Champions League Draw – Is This The Year?

The Champions League group draw takes place this evening and given the Premier League fixture list, there are a few teams that Wenger will be hoping to avoid. A long distance flight by football standards cannot be ruled out, especially with pot 4 containing clubs in Israel, Turkey, Russia and Romania.

All of the pots from which Arsenal’s opponents will be drawn have potential pitfalls; all have relatively straightforward opponents. None are teams that should be feared, respect will be the key to maximising progress to the knockout phase, a characteristic and outcome which has been shown in abundance before. Of course, there is the ‘preferable’ draw at the same time and influenced by the domestic requirements, the ideal draw is probably Marseille, Basel and FC Twente.

The absence of the Champions League from The Emirates trophy cabinet sticks is hard to take. Wenger has seen talented squads, efficient at disposing of domestic opponents, eliminated in ties that were within their grasp throughout his reign. The defeat at Anfield typified some of the earlier stumblings against Valencia, PSV, Chelsea and Bayern Munich.

It is at times baffling to work out why the failures have occurred, defeats and performances inexplicable with a mix of tactics and players to blame. Some have been as a result of injuries, the absences which cost so dear in the Premier League last season, have haunted some European campaigns. Yet this does not necessarily explain the capitulations such as those in Munich or conceding late aggregate leads in Valencia and elsewhere.

Does the absence of this trophy indicate why the Spanish – and previously Italian – clubs think that the best Arsenal players have, over the years, been ripe for cherry-picking? Arsenal is a club with a strong reputation at the moment but little past to trade upon in European football. Multiple titles throughout the decades mean little in knockout tournaments. The Fairs Cup and Cup Winners Cup are little to show for such an illustrious domestic history. Granted, the concept of continental competitions came with the decline of the club from the Golden Age of the pre- and post- war years. Picking up the Champions League would add muscle to a burgeoning reputation.

Recent seasons has seen Arsenal fall to heavy aggregate defeats, inexperience and injuries contributing as significantly as individual errors in Champions League exits. This time, the squad has grown in terms of the former and the latter needs to be controlled – as much as possible – for progress to be made. The balancing act of Premier League fixtures is tougher with squad restrictions in force by the time the Champions League commences, a test of Wenger’s squad especially with the matches being against perceived and real title contenders.

Yet the players are there for a serious tilt to be made for both competitions. Undoubtedly, they are talented and encouragingly, the first two Premier League fixtures have shown a defensive discipline with Arsenal denying shooting opportunities to their opponents, the lowest in the division. Carry these onto the continental fields and there is no reason why, with the obligatory smattering of luck, success can be achieved. Will these fields turn out to be Elysian? Time will tell.

The competition is one that Andrey Arshavin wants to win before he quits football. According to an ATVO interview to be shown on Friday, the Russian also observed:

I want to be remembered as a small Russian guy who did some magic things where people did not understand how he did it

I think there is a phrase missing at the end, “and who was part of the most successful Arsenal squad ever“? We’ll assume that it was ‘taken as read’ that this applies…

Elsewhere, the interminably dull and drawn out transfer sagas surrounding the club continue to be exactly that with prospective new goalkeepers and /or centre backs nowhere nearer joining Arsenal, publicly at least. Stan Kroenke seemed to edge further away from a full blown takeover of the club by investing substantial funds in his NFL franchise, at the same time divesting his interests in NHL / NBA clubs in Denver. OK, so he gave them to his son which is hardly selling up but it satisfied the NFL.

The window of opportunity – if there even is one – is shrinking for a change of ownership of Arsenal with Uefa’s financial regulations due to become ‘law’ in two years, even if there is a period of assimilation for clubs. Along with economic circumstances, this partly explains the lack of major transfer activity this summer as clubs look to balance their wage bills down to the required percentages. The exception to this is obviously Manchester City who are seemingly oblivious to these stipulations, perhaps an admission that they have much ground to make up to become regular participants in Uefa club competitions.

Having spent the equivalent of a small nation’s GDP on transfer fees in recent windows, the point must be upon them when they have to release some of their high earners. I was tempted to say “better players” but footballing ability has long been at odds with the economic rewards earned by players. Premier League squad rules are impacting upon their purchasing but the harsh reality of the club is that when they pay inflated fees, the wage expectations increase sometimes disproportionately. Gary Cook’s assertion that City will make operating losses for years to come highlights the problems that they face.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on August 26, 2010, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 256 Comments.

  1. Mongolian Gooner

    What place will Spurs occupy in their group? I think they will be humiliated to the bones.

  2. MG

    I would enjoy their misery but to be honest, I don’t care. It is only rarely that I can wish English teams good luck in a competition, e.g. Fulham last season, as it is too hard to put aside domestic rivalries.


  3. As always a good post. I have a sneaky feeling we’ll be seeing Eduardo at the Emirates again, but in an orange shirt. As you said none of the teams can be considered as pushovers, but we shouldn’t worry too much either.

  4. I also do not care about the spuds. I read last night on 606 some Arsenal fans congratulating them on getting into the CL proper. The mind boggles.

    If AA gets back to his best (and our team can stay fit) he may just get his wish sooner rather than later.

  5. Mongolian Gooner

    I was going to post this question on yesterdays entry but when i saw the new blog I couldn’t resist the temptation to be the first.

    Now I have read the post.

    I always wondered why the club like Arsenal haven’t performed well in Europe? In fact why haven’t English clubs performed well in Europe? It’s only recent seasons that English clubs began dominating, is it?

    I must admit that I am a regular glory hunting foreign fan whose first experience with the Arsenal was defeat at the hand of Chelsea in Community Shield game 2005. Although I watched Liverpool’s ‘miraculous’ comeback in Istanbul previously, they were never going to be my favorite team. Arsenal was like a love at first sight. I did not like Drogba that night and he has become the most hated player since then.

    Anyway, I was going to know more about English clubs’ achievement in Europe before starting with my humble experience.

  6. Mongolian Gooner

    not performing well = getting trophies.

    I know we were knocking above our weight for the last several years.

  7. you lot are in our shadow….always were, now you’re gonna see how much..I can’t wait to see the look on your faces when we beat you home and away in EPL, with Gallas scoring the winner in each game and getting further than you in the CL…COYS!!

  8. Mongolian Gooner

    Now here is the most optimistic Spud I ever seen.

    I remember watching North London Derby with one spud. He was singing “We got England’s Number One” through out the game. They had the lead i think but we went on to win 1-3 something like this. He shut up after second goal. I actually felt pity for him.

  9. Keep wishing Matt !

  10. On reflection, yesterday’s result was essential to ensure that Harry pressurises Levy to spend more money to buy the ‘one or two’ players that ‘Arry always needs for his teams.

    The trick here being that if and when the Spuds don’t make the Champions league next season, they’ll be ripe for being the next club that ‘Appy ‘Arry bankrupts.

    It’s not a fluke when you put 3 clubs – Portsmouth, Southampton and Westham in financial jeopardy. It’s a talent.

  11. Mongolian Gooner

    I read somewhere that Spuds are financed by Jewish Mafia and it is highly unlikely that they will ever bankrupt. Does it have any scent of truth?

  12. I can’t wait to see the look on your faces when we beat you home and away in EPL, with Gallas scoring the winner in each game and getting further than you in the CL…COYS!!… mattspurs

    awww thats sooooo cute, you are finally with the big boys, never mind eh….. if the cl all goes to form, you’ll be back in the uefa cup with all your mates.

    GOYS….. get over yourselves spurs.

  13. Matt come back after you lot have been in the CL for 13 years.

  14. Mongolian Gooner

    I am guilty for starting a talk about Spuds.

    So lets stop talking about them start discussing about Arsenal.

    Which teams do you prefer to have in our group?

  15. Mongolian Gooner

    Any team will do – we are the Arsenal.

  16. Mongolian Gooner

    I remember us playing against CSKA in cold winters evening of Moscow. I hear its almost as bad as the winter in Mongolia.

    So personally I would avoid this kind of situation for our team. Too far, too cold. And it often coincides with tight schedule or tricky away matches afterwards.

  17. lads lets face it…you all do have a secret admiration for us spuds…(and how we’re movin’ on up)..when you were a kid you nearly supported us did’nt you? admit it?! love Tottenham Hotspur FC really..don’t you? But what would your gooner mates say if you admitted it..?? Oh dear, another dark secret best hidden…bet you wish you had chosen Spurs after all..never’s not to late to walk into the light hahahahaha:-)


  18. I wouldn’t mind having Real Madrid and another tough team. Would be good to knock Maureen out in the group stage and wipe his smug smile out.

  19. Mongolian Gooner

    Imagine a very nasty looking old lady. And imagine her shouting hysterically, spits, red face, messy hair and all.

    And words she is shouting desperately is written by MattSpurs.

  20. Mongolian?


    ..more like Mongoloid;-)

  21. Matt, You know, I know, we all know, it will end up on channel 5 on Thursday evenings.

  22. Mongolian Gooner


    The name you are seeking is Down Syndrome.

  23. we forget that Europes Super Clubs have been at this Champions League Game for decades and Arsenal has only recently joined the European glitteratti. The key ingredient is experience of closing down games and tactically outwitting opposition. Our experience in the ECL grows evermore whilst uropes elite have at least 30 years more practice ahead of us.

  24. Mongolian Gooner

    Ok. Guys have nice informative and long discussion. I will read them tomorrow morning. Work hours finished.

  25. I Love Mattspurs, there aren’t any decent Spuds blogs so they have to infect ours. hope he stays around long enough to eat his words, sad little boy.

  26. YW,

    That article strikes many chords with me.

    There are fans who are broadly happy with the qualification for CL every year and given where we were before Wenger arrived – its hard to disagree in many respects. And then there are fans, like me, who broadly feel that we should have won a European Cup given the strength and talent of some of the teams in the past, just as I feel that this team is capable of something special too.

    I wish I was as buoyed as you are about our two defensive performances to date. I thought we should have taken all the points in Anfield, most title winning teams have taken maximum points there in the past. And Blackpool looked like scoring before the sending off – which just made the game a non event. Furthermore, Im not so sure that the necessary self-belief and leadership is there.

    And as for signings – well for the most part I thought we had the right personnel last year but lacked organisation with the exception of GK. And the fact that we’re now still playing poker in the transfer market with only a few days left – still without a GK – is just inexcusable as far as I’m concerned.

    If we mange to remedy our defence those fields could well be Elysian. And if not, we will continue as nearlymen afloat in limbo.

  27. So Mattspurs if you are so big, cocky and confident, and the Spuds really are that good tell us which of the Spuds blogs you regularly visit/post at and that way, when it all goes wrong, we’ll have the opportunity to point out your hubris.

    Talk is cheap, lets see you back your words up with some balls.

    Eh? Eh.

    Nah, didn’t think so.

  28. remind me. tott en nam what ?

  29. Arseblogger made me laugh so loud. Check this out…

    Anyway, the Champions League draw, involving Arsenal, takes place this evening at 5pm. We’re in Pot 1, there’s plenty of quality in Pot 2, a couple of decent teams in Pot 3 and then the lads with the club feet who kick like brain damaged mules and always get picked last in Pot 4.

  30. Messi has asked Liverpool to act humanely on the Macherano transfer. Which means to sell him to the paupers of Cataluniya for a lunch at Burger King and a free season ticket to Nou Camp.

    I would be delighted if Macherano goes to Inter.

  31. Lets hope Tottenham get Real Madrid and Inter Milan.

    I say Inter Milan because they probably still have a bit of mourinho in them, and I dont believe the incompetence of that fat Spaniard has rubbed off on them yet.

  32. We could not win it with the likes of Viera, Bergkamp, Thiery, Pires, Campbell in the team. And there is no way we can win it with this lot. And the excuses will be the same – “we are young & inexperienced”, ” we had injuries”…Just like Mourinho said and why he was having a go at us.
    Surely after playing in no many champions leagues, we shud have the experience by now…. The bottom line is that we are not good enough as a team and there are question marks about the manager as well at this level given we have failed to win it even with some of the most talented teams we had. When we failed with Viera, Berkamo, Thiery and Co it was not about inexperience but about the manager lacking.

    I guess most are just happy being the champions league and happy to target a number 4 finish every season. This is the success target which Wenger is measured by most and by the board. So yeah folks, this is not gonna be our year in the UCL…we will get knocked out when we are drawn against a Barcelona, a Inter Milan , a MANU or A Chelsea…The script is not gonna change people

  33. Jena those are long paragraphs to be typing out whilst sucking Geoff’s cock.

    Focus on on thing at a time I reckon.

  34. jena on August 26, 2010
    at 10:38 am

    Whatever you say, bro.

  35. Normally Id think that Jena is a troll, but why would a guy write so much just to be a troll?

    He must have so much passion for Arsenal. He cries for Arsenal.

    Its a shame that this multinational, multimillion dollar club for 124 years, isnt at Jena’s standard.

    Wed be winning the CL every week.

  36. Wonder why Squillaci’s announcement is taking so long.

  37. antony,they are making sure he dont have any bit Barca DNA .So the medical are taking longer now

  38. Diaby,clichy and sagna are in the next french squad.
    Kos have to wait i suppose for his first

  39. …i was in two minds about if i wanted the LWC’s in ECL, nice to be able to gloat on them going out but saying that i will be quite nice to see how they handle the ECL and EPL at same time. When King, Woodgate and gallas is out injured i wonder how they will do playing 3-4 games over ten days, see how they handle their carling cup games if ist such a major title to be won anuy longer.

    And then we have harry, its so obviuosly clear that he is only sucking the knobs of the spud supporters by his comments. bla bla bla….and then this interview…no no i dont consider me bigger than Bill N, he would suck his own dick if he had the possibility because he really thinks he is the BEST ever manager.


  40. I thinks this scum team is almost definitely as good as the 61 team, anyone remember that great team? If not I suggest you Google it for some fantastic black and white photographs.

    I must say their new stadium is looking stunning too. Type “artist impression of spuds stadium that will never be built” into a search engine. Amazing stuff.

  41. …another thing that wind me up is really the medias obvious admiration of LWC’s. I guess the logis is that many journos was in their youth when they had some resemblance of a good team and they was basically terminally ill…like getting some a really awfull sickness.

    On TV in sweden the journos are full of Liverpool drivel and then Spuds….it makes me sick. Ohh they really look strong, ohh they might take the title. Open your eys FFS.

  42. I’m not surprised Yogi. Standards at the BBC are very low these days. I listen tpo the news and cringe sometimes at the appalling level of professionalism and basic use of English.

    There seems to be no rigour in their quality control. I don’t know what the producers do all day to allow the drivel we hear to be broadcast.

  43. Any trip to Germany(Bremen) Holland(Amersterdam) Spain or France is fine by me.Great trips all. But not Russia

  44. Following the Arsenal game last Saturday, I was able to watch TH14 and his team play Toronto. The quality of the football was awful and completely boring! Although, I am sure that Henry will score a basket full of goals this year. We North Americans who have been hooked on Arsenal Football, will never be satisfied with the MLS.

  45. Apparently Arsene has just confirmed the signing of Squillaci at his press conference.

  46. The BBC is the biggest British boondoggle going. Don’t they have around 50 execs earning salaries over £200,000? Fucking ridiculous. As much as I don’t like Sky they seem to run a far tighter ship over there.

    And now noone wants to go and work in this £800 million new pad up in Salford? Who the fuck commissioned that? Of course Britain’s best and brightest don’t want to work in Salford. You’d have a hard enough time convincing most of them to live in central Manchester.

    I think that’s why the BBC have taken such a snide and cynical view of this coalition government to be honest – they know that a storms a-coming and they’re gonna be first against the wall. Well, good.

    I like 6 Music and Match of the Day and that’s about it. And even Match of the Day I have issues with.

    And how many reporters with an obscure regional dialect do we really need to fill the quota? Queen’s English please or I won’t know whether to take a brolly out or not.

    (I don’t actually own a brolly… but you know)

  47. Come on over, Two Owls, if you dont mind constant rain, constant moaning, constant traffic jams, of course there is always the football

  48. I suspected Wenger would let us know about Squillaci today. Good news on that front.

    I have gone on a complete media blackout, knowing that today will be all about that other London squad.

  49. I think you should go with ‘Squillaci, Schwarzer, Sceszney’ as your new banner, YW.

    The three Ss of hope and destiny.

  50. T.O, and of course constant BBC

  51. Well, in view of my opinion about the middle one, I think I’ll give it a miss!

  52. We do need a new banner actually Yogi. You know anybody who might be able to do that?

  53. I know this is not going to go down too well with many here, but what the heck. As an Indian gooner, I actually don’t have that strong feeling of hatred towards Spurs as many of you. Probably this is because the part of the world I come from, there are no Spurs fans. We have United fans, Barca fans, Real fans, the odd Chelsea, Liverpool and Milan fans, but Spurs? Well zilch. Added to that, from my experience of watching the game on TV and follwoing it in blogs, websites and newspapers, I have always felt more angered by Ferguson, Barca DNA band, Mourinho, City’s money, Real’s arrogance, Hansen and Lawro, Gerrard, Rooney cheating, Drogba, Pulis, Brown, Shawcross, Allerdyce etc. than Juande Ramos, Martin Jol, Peter Crouch, Ledley King, Jermain Jenas and the likes. With Harry Redknapp the dislike quotient has gone up a tad, but it is still nowhere near the former names.

    Anyone else out there who feels the same?

  54. The LWCs are best ignored. There is a great culture shock awaiting them. As others have mentioned, playing 2 and sometimes 3 tough games within 7 days is a mammoth task for big teams like Chelsea, ManU and Arsenal much less a squad which after the 1st 12-14 players lacks quality. Even the 1st Eleven lacks sufficient quality to seriously contend for 4th place this season. Time will tell.

  55. Avaris15

    One is being created and will be available shortly.


  56. Any clues as to who it might feature this season? 🙂

  57. I reckon RVP flanked by Vermy and Song. Or maybe Diaby and Nasri. Or maybe Bac and Cham. Or Mozart and Shavva. What a squad…

  58. I would go for cesc, RVP and Walcott otr Verma

  59. 1 loose cannon

    Keysersoze- Spurs are not a big club that is a simple fact we just have to put up with their pathetic rivalrybecause they are next door. The true rival to us since the Premiership began is Manure and its still is one the most watched game around the world. Spurs are rivals on local level but never on the world stage. No one knows Spurs outside England.

  60. Rumoured that Arsene has said that Squillaci will be the last signing in or out this summer. Not sure how true that is but the deluge of abuse about no new goalkeepers is about to begin. Get your umbrellas ready…

  61. Alex, (from yesterday’s post)

    Yes, very amateur. Just friends’ house parties so far. Both those songs did fit the pace of the game very well. The 2nd song was much quicker as we started to open them up when they were down to 10 men. And the bit in the Muse song where he sings “Don’t be afraid to die” and Rosicky takes a swipe at goal – that was cool. And I guess Matt Bellamy is some what of a virtuoso like our Tomas.

    As you say, you can never please everyone, and your videos please us all a great deal so keep on doing as you’re doing – you do a fantastic job and it’s greatly appreciated. Plus you must have impeccable taste – Rosicky is your favourite player!

  62. Limpar, I concur heartily with your 12.39.

    Well said, sir!

  63. Y’know what? I started trying to put who my top 3 would be, but I really struggled. I absolutely cannot pick. We really do have some absolutely class players. I’m getting all giddy…

  64. Guardiola implying that Pique’s mental health might be a bit suspect when talking about the Cesc thing was pretty funny. Also a nice opportunity to revisit this:

  65. Limpar’s not got one, Yogi.

    Shall we have a whip ’round?

  66. What!!! No new keeper. Sack Wenger he’s incompetent.

  67. If that is the case, I am glad that the uncertainty around keepers has ended. Now everyone concerned can concentrate on their respective jobs in peace, that includes The Doomers, The AKB’s, Almunia, Fabianski, Schwarzer and Mark Hughes.

  68. when is the press conf?.in arsene i trust

  69. I met a Barca fan on holiday. He was funny which made him tolerable. And I told him he could fuck off tapping up our boy and he took my point. But anyway, I also happened to be with a Sunderland supporter, another gooner, a spurs supporter and a Sheffield Wednesday supporter – in Pamplona town square, watching the Final.

    He said, ‘What is your team?’
    Me and the other Arsenal fan tell him and our conversation about Cesc unfolds.

    And then, ‘What is your team?’
    ‘Oh, yes. Steve Bruce.. I know them’

    ‘Yes!’ (Thrilled that he didn’t say Utd)

    ‘And you?’
    ‘Errrrr… que?’
    ‘Tottenham Hotspurs’
    (Shakes head blankly)
    ‘Crouch, Harry Redknapp, Jermaine Defoe?!’
    ‘Aaahh… I know’
    ‘Yeah… course you know…’

    The rest of us almost pissed ourselves.

  70. Only almost? No sense of humour Limpar!

    Try reading a couple of spud comments over at Darius’ place. Febrile and disgraceful in equal measure.

  71. I am very disappointed to see an anti-semitic comment by Mongolian Gooner. What is even more disappointing is the fact that no one has bothered to take him to task for it.

    There is no such thing as “Jewish Mafia”, which is the sort of comment the Nazis made in order to justify their persecution and worse.

    Shame on you all. The irony os that there are, most probably, many more Jewish Arsenal fans that Spurs ones.

    I will have to consider whether I wish to follow this blog at all, if you are all happy to allow an anti-semitic comment to go an answered.

  72. @LA


    of course it Pompey… they should just sign Kanu, and Lass and that deal is done.

  73. @YW

    at least the doomers do not have to be retrenched for one more season..


  74. KeyserSoze,

    As an Indian fan living in Oman, I feel the same way. I don’t really hate spurs, and strange as it seems coming from an Arsenal fan, they do play (compared to the rest of England) stylish football. I really hate ManUtd, as it is by far the most supported club out here.

  75. ‘Jewish Mafia’ might make a good Woody Allen film. If he still made comedies.

  76. #johncrossmirror

    Wenger definitely DID NOT say there will be no more #Arsenal signings. Just bizarre answer where he contradicted himself. 1 more to come…

  77. calm down jjgsol

  78. jjsol

    It was hardly anti-semetic was it?

  79. ‘Febrile’, consolsbob, is the perfect word for it.

  80. Not a word you hear often on the BBC these days, Limpar.

  81. Cbob

    Most used word on the BBC is probably ‘init’


  82. On the subject of international perceptions of Arsenal and our football, I was working in Abu Dhabi a few years ago, and I sauntered outside my hotel to see a couple of 10 year old kids from Sudan, one of whom had an arsenal shirt.

    It was just after the 0-0 draw at the start of the 2003-2004 season at Old Trafford.

    “What did you think ?”, I asked him.

    “Van Nistelrooy is a cheat” he said.

    Priceless !!!!!

  83. Limpar,

    Woody Allen still makes the occasional film. Check out “Whatever Works” – a film starring Larry David and Evan Rachel Wood. I liked it a lot, but then I’m a Larry David fan.

  84. nous voulons wenger,nous voulons wenger

  85. We are where we are – we have four great keepers and it is important we give confidence to them for the next game,” Wenger said. “I do not rule it out, but at the moment I say I am not in a position to sign anybody. At the moment, it is all dead.

    Above seems to be the exact quote from Wenger. Make what you will of it. 🙂

  86. If you think Nazism isn’t a problem anymore, think again:

    Last off-topic post I promise.

  87. Yes Aaditya, Utd supporters are right arrogant devils around these parts as well.

  88. Mindboggling, Big Al. Just goes to show that we must stay vigilant.

  89. Karim.

    I am perfectly calm. I come to this blog because I enjoy the banter and have as much a love for the club as most other people who come here. I do it for entertainment.

    What I do not expect is comments like that, and then no one says a word, as though it was a normal and correct thing to say.

    If someone were to say that Sheikh whatshisname drinks the blood of christian children for breakfast, just imagine the fuss that would have ensued.

    The suggestion that their exists a Jewish Mafia, that controls Spurs, indicates that the writer may actually believe it, and it is not too difficult before we get to the Jewish world conspiracy and worse.

    This blog is for debate and banter, not for comments like this. Whe Mongolian Gooner takes a look tomorrow and sees that he has offended at least one person, then perhaps he will think again about what he says.

    Deano. Yes it is an anti-semitic comment, just as singing to Spurs supporters about gas chambers.

    It is indicative of a state of mind and a perverted understanding about things he clearly knows nothing about, based on something he has seen or ehard somewhere.

    Perhaps our Mongolian friend might like to take a visit to Auschwitz and then perhaps he will think again.

    Yes, and I am still very calm.

  90. keysersoze

    I used to like their(spurs) style of play but after i learnt of the old arsenal rivalry they are number 4 in my list of most hated clubs

    1.Barca (they warent in the list but jumped to the top this summer)

  91. jjgsol – Well it so happens there is a Jamaican mafia (i.e.posse/drug-gang) in every largish West Indian community in North America and England.
    Makes every law-abiding Jamaican cringe (and we are the majority btw) but it doesn’t make us launch a campaign against free speech every time the media reflexively associates Jamaicans with drugs and violence.
    Does this make you feel better?

  92. Squilacci has signed a 3 year contract according to citing Wenger at his press conference

  93. avaris15, I enjoyed ‘Vicky, Christina, Barcelona’ but I thought ‘Jewish Mafia’ might be more in the mould of ‘Bananas’ – if you ever saw that one.

  94. “If someone were to say that Sheikh whatshisname drinks the blood of christian children for breakfast, just imagine the fuss that would have ensued.”

    That would be quite funny.

  95. my list of hated clubs.

    1. Blue Scum, Red Scum & Spuds
    2. Färjestad BK
    3. Mclaren

  96. its a day to celebrate Sebastien Squillaci, no??

    we care for no mafias today.

  97. to be honest i agree about the ‘jewish mafia’ remark, uncalled for and absolutely not necessary

  98. wonder who will be first choice to partner TV, will kos be third choice.. to be given some few years to mellow? or will he continue the good work with Sebastien Squillaci as a back up..?

  99. Arsenalkabisa

    These chaps will help you in your quest:


  100. Limpar, ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’ was a good film. Can’t say I’ve seen ‘Bananas’, but will definitely add it to my list of films I need to watch! Thanks.

  101. Muchos Gracias YW….

  102. Looks like the “as live” press conference is about to start, for those waiting (like me).

  103. I wonder what the doomers will say now?? he is 6″1′ a proven international…

    maybe just that his initials are SS…?

  104. Yogi:

    “Not sure how true that is but the deluge of abuse about no new goalkeepers is about to begin. Get your umbrellas ready…”

    Not sure what you would expect. If an American football club had trouble at quarterback and then publically went searching for a new one, intimating that they were not comfortable with the one they had and then did not get him because of what seems like a relatively small amount of money, the fans would scream bloody murder. Same thing if a baseball team did not get the pitcher that everyone thought they needed. If Cech or Van der Saar went down for a long period and the Mancs or Chavs went shopping but came up short the fans would be livid. Now that the stadium debt is under control only a handful of the clubs in the world have as many resources as us. I do not want us to suddenly start spending like Man City but we acted like a small club on this matter. I hope it does not come back to haunt us. The fans of any club in the world would be upset if their favorites acted like we have.

  105. to say there is a mafia organisation or gang, primarily made of jewish people, wouldnt be off-key shotta, but the suggestion of ‘The Jewish Mafia’ as in some secretive organisation behind the scenes pulling strings, which is what the term implies goes far too close to the crap of global jewish conspiracy. yes there is a big zionist lobby in UK and US which holds massive political sway, but to go as far as secretive world wide organisation or even london based which control things plays into the hands of antisemites.

    although thats not to say that anti semitism is seen as a bigger evil than any other type of bigotry or racism because its not, they are all the same

  106. Avaris

    Where is it? Buggered if I can find it!


  107. Bill, I would expect all Arsenal supporters to trust the judgement of the most successful manager in their history. And please stop comparing football to American football or baseball, it’s just wrong. Just because other teams fans’ would be livid (in your opinion) it doesn’t mean we have to follow suit. That’s why we are different, that’s why we are The Arsenal. Stop banging on about our defense for fuck’s sake and contribute something positive or slightly more amusing than you’re usual boring dross.

  108. jabberwocky,

    I am terribly good at the Futterwacken

  109. Well, ATVO had the usual “Press conference will start shortly” with the music, then it just went black. I thought it was about to start, but is hasn’t as of yet.

  110. If Sebastien Squillaci is half as good as Thomas Vermaelen then, with a little more organisation, our defence will be sorted. Gallas, Silvestre and Campbell out, Squillaci and Kos in, Djorou fit. I’m more than happy with that.

  111. Jabber,

    Well put! 🙂

    Haven’t seen you around for a while.

  112. By the way, for the Spuds fan on earlier, “Mongoloid” is not a term of abuse, as you clearly thought, it is simply descriptive, as in “mongoloid, epicanthic fold”.

    Say it as much as you like!

  113. ‘Yes Aaditya, Utd supporters are right arrogant devils around these parts as well’.

    I can’t believe you guys let that comment go, I am very dissappointed and would like to apologise to all the satanists reading (I know there are a lot of you out there).

    What a highly offensive comment. I’m sure that you despicable lot will be pleased to know that I too am seriously considering reading or commenting on this site in the future.

  114. Seeing as my ACLF team has gone to pot does anyone want to join my newly created The ACLF Maria Mafia? We are accepting applicants from all over the world Oman,India,USA, France, South Africa and of cause Jamaica.

  115. Ah, but what’s in it for me Maria? 🙂

  116. What did the dyslexic satanist do?
    He sold his soul to Santa.

  117. this is actuallu pretty funny, all these spurs fans thinking theyre an elite club just coz their in the cl, so, lets hope they avoid lyon, and get real madrid from pot 2. And a long journey destination from pot 4.

    Btw Denilson is going to blackburn which is gd news

  118. how does bob marley like his doughnuts?

    with jam in

  119. Not buying a new goal keeper isnt the end of the world imo but also imo we would do better with one.

  120. SomeRandomGunner

    I am not really sure from when on Vermaelen was undroppable ?
    Vermaelen has his share of howlers and is far from perfect, if indeed Squillaci is better than Koscielny then i would choose Squillaci and Koscielny over Vermaelen.

  121. Come on Zap, where is the love?

    We are all part of the London family and should be supporting eachother.

    Now put down your sword and embrace me as your brother.

  122. Zap, you think them lot could beat Lyon

  123. Koz n TV for the history books

  124. Zap ,Btw Denilson is going to blackburn which is gd news

    How much are we getting for him

  125. SomeRandomGunner

    lol Boomer 😀 .

  126. WOW, talking about dropping TV already?!

    The guy was the buy of the season last season wasnt he?

  127. Tommy V for the bench? Oh how ACLF mafia would be handy now.

  128. Thanks Matty,

    Where are all the moaners talking crap about we need another CB?

  129. SomeRandomGunner

    I have got no idea about Squillaci so i am not suggesting that he should be benched or not. Koscielny looks a better defender than Vermaelen . It does not have to mean that Vermaelen is bad .

  130. The thing that my tiny Football Brain has been struggling with is this:

    If there were efforts being made to sign a ‘keeper, if Almunia has ‘lost trust’ from those who matter, then why did Almunia lift the Ems Cup?
    Why was he playing?

    I don’t know, and I don’t really follow transfer stories.
    Apart from the weird Cesc story, you know…the one where FC BrokeBackBarca spend a whole Summer having a public breakdown. Bizarre. In the end, Arsenal Football Club emerged the stronger, that is all that matters.

    Anyway, I don’t know or care if a new ‘keeper is signed or not, Blackburn Away will be interesting.

    But as the England Cricket Captain bites the dust, I remember what some people have been writing about his young opening partner. Well, form is temporary, and class is permanent, and sometimes, the opponents can have some class too.

    But, not in Blackburn:

    Imagine if that had been Eduardo.
    A very different reaction from the petty plunditry to the above.

  131. Paul N….LOL!

    We need another CB. Someone proper this time – like Dawson, Jagielka or Kahill. Someone who will give us good ol’ fashioned English grit and steel. Someone with EPL experience to steady our ship.

    Nobody has heard of underwhelming players like Squilacci and Koscielny.

    Arsenal won’t win anything without signing a proper CB, GK and a DM like Scott Parker.

  132. wow some people really are actual idiots. Vermaelen getting dropped. Are you out of your minds…and james, your not funny shut up you fool

  133. @Keysersoze

    Being an Indian Gooner like you, I don’t hate the Spuds the most. I feel the most hatred for Man Utd, especially since I am surrounded by so many of their irritating fans.

  134. “especially since I am surrounded by so many of their irritating fans”

    That’s just like it is here in London!

  135. You said it DS!

    Arsenal are something else, I am reminded of line in the movie shooter when Mark Walburg goes to the gun expert. The guy something like “the moment you think you got it, your wrong”.

    I’m glad we very rarely do what people think.

  136. wahlberg, my bad!

  137. How is it we have a statement from Wenger but nothing on the site?

  138. SomeRandomGunner

    Hmm I thought this was a place where people talk reasonably. Looks like here there are people at other extreme to le-grove .
    Koscielny attacks the ball like Vermaelen but Vermaeln’s recovery is much slower than Koscielny . Often leaves the CB partner all alone because of this , Koscielny in his first game + pre-season games ( i know it is still early, i could be wrong ) , remember the Barca match and see the highlights again his positioning leaves something to be desired.
    Against Liverpool for their goal Vermaelen’s positioning was not great. In the liverpool game Koscielny covered him Vermaelen really well. But the problem is Vermaelen does not look to cover Koscielny.At Liverpool the speed which Koscielny recovered after similar tackle is simply too fast , I have never seen Vermaelen recovering so quickly.

    I accept this is very early days to completely judge Koscielny. But Vermaelen is certainly far from perfect.

    Probably if you (Zap) are different than the people at le-grove you can give a reasonable argument than just telling he was our best defender etc. etc.
    I guess you guys have seen zonalmarking’s analysis on Vermaelen already.

  139. We’ll never win the title with clown Almunia in goal. Its strange Arsene hasn’t seen this after years of trying with him. Perhaps deep down, Arsene don’t want us to win the title again.

  140. SRG, its really hard to find a reason for your comment? are you playing the devils advocate, was it just for arguements sake.

    TV has been great, hes made some mistakes but who hasnt?

    NO defender is perfect but there are not too many as good as TV thats for sure.

  141. Mongolian Gooner

    First of all let me say that I didn’t intend to offend anybody. I was just merely sharing the piece of info that I gathered from the internet.

    I am not racist. Trust me I had strictly systematic and communist education pointing out the evil of the Germans. The Nazis that is. Perhaps the word Mafia wasn’t very good choice, as now I feel the Lobby group would have served better my cause.

    And yes I know what Mongoloid means. I assumed he meant Down syndrome because many foreign people like to use this word to piss us.

  142. SomeRandomGunner

    @Paul N

    I never told Vermaelen is a bad defender,, the reason why i told this is because everybody talks about the “partner for Vermaelen” . I have never ever seen Squilllaci playing so if there are chances that he is better than Koscielny then it is not a simple Koscielny vs Squillaci it is 2 out of 3.

  143. I live in Miami and can confirm first hand that there’s a Jewish mafia down here. It’s not anti-semetic to point that out.

  144. Wenger often talked about how competition within the club for a position is good for everyone. With 4 really good defender like we have know, i can’t really see him say verma you are unmovable the other three fight for the remaining place. i think there will be genuine comptition between the four of them as they could all complement each other well.

    As for the goalkeeper like I said before, having a good defence will result in less goals conceaded, less shooting and crossing possibilities for the opposing team so I am happy with Big Al to keep his place. I’ve read today (BBC I think, sorry guys it is still a good place to find info) that after the two games we have conceaded the least shooting opportunity in the league.

    I am pretty confident we won’t give away as many goals as last season and that Wenger has addressed the situation perfectly. We know have a solid defensive line:
    Sagna/Eboue, Clichy/Gibbs, Kosc/Verma/Squillaci/Djourou plus song and Nordveit as back up!
    It is probably the best defensive unit in the country! No other team as a whole has a better unit of player!

  145. I think other than Vermaelen, there may not be a clear pecking order for defenders. Right now obviously Koscielny is the first choice partner for Vermaelen, but if Squillaci or Djourou impress they may have a shot as well going forward.

  146. He said: “I believe everybody looks at his squad and tries to find a way where the game is most efficient and we developed one way. It is not the only way, I respect every other way as long as the referees get the rules respected.

    “I saw some pictures last Sunday; you cannot say any more it is football, it is rugby on the goalkeepers [more] than football.

    “The referees cannot go on and accept that.

    “When you see how [Stoke defender Ryan] Shawcross kicked [Tottenham goalkeeper Heurelho] Gomes, how [Robert] Huth pushed Gomes in the goal, you cannot say that is football any more.

    “If the referees allow that you cannot accept that because that has nothing to do with the game.

    Wenger is trying to bring this to the referee’s attention before a game where we are likely to face the same tactics. That is a good strategy.

  147. I think the debate about who is first in the pecking order is a red herring.

    We have 4 quality defenders to fight for a place – and that’s good enough. There’s enough games to go around, and there will be injuries and suspensions so everyone one of them will have a bite at the cherry. It’s a team effort, not an individual sport.

  148. so it was only for arguement sake?

  149. Paulie Walnuts

    I`d like to join in the random sl*gging of the BBC & in particular it`s use of regional dialect presenters / reporters (Northern Ireland must be empty) who require subtitles.

    Now then – Is Barry Took still doing `Points Of View` ?

  150. Zonal Marking’s analysis of Vermaelen is a bit shortsighted to say the least. He made his judgement of him based on his performances against Barcelona and nothing more. By the way, Koscielny, like Gallas, is there to cover when Vermaelen attacks the opposition. Alex Song wasn’t clued into this and it’s why Xavi was able to dink in those passes to Ibrahimovic which ened in their two goals.

  151. The Rezzies looked very good last night. JET and Chuks scored a couple of lovely goals. Nacer looked lively. Ignasi Miquel seems to have grown into a giant over the summer and been made captain. Not sure what to make of Mannone being in goal. Does that mean Sczesney has leap-frogged him?

  152. I am not sure Limpar. Didn’t Poom play for the reserves when he was our third choice goalkeeper?

    I still think one of Mannone or Szczesny will go out on loan this year with an option to recall if necessary.

  153. SomeRandomGunner

    Paul N
    😀 , I actually believe that Koscielny is better than Vermaelen . So in my view it is Koscielny + somebody rather than Vermaelen + somebody. That was my intention, if i can not communicate properly in 3 comments , may be i have to go to some communications class 🙂 .

  154. I fear Arsene really has lost it this time.

    How good can a defender be if he is only valued at 6.5M?

  155. i would love it if we get marseilles

  156. Shakespearian pardoy and football never seem far apart these days.

    “If you cut me, do I not bleed?”

    “Naaah…you were to quick for him mate. It’s your fault, he aimed for your leg, not he ball. Control their feet? Why would an athlete do that? He’s just a footballer FFS, who can’t control his feet, he’s not that kind of player.”

  157. Ateeb….shame on him.

    Wenger has to go – and he has to go now. Let’s get in Martin O’Neil and give him a bit of money before the end of the transfer window.

  158. I would love to see Spds drawn with Shaktor. Who does not want to see Eduardo score loads against them.

  159. He’s only 6′ 1″ as well Ateeb.

  160. I was expecting AW to say something like that, Keyser. All the talk of how to protect our keepers from being shoved around like at Blackburn last season is all well and good but what happened up there was a refereeing aberration. No other ‘pressurising’ of a keeper all year was nearly as flagrant as that. It was cheating and the referee bottled it. Probably because he looked at Arsenal and thought to himself, while surrounded by pie-eating inbreds, ‘weak foreign tippy-tappy ponces don’t like it up ’em’. Thank you Hansen et al. Call me a conspiracy theorist – fuck it.

    Now Wenger’s flagged it up the ref will be forced to keep his eyes on it – and this early on in the season, if you can’t get a decision like that right, then there’s no hope for football left at all. This, coupled with OOU’s point – that it won’t matter because we’ll just keep the ball up the other end for 90 minutes – makes me think we’ll do alright on Saturday.

    I’d be tempted to throw Denny straight in, but I expect a team of:

    Bac Kos Verm Clich
    Cesc Diaby
    RVP Arsh

    Den, Theo, Rosisky, Eboue, Wilshere to come on and change the game if we need it. Pretty fucking strong.


  161. Consolsbob….funny you should say that – the first question a radio presenter asked Philippe Auclair was “how tall is this Squilacci bloke”….Typical.

  162. 6’1? How the hell will he handle Drogba, Torres, and Rooney? Good lord, I don’t want us to be spanked around by the big teams.

    I am surprised Bob, you didn’t call out for me the day the last Test finished:P I would have surely replied to you.

  163. arsenallllllllllllllllll

  164. We are in group H, not that it matters.

  165. Random gooner it was a joke…why is everyone is bloody sensitive today??


    This Jewish Mafia that you speak of are you all on wheelchair tag?

  166. We’re in Group H again.

  167. Kool SRG,

    I dont think we should knight Kos based on one performance though he is obviously a very good defender.

    TV is a proven consistent player, he is first choice. I have no doubt that it will be about who will partner him.

  168. “We have 4 quality defenders to fight for a place – and that’s good enough. There’s enough games to go around, and there will be injuries and suspensions so everyone one of them will have a bite at the cherry. It’s a team effort, not an individual sport.”

    Thats the most sensible statement regarding the defense DS.

  169. United draw Valencia.

  170. Milan draw Madrid. So we don’t have to deal with Maureen, just yet.

  171. I don’t like the fact that a spud is picking who we play….

  172. it will be shaktar for us

  173. edu back to the emirates

  174. Shakhtar for us!!!

  175. sorry dudu

  176. Dudu back at the Emirates

  177. Dudu must be feeling like Henry felt last year when we were drawn against Barcaloanus..

  178. I will remind you Ateeb that this is a football blog, in particular an Arsenal blog. If I wanted to talk cricket I would go on a cricket blog.

  179. wow, how ironic!

  180. Oh dear! my worst fear as far the draw is concerned comes true. As much as I love Dudu, I hope he doesn’t score against us.

  181. ajax would a dream,moscow a nightmare

  182. Barcelona getting an easy group, Panathanikos and FC Copenhagen

  183. spurs in inters group

  184. Spurs draw Inter and Bremen.

  185. please please please let it be Basel

  186. Ill take Basil

  187. its braga

  188. Squillaci may get to play Braga after all!!!

  189. the team that beat Sevilla it is then

  190. Who cares aboput the sp*ds,
    The Arsenalistas are coming to TNHOF!

    They played some good stuff against C*ltic.
    Look out for the outrageous free kick in the Home leg on footytube, they have some good players.

    F*ck it, here you go, look out for No.99:

    (Intersting sound effects too).

  191. please auxerre

  192. All Uefa players of the year are from inter?

  193. Ill take Cluj

  194. it will be twenty then

  195. Bob,

    So let’s meet up at a cricket blog?

    I would like to discuss the abysmal state of the England batting. And weather the poor fielding in our case in the first 2 tests, led England putting on a good total. I mean you can’t drop 8 catches in a match. You reckon the Aussies will let you off the hook?

  196. Ill take Zilina

  197. AC Milan, Real Madrid, Ajax, Auxerre

    That’s a toughie

  198. its partizan

  199. Arsenal, Shakhtar Donetsk, Sporting Brage, Partizan Belgrade

    Some traveling….

  200. ARSENAL, Shakhtar Donetsk, SC Braga, Partizan Belgrade.

  201. Group B is shit

  202. Is that confirmed Finsbury?

  203. ooooooh yeah

  204. Imminently winnable group, but will be some tricky away fixtures in Czech & Ukraine

  205. Passenal

    Off the radio, so, I think so.

  206. Rocky wins player of the year

  207. Barf-elona of course getting the easiest group.

  208. which group will we meet when we get through?

  209. as usual, g4e

  210. belgrade is not in czech,it`s the capital of serbia

  211. I’ve just seen the official confirmation on I cannot believe we drew Shaktar! I remember that was the first thing Eduardo said when he joined them that he did not want to play against Arsenal in the Champions League, but it looks like fate had something else in store for him! It will be great to see him at TNHOF again and give him a proper send off.

  212. we dont know yet, mheydo, that will be decided in another draw

  213. i cant wait for eddies return, i hope he doesnt score vs us though…but i’ll be supporting him..

    We have some intimidating atmospheres, partizan belgrade’s atmosphere is..well..good luck to travelling fans thats all i can say for that…

    Ukraine in winter isnt a perfect situation but well cope, as long as we get at least 1 point on the road, and win the 3 home games, we will be fine.

  214. The three home games seem eminently winnable. The away games are tricky, Donetsk and Belgrade will be difficult places, and Braga just dumped out Sevilla winning both legs.

  215. Uefa mascot of the year: Jose Mourhino (Inter Milan)

  216. pumped about the draw.

    and im with you Zap, Eduardo will get a nice reception.

    then Adebayor will come out in the press and say “we did the same thing! I’m still confused!”

    He’s 5’4 He’s 5’4…………

  217. Broke my media blackout only to hear a some ex spurs player (Mickie somebody) claim that Werder Bremen is a bigger threat than Internazionale. They will get 4 points from Inter.

    To make matters worse another fan says Mickie is wrong they’ll get six points. I don’t know if they are Joking or delusional.

    There was good reason to avoid the media today.

  218. but lets be honest keysersoze for the teams available in the 2nd/3rd pots we are sitting pretty.

  219. Braga both games, and Shaktar at Home will be very cool occasions.

    The Braga fans have a very cool flamenco-esque ‘clapping’ ,pogoing, mosh pit type thing going on. Like the others, it won’t be an easy Away tie.

  220. Of course, only wanted to pint out that it isn’t as easy as it first seemed to me. More of penning my thoughts as I think.

  221. and travelling to this strange looking braga stadium in sunny portugal and two freaking easterner freezing country.hooo the charm.Europe is back

  222. group A
    Inter Milan, Werder Bremen, Tottenham, FC Twente

    Group B
    Lyon, Benfica, Schalke, Hapoel Tel-Aviv

    Group C
    Manchester United, Valencia, Rangers, Bursaspor

    Group D
    Barcelona, Panathinaikos, FC Copenhagen, Rubin Kazan

    Group E
    Bayern Munich, AS Roma, Basel, CFR Cluj

    Group F
    Chelsea, Marseille, Spartak Moscow, Zilina

    Group G
    AC Milan, Real Madrid, Ajax, Auxerre

    Group H
    Arsenal, Shakhtar Donetsk, Braga, Partizan Belgrade

    The chance of tiny totts going on the second round sre not great

  223. braga’s stadium is so weird, behind the goal is just some concrete hillside..really weird

  224. partizan belgrade is a very hostile friend is from wont be easy, and the away support will have to be at their best if theyre to be even heard at that place, itll be brilliant that night in serbia

    im really excited abt this draw, last seasons group was poor and pretty boring, some average stadiums against average teams, AZ, liege, Olimpiacos really boring teams

  225. MU go it easy as usual the two biggest team in their group (rangers,valencia) have been busy selling all their star this summer to bring much need money to stay alive.

  226. Our group looks good…lot of travel though. Tough on the spuds…lovely really.

  227. Mongolian Gooner

    Thanks. Point accepted.

  228. “Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk qualified directly for the Group Stage and are already seven games into their domestic league season. Former Arsenal striker Eduardo has scored twice in three appearances for Shakhtar.”

    This is from the Arsenal website, I didn’t know Eduardo already scored twice in 3 games for them? I’m glad he’s doing good, just wish it was with us.

  229. I could not agree more, G4E! I was crushed to see him go but good for Eduardo. He needs to play and I hope he’s having fun. It will be great to get to see him on tv again as the Ukranian league hasn’t made inroads into the tv market up here.

  230. California Gooner

    It looks like an easy draw, but those Eastern European games are always strange: long travel and dark stadiums. It will be interesting to see how the Partizan fans behave when we bring our team there. From what I understand they are not just intense, they are intensely racist… one of the hearths of Serbian nationalist thuggery.

  231. Hey Gris Gris, good to see you around. Yes, it will be nice to see him again in the Emirates. I watched the two goals he scored for Shakhtar on youtube , both headers.

    Good for him…I can’t say it was good for him in England, he was physically assaulted and witch-hunted.

    All the best for him now.

  232. Was the last header Edu scored for us the one against West Ham in the cup? That was magnificent, great cross from his mate Carlos too.

  233. Yes Carlos made that goal.

  234. For sure, G4E, for sure…

  235. 1st, 2nd and 3rd teams ?




  236. Limpar @ 5.13 – thats would be 1st team for me this season

  237. that’s real tricky draw..will definitely check our sqad’s character this season, specially the away fixtures..

    BTW, aaditya & keysersoze, glad to see fellow indians here ! 🙂

  238. Graham Poll:

    Which, if I understood his point correctly, criticises Arsene for the ‘rugby’ comments earlier but then admits he is right and Saturday’s ref got it wrong last week at Stoke. What a curious world we live in.


  239. From Poll argument at the Daily M: “Wenger really should leave the referee to decide the legality of aerial challenges on keepers, even if he has a point this time.”

    Well, the point is Mr. Poll is that referees don’t do f*cking sh!t. We’ve been letting them do their monkey ass refereeing for years and we get nothing.

    The only reason Wenger shouldn’t talk about it because it’s no use. It’s a freaking lost case. The mentality in the English Football minds is, if you can’t beat them in play, hack them while they play and that’s perfectly OK.

    And then you wonder why there aren’t many good English players?

  240. Mongolian Gooner

    We’re gonna play in Eastern Europe during November. Bummer.

    Match Day 1
    Arsenal v SC Braga
    Wednesday 15th September 2010

    Match Day 2
    FK Partizan v Arsenal
    Tuesday 28th September 2010

    Match Day 3
    Arsenal v FC Shakhtar Donetsk
    Tuesday 19th October 2010

    Match Day 4
    FC Shakhtar Donetsk v Arsenal
    Wednesday 3rd November 2010

    Match Day 5
    SC Braga v Arsenal
    Tuesday 23rd November 2010

    Match Day 6
    Arsenal v FK Partizan
    Wednesday 8th December 2010

  241. Muppet @ 10.19pm

    Muppet-I like your 1st and 2nd teams and agree all the way on them. When Ramsey gets fit, I can still see Vela dropping to the 3rd team and Rosicky or Wilshere taking his place with Ramsey in midfield.

    Only problem on the 3rd team is with Traore at right-back. He’ll be gone soon, so the 3rd choice right back would probably be the on loan Coquelin, unless he would be used as a DM. I’m not sure if Arsene said we were 100% not going to buy a keeper now, but if so I would still send Mannone out on loan and bring in Sczcesny as the #3. Like a few others Fabianski still scares the hell out of me as back-up.

    Still, it shows what quality we have in depth. Arsene has built a formidable squad.

  242. Mongolian Gooner

  243. Im sory but i really hope we smash the Serbian nationalist brigade. I mean they have already proven they are not good enough for eu(They are too racist) they managed to start a war in the 90s they still have not managed to hand over the war criminals that massacrated so many people during that time.

    I know, i know not all Serbs are bad but a country that manages to justify their actions in the 90s. acountry that does not manage to hand over war criminals and a country with such a racist club as Partizan.

    Dammn they dont even deserve CL. Hope they go out.

  244. California Gooner

    Klump… an erratum is due. I went and checked my sources and my memory was faulty. It was Red Star fans that really went in for nationalist violence and gangsterism in the 1990s… I guess Partizan is their main rival. So, I have just done something like the Serbian equivalent of confusing Arsenal with Tottenham. Sorry if I offended anyone…

  245. John Cross of the Mirror and a Gooner as well says Schwarzer will be signed before the transfer window shuts fee:£3m

  246. Cheers Lagooner. Post was to highlight the strength of the squad. Agree about Coquelin. There are other young players pushing for squad places as well.

    Ramsey will certainly be 1st team as well when he gets back from injury.

    SteveB – thanks for that.

  247. I’m not sure there exists a Jewish Mafia in the sense debated, but there exists a Zionist one, which I am told has nuclear bombs. I’m with Kerzersoze on the Spuds, I never really bought into Tottenham rivalry, I quite dislike them for other reasons, Chelsea are my all time least favourite team.

    For Ateeb, and CBob, the following was written by my son, a budding cricket journo. With apologies to all who don’t get the glorious sport called cricket.

    In the Aftermath of Pakistan’s Victory

    “It’s not just England’s batsmen that have trouble reading the ‘doosra’. A survey of a global network of linguists has concluded that ‘doosra’ – which means ‘second’ or ‘other’ in Urdu and refers to an offspinner’s variation that turns in the opposite direction to an orthodox delivery – is the single most untranslatable term in cricket. No less confusing to those who don’t know their silly mid-off from their square leg, ‘googly’ came in second, followed by ‘mullygrubber’.

    “Cricket is not just a sport but also a language in its own right,” said Jurga Zilinskiene, managing director of Today Translations’s, the London-based language firm that carried out the survey. “Indeed, it is perhaps the world’s most untranslatable language. Sometimes, the equivalent idea – like doosra or googly – simply does not exist in both cultures. I believe, for example, that cricket is now starting to catch on in France. Can you imagine? But don’t worry. We at Today Translations are working on finding a good French translation for ‘doosra’.”

    “Harold Pinter, the late English Nobel Prize-winning playwright, espoused the pleasures of cricket when he said: “I tend to believe that cricket is the greatest thing that God ever created on earth. Certainly greater than sex, although sex isn’t too bad either. Anyway, you can either have sex before cricket or after cricket. The fundamental fact is that cricket must be there at the centre of things.”

    “His feelings, no doubt shared and bemoaned in equal measure by cricket lovers and long-suffering partners around the world, have been backed up by studies of cricket’s lexicon. “Cricket has generated a richer terminology than any other sport and – some would say – than any other human activity aside from sex,” added Zilinskiene.

    Welcome Skilly the Magnificent.

  248. Arsenal don’t travel too well, Eastwards, but we’ll do fine, fine. We have Skilly. We have Theo. We have subcomandante (formerly President) Eboue.

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