just for the sake of making an argument.’

    Dude you just defined alot of regulars on this blog and you know this partner !!!

  181. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Guys like AIC, Joe, and arsenehollis are the bane of my existence. Spoiled, ungrateful, little children who throw toy after toy out the pram the second a result doesn’t go our way. Buying expensive players would do nothing to change the overall hunger and appetite of the team. In fact, it would probably be the opposite. What makes one think an expensive player on ridiculous wages would work harder than an inexpensive player on cheap wages. You see it all the time in life. Look at Arshavin. It’s not a stretch for one to say he got complacent. So off with the head of the “we need proven veterans argument”. A lot of these guys get that check and stop working. If anyone knows the way a professional footballer works it’s Arsene Wenger. And I’m backing him 100 percent to get it sorted.

  182. Ole:

    Sorry my comment at 4:26 was meant as a response to your comment at 4:16. I need to proof read these better before I click send.

  183. how can winning trophies be superfluous. that is ridiculous, why open up the stadium for the cup games, why pay the players for playing in those games, why accept TV payments for those games. it is such arrogance that started from the manager and has now become common amongst fans to think that a cup has to be the PL or CL to be worth winning. This is why we don’t have a winning mentality at the club anymore.

  184. Alex Ice Cream

    Hi Nasri,

    What that you moaning like a b1tch to the press about not getting respect despite achieving very little in the game?

  185. it is no coincidence that poor cup results in the past few years have been followed up by poor league form. again this year we rested players in the FA only to go on and lose league games straight afterwards.

  186. Roy Keane’s “abject refusal to accept defeat”:

  187. Ole,

    Vieira everytime.

    I might not have liked some of the tackles he made and abuse he handed to referees – but it still doesn’t prevent me from saying what a truly magnificent player Roy Keane was.

    Its very easy to sit and criticise players who achieved so much. Many of our own ex players have been criticised for their views this season – but in the end they’ve been proven right.

  188. i like nasri and think he is a great player especially in the middle, but agreed that he has won a grand total of nothing in his career so far, and getting paid a fortune for the pleasure

  189. This is a dumb argument, of course professional sport is about winning.

    The term ‘winning isn’t everything’ was made for children on sports day

  190. Fantastic rejoinder By: Keysersoze on April 21, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    “On the opposite side of the coin, Portsmouth and Spuds have won more than us in the last 5 seasons. Would you rather be them than us?”

  191. dan,

    Don’t be a dick. The competition not winning trophies is superfluous.

    There’s no need for a League Cup. It’s such a silly competition which you can win without facing serious opposition.

    Surely the point in winning a trophy is suppoed to mark beating off serious competition….and proving to have been the victor.

    The league; a competition of 38 games against the 19 best teams in the country.

    The Cup: A competition that pits you against every team in the Football association, another way to see who’s the best in the country.

    The European Cup: Competition against the best 32 teams in Europe and perhaps the world.

    The League Cup: Rubbish mickey mouse competition that proves absolutely nothing

  192. Some pre-season tournaments have more prestige than the curling cup.

  193. The extra step is neccesary even if only to strengthen the squad depth. We got badly caught our this year without adequate defensive back up and that is practically inexcusable for such a big club.

    I only want chamakh, david silva, one world class CB and a aging back up CB. Surely a realistic target?

    Eduardo and silvestre are the only 2 I think we could do without.

    the rest is in wengers hands

  194. If sports is about winning, why is it that the vast majority of sports clubs, the vast majority of sports men will NEVER win anything?

    Sports is about competing-competing as well as you can within your natural capabilities.

  195. Ole, was that a Freudian slip about beating off the competition?

  196. Ole,

    How would you sum-up The Suns ‘Rear of the year’ competition?

  197. Ole, they still want to win though you big numpty

  198. just look at the winners of the carling cup and FA cup over the past 5 years and it shows you how only arsenal are the only top team not to have won it and how our major competitors have taken them seriously and used them as springboards for their seasons.

    sorry to shatter your delusional world but we don’t win anything else nowadays, yes we are getting in the CL every year which is great, but you still haven’t answered why if it is good enough for man utd to win on the back of them winning the league every year, why isn’t it good enough for us who don’t win things anymore.

    it may not be the most glamorous but it is a trophy, it gives the players and supporters a lift and creates the momentum and feel good factor in the club.

    it is a very sad indictment of what football has become when winning trophies are no longer worthwhile.

  199. I wonder how that Bibin chap from that Barcelona game is doing.

  200. dan,

    It’s irrelevant if Man yoo win the curling cup. it’s like them winning the Audi Cup last July. Who cares?

    If they won no other title this season, they’ll finish they’ve failed.

    Just like us.

  201. http://www.allaboutfcbarcelona.com/

    he seems to have accepted that inter were superior. he even thinks that alves foul was not a penalty

  202. “Sports is about competing-competing as well as you can within your natural capabilities.”

    ole exactly!! and we don’t!! wenger throws the domestic cups year in year out in the dream that he will win his precious champions’s league and go down as one of the “greats”.

    he even contrived to blow the birmingham game and almost the wolves game for the barcelona game we were never going to win.

    either your squad is good enough to compete in all competitions or it isn’t strong enough and you have to something about it. you can’t have it both ways which is what wenger has been doing and the resulting year end failure again.

  203. Roy Keane was a mad, mindless pikey twat and he still is. As a player he was Darren Fletcher, flattered by a better supporting cast.

    Best player of his generation? He wasn’t even the best player in his own position of his generation.

    But just to prove it’s not just in England that those horror injuries are happening, in case that’s what some people think: search Eddie Gustafsson, FC Red Bull Salzburg goalie leg-break. I won’t post it here because it is fucking horrible to look at. Happened a couple of weeks ago.

  204. dan,

    It’s nonsense to say we don’t compete. Completely without merit.

  205. I stand corrected. This is a fantastically well argued piece that perks you up just when you needed it.

    http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/2010/04/has-wenger-and-his-youth-project-utterly-failed/

  206. Was it an accident, LimparAssist, or was it caused by an opponent’s “abject refusal to accept defeat”?

  207. i think Clichy has the best attitude in our sqaud.
    sure he made some misstakes this season but if you look at backup he gets from his team mates makes it really easy to make misstakes becouse if they get past him there is no one to help and it becomes a very dangerus situation.
    But if more players had his fighting spirit we would gain a lot.

  208. ole where you are fundamentally wrong is that man yoo, have just won the league 3 years running and have also won the CL and been in the CL final in the past two years. so in relative terms a CC win alone is a “poor” season. We are not man yoo unfortunatley, in that we haven’t won anything for 5 years, and at some point you have to start winning something. a domestic cup (i see no difference between the two based on your criteria above) would be a success whether you like it or not. a success we simply haven’t had for too many years.

    you simply can not rely on winning the CL or PL every year or you will end up with nothing as we all know we are still not as good as man yoo, chelsea, and barcelona and soon to be joined by man city who will no doubt buy the silverware sooner rather than later

  209. The truth is all the top 4 teams from last season have been poor this season.Just look at the lost column.
    But when it can down to it in the 4 games v Man Yoo and Chelski we won 0 pts.And at home v them two we got battered
    We have gone up one place,the same as we were in 2008.

  210. ole, we don’t compete in those competitions every year wenger plays weak teams and says even BEFORE the games that they are not a priority.

  211. dan,

    Where you’re fundamentally wrong is if Man yoo won the fucking curling cup for the next 30 years nobody would give half of a flying shit & it wont improve their prestige 1 iota.

  212. It was abject in the sense that it was a fucking awful challenge, Pz. Made with no thought for his fellow player’s well-being.

  213. i am not saying the CC should be the sum total of a teams ambitions, obviously you want to win the big two, what i am saying is if we throw the domestic cups every year we will unlikely win anything again for many many years. also you keep talking about the CC and i am speaking about both domestic cups as he treats them with equal contempt and both are regularly won by chelsea and man yoo.

  214. As heretical and long-shot as it may be, I’m going to point out we actually can still win the league in this crazy crazy season. And we can come second. The fat lady might be on stage, about to sing, but ….the mike aint on yet.

  215. ole, i still don’t understand why you don’t want us to win everything we can and have trips to wembley etc, unfortunately CL qualification is more important than winning but why not want it all. it is as if winning a cup would be an insult. doesn’t make sense. ask red nose was it worth winning this year, i am sure he will say yes, ask ancelloti after chelsea stuff pompey, i am sure he will say yes!!!

  216. ole, can’t even comment on that one, i assume you are kidding or those drugs are even more powerful than we thought. if we have no more players than from last week we will be be lucky to get 5 points from the last three games.

  217. dan,

    The FA Cup is a big competition. Sometimes, Wenger has played hybrid teams in the competition that were then beaten. But often it’s due to injuries. If you have many players missing, and a tough run of fixtures coming, you might have to prioritise.

    That’s a different issue from considering it more important to bring through a new set of kids than winning a competition that in terms of sporting value, and economics is rubbish & unneeded.

    Do you, at the start of the season, think; “I can’t wait for the curling cup to start”!?

    Nobody does. It’s a rubbish competition.

  218. Yup. I did the BBC predictor thingy the other day and the only two real upsets we need are Stoke and Sunderland to get some draws, and Wigan too, and then we’re golden. Those teams have all caused upsets already this year.

  219. You idiot, dan. I want us to win every game and every competition if we can.

    However every team needs to know its priorities and winning the curling cup rightly is lower on the list.

  220. Anyone remember this:

    “The classy thing to do last night – was to admit to the misdemeanor, condemn diving as a form of cheating and take whatever fine/suspension on the chin and set an example for others to follow.”

    Why not just shrug it off as “abject refusal to accept defeat”? Then Eduardo could find some common ground with that other abject refuser, Martin Taylor.

  221. ole, you are plain wrong he has thrown the FA cup every year for the past three years. just look at the team sheets for the games. he holds it higher than the CC but he freely admits and did so again last week that the FA cup isn’t a “priority” and it is better getting to the 1/4 final of CL than win the FA cup, i would rather win the FA cup any day rather than 1/4 .

    i would like our manager to want to win every game, not tell his players before the game starts that it ain’t that important, shock horror we end up with the gutless performances we have seen at stoke, man yoo, spurs etc in the past few years.

  222. dan,

    I know we’ll be lucky to get 5 points….however, the fact still remains that we actually can still win the league.

    We most probably wouldn’t win it. But in a certain long shot scenario it’s possible.

  223. ole, again if it is good enough for chelsea and man yoo, why isn’t it good enough for us. still waiting for that answer.

  224. Ok Dan…this is getting repetitive. Wenger has won 4 FA Cups here…so somehow somewhere he rates the competition. If at some times, he’s had to play ‘weakened teams’, it’s been due to the arrival of a tough run of fixtures after that cup fixture.

    Some times he’s played ‘weakened’ teams to in the league to play stronger teams in a coming cup game (like last season b4 the cup semis).

  225. I think it’s not very clever for any club to think, at the start of the season that they will pin their hopes of winning a trophy on the cup competitions.

    It’d be fools gold.

  226. to be honest i start the season thinking lets hope we finish in the top 4 again. exciting eh!!!!

    money and CL has killed football it is very sad,

    some of my best moments at games are at spuds when rocastle scored, the final against liverpool in 1987, linghan in 1993, parma in 1994. whe was you last moment in the past 5 years, when we clinched 4th place last year!!!!!

    it is crap and sad and far less fun than it used to be.

  227. Limpar:

    Even though I would much rather have Viera and I can not honestly say I do not know much about Roy Keane, I suspect he was pretty good.

    Every player you ever comment about who is not with Arsenal is either crap or a “donkey” or a twat or some other colorful descriptive term. There are a few good players in the world who do not play for Arsenal.

  228. dan,

    I don’t care what’s good enough for Chelski & man yoo.

    If Man yoo finish the season without winning the league or CL, try convincing them they’ve been successful because they won the curling cup.

    They barely even celebrated winning the thing.

  229. after 2005 he made a decision to down grade the FA cup and his team selections have shown that ever since. he has never taken it as seriously since then and we have only been in one semi final since then. other than that we have lost every year early on based on how quickly we were playing a decent team.

    you can not deny he doesn’t rate the fa cup anymore he says it!!!

  230. “There are a few good players in the world who do not play for Arsenal.”

    True, Bill; but none of them play for man utd.

  231. So what do you want Dan ?

    You want us to win the FA Cup ?

  232. dan,

    I start the season thinking; I hope we win the league! I hope we do well in the CL!! Let’s see which kids come through in the Milk Cup! When does the FA Cup start?

    I think of potentially juicy matchups in the Cup….being drawn against the tinies….I hope we get some nice draws in the Eurothingy….nice spring trip to say Barcelona to play Barca….nice juicy encounter against AC Milan or Madrid… I look up the dates for the NLD, look up when we play Man yoo….etc

    The curling cup never comes into my field of dreams….except in hoping it’s the year one or more of the kids comes through

  233. Limps,

    Roy Keane has 7 league titles.
    Has has 4 Cup medals.
    He has 1 European Cup medal.

    He also has a SPL league and cup medal.

    In short, he is the most decorated Captain in the history of Manchester United FC.

    Unlike your observations – his record needs no words.

    Pz,

    I see you failed to attach the U-Tube footage of the tackle by Haaland that snapped Keane’s cruciate from the previous two seasons?

    Or did Milton not know that?

    Heh -Im flattered to see you keeping a little storage pit of my old quotes. That comment comes from way back..!

    🙂

  234. duh yes!!!!

    and the whole lot!!!

    but i am realistic enough to know that the PL and CL are remarkably difficult to win. For me a good season is competing in the league until last few games, at least quarter final in the CL and winning a domestic cup. i am not a fan who thinks we have to win everything, it doesn’t work that way. which is why i find it so demoralizing that he throws away the trophies we have the best chance of winning.

  235. Joe,

    Oh not that thing of counting medals players have won with their TEAM to show how good they are. Not clever.

    That’d make Mikael Silvestre look like Franco Baresi.

    It’s a typical pathology of manc fans.

    In fact I remember one of them using that argument to show me Silvestre is a fine champion a few seasons ago!

  236. silvestre was a very good player for man yoo, he was just crap and over the hill when he came to us.

  237. dan,

    but i am realistic enough to know that the PL and CL are remarkably difficult to win. For me a good season is competing in the league until last few games, at least quarter final in the CL and winning a domestic cup. i am not a fan who thinks we have to win everything, it doesn’t work that way. which is why i find it so demoralizing that he throws away the trophies we have the best chance of winning.

    Bingo. You have lower standards and less ambition than the manager you criticise for lacking ambition. Sweet irony.

  238. dan,

    He was always crap. Always. I used to look at their team sheet, see him on it, and look forward to Freddie skinning him.

  239. Not at all, Joe. The video shows Keane injuring himself in the process of trying to foul Haaland. Bad luck.

  240. Off topic:

    Xavi & Jose Arragantio ‘had words’ in the ‘tunnel’ regarding the referee:

    “I love Xavi and can never have any problems with him. I have known him for so long and love him. When I went to greet him in the tunnel at the end of the game, he spoke about the referee and I said he must have been talking about the referee (Tom Henning) Ovrebo from Chelsea-Barcelona last season, not this game.”

    – Jose Arragantio.

    People like to compare Xavi & Cesc:

    After an, allegedly, ‘bent’ game, the teenage Fabregas threw pizza at Slur Fergie. Probably an older, wiser, Fabregas wouldn’t have done that.

    But still, I loved him for it.

    I also loved his, ‘You used to play for Barca?’ quip to the OOOOoooooozey One.
    Fabregas is a very good WUM. Much better at it then some of the Trolls attempting to splice their wares on ACLF.

  241. Poliziano @ 5:28

    good one.

  242. Ole:

    What do you know about Connor Henderson. I had never even heard of him before he was in the squad vs. Wigan. Where does he play and is a creative type of a worker bee type midfielder?

  243. Ole – if your opinion of Pique is based on his time in Manchester then you are way out of date mate.

    He is fundamental to the best club side in Europe this season and last. He is also first choice for the European champions and current world cup favourites. He is a quality player. Try watching some of his games in the last 2 years dude, he is as good as there is at what he does.

    As for Franks banal bullshit about barca, whilst it may sound logical it is all wrong.

    He seems to have not watched them lately as well, if ever, apart from the Arsenal game.

    RVP, Cesc and Clichy would make their team, but that is it. They battered us for a reason – we are not playing that well at the moment. They have been for 2 seasons and collected 6 pots already on merit.

    For all the whiney junk about injuries, they have had theirs also, as have the mancs and chavs domestically.

    Again, we were leaking goals when everyone was fit, just look at the two games in Manchester early in the season – same problems as fucked us all year. It isn’t nice to say, but it is true. Without lurching from semi-senile bipolar rants, as you have since Sunday Frank, there is a reality there.

    We were top 8 in Europe, top 3 in England. That is a fine achievement, but over the summer it would be nonsensical if we didn’t try to close that gap and be first in each. The league doesn’t lie and we do need to improve.

    That can be done in a number of ways and certainly doesn’t necessitate spending large sums of money – it is possible without adding a single player. But as a fan and not a coach I have no idea how the fuck that gets done, so i prefer to imagine new singings. Common sense says he cheaper the better, so long as they are good enough. They must be good enough though.

    I doubt that last bit will register with Nasir, who is both a cunt and a simple one at that, but I will keep trying – he may learn to read one day.

  244. Silvestre was a joke at Inter before manure signed him, he has always been error prone.

  245. Oh shut the fuck up, aresnehollis, it is really, really dull. We just disagree with you. Doesn’t matter how many times you say your stuff

  246. Why are you mocking bipolar sufferers by the way?

  247. I wasn’t Frank, I was mocking you.

  248. By the way Frank – who exactly is “we”. I am not sure who you have decided you speak for, or is this some sort of royal thing?

  249. When you say senile, are you referring to my age or do you think that I am also suffering from dementia? Sometimes senile is shorthand for senile dementia. If the former then I am not sure why you think that being older than you is an insult. If the latter well…probably I am.

  250. I am in fact bipolar.

  251. No you are correct I am not speaking for anyone else. I am schizophrenic too. I tend to refer collectively to me and the voices I hear as ‘we’.

  252. So there you have it, arsenehollis, you clever scallywag. You have uncovered the fact that I am old, bipolar, demented, shizophrenic…I will through in paranoid too.

  253. Nevertheless, the Arsenal first eleven is as good as the Barcelona first eleven. Nothing changes. .

  254. Certainly the latter Frank, you seem to have become slightly erratic – more so – since the team “kicked you in the teeth” on Sunday.

    It is good to see you back fighting your corner though, railing against those who are saying things very similar to you on Sunday/Monday.

    It is bizarre that saying that you think the team needs to tighten up defensively, get stronger mentally, and add a bit of squad depth in preparation for the inevitable injury deluge next season is twisted in to some form of treason in the eyes of you and your less sharp followers on the blog – I presume that was the “we”.

    Barcelona are a good club to look at for us to see how to take that next step. Two years ago they played about the worst game i have ever seen in rolling over to the mancs in the CL semi. Now they are nearly untouchable. That defeat to Inter was the first time all year they have let in 3 goals and the first time they have lost by two in 19 months (If I remember the paper rightly.)

    They are a good team, you can acknowledge that without shame.

  255. Maybe on paper our first 11 is as good as theirs, but on paper is a farce.

    Still begs the question why we aren’t defending World, European, and domestic champions.

  256. I will leave you all to it for the night, but remeber, it was Arsene who said:

    “We need defensive reinforcements”

    Maybe he is wrong, I dont think so. Maybe he thinks only money solves problems. Maybe he is a turncoat ready for Nasir to flay. Or, maybe he is just stating the bloody obvious.

    He also refused to use injuries as an excuse after the last game.

  257. I sometimes wonder if some of the people who comment on here are Barca, Man U fans 1st and Arsenal fans 2nd (if Arsenal are doing well.) I know one is a tinies fan.

  258. Sorry Bill, no more insight on Henderson than you’ve got. I know he scores a lot of goals. No, I’ve never really seen him.

  259. Arsenaholis,

    Only Messi, Xavi and Iniesta would make the Arsenal team. Ever thought about that?

    And no Dani Alves won’t make it, he’s not good defensively. Vermalean and Gallas for me any day over Puyol and Pique. Ibrahimovich, Henry, Pedro, Basquets, Keita e.t.c aren’t really that special.

  260. I agree with Ateeb

  261. For the Barca and Arsenal fans a good team would be

    Clichy Vermalean Gallas Alves

    — Xavi Song

    Cesc

    Messi RVP Arshavin/Iniesta

  262. …and dupsffokcuf

  263. “RVP, Cesc and Clichy would make their team, but that is it.”

    Seriously?

    Arshavin on point would make that team, Sagna, Song, Nasri, TV, Gallas.

    AHollis, I think you are way wrong and dont have any respect for your team.

    how can can you say how bad they beat us, when the players you state that could make their team didnt even play? how do you balance those two statements.

    Just maybe it wouldve been different.

  264. I agree, dupsffokcuf. Who but a man utd fan would describe deliberately breaking someone’s leg as “abject refusal to accept defeat”? When confronted with the truth in all its ugliness, who but a man utd fan would then lie to protect the offending player, by claiming the victim had previously “snapped Keane’s cruciate”? Roy Keane in fact had tried to hurt Haaland before, and had humiliated himself by injuring himself in the attempt. His assault on Haaland was a vain attempt to conceal from himself his own culpability for his injury.

  265. We are playing in a more competitive league, where we have the likes of Chelsea, City, and Manc who love to splash the cash. Barca just have Real Madrid, who operates similarly to our counterparts. Playing in a non competitive league, where the style isn’t as robust as in EPL, you tend to have lesser injuries, and compete better in the cups. No wonder, they had just one main player missing in Iniesta when they faced us, while we were missing a lot more many by the second leg.

    They didn’t miss Xavi or Messi, for the whole season, like we missed RVP. If they had, it would have been really difficult for them and the likes of Nasri, Arshavin, Rosicky, Denilson, Song are much better players than Basquets, Keita, Pedro e.t.c. That is the main reason we were challenging for the title until the very end.

  266. I am still seething about the performance in the last 15 minutes against Wigan. Especially after the Spuds result in the week. The Spud thing was always going to happen at some stage and with a weakened team etc. But I still don’t understand the Wigan fiasco. It sticks out like a sore thumb. Very, very strange.

  267. It’s a joy to be able to watch a top class game with complete neutrality. Every time Bayern or Lyon go forward I’m hoping they score

  268. Also get off of this Barca Barca crap, the dont look likely to win the CL either and the League is not a sure thing for them, they are not in the Copa Del Ray either.

    Our younger players were a bit struck and showed too much respect but even with that and the injuries we gave a good account of ourselves. If not for some favourable deflections and a little more composure on our part and it would be well different.

    It was not as comprehensive as you claim, it was Messi making us pay for mistakes and we didnt repay the favour.

  269. Frank,
    I think YW is right in that AW is unlikelyy to sign Villa as he is 28(Although so is AA now) but what my old favourite formerly with Ajax and now in Spain with Villa Hedwiges Maduro!
    Come on, you just kind of know that is an Arsenal,name!
    He is a 25 Centre Back who can also play full back and midfield 9well you’d expect at least that from the Ajax Academy.

  270. Awful shooting from Bayern.

  271. Frank, it’s not easy to take, but sometimes you just hit a wall psychologically and physically and try as you might, you cannot get over it. Some of the players are not yet up to that mental challenge, but they are learning every day. They kept it up as long as they could in the absence of their inspirational leaders, but clearly it was beyond them on the day. I’m sure none of them wanted that to happen, but there are clearly some jaded players who are running on fumes, however there is no chance of a spell on the bench to clear their heads and rest weary limbs because there are no substitutes left. Many players have played through injuries this season and we have no way of knowing how many others are currently on the edge. Until I know different, I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, these are the same players who got us into a position where we could start dreaming of trophies.

  272. of course he isn’t going to sign Villa, he is never going to (or should he) spend that sort of money on him. chamakh will come and that will be it for forwards.

  273. Frank,
    I think YW is right in that AW is unlikely to sign Villa as he is 28( although so is AA now); but what my old favourite, formerly with Ajax and now in Spain with Villa, Hedwiges Maduro!
    Come on, you just kind of know that is an Arsenal,name!
    He is a 25, a Centre Back who can also play full back and midfield (well you’d expect at least that from the Ajax Academy).
    hick! a few corrections to the text

  274. Yes, Pz. Olic tends to miss a lot.

  275. 3 goals in that short space of time is hard to digest though. I think a part of it was turning off that could be due to fatigue but damn!

    I really hope the boys can pull out a win this weekend. They deserve something good for all this misfortune.

    I am just thinking Merida will have a great game if given a chance, like that kid!!

  276. sunday was wenger’s fault, he should have seen the game was getting away from them but he did nothing, rvp should have been brought on with 25 minutes to go, it would have lifted us and put them on the back foot. and then the subs at 2 1 just said to wigan here we are for the taking. shocking, awful substitutions. the manager should be able to read these situations and act accordingly. he was out smarted by by bloody martinez!!!

  277. Villa at 28 may have to come at a good price then, no?

    He would also be a kool head in front of goal that we have missed in the latter part of the season.

    I think this is a great time to buy him actually, just what we need.

  278. I think Nasri and Rosicky were playing well on the left together, maybe when Rosicky went off something the cohesiveness left a bit. He was putting in some great tackles.

  279. if it was still 2 0 there would have been some justification for those subs, but they needed to respond to the wigan goal not go back in their shell and rely on a crap defence and even worse goalie.

  280. These teams seem very nervous. A very scrappy game.

  281. A red for Ribery

  282. Abject refusal to accept defeat from Ribery.

  283. Haha. That sucks for Ribery. Can we have this ref in the EPL? Imagine playing against 9-10 men week in week out.

  284. I hope his mum is there to take him home.

  285. A straight Red????!! I bet the commentator is a United fan, he is acting as if Ribery went in to kill the man.

  286. HAHAHA, PZ

  287. Its funny how many have said the sawcross situation was not so bad.

  288. was it that bad of a tackle, it didnt look so at fisrt?

  289. Ribery gave the opponent a bit of a grind after the initial foul. I think that’s why he got a red.

  290. Paul N, unfortunately, I think Merida has shot himself in the foot figuratively speaking by not committing himself to Arsenal. He has missed the opportunity to feature for us at a time of player shortage because Arsene is hardly going to feature him in such key games when he has one foot out the door already.

    The collapse on Sunday coincided with the substitutions, probably because the balance was off as Arsene was forced to throw fresh bodies on, without necessarily having the options that could add something or compensate for what we were missing.

  291. I see, watching it again he was really stupid. Tried to be slick.

  292. Paul N, it was a definite red card tackle. Unfortunately in the EPL against us it would not be a red.

    Lloris looks dodgy tonight.

  293. Makes sense Passenal. Merida needs to look at the many others who have left and use wisdom. A player of his immense talent will get a chance at Arsenal.

    I guess Wenger was caught between a rock and a hard due to injuries.

    Can we have one year where we are not battered by so many injuries?!?!

  294. dups, it wouldve been a warning in the PL!

  295. he had RVP, Vela and eduardo on the bench, he didn’t need to make those defensive substitutions.

  296. Isn’t he the world class goalkeeper that Arsene should spend £20 million to get? Just shows the only difference between Almunia and these others is that we don’t see them every week to pick their every mistake apart. It’s not like Lyon are running away with the French league either.

  297. With all these players injured that all we need, Merida shooting himself in the foot. I agree with you, Passenal, as usual. Just proves that we AKBs are..well…you know…passionate…ish. Just a bit of composure was all that was required. From me I mean.

    As to whoever said that RvP should have come on earlier. They scored at 80 minutes and I think AW was trying to avoid bringing him on at all. For obvious reasons.

    Now this Hedwige chap. I am going to go with Ian on this one with Passenal’s permission. Because he seems to have done the research. We definitely need CBs because we have two in there at the moment who are almost as old as…Flint..

  298. Eduardo was not on the bench at Wigan.

  299. 10 v 10

  300. Bad injury during the Villa-Hull game.

  301. Yes we need this guy to ref Arsenal matches, ha ha!

  302. why is it obvious that rvp wouldn’t come on, what are we saving him for Holland and the world cup?

    he could have come on after wigan scored the 1st, why wait for the 2nd on 89 minutes, smacks of desperation and stupidity.

  303. RVP was only on the bench because we had no other players. After the spurs game he was not up to playing. I would hardly call Merida a ‘defensive’ substitution.

    Toulalan is another one that the internet crowd think should play for us!

  304. scoring goals is not what you really need when you up 2-0 with minutes to go. Why would you want to risk RVP? that would be careless. He was stiff from the spurs game. Ifhe got injured we would say, why did Wenger risk RVP.

  305. it wouldve been stupid to risk rvp esp on that dodgy pitch.

  306. Can’t imagine why the commentators are treating the foul perpetrated by the French bloke with a scar, Ribery, differently to that committed by the young, weeping English boy, Shawcross.

  307. “Now this Hedwige chap. I am going to go with Ian on this one with Passenal’s permission. Because he seems to have done the research. We definitely need CBs because we have two in there at the moment who are almost as old as…Flint..”

    I won’t argue with you there Frank, as I do think our two old geezers at the back had nothing left in their legs in the last 10 minutes and contributed to at least the 3rd goal as they stood off N’Zogbia and let him shoot.

    Jean Makoun, another ‘Arsenal must buy’ am I impressed?

  308. Has Lloris been ‘paid’ – he is shocking!

  309. then why risk him on 89 minutes? no where prior to the game did it say he wasn’t fit to play and if he isn’t fit to play 20 minutes he shouldn’t be on the bench full stop.

    the reason to have brought him on was that on around 65 minutes they were coming more and more into the game and we needed to get them on to the back foot.

    clearly replacing walcott and rosicky who have some idea where the goal is and replacing them with eboue and merida who don’t know where the goal is a defensive move. at 2 0 fine, but at 2 1 was totally the wrong move as it took away the very little goal threat we already had on the field and just let wigan spend the next ten minutes attacking us. the rest as they say is history. who here honestly was surprised when wigan scored!!!

  310. Robben isn’t a bad player – for a woman.

  311. Well when you back is against the wall you do drastic things. Actually playing 5 minutes is a big difference from playing 25. It was the right move in my opinion. I dont think in a million years that anyone wouldve thought we would lose that match after being up 2. it was very strange, i have no other explanation really.

  312. dan, i think merida and eboue know where the goal is. quit being a smug little prick.

    Wigan had recently re laid there pitch. Not worth risking him for any part of that game – unless the team has a mental break down and loses a 2 goal lead in the last 10 min.

    As we all know rvp can make something out of nothing in a moment. He doesn’t need twenty min.

  313. Awful keeping

  314. By way of stating the ‘bleeding obvious’ Dan, if you have a player like RVP who has missed most of the season and is feeling the effects of his first appearance for 5 months, you hope you don’t have to play him. You only introduce him if you have no other options and you are desperate. 89th minute, Arsene was obviously desperate but on the day it was too little too late.

    Lyon have been crap tonight?

  315. Lloris laid an egg

  316. of all the players chelsea had the only player i ever was remotely jealous they had was robben.

  317. Lyon rely on defence. They have very little in attack even when they had 11 men against 10.

  318. ttm, they are both defensive players who replaced two attacking players, merida has scored once and eboue about 5 in his whole career. at least show some footballing brain and admit it was a defensive move, if you can’t see that you know naff all about football.

    again risking him for what? for holland!!!!!! wenger said he was completely fit during the week and again on friday in his press conference.

  319. he is more likely to do damage running around like a headless chicken at 2 2 with one minute to go trying to save our season than being eased in gently at 2 0 with 20 minutes to go.

  320. Too bad AIC made an appearance today, and snatched the doomer of the day award early on. Unfair to late comers.

  321. headless chicken? who the hell do you think you are?

    never said it wasn’t a defensive move. but you speak in tired punditry cliches. Can you admit the absurdity of saying any of our players don’t know where the goal is.

    Actually the more time you play in a match, the more likely you are to get injured. Can’t you just admit that?

  322. Robben is class, isnt he?

  323. i shouldn’t have said headless chicken, what i obviously meant was you are more likely to be more stressed and more likely to have to push your body harder when you have 4 minutes to save the season than coming on with 20 to go without that pressure. as for the goal comment again you knew what i meant, wasn’t being literal.

    the two that came off were goal scorers the two that came on were defensive players who don’t score goals or weren’t ever going to push wigan back in to their own half

  324. What a poor CL semi final this is.

  325. Dan,

    That game that you’ve been discussing for hours ended a long time back. Move the fuck on.

  326. i don’t know who you are arguing with re: to the defensive nature of the subs.

    Definitely not me.

    The subs were pretty logical given the situation. Away from home. Dodgy pitch. Keep the lead. Maybe nick a goal.

    He could not have predicted the team mental breakdown in the last 15. To pretend that he should have is utterly without precedence in modern football tactics

  327. just let us know what is acceptable to talk about!!!!! wouldn’t want freedom of thought on here!!

  328. RVP pushes himself 100 percent in every game he is in. 4 min or 20 min.

    What the hell are you talking about? Do you think he should only push himself in the last moments of a game?

    You make absolutely no sense

  329. On the evidence of tonight’s match, Lyon don’t have any players who could even dream of playing for Arsenal.

  330. Looking bleak for Liverpool now that Villa are 2-0 up.

  331. no, what i meant was, if you come in at 2 0, you can start in a slow manner and pace yourself in the game, if you come in as he did with the season on the line with 1 minute of regular time the urgency is more likely to get you to over do it with your body.

  332. and thus more likely to injure yourself.

  333. ttm, I wouldn’t waste my time with Dan, other than to ask where he has been while we were in with a chance of winning the league? Immature doomers who only appear when things are looking bleak, in order to say ‘I told you so’ have no credibility whatsoever. He should crawl back under the stone where he has been keeping Joe and AIC et al company for the last few months.

  334. Well said Passenal.

  335. Robben is a good player; but I was disappointed by his long-range shooting tonight. A Nacer would have put that shot in the top corner.

  336. I wonder why certain Arsenal fans get so incensed when you suggest an Arsenal player, or the Arsenal squad might be as good as an acclaimed player or squad elsewhere.

  337. They all count, I suppose.

  338. Ole, the problem as they see it is that we didn’t pay £20 million plus for them. They cannot seem to see the quality unless it is accompanied by a price tag. The most valuable players we have (Cesc/Song) cost next to nothing and the next most valuable (RVP) cost less than £3 million, yet some seem to think that Arshavin is worth more just because he cost more to buy!

  339. the shame is the so called “doomers” are unfortunately always right in the end. because it always ends in tears!!!

    and unless something dramatic happens this summer the same conversation will be had this time next year as it did 12 months ago.

    absolutely identical and has been for three years. same people saying the same things.

    but i always thought that’s what blogs are all about. it is ok to have different opinions, makes the world go round!!!

  340. i don’t come on during the season because don’t have time to BS all day everyday. only at the end of a season can you see where you are at, obviously there up and downs every year, certainly no gloating on my behalf was as gutted as you by what happened this past week.

  341. Passenal,

    That’s the irony of this squad….the less they cost, the better they are…

  342. dan?

    eh,

    Wigan may have evened up the game if RVP had been on the pitch for 20 min.

    Using your questionable logic he would’ve been on the pitch “over doing it” (whatever the f#ck that means) for that last 5 min in addition to the 20 min he would’ve have been just “pacing” himself (whatever the f#ck that means), thereby increasing his likelihood of getting injured.

    So either way you’re increasing his risk of getting injured by bringing him on for longer.

  343. ttm, i think we need to end this debate as i obviously am not making myself clear. we can agree to disagree.

  344. Delia-----Block112

    Do you realize had we reached the FA Cup final we would have played every round away from home against PL teams ? Don’t forget some of the best Emirate nights ever have been watching the Kids in the LC.
    How important is it to you to be royally entertained at the Emirates? I’ve watched some pretty awful Arsenal sides during the last 50years and consider it a pleasure to make a 220mile round trip to see the current team play,
    even if I do have to pay through the nose for that privilege.
    Trust AW has roused the troops for a final assault on maintaining 3rd place. The thought of City with Ade rubbing our noses in it is unthinkable.
    COME ON YOU REDS.

  345. my bottom line point was i would have just brought him on when the game started moving away from us midway through the second half.

    clearly if he wasn’t fit to play 20 minutes that couldn’t happen but then why was he on the bench.

  346. Well he was on the bench because we didn’t even have enough first teamers to fill out bench…he was there in case of emergency.

    Like I said-away from home-dodgy recently relaid pitch-preserving a lead…these factors would lead any thinking man to the only risk averse option to bring on a holding player and a defensive player, as you are trying and maintain possession and see the game out.

    Only makes since if you actually…think…about it.

  347. Can anyone tell me why certain fans like to call our squad ‘Wenger’s experiment?’

    Why is this copied around from blog to blog. How is building a squad an experiment. Has this never been done before?

    Is an experiment not buying players that they want bought.

    Does Wenger buying Song ahead of Cana or Cesc ahead of Milner mean that he is experimenting?

    Perhaps Gooner Ted, Howard, Gooner1 etc could explain this to me.

  348. ttm,. i assume you saw the game. to me what was frustrating and still is (because i realize i a sad git) is that the manager should see where a game is going and act accordingly, to me watching the game it was obvious we were being pegged back and back and i was thinking why don’t you throw on some forwrads and take control of the game again. it was all so bloody obvious!!!

  349. and if he had and RVP wasn’t able to score/peg them back the armchair managers would’ve cried out for defensive reinforcements.

    its always so obvious when you have the luxury of your comfy sofa pillows.

    disgrace

  350. Mean Lean, they call it an ‘experiment’ because of a belief that if they are young or don’t cost a lot, it is a risk compared to the mythical ‘proven’ player who comes with a commensurate price tag. We all know that is false because many a ‘proven’ player has turned out to be a flop when taken out of their comfort zone. Imagine if we had paid for Julio Baptista for example, a player Arsene originally wanted to purchase? (felipo Melo, anyone?). Our financial position does not allow us to take such risks e.g. Berbatov who has barely played for manure despite his price tag. Any Arsenal supporter worth his/her salt knows that we have to cut our cloth accordingly and would recognise that if anything, given our resources, we have overperformed. Otherwise I would question their credentials.

  351. Mean Lean,

    Oh, great point, I went off on someone about it recently…..

    There are people who’re convinced that Wenger will sometime soon consider the experiment to have failed and then pull out a new squad.

    The media brainwashes. Sad but true.

  352. Funny thing is, it is not for lack of quality why we are struggling. We have the most talented players in the Pl regardless of price tags. Too many damn blasted injuries.

    Thats my opinion atleast.

    This is no experiment, this is a materpeice! you dont just rush those!!

    We will prevail in the long run!!!!

    ARSENAL!!

  353. Passenal,

    Between 07 and 08, the media did very serious damage to Arsenal….but let’s not moan at the media.

    They framed so many things completely wrong, & established so many falsehoods that will be hard to shake off.

    One of the most damaging was in never acknowledging why Arsenal went for a youth policy.

    They somehow managed to impose the idea that it was one elaborate ego trip for Wenger.

    Very egregious.

    That’s why I get annoyed with some bloggers who dont try to argue the clubs’ side, trying to treat them as the enemy.

  354. Dietmar Hamaan’s German/Liverpool accent is up there with Jan Molby’s Danish/Liverpool one. Even got the high voice ‘You talkin to me?Vas is dis?’

  355. Seems to me that Rupert Murdoch’s dickhead press and media experiment has failed.

  356. Very quiet tonight. I guess people are rewatching their Barca recordings.

  357. I wonder of Franck Ribery knows Veronique in Pigalle. I doubt it. If he did he would never have gotten himself into this mess.

  358. Three things have got me over the Wigan game: Beer, the hilarity of Hulls’ misses when they were only a goal down to Villa, and rediscovering Q and Not U.

  359. Franck Ribery is from Boulogne and used to play for Le Touquet. We used to fly to Le Touquet for a weekend of dancing and gambling. Le Touquet is part of Etape where you can find the best fish restaurants in France, but sadly it was also the location of the hospitals in the First World War. My grandfather was treated there. In the corner of the vast cemetery there are several hundred graves of German men, just like the many thousand of Brits there 90% of them were under 25 when they died.

  360. Bayern gave a clinic on how to keep the ball while protecting a lead. They did the same at Manure. I hope they go to the final and win the cup. They play some wonderful stuff.

  361. dan:

    “and unless something dramatic happens this summer the same conversation will be had this time next year as it did 12 months ago.”

    I can see something dramatic happening alright. All of our youngsters become more ruthless and cynical next season and we walk away with one of the CL or EPL trophies or both.

  362. “Ruthless” is ok. But I don’t like “cynical” and much prefer “clinical”. 😉

  363. Is Ribery out of the Final if Bayern Munich gets through? Probably yes?

  364. Well cynical in that they will not expect the refferee or the F.A. to give them the benefit of the doubt just because they’re talented youffs.

  365. Arjen Robben is a f*cking fantastic player. Diving piece of crap but ridiculously good.

    Bayern v Inter in the final will be an interesting matchup.

  366. Harsh

    Agree on fantastic Arjen Robben. And to think Chelski and Real Madrid let him go in favour of over-priced Galacticos. What a loss!

  367. Étaples
    Ribéry

  368. UEFA have the power to hand out aone or two match ban. Of course handing that sort of power to those sort of people is one of the great football injustices.

  369. Frank

    Ribery’s foul wasn’t that bad as to justify him missing the final (if they beat Lyon over 2 legs). It wasn’t with full force (with body weight behind it) and also not at speed. He deserves only a 1 match ban.

  370. Ribery’s tackle was nothing compared to what Ramsey and Eduardo suffered from Shawcross and Taylor.

  371. As a foul, which of course it was, Luke, it was one of those which looks bad on a slow motion replay. The suggestion is that he fouled the player and then deliberately ‘ground’ his foot into him as one commentator stated. When you look at it at normal speed though you can’t help thinking that he would not have had time to think about ‘grinding’. Often slowmo has the effect of distorting the action…maybe so in this case, maybe not.

    Of course Eduardo was hung drawn and quartered by the same process.

  372. …Taylor and Shawcross did something which does not come across on slowmo in the same way. They put their whole body weight behind a straight leg tackle (no cushioning with the knee joint etc) applied to the immoveable lower leg of the victim. Much worse and full of disregard for safety.

  373. 1 loose cannon

    Something to be proud of.
    7 enlgish clubs on the list. Only 2 spanish teams, it just proves what Wenger said about la liga. A 2 teams league”

    http://www.forbes.com/2010/04/21/soccer-value-teams-business-sports-soccer-10-wealth_land.html?boxes=financechannelmostemailed

  374. Ribery is supposedly facing the possibility of three years in prison for having sex with an underage prostitute. She is 18 now; and since the incident happened last spring, she must have been at least 16, and probably 17, at the time. I doubt Sherlock Holmes could find a 17 year old girl in France who is a virgin. From the current state of the law, most of the men in France should probably be in gaol. It’s absurd the way the law has failed to keep pace with changes in social mores.

  375. They’ll probably make him do 3 years community service playing for free at PSG

  376. Another law-defying Frenchman, Charles N’Zogbia, has been arrested on suspicion of having someone sit his Driving Theory Test for him. O for Inspector Clouseau to have caught up with him on Sunday morning!

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