A Season In Review: Stepping Stones

Zimpaul steps Out of Africa onto your PC to give a global perspective to his personal view of last season

Let’s face it – we were all a little stunned by the sequence of events from Barca 2 onwards, the drama of it all sharpened by Cesc’s showpiece in the first leg, willing our fight-back. That second half at the Emirates first leg was the singular moment of the season – did you see the look in his eye as Cesc backed away from penalty spot? Moments later, the sublime artistry of a pass in the death that so nearly won us the game. We had them, we knew!

And then, that sense of “oh no …. no …. no, no, no”. Game by game, time stood still. At White Hart Lane we lost the race. We had believed. Capitulation at Wigan! Had we come this far, to bow out, like that? YW would say “time to put away our demons, renew our confidence” or words to that effect. We drew and lost again.

Amidst the almost laughable anguish of self-loathing that seethed and groaned, appeared a list (borrowed, thanks Muppet!). Called ‘WENGER’S CRIMES’ it went: world class training ground, world class stadium, world class academy, 2 doubles, 1 unbeaten season, 3 league titles, 4 FA Cups, 13 consecutive seasons in champions league (14 assured), 3 first places, 6 second places, 2 (now 3) third places, 2 fourth places, champions league runner-up (plus 1 semi, 2 quarter finals), net spend £32 million. He ends with “fantastic football”.

Kind of puts Ancelotti’s accomplishment, no mean feat, into a little perspective. I do not applaud Chelsea, can’t stand them, but in football it is good to be straight-forward. Chelsea had an excellent season, and – in contrast to us – a glorious run-in; a team at their peak of confidence.

Let’s talk about Arsenal shall we.

Muppet missed one: Arsenal’s global identity. Wenger’s ‘Invincibles’ opened that door; it remains ajar, fans pouring in. It must be perplexing for Arsenal locals to fathom the sheer scale of their home team as a worldwide football phenomenon. All that tradition, history, decades of players, now Emirates could be filled twice over every week with its African fans alone. They watch across the continent in bars, cafés, in every kind of gathering.

Do you not think it extraordinary, thinking of the voracious fan-hunger for accolades, that, having creating the greatest counter-attacking side ever seen, that beckoned a global fan-base, Wenger proceeded to dismantle the ‘Invincibles’, and did not seek to replicate the accomplishment?

How I would love to know the origins of the current long-term strategy, so remarkable in its ambition. Does it even have a name, this plan that divides football, its fans, our fans, all the cheapened punditry and media, into pro-and anti-Arsenal? It is the story behind all the stories.

So what is it really? It seems to me it is not one thing at all, but a circle of inter-woven strategies that depend on each other for each to attain its objective. (1) Build a new stadium, increase long-term income flows, consolidate Arsenal’s football identity in ‘bricks and mortar’ so to speak (2) Investing heavily in youth, in their future, free the club entirely from investor-speculator methods of incurring debt to purchase players to attain success to repay the debt – an irrational sham (3) Create and embed a football ethos rooted in a style of play – exhilarating, free-scoring, passionate – rather than the traditional method of ‘territorial’ home support. In broad terms – create the identity that defines the club around a style of play, renewal without debt, and sustainability – in football as in money.

How can one review a season, except – firstly – in relation to objectives? As supporters we should acknowledge that the club, and its manager, are working to a plan. In a thousand ways Wenger has revealed it.  By definition, the plan is long-term, profound in its implications for the future of football. As it unfolds, we ask – how is it going? I leave the reader to ponder the answers, because all I can say is in terms of 1, 2 and emphatically 3 above, we appear to have succeeded brilliantly, beyond expectations. Think about it. Just five years to commit ALL these heinous new crimes?

And so, the season.

3rd is respectable, but disappointing. The team feels so. By his comments, Wenger had grounds to consider we would win the EPL; that the big plan had ripened sufficiently for such victories. It is foolish to believe that Wenger isn’t hungry for this, or is ‘soft’. He has shown his ruthless side often enough. While I don’t agree that injuries have been the sole source of difficulties, with just van Persie fit, we could have won. We had the momentum. He is that kind of player.

The statistics relating to defensive frailties are damning and, ominously, not new. The purchase of a player of the craft and calibre of Vermaelen shows how Wenger had intended to turn this around. I love the 4-3-3 that becomes 4-5-1 system, so flexible. It requires, however, a method of ‘total defence’ that may look easy, but is a collective skill to be learnt. It seems this is where Wenger is heading, but we are not there yet; that when the team fulfilled this in perhaps a third of matches, we were watertight. The Arsenal ‘leaky goal’ syndrome is illusory.

No one was happy that we failed to gain results against top sides, although we mesmerised Man United early in the season and Neville was gracious enough to say so. The answer to that conundrum lies in resolving this defensive inconsistency, because good teams, like us, know how to attack.

As to purchases, anyone can see Wenger buys two good players every year; it’s planned, and hard to argue that purchases have been ill-conceived. Obviously, we will focus defensively.  The midfield is already a powerhouse. Arshavin’s second season, as is the norm, will reveal his talent. Chamakh will add depth. The rest everyone knows. Bendtner, so young, is class.

Of far greater importance is the ‘youth league’ and the individuals that, from 2007-08, have made steady trajectory through the ranks. We are brimful of extravagant talent. I predict that, at Arsenal first, then nothing, then nothing, and then painfully slowly at some other clubs as they follow our path, the gossip, innuendo and wild speculation today showered on flashy purchases will change to fiery debate around which favourite young players will make the grade. And why? It’s the future.

This season, virtually all the first team younger players progressed. I include Theo. There is no valid reason why the ‘Song-effect’ – just cast your minds back 2 years – will not be repeated, joyously. He is now a model of sorts we anticipate in a dozen others as they realise their potential.

My sense is that Wenger more than any of us knows how close we were this season, and there is no way he will let this slip next season, and not because of a few impatient fans, much less a tawdry media, but because first is exactly where we should be.

Somehow, the teams Wenger produces – or is it football in general? – are ‘confidence teams’. When self-belief is high, we are unbeatable, we know it. You can’t believe the brittle passing, the defensive naivety, in some games, knowing the quality of our movement and passing. Diaby, one of the best players in this team, personifies this. My own belief is that, with all the irony an English team managed by a French intellectual could possibly muster, and our oh-so-dismal run-in, in this of all seasons, we crossed our mental barrier. We are a team of winners, a brave team.

It’s just an intuitive hunch, that’s all. Call it ‘the look in his eye’.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on May 12, 2010, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 266 Comments.

  1. I really like it that some of the regular commenters get to write articles during the silly season.

    Good article, ZimPaul. I can especially agree on the last part. We have lacked confidence at times — but our team also managed to fight back after almost every crushing defeat (see ManCity, Chelsea, ManU/Chelsea).

  2. You are a star, Zimpaul

  3. F*cking hell. We’re using satellites in space to track the movements of our players on the training pitches. We measure speed, runs and movement, but get this; we even meausure the amount of time a player’s foot spends on the ground – or their ‘load’ (!).

    All in an attempt to zero-in on the reasons why we have been plagued by literally twice the amount of time spent out injured for our players, than any other team has had this season.

    Sorry, ZimPaul, that’s probably not relevant at all – will read your article now.

  4. Anyone got an opinion on the Buffon stories? Surely we can’t afford him, but what if we could…just imagine if we could!

    His signing would definitely herald a new era for us. It would be us effectively announcing that we are now right back in the game with the property debts out of the way, etc.

    Slightly (cautiously) excited.

  5. Top drawer post Zimpaul

  6. Good write up too, by the way. Good work ZP.

  7. Brilliant, Zp. Really, really enjoyed that. Great perspective.

  8. I am a long-time Arsenal fan but can say that only recently have I had the pleasure to come across your blog and this one in particular was spectacular. You really summed up the season well without being overcritical and I know that you definitely share my feelings about the season, I just don’t have the talent to turn it into a successful blog.

  9. Good post

    To me Diaby sums this Arsenal team up.Dominant against weak opposition but disappears against any team that resembles quality

    The collapses at home v Chelsea and Man Utd showed we are still a long way behind them.In the previous 12 seasons under Wenger we have never suffered such defeats in big games without putting up a fight

    The way Barcelona game us a football lesson at home for 70 mins was also an eye opener

    Its been said for ages and will continue to be said until Wenger solves the goalkeeping problem
    which is crippling us we will continue to concede silly goa.40 plus goals conceded is unacceptable for a team trying to challenge for the title

    We deserved to finish 3rd but no higher and that wont change unless we buy quality in the area that need improving GK,CB,DM and a striker
    We cant go into a season hoping RVP stays fit while not having a quality striker to come in if he
    does.

  10. It’s probably the opposite….Diaby is dominant against good opposition, if he has quality in the team beside him.

  11. Fantastic ZimPaul what a summary of the club.

    This club is a shinning light in football shite. It’s already plain to see that other clubs are beginning to emulate our ethos.

    The media can not understand that a club can do anything other than spend 100’s of millions on a team to improve themselves. As you mentioned as arsenal fans we should be looking at the Lansbury’s and Afobe’s rather than the Arteta’s and Buffon’s to improve this squad. Wenger and Gazidis are creating a future proof footballing power house.

    COYG!!!!!!!

  12. wayne – diaby ran the show at stamford bridge from the middle of the park.

    fat frank and mikel were both totally redundant that afternoon.

    diaby simply petered off, form wise, during the last 6 weeks of the season

    prior to that, he was in great form, dominating midfields.

  13. Would love to see Buffon come, unfortunately not that I think he will as the wages will be too high.

    Him along with a good centre back or 2 and I think the league is ours.

    Somone like Buffon would just be immense for our defence and our team as a whole. Not so much nervousness from the young defenders such as Djourou and Nodvelt and the midfiled will push up and show quality due to the safety at the back.

    I always admire that Wenger sticks to his principles but even if Fabianksi does become quality he is not ready yet and so in the mean time what better person to learn from than Buffon!?

  14. Regarding Buffon – I heard he has been having back problems, this is why his agently is prostituting him to the overpaying Premirship to give him a nice last pay day.

    ZimPaul – EXCELLENT – just like your commenting is always, a pleasure to read!

  15. Fantastic blog and fantastic perspective. Thanks for pouring a little sugar on the end of the season when I felt so deeply bitter about everything.

  16. Wayne. I cannot agree with your statement that we are a long way behind Chelsea or Man U. It was not that long ago we were on top of the league and in front of the both of them! Let me ask you this question, how do you think they would have coped if they had of been missing as many players as we were? United fell apart by just losing Rooney. Under the circumstances I think Wenger and Arsenal football club performed a miracle to finish 3rd with all of the injuries that we had. It is a shame that people like you cannot see the big picture and appreciate just how well we actually did.

  17. Agree with thos praising Diaby.

    He had a period during the season where he was unstoppable. I remember every Arsenal supporter criticising the guy at one point early in the season, and while watching him play at the point, you could see he had no confidence what so ever in his ability. He had the crowd on his case after every bad pass in 1 game I remember too. He came through it though, and hopefully next season he can push on and demonstate why Wenger has kept such faith in him.

    He can be the complete box to box central midfielder. I think Ramsey will also be moulded into this style, his engine and drive is fantastic for such a young player. Then you have his skill and game-play which is remarkable for an 18 yr old.

    These 2 players will show their class next season. Ramsey may be brought in slowly once again – due to his terrible injury.

  18. DFG

    I AGREE. There is still a section of our supporters who cannot see through the media crap this is constantly pooring shit over our team.

    I’ve never seen such a young team with so much class and experience in the top flight, and constantly competiting in the Champions League. It’s only a matter of time, the injuries will not keep flooding in like they have been, and our squad is EVER-GROWING because of project youth.

    Next season some teams will struggle to pass the regulation of fielding 8 home grown players ( someone confirm it is 8? ) while we will just choose from a selection of players. Wenger sees the future, and plans for the well being of our club. Those may say hes soft and lacking in one department or another, but the real fans who can see through the media crap know we are on a mission to success. When it happens it will be success that everyone remembers.

    Did Chelsea win the league? Seems like nobody cares! That is my point, no class, no culture, fake following.

  19. DFG

    Dont give me that Chelsea didnt have injuries.Essian their best player 4 months out,Cashley 3 months,Joe Cole 6months,Carvalho 3 months and Boswingwa all season all long term injuries.The “we had injuries” the other big two didnt just wont wash and isnt true.If you are going to make excuses make honest ones

  20. Diaby the 4th musketeer is an eloquent and forward thinking player yet he does suffer sporadically from the elusive mentalitus lackoranium. Contagiousness is so far yet unknown although early evidential reports suggest there are some grounds for caution.

  21. ZimPaul & C-Bob.

    Brilliant. Amazing.
    Thank you Sirs.

    Diaby vs. Liverpool.

    A poor team?

    Song was excellent that day too…in ‘the *ahem* holding role’, the D**M position. (Not a ‘Volante’).
    Alan Davies sings a great Song, about Song, on his podcast, playing in the ‘Holding Role’. Very funny. He’s been watching teams as closely as I have recently, since the 80’s…

    re:Dunga:
    He was always nothing more then a one-dimensional ‘Volante’. Never stepped out of the centre circle.
    Good thing old Mauro Silva was on hand to sweep up behind him. In the *ahem* ‘Holding Role’…

  22. Great post ZimPaul.

    A shining beacon of light in a blogosphere of doom.

  23. ZimPaul:

    Well written. Nice job.

    Yogi:

    I think the idea of having some of the regulars contribute the main post is great. Do any doomers get a chance?

  24. Wayne

    Chelsea did have several injuries, they had them in various positions, and at no point was an area of their team stretched down to the point where they are playing 4th and 5th choice players.

    Our squad is big and is ever-growing, the quality of talent coming through is there for you to see. Comparing a bunch of overpaid 30+ yr olds who have no class with our young inspirational players is hilarious. Chelsea won the league, yet you would expect a team assembled on Championship Manager with an unlimited budget to do so.

  25. I’d recommend the mute button on that clip.

  26. Nicely written.

  27. Wayne,
    If you read my post correctly…where did I say anything about the other two not having injuries? What I said was, how would they have coped if they had as many as we did and remember all of ours were starting 11 players. By the way, are you a Chelsea supporter?

  28. oh gad yes pleaze let howard or j@mes or whoever the fuck write a full piece it will be ROFL heaven!!

    You’ll hit 1000 or so comments im sure

  29. Thierrythelegend

    Are we linked with Buffon?

  30. Its none other than Wayne Bridge!!

    Wayne why you backing your former club 🙂

  31. CG@2.11pm

    Fake following.That is one thing we cant have a go at Chelsea about.We have a monopoly on that.Have you been to the Emirates this season?.Its full of day-trippers who go to the shop buy the kit then sit on their arses all game with their mouths shut.There is more atomosphere at the opera.30 thousand JCL’s

  32. word

    that would make your day won’t it you spud

  33. if you cant see how funny that would be then I’m not going to bother to humour yet another of your abrasive comments

  34. LimparAssist

    IG says that if you add up all the games that our first team players have missed through injury this season, and then do the same with all the other clubs in the league – you will see that we have over twice the number of games missed by first team players than any other team.

    I can’t find an easy way of doing that. Can you, Wayne?

  35. Thierrythelegend

    Cant believe that some bloggers call the legend as Wenker.

  36. Thierrythelegend

    Cant believe that some bloggers calling the legend as W*n*er

  37. If anyone who wants to contribute an alternative view can knock out an article of about 1,000 to 1,500 words by 9a.m. tomorrow, it will be considered for posting.

    Contact email is on the ‘About’ page.

    YW

  38. Thierrythelegend

    YW mate,I am a new blogger,still under moderation

  39. Great post zimpaul. Can see that we share the same views like 90% of the time. And maybe that makes me biast?

  40. LimparAssist

    Buffon would be an inspiring signing for all the fans – one of the best keepers ever IMO, certainly in the modern era. But somehow I can’t see it, injury risk, expensive, over the hill… doesn’t add up.

    Also, is he still up there with the very best? He certainly was for the last World Cup, he was phenomenal that summer. I haven’t seen him play this year for example. Could he hack it in the premiership – a hell of a lot more goal mouth action to deal with here than in Serie A, isn’t there?

  41. Els @ 1:23PM:

    We all love the idea that we could bring the Landsbury and Afobes and Nordtviets to help the club. However, none of these guys are over 20, many of the really good ones under 18.

    How many players under age 21 or 22 actually make a real difference to their teams? Rooney, Messi, Cesc. Other then that I can not name very many. Even our great young players Song, Diaby, Nasri etc etc did not really become difference makers until they hit 22, 23 years old and I doubt that our younger players are more talented then those guys. Even the great C. Ronaldo took a few years. RVP was here for the last trophy in 05 and he just came into his own.

    Re-read Yogi’s post last Tues. It says it better then I can. For their own sake and the teams we can not expect these kids to be difference makers in a title contending team YET. We had to rush Walcott thru the system because of financial constraints and he has taken a lot of unreasonably grief, hopefully his long term self confidence will not be damaged. The Cesc’s/RVP’s of the current squad can not wait for 3- 4 years Afobe/LandsburyNordtviet/Bartley to mature.

  42. Thierrythelegend

    I havent posted here before.This site is the best fan site ever. Just like you guys,I believe that we are lucky to have one of the most honourable managers in the world. Some idiots dont understand it.

  43. This is going to be the longest off-season ever.

    I’m almost looking forward to the World Cup, such is the paucity of dialogue.

  44. YAURTS – (cant be assed to put the full stops in)

    Every club has it, but if you ain’t noticed, Chelsea have come from nowhere, and all of a sudden their fans seem to go round bragging, there is a sudden rush of blue all over London and over Europe and Asia. A lot of these fans come and go with the trophies. Where as there is a countless number of Arsenal fans who will SUPPORT Arsenal no matter what.. even 5 years without a trophy.

  45. Top Post ZP! And Cb, thanks for yesterday too. It’s great to get both of your excellent perspectives fleshed out in detail. I only wish most of the crowd out there could understand for a little bit why narrow-mindedness is so evil.

  46. I’m sure Bill will be able to knock one out when he runs the rule over the candidates for our d-fense.

  47. Thierrythelegend

    I would want Wenger to manage us,even if we play in the Europa cup,and get relegated subsequently

  48. Chrisgoonaisatool

    Chrisgoona – mate i just re-read your comments from yesterday.

    What a stupid little cunt you are. Stop spouting at everyone that they have to agree with you and they don’t support the club if they question the manager or aren’t happy.

    Spoilt twat? mate you probably have about 3 fucking brain cell’s. I am suprised you can even use a computer, unless you work fucking night shifts as a security guard or something.

    Your a fucking prick mate and everything i fucking hate about our fans.

    People that have been watching football for years can form there own opinions without you showing yours in there faces.

    Fact is this team and manager are a fucking failure and we won’t win anything else with Wenger in charge.

    Deal with it you fucking mug.

  49. Thierrythelegend

    I know that we wont win anything with Wenger. We all love Wenger,not Arsenal.If Wenger leaves Arsenal for another club,we will start supporting another club.

  50. Here we go again

    Every end of season the excuses.Come out.Just listen to yourselves.By blaming injuries you are letting Wenger and the players off the hook.Didnt we have injuries in 2008 when we blew a 6 pt lead.Why werent the lessons learned? Why did we go into the season with the usless Silvestre as our back up CH?.Why no Goalkeeper?Why did we have 2 strikers who have had long term injuries out of our 4 strikers?Why didnt we strengthen in January

    Yes we had injuries but the reason why we finished so far behind Chelsea and Man Utd if you dont believe me take a look at the league table is more deep rooted.We have some great players but also some average players who when the pressure is on they fall apart.What was the difference between the Man Utd CL semi and the league game 7 months later? Absolutley nothing.The two games were a mirror image

    And when was the last time if ever you have seen an Arsenal team lay down and surrender like they did in the last 10 minutes at Wigan when they were still in the title race?

    By blaming injuries is just sticking your head in the sand.You cant blame injuries for the numerous mistakes made by Almunia and Flappyaintski

  51. Do any of us really believe that there is any chance BUFFON would be coming. NOT!!

    I have said before that I have never met a transfer rumor that I don’t like, However this one is a little to far fetched even for me.

  52. Walking Wounded

    I am converted

    Tired of being stifled by Le Grove (Or Le Lane as they seem to be), just because I have hope.

    Can’t wait to see the signings coming in.

    Buffon, Akinfeev, Hart would all be bold and needed signings, Green, Lloris would be adequate, Robinson would be rubbish

  53. > Injuries
    > The D**M Position
    > Why weren’t our favourite players brought e.g. a ‘Classical’ Whinger’, somebody for the D**M Position (Er, Song?). Like (the dropped) Mikel, or (the dropped) Berbatov, or Valencia, he’s obviously worth much more then AA, just like Lescott is worth more then twice TV5 etc…
    > The board don’t love me anymore (They never did…), Wembley is an £1BN carapace without a pitch inside it, but I’m going to headbutt my keyboard because our new home is taking a natural amount of time to bed in. I’ll ignore Red Action and anyone else trying to improve things, (the superficial clock and name changes are surely just the start of an improvement…maybe they’ll let people who like to sing sit together soon! Possibly, as the ‘economy’ tumbles which is more likely after the Olympics, prices everywhere will drop?)
    > Wenger Out
    > Sack the Board
    > Mourinhio in.

    > Repeat

  54. Yogi:

    I can not come up with anything decent by tomorrow or even this week. How about next week?

    I would love to see something from Ole/ Limpar/Finsbury/FunGunner etc etc etc. Come on guys.

  55. LimparAssist

    QoS, I feel the opposite way. I’m more excited about the off-season this summer than for a long time.

    We have a few new signings to look forward to, more Arsenalisation to look forward to with the clock, the renaming of the stands etc.

    I can recommend the Ivan Gazidis Q&A on the Arsenal website to whet the appetite. Fantastically transparent discussion and loads of forward thinking ideas to get excited about.

    I remember a summer when the most exciting thing to happen was us being linked with Dion Dublin. So it’s been worse.

    I also think we’re in for a great World Cup.

  56. …and the Barnet fixture is only a week after the World Cup final.

    I think it’s going to fly by.

  57. I am hated for being such a devoted supporter 😦 boooo hooooooo

  58. its your style not your substance CG

  59. LimparAssist

    I am on holiday for the Barnet game, but I’m strongly considering a weekend of Jazz and Arsenal in Warsaw for the Legia game! Who’s with me?!

    Either that or get myself to the Austrian training camp. Watch us train in the morning, and then thump mountain-based Austrian teams 20-0 in the afternoons (as Zap puts it).

    I’ve always wanted to be picked for the Austrian training camp, but I’m starting to think the only way I’ll get there is to pay my own way. A sad day, but an important reality for me to recognise and slowly grow to accept.

  60. No, you are hated for being an obnoxious insufferable American cunt Chris, but who’s really keeping score?

  61. devotion comes from faith. you can’t ignore the religious parrallels.

    Would a preist talk to his constituents in the manner that you talk to less informed fans?

  62. loved your comment on CG yesterday by the way QOS

    “thats what happens when you give an american a concept to get behind”

    lolz

  63. Be ashamed of yourself ChrisGoona, how can you as a supporter support the worst team in the league? You must fell sorry for yourself because do you know what’s worse than

    relegation
    administration
    europa league
    and spiralling debts?

    Third place.

  64. Walking Wounded

    How’s that for Karma..

    John Terry in hospital with a foot injury.

    Wayne Bridge for England!

  65. Really WW? Is it bad? Fingers crossed…

  66. Walking Wounded

    notlager

    How about being a Liverpool fan?

    When ever I feel down, A Liverpool shirt and the number 7 spring to mind.

    When we play Barnet they will be in a winner takes all match against Tony Adams managed Azerbaijani side.

  67. Walking Wounded

    QoS

    sounds like a Metatarsal

    Jumped in the air landed and his foot hurt. Bless!

    The only downside is that Ledley now is a no brainer for the 23

  68. more like big sol for england!!!

  69. LimparAssist

    Spot on, WW. Ledley really is brainless.

  70. Sol should have been in ahead of Carragher anyway. The only reason the scouser is in the squad is because he has the ability to be bad in two positions.

  71. Limpar @ 2:56PM

    Wouldn’t be fun to meet everybody on the blog. I form mental pictures of what people look like based on their posts. My most vivid mental picture is “The Brain”. Anyone who remembers the original Star Trek shows they met a race of ultra-intelligent aliens whose brains had evolved to be so big that their bodies could no longer support their brains. Thats how I picture the brain. I picture you as a footballer who keeps a file in his locker to sharpen the studs on his boots. Nasir chews tobacco and carries a long switchblade knife in his belt. (just kidding).

    A good guys vs. doomers football match would be a lot of fun.

  72. Walking Wounded

    Bill the Trekky

    Now there’s an image!

  73. QOS. “American cunt” now that does not sound very lady like does it 🙂

  74. wow imagine if sol lifted the world cup this year, what an inspiration to the team!

    worth a punt with the bookies at ~100-1

  75. Bill: “I think the idea of having some of the regulars contribute the main post is great. Do any doomers get a chance?”

    I have been under the illusion – and that’s why I prefer this site – that this blog is for sensible Arsenal supporters. And I’d like to keep it that way – there are lots of loonie sites out there for the others.

    Just consider the blog name: A Cultured Left Foot. It’s quite different blog-footballisticly of the “Manic Arse Rabbles” out there.

    Keep the intelligent stuff flowing.

  76. Word; Sorry but I don’t think anyone from England will be lifting the world cup.

  77. DFG – carefully chosen words!

  78. And I thought the term was “American Apple-Pie”.

    Now, if Wenger was to referee a match between rationale people and sewer rats, so sorry, observant normal people and doomers, I wonder if he would be fair?

    Hell no!

    I also imagine what people on ACLF really look like and actually do. Gooner Ted of course is a cardboard cut-out. He stands at the corner of Balls Pond Road, and, oh I forget, you know just in front of that Turkish place. He has a fixed grin on his face and look like he’s pointing to a used car. QoS used to post a picture of somebody like herself, which is cheating.

  79. I think Finnish that the problem is that the alternate view is rarely expressed well.

    It usually boils down to Wenger is a senile *insert your own expletive*.

    In my view, some of the frustration has its place. If everybody at every club was always happy with their manager or players or the way the club was run then you’d never see a deserved sacking…an example close to home, if Arsenal fans had adopted the appraoch some do with Wenger and never uttered a word of critisism of Bruce Rioch, we might still be stuck with him!

  80. “I also imagine what people on ACLF really look like and actually do. Gooner Ted of course is a cardboard cut-out.”

    That would depend on which ID he was using at the time.

  81. no apologies needed there I am supporting the arsenal players in the WC largely while looking forward to some good inter continental match ups. We don’t deserve to watched most of the time let alone win the the thing.

    The WC does however very much tempt my purse to spill out on paddy power and I would to love to know the odds on sol doing the undoable!

    could be a costly summer for me come to think of it… had £100 on argentina to win last time just before they bottled it. should know better really

  82. You are regressing QoS. It’s fine to be critical, but Wenger and Bruce Rioch? Oh I see now – you haven’t haven’t lost your sense of humour.

  83. QOS, I am new here so I’ll leave that one alone then as there must be some history involved. I have noticed though that you have a lot to say on Le Grove as well as here and appear to be one of the very limited sensible posters on that site. Any way I am glad I chose this site to blog on.

  84. I watch Arsenal because they play good football.

  85. Word; For what it’s worth I am following Holland, Germany and France in the WC.

  86. Stick a hundred quid on Ghana reaching the semi-finals Word. You could become rich(er).

  87. so who is going to throw their hat in to yogi to properly express the ‘alternate view’?

    zimpaul – I see your point on sewer rats I guess but qos has a point

  88. 🙂 ZP

    It was a badly constructed sentance! But like all matters of opinion, there is a sensible critique to construct.

    DFG – you were probably swayed by all the advertising Le-Grove has been doing for ACLF lately.

  89. I’ve had enough of these ghanaian money scams thank you very much!

    (maybe you dont get the same illiterate emails I do zimbabwe paul? would be interested to know!)

  90. Keith Dover (Boom Boom) is one of the professional comedians on the “It’s Up For Grabs Now Podcast”.

    A few weeks ago he said this, in caricature, but also seriously:
    “I feel like the board are pissing down on my head from the club level above”.
    They do spend more time on that podcast abusing each other then anyone else. It’s interesting to note another thread from the other day, and point out that simply, a blog and podcast are very different mediums. One is written text, the other is recorded & scrpited ‘banter’. So, no, it is not easy to have the same kind of ‘banter’ in text.

    A few minutes Keith was describing a visit to a certain blog, and how it made him *piss* himself. It’s online for all to hear.

    ‘Nuff said.

  91. Queen of Suburbia @ 2:32pm

    My dear sweet lady…you have plucked my thoughts cleanly from the mess of my mind.

    Haha…it will indeed be a truly long summer…

  92. > Minus my Typos.

    Keith Dover (Boom Boom) is one of the professional comedians on the “It’s Up For Grabs Now Podcast”.

    A few weeks ago he said this, in caricature, but also seriously:
    “I feel like the board are pissing down on my head from the club level above”.
    They do spend more time on that podcast abusing each other then anyone else. It is interesting to note another thread from the other day, and point out that a blog and podcast are very different mediums. One is written text, the other is recorded & scripted ‘banter’. So, no, it is not easy to have the same kind of ‘banter’ in text.

    A few minutes later Keith was describing a visit to a certain blog, and how it made him *piss* himself. It’s online for all to hear.

    ‘Nuff said

  93. You already support them J*mes.

  94. LimparAssist

    Ha! Sharpened studs?! What an awful thought.

    That game would be like The Hurricanes vs. The Scorpians. You’d go 3-0 nil up by foul means and we’d come back to win it against all odds.

    Yogi’s Warrior could be the Brazilian guy that beats the whole team despite playing without boots on.

    In all seriousness though – we would literally wipe the floor with you.

    It would be as though a team of Brede Hangelands had come up against a team of RVPs. Your lot would be lumbering around one-footedly, trying to command the aerospace whilst being quietly and stylishly picked apart by Nasri-like slide-rule passes and Denilson-style samba football. Ole!

    (No, not you, Ole. But yes, you are on our team.)

    PS. I would not describe you as a ‘doomer’, Bill. Just a man that loves his d-fense!

  95. Qos @ 3:31PM:

    Very well said.

  96. They won the world under-21 cup Word. I’m not sure the team is connected to the con-artists. We get them all the time. I’ll stop sending them on to you now.

  97. banter is more like witty prose in text. it is doable and inspires personal creativity to interesting effect.

  98. QOS; I have actually been reading almost every Arsenal related blog available for several months (when I have time of course) ACLF seems to have the best views of the true fans of Arsenal Football Club whereas Le Grove appears to be made up from a bunch of loud mouthed thugs and I find it hard to believe that the majority are claiming that they are Arsenal fans. Even the two blog editors do all they can to stir up aggrevation. If I may say, you appear to be to intelligent to be posting there, as from what I have read your posts have always been very well formulated and factual.

  99. DFG out of interest what blogs would be in 2nd and 3rd place do you think?

  100. LimparAssist

    I wonder if Andy Reid will be ‘Arry Redknapp’s ‘one massive signing’…

  101. Limpar:

    I think of you as Freddie Ljunberg with a bite. I hope you do not model underwear in your spare time.

    I suspect you would wipe the floor with us. My side would have nothing but donkeys and twats.

    I do love d-fense but I would hate to give up my “doomer” label. Contrarianism (not sure that is a word) is sort of fun.

  102. Are the Sp*ds named after ‘Arry?

    ‘Arry Hotspur. The name of another team from S.London that they stole? Like the way that they pretended to be a club from London?

    Yes.

  103. It begs a question; why are the more ‘critical’ types quite so incoherent?

    I dunno, don’t you find the same tacky comment in infinite variables of swear-words or who next to buy on monopoly football all a little boring?

    Football is fun.

  104. Nah Limp…I’m thinking a swoop for Kevin Doyle

  105. QoS

    So is that going to be the more sophisticated new cousin of telling someone to ‘Fuck Off Howard’?

    Just curious

    YW

  106. Word, I found Arsenal Insider and Arseblog to be okay.

  107. I think it has legs, Yogi!

  108. Walking Wounded

    I got a yellow card from Le Grove for calling the doomers “idiots” for always living in the past, yet you should see what I am called by some.

    QoS can vouch for me on that

  109. Badge of honour Wounded.

  110. Indeed!

  111. Anyone noticed that Dommy has dropped Nasri from the frogs wc squad?

  112. QoS

    1. I am not American, I am born and raised in North London, you can only wish you were, then you would understand what its like to be a true supporter

    2. You are the cunt – go get fucked

  113. WW. The unwritten rule on there is that you can’t be as aggressive in “supporting” as you can be in “complaining”.

    Generally speaking, you can rationally argue against a view from one of the more extreme members but you can’t call them names.

    They may occasionally get to call you a name, but then its ok to have a pop back after a couple of barbs as long as you reference the insult you received!

  114. You live in the US now Chris?

  115. Off topic, but if anyone thinks our youth system in a failure they should read this article.

    http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/2010/05/be-proud-be-very-proud-arsenal-become-first-team-ever-to-retain-premier-academy-league/

  116. Walking Wounded

    Twats the lot of them, I get depressed reading all their shite, but I still laugh that someone who so obviously hates the club can call themselves a supporter.

    We do all want the same thing, but what is wrong with backing the manager and believing the facts that present themselves.

    Oh Well, Capello should call Wenger for advice with most of his defence unfit, but at least Capello can chose more players.

    DO Carragher and Dawson strike fear into the world’s strikers?

    i don’t think so.

  117. LimparAssist

    I worry about Michael Dawson. He will burn to a crisp out there. He went straight from Nottingham to Haringay. He’s never been outside the UK for more than a few brief, disappointing 90 minute spells to play obscure village teams in Georgia. He will wither like so many dried leaves in the hearth.

    At least Carra’s perma-tan will provide him with some initial protection.

  118. One player I am looking forward to seeing again is Gibbs. From the few games he’s played struck me as a ‘genuine’, one of those who seems to have time to look up, then make his move. A good defender and a better midfielder, I wonder where he will end up?

  119. to bill at 2.32

    Bill I agree with what your saying, that the Afobe’s and Lansbury’s (who is actually over 20) won’t make a difference on a massive scale to a season, usually.

    Once in a while one will come around, as cesc did or Rooney did. With our set up and looking through the youth and reserve teams we are likely candidates to have a one of these guys.

    Your point of saying that these guys will not come of age for another 4 years is true but then if that is the case by that very statement you are saying that the likes of song, deni and nik are all going to improve vastly over the next two seasons. As my original point was that we don’t necessarily need to make signings as we have a new class coming through yearly still stands as, as you say our players in there early 20’s will be better next season than this. Couple that with the fact that they know arsenals style and are settled only strengthens the fact that signings are not really needed.

    You can’t have the argument both ways (if that was the point you were trying to make). By saying we cant rely on youngsters as they wont be ready until 24-25 then discount our current 22-23 year old players as they didn’t play as well as you hoped this season.

    I stated these players as they are more exciting to me than the prospect of signing buffon. I sit waiting in the summer hoping to see who will out of the reserve team have there status raised.

    That for me is what supporters of Wengers scheme should do.

  120. regarding fulham:
    http://www.zonalmarking.net/2010/05/12/fulham-atletico-preview/

    just found this analytical site today. seems measured enough and is pretty detailed in all aspects of the game.

  121. do read franks first tho! 😉

  122. ZimPaul, this is just absolutely wonderful. Thanks.

  123. Excellent article, word.

  124. Limestonegunner

    inspiring post Zimpaul. We do have much to be thankful as Arsenal fans. Strangely not much discussion of its specific content. So, as a global gooner, I want to engage the issue of Arsenal’s global identity and the unnamed, long-term strategy.

    Late 90’s success and the Invincibles season raised the global profile of the club, most certainly. Having stars of the game like Bergkamp, Viera, Pires, and especially Henry made Arsenal well-known as the PL was expanding its market globally.

    Since that time, however, opportunities have really been lost to cement and expand the global base of Arsenal support. We don’t have the same level of recognizable and marketable star players. Fabregas is emerging into that status, RVP could become such a figure, and Arshavin is not as well-known outside his Euro performance and Anfield style heroics. We rely on young players without the same individual presence who will remain relatively unknown until they distinguish themselves as champions.
    Our pre-training regime doesn’t raise money or fans for the club in Asia or America as other clubs are doing. That sort of outreach is extremely valuable in building the global support for the club.

    There are a lot of young and new fans around the world who are or will be lost if on-field success is delayed. Arsenal are wonderful to watch, but more than this may be needed to establish Arsenal’s identity abroad.

    Finally, victory against top global clubs are important as well to the success of Arsenal’s global strategy. You get the same points for beating Stoke as ManU in the league but it doesn’t mean the same to fans abroad who are paying attention primarily to the big CL participating clubs. If Arsenal keep losing to these competitors, the global image of Arsenal suffers.

    So, I would suggest that if global support is a priority for Arsenal (and obviously it is for Gazidis), the current strategy has some strengths and some opportunity costs. The club could go to East Asia or North America on summer tour next year. It could factor in merchandising and shirt sale increases for the occasional exciting transfer target. Above all, it needs to insure that we do have the squad depth to compete through a long slog of a season at the highest levels and have the quality to defeat the top teams that we haven’t had success against for a season and a half so that we can win the PL and CL. Arsenal have been doing their best on this last, but this summer if there are more resources, it might be worth strengthening the team to give a better chance of ending the drought.

    I think we’ll see some prudent adjustments to the strategy and hope to enjoy even greater success next year.

  125. Have we really gone forward this season

    Compare 2007/08 season when we finish 3rd and this season

    Games Lost 2008:3 2010:9

    Goals conceded:2008 :31 2010:41

    Points won 2008:83 2010:75

  126. Els:

    I think the key to Arsenal’s success in the next few years will be how well Nasri/Walcott/Diaby Song and Denilson develop. As these guys reach the mid 20’s I hope and expect we will see a consistant Nasri from game 2 Porto and a consistant Walcott from 2nd half game 1 v Barca and a mid season Diaby. Unfortunately this year those same talented players went invisible sometimes. Our success next year depends completely on which version comes to the pitch on a regular basis. That inconsistancy is usually a trademark of players in their early 20’s. Chamakh to add depth and a great threat in the air (plan B) will help. Adding another player who is a real difference maker upfront would be great also. It would make Nasri and Walcott push that much harder. However I think an offensive signing beside Chamakh would be a luxury.

    We need real help in the back!! Soon. CB’s and GK’s please.

  127. Yes we have, Ted

  128. Walking Wounded

    No we have had an awful season but so have everyone else, except the Spuds who actually think they are good now, but they have just maintained their previous standards.

    But lets turn it to our advantage.

    The weaknesses are clear and evident and yet we are still in the Champions League, so money is no problem anymore and the profile is still good.

    Improving in 2 or 3 key areas and we can make the next step up and with the careful financial control of the board we can stay there.

  129. ZP great post really enjoyed it. as an american, it was nice to see your perspective from Africa.. some similarities and differences..

    QoS, others — i hope you arent slagging off all Americans? although i did laugh at your “give an American a concept to get behind and this is what happens” comment haha

    I think its important for American supporters to have perspective on their support

  130. “out of interest what blogs would be in 2nd and 3rd place do you think?”

    Wasn’t asked from me, but I read only two daily: this ACLF for reasonable comment and good text, and Arseblog because it’s often funny and emotional. Have bothered the latters comments/arses only twice because they’re terrible – on the other side, its Arsecast is often funny WITH good discussion.

    Ohterwise sometimes Goonerholic because he’s a wise older fan and man. I’d like to read Friday-Darius’ Stone Cold Arsenal, but time issues restrict that too. Zonal Marking (not Arsenal-only) for an occassional tactical lesson. And I’ve just recently found The Swiss Ramble which has a fantastic take on the financial side of the global game. And Young Guns to have a look at the youth setup.

    From “real media”, only Guardian Football + Fiver and BBC’s morning round-up. (BTW: you English have a terrible media culture with all that tabloid bullsh*t – hope you get over it!)

    Anybody know if there is any place where you could get a balanced view of all Arsenal blogs and sites?

  131. also YW i know its getting late over there, but would an American take on things be an acceptable alternative persepctive? I wont pretend to have ambitions similar to our last 2 guest posts, but I can promise a unique take on things.

  132. We have gone forward imo Ted, but off the pitch rather than on it. When Hleb, Gilberto and Flamini left at the end of 07-08 we lost a very important part of out midfield, both starters and back ups. Not to mention Rosicky absense taking its toll too.

    Since then on the pitch we have had to try replace the experience we’ve lost.

    Hopefully now that the debt is almost completely paid off we can spend appropriately in the summer on players we really need.

  133. finnish — check out untold arsenal too.

    i have an app for my iPhone that pulls all Arsenal related news stories — blog posts, newspaper articles, official stuff from arsenal.com its pretty cool heres a link to the page:

    http://www.kicknews.co.uk/club/arsenal#a

  134. LG, thankyou. imagine this: every time you sit at the Emirates (I am assuming), there are hundreds of thousands of people, millions, watching the same match, following every move, player, nuance. Screaming abuse at a TV screen when a mistake or a bad foul is made, erupting when a goal is scored or nearly scored. In my neck of the woods, it’s a spectacle in itself.

    The knowledge and passion for Arsenal does not come from trophies, although I concede it may once have done. People know their football, that’s all, and they enjoy it. It comes chiefly from the players, who are highly respected, their individual moves discussed at great length, and the the overall inter-play of the game. This is appeciated.

    One trophy and I think the global fan-base will explode because it is already large. It is coming.

  135. Bill I 100% agree, it is inevitable that those mentioned players will kick on and become more consistent. With RvP, NB, Eddy the progression of vela and Chamakh I would rather not sign anymore strikers as we know Wenger will be pained to sign more than 3 players as it disrupts the flow of the team.

    We do however need those defensive signings. Is this because the players in this position will come into there peak near to 30? It’s a shame that we cant keep the team ticking over until Johan and Havard.. reach closer to that age.

  136. Excellent stuff ZP!!! We have a remarkable club with much more positives than negatives but as CB said yesterday (wonderful write us also) people have lost perspective regarding the game so if you dont win NOW you need an overhaul or you have lost the plot.

    I am so proud of my team. Win, lose or draw we are the classiest team in the world.

    ARSENAL!!!

  137. write “up”

  138. Zp, I don’t agree with everything you’ve said, but the majority is ‘spot on’. Good post.

  139. Thanks for the input on the other blogs guys! there is a lot of shit out there so you have made a lazy man moderately happy.

    Have recently added swissramble and zonalmarking to my bat man belt. Both are high quality in their chosen fields. Great to see people specialising like this in the blogsphere, the interenet really would be nothing without these obsessive types. I hope it long continues and evolves further like this. In fact I would probably donate or subscribe in some form to help make it so.

  140. Limestonegunner: interesting points about international marketing value. I as a Finn and a marketing professional am interested in that. Although I’ve been a fan since the 1979 Cup Final…

    A few comments:

    I’m not sure if the global tours are necessary, given the global coverage the Premier League gets at this point. I know they bring extra coverage in certain parts of the globe, but it’s a big world. On the other hand, ManU and Chelsea haven’t seemed to suffer from them.

    Trophies are important for new fans, but on our plus side

    1) we have a great style of play that makes some local football opinion leaders support us

    2) a recent history of not buying success which most people in the world – who are poor – can relate to (although in some cultures wealth and showing it is a sign of success and cause for admiration

    3) are we in the recent years the most international team ever? I don’t have facts, just a feeling. From that a) that’s where the world is going to anyway, with this internet thingy, and we are easier to love and b) Wenger and Arsenal have brought up several players from poor countries to international recognition and riches, giving hope to EVERYONE (yes I know many have passe through Belgium, France etc.)

  141. shotta-gunna

    Yow ZP!
    Great blog. I remebered your first ever post sometime in 08 (I think), feeling your way, getting acceptance and now a guest writer. I am alwys struck by your optimism and cheerfulness despite the odds.

    From you and ACLF, I have learnt that in adversity we find our true friends. None more than any supporter of Arsenal over the past five years. Hopefully despite the adversity and setbacks our team, particularly the younger ones, will become even mentally tougher to overcome the obstacles next year. Unlike the doomers, I believe we have the talent, minus one or two missing pieces.

  142. we love you arsenal we do
    we love you arsenal we do
    we love you arsenal we doooo

    arsenal we love you

  143. Whereof one cannot criticise, thereof one must be silent.

  144. NJGooner, thanks. Untold Arsenal is good, too, forgot to mention. But feeds of all news – unfortunately there is just too much garbage these days. I know there are some filtered things, too, but now I’ve just resorted to a few sensible blogs.

  145. Thank you, ZimPaul. You and Consolsbob are the twin lanterns that disperse the gloom.

  146. Thanks for the input on the other blogs guys! there is a lot of shit out there so you have made a lazy man moderately happy.

    Have recently added swissramble and zonalmarking to my bat man belt. Both are high quality in their chosen fields. Great to see people specialising like this in the blogsphere, the internet really would be nothing without these obsessive types. I hope it long continues and evolves further like this. In fact I would probably donate or subscribe in some form to help make it so.

  147. Great stuff ZimPaul – great stuff….

  148. Were playing legia Warsaw

  149. Is there any reason for the feud between QoS and Chris? The way those two are going on, anyone would think they are married.

  150. The battle to determine who will only slightly surprisingly come back from 2 goals down to win next season at some point against Arsenal has come down to cardiff, leicester and blackpool.

    I dont think sky will be getting many viewers other than those from leicester or cardiff, cant wait for the fulham match. I think everyone wants them to win (apart from atletico fans obviously) you have to route for them it would be great if they did it.

  151. Agree about Fulham FC,
    but it is also good to see Sunny Reyes with a smile back on his face, and back in form after Real Mad treated him like a used rag.
    Just after he’d won them the league.

  152. yea Finnish, thats usually what i do too. i saw you said you liked swiss ramble, after reading that article someone posted, OG I think, ill be heading back there in the future.

  153. PZ — i think QoS was taking a shot at him yesterday for his overly boisterous yet generic support. at least thats my interpreation.

    she made fun of him for being an American. I have managed to remain free of such criticism

  154. Well, we don’t want Americans running amok, shooting people all over the place, and shouting “What-e-verr” in everyone’s face; but hasn’t Chris said he isn’t American?

  155. CG’s definitely one of the good guys.

  156. I agree, Big Al. He’s never seemed American to me. I’ll have to look out for a disproportionate number of sentences ending with “already.”

  157. Limestonegunner

    Finnish,
    some good points you raise about style of play, not purchasing a team wholesale, and the international character of the team.

    But, I would also note that the tours do get attention, allow fans who can’t afford to see many games at the Emirates to cheer their team live, and raise quite a lot of money for the clubs directly and over the long term in stronger support/merchandising etc… Since we’ve been so financially strapped with the stadium financing, a few million a year from a summer tour is a valuable revenue source.

  158. Yeah calling a lady a ‘c*unt’ is a lovely thing to do. ChrisGoona is a twat. I was on this blog for three seconds before he started on me. You can slate Le grove all you like but people like chrisgoona make this blog seem like some kind of derranged Amish community, he forgets he is talking about a sport.

  159. Zimpaul my friend. Very nice piece. I hadn’t really grapsed the concept of the ‘door’ forced open by the Invincibles and overseas fans ‘pouring through’. Very visual. Love it.

    Excellent point too about not being able to judge a season without being aware of the objectives. How can so many miss that? Oh, I forgot, the only objective that matters is winning.

    It’s been fun hasn’t it, having Yogi hand over the key to the doors of perception?

    A thank you to all those who said pleasant things about my post. Those of you who didn’t appreciate my views, well, wisdom is a rare commodity.

    Thanks Yogi. Only another 360 odd posts before you can take a break again.

  160. The hero has returned for his triumph.

  161. In fairness to Chris, QoS did call him an “obnoxious insufferable American c***.”

    They must be married!

  162. Just buy yourselves an “I’m with stupid” t-shirt each, and then move on.

  163. Queen of Suburbia

    My only issue with Chris is that he’s an extremist, but not because he has chosen to adopt an extreme stance, but because he is quite spectacuarly stupid.

  164. LimparAssist

    Morsen Welles enters stage left:

    He stumbles… his mask unfastens, slips to the floor and bounces beyond the footlights. The glare takes no mercy, and reveals in an instant the hideous, blinking, terror-stricken cuntenance of… sorry, countenance of… J*mes! The unmistakable Quasimoto of ACLF.

    He retreats beneath a volley of rotten vegetables and cruel jeers.

  165. Hilarious reading all this “we will never win with Wenger” nonsense! If you twats want to write comedy why not send stuff to Jimmy Carr and leave the football chat to people who know what the are talking about.

  166. You still dont react to a woman like that, especially as QOS seems very agreeable when i’ve read her comments.

  167. Maybe you’d benefit from spending some quality time together.

  168. “I think everyone wants them to win (apart from atletico fans obviously) you have to route for them it would be great if they did it.”

    It might be heresy but I don’t particularly. Roy Hodgson seems like a good guy, but if Fulham win I can only see more negativity coming Arsenal’s way. It might be narrow minded on my part, but I only care about Arsenal and couldn’t care less who wins anything else.

  169. I agree with Passenal.

  170. “…if Fulham win I can only see more negativity coming Arsenal’s way.”

    Why so?

  171. I want Fulham to win, Passenal. I don’t give a shit about the negativity. Let the fuckers stew in it. It is only a minnows cup. Besides, in some ways Fulham begat Arsenal.

  172. When did Phil Brown become Atletico Madrid’s manager?

  173. being an american should not be a negative thing in and of itself within the arsenal communtiy. a lot of times is it negative? yes… sometimes when i bump into an arsenal “fan” im embarassed with how little they know of our squad, current situations, etc..

    but i would like to submit myself for scrutiny as an American who is giving the pride of london a good name all over the states

  174. I want fulham to win solely for what it would do for their club, which i dont have any reason to hate on, and more importantly, for their fans.

    thinking about the older fulham fans who have never seen such an important night in their decades of following the club gives me, as an american, goose bumps. the prize isnt as significant, but think Boston Red Sox ending their world series drought at 96 years.

  175. You fuck with an English person’s tea and that’s what you get, NJGooner

  176. @ passenaal, you are correct, that is very narrow minded of you. How could any neutral football fan not be routing for Fulham tonight?

  177. frank i didnt fuck with anyone’s tea!! that was the one thing i was told before going over to see you cheeky lot.. and not to order an irish car bomb.. good thing someone reminded me of that… YIKES

  178. LimparAssist

    I’d love Fulham to win. I’ve been to Craven Cottage a couple of times and it’s a great place to watch football, with a nice family feel about the club.

    Passenal, I think those that are unreasonably negative toward Arsenal’s ‘trophyless 5 years’, or the ‘any silverware will do’ crowd – even they wouldn’t covet a Europa League trophy for Arsenal. It would mean us dropping out of the CL early for starters, or not qualifying for it in the first place.

    But for Fulham it would be the finest achievement in their history. I couldn’t begrudge them that, for any reason. It’s too romantic a story not to get caught up in.

  179. Pz

    It’s a silverware thing…

    YW

  180. yea limpar thats my take on it. if we were talking about most other EPL teams that i may or may not hold a grudge against for their pedestrain interpretation of the sport of football, then yes, id have reason to root for Atletico.

  181. I was referring to the Boston Tea Party, NJGooner. Home of the Red..er…Pants…no…Socks.

    Americans will suffer 1000 years of ridicule because you lot fucked with our tea. Probably two or three hundred thousand cuppas ruined.

  182. The Fulham game is following the pattern of the ’94 final against Parma

  183. ahhh Frank, that went way over my head, wasnt even on that level.. but quite clever now that i see where your going.

    shouldnt it be you who suffers the ridicule? the revolutionary war was the equivalent of an FA Cup Final win for Accrington Stanley over the combined squads of Utd, Chelsea, and Arsenal

  184. Frank

    More if you re-use the teabag…

    YW

  185. NJG

    Nah you lot were at home…

    YW

  186. …and then there is Quebec. We duffed up the French good and proper for you. You then take the opportunity to go your own way in the full knowledge that the French would not be bothering you anymore….fucking splitters.

  187. hahah fair enough YW

  188. What people dont seem to get is that weve been SO fucking close to winning something on a number of occaasions.

    You could almost script the occurences of our injuries, like a movie with a depressing end, players dropping out of the eqaution one by one, the backbone of our team stripped to nothing so painfully slowly, culminating in wigan away. Eduardo in 2008. One bad decision in the cl final of 2006..But we cant complain,, we are at blame for a lot of our own misfortune,, and thers notiing we can do ab that but march on and win sumthing next season

  189. lets not even get to the war of 1812

  190. I have nothing against Fulham and I’m not rooting for Atletico either, but after watching the first part of the Gazidis QA and listening to idiots suggesting we’d be better off going for the FA cup than the CL when we are trying to be self-sufficient and the prize money for the group stages of the CL dwarf the FA cup prize money 10 times over, I just know how the ‘any silverware will do’ mob will spin it. Why do they think spurs, manc c and villa etc have been throwing money around for years in an attempt to finish 4th in the league? I’m not asking anyone to agree with me, but I’m being honest that this is how a certain element amongst the supporters is making me feel.

  191. Hang on you have been watching too much of that Catholic bigot, Mel Gibson, NJGooner. There were far more of you than us…and we made it easy for you by wearing bright red coats and white…er…trousers..AND you were playing at home.

  192. …AND our king was completely barking.

  193. …AND to add insult to ignominy you started showing your knickers to the French again in 1812. Do you guys have no shame?

  194. I hold no malice towards Fulham but can’t help but see all football as to how it might affect Arsenal. That’s why I wanted the spuds, rather than the blue mancs to get fourth.

    I wish Fulham as a club well but if their success makes Arsene’s job even marginally more difficult…

    We burnt the Whitehouse in 1812.

  195. Well at least it’s a match now…

  196. Wow, ref reminds Athletico player to not back into other players during a corner. Great job! Only wish we had somebody like that officiating our games!

  197. Thanks consolsbob, I’m glad I’m not the only one!

    Great article by the way ZP. The importance of the global support is overlooked by many, so it’s good to get the reminder.

  198. dont worry Frank, i hate Mel Gibson for the delusional anti semitic cunt that he is.

    and yes, we were playing at home, but lets be honest, frank, you guys were dominant force, surely it was said, why do the americans even bother to resist? i dont think the USA will ever become an empire in the sense that Britain was during the 18th/19th century, but you have to admit, the fact that we know sit atop the world today as the lone hegemonic power, adds a bit of insult to injury. we were the bitches or hoes whichever you prefer, and you the pimp. and you pushed us around for awhile, then we kinda stood up for ourselves and gave you, the pimp, a taste of what a bitch slap tastes like, and nowwww that same bitch who made the pimp look silly back then is now on top of the world! wow must be dejecting

    and cbob we still havent gotten over it, the new one is just a little too…white

  199. not to mention that outside of football culture, pop culture in England is basically American pop culture-light

  200. Queen of Suburbia

    He’s asking for it……

  201. i most certainly am QoS.. what do you guys say… “on the wind up”

  202. I like the way Fulham have been playing in the second half. Great passing at times.

  203. flyingGooner

    Brilliant article.

  204. NJ

    You mock our pop-culture? We gave you the Spice Girls. No matter what you may think, you’ve never been able to dump that sort of dross on us…

    YW

  205. YW

    Justin Bieber begs to differ…

  206. AHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!

    look at atletico’s manager!!!!

    Does gardening leave include a move to spain??

  207. Uncanny, isn’t it?

  208. haha i know,, it is

  209. Limestone:

    “But, I would also note that the tours do get attention, allow fans who can’t afford to see many games at the Emirates to cheer their team live, and raise quite a lot of money for the clubs directly and over the long term in stronger support/merchandising etc… Since we’ve been so financially strapped with the stadium financing, a few million a year from a summer tour is a valuable revenue source.”

    What revenue? A few million for appearances? I think this myth that tours of Asia are profitable is dispelled every time they anounce how much money Arsenal, a team that travels great distances to Austria, makes every year. Besides, Wenger is the most experienced of all managers when it comes to Asia. Perhaps he knows more than Chelsea, Pool or MU about what it takes to attract fans from overthere.

  210. Vince

    If I walked down any US main street, they’d have heard of the Spice Girls. WTF is Justin Bieber?

    Ah, just Wiki’d him. Now either I’m out of touch and an old fart or I’ve got discerning musical taste – possibly a bit of both – but I’d never heard of the boy before you mentioned him.

    Spice Girls still win…

    YW

  211. Atletico 2-1 fulham

  212. How do those who say that Denilson is not good enough because he can’t get into the Brazilian team explain Felipe melo and Kleberson?

    Fulham lost.

  213. YW

    If it was a main street in the US today, I guarantee more folk would know of Bieber than the Spice Girls. He’s even roped in poor Ludacris for a cred-grabbing guest rap.

    Poor Fulham, horrible goal to lose to.

  214. Heartbreak for fulham

  215. Baird is a target for Man U? Lordy, lordy, lordy.

  216. As for the xenophobe who was on here in the morning talking about how much French players s*ck. What is his opinion on Petit, Viera and Henry?

  217. absolutely heart broken for fulham. just does not feel right after their long journey. great game tho and was great motovation watching it in the gym. I hope they go from strength to strength next year but may be pegged back if hodgson goes. maybe he will stay, they are a great fit together.

  218. cardiff are effen cheats

  219. Word:

    I agree with your comment at 3:48.

    I hope that Aguero does not move to Chve$ki or $iteh.

  220. definitly word.

    Dont forget how nice it must be for atletico,, yu hav to feel good for them aas theyre always in real’s shadow

  221. Penalties at cardiff!!!!!!!

  222. EvilFiek

    You’ll never know what he thinks…

    YW

  223. YW

    ill just assume “dross” is a bad thing. and yes the spice girls are awful. simon cowell and the american idol culture and similar shows stemming from that are also up there on the list.

    ive been trying to think of a comparable export.. how about American style presidential err prime minister politics in the election. tv debates, heavy influence on personal details/background. that level of detail can be so nauseating.

    on another note.. feel bad for fulham, but aguero wow, his run on the goal was breathtaking

  224. 1 loose cannon

    Fulham lost the final. very disappointed for Roy and his boys. Aguero and Forlan were the difference on the night, very good players.
    Not sorry for Hengeland after his stupid claim that he turned down Arsenal. it turned out it wasn’t true. He deflected the ball for the second goal.

  225. unlucky liecester aswell

  226. Aahh…Hangeland. All 6ft 5ins of Norwegian grit. It is funny how being associated with Arsenal, spurred suspiciously by touters and agents, can give a little better than average player instant credibility.

  227. NJ

    We’ve never elected an actor to be a prime minister. OK, well not one that is known for performing with animals. Well not one that goes on screen to do it anyway…

    YW

  228. dear god I’ve just realised cardiff actually have a chance of playing in the premiership. aren’t there rules against these kind of thugs? do not want those cunty fans back at the emirates ever again. can we boycott them? wheres jonjon? FFS

  229. finsbury – my comment at 3:48 was just me agreeing with qos! surely she should get credit!

  230. @YW

    Are you sure? I think he is like the Highlander…as long as there is a head on his shoulders, he will be back.

  231. ahh I just wanna hold hodgon close to my bosom right now and let him cry himself to sleep in my arms. that man needs some hot milk and a foot massage a-sap.

    how can anyone be glad fulham lost tonight! look into his poor little wet eyes and say that u bastards!

  232. Evil

    Can’t say I’d ever imagined him with a Scottish brogue. Always struck me as having the inarticulately shouted ramblings of a racist prick.

    YW

  233. 1 loose cannon

    YW- We’ve got an England team made up of mediocre Tottenham players, a premiership champions full of cheats and a BOGOF government that is not really elected. What is going on ?

  234. youve got american presidential politics to thank loose cannon, at least for the last complaint

  235. 1 loose cannon

    Word- I don’t really know anyone who wanted Fulham to lose.

  236. 1 loose cannon

    NJ gooner- Lets hope Obama does not mistake the Clegg for a butler.

  237. 1lc passenal said fulham winning would have a negativee effect on arsenal,, but yeh i dont think anyone would want fulham to lose. (unless you’re spanish)

    Fucking cardiff in the premier league, what a bunch of pricks their fans are. I can say one thing Come On Blackpool!

  238. Queen of Suburbia

    I find it hugely amusing that we’ve gone from an unelected Prime Minister appointed by his friends to an unelected Prime Minister appointed by his enemies.

  239. 1 loose cannon

    Zap- we would not have any class to begrudge Fulham a little tropphy , Its a shame it did not happen. I get on well with the Fulhams, if its the Spuds then its a different matter. What about your boys beating the Spuds in the World cup? I feel detached from this England team. I would want Walcott to do well that is for sure.

    QOS-That’s democracy for you

  240. haha loving all the Frank, NJ and YW banter.

    Poor Fulham eh.

    Wenger looks likely to be signing a Defender as well as Chamahk, I wish he would just kiss and make up with Sendo in some ways, but the prospect of another TV is a lot to pass on. A signature of an older defender around the 30 mark would probably not impede the development of Johan, Harvard or Bartley (to mention a few) either.

  241. YW
    Apart from the Spice Girls we gave them Sheena Easton and Tracey Ulman – yes total insipid dross.

    1LC – loved the BOGOF analogy.

    QOS – brilliant, not the c word but the political bit

  242. els

    Sendy will never play for Arsenal again because he’s not up to standard. He couldn’t even get into the Everton team. He was a waste for 6 years and has taken Arsene years for him to smell the coffee.

    Arsene will eventually see how Almunia, Diaby, Eduardo, Denilson and Vela are all waste of money and space.

    We pay for the most expensive tickets but we still promote mediocrity. The likes of Sylvestre, Almunia, Fabianski and Denilson should be gone.

  243. FUCK OFF ADAM

  244. Queen of Suburbia

    Damn straight Adam. Senderos was especially awful during our record setting run in the Champions League without conceeding.

    He’s the Tracy Ullman of football.

  245. I bet Adam reads Pyles and believes every word.

    “He’s the Tracy Ullman of football.” Indeed he is.

  246. I know we’ve been on treadmill of the injuries discussion and so lost sight of just how bad it was. Take a straw poll of the ‘best’ or ‘most important’ Arsenal players, and it will look like this: Fabregas, Van Persie, Vermaelen, Arshavin, Gallas, Song. Make a list of injuries at the critical moments (plus playing with injury) including the run-in and, hey presto, what names pop up?

    Anyway, who was our player of the season?

    Leaving aside Fabregas, who otherwise will win every year, for me, a toss up between Song and Clichy when he got back to full fitness – mainly because when you took them out, you noticed it.

    It should have been Diaby. It might be Eboue actually. But maybe it was Vermaelen overall.

    It wasn’t Almunia. Pity.

  247. Is Newcastle the “Absolutely Fabulous” of football? Or does that belong to Leeds?

  248. Might I suggest Robert Mugabe as a compromise candidate for British prime minister, seeing as the country is splintered, and he’s very good at that.

    You might see a few more soldiers around the streets, and rumours of torture camps in the Lake District, but hey, everything has it’s price.

    If all goes well, he might be available soon. He brings his own close security, and cavalcade replete with truckloads of menacing armed soldiers, so you could cut costs there and reduce the deficit.

    Within 3 years you will using the US dollar as a national currency, so finally ridding the country of that millstone round its neck called a ‘national currency’. You can fire your chancellor and save more money.

    Just a thought.

  249. Newcastle are the Likely Lads first series of football. Scripted for it.

    Aaawwww fucking hell…not Cardiff?

  250. Is Millwall still “The Young Ones” of football?

  251. Nooooo not cardiff, there in the wrong league don’t they know.

    Zim my player of the season is a toss up between Eboue, Vermealen or Song.

    But I think i’d go with Vermo for his consistency and the fact that for one of our boys he managed a massive string of succesive games.

    Mmmmm Mugabe sounds like a more current thatcher.

  252. I go with Vermy.

    I suspect Thatcher was pussy cat compared to our man, and Thatcher doesn’t have the natty hitler moustache, but all things considered, maybe she’s down there with the worst. I still have a poster that says “Thatcher, Wanted for Shoplifting”, from another era.

  253. My player of the season is Robin Van Persie, because this season a bunch of clueless arseholes around the globe realised what many of us have known for some years…..World Class, son…World Class.

  254. Zim that wasn’t meant to offend I see how that could have trivialised good old Muagabe a tad.

    Vermy has come in and once again proven Wenger’s judgment is second to none.

    As for RvP if he’d remained fot he would have been EPL player of the year. Next year please just give us a full season of him!!

    Will he remain in the centre of the 3 strikers if Chamakh gets in the squad regularly or will he be prefered out wide again?? Anybody know Chamakh’s m.o.? Wenger tends to blood new attacking players on the wing’s doesn’t he.

  255. that’s fit, not fot. He’s always been fot.

  256. For me Cesc all the way. Then possibly Alex Song who i think has been excellent.

  257. I think our front three next season will be very fluid…all of our Strikers can play across the three.

  258. World class Frank is the reason why we are not succesful anymore.In 2004 we had 4 genuine world class players in Bergkamp Henry PV4 and Pires.We just dont have that quality of players not.Cesc yes, RVP if he f**king stays fit for nore than 10 games a season maybe.

  259. QoS, it’s always bloody cesc, I hate him. He’s too good and he ruins these best player debates. Haha.

    There should be an ‘Best AFC player apart from cesc of the year award’ or the ‘BAPAFCOTYA’.

    Strikerwise I think that’s the Arsenal order. They all must be able to interchange. It’s exciting, if we go into the season with Eddy, NB, Vela, RvP, Arsh and Chamakh all fit we’d be laughing.

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