Decision Time: Rosicky Fit For Action & Fabianski Fit For Purpose?

The Arsenal Supporters Trust has published their membership survey, results which contained few surprises. Opposition to Kroenke owning the club is not as vehement as that to Usmanov owning the club. A curious outcome is that few – 21% – are in favour of supporters owning the club in its entirity. Perhaps the shenanigans at Madrid and Barcelona has shown that there is little to stop unsavoury characters rising to positions of power.

The current board scores high marks for its corporate financial responsibilities but fares less well in terms of ‘managing the manager’. 40% of the survey believes that they carry out an average or poor job in this respect. It is an unsurprisingly high mark. Quite what Wenger was supposed to do whilst the stadium was being built is beyond me. Further explanations escape me when the clamour for expensive signings grows. In some quarters, the younger players should be dumped and £100m spent on signing unattainable targets.

This was never going to happen. Wenger’s belief in the younger players is almost unshakeable until they let him down. But the future of football is Youth Academies. If Wenger abandoned his beliefs now, the impact on the youth system at the club would be catastrophic. The key to attracting talent to the club has been the chances given to younger players. Is he supposed to abandon that now when the best starting coming through?

With the internationals being played this week, the Arsenal squad are in front of their own media and chatting away to their hearts content. Tomas Rosicky got the ball rolling, declaring that his DNA was made up of Arsenal and in no way did it have any poison from Barcelona in it:

I must thank everyone for showing interest because it flatters me, but I must repeat myself – I am satisfied to be with Arsenal. And as long as the club want me to stay, I am not interested in moving elsewhere.

The principle interest in the Czech international has come from Galatasaray and it seems that the Turkish league is awash with cash, well certain clubs anyway, since Rosicky, Gallas and most improbably of the lot, Alex Song, have all been linked with moves there this summer. All at cut-prices as well so El Mundo Deportivo‘s campaign to convince their readers that Arsenal were even more cash-strapped than their paymasters, travelled well.

Rosicky hinted at the dilemmas facing Arsene when he spoke of his selection for the team:

In pre-season the coach used me on the right, in the centre but also on the left. I simply played everywhere and am curious myself to see where I will be playing.

Much will depend on the injury situation. There are already a number of players carrying knocks, the most serious of which are Ramsey and Bendtner, neither expected back before the autumn leaves drop as carelessly as points against lower Premier League teams.

In attacking midfield positions, Arsene has an embarrassment of riches and the players have to be adaptable. With the manner of injuries in recent seasons, he will be playing anywhere across the pitch, not ruled out for centre back if they fall like nine-pins once more.

It seems as much of a summer as Mexes and Frey being linked to the club, when we talk of keeping TR7 fit. It would be a triumph for the medical staff if they did, his long spell out still seems to pose niggling problems for as skilful a player as the club has had in Wenger’s reign. It is once more my hope that he remain relatively fit for he poses as much goal threat as any other midfielder, if only he would shoot more from distance.

Another area that Wenger has decisions to make about are goalkeeper. The move for Schwarzer appeared dead a day or so ago, resurrected this morning with the player reportedly about to hand in a transfer request. It highlights one thing: the media are as desperate for the resolution of this as we are. Were Given to be available, he would be more preferable than the Fulham ‘keeper but if this is the manager’s choice, then so be it.

Not that Lukasz Fabianski is having any of it, he thinks he’s good enough to be first choice this season:

I hope it will be a breakthrough season for me. I have a double task. I want to become the No1 in the Arsenal goal and that would help me to realise my second target – to be No1 in the national team. Of course I don’t know if I will play but I do believe I will as I played in many of the pre-season friendlies. I am 25 years old, it is a good time to establish myself in goal for good.

He went onto observe that he thinks he is good enough to play for Arsenal, and then added that he’s good enough for ‘a Premier League team‘. He may well be but has been erratic in his displays for the first team that well-documented doubts are re-aired whenever his name is mentioned.

The issue I have with goalkeeping at the moment is not confined to the players. There seems to be an air of uncertainty about who is Number 1. Wenger may well have told the player concerned but not his rivals yet which would explain the non-commital nature of Fabianski’s comments. However, if Wenger has not done so, it is remiss of him.

The defence needs to be know who is behind them and what they can expect. They must have a fair idea although the ‘illness’ suffered by Almunia suggested that he is not going to be first choice, allied with Fabianski playing in more matches, suggested that the Pole is probably going to be taking the field at Anfield.

That was before the trip to Legia where old concerns resurfaced. Not all of the goals were his fault when he was on the pitch but his rashness in coming for a corner which led to Koscielny’s own goal indicated that previous lessons have not been learned. Indeed, it combined a couple of them in one go, failure to deal with corners properly and rushes of blood, leaving his goal unguarded.

These are failures of inconsistency, possibly exacerabted by lack of match action where experience would let him understand situations more clearly. Wenger’s problem is that he cannot allow a goalkeeper to grow up in public, mistakes are too costly in that position. For all of the good Fabianski does – and he does a lot right – it is the ‘wrongs’ which are making people nervous.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on August 11, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 507 Comments.

  1. I am not Big Brovar.

  2. Thanks Yogi, it’s nice to see a blogger give a balanced assessment of Fabianski. He is not quite as hopeless as some make out and actually has a lot going for him. What he lacks is consistent experience with Arsenal that would allow him to settle, regain his confidence and improve his in-game decision making. He was number 1 for Legia for 2 years and won the league title with them, so there is more to him than some people realise.

  3. Even up until the Wigan game, I always felt that Fabianski was never as bad as he was made out to be. After seeing him drop the ball onto Bramble’s head that’s all I can think about anymore…

  4. The fact is if we start with Fabianski EVERY team we play will target him and fire in balls under the crossbar with big players getting in his way – he’ll flap, miss a few, we’ll concede – we all know what will happen.

    Talent, yes, but the mentality required to apply that talent when under pressure, no. How many matches is he going to lose for us before we ditch him?

  5. As long as none of our current 4 keepers are announced to be going on loan there’s hope we could sign a new one and sell Almunia… But really the window is very small, it’s basically Schwarzer now or nothing!

  6. I don’t want Wenger to change his policies on youth or overspending. I just want 1 CB that’s quality but not brake the bank in cost, and 1 GK that doesn’t score on himself. Schwarzer and Tasci would do just fine for me.

  7. I agree KC – although I expect to see Almunia play at Anfield (although what Vito did wrong I’m not sure…).

  8. Utter nonsense. The ‘balanced view, of Fabianski is just baffling. He is without doubt one of the worst keepers I have ever had to suffer watching. Think about f he played for Spuds and we had a game coming up, we would be loving it. Thats the level of fear and lack of confidence he inspires in us. If its anything like the same for his team mates his position in untenable. I don’t care if we get rid of him or not but he is not ready to play no 1 for a premiersip team and certainly not for Arsenal. Any other suggestion is just AKB bollocks.

  9. i’m with KC. Nightmare if wenger changed his policies…for a arsenal supporter that is quite new (10 ish years) wengers policies of not over spending and having a youth acedemy that he uses is one of the things i’m most proud about.

    my belief is strong, we will soon be on top again, competing wise and financially.

  10. Schwarzer shud come. surely he is better than the current lot we have. I dont mind his age coz Van De Sar is still doing a great job for MANU and he is what age …39 or 40.
    We cant bear another season with jokers between the sticks.

  11. Nice post YW.
    Nice support rayman.

    (Spot the ironic comment)

  12. I think I can see it steww.

    Nice one YW

  13. rayman

    If Fabianski is one of the worst you have ever had to suffer watching, you haven’t been watching long. There have off the top of my head, been five worse at Arsenal in Wenger’s time and plenty more before then.

    Fabianski is a good shot stopper; he is good on crosses but when he is bad, he is horrid. And that horridness is masking all of the good, subsumed in a morass of negativity.


  14. … and panic sets in among the Arsenal throng … one wonders how Chelsea are feeling not having won a match yet, Liverpool not knowing who owns them, ManU … thinking they are contenders through to May with old legs about … and despite the hype, new blood yet to prove themselves, they are one injury away from p-p-p-roblems …

    Fabianski could do the opposite of what people expect and establish his credentials. His attitude is good, and he is putting his hand up. Me! he says. Is that a bad thing!? I am basing this on what previously happened to Song (remember?), Eboue (remember?), to an extent Clichy (replacing Cole); Denilson, Diaby, Walcott and Bendtner will follow suit. Do not despair. We have more going for us than we think, and that might include Schwarzer as ‘old hand in chief’. And even Gallas, who would be ideal around now.

    Fear not.

  15. It all depends on your basic personality type. you either see the negatives in life and wallow in them like an over tired child at a birthday party or you take what positives are on offer.
    Yesterday I went out on my mountain bike all day and it pissed down for hours and hours and was utterly horrible. My abiding feeling was satisfaction that after a long lay off with a bad injury I managed to get a lot of miles under my belt and never gave up no matter how appalling the conditions.
    You don’t have to be positive and optimistic, your life will pass just the same, but you’ll be happier, better company and people will enjoy your company.

  16. Nice post YW.
    I agree with kc, but why isn’t the Schwarzer deal completed yet?
    And what’s wrong with Vito, he started 6 games last season whre he only conceded 2 goals. He was also outstanding against Fulham.

  17. Fabianski is not a bad shot stopper- but his judgement, positional sense on crosses, corners and coming off his line and most of all his nerves- consistently lead to disastrous mistakes – just how many blunders do you need to see to be convinced ? 50? Its his temperament under pressure that is the biggest problem not his technique. Maybe -like Manninger he just wont get it back- either way he has to go and now.

  18. Jonase, kc – got to agree with.
    The development of the youth program is wonderful to watch. There are disappointments but so are there when you buy the so called big players.
    The other part of the equation is the expense of a player is not only his transfer fee but his wage – and while youth wages seem to be above average at Arsenal they will be 5 or 10 times less than an older ‘big’ player sitting on the bench.

    Martin o’neil seems to be an example of the wages dont matter school of thought along with ‘bankruptcy happy’ Harry.

    great blog as usual
    all the best

  19. fabianski should strive more even to substitute no.1( schwarzen,almunia..

  20. Coincidentally, last night I re-watched first the CC run of two seasons ago. Fabianski was excellent. His issue now is having the confidence to make the right judgements. He’s also unlucky.

    Wenger’s dilemma is that both Fabianski and Chesney need to go on loan, that we have four keepers who are are all good – not in the Buffon/Casillas class, but the best of the rest – and that Buffon, Casillas and their ilk are not available to buy. I still think that Almunia is the best all round (though Fabianski and Chesney have greater potential and Mannone has a better temperament). As long as Almunia thinks he’s fighting for his place, it brings out the best in him. I think that’s why Wenger hasn’t named a no 1.

    From the Online Gooner, off topic, but made me laugh:
    “Theo….was dropped for South Africa in 2010 partly due to his poor form – tears, but again no complaint. Recalled this week after the Golden Shower that did go in his place failed to cover themselves in glory…”

    Golden Shower. Cruel but hilarious.

  21. ………i’m off to wallow………..

  22. If you look at the names being touted to us as possible saviours and solutions to our ‘keeper problem’, you have to conclude one of 2 things;

    1. Our keepers are very very poor
    2. Very large support of the Arsenal support has gone mad.

    Maybe the truth is at one of those two extremes or somewhere in between.

    Common sense tells me our keepers aren’t anywhere near as bad as portrayed. Having seen previous periods of insanity from fellow gooners, the 2nd seems a viable choice.

    Almunia is better than or as good as all the keepers in the league except the Reinas, Van der Saars and Cechs. At best Schwarzer is maybe in the same league. Ditto Shay Given who every single season has conceded a basketload of goals. Joe Hart is a kid. I’d rather we played Chesney than him. Plus he’s flavour of the month now, 2 seasons ago he crumbled and was poor for half a season. And, like Fabianski all he is is potential.

    If we’re looking to improve that area, we need to be getting a serious keeper with top class quality like other top clubs get or in the mean time, stopping the hysteria.

    Fabianski and Mannone should go out on loan, left to me. If Schwarzer of Given come in, then they better realise they won’t be sure starters.

  23. Don’t know what that “first” is doing in the first sentence….

  24. I think it is now time for Arsenal to announce our number one for the season. Surely with three days left for the league to start the player already knows?

  25. Keyser,

    I don’t recall a similar announcement last season.

  26. Fabianski is a very talented goalkeeper that we were all getting happy about 2 seasons ago. He just got dropped in the deep end when every action mattered. For a keeper that sits on the bench all year, it is very hard to get into your stride instantly.

    His shot stopping, and athleticism is excellent, just his judgement on certain situations has let him down. He is a very confident lad, and that attribute will see him warming to a lot of these idiot fans who have written his career off it seems.

    Reminds me exactly of how these dick head fans treated Eboue, Bendtner, Song, etc etc

  27. Chris – you have hit the nail on the head. Look at Lord Eboue now, one of the only players who can play and excel anywhere on the pitch.
    Remember ‘not fit to wear the shirt’ Song – the same twats now wail and moan when he picks up an injury.

  28. YW hit it right on the head concerning Fabianski; he does lots right, but what he does do wrong cannot be tolerated. I feel for the lad, but that is the nature of the beast for a goalkeeper.

  29. Fabianski scares the LIVING SHIT out of me. We cannot afford to keep dropping the 10 or more points that his and the idiot Almunia cost us last season. NEW KEEPER PLEASE ARSENE. For the love of all that is holy, please buy a decent bloody keeper. Year after year of this shit! When we finsih this season with these two idiots and no trophies – AGAIN – the fans will not be so forgiving, as the dire need for a new keeper has been blindingly obvious all Summer long.

  30. ‘Just his judgement…let’s him down.’

    Just?? What good is a keeper with bad judgement?

    It’s not about talent – it’s about using that talent under pressure. And Fabiasnki has failed consistently.

    And don’t start saying just because some fans were idiot enough to boo our own players that fabianski is immune from criticism!

  31. Swcharzer is averagely good at best. If that makes sense. An experienced keeper who will find it very difficult to improve on what Almunia gives.

    I agree with an earlier post about Almunia being just behind the likes of Cech, Van Der Sar, and Reina… even then these keepers have the benefit of more solid defences, while ours plays with a team of 10 attacking players.

    Those who point the finger to Almunia, Fabianski or whoever, are just cowards. I do not remember any mistakes which Almunia has made that has cost us deerly over the last season, they dont stick in my mind because I am fairly confident when he takes the field.

    Its down to the fans who love to bring up the negatives so they can demand a signing or whatever. Look at Clichy who was consistently giving away goal scoring chances at one point…

    Clichy of course redeemed his reputation over the course of a few games, where as with a keeper it is harder to gain that respect back as he is the one most responsible for preventing goals. Cut the keepers some slack and lets get behind the team. Whoever is number fucking 1.

  32. i’d play Lord Eboue every game just for his grin and his ‘ouch’ look.

  33. See that moorish? romford? Chris is a fan. An Arsenal fan. He doesn’t slag off his own in public.

  34. Are we playing spot james bingo today?

  35. Judgment/decision-making etc improves with experience and confidence, for a GK as much as for any other player.

  36. Chris – I don’t think most on here are not “behind the team”. In fact quite the opposite. Nobody would be bringing up negatives with Fabianski if there weren’t any.

    In fact it is not that he makes mistakes, any player does. It is that the mistakes he makes are terrible one that involve gifting the other team a goal. On a fairly regular basis. That is the issue.

    You cannot compare the goalkeeping position to the outfield ones. They are completely different, and unfortunately keepers can’t be afforded as much “slack” as the outfield players.

    He is 25 and shows no sign of learning from his mistakes.

  37. Ole – I don’t remember that either, but last season that would have meant status quo which is Almunia first choice after his excellent previous season.

    This time Wenger has made it clear at the begining of pre season that there was no clear number one, which is fine. But now with a couple days of remaining, I think it would settle all our goalkeepers’ nerves if they knew who was number one. Every other day one of them coming up with a statement that he is number one surely can’t be a good thing at this stage of the season?

  38. Yeah I’d definately stick with what we have in goal. Don’t waste money. Almunia is still a great keeper, but fabianski should be given more and more game time. I’m not sure keeper rotation is a good thing, but why not decide now that fabi will get cc, fa and 10 epl games plus the groups of the champions league. That’s just for instance.

    Our fans have been brainwashed by the press.

  39. els – I have been brainwashed with my eyes.

  40. I think that clamouring to bring in Scharwzer seems a little weird. Yes he had a great season lat year but was totally all over the place in the WC. It just proves that even the very best keepers can make mistakes and buying in one of the Worlds best(not saying that about Sharwzer) would not guarantee that the odd mistake wouldn’t lead to a goal.

    I know that Almunia has made some mistakes that lead to goals but I take comfort in his performance against Barca, if that had been the keeper at the other end we would have all been clamouring to sign him!!!

  41. But I do agree that rotation is not a good thing. If we are not going to but Wenger should make his choice (hopefully Almunia) and stick with it.

  42. goonerandy. entirely agree. and i dont think this makes anybody a doomer. i would argue the opposte. that its concerned and passionate arsenal support.

  43. I agree that our keepers are not that bad but that is not good enough.

    And whoever said they don’t remember Almunia mistakes…. bad memory

    Spuds – he punched badly to spuds player then let shot go through his hands
    Man U – own goal from Nani
    Birmingham – palms into net
    Champ league final – where is my near post again?
    Then there is not being able to set up a wall, poor distribution, doesn’t command his area, doesn’t communicate – Gallas was always shouting at him to say call

    We have not found a gem, there was a reason he was in Celat Vigo reserves (b league) at 26.

    What you are all missing is that with an inexperienced defence we need a keeper to command and communicate, to some degree shot stopping is secondary!

    Why is Fabianski no 2 at 25, Lloris no 1 at 23, Akinfeev no 1 at 19, Neuer no 1 at 22….. if he’s ‘world class’ Arsene then stick him in and let him grow.

    There is nothing to be gained from Almunia but an uncertain defence and the probability that his technical flaws such as his near post will come again – why does he look a broken man every time we almost conceed, get out there, lead and tell the defenders what you want and what they should have done differently, you have the best view on the pitch!

    Experience can only be called experience when you have learnt and impart that on others… Almunia does that very little.

    I don’t think he’s good enough, yes he’s ok but for a top 16 european team!? come on

  44. Trevor – That is exactly my point. Shame many around here don’t seem to get that.

  45. You are so right Chris!

    I don’t know why so many people got obsessed by buying a new keeper and especially the call to get rid of Almunia! This guy did not do much wrong, yes he did a few mistakes but NOT ONE keeper in the world does not do mistakes. People don’t seem to remember the positive, the first thing that comes to my mind when thinking of Almunia’s last season is how he disgusted Barca in the first leg! It is rightly said that Walcott’s coming on changed the game and helped us come back to snatch a draw but if Almunia had not done at least 10 WORLD CLASS save in the first half we would be out of the tie after just the first half!

    The people who think Schwarzer is any better than him need their eyes to be checked, this guy is no better than what we have! He might be an international but it’s much easier to be Australia’s or Barhein’s or Andorra’s goalkeeper than get in contention for a place in the Spanish team!

    We might not have a big star name in goals but I’m sorry goalkeeper is the hardest position to fill in, there aren’t many good around and the good ones don’t change clubs every year! Except Given there are not one keeper available that is better than Almunia! And if we get given it would be to have good competition for the number 1 spot as I think Almunia might have the edge on in.

    As for Fabianski yes his main problem is concentration but you can’t get over this if you play 2 games in goal every 3 months he cannot be judge until given a real go in goal.

    Can so called fans just get behind their team and trust their manager to take the right decisions for the club. A CB will come in before the 31st august so stop moaning about the need of a CB as Wenger, Glazidis and the scouting team are working on it and have said so countless times before.

    Can’t wait for the season to start!

  46. Good post Waz.

  47. Great post, gunnerluc.

    Fabien Barthez. That’s who Fabianski should emulate. A top-class keeper when he wasn’t being a lunatic.

    Anyone else see agree?

  48. and by the way im not saying schwartzer or fabianski are the way forward but if arsene bought fabianski to be no 1 and he thinks he’s world class then put him in, if not let him go.

    If Chesney is the future then put him in and let him learn, the worst is that he makes the odd mistake, almunia does as well.

    If the argument is experience then i’d like to see how almunia helps the team given he doesn’t command (is the experience in his head?)

    If all the above are not good enough then buy world class but ultimately stick with someone so they can gain confidence and learn, other young keepers do it fine.

    I just can’t watch the back line and keeper look like they are on different planets again, esp this year with the old heads gone, it’s vital there is communication and leadership in positioning and discipline of that back line

  49. Waz,

    How many of those were mistakes?

    Spuds – He punched quite well. Hit the ball high and out of the box as keepers should.
    Man U – Could have saved it, but did well to get a hand in in the first place.
    Birmingham – Flapped
    Champ league final –

    If we kept score for every single keeper we’d find errors aplenty. Van der Sar made at least 3 errors for Man poo in Sunday’s community shield

  50. Chris goona.. @10:22

    It was almunia’s mistake that cost us two vital points in the final minute of the game at st andrews last season.

    Anyhow, regarding Fabianski, lets assume for arguments sake, that he will turn out to be a decent keeper (thats a BIG assumption).

    The question is whether it is really worth risking the teams chances for seasons for the sake of bringing on a decent keeper. Because that is the maximum quality that you will get out of fabianski even if he does improve.

    He has no height, no presence, no reading of the game, these are things that cannot be coached, you either have it or you dont. He is a good shot stopper but then ALL 4 OF THEM ARE! If he had what he takes to be great we would have seen it by now, he is 25 for goodness sake.

    Anyone who thinks he will turn into one of the greats like shilton or schmeical is just plain dumb. The risk to be taken is too big, whether we win a trophy or not this season could hinge on what arsene decides about our GK department.

    On the positive side I believe sczphreny has what it takes to be a great GK and retain our no. 1 shirt for years to come so it would be much more profitable to blood him and look at the long team instead of concentrating on stop gap solutions. We have had enough clowns between our posts.

    Let fabianski go out on loan and prove himself, its a win win for us. If he turns good (unlikely) good for us, if he does not, his mistakes will cost another team not us.

    Almunia is not a great GK but quite frankly he is twice the keeper flapianski is. Anyone who thinks fabianski is better than almunia needs to get his head out of the sand.

    Our line up should be:

    1. al
    2. sxzperdty
    3. Manonne
    4. Any keeper from the club.

    Note: Better still sczperty for No. 1.

    Cheers all!

  51. Keyser,

    You’re projecting your own worries on the situation. You don’t know if Arsene has told the players who will be number 1, you don’t know even if it matters AT ALL.

  52. gunnerluc

    What pisses me off is the need for many fans to bring up other names, goalkeepers who play for lower teams and try to make a comparison. There is a massive difference playing for Arsenal, than playing for Birmingham for instance. Where many think fucking Hart would be a solution.. hahaa

    The nickname flappy which has been quite disgustingly given to our sub keeper last term, would be surely graced by Hart if he was placed as number 1.

    There comes my next argument, Fabianski wasn’t number 1. He was a sub keeper forced to play in some very testing games, with a make shift defence and team even that included maybe 7 or 8 losses of regular 1st teamers. Some of the goals were his fault, I wont hide against that, but the pressure that was on the Arsenal goal in the last couple months of last season was immende. Even throw ins proved testing for our defence then.

    Also, COMPARE our sub keepers to United and Chelsea. I would take ours any day..

    Hilarious Hilario would make another 10,000 commit suicide come saturday if turned up at Anfield in goal for the Arsenal.

    Fucking stop your whining you bitches. We have a season ahead of which this team (goalkeepers included) can go all the way in each competition.

  53. I cannot seriously believe some people rufuse to acknoweldge the keepers quite glaring mistakes. It is like you are sat there with your eyes closed with your fingers in your ears repeating “didn’t see it, didn’t see it, dodn’t see it”.

    Our keepers were directly responisble for nearly 20 goal last year (through mistakes). That is not acceptable, and any of you that think it is are off their rocker.

    Before I get lynched, this has nothing to do with me “not supporting the team”, and everthing to do with “I really do support the team” and want them to do better. The keeper position is our achillies heel and the weakest area of the team.

  54. Almunia is our No 1 on Sunday. It is his job to lose. Get used to it.

    Waz @ 10:50 am – Re your catalog of Almunia’s failures. Is that the best you can do? Do you want want me to name Cech’s blunders especially on free-kicks last season?

  55. Naga..

    Have to agree, I think a loan would benefit Fabianski by getting playing time. I think if Wenger found someone suitable already that may have already happened.

    Truth is there isn’t much out there, Shwarzer is not worth paying 2m after seeing his error prone world cup display.

    Given and Hart are not for sale, of which Hart would again possibly falter under the pressure of making the massive shift up to a Title chasing team, a massive difference from playing at St Andrews.

    Who else is there, Wenger has obviously looked and analysed every option, but we may have to stick with what we got.

    Almunia is not the best, but he has proved to be a very good keeper for us. Season before last he was remarkable, and he displaced Lehmann.

    You are only as good as your last game as you say, so lets wait and see who goes in goal and how they perform. Whoever pulls on the Arsenal keepers jersey i will fully support.

    Be it Swezhny, Fab, Almunia, Mannone, or a new player.

    Our defending as a team will ultimately make or break our season. Not our goalkeeper, who barely has anything to do when the Arsenal is attacking for 80mins of the 90.

  56. So true Ole,

    They seem only to remember VDS heroics but he made quite a few mistakes in the last two years.
    Cech has been under pressure for the last two years too.
    Casillas who is always used as THE world class keeper we need wasn’t so good last year and I remember well reading in Marca (which is a Real Madrid propaganda machine in the same mould as elmundodeportivo for Barca) that they thought he should be drop in favour of Valdes.

    All keeper will cost points to his team because any mistake will result in a goal.

    So I ask you guys to give me realistic names of who could replace the ones we have. The only decent keeper that seems available for me is Given and it is not even sure as his statemetn was more a call to Mancini to say publicly that he will be number 1.

    I hear people saying Almunia is far worse than Casillas, Reina, Buffon, Lloris, Mandanda,… but apart from being all great keepers there are also not available!

  57. Waz

    Chesney is meant to be the future but he isn’t quite ready. We don’t want to risk him in a high-profile situation in which mistakes would destroy his confidence and hinder his development. So perhaps it’s better to build up his confidence and experience in lower-profile but also high-pressure situations ie at another club – perhaps lower reaches of the PL or in the Championship. Ditto Fabianski but he could be at a higher level club.

    Almunia’s experience is what enables him to bounce back after a bad mistake and to know what to expect in different situations. Commanding/not commanding your area is a different quality to experience.

    I think your point about communication is more the issue.

    @ goonerandy
    Of course all our keepers have made mistakes. The point is that you would think from some comments that ONLY our keepers make mistakes.

  58. My point is not we should buy it’s to understand what we are all saying as its contradictory…..

    Chesney is the best but too inexperienced (plenty of young keepers have done it), Almunia is ok and experienced yet in my mind he doesn’t command confidence in the back and as Arsene said ‘he gets nervous in the big games’, Fabianski needs games but AW claims he is world class yet he looks so shaky. Manonne has just disappeared.

    The point is pick a no 1, one that can forge a relationship with the defence and stick with it, I just don’t understand the logic in not blooding the best keepers if they have the ability just because they are inexperienced when clearly our experienced keeper doesn’t mentor that on the team and the defence.

    Good keepers are good keepers and age doesn’t matter.

    Almunia is a good shot stopper, very good in fact but I think the defence misses the leadership and has done since Jens left, is that not a concern or is shot stopping the only role of a keeper?

  59. Chris – Your last point is cutting. If only keeper has hardly anything to do, and then often cannot even do that. Surely it is better to get one who can? Do you not think?

  60. goonerandy

    Why don’t you just account all 41 goals down to the keepers. Please please prove 20 odd goals were purely down to the keepers mistakes that lead to the goalscoring chances being created.

    Because I can certainly not remember 20 incidents where I thought “shit he should have caught that, or saved that”..

    Do you credit keepers for penalty saves, or world class saves too? Please share your statistics..

  61. Surely it is better to get one who can? Do you not think?

    You have proved once again your lack of support mate. You do not believe Almunia is a good keeper, because I have heard many many experts who watch football (not pundits) praise the guy. You obviously do not know much.

  62. Fun – Do you mean apart from my point at 1041 where I stated that all players make mistakes?

  63. Fun gunner – I see your difference but you get my point that the role of a keeper is more than just saves

    I still think experience is seeing danger and mistakes and teaching your defence – he’s doing this, you need to do that etc etc

    Agree re: Chesney but how come other teams with top young keepers don’t have that cotton wool worry?

  64. Naga,

    Yes Almunia’s error cost us. But what about the sitter Nasri made that’d have made it 2-0 with minutes to go? Or Arshavin’s miss, or his losing the ball stupidly upfront that led to the long hoof that led to the goal.

    Sure, Almunia was at fault, and it cost us, but what about all the games in which he won us? I know it’s fashionable to remember those. I remember the save against Everton before we went over and equalised. Or the penalty save against West Ham. etc etc etc.

  65. Randy “Lender” has media assault on Long Ball O”Neil is typical “full spectrum” warfare that American military is fond of. Those were my thoughts when I read in the Guardian that General Charles C Krulak, a former US Marine Corps commandant who is a non-executive director at Villa Park, accused O’Neill of believing he was “bigger than the club” and of refusing to bring a spiralling wage bill under control.
    Do you remember that unfounded attack on Wenger by O’Neil and echoed by his media acolytes simply because Wenger was commending him on good use of the long ball? What goes round comes around.

  66. Chris – You make me laugh. “You have proved you lack of support” How pretentious as if your word is law.

    My point is how many good saves keepers make, it is the mistakes that they make which count unfortunately. Almunia makes some great stops, but then will undo all that by palming one into his own net. It is not good enough.

    I know all keepers make mistakes and accept that, but our make too many which result in goals conceeded. It is really really simple. get a keeper who will make LESS mistakes. I know all make them, but ours seem to do do more than others.

  67. Shotta gunner

    If you read above someone said they didnt remember any mistakes almunia made last season so I gave examples, I didnt say he was the only one.

    All keepers make them agreed. My point which you may or may not agree with/understand is the impact of having no settled no 1 and of not having a keeper who better communicates and controls his defence.

  68. I would not take either of Chelsea no.1 or 2 over Big Al but yeah maybe I would take EVDS but their number two isn’t up to much neither.

    So all in all we have four QUALITY goalkeepers that all have different strengths, none of which seem to involve pushing the likes of Deedee on to the turf.

    Which is a shame.

  69. Just thought I’d pop and say to all of those clamouring for Schwarzer:

    Where were you on the last day of last season because you couldn’t have been at The Emirates…


  70. Fungunner @10:12

    That is where character is tested. The true quality players will always come through regardless of how big the games are. Young Tony adams taken to the cleaners by the great marco van basten, but he didnt do badly for himself did he?

    Look at cassillas turning it on during the champions league final against leverkussen at 21 years of age. Mental toughness is a quality that some have and some dont and it is an essential quality to have if you are to be a top player.

    Flapianski plainly does not have it, I believe sczezchrty has what it takes.


  71. @ goonerandy

    Your point at 10:41 was that all players make mistakes but the mistakes of goalies are more crucial.

    However, what I said was:
    “The point is that you would think from some comments that ONLY our keepers make mistakes.”
    Note the word “our”. Some fans talk as if other teams’ goalkeepers don’t make mistakes.

    @ Maria
    “So all in all we have four QUALITY goalkeepers that all have different strengths, none of which seem to involve pushing the likes of Deedee on to the turf.

    Which is a shame.”

    ha ha

  72. I’m going to summarise given this is turning into a he did this they do that….

    I believe that we have looked weaker in defence and in defence as a team as well as at set pieces (free kicks, corners) since we have not had a more communicative and commanding keeper in goal.

    I think AW needs to ensure Almunia or whoever understands their team role as well as their role in making saves.

  73. YW

    I have been watching Arsenal for over 40 years and Flappianski is by far the worst keeper i have ever seen.The mistakes he has made in big games are numerous the semi v Chelsea Porto CL Wigan and Blackburn last season.Any other manager would have bombed him out a long time ago.He just doesnt have the temperament or concentration to play at the highest level.Almunia must start at Anfield then a new keeper brought in before the window shut probably Schwarzer

  74. naga,

    Chesney is 19. You mention Casillas being thrown in at 21. Two years is a long time in the development of a keeper.

    But most of all, my only worry is that he will be savaged if he makes mistakes, and will be treated unfairly like all Arsenal youngsters these days are.

    But I do agree that good enough is young enough.

    However, I don’t even know that he’s a better keeper than Almunia today. Does anybody know that he is?

  75. Ole Gunner

    Perhaps you have not read my post properly. I was just pointing that point out to chris goona. Look at the end of that post, I have put almunia as our no. 1 Havent I?

    Hope you are happy now? 🙂


  76. The point is that you would think from some comments that ONLY our keepers make mistakes.”

    And there is your problem andy boy. I will let jump at your throat at thinking your a shite supporter, that is just my opinion. The facts are within your comments, you aknowledge all keepers make mistakes, yet you forget that Cech was awful season before last, Given conceded more goals, and Hart, Green, Schwarzer make probably more mistakes than Almunia.

    Where is your fucking point may I politely ask?

  77. Waz – Agreed.

    Fun – No mate, I don’t think only our keepers make mistakes. All players do. Unfortunately the position of keeper is one with less scope for error, and in my opinion our keepers seem to make more errors than other keepers (who still obvisouly make misatkes).

    There is no witch hunt, I just want our club to have a better keeper that does not make as many errors.

    YW – I agree about Swartzer, not the best option but maybe slightly better than what we have. Not sure though to be honest.

  78. Just had to comment

    Of course all our keepers have made mistakes. The point is that you would think from some comments that ONLY our keepers make mistakes.

    Or that our keepers ONLY made mistakes. Such a sad way to look at things.

    Arsene said ‘he gets nervous in the big games’

    Arsene has NEVER EVER said that.

  79. Leeds chairman Ken Bates blasts Capello and ‘Cashley’:

  80. Hark

    Impossible, you are only 14 years old!

  81. Goonerrandy
    I have read your comments for some time now and even though I think I might see things in a more optimistic way than you, anyone can have an opinion. But you have often slated people for calling you a doomer saying they did not understand your point. You are guilty of the same thing when I read your below comment:

    “cannot seriously believe some people rufuse to acknoweldge the keepers quite glaring mistakes. It is like you are sat there with your eyes closed with your fingers in your ears repeating “didn’t see it, didn’t see it, dodn’t see it”.

    Reread the post in defence of our keeper, we did not say they did not do mistakes; I agree they did and some obvious ones. I almost pulled my hair out during the Wigan game. But like I and other said countless times before all keeper do mistake even the very best ones! You see those incidents as if Arsenal was the only club suffering from this but all club do like I said in previous commens Cech has been under pressure at Chelski, Casillas had an average season last year for RM,…

    And the main point is there is no one better that is available at the moment! The market is so tight this summer, the economic crisis have hit every club from every league (bar Man shitty who live in Wonderland with Alice) so as a result the clubs will be more than reticent to cash on a player when they don’t know if they will be able to afford and find a replacement!

  82. Something to lighten the mood…

    Gerrard reckons J Cole is better than Messi !!!!


  83. Chris – My point is that:


    And I wish they didn’t, but they do. So it would be good if we got a better keeper.

    If you have blinded youself to this, no skin off my nose and pointless continue the debate.

  84. @ Waz

    But Joe Hart started out as second or third choice and went out on loan anyway, didn’t he? And Chesney is even younger than JH. If AW says he isn’t ready, we have to believe him – it’s not as if he is generally averse to playing young players, after all.

    We haven’t got the ideal situation, but none of the proposed immediate solutions are ideal either.

  85. Gunnerluc – Fair points. And you are right, the market does seem very difficult in that area at the moment.

    In general I am very optomistic, but am also frsutrated that obvious points in the side are not addressed. It frsutrates me becasue I am certain we on the verge of becoming a great team. Nearly all the pieces are in place.

  86. Obviously these are my worries I am airing, I don’t claim to be a source of truth, I could very well be wrong. But I think it does matter to a goalkeeper to know before hand what is his position in the pecking order. And I do think these statements about I am the number one are a little bit out of tune, goalkeeping is not the same as other positions because there are no rotations other than terrible loss of form or injuries.

  87. When will the doomers ever learn?
    The hysterical weeping and wailing about Almunia and Fabianski is virtually the same as the public crucifixion of Eboue and Song.
    You are making fools of yourself and I guarantee that in some weeks many will be apologetic and a goodish minority will crawl away to another blog and start the same bullshit all over again.

  88. Chris – I read that also (the Gerrard comments). Deluded springs to mind.

  89. well said gunnerluc

    Andy un-twist your knickers and get behind the team is the point. If there is a keeper out there better and available Wenger will try his best. What he won’t do is bring in an ordinary sort that cannot improve on what we have.

    Plus we have the young Polish guy who is looking the business. Improving the defence is the key – that is my personal view, something we tried to make up for with experience last year that everyone called for.

    I like the sound of Kosc, Vermaelen, and Djourou being our main CB’s. All have a bite in their tackle, and all very talented solid CB’s. We just need 1 more for cover or to challenge for a spot.

  90. Shotta – Song and Eboue went through bad patches playing very poorly. But they were not costing us games. That is the essential difference (in general) between a keeper and an outfield player. Mistakes by keepers cost goals normally.

  91. Anyone who says “Flapianski” should not be taken seriously on an Arsenal blog.

  92. Chris – I am commando, and are always behind the team. Without fail.

    I do agree with your post as well.

  93. FunGunner

    Agree, AW is best placed to judge.

    As I said though I believe either through training, coaching or a kick up the ass it is important this year that we impove communication in defensive situations and the keeper has a prime role in that – individual mistakes will happen, collective confusion is what we do a little too often when attacked and I believe this is down to the relationship between defenders and keeper and the team really – that worries me more than a missed catch

  94. Arsene said ‘he gets nervous in the big games’

    It just shows how you just believe anything the media says.

    This quote came from the obscure interview Wenger gave to this unknown Kenyan reporter! It has been said on that Wenger NEVER gave this interview!!

    Get your facts right!!

  95. Goalkeeper is not just about shot-stopping.Its about commanding your area,Organising the defence at set pieces and being good in the air.None of these aply to Flappy

    The excuse used not to play Chesney is he is too young.Casillas played in a European cup final for the biggest club in the world at 19!!!!!!!!!

  96. gunnerluc

    I retract the comment and apologise, I saw it on another blog just now but have now searched it and yes you are right

  97. @ goonerandy
    Fun – No mate, I don’t think only our keepers make mistakes. All players do. Unfortunately the position of keeper is one with less scope for error, and in my opinion our keepers seem to make more errors than other keepers (who still obvisouly make misatkes).

    Tying yourself in knots.

    @ Waz
    Again I agree the point about better communication.

    @ gunnerluc

    Very well said again!

    @ keysersoze
    I understand what you are saying, but we don’t know how it will affect the personnel. Seems to galvanise Almunia, doesn’t it? And we could have a situation where Almunia is the de facto no 1 but he knows that any slip-up could mean that someone else takes his place. It could mean that all of the other keepers work harder and improve faster as well because they have a realistic chance of getting the no 1 spot. If they communicate properly, any of the keepers can step in – the rest of the players train with them as well as Almunia, I woudl have thought – it’s not like the national team situation. So perhaps the effect would be positive overall, not negative?

  98. Fun – really? how is that? it seems to make sense to me. Maybe you just don’t understand.

  99. On a separate note… who would you start on Sun in cb and why?

  100. @ Waz

    I would start Kos and Vermaelen. Djourou is still rusty, I think. And we need speed v Torres and Babel.

  101. ooh ooh, can I answer? Vermaelen (surely no explanation necessary) and Kos because he’s our new exciting centre back.

  102. The sad thing is the only thing stopping Al and Fab being topclass is the lacking support we have. It’s a confidence thing. And confidence is one of the things that us fans can have a massive effect. If Al or Fabi took to the pitch and received a massive ovation. It would make a big impression. Also imagine all you doomers cheering on a save by one of the lads.

  103. Anyone of to Wembley tonight then?

  104. Vermaelen and Koscielny, not just for Liverpool but for subsequent matches as well. I think this pairing looked the most assured during pre season.

  105. Fun gunner

    Good point re impact on competition and performance you’ve just made, my question is whether we have the coaching to also help support this with some focus on set pieces and organisation – I think the keepers take the blame for this but it’s a bigger issue I think, we don’t often look well drilled in these types of situation (attacking set pieces are certainly better)

  106. “my question is whether we have the coaching to also help support this with some focus on set pieces and organisation ”

  107. Els – Do you really believe that? I have never heard either boo’d and nor would I like to.

    Concentration and temprement are the issues, not the fans.

  108. @ Maria

    No, not going to Wemberlee but I will actually watch this England – got to see how our boys get on. I’ve got a feeling Gibbs in particular is going to tear it up.

  109. Any cricket fans there? Tony Hancock’s classic Test Match episode just starting on BBC7

  110. “England match”, I meant. Obviously.

  111. Goonerandy – you didn’t hear ironic cheers whenever Fab made a simple catch towards the end of the season?

  112. if we make do with what we’ve got, it doesn’t matter who is picked. all will make a more than average number of mistakes and cost us more than average number of points compared to others in the league.

    buying a decent keeper now who can organise a defence would be a (relatively) cheap and easy way to improve the team for this season. if Wenger doesn’t do it there will be a huge number of “told-you-so”s at the end of the season because everyone can see it.

  113. Steww – No mate, and if so that is really bad.

  114. Since when was Djourou slow. I’d be happy to see Kosc against Liverpool, but I’d prefer to see Johan getting the games for Arsenal he deserves. The lad is immense.

  115. Can’t remember which game it was but it doesn’t help and our argument here is the more widespread the abuse and criticism on the net the more people will think that it’s ok to behave that way.

  116. Yeah maybe. Tis bad form not being 100% behind the players in the stadium. I really can’t understand that thinking.

  117. I can’t wait to see chamakh et al terrorise the Pool back line, we look on it and quite dangerous as well as sharp and physical

  118. Believe me in the privacy of my own living room I yell and sometimes abuse our players with the best of them. Excitement and the will to win and all that. You should have heard the names I called Arshavin when he cost us the game against United!
    But here in public in calm and reasoned debate there is no excuse.

  119. ChrisGoona- I love your optmism mate, but I can’t share it. We leak goals at an absolutely phenomenal rate and the defence has gotten WEAKER since last season. And whoever said Almunia is “still a great keeper” – no. He has NEVER been a “great” keeper. He is a good enough shot stopper but that, to be honest, is the least you would expect. I also take exception to the idea that those who have worries about the – generally massively obvious – flaws in our team are whining or somehow not proper supporters. We all want Arsenal to do well but being a fan also means saying when something is not right, not just blindly pretending there are no problems. And if anyone thinks that our generally hideous defensive/goal-keeping record over the last few seasons has nothing to do with the utter lack of success in any competition, then you’re kidding yourselves.

  120. Steww – I agree, but don’t think there is anything wrong with debate on a fan forum. Debate is healthy.

  121. I must say that while I still refuse support those cheating shrek and co. I will be shouting from my sofa for Arsenes boys.

  122. It’s a moot point that one. Where does pointless whining and criticism stop and reasoned debate start? I wouldn’t dream of going on a crochet lovers forum and try to tell them all that crochet is shit and they are stupid for not realising how good knitting is, and then say I was only engaging in debate.
    This is a forum for Arsenal fans. How does moaning about our players fit?

  123. “The sad thing is the only thing stopping Al and Fab being topclass is the lacking support we have. ”

    No – the only thing stopping them is the fact that they *aren’t* top class. I would never boo any home player at a game, but let’s not pretend it’s the fan’s fault that these two keep fucking up. The defenders clearly have no confidence in either of them, becuase they keep making mistakes. You going to blame them as well?

    “buying a decent keeper now who can organise a defence would be a (relatively) cheap and easy way to improve the team for this season. if Wenger doesn’t do it there will be a huge number of “told-you-so”s at the end of the season because everyone can see it.”


  124. Ole Gunner – Our goalkeepers are not exactly our strongest point.
    At best, Almunia is an average premier league GK. Apart from being worse than Van der Saar, Reina, Cech, etc. is he realy any better than Friedel, Schwarzter, Given, Howard, Hart, Greene, etc.?
    He should be playing for a team like Stoke, not Arsenal, but having said that AW was interested in buying Sorensen, so perhaps that says it all.

  125. You say what you like but LF with a blindfold on is a better keeper than Moorish is a fan.

  126. Yeah you’re right, steww. Obviously there are no problems whatsoever with the goalies or the defence. What *are* people on about? When Wenger said our problems were in conceding too many goals last season, presumably this makes him not a fan as well?

  127. Moorish

    He can pull of World Class saves, and penalty stops hear and there.. but nobody really boasts him as World Class, even the most optimistic.

    If they do so what? Doomers have the right to slag him and other players off, why can’t optimists big-up their players a bit more..

    Works both ways

  128. Moorish – 2 excellent posts.

    Chris – good point about working both ways, but sometimes it decends (both ways as well) into petty insults.

  129. MY team for the Liverpool game

    Sagna Koc Verma Clichy
    Song or Diaby
    Nasri Rosicky
    Eboue Chamack Arsha

    Koc and verma as CB pairing as we played more minutes with that pairing than any other.

    Song or Diaby depending who is the one who has the most match fitness (I believe the starter will probably play an hour before being replaced by the other or Frimpong if we are already miles ahead)

    Nasri and Rosicky has they have been impressive throughout pre season and they have a good balance of defencive nous, passing ability and attacking flair.

    Lord Eboue because after those two wonderfull goals against Legia he just cannot be picked and will bring his defensive game (with Walcott coming in to scare the shit out of an already tired defender)

    Chamack as he has been consistent throughout preseason and our new signings seems to enjoy scoring their first official goal on their first game.

    Arsha so he can try and improve his already impressive record against the scouser.

    I expect a good win like 3-1 (liverpool might score a goal not because I think our defence is shit but because they will give it all as they want to impress their new coach)

  130. ELS – “The sad thing is the only thing stopping Al and Fab being topclass is the lacking support we have.”

    You really are deluded ELS. Suppoters in England (and this includes Arsenal fans) are ten times better than Italy, Spain, France, etc. who are much quicker in letting their team know they are not happy). Al is not good enough for Arsenal, you can only polish a turd soo much, it’s still a turd.
    I would never boo my own team, but have you noticed how well Eboué has performed since some of the crowd let him know what they thought of his performance in a certain game?

  131. No reason they can’t Chris, none at all. As I said, I love your optimism, but I just can’t share it. I’d pick Almunia over Fabianski any day, but it’s telling that we haven’t won owt since we stopped having a properly world class keeper, and teams by and large don’t win the league without one.

    As dsqd said above, if come the end of this season we win nothing and leak too many goals again there will be nowhere to hide, as it’s the same obvious problem that’s been pointed out time and time again, by no less than AW himself. We all know Arsene sees it, so it just beggars belief that we have, yet again, done nothing about it.

  132. Luc- I don’t think Wenger is going to go with Al this season, I think he feels that he has had his day. I think Fab is going to be no. 1 this season.

  133. For everyone who is waxing eloquent about Given, I honestly don’t think he will bring anything different to the table than Almunia.

  134. Sometimes the decision to use a player is not just down to potential and the talent they possess. Fabianski and Almunia are undoubtedly talented goalkeepers and should they be selected to play for Arsenal i will give them my full support.

    However the goalkeeping position is not position you can take risks on. You can throw a youngster in almost any other position and if it doesnt work then you can replace him or the rest of the team can carry him so that it does not damage his confidence as much.

    In goal, there is much more to consider:

    (1) Every small problem is magnified and it effects the confidence of the defence and the others players in the team

    (2) Consistancy plays a larger role than just being talented and this is the main reason why goalkeepers peak later in their career and why goalkeepers are rarely subbed during a game unless they are injured.

    (3) The lack of confidence is a cycle that is fed every new error. It is in view of the public and their reaction very often damages confidence.

    (4) If a goalkeeper makes a mistake it leads to goals. If another player on the field makes a mistake then it is not so damaging.

    I have every sympathy towards Almunia and Fabianski because they are clearly talented and it is not like they intentially make mistakes or lack confidence at times.

    I remember how shakey Almunia was when he first arrived at Arsenal. Over time, he improved dramatically but over the last season or so -his consistency has dropped a little bit.

    I am not arguing that we ought to replace our goalkeepers. From the little I have seen of Mannone -I think he has balls and talent but it is a decision that i am happy that Arsene has to make and not me.

    If Fabianski becomes our new number 1 then I will be chanting his name in support even if he makes mistakes.

    They are after all human.

  135. Goonerandy – The new cheerleader of doomers in disguise on ACLF?

  136. Luc – That would be my team also/

    Keys – Really? I mean, really?

  137. @ els

    “Since when was Djourou slow.”

    He’s not slow at all. I just meant Kos seems even quicker and a little bit more nimble. I really rate Djourou as well, and he is a natural leader – the main thing against him for now is the rustiness.

  138. Moorish let me ask you one question:

    When you say this:

    “buying a decent keeper now who can organise a defence would be a (relatively) cheap and easy way to improve the team for this season. if Wenger doesn’t do it there will be a huge number of “told-you-so”s at the end of the season because everyone can see it.”

    Why not enlighten us with names? As I have said the main problem in the GK argument/debate is that I don’t think there is any better GK AVAILABLE! Of course Almunia is no Seaman but who is available?

    The transfer market is really tight as all over Europe no team is ready to risk selling one of their player because they can’t find another one to replace him! Of Course in an Ideal world I would want to buy Casillas, Lloris or Mandanda for less than 10M but this is not going to happen. At the moment, offer RM, Lyon or Marseille 50M for their GK I am not sure they will be open for a sale!

  139. Debate is getting extremely boring.

    Fans moaning about buying a keeper when Almunia would be one they would be looking at if he was playing at a team like Man City or Fulham.

    It is comical really.

  140. theBigM,

    “He should be playing for a team like Stoke, not Arsenal, but having said that AW was interested in buying Sorensen, so perhaps that says it all”.

    I don’t know that AW was interested in Sorensen. He flat out denied he was.

    But I am curious, based on what do you decide that Almunia should be playing for someone like Stoke or that the likes of Sorensen are better than him. it’s your opinion, but it’s surely informed by something?

  141. Andy how can you compliment moorish on those awful posts? He clearly states that we have two keepers who keep fucking up when the facts 100% prove that our keepers make no more mistakes than any other keepers.

  142. Chris Goona – Is Almunia better than Given/Hart or Schwartzer? Not on last season’s performance

  143. Exactly steww. Andy i’m not mentioning boo’s though. I’m talking about encouraging the team and how does that not have an effect. You don’t think it has an affect on the team when they are feeling love.

  144. Maria – Depends on what your definition of a “doomer” is really.

    If is somebody who is downbeat about the team and “wants us to lose” to prompt Wenger to change. To have no belief in the side at all. Sorry not me.

    If it is somebody who see many good things about the club and team, thinks we have a great manager, and also can see and debate some of the flaws in the team. You got me, that is me.

  145. Gunnerluc – technically I didn’t say that, someone above did and I agreed with the sentiment. In terms of names, there are of course the obvious ones better than Almunia that you mention. if you want me to name undiscovered gems from otherleagues or ones we could get cheaply then you’re out of luck, but I think you’ll find AW has an entire worldwide scouting network for this sort of thing. He doesn’t need the likes of us to supply him with suggestions. This is unrelated to the basic supporter’s observation that his team is great going forward but has a serious problem with conceding too many goals and is the main thing making them a “nearly” team season after season after season.

  146. “If is somebody who is downbeat about the team and “wants us to lose” to prompt Wenger to change. To have no belief in the side at all. Sorry not me.

    If it is somebody who see many good things about the club and team, thinks we have a great manager, and also can see and debate some of the flaws in the team. You got me, that is me.”

    Couldn’t agree more, Andy.

  147. nice article yogi

    Even Cech or casillas would fumble without protection from the back four.

    how is it that people dont get that. How is it that arsenal of all the clubs in the premiership are the only ones with a goal keeper thats not perfect? I’ve heard people say they’d take anyone else in the premiership thats not almunia. That just acting a damn fool.

    think about it people? I think almunia is pretty good personally, and i think fabianski just has the yips. he needs time playing as the number 1 and it’ll all click.

    Im sure arsenal fans are not helping in this matter. They’ve sold out all our keepers to the media. Now the media acts like they spent the whole season watching arsenal keepers and they know whats up.

    My biggest change for this season is not with any of the player its with arsenal fans. They need to change too become stronger, better support for the boys and manager and everyone need to man up.

  148. Steww – Wher have you pulled those “facts” from mate. I have a good idea.

    Els – I agree that in the stadium the fans being behind the team and players will give them a life. The 12th man effect if you will. And rightly so.

  149. Miserable moaning doomers, tell you what. As we are so bored of you here’s a link to a different blog
    they are fans of the Peregrine falcon. Why not go over there every day and endlessly go on about how the peregrine is over rated and kestrels are much better. Go on. Oh make sure you say it’s just debate then make a big fuss when they insult you and tell you to fuck off.

  150. If we aren’t going to get a keeper before the window shuts, then Arsene should throw his weight behind one of the keepers and stick with him. Fabianski is a decent player, he just needs the game time and confidence, the familiarity of playing behind an established back four (which we will have – we don’t seem to have much option with our defence to rotate!) week in, week out.

    As one of posters above pointed out, we were all pretty excited when Fabianski turned up at the club, so let’s stick with him – look what rewards Bendtner provided last season after we stuck by him.

  151. goonerandy I don’t collate the facts but I can prove everything I say with a spirograph and an abacus.

  152. I don’t to be mean but the Johan and Kols comparison does remain me, abit like watching Kolo in comparison to Carvalho while both do their job effectively for their teams, they are stylistic different.

  153. Goonerwife – Having a rubbish back 4 in front of them does not explain push balls into one’s own net.

    Chicken/egg situation with the back 5 if you are looking at it from that point of view as well.

  154. Steww – Heh, then that is good enough for me. I take it back.

  155. Goonerandy,

    So why do you cheer everything someone posts something negative about Arsene, Arsenal or our players?

  156. Ole – Where do you want me to start?

    1 – Alumina’s poor perfomance last year, making numerous errors and getting dropped from the first time.
    2-Friedal, Schwartzer, Given, Sorensen, Howard, etc. are all internationals. Has Al ever been near the Spanish team? Not getting anywhere near the national team is an indication of his level. All the other top 10 teams have international keepers.
    He has improved a lot since he came to Arsenal, but despite some good performance he is not really good enough to be no. 1 at a club like Arsenal. Arsene knows this and I expect him to be sold this season.

  157. Maria – I wasn’t “cheering”. What was posted was common sense. It wasn’t anti-Arsenal as you seem to think.

    And you didn’t answer my question about what constitutes a “doomer”. To point out and discuss flawas in the side does not make you any less of a supporter. To think is does is the thinking of an 8 years old (apologies to any 8 years old the board).

  158. @ Moorish

    If he could find the right player, at a price we could live with, and the club wanted to sell, and the player wanted to come, then that player would be on his way to us. Obviously one or more of those criteria are not fulfilled. Why is that so hard to understand?

    You’re only being asked for your suggestions because you have been adamant that Wenger WON’T buy, not that he CAN’T buy. If that is so, you must know of a player who fulfils all the criteria whom Wenger is mysteriously refusing to buy. Do you?
    It’s no good saying “There must be one.” Why must there be one? Why do people spend months or years looking for the right home or the right partner? What you want is not always available when you want it.

  159. Not sure about the abacus. You can’get a good abacus nowadays.

  160. Goonerandy – Really, I really mean really. Given is a good shot stopper who lacks in aerial ability and presence in the box. Not much different from Almunia.

  161. goonerandy – go away your getting boring now.

  162. Quite right Andy the 12th man. I strongly think the 12th man could seriously improve our keepers performances, as as they are the have all the attributes to be worldclass. However the confidence being shown in them from on and off the pitch is making them shaky.

    FG nice analogy.

  163. And talking about communication, I hope you have noticed the improvement in Bramble’s performance while and after they played with Given behind them? I think the case with Boumsong is also similar, but I have not follwoed him as closely as Bramble.

  164. Moorish

    My point is why moan and say why wenger is not buying a decent GK, it would be easy and relatively cheap to just buy a better keeper when it is not true. I never asked you to tell me the name of an unknown gem I was just wondering that maybe I’ve missed some news about a great Goalkeeper available.

    It’s just like going to a vegetarian restaurant and then just moan because you wanted a steak or going to an indian and then moan because they don’t serve Pizza!

    Moaning and criticising the club for not doing something that is not possible anyway is just pointless and not what I call a debate.

    My point is there is no one available ATM so lets get behind the current ones cheer them and that will be helpfull. We are just giving amunition to the Arsenal haters who just have to say: look their fan can’t stand them so that proof they are shit.

    Non support is not the reason their confidence is low but for sure it doesn’t help.

  165. people make mistakes. football is not in some kind of magic bubble. they are human beings and life gets in the way sometimes.

  166. Fun – I haven’t been adamant that Wenger WON’T buy, I’ve never said that at all, I think too much is being read into/assumed there. My frustration is that we have had a bad defensive record – and the keepers play a big part in that – for the last few seasons and it has cost us horrendously dear.

    Pointing this out isn’t Arsenal bashing or anti-fandom. I want Arsenal to do well. I want Arsene to stay. I’d love nothing more for him to be proved right all the time. But he isn’t – no one is. Maybe he CAN’T buy, true – but we’ve been staring this problem in the face for longer than just the last transfer window, and there has been time to consider how to fix it. Maybe he’s just holding out for a bargain that doesn’t exist.

    Seriously, are any Arsenal fans totally satisfied with our defending and goalkeeping situation over the last season or two? For real? No one is saying we need to be 1-0 merchants again, but we will not win anything with such a fundamental flaw.

  167. If we got a top class keeper. Experienced, international class, I’d be doing cartwheels (with a sizeable belly).

    But perspective is needed in this keeper issue. We’re not desperate to have the likes of Shay Given and Mark Schwartzer. Not at all

  168. 00/01 –38 goals against in the premiership
    01/02 –36 Top
    02/03 –42 second
    03/04 –26
    04/05 –36
    05/06 –31
    06/07 –35
    07/08 –31
    08/09 –37
    09/10 –41

    it does not seem that our defending has got hugely better or worse during the last 10 years. Does appear that defending within the premiership has become more of a priority

  169. @ goonerandy

    “Having a rubbish back 4 in front of them does not explain push balls into one’s own net.”

    Have no other team’s keepers made embarrassing mistakes, then?

    Great post, goonerwife

    @ Maria
    Whose style do you prefer? Or is it horses for courses?

  170. els @ 11.54

    thats what im saying. Where is it best to throw your energy considering you get no say in the matter. thats just how it is.

    the last time fans had a say, Newcastle went down. Man up.

  171. AW desperately wants one of our current crop of keepers to step up and be No.1 So he won’t splash the cash and buy a top class keeper.

    However, he doesn’t trust any of them them right now. So he’s going for a short term fix in the shape of Schwarzer.

    Bet he signs at the end of the window

  172. How refreshing, diaminedave – facts!

  173. Buying isn’t the answer and quite rightly depends on who has been scouted, would fit, is available and wants to come – that is outside our control and it’s football manager(game and man citeh/chelski) that has bred this crazy notion.

    The point is something needs addressing and I’m sure Arsene knows it, to conceed 41 goals means:
    1) we don’t have the strength in depth when key personnel injured
    2) the players defensively aren’t good enough
    3) the coaching and organisation is wrong
    4) the motivation and commitment is wrong
    5) we need a more settled team
    6) we need a more experienced team
    7) tactically we need to change system or become more defensive when we need to see out a game

    I don’t have the answer and don’t mean to point out the obvious possible reasons but there is a problem and it’s not a doomer to hope it gets rectified given that AW himself said it after the season and I believe after the season before….. something isn’t working

    It’s down the squad, manager and coaching staff to have a look and sort it and take collective resposibility. We assume it’s the keeper but a new keeper won’t suddenly change how we defend as a team or tactically how we approach games and defensive situations, a keeper would help the communication and that can be improved rather than require a signing, AW just needs to sort the communication and responsibility to avoid the collective confusion in some occasions when we are attacked or under pressure (some)

  174. I didnt mean its all of those 1-7 points merely anyone of them

  175. theBigM,

    1 – All those keepers make more errors, and are not as good as Almunia on some of his strong points, like 1-on-1s.
    2-Would any of Friedal, Schwartzer, Given, Sorensen, Howard be in the Spanish national team ahead of Casillas, Reina, Lopez & Valdez. Absolutely not. If they were Spanish they’d be uncapped too. Your argument is as to say Giggs is not a greta player because he never played in the World Cup. It’s ridiculous.

    There are lots of great players who’ve never been capped by their countries. Lots and lots.

  176. Christ diaminddave – stop printing facts you only make stupid people look even more stupid when they disregard or argue with them.

  177. Waz;

    “to conceed 41 goals means:
    1) we don’t have the strength in depth when key personnel injured
    2) the players defensively aren’t good enough
    3) the coaching and organisation is wrong
    4) the motivation and commitment is wrong
    5) we need a more settled team
    6) we need a more experienced team
    7) tactically we need to change system or become more defensive when we need to see out a game”

    I think you’ve made too many sweeping conclusions. I don’t think it’s an actual analysis of why we did concede all those goals but just knee-jerk, preconclusions.

  178. FG,

    As a cultured Wengerball fan, it will have to go for old Ricky on that front.

  179. TheBigM
    This comment sums it all:
    “Friedal, Schwartzer, Given, Sorensen, Howard, etc. are all internationals. Has Al ever been near the Spanish team? Not getting anywhere near the national team is an indication of his level. All the other top 10 teams have international keepers.”

    Ok so following your way of thinking let’s just buy the Feroe Island goalkeeper because he’s an international so he must be better than Almunia.

    You can’t compare players wether are good enough because they are international or not! I honestly prefer to have the 4th or 5th best GK of a country like Spain who is not international because he has World class keeper in front of him over a keeper that is international but for a third rate country!

    No offence to those country but If I was from San Marino, Andorra or Feroe island I could be considered to be their GK and before you wonder I’m a shit goalkeeper!

    Just think before making stupid comment like this! I can bet you over 20 countries would gladly have Almunia as their National team goalkeeper if they could! England was considering calling him up for god sake!

  180. theBigM,

    “Is Almunia better than Given/Hart or Schwartzer? Not on last season’s performance”

    I’d very much like to see you back up that opinion.

  181. Oooops sorry 😉

  182. gunnerluc, that was my quote from moorish.

    Firstly, I’m not at all sure about Schwarzer.

    Funny someone mentioned Almunia should be playing for Stoke though; I’d have either of their keepers in a heartbeat. Sorensen and Begovic. Then there’s Howard, Hart or Reina. Latter two not cheap though, obviously.

    Given’s not an organiser, so not sure of him either.

  183. What you talking about gooner wife?

    If your saying that fans choice is a bad thing then I would whole heartedly agree in any real decisions. But regarding positive support you have to be having a laugh if you don’t think that A) It has an effect and B) We can contribute to morale.

    Man up? Man up? WTF.

  184. Here’s a pointer:

    Definition of a doomer, anyone who can remotely find a positive in booing his own player.

    Eboue did not get better because he was booed, he had always been an excellent player.

    Song did not get better because he was booed, he became better despite being booed.

    On the contrary cheering your player even on their worst days has proven to deliver almost instant result.

    This is a theory that was tested on Arsenal specimen NB52. Cheered after repeatedly mssing shit load of sitters. He turned and acknowledged the crowd. Next time he stepped on the field of play, he bagged a hat trick.

    Interesting fact: The bookmakers odds? 40-1

    Go figure.

  185. dsqd,

    You’d have those. But just what suggests they’re better than Almunia? What suggests Almunia is better than them, I can tell you.

    For a start he usually concedes fewer goals than them. Just for a start.

  186. Ole,

    I’m suggesting they are, that’s all.

    I’d also suggest that if Almunia played for Stoke last season and Sorensen for us, we’d have conceded fewer than we did and them more.

  187. And with Begovic as a very able back up, I don’t think it would take mega-money to prise him away from Stoke.

    It was rumoured last January if I recall, but never came to anything. Shame.

  188. Ole – Neither Given/Hart or Schwarzter were dropped from the first team like Almunia where they?
    It’s difficult to gauge who is the better keeper, but a quick check of the Barclays premier leauge player index places Almunia at 9, behind Hart Given and Schwartzer:,,12306,00.html

  189. Ole

    I was merely pointing out it could be any of a number of reasons which don’t end up with the call for major signings or abuse of players. I was also saying that I’m sure it can be cured in training.

    As you seem to be so judgemental (knee jerk) then enlighten me on what you think it was down to? (i merely offered a selection of plausable possibilities not that I thought that it is this or that)

    This is exactly why debate is impossible with self righteous people – so what is a blog for, not to air possibilities, offer possibilities or to discuss what we each think it could be down to……. I don’t get it.

    Ok, last year was down to bad luck, 41 goals was just bad luck, no reason, in fact there is nothing to fix and no point discussing possible reasons, lets just watch the games and then slag off players and fans on blogs given debate is a big no no

    Its ridiculous, you highlight concerns – it’s wrong, you champion players and youre an AKB, you try debate and you are shot down with people taking literally what you say rather than as a start for discussion…….

    noone on here is right or wrong as it’s AW’s decision, all we are doing is filling our day by discussing our beloved club – our concerns, joys and hopes, we might all learn something or at least enjoy a bit of discussion given we all have differing view points

  190. Nice Post YW

    Given the current state of the Premier League financially and sportingly does anyone think its time for any of the following?

    Using financial regulations similar to the Bundesliga to run the league (

    Allowing teams that can do it to enter a ‘B’ team in lower divisions or even in non-league football as opposed to a reserves league.

    Also this year Rosicky turns into a Wenger pumpkin(30). Given the reported interest from other teams will he be sold? I suppose as soon as an Arsenal player turns 29 other teams become interested. Given the results of the last 6 years I think Wenger should rethink this policy.

  191. Waz,

    Knickers. Twist?

    Obviously there are persistent problems we have in defence.

    I just felt your reasons were just too sweeping. Many holes to punch. For example, “the players defensively aren’t good enough”. I’d quibble with the notion that Gallas, Vermaelen, Djourou, Campbell, Clichy, Gibbs and Eboue are not good enough. That’s 1 example that illustrates why it all sounds very knee jerk to me.

  192. Aluminia’s failure to represent Spain at any level might be a red herring I agree, as Spain has very good keepers right now, but the fact remains that that are several better keepers in the premeriship alone, who are better performers than him and this includes teams that finished lower down the league than us. This is not really good enough for a team with pretensions of winning the CL.

  193. Just a thought but
    90/91 18 goals against
    91/92 46 goals against
    with essentially the same defence (and manager!)
    Sometimes luck bad or good plays a significant part in the result

  194. theBigM,

    By your standard he’s better than Van der Sar who doesn’t even feature in the Top 10!

  195. Ole

    As a cohesive unit no I don’t think they are good enough defensively on a consistent basis or when under pressure, as individuals absolutely they are (bar the odd glich) – defensive organisation is more the issue not individual ability

    That’s not knee jerk, I think we have a collective defensive issue both as a team and a back 5 when we are counter attacked or put under sustained attack or set piece pressure

  196. I love the thought of Arsenal FANS searching high and low for fact’s of how poor one of our players are, it’s really great that isn’t it.

    Grow some balls and get behind your fucking team, you pack of useless bastards.

    Im posting this and not reading anymore as you just make me realise what a fucking travesty our support has become over the last 5 or 6 years, so don’t bother responding or defending yourselves you know who you are.

    Fair weather fans everywhere.
    Keep up the good work FG, Ole, CG, Earflow, Limpar, Zap, Steww, Maria… and others, your in the minority though.

  197. els – post of the day.

  198. So rubbish on here today about keepers. Putting Almunia behind a 10 man defence like Stoke would make him a world beater.

    Put Given, Hart and a few others behind our attacking side would prove they are no better than what we have

  199. Slimshay,


    NB52’s misses, the crowds reaction and humour, his form in the run in…

    I canvassed as many opinions on match days when I was going on pilgrimage to TNHOF last season, and very few people sounded as stupid as some do on the interwebby.

    e.g. ”

    Me: What did you think of TW14?”

    Random Gooner: Looks like he hasn’t played in half a year. Which he hasn’t more or less. He’ll be fine”. His form in the run in…was good!

    FC Barcasturnoverturnsintoanetloss 1st leg:

    A bunch of ‘hoodies’ who’d stopped, out of civic consideration, for a ‘cigarette’ on the way to the ground, to me:

    “Well, what do you think”

    Me:”er…urm…well, I dunno”
    (We we’re going to start the game with eight & half players. Cesc should be in bed with his leg up, AA was not happy, and Gallas not ready after his injury, no way…)

    ‘Hoodies’: “Don’t worry, Eboue’s going to kill Messi”

    Almunia played well that night.
    A shame about the defensive errors that left him high and dry, but 2-2 wasn’t bad. TW14 played really well against a team that can’t afford to buy a LB. I wonder how he’ll do tonight.

  200. OK so no takers on the falcon site. Right here then is a blog for lovers and fans of BMW cars
    perhaps you lot who only log on to ruin everyone else’s day could fuck off over there and go on and on about how crap the new BMW’s are and how much better Porsches or Audis are.
    Then you could leave us Arsenal fans in peace.
    Don’t forget claim it’s just debate and then have a hissy fit when they tell you to fuck off. Oh and pretend to be a BMW fan.

  201. Schwarzer is not any better than almunia!

    Where do people get these ideas from?

    Even Given is not. yes we conceeded lots of goals last season, but am sure almunia was not in goal for quite a few of the matches.

    Am glad to hear fulhan say he is not available as if we must buy a new keeper, he really has to be better than what we currently have or else,, not at all.

  202. And is that okay with you dups? That we can’t defend as well as a mid-table team?

  203. Did AFC finish 3rd last season or am I hallucinating again?

  204. Maria – Cheers for your resoned answer. You still have not answered my questions. I wonder why?

  205. Yogi:

    Another good post. Thanks.

    I do take issue with some of your comments early in the post. I realize that there are some who want us to completely blow up the squad, spend $200M. However, I think a huge majority of us realize the good that Arsene and the board have done and the absolute importance of the youth academy. However, I think a majority of the fans would like to see a little more balance between youth and experienced players and more balanced use of the transfer market in squad building.

    In one of your best posts ever late last season you explained that buying a few experienced players to strengthen the squad did not constitute abandonment of “project youth” and did not kill our best young players. The rhetoric from the club after last season suggested that we might move towards a more balanced policy but so far it has not really happened. Certainly a lot more departures then arrivals to this point.

  206. Correction to my comment at 2:11:

    I was also wearing a ‘hoodie’!
    And when I wrote that AA was not happy, I meant that he was also injured.

  207. andy, I appreciate you are a relative newcomer but Maria has proved herself over a long period to be 100% Arsenal through and through. Always behind the team and totally committed to AFC, you will never see any of the pro Arsenal posters criticise her or her public support for the club.
    I simply mention this to point out that you do yourself absolutely no favours picking a fight with her.

  208. Lets take a vote. What do you think will be Arsenal’s league position this season?

    1. Keysersoze

    Please copy the list and write your name against your choice. We can look back at the end of the season 🙂

  209. Oh dear God Bill. What is your problem? List our first team signings and tell the world how they are less experienced than our youth team. You are actually a cretin aren’t you Bill?

  210. @ dsqd.

    That was not my point now was it. Do not try and twist the words I wrote.

  211. 1. Keysersoze, Steww

    Please maintain this format. Easier to keep track

  212. 1. Keysersoze

    Arsenal, Els

    There you go. 🙂

  213. Bill,

    I think Gallas has lost the plot as they say. Or he has been caught out by the changing circumstances in football, just like MON has.

    The new dude who’s name I can’t spell will be fine. He’ll never get rinsed like your man Hangman and friends were by Aguero.

    Oh, he might make a few green errors, miss a header once or twice, but sorry mate, no Stoppers for you.

    You’re wrong about MS, and you’re wrong about AFC needing a stopper.
    Your comment about Gallas being the ‘weak link’ was insane. He can be a grump, but he can play.

  214. Gosh sorry keyser

  215. Steww – I am not picking a fight with her, nor would I want to. She took issue with some of my posts but has not replied to my answers (probably becasue she has no reasoned answer)

    Cheers for the comment, as I do know what you are getting at (genuinely), but I don’t care how long she has being posting here, it makes her views no more valid than mine and certainly does not make her more of a supporter.

    I am also 100% behind the team and totally committed to AFC.l

  216. 1. Keysersoze, Steww, gunnerluc

  217. 1. Keysersoze, Steww, gunnerluc, Finsbury

    Injuries are the key.
    Based on last season, I’d say the squad can cope with one broken leg for first team squad members, maybe two, but not three.

  218. dups, Okay it wasn’t your point, but it is only a paraphrasing of what you said, really.

    My point is this: we shouldn’t be content to think like that.

  219. Almunia seems to be on downward path. 3 years ago he did well. 2 years ago more mistakes started to crop up and he was clearly not as good as the year before. Last year he lost his place twice due to mystery injuries and poor form. I realize that there were off the field problems last year but he does not seem to be getting better. Quite the opposite.

    I do not understand how you can expect us to have confidence that somehow he will regain his form of 3 years ago when the evidence argues for the opposite. He will be under severe pressure from all sides this year. Our defense needs all the help it can get and a GK who does not seem to handle that type of pressure well is the worst thing to see an inexperienced defense through a difficult season.

    I do not think Schwarzer is a world beater but at least he will represent a chance to make some changes and to bring a different dynamic and hopefully some new confidence to our defending. Ideally I would love if we overspent a little and brought in a more highly rated keeper but I am not sure if any are realistically available.

  220. Break the 41 goals down and you see that ‘Almunia ain’t good enuff’ statements aren’t true at all.

    Almunia dropped 3 or 4 absolute clangers last season. No more and no less than many of his contemporaries at other top clubs. In La Liga Casillas had a mare by all accounts – and we saw evidence of his shot confidence against Switzerland in the World Cup. Buffon was another who had a season to forget. And Petr Cech too; again 3 or 4 very embarrassing slip-ups. These are the top 3 keeprs in the world we’re talking about.

    More of Arsenal’s 41 goals against were to do with Almunia not playing than the other way around. When he did play Almunia conceded on average about 1 goal every 84 minutes, a very similar economy to Brad Friedel, and a much better one than Joe Hart and Mark Schwarzer. Reina’s economy is the pick of the lot but then he was playing in a ridiculously defensive set-up by the end of the season and his cleansheets contributed to a bunch of dull 0-0 draws that saw his negative team full of defenders score about 20 less goals than Arsenal and eventually their manager fired.

    Almunia had a rough time of it emotionally and mentally last year and his clangers stand out – as clangers tend to do. But he’s a very good goalkeeper and that was noticeable in his absence. Fabianski conceded 1 goal every 70 minutes. That happens with cold, 2nd choice goalkeepers though I’m afraid. Hilario, bless his cotten socks, conceded one every half hour.

    I understand people worrying about the need for someone to instill confidence in the backline. But for me there’s no reason at all why someone like Almunia, one of the most seasoned heads in the dressing room and a heroic veteran of many a Champions League and Premier League battle, who’s kept us in more games than I care to remember – can’t be that someone.

    Having said all that my feeling is Arsene is on the look out for a new goalkeeper! There are very few candidates that I can think of (that’s a very limited pool of goalkeepers indeed btw! So I’ll happily defer as always to Rowley and the boys – which all you tiresome Champ Man heads should do too. ‘Debating’ is one thing but going on and on about Hugo fucking Lloris who you’ve only seen play 6 times – is another) who would automatically leap-frog Almunia into the No.1 spot. I believe a new keeper would more likely be a No.2.

    PS. It’s not being a ‘doomer’ to call Fabianski ‘Flappy’ or anything else like that. You’ve got to laugh about football or you’ll cry. The poor boy brought the nickname on himself and even if he glues the number 1 spot down and never concedes again he’ll probably never shift it – it’ll just be funnier and he can use as a badge of defiance. It’s just one of those things. Tony Adams was called donkey whilst still being regarded as the best in the country. John Hartson was called carthorse. Keown was called Plug because he looked like the big ugly one from the Bash Street Kids. Lukic was called Blind John ffs!

  221. Woah! Long post. Sorry. When Led Zep sang about being a rambling man… doubtless this was not what they had in mind. *Yawns at himself and falls over*

  222. Bill,

    “However, I think a majority of the fans would like to see a little more balance between youth and experienced players and more balanced use of the transfer market in squad building”.

    In fact, that’s my grouse with some of you. You do not seem to accept that that’s exactly what the club does. A balanced use of the transfer market in squad building.

  223. Ole- probably because Van der Saar didn’t play much last year

  224. I’m not sure schwarzer would make any difference or improvement and it’s a risk… he could just as easily bomb.

    I think we are in good shape, injuries may always be the decider but we now have Frimpong, Jack and Vela who look hungrier to add depth, JET too. Kozzer looks pacey so ball over the top may not threaten us so much.

    I still think we need to brush up on our defending as a team and communication and that goes for all players, keepers and strikers alike. I think some tweaks on the training ground will bring greater unity and make us more difficult to break down meaning we can counter.

    I think top 3 will be tight and think our squad is better on it’s day than the other 2, just need consistency and to know when/how to shut up shop

  225. Bill,

    “Almunia seems to be on downward path. 3 years ago he did well. 2 years ago more mistakes started to crop up and he was clearly not as good as the year before”

    Well, no, the consensus used to be that his 2nd season was near flawless until the end. I remember him being voted 2nd best Arsenal player that season.

  226. Shotta @ 11:35:

    I can not speak for Andy but for myself I will gladly eat all of the virtual humble pie that you can stuff down my face if Almunia and our defense demonstrate a real significant improvement in the number of goals we concede.

  227. 1. Keysersoze, Steww, gunnerluc, Finsbury, dsqd

    Deep down in my irrational heart I believe we’ll win it, as I do this time every year.

  228. Post of the day from els at 2.02pm!

    Quickly trumped though by Finsbury at 2.11pm! That’s got me looking forward to the new season more than anything else I’ve read in a long time.

    Faith in Goonerdom and Goonerkind: Restored.

  229. The keeper thing has been very interesting and I’ve tempered or changed my view….

    If chamakh comes in and plays well how would you include him with AA & RVP – wide or in middle or as a sub?

  230. A Gooner among others


    Almunia doesn’t suffer from pressure. It’s quite the opposite actually.
    His best performances in the last two years came against Manchester, Barca and in Roma in the CL.
    He is also very good in the very tense moments such as a penalty or a 1-on-1.

    In fact, he makes silly mistakes in low-pressure moments because he loses his concentration.

    Having Schwarzer breathing in his neck will make him stay focused during the whole game.
    That’s why Scwharzer would be a good move, in my opinion.

  231. If he is signed as player coach then its all good, he could help with the mental side of the game with the likes of Fabiansky who will all know has the raw attributes to be a top keeper just missing what it takes mentally…..

    According to caughtoffside Ozil has signed for Man U probably BS though

  232. theBigM,

    Look I know Almunia wasn’t stellar last season. But to say who’s better you have to compare the players at their best don’t you?

  233. Ole @ 2:57:

    If that is true then my recollection is wrong. I know we had a run of clean sheets during that season but our table position in goals conceded was worse then the year before despite that run of clean sheets.

  234. 1. Keysersoze, Steww, gunnerluc, Finsbury, dsqd
    3. Limpar

  235. HA! Had you going…

    1. Keysersoze, Steww, gunnerluc, Finsbury, dsqd, Limpar

  236. I think we will all agree that Almunia will probably be #1 for us this year. The chance of bringing someone new into the team at this point is very low. I will scream just as loud when he makes a good save and I will never boo him or any of our players on the pitch. IMO having someone else in goal would give us a better chance to win this year.

  237. @els

    I was agreeing with everything you said. i believe we should support the boys no matter what. I think if arsenal fans cheer them on they will gain confidence

    i must have said something that got lost in translation.

  238. The failure of Wenger to identify a number one indicates to me a number of things. It is clear that he is unhappy with the standard set by Almunia, and sees a lot of talent in Fabianski, at least enough to give him the opportunity to claim the number 1. It may also indicate that he is in the market for a keeper, and does not want to mislead any of his players. I think that this is just as feasible, but the lack of quality keepers out there makes finding a new number 1 a difficult proposition.

    excellent post again yogi

  239. The man up comment was to the moaning arsenal fans. that complain about the team all the time.

  240. Just for fun here is the last year table for Fulham:

    12 Fulham 38 12 10 16 39 46 −7 46

    They scored 39 (hardly an attacking team) so they must be a defensive minded team but with ten men behind the ball they still conceaded 46 times (5 more goals than Arsenal) Scharzer being first choice.

    5 Manchester City 38 18 13 7 73 45 +28 67

    they scored 73 goals but conceaded 45 times. Given being first choice.

    9 Birmingham City 38 13 11 14 38 47 −9 50
    Scored 38 goals but conceaded 47. Hart being first choice.

    11 Stoke City 38 11 14 13 34 48 −14 47
    Scored 34 conceaded 48. Sorensen being first choice.

    8 Everton 38 16 13 9 60 49 +11 61
    Scored 60 conceaded 49. Howard first choice.

    And finally
    3 Arsenal 38 23 6 9 83 41 +42 75
    Scored 83 conceaded 41. Almunia first choice.

    I don’t know how you guys judge that all those keeper are better than Almunia but if you go down to the number of goals conceaded their respective team have a worst record.

    My point is judging a keeper is really subjective and until they have been in the same situation (pressure, number of high profile games, tactics employed by the team, defense in front of them, etc.) you can’t really compare. You will probably come up with other argument but their team did not conceade less than us. Fact.

  241. Good one Limps! Funny how predictable the list of names taking part is…

  242. 1. Keysersoze, Steww, gunnerluc, Finsbury, dsqd, Els
    3. Limpar

  243. HA! Had you going…

    1. Keysersoze, Steww, gunnerluc, Finsbury, dsqd, Limpar, Els

    Had you going Limpar!

  244. 1. Keysersoze, Steww, gunnerluc, Finsbury, dsqd, Limpar, IndianGooner

  245. 1. Keysersoze, Steww, gunnerluc, Finsbury, dsqd, Els
    2. Goonerandy
    3. Limpar

  246. Els @2.02

    Great post. exactly what i was trying to say but did it badly.

  247. 1. Keysersoze, Steww, gunnerluc, Finsbury, dsqd, Limpar, Els, IndianGooner

  248. Bill, I think we’ll buy Schwarzer at the end of the transfer window (so we pay as little as possible). Just a shame we don’t show some ambition by identifying where the squad needs strengthening and then go out and buy the best talent available. Instead of a stop gap signing.

  249. Oh s*** sorry goonerwife, too true I agree.

    I think i’m a bit tetchy today.

    Look at my face for christ sakes! >>>

  250. Thanks goonerwife.

  251. Don’t want to step on toes but so far it’s…

    1. Keysersoze, Steww, gunnerluc, Finsbury, dsqd, Limpar, Els, IndianGooner

    2. Goonerandy




  252. 1. Keysersoze, Steww, gunnerluc, Finsbury, dsqd, Limpar, Waz

    Injuries with us (lets hope the agricultural teams try not to break our players in two with criminal challenges – referees, eyes open please!) and with the depth the great batch of youngsters coming through provide I think we have such a diverse attack that we can & will hurt anyone – a little brush up on defending as a team and we’ll be out of sight

  253. I’ve been thinking of ways to solve the problem of opposition players crowding Fabinaski’s 6-yard box:

    He needs to develop a horrible stench. He should eat prune and bean casserole the night before every match, followed up with cold left-overs the next morning. Every time an opposition player’s in earshot he could make remarks about follow-through.

    At home matches the pop-up sprinklers at the goal-mouths could be replaced by gas outlets that periodically release concentrated essence of used nappy on the pitch around the goal line. Fabianski will be protected by blocking his nasal cavities with cotton wool.

    Another idea is if he just started shouting random things on the pitch. Not funny things – genuinely shocking, scary stuff that no healthy-minded human being would ever impart.

    If he enjoys a run of form he could put it down to his lucky black mamba, that he keeps coiled around the posts of every goal in which he plays. Nobody would know that it’s really just a rubber snake, because nobody would want to get close enough to find out.

    The Arsenal website could one day publish a message wishing Lukasz luck in his battle against the plague. Then we could glue some raisins to his skin – not sure why, I just assume it would look pretty disgusting.

    As a last resort we could get Fabianski’s agent to spread rumours about his private life – something along the lines of him suffering from hypersexuality; every time he’s in close contact with anyone he becomes physically excited, hence all the mistakes. Or he could be one of those 20 orgasms a day people.

    It might help to deter the opposition from crowding the 6-yard box in future. Until Kevin Davies shows up, that is.

  254. BRL haha. Love it.

  255. Re the stench thing, sounds like we need to make him your average Spud player

  256. No problem els. I get pissed off everyday with the doomer nonsense.

  257. I worry that you’ll think I’m a doomer or looking to provoke some kind of response, I promise I’m not.

    I followed the link to the actim stats for keepers posted somewhere above and then had a few clicks around. Diaby was ranked as the tenth best midfielder in the league last year and thirtieth best player overall. That seemed much higher than I’d expect. When he drives forward and plays quick one-twos he can be unplayable but he’s always seemed to lack consistency and some times his short passing can be woeful. He’s always seemed to me to be slightly out of place in this side.

    My question is, am I being completely unfair to him and overlooking excellent work or is his high ranking an anomaly? I suspect it must be the former but just don’t know what i’m missing.

    If it helps to convince you that I’m not on a wind up then I should say that I am a massive fan of Denilson and will argue with anyone about his importance to the team. I like to think that I appreciate the players that do the simple things well but I just can’t see what I’m missing with Abou. Any help?

  258. BRL,

    Or maybe he could wear open-crotched shorts. No one will go near him if he’s running around with his twanger out………..except maybe Clichy.

  259. well said gunnerluc how good would he be if he could cut out the silly mistakes is what Wenger probably thinks???? Its a bit of a conundrum but one I am sure Wenger will solve.

    I think like another commented Almunia performs better when his “back is against the wall” so maybe Wenger is just being clever in leaving it open as to which one is number 1.

  260. Some comments on here makes me laugh.

    Since when has Wenger as ever named a keeper #1.

    What difference does it make, you train hard to win a position in the starting lineup, you play hard to keep your position that’s it.

    Why does the coach have to assure you of you position in the starting 11, this is the same excuse put up by some for England’s poor showing at the WC… It’s absolutely rubbish.

    Naming the squad 2 hours before the game or 2 days in advance means diddly squat.

    Supposed you’re named as a sub 2 days before, and someone gets injured during warm up, are you going to say
    “coach I’m not ready, my mindset is to come on as a sub. I’m sorry I’m I needed advance notice in order to start” ?

    Everyone has to go into every game ready to play to their best, whether you’re starting or not the mindset is the same. Once on the pitch you play to your best.

    Are you telling me that you’ll play better if the manager assures you of a starting place? No. If anything it can only make you more complacent.

  261. Hmmmm, that could work.

  262. gib you are absolutely righ when he adds the week in week out consistency to him game OMG he will be almost unplayable.

    But in a sense that is the greaty thing about him his unpredictability makes you love and hate him in one sitting of football.

  263. Gib – I am a fan of Diaby, although he can be frustrating sometimes. I just think he gives us something none of our other midfiedlers do. When he is in the mood he is pretty dominant.

    He drives forward well with the ball, is good in the tackle and has great close control. His passing could be better, but he also seems to be a pretty good finisher. I rate the guy, but his main problem is consitancy. Him/Song/Cesc is a good a combo of any in the league in my opinion.

  264. Ole:

    I know Almunia had some off the field problems last year. He will either stay the same, get worse or get better. My concern is that with all the pressure he will under from every team in the EPL targeting our GK that he will backslide. He was good but never great in the past. The upside is a good GK. The downside is frightening. I still think the risk/reward ratio for him and the team is not in our favor.

    Schwarzer is not a world beater. However, he has certainly be as good as Almunia if not better the last 2 years. 2 years ago he lead Fulham to a great year defensively. Last year he was not as good near the end of the season but he certainly was brilliant in Fulhams shock Euro cup run. His upside may be similar to Almunia but with less risk on the downside.

  265. Silver Gunner

    But what I don’t get is how he ended up so high up the table when he seems to lack such consistency. Surely you have to be doing it most weeks to be ranked 10th best midfielder? It’s doing my head in, I must be missing something about his game but I don’t know what.

    I still love that goal he scored against Villa where he exchanged passes with Eboue (?) and powered it home. Simply brilliant.

  266. Perhaps the question would be better if it was what’s wrong with me rather than what’s right with Diaby!

  267. 1. Keysersoze, Steww, mj_gunner

  268. @Bill “He will either stay the same, get worse or get better.” – is there another possibility? 😉 .

    Seriously though, I can’t believe people think Schwarzer is better. One thing we seem to be overlooking is the difference between playing for plucky Fulham with nothing to lose, and Playing for Arsenal where fans are just waiting to pounce on any mistake.

    The minute Schwarzer was put in a high pressure situation (world cup), nerves took over and he looked no more better than Fabianski.

  269. sorry, slow net

  270. Diaby is our own version of essien, technically more gifted, just needs a bit more focus, tenacity & anticipation (he has a habit of ball watching when we lose the ball and doesn’t track runners) -he really can change a game when he wants to

  271. 1. Keysersoze, Steww, gunnerluc, Finsbury, dsqd, Limpar, Els, IndianGooner, waz, mj_gunner

    2. Goonerandy




  272. Wengerball
    “coach I’m not ready, my mindset is to come on as a sub. I’m sorry I’m I needed advance notice in order to start” ?

    Well it happened! In the WC for the last France match against SA fucking twat Eric Abidal allegedly said to the Clown Domenech that he wasn’t in the right frame of mind and therefore would prefer not to be named for a starting place!

  273. It would be interesting to know what some of the players make of it all. Does Almunia make them nervous? If so then Wenger really does need to act, and bringnig Swartzer in (whilst not much better than Almunia) may re-envigorate the defence as a unit.

    If not and they do trust him, a like for like signing will make little difference.

  274. Gunnerluc – But Abidal is turd.


    Maybe I see a pattern forming here.

  275. Talking of goalkeepers: The ploy of teams to try nick a goal vs Arsenal on corners and free-kicks by interfering with the goalkeeper is now four years old. Mad Jens would go almost ballistic when an opposing defender got anywhere near him because he was aware of the tactic. Remember Blackburn and Bolton players trodding on his boot or putting a tall brute of a player in front of him. I remember one incident when he lashed out and just before the ref caught him he went rolling on the ground as if he was the injured party. Jens you were the best.
    Tee, Hee, Hee

  276. Please. please tell me what has Don Vito done wrong..

  277. Wengerball

    “Seriously though, I can’t believe people think Schwarzer is better. One thing we seem to be overlooking is the difference between playing for plucky Fulham with nothing to lose, and Playing for Arsenal where fans are just waiting to pounce on any mistake.

    The minute Schwarzer was put in a high pressure situation (world cup), nerves took over and he looked no more better than Fabianski.”

    Spot on mate! Until they play with the pressure Almunia or Fabianski have you just can’t compare!

    They have ten men playing the defense, no pressure, less games to play and still conceade more than we did (see my post above for the numbers)

  278. Abidal was just being an ass.

  279. So are you saying that our keepers only make mistakes because of pressure? If so, would you not like us to get a keeper that handles pressure better?

  280. I know I just pointed out this thing just to show how stupid some player can be and because after all this time I still can’t believe a profesionnal footballer being at the WC could actually come up to his coach and say this!!!

  281. @Goonerandy

    I’m saying the errors Schwarzer makes at Fulham is not magnified like those made at Arsenal.

  282. I know. Crazy eh?

  283. Don Vito was brilliant. Better goals to game ratio than Reina and Cech. And one of those should’ve been given as a foul I thought, when Larrson shoved him in the chest.

  284. What has happened to Don Vito? He looked good to me, aways rated in Italy before he came

  285. Goonerandy

    I don’t know if this comment is directed towards me:

    “So are you saying that our keepers only make mistakes because of pressure? If so, would you not like us to get a keeper that handles pressure better?”

    But I’ll answer anyway.

    No I don’t think our goalkeeper make mistakes because of the pressure but that until those GK from mid table teams experience the pressure that our GK experience you can really judge.

    Hence Schwarzer looks good at Fulham but then goes on to play at the WC and look like an average goalkeeper at best.

    Therefore I don’t think Schwarzer, Sorensen, Howard,… could do a better job than Almunia or Fabianski

  286. Bill,

    Why do we think Shwartzer’s downside is less? He’s shifted loads of goals in the decade he’s been in the Premier League. He made as many if not more errors as Almunia last season.

  287. Steww and Els:

    You describe people clapping when Fabianski made a catch in a game late last year. Here in the USA we call that a Bronx cheer. It originated with the fans of the New York Yankees, a team which most many would say have the greatest fans in the world. The Yankees have won far more world series titles then any team in baseball despite what you would call horrible fans.

    Arsenal fans appear to be no different then any fans of any big team in the world. The internet has allowed a vocal minority to dominate some of the rhetoric to a point that is clearly annoying at times. However, to expect Arsenal fans to behave differently then any other fans in the history of organized professioanal sports is probably not realistic.

  288. 1. Keysersoze, Steww, gunnerluc, Finsbury, dsqd, Limpar, Els, IndianGooner, waz, mj_gunner, Firstlady

    2. Goonerandy




  289. Don Vito is away on international duty playing for the Italy U-21s.

  290. Any idea how he is doing?

  291. I’m glad I’m back with the Champions pack ^ Thanks. I thought me playing silly buggers had backfired me into 3rd place. Champs league, yes… but what could’ve been.

  292. Ole:

    Neither of us can realistically prove out point.

    The truth is I just want to see someone different. As you know I have become increasingly frustrated with our defending and I do not really see any evidence to suggest that it will be better this year. Sometimes a new player will change the way a team looks or add some level of confidence. If Almunia does have problems the natural emotion of the players will be “here we go again”. I know that statement is not really grounded in logic but to stay static when we have seen the problems that we have defending seems like a step backwards.

  293. I think the premierleague Top 10 keepers list that TheBigM posted earlier might be based on both ‘saves made’ as well as cleansheet points.

    That would explain why Schwarzer, Friedel, Hart and Howard all feature quite so high up the list, despite conceding a lot of goals.

    As has been said a thousand times on here before, put Almunia behind a backline like Fulham’s and he’d be a catlike shot-stopping superstar.

  294. Bill
    we did get Kolsceny(sp) that means we are not static!!
    God!!1this defence “debate” is taking it’s toll on me!!

  295. but Bill, we have already changed a lot of the personnel. you said a new player will change the way a team looks.

    Maybe Gallas leaving will have this effect! Nasri said in an interview he did not speak with Gallas but said quite a few other did not as well! if those other are in the defence his presence and status might have been detrimental.

    So lets wait and see before jumping into conclusion! I have faith in our player and they know it is make or break, so I just expect some glorious matches ahead!

  296. @gunnerluc –
    so do I, but I would live with non glorious ones, as long as we won

  297. Bill,

    Can you explain why you think Gallas, who was the best defender at the club, was the ‘weakest link’ link the D-fence last season?

    You sound like those fans who moan about the famous back five, whilst they ignore the back five of ’04.

    I’ve never read an opinion on ACLF that says that fans can’t heckle, or do whatever they like.
    We’re just saying that fans who abuse their own players are idiots.

  298. Or Sp*ds!

    ; )

  299. Bill how is expecting fans to cheer a player having an off day unrealistic?

    Andy why is it different from all other fans.

  300. LA, thanks for the praise, but my spelling is awful.
    I’ve got to go for Els myself, can’t even read my own post!

    I wonder how many rotten sp*ds will start for Blighty tonight?

    Back to…

  301. GunnerLuc:

    I hope your right. I just see the GK as such a flash point any problems that occur at that point will be magnified to an incredible extent. Sometimes things like that become a self fullfilling prophecy. The other teams will be flinging in crosses as fast as possible. The referees will be less likely to call fouls against our keepers because they expect them to make mistakes. That is not fair but it is inescapable human nature. I just think we a need a change at that position.

    I support Schwarzer because there are not a lot of great option available, he is relatively inexpensive, has a good reputation at least in the last few years and does not block Chesney.

  302. Well Bill, that’s really fair. I actually fear a change that makes things worse which can very easily happen.

  303. Its funny how people criticize Fabianski for not being no 1 at 25 and use Lloris and AKinfeeve as examples of people that got the no1 shirt early in their careers.

    That is exactly what Fabianski did too. in Legia Warszawa. A club that can be compared to the clubs Akinfeeve and Lloris play in today. He grabbed the no 1 there and played so well that the top dogs of Football came looking at him.

    Thats how good he is.

    Like it or not he has been no 1 and won the League as no1. He should be given a chance to prove himself over a period of time.

  304. 1. Keysersoze, Steww, gunnerluc, Finsbury, dsqd, Limpar, Els, IndianGooner, waz, mj_gunner, Firstlady

    2. Goonerandy










    12. James

  305. Yes gunnerluc!

  306. I do wish we’d buy just one more central defender. To have 4 young talented guys like Verm, Kosc, Djou and a Tasci, or someone (whoever Wenger has had his eye on, I’m sure there is one), all fighting it out for two regular spots would be a good position to be in. After that, I just want that defence to have confidence in the man behind them. If they are confident with Almunia or Fabianski then fine, I’m content.

    I’m not sure that’s the case though. That’s one reason why even Schwarzer could be an improvement: there is no baggage there in the defender’s mind, no niggling doubt about “the last time Fabianski came for a corner” or “the last time Almunia chucked it in his own net”.

    And the fans would be behind him too, at least until he dropped a clanger of his own.

  307. no no no James, sp*ds can do better than 12th

  308. Finsbury:

    I agree that fans who really abuse the players are idiots. I do not condone booing and I do not participate in Bronx cheers myself. The point is I do not really believe in the theory that Arsenal has not won any trophies because we have bad fans. I do not see that our fans really behave any differently then fans of every other “big” team in the world.

    I did not dislike Gallas per se. I disliked his partnership with TV. We shipped lots of goals with them in the back. I have said many times that I think we need a stronger stay at home defender. Look at how Alex dominated us in the CL loss to PSV in 07. IMO if you put either Gallas or TV with someone like Alex or Vidic then we would be much more solid at the back. IMO we need defenders with defending as the first 10 items on their priority list and not someone who loves make runs into the attacking 1/2. Gallas is not that type of defender. I did not see TV moving out the starting line up so fair or not my focus was on Gallas.

  309. Bill, I distinctly remember during the world cup when Schwarzer had an awful game, added to a couple of below average games, you said that you had to re-think your opinion on him. Do you still believe he is better than Almunia?

    And if you think this statement is true – “The referees will be less likely to call fouls against our keepers because they expect them to make mistakes.” – Then I’m afraid your knowledge of football and referees is limited, and that’s putting it politely.

  310. Get lost James.

  311. A Gooner among others


    I don’t think a “stay at home defender” would make us more solid.
    We play a very high offside line, so we need very mobile defenders, who can read the game well.
    That’s why I never thought we were in for Mertesacker : the guy is too slow.

  312. A Gooner among others

    Oh and by the way :

    1. Keysersoze, Steww, gunnerluc, Finsbury, dsqd, Limpar, Els, IndianGooner, waz, mj_gunner, Firstlady, A Gooner among others

    2. Goonerandy










    12. James

  313. Matty:

    I am certainly not as excited about Schwarzer as I was but I still think we would have a better chance to win this year with him in goal.

    Regarding referees that is an opinion that neither of us can prove. I do really see any other explanation for what happened last year at Blackburn. I see it all the time here in the USA as basketball referees will call more fouls on anyone who gaurds Kobe Bryant or Lebron James. It was really evident with Michael Jordan. Baseball umpires give the benifit of the doubt on balls and strikes to Marianno Rivera. IMO that is not done intentionally but is human nature.

  314. What are we listing and while isn’t Mr and Mrs Vela up in top spot??

  315. Bill,

    I know what your preference for the style of the second CB is, and that it’s not about ‘character’ etc. That is fair.

    TV5 made many more errors that led to goals then Gallas. That’s how it was. For you to state that the team defended better without Gallas is pure cr*p.

    I have a feeling that TV5 will be as close as you’ll get to your stay at home type this season, dependant on who AFC can make a deal with upon this last defender. We’ll find out. Could be anyone!

    What I will agree on, is the need to ‘chill’ against some of our rival teams. That’s a list of two clubs.
    $iteh? Maybe, but I don’t really care.
    $iteh were interesting to watch with Elano & Petrov (and Dunne!), but they were Ooozed out of the club, & now they’re too boring to think about.

    And not including the sp*ds.
    I think the sp*ds adoption of Hull tactics at home was a surprise for the players, they must have thought the sp*ds had a higher self-esteem.

  316. Oh man, harsh news about poor Sendo. Out for 6 months apparently.

  317. “TV5 made many more errors that led to goals then Gallas. That’s how it was. For you to state that the team defended better without Gallas is pure cr*p.”

    Interest. Stewart Robson was mentioning this aswell.

  318. Young guns has it that with Nordtveit in the full team squad there won’t be another cb signing… im not sure i believe this as i though AW said we were short on numbers including Nordtveit??

    Anyone know anything or have young guns added 2+2 to make 5?

  319. Rosickys statement is something I would have loved to hear from Cesc!

  320. It occurs to me that with the imminent sale of Carvalho to Real Madrid, the Chavs are about to be as far up shit creek for centrebacks as we are.

    Maybe they’ll thow money at the problem (£6.5 million for a player of Carvalho’s years is good business!), maybe they’ll give youth a chance in the form of Bruma… ahem, no, it’s Chelsea we’re talking about, they don’t do that. Silly me. Or maybe they’ll go into the season with a rightback at centreback, wait for Alex to get well soon and keep their fingers crossed that Telboy doesn’t get his dick caught in anything illegal.

    For the record, I think we’ll have a new centreback in the bag by the end of the month. I won’t despair if we don’t – I’ll just be spending home games hidden behind the bloke in front, clutching his leather jacket to my eyes each time Koscielny goes in for a tackle.

  321. Chelsea, IMO, would fail to compete with the squad they are left with..

  322. Maria and Finsbury:

    It felt like we improved after Sol and TV started to play together. Can’t prove it. I know we shipped lots of goals with WG in the lineup.

    Finsbury: I know TV will be our most stay at home defender this year. As Ateeb said the other night. Fingers crossed.

  323. No guts, no glory.

    Brian Clough said going unbeaten was better then winning the EC/CL.
    Interesting opinion. Comparing Malmo to a 10-man Arsenal (Poor Jens! Evil, game destroying ref.) against they who shall not be named, I can understand what he’s saying.

    What could be better then taking up Forest and setting that original record, he said.

    I wonder.

  324. thanks to ole gunnerluc, limpers and all else that have broken down our goals conceeded and brought out the obvious clnclusion that almunia is actually one of the best keepers in the league.

    Hope he get his form fully back having put aside whatever was troubling him last season.

    1. Keysersoze, Steww, gunnerluc, Finsbury, dsqd, Limpar, Els, IndianGooner, waz, mj_gunner. Team Spirit

    2. Goonerandy




    No contest in making this choice really. we are actually good enough! not just sentiments.

  325. ysersoze, Steww, gunnerluc, Finsbury, dsqd, Limpar, Els, IndianGooner, waz, mj_gunner, Firstlady, A Gooner among others; FunGunner.

    2. Goonerandy



    And the Carling Cup for the kiddies.

  326. Keysersoze, you have to keep updating the list or else find a better method cos some persons that posted earlier will end up having their names left out

  327. And I second TS’s thank you for the stats.

  328. Good post on Fabianski and the youth policy YW.

    Any one asking to abandon the Youth policy doesn’t really care about the future of this club, they only care about themselves and what they gain. What will they gain? A trophy to brag about in their life time and who of them cares after they’re gone if Arsenal existed or vanished?

    The Youth policy is the only way forward and if you think the economy is bad now, think again, 10 years from now it will be much much worse and if you’re not ready with a good plan, you’ll be going going gone faster than you think.

    As for Fabianski and goal keepers in general, it’s all about confidence in yourself and your defense. Arsene said recently and I believe it’s true, the only thing stopping this current squad from winning anything is the “Confidence” in their ability to win things.

    If we continue to doubt them in every turn, we won’t be doing them – or ourselves – any favors.

  329. Anyone noticed Arsenal footballers’ penchant for absolutely massive headphones? These guys clearly don’t have to catch the N53 very often.

  330. @ Waz

    Re Chamakh. I think if Wenger starts him, he will play down the middle, which he seems to relish. Bearing in mind of course how fluid our front three positions are. A French journalist on ATVO last season had watched Chamakh a lot and said he was a real workhorse. So perhaps he will be there to do a lot of the donkey work for AA/Bendtner/whoever and RVP.

  331. “This was the club where I learnt my football, it is my home town where my friends and family are and a club where I have always dreamed of playing. ”

    Don’t make me laugh Cesc. Reading that you’d think that Barca was a better team than Arsenal and had won more trophies. You’re having a laugh.

  332. @ G4E

    The irony is everybody else is copying us now, except Money City. AFC trailblazing once again.

  333. you’re having a laugh aren’t u? six years of youth policy with no trophies … feels like ground hog day looms every season … sucking the life out of me. Have we no other ideas to make it work that hanging on forever?

  334. if it’s really sucking the life out of you, you would be dead by now….

  335. yeah that’s about right … lets change the record … bored of the same tune about how great wenger’s doin.

  336. G4E we can dream

  337. What do you like and believe in Gunnerstu? What interests and excites you? Maybe there is a blog about it and maybe we could all go over there and spout shite about it.
    You pathetic excuse for a human.

  338. yes we can dream because we’re never going to get a good manager willing to get 2 or 3 world class players to lift the team to not just a good team … but a GREAT team that goes down in history as one of the best ever.

  339. World domination? Dr. Evil?

  340. oooeeey … you sharpening your nails and getting your handbag out 4 a fight then you sissy?

  341. according to, Juventus & Wolfsberg have agreed a 16m fee Euro for Diego..
    another example of a big money-world class player deal failing miserably..

  342. Unfortunately Steww those single-cell primal creatures don’t need much to survive. So we will be plagued with them for a long time even if we win all the trophies on the planet.

    I remember some were complaining during the Invincibles season that we drew so many games 🙂

  343. steww talkin to u you, u betty boo.

    u bully are you just going to try and shout me down with insults or r u going to have an inteeligent conversation for once?

  344. fuck off james.

  345. Team Spirit and FunGunner:

    Almunia did lose his place as #1 twice last year. He also had a miserable shots on goal/goal ratio.

    Just not sure I understand your confidence.

  346. You know what Stu? Plenty of teams have had to go for far longer periods of time than us without silverware, and not one of those got to watch the standard of football we do. So grow up or shut up.

  347. OneOfUs-5:38 pm


    Or perhaps they do, and they arnen’t headphones at all…just fashionable plastic cases packed tightly with acoustic mineral wool.

  348. thanks bill … at last some reality. some of the others on this site talk as if everything is smelling roses … does not make me a bad fan for wanting better for the team.

  349. @gunnerstu
    six years of youth policy with no trophies … feels like ground hog day looms every season
    Same thing Barça fans were saying. Look where they are now.

  350. you’re not an Arsenal fan james.

    fuck off.

  351. Been hearing Tasci’s name mentioned more and more. As a less than avid follower of German football what’s the crack with him?

  352. true wengerball but Barca mix youth with exprience and star quality much better than us … hence their results. i just wish wenger would mix it a bit.

  353. Limpar’s post @ 2:50

    Awesome post.

  354. notlager

    I think the troll doesn’t like it when people mock the Sp*ds?
    YW’s bait the other day was a beauty.

    Makes you wonder why the sado-masochistic freak keeps on reading.

    Hang on. I think I’ve just answered my own question.

  355. Supercod – I know German football pretty well. Tesci is a very good player. Quite strong and no-nonsense. Not the biggest but very aggressive. Also good on the ball. He would be a good signing.

  356. Question: what’s worse than a spud insulting an arsenal fan?

    Answer: an arsenal fan calling a fellow arsenal fan a spud. playground bullies that’s all you guys are …thugs with a GSCE but not much else.

  357. @ Waz

    I haven’t seen Nordtveit play except in pre-season. All I know is that he played RB and CM a lot while on loan. He seemed to me to do very well at RB in the pre-season games. Intelligent accurate distribution, good pace and good positional sense.

  358. You only have to type “Spurs” in google and you’re a mouse click away from your true destination.
    It’s not that difficult James.

  359. Goonerandy, possibly sounds like a bit of a clone of what we already have.

    Onto more serious matters what a tragedy about Adam Stansfield.

  360. I suppose he is a bit TV5 like. No bad thing.

  361. Notlager perhaps u should start drinking lager cos you sure are anal and a bit higly strung. is it that time of month by chance?

  362. Theo starts…

  363. …Lennon is dropped.

  364. Sorry.


  365. Capello also seems to have bucked the trend of England managers and is actually playing people in their natural posistion – whatever next..?

  366. Seeing you’re not capable of finding a proper sp*d site yourself let me give you some help, James.

  367. And just in time too, Supercod!

    Oh no, wait…. 6 weeks late.

  368. LimparA – I’m a conspiracy theorist, the WC squad/team was picked by the FA to safeguard the advertising revenue brought in by the chav friendly ‘big names’. Capello, with a career littered with success everywhere he’s been, was paid a shit load of cash to get on with it and keep his mouth shut (though he did drop a bollock early on by saying he’d only pick players one form and who were playing regularly). Now he’ll be given a freer hand as the ‘golden generation’ get eased out…..just a theory though mind..!!!!!

  369. That’s some theory, Supercod.

    But I don’t understand… Lampard and Gerrard were told to spend all 3 games looking at the ground, whistling with their hands in the pockets? Wearing elaborate disguises and hiding behind potplants and letterboxes… anything to evade a pass and avoid having a touch of the ball?

    I know they did it. I saw it with my own eyes… I just can’t understand how that could impact positively on the advertising revenue of their ‘brand’ names.

  370. “Just thought I’d pop and say to all of those clamouring for Schwarzer:

    Where were you on the last day of last season because you couldn’t have been at The Emirates…


    I was there Yogi, so I’m certainly not clamouring, but if the manager thinks he is the right player for that position I’ll get behind him just as I will if it turns out to be Fabianski, Almunia or A N Other.

    This whole debate is quite tiresome because as I recall football is a team game and apart from 3 or 4 obvious goalkeeping errors, the rest of the goals are down to errors by other players or failure to execute the defensive game plan by the whole team. It’s not fair that one player is the scapegoat for what is a team failing. But I shouldn’t be surprised as that is a typical doomer trait. When they don’t like players they only remember their mistakes, but popular players who also make mistakes are only remembered for their good points e.g. Vermaelen and Arshavin to name but two.

    I can’t find the full list, but you can add me too

    1. Passenal

  371. I don’t think Nordveit would be the 4th CB as Arsene has said that he is not ready yet and he is looking outside the club for a solution. I certainly think Alex Song would play CB before him. He will probably get a few games/sub appearances at RB this season and maybe play CB in the CC games.

  372. spot on, passenal

  373. For all those who want a BIG centre-back, I recommend Gunnersaurus. He’s big, and have you noticed how his expression never changes? That means he never gets intimidated.

  374. ha ha aaditya

  375. We are not buying any keepers. We already have 4.

  376. Come on Theo and Keiran and Jack!

  377. The squad are in their jimjams.

  378. he did bill?

    We were were told he was out injured or else when he had a personal problem to deal with… i think someone close died or was sick or something…

    Dont know how that translated to losing his number one place and it also buttresses the point that he did not alone contribute to conceding the 41 goals conceded

  379. On the keepers:

    I really want Almunia to start. Maybe he’s made a few mistakes, but on the whole, he makes good decisions when it comes to shot-stopping and the like. A lot of what he is slated for, (goal against Birmingham comes to mind) is not really his fault.

    Fabianski, I’ll be honest, I’ve never really liked, even when everybody said he’d be great a couple of years ago. Still, if he ends being first choice, I will support him to no end, and hope that he makes use of his potential.

    Mannone, well I wish I’d seen more of him, but he seems like a great keeper. Unfortunately for him, great doesn’t even begin to describe….

    Szczesny, who is absolutely top class and definitely an Arsenal no.1 in a couple of years, and for a long time to come.

  380. I actually think, apart from 1 or 2 changes, this should have been the England line up at the WC.
    BTW, what time does the game start?

  381. All our keepers are actually a lot better than we give them credit for (even Szczesny, because you cannot give him enough credit). The reason we concede too much for most people’s liking is that our team is geared more on attacking. In other words, 3-1 is better than 2-0. Oftentimes, it leaves our keepers stranded in positions where they have to make choices which no other keepers normally ever think about, and if they choose wrong, it tends to look like more of a howler than it is. I actually don’t mind how many we’ve conceded, I want us to be the first team to win the league conceding more than a goal a game (even Wenger said that it could happen soon)

  382. What did Capello change exactly?

  383. Any other teenagers here? I personally found it a little chilling when I found out that Aneke was less than half a year older than I am. Makes one feel like one has accomplished nothing.

  384. @G4E – Theo, Adam Johnson, Jagielka, Hart IN
    formations will be gerrard & lampard in CM with barry as DM; theo & johnson as wing forwards, shrek the lone striker.
    I actually think people fail to recognize Jaielka’s abilities, he was the best defender in 08-09 season.

  385. Being an England fan has almost nothing to do with me living or being born in England, it almost depends entirely on if there are any Arsenal players in the team. It’s a strange feeling and I wonder if I am alone in thinking this way (I very much doubt it) but I cannot bring myself to like or enjoy watching the current crop of England players. Although why ITV are so keen on them being boo’d is beyond me.

  386. So 4 players out of 11? He should have played Walcott and Hart in the world cup anyways. So basically two changes.

  387. yes, & Jagielka too in place of that Upson bloke

  388. Team Spirit @7:54 pm – fantastic use of the word buttresses.

  389. Anyone who calls an Arsenal player “Flapianski” should be head butteded. Ooops. Did I say that? Exactly the same mentality that boo’d Eboue and brayed like donkeys for Song to go and laughed at Bendtner. Fabianski will prove to be a very good keeper. There’s a reason he’s rated.

  390. I was just looking at the Arsenal squad list on the .com. Eboue is now listed as a midfielder – is that new or did I just not notice last season? It’s also interesting that he has also been playing midfield for Ivory Coast in recent games.

    P.S. I also love that the official website is fully on board with the cult of Eboue, get this for a headline!

    “International Watch: Eboue wins against Italy”

  391. Oh my, the pundits for the England game are having a go at Theo with the same old “you really don’t know what you’re going to get with him” bullshit. He’s been England’s most dangerous player thus far and these motherfuckers still look for ways to berrate him.

  392. LOL passenal, meanwhile, theo has put in two brilliant crosses into the box..hes having a fine game

  393. ……..worst steak i ever tasted……nah, fuck off. that was a bmw………and dont mention the gaps………….there aint any….oh…. i’m off bull riding……well, trying to…….bye….sleep good.

  394. President Eboue Dada (thanks to Steww) would be a better headline Passenal.

    The legend of Eboue should shame the doomers. But they are shameless. That is why I support ZimPaul @ 8:24 pm. Fabianski and Scezzer are our future.

  395. After his brace at Legia Warsaw, they’ll be listing Eboue as a striker soon.

  396. GB69 you’re right the only thing good about the “new” England team is Walcott and Hart.

  397. Any one knows if Rosicky is playing and how is he doing?

  398. FunGunner @ 8:40 pm – Ha, ha, it wouldn’t surprise me. There was a time, in early 2009 i think it was that Eboue was described as ‘the Arsenal goal machine’ by our stadium announcer after going on a scoring streak.

    All credit to him for silencing the idiots and showing why some fans need to have a little more faith at times. Yet still some have not learned their lesson!

  399. @ Gainsbourg69 on August 11, 2010
    at 8:36 pm, that’s why even with 3 Arsenal players in the squad I still can’t bring myself to watch the game. I’ll have to stay in touch with your comments because I just can’t listen to those commentators and pundits and ITV are the worst of the lot!

  400. Adrian Chiles is a total prick.

  401. Gunner4ever

    The Czech are wining 4-0 against latvia but no Rosicky on the score sheet and can’t see if he is working

  402. playing sorry lol

  403. Nasri is playing for france 0-0 at half time

  404. Vela and Cesc are playing and it’s 1-0 for Mexico goal by Hernandez.

  405. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    What’s ridiculous is you comparing an organic club like Arsenal to a the Chavs of the baseball world. You’re mental, Bill. To put forth the argument that Yankees fans spur their teams on to championships by booing their players is ludicrous. And best fans in the world? Get real. The Yankees buy their success year after year. Next your going to tell us your favorite EPL team Chelsea have the best fans in the world. Bwahaha. Yankees fans are regarded as being the most spoiled and obnoxious fans you’ll come across in any support and there really is no comparison to be drawn. Then again I don’t even know why I engage with someone who fancies Boy George as one of Britain’s most esteemed song writers.

  406. Thanks for the updates, gunnerluc.

  407. gibbs is a beast

  408. Thanks gunnerluc

  409. Thanks for the updates gunnerluc

  410. That was handball by Zamora.
    But he’s English.

  411. Gibbs is having a very composed, mature game. He looks like he’s been in the team for years!

  412. I see you’re getting the hang of the rules, notlager.

  413. shoulder notlager!

    Did you see the hungary goal? Don’t thing this ref is pro anglais.

  414. Not so good to see Gerrard scoring (on the pitch!) days before we face them!

  415. Forearm, actually. But the Hungarian “goal” should not have stood.

  416. Jackie Wilshere coming on!

  417. Jack!!!!

  418. Funny how Gerard played better after Terry and Lampard were gone

  419. Mexico looking quite dangerous

  420. Mexico are a great team…..

    That Hernandez is a great signing for Man U. He will be sharing the goals with Rooney next season I think.

    Won’t be enough to stop the mighty Arsenal though.

  421. I’ll be very happy if spain lose even if the goal is scored by a manure player

  422. What time did the Spain game start?

  423. I wouldn’t be so quick to ‘big up’ Hernandez deano, remember Macheda? He also make an instant impact and then disappeared and wasn’t there a Rossi who did something similar a few years ago?

  424. about an hour ago, Fun.

  425. Spain match started an hour ago. 2nd half to come.

  426. So how did our boys do in the game?

  427. Thanks notllager and Paul N.

  428. I am watching this link for anyone who is interested.

  429. Apparently Manure have signed a striker called Bebe.

    Which means “baby”.

    Now it really will be men against babies.

  430. Vela subbed early in the second. Hopefully he is ok.

    I believe he went for glory when instead of passing when there was a very good opportunity.

  431. Well played Theo and Gibbs. both did well.

  432. Everyone survive without injury?

  433. I hope it was planned so he gets a rest Paul N and nothing to do with injury. Is Cesc still playing?

  434. Thanks goonerandy

  435. I only got to see some of the second half and Gibbs didnt look out of place at all. I also thought Ashley Young did well.

    If Capello stays with the youngsters England could “really” be something special by the WC14

  436. Im not sure if Cesc is still on, I am watching on and off. Give me a sec.

  437. One thing for sure is Mexico is schooling spain at the moment.

    Should be up by more than 1.

  438. Cesc was subbed at half time

  439. He starts for a friendly and rides the bench in the WC. cheek!

  440. I thought Adam Johnson brought something different to the England team. Him cutting in from the right gave the Hungarians a lot of problems. Theo on the left, a la Titi, and Johnson on the right should be fun to watch.

    Cappello should stop using Lampard altogether. Without him on the pitch England looked fluid and moved the ball around freely. Barry and Carrick with Gerrard infront of them would be a much better midfield, in my opinion.

    Vela was substituted but wasn’t injured. They’re playing at altitude and he’s probably exhausted.

  441. I’m glad spain and Mexico are not over-using our players. 45 mins each was probably enough. They may still be able to play some part on Sunday.

  442. cesc should marouane is playing right now morocco are losing 1-0 at the moment unfortunately though, come on marouane yallaah

  443. Thanks Zap, I’ll have to find out the result in the morning, beddy-byes are calling! Fingers crossed he comes through unscathed.

  444. i have a feeling chamakh will zap liverpool’s net come sunday.

    And also, when is capello gonna realise that playing lampard or gerrard makes them a genius, but together they are just a pair of fat lumps

  445. zap

    algeria 0 gabon 1 at half-time.daniel cousin scored for les gabonais.

  446. United just signed a homeless guy for 7.4mil

  447. Cashley will not last in an England shirt, Gibbs is simply fantastic on the ball cool head great runs down the flanks. another one needs to worry is Clichy because Gibbs is ready for the big time.

  448. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    I had no clue there was a homeless World Cup, Harsh. That’s wicked.

  449. karim..les fennecs ended up losing 2-0..

    morocco won 2-1 vs guinea

    So i think all our players came through unhurt tonight, hopefully anyway

  450. We need a defender, it seems like Spheric will come by the looks of things.

    The goalkeeper issue can go either way. Im not confident in Fabianski’s abilities. Great shot stopper but weak at commanding his area and corners.

    The Allardyces of the Premier League will pounce on that.

    Animals may seem stupid to sophisticated people like us, but make no mistake, animals are very cunning and they can sense weakness.

    Its Allardyce’s way of showing everyone that he is a tactical genius.

    Bravo Allardyce, youre a complete manager now.

  451. Especially walruses.

  452. Any injuries from this round of meaningless friendlies? Good thing Holland decided to play their second string entirely./

  453. I will compile the prediction and post it when I have a bit of time. But it seems most have predicted Arsenal to be on top, which must mean that the doomers have not put their swingers on the line.

  454. Keysersoze, they can’t predict how well we might do only how badly everything is going now. Ingrates. Michael Vaughan said he was appalled when he first went to Australia with the England cricket team that some players had no expectation of winning. He thought they’d lost before they stepped onto the pitch.
    Real players believe they can win everything, real managers believe in their teams and real fans believe their chosen side is the greatest.
    I only accept we won’t win the league when it becomes mathematically impossible so to do. How is any other position tenable or defensible?

  455. Agree with steww at 8:01 am.

    Belief is what differentiates fans from others..

  456. The last time I allowed despair and gloom to overtake me in relation to The Arsenal was May 13th 1989. We lost 2-1 to Derby when the league was ours for the taking. We had thrown it away and I threw my toys out of the pram.
    When we failed to beat Wimbledon in our next game I knew my doom and gloom had been proved right. Why I bothered to watch our last game against the mighty Liverpool (who had all the media and public sympathy to go with their incredible record and ‘world class’ players) I don’t know.
    The team proved to me that night that they were better players than I was a supporter and I had to up my game to be worthy of them. It seems some have the same painful lesson still to learn.

  457. I remember that feeling only to well Steww. Agree with your 8.01 post entirely.

  458. If we didn’t believe, why do we bother to follow the team as avidly as we do?

    Good to see Theo get some praise from the fickle media, but they’ll be back slating him soon enough so I hope he takes it with a large pinch of salt.

  459. That night in muddypool changed my mind about supporting till the last chance has gone. Then just enjoying the rest of the ride.

  460. Passenal, most of the media agreed with Capello when he left Theo out. How soon they change.

  461. Excellent point Steww @ 8.17 am. Let’s hope our players have a lot more belief than some of our supporters!

  462. How does that song go again? Ah, “…when will they ever learn….”

  463. Quote of the day (Stew 8.01 am):

    “Real players believe they can win everything, real managers believe in their teams and real fans believe their chosen side is the greatest.

    “I only accept we won’t win the league when it becomes mathematically impossible so to do. How is any other position tenable or defensible?

  464. Hope this is nothting serious:

    “Wilshere didn’t play much because on Tuesday night he was at the hospital. He had some problems, some big pain. He returned from the hospital about 5am. For this reason he only played ten minutes because the doctors said he cannot play a lot.” – Capello

  465. Fabianski, Almunia and Manonononone are all good 3rd place in the premiereship players, shall we agree on that, but if we want higher though we must get a better keeper and ask the great evoluter in the sky for some injury luck as well. Keepers tend to be relatively cheap and we have money, the rest we must leave to the manager, who, if I was religiously inclined, would come close to what I envisage ‘the creator’ as being. It is in my opinion urgent for the title race et al.

  466. Thanks SA Gooner – we had a great conversation going and you manage to change the subject to our keepers being third rate.

  467. Luke, the doctors say he cannot play and still he comes on..? and international managers wonder why they get stick….

  468. Stewwwww,

    I’m a little worried about you. Just so you know, I have developed a new style of Yoga which I feel you could benefit from. Its been engineered to relax the mind and free the soul. Let me know if you are interested.

  469. If Flapman starts at Anfield its a defeat

  470. I remember Fabianski starting at Anfield and it not being a loss.

  471. Yeah thanks to Arshavin.He did let in FOUR Ole

  472. So did Pepe Reina.

  473. Duh!

  474. To be fair, Fabianski struggles against crowded boxes and high balls into the box. Neither Liverpool (under Rafa) or Woy really play that style of football. If Fabianski plays I’m confident he’ll be fine, Arshevin v Carragher on the other hand will hopefully be carnage…

  475. Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya;
    Kum bay ya, the Lord, kum bay ya;
    Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya,
    O Lord, kum bay ya.

  476. Yawn!!!! YW your going to have to get that post up. Please please.

  477. Hey Steww am I right in thinking the other day you said you were taking the dog for a walk, having a guitar lesson then watching the ATVO training sess. Then yesterday you mentioned a bike ride? Or am I getting me peeps confused?

    If so your living the dream Fellah. I’m green with envy. How do you do it.

  478. Els – I work at the local technical college and am on a term time contract. I have so many holidays it’s untrue!

  479. Pleased for Theo, Kieran and Jack last night. The pendulum is swinging our way again, unlike poor Senderos who you have got to have huge sympathy for. God, the ‘keeper debate is dull! I’ll go for Mannone. There seems to be less pressure on him than the others who all appear a bit startled at the moment!

  480. If we must talk keepers, who’s your favourite ever Arsenal keeper? Bob Wilson was my first, I even got his autograph when I was little. Can’t say I was a huge fan of Geoff Barnett but I loved Pat Jennings despite the smell of Spurs.

  481. Aaaaaaa. Nice one! I remember when you were reshuffling your day to watch the Training session, I nearly keeled over with envy.

  482. I’ll have to go for Seaman.

    And yes poor Sendo the bloke must be trashed.

  483. els – drawback is very poor pay, horrible students and threat of redundancy.

  484. Jens for me, steww!

  485. Yes massively pleased for Theo, jack and keiran. In 2014 England-Arsenal equation could very well be like the current Spain-Barcelona one. Walcott, Wilshere, Gibbs, Lansbury, Jay Emannuel Thomas and bartley all starting.

  486. Someones talking shite, Kum bay ya,
    Someones talking shite, Kum bay ya,
    Someones talking shite, Kum bay ya,
    Oh Lord, Kumbaya

  487. Hmmm, I have decided that I find you very boring James.

  488. Steww i’m really sorry but that makes me feel better. 🙂 Only joking mate. Yeah I can probably join you with a few of those issues but thankfully not the god damn students.

    Kaiser and also Arsenal could have a Barca thing going then, promoted youth that have served their time with each other. But with a lot more class and less arrogance.

  489. Dave Seaman. Maybe I’ve mythologized him in my mind somewhat but when I was growing up that thick emerald green goalkeeping top with the navy blue shoulder pads, the neat little moustache and the deep, warm reassuring Rotheram accent – something about it all made me think everything would always be ok with big Dave in goal.

  490. goonerandy,

    That was a bit mean. I thought we was homeboys?

  491. I agree with limpar. I have to admit I once got a twinge when he described himself as the cock of his school. 🙂


  492. Nah mate. I am an Arsenal fan.

  493. Just ignore it Andy it’ll go away.

    Did you hear the news yesterday about Queens of the Stoneage doing a gig purely of the Rated R album? It was going to be at Leeds and Reading I think. Then they instantly dismissed it. I was gutted cos it looks like i’m going this year.

  494. Els – I am seeing them next week at Pukelpop, and the week after in Hamburg. It is nice they are touring without an album to plug, hopefully the set will be good mix and plenty of the earlier stuff. Really looking forward it it.

    Rumors abound that Lanegan will join them at Pukelpop as he also has a set there. That would be perfect.

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