Stone Cold Friday: Staying On The Arduous And Elusive Road To Success

Peter Crouch wants Tottenham to win on Sunday so that he can play leapfrog with Arsenal place. Leapfrog? He wouldn’t even have to jump to play that with the Arsenal squad. It would be like watching Inspector Gadget and The Ant Hill Mob. Anyway, it’s Friday and here’s Darius

Acrimony has become a familiar bed fellow in recent weeks. It’s not hard to see how patience and goodwill has eroded considering that the last Arsenal win was recorded 35 days ago. Even then, it was a last gasp goal from Bendtner with the last move of the game against the 10 men of Wolves.

I get the sense that you can only use injuries and the inconsistency of youth so far before you start getting pot shots taken for not delivering. The absence of what someone recently described as ’pluck and spirit’ in Arsenal’s recent games is perhaps the biggest concern.

While we can accept the impact of the decimation of the squad through injury, it’s hard to swallow the lack of application and effort in situations where we clearly have the ability to do a professional job. If ever there was a time and place for understudies to stand up and be counted, it’s been the last few weeks. Any competent report card will question the quality of our collective performance.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that playing Barcelona and losing in the way that we did was perhaps the best thing that could happen to this squad; a watershed moment if you will. For a variety of reasons, Barcelona provided a benchmark that the current squad could aspire to and the experience was a clear indicator of how far the team still had to travel.

In this respect, something had to give, whether it was an internal adjustment, or whether the gains that this team has achieved over the years were to be augmented by a sprinkling of experience. Losing to the Catalans therefore served a significant purpose to aid the development of this team.

Though personally disappointed with recent results, not least because of the actual teams we lost to, I’m not surprised about how the team has responded to the disappointment of being shipped out of the Champions league in the way that we were.

You could argue that perhaps the bigger challenge has been to get over that disappointment, and the squeaky bums at the Emirates on Sunday will be a viable illustration of the impact of only collecting 1 out of a possible 12 points in games after the defeat to Barcelona.

The emotional investment that fans and players alike have made this season and the expectations and hopes that have been dashed have amplified the sense of disappointment all round. Changes are being demanded from all quarters, and as Arsène Wenger avers – ”it’s for us to pontificate and for [him] to do”.

I think the important thing is that while we seek to strengthen and prepare for the new campaign next season, we shouldn’t lose track of the significant gains made this season, as well as the individual and collective triumphs. Supporting a football team by design is a very emotive issue and the roller coaster ride that we’ve been experiencing over the last few years is part and parcel of the game.

Perhaps many are tired of dusting themselves off and jumping right back in when a new season starts without the guarantee of trophies. The truth is, even if we acquired a brand spanking new team and decommissioned the current cohort, there’s absolutely no guarantee that we will win anything. The solutions are a combination of internal adjustments and one or two changes to tweak the current setup.

Most will argue that this team has had enough time to rebuild and to grow and it’s time the fans got their justified return. I suppose that is one valid point, and it’s equally valid to question what time limit should actually be put on such a nebulous endeavour.

3 years? 5 years? 8 years? Is there a science behind the expectation, or are we just tired of being the butt of jokes around the pubs and water cooler chin wags?

The team is quickly running out of the licence to use ‘youth as a mitigating factor for falling short again and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I personally think that sometimes it’s a label that’s used as a rod for our own backs and we have players, regardless of age, who have significant experience at the highest levels of the game.

Suggesting that what we miss are ‘winners’ to inject a winning mentality is a falsehood in itself for you have to ask the question as to how many so called winners can be accommodated into a starting 11. Many more teams in top flight football have world class players who haven’t won anything, but do a professional job day in, day out for their club.

The fact that this team is actually growing together and playing together is critical and will stand us in good stead for years to come. More importantly, there is a system in place that ensures a good calibre of players are following suit from the academy and getting schooled in the Arsenal way.

I can’t help but feel excited about watching the likes of Ramsey, Gibbs, Wilshere, JET, Eastmond, Le Coq, Barazite and many more for years to come. Many will still argue about the ’NOW’, and I would suggest that despite another season without a trophy, we’re actually in a very strong position if you consider the internal and external influences the game is facing.

Whether it’s the impact of the new 25 man home grown player rules, or whether it’s the financial reality that is hitting football harder than Sachin Tendulkar can swing a bat; Arsenal are poised to straddle the footballing landscape for a long time to come.

The question I guess is whether we’re willing to strap ourselves in, hold on to our hats and continue this journey.

Keep the faith people.

Win A Stadium Tour

Gooner Gifts has kindly donated An Adult Legends Emirates Stadium Tour For Two as a prize for answering the following question:

Who am I? I scored 49 goals in 179 appearances for Arsenal including a famous 111th minute strike.

Email your answer, name, age and contact email here. Competition closes at midnight, Sunday May 9th 2010. Any entries received after this date will be consigned to the electronic waste basket and totally ignored.

Best of luck.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on May 7, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 284 Comments.

  1. a fungus-coated right hand


  2. I think it’s fair to say that this initiative – kicking in shortly – should alter the premier league landscape in a way that suits us as well:

  3. All the way, Darius, all the way.

  4. Darius

    I Pesonally Think That spurs will Struggle Inside the Championsleague.Cos their is a Strong Posibilty of them being Drawn in the same Group as us.And I think It will be Interesting to see How Tottenham will Feature.Cos I Have a Strong Feeling that ToTtenham Will be Knock out of the Qualifying Rounds.But I Strongly Think That We Will Loose out of The Third PLace.but we Still need To Beat Fulham.


    Finally Fat Sam is being called on his ‘tactics’. It’s interesting that anonymous manager who agrees with Wenger but does not have the balls to stand up and say it and be shouted down and called a whinger like our manager.

    Great post as usual Darius. Recent performances have been sub-par and the players really need to stand up and be counted. They have the ability, they just need to believe it and go out there and do it. They also need the supporters to believe and help them regain their confidence.

  6. Who do you think it is, Passenal? If it’s a manager who favours progressive, free-flowing football then I’m thinking it must be Martin O’Neill…

    But seriously, it’s got to be Martinez. Especially because he’s complained about the LMA mob before.

  7. Thanks for that link One Of Us, I thought this point was worth quoting “Everyone with normal common sense, would not engage in something they cannot afford. Sometimes, and especially in football, emotions come in and people act in an irrational way”. The ‘win at any cost’ crowd may not appreciate it, but Arsenal really take a long view of club development. Actions taken years ago have put us in a position where we do not need to suddenly rush out to buy ‘youth’ players to meet the home grown rule, or suddenly have to learn to live within our means after years of financial mismanagement. Now the foundations are in place, we have the opportunity to move to the next level.

  8. I thought Martinez too One of Us.

    I made the point after the Blackburn game that if those tactics are celebrated and encouraged it will ultimately be bad for the PL. The global audience will not tune in for that cr*p and clubs cannot survive on gate receipts and the ‘local’ fanbase alone.

  9. I also think the manager quoted in the Telegraph article lambasting Fat Sam and his cynical tactics is Roberto Martinez.

  10. it’s not going to be Pulis is it 🙂

    Its a shame that more don’t have the courage to stand up and side with Wenger. But if it Martinez as most suspect then he would just be another ‘whining forgeiner’ so can you really blame him? Esp as he doesn’t have a big club like Arsenal behind him.

  11. Thank god Fulham are going to play a weakened squad on Sunday, we will murder them now. I was worried but now that has put my mind at rest. Fulhams first team are not even that good so we will annihalate there second string

  12. uplifting words indeed. But cannot hide the dissapointment and the sense of de ja vu. If we loose to Fulham then all the players really deserve to hang there heads in shame. 1 in 12 is a very poor return based on the lofty standards we have set ourselves in the beggining. Injuries to Key personal are undoubtedly a factor including the midfield anchor and spine, el capitan, first choice centre backs, a striker, left back, keeper. Had we been able to field a stronger team in the closing stages who knows. But United have hung in with a lot of functional players.This is not time to feel sorry for ourselves. What has happened to our pride. Onwards and upwards and lets really show Spurs that they are not worthy of even licking our boots.

  13. Consol,
    The global audience is hooked on PL football, no matter what kind is dished out. Why else will chelsea have a global fan base?

  14. Exactly, there’ll always be teams to cancel out stoke and blackburn. The English league has always been and will always be physical and fast, which makes great entertainment but can cause potential injurys. We need to stop whining about this crap that has been here for ever, especially since Viera and his boys made us one of the best physical teams in the league. Our selective memmory makes us the butt of everyones jokes and it has to stop. We need to roll our sleeves up now, stop whining, stop blaming everyone else for our shortfalls, and hammer fulham on sunday, losing is not an option.

  15. Sorry Henristic? Have i missed something.

    I will confess to being a little confised this morning. Can’t seem to make sense of the site. Just off to the opticians.

  16. Ah, back to normal. Still confised though.

  17. I doubt most global fans follow the PL for the quality of football. Chelsea play crap most of the time but they still command a huge following .

    The popularity of the PL has more to do with the number of top class foreigners playing within it.

  18. Henristic and Morse.

    I actually wrote a 3 part article series asking How ‘English’ Is The English Premier League?

    It covers a lot of the issues you both raise and the assumptions made about how popular the English brand of football really is.

  19. I think its a combination… the Premiership coming from an economically developed country was quickly expolited by the use of sponsors, advertising, and viewing on television. On top of that side of things, we have the heritage and global interest, that stems from England being the home of football. Technology and Financial investment has boosted our top league, but you can guarantee people in other countries 50 years ago were always hearing of the English League.

    Think i’ll submit that to Wikipedia!!

  20. ugandan goon

    cannot wait for the world cup squad to be named just to see people moan that david dunn and ryan shawcross have been left out while almost all the arsenal players are playing for their respective countries, just to give some perspective to what football is about. keep up the valuable, if tiresome work of reminding the faithless that losing is part of the learning process, as to those who think a win on sunday is guaranteed think again , hodgeson may have bigger fish to fry but it is down to the team we put out to set the agenda and tempo of the game(and the ref, even more importantly) fulham wont want to go into a final after losing a game and judging by their injury list are probably gearing up for a defend and counter sort of affair, so i suspect the match is going to be decided by our ability to defend from the front and with no song to shield the back four i suspect we wont get a lot of attacking from the midfield but rather a bit more of what we saw at ewood park which nearly worked and i for one uplaud the discipline that nasri et al showed by harnessing their natural instinct to join the strikers. again we must be patient they are still learning! cheers Darius and YW- up the arse!

  21. Also, Chelsea will only obtain fans over seas that are glory hunters, as soon as they drop a few places in the league the fans will drop them in return.

    Arsenal for our style, Liverpool for the past, and Man Utd for their success… have large numbers of supporters overseas who are likely to remain supporters. I’ve heard in many sections in Asia that Arsenal is the second largest supported team (behind United), considering we aint won nothing in 5-6 years now it shows what an impact our football has.

    Also… with all Real Madrids shirt sales from Beckham, Kaka, Benzema.. etc – the big money signings. They cannot bread such a loyalty globally from that alone, this season they must have taken a massive hit in numbers watching their team. I suspect they will go out and add a player or 2 to make up once more though!

  22. @consolsbob:

    Miss Pelling strikes again!

  23. ugandan goon

    Nasri did have a good game, I thought the movement ahead of him wasn’t that good to be honest. With all the injuries the shape wasn’t there and he didnt have the options in front to manufacture a goal.

    I think its unfair to use the last few games as a reason to demand change in certain personel. Fans are moaning about the players not being able to cope with their backs to wall – not having mental strength. We can say the same of many fans by the looks of things.

  24. Maybe You ChrisGoona!

  25. Oi! I posted same thing twice

  26. I don’t care for Allardyce’s tactics. But I don’t mind them that much. They add something to the league in their own way. I just want referees to do their jobs, and not condone thuggery and fouls.

    That’s the issue really. Refs should do their bloody jobs

  27. Dammit, Fa cup head gareth bale has signed a new deal for the spuds, was hoping he’d be stolen from them

  28. Ole

    I actually enjoy watching a physical game, more often than not our team still take home 3 points, despite the nationwide belief that we get ‘bullied’ all the time. Its only the last few games since Barca we seem to have dropped off in the fight.

    From what I have seen in Football games all over Europe, many managers set their players out to cheat or pull, while the ref isnt looking. Remember Porto away, we got the shit kicked out of us, shirts pulled off, they even stole a goal from nothing, but we gave everything that game, and gave as good as we got. It was very harsh to lose that game too by the way.

    I just think the referees seem to accept that other teams must hack us down, which of course is wrong to US. But to the referees they are only giving in to the foul and non-sporting play of the smaller teams – well it aint just smaller teams, we have seen Chelsea do the same thing to many teams.. E.g. Terry – the king of shirt pulling and foul play, also Ballack, and Drogba the diver extraordinaire

  29. Morse

    I wouldnt write that off yet, 20m offer from Real will sort that issue out… or perhaps not.

    Maybe Spurs consider themselves as a BIG club now after getting champions league. Will be an interesting transfer window for old ‘arry. Hope he screws it all up, and they drop to bottom half once again!

  30. Is Anyone Following The Election?

  31. wenger takes great care with the type of personalities he signs into the club. He tends to go for nice young men who have been brought up well by their mothers. He wants everyone to gel and be merry in training and is very conscious of letting any naughty boys in to spoil the quaint mood.

    Unfortunately there are side effects as all these young men keep seeing the big boys hairy willies in the showers and although daddy wenger says they will grow up to be big boys too sometimes they cant help but feel a little powerless and inferior.

    More big and sweaty balls are needed please, home grown or otherwise.

  32. Word

    I Totally agree with Your Facts.Cos we’ve got Bunch of Jejune players in our Team.and I think Its aboutf For us time to buy experinece Players.And even wenger himself knows It!

  33. Watched all our games yet when it’s mentioned as 1 in 12 it sounds scary. if that’s not a collapse then I don’t know what it is. It’s like Leeds United in League 2! I think we have to go for self-criticism, as Mao Zedong would say. Did we play above ourselves earlier in the season. The last few games have been an abject failure. But as Napoleon Hill said failure is good when you learn from your mistakes. Failure is bad when you deny you have a problem for it will eventually drown you. And yet the door to success is opens when you are about to fail. But you only succeed if your idea – even if unique – was right from the word go.
    What I’m trying to say is that we are either very close to greatness or very close to defeat. Our stadium and balance sheet point to eventual greatness. And yet nothing should be taken for granted! Being a frugal man I think greatness. Being a practical man I think caution. COYG!

  34. word

    That last comment was a load of crap

    All the rest of you doomers, think back to a couple seasons ago when you all wrote off our young team who should have won the title.

    Exactly, keep your mouths shut.

  35. Porto at home 5-0 – perfect example of our teams ability when most players are fit!

    The squad is big as it is, with a couple defenders leaving, Djourou coming back, Chamakh coming in, all we need is a quality addition or 2 to provide us with that extra edge – be it physical, experienced, or another squad versatile player. Wenger will pin point exactly what we need.

    Teams who go for major changes largely fail quite embarassingly, we have seen Spurs do this countless times.

  36. Excellent. Seems they are going to hang our Parliament.

  37. 1 loose cannon

    Brede Hengaerland claimed he turned down Arsenal but Wenger has exposed him. Wenger said “I find he is a good player, but we were never in for him.”

  38. Hanngerland got caught in the moment I think with all the joy of reaching the Uefa Final.

    Another poor soul who started to believe all the media tosh

  39. 1 loose cannon

    Not very clever, or simply his agent telling him porkies

  40. Spurs? Why compare to spurs – the bunch of no hopers!

  41. At least we can look forward to 10 nil wins against xnmjkdsnkjbfd XI in austria now..

  42. Allardice some sausages, put them in a blender and drink them, is a total wanker.

  43. fucking torys….ruining my day. Great post darius by the way.

  44. that rhymes. Even in sorrow I am deeply lyrical.

  45. Spurs are shocking….they will draw seville and be knocked out in the qualifier.

    I realy hope that no more success comes to spurs. If i have to see Bently in his pants and redknapp all wet again It may just eradicate my will to live.

  46. Man

    I think that spurs have Improved immensively.And I think that they will catch us.But I Don’t think that they will Overtake us.But One day They Might Do It.

  47. The Days are Counting

  48. Chrisgonna – have you been in the shower room recently?

  49. And the Clock is Ticking Fast and Hard.But will They Do It?

  50. But Why Do You Feel The Need To Start Each Word With A Capital Letter, Gooner2

  51. word

    It looks like that thought runs through your mind too much. You must wish you was in the Blackburn showers by the sounds of your comments.

  52. 1-0 Arsenal

  53. Gooner2 is a bit of a Turd, thats why 😉

  54. Ozyakup

  55. In my opinion Kenyan Gunner the key to Arsenal’s continued success (I use the term thoughtfully, 14 consecutive years in CL and top 4 placing is a far cry from ‘failure’) now lies in consistency. I hope Wenger holds firm and I’m sure he will. The worst possible thing Arsenal could do is second guess the strategy because of 3 dodgy late season results. We play 38 EPL matches, about a dozen CL matches, another dozen Carling and FA matches (plus other pre-season friendlies etc). We have a whole season to consider before making any rash judgements.

    But the reason Arsenal can’t alter the core strategy, not yet anyway unless something crazy happens, is that the business and operational plan is so finely tuned with the football plan. Above everything Arsenal is attempting to create a sustainable debt-free model, with growth in income and fan-base that arises from the style and method of its football, and an in-built system of ‘renewal’ based around its youth academy.

    It’s worked extremely effectively. When I started following Arsenal, few outside the football fraternity in my country knew much about Arsenal. Today it has massive global reach.

    Clearly from comments no one is yet sure what combination of factors produced the recent drop in form, but a temporary drop in form is hardly unique for any club anywhere and anytime.

    It’s just a bastard when it happens.

  56. However much people ridicule the passionate and hopeful Newcastle supporters for the way they’ve been led, by the nose, by a selection of petty crooks, for so long; at least they spotted Allardyce for what he was, and had no truck with his rubbish.

    Unlike the Sp*d Troll, they seem to know what Football is, how to play it, etc…

  57. Only his 2nd touch OOU

  58. Zap.

    Just skip Gooner2 posts, they are normally rubbish (if you can decipher them).

  59. Another change of ID Goonerlove?

  60. Yep, Dups. It’s fun watching this on ManU TV as well. I’ve been watching when the coast’s been clear – it’s been a decent game from what I’ve seen.

  61. Zap

    The Real reason why I like using capital letters is that I Find Them Quite Interesting.And BY The Way Thank You For Asking Me That Question.

  62. ZimPaul

    Nice comment. Fully agree, our business and footballing model is spot on. We buy when we need to buy, but we don’t rely on it. I will be very surprised if Wenger adds more than 2 players to his squad.

    Most players have come a long way this season, there are some like Vela, Eduardo, Bendtner, Diaby, Walcott who have a lot of room for improvement. We have to see it as a very good thing for our squad players to have carried our title ambitions for so long. Lets not let the last few games overshadow what has been a very good season. No trophies so what, we was in there with a very good chance up untill our players legs started snapping!

  63. Goonerlove – you obviously havn’t been watching Arsenal for longer than 5 years!! Get back to school 😉

    gooner2 – go see a doctor

  64. FUCK OFF Dupsffokcuf

  65. I read today that 150,000 have joined the membership of the Red Knights, established to drive the Glazers out of Man United and re-assert a rationale and hopefully local ownership, or at least one sympathetic to the clubs traditions etc.

    Amongst all sorts of plans from an attempt to purchase the club (impossible, the Glazers have turned down every offer including the most recent from a Middle East consortium for 1,5b pounds) to boycotts and mass action, they seem determined to restore their club to sanity and rid it of corporate speculators. 150,000 is no joke.

    And we talk about crisis? ManU is nothing less than a club in the throes of fracture and long term crisis. As I recall, 22 crazies – whatever – signed the petitition to rid Arsenal of Wenger.

  66. What idiot would say they use capital letters because they find them ‘Quite Interesting’.

    You couldn’t make it up.

  67. United scored ffs

  68. Gooner2, You FInd THem Quite Interesting? How Interesting/

    Goonerlove, you silly donkey please stop commenting. fuck off, in other words.

  69. I see it is Jaquar & wenker you retard.

  70. It looks like the Red Knights are going to end up being Losers.

    And the Glazers are the Winners!
    The 1Bn+ bid was probably made up by them!

    I like the cut of this Chamack lads jib, so to speak.

    If he is going to be a signing, then it’ll be exciting. I only get interested when a signing is actually made, as seems likely here.

    He seems to conduct himself in a manner that some people would feel the need to classify as being that of ‘Winner’.

    Although as said before, Alf Ramsey was a ‘Winner’, but he was still treated appallingly, like Bobby Robson.. So I don’t understand what people mean when they use this expression; it makes no sense.

    In a team sport, you don’t need eleven clones.
    No one wins all the time.
    Unless they are a little shifty.

    Or on lots of drugs.
    (The other albatross never mentioned in Football.)
    How many ‘Winners’ in Football have taken illicet supplements? Quite a lot I imagine.

  71. So it’s going to pens.

  72. Although I hate them, chelsea have played exceptionally this year, unexpectedly so. Well done Ancelotti. But it won’t alter the simple fact that chelsea’s model is not sustainable, it requires continual cash injection and within 3 years, practically re-building the first team.

    I anticipate Ambramovich will sell with the right offer, make a tidy profit and chelsea will return to its rightful place as occassional flashy showings with scattered afternoon showers.

  73. Man Utd, Chelsea, and Liverpool are all screwed.

    Chelsea – change their manager every year, sometimes sooner where a billionaire with no footballing knowledge attempts to run the club. Abramovich has also lost faith in letting managers spend over the hill since his massive drop in capital and Chelsea’s inability to show any kind of dominance in Europe and in the Premiership with the amounts of money that was spent.

    Liverpool – are just simply on a slide down I feel, as long as Benitez is their manager they will not improve. Last seasons shock title challenge was down to them having very few injuries, and competition was off their games. Add on top of bad management a financial situation which dont look good and a need to upgrade to a bigger stadium.

    Man Utd – as ZimPaul said, they are in massive financial trouble, protests, and have a need to win a trophy every year to pay off debt!

    Then theres Man City – They are a threat, last season I didn’t want to admit it, I said that had no chance of finishing TOP 4 – they almost did. They are pricing everyone out of the transfer market (whats left of it) but they cant buy long term success. They may well bring in some quality players, and maybe take a trophy next year perhaps or the season after, but you can bet the kind of players that will go there will leave at first opportunity of bettering their career by playing for a REAL top team, or even for financial reasons.

    OVERALL – I am pretty happy with the situation, fans can moan about trophies, but we are doing pretty well. The trophies will come, when they do the wait will be worth it. This team will soon dominate in STYLE!

  74. Goonerlove

    You are a pathetic racist aren’t you.

  75. I think H*ward is a little upset that his favourite political party didn’t do very well, again.

    He seems to be in a minority.

  76. Arsenal wins!

  77. goonerlove; thats an interesting question. How many would follow Arsen to another club, or morino/fergy/ect ect

  78. Whether the Red Knights win or lose (they are bound to lose, obviously) it’s an extraordinary piece of football history, even anecdotal, when 150,000 people express such displeasure with their club. The club is effectively fractured from its core fan-base.

  79. Zimpaul hope Harare’s fine, or is it Bulawayo, or Mutare or Wankie. Sorry Comrade Bob’s not dead. Would have rather he went than Yar Adua! The failure I’m speaking of is not of the last fourteen years but of the last four (4) games. One point out of a possible twelve is a mini disaster I reckon. We’ve got to ask ourselves why it happened. Without these mini disasters – which appear to have been avoidable – we might – just might – have won the league. Clearly third place would have been locked up by now. As for the model I do mention I’m a frugal guy so frugality’s good by me.

  80. What dense Arsenal fan would want The Sp*ds to finish ahead of us? This is just sickening really. We need to get a grip!!

  81. LimparAssist

    Yes! That was wicked, thanks OOU. Freeman is a hell of a player, isn’t he? Ozyakup too. Bould is perfect for that age group, all jokes and smiles. Some pretty emphatic pennos too. Well done boys.

  82. Wenger has got to be the only manager out there who considers the club before himself. You need to sort out your issues Goonerlove and wake up.

    I suppose you see spending 350m like Man City the forward?

  83. coolsteve

    the same Arsenal fans who hate our manager because hes French and wont spend big like ‘Arry at Spurs has on Darrent Bent!

    Just ask Goonerlove, hes ur typical rascist Wenger hater

  84. Yeah, LA, Freeman looks great – he never stops, does he? Aneke , Afobe, Frimpong are really good as well, but they looked a bit tired in that one. Can’t blame them at this point. I want to see more of them all, and I’m still upset that ATVO withdrew reserve coverage.

    And you’re right; it’s ridiculous to take it too seriously when they’re this age. Still, it’s always good to see an Arsenal win.

  85. I spend a morning erecting new fences and come back in to discover that I am the subject of a vile sino-necrophilia slur.

    That has to be a first, even for this site.

  86. Goonerlove

    Not very of often that I would say this but you are a liar aren’t you. One ID?

    Er, no. Try:


    And they are just the one’s I can be arsed to look for. Best you go back to your left handed websites and do something productive with your time.


  87. Personally I do not think it is a coincidence that ever since RVP came back we have been playing like crap. I have always said he is over-rated and injury prone. We should sell him first chance and pick up David Beattie, now there is a striker!!!

  88. As far as The Spuds are concerned I hope Harry remembers to get most of his players little things called “passports”. I know it sounds obvious to you guys but lets be honest, how often has any Spud player been abroad? And by the way Scotland and Wales do not count. I mean I wonder how many Spud players actually do have passports? i bet most do not.

    Hmmm….does ‘Arry have one?

  89. What is killing the club is foreign/French who don’t play with their hearts because they’re not fans anyone. Arsene Wenger will not buy English who will impart their love for the club and lead for the foreigners to copy.

    His policy of buying foreigners albeit average ones is killing the club slowly. Players like Almunia, Senderos, Denilson, Fabianski, Vela, Eduardo, Rosicky, Traore, Sylvestre don’t contribute anything and has no passion to play for the club.

    We’ll never win anything with these average players who don’t fight, can’t track back and really don’t care.

    Sack him and replace him with Steve Bruce. We’re tired of the English hater.

  90. What blighted rubbish. if you’re English then you love the club. What morons these people are

  91. Fulham will roll over we have nothing to worry about on sunday. There second string is rubbish and they will be thinking of there final. There is no chance whatsoever of us losing, a draw would be a 100/1 shot, we are sorted

  92. maturks, I never thought id say this but i feel next season will be wengers last, he has always said judge him at the end of the season and he looks tired and pissed off with football in general. I think he’ll walk if this squad doesnt do anything next year. he will not go back on everything he’s said over the last five years and spend big money, it will never happen, he’d rather go. The players who have been crap this season have one more year to prove themselves untill there protecting father figure will disown them

  93. ChrisGoona

    Wenger put the interest of his French/French speaking players ahead of Arsenal. Fact. He’s often claimed that buying a better player means killing his so-called young players.

    His non-performing foreign players are more important to him. Its time to get rid of the French intelligence officer masking as a coach back to Paris.

  94. Just ‘aving a laff. RVP is our next Henry!!

    By the way, every one is saying that it was Martinez who gave his comments regards Blackburn’s tactics, but would there be any possibility that it was in fact Roy Hodgson? He seems the type that would not come out in public and cause controversy. Just a thought.

    And well done Emanuel Frimpong for scoring the winning PK that will put us in a final, who said Arsenal can’t win any silverware this year?! :_)

  95. We need to beat Fulham’s reserves to finish 3 pts better than last season which by everyone’s judgement was a nightmare season,yet this season has been brilliant.Funny old game

  96. I dont agree that wenger is anti-english but i think it was a mistake not to give Wiltshire a chance, he would give 200% and the fans would worship him as a home grown player

  97. im truly gutted about fa cup head signing on at spuds, i was sure he would go along with modric, they are very very good players

  98. Ole:

    We had the discussion the other day about defensive injuries. I went to the stats and looked at the number of league games played by the 1st choice back 6 of each team

    AFC 136: BS 30, WG 26, TV GC 22, Song 25
    GK: MA 29

    Chavs 103: AC 24, RC 22, JT 36, Boswinga 8, Essien 13. GK: PC 33

    Mancs 112: PE 36, NV 23, RF 11, GN 14 Fletcher 28 GK: EVDS 20

    Spuds 128: Corluka 29, MD 24, LK 18, BAE 28, WP 29. GK: Gomes 31

    We conceded 30 goals in 26 games with WG in the lineup and 11 goals in 11 games without WG.

    We had our full first choice defensive lineup for all 4 games vs. Chavs and Mancs and the first City game. Mancs were missing EVDS, PE, RF, GN for the game at Old Traf, and missing GN, RF, NV for the game here.

    We were devastated by the injuries to our front 5 and comparing the 4 sides we clearly had the worst injuries from the point of how it affected our team.

    The Chavs had a poor defensive year by their standards which is probably why they lost so many games. Injuries especially Essien’s absence probably hurt the most. Mancs did pretty well even with EDVS and RF missing a lot of games.

  99. Ole:

    The numbers I gave for total games played for each of the 4 teams was for the back 5 outfield players. I did not include the GK in that number. I realized it might be confusing when I looked at the way I wrote that comment.

  100. Morse,

    The fans worshipped Betley for a brief 5 mins, he turned out to be a big headed load of crap.


    Who do you suggest to bring in.. any good English managers you know of. We have the highest regarded manager in World Football at the club, he is by far the most innovative and forward thinking, defies all odds by bringing a youth team through to compete against Man Utd and Chelsea for the title.

    Arsenal fans are living the dream, and the dream is almost complete.

    Turds like you need to get a life, there are no place for racist comments even on the Internet, you are a coward.

    Did you not like Henry, Petit, Pires, Vieira, even Sagna, Nasri??? Some of them have been the greatest players in our clubs fine history.

    ALL BECAUSE OF 1 MAN = WENGER – yep you guessed it.

  101. Steve Bruce!

    You know it must be an AFC fan trolling this board when it recommends the Manc Steve Bruce
    (And not, say, at random, Roy Hodgson!).

  102. Hope you’re not having a go at us lefties YW 😉

    Maturks – Wenger doesn’t hate english players, they all have massively inflated values and hardly any english players would strengthen our club. Who would you buy who’s affordable, english and… good enough? Joe Cole? Fucking Joe Hart? Carlton Cole? Why don’t we go all out and get Pennant back?

    I bet you weren’t complaining about Vieira, Henry, Pires, Petit, Ljunberg, Overmars, Gilberto (to name a few). That’s if you were even alive then…

  103. Bravo ChrisGoona, bravo!!

  104. @ chrisgoona, Wiltshire is completely different to bentley have you heard him in interviews? he is a very level headed lad. The fans need someone like that and i for one think he;s done more then earn a run of games, more so then the some of the current players have shown this year

  105. Those who worshipped that rat-faced chav were sorely mis-giuded ChrisGooner!!

  106. Wilshere seems like a lovely guy and I think he’s the brightest english talent since Rooney (at that age). Exciting to think how he’ll develop, providing he has the ‘mental strength’ to cope with all the hype.

    Loaning him to Bolton was actually a stroke of genius IMO. Gaining experience at Prem level, whilst becoming more adept at dealing with scumbags like Kevin ‘Elbows’ Davies.

  107. fuck bentely he is a spud now did you see him celebrting. my spud freinds say he’s been good this season he is one of them and is an abomination. Wiltshire is a player we need to make our own and will be someone the fans can idolise, we cant risk losing him

  108. Bill

    Very interesting figures, so our back 5 played more games than the other top 4 teams!?

  109. LimparAssist

    Pretty hammy performance from you here Morsen Welles, or should I say, J*mes, to use your stage name.

    You don’t think Modric needs to improve on 2 goals and 3 assists in almost 3,000 league minutes to be considered a very very good attacking midfielder? Ineffective.

    Bill, but our injury pile-up coincided with our run-in. That’s the point. We were in the race right until our injuries stacked up and it cost us. Meanwhile the Mancs and Chavs were finally getting it together defensively.

    I’m pissed off that ATVO withdrew the reserves coverage too, OOU. You’ve just reminded me. Might be worth an email to them. If we are to put our faith in youth development, we should be able to watch that development take place.

    That’s just it about Freeman, if he’s this powerful and tireless now, in a year or so he’s going to be immense.

  110. Campbell, Gibbs, Walcoot, Wilshere, Eastmond, Simpson, JET, these players are all English and are all knocking on the door of the first team. Give them all a year or two more and each and every one will be better than any English player in their respective positions that are available now.

    So much for AW being anti-fucking-English Maturks, you idiot!!

  111. My new kitten has officially been named Tabbyanski, just thought i’d share.

  112. Does he drop the ball of twine when you throw it to him Vince?

  113. He tries, but the less talented cats keep obstructing him.

  114. Geo

    Apparantely Wilshire let the money get to his head a bit, bought a really flash car that he couldnt drive and other stuff.. heard off a mate who use to live near him.

    Maybe Wenger got him out of London so ge could concentrate on footy, and not be sitting on the bench wondering what car hes gonna buy next. I think hes a player with REAL potential, potential that can take him to the TOP of the footballing world. Lets hope he keeps his head down and concentrates on football. I would like to see him playing in the Carling Cup next year once more, if he does well, get him on the bench and take it from there.

    Theo was in the same boat, all hype, all potential = too much presure. Theo is still yet to show his best form, there was a patch of games early last season I believe when he was unstoppable.

  115. Wiltshire should start, he is just as good as nasri and rocisky IMHO, if youre good enough youre old enough and lets let him fly, he will also fight harder then any other player as he knows what the home faithfull support have to go through every day, bring back wiltshire asap

  116. If Fulham were to field a relatively weak side on Sunday would they be fined?

  117. Chrisgoona – I didn’t hear about that. I hope it was just a temporary blip. He seems like a goon ‘un from the interviews i’ve seen, but i suppose you never can tell when there’s a camera in their face…

    Theo did look great at that point, but again, was hampered by injuries at the worst possible time. I still think he can become one of the best in the world – once consistency is added to his game.

    If anyone’s going to develop young talent into world class players, it’s Wenger.

    I’m liking the look of our ‘carling cup suad’ for next year! Do we know if Chezney’s going back out on loan?

  118. Vince, its one of the biggest games in their recent history. They are entitled to play whatever team they like.

  119. I doubt it as they are in a European final and that should take precedence.

    By less talented cats, do you mean All(ardice)ey cats?

  120. *good ‘un* Freudian slip…

  121. ChrisGoona I agree entirely but the FA seem entirely devoid on common sense in situations like this.

  122. devoid of, obviously.

  123. Vince & Chrisgoona – not sure where the threshold for that is. How would they determine whether they are ‘throwing’ the game or not? Surely rotation is a normal part of the game – especially at this stage of the season…

  124. Geo,

    I think 99% of us would go out and spend a bit of money if we made it as footballers, nothing to worry about really.

    Theo will become a great player. His dribbling, speed and finishing can be amazing, I just wonder if he will ever get the chance up front! Wenger wants him to learn the game on the right flank, which is quite logical as his game needs improving in some areas. Can a little speedy player make it as a central striker nowadays is the question?

  125. I guess if they did it would depend on how the Spuds reacted.

  126. Wolves v Man u was different, it was in the middle of the season and I assume they didn’t have many injuries/tired players at that point – they’re not Arsenal after all.

  127. Bill,

    Most Top 6 squads can deal with a long term injury to 1 player. The problem is always many injuries in any one area. You can’t compare missing Your first 4 choices for centre back, to missing a full back for all the season.

    Not nearly the same gravity of problem. Especially when your other main players through the middle (I hate the word spine) are also missing.

  128. Geo

    Exactly, we could name 11 players out injured for a game if we chose too. Who has the right to judge who a manager selects to play? It’s the FA’s fault for allowing such a showpiece occasion to take place a couple of days apart from a League game.

    Can you just imagine if a team was going for the Champions League and League… playing a final just after a final league game which needs to be won!??? The fixtures are always messed up.

  129. Wenger converted Thierry from a winger to the best striker in the world. If Theo could bulk out a bit, i think he could do a job. He’s got great balance, and with a little more strength, he’ll be awesome. Also, if he can hold his runs for that split second (unlike Adebayor) and allow his pace to split the defence, he could be lethal up front.

  130. Bill

    Interesting stuff, thanks.
    Must add, King is a modern day Paul McGrath, a far better player then some who play ahead of him for England, but the Tiny’s chose built their defence around him, hence the presence of Dawson etc.and they don’t factor him in for a lot of games, in a season.
    He’s played much more this season the last, I think, for example.

    But then, have you looked at THFC’s accounts?
    No one has. It’s a mystery how they’ve spent almost as much as the other big spenders in recent years, and built their squad. An Allen Stanford scale mystery.

    (Funnily enough, there was an Enfield connection in the Stanford fraud case, this article doesn’t go too much into his sporting activities, the video link does, but it is fascinating, I had it bookmarked…:

  131. Geo

    Thats what made that very suspicious, McCarthy actually conceded defeat before playing the game and fielded a complete different team. It was an unsporting thing to do, but as manager I suppose he can do that. If Wenger done that many fans won’t be happy.

    Just shows how some people have no pride!

  132. “It’s the FA’s fault for allowing such a showpiece occasion to take place a couple of days apart from a League game.”

    Spot on, it can’t be that hard to work it all out surely? They’re professional fixture organisers (and yes that’s definitely their title) ffs.

  133. Bill,

    Bosingwa was missing most of the season, and that’s why Chelsea’s number of back 5 appearances is lower. If you put in Ivanovic’s number appearances, the number of appearances btw the teams is the same.

    My point is; it’s the extreme injury situations that mess us up. Missing Vermaelen, Gallas, Djourou & Song at the same time is a big blow.

    If Chelsea were missing Terry, carvalho, Alex & Ivanovic, they’d be in deep shit.

    As to Man Utd, there was a time when they had a similar defensive crisis. They lost 3-0 to Fulham & had other poor results.

    It is true that Ferdinand has been out most of the season, as was EVDS. But apart from that 2 week period they never really had 4 centre backs missing or anything like that, the rest of the season.

    In any case, I don’t see what the point is. The bottomline is we had more injuries all round. Much many more & at crucial points in the season too.

    Since that’s incontrovertible I don’t get what your point is.

  134. Ole & Bill – Not sure about you but I’m getting an overwhelming feeling of de ja vu…

  135. “But then, have you looked at THFC’s accounts?
    No one has. It’s a mystery how they’ve spent almost as much as the other big spenders in recent years, and built their squad. An Allen Stanford scale mystery.”

    lol finsbury, I see another Portsmouth waiting to happen

  136. The FA don’t do the fixtures. Sky does & they always make a mess of it. No surprise.

  137. Theo’s performances have improved noticeably in the short playing time he has had this season.

    He’s been an efficient impact player at times. In general, what one looks for in a young player is not a ‘one day wonder’ but steady improvement to produce an all round game. So long as they are getting better, bit by bit, that’s the key.

    On that basis, it is hard to find fault with the majority of younger players, but more specifically Theo, Bendtner, Clichy, Sagna, Eastmond, Song, Denilson, Diaby maybe Traore – as well as Gibbs, Ramsey and Denilson despite injuries have all had a better season overall than their previous.

    The ‘spirit’ issue is a tricky one. I do think the players in the last 3-4 matches, and in contrast to virtually the whole of the rest of the season, have an issue with spirit, pluck, confidence, whatever.

    The point is why?

  138. Oh right, cheers Ole. Who agreed to letting those fucks organise anything?

  139. I agree with ZimPaul.

    Doesn’t help with the ‘why?’ i know.

    Maybe Steve Bruce would sort that out…

  140. It was Marc Overmars who said he thought Theo’d have a better time out on the left wasn’t it? Easier to cut inside on his right and an extra foot or so between the ball and the line when dribbling down the wing.

  141. Ole:

    Your points are well taken and you can slice and dice the numbers any way you want. We discussed this a couple of days ago and I made statements from memory rather then actually knowing the real numbers. How you interpret them is up to you.

    You said I was trying to justify my desire to bring in more players and I am certainly guilty as charged on that count. The numbers would suggest that the other teams around us lost more games to injury but they coped better. In retrospect they had better back up. We could easily rectify that problem this summer.

  142. Geo

    The Tinies might actually be able to ‘balance the books’ now they are in the CL. Or they’ll do a ‘Leeds’, though I get the impression that Levy is too much of a meglomaniac, and won’t act like the cheeky little bandit, like Risdale. He’s probably got the club so much in debt to himself, there’s no need to sell it.

    I would still prefer to see them there then Money Citeh.
    I think.

  143. The Spuds turnaround this year can be traced to their defense.

    2 years ago they spent time in the relegation zone, ended up 11th place. They conceded 61 goals, 14th in the league. This year they are 4th in the table in goals conceded and hopefully 4th place. Their defense really carries the team.

    The magical metamorphosis of Flappy Gomes has been huge. We all make fun of “appy arry” but you have to respect how he has transformed a truly shambolic defense. The results speak for themselves.

    The moral for Arsenal is that with a good GK, the right personnel and most important team commitment, defense can be fixed quickly and the effect on team performance is obvious.

  144. “He’s probably got the club so much in debt to himself, there’s no need to sell it”

    Hmmm yeah, hadn’t thought of that!

    I would still prefer Citeh to be up there to be honest – don’t get me wrong, I hate what clubs like theirs are doing to football, but the Sp*ds being there means that they have got to this point on merit (and the merit of ‘arry) – and I hate that.

  145. When ManU lost the core of their defence for a spell, it was a ‘media highlight’, poor ManU, trying so hard, coping as well as they can (even tho’ they lost a couple), good luck luck lads.

    And all that tosh.

    When Arsenal lost chunks of their defence, their attack, their midfield – nicely timed by football gods to coincide so that for example 4 foot 3 Arshavin had to lead the attack, it was the opposite story-line. Arsenal were “exposed” and “seem disorganised” and wot-not.

    The timing of some of these injuries could literally not have been worse. It is a certainty that sylvestre was not brought in to play as many games, including key games, as he did.

  146. The spuds have a good team, a good manager, and that’s a good thing on the whole. It’s not like they are in Arsenal’s league you know, no matter what the EPL table says. It’s one thing to get to where they are, another to sustain it. At least they try to play football, not thuggery, but they’ll struggle next season with the CL pressure.

  147. Far from being anti-English I think his countrymen think Wenger is something of an Anglophile, and Wenger would probably agree being manager of the best club in the city of London.

  148. Bill,

    I can’t accept any team had better backup if they didn’t suffer nearly as many injuries.

    Our losses have coincided with 2 extreme injury situations; The losses to Chavs & Sunderland was when we didnt have RVP & Bendtner. If Chavs didn’t have Drogba & Anelka in the same game they wouldn’t have fared any better than us.

    Then starting from the game against Villa, we were missing EDS, RVP, Vela, & Bendtner for the run of games that was Villa, Man utd, Chelsea. If Villa were missing, Agbonlahor, Heskey & Carew, Man Utd, Rooney, Owen, Macheda & Berbatov, Chelsea missing, Drogba, Anelka, Kalou, & Sturridge, I simply don’t believe they’d have fared better than us in the same situation.

    Our latter losses have coincided with missing, Gallas, Vermaelen, Almunia, Song, Djourou. And I am again sure that if Man United were missing, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evans & Brown plus Van der Sar, they’d not fare better.

    From this POV, I can’t see any sense in the claim that they coped better with injuries.

    The only comparable thing would be to ask how we’d have coped if we were missing Song & Sagna most of the season, and I think even you would agree we’d have coped.

    Or if we’d been missing Gallas most of the season (Ferdinand), Vermaelen half of the season, but with Djourou & Song usually fit, I’d concede that’s less clear, but I still think we’d have coped especially since we did have Campbell ready to come in and help.

  149. Ole, your facts are impossible to contradict. I defy anyone to try.

  150. Geo:

    I do try to like the Sp*ds.
    But they make it very hard.

    As ZimPaul said above at least ‘Arry’s teams don’t play Zero Football.
    They even let our captain score from the Kick Off!

  151. the injuries to rvp and bendtner were an absolute killer and were compounded by the fact that eduardo is finished unfortunately and vela isn’t good enough.

    however despite those injuries we were still there and there about when rvp came back and bendtner was back playing again.

    where we have completely died this year was the goalkeeper and defensively and that is where the real weaknesses lie in the squad as discussed at so much during the past few days and admitted by wenger.

    wenger couldn’t have anticipated the problems we had with the forwards but should have done with the defence at the beginning of the year and acted accordingly, but we have had that discussion already!!!

  152. We have now stooped to comparing our injuries with other teams

    If we had A & B all season and Chelsea were missing X and Y all season we would have won the league

    And if my aunt had a d**k she would be my aunt

    Try taking a look at we have played all season without a keeper

  153. One Man,

    It’s not a hypothetical. It’s that we did have injuries.

  154. “And if my aunt had a d**k she would be my aunt” is being added to my list of ‘best thing i’ve read on ACLF’.

  155. @ ole gunner, but why do get these injuries year after year after year? its gone on too long to be bad luck. Questions need to be asked of our medical staff and if thats not the problem then why do we keep extending the contracts of players who never play? Its time to get tough, with spuds on the scene, city spending big, everton and villa improving every year, and you can never rule out liverpool, we cant afford to have players who never bloody well play. Swing the axe arsene, you are not there daddy, you are there boss, some of the players are riding a gravy train which we just cannot afford anymore

  156. Ole, I commend you for your well based points but how much should injuries be an excuse? Spurs had more injuries against the Gunners and beat us 2-1.

    There’s no doubt Arsenal are strongest when everyone is fit – probably the best in the Prem! – but there is also no disputing that the side is heavily reliant on a few players to keep the synchronicity and the efficiency going – Song, RVP, Cesc come to mind heavily.

    At City, we missed any penetration on the wing and were countered devastatingly, despite monopolising possession – effiency missing.

    At United we missed Fab only. An end to end game which we shaded but no control/synchronicity.

    And for most of the season we had no striker – which I think is the biggest cry we can make- any team will struggle on that front. And that is the only argument I will make on why our season turned ot this way – no forwards.

  157. correct mosre, why rosicky and eduardo were given new contracts is beyond belief to me. they never play two games in a row and are highly unlikely to ever be the players they used to be. all the while they are taking up spaces in our squad and get included on the injury page on every week!!! it is ridiculous. same with gallas and diaby who miss large chunks every year as well.

  158. @ the brain, but we had chances in january to sign strikers so why the bloddy hell didnt we? We dont have to spend big, we just have to spend. Next season is a crucial season, the premiership has been changing slowly for the past two years and it will keep changing again, we must make sure we stay in the elite and not take any chances

  159. @ dan, another one is djourou, people always say how great he is and how we dont need cover but how can they say this when half of us odnt even know what he bloody well looks like? Like I said earlier i truly believe next year will be Arsene’s last year of giving them a chance, it will hurt him but he will know because he is clever, his loyalty is whats stopping him but next year he will have no choice, he would rather walk then spend money though, i think thats the truth

  160. my guess is wenger expected to get something out of eduardo and that hasn’t been the case. for him not to be even playing now shows how far he has fallen. he MUST be sold this summer for his and our sake.

  161. @ dan, i think eduardo has asked to leave because he would ofeatured otherwise. That is the only logical explanation. Yes it is a shame but we are not a bloody hospital, we are a football club and our business is winning football matches. The players are very well compensated financially and are paid to perform on the pitch

  162. not sure why people think things are going to change this summer, i can not see wenger changing his philosophy, everything he has said in the past few weeks support his overall strategy with some minor adjustments.

    there isn’t going to be any wholesale changes which i would categorize as 4 major signings.

    we will lose at least 4 or 5 players this summer.

  163. How good is this chamack? has anyopne seen him play much? i heard he is a bit like nani of man utd, great on his day but needs consistency

  164. Ole:

    I understand your point and agree 100% about our injuries on the offensive side of the pitch. There can be no debate about that.

    Your point about defensive injuries “bunching up” is a good point, but it is little less clear how much the injuries affected our defensive performance compared to our rivals.

    As I said in the comment at 3:33PM about the Spuds. I think there is real hope that we can make a rapid turnaround. In theory we have money available and the motivation to do that.

  165. what people are saying now is exactly what they were saying a year ago, and in fact what he was saying, “i have to win something” etc.

    the big change this year is that liverpool are completely screwed and now spurs and man city are real threats.

    so instead of the big 4, next year will be 5 competing for the top 4 spots.

  166. @ dan, dont forget everton and villa are getting very very good, if the seaason ran another five games everton could of been challenging for top four as well and villa only missed out by losing to city. It really is crunch time in the premier league for many clubs including ourselves

  167. key to chammakh will be what formation we play, if we still have 4 3 3, i assume RVP will be the target still so where will he come in, especially as he seems a real target man.

    it will obviously be good to have back up for rvp.

    personally i would like to see 4 4 2.

    rvp / chammakh
    AA Csec song nasri.

  168. villa and everton aren’t good enough for top 4 yet.

  169. @ dan, maybe not but they are not a million miles away, villa’s defence is solid and everton have outplayed almost all the big clubs this season although didnt seem to get the results they deserved. My point is that we cannot stand still, we must improve, and if we are relying on players who we know always get injured next season then it will all be our own fault

  170. The Brain,

    The one person who doesn’t use injuries as an excuse is Wenger, and I accept that.

    You’re right that there have been actual squad issues. For example we’ve lacked incision since Cesc has been out. Nasri & Rosicky have not proven to be good enough backups in terms of creative play…

    However, I do still think that we have had some pretty extreme injury situations. The centre back crisis for example doesn’t seem extreme to many people because we actually have 2 centre backs left. It is extreme to have 4 centre backs missing at the same time….

    I’m afraid it’d be incomplete to not factor in injuries in explaining what happened this season.

    Spurs have had many injuries. Absolutely, no doubt about it. However, they didn’t have a key area depleted. In any case they were quite lucky with the victory

  171. we need a good clean out but not going to happen, so don’t waste your time waiting for it.

  172. @ dan, i know, that is why i believe wenger will give his boys one last chance to prove him right and if they fail he will walk. He will not go back on what he;s said the last five years or he will look like a hypocrite. I fear he could walk.

  173. Bill,

    You make it sound like we’re trying to catch up with the Spuds.

  174. ole,

    spurs two main centre backs at the beginning of the season were woodgate and king who hardly played all year, they backed those up dawson and bassong and also had kabul and curulka who could play there.

  175. Morse,

    We had a lot of impact injuries. Much many more than most teams do in 2 seasons. Not sure you can blame the medical team for that.

    About the persisting injury situation I agree a definitive conclusion has to be reached and the problem remedied.

    Whether it requires swinging the axe I can’t comment about since I dont know the cause of the problem.

    It could be pure bad luck, you know?

  176. dan,

    King played 19 Premier League games. When he wasn’t fit, Dawson & King filled in.

    But what’s your point?

  177. if he walks he walks, it is ironic that your train of thought is, that his philosophy has failed, he won’t change it and therefore he will leave. i commend him sticking to his principals but the key point is it failing!!! so if he chooses to leave so be it and someone else will come in and hopefully do whatever it takes to succeed.

    i would be more concerned if he left after succeeding with his plan but that isn’t the case!!

  178. @ dan, but who would you replace wenger with who could gaurentee us top four? even if only by the skin of our teeth? the answer is not very simple

  179. you were saying they didn’t have injuries in key areas and all i was pointing out was their two 1st choice centre backs played very few games this year and significantly less than ours, but there cover was stronger in that area than ours was.

  180. all i said if he walks he walks, won’t be the end of the world. there are other managers out there that i am sure could take us to the top 4 as he is currently doing.

    no one can guarantee top 4 especially with the way the game is changing.

    as we said the cartel of the top 4 has come to an end this year and will change even more going forward.

  181. dan,

    You have a problem understanding issues. my point is that if you lose key players and their next best replacements in any one key area it will invariably affect you.

    I never said the Spuds didnt have injuries.

    I am saying that if for 6 games, King & Woodgate were out, with Bassong & Dawson also out they might lose quite a few of the 6 games.

    Get it?

  182. interesting to hear someone other than AW talking about some of the shit tactics PL teams use

  183. I think Allardyce knows, and I was able to come up with this little theory, that is that EPL referees have a hard time calling the “same” foul over and over again, especially when the call is in favor of the road team. Whether it be a couple of trips, elbows, whatever, ive definitely noticed that refs wont give the “same” type of fouls everytime. I’m sure that was Allardyce’s plan. We’ll just foul Fabianski everytime the ball gets lobbed into the box, and eventually the ref will stop calling it..

    anyone else ever notice this? it becomes most apparent when watching a La Liga game. there refs call fouls consistently, regardless of past precedent in the game

  184. ole, completely agree with you, of course there is a cause and effect with injuries.

    the whole argument has been, using spurs as an unfortunate example, their back up to their two main centre backs has been bassong, dawson, kabul and corluka. ours has been silvestre and campbell. (not including djorou as everyone knew he was out all year). therein lies the problem we have had this year.

  185. LimparAssist

    Using Corluka and Kabul as examples of centrehalf back-up is a bit like using Song and Sagna.

  186. NJGooner,

    They don’t have to call the same foul again and again.

    Take pushing and joustling in the box on set pieces. Refs have been told to clamp down on them. In every game, you see refs call 2 players aside and tell them to cut it out.

    I can’t believe the ref didn’t know the Blackburn tactic was to foul Fabianski. Afterall, he gave a foul twice, out of the 5 times they fouled him.

    What he had to do, after the second was to call aside the Blackburn captain and tell them to cut it out.

    That’s where refs always go wrong. I can guarantee you that if at the beginiing of the game, the ref calls both captains and tells them he won’t tolerate certain things, you won’t see those things happen too often in the game.

  187. LimparAssist

    I agree with ZimPaul, and Ole Gunner, and Vince (Tabianski!)

  188. @ Vince

    “My new kitten has officially been named Tabbyanski, just thought i’d share.”

    ha ha ha ha!!

  189. That’s one of the things that leave me bemused about punditry. Refs intervene when players push & pull, yet they say it’s a legitimate tactic to aim to foul the keeper because he’s ‘weak’.

  190. dan,

    You saying I can’t count Djourou, whereas you count Woodgate shows how facetious you’re being just because you want signings.

    For some reason you refuse to realise that injury to Djourou is part of the injury problem. it’s not external to it.

    The long-term injury to Djourou itself is a big problem, otherwise we might never have seen Silvestre this season.

  191. The Brain & OleG:

    So it comes back to the thread about replacing Ade, which OleG was worried about this time last season?

    I guess Chamack has signed on a free?
    And so, that was what happened?

    There was always a back up plan, the club did mention that they tried to sign A.N. Other striker in December/January?

    I guess Valencia decided to keep Villa? : )

    Nine in Eleven for NB52 isn’t bad. His crash and injuries, the timing, was very unfortunate.

    Djourou’s injury occured in a Int. friendly, on the verge of the Window closing.

  192. The pecking order for centre backs would quite likely have been TV5+WG10, with Djourou , Campbell & Song as backup.

    If Djourou & Song are injured same time that WG10 & TV5 are out injured, then voila! Cambell & Silvestre become the back up.

    It’s disingenuous to then say having them as back up shows the squad wasnt strong enough when they really were back ups to the back ups.

    Why am I even on this case. It’s blindingly obvious.

  193. Having 4/5 strikers out wasn’t just unlucky, it was ridiculous. You can’t plan for that kind of thing regardless of the fact that we knew in Jan that we’d be without RVP for the majority of the season.
    When did the French season finish? I was hoping Chamakh would’ve been official by now, if he’s changed his mind I won’t be pleased.

  194. Ole

    i guess whats so frustrating to me is, if i can plainly see this happen, and the fix for it is so quick, the ref calling aside the captain and saying i wont stand for this, why is it still a problem.

    you’re right, 2 out of 5 fouls got called. Im all for letting the game run, but come on now. it was so pathetically obvious. i think the FA should be embarassed of themselves for they are clearly failing to perform one of their most basic and necessary functions: protect the integrity of the game.

  195. and yes Ole, you are hereby removed from responsibilities of defending our center half depth at the beginning of the season.

  196. Finsbury,

    I never held much serious hope that you really can get anyone orth having in the January window.

    There was an improbable sequence of events to happen if that were to be the solution.

    1. Find player of right quality
    2. He’s available
    3. The price is right
    4. He comes in & settles immediately & he can play perfectly as lone striker in a formation he’s not used to
    5. The team gel with him immediately.
    6. He would have been ready immediately to excel in the high-pressure run of fixtures we had then

    Criticism of AW not getting in a striker in January doesn’t square with this in my opinion.

    If there were a Waitrose for strikers, maybe it would be plausible.

    As it works in the real world, it was very likely that even if we got someone in, we would have needed AT LEAST a few games to adjust to him.

    Most likely of all is that we wouldn’t have found someone suitable. As it turns out, that’s exactly what happened.

  197. I think the FA are more concerened with paying off the still rising debts they incurred through the Wembley fiasco, of not having to declare themselves bankrupt, then they are with the integrity of the game.

  198. OleG.

    Chamack is the perfect example, if he’s coming, of what you are talking about I guess.
    A good player, with good ‘character’, much in demand, is not going to ‘up sticks’ mid-way through a season.

  199. ole, limpar,

    curluka is like sagna, but kabul is a centre back so not like song. song isn’t a centre back he is our key centre midfielder one who only last week wenger said wasn’t a centre back and shouldn’t be playing there. carrick played their for utd for several games this year but you can’t call him a centre back.

    as for woodgate, he started the season so is different to djourou, but i will take him out of the equation.

    ole, you wrote this

    For some reason you refuse to realise that injury to Djourou is part of the injury problem. it’s not external to it.

    The long-term injury to Djourou itself is a big problem, otherwise we might never have seen Silvestre this season.

    i fully realize it is part of the problem in fact it was the major part of the problem because what you continue to not understand or accept is that wenger knew in august djourou was out for the season, therefore silvestre WAS the first back up not the second back up, he was it!!!! and when both of TV and gallas were out as they are now. HE IS THE BACK UP, just look at the team sheet every week, he is in it!!!!!

    you keep on saying song this and senderos that, but that is simply not true. silvestre has been the back up to TV/Gallas.

  200. @ dan, and he is obviously not adequate back up, one area which arsene lacks an eye is centre back and centre back partnerships

  201. there is a huge difference in scenarios caused by injuries which can be potentially expected or they just happen. for example this weekend in the middle we have no cesc, ramsey, song and denilson, that is a just bloody unlucky and can’t legislated for for as long period of time. the same as for bendtner and rvp out at the same time for long periods, that is just very unlucky.

    the difference with the defence which should have been better planned for was that it only took one injury pre January for silvestre to be playing and two post January for him to be playing. we were actually very lucky pre january that gallas and tv played every game.

  202. J*mes’ Jibber Jabber is very boring.

  203. “one area which arsene lacks an eye is centre back and centre back partnerships”

    That must explain why Sol left the Sp*ds to come to AFC.

  204. Also why he signed Gallas and Vermaelen I should think.

    The man has no eye for centre backs at all.

  205. I hope they get sampdoria or ajax and get knocked out, or even celtic

  206. LimparAssist

    Oh, you’ve cracked Morse’s code too have you Finsbury?

    dan, Spurs are a bit of a strange and unusual example to use though, aren’t they? I mean with Woodgate and Ledleeey the perma-crocks on their books, they needed to spunk extra money on Bassong (who I don’t rate one jot), and Kaboul (who plucks his eyebrows far too much to be trusted IMO). It’s quite a twisted little situation they’ve got themselves into. I wouldn’t spend much time being envious of it if I were you.

    Counting Wooders is like counting Djourou. Counting Corluka is like counting Sagna. So then you have Bassong, King, Dawson, and Kaboul to our Gallas, Vermaelen, Silvestre and Campbell. So what’s your point? You rate Kaboul better than Silvestre?

    Most teams in the league have 3 maybe 4 expert centrebacks, and one or two who can fill in out of position. We have more than that at centreback.

  207. each team should have 4 quality centre backs, we were left very short this year as campbell can’t play two games in a week and only joined in january and silvestre as everyone agrees is not up to it. just hoping it is an area that is addressed not just if gallas goes.

  208. i would prefer to see sagna than silvestre, shame he never did that.

  209. LimparAssist

    You’ll find that Campbell has been playing two games a week. And before January we had Senderos.

    I agree that we were left short when Djourou was injured so close to the end of the transfer window that it became impossible to find the right replacement. Instead we dealt with it inhouse by cancelling Senderos’ move to Everton. Maybe Wenger looked for another CB in January, maybe he didn’t (Smalling doesn’t count) – but it’s not suprising he didn’t find the right one available if he did.

    Tottenham will be found out next year, don’t you worry. Fighting on all four fronts will fuck them right up.

  210. Accepting Silvestre is not up to it and is our worst centre back, that’d make him 6th choice.

    I don’t see how anyone can rationally say because we have a bad 6th choice centre back we don’t cover.

    That’s just insane.

  211. Does anybody think that this three day debate about how many centre backs we have compared to everyone else has maybe covered all the ground it possibly could without driving us all insane?

  212. Too late. It has already driven me insane.

  213. It’s such a twisted world. City, Villa & Spurts spend half a billion pounds to achieve what Wenger has done 13 times over with a twentieth of the dosh.

    1 of them succeeds and is voted Manager of the Year.

    Twisted world we live in.

  214. You have to admire Ole’s stamina and ability to say one thing repeatedly in slightly different ways and Bill’s ability to agree yet find another variation on the argument just when you thought nothing else sensble could possibly be said on the matter.

    As for Dan, well, he’s opened whole new dimension on the issue.

  215. LimparAssist

    Ole, at 5.23pm. Don’t get me started! Football coverage in this country is fucking backward.

    The perpetuation of ‘Fabianski is weak in the air’ resulting in a farcical non-goal at Blackburn is the least of our worries; ‘Arsenal don’t like it up ’em’ resulting in broken bones is a disgrace that should have been acknowledged as such at the time and bloody well put right by the bastards responsible.

    A properly informed football media could shape football in this country for the better, not to mention make a hell of a lot of money doing it. What football fan wouldn’t want to see a progressive, intelligent new take on the game they love? It’s a wonder it hasn’t happened already, but it must improve soon. Frank had some good thoughts on this the other day (particularly liked the inclusion of ‘artists’ on his list of who could improve things).

    But really, and you said this yourself the other day – the buck stops with the FA. You can’t allow your referees to be so easily misled by the opinions of hacks and irrelevant old pundits with no understanding of the modern game – it endangers the world standing of the league, and in some instances the players themselves.

    Football has a refereeing crisis and a stymieing, dangerously out-of-touch media covering it. I wish it could be said that the two aren’t linked, but they very clearly are.

    (coughs) Time for Change… (cough, cough)

  216. I have not heard any team news for Sunday. Do we know who will play? Arshavin? Song?, NB52?
    Almunia? Clichy?

    I hope we go with RVP, NB and AA upfront. I would like to see the boss work RVP and NB together. Nasri or TR7 as playmaker? Hopefully Song can play. Fabianski in goal?

    I like Fulham and Roy Hodgson alot. Still hope we play our strongest team and win 6 – 0.

    Hard to believe its the last game already. Not to thrilled about the WC yet but probably will look forward to it more after the season is over. Fingers crossed that none of our critical players get hurt.

  217. Who is Manager of the Year, Ole?

    Don’t tell me it’s ‘arry.

  218. LimparAssist

    Sorry, CB. I stuck my oar in there when Ole was making the argument more than well enough for the lot of us.

    I got bored just typing it, but I refuse to have someone bigging up Younes fucking Kaboul on an Arsenal blog. Just not on.

  219. Oh Jesus Bill, I hadn’t even thought about our players getting injured at the world cup until you said that.

  220. Has anyone heard the team news?

  221. We have a hung Board.

  222. Arry Rednapp manager of the year ? What a fucking farce.

  223. If pulling a defender’s shirt is grounds for a penalty and red card, how on earth is deliberately barging into the keeper as he tries to catch not a foul?

    It is a foul. If you lined up 3,000,00 refs and asked them, they would each say it is a foul.

    How pundits can say it’s not, but just a legitimate tactic beats me.

    Actually it doesn’t. it’s a cognitive error people commit often.

    It’s the same thing that Bill & dan are grappling with. Because they were worried about our centre back situation & convinced it was inadequate ex ante, they are even more convinced now we have a problem. And it’s very hard to allow the actual facts of the matter form their opinions.

    People think Fabianski is weak so the ref is convinced it has to be his fault when he drops the ball and is fouled.

    The thing I do blame the ref for is that it was clear to me before it happened what the Blackburn tactic was. The refw ould have known

  224. Which one of them is the most hung, Frank?

  225. There is probably a link somewhere Ole. Do you remember a Rafa rant, where he basically slagged off Allardyce, saying that putting 3 players on the goalline (I thin that was it) and intimidating the keeper is cheating and would not be allowed in europe ? He cited a lot of his other Bolton ploys as well. I think it was a couple of years ago.

  226. Well hung

  227. Ole:

    “It’s the same thing that Bill & dan are grappling with. Because they were worried about our centre back situation & convinced it was inadequate ex ante, they are even more convinced now we have a problem. And it’s very hard to allow the actual facts of the matter form their opinions.”

    Nice try! I enjoy a good argument but I agree with CBob on this one. We have taken this one as far as it can go.

    Are Clichy, Song, Almunia, Arshavin, Bendtner going to play?

  228. C’Bob,

    Some people voted ‘arry manager of the year.

  229. Unfuckingbelieveable.

    You’ll be telling me next that some people say that the spuds squad is better than ours.

  230. Redsnhapp has done well though hasnt he, appart from Hodgson no other manager has really excelled.

    @ dan, agreed sagna could rpobably do a job there but we still need two top centre backs in the summer, we have the money so why not?

  231. sure i will be slated as ever however, you have to give credit where it is due, what that tosser did to take them from bottom of the league to Champions league in 18 months is an impressive achievement lots of money spent or not. how many times on here do we say money guarantees you nothing. should have gone to hodgson,

  232. I can’t believe that you said that Morse. ‘arry Hotspur is a disgrace to his profession.

  233. @ consolsbob, you can shoot me if you like but i actually dont mind redscnhapp that much, he plays the game the right way and gives praise and respect to us all the time

  234. @ Bill

    Before the start of the season, what I would like from you is this information:
    1) How many players we need in the squad to ensure that we are never short in any area at any point in the season
    2) Which players will suffer injuries in 2010/11
    3) What sort of injuries each player will suffer – eg traumatic, muscular etc
    4) How long they will be sidelined for
    5) When these injuries will occur.

    And if you have time, I’d also like:
    1) A list of all the world class experienced players who you know for a fact are willing to come to Arsenal with little expectation of starting unless the player ahead of them is injured. Doesn’t have to be in each position, just GK, DEF, MF, ST etc will do. But they have to be world class and experienced and willing to sit on the bench.
    2) A list of the youth players at Arsenal who you guarantee will DEFINITELY make it to world class level. Not the ones who have a good chance, the ones who will DEFINITELY make it.

    Can you do that for me? Thanks.

  235. LimparAssist

    Shoot him, Cbob.

  236. @ limpar assist, I didnt see that one coming

  237. FunGunner – How could Bill possibly know all this ? You are being a bit hard on Bill.

  238. C-Bob,

    A moron on Arsenal TV just said just that.

    He said look at the Spurs bench and they have internationals, and Arsenal dont have that because Wenger won’t open the chequebook.

    Fook me

  239. I’m waiting for the same thing FG. Arsene does not have a crystal ball and it’s his shortcoming that he has not invested in one. It just goes to show what a rubbish manager he is, and by the way he is French as well, and that is his fault too.

  240. @ ole gunner, we have a better eleven but our squad is not much better then theres, the league table proves that. we must strengthen in the summer like they will or we will be taking a huge risk, especially with city spending billions. Anyway hopefully they will lose a few players, gutted about fa cup head signing a contract

  241. Based on what Morse?

  242. @ ole gunner, assuming chamack is on his way, do you not feel we need a goalkeeper and two centre backs?

  243. FunGunner @ 8:19.

    CS (chuckle softly)

  244. OG, I was watching that and that was the point at which I switched ATVO off. Almost every player in the Arsenal first team is a full or youth international. If they were not injured, our bench would easily be stronger than the spuds bench. The blindness towards the level of injuries shown by the pundits is poor research on their part. A cursory effort at doing their job, would show them that.

  245. the league table doesn’t lie, we are 11 points behind chelsea and two ahead of spurs. you can complain till you are blue in the face but the table is completely reflective as to where we are.

  246. If Gallas leaves, we need 1 centre back.

  247. @ Bill

    I’m not joking. Can you provide me with that information? Whenever you’re ready, as long as it’s before the start of the season.

  248. Passenal,

    It also requires you to be quite dense to see things that way. or to be a blighted Spud supporter..

  249. if gallas leaves two, if he stays one.

  250. gallas, djourou and campbell are all injury prone it will be a risk again to have them and tv only

  251. @ ole gunner, sylvestre must be replaced so we need two, IMHO.

  252. Morse, Silvestre is a spare: Don’t you get it? He’s a spare, he doesn’t need to be replaced.

  253. If I see that Frank Wiechula, I’m going to lamp him. (You can watch, NJGooner, and see lamping in action!)

  254. back to the same argument, a spare who is playing every game at the peak time of the season!!!

  255. @ dan

    back to the same argument, a spare who is playing every game at the peak time of the season!!!

    I know – it’s crazy – why was Silvestre playing when all our other CBs were fit?

  256. @ ole gunner, but he has played so many games this season and been a bit suspect, I would like our spare to be of higher quality. If djourou was availible that would be ok but he is always injured

  257. You idiot…..if you have all your players missing then your spare will play.


    If you have Baresi, Maldini, Beckenbauer, Adams, Jesus, Superman, Mohammed as your centre backs, and they’re all injured then you might have to play Silvestre even if he’s your 19th choice

    My last word on this.

  258. LimparAssist

    You’re more Lewis than Morse, aren’t you, Morse?

  259. FunGunner:

    I know you spent a lot of time, effort and thought on that one so I am sorry if my reply seemed less then thoughtful. I certainly appreciate how much you value my opinions. Should I recieve any messages from the heavens with the answers you will be the first to know. I promise.

  260. @ Bill

    Actually, I don’t value your opinion much, but your arguments and expressed opinions have been predicated on having had that knowledge in advance of this season, so I am assuming you must have the answers for next season as well. Am I wrong about that? I do hope not, because it would be REALLY good to know before the start of season. Because letting me know at the END of next season will be too late.

  261. Bill, you don’t like being mocked, and rightly, but FG has a point.

    Your critiques about squad composition seem to assume perfect information all the time about all possible eventualities.

  262. You are absolutely right FG. It’s easy to ‘know’ things with the benefit of hindsight, but Arsene does not have that luxury. He is paid to take a chance based on the information that he has available at that time. Sometimes he is right, sometimes he is wrong. A rational human being understands that.

  263. Ole and FunGunner:

    I do not mind a little light hearted banter.

    I did start to say that we should have bought another CB and worrying about our defense in October. Check the archives if you would like. I certainly have not waited until the end of the season to make these arguments. I am saying nothing different about squad composition and defensive fragility then I said back then.

  264. XI of players injured or not match fit: Almunia, Djourou, Vermaelen, Gallas, Gibbs, Song, Fabs, Denilson, Ramsey, Bendtner, Rosicky.

    A team that would beat most teams in the league!

  265. Bill,

    I know you did start saying so way back. That’s why you’re convinced the current situation justifies you.

  266. But you did not say so before the season started and that is the difference.

  267. Passenal:

    No I was not on this blog before the season started. My thoughts about where we should go before the start of next season are very well documented in the archives. So at the end of next year we can revisit..


    I am not sure how to respond to your comment at 9:35.

    I do not like to be told that I have changed my story now because I know the ending. You know that I have not done that.

    I am sorry to see Bendtner, Song and Rosicky out. I was hoping they would play.

  268. we need 2 keepers.

  269. @ ole gunner, with all due respect, to coin a phrase you said earlier, are you really so stupid that you think a defender sold to us from one of our rivals would be an adeaquate ‘spare’?

  270. Jesus, so out of our first choice back 5 only Sagna’s involved on Sunday?! It’s a joke, we’re cursed.
    I assume it’ll be Fabianski, Sagna-Campbell-Silvestre-Traore, Nasri-Diaby-Eastmond, Arshavin-RVP-Walcott.
    I worry about out ability to dominate the midfield with that line up, Arsh and Theo are going to have to make the effort to track back more than either would like.

  271. @ vince, dont worry about sunday, fulhams team will be a league one side, I would bet my house on any team in the premiership getting a draw at home against the line up we will be facing

  272. That’s one way of looking at it, the other is that every Fulham player on that pitch is going to have their heart set on impressing Hodgson and playing their way into the Europa League final team.

  273. Morse,

    calling what Hodgson will field on Sunday a ‘League One side’ is just downright arrogant and it is exactly what was our undoing for a few seasons…

    firstly, one should never underestimate his adversary, secondly, teams tend to up their game against us and after the run of results we had Fulham will fancy themselves, reserves or not…

  274. @ vince, you could say the same for our team. If we fuck this up i wonder what excuses we can use? dont worry we will win

  275. There is some truth to the simplicity of the argument that lack of motivation in the last 2 games came on the back of nothing tangible to fight for in terms of placing. That coupled with the absence of first choice keeper and defenders, and some strange refereeing and more tellingly the stalwart Song and Denilson combo not in situ was our undoing. I still think Wigan was just one of those, they happen, an aberration. There may be factors behind the scenes we are not aware of.

    With Fulham at home and something to fight for, one would reasonably anticipate an Arsenal onslaught and a good result, even with a weakened defence.

  276. Queen of Suburbia

    I’m surprised Ole that you don’t entertain the idea that if Gallas leaves we require two Centre Backs?

    Given how deep into the squad the injury knife often cuts us, it would seem prudent to prepare for a situation that experience shows has occured in the last two seasons.

    Injuries to Gallas, Verm, Song, Johan all at the same time may well be an extreme event but well…prepare for what the enemy can do, not what you think it will?

  277. Giving Fulham a damn good thrashing will make us all feel a lot better.

  278. 10 Arsenal first team players are currently injured.

  279. With our injury record I don’t think we can afford to ‘spare’ the ‘spare’…when a spare leaves, he has to be replaced by another spare otherwise we would have no spare when our first teamers are incapacitated…if anything this season has proved the importance of the ‘spare’, for their use this season has been less sparing than anticipated

%d bloggers like this: