Vermaelen Gets The Keown Seal Of Approval And Transfer Gossip

Tommy Gun

After an impressive debut season in the English Premier League, Thomas Vermaelen needs to understand his role more deeply and be able to organise the defence according to Martin Keown. Not that this signals the former centre back’s discontent with the Belgian international:

He’s been outstanding, without doubt, and it’s [only] his first year.

What I’d like to see him now do is grow, I’d like to see him become a leader, I’d like to see him become more vocal. It’s difficult watching from the sidelines but I get the feeling he is still feeling his way into the team. What I love about him is that he attacks the ball.

People criticised him and said he was just five foot 11 but he proved it doesn’t matter. We need him to grow, we need him to understand his role. Once he does that he can bring the rest of the back four with him and organise that line.

There is no doubt that Vermaelen was outstanding in 2009/10, no coincidence that points were dropped in his absence at the end of the season. His demeanour on the pitch is that of a winner and I suspect that he deferred to William Gallas as the leader of the defence simply because of being the new boy at the club, initially at least. That was hinted at in an interview with the official club magazine.

However, I would expect to see that change this coming season as he has adjusted to the pace of English football. Were the vacancy to arise, it would be no surprise to see him made Captain of Arsenal, a position he has held previously at Ajax and for his country.

Leadership qualities are something we have come to expect from Arsenal centre backs. Since the mid 1980s, the successful centre backs, the ones we remember most fondly, have all been strong characters. Those who were not such as Stepanovs, are erased from our memories (almost!), written off as hopeless.

Organisation is the key area that the defence needs to improve in 2010/11. That requires increased concentration from the back four, some of the goals conceded at the tail end of the season were breathtakingly slack-jawed. But once more, it is necessary to emphasise that team as a whole, and without exception, must defend when out of possession. Fewer goals conceded will ensure a sustained challenge for any trophies.

Concentration eradicates the repititious mistakes although as Vermaelen pointed out, that was not necessarily a big problem last season.

It is too easy to say there is a general pattern. If you want to learn from your mistakes you have to analyse every single match and see what we did badly – and every time against Manchester United and Chelsea it was something different, not the same thing repeatedly.

Whilst he talks of injuries and fitness, mistakes which are not repeatedly made are hard to avoid since they are often the result of individuals making the wrong decisions at the wrong times. An inexperienced defence might be able to use that but it is an accusation which cannot be levelled at anyone who is a first choice defender at Arsenal. Even the replacements have experience through injuries to others or representing their countries at whatever level.

Stating The Bleeding Obvious

A headline hogging saga in a Presidential Election season is nothing unexpected and lo, this one trundles its merry way through the global media like a runaway train. Peter Hill-Wood has observed that the manager will have the funds from all player sales as well as his original budget to take down the casino and blow in one evening. Sorry, to review carefully the scouting reports, identify his targets and then sign them.

It is nothing new and under the terms of loans that the club has, Wenger has to be given money to reinvest as he sees fit. On whom and when is entirely his decision and like most of his public utterances, PHW adds little of value. Which ought to mean the insertion of the letter ‘e’ into his initials to make ‘phew’, especially since one of his forays into the public domain has apparently inflamed the situation with Cesc.

How much truth there is in the story is up for debate but there is an air of believability. The words were clumsily chosen, whether Fabregas copped the arse-nal about it is possible and may well have been the straw that broke the camel’s back as far as the player was concerned. Perhaps, in time, the truth will come out.

Transfer Gossip

Elsewhere, Bolton have said Gary Cahill is worth £30m but will look seriously at any offer over £20m. Then they will realise Manchester City and Chelsea are not entering into the auction and probably settle on about £10m which represents at least a 100% profit for them in two years. Simon Kjaer was mentioned towards the end of last season as a possible signing and showed his credentials as an Arsenal player would be impeccable as he suffered an injury whilst on international duty. And we go full circle in this little segment as Bolton want Jack Wilshere back on loan. If Arsene lets him. Which rather depends on everyone else, I suspect.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on May 28, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 290 Comments.

  1. Good post YW.

    I would like Jack to stay with us until at least the Jan window. If he can fight his way in to the 1st team I would love it.

    BB. Yawn

  2. P.S.

    Nice early post, are you over the hangover now?

  3. I agree with him being captain. with RVP as vice. I hope if we sell Cesc we bring in the players we need elswhere.

    I think selling Cesc for 50m would justify 70m of spending. With that sort of investment forget Cesc.

    However, i won’t hold my breath. Whatever happens at the club one thing that will never change outside the club and that is my passion and loyalty for Arsenal Football Club.

    COME ON THE GUNNERS

  4. arsenehollis

    Last?

  5. I don’t accept this Peter Hill-Wood story. It would be like leaving your wife because your mother-in-law says Cheryl Cole wouldn’t go to bed with you.

  6. Who knows whether Cesc reacted to PHW or even whether young Mr Grace really uttered those words. Either way to react by reneging on a multi-million pound, five year contract would hardly be proproportionate or professional. In fact since as I am sure the players are aware that Peter is an old buffoon I would say that Cesc was being an opportunist if he used that excuse….IF.

    More likely poisonous hack trickery….

    It is at times like this that I wonder why serial killers pick on the innocent. If there was any justice in the world….

  7. Everything?

  8. Poliziano, what if your mother in law said that while Cheryl Tweedy was batting her eyelashes at you? I’d certainly get a little miffed 🙂

  9. I agree with Bigbrovar

  10. els, you make a good point there.

  11. The camp Gnu is not so much batting its eyelashes as bending over and…er…ahem.

  12. So I take it that Keown is active in the defensive fold now.

    I think it’s a really good thing, and with Tommy V as a student we could be looking at a more determined defence. I just hope to god we can keep billy and or sol.

  13. Good to read Keown’s appreciation of TV, though

    “People criticised him and said he was just five foot 11 . . . . . . . . We need him to grow”

    seems a little ambitious.

  14. I think what Peter Hill Wood said does not compare with the Cheryl Cole parallel. For a professional it is a matter of their ego, they like to believe they are the best in the world, and in fabregas’ case he probably is. It was certainly studpid of PHW to make that comment.

    15th by the way?

  15. Silver Gunner

    wigan’s Hugo Rodallega says arsenal have made an offer for him i hope that he is confused with charles n’zogbia……

  16. Peter Dead-Wood please shut the f**k up.

  17. Wenger’s words of wisdom

    Arsene Wenger imparts his wisdom

    When Barcelona target Cesc Fabregas determinedly tramped into Arsene Wenger’s office this week to demand that Arsenal allow him to return to his boyhood club, few expected he would emerge profoundly moved by the experience.

    “It is probably the greatest conversation I have had with someone in my life,” Cesc declared. A statement that left the rest of us wondering just exactly what the silver-tongued Gunners boss might have said to his protege and slightly jealous that we weren’t invited to such a momentous event.

    Luckily, this column has its grubby little fingers in many pies and can exclusively reveal that Wenger’s mind trick went something like this:

    Fabregas: I’m off!

    Wenger: There is no escape. Don’t make me destroy you. You do not yet realize your importance. You have only begun to discover your power. Join me and I will complete your training. With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy… er… I mean football.

    Fabregas: I’ll never join you!

    Wenger: If you only knew the power of the Arsenal. Pat Rice never told you what happened to your father.

    Fabregas: He told me enough.

    Wenger: I am your father.

    Fabregas: No. No. That’s not true! That’s impossible!

    Wenger: Search your feelings. You know it to be true.

    Or something like that anyway.

    …hilarious

  18. Silver Gunner, I think he’s just confused. We don’t need another striker, or maybe he can also play CB or GK?

  19. That is quite stupid actually.

  20. I love it Harsh! Maybe he also did a Jedi mind warp while he was at it!

  21. els,
    We might be able to keep billy as there haven’t been one story going around saying a club wants him.
    Except PSG a month ago but that is just a joke as they are completely skint and spent the whole of their pension fund to pay Makelele’s wage. Billy might realise he won’t get better contract the rolling one year contract offered by Wenger.

    As for the captain I would give it to RVP as he has always been outstanding for us and is a true lover of Arsenal.
    Loved that he gave the finger to Chelsea and AC Milan about a big money move!
    But TV to be vice captain.

  22. I tried to get first on bigbrover’s blog, got beaten to it though. It’s actually very good.
    Thank God for the world cup at least the eye of Mordor will turn to SA for a few weeks and leave us alone.

  23. [Peter Hill-Wood enters]

    PHW: [laughing] Good! Your hate has made you powerful. Now, fulfill your destiny and take your place at my side!

    Fabregas: Never. I’ll never turn to the Arse Side. You have failed, your Hillness. I am a Catalan, like my father before me.

    PHW: So be it…Catalan! If you will not be turned, you will be destroyed!

  24. Fabregas: Argh…Uhh…Yoweee!…Okay, okay. You win! The Arse Side it is. F*cking hell. You could have just asked.

  25. ‘This is not the club you are looking for’

  26. Wenger: It’s lucky you said that, my son. I was about to throw that old fool down the lift shaft.

  27. can puyol we worked in as a fookin wooky?

  28. and the fat ouzbek as Jabba the hunt

  29. Good one PZ!

    This is the first time I’ve been able to laugh about this situation!

  30. PHW…. Click! Click! Click!

  31. haha! quality stuff, Cesc the Jedi 🙂

  32. Regarding Gallas…

    Didn’t Wenger say he’d give him until end of May before looking elsewhere. If so, I take it Wenger is about to snap somebody up as soon as this month ends.. With or without Campbell.

  33. 1 loose cannon

    Pathetic really , fabregas wants to go to barcelona regardless of Mr PHeW had to say. I don’t think Cesc would use it as an excuse because it would be childish and silly. Any one can see Mr PHeW ‘s comment are rather a silly attempt to simply say to barcelona go away fabregas is not good enough for u and we’re more than delighted to reject your money and keep a very bad player. Its a compliment to Cesc. If arsenal are so desperate to get rid off the player he would’ve said the opposite.

  34. CG

    so what if they both leave?

    Does the possibility of Djourou count as the replacement of sol, and sly I’m assuming will be off, who replaces him?

    In effect we could be talking about 3 new centrebacks into the fold. That’s including Djourou as new because he’s had too long out and the tactic is entirely new to him.

    Maybe a few promotions would be in order. But to be trying to improve on last season having to bring in 3 defenders is nothing but a massive hinderance. I hope to god your right CG on retaining Gallas.

    Who could be a good replacement or improvement (tactically) on gallas???

  35. Flint McCullough

    Thanks YW.

    I am with Frank & Polizi on the PHW & Cesc. That would be a very meagre excuse. It smacks of an agenda against the board. Who could be behind that?

    YW, you know a bit of Spanish…is the word “greatest” used by Cesc perhaps not quite what he means. Perhaps “deepest”, “biggest” or something else? Any suggestions?

    I think if Cesc is really keen to go & we get the right money for him it may be better to get it out of the way because this situation is only going to keep recurring. It would be sad but the world still keeps turning & it could actually be a means to making this team more solid.

    With regard to Tommy Boy, I have had the feeling that we could do with an actual Van Bommel (vicious cunt that he is) type anchor man playing in front of the back 4, when required, to combine with Song who is far too adventurous to be considered a conventional DM. I reckon Tommy could be just the man as he has all the skills required for that job.

    That would leave our CB situation as right sided Campbell or Gallas (if Gallas goes Sol stays or vice verse), whoever stays being 1st choice, Djourou backup; left sided big CB to be found to vie with Tommy (when not playing DM). That would give us, including Song, 5 options with 6 if Bartley has another 1/2 season on loan, for the 2nd half of the season.

    I think we could do with a bit more of the Dark side about us!!

  36. flint – I’ve seen a version of translation that used the word ‘longest’ instead of ‘greatest’

    not so great

  37. Flint that sounds like a backwards step and a total change of tactic for me, why loose a tenth of your teams passing credentials, by employing a thug. I’m sure song is doing fine individually. To improve the team need to change mentally, and perhaps make sure they muck in. Martin keown will help with a bit of drive.

  38. I thought he gave the interview in English and said the greatest? It was Sid Lowe in the Guardian who inserted the word ‘longest’

  39. Flint

    The reports in the Spanish media use ‘largo’ suggesting that it was long, so Cesc referred in English as the ‘greatest’ conversation meaning the longest.

    YW

  40. Why did the Mexican push his wife off a cliff?

    Tequila!

  41. Beckham teaching theo how to cross. Its high time and a plus for arsenal

  42. els

    I think Gallas has been weighing up his options for the last few months, a bit like Flamini. He could yet stay, there is an offer on the table there for him.

    If worst case scenario Gallas and Sol both leave (I think it won’t happen) then we do have a big summer for getting in 2 players of decent quality at CB. Everyone may slag off Silvestre, but he actually played a fair number of games, games which we wouldn’t want our 5th or 6th choice CB’s playing.

    So we have left:

    Djourou
    Vermaelen

    as our only recognised CB’s in the 1st team squad if they both don’t re-sign (Gallas & Campbell).

    Even if we promoted 1, we need another 2 to be on safe next season of having 5 able CB’s.

    If Campbell stays, we could be only signing 1 CB this summer, again dependant on internal promotions. I’d rather this be the case, somebody like Nordveit introduced to the 1st team squad rather than buying as many OLD CB’s as we had this season.

    Campbell
    Djourou
    Vermaelen
    NEW CB
    Promoted CB

    Would be a nice blend and I think Wenger would be happy with that.

  43. Flint McCullough

    Cesc said “greatest” but is that what he meant?

    els
    We need an adjustment to our play because we concede far too many easy goals.

  44. Flint

    Enough changes at CB look to take place, we don’t need to take Vermaelen out as well.

  45. A recent poll shows that six out of seven dwarves
    aren’t happy.

  46. els, you think Vermealen is a thug? I disagree. Wenger rarely picks those kinds of players. VM is quite good on the ball and has got a good range of passing as well. He’s an excellent tackler and has got a mean shot. I have no doubt he’d do well as a DM if Wenger decides to play him there. But seeing as we have less options in defence than in midfield, I’d be suprised if Wenger actually does this.

  47. Flint McCullough

    Chris, I think the delay on Sol is because they want confirmation that Gallas is going.

    I expect one or the other to stay but not both.

    My preference would be to keep Sol as he brought something we didn’t have to the team. Against him is his age but he really impressed me.

  48. – – – – – – – – – – Almunia – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Sagna – – New CB – – Vermaelen – – Clichy

    – – – – – – – – Song – – – Diaby – – – – – – – – –

    – – – – – – – – – – – Robin – – – – – – – – — – – –

    Walcott – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -Arshavin
    – – – – – – – – – -Chamakh – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Possible lineup next season.. wonder if Wenger would be tempted to drop Robin back if Cesc left. Nasri would be prime candidate, but if it comes to a point where Chamakh has established himself as a must start, we have a plan B to accomodate them both. Or stick Robin on the Right.

  49. 16-1 is very good. I went for Holland and RVP topscorer at 100-1. Now shortened to 80-1 but still excellent odds.

    Joe Cole? We might as well sign Robbie Williams.

  50. Flint

    Sol done well, I just think it would be a massive boost to keep Gallas, he is our best CB and very experienced at a good age. I know hes had his problems, Nasri stating most recently that some of his team mates don’t speak to him.. but, when ever he has played this season he has been very good. Last season too. Next to Vermaelen they looked a very good partnership.

  51. Flint McCullough

    Our only pure simple DM, who could play, is Eastmond, who I like a lot but needs a bit more time.

    Song is too good to be restricted to a pure holding role & he hasn’t been. This, at times has caused us problems.

  52. No sorry Lagbaja, I don’t think TV is a thug, I didn’t mean to imply that. Flint suggested that we play tommy as a tough tackling player that’s mo is to nack those around him. I said that we don’t need the thug role. I wasn’t reffering to a particular player.

    I agree TV has nice passing skills and a decent footballing brain, it would be a strange tactic to highlight our supposed best defensive player and switch his position as certain fans think he would be better utilitsed in midfield??? Especially when as you say we are short of bodies in defence.

  53. LimparAssist

    I might consider having a little bet on that.

    Van Persie could be the star man of the tournament, I wouldn’t put it past him leading them to the trophy and notching up double figures in goals!

  54. ChrisGoona

    You are kidding even the most optomistic Gooner would not have Almunia in goal next seaon.A diaster waiting to happen

  55. Vermaelen is needed at the back right now. I too think he would be excellent as a DM though. Come to think of it, you can probably play him anywhere.. Hes got a pretty good shot on him!

  56. CG I 100% agree with your summary. But on an absolutely extravagant scale imagine your…

    Campbell
    Djourou
    Vermaelen
    NEW CB
    Promoted CB

    +Gallas

    It would give time for NEW CB and Johan time to bed in. This would be especially useful as Both Sol and Billy may be on rolling contracts and it would be a nice hand-over period for the others mentioned. Like I say in an ideal world but Wenger is not one for signing to many players (and rightly so) but why not try and keep both of our old hands in this pos.

  57. Did anyone watch the Holland game the other night? I saw Dirk Kuyt amongst the goal celebrations. Tell me I mistook him for a passing shire horse…

    Not good news for those of use hoping for something like…

    – – – – – – – – Robin Van Persie – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Robben – – – – – – – – – – – – – Van D Vaart
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – – Sneijder – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – Van Bommel – De Jong – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    GioVanB Mathijsen Heitinga Van Der Wiel
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – Stekelenberg – – – – – – – – –

  58. Gooner Al

    Say what you want, he wasn’t as bad as everyone is making him out to be. A few Arsenal legends will agree with me.

    Hes not the best, but I doubt we will find better out there. He displaced Jens remember, and he probably had the finest dosplay for a goalkeeper this season against Barca in the first leg. We could have won the league on 2 occasions with him in goal. So what makes you write him off..

  59. CG I would rather have RvP front and centre. If cesc leaves (I’m steering clear of this debate) there’s no reason Arsh couldn’t step in. It may give him the rocket up his arse he needs. If he had more responsibility I mean,

  60. Thats posibly the worst line up in Arsenal’s History.But I personally think that signing atleast 5 players will solve our problems.cos I don’t think any one would be Satisfied To See Diaby and Walcot in the same starting line.cos I think song is’nt that Bad at all.and I think you should remove diaby and walcot out of that Interesting Line Up.

  61. Double figure in one tournament seems a bit too much it was possible in the 60’s but know I would say 7 goals can make you top scorer. Just as a comparaison the highest goal tally in one world cup was 23 goals scored by French International Just Fontaine in the 1958 world cup

  62. gooner2.. can’t remember if your James..?? I can remember your a complete tosspot though 😉

  63. Gallas would be the biggest lost of the summer if he doesn’t sign. Regardless of one’s affiliation with the likes of Sol or Vermalean. Gallas is the best CB we have at the moment. Sol in all fairness, can’t manage so many games, and is at best a 4th or 5th choice CB. Djourou has hardly played any games, and hasn’t really proven if he’s ready to step up. And given his injuries, one can’t be sure if he how long is it going to take him to get back to full fitness. Eduardo and Rosicky are a case in point. Hence, Gallas signing would be really crucial. And an additional CB would be very useful to the squad.

  64. gunnerluc

    I’m pretty sure Ronaldo done it in 1998 or 2002

  65. paddy power are doing each way odds 1/4 places 1,2,3,4,5 on top goal scorer…

    maybe im getting my maths wrong but that seems to good to be true

  66. The ‘hard working’ Kuyt was wearing the Oranje the other night.

  67. CG
    Nope the biggest tally is still from 1958. Ronaldo is the highest goalscorer in the world cup but not in one world cup.

    And in 1998, Sucker was the top scorer.

  68. 23 goals from just… Fontaine? Astonishing.

  69. ChrisGoona

    I Ain’t a Drinker.And I will never ever Drink.But I know you think That I’m a party Animal Type of person.But I don’t Go partying as many other people do.so the Joke is on you for your Stupid Lie.

  70. Here is a link to the table.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FIFA_World_Cup_awards#Golden_Shoe

    Nobody scored double figure except
    Sandor Koscis in 1954 with 11 goals
    Just fontaine in 1958 with 13 goals
    and Finally Gert Muller in 1970 with 10 goals

  71. Sorry limpar obviously I mistyped it’s 13

  72. Gooner Al I would definately have Almunia in my squad next season. Grow up

  73. Sándor Kocsis 11 goals for Hungary – even more astonishing!

  74. Suker, Oleg Salenko, Klose… topscorer is often an outsider with a hattrick in a group stage game.

    Bendtner represents excellent value for a Denmark side which I see doing very well.

    I’ve also gone for Humberto Suazo, leading the line of a very attacking Chile side. He finished as CONMEBOL’s the top scorer in the qualifiers with 10 goals.

    They’re both about 60/1 I think.

    Don’t blame me when Dirk Kuyt scores a double hattrick against Japan and it all comes crashing down.

  75. Kuyt does look like a horse you know. Well a cross between a pony and a horse.

  76. gunnerluc

    thanks for the link, some amazing players in the all star teams

  77. kuyt is like that thing in the goonies for me

  78. That ‘thing’ in the Goonies has a name you know! Please don’t associate him with Dirk Kuyt.

  79. hahaha, spitting image

  80. But you are correct, I couldn’t tell them apart at a disco.

  81. The role of captain has changed somewhat since years gone by when you had to be the alpha male, totally dominant, shouting throughout the game. For this reason we have a few potential candidates throughout the spine of our team. Thommy V would be excellent and so would RVP, even Almunia has taken to the role well before. However with the curse of our captaincy, the best candidate is Cesc. At least we all know he will leave eventually and it won’t be such a shock…

  82. Van Persie will make a fine captain, lets not take any credit away from Cesc just yet. We could be sitting here once again in the summer of 2012, Cesc speaking about his dream to one day play for Barca after him captaining us to a league title and a couple champions league trophies!

    A team with Van Persie and Cesc is a lot better than a team with just Van Persie, despite what many are saying about making up for Cesc’s weaknesses etc when he leaves. The boy is quality, and will be missed full stop – he is under contract and should be convinced to stay if he does indeed want to leave. I think he would like more than anyone to achieve something before that time anyway, its why I won’t believe many of these stories.

  83. My belief is also that Cesc will be an Arsenal player next season. It always has been. With the spine we have and the great players around that spine, I see no reason why we won’t challenge for trophies again next season. No reason at all.

    Except injuries!

  84. Matt Boy @1.19

    Thanks for making me laugh.Almunia took well to the captains role!!!!! He lead by example didnt he.

  85. Yes he did, didn’t he. Thanks for backing up my point Gooner Al. You are an obvious Gooner through and through. Well done!!!!!!

  86. I would definately say without doubt that Almunia should be made the captain of Arsenal for many years to come.

  87. A year is a long time in football. We will most likely have a second wind cesc next year and hopefully have a blinder. Barca could have their feathers majorly ruffled by jose and who knows maybe ineista stays fit and another CM come through the academy ranks for barca. Injuries may force to spend big money in other areas of their team to keep up with real (vanity is the devils favorite sin) leaving them slightly short of the 50m or so required for AFC.

    Barca will have to save every penny over 12 months to afford fabregas so lets hope for some unforeseen circumstances…

    (straws… clutching…?)

  88. I though almunia couldn’t even command a box?

  89. Almunia might not be the greatest keeper of all time but he is in the top 5 with, in no particular order:

    Cech
    Reina
    Given
    van der sar

    So please, give him some credit!
    I wouldn’t mind if Wenger signed a true world star (Bufon, Casillas) but I would give the number 1 jersey to Almunia without any fear for next season.
    Fabianski is another matter, as confidence is really important, especially for a goalkeeper, and he messed up in the majority of the games he played this season (porto and Wigan still gives me nightmares).
    I would drop him and go almunia 1, Mannone 2 and sczenzny 3. With the Carling cup for Sczenzy to give him some experience in the team as he will be the number 1 in a few years time.

  90. Gooner Al, you are a great example of the weak hearted Arsenal supporters which happen to wonder from site to site and spread your pessimism and hatred for manager and players. Be proud of yourself! haaa

    Matty Boy, i said at the start of this season gone, we would be a far better team with less injuries, and with Rosicky and Eduardo back. The latter 2 players didn’t really get back to their standards, and we had more injuries.. we still had a better season than the previous, and we challenged. I thought we would win the league this season, and I know we would have if injuries were not in such key areas, also many being in the same area, (hence the use of Eastmond at CM, and Silvestre at CB for a run of games) and at the time when we needed our key players.

    Key players for me are: Vermalen, Van Persie, Song, and Cesc. The players on the wings and even at LB and RB, we can switch with players on the bench and not see that much of a difference as the likes of Cesc keep us ticking

  91. I agree with you gunnerluc in that I would not fear Almunia starting as our number 1 next season. If Wenger believes there is nobody better out there, then I trust his judgment. I don’t see how buying someone like Schwarzer for instance will put us in a better position to win the league next season. A summers rest will give all our ‘keepers a boost in my opinion.

  92. Chris Goona

    Not sure why Sándor Kocsis’ appearance on that list would surprise anyone. IIRC, he averaged a goal every 80 minutes or so at international level, a better record than Puskas and Nándor Hidegkuti.

    YW

  93. YW

    Surprise for me was a team like Hungary performing so well. Which round did they manage to get to in the tournament?.. Must have been some player anyway with that record

  94. He also scored 75 goals in 68 appearances for Hungary – a phenomenal 1.10 goal/game average on the game’s highest level..

    amazing

  95. gunnerluc

    Almunia is NOT better than Joe Hart.Even Gomes is better than him.Take a look at the game At Shite Hart Lane.And Almunia couldnt lace the boots of Spunky and Jens

    Almunia cost us points v Man Utd H & A,Man City A and Birmingam A

    I am happy that you want a keeper who costs us points because i am not

  96. Sándor Kocsis registered 7 hat tricks for Hungary.

  97. ChrisGoona – We clearly have the makings of a title winning side. The spine is there, we have players who have great technical ability, far better than most teams man for man throughout the PL. We also have players who can produce moments of magic and quality (Nasri vs Porto for instance) and we have a Manager who knows how to win titles.

  98. Gooner Al

    Gomes has been a complete joke for Spurs – only know showing any real value for what they paid for him (he would have been crucified after a month at Arsenal if we signed him), and Joe Hart is un-proven at the top level playing for a top club with added pressure.

    Lucky Wenger is boss and not you.

  99. Schwarzer is a great example of the kind of bullshit fake fans are putting out there. Do they really see the grass as greener at fulham? almunia will be fine until tech 9 comes through who I hope will be truly world class. Never been a fan of fabianski at all.

    Almunias and wengers problem now lies largely with the fans however… he has always been critised in his role and i think as a keeper who is standing still on the field for long periods of time you really pick up on the crowd support.

    Many fans (not sure by what majority..?) seem to have completely lost faith in our keepers and wenger is pretty powerless to change this perception. Anything other than buying is seen as a lack of ambition so this is a very tricky decision for wenger.

  100. Matty Boy

    I can’t wait for next season!.. its going to piss me off a little watching Van Persie pick up the golden boot, its going make me imagine him holding the Premiership title!

  101. word

    Somebody experience should be brought in to compete with Almunia, or at least provide better backup. Fabianski could go on loan, or Mannone, and one of them play 3rd choice.

  102. its the lack of options we have on the market for a GK that will ultimately decide this. Wenger wants experience if anything and PL experience is prefered. Possibly someone at the end of their career who will happy to move on in a few years to make room for tech 9….

    so that leaves david james then… :s

  103. Chrisgoona:

    “Campbell
    Djourou
    Vermaelen
    NEW CB
    Promoted CB

    Would be a nice blend and I think Wenger would be happy with that.”

    Your cover at CB in that lineup is someone who missed the entire year with a knee injury and we have no idea how his knee will respond this year. The other cover is a guy who is 36 and can not play more then 1 game per week.

    Didn’t we learn anything last year? Arsenal actually had less injuries at CB then the other top 4 teams yet we still had a disaster in the last 1/4 of the year because we had to ask Sol to play too many games. The lineup you suggest has less reliable cover then we started with last year.

    We have the money. Do we really want to go into next year on the edge of disaster? That makes absolutely no sense. We need 2 new CB now even if Sol stays. If Sol does not stay it would be absolutely unforgivable if we don’t get 2.

    I suspect that the line up you suggest will be how we start the year. I just hope that if JD has knee issues or is not as good as we hope that Wenger will actually buy someone a second CB in January rather then make excuses why he did not and watch us flounder through the last 1/2 of the year.

  104. Sorry I couldn’t resist. This man could well light up the world cup, or at least light up the french team at the world cup.

  105. btw I dont think almunia is quite good enough to be considered in the same league as cech, van der sar, and even reina.

  106. Bill, you ever post under another name?

  107. ChrisGoona – That Hungary team might have been one of the teams of the century. They reached the final, where they went down to West Germany in an upset.

  108. Els and Chrisgoona:

    Gallas and TV are both excellent CB by themselves but how can you say they made a great partnership? We conceded more goals per game when WG was in the line up compared with after his injury. That statistic includes the end of year disaster games. Saying that their partnership was great completely defies credibility. We need a Vidic type CB to partner with TV5.

  109. They defeated West germany 8-3 in the group stages.

  110. wellington silva to spend month at arsenal before moving permanently in january

    http://www.tribalfootball.com/fluminense-starlet-wellington-spend-month-arsenal-870071

  111. Messi comes in his pants when he sees Nasri’s goal.

  112. Matty Boy

    They left Nasri at home on the sofa!

  113. Bill

    You obviously did not watch much football this season. Gallas and Vermaelen were fantastic at the back, the goals we leaked increased when either of them went missing from the 1st team, and the goals we have been conceding all year long have been down to the team not defending as a team.

  114. The opening of Gooner2’s post at 12.17 – “Thats posibly the worst line up in Arsenal’s History” – sets an interesting challenge.

    The team which lost 2-1 at West Ham on May 27 1965 would have to be in the frame:
    Tony Burns,
    Don Howe, Billy McCullough,
    Frank McLintock, Ian Ure, Terry Neill,
    Brian Tawse, John Radford, Joe Baker, George Eastham, Geordie Armstrong.
    In the middle of a run of 17 seasons without a trophy, they were 13th in Division 1 in that season and dropped to 14th the following season.

    Probably even stronger contenders would be:
    Jimmy Rimmer,
    Pat Rice, Peter Simpson,
    Eddie Kelly, Terry Mancini, Richie Powling,
    Geordie Armstrong, Alan Ball, John Radford, Brian Kidd, Liam Brady
    A lot of revered names here, yet this was the team which beat Burnley 1-0 in a relegation battle on Dec 20 1975. Just as well, since Burnley were subsequently bottom of the league and we were 17th.

    I’m sure the names will bring back fond memories to some.

    Can anybody do even worse?

  115. I think everybody will agree that Vermalen-Gallas, worked a lot better than Toure-Gallas. Think back to BIG QUESTIONS that were raised on the centre back partnership the season before with Toure, there was a massive improvement.

  116. Obviously, it helps when your centre backs talk to each other.

  117. Al gooner
    Gomes showed good skills in the last two month of the season, the spuds wanted his head chopped off for most of the season and Harry “buying the same players over and over” Redknapp wanted to replace him with James! lol

    Jo Hart might be a good player in a few years but he wouldn’t do better than fabianski in goal for a top 4 team.

    Word
    I agree Almunia is not in same league as Cech, Reina, and Van der Sar, I am just stating, in my opinion, who are the top 5 keepers in the premierleague for the past 2 seasons.

    For the sake of the discussion give me your top 5 keeper.

    like I said Hart might be a great goalkeeper in the future and gomes has been really good in the last 10 games of the season but a goalkeeper needs to be regularly efficient.

  118. Word @ 2:12.

    Almunias and wengers problem now lies largely with the fans however… he has always been critised in his role and i think as a keeper who is standing still on the field for long periods of time you really pick up on the crowd support.

    Many fans (not sure by what majority..?) seem to have completely lost faith in our keepers and wenger is pretty powerless to change this perception. Anything other than buying is seen as a lack of ambition so this is a very tricky decision for wenger.

    When fans like YW get to the point that they think we need a change it says a lot. Its not just doomers who think we need a change at GK. The boss certainly lost confidence in him early in the year and at the end. I suspect the team also has lost confidence.

    I think someone like Schwarzer would be an excellent idea. Is he technically that much better then Almunia? May be not but he has certainly been more consistant. Something needs to change if we are going to improve the way we defend. We started last season with a GK controversy and it got worse. What in the world makes us think that next year will be any better.

    Even if the person we bring in is not technically that much better then Almunia at least we are making a change and trying to do something to change the status quo. That alone can help this team. Do we want Cesc or RVP or TV thinking “here we go again” if there is a GK mistake or 2 early in the year? We already lack confidence at the back.

  119. ChrisG, we conceded about the same number of goals in both halfs of the season.

  120. CG @ 2:52:

    “You obviously did not watch much football this season. Gallas and Vermaelen were fantastic at the back, the goals we leaked increased when either of them went missing from the 1st team, and the goals we have been conceding all year long have been down to the team not defending as a team.”

    WG and TV were omnipresent in the first 26 league games and we conceded more goals per game in those games then we did after his injury. On what evidence do base your statement?

  121. Bill

    Do you not believe with a better defensive performance as a team will result to less chances being conceded… sounds pretty straight forward to me.

    That is our real problem, not the goalkeeper

  122. ChrisGoona – We have not looked too assured from set pieces. The goalkeeper has a lot to contribute in defending a set piece as a team.

  123. Bill

    Its no coincidence that our title challenge ended with both Gallas and Vermaelen absent from the team. Despite whatever stats you want to go dig up, we were better in central defence with them together.

  124. Hi Merlot,

    I’m from another era, but I remember our 94-95 team wasn’t up to much. Here’s a side that lost at home to Millwall in the FA Cup 3rd round:

    Seaman; Dixon, Keown, Linighan, Winterburn; Morrow, Hillier, Jensen, Parlour; Campbell, Wright

    Just look at that midfield. It makes me weep.

    I chose the Millwall game because it was a memorable disaster, but I’m sure we started Chris Kiwomya in Wright’s place a couple of times in the league. McGoldrick and Selley were also getting games back then.

    Parlour and Keown are Arsenal legends, but, to me at least, were a totally different proposition pre-Wenger.

    94-95 is easily the worst squad since the early 80s.

    And to think that this was only three years before we won the double. Sadly half that side wasn’t around to celebrate.

  125. As he prepared for today’s trip to Wigan, Song added: “Arsene is the best manager in the world and I look upon him as a father, my new dad. He puts his trust in young players like no other.

    He works very hard every single day to make us better and we want to win something for him.

    “Of course, it is important to win trophies but, remember, we are still a very young team.

    “We know our fans want a trophy and we are very close to winning something.

    “My message to our fans is: ‘Believe in us. This team will get better.’

    “I am at the right club. Forget Barcelona, Arsenal is the best club.

    “Arsenal have given me everything and I love this place. If I had to leave I would break down and cry. It’s still my dream to win the league here.”

    Touching stuff, we love you SonG!

  126. appreciate the link Zap

  127. Lol Chris, don’t you think that the problems with our keeper and the defence are one and the same?

  128. That’s a nice article Zap, thanks for that.

    It begs the question: why are they finding flats for players in Enfield of all places 😉

  129. a fungus-coated right hand

    Just think how many major injuries we had last season. What was it, thirteen? Assuming they can recover in time for the new season, that’s like 13 new signings! (Expect to hear this soon from Wenger.)

  130. GunFlash

    Almunia wasn’t the problem last season, so what witty response can you bring up now punk?

  131. the goalie is shit! chrisgoona you know fuck all..

    God I hate new arsenal fans.

  132. haha yes i know i was thinking that as well matty boy

  133. hay a fugus coated right hand if that disgusting name is all you can come up with your views arnt gonna be seriously looked at are they?

  134. well this article on song solves the capitaincy problem, give it to Alex Song as he is not going anywhere!

    i really thing Alex can be a major player for Arsenal for years to come and if what he said is true he will give all his heart to the team.

  135. I think WG is a better defender then TV5 at this point in their careers. The best thing that could happen would be to bring in a Vidic type defender and have him partner with WG and have TV5 as 3rd CB. We would have great cover for injury and we could actually rest our CB’s. Realistically that is not going to happen.

  136. Chris, just pointing out the blatantly obvious since you have such a problem spotting it.

    I wonder if Almunia has as good a season as last he’ll develop another mystery wrist injury.

  137. da silva is the next star, when you hear a name like wellington da silva, nothing but success is inevitable. Its odd how most of the best players have extravagant names, you know, Fabregas, Messi, Van Persie, Sneijder, Arshavin, Rooney, Eduardo, theyr all sexy names, and its odd how the rest are Dave Kitson and whatever

  138. Come on now Bill, are you seriously suggesting we demote Tommy V? I have heard it all now.

  139. bill – “Even if the person we bring in is not technically that much better then Almunia at least we are making a change”

    can’t really agree with that Im afraid but I think this issue does highlight the disparity in faith between wenger and some of our players. Cesc, RVP and AA and others have said publicly we need to buy yet wenger does not agree.

    It surprises and worries me that the coach can not effectively transfer his belief in the project onto our top players. Some of arsnes bullish comments about next year suggust that maybe the penny has dropped but far more likely is that he will stick to his principles as he has in the last 2 windows.

    Wenger (semi) rightly does not care much for the press and the fans noise about our shortcomings but recent transfer departures suggest that it is the players discontent he should be more worried about.

    There is a slight gap between wengers ideals and the real world and I think he needs to take a few small but bold steps to silence the doubters. like it or not.

  140. Zap, maybe because most of them are foreigners?

  141. Zap – Arshavin is not a sexy name 🙂

  142. no not necessarily walcott, rooney, gerrard, cole, are all english

  143. The name Rooney is not doing much for me either to be honest.

  144. you mean cole is a sexy name?

  145. 🙂

  146. The French U-17 goalie’s called Alphonse Areola – thought that was funny, but it might be quite a common name.

  147. lol zap, they are certainly exotic names but maybe thats because your english

    also it just wellington silva there is no ‘da’

    “john terry” now that is a name born for success!

  148. Areola are quite common in France i believe.

  149. arshavin is a very sexy name lol

  150. Keysersoxe, have you got a problem????!!

  151. wellington silva.

  152. Yes, especially in TV ads during daytime slots.

  153. arshavin is not sexy!

    Andei Arshavin however… purrrrr

    or indeed ‘Arsenals Andei Arshavin’

  154. Well, I know a lot more about sexy names than you, because I am Keysersoze and you are just…Zap. 🙂

  155. Zap, that article brought tears to my eyes. What a moving story. Song’s obviously a strong character and it’s good to see that he was a gooner from the start and that he doesn’t take his good fortune for granted. Very heartwarming!

    ****

    @ Bill

    You’re very keen on the idea of Martin Keown becoming a defensive coach, aren’t you? Well, if you have a subscription to ATVO, you should listen to his analysis of our defensive problems.
    In case you don’t have ATVO, bullet points are:
    Goals conceded were down to poor team defending NOT a poor defence;
    we defended well from the front at the start of the season but that fell away;
    Regarding the losses against Man U and Chelsea, he says they were disappointing because we lost those games through trying too hard to win them.

    He thought that Arsenal need a better defensive strategy, (not better/different/more defenders) and an improvement in the defensive performance should come through player development, NOT by buying new players. For example, all the players have to work harder when we don’t have the ball and they have to press high up the field, enabling everyone to push up which reduces the space between the forwards, midfield and defence.

    And he LERVES Tommy V and sees him as a future leader of the back line.

  156. YW, I usually really enjoy your work, but I have to call you out for this:

    “Concentration eradicates the repititious mistakes although as Vermaelen pointed out, that was not necessarily a big problem last season.”

    It is amusing that TV himself claimed that all the mistakes were different [here I want to emphasize that I really like TV as a player, I am super-pleased that Arsene signed him, and I thought he had a good season. nevertheless]. Zonal Marking, the best english-language website for the tactical analysis of football, discussed TV and the subject of repeated mistakes in a comprehensive and very interesting article in early April: http://www.zonalmarking.net/2010/04/09/thomas-vermaelen-arsenal-positional-errors/

    Though ZM is also very positive about TV overall, the nut graph from that pieces is: “[TV] keeps making the same unforgivable error and it is costing Arsenal time and time again – he’s too eager to fly into challenges high up the pitch when he should be keeping his position in the centre of defence.” This conclusion is illustrated with numerous examples such that it cannot really be refuted, and if Arsene can work that matter out with TV and whomever partners him in central defense next year, the goal-leaking should slow considerably.

    cheers, folks.

  157. Never trust a man with two first names. I have always said it, and it’s never let me down.

    George Graham
    John Terry
    Sadam Hussein

    I rest my case.

    Charlie George being the only exception.

  158. yes you are very sexy arent you im sure having those glasses and with your tongue stuck out turns them on dont it

  159. Neville Neville?

  160. Also, the names PM in any order are never good, wether its Prime Minister, Paul McFadden, Miles Palmer and Piers Morgan

    M and P were never ment to be together

  161. and Thierry Henry might be another exception.

  162. Exactly Finsbury!

    I can’t work out whether Neville Neville is two first names, two last names or just two very silly names.

  163. I think sami nasri, alex song, and a few others who grew up not in the best of places all know how much it actually means to play for arsenal. they know how lucky they are and how many people dream of being like them.

  164. i think there might be a lot of exceptions!

  165. gunnerluc – try saying that to an Irishman.

    Preferably not a drunk one.

  166. Word @ 3:52:

    “There is a slight gap between wengers ideals and the real world and I think he needs to take a few small but bold steps to silence the doubters. like it or not.”

    Very well said and I agree completely. We are very close to being a great team and we do not need wholesale changes, but we do need to strengthen the club. Everyone outside of some of our ACLF regulars agree with that. We all understand the financial reality of the last 5 years. The fans were promised that the stadium and our frugality for the last 5 years would give us the financial muscle to compete with the top clubs in Europe. Its time to use that muscle to strengthen the club. Why make it more difficult on ourselves? To basically stand pat when we have resources available makes no sense.

  167. was just about to say neville neville.

    how does 2 surnames do it for you zap and matty boy??

  168. i love how the fans have really warmed to alex song this season he;s deserved it so much and you can see how much he’s earned this love.

    He can and hopefully will become big for us

  169. lol
    But as an Arsenal fan he made me such an happy guy!

  170. Bill Is So Amazing
    Bill Is So Funny
    Bill Is So Extravagant
    Bill Is So Great

  171. Bill the defensive errors of this season were problems with team tactics, lack of concentration and the full backs being left wide open on occasion. Obviously TV and WG were not absolutely perfect but the discussion was that we would be better with gallas in the squad which I believe is true.

    No doubt changes are happening and may very well be needed. but I will bow to wengers knowledge.

  172. Bills Posts Are Not Boring At All
    They Dont Want To Make Me Throw Up
    I Dont Try To Skip His Posts But End Up Doing So Because Of A Faint Hope It Might Be Good But It Isnt As Usual I Dont Do That

  173. btw neville neville comes out as nevillandro in the brazilian name generator…

    http://www.minimalsworld.net/BrazilName/brazilian.shtml

  174. That’s good fun word. I typed in Word Word but I won’t tell you the result.

  175. Matty Boy

    George Graham won us 6 trophies in 8 seasons.No mean feat.Anfield 89,One defeat in 91.Bought Seaman,Dixon,Bould,Winterbrn,Smith and Wright

  176. …….and the great Anders Limpar

  177. There should be a bigbrovar’s bigfirsts count on the side, showing how many times bigbrovar comes on here just to be first. Its an incredible achievement and should be commemorated

  178. Bill’s comments are nice bill comment again please please please

  179. Thanks for that Gooner Al, I didn’t know that because I only started supporting Arsenal this morning. That info was so valuable to me. Thanks!!!!!

  180. hahahaha

  181. Would love to see GG back at the Arsenal as AW’s number two coaching the defence. Not very likely but imagine the arguments between the two! Not to mention GG’s plastic envelopes!

  182. yh thats gonna happen..

  183. ChrisGoona:

    “Its no coincidence that our title challenge ended with both Gallas and Vermaelen absent from the team. Despite whatever stats you want to go dig up, we were better in central defence with them together.”

    Many people might argue that the best defending that we did as a team happened after WG went down and before TV was injured. Sol is clearly not as good an individual defender at this point in his career as WG. But some would argue that as a team we were a better defensive unit with TV and Sol.

  184. Of course not. It’s just banter

  185. Oh, i didnt know that. Until you told me. Im so sorry.

  186. Bill, agreed…. Thank god we signed Sol. Otherwise with MS partnering TM we’d have struggled to finish top 4

  187. Glad to hear it Zap

  188. @ Matty Boy at 4:11pm

    Ha ha

  189. FunGunner:

    I did not see that interview. I will look at that when I have a chance and get back to you.

  190. Bill there are lots of other factors to consider other than statistics

  191. yeah of cours gunflash yeh i really believed u so it was great for u to remind me its just banter. thank you so much

  192. word word comes out as winho, which reads like whine-o but I prefer to see it as:

    WIN! hohohohohohoho

  193. *

  194. Oh, i didnt know that. Until you told me. Im so sorry.

  195. lol at gooner al for discovering google today. an inspiration to all the next song’s out there!

  196. I disconnect the cables and i turn the lights out.

    Pay the medical bills yeah gunflash ur in the dark and you see yourself shout.. to nothin except more im sorry so sorry but its yo fault so dont worry

    coz ur baffled 4 LIFE

  197. Someone said that Arshavin could take Cesc’s place earlier. Never thought about it before but I think thats a good idea as he has the vision, a great touch and can obviously score. I like it.

    Be blessed!

  198. why is my account being hacked i didnt even say that thats a terrible rap if it is one. wtf

  199. Genius Zap. If only you could spell or articulate your point properly I’d been inclined to give you the time of day

  200. GunFlash, i wasn’t being serious you dinosaur of course i knew it wasnt real. And it wasnt me who said the previous comment that your confised about.

  201. If Cesc leaves and we revert back to 4-4-2 then Arshavin could play as an inside forward but not in Cesc’s position in a 4-3-3 as he needs to be further up the pitch to be effective

  202. split personality zap?

  203. This should be arsene’s next signing.

  204. Ok Zap I believe you. Hope you sort out your personality disorder

  205. no, if its any of your business, that was my cousin.

  206. ????
    Sagna ???? Vermaelen Cliche
    Song Fabregas Nasri
    RVP Chamakh Arshavin

    That line up is awesome.

    The questions marks are new signings, we definitely need a new keeper and cb. That team would be great, but im not really very confident it will remain throughout, what with arshavin and rvp gettin injured all the time. As long as the backbone stays strong which is where we were unfortunate this season, we will be ok and in my opinion be the best in the league.

  207. Lol give the little shit a slap

  208. FunGunner:

    I have not looked at the interview but based on your bullets.

    1) I agree that the current personnel could defend much better as a unit. Why they do not is as much a mystery to me as it is to you. EE, Big Phil, Kolo and Flamini were invincible as a back 4 in our CL run. Not even close talent wise to what we had last year. If I remember Martin Keown helped during that time period.

    2) The current unit will not be available next year so any discussion about that is not realistic. We are forced to buy new players

    3) Even if the current group is all available what will cause them to suddenly develop a “defensive strategy” and to work harder. How do we improve without some significant changes in personnel or in the way they are coached or both. We were told after last year that the defending would improve.

    4) New players will not necessarily cause significant improvement but certainly it can not hurt and might really help. We have money available and we are well stocked up front but very poorly stocked in the back. Why not spend the money we have to give us the best chance possible to win. ManU became the dominant defensive team in the league after investing in Vidic and EDVS. Perhaps a couple new players could galvanize our group into playing better as a team.

  209. lol does your cousin have a personality disorder?

    I actually think its a work of art so no offense!

    but if you disconect the cables wont the lights be out whether you flick the switch or not?

  210. good post YW

    Ive heard it thrown around on here that we had Keown as a defensive coach in 06 when we made the run to the CL final.. am i confusing him with someone else? this would be a good thing, but is he really going to occupy a coaching role?

  211. word, I went out for 5 mins, he just thinks its funny thats all it obviously isnt but oh well hes a kid. Can we not continue on this subject?

  212. haha its Bill again HAHA your comments are so ridiculous!

  213. Its 5:30, consider this conversation over.

  214. Good post and point about Vermaelen YW, I agree on him being the Arsenal Captain. I liked the way he acted during the horrible time of A. Ramsey’s injury. He looked devastated, but he turned around and you can see in his eyes that he had the determination to do something about it and he did by scoring the third goal that sealed the 3 points in that game.

    The other player I would think would deserve it too is Van Persie.

    I think Van Persie is slowly becoming a young Bergkamp, he doesn’t have that field vision that Bergkamp had yet, but I think it will come with experience.

  215. I like Keown, I’m sure he’d make a good coach.

    The back four in ’04 were even better then in ’06 (in the PL!):

    Cole, Sol, Kolo, Lauren.

    Cole: brought through by AW. (?)

    Sol: Signed by AW.

    Kolo: Converted D**Mer by AW.

    Lauren; RM converted to RB by AW.

    Keown was in the background, but that was AW’s defence. He’d be welcome back at AFC any time, n doubt, I’m sure he’s a great influence, but to suggest that the run in ’06 was due to his presence, is inaccurate.

  216. I know he played for Barcelona, but I didn’t want this video to end!

  217. Brilliant OOU brought back some great memories of trying to emulate him in the garden with a flyaway ball and two trees for posts.

  218. Finsbury:

    I agree that Keown is not the only reason that we played so well with a makeshift back line in that CL run. I suspect he helped but can not be sure.

    My point this whole year has been that what we have done has not worked well enough despite the fact that we have a talented group of defenders.

    We now have money available and realistically we are losing WG and probably Sol. We need new players.

    We were told after last year that improving our defending was priority #1. Same thing this year. Is Martin Keown a magic bullet? Certainly not. However, I seriously doubt it would hurt and it might be a big help.

  219. I love players with that upright (!) style! Gullit and Bergkamp also had it. Young Jack also has it as well (doesn’t mean anything at this point though).

    Fabregas doesn’t quite have the same pace or flair as Laudrup, but he can match him for vision and close control. And he scores more goals. We can’t give up on him. An unsettled Fabregas would still be better than any other midfielder in the country.

  220. That was at MB.

  221. Cesc scored the most goals for us from his position, no?

    AA can do it, no doubt.

  222. LimparAssist

    Steve Morrow!

    And Denilson gets a hard time. I ask you…

    Excellent point about the Gang of ’04, Finsbury. That really highlights how incredible a manager AW is.

    And to add to that list, as well as converting both Kolo and Lauren from midfielders… Ashley Cole joined our academy as a promising young striker.

    Perhaps Carlos Vela will end up a left-back.

  223. Robin Van Persie IS the club captain. Lives and breathes it.

    I think he is beginning to run DB10 close now as Number10 said a couple of evenings ago.

  224. in 2009/10 you just had the feeling we had to prove the critics wrong

    Of course cunts like myles palmer and piers morgan will never change, but to my mind they dont count since the lowest scum in sociey doesn’t matter. We HAVE proved the critics wrong. All is left now, is to show we have the strength needed to win the league that we were so unluckily, and in some cases(rvp) unfairly deprived of showing that we do have what it takes.

    All we can do is march on and to be honest, i think it is our time to step up.

    If a new goalie and CB arrives, my views will be strengtthened.

    Arsenal
    Arsenal
    Arsenal
    Arsenal

    We Are North London
    kama nnnnnnnnnnnnnn

  225. LimparAssist

    Thanks for that article, Zap. As poorly written as it was…”unsung (or should that be unSong!)”…it really is a fantastic story.

    Definitely one of my favourite players.

  226. Bill,

    I won’t complain if Keown comes back. He did say he wanted to spend some time ‘with the family’ (little ‘uns) before throwing himself back into Football. (sorry, no source).

    Some interesting stats for you:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Bould

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Keown

    Steve Bould was always the senoir CB to Keown, by dint of a few years.
    Steve Bould is at the club at the moment (his under-18’s are quite good!).
    I’d like to think Martin Keown will be back at some point too.

  227. thats allright Assist, glad everyone liked it it is very warming. Song is such a great player and one of my faviourites, i think after reading that he IS my favourite

  228. OOU

    that dude is legit

  229. I’m gonna have to go with Frank on the captaincy issue. Establishing TV as the captain right now would not be good for the player and it could send the wrong message to the team. That’s too much pressure to put on a player in his 2nd year at a top, top club. Sure captaining Ajax is impressive, but there are some monumental differences that should not be overlooked.

    Cesc or RvP this year, TV down the line

  230. LimparAssist

    Song’s comments on improvement really whets the appetite for next season. It’s so exciting… each year we are greeted with a team of better, more complete footballers.

  231. I have really admired Alex Song since I sat in the riverside stand at Craven Cottage and listened to Arsenal away supporters booing him. He is a fantastic player. I hope he sticks around for a long, long time. Support was horrible at that time….getting much better.

  232. @ Bill

    I wasn’t intending to get into a debate with you – experience has taught me that there is no point. I was simply drawing your attention to the fact that your favoured analysis and idees fixes about our defending are not shared by the man whom you often hold up as the answer to our defensive worries. That’s all.

  233. @ Zap, Frank

    What I found most touching about that Song story was the fact that even now, Alex cannot bear to know how his father died.

  234. Finsbury:

    I only use Martin Keown because he has been with us in the past and seems to have been successful in the role as defensive coach/advisor. I do not know anyone else to name.

    Steve Bould has been fabulous with the under 18s. I suspect he would have already done whatever he could to help the first team. I know the grass is not always greener, but in this case I think a change would be helpful. No guarantees. I doubt it will happen but I can hope.

  235. Chamakh exemplifies this whole ‘defending from the front’ business. His work rate is quite spectacular. And it’s sort of telling that AW identified him as a target around the time that he changed the formation and started talking about pressing.

  236. that story from song really is moving. I thought he was one of our 3 best players this year, alongside TV and Fabregas. With the world cup this summer and another full season ahead, I predict that by the end of ’10/’11 it wont be just gooners touting him as one of the 5 best DMs in the world

  237. NJGooner

    In his first interview, Chamakh said, I am a striker, but I am the first defender.
    Hurray! Between MC and Robin, opposition defenders will get no peace.

  238. sorry, meant to direct that last post at OOU.

  239. hey whatever FG

    happy to be part of the conversation!!

    but should be exciting.. there is def a general consensus that the defending from the front dropped off as the year went by. god what a lazy bunch we’ve got, its not like we had some catastrophic injury situation this year or anything….

  240. oh also I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the Star Wars banter earlier that shit was hilarious. especially the first post.

    “Pat Rice never told you what happened to your father”

    priceless

  241. LimparAssist

    Something Song seems to have added to his locker over the past 18 months is knowing how and when to slot back in as virtually a third centreback and allow our fullbacks to become out and out wingbacks. Gilberto Silva was a past master at it. Very useful when we’re chasing the game, and sadly something Song’s various understudies could not offer.

  242. I heard that the media will now resort to linking Basketball players for Arsenal to sign since they already linked the name of every existing football player on the planet.

  243. We need to get rid of the dead wood and I would make a coffin for Denilson, Eboue, Silvestre, Gallas, Almunia, Fabianski and Campbell, who is talking to the scottish also rans. We need to clear the dead wood even though there is exodus from the sinking ship. It’s clear that Cesc is off after the fall out with Hill wood, who is a dinosaur who belongs in the natural history museum, and should not be allowed anywhere near the club in my opinion. Wenger is as bad as comical Ali. He promised new signings, but all we will get is players extending their contracts in readiness for a quick buck like what happened with Merida. We need to spend our money on 26 year olds. Not wasting it on kids. PHW is a c*nt. If Cesc wants to leave because of PHW comments, then he should just leave. Not make flimsy excuses. Would love to see all lazy and disruptive players shipped out of arsenal. Wenger has no ambition, so we won’t see the likes of Akinfeev, Kjaer, Subotic or De Rossi. We will just be told “Djourou” is a fresh signing. What does moseignur Wenger actually teach if Walcott is learning how to cross ? Le senile should have been on the practice field with Walflop. I don’t trust Wenger, if I was Cesc I would be gone in a flash. RVP will be captain, just to keep him, if nothing else. Wenger can’t teach players like Walflop anyway, cos he didn’t have the technical ability himself.

  244. You forgot

    …And don’t get me wrong, I love Arsenal

  245. Also, I’ve been an Arsenal season ticket holder for 60 years and this is the worst Arsenal team I’ve ever seen (of course I was sleeping for most of those years because I was so bored!)

  246. And Arsene, the man is a genius but he needs to wake up and sniff some crack (Coffee won’t do it anymore)

    In my humble opinion that I state with great humility the man has lost the plot but he’s a genius who needs to listen to me me me me.

  247. And Wenger’s biggest mistake was letting Pat Rice go. We’ve never been the same since.

  248. Yep… forgot those points too.

  249. I was born and bread at Highbury, i crawled on that pitch and ate it’s grass, mud and crickets since I was 3 years old, where were you Mr. Muppet? I bet you don’t even know how to get to Highbury.

  250. G4E – Ha ha ha

  251. Queen of Suburbia

    Funny stuff Muppet. I can’t work out where you draw your inspiration from!

  252. FunGunner

    Did he let Pat Rice go? I didn’t know that. Now I’m really Fabregasted….Villainger should go

  253. He probably just swung by Le Groan before coming here QoS

  254. Queen of Suburbia

    Some of it certainly sounds familiar…

  255. Enough of the cognitive dissonance QoS.

  256. 1 loose cannon

    WEnger simply going to avoid signing Spanish players in the future.Reyes , Merida and now Fabregas all betrayed Wenger maybe th lure of Paella is too strong to resist. Apart from Gallas’s tantrum last season I think the french players have served the club well over the years

  257. I’ve just seen the confirmation on the official website and I must say I’m disappointed in Fran Merida for leaving. But perhaps his style of play is better suited to the Spanish league. He’ll probably do well there, where he might have struggled physically here. Ah well, you win some you lose some.

  258. And some Dutch…

    I still think if we had Fabregas in 1996 no other club would’ve won anything up till 2004-2005.

    Fabregas is/was the perfect player brought in at the most inconvenient and wrong time.

  259. But if he leaves, he served his purpose. That’s all I can say.

  260. I agree 1lc. The much maligned French players do seem to stick around more. I thought cesc might buck the trend, but it looks like although he may have lasted a bit longer than the others, he ultimately missed the comforts of home too much. Looks like Arsene misjudged him too as barely a month ago, he was convinced that cesc was too much of a competitor to settle for the easy life in the 2 team league in Spain.

  261. Valencia is the capital of paella. In Barcelona, they enjoy Escudella, a mixture of (apologies to those who have just eaten) “chicken, bits of preserved goose, ham, black pudding, a pelota or fat boiling sausage, cabbage, potatoes, pot herbs, i.e. carrot, onion, leek and celery, plus chickpeas and noodles.”

  262. Sounds to me like a meal for the whole year? You eat it once and hope to live another day

  263. Is that like a soup Poliziano?

  264. Escudella’s a winter dish. I’ve been living with Catalans on and off for 5 years and have never once had it. I’ve had Paella many times though, as well as chorizo with lentils – they eat that everywhere. Those two dishes spring to mind straight away.

    Catalan cooking’s usually simple stuff. The main snack is bread with tomato and olive oil squished into it – they have that with cheese, ham and chorizo. Roast chicken’s also really popular; it’s sold around town at devoted shops.

    Ferran Adria, generally regarded as the world’s best chef. is Catalan by the way.

    Leaving for London tomorrow!

  265. 1 loose cannon

    Poli- that is too much for Fabs to resist. I can’t blame him now you told me what he has been missing for the last 7 years. lol

  266. My source tells me it a stewy soup or a soupy stew. No doubt a philosopher like Bill could explain the difference.

  267. Boo, I lost my defence of Catalan cooking.

  268. Soupy Soupy stewwww

  269. How are you feeling about leaving Spain OOU? Is it a case of mixed emotions? Maybe you can identify with cesc?

  270. Muppet @ 9:45 pm: Stop it, please.
    (Rolling on the floor, under the computer in laughter.)

  271. I find this Soupy Stew to be Offensively orientated.

    I’m not sure if that’s even a grammatically valid sentence.

  272. 1 loose cannon

    OOU- Why didn’t you try it?

  273. I think that’s the problem with catalans, they can’t decide if their national dish is a soup or a stew, so it makes them indecisive about which football team to play for as well!

  274. Just thought I’d pop in and say, “Hi, Hugs and

    According to Mi Suegra, ’tis indeed a stew. And no she’s never cooked it for me. Not much of a Catalan chef really…

    YW

  275. Since the Catalans have made their slops into a “national” dish, I would suggest chefs have never been common in the region.

  276. Passenal

    Supporting a football club in Barcelona is a lot like Manchester City and United used to be. One lot were the true fans, the rest glory hunters or so Mrs YWs family tell me. But then they are all rabid Espanyol fans.

    YW

  277. Pz

    Common? Oh no, very posh…

    YW

  278. YW after your joke session today I hope you have not returned to do some ‘Suegra’ ones.

  279. It’s just as well the in-laws are true fans Yogi, or things could have become awkward at home, with the other lot now public enemy number 1!

  280. 1 loose cannon

    First signs that Barcelona are whimpering. They are not so big after all that talk. suddenly started to realise all that sleaze did not work and getting very desperate now and Asking Fabregas to pick a fight with Arsenal so they can let him go on the cheap.

    Laporta said: “We will not sign any players for above market value. We are ­interested in signing Cesc and Arsenal know that but we will not pay an exorbitant price for any player.

    “When it comes to market prices, we’ll strengthen where we can but will not pay an unrealistic price.”

    Laporta insists it is “very important that Cesc makes it clear he wants to come to Barcelona” but added: “It’s always good that the coach reaches an agreement with the player.”

    I think if I was standing next to this sleazy person I would slap him in the mouth. I can’t take anyomere of this guy’s bullshit.

    How is not illegal to urge a player to leave his club, How is this not tapping up? Are Fifa going to sit and watch while this guy simply taking liberies like this?

  281. Fuck off Laporta.

  282. 1lc, he will just claim that he has been misquoted! But he can say what he likes because UEFA will only act if Arsenal complain, which they will not do, because cesc will also be fined for talking to barca while under contract. If there is a chance he might stay, Arsenal cannot afford to alienate him as we saw with the cole tapping up saga. It is obvious that cesc has been directly approached and had his head turned by whatever promises or threats have been made. He claimed he was happy at Arsenal and in no hurry to leave, if that is true he has no reason to agitate for a transfer right now. I really cannot see what he gains by going to barca now. I thought he would wait until they actually need him and he has the opportunity to walk into the team as first choice in his position. He should really listen to his friend Hleb. The grass is not as green as he thinks it is. After 4/5 years as first choice at Arsenal, is he sure he wants to play a bit part role from the barca bench? PHW may have expressed it in a crass way, but it’s true, he would not walk straight into the barca team with the players in front of him at the moment.

  283. good morning everybody…… 😉

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