Arsenal Untamed

ZimPaul has an African perspective on The Arsenal:

Arsenal this season offers, I hope, a ride of courage, desire and adventure. Those who prefer a soap opera of clichés – heroic English tackling, perfect goalkeepers and hard-nut midfielders – are going to be frustrated. Three stories have dominated pre-season: the mind-numbing chant of Cesc to Barca; keeper; defence. Solve it all by buying … blah, blah, blah. Let’s toss these ingredients into the pot and see what we have.

I was resigned to Fabregas leaving; I was wrong. He is staying because Arsenal finds themselves in a financial and contractual fortress that’s taken years to construct. Cesc says he’s a professional and committed to Arsenal, flattered by the awkward lunges of his childhood club with a “well, who wouldn’t want to play with them?” sort of shrug. Given his origins, he’s a got a point and it doesn’t matter, for now. Wenger says he remains captain.

It’s an immense development after uncertain months. It’s not just that Fabregas is that good; it’s that he represents the first fruits of a compelling youth policy nurtured so thanklessly and doggedly, now positioned to influence the club, football and England for years to come. I imagine that Cesc’s desire, ‘the look in his eyes’ and Wenger’s astute management of his creative combustion will fuel our team.

I am neither ecstatic nor glum about Almunia as our main keeper. Fabianski is in with a shout, and two mighty talents challenging but nothing has changed. Arsene toyed with the idea of a new keeper, and couldn’t find one with a proven record who was any better than Almunia or Fabianski and reasoned from that standpoint. I think we will be surprised to discover that Arsene probably made the right decision not to panic.

As for our defence, it has never been about purchasing shiny bio-mechanical replacements for Gallas and Campbell, but about building a coherent system of defence around a style of attacking play. RvP likened us to Barcelona. I do think, from what little I’ve seen, that Kos is every bit the replacement for Gallas and that Djourou will outplay the Campbell of last season but we are one short.

As Arsenal fans, we are drip-fed a media-saturated debate that lives and breathes the quintessential symbol of English manhood, Manchester United. They are a caricature of sorts much like Liverpool were. Wenger retorts: decide what you want, a swollen national ego or the world’s best league? It is a profound and provocatively far-reaching statement, an Arsenal-centric view for which the media does not care.

If pundits talked about Arsenal’s positive attributes, without caveats and spoke about the enticing energy around the young players, their style, technical ability and the club’s financial humility, bleak attitudes would fade. But they do not. We are framed always in terms of something that is not Arsenal. And so it comes out like this, take one team that lacks spine, make a sauce with Cesc to Barca, add keeper, defence, stir by buying: as the only things that might taste good to us.

The biggest story of this pre-season, of the last 5 years, and I propose the last 13 years and the next 5 years to boot, is the flowering of youth. It started with Cesc, and in years to come I think he will understand how his role was so much more than ‘just a great player’. I won’t list them, look at the website.

I mention Gibbs, Bendtner, Diaby, Walcott, Ramsey, Denilson and Wilshere as younger players, groomed at Arsenal or who came in young and unproven. They will announce themselves in coming seasons. But who knows which ones – it might be also Eastmond, Frimpong, Randall, JET or Nordveit. When Gibbs, about to become an English certainty, donned an Arsenal first team shirt I confess I had never seen him play. Weren’t we all amazed?

Quite how the media has not realised what is happening at Arsenal is beyond me.

The second biggest story is the foresight of Arsenal’s Emirates move and how the financial ‘lock-down’ anticipated the coming financial turbulence which has rocked the ownership and player structure of major European clubs. It is now being grudgingly emulated by some English clubs. Why is this not the news? This year’s transfer movement says it all.

But there are real challenges that media has pounced on. The first is defence, our Achilles heel. It’s taking longer to resolve than we hoped. Those who think Wenger doesn’t appreciate this are deluded. However, to think that any old monster defender from any playing system provides an answer is ludicrously unArsenal. The problem is more simple and nuanced: to instil an effective defensive system – with the right players – into an attacking one? People say we are fragile at set-pieces, so is every team.

The painful goals are those conceded with defensive naiveté. The best teams play us by counter-attack and then press home the psychological advantage. 41 goals conceded is 11 too many to take a title. But which 11 should we not have conceded last season? Every keeper will make 4 or 5 clangers a season, it’s not those. Every team will concede at set-pieces. For me, it is awareness of the danger of fast counter-attack first and careless attention outside the box second that cost us 11 goals and 4 pivotal matches at decisive moments.

The second is that we were close to, but lost the title last year which signals psychological frailty. The truth is the most obvious, that young players do not have mental stamina of their older counterparts. When Evra taunted us that we lack ‘players of character’ he was, in a cruel way, right. But yesterday is not today, players mature through hard knocks, they learn from adversity.

The most critical intangible of any campaign, the one where I do recognise SAF is the psychology of winning. Do we have it? If we do, we will win the title. I’m tempted to say that if Diaby has it for more than half a season we will win the title anyway.

The third is that we do want a trophy now. The players want it, need it. The project needs it. Success does breed success. But it must not play on our minds. You produce brilliance when you do not fear failure. This is what I want: a season where the players do not fear what people think and papers say, and so play unfettered, with a mesmerising passion and crazy self-belief that has pundits open-mouthed.

I want Arsenal untamed, free-style, no second-guessing ourselves but doing what we do best, the art of the impossible. Memories are my trophy. Arsenal, make memories for me! And if I don’t get this trophy, I will be disappointed. So should you. Silverware is just an alluring veneer of shiny metal you toss in the cabinet. I am talking about keeping it real.

This Arsenal is there, almost. Is this what Wenger means when he says “we are close”? You can see it flow so easily in Robin van Persie, the footballer and the man who more than any, even Cesc, personifies the hardest art of all – to ‘express yourself’. I recognise it in Rosicky, Eboue and Clichy, in Denilson (to digress a second because Denilson is the player most usually pointed at as not good enough for Arsenal, remember a free kick that Wenger later said he had no idea that Denilson might take), in Nasri, Arshavin and increasingly Walcott, in Gibbs, Vermaelen and now Chamakh – each with roles to play in a team system, each with their way of expressing spontaneity.

Midfield and attack? I think it will become the stuff of legend these coming seasons. The simple fact of football is that you win in every way by scoring more goals than the opposition, not by conceding less; the difference is more subtle than we admit. Attack on, Arsenal, is what I say, but watch your back.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on August 18, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 263 Comments.

  1. I hope RVP expresses himself by staying injury free and scoring 20 and assisting another 15 or so!

  2. Though with Robin, the sky is the limit. If our attack clicks, he might easily grab 30. Honestly.

  3. Love these blogs Yogi and co – this time Zimpaul. The positivity is great but not as far to be so deluded to not criticise the team also. Good work.

  4. Many people- Stewart Robson can’t keep banging on about him – think Diaby can be the key. He just needs to figure things out himself and if he does, he can be such a dynamic player

  5. Brilliant post. Really loved the optimistic spin with which the post is written. There is too much written about Arsenal in a negative hue that its refreshing to see such posts

  6. Zimpaul, I have to say, that is one of the (if not the) best articles I have read this summer. It was written with stunning clarity and deep appreciation for the game itself as well as the historical, cultural, and economic contexts surrounding it.

    The Boss is truly a genius and is rightly lionized for sticking to his principles when every other force in the game would try to tempt him to do otherwise.

    I believe wholeheartedly in the Boss and our team and know that both kinds of trophies are on their way in droves.

  7. Brain you’re on the money there.if diaby sorts out especially his defensive game AA will be freed and clichy will get adequate help on his wing.he can be our powerhouse in midfield but he needs some fine tuning.

  8. Full-Blooded American Goon

    inspired, well-written post. well done.

  9. Brilliant post. If only all gooners had such good judgement & knowledge of the game in its current state.

  10. I was going to post this on the other thread but I might as well post it here.

    Here’s where a typical doomer gets his info:

  11. Written by a cunt, for cunts.

  12. Great, positive article. Thanks for the well thought out and reasoned approach. Yes, we do NEED silverware this season.

  13. Thanks ZP, brilliant. We are the Arsenal.

  14. I was going to post this on the other thread but I might as well post it here.

    Here’s where a typical doomer gets his info:

  15. Sorry, the first one wouldn’t let me embed.

  16. I doubt anyone’s ever let you embed my son.

  17. Great article, set me up for the day nicely in wet and windy South Australia this morning.

    Missing the buzz so these blogs keep me involved.

    What is it about people like Pez, why do Spuds or Mancs spend all their time on Gooner websites…… crawl back under your trapdoor Gimp.

  18. Loved it man! This is the way we need to be. Rock On Arsenal.

  19. Spot on!

  20. Thank you ZimPaul. Your arguments sum up exactly my thoughts about this team until the meltdown in May. We were soooooo close, but a combination of injuries – we all forget those- and a lack of self belief in the players themselves contrived to make for a dissapointing end to the season. Were Barca that good? Or did we make them look good? Messi, trust me, will never ever have as great a game as he did in the Nou Camp when HE, no one else, destroyed us. A freak result in my opinion. Importantly, have the players learned from that? Hopefully yes, but only time will tell. For the first time every single player is being qouted on the official Arsenal website as being driven towards that first trophy, the desire is certainly there, keep Cesc as the man who wears the armband, but the true “skipper” on the pitch MUST be Vermaelen. George Graham always argued that any successful team needs a spine, we are vitually there, Vermaelen, Cesc and RVP, unfortunately we do not have a keeper we can rely on. Ermmm hang on, maybe we do. The problems with Almunia and Fabianski are always related to whether to stay on the line or control the area yeah? Well hello Vermaelen, he should be barking orders until they gain their confidence again. Just a thought EIE

  21. The consensus seems to be that Diaby just lacks the belief to take the next step and take command of matches, he’s still a bit too worried about his own performances. He is an incredibly skilful player (I used to call him the new zidane) but is mentally fragile, and if things aren’t going well he hides. I don’t know if that’s a fair assessment, but if it is what can you do? Make him see a therapist to release that beast? Keep playing him there to try and build up his confidence?

    Maybe these players just need to win a trophy to really start believing they are not just pretenders but greats themselves.

  22. great piece of writing..

  23. Mongolian Gooner

    “Memories are my trophy” well said.

    @chengiskhan at 12:33 am: Where are you from?

  24. Pez as an obvious spuds fan. Why do you bother spending your time reading arsenal blogs ? If i even tried looking up a spud blog my laptop would kill itself . Envy is the ugliest of all maidens (having never met your mum)

  25. Great article. Well thought out and written with a knowlege of how our club is going about things.

    Agree with ladygooner bout diaby, and alot of the squad really. It seems like they dont believe in themselves as much as i and im sure alot of other people believe in them. Also heard the other day that weve got a new phsycologist (?) on the backroom staff.

    Theres so much about fabianski i like, his speed of the line to intercept, he has no fear in diving at a players feet, shotstopping. It just seems that when the ball comes from a set piece he has too much time to think and is left in 2minds.

    We are so close and i expect good things from this season, just need those couple of signings that im sure will come and no more boo boys. Cos thats wot a player with low confidence doesnt need.

    Lets get back to closing down the ball like we did at the start of last season.

    Rvp will be major vocal player this season, saw him warming up and barking orders at pool on sunday.

    Looking forward to the first he ge on saturday.

    Up the gunners!

  26. Sorry lady arsenal:)

  27. Thank you Zim Paul, good read! Gains 69, you just had to bring up doomers didnt you.. This is a Arsenal blog you prick!

  28. ZimPaul, very nice piece. Thanks

  29. Young Boys, clap clap clap

  30. A truly inspired and well articulated article by ZP.
    Probably the best I have read this summer. Write more!

  31. Zimpaul. You raise the bar even higher. I doff my cap to you sir.

  32. A piece of my mind too !
    Thanks for the well-organized article. I can only say, brilliant mate.

  33. Tiny Totts manager: “…I watched them train on the pitch, I watched them work and I watched them not feel happy…they weren’t comfortable on the pitch in training”
    Tiny totts captain: “We trained on the pitch last night so it wasn’t a problem”

  34. Lady A..

    I ain’t going to bite your head off… would like to say fair points on Diaby. I am quite amazed in how he consistently is the most inconsistent!!! By this I mean, you will see him have 5 extoardinary games, completely making each game his own, then having a poor run of 2 or 3 games where everything he does don’t come off.

    I think Arshavin is in that sort of patch right now, but Diaby seems to be on a knife edge when it comes to his confidence. He is a very good player for us, I remember a couple seasons back he wa stuck out on the left and he didnt do too bad there. Then he had a few games behind the CF where he was again very impressive and was key to some very emphatic wins.

    There is no doubt about his ability, and he has a good goal return for a midfielder. I expect him to play a major role this season. He was [probably France’s best player at the WC.. even though that isn’t quite an achievement!

  35. An exceptionaly well delivered and well balanced post Zimpaul. Unfotunately I feel we are not only drip feed but thoroughly doused in the media driven anti Arsenal spin…. Talk about missing the obvious positives.

    Face it if anything coming out of these lazy unimaginative journos and pundits mouths was worth taking seriously then winning the title would be as easy as buying player x, y and z and we might as well give up and concede that Citeh are going to take the title with there band of 200million Merry men and expensive benchwarmers and that we are going to finish in 7th place behind villa, spurs and liverpool.

    The ingredients for winning the title have obviously been missed by the media.
    1. Winning mentality and team ethic – Whilst some of our individual talents may marginally or in some cases vastly outstrip chelsea and Manure man for man their ability to work as a team; understand defensive and attacking responsibilities and consistently grind out results is a harsh lesson. Arsene maybe unwilling to compromise style but when needs must we have to develop a way to adapt to the opposition and bring the game to any opponent.
    2. Luck with injuries – going through crucial points of the campaign without key personal. Better luck may lead to better results
    3. Finishing strongly – in at least 2 seasons where we came close to making serious title challenges the wheels fell of towards the end of the season.

  36. ZP.. great article. Your feelings, beliefs, and frustrations are felt by many other gooners. We are in for a very exciting season, and I too believe by just having Verm, Cesc, and RvP it could take us all the way.

    We have some of the best talented players in world football, and a great team spirit where you can see every player enjoys themself out on the pitch. Add to that an array of youth which at any given point is ready to land another new household name.. if they ain’t all already!

    All we need is a trophy, but we cannot think like this, and expecting will only harm our players and team. Lets just go out and enjoy what Arsenal brings to each and every one of us.

  37. You nailed it Zimpaul.

    The only difference I have with you is on the goalkeeping front.

    I’m wholly unconvinced by Mannone and Fabianski.

    We have one solid 1st choice keeper right now and one great potential keeper right now. In my ideal world we would have a new #1, Almunia as the steady #2 and WS as our Carling Cup hero.

  38. It happens. Are we going to criticize our goalkeepers every time it goes in the back of the net? That’s not fair. Sometimes a really good goal is scored, and sometimes it is scored from unlikely sources (Ngog, really?) It was a week of goalkeeping errors, and Almunia’s error (if you can call it that) was nowhere near the worst, not even in this match.

  39. Almunia is nowhere near as bad as some of our fans have made him out to be. It is Harsh!

    I know we have high standards as a club, which we should always try to maintain. But it has boiled to a point where the speculation has obviously had an affect on our number 1 keeper.

    I can guarantee none of the idiots who have slated him will have any remorse, and are pretty much in their own world where they feel they can insult and disrupt the player like they have done countless times in the past to have no positive affects on our club. The media is 100% aware of this situation, and they are fully aware on how the boo/idiot boys think within our club, they think alike, and yet the idiot fans try to claim the supoportive supporters are the sheep when they prove time and time again that they are on the same wave length as the British media?!

    Anybody not sure who I am talking of… or asking yourself am I an idiot supporter?

    Well if you show no patience, no support, no common sense, and just go around dishing the dirt on their team, or like to try claim they are only stating where we have gone wrong or need improvements for the goodness of the team.. it just shows you are completely oblivious to the affects it has on our club. You are damaging your club, and have been doing so ever since Wenger spoilt you with such amazing football and glory.

  40. Zimpaul, excellent article, if only all arsenal fans can read it.

  41. Re-reading I realise I forgot two young talents shining through, Vela I forgot because he is so obvious (oops sorry Maria), and Schwerzerzerny, whose name intimidates me. Schwzneny…ny? Szcwzerzny? Szchczhenehzny? He needs a nickname fast. Ulp.

  42. Mongolian Gooner

    Tech 9?

  43. Very astute ZP. The thought of Arsenal always being interpreted as not being manu.

    Very helpful.

  44. Lets call him Shwezz for short.. I am sick of going to the official site to check my spelling!

  45. Mongolian Gooner

    Shez would be easier. Or how about Woishek?

  46. or even Shrek?

  47. Shrek is good. An ogre with heart.

  48. Mongolian Gooner

    Between our friends we are used to call Rooney Shrek. So it wouldnt be fair for our guy. :d

  49. YW

    Cannot agree with you on Arshavin.He’s heart is not in the club.Anyone who was at Anfield could see he is not fit.Not injured just not fit(overweight).how has he let himself get like this.As for Walcott he is an impact sub nothing else sunday proved that when Wenger preferred the less talented Eboue to him.Now that is a kick in the teeth

  50. a fungus-coated right hand

    Zimpaul, You’re killing me with this brainy from the heart stuff. Many fans only use only one of those available organs. Thanks and come on ARSENAL!

  51. Brilliant, ZimPaul.

    “…a season where the players do not fear what people think and papers say…”

    England at the World Cup, anyone? I think you need not worry on this front. Arsenal FC are one of the very best in the game at the ‘closed ranks’, fuck you world, fingers-in-ears game. And Arsene is one of the very best at getting his players in the very best state-of-mind to go out and express themselves in hostile surroundings; thinking calmly, quickly, confidently and clearly.

    “I want Arsenal untamed, free-style, no second-guessing ourselves but doing what we do best, the art of the impossible.”

    …Some call it ‘contempt for the art of defending’, others… well, others see it differently. Well played, ZimP. That’s the spirit I love. Attack on, indeed.

  52. Dick

    If you watched Eboue in pre-season, and if you watched him last season, you would conclude that Eboue is a worthy starter, and Wenger normally uses him in tough away games where we provide better defensive qualities.

    If Eboue is guilty of anything, talent isn’t one of them. He is a joy to watch when on his game running at people, and using random tricks.

    Like at Anfield when he tricked to do a reverse flick around Agger I think. Almost came off, outside the box he would have won a freekick

  53. Congratulations to Zimpaul for an inspiring and eloquent article.

    The gems? The title: Arsenal Untamed

    Marvelous title which one appreciate more with each sentence and paragraph of reading through the article.

    And this para says it all

    “I want Arsenal untamed, free-style, no second-guessing ourselves but doing what we do best, the art of the impossible. Memories are my trophy. Arsenal, make memories for me! And if I don’t get this trophy, I will be disappointed. So should you. Silverware is just an alluring veneer of shiny metal you toss in the cabinet. I am talking about keeping it real.”

    Absolutely agree.

  54. Szczȩsny is not that hard to say, I just asked a Polish chick and she says it’s Chèwsny.

    Great post Zimpaul. I also think that Diaby needs to get his head(confidence) together.

    He is no doubt a very good player, but he needs to sort it out mentally.

  55. ChrisGoona

    I noticed that reverse flick move too. Wonderful stuff from Eboue.

    If I’m him, I would feel aggrieved to be substituted too.

  56. Then his nickname is obviously Chewie. I see it now, Star Wars. The dependable one.

  57. well stated, enjoyable read! you’ve caused me to rethink our situation in goal. I hope Almunia indeed surprises us all!

  58. Great work Paul. All very well said.

  59. Great stuff Zimpaul. Measured tones in a sea of lunacy and sensationalism.

  60. Brilliant piece of writing Zimpaul.

  61. Luke.. that is Wenger’s dilemma.

    Eboue is a player that would walk into most teams as a RB or RM or LM. He is a very good all round player, strong, fast, decent tackler, and good crosser with a bunch of tricks. When he runs at people he scares the life out of them, how many times have we seen him jink past people. A bit like Theo, but obviously not as much pace.

    Eboue for me is the better all round player in terms of ability, but Theo gives us that attacking outlet which a title challenging team needs on certain occasions. Even when he ain’t as productive with his final ball, his pace and dribbling which creates space for others does the damage.

    I think we could see a shared amount of game time at RM for both of them. Eboue will always get a lot of games, that I am not worried about, being 1st choice cover at RB, or a more attacking solution at RB. He is a very valuable squad player. This is why I am sure he has stuck around for so long, Wenger has probably told him how important he is.

    I had a hunch he would start at Anfield too. Walcott may get the nod at home to Bristol.

  62. I like Chewie!

    wwoooooaaahhhhahahahha

  63. Awesome read, ZP.. One of the best!!

    Almunia is here to stay. I dont think He is going to go nor Wenger is going to buy another GK. Even if he is going to buy a GK, it’ll be for cover with one or two of Fabianski/Mannone/Chesney going out on loan to gain exp/confidence..

  64. A wonderfully written piece Zim Paul…..thats started off my day nicely.

  65. Looks like our largest shareholder is facing Cesc problems with his NBA star player…

    http://www.sportsgrid.com/media/carmelo-anthony-knicks-nuggets-wedding-2/

  66. ChrisGoona,

    Eboue holds the ball well and gives others time to get into positions. His trademark dribbles are designed to give others time. Theo lacks that at the moment which I’m sure he’ll learn pretty soon..

  67. Agree with Chris.

    Eboue and Theo gives us good options in the same area.

    Eboue when we need to be more solid defensively but without completely losing that attacking edge.More starts in Premier league.

    Walcott when we need to stretch teams like he did against Barça. More starts in Europe.

  68. I’m wondering with the exception of pez where all the usual trolls are. Yesterday they were so overconfident and cocky they even posted under their real spud identity.

    But after reading the comments section of today’s article on the Arsenal fanshare of the Guardian I know where they are all hiding for now. The envy and cynicism displayed by the mancs and spuds who come running to comment on an Arsenal article is quite amusing to watch. Take a look.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/david-conn-inside-sport-blog/2010/aug/18/arsenal-kroenke-usmanov-owners-fanshare

  69. The choices in central midfield are even better for me..

    We have Nasri, Rosicky, Diaby, Wilshire, and Cesc who are our main attack minded central midfielders.

    Wilshire had a decent run out against Liverpool, and I think he has shown Wenger now that he needs to be part of the 1st team make up. The other options, either of them can comfortably sit in front of the DM which will be Song/Denilson/Frimpong and possibly Ramsey – although he has played just in front like the others.

    I was fascinated in Wenger’s courage to chuck Wilshire into the starting line-up. Not because of his age or ability, but because Rosicky was playing so well in pre-season.

    When he came on he demonstrated his skills what we didn’t really see much of last season; his football brain, touch on the ball, ability to perfectly weight a pass, and know-how to jink past a player. His swivel in between two players in a crowded Liverpool box and shot would have been one of his best goals. It was technically amazing!

    With a full pre-season behind him I think he could also play a vital part in our title charge. I want to see him more in a central role like he was at Anfield, just imagine him and Cesc pulling the strings both on their game…!!

  70. I agree chris

    If Rosicky can stay fit, he can make the difference this season as one of our most important players.

    He has it all, quick, great technique and vision and experience. His crosses are superb and I can see the likes of Chamakh, Bendtner, Diaby and Vermaelen exploiting that to good effect in coming games.

  71. Delia-----Block 112

    What a terrific bunch of contributors we have on this blog , fairly warms the heart it does.
    Any news on the current injury front? What chance do I have seeing RVP and Cesc in full flow on Saturday? How many of us our going to take up this share option? Arsene please play Mozart and Nasri against the newcomers , they will never have experienced our attacking style in the Championship ,so a wonderful opportunity to put on a show and silence the media and the moaners.
    COYRs.

  72. I will be looking into fanshare for sure. Even if I can only afford 1 or 2 shares, at least I will be able to contribute. I think its a good idea.

    Drives the share prices up and gives fanshare and fans a greater stake in the club.

  73. ZP. thanks for speaking on proper arsenal fans!

    Well said and well articulated…

    Thanks Yogi for allowing these other write ups… They represent ACLF well.

  74. Ah the italics is cured? i kind of miss it… it looked nice

  75. notlager, I just tried getting on the fanshare website and it is crashed at the moment – so I guess it’s popular!

    I can’t afford it right now but I’ll definitely be getting on it as soon as I can. The guy that writes Gingers For Limpar (on the blog roll above) is a big fan and has been plugging it for a while.

    Seems like a really cool idea, and if it doesn’t really amount to any real ‘fan power’ then fuck it, at least we tried, and what have we lost? The trajectory the current team are travelling on, plus the academy bearing wonderful fruit (potentially very valuable fruit – watch how much we get for Traore and Simpson and any other academy graduates sold-on in the coming months)… means the shares you buy will almost certainly have appreciated in value.

    If you don’t believe that the team is on the up then you probably haven’t really grasped the nature of being a ‘fan’ so you’re best off passing it up and carrying on dribbling miserably into your bovril muttering about Gael Clichy’s crossing.

    …speaking of which: Consolsbob, another good voice for the voice game is Morrisey. Try singing the next miserable post you see like Morrisey. Honestly, try it. It’s really good.

  76. Delia, I think RVP will almost certainly start. First home game against a newly promoted team is a great opportunity to get himself going again. With Cesc it’s probably complicated by his throat infection so more news on that on Thurs/Fri.

    I think Theo will decimate a flat-footed defence like Blackpool’s. Enjoy the game. Very jealous!

  77. In case you missed it…

    Spanish tax back to 43% top bracket. But already existing contracts signed under ‘Beckham Law’ remain that way.

    This will certainly slowdown the exodus of talent to La Liga.

  78. awesome writing big man, enjoyed it very much.

  79. It’s like Christmas everyday on here nowadays.

    Great work ZP.

    Me love it!!

  80. Anyone know what these are going to have on them?

    “Several huge banners created in conjunction with fan groups including Red Action and Official Supporters Clubs will be introduced for the first time (at the Blackpool game)”

    Nothing on the Red Action page.

  81. We love us some Young Boys??

  82. Very balanced contribution ZimPaul. Thank you.

  83. I’m eagerly waiting for the Blackpool game for our lucky charm’s inauguration… The clock will hopefully give the stadium the atmosphere we sometimes missed…

  84. I doff my “dreads” to you honorable ZimPaul. You are another wonderful representative of what ACLF stands for, an oasis of positivity in a desert of media driven negativity and the arid Anti-Arsenal Arsenal blogs. YW must be proud. Darius, Muppet, Limpars captain Consols and now you Mandhana (did I get the last name right). This is the best antidote to repeated but fruitless efforts of the trolls and doomers who are appalled that we are Arsenal Untamed.

  85. Szcz… ZZ Top?

  86. S-G,

    When are you gonna let me doff my curls at you?

    Are you up anytimie soon?

  87. And where dod Malcolm go and what has replaced him?

  88. I am now awaiting the next opportunity to try Morrisey Limpar.

    I suspect it’s a bit like waiting for a bus.

  89. Nasri out for 4 weeks. FFS its started early this season!!

  90. Nasri undergoes surgery. Out for a month after picking up knee injury at Liverpool. http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/nasri-undergoes-minor-surgery-on-his-knee

  91. Zap you have a foul mouth

  92. woken up by roadworks, now this. What a shit start to the day

  93. i dont have a foul mouth that was in the heat of the moment!

  94. fuck

  95. Good thing we still have Cesc…eeeh.

  96. Its my fault, I raved about Nasri going to score 15 plus goals, and I put him in every single dream team !!!!

  97. Zap, I awake everyday to the sounds of Bizet, Bach & Gershwin, I suggest you do the same.

  98. I hope he will be back for chelsea away, but will he rediscover the form he has been in..aagh, but at least it might give rosicky a chance to start in the first team, who, on his day is probably better than nasri

  99. Is there any other Arsenal blog which has commenters who can write such blockbuster articles like we’ve seen recently from Muppet, Consolbob, Darius and ZimPaul? With Yogi starting and sustaining the high standards every day

    Top class. ACLF; till the best Arsenal blog around.

  100. Just saw the Nasri news, I’m sure he’s gutted. Al least we are blessed with talent in his position. Rosicky will get a chance to show his stuff.

  101. Bragging Rights Ltd

    Bizet, Back & Gershwin – sounds like a supergroup for c*nts.

  102. Bahraini Gooner

    HI I NEED HELP.

    Forbidden
    You don’t have permission to access / on this server.

    I try to access the arsenalfanshare.com to participate but not allowed. “Forbidden
    You don’t have permission to access / on this server.”

    is it limited only to UK residents or what?

    please help

  103. Absolutely gutted for Nasri.

    As I was saying previously today..

    We have Nasri (injured), Rosicky, Diaby, Wilshire, and Cesc who are our main attack minded central midfielders.

    Rambo is also out. Denilson can play there though, with Frimpong another alternative at DM.

    Good thing we have many options!

    I count 6 players Wenger will be looking at to fill 2 positions in front of the DM:

    Cesc
    Rosicky
    Diaby
    Wilshire
    Eboue
    Denilson

    While DM has 4 players who can play, 2 being rather inexperienced:

    Song
    Denilson
    Frimpomg
    Eastmond

  104. Wilshere will also get a much needed run.

    Thought that with the return of Cesc he would have been marginalized. He can play the Arshavin role, and also the two holding midfielders role.. or in the hole

  105. With Rosicky, Cesc, Wilshere available for the central midfield spot as well as Arshavin and Vela available for the left striker spot, we should be able to cope with Nasri’s injury. This is all down to the depth in our squad.

  106. Delia-----Block 112

    Nasri, what wretched luck.Hope I didn’t tempt fate by buying a new “Nasri Shirt”. Can’t believe the injuries are piling up already. Let’s hope Song is fit to cover Kos, who does have the enforced absence to recover from that awful challenge.
    Fingures crossed Cesc makes it for Sat.
    COYR’s

  107. Bahraini Gooner,

    You need a UK bank account to join Arsenal Fanshare. I was able to go to that page couple of hours ago. But now its not available.

    Maybe the server crashed with the traffic.

  108. ChrisGoona,

    + Djourou to the DM cover

    Song
    Denilson
    Frimpomg
    Eastmond
    Djourou
    &
    Diaby?
    (He played there in the last game?)

  109. i dont think we reeealy need cesc for blackpool home, we should cope with wilshere, diaby, rosicky or something like that..

  110. nasri out for a f**king month – hes been our most in form attacker in preseason too – jesus h christ what is it with us – why can players just get a knock and get on with it without surgery and a long lay off – on the other hand wel have Riccardo Montolivo

  111. 70 for 5 at lunch?! For fuck sake.

  112. Another fine, levelled and well written piece.
    Well done Paul.

  113. Maria – I am flattered. You are such a tease.
    Malcolm is in hiatus while I pay respects to one of the icons of Jamaican art, Edna Manley. She was more famous for her sculpture but I love her impression of this Rastafarian. The eyes are so expressive. (I notice they have seduced you. LOL.)

  114. Finsbury

    I know, I was a bit stuck on what to class Diaby. I think he can play there, and I have stated that previously.

    I just feel Wenger still prefers him to play a bit higher up. I could be wrong, maybe this will be the year he makes it doing the Song role.. I just don’t see it happening much if Song is in the team!

    So for me he will be either the link up player (Denilson role) or the advanced CM where Cesc usually plays. He is important though, as you he can play in all 3 positions. I love seeing Diaby on his game, a joy to watch.

  115. I agree with your sentiment, but not your analysis Zimpaul.

    It was fairly obvious by early July that Cesc was not going. By mid July it was obvious that the impetus to go came from Cesc’s Camp and not Barcelona.

    The logic? Barca never put a serious offer in for him, if they could get the lad on the cheap then so be it, and they tried everything – except money – once they heard he wanted to go. Without a transfer request Cesc was begging to go though, but five years left on a contract is no position to bargain or ask for favors.

    There is no doubt that the youth project is still on course, but it is because someone tied our god to the pedestal when they could. Arsenal now stand a chance this season and as a result of that contract, the story will end better for Cesc, better for Arsenal and better for our youth policy which would have looked frail if Cesc had gone.

    The press (and football haters) love to say that Cesc must leave to achieve. If he would like to join the others like Henri, Petit, Vieira, Hleb, Cambell etc that achieved nothing after leaving. there is the salutary lesson not to heed the jealous moronic tabloids.

    In Cesc’s case I think he will achieve when he goes, but he will have achieved much greater things by that time as well. Despite what he wants.

  116. Limpar,

    70 for 5!!!

    Cook and Pietersen have looked really ropy this series.

    Need to sort it out for the winter.

  117. My sense (guess) is that this season Arsenal are treating players ‘knocks’ and ‘match fitness’ and ‘wear and tear’ issues extremely cautiously. The season is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t put a player on the field who is not 100%.

    Arshavin’s lack fitness of course disproves my point, but again Arsene may have (I would have) thought, Andrei the best way for you to become match fit is to play (it’s a cricket thing actually).

    We have depth, so no problem, um, yet! Injuries are part of the game, we have no choice but to soak them up and play on, and ensure no player plays through niggling injury – like last season.

    Cham’s last gasp goal on Sunday summed up my hopes this season. Courage, desire, adventure in 92nd minute goal. The art of the impossible. Winning psychology. Did you see the look on Rosicky’s face? Delight, boundless joy, we did it!

    It was really important not to lose at Anfield.

  118. I think for me diaby has tallent but not the brain of a cesc. Watching him the other day it would appear he has still the same problem of running into players. I noticed in the world cup his first game, he was very good, however subsiquent games showed tighter marking and thats where he showed sign of weakness. I dlove watching him when he is on form but he isnt the finished article just yet, or at least i hope he isnt. I would like to see samir in midfield with fab4, they coul;d be our iniesta and xavi but better. Shame about samir but better to get the opp out of the way, a months not that bad, and if it helps …Its been mentioned before that arshavin does not like training and that he needs a bit of time to get going, he certainly did not have the pace to get past liverpool on sunday and his first touch let him down but thats just a time thing, we have vela tricky, and theo who is going to be the best player in the world one day imo. Not a bad start to the season.

  119. Henri got a champions leage medal i think

  120. Sky Sports News equating Almunias ‘mistake’ to that of Howards and Reinas at the weekend!!

    Hmmmm not sure i agree with that.

  121. ok RA dont believe the hype when it comes to all players leaving us going onto win nothing with their other clubs – almost all th eplayers we have let go in these past five seasons have won something whereas Arsenal havent. I do think we were right to leave so go, dont get me wrong, but dont think players has no success post Arsenal

  122. ZimPaul:

    That post deserves the biggest virtual standing ovation in history. Great great post.

  123. That’s very funny DG! Do tell us any more hilarious media leg pulls.

    Those lads are such cards!

    Almost as funny as our batting order this morning. Laugh?

  124. _O_
    |
    / \

    No way can I draw hands… theres the standing ovation. Well done ZP!

  125. GoonerforLife @ 7:28:

    Absolutely spot on. Your 3 points could not have hit the nail on the head any harder.

  126. Definitely, Kingsalami.

    Not sure why I allowed myself to start fancying our chances over there… Swann and Finn and Morgan I think… but I was way premature.

    On Diaby, for me he had a good game for a player who’s had no competitive minutes preseason. He was combative and his tight turning circle had Mascherano and Kuyt scurrying around on their arses a couple of times. He’s still prone to playing the occasional pass that looks on one half-second, and then the door shuts and he’s played it anyway because he hasn’t looked up and checked himself. He does need to sort that out, but it’s just a case of keeping his head up – not a difficult bit of his technique to fix. Someone like Arshavin makes the same mistake far more frequently, but I’m yet to see anyone here say he looks ‘stoned’ – fucking idiots. I’m expecting big things from Diaby this year.

    Nasri’s thing obviously needs nipping in the bud. Fortunately the two positions he plays most regularly in are the two positions where we have a little surplus.

  127. \ /
    O
    |
    / \

    Guess CG you can figure how idle I am..
    and for a girl..
    \ /
    O
    |
    /__\
    | |

  128. Arsenalkabisa

    Thats why I tried keeping mine simple,.. doesn’t like spaces!!

  129. Nasri out. Bummer. Asking for good luck with injuries may be asking for too much from the football Gods. If only they could stop sending us bad luck I would be happy.

    May be the own goal from Reina is a sign of a little more good fortune this year.

    BTW: Isn’t the blog a lot more fun today without all the screaming and cursing? Congrats again ZP.

  130. CG,

    Diaby’s an amazing player for me, I can’t understand why he gets so much grief.
    Yes, he dozed off and let Messi go AWOL at a corner. But, it was Messi, everybody makes errors, and I don’t think he’ll be making many more such blunders this season. A good start on Sunday.

    At the least, he’s a great player to have in the squad, as the last game proved, with Denilson and Song both out injured.

    These Pakistani bowlers really are very good. Now that their insane and incompetent selectors have dusted off some batsmen, we might get a game!
    Asif vs KP, before both were distracted by injuries, captaincy debacles and scandals was shaping up to be a classic rivalry. Asif did not get KP today, but according to the wireless, this mornings play was worth watching. Wish I was there.

  131. Finsbury

    I agree, he is a good player, and on his day is destructive.

    We dominated the midfield at Anfield, and a large chunk of credit should go to Diaby for that. Had we of scored earlier we would have won the game, but it was a well earned point after Liverpool galvanised and came out flying in the 2nd half.

    I would like to see a midfield of…

    – – – – – – – Song – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – Diaby – – Rosicky – – – –

    Thats if Cesc isn’t quite ready. If he is, Wenger has a serious headache who to leave out. It could well be Song playing at CB if Djourou is still absent, so maybe it will look like this…

    – – – – – – – Diaby – – – – – – – –
    – – – – Cesc – – Rosicky – – – –

    What do you think?

  132. Id sooner have Diaby in tandem with Song

    Song Diaby

    Cesc
    Van P Arshavin

    Chamakh

  133. At CG over the past few matches? {read the last match before it was 10 vs 11}

    wenger has been playing with 4 2 3 1

    with Wilshere & diaby holding?

    Ad love the same, woth rosicky getting the probing role. he was so direct and hard for the pool to contend with

  134. or

    Song Diaby
    Cesc
    Rosicky Arshavin
    Van P

    This offers more cover to the defense while still having Diabys attackig instincs if needed. More powerful midfield too.

  135. I would like to see us line up.

    almunia

    Sagna Djourou Verm Clichy

    Song

    Rosicky Cesc Arshavin

    RVP Chamakh.

    If no Cesc then move TR7 to the middle and bring in Diaby. Denilson if ready could also slot into mid field. Hopefully either Song or Denilson ready at DM. Djourou better be ready to go.

  136. And if you wanted a little more keep ball than running power in midfield then

    Song Nasri
    Cesc
    VanP Rosicky
    Chamakh

  137. Looks good to me.

    I think Rosicky will start, but we don’t know much about the fitness of the others. It seems that Rosicky can play anywhere, so, with him included, the midfield three becomes much more ‘fluid’?
    My tiny football brain starts overheating when trying to figure out what the midfield of Arsenal are up to, so I just give up.

    Just glad Rosicky is back! Very happy.

  138. Loving the old photographs of the Clock End on the website today. (I suppose I should say the Highbury Clock End now).

    Makes me want to go out and buy a really good winter coat. Mid-length number, double-breasted. Very dark navy blue – almost black.

    It seems Arsenal have always had sartorially superior football fans.

    The only better dressed that I have seen are the Milanese, the Rossoneri. Noone wears the shirt but all wear black or red, or black and red. And often the black is leather. And often the red is some sort of fine silk – or so it seems to be. And this subtle uniform extends way outside the ground, and not only on matchdays. Grandparents and children, teenagers and gorgeous leggy women in thousand lire dresses and giant sunglasses… they all represent in black, with with little understated flashes of red. Astonishing…

    Even the traffic police wear black stilettos.

  139. Did Real Madrid really get Ozil and Khadeira for 23M? Same price as James Milner? How strange. RM with their attacking talent and Mourinho organizing the defense could be a monster team.

  140. The discussion on Diaby is a well deserved review of the player. From the begining, Diaby has always fascinated me. A tall midfield player who has the trickery of the very best players in the league.

    In my mind, Diaby’s development was hurt by his broken ankle. He seemed tentative following his recovery to the point of appearing lacking in fitness. Early on following his injury, Diaby’s games were disturbed by tough tackling to the point of a loss of focus. This is now beginning to disappear. The defensive side of his game is beginning to develop and the lag in his confidence in this part of his game is less evident. He is now making more convincing tackles! Attack, however, is Diaby’s first instinct.

    There is no doubt that last season Diaby began to emerge. He played more often with desire and seemed less concerned by the close marking. In fact, at times, Diaby genuinely appeared to enjoy the close marking as something that he could exploit with his exquisite dribbling ability. He plays well in all midfield positions but perhaps the best position for him is as a central player.

    We have in the presence of Diaby, the potential for one of the best player’s in the Premiership and hence one of the best in Europe should he continue to develop which seems assured.

    Wenger must take the bow for nurturing this player along following a period of severe loss of confidence as a result of his injury.

  141. Bill,

    Barca will secretly be shitting there pants.

  142. Talking of Diaby he really played his best for me last season when Cesc was injured.

  143. RM have quietly gone about their business and signed their targets, while BrokebackBarca have gone for Cesc and were told to **** off!!!

  144. Maria:

    Have never really followed La Liga that closely but this will be an interesting season. Always hated RM, but have to admit it would be nice to see Barca get a large stick plunged where the light does not shine.

  145. A ‘great defeat’ in a football match is a bit like ‘secretly shitting your pants’, isn’t it? Mortifying, but you manage at least to cling to a fraction of dignity… until you get found out waddling from the room like John Wayne.

  146. Bill,

    Yes it would.

    Also just so you know you made the ACLF footie team yesterday. We had you in goal.

  147. Weird that Djourou is back as soon as he was required due to suspension to Koscielny. Weren’t the rumours that he had a couple of weeks out?

    I wonder sometimes if our injury epidemic is just Wenger looking for excuses to rotate his team. He has a helluva job to do keeping everyone happy if they are all fit.

    Not saying that’s the case with Nasri though. As our form player in pre-season, it’d be madness to rotate him out of the team.

  148. Great news on Johan maybe he can take his chance alongside Tommy V.

  149. Arsenal have named the following squad for the PLATINUM ONE Challenge:

    James Shea
    Ignasi Miquel
    Henri Lansbury
    Mark Randall
    Benik Afobe
    Havard Nordtveit
    Gavin Hoyte
    Nico Yennaris
    Thomas Cruise
    Cedric Evina
    Daniel Boateng
    Craig Eastmond
    Jay Emmanuel-Thomas
    Emmanuel Frimpong
    Chuks Aneke
    Roarie Deacon
    Rhys Murphy
    Jay Simpson
    Wellington Alves da Silva (training with the Club)
    Damian Emiliano Martinez Romero (training with the Club)

  150. “I wonder sometimes if our injury epidemic is just Wenger looking for excuses to rotate his team. He has a helluva job to do keeping everyone happy if they are all fit.”

    Me thinks not LA, why the hell would Arsene pretend RVP was injured most seasons or last season when RVP,Theo, Bendner and Eddy were all out only to be stuck with Russian up front last season against the big teams?

    Or Gallas, Arshavin, Cesc and SOng agianst Barca in the CL semis??

  151. LA,

    I really think we should stick to the subject of the post.

  152. Maria:

    Wow. I am truly and sincerely honored.

  153. Limpar @ 3:00PM

    Another Limpar classic. Where do come up with this stuff? I still think someone should check whats in your pipe tobacco.

  154. i havent heard a more ridiculous comment then livearsenal’s since naga gunner came out with one of his stupid rants

  155. I thought you might say that, James.

  156. Not saying it’s always the case Maria.

    Sometimes it’s convenient for Almunia to have a bit of sore wrist though, no?

  157. You can read Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby in full online now. Someone just sent me a link to it. It’s definitely worth a read if you haven’t already.

    Click to access 116588.pdf

  158. Ive seen the film” fever pitch’ its pretty good

  159. zap, slight overstatement?

    I’m just saying what I see. I was surprised to hear Djourou was suddenly fit.

  160. When I see Song’s hooded look, languid ‘cowboy’ (or is it fisherman’s) gait, and natty dreads, any formation fills me with confidence. When I don’t, any formation looks a wee bit speculative.

  161. Zim Paul. Excellent article my friend.

    Delivered with the true conviction of a Mandingo Warrior. I join the standing ovation proposed earlier.

  162. Good day folks!

    Big Ups ZP! Pure Class!

    As a man that left England in 82 and didnt watch Arsenal for about 20 years after that, I am so greatful.

    I do have my memories of walking to highbury and watching my favourite Arsenal player, Liam Brady, but sadly I have no idea of what happened at Arsenal from 82 until the late 90’s (Maybe the early 2000’s) apart from what I read.

    So my love for the team is much greater than having some stupid bragging rights and being able to show off a trophy. I am glad I am able to amass some more memories “Trophies” of my/our great club.

    Those of you who have had the privilege of watching Arsenal all of your lives you should be very greatful. Look at all the clubs around you switching managers, almost yearly it seems. These men cannot produce what Arsene has. Even many clubs that have spent way more money have not produced the beauty and Silverware that we are able to enjoy.

    SO, lets get a grip and back the team as never before. I believe the supports has a much to do as the team. If we expect class on the field then we must be class supporters.

    Win, lose or draw, Its all about The Arsenal

    For a reminder, Arsenal under Wenger.

    League championship 1998, 2002, 2004, FA Cup winners 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005, Voted ‘Manager of the Year’ 1998, 2002, 2004

    ARSENAL!!

    Blessings on you all!!

  163. where did you guys get the new about Djourou?

    I think the medical staff is trying to be a bit more careful about nasri’s injury before it turns out to be a serious one..feel bad for the boy, i think Yogi wrote a few days back that the guy looked so serious & no-nonsense in pre-season.

  164. I like Zimpaul so I wouldn’t comment about his article as I’d be obviously biased. Bad news on Nasri as he was on his way to joining TV, Cesc and RVP in the select group I consider our “untouchables.” Forgive the Mourinho-isque term.

  165. BTW, awsomeness, ZP!

  166. livearsenal what do you mean there??

  167. Here’s a positive aspect about Samir’s injury: he’s missing the next two Euro qualifiers with France.

  168. untouchables is our term from 04 kenyan gunner!!

  169. thats terrible for him though notlager..Im sure with france needing a new look team, nasri fits into their plans pretty well. Hopefully as does diaby, he was there best player at the world cup, although the bar was exactly set very high by the other frenchmen..

  170. Interesting that Nordtveit is in the squad for the platinum one challenge. It means he definitely won’t be around for the blackpool match. Suggests to me that we won’t see very much of him this season.

  171. Great, wonderful article. amen.

  172. S-G,

    Lol, it has S-G I like it, just don’t leave Malcolm out in the cold to long.

    Also give YW an extended break and hit him up with one of your fire crackers.

  173. Oh did you guys hear about the 17 match ban on Anelka?

    I think 5 for pop-eye Evra,3 for Ribery and 1 for Toulalon.

    Crazy eeh.

    But they are still payign Roman.

  174. Only that calling my comment “the most ridiculous since XYZ” was a bit over the top, Zap.

  175. No Naga is in his own world.

    Mr. Cheers all.

  176. Gib, ditto your thoughts about Nordtveit. I thought he would have been on the bench Sunday gone as well. Doesn’t seem to be one of Wenger’s trusted kids yet.

    What the hell is the Platinum One Challenge anyway though?

  177. Maria – its 18 match ban

    Also implies clichy’s presence in the french starting line up, i guess for the coming year or so?

  178. WTF happened to Nasri?

  179. Beautifully written, ZP, and I agree with the sentiments expressed.

    But am I the only Arsenal fan who did not suffer a moment’s anxiety that Cesc would leave from the day the AFC statement was issued?

    That Platinum One squad is the CC squad plus the best of the other kids. Good way of keeping them matchfit and keyed up.

  180. FunGunner:

    The straight forward answer to your question is yes. Club’s handling of the situation was superb.

    Hope Cesc plays this weekend. Will take 3 points however we can get them. A dominating performance on both ends of the pitch would be a welcome jump start.

  181. Great post ZP, thanks for taking the time. That goes to CB and Muppet for previous efforts as well, It’s appreciated.

  182. there goes my hopes we might take the carling cup seriously this time..

  183. How do you mean, Zap? Those kids are great – and as we saw with Young Boys last night, playing with no pressure can work wonders. I’m sure they will be supplemented by a bit of experience, and some of the younger/less talented/less experienced kids will be left out but there is some top talent in that list. I’ve got a good feeling about the CC this year – as long as we get some home draws.

  184. I think CC should remain manager’s playground for youngsters. Keeping in mind our bad luck with injuries, senior players should be kept away from it as much as possible.
    IMO, its the FA cup that we should consider taking more seriously..

  185. livearsenal, it is a 3 sided tournament in Dublin. Arsenal reserves, man u reserves & Shamrock rovers.

  186. Is it on TV dups?

  187. CB, Not sure if it’s on TV.

  188. My 18-Man Carling Cup Squad would be:

    1 Sczezsney
    2 Mannone
    3 Djourou
    4 Gibbs
    5 Ignasi Miquel
    6 Havard Nordtveit
    7 Connor Henderson
    8 Emmanuel Frimpong
    9 Thomas Cruise
    10 Craig Eastmond
    11 Henri Lansbury
    12 Wilshere
    13 Jay Emmanuel-Thomas
    14 Benik Afobe
    15 Chuks Aneke
    16 Vela
    17 Wellington Silva
    18 Ozyakup

    And subbing in anyone else who might be coming back from injury and in need of a game like Nasri last year. So that might be…

    Bendtner
    Nasri (again)
    Ramsey

    And then there’s Botelho and Galindo… not sure what’s going on with their work permit/loan deals though?

    Sorry if I left out anyone’s favourites… competition for places was fierce.

    I will not be breaking the bad news to those who missed out by texting them or anything rubbish like that.

  189. Excellent Blog. Thanks. about time someone countered the dross and trash on most other so-called arsenal blogs

  190. @ LA
    Probably about right. But Wellington Silva isn’t legally a member of the squad yet and Botelho doesn’t have a work permit.

  191. Do you know when the CC draw will be, LimparAssist?

  192. The Man U team that played Shamrock Rovers in the 1st game of the Platinum One Challenge had Gary Neville in it ffs.

  193. Starting line-up something like…

    – – – – – – -Sczesney – – – – – – – –
    Eastmond Nordveit Djourou Gibbs
    – – – – – – -Frimpong – – – – – – – –
    – – – -Ozyakup – Wilshere – – – – –
    Lansbury – – – – – – – – – – – – – JET
    – – – – – – – – -Vela- – – – – – – – – –

    With the Aneke & Afobe show to come on and set the game alight second half.

    And then there’s the unknown Wellington Silva factor! (If he’s eligible by then?)

    Can’t wait!

  194. Oh.. he’s an illegal? OK we’ll have to wait for Wellington then.

    No, I’ve no idea. I think the 1st round started on the Thursday or Friday of last week though.

  195. Hi folks. I’ve just been to Wales.
    Can any of your readers beat that?

  196. limpar –
    DJOUROU???!!!! :O
    you might want to keep him fit for the 1st squad???

  197. “I want Arsenal untamed, free-style, no second-guessing ourselves but doing what we do best, the art of the impossible. Memories are my trophy. Arsenal, make memories for me! And if I don’t get this trophy, I will be disappointed. So should you. Silverware is just an alluring veneer of shiny metal you toss in the cabinet. I am talking about keeping it real.”

    Some of the most beautiful and inspiring words to be uttered concerning the Arsenal and i feel proud that they come out of Africa. Fire on ZP we are proud of Arsenal and all the club stands for. You make us prouder still.

  198. Another excellent post, maintaining the standard set by Yogi and ably executed by his deputies. Well done ZimPaul.

  199. I just haven’t seen him start in so long I want to see get some game time, mj! But you’re probably right. If we can’t find a centreback whose club are willing to sell, then Djourou should be wrapped up in cotton wool and swaddling clothes, layed gently to rest in a manger, fanned with palm leaves, massaged with scented oils and placated with whale noises.

  200. Zap on August 18, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    Thanks for the clip. That Wellington looks fast and full of tricks. He’s definitely with the right team where that won’t be coached out of him. I hope he makes it as it would be great to see those skills on show for the mighty Arsenal!

  201. Limpar, I wouldn’t be surprised that if Arsene can’t find another centre back Song will be stepping back and we’ll buy another midfielder.

  202. I found out what the banners are going to have on them at the Blackpool game by the way…

    Clock End and North Bank.

    Or maybe, We’re The Clock End, We’re The North Bank. Not sure…

    Sounds brilliant though. I’m sure everyone’ll be singing and letting people know which end they’re at. Should be great for a bit of terrace song rivallry. I’ll be in the North Bank for the Bolton game and I can’t wait.

  203. Yes, Alex has always maintained he was born a centreback.

    I’m sure that’s a possibilty, Passenal. As ZimPaul was saying earlier though, any teamsheet without Song as the anchor looks a little bit lighter than it would do with him in there.

    Finding someone as good as Song in midfield would seem like a harder job than finding a ‘back-up’ defender… but what do I know. It all depends who’s available and who’s an improvement*. I’m confident Ivan’s working around the clock to make something happen. He’s performed the rest of his duties very well if you ask me. Now it’s time for him to show he can be successful on the transfer market – and I get the feeling he’s keen to impress. Just biding our time, being shrewd, waiting to getting the best possible player at the best possible value.

    *I’ve been trying not to get carried away about Frimpong but to be quite honest, I think he has an excellent all-round game.

  204. LMAO Limpar!!

    Passenal – i think its more difficult to find a defensive midfielder (that too as good a Song)
    than a CB!

    but really I believe ‘not finiding’ a centre back will just not happen..even it implies another Silvestre type signing 😛 😛

  205. Limpar – you got it mate!

  206. “waiting to getting…” sound a bit like Andrey there..

  207. We’re on the same wavelength, mj.

  208. I think thats the best compilation video of wellington da silva there is..what i dont understand is, when is he gonna be an official arsenal player?? And when can we start using him..

    btw this is my team for blackpool

    Almunia
    Sagna Song Vermaelen Clichy
    Eboue Diaby Rosicky
    Walcott Chamakh Arshavin

  209. yep LA, more so regarding Frimpong; though Diaby did pretty well on Sunday, but I still think Frimpng should have started..with diaby playing in place of Jacky boy.

  210. Zap – Frimpong/Song for Eboue & Djourou at CB for Song; & the team is ready to fire

  211. Have the bookies closed the odds on Gallas signing for us?

  212. LimparAssist on August 18, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    I’ll be there too LA, but in the ‘wrong’ end. I’m a North banker too, but being a lowly red member, I ended up with a clock end ticket for this game!

    mj_gunner, I said a midfielder not a DM – Arsene likes his players to be versatile. As well as being able to defend, they need to be able to pass too so that they can contribute to our passing game, just as Song does. If there is a decent all round midfield player available and no CB’s, it’s certainly an option as Arsene does feel Song would make a good defender and he has played well there in the past.

  213. Mj-gunner.

    The longer we go without someone seriously linked to us at CB the more worried I get. We knew about the KOS for weeks and weeks and months before he signed. Visions of Sylvestre do indeed dance in my brain. Noooooooo.

  214. Well, he certainly looks good but if he is on crack will he last the pace.

    Just a thought.

  215. true Passenal, replacing Song is what i meant

  216. relax Bill, at least until the 31st..

  217. who is on crack now? I obviously missed something.

    The kid looks great, thanks for posting that Zap.

    I found the commentator very funny on this one. There is an interview at the end, seems like a very humble young man.

  218. I actually think its a great thing that we are not linked with any defender. Better for negotiating. I trust something is being worked out.

  219. MJ:

    Sweaty palms, headaches, hyperventillation. Sylvestre syndrome.

    Just kidding.

    Wish there would be at least some reasonable rumours. Hard to believe we could keep anything other then a Sylvestre-like signing a secret if we actually had a target in site.

  220. its hyper-contagious Bill, so better control it or keep it to yourself; or it might bring a few rants from the doomers…
    BTW I hate it in the middle of the week when there is no real arsenal/football news..so much so even ACLF is quite dull today

  221. I think the Clock End will be a place of renewed vigour and passion this year, Passenal. Roused by it’s new title… Clockenders rallied together beneath their ‘flag’. Although you will be right next to some big fat naked Bolton belly action. So good luck with that!

    The Clockenders blog (blogroll above) are understandably delighted about current developments. Mentioned in a post today; “The larger version of the Highbury Clock was made by the same people who made the original clock…” How cool is that? History coarsing through the veins of this great club I tell you.

  222. Young Guns report that Wenger is looking to snap up Sebastien Squillaci.

    Thoughts?

  223. Whoever was asking for links to CB’s here’s one that would fit the profile of an experienced back up

    http://younggunsblog.co.uk/2010/08/nordtveit-in-the-cold-as-wenger-moves-for-squillaci/

  224. Not Bolton, I’ll be back in my proper place for that game LA. But I will get a chance to get up close and personal with the PL newboys from ‘the land that coats forgot’!

  225. Great article Passenal, on Untold Arsenal.

    I think everyone should atleast read this part.

    And about the own fans he said: “When the fans are getting behind the team it really gives you wings. At times in a game you almost feel sick from the running you have done and you want to slow down but then the fans shout the team forward and you just want to please the fans and you forget the upcoming cramps in your leg, you forget that you hardly can breath anymore, you just keep running. It is inspiring and it is something that makes you work harder, run faster, dig deeper.”

    But about the years when it was all doom and gloom, when we finished at a relegation place he had this to say: “When the stadium is rather empty it becomes painful at times. If there are a lot of fans there is so much noise that you cannot hear what individual fans shout or say. You here the noise of the crowd and that’s it. But when there are not many fans, and when you play not at your best, when you are struggling you sometimes hear nothing. You only hear silence as if the fans are just waiting for bad things to happen. They know you will screw up at some time in the match, as it happened all these times before. And then you can also hear what the individual fan is shouting. And when your own fans are shouting at you or at a team mate: ‘you useless piece of sh*t’ or even worse insulting things, you hear this and it hurts. Nothing is more worse for a player than having your own fans having a go at you. It cuts like a knife and hurts. And there have been times that I wanted to come off the field during the game and speak to such a fan and ask him to support us and not to tear us further down. When you are giving it all on the field and they call you names, you just wonder at times why you are doing it and for whom.”

    Players are humans afterall, huh?

  226. Speaking of Blackpool

  227. Good point, Paul N. I was thinking earlier how our negotiating position would have been damaged had Koscielny been injured. That would’ve allowed selling clubs to drive prices up, knowing that our ‘need’ had just doubled. Anyway… no point dwelling on that.

    I was also thinking though – and I’m so far out of my depth here it’s silly – but, by trying our damnedest not to pay hyper-inflated prices, sums that have been artificially fattened up Man City’s money… we are doing the whole transfer market a favour. Player’s that Man City show an interest in directly (or RM, whoever’s offering way over the odds) – fine, let the club charge a ridiculous price (we did with Ade)… but if clubs start accepting reasonable bids (as we did with Eduardo)… then it lowers the values across the transfer market. That means, once you do offload to City… you can replace him with a player from another club willing to accept a reasonable offer and that money starts to redistribute around. Does that make sense? At the moment it seems that prices are high, just because Man City are looming around, whether they’re interested or not. No fucker will sell to any other fucker because they reckon they can get a better offer. A silly offer. Or they’re thinking… ‘if Milner’s worth that much… then Jermain Jenas must be worth a fortune!’

    I suppose that in the last few days of the window, when selling clubs decide that that silly offer isn’t going to come in – then they will take what they can get while they can get it. And that’s when we strike!

    Obviously the financial strength of the Bundesliga plays a big part there… and a million and one other factors.

    None of this is even based on the flimsiest bit of economic knowledge by the way… Just thinking ‘out loud!’ If you’ve stuck with me this far…. well done, and sorry!

  228. squillaci makes me hell excited, he’s synonymous for a ‘combative’ player, I read had somewhere..

    great article, passenal

  229. Antony on August 18, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    I don’t know anything about him, but he sounds like just the sort of player we would be looking for. Older defender, not likely to expect to be first choice, but is experienced at the highest level – CL finalist with Monaco and League champion with Lyon. At 30 he should be able to offer more physically than Sol or Sylvestre. It will be interesting to see if this speculation has any substance to it.

  230. Limpar:

    You kind of make sense in a obtuse sort of way.

    Now I can dream of Squillacis dancing in my head instead of Sylvestres. Thanks Passenal

  231. LimparAssist on August 18, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Don’t apologise! We’re all just speculating on here and your theory does not sound that wild to me! I will not be surprised at all to see some last minute activity as things have been just too quiet.

  232. makes good sense to me Limpar!

    I see where you are coming from, we could possibly have quite a lot last minute movement.

    Isnt just idiotic when teams become some little play thingy? Chelsea and now City.

    The bottom will soon drop out.

  233. Poor old Alastair Cook, looks shot to pieces.

  234. For a moment there I thought we were getting Toto Schillaci!

    Thanks. I struggle to get my head around the transfer market. Too many unknowable things.

  235. L.A. @ 8:38 pm – You may make a helluva sense about the buying and selling in any market. Sell high, buy low. However the financial illiterates, especially those many lemmings who dance to the tune of the commercial media and the emotion-driven AAA bloggers, believe the complete opposite, i.e. a higher priced player is automatically better. Let me rework a little line in your post, that best descibes how the pros see the market:
    Once Man City is willing to throw away money like confettei “No *sucker* will sell to any other *sucker* because they reckon they can get a better offer.”

  236. Limpar:

    Transfer window lesson # 1.

    Big spending = trophies.

    (just kidding).

  237. Just heard that Philip Clare guy come on the parlour show on talkshite and claim that we were on the final stages of signing some french guy that plays for Sevilla. I have no idea how to spell his name but he did say he was thirty with at least 40 caps for France. He claimed the player didn’t start of his club in their last game as well, just like Mark.

  238. Maria it’s Squillaci – see the link I posted earlier, but I’ll believe it when it’s announced on Arsenal.com

  239. 0
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  240. Damn that went wrong!

  241. YG is usually a credible source of information, and this player sounds like a good backup player. It’s a shame YG had to sensationalise the title of the article with “Nordtveit out in the cold”, though. The boy’s only 19 or something, isn’t he?

  242.  0
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  243. Sorry that was me.

  244. FG – the ‘sensationalism’ is the downside of that blog. He is young and trying to be a journo, so he thinks he has to do that, which is a shame. But he does seem to come up with fairly accurate info most of the time, so I haven’t completely dismissed it yet.

  245. great great article

  246. nigel hansen,

    are you the brother of alan hansen???!!

  247. Dups….wth!!

  248. ———-0
    ——l——–
    l
    /zzzzzzzzzzz O
    /

    thats my stick man kicking a ball. Impressive eh?

  249. oops..why when you do something in the middle it just goes to the left of the page

  250. Try Fat Frank!

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  251. You need to use the no-breaking space html code Zap

  252. and whats that

  253. youre up late dups

  254. where the early morning buzz wher is everyone

  255. *
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  256.   0
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  257. good good.. like this

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