Defend? That’s Not The Arsenal Way. Anymore.

I’m not sure if pantomimes are big in Poland. If they aren’t, they will be now. The Arsenal defence went about introducing the locals to the finer points of the great British tradition, asking where the ball was, to be told, “Behind you!” on five occasions as the net bulged. Fortunately, the attacking side of Arsenal’s game was in fine working order as they breached the Legia defence six times. As opening games for a new stadium go, I am sure that the Poles will not forget this one quickly.

Nor will we. The defence received a necessary wake-up call. Calamitous is the only word that one can find to describe it. Usually I do not take much notice of pre-season friendlies, the tuning up process in terms of fitness and understandings is much important. When those priorities are not there, some friendlies are impossible to ignore. Some highlight fundamental problems that need addressing and Arsene is pretty much out of training sessions to put them right.

Not for one moment do I expect Arsenal to concede at their current rate – one goal every fourteen minutes since Celtic scored their first goal – for the rest of the season. Nor by the same token do I believe we will score every ten minutes to paper over those defensive cracks. Much as I would like to see Arsenal win the Premier League scoring 190 goals whilst conceding 152 (+38 GD), it isn’t going to happen.

With the number of goals conceded, goalkeepers would expect to bear the brunt of the criticism yet Fabianski was only to blame for one of the three in the first half. He made a horrible error of judgement at a corner, tripped over the leg of Vermaelen before ending up flat on his face, watching helplessly as the ball cannoned off Koscielny into the net. Legia’s four other goals came as the defence seemed to be directed by Mack Sennett.

In forty-five minutes though, he might have played himself out of the team to face Liverpool next weekend. Perhaps Almunia had the luck which seems to have deserted him in the past by not making this trip. There is an absence of confidence from the defence in him on the pitch.

It is somewhat disconcerting to hear Arsene say afterwards that the goalkeepers we have are what we have. Protecting the path of Szczesny to the first team is admirable and a course which seems to be correct but when he gets to that stage in his career, he needs competition. A good goalkeeper purchased now would provide the interim cover and also pressure for the future. It is quite simple sitting here for a signing to take place; reality this summer is proving different for seemingly everyone.

Forwards were not pressurised when in possession by full backs, centre backs or midfield; the same problem as last year. All were culpable, without exception, even the normally reliable Vermaelen. The line was too high up the pitch on the final goal, leaving a gap to be exploited and that was before Arsenal decided to give Legia a helping hand by not clearing the ball when the opportunity arose. These are the basics which should be instinctive in players at this level. They were absent yesterday. It is this which will vex and, perhaps perplex, Wenger the most.

The players are intelligent in the footballing sense – I’ll leave it to others to comment on them away from the pitch – yet they displayed a naiveté which does not bode well for coming matches. The players have substantial experience for the most part, a point Arsene was at pains to make yesterday. They have no choice but to put this particular experience behind them. How Wenger and the coaches shackle them into a solid unit, I know not.

Before gloom and utter despondency takes over, there were noteworthy positives. Chamakh showed his aerial ability in scoring the first goal, an asset which adds another string to the attacking bow. Nasri prompted and created, scoring a powerful free kick which saw another goalkeeper fluff his Arsenal audition with the final goal. In-between times, Emmanuel Eboue continued his move towards canonisation with a diverse brace, the first a firm header at the far post, the second a calmly taken finish. It seems that the forwards and midfielders learn more from set-pieces on the training ground than the defence do.

Away from the pitch, Fabio Capello confirmed the worst kept secret in football calling Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs into the full England squad, recalling Theo Walcott at the same time. The Italian found out just how shallow the English pool of footballing talent is by asking Darren Bent and Carlton Cole to pop over and join in the fun. A truly depressing time to follow the English national team when the pair of them are the future. Peter Crouch will not be concerned by his omission from the squad.

Of the Arsenal ‘newbies’, the most concern I have is for Wilshere. Gibbs has made steady progress, interrupted only by injury. Wilshere’s international bow is encouraging because he seems to be a genuinely talented player with a lively footballing brain. But this is a path we have been down before with Theo Walcott and the knives will be out for Wilshere in the same way. Unless, of course, he proves to be as good as Puskas, Cruyff and Pele were in their prime. Expectations are being built which are unreasonable for his nascent career.

Anyway I’ve rambled on enough for today. ’til Tomorrow.

Posted on August 8, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 237 Comments.

  1. great article yogi

  2. Mate I put it to you that we have more chance of conceding the same amount of goals than we do of scoring the same amount. We played inferior teams in pre season compared to what we will face in the PL. Your logic was a bit off there.

  3. shit i was here way before hazza…but started reading!!!!!!!!!!im sad now

  4. The problem Fabianski highlighted with his mistake against Legia was a few big players move into the box for a corner / freekick / throw-in and that is the cue for panic to break out. Pushing anyone even your own defenders is now a trademark Arsenal reaction followed by another sloppy goal. What is needed is a defensive coach who can break down the issue to it’s basic components and knock some sense into our headless chickens! Or must we have another season of conceding soft goals thus torpedoing another campaign.

  5. YW And the guys at Arseblog miss one key point all pre-season. Wilshere and Frimipong have been our central midfield pairing all pre-season. They have done well but meant we’ve been at least two defensively players short. That was evident yesterday. Chill out guys

  6. Who is the defensive coach at the club?.Do we have one?And what does Pat Rice actually do other than put the cones out.As an ex defender shouldnt his job be organising the defence.And is Gerry Peyton still the goalkeeping coach after the shambles last season?

  7. YOGI…the interview u posted was amazing!

  8. the hardwic tup

    Defences need good sound keepers who inspire we do not have such a keeper.Defenders with one eye on a crap keeper will not be as good as a defender who trusts a keeper…a keeper that can catch punch kick and organize..that is why we need a cuurent international keeper not a maybe one day keeper we have at least 4 of them.Spending time please Mr W….JUST DO IT

  9. I can see it’s going to be one of those days.

  10. Bring on the whiners and moaners! Brace yourselves, men!

  11. Interesting articles on this morning. Should we be reading anything into them?

  12. hope chesny starts as out n1 keeper because fabianski is not up to it.

    i think it will be diaby’s season

  13. High of insanity: to continue to do same thing while expecting a different outcome…. = Arsenal’s defending.

  14. Very strange for to run with a story like that before any deal has been agreed, unless a deal has been agreed of course.

  15. You mean Sagna on Spahic and Arsene’s comments on the game Passenal?

    I am a little concerned with the seeming ‘tired legs syndrome’ that our players seem to have.

    It does seem to me now that we do need a bit more fresh blood.


    Well, I really dont know how we have seen anything new yesterday. the problems are the same that have been there for the last 4 years. We have around 20 days and what arsene does in those 20 days is going to determine whether we will be winning the league or not.

    Some positives:

    1. I am glad flapianski had his trademark circus game here and not in a game that meant something. He is a clown and a liability and should be sold as soon as possible. He is not a keeper for a title challenging side, never was and never will be. Perhaps this opens the way for schzeprny, which is good because he is the ONLY ONE that potentially has what it takes to be a true long term custodian for a club like arsenal among the 4 we have.

    2. I believe that this will clear out any doubts on wengers mind about whether to buy a new centre half or not. If he wants to win the league….. he will. Fingers crossed he will get the right TYPE of defender we need.

    3. I hope this is a wake up call to our team to be a bit more humble and see how much yet they have to do to win things.

    4. Chamakh will strengthen the team no doubt.

    I am happy because this game is exactly what the doctor ordered. So its upto arsene now and we still have time so there is hope..

    Cheers all!

  17. no doubt we need a CB and a goalie.

    to be fair vermy, clichy and koss were all shite vs legia

    but verm was the worst of all

  18. I would like to add something positive to what is sure to be a day full of defensive questioning (which I totally understand)

    I loved Chamakh’s goal because it is a goal we did not used to score. He put his head in where it could have hurt and got to the ball first.

    Nasri’s chip was superb, as he has been all pre season.

    When the game is tight and we cannot manage to carve through the opposition, Chamakh is going to meet a Sagna or Clichy cross and that can make a massive difference for us.

  19. Teams with much worse keepers or defenders don’t concede 5.

  20. Exactly Cbob. The Spahic story in particular. But I could see the ‘heavy legs’ yesterday. The players looked tired and jaded to me. We also have to remember that Arsene is not going to show his hand publicly and will give a bland response that does not highlight individual short-comings.

  21. I have nthing against Spahic. I have no clue whatsoever who he is. He could be a monster for all I know.

    But he doesn’t have real experience. He’s played about as many top flight games as Djourou, and despite being Captain of his national team, has not played in the Champions League or major tournaments.

    Centre back is a position in which, Arsene has always told us, and we’ve all always known, experience counts.

  22. The last time Arsenal conceded 5 goals was against Charlton Athletic, no? Pray tell, who was in that Arsenal team?

    The law of averages suggest that such a freak show will not happen again for a long time.

    My take is this – the team should be made to watch the DVD of that game every waking hour until they get it into their heads that Keystone Cops defending is not an option.

    But as far as pre-season goes, what better a game to prove that despite shipping 5 goals, we can still win the game. It’s not long ago that Arsenal were being accused of not being able to come back into games that they concede a couple of goals. They go and prove to you that they can, and they get no thanks…LOL! Supporters are just thankless punks.

  23. Well, if they are tired now, how will they feel after an international game followed by Anfield?

    A tad worrying.

  24. Originally I thought the keeper situation would break down like this:

    1st choice: Al
    2nd choice: Fab

    Then either Don Vito or Chesney as 3rd with the other going out on load.

    However, I’m starting to think that while Almunia will still be the first choice, it could Fabianski who goes on loan and Chesney who takes the number 2 spot.

  25. I wouldnt have it any other way.

  26. And yeah just to repeat what everyone’s already said, that Spahic story is weird. It’s exactly the sort of piece they usually publish on the official site the day after a transfer’s been announced.

  27. Cbob, I think they are pushed physically in pre season to get them fit then the training eases off. Looking tired in one game can easily be rectified by a day or two off or reducing the intensity of the training. Plus, not all the players will be going away for the internationals and hopefully we will have more of our first choice players back who have not featured much in pre-season.

  28. Oh not it was’nt – Oh yes it was
    If it hadn’t have been Arsenal, I would have been rolling about splitting my sides. Sadly it was Legia splitting our defence again and again.
    Apart from the promise of Chamakh, I think we have gone backwards from last year. The back four should have been just that – back in the dressing room. I know we have always expected our full backs to bomb forward, but with the richness of the attacking players we have now is is this really so necessary. Sometimes Clichy and Sagna even get in the way of promising attacks. There is not another PL team that leaves itself so open at the back to simple punts forward. If the fullbacks stayed in position more, then this would reduce this risk greatly. Let the defenders defend and the forwards attack.
    If we do not buy a class goalkeeper and experienced CB we are doomed already

  29. DS,

    To an extent I agree. Legia really had a go at us and that must have been better than most preseason games.

    I hope they got a bollocking. I still believe our defensive rot is in midfield. It’s not the lack of ability….I don’t know what it is.

  30. Paulie Walnuts

    Didn`t see the game but the 5 goals conceded & tone of Yogi`s post is enough to concern.

    I`m also underwhelmed by the Spahic link as I believe an experienced top level centre back is required rather than taking another punt on a journeyman from France.

    On the plus side 6 goals & a comeback win away from home can`t be all bad !

  31. It just seems to be whoever we play in midfield and defence, we concede the same goals. Players don’t pick up and we don’t attack the ball. Hopefully Song and Diaby will make a big difference.

  32. After spending 8.5m on a defender Paulie, I can’t see Wenger doing anything but taking a punt on a journeyman from France. If it was going to be anyone remotely high profile they’d already have been signed.

  33. Carlos Vela has been impressive this pre season, another two assists yesterday. His pass to Gibbs was lovely. I think he is sneaking in under the radar this time.

    Might be a big season for Mr Chips.

  34. The flick towards JET was quite tasty too.

    Tippy tappy Route One!

  35. Mean Lean…it was also Vela who flicked the ball for the assist to JET’s goal.

    I think he is the beneficiary of Eduardo’s departure.

    As someone mentioned earlier, if we don’t get a new keeper, I would be happy with Almunia in goal and Tech 9 deputizing for him, and Don Vito of Colney in 3rd place with Fabianski going out on loan.

  36. Mean Lean,

    I was thinking the same about Vela yesterday. He looked mature and didn’t go down easily in challenges. He’s been scoring and setting up goals, largely coming off the bench.

  37. Ah I forgot about that flick. I might change my name to Vela Assist!

    Also agree with the goalkeeping situation. Fabianski has got to go out on loan to iron out his flaws.

    Almunia looked sharp against Celtic, hopefully he can regain his form of two seasons ago. If that is the case then we do not have a goalkeeping problem.

    Would have loved to see some swing corners under Tech 9’s crossbar during the second half but it didn’t really happen.

  38. The mystifying thing about our defending issues is that we win the ball back a lot all over the pitch. We don’t allow the opposition too many sniffs of the goal. Orbinho on Twitter showed we allowed the opposition as few shots as Man Utd, and slightly less than Chelsea. This shows that we’re not that open.

    If you concede 5 altogether preventable goals, you’d lookpants, you might even be pants. But someting doesn’t match up. how can we be so tight and yet so open. Why does the opposition score so many lucky freaky fluky goals against us. 2 or 2 of Legia’s goals were pure flukes….the lucky bounce, the own goal etc

  39. 2 0r 3 I meant to write

  40. Wat a comeo bt the defence need to be adressed,the attack seem ok,nasri lol the best!if arsh,fab,rvp,song,diaby were avai,it culd be 10.tek note of that

  41. Mean Lean, maybe the positive was that we didn’t give away corners willy nilly in the 2nd half. But Tech 9’s double save didn’t do him any harm – I suspect the powers that be in Polish football were also watching the performance of both Polish keepers and Tech 9 came out smelling of roses (if you compare the 2 of them).

    However, on the issue of the team defense, I’m more sanguine on the basis that Diaby and Alex Song and/or Denilson will do a better defensive job than Frimpers and Li’l Jack.

  42. You do worry that Fabianski’s confidence has just gone, like Sendo and arguably Eduardo. He was regarded as the best in the Polish league before he came here. Where the GK transfer speculation seems to have got Big Al back to his focussed self of a couple of seasons ago Fabi just seems to have gone to jelly, or at least remained in the poor form he finished the season in.

  43. I am also enjoying the partnership developing between Nasri and Chamakh. It will be interesting to see how Nasri performs when he is inevitably moved to the right when Cesc comes back into the team.

  44. The issue is that Wenger himself noted that our problem as a team is that we don’t defend very well. 7 days before the start of the new season and there is no evidence whatsoever that this has been remedied.

    It is almost like we are simply hoping things go better. We have one new defender, and have lost Gallas and Sol (I am not counting Sylvestre).

    We have Alminua in goal, who is OK at best and are one injury away from Fabianski getting a run. If this happens we are fucked. Even Legia knew he was weak on set pieces and crowded him out.

    On the plus side we have scored lots pre-season and looked god in an attacking sense.

    Good going forward, vulnerable at the back. Sound familiar???

  45. Chamackattack & Nasri:

    Real Madrid come from 0-2 down to beat LA Galaxy 3-2. Impressive, but not quite the same as coming back from three down.
    Arragantio on Cashley:

    “when a coach says no, it’s no, and we have to accept that.”

    I think he must still be scared of RA.

  46. Does anyone know what Gallas’ situation is at the moment? Apparently he hasn’t found a new club yet. I think he did a good job last season. Is there a remote chance that he would reconsider the deal he was offered and stay for 1 or 2 more seasons?

  47. Just curious on the ATVO commentary.

    Yesterday, Dan Roebuck and Stewart Robson were doing the commentary, and when I replayed the extended highlights, the commentary that Dan Roebuck does for it is totally different from the one during the game.

    Do they voice over the highlights again? I haven’t watched the full match again and maybe the recorded versions have different commentary – I know that during the EPL, the radio only version of the commentary is totally different from the video version that is made available later.

    If only ATVO can sort out the quality issues – at least the commentary is sanitized, sane and not nausiating. The only thing ATVO need to do is stop reading the frigging emails during the radio commentary on match day.

  48. It was a very hot day in Warsaw and the Poles pressed like crazy for the 1st half. Excuses aside, the manner in which some of the goals were conceded have to be analysed as either a systemic failure of teamwork, or the fault of 1 or 2 individuals who are not up to it.

    Fabianski is the chief suspect. To fall over in the box strikes me as being very worrying. As a goalkeeper with 2 chequered seasons under my belt for a Sunday league Pub team, I can honestly say that I fell over in the pub and not on the field.

    The defensive midfield cover consists of Song, Denilson, Eastmond and Frimpong. Song and Denilson were not there. Eastmond I believe is injured, and Frimpong must have been tired, as he came off after 45 minutes. The key to me is Denilson or Song, and I don’t think the 1st goal would have gone in if one of those two were on the field.

    As for the overall system, I think that more caution will be observed this season. It’s a balance. The team has to learn from the breakaway goals conceded against the chavs, mancs and barca last season.

  49. Denilson seems to be a forgotten man..or surplus to requirement to some, I’m afraid.

  50. deni is the key to our success this season

  51. I smell the whiff of panic and doom-mongering at ACLF. I thought there was consensus on this blog, with the usual exceptions, that the problem has been team defending and cutting out silly mistakes. It is not the ability of the players, it is the confidence. Concentration, communication, focus. AW said something in the post game interview that belies the point:

    “I thought we were too nervous and we had to be calm. Play out from the back. And I thought we would come back in the game if we were a little calmer and more composed on the ball. We played too many long balls. We also had to change some positioning on the pitch. But in pre-season it is important to play the way you want to play. You have to be detached from the result.”

    It may be too late for calm and composure amongst the nervous nellies in the blogsphere but come-on ACLF, come-on!

  52. Fu*k about. anyone who still doesn’t think we need some reinforcments at the back will need their fukin heads testing.

  53. I see Lieutenant Xavi Hernandez has recovered from the nut crunching disappointment of not being able to free Cesc from captivity, he’s reverted to form.

    Apparently, his colleagues like Rosell who sit round the board room with him at Barca have assured him that they will renew their efforts to resign their DNA in January, especially after Chelsea and Manure are well ahead of Arsenal and we have been kicked out of the Champions league.

    Does this guy realise that Barca can’t even afford their current payroll?

  54. DukeGoonem

    What are you going to do if the calvary doesn’t arrive?

  55. Long ago, I was among the very few that said Big Al will be our keeper at the beginning of this season despite the mass hysteria amongst bloggers at this suggestion. Nothing that happened at the end of last season, when he was replaced due to “illness” and in pre-season has changed my mind. It was our team defending, not Big Al, which was at the root of our Goals Against record. Many choose to forget he had a serious personal problem at the beginning of the season (many like to discount the effect on players but remember German GK Robert Enke) and, yes, like all goalies he had a few howlers. But he is the only one of our keepers with the experience and maturity, apart from technical ability, to be our No. 1.
    No doubt the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal blogs will want to create a negative environment around Al but I hope ACLF will repudiate them all.

  56. Shotta.

    Do you think that if (when) Wenger continues with Almunia, Triple A fans will commit mass suicide? That has to be a good thing, right?

  57. All yesterday showed is how crucial Deni and Song are, it’s not a cause for hysterics.

  58. SomeRandomGunner

    Leaving the defense out, it is paining to even think about it.
    I think we have a monster in Chamakh. For the goal he held of 3-4 defenders and then received it in the middle with his head. I believe he will be our 20 goals striker, hoping that the arsenal curse of injuries strike.

  59. Just curious…….we have quite a bit of muslim players (ie nasri, chamakh, rvp, sagna) …. Next week is the beginning of ramadan and the fasting month and our games are mostly during the daytime. Will this affect those players? Not to mention Spahic coming in…i wonder what zap or karim or usama think about this…

  60. DS @ 1:57 – Jeez, I hope so but I doubt it. Unlike Big Al they are cowardly. He is willing to prove his detractors wrong. This is a man who was playing in the second division in Spain when he was signed by Arsenal. Despite Mad Jens tantrums, he proved that AW was right to make him no.1.
    As you can see DS I love an underdog.

  61. I used to wonder how it is possible for some folks to sit down and think some shit, and then rationalize what they come up with as something worth spewing out as credible opinion.

    I don’t normally read every title on Arsenal’s news now feed, but it’s a slow Sunday….LOL

    Here’s an example:

    “The majority of Arsenal fans want to see a big, strong, dominant CB who just likes to defend..Names such as Shawcross, Cahill, Hangelaand and Mertezacker
    have been thrown into the mix but one name that I haven’t heard is Michael Dawson..

    I know he plays for the Sp*ds, but I don’t think there’s any Gooner who wouldn’t agree that the Dawson/Tommy CB combo would be a worldbeater..This lad has
    everything we are looking for at the back. He’s got years of PL experience under his belt and he’s quickly becoming one of England’s top CB’s. Woodgate and
    King are good but they are crocks. Dawson is the stalwart of the Sp*rs defence and in my opinion, with Rio Ferdinand’s career practically over, Dawson
    is top of the list to replace him in the England first eleven..”

    How would someone wknowwhat the majority of fans want and declare it so matter of factly as if it was a certainty.

    And Shawcross? I know we have defensive issues, but are we seriously that desperate?

    Again, it’s a classic case of intellectual masturbation. Even if Wenger was serious about signing Dawson, does this guy expect that Gazidis will make a call to Levy, they’ll have dinner one night and they’ll both make a call to ‘Appy Arry’ to say “…tell Dawson to pack his bags Harry, he’s off to the Emirates”.

  62. Max. RVP has stated before that he didn’t convert to Islam despite many people thinking he did when he married Boukra.

  63. Darius Stone

    The article that you are referring to about Dawson, is a wind up to elicit the Sp*ds trawling Arsenal blogs.

  64. shotta = prick

    nobody cares what you think..

  65. Delia-----Block 112

    Yes we were woeful at the back but Wilshere and Frimpong were out on their feet ,having been overplayed in the last 8 days and the heat didn’t help. With no Song holding in midfield the team lacked balance and there was virtually no cover given to the back 4. The CBs were all over the place and Flappy was found wanting yet again.
    Obviously AW needs to get a move on with an experienced CB signing and I suspect we will go with MA as our first choice keeper until at least January.
    The attacking play was highly entertaining, when we got going , with Nasri in full flow and Eboue showing Theo how it is done. Chamack looks a good buy and perhaps we should play 4, 5, 1 at Anfield ,as he looks well able to play up front on his own.
    The Internationals this week are not helping our preparations but yesterday’s encounter was not Liverpool and I fully expect everyone will be up for the trip to Anfield.

  66. When Toure was with us I remember he said that as professional footballers they have to eat normally, but they do some extra charity work to make up for not being able to fast.

  67. john=spud.

  68. DS….

    I thought rvp has a northern african arabic lineage…similar to nasri? No matter. Would like to wish them a happy ramadan and oh yes…not forgetting zap, karim and chamakh. I’m sure fasting has no lasting effects on the players…

    Off topic….yw, is cuervo = james?

  69. hey Passenal,

  70. So answer the questions guys –

    Y’know guys like Bill and I have been banging on about our defense for some time now – and shipped terrible abuse because of it –

    But just tell me – where’s the improvement?

    You’ve all being quick to shoot down the critics – and throw all types of labels on those who have had concerns for some time now – but nobody has put a remotely plausible case together that has substantiated what AW has been doing with the defense.

    And Please don’t tell me that our defensive hopes for next season are all down to us making a couple of defensive signings 7 days from the start of the season?

  71. yawn.

  72. Ole @ 11:12:

    Your comment regarding our defending. “It’s not the lack of ability….I don’t know what it is.”

    In an article by the brain last year in Arsenal column the boss said as he was talking about switching to the 433.

    The important thing is you have to create chances to score. Problems with defending can be much more easily rectified. However, if you are not creating chances then you worry.

    Lee Dixon and the brain both said that our team does not do defensive drills on the training pitch. The brain used the term “organic” describing our teams approach to teaching defending. That approach was successful with Tony Adams and Co. and the invincibles maintained that defensive nous that was left over from that era. However, that approach does not seem to be working over the last 6 – 7 years. Our relative reluctance to spend our revenue to reinforce CB and GK in the transfer market is another source of concern regarding the level of priority our organization places on defending.

    IMO this overall organization approach to defending is the only logical explanation for a team that year after year seems to perform below its potential on the defensive end.

  73. You beat me to it notlager! He looks quite sad considering the circumstances, or maybe it’s just me?

  74. How come we have so many problems with the goal keeper situation, i would bring back Lukic or Seaman they are probably far superior to the current dross.If Fabianski is allowed to start at Anfield it is gonna be a slaughter.

  75. Joe, what do you want us to do? Join in the chorus slating the team? No one thinks that defensive performance was acceptable, but whatever we say on here is not going to make any difference. It’s up to the coaching staff to sort it. They either can, or they can’t. Only time will tell.

  76. Bill,

    The reason I think that opinion isnt founded is in this quote;

    “That approach was successful with Tony Adams and Co. and the invincibles maintained that defensive nous that was left over from that era. However, that approach does not seem to be working over the last 6 – 7 years”

    Upon your further reflection on that quote, you should see where you’re talking rubbish

  77. The fact still remains that teams with the famous back 4 conceded more goals than the current lot. I posted the stats a while ago. Again, that’s a fact.

  78. Passenal,

    Honest to God – just how much more time do you need to realise that this has been ongoing for some 4 years now.

    If you think my criticism is some sort of knee jerk reaction – you’d be sorely mistaken lady!

  79. I’m oddly surprised, but oddly not. A pre-season friendly match which for some reason is nervy, travelling quite far east (which for some reason does not suit us much), to a good team at their new stadium and itching to ‘show Arsenal’, with 8 first team regulars missing throughout including supreme talents, 2 very young central midfielders including the one responsible for defensive cover, who’ve played and trained heavily in 3 countries (what’s that 5 games in 2 and half weeks or so with training), and we do in fact win coming from behind and maintain a little unbeaten run, and 2-3 goals against were a little fluky, and our stand-in keeper playing, and every other major team has had surprise, fluky, nervy losses in pre-season with their juniors, and the season has not even started yet, and our proven top notch defender is the worst of all (litle was that normal) and yep, Arsenal supporters start to weep and wail.

    Look it could be that the defence is not good enough, but quite honestly, a little perspective gentemen and ladies of ACLF, a modicum of rational thinking, the tiniest bit of patience.

  80. @perspective? patience? to use those two words and arsenal fan in the same sentence is not possible.

    Trophies is the only word that matters. Money and trophies.

    After all when Arsenal loos its “they lost” when Arsenal wins it is “we won”.

    “they played bad” and “we played good”.

    Perspectove..pfft. Perspective is for lower lvl teams, not for top class teams like Arsenal. Man perspective is so last year!
    This years fashion is Trophies.

  81. The manager has identified the problem and is trying to address it. Lasting change does not happen over night.

  82. another pointless question Darius.

  83. FFS Its pre-season. Conceding 5 goals means no more than it would had we won 10-0.

    It has very little relevance to the season ahead.

    It was good practice for Blackburn, Stoke etc. Legia started with great pace and stifled us for a lot of the first match and the set piece tactics were very EPL.

    We made mistakes all over the place and the back four played a very high line.

    The fine tuning will be done this week and its off to Anfield; I can’t wait for the first home game!

  84. No one has a right to win trophies. That is Sky talk. Serious supporters know that there are a number of teams that at any one time can win trophies. That means that other teams will not win them.

    Just support your team, it is one of the best in the world. The best as far as I am concerned whether we wil ‘Trophies’ every year or not.

  85. OK, let’s get a little perspective here.

    1) It was only a pre-season match, and one that was a celebration for the new Legia stadium as I understand it.

    2) I doubt anybody wanted to through themselves into tackles in a match like this and threaten getting themselves injured ahead of next weekend.

    3) We were missing our three first choice defensive midfielders: Song, Diaby and Denilson. Sometimes you don’t realise how valuable players are until they are not there.

    4) Chamakh looks superb, and definitely provides that in the box presence we have been missing. I get the feeling that RvP’s change to the #10 shirt is more than symbolic, and he will play the Bergkamp role as well as wear the shirt. Think 1997/98, RvP taking the Bergkamp role, Arshavin in Overmars role and Chamakh as Wright/Anelka.

    5) Nasri is also looking superb. My only concern is he is playing his best in the same role that Cesc plays? Will we get the best of them both in the same side. I sure as hell hope so. Perhaps Cesc might get the Guardiola role he craves, leaving Nasri in the more advanced role? Similar re Rosicky.

    6) Kos and TV do not yet have a great understanding, but that is hardly surprising considering the time they have spent on the pitch. That is not a reflection of Kos’ ability, just reality. Does anyone seriously think that would be any different it was Cahill or anyone else coming in?

    7) Do we need more cover at the back? Yes, but considering Arsene has stated this publicly and repeated he will buy someone and we have 3 weeks to get someone, can we not get hysterical if we have not signed someone by next weekend. Let’s also be realistic – Arsene did not spend £8.5m on Kos for him to be merely back-up.

    8) If Fabianski’s confidence has gone, he will be shipped out. Look at Senderos and Eduardo.

  86. What are you saying darius,we dont need any decent defenders then?

  87. or a decent keeper?

  88. Duke, I think Kos is a decent defender – he has played better in pre-season and people who have seen him in training speak highly of him, so we should not let one poor game overshadow all of that. CB is about partnerships and understanding. TV and Kos are at the start of theirs. Even TV had an off day yesterday. These things happen. If that same performance happens in a competitive game, that is the time to worry. What happened yesterday is a concern, but not panic stations yet. As for decent goal keepers. I think Almunia is decent. He did not have his best season last year, but there were extenuating circumstances. I’m sure if Arsene could find someone better, who is available and wants to come to Arsenal he would. In the event of the 3 parties not being in agreement, Almunia will have to do.

  89. No DukeGoonem.

    Did you hear me say that? I simply asked a question based on your affirmative comment about Arsenal buying a keeper and CB.

    My point is that come 1st Sept, we’ll have to get behind the team regardless of who we have in the squad. I would suggest that your energy is better spent supporting the Arsenal, than bitching about matters you will not be able to change e.g. the personnel at Arsenal.

    Wenger signs the players because it’s his job. If we feel that he is no longer capable of signing and coaching players worthy of the Arsenal shirt; then we should all be venting against Wenger and campaigning for his immediate dismissal.

    But then again, what are the chances of Wenger getting fired? Clearly, the people who own the club don’t think he’s doing a bad job.

    Maybe we should get rid of the board and get the club sold instead, because it seems that the board are all Wenger arse kissers and will never get rid of the man who doesn’t have the ability, guts, ambition and passion to coach the team any more.

    Usmanov, The Chinese or Kuwaiti government, and probably even the United Arab Emirates are standing in the wings waiting to land Arsenal. Forget even silent Stan, he doesn’t have the money to compete any more.

    Like I said, get behind your frigging team and stop threatening on issues you don’t have control over. And just in case you think I don’t care, I’m on record as stating that Arsenal needs to focus on defensive discipline and mental fortitude. I happen to think that our issues don’t have as much to do with personnel as it is made out.

    Why don’t we debate why I think this is so, rather than come up with summary statements about your assertion that buying a defender and a keeper will guarantee that we never concede a goal.

  90. well i think we should stick Sczesney in then if Wenger wont buy/cant find a kepeper. and for me kos is a good cb but maybe he is too similar to tv.

  91. DukeGoonem

    I have no problem with Tech 9 being upgraded to 1st class – but this needs to be done carefully so as not to get him stage fright. He’s a confident young lad and deserves a chance.

    I think though, it’s more likely that he will deputize for Almunia if he gets the nod, as opposed to going in in front of Almunia.

  92. ManUtd just won the Community Shield. How the hell could Chelsea concede 3? In my lazy opinion they need a decent defender and a decent keeper.

  93. I will make my analysis after the Liverpool game, these pre season matches dont mean much.
    But if I was a betting man I would not be running down to the bookies to place a bet on us winning the title this season. Hope fully the defense can sort it self out, but going into a new season with only one established centre back seems like madness. This is a area where cool heads, experience and time playing together are crucial.
    It saddens me as this is our only weakness as far as Im concerned. The rest of the team are top class, we have a deadly midfield and strike force. If we could just sort out the defense we would be unstoppable.

  94. Shotta.

    They have Terry, Essien, Drogba, Lampared, Ahole, Ivanavic, Maluda, Anelka and I don’t know how many useless players that played today. Clearly they are not good enough and need to sign a CB and a new Keeper.

    Hilarious played a good game in goal but it’s not his fault, he was left exposed by the inept defending of Chelsea.

  95. Nick @ 4:06 pm – I agree with every point you made. Couldn’t have said it better.

  96. Darius is this an Arsenal blog? do we say what we feel about our club? so i come on here and said what ! that we need another keeper and a decent keeper which is the truth isnrt it. so how the f8ck is that bitching . what is your fukin problem. your replys and your clever dick mates replys were bitchy coz you know we need another defender and keeper but you dont want to come accross as a doomer so you wont say it will you. grow some balls.

  97. DS @ 4:55 pm – The last two goals by ManUtd are the only ones I saw. But they only go to show, if you let attackers one-on-one with your keeper often enough, you will concede.
    But what do I know? According to Fox Sports (the Sly Sky TV affiliate) ManUtd are odds on to win the title and por old Chelsea are destined for a poor season.

  98. DukeGoonem.

    I would be disappointed if you or any other Arsenal fan isn’t able to state or argue their opinion in any forum. Debates, disagreements and exchange of ideas is healthy.

    In the same way you have the space to express your opinion, you should be comfortable with my view that your opinion amounts to bitching. I wouldn’t be offended one bit if you thought I was also bitching; but my point is that we need to be able to get past issues when the times comes for us to get behind the team.

    For the record, I don’t have a problem with you, I just have an opinion about your opinion.

  99. Poor old Duke is getting from bad to worse. Now he is throwing his toys out of the pram.

  100. Bill @2.49

    Organic? Adams and co were anything but organic. They played together for many years and had the understandings before Arsene arrived. Under Graham, they were tied with ropes so that they moved as a unit and kept a tight line. That is the one legacy which Graham can be proud of leaving at Arsenal.

    It is apparent that Wenger wants a centre back and I suspect that the only reluctance on his part is to pay over-the-odds for any player. As to what the odds are, that is subjective but somewhere between the selling and buying clubs valuations. Two pre-requisites for signings are non-negotiable:

    1. They must be better than the existing players
    2. They must be technically able to fit into Arsenal’s playing style.

    You cannot have one without the other. There is no point in buying, say, Schwarzer, who in my opinion is no better than Almunia – look at last season’s home win over Fulham for evidence of that – as it is not going to improve the team. We want a new centre back and ideally, a World Class one at that. It may have escaped people’s attention but they are in very short supply. And the club’s who employ them now are not particularly keen to sell.

    Anyone who assumes that just because we are Arsenal, we are better than Werder Bremen, Stuttgart and Montpelier should take a step back and admit that this is the same superiority complex for which Barcelona have been roundly lambasted each week.

    Don’t mistake inability to persuade club’s to sell for reluctance to buy.


  101. shotta.

    yep i see what you done there. funny. again im trying to understand why people like you get all arsey when a fellow gooner says we need a defeneder and a keeper. if it wasnt true i could understand but come on, even my wife says we need to sort out our dodgy defending.

  102. Chelsea lost 1-3 to Manu and had 12 shots on goal and 11 shits on the field. This tells me their keeper is shit, and their defenders are shit too. Laughable.

  103. Yogi ,

    define over the odds? how much is a title worth? how much is keepeing Cesc worth? is it better to go into the season without say another cb coz they were a little over Arsenal’s evaluation.

  104. I read somewhere that one of the players revealed in an interview that despite his public statements Arsene was furious with the team yesterday and let them know in no uncertain terms. People need to remember that statements for public consumption are often far away from what is happening behind the scenes. We need to trust the manager to do what is necessary. He is fair to his players and will give them opportunities to redeem themselves, but when the time comes he has no qualms about moving them on if they don’t shape up.

  105. Duke

    Like I said, the odds are somewhere between what someone wants and what someone is willing to pay. Each is extremely subjective and needs both sides to be willing to move towards a central point. As we’ve seen this summer, it’s a market where the sellers are dominant and fewer transfers are going through.

    You remember the implacable opposition shown by Arsenal to Barcelona? I’m guessing that the same is being shown to Arsenal.


  106. the funny thing is Chelsea do actualy need another keeper coz that hilario is well..hilarious.

  107. DukeGoonem

    Manure and Chelsea have won the title 3 times each in the last 6 years. The cost to them is that they both have a combined debt of over 1.6 billion.

    If that is the cost of winning titles, then surely we don’t want that at Arsenal.

    btw, Chelsea will tell you uncle Abramovich has written off half the debt and converted the other half from debt to equity. More like he lit up a bonfire with £700m of his own money.

  108. Excellent points Yogi @ 5.04 pm. People cannot seem to get their head around just how difficult it can be to find the right player and conclude the deal. Clubs will only sell if they need the money more than they need the player and it would be utter madness for Arsenal to say we’re so desperate for a player all you have to do is name your price!

    I would also like to point out that one of the championship manager favourites Per Mertesacker was playing in the game in which his team also shipped 5 goals, against Fulham! So there are no guarantees in football.

  109. The thing is Darius we only need one top defender and well if Sczesny gets in i think maybe we could do without a keeper but we are close. just feel we will get done at the back at the business end of the season. also isnt it too much to stick kos stright in as one of our main defenders?, i know we did it with tv but he did have alot of exp around him.

  110. I wonder what our resident doomers would say if they were Chelsea supporters. They didn’t win once during the pre-season and just got routed by MU in the community shield.

  111. Duke, but who is out there that fits your criteria and is available at a reasonable price? For all his eccentricities I would even take Gallas back, but it strikes me that he has cut his nose off to spite his face. He turned Arsenal down but has failed to find a better deal out there. I wonder if both parties would be willing to go back to the deal that was proposed earlier? We know he is a good defender and he would not need so much settling in time. The downside is whether his fitness is up to it as he has been without a club for some time and also whether his influence on his team mates is so negative that it would be counter-productive.

  112. Passenal, don’t waste your time. People like Duke insist that Wenger should pay whatever it costs to get a top defender. They want him to stop messing about and become a chequebook manager already. So what if he ends up with lemons like Berbatov and Lescott every now and again? It’s not their money, so they can just whine and bitch knowing that the responsibility will never fall on them. One ca’t take these idiots seriously. No one ever should. Oh, and don’t hold your breath waiting for them to come up with at least one name for the defender they all want to sign. He doesn’t exist.

  113. I read something about Spahic being voted the best defender in Ligue 1? Can anybody confirm that?

  114. Though the manager of Montepelier is also quoted as saying that he will let Spahic go…for 25 million quid.

  115. Ole @ 2:59:

    You can take any portion of what I say and disagree. However, the main point of my post is that our team does not place enough emphasis on defense.

    The offseason rhetoric from the club regarding improving our defending and improved finances made me hopeful that we might go against recent tradition and bring in an experienced, mentally and physically dominating CB and GK who would take over and organize us at the back. The KOS may be a superb defender but he does not meet those criteria yet. Perhaps somehow we will discover a defensive nous this year. Hope springs eternal.

  116. We’ve already experienced the ‘hard ball’ over Kos, whom we probably paid more than intended and whose signing was probably more drawn out than expected. But apart from the mancs no one is spending much money and there is hardly any movement this transfer window. The football landscape is changing slowly but surely.

  117. Yogi,

    “1. They must be better than the existing players
    2. They must be technically able to fit into Arsenal’s playing style.”

    These points are a regurgitation of what wenger has said and that opinion is spun to suit the circumstances.

    Who’s to say that Kos is any better than what we already have? Is Kos better that Gallas? Why couldn’t we have kept Gallas? Because of the policy eh? Or did it have something to do with his monetary demands? How come were prepared to pay him so well last year, and then when he performs admirably all season, we then have to insist he takes a pay cut to stay? You see this all makes sense financially, but, to coin a phrase “footbalistically” its a ludicrous decision.

    There are many other examples of when such logic didn’t apply in the past either – like when Shay Given was available. Does this meant that Almunia was better than Given when we passed on him?

    Or to put it another way, do you think if Given was available now we’d pass on him when we’ve been trying to sign Swartzer?

    Of course hindsight is 50/50 vision. But in many cases we make the wrong decisions – and it all comes down to being petty over money. Im not advocating spending recklessly – far from it. But if the team needs a GK or CB – which even the most earnest AKB’s will agree upon, then do we really have to always wait until the right player at rock bottom prices comes along? And if we don’t manage to get the bargain we crave – whats supposed to happen in the interim – do the team and fans have to suffer on because of such single-mindedness?

    Why are we chasing Jagielka/Spahic/Mertesacker and prepared to spend millions on them – when we couldn’t agree to paying Gallas, a proven player, his normal salary or come to some agreement with him? Surely this was the easier option? In fact when you think about it – not only does it make sense from a football perspective – but financially its makes the most sense too.

  118. gainsborough69er you really are a fukin pr*ck.


    Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski has revealed that he has developed a “hard skin” after being on the receiving end of criticism for his errors in goal last season.
    The Gunners’ back-up shot-stopper was criticised for a number of high-profile errors last season when deputising for Manuel Almunia, who was then currently sidelined through injury.
    However, Fabianski, who conceded 3 first half goals against his former club Legia Warsaw yesterday, admitted that he’s now put those mistakes behind him.
    “Last season I was severely criticised, because of the mistakes I made. I am already immune to bitter words. I think I now have a hard skin, it was difficult for me, but I endured by focusing on the fact that there will be better opportunities ahead. Now I look towards the future with optimism,” Fabianski told the Polish Press Agency.
    When asked about who will be Arsenal’s no.1 next season, the 25-year-old seemed to suggest that Arsene Wenger has already formulated a kind of rotation policy for the new campaign.
    “It seems to me that to some extent, our coach has established a basic composition for next season and we plan on working based on that.”

  120. Yogi
    The centre back problem is not that we need a world class cb, but rather we need at the least an experienced, reasonably competeant back up.
    It clearly looks like that Kos has been brought in as a replacement for Gallas, and whether we like it or not our 1st choice pairing is going to be Kos and Verm.
    That is the manager’s decision and I’m not going to critsise him for that, even if in hindsight it turns out wrong. His judgement of players over the years has been much better than mine.
    The real cause for concern is that with little over 3 weeks of the window left we have not signed a 4th cb.
    We all knew that Gallas, Senderous and Silvestre were leaving. Did AW put all his eggs in Sol ‘s bascket? (Could explain his waistline)
    While yesterday you pointed out that AW’s transfer dealings have all been done early or late in the window, who was the last player to come in late about whom we didn’t know long negotiotions were being conducted? I can only think of Denilson in recent years.
    The transfer market has changed, and perhaps we no longer see last minute bargains.
    I just worry that AW’s valuations of players has diverged from the market, so we find it easy to offload players because our asking prices are low, but can’t bring in players because again our offers are also low.
    While there must be a limit to how much you pay for a player, what would be most beneficial to Arsenal next season, a 10million cb on the park, or the 15 mill we could be forced to pay for him in the bank?

  121. YW @ 5:4PM:

    Your point is well taken. As I said to Ole, you can take any part of my post and criticize it. In this case your criticism is hard to dispute. I would be very happy for us to “pay over the odds” in this one case since there seems to be such a critical need. I understand the importance of not overpaying in the past, but I do not think it would hurt us this once. That said your point that it takes 2 teams to sell/buy a player is indisputable. I guess I got my hopes up as when the club talked about having money in the bank and wanting to fix our defending.

    Regarding your point that we need to defend better with the people we have is absolutely true. That was supposed to be the main point of my post. Clearly the players we have could defend much better and my point is that our organization under emphasizes the importance of defending and that is the only logical explanation for what we have seen on the pitch in recent years. Wenger obviously believes that his brand of attacking football will at some point win the trophies some of us are waiting for. Hopefully he is right.

  122. Joe

    Gallas has several things working against him. Firstly, he wants a longer contract than Arsenal are prepared to offer and more money. So it might be a football decision given his injuries and personality but it is also a monetary decision. Arguing that you don’t know if a player is better than existing staff is pointless; educated guesses come into play, based on scouting. Arguing that Gallas is better than Koscielny is futile when you haven’t see the latter play.

    Nobody said anything about rock-bottom prices, that is the statement of the AA brigade. Conveniently, the AA forget that Wenger had to cut his cloth in previous seasons because of the stadium but still managed to splash out on Arshavin. Remember this: contract extensions are paid for from the same pot as transfers so swallow up the money. Equally, nobody knows what the size of that pot is. Judging by your comment, you think that paying £20m for Spahic is worthwhile. IF that’s the case then Mertesacker is at least £30m. Personally, I don’t think either is realistic but the AA brigade seem to think it is.

    Would Wenger pass on Given now? No, I don’t think so and nobody knows if we bid for him or contacted his agents but I suspect we couldn’t match City’s wages even if we did.

    If you read back through my posts, I think giving Gallas a new contract is worthwhile but then it becomes a point of paying what the club value him with his own sense of self-worth.


  123. Shock, Shock, Shock!
    Arsene puts attacking football ahead of defensiveness.
    (Mourinho puts defending ahead of attacking. As he said after Inter vs Barca in the Champs League, he preferred not having the football in preference to keeping the team’s shape, i.e.TBOF)
    This is Arsene’s team, not George Grahams.

    I would like to remind Bill that “soccer” is not like American “football” where there are two separate teams on the field at either time, the attackers and defenders with two separate coaches with sometimes two completely opposite philosophies. A separate defensive coach at Arsenal with a different philosophy and of course with rivaling ambitions is a recipe for disaster. The many coaches at Arsenal serve the entire team. The defenders complement and augment the attackers and vice versa.

    Defensive solidity takes time, especially after just recently adopting an attacking 4-3-3 formation. Many conveniently forget that this new strategy was necessary because, in 08-0,9 playing a lot of 4-5-1 and 4-4-1-1 we were increasingly ineffective in breaking down the majority of teams in the EPL who “simply park the bus” when playing Arsenal.

    YW has best described the constraints in signing a new attacker. One constraint that nobody has mentioned is that AW has a budget, no matter how elastic. This is the only way properly run a business especially football when fans (with only their pride to lose) whine, bitch and moan about signing a new player regardless of the cost. Somebody has to pay the bills, usually to the bankers, when a club spends without discipline.


  124. JohnN @ 6:22 pm – “While there must be a limit to how much you pay for a player, what would be most beneficial to Arsenal next season, a 10million cb on the park, or the 15 mill we could be forced to pay for him in the bank?”

    Interesting that you make this point.

    Kos and Smalling reportedly cost Arsenal and ManUtd £10million or so. What little I saw of Smalling today, particularly his pass right back to a Chelsea player in the 18 yd box when under pressure, leads me to the conclusion that ManUtd would have been better spending 15 mill.

    AW, I submit, by spending the past year scouting Kos and deciding that 10 mill was the max he would spend, has once again trounced ManUtd in the transfer market and proven that patience is the best virtue when it comes to transfers.

  125. I’d say Spahic is as good as a done deal after the Sagna interview. This Hleb-to-Spurs thing is a bit distressing, though a timely reminder to Cesc of how your career can go awry post-Arsenal.

  126. YW:

    I think all the debate about transfers and spending money obscures the real issue. We could clearly defend well enough with the players we have and at this point hoping for significant improvement from the transfer market is futile. Perhaps as you imply it is not realistically possible to get players who will have an immediate impact in todays market. We will all cheer for whomever is on the pitch for us at Anfield.

  127. Darius, I’ve just re-watched the first half. I don’t think the commentary is different.

  128. Shotta – “What little I saw of Smalling today, particularly his pass right back to a Chelsea player in the 18 yd box when under pressure, leads me to the conclusion that ManUtd would have been better spending 15 mill.”

    Always thought you were an advocate of giving players a chance and only judging them once they’d have a good run of games….

  129. Supercod @ 7:16 pm – “What little I saw”

    Maybe he will be a great defender, better than Kos.

    Are you willing to bet?

  130. When was the interview with Sagna? Was it last week at Centrepoint or after the Legia game. Perhaps he was responding to the media speculation if it was the former? Strange though that the official website would carry it.

  131. Yogi,

    I certainly don’t advocate spending 20m on Spahic or 30m on Mertesacker. But I fail to see the sense in spending any money in bringing in new players when when alot less could be spent to secure Gallas who is a proven player and provides some badly needed continuity to the defense. I think this is worthwhile even if that means biting our lips a little, paying him more than he’s worth and making the 2 year rule a little flexible – especially when the alternative is just as expensive and much more risky which in the long term – could cost us far more. And thats precisely my point – for the sake of being pennywise at times and thinking were doing the right thing – we can end up being very stupid.

    Watching the EDU interview recently brought it home somewhat. I was a little disheartened to see that we had to make 3 contract offers to him before we managed to offer him a deal he felt was worth his services. He deemed this to be disrespectful and subsequently left. This again was a proven player.

    Similarly, while no club can match Citeh’s wages – Given was available long before Citeh became an arab state for just 6m. Hardly a fee that would have broke the bank but would have provided some badly needed cover (as it turned out) in the following years.

    And y’know – thats what I feel is really at the heart of the Cesc debacle. I don’t think Cesc has the same belief in the team that Wenger does. His body language throughout last season said as much.

  132. Thanks Passenal. There was just a few phrases Dan Roebuck mentioned in the highlights that I don’t remember him and Robo talking about during the live commentary.

    Like I said, I hadn’t re-watched the match to clarify that discrepency so thanks.

    Just on the topic of football and transfers and picking up on two threads touched on by YW and Passenal….

    While driving home, I’ve just been listening to BBC radio 5 pundits talking about England, Manure and Chelsea and talking about transfers, the EPL, clubs spending money, how the EPL is harmful to England…et al.

    It’s so amazing how these guys are so far removed from the reality on this planet they still think clubs have money to spend. Man City is a freak show and that’s it. In fact, in terms of spending money on transfers , Wenger is the 3rd most active manager so far and everyone is waiting for Aston Villa to spend the money they get from Man City.

    All across Europe, the transfer market is pretty much dead and this is a representative reflection on what the economy is at large. I really get pissed off when miseducated and ill-informed pundits who have no clue about the bigger picture talk like someone has died and made them God.

    Chelsea have let go of Baletti, Deco, Ballack and Joe Cole – they’ve only brought in Benayun so far with Rumirez on the way. These 2 players are not big name sighnings and they’re looking at adding to the numbers from the youth ranks. Cavalho wants to swim to Madrid because he can’t stand Chelsea any more and most of the squad are being lined up for the footballing equivalent of freedom passes given to senior citizens.

    Manure can’t even afford those £20m players any more and red nose has run out of excuses for what he could have done with the money they got from the sale of the lesser Ronaldo – money they so desperately needed even after Fergie told the press that he wouldn’t even sell a virus to Real Madrid.

    My sense is that the environment of the current market makes it harder for Arsenal to buy anywhere because people know Arsenal is well run and they have the money. But that doesn’t mean we should turn over and get shagged by those who think that a bid from us is christmas and thanksgiving all rolled into one.

  133. Bill,

    I agree with you when you say its not all about transfers. There certainly is a coaching problem because last season we had the personnel but it still didn’t prevent us from leaking goals all season long. And this trend has carried on now for 4/5 years.

    Which is why I would prefer if kept Glass rather than start all over again with 2 new CB’s in 2 years..!!

  134. Darius,

    May I just say about Chelski signings – that I really think they’ve been very very shrewd this year. Ballack has long being a passenger and an expensive one at that. Deco just doesn’t suit the Chelsea style of play. Benayoun is underrated and much less expensive as a functional support player and in Ramirez they have, in my opinion, made the transfer coup of the summer so far. He really is a superb player.

  135. Great article there.

    I am not into buying players that cast way too much for what they are really worth, however this time le prof really needs to put his hand in his pocket and grab some pennies to get another CB…at least.

  136. Joe.

    I’m sure many people would think the Brazilian is a coup, but I’d also argue that Chamakh is a coup for Arsenal.

    A simple example, his work in fending off 4 defenders, linking up with Nasri and fighting to get into the box for that goal is something we haven’t had before.

    We also have midfielders who I believe can do as good as or even better than Ramirez and the only difference is that we’ve grown them over time and not necessarily bought them for big backs.

    I don’t necessarily subscribe to that ‘grass is greener down the Kings road side’; but I agree about Ballack.

    The key point I was trying to put across is that the transfer market is slow all round.

    I have touched several times on why I think we have the defensive problems and in my view, I think the team haven’t yet become adept at executing a defensive strategy immediately after the transition where we lose the ball. Our system of play is very heavily dependant on ball retention and it has a slight risk in that in any one attack, we could be using at least 2 defenders to provide the width to open up those who park buses in front of their goal.

    When we lose the ball, it’s almost like we’re in two minds what to do in order to either slow down the opponent or win the ball back – and as we well know, a sequence of events that starts with one players indecision invariably ends up with Almunia picking the ball from the back of his net.

  137. Shotta – I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed he’s not!!

    Think he’s been bought by Fergie as a bit of a prospect though (something we’re familiar with), a backup when all his squad is fit. Koss has been brought in as a first teamer so there is a slight difference between the two IMO.

  138. DS, agree about Chamakh – I suspect he could be the signing of the season, much like TV the year before.

    On the topic of Carvalho, it’s clear he wants out but it all seems to have gone a bit quiet lately. Presuming he does go that leaves Chelsea just as thin as us in central defence, makes me wonder if the centre half names being bandied about are waiting for Chelsea to show their hand before any transfers take pace…

  139. Bill,

    I’d consider your statement fair if you stopped there and went no further. And that’s because it means nothing real to say we don’t place enough emphasis on defending.

    The team currently does not defend well in some circumstances. But in my post that you responded to, I was wondering how we could be tight and yet so open. The fact that we do win the ball back a lot, and don’t allow the opposition too many chances suggests the basic defening template is there.

    But it might actually back your claim to note that where we fail is in stamping out the preventable goals, mostly from set pieces and counterattacks.

    On the other hand, it suggests that it’s not the insurmountable probem you give the impression it is.

    You’ll say why hasn’t it been stamped out? And I’ll say that’s like saying why hasn’t the government stamped out crime.

    At th very least we won’t know how much defensive improvement there’s been until we see it. That’s why I don’t know why you bang on and on about it. As far as I know, nobody who posts here fails to acknowledge we do have defensive issues.

    2 seasons ago we really tightened up from November to May, and we’d been poor beforehand. It’s dynamic, and very much relative. The level of defensive solidity you need is the level that allows you to win most games. As has been said often, winning games depends very much on attack as well, and finding that balance is difficult.

  140. Supercod…I only started watching Chamakh a season ago when we failed to sign him the first time, and the best thing I think we got in signing him was a fighting ‘never say die’ spirit. It’s something we most definitely needed.

    I liked when she aid in an interview that he loves and enjoys playing Wengerball (evident from his appearances so far); but if called upon, he’s more than happy to play ugly and do what Arsenal doesn’t normally do if that’s what it takes.

  141. Too much negativity around.

    Definite Positives:

    – Return of Gibbs.
    – Return of Djourou
    – Addition of Koscienly
    – Addition of Chamakh
    – Emergence of Wilshere
    – Emergence of JET
    – Emergence of Nordtveit
    – Emergence of Frimpong
    – Emergence of Szczesny.

    Other possible positives:

    – Vela will be stronger this year
    – Injury free Walcott ?
    – Nasri looks strong in pre season

    Another way of looking at the positives is to ask what players one believes will be definitely better i.e. show a personal improvement this season. I think that the following players will definitely improve from last year:

    – Walcott
    – Denilson
    – Nasri
    – Song
    – Gibbs
    – Bendtner
    – Vermaelen
    – Vela
    – Diaby

    If Cesc, Song, Van Persie, Arshavin and Vermaelen can stay injury free, we should have good campaign.

  142. DS – he’s the closest Wenger will ever get to signing a ‘traditional’ centre forward.

    I haven’t seen any of the Legia game – how did he play?

  143. Yogi,
    Thanks for the much needed ranting..great post..

    I am still out of words, we can only wait & watch till the season starts..nervous though..

  144. Supercod…he was brilliant in the Legia game and he was responsible for our first goal 90 secs after they scored their 3rd without reply.

    The most impressive part of that goal is that he held off 4 defenders fighting furiously for the ball (and I think both RVP and Bendy would have not done that), and he then linked up play with Nasri before fighting to get into the box for Nasri’s return.

    Nasri didn’t disappoint and unleashed a sublime chip which Chamakh attacked (Chamakhattack anyone???) and bravely got to it before their keeper. It’s not the sort of goal Arsenal scores and I don’t see any of our current players who would have put their head on the line of a keepers impending fists. He made that goal and he took it.

    The Arsenal commentator Dan Roebuck was suggesting that the keeper went down after the goal (apparently for an injury from the clash with Chamakh), but it looked more like he went and stayed down in embarassment.

  145. I wouldn’t seek solace from Chelsea’s defending or defeat, they are the defending champions after all…Perhaps, if were defending champions we might be more blaise.
    There isn’t much to add Yogi and Ole have been articulate on how shortcomings.

  146. how = our

  147. DS – From the games I’ve seen he also seems to be able to hold off defenders without being pulled up for fouling them – it always looks to me that RVP has somewhat sharp elbows and refs love to blow up….

  148. In other news International Football has been shaken to it’s core by the news of Wes Brown’s international retirement…

  149. People seem to be missing the point. Am all for a CB, but what if he gets injured early in the season and all that? Having said that I just want better defensive discipline and organization from our current crop of players. I really don’t think our goals conceded are as a result of poor goalkeepers or defenders. Defending should be a collective responsibility and it should start from the front!

  150. Darius, I watched the second half as well and it’s definitely your memory because it was the same commentary I heard yesterday.

    I think this season the teams will be a lot closer in the PL because except for man c there is less scope for financial doping to make such a big difference in the quality of the teams. Team play will be much more important than expensive individuals.

  151. Fuck me – I’ve been out all day just read this lot and you would think we’d just been relegated from some of the comments.
    Get a fucking grip.

  152. hola steww!
    LOL, ppl are forgetting that we had 7 first teamers missing yesteday.

  153. I just saw an article in which Moaninho is moaning that they’re in search of a top centre back. I’m sure that’s been their priority all season because I was in madrid the week they signed him and I saw an interview where he mentioned it.

    They have not signed anybody. Even with all that cheap Spanish bank money

  154. well, i dont see how anyone expected the doomers to pass on such a glorious opportunity to moan…. its not every game arsenal concede 5 goals in. am not surprised at the level of moaning! LOL

    i expect one more defender to be signed but as its not my job to know i trust the coaching crew to make the decisions that will serve the club well… after all, they also made the excellent decision not ti sell cesc so if they think we can cope with what we have and can improve and learn from our mistakes, then so be it!

  155. Just goes to show that it is not that easy to find what you are looking for in the current market Ole. But I don’t suppose your average doomer or your average paid Arsenal blogger with significant influence over the general Arsenal populace would be aware of that fact.

  156. According to some report I read last week, Moaninho is supposed to be adapting his attacks to play more attacking football. Can’t see that happening. He wouldn’t sacrifice his 8-2 formation for anything. Hope he fucks up big time at Madrid.

  157. Ole,

    He wanted Carvalho didn’t he ? But I agree with Passenal, top class centre backs do not grow on trees.

  158. I’m torn Muppet. I hate him enough to want to see him fail, but at the same time, he is the only hope of stopping those arrogant barcaloaners.

  159. Passenal,

    Ok. We can give him La Liga. But hope he bombs in the CL.

  160. I’d settle for that Muppet!

  161. yeah, its untenable having to wish mouarinho success in any form, but barca have not helped their cause with arsenal fans this season at all. they were always my alternative team… at least pep is beginning to talk sense from there so may be i can wish him success even if not his players.

    maybe servilla can pip both of them to the la liga… which would be nice

  162. Errr….let’s give the La liga, to Villareal, or Athletico MAdrid, or even Valencia. And we can take the CL. Mourinhio wins nothing, and neither does those Barceholes. But yah given the option between the two, I’ll back Mourinhio and the lesser Ronaldo, over the pricks in Barca.

  163. Mupper, Passenal,

    It just shows there isn’t a centre back supermarket somewhere. If Moaninho can’t get his 33 year old who wants to go to him, that just shows how sticky signing up the right player is.

    Juventus and Bayern, by the way, are also looking for a centre back. Milan have notoriously been searching for 3 years, which is why they signed Senderos on loan.

  164. Why can’t Wenker do it? Just recently I signed a top class CB on Footie Manager. He has 20 (out of 20) in heading, tackling, positioning and composure. I got him for less than 10 mil from some Brazilian club nobody ever heard about. I also did some scouting on Koscielny and he has only got 11 in heading, 12 in marking and 10 in positioning — he sucks!!!
    If I can get a top class CB in Footie Manager that easily, why can’t Wenker do it in real life? He sucks!!!

  165. Noooo…moderation ;_____;

  166. Anyone know what’s up with Gallas? Why don’t we just resign him?

  167. 1 loose cannon

    Gallas bluffed over his contract and Arsenal did not blink. He now realises no one is going to give in to his ridiculous wage demands. No takers for him I’m afraid.

  168. Last two games.

    9 goals scored.

    7 conceded.

    One thing is for sure ths is going to be a VERY interesting season.

  169. Oh yeah, were the hell are Diaby, Song and Denilson..I miss those dudes…

  170. On the La Liga front I will be supporting RM.

  171. Maria

    Why? Choose someone original, like Hercules.


  172. Been away working for the last 4 days and so was not able to get on line with any great consistency.

    So the current furore over the continued “Carry on Defending”saga at The Emirates ‘Pine ” Studios is if I’m going to be brutally honest no real surprise.

    Yes it’s a friendly et etc etc..And I’m not going to go down the Road of “See I told You so” …(after the Game last week Emirates Cup I posted a blog redefensive concerns)..

    We could not in the off season off how many weeks(? somebody will tell me) have expected to have sorted the defensive concerns out…Come on..

    Having poured over the various threads n embers of the days blogs with the vigour of Usain Bolt in winning the Gold @Berlin World Champs I must say that I’m in agreement with a number of the sentiments posted and in particular by Bill and Joe on this Blog.

    Knowing that the current transfer market is in a state of recession and that Clubs want over inflated prices we should be doing all that we can to keep Gallas (maybe we are)…

    In the same manner the Club decided to move from Highbury(investment) to the Emirates so the same philosophy should employed in the same terms of the buying – retaining of players – investment. It is not rocket science..(i.e.I know he hankered after a move but I still think letting Lassana Diara go was wrong move)…

    The Arsenal board should swallow their pride and come to some agreement with Gallas and his Camp.He had good season last year and would slot back in with a few weeks of training….

    Having had a cuppa and a bit more time to reflect I’m must confess I’m concerned but I’m not going to trod the road of gloom here I’ll keep dat to me.

    I just would REALLY like to be enlightened by anybody on here as to what Wenger, Rice do in terms of defense training with the Team etc….It has in the recent past been embarrassing how brittle the Arsenal defence has been over a number if seasons.

    Amy Lawrence of the Observer a year or so ago on Arseblog stated that Wenger is very stubborn in his manner, egotistical some would say in how he sees and does things.

    Amy Lawrence in her blog also referred to A Ferguson and how he liked to change things as it kept it fresh and challenging in terms of his Coaching Staff…Ferguson – Brian Kidd, Ferguson – Carlos Q..Ferguson – Terry Phelan..You get My drift..Yeah we know there is No one model of doing things at a Club but I’d like to change. I’m not saying sack Wenger.Not all I’m saying new blood in terms of Assistant(s) etc

    Pat Rice never questions Wenger on a particular footballing issue(s)(well known in football corridors). It’s become a bit like a comfortable Husband and Wife scenario..

    People are creatures of habit and this in turn this obviously applies to the Arsenal players as they people. People – Players get into comfort zones, yes it’s pre season and there are the usual sound bites from the players saying “We are more Focused now” and “We learnt a lot from last Season” and “This Season we have to be more concentrated”.

    The Team – The Coaching staff – Wenger if they have not already need to sit down and have a heart to heart if they have not already and ask “Who is up TRULY up for it this Season”..There are a number of players who go missing to often in Games fro the Arsenal.

    Are they just happy to be at Arsenal safe in the knowledge that they are in top team and feel they’ve reached a pinnacle and subconsciously just go walkabout at given times.

    Are we going to win the Prem I do not know? Are we going to have chronic defensive problems this season? It’s possible.

    Football is about confidence and no matter how talented a group of players are if you have – lost or are low on confidence you are going to have problems…However just as confidence can go ut the window one day so it can return another…The first 5-10 games are going to give us an insight into the forth comimg season…….

  173. @ YW


    Went to the FA Community Shield with a friend after losing a bet. My god i was awful!! Smash and grab football at its worse without much effort.

    This the type of s*** that makes you glad your a Gooner.

    God bless Arsene and Arsenal FC!!

  174. EvilFiekTroll – Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha!

    My wife is wondering why I am rolling all over the floor. You made my day.

    I agree with Maria. Blessings to Arsene Wenger!

  175. Wenger should get his cheque book out and sign someone worthy of filling seamans and lehmans boots. Frey, Lloris, Akinfeev, Hart. Get some money spent on serious talent.

    I remember Fabiansky and Almunia costing Arsenal a lot last year.

  176. Who is James?? Im not this person.

  177. fuck off cuervo

  178. “I am optimistic and confident in all that I do. I affirm only the best for myself and others. I am the creator of my life and my world. I meet daily challenges gracefully and with complete confidence. I fill my mind with positive, nurturing, and healing thoughts.”
    Alice Potter

    “Fuck off Cuervo”
    Stew Black

  179. i see the ‘Sagna thinks Spahic is a good player’ story has been taken down from – i hope this means its a no go and hes gonna get someone with a bit more ability

  180. How do you know what ability Spahic has?

  181. What the F!ck are you doing here Cuervo?shouldnt you be in barceloaner crying your eyes out after Cesc decided to stay with us?
    Fuck off!!

  182. With Kos and the Verminator in place, JD coming back from injury and youngsters ready to break through the defender we seek will surely be for cover and cup games. In which case it won’t be a ‘big name’ because ‘;big names’ won’t come to warm our bench. Why would they?

  183. Enough now Mr. Cesc Fabregas. Tell your ‘friends’ to shut it. They are our rivals. They can’t keep mouthing off about us, ostensibly talking on your behalf, talking about the team you’re captain of!

    Surely you know that, don’t you Cescy?

    Tell Xavi to shut it now. Better if you do it publically too!

  184. I agree Ole G. However disappointed he is that he doesn’t get to ‘play’ with Cesc, Xavi’s latest comments are beyond disrespectful and as captain of that team he is disparaging, Cesc should stand up for us. But judging by his recent behaviour I don’t suppose he will. He’s happy enough for his barca mates to do his dirty work for him.

  185. i realy hope that xavi gets attacked by a wild monkey at the zoo and the monkey bites his leg realy hard and doesn’t let go and Xavi’s there shaking and sreaming in pain, but no matter how often he punches or how loud he screams the monkey has still got its teeth sunk in.

    No one around will help till eventualy he vomits and passes out and if he wants to play football he has to play with a monkey on his leg in agonising pain.

    God I hate Xavi, his face just says ” I’m a jumped up arrogant spitefull little cunt”.

  186. cesc’s statement condensed

    ” I want to go to Barca but I’m a proffessional”

    The worst thing to come out of his mouth recently was:

    ” Arsene realy believes we can win something this year, and I realy hope he is right”.

    Don’t you just love Robin Van Persie? Now theres a man who appreciates being given a chance by one of the top clubs in Europe.

  187. ‘We’ll get him in January when Arsenal are out of the Title race’

    Im totally flabergasted by these latest comments from Barcelona. Is this really the level of respect that these players have for us? Anyone would think we’d never played in the champs league before.

  188. Too true Ole. Xavi needs to shut the fuck up bad mouthing us now. The decision is made. Case closed. So now you have a supposed professional bad mouthing us. Sour grapes.

    Cesc, have a word.

    I made a comment on saturday morning.About the fact I thought RvP should be captain and not cesc. I noticed a couple of replies, but I haven’t had a chance to get back on here until now.

    I just wanted to add that I wouldn’t strip cesc of the captaincy as a punishment. I just feel that RvP is a better option. And no it’s not essential that the captain is a ‘fan’ but he must show the most respect and if he is a fan it is an obvious bonus. I’ve already said I think cesc is a great example to footballers on honouring contracts but we have a better option and no player is bigger than Arsenal not Cesc or RvP.

  189. Mongolian Gooner

    Finally a real football.

    Cheers to Arshavin to send Liverpool where they belong.

  190. If Fabregas won’t tell his barca mates to shut up (I’m sure he won’t), then shouldn’t he at least have the decency to hand over the captaincy to somebody else?? What this guy will be thinking wearing the armband while putting his heart and soul in that bankrupt sh*t hole!!!

  191. Els I would say RvP for Captain 110 per cent on principle.

    But we do have to accept that doing it would do more harm than good in the long run. It would create a speculative media frenzy and would give indication to Farce a loaner that he was up for grabs and signal a rift from within the club.ffer we cant refuse

    RvP will get the captaincy soon I am sure…as soon as Barca make us an offer we cant refuse.

  192. Gunnette

    You’ve might be on to something there.

    Cesc should hand the captaincy over to Robin. It’s the only decent thing to do.

  193. Apologies for strange typo’s

  194. Since the barca players want him so badly, maybe they should put their money where their mouths are and have a whip round to bump up the barca offer to something acceptable to Arsenal.

    I agree re the captaincy deano. We are stuck with the current situation. But I think we all know who the real captain is even though he might not be wearing the armband.

  195. deano I posted my thoughts on this on sat morning. I just think we shouldn’t be over a barrel and something about cesc being a professional and he may even expect it as he didn’t mention being Arsenal captain in his statement … blah blah blah.

    I don’t want to talk anymore about cesc really, I just think were lucky to have him. And we should kick on from here. Not worry about Legia Warsaw.

  196. els, Arsene is not planning to take the captaincy from him. He has made that clear. Cesc has really disappointed me though. He is so desperate to win trophies he wants to run to the two team league to do so. Winning in the PL would be much harder and much more of an achievement. The least he could do is help us win something before he retires to la liga.

  197. Passenal,

    I still have close to full regard for Cesc, as well as endless affection.

    I am sure things will get clearer in his eyes in the next couple of months. With passage of time comes perspective.

    I wonder whether anyone has pointed out to him, that the first season he finally lived up to his true potential, after seasons of us giving him a platform to develop, the next season Barcelona are in for him.

    They didn’t want to reunite him with his home and family when he was scoring 6 goals a season.

  198. I know I’m feeling bitter at the moment Ole but I’ll get over it. I’m certainly glad he’s still with us but disappointed that the first time barca come sniffing around his head is immediately turned. He was happy to sign all those contract extensions and take the big pay increases that came with them. It was also easy to declare his love and loyalty to Arsenal when barca were not seriously interested. But if he took the time to reflect he would surely recognise how they only wanted him for less than his market value and were prepared to destroy his relationship with Arsene and the Arsenal supporters to do it. By not speaking out privately or publicly he is complicit in the disrespect shown to Arsenal. That leaves me feeling a little disappointed but if he plays like we know he can those feelings will fade.

  199. Oh yeah Passenal I agree he’ll be captain and to be honest there’s no point me claiming I know more about the actual team dynamic. I just hope that Arsenal aren’t held over a barrel by the press and especially barca.

  200. I’m sick of this culture of holding some players above the team. If Arsenal don’t win trophies, Cesc should go. For crissakes, Cesc is one of the stars of the team, the players who should push us over the line. If he’d been having 20 goals, 20 assist seasons in the last 5 years we’d have won a trophy.

    I’m not blaming him, I’m just not down with the idea that you get let off from the responsibility of carrying your tea, over the line because you’re a star.

  201. *carry your team over the line (OF COURSE!) and not ‘carry your tea’. 🙂

    How bad would I be if I were actually dyslexic?

  202. cesc has people to carry hot beverages for him? WTF he wouldn’t get that at Barca.

  203. I agree Ole there are a few bloggers who talk about Cesc like he is above the team. If the team fails to win things he has to share his part of the responsibility for that. I hate to read ‘Arsene must buy the players he needs to win things’ WTF? The team is already built around him and free of injury they are more than capable as a unit of doing things.

  204. els,

    Even Cesc has to carry his tea. That’s for sure! LOL


    It’s an English thing. It’s much the same way, younger players get pasted when the team fails. But hold on, why do we pick on the younger players, why not on the older ones if anybody is to be picked on.

  205. Cesc is the captain and should be afforded some privilidges. But no player should ever be bigger than the team. But for merchandising it is big business to make stars of players.

  206. Oh dear. A friendly fixture, a nuisance hangover from a player purchase which we were contractually obligated to play resulted in a 5 goal battering… well, a 6 goal victory… but you know – for the purpose of a good whinge…

    How many minutes have Wilshere and Frimpong our teenage engine-room completed this pre-season? They were dead on their feet, busting a gut trying to impress Arsene. Excellent effort from both of them this summer. Round of applause.

    Many of these players will be flying out for another friendly with their national teams over the next day or so. With that in mind, and with Anfield on the horizon, could it be that some were playing at a level less than full tilt?

    Naah… It’s coz they’re all shit french journeymen bought on the cheap and Pat Rice needs to pull his finger out do sam fackin drills sharpish or buy Shay Given or sam shit coz we are facked otherwise. Doomed. THE EXPERIMENT HAS FAILED! “Rusty bollocks”.

    I was pissed off as I watched us concede 5 goals on Saturday. But in the same way as I get pissed off when James Shea lets one slip under him in goal for the Reserves. Or when you let the ball drop after a good run of keepy-ups on the beach. Or a four gets hit off your bowling in a game of cricket. Or you forget what you were say mid…

    Overrall I had a lovely day. Four of our full-backs on all at once! (this alone should tell you all you need to know about this game.)

    Eboue! Gibbs! Clichy and Sagna on the overlap! Magic from Vela. EBOUE! A win!

    Chin up. That literally meant nothing. Fingers crossed for a dull and uneventful international week, fingers crossed a new centreback can be prized away from some poor unsuspecting Lige 1 outfit… and before you know it we’ll be putting on our lucky red pants, genuflecting before the football gods, making fun of scousers, scoring super goals and singing our songs.

    We’re on our Way!

  207. Xavi can sod off. I promised myself I’d stop listening to everything he would say, but it’s impossible to ignore his imbecilic behaviour.
    The main point is that Cesc is ours, and will be for the foreseeable future. For that I am grateful. Captain or not, he is a fantastic player and will do great things for us on the pitch this season.
    Whether RvP or TV would be a better captain is irrelevant at this stage I feel. How many times has Arsene talked of having several leaders on the pitch? The players have respect for each other, and the natural leaders will shine through. From nowhere, TV has started to become one of those leaders. A leader on the field isn’t picked, I don’t think, they emerge by themselves.

  208. Limpar,

    You’re a star, Limpy.

    Was I dreaming or the game turn around after we changed to a 4-4-2 shape.

    Oh, you’re a star too Passenal. And you els.

  209. ELS, Passenal and Ole Gunner.

    You 3 have made the most sense in a long time. I can’t for the life of me fathom the whole culture of ‘Cesc needs a team around him capable of winning a title’.

    If he is in a team that hasn’t won the title, he is part of the problem, period. The answer is not to run a mile off to a 2 league team like has been stated above. The answer is to knuckle down, take responsibility for your part in the deficiencies and carry both the team and your tea across the line.

    It’s not just about Cesc doing it, it’s about all players doing it, tea and all.

  210. Naah… It’s coz they’re all shit french journeymen bought on the cheap and Pat Rice needs to pull his finger out do sam fackin drills sharpish or buy Shay Given or sam shit coz we are facked otherwise. Doomed. THE EXPERIMENT HAS FAILED! “Rusty bollocks”.

    Haha Limpar. It really did meen f* all.

  211. Ole, aww thanks man. 🙂 So are you, so are oyu.

  212. shit i meant you obviously.

  213. DS,

    Cesc should not let the tea down. That’d be a hot mess. Arsene won’t let him get away with letting the tea down and dropping it in his lap!

  214. I think we need to re-sign the Dickov, that will shut everyone up

  215. Oi Darius bit of a backhanded compliment that.

    These last couple of days I have maybe seemed a bit negative. I like to think of myself as very optimistic. The only gripe I have is when an outside influence may have power over the team. If cesc remains the right choice for captain in Arsene’s eyes then that’s fine with me.

    But Cesc needs to stand up for the team and stand up and be accountable for the team this season more than ever. I know RvP will and so will Verm and hopefully a whole host of the lads.

  216. els,

    We cant be negative now, the season is upon us, get behind the team dude !!! dont be a doomer

  217. oh james….

  218. Bored with the whole Cesc issue I am more worried about the areas of the team we have all been worried about the whole summer esp as sol decided on Toon…

    Please buy another keeper and defender we really are in need of both, for a time i was convinced that Almunia or Fab could step up to No1 but I am less sure now.

    I hope we do get someone like given on loan or is that just wishful thinking?

    We can hope to beat teams 6-5 all the time? I think not we will continue to find it hard against better defensive teams, if we don’t sort this out and fast.

  219. AAAAAAAAArgh. Stockton i’m no stinking doomer.

    I have made one point not even critical just that The team should not be held to ransom for various reasons. Basically.

    I’m behind the team more than most mate. Read back over my comments.

  220. From the latest post by the Brain.

    “When Cesc Fabregas was 18, 19, I would play him in a 4-4-2 with Patrick Vieira and I saw it did not work,” said Wenger. “Then I had the decision to make about letting Patrick go, because Gilberto Silva and Vieira worked, Fabregas and Silva worked, but I could not play Fabregas and Vieira.”

    Considering the above, I don’t believe AW will be letting Cesc go anywhere in January, in spite of Xavi’s broken heart. And, considering the above, there was no other outcome to this summers saga of mind numbing boredom, regardless of whether FC Barcelona are broke, regardless of whether Cesc wobbled or not.

    Interesting post by the Brain touching upon the desire of the D**Mers to have two D**M’s, really enjoed it.
    D**Mers will be ignoring the fact that an 18 year old AM was asked to play in the ‘link’ role during pre-season (he won’t play there this season, not in the CC at least!), a little like another 18 year old at the beginning of the ’08 season…who hopefully will be fit for the weekend!


  221. enjoyed?

  222. Correction:

    Neves was 19 at the beginning of the ’07/08 season.

  223. TR7 vs. Warsaw:

  224. Bloody Hell. Or should that be Bloody Els! (Rolls on floor laughing at own particularly unfunny joke)


    Stockton has already been outed as James. And that was before I’d even had a chance to do so!


  225. Aaaaa that shit spud. I had a bit of an episode there.

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