Stone Cold Friday: Learning To Mix The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

If cocaine is God’s way of telling you that you make too much money, Darius is his way of telling you that I’m a skiving bugger who is taking today off.

I was intrigued when watching the Barcelona v Internazionale second leg semi-final tie this past Wednesday. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and was surprised by how Barcelona let Jose Mourinho’s warriors suffocate them.

If we’re to believe the statistics, Arsenal actually played better and more engaging games in both ties against the Catalans than the men from Milan did. But here is the cruel thing, Inter get to spare Real Madrid’s blushes after stopping the pending humiliation of Carles Puyol and his team lifting the European Cup under the very noses of the natives at the Bernabeu.

I found myself asking – ”what is it about Internazionale that is so ugly yet so admirable?”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fully paid, card carrying member of the ’Give me beautiful football every day of the week and twice on Sunday’ society, and ordinarily, I would find Mourinho’s tactics distasteful at the best of times.

Yet as I watched his 10 men battle and gallantly execute the job they went to Barcelona to do, I was left admiring a character trait that I feel we sometimes miss at Arsenal.

Inter didn’t go to the Nou Camp to play football; far from that. They went to stop Barcelona getting to the final. Perhaps that’s the subtle difference in tactics that seems to elude the Arsenal at key moments when the good, the bad and the downright ugly have to be brought together in the spirit of pragmatism.

Mourinho captured his team’s determination by simply saying that when the chips are down, they’re prepared to leave blood and not just skin on the pitch.

One of the hallmarks of any great team is its ability to learn, innovate and adapt. It would be extremely vain, even arrogant of Arsenal to assume that we have nothing to learn from the teams around us. On Wednesday night, I found myself wishing that we had more of that ’you’re only getting past me over my dead body’ attitude that the Inter side showed.

One thing to say though is that there is a subtle difference between Arsenal and the Italian champions. Apart from Wesley Sneijder, all the Inter players were over 26 and had a hell of a lot more mileage than the core of the Arsenal team. That perhaps counts for the experience and nous displayed by Inter that in recent times seems to elude us at key moments.

My sense is that we have to accept that inconsistency is a by-product of youth, and we can hope that the learning curve of our players is a very short one if you take into account the individual and collective experience they already have under their belt.

The more difficult dilemma is that of getting the balance between Barcelona’s lethal and entertaining attacking instinct, and the pragmatism and defensive nous that Inter displayed in abundance. But isn’t that always the case in life? If you could pick this and that from here or there and marry them together, oh what a perfect life it would be.

It was clear to see from Wednesday’s game and tactics that when we played the Catalans, we gave them too much respect and the horse had bolted by the time reality checked in on our part and we tried to shut the stable door. Wenger is intelligent enough to know that he has to do something to improve our defensive fortunes. We can’t hope for example, to win any title by letting in nearly 40 goals in the season.

The manager avers that he will sign 3 players with his usual health warning of – “if we can find the right player”. That’s perhaps code for ”Chamakh is already on his way, I’ll need a goal keeper and there’s just room for one more in defence”.

Reinforcements are of course needed, but I feel the more important thing is that the squad builds on the gains made this season. Some of the core players who have come into the fore in the last couple of seasons – Diaby, Denilson, Song, Bendtner, Walcott just to name a few – have to step their game up and continue to prove that the faith the manager has shown in them, even putting his reputation on the line, is not misplaced.

The missing ingredient for me is a mental one and not necessarily technical or physical. Internazionale showed on Wednesday that it’s not just about being technically good enough; it’s about fighting like your life depended on the game. We already have players who have this mental strength, but we have to do it more often and more consistently.

It’s not acceptable for example, to be 2 nil up with 10 minutes to go and throw that lead away, let alone lose the match. It’s moments of madness like those which easily undermines the stellar effort the team has put in for most part of the season.

Wenger is not short of advice from hacks, pundits and wannabe football managers masquerading as disgruntled Arsenal fans when it comes to transfer targets. Everyone is convinced they know who exactly needs to come into Arsenal to bring the experience they say we still need. My sense is that if these folks were that good, they’d be managers themselves instead of arm chair idealists.

I believe what’s more important is that the squad who start the season acknowledge that the solutions are for most part within them. They must build on the gains made in the last few years, and cut out the Keystone cops episodes that have dogged the team in their moments of insanity.

For now, the team owe the fans a ’feel good pick me up’ moment, and spanking Blackburn Rovers isn’t a bad idea at all to lift the spirits.

Keep the faith people.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on April 30, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 219 Comments.

  1. Agreed – Wenger needs to strike a better balance – this will come with the continuing maturation of some of our youngsters.

    I think Song will be a giant next season.

  2. The missing ingredient is more than half of our of first team. If we put out our best players we would have been able to take on Barca and may well have won at least one of the legs and maybe both.

    The Inter tactic was down to necessity and, let’s face it, it was a hell of a risk. 9 times out of ten they would have lost that game. They just got the rub of the green on the night.

    The other point is that Barcelona are nowhere near as good as they and the press and media, and half the people who comment on here, believ.

  3. Ooh yeah FIRST! And all that boolarx.

    Yaaaaaawn.

    :0)

    Well done Fulham. Boo ya sucks Liverpool.

    Happy Friday – ACLFers.

    Let’s make it a good one – filled with warm smiles, blueberry muffins, childish humour, big fat sunshine, beautiful ladies (or men should you prefer) and a beer or 3 after work leading into a loooong weekend where Blackburn get a thorough shafting by the the best club in the world.

  4. The one player that stood out in Inters performance was Lucio what a defender that guy is!

    Good what a twat Jose is! Is there a more arrogant tosspot anywhere in world football.

    Seriously any Arsenal fan who would like him at the Emirates must be mental.

  5. drew10,

    Come on, Jose’s great for football, all he done was celebrate in front of his own fans. Barcelona were there the disgrace, they should be punished for putting the sprinklers on, how childish was that?

  6. Frank,

    ‘The other point is that Barcelona are nowhere near as good as they and the press and media, and half the people who comment on here, believe’.

    The same could be said about alot of clubs…

  7. Anybody else supporting Fulham for the Europa League?

  8. William, Jose is terrible for football.

    The only redeeming thing about him is that his horrible, tactical style will force the good guys to find new ways to be both attacking and efficient.

    The press love him of course because his nonsense provides them with easy copy, but that’s got nothing to do with football.

    I mean, if you’re not interested in all the off-field stuff then Mourinho must be fun, but once the teams are on the pitch, which is the only part I care about, he adds nothing spectacle. In fact, he does all he can to make football as boring as possible.

  9. “nothing to the spectacle”

  10. – not

  11. Oneofus, you cant say that, mourinhos teams have been involved in some of the most intense games ever played. Yes, the tactics can be boring especially in a league format, but in the cups trying to knock him out is brilliant entertainment for the masses.

  12. William, seriously? Come on the man is a slimy self-serving toad! He did not run on the pitch to ‘celebrate’ with his fans he ran on to take centre stage. It should have been about his players but again it was about him.

    For once in my life I will be supporting a German team in the final!

    Aaditya, totally! Those lads deserve all the credit for the way they have battled in every game, some of our players could learn a thing or two about never giving up from Fulham! Roy Hodgson has worked miracles for them and as my dad is a Fulham fan I hope they win it!

  13. Oneofus, as a spurs fan I should hate him just as much as you. But for some reason that I cant explain I think he’s great.

  14. drew10. I quite appreciate his arrogance, and i’ve noticed he always gives his players the credit in his interviews after, yeah he can be a spoilt child but so can all the great managers. At least he doesnt hide behind cliche’d responses like most footballers and football managers do. You just said you’ll be supporting Bayern in the final because you hate him, which in a way proves my point he’s great entertainment

  15. I agree with everyone, except William.

  16. dupsffokcuf,

    I know what you’re doing there homeboy, you’re saying ‘except william’, but you secretly mean you agree with me but you dont want to admit it in front of your pals. Thank you you for your support Dupsff, you’re a good man, I dont care what they say.

  17. Walter at Untold Arsenal has an interview with Thomas Vermaelen worth reading.

    http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/2010/04/thomas-vermaelen-from-antwerp-to-ajax/

  18. I really dislike Mourinho but you have to admit if his job is to win he surely does the job and it seems a second champions league is coming his way.
    Of course his tactics are ugly and I would never would like to see him plead his trade at te Emirates but as Darius said the player might need to learn a few thing from Inter as the Wigan match was disgreatful, I mean appart from N’Zogbia goal (who could have been avoided with tighter defending) it was unacceptable to concede those kind of goals.

    As for signing Chamack will be a good addition as he will offer us the goal poacher and fighter option up front, I would give dudu and vela another year to prove their worth.

    In defense, Gallas is a must signing, he can give arsenal another two good years of service and help Djourou and another signing like Mexes to settle.

    As for goalkeepers, I would get rid of Fabianski and quite possibly Almunia if we can get a replacement who can get straight into the team. My preference would go for Lloris as he is young, fearless and and really talented but I doubt Lyon would let him go after just two years. My second choice would an experienced goalkeeper to keep the spot warm for sczenzy to come in in a couple of years time.

  19. You got me there dawg.

  20. Gunnerluc,

    This will sound silly, but imagine if you were Gaurenteed a league title and a champions league title within three years of mourinho as manager, would you still not want him at arsenal?

    Any team would. Ask Man U fans, Real fans, even sensible Barca fans.

  21. William, I have grew up and fell in love with football with Wenger at Arsenal, for me football is an art and it has to be played like Arsenal, Barcelona, Spain, Holland play it which is beautiful passes, movement and trickery not just strenght.

    I really believe Arsenal can win something with the current team with just a one or two experienced player guiding the young players so no I wouldn’t like Mourinho to come in as I believe there is so much more to come from Wenger and his boys.

  22. @william short answer – NO

    I wouldn’t mind having him in the backroom somewhere as a consultant of some sort, but I would not want him at the helm of Arsenal.

  23. gunnerluc, what about after Wenger retires?, were you thinking maybe Tony Mowbray?

  24. wengarball, you wouldnt be sayiong that when you were lifting the league title and getting the better of Ferguson most of the time

  25. Yeah right! Why not big fat Sam to replace Wenger!
    Go back to the spuds with Rednapp who will bring your club to administration like he did with pompey or maybe your chairman just like to loose money with stupid overpriced signings.

  26. William, mate, I hope you are standing up because if you sit down we might not be able to hear what you are saying!

    Even with guaranteed success I would not want that classless idiot anywhere near our club. Imagine players like Cesc, Arshavin, Nasri and the like being stifled by playing 11 men behind the ball.

    We are blessed by watching some of the best football this country has ever seen, we have our failings but the Emirates would be half full watching that shite every week!

  27. Bayern Munich will win the Eurothingy, not Inter.

  28. Mourinho at Arsenal, you are having a laugh!

    Can you imagine 60,000 Arsenal supporters watching on as we defend for the majority of games, playing off the odd counter attack. After all these years of exciting attacking football I doubt anyone would go to watch games anymore.

    On top of that we will have the MOST selfish manager in world football ever to exist who will spend all our well earned cash to bring a title then run and parade on the pitch taking all the glory from his players! The English press and Chavs can continue to suck him off, I for one dont want him anywhere near my club.

  29. William

    Not everyone has an Ownership which continues to pick millions out there back pockets for shabby footballers like Keane and Jenas to satisfy a manager who needs to buy 10 players a season for a team that aspires to reach top 4 one year, then avoid relegation then next.

  30. I agree with ChrisGoona

  31. I still cant believe you guys didnt beat city, the one game I wanted arsenal to win and you didnt even try. What the hell was that all about?

    gunnerluc, rednapps players made pompey a profit in sales. It was the chairmens fault. We have wasted alot of money on shite players but remember we make a profit becuase we have a loyal fan base and sell our players for overpriced sums as well. If it all crashes, it will only be Spurs and Ar5ena1 left.

    Drew10, come on, you have to give Jose some credit, he’s paid to win throphys and thats what he does. He is funny as well, before the Chelsea – Inter game he said ‘Everyone knows I dont lose at stamford bridge’, thats funny stuff by anyones standards.

  32. You are not imaginative enough to pull off what you are trying to do.

  33. Chrisgoona, I think alot of arsenal fans would love to see there team defend well for 90 minutes at the moment to be honest.

  34. You lack the necessary creativity

  35. You are reduced to stating opposites

  36. Frank, have you ever been kissed by a rose?

  37. Even your Spud thing lacks credibility…dull

  38. gunnerluc

    I believe too, we have came close a few times now. I don’t even class this year as failure, I am dissapointed which means we know that we can achieve a lot more. After selling Ade, Toure and awaiting the return of Eduardo, Rosicky and injuries to many key players.. the ‘backup’ players have performed admirably, every year it seems as if our squad is getting stronger. By stronger I mean the likes of Ramsey, Denilson, Gibbs, Nasri… all getting lots of minutes, and making massive strives forward. As an Arsenal fan watching players which were criticised by all coming out and performing like champions. I can’t explain the joy that gives me, the boys do deserve a lot more credit than all has given them, I include the media, and I include still a section of Arsenal fans who expect miracles when we are up against everybody – Referees, Citeh’s Billions, Chelskis Billions, Man Utds dominance, and the ever increasing spending of other clubs.

    Take a look at our club and admire, we have the most innovative stadium in the league, a great manager who respects the club, and players youth and experienced who we all love to watch.

    It don’t get no better! With or without trophy!

  39. How good was the Snooker yesterday? I hope Robertson doen’t win it, I cant stand him. For some reason I’ve been rooting for Graeme Dott.

  40. You are a star, ChrisGoona

  41. William, if I want funny I watch comedy, if I want smarmy self-satisfied unshaven cocks then I may entertain watching a press conference with the ‘Special One’ what sort of twat calls themselves that?

    By the way your beloved manager, ‘It was all the chairmans fault’ Churchill the dog, is going to be manager of pentonville first 11 this time next year. Tax-evasion is a crime, still it wouldn’t be the first of your managers to be arrested now would it?

  42. ChrisGoona, what fans dont love there club, win, lose or draw?

    I’m just saying that Jose is a great manager, love him or hate him. I wouldn’t swap him for redknapp at spurs but I would’nt mind him at spurs in the future. Being told we played well defensively is a huge compliment to us yiddos, normally people walk through our defence without breaking a sweat. Defending is just as important as attacking, a great boxer needs a great defence otherwise he is not great.

  43. Cheers Frank

    William, you are not entertaining anybody here mate. Also, Arsenal attack so we don’t have to defend. You would have learnt that by watching Barca, they hold possession and bombard you for 90mins… they dont need to defend, its why every attack we had almost lead to a goal. Its what made the Invincibles the Invincibles.

    (By the way that was in a competition called the Champions League)

  44. Frank, am I a star? You’ve never said i’m a star, even when I tell you who I fell deserves lashings for below-par support, It hurts my feelings a little bit

  45. Chrisgoona your on fire this morning, great stuff.

  46. drew10, Pleat was lonely, dont hold that against him.

  47. A great football team obviously dont need a great defence.. how on earth did Barca win the Champions League last year then?

  48. ‘arry wont be lonely when he is bending down for the soap!

  49. Chrisgoona, what about George Graham & ‘Boring Boring Arsenal !!!’ You weren’t complaining then were you rude boy

  50. I love it, ‘Mourinho is the best’ wouldn’t swap him for Churchill though oh yes!

  51. els

    It took me a while to get over the dissapointment at Wigan – was a real blow after we fought through many games to put us in the position we were in. Then, watching Mourinho behave like such a knob, I guess we can be greatful for such a fine club we have.

  52. Chrisgoona, Barca play a pressing game against the teams that like to play, which is a style of defence. Have you forgotten the lesson they gave you already? Every days a school day partner

  53. 1 loose cannon

    No one is in awe of Inter, no player would be saying “I’m dreaming of playing for Inter”, and no kid will be asking his daddy to buy him an Inter shirt. They simply don’t capture the imagination of people. Arsenal won many fans all over the world through the type of football we play. BUT I do agree with Darius ” the good the bad and the ugly ” have to go hand in hand. But is it possible? its not as easy as it sound, most managers would train on certain type of football and it very hard to change the mentality of the players like a switch.
    Mourinho’s Training would be 80% practicing the ins and outs of defending, while at Arsenal is the opposite the emphasis will be on attack, attack, attack. If you tell the Arsenal players to defend for 90 minutes they will not be able to do it, their instincts will take over and they will attack. We saw Inter giving the ball back to Barcelona, they simply did not want to attack at all.
    On many occasions we dropped points at the last minutes because we don’t waste the last few minutes by feigning injuries, taking the ball to the corner all that nonsense. What do we do we attack with a 1 nil led and 2 minutes to go. But we need to find the balance by working a bit more on the defensive side of things an extra hour every week on boring defensive stuff will do us a lot of good.

  54. drew10, harry would be the daddy in prisonn he would probably know half the inmates

  55. Chris goona
    Don’t get me wrong I love the club and I will never be part of the so called fans who boos the players.
    I fully realise that we are graced with the best manager and players and a beautiful stadium!

    Like I said it is Wenger and his players that made me fall in love with football. I think the only reason we didn’t win a trophy is because we had too many injury, I totally agree with you, the replacements have been outstanding! That’s why a truely believe like wenger said 2 to 3 quality addition will be enough to win us some trophy but even if we don’t I will always enjoy watching my beloved club play football how it should be

  56. I have to admit the league was yours for the taking this season, for a long while I thought you’d win it, you need to sort your Goalkeepers out, there worse then Gomez

  57. I think we r actually there already just need a little reinforcing at the back. Not just new players but commitment like staying at the back to defend even tough the team goes on an attack… Discipline is the key in defending! I remember the invincible year none of the cbs ever leave the half line mark even on a counter attack. Now thats commitment. I know defenders at arsenal score lots of goals but is it worth it if it costs us lapses in the final 3rd in matches like in the wigan game… doubt it, surely defending shud come first n scoring second for defenders!!! Scoring shud not even b on defenders minds ( own goals could inevitably happen ).

    Apart fm tat we surely must employ more counter attacking football with speed especially when playing walcott!! Instead wenger keeps on playing 4-3-3 which only works with fabregas n rvp in the team… playing 4-3-3 like barca requires very tight defending n incisive ball that only messi n xavi can give. that is way above the level of our youngsters n we shud do only wat we know we can do well – counter attacking. Proof of that comes from the milan n liverpools games where simple counter attacking did the job. Its gud 2 stick 2 game plans fm the start of the season but when injuries kick in we need 2 play accordingly. Wenger shud hv changed play when fabregas got injured. Well the whole gameplay needs no changing but just adding. I wish wenger would draw some inspiration fm aston villa of last season n city of this season. Id baffles me the number of times mu hv played the classic counter attack n won games late on with 1-0 score that i believe shud be scores we shud be gettin not them!!!

    Alls the same, Keep the faith gooners, I hv a feeling wenger knows wat i talked about n probly more … Arsene knows as always !

  58. dear god

  59. You need to try a lot harder…still not credible

  60. Your right goona, even the most insistent arsenal supporters probably took a hit with the wigan loss. I couldn’t even read here, just to see all the crumbling ‘I told you so’ supporters venters.

    BUT we have many many things to love about our unique trail blazing club. Differences that make us stand out, and WHEN it all comes good for this club, it is going to be an absolute massive achievement, nothing less.

    If you like sitting ten men that have cost £400m behind the ball then don’t support this club, you have countless other clubs to choose from.

    As you say Mourinho coming here after what we are used to would be an absolute joke and the people calling for this need to seriously look at there footballing preferences.

    Mourinho is also a knob to boot, taking the limelight from his players in such an arrogant way.

    Keep up the great posts Chris

  61. chrisgoona

    I think you may be wrong by stating that a great Football Don’t need a great defence.Cos Everybody already knows that our Defence is probably the worst in the premier League.Cos if we did had a Great Defence then we would’nt had conceded stupid late goals like the game we played againts Fuciking Wigan.

  62. Wigan was an aberration

  63. Gooner2,

    you let in another stupid goal were your defence went to sleep for about ten seconds, i’m trying to remember what game it was…….. umm……..err…….. no its gone.

  64. Darius, I normally agree with you but not today. I hate Mourinho’s football. Sure he wins, but with one of the most expensively assembled teams in the world that is expected. But what I hate about him is that his football isn’t an art. People like Mourinho kill football. A final between Inter and Bayern will not provide any class. Expect a dour final as between Manure and Chelsea some years back. If all coaches in Europe adopted Mourinho’s tactics I’d stop watching European football! And so would Europeans. I remember the week that Mourinho got sacked his Chelski and Arsenal both had Champions league ties. The Emirates stadium was packed with 60,000 fans while the 40,000 seater Stamford Bridge was only half full. The Chelski faithful loved him so much that only 20,000 bothered to attend. Even they knew that Mourinho was all about winning and to hell with the finer things in football. Football must be an art to survive long term!

  65. William, to be honest I only started supporting Arsenal back in 1994, when your a kid its hard to remember what kind of football we played. Maybe if I was older I would have moaned somewhat. Point is we appreciate what we have, we don’t go chasing pipe dreams by spending 18m on Darren Bent then flog him the next year…

  66. Also more than ever wenger needs 2 deploy new tactics or conjure old ones in this coming pre season. Doing it earlier would be better. Then new players can bode in well n find balance in the team. A balanced tactic of changing gameplay according 2 situations shud b the priority. Its the balanced 4-4-2 of the invincibles that crushed teams week in week out during the unbeaten run. We need more of that but it all starts with the mental discipline of the backline.

  67. Ashton I don’t agree with you!
    I think that moving to a 4-3-3 formation has been great for us! It is the formation that suits best the players we have.
    The midfield looked much more confortable since moving to that formation even when cesc and RVP wasn’t there.

    Song, Diaby, Ramsey, Nasri, Bendtner, Eboue have all improved tremendously this season and I believe the change in formation has contributed to that.
    Add to that Walcott who, if he had played more this season, would have been tremendous on the wing and I think this is our formation for years to come.

  68. Kenyan Gunner, Thats just chelsea fans, there just a small club with alot of money

  69. William

    What the Hell are you Talking About?

  70. Chrisgoona, Darren Bent was probably our most ridiculous signing, and believe me theres been a few. But you cant blame other teams for trying to get into the champions league, especiall if they stay within budget like we do. Arsenal fans have been spoilt rotten by wenger

  71. gooner2, I’m talkiong about the big questions dog, what are you talking about?

  72. The league was ours for the taking this year.. no matter what people think of our defence. The squad was good enough to win it. How anyone can turn around and point fingers and blame individuals is beyond me. In the end injuries took their toll – even with the goalkeepers.

    People who admit to us being capable of winning the league, then say you need a great defence dont make sense. Gallas, Campbell, Vermaelen, Clichy, Sagna, Song… are all fantastic defenders by the way.

  73. Frank

    Their was nothing Nomal about that wigan’s Defeat.Cos we were 2 goals up.and somehow we conceeded three sloppy goals in Short minutes.

  74. Chrisgoona, I never said Arsenal needed a great defence, I said any football teams need a great defence. You do have a decent enough defence when people are fit, not sure about your goalies though.

  75. William

    The day when all these ridiculous signings catch up on your club, is the day you will be all scratching your heads.

    Think back to Leeds, Newcastle, even Pompey now.

  76. Kenyan Gunner.

    No biggy in disagreeing. You’ll note my use of the word ‘ugly’ and my membership to the beautiful football society.

    I still think there’s something about tanacity and determination that we can learn…we already have the skill, technique and beautiful football.

    As for the question as to whether Mourinho should come to the Emirates…I’d rather poke my eyes with needles than see him as the Arsenal manager.

    Apart from whatever we can learn fromother teams, I think what we saw on Wednesday will also act as a barometer to fans to see how lucky we are as a club.

  77. Please don’t indulge the cunt in a conversation about the Spuds, CG

  78. ChrisGoona, we make a profit, and all our players have a sell on value, were one of the youngest squads in the league. Levy is an amazing businesman, he just doesnt know a good manager if one was biting his ass. Redknapp is the best signing he’s ever made.

  79. Frank-Dog, have you ever been kissed by a rose?

  80. Regardless of the often dour football and tactics he plays, Mourinho is not an Arsenal man. He lacks the class that is needed to manage the greatest club in the land. I sincerely hope Arsene commits another 5 years at least, otherwise i think he will regret it because our future is very bright indeed.

  81. I am a true believer in it attack is the best form of defence, that Wenger apply’s.

    However when we don’t have the ball that means we must close down really well. You can see in this squad over the last 2 seasons a lot more emphasis being put on that trait, with Song, Deni, Diaby, Rosicky and even Nasri taking the chase to the opponents.

    They are getting better all the time at this, I think this is our equivelant of Inter’s brick wall lumping the ball tactics. I would far rather watch our boys do there thing as a spectacle, wenger is bringing in beautiful defending into football. All the above mentioned players can play great forward thinking football too. This in my opinion is a new side to arsenal and it is defo a work in progress, given another season and I think we will have that balance between great free flowing attacking stuff when we have the ball and great pressing and closing down nicking the ball away type stuff when we are without the ball down to a T.

  82. ChrisGoona

    the Squad was Good Enough.But we Did’nt win the main prize which is the premier League.And I think its about time you stop lying to yourself.cos the Truth will set you Free.

  83. Matty Bwoy, maybe he should start grooming a number 2, Pat Rice looks ready to drop

  84. To get to the final, he had to beat Chelsea, who are going to win the league, and Barcelona, the defending champions, and the best team in the world right now. Did you expect anything else but Inter to defend and try and grab one on the break?

    In the same vein, there is an art of attacking in football which Barcelona are capable of displaying but there is equally an art to defending which Mourinho appears to have perfected…sometimes he wins, sometimes he loses but you cant begrudge him. Other posters lamely claim that it is easy to put 10/11 men behind the ball and that anybody can do it…hmmm…actually not that easy especially against a team like Barca. As for me i respect the man…I have seen his teams in over 100 games attack better than Barca and defend “with their blood
    How many times has Mourinho beaten the better team? He is, despite being at times an insufferable man, a great manager and tactician, one of the world’s best.

    And I believe that its time wenger stopped protecting his players, let them take the heat. As Myles palmer rightly said this is creating a culture of also-rans within the club, a culture wherein the need or desire to win isnt felt by a vast majority of the team and its time to put an end to it. I remember jose substituting joe cole coz he was doing fancy things on the ball instead of getting on with the game, the same with balotelli. The difference between wenger and mourinho is this , wenger protects his players far too much while mourinho makes sure that the player is good and capable enough to do what he wants them to do, to do what is good for the team.

    We need to create a winning team with the right mentality, everytime one of chelsea’s players’s is about to get a card the whole team comes together to protest ..all the 10 outfield players. Again look at fulham, a team with modest resources but in the last 2 years they have brought a dramatic change in themselves, in their attitude. That is what is needed. The togetherness, The need to fight for each other everytime, the desire to win.

    Football rightly said is an art, an art that has 2 core sides to it
    Attacking and defending.. And both combined successfully is football and To think that playing football without having a discplined defense “is art”, is a bit idiotic and its time wenger realised that.

    I do not admire mourinho or myles palmer, nor do i support all their views , But there is some sense in what they say too and its time we took notice of that instead of constantly ignoring them.

    And finally we as fans have a duty too, a duty to support our team no matter what. Its fine to give constructive criticism but lets try not to go overboard with it. This is our team, our arsenal…and let us never forget that!

  85. Mancini won 3 titles in a row at Milan but was sacked because he failed in the CL.Jose was brought in to win the CL for Milan.

    A lot of people having a go at the bus parking in the Camp Nou forget Inter WON the tie in the first game

    Wengers biggest regret in football is his failure to win the CL with the Invincible squad when we could not use injuries as an excuse

  86. I only bothered to read half of that drivel. Got to this bit ‘I remember jose substituting joe cole coz’ and began to wonder what the f*ck i was wasting my time for.

  87. alexvincent if somebody writes that putting 10 men behind the ball is a tactic (myself included) then I think they realise that there is an art to it, but perhaps a one that as Arsenal fans we shun as it is beneath us. If you prefer this to our brand then you may be one of the fans we have that would be more catered to supporting a different team. If you want to watch 400mil worth of player defending for 80mins happily then your watching the wrong team.

    Have some faith that Wenger is going to win it all with this team. All it will take is a few less injuries. Then look at the players in that winning shot and how many have been molded into the professionals that they are by Wenger himself, rather than had money flung at them (the easy option).

  88. 1.Please stop blaming injuries.Every team has injuries

    2.Its a sad indictment that our best player over the last month has been a player who was at Notts County 6 mths ago.That is a shocking statement for a team going for the title.Where is the fight? where is the backbone in the team?

    3.Wenger knows nothing about goalkeepers-FACT

    4.The blame culture at Arsenal.Its never our fault when we lose or dont win trophies.Blame injuries,Blame Bad refereeing,Blame Bad pitches,Blame the cold weather,Blame it on the Boogie but dont ever blame it on the manager or the players

  89. We need to defend better as individuals then it follows that we will defend better as a team. If we only have half the number of injuries next year as we did this year we will win the league. These two elements did for us this season. We have the attacking potential within our team to destroy teams.

  90. Sadly some Gooners wanted Inter to turn up up at the Nou Camp lay down and let Messi tickle there tummy like we did.Inter showed Messi could be stopped.Wenger after the game against Barca said Messi was unstoppable.Watch wednesday’s game Arsene and tell us Messi is unstoppable.A stupid statement by a stupid man

  91. 1. Please stop.

  92. 1. Why?
    2. Ha yeah
    3. Hmmmmm
    4. Fuck Off

  93. All I can say is that all the unsavory antics on and off the field in the CL these past few week (need to fit fergies hypocritcal ‘bad loser’ + racist comments in) have certainly given me some revitalised perspective on Arsenal.

    Come rain or shine we are by far the classiest club in the world.

  94. This changing-name guy is by far the most annoying troll on here. Yep, he’s even worse than the fake Spud!

  95. Now im picturing Sol laying on the floor with his arms and legs in the air, with Messi kneeling next to him tickling his belly and smiling

  96. ‘Blame Bad pitches,Blame the cold weather,Blame it on the Boogie’

    That was pretty funny

  97. Right on cue.

  98. Come on Matty Bwoy, sing with me…

    Dont blame it on sunshine……… !!!

  99. I think it’s the general positivity of this site that attracts so many trolls, after all if they went on certain other Arsenal blogs they might just end up agreeing with each other! Surely the idiots realise it galvanises us.

  100. vote to ban needed.

    please make it so yogi

  101. Rotational Trolling?

  102. It wouldn’t quite be the same without the childish pricks would it?

  103. Thank you Matty Boy, its nice to know someone appreciates me.

  104. lets agree to disagree

  105. Gunnerluc

    I agree with u 4-3-3 is the best so far. But it has made our defense shaky with defenders themselves committing too much on the wrong end… While some players hv done wel others did not and i feel its because they were not given the astuteness that a solid formation would. With a solid defense they could attack without thinking twice bout the defence coz they know it’ll be covered well. The formation needs 2 be made 2 suit all the players qualities not the players b made to fit the formation … Thats rigid so a 4-4-2 is balancedin most ways. N most of the injuries were up front! So why 3 up front ? When we hv more options in the middle ?

  106. If you have to stick around and use a number of different names with barely different characters…could you at least try to make it funny. You don’t seem to be clever or witty enough to do what you are trying to do.

  107. Here we go again.The typos are too contrived.

  108. Your a fucking attention whore mate. fuck off to chat roulette where you might find some other socially inept spotty 15 yr old twat who wont find you utterly replusive. You need to grow up and get a life.

    never again will I reply to you, just please fuck off.

  109. Matty Boy

    The real reson why so many peopel jump on this Blog is that people in here are Bunch of Fags.And they Believe in everything that wenger says.and Don’t get me wrong cos I do have Faith in wenger.But sometimes wenger can be very Damn Search Stubborn at times.

  110. Matty Boy

    The real reson why so many peopel jump on this Blog is that people in here are Bunch of Fags.And they Believe in everything that wenger says.and Don’t get me wrong cos I do have Faith in wenger.But sometimes wenger can be very Damn Stubborn at times.

  111. Frank, William, James and Jim-Dog are my only names, you can check that with the Yog-meister.

    The other guy takes his work a little more seriously. I think he really really dislikes Arsenal fans for some reason

  112. …and so it goes on

  113. @ William, You are never going to get these sheep minded sycphants to agree with you. This is why we are where we are. just except that we are going to see alot more of this rubbish until the manager goes or he buys some players capable of winnning. You know the fact that we have won nothing in five or six seasons and been lied to for several seasons means nothing to them. IF THE SQUAD WAS SO GOOD HOW COME THEY HAVEN’T WON ANYTHING IN 24 ATEMPTS. These fools would have you believe we were unlucky all 24 times. My club is full of so many rose tinters it’sembarassing. You know what thedysay once theyhave read this, “fuck off and support Spurs then”.

  114. momoney, I’d hate them to say that….

  115. Frank, cant we all just get along?

  116. fuck off and support spurs then.

    Well y’know I had too.

  117. Frank

    You really are an Attention Whore.

  118. I think there is a place for all you useless mindless, media reading fuckheads. You’re just going to make it all the sweeter when we win the EPL next season or maybe even if it’s the next.

  119. I tell you what, the lads on Gunnerblog never used to be such meanies, i’m hurting from this rejection. I thought we were pals

  120. els

    didnt you say the say last year,and the year before and the year before……………………..

  121. Interesting read Darius. I don’t have any respect for the Mourinho approach myself….grudging or otherwise. It got them through (just)…they were helped by some predictably lousy refereeing decisions though. I really hope Bayern win it.

    Gooner2 and Momoney…you need to use the spell check my dear friends. That’s what it’s there for. It will at least help shape your retarded insults into semi-coherent and readable sentences.

  122. 2002 double winners

    2003-fa cup winners

    2004-League winners

    2005-fa cup winners

    Who said it is not all about winning?

  123. Nice one Darius

    I totally agree, we need to strike a balance. As someone said earlier, we are getting closer to this every season. In the last 5 years, we haven’t once even thought about ‘parking the bus’ – and thank fuck for that. If Mourinho ever came to our beautiful club, it’ll be a very sad day indeed.

    With players like TV and even Nasri who run their arses off to get the ball back or at least put pressure on the player, it inspires others in the team to follow suit. I dont think we need heavy investment this summer, but one player who has that tenacity will help in getting the others to put in a shift.

  124. Opaque, sad and a little tragic, watching a person reveal himself/herself to an imaginary world.

  125. ChrisGoona @ 12:41.

    Great motivational speech for my sons church league football team.

  126. Arsenal.com has published a statement from Arshavin.

  127. Now, Darius, I agree with Kenya G. Mourinho is the most distasteful manager and the one I have the least respect for. This is not doubting his tactical nous. It’s elemental. Perhaps he is more likeable amongst his inner circle, but I doubt it.

    Wenger is thinking “better football can and does win matches”, and in england specifically he means the two (art and winning) are not mutually exclusive. I hugely admired this ambition. Its setting a yardstick way beyond any other.

    I’m chastised regarding Barca. I wuz wrong. I thought they were something and then saw something different. Barca are not what I thought they were, and I too was guilty of putting reputation before reality. They are not better than we are, and not the “best in the world”.

    That said, I believe we crossed the psychological rubicon called ‘a winning mentality’ this year. The superficial facts don’t bear me out, yes I know, my conclusion is from noticing the response of certain individuals and their qualities in specific situations of stress. I would name Clichy, Sagna, Ramsey, Vermaelen, Cesc, RvP, Song, Bendtner, Denilson and maybe Nasri in this regard. Something tells me they know we have it, they feel it, so close you could touch it. Such a pity all except Sagna were injured or unfit at key times.

  128. Els @ 11:39.

    Your faith in admirable but probably not realistic. As Darius said. We will never win anything when we concede 40 goals per year. The last 7 years our table position in goals conceded has been 1st (invincibles) , 3rd, 3rd, 4th, 4th, 5th and this year 7th. That does not look like improvement to me.

    In 8 of the last 10 years the team that conceded the fewest goals won the EPL and the other 2 years the winner conceded the 2nd fewest goals. No team that was worse then 2nd in the table in goals conceded has won the league in 10 yrs.

  129. larry no, something similar. But no matter what this team’s time will come, without to much investment and without radical alterations.

  130. Yes, point taken Bill. And it makes sense.

  131. Fuck off with this Mourinho nonsense.

    If we were desperate for trophies, I’d choose 10 managers ahead of fucking Jose Mourinho.

  132. Ole, name five that would win the premiership

  133. Well said Zimpaul. I felt a bit stupid after thinking Barca were the best team in the world, realising that I had been drawn into all the hype.

    When they dont get their way, they look dispicable. All throwing their toys out of the pram, diving more than i’ve ever seen, lashing out, sneakily peaking through their fingers to see if they have got the decision etc etc etc. Cunts.

    What you say about the moments of stress is absolutely spot on ZP. The Stoke game was the moment that convinced me of this new ‘winning mentality’, and this will only improve with the collective drive for trophies.

  134. Bill, you’re not a Gallas fan, but he took the team very close to the title on ’07/’08, very close.

    That’s not to disagree with what you’re saying, just keeping the thread balanced. Yes, there will be some signings. There always are.

    It would be a mistake to underestimate JD, he is held in high regard by other managers in the PL, looked very good when he’s played, and none of us are in a position to comment upon his injury situation.

  135. Finsbury, what injury situation is that? The situation that he is always injured?

  136. hear hear! – Ole @ 2:33pm

  137. Arshavin is one of those guys who confuse honesty with almost malicious tactlessness….

    I’m always surprised how many people excuse his misstatements with; “I like footballers to be honest”, as if, if you don’t criticise your team mate by name in the media you’re not honest

  138. Mourinho gaurentees success, how many other managers can do that?

    I’ve just remembered why Arsenal fans have a special hatred for the special one. Is it because he once called wenger a voyeur or some shit?

  139. Fuck off William

  140. I know Ole, dont you just hate that, its like, what the fuck?

  141. The easiest way to identify an idiot is when he says ANY manager guarantees success. Instant idiot identifier

  142. Ole, name five managers that would win the premiership

  143. Ole, Mourinho gaurentees success rude boy

  144. f*ck off you f*cking sp*d!

  145. Bill thanks for the compliment.

    As for my optimism being unrealistic then if I had agreed to everything being perfect then you’d be right, however, I did say that I think Wenger is aware of our defensive frailties and has been going about a resolution with a pressing style of play for the last 2 seasons. He has just mentioned as much.

    With this being Work in progress it will only get better and yes we have room for improvement, but don’t forget that this team changed to a 433 only this season, and our wingbacks did suffer early on.

    With a fit squad and a bit and the experience of the full season with this tactic it is inevitable we will improve. Nobody can disagree with that. This is without new signings.

    After Wengers comments the papers will be flooded now with defensive signing speculation.

    As Zim suggested and Darius’s article mentioned we could maybe do with another vermalen type tenacity signing.

  146. Darius:

    Great post today. You and Yogi are on fire this week. I love great football just like you, but I would love it a whole lot more if it came with some trophies. Your point that we need to be a little more pragmatic and slightly less idealistic is spot on. I suspect we have lost our self confidence with regard to our defense. Adding some new players is clearly needed to change the mental and physical dynamic of our defending.

    Your statement is perfect: “The missing ingredient for me is a mental one and not necessarily technical or physical.” The entire organization from Wenger down to the ball boys need to recognize this fact if we want to break our trophy duck.

    You can play good attacking football and still defend well. Our 07/08 team was top of the table in goals scored and still played great defense for 26 games (2nd in the table after 26 games.) We conceded only 17 goals in the first 26 games of that year. (0.65 goals/game.) The first 2 goals we conceded that year were the howlers that cost mad Jens. Unfortunately starting with Birmingham and the WG meltdown we conceded 14 goals in the last 12 games and lost our chance to win the title. We have never regained that defensive nous that the 07/08 team had for 26 games. Excellent offense and excellent defense are not mutually exclusive.

    Great post.

  147. notlager, you have a foul mouth, do you know that?

  148. Delia-----Block 112

    I pay my £50 and travel 200 miles to be royally entertained at the Emirates, not bored into submission. Barca lost the away match with Inter somewhere on the road trip. After 5mins of the return match , having seen Jose’s predictable tactics, I switched to another station. Should the Board bring that despicable character to my beloved club ( 55 years an active Gooner), there will be one less in Block 112 !
    Fear not, there will be high class reinforcements
    brought in this Summer. Arsene is only too aware
    of our needs and will address the defensive deficiencies. He wants to win the PL title as much as we do and it is the last year of his contract. He like us can only take so much hurt.

  149. I will laugh my ass off when spuddies lose out on 4th spot on the last day. AGAIN.

    hahahahahaha.

  150. The part-time AFC coach/scout/teacher at school asked me to read a speech he wrote at (primary) school once, when I was a nipper, to introduce the Christmas panto (appropriately, see below).

    It rambled on, I don’t remember the text, but I do remember the snigger that rippled around the hall, located somewhere in N.London, when I mentioned a story about “El Tel Venables’.

    It’s funny how some things change over time, and how some things don’t.

  151. notlager, wouldnt you prefer to see us blow it in the qualifying round?

  152. I’m still waiting Ole,

    Name me 5 managers that would win the premiership?

    You cant do it can you, you need the special one, he gaurentees trophys G.

  153. The difference between the special one and the great one is that the latter has kept us competitive without breaking the bank. That has kept our club afloat amidst the financial failures surrounding us. Can’s wait to see what happens to the pool, chavs, utd, citeh and even the spuds in the next few years.

    To say that the special one is a tactical genius is a little over the top. Wenger parked the bus not too long ago in 05’and GG did it too but no one, not even our own, refer to them as such.

    Wenger pointed out that barca peaked 2-3 weeks ago but I would add that missing iniesta was also part of this. Teams that have created a perfect oiled machine can be disrupted easily on rare occasions when key players are not available.
    In our case we did have injuries and without making too many excuses I still believe we would have faired better with all our first team players available in the run in.

    I wonder if the media and pundits will begin to share with us how the pool have failed to land a trophy in the last 4 years.

    Those who are supporters keep the faith, we will be rewarded.

  154. I like you Delia.

  155. You too Harry.

  156. William, you have literally been on this Arsenal website all day spouting shite. What a sad little life you must have if this is how you spend your time.

    You must really love arsenal, to the point where even your only friend (a 7 year old, 11-fingered sp*d retard) has turned his back on you, and you have no where else to turn than ACLF. Get back to your pokemon.

    Poor poor little boy.

  157. I agree with Harry

  158. Finsbury:

    I would not be against resigning WG but I still think we need to add another defender who might stay at home and is better at heading the ball. I doubt WG will be back. If we do not sign him then we need 2 CB who can pass and head the ball. We were not good enough this year we need to make some changes. Sometimes adding new bodies can change the mental and physical dynamic of a team and give it new confidence. Vidic and Van der Sar at United are the best example I can think of. That said Darius’ point about the problem being more mental then physical is also very important.

    I really hope JD is as good as advertised but we do not know for sure. We also do not know how his knee will hold up. IMO he should start as 4th CB. Between rotation, injuries, Carling Cup, FA cup he will get his chances and if he is as good and durable as we hope he will move up the pecking order. He is still young.

  159. harry, Mourinhos the special one because he wins the big games. How many managers has Ferguson chewed up and spat out? Lots is the answer you’re looking for, including arsene. Mourihno mostly gets the better of him though. As good a manager as wenger is, his teams tend to crack on the biggest occasions, whereas Mourinhos teams are better prepared mentally. Thats why he’s the special one, and you know this.

  160. ‘to the point where even your only friend (a 7 year old, 11-fingered sp*d retard) has turned his back on you’

    Geo, brilliant.

  161. and you know this.

  162. Fair points Bill,

    JD is definitely a ‘prospect’, but this setback may mean he’s a little fragile for the first period back, who knows?

    From what I’ve seen, I won’t be distraught if he is 3rd choice CB.

    Have a good weekend everybody.

  163. Bill,
    Do you think Mark Schwarzer was at fault for Hamburg’s goal? It looked a good kick, but he looked upset with himself.

    He’s still a good keeper, not infallible though.

    (There was a sweet assist for Reyes in the other game)

    Have fun Gunners.

  164. OLE:

    I was almost moved to tears of joy when I saw what you posted yesterday at 3:00PM

    “Clean sheets aren’t incompatible with beautiful football. That’s a false choice the media have created.”

    Offense is a lot more fun and gets the headlines but both offense and defense are needed to succeed. It just takes the right players and most important team committment.

    Please send the memo to Limpar and some of the other non-believers. It will have a lot more credibility coming from you rather then from a “doomer” like me.

  165. ‘I was almost moved to tears of joy when I saw what you posted yesterday at 3:00PM’

    Bill,

    Whatever you do, dont watch ‘the Champ’

  166. “Please send the memo to Limpar and some of the other non-believers. It will have a lot more credibility coming from you rather then from a “doomer” like me.”

    Lol Bill!

  167. Finsbury:

    Missed that goal so can not comment.

    No one is infallible. I think Schwarzer has been excellent in goal for the last 2 years. Even Van der Sar flapped at a corner and looked pretty ugly doing it in the United vs. Citeh. Somehow they usually do not get punished for those mistakes and we often do. I wish I knew why.

  168. Bill, it was like the handball that was given that disallowed Barca’s late winner. You know when things like that happen, they’re going to win. Arsenal don’t get that rub of the green – not often anyway…

  169. Bill- you not doing your own blog any more?

  170. William,

    there’s a big difference between us. You’re a fan of a small minded club. You troll on your rivals forum under changing names sometimes proclaiming to be an Arsenal fan. You have a Redknob as your manager. You buy DVDs and tea cups when your club draw against us.

    With this mindset you will never understand why we despise the special hype.

  171. Els @ 2:49.

    Hope your right about us improving defensively next year. I can’t wait for next year. Still need to get points vs. Blackburn next Monday to guarantee 3rd place. Would love to see us finish the year on a relative high.

  172. Bill
    Yeah 3rd place is deserved if you look at the chaff below it would be a disaster if they pipped us.

    I’m sure that this relatively new tactic will improve more next year. For me Gallas is an absolute must.

    Do you not feel that the 433 was a shock to Clichy and Sagna, they were left very exposed early in the season, all of a sudden they had to completely change there game. Clichy suffered more as he is naturally an attacking player.

  173. Advice given to Wenger on his transfer policy, by the board, probably mirrors this.

    Read 28 April blog – this guys very astute and nows his figures

    http://swissramble.blogspot.com/

  174. German Gooner I got here…

    ” His normally circumspect manager was just as bullish, “We can match Chelsea and Manchester United in any bid. They can’t buy all the top players.” ”

    And had to stop. This is not what Wenger said. They have changed a couple of words, giving a totaly different outcome.

    In actual fact he said…

    “We can’t match Chelsea and Manchester United. But they can’t buy all the top players.”

    He said this following they were in the market although sensibly.

  175. @els,

    That’s a direct quote from the British press, though admittedly it was the awful Daily Star (on 18 April).

    Like you, I am a little suspicious of the the validity of the statement about matching Chelsea and Manchester United. Just because it was in the newspapers obviously does not make it true.

    On the other hand, United have clearly cut down their transfer spending, even after banking the £80m received for Ronaldo, while Chelsea have dramatically reduced their purchases of new players in the last three seasons. Manchester City on the other hand …

    In any case, the main thrust of the article was to try to calculate how much money Arsenal have to spend this summer.

    To save you reading the rest of the piece, the “answer” is £50m, but, as always, there are caveats.

  176. The answer is in fact…nobody knows. The question is irrelevant. AW does not work that way.

  177. bloody hell, william you donut you’re a bit sad arnt you, on an arsenal blog all day, you baffled reindeer…

    i think we should just feel sorry for william.

    oh well, at least hes good at fifa 10 and mw2. oh..wait…oh..

  178. not good enough this year but have improved in my opinion. Like the man says, two to three new signings for next season, others maturing, thats reason for optimism. Realy pleased to see Fullam make the final, ile be cheering them on. The women look like winning another double, (what is their secret)

  179. thank you swiss.

    I can’t imagine Wenger ever going inro a transfer window thinking

    Sacra bleu! £50m I can get a Silva, sell eduardo and almunia and still have enough money for Lucio and Frey throw in Chamack i’m laughing.

    He doesn’t operate in transfer kitties. I doubt he’d even think along the lines of ‘how much do I have to spend’.

    I do think he’ll be identifying targets and figuring out contract fee’s then putting something to the board.

  180. you beat me to that frank!

  181. there was one moment of pure class in the match from Mourinho… I was jealous because he handled a huge setback with a smile and a laugh, something Wenger can never do…

    when Busquets pulled his pathetic stunt and fooled the ref with an hour still to go Murinho LAUGHED…he didn’t rant and sulk like you know who…

    I’m a huge AW fan but this is one area where he to stop embarrassing us…when things go wrong

  182. @els, Frank

    Actually my belief is that he works exactly that way, which is why we are so fortunate to have such a responsible manager.

    While Manchester United and Liverpool have been saddled with mountains of “bad” debt, Wenger has kept the team competitive, despite having to labour under the burden of the enormous cost of moving to the Emirates.

    That strategy is now paying off from a financial perspective and for the first time in ages, he has a large budget. I think that he has been more constrained than he has let on in the past, but now he is making comments like, “The construction of the Emirates Stadium meant that for many years we could not spend a lot of money. Our financial situation has greatly improved. We are finally able to buy the players we think we need” (Daily Mail 26 April, Daily Telegraph 27 April).

    Like you, I don’t think Wenger operates like some form of Gallic Harry Redknapp and agree that he will be identifying (or has already identified) targets. The point I am making is that he now has a budget large enough for those targets to be top quality players. Whether they are experienced or youngsters with potential, I leave up to Le Prof.

  183. I was just wondering why someone had arrived here via the search engine term, ‘staff childish behaviour’ and then I noticed William and Zap…

  184. ‘Gallantly’, Darius? Honestly, of all the words to use. Pragmatic, yes. But, gallant?

    Was the lumbering Lucio writhing about like an eel every time he found contact, to eek each last second off the clock, gallant?

    Were Chivu’s theatrics, his crocodile tears?

    Was there anything noble at all about Mourinho ingratiating himself to the watching Madridistas with his ‘aaaaah, in your face!’ celebrations at the full time whistle? Anything courageous?

    If there was anything gallant about that performance I missed it. It was workmanlike, joyless, and as dull as day out in Haringay; at times dirty, at times dishonest.

    If you aspire to that sort of football then good luck to you.

    Personally, I expect more.

    Bill, you know very well what you can do with your memo.

  185. FOOLS! THATS WHAT WENGER HAS TURNED MOST ARSENAL FANS INTO. AND HE HAS ALSO TURNED MOST OF YOU GUYS INTO LOOSERS. I JUST HOPE YOU GUYS DONT CARRY THIS ATTITUDE TO YOUR PERSONAL LIFES.

  186. Ah, Loosers. I knew a Looser once. Great gal. Swore she was from the 1920s. Used to dress like something straight from the Jazz-age. Feather bower, elbow length gloves, cigarette holder… she was as pale as a ghost but her laugh! Such an extraordinary laugh. Like a wildcat on heat. Literally shattered a whiskey tumbler on one occasion… as it lay resting dangerously on my navel.

  187. I am glad that Wenger commented about Eduardo.
    I live Eduardo, he will set the PL on fire next season!! he aint going no where and Im glad about it!!!

    Be Blessed!!

  188. “love” that is

  189. Ahh! if trusting in Wenger is wrong, I dont wanna be right!!

    LA, thanks for clearing the looser thing up, I had no idea what they were.

    Appreciate it!!!

  190. Limpar @ 6:01:

    LOL. LOL. LOL

    Wait a few minutes to catch my breath.

    LOL. LOL. LOL

  191. Paul, I just finished listening to Eduardo’s interview on ATVO. He says he is feeling strong now and been training really well recently. He did comment that what he has experienced since his major injury is that the smaller injuries, which may have taken 2 weeks recovery time, now take him 3 weeks for example. He also spoke about how he has had to adapt to the new formation. He prefers to play on the left rather than up front on his own as he says this position doesn’t suit him so well. In relation to goals he acknowledges that he has missed many good opportunities, but feels his contribution to the team this season has been more about general link up play rather than goal scoring, which he is okay about. He is happy to play wherever the manager wants him to play. He did not sound like he was unhappy or wanting to leave. He feels very positive about the progress of the team and is looking forward to next season when he feels we have a good chance to do something.

    I certainly hope he stays and that he finds his best form consistently.

  192. Els @ 4:00PM;

    If the formation is what caused us to concede too many goals then it needs to go away. I think the problem is multi-factoral and the formation is certainly part. Hope the boss can figure out a way that we can concede 14 – 15 fewer goals next year yet still maintain our attack. It has been done in the past by Arsenal and lots of other teams. That gives me lots of optimism for the coming year.

  193. Well, Limpar, you young people do have a groovy time these days.

    Youth Clubs weren’t like that in my day. Not that I ever went to one.

    I like your blog Rambler, have been reading it for a while now. Good stuff if, by it’s nature, sometimes speculative.

    But then we all live in a world of speculation where football is concerned. Arsenal fans, by the very nature of the club and it’s ambition, more than most.

  194. Alex Ice Cream

    I would like Eddy to stay and prove if he is still up to it or not but there are issues here. Apart from the horrible injury and the psychological and physical problems he has had to cope with, the 4-3-3 does not suit him.

    When he was looking really good he was playing with a big man in Ade. He can’t be the lone centre forward in a 4-3-3 but does not have the pace to play on the left either. Also, is it reasonable to expect him to track back to cover the left back especially after the injury and due to the fact that he is a striker?

    If Chamakh arrives as expected Eddy will be even further down the pecking order. This season Eddy has not been convincing but that’s due to injury and the surgery before the start of the season. He needs to play a lot of games to get back into playing but can we afford this?

    If Bentdner and RvP are fit (!) will he even play? We also have Rosicky, Nasri, Arshavin and maybe Vela to play on the left. I really like Eddy but find it hard to believe that he will ever be a regular for Arsenal.

  195. excellent Passenal, that guy is class!!

  196. AIC, what position did Eduardo play when he was scoring most of his goals?

  197. The interesting thing about wildcats on heat is that males will arrive from miles around looking for a shag. Wildcats like many in the cat family have barbed penises, which means if she takes fright and runs for it in the middle of the jolly old act the male can still be…er… attached. It is not uncommon in Scottish woodland to see a female wildcat tearing across your path with a startled male waggling around behind her.

    I hope that Eduardo stays too…and I was pleased to see comments. Excellent news.

  198. Felis sylvestris, rather than Felis sylvestris catus, the domestic cat. So if you ever wanted to know how Sylvestre got his name…now you know.

  199. @consolsbob,

    Thanks. You know what they say, “Speculate to accumulate” 🙂

  200. Alex Ice Cream

    Paul N,

    Eddy played just off Ade centrally or sometimes to the left. That was in a 4-4-2 however.

  201. Limestonegunner

    Great work by the Swiss Rambler. I think a few days ago YW posted about summer transfers and said Arsenal didn’t have 100 million to spend. I commented that we probably would have about 50 million, making a guess from reports about profits, the player selling last year, and housing sales. No one knows, but clearly 50 million is a reasonable estimate and the Rambler has done a very thorough job of detailing the parameters–must work in the Swiss banking or corporate sector! Ole didn’t seem to appreciate the comment I made then but he doesn’t seem to have commented on this again today.

    Those denying Wenger would deign to factor budget amounts in his player acquisitions and transfers seem to have forgotten that he is an economist and has embarked on his “experiment” out of some financial necessity. Now that he has more money, it would be entirely reasonable and rational to invest it into strengthening the team if possible.

  202. Arsene Wenger will destroy this club through the retention of mediocre players like Almunia, Fabianski, Denilson, Eduardo, Rosicky, Sylvestre, Diaby and the French mafia at the club.

  203. Can anyone tell me how many EPL goals Eduardo has scored since coming here. He was prolific in his chosen country but not here. He did well in the cups but not great in the EPL.

    As usual Arsene Wenger is wasting money keeping players like Eduardo who can’t even convert sitters and blame injury for missing sitters.

  204. There are going to be some very disappointed Arsenal fans around after the summer. This fantasy that Arsene is about to ‘splash the cash’ and have a clear out of the squad is absolute nonsense. Before the season began, it was only the Arsenal die-hards who expected us to do anything, the rest were only too happy to jump on the pundits bandwagon about us finishing where Liverpool are currently. Now these same people have the temerity to be disappointed that the squad players were only able to get us to 3rd place despite some significant injury problems? There is clear evidence of progress this season, so we lost to chelski and manure. Last season we beat them both but struggled to finish 4th. How can people not see the bigger picture? They weren’t celebrating that fact, so why is it such a big issue that we didn’t beat them this season? But ultimately, why would Arsene spend 5 years building a team, extending the contracts of 17 first team players, only to chuck them out and start again? We are only going to improve by adding to what we’ve got as a young team will continue to progress whereas too many changes would be disruptive and most likely mean a step back while they gel with each other. I suggest some people get back in the real world and lower their expectations of what is going to happen in regards to transfers as you can only be disappointed when your ridiculous expectations are not met. There is still a global economic down turn and football does not exist in a bubble outside of this reality.

  205. I agree with Passenal

  206. About time you grew up Barry (Howard, et al) and learned something about football.

    Good points as usual Passenal.

    Nice that some people understand how much we have improved this season and realise how daft it would be to try and make wholesale changes.

  207. dups, it was reading one of the most ‘populist’ Arsenal blogs that inspired that post. Very superficial and analysis of the club. It’s amazing what some people get paid for!

  208. – and!

  209. I think I can guess which blog Passenal.

  210. Passenal

    Every season the craps who have no bottle are described as young and will improve and they disappoint.

    They are like the French army who refused to fight when the Nazis called. The French has no bottle, only betrayal.

  211. Spot on with that post, Passenal.

  212. “Every season the craps who have no bottle are described as young and will improve and they disappoint. ”

    Typical Howard.

    Now Fuck Off

  213. I didn’t want to give them the oxygen of publicity dups, but I knew the intelligent poster would be able to work it out.

    At some point Howard has to run out of aliases surely? Posting the same crap under different psuedonyms is not fooling anyone.

  214. Alex Ice Cream

    Progress has been made without doubt but we still failed many of the big games and our injuries are worse that ever.

    This team has not displayed the winning mentality when it really mattered.

    It would be silly to destroy what we have built but it will be negligent not to admit that we need a number of players who are first team material now. I don’t care if it “kills” players, I just want us to improve.

    I don’t think that AW will splash a lot of cash. He has even said that buying a centreback depends not only on Gallas but Djourou. Personally I would buy someone else ready to play now, someone better than Djourou who is talented but unproven and injury-prone.

    Why are wwe waiting around for Djourou? Its not like he’s Maldini and if he doesn’t play becuase we have better players then tough.

  215. whoops, I meant pseudonyms!

  216. too many deluded folk on here sometimes.

    I agree with the post.

  217. Alex Ice Cream

    The real reason why we Don’t win Big Time games is that we Don’t Have Big Time Players.Cos we’ve Got a Few Good players who seem to know how to play Good Football.and One of them players will be arsharvin,rosicky,cesc,van persie,bendner sometimes can be Fucking Lazy.And Theo Walcot needs to Learn How to cut inside The Opposition’s Territory.

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